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One of Canada’s Biggest Banks Looks at the Economics of Weather Events

One of Canada’s Biggest Banks Looks at the Economics of Weather Events | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
Weather events are the reason states the bank. They are happening more frequently and more intensely with huge economic consequences.
Eli Levine's insight:

Indeed, what is the point in being a profit or production maximizer, if it's going to cost you productive capabilities when you produce more of either profit or production?

Predictably, humanity (or should I say, the members of humanity who are making the decisions and advocating for these destructive policies) are simply continuing on, business as usual, in spite of the new knowledge and understanding that we're gaining about our world.  They neither seem to not know or care to not know just how much they're screwing themselves over, for the sake of profit or production, thanks to some apparent defect in their brains that prevents them from living close to the lived world in which we're actually living.


It will only be when the full force of society is directed at them, either through the written laws from government, or through the collective, extra-legal actions of the whole human society that these people will stop their actions, assuming that the weather doesn't knock them out first.  Such an idiotic bunch of people.


And yet they're controlling the majority of our written law-making and enforcement capabilities.


Knock them out in straight jackets.  Shoot out their knees or use non-lethal force, if necessary.


Think about it.

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A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious | WIRED

A Neuroscientist's Radical Theory of How Networks Become Conscious | WIRED | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
It's a question that's perplexed philosophers for centuries and scientists for decades: Where does consciousness come from? Neuroscientist Christof Koch, chief scientific officer at the Allen Institute for Brain Science, thinks he has an answer.
Eli Levine's insight:

This is important, and only the beginning. 


On a side note, I think that conservatives and ideologues have different levels and qualities of connectedness with the universe. By different, I mean less. Would explain a lot of their consistent behavior worldwide and across cultures and times. 


Let's get them into care, before they hurt more of us. 

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How structurally stable are global socioeconomic systems?

The stability analysis of socioeconomic systems has been centred on answering whether small perturbations when a system is in a given quantitative state will push the system permanently to a different quantitative state. However, typically the quantitative state of socioeconomic systems is subject to constant change. Therefore, a key stability question that has been under-investigated is how strongly the conditions of a system itself can change before the system moves to a qualitatively different behaviour, i.e. how structurally stable the systems is. Here, we introduce a framework to investigate the structural stability of socioeconomic systems formed by a network of interactions among agents competing for resources. We measure the structural stability of the system as the range of conditions in the distribution and availability of resources compatible with the qualitative behaviour in which all the constituent agents can be self-sustained across time. To illustrate our framework, we study an empirical representation of the global socioeconomic system formed by countries sharing and competing for multinational companies used as proxy for resources. We demonstrate that the structural stability of the system is inversely associated with the level of competition and the level of heterogeneity in the distribution of resources. Importantly, we show that the qualitative behaviour of the observed global socioeconomic system is highly sensitive to changes in the distribution of resources. We believe that this work provides a methodological basis to develop sustainable strategies for socioeconomic systems subject to constantly changing conditions.


How structurally stable are global socioeconomic systems?
Serguei Saavedra, Rudolf P. Rohr, Luis J. Gilarranz, Jordi Bascompte rsif.2014.0693
J. R. Soc. Interface 6 November 2014 vol. 11 no. 100 20140693

Via Complexity Digest
Eli Levine's insight:

There are most likely a plurality of stable socio-economic systems with different dynamics and levels of short term system stability.  It's likely that, even if there are periods of short term instability, that long term stability will hold, even if instability is a stable feature. 


Very interesting points here. 



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Governing Based on Evidence

The wise leaders of the past have governed their people on tenants of respect, care, benevolence, and a desire to effect their lives in a positive way.  At least, these are the leaders and power blocs that we remember fondly, love, and honor.  It is in the interests of those who hold power to work in such a way.  The ability for such leaders and leadership blocs to come into power is dependent upon the populace's ability and willingness to sense and choose those who mean to have a positive effect on the public, and on their ability to sense if that leader/leadership bloc is actually doing their job well.  Evidence based governing is not only less costly for the government and the government members, in terms of the allocation of resources and the dependence on repression and force, but it also is a more effective strategy of maintaining leadership positions without having to resort to potentially costly tactics of repression and deceit, which are unreliable and expensive methods at ensuring political longevity.


The universe has a bias towards Liberalism and Progressivism, based on the evidence that we can observe throughout history and across cultures.


What in Hell are we all waiting for?!

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The Economic Blueprint of Eli Levine, 9/3/2014 CE

The Economic Blueprint of Eli Levine, 9/3/2014 CE | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

The consignment of property rights to singular people or to private organizations that are unaccountable to the public over common use goods and services is akin to the production of autocracy and authoritarianism.  Let these goods and services (healthcare, water, education, air, defense, and capital production) be consigned to private ownership by the society with the executor being the government, at the lowest possible level.


For example, Nestle should have to pay taxpayers for rights to produce bottled water, with the funds going to fuel local, county, and state governments.  No more private ownership of water for anyone.

Companies should have to pay the society as a whole for pollution of the atmosphere, soil, and water, with the funds being earmarked for funding the research and development of more efficient, less polluting methods of production.


Oil and other fossil fuels should have to pay a high tax on the profits they produce for the companies (because, lets face it, the resources aren't leaving).  This should then motivate these energy companies to come up with non-polluting, non-fossil energy technology, with some of the funds drawn from the taxes upon their current profits going to research and investment in and for regions that will be hit by the loss of the fossil fuel industries.


National defense should be nationalized and turned into a not-for-profit entity, with the funds saved from unnecessary war machines going to military research and development, as well as investment in civilian industry, to cover the workers who will be losing their jobs as a result of this pull back from military production.


Single-payer healthcare, with the single-payer negotiating with ALL providers for best prices should be the standard in the US, as it is with all other developed countries.


Education should be comprehensive, starting early, and developed overtime, with a greater emphasis on having kids learn how to be social and guided into the direction of their interests with encouragement given towards their inclinations and interests.  Those who don't fit into this paradigm should have solid jobs that they can work at for a living wage.


Finally, capital that is produced by the Federal Reserve should be debt free, publically owned, and used for the development, production, and insurance of prosperity and stability for our nation, not as a tool for private banks to use when they behave irresponsibly.


In addition, wages for all workers should always rise with the increase of profits in a company (adjusted for inflation) and the net profits (after capital investments are repaid for a few years) should be taxed progressively, allowing for increasing amounts of profit to be made.  Income and tax deductibles should be progressively taxed, such that the better off pay a reasoned amount to the society in which they live and benefit so well from.


This is my present layout of general economic policies, as I am currently aware of and within the current conditions that I see present in our society.  This may be incomplete and subject to change depending upon the conditions that are actually realized in our society as a result of these policies, or as a result of changes in our condition in the future.  Some of these are good temporary solutions (such as with regards to funding clean energy production and the development of sustainable, profitable, and clean means of production for all goods or the transitioning of our  economy towards clean, domestic, and profitable civilian production).  Some of these things are more long lasting principles (such as the private ownership by the public of the common goods n our society, or the principles underlying policy towards the energy, the environment, national defense, healthcare, education, capital, wages, and taxation).  This is just a blueprint for what I think will work at this general time, with these general long term and short term problems.  I invite all criticism, critiques, questions, and comments.


Thank you.



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A Preliminary Game Theoretic Outline of the Social Contract in the Present Tense

A Preliminary Game Theoretic Outline of the Social Contract in the Present Tense | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

In game theory, it is in the absolute interests of each aspect of society to maximize their utility.  However, if any side goes too far with their demands, or gains too much in the process of playing the game, they're less likely to adapt, change, or be responsive to the larger social and ecological environment.  The seeds of their destruction are sown in their influence over the other, unless they voluntarily work to check their own appetites relative to the environmental and social constraints that are placed upon them.


Rich people can be rich.  Powerful people can be powerful.  However, their wealth and power is derived from the actions and implicit or explicit consent of those beneath them.  Each side can hurt the other, and result in a net loss for all sides involved in the long term (which becomes the short term all too soon).  It is therefore better for the presently powerful to check their own wealth, power, and actions relative to the ecological and social environments in which they find themselves, from the perspective of defining their own interests.  Otherwise, they're going to be consumed by the public or environment as a result of their carelessness and poorly chosen and interpreted priorities.


In short, it doesn't pay in game theoretic models of the social, economic, and environmental complex to be entirely small-self-serving (as defined in maximizing your own personal utility at the expense of others who are around you).  Those moves and actions are not actually self-serving in the grand scheme of things, and are more likely signs of pathological behavior for the individual and evidence for a diseased brain state within the individual or group of individuals who exhibit those kinds of tendencies, behaviors, and attitudes.  Cooperation, two-way dialogue, open and honest communication, active listening, and genuine care for and about other people and the larger world around you are actually behaviors, attitudes, and perspectives that will increase personal utility greater than anything that small-self games and strategies can accomplish.


This is the science behind human relations and power dynamics.  It is informed by my observations on history, current events, and personal experience.  I testify that this is how the world has worked, is working, and will always work from now, until the end of time, and beyond. I testify that this is the way things work in this or any successful universe, regardless of how you slant, tilt, or filter the data.  You can either accept this for how it is, or you can perish as a leader, leadership cadre, or as an individual or group of individuals within a society.  There is no reason to listen or keep those negatively effective and self-damaging practices around for anyone's sakes.  Those who do insist on keeping these practices are more than likely mentally ill and are in need of receiving treatment, care, and a skeptical ear than influence, obedience, and authority.


Happy Labor Day.

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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, 3:31 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 28, 12:57 AM

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.

MsPerry's curator insight, September 1, 9:49 AM

APHG-Unit 4

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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, 7:30 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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Joseph Stiglitz: Independence has costs and benefits

Joseph Stiglitz: Independence has costs and benefits | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
dddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddAS SCOTLAND contemplates independence, some, such as Paul Krugman, have questioned the “economics”. Would Scotland, going it alone, risk a decline in standards of living or a fall in GDP? There are, to be sure, risks in any course of action: should Scotland stay in the UK, and the UK leave the EU, the downside risks are, by almost any account, significantly greater.
Eli Levine's insight:

Must everything revolve around money? Yes, the world could come crashing down as a result of Scottish bravado. It could get bad. Real bad, potentially. But, in all honesty, I'd rather work to build a new world than live in one that has lost its prime and is, quite frankly, rotten to be in. I'd like to see someplace where we care about our environment, our people, our world, and our relations with each other beyond money. This isn't utopia, as there will always be those cousins you won't like, or that hurricane which wipes out millions of peoples' homes, or that odd potential for alien invasion, or that likely potential to have to cope with a world that we are changing faster than we can adapt to.

Yes, the rich won't have as much. But there will (and should) always be a decentralized incentive to work, produce, and innovate freely on all fronts. Anything short of this Progressive vision and actions results in the degradation of the social unit and the environment in which we HAVE to live.

The conservatives want things to stay as they are, no matter how painful or poorly grounded they may be. They may have the edge over the likes of me as far as experience goes, But their experience is no good when it's poorly founded, and aging does usually leave you less able. I'm an American. But I say "YES" to Scottish independence, as a means of forcing this sick, rotten, twisted human universe to move forward with its life, never stagnate, and to look back with a wise eye, not a wistful one.

The time will come on September 18th. And the Scots will either lead us forward, or do a "smart" move for the wrong reasons.

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Leaders stress Scots vote will stand

Leaders stress Scots vote will stand | It Comes Undone-Think About It |
Alex Salmond says the independence referendum is "a once in a generation opportunity" while Alistair Darling says there would be "no way back".
Eli Levine's insight:

If this is how England would like the potential divorce go through, so be it.  Honestly, I'm not 100% sure about what would happen if Scotland were to declare its independence this Thursday.  But I do think that the economy will sort itself out in time, and that if both sides are willing to be adults about this, it shouldn't be an overly painful thing to anyone for Scotland to go its own separate way.  What's at stake, for me at least, is the sense that there is some arc towards justice and the triumph of kindness, respect, and courtesy over military might, deceit, and thuggish brutality.


I want to see humanity win from the Scotland v. Union debate.  I want the "Ayes" to win, because it will prove to me that there is something here in this world that's worth fighting for, regardless of the cost. I want to see the triumph of humanity over money, economy adopted to the environment, democracy over tyranny and government by force or deceit.


I want the world to grow, and not to die on the vine.


If that's not worth fighting for, I don't know what is.


4 days.


Enjoy them.


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The evolution of nonlinear dynamics in political science and public administration: Methods, modeling and momentum

The main objective of Discrete Dynamics in Nature and Society is to foster links between basic and applied research relating to discrete dynamics of complex systems encountered in the natural and social sciences. The journal intends to stimulate publications directed to the analyses of computer generated solutions and chaotic in particular, correctness of numerical procedures, chaos synchronization and control, discrete optimization methods among other related topics. The journal provides a channel of communication between scientists and practitioners working in the field of complex systems analysis and will stimulate the development and use of discrete dynamical approach.

Via Alessandro Cerboni
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Way cool science! 

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Cake or Death?

Cake or Death? | It Comes Undone-Think About It |

In the present era, governments in all countries give too much for the businesses without considering the impacts and effects that are actually felt and had within the communities and societies that they're responsible for overseeing.  When the society looses and the businesses gain more than their owners and shareholders can have in a lifetime, nobody wins (including for those in government) because the wealth is simply being extracted from the community and society and into the businesspeoples' pockets.  This game is unsustainable, as history has shown, and will be undone in relatively short order by the community and society, along with the government and officials who advocated for and enacted these extractive policies.


More dangerous to a government than a prosperous society where people are included in the decision-making process substantially is one where people are either excluded or are not prosperous across the board.  It's when there is inequality within a society, political or economic, that the game becomes unsustainable and corrected in the long term towards greater and reasoned equality.  Too much taking by the poor or worker interests results in it being taken away by the executives and shareholders, too much taking by the executives and shareholders results in it being taken away by the poor and workers.


It is time to establish a solid, persistent, and lasting dialogue between governing and governed, such that no one is getting hurt, thus enabling everyone to somehow benefit from the social contract.  Otherwise, the game is going to break down on its own, and a different order will be established that may likely be just as unreliable and unsustainable as the old order.  Better to correct the mistakes before they become problems, rather than wait for the problems to bloom.


Yet this is not the logic of our present sets of political leaders in any level or capacity in or out of government.  They're just going to keep pushing the red button until they die, very much like an addict using their drug of choice until they overdose and die.  Money is only as good as its ability to bring people well-being and power is only useful and beneficial to those who understand it and know how to wield it.  What good is it past the point where you can no longer spend all of it in a single lifetime?  What good is power if your actions erode it out from under you at a rate that leads to a loss for your own self or group?


These are the stakes.


What's it going to be?


Cake for all?


Or death for all?

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The Limits on Possibilities for Effective Governance

There are many perspectives, attitudes, interpretations of facts, possibilities in selecting facts to focus on, and actions that stem from a combination of all of these things and possibly more.  However, there are only a few options that can work in a given situation and even fewer that lead to optimal results for the public and the government that produces the policy.


The first step to doing empirically grounded policy and deriving these optimal options is to first define the relevant indicators and how to go about studying them to understand what is going on.  This is ultimately a choice of value, belief, ideology, and opinion based on personal histories, collective histories, personal neurology, social psychology, personal attitudes, collective attitudes, personal cultures, collective cultures, and personal and collective interpretations of all of these things. This may be an incomplete listing of what's affecting the policy prioritization and methodology for social study.  However, these things all seem to impact the way we work with the world around us, and thus define the policies that we choose, the options that we pick from, and the problems that we register and focus on, for the betterment or worsening of the people who live in the society.  The second step is to look closely at the surface indicators that you've chosen (again, how and what you choose greatly affects the problems and solutions that you see, with people being unequally good at determining what is relevant and what actually could work in any situation).  What are the subtleties of those indicators; the messages that they're sending you?  This then influences how you define a problem (again, which affects how well you're going to solve the problem without harming the other related parts that are working) and then influences what choices you pick from and what choice you ultimately make for the given society, for better or for worse.


It is important to note that when the society does well, the governing members are generally able to do well.  There are, again, only a handful of ways and perspectives, beliefs, attitudes, and actions that can work, and even fewer of these things that actually work optimally for the social unit within the context of its network connections.  It is in the interests of the governing members of society to critically interrogate the social reality to discover the empirical truth and actual ways things work and are working within a society in order to come up with the best possible solutions for the society, which in turn, lead to best possible solutions for the governing members if they market their actions properly.


In order to accomplish this, it is best to decentralize authority while maintaining oversight, coordination, and communication amongst the hierarchical network of governments and social actors and forces.  The common goal of the governing apparatus is empirical social well being for every member of society.  This means that some members of society who have more power and influence must consequently loose some of their power and influence, if they wish to maintain a relative homeostatic condition with the rest of society.  Otherwise, too much consumption by this powerful minority will consume them in good time, as has been demonstrated consistently throughout history and space.


We are coming to a reckoning where the members of our government are going to, right or wrong, be blamed for the crimes of the private interests.  Not all victories on the political level are true victories in the social and economic levels.  Yet many in government don't seem to appreciate, accept, or work with those facts, hence, how we get shortened lifespans of governments, government institutions, and government members, both in and out of office.  The time for the elites to choose is coming.  They can either defer to this more empirically based, benevolent, caring, and effective system and logic of governing, or they will perish in their attempts to produce an unsustainable, weak, and easily destroyable system and logic of governance.  The choice is technically up to them.  But I honestly don't think they really have a choice, and will instead, do what they're already habituated in doing.


Ridiculous people in ridiculous places.



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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.
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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, 3:09 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, 7:40 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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