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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 | Scoop.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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HOW SOCIETY WORKS: Social order by self-organization

The invention of laws and regulations is celebrated as great success principle of societies and they are, of course, important. However, a major part of social order is based on self-organization, which builds on simple social mechanism. These mechanisms have evolved over historical times and are the basis of the success or failure of civilizations. Currently, many people oppose globalization, because traditional social mechanisms fail to create cooperation and social order under globalized conditions that are increasingly characterized by homogeneous or random interactions. However, I will show that there are other social mechanisms such as reputation systems, which will work in a globalized world, too.

 

http://futurict.blogspot.nl/2014/11/how-society-workssocial-order-by-self.html


Via Complexity Digest
Eli Levine's insight:

We could be approaching something fantastically cool, if we don't destroy ourselves in the meantime.

 

Enjoy!

 

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How to Govern: Power Relations and Future Prospects for American Society

What do the American people consistently seem to want?

They seem to want fair pay for fair work, a clean, safe, and sustainable work environment, operational, effective, and functional schools, healthcare available for the general public, and to be safe in their homes from terrorists and other threats at home and abroad.

That's what has to be provided first, in essence, through policy from the government, if you want people to continue playing the game. None of these things are possible without the intervention of and presence of the government to say "no" to the private interests who would destroy these things in the name of personal profit. Otherwise, people tune out, turn off, and get angry enough that they value what they're fighting for more than their lives (because, let's face it, without these things, they have no life anyway).

Yet what do the conservatives do, from both sides of the aisle? The Republicans try to play Clint Eastwood or John Wayne, when they're really Major Frank Burns. The Democrats of today are nothing but a pedantic group of lawyers who know how to mitigate, yet do not know how to campaign or govern a country. They have abandoned the ethic that was established by Franklin and originally manifest in Teddy Roosevelt and, indeed, all of our truly great and effective statespeople who knew how to care for this society. The ethic is the seed, the science is what follows from it. Neither side of our political system seems to know, care, or work with the truth beyond what it can do to immediately put them into positions of power and consequence they do not know or care to know how to handle. They have forgotten that power in any human dynamic is a relationship that requires much care, long term preparation, planning, and well conceived execution in order to pull off. It is not "get me into office now", which is little more than what boys do when they're trying to get into some poor woman's bed. It is a build up of trust. It is about admitting to mistakes and accepting the consequences of them. It's about forgiveness as well, since none of us are going to be perfect at governing, even with the best data and best analytical methods we can muster (especially while we're still learning about what does what and what is actually present in a constantly changing world).

If the Progressives were intelligent, they would let the conservatives take the entire country. They will not relent until they have taken, eaten, and destroyed everything that we actually hold dear in the name of that which they only think they need. Hell, they actually believe that money is a real thing that we need for survival! They're willing to sacrifice our world, our planet, our home, for the sake of having larger piles of this worthless cloth rag or metal disks! They want power and positions which they cannot and will not handle well for their own sakes, relative to the people in our society, or to all other peoples living in the world. America would become even more of a pariah state than before; countries will go to China, Russia, Brazil, India, etc for aid, shelter, and assistance, not to the US. The United States would rot under their anti-environmental, anti-education, anti-citizen, corporatocracy, regardless of whether it is the Democratic Party or the Republican Party who governs. I say "disengage", and let the American people learn on their own what it means to have a negligent, ineffective, or outright hostile and anti-social government (complete with negligent, ineffective, and outright hostile and anti-social government members).

Let the corporate barons win. They didn't learn after the Franklin Roosevelt, they won't learn until they're dead or being locked up by the mob into mental institutions. There's something seriously wrong with the people who are currently leading our society. And it all starts in their neurology, somewhere, somehow.

To all of you who didn't vote or act in some way, shape, or form on Election Day: you deserve what you're going to get. I wish I didn't have to suffer with you all because of your mistakes. But, such is how things work, I guess. Enjoy!


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(Hopefully) Parting Words for My Homeland and Countryfolk

We have a true perfect storm brewing in our nation's finances. If we continue spending at the levels that we're doing without raising taxes, we will not be able to afford to pay our interest rates, and the nation will effectively go bankrupt due to the amount of debt that we've piled on without having revenues to back it up. We can experiment, if the conservatives and Libertarians insist, with going back to the way things were before the costs of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and National Defense became such an integral part of our nation's budget.  That would likely cause a period of mass death and poverty due to peoples' inability to pay bills or receive money that they were counting on for living requirements.  Or we can simply raise taxes on those who can afford to pay it and remove their ability to vote, contribute to elections, and receive all other benefits of being a US citizen, plus tack on a substantial jail period for high income tax evaders, if they so choose to move out of country and not pay the taxes that they owe.  We could also raise wages in our society to beyond just living standard wages, such that people can afford to pay more taxes in from a broader base, or a combination of the two revenue raising methods.  But the path, I think, is clear.  We need to raise revenue for the Federal government and preserve spending on state and local government to keep our debts manageable or non-existent, depending upon the legal requirements that are present in the non-Federal entities. 

 

Now, part of the Medicare bubble is because the population is getting older.  That will subside as time goes on and the Baby Boomers die off.  We also need to be investing in our infrastructure, such that we can still maintain economic, military, and social fitness within our home territory, plus create new levels of fitness to protect us against outside threats from manipulating, destroying, and affecting our infrastructure from within.  Who knows, we may even be able to invest a little into education, improving healthcare access, and ensuring environmental health on top of it all, at least once we settle the political questions surrounding taxes.  I know that somebody in this conflict is going to blink and I'm willing to bet that it will be the "Progressives", who will one way or another, consign our future to the conservatives and Libertarians.  In fact, it may be in the Progressives interests to do just this, because it will ultimately could lead to the destruction and discretization of the conservative and Libertarian attitude, viewpoint, and brain state within the world of government.  Anarchy is all that Libertarians really have to offer, and conservatism is nothing more than the dictatorship of the wealthy elite.  Neither are things that the American public has seemed to truly want in the past and neither are things that I think we really value in the United States of America.

 

However, if we're going to move past the stupid world of government by argument, opinion, belief, and ideology to realize government through science, evidence, and responsibility, we may very well have to go through a period of dark years, decades, centuries, or millennia, before we finally get our rears in gear to play catch up with the rest of the world (who will leave us behind and "play" with us in the meantime).  The choice is up to you to prevent this from happening, American citizens.  All of you, even you who are reading this right now.  But, I know that you're not going to do anything about it until it is glaringly obvious that you're not going to get what you all want by working for and supporting the Libertarian and conservative caucuses.  It's truly a sad day when the people who can legally do the most amount of potential good for themselves won't.  And you all will have no one to blame but yourselves, really.

 

Have fun governing, ye Tea Party, Libertarian, and conservative whackos.  I know you will fail in the long term because you will not comprehend or accept facts that stare you in the face from common reality.  Hell, I don't even think you all believe in common reality to begin with, or acknowledge the supremacy of natural laws, as discovered by science, over your petty little rules, desires, hopes, tastes, and opinions.  Please enjoy this victory for it will likely be one of your last.  Enjoy!  And, best of luck.

 

I hereby cede the entire country of the United States over to the conservatives, Libertarians, Tea Party members, and pseudo-Liberals.  Please, do with it as you'd like. 

 

Enjoy!

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A Treatise on International Diplomacy

A Treatise on International Diplomacy | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
America’s high-tech P-8 surveillance jet, a modified Boeing 737, is part of its strategy of deploying more resources to Asia in response to China’s growing firepower and assertiveness.
Eli Levine's insight:

If China wants to play global hegemon, let them.  So long as we're able to defend our homeland and make actual friendships with other countries, I don't see the Chinese hegemon as being all that threatening.  The trouble comes when we continue to meddle in places where it isn't our concern to meddle and insist on cultural conformity amongst the nations that not even we are 100% good at following.  The US has to be the weaker power to stand against the stronger Chinese power, allied by friends from across the world, in order to be successful in this, the dawning of the Chinese era.  Outdated colonial notions of force, coercion, and deception have to be abandoned if we're going to be successful as a nation to counter the Chinese rise.  We have to make alliances with peoples, not just governments, form connections on the sub-state level, not just rely on illegitimate and dictatorial governments to do our dirty work.

 

In all honesty, I don't think that the Americans will listen to what I've got to say or pay attention to their eroding influence in the world.  I think people will band against us instead of the Chinese if we continue to flex our power undemocratically and without care or concern for the general publics of the world.  You cannot fly by defying the natural laws of the universe.  You must follow and obey them, setting the example yourself, and being accepting of those who don't.  It takes genuine compassion, concern, care, and love to make an empire that's lasting, powerful, and able to weather storms as they arise.  I don't think that the Chinese government will follow this logic or line of reasoning.  But, at the same time, I don't see the United States' government or people following this line of reasoning either.  That is our primary weakness, I think, relative to everyone else. 

 

Our government members don't seem to care about others in ways that are appropriate or functional.  We just want to perpetuate our own cultural template on top of everyone elses' culture, history, logic, and ways of conducting business while not following that logic with our own people. 

 

The politics of force is an inherently weaker form of systematic control than the politics of compassion, love, and appropriate care.  We lack the knowledge and awareness of nuanced dialogue and negotiation.  The difference between what I'm talking about is that we must first recognize what the other is genuinely working towards, and then deciding whether or not that is something that is on the whole, reasoned, reasonable, and achievable.  You don't appease people like Adolph Hitler, because what his actual goals were, were unacceptable, unreasoned, and unreasonable.  But most leaders aren't Adolph Hitler, no matter how we may portray or hallucinate about them.  Most leaders can be worked with and basically are wanting things that most reasoned, reasonable, and healthy people would be wanting as well.  When these people can't be worked with, you can defer to their peoples' wishes and wants and needs, which may be different and much more realistic than the leadership.  When in doubt, go with the people and not the leadership.  The public is the guide that determines the leadership.  You can upset a leadership in their home territory by deferring to the people and their peoples' needs.

 

Such is how I view international diplomacy.  It is not the same as our present day methods, since we work exclusively with leaders and not with people.  We in the United States seek to impose rather than work in collaboration with.  We think that our way is the best and only way while neglecting that other people have their own ways which may actually be better for them than our ways.  If we do not change our methodology for operating diplomacy, we will lose allies and friends to the Chinese, and we will be the hegemon without a hegemony.  It is through our ability to ally and connect with peoples that we gain our true strength.  The military is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating a real power dynamic amongst nations and people.  It is through the acceptance and acknowledgement of equality amongst the peoples of the planet and universe that we can gain the most, not through the assertion of military force.   And it's a royal shame that we are so immature as a governing body or as a people to accept, acknowledge, and appreciate these facts about human life and, indeed, I think all sentient life in the universe.

 

To wrap up, you cannot build a successful airplane that flies by ignoring the natural laws and limitations of the universe.  You must, instead, follow, obey, and discover the natural laws that are present in the universe and leave your beliefs, opinions, and desires behind.  As it is with physical laws, so as it is with social and economic laws.  A shame that the American government and people are so tone deaf to these nuances.

 

Enjoy! :)

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Mike Huckabee joins push demanding Houston officials ignore their own election laws

Mike Huckabee joins push demanding Houston officials ignore their own election laws | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Eli Levine's insight:

And I'm the one called "arrogant".

 

They will more likely be strangled by their own attempts to strangle the public.  And, yes, I mean "strangled" literally (since that would save on bullets).

 

My solution at present is to leave the country and the American society to its chosen fate.  Until the general public is willing to make their voices heard and actually do something to save themselves, it's not worth my time or effort to make this place be better against the tide of public opinion and apathy.

 

You were beautiful, America; the Homecoming Queen of Nations in your youth.  But you are not a young country anymore; your looks are beginning to fade under the blight of your chosen leaders' choices.  Your actions have consequences, which you are perpetually going to be bound by, contrary to your ideology of unlimited potential, freedom, and baseless optimism.  Not all opinions are equal; not all beliefs are true, not all preferences are healthy and should be supported.  You won't get these concepts until it is too late, America, if you get them at all.  The Homecoming Queen is getting older, and her looks are fading.  Easy wealth.  Easy luxury.  No sense.  All wasted.

 

Enjoy your bed, Americans.  You made it.  Now sleep in it.

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The Asymmetry of Values and Priorities

Not all values have equal weight relative to producing the best possible results within a society.  Some priorities and desires are more detrimental to the individual, collective, and individual through the collective than beneficial, just as different food and exercise preferences have different effects on the individual's health.  The United States has an unhealthy sentiment within its society that all values and preferences have equal grounding in reality or, worse still, that there is no such thing as a common reality that reacts to our actions, producing the positive and negative effects that we experience depending upon our choices.  Some people seem to have a better grasp of reality than others, and common reality, not a researcher or group of scientists, determines which person/group does a better job in the absolute sense and relative to others.

 

The universe is a dictatorship.  The natural laws are there and we are subject to them.  Even if we find ways around them, we are only either following other natural laws, had a misconception of what were/are natural laws to begin with, and/or, will be subject to the consequences of "breaking" or "changing" those natural laws.  Americans won't like that vision of the universe, no matter how much they run up against the facts and natural laws of our universe.  To want it to be otherwise is to want 2+2 to equal any number other than 4: impossible to accomplish and really pointless.

 

For all of our ability to imagine things and to make things more chaotic than it needs to be for our health and well-being, we will still be held to account for our actions and choices, not by police officers or an authority figure, but through the natural actions of cause and effect; the base laws of our universe.

 

Like it?  Lump it?  It doesn't matter.

 

Enjoy your world, humans, especially you America.  You will die for freedom and liberty, and the rest of the world will pass you by while you wallow in your own sad, excessively chaotic filth.

 

I'm sorry I couldn't help.

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Growing Pains in Economics, Societies, and Environmental Consciousness

What's good for a company isn't actually what's necessarily going to be good for a society.  Companies are just concerned with the production of profits; societies have to be concerned with living, surviving, and potentially being able to thrive.  Capitalism is going to exploit and squeeze out the value of the public's labors for the sake of these profits without necessarily being or feeling obligated to return the favor for the work that is done.  The government of the society will either sit back and accept or encourage this exploitation, or it will protect the environment and the society through law and law enforcement to ensure a healthy, functional, and sustainable social-environmental world in which we can all potentially thrive as living organisms (not money eating machines).  The choice is in the policies and programs that the government produces.  Its own quality of life and ability to survive is at stake when it ignores the well-being of the society in which it operates and the economy from which it draws on its resources to fund and finance the society's development, growth, sustainability, and survival.  That's what history has shown.  We can either ignore it and repeat the lessons again, to our own expense and detriment, or we can advance beyond them to take on new challenges, new problems, and new ways of dealing with the old, always present problems that we've experienced before in the past.

 

Grow up humanity!  It's time.

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The Supreme (Natural) Law of the Cosmos

Societies are, indeed, governed by people and not by laws.  People can make or unmake written laws, just as easily as societies can make or unmake people who make laws.

 

However, we are, in fact, governed by Natural Law, the laws of nature, society, the environment, the universe around us.  We are it and it is us.  We discover it, we do not actually make it.

 

The faith in written law of our society, the Constitution, has been violated by those who have no respect for written or natural law.  To this end, we fall back on Natural Law, as discovered by the scientific method and revealed to us over time through experimentation, observation, and accident, to correct these mistake people who currently sit in places of high power, consequence, and authority, and yet do not seem to understand how to operate and work for their own actual benefit within the confines of these discovered and unwritten laws.

 

The Law is indeed supreme.  No one made them though.  They're just the rules that have existed, as far as we can tell, since beyond the beginning of time and forward to the end of time and beyond.  To change and alter them here is to subject yourself to the consequences of changing those Laws which are apart of nature and the universe that is us.  They simply are, and we are always going to be bound by the consequences of them, no matter how hard we may try to make it be otherwise.  Those who do not get it and work with the world in this basic fashion are likely those who are least capable of governing and effectively managing a world.  They do not see the walls which naturally exist.  They will not understand how to use those Laws for your own sake and benefit within the context of those laws.  They will rebel against those discovered Laws, because their brains are not accurately reading or working with reality that is them.

 

They are sick people.

 

And they need to be removed from office permanently, as a personality/brain type, so that they may never again make our society a perverse corner of the universe.  They are like animals who do not get the basic concept of not pissing or pooping in a distinct corner, for the sake of their health and well-being relative to all other lifeforms in this universe.  They seem to feel as though they can (and should be allowed to) go wherever they please, regardless of the consequences that are exacted upon themselves and on others whom they depend on.  There is, I think, no freedom in this universe.  There is only Law, and those who won't get or accept it.  Even when you "break" free, you are still bound by the discovered Natural Laws.  You can either live with, accept, and maximize your utility based on those Laws.  Or, you can fight them, resist them, and make life for yourself and your friends, family, and companions worse.  It all depends on how your brains work, as to whether you go one way or another.  Those who follow Laws, tend to be more able to pass on their genes and memes in the long term, than those who don't.  Even if the breakers of Law kill off all Law abiders, they will be more likely to kill themselves off as a result of their negligence, stupidity, and ignorance of themselves and the world that is them.

 

Obey the Law.

 

Or suffer the consequences that you yourself bring on.

 

Enjoy your nights.

 

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The Ghost of Karl Marx

The free market, when it is truly allowed to be 100% free of regulation or tracking (not controlling) leads to its own demise, either through the destruction of the environment or through a revolution within the society. If you start out as having more of an opportunity or some kind of advantage over another, you tend to increase your wealth faster than others. That, in and of itself, is not a problem when taken in moderate doses. However, as time goes on, the wealth for those individuals tends to grow exponentially over time in a non-linear fashion, leading to the extra growth of the pie being consumed by a few individuals while everyone else has less and less and less of a stake within the system. Capitalism becomes an exclusive system, rather than an inclusive one. The governments of the world are replaced by businesses groups and special interests who have wealth at their disposal, which decreasingly reflects the needs and characteristics of the general population. The interests dig in, rather than shift and adapt to the changing and increasingly negative dynamic between themselves and the general public. Conservatism and rigidity in thinking and behaving sets in, especially as the governing members age, and the system becomes increasingly vulnerable to attack and/or rot. External powers may also play a role in the destruction of the current government members, either in the form of other societies or environmental factors.

 

This is the ghost of Karl Marx haunting the Capitalists long after the fall of the major "Communist" powers. The pigs will consume themselves and their precious system. The more they brutalize and take, the more likely they'll be removed, and the more likely the rest of society will treat them poorly when they are removed.

 

There is a cost to deception.  There is a cost to taking and receiving.  The market system works great, when it is moderated in order to protect the environment and the employed classes.  Labor is not the same as a regular commodity; there is no comparative advantage to not having domestic manufacturing and actually producing innovative goods and services that people will want to buy.  We're going to die for the sake of an idealized system, perpetuated by foolish academics and business leaders who see only cash and not value as an organism.  The time is coming for us to pick a side between those who already have and are going to consume everything, and those who have nothing and have the greatest potential to rebuild and survive, even if the business leaders and politicians are shot (and they will be more likely shot if they continue to ignore and brutalize the public).

 

It can happen here.  America is not an exception to the natural laws of societies and human behavior, nor are we not subject to the conditions and social/ecological factors that exist outside of our society.  The time is coming for absolution.  This is the end of Capitalism in its present form and the birth of a new system of market economic logic, study, and management.  Otherwise, the species is going to suffer significant losses and the boss pigs will be dead. 

 

What's it going to be, America?

 

What's it going to be world?

 

Think about it.

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The Long Death of Conservatism (and Conservatives)

Conservatives tend to select themselves out of positions of power and, when left to their own devices without progressives' periodic or constant intervention, will likely naturally self-select out of existence as a sub-group of humans.  We all have the same hardware that creates conservatism; it seems to be in the reptilian brain, which is common to us all.  The difference between conservatives and other humans is that they seem to have a much more powerful reptilian brain than the rest of us, thus denying them the ability to work with complex issues with nuance, ambiguity, and subtlety as well as other human beings.  They seem entirely consumed with obsessing over their small self, or their definition of self, rather than the whole or the other or the larger self that extends to all things, living, dead, or inanimate in this universe.  There is no real love in their behavior or actions; no real compassion or care.  Just repetition and a sad attachment to imaginary concepts and incorrect hypotheses about how things are and work together.  There is no more point in listening to them, and the best that society can do to them is to remove them from all places of influence, power, authority, and consequence for the mental health clinics that they so unceremoniously underfunded and destroyed.  It's time that we institute a more social system than their anti-social, money-grubbing, Capitalisitc barbarism.  It's time to govern with reason, compromise, discussion, and attachment to truth and common reality.  No more should we be ruled through fear, oppression, force, deception, lies, and ignorance, willful or otherwise.

 

These are, however, all normative statements.  There is nothing in the world here or anywhere that suggests that things will necessarily be different in the world just because we've changed the contents of several influential nodes in our network, least of all, the combined nodes of the general public.  We will still be plagued by these apparently diseased brain types within our society and within other societies.  We will still have to deal with all the consequences of their poor choices and priorities, as well as all new disasters, dangers, threats, problems, and sticky situations that will absolutely arise as time goes on.  At the same time, these minute changes in either the mental or physical content of these critical nodes can make important differences in our world, particularly if they join together to work towards a common cause of health, survival, and the ability to thrive on this planet and others.  It is time that we work to extricate the more monkey-like among us from their places of power, consequence, authority, power, and, at the heart of it, responsibility.

 

That, or we can keep clinging to them out of fear, and finding that the only thing we have to fear, really, is them, time and time again.

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Backwards Logic

The authorities who currently sit in power have the whole idea of power backwards.

It is love, honesty, care, and effective actions that people respond to, not force, or deception, or graft. The governing bodies of our world should have the same ethic, logic, and methodology as medical personnel who actually care about the well being of the public as if it were their own self. It is only through this exchange that people willingly fall into line behind people. It is only through care, benevolence, love, effective, and benevolent action that people reliably remain willing and able to follow you. This is not a guarantee. Governing, or to be a member of the governing bodies, is not a right. It is a privilege that can be revoked, either through force of arms by the public, or by honest democratic sentiment and action.

I'm personally tired of having to reiterate this for the upper crusts of our world who are STILL slow on the uptake. I'm beginning to question their mental capacities and their cognitive/emotional abilities, in light of their actions and choices. If these continue, I would conclude that the only sensible course of action is for the society to remove the people on top by force of arms and, hopefully, commit them to mental health clinics for treatment and diagnosis. This is the most kind thing that I can offer those folks on "top" of our social world. Many would have them be killed (and, quite frankly, I don't blame people for feeling that way, even though I disagree with the method).

Shots have already been fired in Canada, perhaps for these reasons. This is only going to get worse for everyone involved, including the general public and the upper class elites. The only question is whether people on top will correctly get the message and interpret it correctly.

This is the ending stages of one age, and the certain beginning of a new one. How new it's going to be depends on what we do in the present. That's all we have, and all we're going to have.

What's it going to be?

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Life - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Life - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

To reflect the minimum phenomena required, other biological definitions of life have been proposed, many of these are based upon chemical systems. Biophysicists have commented that living things function on negative entropy. In other words, living processes can be viewed as a delay of the spontaneous diffusion or dispersion of the internal energy of biological molecules towards more potential microstates.

Eli Levine's insight:

Indeed, what is a human society but a larger social organism, based on this definition?

 

I'm honestly not sure about the Gaia Hypothesis, because the systems can be way too divergent.  However, the principle of interconnectedness may prove to be a useful tool in understanding how things work and what effects what in this universe, society, and environment.  If we could work to map out our social, ecological, and cosmological universe, we may end up with one of the most useful tools we could have in order to test, diagnose, and solve problems within our society from the micro through to the macro levels, such that everyone benefits and no one gets hurt in the process.  The bottom is influenced and effected by the top, the top is kept in line by the bottom.  The two need to work together in order to produce a healthy and functional society for the sake of each actors' own sake and for the sake of all other beings, human or otherwise, living in the world with us.

 

This is how the world is.  No point in trying to make it "be" anything other than what it is.

 

Period.

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The Libertarian and Conservative Ignoratti

A government without the ability or will to create and enforce written law essentially leads to and is anarchy by default.  That is why Libertarians are, in essence, anarchists, because they do not want a government that has the ability to create and enforce law within the territory and population of its jurisdiction.

 

I agree that written law should coincide with natural law.  I don't agree that the US Constitution was meant to create a feeble, ineffectual, and essentially inconsequential government and I also don't agree that the US Constitution is a sacred text that cannot and should not be updated with the changing needs and conditions of society.  I believe in the spirit of the Constitution; the principles that underlie it, which describes a society of people being essentially equal under law, and entitled to the same rights and opportunities as everyone else in the society.  The net result of Libertarian or conservative systems of government is the production of societies where people have unequal opportunities and where people have no individual security other than what they can provide with the resources at their disposal (which gets less and less as those who have more take more and more).  In this sense, people are essentially like dogs, who do not have the ability to control their own feeding habits when presented with the opportunity for unlimited access to material and social resources.  The half a million becomes a million, the million becomes five, the five multiples to twenty, and so on and so forth, regardless of if that wealth is something that they need or if it is produced with methods that detract from their social, personal, and environmental condition.

 

Therefore, we should not listen to conservative or Libertarian voices in our government.  Their root ideas, beliefs, and sentiments are self-destructive and toxic for the rest of our society, which then makes it toxic for themselves as well.  They are the Ignoratti; a group of people who need to come in for psychiatric treatment.  While they may be more functional than those who are presently diagnosable with mental illnesses, they are far more destructive to themselves and their societies through their actions, beliefs, and perspectives.  We may all be human and, in that sense, of essentially equal value.  However, opinion does not work like that, along with the ability to work with the world as a whole around you.  They need to come in from the cold, if they want to be considered legitimate participants in our government, or, we must exclude them from positions of authority, responsibility, and societal management.  We will die because of these people, if we allow them to stay in place.  I am not asking for their deaths.  I am asking for us to help them and to bear the condition and consequences of their brains in mind when listening to them within the larger political discourse.  That's all that I'm asking for.  I doubt anyone will listen and help me put that into practice in real life.

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Direct human influence on atmospheric CO2 seasonality from increased cropland productivity : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

Direct human influence on atmospheric CO2 seasonality from increased cropland productivity : Nature : Nature Publishing Group | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Ground- and aircraft-based measurements show that the seasonal amplitude of Northern Hemisphere atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations has increased by as much as 50 per cent over the past 50 years. This increase has been linked to changes in temperate, boreal and arctic ecosystem properties and processes such as enhanced photosynthesis, increased heterotrophic respiration, and expansion of woody vegetation. However, the precise causal mechanisms behind the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 seasonality remain unclear. Here we use production statistics and a carbon accounting model to show that increases in agricultural productivity, which have been largely overlooked in previous investigations, explain as much as a quarter of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 seasonality. Specifically, Northern Hemisphere extratropical maize, wheat, rice, and soybean production grew by 240 per cent between 1961 and 2008, thereby increasing the amount of net carbon uptake by croplands during the Northern Hemisphere growing season by 0.33 petagrams. Maize alone accounts for two-thirds of this change, owing mostly to agricultural intensification within concentrated production zones in the midwestern United States and northern China. Maize, wheat, rice, and soybeans account for about 68 per cent of extratropical dry biomass production, so it is likely that the total impact of increased agricultural production exceeds the amount quantified here.

Via Niklaus Grunwald
Eli Levine's insight:

The smoking gun.

 

But will the science deniers, clinging to some ideology or belief or self-destructive interest admit to it?

 

Leave this strain of the species behind.

 

Let them be ignored and allowed to die off, on their own.

 

I'm tired of tacitly protecting them.

 

Aren't you?

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A Sad Fate for a Sad People

Consistency, or the lack thereof, is probably one of the greatest shortcomings of American political culture and American behavior in general. Our government says do one thing while meaning something completely different. "Be a democracy, but don't choose those people we don't like", it's ridiculous! Until our leadership cadre can actually stand for something, either by acting as a dictatorial power over the world, or by acknowledging people's right to choose their leaderships and respecting those choices, we will always be at loggerheads with all sensible and relatively sane cultures and societies. We weep over the poor, the sick, the hungry, the repressed in other countries where we have no legal, moral, or practical reason to be involved, yet we ignore our people here at home whom we do have legal, moral, and practical abilities to help. We've got our international relations logic and ethic ass-backwards. Better to help your own people and then help other people when you can genuinely respect, appreciate, and accept them for who and what they are, rather than forcing them to be something or someone different.

 

The world has enough difficulty sorting through their own bullshit without us adding our often inaccurate and poorly conceived two-cents into their mix.  I'm constantly amazed by the callousness and dual-nature of the United States, the American government, and the American people at handling the world.  I think that we, as a nation, will eventually pay for our meddling and inappropriate and unwanted touching of other societies.  A sad fate, for a sad people.

 

Enjoy.

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The Infrastructure of America is Crumbling

The infrastructure of this country is crumbling.  I'm not just talking about our physical infrastructure of bridges, roads, rails, ports, airports, electricity, Internet, water and sewage, etc (although these are also in disrepair as I am writing this).  I'm also talking about our social infrastructure; the glue that binds a nation together and keeps it strong in the face of adversity.  The legitimacy of the governments is in question; rule of law is slowly eroding, partially due to the inability or unwillingness of the governing people to follow and be cognizant of the natural laws that govern societies, partially because of the poor state that the public still is in in spite of the rosy stock market prices that Obama likes to point out (which no one is invested in anyway because they're too expensive to afford for most people).  We're arguing about things that are, in my view, more or less intuitive and self evident, namely, that we need to have wages go along with profits that are realized, that we need to have police, laws, law-makers, and administrators who respect and are aware of the tangible needs and wants of the public as they evolve and shift and the condition of the environment in which we're living, that we need a government which is pro-active with its administration yet respectful enough to have a dialogue and follow what the public needs rather than what the officials believe ought to be done.  We have people in places of power, consequence, and authority who take their positions for granted, who inherited them rather than earning them, who are so warped in their abilities to work with reality that they can't even tell which way is up while the deaf, dumb, and stupid sharks of business logic eat their entire food supply in one gulp while polluting the world in which they swim and live at the same time.  We live in a world where competition is king, but competition only yields those who are good at competition; which is not the same as being the best.

 

My prognosis of the United States is an empire in decline for no reason other than the stupidity and ignorance of its public and political people.  We are losing the respect of the international community; they see our internal problems while they are subjected to our over-extended ape-like military behavior abroad.  The board of popular legitimacy will most likely be reshuffled to China, so long as they maintain a healthy awareness of the limitations of power and the dependence that all hegemons have on the well-being of the smaller societies.  The Age of America has passed and the worst part about it is, is that Americans are more likely to go into denial about this rather than fix the causes that are creating the problems.  I have outlined repeatedly concrete steps that we, as a nation and a government, can take to remedy the situation.  None of them have been picked up upon by members of the American public, as evidenced by the election results, and none of them will likely be listened to by members of the American government who can actually do something with them.  My solution, therefore, is to seek another country to help, and to cut my losses with this one.  If I can protect one people from going under and set them on the path to being a thriving cultural, economic, scientific, and diplomatic power, I will be happy.  I will be even happier if my ideas spread even further than that, to influence the very foundations of human governing and diplomatic logic and, indeed, the governing and diplomatic logic of all sentient life in the cosmos.  But, that is so far in the future, and I am only able to definitively commit the present moment to spreading the message that I've got.

 

Therefore, I am always open to help America when and if its people get their acts together, on high and down below.  I know that the demand from the bottom is there for something different.  However, I don't think it's been articulated very well on the conscious level of the public, and the society will more than likely have to experiment with some crazy ideologies and ideologues before they get it back to being better.  Welcome to a new age.

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Engineering Policy

The greatest trouble that I see for Americans (and, indeed, any human society) is to not appreciate or understand the processes and limitations that are present when making and executing policy decisions in order to achieve fantastic things.

 

Do you honestly believe that the engineers and scientists who sent humans to the moon actually just "imagined' that they could do it and did only what "felt" right?  No!  They worked their butts off to discover the natural laws and limitations that were needed in order to accomplish that objective (if it was going to be feasible anyway).  The social scientists have to work 10 times harder than the physical scientists because our subjects of study (people) are highly variable, highly influenced by the external world around them, highly influential over the external world around them, and will change behavior if they know what's going on, and may not want to be studied in the first place (which creates a selection bias).  What on Earth or any other planet makes anyone in this country think they can "feel" their way towards a solution to a problem?  What makes anyone here think and feel that all opinions are equally valid when it comes to answering complex questions, such as "how to maximize the effectiveness of an economy?" and "what constitutes an effective economy in the first place?"  There are better and worse answers to these questions; ones that are more or less effective than others. 

 

Therefore, policy makers are not really "free" to do whatever they want with the world, because there are distinct consequences to any action that they may take towards the other in the social-environmental complex.  There are distinct problems that have to be solved and a ton of unknown natural laws that have to be followed if we're going to be a society of consequence anymore.  Our position is not guaranteed; we are not entitled to greatness just because some yutzes "feel" that this should be.  It takes work.  It takes combinations of specific policies and programs that change overtime to meet the needs of a changing society and environment.  At the root of it MUST be appropriate love, care, compassion, and concern for the other.  It MUST be tampered with wisdom and awareness of natural laws and limitations.  If you think and actually feel that you can do whatever you want, whenever you want, and work in the field of making policy, you're more likely to crash and burn yourself and all those who are with you, just as the capricious and greedy dictators do and have done every single time they arise.

 

Is this what we want, America?  Is this actually how you feel?  Unwilling and unable to do the grunt work to make things actually happen, unwilling and unable to figure out what is, isn't and how things actually work, rather than how you want them to work?  I, for one, would like to think that Americans are better than that.  But if this is how you honestly feel, then there is no point in my continuing to try to help you, as a society, a people, and a country.  You can either accept the work that is needed to make things happen and acknowledge the facts and hard, unpopular truths of the world, or you can keep dreaming and run right into that mountain that's lurking in the cloud bank you're living in.  It's your "choice".  Enjoy.

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Paul Krugman: "A Country is Not a Company"

Eli Levine's insight:

You can read the whole article by clicking on the link.  Honestly, the idea of a business is to collect as much wealth as is humanly possible.  A government's job is to make sure that that wealth gets distributed across the population in such a way that markets, innovation, and incentive still exist. 

 

Industry is something that has to be somehow protected (or, at the very least, not proactively shipped overseas by government policy).  Wages are what produces consumers, who then fuel employment of people, who then compose more consumers, etc. 

 

Eventually, the markets will hit growth apexes and cease to grow at the marginal rate unless technological changes and innovation happens.  You can only have so many goods and services before you run out of space, time, and ability to enjoy it (not to mention the large amount of waste that gets produced by such systems, which then has to be dealt with somehow).

 

We've seen what happens when business people make economic policy.  We see them get fantastically wealthy while the rest of us get drained of jobs and wealth.  What is the point to listening to these people with non-skeptical ears and great efforts to verify their claims (since, after all, they have a tremendous incentive to lie and ignore social, ecological, health, and well-being questions for the sake of their personal gain)?  What is the point of consulting with the anti-social gurus of business when there is plenty of logic, history, and data to support the progressives' claim that a social economy with reasoned government intervention, policy, and enforcement, is actually a good thing for the general public and the well-being of society as a whole?  The business people will likely consume themselves when given the chance to do so, and the politicians and the people will each and all pay for the environmental and social damage that is done for the sake of the business person's personal financial profit.  That's what Marx called those few centuries ago.  That's the fault in the Capitalist system if it does not adopt a social logic and submit to natural law and public oversight through evidence-based government policy.

 

That's the way things work in this universe and amongst this species.  Like it or lump it, it doesn't matter how you feel about these things.  The effects will be had.  Sooner or later, something's going to give in the system, and the whole thing is going to cave in on itself.

 

Silly people.

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Happier workers, higher profits? | National Institute of Economic and Social Research

Happier workers, higher profits? | National Institute of Economic and Social Research | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Citizens' wellbeing is rising to the top of the political agenda in Britain.  Just yesterday the government and its partners announced a What Works Centre for Wellbeing which initially has over £3.5 million over three years to investigate the d

Via britishroses
Eli Levine's insight:

Not too light that the work becomes unproductive, yet not too hard that it takes away from productivity. Pay decent wages with profits, even for low skilled employment, and don't sweat the short term profits so much. That's sanity and sustainability. Anything else is abuse or unsustainable. 

 

Enjoy. 

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The Great Connection

The Great Connection | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it

I hypothesize that a first step to understanding how a government is working with its society is to map it out as a network relative to society. The object is to know how a government is directly and indirectly affecting a society in its present condition. From there, you can do research on how the government is affecting the parts of society it is reaching, which parts of society it is not reaching, and how it is not reaching those parts. From there, you can run computer experiments to see whether there is anything a government can do to change its structure, content, and/or behavior relative to a society and environment, thus enabling the search for optimal positions and policies that the government can take. If you can evaluate and track indicators within a society, you can effectively work to discover the society's "vital" measures, know how those are impacted by government, the environment, or the society's agents themselves.

It should be noted that economic indicators are lumped into the social indicators automatically and are considered a measure of the society's vitality, potential, sustainability, and survivability. Economies are networks as well and can be integrated into the larger social network graph as a "layer" that can be added to the overall graph. This can hypothetically be an integrated "overview" layer of the social world, kind of like how we can map out the networks of police, fire protection, healthcare, sewage, electricity, Internet, education, water, food, finance, taxation, goods, and service coverage that exists within and composes a society and it's economy independent of each other, with other parts, or all together, to get a comprehensive view of the social organism and the governmental organ relative and within the social organism.

In the end, it's all networks, overlapping, connecting, binding, flexing, and adapting to changing environmental, geological, geographical, political, social, and economic factors. The first step is to map it all out. The next step is to learn how parts affect other parts. The final step is to understand how to make those key decisions and choices within these networks such that you do the least amount of actual harm while doing the most amount of actual good. Reality is the judge; no human has that ability. The policies and actions will either work, not work, or work differently than was anticipated. Once we figure out how to map these networks and interconnected "small world" networks, we can begin to make more informed choices from government with regards to the policies we pursue, the laws and programs we draft to accomplish these policy aims, and how we enact and execute the laws and programs to maximize utility for the SOCIETY, which in turn, maximizes utility for the government and its members.

You want to govern forever?

I know that that is generally feasible, provided you've got a good heart, a good brain, a Hell of a sense of self interest, a genuine empathetic sense towards others' feelings and needs, the ability to admit mistakes and make real changes within yourself and within organizations' policies and procedures, and to communicate effectively with the lay public, such that you listen for what they need, and they actually comprehend what you're doing, why you're doing it to get those needs satisfied.

This is a BASIC model of how to develop and operate a government based on my comprehension of things as of 10/28/2014 CE. It is what will, I think, most likely stand the test of time in principle, if not entirely in practice throughout the changing conditions of humanity, its environment, and the universe as a whole.  It will need to first, be accepted by the individual societies of the world before it can worked into the individual societies and cultures according to their own networked organizations and own processes of operating the network.  This is not a one-size fits all solution by any stretch of the imagination.  It is just a hypothesis for how to begin producing a government that operates in line with natural laws rather than on only the beliefs, sentiments, biases, opinions, and ignorance of individual human beings.  Its aim is to honestly help the public in a self-interested fashion, from the perspective of the policy-maker and for the public that is served by the given government. 

 

Map first.  Study second.  Experiment third.  Execute fourth.  Hold off all changes and experiments in practice until the first three stages are completed first.

 

May this benefit all living beings, on Earth, and beyond, from now, until the end of time, and beyond.

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Ideas, Experts and Data

Ideas, Experts and Data | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Here are some observations and insights that were shared on social media this past fortnight. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“We don’t see something until we have the right metaphor to let us perceive it.” – Thomas Kuhn – via @tobiasmeyer

“Humans require the difficult and messy social routing protocol of trust.” – Valdis Krebs @orgnet – via @voinonen

“What if sucessful projects having a plan is just survivior bias?” – @drunkcod

Half-baked ideas – by @kmpinner #PKMastery

Via Edumorfosis, june holley, Liz Rykert
Eli Levine's insight:

Way cool network science.

 

This is a way of modeling and making sense of our world, even if it's not a perfectly accurate way of constructing our social and environmental worlds.  Now, to put these techniques into practice and study, to see if we can govern and manage our world more effectively with this metaphor.

 

Enjoy!

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june holley's curator insight, October 23, 8:04 AM

Love these visuals!

Zenergy Unlimited's curator insight, October 24, 6:01 PM

Which one are you?  Superconnector, Team Player, Gatekeeper, or???

Liz Rykert's curator insight, October 25, 9:19 PM

Great visuals as June Holley noted - it makes me think about all the people in a network and ideas for how to shift things even slightly to get a much more generative network going. 

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Americans Fumble

I honestly don't think Americans appreciate the relative seriousness of our present situation.  We have dysfunctional leadership in our government from all sides, which renders our ability as a nation to function in jeopardy.  Our public doesn't know what to do or how to act as the leadership cadre that it is within the society, therefore rendering all efforts to change and hold our government leadership accountable ineffectual.  We're suffering from several small cuts with an increasing probability of an x event occurring, along the lines of the 2007-8 Recession or rebellion and destabilization of significant portions of our society.  Nobody seems willing to accept these facts for the sake of ego and/or petty false senses of security, therefore, nothing is going to be done about them until it is too late.

 

America's "greatness" is not innate.  It has to be produced through the efforts of the public and government leadership working together for the common goals of survival, health, well-being, and quality of life.  The two cannot work against each other all the time without creating significant damage to all sides.  The combative, confrontational, and anti-social, hyper-competitive American system is going to fail, and I doubt we will actually rebuild with any real lessons learned.  In my view, the main culprit for this is the general public, because they are the ones who can always hold a leadership in check through voting and mass organization.  However, when it comes time to follow through on such actions, the American public bumbles, stumbles, and falls right back to where they started.  The leaderships in government don't make it any easier for our whole society to do better.  However, if the public were motivated enough, they could rise above and overcome the members of our government.

 

It's our fault, America. 

 

Your fault. 

 

And you are not likely to hold yourself or the government to account.  The public does not check the government.  The government takes advantage and goes right into the arms of those who do have money and the ability to regularly participate.  We've dropped the ball, America.  What are we going to do about it?

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World's richest man tries to defend wealth inequality | Al Jazeera America

World's richest man tries to defend wealth inequality | Al Jazeera America | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Bill Gates' critique of Thomas Piketty is revealing for what it overlooks
Eli Levine's insight:

Mr. Gates.

 

From what I understand, you attempt to do some good in this world with your wealth.  However, from what I understand, your Foundation generally subjects its recipients to a Hellish bureaucratic process that may take away from their ability to do any real good.  On top of that, your monopsony may very well have slowed the progress of software development because of your anti-social business practices.

 

Let me cut to the chase here, for the people who actually will read this: there is no such thing as an honorable person who has gained so much through business through denying so much to so many.  If you seek to live on the charity of the rich, you are going to starve.  Case in point, the top earners are actually giving less to charity than all those below them (see the Chronicle of Philanthropy study on the matter).  There is no excuse for amassing so much wealth and relative power, and then dangling it over the heads of those who need it the most.

 

We need a social system, as opposed to the anti-social one that people like Mr. Gates uses to make their wealth.  We need to make growth work for everyone, so that work pays off and people are not exploited for their labor and denied opportunities to develop their talents.  Most of the mundane tasks are likely going to be done by machines anyway.  What are we then to do with ourselves when labor is valued at the cost and maintenance of machines, and there are no jobs left?  Will we, as a society, actually consign ourselves to the pseudo-benevolence and will of these "demi-god" wannabes?  I will fight and die to defend myself and my children from such a future.  My price is too high for even Mr. Gates to afford (and I do have a price, because I understand the costs of doing "business" with "people" like Mr. Gates.

 

Which side of the fence are you going to be on?  Are you going to side with them? Or are you going to side with the rest of us actual human beings?

 

The choice is up to you all, America.  I wish you nothing but the actual best, although I suspect you're going to lead yourselves into the actual worst before you get better.

 

I am prepared to fight and die for the sake of my population and my own life.  What are you going to do, dear reader, when that choice comes before you?

 

That is all I have to say for now.  Please, do what you will.  I'm indifferent.

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Gentoo Linux - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gentoo Linux - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | It Comes Undone-Think About It | Scoop.it
Eli Levine's insight:

My younger brother informed me about this operating system.  While I have never used it, it nevertheless struck me how similar it was in principle to how societies and, perhaps, even whole ecosystems and universes organize themselves.  Even if this is not a 100% accurate model for societies and social organizations, it nevertheless seems to be an interesting method of modeling and explaining how they are, grow, develop, evolve, and function, both through the bottom-up workings of its code and its top-down programmatic functions.  It is a potential way of describing and working with the complexity of social systems as interdependent, interconnected, and somewhat modular within the context of an ecological and cosmological system.  This is not some hippy-dippy notion of the universe, but one that could potentially be used as a tool for scientific and evidenced-based management of ourselves, individually and collectively, within the context of our environment and our universe.

 

Very interesting.

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Into the Valley of Shadow

Popular insurgent warfare is probably the strongest form of warfare, because it does not obey the strategies, logistical constraints, or sociological "rules" of modern warfare or the tactics of the already strong.  Those who can hit and fade into the background of a society are the most powerful fighters, because those who have the military might cannot strike at them without ensuring that they themselves get hit as a result of striking at the general population from which the rebel fighters come from.  The police and military become outsiders in the community.  Nobody wants to side or work with them and everyone is willing to give shelter and aid to the rebel fighters.  How is this?  Because the public aligns with the rebel fighters rather than the police or military forces.  The Federal troops are outsiders and the police are alienated from the communities they're supposed to enforce law in.  This is the energy that fuels insurgent warfare; not money, or resources.  If you want to defeat the rebels definitively, you must make sure that they (the rebels) are the ones who are self-alienating forces.  Make sure that you maintain good relations with the general public and, quite frankly, out-govern the rebels.

 

Government, in any of its forms, must compete with the various factions of society who wish to dismantle it and establish their own order in society.  It is not a monetary competition, but a non-monetary one, where the measure of success is significantly more complex and complicated than the measure of success for businesses and personal profiteers.  These are life and death stakes, literally, in some cases.  Please, do not underestimate the influence and power of the society that you are governing WITHIN (not over) when you are making your policy choices and decisions.

 

Please.  I don't want to be compelled to fight against the government and its members for the sake of preserving this society.  I WILL join the battalions who will lock horns with the current government for the sake of preserving this human society in which I live.  Life is not worth living under the oppressive hand of pure financial profiteering logic.  I will die fighting the forces of current capitalism than live under their beliefs, logics, and philosophies as to how the world ought to be and should function.  As far as I'm concerned, it's death either way for me.  I might as well attempt to make my death be useful for the rest of the public than be worth nothing as a quiet and meek follower of the incorrect assumptions about how economies work and what economies are.

 

That is all I've got to say at this moment.

 

Please do not mistake me for someone who makes idle threats.

 

That is all.

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