America the Ignorant...on topic for this forum


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Gym climber
South of Heaven
Jan 2, 2013 - 03:24pm PT

1. Your personal habits cannot provide the basis for a broad generalization.

But your invisible and implicit thoughts can?

How has your consumption of materials and services changed over the last 30-40 years? Buying more? What are you buying more of? Any of it have to do with the results of the advancement of science or technology? Are science and technology the result of higher levels of education?

That's pretty stacked. For starters, we have stopped buying much from large supermarket chains that rely on massive amounts of oil to ship their products all over the country/world. I get my meat from a local distributor who relies on (apparently) ecologically responsible ranchers. My next step is to start hunting. We get most of our produce from a CSA. I spend less than $500 a year on everything outside of rent, insurance, food, and travel. We produce about 3 gals of trash every 2 weeks and compost everything we can.

The only difference lies in how goods get distributed. In the end, political philosophies have little to do with it.

I think you are dead wrong. The difference in how goods get distributed is KEY. No way in hell a socialist country is going to support THIS many people having THIS level of access to goods produced and distributed around the world. Socialist countries would never have access Chilean blueberries from Chile in January... shipped over 5,000 miles in refrigerated compartments. Nor would they have access to cheap Brazilian beef made possible by the destruction of vast tracts of rainforest.

They are further exacerbated by the liberal view that samsara (the world of scarce resources) can be fixed through projects, especially that more education, technology, and science will get humanity out of its problems. It's a naive view. The education that truly needed is insight into the self. Nosce te ipsum.

You (and WB?) are dead wrong if you think education, technology, and science and insight into the self are mutually exclusive... THAT my friend is a pretty naive view. I have a shelf of "insight into the self" books (Alan Watts, Ken Wilber, Bhagavad Gita, Carl Jung, I Ching, Tao Te Ching, etc etc etc) that I have been reading since I was 13 years old. I have another shelf of "education, technology, science" books (differential equations, hydrogeology, geology, geophysics, ecology, psychology, geomorphology, biology, anthropology, statistics, etc etc etc) that I have been reading since I was 13. That's about the time I started meditating too. Pretty sad that a 13 year old dipshit like me realized they were not mutually exclusive but a grown man with all his experience and musing pretends they are.

What people need is not more stuff (materialism) beyond the most basic needs.

No argument there. That is EXACTLY the same conclusion my education and experience has led me to. Different paths up the same mountain?

The founders of the Enlightenment (French not Buddhist) argued that higher levels of education (university) would (theoretically at least) solve mankind's problems...

Well, many founders failed to see into the future. FWIW, the political aspects of the enlightenment are what led to Uhmerikuhn style democracy... which you dismiss in your point 2 above in favor of going on a witch hunt against science, another (but separate) aspect of the enlightenment.

Today, the objectives of higher levels of education are those that serve the bourgeoise: careers to make more money to buy more and better things.

That is CAPITALISM, not science or education or technology. Again, it would behoove you to distinguish between the two.

The idea that societies study Nature simply because they are curious is a myth. People study things to get ahead (power, politics, money) and to solve technical problems that appear to be in their way.

To quote you: "Your personal habits cannot provide the basis for a broad generalization." I've spent my life studying nature. I gave up $65,000+ a year to go back and study more. I have turned down $300/hr consulting jobs I could do in my sleep. I will never get ahead and I will never try. I am not the only one with this attitude who studies science.

Whatever analyses you do, beneath it all is a set of values that you hold dear.

Yep, namely that "reasonably intact ecosystems should be understood enough to prevent damage in the face of unbridled capitalism and access by the masses."

I could argue that things shouldn't continue "for the better" (according to whom?) or at all just as easily. It'a all so arbitrary.

Yep, I know your kind. You can argue about anything really and ignore the fact that what you argued against (point 2 above) is essentially what you argued for.

The universe seems to be a never-ending cycle of boom and bust, good and bad, pain and pleasure, up and down, creation and destruction.

Great. Hinduism 101... take me back to 1992!

You believe that you and other smart people can somehow change that?

You believe I have ever once said that? You are arguing with yourself... I will leave you to it. Let me know when you find your tail.

Mountain climber
Anchorage AK, Reno NV
Jan 2, 2013 - 09:51pm PT
High Fructose Corn Spirit

Gym climber
-A race of corn eaters
Jan 2, 2013 - 10:05pm PT
Mech, I find myself in envy of the enthusiasm you showed in your last post. Do you recall when I had that level of energy a couple of years ago now on this site?, lol! What's the secret, a few months sabatical?


Yep, I know your kind. You can argue about anything really...

As tired as I am, I loved this one.


Gym climber
South of Heaven
Jan 2, 2013 - 11:26pm PT
HFCS, the sabbatical helped for sure. Nothing convinces you that the world needs help like teaching a undergrad core class! And nothing convinces you that it is beyond help like the stupidtaco. So many obstinate #$%@^#^'s around here unwilling to consider anything but what they already "know." And so many who take life soo seriously (the extra 'o' is a little piece of flair I like to throw in for smart people who know the difference between the twos). Typing a few paragraphs here between dissertation pages is actually kind of fun... I don't get to use "idiot" nearly enough in my dis. But fair warning, if my models don't start behaving I could have another total melt down and freak out and sh#t.

Jan 3, 2013 - 12:08am PT
You're already losing it here wes.

You're projecting bullsh!t that was never said .....

Gym climber
South of Heaven
Jan 3, 2013 - 12:15am PT
Forgive me honorable one, for whence have I projected? Certainly not in respect to anything you have said or done. As frustrating as your seemingly flippant and intentionally confounding retorts may be, I have grown to enjoy them.

Jan 3, 2013 - 12:31am PT
People study things to get ahead (power, politics, money) and to solve technical problems that appear to be in their way

Sometimes your overly broad generalizations get in the way of your arguments. This is one.

Jan 3, 2013 - 12:32am PT
I've never made any mutually exclusive claims.

The greatest rishis have all been very advanced scientists ,very advanced in mathematics and astronomy and knowledge among all the other needs of mankind to live in perfect harmony simultaneously both with material nature and the spiritual nature.

No real bonafide spiritual scholar would ever condemn science, education and technology.

Having only academic knowledge of the two will cause poor fund of understanding .....


Gym climber
South of Heaven
Jan 3, 2013 - 11:13am PT
The phrase I was referring to was "In this regard, Werner is correct" and I was sure to include a "?" after your initials, as I did not see you write anything in particular and figured you knew better... but I couldn't be sure since "it is all so arbitrary" ya know.
Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Jan 3, 2013 - 09:47pm PT
worth a mild bump here. it seems the esteemed eeyonk doesn't want to continue, although i'm heartened that sullly posted.

through supertopo, i was interested to learn that teilhard is considered a "process" philosopher--the same category as alfred north whitehead. this came out in a go-around with largo a couple years ago.

i could never understand all the fuss about "process". it was interesting that largo picked up on it in graduate school through the center for process studies at claremont school of theology, which kinda led me to wonder whether these process types actually believe in a standard, church-issue divinity. rather, it seems, they suggest that god is a process, or coming about through a process. goodbye big daddy in the sky, hello something i've got a personal investment in, and it may or may not bring a decent return.
Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Jan 3, 2013 - 10:37pm PT
i just finished a book i found quite interesting, craig, which had a lot to do with the critique of egyptology i was giving--fingerprints of the gods by graham hancock.

most people are familiar with chariots of the gods by erik von daniken, who easily attracts criticism. where von daniken is a bit of a lightweight, hancock is a heavyweight, bringing a knowledgeable education to the anomalies he tries to make sense of. he builds his case on some pretty solid facts, beginning with the piri reis map.

ever hear of that? how did a turkish admiral in the 1500s get reliable geographical information on antarctica? there are a number of other early maps as well, which show in uncanny detail features which are now under ice. these old maps have provenance. teachers of standard history/archaeology wish they didn't exist. this is what werner is talking about. the evidence is compelling.

Jan 3, 2013 - 11:19pm PT
You are saying that it's way more important to know about the coat than the person.

Modern science has made great advancements in studying the coat and all it's attributes while completely neglecting the person (living entity).

Our materialistic science will make you happy in the future.

Meanwhile the whole fuking world is miserable.

Here ... have a nice coat, while the man in the coat is sick, from separation.

In the future.

The post dated check they've been handing out ......

Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Jan 3, 2013 - 11:32pm PT
hancock is proposing a timeline with an extraordinary leap backward. i'm not ready to buy everything he says, and, to his credit, he only suggests--he's not out to sweep everything away at once. but the pyramids are kind of a key element. their very immensity suggests that their builders employed forces over matter yet unknown to our modern time. there are supposedly only two cranes in the modern world capable of lifting the biggest stones.

werner's comment reminds me of things i'd always hear growing up in the boom times of the 1950s. so much progress, so many new inventions and conveniences. somehow this would translate to better living for everyone. somehow, it never did.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 3, 2013 - 11:40pm PT
Re Hancock's book...

Reception: Members of the scholarly and scientific community have described the proposals put forward in the book as pseudoscience and pseudoarchaeology.

And on cataclysmic pole shift hypothesis:

It is now established that true polar wander has occurred at various times in the past, but at rates of 1 per million years or less. Analysis of the evidence does not lend credence to Hapgood's hypothesized rapid displacement of layers of the Earth. Although Hapgood drastically overestimated the effects of changing mass distributions across the Earth, calculations show that changing mass distributions both on the surface and in the mantle can cause true polar wander.

All the discussion about a long-gone advanced civilization existing before the Egyptians and Mayans is interesting conjecture, but never makes it out of the realm of sci-fi and is not supported by any evidence.

Trad climber
Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay
Jan 3, 2013 - 11:54pm PT
some people here seem to think we (pick your flavor) have it all pretty much figured out

whereas my personal view is that we only have access to a little carefully selected collection of pieces and various flavors of opinions constructed from them

and with very little or no concept of the big picture

obviously it would be politically convenient to accept the current establishment view of the world

it makes for an interesting intellectual exercise to step back through time in 100 year steps and look at what was the politically acceptably view of reality at each of those steps

then, as suggested earlier by Base, try to imagine what might be the accepted world view 100 years in the future...and why?...

also try to imagine just how far we are from really understanding...

(given the tiny glimpses we have from our little blue bubble)


Jan 4, 2013 - 01:36pm PT

You seem angry. Sorry, if I offended you. Nothing I wrote really mattered. We were just talking, my friend. No need to take any of it personally.

My views are the results of being an old professor. The practice of teaching and research in my field of organization, institution, and strategy (along with a little cognitive science) demanded that I go outside my field to study their contexts and how contexts change. That work has encouraged me to see capitalism inextricably tied-up with education and technology. Along the way, I took the looking glass and started to look at the very practices I found myself involved in as an academic.

Congrats on your personal decisions. None of my comments were meant to question the integrity of your decisions.

Good luck on your dissertation. :-) It's a cultural rite of passage. The point of a Ph.D. is to institutionalize you into becoming a recognized member of the Academy. Supposedly then you'll be able to do what you want to do.

Be well.

P.S. Wanna make God laugh? Make plans.

Jan 4, 2013 - 02:59pm PT
The point of a Ph.D. is to institutionalize you into becoming a recognized member of the Academy. Supposedly then you'll be able to do what you want to do

Yep. My dad (a professor) used to tell me to get my union card.


Trad climber
Jan 4, 2013 - 03:30pm PT
^^^ My father (a professor) pushed liberal arts and taught a course called Theories of the Good Life. I'm forever grateful my parents were of this mind. Much ado about science these days. The liberal arts man is nearly extinct. Finding a straight one without a paunch nearly impossible here in Silicon Valley.

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jan 4, 2013 - 03:31pm PT
some people here seem to think we (pick your flavor) have it all pretty much figured out.

Quite to the contrary, most of the distance past is a complete unknown. And, while theorizing variously about how our cultures unfolded over the past 10,000 years is an interesting exercise, what isn't helpful is attempting to pass off unsupported conjecture as science. It's again a matter of having the discipline to resist a desperate urge and need to plug the voids in our knowledge with fantasy, however entertaining.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Jan 4, 2013 - 04:04pm PT
If you want an optimistic view on the future of the human race, read Steven Pinker's 'The Better Angels of Our Nature; Why Violence Has Declined'. The gist of the book is that you can take nearly any variable having to do with violence snd show that it has declined over our history. In the end, he offers 5 possible reasons for this trend.

The leviathan (development of the State),
gentle commerce,
the expanding circle, and
the escalator of reason.

Ignorance of science, willful or not, may not be directly related to violence, but I'm betting on number 5 for the long view on that one as well.
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