Tag Archives: politcal

Good and Evil?

“Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy.”

“There is no evil but want of proportion.”
-The Shape of Things to Come, H. G. Wells

The common way of knowing “evil” where I grew up is by defining it as the enemy, the other, that which you should not be. That darkness, whosoever else it was, was what we are not, and those who lived lives too overflowing with violence, or drug use, or breaking laws, or with the emptiness of the human experience, or other pulse-quickening activity we’re roundly “bad people”. Especially if their darkness was visible in our light. It could never overtake a truly light arena, but don’t tell my parents, siblings, teachers, peers, friends, or local government officials that. Evil was a threat. And the problem with evil was that it existed. Nothing less than malocide should suffice to solve it.

What I always found to be an abominable evil, that I never had much agreement on, was Christmas. All these gooey, uncharacteristically cheery people, lighting everything up and exchanging useless crap to the tune of a tradition of okay music, and too-full wine glasses clinking in the mirth. I hated mirth. It seemed so dishonest. I knew the adults and their miserable, banal glazes staring through the windows of their lives at its customers ringing through, one by one. The actual cashiers, but the cops, the prostitutes, the drug dealers, the broken-spirited iconoclasts all had no particular affinity for their life and situation. And I knew this. So to put that flab of life into a shiny corset at calendar intervals -or to generally live non-employed hours as if impenetrable to world-issues, personal and cultural dysfunction, and unhealthy dominance of consumption everywhere… and prickling every time such “sad things” were brought up… it was all hypocrisy! And it was unhealthy.

We’re right to see a bare dysfunction in the man who takes life out of a boredom, and a desire to feel elevated and powerful. this is depravity, no doubt. But to forget that humans area social organism, and that not only conscious informational message packets (memes), but also unconscious ones (norms), and the effecta of each of our behaviours on unique individuals  (epi-genetic effects) ripple through the grapevine, and this depraved murderer did not congeal in a vacuum, nor did the bio-psycho-social pressures which developed him (which are him?). A great outline of structural and cultural violence is by Mark Vorobej (2008).

And we’re blinded not to act on the evident cold-comfort that is an existence of being overdosed with the uplifting, the stimulating, the engrossing, the placating. Acculturation to this gilded cage -hating the job we do, the people we know, the obligations we have, the very nature of the being we are (hairy, smelly, mortal!), and staying put in it all ’cause it’s comfortable- produced what I’ve called in my life ‘happy terrorists’. Using fear of their melting down, retaliating, lashing, they keep everyone around them “positive”, or affirming their truth. It’s a false positive. It’s livid fear squashed into Pandora’s box, and put in the corner. Just don’t touch it.

The problem, as the opening quotes hinted, is not in the existence of evil, or the ignorance of it, but in measured experience of all that life offers, far be it from me to make it ‘either/or’. When your guide is to do good, or to cast yourself against evil, or to uphold ‘order and justice’, or to destroy them, as your approach outright to life, you use a hammer for every stage of a complex construction. Or, to keep the opening metaphor, apply either strychnine or soda pop to every ailment.

I have a deep suspicion as much of those who would try to remove themselves from indebtedness to the universe, from their place in cycles of birth/death/rebirth (not as in reincarnation…) as those who narrow down to the most emotionally charging, basic elements of cruelty and chance. Those who seemingly never live, and those who only live once. I think I see them roughly peopled out in my life: the happy terrorists in those of my uncultured, poor family when they button up white shirts and pretend at their office jobs; the over-indulgers in the addicts to substance and pain… no real murdering types, though.

I have come to think that some element of what my culture calls ‘evil’ -I’ve preferred ‘darkness’ as a less weaselly word’- is necessary to have present in one’s consciously accepted and created experience (yer life) in concert with the affirmation of what by contrast we’d call the ‘light’ (though this sounds very woo-ey…). This is one of the reasons I”m no longer a vegan. An attempt to cleanse the non-human order of a very basic property (the killing and dying part) runs to extremes among the animal rights crowds I’ve known, and this feels unhealthy. Like trying to not shit, ’cause it’s gross and impolite an dour social values say “no”. You can’t construct social values in the path of nature. No, no one’s defending rape keep you unflattering underwear on straight. I won’t commit to delineating one act that is “too bad”, and one that’s “just bad enough’, ’cause more than anything, that’s not the point (and that’s an intellectually childish game of evo-psych sensationalism, quite friggin’ frankly). The point is that whatever conversation we have needs to talk non-judgementally about the fact that humans produce physical, social, and self-inflicted violence, as well as cultural and social violence on these bases, when should, doesn’t/shouldn’t, does is not satisfied in development. We need a space for the dark to exist without piling more fears on it in the form of social stigma.
This lacking in our personal lives is one of the very things keeping people-powered governance structures in such a piss-poor condition. The rule of not discussing politics or religion so long-dominant exemplifies our not wanting to even acknowledge being involved in the warping of Earth as we know it; corrupt, manipulative governing parties; classism; the value distortion of the monetary/ market system (or the separation paradigm, depending how far you wanna go). How can we attempt any of the issues so horse-blinded?
And though my people give this message off in overwhelming (and surprisingly hypocritical) abundance, I won’t give it much, save to state it for the record: don’t kill, or steal, or destroy, or be too contrary or stubborn, or superstitious, please. It doesn’t fare well for the lot of us.

The cultures I see, far west across my continent and then across the Pacific ocean, have a perspective that seems to align with this point I’m trying to make. The yin and yang show not only the light and dark coexisting, but existing even within each other. Someone has seen the evil of too much good, and the good that might come from what we perceive as a great evil. I’m sure many peoples throughout the world have lived based on this alignment first with what is, drawing social values and ideas of the sacred from what the experiences presently before them demanded. I fantasize about a time before humans were pulled, in the large share of their thought, word, and deed, by the strings of monolithic organized dogmas of a superstitious, or pseudo scientific, or anti-economic nature.
And I want tonight to ask submit not for a critical analysis, but for humble, earnest experimentation with the  paradigm of a social value beyond good and evil.

    “Beyond our ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing,
    there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
    When the soul lies down in that grass,
    the world is too full to talk about.
    Ideas, language, even the phrase ‘each other’
    doesn’t make sense any more.”

― Rumi

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to diminish the preciousness of “me”

An essay I thought you’d like.
Continue reading

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Free DVDs @ “Money & Sustainability”, an IRBE event.

Institute for a Resource Based Economy…

…is some dope shit (and by that, Institute for a resource Based Economy's logoyes, I do mean “fuck introductions”). They promote a new economic system that connects the environment and our economy to achieve a sustainable society. This system, labelled a ‘Resource Based Economy’, challenges our current growth economy and proposes a steady-state economic model based upon our scientific understanding of our planet and the resources and ecosystems which we depend on for our survival.

At IRBE we recognize that human beings cannot indefinitely grow our economies and our consumption given the limitation of a finite planet with finite resources. The evidence is clear that we are up against actual barriers to growth whether we speak about fossil fuels, mineral resources, deforestation, species extinction, ocean acidification and more.

IRBE has run an overview and discussion series featuring Chris Martensen’s “Crash Course” on the current global economic situation, and it’s home-hitting implications. They’ve featured the like of Bernard Lietaer, Jacqui Dunn, Charles Eisenstein, and a couple of 3D printinggenie’s asses named Rory and Adam.

Their event last night “Money and SustainabilityMoney & Sustainabiltywas a promising look at the possibilities of complementary currencies to ease the inherent fluctuations of the current model, as well as transition to a more sustainable way of living. Through real-world examples the authors explain how thousands of communities across the globe are reassessing and re-engineering money with astonishing social and environmental results. These strategies do not replace the conventional monetary system, but work in parallel with it, providing new options and resources that promote sustainable abundance and cooperation. In fact, since 1980 the number of cooperative currencies has increased from a mere handful to more than 4,000 mature systems today.

I picked up 4 free DVDs from the table set up there by IRBE’s sister organization, Zeitgeist Toronto. They were:

Zeitgeist: Addendum

 (2008) The movie that sparked the Zeitgeist Movement, director Peter Joseph discusses the monetary and banking systems, the social values they enforce, and a more sustainable hypothesis for the future from a scientific perspective. Featuring Jacques Freso. (2hr 3m)

  Zeitgeist: Moving Forward

 (2011) The 3rd and latest Zeitgeist film Moving Forward presents a case for a transition out of the current socioeconomic monetary paradigm which governs our global society.

 This subject matter takes a different perspective from those of cultural relativism and traditional ideology (nationalism, religion, etc) and moves to relate the core, empirical “life ground” attributes of human and social survival, extrapolating those immutable natural laws into a new sustainable social paradigm called a “Resource-Based Economy”.

 History – Zeitgeist: Moving Forward was released in 60+ countries and in 25+ languages on This large scale release was not associated with any major distributor, and sold out in Toronto’s Bloor (now Hot Docs) and Underground Cinemas. (2hr 45m)


 From space systems engineer writer/director’s youtube video of Awakening:

 Awaken to the world around us, the problems we face, why they exist, and how to truly solve them once and for all. Please rip, share, push and promote this video. Make this viral, and educate the world! There are many groups and organizations around the world working to make it a better place. Here’s a very small list that I’d like to share…” (31 min)

 The Rise of Our Social Immune System”

 A mix of documentaries and a lecture on one disc, compiled by Zeitgeist Toronto

 Humanity OvedueShort Documentary exploring the current state of the world and some of the social, environmental and economic changes which could be put into place to create a better quality of life globally. Interviews from Occupy London, The Eden Project and Ben Mcleish and Will Dixon from The Zeitgeist Movement. (16m 12s)

 Crossroads: Labour Pains of a New Worldview – A documentary exploring the depths of the current human condition and the emergence of a worldview that is recreating our world from the inside out. Crossroads* places evolutionary context to today’s escalating social unrest, natural disasters, and economic failures. It illuminates the footsteps of an integrated worldview, penetrating its way through the power of social networks to the forefront of our personal and collective awareness. (1hr 4m)

 Peter Joseph @ TEDXOjai:The Big Question: Environmental Misalignment
This talk examines todays economy in light of our environmental misalignment and the value war of personal want and industrial/corporate “rights” and the finite carrying capacity of the Earth, and the dire interrelatedness between poverty, mental health, and overall levels of social prosperity. (10m 25s)

 Charlie Kaufman’s “We Are All One” (Excerpt) – (2011) In front of a sell-out Theatre at the BFI in London, Charlie Kaufman delivered the final lecture in BAFTA’s Screenwriter’s Lecture Series. This is an excerpt from the 70 minute speech. (5m)

Their sign read:

FREE (awesome) DVDS

Simply because you feel something does not make it so.

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Circumstances don’t matter. Only state of being matters.

That is to say: after meeting the nutritional, medical, social, and educational needs of a human, they don’t get happier by doubling or tripling material comfort.

The way to fill that “hole” is to identify the potential we have inside of us. Ask what you really want to accomplish in life? What do you want you existence to have meant? What would you regret to have spent your time on (think of your parents)? And what wouldn’t you regret?

Your meditative practice, and the consciousness it creates, is a genuine contribution to a better, more sustainable and peaceful world.

A talk by Matthieu Ricard on the power of concentration and contemplative practices for compassion, insight, stress reduction, and optimal brain and body function.


A good book to read on a related note.  

“Only 15% of our stress is related to external/material circumstance…”

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Children with hand-grenades


Here is a video of out dear ex-(and let’s hope it stays that way)mayor. Skip to 1:00 for the main attraction. It exemplifies the ultimate immaturity of so many that run public offices. They’re children. Business minds and lawyers are not technically or emotionally equipped to do what they are tasked with.

So here I’ll express the regret I have that so much energy is expended in the focus on figure-heads and puppet-show controversies like the American abortion debate. There is not much to talk about, don’t dignify anyone who tries to drag it up. Mind your p’s, and don’t like ’em, don’t get ’em.

But we take icons, representations of reality that stir us emotionally, instead of the underlying processes with want addressing; these are messy or scary or ugly, and not nearly as glamorous or inducing of that good ol’ simple “I’m right, motherfucker” sensation. And so they’re ignored. Further, the focus on the root causes of human problems are seen as “oppressive” or “_____-normative”. As if while recognizing what is healthy and unhealthy to eat, one cannot admit the obvious need for variant diets amongst individuals. It does not do egos enough justice to recognize xenophobia or “otheritis” in everyone’s perspective, and ask its correction of everyone. Only those who fit an equally broad-stroke of generality must change themselves, I have “rights” as the “oppressed”. The right to deny reality. I wish I was so blessed (well, by such definitions, I AM, but I don’t wield my challenges, I seek to overcome them).

We are like children with hand-grenades. Please forgive how disjointed this has just become. It’s all one, little darlin’s. Stick with me. We use our very effective tools for the manipulation of reality to try to change reality itself, it seems. We can farm and build and travel so efficiently and effectively that we deny the effects it has upon our homes and selves, and do not even consider them in more than abstract terms on charters and agreements most of the time. We have productive and creative capacity in material venues far exceeding what we’ve collectively managed on a personal and spiritual scale. This is an age old observation. Technology is not -cannot be- a bad thing. But that every person can hold and fire a gun does not endow each with the reason to keep it, for most of its life, empty of bullets. That there exists the possibility to do something does not mean we are ready to do it. My fears in relation to the convergence of technological and biological beings in an advanced way stem not from any sci-fi nonsense, but from the real fear that a system that governs human capability in bionics and super-abilities and health-preserving technology on a monetary basis is ripe for a very disastrous new form of class warfare. Our social values are sick, and old, and useless -in fact outright harmful.

We are gross. We are overt. We are sensationalistic. We are reactive. And very very simple much of the time, but we put clutter in the way, cause the simple facts of reality are… well they’re certainly not a fucking hug from a giant teddy bear. The self-caricature of a self-caricature that are the modern semi-to-popular media (our governments, big journals and rags, major interest groups, UNs and so forth) seeks to put out what will get a reaction from audiences. Due to their nature, some are even directly governed, or are in part, by the reaction of the audience. A cycle develops where no one can rock the boat too much. The common denominator is as often heightened or lowered by mass-delusion or impulse as it is by deliberate propaganda or awareness or understanding. Probably more on the impulsive side, actually.

Taylorism, scientific production, individualization, the specialization inherent in complex systems (though ours mostly cluttered with the useless complexity of commercial production), the worship of the young, beautiful, powerful ego have and the villainizing and oppressing of their opposites and alternatives have given us Carbon Man. The budding appendage homo sapiens sapiens that will in time go extinct, either through it’s own evolution into a Post-Carbon Man, fueled and sustained by other, hopefully cleaner processes, or its own demise, as an oil-dependent economy drives off its cliff, and slowly falls; starvation and mass unrest. The loss of a million Alexandrias in the survival of a fraction of our skilled and learned humans. I do hope we live on as post-carbon people.

This Carbon Man only sees moving, brightly coloured objects. Only feels fear and its opposing vice, righteous rightness. It only sees violence and dominance as its tools for change. It only understands laws and commands, only obeys under threat and duress. It is repressed, and internalizes its role. It becomes a self-appointed guardian of the status-quo. Post-Carbon man is held buoyant on the surface of reality by the child’s wings and rings and jackets. They are intensive (but rarely extensive) bouts of pleasure. The tv-dinner communality of Super Bowl Sunday. Tasty treats and traditional meats. The refuge of popular banality. “Nobody gets THAT far, so I won’t  try”.

The implications this has on our political system are evident: Rob Fords get elected. Rob Fords insensitively offended and ignore thousands of constituents, and, lacking the technical understand of the infrastructure, social systems, ecologies, biologies, and so forth they are tasked with operation, they cannot but fuck up royally. They arouse controversy. They court it, and pursue it down the hall squealing, relishing in the slop of rightness. They must be right. Call them ignorant, call them short-sighted, reactive, naive, or dead, do not call them wrong. But as George Carlin points out, they emerge from among US. We are their source. We produce them, and we are their supplicants. The status quo pumps through the veins of this system. God, I’m rambling.

When we impeach them, the same thing that created them, the basic inability to accept the different, the new, the less immediately pleasurable, the less familiar, proceeds to pump out more. We cannot change the things we must: our fear of death, our monetary-market system and its restriction and burden and violence, even our opinions or choices, lest we be flip-floppers or unfamiliar to those who loved what we were. Conformity, familiarity, and convenience are the girders in a structure that should not stand. Structure, there should be no structure. We are intellectual nomads, following the North Star of the reality as it is, without end or rest, wherever it shall take us. This is our next step.

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I’m full of shit, and my opinions don’t matter.

“Everyone is entitled to their own opinion!” Are they? What does that mean? In the individual’s search for what is true and effective and appropriate in their world, it is important for them to have creative control over their investigation. If they are to learn how their mind sees things, to learn its language, and decide how to act based on that, then only they can properly decide what their senses and reason and emotion and inexplicable inferences indicate as true. I’d agree with this.

However, this, is not the only circulating connotation of the word ‘opinion’. Inherent in this is a process. Movement. Emergence. Update. And a search for the reality that the inner-and-outer experience corroborate to define. An opinion as defined above is one stone in crossing a river.

An opinion as all-too-popularly defined (in my opinion!) is something else. It is still a mental stance with respect to a fact, value, or another opinion. But it is more final than the first definition (we’ll call that a “present understanding”). Whereas it may be my present understanding that the sun rotates around the earth to produce day and night, and new information may come to light -from others, or my own churning thoughts coming to new inferences- that changes this position, when it is my opinion that this sorry situation is so, I find I’m very apprehensive to change that, and disinterested, even hostile to information that even suggests revision, let alone attempts it. This is the complication of having an opinion, and it is why I think that with respect to my opinions, I’m full of shit, and they don’t matter.

It is my (actual) opinion (so this doesn’t look hypocritical) that marijuana is not as harmful for you as other drugs/addictions. I have done no research on this. I have offered nothing to support this. My opinion has no traction for changing the understandings of others. In fact, I’m probably wrong. I continue to hold this because of the fear of emotions I have while sober, and the craving of those I have while high, and the psychological dependence I have on it. Holding this opinion enables it.

It is my opinion that there shouldn’t be a bridge built here, because it spoils the view from my home, and drive down my property value. But if there is traffic congestion on either side of the other routes across this gorge, and this location has the sturdiest landscape, sparsest wild-life and habitats, and the narrowest span in relation to where traffic is headed, this is where the bridge goes! Beauty is highly subjective to my preference (notwithstanding human dispositions toward the spectrum we can see, possible preferences within that spectrum for red, etc.) and the amount of my well-being at stake is relatively miniscule compared to the energy and time efficiency to be gained by the offending orientation of the bridge for human activity, which has been arrived at with reference to reasons why no other location is as suitable, etc. I, essentially, decide what is beautiful, and it can be so many other ways. There is no reason to listen to me. If, however, I bring up research pertaining to nature deprivation disorder, unforeseen damage to the region or its inhabitant, etc. I now have grounds for consideration.

Finally (sorry to labour the point) I fear death, and feel as if it is to be postponed and avoided by any means available. I have no information on the experience of death, no direct experience with the sensations and mental states involved, and thus no reason to believe as I do that death itself is bad, to be feared, or in any sense negative or to be avoided. To act thus is nonsensical.

This range of example, I hope, illustrates the need for the distinction to be made between opinions and present understandings; between an objective analysis (in relation to the goal: equality, safety, efficiency) and a subjective one (in relation to a reactive response to mental/bodily states).

My interest stems from frustration with the very poor procedures and policies that arise from the unquestioning acceptance of everyone’s right not only to hold their opinions without the responsibility to subject it to external validation/falsification, but to act upon, and expend finite resources upon, and the apparent right to do terrible social & ecological damage so long as a mob-sanctioned man-made book (legal or sacred) doesn’t prohibit it. Just ’cause enough uninformed people agree with them.

We use oil, in increasingly destructive forms (tar sands, shale) and employments (toxic mono-cropping, civilian killing drones), because some people are of the opinion that they have to right to sell it, or others that they have to right to buy and use it in their one-car-per-person, a practice which itself is equally inefficient and harmful to humans (despite the ironic appeals of -you guessed it- opinion to the contrary). I could go into the illusion of rights, but for now we’ll leave it at: they don’t have this right.

We segregate ourselves along all manner of division based on our opinions, derived from highly disparate and personally-interested experiences and cognition, with no little appeal to the commonalities among human organisms, our emotional attachments being enabled by the sacred taboo of criticizing others opinions having over-taken our ability to see what our physical circumstances and mental states tell us objectively. I may feel as if the poor bum asking me for change doesn’t deserve to live in this society if he’s not contributing, when I remember that the people (rich and poor) who have built this system have created the circumstances that put pressure on him to act as he does, I realize that any solution my line of thinking would create (kill the poor, make him to interned labour, stick him in jail) is inadequate as it is based on opinions that do not reference the reality; to touch the elephants tail is not to touch the whole elephant. My present understanding, when updated with information on the incentives and tendencies of the system that is “abused” by the poor, becomes that “the poor” and “the rich” and “the system” (if not already being gross, over-generalizations)  are mutually reinforcing, and in fact, if I widen my definitions (which I may only do if forced to by the insight of others that I ignore or misunderstand) they are all the same thing in different forms. Solutions will need to address all of them at once, and not try to band-aid the parts I personally don’t like, but keep the ones I do. (We clear, PC politics and conservative bigots alike?)

Humans are fallible. Our senses are limited. Our cognition is (increasingly) predictable, and shows many inadequacies, biases, and plain superstitions. We are encouraged to think about ourselves and our benefit. We are largely scared of death, pain, and being ugly, irrelevant, hungry or alone. We have a very conformist tendency (whatever its nature). These are a result of how we have lived up to this point. They have created a mass of divided understandings, and, on the back of a few twisted truths (that we must decide for ourselves, that all have needs that are equal in quality, if not in quantity, etc) these have been often been given immunity from scrutiny, judgement, or denial- but importantly, only where there are large numbers of supporters.

Christianity is a religion.

Mormonism might be a bit odd.

But Scientology is a cult.

The troops are defenders of freedom again terrorism and extremism.

Feminists could be more open to the other side’s perspective.

But Johnathan is just playing the victim.

It’s okay to say cracker on tv.

You might get away with saying beaner late at night.

But you should never say nigger on tv.

These are matters where enough people hold a subjective opinion about an ultimately neutral phenomenon as being more or less positive or negative. And they distort any hopes at effective popular governance and defeat the feasibility of one-vote-per-person Democracy. Without requiring the the relevant understandings be present, recognition be had of biases (both individual and human), and the dispassion, evidence, falsifiability, parsimony, and emergence (etc.) required to ensure relative certainty be employed (that is, without requiring an objective, informed frame of mind towards THE truth, not your truth) we cannot sanely hope for the fruition of our popular movements and their desire to include the input and value of all.

And for you (in my opinion!) laborious people who would still tell me “You can’t BE objective- morality cannot be treated like a fact-finding mission. Everyone is entitled to choose their morality and you have to respect it,” please consider this.

I got my mind on my money, and my money on my breaking back.

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