liveonearth: (Default)
I have often said "it's a free will universe" as a basis for extolling choice as a power, whether conscious or unconscious, for determining your experience. To "choice" I always connect the concept of responsibility. Responsibility always follows immediately upon choice. Those who tremble before this power of choice may even habitually refuse to make choices, unwilling to take on the responsibility that choice of necessity implies. This is a choice in itself, a pattern of omission and passivity with it's own distinct effects and power to manipulate. All this having been said, what if in fact it's not "a free will universe" after all? The concept of "predestination" also has a long history in philosophical and religious thought and stands as a counterpoint to "free will" with it's own ardent supporters. When I look at an average day, things happen and I respond. Needs arise and I must act. My breath and heartbeat and peristalsis are events occurring to me, gifts freely given from what great source I cannot truly fathom. I won't pretend to resolve here a millennia-long question. And in the face of it, perhaps, at the very least, we might choose with lighter hearts, and enjoy the uncertainty knowing that our every action is effected upon waves of permission from powers greater than our own.
--Gil Hedley, Integral Anatomy
liveonearth: (Default)
You are never dedicated to something you have complete confidence in. No one is fanatically shouting that the sun is going to rise tomorrow. They know it's going to rise tomorrow. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths or any other kinds of dogmas or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt.
~ Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

About Pirsig and his book: I was made to read this book at approximately age 18, when I first started working at the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina. I was quite moldable, impressionable, unformed at that age. Payson Kennedy was in charge of training and orienting all new staff, and reading this book was his one requirement. What it taught me was a lesson that took many years to sink in, that small details deserve our full attention, that doing your best it the only way to do anything right. Thank you Payson for requiring us to read this book, for it has helped form my perspective for over 30 years since then. I think it may be time to reread it.

This of course was all brought up because Pirsig has died at the age of 88. It's encouraging to note that his book was rejected by 121 publishing houses before someone decided to print it.
liveonearth: (bright river)
No man ever steps in the same river twice,
for it is not the same river,
and he is not the same man.

liveonearth: (moon)
I'm cleaning out my file cabinet and just reached the naturopathic medicine file.  It is full of philosophy notes from my first couple years of nd school.  I'm going to summarize them here so I can toss the paper.

SIX TENETS as taught by Deborah Frances
1. Primum non nocere - first do no harm (suppression is harmful)
2. Vis Meicatrix naturae - the healing power of nature (elemental)
3. Tolle causum - seek and remove the cause
4. Tolle totum - whole person
5. Docere - doc as teacher
6. Praeventare - prevention

Tonify, balance, bring to the middle
Do not Suppress symptoms, allow them to express, or else you push the illness deeper
Depression = suppressed fire: let it out and you have irritation, anger

Healing occurs in 3 directions
above downward
within-outward (more severe within, less severe the more peripheral)
in reverse order that it happened

vitamin C from a factory as vs from rose hips
complexity of plant medicine: many constituents with the wisdom of a living thing

hormone replacement
stimulate the vis
foundation -- start here and work upward in the heirarchy

The Naturopathic Physician's Oath as written in the 2008 NCNM convocation brochure is long and wordy and I do not like it.  I must prefer and do swear by the Classical Chinese Medicine Oath:

I will promise to follow the way of the great physician.
I will strive to live in harmony wiht nature, and teach my patients to do the same.
I will stay calm and completely committed when treating disease.
I will not give way to personal wishes and desires, but above all else hold and nurture a deep feeling of compassion.
I will be devoted to the task fo saving the sacred spark of life in every creature that still carries it.
I will strive to maintain a clear mind and be willing to hold myself to the highest standards.
It will be my duty to diagnose sufferings to treat disease.
I will not be boastful about my skills and not drive by the greed for material things.

Above all, I will keep an open heart.
As I move on the right path I will receive great happiness as a reward wihtout asking for anything in return.

OH I just dug deep enough into the notes to find some gold.  I'm not going to dissolve this file after all.  Going in archive.
liveonearth: (Spidey: come into my parlour)

I call it conscious realism: Objective reality is just conscious agents, just points of view. Interestingly, I can take two conscious agents and have them interact, and the mathematical structure of that interaction also satisfies the definition of a conscious agent. This mathematics is telling me something. I can take two minds, and they can generate a new, unified single mind. Here’s a concrete example. We have two hemispheres in our brain. But when you do a split-brain operation, a complete transection of the corpus callosum, you get clear evidence of two separate consciousnesses. Before that slicing happened, it seemed there was a single unified consciousness. So it’s not implausible that there is a single conscious agent. And yet it’s also the case that there are two conscious agents there, and you can see that when they’re split. I didn’t expect that, the mathematics forced me to recognize this. It suggests that I can take separate observers, put them together and create new observers, and keep doing this ad infinitum. It’s conscious agents all the way down.

--Donald Hoffman, Professor of cognitive science UC, Irvine,

liveonearth: (old books)
It's been decades since I read Siddhartha but it had a strong effect on me.  In my youth I was a philosophy major and a seeker, trying on different religious and spiritual approaches.  Eventually I arrived at myself, at the now, at the goals of non-attachment, awareness, compassion, adaptability.  I adopted bits and pieces of many philosophies, most notably Buddhism and Hinduism, without becoming a believer in reincarnation, heaven and hell, or any of the other dogmas.  New age religion in the US is very much a groovified hand-me-down from the culture behind these religions, and reincarnation is the most common belief system I encounter among people who pretend that they are enlightened.  More appealing to me is the stark realism of the German philosophers.  "To exist is to be in the way".

In Demian Herman Hesse suggests that the truth is not any of these religious structures, the truth is something far simpler, but harder to live.  It is not easy to go through this world stripped of comforting beliefs.  Hesse says we create gods and then we fight with them.  Many of his ideas are reminiscent of Nieztsche, for whom I've always had a soft spot.  He is the German philosopher who said "God is dead" and pissed off generations of religious people.

The protagonist of Demian is a young man named Sinclair, and his story begins when he is only 10 years old.  He is early at becoming aware.  Demian is a character who helps him, initially simply to avoid a predatorial character, and later to begin to think critically and to trust in himself.  When they are schoolmates Demian suggests alternate interpretations of Bible stories, especially the one about Cain and Able, and the mark of Cain.  By the end of the book I was thinking that I too must bear that mark, because I have never been a joiner, never been willing or able to submit to authority or dogma.

This book would make excellent reading for a teen who is beginning to sort out a path through all the competing authorities.  It does not provide a blueprint, but it does say that you must find your own path, and that it won't be easy or comfortable.  When Hesse first released this small book in 1919 it was in pieces in a magazine, and anonymously.  Why didn't he want his name attached?  Why didn't someone recognize his voice and thoughts, when they are so distinctly his?  Perhaps it is because Demian is also a commentary on the sadness of war, on the fruitlessness of giving lives for some shared ideal which might be bunk.  Some of the things he writes harken to the Jungian concept of collective consciousness, for example the shared premonitions of the onset of world war one.  Do we really share a consciousness, or do we simply share some of the same inputs, and arrive at some of the same intuitive conclusions?  Jung and Hesse did.

The most fruitful thing a person can do is to become themselves, I agree with Hesse on this point.  To be with people who are also themselves, this is a very satisfying thing.
liveonearth: (mad scientist's union)
Among regular people there seems to be precious little understanding of what exactly the method is, and what it does and does not accomplish.  This ignorance about the process of science contributes to claims that scientists are just greedy a-holes exploiting the government for profit.  This attitude rises from a complete lack of exposure to real scientists and their way of being.  It is not fair to scientists.  Scientists, for the most part, are trying to figure out how the world works so that we can use that information to make our lives and our world better.  They are not politicians, they are curious people who sought education enough to know what questions to ask and how to test them.  They care passionately about making the world a better place.

The first step of DOING science is to ask a question about the world.  The question doesn't have to be complicated, it just has to reach into the unknown.  Once you have your question, it is a good idea to snoop around and see if anyone else has already answered it, or tried.  Learn everything you can about the variables that might influence the answer.  Once you've studied up on it, you're qualified to make a guess---a "theory" in science terms---as to what the answer might be, and why.  A true scientist knows that a theory is just a theory--it has to be tested repeatedly by people who agree and by people who disagree.  A true scientist is not heartbroken when the data shows that his theory was bunk.  That is useful information.  Time to come up with a new theory.

This testing is the experiment.  There can be many different ways to test any one theory.  The most useful experiments are often the simplest, changing only one variable between two groups of test subjects.  Scientist use many different methods to approach the same question, and this diversity adds richness to the picture painted by the results.  We might know that B follows A three quarters of the time, but until we know WHY they are correlated, and what other variables contribute to the correlation, we do not understand.  A--->B at a rate of 75% is enough to know that there is a connection, but it is not enough to say that A causes B.  We don't know that.  Something else could be causing it.  We take our results from that experiment, share them with the other scientific thinkers in the world, and update our theory if possible.  Usually an experiment brings up new questions, which indicate new possible experiments that need to be done to understand.

So science does NOT discover causality.  It discovers correlations.  Correlations can have multiple contributing variables so more experiments are needed.  Sometimes someone repeats the same experiment and gets the opposite result.  This is evidence that there was something operating in the system that was not being measured.  This is a sign that the original theory was based in deeper ignorance than perhaps we thought at first.  This is hard to admit, even for scientists.

Just because an experiment gets peer reviewed and published in an journal does not make it the truth.  There are many false conclusions that have been published.  Egostists who call themselves scientists publish more books than all the real scientists put together.  Real scientists tent to be intraverts who'd rather stay out of the limelight and just keep digging into these interesting questions.  Every experient needs to be repeated from a variety of angles before a result is accepted as Truth.

So there is a basic primer on the scientific method.  My area is mostly medicine, though I am fascinated by all science.  Medical science is more than double blind placebo controlled studies.  It includes the careful evaluation of population outcomes and biochemical mechanisms and every other factor that could influence the answer.  Science is a process of asking questions and trying to figure out if our theories about the answers are right or not.  A theory is just a theory.

Evolution, by the way, has been proven in so many ways by so many different experiments, that it is not a theory anymore.
liveonearth: (moon)
For me, the characteristic features of a mystlcial and therefore untrustworthy, theory are that it is not refutable, that it appeals to authority, that it relies heavily on anecdote, that is makes a virtue of consensus (look how many people believe like me!), and that it takes the high moral ground.  You will notice that this applies to most religions.
--Matt Ridley in Evolution of Everything; How New Ideas Emerge, page 270
liveonearth: (Madonna kicks Human Nature)
The surest way to corrupt a youth
is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem
those who think alike
than those who think differently.

--Friedrich Nietzsche
liveonearth: (House religion psychosis)
There was a pretty good turnout at the usual CFI venue, a beer and pizza retreat called the Lucky Lab.  David is younger than I expected, pretty much right out of school having gotten a master's in Religious Studies.  He points out the difference between Religious Studies and Theology right up front: his education is more about comparative religion and history than about the dogma of any one ism.

He has written several books, including Disproving Christianity, which he wrote right out of undergrad school I believe. The Belief Book and the Book of God are intended for the education of children by parents who want to satisfy their natural curiousity with actual information instead of indoctrination.  And he announced last night for the first time in public that he has signed a contract for his next book, No Sacred Cows, which will be a manual for teaching critical thinking to children and adults.

I am very excited that this young man has taken to writing, and based on his public speaking, I suspect he is a clear and concise writer.  I look forward to reading some of his books, and I may start giving them as gifts too.  =-]

His main point in this talk is that the reason that there is so much dogmatic religion in the US is the lack of religious studies education.  People who do not know what religion is and what it has done in history are more likely to be religious, and more likely to be fundamentalist.  He says that to protect your children from falling prey to fundamentalism, teach them about all relgions, and satisfy their curiousity with real information.  Without this education there is in his words a "snowball effect" that leads to a widespread lack of critical thinking---which is exactly what we are seeing in today's political sphere.  If there were a strong component of religious studies integrated into primary school history and philosophy classes, there would be more critical thinking nationwide.

He mentioned an organization called the OASIS network, which is jokingly called "atheist church" but really it "an alternative to faith based community" that provides among other things programs for kids.  For freethinkers surrounded by religiousity, the name is really appropriate

Here's his blogpost on how to respond to door to door religion sellers:

**Created tag: freethinker
liveonearth: (Volume 11 spinal tap)

Only a crisis - actual or perceived - produces real change.
When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken
depend on the ideas that are lying around.
That, I believe, is our basic function:
to develop alternatives to existing policies,
to keep them alive and available
until the politically impossible becomes
the politically inevitable.

--Milton Friedman

liveonearth: (Kiva)

There is a great deal of difference
between loss, change, and transformation.
A loss is a step backward;
a change is an opportunity;
transformation is a step forward.
The common denominator in these three realities
is the fact that one must
give up something.
It is possible for both loss and change to lead to transformation,
but it is not possible for transformation to occur unless
something is lost and something is changed.

–Anthony Padovano

liveonearth: (starry night)

No matter what our attempts to inform,
it is our ability to inspire
that will turn the tides."
--Jan Phillips

Cult Notes

Jul. 7th, 2015 09:27 pm
liveonearth: (moon)
I don't really have time for a thoughtful post about this but I do want to get my notes off of this ripped up envelope and into digital legible form.
deciphering notes on a tattered envelope which I just squashed a fly in )


Jan. 17th, 2014 11:34 am
liveonearth: (head in pattern)
Holistic, or Wholistic, refers to the entire person, usually considered to be mind, body and spirit combined. Somehow the Whole is thought to be more than the sum of its parts. Naturopathic philosophy guides us to learn about and care for the entire person, not just their rash or their bad mood. Today some say that "holstic" is a meaningless buzz phrase, like "natural". To me it is central to my way of thinking, that all parts of a person are connected and interactive. I believe in spirit defined as that which we do not know fully know or understand which is also immensely powerful. And the whole-as-more-than-the-sum-of-parts concept suggests that even if you have a narrower definition of spirit, there is more out there working than you can know. One cannot know it all. It is unknowable. And the unknowable is included: this is holism.

...Marketing: I will leave the word "holistic" out of my elevator speech, but it will be a part of the next speech to follow.
liveonearth: (circle)
This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophy... Our own brain, our own heart is our temple, the philosophy is kindness.
--the Dalai Lama
liveonearth: (Default)
Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry,
the philosophy which does not laugh,
and the greatness which does not bow before children.

- Khalil Gibran
liveonearth: (Default)

Seems like these amazing things on the web are popping up everywhere. Unfortunately I have no time for extra surfing, because am going surfing on REAL WATER. So I just save up these links. A friend sent me this one by email. I intend to watch the one she recommends. Here's what she said about it:

We've discovered this wonderful project designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form. It's incredible...I am in awe watching it. Watch "Ode to the Brain" which is on the first page of the link and you'll see what it's all about. Of course, you need sound turned on and full screen if your computer can handle it. Wow!
liveonearth: (Default)
Understanding Conspiracy: The Political Philosophy of Julian Assange
by Urizenus Sklar

thanks to [ profile] skyojos for leading me to this

en·thy·meme   [en-thuh-meem]
–noun, Logic.
= a syllogism or other argument in which a premise or the conclusion is unexpressed


liveonearth: (Default)

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