What and whom should you believe?

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One of the biggest problems faced by every human being is what and whom should you believe? Straight away I would claim no one should believe in the impossible. The corollary to that obvious proposition is that no one should believe people who are promoting impossible things. That also seems obvious, although much of society is based on other people believing people who propose and promote obviously impossible things.

The most successful of the promoters of the impossible are promoting things that you want to be true. Thus, those who say it is possible for you to be rich and beautiful and have perfect health and be surrounded by adoring people will claim that their words are true. That is, it is possible, anything is possible, if you believe, well at least if you believe strongly enough and especially if you believe in the right way.

Now, of course, comes the kicker; if you hang on long enough, and do enough click-throughs to get to the secret message, and of course, pay some tiny sum of money, that will open the fabulous door … and if you are in the right club, it will get you into eternal life. Just give the money, and the time, and the special work for the special community. It’s all so easy.

It is probably easy to spot these kinds of frauds. If you feel like someone is playing you for a sucker, they are playing you for a sucker. If you suspect someone is playing you for a sucker, they are probably playing you for a sucker. If someone is giving you something for free and claiming no gain for themselves, you have been hooked.

The best you can hope for and work toward is a mutual gain for both of you.

 

A disaster isn’t over until it’s all over.

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During the worst windstorm in the memory of Bend, Oregon’s old-timers, my house was hit by a falling Ponderosa tree. Four other trees fell within striking distance but only one hit the house. Another one took out a chunk of our backyard fence, and in addition, a large spruce tree in the front yard got stripped of all of its branches on one side. It’s the side facing the street so passers-by for the next hundred years will be looking at a damaged tree.

A chunk of the front of the house was knocked off and the guys that restored the roof might have taken it away with the remains of the ruined roof, but they set it to the side of the house. That was finally removed today by a specially hired team who took  it to the city dump. They also took five forty-two gallon bags full of tree detritus, mostly chainsaw chips, which I wanted to be removed before the 4th of July annual fireworks extravaganza. That annual insanity is guaranteed to burn down our tree-covered city to our house foundations, in the long run. So far we have been lucky with our annual fire and only Pilot Butte gets burned. The last 4th I watered everything possible around the house but after watching a YouTube demonstration on how houses catch fire it made sense to scrape everything close to the house down to raw dirt. Particularly dangerous are flammable things that accumulate around the base of the house, like pine needles, tree leaves, and little windblown seeds. They catch fire easily and if the pile is more than a few inches high the flames can reach the underside of the eves.

People generally don’t face ugly facts until they have some personal experience, and a big tree woke me up.

There’s a problem with cultivating maturity.

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These posts lately have had an undertone of how to respond to stupid behavior. By stupid, I mean seeing the right thing to do and then doing something else that is obviously self-destructive. It seems to be happening a lot more the last few months, where I see people doing obviously dangerous things. I mean really dangerous things,  things that are far worse than the dangerous recreational sports that are so common here in a vacation community. An unbelievably dangerous bicycle maneuver happened to me yesterday, where the guy came at high speed from where he couldn’t see if a car was coming, into a left turn lane where I was proceeding toward a green left turn arrow. I had to swerve into the lane to my right to keep from hitting him. Our combined closing speed must have been at least 35 mph, so I had about one second to do the maneuver and there was no car to my right so nothing happened. But the guy had zero options to get out of my way because there was a concrete divider curb between me and the oncoming traffic. If I hadn’t swerved out of his way his option was to encounter me or the curb. If he hit me it would have been a serious, possibly fatal injury, and if he chose the curb it would have been a certain spill at high speed with nothing but various forms of irregularly shaped concrete for a landing place. His best choice would have been a serious injury, but he really didn’t have time to think. I did.

As he passed by I noticed he had a long white cigarette hanging jauntily out of his mouth. Because it was so long and white it must have been a vape style cigarette. To any sane person, even that was a poor lifestyle choice.

I bring this dangerous behavior up because it has happened so routinely the last few months that I usually encounter something stupid every mile or so of driving. Perhaps most people don’t see these changes, but for a person with sixty years of observing other drivers, this is clearly different. There seems to be a feeling of righteous resentment against the constraints of legal expectations of responsible behavior. Or perhaps it is a response to the feeling that the world is coming to an end.

The almost reasonable world of last year seems to be going crazy this year.

Have we evolved to tolerate human stupidity?

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The Eveish selection theory creates a plausible method for humans to have evolved the ability to speak and understand sentences. With the ability to generate sentences about one’s environment and thoughts, there arise conflicts with other speakers of the language representing different ways of speaking about the same thing.

We are aware that elephants will probably feel different, look different, smell different and taste different depending upon how they are approached, even though most of us have no close-up experience of elephants. As we grow to adulthood we realize that other people’s perceptions are different from ours and to maintain harmonious relations we tolerate their expressing themselves in ways incompatible with our perceptions. Most of us also learn to appreciate these different ways of seeing things, like elephants, because we realize a different point of view might be valuable to us at some time.

With a spoken language the problem of the foolishness of a person’s behavior comes to the fore in two main guises. First is some foolish behavior because of not knowing some particular piece of information, and that is usually forgiven when the facts are made available and whatever foolish behavior that came about because of the lack of information stops. The second kind of foolishness comes about when a person has available correct facts and for some unaccountable reason still maintains some form of counterproductive behavior.

Does our tolerance for the second kind of foolishness, the stupid kind, come about because of our tolerance for the first kind, the lack of correct information kind? Is this tolerance a wholly learned attribute we associate with our culture and limit to our own tribe? Or, is there a genetic component to tolerance? Not a hardwired genetic response, like a reflex, but more like the DNA that humans have that permits us, as children, to learn a language easily. We learn tolerance for our own kind of people easily and intolerance for outgroups just as easily. This trait seems so universal it seems there must be a genetic component to it. How could that arise?

Women in their mate selection must make a similar balance when they choose a man who will defend them but not be so aggressive that he will harm them. A man who will defend the tribe but not combat excessively with tribe members. A man who is sensitive to verbal truths and acts upon them but is willing to tolerate unknowable speculations about things and hesitates to act.

We have evolved to tolerate human stupidity because it makes society possible?

From Bacteria to Bach and Back by Daniel C. Dennett

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Do we humans as a species have an inherent limit on our intelligence and thus a limit on how much we can understand? Daniel C. Dennett in this book From Bacteria to Bach and Back on pages following 372 gets into that idea, but he sidetracks the issue with, “As soon as you frame a question that you claim we will never be able to answer, you set in motion the very process that might well prove you wrong: you raise a topic of investigation. … Asking better and better questions is the key to refining our search for solutions to our “mysteries,” and this refinement is utterly beyond the powers of any languageless creature.” (p. 374)

What I would contend, actually quibble, is that we have many very smart people and very refined educational systems to hone those people’s minds, but even those minds elevated to their finest moments are capable of meeting questions that might have answers in their minds but which they can not demonstrate to others even if they presented the answers clearly. But even this isn’t facing the question, because if one mind can answer a question then another one can too if given enough time and opportunity.

With every greater refinement of an obscure question, it becomes possible to tweak it into something else which may bring to everyone’s attention a satisfying answer but which isn’t answering the original question. What inevitably happens is that the community of inquiring minds will get bored with a problem and move on to others. I’ve attended many discussions where people discuss defined questions quite heatedly and bring up a plethora of fancy responses, but in a round-robin summation, each individual presents their understanding in terms that they like and which have only modest overlap with the other people’s opinions. Unless there is a real-world, that is, scientific-type testing of the arguments, these conversations end up in fluffy nebulosities. Everyone leaves these conversations feeling happy and that they are right and in their own minds they are right.

When in these conversations, I try to force people into physically actionable intellectual positions. That is, that they go out and do things that real functioning people can do. Chopping wood, carrying water as the classic sages purportedly did, but with a difference in that their actions were helping humanity.

Perhaps with CRISPR technology, it will be possible to generate bigger and better-organized brains that can answer specific types of questions that our present brains can not answer, but those creatures might not be considered humans anymore. These uber-humans might provide working realities for us ordinary humans to use effectively even though we don’t have a clue as to why these new things work. We routinely flip a light switch and the lights come on, but we don’t have an even rudimentary understanding of why the new light bulbs actually function or how the electricity is generated. So, in many ways, Dennett’s mysteries are already being presented to us every day in a myriad of functioning situations. Dennett wrote, “The interaction of our world culture is presently one that can answer mysteries that are beyond the powers of any languageless creature.” I would add, humans have evolved our power of speech and combined with an evolved capacity to accept other people’s stupidity.”

Read Dennett’s books as a point of departure for your own discoveries to share with the rest of us.

 

I had a strange thought on human physical beauty today.

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I was chatting with my geriatric dudes at the Looney Bean coffee shop this morning when one of the beautiful girls that frequent this wonderful place walked by. I mentioned to R, a retired professional artist, how great she looked today. He looked, he smiled, and we chuckled and lusted in ways only mid eighty-year-old guys can understand. Yes, it’s pathetic! All the same, we both have eyes long practiced in appreciating beautiful things, including women. About this time an obese young woman walked by, and then another. We both looked at them and then one another,  and I noticed a trace of sadness drift over R’s expressions.

Over the previous few weeks, my thoughts on creating a new form of food diet and planning to publish it as a book within a couple of months came up. Thus we were primed to rehash what might be done to help these women regain a more beautiful and more healthful form. We have already hashed over the ethical arguments of interfering in other people’s lives and have come to the conclusion that the fact that American people are spending thirty-three billion dollars on diet plans per year indicates that these people are pleading for help. I have been carrying that thought a bit further and felt that my not sharing my methods with this suffering public would itself be immoral behavior. That feels a bit arrogant and pretentious but while expressing those concerns to R I had another thought.

What if a large percentage of obese and overweight women actually used my diet plan and returned to a healthier condition—wouldn’t they look better? Wouldn’t the two of us former artists enjoy our few remaining years even more just by seeing more beautiful women walking around in our favorite coffee shop? Furthermore, wouldn’t all the young men around here be more appreciative too, and wouldn’t the formerly obese women feel better being thought of as beautiful rather than … ignored?

Publishing this “Love Our Life – diet” plan seems like a win-win situation for everyone.

You and only you are in charge of what you eat.

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Other people may have a lot to do what is on your plate, but you and only you are in charge of what you eat. Also, you and only you are in charge of what you do. There is an infinity of things that influence everything we do and much of the time we have very little influence over what that will be. There are forces like gravity to which we must submit, and many people will complain about how arbitrary nature seems to be. And yet, nature operates under the most fine-grained laws of behavior. It is beings with a choice of action that are arbitrary in their relationship to us, and humans are the most arbitrary of all. Yet, even with human beings, there is a lot of predictable actions and reactions that we can depend upon in almost all situations. Generally, people follow the Golden Rule, and if we treat them well they will treat us well.

It is when we come to our relationship with our own selves that we have the most flexibility and the most problems. The specific problem I have been thinking about these last few months is the food we people eat and tend to overeat. Why are people overeating and at the same time are reported to be spending five hundred billion dollars per year to eat less? Famine is the natural thing being avoided by overeating, but nearly all of the billion obese people are not facing a famine at present, and probably have never faced one in their entire lives. That they don’t want to be obese is proven by the fact that they spend so much money trying to drop the excess weight. They are asking for help. Desperately asking for help! They are not getting help, they are getting advice, but the advice is impossible for them to follow as is proven by the obvious fact that billions of people are clearly getting heavier every year. They know what is best for them but they can’t do what is best for them. Why? Their advisors spread the guilt deep and say it is because of these people’s lack of willpower. And yet, people of normal bodily weight are exerting no willpower at all to maintain their healthy status. It isn’t willpower that is lacking, it is a totally wrong approach by the diet and medical industries that is the problem. People are being told the wrong things to do.

“You and only you are in charge of what you eat” is an obvious statement and would seem to be spreading even more guilt upon obese people. It is the total number of calories eaten versus those burned by the person’s body that determines the gain or loss of weight. Probably true to the last calorie, but you can’t see calories. So what is the problem, and more important, what is the solution?

I will get to that and it will be easy and fun.

Preparing for the 4th of July fire – works

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Bend, Oregon, goes crazy on the 4th of July with a fireworks display from the top of Pilot Butte. That’s a 500-foot high cinder cone with a paved road to the top and a couple of walking trails up and around it. On a typical pleasant day, hundreds of people will make it to the top. I am now sitting in my house precisely one kilometer from the top. Here’s my problem: Pilot Butte catches fire every 4th of July. Therefore, the fire department always has a crew there to put it out, but on a dry day like the 4th typically is, the fire gets out of control. Last year a couple of large junipers went up in about five seconds. Those were spectacular pillars of flame. If the firefighters were there, why didn’t they prevent that from happening?

That event reminds me of where I was living in 1991, a nice neighborhood in the Oakland hills. A fire started about four miles away and got out of control. No problem you might say, and that was about seven times further away than my current fire worry, Pilot Butte. The next day the Oakland fire was only three miles away and burning through some very valuable homes, and the next day only two miles away, going strong and the fire department had run out of water, and the next day it was only one mile away and I packed my home computer and other valuable items in my car. That night the fog rolled in from the ocean and everything got damp and the fire went out.

Looking back at city fires, almost everywhere I have lived has had a major fire. The area of San Francisco I lived in for a couple of years went up in smoke in 1906 after the earthquake. My birthplace, Spokane, Washington, had a big city fire several years before I was born. Berkeley, California, where I lived for fifty years, had a huge fire in 1923. I wasn’t there, but some of my friends had experienced that event as children and didn’t recommend it.

The fact that a full-grown ponderosa tree fell on my house two months ago made me more conscious that Mother Nature can be a problem sometimes. I’ve been cleaning up and taking away every possible fire-prone thing from around my house.

Why provoke nature with optional wildfires?

My strange relationship with solar eclipses.

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There are four separate events that link me to the coming solar eclipse.

(1) On August 21, 2017 there will be a total solar eclipse at the site of my mother’s side of my family’s farms. In the 1960s the Eidemillers owned a mile and a quarter of farms adjacent to Dogwood Lane, (44.6792 -121.1793)  just north of Madras, Oregon airport. The farms are on the line of maximum eclipse and will observe totality for two minutes and four seconds. Those viewing the eclipse from our old farms will probably see the ring of diamonds effect of sunlight shining through mountain valleys on the moon.

The yellow line represents maximum totality 2 min 4 sec. White outline is of the Eidemiller farms in 1960s.

The path of this eclipse also passes over Malden, Missouri, where I was a student pilot in the U.S. Air Force class of 1959H, and over Charleston South Carolina, where my father’s mother was born and for which some boys in our family were named. She loved that city and had a melodic way of saying, Charles. Everything in this post is nothing more than fun coincidences for me.

(2) On the morning of July 09, 1945, I watched the sun rise totally eclipsed with my grandfather Glen Eidemiller and his son Glen Eidemiller Jr. near Wilder, Idaho (lat/lon 43.6322 -116.8895). They both moved to Madras in 1948.

Eclipse July 09,1945

I was near Wilder, Idaho, before the sun rose and watched it rise totally eclipsed.

(3) In 1965 I was working and living (lat/lon 37.3417 -121.6420) at Lick Observatory near Berkeley, where I lived most of the time. It was the astronomer William W. Campbell, an earlier director of Lick Observatory, who had proven Einstein’s theory that light rays would be bent by gravity, which proved Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. Campbell did that on his third attempt by photographing a solar eclipse that went over Australia. His earlier attempts in Crimea and Goldendale, Washington, were frustrated by the overcast weather. The stars near the sun on his photographs were clearly shown for the first time to be closer to the sun than on identical photographs taken of the same location in the sky at night.

(4) In 1952 I lived across a field from the Hanford 300 Area (46.3507, -119.2762) where until recently there was nothing but an empty field. Now between my former home it is 9.5 miles of empty fields to where the LIGO project (46.4552, -119.4077) observed gravity waves for the first time. The gravity waves were created by very large black hole masses, overlapping in eclipse-like events and creating fluctuations in time-space.

Hanford reactor, Richland, WA

In 1952-53 I lived in a trailer in the lot beside the STOP sign. LIGO would be viewed on the left edge a 9.5 miles out.

As a child, I had no control over my location at any of those events and yet I was there.

 

A Clockwork Purple takes on an expanded consciousness

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We are in the final phases of publishing our first volume of our series of books under the title of Clockwork Purple. My part of the text is finished and the paper only needs printing ink and binding.


Clockwork Purple – June 5th, 2017 – 47-minute prompt

The Montauk Book of the Living by Peter Moon

Totally unseen Linda chose page 100 and Joanna chose line 26. It was …

“This expanded consciousness included a heightened perception of the spiritual plane and enabled one to see various realities.”

That prompt brought my thoughts back to me and my thoughts. Do I have any consciousness at all? I often doubt it! I make social blunders that even a dog wouldn’t make. Basically, my problem is it feels like I sit for hours listening other people talking interminably about everything available to randomly assembled words, while I am holding my hand up waiting for the moderator to call on me. During these long waits, nearly every person in the room, even the quiet ones, will have interrupted the flow and spoken up with their comment on whatever drifted into their mind while I continue taking notes and try to remember and analyze the core concepts that make the conversation coherent, meaningful, and most important to me actionable in the real world in some positive way.

I have grown so accustomed to this personal problem that I have learned to sit quietly through the whole of these ramblings and even enjoy listening to the flow of thoughts that everyone else seems to think is solving whatever the problem seems to be wafting through the air at the moment. I doubt that I am alone in these feelings. I sometimes have images pass through my mind of their heightened perceptions intersecting with mine and sometimes that crossing makes a real contribution to my reality. These double crossings seem to make the whole experience worthwhile for both of us.

Often what people are saying about a problem brings to me the feeling that they are biting like a howling dog at a stick that is poking them. They don’t see the hand holding the stick, they don’t see the man behind the hand, they don’t perceive his actions, they don’t perceive his thoughts, his motivations, his experience, his history. None of that comes to the fore in their minds. They only perceive the stick and they respond only to the pain of the point.

Currently the popular method of discussing other people’s reactions to one’s own behavior involves problems encountered when driving. The approach I have begun using is thinking of other drivers as squirrels. Those animals are fun to watch and their motivations are usually clear enough to interpret, but their consciousness is clearly on a different plane from mine, and as they scramble into the heights of the ponderosa trees of their minds they are clearly on a higher plane than anything I can ascend to. Are those people really like that? Are they on a higher plane than I? Are my mind and consciousness wandering into places that are meaningless to them because of their much higher point of view and keen mental awareness and development?

Their minds appear to be focused on their present instant and their real personal problems but mine are more upon the root causes of the present problems. I think about humanity’s problems more than my personal problems. I think about my species and its problems and its survival. My lifetime is limited to a few more years, but our species and its descendants might go on for millions of years, so I have worked for years on things like “The Earth Ark Project,” trying to save my species and many others too. Presently, I am trying to solve a human problem that afflicts over a billion humans, that of unwanted obesity. Obesity is injuring and killing many of them. It’s not my personal problem, it’s our species problem.

That is the way I approach many things. Consequently, when I am in a group and occasionally have the opportunity to speak up it appears to nearly everyone that I am off topic. They are talking about the pain they are feeling, and only occasionally do they rise to discussing much beyond the point of the stick, but when I or anyone tries to go much beyond that immediate point of conversation each member of their audience drifts back into their personal pain but the root causes and the precursors to those causes are ignored.

This expanded consciousness included heightened perceptions of the spiritual plane and enabled some to see various realities, but they evaporated into the void and were lost forever.