Problems Of Humanity – A Quick Outline

The other day I mentioned I wrote down a list of problems I see facing mankind, and our future.   I went to write on them, but then my entry soon spanned many pages yet I had barely scratched the surface.  So today I’ll just write out my outline, and keep the blurbs really really short.  Remember, this outline was written up one morning while lying in bed.  It’s not intended to be all-inclusive, but it’s simply what I see recurring throughout human history since the dawn of the first civilizations, and what I see in the newspapers everyday.

Violence

Due to our origins evolving from the first cells, and competing with other life for resources, we inherited a violent nature embedded in our genetics, our emotions, and our mind.  These violent instincts are manifest all over, and in civilized society are given outlet all over the place.   We also deal with wars, nationalism, theft, envy, political creeds, and more, whose causes are all rooted deep in the human psyche and these violent instincts.

Sex

Also due to our origins in evolution, we all have inherited a strong sex drive.  Our ancestors didn’t live for very long, and had to reproduce quickly in order to survive.   Because we’ve become the dominate species of this planet, we no longer have any predators and have created elaborate mating rituals.  Also, a great deal of our psychology is rooted in sexual drives, mainly because one of the primary reasons for this human body is to reproduce and spread our genes.   Sex dominates most people’s minds, almost entirely.  This process of finding a mate, and reproducing, and finding an emotional state of happiness is by far the strongest drive behind human behavior.  It leads to both happiness and misery.  Unrequited love creates difficult dynamics and what determines attraction is a combination of sex appeal as well as arbitrary and random psychological factors.  Also, emotions in human beings are fickle.  This leads to couples constantly changing partners, and homes being broken up, and difficulties for children — all in a search for emotional stability and happiness.  Most humans are pretty apathetic toward events going on in the world, but if you mess with their lover, their children, their family, their home, or their food, or anything related to these things, they are very likely to get violent.

Mental Weakness and Survival Instincts

The difficulties and trials this world brings are too much for the rather delicate human psyche.  The overwhelming forces of this world tend to damage the mind, and leave malfunctioning humans beings running around causing trouble not only to themselves, but to others as well.   Some examples of this include escapist philosophies and religion, denial of events taking place out of fear, hoarding of wealth either out of various forms of insecurities, greed, or fears of an uncertain tomorrow, all the mental defense mechanisms psychoanalysts talk about, and more.  Since humans have evolved from reptiles they also have an innate tendency to blindly follow leaders.  When uncertain as to the reasons behind their own success, human beings tend to follow tradition, which basically embodies the concept, “We’re not sure how we got here, but things are ok as they are now.  As long as we don’t change anything, and just keep doing what we’re doing, things should be ok.”  This fear makes human society difficult to manage, and even more difficult to modify.  Once a government structure is set up which has a small degree of success, the masses of people don’t want it to be touched. This is also why it’s very difficult to bring about change politically, and why people in the United States for example, seem to worship the “Founding Fathers”, yet never have read the U.S. Constitution, or anything the Founding Fathers have even written.   Humans also fear their own death, so much so that they’ll do near anything to attain immortality of any sort, even if it’s only being remembered in the history books.  They’ll also do anything to attain “eternal life”, even if that means adhering to all sorts of irrational beliefs, worshiping strange and cruel deities, sacrificing animals or fellow human beings, and more.  These are rooted in their own evolutionary designed emotions, which are designed to keep them alive for as long as possible.

Religion

In the earliest societies and tribes, religion is very anthropomorphic.  Every deity is human like, with passions similar to their own.  This is due to the human psyche’s default tendency toward economy, and energy conservation.  It’s difficult to understand new things, and very hard to ascertain the true causes of things.  So they simply assume every force behind events is human-like in nature.  Deities are assigned to every role behind what they see.  A deity is behind night and day, why the crops grow, the floods of the river, and more.  Demons are behind sickness and disease, and so on.   Out of fear, superstitions form, and incorrect cause and effect relationships are established, leading to various beliefs formed to appease the deities.  As human knowledge expands, and the reasons behind the seasons, night and day, crops growing, and so on, come to be known, the deities tend to fade and become historical novelties.  This is because the deities were only invented and worshiped out of fear, but with no reason to fear any longer, the deities no longer matter.   Later religion changes into a moral sort, and the Gods seem to consolidate.   Religion became a sort of extension of the family, and embodied the same concepts.  And today religion is a sort of catch-all toward things that can’t be explained, and events that are still feared, such as death.  Ultimately, religion is a combination of survival instincts along with fear.  People will worship Jesus on the cross, and believe such crazy things because they still fear death and want to live forever.  People also still wonder about ghosts, and superstitions about demons and haunted areas and things still persists.  As science expands human knowledge, and once the nature of life is more fully explained, and the unknown areas which are now dark become more well lit, these modern religions will fade into historical novelties as well.  The main harm in religion is its escapist tendencies, and beliefs in things which are not empirical, leading to irreconcilable conflicts.  People put unquestioning faith in the nonsense out of fear, but once people stop questioning their minds become like hardened dry clay.  Society stops progressing, and they also are unable to learn anything new.

Lack Of Knowledge

It is difficult to learn.  It takes a lifetime just to master one subject.  Understanding a complicated subject matter is a lifelong endeavor, and it seems the more you learn, the more you realize you don’t know.  In fact, most knowledge teaches you not how smart you are, but how dumb you are, and how little you really know.  You learn one thing only to realize you don’t know about 10 other far more complicated things.  Everything always turns out to be more complicated than you expected.  The more you learn, the more options are available to you.  A sort of union with the reality around you takes place.  Humanity’s main problem is most of their time is dedicated not toward learning, but toward reproducing, eating, sleeping, working pointless jobs, and general existence.   Because learning is difficult, and the only method available toward learning is through books, most people learn very little throughout their lifetimes.  They remain for the most part, stupid.  The less educated a person is, the more prone they are to believe superstitions, propaganda, and other exploitative and nonsensical mindsets.  Because a person can only master one subject, and human prosperity relies us all working together effectively, we’re forced to work with one another, though we do so reluctantly.  Unfortunately working together requires intelligence, and most people spend their time worrying about reproducing, eating, and want to spend as little time with books as possible.   Since the majority of the masses are stupid, getting them to progress and move forward, or anywhere for that matter, is quite an undertaking.

Individualism vs Collectivism

After realizing the benefits of organized society mankind faces an immediate conflict.  How much government?  We have complete anarchy on the one hand, and authoritarian slavery on the other.  Humans have a strong tendency toward independence, and only reluctantly come together to form anything larger than a family or a small tribe.  But complete anarchy is a terrible way of the world, so we form nations and governments.  But being told what to do on every count is also a miserable way to live, so we tend to frown upon dictators, monarchs, aristocracies, and other “elites” controlling our lives on every count.  Freedom versus organization is one of the most difficult problems and has been around since the dawn of the first civilizations.   The “right” amount of government seems to be an onging battle, and everyone has a different opinion on the proper role of government.  Monarchies seem to be the first forms of government which form, as these are the most compatible with primitive savage thinking.  People naturally want to follow the strong man out of reptilian instincts.  Later society becomes a bit more free, and merchants and the rich start to rise, and grow to power which competes with the king.  These societies lead to exploitation of the working class, and they demand more representation and say in things.   Once education rises to a certain level, democracy becomes possible, but how successful it is depends on how educated the masses are.  Communism and socialism seem to fail miserably, as they do not have proper economic incentives, nor the freedom to pursue various dreams and ambitions.  Socialism seems to show a lot more promise than communism, but requires a degree of planning, education, and magnanimity which just doesn’t exist in the masses today or in the past.  In capitalism, a system where your success in it is mainly due to sublimated greed, the ambitious members of society tend to work their way to the top, and upon getting there find things like competition a bother, so bribe off the political leaders, getting special perks, economic protections, price floors, and more, becoming parasitic leeches.  As graft and corruption slowly suck the life out of nation, the free society finds itself slowly collapsing back into a sort of monarchical, aristocratic, authoritarian rule.   After so long the exploitation and corruption become too much to bear, and a nasty, oftentimes violent revolution takes place, the rich and the monarchs are overthrown, everything is cleaned up, and society hits the reset button.  If the revolution is organized poorly the people end up with a vile dictator instead.  But if things play out, the nation gets a fresh new start.  This is why economics and money are so important to understand, but due to the economic incentives, individual groups have more of an incentive to lobby than for the public to constantly be scanning the government for small inside corruption deals.  Because of these incentives, these cycles of clean start, gradual increasing corruption, upheveal, start over, gradual corruption, and so on, seem to be repeating themselves over and over and over.

Economic Systems

Having already mentioned capitalism, socialism, and communism, many economic related problems face mankind.  Economics deals with overcoming the “physical evils” of this world.  Efficiently organizing and sharing the things we produce, while allowing freedom at the same time.  It seems the broader the economic system, and the wider in scope, the more prosperity everyone receives.  A worldwide currency, and policies which allow all nations to share goods produced, as well as services, is the ideal.  Everything seems dependent on the division of labor and being able to share the goods people produce to the widest possible audience.  History books always talk about “trade routes.”  This is because trade routes allow people to share products from all over.  This makes roads, technology in ships, and package delivery, increases in automobile transport, increased communications, book-keeping techniques, mathematics, and other technological innovations a primary mover in human prosperity.  On the other hand, these technological innovations are not natural products of evolution, therefore harnessing them depends on education, which as we said, is difficult and slow to attain.  So as mankind now (generally, in civilization nations at least) lives a life of material ease, we psychologically struggle to keep up with everything going on.  Society is advancing faster than our mind can keep up.  We used to struggle out in the fields, now we struggle in the classroom.  Those with weak minds are being left behind and feel they’re being left out.  As technology progresses, manual labor will become worthless.  Besides these concerns, economically another issue seems to arise over and over in history – debt bubbles.  Banking establishments and corrupt politicians in control of the money supply always bring with them problems, if left unchecked.  Banks and merchants have always been guilty of burying people in debts they can’t possibly pay off with the real intention of making them their slaves.  Political slavery may not exist today, but economic slavery is rampant.  If politicians are not trying to print up money, shave the gold coins, or other corruption schemes involving money, they’ve been guilty continual budget deficits, never having enough money, and war machines, with their imperialistic ambitions to take over the world.  Also, the human mind seems to never have enough, and is never satisfied.  It wants the best society has to offer, and will often step on anyone to get to the top.  Politicians seem to be more guilty of this than anyone, as they tend to be opportunists, desperate for fame, full of vain ambitions, and eager to please.  We all suffer as the result.

Environmental Pollution

This is a modern problem which has only arisen within the past century.  Our actions these days are so contrary to the natural road evolution was on, we are destroying the other life on the planet, and since we depend on them to survive as well, we’re slowly destroying ourselves in the process.  Rainforests are being chopped down for cheap profits.  Pesticides are being used on crops, polluting the water.  Islands of plastic garbage are floating in the Pacific Ocean.  Our environment is really taking a toll and will not sustain human life forever if left unchecked.

News & Sensationalism

Because of our inner vile instincts, human kind yearns for things which are utterly disgusting.  We watch movies filled with violence and horror for enjoyment.  We hunt animals for sport.  We’re rather nasty creatures, and even though the world is generally becoming a more and more peaceful place to live, you wouldn’t think that way watching the news.  Everything is always getting worse, and you’d think everyone was a child rapist, pedophile, mass murdering, stalker, backstabbing, lying, cheating… [insert terrible outlook of the world here].  The news brings people stories they’re interested in.  They deliver what people want to see and unfortunately this is all the worst of everything in the world mixed with a few technological innovations and hero stories.  Everyone could be doing well, but they’ll find the one person who’s having a rough time.   This tendency to dwell on the negative is a healthy trait, as the world is a harsh place to live, and we continually must be changing and dealing with problems in order to survive.  Unfortunately, the news profits from this psychological tendency, and exploits it in the worst possible way.   Also, complex issues are not presented in proper light and instead are given in fifteen second “sound bites”, leaving people more confused than informed.  Instead of educating and informing, they instead rile up emotions and mostly spread propaganda which benefits the big corporations.  They also tend to incite party politics and left/right paradigms, instead of uniting people on issues.  They always complain about ineffective leaders, when they themselves are more guilty than anyone at tearing away any unity mankind has been struggling to build.

These are the topics I wrote down that morning, but I’m sure there’s a lot more.  These are all I came up with while lying in my bed the other morning.  Many of these could be vastly expanded upon, but as I said, I soon find myself writing a book.

The Problems Of Humanity

Over the past few months I’ve been reading a lot of history.  Also, over the past few years I’ve studied a lot of psychology, philosophy, biology, sociology, anthropology, and more.  After reading all this material, I decided it’d be good to sit down and just write all the problems I see plaguing mankind.  By problem, I don’t always mean a bad thing that troubles us.  I simply mean something that dominates the mind of man.  Many of these problems are the same issues we’ve been dealing with since the first civilizations and recorded history.  The intention of this post is to list the core problems humanity faces, and their root causes.

Now this list was created off the top of my head while laying in bed this morning.  I don’t intend for it to be comprehensive.  But I hope it’s a decent starting point, and for whoever on the internet finds this post, if you have anything to add to help me build a better list, please feel free to comment below.

Violence

One of the most sad things about this world we all live in is our own origins.  When you turn on the discovery channel, or animal planet, and watch animals struggle to survive in the wild, fighting, killing, and eating one another, you really see the Darwinian struggle staring you right in the face.   Everywhere I look is violence – both in the animal world, and in mankind.

We’ve evolved from those lower creatures, and outside of of some oxytocin flowing through our brains, and a slightly more developed brain, we share those same instincts.  All those violent instincts you see in the animal kingdom are buried deep within mankind.  In civilized society these instincts are repressed, but you can see the violent instincts manifest and given outlet all over the place.

Just turn on your television, or watch a movie.  Everything is sex and violence.  Gunslingers, bank robberies, gun fights, stabbings, murders, blood, gore, and everything else.  Horror movies.  Action movies.  Thrillers.  All fear and violence.  Video games are mostly violence.  First person shooters.  Role playing games are all about hunting and killing monsters, with a storyline along the side.  RPG players load up the game and kill monsters for hours and hours, using every sort of weapon imaginable, killing every sort of monster — all for the fun of it.  Outdoorsmen hunt and fish.  I remember going fishing with my grandpa years back, and after catching a trout he put it on the stringer.  He ran it straight through the fish’s eyes.  One eyeball was left hanging out, and the fish writhed around in pain.  Even then I sat down wondering, “Why is the world like this?”

It’s nice that these instincts are given outlet in fictional worlds, instead of in the real world. I’m guilty of playing violent video games all the time.  Just the other day I was playing Doom 3.  The year is 2145, and you’re a space marine stationed on Mars.  A scientist there is doing some crazy research and somehow unlocks the doorway to the demonic spirit world.  Demons possess everyone around, and you’re one of the few left.  You make your way through dimly lit Martian space bases, with demons and zombies chasing after you.  Half the time you’re clicking down on the mouse button, killing and blasting things to a bloody pulp.  It’s pretty bad.  But I admit, it’s pretty fun.

Then there’s wars.  In the early days wars were fought mainly as a labor saving device.  A tribe would be migrating around, come across another tribe, then they’d simply attack and steal the other tribe’s stuff.  Later, as mankind settled down into set areas, our reptile instincts made us territorial.  (We evolved from reptiles, you know.)  Just like dogs, and other animals, we defended our territories from invaders, and were violent to anyone outside our tribe.  Even today, we have nation states, and patriotism, which is just a slightly more complicated version of the same thing.  Other wars have been fought over religion, and various deities.  It’s my opinion that the religions of the past were simply excuses to invade and kill other tribes.  Jesus taught pacifism, yet the Catholic church held countless crusades, and witch hunts.  Mankind is prone to that sort of behavior because we have violent instincts.  “God told me to do it.”  “God wills it.”  Rids them of their conscience, which as psychoanalysts point out, is simply a complicated super-ego dynamic.  They fracture their own conscious mind into two separate “minds” so to speak, and then have an avenue to relegate responsibility.

There’s so much violence in the world because men enjoy violence.  It’s in their nature.  They like the fight, but don’t like the consequences.

Sex

Outside violence, the second most prevalent thing I see is sex.  Women want to be beautiful, to attract a man.  And even if they’re married, they still want to look beautiful, for all sorts of reasons.  When you go to the bookstore, most of the books are about relationships.  Look on youtube’s front page, and it’s all makeup videos.  Men seem to put a lot less into it, though they certainly care about it a great deal as well.

I remember watching a film about birds on some island.  They had no predators there, and the biologist was talking about how they created elaborate mating rituals.  The male birds would fly toward the females, dance around them, and chase them all over the place.  It was very elaborate.

Mankind is no different.  Our mating rituals are super complicated.  This is all so widespread because, like violent genetic instincts, we’re also born with sexual drives.  If you study Freud, you’ll see that 3/4 of what goes on in our heads is driven by sex.  Once kids hit a certain age the guys and girls start gravitating toward one another.  Natural genetic process.

I think sexual instincts can be both beautiful, and disgusting.  Sometimes they seem to bond couples together and eventually it grows to form a deeper bond of true love.  Other times sexual drive is sublimated into artistic work, and creates very beautiful work.

But at the same time I don’t want to belittle family, or marriage.  In the past, I viewed things from give and take, and other stupid ways of thinking, and never even realized the value in family, marriage, or love.   My personal philosophy never even spoke of it.  But love within the family is the most beautiful thing there is.  The same is true of friends.  Whatever may have drawn you together, those bonds we share when we truly grow to love one another is more beautiful than anything I’ve ever seen.

Mental Weakness and Survival Instincts

Many psychoanalysts say that birth in itself is a trauma.  It seems from the day we’re born we open our eyes to perils and trials of every sort.  It’s really something else.   I don’t know how many times I’ve opened my eyes in the morning, only to think, “So I woke up here today.  This world.  It wasn’t a nightmare.  I really do live in this hell hole.”

When I read history, I see this world beating the hell out of the human race, and people are simply doing all the can just to make it through the day.  Can you imagine waking up in the late middle ages with the Black Death ravaging the world around you.  You have no idea what even causes it.  People waking up with huge boils under their armpits, wheezing and dying a few days later with no real medical care even available.  You watch the men in your town pile up dead bodies.

Or how about the Nazi death camps?  Can you imagine what the soldiers, and the prisoners endured?  Throwing piles of dead bodies into giant ditches and holes?  Or how about the veterans of World War II, watching their buddies mowed down as they invade Normandy on D-Day.  Watch your best friend blown to bits by a grenade.

Whether it be watching loved ones die of cancer, religious nutbags and their holy wars, politicians and their lies, infidelity in relationships, and everything else, the mind seems to break down.  Psychologically it can only take so much before it wants to escape.  And throughout history, religions have been a sort of balm to comfort the weak, the oppressed, and those with a bad lot in life.

If you can’t find love in this world, Jesus is up above ready to welcome you into his arms.  If you can’t find a way to earn money, don’t worry, blessed are the poor, and the meek, and if you’re faithful you’ll one day inherit the Earth.  Just endure your lot and bide your time, God will reward you for your service to his work soon enough.

We all want to survive and live in a better world, and when we lose our faith of that ever happening here, we look for that comfort someplace else.  Unfortunately all forms of escapism are unhealthy.

Once man submits himself to the invisible deities, and lives for alternate worlds in the heavens, getting them to come back to this world is a real trial.  Also, these religious beliefs tend to cause all sorts of problems.

Just picking up a newspaper I begin to read about hate crimes.  Gays have it bad.  Religious people just don’t like gays, and even feel they’re doing the work of God when they give them a hard time.

Or read about the Middle East and the wars.  They’re all religious.

President Bush felt he was doing the work of the Lord during his presidency.  He told us he prayed every night.  He lived by faith and his convictions.  You can see where that led us.  And don’t forget about the Dark Ages.  You know, a lot of the worst times in our history have been when the Catholic church was in control of the world.  All scientific thought was stifled, and for almost 1500 years barely anything progressed.  Sure we built some windmills, learned some farming techniques, established the first schools and universities, and even worked out representative government from feudalism, but still, relatively speaking, mankind progressed at a crawl and could’ve done a LOT more.

The Egyptians, Greeks, and even Romans did all kinds of stuff.  Then progress just went down the toilet.  The Greeks used to work out geometry, law, philosophy, physics, and more.  They studied the stars, thought about the origins of the universe, and worked out their theories in vigorous debates.

But religion stopped the debates.  Faith was the new law, and not empirical truth.  Men already knew everything there was to know, and it was in their holy books.  Outside of revelation from God, there was nothing worthwhile to know.  They stopped questioning, and the world stopped accordingly.

Once Rome fell due to corruption, graft, over-consumption, insufficient slaves to exploit, and so on, the world got real bad.  Economic systems failed.  The money became worthless.  Invaders started to plunder them from every angle.  That’s when the world turned to Jesus, and we went into the Dark Ages, and it took forever to get out.  Recovery would’ve been a lot faster, but people turned to relief in the imaginary world, instead of this world.

Mental weakness causes so many problems for mankind.  That neurotic, psychological breakdown when we just can’t take it anymore.  When we begin to turn to all sorts of irrational beliefs just to comfort us.

Anna Freud, the daughter of the famous Sigmund Freud, outlined all the different ways we run from this world.  I’m more guilty of psychological abberations, and running away, than anyone else.  Wanting to understand myself was why I read every book of Freud’s, and many other psychoanalyst’s works as well.

Now that I’ve had a lot of free time, I’ve went back to studying some psychoanalysis.  I went to examine myself some more, and questioned my own beliefs.  I questioned my own views toward relationships with women, and I came to all sorts of insecurities.

I looked back over some things I wrote to a girl I like, back a year ago when I confessed my feelings.  So much of what was in there was fear driven.  I talked about how I’ve always wanted to construct a sort of “room” where I could reveal everything I was thinking to someone, and where I knew she would always accept me.  I stared at that, and though it sounds all beatific, and almost spiritual, it’s all rooted in fear of not being accepted for who I am.

So much philosophy, spirituality, mystics, new-age thinkers, and those sorts, they all seem so deep and profound.  Half the time however, what passes for spirituality is nothing but deeply concealed, and intricately interwoven fears.

In one of the letters I sent I talked about masks, and how I wondered what an identity even was.  But that too is partially rooted in fear of not being accepted, or good enough.  It’s a moot point if you’re comfortable with who you are.  Basically all I was saying, “I’m scared of choosing who I’ll be, but accept me.”  Loving one another unconditionally is beautiful, but fearing that someone may not love you will hurt you in the end, and drive you to do stupid things — like I did!  🙂

Once I realized that, I’ve changed a lot.  Or at least, I feel changes going on, for good or for bad.  The past months, not having the worry about earning money, and not being so stressed out, things have been changing for me.   Stress had a lot to do with my own philosophies.

I even analyzed why I’m often so, “I could really care less,” about so many things.  Why I felt so many things were petty, and not worth thinking about.  A lot of that was rooted in events that happened in high school.  I had a terrible event happen with a girl, and my life dreams were crushed, and I just walked away saying, “Whatever.  This crap isn’t worth dealing with.  I’m going to pursue something more rewarding.”  Way back then, I went into a sort of emergency survival mode based on the trauma and never really came out.

Repressed those desires and thoughts, and then slowly the life seemed to drain out of me.  And naturally, being the kind of person I became, it caused a chain reaction with everyone I was around.  And though I seemed so focused and determined, it was really all rooted in unconscious repressed issues.  Why try to have fun, when it’ll just turn out like last time.  Why try so hard, or put so much effort and hope into something when it turns out so awful.  It’s a refusal to try things that failed in the past.  Nothing had value because everything was a temporary place, and I wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.

When you’re Rambo out on a mission to get in and get the hell out, you’re not going to enjoy life’s “petty things” at all.

Dreams are that way.  Sometimes dreams are truly our dreams.  Other times, they’re just us running.  It’s oftentimes so difficult to tell which dynamic is taking place.

I think we all hate that our minds are fragile, and how it’s so easy to deal with problems the wrong way.   I’m just saying we do it, and it hurts us all.

Your own fears, and things you won’t deal with end up causing everyone else problems as well.  Denial and running away.  Sad as it is, we don’t even know we’re running from anything half the time.  You have to know someone smart and skilled enough to identify it.  And half of us don’t want to hear it when we are confronted with it.  The reason we repressed the thoughts was because it was painful to think about to begin with.   It’s not very fun bringing it all up.

When you’re knowledgeable enough, you see that sort of thing all over.  Take Rick Warren’s book, “The Purpose Driven Life.”  Apparently President Obama thought highly of the book, and even took part in debates with Rick Warren during the campaign.  But that book is all fear.  Who defines your purpose?  If not you, then who?  It’s simply not choosing who you want to be in life, so you hope someone will make that decision for you.  It’s slavery masked as religion and spirituality.  Jesus teaches all things are possible to him who believes — that is, unless it’s against your “purpose”… In that case, you better not believe for certain things, because that’ll just get you in trouble.

I mentioned change earlier.  I think every change I’ve been noticing lately has to do with two concepts.  1) Love, and 2) Moderation.  Speaking of love, the thing I’ve been noticing is that showing a person love can bring them out of all kinds of problems.  A person dealing with all kinds of issues can overcome a whole lot of things just because they’re accepted and loved.

The power of love is something my personal philosophy has been lacking for too long.  It’s a powerful and deep force.  Being shown true love is 100 times more powerful than any disappointments you may have endured and can blast problems away.  Growing up in a loving family, I never noticed the power behind it.  But once I studied it more, and saw what had been going on, I realized a whole lot.  So many things become irrelevant when you’re placed in a loving environment.

Love can’t make you overcome your inner demons.  That’s your job.  It can fix a lot of things, however.  It also can make everything easier.

Maybe in this entry of “Problems of Humanity” I should talk about Lack of Love, but I honestly don’t understand love near enough.  My philosophy towards life has been incredibly shallow.  I may sound intelligent, but half the time I’m just an idiot.  Half the time in human affairs knowing the answer doesn’t even matter.  Not everything in this world is science, or cause and effect.  There’s things far more valuable to know.  Knowing someone’s there, and is with you.

I learned this simple lesson one time visiting a friend.  As we were talking, his father came in the room.  My friend’s mother called his father on the phone, and I was in the room overhearing the conversation.  They were going through a really rough situation, and I knew the context and what they were talking about, even though I couldn’t hear what she was saying to him.  After listening for a few moments, and hearing the mother sobbing on the other end, he said something to the effect of, “We’ll get through this.  This stuff happens.”

He said something much more loving.  I’m so pathetic, I can’t even remember.  I can’t even paraphrase him correctly, even though it’s so simple.  But I sat back amazed and I realized that I’m a complete idiot.

If I would’ve received that call, I would’ve been laying out strategies, and gone into all kinds of philosophy, and ways to deal with problems.  How we can’t let problems affect us, and to rise above every circumstance.  None of that even matters.   That’s logic, not love.   And you know what?  They got through the problem just fine, together, with such a simple mindset.

That sort of simple love, I’ll be there for you, don’t worry, is elegant and beautiful, like a law of physics.  It’s unmovable and simple to comprehend and express.  It adds a human dynamic to living that a computer like mindset, like my own, could never comprehend.  If you’re not affected by events, you’re not even alive.  Love, like a law of physics, is simple to state, but can be applied to practically anything, and moves things out of the way, like no other force I know.   Maybe to try to put love in as few words as possible:  You live together, die together, and do what you can whenever shit happens.  So simple.

I’d seen it my whole life in Dad.  That’s what Dad does with all of us.  When the car breaks down, what happens?  You call Dad.  How do you fix it, Dad?  And even if he doesn’t know, somehow it gets done.  Phone calls are made.  Money is pooled from some location.  Things just happen.

Drain clogs.  “Dad!!!  The drain’s clogged.”  Then he unplugged it.  Toilet plugged.  Same thing.  Water pump go out?  “Dad!!! Water’s not working.”

With me, I’d seen it, and just assumed it as a sort of unspoken principle.  Everyone in my family is that way.  I couldn’t understand anything different.

I remember in high school one day when my mom never showed up to pick me up from school.  I was like 15.  I don’t even remember why she was unable to make it.  I called up my grandpa, and he came.  He didn’t complain.  Never got mad at mom, or me.  It’s the mindset, “Something happened.  Somehow Jason’s stranded at school, and needs a ride.”  And here came grandpa to pick me up.

I remember getting in the car, and he was smiling.  He said, “Hey Jay man.”  Then when we finally got to my home, as I was getting out he said, “You ever need a ride again, you just give me a call.”

To me, getting stuck at school, then having to walk a huge distance home in the cold was unheard of.  There was a whole network of people who would take care of things like that, and I never had to worry.

Even though growing up I lived in this environment, later my mind came to dominate everything.  I became business, capitalist, Jason and lost my understanding of this.  I thought in debits and credits.  To owe and not to owe.  I give this, you give that.  That’s no way to live.  After all, the economics texts told me that those principles had built the most successful societies.  But what it didn’t say was, “Compared to what?”

But even being around it everyday, my whole life, I never saw it.  I stressed the details in how to accomplish various goals.  But details don’t always matter.  The most fundamental thing is, “We’ll take care of it.  Somehow.”  That’s love.

But I’ve been unable to feel, or express such simple feelings because of events that happened to me ages ago. It really is something else.

Logic tells you to keep getting better, and forces you to be perfect.  If you’re perfect, you’ll no longer have to worry about screwing up.  But life’s not that simple.  Becoming “perfect” is impossible and the mindset isn’t the least bit practical.

Why are you so stressed about becoming perfect, and the ultimate person?  It’s because somehow, if you’re not so perfect, and awesome, someone may not think much of you.  What a nasty, vicious cycle we put ourselves through as human beings.  And really, nobody expects perfection from any of us.  Most of us would be fine with decency and just a little respect.

Wow, that was quite a tangent.  Way off topic, but I’m not removing it.  This is a blog entry, and it doesn’t need to be perfect.

But to finish talking about running away, sometimes we move into denial, and just shut everything out.  I see that going on today everywhere I turn.  The government is getting more and more invasive, into every aspect of our lives.  They’re installing cameras on every corner of the street.  More and more police.  Our civil liberties have been eroding away.  But people deny it.  Anyone who acknowledges it is a “conspiracy nut.”  It’s simply denial.  You don’t have to be a conspiracy theorist to see that every aspect of our lives can be pulled up by anybody with a computer.  We have no privacy whatsoever.  But, we deny it.  Doesn’t exist.

Sometimes we joke about it.  Make everything into a big joke, and don’t take anything seriously.

Sometimes we project our own issues onto others.  Like the preacher who rails on day after day about homosexuality, when he himself is having a gay relationship off camera.  Carl Jung said that the things which annoy us oftentimes say more about us than the thing in question.  When things deeply annoy you, it’s time to look inward and see what’s going on there.  Also, the things we preach with the most zeal tend to be rooted in our own insecurities and issues we’re dealing with.

Sometimes we rationalize things, downplaying the importance of what’s going on.

Another rampant psychological insecurity which plagues this world is fear of insignificance.  Alfred Adler talked about this.  He called it the inferiority complex.  Man’s struggle to be significant.

Everyone wants their name on a plaque.  Some building dedicated to them.  Awards.  Ceremonies.  It’s all people who are insecure about themselves.

How much misery do we all endure when tyrants try to take over the world, hoping to leave their names in the history books and leave a legacy?  When CEOs never get enough.  They may claim it’s all ambition, and they “think big”, but how much of it is really rooted in that?  What if nobody saw you, or cared.  Would you be doing the same thing if everyone on the Earth died, and you were left alone?  If not, then you’re doing the wrong thing.  It’s insecurity.  It’s not facing up to defining yourself, and instead you’re defining yourself through someone else’s eyes.  Hopefully if someone else will acknowledge you as worthwhile, you’ll have accomplished something in life.

As ironic as this sounds, I wish more CEOs would truly be selfish.  If so, I doubt they’d do half of what they do.  But they don’t live for themselves.  They live for glory, recognition, and prestige.  The money is never enough because glory doesn’t know any bounds.  Money isn’t acquired because they have any real use for it.  It’s simply used as a comparative point system, to compare how “valuable” they are.   By who’s standard, is the question.

We also tend to fear the unknown.  That’s the real origin of tradition.  We have a reptilian part in our brains which follows leaders blindly.  When we don’t know something we look to the strong man, and follow without question.  We hope if we imitate him, or find his favor, we too will come out on top.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.  We end up exploited.

When you walk into a cathedral somewhere, and see thousands of people taking place is weird rituals – ash pots, bells ringing, priests in robes, chanting Latin, drinking wine from a cup, taking part in prayer claiming that wine is the blood of God, and so on – it’s all fear of the unknown. At least, that’s why people continue to do it.  I think Joseph Campbell was right in his interpretations of these sorts of ceremonies being rooted in deep psychological principles, but I think that meaning is lost.  It seems to me to be just rote procedure followed out of fear, not out of amazement or love.

When you don’t understand what brings about prosperity, your natural inclination is to say, “Well, if we keep doing what we’re doing now, at least we can count on things staying the same.”  So out of fear of breaking the system, you keep doing what you’ve always done.   “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

That’s the power of tradition, and why people turn to old books.  It worked for grandma, and kept them alive.  Let’s do the same.

I’m exhausted, and have barely even touched on my list.  I have like 20 topics to write on, and didn’t even finish mental weakness and survival, which is just the third one.  I’ll have to deal with that next time.  I have to finish my Space and Geometry entries as well.  I’ll work on it.  Too busy reading though!  Hehe.  And goofing off.  I’m done for the night.  You guys take care!

Phillips Technology Turns Human Skin Into TV Screen

Phillips now has technology where they can put nano-chips onto a silk screen and embed the screen into the top layer of your skin.  Then your entire exterior can become a sort of computer screen capable of “dynamic tattoos”, displays of body statistics on demand, such as your health, blood pressure, and more.

I don’t think it’s going to be very long before technology begins to replace all aspects of the human body.  The other day I was out walking with my brother Rusty, and I was talking to him about how I foresee human beings eventually merging with technology.

I imagine that if we had a time machine, and warped a thousand years into the future — maybe possibly even a few hundred years — human beings would be vastly different than they are now.  I foresee microchips implanted into the brain, improving memory, and thinking power.  I think these chips will be capable of downloading information from a central computer, which contains all human knowledge.  Learning through books will become obsolete.

I think today learning through books is far too slow.  I read probably 8 hours a day, and even with all the reading I do, there’s simply far too much information for me to cover.  Even if I study every waking hour.  And even when I study subjects, if I don’t use the material, I forget a lot of the details.  It’s ridiculous.  If there was technology that made my memory photographic, and I could download information .. I’d be up for it in a second.

When technology reaches that stage, everyone will know everything.  There will be no such thing as specialties, or going to college, or school. Nobody will waste time relearning things others have already learned.  They’ll always be creating something new, and we’ll become creative beings, living in imagination and creating our dreams, and simply enjoying life, instead of toiling away, and rehashing ground someone else has already covered.  No more dull jobs, and doing tedious repetitive work.

It will probably become like Star Trek, where food is created from energy, and materialized on demand.  We’ll live to see how far we can go, and how much we can create and accomplish.  If we’re hungry, we’ll just browse a computer, select what we want, and then it just sort of appears in front of us.  Later, technology would eventually replace that, and we’d probably run on some sort of high tech energy source which disintegrates atoms into raw energy, which is used by a sort of “cyborg” body.  But I doubt the “cyborg” body will be junky and huge, heavy, and metallic.  I’m sure we’d still be able to eat and taste, but food would simply disintegrate when entering our “stomach”, and converted into pure energy.

We’d be nothing like “terminators”.  It wouldn’t be clunky.  The technology which enhances our bodies will be so advanced it’ll be far slicker and smaller than the sleekest cell phone.  I foresee everything being extensions to the human body, not replacements.  Skin would still be soft, and we’d be warm.  Thing is, we’d implant technology where we no longer need coats, or ever need to sweat.  Technology would regulate our body temperature.  We’d rid ourselves from dependence on oxygen, and could travel to any planet — even ones of extreme heat, and extreme cold.  We’d require no special suits.  We’d rid ourselves of the bacterias which produce bad breath and body odor.  We’d rid ourselves of sweating, and needing to take showers.

We’ll probably eventually rid ourselves of internal organs as we know them now.  Get rid of our heart, and probably replace it with something that never plugs up.  Lungs and breathing would go away.  We’d enter a world where diet doesn’t matter, and we never gain weight.  No such thing as diabetes, or heart attacks.  No shortness of breath.

I think with time they’ll implant small chips into our arms and legs which somehow nullify gravity, and can use energy to exert forces.  We’d be able to fly just by thinking, and it’d come just as natural as walking.  We could lift massive objects with little effort.

I think biologists will discover all the genes related to our violent instincts, and they’ll be genetically purged.  We’ll all be kind, peaceful people.

We’d probably wormhole our ways to wherever we wanted to go in our sections of the colonized universe.  Or maybe we’d hold a sort of device, similar to a cell phone, but which could warp us to new locations that we specify.

It’ll be a different world, for sure.  A lot of people these days are into the whole “2012”, “end of the world” thing.  It seems to me that 2012 is a roundabout number where human kind begins to experiment integrating with technology, and transcends “life” as we currently know it.  Maybe that is the sort of new age we’re entering.

Super high tech bodies which never age, never get sick, never get tired, and are extremely difficult to injure.  Sounds awesome to me.  I firmly believe we need to take control of our future.  So far, our bodies have been created almost randomly by evolution, but now it’s time for us to take our lives into our own hands.  I hope I get to see technology like this develop during my lifetime, and possibly even take part in creating things which enhance our lives.

I hear people oftentimes argue, “If technology did everything, what we do with ourselves?”   I think that’s a dumb question.  The universe is infinite and beyond anyone’s comprehension.  If you want to stay a “normal” human, and live your days struggling to survive, fighting off sickness, and working a mindless job on an assembly line, or mopping floors — go for it.  But as for me, and a lot of others, we want to know what’s out there, and explore this vast cosmos, and the parallel alternate realities which exist beside us.

People will have to slowly change the way they view reality.  If you spend your time studying physics, like I do, you’ll realize that how reality works right now is in no way how it has to work.  Most everything we hate can be cured through science.  And we can continually expand our possibilities and rid ourselves of most, if not all limitations.

The thing I don’t understand, however, is what becomes of “identity.”  I could imagine technology embedded into our skin, and we could literally have any skin color we want.  Maybe even with time, we’ll be able to have any body appearance we want using some sort of solid-holographic like technology.  Look like anyone or anything for that matter.  Your voice can sound like anything you want it to.

Really, that all comes down to how consciousness enters the physical body.  That, I don’t know.  That’s the real ringer.  I don’t know how intimate that relationship is.

I think what we’re coming to is an age where we see ourselves as one.  Identity will go away, I think.  Identity will be viewed as a sort of mask.  Like a costume and you’re playing a role in a play.  Life might well become like a video game, where you change your body based on what task or role you’re playing.   You can experience any life you want.  Possibly navigate parallel worlds and dimensions set up for various experiences.  Entire universes which are nothing more than vast amusement parks for our pleasure.  Today we change clothes based on the social function.  Later, maybe we’ll change entire bodies.

I think video games are simply primitive precursors to alternate realities we’ll be constructing in the universe.  There’ll be no distinction between fun and work.  Life will be simply about experiences and living.

I sometimes wonder if alien beings are so advanced that they live that sort of life already.  Sometimes I wonder if prior to being born I “chose” to live in this reality, and was born for the express purpose of changing how things work here.  When I do finally die, I go back to some infinite well of life, sort of like a spirit world, but which doesn’t resemble human existence whatsoever.  I also think the “Jason” life I’m living now can be lived an infinite number of times.  Death seems to me to be an illusion.

In physics energy is always conserved.  It never goes away.  And all matter is simply compressed energy.  So I don’t see why I couldn’t reform this same body I’m in now,  and reform this same exact universe, and live this same life again. If we understood that relationship between consciousness and matter well enough, it seems a logical possibility.

I think the sorts of questions I’m asking now will eventually be answered, possibly within a few generations.  Maybe I’m way off base, but really I don’t know.  I look forward to what the future brings.  I’m sure it’ll be beyond anything I’ve ever thought about — such as the human body being a sort of screen which can display things.  NEVER thought of that.  I’m sure there’ll be countless other things just like this, expanding possibilities of what we could do, if we wish it.

Should Engineers Rule The World?

It seems the famous economist Thorstein Veblen, who lived from 1857 to 1949, thought so.   He wrote a very popular book which is called ‘The Theory Of The Leisure Class.’  I just read about it today in one of my economic history books, and definitely need to buy it.

Unlike many economists who came before him, he argued that people weren’t rational.  When they made decisions, they weren’t always thinking about “utility” and survival.  I burst out laughing when I read a quotation from Veblen:

“The hedonistic conception of man is that of a lightning calculator of pleasures and pains, who oscillates like a homogenous globule of desire of happiness under the impulse stimuli that shift him about the area, but leave him intact.”

Here’s a brief synposis of the book, taken from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Theory_of_the_Leisure_Class

In the book, Veblen argues that economic life is driven not by notions of utility, but by social vestiges from pre-historic times. Drawing examples from his time (turn-of-the-Twentieth-Century America) and anthropology, he held that much of today’s society is a variation on early tribal life.

According to Veblen, beginning with primitive tribes, people began to adopt a division of labor along certain lines. The “higher-status” group monopolized war and hunting while farming and cooking were considered inferior work.

He argued this was due to barbarism and conquest of some tribes over others. Once conquerors took control, they relegated the more menial and labor-intensive jobs to the subjugated people, while retaining the more warlike and violent work for themselves. It did not matter that these “menial” jobs did more to support society (in Veblen’s view) than the “higher” ones. Even within tribes that were initially free of conquerors or violence, Veblen argued that certain individuals, upon watching this labor division take place in other groups, began to mimic (or, in Veblen’s term, emulate) the higher-status groups.

Veblen referred to the emerging ruling class as the “leisure class.” He argued that while this class did perform some work and contributed to the tribe’s well-being, it did so in only a minor, peripheral, and largely symbolic manner. For example, although hunting could provide the tribe with food, it was not as productive or reliable as farming or animal domestication, and compared with the latter types of work, was relatively easier to perform. Likewise, while tribes occasionally required warriors if a conflict broke out, Veblen argued that militaristic members of the leisure class retained their position—and, with it, exemption from menial work—even during the extremely long stretches of time when there was no war, even though they were perfectly capable of contributing to the tribe’s “menial” work during times of peace.

At the same time, Veblen claimed that the leisure class managed to retain its position through both direct and indirect coercion. For example, the leisure class reserved for itself the “honor” of warfare, and often prevented members of the lower classes from owning weapons or learning how to fight. At the same time, it made the rest of the tribe feel dependent on the leisure class’s continued existence due to the fear of hostilities from other tribes or, as religions began to form, the hostility of imagined deities (Veblen argued that the first priests and religious leaders were members of the leisure class).

To Veblen, society never grew out of this stage; it simply adapted into different forms and expressions. For example, he noted that during the Middle Ages, only the nobility was allowed to hunt and fight wars. Likewise, in modern times, he noted that manual laborers usually make less money than white-collar workers.

Veblen, in this book, coined the now-common concepts of conspicuous consumption and conspicuous leisure.

He defined conspicuous consumption as the waste of money and/or resources by people to display a higher status than others. One famous example he used was the use of silver utensils at meals, even though utensils made of cheaper material worked just as well or, in some cases, better.

He defined conspicuous leisure as the waste of time by people to give themselves higher status. As examples, he noted that to be a “gentleman,” a man must study such things as philosophy and the fine arts, which have no economic value in themselves.

Veblen derides neo-classical economists who look for these equilibriums in their complex math equations and advocates they ignore people’s stupidity in decision making.  He said these economists need to spend more time in the real world, studying people’s psychology and what they really do.  In response to the book, in 1950 Professor Harvey Leibenstein published an article entitled “Bandwagon, Snob, and Veblen Effects in the Theory of Consumer Demand.”  He says that Alfred Marshall’s rules of elasticity apply to most types of products, but we need to add a new class of goods which he deems, “Veblen goods.”  These goods are not so much purchased for utility, per se, but moreso by what others will think was paid for the product.  It’s a superiority thing.  “Look at me.  I can afford this.  Can you?”

Normal goods, the cheaper you make them, the more people will buy them.  Demand increases with lower price.  But not with Veblen goods.  Take Gucci handbags for instance.  It’s an image thing.  A social qualifier.  It’s a symbol of your social worth.  You can afford this, and that puts you in a class above others.  But once everyone can have a Gucci bag, it loses its effect.  It becomes a normal good.   These sorts of goods follow a different economic model for pricing, supply and demand.

I think things are a bit more complicated than even what Veblen says, but he has some good ideas.  But anyways, Veblen’s book seems like a fascinating read.  I definitely need it.  I’m also hoping it can shed some insight into a problem I’ve thought about for some time – in capitalistic societies, many products are made for the express purpose of breaking down, so you have to buy a replacement.  Like light bulbs for instance.  They’re made to burn out after so many hours.  Not because they have to.  They’re purposely designed to do so, because the companies need revenue in order to keep producing more light bulbs, and earn profits.  Such a strange, and obviously flawed cycle.  But what if engineers ruled the world?  They’d design the bulb that never burns out, for sure – but would this solve the inherent problem?   Here’s some interesting thoughts, quoted straight from the economic history text:

“Veblen avoids Marx’s class struggle analysis.  To Veblen, the enemies are not capitalists, and the heroes are not laborers.  He portrays a different cast of characters:  The bad guys are businessmen (whether or not they own the companies), and the good guys are engineers.  In the modern world, only the engineers accept the urge to create, improve, and produce.  Businessmen, who boss them around, strangle creativity.  Businessmen thrill at conspicuous consumption.  They produce for one reason only:  to make money.  If they could make money without making a single product, they would be happier.  Compare the dreams of engineers and businessmen.  The engineer goes to bed each night with pends in pocket and calculator on hip.  He dreams of inventing the perfect, absolute efficient motor.  The businessman goes to bed in pin-striped pajamas.  He dreams that the public suddenly finds his old product fashionable.  That way he makes millions of dollars, without investing one cent in new technology or innovative thought.  [… ]
In Engineers and the Price System, Veblen speculated that engineers might grow so disgusted with waste and wanton sabotage that they would overthrow their bosses and take charge of the factory floor and the boardroom.  After all, the administrators needed them more than they needed the administrators.  Technical specialists representing 1 percent of the population, and without one college credit of political science, might emerge the “philosopher kings” of Veblen’s republic: “… it will no longer be practicable to leave … control in the hands of businessmen working at cross purposes for private gain, or to entrust its continued administration to others than suitable trained technological experts, production engineers without a commercial interest.”
Like Marx, Veblen had little idea what the new rulers would do.  But he was sure they would not do worse.”

An Island Of Plastic Garbage

I’ve heard there are large quantities of plastic garbage floating around in the oceans and that it’s been causing problems in the ecosystems.   But what I didn’t know is that there’s an island of plastic garbage, twice the size of Texas, floating way out in the Pacific.  Unbelievable.

I fear for humanity’s future.  Not only do we have to worry about destroying ourselves in a nuclear holocaust, but now we’ve polluted the environment to such an extent that we have islands of trash floating about.  Fish and other wildlife are consuming these small plastic particles, and later down the food chain we’re eating the fish.   Indirectly, we end up consuming these plastic particles which are linked to all kinds of health related issues in us, as the plastics are toxic when consumed.  It leads to diabetes, miscarriages during childbirth, and more.

And this is just one of many issues.  Take the agricultural world.  Pesticides are being dumped on all our crops, which is slowly seeping its way into our water supplies.  Factories and cars are pumping out smog and other CO2 waste into the atmosphere, which many scientists believe causes global warming, and could destroy the planet.  We’re constantly wiping out our rainforests, which are a huge source of oxygen for the planet, which we breathe.  Our foods are filled with preservatives, which are not good for us.  Drug companies, nursing homes, hospitals, and other institutions are flushing drugs of all kinds down the toilet and into sewage systems, which are also making it into our water supplies.  Even people who take medications, their waste contains traces of the pills they’re taking, which makes it into the water.

The environment is going to have to become an issue of paramount importance to everyone.  The big corporations, for short term profits, want cheap ways to discard their waste, and want to keep us ignorant of everything that’s going on.  Thing is, these issues are too crucial to be avoided, or lied about.  There will come a day of reckoning.  We have to change, or we won’t be able to live on planet Earth.