Problems Faced By A One World Government

Tonight I grabbed a book off my shelf which I hadn’t found time to read:  Authority And The Individual by Bertrand Russell.  I definitely wasn’t disappointed.  He had fascinating things to say about uniting mankind.   He points us to the startling conclusion that very often it’s our common hatreds that unite us, that mankind’s instincts demand tribal warfare and competition, and that without outlet to such things no unity can ever expect to be permanent.  He also asserts that the unity which exists in the our modern nation-states is mostly rooted in fear.  I’m simply going to quote some passages directly from the book, and bold things that I found particularly important.

“Modern loyalty to the vast groups of our time, in so far as it is strong and subjectively satisfying, makes use still of the old psychological mechanism evolved in the days of small tribes.  Congenial human nature, as opposed to what is made of it by schools and religions, by propaganda and economic organizations, has not changed much since the time when men first began to have brains of the size to which we are accustomed.  Instinctively we divide mankind into friends and foes — friends, toward whom we have the morality of co-operation; foes, towards whom we have that of competition.  But this division is constantly changing; at one moment, a man hates his business competitor, at another, when bother are threatened by Socialism or by an external enemy, he suddenly begins to view him as a brother.  Always when we pass beyond the limits of the family it is the external enemy which supplies the cohesive force. In times of safety we can afford to hate our neighbor, but in times of danger we must love him.  People do not, at most itmes, love those whom they find sitting next to them in a bus, but during the blitz they did.

It is this that makes the difficulty of devising means of world-wide unity.  A world state, if it were firmly established, would have no enemies to fear, and would therefore be in danger of breaking down through lack of cohesive force. Two great religions — Buddhism and Christianity — have sought to extend to the whole race the co-operative feeling that is spontaneous towards fellow tribesmen.  They have preached the brotherhood of Man, showing by the use of the word “brotherhood” that they are attempted to extend beyond its natural bounds and emotional attitude which, in its origin, is biological.  If we are all children of God, then we are all one family.  But in practice those who in theory adopted this creed have always felt that those who did not adopt it were not children of God but children of Satan, and the old mechanism of hatred of those outside the tribe has returned, giving added vigor to the creed, but in a direction which diverted it from its original purpose.  Religion, morality, economic self-interest, the mere pursuit of biological survival, all supply to our intelligence unanswerable arguments in favor of world-wide cooperation, but the old instincts that have come down to use from our tribal ancestors rise up in indignation, feeling that life would lose its savor if there were no one to hate, that anyone who could love such a scoundrel as So-and-so would be a worm, that struggle is the law of life, and that in a world where all loved one another there would be nothing to live for. If the unification of mankind is ever to be realized, it will be necessary to find ways of circumventing our largely unconscious primitive ferocity, partly by establishing a reign of law, and partly by finding innocent outlets for our competitive instincts.

. . . . We now know that a life which goes excessively against natural impulse is one which is likely to involve effects of strain that may be quite as bad as indulgence in forbidden impulses would have been.  People who live a life which is unnatural beyond a point are likely to be filled with envy, malice and all uncharitableness. They may develop strains of cruelty, or, on the other hand, they may so completely lose all joy in life that they have no longer any capacity for effort.  This latter result has been observed among savages brought suddenly in contact with modern civilization.  Anthropologists have described how Papuan head hunters, deprived by white authority of their habitual sport, lose all zest, and are no longer able to be interested in anything.  I do not wish infer that they should have been allowed to go on hunting heads, but I do mean that it would have been worth while if psychologists had taken some trouble to find some innocent substitute activity.  Civilized Man everywhere is, to some degree, in the position of the Papuan victims of virtue.  We have all kinds of aggressive impulses, and creative impulses, which society forbids us to indulge, and the alternative that it supplies in the shape of football matches and all-in wrestling are hardly adequate.  Anyone who hopes that in time it may be possible to abolish war should give serious thought to the problem of satisfying harmlessly the instincts that we inherit from long generations of savages. For my part I find sufficient outlet in detective stories, where I alternatively identify myself with the murderer and the hunts-man-detective, but I know there are those who whom this vicarious outlet is too mild, and for them something stronger should be provided.

I do not think that ordinary human beings can be happy without competition, for competition has been, ever since the origin of Man, the spur to most serious activities.  We should not, therefore, attempt to abolish competition, but only to see to it that it takes forms which are not too injurious. Primitive competition was a conflict as to which should murder the other man and his wife and children; modern competition in the shape of war still takes this form.  But in sport, in literary and artistic rivalry, and in constitutional politics it takes forms which do very little harm and yet offer a fairly adequate outlet for our combative instincts.  What is wrong in this respect is not that such forms of competition are bad, but that they form too small a part in the lives of ordinary men and women.

Apart from war, modern civilization has aimed increasingly at security, but I am not at all sure that the elimination of all danger makes for happiness. I should like at this point to quote a passage from Sir Arthur Keith’s New Theory Of Human Evolution:

‘Those who have visited the peoples living under a reign of ‘wild justice’ bring back accounts of happiness among natives living under such conditions.  Freya Stark, for example, reported thus of South Arabia:  ‘When I came to travel in that part of the country where security is non-existent, i found a people, though full of lament over their life of perpetual blackmail and robbery, yet just as cheerful and as full of the ordinary joy of living as anywhere on earth.’  Dr. H. K. Fry had a similar experience among the aborigines of Australia.  ‘A native in his wild state,’ he reports, ‘lives in constant danger; hostile spirits are about him constantly.  Yet he is light-hearted and cheerful . . . indulgent to his children and kind to his aged parents.’ My third illustration is taken from the Crow Indians of America, who have been living under the eye of Dr. R. Lowrie for many years.  They are now living in security of a reserve.  ‘Ask a Crow,’ reports Dr. Lowrie, ‘whether he would have security as now, or danger as of old, and his answer is — “danger as of old . . . there was glory in it.” ‘ I am assuming that the wild conditions of life I have been describing were those amid which mankind lived through the whole of the primal period of its evolution.  It was amid such conditions that man’s nature and character were fashioned, one of the conditions being the practice of blood-revenge.”

Such effects of human psychology account for some things which, for me at least, were surprising when in 1914 I first became aware of them.  Many people are happier during a war than they are in peace time, provided the direct suffering entailed by the fighting does not fall too heavily upon them personally.  A quiet life may well be a boring life.  The unadventurous existence of a well-behaved citizen, engaged in earning a moderate living in a humble capacity, leaves completely unsatisfied all that part of his nature which, if he had lived 400,000 years ago, would have found ample scope in the search for food, in cutting of the heads of enemies, and in escaping the attentions of tigers. When war comes the bank clerk may escape and become a commando, and then at last he feels that he is living as nature intended him to live.  But, unfortunately, science has put into our hands such enormously powerful means of satisfying our destructive instincts, that to allow them free play no longer serves any evolutionary purpose, as it did while men were divided into petty tribes.  The problem of making peace with our anarchic impulses is one which has been too little studied, but one which becomes more and more imperative as scientific technique advances.  From the purely logical point of view it is unfortunate that the destructive side of technique has advanced so very much more rapidly than the creative side.  In one moment a man may kill 500,000 people, but he cannot have children any quicker than in the days of our savage ancestors.  If a many could have 500,000 children as quickly as by an atomic bomb he can destroy 500,000 enemies, we might, at the cost of enormous suffering, leave the biological problem to the struggle for existence and the survival of the fittest.  But in the modern world the old mechanism of evolution can no longer be relied upon.

The problem of the social reformer, therefore, is not merely to seek means of security, for if these means were found provide no deep satisfaction the security will be thrown away for the glory of adventure.    The problem is rather to combine that degree of security which is essential to the species, with forms of adventure and danger and contest which are compatible with the civilized way of life. And in attempts to solve this problem we must remember always that, although our manner of life and our institutions and our knowledge have  undergone profound changes, our instincts both for good and evil remain very much what they were when our ancestors’ brains first grew to their present size . . . . A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short.

I think perhaps the essence of the matter was given by the Red Indian whom I quoted a moment ago, who regretted the old life because “there was glory in it.”  Every energetic person wants something that can count as “glory.”

Though there’s a lot to consider, I know for a fact that everything he said is true.  When I look around me it’s everywhere.

I have a very religious family, and the things he mentioned about Christianity are completely true.  Brotherly love is soon abandoned, and vehement hatreds arise for others based on petty doctrinal issues and things which aren’t even relevant to life.   They love the sinner, and plead them to come to the loving arms of Jesus, but can’t stand the Baptists, because they don’t believe in speaking in tongues.  They can’t stand the Church of Christ, because they say there’s more to being saved than just confessing to Jesus, there’s also works!  They can’t stand Catholics, because confessing your sins to a priest instead of directly to God is just wrong.

Tribal warfare is given outlet in politics.  Go to the Huffington Post and read the comments and what they say about conservatives.  They can’t stand them.  Republicans are called every name in the book.  Then turn on Fox News and its the same thing but from the other side.  Left versus right.  Both sides gnawing at each other, despising one another.

To most everyone it’s just taking some side and being part of a group.  How many people do you think have honestly compared Keynesian monetary policies to supply-side economics, and have seriously considered the effects of policies, analyzing each alternative empirically and historically?  One in a million!  The rest just join some tribe and want to fit in with the crowd.  But even though they’re all clueless, they’ll still fight and argue, and call the others stupid.

The reality of the situation is that neither simple tax cuts nor big stimulus programs have been proven to consistently bring the economy back in line.   But that’s not what the argument is even about.  People don’t long for truth in religion or politics – they long to be a member of some tribal affiliation.

We long for tribal warfare.  The other day I was in Wal-Mart and went to the video game section.  I looked at the games we play to entertain ourselves, myself included.  I was with my older brother and he picked up a game called “Modern Warfare” and he said, “You know, they say this is the second best selling game ever created.”  What do you do in that game?  Suit up, grab your guns, and battle one another in modern warfare!

I also saw World of Warcraft and Aion.  World of Warcraft might well be the most popular game ever created.  There’s millions of players.  And what do you do in that game?

They literally transport you back in time, give you a club, and you ruthlessly go around slaying beasts for experience points.  Then you take the skins and other drops back to town and sell them for gold.  You then use that money and buy better equipment and fight each other.  You’re divided off into two major factions, who combat one another and you’re awarded points for killing them.

You also can do quests for various NPCs (I think that stands for non-player-characters).  And what sort of quests are you asked to do?  You go gather wood for someone, hunt some animals and bring back the skins, or go slay some evil criminal boss hiding in a cave.

It’s incredible when you think about it.  Even if many of us deny it and push it into our unconscious, we secretly dream of being cave men again; the life of the savage appeals to us.

Even with all the security our modern world provides us, we’re bored out of our minds – and as society continues to “progress” is this what awaits us?  More boredom, and more vivid virtual realities living as cavemen?

Some Recent Thoughts

For the past couple of weeks I’ve mostly been studying economics and biology.  Today I watched David Attenborough’s film “State Of The Planet:  Is There A Crisis?”   Basically he was telling us that on our current path we will soon annihilate a huge portion of life on this planet leading to a mass extinction.  Absent a massive effort on our part to preserve the life on this planet, nearly half of all species will be killed.

In order to appreciate this I’ve acquired all of his films and have been watching them.  Whether it be birds, reptiles, plants, the life in the oceans, deserts, the forests, and more, I’ve been watching him travel and document the life all over this planet, catching it all on film.  Then I get to thinking that within the next hundred years or so, most all of that will be gone.

He’s become one of my new heroes.  He’s lived the exact sort of life I’d love to live myself.  In his 1984 series “The Living Planet”, he’s hovering over the plains in Africa in a hot air balloon, talking about the thermal up-drafts and how the vultures glide along them, filming them.

It’s amazing.  I think to myself, “I’d love to be up right now.”

Next we find him in the Arizona deserts, with huge cacti around him.  Then he shows how much they expand when it rains.  He sits down beside one and informs us, “You know, in such a dry environment you may be tempted to cut open one of these cacti to get a drink.  Unfortunately that’d be a bad idea because you see, these saguaros have a special sort of poison within them.”

In the next episode he’s underwater swimming with the fish in a coral reef, then later he’s descending down into some cave in Mexico.  “Carved over the centuries by the rainwater, these limestone caves extend for hundreds of miles underwater, most of them still unexplored.  Let’s have a look shall we!”  Then he’s scuba-diving with the crew.  “You know it’d be incredibly easy to get lost down here, and if it wasn’t for this life-line rope we have here, we certainly would be lost as well.”

That’s so awesome.  He goes into another cave and there’s millions of bats clinging to the ceiling and when just the right time of the evening comes they all fly out in a big swarm in a giant roar.   “Let’s go deeper shall we?”  There you find weird worms hanging from the ceiling and all sorts of strange life forms.

His videos not only are informative, but they’re just downright amazing to watch.

Take whales for instance.  They feed on krill, which are these tiny shrimp like creatures who live near the beaches.  Well, we’ve destroyed most all the habitats where the krill breed and live, drilling for oil and things like that, and now the whales have nothing to eat.  Whale populations are like 3% of what they were a century ago.

Species of all kinds are going extinct every day.  We’re leveling down the rain forests and chopping everything down to make more farms and build more homes.  Other species go extinct when we over hunt them.  We as humans are just oblivious to what we’re doing to the Earth.

Strangely too, if you try to discuss these issues with so many people they think you’re talking about some sort of “liberal conspiracy.”  Until just recently I hadn’t done a whole lot of studies on these sorts of things, and I too was rather ignorant in this area, but a conspiracy?

I knew we were destroying the Earth, but what I didn’t understand is the gravity of the situation we’re currently in.  My failure was in the recognition of the sheer magnitude of the destruction we’re doing, but I’ve never been stupid enough to deny that it exists.

I also acquired a lecture set by the Teaching Company by Professor Richard Wolfson on Climate Change.   I sat for hours looking at the charts he provided, and just found myself pondering it all.

We’re in serious trouble.   The Earth is in serious trouble.  This stuff is bad news.

When you try to give voice to these issues, there’s this wave of morons, mostly given a “credible” voice by Fox News, who say it’s all some sort of conspiracy.

I saw Sarah Palin making a statement about global warming.  She remarked to a roaring crowd, “Well, polar bears will just have to learn to swim.”  It was returned with resounding applause.

I can’t think of any way to express the sheer ignorance of that woman.  Sarah, polar bears DO swim.  They sometimes swim up to 60 miles between ice sheets.  When the ice sheets begin to melt and break apart, they separate and the polar bears swim between them hunting seals.  The debate is over the cause of the Earth’s warming, not whether or not it’s happening.  The fact that it’s happening is a fact that’s not even contested.  Are you seriously denying temperature gauges placed all over the Earth and the scientists’ data of the ice along the poles and sea levels?  I wish she’s just go back to being a  hockey mom and read some books, instead of spouting stupidity on national television.

But they’re always saying things like, “Well, look at this snow storm.  So much for global warming.”  *Sigh*… It’s about averages.  AVERAGES.  But I guess I can’t expect such people to understand complexities involved with statistics.  I suppose they’d learn statistics if they went to college, but to them, after all, college is the domain of the “liberal” professors, who start to confront them with things like facts, reasoning, and science.   If they went there they’d be indoctrinated into the “liberal agenda.”

We have good faith that the climate models used in climatology are accurate.  They can run their models using the computer, dividing the Earth up into cells, and then emitting the CO2 into the atmosphere, and all the other factors such as volcanic eruptions, oceans, etc., and they can reproduce the exact data that happened during the past 150 years.  As I studied it all I found that their models take tons of stuff into account.  They’ve thought of near everything.

And if they take out anthropogenic effects from their computer models and run them again, they get lower temperatures.  It’s all pretty convincing.

But it’s always like this.  People spend their lives studying something and yet novices who don’t know anything about the subject matter begin to doubt them.

It’s even worse in economics.  People who know nothing about money and economics all seem to have opinions on what the government should do get the economy back on track.  Money’s a touchy subject but man, read some books before having an opinion!  The debate gets muddled when people are just saying stupid stuff that’s not even relevant.

I myself had doubts about climate change.  I felt that the temperature rise we’ve experienced could possibly be accounted for by changes in solar activity and was going to wait to make my own decision on the matter after I studied the detailed physics involved.  As I’ve studied it more I’ve found out that they’ve taken the sun into account to great detail, and the sun’s energy changes involved are not enough to explain the changes we’ve experienced.  Climate change is real.

It is irresponsible for a news organization to give someone that stupid a voice.   But that network is just gone.  Not only do you have idiots like Palin as a “contributor”, you also have Glenn Beck throwing up pictures of Hitler and Stalin on a blackboard, misspelling socialism, then telling us that Obama’s healthcare policies are no different than Nazi Germany.  It’s too much to bear, and he’s like the second most popular news man, next to O’Reilly.

I’m not here to try to win an argument.  I’m not here to look smarter than anyone.  I could care less about that sort of thing.  These issues are far beyond any of us.  Those life forms that we’re destroying evolved over hundreds of millions of years, and we will soon destroy them in the next hundred.

The Earth can’t handle this damage.  It can’t handle this level of pollution.  It can’t handle these exponentially increasing human populations.  We can’t keep modifying crops, polluting the water, destroying ecosystems drilling for oil then pumping the CO2 into the atmosphere further damaging the planet.

That CO2 will be up in that atmosphere for anywhere to 5,000 to 35,000 years.  Unlike water, which after arriving in the atmosphere soon precipitates back downward as rainfall, CO2 stays up there for a very long time.  It re-radiates the infrared radiation back down to Earth, further warming the planet like an insulating blanket.  Once we screw up the atmosphere, it’s screwed up for a long time — not to mention feedback effects!

Having studied Physics in depth, it’s nice being able to follow all the subtleties of climatologists’ arguments.   When they were talking about properties of gases and how they behave in the atmosphere I was like, “Hey, I know all this stuff already from statistical mechanics!”

Some people may read all my recent posts on this blog and think I’m a depressing person to listen to, and all I do is speak of gloom, doom, and despair.  Well, these aren’t trivial issues.  It’s a very real warning.

I have posts on here dating way back talking about the housing bubble and Fed policies.  Was it gloom and despair when I warned about all that too?  It could’ve been fixed and avoided, but instead we’re in a depression worse than the Great Depression and it’s requiring trillions of dollars in bailouts to fix, which is bankrupting this nation.  Goons on Wall Street are still on the loose.   Was it gloom and doom to warn you in advance?

Here’s my latest warning to everyone – those animals we see on the discovery channel may not be around in a hundred years.  They’ll all be historical novelties that kids will learn about in school, but will never be able to see for themselves.

We’re already seeing effects of this massive pollution and destruction on the planet.  More and more people are getting cancer.  Toxins from the drinking water and other pollutants are getting into people’s systems and their bodies can’t fight it off any longer.  I forgot which study I saw recently.  There’s a huge increase in the number of children being born with some serious defect.  I can’t remember the exact details.  It was a defect causing serious mental retardation.

If you have this perspective in mind and then read the news, it’s all pretty clear.  We’re polluting and destroying the Earth in a myriad of ways and it’s all coming back to bite us.   All the destruction we’re doing is too complicated, and we don’t understand the full degree to which our interventions destroy the ecosystem, and lots of things are going wrong.

This sort of stuff is only going to get worse with time.  But what can we do?

I can only think of one real solution – people have to stop hatching out babies.  We need far less humans on this planet, not more.  I personally feel we need to reduce the human population to about 1/3 of what it is now.  I’m not talking about some mass eugenics program and death camps.  I’m just saying we should limit the number of children people can have and phase out a huge portion of humanity within the next hundred years.   Bulldoze down most of our neighborhoods and convert them back into natural habitats.  And sadly, it doesn’t help that the areas most prone to overpopulation are also the poorest.

The Earth’s resources are not infinite.  We’d live richer lives if we didn’t have to pollute the planet to such an extent to sustain ourselves.

You know, just 150 years ago buffalo used to roam the plains where we now live.  Now it’s all houses and factory smokestacks.   Just look at this world population chart:

You can see that the UN is hoping that developing countries will teach their people to stop hatching out children, and predict that our populations will decrease.  But just look at that!  Billions and billions of people hatching out in the past 50 years alone.  All those mouths to feed.  And as these less developed nations become industrialized, they too will be pumping out CO2 to produce energy for themselves.   Even more environments will be destroyed.

I don’t know what’s going to happen.   Man it depresses me.  Humanity faces such huge problems.  And a lot of this we impose on ourselves out of stupidity.

I’m never going to have children.  It has nothing to do with me being “selfish” and not wanting to raise them.  It’s because of this chart.  I have to be an example showing that we need massive population reduction.  But unfortunately, what it really leads to is smart people not having children, and dumb idiots hatching them out by the dozen.  Then in a democracy the majority rule, and it all just gets worse.

Hopefully the education system will teach these kids that everything their stupid parents are telling them at home is wrong.  But school curriculums are guided by politicians, who are elected by the people, and in states like Texas their teachers are supposed to teach them creationism and that evolution is just a theory.

I was raised in a Christian home and taught all that stuff.  In school they never mentioned evolution in biology class.  Never.  Not here in Missouri.  I learned about cell division and all kinds of technical details, but they never offered arguments about the origin of species and things like that.

A lot of kids who believe that stuff aren’t dumb, they just are being raised in environments where they are never exposed to the arguments and facts.  I feel for them.  I was pretty angry when I first found out about all of it.  “What is all this bullshit I’ve been taught my whole life?”

Something You May Not Know About Inbreeding…

As I studied Biological Anthropology today I came across this, which I found particularly interesting:  (This is found within the chapter on gene flow and genetic variation).

“Studies of the genetics of human and other populations have generally concluded that despite our long-standing belief that inbreeding, or reproduction between close kin, is always bad for the health of a population, very limited amounts of gene flow can eliminate the harmful effects of inbreeding.  A study of rhesus macaque monkeys conducted in the mountains of Pakistan showed only limited migration between breeding groups.  Nonetheless, very limited gene flow from males who immigrated to the valley where the study was conducted were enough to maintain high levels of genetic diversity (Melnic and Hoelzer, 1996).  Studies such as this do not imply that inbreeding is normal and healthy, only that a low level of immigration apparently can offset its harmful effects in a population.”

Study Finds That Smart Women Drink Heavily

Studies are finding that the smarter a person is, the more likely they are to drink often.

Women who went to university consume more alcohol than their less-highly-educated counterparts, a major study has found.

Those with degrees are almost twice as likely to drink daily, and they are also more likely to admit to having a drinking problem.

A similar link between educational attainment and alcohol consumption is seen among men, but the correlation is less strong.

The findings come from a comprehensive study carried out at the London School of Economics in which researchers tracked the lives of thousands of 39-year-old women and men, all born in the UK during the same week in 1970.

The report concludes: “The more educated women are, the more likely they are to drink alcohol on most days and to report having problems due to their drinking patterns.

“The better-educated appear to be the ones who engage the most in problematic patterns of alcohol consumption.”

And why is this?

According to the study, a substantial part of the educational effect is likely to be due to better-educated women having more opportunities and tending to have middle-class lifestyles, exposing them to circumstances that favour alcohol consumption.

“Reasons for the positive association of education and drinking behaviours may include: a more intensive social life that encourages alcohol intake; a greater engagement into traditionally male spheres of life, a greater social acceptability of alcohol use and abuse; more exposure to alcohol use during formative years; and greater postponement of childbearing and its responsibilities among the better educated,” says the report.

Those are kind of strange reasons to drink, to me anyway.  I’m not going to doubt the study, but those sorts of things could never drive me to drinking.  There are things that could drive me to drinking though.  The utter pointlessness of life.

I’ve been studying anthropology all day today.  This book was going into a history of the development of evolutionary thought, and its acceptance within society.  It talked about how the religious priests in the early twentieth century  argued heavily against it because it lead to a philosophy that life was completely meaningless – our bodies just randomly created machines seeking to reproduce their forms, fighting for food, and struggling to survive in a harsh environment.  And to what apparent end?

I think such arguments are perfectly valid.  They certainly hit home with me. When I see the science behind evolution, genetics, the origin of human life, and all of that, I just want to look away, but where am I going to go?

It depressed Darwin, and it definitely depresses me.  When I watch David Attenborough’s films, I see this magical world of beauty and wonder, yet it is so incredibly cruel.

I watched these baby turtles hatching out of their eggs.  They start to make their way for the beach across the sand.  I see them and think, “Awww, what adorable little things.”  Then birds start swooping down on them.  This intense music kicks in and the turtles are scrambling for their lives.  More birds appear.  It’s a feast!  The little turtles and running as fast as their little feet will take them.

Then they get to the waves.  Are they free?  Have they made it? Attenborough starts to narrate, “Those who survive the birds, most will drown to death in these waves, but fortunately a few will survive.”  A FEW will survive?  Yep, but MOST will die.  Then he showed a dead turtle sloshing around in the waves, little feet no longer moving.

I just sat in my chair, crushed.  I shook my head and thought, “This is the world.  I live here.  Why?  Why are things this way?”

I love his films, mainly because he doesn’t hide anything.  He shows nature’s wonder and beauty, but also its cruelty.

The turtles are adorable.  The birds are beautiful and very neat to look at.  The beach is breathtaking and gorgeous, but what kind of MADMAN designed this universe?  I mean, what the hell?

I think it was Carl Jung who thought Gnosticism described the origins of the universe well.  According to them a demon with a divine essence created this universe.  The being is incredibly brilliant, but also very evil.  Sounds about right to me!

If that all isn’t enough, just reflect on the Earth and how it will be vaporized when the sun starts finishing up its cycles in a few billion years.  Check this out (from Wikipedia)

The Sun was formed about 4.57 billion years ago when a hydrogen molecular cloud collapsed.  Solar formation is dated in two ways: the Sun’s current main sequence age, determined using computer models of stellar evolution and nucleocosmochronology, is thought to be about 4.57 billion years.  This is in close accord with the radiometric date of the oldest Solar System material, at 4.567 billion years ago.

The Sun is about halfway through its main-sequence evolution, during which nuclear fusion reactions in its core fuse hydrogen into helium. Each second, more than four million metric tons of matter are converted into energy within the Sun’s core, producing neutrinos and solar radiation. At this rate, the Sun has so far converted around 100 Earth-masses of matter into energy. The Sun will spend a total of approximately 10 billion years as a main sequence star.

The Sun does not have enough mass to explode as a supernova. Instead, in about 5 billion years, it will enter a red giant phase, its outer layers expanding as the hydrogen fuel in the core is consumed and the core contracts and heats up. Helium fusion will begin when the core temperature reaches around 100 million kelvins and will produce carbon, entering the asymptotic giant branch phase.

Earth’s fate is precarious. As a red giant, the Sun will have a maximum radius beyond the Earth’s current orbit, 1 AU (1.5×1011 m), 250 times the present radius of the Sun. However, by the time it is an asymptotic giant branch star, the Sun will have lost roughly 30% of its present mass due to a stellar wind, so the orbits of the planets will move outward. If it were only for this, Earth would probably be spared, but new research suggests that Earth will be swallowed by the Sun owing to tidal interactions. Even if Earth would escape incineration in the Sun, still all its water will be boiled away and most of its atmosphere would escape into space. Even during its current life in the main sequence, the Sun is gradually becoming more luminous (about 10% every 1 billion years), and its surface temperature is slowly rising. The Sun used to be fainter in the past, which is possibly the reason life on Earth has only existed for about 1 billion years on land. The increase in solar temperatures is such that already in about a billion years, the surface of the Earth will become too hot for liquid water to exist, ending all terrestrial life.

Happy thoughts!  Wheeeee!  *Spins in circles like a school-girl*

I just recently did a big study in neuroscience.  That depressed me too.  The lecturer got to talking about happiness and our reward system.  She talked about how she’s hooked up electrodes to different animal’s brains in just the right spot, and set it up to fire off a mild electrical pulse every time a lever was pressed.  This would stimulate say a dog’s limbic system, basically making it “stoned”, feeling pure ecstasy.

Any animal you do this with they’ll sit there and push that lever indefinitely until they become so weak they can’t even press it anymore.  They’ll urinate on themselves.  Won’t get up to eat.  Won’t care about sex.  Won’t care about anything but pressing that lever.   If you don’t stop them, they’ll die.

The point?  That’s what happiness is.  Certain inputs from your sensory organs, and thought processes, if it all goes through the cycles properly eventually gives you a little pulse in your limbic system, which is all happiness is.  Like a complex circuit conducting electricity.  If it eventually ends up firing off the limbic system, you’ll feel happy, and that’s all we as humans, or any other animal on this planet, care about.

That’s how the “emotional coloring” of life works.  The things you enjoy are the things which fire off that limbic system at the same time you’re experiencing something.  And we’re hard wired to “like” certain things, and other things we wire ourselves up in such a way to fire off that limbic system at different times.  And if you’re good at playing this little game, you’ll reproduce and hatch out more of your kind, though your kids will be variations of you.

This is also why people are so cruel to one another.  I remember in high school there was a kid who was always being picked on.  The jocks did such terrible things to him.  But human beings are wired in such a way that if they can dominate others around them, their reward system is triggered saying, “You must be biologically superior.  You’re a better model.  Here, I’ll reward you.  Continue doing this.”  That is, until someone else even more superior comes along.  And so the battle goes on.

Such feelings are meant to give you a drive to improve.  Like if you see someone who can do a job really simply, yet it’s really difficult to you, you feel intimidated.  That’s supposed to drive you to be better.  Unfortunately, those same systems end up doing horrible things as well.

Learning how the brain works is something else.  I don’t know what to think of it.  Sometimes I try not to think about it.  Happiness and love used to be magical.  Now it’s just inputs and outputs to me.  Firing off of signals.  It seems so… so… empty.  Its hard for me to get excited about it, but then again who knows, maybe that’s just me running from my own existence.

It feels so special to fall in love with someone.  When she’s mine, and I’m hers.  But to think I could go into my brain, if I was a skilled enough surgeon, rewire some things, and then no longer love her.  That fact disgusts me.  I could also make people love me.

*Shakes head*.  What meaning is there to such things?

There’s some sort of deeper reality underneath everything I think to be real.  Learning neuroscience has lead me to understand how consciousness works on a deeper level.  I have a better “feel” for what it is.  Also, studying quantum mechanics and general relativity also seem to point toward this same underlying reality.

This reality is almost like a pop-up book and I’m learning that there’s multiple pages, whereas nobody has ever been able to turn the page.  We’ve been stuck in this weird world, yet we’re slowly peering deeper and can see something beyond it.  We’re starting to realize that there’s other pages and it puzzles us.  There’s time there, yet it’s not the same sort of time.  Causation in the normal sense of the word isn’t the same.  Events from the future can influence the past, and the past the future.  Time has no arrow or set direction.  It’s all really really weird.

The Gnostic demiurge sits up above in the heavens, hovering the Earth, and then decides to appear before me in in a field somewhere when I’m out for a walk.  It starts to laugh manically at me.  “Bwahahahaha.  So mortal, it seems you’re slowly catching on.”  Then I throw up my middle finger and turn away.

It feels good to figure some of this out, even though it’s all so incredibly complicated.

I myself wonder if some of these smart women come to learn facts like these, and to top it all off find their jobs boring, or stressful, or whatever, and just escape it with alcohol.

Why Everyone Should Study Economics

The more I study, the more I am convinced that the one of the most important things for people to understand is money and economics.  I say this because it’s not only the cause of prosperity, but also that of wars and conflict.  Today I’ve been studying history and came across this (talking about World War II):

“Economics conditions were a third important cause of the outbreak of the war.  The huge reparations imposed upon the Germans, and the French occupation of much of Germany’s industrial heartland, helped, as we have seen, to retard Germany’s economic recovery and bring on the debilitating inflation of the 1920s.  The depression of the 1930s contributed to the coming of the war in several ways.  It intensified economic nationalism.  Baffled by problems of unemployment and business stagnation, governments resorted to high tariffs in an attempt to preserve the home market for their own producers.  The depression was also responsible for a marked increase in armaments production, which was seen as a means of reducing unemployment.  Despite the misgivings of some within the governments of Britain and France, Germany was allowed to rearm.  Armaments expansion, on a large scale, was first undertaken by Germany about 1935, with the result that unemployment was substantially reduced and business boomed.  Other nations followed the German example, not simply as a way of boosting their economies, but in response to Nazi military power.  The depression helped as well to produce a new wave of militant expansionism directed toward the conquest of neighboring territories as a means of solving economic problems.  Japan took the lead in 1931 with the invasion of Manchuria.  The decline of Japanese exports of raw silk and cotton cloth meant that the nation as a consequence was unable to pay for needed imports of coal, iron, and other minerals.  Japanese militarists were thus furnished with a convenient pretext for seizing Manchuria, where supplies of these commodities could then be purchased for Japanese currency.  Mussolini, in part to distract the Italians from the domestic problems brought on by economic depression, invaded and annexed Ethiopia in 1936.  Finally, the depression was primarily responsible for the triumph of Nazism, whose expansionist policies contributed directly to the outbreak of the war.”

Just look at that.  It’s glaring.  Economics is the key to understanding so much about life.  It’s not just about investing and earning money.  It literally runs the major events of history!

First off you see that if some system is imposed on people which is completely unfair, leaving people oppressed, you always get wars.   The indemnities imposed on Germany brought us Hitler and the Nazis.   When the good ol’ boys started carving up the nations after World War I, splitting up the “spoils”, that too got half the world pissed off.

Then we have international trade.  Nations start to trade with one another but then one of them starts to win, and domestic businesses start to go under, losing to their international competitors.  This then leads to unemployment and lost jobs, and when people lose their jobs and have no money to buy groceries and pay their bills, they get angry.  Tariff walls are thrown up, hoping to protect domestic businesses from foreigners to keep jobs alive.  But this causes big international corporations to lose substantial profits, and they start complaining to their leaders, “What are you going to do about it?”   International tensions build.

Then there’s the business trade cycle.  To this day, much of the business cycle remains a mystery.  But as we all know, it has its cycles, sometimes giving prosperity, and then other times dipping down leading to unemployment.   Then the Keynesian economists start telling governments to spend on war munitions in order to boost the economy.  Nations throughout the past century have followed this sort of advice and what do we get?  Let’s look at Nazi Germany.  Watch as the production of military armaments leads to a spiral of destruction.

The Germans were blamed for all the problems of World War I, and had to pay for all the damages sending their economy into a tailspin.  Huge taxes were imposed on the people and that money was shipped off to the victors of the first World War, to pay for damages.

So their people are broke and don’t know how they’re going to make it.  The high taxes run off businessmen who find it more profitable to do business elsewhere.  This leads to increasing unemployment and the government doesn’t know what to do.  Prior to the first World War they were the pride of the world.  They were on top of their game, leaders in science, politics, and philosophy.  Now those same people  find themselves incapable of even buying groceries to get them through the week.

Naturally everyone’s angry.  The people know they’re better than where they’re finding themselves, and they’d had enough.  The people press their leaders to do something.  But what could possibly be done in such a situation?  They’re already broke because of the high war indemnities imposed on them.  This leaves only one option.  They begin printing money and giving it out to people in the form of unemployment insurance.   It’s very unfortunate, but you can’t do things like this without serious economically destructive ramifications.  Next thing you know they’re rolling wheel-barrels of currency to buy a loaf of bread.  And the more money they print, the less incentive businessmen have to stay because their profits and savings are being destroyed, so unemployment only gets worse.

This unfair and unjust weight on Germany led the people to accept a radical leader like Hitler, who promised change.   Then they start producing tons of military armaments to get their economy out of their recession, and this scares all the other nations so they too start cranking out weapons.   And then the tension builds, everyone watching everyone else.  Everyone’s nervous.

With a stockpile of tanks, missiles, and other weapons, the greed sets in.  This happens by necessity.  Politicians tend to be greedy opportunists.  After all, why would someone like Mayor Bloomberg spend millions of dollars of his own personal money on his political campaign just to be a city mayor, if there wasn’t all sorts of inside deals being made making it worth his while?

Big business starts talking to these greedy opportunist politicians and the weapons are put to terrible use.  Countries start invading their neighbors to take their stuff.  Off goes Mussolini to take Ethiopia,  Japan takes Manchuria, and on and on.  The people go along with Mussolini because they too were in a depression.  Japan’s reasons were also economic.  They needed supplies.

Kaboom!  The whole world’s at war!  Everyone trying to protect their interests and take someone else’s stuff.

This isn’t a game.  I can’t stand that economic theory, saying you can boost your economy by government spending on military munitions.  Yeah, when a recession kicks in just go and start stockpiling tanks and building bombs.  See where it takes us!  Convert all your factories over and start making missiles and machine guns.  Even if it does help alleviate unemployment (and I don’t think it really does), look at what it leads to!   We can’t live like this.  We can’t.

Several months ago I was talking to a friend of mine from Scotland, and I was saying that we need a one world government.  He told me he wouldn’t want such a thing, unless it was his government running the show.   He’s like most people.  Nationalists.  Everyone’s attached to whatever nation they live in, unable to grasp these problems.

These cycles will continue to exist and will never be eradicated without a one world government.  International competitors will beat out domestic companies, leading to lost jobs and unemployment.  Nations will continue to have their individual armies, pointing their guns at one another.  Complex trade wars with tariffs and currency manipulation will continue to go on.

I could talk all day about how important economics is.