Thursday, October 17, 2013

Basic Income Guarantee

GDP sharing. every adult citizen gets an equal share of yearly GDP.

US GDP 2013 = $15.75 trillion
US Adult Pop. 2013 - 240 million
Basic Income = $63,000

According to the NYTimes:
"The median income for Asian households was $68,600. For non-Hispanic whites, it was about $57,000, while the typical Hispanic household had an income of $39,000, and blacks were at $33,300."

Monday, August 19, 2013

What is Truth?

A few days ago I read a handful of articles about 'Scientism' and the role that science should play in our society. The idea being that science is the only way to discover Truth, and that it should be the foundation of any policy decisions made concerning the governing of humanity. Or as good old Wikipedia says: "It has been defined as the view that the characteristic inductive methods of the natural sciences are the only source of genuine factual knowledge and, in particular, that they alone can yield true knowledge about man and society" This leads me to what I would consider my two main critiques of science and finally to an often overlooked danger of scientific thinking.

 1) In the scientific method, experiments are performed and results are observed. But every observation has to be at a remove from the thing be observed. We can only observe through our five senses. What we observe is taken through our senses and interpreted by our mind. No two individuals can observe the same thing in the same way. A lot of scientific observation is through intermediary technologies. If I look through a microscope I now have two layers of observation between myself and the thing I am observing. The technologies we use are limited by what we have created, which in turn is limited by what we are looking for and what we imagine can exist. The further the remove from observer to observed, the further from the Truth we are. Because of this, science can only get at an approximation of the Truth, and only at the Truths we are looking for.

 2) Science is language, language is metaphor, metaphor is not reality. Or, a map is not the land being shown. Or, the name of a thing is not the thing. Science is thus limited by the fact that it can only be a representation of reality. Increasingly precise language, like increasingly precise tools of observation, can bring one closer to Truth, but never to the Truth. I'm not trying to knock science, but I think a lot of people, especially in the modern age, believe that science can find Truth. This can be very dangerous indeed, and is where science starts to head down that slippery slope towards religion. Instead, it is important to know where science comes up short and to remain skeptical of people proclaiming their scientifically derived Truth.

And then the great danger of science! I would suggest that anyone going into a scientific field of study read the book Cat's Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. There are things that should not be studied and should not be invented. Nuclear weaponry, GMO foods, derivatives, to name a few. Just because we can, does not mean we should.

Once again, I invite any comments, critiques, or maniacal ranting.

The apparatus of our enslavement is the tool of our liberation.

May all beings be happy.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Climbing the ladder of Awareness:

  1. Dead asleep. At this stage there seem to be no fundamental problems, just some shortcomings in human organization, behaviour and morality that can be fixed with the proper attention to rule-making. People at this stage tend to live their lives happily, with occasional outbursts of annoyance around election times or the quarterly corporate earnings seasons.

  2. Awareness of one fundamental problem. Whether it's Climate Change, overpopulation, Peak Oil, chemical pollution, oceanic over-fishing, biodiversity loss, corporatism, economic instability or sociopolitical injustice, one problem seems to engage the attention completely. People at this stage tend to become ardent activists for their chosen cause. They tend to be very vocal about their personal issue, and blind to any others.

  3. Awareness of many problems. As people let in more evidence from different domains, the awareness of complexity begins to grow.  At this point a person worries about the prioritization of problems in terms of their immediacy and degree of impact. People at this stage may become reluctant to acknowledge new problems - for example, someone who is committed to fighting for social justice and against climate change may not recognize the problem of resource depletion.  They may feel that the problem space is already complex enough, and the addition of any new concerns will only dilute the effort that needs to be focused on solving the "highest priority" problem.

  4. Awareness of the interconnections between the many problems. The realization that a solution in one domain may worsen a problem in another marks the beginning of large-scale system-level thinking. It also marks the transition from thinking of the situation in terms of a set of problems to thinking of it in terms of a predicament. At this point the possibility that there may not be a solution begins to raise its head.

    People who arrive at this stage tend to withdraw into tight circles of like-minded individuals in order to trade insights and deepen their understanding of what's going on. These circles are necessarily small, both because personal dialogue is essential for this depth of exploration, and because there just aren't very many people who have arrived at this level of understanding.

  5. Awareness that the predicament encompasses all aspects of life.  This includes everything we do, how we do it, our relationships with each other, as well as our treatment of the rest of the biosphere and the physical planet. With this realization, the floodgates open, and no problem is exempt from consideration or acceptance. The very concept of a "Solution" is seen through, and cast aside as a waste of effort.

I would comfortably say I am at step 5, but this has only happened fairly recently. The past few years have been been a move from 3-4 as I spent a lot of time online doing research, reading a ton of books, and talking to a lot of people.
I hope in some way this blog can help bring people along in their awareness and ultimately lead to self-awareness. The problems that confront this modern era have roots reaching back thousands, if not millions of years. Some of them are tied into the fundamental laws of nature. But if I have learned one thing in my time as a Vipassana meditator, it is that everything is impermanent. Change is inevitable and we can change ourselves at a very deep and fundamental level. In order to fix the problems facing life on planet earth, we must first confront the problems that lie within. The liberation of humanity first lies in the liberation of the self from suffering.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013


Every time I read an article about the Eurozone I get this feeling of anxiety. I have had an idea running through my head for the past few weeks on a method that might be capable of extricating debtor Nations from this mess without causing any more harm to the citizenry of Europe and, hopefully satisfying the creditors. But I have yet to write it all down or figure out the whole process. Even so, I'd like to throw it out there and see what flaws or strengths it may hold...

The quick and short: Take Greece as the example. Run it on a dual currency. Drachmas for intra-national commerce and Euros for inter-national commerce. Run it on a conversion rate of say 1 euro = 10 drachmas. After an internal conversion of euros to drachmas you set up the future conversion like this. Every euro that is brought into Greece generates 10 drachmas. Every drachma leaving Greece is converted into euros. Note the difference between generate and convert. For example, a tourist comes to Greece with 100 euros, they go to a bank to exchange this for drachmas that can only be spent within the borders of Greece. The receive 1000 drachmas in return. The bank keeps the 100 euros, the euros did not turn in to drachmas, they made new drachmas. When the tourist leaves Greece, all their remaining drachmas are converted back into euros. So how ever much money was spent by the tourist remains in Greece as drachmas and the initial 100 euro (minus whatever wasn't spent by the tourist) are kept at the bank. All euros kept in the bank must be spent to service the Greek debt load. This way the money used to pay  down the debt is not directly tied with the money used to run the Greek economy.

I would be very interested to hear what anyone has to say about this idea. Like I said, this is a very short rendering of a not fully established idea, but one I’d like to put out there as an alternative to business as usual as relates to debt and creditors in the Eurozone.

The real solutions to our modern economic problems cannot be solved based on the terms that created them. We need to rethink what money is, what debt is, what government is for. Money was supposed to serve humanity, but now humanity is serving money. We have allowed our fictions to rule our reality. This must stop.

The apparatus of our enslavement is the tool of our liberation.

May all beings be happy.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Step Back

Well it's time I sat back at the keyboard and starting churning things out. There are only about ten million things I'd love to talk about, but I have to start somewhere and do what I can.

One thing really on my mind as of late is the idea of myth and metaphor. The natural world is a very complex place and throughout human history we have used myths and metaphors to explain the natural world and Man's relationship to it and to each other. So we have developed two sets of lived in realities. One I will call nReality, the Natural reality, things that exist beyond the human realm. A tree is a tree no matter what we call it or what myths we build around in. The other is mReality, the Mythic/Metaphorical reality, this includes things that do not exist without human creation. Democracy, money, economics, technology, etc. are things that do not exist except for the fact that we (humans) have created them. Without human beings nReality will remain, but mReality will not.

 Religion has always been the mainstay of mReality, but since the Enlightenment it has lost its prominence as the prime creator of myth and metaphor. (I won't go into this today, but the decline of religion and the rise of rationality is a very interesting topic to explore in relation to the mReality of the modern world.)

 One of the main myths to rise out of the decline of religious dominance has been that of capitalism, the free market and the democratic nation state. It is important to remember that these are all human creations. While their development may have been inevitable outcomes of human social progress, they are not creations of the natural world. They can be made and unmade however we choose. These are not Universal truths or laws. The strength of these types of religious and mythic belief systems lies in their ability to usurp nReality. The myth becomes the truth, and the truth becomes the myth. And just like the religious dark ages we find ourselves in a new dark age, one where we believe more in our myths than in our reality. To question the mReality is to question life itself and to be branded a heretic, (or in these days, a terrorist or the like) and ignored or cast down. So public discourse comes down to debating the merits, virtues, methods and systems of mReality whilst completely ignoring nReality. So we live in an economic system predicated on infinite growth while living in a finite reality. We place the having of money as the great determiner of value. We accept artificial rules and limitations on what it means to be a living being and live a meaningful life. We accept these things because we have been raised and taught from birth that our mReality is nReality.

 Mythic systems are important, I'm not advocating we rid ourselves of myth and metaphor and go live an animal existence, but we can choose the mReality we live in and it is important to understand what myths we live by, what they mean and what effect they have on our lives and the biosphere we live in. I see Sila (morality as taught by the Buddha) as an important lens with which to view our mReality. So let's quickly run through the Five Sila and see how they relate to the Western civilization mythos that dominates the globe in our current era.

 1)To abstain from killing any being.*

 Does our mReality break or follow this rule? Worldwide wars for profit, drone killings, support for dictators, police states, etc. Then take a look at agribusiness, the energy industry, computer systems, wage slavery, sweatshops, etc and see how much harm our way of life does to living beings.

 *Now this one is a little tricky, and I could probably devote a few thousand words to it and my views on omnivorous or vegetarian diets, but I will say that I interpret this more as "do no harm to other beings".

 2)To abstain from stealing.

 Our entire economic system is built upon theft, in all its myriad forms. (Once again a huge topic I will hopefully approach at a later time.) But for one example, lets look at loans. Say you want to buy a house, so you decide to take out a loan for $100,000. Current fixed rate on a 30-year loan is 4.46% (I got all my numbers and calculations from here: By the time you pay back the loan the bank will have received $182,406.71. That is $82,406.71 more than what the bank loaned you in the first place. And where does that bank get the money from? Because of our system of fractional reserve banking, a bank only needs to have 10% of the money for a loan as actual reserves. So the bank has $10,000 and can then loan you $100,000 and you will end up paying back $182,406.71, a profit of $172,406.71. And how do you pay back this loan that was comprised completely of fictional money? You pay it back through your labor. Through your own hard work you make the banks fictional money real and pay them for the privilege. But how then can a bank loan all this fictional money, don't people need assets to put up against a loan? The bank can use your future labor as their 'asset', this allows them to loan out money they don't have. This is theft. Our labor is being used to make real certain fictional assets of the banks and we have no choice but to consent to this version of mReality.

 3)To abstain from sexual misconduct.

 Once again you see this happening all the time and being supported and endorsed by our mReality. Just look at sexual abuse in the military, in schools, prisons, etc. Look at the sexualization of increasingly younger women. Look at the media and pop culture.

 4)To abstain from telling lies.

 Just watch the MSM, listen to NPR, listen to anyone in the government, academia or the corporate world give a speech. Propaganda is the art of telling lies and our entire media culture is one of mass propaganda.

 5)To abstain from all intoxicants.

 Pharmaceuticals, alcohol, tobacco, designer drugs (I don't include marijuana, psilocybin, or shamanic drugs in this and if anyone is interested, will explain later. Or just read Food of the Gods by Terrence McKenna) we are constantly inundated with various forms of intoxicants. The reason this rule exists is that being under the influence of intoxicants makes it much easier to break the other parts of Sila. It also removes oneself from nReality and places you closer to mReality. Just look at how many times alcohol plays a part in violence.

 So our current mReality gets a 0/5 as to how it follows Sila. Not a good scorecard for creating a just and equitable world for all living things. Now this isn't to say that this is a current phenomenon and we have lost our way from some Golden Age. But we can change, we don't have to keep following the same mReality that is devoid of any morality, that denigrates Love and Compassion while glorifying Greed and Violence. And this change is necessary. We have reached a point where our mReality has become so dominant that we will sacrifice nReality in order to maintain our mythos. Money will no longer serve people, people will serve money. The biosphere isn't a place we live in, it is a thing to be exploited. These ideas, and their worldwide proliferation, are a sure and easy path to extinction.

 Well that's all I have for this morning. I hope this spurs some thinking and discussion. Please let me know if you would like any clarification or expansion on certain ideas. I am new to this writing thing and might not be communicating as clearly as I would like.

 The apparatus of our enslavement is the tool of our liberation.

 May all beings be happy.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In November, the Apocalypse.

My 2 cents on the election. I highly doubt Romney will get elected, unless it's something along the lines of Bush in 2000, and then it doesn't matter if we vote. I agree with everyone, everywhere that Romney and the Republicans are despicable. But I also believe the same for Obama and the Democrats. They are just despicable in different ways. But I do not support American Imperialism, I do not support the police state, I do not support the complete corporate ownership of our government, I do not support the modern banking system. I cannot condone murder, torture, unlawful imprisonment, the privatization of America or the corruption of our food system. I can't get behind the destruction of Unions, the destruction of the working poor, the destruction of the Middle Class, the Middle East and our own backyards through fracking. I cannot vote for a man who declares the right to murder anyone, anywhere, whenever he determines they are a 'threat' to 'national security'; a man who is engaged in terrorism in NW Pakistan. Just as I cannot vote for a man who is a religious fundamentalist and a corporate sociopath. Both parties represent the furtherance of all these ills. Capitalism has an endgame of extinction. We are witnessing exponential growth bumping up against a finite world. We can either accept this outcome and blindly walk the road to destruction or we can open our eyes to a broader and more varied range of outcomes. Change is the only constant. Life is a constant battle against entropy. We are on a losing path. Any action to further cement the status quo is an action to further an entropic victory. Life demands that we stick up for it. bhavatu sabba mangalam

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Healing Break

Since I've been doing nothing but sit around read books and surf the web these past few days, I have found some very interesting sites to read. The deeper I go down the rabbit hole seeking some sort of understanding of this modern world, the more terrifying it becomes. The more I accept the realities that I see, and the more I meditate and walk the path of dhamma, the more convinced I am that those of us whose eyes are open and who are wide awake must do something, anything, to halt this long march of death and destruction. Whether this is through noble action of the kind taken by Dr. King, or through the spreading of metta as taught and shown by the Buddha. But I cannot turn a blind eye to murder, I cannot condone it through apathy and I surely cannot fund it through coerced taxation. If I can open people's eyes to the truth of our 'civilization', if I can point one person towards the path of dhamma, and if I can continue my own search for truth and fill myself with love and compassion then I know that I am fighting the good fight. When you walk the path of dhamma, you can only be right in your actions and thoughts.