Strife – added to

4 Aug 14 ~Question of the Day~Strife Cause

Why do humans have a hard time getting along?

There are so many possible causes of conflict.

At one level, the default settings for humanity are that we would rather be right than be in relationship. It seems that this is the direct result of the way in which our reflective self awareness is bootstrapped into being via a declaration in language that it is wrong. Being wrong becomes something to be avoided, hence being right dominates.

It takes something to become aware of this, and choose another way of being, and few people manage it.

Once established in our neural network, this pattern tends to recur at all new levels; so requires constant vigilance to create something else.

Once the “honeymoon” period of relationship is over, being right tends to degrade relationships.

At another level entirely, people often have different ways of interpreting situations and reacting to situations. At times of low stress these differences are easily tolerated. At times of high stress these small difference can be magnified out of all proportion.
This is not related to being made wrong (though often being made wrong is a component of the situation); but is rather a function of the way our brains have evolved to narrow focus and direct attention in times of stress. Over our evolutionary history of facing predators in the savannah it was a really useful trait, living in a close confines with someone under stress from mortgage or work it is not such a useful trait.

At another level, we are often not consciously aware of things going on in our subconscious, and often the subconscious goings on leak out into expression in some aspect of who we are being.

We may not be consciously aware of a sneer on our face, and the sneer is there none-the-less.

Such things can be an ongoing source of conflict in relationship.

At another level, many people have a relatively small group of people that they regard as being truly human. For some it is family, for some tribe, for some gang, for some those who profess a particular belief set. For such people, people outside that small set occur as less than human, and slightly more interesting than animals, so can be treated as entertainment value by whatever means produces the most entertaining outcomes.

At another level, some people really do have the emotional connections in their brains “cross wired”. This can happen due to genetic, environmental, and behavioural factors; and the outcome is the same in each case, that they do genuinely experience pleasure in the pain of others. For these unfortunates it is not a conscious choice, but a fact of chemistry.

Then there are an infinite class of possible justifications that anyone can create for doing something to someone else. We have evolved as cooperative apes, yet raw cooperation is unstable and vulnerable to cheating, so evolution has had to supply attendant strategies that prevent cheating. These strategies give us tendencies to jealousy and a sense of injustice and a drive for vengeance. Unfortunately, these can be triggered by accident, but once triggered often end up in a righteous reciprocal spiral.

So all things considered, that we manage to maintain relationships with anyone is little short of miraculous.

Often it is other powerful drives that hold us in relationship.

And sometimes, just sometimes, we manage to transcend all of the pitfalls inherent in being human, and create a level of acceptance that promotes and sustains relationship at all levels of being.

[followed by]

Hi Torch

I find it interesting that you wrote only of seeking agreement (or not) with other people, and wrote nothing of seeking alignment of understanding with reality.

I understand the strong social pressures to seek agreement with each other, and observe all the cultural variants that result from that.

I see in science something quite distinct, which is to seek, through testing, alignment of our models with reality, and then to use those models creatively, to both create abundance and security in the physical reality within which we seem to find ourselves, and to create alignment at higher levels of abstraction and awareness.

And for me, the alignment with reality has a clear precedence over any sort of human social level agreement.

So in that sense, I am willing and able to be a heretic to any set of beliefs, if my experience in reality strongly suggests that it is required of me.

I do not (nor do I advocate) follow for the sake of following, or agree for the sake of agreement.

I most certainly seek agreement where possible, and my integrity (which is my highest choice) requires of me that all such agreement be compatible with the most reliable evidence I have of reality (acknowledging the fundamental uncertainties in everything – so no comfort of absolute certainty here at any level).

So if the evidence from reality is such that it calls me to disagree with all other humans, then that is what I do.
Integrity (my highest level choice), for me, makes that demand.

And the same integrity has convinced me that it is possible to create technical and social structures that support all human beings in the highest levels of security and freedom, with the diversity that must result in all dimensions of being.

And that vision is firmly grounded in an uncertain reality, in an analogous fashion to how it is possible to build a firm and stable house on a swamp by putting hundreds of bamboo poles into the swamp, and firmly lashing them together. Each pole provides only a little floatation, a little support, and the combined effect of all those many small supports gives a stability that is not hinted at if one considers the supports in isolation. The millions of experiments carried out and accurately reported in the name of science are those supporting poles. Each one uncertain in itself, yet the resulting structure remarkably resilient in areas that have been thoroughly tested and explored (and there will eternally be boundaries where uncertainty prevails – such is the nature of infinity).

[followed by]

Hi Torch, Judi, FOS, Randy and lurkers,
Thank you for the posts, most particularly Torch.

A lot in what you wrote Torch, a lot that I align with and some that is not in alignment with my experience.
The two major areas I wish to explore are freedom and reality, and after much consideration I will start with reality.

Both Torch and Judi raised the idea that reality is subjective.
That does not appear to be so in my experience and understanding.
What in fact seems to be the case is that our experience of reality is subjective, but reality itself is objective – this is something that many people have a hard time appreciating.

It seems that we do in fact live in an objective reality, but we have no direct access to that reality.
It seems that our consciousness is a “software entity” and as such can only directly deal with other software.
It seems that our brains use the information from our senses, combined with our past experience, to create a predictive model of reality, which is what we each get to experience as reality.

Thus our experience of reality is subjective, as we each only ever get to experience our own models, and these models are our own.
And at the same time, there does seem to exist an objective reality, that none of us have any direct experience of, that does seem to be one of the major inputs into our experiential models of reality, via the dual paths of current sensory input and recalled patterns of past experience.
The issue is that our neural networks make distinctions (categories) and classify our sensory input as belonging to certain categories, and present us with the expected distinction, rather than the raw data.
The reason this happens, is that our brains have to be predictive in nature, as there is always a delay imposed on information coming from our senses, as it has to create chemical conditions to start a nerve “firing”, then the signal transmission along nerves is actually rather slow, and then there are all the between nerve synaptic transmission and reception chemicals, with all of their delays and inhibition and excitation properties. So in order to be able to respond to reality in real time, it seems our brains have had to evolve an ability to present a predictive model of reality to our awareness that is about a third of a second ahead – to give us time to make decisions. This seems to be a large part of what our neocortex does – it is an amazing piece of general purpose hardware.

So when you each wrote reality is subjective, I say no.
Our experience of reality is subjective, reality is objective (and far weirder and more complex than any of our models will ever be able to cope with).

And to be clear, I am not claiming any access to objective reality; I have the same limits as everyone else. I can only experience reality through my model of reality. What is different is that my model now contains a model of the model of itself modelling reality (the sort of thing that a computer programmer really loves to do, creating models in software).

So in my model:
Reality is objective, but we have no objective access to reality.
Our experiential reality is subjective, mediated by the model of reality that our brains create for us to experience.

So in my world it is possible to discuss an existential objective reality, provided we acknowledge that we have no direct access to it, and we acknowledge the subjective nature of the clues we have to what the objective reality might be. This leaves us with yet another layer of fundamental uncertainty in our dealings with reality.

For me, science offers something very different to any of the cultural paradigms predating it.
Science has developed a large set of mathematical and logical tools to allow us to make quantitative assessments of (put useful numbers on) the probabilities that our subjective experiences are in fact useful indicators of the objective reality. Science assists us to develop tools, both hardware and software, to extend the range of our experience of reality, and to shape and refine our models as a result.

From my own direct experience, and from my investigations into neurophysiology, and from my investigations into generalised computational spaces (with much thanks to Stephen Wolfram, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Alan Turing in the particular, and many others) it is clear to me that the experience of being human is multi-modal (perhaps infinitely recursively so). Discovering new modes of personal experience is a profound event for each of us, interpreting those events has been problematic in history – which is not to deny many profound spiritual truths that are embedded in many spiritual traditions, and it is a challenge to the frameworks of all spiritual traditions.

Freedom is an interesting idea.
It seems that all freedom is constrained by reality, and all actions have consequences (including inaction).
Thus freedom has various boundaries either side of it.

Yes we are free to jump off cliffs, or drive at 200km/hour on the opposite side of the road to everyone else; and the probability of surviving such events is very small (consequence).

There is a very old saying – Nature to be commanded must first be obeyed.

We need to acknowledge the rules of objective reality (in as far as they are known to us) if we are to operate effectively in it (one of which rules appears to be we can have no direct access to it).

We have developed many technologies that can be very dangerous if not handled in accord with the rules of objective reality. Cars are one example; there are millions of others.
It is actually unsafe for all of us to have people driving cars on the wrong side of the road.
Similarly with the models of reality we use to make decisions in this complex world.
It is actually unsafe for all of us, in some situations, to have people operating from models that do not give a sufficiently accurate access to objective reality (some models deny objective reality altogether – these are amongst the most dangerous of all).

So yes – I am all for freedom, and freedom is not freedom from consequence, it is not freedom from objective reality – these are things that need to be acknowledged – for the safety of all.

And having acknowledged them, we can then continue exploring the infinite available paths in the realm of the possible (occasionally making mistakes and bumping into the realm of the impossible, cleaning up the mess, and continuing).

One of the things that I find most dangerous about our current market based system, is the huge incentive to promote misinformation (at all levels) in the search for, or maintenance of, power or money. It seems clear to me that the vast bulk of the information available on the internet is quite intentionally false in some essential manner. Finding one’s way in such a place is extremely difficult and fraught with dangers.

So yes – I am an unabashed champion for freedom; and even for the freedom to make mistakes, and not for the freedom to cause significant harm to others through recklessness.

For me, any failure to acknowledge the existence of objective reality is recklessness at the lowest possible level.
I’m not claiming to have any definitive understanding of what objective reality is, and I am claiming that the case for the existence of an objective reality is proven beyond any shadow of reasonable doubt – 99.99999999%+ probability.

Reality is not subjective, it is objective.
Our experience of reality is subjective. It seems that we can only infer the existence of the objective from the experience of the subjective.
Confusing the two is extremely dangerous – for self and others.

There is much more you wrote of Torch that we could discuss, and I think this is enough for one post.
Thank you all, Judi and Torch most particularly, for being willing to engage in this conversation.

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Creative people

3 Aug 14 ~Question of the Day~Creative People

Does this describe you, or someone you know?
18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently
While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people.
They daydream.
They observe everything.
They work the hours that work for them.
They take time for solitude.
They turn life’s obstacles around.
They seek out new experiences.
They “fail up.”
They ask the big questions.
They people-watch.
They take risks.
They view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.
They follow their true passions.
They get out of their own heads.
They lose track of the time.
They surround themselves with beauty.
They connect the dots.
They constantly shake things up.
They make time for mindfulness.
Here’s the full article if you want to read:

Can tick all those boxes.

[followed by]

The statistics for this country (New Zealand) are very clear – less than 20% of the population follow rules all the time. The rest are creative (with respect to their behaviour and interpretation of the law) at least some of the time – and there is a vast spectrum.

It is my assessment that those 20% are actually creative, but their creativity has been masked by their behaviour having been captured by a strict binary interpretation of right and wrong that they have not yet grown out of (and that some in society would be happiest if we were all stuck in).

[followed by]

Hi OM,

I got those stats from the NZ Police – from their psychological investigations of the NZ population, and I got them when I was an Honorary Fisheries Officer (which is a voluntary position which has most of the legal powers of a police officer, and comes with a lot of training) – which I was for 6 years.

I have never seen information like that in the public domain. I have not seriously investigated public domain sources.

I spent Saturday in Nelson – at the first public conference for the Money Free Party (NZ) – for several hours there were only two of us there ;).

[followed by]


Money Free Party is about moving beyond money.

The brand is owned internationally by The Zeitgeist Movement.

Here in NZ, Richard Osmaston has put in a lot of effort and has had over 500 people sign up (I was responsible for 5 of them).

Richard and I have had two physical meetings (total talk time about 7 hours face to face), about another 5 hours of phone calls, and a similar length of time in written exchanges – some of which are viewable on the facebook page.
We both agree that we need to go beyond markets as a value set. We differ on how to achieve that in a safe and sustainable fashion. I commend Richard on his energy and his passion, and from my perspective many of his ideas ignore aspects of reality that cannot safely be ignored. He does not have a great appreciation of the diversity of capabilities, values and attitudes that do in fact exist and must be given freedom in any real world system. So I have an uneasy relationship at present. I like Richard. I hugely respect his passion and energy. And I find his limited understanding of the realities of the human and political and “spiritual” reality in which we exist to be dangerously naive.

We had a discussion about ecosystems on Saturday, and he could not see any reason for killing introduced animals. His attitude was, they are here now, let them alone to do their thing. He did not assign any value to the ecosystems those introduced animals were destroying. His attitude was simply, let them go extinct, but we should not kill any animals.

My attitude is to maintain at least some examples of as many different ecosystems as possible.

The exception to that is that I am happy to see all cultural ecosystems go extinct, as we move to a post cultural human existence, where individual human diversity is valued above any cultural continuity.

Posted in Question of the Day | Tagged | 2 Comments

Name from birthdate

2 Aug 14 ~Question of the Day~PositiveEnergy Name

What is your Positive Energy Name, and does it align with your self-image?

Would you believe “Inspiring Festival Dragon”
An odd combination of words ;)

[followed by]

Hi OM,

Nice tries, and precisely illustrative of my point, just as with astrology, or tarot, one can make any set of words applicable to any person, without a great deal of effort. We are all that complex, that any set of adjectives can be made to fit any of us in an appropriately chosen context.

Similarly with the reality within which we find ourselves; we can chose any subset of the available attributes to make any description fit.

I find it kinda cute, and also in the “simple parlour trick” category.

If it is used simply as an exercise in imagination, it can be a creative exercise; but if anyone ascribes any more meaning than that to it, it becomes misleading; and human beings generally are so attached to attaching meaning, that I tend to avoid all things such as this, as being dangerously misleading to many people.

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1 Aug 14 ~Question of the Day~Manifestation

What do you think the power of manifestation is?

There seem to be at least two major aspects to manifestation:

1/ Is being prepared to look for what we want (often it is already there, but our preconceptions prevent us seeing it);

2/ Is taking actions in reality consistent with systems that are already in fact present in reality, to create what we want using what is available. And again, often our preconceptions limit us both in terms of our understanding of what is already present, and in terms of what systems and methods we can apply to create that which we desire.

Ailsa says I have an uncanny ability to get a parking spot exactly where I want it, particularly when there is a major function and thousands of cars. And most people simply expect that someone else will already have taken the closest spots and don’t check; whereas I am aware that many people involved in the setup of large events leave as the event gets under way, so I am always willing to go right to the door, and often (not always, but at least 50% of the time) there is a park within 20m of our desired destination.

I’m just prepared to give it a go. I know it cannot work for everyone, and it does usually work for me.

And I am constantly in the habit of checking out exactly how things work. If I see something new on a work site, or in an engineering shop, I will walk up to the people there and ask what it is and how it works. I’ve been doing this for over 50 years, and have collected a lot of heuristic knowledge about what works in specific environments.

I spend at least an hour a day scanning new developments in engineering, biology, biotechnology, medicine, computers and software.

All of this helps me make stuff that works, from whatever is available.

Posted in Question of the Day | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Replace Government Systems

31 Jul 14 ~Question of the Day~ Replace Gov’t System

Let’s discuss this Comment!!
Ted said: What is not being tried is a complete replacement system
that ensures abundance for all, because it would end the current system.
Torch said:
ted, you and I know that ( replacement systems ) are only used by the
populace, as a last resort, as a complete replacement.
what is happening in the UK, is significant, because it shows the viability
of the ( replacement system ), before it is suggested as a replacement.
people, by and large, are ( try and then buy ) people.
they have seen entire successful empires, like rome, and greece,
rue britannia, global spain and global france, fall into decline,
corruption, bankruptcy, and crumble from within,
and that is their greatest fear, and they operate from
that attitude of fear and caution.
america, itself, has fallen into decline, and does not
resemble the america of 1800, or even 1900.
we have lost our way, and our determination
to stand for what this country was founded upon,
and that was life, liberty, allegiance, and the pursuit of happiness,
for the common good of the nation, as a whole people,
by the people, of the people, and for the people.
right now, we are living in a country that is by the govt,
of the govt, and for the govt, and the people are seen
as a necessary problem to be governed by the govt.
we need to return to our grassroots principles.
the federal govt has become too powerful to be
governed by the people.
america is not an exception to this problem.
england has the same problem.
russia has the same problem.
china has the same problem.
the middle east obviously has the same problem.
it happens when govts have too much time,
to increase their power over the people,
and the principles that the country was founded upon,
get left behind.
all of us need to return to our foundational principles.
people need to clear the clutter of status quo away,
and return to what their foundational principles were,
because, at that time, the peoples minds were clear,
and they clearly saw then, what was right for their people.
it is not so, now, because govts are behaving in an
irresponsible manner, to their own people.
it is no wonder that the people are troubled.
they can no longer depend upon their own govt,
to take care of them.

Hi Torch

8 years ago I did a trip to the states, Texas, Newhampshire, DC, Seattle, and back home to NZ. I wrote a letter home – which detailed some of my feelings at the time.

In walking the streets of DC I was moved to tears by the principles that founded the city and the nation, but those principles are completely buried under a pile of lies and short term vested self interest.

So sad.

Very tired – more later.

[followed by]

This is such a complex situation.

So many different intersecting dimensions in all of these terms we use.

Agree completely with Brian, that in most cases equality was something of a myth in most societies, the exception being some sets of societies that had reached an equilibrium with their surroundings.

Societies that limit their size (birth control or some other form of population control), to the specific carrying capacity of the technologies they are using and the environment within which they live, have been able to reach equilibrium. The problem is always that all such societies are vulnerable in the short term to groups that have a higher technology and a more aggressive and exploitive set of strategies (however unstable those sets of strategies may have been on the longer term).

Thus we see that in really isolated areas there can be very stable systems over very long periods (like in the highlands of Papua New Guinea), but that most societies tend to go through a set of phases of expansive aggressive growth, consolidation, and decline. A vast array of strategic and environmental factors influencing the specifics of each of those.

This is the first time in human history that the entire human population is connected in near real time, and for the first time in history the majority of people (who are by nature cooperative) have the real option of organising themselves in ways that they can support each other against aggressive strategies at any level.

At all other times in history, the small percentage of people who are really aggressive have had the option to divide and conquer the rest (at all levels).

There is now the potential to end that – forever, and instigate a new awareness (I was tempted to use the term species, but it actually goes beyond species, to any awareness that is capable of conceptually considering its own long term interests in cooperation with all other such awarenesses – be those awarenesses biological or non-biological in origin) wide level of cooperation, with radical abundance, and radical tolerance of diversity. And there are some limits imposed by physical reality. We must be prepared to limit reproduction. Exponential population growth is not a viable option.

And within those broad constraints, virtually anything goes – room for infinite diversity.

We could easily get into a deep discussion of economic and social and political systems.

Most political system definitions ultimately come down to the degree to which the interests of subgroups within a population come to dominate the interests of other groups.

In capitalism, it is the interests of the holders of capital (and the definition of capital is another really complex topic, which includes aspects of the control of labour, the control of the means of production, and the control of resources {which in some circles are considered a subset of the means of production – and include both energy and materials}).

In socialism, it is supposed to be the interests of society as a whole that dominate, but in practice some pigs always end up being more equal than others, and it becomes just a different form of dominance hierarchy from capitalism, and is essentially still a dominance hierarchy.

When one looks at political organisation from a different perspective, from the perspective of the degree of dominance present, one gets and entirely different view. From this perspective, the various flavours of capitalism, socialism, communism and fascism one sees in recent political history are almost indistinguishable.

Real freedom, real participatory democracy, does not exist!

By most measures, my country (New Zealand) has the greatest measurable freedom on the planet today, and there is much room for improvement.

For the last 9 years I have been involved in an experiment in real local participatory democracy – with many lessons learned (, and some notable successes (I have to give a welcoming speech to our minister of Conservation next week as he officially opens the new marine reserve we have created – which should come into existence in law on Tuesday – if all goes to plan – it has been through its 3 parliamentary stages, and now only requires the signature of the Governor-General).

And it is in an open yet uneasy relationship with local, regional and central government.

[followed by]

Hi All

In my understanding, government is a really complex set of dimensions that include, physical power, defining the rules and setting limits on the patters of behaviour of those governed, and a wide set of related activities.

The Oxford gives the following definitions for government, govern and authority:


To rule with authority, esp. with the authority of a sovereign; to direct and control the actions and affairs of (a people, a state or its members), whether despotically or constitutionally; to rule or regulate the affairs of (a body of men, corporation); to command the garrison of (a fort).

To direct and control (a person, the members of a household) with the authority of a superior.

To exercise the function of government.

To sway, rule, influence (a person, his actions, etc.); to direct, guide, or regulate in conduct or actions. (Said of persons: also of motives, etc.)

To regulate, determine the course or issue of (an event, etc.).

Of things, esp., in astrological use, of the stars: To hold sway over, influence, determine the motions or nature of.

To hold sway, prevail, have predominating or decisive influence.

To direct or regulate one’s actions; †to conduct oneself, behave, act (in a specified way).

To hold in check, curb, bridle (esp. one’s passions). †Also, to keep or restrain from.

To constitute a law or rule for; to be applicable to as a determining principle or limiting condition; to serve as a precedent, rule, or type for; esp. in Law, to serve in determining or deciding (a case).


The action of governing (see senses of the vb.). a.1.a The action of ruling; continuous exercise of authority over the action of subjects or inferiors; authoritative direction or regulation; control, rule.

The action of ruling and directing the affairs of a state; political rule and administration.

The system according to which a nation or community is governed; form or kind of polity. Often with defining word indicating either the nature of the community governed, as in civil or political, church or ecclesiastical government, or the kind of organization adopted, as in monarchical, oligarchical, republican government; episcopal, presbyterian government.

The governing power in a state; the body of persons charged with the duty of governing. This may be viewed in two aspects, giving rise to two distinct senses of the word, which however often coincide in use. a.7.a As a permanent entity (cf. ‘the Crown’, ‘Parliament’, etc.), irrespective of the changes in the persons who hold office. Hence often practically equivalent to state, esp. when used attrib. b.7.b As constituted afresh by the appointment of a number of persons to certain official positions; in England, synonymous with ministry or administration. Often used without article. to form a government: said of the action of the prime minister in filling up those offices, the holders of which are jointly with himself responsible for the administration of the country.

Grammar. The influence of one word over another, according to established usage, in determining the case of a noun or pronoun or the mood of a verb; the effect of this influence.


Power to enforce obedience.

Power or right to enforce obedience; moral or legal supremacy; the right to command, or give an ultimate decision.

Derived or delegated power; conferred right or title; authorization.

Conferred right to do something.

Those in authority; the body or persons exercising power or command. (Formerly in sing. = Government; a Local Sanitary Authority or similar body is also spoken of as ‘the authority.’)

Power to influence action, opinion, belief.

Power to influence the conduct and actions of others; personal or practical influence.

Power over, or title to influence, the opinions of others; authoritative opinion; weight of judgement or opinion, intellectual influence.

Power to inspire belief, title to be believed; authoritative statement; weight of testimony. Sometimes weakened to: Authorship, testimony.

The quotation or book acknowledged, or alleged, to settle a question of opinion or give conclusive testimony.

The person whose opinion or testimony is accepted; the author of an accepted statement. b.II.8.b One whose opinion on or upon a subject is entitled to be accepted; an expert in any question.

So the effect of government can have dimensions of ensuring the power of particular subgroups, ensuring laws and practices that maintain particular outcomes in a social system, pursuing abstract notions like justice, protecting both majorities and minorities from tyrannies of other groups (internal and external).

There are many possible dimensions to government.

To my mind, government can best be described at this stage as a “necessary evil” (a practical and suboptimal solution to a very complex set of problem spaces).

The most desirable state to my mind, the state that maximise individual freedom and responsibility, is a state where sufficient individuals are sufficiently aware and self governing that no external government is required. All individuals in such a state would be sufficiently resourced and aware to just cooperate as and when required to mitigate any factors that require mitigation.

And I freely acknowledge that we are still a long way from that at present, and we are in a position to start developing some very powerful tools designed to take us in that direction.

And right now most people still seem to be operating from essentially binary mindsets (like right/wrong, good/evil) and very few people have any significant understanding of the biological and systems bases of awareness and behaviour.

[followed by]

Acknowledge that there is a great deal beyond our control, and there are varying degrees of influence we can exert over other domains.

And I can certainly see how the belief structure you hold can create a suite of approaches to dealing with reality within which we find ourselves that is emotionally rewarding.

In my case, the evidence sets I have lead me to assign a much lower set of probabilities to the belief set you describe than you do.

I have developed a different set of understandings that allow me to maintain a similar emotional state most of the time, which basically just involves accepting that death is final, and doing what I reasonably can to avoid it (without getting obsessive about it).

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Question of the Day | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment


30 Jul 14 ~Question of the Day~ Fruit

What’s your favorite fruit to eat, and why? What’s your favorite fruit to LOOK at, and why?

Hard question. My liking of fruits is mostly about flavour.

I love vine ripened blackberries, and vine ripened purple passion-fruit.

And I like most berries, water-melons.

Bananas are probably my greatest single source of energy.

And it is so hard to buy ripe fruit. Most people pick it green and then chemically ripen it, and it never tastes as good as something ripened on the vine or tree.

Braeburn apples are a favourite, so are Satsuma mandarins, and navel oranges.

Do melons qualify as fruit? They have the most aesthetically pleasing shape to this bloke. ;)

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29 Jul 14 ~Question of the Day~ Donate to?

If you could donate a significant amount of money tomorrow, where would you direct it to go? – so that I could guarantee an abundance of all the essentials of life to everyone on the planet.

[followed by]


If my project ever gets under way, it will utilise the energy of the sun, which while finite, is vast enough to give every person currently alive as much energy as humanity as a whole currently uses (though not on this planet – most of the heavy energy use will need to be off planet).

It would also guarantee all the water, food, housing, sanitation, communication and transportation needs of every person, and would go a long way towards meeting medical needs (as medicine involves other living organisms, it will always be an open science with life exploring new ways to take advantage of options available, and we are close to medical break-throughs which will give vastly more security than anyone experiences today.

One of the key concepts of my project is that it acknowledges the reality that real security can only be guaranteed (in as much as any guarantee is possible) by decentralisation and massive redundancy in all systems – which is exactly contrary to the incentives of any market based economic system.

[followed by]


There is nothing in my project that doesn’t already exist in a sense, and it does require putting all the connections together in a way that works reliably.

Having spent much of the last 40 years of my life designing and developing software systems, I have a fairly good feel for just how complex that task is, and I am also clear it is doable with an appropriate team of people.

So while I get it seems far away to most people, to me it seems to closest and easiest of the possibilities I have encountered and investigated.

I am also clear that not only is there no market incentive to do the project, there are massive market incentives to prevent the project from ever being allowed to complete. So there are serious issues with the project, and they are not technical, they are social (which is not to belittle the technical issues – it would be the largest single software project ever attempted by a significant margin, and there are lots of engineering issues that require optimisation at scale).

[followed by]

Hi Torch

I’ve tried growing food myself, and I am just not good at it. I don’t love doing it.

Last year I probably grew about 30% of my food needs – planning on upping that to 50% this year. Have a couple of almond trees and a couple of olive to put in as soon as I can.

We have tried setting up community gardens here in Kaikoura, and none of those most in need of the produce showed any interest.

There are several possible ways of stabilising the current system, and several of them are being tried.

What is not being tried is a complete replacement system that ensures abundance for all, because it would end the current system.

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