Ideapod – we are not our professions

Ideapod – We are not our professions

I think I agree with the general thrust of what you say, and I phrase it somewhat differently.

It seems to me that we are in part our pasts. In part we encapsulate the lessons learned by bodies through genetic time, giving us our particular sets of genetic structures, and in part we encapsulate the lessons learned over cultural time, in the cultures of our birth and our upbringing and our being, and in part we encapsulate the lessons of our particular individual lives, our experiences and our choices and the habits we have cultivated (intentionally or otherwise).

And we are also so much more than that.
We all come with the potential for infinite creativity, infinitely differing and expansive self expression.

Evolution it not just about competition, it is also true to say that all major advances in the complexity of evolved systems develop from new levels of cooperation. One term we have for higher levels of such cooperation is love.

So yes – we can step beyond our past.

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30 Mar’15 ~QofDay~ Humour

What is humor?

A really complex question.

It seems that babies usually start laughing at about 5 weeks.

It seems that laughter is a very primal experience, that comes well before language acquisition.

In evolutionary terms, it seems to be part of a social bonding mechanism, one of shared experience.

At higher levels, it seems to be able to go in any number of directions – some of which are socially cohesive and many of which are highly destructive (the classic evil laugh).

It is often associated with inappropriateness – things out of context, or unexpected outcomes.

Often it is a mechanism for reducing social tension in such situations (suggesting that an outcome was done just to produce laughter rather than some other far less desirable motive).

So a really complex topic – infinitely deep and recursive.

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Future Work

29 Mar’15 ~QofDay~ Future Work

Should all humans have an eternal well of work to complement an eternal well of youth?

How do you define work?

If all the necessities of life are a given, and if a human being has freedom, then there are infinite choices of things to responsibly do that are of interest and or benefit.
What might the term “work” mean in such a setting?

The idea of exchange is vastly over-rated.
The idea of giving what we have to give seems to me to hold far greater potential for everyone.
In a world enabled by technology that can replicate anything produced, a pure gift way of being becomes very powerful.

The very concept of work becomes of historical interest only. There becomes only possibility and choice and consequence – and the dance as the consequences of our choices mix with the consequences of the choices of others, giving rise to a constantly uncertain becoming.

[followed by]

Hi Paul

We seem to have very different understandings of this experience of being that is life.

It seems clear to me that there is an objective reality “out there” but it is not entirely removed from us, we interact with it at many levels.

It seems that we have no direct access to that reality.

It seems that what we experience as reality is not in fact reality, but a model of reality that is constructed by brain following many levels of processing of sense data, and modulating that sense data through our experience, our habits of mind, our memories, our distinctions and our abstractions.

Most people think that what they are experiencing is reality. Very few people get that what we each get to experience is our own personal model of our shared reality.

This confusion seems to have led to many mistakes in trying to come to a coherent understanding of this thing we live we call life.

So while I can certainly acknowledge that there is a great deal of information encoded in our genetics, and the information processing systems that our genetics delivers to us (and in this sense, our entire bodies, in all aspects, at all levels, contribute to the totality of who we are – we are far more than our brains alone, we are brains in bodies in culture in a cosmology – and none of it can really be entirely separated, and there are many boundaries that give a good first order approximation of separation).

Certainly we all have genetic and cultural influences, and I contend that it is possible to transcend all of those influences in a sense.

So while I acknowledge all that is ancestral is a sense, I am also making a specific and explicit claim that we each have access to infinite possibility that is far beyond anything that any ancestor experienced.

And no modern individual could have access to the realms we do, without the gradual accumulation of experience and understanding that has happened over our genetic and cultural histories.

For me, what is important is individual life, and individual freedom.

In terms of individual freedom, it seems that some in our society have been completely freed from the need to do anything to get their physical needs met, while others have to do things they would rather not do, in order to get what they need to survive.

It seems to me that we have the technology to be able to provide every human being with the things they need to survive and to self actualise in whatever way they responsibly choose. This would deliver the freedom to everyone to do whatever they responsibly choose.

There are energy limits living here on earth, and there is sufficient energy to let everyone have safe accommodation and food and clothing (in whatever design they choose) and education and travel around the planet a couple of times each year (should they so desire).

There is not enough energy to have everyone flying jet aircraft 10 hours a day, and anyone should be able to fly for a few hours a year, if that is what is most important to them.

In this sense, it seems most powerful to me to fully automate all of the tools required to create and maintain all of these life essential functions.

This level of automation can deliver universal freedom.

Nothing else that I have investigated can do it.

All other mechanisms I have thought of and investigated require some sort of enslavement, at some level.

So for me, we are, each and every one of us, very complex beings. We are each profoundly more ignorant of what we are than we are aware, and that will likely always remain so, and we are each capable of infinite creativity, infinite freedom and complexity.

It seems to me that we need to start really honouring that in our actions and our values.

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A new Dark Age

A New Dark Age?

Joergen Oerstroem Moeller

It is often so difficult to see exactly what people mean by terms.
When he speaks of going beyond materialistic cultures, I wonder what he might mean.

To me, it seems clear that as a society we can most powerfully progress by establishing an agreed values set that has at the top of the list:
1/ Sapient life forms – human and non-human, biological and non-biological.
The second item on that list would then be:
2/ Individual freedom. Freedom in this sense is not the sort of licence to follow one’s every whim, but is a more conscious freedom to responsibly exercise one’s creativity and self expression in a way that does not unduly endanger the life of any other sapient entity, or unnecessarily restrict the freedom of any other individual.
A lot of consequences flow from these two, like restricting reproduction, care for the environment that sustains us all, etc.

So I see our society becoming material in the sense of caring for the material needs of every human being, and the ecosystems that support us, and I also see us going well beyond the simple norms of today where people work to survive.
I see people having the material and intellectual freedom to do whatever they responsibly choose.
This will necessitate an exponential expanding diversity, and the radical tolerance that such diversity necessitates. So it will be a very different sort of environment from the culturally and legally mediated norms that exist today.

So – yes times of change, and yes the potential for things to go “belly up” and also the potential for outcomes that are positive beyond the ability of most to conceptualise at this point.

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Hacking Photosynthesis

Photosynthesis hack needed to feed the world by 2050

We can easily grow enough food to feed humanity.
The idea of specialising on a few crops terrifies me. We need diversity, not monocultures.
Security in any system ultimately relies on multiple independent redundant systems.
Local diverse mirco-managed ecologies can feed people very efficiently – just doesn’t make profit for mega corporations that want to control everything.

We can feed 10 billion vegans from California and Texas. It’s meat that takes a lot of land area.

Continue the work by all means, it is interesting at several different levels, and let’s not pretend that it is required to feed humanity – that is pure twaddle.

And sorry – making green people isn’t an option. We need about 300W continuous, which would require a skin (leaf) area over 5 square meters (allowing for night time, cloudy days, etc). Easier just to grow plants and eat them.

[followed by]

I’ve been vegan for 5 years now Gordon – body is much the same shape it was when I started university (over 40 years ago) – other than wrinkles and sagging ( ;( ).

To get benefit from chloroplasts we would need to be outside – exposed to sun and UV. We need a little of that – but not too much.
I’m quite happy spending most of my time indoors, where chloroplasts would only be a drain on energy – not a boost. Much of the time I am outside social convention requires me to cover up. Not quite so bad here in NZ than in the USA – I was stunned visiting there to meet the “no shirt, no shoes, no service” rule – having been barefoot for 40 years here in NZ, and never having a problem with service.

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27 Mar’15 ~QofDay~ Life-Changing Mentor

Has a teacher/mentor/guide ever changed your life? If so then how?

So Many!!! in so many different ways!
To pick one – pretty much at random – the school bus driver from Waitakaruru from when I was about 11 years old.
I was coming home in the bus one day, and another kid (Ricky Scowan) was getting a hard time, and for once I wasn’t the focus of teasing, and to my shame I joined in, and used the term “Sickly Ricky”.
As I got off the bus the driver simply said to me “I never thought I would hear you say anything like that”.
And I got it.
I got that the adults did see what was happening, and some at least did care, and it was just out of their scope of action.
I don’t think I’ve called anyone a derogatory name since that day.
I also tend to give others a lot of scope, in allowance for the difference between what they see and what they see as their options of doing something about it.

Oh so many others
My Dad & Mum
Uncle Peter
Uncle Gordon
Aunty Betty
Aunty Iris
Aunty Edna
Cousin Ian
Cousin Brian
Trevor Bland
Ken Pattenson
Warwick Cowie
George French
Jim Dahm
Chris Hickey
Peter Molan
John Morton
Alan Edmonds
Peter Verschaffelt
Jim Bryant
Rex Smith
John & Tina North
Allan & Chris Scott
Len McKinnon
Tony & Ivy Creasey
Dennis & Pam Wrench
Vic Keppel
Nick Jarman
Noel Parsons
Peter Stevens
Len Pilcher
Alan Jeffrey
Jim Anderton
Peter Tapsell
Trevor de Cleene
Richard Prebble
Roger Douglas
Anne Hercus
David Caygill
Mike & Yvonne Moore
Tony Barbarich
Dave Sharp
John Parker
Cliff Marchant
Ferdi de Silva
Bill Bull
Bill Solomon
So many more – could spend hours on this list – and days (weeks…months…years) on what they taught me.
So many real people who have been willing to share the lessons of their lives with me.
So many more who share through their books, articles, papers, interviews, programs, recordings, movies, blogs, …..
Thousands of books I have read, tens of thousands of papers and shorter publications, most with valuable insights.

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Handy Hints

26 Mar’15 ~QofDay~ Handy Household Hints

Can you share some Handy Household Hints that may not be common knowledge?

The easiest way to peel kiwifruit is not to – just eat them skin and all.

Same for potatoes – the best nutrients are in the skin – just wash them, and bake them whole in the oven. Agria are my favourite baking potatoes.

I wouldn’t know where to start with hints. I have spent most of my 21,805 days on this planet learning new things. There’s quite a collection hiding in this skull.

[followed by]

An alternative to FOS’s pasta idea is to use the same principles, but in a different way – which is to cool the water in the pot that you cooked the pasta in to 60DegC (140F) quickly by the addition of cold water (about half the volume of hot water used), then strain the pasta.

One other thing I did learn about 10 years ago was to stop using soap (except for when I actually have grease or oil to get rid of), and just shower using fresh water. It seems that most of the body odour that people use perfumes to hide actually comes from bacteria breaking down soap residues on the skin. If you just keep yourself clean with daily baths or showers in fresh warm water, then there is no need of anything else.
Saves money twice over – soap and perfume.

In respect of health more generally, ensure you are getting enough Vitamin C. About 1g/day is enough to keep the symptoms of most colds and flu’s at bay. Much higher doses can be required if an infection is really bad. A 70Kg goat produces about 100g of vitamin C per day metabolically. It seems that our ancestors lost the ability to synthesise Vit C about 18 million years ago, so now we must get it from our diet. And we can make use of up to 100g a day if we have a severe infection of something. If you are taking really large doses, spread them out – A heaped teaspoon morning and night, and a level teaspoon every hour in between, each dissolved in a glass of water (totals about 100g/day – costs about $5/day – and is a cheap way to quickly recover from a serious illness).
Vit C is the only vitamin for which we have a very broad tolerance, and it doesn’t get at all seriously toxic until doses of over 1Kg per day are reached. For most vitamins taking “mega-doses” is not a smart move – they become quite toxic quite quickly – not so Vit C.

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