Another week’s worth of posts

Lots of posts in the last week.
Weekend was busy, with wild rivers day Saturday, farewell to the huttons Shearwaters just after dawn Sunday, then golf Sunday afternoon.

One more advance on economic ideas, in a reply to John Fullerton below.
Spent quite a few hours on economic ideas this week, lots of reading,and some listening aand watching.

Had a Te Korowai meeting last week, which went quite well, and was followed by a talk by 3 scientists from NIWA on the geology, oceanography, and biology of the Kaikoura Canyon.
Had about 200 people show up, which was great. I videoed the presentation, and have written a couple of DVDs so far.

Been dealing with a few glitches in computer systems, and lots of Rec fishing stuff. The Boating Club fishing context is on at Easter, and lots happening there. Also had a call from Trish Rae from Option 4, as well as lots of contact with the Rec fishing Council.

Needless to say, the lawns are getting long, and too many trees are still standing.

Question of the Day March 29, 2011 Animals

If you were an animal what would you be?

For me, the only animal I have ever identified as is the bear.
A grizzly bear.
Warm friendly and powerful when treated as a friend, but something very dangerous when angered.
As a child and young man I was very afraid of that anger, the blind rage that would emerge.
Funny, for much of my professional life my fellows simply called me “Bear”, my brothers in law still do, and some of my nieces and nephews still call me “uncle bear”.
It may have started simply as “Teddy bear”, and maybe there was something else to it too.
Maybe there is something in the bear’s habit of wandering alone for much of it’s life that is deep within me.

Old Man Winter’s Losin’ His Grip March 29, 2011

What are you releasing—letting go of?
What’s bustin’ at your seems—about to spring forth from you?

Funny being on the opposite season.
We had a cold Southerly through a few days back (equivalent to your northerly), and as I look out the window, the mountain tops are covered in snow, having been snow free for 5 months. Winter’s sneaking up on us, and the days are rapidly drawing in. Daylight saving stops this weekend.
Still so much to be done.
Winter garden preparation is waiting for me to knock down the last 11 boundary trees (have taken down about 30 over summer and cut them up).
A meeting today of the local coastal guardians group, followed by a talk on the local marine canyon by three experts from our capital city.
Lots for me to do in preparation.
As to comings and goings, lots for me in the understanding of economics, both the surface structures, and the deeper level systemic incentives.
Also building on my understanding of understanding itself, looking at the general cultural shift from a mythic to an objective understanding, and the infinite levels of objective understanding available.
In terms of letting go, something like the last vestiges of any sort of absolute knowledge, and an acceptance of profound ignorance. It seems that the more I know, the more I know I don’t know, and I see no theoretical need for that ever to change, should I live for the rest of eternity (which now seems highly improbable).

continuation of – I Have A Dream, about what 2012 offers us

The The Noetic Post for Fall/Spring 2010 – Worldview Transformation and the Development of Social Consciousness is interesting.

It seems to me that the last paragaph is powered by a shift from mythic to objective understanding.

It seems that the level 5 (resonant level) is essentially out of place. The other 4 levels certainly exist in logical sequence. The level 5 resonance does occur in a sense, but in another sense, it can occur between any group at any level of awareness, so is not really an additional level, but rather an aspect of activity in any group at any level (or so it seems to me).

There is something else going on also, in a different dimension, related to the transformation from mythic to objective understanding, that is really paradoxical.

It seems that the more we know, the more we know we don’t know, and there seems no end to that process.

There seem to be two different things working in opposite directions.
When we are profoundly ignorant, we learn something new, and we think we have so much more knowledge.
Yet as our knowledge base grows, and we learn that all knowledge comes with uncertainties at many different levels, then we start to gain ever more awareness of just how profoundly ignorant we really are.

When we start out, we are ignorant of our own ignorance.

After half a century or so of study we may be starting to get a handle on the form of many of the structures that surround us, including ourselves, yet in doing so, we become aware of the limited nature of conscious attention, and the vast amounts of complexity in even the simplest of things; and we are left with a sense of connectedness, and of awe, and of wonder.

A finite universe (vast, and finite) yet with infinite possibility (not just infinite, but an infinitude of infinities).

Yes we can find resonance with others at certain levels of awareness, and sometimes we find ourselves at levels of being where there aren’t too many others obviously visible to resonate with.

Question of the Day March 30, 2011 ~Bible and Other Religious Books~

Why did the Bible and other religious books of this magnitude stop being written 2000 years ago? What happened?

Interesting question and elaboration John, and interesting answers from OM.

For me the perspective is entirely different.
The three Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) all share the same roots, and each acknowledges different points of “revelation”.

The Christian Bible is in part an interpretation of the Jewish Torah which spans a thousand years or so, and in part a selection of texts mostly decided upon at the council of Nicaea in AD 325.
Islam as you have noted is somewhat more recent.

As OM noted, there are many other religions, of more recent origin, and many sects within the major religions with different interpretations or in some cases additional “revelations”. Morons and Baha’i are a couple of well known examples.

At a systems level, one can look at it as the need for political stability and the evolving needs of control and authority. Politics and religion in medieval times were equivalent for many.

At another level, one can observe the evolving complexity of language and conceptual thought, and the evolution of individual awareness within a set of cultural contexts.
As an individual mind first comes to awareness it does so in a context of right and wrong. Within sucha context, the spread of religion is very easy.

At another level, individuals were starting to progress beyond simple binary distinctions (like right/wrong, good/evil, black/white) to start to see the infinite levels of colour, intensity and possibility available and to ask questions at all levels.
From one perspective, Jesus can be seen as a good young jewish boy who questioned the authority of his elders.

For me, personally, I dislike the term God.
It seems to me that what most people experience as God is actually their own holographic abilities, to connect to all things at levels that are not conscious, and to become aware of relationships that they were not consciously aware of.
In the absence of a knowledge of systems, most people who have such experiences interpret them as relationships with spirit(s) or god(s).

I do not deny the experience, I share it. I simply challenge the interpretation.

So the short answer to your question, it seems, is more to do with politics, power and money, than anything else.

Question of the Day March 31, 2011 ~living to “A Ripe Old Age”~

Would you like to live to “a ripe old age”? if so, Why, if not, why not?

200 billion seems a nice sort of number, with my body periodically rejuvenated to it’s 20 year old prime would do.
So much to see.
So much to learn.
So much to try out and experience.

Question of the Day April 2, 2011 ~Giving Up Something Worthwhile~

If your helping someone necessitated your giving up something worthwhile [e.g. organic (but expensive) food] would you give up that something?

Love the Kipling quote Mike, and the DL quote Kathy, and like you say OM, a lot of ifs.

I have often given up stuff I considered worthwhile to help others, and every situation is an estimation of costs and benefits (both to self and others). Very few things are simple when one considers the longer term consequences of actions, and the possibilities that may happen.

Giving up organic food seems an “odd” choice, can’t quite imagine why doing that could be of benefit to anyone else.

Turtle Crossing

6:30am here, and we are just about to head out to a farewell to the Hutton’s Shearwater (a bird that breeds here, then flies away about 4,000 miles to over winter elsewhere. We just went back from daylight saving to ordinary time.
Yesterday we went out to celebrate wild rivers, and spent a few hours rafting down the lower reaches of the Clarence River. Golf starts at midday today.
Life is full.
Glorious day dawning – no clouds, cool with the promise of a fine hot day (Indian Summer).

[followed by]

Just got home from the Shearwater farewell. Interesting morning, met some very interesting people, and learned some new stuff. Interesting to see the results from geolocators and GPS units fitted a few birds.
These show that most of the bird leave NZ and fly up and around Australia, then back to NZ, some flying as low as Antarctica on their return.
While here in Kaikoura and raising their chicks, some fly as much as 700km over 4 days just to collect 70g (2 oz) of fish or krill to feed to their chick.
Amazing what lengths life will go to.
Golf soon.

Question of the Day April 3, 2011 ~Your Mind~

Is your mind, your enemy?

My mind is certainly not my enemy.
And a mind without discipline can be dangerous to self and others.

Learning to understand all of the many aspects of mind is important.
Mind has habits.
Mind has intuitions, at many levels.
Mind is influenced by context at all levels.
In my understanding, mind is the ground on which the seeds of awareness grow.

The mind is susceptible to errors of interpretation at all levels.

At the level of habit, habits that served us well in one context may fail to serve us in a different context.

In the matter of intuition, it can occur at many levels within mind.
At a low level, intuitions of the subconscious usually set the context of interpretation, unless a higher level of awareness takes conscious charge of context setting, and even then, some lower levels of context setting cannot be avoided.
It seems that each of the twenty some processing centers in the brain is capable of making intuitions, and selecting context at some level, and delivering that result to mind.
At another level intuition allows us to make abstractions, to see pattern at higher levels, and to distinguish new levels of relatedness.
None of these things is infallible, and they are very reliable in normal situations (the less normal the situation, the less reliable is intuition), so it pays to test them if/when we have the luxury of time to do so.

Context is a major influence on mind and body.
If the low levels of mind identify danger, then they restrict and direct the higher levels of mind.
One of the key things to maintaining higher level awareness is to create a context for the low levels of mind that prevent panic and anxiety reactions taking over control.
Context can influence mind and body all the way up and down the levels of mind and being.

In my understanding, mind is not something to be feared, it is an integral part of what we are, and an undisciplined mind can be a distraction, and in some situations, a danger.
Training our minds to work with and for us can take a lot of time. Many different cultures have come up with many different approaches, and most of them seem to work at some level.
Personally I find Buddhist traditions most powerful in this regard.

[followed by]

If anyone is wanting to find out a bit more about the brain – I strong recommend Ginger Campbell’s “Brain Science Podcast”

There are 73 episodes, with mp3 and pdf transcripts, all for free.
Great stuff to listen to on the mp3 player while cycling, or mowing lawns, or vacuum cleaning or splitting logs or long distance driving alone.

Question of the Day April 3, 2011 ~Mental, Emotional, Spiritual or Physical~

What realm are you most comfortable in, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual or Physical?
Do you prefer one greatly over the others? Is there one you’re especially uncomfortable working in?

For me the realms are not really distinct, each is related and tightly bound to the others.
We can certainly focus more on one than another, but one cannot ever fully separate the realms, any more than one can make a computer without matter, or run software without a computer.
I understand that some traditions believe otherwise, and the reality remains, that no clear evidence has ever been produced to the contrary. Many millions of dollars in prizes are there to be claimed for anyone who can demonstrate separation of these realms, and the prizes remain unclaimed.

Mind is an extremely complex series of systems, with awareness as an emergent property at the peak of a pyramid of many layers of process below (which contain so much activity within them that no awareness could possible apprehend anything but the most general of operating principles).

Emotions are usually chemically modulated systems that respond to cues in ways that evolution has found to work on average, over time, averaged over thousands of generations.

Spiritual is an interesting concept. In some senses I can certainly agree that it exists, in other senses that many seem to hold it seems to me that the term stands for interpretations of systems that do not closely align with reality.

As a biochemist I find the physical fascinating. From our cosmological beginnings through many layers of organisation within and between cells, to the amazing signalling systems within the human brain.
As a human being I enjoy being, enjoy sex, enjoy golf, enjoy flying, swimming, skiing, and thousands of other physical activities that involve the body interacting with reality in a huge number of ways that I am only superficially conscious of; yet I appreciate the reality of being in them.

I am passionate about understanding, about questioning, and about being and doing.
For me, to think of any one without the others is almost meaningless.

The Relevance of EF Schumacher in the 21st Century

This is such a complex topic.
So many different contributing factors.

One factor is that money does not measure real value, it only measures exchange value, which is a function between perceived value and scarcity. Therefore there is no monetary value on important and abundant resources. This means that a focus on monetary values leads to ignoring abundance and allowing all supplies to move toward an equilibrium level of scarcity.
Thus allowing large scale systems to determine their direction based upon monetary decision factors leads to a destruction of many of the abundances that many people value. It is a deep systemic issue with money.

Another factor is system redundancy. Stable systems have multiple levels of redundancy. By moving the majority of people to cities, and removing them from land capable of supporting them, people were forced into large and non-redundant systems.
While this does significantly increase economic activity by creating artificial scarcity of food (by placing most people in situations where they cannot grow their own food), it also creates networks of relationships that require far more contact, and thereby creates environments where pandemics can potentially spread through most of the population very quickly (depending on incubation times and transmission mechanism(s)).

As recent events with economic problems prove, our global economic system is very tightly linked. We have little redundancy. This is dangerous at many levels.
For a start, it is a myth. It is the illusion of money that creates the myth.
Convincing people that they are in fact capable of becoming autonomous self sustaining groups that are very much smaller than countries may take a bit of doing, and it needs doing.

Another issue is that it takes quite a bit of time and energy to grow one’s own food, and do all of the maintenance work required. Sometimes it seems much easier to leave it to others to mechanise and optimise the growing of things far more efficiently than a single individual who has to master many disciplines poorly, rather than a few very well. Taking the alternative approach promoted in, would enable all individuals with the tools and technologies to do all that is required to maintain their own existence. This frees all people to work in cooperative groups that are free from economic constraints (ie to be able to produce abundance for all in any realm).

I do not see the issue as a shortage of resources.
There is ample solar energy to give everyone all the energy they could responsibly use. If people wish to experiment with very high energy technologies, then they will need to do that off planet, but for most of us, we will have all we need down here.
Nor are we short of matter of any type. All we have is technological issues around refinement, reuse, and recycling of material.
Based on current exponential trends, we will have enough energy from solar photovoltaics within 20 years to completely replace fossil fuels as an energy source (many technological possibilities exist, from fully biological, to hybrid biotech, to mineral based nano-tech).
Biological systems tend to be largely closed loop, with most matter recycled many times, before being lost to those biological systems through geological processes.
We are developing systems that are capable of doing that, but there is no economic incentive to create and deploy them to everyone, because such abundance has zero economic value – so while we may be able to do it within an economic structure, it is difficult to create an economic case for doing it.

So in the sense of decentralisation, yes – small is beautiful, but not in any sense of returning to any mythic past, but rather in the sense of technological, ethical and conceptual advancement that enables every individual to live a long and productive and meaningful life of cooperation and contribution.

As Jared Diamond says in the last paragraph of Chapter 8 of “Collapse” -“society’s structure created a conflict between the short-term interests of those in power, and the long-term interests of the society as a whole. Much of what the chiefs and clergy valued proved eventually harmful to the society.” In our modern society the “chiefs” are politicians and the “clergy” are economists.

Question of the Day April 5, 2011 ~Inner Voice~

Do you have complete trust in your inner voice?

Like OM, I don’t have complete trust in anything (other than my own existence), but if I do not have the luxury of time to test the inner voice, then I usually trust it.
We differ in the deeper aspect.
For me, the inner voice is intuition delivered by the mechanism brain uses to store and retrieve information.
It seems that it is a multi level association machine.
It seems to make associations based on all of our observations and experiences, and delivers them as that “inner voice”. Most often it is accurate. The mechanism is extremely powerful. And it is subject to influences from all contexts of mind. Thus it is influenced by the accuracy of the stories we have about the world. The more accurate these stories are, the more accurate is that “inner voice”, and even with stories that are way out of sync, it is still a remarkably accurate thing in most circumstances.

Aromatherapy for the Health of It April 5, 2011

Hi Laurie

I like the way you characterise stress.
I agree that oils can mitigate some of the effects of stress.

I think what is needed is action by individuals to address the root causes of stress in our society.

We need to act to remove the root causes of stress.

This means seriously questioning the assumptions beneath current economic and political systems, and the development of systems that support all individuals in secure cooperative and diverse societies.

It means creating technologies that are decentralised, that deliver abundance to all (which have no economic value, because money only measures that which is scarce, abundance has no economic value (like oxygen in the air)).

These are deep issues for minds that have accepted the myth of money without question.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) with reasonable security, tools, resources and degrees of freedom, and reasonable examples of the natural environment; and that is going to demand responsibility from all of us - see
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3 Responses to Another week’s worth of posts

  1. Ted – I loved your explanation of identifying with a grizzly bear. I can oh-so-see the connection!

    I dislike the term “God” too. But for an entirely different set of reasons than you. If/when the situation calls for a “label,” I prefer to call that entity “Source Energy” or “Divine Love.”

    Love what you said here, “Very few things are simple when one considers the longer term consequences of actions, and the possibilities that may happen.” It doesn’t take much to change trajectory!

    “And a mind without discipline can be dangerous to self and others.” AMEN!

    Tomorrow I head to the Writers’ Institute at UW-Madison. Once I post my blog Thursday morning I’ll be flying under the radar for a while…

    All my best to Ailsa!


  2. Hi Laurie
    Thanks for the feedback.
    Be great at the writers conference.

    I think that a 15 minute daily blog of the key insights of the day would be a great discipline at a writers conference – great to share with the rest of us mortals too 😉

    Ailsa asks if you going to a writers conference means that she can expect to get a lot of beautiful emails out the other side of it?




  3. Ted – I don’t know about a daily 15-minute recap, but I sure as shootin’ will do at least one “this is what I learned” post.

    As far as what to expect at the end of this adventure…

    At this event I have the opportunity to “pitch” my non-fiction manuscript to two different literary agents. My affirmation is this:

    My book, “Discovering the Seven Selves: Your Key to Offloading Baggage and Increasing Joy–Now!” will be grabbed up by a literary agent who will sell it to a publishing house, and the book will sell like hotcakes in stores all over the globe, and I’ll meet you two in person when I do a book signing tour in New Zealand.”

    How’s that for a positive vision?!


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