Question of the Day, November 18, 2011 What’s your biggest puzzlement about life?

What’s your biggest puzzlement about life, people, the world, about the way things are? What do you find most puzzling as you look around the world?

Yes – odd question.

Not a lot that is puzzling about the way things are. That all seems to make sense within broad limits.

What is isn’t the puzzle, what puzzles me is what might become.

What most puzzles me is how to bring stability and security to this thing we call human society, while retaining freedom.

[followed by]

Hi Victoria,

There certainly are ways in which the earth adjusts for what we do to it. When we build large lakes (hydro dams), the weight of water causes the earth to bend down under it. When ice melts, the removal of weight causes the earth to lift. Similar things happen for large scale open cast mining. Such things can and do happen, and they tend to happen slowly, with occasional quick bits (earthquakes).

However, it is important to realise that the earth is far from any sort of static equilibrium.

What most people think of as solid ground is more like the scum on top of a simmering pot of porridge. It is constantly moving, new bits forming, edge bits subducting back into the molten mass below and re-melting. This process is slow by human standards, 2 to 3 inches per year in most cases, and over millions of years this slow movement completely changes and reforms the surface of the earth (at 3 inches per year, it takes 20 million years to move 1,000 miles – 300 million years to go half way around the world).

Compared to the scale and energy of this movement, all human activity is puny indeed.

The relative stability of sea levels over the last 10,000 years is the exception rather than the rule. In the last 200,000 years nothing like it has existed. For most of that 200,000 years sea levels have been rising and falling. Just 20,000 years ago sea level was 500 ft below where it is now.
For most of the time that modern humans have existed, the sea level has been going up and down, such that a house build on the sea shore by one generation, would either be under water or a 100 yards from the water’s edge by the time a child born in that house died.
Such rapid changes would prevent the development of ports and maritime trading cities.

The last great rise, of 500 ft between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago (an average 6 inches every 10 years) would have indeed been a world wide flood. All coastal villages and cities from the previous stable time of almost 5,000 years between 25,000 and 20,000 years ago were, by 10,000 years ago, under 500 ft of water.

Compared to these great cycles, human induced change is tiny, and we are certainly inducing change.
We may need to induce change, if the great cycles head back towards ice age (which is overdue) – a little human warming is not necessarily a bad thing ;), and we may be over-doing it a bit at present.

The outer surface of our planet is a very changeable and dangerous place, it just isn’t always active on a human timescale, the activity comes and goes, and the energies involved are beyond anything humanity has yet managed to tame and control (volcanoes and earthquakes).

[followed by]

Simple really OM.
It basically comes down to that their minds are poisoned by culture to accept authority.
It takes a lot of luck to break those chains – few manage it.

Very few ever really trust themselves.
Too much culture in the “core programming”.

[followed by]

Hi Victoria

Yes indeed, at several levels.
That is why I find Genesis 2:17 such a powerful metaphor “Of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not eat, for the day thou doest thou shalt surely die.”

It cannot be anything but metaphorical, as there is no physical tree that has fruit of good and evil.
Like so much of the bible, and so much of all cultural wisdom, it is metaphorical, and in this case deeply so.

Today, in my understanding, I can see it from a systems perspective.
I see that our whole “egoic” self is born of the distinction “good and evil” (or right and wrong, or other similar binary declarative judgement system).
It is the unconscious mind of a child learning the rules of such a system, then at some point finding themselves in a situation where by those rules, they must declare themselves evil, that the mind uses language in a declarative sense to declare a new way of being into existence.
In computer geek speak we call this a bootstrap routine (as in Topsy lifting herself by her own bootstraps – something possible only in cartoons, yet computers do it every day).

That declaration starts a new software entity into being, something self declared, in language, born of a distinction of being wrong (or evil or bad or whatever) – the fundamental “sin” that each of us feels down near our core; but it isn’t really our core, it is only a shell, and what is hidden behind that shell isn’t really bad, it was only bad in the eyes of child with a very simple set of distinctions. Yet that shell is, for most of us, extremely hard to find, and to see – our subconscious child like brain is certain that it is wrong, and must remain hidden behind the shell.

Breaking that barrier, as Nietzsche said – “going beyond good and evil”, is something that very few people ever get to do, and fewer still get to make it their “home”.
The evolution of rules and strategies in a societal context is a fascinating science (mimetics), which is based in Games Theory and Theory of Moves (ToM). Viewing Lao Tzu through this lens is quite fascinating.

So yes, most of the rules of society are about control, and mostly in the interests of money, and it isn’t necessarily done by the intentional design of any individual or group, rather it is mostly simply a systemic response to the systemic incentive structures that exist.

There are many levels at which we can approach those systemic incentives.
Here is where I love the many levels of metaphor in the movie “The Matrix”.

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) - see www.tedhowardnz.com/money
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