Courtney Brown, The Future of Scientific Remote Viewing |421|

Mankind's Ontological Illness
Maybe, but maybe this is a fad like so many before it.
1. No Space Left But Space - Nowhere left to flee to/Space seems insurmountable
I think this may be relevant, but the change may be more perceptual than real.
4. Violence is Hollywood
Yes, this has been allowed to get totally out of control.
5. Reduced brain cognitive ability serves to produce anxiety and anger (corporate 'science')
No I don't agree. Those who are exerting control of science know exactly what they are doing, but don't damn well care. Of course, science has pulled in far too many people, so standards have dropped a lot. I also suspect that many 'scientists' feel desperately insecure, and so don't want to rock the boat.
6. Accountability is consolidating downward (through IT), authority is consolidating upward. Royalty/Cronyism/Mafia - neither capitalism nor socialism solves these evils.
Yes, whistle blowers get a hard time nowadays.
9. Earth Inner Core magnetic moment (mind field cocoon) is collapsing
As I understand it, it is reversing rather than collapsing. Is there any decent evidence that this has caused disruption in the past?
10. Belonging is now ephemeral (lone dolphins commit suicide)
That may be more of a middle class angst, I think working class people stick together better.
and finally - the structure and nature of markets - everything is a market, consumer goods, information, money, equities, currencies, food, commodities, virtues, politics. Inside each we are witnessing the collapse of grey markets. There is only one legitimate collapse of a grey market, and that is upward into a white market. (This is a bit of what I do...)

If markets collapse to the other two quadrants, suffering ensues... and eventually violence...
I'm not sure I get your diagram, but certainly uncontrolled markets are a large part of the problem. I am in favour of a lot less international trade - each nation should make as much of its goods as possible, and services such as banking should never be outsourced.

However, I am not sure any of that really explains the train wreck of current politics in the US, and to some extent the UK also.

David
 
So if I see a purple flying elephant over my house and the other 5 people with me do not, even though they're looking in the right place, then the elephant probably isn't "real".
But if I love a woman deeply and 5 other people do not, even if they know the same woman is my love real? Reality is intimate - and sometimes shared. The same is true for delusions.

The elephant you see may not exist on the physical plane. It may be that spirit is sending you a message - only you. Its not for others to see - so they do not.

Its may be that others have determined that flying purple elephants do not/can not/ must not exist. But you have not signed on to that convention. This is the 'Emperor has no clothes' situation. When you don't drink the cool aid you don't share the effect - and who says you must drink?

I grew up having paranormal experiences at a time when there were two powers - religion and science. One decided I was bad and the other mad. I elected to dissent. I am grateful I did. Others are not.

Nothing we experience is 'reality'. The fact that 1,000 agree on something and you do not does not make for reality, only majority consensus. The first virgin to have sex in a community of virgins does not have an experience that is not real - it maybe 'unreal'. What other people experience has nothing fundamentally to do with what you experience - unless you want you experience measured by a communal spirit.

This is, I suggest, is the problem with military service and PTSD. The radical non-ordinary experience of killing and maiming other humans - for whatever justification - does not sit well with an individual inherently - and is worse when a community does not, cannot, share. It is the unshared nature of combat (and other radical non-ordinary experiences) that causes the trauma, and not wholly the experience itself.

Radical non-ordinary experience divides us. It can damage or it can transform. It can condemn or initiate. This is something we all fundamentally understand and it is why the image of Jesus suffering on the cross is such an enduring theme. At some time in our lives most of us have a pale imitation of this deep drama. The crucifixion image is the archetypal shamanic initiation. That belong to all humans, so we deeply know the meaning of the image and symbol, even if that is not on any conscious level.

What we call 'Reality' is not absolute. There is a spectrum from a widely shared dimension to an intensely private one.
 
I'm not seeing where the moral imperative has been removed. We have laws and systems of justice based on rationality. Now think about Aztecs. Very spiritually oriented. Yet they waged war on smaller weaker groups just to capture people to sacrifice them in horrid rituals. The pre-western civ world, though replete with spiritual observances, was based on might makes right.
Okay, you have to go back to archaic indigenous culture to get the sense that there is a moral contract between the 'cosmos' and humanity. The Aztecs are an example of that moral contract being seen in a really fucked up way - they had to sacrifice to stave off disaster. They thought they were doing a deep good. Check that against our current cultural values. We sacrifice the environment and the lives of our citizens in a similar kind of logic.

The pre-western civ world, though replete with spiritual observances, was based on might makes right.

Where did you get this idea from? If its the standard interpretation of human history it confuses several facts. The first is that ancient religious cultures profoundly understood the sense of a moral contract with the cosmos. The second is that post Sumerian cultures adopted an aggressive interpretation of their role and their relationship with the gods. If you engage with Graham Hancock's books on the search for an early highly advanced civilisation, you will encounter a history of profound existential trauma - which is encapsulated in the OT, in a Readers Digest style of condensing a shared mythos.

Joseph Campbell, the great mythographer, noted a difference between eastern and western traditions. The western seemed to reflect a disconnect with the divine. There are deeper and interesting sources arguing that western culture has been profoundly shaped by masculinist herder cultures - and hence the might = right model. There's a lot of politically motivate kick back to this idea. But if you take your time to go through the arguments the objections do not stand up.

Just in contemporary western culture we have hawks and doves. So to our ancestors.You can also read that right makes might. Depends on where you choose to look.
 
Regarding other countries- I recall high government officials in an official meeting in a Canadian province discussed matter of factly (on youtube) how alien races had integrated into our societies It looked legit but who knows!- maybe that proves your point?
But I think he may have been talking about Europeans and not ET.

I have been in the public sector on and off (mostly on) since 1968. I have worked in 5 federal and 5 state departments. Mostly we have no idea just how fragile our complex societies are. The overt arrival of ET in spaceships would be catastrophic. I mean seriously think on the impact of the Iranians messing with oil tankers and how that hikes up oil prices. You want to escalate to a total ontological crisis on a global scale?

What do you really think the sudden arrival of ET is going to do the stock market and oil prices? And how are the religious going to respond? Satan or Salvation? And those totally pissed off with idiot bungling conventional government? This is not half the problem. But its enough.

I find demands for disclosure to be reckless and idiotic. As to reckless there is an idiotic presumption that this is not being managed now. Of course it is. As to idiotic is there no sense that ET has been talking to humans and engaging with them since at least the 1950s?

There is a fundamental problem generated by disclosure advocates - they think nobody else has figured out what they have, and nothing is being done about it. That's total bullshit. Its self-indulgent and misleading. And, no, I am not a government shill. I just read widely and deeply. Plus I have had some experiences of my own.

But, here's the main point. If you are genuinely interested in knowing what is what you will explore outside the fences of any dogma you have become impassioned with. If I can be so bold to assert something on behalf of ET. They don't give a shit about what you believe. Its what you think that matters - and getting to where what you think matters to them is damned hard work.
 
Okay, you have to go back to archaic indigenous culture to get the sense that there is a moral contract between the 'cosmos' and humanity. The Aztecs are an example of that moral contract being seen in a really fucked up way - they had to sacrifice to stave off disaster. They thought they were doing a deep good. Check that against our current cultural values. We sacrifice the environment and the lives of our citizens in a similar kind of logic.

The pre-western civ world, though replete with spiritual observances, was based on might makes right.

Where did you get this idea from? If its the standard interpretation of human history it confuses several facts. The first is that ancient religious cultures profoundly understood the sense of a moral contract with the cosmos. The second is that post Sumerian cultures adopted an aggressive interpretation of their role and their relationship with the gods. If you engage with Graham Hancock's books on the search for an early highly advanced civilisation, you will encounter a history of profound existential trauma - which is encapsulated in the OT, in a Readers Digest style of condensing a shared mythos.

Joseph Campbell, the great mythographer, noted a difference between eastern and western traditions. The western seemed to reflect a disconnect with the divine. There are deeper and interesting sources arguing that western culture has been profoundly shaped by masculinist herder cultures - and hence the might = right model. There's a lot of politically motivate kick back to this idea. But if you take your time to go through the arguments the objections do not stand up.

Just in contemporary western culture we have hawks and doves. So to our ancestors.You can also read that right makes might. Depends on where you choose to look.
Michael,
I like Joseph Campbell. Have read all of his books. Doesn't mean he's 100% correct about everything, but IMO he does bring good ideas to the table.

Graham Hancock, somewhat less so, IMO

If you want to make excuses for Aztecs, let's also be sure then to include the cannibal headhunters of Borneo and other Pacific islands, the Crow Indians, mortal enemies of the Sioux, who were run out of their territory and onto the plains by the Ojibway, who's mortal enemy was the Abanake. .....this could go on indefinitely. African tribes warred with each other constantly.

What is this moral contract with the universe that you think existed? These people were killing each other, killing animals, slashing and burning the forests and on and on. There just weren't enough of them to do huge environmental damage. It was merely a matter of numbers rather than morality.

I have studies Eastern religions and spirituality in depth. There are elements I like and elements I really don't like. Those people lived in societal systems that had caste systems that kept the lower castes down across generations. People starved. People waged war (see, for example, the Mahabharata). They had slaves. They damaged the environment a lot (larger populations than the smaller tribes elsewhere). Again, you (and some of your sources) are indulging in some racist fantasies about all these wonderful spiritually enlightened brown people and all of the evil white Europeans. It just wasn't that way. People are people.

You are also imaging something that you really don't have a right to promote as true because you never lived it; that it is better to be materially primitive, with all that entails, than to have material comfort.
 
If you want to make excuses for Aztecs, let's also be sure then to include the cannibal headhunters of Borneo and other Pacific islands, the Crow Indians, mortal enemies of the Sioux, who were run out of their territory and onto the plains by the Ojibway, who's mortal enemy was the Abanake. .....this could go on indefinitely. African tribes warred with each other constantly.
Sacrifice of humans in various ways was common in the cultures of our ancestors. Now we don't give a shit. You have to put discourses into context. The culture that was first appalled at Aztec conduct has exploited and abused members of its own community for commercial reasons. We can look at what the Aztecs did only in frank comparison to our own.

You can compare the alleged savagery of religious practices with our commercial practices. This is important, because we have no evidence Aztecs brutally exploited people for commercial gain the way we did.
 
hat is this moral contract with the universe that you think existed? These people were killing each other, killing animals, slashing and burning the forests and on and on. There just weren't enough of them to do huge environmental damage. It was merely a matter of numbers rather than morality.
I have just finished several books on the 'real' history of the indigenous people of this country. There is a constant theme that is repeated in cultures around the planet - life and death is a balance, and humans must find and accept their place in the scheme of things. One thing Christian dogma di was give Christians a permission note that excused them from playing the game. But it was a forgery.

I am happy to refer you to numerous texts, to substantiate my assertion.

The image of the 'savage' hunters gatherer is substantially a fantasy designed to conform to dogmas that permitted invasion and extermination. It is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of whether politically motived scholars and powers will permit free access to evidence. Happy to back this up with specific evidence.
 
Sacrifice of humans in various ways was common in the cultures of our ancestors. Now we don't give a shit. You have to put discourses into context. The culture that was first appalled at Aztec conduct has exploited and abused members of its own community for commercial reasons. We can look at what the Aztecs did only in frank comparison to our own..
Michael,
You're digging an increasingly deeper hole here trying to defend a world view that is not in line with reality, IMO..

First, you're defending human sacrifice.

You can compare the alleged savagery of religious practices with our commercial practices. This is important, because we have no evidence Aztecs brutally exploited people for commercial gain the way we did.
Next you're ignoring that Aztecs and most - if not all - of the other of the cultures you like, had slaves. Are you seriously going to compare more or less voluntary participation in commercial markets to slavery?
 
Consider these conspiracies:
  1. Materialism - the idea that all is matter and spirit is nowhere. This removed the moral imperative from human conduct.
  2. The evolution of humanity according to the standard theory - from primitive to civilized. This has enabled denial of the presence of an advanced and complex human culture 12,000 years ago and earlier. This has enable the perpetuation of the conceit of the implicit superiority of Europeans.
  3. The literal and historical truth of Christian dogma. Among other things this granted to Europeans divine right to plunder and kill indigenous people around the planet.
On the basis of these 3 'conspiracies' our whole social order has been constructed. They are conspiracies because opinions and evidence to counter them is ardently suppressed - with intent.
wonderfully succinct :)
 
Hi Dan,
I understand your struggle over the meaning of "real" - I can't really put into words that we'd all understand.
I can't either, but I'm a glutton for punishment, so I'm going to try.

For me, it feels like it may be useful to wonder about different senses of "real".

Obviously, it's extremely useful in day-to-day life to have a normal, run-of-the-mill understanding of what is real and what is not real.

But it seems like there might be some use to the idea that maybe there's another "special" sense to the concept of real; a special sense where life, the universe, and everything can be seen to be both real and unreal, for example, or maybe neither real nor unreal.

And the sense a person uses when talking about "real" depends on the context of the usage.

For the most part, it is very, very useful to use the ordinary, day-to-day sense of the concept.

That said, transitioning from the day-to-day usage of the concept of real to the "special" usage could be seen to be like transitioning from classical logic (where things are either true or false) to four-cornered logic* (where things are either true, false, both true and false, or neither true nor false). This could also be seen to be like the transition from Newtonian mechanics to quantum mechanics. There seems to be some kind of phase shift in these examples that is hard to define, but really fucks up our understanding of things.

In some ways, it may be useful to consider that transitioning from the day-to-day usage to the special usage wouldn't change anything in the "event itself," it would just be a change in the context or perspective of a person, which ends up suggesting to me that it may be useful to shift focus onto my own "context and perspective" when considering mystical experiences.

If I have an OBE and see an unusual future event in detail and the that event comes to pass as I saw it in all of its details, then the OBE is real.
So in this example, in the ordinary day-to-day sense, of course the OBE is real. But in the special sense, not only is the OBE real and unreal (or neither/nor), but all of life, the universe, and everything is both real and unreal (or neither/nor).

In my imagination, considering life, the universe, and everything to be both real and unreal feels like a mystery, a not knowing, and an ineffability.

This approach doesn't give satisfying descriptions of the universe or of OBEs. On the contrary, it tries to be radically agnostic.

For me, there is usefulness in considering everything to be mysterious in that it allows a lot of space for the occurrence of mystical experiences and doesn't demand that the mystical experiences be interpreted in any specific way or interpreted at all, for that matter.

I very much like the idea of leaving space open for life to be mysterious---this is what draws me to podcasts like Skeptiko. I love the sense of awe and the sense of profound mystery and possibility. My personal interests have been in trying to move toward some approach to these topics that leaves the sense of awe, possibility, and mystery intact---or even enhances them---while developing some base of ideas that can give my intellect something to chew on that doesn't ruin the awe, mystery, etc.

Obviously, for all kinds of reasons, it is useful for many people, myself included, to speculate and try to figure out the nature of the universe, the nature of mystical experience, etc. At the same time, I am trying to explore what usefulness there might be in cultivating some kind of not knowing.

Also, it may useful to mention that this "four-cornered logic" approach is not limited to saying what is "real" or "unreal". It can be applied to other concepts like true/false, form/emptiness, meaning/meaningless, pattern/nebulosity, etc.

I will give my standard disclaimer that I'm not trying to say any of this IS THE WAY IT IS.

*aka tetralemma aka catuskoti
 
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You're digging an increasingly deeper hole here trying to defend a world view that is not in line with reality, IMO..

First, you're defending human sacrifice.
if you look into the actual history of, say WW1, you will see those who enrolled were induced/seduced by noble sentiments concocted by people who did not believe them - and which were not true. Contra contemporary warfare thinking, back then sending thousands to their death indolence of what amount to petty disputes amongst the rich and powerful was an okay thing to do. Its not the same a sacrificing lives to gods to ward off the end of the world, as the Aztecs did. But sacrificing lives to ward off the end of your lifestyle seems to me to be worse.

I don't defend human sacrifice, I try to understand why the Aztecs and others thought this was a good thing to do. In so doing that breaks open the whole mythos of sacrifice. Whether a life is 'laid down' voluntarily or under duress does not change the essential nature of sacrifice as an idea. As you unpick the idea it is about causing the death of an individual for a purpose greater than individual meaning. Hence soldier can go into battle with a sense that he will not survive - and this is not suicide - because the purpose is beyond self. Sacrifice is beyond self selfless, if it is willing.

The Aztecs sacrificed lives, mostly not of their own, in a struggle against the 'enemy' that was divine in nature to ward off the demise of their reality. I don't see that sending sending men off to a conflict that would have been avoided using diplomacy of human life was more valued is fundamentally different. The psychological process are essentially the same.

There has been argument that the Aztecs drugged their sacrifice 'victims'. How is that different to the propaganda that painted WW1 as a glorious struggle instead of the brutal and ugly struggle it turned out to be.

Don't misunderstand me. There are times I think sacrifice is necessary. But there are times it is not. We do not believe the Aztecs had an objective necessity to kill people. They clearly thought they had an existential one. By sticking the word 'human' in front of the word 'sacrifice' we pretend that it is a barbaric practice - and yet we ask our citizens (humans all) to sacrifice their lives for a proclaimed cause - and that's not 'human sacrifice'?

The core of Christianity is the 'sacrifice' of Jesus as a kind of scapegoat. That's not too far away from the Aztec logic.

I absolutely defend 'human sacrifice' as the self-willed act of a properly informed individual in relation to their own lives in the service of whatever higher principle they adhere to. I do not defend 'human sacrifice' that results from bondage or deception. You will appreciate that this an issue in recruitment for military service - the call to service and sacrifice is not based on reality, but upon appeal to a higher or noble purpose - which is not always sufficient or truthful. Ergo the logic for mercenaries.
 
Next you're ignoring that Aztecs and most - if not all - of the other of the cultures you like, had slaves. Are you seriously going to compare more or less voluntary participation in commercial markets to slavery?
Yes. Because if you go back into the history of the Industrial Revolution you will see that the difference between being a slave and an employee is marginal. When you say "more or less voluntary participation" you embrace the forced necessity of, for example, working in a factory for starvation wages because you had been forced off your land. If you have to eat and sustain your family you will work at whatever you have to do.

I don't do American history. In England the 'Industrial Revolution' was fuelled by country folk moving to the cities and working in factories - under shocking conditions and for long hours for miserable pay. The factory owners grew rich. The rural dispossessed were plentiful and disposable (though injury, illness and death). Their lives were valued as components in a system of production, and when they failed in their roles they were replaced. It is fair to say that the workers were 'sacrificed' (because their lives had no value beyond mere utility). This isn't a political analysis. Its straight history. This is how it was.

Whe we factor in the vulnerability of a worker, the difference between them an a slave is marginal. We do have the term "wage slave" to denote those who cannot afford to lose their jobs and so tolerate conditions others would not endure. In the US slaves who wanted to escape where hunted down and returned to their owners. How fundamentally different is that to striking workers demanding better conditions being beaten by police and forced back to work for the same (or worse) conditions? How is slavery any different what happens in many 'sweat shops'? Please do research contemporary slavery there's plenty to find on google.

My point is that 'human sacrifice' is something we associate with the violation of human rights and dignity - usually by being killed (and comparatively quickly) - in pursuit of defence against some existential threat. For the Aztecs this was a world destroying threat and I could make a case that this is a far more noble violation of human rights than the grubby mundane 'sacrifice' of people through quick or slow deaths in defence against diminution of wealth and influence.

Enslavement is a loss of liberty and self-determination and enforced labour. In the 19th century that applied to most factory workers in the UK. The difference between being a slave and an employee is that is dared leave, as an employee you were not going to be hunted down. The 'man' didn't own you body, just your soul. Again, this is history, not politics. You can varify this with research.

Enslavement for me is not a binary state - you are/you are not. Its a spectrum. The trheshold of liberty is not fixed. Ditto (human) sacrifice. We talk about sacrifice as a good thing until we add the prefix 'human', and suddenly its bad. This is despite the fact that all the sacrifice we otherwise talk about involved humans (we don't much talk animal sacrifice these days).

Several times I have qualified my statements by saying 'its not politics, its history'. Of course there are political interpretations of history - but the facts of history are not in dispute. Whether you want to apply terms like sacrifice and slavery to 18th and 19th century workers in Britain is, I admit, probably a political choice. But the fact of the conditions they worked and lived under is not.

I have an interest in the idea of sacrifice as a religious idea, but that understanding does not work unless the idea of sacrifice itself is addressed. So is there a connection between what the Aztecs did and what we expect of our military? There is because we use the same word. Why is that? Am I arguing for equivalence? No. There is a spectrum of meaning. Just sticking 'human' before 'sacrfice' doesn't destroy that connection.
 
Yes. Because if you go back into the history of the Industrial Revolution you will see that the difference between being a slave and an employee is marginal. When you say "more or less voluntary participation" you embrace the forced necessity of, for example, working in a factory for starvation wages because you had been forced off your land. If you have to eat and sustain your family you will work at whatever you have to do.

I don't do American history. In England the 'Industrial Revolution' was fuelled by country folk moving to the cities and working in factories - under shocking conditions and for long hours for miserable pay. The factory owners grew rich. The rural dispossessed were plentiful and disposable (though injury, illness and death). Their lives were valued as components in a system of production, and when they failed in their roles they were replaced. It is fair to say that the workers were 'sacrificed' (because their lives had no value beyond mere utility). This isn't a political analysis. Its straight history. This is how it was.

Whe we factor in the vulnerability of a worker, the difference between them an a slave is marginal. We do have the term "wage slave" to denote those who cannot afford to lose their jobs and so tolerate conditions others would not endure. In the US slaves who wanted to escape where hunted down and returned to their owners. How fundamentally different is that to striking workers demanding better conditions being beaten by police and forced back to work for the same (or worse) conditions? How is slavery any different what happens in many 'sweat shops'? Please do research contemporary slavery there's plenty to find on google.

My point is that 'human sacrifice' is something we associate with the violation of human rights and dignity - usually by being killed (and comparatively quickly) - in pursuit of defence against some existential threat. For the Aztecs this was a world destroying threat and I could make a case that this is a far more noble violation of human rights than the grubby mundane 'sacrifice' of people through quick or slow deaths in defence against diminution of wealth and influence.

Enslavement is a loss of liberty and self-determination and enforced labour. In the 19th century that applied to most factory workers in the UK. The difference between being a slave and an employee is that is dared leave, as an employee you were not going to be hunted down. The 'man' didn't own you body, just your soul. Again, this is history, not politics. You can varify this with research.

Enslavement for me is not a binary state - you are/you are not. Its a spectrum. The trheshold of liberty is not fixed. Ditto (human) sacrifice. We talk about sacrifice as a good thing until we add the prefix 'human', and suddenly its bad. This is despite the fact that all the sacrifice we otherwise talk about involved humans (we don't much talk animal sacrifice these days).

Several times I have qualified my statements by saying 'its not politics, its history'. Of course there are political interpretations of history - but the facts of history are not in dispute. Whether you want to apply terms like sacrifice and slavery to 18th and 19th century workers in Britain is, I admit, probably a political choice. But the fact of the conditions they worked and lived under is not.

I have an interest in the idea of sacrifice as a religious idea, but that understanding does not work unless the idea of sacrifice itself is addressed. So is there a connection between what the Aztecs did and what we expect of our military? There is because we use the same word. Why is that? Am I arguing for equivalence? No. There is a spectrum of meaning. Just sticking 'human' before 'sacrfice' doesn't destroy that connection.
We don't live in the 1800s. Whatever happened was a step on the evolution to where we are today, which is more free and prosperous and healthy than any other people ever on the planet.

Had the Spanish not landed in what is, today, Latin America, the Aztecs would still be making war to capture slaves and sacrificial victims. Just as today, slavery, and even cannibalism and constant tribal war remains a feature of Africa.
 
Had the Spanish not landed in what is, today, Latin America, the Aztecs would still be making war to capture slaves and sacrificial victims. Just as today, slavery, and even cannibalism and constant tribal war remains a feature of Africa.
Come on Eric, you can't say this with a straight face. We have no idea, and can have no idea what would have happened in Mexico or South America without Spanish invasion. To be fair another bunch of Europeans would like have done the invading instead - but then maybe not.

We don't live in the 1800s. Whatever happened was a step on the evolution to where we are today, which is more free and prosperous and healthy than any other people ever on the planet.

I don't dispute the evolutionary step, but let's be clear here, getting to where we are in terms of being free and prosperous and healthy (to the extent that we are) has taken the efforts of dedicated idealists who have been routinely brutalised and 'sacrificed' by those who presume the privilege of power and rulership - and the determination of those who prevent backsliding .

We don't live in the 1800s, but 19th century values still live in our cultures and would break out again, given half a chance - in fact its just easier to set up a 21st century imitation of a 19th century sweat shop off shore. To the extent that we have evolved it is, as ever, down to a minority demanding the application of values and ideals - and still that's not done well in a consistent way.

To the extent that we are freer, more prosperous and healthier than anyone else let's be clear that this can be a 'devil's bargain:
  • Our 'freedom' is manipulated and can descend into licence. And it is more often an illusion crafted by influencers. We are not as overtly oppressed as many, that's true, but neither are we as free as we are told we are.
  • Prosperity may be true for some, but not for many. Being awash in material good enabled by debt is not prosperity. The cheap crap we buy is made by people who are not free, not prosperous, not healthy. Let's add catastrophic environmental costs to the ledger.
  • Healthier than before - Really? We are nations of flabby fat folk kept moving and numb by drugs. The older generations are better off in many respects. I don't think this is true of the current middle aged. I am not getting into 'fat shaming' but I have to say that the level of obesity in the middle aged and younger just seems to be getting higher and higher each year.
I am not being a misery guts here. I do take your point- up to a point. In many ways we are not manifesting the same levels of mutual brutality that were wide spread in the past. People have always been good to each other in families and communities and tribes. What we have managed to do better is reign in the power abusers and predators to a sufficient degree - and I mean that in many situations - families, workplaces, school grounds, businesses, governments. But it is a fragile advance - not weak, just easily broken.

I am not a huge fan of the Aztecs and I do not support their human sacrifice logic, but at least they had a logic. We don't. One of the interesting things in looking at archaic cultures is discovering different ways of looking at human reality. We may have greater freedom - but we the sense of duty, discipline and moral purpose to put it to good use. We seem to be more prosperous - but so often its too much of poor quality stuff that we don't really need - and we are in debt paying it off.

I buy the healthy argument in terms of hygiene across many areas and in some aspects of health care. But now we have to make time to get fit. Remember when you had to stop to have a break and a rest? Now we have stop resting to move. Once you could get some exercise chopping wood. Now you have a chain saw or you buy it ready cut - and so on. I don't think we have designed the modern world for physical bodies. I could go on, but I think you have gotten my point.

Yes we are evolving - but spiritually rather than in any other way. Our civilisation has indisputably generated massive ecological catastrophes on the way to creating all those 'good' things. The ledger does not look good. Does it look worse than those who came before us? Worse than the Romans? Worse than the Greeks? Worse than the Egyptians - and so on. Who knows. This is not a competition. We don't remember the Greeks as institutional pedophiles, the Romans for bloodlusting and brutal public entertainment. We remember the Greeks for art and philosophy and science, the Romans for engineering and military prowess.

You might explore the Aztecs beyond their lust for sacrifice to see whether they can also be remembered. Check out Inga Clendinnen's Aztecs, if you have not already done so.

We all have dumb ugly stupid parts to our reality, but they are not what define us.
 
Come on Eric, you can't say this with a straight face. We have no idea, and can have no idea what would have happened in Mexico or South America without Spanish invasion. .
Yep. Face straight as can be. We can certainly extrapolate to the Aztecs based on what we see everywhere with limited European or Chinese intrusion - and that is people living as they have for thousands of years; in many cases even at stone age levels. Look at Africa. It's a disaster.

I don't dispute the evolutionary step, but let's be clear here, getting to where we are in terms of being free and prosperous and healthy (to the extent that we are) has taken the efforts of dedicated idealists who have been routinely brutalised and 'sacrificed' by those who presume the privilege of power and rulership - and the determination of those who prevent backsliding ..
The world of men is messy and cruel in one form or another, everywhere. Yet the trend of western civ has been positive. You're criticizing select aspects of the journey and learning that have gotten us to where we are; which is the best humanity has ever been. This is all emotional arguments on your part. I am being practical. You are out-voted. People from all over the world seek what we have and we don't seek to be like them.

We don't live in the 1800s, but 19th century values still live in our cultures and would break out again, given half a chance - in fact its just easier to set up a 21st century imitation of a 19th century sweat shop off shore. To the extent that we have evolved it is, as ever, down to a minority demanding the application of values and ideals - and still that's not done well in a consistent way...
A couple of points.
1. You are doing something that I see liberals everywhere doing and it's really mean spirited - and that is condemning what we are now because of some perceived past sin (for example, slavery, brutal conditions in the industrial revolution period). Is that how you treat individual people? If they are fairly decent today and have been trending that way for years and doing good things for others you condemn them because of something they did in the distant past when they were still young? Or do you forgive and move on?
2. This is why you don't undermine our culture. Yes, we could revert any time. It's our cultural and civic institutions that largely prevent that from happening. Liberals attack those institutions. They want to burn it all down because of past sins and rebuild a glorious utopia in earth. Dangerous!

To the extent that we are freer, more prosperous and healthier than anyone else let's be clear that this can be a 'devil's bargain.
Yeah. Welcome to life on earth. Living in the material will always be a compromise with lofty spiritual ideals.

I am not a huge fan of the Aztecs and I do not support their human sacrifice logic, but at least they had a logic. We don't. One of the interesting things in looking at archaic cultures is discovering different ways of looking at human reality. We may have greater freedom - but we the sense of duty, discipline and moral purpose to put it to good use. We seem to be more prosperous - but so often its too much of poor quality stuff that we don't really need - and we are in debt paying it off.
Well then you're telling me that a lot of people can't handle freedom. They need a big boss government or preacher to order them around. But you wouldn't like that either. I'll take personal freedom over a boss any day, even if that means wasted freedom and bad choices are going to happen. I have mentioned before that I am a big believer in the Bell Curve. I don't want to hold back the farther right side of the curve to create something that is supposed to keep the farther left side of the curve doing the right thing. I also don't like others defining what is an appropriate use of my life.
 
Yep. Face straight as can be. We can certainly extrapolate to the Aztecs based on what we see everywhere with limited European or Chinese intrusion - and that is people living as they have for thousands of years; in many cases even at stone age levels. Look at Africa. It's a disaster.
After how many centuries of invasion by Europeans? If you can live a good life and flourish with a stone axe why the hell do you need a smart TV? The presumption of progress is that things are evidence of improvement. Really? Gatling guns and Napalm. Quality of life is always different from standard of living - and we prefer the latter and impose the confusion that it is equal to the former on everyone else - whether they like it or not.

And we can't extrapolate based on similar instances when it comes to history. Every instance is different and dynamic. Would we have predicted the domination of Britain based on knowing only the Roman invasion? No, because what led to England's improbable rise was the result of complex factors. Had Spain not invaded Mexico the USA would not be what it is - and so on.

The world of men is messy and cruel in one form or another, everywhere. Yet the trend of western civ has been positive. You're criticizing select aspects of the journey and learning that have gotten us to where we are; which is the best humanity has ever been. This is all emotional arguments on your part. I am being practical. You are out-voted. People from all over the world seek what we have and we don't seek to be like them.
I completely agree with you that the trend of western civilisation has been positive - but it always been a struggle against internal opposition to counter that growth. Its like then good guys won 101 to 95 - a sufficient but not a great margin.

These are not "emotional arguments on my part". They are based on getting on for half a century of inquiry. Your practicality is pragmatism.I get that.Its attractive. It has utility. It has popular merit.

I am not out voted. Human beings are not stupid. They go for what requires least energy for the most return. Wild animals do the same. But here's the rub. Australian Aboriginal people elected to use Toyotas and rifles to hunt kangaroos - least energy expenditure for maximum return. That works until they need bullets, petrol and spare parts. At that point there is a choice - retain real freedom and go back to hunting skills or become captured by the 'system' and do what is necessary to keep the dependent technologies running. A free man has no dependencies that render him subject to others and submissive to their demands. A man with a boomerang is free. A man with a rifle is not.

Plato writes of the advice from the Egyptians foretelling of future catastrophes. The sophisticated people in the seaside cities will perish and it is the rude unlettered people in the hills who will survive. If you look at Graham Hancock's work you will see compelling argument for several catastrophic events that devastated 'civilisation' (recorded in the 'myths; of archaic peoples).

People from all over the world seek what we have and we don't seek to be like them. No, not true. Of course many seek to be like us if they come from broken disrupted cultures (which is nearly all of them). Sure, not many of us seek to learn from sustainable life ways - but some do. And not everyone wants to be like us - just most. There is actually a lot of research into traditional life ways that help us understand that our "practical" way of being is actually quite dangerous to us and others. So, to be fair, its a two way street with a minority going one way and a majority, not everyone, going the other.

A couple of points.
1. You are doing something that I see liberals everywhere doing and it's really mean spirited - and that is condemning what we are now because of some perceived past sin (for example, slavery, brutal conditions in the industrial revolution period). Is that how you treat individual people? If they are fairly decent today and have been trending that way for years and doing good things for others you condemn them because of something they did in the distant past when they were still young? Or do you forgive and move on?


Eric these are not past sins. They continue in lour communities and we export them to 'developing countries'. In the USA you guys can't even agree on a minimum wage, and you have business operators who employ undocumented 'migrants' because they pay wages so low that not even the unemployed white folk will cop that. Read Deer Hunting With Jesus, America the Farewell Tour and a bunch of other books written by Republicans, plus the actual history of the labour relations in US economic development over, lets say 1850 to 1950. I don't mean partisan political spin but actual bipartisan agreed history.

Who forgives and moves on? You who have benefited from all that has happened? Me who has moved from working class poverty to comparatively comfortable middle class? I have Masters and Masters Honours degrees and I earn over AUD $120,000 a year. That's around USD$81,500. Its not fabulous but it is liveable. I am not bitter or resentful.

It seems to me that you are asking the winners to forgive the losers. I have spent my working life mostly in public service - so I have a perspective on public policy I do not expect you to share. I am prepared to hear your POV and explore it because I know you come from a different background. You up for a reciprocation?

2. This is why you don't undermine our culture. Yes, we could revert any time. It's our cultural and civic institutions that largely prevent that from happening. Liberals attack those institutions. They want to burn it all down because of past sins and rebuild a glorious utopia in earth. Dangerous!

It's our cultural and civic institutions that largely prevent that from happening: I agree with this statement because you have included the qualifier "largely". But we have to acknowledge that these days they are under threat from internal and external threat as the means to manipulate opinion become more an more sophisticated. How long that belief can be sustained without radical reconnection is problematic. This is the opinion of counter espionage and security experts globally.

Liberals attack those institutions. Some do. Others will justly challenge presumptions and habits of thought. Remember that 'conservatives' (that's the opposite in my language) act to preserve structures and traditions that protect established ruling classes. In Europe that means the traditional social elite as well as the wealthy who want to stay on top (understandably). The USA runs, in my view, a faux European class structure. You guys get more excited about the British royals than we do.,Its a big yawn to us while the US is wetting its knickers over royal wedding.

These institutions are not sacred establishments. They must be challenged as a natural part of a healthy social evolution. I am surprised you don't see this as a fundamental 1st amendment right. I have to be blunt and say that those who object to being challenged (attacked if you like) tend to be those who don't have a justification (defence).

They want to burn it all down because of past sins and rebuild a glorious utopia in earth Not at all. If our daughter was raped and became pregnant and had the child, would you hate the child because she was conceived in a criminal act? Would you acknowledge the crime and love the child? Would you love the child and pretend the crime did not happen?

A spiritually mature culture owns then crimes and sins that made it was it is - in part. That is what is being asked. I agree that there are those who call themselves progressive who want to roll over and let chaos happen because of their conception of past crimes. They are idiots and I have no regard for their POV.

But I think an essential part of our spiritual evolution is that we own our past, and acknowledge those injured in our triumph. Let me explain it this way. Australia was founded upon an explicit breech of law. The judgement may have been an error, but it led to a crime in our law. We have benefited from that crime, and in so doing we have behaved in cruel and unjust ways. And we have added arrogance and stupidity to the mix.

There is no way we are going up sticks and go back to where we came from. That's not going to happen. So how do we sort our relations with the indigenous people and the land in a spiritually mature way? If we dare, owning the past wrongs we benefit from can be positively transformative to us as individuals and to our community. We can be spiritually grown up, adult - and become stronger and better people.

I am no fan any political class, not here or the UK or the USA. In fact Australian politics so sickens me to despair at the venal stupidity of our elected representatives I have had to make a choice for my personal wellbeing. I have been a political junkie for a long time and I love the deep complexity needed to understand how it all works. Local politics was doing my blood pressure no good at all. Now I indulge my passion for politics by observing US politics. I have read maybe 26 books on US politics and culture so far this year.

Here's my point. In the US there is no simple binary that divides progressives and conservatives. Yes progressives are often complete dicks talking total rubbish. But the same applies to their political polar opposites. If you give a damn what what is true and real its the dialogue in the middle that should attract you. Its the debates between the just over the line progressives and the just over the line conservatives that are most informative - because these are debates between people who actually do know what the hell they are talking about. For that reason they are the least influential debates on the public stage - because mostly nobody really gives damn about what is true and real - just what gets them energised.

Humans are innately conservative. They prefer the status quo. You should take demands for change seriously. They always come from real grievances which are invariably distorted and misrepresented by opposing parties. I am not a fan of white supremacists, but because I know they have a real grievance I make the effort to understand it. The fact that they can articulate a grievance does not mean they can explain it or prescribe a remedy - but they try that, as we all do. And the rest of us think that because we think the remedy is crap the grievance must be crap too. That's a dumb mistake our media and politicians make as if doing so is part of their job description.
 
like Joseph Campbell. Have read all of his books. Doesn't mean he's 100% correct about everything, but IMO he does bring good ideas to the table.

Graham Hancock, somewhat less so, IMO
Campbell is an exemplary pioneer. He is not gospel. I have read all Hancock's works and recently gone back through all that are on audio, bar one that I will listen to soon. I think his case is compelling. I have been following elements of it from other sources for close on 2 decades.

I think the case for an advanced human civilisation going back 12+kya has to be acknowledged as highly credible to the point of being very probable.
 
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