1.) Statism is soft slavery:
“There’s no polite way to suggest to someone that they have devoted their life to a folly.” Daniel Dennett
We live in an oligarchic plutocracy disguised as a democratic republic. Because a massive amount of wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, we’re unable to maintain a healthy horizontal democracy. Instead we’re forced to deal with the snake of unhealthy vertical democracy which has the diabolical snakehead of plutocracy.
If we lived within a horizontal democracy, we would have a better chance at being free. No masters, no rulers, and no chance for power to become concentrated in the hands of a few. As Edward Abbey said, “Since few men are wise enough to rule themselves, even fewer are wise enough to rule others.” Easier said than done, sure, but nothing worth doing was ever easy.
As it stands, it is impossible to live freely within an oligarchic plutocracy. The plutocrats will simply continue buying up power by creating oppressive laws and “legal” extortion rackets that keep the people without wealth and power in a permanent state of poverty and powerlessness. Add to that the use of lobbyists and a fiat currency based on debt, and you have a nation of hoodwinked debt slaves (soft slavery) under the delusion that they live in a free democratic republic.
2.) Bipartisan politics makes you close-minded:
“At the core of all well-founded belief, lies belief that is unfounded.” ~Ludwig Wittgenstein
Partisan politics is old hat. Republican versus democrat is parochial and outdated. It’s high time we moved on from this utterly adolescent and intellectually dismissive mindset. It’s time we found a more mature and responsible way of looking at politics that goes beyond petty prejudice and whiny scapegoating.
What we need is a politics without adjectives –meta-politics. The kind of politics that launches us into a heightened state of perception, giving us a bird’s eye view over the bipartisan fuckery of it all. The kind of politics that’s cosmopolitan and open-minded.
Meta-politics puts conservatism and liberalism on the backburner and watches them burn. It roasts some marsh mellows over that fire while kicking its legs up and having a good long laugh at the deplorable, egotistical seriousness of it all. And the best way to achieve the kind of politics that leaves partisanship behind on the shitheap of history is to embrace sortition over election.
3.) Elections are auctions:
“If you vote, you have no right to complain.” ~George Carlin
The election-based system (especially representative elections) of appointing leadership has utterly failed. It’s time to usher in a new system of appointing democratic leaders.
Elections attract power hungry egomaniacs at best and warmongering sociopaths at worst. People who seek power over others tend to be the least capable of handling it. There must be a way to guard against this kind of unhealthy power-seeking personality type in our democratic leadership while still maintaining a healthy democracy.
One potential solution is the implementation of a sortition-based system of appointing leaders, with assembly powers to vote out “bad seeds.” A lottery would balance out the system through simple probability, while empowering citizens and preventing power from corrupting, since voting-out would be the only time a majority vote would matter. Sortition through lottery, by way of voluntary assembly, would level the playing field, make lobbyists obsolete, and prevent power from becoming entrenched, all while educating the masses on civic-mindedness and maintaining a healthy egalitarian ethos.
Assemblies could be local and practical, growing out of an organic bottom-up approach that encourages proactive and informative citizenry which would see communities build county assemblies into state assemblies into national assemblies. All of which would use the lottery to elect leaders and only use the popular vote to oust bad leaders.
4.) Xenophobic nationalism kills healthy diversity:
“Live simply so that others may simply live.” ~Gandhi
Migration and the free movement of people has always been a defining factor of the human condition. It’s a process of trial and error at times, certainly. For tyranny and violence have always been ugly aspects of our history. But, ultimately, it has been the cornerstone of our healthy, progressively evolving, species. Using a big-picture perspective, what astronauts call the Overview Effect, we can see how silly and irrational the idea of borders, boundaries, and disputed territories really are.
And yet today, caught up in our myopic, small-picture thinking, there are millions of us who think that attempting to stop the free movement of people is necessary and moral. Important enough to build a wall even –a symbol of structural violence if there ever was one.
But as Jason Silva said in this profound video, “Restricting migration is ultimately like restricting the flow of ideas. In much the same way that we don’t tolerate censorship, we might consider the ways in which restricting the free movement of people can be equally punishing to the idea of human flourishing.”
We need to scale up. We need to usher in a higher perspective. We need to dissolve the delusion of boundaries and the divisiveness of borders. Indeed. If we are to progressively evolve into a healthier species, we must be able to engage the Overview Effect to gain a higher perspective. Otherwise, we’re stuck, stagnating and devolving into the small-picture thinking of the monkey-mind.
5.) Dangerous freedom is healthier than peaceful slavery:
“The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
Peaceful freedom is the ideal, of course, but to achieve peaceful freedom, dangerous freedom must surpass peaceful slavery. Peaceful slavery is an all-too-comfortable state reinforced by extortion disguised as security and oppression disguised as safety. In order to snuff out the covert deceit, in order to reveal the Matrix for what it truly is, a little dangerous freedom must be acted out. A little risky (but mind-blowing) red-pill popping must replace the safe (but mind-numbing) blue-pill popping.
Risky vulnerability is healthier than safe invulnerability. Our all-too-comfortable culture is like an unhealthy tank. It’s a militarized comfort zone afraid to stretch itself into something new. It’s no wonder that it is home to millions of people who are themselves afraid to stretch their own comfort zones into something healthier. This comes at the expense of both personal and cultural health.
As a result, we are left with a culture that convinces itself that it needs to seek permission to be free. You can’t do anything these days without seeking permission first. You can’t collect rain water, grow and sell food, go fishing, travel, get married, protest. It’s the height of insanity.
And yet we are mostly complicit. But we will reap no peaceful freedom if we don’t sow a little dangerous freedom first. Get busy freeing or get busy slaving. The choice is ours.
6.) Defense-minded policing is far superior to offense-minded policing:
“When freedom is outlawed only outlaws will be free.” ~Anonymous
Ill-trained offense-minded policing has led to a corrupt and overreaching police force hellbent on meeting quotas that lead to “legal” extortion. Offense-minded policing leads to militarized policing which inevitably leads to a police state. And although we’re not in a police state quite yet, we’re on a slippery slope.
If, as Stefan Molyneux said, “The law is an opinion with a gun,” then it stands to reason that we should check untenable opinions with a tenable solution. Privatized defense-minded policing is that solution.
It is based upon the reasonable precept that for any free humans who are unable to protect themselves or their property –whether due to lack of skills, an ailment, age, or even plain cowardice– they are free to hire a defense-minded police force to help protect them and their property.
As long as this police force remains defense-minded and doesn’t become offense-minded by forcing their values, ideals, rules, or laws onto others, then it is a morally tenable means of policing. It’s only when the hired police force (such as the state-driven police force we see in the streets today) violates defense-mindedness by becoming an oppressive, extorting, violent force with the monopoly on power, forcing its values, ideals, rules, or laws on otherwise free people, that it ceases to work well and becomes unreasonable and untenable.
Simply put: Healthy policing is an extension of healthy self-defense. Self-defense turned violent and overreaching is no longer about self-preservation. Similarly, policing turned violent and overreaching is no longer about protecting and serving. It’s no longer about healthy defense, but about violent offense. Violence should only ever be used in self-defense and never as a means toward enforcing one’s values, rules, or laws onto others, no matter how popular they are.
7.) Those with power should be held more accountable than those without:
“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” ~Abraham Lincoln
If any person within any cultural dynamic acquires enough wealth, they have power over others in that culture. What a person does with that power will define their character.
If a person lords their power over others then their character is unhealthy, immoral, oppressive, limiting, and tyrannical. If a person uses their power to help others then their character is healthy, moral, compassionate, liberating, and prestigious.
Governing the precept that humans are fallible, imperfect, and prone to make mistakes, especially when it comes to power, it stands to reason that confiding in a system made up of humans wielding power over others is absurd. It’s circular reasoning at its worst.
So, it stands to reason that attempting to lead (rule) ourselves is superior to allowing others to lead (rule) us (since power tends to corrupt).
True leaders cannot be controlled. They learn, through self-mastery, the teachings of others, and through Universal Law, how to discipline themselves. True leaders don’t follow power; they learn how to turn the tables on power, even their own, so that power does not corrupt. True leaders don’t kowtow to tyranny or authoritarian rule; they attempt to dismantle it, despite the “rank and order” that props it up.
This requires courage. It requires slapping people with the truth when they would rather be kissed with lies. It requires revealing ugly truths that jolt people awake. Speaking truth to power is making a declaration of interdependence in the face of entrenched power. It’s counting coup on authority. It’s becoming a social leveling mechanism par excellence. As Niels Bohr said, “Every valuable human being must be a radical and a rebel, for what he must aim at is to make things better than they are.”
Physicists Suggest All Matter Could Be Made Up of Energy ‘Fragments’
Matter is what makes up the Universe, but what makes up matter? This question has long been tricky for those who think about it – especially for the physicists.
Reflecting recent trends in physics, my colleague Jeffrey Eischen and I have described an updated way to think about matter. We propose that matter is not made of particles or waves, as was long thought, but – more fundamentally – that matter is made of fragments of energy.
From Five to One
The ancient Greeks conceived of five building blocks of matter – from bottom to top: earth, water, air, fire and aether. Aether was the matter that filled the heavens and explained the rotation of the stars, as observed from the Earth vantage point.
These were the first most basic elements from which one could build up a world. Their conceptions of the physical elements did not change dramatically for nearly 2,000 years.
Then, about 300 years ago, Sir Isaac Newton introduced the idea that all matter exists at points called particles. One hundred fifty years after that, James Clerk Maxwell introduced the electromagnetic wave – the underlying and often invisible form of magnetism, electricity and light.
The particle served as the building block for mechanics and the wave for electromagnetism – and the public settled on the particle and the wave as the two building blocks of matter. Together, the particles and waves became the building blocks of all kinds of matter.
This was a vast improvement over the ancient Greeks’ five elements but was still flawed. In a famous series of experiments, known as the double-slit experiments, light sometimes acts like a particle and at other times acts like a wave. And while the theories and math of waves and particles allow scientists to make incredibly accurate predictions about the Universe, the rules break down at the largest and tiniest scales.
Einstein proposed a remedy in his theory of general relativity. Using the mathematical tools available to him at the time, Einstein was able to better explain certain physical phenomena and also resolve a longstanding paradox relating to inertia and gravity.
But instead of improving on particles or waves, he eliminated them as he proposed the warping of space and time.
Using newer mathematical tools, my colleague and I have demonstrated a new theory that may accurately describe the Universe. Instead of basing the theory on the warping of space and time, we considered that there could be a building block that is more fundamental than the particle and the wave.
Scientists understand that particles and waves are existential opposites: A particle is a source of matter that exists at a single point, and waves exist everywhere except at the points that create them.
My colleague and I thought it made logical sense for there to be an underlying connection between them.
Flow and Fragments of Energy
Our theory begins with a new fundamental idea – that energy always “flows” through regions of space and time.
Think of energy as made up of lines that fill up a region of space and time, flowing into and out of that region, never beginning, never ending and never crossing one another.
Working from the idea of a universe of flowing energy lines, we looked for a single building block for the flowing energy. If we could find and define such a thing, we hoped we could use it to accurately make predictions about the Universe at the largest and tiniest scales.
There were many building blocks to choose from mathematically, but we sought one that had the features of both the particle and wave – concentrated like the particle but also spread out over space and time like the wave.
The answer was a building block that looks like a concentration of energy – kind of like a star – having energy that is highest at the center, and that gets smaller farther away from the center.
Much to our surprise, we discovered that there were only a limited number of ways to describe a concentration of energy that flows. Of those, we found just one that works in accordance with our mathematical definition of flow.
We named it a fragment of energy. For the math and physics aficionados, it is defined as A = -⍺/r where ⍺ is intensity and r is the distance function.
Using the fragment of energy as a building block of matter, we then constructed the math necessary to solve physics problems. The final step was to test it out.
Back to Einstein, Adding Universality
More than 100 ago, Einstein had turned to two legendary problems in physics to validate general relativity: the ever-so-slight yearly shift – or precession – in Mercury’s orbit, and the tiny bending of light as it passes the Sun.
These problems were at the two extremes of the size spectrum. Neither wave nor particle theories of matter could solve them, but general relativity did.
The theory of general relativity warped space and time in such way as to cause the trajectory of Mercury to shift and light to bend in precisely the amounts seen in astronomical observations.
If our new theory was to have a chance at replacing the particle and the wave with the presumably more fundamental fragment, we would have to be able to solve these problems with our theory, too.
For the precession-of-Mercury problem, we modeled the Sun as an enormous stationary fragment of energy and Mercury as a smaller but still enormous slow-moving fragment of energy. For the bending-of-light problem, the Sun was modeled the same way, but the photon was modeled as a minuscule fragment of energy moving at the speed of light.
In both problems, we calculated the trajectories of the moving fragments and got the same answers as those predicted by the theory of general relativity. We were stunned.
Our initial work demonstrated how a new building block is capable of accurately modeling bodies from the enormous to the minuscule. Where particles and waves break down, the fragment of energy building block held strong.
The fragment could be a single potentially universal building block from which to model reality mathematically – and update the way people think about the building blocks of the Universe.
Republished from TheConversation.com under Creative Commons
Neuroscientist Claims That Consciousness Itself Is Its Own Energy Field
A neuroscientist has suggested in a new theory that our consciousness is derived from a field of electromagnetic waves given off by neurons.
The study published last month in the journal Neuroscience of Consciousness is entirely based off a theory absent of tangible evidence. However, the author of the research Johnjoe McFadden said that his hypothesis could offer a way forward for robots that think and feel emotions.
McFadden believes that neuron waves of electrical activity get sent out and as they propagate across the brain, they help compose our entire conscious experience.
Johnjoe McFadden, is a molecular geneticist and director of quantum biology at the University of Surrey. McFadden points to flaws in other models of consciousness as the reason that we don’t have sentient artificial intelligence or robots capable of achieving consciousness.
McFadden’s hypothesis swerves away from most traditional neuroscientists, who generally see consciousness as a narrative that our brain constructs out of our senses, perceptions, and actions. Instead, McFadden returns to a more empirical version of dualism — the idea that consciousness stems from something other than our brain matter.
McFadden’s theory adapts the idea of “dualism,” which is the belief that consciousness is a supernatural force. Dualism has long been rejected by scientists and ruled pseudo-science, but McFadden has attempted to apply a scientific explanation for the idea, which hasn’t been done before.
Neuroscience news reports that the theory is based on scientific fact:
“The theory is based on scientific fact: when neurons in the brain and nervous system fire, they not only send the familiar electrical signal down the wire-like nerve fibres, but they also send a pulse of electromagnetic energy into the surrounding tissue. Such energy is usually disregarded, yet it carries the same information as nerve firings, but as an immaterial wave of energy, rather than a flow of atoms in and out of the nerves.”
It’s also a fact we have an electromagnetic field surrounding our brain is well-known and is detected by brain-scanning techniques such as electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) but has previously been dismissed as irrelevant to brain function and supernatural. Instead, McFadden contends that the brain’s information-rich electromagnetic field is, in fact, itself the seat of consciousness, driving the ‘free will’ of an individual.
“How brain matter becomes aware and manages to think is a mystery that has been pondered by philosophers, theologians, mystics and ordinary people for millennia,” McFadden said in a press release published by Medical Xpress. “I believe this mystery has now been solved, and that consciousness is the experience of nerves plugging into the brain’s self-generated electromagnetic field to drive what we call ‘free will’ and our voluntary actions.”
Ann Arbor becomes latest city to decriminalize “magic” mushrooms and other natural psychedelics
(TMU) – The city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has effectively decriminalized psilocybin or “magic” mushrooms along with other natural psychedelics in the latest sign that public opinion across the U.S. is continuing to turn against prohibitionist policies.
On Monday, the Ann Arbor City Council unanimously voted in favor of a resolution that would make it the city’s lowest-ranked law enforcement priority to the investigate or arrest anyone planting, cultivating, purchasing, transporting, distributing, using or possessing entheogenic plants or plant compounds.
The resolution applies to all psychedelics derived from plants and fungi, including psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, ibogaine, mescaline, peyote and other substances with hallucinogenic properties deemed illegal under state and federal law.
The council also requires the Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office to halt the prosecution of those involved in the use of entheogenic plants and plant compounds.
Ann Arbor now joins a growing list of cities including Denver, Colorado, and the California cities of Santa Cruz and Oakland that have decriminalized all entheogenic plants. Other cities including Chicago and Austin are considering similar measures. A ballot measure that would legalize the use of psilocybin in therapeutic settings will also be voted on in the state of Oregon this November.
The move to de-prioritize law enforcement around psychedelics was spearheaded by the efforts of local grassroots advocacy group Decriminalize Nature Ann Arbor, or DNA2.
At the beginning of the year, councilmembers were skeptical about any move to decriminalize psychedelics. Since then, they’ve found themselves convinced by evidence of the therapeutic and spiritual benefits of psychedelics, including for mental health treatment and treating addiction, reports MLive.
Councilmember Zachary Ackerman cited the opening of a $17 million psychedelic and consciousness research center by Johns Hopkins Medicine as proof of “the tremendous potential of these future medicines.” The Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore is currently conducting clinical trials to find out whether the drug is suitable as a prescription drug for the U.S. market.
Councilmember Jack Eaton described the council’s unanimous backing for the decriminalization resolution as carrying on the city’s legacy of backing the local decriminalization of marijuana during the 1970s, when the plant was still illegal under state and federal law.
The resolution doesn’t allow for the commission of crimes or any significant violation of state or federal law, and any use of entheogenic substances that pose a threat to public health and safety could require intervention by law enforcement bodies.
In the resolution, entheogenic plants are defined as the full spectrum of plants and fungi that contain indole amines, tryptamines and phenethylamines “that can benefit psychological and physical wellness, support and enhance religious and spiritual practices, and can reestablish human’s inalienable and direct relationship to nature.”
The resolution also states that psychedelic substances can be used to address substance abuse problems, addiction, recidivism, trauma, post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, grief, cluster headaches and other debilitating conditions.
“The use of entheogenic plants, which can catalyze profound experiences of personal and spiritual growth, have been shown by scientific and clinical studies and traditional practices to be beneficial to the health and well-being of individuals and communities in addressing these conditions,” it states.
Psilocybin mushrooms are currently considered a Schedule 1 narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency.
However, psilocybin – the main chemical component of the mushrooms – was designated as a “breakthrough therapy” by the FDA in 2019 due to the positive results of psilocybin in treating depression, anxiety, addiction, and other mental health problems.
Studies have also shown how a microdose of psilocybin—far from the level needed for a full-blown trip—actually increases the creativity and empathy of participants.
Other researchers have also found that psilocybin has provided effective help to patients struggling to quit other addictive substances such as cigarettes.
The newfound recognition of psilocybin therapy as a valid treatment has eroded old stereotypes of psilocybin as some intoxicating and hallucination-inducing party drug that drives its users insane – a reputation that largely grew out of the hippie counterculture of the 1960s when they were widely known as “psychedelic” or “magic” mushrooms.
The resolution further notes that entheogenic plants have been the basis of spiritual practices by human cultures for thousands of years, yet those who seek them for the sake of improving their health and wellbeing must risk arrest and prosecution to obtain them.
“Decriminalization of naturally occurring medicines is necessary for progress,” councilmember Jeff Hayner said in a press release from DNA2 last week, reports Detroit Metro Times. “We can no longer turn a blind eye towards the wisdom of indigenous peoples, and the bounty the earth provides. I have been moved by the testimonies of those who have found profound relief from the use of entheogenic plants.”
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