Truth, honesty, and loss

Poppies in the moat of the Tower of London, 2014

(Artificial) Poppies in the moat of the Tower of London

Dear Paul,

A few days ago, you asked: Wherein lays the truth?

I believe that the crux of the matter lies in one of the quotations you offer:

“… we are in a generational struggle to defend the principles of the free market against people who want to undermine it or strip it away.”

This choice of words reveals a perception clouded by ideology.

Whether one includes oneself in the ‘we’ of the above quote will effectively determine one’s stance on various issues such as global warming, climate change, austerity, free market fundamentalism, corporate corruption, wealth inequality, population, immigration, peak oil, belief in the viability of infinite growth on a finite planet — and possibly the existence of the Loch Ness monster, too.

You previously said ‘Vested interests, perhaps‘. Personally, I would strike the ‘perhaps’.

Mr. Truth is a shifty character whose principal skills are subterfuge, disguise and, most of all, misdirection.

'It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.' - Ansel Adams

Special thanks for the pointer to The Toll-Booth Economy, in which George Monbiot cogently argues that corporations are the enemy within. His words underscore the reason I no longer wear a red poppy on this day. I believe that to do so would be an insult to the memories of those who laid down their lives for democratic freedoms we clearly no longer respect — because if we did respect them, we might do more about their erosion.

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About pendantry

Phlyarologist (part-time) and pendant. Campaigner for action against anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and injustice in all its forms. Humanist, atheist, notoftenpist. Wannabe poet, writer and astronaut.
This entry was posted in Business, Capitalism, Communication, consciousness, Core thought, Economics, Environment, History and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Truth, honesty, and loss

  1. Thanks for the link. Your words are much stronger and more direct than mine. Well done, and I agree with you.

    • pendantry says:

      First, admit there’s a problem. Many people already do: but our broken ‘democratic’ system disenfranchises those who recognise that the false choice of voting for Party A or Party B when both are in bed with corrupt corporate power is no choice at all. So called ‘voter apathy’ can be cured at a stroke by allowing votes for ‘none of the above’ (NOTA).

      I’m not pretending to have all (or any!) answers, but If I ruled the world offers a framework for discussion. See point #12 for my thoughts on NOTA. (Hmm… just did a search on ‘NOTA’ and it led me here… though the site seems to have a few problems.)

  2. Dr Bob Rich says:

    There is a malapropism in the first line! 🙂
    My answer is what millions of people are doing, although in an unorganised and perhaps unthinking way: reject materialist culture.
    Live simply so you may simply live. Do acts of kindness instead of desperately defending turf.
    When you suffer a disappointment, use mind power: if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter (the essence of Buddhist philosophy).
    Sabotage the global economy (which is the enemy) by buying and consuming as little as possible. My wife and I have been doing this, living in voluntary poverty, since 1978, and we found the unexpected side-effect of contentment.
    🙂
    Bob

    • pendantry says:

      I’m not sure which is the ‘first line’ to which you refer, but bear in mind that my choice of words at the beginning were constrained by the title of Paul’s linked post. While I would agree that his choice is suspect… I don’t mind, because it doesn’t matter 🙂

      I entirely agree with your sentiments about frugal living. I believe that the only chance we as a species (to wit, homo fatuus brutus) has of returning to some sort of balance with nature is for every member of it to adopt a similar view. There is, sadly, little, if any, chance of this ever happening. This is something about which I do mind, as I believe it does matter. However, the uni/multiverse clearly doesn’t mind that I, personally, don’t matter.

  3. Dr Bob Rich says:

    Pendantry,, that’s a perfect expression of the Buddhist philosophy I use as my armor. You CAN go one step further into equanimity: because there is reincarnation (supported by good evidence), whether a person lives 100 minutes or 100 years doesn’t matter. There are always more chances to learn the Lessons we are here to learn. And there are billions of other schools in the universe.
    I’d like you to read my book Ascending Spiral, which is based on these concepts. Can you please email me privately?
    🙂
    Bob

    • pendantry says:

      I’m intrigued by the concept of ‘good evidence’ for reincarnation; do you have a link or nine? Whenever I’ve tried to research such concepts in the past I’ve invariably come across a bunch of unsubstantiatable baggage mixed in with the intriguing bits. (A good example of this is the Holographic Universe series of videos, which seems (to me) to reveal itself as a standard ‘bait and switch’ in the third hour 😦 I am very open to such ideas, though: there are those who believe it may be possible to demonstrate the existence of the ‘multiverse’ postulated by M-theory, and in an infinity of universes, literally anything is possible.

      *makes note to buy more space hamster traps*

      [edit]
      Oops. Forgot to say ’email in transit’ but then it’ll be in your mailbox already so (a) no worries (b) many thanks and (c) why am I bothering with this pointless edit?
      [/edit]

      • Dr Bob Rich says:

        The two best bits of evidence for reincarnation I know of are:

        Peter Ramster film
        http://pastliferegress.blogspot.com.au/search/label/Past%20Life%20Regression%20Hypnotherapy

        Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker
        http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinical/departments/psychiatry/sections/cspp/dops/home-page

        I talk about this in more depth in my little book of essays “You too can live in contentment,” which can be requested for free at http://bobswriting.com/ascending.html

        🙂
        Bob


        [Oops — Sorry, Bob, I’ve only just spotted this in the moderation queue. I blame WordPress; their interface recently changed, and moderated comments are no longer highlighted as prominently as they were before.]

        • pendantry says:

          Here’s a more direct link to the Peter Ramster film to which you refer. (I’m guessing the ‘banned’ label is just clickbait.) Eleven short segments, ugh, not ideal for viewing, or downloading. I found a documentary film called ‘Reincarnation‘ that I think is the same: it’s almost two hours long, and the first five minutes didn’t appeal to me — too much tease material, too little substance. But you’ve recommended it, so I’m downloading it now for later review.

          I’ve already downloaded a BBC film called ‘Supernatural Science – Previous Lives‘. The Beeb can also tease a bit too too much, but at least they don’t build in those daft periodic cliff-[insert promotional advertising here]-hangers as so many others do. (Even with the advertising trimmed, you can see where the adverts are supposed to go because of the artificial pacing. Infuriating. But I digress.)

          DOPS looks interesting, thanks for that link.

          • Dr Bob Rich says:

            Peter Ramster is a psychologist in Sydney. He did his research, and published it as a book and as a movie (because film making was his hobby). Then his son suffered a terrible car accident, and Peter stopped everything else and became full time carer for him. He took his movie down from the internet. At one stage, I was in email contact with him and asked to buy a copy of his book, but he declined.
            The copy you can view has been posted by someone without Peter’s permission, or even against his wishes. That’s why it is ‘banned’ or ‘unauthorised,’ or whatever term is used.

          • pendantry says:

            Intriguing. I find myself wondering whether these actions were somehow connected with his son’s misfortune… and if so, how?

          • Dr Bob Rich says:

            Peter Ramster was clear to me: he has completely closed one chapter of his life, which is psychological research, and I think also being a therapist, and has devoted himself to caring for his son. So, he has taken down his web site including the video, and withdrawn his publications.

  4. Dr Bob Rich says:

    I’ve just watched that BBC show. It has not changed my view, because their three expert doubters have explained away the wrong things. I am all for scepticism. That is proper. But absence of evidence (in some cases) is not evidence of absence.

    That’s why the University of Virginia team’s approach is better. They don’t say, “here is a process that could account for it, so it must be false,” but “let’s see if we can prove it to be false, and if we can’t, we need to accept it.”

    This approach was done only once on the BBC film: asking Peter about commands a pikeman should know, and the details of a particular siege. That is proper evidence that he was not a pikeman. It however does not account for the name he came up with very early, which is a fairly unusual name, and was eventually found in a register, at the right time and location.

    Everything they said about memory is correct, but what they were doing was explaining away, not looking at the evidence atheorically.

    • pendantry says:

      One always has to be on the lookout for confirmation bias. The Beeb is bound to be pro-Church of England, and the last time I checked, although christians preach that Jesus was reincarnated (which I believe is in any case not the same thing as you’re talking about), the die-and-miraculously-return-to-life-three-days-later option isn’t available for the rest of us. (I knew I couldn’t trust those click-thru agreements!)

      You say that the University of Virginia team’s approach is to try to prove the theory false, and accepting failure to do so as evidence that it’s correct. My knowledge of scientific method is rusty, but I don’t think that’s sufficient. The name Karl Popper springs to mind… ah, now I see why: are there any falsifiable hypotheses relating to reincarnation? If not, then according to Popper, it’s not science, it’s pseudoscience. What kind of testable predictions can be made?

      … the name he came up with very early, which is a fairly unusual name, and was eventually found in a register, at the right time and location.

      Wouldn’t it be necessary to determine the chance of making that match by chance alone before claiming that as a win? It might be one of those things that’s more likely than would seem at first glance, as in “how many people do you need in a room to get a better than 50/50 chance that some will share birthdays?” Most people are surprised when you tell them it’s about 30.

      I’m sceptical. I haven’t yet watched the Peter Ramster film, but then, watching some infotainment isn’t likely to change my view anyway. Do you know of any peer-reviewed evidence? Scratch that, you’ve already pointed me to DOPS, I guess there must be something there if anywhere 🙂

      • Dr Bob Rich says:

        The point of the findings I mentioned is that they were OK by Popper’s standards. Woman in Sydney, Australia makes a claim about the architecture of a building in Glasgow, Scotland. She and investigator go to Scotland. The building doesn’t look like her description — but local historian has a plan of the building before renovations that is an exact match to the description.
        I simply cannot explain that away.
        This is one of Peter Ramster’s 4 cases.
        One of Jim Tucker’s most remarkable cases was published in a major, high-impact psychological journal. I haven’t searched for the others described in his book “Life before life,” but am sure they were too.
        🙂
        Bob

  5. Boz says:

    I am utterly fascinated about this subject & would just like to point out the following:

    a) I don’t believe anything I have ever heard/read about it, but:

    b) Us humans have only been learning serious (ish) amounts of science (of any kind) for no more than about 150 years. The total amount of science learned prior to that is a demonstrably small proportion of our currently total scientific knowledge

    c) It therefore follows it is slightly silly to imagine we could at this moment possibly know more than a minor fragment of all available scientific knowledge awaiting discovery

    d) Therefore it is reasonable to think there is a vast amount of the laws of physics & their consequences that we could not possibly know currently which are awaiting discovery

    d) If we were able to continue increasing our discoveries of scientific knowledge at the accelerating rate that we are at present for thousands of years into the future, then it is quite possible that almost anything might be discovered to be possible. And, infinite multiverses might indeed exist.

    I am just talking about science here & not fantasy. It’s just that I have no idea what science remains yet to be discovered. All I do know is that there must be quite a bit of it.

    If it is the case that energy converts to mass and vice versa & the postulation of the entire matter populated Universe we see around around us will eventually disintegrate & diffuse into a thin cloud of weak energy (photons only), to then coagulate by virtue of gravity back to a single point of a tiny singularity once more, leaving our Universe completely empty, save for that new singularity awaiting to explode in yet another ‘big bang’, to populate our universe again with a vast collection of stars & Galaxies, then I can definitely sign up to the very serious possibility that almost anything you might care to think of is actually possible – particularly re-incarnation.

    If you have a little think about this process of the big bang being an endless cycle caused by the odd behaviour of energy (whatever that actually is ?) creating matter in the form of little bits & pieces in the way of particles that form atoms which then end up forming stars & ultimately us who evolved to manipulate the rules of electronics/physics to form brains to be able to ‘think’, then it becomes possible to imagine there might well be rules of physics which allow those thought processes to continue to exist because it looks as though physics are beginning to show that what is created seems more inclined to endlessly change form rather than be completely destroyed – if you see where I’m going.

    There is also the peculiar issue of what on earth infinity actually is, or looks like. If infinity is what it says on the tin, then our particular Universe of everything we see diffusing into individual widely spaced photons and then coagulating into another singularity, is very unlikely to be the only collection of energy or mass in this ‘infinite’ space. And, it must indeed be an infinite space – quite impossible to comprehend !

    This in turn means an infinite population of other universes, all randomly evolving in similar & dissimilar ways to our own.

    In turn, this also presumably means that a completely infinite number of planets are constantly evolving all over the place, many (an infinite number actually) evolving in similar and dissimilar ways to our very own Earth.

    Because we are talking about infinity here, then it is logically inevitable that an infinite number of planets exactly like the Earth are constantly evolving – an infinite number being born at any one instant all the way into the infinity of time. And the process works backwards whereby identical Earths were born younger than ours from it’s beginning right up to the present as well as beyond and into the future.

    It is hardly then difficult to see that precise copies of our own Earth at any point in it’s history must be existing somewhere in this vast infinity right now. So, exact copies of us all exist right now doing all the same things and saying the same things as we are at this moment and both back into time and forwards into the future.

    So, if the laws of physics allowed us to locate all these planets and also provide us with a means of traveling the vast distances to wherever a particular location is, then we would effectively be able to move backwards & forwards in time. Or at least it would not be possible for us to see it as anything other than traveling back & forth in time.

    If infinity is what it says it is, and it is populated by energy/matter throughout that infinity, then it would seem that those two assumptions are the only assumptions required to absolutely guarantee that infinite versions of earth exist as I describe. Do tell me how it could be possible that this is not the case ?

    All this being the case. I can sort of see that ways of manipulating energy & mass might exist which could do all sorts of strange things. I don’t know how, that is for future discovery. But we have discovered how to manipulate a basic part of the bizarre functionality of energy/matter by harnessing electricity to power the ‘thinking process’ of computing & related things in a very small number of years indeed to produce spectacular changes. And this must just be the rather primitive end of all this; there are more elegant scientific discoveries yet to be made in this area of what is the very basic science that drives the whole formation of the universe and everything that goes on in it. Electronics is just our discovering how to use some of these basic processes already – there’s a lot more of it to come yet !

    • pendantry says:

      Thanks for your visit, and your comment, Boz.

      I’m sure that you’re not wrong about how little we know compared with how much there is to know. I suspect we lack the smarts to ever understand it all, but no doubt there are more discoveries yet to come — they are happening all the time. What I do know is that the more I find out, the more I realize how very, very little I actually do know — and how easily my previous misconceptions can be overturned.

    • Dr Bob Rich says:

      I agree with almost all of what you say. Isn’t that wonderful for both of us? 🙂
      Where I disagree is that life must be on an Earth-like planet. That’s like a colourblind person arguing about the nature of colour, based on a sample of one.
      I define life as an ongoing entity that’s in dynamic balance with its environment, and able to reproduce.
      Sentient life in addition has a conscious appreciation of its environment, clearly an improvement in ability to survive.
      Self-aware life is… well, self-explanatory.
      I can imagine self-aware, intelligent life in many forms, for example stable magnetic patterns within magma or the corona of a star; silicon-based crystals orbiting a star; or, for all I know, the e coli bacteria in my gut.
      🙂
      Bob

      • pendantry says:

        “Sentient life in addition has a conscious appreciation of its environment, clearly an improvement in ability to survive.”
        … unless it happens to be homo fatuus brutus, which is rapidly proving that it lacks the hubris to fully appreciate that it requires its environment to survive…

      • Boz says:

        I didn’t say there wouldn’t be all sorts of different types of planets, and different life forms; I think there are. It’s obvious really. I just stuck to rabbiting about talking about our own human concepts of our planet to avoid wring a thesis !

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