Jump to content


Senior Members
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by lemur

  1. Not at all. See the following quote for why. You only fish as much out of the ocean as you have orders to fill. If demand is 100 tons, you don't fish 150 tons. If 50 tons is eaten and 50 tons thrown away, the demand is still 100 tons. If 50 tons are eaten and nothing is thrown away, the demand goes down to 50 tons OR you can feed twice as many people with the 100 tons. I don't see numbers on the posts. Could you repost? What are you advocating then if you think that humans are spreading resources too thin? I'm sorry if I'm too quick to analyze your argument, because I've seen so many like it so many times. All you are really implying is that some level of population control will be necessary one way or the other and so you might as well limit it more and have less resource-strain. I don't appreciate that perspective because there are real people struggling for resources and the privilege of reproducing. To say that reproduction is going to have to be limited one way or the other eventually so it might as be now ignores the fact that some people are granted more freedom to decide for themselves than others. Personally, I don't see how anyone dares to advocate any kind of population limitations without first maximizing the efficiency of resource-utilization. Anyone is free to have as few children as they want, but what right do they have to suggest other people have less kids so they don't have to wait a half-hour for their fried fish? You haven't posted any specific data, only conclusions and assumptions. You can cite your precious data-analysis as proof of your point of view, but it's really insufficient and lacks rigor to do this. In fact, statistical analyses tend to magnify the assumptions in modeling and data-collection. So you end up making conclusions based on assumptions from your model instead of paying adequate attention to what is actually going on in practice on the various work-floors and consumption venues of supply-chains.
  2. No offense, but it is typical of someone who only analyzes resource-utilization on paper to not be able to make the connections between business-practices, supply-chain management, aggregate demand, and resource waste. If fish is getting thrown away constantly in food-service facilities to ensure product-freshness, many times more fish could be getting thrown away as eaten. That could translate into multiple ship-loads of fish caught for every ship-load actually eaten. You are assuming that overfishing is the result of too many people eating fish, but I think you're failing to consider that it's not the amount of fish being eaten but the amount being wasted that is causing the overfishing. Instead of more birth control, you should consider advocating on-demand food-service. Currently food-service tends to work according to the principle that customers want prompt service when they are hungry and if they don't get it at your store/restaurant they will go someplace else where they do get served promptly. This leads businesses to keep a constant supply of prepared food on hand ready to be served, and it is always better to have too much than not enough, and this results in waste. Also, health-codes and business standards require that hot food be thrown away after a few hours. No one wants to eat food that's been sitting under a heat lamp for hours (I don't mind it that much, actually, but many people find the thought distasteful). Anyway, the point is don't underestimate how much waste is caused by a culture of entitlement where consumers have loads of food being thrown away hourly while waiting for them to decide when to come in and make their selection according to their convenience.
  3. Ok, you assumed by "resource growth" I meant mass. The mass of the Earth isn't increasing, by much anyway. Now think in terms of rate of availability.
  4. What if the resources also grow exponentially? How can you predict whether the possibility of gains is moderate, weak, or strong? Obviously lifestyle/cultural change is a condition and technological developments are part and parcel of that. I just don't understand how you can attribute such resource depletion to population numbers when you can go to any food-service facility such as restaurants and supermarkets and see for yourself how much food is thrown away hourly. Don't blame people for eating too much fish when they don't even get to eat most of it before it gets thrown away. Now you're tapping into the heart of population concerns: greed . . . or possibly naive materialistic consumerism. If so, projections of reproduction and population growth should remain with the same caveat.
  5. I always found it funny that "let them eat cake" was considered so naive. After all, cake is made from flour, eggs, and sugar. Maybe sugar was insufficient in those days but why wasn't there enough flour and eggs? No matter, the bigger point is that I wasn't saying let the poor "eat cake." I was saying that the cake-eaters should develop their culture(s) to the point of efficiency and then when the developing economies look to the developed for goal-setting, they will see efficiency instead of rampant waste. My whole point was exactly what you say about doubting the world can exist at the level of wealth enjoyed by many in the west. In other words, the reason there is scarcity in the world is because there is waste and inefficiency, and of course exclusion. "Somewhere it has been said?" Maybe in your bible of Malthusian pessimism. You are simply assuming a lot of factors. I totally understand the simple logic of what you are saying, but that's just it. Malthusians have been employing the same simple logic for centuries without dissecting economics down to the finest details. How much land does it take to feed a human individual? Now what about if food is produced hydroponically in sky-scrapers? What if hydrogen fusion is used to power grow lamps where sunlight could otherwise not reach? Wouldn't food-production then only be limited by energy? Water is another story, but water can be managed. I think the actual material limits of basic life resourcing are still evolving and cannot yet be known except in terms of current practices, which are typically inefficient and wasteful (have I used the words inefficiency and waste enough yet?) A 2500 calorie diet, which is recommended for adult males, is about 3 kilowatt-hours worth of energy. I just googled it and a gallon of gasoline contains about 31,000 food calories worth of energy, the equivalent of more than 10 days worth of food for an adult male. Please don't tell me that humans can't eat gasoline, because I've tried (not really). The point is that a human body just doesn't use that much energy. Most of the problems caused by humans are by what they do and not what they consume, at least not be what they consume directly to maintain their body metabolism. The problems that need solving are not population growth but rather resource use and management and other social problems that make it difficult for people to live with each other. A major one of those problems is waste and inefficiency in the developed economies.
  6. I agree with this. Is it a coincidence that calls for population control usually come from the wealthier people instead of from the poor people who endure the brunt of resource scarcity? With wealth comes greater resource consumption, including space, goods, and services. Since goods require labor to produce, and services are direct consumption of human labor, wealthier people are the ones creating more demand for human capital - and then complaining about over-population! If resource-utilization was reformed to a peak level of efficiency, I could begin to understand why over-population concerns would come up for discussion. However, the fact that people complain about population without doing enough to reform resource-utilization leads me to believe that the real political interest behind population-control is political-economic control over human capital so that wealthy people can guarantee their position of power vis-a-vis those they don't want to extend their way of life to include. Democracy has allowed prosperity to be expanded to a relatively large proportion of the global population and, as a result, there is sufficient political economic solidarity among the global middle-class to support widespread population and migration control that prevents poorer economies from expanding their human capital to achieve the same levels of prosperity that westerners have achieved by expanding that population. Then, the prosperous fortresses of the developed world can relegate auxiliary industries like the harvesting of various natural resources and agricultural goods to the global poor, who will never be permitted to expand their prosperity and power to a level where they get to decide for themselves how much to expand their populations and resource-utilization. What should happen is that developed economies should develop lifestyles that are sustainable enough that they are attainable for everyone globally, and then integrate the global population into that economic culture. At that point, everyone will be able to decide for themselves how much to reproduce because they will have achieved the maximum standard of living enjoyed anywhere, which will put them in the same position of conserving resources that developed economies are in. This is not just valid for the opposition between "the west and rest" but also for different income levels within developed economies. If poor people in the US and EU had attained a level of prosperity that they didn't want to lose, they would have the same concerns about having too many children as many middle- and upper- class people have developed.
  7. Some people see daily miracles in their lives when they expected to make out much worse than the did in a given situation. They look at their lives and the fact that they have yet to go hungry and see that as God having provided through worldly channels. You don't get it. Believing that things will go to shit if you let them already expresses a lack of faith. The simplest way I can explain theism to people is that there is power in the world. When you believe that power is corruptible, it is frightening to see power intensify (such as when nuclear technology was unveiled). However, when you have faith that power is ultimately prone to goodness (which is the premise of there being a good-God), then you have faith in good triumphing over evil in the end, etc. So limiting growth assumes that left unchecked growth will result in detriment instead of benefit. Faith makes people optimistic. How can you presume to know "reality" directly? Religion is one way of interpreting reality, just as science is. Imo, what marriage does is express an intent never to wash your hands of another person . . . in sickness and health, for richer and poorer, etc. So when you have sex with someone without marrying them, you are basically saying, "I don't care what happens to you in life after we finish having sex." As long as that person amuses you, you keep them around and when they become uninteresting you discard them. Polygamy is pretty much forgotten and trivialized in western culture at this point, but that is actually an even greater extension of the ethic of not discarding sex partners after the act. I'm not saying I have this all figured out personally, because I don't. I just understand the logic of reserving sex for marriage. You can also question what really constitutes marriage. Obviously there is the formal institution, but what about when two people just feel a sense of lifelong commitment to each other? Isn't that also a form of marriage?
  8. The problem is that you only know that based on assumptions and human (i.e. fallible) methods of estimation. Plus, for all you know limiting population growth results in levels of wealth and lifestyles that end up resulting in more deaths and childlessness. Thus if people would limit their family-size on the assumption that doing so will keep population growth under control, it could end up backfiring as population actual spirals into a degenerative, pattern of destruction. The fact is that no one can ultimately predict human behavior. Personally, I can see having just one or two kids with the faith that they will prosper but someone else may feel like having more kids is a safety precaution against losing one or more to tragedy at some point. Religion is not a "threat to survival of humanity." Different people interpret religion differently and have different numbers of kids or don't have kids at all. The good thing about religion is that it keeps people living in hope and good faith, which is good for preventing the world from being overrun by death-driven nihilists. Sex out of marriage is not dissuaded because it causes unwanted children. Marriage is viewed as a commitment to the person you're having sex with, so that people don't use each other and wash their hands of the consequences of sex. Marriage is about taking social responsibility and loving each other instead of treating your sex partner like a curse after you've finished with them.
  9. The answer is very simply if you understand the underlying theological philosophy. The bible says that creation is good and that God created the Earth and everything on it, saw that it was good, and said it should all "go forth and multiply." It is very simple logic that if something is good and it reproduces itself, you want it to go on growing and reproducing. So for the Catholic Church to say that birth-control is good, they would be implicitly saying that human life is bad. They cannot say that human life is bad because they believe that humans are created in God's image with the purpose of re-creating themselves and the creation. For them to say that reproducing too much is sinful, they would have to define limits to God's bounty, which they do not believe in. Islam is the same; the Koran discourages mercy-killings in times of hunger, drought, or poverty because "God will provide." The Catholic Church doesn't decry the rhythm method, however, because they believe that sexuality is pro-creative in the sense that it results in a pro-creative and happy marriage, which is conducive to raising children. So, in practice, Catholics are allowed to have sex that isn't directly geared to reproduction although there are no guidelines as to exactly how many or few children a couple should have. I suppose couples are allowed to find out for themselves how many children God has planned for them. It is silly, though, to expect that the Catholic Church would every prescribe population-control since that implies that God will not ultimately provide. No child is unwelcome for people who have true faith in God's creation. They just don't want them to be seduced into evil.
  10. You can find lists of cities and countries by population density on internet. It would be convenient if area-per-person was a measure. Clearly people use public as well as private space, but land-use and multi-story buildings make the actual amount of area available per person quite flexible in practice, I think. I find it hard to imagine living in a sky-scraper but the tallest building in the world currently seems to be comprised mostly of apartments. I always thought that such tall buildings were only used for offices and maybe retail. I think "overpopulation" tends to get emphasized because people get overwhelmed with dense urban lifestyles. Georg Simmel noted that people feel most alone in a crowd, which is an extra disappointment when you expect to never be lonely by moving to a dense, vibrant city. In reality, I think the resources and cultural flexibility is available to accommodate plenty of population growth but the challenge is how to ensure that people can live happily with limited resources.
  11. Technically, republicanism (not all right-wing politics though) resists the Marxist logic that capitalism necessarily results in class divisions between bourgeoisie and proletariat. A truly free republic should exist of freely interacting workers who manage their own labor individually and engage in free, unstructured, trade without collective unionization, etc. The left has traditionally scoffed at republicanism as being idealistic and considers class-formation and collective interests a given. On the basis of that assumption, the left supports collective efficacy for workers on the premise that they will otherwise be exploited by management. In practice imo, however, this reinforces the acceptance of collectivism and class-formation, which in itself makes labor more manageable. For example, a union is supposed to result in better wages, conditions, and benefits for workers, but in exchange for union representation, workers must submit to union authority over how and when they work. If the union says they must strike, individuals who cross the picket line are discriminated. If the union organizes hierarchies and waiting lists for jobs, workers must wait in line because engaging in price competition is seen to bring everyone's wages down. In the logic of a truly free market, this is a form of market control, albeit with the legitimation that without such control the workers would be unfairly exploited. This actually relates to the OP because labor-unionism reflects a certain amount of fear that the free market cannot or will not ever result in non-exploitative labor relations. Adam Smith, of course, believed that a legitimately free market resulted in the most favorable economic conditions for everyone who participated in it, by balancing interests of producers, workers, and consumers. In theory, I think Adam Smith was correct but in practice almost everyone attempts to control the market to whatever degree they can to manipulate trade in their favor. So as long as the will to exploitation is significant, which it is, the left has some legitimacy in seeking to protect individuals against it. The problem with the emphasis on workers, imo, is that everyone has to identify with the working class to benefit from leftist politics. As long as a person identifies with management or ownership, they are always viewed as getting a better shake than "the poor exploited workers." A person who owns their own business could be making less income than a unionized worker, but they will still be viewed as having an interest in exploiting the working class because of their class-position. Likewise, consumers/consumption becomes subordinated to the interest of providing revenues to fund higher wages and benefits for the workers. Given enough power, I think the left would subordinate both consumption and ownership to the task of elevating workers wages, conditions, and benefits to the absolute maximum; which in turn requires everyone to aspire to the privileged working class or subservient to its interests. This is not to say that the workers themselves do not get subordinated to the collective interests of "their class." The left has a lot of room to reconsider its premises and ramifications, but I think it resists doing so because of the sense that it is under attack by the right and therefore must stand its ground because any critique it caters to will only co-opt it to greater exploitation. This is due, in large part I think, to Marx's idea that all ideology always serves the interest of the bourgeoisie. So true Marxists will never negotiate their ideology without the sense that the bourgeoisie is pushing its own ideology designed to subjugate and exploit the workers.
  12. I think it is misleading to assume that science and philosophy are mutually exclusive practices, or even nearly so; just as it is false to assume that socialism and capitalism are oppositional. Capitalism is the basis for socialism insofar as money is the medium of economic exchange. Likewise, while science is accountable to empirical data, everything that is done with that data enters into the realm of philosophical "processing." Logic, reason, extrapolation, methodology, theory, research design, data-interpretation, and so forth all require philosophical-synthetic reasoning. Science cannot engage its data without philosophically-based procedures. Even measurement involves philosophy. Too many scientists wish to bypass philosophy by believing that there is a transparent approach to data that escapes philosophical rigor. They do this, imo, simply because they don't feel like they master philosophy so they think if they can exclude philosophy from science, they can dominate the field. In reality, they already dominate for the most part the philosophy of their research but they want to territorialize what they do as being exclusively their own domain, so they attribute mutual exclusion to disciplinary classifications. In reality, all disciplines/fields overlap the same way that all species overlap.
  13. There's no way to discuss a disciplinary distinctions or similarities between science and philosophy using physical science. You have to resort to philosophy. Science relies on empirical observation and disciplinary distinctions and similarities are not empirical but discursive. So this debate would necessarily be philosophy of science by virtue of its content, regardless of the approach the discussants would take to make their points.
  14. I see how you could see the eschewing of rationality/reason as actively promoting corruptibility. However, what makes you think rationality/reason are immune from being perverted as well? In fact, I've talked with religious people about why rationality is suspect and the reason is because it is possible for people to rationalize values and actions that will ultimately go against their deepest sense of right and wrong, which can result in them feeling led astray from a path of true righteousness. Ok, I know that "path of true righteousness" sounds silly but what I mean is that someone could, for example, reason that it is rational for them to steal from a richer person because they are poor. Then, however, their conscience could nag at them that they shouldn't have stolen something that wasn't theirs - so religion prescribes listening to your conscience over your mind in cases where your (rational) mind could lead you into temptation, shame, immorality, etc. Does that make sense? Faith is a recognition that no human authority/institution, including rationality or logic, is infallible. Therefore ANY actions one takes in this world must be taken with faith in the outcome because there is no such thing as absolute certainty. I have to refer you to the book Discipline and Punish, by Michael Foucault. This book is a history/genealogy of prisons and punishment. The thesis is basically that while disciplinary institutions have become less corporeal and spectacular with modernization, the effect has not been to increase freedom but to increase the effectiveness of punishment and control. He says that it was more likely for people to transcend authority when drawn and quartered than in the modern context of psychiatric behavior control/modification. This is especially true for the "audience," who would end up paying more attention to the publicly tortured criminal than the punishing authorities during the times of spectacular public punishments. With modernization, he says, the audience has been seduced into greater complicity with authority by virtue of rationality and moderation of punishments and authoritarian institutions. So that is 180 degrees from what you and many other people claim about freedom increasing with modernity.
  15. I'm not saying every republican believes this, as everyone that identifies with the party doesn't precisely follow its essential roots, but I see it as a consistent thread that runs from the abolition of slavery to present-day interests in deregulation and less government. Yes, people can support these things for other reasons, like just because they want to make more money or keep more of it for themselves, but those people are used to undermine the very basis for allowing people to control more of their own economic activity. It's more the case that there has been ample criticism of how organized capitalism/corporatism has caused de-skilling and inefficiency in human economic activity generally. Some of this is rooted in Marxism, i.e. that division of labor and labor alienation cause de-skilling and people no longer believe in, master, or like what they produce - they just do it for the money and because they are structured into it. How much self-employment is viable is a question for practice, not theory, but the issue is whether it is an ideal you are interested in exploring or whether you just write it off as a pipe-dream and promote as much structure (governance) as possible. Well, structured economics are by definition authoritarian because they require people to accede to structures that they do not create/control themselves. However, you are right that many people choose for this. That doesn't mean it's democratic, though. After all, people can vote for and submit to dictatorial authority. That is always the big irony of Nazism, that Hitler was elected by referendum. (this is just to illustrate - I'm not saying that people who desire structural employment are all neo-nazis; although employment was a major reason the nazi party became so popular). I'm glad you ask this because it seemed a little unclear what I meant when I typed it. In other words, yes structured employment systems work to organize economic activity but that doesn't mean they maximize human freedom and self-determination. It's hard to pursue the ideal of freedom and self-governance when there are people arguing that such things simply won't work economically. After all, you can't really argue that structuralism doesn't work, because it can and does - it's just not an ideal that you would want to work toward within republican values. Republicanism is about taking the high narrow road, the challenge of having freedom AND prosperity. Well, is it fair to people who believe in freedom and self-governance to inundate them with a system that lacks faith in their dream? Personally, I think people should participate in structured economy to some degree and be self-employed for the rest. That way both kinds of people have to endure some of what they don't like and get some of what they do. Let's say you are a building contractor and I get a job from you. Let's say my job is to clean up construction sites and sort all the extra nails, materials, etc. Now, let's say you don't get any more contracts to build anything but you hired me so you are obliged to pay my salary regardless. As such, my income is guaranteed even though your revenues are not. As such, you have in effect used your position as employee to shield yourself against the economic ups and downs that I am subject to deal with. You can say that you fulfilled your contractual requirements and do a good job, but how does that change the fact that there is no longer revenue to fund your salary? My point was that lots of people take this approach to the economy. They find a job doing something that gets them income regardless of what they produce. Then they expect/want their income to be more stable than the economy itself. How does that make sense. If people regarded themselves in terms of what they produce instead of the money they make, the economy would always produce enough to go around, no? The only answer I can imagine for this question is that if everyone produces enough for everyone to consume and fulfill their needs, people would not have to suffer from deprivation. How to distribute the resources is the tricky part, because people tend to consume more than they need and produce less than they can. This is the opposite of Marx's communist ideal "produce as much as you can and consume as little as you need." I'm not a communist because I don't believe in collective ownership, but I do believe in capitalism as a system that is supposed to basically regulate production and consumption according to the same logic. The only reason I can imagine it hasn't been working is that people have been abusing the system by finding ways to produce less than they can and consume more than they need. My main issue is with the consumption at this point, though. I don't know. I don't think consumption has been reformed enough. I also think that production could be reformed to make processes more resource-efficient, even if that means changing people's lifestyles or the way they consume. Maybe not, but the fact remains that when money keeps getting injected into a system, people are bound to think that the system is not fundamentally flawed and go on expecting it to work the way it did before the bailouts became necessary in the first place. Reform and restructuring have been superficial at best. Radical cultural changes have not occurred for the most part, imo. Food service is my biggest issue. Unlike repair services, no one really likes working in food service. They just do it because they can't get a better job. If there are people who really like working in food service, more power to them. You'll never know this, though, because people learn to say that they like their jobs to avoid losing them. No, I'm equating management of a system of interdependence with subjugation. It's one thing to engage in free exchanges and quite another to be required to fulfill a function in a system. I didn't read Atlas Shrugged, but I liked her book about selfishness. What I mean is that the division of labor privileges some people with service-rich lifestyles while burdening others with providing those services. So for some people to gain the privilege of service-wealth, others have to perform the services. If everyone transcended service labor, then there would be no services to consume. So the system must be designed in a way that ensures a certain number of people perform service-labor. So no matter how much you equalize wealth or income, SOMEHOW some people are going to have to serve others while others escape servitude and get served. Only by redistributing servitude so everyone does their fair share of service labor could you ever really create egalitarianism - not by redistributing money. Total privilege is doing what you like and being able to consume most anything you want as compensation. It would be fine if everyone loved their job, but since many people don't like their job, they don't experience "total privilege." The more interdependent (i.e. not self-reliant) people become, the more need there is for people to spend their whole careers serving others. Like I said, I wouldn't expect to do away with all forms of interdependency. I just think the economy would be better off going in the direction of less rather than more interdependency. Total socialism does not have anything to do with communism, imo." Communism would transcend the use of money completely because there would be total abundance and total consumption discipline. Socialism has to do with mandatory spending through taxation and governance. Total socialism means that you will always have to work for more money because you will always be losing money to taxation and you and others will always be receiving it through some channel or another. In other words, money will perpetually circulate and everyone will always be required to work for that circulating money or go bankrupt, homeless, etc. or whatever the social minimum is. The point is that no one will ever be free because they will always have to fulfill the conditions required to attain assistance. You're just talking about political tactics here, imo. You're right, that is an authoritarian political pursuation tactic. People need to reason their politics, not manipulate to gain support. Thanks for this detailed report of your experience with self-employment. I think it really expressed what people who support it like about it. It also expressed well the drawbacks. This is the reason I think people should be able to mix both. On the one hand I think there should be stable employment and stable compensation, so people have guaranteed access to food, shelter, and basic health care. On the other hand, I don't think this should grow out of proportion and create fat lifestyles for people. So I think structural employment should account for maybe 16-32 of people's work week and the rest they should self-employ. Whenever I have suggested this in any forum, I get attacked but I think it is the ideal solution for many reasons. I think there is really some efficiency to be gained by "wearing many hats," as you described, but there is also economic security to be gained from structured economy and employment. I just think they need to be balanced.
  16. What makes you think that the repressive religious authorities that claimed Christian doctrine as their basis and validation were not, in fact, perverting the very Christian doctrine they claimed to represent? Please note that the reason why Jesus Christ himself was persecuted by both secular and religious authorities was that he preached faith in the holy spirit as the basis for interpreting scripture. In other words, Christ himself was anti-orthodox except perhaps to the extent he recognized truth in the essential logics of the commandments, scriptures, etc. Nevertheless he advocated active interpretation of divine revelation over subjugation to religious hierarchy. If he hadn't, he would have fallen in line with the pharises and been heralded as a devout protege'. The thing I think devout secularists fail to consider whenever they judge religion is that churches are not perfect hierarchies of orthodox authority. Churches are worldly attempts to institutionalize divine revelation in ways that everyday people can practice and enhance their spiritual awareness and moral responsibility. Among the people who interpret scripture and receive divine revelation, there are bound to be disagreements and rifts just because humans are imperfect, no matter how much divine insight they are privy to. What's more, power corrupts so it is often divine revelation itself that tempts people to the point of abusing religious authority. In other words, the reason why so much corruption has occurred due to religion is because there is so much power in divinity and the culture that worships it. Do you really think that religion is any more corruptible than any other human institution? Critics of religion seem to hold so much faith in more secular institutions but how is any human institution any less susceptible to abuse than religion? Freedom is the product of understanding the relationship between individual human will and institutionalized authority. People who view human will as subject to authoritarian conditions give up their freedom in a way that those who view authoritarian conditions and institutions as themselves human constructions do not. I don't like to preach scripture because it makes me come across as a zealot, but there's a quote of Jesus that sums it up quite nicely: "before Abraham was, I am." In the quote, Abraham represents orthodoxy and institutionalized authority in the form of an inherited lineage. The quote was considered blasphemous, imo, because it claimed direct revelation as having primacy over received institutional authority. Even today, institutionalists reject individuals who assert personal authority over institutional orthodoxy. This is how human freedom is negotiated, whether in a religious or other secular context; not by accepting or rejecting religion or secularism as a whole.
  17. By framing the existence of a soul in objective terms like weight, volume, and density, you are challenging the subjective to fulfill objective standards which doesn't work since objectivity and subjectivity are oppositional frameworks by definition. If you choose to restrict your awareness to objective, material aspects of reality, your consciousness will lurk in the position of pure observer, which may be what you are trying to achieve. In order to observe consciousness as a thing that is separate and distinct from the object world it observes, you have to be able to observe it as a non-material thing. Soul, spirit, consciousness, subjectivity, etc. are all terms that attempt to regard the inner-experience of being alive without resorting to explaining it in terms of the physiological hardware. Nevertheless, I have noticed a pattern with staunch materialists that they will tend to take any discussion of subjectivity and subject it to material accountability. There is something about materialist consciousness that makes it very difficult to switch to other modes of consciousness. I assume this has to do with the relative solidity of physical materialities that render most other perceptions fantastic or at least ephemeral in contrast. Interestingly, social realists do succeed in attaining physical-objective status for institutional constructs that rivals that of actual physical objects. Language, social categories, and other social constructions are regarded as real on the basis of their transcendence of individuals and the very real consequences of human actions in response to them. Nationalism doesn't have weight, volume, or density but the fact that people are willing to go to war over national territory is significant enough to cause many, even objective scientists, to regard nations as objective entities. Of course they are no more objective than a soul is, but somehow materialists can be convinced of the existence of nations while still doubting the existence of a soul. Why is that?
  18. Maybe not in the sense that gravity fields dissipate at the same rate from their center, regardless of what is emitting the gravitation. But what about the fact that black holes result from stars depleting their energy-generating capacity? In other words, stellar matter maintains volume due to the energy that is being emitted from them. When their energy-output decreases, they collapse into a smaller volume. If you extend this effect to their surrounding space, you could look at entire solar systems and galaxies as having volume resulting from expansionary energy, the big bang being the original prominent one from which all space-time was set into motion. So as stars die and coagulate into increasingly gravitous black holes, they are consuming the energy and motion the big bang set in motion, no? I wouldn't say that black holes are "vacuum cleaners sucking up galaxies" as that implies that the galactic motion and the black holes are not part of the same process. It does seem, however, that galaxies and stars are the result of gravitational coagulation that culminates in total collapse into the black holes at the center of the galaxies. What's more, the growth of such a black hole occurs as part of the larger gravitational-compression/collapse of the galaxy as a whole, therefore the volume of the galaxy is decreasing while the gravitation of the central black hole is increasing. So, in effect, wouldn't it make sense to say that the gravitational attraction between the galaxy and its central black hole is increasing insofar as both the mass/density of the center is increasing AND the radius to the edge of the galaxy is decreasing (along with the relative distances among stars in the galaxy? I know I'm assuming a lot in this post, so please correct those assumptions that are misconstrued. Otherwise, I think the OP has a good point, no?
  19. Do you see that this is a traditional anti-republican paradigmatic assumption, i.e. that employment is necessary for the global economy to prosper? Republicanism has traditionally favored self-employment as the basis for economy. The people who argue against this usually deploy the reasoning that corporatism and job-creation are simply imperatives of a modern economy and that to try to run the economy otherwise would be pre-modern. How is that anything less than anti-democratic economic totalitarian ideology? Republicans know very well that corporatism and employment-based income systems work, so they certainly aren't going to argue that employment is antiquated pre-modern authoritarian economics (even though it is in some ways). The problem is really those people who either can't or won't make the effort to conceive of an economy that can survive and even thrive on self-employment. What makes you think that most families aren't "regular slackers," only they do it by collecting income from largely symbolic jobs instead of public assistance? What amazes me is that the system clearly failed and yet people continue to think in terms of a meritocracy that rewards conformity to the failed system. Food stamps are not a bad method for distributing food, which is efficiently produced as a result of massive subsidies and regulations. If people are well-fed, however, what is wrong with them working on self-sustaining instead of expecting to have a job that provides them with money to pay for every good and service they consume to be done for them by other people? Really, I don't think that people have to be totally self-sufficient but I think there's plenty of room for a lot of people to go a long way in that direction and still be miles away from total self-reliance. Not sure exactly what you mean by all this, but I wonder what kind of economic system you think should exist that protects people from ever having to lose income or adjust their lifestyles. After all, the economy we currently have requires that certain people adjust their life-goals to perform services and other labor that fall short of their ideals because there are other people who always expect every form of service and goods to be available to them. So as long as the system DOESN'T fail, that leads to some people being subjugated to the needs of others. The system has to fail for some people in order for others to gain some freedom from being overburdened with servicing the others. Ideally, sufficient reforms would take place that no one would get a position of total privilege and no one would get stuck with total servitude, but with the current direction the political-economy is taking, EVERYONE is going to get stuck with both permanent employment and permanent dependence on others. Self-employment based living will be extinct if total socialism is enacted. You're right. Bureaucracy and corporatism are really the problem, whether those occur in government or private business. If people would propose reforms that would make government less bureaucratic and less supportive of corporatism, the anti-government people might not dislike government as much, but it seems to me that bureaucracy and corporate-organization is one and the same thing as government, so how do you separate them? It's not figures that I'm interested in. I'm looking more for concrete examples of what industries would fail and what obstacles people would face in trying to resolve basic economic problems. In other words, I want to know what hurdles people face to prosper via self-employment and why it would make it worse to pull the plug on the "life support." I tend to think that the "life support" is indeed actually supporting a system that subordinates self-employment to corporate economic standards.
  20. Could you please give details about exactly what would happen that would be life-threatening if "the plug is pulled?" Please stick to the level of individual households and perhaps key businesses and do not focus on financial problems but on direct material resources and supply chains.
  21. Why wouldn't it be the case that galaxy clusters are themselves galaxy-like formations with black-holes in their centers? I don't think the universe has a single center, but it would make sense that all black holes would be centers/drains of matter-energy swirling in, since they could theoretically have enormously large gravitational fields surrounding a volumeless point.
  22. When you use the phrase, "bordering on the divine," it sounds like a common assumption I hear people make that divinity is separate from humanity. My impression is that the creation story in the book of Genesis actually conceptualizes humanity as the replication of the divine (God creates humans in 'His' image). The relevance of this is that God also gives his replicants the ability/power and commandment to "go forth and multiply" all that is good. Interestingly, this is exactly what God did (I'm speaking according to the mythology, btw) so God's creation of humans sort of conflates with the passing of the torch of creation and multiplication, so to speak, on to humans and the rest of the creation. The meaningfulness of this story lies in the relationship the writer (Moses?) sets up between freedom of action and the ability to discover morality and make moral choices. The humans are free in their ability to choose to take the forbidden fruit, yet when they do it they have to suffer the consequences that result. This logic puts humans in a difficult position. On the one hand they are free to do anything they want, but on the other hand they are never immune from the possibility of making mistakes and suffering the consequences. Many people become so afraid of the possible consequences of free actions that they choose to engage in orthodoxy or institutional conformity. By following guidelines set by someone else, they don't have to take the risk of exercising freedom and suffering consequences. Still, one may wonder whether doing so is not a waste of the freedom to create one's own choices and actions and thereby experience one's life for oneself according to one's own sensibilities. For people who believe in God, I often wonder whether they think that God wanted humans to give up their freedom to live according to structures and traditions created by others.
  23. You seem to miss the irony in your post that by saying that people are off-base if they don't outline an institutionally-conforming course of action to "achieve" the goal of reducing government spending that they are problematically abstract and meaningless. I don't know if you can see it, but the more government defines channels of action, the more government is needed to pursue or achieve anything. This makes government a self-necessitating and self-perpetuating authority. This is exactly what these tea-partiers want to de-construct, imo, at least I hope it is. How do you go against a culture of governance that spends first and postpones the taxation for later? What's worse is that the spending started as bailouts for crashes that were the result of an economic boom caused by people bundling mortgages and selling them as futures. So the profit originates with empty futures trading, then the government steps in to bail out the futures after they collapse, and THEN starts injecting even more money to stimulate it all to start again. Is there any fiscal discipline to prevent the same kind of economy from occurring again? Maybe, but only at the institutional level. The middle class is living and spending the same way it did before that drove the economy to the point of meltdown. Now, whether these tea-partiers are bigoted, stupid, crazy, or whatever, they are the only people as far as I know who are actually daring to speak out against the deficit spending and stimulus. Everyone else seems to be too afraid of losing their piece of the pie to support anything except more spending. Yes, I would like the tea-partiers and anyone else to make real concrete plans about how to weather further economic recession with less collateral damage as a result. But at present we can't even seem to get beyond the ideology that lost GDP must always result in lost quality of life. Nowhere have people been showing how fiscal stimulus is not needed to stimulate economic restucturing that doesn't rely on GDP-boost to boost overall quality of life. But at least the tea-partiers seem to have faith that it can happen with less taxing/spending. My biggest concern is that once they get the tax cuts they want, they won't conserve the money but spend it and that will create the same amount of economic waste only at the hands of private business instead of government. What is really needed is concrete economic analysis and planning at the level of what people and businesses have to do to not only survive but thrive will decreasing revenues, but no one seems capable of imagining that well enough to lay out a concrete vision and/or suggestions.
  24. Unfortunately, spirit is not coterminous with freedom because otherwise enslavement would not be possible. Yes, humans have free will but part of that free will is being able to submit to subjugation, which people do not infrequently. So, the second part of your post is right, that control over one's desires and actions frees one from reacting impulsively to worldly stimuli and conditions, but one's spirit CAN become convinced of its own subjugation and assent to it as a result. The belief that one is not free is the impetus to submitting to authority, resistance of which one is convinced is futile. Resistance is never futile.
  25. Am I the only person who gets irritated when people assume that 'mainstream politics' makes people sane when practically the opposite is the case. We are currently enduring a political movement to establish normal as sane and good after it was clearly demonstrated to be insane during the war on terror. Is it really wise to re-construct normalcy as sanity? Wouldn't it be better to have actual sanity as the baseline to measure sanity instead of political conformity?
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.