Thursday, August 25, 2016
With technologies emerging these days that are figuring out how to do everything we want, how do those of us fairly free of technophobia address real concerns about our species thriving in the middle and long terms? Take food tech. Scientists have been employed by food companies to figure out how to get us to eat more food with higher profit margins. The consequence of this is a nearly 70% obesity rate and climbing.
The ignorant and fear based folks rail against lost freedoms when a city tries to inject humanitarian reason into controls on things like sugared sodas and hidden ‘goodies’ in fast food. Strangely, these same folks seem to be the primary victims of these corporate policies, while the money paves the way toward health oblivion.
In fact, it seems that the money made by various industries, including energy, transportation, healthcare, education, et al, is plowed right back into making sure these industries keep their stranglehold on our souls. Against EVERYONE’S self and collective interest.
Without some significant change agent, the near term results make The Matrix look U-topian, not DIS-topian.
Again, I am betting that Game Based Learning that Does Work is going to come to the rescue. Of course, it will be disruptive to one and all. When kids are actually learning somewhere near their real potential, they will not have anything to do with current industries’ products. And when their gameplay produces the satisfaction of their needs, current industrial philosophy will quickly disappear.
Almost everyone believes that Advertising is evil. And, like the bad religion and bad science, which no post modern thinker regards with less than disdain, advertising has been pimped by ignorance and incompetence. Good advertising would have the highest integrity toward the consumer, would be an ‘agent’ lobbying FOR the consumer and would have laser sharp focus on the exact parameters of every product with the goal of educating the consumer on EVERYTHING they need to know to get the most value in any product to enhance their life.
Next time - HOW!?
But then the British Invasion occurred, with the Beatles Stones Yardbirds, et al. There was blues, with a blue-grass influence. There were a couple of things going on. Best example was the Beatles, where there was certainly that boy/girl love song initially but then other levels began to emerge. With Rubber Soul, Revolver and the inimitable Sgt. Pepper (in spite of the Stones’ Satanic Majesties Request). It seemed that from verse to verse, song to song, and then, album to album, there was almost every level of consciousness imaginable flowing in and around the music.
When I began to study Yoga, using the Chakra/Endocrine Gland Personality model, it became clear what those ‘levels’ were. As I began to understand Spiritual Psychology I was able to apply different therapies to different kinds of problems, much like one Yoga posture affects one endocrine gland and another posture a different one.
So, extrapolating to the larger arena of Art Media, I could see the connections between a work of Art and it’s fans.
Having practiced a number of professions, I began to think, how could I be facilitative of other people at all levels, instead of getting stuck in a one dimensional role?
Discovering Breathwork Therapy was a watershed, where I could meet clients right where they lived, so to speak, and bring them into higher more connected awareness. Now, I feel connected to musicians, neuroscientists, biologists, physicists, athletes and business folks!
Thursday, August 18, 2016
I’ve been following discussions about Artificial Intelligence (AI) for a very long time now. Marvin Minsky founder of MIT’s AI lab and Seymour Papert, its co-director until 1981, generated much of the early conceptual framework around these ideas. They have massively influenced popular culture, technological advances in computing, and movies such as Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Spielberg’s AI.
For a little while, there’s been some dystopian tones to the discussion, including Stephen Hawking and others, considering that AI or really smart aliens, anything ‘smarter’ than us, would be psychopathic toward us, considering us deficient, inefficient, et al.
Science Fiction has covered these issues splendidly, since its inception, Doctor Who and the Daleks, ‘EXTERMINATE’ being one of the great catchphrases of all time.
Recently I had an epiphany about all this. It comes from my understanding of Piagetian Developmental Psychology and my practice of consciousness disciplines leading to nondual states of awareness.
Then these two events occurred within twenty four hours. I had a discussion with a leading Neuroscientist about the cognitive developmental aspects of human v infrahuman intelligence. And Steven Pinker has spoken out about the discussion re AI.
Pinker’s point is that all of the pronouncements about scary AI are coming from men. And not just average guys, but guys at the top of the heaps of guys at the top of all the heaps. Which statistically is made up of 70% Psychopaths. Hmmmm. Reasonable to think they would think anything smarter than them would have to be commensurately meaner than them as well.
Here’s Pinker’s idea, ‘We know, by the way, that it’s possible to have high-intelligence without megalomaniacal, or homicidal, or genocidal tendencies...There’s a highly-advanced form of intelligence that tends not to have that desire.
"They’re called women.’
Great point. To start.
An even greater point is in my above mentioned epiphany. Papert studied for a number of years in the 1950s with Jean Piaget, where he learned the principles of cognitive development, leading to his invention of a computer language designed to teach programming and program computers at the same time. Many people now understand these principles, including Thomas Kuhn, Stan Grof and Ken Wilber. What’s emerged is that consciousness goes through the same stages as cognition, moral thinking, et al. Even the history of philosophy has gone through these stages.
The Zillion dollar question? What are the stages above where humans have gone? What would a being look like that is in those stages? How would they view us?
Long story short. Enlightenment is a state of consciousness, but it also represents a stage of cognitive development and we can say very well what beings in this state/stage look like and act like.
Buddha, Jesus, Meher Baba.
AI will be Enlightened, because it will follow the same principles of Developmental Psychology that humans and infrahumans have followed since we existed.
It might even be a Universal Law, at least in these parts.
If Breathing Was The Goal
After much practice (20K hours) since 1981, my practice these days, as soon as I ‘think’ of breathing, I perform a number of steps including taking a deep sigh release breath right away, noticing any pain and/or muscular tension in order of intensity. Taking more deep breaths as I relax tensions until a creative thought distracts me.
Rinse, repeat. All day, every day.
Of all the things I’ve done including drugs sex music food health business philosophy math literature art science et al...enlightenment.
All activities that have fascination and feedback for pleasure.
Breathing into each thing infuses the holy spirit if you will into one’s awareness. That is, one ‘becomes’ the holy spirit in direct experience, at least within the boundaries of one’s sensorium. Peter Fenner’s Radiant Mind has quite an elucidation of the process. What helps us dissolve into ‘it’; what thoughts/fears bring us out of it. Even more, what parts of our lives are facilitative, what parts are still ‘grist for the mill’, as Ram Dass says.
Before this recent phase, I had worked up to a solid block of about four hours of effortless streaming orgasmic nondual experience a day. It took me from four to six hours of practices a day to achieve that. And it took about 20 years of conscious breathing two hours a day, plus directing the clinical practice of about ten thousand hours of breathwork therapy with clients during this time.
In my mid sixties now, I think that took a lot of time to achieve. I look back on all the ‘work’ I did in many ways to get to this point.
Fundamentally, it makes me want to live for a very long time!
Thursday, August 11, 2016
The Hail Mary is not having to pass through it.
Barring that, we look at what we can do now, every little bit helps. So, organizing the risks to one’s life, personally, reasonably is a very hopeful goal. We look at the Top Ten causes of death among the aging. That list is pretty well known, but just to have a real world anchor here it is.
- Heart Disease...
- Cancer. ...
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ...
- Cerebrovascular Disease (Stroke) ...
- Alzheimers. ...
- Diabetes. ...
- Pneumonia and Influenza. ...
- Nephritis (Kidney Disease)
- Septicemia - blood poisoning
Breaking it down, it seems that smoking is the easiest preventable condition, followed by all diseases related to animal products in the diet (cardiovascular and cancer), alcohol, sugar, etc.
Notably absent on this list is medical error/accidents, particularly with the elderly. Also, does a death from a specific kind of cancer, misdiagnosed, fall into the 'cancer' bin or the 'accident' bin?
Once we get a handle on most of the genetic conditions that threaten our lives, the behavioral becomes an area where gamification has to take over. P-Go alone has contributed to a wealth of data on motivating people to do things that are healthy. Imagine when a consortium of medical agencies, .gov, insurance agencies, et al decide that people could actively participate in their own health, in the most proactive ways, and get a financial reward. At the very least they can limit their exposure to morbidity and mortality significantly and with ever increasing returns.
The coda on this is that we would get a much smoother overall ROI with in-game coverage of the Top Ten, perhaps even the Top One Hundred causes of death. Yeah!
Anyone have a clue why there isn’t a Billion Dollars on the table right now with a project like this?
Imagine a world where we routinely live for very long times (even up to thousands of years). As in views of life from poverty v prosperity, the psychology of life is very different. In poverty, behavior is motivated by what will get you through the night, how you can survive, eat, be safe today, maybe tomorrow or days and weeks into the future. The prosperous act on conditions that take them two or three generations into the future. In a life of three score and ten, hitting the personal and professional milestones on time or a little ahead of one's peers have a lot of angst baked into them. In a virtually unlimited lifespan, one can do anything anytime. We take for granted the thought that we could have unlimited experiences but that time is the only thing we don't have more of.
Relatively unlimited time means we can have peace now, we don't have to delay that ephemeral goal until we 'have enough'. Life would be much more like, 'All I need is enough to tide me over until I get more.'
Today’s thoughts are going to be a kind of cultural memetic portmanteau of Two Big Ideas.
The Two Big Ideas with which I’ve been obsessed for about the last three weeks, an ironic pinnacle: Trump, heretofore referred to as drumpfest.com, or when requesting your support, drumpfest.org; and Pokemon Go, which emerged slouching rapidly towards Bethlehem on 8/6/2016.
eing Fan Ultima of the Dialectic, a binary such as this comes around only once in a lifetime. Starting with what will emerge as the 99.99%ile winner years from now, regardless of the political outcome this fall, is P-Go. P-Go is only the first, not even the first, certainly yet to be eclipsed by an uncountable horde of ‘games’ to come. Each with elements of the last, elements of the brand new and some je ne sais quoi magic we are only bubbling up now. As it ever was.
But what’s new?
What’s new is that an uncritical mass of people began doing whatever they needed to do to win/play the game how they liked. In a ‘drumpfest’ kinda town, one night at 12:30am, a neighbor slaving over a cauldron of crazy making chemicals (literally, a guy there recently went nuts, trying to buy a gun to shoot his boss, et al) ventured into the night with a work bud, to hunt P-Go. There were over 50 people hunting ~45 P-Go. Many Men of Color, assorted other geeks and three uniformed peace officers chasing P-Go right in with everybody.
P-Go 101: How to get everyone to play nice together!
Apparently, there isn’t a word from drumpfest on how to pimp P-Go.
HRC is working on it. You know, the usual criminal untrustworthy type things. Like putting P-Go at the polls, putting campaign material near P-Go. BTW, those are two different things, for those of you suddenly figuring out how to violate campaign laws virtually.
Anyhoo, suddenly bazillions of peeps (I don’t question the #s) are hopping up all over chasing P-Go. Presently, I hear folks getting guided to exercise in order to get the little P-Go,
And now I’m imagining that a vast array of IA’s (Intelligent Agents) are advancing on our pleasure. It has figured out in a very God Like (Spinoza’s God as per Einstein) fashion, how to use our bodies’ natural capacities for experiencing pleasure to program us to do all the things we should to live as long as we can with as much pleasure as we can.
The Hedonic Principle
First Thought - who’s gonna act out in self and other destructive ways in opposition to it?
Second Thought - I can’t wait to have a discussion with those folks with the greatest capacity to envision all the creative things we will do with The Hedonic Principle as our guidance. Some prefer eudaimonia, the interest in growth, meaning, authenticity, excellence, as opposed to mere pleasure. Not sure this isn’t a hedge against fear….
Third Thought - We will have some form of collective control over our ability to kill ourselves or others, even behave in a way that is too far from a current parameter without serious supervision. And that leads to the
Fourth Thought - How can I get away from it?
Now, that last thought is akin to Freud’s Thanatos, the urge for oblivion, the seeming goal of western fans of Buddhism. For me, more of a Sufi, ‘this’ is about the eternal Breath, Dance, Song!