Posted on (UTC-4)
2015-07-06 @ 10:45:56
I really appreciate your essay here, and I agree with the main argument, but there are a couple of points about evolution where you jump to conclusions. Punctuated equilibrium: the peppered moth in Manchester went through an abrupt evolutionary change during industrialization in the 19th Century. As soot darkened buildings, lighter colored moths were spotted more easily by predators, leaving darker colored (from natural variation) moths behind to reproduce. No extraordinary change in mutation rate is required to explain this. Evolutionary bottlenecks occur all the time due to sudden changes in climate, migration, or predation. Epigenetics: unlike Lamarkianism, epigenetic changes are not related in a useful way to the environmental stressors. Stretching my neck will not make my progeny’s neck longer. Eating foods that affect methylation may change things like coat color in mice. The stressors and changes are not linearly related. Consciousness and evolution: there is a presumption in your discussion that there is a kind of “goal” of evolution that points towards humans, consciousness, etc. But if you mark the natural world, it’s clear that evolution does not favor intelligence above all else. The most successful creatures on the planet are ants. And one of the most stable evolutionary successes is the shark. Evolution is not interested in higher intelligence per se, only in fitness: animals and plants that can dominate a niche and remain stable despite changes in environment, predation, etc. Humans are just one branch on the evolutionary tree, and are only more valuable in our own estimation. Also, there’s no particular reason to expect humans to develop more (higher) consciousness. Evolution favors whatever leads to fertility and successful offspring. Perhaps increased religiosity or sexual arousal are the traits that will make future generations more successful with regard to evolutionary fitness. Thank you for your essay. It is excellent in its main points.
2015-01-08 @ 21:30:52
I agree with the conclusion but not the premise. I think we do need a spiritual revolution, one that frees everyone from an “us vs. them” mentality, and recognizes that all people are part of something divine, even if our Earthly existence is fraught.
But the I don’t think it’s currently all going to hell in a hand basket. When you read books like “The Better Angels of Our Nature” by Pinker about the decline of violence in human history, and “Abundance” by Diamandis about how we solve problems, look at progress on the UN Millennial Goals, the enormous progress on poverty in the past 20 years, our ability to feed a large percentage of 7 billion people – in the middle of a population explosion, the expansion of literacy, reduction in malaria, access to information and communication through cell phones. The progress in organizing and providing for humans through civilization has been remarkable. MOST of human history has been brutal, violent, and massively unequal, especially for women. The standard of human rights today (though obviously not always upheld) is positively enlightened. We are making progress. One example: it is considered a NATIONAL TRAGEDY in the US when one unarmed black citizen is killed by the police, as it should be. But 200 years ago, the wholesale enslavement of millions of people was considered a NORMAL, LEGAL aspect of BUSINESS.
We have to mark our progress. It’s easy to get distracted by “if it bleeds it leads” 24-hour news, or fears of a conspiracy to harm us or take away something from us…because our brains are wired to react strongly to negative or dangerous information. But that is not objective reality. That is a distortion of the reality: that most people in most places are good, and are playing a constructive, beneficial role in society. Spend time with people, not fear mongers, and you’ll see that the world is a remarkable place. And that optimism also gives us energy and hope to continue to work toward making it better for everyone.
2014-04-28 @ 19:48:38
I really appreciate what you’ve written here. There’s so much self-help info out there that makes it seem like if you just think positively, you’ll be shitting rainbows. The real journey to wholeness requires doing the Shadow work (Jung), engaging with the world, and continuing to grow. I would just recommend that a good starting place for Jung is his autobiography “Memories, Dreams, Reflections.” It’s an engaging read and weighs and costs about 1/10 of the Red Book. Also, Connie Zweig’s books on the Shadow are remarkable. They teach you how to find the crap you’re embarrassed by, the stuff you hate about yourself and other people, the things you’re afraid of, and use the “alchemy of the soul” to turn all of that into gold: humor, empathy, wholeness, forgiveness, acceptance.
2013-12-11 @ 10:27:59
I appreciate the spirit of the post, but I have three issues with it:
1. These are mostly superficial aspects of posing as someone who has charisma, rather than developing it organically.
2. This post is plagiarized from other sources. And no, referencing the book from which the topics arise is not enough of an attribution. If you are taking whole sentences or paragraphs from something that someone else wrote, it needs to be in quotes and cited.
3. Charisma is a singular noun. The plural is charismata.
2013-06-02 @ 07:45:02
Really? Have you asked a scientist about that? I’ve interviewed a lot of them, and in my experience, a sense of wonder, awe, and imagination are a huge part of why they went into science and what keeps them engaged and passionate in their work.
2013-02-19 @ 08:37:59
How many languages could you write a book review in? Give him some slack – English is not his first language.
2013-02-05 @ 18:23:30
I never got meditation until I started taking kung fu: after sweating our balls off for 2 hours, we would do a brief 2 minute sitting meditation. Suddenly I found I could shut everything out and go to another place for that time. 20 years later, I still do meditation mostly after a tough workout. For some reason exhaustion puts me in the right state. I also studied hypnosis later on, and found that self-hypnosis techniques can be very helpful for exploring that deeper state.
2013-01-31 @ 16:39:23
Great post! I just want to add a couple things from my experience of “going my own way”.
1. People don’t get an idea until they see it come to fruition. Whether you’re pitching a concept to a client or telling someone your dreams, the truth is YOU can barely grasp it, and language just doesn’t suffice. So until we master thought transference, expect that no one will get it until after it’s done (or at least have a good rendering of the thing). Later, when you’ve done the work and made something awesome, those same naysayers will come around and tell you how great it was all along. Really.
One bright spot: Once you’ve built up a track record of awesomeness, you will start to acquire allies, fans, and followers. They will support your next project before they understand it, because they love what you’ve done and they believe in you.
2. If you have a nascent idea, don’t tell everyone. For one thing, most people won’t get it, and their criticism, doubt, and misunderstandings will take the wind out of your sails. Understand that you have a great idea because you are an artist, a teacher, a prophet; and you want to spread this internal experience out to others so that they can experience it, too. If you TELL people about it without DOING it, that partially fulfills your “evangelical” drive, and you won’t be as motivated to do all the hard work to bring the idea to life in the real world.
That being said, you may need to pitch an idea to supporters and collaborators. Don’t let rejection get you down. It’s an odds game. Also, you can make small versions and concept tests to build up your materials. Those help pitch the idea. When you have time to reflect, keep going back to the kernel of what inspired you, and tap into those feelings again. That’s the pure, divine source that is trying to speak through you!
Make lots of work. It gets easier. And you get better at it.
2013-01-16 @ 23:15:34
The answer suggested above is that if you love something enough to really do it fully and become a master of it, there will be someone out there whom you can sell your services to. It may not happen right away, but in the big picture, there’s probably some way to get paid to participate in the kinds of things you enjoy.
2012-06-28 @ 19:15:42
Sorry, I realize a short description might be helpful:
Contact – Jodie Foster plays a fictionalized version of SETI astronomer Jill Tarter in a movie adapted from Carl Sagan’s only fiction novel. It’s fascinating for science buffs, and features a compelling female lead, up against tough odds, and amazing discoveries. No spoilers – just watch it!
Phenomenon – I’m not a big Travolta fan, but this movie is played very sensitively by him, Forest Whitaker, Kyra Sedgwick, and Robert Duvall. A good-hearted everyman is gifted with extraordinary mental powers, and struggles to put them to positive use while a community slowly turns against him.
Powder – an outcast kid (Sean Patrick Flanery) with X-men like abilities is ostracized by a small town. Jeff Goldblum plays a sympathetic mentor.
Princess Mononoke – Awesome story of modernism vs. the spirits of the forest. Brilliant animation, characters, and complex moral conflicts. Minnie Driver is especially good as the gentle-voiced leader of a gun-manufacturing town on the edge of the forest.
Whale Rider – If you don’t cry watching this movie, you are a sociopath. A young Maori girl struggles to find her place in a village that has lost its next generation of leaders. Absolutely transcendent—without being dippy.
The Matrix – Okay, probably everyone has seen this, but just to throw it out there: the cinematic style, kung fu fight choreography, and deep philosophical themes make this a landmark film.
Baraka – Eye candy set to music by Dead Can Dance. Slight downer, as it focuses on man’s destructive impact on the world.
Highlander – 16th Century Scot manages to survive a gruesome battle and is driven from his village. The story intercuts his youth with modern day New York City, where a final sword battle draws warriors from all over the world. What can I say? It was the ’80s. Bonus: soundtrack by Queen.
Being in the World – Based on Martin Heidegger’s “Being and Time”, it take philosophy as a backbone to discuss the idea that the only way to truly understand something is to experience it first-hand. Profiles include a traditional Japanese architect, a Louisiana chef, a flamenco singer, a jazz musician, and others. Beautiful and thought-provoking…
2012-06-28 @ 18:49:37
These may not be the best movies of all time, but I have found them particularly inspiring, and have watched most of them many times:
Being in the World