March 1

A Capital Idea Part 59: Is Our Government an Open or Closed System?

As a trained scientist, I have a pretty good understanding of how science works, how it can only move forward to create more knowledge, never backwards, and how within the scientific method is nested a self-correcting process. That is, when theories or ideas prove to be incorrect, they are discarded and replaced by better ones. This is what I call an open system -- that is, a system which is open to outside influence, and therefore can grow and evolve as a self-impoving system rather than be stuck in a small, decaying mental box, unable to make changes to fix its problems due to its inability to account for new information. The only way to fix what's wrong in the stinking, decaying box is to throw it away and start over.

My understanding of democracy is that it is designed to be an open system, whether we are talking about the democracy that florished in Greek city states, or the democracy which more recently grew out of the period of intellectual enlightenment, which was scientifically driven. Thus, if we truly have a democracy, even a bit of of it, we have an open system, a system with self-correcting mechanisms built into it. Thus, the corrollary question to this post is: Do we truly have a democracy, and if so, how much democracy do we have?

The question of whether we have an open or closed system is an extremely important one, and one of increasing relevance, since the issue of how to change our corrupt political system hinges upon the answer. If the system remains open, it can be fixed by working within the system, but if it is closed, only a revolution overthrowing the government can fix these problems which result from the influence of money on the political system. Make no doubt about it, this is an economic issue and a matter of how we consider "capital," that is, resources. The political system in which we exist, creates the rules and parameters which define capital and regulate its use and distribution.

Evidence of a Closed System

It doesn't take any special powers of observation to discover that certain forces including financial and psychological ones, work to make our political system less amenable to change. Actually, any sentient person who halfway pays attention to what is going on can see what has been happening. Globalized corporatism has created a monster the likes of which the world has never seen before. The economic and political system in which we live seems like something that the rich have created exclusively for themselves, and surely there is much truth in that sentiment. Disparities of wealth are as huge as they have ever been, and continue to increase. Furthermore, people with tremendous amounts of money have become more sophisticated in using it to enhance their wealth, power and prestige. The wealthy have always gamed the rest of society, but now, they have gamed society in ways they never have before. They have learned how to influence public opinion through control of propaganda-spreading media, using means which were not available until the mid-1900s and which were not used in this way until recent years. They have learned to influence politics through lobbying, propaganda, dirty political tricks, and now, with the Citizens United decision here in the United States, through direct spending. They have tapped into socially conservative sentiments to help their cause largely through the use of religious organizations, thus reversing the historic trend of religious professionals supporting progressive causes. Of course, religions themselves tend to be closed systems, although with the mixture of messages seen in religious texts, and the variety of interpretations of religious texts, there is room for either progressive or conservative emphases among religions.

I have encountered many people, including posters, bloggers and professional journalists, who appear to have given up hope that our system remains open. At the same time, ironically, I have noticed that these same people tend to blame individuals within the system, such as the President or Congresspeople, for its problems. Perhaps they do hold hope after all, that if we just elect the "right people" or the left people, the system will be fixed, or at least we will start to fix it. If the system is truly closed, it doesn't matter who is elected or who runs our nation, because the system which the rich have created for themselves is the true problem. I do know some people who hold to that view as well, to be perfectly fair, and although I don't totally agree with that notion, I do agree in part.

An example of a famous journalist of gloom and doom (at least as I see it) who has argued that our system is closed, is Chris Hedges. I reviewed some of his work through the use of the internet over the past few days, as well as what some people had to say about it. Basically, Hedges argues that while liberals have been suckered into consent in order to look after their own personal interests, wealthy conservatives have created a totalitarian society run by big money, and thus are able to pull whichever political strings they wish to. Hedges latest book is called "Death of the Liberal Class," and it blames educators, religious professionals, media, unions, and of course politicians for this situation. I find Hedges to be a very skillful writer and an expert at engaging in hyperbole, consistent with his background as a minister's son and person who abandoned a potential career of following in his father's footsteps after abandoning his faith. There are parts of his argument that I agree with, but other parts that I do not. In general, his assertions that the large majority of religious professionals, media and politicians have forsaken their obligations to the public are true. However his nasty notions that unions and educators have done the same, are utter nonsense and needlessly insulting, I can say as an educator! As a psychologist, I don't believe I have ever personally met another psychologist who is a conservative, or who does not support progressive causes, at least in principle. My advisor at U.C. Riverside, Carolyn Murray, was very active in supporting progressive causes, and so radically progressive that she made me seem like a politically bland, noncommittal young man even though I was fomenting very progressive ideas and sentiments at that time. Another highly politically active progressive professor I worked with was Dr. Geraldine Stahly, who was a champion of women's issues. Not all professors are so politically aware or active, especially since most of them are too busy to pay much attention to politics, but as a whole, they tend to be very progressive. I wrote a post about this very topic a year or so ago, and found this to be the case, although economics and business professors tended to be less progressive than other disciplines, as a whole being rather neutral politically, with a mix of conservatives (who are often tapped as political advisors or commentators) and progressives (who are rarely used as political advisors or commentators). Social scientists tend to be the most progressive, although Dr. Phil is a Texas Republican, a rarity among psychologists. Regarding unions, the protests taking place in Wisconsin and other states speak for themselves. It seems to me that unions, and labor interests in general, have always been supportive of the public good, and now, they are finding issues which resonate with the broader public, as conservative Republicans escalate their assault on unions. Hedges wrote his most recent book prior to the eruption of these union-led protests, although his closed-minded approach, consistent with his religious upbringing would probably prevent him from admitting he was wrong about either the unions or educators being sell-outs.

Moreover, the idea of their even being a "liberal class" is a work of artifice. There can be a rich class, a middle class, and an impoverished class, because wealth or lack thereof is generally passed on to one's offspring, but there is no "liberal class" or "conservative class." To me this notion implies that political views are passed onto one's children, which is clearly not true. I think the great majority of us can look at our own families and see how there are widely varying views on politics. If not, just look at the Reagan family, or progressive talk show hosts such as Stephanie Miller or Thom Hartmann, who were raised by conservatives, or my brothers and myself, progressives who were raised by Eisenhower-type, pacifist, and now disaffected, Republicans, but Republicans nonetheless. There are liberal people (which I prefer to call "progressive"), conservative people, and people who are in-between; there are people with committed political views, and people whose political views are still evolving; there are high information voters who are very politically involved, and low information voters who don't pay much attention to politics; but there is no "liberal class" or "conservative class."

Nonetheless, there is a compelling case to be made that, metaphorically speaking, the edifice of our democratic society, which was built with a copious supply of windows in order to let the light in, has gradually seen more and more of its windows shuttered over the past few decades, by people with the money, motives and political means to shut out the light of day from the public, that we would not see the beauty outside and wish to be a part of it.

Regarding the politics of a closed system, I think the concept of "groupthink" applies rather well. Groupthink is a term for the leadership of organizations, when there is a lack of critical thinking and a denial of evidence which contradicts the prevailing group view. Additionally, when groupthink occurs, there is inevitably a sense of moral righteousness and entitlement among the leaders and consultants who make policy. Actually, this groupthink concept can apply both to government, and corporations -- anyplace where policies are made. Groupthink basically creates a closed system. Thus, the antidote for groupthink, is to open the system to new information, bringing in outside experts, or even ordinary citizens, for instance, and honestly and carefully listening to them, taking their suggestions and information seriously. Also, building in safeguards against groupthink help, such as requirements to have people from a variety of backgrounds or viewpoints be members of the policy making group.

Evidence of an Open System

Despite the evidence that our system is far less democratic or open than it was intended to be, I consider our system still open to a degree. No matter how the forces of plutocracy try to create a permanent state of power for themselves, as long as we maintain a semblance of democracy, as long as we continue to have elections, and open communications through means such as the internet, telephones or even letters, as long as peaceful assembly and protest is asserted as a right, the light of day will always find a way to enter the edifice of our society. It means asserting our rights, educating ourselves politically and civically, and making government our own, but the reality is that change is inevitable, and we collectively are the greatest agents of change. Perhaps many of us have fallen asleep at the wheel, so to speak, while rich conservatives reshaped society for their own purposes, and perhaps much of this happened before many of us were old enough to have much of an effect, or realize what was going on, but the collective "we" remains the primary mover and shaker of societal evolution. Even the plutocrats at Citibank, as revealed in their famous memo from a few years ago, acknowledged that. As one as each person has an equal vote, we have the ultimate power. Money doesn't vote, or protest, or write blog posts; people do.

The system that the founders of our nation set up was an open one, based upon the rationality and scientific approach of the Enlightenment. The only thing which can fundamentally negate that would be an anti-revolution, an overthrow of our government by corrupt, closed-system forces. However, this will never happen as long as we maintain our fundamental identity as a democratic nation. Plutocrats will use subterfuge and sophisticated propaganda techniques to deceive as many of the public as possible, but their deception becomes evident upon any intelligent inspection.


At this point, I think it may require a second blog post to describe my ideas for opening up our political system and encoding openess into law in such a way that the corporatocracy can never get a stranglehold over our, or hopefully any nation in the world's, political system. This may seem a bit trite, but it is up to us to retake our democracy from the forces which would deny it to us.

I am sure we will continue to have differing opinions regarding the state, and even the nature of, our political system. I do know that this world is changing as we speak. Will we need a revolution to "Fire the rich" (as one recent cleverly entitled blog post on the Hartmann site was entitled), or can we, the people, assert ourselves as the bosses, and "lower their salary," "put them in jail" (where some of the rich surely belong), and/or "demote them?" I think it is possible for the public to assert itself as "the boss," though it will take lots of work. What do you think? What are your ideas for opening up our system?


nimblecivet 8 years 46 weeks ago
Quote dhavid:

If you add the verb choiceless to existential awareness you come up with one of J. Krishnamurti"s main talking points (choiceless awareness.) So how would you consider spirituality different from that?

Rather than continue with the distinction between existential awareness and spirituality as categorically different, to answer your question will require indicating where they can overlap. I'm not sure if a purely "spiritual" form of consciousness/awareness/being is possible. An existential awareness which can be called "spirituality" would be an awareness of the presence of non-self within awareness, and an attention to the manner in which transcendent awareness can develop into transcendent-existential awareness. This differs from the existentialist philosophical school (although this a small and somewhat ill-defined category) in that traditional existentialism posits that the mind of the individual is the sole means by which awareness and meaning can be created. While I do believe that our consciousness is our own and retain a skepticism to towards the idea that consciousness can be shared and therefore considered transcendental in itself, obviously an individual's consciousness is comprised of a transcendental awareness in the sense that self and outside world are not mere categorical opposites. This might sound contradictory, but in truth it validates the notion of individuality. No one is aware of the entire universe, only what their situatedness allows for them. However, to believe that the operations of the brain/mind are the sole determinant of subjective awareness is also fallacious. Furthermore, the dynamic which emerges within awareness (and this is my main contention with Western philosophy since Kant) cannot be said to be determined by a cognative synthesis but rather may (always?) be interpretable through a paradigmatic (in an all-inclusive sense of the term) interpretation or translation to self which may be communicated through language. Note that the function of language depends upon the mutual recognition of that which is discussed by each party before they are able to communicate with language.

With apologies, my "village philosophaster" gobbledyguck-speak is probably worse than my academic pretentions!

Zenzoe: was it science that put that crap on the market, or was it capitalists? Mathematics is not to blame for the applications developed by math geniuses who otherwise could have discovered things about cosmology, quantum physics, biochemistry, etc. Who knows, maybe we could have had a Unified Field Theory (reconciliation of classical and quantum physics) by now!

dhavid 8 years 46 weeks ago

Zenzoe wrote, " The twisting of the notions of logos and mythos to compare and categorize human persons, by way of a weak analogy based on ignorance of those notions, is a logical fallacy. It is to ignore the fact that Chris Hedges —and Dhavid and I too— utilize our whole minds when we write and speak, and that includes the logical."

Logos and mythos, as have been defined in this blog, could easily fit into the philosophical duality I have referred to numerous times, delineated by Robert Persig in Zen and...., of classicism and romanticism.

To surmise the differences, Persig used the motorcycle, and 2 different ways of approaching it. Classically, one sees the machine, and understands exactly how it works, with a deep appreciation of its mechanics and function. Romantically, one sees the machine and only sees freedom, and the wind, and the road. Keep in mind that both viewpoints come from rational and logical human beings.

Logos would be classical, mythos romantic.

Makes sense to me.

Zenzoe 8 years 46 weeks ago

Ultimately, whether you want to categorize people as logos or mythos or classicals or romantics or liberals or conservatives...righties, lefties, Tea Partyers, saints, sinners, dunderheads or poo-poo-heads, it's all irrelevant to the main big thing—while you and I are futzing about with philosophy or whether Gaga is a great liberal or just another commercial artist cherry-picking the issues for public relations reasons, Rep. King has, my email notification this morning from Greenpeace reports, “sponsored a bill to extend the loopholes in a chemical security law for seven more years instead of supporting strong legislation that will prevent chemical disasters at plants that store tons of poison gases.”

While we are blathering here about whether the government is open or closed, Russia is burning again; very soon the Arctic ocean will be ice free for the first time; the earth is facing the worst extinction in the planet’s history; “...right now, coral reefs around the world are either bleaching, dead from bleaching, or trying to recover from bleaching (Coral communities play a vital role across the entire food chain, from the tiniest creature right up to humans.)”

That is to say, however we want to describe ourselves, it doesn’t matter: Our home, Mother Earth, is on fire, because we humans are too many, too distracted, too greedy, and too much inclined toward positive thinking, whether it is thinking science will magically come up with a fix, or the ocean is big enough to absorb oil spills, or “there’s a crack in everything and that’s where the light comes in.”

I defend Hedges because he is taking the liberal class by the shoulders, shaking it and saying, “Wake up!” But human denial is stronger than any one author, any book, can fix.

dhavid 8 years 46 weeks ago

To go with your shift of topics, I think it is well and fine for people to jump up and down and loudly protest, like Chris Hedges. I am afraid, though, that the only thing that will stop man from destroying the planet will be his own mass extinction, or something of that nature. I am extremely pessimistic as to any substantial outcome from Mr. Hedges, or any others, protest.

It's like Plato said in one of his dialogues; that people don't obey the law because of their natural goodness, but rather for the fear of the consequences of not obeying - or Jeremiah the prophet saying, "the human heart is desperately wicked, who can comprehend it?" or Jesus, who "did not trust himself to man, because he knew what was in man," not to quote one (god forbid!) above the other but rather see the sameness of their respective points. I don't think this applies to the 'self-actualized,' but how few are they?

Fortunately for me, I believe in magic, that death is not the end of life, that reality is not the seen, that conscious precedes matter, and that God is really everywhere, and in all things. In fact, to classify me I would be a Vedantist. Otherwise, I would perhaps be quite depressed.

BTW, By the most current theoretical physics, physical matter makes up 1/6 of the total matter of the universe and only 1/20 of the energy originating as the Universe from the 'big bang'.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 46 weeks ago

Zenzoe, I suppose I did mangle Barbara Armstrong's (is that her name) Mythos and Logos ideas, but it was one of those "brilliant ideas" I just happened to have while replying to people's posts. It seemed very instructive that one of each of us fit into four possible categories in my view. I think Dhavid's Classical versus Romantic might be a better fit. After thinking about the proper terminolgy for awhile, I decided that objective-truth orientation versus subjective-truth orientation might be the best I can come up with. Both orientations seek truth in different ways. I never meant to imply that "Mythos" people are illogical, just that they have a different way of using their intelligence.

With that in mind, even if we could suppose that Hedges is the Einstein of social critics or of politics (which I don't really think but some of us might), keep in mind that it turned out that even Einstein was wrong about some very important topics. For instance, he believed in a steady state universe. I think he also would never have believed that "physical matter makes up 1/6 of the total matter of the universe and only 1/20 of the energy originating as the Universe from the 'big bang'." I am glad you mentioned that, Dhavid. I think that shows how little it is turning out that even our best physicists are really comprehending about reality. The way I see it, we are endowed with certain senses, and have developed certain instruments, which give us access to a small portion of reality, at least at this time. Perhaps in the future, we will understand much more of it, but at this time, we are still stuck in a paradigm which seems to preclude that. By the way, the big lesson of Einstein's theory of relativity (which has turned out to be correct) is the matter/energy equivalency, which means to me, that everything consists of energy in one form or another. Matter is what happens when energy fields result in a stable, bound energy pattern. Aside from that, there is a whole universe full of energy out there which we are only beginning to realize may exist. I think we are also bound together in ways we don't realize yet. I think on the first page I mentioned that scientists are at a loss to explain consciousness and that it appears to be an inherent property of the universe. I think a couple of people here agreed. (To whit from Nimblecivit "However, to believe that the operations of the brain/mind are the sole determinant of subjective awareness is also fallacious.") I would further speculate that are brains' activities likely attract this conscious form of energy from the universe as well as creating it.

Well, there I go with my own "village philosophaster" gobbledyguck-speak.

Zenzoe, I have never heard Chris Hedges address the potential impending environmental calamity we humans are causing. Is that because he hasn't done so, or I have just missed it? It seems like he should be focusing more on that and less on blaming people who aren't really at fault for creating the dilemma we are in. We are heading in the direction of causing a possible mass die-off of our own species, ironically, through our own biological success. I do think people are "waking up" more and more though, and people such as Hedges play an important role in that. Whether we can shake off our inertia enough to avoid disaster remains to be seen. I don't really see humans as being wicked, but rather, we tend to act in self-serving, often destructive ways due to our limited and biased perspectives.

dhavid 8 years 45 weeks ago

NL wrote, "Aside from that, there is a whole universe full of energy out there which we are only beginning to realize may exist. I think we are also bound together in ways we don't realize yet. I think on the first page I mentioned that scientists are at a loss to explain consciousness and that it appears to be an inherent property of the universe. I think a couple of people here agreed. (To whit from Nimblecivit "However, to believe that the operations of the brain/mind are the sole determinant of subjective awareness is also fallacious.") I would further speculate that are brains' activities likely attract this conscious form of energy from the universe as well as creating it."

Well said. It seems to me that all of creation is an expression of that consciousness, and it is that consciousness which is the real. This morning I was caught with the inner image of the relationship between 2 Canada Geese (actually, I think they stay together for life) and how that is another expression of this same consciousness. Then I got lost in the sameness, which is alive.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

It is becoming more and more difficult for me to post here. My dial-up connection, and other unknown factors, mean such a grindingly slow process I can barely suppress a tsunami (that’s the word for today) of crass outbursts of frustration that would so shock my neighbors they would have to call 9-11 right away. (I have to compose my responses in my Quark Express word processing program, because to try to do it here is hell on earth. And at least I have spell check there.)

Also, partly because I want to concentrate today on something inspired by this conversation for my blog, I will touch on only a few things here.

NL, the name is Karen Armstrong. And the thing is this—I realize you, as a social psychologist, tend to want to arrange things into categories, but my feeling was that to have it done to me here was to be objectified, but worse, it was to be misunderstood. I felt wholly invisible to you when you put us in the “mythos/logos” categories. It made me think you not only perverted mythos and logos as understandings of culture, but you really had no idea who I was, after all I’ve said here at

Dhavid, my objection to our being so categorized as either “mythos/logos” was a BTW, an incidental bit, a diversion from the main conversation. After that, when I spoke to Hedges’ complaint about the liberal class and his clarion call to “wake up,” it was not a “shift in topic,” it was a return to the topic. Anyway, the “classical/romantic” for me are no more useful as categories for actual human beings —individuals whose hearts, minds, and spirits are chaotically complex and unique— than any other attempt to classify, i.e., control who we are.

NL, yes, Hedges addresses environmental issues continuously in his book, Death of the Liberal Class. I mean, come on, don’t you think you should read the book before making assumptions about the author? (To be fair, the same question could be asked of me with regard to Gaga—I have never seen one of her performances, so who am I to comment? And I am surprised nobody brought that one up, which was very polite of you, I must say.) Anyway, here’s one little relevant bit (and if we keep this up, I will have quoted the entire book to you!): “Our passivity is due, in part, to our inability to confront the awful fact of extinction, either our own inevitable mortality or that of the human species. The emotional cost of confronting death is painful. We prefer illusion.” And dare I say that goes for dhavid too? Sorry, but I can’t get with the magical notions you seem to depend on. If that’s rude, please forgive me. There’s plenty I don’t presume to understand; but I worry when folks appear to use their spirituality to justify passivity in the face of environmental catastrophe. Don’t your Canadian geese deserve more than your getting lost in “the sameness?”

nimblecivet 8 years 45 weeks ago

I think the geese are closed system.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

I think the Geese are a temporarily closed system, but the result of their affection is an increased openness.

Dhavid, I am heartened that you for one, seem to understand my perspective. I wouldn't call the world "magic" but that's a semantic point. I would say that the universe is marvelous in ways that we are only beginning to fathom and perhaps in ways which we have not yet begun to fathom. Actually, I am finding more and more spritual free thinkers out there who get this, although I haven't written much about spirituality yet.

Zenzoe, my apologies to you and Karen Armstrong. I said it was what seemed like a brilliant idea that wasn't really so brilliant in my last post. Actually, categorizing people is part of Personality Psychology. It's difficult for me to see how one can understand personality without engaging in some sort of categorization. Are we to just declare all people the same, even as we engage in lively arguments -- er, I mean, discussions? Actually, all traits are basically on continuums. It's never an either/or situation. When I talk about "types" that is assumed. Clearly you don't like to be categorized, and seem to consider it objectification. To me it is not objectification at all; it is just a way of explaining people's psychological differences. I would never objectify anybody. I don't see where you get this connection between classifying and controllling people. If that were true, personality psychologists would be running the world, and that is far from being the case, isn't it? They seem to carry very little political or economic weight despite their knowledge, skills, education and hard work. Knowing more about personality and how it affects us, to the contrary, can be used to help free people from constraints -- their own or those imposed upon them by others. Actually, my degree is in Social/Personality Psychology, by the way, although my advisor is a Social Psychologist.

I figured Hedges talks about environmental issues somewhere. I was just asking why I never seem to see anything about that, and where it is. It seems pretty hard for him not to given the topics he is grappling with. But you seemed to assume I was implying that he didn't address environmental issues. Maybe your computer problems are affecting your normally appreciative disposition. I was wondering how you put all those italics, bold print, etc. in your posts. I meant to ask you if you composed your responses on another program, if I hadn't already.

My next step is to talk about the emotional issues of being a progressive -- how it feels to be bullied and pushed around by aggressive, psychologically masculine conservatives, and to be victims of derogation by our own side. Before we wake up and act collectively, it seems to me we need to stop acting like intimidated victims of bullies, battered wives or rape victims, and stop fighting amongst ourselves. I was going to have this topic a bit later but now, I think I will move it up. Remember, I got the idea during one of our Facebook messages.

dhavid 8 years 45 weeks ago

Zenzoe quoted Chris Hedges, "Our passivity is due, in part, to our inability to confront the awful fact of extinction, either our own inevitable mortality or that of the human species. The emotional cost of confronting death is painful. We prefer illusion.”

Socrates said that the task of the philosopher is to study death. When they wanted to spring him from jail he said something to the effect that it would be way hypocritical for him, a philosopher, to flee death when it had been his life's study and passion. I have been the same. Perhaps Chris Hedges prefers illusion to the emotional cost of confronting death, but this is not my experience, nor my current state of mind. Before man were the dinosaurs. If humans destroy themselves, there will be other life; different unimaginable forms of conscious. To me it is the same 'ground' that would manifest all of these phases of life on this planet, and also in the entire Universe. This ground also lives through, creates, and is Canada Geese, and also you and also me. If Canada Geese were extinguished from the planet, would the ground be any less? My answer is 'no, not at all.' If humans were extinguished I would say the same. So with all due respect, I am not all that concerned.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

Dhavid, you have daughters. I don't know how old they are, but perhaps soon you will have grandchildren. Are you truly not "all that concerned?" Do you not care about the environment your children and grandchildren will inherit as a result of your complacency (your, meaning yours and others like you)? I'm sure you enjoy the forests where you live. Doesn't it concern you that Mountain pine beetles are destroying those forests, due to global warming; will it concern you, when the fires come? How much suffering and loss of natural beauty and grace in the world are you willing for your loved ones to endure? Is your philosophy so great you can abandon your children's interests for its sake?

Explain the difference, in practical effect, between your philosophy that accepts environmental damage and catastrophe as being an aspect of the "ground," and fundamentalist Christian thought that thinks of such as God's plan, or God's vengeance on gays, or whatever? You may feel there's a difference, because yours is based on Vedantist belief; but the effect, in terms of how both enable inaction and acceptance of global warming, is the same. At least that's how it seems to me.

God I hate this program. That's all I can take for now.

dhavid 8 years 45 weeks ago

Zenzoe wrote, "Explain the difference, in practical effect, between your philosophy that accepts environmental damage and catastrophe as being an aspect of the "ground," and fundamentalist Christian thought that thinks of such as God's plan, or God's vengeance on gays, or whatever?"

Consider the age of the dinosaur. Hundreds of millions of years of evolution with a creation we can only imagine. Do you know the level of intelligence of the most evolved of the animals that lived then? Perhaps the depth of feeling ? Who can know. Then, an environmental catastrophe that, except for a few life forms, ends the age. Next comes an evolution that becomes homo sapien, in a world of evolving plants and animals. Us. So, was the comet that hit the earth and killed all the dinosaurs and caused mass extinction an aspect of the "ground?" An accident? Was the ground that brought forth all of this life affected? How about when galaxies collide? Probably whole planets of life such as ours are destroyed in an instant. Is the ground of all things affected in such events? Will not the eternal ground continue to create? Perhaps our philosophical error is considering homo sapiens so important - better than other forms of creation. Otherwise, who can argue with change?

In terms of the death of everyone, I think of my mother and her watching Billy Graham when I was a child. In terms of truth, I disagree with Billy on everything except one statement I remember - that every generation is terminal. And that is so for our generation, and the next, and so forth. It is the nature of things.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

As far as the mental capacities of dinosaurs are concerned, we can only guess, but if they had built societies with technology, science and inventions -- any species of dinosaur, that is -- we should have abundant evidence of that, and such evidence is lacking.

Of course, we hope for humankind to enjoy continued success. I assume you do too, Dhavid. That is a presumption behind discussions such as these. However, evolution on earth will continue regardless of whether or not humans are part of it, until our sun runs out of energy or our planet collides with something really really big like another star. By then, hopefully our descendants will have found new homes, bringing some other forms of earthly life along with them.

I don't think we should think "oh well, there goes our species, ho hum." Apparently we are the most advanced lifeform in the history of this planet in terms of creating societies, so we are important, but nearly as important as most people fancy themselves to be. If we do wind up extinguishing ourselves, which I doubt, maybe in 50-60 million years, a new intelligent lifeform will evolve. Maybe I am being a bit biased here, but I am betting on superintelligent Mudskippers. LOL Heck, they might evolve even with us humans still around.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

Natural Lefty, I don’t think I said you “objectified” me; I said felt objectified, which is not the same thing as accusing you of objectifying me, right? But to clarify, it isn’t that I don’t think people should ever be categorized; it’s quite useful to do so in some circumstances, in certain contexts, and I don’t find it fallacious at all when it is done with care and knowledge. It can be elucidating. I’m thinking of George Lakoff’s analysis of conservatives and progressives, for example; or Bob Altemeyer’s The Authoritarians, his analysis of authoritarian personality types, followers and leaders (I found it rather fun to take his test at the website to discover I was deeply low on the authoritarian scale.)

I’ve explained my reasons for objecting to the use of mythos/logos here, on people, within this discussion. But, maybe there’s one more thing, aside from feeling wrongly categorized (if I labeled you as a conservative, you wouldn’t like it, would you?). It’s that I am uncomfortable with any sort of psychological analysis being done on any of us here, given that you are a professional in the field. I just think it’s inappropriate. I realize you didn’t intend it as “analysis,” only as a casual description, but, because of your profession, you might consider such categorization had a certain power? Just a thought.

You may have noticed I am not entirely on board with the field of psychology as science. To a certain extent, yes, I am. But in general I am rather skeptical and tend, sometimes, to think of it as sadly within the social conditioning box, rather than being a force for human liberation. Too often psychologists and psychiatrists appear to assume society to be just fine, thank you very much, and if you’re having a problem, it’s your “stinkin’ thinkin” that’s getting you down. Rarely do I encounter, via the media, a psychologist who understands the DSM, for example, as pseudo-science. An example of a maverick psychiatrist is Bruce Levine. In an interview, he said, “A lot of folks like Lewis Mumford and Kirkpatrick Sale have talked a lot about our machine-worshipping culture, and once you understand that our society does worship the machine and technology more than it does life and diversity, then you understand that the goal of that society is to become more machine-like, more standardized. Which means you’re trying to create a society in which everyone fits into the same box. And once you do that, you’re going to find more people not fitting in, and then you have—and this is a real problem of psychiatry, as far as I’m concerned—then you have these psychiatrists who come along and, instead of saying there’s a problem with this kind of machine-worshipping society, they say that there’s a problem with all these people not fitting in. They’ve got this disease, or this disorder.” This seems to me to be exactly the problem with the field. When you ask, “Are we to just declare all people the same...” you miss my point, with all due care and respect. It’s not that my criticism wants all people the same; it’s that people are just the opposite as “all the same;” instead, they are mostly just so unique and complex, and existing within a complex social system, that to try to put them into neat little boxes is absurd.

Also, as for psychology “controlling people,” I would remind you of the way psychology has been used by the public relations/market propaganda industries and the military for propaganda purposes. Also, psychologists have been useful to the CIA in formulating torture methods—it’s like, How to Break a Psyche, 101.

To dhavid: I’m not sure you answered my question, but that’s okay. I have another, in response to your last comment. Don’t you think our situation now is different than that of most of Earth’s history, in that it is we humans who are causing the damage; it is not some volcano, or comet landing, or huge, natural change in climate? Don’t you think, because we have the power to change ourselves, we should try to avoid the catastrophe we are, ourselves, responsible for causing? Do you accept the notion of responsibility in your philosophy? Could that be “in the nature of things” too?

nimblecivet 8 years 45 weeks ago

Zenzoe- I am glad you attempted to introduce the importance of application. This has been a good discussion and I feel such conversations are vital for maintaining revolutionary consciousness. I hope over the next several weeks to continue to review my notes and start posting things on this message board geared towards galvanizing people to action. Along the lines of saving the earth and its inhabitants, saving its vitality, you might be interested in and Just a couple of things I stumbled across recently. I heard somewhere that global climate change has been altering geographic parameters of many species' niches, which hit endangered species the hardest. The viable range for buffallo, if I remember correctly, is gradually shifting northwards outside of the park boundaries.

One story which I thought was kind of cute was that when mountain goats were re-introduced to wilderness areas in Washington State they had to be lowered by helicopter and (literally) dropped off.

dhavid 8 years 45 weeks ago

Zenzoe asked, " Don’t you think, because we have the power to change ourselves, we should try to avoid the catastrophe we are, ourselves, responsible for causing?"

Yes, of course. I am just not optimistic, at least not with the current consciousness of humanity. However, as we know, evolution happens, so who knows?

Possible catalysts for change in America:

I guess that Obomba and his military will leak, or expose, the US UFO files, including Roswell and Aztec crashes in New Mexico. This would be to take away the focus on how really desperate things are here, for milllions of citizens, as well as the idiocy of the two Occupations. Such revelation could spark many fundamental changes in science, religion, and philosophy, however.

The incidence of autism and Aspergers syndrome has dramatically increased in recent years. Perhaps this will have a major impact on our society and it's direction.

Natural disasters and climate change events may have a way of changing minds.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

Tonight Dateline covered the earthquake in Japan—not one word about the nuclear disaster in progress there, and, of course no word about how global warming means more earthquakes. There's a good possibility we on the California coast will get doused with radioactivity any day now. I just had a nice seaweed soup, since I do not have the potassium iodide tablets recommended for radiation exposure. The stores don't have it, and they've all been getting many calls for it. By the time the stores have it in stock, it will be too late.

This is just exactly the sort of thing we've been talking about—how a deeply unwise technology (thanks a lot, Science), nuclear power, has been established all over the world, via positive thinking and public relations, despite its terrible dangers and costs. And now, with global warming adding to the mix, the whole damn thing is about to poison us all.

It's nothing, but I posted something over at my blog that our conversation and today's events inspired, in part. If you're interested:

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

Zenzoe, maybe it's a problem with using the internet for communication, but anybody who knows me personally would know that I was only trying to help us understand the concepts in question through my playful use of them. Analyzing people's personalities as a professional is not even on my radar. Perhaps you don't realize that I teach psychology students about different theories and findings, and have done research, but analyzing people's personalities is not and has never been what I do for a living. Some research might use such concepts, but we would not be trying to analyze the personalities of individuals, and wouldn't tell them their results unless they asked for them. My wife used to run a mental hospital and her ex-husband is a forensic psychiatrist, but the thought of taking ourselves so seriously while exploring different concepts would never enter any of our minds. As you suggest, I was making casual, playful observations in order to make a point.

You critique of psychology seems to me rather obviously, actually an example of the entire reason for my Capital Ideas series. I think if we think about it, the abuse of the public at the hands of business people of all kinds, as well as biologists, chemists, physicists, etc, plus the use of cheap labor by anyone who buys inexpensive imported products, which is just about everybody in the U.S. plus anybody who uses petroleum products, which is just about everybody, or who grows or eats foods grown with petroleum products or pesticides, which includes just about everybody, is part of a dysfunctional, manipulative system which robs from the poor and gives to the rich while depleting resources and avoiding the switch to more sustainable ones. The only people in the United States who are not part of the capitalist system are perhaps a few social recluses who live in a self-sufficient manner without need for money. It is not our fault for having been born into this system, although there is plenty of blame to go around. I place the greatest blame on the people who created the system, plus the people who game the system and the politicians who support them, but secondary blame goes to those who support those politicians, and anybody who buys into the corporate economic system to gain access to its corporate gravy train, robbing from the poor and giviing to the rich because the boss tells them to and that is how they perceive a person "supports a family." Why single out psychologists? Most other professions and means of making a living are far more culpable than psychology, it seems to me. As I mentioned previsously, I have never met a conservative psychologist, as far as I know. Quite a few of them are downright radical. And what happens with them? The media ignores them. Instead, people such as yourself hear of the occasional sellouts and unethical types who engage in military "psy-ops" or manipulative consumer psychology practices to sell more product. I would ask you, if you were in school and taking psychology courses, might you think that it is an intrinsically interesting and important field, and might you consider a career as a psychologist, hoping to do something good for humanity? I did, and I think most psychologists did, although I cannot speak for them. The problem with psychology is much like the problem with economics or business, in that the ones with the greatest media access tend to be the most conservative ones, because.... (drum roll please) guess who runs the media? Rich conservatives, of course. We need to change the system and move away from private, financial capitalism, which seems to me at the root of the problems with psychology that you mention.

By the way, psychiatrists are M.D.s and psychologists are not. Psychiatrists tend to believe in a medical model of psychopathology, and tend to be the "haves" of psychology while others are more the "have nots." There is no equavalence between psychiatrists and psychologists.

I agree with you Zenzoe, about Dhavid's dire predictions, that this is entirely different from natural disaster situations or climate changes which unintelligent creatures were unable to respond to. We are the cause and have the power to solve the problems we create. I do think our species will survive, but don't know how much calamity and loss of life the coming environmental crisis is going to cause.

Nimblecivit, I applaud your activism and look forward to seeing your ideas. Do you mean to say yoiu are actually taking notes on this thread? I am trying to do my best here as well, planning a whole different world in which people live more happily and harmoniously with each other and nature, and treat each other better and more fairly, a world of true democracy. I am glad some people are listening, such as you, Dhavid and Zenzoe, and others, I think.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

I'm in a bad mood. I shouldn't even write one sentence here. I'm glad everybody is on board with living in harmony with nature and blah blah blah, but the same ol' same ol' thing is happening with regard to the disaster in Japan; that is, it is being downplayed. Even people I dearly love, who are in a position to influence others, are busy posting links to "experts" who say the radiation risk of the nuclear meltdown, in progress now, is "insignificant." These are people who protect themselves from the news you and I get from Democracy Now!, such as today's coverage there of what's going on in Japan, by saying it is"biased." These are also people who insist on positivity as a way of life. All I can say is I am bloody sick and tired of such bovine excrement, as Jim Hightower calls it.

NL, I didn't say I was picking on psychologists only. I could name a number of other professions with the same problem. And I know the difference between psychologists and psychiatrists. Also, just because a person claims to be a "liberal," doesn't mean they are able to think outside their box, the one they crawled into during their school days. It doesn't mean they are anything more than moderate, middle-of-the-road, cognitive therapy, or Jungian conformists; it doesn't mean they are true progressives. Sure, they're all nice people. They probably vote Democratic. That doesn't mean they aren't capable of ignoring societal factors as important in their patient's problems. On the other hand, many of them don't see patients with real problems, because the people they see are at least middle class; poor people don't have insurance to pay for therapy; thus, it is easy to ignore society as a problem—the people they're seeing don't have problems caused by unemployment, class inequity, economic injustice and so forth.

I do apologize though, for trashing your profession, if that's how it seems. I know you are different. But, hey, didn't you label somebody who blogs here as a psychopath once? I seem to remember that. Regardless, I do know you were playing and being casual on the mythos/logos thing.

Like I say, I am in a bad mood. Now I am going to go call Brian Bilbray's office (my Rep) and tell him to shut down the San Onofre nuclear plant. Fat chance on that happening, I know. One of his biggest contributors is the nuclear industry. Oh god help us.

At least tellio...what's his name... posted something on the Japan nuclear disaster and the downplaying of it all. But did you see how some conservative dude dropped in immediately to deny it? Typical. I think the industry has hords of deniers out there watching to make sure the denial and positivity sticks.

nimblecivet 8 years 45 weeks ago

Nat Lefty: I have notes going back a few years as I have read articles, books, etc. These notes include what has transpired under my observation on this community page, including this thread. What I hope to do is develop some sort of matrix comprised of issues and arguments that can be revised over time.

I am intrigued by the notion of social psychology. Perhaps you would consider starging a thread on this subject. Who are its main proponents, that is who has done the foundational theoretical work of this discipline? I would also like to know if you are familiar with Hegelian philosophy, as well as and perhaps more importantly other paradigms of historical development. Are there scientific perspectives on social change over time which are based on the premises of social psychology? Do you find Thom's characterization of conservatism vs. liberalism as different perspectives on human nature to be valid in the context of social psychology?

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

Hi, I just had some very sad news from a student. It's a long story but I feel like crying. I used to see an adolescent boy on a regular basis at Lake Perris near my home about 10 years ago, so I befriended him. He was a hispanic kid named Giovanny. We would go fishing together along with another friend of his sometimes. Sometimes I would give them a ride from one fishing spot to another. I would also wait for Giovanny's mother to come and pick him/them up after fishing to know they were safe. Eventually, I stopped seeing Giovanny at the lake, where I continue to fish frequently. (It's really close to where we Moreno Valleyites live.)

However, last year, one day when I went to school, I heard someone in a whilte pickup truck shout my name "Mucky T. Mudskipper" or whatever. I went over to investigate and immediately recognized Giovanny, as he had already recognized me. We had a nice conversation and I found out that he had gotten married and had an infant daughter who was in the truck. He lived nearby and was dropping his wife off at school and picking her up. One time I met his wife, Jasmine, and we agreed that she would try to take my intro. psych. class. Well, this semester, I had a couple of hispanic students named Jasmine. I wasn't paying much attention to what they looked like, though. Today, one of the Jasmines picked up her first exam and wanted to talk to me personally after class. This was literally 20 minutes ago. Well, I thought she looked familiar and she confirmed that she was indeed Giovanny's wife, but she told me that Giovanny passed away on July 30 at the age of 24. Apparently he had extremely high blood pressure although he was thin. He found out he had high blood pressure after getting married (which was right after high school) and was given medication to take but he didn't always take it since he didn't seem to have any serious problems. At the end of July, however, he had a bad headache, went to the doctor, and his blood pressure was out of control. They gave him medication but apparently it was too late (or he was ODed on meds). He went into a coma and died the next day.

Jasmine is now a widow and their daughter is about 2 years old. She has moved back in with her parents. So here's to my fishing pal Giovanny, wherever you are. Sorry to lay that on everybody, but life can be so unfair.

Also, I already told Zenzoe this, but my best friend from when I went to school at U. of Washington, David Susumu Cassie, was originally from Sendai, Japan, and in all likelihood still has family there (or had until the current catastrophe), although we have fallen out of touch and I haven't heard from him in perhaps 10 years. I was best man at his wedding in Tacoma in 1986. Our next door neighbors with whom we are good friends are also from Japan (Okinawa). The situation in Japan seems like an enormous problem, but perhaps it will convince people to go with newer, cleaner technologies such as solar (honestly not speaking from a vested interest point of view).

Dhavid, we think alike about many things. I was thinking of mentioning aliens too. I am sure they are "out there somewhere" and most likely some species have been monitoring the progress of we humans. Our government may even know about them as many people have said. Having public knowledge of their existence would be the sort of paradigm changing event that we need, but I think governments are afraid of paradigm shifts and afraid of how people might react to the news. We humans need to be knocked off our perch though.I never heard of the Aztec crash. Do you really think the Obama administration wants to reveal these things (assuming they really happened)? I think even people realizing how crazy the Tea Baggers are and the ensuing protests will wake many people up.

So Zenzoe, I'm in a sad mood. I was going to say anyway, i don't think you are trashing my profession any more than other ones. It's the system that sucks, and it creates a tendency to abuse people for the sake of money. I guess you pointed out psychology because I am a psychologist. I just thought you should point out the breadth of such problems across society, not only psychology. Actually, I feel psychology is a big part of the solution, but like anything else, it can be abused and has been by some. I think you are correct that there are lots of "ho-hum" semi-liberal psychologists out there. I concur that most of the mental health professionals follow the money too, which means getting affluent "clients." They could do a lot more good by treating poorer clients. Maybe events unfolding in recent times will serve to progressivize these "ho-hum" semi-liberals or even radicalize them, however. By the way, I am not really all that "career oriented" so I do not identify very strongly with my career unlike many people, but I do modestly identify with it. If I had a job I didn't like, and didn't think it could help solve society's problems, I wouldn't identify with my career at all. I would be one of those "I owe, I owe, so off to work we go" people in that case, I guess, which is sadly the case for much of the workforce.

I labelled someone who used to blog here a schizophrenic and had him banned, if that's what you mean. That person was truly incoherent, however.

I see you are on board with my Seaweed Diet, Zenzoe. I have always liked seaweed myself. It can only grow in rocky ocean areas that are not too deep, but it grows extremely rapidly, like several feet per day, can be harvested everyday, is healthy and organic, and farming it doesn't interfere with nature significantly. It's something we need to utilize in order to feed our large population sustainably. California is blessed with great kelp forests by the way, maybe the world's best. Japan, by the way, makes considerable use of seaweed as a food source.

Nimblecivit, it's excellent to hear about all your note taking. Apparently you have never taken a course in Social Psychology, however. It is basically about we people interact and influence each other. it's mostly about the power of social situations. There are a whole bunch of Social Psychologists, so it's difficult to pick any one proponent of Social Psychology. Some famous ones I have met or at least saw giving a talk include Shelley Taylor, Bernard Weiner, Edward Jones, and Daryl Bem. Philip Zimbardo is a famous psychologist from Stanford. (I think I saw his website recently.) Roy Baumeister has done a lot of interesting work and has become famous. Susan Harter is another famous one I have talked to on the phone. My advisor was Carolyn Murray at U.C. Riverside, and many of the psychology professors there, and other graduate students, had an influence on me. Thom's characterization of conservatism versus liberalism seems to be from a psychological perspective and it does mapo onto social psychology very well. In fact, most of the studies of political mindsets such as the ones mentioned by Zenzoe (authoritarianism, for instance), were done by either social and/or personality psychologists. I don't know of a scientific perspective of social change that is based on social psychology in particular. This is something which perhaps ought to be incorporated into a new paradigm. I think I have heard of Hegel, but I don't really remember what his philosophy was about. Could you please inform me?

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

Sorry to hear about your friend, NL. That is indeed sad.

Hey N.Lefty, do you happen to remember how long ago it was that I first mentioned Jasmine, the kitty who adopted me? The vet told me that female cats go into heat continuously, and give birth after about two months. I've never seen her doing the in-heat business female cats do (I know what it looks like), so now I'm wondering. Depending on how long I've had her (time goes by so fast for me now I can't trust my memory), she's either pregnant already, or somebody else already had her spayed. I'm praying it's the latter. It would also be hilarious if she's actually a neutered male! I just went and checked—it's a she.

I'm having seeweed soup again tonight. My daughter-in-law is big on it too (Thai).

The Department of Energy's Daniel Poneman held a press conference today and lied to the American people—well, according to the contrast between what I learned on DN! this morning about government's oversight and control of nuclear power plant safety, and the tale told by Poneman of such. He said we're great. On top of it. But Kevin Kamps, a specialist in nuclear waste at the nuclear watchdog Beyond Nuclear said on DN!, “I just wanted to comment on what Fertel of Nuclear Energy Institute said— ‘Oh, we have great earthquake regulations in the United States.’ The reactor that got me involved in this issue, in southwest Michigan, Palisades nuclear power plant, has been storing its high-level radioactive waste in outdoor silos of concrete and steel on the beach of Lake Michigan, a hundred yards from the water, in violation of NRC earthquake regulations since 1993. An NRC whistleblower in Chicago called attention to this problem in 1994. Nothing’s been done. There are two dozen containers, dry casks, of high-level radioactive waste next to the drinking water supply for 40 million people downstream in the U.S. and Canada." And apparently it's not the only site with problems.

How does that fit in with the open/closed question? Don't we see a whole lot of this—pure propaganda and lies? Seems rather closed to me.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

I agree that such dishonesty and secret keeping seems closed. In order to be open to change, a government needs to be open to truth. Aside from the possibliity of radiation leaks and nuclear meltdowns, the one aspect of nuclear energy which always distresses me is that they produce nuclear waste which nobody knows what to do with, never mind about earthquake safety. As Thom says sometimes, there is a huge amount of solar energy out there if we learn to tap it, especially in the Mojave Desert. You tell 'em, Thom! Okay, maybe I have a bit of vested interest in solar energy, but I do believe it's the way to go.

I didn't mean to carry on here that much about my former fishing pal's death, but I needed to vent my sadness. His wife's name is Jasmine too, and it was really difficult for her to tell me about it. I had the impression that Giovanny didn't have a father in the home, although he had his mother and older brothers. He was frequently taken to the state park by himself by his mother and left there, so I thought I should look after him. Of course, we can make this about our healthcare system, too. if his medication hadn't cost an arm and a leg, he probably would have taken it regularly like he was supposed to, although I can't be sure that cost was an issue from my conversation with Jasmine. If your Jasmine is pregnant, she should start bulging around the middle, her nipples should enlarge and the hair around them should drop off, and before long, she should give birth to tiny kittens, since cats' gestation period is only about 2 months. Xiao-Hua and Smurfull are about to have babies again. They had 4 babies this summer when Xiao-Hua was very young but they got some infection, stopped feeding and all died, which was very sad for us too. This is a planned pregnancy. I hope you aren't angry, but my family had a cat who had kittens when I was a child, and I wanted to have kittens again. Both Xiao-Hua and Smurfull are unfixed strays, but more important, they are very special, affectionate, intelligent, gifted cats, at least in our humble opinions. So is Gorjilina of course, but she is already fixed. Eventually we plan to have Smurfull and Xiao-Hua fixed too. I saw them "starting a new family" on February 4, which would make the due date around April 4, and Xiao-Hua is already bulging with babies. At least she is larger and more mature this time. By the way, they are not constantly in heat. The babies were born and died in August, and Xiao-Hua didn't go into heat again until February, about 6 months later.

nimblecivet 8 years 45 weeks ago

My condolences for the loss of your friend! Thank you for sharing.

First, I should admit that my ideas about most philosophy are based on what I have learned about it "second-hand", that is through discussion or reading about them. I guess the way I would put it is that Hegel is to Plato as Sir Francis Bacon is to Aristotle. Bacon is said to have liberated science from Aristotle by introducing the scientific method. Aristotle's philosophy included what we would call a scientific perspective, but science did not emerge as a discipline distinct from philosophy/theology until the Enlightenment established the ideas of empiricism and epistemology. So the anology I am making is that Hegel worked the Platonic notion of the "Ideal" (pure forms in heaven, etc.) into historical paradigm which posits that the world at-large is undergoing what is called a dialectical process. Dialectics is not the same as logic because it involves the life of what Hegel called "Spirit" which you could say is his version of Godhead. I can't remember what according to Hegel was supposed to have started this dynamic, but once its over the world will "fall away" (actual quote har-har) leaving only Spirit to enjoy its own company for the rest of- eternity?

dhavid 8 years 45 weeks ago

Sorry to hear about your young friend, NL. The news of a friends death seems to always come with a shock.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

Yes, I didn't see Jasmine in class today. I don't know how well she has gotten over it but I assume she is still undergoing a mourning process. She seemed very sad and maybe blamed herself somewhat for not having Giovanny take his medicine regularly, but I don't think they had much money so it probably was a financial strain given the state of our pay or die health care system. I think Giovanny had some sort of low-wage work-a-day job, but that's all. As I said, it was shocking because he was hiking around, fishing and exercising when I saw him at Lake Perris, thin and seemingly in excellent health, but I hadn't seen him in a few years until I saw him all grown up with a wife and kid last year. He had an infectious, optimistic personality and strikingly blue eyes for a mixed race, mestizzo-type hispanic. I also remember giving him a bunch of fishing lures which he liked to use.

I think I heard of Hegel in my sociology class when I was an undergraduate. The term "dialectic" seems familiar from that class. I guess philosophy and sociology overlap, as do philosophy and psychology. In fact, the history of psychology traces its roots back to philosophy, but psychology is scientific, much like Bacon in your Bacon/Aristotle analogy, Nimblecivit.

nimblecivet 8 years 45 weeks ago

You all might find the discussion over at "Republican Neoliberalism Touching Us All" to be interesting. The posts there quickly digress from the title topic to a discussion between the relationship between philosophy, culture, and psychology. Some of the posters seem to have good knowledge of various lesser-known but worthwhile thinkers. I did not have the time to read all the posts though- there's a whole dozen or so pages there! Maybe if you skim it over you will find some inspiration for your own posts.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

Nimblecivet, where philosophy is concerned, I’m sort of like those annoying philistines who say, “I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like.” Actually, I’m worse than that, because I don’t even know what philosophies I like. But, does that keep me from asking questions? Naw... Anyway, please don’t think I am presuming to be on your level on the subject.

I don’t know if you happened to read my last blog post, but I mentioned a lecture I caught on UCTV (University of California TV) the other day, one given by Carolyn Merchant, a Professor of Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics at Berkeley. Her lecture was entitled, Environmentalism: From the Control of Nature to Partnership. I think you would have been fascinated, as I was, because she traced the history of science, with an eye toward her thesis, which was that the philosophy of science today needs to change from a mechanistic view of its subject to one where human beings act in partnership with nature, recognizing the folly of trying to control what is ultimately beyond our power to control (She might actually put it differently than that, but that’s my take on it. She probably wouldn’t use the word “folly,” for example. And hers may be a philosophy I DO like.).

You mentioned Francis Bacon and said he “...liberated science from Aristotle by introducing the scientific method.” Carolyn Merchant described Bacon’s contribution as not so much a liberation but a departure from the Renaissance view of Earth-as-a-Living-Organism, to Earth as a female that man can shape and have power and dominion over.

Anyway, I’d be interested in knowing how well science is doing on that score. That is, beyond ecologists and environmentalists, who else is willing to give up the instrumental uses and control of nature, where respect is given for unknown consequences, and where an ethical respect for nature is considered? (my bias has many scientists as getting us into all sorts of trouble; for example, what Japan has suffered this week from our folly of trying to control nuclear reactions.)

Also, awhile back you said it wasn’t scientists who put HRT on the market, it was the marketers, or to that effect. I wanted to say that regardless of who literally put the pill on the market, the scientists made it possible—extracted estrogen from pregnant mare’s urine and went ahead and developed a pill, without doing the proper tests to see if such an attempt to control menopause was a good idea. It was, in fact, a very good example of the folly of “man’s” attempt to control nature, and in this case, “nature” was women, literally.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

Riverside reaches out to
Sister City Sendai, Japan

The City of Riverside expresses its condolences
to all who are affected by the earthquake and
subsequent tsunami in Japan, especially its Sister
City Sendai. The City of Riverside is organizing a
donation for relief efforts in Sendai. Click below
to see the different ways in which you can contribute
to our Riverside’s Sendai Relief fund.

Click here

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

The previous was something I just got in my weekly email from my hometown. I don't know why I started to get this newsletter, but I do and it doesn't go in my suspected spam; it goes straight into my email. You can donate for the Sendai relief efforts there. Maybe I should start a new thread on the message board with that.

I have seen that thread about neoliberalism, quite a while ago, and it was already so long that it was not practical for me to read unless extremely important, but since you mentioned it, I will take another look, Nimblecivit. By the way, I added a new blog post, but no ampersand this time. I thought it might be perceived as too cliquish by some people. It's called We're Tired of Being Kicked Around, and Zenzoe thought it was one of my best. Ese also had some massive compliments about it.

Zenzoe, are you referring to a reply on this thread, or a new blog post? It seems I saw something from you about that. I agree, Francis Bacon did a great deal to advance the scientific method, but........with the understanding that the goal was to understand nature so that we could control it, which combined with the capitalistic notion of endless expansion and unlimited profits to the people who rig the system.

Do scientists get us into all sorts of trouble? Well, I love science and respect scientists as a whole, but frankly, yes, the capitalistic system has corrupted many of them ethically, so that it's the paycheck that counts more than the way the inventions will be used for those scientists who depend on corporate backing, at least. I know that some scientists won't do work which they feel will be misused, but others will. For example, some physicists refused to build atomic bombs, i believe, but they were still made, and used.

My uncle John was an ecologist, and a real gentleman. In fact, my brother Bruce is basically an ecologist, although his degree is in Soil Science and he works for the State Water Quality Control Board here in California. The partnership with nature idea as described by Carolyn Merchant (although I haven't read her work) is central to my capital idea thesis.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

NL, I was referring to my personal blog post, the most recent one @, the one entitled, Fiddling with Facebook While Japan Fries. I guess you didn't read that one, or you got bored half way through, not that I would blame you. It's kinda all over the place.

I guess Nimblecivet is busy over at Neoliberalism. But thanks for answering my question for him. I'd like to talk about this more, but gotta go, for now.

nimblecivet 8 years 45 weeks ago
Quote Zenzoe:

I don’t know if you happened to read my last blog post, but I mentioned a lecture I caught on UCTV (University of California TV) the other day, one given by Carolyn Merchant, a Professor of Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics at Berkeley. Her lecture was entitled, Environmentalism: From the Control of Nature to Partnership. I think you would have been fascinated, as I was, because she traced the history of science, with an eye toward her thesis, which was that the philosophy of science today needs to change from a mechanistic view of its subject to one where human beings act in partnership with nature, recognizing the folly of trying to control what is ultimately beyond our power to control (She might actually put it differently than that, but that’s my take on it. She probably wouldn’t use the word “folly,” for example. And hers may be a philosophy I DO like.).

You mentioned Francis Bacon and said he “...liberated science from Aristotle by introducing the scientific method.” Carolyn Merchant described Bacon’s contribution as not so much a liberation but a departure from the Renaissance view of Earth-as-a-Living-Organism, to Earth as a female that man can shape and have power and dominion over.

Anyway, I’d be interested in knowing how well science is doing on that score. That is, beyond ecologists and environmentalists, who else is willing to give up the instrumental uses and control of nature, where respect is given for unknown consequences, and where an ethical respect for nature is considered? (my bias has many scientists as getting us into all sorts of trouble; for example, what Japan has suffered this week from our folly of trying to control nuclear reactions.)

I'll check it out. A woman is, of course, a living organism, so the domination of the Earth through applied science (technology) would involve a change of attitude rather than a change of belief. However, I am sceptical of the idea that Rennaissance philosophy included a view of the earth-as-a-living-organism. Its hard to tell though, because philosophical expression and discussion had to be carried out carefully. The Catholic church embraced Greek philosophy selectively, and only over time did the work of Renn. thinkers such as Galileo become accepted even though they contradicted received Aristotelian science. Try looking up some info on Pelagianism though, you might find that interesting. It was a form of Christian animism which the Church suppressed. The Catholic church's argument was something along the lines of "The Creator cannot be the Creator while being engaged in the act of creation." or some such clap-trap.

I just re-read Shelley's "A Defence of Poetry". I recommend you all drop everything and (re)read it. It "only" takes about fifteen minutes. I cannot agree that science must refer itself to poetry, but otherwise it contains many stirring arguments which touch brilliantly upon many of the themes which we have been discussing. I would suggest that his concluding statement, "poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world", can be seen as consistant with feminism and open government both, and will help put science into perspective and technology to better use!

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

I did read that one, Zenzoe. Wasn't that the one with the lovely poem at the end. I thought it was your best poem, with the cats looking out the window, except they weren't real cats. I must have remembered reading those remarks there too, but not that clearly.

Nimblecivit, I looked through that neoliberalism post, but it is way too long for me to get involved with now. Sorry. I have seen similar comments by most of the posters there before, though. Most of the comments seem to be from the 3 moderators and Antifascist who started the thread. I am very familiar with all 4 of those individuals and their thinking.

I also am unaware of a pre-Renaissance philosophy of the earth as a living organism, but I don't know enough about the topic to have an opinion one way or another. It does seem similar to the Gaia concept, and it does clearly conflict with the control and dominate approach which the merging of capitalism and science have produced.

By the way, I had a lot of trouble opening this thread this time, but don't know why.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

No, poo-poo head, it wasn't that one. It was this one: But thanks for the compliment(s).

I thought I would share with you all part of my conversation on Facebook with my other daughter-in-law, the one who teaches at the School of Mines in Colorado. I don't think she would mind. It's relevant to the whole science topic, especially with regard to how science is full of goofy-grapes who have managed to get us into the trouble we're in —global warming, nuclear reactor disasters, etc.— all because of a mind set that seems bent on avoiding common sense at all costs. But Jen gets close and personal with these folks, because she is teaching our future engineers and scientists. I don't want to say too much about her department, to keep her privacy, somewhat, at least. Anyway, we were talking about the mind-set that denies the dangers of nuclear power.

This is Jen: "I don't know what to think about the radiation, but it is scary. My colleagues assure me it is not as dangerous as we're hearing, but as you already noted, nuclear scientists and engineers have some magnificently problematic blind spots when it comes to evaluating this sort of thing. We study Three Mile Island and Chernobyl and all of that in my nuclear class, and the grad student nuc engineers are always very scornful of radiation fears. I give them this: we do not always understand radiation as well as we should, and the different ways of measuring exposure complicate things. But the epidemiological studies are always underfunded and are incredibly complex to make sense of. The causality is so easy to dismiss.

These are also the same students and faculty who were also very convinced about the absolute safety of nuclear plants, no matter what. They are very unwilling to acknowledge what we don't know. They can't step out of their probabilities mindsets. It's been unendingly frustrating. It will be interesting to see how that class changes the next time I teach it, if it does change at all. My guess is that they will regroup into defensiveness (well, those weren't designed to withstand a 9.0 earthquake! The defense in depth held up pretty well! You can't attribute particular cancers to radiation!). That sort of thing. You know the drill.

Yes, we definitely talk about waste! But again, they are in that very functionalist, technocratic mindset. Their typical reaction is that it's uneducated reactionaries who are closing Yucca Mountain as it is. They're well aware of the waste issue, but feel the cooling ponds and dry cask storage are quite safe. Clearly, what is happening in Japan with the cooling pools is the biggest concern at the moment. And we don't really know the extent of the damage to containment vessels, either, though they insist they are holding. We just don't freaking know.

If we're frank, temporary storage has been "safe," within a certain range of probabilities. In the US. And these guys ALWAYS think in probabilities. They don't think in terms of catastrophe. They don't think about what's happening in other countries. They are deeply invested in their own culture of scientism. Their definitions of risk are totally technically bounded. Ulrich Beck talks about this at length, as does Donna Riley in her book Engineering and Social Justice, and also in Daniel Sarewitz's amazing, amazing book Frontiers of Illusion (my fave).

So, as you note, I'm in the awkward position of having to teach these guys (and they are mostly guys), who are very invested in a particular mindset. If you come at them directly, they just shut down, and no teaching happens at all. So I have to figure out indirect ways to introduce new ideas and new concepts in ways they can mentally and emotionally handle. So I do have them read Cravens book--problematic yes?--but seems very radical to them. And then we read Caldicott's work. And that gets them very upset, so we have to back-pedal a little. And then I come at them again. Always testing the boundaries. It keeps me up at night.

I'm only 1 part professor, and 4 parts therapist. And we all know I'm a bad therapist.

I probably should have opened an ice cream shop."

Aren't I lucky to have such a daughter-in-law?

And I can't keep up with all the posts we're commenting on.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

I am trained as a statistician, as you probably know, but the sort of probabalistic thinking Jen refers to is a misapplication of statistics. In order to calculate probabilities, one must know the true likelihood of all possible events, which is essentially unknowable when talking about such matters. And in order to know the true risks, one must know the consequences of an event, which are also unknowable when talking about such matters. But being Americans of high self-esteem and typically internal locus of control, the students convince themselves that these unknowns are basically knowns, and make excuses when things don't turn out the way they had predicted.

So you had 2 different Fiddling with Facebook posts? Why didn't I know that? Russia and Japan -- there is something strange going on here. Oh well, I guess you are just fiddling around.

dhavid 8 years 45 weeks ago

Ola, it appears to me that Zenzoes daughter-in-law is approaching a sort of group-think that her students, and society, possess. What if she had different members of her class be the critical analysts of the subjects? - like the 1972 ideas NL pointed to recently. Actually, the ideas presented there to counter group-think might be helpful for her. Ideas, ideas.

Zenzoe 8 years 45 weeks ago

I don't understand your point, dhavid. Where is Jen engaging in "group-think?" Example?

NL, your points about statistics are good ones. I don't know if she has challenged them with those in mind. I'll have to ask. She is sometimes in a very difficult position, given the arrogance of some of these young adults and the mentality at the school itself. You must know how full of themselves young people can be? She had one Israeli student she had to have removed from her class; he was constantly interrupting and dominating the discussions, especially when she was talking.

I changed the title after the mess in Japan became clear.

dhavid 8 years 45 weeks ago

Hi Zenzoe. I think you can read my post two different ways. I was seeing the groupthink thing happening with Jen's students, not with her, the teacher. :)

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 45 weeks ago

An Israeli student, huh? Yes, I do know how arrogant students can be, especially at prestigious places of higher education. That is part of the problem of dealing with them that I was talking about. In that context, I think Dhavid's comments can be taken as Jen having to deal with a certain level of Groupthink among her students, and probably from the institution for which she teaches, as well. If students were asked to make separate critical analyses, then try to combine them without preconceived notions or a hierarchical social structure, they would better be able to avoid Groupthink.

I think you get the gist of my statistics points, which is that there is a great temptation in such fields to think that they know the likelihood of failures and the consequences of such failures, when in fact they are treading in uncharted waters and have no way of truly knowing the size of these risks, just that these risks exist.

Zenzoe 8 years 44 weeks ago

Dhavid said, "I think you can read my post two different ways. I was seeing the groupthink thing happening with Jen's students, not with her, the teacher. :)"

Oh. Okie-dokie. I was confused. So now I'm wondering how one knows when one is engaging in groupthink? And, if one has a tendency, as I do, to be a non-conformist (nice way of putting it), when is that a good thing, and when is it counter-productive, or counter to one's best interest?

One can understand why people engage in groupthink, when their jobs are on the line. It takes tremendous courage, doesn't it, to be a whistleblower?

Has everybody noticed the downplaying of nuclear power dangers in the media? Even Al Jazeera does it. One nuclear power advocate said something like, "Chernobyl didn't cause a half a million deaths; there were only 20,000 deaths," as if the lower number of casualties makes nuclear power safe. (He was wrong on the numbers, anyway. These people like to ignore the cancer rates that occur many years after these disasters.)

dhavid 8 years 44 weeks ago

Zenzoe wrote, "So now I'm wondering how one knows when one is engaging in groupthink?" Having been part of a cult for 4 years, I know from experience what groupthink is. Religion, politics, and nationalism are magnets for it. I think for the most part, you cannot know you are engaged in groupthink when you are. You must leave the group, or your identification with it, before it becomes apparent. It is this attitude of standing alone and thinking for oneself which extricates one from the group, and allows for clear perception of what is. This particular movement has been central to my growth as an individual, and what makes me who I am today.

Zenzoe 8 years 44 weeks ago

That's so interesting, and it explains a lot. I've never been much of a "joiner," besides being stubbornly and annoyingly independent. ; ) But it's sad, too. The natural inclination for us is to belong. But if you're not willing to go along to get along, you're going to be an outsider. It's a good thing I love solitude.

So, do we forgive those who engage in groupthink, the officials who engage in cover-ups, the police who practice racial profiling, the President, when he starts another war? Is it only human?

It's raining hail here now, on the first day of Spring. A little Robin outside my window on the balcony rail is chirping anxiously. Or, maybe he's happy for all the worms he'll be getting soon.

dhavid 8 years 44 weeks ago

"So, do we forgive those who engage in groupthink, the officials who engage in cover-ups, the police who practice racial profiling, the President, when he starts another war? Is it only human?"

Probably forgive is not the right word, but rather understand.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 44 weeks ago

I think Chernoble was downplayed when it happened, too, or else I wasn't paying much attention at the time. I didn't know so many people died at the time, not to mention the subsequent radiation-caused cancers.

I think Dhavid has a good perspective on groupthink. It's very difficult for those who engage in it to recognize it while it is happening, but to us as outsiders, I can see it happening in government, religion and nationalism in our culture, and it has probably gotten worse over the past few decades. I am not a joiner either, Zenzoe, so I don't have an inside perspective on a lot of things. I think we are simlar personality wise in a lot of ways. However, my wife asking me to accompany her to the churches she chooses to attend is giving me much more insight over these past few years (when this church-going started), regarding the way people in fundamentalist churches think and what goes on in them.

Personally, I think we do have a right to blame people for giving in to groupthink, not in an extremely harsh way, since we can understand the reasons why they do that, but as part of emotional communication and the re-education process as we try to undo the damage that groupthink has done.

Zenzoe 8 years 44 weeks ago

I say you understand them, then you blame them, then you forgive them, after they're in jail.

I tried joining a local "citizen" group last year, and participated for a short time. I put the word citizen in quotes, because their group name had the word in it, but soon after I joined, one of the leaders, a former mayor of our city, said that they wanted to attract members who were "not too far to the right or left." I tried to question this, because it seemed to me, if it was going to call itself a citizen's group, all views should be welcome. However, there was no response to my questioning this. I also wanted to know what would be "too far to the left," something that remained unanswered as well. You would think such a group would conform to democratic values during their meetings, but such was not the case. Instead, the meetings had strict time restrictions, designated speakers, and very little discussion was allowed. The leaders wanted only certain things discussed, and any diversion from their agenda was resisted with force. Naturally, I lost interest quickly. And it was the same with the local Democratic club. Thom thinks you can just go to these meetings, infiltrate, and convert them into Yellow Dog Democrats. He doesn't understand just how many protections they have in place to resist such.

Isn't Natural Lefty just the most tolerant, good husband to go to church with his wife? Must be love.

The Russians also not only downplayed the Chernobyl disaster, they failed entirely to disclose another terrible accident, where a nuclear waste site exploded and contaminated an entire town, and where the people there have suffered horribly from cancers and birth defects as a result. It was only recently that the Russian government admitted culpability. I saw the report on Link TV, but if you have a computer that will play this video, you can see it too (my 'puter won't play it.)!/98189/European_Journal Anybody who claims waste storage systems are safe needs to see this report.

My cat, Zoë, is nagging me, for some reason. I hate that. She sits by my chair and goes, "Waa. Waa. Waa." ad infinitum. Who knows why. She just ate. I saw her.

Natural Lefty's picture
Natural Lefty 8 years 44 weeks ago

"I say you understand them, then you blame them, then you forgive them, after they're in jail." I say "Amen" to that, "Sis."

Political groups: I have never tried to join a group such as that, I must admit. It doesn't come naturally for me, but maybe we should so that they don't wind up being run by the wrong people.

Going to church: Yes, but remember, when I take Eunice to church, I am studying them unbeknownst to them. I don't pretend to be a true believer; I am just sort of quiet and passive in church and don't engage in any nonsense I don't believe in even if that makes me "different," but nobody seems to pay much attention to that, anyway.

Nuclear energy disasters: I think I heard about the other problem in Russia on some PBS show, now that you mention it. The cover-up must have been somewhat effective on me, but I wasn't paying that much attention. I really didn't know that Chernobyl was actually worse than the current Fukushima plant crisis, until it was recently pointed out, although the Fukushima plant crisis is still ongoing.

Cats: Doesn't all that "wah wah" mean that Zoe loves you? Does she make happy super-cute sounds like Gorjilina and Smurfull do? Last night, Xiao Hua was hiding in the little wooden house we had made for the cats, during our latest gully whomper, then Gorjilina went in there and wasn't happy to see that other girly cat. I tried to get Gorjilina to switch to another dry place but she complained, so I left both of them in there and they worked it out for themselves without fighting. I was happy about that.

Zenzoe 8 years 44 weeks ago

Yup. You guessed it. Zoë has to have a "mommy fix" about three times a day. Outside of that, she mostly eats and sleeps, because I don't let her go outside (I promised), and that's where she really wants to be. Jazzy used to be an outdoor cat, but I felt sorry for her this winter when it was raining all the time, so now she's an in & out cat; in fact, she can't decide on a sunny day if she wants to be indoors or outdoors. But she makes my two indoor cats terribly envious to see her outside, pouncing on grasshoppers and lizards and doing all manner of cat things. They can only dream. I feel horribly guilty about not letting them go out, but I'm afraid at this point they're too domesticated to be able to fend for themselves out there. They'd just be nice, fat little morsels for some coyote. We do have those.

Have you noticed how some of these bloggers here will post something never to make another peep? You go in an make a comment, but they've disappeared! Why do they bother?

dhavid 8 years 44 weeks ago

You talk of cats, I will talk of birds. I feed the birds, and have a feeder I made 30 years ago (out of cedar and brass) that has moved with me. We have been here 8 years and "own" rather than rent. It is outside the kitchen window on an old fencepost. Crows, magpies, pigeons, mourning doves, and so many others, and if you observe closely you will see their relationships and intelligence. The only difference between birds, cats, and dogs is that the latter two share consciousness with humans. That consciousness to which I am referring is mysterious to me. It is also sacred. I cannot trace it's origins. We all share it, and yet it remains unknown.

BTW Zenzoe, in a previous blog you more or less dismissed Carl Jung, categorizing him in some disdainful manner. Introvert/Extrovert, archetypes, collective unconscious, individuation - are just some of the themes originating from him. What is your criticism of him? Is it fair to "throw the baby out with the bathwater?"

Zenzoe 8 years 44 weeks ago

Dhavid, you and I share many opinions; we also disagree on a number of things. This is normal. For example, you say that dogs and cats "share consciousness with human beings." I would not express the relationship between us in that way, partly because I don't know what "share consciousness" means. Maybe you can tell me, then we can see if this is an area where we agree, or don't. Either way is okay with me.

I don't claim to be an expert on Carl Jung, any more than I claim to be an expert on Freud. However, what I do know is enough to allow me to dismiss the two as having mind-sets so flawed as to be useless to me and my psyche. But, since I am not an expert, I must refer you to someone who is. Let's just take this one at random:  There you will see that Jung was an insufferable misogynist and racist. That he came up with a few useful notions, such as that of "the shadow side," or whatever you call it, is not enough to convince me to be a fan. But, somehow, a touch of arsenic in an otherwise nice bowl of soup is enough to ruin it for me.

dhavid 8 years 44 weeks ago

The consciousness one would share with a dog, or cat does not originate in human linear thought, so I wouldn't know where to begin..... How about "non-verbal communication?" For example, one of my dogs just came by me and put his nose on me, slightly, as he passed by. His way of saying, "open the door," which I got up and did. He looked at me, nudged me, and waited to be let outside. Eventually, if I don't see him he will bark to be let back in. But relationships with dogs are much more complex than that. Storge (sounds like in greek) might be a word for love that might approximate it, but also philea, as I would define it. Cats are different, and I think projection could more easily happen with them, but those same kinds of love can surely be present. I am challenged to put words to all of this, but know for sure what I am 'talking about.'

The link to the page you referred to doesn't work. In the history of psychology Jung was much more than you say, or apparently know. To minimalize his impact on the history of modern psychology is intellectually dishonest. Also, his mindset was of another century, another time. He probably wouldn't be those things you accuse him of if he were alive in todays world.

Add comment

Login or register to post comments

Come Cruise with Thom Hartmann in July 2020

Join me for an exciting Bermuda getaway aboard Oceania Cruises, the world’s leading culinary and destination-focused cruise line. Set sail on the reimagined Insignia for 7 nights beginning July 25th 2020. Take advantage of Oceania Cruises’ OLife Choice promotion, where you can choose shore excursions, a beverage package, or onboard credit – Oceania Cruises also includes Wifi! You'll also receive complimentary gratuities, a $50 onboard credit and two exclusive cocktail parties. Did I mention we are planning special onboard events with yours truly? Prices start at $1199.

Reserve your stateroom today by contacting Keene Luxury Travel, and mention the Thom Hartmann Group 800.856.1155

or go to

Trump and His Billionaire Buddies Plot to Destroy Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid

Thom plus logo Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are officially in the crosshairs of the Trump administration, and they intend to go after them this year.