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View Diary: Marx for Dummies 1 (193 comments)

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  •  This is true of life in general (5+ / 0-)

    Living organisms extract (free) energy from their environments and use it to impose order (i.e., to decrease entropy) of their internal systems. That means that the entire system (organism plus environment) must suffer a net increase in entropy, according to the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Life increases the rate of entropy increase in the entire system (universe) or, we might say, causes an inevitable degradation of the environment.
    The evolution of human "intelligence" stepped up the means by which our activities degrade the environment, and capitalism, a consequence of human intelligence, accelerated the process further.
    The evolution of human intelligence is likely to be a major cause of our eventual demise. We're trapped.

    •  What we call intelligence today is conditioned (1+ / 0-)
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      western star

      by our cultural moment in time. McGilchrist in his book, The Master and His Emissary, develops a compelling description of the process of the development of western culture as a shifting from a healthy relationship between the hemispheres of the human brain where the right (interested in living things and whole systems) is dominant relative to the left (interested in abstractions, tools, machines) to our current situation where the left seems to be dominant over the right.

      Intelligence as we have come to describe it in the western way of perceiving reality values abstraction and sees life as if it were a machine. I see what you say

      The evolution of human "intelligence" stepped up the means by which our activities degrade the environment, and capitalism, a consequence of human intelligence, accelerated the process further.
      as true but it is not just the increased means of the agricultural and industrial revolution but a reductionist mindset that can't see the whole living system and value it as something greater than a single utilitarian objective like profit.

      Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

      by Bob Guyer on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:14:26 AM PDT

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      •  How do you measure the relative (0+ / 0-)

        dominance of of one hemisphere over the other? Or is this a purely deductive exercise?

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 11:42:33 AM PDT

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        •  McGilchrist starts with current brain research (1+ / 0-)
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          WB Reeves

          and lays out the apparent differences in the way the two halves of our brain construct a world view and operate in our lives. He also goes into anthropology and evolutionary biology in looking at the development of our species with a focus on illuminating the differences between the hemispheres and how they are most likely to have evolved. There is a lot of very interesting stuff in this, the first half of the book. Among the insights that struck me are; the deep roots of the right hemisphere musical processing ability may have gone back as far as homo habilis and that singing may have been a precursor to speech and language, specialization of language in the left hemisphere may be related to right handed tool use, and that the corpus callosum is more involved in one hemisphere inhibiting the other hemisphere than it is in mediating communication between the hemisphere's.

          In the second half of the book he relates the information about the hemispheres to western cultural developments in philosophy and art and a lot of other things. I find his argument compelling but it is too long and complicated to draw out the major parts of the art and philosophy sections. I wrote a poem about the book that might give you a more intuitive sense of the whole issue he illuminates about how imbalanced, dangerous and in need of correction our shift in hemispheric dominance is.

          Love = Awareness of mutually beneficial exchange across semi-permeable boundaries. Political and economic systems either amplify or inhibit Love.

          by Bob Guyer on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 07:37:20 AM PDT

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          •  Sounds interesting (0+ / 0-)

            Obviously, how when interact with material reality is highly dependent on how we perceive and process that reality. I'd be interested in his hypothesis as well as its testability.

            I'll try and have a look at your poem.

            Nothing human is alien to me.

            by WB Reeves on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 11:00:12 AM PDT

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    •  2nd Law (0+ / 0-)

      The second law of thermodynamics is a direction of flow principle. Energy flows, on average, from hot things to cold things. In the vastness of the universe, it does not matter what we think about. Your toughts require this tiny amount of energy. You didn't hurt the sun. In a few billion years, it will managage it's own exit.

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