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The claim Jim Coffman and I make in our coming book is that Homo sapiens has lost touch with reality while transforming the world. Little by little I have been using this series to establish that idea on firm ground.  The reasons have been many and we have no where exhausted the arguments.  We have cited some books by well known authors that all give us pieces to the puzzle.  The idea that something is radically wrong is not hard to accept when we watch the political dialog and rhetoric and just plain foolishness going on as we plod along in this election year.  What is much harder to accept is that there are meaningful explanations for these common phenomena.  Reading our blogs we see the republicans as a bunch of really weird persons saying incredibly dumb things.  That should win the election for us right?  It may well do that.  I keep prodding you to look beyond the election for the questions I am asking will be there then.  We will have come no closer to answering them.  The real question is: what is real in our present situation?  That's what we set out to answer.  Our conclusions are radical.  There is good reason for that.  "Radical" is definitely a context dependent word.  We are probably as radical as anyone out there yet we want you to believe that we have put things together in a way t5hat makes sense.  If you read on below I'll try to spell it out step by step.

I'm not going to bother linking books and references in this diary.  I have tried to do that carefully throughout the series.  Nor will I try to make you feel comfortable about your doubts and skepticism for they belong there.  I can not do the cognitive work that you need to do for you.  If you read George Lakoff you will see what I am talking about.  Your unconscious, like mine, has tons of baggage that we have collected from every imaginable source over our entire lives.  That is the basic starting point.  Until you are willing, as some of us already have begun, to step out of your belief structure and the unconscious frames it works from, you will remain merely a skeptic.  I will not be able to convince you.  The way I have changed my world view over the years is to take certain risks.  One of the most dangerous and important is to try to think in a way you are resisting.  Let your mind try to grasp ideas you "know" are wrong.  This is dangerous!  You may, in fact see what the other point of view is based on.  Then you still have a choice.  But now it is a conscious choice!  I don't own those thoughts.  Much of it is a take off on Lakoff and other sources I could be quoting.  What are some of these things that you have down there in your unconscious that make it hard to go along with the evidence I have bombarded you with?  

Let's start with a big one.  The categories of knowledge and the labels for them that you have accepted as "real" aspects of the real world  are supposed to  tell us  how knowledge is dealt with by an enlightened person.  I challenge this.  It is all based on a model.  The model is not what you bring up to the conscious level when you think, it is the results of that model.  I have been challenging that model. The only way you can deal with that challenge is by examining the model and how it factors into these "self evident" things that I seem to deny. My basis is the dicovery that we share in a common legacy that goes back a long way.  I learned about this mainly from Rosen and then Lakoff but now  many others have joined in the paradigm shift in various ways.

Let's look at some aspects of the "clay feet" of the old way of thinking about the world.  Vine Deloria Jr. has suggested that the Western Christian Creation Myth is destructive to our relationship with nature.  Rosen has told us that the Cartesian, Newtonian reductionist basis for the mind/body duality and the machine metaphor are destructive to having a good relationship with nature even through science!.  Brian Arthur and Katherine Hales have told us that we are no longer in control of the products of our minds in this explosion of "technology" we have created to transform nature into something like Dr. Frankenstein's monster.  Robert Reich and others have told us about the system's character of Capitalism and the new Global Economy.  The world is changing at a rapid rate.  One way is the thing that we call nature is more and more dominated by us in ways we do not control!  Our "share" of nature is an ever increasing one.  How much longer until we have made ourselves the ultimate controlling factor as we totally lose control?

Has "Nature" become reduced to what we see in Zoos and the "discovery Channel" for most of us?  Is there much left of "Nature" that we have not altered irreversibly?  This is a very coherent picture of where we are.  No folks, reality is not "discovered" by science.  It is not what we capture in films and photographs.  It does not exist in our labs.  We have transformed it.  Where is the grand plan?  Who decided that we should do this?  Are we aware of what we have done and are doing?  look at your world model and tell me what it yields as answers to these questions.  I submit that it is based on a collective set of myths and poor models that got put into your unconscious over your lifetime and that you have probably never really been confronted with the mass of evidence that we have assembled to show where it lost touch with reality before.

No we won't settle these things in this diary or in any number more.  I'll keep laying out the case, but it will take time.  Meanwhile, try my risky experiment.  Try to see the world in this new way.  I'll warn you that if you succeed there is a high probability you will be irreversibly changed.  Hopefully your ability to be in touch with reality will have increased.

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Systems Thinking, Anti-Capitalist Chat, Postcapitalism, and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:01:04 PM PDT

  •  Another work to consider (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, x, linkage

    is Daniel Kahneman's Thinking Fast and Slow. While I have serious concerns about much of his data, he does present some interesting ideas, particularly with regard to models.

    There are always some interesting inconsistencies in some of the writers. Vine Deloria, for example, blasts Christianity and then sounds an evangelical Christian preacher in his rejection of science.

    •  Here's a review (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      linkage

      Thinking fast and slow.

      and yes that has been said of Deloria more than once.  I still think his critique is excellent and certainly seems to explain a lot of why they seem to have lost touch with nature.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 09:37:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some people do not think. That is, they are (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kaliope, Bob Guyer, don mikulecky, linkage

        not aware of the brain processing information.  They merely react instinctively to internal and external prompts of which they are also unaware.  One sign-post seems to be that such people have no awareness of dreaming. They are not aware that the brain continues to process information while they sleep.

        We know there are five basic senses -- avenues for transmitting information from the external world to the brain (eyes, ears, nostrils, taste buds, tactile neurons).  Some people insist on a sixth sense or extra-sensory perceptions.  What we don't discuss very much are sensory perceptions that seem to be rather specialized:

        sense of time
        sense of place
        sense of direction
        sense of order
        sense of sequence
        sense of circumstance
        sense of connection
        sense of rhythm
        sense of association

        We know that some people are always late and others are always on time.  We know that some people never get lost and others always go "wrong." (The latter love GPS). We know that remembering the sequence of events is crucial to successful repetition.  We are also learning, from close observation of aging people whose memory functions are apparently degrading, that the perception of sequence (short term memory v. long) is frequently lost.  What we don't know is whether it was ever there.  It is possible that people who either follow close directions or mimic behavior until it becomes habitual adopt sequential behavior without being aware of it. This would account, for example, for a John McCain crashing four planes whenever the normal sequence required to fly an airplane was challenged by new circumstance, as well as for G.W. Bush being grounded by the Air National Guard and crashing his car.  Indeed, the inability to think ahead and adjust habitual behavior may well account for a goodly number of the car crashes that kill 40,000 people a year.
        Instinct-driven people drive by instinct and instinct often leads them wrong because instinct does not anticipate.  Instinct only reacts.

        A tribe in the Amazon has been discovered to have no concept of past/history, numbers or the future.  That is, they exist in the present.  The only truth is what someone has personally experienced.  They are thought to be peculiar.  The only thing that strikes me as peculiar is that there are no members of the tribe whose perceptions of time and place differ.  But, it may be that any off-spring whose perceptions differ have simply wandered off and, since the remaining members do not miss what they don't see, they have no memory of those who are gone.  It's like a flock of sheep which doesn't miss the lamb being taken by the wolf. They have no conscious memory.  Neither do some humans.

        That they can recite what was previously heard does not mean it is consciously remembered. A person with a so-called photographic memory can recite volumes of information when prompted to do so.  Google mimics that ability.  But, also like Google, such information is provided raw and unprocessed.
        I had a friend with a photographic memory.  Watching him read books was most amazing.  He just turned pages.  He could recall what he'd read, if asked, but it would be regurgitated unprocessed. Inconsistencies did not register. He did have a sequential memory in the sense that he knew the order in which he'd acquired information.  So, his sense of time was obviously working.

        People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

        by hannah on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 04:23:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Media and what Jung might make of it (5+ / 0-)

    What has fascinated me is that Jung began to look at the concept of a collective form of consciousnesss, and that two others associated with the circle of acquaintances around Freud and Jung are very influential in taking that insight into American politics.  

    Wilhelm Reich was involved with the development of the science of psychology in the 20s and 30s and wrote a book which caused him to need to get out of Germany ahead of a likely premature death.    He postulated that an entire society could develop a psychological pathology.  It could go mad.  

    The concept of a mass psychology, hitherto not considered, was the key insight.

    A nephew of Feud's took this idea and decided it could be a way to make millions.  He emigrated to New York and became one of the founding fathers of what we now refer to as public relations and advertising, Madison Avenue.  We don't so much tend to look at what he was doing in framing political views.  He pretty much invented the meme that the corporate agribusiness interests in South America were not the subject of protests by local landowners whose lands were stolen, but instead were holding the line against communism directed by Moscow.  This came from his efforts over the course of the 40s into the 50s.  

    As the media became more and more pervasive and ubiquitous (so everywhere you took it for granted) we more and more came to live in a shared dream.

    It is interesting that people refer to the "American Dream" which is associated with middle class security.  Over the course of time the media environment has gone from being skillful exploitation of audience exposure opportunities, to shaping nearly every waking moment.  

    The problem we have is that it is really tremendously difficult to throw this off.  

    The election of the President has come to be the decision by the audience about which character would seem better to take a role in a national soap opera.  The reality of it is being somewhat lost in favor of its entertainment potential.  

    The danger is that a majority of people might prefer being lied to even knowing that this is the case.  At times, humans would rather cling to comfortable delusions that face truths that are challenging.  

    I am writing a book, too.  I spent a while trying to write political persuasions, for either grass roots causes or for candidates.  One has to decide, if one is serious about winning an election, whether to run against the game or to master it.  

    Running against the game is very abstract for most voters, so the only choice is usually to master the game as it is, knowing full well the nature of it.  

    We live in the time we live in.  But poking a pin in this bubble is a really great challenge for authors to take up.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

    There need to be many many such efforts.  We are in trouble if this dialogue cannot be engaged at the cultural level.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:09:55 PM PDT

    •  How do you run against the game? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky

      That is a question that begs for a process of continuous answering. We all face that question and so much of the time the answer is "I don't have a realistic way to run against the game now". If the Game is conceived as operating within the framework of our present cultural models, much shaped as you describe via mass media manipulation, can you operate there and change the system you operate within?

      If the game is just a skill set that can be divorced from its cultural context then maybe those skills can be used from the perspective of a different point of view, serving the purpose of transforming the current systems into something that operates differently.

      If the effectiveness of the skills and their execution depend on the cultural context within which they operate then those skills would also have to be transformed to be effective in a cultural context that does not yet exist but can be envisioned as existing in the future.

      There are attempts at both developing as people on the leading edge of envisioning change, Cultural Creatives as labeled by Paul H. Ray, are moving in both directions. The Transition Town movement might be seen as an attempt to use existing tools to transform our core cultural makeup. The Occupy movement at times was clearly trying to transform the tools (internal communications and decision making processes) by which their gatherings created alternative culture.

      I haven't had much luck running against the system because I have kids at home and the game is the only way I can see to meet their immediate needs. Most of my time and energy goes to the game although my mental and emotional models have changed radically over the last 10 years and I clearly understand the futility of the entire system as an inevitably failed mass model leading to collapse of our ecological niche in the natural world. I am succeeding in the present (the game) and failing the future by not radically transforming the present.

      Do you come down on the side of changing the game from within and using its tools untransformed or the tools must be transformed and change comes from outside the system or a hybrid approach?

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

      by Bob Guyer on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 08:53:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It can't change if people insist on having (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Guyer

        everything.  In the sixties we showed that things can be done differently.  It was not permanent and the system swallowed it.  But it was possible. Yes and families and life styles were changed permanently.The obvious answer is that we WILL change.  The question only is how destructive will it be.  Fighting it seems clearly to increase the destruction.  We were much more in tune with what was needed then it seems to me.  The system has grown far stronger since.  Tonight's diary will look at why that might be.

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:06:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I perceive the system as having grown stronger too (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          don mikulecky

          Yes change is happening and it is coming from what the reductionist mind set does not really see. Our dialog here is like the conscious murmurings of the change that is coming. My point is that the system is so strong that despite having seen through a lot of it I find radical personal change difficult and that I am skeptical that we can use the tools of the current system, particularly the socio/economic tools that are the mainstay of stabilizing and expanding the current system to transform it.

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

          by Bob Guyer on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:22:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Re reading my own comment, yours is interesting (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Guyer, don mikulecky

        I think we all do this a bit.  Think of one thing, say something about something else, sort of conflating.  That is likely to happen in a blog.  When I write I tend to come back to the text the next day and spot what happened.  

        But what is interesting here is that you get reactions that show you something you didn't anticipate.

        In terms of the advertising and marketing, the mental environment, I was thinking in terms of the political circumstance of helping a candidate run for office.  But I was simultaneously thinking on two levels.  

        You brought up an interesting point.  How do we all deal with the fact that we can see a reality beyond the immediate game that is being played which constitutes the economy of our time?  Do you ignore the ability to see this as irrelevant?  Most people do because it isn't convenient, therefore there isn't much opportunity to even talk about it.

        But I think the importance is that the real issues that will most profoundly affect our future are in the realm beyond discussion to an all too great degree.  This is because we live in a consumer marketing context that provides all the ways and means by which most people can engage about issues.

        Amazingly there are enough people who have good instincts and have come to their own conclusions and who try to find new ways to live.  So there is the quiet evolution that people further in their own small ways without recognition or approval, possibly even against the law if necessary.  

        The public dialogue is subtly being changed.  Fora like this, which weren't possible a short time ago are providing more and more people with the ability to engage.  My basic criticism of this forum is that it is like politics, too focused on the immediate and the "Punch and Judy" show aspects.  But it is where we are at as a society, so it has relevance.  One can always try to push the envelope.  

        In politics you can't step beyond the vocabulary and the familiarity people have in a general way, so you have to watch where you are going.  Get too far ahead and you don't get elected.  But on the other hand, progress still gets made here and there.  I think it is more likely on the local level than on the national level, in communities where there are more concentrated populations of educated progressives.  The real national breakthroughs are the product of lots of unnoticed efforts that prove a case for innovation.  Our overall system moves pretty slow for that reason.  

        I think the stress that we feel about this is that the system is not moving fast enough and questions arise, if you are concerned about that, as to how to speed it up.  That is where it gets to be "Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork,"  to go back to the era of Richard Brautigan.  I think he got it. I think the beats got it, on an instinctive level.  

        hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

        by Stuart Heady on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:59:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Personal and local is where the change (0+ / 0-)

          is most possible and then momentum can build from that and ultimately be reflected at the higher levels of power aggregation and mass media. I think all of the means to create change will be engaged and they aren't mutually exclusive. of the time I have to invest I spend a little time and energy in national change via politics, local change via relationship building and tool building (working on some software to assist local initiatives and connections), and personal change in the context of family, friends and my day job.

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

          by Bob Guyer on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 10:36:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I like what you say....but I have to add my take (0+ / 0-)

          The context is everything.  If the context is framed so that new ideas can not be considered then no amount of rhetoric or discussion can go anywhere.  That is where we are.

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:34:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  We don't go anywhere...if we don't go anywhere (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            don mikulecky

            In various attempts to find a way to engage others in this general exploration, what I find is that it is we ourselves who have to decide to "go there."  

            There is a lot of resistance to engaging in a discussion when there has not been a certain amount of it already, leading to a tipping point.  

            Our general problem is that there is no hierarchical central command structure that sends down "simon says" suggestions or direction in the form of talking points or press relations.  

            What we are trying to do is not so much direct a crowd in order to promote special interests as much as we are attempting to honestly come to grips with something important, which perhaps eludes articulation for now.  

            hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

            by Stuart Heady on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:56:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We are only beginning to learn that our minds (0+ / 0-)

              do not work as we have been told by the earlier scientists and the proponents of the mind/body duality.  We are learing how "plastic" the brain is and we are learning the big role the unconscious plays.  We begin to tie this in with the way the media uses these things to frame and rely on recovering those frames.  It is not a pretty picture.

              An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

              by don mikulecky on Mon Apr 02, 2012 at 03:53:00 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Perhaps you have read up on Bernays (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                don mikulecky

                The father of PR, and a founding father of Madison Avenue, which was conceived after WWII as a way to move the US war economy and its manufacturing base away from wartime production in favor of a consumer economy, which had to be created.  

                A lot of our issues stem from the way Bernays used the knowledge that his uncle Sigmund developed.  

                Amazingly, the public seems largely unaware of this.  It ought to be a basic element of high school discussions about civics, but it remains a subject people are unlikely to come across unless they are particularly interested in PR for some reason.  Usually, the reason is to become a PR professional and get paid a handsome salary.

                hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

                by Stuart Heady on Tue Apr 03, 2012 at 09:08:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  Ecopsychology is an attempt to cope with this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky

    I read a book called Ecopsychology by Theodore Rozak that pulls together the most prominent thinkers in the newly emerging field of ecopsychology. The insight central to all the different streams of ecopsych is that our current psychology has developed out of a culture and psychology that is based on a diseased presumption of alienation from nature and we need a new psychology that is not based on alienation from nature to heal this cultural illness. My favorite thinker from that book is Joanna Macy. That lead me to her book Mutual Causality in Buddhism and General Systems Theory.

    I had seen through a lot of my assumptions by the point I read her work but I had never realized how deeply the linear causal model was ingrained in our inner world. All the way back to Ancient Greece and India goes the ascendancy of the linear causal model. One of the Buddha's insights was that this linear model was flawed and that cause and effect are mutually intertwined and feed back on each other, they are not linear but dependent. Joanna translates this as dependent co-arising and I began to see that much more of my model of reality was imposing a linear model on processes that were not linear at all.

    My notion of time being past, present and future as distinct phases of time changed and I started to see that my sense of past, present and future were co-occurring and influencing each other all the time. When I change anything in the present it changes both the way I conceive of the past and the future. This new sense of time felt much more fluid and I felt more free to participate in my world. I was liberated from bondage to my dis-empowering model of cause and effect where the present if an effect of a cause in the past and I began to experience life and change more as a dance of the sense of past, present and future always playing on each other.

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

    by Bob Guyer on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:20:25 PM PDT

    •  I always thought Rozak was on the mark. (0+ / 0-)

      I wanted to say something but it keeps changing.

      An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

      by don mikulecky on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 10:37:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  To give up a linear sense of time, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Guyer, don mikulecky

      you have to first perceive it.  It's my sense that some people do not perceive time at all.  They can read a clock face and identify an hour as we name a day, but they have no sense of night and day as a sequence, nor as distinct entities.  So, they exist in an ineffable present, which is very unsettling.  Change comes as a surprise because they cannot anticipate.
      Some cannot comprehend the negative as the opposite of the positive and perhaps equally valuable.  At best, they perceive opposition to their well-being.  They suffer hunger but do not know why.  As a result, many just keep eating because they are never satisfied. Obsession seems a natural consequence of frustration that grows out of a lack of satisfaction in achievement. Failing becomes a less-stressful familiar.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 04:44:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Still, the distinction between past and future is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Guyer, don mikulecky

      a fundamental characteristic of reality.  Physicists and philosophers have spilled much ink on the subject, drops of which in a glass of water never un-diffuse.

      Where are we, now that we need us most?

      by Frank Knarf on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:01:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  and the system grinds on.......n/t (0+ / 0-)

        An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

        by don mikulecky on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:25:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Putting aside any relativistic complications, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          don mikulecky

          there is only one past and the future is not determined.  Or at least I hope you can agree with that distinction.

          Where are we, now that we need us most?

          by Frank Knarf on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 09:30:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No and you don't either. How many versions of (0+ / 0-)

            history do you know?  More than one I'm sure.  The thing you are calling the past may exist but you have no access to it and it is rather useless.

            An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

            by don mikulecky on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 02:34:07 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'll claim that many a utopian project has failed (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pico, don mikulecky

              by dismissing the past as useless.  Epistemological concerns about the use of the past as justification for some program or another are one thing (think Orwell).

              But some distinctions persist in science and in history because they comport with reality.  The walls of the cave are not totally opaque.  I don't see the need to dispense with ontological realism in order to make an argument about meanings we assign to the past or anything else.

              Where are we, now that we need us most?

              by Frank Knarf on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 03:07:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  how irrelevant! (0+ / 0-)
                I'll claim that many a utopian project has failed
                Why are you not talking about the diary or what it represents in this series?  you seem to like irrelevant tangents.

                An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                by don mikulecky on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:37:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  I still see the distinction but more circle (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky

        than straight line. The deeply held view I constructed from my culturally inherited model was that the present is an effect of the past. The past is gone, not available in the present. The future will be an effect of a present cause but it is not available in the present. So the present seemed like an island in the sea of time and very important because this is where everything happens but not very malleable because it is an effect of past cause. So then to have influence over the present that can transform the future I have to have some way of accessing and influencing past cause, otherwise I am just a chain of an inevitable linear chain of cause and effect proceeding into a determined future.  The way to gain power over the future seemed to be to understand past cause so I could use the power of understanding the past to change the present and influence the future. All of this seemed to happen on a straight line of time and cause.

        When I read about the similarities between causality in General Systems Theory and Buddhist causality I thought this must have an effect on our sense of how time operates. As I contemplated this as a question I realized that I had a linear model of time and it was a model with great implications for how I saw the world and how I behaved. When I explored the idea of past, present and future arising co-dependently and influencing each other reciprocally it began to change my sense of how reality is constructed and how I can operate in that context. So the three conceptual divisions of time did not vanish they just changed in meaning. The benefit to me has been that I live in a changing past present and future sense of time where I participate in the process of authoring change and being changed in the past, present and future simultaneously. Overall I feel more connected to the experience of living , more able to author change but in the way of a participatory dance instead of a reductionist search for an ultimate comprehensive cause in the past that must be found and manipulated to change the present and future.

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

        by Bob Guyer on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 10:00:06 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The modern western conception of time does not (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bob Guyer, don mikulecky

          offer a pre-determined future, but it does deny any means of altering the past, which is not to say anything about our understanding of the past.  This is not to deny the mystery of quantum entanglement or the tricks required to get a relativistic QED framework to be mathematically consistent.

          I'd also argue that a metaphysics which denies a fixed, unalterable past has dangerous potential consequences for human choices and actions in every sphere.  Having said all that, I acknowledge the grip that this culturally determined model of time has on my thinking, and that reality may yet surprise us.

          Where are we, now that we need us most?

          by Frank Knarf on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 11:38:47 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's not just culturally determined. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Frank Knarf

            Entropy isn't a cultural construct.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:03:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Indeed. Although one often finds the models (0+ / 0-)

              of statistical physics misapplied to complex, open systems.  My main point is that a malleable past is paradoxical and conflicts with what we can demonstrate about reality.

              Where are we, now that we need us most?

              by Frank Knarf on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 12:26:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  You are being evasive. (0+ / 0-)

            Try honestly answering what you were asked.  

            Where is this past?  You have no access to it but through the many, often conflicting, histories on record.  
             You have lost.

            An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

            by don mikulecky on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:41:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, no intent to hijack anything. My comments (0+ / 0-)

              were in response to other previous comments about time and causality.  But my inclination is to beware of historical relativism, a subject for another day.

              Where are we, now that we need us most?

              by Frank Knarf on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 06:00:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You are really evasive (0+ / 0-)

                Try answering the question you can not answer.  I thought you were honest, but I have been wrong before.

                An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

                by don mikulecky on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 06:47:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Topologically circles and lines are trivial (0+ / 0-)

          If you want a metaphor try "multidimensional".

          An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

          by don mikulecky on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 05:38:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  We are part of nature. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Guyer, don mikulecky

    Or we wouldn't be here.

    •  It all boils down to that (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky, dov12348

      To the degree that our thinking, behaving, feeling and systems don't acknowledge that primary context we are living in madness.

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

      by Bob Guyer on Sun Apr 01, 2012 at 10:38:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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