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This diary is being written by request.  The subject is all mine but I am doing this because I was asked.  I write this caveat because as time goes on my radical take on the world seems to diverge more and more with the rest of the commentators.  I am unable to focus on details and reductionist pieces any more.  I long ago came to the conclusion that these methods and the ideas they generated have failed.  If this is arrogant then I am arrogant.  I have studied for over half a century and these are the conclusions I have come to.  I have coauthored a book that sums up much of what I have learned and I'll give a link if you want it.  The purpose of this diary is to give you a snapshot of the world model we have developed.  It is changing constantly so it needs periodic updates.  Read on below and I will give my answer to the question I ask in the title.

First of all the antithesis to the reductionist approach is that of systems analysis.  I will take a moment to remind you that when I use the word "system" it is in a very special context.  The reductionist counterpart has no meaning in this context.  The group is interested in the writing of Marx.   Marx wrote in a context that had little resemblance to the modern world.  Yet Marx had insights that outlive those limits.  The trick is to save the baby as we discard the bathwater.

Marx, for his time, was ahead of the field in understanding systems.  His ideas were founded on a sense of certain things happening without a mechanistic simple cause.  He wrote extensively to weave a more holistic view of what economics was as it connected with so many other things in human activity.  This was good and we need to go back with our modern understanding and put those ideas into today's perspective.  This diary is not the place for that since it is at least a book.

Rather than do that I want to paint a picture (I am a painter...watercolor) of the world today as we might see it if our minds were able to take it all in. (The reductionist paradigm came about as a way of avoiding such an impossible task).  We are being forced to try to grapple with the whole system because we have more or less filled the planet and made the isolation of the past something that is disappearing as we watch in awe.

The earth system with its atmosphere and climate and oceans and ecosystems, etc has never been the subsystems our reductionist mentality created to deal with it, but as time goes on the error is being magnified non-linearly.  The role of the human species is a growing influence over time, anthropogenic global warming being but one aspect of this.  What Marx was concerned with was the role of the economic/political system in the way this one dominant species impacted on the world although he dealt with it as all humans did and most do, as if we can isolate our existence and our problems from the impact we have grown to have on the earth system.

Humans have generated conflicting world models within the common sphere of reductionist thought.  We have religions, reductionist science and other fragmented pieces of human "knowledge".  We evolved from some beings that chimps have for example.  We like to think we are very different from them and we indeed are.  The scary part is the ways in which we remain similar.  Male female relations, political power, etc can be seen to have common features in both groups.

Part of the legacy of Cartesian reductionism is the mind/body duality and the way the living organism was metaphored as a special kind of machine.  These factors became integrated into the Capitalism Marx thought about and they shaped the way the relationship between wealth and labor were seen.  Power relations became formulated in terms that Marx described so well.  The problem is that these ideas were still in a reductionist box and remain there to this day.

So we have the fundamental challenge to face at this moment in history.  Is the human mind able to step outside of these long entrenched limits and confines and see us as a rouge species acting almost like a cancer on the planet?  Marx diagnosed the nature of this metastatic disease we had become.  He saw it in terms of the way the labors of humans that could be used in so many ways were channelled by the owners of the means of production into the creation of capital.

Here is where the systems idea is very enlightening.  The traditionional picture is that the greedy among us rise to power and control the rest of us and insist on a growing, unsustainable system to satisfy their greed.

Systems theory asks an important chicken and egg question at this point.  Is it the greedy humans that create the system or does the system simply find as many greedy humans as it needs to sustain itself and grow?  I submit that Robert Reich was correct in his book about "Supercapitalism" when he asserted that we could eliminate WalMart tomorrow and some other entity or entities would immediatly fill the vacuum and probaly evolve into something worse because of the ability to shed excess baggage.

Reductionism is wonderful for the human mind because it supplies answers.   Systems theory, recognizing the myriad complex interactions, can only describe things in general ways and can not supply false mechanistic explanations.

If this makes sense to you I apologize for bringing you to this point for you will not be able to go back.  Nor will you come up with answers the way you did before.  Nor will the political system seem like a useful tool for helping us.  No, those of us who have crossed the line are pessimistic.  The system grinds on.  It is like a cancer on the planet.  And as we look at our kids and grandkids we wonder.  And we hurt.

Poll

The real world

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| 24 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm here to discuss....n/t (7+ / 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 Jun 09, 2013 at 03:01:01 PM PDT

  •  I* have the feeling I was used...n/t (5+ / 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 Jun 09, 2013 at 03:19:01 PM PDT

  •  The cancer analogy - how did it arise? (3+ / 0-)

    Seems man is as natural here as every other creature.

    Also greed is too vague - many good people become rich by providing inventions and starting businesses without hurting anyone else.  If it was for the money, so what?

    What would Mothra do?

    by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:23:00 PM PDT

    •  I have done years of cancer research (8+ / 0-)

      I like metaphors.  The earth system is a living organism.  We are like the cancer cells that get out of balance and destroy the organism.

      many good people become rich by providing inventions and starting businesses without hurting anyone else.
      This is true in a very myopic way.  When you can't see the hurt it does not mean it is not there.

      If you understand what a "system" is the things that make it up are not "good" or "bad".  The system, like cancer, can be destructive even if the local events in the cancer cells are not destructive in any way.

      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 Jun 09, 2013 at 03:29:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How is the Earth a living organism? (2+ / 0-)

        Also not sure how you get to the myopic opinion with the hurt I can't see. Guttenberg, Bell, Edison, Einstein created things that were true in a myopic way?  What does that mean?

        What would Mothra do?

        by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:03:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is a wealth of literature debating this (5+ / 0-)

          Gaia

          The Gaia hypothesis, also known as Gaia theory or Gaia principle, proposes that organisms interact with their inorganic surroundings on Earth to form a self-regulating, complex system that contributes to maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. Topics of interest include how the biosphere and the evolution of life forms affect the stability of global temperature, ocean salinity, oxygen in the atmosphere and other environmental variables that affect the habitability of Earth.
          The hypothesis was formulated by the scientist James Lovelock[1] and co-developed by the microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s.[2] While early versions of the hypothesis were criticized for being teleological and contradicting principles of natural selection, later refinements have resulted in ideas highlighted by the Gaia Hypothesis being used in disciplines such as geophysiology, Earth system science, biogeochemistry, systems ecology, and climate science.[3][4][5] In 2006, the Geological Society of London awarded Lovelock the Wollaston Medal largely for his work on the Gaia theory.[6]
           My work and that of many others goes far beyond this in establishing that the earth system is a living organism.

          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 Jun 09, 2013 at 04:09:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If I did agree with that... (2+ / 0-)

            ...I would assume man is a natural part of it.

            What would Mothra do?

            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:13:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the question is like (5+ / 0-)

              is a cancer cell a "natural" part of your body?

              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 Jun 09, 2013 at 04:23:20 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  That begs the question. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                don mikulecky

                Why is man a cancer rather than a natural part of the body?

                You're asserting it - it seems - out of thin air.

                What would Mothra do?

                by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:26:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You do not know about (4+ / 0-)

                  global warming
                  climate change
                  pollution
                  massive extinction
                  ruining the soil
                  overpopulation
                  resource depletion

                  Need I say more?

                  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 Jun 09, 2013 at 04:33:23 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I have differing opinions on each. (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    lehman scott

                    I see some as more serious than others.  But I can see that we're operating from divergent premises.

                    Man, in order to survive and flourish necessarily creates changes.  Sometimes they're excessive.  Sometimes not.  So we individually try to spread information and change things for the better.

                    Still doesn't equate to cancer.  If so it's benign.  The Earth is one enormous ball of natural resources.  It will survive us.

                    What would Mothra do?

                    by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:44:49 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  metaphors and analogies equate to nothing (0+ / 0-)

                      that is why we use them

                      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 Jun 09, 2013 at 04:46:25 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  What do you mean? (0+ / 0-)

                        What would Mothra do?

                        by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:14:03 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  you need a dictionary (0+ / 0-)

                          metaphor

                          A metaphor is a figure of speech that describes a subject by asserting that it is, on some point of comparison, the same as another otherwise unrelated object. Metaphor is a type of analogy and is closely related to other rhetorical figures of speech that achieve their effects via association, comparison or resemblance including allegory, hyperbole, and simile.
                          In simpler terms, a metaphor compares two objects or things without using the words "like" or "as".
                          One of the most prominent examples of a metaphor in English literature is the All the world's a stage monologue from As You Like It:
                          All the world's a stage,
                          And all the men and women merely players;
                          They have their exits and their entrances; — William Shakespeare, As You Like It, 2/7[1]
                          This quote is a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By figuratively asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses the points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the lives of the people within it.

                          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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:55:02 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  You're not answering my question. (0+ / 0-)

                            You need to explain your prior comment.

                            What would Mothra do?

                            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:01:04 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  please ask it more clearly...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 Jun 09, 2013 at 06:04:59 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You raised the issues: (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            don mikulecky, Diane Gee

                            Let's just take one.  You said there is a new epistemology -in other words a new way we can obtain knowledge.  Is it by observation of reality?  Trances?  ESP?  The Bible?  The Pope?  Nothing new about those, however.

                            So what is yours?

                            What would Mothra do?

                            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:11:52 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The new epistemology is spelled out (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            lehman scott

                            in many books.  It is the compliment to reductionism in a scientific setting.  Here is an old example for starters:Epistemology and Rosen’s Modeling Relation

                            Rosen’s modeling relation (MR) provides a powerful method of understanding and exploring
                            the nature of the scientific method. Of course, the scientific method is itself epistemology in action.
                            A decade ago Robert Rosen published an essay [1] on epistemology in honor of David Bohm. The
                            explanation and use of the MR in that essay appeared as a revelation that evidently had great explanatory power and seemed to invite further development as an epistemological tool. The scientific
                            method currently receives lip service but little practical understanding in the day-to-day lives of scientists. The method seems to exist more as a topic of intellectual discourse than a guide to pragmatic
                            behavior even though it has been discussed at length by many philosophers, including Karl Popper
                            [2]. A clear and simple model of the scientific method contributes a clarity that volumes of philosophy cannot provide.
                            To provide an appropriate conceptual setting for the extended MR developed here, the necessary background and vocabulary are first presented. Popper’s 3 worlds are then suggested as a “container” for the MR. The ensuing framework allows one to analyze the MR itself, seeing how its parts
                            fit onto the world of organisms, objects, brains, and theories—that is, the exceedingly complex, natural world comprised of all those atoms in their remarkable manifestations “of ships and shoes and
                            sealing wax and cabbages and kings.”
                            As examples of embedding the MR in the 3 worlds, Popper’s problem of demarcation between science and pseudo science is revisited. The famous Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paper serves to
                            introduce the use of the MR as a tool for thinking. Finally, a mathematical definition of “bizarre”
                            systems, based on a real-world bizarre object, is suggested. The definition m
                             Bill Dress is a quantum physicist working on the newest stuff in that field.

                            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 Jun 09, 2013 at 06:21:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Questioning a premise. (0+ / 0-)

                            To what extent does the scientific method utilize induction?

                            What would Mothra do?

                            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:49:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  meaningless question....you can't (0+ / 0-)

                            quantify such things....lots of debate...Popper had his ideas others disagreed.  The issue is not that at all.  The issue is how do you integrate science and all other forms of human knowledge and come up with a way of rejecting bad models.  We have a handle on that.

                            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 Jun 09, 2013 at 06:54:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Diane Gee

                            You've convinced me there's no way you can communicate your position through a diary.  Which is ok - I guess people would just have to read your book.

                            What would Mothra do?

                            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:55:39 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Hate to find you wrong again. (0+ / 0-)

                            Have done it many times.  I wish I could help everyone but the world is diverse and some comprehend better than others.   I never remember you trying to understand before so maybe it takes time?

                            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 Jun 09, 2013 at 07:02:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Well, I don't fault myself. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Diane Gee

                            I do tend to question things that others might accept cart blanche.

                            I don't fault you either - maybe you are attempting the impossible by trying to communicate something in a small space that your book might explain, as more foundation can be established there.

                            What would Mothra do?

                            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 07:06:37 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  we both are trying and the task is hard...n/t (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dov12348

                            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 Jun 09, 2013 at 07:08:38 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I am acquainted with the EPR Paradox and (0+ / 0-)

                            have read Bohm's Wholeness and the Implicate Order.  While I find his Holographic Paradigm rather interesting in a discussion of fundamental epistemology, I think the possibility of its practical applications to real-world problems is very remote at best.  Does your book attempt to do this?

                            Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                            by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 07:31:07 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You missed the point...we worked with Dress (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            lehman scott

                            and others years ago bringing the new paradigm to birth...so I thought it might be an example of how widespread the ideas are...we are well beyond that 1999 stuff now...here's the book:Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the World

                            The Global Economy that sustains the civilized world is destroying the biosphere. As a result, civilization, like the Titanic, is on a collision course with disaster. But changing course via the body politic appears to be well nigh impossible, given that much of the populace lives in denial. Why is that? And how did we get into such a fix? In this essay, biologists James Coffman and Donald Mikulecky argue that the reductionist model of the world developed by Western civilization misrepresents life, undermining our ability to regulate and adapt to the accelerating anthropogenic transformation of the world entrained by that very model. An alternative worldview is presented that better accounts for both the relational nature of living systems and the developmental phenomenology that constrains their evolution. Development of any complex system reinforces specific dependencies while eliminating alternatives, reducing the diversity that affords adaptive degrees of freedom: the more developed a system is, the less potential it has to change its way of being. Hence, in the evolution of life most species become extinct. This perspective reveals the limits that complexity places on knowledge and technology, bringing to light our hubristically dysfunctional relationship with the natural world and increasingly tenuous connection to reality. The inescapable conclusion is that, barring a cultural metamorphosis that breaks free of deeply entrenched mental frames that made us what we are, continued development of the Global Economy will lead inexorably to the collapse of civilization.

                            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 Jun 09, 2013 at 07:40:50 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'll take that as a no... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...as an answer to my question, don.  Thanks.

                            Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                            by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:06:35 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Our book does not talk about that....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 Jun 09, 2013 at 08:12:35 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                •  You're not understanding the idea of a system (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Nada Lemming, lehman scott, Diane Gee

                  However you characterize "man," the bottom line is that humanity is just part of the current system, which would continue in some form or other without it.

                  While cancer or perhaps better a virus (think Matrix, Agent Smith analogy, etc.) are possible analogies to man on Earth, perhaps. Where the cancer analogy falls short is the idea that humans could "kill" Earth and end its existence. Something short of a catastrophic meteor impact (including even a nuclear holocaust) would allow some version of the Earth system to "live" on, regardless.

                  Humanity is a blip on the geological radar screen. Problem is, we ARE a cancer endangering the health of the current Earth system as we've known it throughout the short time of Man. We are changing the current system in radical ways that will reverberate for millenia, and lead to the extinction of a majority of current species -- perhaps even our own, and significant reduction of stable living space for most more complex organisms.

                  Whether that's good or bad is a value judgement. But if you believe we are slowly, and by geological time very rapidly, destroying a perfectly good complex system that's been wonderfully fit for mammalian existence in ways no other planet known to exist has, then yes: We ARE a cancer, or an Ebola virus, or whatever disease analogy you'd choose.

                  "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                  by Kombema on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:56:30 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Doesn't have to be a 'rather'. (5+ / 0-)

                  I won't speak for Don, but a lot of people use the cancer metaphor, for the very reason given in, of all places, the Matrix movies.  

                  Cancers do nothing but exist and replicate, using any and all possible resources, without any sort of regard for the larger system, beyond the ability of the normal feedback mechanisms of the system to prevent them from taking resources needed elsewhere.  Generally, they're simply normal cells that have had their DNA scrambled in some way, transcription or translation errors that result in a sequence that says 'reproduce!' while ignoring any other instructions from the system.

                  So cancers are 'normal', in the sense that they can arise in the course of everyday life in an environment with various forms of radiations and chemicals, but at the same time are antithetical to what we assume the 'normal stasis' (if such an oxymoron can be used) of life to be.

                  Humans are smart enough to make ourselves tough for the planet to kill off, just like those cancer cells, and we just keep reproducing, taking ever more of the system resources for our own species' use.

    •  Our Population Has Exploded Instantaneously (12+ / 0-)

      compared to geologic and evolutionary time scales, and we've begun causing mass dieoff of other species. Scientists are tossing around the label "Anthropocene" for our current geologic period because of the extent to which we're driving the ecosystem, including global climate.

      The cancer analogy seems reasonable to me.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:33:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good piece and some great food for thought. (9+ / 0-)

    Since Reductionism is central to this piece maybe you could expand on that just a bit for the non-Academic.

    •  Descartes and those who followed (8+ / 0-)

      saw everything as a machine.  Take them apart and study their parts and you will know all about them.  The systems idea, in a nutshell, says that when you do that you destroy the interactions that make them function and loose the reality.

      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 Jun 09, 2013 at 03:46:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The systems idea makes no sense. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky

        Can you elaborate?

        What would Mothra do?

        by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:05:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The whole is more than the sum of its (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Free Jazz at High Noon, JesseCW

          parts.  Systems theory

          Systems theory is the interdisciplinary study of systems in general, with the goal of elucidating principles that can be applied to all types of systems at all nesting levels in all fields of research.[citation needed] The term does not yet have a well-established, precise meaning, but systems theory can reasonably be considered a specialization of systems thinking, a generalization of systems science, a systems approach. The term originates from Bertalanffy's general system theory (GST) and is used in later efforts in other fields, such as the action theory of Talcott Parsons[1] and the social systems theory of Niklas Luhmann.[2]
          In this context the word systems is used to refer specifically to self-regulating systems, i.e. that are self-correcting through feedback. Self-regulating systems are found in nature, including the physiological systems of our body, in local and global ecosystems, and in climate—and in human learning processes
           Our work on relational systems theory goes well beyond this  here is our latest book:Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the World

          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 Jun 09, 2013 at 04:17:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A car engine is more... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            don mikulecky

            ...than throwing every piece of it into a pile.  But how would that be even controversial?

            What would Mothra do?

            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:20:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Good point (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Another Grizzle, Kombema, JesseCW

              How do you compare a car engine made to last as it is as long as possible with a living cell which is made to teaqr itself down and rebuld continuously?

              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 Jun 09, 2013 at 04:25:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Apples and oranges. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Diane Gee

                They are different concepts that just have different functions.

                What would Mothra do?

                by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:35:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  They're still systems, which can be "closed" (5+ / 0-)

                  at a relative level (not requiring significant input from the outside) or open, and simple (like a virus) or complex (like a planet). A machine is a comparatively more closed system, but even that eventually requires outside input (energy, human intervention, etc.) in most cases.

                  Complex open systems are far more able to operate with the loss of some components. You can't take a gear out of a car or watch and hope for it to keep working. If humans (or all mammals, or all the ice, all trees, etc.) vanished overnight, the Earth system would continue functioning. Just not like it did before.

                  "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

                  by Kombema on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:12:06 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The only closed systems are in a lab (0+ / 0-)

                    and that closure is a temporary approximation

                    Organisms are different from machines in that they can repair themselves. This is, in part, due to catabolism and anabolism.  The constant break down and repair.  This is why we think ecosystems are also a form of organism and ultimately Gaia.

                    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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:16:29 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  From a reductionist view, (6+ / 0-)

              you should be able to peel anything apart into its individual parts, and by understanding how those parts work in relative isolation, be able to predict exactly what will happen if you put them together in a set way.   Computer programming is built this way - you take a rigidly constrained and constructed language, and build pieces that you know exactly how they work, and can then use and re-use them in many ways to achieve 'different' ends.

              The problem with the real world is that there are pretty much always far more variables than you can account for, and their 'balance' is in constant flux as they interact.  The human body has a wonderful array of feedback set-ups to address issues of blood pH, blood volume, internal temperature, and so on.  And they all interact with one another, sometimes reinforcing the actions of another part of the system, sometimes damping them down.  Despite knowing how each individual piece of the system works in a generic way, you can't predict exactly how a given person's body will work to achieve the desired homeostasis.

              Likewise, we 'know' how various meteorologic phenomenon work, but can't accurately predict weather over any length at all.

              •  Agreed. But I don't see... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lehman scott

                ...what the controversy is.

                What would Mothra do?

                by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:37:15 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, it depends, I suppose. (3+ / 0-)

                  Let's say you're talking about how humans behave.  Now in my viewpoint, a human is a human, no matter what environment you place him or her in.  He or she has emotions, thoughts, desires.

                  But in our modern environment, we put that person into a 'role', such as teacher or student, and then consider it the most normal thing in the world to expect them to suddenly lose certain of those human attributes, to the point at which we actively punish, even criminalize, normal human behaviours that occur between two people simply because they happen to be taking part in specific roles at the time.

                  I had a photography teacher back in high school who fell in love with a student.  They ended up married with several kids, but today he would be considered some sort of pervert, probably even a sexual offender.

                  Because we societally created the role concepts and assigned them attributes, we seem to assume that we can, in a reductionist way, basically isolate specific behaviours.  But human interactions are part of a larger social interaction system, so those placed in such roles are constantly under the stress of balancing being a normal human being vs the expectations placed upon them to wall off much of how they think, feel, or behave to meet the societally acceptable definition of their roles.  Some succeed, some fail spectacularly.

                  To a reductionist mindset, the expectation is that we can reduce humans down to the smaller roles we've created for them during specific timeframes.  A systems person is going to expect problems within the system from the start, because you're trying to short circuit the larger system as it exists.  No matter how harsh the penalties imposed, you simply can't guarantee that people will behave as the construct says they will in such a relationship.

                  One 'controversy', therefore, is that using systems theory, many of our existing societal constructs are pretty much expected to fail over time, because they rely on attempts to reduce and limit behaviours to specific 'approved' patterns, rather than seeking to integrate and understand why the 'unapproved' behaviours occur, and alter other inputs to create feedbacks that acknowledge their existence, but incentivize different paths of action.

                  But that's not a happy thought to reductionists, who want to make everything simple - good and bad, law and lawbreakers, economic 'success' or 'failure'.

                  •  I think... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    don mikulecky

                    ...analysis and integration are both necessary in obtaining knowledge.  There is no conflict between them.

                    What would Mothra do?

                    by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:20:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  nor is that the point (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SpecialKinFlag, northsylvania

                      we only understand through our models.  The thing about reductionist models is that analytic models always equal synthetic models.  In complex systems theory this is never true.

                      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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:24:59 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Analytic and synthetic... (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        lehman scott

                        Are you a Kantian in epistemology?  We can't ever know reality?

                        What if our models are flawed?

                        You raise many more questions than you answer.

                        What would Mothra do?

                        by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:48:50 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  all models are flawed (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          lehman scott

                          because they are limited

                          we have a new paradigm and a new epistemology

                          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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:51:48 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  What is the new paradigm? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            don mikulecky, lehman scott

                            And what is the new epistemology?

                            What would Mothra do?

                            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:59:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you want it in a word or a sentence? (0+ / 0-)

                            Is that a serious question?  if so here's our book:   Global Insanity: How Homo sapiens Lost Touch with Reality while Transforming the World

                            The Global Economy that sustains the civilized world is destroying the biosphere. As a result, civilization, like the Titanic, is on a collision course with disaster. But changing course via the body politic appears to be well nigh impossible, given that much of the populace lives in denial. Why is that? And how did we get into such a fix? In this essay, biologists James Coffman and Donald Mikulecky argue that the reductionist model of the world developed by Western civilization misrepresents life, undermining our ability to regulate and adapt to the accelerating anthropogenic transformation of the world entrained by that very model. An alternative worldview is presented that better accounts for both the relational nature of living systems and the developmental phenomenology that constrains their evolution. Development of any complex system reinforces specific dependencies while eliminating alternatives, reducing the diversity that affords adaptive degrees of freedom: the more developed a system is, the less potential it has to change its way of being. Hence, in the evolution of life most species become extinct. This perspective reveals the limits that complexity places on knowledge and technology, bringing to light our hubristically dysfunctional relationship with the natural world and increasingly tenuous connection to reality. The inescapable conclusion is that, barring a cultural metamorphosis that breaks free of deeply entrenched mental frames that made us what we are, continued development of the Global Economy will lead inexorably to the collapse of civilization.

                            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 Jun 09, 2013 at 06:03:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Warnings that civilation is... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...on a collision course...

                            Sounds like you want to save the "cancer."

                            What would Mothra do?

                            by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:05:12 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  To be honest (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      dov12348, lehman scott, Diane Gee

                      I see them as being complementary to a large extent as well.  But many people prefer to cling to a more one-dimensional view, as you can easily see by turning on C-Span at any given moment of Congressional coverage.  

                      •  You can see them as you wish (0+ / 0-)

                        the statements I made about the differences between analytic models and synthetic models have rigorous expression in category theory and these results are myriad in the literature.  Why do  you use the title "Dr"?  It is a bit misleading when you discuss at the level you do.

                        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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:34:02 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  I use the title Dr because I have a doctorate in (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          lehman scott, Diane Gee

                          one of those reductionist sciences you so dislike.  I'm not a philosopher, nor have I spent any time studying the specific literature you have, because I don't use it on a day to day basis.  My work does not require me to read up on 'category theory', and I did not make any refutation about your statement on analytic and synthetic models, just a very general and vague statement on how I tend to use systems and reductionist viewpoints for my day to day needs.

                          If I had realized you only were looking for scholars in your chosen topic of content to comment, I wouldn't have bothered to say anything, and since you don't seem to approve of anything I've said to date, I'll stop polluting your comment thread.

                        •  Unnecessarily nasty comment. (0+ / 0-)

                          What would Mothra do?

                          by dov12348 on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:06:01 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

              •  The reductionist dogma (0+ / 0-)

                I challenge you to use physiology and anatomy to create a living cell.  Sorry  you have it wrong.

                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 Jun 09, 2013 at 04:37:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  And, in the end, putting this in context of the (6+ / 0-)

    current political climate and controversies, I don't think there is a thing we can do about the NSA collecting all this data.  

    The system will keep moving on and this will become the new normal whether we agree or not.  And so it goes.

    •  Ah but the point is that all that data is useless (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SpecialKinFlag, BlueDragon

      The whole point to the failure of reductionism is just that!  A workable world view does not need that.  That is a sign of impotence not power!

      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 Jun 09, 2013 at 03:50:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ah.... (4+ / 0-)

        I need to think outside my box a bit I guess.

        Even after what we might call a paradigm change, we will still create a similar world based on this small view of our environment.

        A revolution here, a coup there, and then we resettle right back into our conflictual relationships based on some perceived differences between our own people or those of another nation.

        I often wonder why most Americans don't see the value in bringing our troops home, disbanding the military and using all those resources for peace and prosperity.  I would also include a healthy earth in my definition of prosperity.  Plenty to keep us occupied with there.
         

  •  perhaps . . . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diane Gee

    as self-importance is an inherent folly of youth so also is pondering impermanence and unimportance an indulgence of age.

    There is no "system". . . there is only the ineffable "what is", and we have no significance within it.  We "reduce" and seek to "understand" (the whole idea of "system" is itself a reduction) in order that we may in some small way manipulate, even control, some tiny portion of the space surrounding us, and adjust ourselves (as best we can) to what we cannot control.

    Caring is a game we play with ourselves . . . eventually we grow weary of it and leave . . .

    Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

    by Deward Hastings on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:47:32 PM PDT

  •  Others Have Observed That Contemporary Large (9+ / 0-)

    corporations seem to select for greedy, sociopathic leadership. It's not an unreasonable thing to suspect of other types of world-scale leadership.

    I don't think that means we can't understand how the system could be dramatically improved, because we have past examples in our history books. As a general principle, progressive brakes were applied to all sorts of extremes of accumulation and abuse for both business and individuals. Then today's and the first Gilded Age's type of leadership was not chosen. There ceased to be a value in that kind of leadership and behavior, for the half century we kept the lid on economic extremism.

    Would a return to New Deal - Great Society limits on extreme behavior and power suffice?

    It might not. Climate change alone, since the planet cannot accept a single new net molecule of atmospheric carbon without additional harm to life and property, calls for radical change in our society that's far beyond what our system has the practical power to effect. But maybe if the private sector's power were as moderated as it was in the best of our past, government might be able to consider climate change response.

    I think the human mind can comprehend more about some aspects of today's world than many human institutions can.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 03:55:43 PM PDT

  •  In pursuit of philosophy... (6+ / 0-)
    The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.

                                     H.P. Lovecraft "Call of Cthulhu"

    "The only valid question is suicide."

                                       Albert Camus

    ..I have attempted to collate the universe into -for want of a better term- edible portions. Some are able to integrate larger portions of knowledge, collate the pertainent data and come out with a good understanding of the subject. For me, I must take in smaller portions. For some, the universe is a 50-piece jigsaw puzzle; their intuitive understanding is such that they grasp more. For me, it's more like a 500-piece puzzle; same picture, just takes longer to get here.

    But, do those people with such facilty really "know" more? Time becomes your friend when you are forced to slow down. You are able to take in the reasoning, the logic, and appreciate the beauty. I feel there are those who are VERY intelligent and also able to grasp large pieces of data, but who miss the emotional connection to the satisfaction of "getting it."

    I see the Corporatists of our time and indeed those of the past who have failed to see the ramifications of their decisions on the world at large. They may be "smart" enough to see a 500 piece puzzle as a 50-piece, but not connecting to their own humanity does indeed make them and by logical extension -us- a cancer, a vermin, a virus, a bacteria that would unthinkingly eat the entire contents of the agar dish before poisoning itself out of existence.

    We come from the very matrix of the universe. We indeed come from dust and will return to same. We cannot seperate ourselves from the universe. A spark of creation is in every living thing. But even with all that, we are unable to see everything. Our 500 or 5000 or 5 billion-piece puzzles are only scraps of the fabric of the universe. Our brains may be the most complex machine known to us, but that doesn't make it infinite. Only our egos do that.

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:08:52 PM PDT

  •  You guys always fool me with that abbreviation. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, Odysseus

    I always think 'Association for Computing Machinery', which was the weirdly named computer trade group.

  •  This Diary Re-Posted To: (9+ / 0-)

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:12:06 PM PDT

  •  As someone who has had training as both a (6+ / 0-)

    'reductionist' scientist and a systems analyst, I'd like to suggest that systems thinking is being introduced more and more into many scientific fields.  The world is a complex place, especially when you get into biology and mental activity, and while you can address pieces in a reductionist fashion, you're pretty much forced into a systemic consideration to achieve any sort of overarching viewpoint.

  •  Unfortunately, due to the physical limits of our (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, CanisMaximus

    minds imposed by evolutionary history, it would appear that we will be stuck with reductionism for quite a while and are just going to have to learn to live with it:

    How many variables can humans process?
    Halford GS, Baker R, McCredden JE, Bain JD.

    Abstract

    The conceptual complexity of problems was manipulated to probe the limits of human information processing capacity. Participants were asked to interpret graphically displayed statistical interactions. In such problems, all independent variables need to be considered together, so that decomposition into smaller subtasks is constrained, and thus the order of the interaction directly determines conceptual complexity. As the order of the interaction increases, the number of variables increases. Results showed a significant decline in accuracy and speed of solution from three-way to four-way interactions. Furthermore, performance on a five-way interaction was at chance level. These findings suggest that a structure defined on four variables is at the limit of human processing capacity.

    A related article.

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 04:30:37 PM PDT

    •  This totally misses the point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lehman scott

      There is a vast lterature showing that by dealing with hierarchical systems and function rather than parts we can do much better.

      We have not been "stuck with reductioniswm" for at least 50 yeaqrs.  The new paradigm is here , alive and well.

      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 Jun 09, 2013 at 04:41:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wasn't the entire reason behind the (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky, Kombema, Odysseus

        emergence and efficacy of Systems Theory that we are unable to grasp highly complex systems containing large numbers of elements and their associated relationships?  Holism is a conceptual tool that we have to use to overcome our cognitive limitations.   That's why we rely on computational tools like Monte Carlo simulations, Sensitivity Analyses, and Neural Networks when trying to construct useful models of highly complex systems.  I think it's important to remember, however, that one cannot formulate such cognitive surrogates until one first deconstructs the systems to the best of our abilities to identify the variables and relationships at work before we reassemble them into our predictive models.  At least that's my understanding of how the process works.

        Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

        by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:09:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yes.............................n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lehman scott

          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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:17:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So would you agree that Reductionism is to (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            don mikulecky

            Systems Theory as Arithmetic is to Integral Calculus?

            Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

            by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:32:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  good point! Now the real distinction is between (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lehman scott

              analytical mathematics (calculus, diff eq etc) and algebra (topology, category theory, and other relational forms of math).  Reductionists are fed analytical math.  The real meat is in the algebras.

              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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:38:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What do you mean by "real meat" as it relates (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                don mikulecky

                to navigating our current dilemmas?

                Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:52:52 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  we have a book spelling it out (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lehman scott

                  if you are interested

                  In short (for a book's worth)  relational ideas put focus on a system in terms of what it does not what its pieces 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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:59:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Isn't that just basically what Systems Theory is? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    don mikulecky, Diane Gee
                    relational ideas put focus on a system in terms of what it does not what its pieces are
                    How does your new paradigm/epistemology differ from standard Systems Theory and what does it add that might help us in managing our current conundrums where existing ST does not?

                    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                    by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:34:30 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  our version yes...there are many (0+ / 0-)

                      reductionists use the word in an entirely different way

                      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 Jun 09, 2013 at 06:39:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  So then you are saying that (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Diane Gee

                        essentially there is nothing substantively new in your "new" paradigm/epistemology?

                        Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                        by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:59:28 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  no I am not. It is new enough to Warrant (0+ / 0-)

                          these comments from Dorion Sagan (Carl's son)

                          Global insanity is a unique blend of complexity theory, nonequilibrium thermodynamics theory and political analysis that examines humanity's current situation on this overcrowded planet. It is the only book I know of that combines an ecological-complexity analysis with progressive politics and heart. It also avails itself of Stanley Salthe's hierarchy theory. Most of all, it argues, in sometimes dense prose, for the importance of the overlooked work of the late mathematical biologist, Robert Rosen. The authors are very well versed in complexity theory, and are pulling out all the stops they know to give us a realistic appraisal of, necessary for any thinking solution to, our current global situation. However, I remain skeptical that the global problems (for humans, as the authors correctly stress, not for life as a whole) will yield to human intellection. There are more than twice as many people on the planet now as when I was born. At this rate of increase we get quadrillions in a few centuries. Here I would side with Spinoza and Nietzsche. Spinoza in the sense that knowledge is valuable for its own sake; as G. E. Hutchinson said a theory can be like an artwork or religion, providing a numinous experience. With Nietzsche in the sense that rationality is not the iceberg but the tip. Human overpopulation in its agricultural phase was accompanied by the organic metaphor; indeed, over the history of humanity it has been much more common to look at life animistically or as an organism than mechanically. Rosen's Godel-like analysis, that life is not "computable," and that it can, counter-Aristotle, be it's own cause, flouts the mechanical worldview that has metastasized into global technology, scientism, and a creeping postmodern globalist totalitarianism. His analysis seems to be among the most rigorous theoretical palliatives to the global human problem, and adopting it, and further investigating it, as Coffman and Mikulecky do here, would seem to be (pace Hutchinson) valuable in itself. Rosen's seems to be a mathematically grounded deconstruction of mechanomorphic arrogance. But the problem remains one of resource extraction connected to overpopulation, as the authors also suggest. For me the key datum is that non-"self=conscious" (to use the authors' term) life has solved overpopulation problems many times, e.g., by bioregulatory aging pathways (e.g., apoptosis, telomerase rationing, thymic involution, glucose-mediated aging) but with no thinking whatsoever. Organisms that grow too fast risk collapse by drought, starvation, and epidemic. Thermodynamic dissolution can be avoided (as multiple means of DNA repair, healing, immunity, indeed reproduction, show) but seems to have been recruited for population control via senescence but by life's open systems. So we have a situation in which "consciousness" is part of the problem but not necessarily the solution, at least in the sense of saving rabbit-reproducing humanity from its tendency toward becoming a "mammalian weed," as the late Lynn Margulis tagged us. Lynn also pointed to Reg Morrison's analysis in The Spirit in the Gene: Humanity's Proud Illusion and the Laws of Nature (Comstock Book). There Morrison identifies our symbol-making abilities as the main reason we have overpopulated the planet, ushering in the "Anthropocene" (a term I don't like, as it mistakenly suggests that people have somehow altered the planet with a magnitude unknown in other organisms; this is certainly not true compared say, to the cyanobacteria, organisms which introduced oxygen gas to the atmosphere in a massive scale that blows away our dangerous but comparatively insignificant introduction of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere--and no geological age was named after them: consider the source). We have delusions of grandeur, either considering ourselves made in the image of the creator of the universe, or thinking that we are uniquely dangerous to the planet. The truth appears to be that we are dangerous to many species not the least of which is ourselves. Consciousness got us into this overpopulational global polluting lobster trap but may not get us out. Needless to say, the warmongering ruling classes with disdain for the masses may think their Machiavellian-Malthusian-Straussian perspective and survivalist preparations will allow them to cull their way out of the mess, perhaps repopulating the world after an engineered die-off from their caves with their "republican" genes. But if humans are unique in their semiosis, their phenomenology is more plebian, and the actual "organics" (I won't say mechanics) of population control and ecological stability have never before been mastered by a thinking species, although solutions have arisen from evolution's crucible by other means. Thus this book is a high-level wake-up call for our species, and helps clear the air of delusive thinking, but does not, like so many books, pretend to tell us how to "save the Earth" (i.e., ourselves). Perhaps it is impossible, but if it is possible, it seems likely that the sort of analysis offered up here is a step in the right direction. (Disclaimer: I have corresponded with Don Mikulecky and he has written a review of a book I edited, Lynn Margulis: The Life and Legacy of a Scientific Rebel

                          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 Jun 09, 2013 at 08:22:18 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  But don, you just said "yes" in answer to... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...my question:

                            Isn't that just basically what Systems Theory is?
                            If now you're saying "no", then please allow me to repeat the next part of my reply that was the second question:
                            How does your new paradigm/epistemology differ from standard Systems Theory and what does it add that might help us in managing our current conundrums where existing ST does not?
                            While I admire your earnestness in seeking new methodologies (I am on a similar quest myself) I feel there is something fundamental here that you are trying to communicate that I am just not getting, for whatever reason.

                            Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                            by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 08:49:49 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you lost me.....sorry (0+ / 0-)

                            I do not understand your problem.  Can you restate it?

                            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 Jun 10, 2013 at 07:26:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That you first answered yes to my previous (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Diane Gee

                            question and then apparently changed your mind and answered no.  Please reread our exchanges up-thread again.

                            Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                            by lehman scott on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 07:43:06 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Is it not clear that we and our reviewers (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            lehman scott

                            think that it is indeed new and a big step toward solving the problem created by reductionist thouight?  I don't know how to say it more clearly.

                            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 Jun 10, 2013 at 07:50:29 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  But how exactly is your (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Diane Gee

                            new paradigm/epistemology different than standard systems theory and what exactly does it have to offer us in managing our current dilemmas that existing systems theory does not and/or cannot?  That is what I am genuinely curious about, don.

                            Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

                            by lehman scott on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 08:10:03 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

      •  When think of these subjects... (3+ / 0-)

        ...I'm reminded of what I believe to be mankind's greatest feat of engineering: Apollo.

        We had "systems within systems" ad naseaum.

        Reductionism at it's finest.

        But it was the over-arching vision -an emotional drive- to see a man on the moon which drove Werner Von Braun to "see through" the problems and "know" it was possible.

        I don't believe we could have done it without his belief in himself.

        "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

        by CanisMaximus on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:22:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And unfortunately that will not save us...n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CanisMaximus

          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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:26:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As far as that goes... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lehman scott, Diane Gee

            ...One, who is "us?" If "us" is mankind, you're correct. But then, nothing, absolutely nothing will prevent the "biblical-scale" natural catastrophes, famines, and worst and the most important thing, diminishing potable water.

            Without potable water, there is nothing. Prove me wrong.

            There is already concern growing in the Tibetan Plateau that the glaciers are diminishing so quickly and the water melted increasing each year, Himalaya Tsunami are a growing concern.

            But think about what happens when the primary water source to feed about half of the world's population dries up? Five great rivers rise there. China, India, Pakistan... they will probably exchange nukes over the remainig supplies.

            Game over.

            "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

            by CanisMaximus on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:48:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The picture is indeed quite grim (3+ / 0-)

              when one contemplates the options for Asia as the seemingly inexorable march towards the disappearance of their water sources accelerates...

              Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

              by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:10:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I tell everybody. (6+ / 0-)

                I give the same advice in every comment I make about the environment.

                Nothing else matters at this point more than present and future supplies of potable water.

                Nothing. Prove me wrong.

                Because no country on earth is actually making any meaningful change towards reducing co2 and other "greenhouse gasses."  Entire aquifers upon which most of our agriculture from the midwest to the southwest depends is going bye-bye. If mankind fell off the face of the planet tonight, the temperature would continue to rise for at least 50 years.

                Station your genetic legacy in a place where there will be potable water for at least the next fifty years. The possibility for agriculture woulkd be second consideration. But again, without consistent availability of potable water, you can have the best soil in the world, but....

                "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

                by CanisMaximus on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:26:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  and all our forecasts were too (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lehman scott, northsylvania

                  conservative...it is coming much quicker than even the best pundits foresaw

                  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 Jun 09, 2013 at 06:30:02 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Oh HELL yes... (4+ / 0-)

                    ...I get the sense you're as old as I am, hence we have been voices in the wilderness since the 70's.

                    It's appalling how we have betrayed the planet, but especially ourselves. We're done, I feel. Down to a few million in pockets of wealth in 200 years.

                    Talk about your different paradigm.

                    Until then, the political shifts, nationalism, ambition, and that old standby greed will ensure our destruction down to, say, 25 million world wide and not likely to change due to radiation and climate.

                    I'm being generous with that assessment.

                    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

                    by CanisMaximus on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:43:59 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  lol Forgive the... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lehman scott

                  ....overly-redundant profligate periphrastic last sentence...

                  Yet another unfinished thought....

                  "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

                  by CanisMaximus on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:35:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  where would you suggest stationing our (0+ / 0-)

                  genetic legacy? any predictions of where the remaining potable water will be?

                  •  I've been living in Alaska for 33 years. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    don mikulecky, UnaSpenser

                    I've bought my daughter and her two girls a house. It's on a well. (not great water, but...) Alaska is predicted to become temperate and existing agriculture will move from root vegetables, cabbages, barley, etc (cold-tolerant crops) to more grains and animal husbandry.

                    This will probably happen in the next fifty years. The remaining glaciers will melt, but we will one of the few places on earth which will have seasonal rains by dint of location and geography. The Alaska range may even keep it's galciers.

                    But if you can get them into Canada -do it! The U.S. is about to become a very mean place. Even Alaska.  Canadiens will be willing to absorb the best and brighter of us, at least at first.

                    Good luck.

                    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

                    by CanisMaximus on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 07:37:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I agree and think humanity's greatest successes (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat

          have always begun with such visionaries, from the first primate that fashioned the first stone tool and on from there...

          Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

          by lehman scott on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:50:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing groundbreaking here.... (4+ / 0-)

    Anyone remotely awake knows nothing happens in a vacuum, and that reality can not be reduce to parts... its as much a system as the ecosystem we are destroying.

    I, too, have problems with Marx, who thought the "peasants" living ecologically and sustainably had to be brought into mass production.  His system is all about production.

    We have to develop a new set of values based on sustainability and LESS consumption. We are part of a system as top predators, but have forgotten that we are animals inside it.

    There is no one answer to ending Capitalism, but at least one part of that answer is realizing that our system we call the economy is not a real thing - it is an illusion we have created out of consensus, illusory delusional consensus.

    As a species, we need food, shelter, and water.  Those needs can be easily met without having to wage-slave to make it occur.  

    I have more to say, but dinner is ready and I have a son to feed.  Thanks for writing.

    ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

    by Diane Gee on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 05:52:10 PM PDT

    •  thanks for the put down...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 Jun 09, 2013 at 05:56:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It wasn't a put down!!! (3+ / 0-)

        I thought you were feeling like the only one out there feeling like this and was letting you know I have thought along the same lines for ages.

        Did you read the rest of the comment?

        I was agreeing with you

        ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

        by Diane Gee on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 06:00:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think our work is groundbreaking (0+ / 0-)

          That's why we wrote a book.  Having thoughts is one thing.  Doing the research and writing is another.  I still see the title of your comment as a put down.

          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 Jun 09, 2013 at 06:10:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Touchy little thing (0+ / 0-)

            aren't you?  

            Ok, you have your delusions of granduer, far be it from me to not worship you.  LOL.  

            The article was written rather hostilely, most of your comments from the whiny 2nd and 3rd ones you made were hostile.  Good luck in getting people to read it when your approach is petulant dickishness.

            ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

            by Diane Gee on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 07:16:06 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  does your definition of reductionism resemble (4+ / 0-)

    that of essentialism

    Essentialism is the view that, for any specific entity (such as an animal, a group of people, a physical object, a concept), there is a set of attributes which are necessary to its identity and function. In Western thought the concept is found as early as the work of Plato and Aristotle: Platonic idealism is the earliest known theory of how all known things and concepts have an essential reality behind them (an "Idea" or "Form"), an essence that makes those things and concepts what they are. Aristotle's Categories proposes that all objects are the objects they are by virtue of their substance, that the substance makes the object what it is. The essential qualities of an object, so George Lakoff summarizes Aristotle's highly influential view, are "those properties that make the thing what it is, and without which it would be not that kind of thing". This view is contrasted with non-essentialism, which states that, for any given kind of entity, there are no specific traits which entities of that kind must possess.
    Reductionism is a philosophical position which holds that a complex system is nothing but the sum of its parts, and that an account of it can be reduced to accounts of individual constituents. This can be said of objects, phenomena, explanation, theories, and meanings. Fragmentalism is an alternative term for reductionism, although fragmentalism is frequently used in a pejorative sense.
    Reductionism strongly reflects a certain perspective on causality. In a reductionist framework, phenomena that can be explained completely in terms of relations between other more fundamental phenomena, are called epiphenomena. Often there is an implication that the epiphenomenon exerts no causal agency on the fundamental phenomena that explain it.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 07:39:25 PM PDT

  •  I was not here yesterday and I am not (4+ / 0-)

    happy as an understatement to see our comrade and long-term member of this blog treated so disrespectfully. If you have a disagreement with what a comrade has written, disagree in a comradely and respectful manner. That is a basic rule of discourse in this group. I apologise to Don!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 07:36:48 AM PDT

    •  ty (0+ / 0-)

      The damage is done

      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 Jun 10, 2013 at 07:41:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Don should be the one apologizing (0+ / 0-)

      he was abusive and slanderous to me, and most of the other posters.

      ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

      by Diane Gee on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 07:59:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  you lack of credibility is showing (0+ / 0-)

        The group has admitted that this diary was handled badly by THEM.  My complaints are neither mean nor illegitimate.  You behave like a troll and aid trolls according to what the group has said what they have said.  If you have issues with this go to the source...the leaders of your group.  They also reject your behavior.

        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 Jun 10, 2013 at 08:04:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  actually not... (0+ / 0-)

          I hear your behavior of anger management and cruelty is pattern behavior, so the group admits....

          ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

          by Diane Gee on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 08:06:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But again? (0+ / 1-)
          Recommended by:
          Hidden by:
          second gen

          Perhaps this isn't the group for me, if psychotics like you are encouraged....

          ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

          by Diane Gee on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 08:07:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Don, Diane is not a troll, she is a long-standing (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lehman scott, BlueDragon

          member and vibrant contributor to the group, she is always here. So, she is not a troll. We all need to treat each other with respect, so please everyone, remember that we are comrades and if we disagree do it respectfully. We messed up, I had told Don that Geminijen, UnaSpenser and I were at Left Forum in NY. Justina volunteered to do the reposting and she did that ... so I will take the responsibility for any screw-ups with the reposting and I apologise for not being here, but as I said I was at left forum and I had told this to people in the group before I went; Geminijen set up the panel, UnaSpenser came down to see us (we have pictures) ... so please ... let's remember that we are comrades and disagree respectfully ...

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 08:17:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Troll-like behavior is what the group is about? (0+ / 0-)

            You told me Dov is a troll.  She was clearly supporting his trolling and openly badmouthing me.  Do you condone that?  We need to get this straight.  I had to block her on FB because of her name calling.  Is this what you mean by respectful disagreement?  Read her comments here.

            waaaah! n/t by Diane Gee,
            in response to my feeling used because there was no mention of this diary on the FB page as there is every other Sunday.
            you have your delusions of granduer,
            is the way we discuss differences?...there is more

            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 Jun 10, 2013 at 08:28:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  she can read Don (0+ / 1-)
              Recommended by:
              Hidden by:
              second gen

              and you are fucking batshit crazy.  I resign from this group as long as this person is in it.

              ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

              by Diane Gee on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 08:32:00 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  This is HR stuff. You are out of line (0+ / 0-)

                You need counselling.

                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 Jun 10, 2013 at 08:36:30 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Diane, please, I know that you are (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                don mikulecky, BlueDragon

                furious, but Don is not batshit crazy and that is out of line. Don, Diane is not a troll and has never been one, she is a valued member of this group and we respect and appreciate her. Again, only respectful discourse among comrades is allowed on this page. This is our one and only rule beyond that the diaries are written from an anti-capitalist perspective.

                There was no set-up, everything was supposed to be covered in terms of reposting and moderation everywhere;I told people here that Me, Geminijen and UnaSpenser were going to be at left forum. We do not set people up and would never do shit like that ... we are not liberals, we play fair and with respect. So, that is all that I am asking and if at the moment people can't do that because they are angry, please step away from the diary!  I am going for lunch as I have diabetes and need to eat!

                "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

                by NY brit expat on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 09:04:54 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It may not be PC (0+ / 0-)

                  but I call it like I see it.  It is NOT rational behavior to attack people trying to support you or ask definition of terms, which happened in every thread.

                  That said?  I will leave him to explode his little head all by himself without audience or reply.

                  He is not worth my precious time.

                  ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

                  by Diane Gee on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 09:23:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Diane, I have so appreciated your work with (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    don mikulecky, BlueDragon

                    this group. But, it's not a matter of being "PC" when it comes to calling people psychotic and bat shit crazy. that's way out of the bounds of respectful dialog.

                    I understand that you're upset about being called a troll. I will speak to that in a stand alone comment.

                    •  Remove me from this group. (0+ / 0-)

                      It is reprehensible how Don has acted to myself and others, and the molly-coddling of his poor behaviour by the admins makes this a place where I do not feel safe or valued.

                      Note that my words were in response to calling me a troll, which IS batshit crazy.  I am the furthest thing from a troll and a true activist Leftist.

                      I just hosted Cindy Sheehan and Tour De Peace in my home for 3 days.  I'm some troll?

                      Seriously?  

                      If you expect me to roll over and send only warm and fuzzy words at some abusive man posturing over me, you too are batshit crazy.  I do not feel safe here....

                      ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

                      by Diane Gee on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 11:25:28 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  & ?? (0+ / 0-)

                      There is nothing more reprehensible than watching women apologize to an abusive man for abusing other women.... I swear, despite the words we preach in precious diatribes about equality, when it comes down to it, women just allow themselves to be shit on and convinced we deserve it.

                      ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

                      by Diane Gee on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 11:30:01 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I didn't see abuse, Diane. Please be specific. (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        don mikulecky

                        And place the content you find abusive both in context of what else is happening in the diary and the timeline of events.

                        I see an interesting exchange between Don and dov, with a bit of frustration because he wants to discuss whether we think the human species is actually capable of self-correcting and saving ourselves from self-inflicted extinction.

                        His diary is an expression of despair and hopelessness. Rather than address that, everyone goes off on an academic/philosophic abstract debate. At the same time, he expressed right up front that he was feeling hurt by the group's handling of his effort. So, yes, I see frustration and increased hurt feelings as your first response to his feelings was to mock him.

                        If dov is female, I had no idea. So, I didn't read any of the threads with any thoughts of gender dynamics. don and dov seem to be doing just fine until you come into their thread. perhaps I misread that, but I read it out loud to someone else and we both were not seeing his responses as abusive, though we did see a bit of edginess.

            •  That was my fault (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              don mikulecky

              and I apologise profusely. I was having family issues and took my eye off the ball. No excuses.

              You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

              by northsylvania on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 11:48:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Stuff happens! I hope the family thing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                northsylvania

                is better.

                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 Jun 10, 2013 at 12:04:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Your concern is appreciated (0+ / 0-)

                  a lot under the circumstances. Thank you for stepping up to the plate and writing. I would not have been able to contribute much as it would have been opinion not expertise, but a systemic rather than a process of playing whack-a-mole is certainly needed.

                  You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

                  by northsylvania on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 01:42:14 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Thanks...we all do what we can (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    northsylvania

                    the problems facing us and future generations are way beyond our personal things.  I hope we can keep that in mind.  meanwhile as human participants we can not neglect those around us.  That would betray the whole thing.  Thank you again.

                    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 Jun 10, 2013 at 02:53:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

  •  use of the word "troll", feelings & name-calling: (3+ / 0-)

    alright, I'm a little shocked by what I've found here in this diary. I have a few observations I'd like to share.

    TROLL
    First, I think we need to discuss how we use the word "troll."

    Per Wikipedia:

    In Internet slang, a troll (ˈtroʊl, ˈtrɒl) is someone who posts inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[2] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.
    A troll is not someone who has a difference of opinion or a compulsive need to keep arguing a point. If we find that it is destructive to the dialog to have those kinds of circular debates where no one is able to let it go and it is just becoming tense because there is no willingness to acknowledge different perspectives and leave it at that, we need a different word. And we may want to discuss a protocol for nipping it in the bud. It can be exhausting for the diarist to have to respond to that.

    The word "troll" is used as an epithet accusing someone of the lowest form of behavior and anti-intellectualism on the internet. Please, if we feel the need to use the word reserve it for speaking to trolling behavior and not call a person a troll. We can address the behavior with HRs if we feel that is what is happening. We can't undo the insult to a person's character when you name them a troll. And we destroy the dynamic of what has been a wonderful group when we lob that insult at our fellow comrades.

    The word gets overused and misapplied and leads to a lot of confusion and hurt feelings. In this case, once someone affirmed the label of "trolling" to dov's commentary, it was a short logical leap to accuse anyone supporting that commenter of trolling via "material support to a troll." I use that phrase purposefully, as this is exactly the way our government applies a "logic" to naming people terrorists. As someone who published works which included the words and images of the people on the ground in Yemen and was then informed that I could be accused of "providing material support to terrorists" since the US considered the Yemeni protesters to be Al Qaeda, I am particularly sensitive to this line of thinking. Please don't go there. If Diane did not see the commenter as a troll, but simply as persistently argumentative, she is not "supporting a troll" in her decision to defend that commenter. There is absolutely no point in calling her one.

    But, I can see how things get to that point because, we're all human and we all have...

    FEELINGS
    I can't even believe I find myself compelled to write this. When someone is expressing feelings of being hurt, it serves no purpose other than hostility and divisiveness to mock them about it or deride them for it. It sets up oppositional relationships within our group. That's the fasted way to destroy a group wholesale.

    In this case, I can absolutely see how Don might have felt slighted. A significant portion of our group was mostly offline this weekend, as we're in NY at a forum and have not had meaningful screen time all weekend. We weren't here to provide comments of appreciation or support. The usual announcement on the FB page was somehow missed. I would feel hurt by that, even if I knew that it wasn't intentional. It lacks appreciation. And, once one feels that way, it is difficult to be as gracious as one might otherwise be when one's ideas are challenged. And particularly when its being done with dogged persistence. It can also be difficult to see that an ambiguous statement was not meant negatively.

    These ideas that Don is presenting are part of a body of original work by himself and a colleague. He has a lot of himself invested in it, including all the hard work of doing the research to publish a book on it. I see no reason whatsoever to be dismissive and downright hurtful. He is a human being with feelings. Have a little compassion.

    NAME CALLING
    Regardless of whether you agree with someone's ideas or debate style, or whether you even like person, there is no place in a reasonable discourse for ad hominem attacks. I simply can't abide them. And when those attacks go so far as to claim that someone has a psychiatric disorder, it is beyond the pale. This has nothing to do with being "PC." This is about being compassionate and reasonable and taking care of one another. If it seems like someone is crossing over the line of being any of those things to someone else, reach out and ask if they are okay, rather than attacking them. It is unjust and makes the group unsustainable.

    If we can't rise up and be kind and caring and understanding of one another in this little group, what place do we have thinking that we offer ways of making the world more just and sustainable for all?

    •  ty this is why I used the word "troll" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UnaSpenser
      a troll (ˈtroʊl, ˈtrɒl) is someone who posts inflammatory,[1] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response
      in response to
      Touchy little thing (0+ / 0-)
      aren't you?  

      Ok, you have your delusions of granduer, far be it from me to not worship you.  LOL.  

      The article was written rather hostilely, most of your comments from the whiny 2nd and 3rd ones you made were hostile.  Good luck in getting people to read it when your approach is petulant dickishness.

      ..the smoker you drink, the player you get....

      by Diane Gee on Sun Jun 09, 2013 at 10:16:06 PM EDT

      a rose by any other name....

      If that is not the behavior of a troll aiming at discrediting a diary I guess I need a word for it.  In any case it was destructive.

      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 Jun 10, 2013 at 11:22:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear ya. I do agree that there wasn't (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        don mikulecky

        any engaging of the actual content and a focus on attacking you, personally.

        I hadn't read all the way through all the comment threads when I posted that comment. I'm very wary of getting into the "troll" accusations. Once we go there, there is no return to constructive dialogue. And I think some of the threads here were so wonderful.

        I'm sorry you experienced this.

        •  We learn from every experience...ty (0+ / 0-)

          There is a long way to go if we are going to avoid disaster in this country and this world.  This kind of misguided "struggle" is part of the problem not the solution.  As for my treatment of women I am the first to admit to being male and unable to recover.  However I do have a long history of working closely with women and trying hard to be aware of my innate maleness.  Therefore Dianne is using a straw woman here.  I would have responded to her the same way had she been male.  That was a very cheap shot.

          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 Jun 10, 2013 at 11:45:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  getting back to the subject at hand.... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lehman scott

    for me, the driving question is "if we do want our species to survive, what do we need to do? how, given the deeply ingrained mindsets, do we break through to a critical mass of people and activate a change of course?"

    I have a child. I have a vested interested in having the species figure out how to sustain itself by behaving in a way which sustains the ecosystems we need. I can't simply remain in despair, I need to try to do anything I can think of. I'm constantly seeking new ideas. So, if people have them, please share!

    •  Whatever idea is going to work on the mass scale (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky

      needed is going to have to be, at a minimum, something that's totally new and has never been attempted or proposed before.  It must be reducible to a simple meme that is easily communicated and possess a malleability which, where needed, permits its independence from existing memes that are clearly not working (see slides p. 22 and ff. in particular).  And most importantly, it must possess at its core a vision of the future which is inherently optimistic, achievable, practical, and able to be acted upon by every citizen in some real fashion, no matter how substantive those actions might or might not be.  It must motivate people and inspire them to become active participants in the most monumental transition our species has ever undergone since the development of agriculture 10,000 years ago and the tool-making revolution 1,000,000 years before that.

      At a minimum.

      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

      by lehman scott on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 02:23:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok thhat is why we have created this web page (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lehman scott

        Call for a global moratorium

        1. We address this to all who understand that the ongoing activities and continued development of our globally industrialized and capitalized civilization pose a severe threat to our world and its inhabitants, and that catastrophic collapse of civilization and human extinction are very real and looming possibilities.

        2. Scientifically-grounded knowledge of the grave danger, while widely disseminated, has failed to produce a commensurate response. For a variety of reasons (including the gross imbalances of power created by our economic system, but perhaps more importantly the fact that the danger is simply not salient enough to elicit strong emotional response), the usual political approaches for bringing about needed change do not and cannot work.  There is little reason to believe that that political impotence can be overcome as long as the economy remains of paramount concern and business goes on as usual.

        3. Proposals for strictly science-based solutions to the complex array of global crises are grounded in the assumption that our current industrialized way of life can be perpetuated and improved via technology alone (e.g., ameliorating the energy crisis by mandating higher fuel efficiency for automobiles, or development of alternative energy sources).  However, that assumption lacks empirical support and is thus highly questionable; holding it is entirely a matter of faith, not science.  We suggest that such faith is as misplaced as any other.  (N.B.: Reality offers us only two choices: either to change drastically voluntarily, or have drastic change forced upon us by external circumstances.  There is no third choice.   Yet, there seems to be a widespread consensual belief that science will magically afford one.  While understandable, that belief is unrealistic, delusional, and destructive, and must be abandoned — a daunting step.)

        4. Accordingly, any realistic hope of avoiding global demise demands a comprehensive approach that draws at least as much from the humanities as it does from science, because science that is not constrained by humanity is a significant part of the global problem that we face.

        5. However, for that to happen we must abandon the status quo and create conditions conducive to the drastic psycho-socio-economic-cultural change that is needed.  Since this will entail major sacrifices from those who currently benefit from (and as a result have the power to control) the global economic system, the chance of implementing any kind of preconceived plan or strategy under current conditions is nil — there is simply too much entrenched opposition.  The patent insanity of that opposition — the defensive denial of a frightening, threatening reality, expressed both in the widely-held belief that fundamental change is not desirable or necessary, and in the unabated continuance of activities proven to be destructive of the biosphere — is not widely recognized. This insane defensiveness, motivated by fear and greed,  is abetted by well-meaning proposals for (typically technological) solutions, which by-and-large are rationalized by unrealistic (oversimplified, obsolete or fundamentally misconceived) models. This then is the first and perhaps biggest obstacle that must be overcome: the self-destructive psychological resistances that make the vast majority of people indifferent to, or firmly opposed to even acknowledging, the increasingly dire reality that confronts humanity.

        6. Therefore, for meaningful change to occur, a moratorium is needed that allows for the development of conditions more conducive to the accurate perception of reality. The status quo that keeps us on the path to disaster depends crucially on the supportive contributions of many kinds of experts, professionals and technicians — academics, physicians, engineers, pilots, computer scientists, etc. If sufficient numbers of these experts were to choose to curtail their contributions, society would have to pause, or at least slow down significantly, creating conditions that afford a clearer view of reality and of what needs to change.  Importantly, the experience of actual deprivations would make the looming dangers more emotionally real.  People would begin to recognize that our entrenched ways of being in the world are delusional and unhealthy, serving only to defend against needed change.

        7. The first step then in our effort to inject some semblance of sanity into the present dismal scene is to invite all interested parties to think about how to bring about such a general pause in our path to destruction, how to work toward making a space in which the needed drastic restructuring of our ways of being in the world can be realistically explored.

        8. While working toward this moratorium we can begin as a group to explore ways of exerting our influence as key contributors to bring about the needed ameliorative changes. If preconceptions can be set aside, new approaches could emerge already during the travel toward a contemplative space.

        9. Toward that end we have established this website to solicit response and input.  If you are interested in further participation please let us know by entering your name, contact information and comments in the fields below, indicating whether you would like to receive additional information and updates in the future.  We invite you to disseminate this page.

        For additional comments on our rationale please see Notes for a Global Moratorium.

        Louis S. Berger

        James A. Coffman

        Donald C. Mikulecky

        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 Jun 10, 2013 at 02:56:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks for the link, don. I am curious, how many (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          don mikulecky

          people have signed on so far and do you have any plans for publishing the list at some point to encourage others to sign on?

          Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

          by lehman scott on Mon Jun 10, 2013 at 05:45:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  yes good questions...Jim Coffman is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lehman scott

            managing the page so I don't have the numbers but there has been a steady inflow....we will do more than just publish the  names..there are pages associated for conversation, ideas, etc.  We are not going to stop.

            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 Jun 10, 2013 at 06:38:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Two related stories about the link I gave above... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      don mikulecky

      Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

      by lehman scott on Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 08:00:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If we want our species to survive... (0+ / 0-)

      ..we need to get off this rock.  Period. Point blank.  There is NO other answer that will give us longer than a couple of hundred years, tops.

      "The future of man is not one billion of us fighting over limited resources on a soon-to-be dead planet. . .I won't go back into the cave for anyone."

      by Whimsical on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 11:47:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely, Whimsical. (0+ / 0-)

        The Laws of Thermodynamics dictate that our descendants will eventually return to the horse and plow unless we begin to utilize extraterrestrial resources now.  And lose the ability to ever prevent global biosphere extinction from the inevitable extraterrestrial impactor.

        Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

        by lehman scott on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 01:32:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  the Think Globally, Act Locally paradigm might (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, lehman scott

    be of some value in getting people to engage in two of the major problems. it is a great economic stabilizer in local communities and in putting a curb in the increasing mobility of capital as it moves around the world seeking greater profits with fewer regulatory restrictions, leaving massive ecological destruction and increased human poverty in its wake. It is also a good practical model for setting up sustainable development. As the same time it puts things in a global cooperative perspective rather than an antagonistic nationalistic one. Producing and buying locally achieves many of the same goals re outsourcing yet it is a very different paradigm in its approach to social relations than "buy American' or setting up trade barriers.

    The other model that I have always found useful in adapting our social responses to our technological/scientific development is the Marxist concept of the dialectic of objective and subjective conditions and how they interact in vitro in the real world.

    •  Yes I like this..it is at the heart (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lehman scott
      the Marxist concept of the dialectic of objective and subjective conditions and how they interact in vitro in the real world.
      I have some publications about the "myth of objectivity".

      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 Tue Jun 11, 2013 at 06:09:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An addendum - it is sad that such a good diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    don mikulecky, lehman scott

    was marred by snippiness (the polite version by the main author) and downright flaming by one of our members. I'm personally going right past this (we sometimes get more invested in these personal fights than in the diary itself!). I'm attributing this to a full moon.  

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