Archive for February, 2011
I’m looking for a word to use for this new field merging art~science. Some word that will fit well into mainstream culture that describes the sort of work that comes from both the spiritual, creative, deeply philosophical/religious/moral side of human behavior as well as from the practical, analytical, technological side of humanity. A term to use when we do the more personal science that we see emerging in the world.
What happens when adults truly value and honor humanity’s children as the amazing beings that they are?
I’ve asked this question before. Unfortunately, I haven’t heard many responses. And the ones that I have heard are mostly full of unrealistic paranoia. Many people seem utterly afraid of the question. They are afraid to really see children as amazing beings. They are worried that anything other than good things will come of it, presumably because the bizarre idea that kids are “lesser beings” — incompetent, broken, and dangerous — compared to adults has been drilled into them since, well, since they were children themselves.
But if one can get past that operant conditioning of such an insane form of inferiority complex, one can really begin to consider the real possibilities of what happens when we adults learn to honestly respect children, and to recognize the awesome and unique power of their brains and bodies.
to advance child honoring as a universal ethic: a holistic code of conduct with a children-first approach to transforming society and restoring our ecosystems.
Yes, children are different from adults, and that’s important to be aware of. They offer the world not only a less prejudiced awareness of reality, but also knowledge that is far closer to the source of nature and science, as they are still very much governed by the most evolved instincts of life itself.
In other words, kids inherently know more about how to survive, grow, and be healthy than adults. Kids know more about what quality food, water, air, warmth, sunlight is, and know more about how to best express their body’s excess matter and energy. Once we realize this we can not only learn to trust, respect, and cherish human children, but we can learn invaluable information from them that will solve many of human kind’s current physical and mental health problems. Kids are kind of like the canaries in the coal mine, they are more sensitive to environmental toxins and deficiencies than adults. When kids aren’t happy and healthy, we automatically know something is very wrong with their environment, and we can look to them for solutions about what they need. This means we adults will have to become fluent in the language of young people and to really, really listen to kids for a change, as opposed to the ineffective approach of lecturing at and ordering around children.
When we look at human kids as being the most natural experts for assessing the basic human needs for physical, emotional, and intellectual health, then we will finally learn how to most effectively be the best humans possible.
And if you aren’t totally convinced yet, just consider the current Dalai Lama. As a young child, the adults around him believed that he was the most important being in the world, and treated him as such. His Holiness was given pretty much all he needed — from the basic physical requirements of life, to emotional belongingness and respect, to a world of ideas and technology (even if he did have to sneak out to play with it sometimes!) — so that he could grow into his best possible self. And because of this he become, perhaps, the most compassionate, intelligent, honest, curious, unprejudiced, and brave human being on the planet. Now, maybe he really was the reincarnated Dalai Lama and would always have become such a great human being, but I’m putting my money on the way he was raised — believing in himself, and being given nearly all any human needs to become their best self — as the primary cause of his exceptionally healthy emotional and intellectual and spiritual development.
For now that’s only a sample size of one, but it’s far more than a good enough finding to warrant many, many more long term experiments of truly honoring, cherishing, and treasuring children, and giving them only the best quality resources that they want, to see if we can indeed raise a generation of the best humans ever, don’t you agree?
Instead of filling them full of whatever random junk we have kicking around in our big box stores and such, and forcing kids to try to survive off of low quality mass market matter and energy that turns them into either mindless addicts or leads them into some other form of mental and physical illness (literally “spoiling” them), we can focus our public and private energies towards truly serving the children’s real physical, emotional, and intellectual needs as the children, themselves, most clearly desire. We can combine adult’s learned knowledge of what is actively harmful (pollution, industrial chemicals, highly processed and degraded resources, heavy things moving at high speeds, dishonesty, etc.) and helpful (fresh foods, clean air and water, comfortable shelter, factual information, etc.), with kids’ inherent knowledge of what their own bodies need for growth, to help us gain a far more effective approach to taking excellent care of us all.
It may not be easy to learn how to respect children and all of their desires and motivations as being extremely important and valuable, but it’s well worth the investment of time and energy to do so, if we want our species to not just survive, but to really thrive well in the future…
For a very long time the focus of economics has been based on Newtonian physics – of particles and quantities and linear equations. Ever since the ancient Egyptians started measuring land, defining boundaries, and counting food crops, we’ve been overwhelmed by an economy that was obsessed with the very specific details of who, what, where, and when of the various things being exchanged. It’s been an interesting experiment, to say the least!
Now that we’ve discovered quantum physics, the double slit experiment, and the understanding that what looks like particles from one way of observing things also looks like waves from another way of observing things, we know that there is a whole lot more to the big picture than mere details of measurable quantity. We now know that there is also quality, which is fuzzy, and that some of the most powerful things are very truly immeasurable and unquantifiable.
Quantum physics leads the way to an economics of things that don’t just “matter”, but that flow as well!
Quantum physics helps us know more than just who, what, where, and when, but also how awesome it all is!
In physics, we know that real things flow non-linearly. In the real multidimensional world, exchanges aren’t just quantities of particles moving back and forth from point A to point B, but also are probability waves spreading out and interacting all over three dimensional space — with some areas of highly stable concentrated energy (those “highly probable” solids), and other areas of unstable low concentrations of energy (those far “less probable” vacuums), and many other areas of stuff in between, all naturally, and probably!, occurring.
Which means that we can expand our economic attention to include all those non-linear, fuzzy, qualitative exchanges that we all normally participate in, such as random gift giving and receiving, natural body processes such as breathing, eating, and sweating, our normal motivations for learning and teaching, and the unimaginably vast forms of interspecies sharing of resources such as organic waste being turned into soil via worms and microbes making compost, and plants and animals exchanging gases in the form of breathing, and the immense power of the wind, water, sun, and molten core of the Earth. If we tried to quantify all these nearly infinite local and global exchanges of resources using the old Newtonian particle approach, we’d go insane very quickly. But when we use the more quantum wave approach to assess the general quality of our overall exchanges going on in our lives, we can easily understand how well we are doing. And because the more primitive parts of the human brain have evolved over millions of years to function quite well within the environment of the Earth, we can allow our unconscious minds — which are the experts in using our built in sensory equipment to do complex physics equations fast — to assess crucial quality of life issues such as whether the air quality is good, whether we’re getting enough sunlight, and whether our families are free enough to fully express themselves of their body’s excess matter and energy.
Since this ability to assess the quality of resource flow in our lives is naturally built into humans, as long as we consciously allow ourselves to trust our instincts, we will find that we easily and quickly start working towards increasing our quality of life in the most efficient and economical way possible. And that means spending less energy creating more health for ourselves and those we exchange resources with, from other humans, to all other Earthlings, and perhaps, even to life beyond the planet.
So… are you already consciously deciding to allow your unconscious mind take over the job of chief economist, and make the important decisions about how to let your resources flow?
One way I’ve found to test out if an idea is reasonably objective, otherwise generally known as a “fact”, is if pretty much everyone agrees with it. If there are many folks who definitely don’t agree with the idea, then the idea must be a subjective opinion, even if one “side” of the debate has mounds of evidence, collected with all sorts of scientific instruments “proving” the claim. And that’s because, from what I understand about the definition of “objective”, for an idea to be objective, it has to be more about the external object than about the experiences of the individual perceiving it. Which means that to have a truly objective explanation of anything that is real (existing in four dimensional space~time) then all of the possible different experiences of it need to be included in the description of it: top, bottom, front, back, left, right, inside, outside, past, present, and future. If someone misses or dismisses any individual subjective view of the object when defining it, then the definition will naturally be less than truly objective.
In other words, reality is everything everyone has said, and will say, about it.
Objectivity is all of the subjective views combined…
Which leads to all sorts of interesting challenges for science and those who appreciate the scientific (objective) approach to understanding reality. It means that all views are necessary and must be included for a scientific theory to be as accurate as possible.
This means no dismissing outliers. This means valuing dissenting views. This means no using tiny percentage points of difference in data results (“statistically significant”) to make overarching and overgeneralized claims without the serious qualifiers of where and when and who and how often. This means looking for ways to understand, use, and incorporate into theories all the various views from religion, politics, and even “crazy” folks and other species of all shapes and sizes and ages. This means always approaching science as being openly enthusiastic and welcoming to new ideas, anecdotes, and perspectives. (An anecdote etymologically means “data that is not yet well known” and more commonly means “data from a single source”.)
This doesn’t, however, mean taking everything everyone expresses “literally”, because what you think they mean might not be what they think they mean. :-) Which is why I believe that one of the primary goals of science will soon be coming up with a way to clarify meaning right from the start, so that we have a more universal tool for gathering data about personal experiences. That way when someone says they are in love, have seen God, are afraid of Republicans or Democrats, or enjoy lying in a meadow under blue skies and puffy clouds, we will have a more effective way to translate those expressions into a more objective view that is more about the external reality of these things that some people call love, God, meadows, skies, and clouds, than about the individual’s own internal experiences, definitions, and symbols…
In service of this more objective way to communicate and translate meaning, I offer the idea of using the basic premise of Pascal’s triangle as a way to sort physical, emotional, intellectual and intellectual experiences in a systematic way. By using the idea of first combining everything into one whole, at the top, then systematically dividing that whole into parts and then combining those parts with each other in all the different possible ways, then every possible combination of elements will eventually be included as we move down the triangle. This process gives science a way to recognize, define, and locate every single subjective viewpoint that any instrument — organic or synthetic — could ever possibly measure and report. It may not be easy to learn to translate human expressions into such a basic mathematical language, but it’s well worth working on it if we want to truly understand and explain reality in the most objective way, incorporating all of humankind’s different subjective perspectives into one grand theory of everything. And if we can successfully send humans from the Earth to the moon and back again, alive!, then I think we can successfully learn to translate human communication into a scientifically and mathematically precise language.
So, starting at the top with the universal set of “The All”, I suggest we use “negative” (-) and “positive” (+) as the way to split everything into the two categories at the next level down. (Negative and positive being purely mathematical, non-emotional, symbols designating the two different sets of things in reality.) And that means that the third level down has three possible sets of things , which we can call purely negative stuff (-), both negative and positive stuff (-+), and purely positive stuff (+). Given this process of division and recombination, what kinds of things do you think fit into the categories at the second and third levels down? Is negative “emptiness” or “matter” or “0° Kelvin” or “contraction”? Or something else? Is positive “fullness” or “energy” or “∞° Kelvin” or “expansion”? And then how do you think we should define what happens when we further divide those two sets and recombine them into three?
I’m all ears!
Rather than the terms competition and collaboration, it sometimes might be useful to use the more neutral mathematical terms division and addition. When we divide something, we are using a force that is akin to competition but is less, well, competitive sounding — division is sorting a set of things into two or more smaller, different sets, both of which are still valid and useful. For example, we sort the cycle of the Earth’s spin into day and night — it’s less of a “competition” between the day and the night, and more of a simple division of a larger thing, the cycle, into smaller sets of what happens when the sun is visible and when it’s not visible from a certain point on the planet. The same is true of the reverse process, of adding the sets of day and night into one larger set of one whole spin of the Earth — it’s not really the day and night “collaborating” as it is the day and night being combined into a single individual memetic unit.
When it comes to individual ideas, and even human individuals, it can be valuable to look for ways that it will be productive to either combine the different individuals into larger groups or to separate larger groups into smaller parts, depending on your overall goal. In other words, rather than thinking about individuals competing against each other, think about how they can be divided into smaller sets that can more effectively meet specific needs in their own unique ways. And rather than thinking about individuals collaborating, think about how they can be added together into a single larger set that is more all-encompassing.
Think about how red lights and green lights and blue lights are each extremely useful in certain situations as separate colors, while in other situations adding the three different colors together to make white light is far more useful. The behaviors of the individual light wavelengths when they are divided and when they are added are equally useful. The same is true for the behaviors of humans, and all other types of individuals too.
I’ve found that the division concept is especially useful when two individuals seem to be reasonably similar in power and strength, but have very different behaviors and stories. You can value them both by encouraging each of them to aim in their own different directions but with the overall goal being the same, as in two points on a line coming together to form a triangle, and in the same way that two people on very different points of the equator of the Earth can head in totally different directions of, say, northeast and southwest yet still both will eventually end up at the north pole, as long as they both share the same final destination.
And the addition concept can work particularly well when there are two or more different groups who you want to find common ground. You can value the differences while pointing out the similarities, in goals, so that everyone has at least some place to return to when things get stressful.
For example, science and art are two equally powerful and strong approaches to life, and both can go in their own unique directions, while both are also aiming at the end goal of a better, healthier, more interesting world. They are both divided and added together for a better organization of human society…
Years ago, as an activist, and as a way to try to help my husband and myself be more emotionally healthy, I went on a quest to find out about change, and how it can be affected. And even though I looked at all sorts of books and articles about political and personal change, I didn’t really get very far in understanding how to change people in a more positive way. That’s because the ideas being offered to me were overly complex and messy. The books I found were hundreds of pages long, with all kinds of random stories about all sorts of seemingly unrelated stuff. No one seemed to clearly understand the systems of change. They were not seeing the process as a whole, but had instead discovered a bunch of parts, and threw them at me in a big messy pile. Eventually I mostly gave up looking at the pile, and instead headed in a different direction as I renewed my quest.
That new direction, which was through spirituality, philosophy, and developmental growth research, led me to a very clear understanding of the system of change as a whole. I still don’t know everything about change, and, since I am indeed only human, I will never fully understand the patterns of the process of change, but I definitely have more than enough understanding of how to change people for me to be able to do a pretty good job of problem solving in nearly any situation that requires change.
That doesn’t mean that I always have all the resources to make the changes I’d like to make, but at least I know what I could do to solve my problems.
And I can also explain the process of change in a fairly clear way, as well. It can be summed up by the simple story of how humans changed wild and dangerous cats such as lions and tigers and panthers into the tame, gentle, and friendly companions that we have as the domestic cats in many humans’ homes and families. Humans created positive (loving) change in cats by actively offering them more regular access to some of the things all animals need to be healthy – food, water, air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express the body’s matter and energy. In other words, we changed them by offering them healthy love and compassion. We treat cats as being valuable to us, and we do our best to help them meet their needs. And because cats have the brain capacity for basic emotions, including love and belongingness, they get our message loud and clear, and change their behavior accordingly. Domestic cats treat their companion humans who love them as interspecies family, offering us love and compassion in return for our love and compassion of them.
We sometimes make change seem more complicated than that, but really, it’s that simple: love. The details of change can indeed be as complex as you want to make them — from the particular kind of food nutrients for each individual to the specific temperature and location of warmth on an individual’s body — but the overall process of positive change is indeed as simple as offering healthy love. With mammals that can be simplified into the concepts of high quality food, water, air, warmth, light, and freedom of expression. With other individuals, be they animal, vegetable, or mineral, the idea of positive change through love is similarly simple, but with the details varying for what particular inputs and outputs of solids, liquids, gases, and energy they need to be effectively “loved” (in the sense of being supported in functioning at their peak capacity and becoming their most whole), based on the general design and make-up of the individual itself. Even non-living things, such as a bicycle, can be loved in the sense of helping them get the things they need to function well, like a clean, oiled chain, periodic movement (so that they don’t get too rusty/stuck), air in the tires, and new break pads when the old ones wear down.
Which means that the first question in every problem solving situation becomes: For positive change to happen, what kind of love – the giving and receiving of solids, liquids, gases, and energy – do the individuals involved need for them to function as well as possible?
For a truly robust approach to life, and it’s unending problems, challenges, and discoveries, we can use a multi-dimensional mapping system. Many maps are quite useful just in two dimensions, and so unless we know we need more dimensions, we can start there.
My suggestion for our systems map is to use direction of movement of resources as one dimension — which I call input and output — and then let the second dimension represent the specific individual who is giving or receiving the resource – either self or other. We can start with the simplest version of this map by making it only black-or-white. This way we have only four possible destinations on our map:
1. Self input, other input – what we want
2. Self output, other input – what I can give you
3. Self input, other output – what you can give me
4. Self output, other output – what we can make together
From what I can tell, every good plan for a truly fun, rewarding, and successful trip includes visiting all four of these different landmarks.
So, for example, when you are writing a news story, or designing curriculum, or creating a business or organization you can aim for these four waypoints in your process so that you know you’re covering all the possible territory of human relationships.
And, if you want to go into more detail on your map, and ensure that you’re covering the whole diverse range of human motivations (inputs) and creations (outputs), you can add all the different basic types of input and output, allowing for specific waypoints on your map for food, water, air, warmth, light for the possible inputs, and solids, liquids, gases, and energy for the possible outputs. (This gives us 65 possible landmarks!)
With any larger project, where your “self” becomes a unique group, such as a partnerships, team, or company, and the “other” becomes the rest of the world, you will be able to have a variety of types of individuals who are interested in and skilled at getting to each different waypoint. Most projects will only be able to address some waypoints, though some projects such as governments, schools, workplaces, and homes will need to address all of the possibilities, so knowing which ones you definitely want to get to will help in designating leaders for each route.
For example, if you want to make sure that there is clean air for your team, it’s useful to know about the inputs and outputs of plants. For starters, plants are great at producing oxygen and at filtering toxins out of the air. So for your team’s (self’s) air input, you can get lots of plants to serve as the other’s gases output. The plants will also act as the other’s gas inputs for your self’s output of gases (mostly carbon dioxide). And… if you compost your self’s solid wastes output, the plant will also act as the other input for solids whenever it needs more soil, as soil is what plants eat as food inputs. And some of the plant’s solid outputs can meet your food input needs, too! And who knows what new, creative outputs your team and the plants can do together! Which means that even if you are only interested in covering the waypoints of air input for your team, by using plants as the other, you can easily cover many more waypoints, making your project more efficient and more productive at the same time. Whoo hooo!
So yeah, whether you are looking at a simple, short term project of your own, or organizing a much larger scale project, you have a map you can use to ensure that you really know, quite thoroughly, where you are heading, so that you can spend all of your resources getting there in the way that best suits your needs.
And if you want any help personalizing this more general map, I’m happy to offer my energy to you, because I think we both want you to get to someplace even better than where you are right now, right?