A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Morning Papers

After my morning perusal of the “papers,” actually these days an electronic stroll from my local online newspaper to the exotic offerings of New York, London, New Delhi, and other points east, west, north and south; after this eclectic reading (and some listening and watching) I have come away in need of a metaphor for the state of mind obtained (though, not willingly).  The best I’ve come up with – and for which I will settle – is a person trying to repair an old spring driven watch while being set upon by irresistible distractions.  Imagine the person, magnifying loop in place (tunneling the vision to the important detail), bent to the task of delicately arranging the gears, growing a comprehension of the complexities of the timing and balance of events that move the hands to tell the time, and doing this work with bees, horse flies and grasshoppers buzzing and hopping around the table; and a large dog tugging at one leg, while various other creatures of underdetermined lethality slither in and out of close and closer proximity. 

I am by inclination and training (I suspect in response to inclination) a scientist.  Epistemological design and statistics actually thrill me: that cleverly organizing events, measuring carefully and thoughtfully, and the respectful analyses of the numbers can reveal the processes behind the events is a thing of beauty.  But I am also by inclination and practice an artist (having spent most of my life struggling to make images, both evocative and beautiful). I like my science beautiful.

I also like my news to make sense; it does not.  And so I have to write my own.  This morning I read: that some person in Pasadena is having the local Pasadena news stories written in India, “all” about Barry McCaffery, Mumbai, Obama’s advisor and cabinet picks, troubles that Scotland Yard is having with the arrest of an MP, John Travolta’s egotism (I still can’t believe that is the same person from “Welcome back, Kotter”), Thailand, will India attack Pakistan, and more. 

The human cognitive process wants to put all of its experiences together into a coherent whole – like back when we lived in a ecologically coherent world where events might be distant in both time and space but ultimately related in ways that benefited humans to know about.  Its like seeing the teeth on the timing wheel of the watch and realizing that they look like the spines on the grasshopper legs or thinking that Travolta’s egotism might have something to do with McCaffery’s egotism.  But this just starts to get crazy and crazier making.  

It is no wonder that so many people who write this stuff are nuts. Even if you try to be thoughtful, honest and deeply insightful; how can you be when the information you are trying to process is stirring your brain like a chemical lobotomy? 

Ok, now I feel better, but I still want it all to make sense.  And deep down I know that it all does if I can fight through the craziness long enough to see it

Friday, November 28, 2008

Clugston’s Question – essay two

(essay one, essay three, essay four )

I think that odds are very long that, as a species, there is a “we” that can stop or even slow down the exponential pattern of our changes and the ecological devastation that will result.  But that said, I can ‘imagine’ a dramatic reconnection with reality though the agency of our own body’s Living Order connections if a design of Story can be formed and spread.  The powers of the Consciousness System of Order (CSO) have brought us to this pass and the powers of the CSO can reconnect us to the biophysical reality.  It is worth a try.

The way I see it, the present construction of living arrangements in the biosphere face 2 major dangers: (1) rapid (in evolutionary/geological time reference) changes in climate and (2) disrupting chemical and structural contributions to fragile biophysical systems originating from human activity.  Since the natural sources of rapid climate change are almost completely beyond our influence and tend to be unpredictable, the second danger is what should concern us.  To concretize the abstract: we face super-volcanoes, asteroids and human intervention into biophysical systems.  The first two are certain to happen on a time of scale of 100s of thousands to 10s of millions of years.  The third is in process this moment and accelerating toward an increasingly dangerous climax within the next 10 to 50 years.

We are 100% powerless in the face of a super-volcano.  We are 99.99% powerless in the face of a large asteroid or comet.  But 100% powerless against something that has a .0001% probability of occurring within any 100-year period is not so bad.  But being seemingly powerless to influence our own actions, actions that are, by the largest consensus of scientists and thinkers in history, certain to drastically change the living order of the planet and create an extinction event equal to an asteroid strike is not credible.  There should be some “we” working on it. 

The obvious “solution” to the problem of using too much of the earth’s capacity as resource for our productions and toilet for our wastes is to immediately use much less, then study the capacity to determine what we can effectively use, design our various human systems within the limits defined and monitor carefully to make sure that we don’t overdo.  This is exactly the process of coming into ecological balance and has been going on every moment for nearly 4 billion years (adaptation and evolution in biological systems accomplish these things). 

Humans found a way around this Living Order process for a part of a second on the geological clock and sprang up like a time-lapse movie of a field of mushrooms and may very well die back just as quickly.  But the adaptation that facilitated this often terrible and now dangerous growth of our species and our technologies is perhaps the most magnificent arrangement of matter and energy in the universe.  It is a fully formed system of order on equal footing with the Living System of Order and the Physical System of Order as a source of its own probability structure of occurrences.  It is the CSO that has delivered the planet to this moment and there are only two possible outcomes: either humans apply the capacities of the Consciousness Order to the solution of the problems that we have created or the Living Order and Physical Order will respond massively and rearrange the table; ultimately, we have no idea what form this might take as species go extinct, as materials are released into the environment, as new disease vectors respond to changing conditions and as humans make uninhibited efforts to squeeze every last calorie out of photosynthetic product. 

We also don’t know what form the application of our practical understanding of the Consciousness Order will produce.  The elites may construct a new species concept in which they should survive – have the responsibility to survive and carry on the species.  The vast multitudes would have been a mistake that humans made over the last few thousand years and, as terrible as it may be, they would have to go (die), and quite quickly, since biospheric destruction is a function of per capita resource use.  I am confident that such plans are in consideration. 

Another option is for the “advanced” nations, meaning wealthy and holders of technological preeminence, to engage in massive programs of education for all the world’s people.  The elites in this case would give up their wealth to these projects.  Especially women would be educated in especially health matters – a proven way to put population growth under human control.   A massive redistribution of land would also be vital and the localizing of economies with foundations on local agriculture.  Everyone would have to produce, by their own efforts, some large part of their sustenance.  The goal would be to re-form a cultural Story of ecological balance as a primary forming experience of cultural life rather than the ‘human domination of the living space’ as the forming experience.  Populations would be reduced through normal death and women’s selection of birth rates (informed by a cultural Story of small families and supported by economies that do not rely on large families for work and protection especially in old age).

It would be possible in this model to rather quickly reduce the total earth use rate to below one earth and at the same time reduce the worst and most ecologically destructive aspects of poverty.  There would be great advantages to the process that could bring this about; and great difficulties, not the least of which would be absolute rejection of these ideas as deeply criminal by the short-sighted criminals who now feed off of our future.  The next essay in this series will look at more of the details. 

There is nothing inherently impossible about having a global Story of ecological balance; it would be much more reality based than our present Madness.  But there would be great resistance from those who are hardened into the present Story of the individual right to use the world in any way that makes a profit.  It could be done in about a generation with enough effort and if an element of the elite don’t sink the whole project by engineering wars and other conflicts, economic and local environmental collapses and other destructions to isolate and remove populations.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I am thankful that my ancestors removed all those pesky Indians from the land so that they could have it and I could get what is really a whole bunch of free stuff.  Some of my direct ancestors did it with their own hands, so the story goes, when they were violating some 1763 line drawn through Virginia. 

I am thankful for all those people who are working in slavery so that my shoes can cost one thousandth of my income. 

I am thankful for the oil companies for confusing me so that I don’t have to be concerned about carbon dioxide accumulations in the atmosphere. 

I am thankful for the PR people who have made al Qaeda a household name and focus for my fears – don’t know who I’d have to hate and fear without their help.

I am thankful to the media for being so fucking stupid. I don’t feel challenged or inadequate or anything when I read the paper or watch TV.

I am thankful for the media again for reducing my attention span and therefore easing my workload – I could go on for many more thankfuls, but I am so bored…to death… with this. 

So lastly, I am thankful for the Internet and for blogs so that I can publish this trash. 

Actually, Thanksgiving has always pissed me off – since I played an Indian in the 4th grade and tried to get into character.  I’ll be thankful tomorrow, thank you very much.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Clugston’s Question

(essay two, essay three, essay four)

In a brief email correspondence with Chris Clugston, a thinker and analyst doing important work in summarizing our current state, He presented this question: “One final issue to ponder--and I ponder it a lot--assuming that the mainstream possesses the capacity to grasp the significance and gravity associated with our predicament, what are the chances that we will willingly give up the lifestyles to which we have become accustomed, and to which we feel entitled, and voluntarily agree to the drastic reductions in population level and living standards required to get us to sustainable levels?”

That is the question: Even if we know within reasonable levels of certainty what is happening and the high probability outcomes, is the human species, as presently organized, capable of responding with the goals of sustaining itself and at the same time acting to strengthen the damaged ecologies upon which all life in this planet depends (primarily by leaving them alone)? 

We will certainly respond to the changing conditions: we are doing so in spades right now with wars and economic manipulations, with attempted elite hording of what seem like essential materials; with all the “normal” responses of an animal being stressed in its environment.  If this is how it is to go, then Mr. Clugston’s concern is clearly answered with a resounding, ‘NO,’ followed shortly by a planetary wailing. 

For me the question resolves into: Is the Consciousness System of Order capable of organizing human action? How has this worked in the past? And what are the conditions available today to function this possibility? 

A bit of prolog: All organisms and, to a very large extent, the human organism function in the Living System of Order.  That is, the DNA/protein nexus “judges,” stores and implements the information flow that we associate with evolution, behavior and change.  A few species, primarily of mammals and birds, very imperfectly spread some ‘change’ from nervous system to nervous system by observation, thus bypassing genetic judgment and process.  This process is still very much under the control of the Living Order.  Humans on the other hand have evolved an adaptation that completely sidesteps the DNA/protein nexus.  We “judge,” store and implement information flow in a system of order of completely different design, but just as powerful (more powerful in many ways) as the Living Order.  I call it the Consciousness System of Order and its information nexus Story.  

The Living Order is embedded in reality the way a jellyfish is embedded in the sea – it is continuous with it.  The Consciousness Order, however, began embedded in reality, but had the capacity to become self-referencing and thus able to design actions that looped away from intimate contact with the real – what we call imagining – and return again.  It is possible to imagine what “cannot happen” in the Living Order or the Physical Order, but then to actively pursue a means to make the imagined real (a human “cannot touch” a rabbit 20 feet away from him, for example).  The power that this conferred to the human species is almost unimaginable, especially since the “DNA” of this system of order was Story that could be passed from individual to individual and down generations mediated only by the rules of Story (what makes the study of linguists so interesting and important). 

The greatest “power” of the Consciousness Order, however, is not that it can give the human species great speed of action and control of reality, but that it can “overcome” reality.  By referencing its own imaginings as the basis for the next imagining, as though the previous imagining were reality itself, a consciousness constructed “reality” bubble can be formed in which communities can form complex relationships with their environment based almost entirely on illusions held by the communities as “reality.”  This design of action bypasses inhibitory (homeostatic) mechanisms and functions on positive feedback systems.  Such a community can become very powerful for several generations until “the Real reality catches up with them;” until the soil is salinated, until the wells run dry, until the slaves revolt, until the economy bubble bursts, until, until… 

Organizing idea and acting outside of reality is how we define insanity for individuals.  In this case we primarily mean community reality and so the idea is a bit compromised, but the concept is clear: consistently acting in reality is sane, consistently acting outside of reality is crazy.  But our whole human existence today (our cultures, our technology, our beliefs, our economics, our politics) is all pretty much free of The Real.  We treat reality as a negotiable item in our imaginings.  I simply call this the Madness: shorthand for the fully self-referenced cultural reality maintained in Story several degrees removed from biophysical reality.  There is no way for the individual human whose experience is only the self-referenced “reality” to know the difference, except for the fact that we, each and everyone, are also based deeply in the Living System of Order and feel its tugs every instant.  This can also drive us personally crazy. 

There.  That is my starting point for how to understand our possibilities.  The next installment will take this argument further, but for the moment my answer to the question is: I think that odds are very long that, as a species, there is a “we” that can stop or even slow down the exponential pattern of our changes and the ecological devastation that will result.  But that said, I can ‘imagine’ a dramatic reconnection with reality though the agency of our own body’s Living Order connections if a design of Story can be formed and spread.  The powers of the CSO have brought us to this pass and the powers of the CSO can reconnect us to the biophysical reality.  It is worth a try; I didn’t have anything more important to do today anyway.

More of Chris Clugston's work can be found here:

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We Have to Decide

We have to decide where we stand; even if we don’t even know that there is a decision to be made.  Everything we do supports our decisions so we should at least know what it is that we are deciding about.  If you wear alligator leather boots, then you support killing alligators for boots.  If you buy foods that are made from genetically modified plants or animals, you support the genetic modification of living things for commercial purposes.  If you drive a car, you support adding green house gases to the atmosphere, you support mining, oil drilling, corporate monopoly power and all the social disruption to which the automobile contributes.

Our best argument to deny this clear reality is that we have no choice.  I use it myself.  It is 6 miles from my house to a place I often go.  It may be cold, or may be raining, or I maybe don’t feel well, so I drive rather than ride my bike. But I do so in the certain knowledge that I am agreeing with and supporting a terrible and destructive force in the world.  One of my sons has used a bicycle as his only means of personal transportation for many years, riding in the rain and in the winter as well as on those beautiful “why would you go any other way” days.  He had decided not to have a car and so had no choice but to walk or ride.

It appears to me that the only way to limit many of the destructive things we do will require reversing the choice situation to having no option but to walk or bike, no option but to use unmodified foods, no option but to treat other living things with respect even as we continue to use them for food and materials.  But just how is it possible to construct a social and economic world with those incentives?

One part of the solution is belief.  We are a creature of belief; we design a set of imaginings that organize the events and processes of our world – and we usually think that that is how the world really is.  These beliefs can often be changed, sometimes into an opposite form, with little change in the appearance of our lives. But belief is both powerful on the one hand and very flexible on the other.  Beliefs must be changed, but that alone will not suffice.

The only way to stop people from driving cars is to not have cars.  The only way to have organic (truly organic) foods is to grow and raise food with great personal attention to its production.  The only way to “impose” the humane treatment of animals is to make the quality of animal life material in the quality of our own.  I began my growing up this way on a farm in central Ohio.  I am not Amish, but when I grew up the differences between that way of life and my own was not so remarkably great. 

Later in Florida, no not that Florida, but dirt farming Florida, we plowed with a mule.  It may seem strange to say it, but we got to know him.  The mule worked really hard, but so did the man.  The mule’s happiness mattered.  A successful farmer did not mistreat his animals.

But even this “return to the farm” will not get us to where we need to go in our present dilemmas. There is no question that if everyone – nearly everyone – had a little plot of soil that they had made fertile with their own efforts and from which they expected to produce some significant portion of their own food and essential materials like leather or wood for construction or heat, there is no question but that the world would be very different economically, socially, structurally and metaphysically. 

But this cannot be done and the reasons that it cannot be done should be a clear warning. First, there are just too many of us. There are places where a hectare (100 meters by 100 meters) would be enough for a couple of people.  In other places much more space would be required.  And many places where people presently live there is little arable land at all. 

Almost all the world’s most useful land is occupied with people, either directly – the land is being lived on – or is “owned” and used in some private way by people whose actual ’home range’ is somewhere else.  Much of the earth’s land has been damaged.  The mechanics of distributing equitably the world’s arable lands would be daunting.

About half the world’s people don’t have a clue about how to take care of themselves.  They couldn’t raise a carrot, make bunnies bred or find a wild spinach.  The “successful” half of the world would be useless in such a change; worse than useless, a burden. 

There is little social structure left that could support such changes.  It would all have to be learned the hard way. 

I don’t know this for a fact, but it is my guess that the best seeds and livestock for this kind of personal sustainability are either gone or in short supply.  How to increase amounts or rediscover them within the time frames required could be a problem.

The complete Madness of the present economic design would rather kill off billions of the earth’s people than give up its domination of the planet, partly from the Madness and partly from the total inability to imagine another way of doing things.

However, even though this cannot be done for the reasons listed, it will be done by hook or crook, and at great cost.  There really is no other way.  People will have to learn to and actually take care of themselves with their own personal energy. 

There will not be a return to the farm though, not in the little farmhouse in the field with chickens in the yard.  I can see keeping some communication technology and energy infrastructure. A new economic paradigm that used computers for “currency facilitated” barter could develop that didn’t require a completely abstracted wealth token.  Meaning could be retained in material and food rather than giving it up almost completely to numbers on a piece of paper. 

And perhaps the new beliefs of those who survive the transition might include a healthy skepticism of ease.  There are Amish who hang their chairs on the wall thinking it a sin to sit when there is work to be done.  This craziness seems a small and non-bitter price to pay to avoid the creeping changes that have led to our present situation in which one of our options is to kill off half the world’s people as a way of surviving.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Religion’s Role

This is not the time to talk about religion in a thoroughly analytical way; which means that it is exactly the time that we must do so.  It is a basic human rule: subjects that the culture makes off-limit or excessively stylized are exactly the subjects in greatest need of cold-eyed examination.  The “God” religions and the rejections of all things religious as with Christopher Hitchens seem nearly equally misguided to me.

The first thing that we need to understand is that religion and spirituality have always been a vital -- even defining -- part of human culture.  The second thing is that institutional religion -- what we usually mean when the use the word -- has taken on social/cultural designs quite different from the roles that religion and spirit have long served in human life.  The third thing is that religion has less to do with God and more to do with prescriptions for behavior.  This is easily seen in such assertions as, "if you act in that way, then you must not believe in God."  Such a statement is a condemnation of an action; the strength or nature of belief can't be known, so this is only a strong statement of the speaker’s belief that the action is wrong.

Religion is mostly about right and wrong.  Spirituality is about the feelings of attachment to the whole universe with all its powers, mysteries and possibilities.  The two need each other and humans require them both, but the confusion of the two has, for a long time, been a source of great misery.  When belief takes the form: "my feelings of purpose and attachment require that I act in this way," religion and spirit are combining in a long successful and natural way.  Of course, there are issues and adjustments to be made, but nothing like when the belief takes the form, "my feelings of purpose and attachment require that you act in this way."  This statement, too, has a long history, very often with bloodletting in it.

But if the right and wrong of specific actions could be avoided, people of all religious traditions could commune easily on the pleasures and terrors of the spiritual: life, death, meaning, hope.  Religious wars are fought over whether to “believe in” a cross or a star, not over the universal sense of the possible.

Part of the design of religion is to give great force to prescriptions of right and wrong.  By making the spiritual feelings of acceptance and value conditional on following the rules, by making the spirit a property of the particular religious institution, the ordinary person is said to only be able to obtain the pleasures and protections of the spirit by being a member of the Holy Order of the Natural True Believers.  This allows the spiritual power of the prescriptions of right and wrong to be controlled by religion, more especially institutional religion.  When spirit is absorbed by the institution and taken away from the person as an essential and personal ingredient of their life, the "church" is transformed into a political tool, first and foremost intent on its own protection as an institution and only secondarily the custodian of souls.

People of different religious traditions cannot meet on the level ground of spiritual communion when values are controlled by prescription -- the spirit starves.  In this circumstance belief must become fanatical to drown out both the questions from within and dangerous differences from without.  And true believers become more and more easily moved by the unscrupulous who are drawn to use them as a source of power.  

This has happened over and over, accompanied by great tragedy, to many religious institutions in our history, with the greatest tragedy of all being the loss of the personal spirit.  In our hundred and fifty thousand years on earth as Homo sapiens, it is the fulfillment of the personal spirit -- the feelings of purpose and attachment to other humans, to all life and to the universe itself -- that has been the vital force in human existence, not our wars or our buildings or our science.  And it is only that melding of religion as a powerful force for prescribing behavior and an independently powerful spirit that will give us a future in what are certain to be trying times ahead.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Flight of the Turtle

A turtle of truly gargantuan proportion carries the “world” on its back, swimming in an endless sea.

Smart people believed this; or at least found it sufficiently explanatory to not disbelieve it.  The world, in this case would be a flat plane or a decurved surface -- but a “flat surface” none-the-less with edges beyond which there be monsters and, of course, the turtle.

Then our world was seen to be a ball, molten metal and magma covered with a thin skin of cooled rock, flying in great, almost, circular ellipses around a star of gargantuan proportion, flying among other balls of molten rock and liquid ‘gases.’  This star around which “our” planet flies with its planetary brethren is but a minor one in the midst of many -- billions -- flying itself in no special place or way among them.  And this bit of empty space dotted by billions of stars, billions upon billions of miles apart, makes an apparent collection of stars that we call a galaxy -- but is really almost all empty space, only a little less empty than the emptiness beyond.  And these galaxies, of which there are billions, are spread almost at random throughout the universe of empty space.

It once ended here.  And so, I presumed that this universe must be on the back of an even larger turtle swimming in an even larger, more endless and more imponderable sea.

Today we now have a speculation that “our” Universe is but one bubble in a foam of universes, each one with no necessary commonality with any other: billions beyond billons of universes; a “place” where a billion to the billionth power is like the number one.  Time is part of “our” universe and need not be part of another, but if  we  use  an  analogy  with  time, we  might  say  that  in this  foam  Planck  time, 10-43 sec., and the suggested age of the universe, 13.73 billion years, would be the same moment.

And I presume that this foam is on the back of a still larger turtle, now flying, having grown beyond the endless sea and containing the endless sea in hollows on its back in which swim the other billion to the billionth power turtles and is still only a point singularity; the number one contained in a durationless moment.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Power of Humans Must Be Contained

I am writing this 3 days before election day.  One place in my thinking accepts the possibility that most of the people with influence in the election will follow the rules and that the outcome will represent the summary intentions of the electorate.  Another place in my thinking suggests that zealots insanely confident in the certainty of their “truth” will lie, steal, even kill to win (before, during or after).  All the variations of our troubles fill the void between these two extremes. 

The reasoned and unreasonable words of social, economic and political argument, however, miss the most important concern.  For all the dangers and sufferings arising from the issues that are discussed: war, healthcare, economic uncertainty and inequity, racism and the rest, ultimately we must begin to see the root cause for our dilemma; for me there is one fundamental admonition: The power of humans to act on the world must be contained.  Not following this admonition increases all of our difficulties.  I am proposing this as a general notion to be included in all of our deliberations: like washing hands before surgery or reading the instructions before trying to assemble a kit car. 

The strongest earthquakes in our experience top out at about 8 on the Richter scale, hurricanes occasionally reach Category 5 and tornadoes can attain EF-5 level.  Once every several hundred thousand years a super-volcano erupts sufficiently to change the earth’s climate for a few tens of years.  Something big from space has hit the earth in the tens of millions of years time frame, and several times over the last billion years the result has been major extinction events.  Floods, while locally consequential, are contained within boundaries, as are typical epidemic disease and parasitism.

All of these events have normal and natural limits.   A tornado is not in competition with another tornado to reach EF-6.  A flood doesn’t ‘prepare’ the lay of the land by removing retaining highlands so to have a wider area of effect.  A planet-killing 30 km asteroid only follows the invisible lines laid down by gravity and makes no attempt to maximize the impact of its investment of kinetic energy.

Human action is of a different nature.  [Please, bear with my invention of the Human Action scale (HA) as a device to aid in discussing these changes.] The early agriculturalists may have operated at the HA level 3.  The Roman Empire at an HA-7.  The “Enlightenment” raised the level to HA-9.  The Industrial Revolution shifted the paradigm from apparently arithmetic to clearly exponential with HA-12 in the 1830s, HA-24 in the 1880s and HA-144 in the 1930s.  My intuitive HA divining device is overwhelmed in the present and can’t even suggest a number, but it must be very big.  And unlike hurricanes seems not to be limited by recognizable restraints – except the draconian removal of all opportunity.

This week’s election is potentially a primary political moment.  The last eight years have represented the very worst of human action writ large in the policies of the earth’s dominate power: the most narrow minded, the most reactionary, the most selfish.  It is as though the USA were being directed by a feudal Baron from the 12th century.  And yet we must not return to normal.  The Bush years have accelerated our rush toward economic and ecological catastrophe and simply slowing down will not be enough.  I don’t know if we still have time to mitigate the effects of our actions, but we can always begin: this is truly a case of ‘better late than never.’

While there are legislative goals that can be suggested by this view, what is more important is political leadership and courage.  At present our highest ideals are built on technological “improvement,” wealth creation and some utterly unconsidered notion that we will grow and develop our way to global democratic equity.  All the evidence of the last few thousand years suggests otherwise.

Now is a moment to bring reality into the changing political and economic order; now, when other changes have prepared the mind for new possibilities. We must educate ourselves and our children; if not exactly how to get there, then where it is we need to go. We need to educate our leaders, telling where they are to lead us.  It is the big idea, held openly and held high, that creates its own paths and tools. 

These are not abstract concerns, but most importantly need to find their way into action.  The discovery, documentation and perception of true things that don’t fit into the approved and expected pattern for action should not condemn the perception to rejection, but should point to the need to change what we approve.  For example, that humans have a powerful impact on the biophysical behavior of earth systems is clearly established in the science literature, but more money and effort has been expended to deny that reality as a way to preserve unfettered growth than to explicate and respond to it by discovering ways to moderate human action.

Almost our total imagination has been devoted to increasing our HA level.  It is really is as though tornadoes were in competition with each other to reach EF-6 (500 mph winds?), EF-10 (1500 mph winds?) or EF-100 (maybe capturing solar “winds”?), all the while ignoring the destruction and reveling in the “great achievement.”

I have hopes for this election, not that it will be fair and honorable, but that it offers a possibility; that the energy and efforts of the new and forming forces will understand and take up the cause of moderating human action on the world so that my species will not be it own undoing, and that the incredible living state and the incredible consciousness state will long endure and evolve.