Racism, Empathy and Understanding

Wonderful piece on understanding, sympathy and empathy for and of fellow human beings.

EXPLORINGtheLATERAL

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This Is Water

The stars were dancing just for me“That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.

 I know that this stuff probably doesn’t sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are, of course, free to think whatever you wish. But please don’t just dismiss it as just some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death. 

The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over:

“This is water.”

“This is water.”

In 2005, author David Foster Wallace was asked to give the commencement address to the 2005 graduating class of Kenyon College. However, the resulting speech didn’t become widely known until 3 years later, after his tragic death. It is, without a doubt, some of the best life advice we’ve ever come across, and perhaps the most simple and elegant explanation of the real value of education. We made this video, built around an abridged version of the original audio recording, with the hopes that the core message of the speech could reach a wider audience who might not have otherwise been interested. However, we encourage everyone to seek out the full speech (because, in this case, the book is definitely better than the movie) ~The Glossary

*Image Credits (all work used with permission through CC license)–
“Hope for the planet” by Kevin Dooley
“The stars were dancing just for me” by Carl Jones

Defining Sustainability

“Our labor system is set up so that people must be employed in order to gain money to survive, while the actual contributions these occupations have to society are highly suspect, showing that jobs often exist just to keep people doing something in order to live and support the economic structure itself. This is a waste of human life.” ~from the video

 

 

Happiness In Sadness

Louis C.K., delivered in his talented, comedic way, illustrates the reason why his girls do not have cellphones. He makes a valid point in his philosophy that it is okay to feel alone and to just feel, to be present in loneliness, sadness, and empathy; as from this emotive dance comes happiness and gratitude. Louis C.K. points out that cellphones can disconnect human beings from being present with their feelings, from learning to empathize with other human beings. Although, humorous, his point has veracity.

Existence Is Weird

The reason why certain people turn to philosophy, why I became a philosopher, since I was a little boy, I always felt that existence as such was weird.  I mean, here we are.  Isn’t that odd? ~Alan Watts

Continual crisis, endless solutions…

EXPLORINGtheLATERAL

“A Life Of Illusion”

Sometimes I can’t help the feeling that I’m
Living a life of illusion
And oh, why can’t we let it be
And see through the hole in this wall of confusion
I just can’t help the feeling I’m
Living a life of illusion

Pow! Right between the eyes
Oh, how nature loves her little surprises
Wow! It all seems so logical now
It’s just one of her better disguises
And it comes with no warning
Nature loves her little surprises
Continual crisis

Hey, don’t you know it’s a waste of your day
Caught up in endless solutions
That have no meaning, just another hunch
Based upon jumping conclusions
Caught up in endless solutions
Backed up against a wall of confusion
Living a life of illusion

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Big Road Blues (A Look At Humanity’s Alienation through Industrialization)

With the advent of the automobile, civilization changed greatly and at great speed. Henry Ford, the first to use the assembly line technique to build his Model T cars, also created (unbeknownst to him at the time) the precursor to scientific management and the alienation of Man from his humanity. When skill and mastery were removed from work and delineated along an assembly to many people (who need not have the skill) performing the same task repetitively over many days, months, years, Man became divorced from his own sense of accomplishment, efficacy, and benefit from the fruits of his own labor. His being was reduced to numbers and algorithms, he became quantified and thus his trajectory towards a life of drudgery and misery. Rather than the life of leisure at first thought promised to civilized Man, his life became one of automation and robotification. Empty and emotionless.

This music video is an attempt to illustrate that story.

Credits (all clips are public domain or used with permission through CC license)–
Music:
“Big Road Blues” by Tommy Johnson from Internet Archive
Clips:
“American Road 2” from Prelinger Archives
“Wheels of Progress (circa 1927)” produced by U.S. Bureau of Public Roads, Department of Agriculture, Educational Film Service from Prelinger Archives
“Black Girl” by livedtap
Stock Footage filmed by NIKOtheOrb
Edited by NIKOtheOrb

Other music videos.

 

To Understand Is To Perceive Patterns

INSPIRATION:

Albert-László Barabási, author of LINKED, wants you to think about NETWORKS:

“Networks are everywhere. The brain is a network of nerve cells connected by axons, and cells themselves are networks of molecules connected by biochemical reactions. Societies, too, are networks of people linked by friendships, familial relationships and professional ties. On a larger scale, food webs and ecosystems can be represented as networks of species. And networks pervade technology: the Internet, power grids and transportation systems are but a few examples. Even the language we are using to convey these thoughts to you is a network, made up of words connected by syntactic relationships.”

‘For decades, we assumed that the components of such complex systems as the cell, the society, or the Internet are randomly wired together. In the past decade, an avalanche of research has shown that many real networks, independent of their age, function, and scope, converge to similar architectures, a universality that allowed researchers from different disciplines to embrace network theory as a common paradigm.’

Steven Johnson, author of Where Good Ideas Come From, writes about recurring patterns and liquid networks:

“Coral reefs are sometimes called “the cities of the sea”, and part of the argument is that we need to take the metaphor seriously: the reef ecosystem is so innovative because it shares some defining characteristics with actual cities. These patterns of innovation and creativity are fractal: they reappear in recognizable form as you zoom in and out, from molecule to neuron to pixel to sidewalk. Whether you’re looking at original innovations of carbon-based life, or the explosion of news tools on the web, the same shapes keep turning up… when life gets creative, it has a tendency to gravitate toward certain recurring patterns, whether those patterns are self-organizing, or whether they are deliberately crafted by human agents”

Patrick Pittman from Dumbo Feather adds:

“Put simply: cities are like ant colonies are like software is like slime molds are like evolution is like disease is like sewage systems are like poetry is like the neural pathways in our brain. Everything is connected.

“…Johnson uses ‘The Long Zoom’ to define the way he looks at the world—if you concentrate on any one level, there are patterns that you miss. When you step back and simultaneously consider, say, the sentience of a slime mold, the cultural life of downtown Manhattan and the behavior of artificially intelligent computer code, new patterns emerge.”

James Gleick, author of THE INFORMATION, has written how the cells of an organism are nodes in a richly interwoven communications network, transmitting and receiving, coding and decoding and how Evolution itself embodies an ongoing exchange of information between organism and environment.. (Its an ECO-SYSTEM, an EVOLVING NETWORK)

“If you want to understand life,” Wrote Richard Dawkins, “don’t think about vibrant, throbbing gels and oozes, think about information technology.” (AND THINK ABOUT NETWORKS!!

Geoffrey West, from The Santa Fe Institute, also believes in the pivotal role of NETWORKS:

“…Network systems can sustain life at all scales, whether intracellularly or within you and me or in ecosystems or within a city…. If you have a million citizens in a city or if you have 1014 cells in your body, they have to be networked together in some optimal way for that system to function, to adapt, to grow, to mitigate, and to be long term resilient.”

Author Paul Stammetts writes about The Mycelial Archetype: He compares the mushroom mycelium with the overlapping information-sharing systems that comprise the Internet, with the networked neurons in the brain, and with a computer model of dark matter in the universe. All share this densely intertwingled filamental structure.

An article in Reality Sandwich called Google a psychedelically informed superpowered network, a manifestation of the mycelial archetype:

“Recognizing this super-connectivity and conductivity is often accompanied by blissful mindbody states and the cognitive ecstasy of multiple “aha’s!” when the patterns in the mycelium are revealed. That Googling that has become a prime noetic technology (How can we recognize a pattern and connect more and more, faster and faster?: superconnectivity and superconductivity) mirrors the increased speed of connection of thought-forms from cannabis highs on up. The whole process is driven by desire not only for these blissful states in and of themselves, but also as the cognitive resource they represent.The devices of desire are those that connect,” because as Johnson says “CHANCE FAVORS THE CONNECTED MIND”.

*Source