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Offline peter

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Civilization - really?
« on: May 02, 2012, 09:08:43 PM »
Civilization - really?

This is a rehash of a number of posts I made in 2009.
It relates to a number of recent threads here but rather than hijacking
other people's threads  I'll give it it's own space.


A Civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society or culture group characterized by dependence upon agriculture, long-distance trade, state form of government, occupational specialization, population, and class stratification.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization

The above definition is a common one for civilizations. The use of the term is  restricted to referring to humans. This limitation suggests a lower level description of "civilization" which raises some fundamental questions about the state of human consciousness.

Civilization: A group of living entities cooperating to survive by adapting the [external] natural environment to conform with their needs on a large scale as a group .

Un-civilized behavior is entities living by mostly adapting their own [internal] characteristics individually in order to survive within the natural environment.




There can be large colonies of similar sentiences that are not civilizations because they do not re-organize their environment to suit themselves [cooperatively on a large scale].


The common definition assumes that "civilized" is a superior way of life but the lower level one allows us to consider the viability of each way of life. (civilized or not)

As with anything else there are subtle nuances between these two extremes of lifestyle but simplifying the situation to black and white makes a comparison easier to understand.

There is also a deeper philosophical question embedded in such a comparison which should be considered.

Is a "civilized" sentience superior to [of greater value than] a non-civilized one?

There are 2 levels to consider.

First... An individual human can be either civilized....


or un-civilized...


Secondly... are the following to be considered "un-civilized" but sentient?







Quote
CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS

http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/personal/reading/civilization.html

By Sigmund Freud.
Translated from the German by James Stranchey. 92 pages.
New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1961.
ISBN # 0-393-30158.

Comments of Bob Corbett
April 2001

After about 30 years of time lapsed, I have returned to re-read Sigmund Freud's 1930 classic Civilization and Its Discontents. I found it much more intriguing and persuasive than I did before. Perhaps I was simply too young in my own intellectual development to appreciate some of the negativity concerning human existence which Freud forces us to face. Whatever the cause of my less than memorable first read, I am delighted that I spent last week with this work and hope to return to a few other Freud classics to see if they challenge me as strongly as this one did. I have been delving into his much earlier work, The Interpretation of Dreams, but haven't yet sat down to read it systematically cover to cover with copious note taking as I did with the Civilization work.

The two works actually make a great pair to examine together. The Interpretation focuses on the inner life and development of the individual while Civilization turns away from the individual to the development of the various cultures of the world and eventually points toward the universal world which we seem today to be moving more and more toward.

After a segue in which Freud examines (and rejects) the possibility of some "oceanic" sensibility, and in which he declares strongly that human existence has no objective and independent meaning other than what humans choose to give it, Freud turns to the main question of the book:

Is civilization a benefit or harm to human beings?

Following a long and intensive inquiry into fascinating aspects of this question Freud will not come to a conclusion. He simply leaves us with greater clarity about the question and a clear insight into his over-arching theory of psycho-analysis.

The origins of civilization are in the individual. Each of us is born into a threatening world and we seek to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Thus, on Freud's view, the birth of civilization is rooted in egoism -- each of us striving in an often hostile world, to create the greatest amount of personal happiness and avoid pain as best we can.

In order to do this we ban together with other humans to form civilization, which is much more what most of us today would regard as cultures -- ways of living in close connection to other people. Thomas Hobbes certainly makes such an argument in his LEVIATHAN, and social contract theorists to this day take up the same theme. However, their argument is to say that this union with others is in our rational interest, thus is some sort of moral duty. Freud's perspective is psychological, not philosophical and moral. He is less interested in what we should do than what we do in fact do, though he framed the questions as to whether or not we should regard civilization as a benefit or harm. This "should" however, is less a moral should than an investigation to see if this course of action is likely to lead to more or less happiness. Freud seems not to believe that his choice of happiness -- the avoidance of pain and the achievement of pleasure -- is a value. Rather, this need is implanted in us by nature in the deepest instincts with which we have evolved.

As Freud sees the evolutionary development of human beings, early people strove to survive in a difficult and harsh world where there were three distinct sources of danger:

    * danger that the external world posed and in which we had to carve our survival. This would include not only such things as floods, storms and earthquakes, but many other factors such as extreme cold, extreme heat, the danger of other non-living creatures, diseases, and such items.
    * danger that came from our weak bodies that allowed us to get sick and always, eventually, to die.
    * danger that came from other human beings.

This book is devoted to this third category alone. Freud picks up human being at a much later time in evolutionary development when in fact the first two problems have been faced and incredible progress has been made precisely because human being has entered into civilization. Civilization is a relationship among individuals in which individuals give up certain aspects of their own ego interests to join with other people in creating social institutions which address the first two dangers, and to some extent the third as well.

However, this dependence-creating union carries new dangers of its own, since the social structures of civilization demand many limits on the individual which clash with fundamental and very deep evolutionary instincts.

Thus the question of the book arises: After all, and despite all the gains civilization has made in protecting us from the dangers of the world and the weakness of our own bodies, do the demands of civilization result in a net loss of happiness for the individual? Does what the individual gives up to civilization in order to get its benefits outweigh the benefits themselves? Freud investigates this question since it is being asserted by contemporary thinkers that civilization has this negative feature and Freud believes his psycho-analytic method can offer different and newer insights into assessing the positive and negative aspects of civilization.

Freud introduces what he calls a "digression" in section IV (4th of 8 sections). Actually this digression is the ground of his entire analysis of civilization and its failures and possibilities. The digression is on the nature of love and happiness and what makes it fail. Humans are fundamentally seeking happiness, following a profound, deep, ancient and irresistible instinct. Happiness is first and foremost survival and the avoidance of pain and then the pursuit of pleasure. However, two central instincts are active in humans above all others -- the desire to be loved (quite different from the desire to love) and a strong tendency toward aggression in pursuit of these ends.

Back from this digression he argues that our first strong instinct is to join with one single other of the opposite sex in a relationship that is many faceted, providing some security, the possibility of being loved, and the possibility of having children (both to contribute to the economy of the family and the possibility of extending the human race). This two-person unit quite naturally becomes a family, and finally, in an act of aggression, bands of brothers join together to resist the tyranny of the father and the larger community is on its way.

Thus the community grows and each of us becomes deeply dependant upon it at many levels. However, in order to live together in community each of us is forced to deny some of the basic and fundamental instincts of being loved, having security and being able to act upon our aggressive desires.

What happens is that in order to make this change we unconsciously shift the nature of these desires, essentially lying to ourselves at some very deep level.

This is done by a process of sublimation, or convincing ourselves that our desires are other than they are:

Instead of wanting to be loved, we come to believe we want to love. First the beloved, and then the family and eventually all of human kind. In this love of the other we may also sublimate our aggression as a threat to the community and as acts which are inconsistent with our civilized love. And thus, in the safety for all that comes with civilization the social form of organization allows various gains to be made against the major enemies of happiness:

    * against the power and harshness of the external world. We do this by creating housing, agriculture, dams, clothing and so on.
    * against the weakness of our bodies -- at least as a delaying tactic and in order to live in health. We do this, of course, by our practices of healing.
    * against the dangers from one another by the codes of civilization.

But it is in this latter move that the danger comes. How much can human being bear to give up of these fundamental instincts? What happens if the sublimation process becomes too oppressive to these inner forces of instinct? Then we run into serious person problems and problems with civilization. The very question of the book is: is civilization demanding too much of us? Are we getting relief from some of the dangers faced by human beings only to expose ourselves to even greater dangers?

Where do these dangers come from? Ironically, the very worst (most aggressive) form for most of us is not the punishing power of civilization -- which certainly is extremely strong, but rather, from our own super-ego, a powerful censor who is ourselves at some level.

Freud argues that a strong piece of evidence that our alliance to the power of the culture (civilization) is only minimally deep is the wide spread tendency of people to be able to violate cultural rules if they are quite sure they will not in any way be caught or punished. This shows that at least in regard to those particular rules, the belief in the need of them is not very deep and not one's own.

However, the super-ego is in a privileged position. It is us, thus we cannot hide our actions from it in the same way. Since the super-ego internalizes most of society's rules it can punish us with one of the strongest punishments possible: GUILT. Guilt is the super-ego's calling our attention to our own failure to live up to what we have come to know (under the pressure and bombarding propaganda of the culture) as objective good. We then are evil or sinful. This super-ego is the harshest (and for Freud) most aggressive player in this whole story, and it is the self.

Freud is quite vague and puzzled, even contradictory about what this all means. He is convinced that civilization asks much too much, demands rules it does not need for any reasonable sense of security. He doesn't give many concrete examples but he does cite the typical cultural demands of:

    * heterosexuality
    * monogamy
    * sanctioned unions

He generally asserts that clearly civilization demands too much and this excess is likely to constitute a great deal of unhappiness in many people living in it. But, when all is said and done -- would it be better for humans to leave civilization and return to some pre-social state of nature. Probably not suspects Freud. However, neither is it at all likely that we will find a perfect balance and create a society where all will live in perfect harmony. No. This conflict between the individual's deepest instincts and the structures of any social system of civilization that we are likely to encounter will never be fully resolved. Civilization will attempt to oppress the individual into its needs and the individual will never have full happiness because of this. Some will have much more unhappiness than others, but civilization is by its fundamental nature incompatible at some levels with the individuals needs.

This is the basic argument. The book has much much more in it. Many of the side arguments are simply fascinating. To deal with each of them would make this set of comments many times the size of the exposition of the main line of argument. I won't do this here. I do, however, want to call attention to one constant theme since it is of special interest to me and in radical conflict with much of contemporary ethics.

Freud believes that one of the worst pieces of advice that society gives is to love all: Love your brother as you love yourself. Freud argues that this is not only contrary to our deepest instinct of aggression, but that it is bad practical advice. This instinct is so strong, he argues, that humans are quite limited in just how much they can control it without doing significant personal damage to their own psyches and having this fact express itself in neuroses. In an argument which would shock and repel many today in the face of all the many ethnic conflicts in the world, Freud argues that the hostility that smaller cultures have against those closest to them geographically are basically good things. They allow an outlet for some of our aggression making us more able to practice more of the benefits of civilization within our own culture. And, he argues, the harm done by these wars and hostilities are actually quite small in the larger scale of this evolutionary battle for the nature of the human being. I would imagine he would include that the economic warfare of the capitalist classes against each other and the workers (as well as the planet's ecosphere itself) would well fit into this sort of relatively useful aggression.

While I cannot champion the full burden of this view, I am extremely attracted to his notion that the attempt to act with any serious sense of love or concern for all humans is not a tenable view. Freud bitterly attacks "higher principle" ethics (I can't imagine why he allows it this seeming honorific of "higher," since he argues it is misguided in the extreme) for being utopian and paying little attention to the psychological reality of human being. It is one thing to argue for the "ought" that stretches the human into civilization and creates some of these tensions which he discusses and which I analyzed above. It is quite another to push the utopian ought far beyond this in areas where there is virtually no hope at all of achieving the end, but puts the individual into the quite unhealthy and undesirable position of having the super-ego attempting to enforce a psychologically unenforceable rule.

I tried to address this problem in the paper I wrote in 1995 on MORAL OBLIGATIONS TO DISTANT OTHERS.   I had this distinction in mind when I argued that the moral principle that the is does not imply the ought was intended only in a logical sense by the philosophers, but that it needed some notion of a psychological or existential sense as well. I've been trying to figure out how to make that case better than I did at that time and I think Freud's views will be useful in working on that in the future.

Sigmund Freud produced a phenomenal book in his look at the relationship between the individual and the society. I wouldn't presume to attack him here. Since his time even the strongest proponents of his work have modified a few of the principles of psycho-analysis which he here embraces and those may have some impact on what a modern version of this thesis would look like. On the other hand, the pressures toward conformity and especially the pressures toward globalization and universality have intensified a great deal the pressures on the individual from the demon of civilization, exacerbating the difficulties of the individual to carve out enough space for him or herself. I think Freud's reflection in the 1930s would serve us quite well at this beginning of the 21st century.

This raises the questions...

Can there be sentience without "civilization"?

Our EGO suggests to us that our 'civilized' sentience is of higher value than their 'un-civilized' sentience but is that true?

Carroll Quigley's "Tragedy and Hope" clearly demonstrates the unsustainable nature of "human civilization" . Within the history he documents every complex large scale human civilization has collapsed because of similar self destructive tendencies.

These include...

Destruction of required environment through unsustainable expansion.


Conflicts over allocation of resources.


Decadence from overindulgence.



All the above civilized destructive tendencies relate to the external manipulation of the environment in order to make their environment compatible with the desires of 'civilized' humans.


Some un-civilized humans...



and most non-human sentiences...




have learned to adapt themselves to their environment rather than to adapt their environment to themselves. IE... Birds grew wings, fish grew fins, cactus learned to conserve water, and bushmen learned to forage.

Most un-civilized sentiences (including the bushmen) have lasted far longer than any complex large scale "civilized" human society.


Is it time for "civilized" humans to consider other options?
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 11:19:39 AM by peter »

Offline RE

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2012, 09:21:53 PM »
Another one that should be up on the Blog.

RE
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Offline RE

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 01:22:31 AM »
Complicated topic Peter, and I do see you set this one up so only the Mod Squad can reply to it.  I will make a reply here as i see this question.

"Civilization" is held out as a GOOD thing in the education of most people. Civilization made it possible to organize up large societies and grow the population.  Civilization made it possible to live in nice McMansions instead of constructing nests out of brush.  But of course, MAINLY what Civilization did was allow some folks to live well at the expense of others, and at the expense of the Earth itself. So on balance to me, Civilization is NOT a good thing.

To BECOME Civilized, some group of "Civilizers" has to make some other group"Civilized".  AKA, the group being Civilized has to take on all the values of the Civilizer in order to survive.  In so doing, the newly Civilized essentially become their own Enemy, particularly in the case where becoming Civilized damages the environment in which they live.  This of course can take generations and Millenia in fact to play out,  so the mistakes are not all that apparent when first you walk down this road of becoming "Civilized".

El Gallinazo wrote that he would not choose the "Freebird" life, rather that there is some techonlogical meme that will bring Homo Sapiens to stil greater heights than a Peregrine Falcon can fly to.  I do not see that as a likely outcome of Civilization. Everything I know from History suggests to me that the more "Civilized" you are, the less FREE you are.  I value FREEDOM more than anything else, so to me theleast "Civilized" you are, the better off you are.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/VX3cbFJ3lYU" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/VX3cbFJ3lYU</a>

It may be impossible to truly Reverse Engineer our way OUT of the Civilization mes we are currently immersed in.  That would be sad, because I still think there is great value in Human Sentience.  I do not believe it to be IMPOSSIBLE though, just a very difficult project to accomplish.  Most of this we have little control over though, because it results from the emergent properties of systems, not from the individual.  So you have to accept to a certain degree that Civilization will spin down as it will, and you cannot do much about that in aggregate.

To an EXTENT though, with limits and understanding the realities here, there is still some room left for Mountain Men, some room left for Robinson Crusoe also. It is best I think to try to leave the sick society we have here and become "un-civilized again.  That will not be an easy task though under ay circumstances, and may well be impossible. However, long as you stil BREATHE, you can strive for something BETTER than what we have, and most certaily, there are better ways to live than we do now.

RE
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 01:28:36 AM by RE »
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Offline peter

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2012, 08:11:14 AM »
Sorry my intention was not to lock the topic. The article is lengthy and the forum software groaned while posting it and became unresponsive for a bit. I must have clicked somewhere I shouldn't have on a screen that wasn't visible and locked it. It is unlocked now.

I am not totally happy with the article. I refined it somewhat from the original but it still has a left curve in it that doesn't relate to the original subject and confuses the issue. The left curve is also a massive subject which deserves it's own discussion. I have a theory related to this phenomena about how greater reality is structured which is still very difficult for me to put into words. I'm not going to post this as an article yet. I may do another run through of it first.

Excellent response RE :emthup:

Our current attempt at creating civilization is doomed to failure because of a mathematical phenomena regarding complexity. As variables (individuals, choices, regulations) increase in a linear fashion (1,2,3....) the possible combinations of outcomes or interactions increase exponentially.

The excel formula to create this progression is =POWER(J2,J2)

As you can see from the table above with just 7 humans trying to cooperate and decide on a single course of action there are 823,543 possible combinations of motivations. It is the same with problems. With just 6 variables there are 46,656 possible outcomes. Put another way... 12 humans voting on a single course of action have 1 chance out of  8,916,100,448,256  of all being satisfied with the outcome.
 
Trying to control large scale anything predictably is a mathematical absurdity. The more complex a system gets, the more unpredictable it becomes at an exponential rate.

Quote
from http://www.forbes.com/sites/prospernow/2012/04/10/the-death-of-taxes-or-the-end-of-life-as-we-know-it/
Complexity is a Very-Real, Very-Destructive Disease
that Destroys Human-Based Systems

By Thomas Frey, Executive Director and Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Institute

Often time we hear about some new disease that sounds kind of phony and quickly discard it because it sounds like some made-up name for a common personality quirk. So, when I talk about the “complexity disease”, your first inclination will probably be to say “yeah right!”

But here’s the difference. Complexity is not a disease that affects humans. Complexity is a disease that affects systems. And even though it has never been labeled as such before now, it becomes a very useful frame of reference for people involved in building, operating, or managing a system. Complexity is a very-real, very-destructive disease.

Scientists and academics have been studying complexity for a couple of decades. There are numerous research centres and institutions around the world that study complexity and complex systems.

Systems come in many shapes and sizes. Large governmental systems range from air traffic control systems, to managing the power grid, to the income tax system. Local or community-based systems will include such things as water and sewer systems, parks and recreation systems, or local sales tax systems. Personal systems include everything from the sprinkler system used on the lawn, to electrical wiring in a house, to personal filing systems for books and records.

Systems are designed to solve problems. They are used to organize random efforts and channel the flow of information from beginning to end. They turn a chaotic effort into an organized, repeatable process.

As complexity increases, the cost of managing the complexity
increases at an exponential rate until the system finally collapses.

Complexity itself is neither good nor bad. On one hand, complexity is necessary because complexity means functionality. However, complex systems are created by people for use by other people. And it is the interface with people that causes the problems.

Typically, the success of an individual is directly proportional to the number of systems they employ to manage their lives. Some people are just far more adept at using systems than others.

Much like the rest of life, systems are never static. So therefore system-related complexity is never static. Systems are always evolving, always changing. With people at the heart of any complex system, there is always a propensity for adding features, adding functionality, and adding coverage to the domain of the system. This desire to complicate the complicated is what I refer to as the exponential nature of complexity.

Dr. Jacek Marczyk, founder of the complexity management company, Ontonix, estimates that the yearly global growth of complexity is around 5-6%, based on OntoSpace analysis of data collected by the CIA (World Fact Book). At this pace, he anticipates that we will reach societal danger zones around 2040-2045.

Our biggest system-related problems come into play when we try to impose highly complex systems on people with relatively low complexity tolerance levels. A good example of this is the US income tax system.

The income tax system, based on an ever-expanding code now estimated to be over 64,000 pages long, is moving further and further out of the range of people with low complexity tolerance levels, and without a serious intervention to change things, is destined for a very near-term collapse.

In a similar fashion to the “Peter Principle”, complexity that remains unchecked will grow until it reaches a natural breaking point. 
Political leaders continue to mask the underlying problems by equipping armies of people to support the current system, and using technology to better organize the complexity involved. However, more people and more technology can only lead to more complexity, hastening the demise.

In the end, the income tax system will collapse because of the heavy non-monetary toll it extracts on people, slowing competitiveness, dramatically shifting the US standing in the global marketplace. The US income tax system is a giant millstone around the neck of the American people and unleashing this noose will be the quickest way to “put our freedom to work”.

Rest assured that when the income tax system goes away that it will not mean that taxes will go away. New systems will be put into place and the most likely replacement tax will be the one that best plans for the transition. Politicians are not interested in going through periods of total chaos, so the replacement system that does the best job at working us through the transitioning process will likely prevail.

Conclusion

A recent poll by the DaVinci Institute showed that 41% of the general population does not think income tax will ever go away….even in 100 years. Many people have resigned themselves to the inevitability of the income tax system. Most grumble and complain about it feeling that the sheer inertia of this giant bureaucracy is like an unstoppable force of nature.

However, change does not happen because everyone gets together first and decides a change is going to happen. Momentum will build quickly around a single event or thought leader. When the general public senses that the end is near, an overwhelming flood of support will rapidly hasten its demise.

The income tax system is only one of many systems that will collapse in the coming years. It doesn’t mean that life as we know it will suddenly come to a screeching halt. Rather, things will change. They will change, just as they have throughout history. Our goal has to be that they change for the better.



 
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 08:47:34 AM by peter »

Offline peter

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2012, 08:34:28 AM »
The lead post has now been edited to where I am satisfied with it and will now be put up on the blog.

Offline peter

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2012, 10:37:24 PM »


Our current attempt at creating civilization is doomed to failure because of a mathematical phenomena regarding complexity. As variables (individuals, choices, regulations) increase in a linear fashion (1,2,3....) the possible combinations of outcomes or interactions increase exponentially.


I suspect the majority of people feel that getting rid of our undoubtedly corrupt leadership would solve most of our problems and we could then re-task our current infrastructure to become viable.




I highly doubt that our problems will be solved so easily because of the complexity dilemma pointed at above.

The same phenomena guarantees TPTB will not succeed in instituting the NWO onto the existing world. The current  complexity is such that a constant stream of unpredictable failures will keep occurring until one brings the whole shebang down. Perhaps they understand this and that is why they are planning a large die-off. They need to reduce the complexity of the situation.


Nature has an enormous amount of detail but it remains viable because it is not dependent on complex oversight infrastructure to keep a balance among the individual parts. The law of the jungle is harsh but it maintains balance without need for oversight.


Nature works on a one on one individual responsibility/consequences unregulated process. Individuals either figure out what it takes to survive or they don't [survive]. A small group of people working cooperatively together stand a reasonable chance of not stepping on each others toes while coexisting.

Put a large group of people together in tight proximity to each other in an urban center it becomes impossible not to step on each others toes without many rules and regulations that get exponentially more complex while trying to cope with the constantly growing unavoidable unexpected wrinkles that complexity theory shows are impossible to predict within massive interactions. The rules become evermore bothersome and costly to implement until the whole collapses because the cost of keeping it together is too great.


Chris' article, "Creating Community in the Modern World"  mentions open source programming as an alternative to corporate profit motive oriented programming. As I know a little about this subject from personal experience I would like to use the programming example to point out how bad our dilemma is.



My programming days were mostly pre-windows. I wrote mostly business oriented software that regularly needed to calculate financial data based on dates and times. Anyone who has been a data clerk knows how frustrating it is to constantly enter dates into a variety of different formatted fields. It was even more frustrating for the programmer to validate the dates inputed before there were functions available to do that for you.

I decided it would make life much easier for everyone if I wrote a popup calendar routine where all the data entry person had to do was point at a date while easily moving around in a calendar. They could only point at valid dates so the bad date entry checking would also go away. I had to write everything from scratch including the screen routines and date calculation code for aging transactions. Eventually about 11,000 lines of code did everything I wanted most of the time. It was cranky as hell and slow on that generation of computers so I kept poking away at it and improving it. It took me about a year of significant time when I wasn't busy with other stuff, but believe it or not I got it down to 93 lines of code that did even more while being rock solid and fast.

Taking the time to simplify is what is missing in our world today. Time is money today and instead of fixing problems which takes time we heap fast workaround, on top of fast workaround, on top of fast workaround, and subsequently create a horrendously complex unreliable piece of crap.

Building in complexity that only you understand also  offers some job security.


The current generation of programmers are hamstrung from the git go because the tools and environments they use are built on top of overly complex and buggy work done by earlier programmers. It is like building a house on a rotten foundation.

Corporations turned producing unreliable products into a profit center instead of a liability, once they realized broken things meant return customers. Timing when things break became a fine art.


We need to start over again from the ground up.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 10:42:58 PM by peter »

Offline RE

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2012, 11:26:55 PM »
Quote from: Peter
I suspect the majority of people feel that getting rid of our undoubtedly corrupt leadership would solve most of our problems and we could then re-task our current infrastructure to become viable.

Unfortunately,  I think this is true.  What most people do not understand is that sending the Leadership to the Great Beyond is not good enough.  You have to exterminate all the apparatchiks ALSO.  Fixing this problem cannot be done with just a few Dead People at the very TOP of the game, all the Middle Managers have to be exterminated ALSO.  Its going to take a LOT of Dead People to fix this problem.  I SEE Dead People.



Only the Inquisition can resolve this, because NOBODY expects a Spanish Inqusition.



RE
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Offline el Gallinazo

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 01:59:37 PM »
Quote
  El Gallinazo wrote that he would not choose the "Freebird" life, rather that there is some technological meme that will bring Homo Sapiens to still greater heights than a Peregrine Falcon can fly to.  I do not see that as a likely outcome of Civilization.

RE, I don't recall writing anything of the sort.  Unless you can demonstrate that you can physically transform yourself into a peregrine falcon rather than harbor fantasies of such, the point is moot anyway.  Perhaps your recent episode of dental tourism to Mexico was your first step in this transformation :-)

What I remember writing is that humans are by nature tool creating beings.  I think that eventual technological advancement is built into the DNA of the human species as well as related humanoid and hominoid beings.  As to whether most hunter gatherer societies produce happier and more balanced individuals than "civilizations" of city states and larger, I would have to agree. Do hunter gatherer societies put less stress on mother earth?  Once again yes.  I also believe that lives in H-G societies are very strong karmic lesions and develop spiritual and what passes for paranormal powers while still in the physical vehicle.  I read from a reputable source that there was a H-G society living on the coast of  Indonesia.  Before the great Tsunami hit, they all fled inland to the mountain.  Only one of the group died and he was a cripple.  By the time they realized that he had been left behind, it was too late.  Down the coast a piece was a village with electricity, pick-ups, and probably cell phones.  They were wiped out to the person.  Furthermore, I have read that the indigenous Australians meet frequently to discuss whether a member of the group is having a hard time and what they could do about it.  One example was a woman wasn't getting laid frequently enough and had become morose so the men took a group corrective action :-) 

OTOH, everything with the H-G is not always peaches and cream.  I am no expert on the matter to say the least, but extra tribal mortal warfare seems to be endemic to the system and is related in a rather complicated fashion to population control.  My information for this comes mainly from the first part of Cannibals and Kings by Marvin Harris.  Traditional academic anthropologists figure that H-G did not get into agriculture because they were to stupid to figure out where babies and cucumbers come from.  Harris OTOH claims that they did everything they could to avoid it because they felt is sucked.  To do so they tried to keep their populations down by the infanticide of females (because the mature female tribal contingent determined the birth rate) and warfare with other groups. The motivations of the warfare turns out to be more complicated than it might appear on the surface.  However, from your previous writings, I would imagine you would regard this as a social plus giving you an arena to exercise your peregrine skills.

If the clan lost control of their population, then they would fuck up their natural resource base and be forced into the inferior and unpleasant agricultural life style to survive, which eventually led to the city state, government, and a nobility and king parasites.

I believe that the eventual destiny of the human species is to combine technology with high spirituality.  This, of course, is incredibly difficult to achieve, even as an individual.  It may take hundreds of thousands of more years or we may shortly destroy our planet altogether and have to start over elsewhere, though there are indications that the total destruction of earth to all vertebrate life forms will not be permitted.  This last paragraph is really the heart of my previous negative vote to the poll.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2012, 02:06:52 PM by el Gallinazo »

Offline RE

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 02:32:01 PM »
El G Beams back in to the Diner!

 :spacecraft:

Welcome back El G!

Quote
  El Gallinazo wrote that he would not choose the "Freebird" life, rather that there is some technological meme that will bring Homo Sapiens to still greater heights than a Peregrine Falcon can fly to.  I do not see that as a likely outcome of Civilization.

RE, I don't recall writing anything of the sort.  Unless you can demonstrate that you can physically transform yourself into a peregrine falcon rather than harbor fantasies of such, the point is moot anyway.  Perhaps your recent episode of dental tourism to Mexico was your first step in this transformation :-) 

I admit my Shapeshifting abilities at the moment are constricted some and depend on Mexican Dentists.  However, the original question was a Theoretical one by Peter, and I simply responded that given the CHOICE (which at the moment I do NOT have), I would prefer life as a Peregrine Falcon to the life I lead now as a Prisoner of the Age of Oil in its decrepitude.

Who is to say here what my choices will be when I cross over into the Great Beyond?  If I BELIEVE it strogly enough, perhaps I do return for the next go-round as a Peregrine, eh?

Quote
What I remember writing is that humans are by nature tool creating beings.  I think that eventual technological advancement is built into the DNA of the human species as well as related humanoid and hominoid beings.  As to whether most hunter gatherer societies produce happier and more balanced individuals than "civilizations" of city states and larger, I would have to agree. Do hunter gatherer societies put less stress on mother earth?  Once again yes.  I also believe that lives in H-G societies are very strong karmic lesions and develop spiritual and what passes for paranormal powers while still in the physical vehicle.  I read from a reputable source that there was a H-G society living on the coast of  Indonesia.  Before the great Tsunami hit, they all fled inland to the mountain.  Only one of the group died and he was a cripple.  By the time they realized that he had been left behind, it was too late.  Down the coast a piece was a village with electricity, pick-ups, and probably cell phones.  They were wiped out to the person.  Furthermore, I have read that the indigenous Australians meet frequently to discuss whether a member of the group is having a hard time and what they could do about it.  One example was a woman wasn't getting laid frequently enough and had become morose so the men took a group corrective action :-) 

OTOH, everything with the H-G is not always peaches and cream.  I am no expert on the matter to say the least, but extra tribal mortal warfare seems to be endemic to the system and is related in a rather complicated fashion to population control.  My information for this comes mainly from the first part of Cannibals and Kings by Marvin Harris.  Traditional academic anthropologists figure that H-G did not get into agriculture because they were to stupid to figure out where babies and cucumbers come from.  Harris OTOH claims that they did everything they could to avoid it because they felt is sucked.  To do so they tried to keep their populations down by the infanticide of females (because the mature female tribal contingent determined the birth rate) and warfare with other groups. The motivations of the warfare turns out to be more complicated than it might appear on the surface.  However, from your previous writings, I would imagine you would regard this as a social plus giving you an arena to exercise your peregrine skills.

I'm a big fan of Marvin Harris' work.  "Our Kind" was one of my favorite books  :emthup:

H-G Life likely was not Peaches and Cream, plenty-o-war I am sure between competing tribes over huting grouds and so forth.  The main advantages it has is it is less corrosive to the environment and the societies simply do not grow so big as to create huge power discrepancies.  Sure there are Chiefs and Indians, but the Chiefs are mainly your Grandparents who are still on this side of the Great Beyond, the few who are left. 

Quote
I believe that the eventual destiny of the human species is to combine technology with high spirituality.  This, of course, is incredibly difficult to achieve, even as an individual.  It may take hundreds of thousands of more years or we may shortly destroy our planet altogether and have to start over elsewhere, though there are indications that the total destruction of earth to all vertebrate life forms will not be permitted.  This last paragraph is really the heart of my previous negative vote to the poll.

I'll agree with most of that, just that I think the "techology" I envision looks more like the Flintstones, whereas the tech you envision with ZPE is more like the Jetsons.

RE
Save As Many As You Can

Offline peter

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2012, 04:00:00 PM »

Our current attempt at creating civilization is doomed to failure because of a mathematical phenomena regarding complexity. As variables (individuals, choices, regulations) increase in a linear fashion (1,2,3....) the possible combinations of outcomes or interactions increase exponentially.

I suspect the majority of people here feel that getting rid of our undoubtedly corrupt leadership would solve most of our problems and we could then re-task our current infrastructure to become viable. I highly doubt that because of the complexity dilemma pointed at above. The same phenomena guarantees TPTB will not succeed in instituting the NWO onto the existing world. The complexity is such that a constant stream of unpredictable failures will keep occurring until one brings the whole shebang down. Perhaps they understand this and that is why they are planning a large die-off. They need to reduce the complexity of the situation.

Nature has an enormous amount of detail but it remains viable because it is not dependent on complex oversight infrastructure to keep a balance among the individual parts. The law of the jungle is harsh but it maintains balance without need for oversight.

Nature works on a one on one individual responsibility/consequences unregulated process. Individuals either figure out what it takes to survive or they don't [survive]. A small group of people working cooperatively together stand a reasonable chance of not stepping on each others toes while coexisting. Put a large group of people together in tight proximity to each other in an urban center it becomes impossible not to step on each others toes without many rules and regulations that get exponentially more complex while trying to cope with the constantly growing unavoidable unexpected wrinkles that complexity theory shows are impossible to predict within massive interactions. The rules become evermore bothersome and costly to implement until the whole collapses because the cost of keeping it together is too great.

Chris' article, "Creating Community in the Modern World"  mentions open source programming as an alternative to corporate profit motive oriented programming. As I know a little about this subject from personal experience I would like to use the programming example to 

Offline peter

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2012, 04:00:00 PM »
Civilization - really?

This is a rehash of a number of posts I made in 2009.
It relates to a number of recent threads here but rather than hijacking
other people's threads  I'll give it it's own space.


A Civilization (or civilisation) is a complex society or culture group characterized by dependence upon agriculture, long-distance trade, state form of government, occupational specialization, population, and class stratification.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civilization

The above definition is a common one for civilizations. The use of the term is  restricted to referring to humans. This limitation suggests a lower level description of "civilization" which raises some fundamental questions about the state of human consciousness.

Civilization: A group of living entities cooperating to survive by adapting their [external] environment on a large scale to conform with their needs.

Un-civilized behavior is entities living by adapting their own [internal] characteristics in order to survive within their environment.




There can be large colonies of similar sentiences that are not civilizations because they do not re-organize their environment to suit themselves [on a large destructive scale].


The common definition assumes that "civilized" is a superior way of life but the lower level one allows us to consider the viability of each way of life. (civilized or not)

As with anything else there are subtle nuances between these two extremes of lifestyle but simplifying the situation to black and white makes a comparison easier to understand.

There is also a deeper philosophical question embedded in such a comparison which should be considered.

Is a "civilized" sentience superior to [of greater value than] a non-civilized one?

There are 2 levels to consider.

First... An individual human can be either civilized....


or un-civilized...


Secondly... are the following to be considered "un-civilized" but sentient?







Quote
CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS

http://www.webster.edu/~corbetre/personal/reading/civilization.html

By Sigmund Freud.
Translated from the German by James Stranchey. 92 pages.
New York: W.W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1961.
ISBN # 0-393-30158.

Comments of Bob Corbett
April 2001

After about 30 years of time lapsed, I have returned to re-read Sigmund Freud's 1930 classic Civilization and Its Discontents. I found it much more intriguing and persuasive than I did before. Perhaps I was simply too young in my own intellectual development to appreciate some of the negativity concerning human existence which Freud forces us to face. Whatever the cause of my less than memorable first read, I am delighted that I spent last week with this work and hope to return to a few other Freud classics to see if they challenge me as strongly as this one did. I have been delving into his much earlier work, The Interpretation of Dreams, but haven't yet sat down to read it systematically cover to cover with copious note taking as I did with the Civilization work.

The two works actually make a great pair to examine together. The Interpretation focuses on the inner life and development of the individual while Civilization turns away from the individual to the development of the various cultures of the world and eventually points toward the universal world which we seem today to be moving more and more toward.

After a segue in which Freud examines (and rejects) the possibility of some "oceanic" sensibility, and in which he declares strongly that human existence has no objective and independent meaning other than what humans choose to give it, Freud turns to the main question of the book:

Is civilization a benefit or harm to human beings?

Following a long and intensive inquiry into fascinating aspects of this question Freud will not come to a conclusion. He simply leaves us with greater clarity about the question and a clear insight into his over-arching theory of psycho-analysis.

The origins of civilization are in the individual. Each of us is born into a threatening world and we seek to avoid pain and gain pleasure. Thus, on Freud's view, the birth of civilization is rooted in egoism -- each of us striving in an often hostile world, to create the greatest amount of personal happiness and avoid pain as best we can.

In order to do this we ban together with other humans to form civilization, which is much more what most of us today would regard as cultures -- ways of living in close connection to other people. Thomas Hobbes certainly makes such an argument in his LEVIATHAN, and social contract theorists to this day take up the same theme. However, their argument is to say that this union with others is in our rational interest, thus is some sort of moral duty. Freud's perspective is psychological, not philosophical and moral. He is less interested in what we should do than what we do in fact do, though he framed the questions as to whether or not we should regard civilization as a benefit or harm. This "should" however, is less a moral should than an investigation to see if this course of action is likely to lead to more or less happiness. Freud seems not to believe that his choice of happiness -- the avoidance of pain and the achievement of pleasure -- is a value. Rather, this need is implanted in us by nature in the deepest instincts with which we have evolved.

As Freud sees the evolutionary development of human beings, early people strove to survive in a difficult and harsh world where there were three distinct sources of danger:

    * danger that the external world posed and in which we had to carve our survival. This would include not only such things as floods, storms and earthquakes, but many other factors such as extreme cold, extreme heat, the danger of other non-living creatures, diseases, and such items.
    * danger that came from our weak bodies that allowed us to get sick and always, eventually, to die.
    * danger that came from other human beings.

This book is devoted to this third category alone. Freud picks up human being at a much later time in evolutionary development when in fact the first two problems have been faced and incredible progress has been made precisely because human being has entered into civilization. Civilization is a relationship among individuals in which individuals give up certain aspects of their own ego interests to join with other people in creating social institutions which address the first two dangers, and to some extent the third as well.

However, this dependence-creating union carries new dangers of its own, since the social structures of civilization demand many limits on the individual which clash with fundamental and very deep evolutionary instincts.

Thus the question of the book arises: After all, and despite all the gains civilization has made in protecting us from the dangers of the world and the weakness of our own bodies, do the demands of civilization result in a net loss of happiness for the individual? Does what the individual gives up to civilization in order to get its benefits outweigh the benefits themselves? Freud investigates this question since it is being asserted by contemporary thinkers that civilization has this negative feature and Freud believes his psycho-analytic method can offer different and newer insights into assessing the positive and negative aspects of civilization.

Freud introduces what he calls a "digression" in section IV (4th of 8 sections). Actually this digression is the ground of his entire analysis of civilization and its failures and possibilities. The digression is on the nature of love and happiness and what makes it fail. Humans are fundamentally seeking happiness, following a profound, deep, ancient and irresistible instinct. Happiness is first and foremost survival and the avoidance of pain and then the pursuit of pleasure. However, two central instincts are active in humans above all others -- the desire to be loved (quite different from the desire to love) and a strong tendency toward aggression in pursuit of these ends.

Back from this digression he argues that our first strong instinct is to join with one single other of the opposite sex in a relationship that is many faceted, providing some security, the possibility of being loved, and the possibility of having children (both to contribute to the economy of the family and the possibility of extending the human race). This two-person unit quite naturally becomes a family, and finally, in an act of aggression, bands of brothers join together to resist the tyranny of the father and the larger community is on its way.

Thus the community grows and each of us becomes deeply dependant upon it at many levels. However, in order to live together in community each of us is forced to deny some of the basic and fundamental instincts of being loved, having security and being able to act upon our aggressive desires.

What happens is that in order to make this change we unconsciously shift the nature of these desires, essentially lying to ourselves at some very deep level.

This is done by a process of sublimation, or convincing ourselves that our desires are other than they are:

Instead of wanting to be loved, we come to believe we want to love. First the beloved, and then the family and eventually all of human kind. In this love of the other we may also sublimate our aggression as a threat to the community and as acts which are inconsistent with our civilized love. And thus, in the safety for all that comes with civilization the social form of organization allows various gains to be made against the major enemies of happiness:

    * against the power and harshness of the external world. We do this by creating housing, agriculture, dams, clothing and so on.
    * against the weakness of our bodies -- at least as a delaying tactic and in order to live in health. We do this, of course, by our practices of healing.
    * against the dangers from one another by the codes of civilization.

But it is in this latter move that the danger comes. How much can human being bear to give up of these fundamental instincts? What happens if the sublimation process becomes too oppressive to these inner forces of instinct? Then we run into serious person problems and problems with civilization. The very question of the book is: is civilization demanding too much of us? Are we getting relief from some of the dangers faced by human beings only to expose ourselves to even greater dangers?

Where do these dangers come from? Ironically, the very worst (most aggressive) form for most of us is not the punishing power of civilization -- which certainly is extremely strong, but rather, from our own super-ego, a powerful censor who is ourselves at some level.

Freud argues that a strong piece of evidence that our alliance to the power of the culture (civilization) is only minimally deep is the wide spread tendency of people to be able to violate cultural rules if they are quite sure they will not in any way be caught or punished. This shows that at least in regard to those particular rules, the belief in the need of them is not very deep and not one's own.

However, the super-ego is in a privileged position. It is us, thus we cannot hide our actions from it in the same way. Since the super-ego internalizes most of society's rules it can punish us with one of the strongest punishments possible: GUILT. Guilt is the super-ego's calling our attention to our own failure to live up to what we have come to know (under the pressure and bombarding propaganda of the culture) as objective good. We then are evil or sinful. This super-ego is the harshest (and for Freud) most aggressive player in this whole story, and it is the self.

Freud is quite vague and puzzled, even contradictory about what this all means. He is convinced that civilization asks much too much, demands rules it does not need for any reasonable sense of security. He doesn't give many concrete examples but he does cite the typical cultural demands of:

    * heterosexuality
    * monogamy
    * sanctioned unions

He generally asserts that clearly civilization demands too much and this excess is likely to constitute a great deal of unhappiness in many people living in it. But, when all is said and done -- would it be better for humans to leave civilization and return to some pre-social state of nature. Probably not suspects Freud. However, neither is it at all likely that we will find a perfect balance and create a society where all will live in perfect harmony. No. This conflict between the individual's deepest instincts and the structures of any social system of civilization that we are likely to encounter will never be fully resolved. Civilization will attempt to oppress the individual into its needs and the individual will never have full happiness because of this. Some will have much more unhappiness than others, but civilization is by its fundamental nature incompatible at some levels with the individuals needs.

This is the basic argument. The book has much much more in it. Many of the side arguments are simply fascinating. To deal with each of them would make this set of comments many times the size of the exposition of the main line of argument. I won't do this here. I do, however, want to call attention to one constant theme since it is of special interest to me and in radical conflict with much of contemporary ethics.

Freud believes that one of the worst pieces of advice that society gives is to love all: Love your brother as you love yourself. Freud argues that this is not only contrary to our deepest instinct of aggression, but that it is bad practical advice. This instinct is so strong, he argues, that humans are quite limited in just how much they can control it without doing significant personal damage to their own psyches and having this fact express itself in neuroses. In an argument which would shock and repel many today in the face of all the many ethnic conflicts in the world, Freud argues that the hostility that smaller cultures have against those closest to them geographically are basically good things. They allow an outlet for some of our aggression making us more able to practice more of the benefits of civilization within our own culture. And, he argues, the harm done by these wars and hostilities are actually quite small in the larger scale of this evolutionary battle for the nature of the human being. I would imagine he would include that the economic warfare of the capitalist classes against each other and the workers (as well as the planet's ecosphere itself) would well fit into this sort of relatively useful aggression.

While I cannot champion the full burden of this view, I am extremely attracted to his notion that the attempt to act with any serious sense of love or concern for all humans is not a tenable view. Freud bitterly attacks "higher principle" ethics (I can't imagine why he allows it this seeming honorific of "higher," since he argues it is misguided in the extreme) for being utopian and paying little attention to the psychological reality of human being. It is one thing to argue for the "ought" that stretches the human into civilization and creates some of these tensions which he discusses and which I analyzed above. It is quite another to push the utopian ought far beyond this in areas where there is virtually no hope at all of achieving the end, but puts the individual into the quite unhealthy and undesirable position of having the super-ego attempting to enforce a psychologically unenforceable rule.

I tried to address this problem in the paper I wrote in 1995 on MORAL OBLIGATIONS TO DISTANT OTHERS.   I had this distinction in mind when I argued that the moral principle that the is does not imply the ought was intended only in a logical sense by the philosophers, but that it needed some notion of a psychological or existential sense as well. I've been trying to figure out how to make that case better than I did at that time and I think Freud's views will be useful in working on that in the future.

Sigmund Freud produced a phenomenal book in his look at the relationship between the individual and the society. I wouldn't presume to attack him here. Since his time even the strongest proponents of his work have modified a few of the principles of psycho-analysis which he here embraces and those may have some impact on what a modern version of this thesis would look like. On the other hand, the pressures toward conformity and especially the pressures toward globalization and universality have intensified a great deal the pressures on the individual from the demon of civilization, exacerbating the difficulties of the individual to carve out enough space for him or herself. I think Freud's reflection in the 1930s would serve us quite well at this beginning of the 21st century.

This raises the questions...

Can there be sentience without "civilization"?

Our EGO suggests to us that our 'civilized' sentience is of higher value than their 'un-civilized' sentience but is that true?

Carroll Quigley's "Tragedy and Hope" clearly demonstrates the unsustainable nature of "human civilization" . Within the history he documents every complex large scale human civilization has collapsed because of similar self destructive tendencies.

These include...

Destruction of required environment through unsustainable expansion.


Conflicts over allocation of resources.


Decadence from overindulgence.



All the above civilized destructive tendencies relate to the external manipulation of the environment in order to make their environment compatible with the desires of 'civilized' humans.


Some un-civilized humans...



and most non-human sentiences...




have learned to adapt themselves to their environment rather than to adapt their environment to themselves. IE... Birds grew wings, fish grew fins, cactus learned to conserve water, and bushmen learned to forage.

Most un-civilized sentiences (including the bushmen) have lasted far longer than any complex large scale "civilized" human society.


Is it time for "civilized" humans to consider other options?

Offline agelbert

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2012, 05:22:44 PM »
The problem Freud had is that his outlook was anthropomorphic.

Take this paragraph, for example:

"Freud’s perspective is psychological, not philosophical and moral. He is less interested in what we should do than what we do in fact do, though he framed the questions as to whether or not we should regard civilization as a benefit or harm. This “should” however, is less a moral should than an investigation to see if this course of action is likely to lead to more or less happiness. Freud seems not to believe that his choice of happiness — the avoidance of pain and the achievement of pleasure — is a value. Rather, this need is implanted in us by nature in the deepest instincts with which we have evolved."

Freud's perpective is anthropomorphic rather than psychological. His claim of objectivity and disinterest in morality (i.e. the "rightness" or "wrongness" of some human behavior) is false because, as you pointed out, he is very interested in whether our actions produce a "benefit" or a "harm" in the form of generally accepted cultural practices in civilization.

Since he has a clear axe to grind against the golden rule because of the alleged unhappiness that the mythical super-ego visits on humans when they can't give their aggressive/sexual nature full reign, it is normal and expected that would eschew morality as a positive influence on humans. He is clearly at odds with Aristotle who said that happiness cannot be directly achieved but can be obtained only through a life of virtue. Well, now we know where aggressive and sexual drives and behavior originate in the brain (amygdala) and where the "super-ego" resides as well (prefrontal cortex). We understand the biochemistry of aggression, sex and delayed gratification as well as feelings of 'wellbeing' and 'happiness'.
The reality of using the basest instincts of humans to manipulate their purchasing habits (Freud's nephew) and distract them through dog and pony shows so they can be scammed into wars and economic slavery does not mean that Freud was accurate or objective in his search for the formula for human happiness (I guess he would call it a non-neurotic  or well adjusted existence).

What he needed to do and what we must do now is look at human existence as a function (as in mathematics) of the ecosphere. The fact that we are a product of the ecosphere requires us to recognize that we cannot view our happiness or viability separately from the viability of the ecosphere. If it's viable, it is right. If it's not viable, it is wrong. Science is the search for truth. The objective truth of the ecosystem components deems it WRONG to use resources in such a way that you diminish or destroy a portion of the ecosphere. The only RIGHT behavior for humans and their civilization is a behavior that recycles ALL resource extraction and any other human activity so the ecosphere remains in balance.

Our self awareness and advanced tool making MUST be accompanied by sustainable practices, period. If they aren't, as is the present case, we and a large portion of the ecosphere perish because of our incredibly stupid practices.

Freud did something very valuable, however. He made it clear (indirectly, I believe) that we as a species have enormeous difficulty delaying gratification and easily give in to short term gratification. The industrial revolution and the consequent ability to do multi-generational damage to the ecosphere required MORE morality, not amorality. Our civilization needed to make it clear to all its' membrs that we cannot mess it up for future humans and millions of other species that dwell on this planet because it is suicidal. This required generational level delayed gratification rather than Wall Street mad max resource extraction, war profiteering and I'm okay, you're okay morality. We now know that giving in to that version of 'happiness' in our 'civilization' that Freud espouses as the 'well adjusted', neurosis free, aggressive, sexual desire driven human must be dumped if we and most of the planet are to survive. We need a world class super-ego, in other words.

A final note. In Freud's day, the elite were noted, like they are today,  for giving lip service to ethics and controlled behavior as well as integrity in business practices but were, in fact, the most conscience free members of society in everything they did from fomenting wars to rampant sexual activity. They were, and are, amygdala controlled people.  Freud was just voicing, with great erudition and myriad rationalizations, what his elite group wanted to hear. Well, they heard it and so did Madison Avenue. And that is why, as Ashvin said the other day, things are FUBAR.
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline Surly1

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2012, 05:59:53 PM »
Thiis is a very fine and thoughtful post.

In reading it, I was reminded of Thom Hartmann’s book, “The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight, ” a passionate, rigorously argued and thoroughly researched books case for ecological consciousness.  Hartmann argues that the only lasting solution to the various self-created environmental crises we face is to relearn the lessons of our ancient ancestors -- who lived sustainably for thousands of generations.  This would oblige us to see the world with fresh eyes.To do that, Hartmann argues,  we “need new stories,” a new narrative, to replace those that inform our “wetiko,” or cannibal culture in which we eat everything in sight, and waste the rest.

Your observation about freud rightly observing our need for immediate gratification brings home what spiritual infants we are. Our technology has clearly outstripped our ethics. The only way this ends well is for us to raise our collective level of consciousness; a tall order.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline agelbert

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2012, 06:17:27 PM »
Peter,
I don't know why you go on about complexity. The fact is, hubris aside, our 'civilization' is incredibly simple compared with the biochemistry of a square yard of soil organisms. If complexity was the problem, there would be no life on this incredibly complex ecosphere. Compare a B747 aircraft with over a 100,000 parts with a mosquito. The mosquito is much more complex with millions of 'parts' and many more moving parts than the aircraft. Furthermore, the mosquito is an asset to the ecosphere both in life and death.

Maybe you find it difficult to accept that our problem isn't complexity but a world class lack of humility in the face of nature.

You speak of interactions in complexity that make future events unpredictable and humans ungovernable. I suggest you look at the way the human body's millions of parts collectively behave to maintain temperature, pressure, ph, provide nutrition and excretion in a useful way to the ecosphere. The complexity is mind boggling. Those comics with superman getting confused as to who to hit are a morality dodge. We know exactly who is responsible for this clusterfuck and it's not complicated OR complex.

Have you ever heard this quote?
"The people must be kept poor so they will remain obedient" Calvin (during the 1860s when the industrial revolution was picking up speed and promising to eliminate slavery and harsh working conditions for the masses and provide them more leisure).

The 1% DO NOT WANT the 99% to have the time to organize and bring the predators down.

This is not hard. They mixed Orwell and Huxley to give us a world class con and you want to believe it's just too complex to deal with? I'm sorry, but you are barking up the wrong tree.

We have a problem of ethical bankruptcy, not complexity.

 
Leges         Sine    Moribus      Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

Offline reanteben

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Re: Civilization - really?
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2012, 07:28:47 PM »
welcome bertie!  :emthup:

you've created a false dichotomy.  :emthdown:

social complexity.

put social in front of complexity. then exchange complexity for hierarchy.

a social hierarchy is ethically bankrupt.

it's the same problem.

 

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