AuthorTopic: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?  (Read 2251 times)

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WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« on: January 19, 2016, 04:28:00 AM »







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Published on the Doomstead Diner on January 19, 2016



 






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Edward Snowden                                         Julian Assange                                          Aaron Swartz



Nominate your icons of wisdom



Most people who have achieved even the slightest understanding of our dire planetary present and our even worse future will have reached it via a tortuous, perhaps even tortured, and invariably lengthy journey. Few of us have conducted original research (in the form of raw data collection and rigorous mathematical analysis) ourselves. We have depended on the research and analysis of others who we deem to be wise. For my part, many of those who I regard as doyens of wisdom are scientists, because the systematic evidence-based method of rational enquiry, despite its imperfections, is the ONLY reliable way to determine objective truth. New Age nutcases, anti-vaccination crackpots and self important academics in the “humanities” may vehemently disagree, however such empty pontificators, although they may be artistically creative, have no track record of practical achievement in the real world. They have discovered nothing real and have invented nothing that works. Any resemblance of their “gut” opinions to objective reality is mere coincidence. Their views are usually self serving and largely based on personal prejudices, are often nonsensical and may be downright dangerous and harmful to human well being. Such nonsensical thinking has led to the genesis of delusional frameworks such as homeopathy, supernatural cults and organised religions (AKA supernatural cults writ large).



Cold science alone is amoral and must be guided by ethical principles such as the Golden Rule. Such ethical principles have actually been validated by the mathematics of “Game Theory” as being effective strategies to achieve mutual long term benefit. Being ethical is therefore entirely consistent with Rationality. Most people, apart from psychopaths/sociopaths, are hard wired for a sense of fairness. There is a huge amount of evidence for the evolutionary basis of fairness in humans and other animal species. “Mirror neurons” in the brain may be the physiologic and anatomic basis for empathy. Non-psychopaths feel distress when they witness the suffering of others and feel compelled to help reduce that suffering.



Some of the icons I admire are investigative journalists or writers who, cognisant of the humanitarian abuses and environmental vandalism being committed in the world, have courageously spoken out against the perpetrators of these crimes and have clamoured for reform, sometimes at great personal risk.



I have defined wisdom as the collection these characteristics:





  1. good judgement i.e. ability to accurately assess of the reality of a situation,





  2. good decision making i.e. ability to make decisions offering the greatest likelihood of achieving favourable outcomes, and





  3. benevolence.





What do the doyens of wisdom I admire have in common? Integrity, honesty, courage, fortitude, compassion – to name just a few characteristics. Who are they? The icons I mention here represent just a smattering, a tiny fraction of an extensive list. Readers will have their favourites, who I may inadvertently fail to mention. Here goes anyway, in no particular order:



http://s3.firstpost.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/arundhati380r.jpgArundhati Roy may be best known as a Booker prize winning author, however she turned away from a life of potential comfort and wealth. She refused to pursue the option of a lucrative commercial writing career, but chose instead to fight against injustice in her homeland of India, much to the ire of the powers that be. She donated her Booker prize money to the campaign to oppose the Narmada dam. Her badge of pride was to have been imprisoned and fined for contempt of the Indian Supreme Court, a court which absolutely deserved such contempt, a court which had waged legal warfare against the Indian poor on behalf of the rich, while turning a blind eye to corruption in the Military. She spent time in the jungles of India trying to understand the views of the Naxalite rebels, the poorest of the poor, who were engaged in resistance against the death squads of corporate India. http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/kufm/files/201401/pic_vandana-shiva.jpgShe does not like to be regarded as a spokesperson for the downtrodden, even as she speaks out on their behalf. She does not like to be regarded as a strong female role model, even though she is undoubtedly one, in a country which sorely needs them (another great powerhouse being Dr Vandana Shiva). She exhibits boundless courage and strength. I am personally not fit to tie her shoelaces.



http://nomoreillusions.org/wp-content/uploads/davidsuzuki_trees.jpgDavid Suzuki is another obvious choice for heroic icon, perhaps predictably so. Using his credentials as a genetic researcher, he gained fame as a Science educator, then used his celebrity to champion environmental causes. However he is less well known for his vigorous defence of the rights of the Kayapo Amazonian tribespeople against the brutal forces of institutional and corporate avarice. A temporary and limited victory? Perhaps, but a victory nonetheless. We must embrace every small victory toward Just Causes. We hold such examples as evidence that not all members of the human race are corrupt and greedy beyond redemption. Some people, the sapient and nurturing people, do deserve to live on, even as the majority of humanity perish this century. We need to somehow ensure that it is such people who survive.



http://www.mediabangladesh.net/images/mb-images/yunus/prof-Muhammad-Yunus-grameen-bank.jpgPerhaps influenced by David Suzuki's attitudes, I am contemptuous of conventional economists and regard the neoclassical, neoliberal “free” market economists in particular as the most diabolical hell-hounds of environmental and social Armageddon, the enemies of life on this planet. Once in a while however we encounter true heroes who pursue economics as a means to alleviate poverty rather than for personal aggrandisement or to enrich their mates in the ruling classes. Muhammad Yunus, pioneer of micro-loans in Bangladesh, has been credited with lifting vast numbers of poor women in his country out of poverty. Perceived as a potential political threat by those in power, he was slandered and accused of all sorts of larceny by the establishment, but was exonerated by external auditors.



https://campomag.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/jg3.jpgJane Goodall achieved recognition after decades of hard work in the African bush and by defying dismissive sexism from arrogant misogynistic male academics. Her seminal work has given us great insights into our closest genetic relative, the chimpanzee and also shed a great deal of light, much of it unflattering, on the human condition, including our genocidal tendencies.



http://i48.tinypic.com/2gu0hhx.jpgAustralia's Bob Brown also requires mention as our own home-grown hero. The list goes on and on, but brevity demands I stop at some point.



Any person we dare to place on a pedestal is bound to have their own flaws, their own peccadilloes. That is inevitable, they are human after all. The main question is whether their existence has been of net benefit to humanity and to our planet, whether their helpful contributions have on balance outweighed their human shortcomings. Even if their ultimate impact was minimal, the fact that they engaged in virtuous struggle for righteous causes demands respect, as I previously alluded to in the case of Michael Ruppert.



I do not know what it is like to risk liberty, even life, for a greater cause. I have profound respect for those who have taken such risks. Courage is not the same as being fearless. Courage is knowing fear yet still doing the right thing regardless.



http://roadtoparis.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/james-hansen.jpg



In 2011 Bill McKibben, James Hansen and Naomi Klein were among the leaders who incited (non-violent) civil disobedience outside the White House to oppose the Keystone XL pipeline and were arrested for their efforts (along with 1249 other protesters). They are no doubt on Washington's watch list as “environmental terrorists”. However their courage pales into insignificance when compared with other environmentalists (many of them indigenous people), journalists or activists living in more blatantly totalitarian States who were tortured and killed in their pursuit of social and environmental justice. http://connectnigeria.com/articles/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Ken-Saro-Wiwa.pngKen Saro-Wiwa was one such example. I am not fit to tie the shoelaces of such people.



Our society places an unhealthy emphasis on super-specialisation, unfortunately the super-specialist is often blind to the big picture. Professor Kjell Aleklett, President of ASPO International is a highly respected Physicist and Peak Oil expert, but he has made unfortunate and inaccurate comments about our ability to burn petroleum with “impunity” and the consequences thereof to our climate. He is not a climate scientist.



There are many experts in many topics in many fields, but I have encountered almost no one who has been able to integrate the most realistic views of the most credible experts into a comprehensive big picture. It is impossible to be an expert in everything. A multi-disciplinarian such as Nicole Foss may come close but she too is not a climate scientist (although she has clearly researched it and has taken personal action in that regard). She has a keen understanding of energy and financial issues in particular. Researcher and analyst Richard Heinberg is another respected multi-disciplinarian in the same vein. I have personally found the articles and presentations by Nicole Foss and Richard Heinberg to be extremely thoughtful, wise and useful. The Limits to Growth MIT scientists were the pioneers of comprehensive multi-system analysis. Decades down the track, the updated reviews by Graham Turner and Ugo Bardi confirmed the validity of their standard model, a reflection of what is happening in the real world right now. The LtG analyses did not however take into account sudden catastrophic events such as economic collapse due to financial fraud, escalating warfare, global pandemics or other non-linear abrupt systemic breakdowns.



https://gailtheactuary.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/limits-to-growth-forecast.png



I myself am an insignificant commentator who has penned a few cathartic essays attempting to shed light on what we, an outrageously hubristic species of hairless ape, have wrought. My previous representations to politicians regarding impending energy problems and pathetic lobby to ban non-biodegradable disposable plastic bags proved utterly useless. Hopefully some of the practical articles I have written may help a few readers avoid or mitigate against future hardships.



Just as “greenwash” refers to bogus ideas or actions which claim to help the environment but in reality do nothing or even cause harm, there have been numerous “greenfraud” pseudo-experts in the publishing and cyber worlds, one of the most fraudulent delusional pretenders being Bjorn Lomborg, a person with zero scientific credibility.



http://atlanticcoastufos.com/shatteredrealitypodcast.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/guy-mcpherson.jpgGuy McPherson (who is a biologist, not a climate scientist) summarised peer reviewed climate research publications which the IPCC had chosen to ignore, hence provided an important service in painting the true picture of AGW and its dire consequences. Unfortunately his fatalistic insistence that near term human extinction is guaranteed, that everyone should abandon “hopium”, that we cannot and therefore should not do anything to mitigate against our horrific future (“don't do something, just sit there”), reeks of a nihilistic death cult. Propagation of such hopelessness is harmful. Even if NTHE ultimately does occur, so what? There is a huge amount which can and should be done to reduce potential human suffering along the way, which requires urgent action now. Bogging people down in abject misery obstructs such action. His penchant to cultivate a retinue of fanatical, mentally disturbed “death disciples” reeks of a personality cult. A sad outcome for someone who was certainly a brilliant biologist and ecologist at one time. McPherson WACKOs will continue to hurl abuse at me or slander me, while hiding behind their anonymous pseudonyms or made up identities, like the cowards they are. If they have not learned by now, they cannot silence me with such thuggish behaviour. Indeed it has the exact opposite effect. The logic of their own stupid philosophy demands that they should commit suicide immediately and any attempt to cry foul against me for pointing out that obvious fact is simply disingenuous whining. If they dislike the logical consequence of their own stupid philosophy, then they should abandon their stupid philosophy.



How can you, dear reader, make the best account of your own life? If you can, either directly or indirectly, help reduce future suffering or help prolong good quality life for just a handful of people (or even just one person), without trampling over others, then yours will be a life well lived.



I think RE's motto “save as many as you can” is a good one, which, if you think about it, could well have been applicable to Oscar Schindler.



save_as_many_as_you_can_sm



 



Geoffrey Chia, January 2016



Dr. Geoffrey Chia is a Australian Physician who has written many provocative articles including "The Brisbane Institute is a Brisbane Prostitute"



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 



 




 



 



 



 



 





Offline Eddie

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2016, 06:21:09 AM »
A list of my heroes, both living and dead, would probably be rather long, and include some people who aren't famous...but let me add a few names to your list.

Albert Bates, who is always on the front lines, activist, teacher, farmer. Saving the world with biochar. Pioneer of the eco-village  movement.

David Holmgreen, co-originator of permaculture. There  are many fine people teaching permaculture, but David wrote the book most of us use for our introduction. The one that sets down the ethics and principles, which are so key.

Michael Reynolds, inventor of the Earthship, who taught us that houses need thermal mass inside and insulation outside, and a lot of other useful ideas about living space.

The late Dr. Jack Kevorkian, champion of the right to die.

Rob Hopkins, principal mover in the Transition Town movement.

A.S. Neill, who founded Summerhill School. His books almost persuaded me to be a teacher.

Paramahansa Yogananda, who dedicated his life to helping Westerners understand Eastern spirituality and the true meaning of Christ Consciousness.








What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Online RE

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2016, 08:23:23 AM »
A list of my heroes, both living and dead, would probably be rather long, and include some people who aren't famous...but let me add a few names to your list.

I'll add 2 from history.

Eugene Debs


Ernesto "Che" Guevara

RE
SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline Eddie

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2016, 08:55:48 AM »
Che is not on my list. Imho, he is remembered far more fondly than he should be.

“there were about eight hundred prisoners in a space fit for no more than three hundred: former Batista military and police personnel, some journalists, a few businessmen and merchants. The revolutionary tribunal was made of militiamen. Che Guevara presided over the appellate court. He never overturned a sentence. I would visit those on death row at the galera de la muerte. A rumor went around that I hypnotized prisoners because many remained calm, so Che ordered that I be present at the executions. After I left in May, they executed many more, but I personally witnessed fifty-five executions. There was an American, Herman Marks, apparently a former convict. We called him “the butcher” because he enjoyed giving the order to shoot. I pleaded many times with Che on behalf of prisoners. I remember especially the case of Ariel Lima, a young boy. Che did not budge. Nor did Fidel, whom I visited. I became so traumatized that at the end of May 1959 I was ordered to leave the parish of Casa Blanca, where La Cabaña was located and where I had held Mass for three years. I went to Mexico for treatment. The day I left, Che told me we had both tried to bring one another to each other’s side and had failed. His last words were: “When we take our masks off, we will be enemies.”

 Javier Arzuaga to Alvaro Vargas Llosa about La Cabaña and Che

“Che set up the first forced labor camp, Guanahacabibes, in 1960. This camp was the precursor to the eventual systematic confinement, starting in 1965 in the province of Camagüey, of dissidents, homosexuals, AIDS victims, Catholics, Afro-Cuban priests, and other such scum, under the banner of Unidades Militares de Ayuda a la Producción, or Military Units to Help Production. Herded into buses and trucks, the “unfit” would be transported at gunpoint into concentration camps organized on the Guanahacabibes mold. Some would never return; others would be raped, beaten, or mutilated; and most would be traumatized for life, as Néstor Almendros’s wrenching documentary Improper Conduct showed the world a couple of decades ago.

Che pretty much set up the Cuban missile crisis, from what I understand. He was quoted later as saying Cuba should have fired the missiles "into America's heartland".

He was very much into your Orkin Man style of justice. No hero of mine.

In Russia, people remember Stalin as a hero. Never mind that he was personally responsible for killing perhaps 50 million people, and sending several million others to prison.

There is a tendency to idolize people based on legend rather than their actual life and their behavior. Che is one of those to whom history has been exceptionally kind. The power of a T-Shirt.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Ka

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2016, 12:01:17 PM »
I wonder why Dr. Chia, and others, feel it necessary to include an anti-religion rant in their posts? There are many religious people who are more aware of the dangers from ecological catastrophe, resource limitations, and financial collapse than many scientists. I was first tuned into the imminent danger of resource limitations and global warming by an Anglican priest. Why alienate people who -- otherwise -- are on your side?

Not to mention, after TSHTF, I expect it will be churches, more than any other institution, that will provide the heroics in the form of succor in all the mess.

Offline Eddie

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2016, 12:40:57 PM »
Their views are usually self serving and largely based on personal prejudices, are often nonsensical and may be downright dangerous and harmful to human well being. Such nonsensical thinking has led to the genesis of delusional frameworks such as homeopathy, supernatural cults and organised religions (AKA supernatural cults writ large).


I try not generalize this much. It's easy for anyone who cut their teeth on evidence based science or medicine to throw the baby out with the bathwater, when it comes to how they view people of faith.

 I would assume from this statement that Dr. Chia is an atheist. My long held view is that atheism is a stage of life that smart people go through on the path to wisdom.

Organized religion has lost some of its gloss in our generation. There is plenty that can be criticized, and I myself have seldom darkened a church door in my adult life. But churches have their place, and in the future, in smaller, more local communities, they will once again be a cornerstone of society....if we get that far.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline azozeo

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2016, 01:01:44 PM »
Their views are usually self serving and largely based on personal prejudices, are often nonsensical and may be downright dangerous and harmful to human well being. Such nonsensical thinking has led to the genesis of delusional frameworks such as homeopathy, supernatural cults and organised religions (AKA supernatural cults writ large).


I try not generalize this much. It's easy for anyone who cut their teeth on evidence based science or medicine to throw the baby out with the bathwater, when it comes to how they view people of faith.

 I would assume from this statement that Dr. Chia is an atheist. My long held view is that atheism is a stage of life that smart people go through on the path to wisdom.

Organized religion has lost some of its gloss in our generation. There is plenty that can be criticized, and I myself have seldom darkened a church door in my adult life. But churches have their place, and in the future, in smaller, more local communities, they will once again be a cornerstone of society....if we get that far.




I agree Ed. Churches do have their place. It helps people stay grounded. It's also a social event
which is healthy. Not for everyone though.
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Online RE

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2016, 02:21:29 PM »
Che pretty much set up the Cuban missile crisis, from what I understand. He was quoted later as saying Cuba should have fired the missiles "into America's heartland".

He was very much into your Orkin Man style of justice. No hero of mine.

Che was from the "You can't make an omellete without breaking a few eggs" school of heroes.

Unlike Uncle Joe Stalin, Che isn't tagged with having sent millions to the Gulag.  Mainly he ruthlessly executed spies and traitors in wars of revolution.  Like Russell Bentley, Che picked his side and once he did he took no prisoners.  The only good UKROP fascist is a dead UKROP fascist philosophy.

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Online RE

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2016, 02:30:36 PM »
I wonder why Dr. Chia, and others, feel it necessary to include an anti-religion rant in their posts?

My experience is that this kind of anti-religious attitude is the result of having bad experience with religious people.  You know, the ones that bomb abortion clinics and the ones that run around thumping the Bible or Koran or Talmud and telling everyone else what to believe and that their way is the only way.  There are a lot of Bad Apples in the Religious Barrel.  There aren't as many identifiable assholes among atheists.  I have yet to hear of an atheist bombing a Right to Life Adoption Agency and they don't have one "says it all manual" like the Bible to thump.

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SAVE AS MANY AS YOU CAN

Offline Surly1

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2016, 02:40:57 PM »
I wonder why Dr. Chia, and others, feel it necessary to include an anti-religion rant in their posts?

My experience is that this kind of anti-religious attitude is the result of having bad experience with religious people.  You know, the ones that bomb abortion clinics and the ones that run around thumping the Bible or Koran or Talmud and telling everyone else what to believe and that their way is the only way.  There are a lot of Bad Apples in the Religious Barrel.  There aren't as many identifiable assholes among atheists.  I have yet to hear of an atheist bombing a Right to Life Adoption Agency and they don't have one "says it all manual" like the Bible to thump.

RE

Which is easy to do among intolerant people of any stripe.

Bill Maher comes to mind as a comedian with whose opinions I often agree, yet I cringe when I hear him bash the religious. Of course , he was raised Roman Catholic, as were my wife and I. Contrary and I went to see Maher when he came to this region last year, and enjoyed the show aside from his faith-based bashing. It seems gratuitous, but what do I know?

We seem to be long past the age where we could agree to live and let live, and find ourselves in a time when some need to coerce others to live as they prescribe, and religion often seems to be the handiest cudgel. One is reminded that there was a time when Muslim caliphates were models of religious tolerance. GO posts pictures every week illustrating the completeness of the extent to which those days are long gone.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline azozeo

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Re: WHO ARE YOUR HEROES?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2016, 03:06:56 PM »
I wonder why Dr. Chia, and others, feel it necessary to include an anti-religion rant in their posts?

My experience is that this kind of anti-religious attitude is the result of having bad experience with religious people.  You know, the ones that bomb abortion clinics and the ones that run around thumping the Bible or Koran or Talmud and telling everyone else what to believe and that their way is the only way.  There are a lot of Bad Apples in the Religious Barrel.  There aren't as many identifiable assholes among atheists.  I have yet to hear of an atheist bombing a Right to Life Adoption Agency and they don't have one "says it all manual" like the Bible to thump.

RE

Which is easy to do among intolerant people of any stripe.

Bill Maher comes to mind as a comedian with whose opinions I often agree, yet I cringe when I hear him bash the religious. Of course , he was raised Roman Catholic, as were my wife and I. Contrary and I went to see Maher when he came to this region last year, and enjoyed the show aside from his faith-based bashing. It seems gratuitous, but what do I know?

We seem to be long past the age where we could agree to live and let live, and find ourselves in a time when some need to coerce others to live as they prescribe, and religion often seems to be the handiest cudgel. One is reminded that there was a time when Muslim caliphates were models of religious tolerance. GO posts pictures every week illustrating the completeness of the extent to which those days are long gone.





And here's the master himself.


<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/rSS5oTM_YGQ&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/rSS5oTM_YGQ&fs=1</a>
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

 

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