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Spirituality & Mysticism / Quit thinking=being Buddha
« on: January 19, 2019, 02:38:22 AM »
Zen Teachings of Huang Po

Huang-Po (d 850)

Our original Buddha-Nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objectivity. It is void, omnipresent, silent, pure; it is glorious and mysterious peaceful joy — and that is all. Enter deeply into it by awakening to it yourself. That which is before you is it, in all its fullness, utterly complete. There is naught beside.

Even if you go through all the stages of a Bodhisattva's progress toward Buddhahood, one by one; when at last, in a single flash, you attain to full realization, you will only be realizing the Buddha-Nature which has been with you all the time; and by all the foregoing stages you will have added to it nothing at all.

You will come to look upon all those eons of work and achievement as no better than unreal actions performed in a dream. That is why the Tathagata said, "I truly attained nothing from complete, unexcelled Enlightenment. Had there been anything attained, Dipamkara Buddha would not have made the prophecy concerning me." He also said, "This Dharma is absolutely without distinctions, neither high nor low, and its name is Bodhi."

It is pure Mind, which is the source of everything and which, whether appearing as sentient beings or as Buddhas, as the rivers and mountains of the world which has form, as that which is formless, or as penetrating the whole universe absolutely without distinctions, there being no such entities as selfness and otherness.

This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awaken to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind. Blinded by their own sight, hearing, feeling and knowing, they do not perceive the spiritual brilliance of the source-substance. If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like the sun ascending through the void and illuminating the whole universe without hindrance or bounds.

Therefore, if you students of the Way seek to progress through seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing, when you are deprived of your perceptions, your way to Mind will be cut off and you will find nowhere to enter. Only realize that, though real Mind is expressed in these perceptions it neither forms part of them nor is separate from them.

You should not start reasoning from these perceptions, nor allow them to give rise to conceptual thought; yet, nor should you seek the One Mind apart from them or abandon them in your pursuit of the Dharma. Do not keep them nor abandon them nor dwell in them nor cleave to them. Above, below and around you, all is spontaneously existing, for there is nowhere which is outside the Buddha-Mind.

When people of the world hear it said that the Buddhas transmit the Doctrine of the Mind, they suppose that there is something to be attained or realized apart from Mind, and thereupon they use Mind to seek the Dharma, not knowing that Mind and the object of their search are one. Mind cannot be used to seek something apart from Mind; for then, after the passing of millions of eons, the day of success will still not have dawned. Such a method is not to be compared with suddenly eliminating conceptual thought, which is the fundamental Dharma.

Suppose a warrior, forgetting that he was already wearing his pearl on his forehead, were to seek for it elsewhere, he could travel the whole world without finding it. But if someone who knew what was wrong were to point it out to him, the warrior would immediately realize that the pearl had been there all the time. So, if you students of the Way are mistaken about your own real Mind, not recognizing that it is the Buddha, you will consequently look for him everywhere, indulging in various achievements and practices and expecting to attain realization by such graduated practices.

But even after eons of diligent searching, you will not be able to attain to the Way. These methods cannot be compared to the sudden elimination of conceptual thought, in the certain knowledge that there is nothing at all which has absolute existence, nothing on which to lay hold, nothing on which to rely, nothing in which to abide, nothing subjective or objective.

It is by preventing the rise of conceptual thought that you will realize Bodhi; and, when you do, you will just be realizing the Buddha who has always existed in your own Mind! Eons of striving will prove to be so much wasted effort; just as, when the warrior found his pearl, he merely discovered what had been hanging on this forehead all the time; and just as his finding of it had nothing to do with his efforts to discover it elsewhere.

Therefore the Buddha said, "I truly attained nothing from complete, unexcelled Enlightenment." It was for fear that people would not believe this that he drew upon what is seen with the five sorts of vision and spoken with the five kinds of speech. So this quotation is by no means empty talk, but expresses the highest truth.

Doom Psychology & Philosophy / Do you listen your tonals?
« on: January 18, 2019, 03:04:45 PM »
These are how to communicate in the most complete way.[/b]

 Err on the side of over-communicating. If you can’t use your

voice or facial expressions and body language to speak, use more

words. Provide descriptive language that shows how you really

feel, why this is important to you and how sorry or pleased you

are to hear what you’ve been told by the customer. If you’re

excited, use that exclamation point! If you’re upset, reiterate

that feeling. Don’t leave them guessing as to whether you’re

happy, apathetic or concerned about what they’ve just sent you.

Come to think of it, this takes us back to our previous

discussion regarding the differences between good (like good,

average? Or good!), great, excellent and exceptional!

Tone can make or break a conversation. One employee’s negative

tone can muddy your customer’s impression of the entire brand.

Use your customer service software to monitor your customer

interactions. Provide feedback to each of your support

colleagues, and don’t let poorly controlled tones disrupt your

customer relationships!
Spread the love: Share this article!

Just imagine how much we could communicate on this forum if we

used more words?

Or go get app/program to  have "Civil Communicator" , monitor

what you write and offers suggestions on how else that of could of been said.

Here here is their pitch to the new trend of "communicating" more clearly especially in this stressful time locally and globally.

Sometimes It's Not What You Say, It's How You Say It
Molly Rumbelow, August 24, 2018

Discussions about how best to communicate tone through non-

verbal methods have been going on since back in 1837 when the

telegram was first invented.

When there’s no tone of voice or body language to be analyzed –

how can the meaning of words be properly judged?

Techniques for developing tone and showing meaning through

electronic communication have evolved over time. From using

standard punctuation through to libraries of emojis, there are

more ways than ever to capture the essence of what we’re trying

to communicate without using verbal cues.

The opportunity to create negative sentiment without raising our

voices is something we all see daily through various arguments

that arise on social media. And there are many ways of making

our negative feelings known. From iMessages, WhatsApp, Facebook,

Twitter – it’s all too easy to press send before considering

what the effect of a message may be.

If non-verbal communication can cause big issues in everyday

life, then in a high-conflict situation it can make things ten

times worse. That’s why here at Civil Communicator we believe

that having a monitored communication tool is one of the most

important parts of separation proceedings and shared parenting



The different ways to monitor communication.

Thanks to technology, you now have many different options when

it comes to deciding how you want your communication to be


You could choose to go down the route of AI (artificial

intelligence) monitoring This is where communication tools rely

on machine learning to analyze messages and decide whether the

content is okay to be sent or whether it needs to be rejected. 

To do this the program will look into its ‘bank’ of acceptable

and non-acceptable language that’s been set up in advance.

While this can do a great job of quickly filtering out swear

words and other nasty language – it falls down when it comes to

that all important tone element.

Or, you could choose to go for a human monitoring solution.

This, as the name suggests, is where an independent third-party

reads all communications and decides on whether the content is

appropriate to be sent.


What AI can’t do.

Artificial intelligence has come on massively in the last few

years – and it’s used in a huge number of ways to make our daily

lives easier. But, we have to be careful that we don’t become

too reliant on technology and assume it’s better that human

interaction in every situation.

From high profile failings of automated vehicles to a much

lighter example of an AI trying and failing terribly to write an

advertisement for Olive Garden there are numerous examples of

machines not being able to understand and properly articulate

the human language.

It’s the same reason that many people struggle to learn a new

language – understanding the principles of how language and

communication works doesn’t mean you can always apply it to real

life. We don’t communicate in logical ways especially in tense

situations – our rationality goes out of the window along with

our ability to clearly communicate our point of view.

Because AI is born from (and completely routed in) logic, it

cannot pick up nuances of human language that we transfer

through to e-communication through emojis and punctuation.

For example, a smiley face seems to be a positive signal, so a

machine will have it stored in its ‘good’ bank and will give a

message containing it a green light. But, a smiley face used in

certain situations (like after a negative comment) can signify

something else entirely.

The machine doesn’t have the capacity to analyze the use of the

smiley face in relation to the rest of the message. So, a

message could be let through its filters even though it’s

inflammatory and may cause an argument.


The benefits of a human eye.

A human referee on the other hand can understand any passive

aggression or subtle tonal changes inferred by the use of

punctuation or emojis. For example, they can know the difference

between capital letters being used as correct punctuation or to

shout and force a point.

They can then provide feedback if they deem messages to be

inappropriate in a clear and comprehensive way. Rather than a

‘computer says no’ automated rejection – there’s a possibility

for education that a machine can’t provide.

Our review specialists are trained in high-conflict

communication and will have an innate understanding of whether

or not certain messages are going to help or hinder progress

when it comes to shared parenting.

As humans we naturally modify our behavior if we believe someone

else to be observing us (whether physically or digitally). This

phenomenon is called the Hawthorne effect and has been

documented many times.

So, knowing that a specialist will be reading any attempted

communication between you and your ex-partner will also make you

stop and think before pressing send. 


Making a stressful situation easier for all.

Parenting can be stressful and fraught with tension at the best

of times. Add into the mix a divorce and trying to navigate

joint custody and it can be all too easy to write a message from

a place of stress that doesn’t put across the point you want it


And, when dealing with a situation as difficult as a divorce

even one badly timed negative message could set progress back

weeks or even months.

It’s why we’re so passionate about our monitored communication

tool, because we know just how important it is to keep making

positive progress in divorce proceedings and to reduce the risk

of high-conflict situations occurring. 

By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers,

and information from Civil Communicator. Click here to visit our

Privacy Policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in "AN

Getting off all the spam that

finds its way to my email inbox is far from any interests i

might have. How dare they interrupt my day" 
  But some people want to know the facts. Not necessarily sound

good to anybody put present credible evidence of what they are

saying. These attitudes people communicate with one or two words

often times are not communicating how they you are feeling about

this or that exchange.
  That is where scientific language is supposed to remain

neutral to the multiple circumstances and avoid opinions,

funding, ... but even they have an answer.  Be very aware of the

metaphors you use, and that they too, are scientifically


here is their website.

i just don't know.

Then I looked up how attitudes cause so much misunderstanding.

"Attitudes and Behavior in Psychology says"

In psychology, an attitude refers to a set of emotions, beliefs,

and behaviors toward a particular object, person, thing, or

event. Attitudes are often the result of experience or

upbringing, and they can have a powerful influence over

behavior. While attitudes are enduring, they can also change.

I wonder how much of this naive way of communicating is loosing

way to telling the truth.  I'M Gay! I'm a prepper! I'm a

successful money maker, and love humanity." "I'm a misunderstood

scientist." My way is better than your way.. This whole lot of

throwing cow dung at each other. Use language to communicate

what you really mean to say. Can we stay as neutral as possible

at a time when we need new ways of effective communication,

scientifically based, in our attitude closet. Maybe put it on a 

few times when you sit down to respond or create an email.

Perhaps it will just work it self out without using our

awareness of it. That would be just plain boring.

  About three years on being on the monastery the older monk asks

 " Do you ever listen to your tonals, the sound you make when you talk, to your throat muscles?" I immediately knew that I

didn't..... it was almost always tainted by attitude towards this

or that, what I liked and dis-liked. My personal preferences being non

verbally communicated to three monks here and the verbal defenses

I had for everything I thought was a jab at me.
  I was at the point in being silent easily when he went after" how I

see the outside world. With what colored glasses I had put on to

view my immediate , social, and worldly view, since there were

very few books here pressing your desire to be right, there was

something more important you are trying to say, i could intuit that. So now I use a

combination of insight practice and viewing the fresh content of

the life I am attached too.
  I am sure that I have made some bad choices that led into

deep misunderstandings. and that my moods swing throughout the

day.  "You can't fool all the people all of the time, but you

can fool some of the people some of time.
  So I began listening to my tonals, and was very surprised at

how much I didn't know how I sounded, and was amazed at the

energy i put into having the the right attitude. I found out

that there is no attitude being expressed , there is only the

listeners who take the journey.

A little too glamorous for me.

A warrior does the right thing in the face of obstacles and opposition.

A warrior feels compassion for the life they protect, and it is love, not hate, which motivates them.

A warrior knows they make others uncomfortable in times of peace, yet are welcomed in times of conflict.


The Full Circle Project welcomes you in these times of conflict, for we are at war on all levels; we face a Full Spectrum offensive of very dark nature and yet the challenges presented are there as opportunities to expose the lies and live in Truth.

Now is the time to stand together rather than stand alone and allow these engineered mechanisms to engulf us and our children.

A clear and concise remedy can be found by identifying the root causes of the problems we face. By building a unified community and taking common sense action in a swift and determined manner we can call a halt to the insanity and the suffering which threatens each and every one of us.

A Full Spectrum Response is one that will remind and align us with the full spectrum reality of who we truly are.

By reclaiming our power, accessing creative tools to free our imagination and by finding an authentic means to connect with other people who share our cares and concerns, we can forge a way to a future free from oppression.

May the resources and information here help to fuel your passion for freedom and ignite a grassfire phenomenon in your life and community that will spread throughout the world. We can thus heal the severed connection to our selves, each other and our surroundings and bring our true human path Full Circle to a natural and empowered state of abundance, joy and gratitude for Life.


It's time to step into the warrior's role; one of action made in love, compassion and a fierce determination to fulfill our true calling.

Economics / Are the rich the problem?
« on: January 17, 2019, 03:06:20 AM »
I really am not sure. Maybe it all started since we began to trade resources by barter? 

(which also stirred up some "unfairness".)

from wikipedia

"Economists since the times of Adam Smith (1723-1790), looking at

non-specific pre-modern societies as examples, have used the

inefficiency of barter to explain the emergence of money, of

"the" economy, and hence of the discipline of economics itself.

[3] However, ethnographic studies have shown that no present or

past society has used barter without any other medium of

exchange or measurement, nor have anthropologists found evidence

that money emerged from barter, instead finding that gift-giving

(credit extended on a personal basis with an inter-personal

balance maintained over the long term) was the most usual means

of exchange of goods and services.[4]"

 So when did the idea of money start?

from wikipedia

"The use of barter-like methods may date back to at least 100,000

years ago, though there is no evidence of a society or economy

that relied primarily on barter.[12] Instead, non-monetary

societies operated largely along the principles of gift economy

and debt.[13][14] When barter did in fact occur, it was usually

between either complete strangers or potential enemies.[15]

Many cultures around the world eventually developed the use of

commodity money. The Mesopotamian shekel was a unit of weight,

and relied on the mass of something like 160 grains of barley.

[16] The first usage of the term came from Mesopotamia circa

3000 BC. Societies in the Americas, Asia, Africa and Australia

used shell money – often, the shells of the cowry (Cypraea

moneta L. or C. annulus L.). According to Herodotus, the Lydians

were the first people to introduce the use of gold and silver

coins.[17] It is thought by modern scholars that these first

stamped coins were minted around 650–600 BC.[18]
Song Dynasty Jiaozi, the world's earliest paper money

The system of commodity money eventually evolved into a system

of representative money."

  At any "true" way that now we have potential value of resources

(money). God only knows(sure)! It is a monstrous problem.

  When did the rise in accumulation of money start to become

uneven and we had a wealthy, middle, and lower incoming of


from wikipedia

"After World War II and the Bretton Woods Conference, most

countries adopted fiat currencies that were fixed to the U.S.

dollar. The U.S. dollar was in turn fixed to gold. In 1971 the

U.S. government suspended the convertibility of the U.S. dollar

to gold. After this many countries de-pegged their currencies

from the U.S. dollar, and most of the world's currencies became

unbacked by anything except the governments' fiat of legal

tender and the ability to convert the money into goods via

payment. According to proponents of modern money theory, fiat

money is also backed by taxes. By imposing taxes, states create

demand for the currency they issue.[21]"

and this article.


  I have the ability to imagine a scale

and when the scales become uneven by gravity and the "material"

you put on it, at a certain point of adding to one side more and more you get a

speeding up of drop , on the weighted side, where it just collapses to the ground/table.

So maybe the saying "The rich are robbing ( criminal offense )

from the poor.   I guess evolution put selfish needs ahead of

community needs in the Homo Erectus

That's why I have become a rebel, a Robin Hood of modern day. 

War has been declared , but it is just beginning. The masses are

beginning to rebel against this humongous unevenness and the choices

the wealthy make. Like Corporation /Government, Military

industrial complex, use of energy, and abrupt climate change.

“Give me liberty or give me death."
― Patrick Henry

As you most know since I joined this forum until the long

absence, I was a different human being than I am Now. Symbols (

mandalas) have always intrigued me. As a youngster I excelled in

Geometry, math, science, and art. So the circle somehow became a totem to


 I think that when I discovered Astrology when I was 17 .

Anything that has symbols around a circle I go into over drive

gaining some hidden language that speaks to me.
In early July of 2017 they announced through major media that we are in the 6thME. I started a

sub=thread in my news choices about it. I shortly thereafter

saw the extinction symbol, and that struck a nerve all through my

body. It was a symbol of the beginnings of a global mass

revolution. I have thought our deep problems were systemic not

personal. My Astrological understanding of there being

revolution in 2020's is symbolized by Pluto's revolution around the

Sun. It takes about 250 years. The last huge revolution was the

American and French revolutions and was about 250 years ago give

or take 10 years. Those revolutions happened about 1776, add 250

years and you get 2026. So I have known for 20 years that a mass

revolution would arrive about that time.
  The dust up with RE about the Sun's symbol, and the extinction

 symbol flat ass bewildered me. To me they were both great

symbols of our time ( collapse ).
  Then I saw a video of this weird professor giving a lecture,

and he holds up a graph. It is a graph of the loss of Arctic sea

ice, and says it will be just a few years before we have an ice

free Arctic, and we don't have time to wait. Action has to be

now. He studied past protests and tried to find the most

effective way to start a mass change of BAU. He concluded that

by disrupting the public spaces and doing things to get arrested

was the best way. There were only about 10 people who were

involved in this at first. After the lecture and a call to join

him. Hundreds started to join. Then they had enough people to

start the protests in England. Sure enough a lot of people got

arrested. The symbol for their movement is the extinction

symbol. and it is everywhere the marchers go.. Now being just 8

years away from the exact timing of Pluto I thought "hear it

comes". You can read about what happens next at


  This also coincides with the cusp of humanity moving into the

Aquarian age. We started really feeling its effects in the 1960's

and it is now beginning to show results in sparse ways all over

the globe. Science, knowing, egalitarianism, shocking change,

rearrangement  of institutions, and bull headed independence.
  So I notice these mass burps in consciousness and think that

many people right now are going through the metamorphosis

process with a double whammy of revolution from BAU, and global

  Everyone will metamorphosis differently. Many will resist this and

frustration, pride, and anger will arise in them. Some will try

to mix the past and the new influences, and some will thrive on

coming of a new age.

Doom Psychology & Philosophy / AZOZEO - ?
« on: January 13, 2019, 01:48:13 AM »
Making leaps in consciousness depth.

  Yo fellow inner/outer sleuth. This Global warming phenomena. changed the focus of the timeline for human extinction which had been undecided. Something changed when understanding that it was a huge problem and my whole essence was with this new sense. Just recently I was gifted (Christmas gift) a weeks worth of pot. The insights I had about the human condition,and found that I myself was a human being ( like totally connected to the earth energy ). My "teacher" would say "It's all in your mind. Figure it on your own." So for thirty years that became my way of life , an innernaut. I keep getting flashes of the near future. In fact Missouri got record snowfall yesterday, up to eleven inches. Another global warming event in its overall nature. Can you account for people having leaps in understanding of where we are as a race, are we waking up to what is really coming down?

The Kitchen Sink / Got about 10 inches of snow here
« on: January 12, 2019, 10:36:29 AM »
We thought about shoveling our 50yd driveway that is 10 degrees uphill. Then I decided to use the tractor and blade.  So I take off the utility box, and go to put on the plow. I could barely find it. Brushed the snow of it and tried to lift from the front. It was frozen in the ground, but I finally freed it. Then one of the brackets on the plow was bent inwards. Hammered that out. Put the back of the plow on a paint bucket, backed in the tractor. It was a hassle getting the bar that raises and lowers the plow pin to fit through but in 10 minutes had it on. I worked the driveway about 2 hours and got the driveway in  pretty good shape. I am 66 and shoveling that much snow would have worn me out for two or three days.  we call the tractor "Ten Thousand Coolies"! :)

Spirituality & Mysticism / Levels of Awareness
« on: January 12, 2019, 02:02:27 AM »
The timeless clear void is primordial. Evolution made us human.
We have many attributes.
First impressions are close.
Its when they become solid, that ignorance reigns.
Use the top layer of recognition to avoid ignorance.
When finished with changing the world,
Return to the clear light the pervades the universe.

Environment / Why Should Evangelical Christians Care About Climate Change?
« on: February 20, 2018, 05:59:37 PM »
Here are five reasons from an evangelical Christian climate scientist.

<a href="" target="_blank" class="new_win"></a>

Climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, has had quite a run lately. A few weeks back, she was featured in the first episode of the Showtime series The Years of Living Dangerously, meeting with actor Don Cheadle in her home state of Texas to explain to him why faith and a warming planet aren’t in conflict. (You can watch that episode for free on YouTube; Hayhoe is a science adviser for the show.) Then Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people of 2014. Cheadle wrote the entry. “There’s something fascinating about a smart person who defies stereotype,” Cheadle observed.

Why is Hayhoe in the spotlight? Simply put, millions of Americans are evangelical Christians, and their belief in the science of global warming is well below the national average. And if anyone has a chance of reaching this vast and important audience, Hayhoe does. “I feel like the conservative community, the evangelical community, and many other Christian communities, I feel like we have been lied to,” explains Hayhoe on the latest episode of the Inquiring Minds podcast. “We have been given information about climate change that is not true. We have been told that it is incompatible with our values, whereas in fact it’s entirely compatible with conservative and with Christian values.”

Hayhoe’s approach to science—and to religion—was heavily influenced by her father, a former Toronto science educator and also, at one time, a missionary. “For him, there was never any conflict between the idea that there is a God, and the idea that science explains the world that we see around us,” says Hayhoe. When she was 9, her family moved to Colombia, where her parents worked as missionaries and educators, and where Hayhoe saw what environmental vulnerability really looks like. “Some of my friends lived in houses that were made out of cardboard Tide boxes, or corrugated metal,” she says. “And realizing that you don’t really need that much to be happy, but at the same time, you’re very vulnerable to the environment around you, the less that you have.”

“In terms of addressing the climate issue,” says Hayhoe, “we don’t have time for everybody to get on the same page regarding the age of the universe.”

Her research today, on the impacts of climate change, flows from those early experiences. And of course, it is inspired by her faith, which for Hayhoe puts a strong emphasis on caring for the weakest and most vulnerable among us. “That gives us even more reason to care about climate change,” says Hayhoe, “because it is affecting people, and is disproportionately affecting the poor, and the vulnerable, and those who cannot care for themselves.”

The fact remains, though, that most evangelical Christians in the United States do not think as Hayhoe does. Recent data from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication suggests that while 64 percent of Americans think global warming is real and caused by human beings, only 44 percent of evangelicals do. Evangelicals in general, explains Hayhoe, tend to be more politically conservative, and can be quite distrusting of scientists (believing, incorrectly, that they’re all a bunch of atheists). Plus, some evangelicals really do go in for that whole “the world is ending” thing—not an outlook likely to inspire much care for the environment. So how does Hayhoe reach them?

From our interview, here are five of Hayhoe’s top arguments, for evangelical Christians, on climate change:

1. Conservation is conservative. The evangelical community isn’t just a religious community, it’s also a politically conservative one on average. So Hayhoe speaks directly to that value system. “What’s more conservative than conserving our natural resources, making sure we have enough for the future, and not wasting them like we are today?” she asks. “That’s a very conservative value.”

Indeed, many conservatives don’t buy into climate science because they don’t like the “big government” solutions they suspect the problem entails. But Hayhoe has an answer ready for that one too: Conservative-friendly, market-driven solutions to climate problems are actually all around us. “A couple of weeks ago, Texas … smashed the record for the most wind energy ever produced. It was 38 percent of our energy that week, came from wind,” she says. And Hayhoe thinks that’s just the beginning: “If you look at the map of where the greatest potential is for wind energy, it’s right up the red states. And I think that is going to make a big difference in the future.”

2. Yes, God would let this happen. One conservative Christian argument is that God just wouldn’t let human activities ruin the creation. Or, as Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma has put it, “God’s still up there, and the arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what he is doing in the climate, is to me, outrageous.”

Hayhoe thinks the answer to Inhofe’s objection is simple: From a Christian perspective, we have free will to make decisions and must live with their consequences. This is, after all, a classic Christian solution to the theological problem of evil. “Are bad things happening? Yes, all the time,” says Hayhoe. “Someone gets drunk, they get behind the wheel of a car, they kill an innocent bystander, possibly even a child or a mother.”

Climate change is, to Hayhoe, just another wrong, another problem, brought on by flawed humans exercising their wills in a way that is less than fully advisable. “That’s really what climate change is,” she says. “It’s a casualty of the decisions that we have made.”

3. The Bible does not approve of letting the world burn. Hayhoe agrees with the common liberal perception that the evangelical community contains a significant proportion of apocalyptic or end-times believers—and that this belief, literally that judgment is upon us, undermines their concern about preserving the planet. But she thinks there’s something very wrong with that outlook, and indeed, that the Bible itself refutes it.

“The message that, we don’t care about anybody else, screw everybody, and let the world burn, that message is not a consistent message in the Bible,” says Hayhoe. In particular, she thinks the apostle Paul has a pretty good answer to end-times believers in his second epistle to the Thessalonians. Hayhoe breaks Paul’s message down like this: “I’ve heard that you’ve been quitting your jobs, you have been laying around and doing nothing, because you think that Christ is returning and the world is ending.” But Paul serves up a rebuke. In Hayhoe’s words: “Get a job, support yourself and your family, care for others—again, the poor and the vulnerable who can’t care for themselves—and do what you can, essentially, to make the world a better place, because nobody knows when that’s going to happen.”

4. Even if you believe in a young Earth, it’s still warming. One reason there’s such a tension between the evangelical community and science is, well, science. Many evangelicals are young-Earth creationists, who believe that the Earth is 6,000 or so years old.

Hayhoe isn’t one of those. She studied astrophysics and quasars that are quite ancient; and as she notes, believing the Earth and universe to be young creates a pretty problematic understanding of God: “Either you have to believe that God created everything looking as if it were billions of years old, or you have to believe it is billions of years old.” In the former case, God would, in effect, seem to be trying to trick us.

But when it comes to talking to evangelical audiences about climate change, Hayhoe doesn’t emphasize the age of the Earth, simply because, she says, there’s no need. “When I talk to Christian audiences, I only show ice core data and other proxy data going back 6,000 years,” says Hayhoe, “because I believe that you can make an even stronger case, for the massive way in which humans have interfered with the natural system, by only looking at a shorter period of time.”

“In terms of addressing the climate issue,” says Hayhoe, “we don’t have time for everybody to get on the same page regarding the age of the universe.”

5. “Caring for our environment is caring for people.” Finally, Hayhoe thinks it is crucial to emphasize to evangelicals that saving the planet is about saving people ... not just saving animals. “I think there’s this perception,” says Hayhoe, “that if an environmentalist were driving down the road … and they saw a baby seal on one side and they saw a human on the other side, they would veer out of the way to avoid the baby seal and run down the human.” That’s why it’s so important, in her mind, to emphasize how climate change affects people (a logic once again affirming the perception that the polar bear was a terrible symbol for global warming). And there’s bountiful evidence of this: The just-released Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s “Working Group II” report on climate impacts emphasizes threats to our food supply, a risk of worsening violence in a warming world, and the potential displacement of vulnerable populations.

So is the message working? Hayhoe thinks so. After all, while only 44 percent of evangelicals may accept modern climate science today, she notes that that’s considerable progress from a 2008 Pew poll, which had that number at just 34 percent. Ultimately, for Hayhoe, it comes down to this: “If you believe that God created the world, and basically gave it to humans as this incredible gift to live on, then why would you treat it like garbage? Treating the world like garbage says a lot about how you think about the person who you believe created the Earth.”

Why is America living in an age of profound economic inequality? Why, despite the desperate need to address climate change, have even modest environmental efforts been defeated again and again? Why have protections for employees been decimated? Why do hedge-fund billionaires pay a far lower tax rate than middle-class workers?

The conventional answer is that a popular uprising against “big government” led to the ascendancy of a broad-based conservative movement. But as Jane Mayer shows in this powerful, meticulously reported history, a network of exceedingly wealthy people with extreme libertarian views bankrolled a systematic, step-by-step plan to fundamentally alter the American political system.

The network has brought together some of the richest people on the planet. Their core beliefs—that taxes are a form of tyranny; that government oversight of business is an assault on freedom—are sincerely held. But these beliefs also advance their personal and corporate interests: Many of their companies have run afoul of federal pollution, worker safety, securities, and tax laws.

The chief figures in the network are Charles and David Koch, whose father made his fortune in part by building oil refineries in Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany. The patriarch later was a founding member of the John Birch Society, whose politics were so radical it believed Dwight Eisenhower was a communist. The brothers were schooled in a political philosophy that asserted the only role of government is to provide security and to enforce property rights.

When libertarian ideas proved decidedly unpopular with voters, the Koch brothers and their allies chose another path. If they pooled their vast resources, they could fund an interlocking array of organizations that could work in tandem to influence and ultimately control academic institutions, think tanks, the courts, statehouses, Congress, and, they hoped, the presidency. Richard Mellon Scaife, the mercurial heir to banking and oil fortunes, had the brilliant insight that most of their political activities could be written off as tax-deductible “philanthropy.”

These organizations were given innocuous names such as Americans for Prosperity. Funding sources were hidden whenever possible. This process reached its apotheosis with the allegedly populist Tea Party movement, abetted mightily by the Citizens United decision—a case conceived of by legal advocates funded by the network.

The political operatives the network employs are disciplined, smart, and at times ruthless. Mayer documents instances in which people affiliated with these groups hired private detectives to impugn whistle-blowers, journalists, and even government investigators. And their efforts have been remarkably successful. Libertarian views on taxes and regulation, once far outside the mainstream and still rejected by most Americans, are ascendant in the majority of state governments, the Supreme Court, and Congress. Meaningful environmental, labor, finance, and tax reforms have been stymied.

Jane Mayer spent five years conducting hundreds of interviews-including with several sources within the network-and scoured public records, private papers, and court proceedings in reporting this book. In a taut and utterly convincing narrative, she traces the byzantine trail of the billions of dollars spent by the network and provides vivid portraits of the colorful figures behind the new American oligarchy.

Dark Money is a book that must be read by anyone who cares about the future of American democracy.

When you walk in our front door at the monastery, one of the first things you might notice is a large poster of the Bhavacakra. I am going to use wikipedia's description of it, because it is as good an interpretation that I could find. I have studied this in depth, along with the I-Ching's wheel of hexagrams, and the wheel of astrological symbolism from dark to light ( the Tao ). The wheel has no beginning or ending, but there is a way to step off this wheel through meditation.


Bhavacakra, "wheel of life,"[note 1] consists of the words bhava and cakra.

Bhava (भव) means "being, worldly existence, becoming, birth, be, production, origin".[web 1]

The Sanskrit word bhāva (भाव) is rooted in the term bhava, and means "emotion, sentiment, state of body or mind, disposition."[web 2] In some contexts it also means "becoming, being, existing, occurring, appearance" while connoting the condition thereof.[web 3]

In Buddhism, bhava denotes the continuity of becoming (reincarnating) in one of the realms of existence, in the samsaric context of rebirth, life and the maturation arising therefrom.[2] It is the tenth of the Twelve Nidanas, in its Pratītyasamutpāda doctrine.[3]

The word Chakra (चक्र) derives from the Sanskrit word meaning "wheel," as well as "circle" and "cycle".[4]

The word chakra is used to mean several different things in the Sanskrit sources:[5]

    "Circle," used in a variety of senses, symbolising endless rotation of shakti.
    A circle of people. In rituals, there are different cakrasādhanās in which adherents assemble and perform rites. According to the Niruttaratantra, chakras in the sense of assemblies are of 5 types.
    The term chakra is also used to denote yantras (mystic diagram)s, variously known as trikoṇa-cakra, aṣṭakoṇa-cakra, etc.
    Different nerve plexuses within the body.

Legend has it that the historical Buddha himself created the first depiction of the bhavacakra, and the story of how he gave the illustration to King Rudrāyaṇa appears in the anthology of Buddhist narratives called the Divyāvadāna.
Explanation of the diagram

The bhavacakra is painted on the outside walls of nearly every Tibetan Buddhist temple in Tibet and India, to instruct non-monastic audience about the Buddhist teachings.[6][7]

Elements of the bhavacakra

The bhavacakra consits of the following elements:

    The pig, rooster and snake in the hub of the wheel represent the three poisons of ignorance, attachment and aversion.
    The second layer represents karma.
    The third layer represents the six realms of samsara.
    The fourth layer represents the twelve links of dependent origination.
    The fierce figure holding the wheel represents impermanence.[8]
    The moon above the wheel represents liberation from samsara or cyclic existence.
    The Buddha pointing to the white circle indicates that liberation is possible.

Symbolically, the three inner circles, moving from the center outward, show that the three poisons of ignorance, attachment, and aversion give rise to positive and negative actions; these actions and their results are called karma. Karma in turn gives rise to the six realms, which represent the different types of suffering within samsara.

The fourth and outer layer of the wheel symbolizes the twelve links of dependent origination; these links indicate how the sources of suffering—the three poisons and karma—produce lives within cyclic existence.

The fierce being holding the wheel represents impermanence; this symbolizes that the entire process of samsara or cyclic existence is impermanent, transient, constantly changing. The moon above the wheel indicates liberation. The Buddha is pointing to the moon, indicating that liberation from samsara is possible.[9][10]

Hub: the three poisons

In the hub of the wheel are three animals: a pig, a snake, and a bird. They represent the three poisons of ignorance, aversion, and attachment, respectively. The pig stands for ignorance; this comparison is based on the Indian concept of a pig being the most foolish of animals, since it sleeps in the dirtiest places and eats whatever comes to its mouth. The snake represents aversion or anger; this is because it will be aroused and strike at the slightest touch. The bird represents attachment (also translated as desire or clinging). The particular bird used in this diagram represents an Indian bird that is very attached to its partner. These three animals represent the three poisons, which are the core of the bhavacakra. From these three poisons, the whole cycle of existence evolves.[11][12]

In many drawings of the wheel, the snake and bird are shown as coming out of the mouth of the pig, indicating that aversion and attachment arise from ignorance. The snake and bird are also shown grasping the tail of the pig, indicating that they in turn promote greater ignorance.[12]

Under the influence of the three poisons, beings create karma, as shown in the next layer of the circle.

Second layer: karma

The second layer of the wheel shows two-half circles:

    One half-circle (usually light) shows contented people moving upwards to higher states, possibly to the higher realms.
    The other half-circle (usually dark) shows people in a miserable state being led downwards to lower states, possibly to the lower realms.

These images represent karma, the law of cause and effect. The light half-circle indicates people experiencing the results of positive actions. The dark half-circle indicates people experiencing the results of negative actions.[12]

Ringu Tulku states:

    We create karma in three different ways, through actions that are positive, negative, or neutral. When we feel kindness and love and with this attitude do good things, which are beneficial to both ourselves and others, this is positive action. When we commit harmful deeds out of equally harmful intentions, this is negative action. Finally, when our motivation is indifferent and our deeds are neither harmful or beneficial, this is neutral action. The results we experience will accord with the quality of our actions.[13]

Propelled by their karma, beings take rebirth in the six realms of samsara, as shown in the next layer of the circle.

Third layer: the six realms of samsara

The third layer of the wheel is divided into six sections that represent the six realms of samsara, or cyclic existence, the process of cycling through one rebirth after another. These six realms are divided into three higher realms and three lower realms. The wheel can also be represented as having five realms, combining the God realm and the Demi-god realm into a single realm.

The three higher realms are shown in the top half of the circle:

    God realm (Deva): the gods lead long and enjoyable lives full of pleasure and abundance, but they spend their lives pursuing meaningless distractions and never think to practice the dharma. When death comes to them, they are completely unprepared; without realizing it, they have completely exhausted their good karma (which was the cause for being reborn in the god realm) and they suffer through being reborn in the lower realms.
    Demi-god realm (Asura): the demi-gods have pleasure and abundance almost as much as the gods, but they spend their time fighting among themselves or making war on the gods. When they make war on the gods, they always lose, since the gods are much more powerful. The demi-gods suffer from constant fighting and jealousy, and from being killed and wounded in their wars with each other and with the gods.
    Human realm (Manuṣya): humans suffer from hunger, thirst, heat, cold, separation from friends, being attacked by enemies, not getting what they want, and getting what they don't want. They also suffer from the general sufferings of birth, old age, sickness and death. Yet the human realm is considered to be the most suitable realm for practicing the dharma, because humans are not completely distracted by pleasure (like the gods or demi-gods) or by pain and suffering (like the beings in the lower realms).

The three lower realms are shown in the bottom half of the circle:

    Animal realm (Tiryagyoni): wild animals suffer from being attacked and eaten by other animals; they generally lead lives of constant fear. Domestic animals suffer from being exploited by humans; for example, they are slaughtered for food, overworked, and so on.
    Hungry ghost realm (Preta): hungry ghosts suffer from extreme hunger and thirst. They wander constantly in search of food and drink, only to be miserably frustrated any time they come close to actually getting what they want. For example, they see a stream of pure, clear water in the distance, but by the time they get there the stream has dried up. Hungry ghosts have huge bellies and long, thin necks. On the rare occasions that they do manage to find something to eat or drink, the food or water burns their neck as it goes down to their belly, causing them intense agony.
    Hell realm (Naraka): hell beings endure unimaginable suffering for eons of time. There are actually eighteen different types of hells, each inflicting a different kind of torment. In the hot hells, beings suffer from unbearable heat and continual torments of various kinds. In the cold hells, beings suffer from unbearable cold and other torments.[14][15][16][17][18][19]

Among the six realms, the human realm is considered to offer the best opportunity to practice the dharma.[17] In some representations of the wheel, there is a buddha or bodhisattva depicted within each realm, trying to help sentient beings find their way to nirvana.

Outer rim: the twelve links

The outer rim of the wheel is divided into twelve sections that represent the Twelve Nidānas. As previously stated, the three inner layers of the wheel show that the three poisons lead to karma, which leads to the suffering of the six realms. The twelve links of the outer rim show how this happens—by presenting the process of cause and effect in detail.[20][21]

These twelve links can be understood to operate on an outer or inner level.[22]

    On the outer level, the twelve links can be seen to operate over several lifetimes; in this case, these links show how our past lives influence our current lifetime, and how our actions in this lifetime influence our future lifetimes.[22]
    On the inner level, the twelve links can be understood to operate in every moment of existence in an interdependent manner.[23] On this level, the twelve links can be applied to show the effects of one particular action.[22]

By contemplating on the twelve links, one gains greater insight into the workings of karma; this insight enables us to begin to unravel our habitual way of thinking and reacting.[22][24][25]

The twelve causal links, paired with their corresponding symbols, are:

    Avidyā lack of knowledge – a blind person, often walking, or a person peering out
    Saṃskāra constructive volitional activity – a potter shaping a vessel or vessels
    Vijñāna consciousness – a man or a monkey grasping a fruit
    Nāmarūpa name and form (constituent elements of mental and physical existence) – two men afloat in a boat
    Ṣaḍāyatana six senses (eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind) – a dwelling with six windows
    Sparśa contact – lovers consorting, kissing, or entwined
    Vedanā pain – an arrow to the eye
    Tṛṣṇa thirst – a drinker receiving drink
    Upādāna grasping – a man or a monkey picking fruit
    Bhava coming to be – a couple engaged in intercourse, a standing, leaping, or reflective person
    Jāti being born – woman giving birth
    Jarāmaraṇa old age and death – corpse being carried

The figure holding the wheel: impermanence

The wheel is being held by a fearsome figure who represents impermanence.[8]

This figure is often interpreted as being Mara, the demon who tried to tempt the Buddha, or as Yama, the lord of death.[26] Regardless of the figure depicted, the inner meaning remains the same–that the entire process of cyclic existence (samsara) is transient; everything within this wheel is constantly changing.[27]

Yama has the following attributes:

    He wears a crown of five skulls that symbolize the impermanence of the five aggregates.[28] (The skulls are also said to symbolize the five poisons.)
    He has a third eye that symbolizes the wisdom of understanding impermanence.[28]
    He is sometimes shown adorned with a tiger skin, which symbolizes fearfulness.[28] (The tiger skin is typically seen hanging beneath the wheel.)
    His four limbs (that are clutching the wheel) symbolize the sufferings of birth, old age, sickness, and death.[29]

The moon: liberation
Above the wheel is an image of the moon; the moon represents liberation from the sufferings of samsara.[21][30][31] Some drawings may show an image of a "pure land" to indicate liberation, rather than a moon.

The Buddha pointing to the white circle: the path to liberation

The upper part of the drawing also shows an image of the Buddha pointing toward the moon; this represents the path to liberation.[21][30][31] While in Theravada Buddhism this is the Noble Eightfold Path, in Mahayana Buddhism this is the Bodhisattva path, striving to liberation for all sentient beings. In Tibetan Buddhism, this is Lamrim, which details all the stages on the path, while Zen has its own complicated history of the entanglement of meditation practice and direct insight.
Drawings of the Bhavacakra usually contain an inscription consisting of a few lines of text that explain the process that keeps us in samara and how to reverse that process.

Alternative interpretations

The Theravada-tradition does not have a graphical representation of the round of rebirths, but cakra-symbolism is an elementary component of Buddhism, and Buddhaghosa's Path of Purification (Visuddhimagga) contains such imagery:

    It is the beginningless round of rebirths that is called the 'Wheel of the round of rebirths' (saṃsāracakka). Ignorance (avijjā) is its hub (or nave) because it is its root. Ageing-and-death (jarā-maraṇa) is its rim (or felly) because it terminates it. The remaining ten links (of the Dependent Origination) are its spokes (i.e. karma formations [saṅkhāra] up to process of becoming [bhava]).[32]

Western psychological interpretation
Some western interpreters take a psychological point of view, explaining that different karmic actions contribute to one's metaphorical existence in different realms, or rather, different actions reinforce personal characteristics described by the realms. According to Mark Epstein, "each realm becomes not so much a specific place but rather a metaphor for a different psychological state, with the entire wheel becoming a representation of neurotic suffering."


“Bridges to the Neverland” (CC) George Grie

To prevent civilizational collapse, a bridge may be necessary—specifically for geeks—between systematic rationality and fluid, meta-rational understanding. (Not to be alarmist or anything.)

This is an obscure and superficially implausible claim. Here’s why I think the bridge may be needed—and a sketch of how to start building it.
Stages and bridges

My conceptual framework draws on Robert Kegan’s model of adult cognitive, affective, and social development. (I recently posted a summary elsewhere. This metablog post won’t make sense unless you understand Kegan’s model, so read that post first, if you haven’t already!)

Kegan describes three stages of adult development (numbered 3, 4, and 5). We could call them pre-rational, rational, and meta-rational. These stages are distinctive, internally consistent, relatively-well-functioning modes for organizing one’s thinking, one’s self, and one’s relationships. They might be described as “islands of psychological stability.” To progress from one island to the next, you must cross a heaving sea of psychological confusion, in which the previous mode no longer seems functional, but you cannot yet operate in the next mode reliably. These stage transitions are emotionally and cognitively difficult, and typically take several years, during which one may think, feel, and act inconsistently.

Ideally, a society and culture provides “bridges” of support from one stage to the next. To some extent, ours does. However, Kegan pointed out that we have allowed the bridge from stage 3 to 4 to fall into disrepair. We are not adequately teaching young adults how to be rational, systematic, or modern. This is the central theme of his In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life.

This problem seems to have only gotten worse in the two decades since he wrote that. That is what makes me fear civilizational collapse. Keeping modern institutions operating requires cognitively modern, rational operators. We may be destroying the conditions necessary to produce them. I’ll explain this in more detail later.

Our society and culture do even less to support the transition from stage 4 to 5. This transition, between the rational and meta-rational stages, is particularly difficult; and no bridge has yet been built. This is an unrecognized lack—and so, an opportunity to contribute. It has, perhaps, never been seriously attempted, so it may be unexpectedly easy: “low-hanging fruit” that has not yet been plucked.

Between stages 4 and 5, there is a gap, a stretch of open ocean. One recognizes the limitations of rationality, but can’t yet work effectively in the meta-rational mode. Many people get stuck treading water here, trying to stay afloat, often not even able to see the dry land of meta-rationality on the horizon. With rationality seeming the only basis for meaning, they fall into nihilistic depression. This is sometimes informally called “stage 4.5,” although it is not a “stage” in the same sense as the others. It is not a workable mode of organization. However, its dysfunction is stabilized by spurious logic of nihilism. Some stuck there may be barely capable of everyday functioning. Others manage better, by recognizing the limits of rationality while continuing to use it effectively in practice.

The stages of individual development are manifest also in forms of social organization. Pre-rational psychology is typical of pre-modern societies—what I’ve described elsewhere as the “choiceless” or “communal” mode. Rationality is characteristic of systematic, modern societies. Postmodernity corresponds to the 4.5 breakdown.
Postmodernism sabotages the bridge to rationality

In the 1970s and 1980s, the best postmodern/poststructural thinkers presented meta-rational views, based on their thorough understanding of systematic rationality.1 This first generation of postmodern teachers had a complete “classical education” in the humanities; they mastered the Western intellectual tradition before coming to understand its limitations.

Deconstructive postmodernism, their critique of stage 4 modernism/systematicity/rationality, is the basis of the contemporary university humanities curriculum. This is a disaster. The critique is largely correct; but, as Kegan observed, to teach it to young adults is harmful.2 Few university students have consolidated rationality. Essentially none are ready to move beyond it. Pointing out its defects makes their developmental task more difficult.

You cannot understand what is wrong with rationality until you are capable of being rational. You cannot go beyond rationality until after you can use it reliably. You cannot become meta to systems you do not appreciate and do not understand how to deploy. You cannot move from stage 3 to stage 5 without passing through stage 4.

In fact, even most teachers of postmodern theory don’t understand it. Unfortunately, the postmodern pioneers chose to write in obfuscatory riddles. Their insights were difficult enough to understand without that. Few followers could extract the insights. Most teachers are second-generation professors who didn’t understand pomo when it was new, and third-generation ones who were mainly taught dumbed-down second-generation “pseudo-pomo.”

They were never taught to think, and can’t. What they learned was to imitate the founders’ appalling rhetorical style. They even learned to not think—because thinking would lead to questioning the nonsense, which would get you ejected from pomodom. Consequently, most contemporary pomo writing is—as everyone admits—incoherent blather, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. That’s “pseudo-pomo.”

At this point, many humanities professors cannot take even a rational, stage 4 stance; they were not taught to think. Lacking that, they cannot critique rationality accurately. They could not possibly transmit stage 5 meta-rationality to their students now.
“All systems must be destroyed”

Still worse, pseudo-pomo misunderstands the postmodern critique simply as “all systems are wicked, false ideologies invented by the powerful as means of oppression, and must be destroyed.”3

Unfortunately, “critical theory” has so far failed to produce a broad, positive, clear and practical meta-rational vision. With nothing beyond the discredited stage 4 to look forward to, it is mostly no longer possible for humanities majors to develop a rational, systematic self. Nor can they participate effectively in a rational, systematic culture and society. At best, if they do somehow make it to stage 4, deconstructive postmodernism can only push them on into the ultra-relativist nihilism of 4.5. In that abyss, you realize rationality is not the answer, but can see no alternative. There is essentially no support available for the further transition to stage 5.4

This scares me. Up until the 1980s, a university humanities department did teach you how to think—and it was the standard education for the ruling class. Since then, it has taught you not to think. What happens as people trained in postmodern anti-thought move increasingly into positions of power? Without an appreciation for administrative and technical rationality—much less the ability to deploy them personally—how can they lead governments, corporations, universities, churches, or NGOs?

Recently, major institutions seem increasingly willing to abandon systemic logic: rationality, rule of law, and procedural justice. Such systems lost credibility decades ago, and are under increasing cultural/political attack from the pomo-educated. But for now they are critical to maintaining civilization. Someone has to keep the machinery running. Until we can build a fluid, meta-rational stage 5 society, destroying stage 4 institutions means everyone will die. (Not to be alarmist or anything.)

Building a bridge to stage 5 may be critical to keeping the bridge to stage 4 open. Because the postmodern critique is correct, it’s intellectually indefensible to insist on rationality as The Way and The Truth and The Light. To make stage 4 palatable, it has to be clear that it is not the final destination. Confirming the accuracy of the critique opens the possibility of a third alternative to the stage 3 and 4 worldviews. Saying:

    “You are right, systems are not ultimately workable as the basis for society and culture” and
    “You are right, systems do always get appropriated by the powerful as means of oppression”

makes credible:

    “Psychologically, understanding rational systems is a stage you need to go through to get beyond them” and
    “However imperfect, systems are the main way we currently know how to deliver the material and social prerequisites for life, so we need to keep them running for now.”

Misperception of woo blocks the bridge beyond rationality

STEM5 education teaches the value of technical systems, including formal rationality. STEM education ignores postmodernism, so the bridge to stage 4 is still intact there. Thus, stage 5 meta-rationality is now probably more accessible for STEM folks than other people. I think it is important to present stage 5 in language STEM folks can understand and will find attractive.

For people in stage 4, anything that is not rational may sound like simple irrationality, or magical thinking, and so they are likely to reject it. As a further difficulty, stage 5 has some specific commonalities with stage 3 (pre-rationality), making it harder to distinguish. Dualism—insistence on precise boundaries—is characteristic of stage 4. Monism—rejection of boundaries, and over-emphasis on connections—is characteristic of stage 3. Stage 5 recognizes that boundaries and connections are both nebulous and patterned, so it is neither monist nor dualist. However, from a rationalist point of view, meta-rationalism’s rejection of black-and-white thinking just looks like the blooming buzzing confusion of stage 3 monism, which rationalism is right to reject.

For someone in stage 4, relativizing the ultimate value of rationality seems certain to slide into Romanticism (prioritizing emotions and subjective experience over objective understanding) and woo (supernaturalism, pseudoscience, and wishful thinking). Since nearly all talk about limits to rationality is motivated by stage 3 Romanticism and woo, this is an inevitable misapprehension. However, that is not the stage 5 agenda. This must be made extremely clear.

My summary of Kegan’s theory included a point that merited only a footnote there, but which I want to emphasize here:

    Stages 3 and 5 both tolerate contradictions, but of different types and in different ways.

    Stage 3 does not feel a need for rational justifications, and mostly doesn’t have the capacity to use them; so it mostly doesn’t even notice logical contradictions, and isn’t bothered by them when it does. However, stage 3 can be highly intolerant of contradictory value judgments, because they threaten community harmony.

    Stage 4 finds contradictions within its system a fundamental problem, and tries to eliminate them one way or another. Eventually, if contradictions cannot be eliminated from the system, it must be replaced. Stage 4 wants to find the right system, and if two contradict, that shows one is wrong.

    Stage 5 recognizes the value of sorting out contradictions within a system, and retains stage 4’s ability to do so. However, it doesn’t expect any system to work perfectly, so it tolerates internal contradictions if they appear relatively unproblematic. Stage 5 entertains multiple systems, and is comfortable with contradictions between them, because systems are not absolute truths, only ways-of-seeing that are useful in different circumstances. Stage 5 is uniquely comfortable with value conflicts, since (unlike both 3 and 4) it does not take any value as ultimate.

Emanuel Rylke commented, perceptively:

    You say “People in stage 3 tend to misunderstand stage 4 as being stage 2” and hint at the possibility for a similar error at stage 4: “3 and 5 both tolerate contradictions” (I myself got hung up on this superficial similarity for multiple years). I think that’s not just a coincidence but a reason for why we can make a reliable distinction between these stages in the first place. If you view cognitive development as a river then sections where progress lies in a direction that looks backwards create a sort of reservoir. Basically there progress is counter intuitive so people slow down a lot and pile up. These then can more easily recognized as separate stages compared to a continuously flowing river.

For stage 4, stage 5’s tolerance of contradiction is indistinguishable from stage 3’s; both appear simply irrational.6

Lacking a clear presentation of stage 5, and particularly a clear explanation of how it differs from stage 3, it is inaccessible from stage 4 directly. At best, one can only reach it from 4.5, the gap of nihilistic despair. This generally provokes anxiety, rage, and depression, and is not a good place to get stuck.

And, little or no support is available for the 4.5 to 5 transition. Mostly you can only get to stage 5 through a rare combination of luck, intelligence, and endurance.
The nihilistic gap, STEM depression, and postrationalism

Many of the people I care about most, and find most interesting, are STEM-educated refugees from ideological rationalism. They’ve mastered rationality, they’ve seen through it—and many now are stuck. Systems cannot provide them with meaning; but neither, it seems can anything else. Many fall into crippling nihilistic depression—a characteristic of stage 4.5. This is awful.

4.5 is necessary en route to stage 5, but maybe it doesn’t need to be so horrible. One needs to become disillusioned and disappointed with rationalism, and then angry at it, and perhaps temporarily reject it altogether (in theory at least). Moving beyond any of the developmental stages involves a profound sense of loss: of one’s previously comfortable mode of making meaning. One’s meaning-making mode is always experienced as “the self,” and the new mode seems frighteningly alien—even though it is more powerful once mastered. The 4-to–5 transition is particularly difficult, as it appears no new meaning is possible even in principle, which implies you are nothing, and have no value.

However, if you understand that meaning re-emerges at stage 5—or can accept this, based on plausible testimony—then you need not descend into despair.

Recently, there has been an exodus from the rationalist movement, and some exiles have loosely grouped under the banner of “postrationalism.” (For an informal review, see Darcey Riley’s 2014 post and the reader comments on it. More recent contributions are from Sarah Perry and Warg Franklin.) Postrationalism is an early work-in-progress, whose meaning is as yet unclear, but seems to have much in common with Kegan’s stage 5, and with the complete stance as I describe it in Meaningness.

(I’m a little wary of the term “postrational,” because it might be misunderstood as a rejection of rationality, in favor of something irrational. That describes stage 3 Romanticism. Kegan’s stage 5, the complete stance, and—so far as I understand it—postrationalism do not abandon rationality. They deploy rationality as a miscellaneous collection of oft-useful tools, rather than The Single Correct Way To Do Everything. I’m using “meta-rational”—just in this post, so far—as an experimental alternative, meant to suggest that. However, the problem with “meta-rational” is that it may be misunderstood as “applying systematic rationality to itself.” That is not stage 5; it’s just an extra-fancy version of stage 4. Elsewhere I am using the word “fluid”; I’m not sure whether that’s better.)
The current adult developmental landscape

This diagram summarizes past, current, and potential future ways beyond stage 3. Dotted lines show routes that are mainly unavailable, and dotted boxes are stages that are mainly unavailable.

(This is a good time to remember that adult developmental theory is a conceptual model, not Eternal Truth. Like all models, it highlights and partially explains some phenomena, and marginalizes and distorts others. I am using it here because it provides a useful vocabulary for discussing some patterns I want to point out.)

Twenty-some years ago, Kegan said that the bridge into stage 4 was through participation in a systematic institution: either employment or university education.

Employers such as large corporations and the military induct young adults into bureaucratic rationality. This bridge is still open. However, it seems increasingly under cultural-political attack. Further, it has never led beyond stage 4. Stage 5 institutions are rare, transient, and perhaps entirely hypothetical.7

“Pseudo-pomo” now stands in the way of a systematic humanities education. It is probably still possible to reach stage 4 in some English departments, but you’d have to be smart, lucky, dedicated, and discreet—so I’ve made that a dotted box in the diagram. If you do reach it, the genuine pomo critique is still available; I’ve drawn it with a solid line. However, the critique leads only to ultra-relativistic nihilism. The logical next step, a positive non-eternalist stage 5 cultural and social vision, does not yet exist. (I do plan to try to sketch one in Meaningness and Time—but that’s not what this post is about.)

Formal rationality is central in STEM education, so it’s now the best route to stage 4. STEM departments do not explicitly go beyond that. However, at least some professors understand the limitations of formal methods and the inherent nebulosity of their subject matter, and may teach that informally. They may also teach some stage 5 cognitive skills informally, implicitly, or by example.

Some STEM people figure out the limits of rationalist ideology on their own. Lacking any intellectual or social framework for that, the discovery often leads to nihilistic despair and social isolation. This is common enough that I’ve given that box a solid border. “Postrationalism” is, perhaps, the dawning of a conceptual structure and social support network for moving beyond it.
A bridge to stage 5 for STEM people

So, I really want to help. I care particularly for the STEM-educated who are lost in the nihilist abyss.

But also, STEM people are the most likely to have made it beyond stage 4, and therefore the most likely to be able to reach stage 5. With stage 4 discredited, getting a critical mass of people to stage 5 may be the only way to preserve civilization from systemic collapse. That could be brought on by broad cultural, social, and psychological reversion to stage 3 tribalism. (Not to be alarmist or anything.)

Stage 5 may contain the answers to current pressing social and cultural problems (as I’ll eventually argue in Meaningness and Time). But perhaps even more critically, building the bridge from 4 to 5 may be the only way to keep the bridge from 3 to 4 open. (And to repair the bridge to rationality for non-STEM people.)

Stage transitions usually cannot be accomplished solo. Intellectual understanding is not enough. A bridge needs a culture and community that help in three ways. They should challenge current-stage behavior to push you toward the next; they should support you during the transition, to minimize negative consequences when you are halfway through and can’t quite make the next stage work; they should confirm (praise and reward) next-stage behavior to the extent you can do it. Systematic institutions, ideally, provide these for new members, transitioning from stage 3 to 4.

Cultural and community context for the 4-to–5 transition has, thus far, been rare. The meta-rational mode is not broadly recognized. Context for reaching it has been created only rarely, idiosyncratically, by exceptional individual mentors, plus their circle of students. I’m probably not in a position to do that currently. I can probably best contribute through mere explanation. Alas, that is radically inadequate. Maybe it is better than nothing, though.

Each developmental stage can be explained in terms of any aspect of human being. Kegan discusses the 4-to–5 transition in terms of ethics, marriage relationships, and management style. These are not areas that STEM folks are typically particularly interested in. It may be more helpful to explain in terms of cognitive, or epistemological, approaches. Cognition and epistemology are central in Kegan’s model overall, but he’s vague on how they change in the 4-to–5 transition.

Perhaps this is one place I can help.8 Challenge, here, entails explaining the limitations of rationality; support means showing how meta-rationality works, and how to make the transition emotionally feasible; confirmation is pointing out the power of meta-rationality. Meaningness, the book, is supposed to do all three of these, eventually. In fact, it might be described overall as guide to the transition from stage 4 eternalism through 4.5 nihilism to stage 5—the complete stance. (However, the book is mostly an enormous collection of IOUs, so far!)

This book section explains how rationality fails when you try to make it do too much. It’s quite incomplete, and there isn’t even a good overview yet. I’ve also addressed the issue, obliquely, in several metablog posts; and it will also appear in other parts of the book, for example this page.

To be honest, I’m not altogether enthusiastic about writing these bits. The issues have actually been understood pretty well for most of a century. So I’m impatient. I’m like “come on, you can’t really believe anything that dumb, can you!”, which is not a helpful approach.9 Unfortunately, no one else has taken the time to explain the problems clearly and carefully in straightforward language, so far as I know. The discussion is scattered across a dozen disciplines, written in the distinctive academic codes of each. Summarizing this will—or would—be a public service; but not as much fun as I would like.

Anyway, one way or another, many people do figure this out, but get stuck at stage 4.5, so maybe it’s not as important to challenge rationality (from a stage 5 perspective) as to help build the 4.5-to–5 bridge.

As support for that route, I plan to explain in more detail why nihilism is wrong, and to offer antidotes to its emotional pitfalls. Some of this I have drafted in detail, and I’d like to complete those parts soon. (In terms of priorities, I have been torn between working on that and on “The history of meaningness,” which I hope is relevant to some current political dilemmas.)

Cognitive support, and confirmation, mean showing clearly that meta-rational cognition is possible and valuable. “How to Think Real Good” may be a start, although this was not how I thought of its purpose when I wrote it. There’s vastly more to say on this subject.

Even if all that were completed, it would fall far short of building a bridge—because that requires a social and cultural context. Can such a thing exist? I am confident it can. It will take collaborative construction by many contributors, though.

    Michel Foucault was, in my opinion, the foremost among them. Unfortunately, his premature death prevented what might have become a complete meta-rational presentation. His last work—the multi-volume, unfinished History of Sexuality—is the best. It’s only incidentally about sexuality; it’s about self and society, knowledge and power, language and experience.
    This is in the final chapter of his In Over Our Heads: The Mental Demands of Modern Life, “On being good company for the wrong journey.” The “wrong” journey is that from stage 4 to 5, which he thought almost no university student was ready for.
    Kegan pointed out that although campus identity politics is usually presented in pseudo-pomo terms, it could also function as an intuitive attempt to move toward stage 4 from stage 3. The structure of the identity-political ideology is itself a system, which may be a helpful support for some students in forming a coherent, systematic self—an identity. That was in his 1994 In Over Our Heads (pp. 337–338, 342–344, 347). Unfortunately, I suspect that using identity politics as a bridge to stage 4 was more feasible in the early ’90s, at the height of the subcultural mode, than it is now in the atomized mode. Identity politics then retained considerable conceptual coherence from its Marxist roots; but it has become increasingly incoherent. Identity gave way to intersectionalism—in a way consistent with the development from the subcultural to the atomized mode—and that is probably still less capable of leading anyone beyond stage 3.
    See, however, Kegan’s discussion of destructive antimodernism (4.5) vs. reconstructive postmodernism (stage 5), in In Over Our Heads, pp. 324–334. This is about as clear a statement of the way forward, within the critical theory framework, as has been written to date, to my knowledge.
    Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.
    This is structurally identical to Ken Wilber’s idea of the pre-rational/trans-rational fallacy, which also draws on adult developmental psychology. I am skeptical of his “trans-rational,” however; it seems to be mostly Romantic monism, which I think is actually anti-rational (and wrong and harmful).
    Kegan developed a theory of stage 5 institutions with management theorist Bill Torbert; I may write about that at some point.
    With the caveat that, unlike Kegan, I’m not an empirical psychologist, so anything novel I say can only be guessing.
    “Pop Bayesianism: cruder than I thought?” particularly suffered from this problem. I followed up, eventually, with “Probability theory does not extend logic,” which is very patient and properly pedagogical. (Until the second appendix, anyway.) It was a drag to write, and I kept promising it for years before finally finishing. When I did, the people who already understood the issues nodded their heads and said “yes, of course,” and the people who were committed to Bayesian rationalism ignored it.

Diner Newz & Multimedia / Just finished my new online CD "Fish Man"
« on: January 20, 2018, 06:51:45 PM »
My fifteen year old midi guitar controller died. I decided to search for a new one. I found the cheapest one I could find, and then a place that was selling a used one for 1/2 price. I bought it. It is wireless and fits nicely on my semi hollow body guitar.
  Now I  have formed a new band and have called it "Fish Man". Me on keyboard. Me on Bass. Me on Guitar. Me on Horns and Strings and Pads. Me on Lead instrument.  The discerning listener will notice I have a formula for the creation of the songs. It is intended, because I am old and tired of getting complicated. I have presented various styles of music in this compilation with some new and exciting lead instruments.

Enjoy if you can. ( that is the title of my first cassette of original music 32 years ago )

The Kitchen Sink / I don't want to put Emojii's in my newz titles
« on: January 20, 2018, 11:17:03 AM »
This new idea of putting an emojii in the title has the following problems for me...

1. It interrupts the the flow of my transfer of the intended context of my newz posting.

2. It changes the context of the title by adding a symbol that doesn't come close to representing the language.

3. It adds a lot of extra time to look up the emojii and the search until you find something that really doesn't work for the title.

4. I don't want  to compromise the impact of the title in plain language with a barely related icon.

5. When you say "I am issuing a new style directive on the Diner", you surely mean it is optional, right?

There is a new icebreaker in the international diplomatic circuit. The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call at the UN General Assembly for declaring an International Yoga Day has gained support from several quarters — many representatives from Congress and President Obama as well have shown keen interest in yoga.

From being an ancient spiritual pursuit for those seeking enlightenment, yoga has been absorbed into mainstream lifestyle by people from all cultures and backgrounds across the globe. And now it has also arrived in the global political arena. Good governance and administration require multi-faceted skills and yoga brings skill in action. In fact, it was called Raja Yoga because it was practiced by kings and princes in the ancient days.

Yoga became popular in the West as a solution to lose weight or as a physical exercise and people also found relief from many ills such as stress, anxiety, professional burnout, addictions and insomnia. In additions to its remedial properties, yoga is also a path to realize and harness your deepest potential.

It has a profound impact on multiple levels of our existence. While stretches and postures make the body supple, pranayama and meditation take the mind deep within. An unknown dimension opens up within our being that enriches the experience of life in many ways. There are several benefits of yoga — it enhances health, improves memory and concentration, sharpens the intellect, de-stresses the system and increases energy levels. It also unveils an intuitive ability within us, which is much needed for creative pursuits and in overcoming obstacles like the writers’ block.

According to Maharishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the oldest known text on the subject, yoga is freedom from all the distortions of the mind. If we observe the mind, we will realize that it is always engaged in one of five things:

1. Seeking proof or answers
2. Forming conclusions
3. Imagining or fantasising
4. Remembering past events or memories
5. Dreaming

Yoga or union with the Higher Self happens when the mind is not engaged in any of the above. You usually identify with the activity in the mind. In the waking state, you are caught up in all that you see, smell, hear, touch, taste. If not, you return to sleep or to the state of dreaming where you are completely cut off from the world. None of these really give that deep rest that the system needs to totally recover from the stress that it gathers.

In the physical realm, it takes effort to get results. In the realm of the mind, what is needed is effortlessness. For instance, you cannot relax or go to sleep by putting effort; in fact, putting effort is counterproductive. It takes a certain kind of skill to become effortless. The ability to deeply relax renews your ability to be dynamic in action. Passion is like the in-breath but you cannot just breath in; you need to breath out as well and that is dispassion. Life becomes a harmony when we have all three — passion, dispassion and compassion.

Often one has to sacrifice personal freedom to some degree to observe discipline. But yoga is a discipline that opens the door to inner freedom, contradictory as it seems. With practice, you acquire the knack of switching between different modes of the mind, from engaging with the outside world to withdrawing from it and going within; between passion and dispassion. This skill of moving outward or inward at will makes you the master of your own mind, and when you win over the mind, you win over the world.

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