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We Are Buddha

In my interpretation, the Sangha is the community of people who help you towards Enlightenment, the Dharma are the natural laws of the universe that you need to abide by and pay attention to in order to achieve Enlightenment, and the Buddha is the ultimate model of the Enlightened individual living in the context of Samsara.  All three are needed in order to achieve Enlightenment in any realm, form, or time.  Once Enlightenment has been achieved by an individual, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth ceases for that individual.  There is no further need, reason, cause, or ability for that individual to suffer any further in Samsara.  What remains from that individual is their Buddha essence, which continues to be present and pervade the entirety of the universe, known, unknown, knowable, and unknowable.  In this sense, the Buddha has never left our existence, even though Siddharta has ceased to be reborn.  We are Buddhas are underneath the filth of suffering.  Greed (attachment), ignorance (willful or otherwise), and carelessness (lack of compassion) are intrinsic in Samsara.  Yet beneath that is a wondrous presence that is common to us all.  We can either acknowledge our own faults, peel away at the interstellar gunk that clouds our minds and hearts, and become that which we are, or we can be lazy, indoctrinated into one of the causes of suffering, and ultimately fail to realize a lasting bliss which characterizes peace of mind, wisdom, awareness, and compassion.

It should be noted that Buddhism is the one way that I can think of that enables one to achieve Buddhahood conscientiously and deliberately.  All other religions, philosophies, and ways of life either will get you to better rebirths or to Enlightenment through happenstance and the accumulation of past deeds from many many many different lifetimes.  This is similar to how the scientific method is the one way to understand and comprehend the universe beyond the thoughts in your head, which enables one to achieve real results for better or for worse on this plane of existence.  All other methods with working with the world may only make you and others feel temporarily better without actually making you better or may allow you to succeed by chance and chance alone.  It is the difference between self-medication and substance abuse and taking substances with a medicinal purpose, intent, and under verification from well-versed and knowledgeable clinicians who have made a correct diagnosis of the causes of your suffering.  One may help.  But it will only help by chance, be not as effective as other methods, or else, do more harm to your well-being than good.  The other may likewise have mistakes inflicted upon you.  You can still suffer at the hands of even a competent doctor, just as you can suffer at your own hands or an incompetent doctor.  But, this other way is what will more likely lead you to being cured of what’s actually afflicting you.  The choice is up to you, especially when it comes to you making a choice to put a deliberate, consistent, and sustained effort into making it work.

Only you can liberate yourself from Samsara or make a way out of the suffering that you may presently be in.  The essence of the Buddhas, the laws and conditions of the Dharma, and the presence of the Sangha, regardless of the forms or ways that you perceive them are always going to be there to help and will always be present as soon as you think about them.  That is the power of Buddhism and the essence of Buddhist philosophy.  It is not the gods or even God who will save us and yourself.  It is always ultimately going to be up to you to make the world and yourself better.  It is you who ultimately fails to accomplish this goal when you neglect the natural laws and conditions of the universe.  It is you who ultimately fails when you lack the care, compassion, or wisdom to make things be better for yourself.

I’m sorry that I don’t have happier news to give you.  I wish that I could have a magical being to enable us to all be Enlightened and cease to be reborn permanently in this universe.  I wish I had such a being for myself, actually, to make it so I would never ever have to come back to Samsara again.  But, unfortunately, that is not the case.  I am here with you because I made a choice to be here, even in the most subconscious of senses.  I came here because I either did something inanely stupid and wrong, or was motivated by an honest, if foolish choice to help all other beings achieve Enlightenment before myself, not realizing that the only way I can be of help to others is to help myself and, paradoxically, let them go and enable them to figure it out for themselves in their own right and in their own ways.  I’m not sure whether my exhaustion is from being too old of a soul, being too immature of a soul, or simply being not entirely healthy on what ultimately is a physical level.  In any case, I’ll simply abide until my time is come.  What else is there to do?


Of Ants and Humans

Ants, like human beings, have a limited capacity to know, comprehend, accept, and work with their social and ecological environments.  However, there must be something built into the ants’ brains that enable them to have some kind of pro-sociability with ants from the same colony in order to enable and facilitate communication and production amongst the ants for survival and well-being.  Without this pro-sociability and willingness to engage with and help other ants, the ant colony would not likely be able to survive, let alone to potentially thrive in its given context.

Humans have more of an ability to know their environments and their social and ecological conditions than ants do.  Yet there seems to be at present a strain of “broken” or “confused” human beings who don’t or won’t get their individual places within the ecological and social contexts.  These people, who are likely to have brains that are less inclined to sociability, wisdom, and awareness of common reality, populate our  societies and are able to wield influence within our societies through either the democratic processes or through the monopolization of positions of relative power and influence in our societies.  When people with this anti-social, unwise, and delusional brains get into these places of power or wield significant influence in our societies, they tend to wreak havoc on themselves and on others in the long term in spite of them believing that they’re doing the correct things correctly.  I wonder if ants at one point had to likewise evolve beyond their own anti-social and/or non-perceiving cousins within their own colonies to achieve the degree of success that they have on this planet and within their own colonies.  I wonder if we, as a younger species, are likewise going to evolve around these anti-social, unwise, and non-perceiving people or whether we’re going to be destroyed by them in the grand scheme of things.

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Evidence-Based Policy-Making

I truly believe that the conservatives, the Libertarians, and the neoliberals are all based poorly in terms of how they look at the world and, thus, are rendered inferior at governing relative to governing practices and techniques based in evidence.  This is not to say that evidence-based policy making is always going to be correct in its conclusions.  There is a lot of data that needs to be collected and sorted through in order to infer accurate understandings of how things work on the social, economic, and environmental levels.  However, what makes evidence-based policy superior to anything the ideologues can come up with is its willingness to admit mistakes, reverse direction, and change course to do something that is actually healthier and more appropriate for the society in question.  Mistakes are going to be made, like the ideologues.  The difference is that the mistakes of evidence-based governing are considered learning opportunities and not failures or things to be ignored in favor of pure belief and faith.  Initially, evidence-based governing may be no different than ideologically based governing, in terms of its statistical success rate.  However, with time and data, things can be improved and will be improved if the people leading the governing actually do a good job at it.  Evidence-based governing is an insanely difficult process, as one has to correctly define the data that is needed, gather it in appropriate and effective manners, and interpret the results honestly and accurately.  However, I don’t know of a better way of doing governing, in spite of the difficulty and problems that it always will have.  I won’t sell you all short about it, but, it’s probably going to be in the long term better than ideologically based systems and logics of governing.  If only humans had the ability or the sense to implement this system and logic of governing in actual halls of power.

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Emergence, self-organization and network efficiency in gigantic termite-nest-networks build using simple rules

Termites, like many social insects, build nests of complex architecture. These constructions have been proposed to optimize different structural features. Here we describe the nest network of the termite Nasutitermes ephratae, which is among the largest nest-network reported for termites and show that it optimizes diverse parameters defining the network architecture. The network structure avoids multiple crossing of galleries and minimizes the overlap of foraging territories. Thus, these termites are able to minimize the number of galleries they build, while maximizing the foraging area available at the nest mounds. We present a simple computer algorithm that reproduces the basics characteristics of this termite nest network, showing that simple rules can produce complex architectural designs efficiently.

Emergence, self-organization and network efficiency in gigantic termite-nest-networks build using simple rules
Diego Griffon, Carmen Andara, Klaus Jaffe ;

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Confucius observed that when humans follow a particular, internalized code and logic, the need for the top-down command and control forms of social organization disappear, allowing for much more effective and efficient bottom-up systems of organization to arise.  In other words, laws from on high levels of government should be simple, basic, and in accordance with the present natural laws and conditions of bottom-up organization.  Imagine a border collie moving sheep in a particular direction.  It guides the system by moving them in the general direction that the farmer needs while simply correcting and focusing on those sheep who stray from the flock or begin to pull the flock in undesirable directions.  Each society probably uses different strategies depending upon their own internal logic and “state of propriety”.

In the United States, it seems that we get extremely focused on the details and what was past rather than consider the general principles behind the laws, which are reflective of our actual values and stable desires as a nation.  We need to refer back to the principles and deeper meaning of the Constitution and not get so hung up about what is or isn’t actually written in the Constitution.  It’s this intuitive base level of understanding where the logic of our society is and how we are doing that is relative to that common direction we all share as Americans that is more likely to help us.  The details of which sheep are going where is insignificant relative to the big picture of what direction are the sheep as a flock headed and which ones are pulling us in those unhealthy directions.  Sadly, Americans prefer to look at the sheep rather than the flock at their own expense.  That’s probably how we got so many highly detailed laws and rules that are contradictory or counter to our base principles and values.  Silly society.  Silly people.

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Why I’m Close-minded

I know that I’m closed to some things.  But it’s just silly to be open to everything.  Honestly, why should we take the opinion that the Earth is the center of the universe seriously, or that 1+1 can equal anything other than 2?  The same principles apply in our social, political, economic, environmental, and government worlds.  You make one configuration in government, in policy, and in funding, you get a series of possible outcomes, depending upon all the other conditions that the government does not and cannot control for.  But, if you make a different configuration in government, policy, and funding, you get a different set of probable outcomes which may or may not actually be better for all of our social units and the entirety of the universe.  Utility is a subjective thing, that is true.  But, as far as human beings go relative to all other life in the universe, there seem to me to be some things that are universal, objective, or both for life as we know it and for human life relative to all other life in the universe.  Water, H2O, is one of those things that I can think of.  The presence of one thing that fills this criteria proves that there may be other things which also fit this criteria.  It doesn’t matter what your brain believes or what your brain thinks should be done.

It is possible to look at objective truths differently.  You can look at the sum of two integers equaling 9 in many different ways (9+0, 1+8, 2+7, 3+6, 4+5, or the reverse for each of these values).  But these are the only whole numbers which can sum to 9 and in those specific combinations.

Thus, I’m left with the image of a universe wherein our brains and neurological systems are in charge of sensing, interpreting, perceiving, and working with reality first (before you make any choices that will change that reality for one way or another).  Our brains may or may not be healthy and functional relative to common reality, and to ourselves relative to common reality.  Some brains and neurological systems may be pathological to the world (for example, people who persist and refuse to acknowledge common reality and choose instead to invent or produce their own mental image of reality based on their personal motivations and preferences).  The root of all human activity should, normatively, be directed at trying to understand reality, accepting that which holds up to scientific testing and falsification, and rejecting that which actually does not hold up to scientific testing and falsification.  If there is no evidence that is provable for something, why should we simply accept that personal version of reality over our common reality?

Now, there are many ways to see reality that are accurate, just as there are many ways to add whole number integers to equal 9.  If you want to get even more complex, there are an infinite number of ways to sum partial numbers to equal 9.  But even then, there only the appropriate combinations of these partial numbers will equal to exactly 9.  The first number determines what the second number is going to be, and vice versa, such that you’re again, not able or technically free to add whatever combination of partial numbers that you’d like and try to get 9.  You can’t add 4.5 and 3.32 to get 9.  That’s just an axiomatic fact.  Therefore, while a plurality of perspectives is likely the desirable conditional set, it must be recognized that there are some opinions, beliefs, and perspectives which simply don’t match with common reality.  The template is reality; the authority is the universe itself.  No human may abridge, alter, or influence the discovered laws of the universe, as far as we can tell at present.  Furthermore, if we do end up being able to affect common reality through the altering and shifting of natural laws (as per natural laws that are subtler and deeper than the laws we’re working with), we must be extremely careful not to alter those laws in such a way that our very existence becomes untenable or self-destructive as a result of our tampering with them.  We could, in such a hypothetical situation, wipe out all of existence in our present form if we were to tamper with certain laws in certain ways, just as we may wipe ourselves off by killing off certain species in our ecosystems or altering the conditional state of our ecosystems in such a way that our own existence may be put in jeopardy.

Therefore, in my mind, we get a view of the universe that is highly complicated, complex, and interconnected discretely and across boundaries.  We are bound in this universe, as such, that we technically and normatively should not tamper, alter, or destroy certain aspects of the universe.  We are never, as it were, free from altering the universe or ourselves in the universe without consequence.  The same rules apply on the physical and quantum levels of the universe, so too does it apply in our social, economic, environmental, and political levels.  You are, to begin with, not able to conceive of everything that you can do (thus limiting what you can or may do).  You are not physically or mentally capable of doing everything and anything in the universe that is beyond your abilities to handle, even if you are able to imagine or conceive of those things.  Finally, even if you are technically, physically, and/or mentally able to do some things in this universe, there is a wide range of things that you should not do, from the perspective of preserving your own health, safety, and well-being on the individual and relative levels.  There are right and wrong answers in this universe; better or worse solutions to complex problems.  There are correct, better, and worse assessments of problems and situations, just as there are correct, better, and worse solutions to those actual problems in our universe and for our actual well-being.  There are criteria for our utility, health, and well-being on the individual and social levels which are relevant and some that are not, in actuality, relevant at all.

Now, I’m never going to say that I have all the answers to all of these problems or the solutions to every problem that we are experiencing or can possibly experience.  No human can be 100% correct 100% of the time.  All that I’m asserting is that these points are correct 100% of the time in our universe, and that we can experiment with them ourselves to prove that they’re actually true.  What I am proposing and advocating for, is that we switch over to a sustained, systematic review and exploration of our social, economic, political, environmental, cosmological, and integrated reality, such that we can make better individual and collective choices for ourselves in the universe relative to all other things.  Those opinions and desires which aren’t right and/or are unhealthful should be treated as such.  The real sin isn’t having an incorrect belief, but persisting in that belief when it’s been conclusively proven to be likely or definitively incorrect or unhealthful.  That’s all that I’m saying, that’s all that I’m advocating for, and I’m 99.99999999999999999% sure that this is axiomatic for the entire universe as we are able to know and comprehend.  Ignorance is what should be wiped out, and those who won’t or can’t come to grips with reality are the ones we should be labeling as those possessing pathologically formed neural systems.  The solution for these people is optional rehabilitation, if they’re not posing an immediate threat to themselves or others, and care.  I could be wrong too, very easily.  But I’m not going to persist in a belief just because I think or feel it to be right, if it is demonstrably the case that my opinion and belief is actually incorrect or mostly incorrect.  Again, the real sin is persisting in ignorance when it is revealed, not being ignorant in and of itself.  Some people are more able to be correct than others; some people are less able.  It’s only a bad thing if you continue in an incorrect view.

Such is my view of reality.  Such is the reason why I am closed to certain beliefs, opinions, and people.  I hope this clarifies my logic and ways of thinking for you all.  Thank you.

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The Blueprint: A Manifesto for a New Age in Society

We need a group who will run for offices, will expect only the effort of votes and support, will use the science of psychology to get their messages across and will use the science of governing to lead and make choices for the public over the wants of the private.  We need a group who will play the long game, not taking into account just the next election cycle; who will stand for the truly American principles of inclusion, prosperity, pragmatic sense, and a basis in reality rather than hallucinations and beliefs.

If the conservatives wish to make other stabs at eliminating economic and social democracy, we should get organized into decentralized, organized bands and make ready to fight if necessary to get our governments to work for the American people.  I am not going to be willing to subsidize someone elses’ second luxury yacht if it comes at the expense of our schools, health, environment, technology, and overall prosperity.  We should not be robbed of the wealth that we produce through our labor, nor should we be denied the right to live as human beings and pursue happiness in according to our needs, tastes, and desires within the bounds of safety, sensibility, and others’ happiness.  I am sick of being told that my work isn’t valuable to an organization.  I am sick of someone far away telling me how I can non-destructively live my personal life.  And I can’t stand the amount of willful ignorance and logical contortions that the conservative opposition comes up with to continue to justify their poorly chosen stances and priorities.

It is time to govern with science and through facts and evidence as to how things are rather than how we think things are or want them to be.  I am done being nice to the conservatives and the ideologues.

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The Optimization Function of Governments

One of the biggest problems with governing is that there is no consensus about what is the actual thing that government is meant to do.  We can look back at the past and see many many examples of what governments (and government members) should not do.  We see a constant pattern throughout time and space that indicates that cheating, theft, lies, failure to uphold standards of behavior, tyranny, economic mismanagement, and environmental mismanagement, ie, bad government, has tended to lead to catastrophic social, if not environmental, collapse.  The government and governing entities themselves pay a price for their inability or refusal to abide by common sense, pragmatism, and reality.  We also see that society itself, and all people who live in societies, pay a price for the mismanagement of social, political, economic, and environmental capital by the government.  The government and its members are to blame for this mismanagement, chiefly because they are the ones who are directly influencing the policies and choices that are being made, not the general public who elects them in democratic systems.  What then is the role of government in light of these constraints on their ability and interest to accumulate wealth, power, and prestige?

My proposal for such a mathematical and practical function of government is as follows:  The goal of the government and its members, acting within the constraints of what is feasible within this universe, is to maximize societal utility (not profit) while minimizing the costs associated with the production of that social utility given the financial, environmental, physical, psychological, cultural, historical, social, and economic, (the list can go on) constraints that they are faced with.  Social utility is first defined as survival, and followed by health, well-being, and the ability to thrive.  This is taken as an aggregate of all utilities throughout the human species within the range of what is feasible, known, and healthy for the individual.  Excess utility by some leads to negative utility for others (thus, making it possible to create a net loss in spite of one person or group of people reaching a higher utility level).  The goal of the government, from the perspective of its own self-interests, is to maximize these utilities throughout the entire population of the universe within the bounds of financial, environmental, physical, psychological, cultural, historical, social, and economic, (and so on) constraints upon it and its members’ abilities to act.  It borrows from the profit maximization logic of the private, for-profit market and the cost minimization logic from the not-for-profit sector.  The government, in short, when it is acting on behalf of ITSELF and ITS MEMBERS is balancing between costs and benefits that can be empirically derived through the same techniques used in marketing research, psychology, social-psychology, neurology, and sociology.  It’s job is to understand what the needs and desires of the people are and then to, within reason, feasibility, and all other constraints, deliver those needs and wants through the writing, structure, enforcement, and adjudication of written law.  All of these written laws must then be derivatives of the natural laws of society, economy, environmental science, physical science, and technological development, for these are the constraints that bind us all regardless of preference, choice, desire, hope, opinion, belief, or action to make it be otherwise.

A society needs a government to ensure a degree of predictability, order, and justice within the society.  There are no human societies without one or without an otherwise extremely powerful governing ethos that controls, constrains, and regulates their actions, behaviors, choices, and ways of living.  These smaller scale societies, without governments, require these governing ethics from the perspective of providing themselves survivability, health, well-being, and the ability to thrive within the context of their social, psychological, economic, and environmental constraints.  I, for one, do not believe that we have the ability to be perfectly free, if we have freedom to begin with in actuality.  All I would like is for the human species to stop killing itself off through poor, uninformed, and delusional decision-making based on irrelevant or inaccurate readings of information around them.  There is a better way forward for this life and this universe.  I think that I just happen to know it better than many other people, quite frankly.

Prove me wrong humans.  Make better choices with your societies, governments, and own personal selves.  You’re going to die no matter what.  It’s just a question of when and how.

Silly monkeys.

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The Costs of Poor Choices

War costs.  Pollution costs.  Excessive wealth concentration costs.  Excessive power reaching costs.  Infectious diseases costs.  Poor management costs.

All of these things eat away at the power, viability, and sustainability of a group of peoples’ ability to remain in power.  We have chosen these people to lead and make choices for our society.  They have not lived up to their minimum requirements, and we will all pay for their ignorance, stupidity, and capriciousness.  The world of making policy is not an art form where you are at liberty to do as you will when you will and receive positive results for your liberty.  It is actually a cold, cold science at its roots, with very real and grave consequences for not abiding by the natural laws that are present within our societies and economies.  You do x bundle of policies, you get y results within the society, which then has the power to change, shift, and move on you independently of the policies that you enact.  It is better for those who are in power to know the laws of society, economy, ecology, physics, psychology, and the entire natural universe that is larger than the sub-atomic, yet smaller than the cosmological.  Unless we have this comprehension and acceptance of natural laws and conditions in our world, we will never really break free from the cycle of boom, bust, and decay with a chance of making it back to a positive rebirth.

We cannot abide the ideologues, the delusional, the warped in thinking and feeling, and the clinically anti-social in our governments and in our places of power, consequence, authority, and responsibility.  We cannot abide their anti-social, the deranged, or the delusional from being in power, nor should we accept their sub-par leadership for the sake of their personal ego.  We’ll be the ones paying for their ability to be in office.  And, quite frankly, privilege of being in office, in my mind, does not outweigh my right to live a free, decent, and happy life.

How do you feel about this?

Seriously, we will die for the sake of their pathetic ego.

Your move, America.  Your move.

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A Way Forward

Governments need data. Without understanding what they’re doing and how they’re impacting the world around them, they are at a loss. Money gets wasted, people get upset or hurt or killed, and it becomes harder to justify the presence of the existing government members along with the existing institutions of government themselves. It is in the existential interests of a government of any type or order to get their work right. Therefore, we need to know what data to collect, what data is relevant to society’s well-being, and how to generally model societies and economies through data relationships and networks of connectivity. Above all, we need comprehensive models of societies’ working parts; the anatomies of societies and economies in order to understand how they work and how they are connected to the base units, which are people like yourself. We then interfaces with our environment, which then interfaces with ourselves, one influencing the other.

Therefore, it would be wise if we devoted more of our societal resources towards understanding how societies, economies, and ecosystems work and how we can operate as individual human beings, such that we can understand how we work as societies and how we move and change depending upon our internal and external conditions.  I see a massive push for research in these ares involving historians, statisticians, computer scientists, economists, sociologists, political scientists, psychologists, neurologists, and government officials.  This would be step one towards making a coherent comprehension of our societies and economies and ecology, such that we can make effective policies, laws, and programs in accordance with the natural laws and conditions of our world.

It should be noted that the government would have to be the one producing this public good, since there is no apparent interest or desire from the free market to birth this knowledge.  There is no immediate financial profit to it, and therefore, the market will not likely pursue this knowledge other than for a business perspective.  This has to be done though in order to crack the puzzle of perpetual power, sustainability, and positive social conditions that can make lives able to be better for all of us.

Just some thoughts.

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