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Priorities, Strategies, Consumption Patterns, and Definitions of Success

Organizations tend to have different functions, ways of allocating resources, ways of perceiving and interacting with others, and different structures and strategies depending on how they define their goals.  To my mind, there are absolute profit-maximizing organizations, profit achieving organizations (whose goals are more broadly defined than their absolute cousins), cost coverage organizations (similar to public utilities and other enterprise fund endeavors), cost minimization organizations (nonprofits, for example), and effectiveness maximization organizations (similar to cost minimization organizations but, again, with broader goals and definitions of success which do not come at the lowest resource cost possible).

The study and classification of how organizations pursue resources and goals, prioritize, strategize, and structure themselves to achieve these goals, and how they interact with the environment and one another is likely critical to knowing how to observe, regulate, and manage these organizations from the perspective of governing institutions, organizations, and people.  These governing institutions, organizations, and people are critical to maintaining our collective and individual abilities to survive and potentially thrive on this or any planet in the universe.  The reason and need for this social, organizational, and individual management is because without these regulatory and monitoring processes and programs in place, the cacophony of personal and organizational action will likely lead to an excessive amount of chaos in our human world, thus destroying our very ability to act due to the excessive uncertainty and danger that would be created in such a system.  Social life would descend back to the Hobbesean jungle, and be “…nasty, brutish, and short”, besides maybe not even being possible for humans and all other living beings in the first place.

Knowing how organizations prioritize, strategize, consume resources, allocate resources, structure themselves, interact with others, and define personal and aggregate success also enables governing institutions to get their regulations, management and monitoring processes correct relative to each organization and individual, and each type of organization and individual.  If the government(s) of the world fail to get their policies, procedures, regulations, management, and monitoring processes correct, it will not only inhibit healthy and optimal functioning of all other organizations and people, but will also threaten the legitimacy and authority of the governing institutions, organizations, and people, preventing them from being able to carry out their needed jobs.  Failure to get policies, procedures, regulations, management, and monitoring processes correct may also signal the death of the governing institutions, organizations, and people, thus putting all of Earth’s inhabitants at risk of having to survive in a period of anarchy and excessive chaos.

All of this musing should be taken with a grain of salt though.  Organizations need to be studied on their own terms and this piece alone does not prove or disprove the hypothesis that is presented.  This is just a rough sketch of my present understanding and comprehension of organizations, organizational classifications, and behavior based on how they sustain themselves with resources and how they define success.  More research is needed to search for what types, priorities, strategies, and resource use patterns are present in the real world, with the classification system being updated, reassessed, and challenged constantly in order to create an awareness of organizations that would enable governments and policymakers to more effectively work with these organizations and people in order to maintain and improve human social conditions on planet Earth and, possibly, beyond.

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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?

Enjoy.

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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Possible Common Traits of “Golden Age” Periods in Human History

To my mind there are commonalities amongst periods of sustained “growth and benefit” which we can characterize as “Golden Ages” in human history.  The list is as follows:

1) Innovation based on human needs and evidence based effects on the collective whole, not just for the individual’s absolute gain. 2) Responsive governance within society to the needs of the general public in favor of the general public, rather than the handful of people who actually hold and make the choices in a given society.  3) The enabling, if not, enforcement of wealth to flow to the general public such that people can still become rich individually, but not outside of the social bounds of the rest of the people who produce wealth.  4) Obedience to lower, bottom-up laws, conditions, and needs with top-down enabling this bottom-up directed growth in a coordinated and mediated manner.  5) A healthy respect for nature and the environments in which we find ourselves.  6) Adaptation of, rather than conservation or preservation of ideals in the face of evidence and practical results. 7) A healthy but not foolish respect for all other societies and peoples living on the planet with us.

From my (sketchy) knowledge of the history of the more positive times in humanity (such as Ancient Egypt, the golden ages of China, al-Andalus and the Islamic Golden Age, the Serenissima of Venice, the American 20th century, etc) these are common social, political, economic, and environmental traits that characterize these high points.  Failure to adhere to any combination of these seven generally resulted in the long term decay and collapse of those who failed to abide by these natural laws and principles which enable societies to survive and maybe thrive and flourish.  Governing groups need to respect and actually love in a non-grasping manner their people, the environment, and other societies in order to prevent wars, resolve conflicts peacefully, and coordinate domestically and internationally to resolve common internal and external problems through the sharing of knowledge, awareness, and practices, working to produce better societies internally first, and then working in concert with each other on the international level next.

I’m specifically talking about a massive top-down coordination amongst governments on all levels with a focus on bottom-up results, which then should cause adaptation and alterations on the top-down level again in an on-going dialogue between the governed and all levels of government, from the international level down to the smallest local unit that is possible in the given domestic society in order to produce a happier, healthier, more sustainable, and more resilient society that can survive, adapt, and grow with any and all shocks that are likely to happen.  I want a society that can proactively persevere anything the universe may throw at it and avoid the pitfalls that it itself can create for itself through its lack of knowledge, wisdom, compassion, understanding or acceptance of facts.  These seven, to my knowledge and awareness, are the groundwork traits that a society’s people and governing body must practice within themselves in order to create that happier, healthier, more sustainable, and more resilient society.  We cannot afford to continue to do the same things as we’ve done in the past and expect different results, especially as conditions continue to change on their own and by our own actions.  We can either live in this happier, healthier, more sustainable, and more resilient society, or we can live in the same  way we’ve done in the past and continue to be at severe risk of obliteration by our own hands or some other unknown force in the universe.  Relaxation is not an option, I’m afraid to say, nor should we be lackadaisical about our condition as a species or a society.  That’s a sure way to get oneself and ones’ people killed and rendered unable to recover in the long and short term.  The choice is up to each of you.

This is what I can tell at present based upon my understanding and knowledge of the past and how things work in the present.  We can either grow up from a world of ideologies and embrace evidence with a bias towards facts and the truth.  Or, we can continue to wallow in our narrow vision of humanity and ourselves, and cease to be a problem in the universe.  The choice is up to each of you as to whether you are more apart of the solution or the problem.  What are you going to do?

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Leadership 101

Leadership is, as far as I can tell, mostly about being polite, relatively humble, giving credit where credit is due to others, and enabling and encouraging others to voluntarily go above and beyond at the tasks that they’re given.  It is also having the sense and will to effectively and appropriately correct for missteps and mistakes along the way.  It is not yelling or necessarily being loud. It is not being able to do what you want when you want, as most Americans seem to believe.  It requires consistency.  It is not being a follower at all, but being able to empathize with followers (really, being able to empathize with other people in general).  It’s really a job for nice people who aren’t willing to accept sub-par performance in appropriate fashions and are willing to exercise their authority if they have it.  It’s not a job for the capricious, the stupid, the cocky, or the rude.  Americans seem to just respond to loudness and unsubstantiated forms of confidence, at least at younger mental ages.  It will own you if you don’t own it, and those who get owned by it are not actually true or effective leaders in my estimation.

All of this is taken from my own perspective and experience as a Cadet Platoon Commander (age 14) and Cadet Supply Officer (age 15).  Leadership is, in my estimation, one of the most difficult and temperament specific jobs that’s out there.  It’s also different across cultures and societies and doing it effectively requires that you alter your tactics depending upon the people or person that you’re working with.  To those who do it well, the rewards are in the job itself (although they would also be the first to recognize the financial value that is behind their skills).  It’s partially learned, partially innate in the person; not everyone by virtue of their nature, experiences, and interpretations of their experiences are qualified or going to be good leaders.  Some people don’t want to be leaders, and voluntarily choose the second, third, or lowest possible role in the social hierarchy.

As for me?  I think I can be an effective leader in my own right.  The only challenge that I would likely face is the natural learning curve that comes with any job and the need to work essentially with people specifically.  People are the leaders’ job, the peoples’ jobs are their own tasks.  That would, eventually, drain me over time rather than keep me energized.

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Steps to Take After the NSA Shootings, 3/30/2015

The American governments at all levels and in all places are going to have to come to terms with a few things.  The first set of things are their own anti-social, repressive, oppressive, and anti-democratic tactics and methods and policies that they have enacted towards the general public.  The American people cannot and will not voluntarily be marched into a neo-feudal serfdom without some form of resistance springing forth.  Worse still, the people who will be behind such a resistance will also be the least qualified, least able, and least willing to establish a functional and effective new order from the ashes of the old.  The second set are the anti-social, anti-progress, moronic, baboon-like group of radical right wing personalities and people whose anti-social, anti-progress, and anti-democratic tactics are what have brought us to the point where one is dead at NSA headquarters.  These are the fat cat millionaires and radical right wingers who are sitting in our Congressional delegations, posing as bankers and businesspeople, making a mockery of the American spirit and the nature of Americans throughout all levels of society.  We can either be cleansed of these people by ignoring them, voting against them, and by defending ourselves with lethal force if necessary.  Or we can continue to sit around and do nothing while they dismantle our entire society and environment in the name of profit, control, and some abstract notion of liberty that they’ve never questioned or seriously examined.

I’ve always suggested that we turn our attention towards ridding our human societies of these conservative elements and the more pragmatic economic elite who fund them.  The shooting at the NSA should be taken as a wake-up call for all Americans to unite against the growing right wing despotism that is threatening to erode our nation’s core integrity and to disband the dysfunctional and ineffective establishment “left” in favor of a new progressive state in America that relies on science, evidence, and the well-being of all people, not just the rich, as the benchmarks for good policy and good policy-making.  Financial wealth for wealth’s sake should not be the end all of a society’s goal, nor should we condone or accept those who can’t get that through their heads.

A government and its members are never self-sustaining entities.  A government and their members rely on the legitimacy, acceptance, and authority that is granted to them.  These are things which can be revoked with disastrous consequences to follow for all people, including for the governments’ members, when and if they are revoked.  Governments can fail; their existence is not guaranteed.  Best to continue working with the general public in a dialogue for the sake of improving the quality of life for people rather than act as if there are no consequences for your actions.  The sooner our governments in the United States and throughout human society get this through their heads, the sooner we’ll all be better off.  We need to eliminate the right wing by allowing them to eliminate themselves, and the world will be that much closer to being reasonably settled, even though it will never truly be settled in the long term or short term.  This will never be a utopian world; some problems will continue, old ones fade away, and new ones will rise.  What we can change is how we live, interact with, and respond to the changes and common reality, first, by acknowledging that there is a common reality where all opinions, hypotheses, and perceptions are not equal and should not be given an equal light if they prove to be unfounded and without evidence to support them.  The second thing we need to do is learn about this universe as thouroughly, deliberately, and accurately, specifically with regards to ourselves and to our own place within it relative to all other things on the individual and collective level.  The third thing is to apply the lessons in our daily lives, policies, laws, programs, and actions, such that we can live healthier, happier, and more sustainable lives as individuals within the context of our environment and our societies.  We can follow these three steps and all the subsequent steps and implications, or we can all collapse as a civilization and ruin ourselves and the world around us in the name of senseless greed and baseless ideology.  These are the options.  What side will you be on?

Think about it.

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A Simple Critique of Neoclassical Economic Theory: Micro and Macro Edition

The economy is much more complicated than the businesses that occupy it.  While it is important to understand how businesses and businesspeople respond to external factors in the economy, based on internal preferences and desires, it is also important to bear in mind the relative value of financial profit relative to environmental, social, and economic concerns.  Since businesses and businesspeople are too preoccupied with monetary gain and profits, it behooves the society, businesses, and businesspeople alike to turn over final authority over the economy, at the very least, to the society under the trust of the government in order to preserve the businesses and business interests non-monetary concerns.  The beauty of an effective and efficient democratic system, free from the constraints of businesses, businesspeople, and general social elites, is that the government is more likely to be corrected by the society and the people living in the society than if it were left to the oligarchic manipulation by the economic and social elites.  Working people benefit from being protected from businesses and businesspeople attempting to take advantage of them and their labor.  Businesses and businesspeople benefit from maintaining a relative environmental and social homeostasis in which they can best operate to make money within the constraints of society, the environment, and technological know-how.  Without this combination of factors, it is impossible to maintain a society in which people can live or make money over and above the financial costs that are required to maintain such a system.

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Survival of the Adaptable and the Well-Prioritized

A society derives its characteristics from the collective behavior, attitudes, desires, hopes, dreams, wishes, and aspirations of every individual who lives within it.  Every society has a different way or logic about how they go about their business in government and in society, just as every person has their own strategy to achieve their own desired goals and outcomes. Sometimes they’re in alignment with the universal laws of humanity and of human society.  Sometimes they’re optimal, or more optimal than others.  Sometimes, they’re less optimal or less helpful than others.  Sometimes, it’s just a question of luck that they succeed or fail, with no control over what went wrong or what went well for them.  The trick then is to work out what is significant for the general public’s well-being (which is also the leading powers’ well-being), and what isn’t.  We can only ethically encourage governments and leading societal figures to change what is significant for their own benefit at the very least (for the public’s well-being at the very most).  We must then work to accept those things that are insignificant for the public’s overall well-being.  We must either respect the diversity of the societies of the universe, or we will forever be miserable and dragged into conflict, bitterness, and hatred trying to change that which will not forcibly be changed as well as that which is insignificant, irrelevant, and maybe damaging for a society to experience in their turn.  I hate to use this buzzword, but there must be synergy across cultures, societies, and peoples, if we are to achieve better social, economic, and technological conditions for our own selves, at the very least, for all others, at the very most.  The constant goal needs to be health, well-being, sustainability, and adaptability for ourselves and for the peoples of the world collectively.  Otherwise, we will kill ourselves seeking out the irrelevant, the non-existent, and the self-destructive.  The societies who are best able to pursue these goals while maintaining and adaptive and defensive edge over others will undoubtedly be the longest surviving societies with the most enduring social, cultural, political, and economic institutions.  May the best societies succeed.  May all others revert backwards or become extinct in their present or desired form.

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Hammurabi’s Code of Law

“When Anu the Sublime, King of the Anunaki, and Bel, the lord of Heaven and earth, who decreed the fate of the land assigned to Marduk, the over-ruling son of Ea, God of righteousness, dominion over earthly man, and made him great among the Igigi, they called Babylon by his illustrious name, made it great on earth, and founded an everlasting kingdom in it, whose foundations are laid so solidly as those of heaven and earth; then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land, to destroy the wicked and the evil-doers; so that the strong should not harm the weak, so that I should rule over the black-headed people like Shamash and enlighten the land, to further the well-being of mankind.” – Prologue, Code of Hammurabi.

These are the principles for which I stand.  Like Hammurabi, I submit myself to the conditions and workings of the universe (read, God) as discovered by scientific investigation and analysis, not by revelation and opinion.  I am just a human.  I am not likely to do much in this world for the sake of others, nor will I likely be successful at communicating these concepts to the leading classes of the world and to the working underclasses whom the upper classes have such scorn and disregard for.  I will always, however, be throwing myself in calculated and adaptive manners at the wall isolating humanity’s conscientiousness, for the sake of humanity.  We should never rely on written laws for constitutions for our guidance, but only on the discovered truths of the universe in which we live and must make our living.  There are an infinite number of possibilities for actions we can take, limited by practicality and feasibility.  These remaining practical and feasible options are then limited by what is actually healthful for us, which is then limited by what is optimally healthful for us.  The trick now is to experiment with methods of organization and political games, such that we can fine tune our society’s politics, such that the needs of the general public becomes the central focus of our political leaders, not the perceived needs and interests of a particular population or group of populations.  This is how you’re best able to maintain a system; this is how you’re best able to preserve your office, your institutions, your legacies, and, perhaps, even leave a positive memory amongst the people once you inevitably depart from this lifetime.  If you don’t truly want to be happy, healthy, successful, and able to be in office or have a lasting, sustainable, and perpetual institutional basis for society, how then can you expect to survive in office or ensure your own health and well-being, let alone, the health and well-being of others?  If you truly want to be happy, healthy, successful, and able to be in office and have a lasting, sustainable, and perpetual institutional basis for society, then why would you take actions which actually leads to the destruction and degradation of your office and institutions for any reason whatsoever?

I therefore testify to the world that there is a common reality which has natural features to it with unwritten, yet at least partially discoverable rules of cause and effect to them which we can partially manipulate for our overall improvement or our overall detriment as a collective and individual species.  The trick to staying in office is to follow, learn about, and abide by these natural laws, and then apply them for the general well-being of the public through adaptive, dynamic changes in policy, programs, at the absolute expense of the particular interests for the sake of the absolute and relative interests of the general whole.  There is no need to rely on the lawyers or merely eloquent arguers of opinion who don’t, and likely won’t, accept the natural laws and conditions of society.  The trick to dialogue and debate is to discover truth, in its most subtle, complicated, and simple terms.  That is how you preserve a society.  That is how you preserve institutions of society, formal and informal.  That is how you, as a policy-maker and decision-maker keep your seat and make it easier on yourself to justify your positions and get re-elected in the short term, which then condenses into the long term.  I for one have no more use or interest for the incorrect and unfounded opinions of others.  I think that, given a comprehension of the bad, while allowed to have tastes of the good, will help guide society as a whole to the same general conclusion in the long term, which then collapses into the short term all too soon.

I will stand for these principles and these facts from now, until the time that I physically die in this form, and throughout all time and space, for my own absolute improvement, or my own absolute detriment in this lifetime and beyond.  I stake my life, liberty, and happiness on this being actually the truth.  Let all challengers come to knock it down.  I will continue to stand by it honorably until it is actually and conclusively knocked down by someone more adept at perceiving the world as a whole than I am.  I will then, at that point, humbly alter my opinion to bring it in alignment with the new understanding of common reality and cease to support it.  That is how science works and I am only human.

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