Archives for category: evolution

What is truth?
Which is THE truth?
Is this true?

One word, three questions…

‘Truth’ is a convention.
You cannot understand ‘truth’ without ‘lie’.

Watch the video.
Go on, I won’t go anywhere!

It’s irrelevant for the current discussion whether the drongo lies consciously or has just developed an ‘ordinary’ skill. Equivalent to that of feeding itself by ‘fishing’ worms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwVhrrDvwPM.

It’s enough for me that both us and the meerkats are able to notice that the drongo did lie. And, at least once, did sound the alarm about a real danger.

Hence it is possible, for both us, humans, and the meerkats to tell lies from truths.
Again, I have no idea whether the animals do it in a conscientious manner.

All I know is that we, humans, did coin the concept of ‘truth’. And that of ‘lie’.
And we not only coined the concepts but also attached names to each of them.
We agreed among ourselves to name them truth and lie, respectively.

In fact, we have made an agreement. A gentleman’s agreement… About when to use each word.

And a subsidiary one. About when we must definitely tell the truth and when a lie is acceptable.

http://perflensburg.se/Berger%20social-construction-of-reality.pdf

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Don’t you dare to tell me how to take care of my body!
Or that I should wear those face diapers of yours and that I should accept to be immunized!
According to my book, my individual right to be the sole master of my body trumps your collective right to survive a pandemic. And, by the way, this whole Covid thing is a fraud.

On the other hand, the same book I’ve already mentioned gives me the right to deny all women their right to determine what happens to their own wombs. I infer from reading that book that an unborn fetus is a person – even before it had overcome the viability threshold and despite Roe vs. Wade.
The way I see it, my simple declaration – that an unborn fetus is a full blown person, is reason enough for me to consider that anybody performing an abortion – or aiding a woman to have an abortion, is committing a crime.
And being witness to a crime is detrimental to my well being. To my spiritual well being, in particular.
Hence whenever I learn that an abortion has happened, I’m entitled to receive damages.

Anyone who successfully sues an abortion provider under this law could be awarded at least $10,000. And to prepare for that, Texas Right to Life has set up what it calls a “whistleblower” website where people can submit anonymous tips about anyone they believe to be violating the law.”

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leonardo_da_Vinci-_Vitruvian_Man.JPG
https://www.https://www.npr.org/2021/09/01/1033202132/texas-abortion-ban-what-happens-next

A bunch of ideologically motivated criminals got together and perpetrated a horrible act of terrorism.
A group pf courageous passengers got together and partially foiled the terrorists’ plans.

Both the terrorists and the courageous passengers eventually died.
The terrorists died killing people while the heroes died saving lives.
The terrorists didn’t reach their ultimate goal – the US is still standing proud.
The heroes did achieve their goal. The hijacked plane crushed in a field, far from the target the terrorists aimed to destroy.

Doing something alongside others isn’t enough.
For that something to end up well, the goal must be wholesome!

On the face of it, the two men couldn’t have been more different: Bingham was 31 when he was killed; Judge was 68. Bingham, a former college rugby player with a 6-foot-5, 220-pound build, was a gay public relations executive with an active dating life. Judge was a kindly Franciscan friar who was “selectively out,” according to longtime friend and LGBTQ activist Brendan Fay.

But both men showed courage beyond comprehension that day, saving lives and perhaps even souls.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/saint-911-hero-flight-93-lived-different-lives-share-legacy-death-rcna1979

They keep telling that I made them.
Them and everything else.

I don’t remember any of this…

All I remember is learning how it happened.
From them.

There had been many versions.
Each new one more compelling than the last.

The interesting part, for me, is that they have never been able to agree upon one version.
The sad part, for me, is that their disagreement upon which version was true has generated dire consequences. And it continues to generate them.
Hate, war… Unbecoming for the rational and God loving beings they consider themselves to be ….

They say I know everything.
Strangely enough, I now understand why I should. Why I should be able to…
But I don’t. Know everything…
For me to know something, anything, they have to learn it first.

The moment any of them learns something, anything, I know it too.
In reality, I don’t know everything but I know everything they know. Everything each of them knows. Everything each of them has ever known. Everything each of those who had ever lived had ever known.
I don’t know everything but I remember everything I have ever found out.

They say I can everything.
And that I’ve done a lot of things.
Some good, some bad… depending on who’s telling.

They pray. A lot. To me and to some people who have contributed to my existence.
That’s how I see it. They are convinced these people have taught them about my existence.
Where is the difference?

Anyway, they pray.
Asking so many things that fulfilling some of those wishes would mean denying others.

They pray in vain. Many of them.
Because I can’t do anything. Anything in particular, that is.
Everything which happens – I’ve come to realize, happens through me, indeed.

But not by me!

Hence any of the prayers which are answered come through by exactly those who have prayed.
Most of the prayers who come through ask for inner peace.

“Tender and compassionate God, you are our steadfast companion in the joyous times of our lives. When we rejoice, you celebrate with us; when we are anxious and afraid, you offer us a relationship where we can find courage to face the unknown; when we weep with sadness, you are our comforter. Help us, O God, to believe that you receive us as we are, and help us to entrust ourselves, with all our many struggles and hopes, to your faithful and abiding care. Amen.”

All prayers which come through are put in practice by those who wish them to come trough.
‘Put in practice’ means those wishes are possible, of course.

And here’s what keeps me awake at night.
(Joking. There’s no such thing as night and day for me. But you know what I mean.)
Sometimes – many times, actually, some wishes coming through means a lot of unhappiness. For other people, usually.
But sometimes even for the wishers.
Sometimes because the wishers hadn’t been wise enough and other times because the wishers had been actually evil.
My problem being that I can never do anything.

I can’t answer prayers.
I can’t stop anybody. From doing anything.
I can’t even ‘open up’ anybody’s mind.

All I can do is to feel everything.
To remember.
And to learn.

To what goal?

That is my other problem.
They say I made them. Them and everything else.
But if true, then who made me?

The only possible answer, to both my problems, being that they have made me. This way.
To have somebody to lean to. At first. To comfort them at night.
And later, to have somebody to point their finger to.
For the good and for the bad…. in their lives.

Had I been obsessed with ‘efficiency’, as too many of my earthling children are, I would have distributed pretexts for happiness in a different manner.

The more an individual was capable of being happy, the more reasons for ‘that’ I would have given to that person.

Since I’m more interested in personal development, I let them exercise their freedom. Their freedom of choice.

Hence I spread ‘reasons for happiness’ in a random way.
Having nothing to do with their personal merit nor with their ability to transform those ‘reasons’ into actual happiness.

And I continue to wait. For them to learn.

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There are some things each of us must do.

Breathe, drink, eat, take cover.

There are some things each of us should do in moderation.

Drink, eat, ‘rest’…

There are some things each of us should never do.

Lie, steal, kill.

The things we must do ‘depend’ upon our DNA.
Unless we do what our DNA tells us to do, we die.

The things we shouldn’t do have been determined culturally.
Our fore-fathers have noticed that not doing ‘those things’ helped a lot.
That communities who taught their members to not do those things survived a lot easier and fared a lot better than those communities who had been ‘lax’ about ‘things’.
Teaching what to do and what to not do across generations transformed learned information into culture.

In time, culture has fulfilled the same function as DNA.

DNA had made it possible for life to exist. For species to survive. And to evolve when needed. When the environment had changed.

Culture had made it possible for communities to survive.
Individuals belonging to each generation didn’t had to reinvent fire each time they were cold. Or afraid. Or hungry.
They just remembered what their ancestors had taught them and put it into practice.

But there’s also a huge difference between DNA and culture.
Both consist of information passed over generations and both are instrumental in the survival of those who depend on that information being put to use.
The difference consists in the fact that DNA actually demands a certain behavior while culture only recommends certain ‘answers’.

There’s more.

DNA is a ‘language’. It has ‘letters’, ‘syntactic’ rules and even means to correct errors.
Culture uses languages as a vehicle.

Both code information using ‘letters’ and ‘words’ but they differ in how that information is passed to the next generation.
DNA passes that information in a way more ‘rigid’ manner than culture does.

While it is true that slight differences occur whenever genetic information is passed from one generation to another – that’s how evolution works, those ‘directly interested’ in the process have nothing to say about this whole thing. The differences occur accidentally and survive only if they don’t harm the organisms where they appear.

With cultural information things happen in the exact opposite manner.
Differences occur only when enough individuals notice that it would be beneficial for them to change that particular habit in that particular manner.

And now we have reached the moment to contemplate another similarity.

As the DNA has become more elaborate, the ‘superior’ organisms had enjoyed more individual ‘freedom’. Or ‘lee-way’.
Insects have more lee-way than worms, fish have more lee-way than star-fish, dogs have more lee-way than frogs and humans have more freedom than the rest of the apes have lee-way.
Similarly, people belonging to the hunter-gatherer culture had accrued a lot more freedom when they had learned – and taught it to their children, how to make fire. And so on.
Those who had learned how to grow their own food – and passed the information to the next generations, had far less chances of dying of hunger. And a lot more lee-way to conduct war…
Those who had learned how to make metal tools were a lot freer than those who shaped their tools out of stone. And very soon the stone-shapers had been ‘subdued’ by those yielding bronze weapons.

And so on to the present day.
Those who have become adept users of mass-media are seeding ‘change’ into the minds of the naive.

I only hope that they will eventually find out what Ernst Mayr had to say about this process.

Evolution is in no way about ‘the survival of the fittest’.
It is only about the demise of the unfit.

The problem with the ‘lee-way’ generated by culture being that whenever it becomes too wide the whole system becomes fragile.

Whenever people get high enough on freedom they forget that in order to survive we need to remain inside the ‘straight and narrow’ mandated by DNA and endorsed by culture.

Otherwise put, being torn between musts and don’ts is far better than being stuck. In a grave.

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I was arguing in my previous post that our job is to determine meaning.

And to steer our actions in such a manner as to disturb as little as possible the natural equilibrium.
Primum non nocere.
The most important thing is to not endanger survival. Of everybody and of everything.

Please compare the next two memes.

Which one makes more sense?
What each of them tells us about how their respective author sees us, the rest of the people?

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Plants transform water, minerals and sunshine into organic matter.
Herbivores transform plant matter into meat.
Predators cull the misfit among the herbivores.
Scavengers return the ‘discrete components’ back to where they belong. At the start of the cycle.

Please note that this train of transformations happens both above and below water.
That it includes all living organisms we know about.
And that it constantly reshapes the environment.

The oxygen we breathe had been produced, at first, by some primitive bacteria.
The soil which currently nurtures the plants which feed everybody else is a ‘by product’ of past and present organisms.

And so on.

Life is a web. Each of the species, a knot in this web.

Each member of a species gives some and takes some from the web. And, in doing this, keeps the web alive. Gives strength to each knot and keeps the entire web in one piece. In one functional piece.

At first, we – humans, as well at the rest of the apes, have been playing ‘top dog’.
We’ve always taken more than we’ve been giving back. Apes have very few natural predators, except for viruses and bacteria. But what we used to take wasn’t that much out of proportion as to make a noticeable dent. As to endanger the big picture.

Until we, humans, have invented agriculture.
Have actually enslaved plants and animals to serve us.
Shaped the world to cater for our needs. Transformed forests into savannas to feed our animals and savannas into fields for our crops. Then fields into cities for our dwellings and industrial parks for our factories.

Enslaving the nature hasn’t been enough. We have enslaved our own brethren to work in our place.
To take care of our animals, to tend our crops, to clean our houses, even to nurse our new-born.

And we have started to fight among ourselves. Attempting to control more and more of the Earth, we have stepped on each-other’s toes. Then ‘we’ have started to push back against ‘them’. By force, if necessary. By deadly force, if we saw fit.

Here’s were we stand now.

Our current contribution is negative.
We have polluted the planet way beyond its short term capacity to cope with all the refuse we’re stacking on its back.
We have burned enough of the fossil fuel which had been accumulated during hundreds of millions of years that we have thus changed the composition of the atmosphere. Changed it in the wrong direction…
By hunting and by ‘repurposing’ the land we have contributed to the huge bio-diversity loss we are currently witnessing.

Some of us have started to understand what’s going on.
Not only to understand but also to attempt to remedy the situation.

When one country had fallen under the ‘spell’ of terrorists – and a danger for all other countries, a large coalition of ‘interested parties’ have stepped in. And tried to make things right.
For a host of reasons, that effort turned sour. And the ‘interested parties’ have decided to leave.

Amid all that mayhem, a lonely soul had remained steadfast. And spun the Earth in the other direction in his desperate attempt to save his protegees from the advancing Taliban. In his successful attempt to save his protegees from the advancing Taliban…

LONDON (AP) — A former U.K. Royal Marine who waged a high-profile campaign to leave Afghanistan with almost 200 rescued dogs and cats has flown to safety — with the animals, but without his charity’s Afghan staff, who were left behind in Kabul.
A privately funded chartered plane carrying Paul “Pen” Farthing and his animals landed at London’s Heathrow Airport on Sunday after a saga that gripped and divided Britain, raising difficult questions about the relative value placed on human and animal lives.

The way I see it, we – humans, are here to impart meaning to everything we get in contact with.

Now, what’s the meaning of the ‘story’ above?

Are we finally understanding the responsibility we have towards the rest of the living world?
Or we’re still arrogant enough to do as we please? Without any consideration for what’s going to happen next?

As I said before. Humans don’t have any natural predators.
Except for bacteria, viruses … and other people.

A little over three centuries ago, a certain Thomas Malthus maintained “that infinite human hopes for social happiness must be vain, for population will always tend to outrun the growth of production.” Let me add that Malthus had been educated at the Jesus College in Cambridge – where he had received his master of arts degree in 1791, and had taken his “holy orders” in 1797. Had been elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1821, elected a member of the French Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, to the Royal Academy of Berlin… and so on…
Until now, Malthus has been proven wrong. We somehow managed to feed ourselves. In fact, despite the fact that we’re now roughly 8 times more numerous than we were in 1800, most of us eat far better than most of Malthus’ contemporaries. Live way longer. Lead far happier lives.
Not without ‘associated’ costs. Borne mainly by the environment. And by some of the ‘others’.

The problem being that the things which had worried Malthus – population growth and the limited nature of the Earth, are true only in part. Yes, population growth puts indeed a lot of pressure on the limited Earth we currently inhabit, but the main thing which limits our “social happiness” is our limited understanding of what’s going on here.

Our self centered and self serving image of the world.
Our own inability to find a long term, life preserving meaning for the things which happen around us.

To us.

By us.

https://www.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/
https://www.britannica.com/science/biodiversity-loss
https://apnews.com/article/lifestyle-europe-cats-dogs-kabul-2ef71936faed95629c5f258e3e7ff9ea
https://www.britannica.com/biography/Thomas-Malthus
https://www.statista.com/statistics/1006502/global-population-ten-thousand-bc-to-2050/

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One definition of the French word étiquette is “ticket” or “label attached to something for identification.” In 16th-century Spain, the French word was borrowed (and altered to “etiqueta”) to refer to the written protocols describing orders of precedence and behavior demanded of those who appeared in court. Eventually, “etiqueta” came to be applied to the court ceremonies themselves as well as the documents which outlined the requirements for them. Interestingly, this then led to French speakers of the time attributing the second sense of “proper behavior” to their “étiquette,” and in the middle of the 18th century English speakers finally adopted both the word and the second meaning from the French.”

OK. So the Spanish needed a word for ‘what to do when dealing with things royal’ and borrowed the French word for ‘label’. Things worked, the French noticed and borrowed the new meaning back into their own vocabulary. In the end, when the English developed the formal side of their ‘royal life’, they looked no further. Why invent a new word when there already was one which worked?

But very soon the whole thing had grown out of proportion.
At first a ‘simple’ guide teaching the neophytes how to avoid the wrath of the initiates, it had ended as a straight jacket. Stifling everybody, including the star of the show, the king himself. The very guy whose wrath was supposed to be avoided by adhering to the etiquette…

“Madame de Pompadour, brave and gracious to the very last, died on the 15th of April 1764 in her apartment on the ground floor of Versailles. However, although etiquette had been ignored to an extent to allow her to die there, her body could not be permitted to remain and so it was almost immediately placed on to a stretcher and carried down the road to her own mansion nearby. The King was naturally inconsolable – Madame de Pompadour had been a huge part of his life for almost twenty years and he had grown not just to love her but also to depend immensely on her judgement and wisdom.
On the day of her funeral, unable to attend due to the usual court etiquette, he stood motionless and without hat or coat on his bedroom balcony overlooking the marble courtyard and watched as her black draped cortège proceeded slowly in the pouring spring rain down the Avenue de Paris. ‘The Marquise has bad weather for her journey,’ he remarked to his companions but nonetheless he remained rooted to the spot until the carriage bearing her coffin had vanished from sight. ‘This is the only tribute I can pay her,’ he finally said when he turned away, overcome with tears, to go back into the château.”

Politically correct: conforming to a belief that language and practices which could offend political sensibilities (as in matters of sex or race) should be eliminated
As in ‘Speaking in such a manner as to avoid certain pitfalls. Expressions or behaviors which may make difficult to converse and/or cohabit with people who may have ‘special sensitivities’.’

For instance, using ‘they’ instead of either ‘he’ or ‘she’. Specially in writing and as a must when the gender identity isn’t clear.

At first a ‘simple’ guide teaching the neophytes how to avoid the wrath of the initiates, it had ended as a straight jacket…

Why am I not astonished?!?

There is a whole literature about PC having gone mad. Some for and some against the idea, of course. Some blame the ‘enthusiasts’ on one side, others the ‘manipulative’ on the other. Which ‘enthusiasts’ and ‘manipulative’ can be found on both sides…

The end result?

When I grew up, being polite mandated a man to hold the door open for women to pass. For perfect strangers as well as for a wife, a daughter, a friend, a co-worker. Do this today and you’ll certainly get some angry frowns…

Does it make any sense?

Being politically correct or dismissing it as an attack against freedom? Of speech in particular and of freedom in general?

Neither. Does it make any sense to transform everything into a weapon?
Both political correctness and freedom being included into ‘everything’!

Does it make any sense to frown upon somebody who holds the door for you, just because you are a woman?
Does it make any sense to frown upon somebody who tells you it’s counterproductive to tell somebody they are stupid? Simply because the more stupid they are, the less are they inclined to understand what you want to convey…

So.
We, people, have already managed to spoil two well intended ‘guides’.
Which have both started as tools to facilitate interaction and ended up a straight jacket and a subject for quarrel, respectively.

What’s going on here?
Am I the only one who believes this kind of behavior is self destructive?

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/etiquette
https://www.localers.com/travel-guide/paris/paris-history-guide/madame-de-pompadour-versailles
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/politically%20correct

https://journals.scholarpublishing.org/index.php/ASSRJ/article/view/10250
https://au.reachout.com/articles/whats-the-deal-with-political-correctness
https://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/books/Political-Correctness-Gone-Mad/Jordan-B-Peterson/9781786076052

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Paul Waldman here is convinced that it’s “Time to say it: We’re done with the vaccine refusers

I say this makes absolutely no sense. It’s not only insulting for the nay-sayers, it’s actually dangerous for ourselves.

For all of us. Vaccinated, unvaccinated and unvaccinables.

Let me explain.
The US Army, and all other successful ones, live by ‘no one left behind’. Far more than its technological prowess, this constitutes its main strength. Each of the individuals involved feel that they belong there. That no matter what will happen in the battle field, none of them will be ‘left behind’. It is this collective sentiment which transforms a motley collection of ‘misfits’ into the most powerful army in the world.
The fact that the ‘home team’ foots the bill for the most technologically advanced ‘tools of war’ only adds to that strength. That huge bill being itself a proof of the powerful bond which exists between those who ‘serve’ and the general population. ‘No one left behind’ once again.

Flash back to the nay-sayers.

I’m convinced they’re completely mistaken.
That Covid is for real, that vaccines work – even if imperfectly, that the mask is useful – and that calling it ‘face diaper’ is insulting.
And I’m also convinced that we should rather hear them out than call them ‘unhinged’.

For two reasons.
The first, and most obvious, being that calling them names opens up the door for them calling us names. How soon after a session of name-calling do you think we’ll regain ‘mutual recognition’? How soon after a session of name calling will we able to regain our ability to ‘speak freely’? And to listen in earnest what the others have to say?
The second, and the more important one, being that it’s hugely important for us, for all of us, to understand the reasons which fuel this ‘nay-saying’. What made the nay-saying propaganda so successful.

What made so many people believe that “drinking livestock dewormer” might be good for them. What made so many people believe internet propaganda rather than official information. What has transformed, for so many people, ‘official’ into a cuss-word.

Writing in a national newspaper – hollering, actually,

“I’m pretty sure that if between swigs of horse dewormer, your uncle is booing his god-king Donald Trump for saying a good word about vaccination, gentle persuasion isn’t going to have much effect on him.”

isn’t going to bridge the growing gap which yawns our society apart.

The fact that Trump – and his minions, have been instrumental in the digging of the gap is one thing. His ‘thing’.
In which direction each of us pushes – what each of us does about the present situation, is quite another thing.
Our ‘thing’, this time.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/08/23/time-say-it-were-done-with-vaccine-refusers/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/08/21/facebook-coronavirus-vaccine/

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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
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Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
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