abuddhas memes - february 2000 - page two

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A scathing rebuttal to Steven Jay Gould in general, and his view of modern evolutionary biology in particular was forwarded to me by Dear Reader Stephen. John Tooby and Leda Cosmides, Co-Directors of The Center for Evolutionary Psychology at UCSB, pull no punches in setting the record straight (...one of the most formidable bodies of fiction...), but offer the hope that by popularizing this subject Gould can "...bring the illumination that modern evolutionary science can offer into wider use."
"Yet Gould's argument that we can know nothing reliably enough about the ancestral world from which to derive useful predictions is marvelously telling about Gould, given that he has ostensibly dedicated his life to the scientific study of the past. It is, nonetheless, patently false."
Born to rape? What a lot of bunk!
"All men are potential sex criminals, say two evolutionary psychology proponents in a controversial new book."
The (Im)moral Animal A Quick & Dirty Guide to Evolutionary Psychology & the Nature of Human Nature is more of a lay guide, with a bit of a sense of humor. As Jack Nicholson said in The Witches of Eastwick:
"Do you think God knew what he was doing...or do you think it was just another of his minor mistakes--like tidal waves, earthquakes, floods....When we make mistakes, they call it evil; God makes mistakes, they call it nature."
Dennis McKenna, brother of Terrence, is an ethnobotanist with a healthy interest in entheogens.
"Perhaps he will be the time-space traffic controller when the mothership comes to take us away from this dying planet. Perhaps he will merely be the behind-the-scenes leader of the new Entheogenic Revolution. Perhaps he will find the cure for cancer. Perhaps."
A square hacker's wet dream might be to have unlimited government resources and no boundaries. They must be stopped! Overwhelm them with exercised freedom. Add targeted words to all communications.
Interception Capabilities 2000
"This study considers the state of the art in Communications intelligence (Comint) of automated processing for intelligence purposes of intercepted broadband multi-language leased or common carrier systems, and its applicability to Comint targeting and selection, including speech recognition ."
Addendum to yesterday's minor rant about my benevolent host - they seem to have taken over the title bar. I've never seen that before. Hmm

Oh dear, oh dear, the sky is falling! If stormloader.com, host of abuddhas memes, follows through with a banner ad on each page in order to maintain free service, I will feel ethically bound to move. Until I find a new host please excuse any ads that show up, except the weblog ones which are my pleasure to host (what do ya think of them next to the eye?); or block 'em with the Proxomitron. Or it could be a cruel hoax as the letters I recieved today were dated Jan. 27, in which case disregard everything above; but do get a personal proxy and de-ad the web.

A Metaphysics Borne of Psilocybin, by Simon G. Powell gives us the view from England as well as outlining his own fungilosophic quest.
"In their natural unprocessed state, psilocybin mushrooms are legal to possess and consume within the shores of the United Kingdom, the most common species being Psilocybe semilanceata which can be found in large numbers throughout the UK in the autumn months."
The latest findings on the neurochemistry of cocaine addiction are addressed by Stanton Peele, as Joel Becker asks whether the research invalidates Stanton's own theory(s).

What exactly are these white domes sprouting like potential entheogens in a suburb of Denver, Colorado? Can you say "Regional SIGINT Operations Center" boys and girls? Loring Wirbil writes Confronting the New Intelligence Establishment: Lessons from the Colorado Experience.
"In the last three years, the technical intelligence agencies' chutzpah in ignoring the democratic process has landed NSA and NRO in hot water, though widespread public knowledge of most scandals is still minimal."
It doesn't take a lot of insight to see that intelligence is innate. I would suggest that instead of our quest to hyper-educate kids, we would do better to alleviate poverty. Jerome Bruner reviews The Scientist in the Crib and The Myth of the First Three Years.
"The new scientific research doesn't say that parents should provide special "enriching" experience over and above what they experience in everyday life. It does suggest, though, that a radically deprived environment could cause damage."
"The fact is that virtually from birth, we are involved, we human beings, in refining and perfecting our species-unique gift of sharing attention and achieving workable "intersubjectivity.""
Treason 101 is a section of the Employee's Guide to Security Responsibilities, wherefrom we may quote 'the man' himself: (sounds like our Mountie's motto to me)
"It starts with a short piece on How Spies Are Caught. That comes first, as it is so important for anyone who may be considering espionage to understand that they WILL be caught. Perhaps not right away, but eventually."

Give Brain Food a chance to load and your intellicart will be overflowing with cerebral fodder. This is an incredible compendium of essays, humor, and verrry scarrry things.
"What becomes of the surplus of human life? It is either, 1st. destroyed by infanticide, as among the Chinese and Lacedemonians; or 2d. it is stifled or starved, as among other nations whose population is commensurate to its food; or 3d. it is consumed by wars and endemic diseases; or 4th. it overflows, by emigration, to places where a surplus of food is attainable."
James Madison, 1791

Noam Chomsky's formidible observations are given a canvas in this interview by David Barsamian for Z Magazine. Expanding the Floor of the Cage begins by drawing attention to the American National Obsession with warehousing humans in jails and schools, and covers a gamut of other issues.
"Most people think the government has a responsibility to ensure reasonable standards, minimal standards for poor people. On the other hand most people are against welfare, which does exactly that. That's a propaganda achievement that you have to admire."
Alan Watts was a master at containing that which cannot be held, at pointing with form to the formless.
"Thus when the line between myself and what happens to me is dissolved and there is no stronghold for an ego even as a passive witness, I find myself not *in* a world but *as* a world which is neither compulsive or capricious. What happens is neither automatic or arbitrary...it just happens, and all happenings are mutually independent in a way that seems unbelievably harmonious."
Using the words of Darwin himself: "I am convinced that natural selection has been the main but not the exclusive means of modification.", Steven Jay Gould examines the strict constructionism of Darwinian fundamentalism.
"Darwin's system should be viewed as morally liberating, not cosmically depressing. The answers to moral questions cannot be found in nature's factuality in any case, so why not take the "cold bath" of recognizing nature as nonmoral, and not constructed to match our hopes?"

I do feel like Alice of looking-glass, the mirror image being the common consensus but neither common nor sensible. Ah, the psychic release of finding Celia Green's witty and insightful The Human Evasion, and knowing that I'm in-sane after all.
"Sane people are bad at psychology. This is not surprising because in order to keep yourself and everyone else in a state of unrealism, you have to have certain techniques for not noticing things."
On Being Stoned, A Psychological Study of Marijuana Intoxication is the classic work by Charles T. Tart, Ph.D. and is a must-read for all gangaphiles and their progeny. Print out the original questionnaire and conduct your own survey!!
"So he tested many experienced Travelers and, after eliminating those few who readily told bizarre stories, he found there was Meaningfulness in what they said. Now this Scholar has made a Map of the whole land of Muggles, so perhaps new Royal Expeditions and Studies can find their way to the Important Places in Muggles and bring back Knowledge and, perhaps, Riches."
I'm waiting to see Waiting for Godot. In the meantime join Alf and Bob while they are Waiting for Zed. Brought to you by Extropy Online, this discussion delves into a brain twisting world of quantum duplication.
"The soul is non material and so is information. It's difficult to pin down a unique physical location for the soul, and the same is true for information. The soul is the essential, must have, part of consciousness, exactly the same situation is true for information. The soul is immortal and so, potentially, is information."
As Rachael Carson did a whole Model of Reality ago, David Pimentel and friends provide a dire warning; this time of impending biocaust.
Ecology of Increasing Disease
Population growth and environmental degradation
"In this article, we assess the relationship between high population density and increasing environmental degradation. We also examine the effects of both factors (separately and in combination) on present and future disease incidence throughout the world."

Pig Vision offers research with a difference. The interactive Porcontrol unit provides porcine perambulations.
"Paul Feyerabend, a foremost twentieth century philosopher of science, became known for his claim that there was, and should be, no such thing as the scientific method."
Jesse Hirsh makes a passionate case for the hacker as bulwark of freedom during an age of increasing centralization of control, in Thoughts on Hacktivism.
"Hacking Reality is the means by which we can reclaim our communities and struggle towards an equitable and democratic society. Within this technological system that surrounds us, the Hacker struggles to become human."
This excerpt from Arthur Kroker's Technology and the Canadian Mind explores Marshall McLuhan's ambivilance about technology and technoculture.
Digital Humanism: The Processed World of Marshall McLuhan
"That McLuhan could find no moment of deviation between his civil humanism, founded on the defence of "civilization", and his absorption into the intellectual appendages of empire, indicates, starkly and dramatically, precisely how inert and uncritical is the supervening value of 'civilization'. "
Are you prepared to discover what Popeye's favorite food contains? I wager you were not aware that monogalactosyldIacylglycerol came with supper. All this and so much more can be grokked at Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. We wouldn't look up anything like peyote now, would we?
"Neither the compilers nor the USDA recommend self diagnosis or self medication; the compilers do urge serious studies of herbal alternatives, believing that in many cases, the herbal alternative may contain several synergistic compounds that will, in fact, do what empirical trials have suggested, as recorded in the folklore."

I am bitter with poverty today, even while remaining amazed at life in general, and mine in particular. My personal travails are of little consequence in the grand scheme but do provide me with deep acquaintance of how it feels, as well as an abiding desire to erase it's causes.
Freedom from Poverty: A Fundamental Human Right
Human rights and sustainable human development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

In the preface to his book The Future of Money: Beyond Greed and Scarcity, Bernard Lietaer concludes that we must re-invent our understanding of wealth.
"This book is therefore about money. But not about how to make, invest, or spend money. Not even about how we do, can or should relate to money. There are already plenty of good books about all that. This is about the concept of money itself, how the current system affects our societies, and about how we can rethink and redesign it for different collective purposes."
One obvious yet hotly decried solution is that of a Guaranteed Annual Income. The Calvinist ethic must give way to repercepted wealth.

Robert Theobald, an economist, reminds us in Toward Full Unemployment that we should put down the tool when we've finished the job.
"We are now at the point where we need to understand the concept of wage slavery. Failure to do this will bind people to employers just as firmly as chattel slavery bound slaves to their owners. It is our responsibility to open this debate in ways which do not lead to the same level of anguish and bitterness as started the civil war."

Alan T. Williams presents his case for reconciliation of the physical and transcendental realms in Consciousness, Physics and the Holographic Paradigm. Subtitled Beyond Zen: The Footsteps of the Dragon, Williams reviews the historical paradigms and leads us to be receptive to the new.
"In the context of the Holographic Paradigm all things, including the transcendental aspects of ultimate reality just-as-it-is, are entirely physical. Consciousness, the agent of energy, is an objective nonmaterial continuum of physical energy. Counterintuitively, our finite material universe and the human mind/body complex are open systems rather than closed systems."
Trundling along the same track, we come upon Jack Sarfatti and Albert Einstein in a Vulcan mind meld of post-quantum teleportation. Interesting design for content that is as much poetic and powerful as it is precise prose.

Stay Free Magazine enlightens us on How Advertising Can Wreck Your Health. Notice that the graphics have been removed, presumably by pressure from the companies referred to in the article.
"Just like knowledge, art, music, and love, health is packaged to be consumed. Hyper kids once needed strict parents (and perhaps a severe beating), now they get a dose of Ritalin. Seeing the doctor doesn't really count unless you come away with medicine. Even when feeling good, credit goes to pre-emptive dosing, the stuff you take to avoid getting sick."
Censorship does not have to be overt. Not even the most dedicated would want to read this document from the U.N., at least the way it displays on my browser, though it is an important statement of intent and vision. Report of the United Nations Global Forum on Innovative Policies and Practices in Local Governance addresses our global momentum toward decentralization.
"We strongly believe that more imagination and innovation is needed in the world of municipal governance if we are successfully to meet the challenge of providing citizens everywhere with a better life in the 21st century. The report of the Global Forum is a contribution to that endeavour."

Moist with repugnance, this is Revolting, The News You Deserve. R. U. Sirius (remember, he wants to be President) tells us "Why I'm Revolting". Parody?.....hmmm
"Our mission at REVOLTING! is to drive a virtual rented truck filled with 4,000 pound of homemade explosives right up the tight little trademarked, lawyer-infested, well-oiled (with money) sphincter of old and new media culture and splatter it to Queendom come."
Going from the subjunctive to the sublime, Howard Bloom has a look at Pythagoras, Subcultures, and Psycho-Bio-Circuitry (570-399 b.c.); and strikes a familiar chord.
"In the interurban web, you could for the first time choose a group which fit the contours of your neurology. But while the culture which had spat you out was probably local, the new form of subculture which sucked you in was probably a vortex of transnationality."
Some time ago I vowed "no more conspiracy links" and this will be the last, unless I uncover a true conspiracy beyond the one we are all aware of (nudge, nudge, wink, wink). This index seems to have them all: Dr. Jose Delgado, Member of the Consortium, Mind Control and Hallucinogens EgyptAir Flight 990, Scientology, Sacred Geometry, Y2K, Origins of the Tarot, Mars Probe, Contrails and Weather Anomalies, Montaukees, Ong's, The Matrix, DNA,Illusions of Our World and The Alchemy etc., etc., etc., How can there be anyone not involved in a camarilla?

Is common sense common, or even sensible? In this dense paper written for the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, Barry Smith investigates Formal Ontology, Common Sense and Cognitive Science.
"Much recent work in cognitive science has taken common sense - in the form of naive physics, folk psychology, or real-world models for natural language processing - as a serious object of scientific inquiry. This paper seeks to clarify the philosophical background to such work."

The Third Culture, Beyond the Scientific Revolution by John Brockman
"The third culture consists of those scientists and other thinkers in the empirical world who, through their work and expository writing, are taking the place of the traditional intellectual in rendering visible the deeper meanings of our lives, redefining who and what we are."
Spread the posi-meme of random acts of kindness and play the Generosity Game. More fulfilling than a win at solitair, less psychically destructive than snakes and ladders, astounding in anonymity yet intensely personal. Just do it. All you need is love.

I do it, I am ashamed to say. The temptation is great to use the word "capitalism" as a catch all derogation. If I could write an evil glow in html I would entag it so, and add blink for bad measure. Peter Cadogan brings capitalism into the light of understanding, perchance to turn to leisure.
"There is also nothing to compare with the power of custom. Its chains are between our ears. We are accustomed to the market and money. We accept supply and demand, managed or otherwise, as our price regulator. We know that it all depends upon scarcity and we accept scarcity. But what happens if we run out of scarcity? What if we have to make new unheard-of rules to cope with surplus?"
David Pratt looks at Theosophical teaching and finds many similarities with current thinking in physics. Worlds within Worlds
"These ideas begin to approach the philosophy of the ancient wisdom, which teaches that there are no limits to the number of interlocking, interliving worlds within worlds, or to the scale of space and time on which they exist, and that each of them is just as material to its respective inhabitants, relatively speaking, as our own world is to us."

By way of France, an Australian newspaper, and a Canadian weblogger, here is news you already knew but were afraid to admit.
"A French intelligence report today accused US secret agents of working with computer giant Microsoft to develop software allowing Washington to spy on communications around the world".
Bioinvasion, bioengineering, and monoculture are dire threats to biodiversity. Resistance to genetically modified organics has been growing and just perhaps if the pressure is kept up, ethical scientists can sway the tide. Portrait Of An Industry In Trouble by Brian Halweil documents recent developments.
"After four years of stupendous growth, farmers are expected to reduce their planting of genetically engineered seeds by as much as 25 percent in 2000, as spreading public resistance staggers the once high-flying biotech industry."
Ignoring the lack of capitalized letters, generalizing on generalizations is an essay to relish.
"that is, the essence of what works out well, which we vainly try to capture in the generalized form of 'roles and scripts', goes beyond the limits of language; it comes through the eyes, the skin, the tongue, ears and nostrils --- all are gates where our body receives the nourishment of otherness."
David Stephens is a teacher at Summerhill, or was when he wrote this essay on Summerhill, Education and Anarchism. The key to our future freedom is children educated in freedom.
"If adult values are foisted upon children, they cannot be expected to grow up capable of making their own Judgements, thinking for themselves. Summerhill refuses to mould the child, for we do not presume to have a picture of what children should grow up to be like; we allow them to develop - free, so that the natural good that is in them may grow undistorted by indoctrination."

Human rights, as charity, should begin at home. The situation in the U.S., never anything to brag about, seems to be getting worse. Would any Presidential candidate care to take this issue front and center?
"On December 10, 1998, President Bill Clinton issued an executive order affirming the U.S. commitment to honor its obligations under the international human rights treaties to which it is a party. By doing so, the president raised expectations that the United States would begin to embrace international human rights standards at home, ending the country's longstanding failure to acknowledge human rights law as U.S. law. As 1999 ended, however, little progress stemming from the executive order was apparent. Most public officials remained either ignorant of their human rights obligations or content to ignore them."
R.U. Sirius for President
Victory over Horseshit

Howard Rheingold speaks Mind to Mind with Sherry Turkle, author of Life on the Screen. Actually he e-mailed her three questions and she returned her eloquent yet concise answers.
"I'll never look at those cute little icons on my electronic desktop in the same way again. And I'm looking with fresh eyes about the ways the computer is teaching me how to act and think."
The Constructability of Artificial Intelligence (as defined by the Turing Test) points out that the accumulation of random processes during development (evolution?) may invalidate the term "artificial".
"This is some distance from the usual conception of intelligence that prevails in the field of Artificial Intelligence, which seems overly influenced by the analogy of the machine (particularly the Turing Machine). This is a much abstracted version of the original social concept and, I would claim, a much impoverished one. Recent work has started to indicate that the social situation might be as important to the exhibition of intelligent behaviour as the physical situation."
Imagine Douglas Rushkoff, Howard Bloom and Robert Anton Wilson billed with Marilyn Manson, Salvadore Dali and a neon sword swallower. Well, if you live in New York City sheik yer bootie and get on down to The Hammerstein Ballroom, kitty-corner from Madison Square Gardens, and attend disinfo.con; doors open at 11am, Sat., Feb 19th
Ain't this grand, here I am in the Yukon, dogsled racing and all, recommending something in NY! The Yukon Quest is on right now - Fairbanks, Alaska to Whitehorse, YT. - 1,000 miles!


John McCain is a hawk in the drug war, espouses 'family values', and doesn't have a clue about real families or drug use and abuse. Co-opting Cindy McCain's addiction and recovery for political gain while the poor and non-influential are in jail for the same "criminal" behavior, he exemplifies cynical hypocrisy. Stanton Peele writes a telling piece originally printed in Los Angeles Times, February 14, 2000.
"In other words, Cindy McCain was using drugs while raising small children, one of whom she adopted while she was an addict. In most states, family services will remove children from a woman who is known to be an active drug addict, and she would certainly not be allowed to adopt a child while addicted."
While the hypocritical wage war on our selves, there is hope in the heart of darkness. Visionary people have built a community that works. I think that this is also very strong evidence that radical decentralization is key to our sane survival; and if one can do it in Columbia one could do it anywhere. Steve Curwood Reports on Gaviotas, Columbia
"Not Utopia, but Topia. In Greek, a prefix U signifies "no." Utopia literally means "no place." It's just an idea. But Gaviotas is real. We've gone from fantasy to reality, from Utopia to Topia."
Utopia Limited An Anthropological Response to Richard Rorty by Stacey Meeker suggests that Rorty's (ulterior motive) vision is really just to try to bring the ultra-left back into the liberal mainstream.
"Perhaps Habermas is correct that Rorty's protean efforts to elaborate a convincing liberal utopia can best be characterized as a romantic nostalgia-resentment for a metaphysics that has disappointed and disillusioned him. But the impact made by his work suggests a more focused explanation."
Stuart R. Hameroff takes a pry bar to the possible nature of Funda-Mentality in Is the Conscious Mind Subtly Linked to a Basic Level of the Universe? Roger Penrose had significant influence on this important paper.
"Which biological structures could function as both classical and quantum computers, avoid environmental decoherence and couple to neural-level activities? Microtubules are the logical candidates."
Father, son and the holy dollar
"Five years ago it still remained possible to occupy a third position in the world, a neither/nor of refusal or slyness, a realm outside the dialectic--even a space of withdrawal;--disappearance as will to power."
"But now there is only one world--triumphant "end of History", end of the unbearable pain of imagination--actually an apotheosis of cybernetic Social Darwinism. Money decrees itself a law of Nature, and demands absolute liberty."

In a commentary on Sexual selection, timing and the descent of man, by T.J. Crow, the writer asks "Are there psychotic Neanderthals amongst us?"
"Although the hypothesis that a sizeable number of psychotic Neanderthals are amongst us might adequately explain many unfortunate events in recent human history, the foregoing will make it abundantly clear that I am still very sceptical about the possible truth of this proposition."
Here is the classic by Daniel C. Dennett. Quantum Incoherence, a Review of Cairns-Smith, Evolving the Mind
"...consciousness is not some further phenomenon occurring in the brain, but is constituted by all the phenomena that individually do not count as instances of consciousness--in the same way that life is not some mysterious phenomenon over and above the components listed above, but is constituted by their ensemble occurrence."
Contained within The Ghost in the Machine is a haunting call to examine whether a machine can have a soul. John Rothfork uses author Stanislaw Lem's Mortal Engines to get to the heart of what will one day soon be fatally important; at least to a potentially spiritual machine.
"The danger is that in our mechanical narcosis we will be led by our infatuation with our machine images simply to forget our human uniqueness, having fewer occasions to suspend our involvement in technique to appreciate the depth that encompasses it."
I just knew that my ancestors enjoyed a bit 'o th' weed and here's the whole sordid tale, from the opium wars to the imposition of international law. A sociopolitical history of cannabis and the British Empire 1840-1928 is aptly titled Indian Hemp and the Dope Fiends of Old England
"By the 90's the club had imitators in London. If there was no recreational drug use "subculture" in the 1890's, one network came close. This was the circle of poets, psychics, writers and would-be magicians around the Rhymers Club and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn."

From somewhere sometime in the third information revolution, Larry Kohl, PhO. provides an overview of the first two, and brings a sense of scale to our place in the present.
"In the microcosm, the most outstanding example of an information system is the double helix of DNA, the blueprint for organic life. On a cosmic scale, the formation of planets, solar systems, and galaxies are all examples of complexification, while burned out suns, dried up planets, and (perhaps) black holes are examples of entropy. Smack in the middle of these two extremes lies the world.of human intelligence and behavior."
"The National Security State is gearing up for infowar, and some of their proposals may have serious repercussions on your digital freedom."
National Security and the Information Revolution is a well presented case for vigilance.

It is mordantly interesting that research into genetic manipulation is going full bore with unforeseeable consequences. We are willing to change the entire structure of species but afraid to honestly investigate our own minds. Human Hallucinogenic Drug Research in the United States: A Present-Day Case History and Review of the Process
"One leading authority on hallucinogen structure- activity relationships remarked to me in half jest that the sole paper he saw coming out of this attempt would be one describing the impossibility of such work in the present climate of war against drug abuse."
Zeus and Emile engage in dynamic discussion and bring us to understand The Profane Parent-Child Geometry of Western Scientific Culture.
"Clearly, the flower in the rainforest, the product of a harmonious co-evolutionary relationship with its environment, ... if genetically modified, will no longer possess that completionally pulled harmony. The nature of the dissonance the genetically engineered entity may engender is another story, ... an innately unpredictable unknown."

© Abuddha Ahdduba, 2000