Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘comfort zones’

There are many writings in science, law and politics these days that amount to a plea to use the laws that exist in the natural environment to better accomplish common objectives. The argument goes that in order to extend our life on earth and boost the quality of the 28,500 days* we have, we need to play to our strengths. Right now, our strength and the strength of many industrialized nations is the strengths that comes from science and technology.

In a world view and in a regional view, it would be irresponsible if we didn’t use technology and science. That technology includes and an empirical approach to behavior that rubs the status quo proponents the wrong way. Use of what is known about the how we learn and how we behave can help prevent some of the ills and dilemmas that we’ve put ourselves in. It can also prevent others from occurring. Just as assuredly, changes are sure to cause new forms of discomfort. The individual and the society will have to work to deal individually, culturally, politically and environmentally with an empirical behavior analysis that takes a less emotional approach to behavior. Compared to the slaughter of people and cultures, this discomfort is actually a reprieve from what we can expect without change in the voodoo logic and the mumbo-jumbo of 3000 year old superstitions and traditions.

This isn’t a new idea, just a new appeal to the world inhabited by users of science and technology. Someone said in the early 70’s:

“2500 years ago it might have been said that man understood himself as well as any other part of his world. Today, he understands himself least.”

Look at what has happened since that statement…! That makes it a particularly poignant when amplified repeatedly by the disturbing events each of us has had to endure in that period. Things that could have been prevented, avoided or better managed if there had been a different view of “man”.

Due to technology society gets to see war real time; gets to see live video cam death in hospital wards, in police stations, on the campuses and via natural disasters. We get instant access and feedback in almost every media channel available to man. Thus, those that posit that a scientific approach to behavior is a threat to our way of life, look around. For those that claim a sectarian approach to behavior is not possible are reminded that the same things were said about chemistry, biology and physics as some brave explores went about figuring out how those parts of the world work. Anyone frightened by science that keeps him/her alive to protest is in a vulnerable state and is dangerous.

Without a comfort zone we almost all are scared. With a comfort zone we may be still using leaches to clean blood, sage to protect us from evil spirits or apricot pits to cure cancer. [Yes, some reading this may still be favoring one or more of these remedies, but…]

To prevent some of the things that we don’t like happening we’ll have to give up something. Nothing in life or Nature is free. Chemistry, biology and physics gave up ‘stuff.’ Now it is our turn. And, as frightening as it is, we need to find others that can help us make the adjustments over time. Others will help us learn to attend to the natural rules that have always been there but were ignored. Others can help dissolve conflicts over competing beliefs and traditions. We humans are great at adjustments and adaptations so it is clean this can work. It an adjustment how you came to read blogs on the Internet? However, if you like the state of the world, the relationships you have with the institutions, agencies and forces that inhabit your world, then you don’t need to do anything. You get to take the cultural Quaalude and pull over. Ok.

Read Full Post »

 

Boy, has that a lot of meanings….

But consider this version of ‘cosmos’…

 

According to Lawrence Krauss of NEWScientist magazine, David Brook wrote in The New York Times in May that

 

“…while we moderns see space as a black, cold, mostly empty vastness, with planets and stars propelled by gravitational and other forces, Europeans in the Middle Ages saw a more intimate and magical place. The heavens, to them, were a ceiling of moving spheres, rippling with signs and symbols, and moved by the love of God… The modern view disenchants the universe and tends to make it ‘all fact and no meaning’.” 

 

YIKES!  This is a world-view a 5 year-old would not embrace.

 

Brooks’s article reflects a popular view of science and technology shared the world over.  For too many and for too long, the complexity and majesty of the inner workings of the universe, a cell phone  or a blender – robs some of the ghostliness and the mercurial wonder fulfilled by myth, superstition and religion.  

Only the hopelessly lost and the cynical would suggest that medieval banter, hallucinations, and fantasy are of greater value to man today and our future than the actual workings of the universe.

This romanticized fantasy and yearning for the “good ‘ol days” is more frequent and pervasive in times of great change and upheaval when all the absolutes are evaporating in a short course of accelerated science. 

On the opposite end, the spiritual and mythical universe is anchored among our fundamentalist religious myths, along with virgin births, booga-booga incantations and other intellectually lazy creations of simple minds where answers must be keep equally simple rather than accurate or non-existent.  Brooks’s column referenced Barack Obama’s much-maligned statement that – some people turn to religion and guns for refuge from the inequities that abound.   From the response, Obama must have struck a note that many people would rather not hear.

Science is not necessarily a comfortable place to hang out.  It certainly is not for everyone.  For those that do hang out in the library, lab, or field explorations, it is laughable to have naysayers poo-poo science while they are clogging their brain arteries with cholesterol, The Simpson’s and Brittany Spears.  When it comes to an emergency cure for clogged arteries, some neurosurgeon with 25 years of science philosophy, practice, and imagination will be paged to save his life.  There is no current cure for The Simpson’s and Brittany Spears brain clogged arteries.

A lot has happened since the discovery of the new world.  Sailors from those ancient times mentioned above learned that the constellations in the sky were a ‘tool’ to navigate and an aid to their survival.  Many could only wonder if the same star constellations existed in the other hemispheres around the globe.  The light from the stars of other galaxies takes billions of years to reach us.  Those sailors saw light that is ceased to glow since then.  It seems that surely expands the imagination more than incense, fables and war-lording that’s provoked by religions feuding over who are the ‘delivered’ people.

The skies are not inhabited by mythical beasts, nymphs or fairies.  But, yes, their may be life out there or a version of it that some of us can agree on. 

Worldwide superstition is based on fear and lack of understanding of the relationships between entities in the universe.   Until we learn to separate mythical thinking from a knowledge base developed empirically, we’ll continue to invent alternative realities to justify whatever is the current superstition.  Thus, for now it is important that we get an accelerated perspective on what is imaginary and what is real.

Why does it matter if people cling to myths for solace from the confusion?  

It matters because real-world problems such as hate, hunger, disease, genocide, and climate change can only be solved by real-world thinking. That will require that people get uncomfortable.  Our “raison d’être” is survival. Nature doesn’t exist to serve humanity. It is ruthless.  It knows nothing about accounting or retirement or children in religious sects.  While it is hard today to abandon silliness, it will become even harder when consequences of superstition are racking every thing on earth – especially when our own survival is at stake. 

Recounting myths and calling it ‘tradition’ does the world a disservice.  Myths put humans at the center of everything.  That is a big error.  Be suspicious of those that promote human based logic. By acquiescing to some ‘harmless’ superstitious practices the weary and confused are distracted from selections about the future that even doom their wishful thinking that is the staple of supernatural thought.  

None of this is easy so lets get started right away.

~~~~~~

Read Full Post »