Posts Tagged ‘Exploring’

In Search of The Ultimate Project (of my life)

Sunday, December 21st, 2008

Life can be pretty crazy. Some people might say I have no life or that I have missed so much of what life has to offer, but the thing is; it is not their life, it is mine. There is no rule that says that I should compare, weigh and measure my life according to the standards and scales of other people, unless I accept this as a rule.

So with all of the scales thrown off what’s left is only myself and the whole universe around me, not just the physical universe, but the universe of ideas, my memeverse, one from which understanding of the physical comes from too.

Occasionally I feel like I’m on the brink of some spectacular realization, but it keeps eluding me. Somehow, though, I believe the day is coming when I will find it. I am learning to be more patient with myself, be more observant of my emotions, reactions, failures and successes and thus more prone to evolution.

I had this feeling just tonight. It’s like I’m seeing the dots which are part of the bigger picture, but I cannot yet quite connect them.

Some of those dots are:

- I own two awesome domain names: memenode.com and memeverse.com. Somehow that seems significant.

- I have a bit of a fascination with the concept of memes and otherwise like to live in a free form mental world…

- I like free thinking and free form philosophy.

- I like virtual online worlds and gaming, yet I’m not a regulard nor “hard core” gamer.

- I like high tech and software, the freer (libre) the better.

- I am a passionate voluntaryist who believes in emergent order, free markets and total individualism.

- I am emotional, sensitive and easily inspired and moved.

And I feel like there is a thread binding all of the above things into one, a thread which if I discover may become a seed of my life’s work, the most revolutionary, most profitable and most exciting and motivating project I have ever done.

This is because I believe that all of my interests (likes, tendencies, beliefs) are all pieces of the puzzle that is my self and it is my self that is seeking to do things that will lead it to ultimate success. So I don’t quite dismiss certain interests just because they don’t fit the current paradigm. I sometimes worry about activities which right now seem like waste of time, but other times wonder; the fact I have them means they are part of my self and if it’s my self that needs to succeed than that self must include those interests. Therefore perhaps instead of trying to shut some of them down, I should observe, listen, effectively listening to myself and searching for the links between all of them – that elusive thread.

I will have to be thinking about this.

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Exploring animal rights

Monday, October 27th, 2008

I sometimes get into heated discussions with my (former) friend regarding my belief that all human action must be voluntary and that therefore we should have no coercive government (instead each individual should govern himself). We rarely agree on any point and never agree on our paradigms. Right now I even doubt whether he has a consistent paradigm due to his apparently absolutist relativist thinking, but I digress (and absolute relativism may be a good topic for some other entry).

One good thing that I take out of the recent debate is my curiosity about the issue of animal rights. Since my last blog entry effectively posits that rights are inherent in being what and who you are rather than something given by others it does not in principle discriminate between species. It applies to every thing and every one in the universe. In that entry my focus was on humans though and here I want to focus on animals.

The basic premise of the previous entry was that if one was capable of something one must have the right to exercise that something so long as it doesn’t deny another to exercise his own capabilities. To deny the existence of this right is to deny the existence of this capability and since it is what makes one what it is, it means to deny its existence as such.

According to this, an animal which is alive has the right to live. If it is capable of marking property as its own it has the right to property. If it is capable of barking, running, crying and doing anything else it can do, it has the right to do all these things. The logical conclusion would seem to be that if a human denies and violates any of these rights, even while professing to be a voluntaryist like me, is not being consistent OR is suffering from what my (former) friend called “specieism” (an equivalent to racism) where I believe only humans can have rights even when I see the evidence that others are capable of having rights too.

Then the only way to keep voluntaryism consistent with itself, without falling into specieism, is to either prove that a given animal is not capable of having a particular right which we habitually deny them.

Driven by that I started a discussion thread on one of the voluntaryist forums and also with a friend on IRC. I posed this as a potential threat to logical consistency of voluntaryism. What we concluded is something that I apparently overlooked. I even hinted at it in an above sentence where I mentioned being “capable of having rights”. It is the issue of demanding rights.

A human may exist as a human only so long as he can exercise what makes him human, including demand. If we look at history only those who cared about rights and demanded and defended them have ever been admitted to them. Otherwise their humanity was suppressed by other humans.

A definition of “demand” could be useful. According to wiktionary it corresponds to a need, desire, claim for something, an urgent request or an order. A demand for rights, that is the recognition and respect of self as such then corresponds to a need, desire, claim, request or order to be recognized as yourself.

Are animals, then, capable of demanding their rights? I think the answer depends on whether they recognize their own rights to begin with, recognizing their own capabilities and what makes them themselves. In other words, it seems to come back to the question of whether they are self-aware? If they are not even aware of themselves as what they are then they don’t even recognize their own rights as part of who they are and are thus incapable of demanding such recognition from others. This is why most animals also willfully aggress on other animals and why humans which fail to recognize their own rights also tend to fail respecting the rights of others. Such lack of recognition results in violence.

It is hard to answer this question with absolute certainty, but given what we can scientifically determine so far is that animals aren’t self aware in which case the capability of demanding rights is not a part of who they are and thus granting them to live or do anything that they are instinctually driven to is up to anyone in their vicinity, whether it is another animal or a human. This is what makes it possible for a human to own an animal and let it do some things while denying it to do others.

This is also consistent with the known and widespread belief (even among non-voluntaryists) that only sentient rights can have rights. I think I understand better now the basis of this claim. The emphasis is on can. Whether they can or can’t depends on whether they are sentient.

This said, every individual decides for himself what sights or acts does he prefers more or less and I would say I don’t like the sight of a human torturing animals. I therefore reserve the right to ostracise everyone who does this. Animals might not be capable of having rights, but I am capable of feeling disgusted when they are being hurt for no good reason and based on this disgust I can make or break my relationships with other humans, at least this way, through non-forceful action, sending a signal to them that I don’t approve.

And like with everything in the free market, the more people demand of others not to do something less people are likely to do it.

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A weekend-full of ideas

Monday, July 21st, 2008

This was a pretty interesting weekend for me. It all started, interestingly, with an ad that I clicked on when browsing space.com. The ad was for 2012comet.com and I was curious.

So after a number of videos watched and some texts read, a couple of blog entries and a little discussion we’re having beneath one of them on the topic of ancient texts, Planet X and extraordinary 2012 events I am taking the following out of it:

1. The more ancient the more suspicious

That’s basically what I explained in my last post. The more ancient a text the more context of it we seem to be missing and therefore the more likely we are to be wrong about any interpretation of it and conclusion that we draw from it. For me, this gets to the point where I begin to lose interest in such texts and ancient history in whole and better focus on modern times, the present and near future and what we know here and now instead. Life is too short and today we’re learning so much more about our world, with or without ancient texts, that there’s just too much to explore yet somehow always too little time.

My interest remains largely in technology and futurism (extrapolating technological progress into the future and where it may or should lead us), as well as in terms of social organization, voluntaryism, helping each other evolve our thinking to a point at which we wont feel the need for coercive governments to lead and restrain us.

2. If we are exploring ancient times, it makes more sense to look at all available text equally rather than over emphasizing one source over another. But don’t hope for much certainty.

Yes, I’m targetting christians and their bible here. ;) If we are to explore ancient past, it makes more sense to me to look at and explore objectively all of the available material rather than focusing on only one piece as the most authoritarian source (as holy, infallible etc.). Sure we can judge one source as more credible than the other, but doing so just because we interpret the source itself telling us it is more credible is foolish, yet bible thumpers believe bible as the most authoritarian source based solely on the fact that bible itself says it is.

I am now a little more open minded towards the idea of there being a history much different than what we are taught to believe, but it’s going to be very hard to determine anything with compelling amount of certainty. There are too many missing pieces and we may never know the whole picture, until perhaps, we develop a time machine and actually become able to go back and just see for ourselves. :)

3. I’m more open to exploring the UFO phenomena.

While most of the supposed UFO sightings may be imagination, self delusion or a scam, there still remains a number of cases, from what I’ve seen, where there truly is no alternative explanation so far than to say that something indeed extraordinary has happened, something that really is out of this world. This is enough for me to at the least be open towards further exploring this phenomena rather than outright rabidly dismissing it as lunacy. So far, when it comes to the UFO controversy we seem to have two extreme sides. One is absolutely convinced we are being visited by aliens and the other is absolutely convinced that no such thing is happening or that the UFOlogists are all nuts. Frankly, both approaches are rather annoying. It’s like both sides get stuck in their own story without being able to concede even a little.

Skeptics are especially interesting when it comes to this topic, as they are the ones usually claiming to have a scientific high ground and to be more rational, yet all they can do is be perpetual debunkers. I mean, instead of actually going about exploring the phenomena like real scientists would do, all they seem to be interested in doing is debunking to high heaven. Looks like they’re open to questioning everything but themselves, therefore obviously failing to question everything.

4. Governments are in the way.

How much less conspiracy theories would there be if there was no this mythical belief in government. Most people still seem to view governments as if they were somehow detached from everyone else and bigger than the sum of its parts, as if it was really an IT, some creature that has special almost god like powers. Perhaps one of the most ridiculous suggestions depicting this incredible belief is that governments may have access to some super technologies which nobody else has and knows about, as if the government is so efficient that it could, in parallel to the markets of people usually creating most of our technology, create technologies that go far beyond known capabilities.

I guess it’s no surprise why people think this way and hold these myths. The idea of government is essentially the idea that a certain group of people are right to use violence to control the rest, and unsurprisingly this group of people often does take advantage of that belief. And so whenever they do violently prevent others from doing what they otherwise would, talking about what they otherwise would or seeing what they otherwise would, time is ripe for conspiracy theories to arise, based on questions like “What are they hiding from us?”, “Why can’t we do this?” and “What is their agenda?”.

In truth, governments are just groups of people for whom everyone believes are special and have the right to use violence against the rest of the people in the name of protecting order and security. Government is therefore a myth for there is no such thing as “special people” just because someone calls them with a different prefix nor is there such a thing as more order and security with more violence.

The existence of governments, or the idea that creates them, inflates conspiracy theories, leave everyone in a state of mutual confusion and plant totally unnecessary traps and obstacles to uninhibited exploration of the truth.

Cheers

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Plausibility measurements and more on Planet X

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

The farther away in time an event is supposed to happen, both in the past and in the future, the harder it is to prove and therefore establish certainty that it has or will happen. Conversely, the closer a supposed event is in time the easier it is to establish its certainty. A similar thing might be said for distance in space, not just time. If something is happening here and now the certainty and amount of proof of it happening is maximum.

This should make every theory about what happened in ancient past as well as any prediction into far future highly suspicious by default. It follows that every prediction of events to happen in immediate, close future that are based on theories of what happened in ancient distant past to be largely suspicious as well.

That said, one way people attempt to get around this fact and therefore convince people to believe these theories with much less suspicion than may be in order is to relate a supposed event from distant past with events in modern times since modern times are much closer in time and therefore much easier to prove and much easier to believe. Here are some examples:

1. PROPHECIES BEING FULFILLED:

Sometimes the supposition is that in ancient times people were in close contact with god or gods who informed certain people of what will happen in the future. These people are called prophets. Often they prophecise great dooms, but also great times for, usually, believers.

The way this extraordinary supposition is being tied into the more believable realm of modern times is by looking for similarities in events of modern times (close past and present) with events described in these prophecies, trying to prove these prophecies as such and make people believe in them and therefore that events that were prophecised that did not yet happen will happen.

2. CYCLES: REPEATING HISTORY:

Sometimes the supposition is that something happened in the past which happens periodically through time and that people who lived in the past experienced and wrote about it describing it in various ways, sometimes giving hints to that this event may be cyclical. The way this is tied into modern times is by, obviously, looking for evidence of the exact same thing happening today. This is largely what Planet X theories are all about. The trouble here is that there still remains a high amount of suspicion that what they claim happened in past really did happen as their interpretation of supposed ancient texts may be off or the texts didn’t describe real events in the first place.

3. SCIENTIFIC PREDICTIONS:

It may be explicitely claimed that predictions made weren’t actually prophecies (given by the divine), but actual scientific conclusions by those who lived in ancient times. This too possibly involves Planet X flyby as it may be claimed that ancient humans knew enough about math and astronomy to predict another flyby of a given object in space thousands years in advance, based on mathematical calculations and astronomical observations.

Again, proof is sought in modern times by looking for signs that these events are really coming to pass.

This is how these theories can easily become convincing to some people. If you have insufficient knowledge of what actually IS happening today you’re likely to have even less understanding of what happened in the past prior, let alone ancient past. Essentially you are close to able to buy just about any story someone comes up with. This is why it is crucial to understand the world around you, question everything, look with your own eyes and sense with your own senses, seek proof of credibility of your sources if you ever come to temptation of believing them and keep in mind that the farther in time their suppositions go the less likely they are to be true.

Ultimately it may not even matter as much where particular claims come from as much as the claims themselves. Someone may say something will happen based on bible and another based on some mayan texts. Whatever. Look at the claims and try to determine what has to happen before what they claim can happen too? What would be the signs?

That said, claims that god is coming to Earth for the second time are much much harder to correlate with present times than claims of some asteroid or planet coming near our planet. The latter we can actually fit into some sort of a scientific framework and look for it based on that whereas the former by itself implies total exclusion of all known scientific frameworks. So what if you don’t see anything in the sky or if there is no evidence of anything that couldn’t be explained as a planet, asteroid etc.? God can just appear all of a sudden out of literally nowhere. You can’t exactly go against that claim. You can either take it on faith or reject it. They can tell you of the signs too, but the question is whether the signs they are pointing to really have anything to do with the claim they are making, in the real world as we know it and within the scientific framework. If not then we can’t accept their “signs” as a premise for anything.

This is, again, where Planet X is different. Indeed, they are pointing to increased activity in the sun and disasters on Earth as signs, but they also point out to the scientifically plausible connection between these signs and the actual claim, that the Planet X is coming for a flyby of Earth. This is something that you actually can go and explore for yourself. It doesn’t matter where they’ve gotten this idea. It matters whether the Planet X truly exists, if yes where it is moving, what kind of an object it actually is and what are the trends in natural behaviors on Earth, sun and other solar system objects. IF all these signs do point to the correctness of the Planet X claim then fine. Then you can go ahead and ask yourself what is it that you can do about it. Otherwise, just wait and see. It is possible that in exploring Planet X we may as well discover that while it does exist that it wont flyby any time soon or that it will, but wont cause as much damage as it is claimed it will. Maybe it will just be a spectacular show. ;)

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Curious about Planet X and alternative history

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

I am finding out about some very intriguing theories. They seem to circulate among people exploring or believing in the existence of the so called “Planet X” for which some believe is in a 3600 years long eliptical orbit around sun and which is actually coming to fly by Earth around year 2012. Now, whenever I hear that year I am immediately thrown into a skeptic mode. It reminds me of the whole Year 2000 craze and all of the doomsayers whose predictions somehow never seem to come to pass. Besides, how can anyone be so absolutely sure about whatever supposedly correct  prediction to actually pin it down so precisely into a single year?

That said, I’ll get to the point. I am still pretty new to the whole Planet X talk, but some of the things I found out tonight are still intriguing. For instance the idea that historical events described in the bible describe events which were at the same time viewed by other civilizations which did not include the authors of the bible, but their own observers and their own authors who described those same events from their own perspective. Furthermore, many of the supposedly magical and supernatural events are by them being described from a much more secular viewpoint, not always attributing them to a single christian god, but to.. technology and extra-terrestial phenomena.

These texts include those written by ancient egyptians, celts, sumerians etc. Somehow taking into account a much wider array of historical accounts without giving supremacy to any single one of them (like christians do with the bible) rings like a more rational way of exploring our ancient past.

That said, what some people end up concluding from these texts is quite fantastic and I do remain a skeptic by default, mind you. They are theorizing, for example, that Moses used alien technology to part the red sea or that according to sumerians, humans may have been genetically engineered by another advanced civilization.

Here is the thing now. While I find it hard to just believe in those incredible conclusions they seem much LESS incredible than the conclusion that god created everything, including us. I personally do not believe in that, but I do not necessarily leave out the possibility either (which is what makes me an agnostic or a weak atheist). I don’t even fully believe in the theory of evolution, especially the part about how it all begun (the big bang stuff). It’s about as incredible as saying god did it. Instead my point of view was always that we simply don’t know, or I simply don’t know how it happened, how we came to be and what is out there, so why go and jump to conclusions and then call them definite, whether your conclusion is the evolution or creationism?

So from that perspective, I am essentially putting myself in a position of an explorer who says “OK now, let’s see what is out there, are there any alternative explanations?”. And this is why I find these theories mentioned above so curious, especially considering they are so much closer to the secular and scientifically minded approach than most religious theories tend to be.

So I’ll probably continue gradually exploring them. I could rant on about what I think about the whole doomsday scenario some of these people are propagating, but maybe I’ll save it for another entry. Let’s just say that I am not prepared to accept it lightly, but AM at least curious enough to watch out for the news of that mysterious big planet beyond Pluto and whether it’s really coming our way. ;)

That much wont hurt. I do have a liking to astronomy and space exploration anyway.

Cheers

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