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  • hardie karges 9:29 am on January 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , EVOLUTION, , ,   

    Buddhism and the Industrial Revolution: Aftermath… 

    Don’t begrudge anyone their success. Their success is your success. We are all one people. We all know that, of course. But saying it and practicing it are two different things. And competition is fierce, especially when you’ve been raised that way from birth, as most of us Westerners, European-descended, have been raised.

    I don’t know why that is the case, probably some combination of capitalism, Christianity, and democracy, but the reality may be a little bit more nuanced than that. In fact it may even be such a recent event that the results of it are not even fully known yet, a phenomenon associated with the Industrial Revolution, the effects of which are still upon us. Don’t believe the textbook narrative that the Industrial Revolution occurred in the mid-1700’s in England. The Industrial Revolution is now—right now.

    And the results are as devastating as they are inspiring. Sure we’ve got multiple methods of travel to multiple places in the universe, but we’ve also got Global Warming, Dickensian poverty, the Enclosure Acts which dispossessed peasants of their ancestral rights to land, and now a devastating narcotics problem, largely born of the necessity of dealing with the dispossession and loss of our connection to Nature.

    Thus we stand at the crossroads, of history and consciousness. History will certainly go in a direction heretofore yet unimagined, and consciousness will certainly go with it hand-in-hand, no certain clue as to which is cause and which is effect. And if that much is certain, little else is. We are such a young species that anything can happen, and likely will.

    And this has happened over and over in the course of history and evolution, but I seriously doubt that any one species has ever been so responsible—or not—for its own destiny. Usually these things, i.e. evolution, happen in what seems to be a random impersonal manner, in which the best that can usually be said is something like, “Evolution favors smaller adaptable units,” we being the units, of course, usually devoid of consciousness.

    The invention, or evolution, if you prefer, of language, 50k years ago, seems to have changed all that. I can’t imagine what other invention would have had such an effect. So here we are, featherless bipeds possessed of language, and fully conscious of what the worst can be. But can we control our own worst impulses?

    Can we make decisions that will give sustainability to our species? These questions remain to be answered. But it will not occur with backbiting and unnecessary wars. Buddhism is all about teaching men to be more like women: more caring and less violent, and that is what I’m here to promote. Walk softly through this life and this world Make no enemies. Leave no trash.

  • hardie karges 8:01 am on August 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , EVOLUTION, ,   

    Buddhism 101: Going with the flow… 

    img_1935There are two kinds of people in this world. How many times have you heard that? That the world can be divided between optimist or pessimists. LA people or San Fran people. Cubs fan or a White Sox fan, chick-flicks or action movies, Beatles or the Stones (yawn), or maybe even white meat or dark (we’re talking about chicken, unless you’re new to Thailand and the locals are looking for you a GF)…

    But I’m thinking of something more substantial, that goes to the heart of personality, or lack thereof, that determines an individual’s entire approach to the world around him (or her) and underlies all human interaction, it seems to me. And that is whether an individual interacts with the environment, giving and taking, advancing and retreating, responding to changes proportionately, or whether the individual’s approach is to dominate the environment, and Nature, by acts of will and brute force, where necessary…

    I certainly have a distinct preference for the former alternative, and its kinship to Buddhism, while the latter alternative would seem to be more the typical American beat-em-up approach, ‘forcing Nature to reveal her secrets’ and harvesting the bounty therein with little thought to the future… (More …)

  • hardie karges 6:59 am on October 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: EVOLUTION, , , ,   

    Evolution for Dummies: Junk DNAAND the Double Helix of Culture 

    crown of thorns

    crown of thorns

    If evolution really favors smaller more adaptable units—which it apparently does—then Americans are in trouble, we with our much-heralded ‘ownership society’, especially cars and houses, the bigger the better. America is overweight, but it ain’t just carbs and fat. It’s fuel injection and renovated flats, these possessions that possess us, these conveniences that encumber us, these adornments that weigh us down, down to the ground, six feet under, rest in peace…

    Dinosaurs went extinct and so likely will we, as Americans of the central model paradigm, at least, hocked to the gills with credits and debits and accounting tricks and treats, and plenty of reasons to retreat; why bother with success, anyway, when there are so many reasons for failure? How did you want to go down in the Apocalypse, btw: was it war, famine, disease, or flame? It’s no wonder; it’s nobody’s shame, just butterfly effects gone wild with mathematical precision…

    Self-sufficiency used to be considered a positive personality trait, hard work a must. Saving was encouraged, if not absolutely required, and in God we trust; all others pay cash. Now we’re a nation of leveraged, selfied-out crybabies waiting in line camped out all night for our iPhones and soma, got a ticket for N’awlins but the bus stops at Houma, all cashed out and nothing left to buy, can’t buy a thrill, all we can do is cry…

    Even unemployed Americans have iPhones, of course, money no object, that’s a fact, that’s currency; homeless people, too, now, taking donations online, gotta’ check on the status of food stamps, see if that Social Security check is in the mail. Half the world lives on less than three dollars a day; see how many iPhones that’ll buy you, true poverty struggling to eat very day, not Yelp or snap-chat, giga-chips and cookies with no trans fat…

    But rich people are worse, crunching their numbers between gold fillings, fracking veins and splicing genes, GMO cereal killers with their high-flying lifestyles on private jets and multiple planes, properties portfolios and multidimensional probabilities, many worlds possible, taking off and landing with the frequency of junk, buying and selling people like so much chattel and so many cattle, bodies for sale, ten bills a pop, credit cards accepted, swipe it where you wipe it…

    The Anthropocene Age has been a blast, a quick short spurt of consciousness and destruction after years of ignorance and bliss, man inserting his thingie into multiple orifices, simultaneously, plugging holes and creating new ones, just for the Hell of it, just because it’s there, Mt. Everest and the Moon, by horoscope and all good offices, all for the good of mankind, come Hell or high water, reduced to comfort food and memories, that’s entertainment…

  • hardie karges 9:41 am on May 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: EVOLUTION,   

    Ever noticed how so many Hollywood starlets have dimples? I guess that’s the ticket. In Thai they’re called ‘stolen smiles’. Meanwhile in the US ‘laugh lines’ are an insult to be corrected by ‘anti-aging formulas.’ If I smile a lot, will my progeny have dimples? Too bad. It’s a pleasant thought, but evolutionary heresy, the Lamarckian ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics,’ notwithstanding Darwin’s many shortcomings, not least of which is any positive adaptation traceable to random mutation. I guess the only acquired characteristic is money…

  • hardie karges 3:30 am on March 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , EVOLUTION   

    Discover the ego gene 

    and molecular biology is now on to something, the junction of nature and culture, the nature of self-perception reduced to code and transcript. What you perceive in others usually is what you find in yourself, reducing the usefulness of perception. If you can get past perception and cultural affectations and down to underlying pre-dispositions, then maybe new options would open up for altering them, something besides drugs, that is. Drug use is probably more effective at altering perceptions of others than it is at altering behavior of the user. Experimental and recreational drug use is an attempt to approach the speed of light in thought and perception, just like back home where the lights burn 24/7 with a laser-like intensity that approaches infinity. The speed of thought might actually be first to break the light barrier, premonitions and psychic activity providing raw material for investigation. Is thought a dimension all its own? If so, is it a natural or created one? Weigh yourself down with food to keep yourself grounded in a world without weight nor wisdom.

  • hardie karges 11:59 am on March 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: EVOLUTION, sexual selection   

    Nature selects for beauty, not brains, 

    once survival to the age of reproduction is secure. Actually Nature is like God; it doesn’t really do anything; it just IS. We act like it does something because we demand causality for scientific purposes. Our language is predisposed to the subject-verb-object model; other languages, for example Spanish, less so. In Spanish things can happen with the causal agent quite vague or nonexistent. When a beautiful woman is at stake, nature can afford to be vague; sexual selection takes over, though I doubt that it’ll ever replace Nature. When plants put out those beautiful flowers and those delicious berries that animals eat then spread around pre-fertilized, they’re re-producing the species. As long as a plant or animal can use brains or brawn or stink or thorns to reach reproductive maturity, then attraction takes over. Science fiction may be missing the boat in postulating a future population of big-brained pill-poppers. For all the bitching and moaning of my generation of boomer-brats, life is easier than it’s ever been. Neoteny favors the earliest possible reproduction as much as it favors retention of immature features into adulthood. To get into Heaven, one must be as a child, remember. If neoteny is the path of genetic drift whenever possible, then it might favor a big head, or a tail also, for that matter, but your potential mate probably wouldn’t. Baldness is already being selected against, I assure you. I know. That’s a blow to neoteny already. We ARE that future of big headed pill-poppers already. That’s past. Unless life gets difficult again to the point that only the smartest survive, then expect future humans to be the handsomest, most beautiful creatures imaginable, with no increase in hat size except to accommodate the ever-increasing quest for Ego-enhancement. History belongs to those who control the means of reproduction. That’s why I’m in Thailand. It’s science fiction.

  • hardie karges 12:13 pm on March 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: apes, EVOLUTION,   

    A few decades back, someone apparently came up with the idea of man as the “aquatic ape” 

    as a means of explaining why we have subcutaneous fat and little body hair, looking so different from our closest relatives, the gorilla and chimpanzee. I thought that was a brilliant idea. That would explain a lot and is eminently feasible, that man’s adaptation to water was interrupted, but man still carries vestiges of that era. Certainly we’re not still hanging around the African ‘hood’, and there’s no shortage of water in the Great Rift Valley, for that matter, if the adaptation occurred early in man’s evolution. There’s no shortage of precedent from other sea mammals, whose closest relatives tend to be their land-based relatives, not each other. It’s a good career move. Life in water is relatively easy. Hell, I’ve thought about it myself. There’s only one problem. There’s no evidence that any such activities ever took place. Logic is cheap; evidence is expensive. Furthermore, there is another explanation that has a better record in the history of evolution: neoteny, the retention of juvenile or even larval characteristics into older age, and sexual maturity at an early age. Lose the hair and gain the fat; sound like anybody you know? Our close relative, gorillas give birth at a similar term and have a life expectancy in captivity similar to an African’s life expectancy, yet reaches sexual maturity at seven years. Why? It works. They’re lousy at math anyway. That would explain baby fat and adult diaper rash in humans. It might also explain some extremely juvenile behavior in adults, but that would be cultural neoteny, I suppose. It sounds better than cultural pedomorphism, at least.

  • hardie karges 8:23 am on February 28, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: EVOLUTION, , sophistication   

    If there were no obsession with the sex act, then evolution might suffer, 

    especially in humans; evolutionary success is reproductive success. Sexual and genital obsession is normal, but most people aren’t honest about it, as if there’s something dirty about it, or simply childish. Humans rule the earth, not necessarily because we’re smarter, but because we fuck like rabbits. We have to compete with bacteria, after all, and their turn-around time for a complete generation is about a half-hour, depending on your deodorant. We can kill them, of course, but they can kill us, too. Does increased intelligence coincide with increased sex drive? Mine does. The hornier I get, the smarter I have to be to drive the point home to some unsuspecting victim, usually my wife. It’s a game. They say some of the people with the highest IQ’s are prostitutes and other so-called sexual degenerates. They say the root word that gave birth to the word ‘sophisticate’ originally referred to prostitutes, the original Greek Sophists I supposedly. The Thai word for such, presumably derived through Sanskrit, ‘sophenee’, would agree with that. Somehow I think it all got confused with the concept of ‘worldliness’. Either you’re impressed or you’re not. That’s probably why Jesus admonished his followers to be as children. Once you think you’ve got it all figured out, then you’re in real trouble spiritually. If you think you’re clever because you’ve figured out that you can make money with your moneymaker, then think again. You’re getting paid to do things others won’t stoop to, things others won’t take lying down, things others won’t sit still for. It has little to do with IQ. There were already a lot of pragmatists on the streets these days; now there are sophisticates, too.

  • hardie karges 8:36 am on February 24, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: equality, EVOLUTION   

    Equality is a fairly useless concept and elusive goal. 

    It doesn’t exist, nor is there any particular reason why it should. Equality in the chain of evolution is the end of evolution, as Darwin himself reluctantly admitted when it was pointed out to him. Blending of genes would blend down to sameness. Genes are not blended; they’re assorted, one or the other, digital, not a mixture of the two traits involved and selected. Mendel already knew the details long before there was even a theory to which it applied, like Reimann’s mathematics lying there in wait for a genius like Einstein to realize what it was good for, then buy it cheap wholesale and parcel it out piecemeal incorporated into cutting-edge physics. Equality in society and culture is no different. Ask the Soviets. When equality is enforced, evolution stops, and equality occurs on a level of poverty and dissipation for all. The issue of equal rights is the bone of contention and the bone we all fight over, a simple syllogism expanded from home to homeland, equal bathroom rights for all. Equality of rights and privileges in fact allows for differentials of accomplishment. Otherwise, forced social results demand unequal rights for their achievement, as in ‘affirmative action’ for racial desegregation in the US. It’s a thankless task.

  • hardie karges 5:49 am on February 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , EVOLUTION, LaMarck   

    Lamarckian ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics’ 

    was dropped by the scientific community because it has never been experimentally verified. Has natural selection ever been experimentally verified? Has it ever even been proved that a specific random genetic mutation can lead to a specific beneficial biological advantage or even a specific trait? If a genetic mutation is admittedly neutral at the local level, then how does it become transformed into a biological advantage at the species level? Presumably the law of large numbers comes into play, and we assume that given enough time, these things just happen. Since no particular instance can be proven over such a large span of time, we simply invoke the most convenient logic, or in this case, the most scientific logic. Though ‘inheritance of acquired characteristics’ was dropped from the biologists’ lexicon, it’s never been dropped from the popular imagination. It would seem to be the ‘wishful thinking’ option, however, rendering it less scientific than the Darwinist rap. Still scientists talk about a species ‘adapting’ anagenetically, though this requires no mutation. Still human brains keep expanding in size with no apparent change in the DNA sequence, frequently invoking life’s challenges as explanation. Still we keep scanning the stars for radio signals, as if the exact same random genetic sequence might accidentally occur again. Certainly natural selection is not wrong, because it’s a tautology: those that survived were certainly the fittest. An impeccable scientific theory must be useful in making predictions, also, however. Just because it’s not wrong doesn’t mean that it’s right, nor does it mean that Lamarckism is wrong.

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