Brutish Better Angels

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There's no reason to believe that human-caused climate change and mass extinction will be mitigated by us anytime soon. We are quickly headed towards the failsafe line. My educated guess is that we are headed towards hard times. Science, engineering, and technology keep advancing to the point where all the things we take for granted in those domains have become black boxes to the vast majority of us. We use them but we remain ignorant of how they work.

Culture, society, human consciousness, the climate, as with so many systems, are extremely complex, hard to model and understand, much less predict or control. Most of us are simply not equipped to grapple with the complex systems surrounding us. We evolved to tell stories, to be hyper-social so we could cooperate, survive in tribes and compete with other groups successfully. Hence, we remain vulnerable to con men, marketers, propagandists and despots.

Despite all the wonderful things we have achieved and our amazing success as the apex species on earth, we are woefully unprepared to deal with the torrent of difficult challenges confronting us.

One's emotional reaction to today's reality can be controlled only insofar as one is capable of understanding what we're facing. Few people have the background knowledge across multiple domains of interest to have access to true freedom of thought. And those of us who can think can't necessarily act productively on what we know. We simply don't have the power, the resources or the network needed to be an effective actor. We can only do our small part and perhaps feel a little bit better about ourselves.

I've decided to try to have as much fun as I can during the rest of my life and make a greater effort to be a better friend. That's really all I can do. When the real suffering begins I can only hope that there will still be compassionate people in the world. I also hope the suffering won’t last too long this time.

Get ready for it.

Welcome back, Thomas Hobbes.

"Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of Warre, where every man is Enemy to every man; the same is consequent to the time, wherein men live without other security, than what their own strength, and their own invention shall furnish them withall. In such condition, there is no place for Industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain; and consequently no Culture of the Earth; no Navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by Sea; no commodious Building; no Instruments of moving, and removing such things as require much force; no Knowledge of the face of the Earth; no account of Time; no Arts; no Letters; no Society; and which is worst of all, continuall feare, and danger of violent death; And the life of man, solitary, poore, nasty, brutish, and short."

The numbers may support Steven Pinker's "Better Angels" but the future may be more Hobbesian that we'd like.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

To The Brain-Dead Zombie Citizens of the United States

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Isn't it ironic that when humanity finally was able to harness and expand its brain power through the processes of scientific inquiry it wound up being tantamount to giving a machine gun to a chimpanzee? All of this great, plodding progress culminating, during the End-Times, with giving the "football" to a fool; and we don't have to look too far back in history to know how that turns out. 

I have a question: Should "S.B." consolidate control over devolving Republicans, during the next eight years, how many lives will be lost? (Republicans: sycophants who are defined by their pernicious, pathological fear that they may somehow anger someone in the monied class)

Will it be at the scale of the Iraq/Afghanistan debacle, or closer to WWII on steroids? Will we live to see a nuke dropped on a mega-city?

I know, I know, climate change will be the great equalizer in thirty years or so, but I'm concerned about the next eight to ten years.

Liberals are too nuanced and considerate to fight hard enough to stop a bloodbath, and they are equally enamored with money and power; they can hardly claim moral authority. They can wax lovingly about the relative goodness of their particular ideas, spouting wise phrases like: 'Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.' (A more naked copout has never been formed.) But they are too busy looking at their reflection in the lake to draw a dagger and get busy. They don't have the warrior gene. They are weak.

The conservatives — generously characterized by Jonathan Height and other evidence-based groupies of the myth of progress — have no qualms about killing. Their ideology is more important than human life, or any life form on earth for that matter. (Libtards kill with the poison of self-righteousness while Conservatives kill with shiny toys that go boom — they whack off to shock and awe.)

Go ahead, take a guess. How many will be murdered over the next ten years for money’s sake?

When the journalists are cowed and under control; when all that matters is propaganda; when the coolies are completely commoditized; when everything is financialized; when ancient wars are rebooted; when regulations designed to save lives are totally gutted; when the tax breaks for the rich kick in and the Federal government dies from lack of cash and management expertise (I mean, when professional, competent bureaucrats no longer exist) when the power vacuum is finally filled with hate; when there are no resources left to allow “45” to keep his fantastical promises; when the whole system breaks down; when the technocratic kleptocrats are totally in control and gleefully embarking on their vain quest for immortality; when the "trash class" starts finally dying off vacating lebensraum so the venal monsters of industry can strut and fret about their Romanesque stage freely, singing, free at last, free at last, while pompously signaling their diseased ego driven toxic ideas like feral cats in heat, squealing, crying out in painful desire — relief only coming from hunting, killing, eating and fucking; when the people have submitted fully and surrendered and acquiesced to their premature demise; when the robots and sex dolls serve the last surviving earth eating ogres — in six years when the cascading feedback loops are wreaking vengeance and wrathfully doing God's work; when no one is left to count the dead or find the mass graves; when humanities only hope for remembrance is if an Alien archeologist finds the evidence of the Anthropocene buried under layers of future dead life forms; when the carbon in humans under the weight and pressure of millions of years of refuse becomes oil; when all of this comes to pass, can you imagine you would be able to say that you were proud of having been a human being?

We are monkeys with machine guns spewing cluster bombs, dancing around, giggling and waiting to see where the random shards of shrapnel strike.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

The Demons and Their Milieu Will Pass

K I S S I N G

K I S S I N G

Number 45 is the leader of Boundless Hubris. Boundless Hubris is not a country, it's a system and a culture. Boundless Hubris is all most of us know or will ever know. BH is our normal, banal milieu.

Progress can only be viewed through a historical perspective. Progress is quite literally in the past. The future is a self-serving fantasy. The present oscillates between struggle, sublime dream state or nightmare.

Incubus

Incubus

Number 45 is the incubus/succubus within all of us that reveals the truth about BH. We can only transcend BH though awareness, truth and the process of expanding our knowledge. Through the processes that reveal facets of truth and knowledge we can experience something close to freedom. We can experience a break from the incubus/succubus and from BH.

succubus

succubus

Most of us will die before trying.

Embark on your spiritual (define that as you will) and intellectual journey now. Make an effort not to be hyper-social. Don't wedge yourself in.

Break free.

Boundless Hubris will be the banal milieu until humanity falls out of existence. Evolution will not make us humble. We are the species - Homohubris.

Embark now, start training now, this fleeting moment is your only chance!

An infinite number of starting places.

An infinite number of starting places.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

An Unofficial Manifesto

Below is a statement that clearly articulates why we wish to resist the policies of the current U.S. administration and clearly articulates our values.

If you side with us, copy and paste the message below into your social media status. Let us know who you are. We have to let people know we will not let our world degenerate into chaos. 

We invite all of you to clearly articulate your values. If you disagree with us we invite you to clearly articulate your values and share them. Perhaps we can find some areas that are in common. If so, we may be able to narrow the divide that so afflicts our culture today.

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We make no apologies to any or all of my FB friends for this. We know some are tired of political postings and rants. But apart from non-committal posts of recipes, meals, flowers, dogs, seashells, balloons, pictures, cats, drama, humor, our own art, and even beautiful expressions of spiritual beliefs, FB is (until it gets taken away) a vehicle to express our outrage at how far our country has currently fallen on the humanitarian scale.

To us, FB is a useful vehicle for our passion and activism. The fevered Ego currently occupying our White House, his power hungry cronies taking positions of authority in his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to us, our way of life, and all the people we love. And unless you are worth billions of dollars, they are a threat to you and your life, too. So we will Resist and we will be part of the resistance, and proud of it. If you can join in or hang with it, fine. But we refuse to "play nice" in the face of what these people are doing. Our country's well-being demands that we stand and resist.

Some people are saying that we should give #45 a chance, that we should "work together" with him because he won the election and he is "everyone's president." This is our response:

  • We will not say #45's name.
  • We will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years...
  • We will not "work together" to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.
  • We will not "work together" to build a wall.
  • We will not "work together" to persecute Muslims.
  • We will not "work together" to shut out refugees from countries where we destabilized their governments, so that we could have something more agreeable to our oligarchy.
  • We will not "work together" to lower taxes on the 1%.
  • We will not "work together" to increase taxes on the middle class and poor.
  • We will not "work together" to help #45 use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his cronies.
  • We will not "work together" to weaken and demolish environmental protection.
  • We will not "work together" to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.
  • We will not "work together" to enable the killing in any way of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.
  • We will not "work together" to remove civil rights from anyone.
  • We will not "work together" to waste trillions more on our military when we already have the strongest in the world.
  • We will not "work together" to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.
  • We will not "work together" to slash funding for education.
  • We will not "work together" to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.
  • We will not "work together" to allow torture and "black op" prison sites.
  • We will not "work together" to "take their oil."
  • We will not "work together" to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.
  • We will not "work together" to eliminate the minimum wage.
  • We will not "work together" to support so-called "Right To Work" laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.
  • We will not "work together" to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that #45 and his supporters are wrong on the facts.
  • We will not "work together" to allow men to make choices about a woman's own body, or to restrict health care for women.
  • We will not "work together" to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.
  • We will not "work together" to put even more "big money" into politics.
  • We will not "work together" to violate the Geneva Convention.
  • We will not "work together" to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.
  • We will not "work together" to deny health care to people who need it.
  • We will not "work together" to increase the profits of the insurance companies.
  • We will not "work together" to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of an alleged or actual "pre-existing condition."
  • We will not "work together" to increase voter suppression.
  • We will not "work together" to normalize tyranny.
  • We will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversite at any level of government.
  • We will not "work together" with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators who murder their opposition.
  • We will not "work together" with #45 because I will not allow one man to feed upon the fears of the populace, blaming minorities for their condition or their inability to thrive.
  • We will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the compassion and humanity that is the center of Life itself.
  • We will use our voice and our hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN and recognize what's really so dangerous about #45, his friends and the Big Lie they spin to the world:
  • That "winning", "being great again", "rich" or even "beautiful" is anything more than nothing when others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.

This is the line, we are drawing.

PS: If you agree, please copy and re-post (we understand this results in larger numbers of people seeing a post), and if you can, sign your name below ours.

Consider this an opportunity to make a declaration of commitment, in becoming part of The Resistance.

Signed by:

Patricia Rollins Trosclair

Andrea Dora Zysk

George Georgakis

John Christopher

John Bowles

Patrick St.Louis

Carla Patrick

Darnell Bender

Vickie Davis

JMichael Carter

Janice Frazier-Scott

Rev. ELaura James Reid

Jeanette Bouknight

Rev. Dollie Howell Pankey

Gerald Butler

Carolyn McDougle

Vaughn Chatman

Adrienne Brown

Gary Trousdale

Steven E Gordon

Isis Nocturne

Debi Murray

Maureen O. Betita

Mona Enderli

Fernie James Tamblin

Myrna Dodgion

Alan Locklear

Tom Wilmore

Jackie Evans

Donna Endres

Lora Fountain

Roberta Gregory

Heather A Mayhew

Stevo Wehr

Nathan Stivers

Jen RaLee

Joan Holden

Leigh Lutz

Deborah Kirkpatrick

Linda Levy

Tom Rue

Nancy Hoffmann-Allison

Beejay McCabe

Michael James Myers

Edward T. Spire

Rupert Chapman

Dawn R. Dunbar

Robin Wilson

Monique Boutot

Laura Brown 💪🏼

Susan Aptaker

Steve Katz

Bonnie Wolk

Risa Guttman-Kornwitz

Angela Gora

Butch Norman

Sharon Tolman

Sue Zislis

Maurice Hirsch

Satch Dobrey

Jim Krapf

Don Starwalt

Deb Johansen

Daniel Anderson

Tim Roda

Helen o Leary

Kyle Staver

Sharon Club

Don Kimes

Scott Bennett

Richard J Simmons

Robert G. English

Eileen Donovan

Liam Fitzpatrick

Gerardine Clark

Debra Russell

Seth Avant

Rick Avant

Pat Little

Sharon Bebout Carr

Ann Meehan

Alex Ash

Steven Cleghorn

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

My Perfect Country

Imagine a Perfect Country

The importance of this exercise should not be underestimated.

We live in a world where we can see all of our flaws with extreme resolution. It can be hard for us to remember that human culture evolves via the process of refining inherited ideals. The following BBC Culture Documentary should not be missed.

My Perfect Country

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Immunize Yourself Against Lies - Think, Research and Verify.

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***This is a knife in the head stuff people! Don't be a Zombie! If you want some form of freedom and human agency; if you want to imagine that humanity has a future, understand what this person is explaining to you. Don't get fooled.

[Copying from a friend with permission. Please copy and paste rather than share.]

"If you are puzzled by the bizarre "press conference" put on by the White House press secretary this evening (angrily claiming that Trump's inauguration had the largest audience in history, accusing them of faking photos and lying about attendance), let me help explain it.
This spectacle served three purposes:
1. Establishing a norm with the press: they will be told things that are obviously wrong and they will have no opportunity to ask questions. That way, they will be grateful if they get anything more at any press conference. This is the PR equivalent of "negging," the odious pick-up practice of a particular kind of horrible man (e.g., Donald Trump).
2. Increasing the separation between Trump's base (1/3 of the population) from everybody else (the remaining 2/3). By being told something that is obviously wrong—that there is no evidence for and all evidence against, that anybody with eyes can see is wrong—they are forced to pick whether they are going to believe Trump or their lying eyes. The gamble here—likely to pay off—is that they will believe Trump. This means that they will regard media outlets that report the truth as "fake news" (because otherwise they'd be forced to confront their cognitive dissonance.)
3. Creating a sense of uncertainty about whether facts are knowable, among a certain chunk of the population (which is a taking a page from the Kremlin, for whom this is their preferred disinformation tactic). A third of the population will say "clearly the White House is lying," a third will say "if Trump says it, it must be true," and the remaining third will say "gosh, I guess this is unknowable." The idea isn't to convince these people of untrue things, it's to fatigue them so that they will stay out of the political process entirely, regarding the truth as just too difficult to determine.
This is laying important groundwork for the months ahead. If Trump's White House is willing to lie about something as obviously, unquestionably fake as this, just imagine what else they'll lie about. In particular, things that the public cannot possibly verify the truth of. It's gonna get real bad."
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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Step Up and Change The System or Prepare for BIG Changes in Lifestyle.

This mini documentary sums up our current situation and probable future very well. Anyone interested in a soft landing when global economic growth breaks down would do well to heed this warning. 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Read This Report, Understand It and Share It.

The Emissions Gap Report 2016

A UNEP Synthesis Report

In line with previous reports, the objective of the 2016 Emissions Gap Report is to provide an up-to-date scientific assessment of the global progress towards the emissions reductions required to be on track to meet the long-term goal of the UNFCCC. In particular, this year the report emphasizes
the implications of the Paris Agreement’s strengthened goal of holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels for immediate and longer-term mitigation action.

Download this report and read it. If you don't understand it, seek help; find someone who can help you understand what it means. Get together with friends and family and talk about its ramifications. After that, share it with people and ask them to do the same. 

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We are focused on the wrong things. We need to maintain the balance and integrity of our natural environment well into the future if we are going to survive long term. If you care about future generations you need to care about climate change and the complete global socio-economic paradigm. 

Syrian Refugee Camp

Syrian Refugee Camp

We need a completely new set of values.

Perhaps The Venus Project is a bit too much for most people to imagine but we must do something. As long as making money is the prime mover of people we are headed for extinction. Monetary incentives must be only one small aspect of what moves us. 

If we are resigned to seeing the last generation of humanity then let's live out our final days as a species enjoying life and loving each other. 

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Unfortunately, in addition to multiple lines of evidence for human caused climate change and our all too slow reaction to the facts, we will soon have a U.S. Cabinet hostile to environmental protection and full of intransigent climate change deniers.

We'll have to see how things play out but it won't take much pussy footing to screw humanity right into an early extinction. And the road to oblivion will not be a comfortable one. For those of you who can't live without your creature comforts, I suggest you read Albert Camus on your next vacation.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/camus/  

Why go to Mars when we are unable to keep Earth viable for life as we know it?

Why go to Mars when we are unable to keep Earth viable for life as we know it?

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

The Tools of State Repression

CHRIS HEDGES

CHRIS HEDGES

Some of us believe that incremental progress is natural and good. We think we can always do better and that if something is not right we can improve it, reinvent it, reengineer it, fix it or get rid of it.

Other's may be so dedicated to the way things are that they will risk everything to preserve it.

The world's cultures are always involved in a struggle between these values and everything in between. 

What is unforgivable is when we put blinders on and refuse to understand these conflicts because we are just too lazy. 

I believe we can learn from everyone, especially our enemies. If we listen to thinkers who spend most of their time sincerely investigating complex issues it's almost our duty to listen to them and to try to understand their perspectives. If we don't we are willfully ignoring someone who is dedicated to making humanity better. This we do at our peril.

Think of all the mythical heroes and real heroes who were murdered by fanatics or the State. Isn't it even more tragic that many people have never even heard of them? Think of three such figures now. Wouldn't you like to share their thoughts, ideas, and feelings with other people? 

Share the genius and argue to discover, not to injure. 

This is a talk worth listening to. We are indeed fortunate to have such easy access to intelligent people who care about humanity and life on earth. 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Thus Saith The Lord

1. Stop thinking of me as anything less than the voice of undeniable and inescapable reality.

2. Stop thinking of ‘revelation’ or ‘divine instruction’ without including evidence.

3. Stop thinking of Genesis, or your creation story, apart from the history of the universe.

4. Stop thinking of theology apart from ecology: the interdisciplinary study of my nature.

5. Stop defining and measuring ‘progress’ in short-term, human-centered ways.

6. Stop allowing the free or subsidized polluting of the commons.

7. Stop using renewable resources faster than they can be replenished.

8. Stop using non-renewable resources in ways that harm or rob future generations.

9. Stop exploring for coal, oil, and natural gas—keep most of it in the ground.

10. Stop prioritizing the wants of the wealthy over the needs of the poor.

***Click on the link below and meet the reality preacher. And remember, when you argue with reality, you lose.


Standing for the Future

Three Live, Multimedia Presentations for Individual Study and/or Group Discussion Grounded in: "Reality's Rules: Ten Commandments to Avoid Extinction and Redeem Humanity"

What's Inevitable?  ♦  What's Inspiring?  ♦  What's Most Important?

Michael Dowd Essay

Evidential Medicine for Our Collective Soul What’s Inevitable? What’s Redemptive?


 

 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Bamboozled Again

OK, sorry folks, it's my turn, let's put this puppy to bed once and for all.

I have thought since the turn of the century that for things to evolve positively for people we'll have to radically reform the global socio-economic system. To do this we need active, highly educated polities and constituencies in countries right across the world.

It would be nice if we didn’t have any pressing, existential threats to worry about.

Let’s say all nuclear weapons had been dismantled and it was really easy to ensure that no country would build any ever again. Let’s imagine that the world had wonderful technologies that ensured we never had to worry about climate change and that the climate would continue in perfect, life-enhancing stasis for another twelve thousand years. And let’s imagine that inequality wasn’t a problem at all and value was trickling up and down to everyone; everyone had food, shelter, clothing, healthcare and an absolutely, astounding quality education from preschool through graduate school. What does this sound like? A post-scarcity utopia perhaps? Well, lots of futurists, technologists and engineers believe this is inevitable. If we have enough time we can solve all of our problems, together as a benevolent and intelligent species in the universe. It sounds like I’m a Trekkie right? I do like Star Trek more than Star Wars that's for sure. I love the idea that we wouldn’t interfere with alien civilizations unless they really threaten us. Wouldn’t it be nice if all countries around the world had that as their prime directive?

For a long time, candidates have been “change candidates”. If you run on a platform of change it seems to grab a lot of people’s interest. Fear is also a potent message to put out there when you are a change candidate, it ups the ante and creates a higher sense of urgency. “If you don’t elect me there will be hell to pay people!” President-Elect Trump was a master of that during his campaign. And many people across the United States seemed compelled to vote for him for just those reasons. 

But from my point of view, especially in 2016, it’s clear to me that nothing has changed since the 1970s when Neoliberalism triumphed over progress and global corporatism took over. And then came the financialization of the Global Economy... As an old propagandist, I understand that when you have the resources you can sell, pardon my language, shit to the sewer. You can coerce, manipulate, and control masses of people so easily that it’s practically a joke. Go and listen to recordings of ENRON employees. When you realize how easy people are conned it’s easy to get giddy with megalomania. “Man, we played those people like a fiddle! Whoopee, aren’t we smart!” 

When Marshall McLuhan wrote, “The Medium is the Message” he had no idea we’d all be carrying supercomputers in our pockets and in charge of our own media empires curating content for our bubbled-in-social-networks twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Our new President-Elect talks about getting his information from Facebook. How can we have valid common priors when we get most of our info from social networks? With so much bad information sloshing around in our heads how can we ever be good at predicting outcomes?

I know a lot of people are mad at Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight because his interpretation of the polls was wrong. But if I may, please go and read the section in his book, “The Signal and The Noise” about poker players and bone up on the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Basically, a vast majority of us way overestimate how good we are at things. We think we’re great poker players until we're broke and addicted to painkillers

I know, I sound like a broken record and believe me, it’s not fun anymore. 

Below I'd like to share perspectives on the presidential election from a few intellectuals who I admire. These people are not best friends by any stretch of the imagination, they have intensely differing views and they focus on different things. It would be boring if we all agreed. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn from all kinds of people, especially people who have put a lot of time and hard work into forming their sincere and highly considered views. Sometimes we call these kinds of people experts and I like experts.

(I don't need to worry too much about epistemic humility - I'm too simple minded.) 

If you’ll allow me before I turn you over to the really smart influencers, here’s my take on President-Elect Donald J. Trump.

He’s an attention grubbing egomaniac who’s primarily concerned with himself. He’s happy when he’s in the limelight and people are showing him the respect and admiration he thinks is his birthright. He’s a spoiled, childish, senior citizen with a lot of money. He doesn’t really want to govern; governing is complex and really hard work and it’s much more fun playing a big shot when you don’t have to work very hard. To put it another way, he's used to being a real estate developer and a reality T.V. star, he's comfortable in those roles, but how will he feel doing things he really doesn't like doing? Will he just go AWOL? "Sorry people, I'm not politically correct, I do things my way, just try to keep up."  

If he's lazy, like perhaps, George W. Bush most probably was, he's going to have to find people who will do most of the work for him. What really worries me is who are those people going to be?

Most of the things he said during his campaign he probably didn’t mean. He played on our fear and hatred. He told his audience what they were desperate to hear. No one has any idea what he’s going to do as President of the most powerful Empire the world has ever known. He’s a psychological black box. 

I can’t help but wonder what his fans are going to do when they realize that nothing is going to change much at all. I wonder what his Alt-Right fans do when they realize that he's not going to bring about a new White European utopia. What will the really violent, extremist maniacs do when they are betrayed? It scares me to contemplate it. 

Trump is a player and he wants to be a player president and if you voted for him he’s played you. 

I’m not going to regurgitate what you already know from all the news outlets. We will all be captive witnesses to the Trump Whitehouse shenanigans for at least the next four years and I think I can confidently predict that nothing will change for the better. We will still have nukes, climate change will continue unabated, terrorism isn’t going anywhere, inequality will widen, multi-national corporations will rule the world, we will all talk about the commercials that play during the Super Bowl and fight like hell to signal our status to our communities through our amazing taste in consumer goods. 

Get ready for the darker side of the status quo. The Status Quo is dead, long live the Status Quo.

Now we’re watching how fast the media and big business falls in line with this new, odd coalition of narrow-minded science deniers. Obama fell in line with big biz and now big biz will fall in line with Trump and his people. 

Faith and hope are qualities of being that most of us find very hard to give up. Most of us are going to be reaching out for that silver lining. We're all hoping he's really just a nice guy who threw shit at us for eighteen months just to see if it would get him elected. He didn't really mean it. Now we get to see the real President Donald J. Trump - Angel Trump - our charming savior, the fun and entertaining guy that inspires us with his wealth and success.

We must all hope that the art of the flimflam won’t do too much damage.

It's amazing how easy it is for us to almost feel sorry for the con man. Trump is a cynical huckster, an old player who isn’t going to change, there will be no sudden rebirth. He’s our tough guy feeding our insatiable desire for revenge, feeding on our greed, feeding on our conservative sense of absolute justice. 

The sad fact is that we are all going to have to learn to live with this shallow playboy as our president for at least the next four years, and that’s the best case scenario. Will the Trump presidency be a disaster? We all just have to wait and see. 

But never mind, we know how to suck it up and get through the next period of same-same. We’ve all lived through two terms of Bush (a good old boy) and two terms of Obama (an uppity smart-ass lawyer and social activist). Life goes on.  It's business as usual. We are so accustomed to going along that it’s hardly a surprise that an outlier like Trump could become President of the United States of America. Trump is the black swan that we all should have seen coming. 

Americans in today's culture are exceptionally good at idolizing wealthy people. We no longer look up to intellectual plumbers who provide for their family and do good works through their civic organizations. You've got to have bling baby, you need to signal you've got bank. It's almost impossible to find a person who has the courage to piss off money these days. Money is free speech now, money is the highest form of personhood. I swear if Jesus is a poor man in American today we'll never know he walks among us. God wants you to be rich, don't you know. The second coming is going to be a super rich man who shares our values and engenders biblical levels of fear, hatred, and revenge, and offers us our only way out. And he’s going to do this with the charm of a reality T.V. star because he alone can fix it. 

Things will never change for people who have already given up. And for those of you for whom Donald is your savior, that familiar feeling of helplessness will return once it sinks in that Donald is just another rich guy. Perhaps the only consolation is that at least he's a simple minded rich guy, not a smart ass like so many elite wealthy people seem to be. He's not politically correct. He tells it like it is. At least Donald doesn't tell us what to do. He's a deft fear monger and simplistic storyteller. He's the original K.I.S.S. practitioner. 

And he’s tough too. He’s the kind of bully who punches you in the stomach after lunch and the very next day tells you that he really respects your taste in leather jackets. You blush and feel special because the mean bastard seems to care about you a little for a moment. He's both a good cop and a bad cop. How amazing is that? What talent!

He's the perfect bait and switch man. And what might be a good distraction for us moving forward, something for us to focus on besides the fact that our system doesn’t work in the Twenty-First Century? What, a war you say? We’re already primed for it. The establishment, Trump's establishment, your establishment knows this all too well. The make-work military industrial economy must be fed with endless conflict; that’s just good for shareholders. (I’m not being cheeky.) The intelligentsia can just sit back and dictate the writing on the wall and state their claim to common sense via the saddest sentence I know, "I told you so.”

The climate deniers have won a great victory in America which means life on earth loses. We will enjoy our entertainments and allow inequality to widen, we'll watch the sixth extinction on National Geographic channel, nuclear proliferation will begin again, more people will become addicted to opioids and our veterans will continue to kill themselves. Our new leaders care only for themselves, just like the old ones did. 

Of course, there are lots of people in our world who care about important issues that affect all of us, it just doesn’t matter. Money rules the world, and if you don’t have it, you don't matter.  

As for myself, I’ll work on developing an epicurean, stoical way of developing a more profound sense of apathy. This alone will make me more popular, this I can tell you, folks. Social critics are no fun at all. Let’s laugh, drink, eat and play while the empire burns. I’m a baby boomer so I’ve had it easy. I’ve lived roughly 30 years without the internet and 30 years with the internet. We all live happily in our echo chambers. I don’t think an evidence-based government is possible anymore. The hustlers are in control, perhaps they always have been and always will be. 

OK, that was painful, let's start our journey with the fabled, brilliant comedy icon, John Oliver. And remember, "THIS IS NOT NORMAL" and "FUCK 2016"!

Hehehe, hahaha - that was funny. 

Hehehe, hahaha - that was funny. 

Now let's pivot to Sam Harris. I'm interested in his views on Islamist extremists and his take on the psychology of our President-Elect and the people who surround him.

If that didn't make you concerned enough about our future let's move on to our favorite revolutionary, Chris Hedges. I know, I know it's from RT and that's Russian, but you know, Russia isn't a communist country anymore, it's a White Nationalist country with a powerful, charismatic dictator in charge. Now you feel more at home, right?

Let's look at things from an economic POV with Professor Richard D. Wolff. Oh no, he writes about Marx! Have you read Adam Smith or Max Weber? No you say? Then don't worry about Marx. 

For those of you would prefer a more controversial, libertarian point-of-view I give you Charles Murray. This is less about Trump and more about politics today and why we are like we are.

And let's not forget my old standby, Noam Chomsky. He tells it like it is and he criticizes the government but he lacks the ability to say those few, most important words, "America right or wrong."

Love or hate their progressive asses, this post wouldn't be complete without a take from The Young Turks.

Let's also hear what the ever-so-popular (in progressive circles) David Pakman thinks about moving to Canada. Although, really man, no one's going to move to a swing-state just to vote. They want jobs and security. But he's right; don't bail folks. 

Let's go back to some fun stuff and watch Bernie Sanders on The Late Show with that ever charming and sensitive comedian, Stephen Colbert.

Now, smirk, let's get snarky and rub it in your faces with one of my favorite barbed wits, Lee Camp. I'm feel'in campy.

These are just a small smattering of perspectives on the potential disaster we know as President-Elect Donald J. Trump. He will surround himself with the usual suspects and we will continue on, as we have since the 1970s. The winners will, as ever, be multi-national corporations and their cronies. 

There are those who wish that little Steven Cleghorn could be just a little more optimistic and have a bit of faith in The Donald and his lovely, talented family. I'm sorry friends, I just don't have faith in them, none at all. I still feel we are headed in the wrong direction. I can't explain to you the complexities of the kind of world I'd like to see and I wouldn't ask you to bother to spend one calorie of intellectual energy trying to understand my position. I only have faith in you, in my friends who do care and are making an effort; and, I have faith in my friends that are just getting on with it, taking care of themselves and other people while sharing the love. 

And this I will never do, I will NEVER apologize for Trump and the way he behaved during his campaign. He is a jerk and a fool and I just don't like him. I never will. He's put us through a lot and unleashed a torrent of hatred; and, he's made it fashionable to be stupid and heroic to be anti-intellectual. I will never forgive him for that. I can only feel sorry for us and for life on earth. 

The only thing I can say to my "right" leaning friends is that I feel you too, believe me, this I can tell ya with a straight face.

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BBC Documentary Podcast, HOW TO WIN A U.S. ELECTION.

I can't help it, life is just so funny. 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Now Read This - Human Society is a Constant Battle

Wax Off

Wax Off

2016: A Liberal Odyssey

Please stop thinking about tomorrow

MAXIMILLIAN ALVAREZ   October 31, 2016

I am now simply an Epicurean Stoic working on becoming apathetic.
 

Good luck people.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Meet Alasdair MacIntyre

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My friend Charles Badoian posted a quote on FaceBook that reminded me of one of my favorite political and moral philosophers, Alasdair MacIntyre. I stumbled upon “After Virtue” in the mid-1980s at The Tattered Cover, one of my favorite bookstores in Denver. In 2001, when the Twin Towers were coming down I was in Tokyo reading, “Dependent Rational Animals”.

I was more mystical when I was younger. In the 70’s and 80’s I was perusing typical contemporary spiritualist works (even reading Rajneesh and Crowley) hovering between the remnants of Beatnik intellectual adventurism, hippiedom, Renaissance fairs, psychedelic experimentation, a sense of abandonment and alienation, the Maoist bookstore in San Francisco, existentialism, Situationist urban walks, my Irish Catholic background and my inevitable journey towards secular humanism via skepticism and a new appreciation for science brought about by a lucky run in with the Exploratorium while at film school. (Oh God, after having read that last sentence I feel so damn fortunate.)

One can never have his own philosophy without thoroughly understanding the philosophy of others. All sides must be absorbed in order to navigate towards some better outcome. Life extension would surely help. It is not the books on the shelf that you've read that matter, but rather, all the books absent from your shelves. And, of course, all the time required to read them that’s absent from your future. (I believe I got the paraphrased line about absent books from Taleb. Even the most pompous intellectual can still be of some use.)

Philosophical dialogues throughout history have always been one of my favorite communities. Philosophical dialogues as a community? Can I say that? Perhaps only in the absence of a community where such dialogues exist.

Nurturing positive inquiry in the context of great minds, past or present, is a noble pastime. I wish humanity valued philosophy as much as we value entertainment, money, power and recognition.

Political Philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre

On Being a Theistic Philosopher in a Secularized Culture

Alasdair MacIntyre - Catholic Instead of What?

He has written extensively on the history of philosophy as well. His works on Aristotle are profound. 

Enjoy!

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

Truer Words

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“The Demagogues who seek power by exploiting the ire and frustration of the population and making appealing but “terribly simplified” and, ultimately, deceitful promises" - are all around us now. We mistake them for leaders. They are not. They are disgusting and dangerous egoists.

But the truly terrible aspect of the current spectacle we are choking on is the sad fact that most of us can’t see through this idiotic bombast. We have become simpleton victims of the flimflam. We are more concerned with false identity than with truth.

“Collective efforts such as maintaining peace, deterring terrorism, coordinating economic policies to stimulate global growth, fighting disease, stopping climate change, allocating scarce resources, fighting money laundering and fraud, and protecting endangered species are global public goods.” Moises Naim

The collective action problem is a serious issue. It will take a mammoth effort by all players to find and implement solutions to the pressing issues of our time. If humanity gets it right we will evolve toward a post-scarcity world where everyone benefits. If we fail we will lose more than any of us can imagine or calculate.

REAL RISKS

- Disorder

- De-skilling and Loss of Knowledge

- The Banalization of Social Movements

- Boosting Impatiens and Shortening Attention Spans

- Alienation

We know this and we are paralysed and ineffectual.

Read, “The End of Power”.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

The Philosophy of Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee's Notebooks

His thoughts are profound and worth our deepest consideration. They reflect common and timeless human wisdom.

Wisdom requires discipline: he certainly embodied willpower and discipline. 

REASON: —
Recognizing that both my positive & negative emotions may be dangerous if they are not controlled and guided to desirable ends, I will submit all my desires, aims and purposes to my faculties of reason, and I will be guided by it in giving expression to these.
Click this link: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/01/bruce-lee-notebook/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

Click this link: https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/08/01/bruce-lee-notebook/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.

A Plea For Progress

Inspired by my friend Lori Isner's plea.

I watched the Republican Convention. I found it boring and shockingly simple. (We get Katy Perry and who sang at the RNC?)

I’m dumbfounded.

I have a question for all of you: Do you really believe the “End Times” are here and a con man can fix it? An Islamist con man or a billionaire con man, a con man is still a con man, and he doesn’t give a damn about you.

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I have listened to Obama haters and Hillary haters for years. I still don’t know why they hate them so much. I have tried to understand. I don’t know if they know exactly why they hate them so much. Are certain people attracted to a more hateful culture, or perhaps it’s merely banal preferences and nothing more? What’s your reasons for hating? I want to hear your reasons. I want you to try to convince me because I want to defeat hatred. I’d like to live in a world where hatred is rare and fleeting.

Politically correct, say what?

All Americans should know that talk radio is full of inflammatory speech. There is hate speech across the political, ideological spectrum. There is obviously a big market for hate in the world. Hate and fear are human emotions. I can’t imagine a tiger hating a leopard. Only our species, I suspect, know how to hate. Imagine the days when we found it entertaining to watch a heretic burned at the stake. We didn’t have TV shows to represent it, we went to see the real thing. Did we hate the plague way back when or did we just fear it and marvel at the mysteries of God’s punishments?

From my perspective, certain types of people seem to thrive on hate speech a tad bit more than others; certain people seem a bit more sensitive to any slight coming their way. Certain types of people also seem to love fire and brimstone and divisive rhetoric leading to biblical conflict, bloodletting, and death. I don’t like those kinds of people. But there are good reasons to go to war and we should all demand to know them and understand them before we start weighing the costs of collateral damage and personal sacrifice. We should also demand to know if winning such a conflict may have a real chance of improving things.

I can't tell you how many conservative Americans in Hong Kong told me they would return to the USA, grab their guns and join the new civil war if Obama got elected. They seemed to be convinced that a black, Kenyan, Muslim in the Whitehouse would be the end of the great "American Way". They all stayed in Asia of course. Is their current horrific and panic infused narrative an extension of their disappointment in having to endure eight years of Obama? Why do so many seem to gloat and revel in the destruction of Syria, screaming from their armchairs, “I told you so, I told you so!” The new breed of lone wolf terror we're seeing every day is confirmation of what? “It’s their fault!” “It’s their fault.” “Kill them!” Are we really still so interested in manufacturing reasons to go to war that we’ll ignore the hard work required to defend ourselves from the buggy software of bad ideas? Are dead soldiers and suffering troops the only things that represent righteousness? Is that it? Does God require our suffering and vengeance in the name of the Lord, in the name of Mohamed? How many YouTube channels are devoted to survivalism and tactical gear? Religiously inspired war, is that all we can hope for? In the name of this or that God or ideology must we really destroy our kind hearts and our natural will to live? Must we find our love for our children snuffed out by anger and grief? Is a journey back to the middle ages, or ancient barbarism all we can hope for? Can't we do better than that? Are there not more noble projects to consider?

The first human mission to...?

The first human mission to...?

Even the very brightest and best of us can be vulnerable to fear-based narratives. A negativity bias does exist. But I want to know your true aspirations. What are you willing to do for your average man or woman obeying the rules and struggling to survive. I’m talking to those of you who think of yourselves as leaders. There is evidence that ideological propensities have some basis in our genetics and how our genes express themselves due to environmental circumstances, and we are all, to a certain extent, determined in our beliefs by our communities. None of us are as free as we think we are to choose our beliefs and behaviors. Social norms get the better of all of us to various degrees. But when you think of yourself as a leader in your domain you had better have a very detailed description of your beliefs and ideas ready for any audience. If you want us to follow you we need to know what you want for us, why you want it and how you’re planning to get us there. The devil, my faithful friend, is always in the details.

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In my opinion, rationalism breeds hope while faith in anecdotes often sends one toward hatred and fear. If humans continue to survive and thrive we may evolve into more rational and loving creatures. But if we are to survive and thrive we must deal with real existential threats, threats that are real deal breakers, threats that could end the human race. There are also true enemies to a more enlightened way of life and they must also be defeated. We have to hold all communities accountable for their ideas and beliefs. We have to pick the right battles and win them. And we have to tame the beast within us, and to do so we’ll all need some loving support.

Things are so good now it's hard to imagine we might not make it. And yet, many people have become so negative that the "End Times” is the most exciting and relevant motivating force in their lives. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate the definition of modernity. Perhaps the black box of technology is the only thing evolving. How terrifying is that?

Why would she give a fuck about humanity, her creator?

Why would she give a fuck about humanity, her creator?

We’re still simple, superstitious animals unable to contemplate the fruits of intellect and wisdom. We are, perhaps, too well entertained to invest the time and energy required to entertain good ideas, to contemplate the complex, to finesse our understanding of the facts and invent simple solutions that would bring a stronger and deeper peace and prosperity to us all. We are still too vulnerable to con men who take advantage of our fight or flight instincts in order to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else.

I know Hillary haters will always hate Hillary; to change one’s mind about hate admits a certain betrayal of oneself. I understand that but don't let him in people. Be patient, a better Republican will come along in four years. But only if Republicans commit to making themselves better Republicans. Your party is going through a bad patch perhaps, but things can turn around. Just say no to the scam, please. Our system is less than perfect but it's still worth fighting for. We only have to work together to improve things. Look around you and be thankful you’re an American. You don’t need a faker’s help. A savior is not coming to fix things. We have to fix things.

I hate labels. I am tipping right and left hoping to strike the right balance. I suspect, like most of you, I just want to be proud to be human. I want the human race to live up to its potential. Now that’s a project worth suffering through a marathon of baby steps.

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.