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Post Re: Progress
Joe,
Thanks for your response. It was difficult for you to get at my meaning because I suspect my question may not have much to do Bloom's purpose in the book. Maybe my question has a little more to do with Global Brain, of which I've only read a little, so then again maybe not. The prospect of ever greater interconnectivity that Bloom promotes in GB has a distinct possible downside for us as beings who evolved needing intimate social contact. Remote interconnectivity may, ironically, only worsen our separation from each other as members of true communities. This continued loss of community is the bathwater that could be lost as electronics comes more and more to channel our economic and social lives.


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Joe Kelley
Mon Dec 07, 2009 12:28 pm
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Post Re: Progress
Quote:
Remote interconnectivity may, ironically, only worsen our separation from each other as members of true communities.


DWill,

The analogy here may be a double edged sword, not a sword without a handle?

If the baby or the productive edge of the sword is the opposite of remoteness, call it intimacy, I’m reaching here, then is the dirty water, or the destructive edge of the sword, this remoteness, a failure to care for each other, or care for anything; because we grow ignorant of each other’s fate?

I’m going to confess a moment where I sobbed like a little girl over a video clip in the news where more children were being packed into trucks, displaced, being deported, being exiled, thrown out, discarded, suffocated, destroyed, their lives prematurely ended, I just broke down, I did so outside my own kids bedrooms, in the hall. What a collosal weakling I am, I still think so; because of that great moment of weakness.

Now am I desensitized, it hasn’t happened since?

That never happen before either, it just happened that one time.

I don’t know how to move on from here, in this reply, other than to link someone who may offer a viewpoint that can serve as a reply.

The question in view, as I see it, is certainly contentious, competitive, worthy of expending costs to bring forth some measurable resolution - a way to understand the conflict of interests.

I’ll find the link, re-read the words, and offer a quote from it – to see if it works here.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/lite ... cture.html

Quote:
Which is why we take for the greater, more painful and less bearable disaster not that which is in fact greater, more painful and less bearable, but that which lies closest to us. Everything which is further away, which does not threaten this very day to invade our threshold - with all its groans, its stifled cries, its destroyed lives, even if it involves millions of victims - this we consider on the whole to be perfectly bearable and of tolerable proportions.


That appears to be on target – no?

Quote:
This presents a rampant danger: THE SUPPRESSION OF INFORMATION between the parts of the planet.


That is, perhaps, what my reading of your reply sparked in my memory. I may be lost. A return to your words (putting aside firther reading of Solzhenintsn) may re-connect the thinking process.

Quote:
The prospect of ever greater interconnectivity that Bloom promotes in GB has a distinct possible downside for us as beings who evolved needing intimate social contact.


There, then, is the conflict, the two edges of the sword, as a battle, a competition, between allowing connectivity and not allowing it.

I may be wrong. What can be done to preserve intimacy when intimacy is threatened by an over-abundance of interconnectivity?

Is that a reasonable question?

Quote:
This continued loss of community is the bathwater that could be lost as electronics comes more and more to channel our economic and social lives.


I may not understand what is meant with this word: community - or true community.

I wrote the above at work yesterday and sent it home to be posted from a computer where I have the password for this site saved. I slept on the response so I’ll continue writing (and I won’t edit the above first response - much).

Quoting first:

Quote:
The prospect of ever greater interconnectivity that Bloom promotes in GB has a distinct possible downside for us as beings who evolved needing intimate social contact. Remote interconnectivity may, ironically, only worsen our separation from each other as members of true communities.


How about a quote from someone who may have thought about this some and the quote is difficult for me to understand; however it seems to fit here:

Quote:
"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."


Actually that one wasn’t what I had in mind – here is the one I remembered:

Quote:
"You see, wire telegraph is a kind of a very, very long cat. You pull his tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Do you understand this? And radio operates exactly the same way: you send signals here, they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat."


If thinking is such that human beings are bad, we are bad, then I can see a viewpoint where connectivity is bad, a single edged sword used by bad people to do bad things - or a sword without a handle.

Then if I see that some people are bad, by what they choose to do, not what they say, and connecting to them is bad, worse the closer I am to them, less worse the farther away they are from me, out of reach – of me, I’m secure in seeing that danger.

How do I warn someone in China if someone in China is about to be very close to someone who has chosen to do something very bad?



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Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:57 am
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Post Re: Progress
Joe, thanks for your very thoughtful response. I just wanted to acknowledge it. I tried to reply twice, but for some reason (me? the system?) each of my posts was lost. I'll see if I can try later.


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Tue Dec 08, 2009 11:48 am
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Post Re: Progress
Joe Kelley wrote:
If the baby or the productive edge of the sword is the opposite of remoteness, call it intimacy, I’m reaching here, then is the dirty water, or the destructive edge of the sword, this remoteness, a failure to care for each other, or care for anything; because we grow ignorant of each other’s fate?

Hi Joe. It may not be intimacy, exactly, that could be lost, just paying attention or caring about those in physical proximity to us. The fates we might grow ignorant of are not of people thousands of miles away, but of people next door to us. Otherwise, you've guessed my meaning well. The point I made in the first post wasn't original and maybe was half-baked. We hear warnings all the time that we use remote connectivity to wall ourselves off from our immediate environment, so that we are actually less connected to people with whom we share space. My impression of Howard Bloom in Global Brain is that he tells us by ever greater interconnectivity we will realize our rightful destiny by becoming as connected with each other as the ancient colonies of microbes were. We'll come full circle. This will happen, if it does, by electronic communication of some kind. My objection to this vision is simply that it's over the top and presents interconnectivity as a panacea. We know panaceas have never existed.

Don't misunderstand me, I think interconnectivity needs to continue. For example, it is vital to our being able to understand more exactly what the climate of our planet is doing. It's just that as a solution to our human problems, I don't believe in it; it is only a tool, as powerful in certain ways as it may be.
Quote:
Which is why we take for the greater, more painful and less bearable disaster not that which is in fact greater, more painful and less bearable, but that which lies closest to us. Everything which is further away, which does not threaten this very day to invade our threshold - with all its groans, its stifled cries, its destroyed lives, even if it involves millions of victims - this we consider on the whole to be perfectly bearable and of tolerable proportions.

This observation of Solzhenitzyn's is very true. It's a level or two above the one I was thinking of, though. Offhand, I can't see how interconnectivity would help us be more universal in our concern, but maybe I don't understand what others see in its potential.
Quote:
This presents a rampant danger: THE SUPPRESSION OF INFORMATION between the parts of the planet.

That's an interesting quotation, too. I don't have that particular worry on my own radar screen.
Quote:
There, then, is the conflict, the two edges of the sword, as a battle, a competition, between allowing connectivity and not allowing it.

Well, I hope there won't be a battle. I guess I just hope that new technological abilties are used well. For example, I hope that interconnectivity will be used for better purposes than in these examples from Howard Bloom: "There are numerous technologies with which we'll soon upgrade our interconnectivity--from smart clothes and digitized pens to information-sending-and-receiving shoes and computers which divine our interests by watching the dilation of our pupils, then go out as personal servants to crawl the World-Wide Web for finds to surprise us, to entertain us, and to help us through emergencies" (p. 219). Say it won't be so, Howard!
Quote:
I may be wrong. What can be done to preserve intimacy when intimacy is threatened by an over-abundance of interconnectivity?

Is that a reasonable question?

It's a reasonable question. If we're wise, as well as clever, we'll constantly have an eye on the need to upgrade our flesh-and-blood communications and interactions, even as we ramp up interconnectivity.
Quote:
How about a quote from someone who may have thought about this some and the quote is difficult for me to understand; however it seems to fit here:

Quote:
"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us _universe_, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest... a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

I think the consciousness referred to expresses both the strength and the weakness of our evolved consciousness. The weakness becomes more apparent as we find it imperative to live as a global community.

It's been nice talking about this with you.


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Wed Dec 09, 2009 9:12 am
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Post Re: Progress
Quote:
We hear warnings all the time that we use remote connectivity to wall ourselves off from our immediate environment, so that we are actually less connected to people with whom we share space.


DWill,

I have a method of simulating conversation on forums and it involves reading and stopping to comment before reading the whole response in view. I stopped reading there to offer something I thought about this morning on this topic.

This topic is Howard’s book in general and in particular an idea concerning connectivity and disconnection – your very interesting observation – in on the table currently.

I think that intimacy, or caring, or protecting, preserving, defending, nurturing, or otherwise loving other people other than one’s own self is statistically measurable.

If that measure of general or overall empathy, sympathy, or love between one human and the other humans is measured accurately 100, 1000, and 10,000 years ago and that accurate measure is now measured today, also done accurately, then what would the results of that accurate data indicate?

Is the presumption such that the data is accurately measured and furthermore that the data shows a drop in overall caring from a high point in the past to a low point now?

I have not signed onto that presumption; I do not have the data, and the data I have indicates no overall loss of caring, not the opposite, and certainly not accurate to a point where a conclusion can be made, what can be made, it seems to me, is a hypothesis geared in either direction.

Direction A: Human beings as a whole care less about each other now then they did in the past.

Direction B: Human beings as a whole care more about each other now then they did in the past.

Direction C: No net change in overall caring by human beings from the past to today (move onto some other measurable perspective).

I contend that someone could conjure up selective data to prove either hypothesis so long as the observer is careful enough to avoid the inclusion of data that does not support the hypothesis.

Someone championing capitalism may offer data that supports the hypothesis that capitalism has raised the standard of living of human beings in a measurable way because the past proves, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that people tortured and mass murdered (crime) each other on a more regular basis.

Howard does that to some measurable degree and I call it apologizing for capitalism.

Eric Fromm, on the other hand, tends to offer the Direction C, as Eric Fromm refutes the Direction A hypothesis with data measuring the activities of current and past “uncivilized” civilizations where the general trend in those civilizations is measurably less costly in terms of work load for the people within those “uncivilized” civilizations.

If, as Eric Fromm appears to contend, we have “advanced” from days of old, now we are more civilized, then how is that advancement measured? Is it measurable as a cost/benefit ratio such as hours of labor per day divided by happy and healthy living? If so: then some examples of civilization in the past, and present, offer a lower cost and a higher benefit than a comparison with, say, my life up to today. I’ve worked as a laborer sometimes 12 hours a day 6 days a week, even 7, for months and returning to 10 hours a day, and having almost no time or energy (power) to do anything but work for years, while my body deteriorates and becomes less able to work, and finding no benefits, no viable insurance, no golden parachute, nothing to show for all that hard work for all those years, and my standard of living is measurably higher than average today.

If the idea is to see the truth, rather than an idea where the viewer wishes to see something desired, then I think this idea that we, as a species, have become less empathetic is not yet conclusive. Not conclusive to a point where a conclusion can be made, and then from that conclusion a new direction can be traveled; certainly not to a point where any data that refutes the conclusion is preferably ignored.

I’ll read on with your reply, seeking more interest in this contentious thing in view (connection versus disconnection).


Quote:
My objection to this vision is simply that it's over the top and presents interconnectivity as a panacea. We know panaceas have never existed.



My take on that is such that Howard didn’t intend to convey what you are reading into the book. Perhaps it is me who has mistaken what is intended to be conveyed by the book. When I read Global Brain I happened to be working on very similar thoughts concerning how connectivity works globally. Howard’s book offered much data in support of my own observations. I am not absolutely convinced in my conclusions of political economy; but I have yet to see any data that refutes my present conclusions.

Your viewpoint offers contentious data, and that is why your viewpoint is front and center in my life right now. I wake up to this contention on the table.

I think the contention on the table right now can be summed up as:

Connection versus Disconnection

It seems to me, after thinking about this from many angles, that there must be data, conclusive data, which measures disconnection. There is data, in abundance, where there is a measurable increase in connection.

I’ll read on.

Quote:
Don't misunderstand me, I think interconnectivity needs to continue. For example, it is vital to our being able to understand more exactly what the climate of our planet is doing. It's just that as a solution to our human problems, I don't believe in it; it is only a tool, as powerful in certain ways as it may be.


Here is my opportunity to offer a viewpoint that may ring true to you as a possible measure of what you are seeing when you look at connectivity from a viewpoint of connectivity being harmful or from a viewpoint where connectivity isn’t good, where connectivity isn’t, as you say, “a solution to our human problems”.

Human beings must trust each other, without this type of connection, without this quality of connection, there can be no trade, there can be no collective increase in the power needed to maintain life and reproduce life.

A. All for one and one for all
B. Everyone for themselves

If everyone trusts that everyone is out for themselves and everyone is always on guard always knowing for certain that without the expense of defense there can be no trade, then that is TRUST.

Now, if you can follow me, enter into the picture something that ends trust and ends trade and without trade (connectivity) each person must produce everything they need to survive and reproduce or perish.

A. Trust (connectivity)
B. Crime (disconnection)

If what you are seeing when you see disconnection isn’t disconnection, instead, or rather, this thing in view is crime, then you are seeing a form of connection that intends to disconnect.

I think, and I’ve thought about this a lot, that you are seeing, at the root, two things in view (and I thank Howard for Howard’s work as being a vital part of my thinking process):

A. Entropy
B. Ectropy

I can illustrate what I mean, if what I am seeing isn’t transferring to you well.

Currently there is a way of trading globally with a program called E-bay. If Trader A trusts that the person he will trade his money for a used guitar amp with will, in fact, send no used guitar amp, that the supposed seller is a criminal, that the only thing being traded here is his money for nothing in return, then such a connection will not happen, not voluntarily, not by the person who trusts that the other trader is a criminal.

Why would the Trader A person conjure up such a conclusion?

The program offers data whereby the potential trader can measure this trust factor. Trader B has currently collected something called negative feedback. The negative feedback could be unjustly attached to Trader B.

Why would Trader B unjustly be connected to negative feedback?

Someone somewhere decides to injure Trader B, and the method employed is to falsify the data, to disconnect Trader B from potential traders, to end connectivity.

What happens if one entropic disconnecting criminal type joins up with, connects with, sympathizes with, or empathies with a second entropic, criminal type, and they both decide to add to the negative feedback of Trader B?

Now Trader A has more than one source of data that confirms a trust in the entropic, criminal, destructive, disconnecting intention and embodiment of Trader B, and this is a false trust, a false conclusion, and how did this power become some powerful?

Criminal A connects with criminal B to access the power of connectivity and cartelize or monopolize their entropic behavior, to cause further disconnection, to produce more false data, to confuse, to disguise, to injure, and to destroy, to spread apart, to sever, to exclude, etc.

Criminal A produces a mutually beneficial plan and shares that mutually beneficial plan with criminal B, and they both volunteer, and agree, and share and profit from this connection, this mutual association, this division of labor, and this specialization, this combined, collective, and this example of ectropy.

What do they do with this increase in power earned by their voluntary and mutual association, where they share an idea, and share the work load, and find better ways to make this association work efficiently?

They decide upon an idea called crime, they use their combined power to destroy, to separate, to disconnect, to dissect, to dismember, to pull apart, to un-join, etc.

The power in view is connectivity, when someone is looking for human power, a power that produces something, even crime.

I think you are looking at entropy and seeing the human form of it, I think you are looking at crime and you have yet to label it accurately, to know it, to see it, to measure it, and to then learn to avoid it, and most certainly to know not to become it.

I hope the illustration can aid in the transfer of what I see to you. E-bay offers a very good look at how human beings connect globally and how human beings manage to avoid crime in that process. If you can find an angle of view in this illustration whereby the culprit of any wrongness, and harm, and blowback is the fault of connectivity, or something I have not seen, then please consider responding with that accurately measurable observation. I think that the paper trail (or the digital trail) will lead to one criminal, then another, then another, in each and every case where bad things have happened.

I have one more angle of view and this one is much easier to see compared to the very complicated E-bay illustration above – it seems to me.

If oxygen suddenly turns into ammonia, each oxygen atom connected to each oxygen atom, then that sudden change will kill all oxygen dependent life on earth, or the one’s who will survive manage to disconnect some of the oxygen from the source of the “infection”.

Does nature, ectropy, produce the “infection”, or does the paper trail lead to some human being in some lab where the idea behind the work is to eliminate the competition?

I borrow this viewpoint from Kurt Vonnegut with his Ice 9 creation.

I’ll read on.

Quote:
This observation of Solzhenitzyn's is very true. It's a level or two above the one I was thinking of, though. Offhand, I can't see how interconnectivity would help us be more universal in our concern, but maybe I don't understand what others see in its potential.


I may be wrong here but my guess is that you are harboring a false viewpoint that has been unwelcome in your natural way of perceiving life. I can call this viewpoint the Machiavelli syndrome. People who profit from you having this viewpoint are people who have this viewpoint, people who own it. If you have this viewpoint and you don’t see it, it may be very difficult to divorce yourself from it. It may be impossible.

I don’t know.

I am going to get out my copy of The Prince and I am going to quote from the introduction in my copy. If what you read opens a door in your viewpoint that you don’t want to see, and you close that door, slam it shut, then you may be infected. This may all sound stupid to you too. I can’t help the way I see our world – either. It is what it is.

I try to keep all the doors open, even the one’s that scare me.

Quote:
Machiavelli’s viewpoint was darkly pessimistic; the one element in St Augustine’s thought which he wholeheartedly endorsed was the idea of original sin. As he puts it starkly in the same chapter 18 of The Prince, men are bad. This means that to deal with them as if they were good, honourable or trustworthy is to court disaster. In the Discourses (I,3) the point is repeated: ‘all men are bad and are ever ready to display their malignity’. This must be the initial premise of those who plan to found a republic. The business of politics is to try and salvage something positive from this unpromising conglomerate, and the aim of the state is to check those anarchic drives which are a constant threat to the common good. This is where The Prince fits into the spectrum of his wider thought: while a republic may be his preferred form of social organization, the crucial business of founding or restoring a state can only be performed by one exceptional individual.


And that is the point, yes or no, that everyone “else” is bad.

If connecting good people is good and if connecting bad people isn’t connecting good people, then what is it about connectivity? Is it bad?

It is not bad, it is essential to the survival of the species here on Earth and most certainly essential for the survival of the species once the Earth can no longer support life (an inevitability).

What is the frame of reference?

A. Survival of the species = good
B. Survival of the species = not A.

Or

A. Survival of me – good
B. Not A

They are not necessarily mutually exclusive goods.

If someone sets out to injure someone else, to survive at the expense of the other person, how does that decision work reasonably if, by chance, the injured one, or the injured many, could have been essential to the survival of the species?

A common political message these days, I am asking for confessions for it’s owners, is “over-population”.

What is the final solution for that wonderful perspective? Where is the data that confirms the accuracy of that oh so conveniently vague and misleading perspective?

I’ll read on, I have to get moving too.

Quote:
That's an interesting quotation, too. I don't have that particular worry on my own radar screen.


If the one news source you look at is FOX NEWS, then your quotation has a different meaning, to me, than, say, if you have 20 diverse competitive news sources from which to pick the most accurate news, in your view, from.

Quote:
Say it won't be so, Howard!



My viewpoint includes a future cell-phone self-defense/insurance weapon where the users can be compared to non-users statistically much less likely to be harmed by criminals –even legal ones.

What will happen isn’t within my power to know. I think, I can predict with confidence, that gasoline (petroleum) powered cars will be upside down in 5 years time. I mean that a buyer of one of those cars today will be better off dumping it rather than paying off the loan – like people living in houses with upside-down mortgages. But that is my viewpoint based upon the data I have managed to get past the censors. I can elaborate – with specifics.

Quote:
If we're wise, as well as clever, we'll constantly have an eye on the need to upgrade our flesh-and-blood communications and interactions, even as we ramp up interconnectivity.


To me your viewpoint continues to harbor a false negative upon connectivity. It isn’t connectivity that plans on and then executes the plan to injure innocent people. Connectivity, like a weapon, a pointed stick, doesn’t commit crimes.


Quote:
The weakness becomes more apparent as we find it imperative to live as a global community.



Some criminals desire a global community so as to destroy all competitors who may vie for control over that one connection, a legal money monopoly comes to mind.

If the global legal money monopoly offers the highest quality money at the lowest cost possible, then why would such a thing be at all bad?

The facts support an observation that legal money monopolies offer the lowest quality money at the highest cost to the victims, while the producers of said commodity have the opposite perspective.

They must either destroy the competition or leverage the competition into submission – or the competition will force quality up and cost down.

Why would anyone ever trade something valuable for the poor costly thing when a rich inexpensive example is on the same web page?

Quote:
It's been nice talking about this with you.


It has been nice borrowing your thoughts – thanks. No time to edit carefully.



Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:22 pm
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Post Re: Progress
Joe Kelley,
I'm glad you present your thoughts in chunks the way you do, as this makes them easier to comprehend and lessens fatigue. I should do more of that myself. I don't know that I even see as much significance in some of what I say as you do, but thanks for so patiently considering each bit. I probably can't repay the favor, tending toward a more general response rather than one guided by quotation from you.

A few things I seem to pick up:

You think I may be miscontruing Bloom in Global Brain. Very possbily, as I've not read much of his book. I cherry-picked one quotation, about having a computer read the dliatation in our pupils and then go crawling the web to buy stuff for us. Okay, this might not be typical of Bloom, but I do very strongly not want to participate in that kind of consumersim, and I hope I will continue to have the choice not to.

You see, values inevitably will come into play, and that might be what I should have said. It is definitely not that interconnectivity is bad or good in itself, but as I think you said that humans have the freedom to put it to good or bad uses. But this is not just a stark matter of legal vs. illegal as you seem to say, but of what kind of interaction we most value or esteem most highly. It is not true that I see anything negative about interconnectivity, but I do see a negative in a world in which people move farther away from warm or actual relations with each other. That would be a behavioral shift that would also impact the degree to which people have the time of inclination to care about one another, in real time through flesh and blood. There will always be a blowback ( a word you use) from anything that has the ability to move us forward on a given The wise thing is then to minimize loss or blowback.

I hear about a "slow media" movement, where some people have decided to go back to letter writing and unplug. They're reacting to a sense of loss of intimacy or immediacy or experience as we always used think of it, I think.

With the quote from Machiavelli and your feeling that I 'm harboring a negative about interconnectivity, could it be conservatism you're sensing? Because in a philosophical--but not a political--sense, I am conservative. I do think that there are enduring facts about our nature that we ignore at our peril. One of these is that we evolved as creatures needing intimate or at least truly personal contact. Another would be that there is not a substitute for the family as the very core of society. I don't think people are more inherently evil than good, but I believe we will always reflect a mixture of good and bad.

Your proposal to answer the questions of whether or not we are less empahtetic today and also better off thanks to capitalism is ambitious, probably impossibly ambitious. Because of the multiple points of view needing to be considered, how would we decide what we mean by "we"? How would we take into account the ebb and flow of different civilizations?
Quote:
I may be wrong here but my guess is that you are harboring a false viewpoint that has been unwelcome in your natural way of perceiving life. I can call this viewpoint the Machiavelli syndrome. People who profit from you having this viewpoint are people who have this viewpoint, people who own it. If you have this viewpoint and you don’t see it, it may be very difficult to divorce yourself from it. It may be impossible.

I don't see what my false viewpoint is, Joe (although part of your point is that I may be blind to it). I don't see any attraction or find any resonance in the Machievelli you quote.

And I seem to see you insisting on a good/bad or yes/no verdict on interconnectivity, and I don't see this as possible.

That is sketchy compared to your own post, but it's as far as I'll take things at this point. Thank you for reading.

DWill




[


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Post Re: Progress
+++++++++++
It is not true that I see anything negative about interconnectivity, but I do see a negative in a world in which people move farther away from warm or actual relations with each other.
++++++++++++++

Dwill,

How much of that is due to factors that are due to a lack of connectivity, specifically being the results of specific people who sever connectivity, keep things deliberately suppressed?

I can illustrate.

If human beings could work more efficiently when suppression of data is measurably elevated their cost to benefit ratio will decrease on the cost side and increase on the benefit side.

A clear example could be a new drug that is patented, suppressed, kept secret, kept scare, so as to move more power (money is purchasing power) to those who suppress, patent, or otherwise choke up that flow of data. Now suppose that such a drug is a hypothetical wellness pill, cures cancer, cures aids, cures the common cold, everything, just so as to bring the point home – in spade.

How much savings in costs are realized when everyone is well?

How much does the average work our for the average Joe worker reduce for an even greater standard of living?

Will Joe have more time to connect with his wife, children, neighbors, extended family, etc.?

How much cost in intimacy is the result of many people having to work all hours just to survive, leaving no energy, no time, and no power left for anything other than work?

If you would like to continue that line of thought I can quote from Eric Fromm’s work. If not, I can leave that avenue as it is.

+++++++++
The wise thing is then to minimize loss or blowback.
+++++++++

My mind almost always follows that type of thinking back to the criminals. If the criminals had no innocent victims, if everyone were criminals, who would have time left for anything other than offensive, the slightest weakness is death?

Everyone is the enemy, always.

If every potential innocent victim is armed with Perfect Information, knowing every possible crime on his or her road, and people think, they know, they avoid, the step aside, they do not become victims, what is left to be on the list of dangers, things that may blow back?

What is left, if you can see what I am illustrating, is random accidents, non-willful, non-purposeful, non-intentional, natural, accidents.

How do those dangers compare to the volume, over time, of criminal blow-back, where the victims are led to believe that the injuries they are suffering are accidental?

I urge you to consider the cost/benefit viewpoint where Joe worker is shackled into productive effort constantly and that may be the blowback or the culture shock or whatever it is you are seeing and working toward communicating to me. Why are you not now spending time with your loved ones?

Is it possible that you are being generous, you are being sympathetic, and you are now offering to me something of great value, something worth doing, something interesting, something important, and you are doing so because you have now the power to reach people who you would otherwise never have been able to reach even if you lived 100 generations?

I have to go to guitar lessons with my 15 year old daughter right now.

I’ll be back to edit or respond, god willing.



Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:14 pm
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Post Re: Progress
Quote:
With the quote from Machiavelli and your feeling that I 'm harboring a negative about interconnectivity, could it be conservatism you're sensing?


DWill,

I don’t know what there is to conserve, or is conservatism like an operating system where things are conserved by default?

My guess was a stab in the dark, throwing out ideas to see if a connection is made, no connection here, so that experiment can be discarded. I’m seeing how the foreign viewpoint is taking shape, as specific things like types of connections are replacing merely connections as the thing in view is moved into view. Some connections are definitely to be avoided, and my way of being very specific is to point out how connections to criminals are best avoided unless the person contemplating such a connection is a criminal or a willing victim.

If the idea is to conserve innocence, peace, productivity, happiness, and other life sustaining things, things that are not criminal, rather than conserving crime, conserving power to eliminate competition, conserving the power that injures innocent people for profit, then I can share that version of conservation with open arms, vim, and vigor.

Since this conversation began I thought a lot about this very thing, this conservative/liberal battle. What is being conserved and why is it being conserved?

Quote:
Because of the multiple points of view needing to be considered, how would we decide what we mean by "we"? How would we take into account the ebb and flow of different civilizations?


Statistical measurements of significance, say 75 percent, is what I had in mind. Something concrete, known, and known to be significantly more than the relative example.

A mean average of toil, cost, work, un-freedom, labor, intense concentration of life spent on less than desirable activity, is x 100 years ago while today that mean average is reduced or increased by 25% for a mean average of life. If the idea is to know the facts the facts can be known, if the idea is to obscure the facts or twist the facts the facts can be twisted.

7.5 hours a day is required for the average person to produce a comfortable or average living 100 years ago and today 10 hours a day is required – or visa versa.

Call it the happiness factor, the freedom factor, the factor of liberty. Why would anyone be required to spend their lives slaving for less than subsistence today? How would that even be possible considering how much more efficient modern technology empowers production of the necessities?

When I use the term “we” I am viewing the species human. Compare a hypothetical Earth time where the species human invents everything “we” have invented to date plus one more thing, and that thing was invented 200 years ago. That thing for this hypothetical inspection of what I am trying to convey is an anti-crime device and it works. It tells the user when and where a crime will occur and the user can avoid the crime easily. It matters not how the thing works in this hypothetic experiment of the tool “we” call a brain.

Is the hypothetical Earth, after 200 years since the invention of the anti-crime device, more or less hard on the species human as the species human endeavors to exist on the planet Earth?

My brain conjures up a better place, fewer hours required in toil and trouble, more time to be happy for us.

If some people have an irresistible desire for victimization they can choose to be victims, I’m sure that someone will volunteer to victimize them.

Quote:
I don't see what my false viewpoint is, Joe (although part of your point is that I may be blind to it). I don't see any attraction or find any resonance in the Machievelli you quote.


I don’t either. I guessed. I’m not seeing some of the stuff I think I should be able to read into your words, specific things, and so far my questions are finding understandable answers, this is a process, forget about the error on my part, I can drop that possibility.

Harmony, or agreement, either works or it doesn’t. If you did harmonize or resonate with that perspective offered by Machiavelli my guess is that you would be on the attack right now – I’ve seen that often enough.

When the shoe doesn’t fit, you don’t wear the shoe.

Quote:
And I seem to see you insisting on a good/bad or yes/no verdict on interconnectivity, and I don't see this as possible.


I’m coming up with terms like culture shock, but I’m not sure it fits here. Have you read anything on studies done in cases where a given society has lost large portions of its total population? The stellar example is Cambodia, and then Russia, China is in there, Germany, the North and South in specific areas in the U.S.A and the parts that no longer wanted to be in the U.S.A, etc.

People are shocked and awed for sure, under certain conditions, severe conditions, horrible conditions, terrible conditions. Solzhenitsyn offers a first hand account.

Family viability may have once been measurably more viable, able to produce fine examples of human beings, a harmonizing and resonating productive arrangement, a good thing, a mutually beneficial association, a power to ensure survival of the family members, more so in the past than today. That brings me right back to the facts of the supposition. Is it true? Where is it true, when, why, how true?

Is the thinking here along the lines of some people having no direction, no purpose, no guidance, no moral imperative, today more so than last week, last month, last year, a decade ago, a century ago?

Here, if that is in view, brings my comments back to Bloom’s illustrations of boom and bust cycles. If there is a natural boom and bust cycle that occurs every 100 years, how would a generation fit into that cycle? What would someone who lives for 75 years see when they are within such a cycle and unaware of it?



Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:55 am
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Post Re: Progress
Joe, I find that few people make the connection between conservatism and conserving, but you did.
All of the things you mention (innocence, peace, happiness, etc.) are examples of things that should be conserved, but in the general sense, conservatism is simply a consciousness of the ground of our humamn being. It provides a gauge with which to measure the reasonableness of ideas or movements. That said, there is no true connection between this conservatism and the political label used today in the conservative vs. liberal opposition. A conservative today is likely to favor unfettered exploitation of the environment and an unregulated marketplace, both of which are destructive, not conserving. In the 19th century, it was a liberal who favored laisse faire in business. So these two terms, liberal and conservative, identify two camps but have little meaning.

Quote:
A mean average of toil, cost, work, un-freedom, labor, intense concentration of life spent on less than desirable activity, is x 100 years ago while today that mean average is reduced or increased by 25% for a mean average of life. If the idea is to know the facts the facts can be known, if the idea is to obscure the facts or twist the facts the facts can be twisted.

7.5 hours a day is required for the average person to produce a comfortable or average living 100 years ago and today 10 hours a day is required – or visa versa.

Call it the happiness factor, the freedom factor, the factor of liberty. Why would anyone be required to spend their lives slaving for less than subsistence today? How would that even be possible considering how much more efficient modern technology empowers production of the necessities?

Even if the quantification could be done beyond the guesswork we'd have to employ regarding aspects of the past, would we prove that "things," i.e/. life, was either better or worse? And would we be assessing this for you and me or for the 20% or so of humans on the planet whose lives now are marked by extreme hardship? There is no way to generalize about the condition of the human species, either now or at a past time. I don't say any of this to deny that you or anyone has reason to say that "we" have better lives. There is evidence of this. But statistics will not nail down a situation that has so much of the subjective in it, and statistics will apply to some segments but not to others.
Quote:
Compare a hypothetical Earth time where the species human invents everything “we” have invented to date plus one more thing, and that thing was invented 200 years ago. That thing for this hypothetical inspection of what I am trying to convey is an anti-crime device and it works. It tells the user when and where a crime will occur and the user can avoid the crime easily. It matters not how the thing works in this hypothetic experiment of the tool “we” call a brain.

Is the hypothetical Earth, after 200 years since the invention of the anti-crime device, more or less hard on the species human as the species human endeavors to exist on the planet Earth?

I apologize, Joe. I can't understand what you're getting at here.

Quote:
My brain conjures up a better place, fewer hours required in toil and trouble, more time to be happy for us.

Hard to argue with it. However, a conservative view would keep in mind the centrality of satisfying labor in human life. Release from toil and trouble--well, that of course will always be with us. But to work to lessen it for each of us provides a good purpose for our lives. We'd never find it liberating to be released from work.
Quote:
Is the thinking here along the lines of some people having no direction, no purpose, no guidance, no moral imperative, today more so than last week, last month, last year, a decade ago, a century ago?

I'm not sure what you mean by the thinking "here." But I would call the matter an imponderable. We can't expect an answer that would be valid for people in general.

I'm sensing, Joe, that we are glancing off each other in these exchanges, neither of us quite making contact with the other's mind. Maybe a more concrete subject would minimize what seems to be happening? Maybe we'll see later.


_________________
Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun.

Clifford Geertz


Fri Dec 11, 2009 8:57 pm
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Post Re: Progress
Quote:
So these two terms, liberal and conservative, identify two camps but have little meaning.


DWill,

We are wandering off the topic and although I welcome any new data from any source, especially interesting data such as the words you offer, my habit or discipline pushes or forces me to connect this path we are on, somehow, with the topic.

Howard’s view, as I interpret it, is that conservatism is a label that points to a phenomenon that is a natural part of a life cycle; while liberalism is another part of that boom and bust cycle. Liberal examples of the genetic experiment go out and discover new sources of power while conservative examples construct or produce necessities utilizing existing power.

I can’t help but use Howard’s chess pieces on my own board; I see things as a power struggle. All living organisms are forced to abide by the natural laws governing life, and failing to gain sufficient power is the road to extinction, while failure to efficiently employ scarce power is as fatal.

I think it is sufficient to the cause of accurate understanding to say that criminals (legal or otherwise) profit by confusing their victims through deception. The word “liberal” once meant a person who worked toward limiting the flow of power going toward people who control government from people who create that power.

When the intended victims work toward gaining the power to accurately know a friend from a foe the change of labels confuses them. If I now seek to connect to a person who works toward the reduction of power flowing to legal people (government people, criminal or otherwise), do I look for a liberal?

If I lived in 1780 I would look for a liberal, I certainly wouldn’t look for a “Federalist” since they were actually nationalists disguised behind a false front. That tradition has carried on since then up to and including today. A modern liberal is a despot (legal criminal). A modern conservative is a despot (legal criminal). The difference between the two flavors of modern despots (legal criminals) is their current lies hiding their actual intentions. If either of those two types of dictators (legal criminals) were inclined to actually speak the truth they would both say the same thing; we are here to enslave our victims, join us or be enslaved.

Obey or be punished.

Or simply:

Obey

http://www.rand.org/pubs/rgs_dissertations/RGSD127/sec2.html

Please consider checking out that link – it addresses our earlier conflict of viewpoints.

Quote:
And would we be assessing this for you and me or for the 20% or so of humans on the planet whose lives now are marked by extreme hardship?


That angle of view can be very specific and from such a very specific measure much can be known, and known accurately. That is why I offered the shining examples on the top 10 list.

I can borrow from this book:

http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NOTE1.HTM

Top ten (percent of it’s own citizens killed per year):

1. Cambodia (Khmer Rouge)
2. Turkey (Ataturk)
3. Yugoslavia (Croatia)
4. Poland
5. Turkey (Young Turks)
6. Czechoslovakia
7. Mexico
8. USSR
9. Cambodia (Samrin)
10. Uganda (Amin)

Extreme hardship is, if anything, being tortured on the way to a torturous death, and the numbers are staggering, and it isn’t just a “natural” thing, it is legal torture and legal mass murder thing, and by that specific measure the Nazi example isn’t even on the list.

The shining example is Cambodia by a looooong margin.

People in a social setting can thrive the further they are away from such things in time and place. The closer people get to such things, right up to the closeness of being tortured and having all your loved ones murdered, after torture, in front of you, on your way into that torturous death, isn’t anything close to “thriving”.

I’m not confused by any of this, it makes perfect sense to me; hence my very keen interest in your viewpoint: a challenge to my own. I can’t possibly be right, and I can’t possibly have figured all this out, alone as I am in this viewpoint.

I must be crazy.

Did the chart on the link make sense to you?

Here it is:

Image

The danger as I see it is the result of power flowing to legal criminals as legal criminals employ falsehood and violence to connect themselves to their victims. They run a social network based upon an immoral principle; whereby each member of that organization (legal, organized, crime) must kill or be killed, victimize or be victimized, torture or be tortured, destroy or be destroyed, enslave or be enslaved.

Have you heard of a comedian (I forgot who it was) where the idea is presented of a corporate knife. The knife has a handle in the middle of two blades. The user can stab the guy stabbing him in the back as the user swings back, before stabbing the guy in front, in the back.

Another illustration of my view comes from something called game theory or The Prisoner’s Dilemma.

Here is a link and applet:

http://prisonersdilemma.groenefee.nl/

People who connect or cooperate are mathematically illustrated in conflict with people who “defect” or do not connect.

A. Mutually beneficial voluntary association
B. Gain at the expense of others

If you have the applet running (specific software must be loaded onto the computer using the applet: Java) and the numbers are moved around (b = “advantage for defection” = profit motive perhaps, p = “fraction of defectors in the first round” = peer pressure or “going with the flow” or political power or “the mob”) and you change the outcome of the association from the default you can see the result of the equation: it can turn all red or it can turn all blue.

Increase the factor p from 0.1 to a whole number 1 and the activity immediately becomes red where everyone defects. My thinking is such that the shining example of such a thing happening in reality is Cambodia under the Khmer Rough where everyone is forced into becoming the worst evil monster possible or suffer the worst possible death.

Such a “connection”, the quality of it, is either very, very good from one view or very, very bad from another view.

Now bring that p number back to .01 (default) and watch the “balance” of power.

People are cooperating and defecting.

Now subtract from the “profit motive” factor called b; where the “leverage” of gaining at the expense of someone else is lowered.

I moved that b factor down from the default 1.85 to the whole number 1.

The screen turns blue.

This all may make no connection in your way of seeing things. With my way of seeing things this makes all the sense in the world, and it ties well into my overall viewpoint.

It ties very well into the subject of legal currency, legal money monopoly power, and the power to ratchet up “interest rates” by making money scarce; which is the simplified version of that confidence scheme. The more complex version imitates the natural boom and bust cycles illustrated in Bloom’s work.

I’m happy now; having cycled my response back to the topic.

I see a need to cut this short, the software on this forum does odd things; such as this window scrolling up to the top of the page. I can continue reading your response and comment if inspired to do so, this may be sufficent for my response.



Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:49 pm
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Post Re: Progress
Quote:
But statistics will not nail down a situation that has so much of the subjective in it, and statistics will apply to some segments but not to others


DWill,

If the idea is deception, then statistics can be as good a weapon as any other, in the right hands, aimed at the right victims. If the idea is to compare life in my town compared to life in a town in Cambodia during their worst of times, then the tool of statistics can be employed toward the goal of gaining a more accurate understanding of life.

Quote:
I apologize, Joe. I can't understand what you're getting at here.


I can drop that path, for lack of interest. The relative comparison between the town I am living in and a town of similar size (population) within the legal reach of the Khmer Rouge intends to do the same thing as a comparison between the whole of life on Earth now, as it is, and a hypothetical Earth experience if a theoretical defensive weapon was invented 200 years ago. Two different angles of view used to illustrate the same thing. Perhaps the comparison between your home town and a town in Gaza will resonate better, it would, in my opinion, accomplish the same thing as my effort to illustrate the thing that you can’t understand what I’m getting at there.

Like this:

1.
A. 200 years of Earth life without a hand held defensive weapon (avoids crime)
B. 200 years of Earth life with a hand head defensive weapon

2.
A. Life in my town
B. Life in a Cambodian town during the legal reign of the Khmer Rouge

3.
A. Life in your town today
B. Life in Gaza today

All 3 intend to compare the same thing, measure the same process, view what goes on in one place relative to what goes on in the other place, to know why they are different, so as to conserve the better place, and even, if possible, to help liberate the not so better place.

Quote:
Hard to argue with it. However, a conservative view would keep in mind the centrality of satisfying labor in human life. Release from toil and trouble--well, that of course will always be with us. But to work to lessen it for each of us provides a good purpose for our lives. We'd never find it liberating to be released from work.


From an Equitable Commerce view a question arises. What principle is involved in measuring the cost of labor when the laborer enjoys what he or she is doing, and therefore what price will be demanded when selling that labor?

My Equitable Commerce viewpoint is foreign to almost everyone, so the questions may appear to be off-topic. From my view the questions zero in on the exact center of the topic.

Quote:
We'd never find it liberating to be released from work.


Who could argue with that? I don’t like to argue. What would be the point? My point is to point out how liberating it would be to liberate ourselves from destructive work and we may find productive work in abundance, and find ourselves loving our “chores” instead of hating them. What is the quality of work?

Which work is less despicable?

Which work is more enjoyable?

Quote:
We can't expect an answer that would be valid for people in general.


My thinking there was along the lines of explaining the phenomenon that could be called victimization, to aid in answering the question of why there are so many ready victims, call them sheeple, and just don’t call them late for dinner.

Sometimes my humor doesn’t transfer, perhaps most, even all the time.

Quote:
Maybe a more concrete subject would minimize what seems to be happening?


The topic is Bloom’s work. He focuses on booms and busts, natural, and man-made. I differ in my view of the man-made versions. I think the man-made versions are legal crimes. Does that resonate?



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Post Re: Progress
Hail,

or

To whom it may concern,

The following link is on topic if the topic concerns the meaning, or the context, in the book which is the topic.

I am curious and interested in borrowing other brains, other perspectives, concerning the relevance of this next link to the topic.

What, exactly, is to be re-invented?

How will it be re-invented, once it is known – exactly?

Here is the link (this type of media competes for my limited time and energy required to finish Howard Bloom's book):

http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/512.html



Sun Dec 20, 2009 11:49 am
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Post Re: Progress
Joe, would you like to be the discussion leader for this book?

book-discussion-leader.html



Fri Dec 25, 2009 5:48 pm
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Post Re: Progress
I can offer my services; sure, I have a few ideas. Will the existing work be left published; where each chapter is listed as separate topics? I can begin commenting in each topic? Perhaps I am more qualified to be an assistant leader, an apprentice perhaps?



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Post Re: Progress
Hi Joe,

Yes, the chapter threads will remain as individual topics long after we're done discussing this book. In fact they will always remain published and on the Internet. If you look at our BOOKS page at books.html you'll see that all of our past book discussions have remained open and available for comments. BookTalk.org was born in May of 2002 and we discussed our first book in June. Even that forum is still there open and ready for reading and additional comments. So your work will not be in vain. :)

I'll add your name as the discussion leader for "The Genius of the Beast" right now. Thank you very much! I'll mail you a free book after this discussion period is over as a thank you gift for leading this discussion. Don't be shy about reminding me! You will have earned it. :)



Sat Dec 26, 2009 8:52 pm
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BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
King Henry IV, Part 1 - by William ShakespeareAtheist Mind, Humanist Heart - by Lex Bayer and John FigdorSense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

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