"The youth of humanity all around our planet are intuitively revolting from all sovereignties and political ideologies. The youth of Earth are moving intuitively toward an utterly classless, raceless, omnicooperative, omniworld humanity. Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday. They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe."
His genius is missed.
Many Americans left behind in the quest for cleaner air
source: Huffington Post
For all of her 62 years, Lois Dorsey has lived five blocks from a mass of petrochemical plants in Baton Rouge. She worries about the health of people in her life: A 15-year-old granddaughter, recovering from bone cancer. A 59-year-old sister, a nonsmoker, felled by lung cancer. Neighbors with asthma and cancer.
She's complained to the government about powerful odors and occasional, window-rattling explosions -- to no avail, she says. Pollution from the plants -- including benzene and nickel, both human carcinogens, and hydrochloric acid, a lung irritant -- continues.
"If anything," said Dorsey, herself a uterine cancer survivor, "it's gotten worse."
Americans might expect the government to protect them from unsafe air. That hasn't happened. Insidious forms of toxic air pollution -- deemed so harmful to human health that a Democratic Congress and a Republican president sought to bring emissions under control more than two decades ago -- persist in hundreds of communities across the United States, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News and NPR shows...
(more at link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-center-f... )
This alone is reason enough to Occupy. Just try not to breathe the air.
...from Jiddu Krishnamurti:
"All outward forms of change brought about by wars, revolutions, reformations, laws and ideologies have failed completely to change the basic nature of man and therefore of society. As human beings living in this monstrously ugly world, let us ask ourselves, can this society, based on competition, brutality and fear, come to an end? Not as an intellectual conception, not as a hope, but as an actual fact, so that the mind is made fresh, new and innocent and can bring about a different world altogether? It can only happen, I think, if each one of us recognises the central fact that we, as individuals, as human beings, in whatever part of the world we happen to live or whatever culture we happen to belong to, are totally responsible for the whole state of the world.
We are each one of us responsible for every war because of the aggressiveness of our own lives, because of our nationalism, our selfishness, our gods, our prejudices, our ideals, all of which divide us. And only when we realize, not intellectually but actually, as actually as we would recognise that we are hungry or in pain, that you and I are responsible for all this existing chaos, for all the misery throughout the entire world because we have contributed to it in our daily lives and are part of this monstrous society with its wars, divisions, its ugliness, brutality and greed - only then will we act.
Can you and I, then, bring about in ourselves without any outside influence, without any persuasion, without any fear of punishment - can we bring about in the very essence of our being a total revolution, a psychological mutation, so that we are no longer brutal, violent, competitive, anxious, fearful, greedy, envious and all the rest of the manifestations of our nature which have built up the rotten society in which we live our daily lives?
Can you then, seeing this whole picture, seeing it not verbally but actually, can you easily, spontaneously, transform yourself? That is the real issue. Is it possible to bring about a complete revolution in the psyche?"
Questioner: How can we be free of dependence as long as we are living in society?
Krishnamurti: Do you know what society is? Society is the relationship between man and man, is it not? Don't complicate it, don't quote a lot of books; think very simply about it and you will see that society is the relationship between you and me and others. Human relationship makes society; and our present society is built upon a relationship of acquisitiveness, is it not? Most of us want money, power, property, authority; at one level or another we want position, prestige, and so we have built an acquisitive society. As long as we are acquisitive, as long as we want position, prestige, power and all the rest of it, we belong to this society and are therefore dependent on it. But if one does not want any of these things and remains simply what one is with great humility, then one is out of it; one revolts against it and breaks with this society.
Unfortunately, education at present is aimed at making you conform, fit into and adjust yourself to this acquisitive society. That is all your parents, your teachers and your books are concerned with. As long as you conform, as long as you are ambitious, acquisitive, corrupting and destroying others in the pursuit of position and power, you are considered a respectable citizen. You are educated to fit into society; but that is not education, it is merely a process which conditions you to conform to a pattern. The real function of education is not to turn you out to be a clerk, or a judge, or a prime minister, but to help you understand the whole structure of this rotten society and allow you to grow in freedom, so that you will break away and create a different society, a new world. There must be those who are in revolt, not partially but totally in revolt against the old, for it is only such people who can create a new world--a world not based on acquisitiveness, on power and prestige.
I can hear the older people saying, "It can never be done. Human nature is what it is, and you are talking nonsense". But we have never thought about unconditioning the adult mind, and not conditioning the child. Surely education is both curative and preventive. You older students are already shaped, already conditioned, already ambitious; you want to be successful like your father, like the governor, or somebody else. So the real function of education is not only to help you uncondition yourself, but also to understand this whole process of living from day to day so that you can grow in freedom and create a new world--a world that must be totally different from the present one. Unfortunately, neither your parents, nor your teachers, nor the public in general are interested in this. That is why education must be a process of educating the educator as well as the student.
Questioner: You say that we should revolt against society, and at same time you say that we should not have ambition. Is not the desire to improve society an ambition?
Krishnamurti: I have very carefully explained what I mean by revolt, but I shall use two different words to make it much clearer. To revolt within society in order to make it a little better, to bring about certain reforms, is like the revolt of prisoners to improve their life within the prison walls; and such revolt is no revolt at all, it is just mutiny. Do you see the difference? Revolt within society is like the mutiny of prisoners who want better food, better treatment within the prison; but revolt born of understanding is an individual breaking away from society, and that is creative revolution.
Now, if you as an individual break away from society, is that action motivated by ambition? If it is, then you have not broken away at all, you are still within the prison, because the very basis of society is ambition, acquisitiveness, greed. But if you understand all that and bring about a revolution in your own heart and mind, then you are no longer ambitious, you are no longer motivated by envy, greed, acquisitiveness, and therefore you will be entirely outside of a society which is based on those things. Then you are a creative individual and in your action there will be the seed of a different culture.
So there is a vast difference between the action of creative revolution, and the action of revolt or mutiny within society. As long as you are concerned with mere reform, with decorating the bars and walls of the prison, you are not creative. Reformation always needs further reform, it only brings more misery, more destruction. Whereas, the mind that understands this whole structure of acquisitiveness, of greed, of ambition and breaks away from it--such a mind is in constant revolution. It is an expansive, a creative mind; therefore, like a stone thrown into a pool of still water, its action produces waves, and those waves will form a different civilization altogether."
"I'm afraid we all crave to be respected -- which is to be recognized as good citizens in a rotten society. Respectability is very profitable and ensures you a good job and a steady income. The accepted morality of greed, envy and hate is the way of the establishment.
When you totally deny all this, not with your lips but with your heart, then you are really moral. For this morality springs out of love and not out of any motive or profit, of achievement, of place in the hierarchy. There cannot be this love if you belong to a society in which you want to find fame, recognition, a position. Since there is no love in this, its morality is immorality. When you deny all this from the very bottom of your heart, then there is a virtue that is encompassed by love."
"The fact is it's a rotten society."
(Also, here's a link to an essay by William Morris that I think correlates well with your OP: Useful Work vs. Useless Toil)
WOW! Forgive me, this may be old, but I first heard it today. I'll let Mr. Chaplin do the rest of the talking.
You can hear it here without the music here:
Charlie Chaplin final speech in The Great Dictator
So, moving past Bill's clearly comical premise (though, including pharmaceuticals like Prozac, Ritalin and Adderall, the larger point remains that we already willfully and mindlessly hand out the incredibly dangerous drug Sugar to children with reckless abandon - Sugar: The Bitter Truth), he raises a very valid point and cites credible examples on the issue and benefits of psychedelics - some of my few previous posts cite the same studies/examples:
www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/dubo... - (includes link to Johns Hopkins psilocybin study TEDx talk and a great discussion by Alan Watts on the issue and framing of "drugs")
Read the Never-Before-Published Letter From LSD-Inventor Albert Hofmann to Apple CEO Steve Jobs
It's my contention that not only should they be legal, but, if an individual were to so choose, there should be thoroughly trained and knowledgeable professionals to help guide them through their experience. Either way, in addition to legalization, a concentrated effort should simultaneously be made to help people understand these substances for the sacraments that they are (to help ensure the proper "Set and Setting"). Certain cultures/tribes regard these sacred plants as divine in their own right, we should treat and teach them no differently.
Further, more and more studies have shown entheogens (re: psychedelics) to produce incredibly positive effects on an individual's health - be it in the form of improved personality, a deeply spiritual experience, an aid in therapy, treating mental disorders, curing patients of their addictions to toxic substances, providing comfort in end-of-life care, or for a simple occasion in reverie. By helping people on an individual level, it could very well improve society by leaps and bounds. At the very least, these substances deserve an end to their illogical "Schedule I" classification.
In addition to the wealth of individual benefits, this could create that new all-important profession - that of the highly trained guide to help individuals through their experience - along with a vast amount of ancillary professions. It would also open up an entirely new field of medical and scientific research. We spend mounds of cash exploring outer-space, and yet we've completely neglected exploring inner-space and the various experiences of "consciousness."
These substances have also been proven to give already brilliant minds profound insights. It is quite possible that these insights would have remained unimagined, otherwise. If we allow our scientists - if they so choose - access to these substances while working on unrelated research, it may potentially lead to monumental breakthroughs not yet imagined.
"This is an experience of inestimable value to everyone, and especially to the intellectual." - Aldous Huxley
"If the doors of perception we cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." - William Blake
source: Huffington Post
Read the Never-Before-Published Letter From LSD-Inventor Albert Hofmann to Apple CEO Steve Jobs
"Steve Jobs has never been shy about his use of psychedelics, famously calling his LSD experience "one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." So, toward the end of his life, LSD inventor Albert Hofmann decided to write to the iPhone creator to see if he'd be interested in putting some money where the tip of his tongue had been.
Hofmann penned a never-before-disclosed letter in 2007 to Jobs at the behest of his friend Rick Doblin, who runs an organization dedicated to studying the medical and psychiatric benefits of psychedelic drugs. Hofmann, a Swiss chemist, died in April 2008 at the age of 102.
Thinking differently--or learning to Think Different, as a Jobs slogan has it--is a hallmark of the acid experience. "When I'm on LSD and hearing something that's pure rhythm, it takes me to another world and into anther brain state where I've stopped thinking and started knowing," Kevin Herbert told Wired magazine at a symposium commemorating Hofmann's one hundredth birthday. Herbert, an early employee of Cisco Systems who successfully banned drug testing of technologists at the company, reportedly "solved his toughest technical problems while tripping to drum solos by the Grateful Dead."
And perhaps in other scientific areas, too. According to Gilmore, the maverick surfer/chemist Kary Mullis, a well-known LSD enthusiast, told him that acid helped him develop the polymerase chain reaction, a crucial breakthrough for biochemistry. The advance won him the Nobel Prize in 1993. And according to reporter Alun Reese, Francis Crick, who discovered DNA along with James Watson, told friends that he first saw the double-helix structure while tripping on LSD..."
more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ryan-grim/re...
Our nation's policy towards "psychedelics" (a word which has garnered unfortunate disapproval through conditioned reflex) remains both archaic and counter-intuitive, and - given their countless reported benefits - is in desperate need of changing (at the very least, with more sanctioned/funded studies). I had a post in another thread that expands on those thoughts (with links provided) a bit:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discu... (from a thread how 'Magic Mushrooms' have been shown to improve personality)
I'll close with this interesting and relevant passage/exchange from Aldous Huxley's Island:
Murugan calls it dope and feels about it all the disapproval that, by conditioned reflex, the dirty word evokes. We, on the contrary, give the stuff good names—the moksha-medicine, the reality revealer, the truth-and-beauty pill. And we know, by direct experience, that the good names are deserved. Whereas our young friend here has no firsthand knowledge of the stuff and can't be persuaded even to give it a try. For him, it's dope and dope is something that, by definition, no decent person ever indulges in."
"What does His Highness say to that?" Will asked.
Murugan shook his head. "All it gives you is a lot of illusions," he muttered."All I mean is that I don't want any of your false samadhi."
"How do you know it's false?" Dr. Robert inquired.
"Because the real thing only comes to people after years and years of meditation and tapas and . . ."
"Murugan," Vijaya explained to Will, "is one of the Puritans. He's outraged by the fact that, with four hundred milligrams of moksha-medicine in their bloodstreams, even beginners can catch a glimpse of the world as it looks to someone who has been liberated from his bondage to the ego."
"But it isn't real," Murugan insisted.
"Not real!" Dr. Robert repeated. "You might as well say that the experience of feeling well isn't real."
"You're begging the question," Will objected. "An experience can be real in relation to something going on inside your skull but completely irrelevant to anything outside."
"Of course," Dr. Robert agreed.
"Do you know what goes on inside your skull, when you've taken a dose of the mushroom?"
"We know a little."
"Their response is the full-blown mystical experience. You know—One in all and All in one. The basic experience with its corollaries—boundless compassion, fathomless mystery and meaning."
"Not to mention joy," said Dr. Robert, "inexpressible joy."
"And the whole caboodle is inside your skull," said Will. "Strictly private. No reference to any external fact except a toadstool."
"Not real," Murugan chimed in. "That's exactly what I was trying to say."
"Do you like music?" Dr. Robert asked.
"More than most things."
"And what, may I ask, does Mozart's G-Minor Quintet refer to? Does it refer to Allah? Or Tao? Or the second person of the Trinity? Or the Atman-Brahman?"
Will laughed. "Let's hope not."
"But that doesn't make the experience of the G-Minor Quintet any less rewarding. Well, it's the same with the kind of experience that you get with the moksha-medicine, or through prayer and fasting and spiritual exercises. Even if it doesn't refer to anything outside itself, it's still the most important thing that ever happened to you. Like music, only incomparably more so. And if you give the experience a chance, if you're prepared to go along with it, the results are incomparably more therapeutic and transforming. So maybe the whole thing does happen inside one's skull. Maybe it is private and there's no unitive knowledge of anything but one's own physiology. Who cares? The fact remains that the experience can open one's eyes and make one blessed and transform one's whole life."
...the terror those in power feel is a birth pang. Ideas can be very painful to the power brokers. A new idea is the result of the dethroning of a reigning God." - Christopher S. Hyatt
From the unrest in Egypt to Syria to Wall Street to Greece (and many places in between), it sure feels like that Grand Idea is taking hold. I don't know where this is all headed, but one thing seems certain - there's no putting the genie back in the bottle. It's gonna to be an interesting ride.
"A radical inner transformation and rise to new level of consciousness might be the only real hope we have in the current global crisis brought on by the dominance of the Western mechanistic paradigm."
- Stanislov Grof
"Every slightest effort at opening up new areas of thought, every attempt to perceive new aspects of truth, or just a little truth, is of inestimable value in preparing the way for the light we cannot see."
- James Douglass
"You are part of a society, and you are struggling to adjust yourself to it. But that society is the outcome of acquisitiveness. It is the outcome of envy, fear, greed, possessive pursuits, with occasion flashes of love. Surely, you have to create a new society."
- Jiddu Krishnamurti
"In order to change an existing paradigm, you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete."
"Dear reader, traditional human power structures and their reign of darkness are about to be rendered obsolete."
- R. Buckminster Fuller
"Things cannot be forced from the top. The international fight against corruption would have to spring from the people - it would have to be so strong that the elected delegates would be turned out of office if they failed to do it. War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today." - James Douglass
As much as I despise the hypnotic power of language, I realize that it is currently an unfortunate reality. Terministic screens - the words and set of symbols that become the filter through which we describe and regard the world - has a way of shaping the way we perceive reality ("Language, as Kenneth Burke thought, doesn't simply 'reflect' reality; it also helps select reality as well as deflect reality").
With that being said, ever since Occupy Wall Street (and the Occupy movement) began, our brave brothers and sisters have been slapped with one of the most derisive, dismissive, disparaged (not to mention lazy) screens of all - hippie - along with all the ignorant projections that come with it. Regardless of the fact that its negative connotations are already largely undeserved, there's no denying the fact that it frames perception in a similar negative light - conjuring up images of listlessness and confusion, and not worthy of being taken seriously. As we have seen from countless video interviews, pertinent signs, and a comprehensive (and evolving) list of grievances, this is anything but the case.
Again, the ignorant try to roundly discredit a movement with a simple word (funny how that's often the case when it comes to "liberal" issues). So lets start using a new term. One that better reflects the legitimacy of our issues, while providing well-deserved gravitas. One that, when you hear it, is hard to argue against. From here on out, refer to those occupying Wall Street as what they truly are - conscientious objectors.
Better yet, be one yourself.
(Take that, Frank Luntz - you fuck.)
...including what it seems to truly be trying to accomplish, and why it may not look that familiar:
"This revolution has to begin, not with theory and ideation, which eventually prove worthless, but with a radical transformation in the mind itself." - J. Krishnamurti
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." - Albert Einstein
"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Max Planck
"The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude." - William James
"If we maintain obsolete values and beliefs, a fragmented consciousness, and a self-centered spirit, we also maintain outdated goals and behaviors. We need to empower the evolution of consciousness." - Ervin Laszlo
"The realization that nature is ordered organically rather than politically, that it is a field of relationships rather than a collection of things, requires an appropriate mode of human awareness. Fully expanded, consciousnesses feels an identity with the whole world, but contracted it is much more inescapably attached to a single minute and perishable organism. Our difficulty is that human consciousness has not adjusted itself to a relational and integrated view of nature." - Alan Watts
"A radical inner transformation and rise to new level of consciousness might be the only real hope we have in the current global crisis brought on by the dominance of the Western mechanistic paradigm." - Stanislov Grof
"A paradigm shift implies a change in the way we think about life that results in a change of behavior." - Penny Peirce
"In order to change an existing paradigm, you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller
"We are not bringing about a vital change, uprooting the old ways of thought, freeing the mind from traditions and habits.
We want to do patchwork reform, which only leads to problems of still further reform. We do not want to strip away all our false values and begin anew. But the building is crumbling, the walls are giving away, and fire is destroying it. We must leave the building and start on new ground, with different foundations, different values." - Jiddu Krishnamurti
"The youth of humanity all around our planet are intuitively revolting from all sovereignties and political ideologies. The youth of Earth are moving intuitively toward an utterly classless, raceless, omnicooperative, omniworld humanity. Children freed of the ignorantly founded educational traditions and exposed only to their spontaneously summoned, computer-stored and -distributed outflow of reliable-opinion-purged, experimentally verified data, shall indeed lead society to its happy egress from all misinformedly conceived, fearfully and legally imposed, and physically enforced customs of yesterday. They can lead all humanity into omnisuccessful survival as well as entrance into an utterly new era of human experience in an as-yet and ever-will-be fundamentally mysterious Universe." - R. Buckminster Fuller
"If we do not change direction, we are likely to end up exactly where we are headed." - Old Chinese proverb
"All of humanity is in peril of extinction if each one of us does not dare, now and henceforth, always to tell only the truth, and all the truth, and to do so promptly — right now." - R. Buckminster Fuller
"Dear reader, traditional human power structures and their reign of darkness are about to be rendered obsolete." - R. Buckminster Fuller
"Nothing short of everything will really do." - Aldous Huxley
...and, what's more, thoroughly trained professionals to help guide them through their experience. I honestly believe we'd be better off as a society if this were the case. Just listen, for example, to this short lecture by Dr. Roland Griffiths, Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he and his team administered psilocybin (the active ingredient in "magic mushrooms") to several individuals - most of which described the experience as "one of the five most significant" in their lives:
TEDxMidAtlantic - Roland Griffiths - 11/5/09
'Magic Mushrooms' Can Improve Psychological Health Long Term
And then there's this similar study done by Dr. Rick Strassman on the compound DMT:
DMT: The Spirit Molecule: A Doctor's Revolutionary Research into the Biology of Near-Death and Mystical Experiences
DMT: The Spirit Molecule Documentary
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Aldous Huxley's wonderful account of his experience on mescaline:
The Doors of Perception
Then you have studies/circumstances that have shown these substances to help cure folks of actual dangerous addictions to harder "drugs" - like Ibogaine's effect on heroin users after one administration:
IBOGAINE IN THE NEWS
Or LSD's promising ability in helping treat alcoholics:
LSD Treatment For Alcoholism Gets New Look
But, even all that aside, and on the larger issue as a whole (to the OP's point) - we should end this nonsense of legislating morality. Here is a FANTASTIC talk by Alan Watts that does a spectacular job at thoroughly covering this very issue:
Drug Abuse Law & Sin ∞ Alan Watts (1/5)
(there are links to parts 2-5 on the same page...the entire talk is well worth a listen)
"Let us declare nature to be legitimate. The notion of illegal plants is obnoxious and ridiculous in the first place." - Terence McKenna
This may be old to some, but it was new to me:
Useful Work versus Useless Toil
by William Morris
"The above title may strike some of my readers as strange. It is assumed by most people nowadays that all work is useful, and by most well-to-do people that all work is desirable. Most people, well-to-do or not, believe that, even when a man is doing work which appears to be useless, he is earning his livelihood by it - he is "employed," as the phrase goes; and most of those who are well-to-do cheer on the happy worker with congratulations and praises, if he is only "industrious" enough and deprives himself of all pleasure and holidays in the sacred cause of labour. In short, it has become an article of the creed of modern morality that all labour is good in itself - a convenient belief to those who live on the labour of others. But as to those on whom they live, I recommend them not to take it on trust, but to look into the matter a little deeper.
Let us grant, first, that the race of man must either labour or perish. Nature does not give us our livelihood gratis; we must win it by toil of some sort of degree. Let us see, then, if she does not give us some compensation for this compulsion to labour, since certainly in other matters she takes care to make the acts necessary to the continuance of life in the individual and the race not only endurable, but even pleasurable.
Now, the first thing as to the work done in civilization and the easiest to notice is that it is portioned out very unequally amongst the different classes of society. First, there are people - not a few - who do no work, and make no pretence of doing any. Next, there are people, and very many of them, who work fairly hard, though with abundant easements and holidays, claimed and allowed; and lastly, there are people who work so hard that they may be said to do nothing else than work, and are accordingly called "the working classes," as distinguished from the middle classes and the rich, or aristocracy, whom I have mentioned above.
Next there is the mass of people employed in making all those articles of folly and luxury, the demand for which is the outcome of the existence of the rich non-producing classes; things which people leading a manly and uncorrupted life would not ask for or dream of. These things, whoever may gainsay me, I will for ever refuse to call wealth: they are not wealth, but waste. Wealth is what Nature gives us and what a reasonable man can make out of the gifts of Nature for his reasonable use. The sunlight, the fresh air, the unspoiled face of the earth, food, raiment and housing necessary and decent; the storing up of knowledge of all kinds, and the power of disseminating it; means of free communication between man and man; works of art, the beauty which man creates when he is most a man, most aspiring and thoughtful - all things which serve the pleasure of people, free, manly, and uncorrupted. This is wealth. Nor can I think of anything worth having which does not come under one or other of these heads. But think, I beseech you, of the product of England, the workshop of the world, and will you not be bewildered, as I am, at the thought of the mass of things which no sane man could desire, but which our useless toil makes - and sells?"
Just as relevant today (almost moreso) than back then. It's difficult to properly represent in four short/randomly selected paragraphs, and deserves to be read in full - it's a long read, but more than worth it.
Lost sight of in the incessant chant of "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" is a critical look at jobs themselves - and, at it's heart, the broken system a good deal of them artificially support. What, as Bucky Fuller said, is merely "some kind of drudgery"? How about jobs that are not only "drudgery," but whose product is quite literally (and severely) detrimental to the health of the public at large - like fast-food (and other processed food manufacturers)? Here, Morris offers not only an insightful commentary on just that, but an incredibly comprehensive take on the entire situation at hand. He even details his thoughts on a more pragmatic system (which actually brought to mind a system reminiscent of Pala in Aldous Huxley's Island - another highly recommended read). Most important is his humble approach, being careful to stress that any system (even his proposal) can't be artificially superimposed on man, and that it would, and should, continue to be a work-in-progress (reminded me of Jiddu Krishnamurti's approach to life). That being said, it's clear he believes this to be a giant step in the right direction.
Regardless of the thoughts you might have going in (especially because of my piss-poor set-up), read it - you'll discover that many questions you might have (pre-formed and during) are not only addressed, but answered fairly thoroughly. For instance, here's an interesting bit:
"Socialists are often asked how work of the rougher and more repulsive kind could be carried out in the new condition of things. To attempt to answer such questions fully or authoritatively would be attempting the impossibility of constructing a scheme of a new society out of the materials of the old, before we knew which of those materials would disappear and which endure through the evolution which is leading us to the great change. Yet it is not difficult to conceive of some arrangement whereby those who did the roughest work should work for the shortest spells. And again, what is said above of the variety of work applies specially here. Once more I say, that for a man to be the whole of his life hopelessly engaged in performing one repulsive and never-ending task, is an arrangement fit enough for the hell imagined by theologians, but scarcely fit for any other form of society. Lastly, if this rougher work were of any special kind, we may suppose that special volunteers would be called on to perform it, who would surely be forthcoming, unless men in a state of freedom should lose the sparks of manliness which they possessed as slaves.
And yet if there be any work which cannot be made other than repulsive, either by the shortness of its duration or the intermittency of its recurrence, or by the sense of special and peculiar usefulness (and therefore honour) in the mind of the man who performs it freely - if there be any work which cannot be but a torment to the worker, what then? Well, then, let us see if the heavens will fall on us if we leave it undone, for it were better that they should. The produce of such work cannot be worth the price of it."
And this approach that challenges the notion of a singular career (something referenced in the above quote, and directly in common with Huxley's Island):
"Variety of work is the next point, and a most important one. To compel a man to do day after day the same task, without any hope of escape or change, means nothing short of turning his life into a prison-torment. Nothing but the tyranny of profit-grinding makes this necessary. A man might easily learn and practise at least three crafts, varying sedentary occupation with outdoor - occupation calling for the exercise of strong bodily energy for work in which the mind had more to do..."
So, please, give it a read - if nothing else, it gives you something to contemplate. Because, in my opinion, while "Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!" makes for a great soundbite, it only attempts to salvage the deteriorating foundation that got us here in the first place:
"Civilization therefore wastes its own resources, and will do so as long as the present system lasts. These are cold words with which to describe the tyranny under which we suffer; try then to consider what they mean."
Or drinking the water (fracking contamination, pharmaceutical drugs found in water, toxic effects of fluoride, arsenic and radioactive substances like uranium) or eating (processed meats, sugar and high fructose corn syrup, vegetable oils, nutrient depletion in soil creates nutrient deficient foods), or walking in shoes (You Walk Wrong), or...you know what? Fuck it. Guess we'll all just see each other in the hospital! At least we can rest easy knowing our manufactured poor health will line the pockets of the other MIC (Medical Industrial Complex - i.e. Big Pharma, Big Insurance, and the new entrepreneurial mentality that creates physician/executive hybrids that prefer patients remain in a bottomless pit of chronic disease in order to put more money in the pockets of more people in the hospital)!
(To go with the shoe bit. This picture was taken from a study published in 1905, in the American Journal of Orthopedic Surgery, showing the difference between a pair of feet of a native of the Philippines, who never wore shoes (Fig 1), and those of a Westerner, whose feet have been deformed by shoes (Fig 2/3). Check out the book The Barefoot Book: 50 Great Reasons to Kick Off Your Shoes for a more in-depth look on the subject.)
At this point, all we can do is sing along with Tom Lehrer - Pollution
(Also, Deep Nutrition is a great book on the food we eat and how it effects us - and our lineage - more than we realize, or would like to admit. One of many, but it happens to be incredibly comprehensive.)
...is pretty damaging to public education, and hinders any chance (or hope) of better reform (in my opinion, at least). And, from what I remember reading, Gates was pretty ruthless in his climb to the top, as was Microsoft in its monopolistic stranglehold on the market.
On a scale of scum-baggery, the Koch brothers definitely take the cake. But until we actually address a broken system that allows for such obnoxious economic stratification (which Gates sits at the top of), we're just throwing money at the symptoms - not the causes. Who's most "charitable" is besides the point (David Koch, as per the example in the OP, donated $100 million to cancer research, after all), it's a matter of dealing with the deeper issues - the true causes that are much more imbedded and systemic. And until we set on a path of right education - something that Gates' TFA and educational philosophy stands directly in the way of - we'll simply continue to spin our wheels without solving anything.
An idea of what I mean - which really amounts to a fundamental transformation of ourselves - is best expressed in Krishnamurti's book Education and the Significance of Life. It's not easy to readily explain or sum up, but here's a modicum of the sentiment:
"All of us have been trained by education and environment to seek personal gain and security, and to fight for ourselves. Though we cover it over with pleasant phrases, we have been educated for various professions within a system which is based on exploitation and acquisitive fear. Such training must inevitably bring confusion and misery to ourselves and to the world, for it creates in each individual those psychological barriers which separate and hold him apart from others.
Education is not merely a matter of training the mind. Training makes for efficiency, but it does not bring about completeness. A mind that has merely been trained is the continuation of the past, and such a mind can never discover the new. That is why, to find out what is right education, we have to inquire into the whole significance of living.
Our present education is geared to industrialization and war, its principal aim being to develop efficiency; and we are caught in this machine of ruthless competition and mutual destruction. If education leads to war, if it teaches us to destroy or be destroyed, has it not utterly failed?
The function of education is to create human beings who are integrated and therefore intelligent. We may take degrees and be mechanically efficient without being intelligent. Intelligence is not mere information; it is not derived from books, nor does it consist of clever self-defensive responses and aggressive assertions. One who has not studied may be more intelligent than the learned. We have made examinations and degrees the criterion of intelligence and have developed cunning minds that avoid vital human issues. Intelligence is the capacity to perceive the essential, the what is; and to awaken this capacity, in oneself and in others, is education."
Early Computing's Long, Strange Trip
Source: American Scientist
John Markoff's What the Dormouse Said (the title is taken from the lyrics of the Jefferson Airplane song "White Rabbit") tells the story of the important period when the personal computer and the Internet as we know them came into being. He also describes how a new culture of drugs, sex and rock and roll was created at the same time as the computers, sometimes in the same rooms, by some of the same people. Some readers may be shocked by the degree to which the design of modern computing was a central component of the 1960s counterculture in Northern California.
Markoff's book covers the years 1960 to 1975 and the area south of San Francisco around Stanford University that would later come to be known as Silicon Valley. I arrived in Palo Alto in 1980, after the period described in the book, but got to know most of the people Markoff depicts. I can report that if anything, he underplays the degree to which they behaved in ways that would today be considered outrageous and radical, and what I saw was said to have been mild compared with what had come before.
The book captures what can only be called the funkiness of the time and place. I well remember the boomerang-shaped Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, hidden in the hills, at once a futuristic science-fiction vision and a dangerous, dilapidated mess that would be considered unfit for human use in the current climate of liability litigation. Masses of wires blossomed out of the rear ends of hot, giant early computers, looking rather like the hair on the heads of the engineers building them. The ragged, broken walls and ceilings were softened by the hippie décor and the fragrance of marijuana and candles, which created a warm ambience. And yes, there were drugs and naked people in the rooms where some of the code that now drives your e-mail around the globe was first set down. The people who conceived of critical aspects of modern computing moved in the same social circles as the musicians who became the Grateful Dead and the people who invented drug "tripping" and New Age spirituality.
And that's not to mention that Francis Crick is said to have deduced arguably the greatest discovery in biology while on LSD - the double-helix structure of DNA.
It seems, under proper set and setting (or, as Aldous Huxley put it, while "in good health, under proper conditions and in the right spirit"), that our brightest minds and greatest scientists would benefit a great deal from taking psychedelics on occasion. During this "free time," they would be allowed to converse, record, and explore anything and everything that manifests. Huxley saw science and mysticism as overlapping and complementary realms (just as the OP suggests), and found "in a world where education is predominantly verbal, highly educated people find it all but impossible to pay serious attention to anything but words and notions" - and that psychedelics were a way that could help them breakthrough that barrier and lead to deeper insight:
"To be shaken out of the ruts of ordinary perception, to be shown for a few timeless hours the outer and the inner world, not as they appear to an animal obsessed with survival or to a human being obsessed with words and notions, but as they are apprehended, directly and unconditionally, by Mind at Large - this is an experience of inestimable value to everyone and especially to the intellectual."
...but I never believed it until now." - JFK
The story goes like this -
Prior to the Steel Crisis of 1962, JFK was involved in brokering a deal between the United States Steel Company and the United Steelworkers union, with the understanding that the company would help keep inflation down by not raising steel prices. According to Kennedy - after he got off the phone with each side individually - the union members (who had agreed to no wage increases and a modest increase in benefits) "cheered and applauded their own sacrifice," while company reps were "ice-cold" (gee, fancy fucking that).
Four days later, Roger Blough (chairman of U.S. Steel) requested to meet with Kennedy, wherein Blough handed him a four page press release that was at the same time being disseminated to the media. It stated that U.S. Steel, "effective at 12:01 A.M tomorrow, will raise the price of the company's steel products by an average of about 3.5%..."
Kennedy was righteously pissed at this blatant back-stabbing, flat-out telling Blough, "you've made a terrible mistake." After Blough left, and before he got steelworkers union president David McDonald on the horn to break the news ("Dave, you've been screwed and I've been screwed"), is when he uttered the gem from the subject line. The next day, U.S. Steel was joined in its price increase by the other major steel manufacturers (including Bethlehem Steel). Dick. Move.
Kennedy thought so too - and he went full throttle on these conniving fucks. He immediately orders Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to review all steel defense contracts (the price hike would've tacked $1 billion on to the existing contracts), with the intent to move them to the smaller companies who hadn't raised their prices. He also has his stone-cold bad-ass ninja brother Robert (Attorney General extraordinaire...pay attention, Eric Holder) bring the hammer down on these dickweeds from the financial angle. Robert would later go on to say:
"We were going for broke: their expense accounts and where they'd been and what they were doing. I picked up all their records and I told the FBI to interview them all - march into their offices the next day. We weren't going to go slowly, I said to have them done all over the country. All of them were hit with meetings the next morning by agents. All of them were subpoenaed for their personal records. All of them were subpoenaed for their company records."
Then, and this is (in my mind) the most important part, Kennedy went to the people. And not in a "tough times for all/shared sacrifice" kind of way, but in a "can you believe what these fucks are trying to pull?" kind of way:
"Simultaneous and identical actions of United States Steel and other leading steel corporations increasing steel prices by some $6 a ton constitute a wholly unjustifiable and irresponsible defiance of the public interest...the American people will find it hard, as I do, to accept a situation in which a tiny handful of steel executives, whose pursuit of private power and profit exceeds their sense of public responsibility, can show such utter contempt for the interests of 185 million Americans."
While the reporters heads were spinning from Kennedy's "attack on Big Steel" (it was said they "gasped" at its intensity), he smacked those loopy dipshits with this closer:
"Some time ago I asked each American to consider what he would do for his country, and I asked the steel companies...in the last 24 hours we had their answer."
Someone wasn't "sharing" in "the sacrifice," and Kennedy, in no uncertain terms, called them out on it. Now, with mounting pressure from the greater public (in addition to the legal/financial implications), you could practically hear assholes collectively pucker at U.S. Steel headquarters. They tried mediating an offer through Kennedy's lawyer Clark Clifford, who relayed to Kennedy:
"Blough and his people want to know what you would say if they announce a partial rollback of the price increases, say 50 percent?"
Kennedy shot back, "I wouldn't say a damn thing. It's the whole way."
Three days later, the steel companies surrendered. Here's the thing - what eventually got them wasn't Kennedy himself, but the OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT thanks to Kennedy's actions. JFK later pulled back a bit from his "sons-of-bitches" charge, explaining the context of his father's quote, and saying he had "found it appropriate that evening." He even became gracious towards Roger Blough, inviting him often to the White House for consultation - but it didn't matter, since big business had officially regarded him as an enemy (they, of course, claimed it was "a sustained attack on the free enterprise system. It may be all all-out war"). Whatever, fuck those guys.
My long-winded and bloviating point is this - I'd like to see more JFK and less Ronald Fuckface Reagan out of President Obama (he can start by leaving Ronnie's biography in the trash where it belongs...unless he needs something to wipe his ass with). And I know a common complaint is that people like me "expect way too much out of Obama," and that has it merits - but I tend to agree with Trappist monk Thomas Merton, who, during the height of the Cold War, once wrote, "the President can do a tremendous amount to get people to see the facts, more than any single person."
Their similarities extend far beyond the pressures from big business, most notably in the area of military engagement. Retired General Douglas MacArthur once told Kennedy (as recounted by Kennedy):
"The 'chickens are coming home to roost' from Eisenhower's years and I live in the chicken coop."
The key difference being Bush was running a factory farm, and Obama has an even bigger mess to deal with (with festering shit stacked 6 feet high). But that's fodder for another day. On that note, here's one more piece of parting wisdom from JFK:
"I understand better every day why Roosevelt, who started out such a mild fellow, ended up as ferociously anti-business. It is hard as hell to be friendly with people who keep trying to cut your legs off."
(edit: removed link about Steel Crisis I found only after writing this post, upon edit request. otherwise, the material - aside from the quotes - was written wholly by me from a combination of previous sources/articles as an account of the situation)
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