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Archimedes Blog

Break for changing from WordPress to Joomla

Break for changing from WordPress to Joomla

The site will be in limbo for a few days, while I change from WordPress to Joomla.

I foolishly assumed that the surprising numbers of subscribers I got were being subscribed as they showed up as users. Then someone emailed me that they didn’t get a confirmation email, although I received a registration notice email. Apparently getting WordPress to send an some emails is a chronic problem proven by googling “wordpress won’t send email” and getting 2,900,000 results, covering years of complaints. I spent 2 days trying the suggested remedies and came to the frequent suggestion that changing my hosting service was the solution, but was one I didn’t want to use. I had used joomla, drupal, and mambo over the years with this hosting service and never had an email problem–essentially no problems at all. I am hastily converting an old joomla site, as Joomla has gone through several iterations since I used it and learning the latest would take too long.

My apologies for the interruption. Check back in a few days. The address will be the same. To speed things up, I will begin posting new posts and add all the previous posts after the site is up. I will add RSS subscription service for those who prefer it, and there will be no need to register for that service.

Are we whipped dogs instead of sheeple? If so, there is a solution.

Are we whipped dogs instead of sheeple? If so, there is a solution.

Learned helplessness: a condition in which a person, or animal, suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a persistent failure to succeed.

Learned helplessness is a condition affecting much of the population, not only of the United States of America, but of the world. This statement calls for a more complete understanding of the nature of learned helplessness. Learned helplessness was discovered in 1965 by psychologist Martin Seligman, while he was studying the behavior of dogs. In the experiment, a dog would be placed in a box in which the floor was divided by a low bar in the middle. On one side, the floor capable of shocking the dog. He would dim the lights and shock the dog. The dog soon learned to jump to the other shock-free side when the light dimmed. This behavior proved consistent. In the second part of the experiment, a dog was tied with a leash so short it could not get to the other side. He would dim the light and shock the dog. Initially, the dog would struggle trying to get to the other side, but eventually would just lie there enduring the shock. Finally, even when untied and free to escape the shock, it would just like there and take the shock. The dogs in the second part of the experiment had been conditioned to believe that they were powerless to avoid the shocks. Apart from feeling sorry for the dogs used in the experiments, what can we take from this?

Learned helplessness has long been commonly associated with the battered wife condition, in which the long-suffering wife feels unable to break free of the association with the husband who beats her, with the prostitute who cannot escape the domination of her pimp. More recently, learned helplessness has been proposed as the reason people put up with mistreatment by their government or their employer. This last condition is or should be of particular interest, as it affects billions of people. It might also be key in explaining why mankind has made so little progress in thousands of years in how their society is structured, while making incredible advances in science and technology. A serious study of why and how the few have ruled the many throughout recorded history and probably all the unrecorded history as well. One might suspect that even governments can suffer from learned helplessness, which might explain the subservience of many nations to the United States, the propensity to keep making agreements with a nation which never holds up their end of an agreement.

Probably the most common excuse people give for not paying attention to politics and the worsening of living conditions is that there is nothing they can do about it. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth. Generally, the victims of governmental tyranny outnumber their oppressors by thousands to one. When the victims so greatly outnumber the victimizers, there is obviously much that they can do about their victimization. However, much of the population is suffering from learned helplessness. This tends to manifest itself in depression. The current life style has seemingly been designed to induce learned helplessness.

In our schools and universities, submission to authority and the suppression of independent thinking are the primary goals. Television and radio content are often more dependent on science (of mind control) than art or information. Economic fears are at an all-time high. Record numbers of people are unemployed. Those employed are in fear of becoming unemployed, and of losing their health insurance. Some employers often take advantage of these fears and working conditions are onerous, since the employees dare not leave. We are a materialistic society, and we see what we have as indicative of what we are. The loss or the risk of losing all that we have is depressing. To make matters worse, more and more Americans don’t have anyone in which they feel they can confide. So they have no catharsis, no sharing of the burden, and no sympathy. Most of the psychotropic drugs used in the world are consumed in the United States.

Many who are depressed don’t realize why or even that what they feel is depression. Unfortunately, the mere realization of the truth of their situation and the causes does not help the victim recover. On the contrary, it fills him with shame, and makes depression worse. If they seek help from the mental health establishment, they will only get drugs and no real help. The powers that be seem to be rubbing our face in our helplessness of late, when they openly trash our rights and flaunt their lawlessness. This is, or may be, a move calculated to make us feel even more helpless.

Is there any way out of this abysmal situation? Building morale is the reasonable psychologist’s solution. Any victory, however small helps. Encouragement from friends and acquaintances. Camaraderie. Any progress helps. Even that of a friend. Perhaps even that of a stranger. Now, after over sixty million people, many of whom surely felt helpless, have just had a victory is a perfect time to start a morale building campaign. There may never be a better time. This would be a perfect time to implement something like the 26 State Solution, laid out earlier on this blog. If you missed that, the pertinent posts are available on the main menu at the top of the page, on the right side, under 26 State Solution.

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I, Pencil

I, Pencil

A lesson in Economics that even a grade school student can understand and a Nobel Prize winner can appreciate. A must read for anyone wanting to understand market economics and a good read for anyone.

Leonard E. Read, I, Pencil My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read, Dec. 195

Introduction, by Milton Friedman. Professor Friedman, the 1976 Nobelist in Economic Science, is Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, California.

Leonard Read’s delightful story, “I, Pencil,” has become a classic, and deservedly so. I know of no other piece of literature that so succinctly, persuasively, and effectively illustrates the meaning of both Adam Smith’s invisible hand—the possibility of cooperation without coercion—and Friedrich Hayek’s emphasis on the importance of dispersed knowledge and the role of the price system in communicating information that “will make the individuals do the desirable things without anyone having to tell them what to do.”

We used Leonard’s story in our television show, “Free to Choose,” and in the accompanying book of the same title to illustrate “the power of the market” (the title of both the first segment of the TV show and of chapter one of the book). We summarized the story and then went on to say:

“None of the thousands of persons involved in producing the pencil performed his task because he wanted a pencil. Some among them never saw a pencil and would not know what it is for. Each saw his work as a way to get the goods and services he wanted—goods and services we produced in order to get the pencil we wanted. Every time we go to the store and buy a pencil, we are exchanging a little bit of our services for the infinitesimal amount of services that each of the thousands contributed toward producing the pencil.

“It is even more astounding that the pencil was ever produced. No one sitting in a central office gave orders to these thousands of people. No military police enforced the orders that were not given. These people live in many lands, speak different languages, practice different religions, may even hate one another—yet none of these differences prevented them from cooperating to produce a pencil. How did it happen? Adam Smith gave us the answer two hundred years ago.”

“I, Pencil” is a typical Leonard Read product: imaginative, simple yet subtle, breathing the love of freedom that imbued everything Leonard wrote or did. As in the rest of his work, he was not trying to tell people what to do or how to conduct themselves. He was simply trying to enhance individuals’ understanding of themselves and of the system they live in.

That was his basic credo and one that he stuck to consistently during his long period of service to the public—not public service in the sense of government service. Whatever the pressure, he stuck to his guns, refusing to compromise his principles. That was why he was so effective in keeping alive, in the early days, and then spreading the basic idea that human freedom required private property, free competition, and severely limited government.

I, Pencil My Family Tree as told to Leonard E. Read

I am a lead pencil—the ordinary wooden pencil familiar to all boys and girls and adults who can read and write.

Writing is both my vocation and my avocation; that’s all I do.

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery—more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, the wise G. K. Chesterton observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

I, Pencil, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me—no, that’s too much to ask of anyone—if you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than can an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because—well, because I am seemingly so simple.

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when it is realized that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S.A. each year.

Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye—there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser.

Innumerable Antecedents

Just as you cannot trace your family tree back very far, so is it impossible for me to name and explain all my antecedents. But I would like to suggest enough of them to impress upon you the richness and complexity of my background.

My family tree begins with what in fact is a tree, a cedar of straight grain that grows in Northern California and Oregon. Now contemplate all the saws and trucks and rope and the countless other gear used in harvesting and carting the cedar logs to the railroad siding. Think of all the persons and the numberless skills that went into their fabrication: the mining of ore, the making of steel and its refinement into saws, axes, motors; the growing of hemp and bringing it through all the stages to heavy and strong rope; the logging camps with their beds and mess halls, the cookery and the raising of all the foods. Why, untold thousands of persons had a hand in every cup of coffee the loggers drink!

The logs are shipped to a mill in San Leandro, California. Can you imagine the individuals who make flat cars and rails and railroad engines and who construct and install the communication systems incidental thereto? These legions are among my antecedents.

Consider the millwork in San Leandro. The cedar logs are cut into small, pencil-length slats less than one-fourth of an inch in thickness. These are kiln dried and then tinted for the same reason women put rouge on their faces. People prefer that I look pretty, not a pallid white. The slats are waxed and kiln dried again. How many skills went into the making of the tint and the kilns, into supplying the heat, the light and power, the belts, motors, and all the other things a mill requires? Sweepers in the mill among my ancestors? Yes, and included are the men who poured the concrete for the dam of a Pacific Gas & Electric Company hydroplant which supplies the mill’s power!

Don’t overlook the ancestors present and distant who have a hand in transporting sixty carloads of slats across the nation.

Once in the pencil factory—$4,000,000 in machinery and building, all capital accumulated by thrifty and saving parents of mine—each slat is given eight grooves by a complex machine, after which another machine lays leads in every other slat, applies glue, and places another slat atop—a lead sandwich, so to speak. Seven brothers and I are mechanically carved from this “wood-clinched” sandwich.

My “lead” itself—it contains no lead at all—is complex. The graphite is mined in Ceylon. Consider these miners and those who make their many tools and the makers of the paper sacks in which the graphite is shipped and those who make the string that ties the sacks and those who put them aboard ships and those who make the ships. Even the lighthouse keepers along the way assisted in my birth—and the harbor pilots.

The graphite is mixed with clay from Mississippi in which ammonium hydroxide is used in the refining process. Then wetting agents are added such as sulfonated tallow—animal fats chemically reacted with sulfuric acid. After passing through numerous machines, the mixture finally appears as endless extrusions—as from a sausage grinder-cut to size, dried, and baked for several hours at 1,850 degrees Fahrenheit. To increase their strength and smoothness the leads are then treated with a hot mixture which includes candelilla wax from Mexico, paraffin wax, and hydrogenated natural fats.

My cedar receives six coats of lacquer. Do you know all the ingredients of lacquer? Who would think that the growers of castor beans and the refiners of castor oil are a part of it? They are. Why, even the processes by which the lacquer is made a beautiful yellow involve the skills of more persons than one can enumerate!

Observe the labeling. That’s a film formed by applying heat to carbon black mixed with resins. How do you make resins and what, pray, is carbon black?

My bit of metal—the ferrule—is brass. Think of all the persons who mine zinc and copper and those who have the skills to make shiny sheet brass from these products of nature. Those black rings on my ferrule are black nickel. What is black nickel and how is it applied? The complete story of why the center of my ferrule has no black nickel on it would take pages to explain.

Then there’s my crowning glory, inelegantly referred to in the trade as “the plug,” the part man uses to erase the errors he makes with me. An ingredient called “factice” is what does the erasing. It is a rubber-like product made by reacting rape-seed oil from the Dutch East Indies with sulfur chloride. Rubber, contrary to the common notion, is only for binding purposes. Then, too, there are numerous vulcanizing and accelerating agents. The pumice comes from Italy; and the pigment which gives “the plug” its color is cadmium sulfide.

No One Knows

Does anyone wish to challenge my earlier assertion that no single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me?

Actually, millions of human beings have had a hand in my creation, no one of whom even knows more than a very few of the others. Now, you may say that I go too far in relating the picker of a coffee berry in far off Brazil and food growers elsewhere to my creation; that this is an extreme position. I shall stand by my claim. There isn’t a single person in all these millions, including the president of the pencil company, who contributes more than a tiny, infinitesimal bit of know-how. From the standpoint of know-how the only difference between the miner of graphite in Ceylon and the logger in Oregon is in the type of know-how. Neither the miner nor the logger can be dispensed with, any more than can the chemist at the factory or the worker in the oil field—paraffin being a by-product of petroleum.

Here is an astounding fact: Neither the worker in the oil field nor the chemist nor the digger of graphite or clay nor any who mans or makes the ships or trains or trucks nor the one who runs the machine that does the knurling on my bit of metal nor the president of the company performs his singular task because he wants me. Each one wants me less, perhaps, than does a child in the first grade. Indeed, there are some among this vast multitude who never saw a pencil nor would they know how to use one. Their motivation is other than me. Perhaps it is something like this: Each of these millions sees that he can thus exchange his tiny know-how for the goods and services he needs or wants. I may or may not be among these items.

No Master Mind

There is a fact still more astounding: the absence of a master mind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions which bring me into being. No trace of such a person can be found. Instead, we find the Invisible Hand at work. This is the mystery to which I earlier referred.

It has been said that “only God can make a tree.” Why do we agree with this? Isn’t it because we realize that we ourselves could not make one? Indeed, can we even describe a tree? We cannot, except in superficial terms. We can say, for instance, that a certain molecular configuration manifests itself as a tree. But what mind is there among men that could even record, let alone direct, the constant changes in molecules that transpire in the life span of a tree? Such a feat is utterly unthinkable!

I, Pencil, am a complex combination of miracles: a tree, zinc, copper, graphite, and so on. But to these miracles which manifest themselves in Nature an even more extraordinary miracle has been added: the configuration of creative human energies—millions of tiny know-hows configurating naturally and spontaneously in response to human necessity and desire and in the absence of any human master-minding! Since only God can make a tree, I insist that only God could make me. Man can no more direct these millions of know-hows to bring me into being than he can put molecules together to create a tree.

The above is what I meant when writing, “If you can become aware of the miraculousness which I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing.” For, if one is aware that these know-hows will naturally, yes, automatically, arrange themselves into creative and productive patterns in response to human necessity and demand—that is, in the absence of governmental or any other coercive masterminding—then one will possess an absolutely essential ingredient for freedom: a faith in free people. Freedom is impossible without this faith.

Once government has had a monopoly of a creative activity such, for instance, as the delivery of the mails, most individuals will believe that the mails could not be efficiently delivered by men acting freely. And here is the reason: Each one acknowledges that he himself doesn’t know how to do all the things incident to mail delivery. He also recognizes that no other individual could do it. These assumptions are correct. No individual possesses enough know-how to perform a nation’s mail delivery any more than any individual possesses enough know-how to make a pencil. Now, in the absence of faith in free people—in the unawareness that millions of tiny know-hows would naturally and miraculously form and cooperate to satisfy this necessity—the individual cannot help but reach the erroneous conclusion that mail can be delivered only by governmental “master-minding.”

Testimony Galore

If I, Pencil, were the only item that could offer testimony on what men and women can accomplish when free to try, then those with little faith would have a fair case. However, there is testimony galore; it’s all about us and on every hand. Mail delivery is exceedingly simple when compared, for instance, to the making of an automobile or a calculating machine or a grain combine or a milling machine or to tens of thousands of other things. Delivery? Why, in this area where men have been left free to try, they deliver the human voice around the world in less than one second; they deliver an event visually and in motion to any person’s home when it is happening; they deliver 150 passengers from Seattle to Baltimore in less than four hours; they deliver gas from Texas to one’s range or furnace in New York at unbelievably low rates and without subsidy; they deliver each four pounds of oil from the Persian Gulf to our Eastern Seaboard—halfway around the world—for less money than the government charges for delivering a one-ounce letter across the street!

The lesson I have to teach is this: Leave all creative energies uninhibited. Merely organize society to act in harmony with this lesson. Let society’s legal apparatus remove all obstacles the best it can. Permit these creative know-hows freely to flow. Have faith that free men and women will respond to the Invisible Hand. This faith will be confirmed. I, Pencil, seemingly simple though I am, offer the miracle of my creation as testimony that this is a practical faith, as practical as the sun, the rain, a cedar tree, the good earth.

Leonard E. Read (1898–1983) founded FEE in 1946 and served as its president until his death. “I, Pencil,” his most famous essay, was first published in the December 1958 issue of The Freeman. Although a few of the manufacturing details and place names have changed over the past forty years, the principles are unchanged.

Afterword, by Donald J. Boudreaux

There are two kinds of thinking: simplistic and subtle. Simplistic thinkers cannot understand how complex and useful social orders arise from any source other than conscious planning by a purposeful mind. Subtle thinkers, in contrast, understand that individual actions often occur within settings that encourage individuals to coordinate their actions with one another independent of any overarching plan. F. A. Hayek called such unplanned but harmonious coordination “spontaneous order.”

The mark of the subtle mind is not only its ability to grasp the idea of spontaneous orders but also to understand that conscious attempts to improve or to mimic these orders are doomed to fail. “Why so?” asks the simplistic thinker. “How can happenstance generate complex order superior to what a conscious mind can conceive and implement?” In responding to this question, a subtle thinker points out that spontaneous orders do not arise from happenstance: the continual adjustments by each individual within spontaneous orders follow a very strict logic—the logic of mutual accommodation. Because no central planner can possibly know all of the details of each individual’s unique situation, no central planner can know how best to arrange each and every action of each and every individual with that of the multitudes of other individuals.

In the eighteenth century, a handful of scholars—most notably David Hume and Adam Smith—developed a subtle understanding of how private property rights encourage self-regarding producers and consumers to act in mutually beneficial ways. Spontaneous ordering forces were thus discovered, and with this discovery modern economics began to take shape.

Over the next two centuries economics achieved enormous success in furthering our understanding not only of industry and commerce, but of society itself. Modern economics—that is to say, economics that explores the emergence of spontaneous orders—is a sure-fire inoculant against the simplistic notion that conscious direction by the state can improve upon the pattern of mutual adjustments that people make within a system of secure private property rights.

But learning modern economics requires some effort—in the same way that breaking free of any simplistic mindset requires effort. It isn’t surprising, then, that those economists who’ve contributed most to a widespread understanding of the subject have been clear and vivid writers, skillful in using analogies and everyday observations to lubricate the mind’s transition away from superficial thinking and toward a grasp of subtle insights. The best economic writers cause oncesimplistic thinkers to say “Aha! Now I get it!” Skillfully tutored, a simplistic mind becomes a subtle mind.

For its sheer power to display in just a few pages the astounding fact that free markets successfully coordinate the actions of literally millions of people from around the world into a productive whole, nothing else written in economics compares to Leonard Read’s celebrated essay, “I, Pencil.” This essay’s power derives from Read’s drawing from such a prosaic item an undeniable, profound, and spectacular conclusion: it takes the knowledge of countless people to produce a single pencil. No newcomer to economics who reads “I, Pencil” can fail to have a simplistic belief in the superiority of central planning or regulation deeply shaken. If I could choose one essay or book that everyone in the world would read, I would unhesitatingly choose “I, Pencil.” Among these readers, simplistic notions about the economy would be permanently transformed into a new and vastly more subtle—and correct—understanding.

My official name is “Mongol 482.” My many ingredients are assembled, fabricated, and finished by Eberhard Faber Pencil Company.


P.S. As essentially every step along the way, taxes are incurred, think how much of the price of the pencil is attributed to taxes. Extrapolate that to a car or a house or an airplane, and you get some idea of how much the cost of everything you  buy is due to taxation.

Headlines: News or Propaganda

Headlines: News or Propaganda

On seeing such different headlines for the same news, I thought I would post 4 of them just to show how your understanding might vary if you read only the headlines. The Times and The Daily Express headlines imply Russia is the bad guy, and the articles are anything but factual. RT and, big surprise, CBS correctly state that Russia is responding to a threat from NATO. Of course, if you read the CBS article, it is slanted against Russia. The RT article is relatively objective, even going so far as to quote US State Department spokesman John Kirby, who practically no one ever believes. On second thought, perhaps therein lies their reason for quoting him.  If, like many busy people, you scan the headlines and read, at best, a few articles, be careful where you scan, or you  will be misinformed, instead of informed.

In a candid conversation with representatives of various media outlets during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, in June 2016. Putin urged journalists to report honestly and objectively on the impending danger implicit in a nuclear arms race. Too bad he didn’t have much success. You can hear and see Putin’s 12 minute plea for responsible journalism, in Russian with English subtitles here. He is either sincere  or he is a fantastic actor. Until proven otherwise, I’ll say he is sincere. Watch it and judge for yourself.

  1. The Times

Putin moves his missiles in new threat to Europe

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  1. RT

Russia to deploy Iskander rockets in Kaliningrad enclave over US cruise missile threat

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  1. CBS

Russia responds to NATO advance with missiles in its Europe enclave

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  1. Daily Express

USA says Russia deployment of ‘Isklander’ nuclear missiles are ‘destabilising’ Europe

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Using time-binding and space-binding to live free

Using time-binding and space-binding to live free

One of the greatest advantages we humans have over dumb animals is that the next generation of humans doesn’t have to start from scratch; it can start where the previous generation left off. New discoveries don’t have to be rediscovered. Once something is discovered, it is in man’s store of knowledge, available to all future generations. Alexander Korzybsky called this time-binding. Time-binding has enabled marvelous progress in science and technology; it has done little or nothing for human relationships. This would imply that none of the last hundred or so generations have had any significant advances to pass on to those in the future. While mankind went from the discovery of the wheel to building and using space stations, from the invention of language to the internet, we have gone from hand to hand combat to nuclear, chemical, and biological genocide—hardly an improvement. The ability to inflict bodily harm has grown astronomically, and the proclivity to inflict it has hardly diminished. We have developed many more reasons than had our predecessors to hate and to wish harm to our fellow man. There may have been positive blips along the timeline, but no upward trend. The implementation of the twenty-six state solution gives us more than an opportunity to halt the march toward tyranny and a possible one-world totalitarian government that could spell the death of even the dream of living free. It gives us more than a good chance of avoiding the looming world war. It would give us a chance to pass on to the next generation a major step forward in human relationships. We can, through time-binding, make the future prospects of planet earth better, not worse. I postulate that there is such a thing as space-binding, as well. A scientific discovery in California can be communicated to the entire world in a fraction of a minute. Changes in human interaction spread slowly, but they do spread. Unfortunately, most of those that do spread are not for the betterment of man’s condition. With the right effort, a successful implementation of the twenty-six state solution could make American freedom as internationally popular as American blue jeans. In a word, we could change the world, by freeing ourselves. All it requires is that enough people move to the twenty-six least populous states and implement the twenty-six state solution. But that requires a new level and type of human interaction or cooperation. It will require millions of people to pool their efforts to better their individual existence, and in so doing, improve each other’s existence. All too often have millions worked together to kill other people. For once, we want millions to want freedom enough to set aside their differences on lesser matters and work together to be free, to cooperate instead of fighting. That is the idea we need to spread throughout the United States, around the world, and to future generations. It is an idea, which, if it’s time hasn’t come, is likely never to come.”

If you are not familiar with the 26 State Solution, see the link in the menu at the top of the page, on the right end.

Food for Thought

Food for Thought

Suppose I wanted to write a novel, in which there was another planet the same size as Earth, and it shares Earth’s orbit. I will name the other planet, Tierra. No one on Earth ever saw Tierra because it was exactly halfway away from us in the orbit. Therefore, the sun was always between Earth and Tierra. Both planets were created at the same time, and life on them turns out to be similar. I want the people on Tierra to look like Earth people, but I want them to be eons ahead of us in science, technology, personal development, and social order. The UFO’s seen so often on earth are from Tierra, mostly citizens of Tierra visiting Earth on sightseeing trips.

If life evolved simultaneously on the two planets, how can I explain the far more advanced development of the people on Tierra? Suppose, too, that I wanted the relatively astronomic difference to be due to something the earthlings could have done early in their development, but didn’t.—something that could be seen as taking the wrong option in a fork in the road. Make it something we earthlings could possibly do now to start making the kind of advancement in our social order that we have made in science and technology.

I’ll leave it for you to ponder. I think I have a good idea, but if you have any suggestions, send them to archimedes@soverindi.com. I’ll post the best idea(s) soon.

Questioning the Status Quo

Questioning the Status Quo

In the United States, the gulf between the rich and the poor is now greater than any first or second world countries, even greater than some third world countries. Why is this?

The U.S. has 7% or less of   the world’s population, but 25% of the prisoners of the world. Why is this?

The U.S. is seen by every other country on earth as an uncouth, imperialistic, bully, getting its way with naked, brute force. Why is this?

Every ten or fifteen years, the U.S. dollar loses half of its purchasing power. Why is this?

The U.S. spends far more per student on education, yet turns out some of the most poorly educated graduates. The more they spend, the worse it becomes. Why is this?

The U.S. spends far more on medical care than any country on earth, yet ranks poorly in quality of overall medical care. Why is this?

The U.S. spends nearly as much as the rest of the world combined on what it calls defense. Yet practically all this expenditure is used for offense. Why is this?

The U.S. is the world’s largest debtor. Yet, it wastes more money than many countries have to spend. It even borrows money to give away. Why is this?

The U.S. has a Constitution which defines what the government is allowed to do. A Speaker of the House of Representatives has stated that most of what the government does is unconstitutional. Why is this?

In the U.S., police are beating, tasering, and killing innocent citizens they are paid to protect. Why is this?

This list could go on forever. Not one of these problems could exist without a government with the power to enable it, yet no one ever mentions that. Why is this?

Governmental power is the root cause or enabler of most of the addressable problems with civilization, yet seldom, if ever, is that acknowledged. Why is this?

 

Dictionary Entry for Wikileaks (suggested)

Dictionary Entry for Wikileaks (suggested)

WikiLeaks /ˈwɪkiliːks/
Definitions
1. An international non-profit organization that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources. (most common)
2. Demolition machine, for demolishing the façade of government propaganda.
3. Definition modifier, for redefining conspiracy theorist as someone who disagrees with or questions an official lie.
4. Informer or educator that teaches that government by the people is an oxymoron.
5. I.Q. test that measures the ability to see black and say it is black, not white.
6. Liberator for liberating the rational from the shackles of ignorance.
7. Polygraph, for exposing lies of the establishment.
8. Hero, for risking so much in an attempt to help all mankind, but especially Americans, by exposing the corruption, the hypocrisy, the mendacity, the immorality, and countless other denigrating characteristics of the establishment in so many places, but primarily in the land of the spree and home of the knave, the United States of America.
9. Motivator – a hoped for, but yet to be warranted usage.

Today’s Links, with commentary

Today’s Links, with commentary

America and Lackeys Insult People of the WorldFrom Information Clearing House, by Finian Cunningham – “it’s not just Russia that Washington is insulting – it’s the entire world. Such is the preposterous hypocrisy of US leaders and their international network of cronies.” While it is a good article, and I recommend reading it, I suggest they are doing a lot worse than insulting the people of the world. They are killing thousands, if not millions, they are substantially reducing the quality of life for ninety-nine percent of those billions they have not killed—so far—and they are risking total vaporization of every living thing on earth. Over the centuries, Mankind has made incredible progress in science and technology, but little or none when it comes to civilization. If fact, it seems to be getting worse, not better. The fact that all wars are started by governments, not the citizens, should tell us something.

 

Thoughts on How We Think of Personal Beauty

Thoughts on How We Think of Personal Beauty

Among the many intelligent things Buckminster Fuller said, was this gem: “Ninety-nine percent of what you are is invisible and untouchable.” Those ten words can explain a lot of things and make a lot of things inexplicable. When someone lifts a glass and says, “Here’s looking at you,” you can respond, “Hardly. Ninety-nine percent of me is invisible, so you’re looking at one percent of me.”

Seriously though, while the precise percentage is arguable and meaningless, the concept has a certain validity when you think about it. While we’re at it, we might as well consider the discovery that every few years every cell in our body is replaced. That means that none of the one percent of you that is tangible and visible now didn’t exist a few years ago and none of it will exist a few years from now. You are what, for want of a better term, could be called a spirit, a sort of genie, in possession of a periodically self-replacing body in which you spend much of your time and which you use to interact with the physical world. The visible part of us is a tool for the invisible part. Without it, we couldn’t make sounds, see, lift, move, and such mundane tasks. Our visible part also acquires and processes the fuel that powers us. The five senses of our physical residence give us precepts, with which we construct concepts. We see a few people come and go, and we construct the concept of mankind although we can never see it.

It is conceivable Fuller, a brilliant, well educated person, an engineer, and a philosopher, concluded only one percent of him was visible and touchable because he had so developed his other part that it seemed to constitute 99% of what he was. If one’s entire life were spent with little or no activity that contributed to the growth of that inner person, would it  be possible to mature physically, yet in every other way remain an infant, or, at best, a Neanderthal? We all think we’ve known a few like that, don’t we?

Buckminster Fuller opened a Pandora’s Box with that sentence and its endless implications. What part does or should physical beauty play if it concerns less than 1% of what a person is. A beautifully wrapped package is nice, but if the contents are garbage,  a box of gold in a plain, brown wrapper is preferable. Moreover, isn’t beauty something we have to learn to discern. If an extraterrestrial being with a corkscrew body and a head like a flower came to earth, would he/she/it be able to tell which of us we consider beautiful and which ugly? In all probability, we would all be monsters to him.

After entertaining these thoughts, we may find it hard to look at people the same old way again. We may find ourselves haunted by he thought that the invisible 99% of that appearance-challenged person might be the most beautiful thing in the world or that the most gorgeous person we could hope to see might have spent a lifetime primping and posing, while the other 99% rotted. If we are changed in this way, it will be a good thing. We should be aware that inside essentially every human book, which you truly can’t tell by its cover, is an inner person, with the potential to match or surpass the achievements of anyone who ever lived. With all that to work with and on, why so much emphasis on the one percent we have so little control over? When we say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, aren’t we mistaken? Isn’t true beauty in the mind and/or the heart of the beholder?

If we are lucky, in our development there comes a point at which we cross the line from being one percenters to being ninety-nine percenters.  We can be fairly certain that most of us never reach that point.  Since there is     no evidence of other animals, particularly those related to Man, putting any value on  physical appearance, we can postulate that that trait developed in the evolution of humans. Are the public schools doing, or have they done, something that might prevent that transition point being reached? In our ruminations, maybe we have discovered grounds for a new theory, the origin of a new species, Homo Robotus.

With all the potential in our faculty of rational thinking, we humans should all be able to take better advantage of the magic at our disposal. If we really do typically utilize only 30 % of our mental ability; if we typically go to our graves with our potential essentially untouched, unnoticed, and seemingly unknown, is it due to our preoccupation with the one percent, when we should be paying attention the 99 percent? We can’t prove it, but we could check it out, by paying more attention to the 99 percent and seeing where it gets. It can’t hurt, and who knows, Homo Robotus could become an endangered species.

See you around. See one percent of you around, that is, but I’ll be concentrating on the other 99 percent.