Systems And Processes Quotes

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Ideally, what should be said to every child, repeatedly, throughout his or her school life is something like this: 'You are in the process of being indoctrinated. We have not yet evolved a system of education that is not a system of indoctrination. We are sorry, but it is the best we can do. What you are being taught here is an amalgam of current prejudice and the choices of this particular culture. The slightest look at history will show how impermanent these must be. You are being taught by people who have been able to accommodate themselves to a regime of thought laid down by their predecessors. It is a self-perpetuating system. Those of you who are more robust and individual than others will be encouraged to leave and find ways of educating yourself — educating your own judgements. Those that stay must remember, always, and all the time, that they are being moulded and patterned to fit into the narrow and particular needs of this particular society.
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I'm always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it's very shocking to the system.
Flannery O'Connor (Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose)
Whereas story is processed in the mind in a straightforward manner, poetry bypasses rational thought and goes straight to the limbic system and lights it up like a brushfire. It's the crack cocaine of the literary world.
Jasper Fforde (First Among Sequels (Thursday Next, #5))
When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
Business models are about the systems and processes related to the exchange of value between sellers and buyers.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr, CEO of Mayflower-Plymouth
The purpose of setting goals is to win the game. The purpose of building systems is to continue playing the game. True long-term thinking is goal-less thinking. It’s not about any single accomplishment. It is about the cycle of endless refinement and continuous improvement. Ultimately, it is your commitment to the process that will determine your progress.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
Education is beautification of the inner world and the outer world.
Amit Ray (Nonviolence: The Transforming Power)
What is realized in the novel is the process of coming to know one's own language as it is perceived in someone else's language, coming to know one's own belief system in someone else's system.
Mikhail Bakhtin (The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays)
The process of dissociation is an elegant mechanism built into the human psychological system as a form of escape from (sometimes literally) going crazy. The problem with checking out so thoroughly is that it can leave us feeling dead inside, with little or no ability to feel our feelings in our bodies. The process of repair demands a re-association with the body, a commitment to dive into the body and feel today what we couldn’t feel yesterday because it was too dangerous.
Alexandra Katehakis (Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence)
We must allow ourselves to think, we must dare to think, even though we fail. It is in the nature of things that we always fail, because we suddenly find it impossible to order our thoughts, because the process of thinking requires us to consider every thought there is, every possible thought. Fundamentally we have always failed, like all the others, whoever they were, even the greatest minds. At some point, they suddenly failed and their system collapsed, as is proved by their writings, which we admire because they venture farthest into failure. To think is to fail, I thought.
Thomas Bernhard (Extinction)
What if there were health food stores on every corner in the hood, instead of liquor stores!?
SupaNova Slom (The Remedy: The Five-Week Power Plan to Detox Your System, Combat the Fat, and Rebuild Your Mind and Body)
Evolution has no foresight. Complex machinery develops its own agendas. Brains — cheat. Feedback loops evolve to promote stable heartbeats and then stumble upon the temptation of rhythm and music. The rush evoked by fractal imagery, the algorithms used for habitat selection, metastasize into art. Thrills that once had to be earned in increments of fitness can now be had from pointless introspection. Aesthetics rise unbidden from a trillion dopamine receptors, and the system moves beyond modeling the organism. It begins to model the very process of modeling. It consumes evermore computational resources, bogs itself down with endless recursion and irrelevant simulations. Like the parasitic DNA that accretes in every natural genome, it persists and proliferates and produces nothing but itself. Metaprocesses bloom like cancer, and awaken, and call themselves I.
Peter Watts (Blindsight (Firefall, #1))
To dehumanize another human being is not merely to declare that someone is not human, and it does not happen by accident. It is a process, a programming. It takes energy and reinforcement to deny what is self-evident in another member of one's own species.
Isabel Wilkerson (Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents)
A human is not a being; he is a becoming. He is an ongoing process – a possibility. For this possibility to be made use of, there is a whole system of understanding the mechanics of how this life functions and what we can do with it, which we refer to as yoga.
Sadhguru (Body the Greatest Gadget)
One of the things that has to be faced is the process of waiting to change the system, how much we have got to do to find out who we are, where we have come from and where we are going.
Ella Baker
I have this -- here’s this thing where it’s going to sound sappy to you. I have this unbelievably like five-year-old’s belief that art is just absolutely magic. And that good art can do things that nothing else in the solar system can do. And that the good stuff will survive, and get read, and that in the great winnowing process, the shit will sink and the good stuff will rise.
David Foster Wallace
Every system is perfectly designed to get the result that it does.
W. Edwards Deming
Today we are faced with a challenge that calls for a shift in our thinking, so that humanity stops threatening its life-support system. We are called to assist the Earth to heal her wounds and in the process heal our own - indeed to embrace the whole of creation in all its diversity, beauty and wonder. Recognizing that sustainable development, democracy and peace are indivisible is an idea whose time has come
Wangari Maathai
Can we drop the ‘artificial intelligence’? It’s a bit like me calling you a meat-based processing system.
Alastair Reynolds (On the Steel Breeze (Poseidon's Children, #2))
Nature isn't transactional. Nature is is about relationships and processes and systems. Transactions happen, but they happen within the clear context of relationships, processes and systems. Business should be like that. Markets should be like that. The economy should be like that.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr, CEO of Mayflower-Plymouth
First, the physiological symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder have been brought within manageable limits. Second, the person is able to bear the feelings associated with traumatic memories. Third, the person has authority over her memories; she can elect both to remember the trauma and to put memory aside. Fourth, the memory of the traumatic event is a coherent narrative, linked with feeling. Fifth, the person's damaged self-esteem has been restored. Sixth, the person's important relationships have been reestablished. Seventh and finally, the person has reconstructed a coherent system of meaning and belief that encompasses the story of trauma.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Assimilate ubiquitously. Doublethink. To deliberately believe in lies, while knowing they're false. Examples of this in everyday life: "oh, I need to be pretty to be happy. I need surgery to be pretty. I need to be thin, famous, fashionable.". Our young men today are being told that women are **, **, things to be **, beaten, **, and shamed. This is a marketing holocaust. Twenty-fours hours a day for the rest of our lives, the powers that be are hard at work dumbing us to death. So to defend ourselves, and fight against assimilating this dullness into our thought processes, we must learn to read. To stimulate our own imagination, to cultivate our own consciousness, our own belief systems. We all need skills to defend, to preserve, our own minds.
Henry Barthes
Where thinking is isolated without free exchange with other minds and can no longer expand, delusion may follow. Whenever ideas are compartmentalized, behind and between curtains, the process of continual alert confrontation of facts and reality is hampered. The system freezes, becomes rigid, and dies of delusion.
Joost A.M. Meerloo (The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide, and Brainwashing)
Not unnaturally, many elevators imbued with intelligence and precognition became terribly frustrated with the mindless business of going up and down, up and down, experimented briefly with the notion of going sideways, as a sort of existential protest, demanded participation in the decision-making process and finally took to squatting in basements sulking. An impoverished hitch-hiker visiting any planets in the Sirius star system these days can pick up easy money working as a counsellor for neurotic elevators.
Douglas Adams
The conclusion of intelligent design flows naturally from the data itself—not from sacred books or sectarian beliefs. Inferring that biochemical systems were designed by an intelligent agent is a humdrum process that requires no new principles of logic or science. It comes simply from the hard work that biochemistry has done over the past forty years, combined with consideration of the way in which we reach conclusions of design every day.
Michael J. Behe (Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution)
A mycelial network is a map of a fungus’s recent history and is a helpful reminder that all life-forms are in fact processes not things. The “you” of five years ago was made from different stuff than the “you” of today. Nature is an event that never stops. As William Bateson, who coined the word genetics, observed, “We commonly think of animals and plants as matter, but they are really systems through which matter is continually passing.
Merlin Sheldrake (Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures)
There are many ways to understand this. One simple way to know this is: today, if you lose your mental peace totally, you will go to a doctor. He will give you a pill. If you take this pill, your system will become peaceful. Maybe this will last just for a few hours, but you become peaceful. This pill is just a little bit of chemicals. These chemicals enter your system and make you peaceful. Or in other words, what you call peace is a certain kind of chemistry within you. Similarly, what you call joy, what you call love, what you call suffering, what you call misery, what you call fear, every human experience that you go through, has a chemical basis within you. Now the spiritual process is just to create the right kind of chemistry, where you are naturally peaceful, naturally joyous. When you are joyous by your own nature, when you don’t have to do anything to be happy, then the very dimension of your life, the very way you perceive and express yourself in the world will change. The very way you experience your life will change.
Sadhguru (Encounter the Enlightened: Sadhguru, A Profound Mystic Of Our Times)
[T]he useful idiots, the leftists who are idealistically believing in the beauty of the Soviet socialist or Communist or whatever system, when they get disillusioned, they become the worst enemies. That’s why my KGB instructors specifically made the point: never bother with leftists. Forget about these political prostitutes. Aim higher. [...] They serve a purpose only at the stage of destabilization of a nation. For example, your leftists in the United States: all these professors and all these beautiful civil rights defenders. They are instrumental in the process of the subversion only to destabilize a nation. When their job is completed, they are not needed any more. They know too much. Some of them, when they get disillusioned, when they see that Marxist-Leninists come to power—obviously they get offended—they think that they will come to power. That will never happen, of course. They will be lined up against the wall and shot.
Tomas Schuman
Kekulé dreams the Great Serpent holding its own tail in its mouth, the dreaming Serpent which surrounds the World. But the meanness, the cynicism with which this dream is to be used. The Serpent that announces, "The World is a closed thing, cyclical, resonant, eternally-returning," is to be delivered into a system whose only aim is to violate the Cycle. Taking and not giving back, demanding that "productivity" and "earnings" keep on increasing with time, the System removing from the rest of the World these vast quantities of energy to keep its own tiny desperate fraction showing a profit: and not only most of humanity—most of the World, animal, vegetable, and mineral, is laid waste in the process. The System may or may not understand that it's only buying time. And that time is an artificial resource to begin with, of no value to anyone or anything but the System, which must sooner or later crash to its death, when its addiction to energy has become more than the rest of the World can supply, dragging with it innocent souls all along the chain of life. Living inside the System is like riding across the country in a bus driven by a maniac bent on suicide . . . though he's amiable enough, keeps cracking jokes back through the loudspeaker . . .
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
All the games were selected for them by supervisors and had to have some useful, educational purpose. The children learned these new games but unlearned something else in the process: they forgot to be happy, how to take pleasure in little things and last, but not least, how to dream
Michael Ende (Momo)
...they make us dependent on a social system that exploits our energies for its own purposes. ...If a person learns to enjoy and find meaning in the ongoing stream of experience, in the process of living itself, the burden of social controls automatically falls from one's shoulders.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
Systems program building is an entropy-decreasing process, hence inherently metastable. Program maintenance is an entropy-increasing process, and even its most skillful execution only delays the subsidence of the system into unfixable obsolescence.
Frederick P. Brooks Jr. (The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering)
People think of education as something that they can finish. And what’s more, when they finish, it’s a rite of passage. You’re finished with school. You’re no more a child, and therefore anything that reminds you of school - reading books, having ideas, asking questions - that’s kid’s stuff. Now you’re an adult, you don’t do that sort of thing any more. You have everybody looking forward to no longer learning, and you make them ashamed afterward of going back to learning. If you have a system of education using computers, then anyone, any age, can learn by himself, can continue to be interested. If you enjoy learning, there’s no reason why you should stop at a given age. People don’t stop things they enjoy doing just because they reach a certain age. What’s exciting is the actual process of broadening yourself, of knowing there’s now a little extra facet of the universe you know about and can think about and can understand. It seems to me that when it’s time to die, there would be a certain pleasure in thinking that you had utilized your life well, learned as much as you could, gathered in as much as possible of the universe, and enjoyed it. There’s only this one universe and only this one lifetime to try to grasp it. And while it is inconceivable that anyone can grasp more than a tiny portion of it, at least you can do that much. What a tragedy just to pass through and get nothing out of it.
Isaac Asimov
One of the curious things about our educational system, I would note, is that the better trained you are in a discipline, the less used to dialectical method you're likely to be. In fact, young children are very dialectical; they see everything in motion, in contradictions and transformations. We have to put an immense effort into training kids out of being good dialecticians. Marx wants to recover the intuitive power of the dialectical method and put it to work in understanding how everything is in process, everything is in motion. He doesn't simply talk about labor; he talks about the labor process. Capital is not a thing, but rather a process that exists only in motion. When circulation stops, value disappears and the whole system comes tumbling down.
David Harvey (A Companion to Marx's Capital)
When I am thus able to be in process, it is clear that there can be no closed system of beliefs, no unchanging set of principles which I hold. Life is guided by a changing understanding of and interpretation of my experience. It is always in process of becoming.
Carl R. Rogers (On Becoming a Person: A Therapist's View of Psychotherapy)
Systemic processes tend to reward people for making decisions that turn out to be right—creating great resentment among the anointed, who feel themselves entitled to rewards for being articulate, politically active, and morally fervent.
Thomas Sowell (The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy)
[I]n science we have to be particularly cautious about 'why' questions. When we ask, 'Why?' we usually mean 'How?' If we can answer the latter, that generally suffices for our purposes. For example, we might ask: 'Why is the Earth 93 million miles from the Sun?' but what we really probably mean is, 'How is the Earth 93 million miles from the Sun?' That is, we are interested in what physical processes led to the Earth ending up in its present position. 'Why' implicitly suggests purpose, and when we try to understand the solar system in scientific terms, we do not generally ascribe purpose to it.
Lawrence M. Krauss (A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather Than Nothing)
Be creative while inventing ideas, but be disciplined while implementing them.
Amit Kalantri
Your body is a Temple. You are what you eat. Do not eat processed food, junk foods, filth, or disease carrying food, animals, or rodents. Some people say of these foods, 'well, it tastes good'. Most of the foods today that statically cause sickness, cancer, and disease ALL TATSE GOOD; it's well seasoned and prepared poison. THIS IS WHY SO MANY PEOPLE ARE SICK; mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually; because of being hooked to the 'taste' of poison, instead of being hooked on the truth and to real foods that heal and provide you with good health and wellness. Respect and honor your Temple- and it will honor you.
SupaNova Slom (The Remedy: The Five-Week Power Plan to Detox Your System, Combat the Fat, and Rebuild Your Mind and Body)
With everything we do in business, it's important that we always consider the ecological implications. And if we're really doing things the Permaculture way, then it's not just about factoring in ecological cost, but better yet ensuring that business processes and outputs actually add value to ecological and natural systems.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr
They tell you that if you're assaulted, there's a kingdom, a courthouse, high up on a mountain where justice can be found. Most victims are turned away at the base of the mountain, told they don't have enough evidence to make the journey. Some victims sacrifice everything to make the climb, but are slain along the way, the burden of proof impossibly high. I set off, accompanied by a strong team, who helped carry the weight, until I made it, the summit, the place few victims reached, the promised land. We'd gotten an arrest, a guilty verdict, the small percentage that gets a conviction. It was time to see what justice looked like. We threw open the doors, and there was nothing. It took the breath out of me. Even worse was looking back down to the bottom of the mountain, where I imagined expectant victims looking up, waving cheering, expectantly. What do you see? What does it feel like? What happens when you arrive? What could I tell them? A system does not exist for you. The pain of this process couldn't be worth it. These crimes are not crimes but inconveniences. You can fight and fight and for what? When you are assaulted, run and never look back. This was not one bad sentence. This was the best we could hope for.
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
The Supreme Court has now closed the courthouse doors to claims of racial bias at every stage of the criminal justice process, from stops and searches to plea bargaining and sentencing. The system of mass incarceration is now, for all practical purposes, thoroughly immunized from claims of racial bias.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Random mutations much more easily debilitate genes than improve them, and that this is true even of the helpful mutations. Let me emphasize, our experience with malaria’s effects on humans (arguably our most highly studied genetic system) shows that most helpful mutations degrade genes. What’s more, as a group the mutations are incoherent, meaning that they are not adding up to some new system. They are just small changes - mostly degradative - in pre-existing, unrelated genes. The take-home lesson is that this is certainly not the kind of process we would expect to build the astonishingly elegant machinery of the cell. If random mutation plus selective pressure substantially trashes the human genome, why should we think that it would be a constructive force in the long term? There is no reason to think so.
Michael J. Behe
This "sir, yes sir" business, which would probably sound like horseshit to any civilian in his right mind, makes sense to Shaftoe and to the officers in a deep and important way. Like a lot of others, Shaftoe had trouble with military etiquette at first. He soaked up quite a bit of it growing up in a military family, but living the life was a different matter. Having now experienced all the phases of military existence except for the terminal ones (violent death, court-martial, retirement), he has come to understand the culture for what it is: a system of etiquette within which it becomes possible for groups of men to live together for years, travel to the ends of the earth, and do all kinds of incredibly weird shit without killing each other or completely losing their minds in the process. The extreme formality with which he addresses these officers carries an important subtext: your problem, sir, is deciding what you want me to do, and my problem, sir, is doing it. My gung-ho posture says that once you give the order I'm not going to bother you with any of the details--and your half of the bargain is you had better stay on your side of the line, sir, and not bother me with any of the chickenshit politics that you have to deal with for a living. The implied responsibility placed upon the officer's shoulders by the subordinate's unhesitating willingness to follow orders is a withering burden to any officer with half a brain, and Shaftoe has more than once seen seasoned noncoms reduce green lieutenants to quivering blobs simply by standing before them and agreeing, cheerfully, to carry out their orders.
Neal Stephenson (Cryptonomicon)
Pick up a pinecone and count the spiral rows of scales. You may find eight spirals winding up to the left and 13 spirals winding up to the right, or 13 left and 21 right spirals, or other pairs of numbers. The striking fact is that these pairs of numbers are adjacent numbers in the famous Fibonacci series: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21... Here, each term is the sum of the previous two terms. The phenomenon is well known and called phyllotaxis. Many are the efforts of biologists to understand why pinecones, sunflowers, and many other plants exhibit this remarkable pattern. Organisms do the strangest things, but all these odd things need not reflect selection or historical accident. Some of the best efforts to understand phyllotaxis appeal to a form of self-organization. Paul Green, at Stanford, has argued persuasively that the Fibonacci series is just what one would expects as the simplest self-repeating pattern that can be generated by the particular growth processes in the growing tips of the tissues that form sunflowers, pinecones, and so forth. Like a snowflake and its sixfold symmetry, the pinecone and its phyllotaxis may be part of order for free
Stuart A. Kauffman (At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity)
Fear is the oldest and strongest emotion known to man, something deeply inscribed in our nervous system and subconscious. Over time, however, something strange began to happen. The actual terrors that we faced began to lessen in intensity as we gained increasing control over our environment. But instead of our fears lessening a well, they began to multiply in number. We started to worry about our status in society- whether people liked us, or how we fit into the group. We became anxious for our livelihoods, the future of our families and children, our personal health, and the aging process. Instead of a simple, intense fear of something powerful and real, we developed a kind of generalized anxiety. 
Robert Greene (The 50th Law)
In fact, biology is chaos. Biological systems are the product not of logic but of evolution, an inelegant process. Life does not choose the logically best design to meet a new situation. It adapts what already exists...The result, unlike the clean straight lines of logic, is often irregular, messy.
John M. Barry (The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History)
The First Law of Systems-Survival: A SYSTEM THAT IGNORES FEEDBACK HAS ALREADY BEGUN THE PROCESS OF TERMINAL INSTABILITY.
John Gall (SYSTEMANTICS. THE SYSTEMS BIBLE)
I guess that sometimes it just takes a long walk through the darkness, a long walk through the darkest shadows and corners of your soul to realize that those are a part of you as well, that you've created through your experiences and thoughts those parts within yourself and as much as you can choose to fear them and repress them, they will require your attention one day, they will need your care and acceptance before you can clean them away and turn the lights on. For you refuse to shine the light on something that is imperfect, because you fear judgement and rejection, but you can always choose to look towards the light as the only source of true beauty and love that can help you in the cleaning process. Healing, after a long time of struggle and mess is a complex process, but a necessary one nevertheless. We are so overwhelmed by the amount of work it requires that we so often choose to run away from the light, hide in our dark corner and hope that we will never be found, hope that we will never be seen, or desperately look outwards for that love and compassion that we can no longer find within ourselves, for our soul's light no longer shines as it used to. And sometimes we just find those people that can see the light beneath all that dust and darkness that's been pilled up, those kind of light workers that understand our broken souls and manage to pick us up and see the beauty within us, when we find it so hard to see it ourselves. Sometimes I get so tired of separation, of division, of groups and different religions and belief systems. Even if you do find the truth, once you've put it into words, books and rules it already becomes distorted by the mind into something that is no longer truth. So I no longer hope for understanding, no longer hope for the opinion of a judgemental mind, but I hope to find the words that touch the soul before the mind, I hope to find the touch that warms the heart from deep inside, and hope to find that far away abandoned part of me which I've left behind.
Virgil Kalyana Mittata Iordache
As in the political sphere, the child is taught that he is free, a democrat, with a free will and a free mind, lives in a free country, makes his own decisions. At the same time he is a prisoner of the assumptions and dogmas of his time, which he does not question, because he has never been told they exist. By the time a young person has reached the age when he has to choose (we still take it for granted that a choice is inevitable) between the arts and the sciences, he often chooses the arts because he feels that here is humanity, freedom, choice. He does not know that he is already moulded by a system: he does not know that the choice itself is the result of a false dichotomy rooted in the heart of our culture. Those who do sense this, and who don't wish to subject themselves to further moulding, tend to leave, in a half-unconscious, instinctive attempt to find work where they won't be divided against themselves. With all our institutions, from the police force to academia, from medicine to politics, we give little attention to the people who leave—that process of elimination that goes on all the time and which excludes, very early, those likely to be original and reforming, leaving those attracted to a thing because that is what they are already like. A young policeman leaves the Force saying he doesn't like what he has to do. A young teacher leaves teaching, here idealism snubbed. This social mechanism goes almost unnoticed—yet it is as powerful as any in keeping our institutions rigid and oppressive.
Doris Lessing
The most essential prediction of Darwinism is that, given an astronomical number of chances, unintelligent processes can make seemingly-designed systems, ones of the complexity of those found in the cell. ID specifically denies this, predicting that in the absence of intelligent input no such systems would develop. So Darwinism and ID make clear, opposite predictions of what we should find when we examine genetic results from a stupendous number of organisms that are under relentless pressure from natural selection. The recent genetic results are a stringent test. The results: 1) Darwinism’s prediction is falsified; 2) Design’s prediction is confirmed.
Michael J. Behe
I think one of the problems [with raising intelligent children in modern society] is compulsory schooling...and that children are sitting there, and they are taught and told what to believe; they are passive from the very beginning – and one must be very, very aggressive intellectually to have a high IQ [...] the child is taught. Right from the beginning, it's a passive process. He or she sits there, and they simply try to believe everything they're told?
Marilyn vos Savant
Developing and implementing IT governance design effectiveness and efficiency can be a multidirectional, interactive, iterative, and adaptive process.
Robert E. Davis (IT Auditing: IT Governance (IT Auditing, #4))
Excarnation The process by which religion (and Christianity in particular) is dis-embodied and de-ritualized, turned into a “belief system.
James K.A. Smith (How (Not) to Be Secular: Reading Charles Taylor)
The entropy of a closed system never decreases. Every process must by law decay.
Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See)
You can be an expert any field of study with consistent effort and consistent learning.
Lailah Gifty Akita
The transpersonal experiences revealing the Earth as an intelligent, conscious entity are corroborated by scientific evidence. Gregory Bateson, who created a brilliant synthesis of cybernetics, information and systems theory, the theory of evolution, anthropology, and psychology came to the conclusion that it was logically inevitable to assume that mental processes occurred at all levels in any system or natural phenomenon of sufficient complexity. He believed that mental processes are present in cells, organs, tissues, organisms, animal and human groups, eco-systems, and even the earth and universe as a whole.
Stanislav Grof (The Holotropic Mind: The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape Our Lives)
utilizing” a resource means making use of the resource in a way that moves the system toward the goal. “Activating” a resource is like pressing the ON switch of a machine; it runs whether or not there is any benefit to be derived from the work it’s doing.
Eliyahu M. Goldratt (The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement)
When we're talking about businesses adapting to change, it's not just about the processes and systems but also about people and their ability to practice new relationships, methods and behaviors.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr
STEP 1. Identify the system’s bottlenecks. (After all it wasn’t too difficult to identify the oven and the NCX10 as the bottlenecks of the plant.) STEP 2. Decide how to exploit the bottlenecks. (That was fun. Realizing that those machines should not take a lunch break, etc.) STEP 3. Subordinate everything else to the above decision. (Making sure that everything marches to the tune of the constraints. The red and green tags.) STEP 4. Elevate the system’s bottlenecks. (Bringing back the old Zmegma, switching back to old, less “effective” routings. . . .) STEP 5. If, in a previous step, a bottleneck has been broken go back to step 1.
Eliyahu M. Goldratt (The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement)
I want good people to come here from all over the world, but I want them to do so legally. We can expedite the process, we can reward achievement and excellemce, but we have to respect the legal process. And those people who take advantage of the system and come here illegally should never enjoy the benefits of being a resident--or citizen--of this nation. So I am against any path to citizenship for undocumented workers or anyone else who is in this country illegaly. They should--and need to--go home and get in line.
Donald J. Trump (Crippled America: How to Make America Great Again)
Design is a fundamental human activity, relevant and useful to everyone. Anything humans create—be it product, communication or system—is a result of the process of making inspiration real. I believe in doing what works as circumstances change: quirky or unusual solutions are often good ones. Nature bends and so should we as appropriate. Nature is always right outside our door as a reference and touch point. We should use it far more than we do.
Maggie Macnab (Design by Nature: Using Universal Forms and Principles in Design)
Far from rejecting outright any hierarchy of success or failure, philosophy instead reconfigures the judging process, lending legitimacy to theidea that themainstream value system may unfairly consign some people to disgrace and others to respectability.
Alain de Botton (Status Anxiety)
The rain forest has its own defenses. The earth’s immune system, so to speak, has recognized the presence of the human species and is starting to kick in. The earth is attempting to rid itself of an infection by the human parasite. Perhaps AIDS is the first step in a natural process of clearance.
Richard Preston (The Hot Zone)
NASA are idiots. They want to send canned primates to Mars!" Manfred swallows a mouthful of beer, aggressively plonks his glass on the table: "Mars is just dumb mass at the bottom of a gravity well; there isn't even a biosphere there. They should be working on uploading and solving the nanoassembly conformational problem instead. Then we could turn all the available dumb matter into computronium and use it for processing our thoughts. Long-term, it's the only way to go. The solar system is a dead loss right now – dumb all over! Just measure the MIPS per milligram. If it isn't thinking, it isn't working. We need to start with the low-mass bodies, reconfigure them for our own use. Dismantle the moon! Dismantle Mars! Build masses of free-flying nanocomputing processor nodes exchanging data via laser link, each layer running off the waste heat of the next one in. Matrioshka brains, Russian doll Dyson spheres the size of solar systems. Teach dumb matter to do the Turing boogie!
Charles Stross (Accelerando)
There is nothing admirable about being obedient to a system that doesn’t serve you. The present system we endure day in, day out is designed to turn us against each other while a minority of people get rich off our backs, destroying the planet in the process.
Rupert Dreyfus (The Rebel's Sketchbook)
What seems like a reaction to some present circumstance is, in fact, a reliving of past emotional experience. This subtle but pervasive process in the body, brain, and nervous system has been called implicit memory, as compared to the explicit memory apparatus that recalls events, facts, and circumstances. According to the psychologist and memory researcher Daniel Schacter, implicit memory is active “when people are influenced by past experience without any awareness that they are remembering.… If we are unaware that something is influencing our behavior, there is little we can do to understand or counteract it. The subtle, virtually undetectable nature of implicit memory is one reason it can have powerful effects on our mental lives.”12 Whenever a person “overreacts”—that is, reacts in a way that seems inappropriately exaggerated to the situation at hand—we can be sure that implicit memory is at work. The reaction is not to the irritant in the present but to some buried hurt in the past. Many of us look back puzzled on some emotional explosion and ask ourselves, “What the heck was that about?” It was about implicit memory; we just didn’t realize it at the time.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
Relativism is a widespread evil, and it is not easy to combat it. The task becomes more complex inasmuch as it arbitrarily serves as a sort of charter for a way of communal life. Relativism attempts to complete the process of the social disappearance of God. It guides mankind with an attractive logic that proves to be a perverse totalitarian system.
Robert Sarah (God or Nothing)
Every previous revolutionary movement in human history has made the same basic mistake. They’ve all seen power as a static apparatus, as a structure. And it’s not. It’s a dynamic, a flow system with two possible tendencies. Power either accumulates, or it diffuses through the system. In most societies, it’s in accumulative mode, and most revolutionary movements are only really interested in reconstituting the accumulation in a new location. A genuine revolution has to reverse the flow. And no one ever does that, because they’re all too fucking scared of losing their conning tower moment in the historical process. If you tear down one agglutinative power dynamic and put another one in its place, you’ve changed nothing. You’re not going to solve any of that society’s problems, they’ll just reemerge at a new angle. You’ve got to set up the nanotech that will deal with the problems on its own. You’ve got to build the structures that allow for diffusion of power, not re-grouping. Accountability, demodynamic access, systems of constituted rights, education in the use of political infrastructure
Richard K. Morgan (Woken Furies (Takeshi Kovacs, #3))
You are yet to catch up with the real world if you've never studied any concepts outside the school syllabus or read any books beside the texts books school forced you to read. Most people are just programmed not educated
Nicky Verd
Flow, I must remind you here is a being-systemic process. Depression is a being-systemic deregulation that affects the neurophysiological.
Dew Platt (The Rudeness of Soul)
Reflective processing allows us to handle highly complex choices, but it is slower and more tiring than the automatic system. It requires motivation and significant effort.
Sheena Iyengar (The Art of Choosing)
The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.
Donald J. Trump
We all behave like Maxwell’s demon. Organisms organize. In everyday experience lies the reason sober physicists across two centuries kept this cartoon fantasy alive. We sort the mail, build sand castles, solve jigsaw puzzles, separate wheat from chaff, rearrange chess pieces, collect stamps, alphabetize books, create symmetry, compose sonnets and sonatas, and put our rooms in order, and all this we do requires no great energy, as long as we can apply intelligence. We propagate structure (not just we humans but we who are alive). We disturb the tendency toward equilibrium. It would be absurd to attempt a thermodynamic accounting for such processes, but it is not absurd to say we are reducing entropy, piece by piece. Bit by bit. The original demon, discerning one molecules at a time, distinguishing fast from slow, and operating his little gateway, is sometimes described as “superintelligent,” but compared to a real organism it is an idiot savant. Not only do living things lessen the disorder in their environments; they are in themselves, their skeletons and their flesh, vesicles and membranes, shells and carapaces, leaves and blossoms, circulatory systems and metabolic pathways - miracles of pattern and structure. It sometimes seems as if curbing entropy is our quixotic purpose in the universe.
James Gleick (The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood)
One problem with the systems of assessment that use letters and grades is that they are usually light on description and heavy on comparison. Students are sometimes given grades without really knowing what they mean, and teachers sometimes give grades without being completely sure why. A second problem is that a single letter or number cannot convey the complexities of the process that it is meant to summarize. And some outcomes cannot be adequately expressed in this way at all. As the noted educator Elliot Eisner once put it, “Not everything important is measurable and not everything measurable is important.
Ken Robinson (Creative Schools: Revolutionizing Education from the Ground Up)
On Earth one of the things that a large proportion of the locals is most proud of is this wonderful economic system which, with a sureness and certainty so comprehensive one could almost imagine the process bears some relation to their limited and limiting notions of either thermodynamics or God, all food, comfort, energy, shelter, space, fuel and sustenance gravitates naturally and easily away from those who need it most and towards those who need it least. Indeed, those on the receiving end of such largesse are often harmed unto death by its arrival, though the effects may take years and generations to manifest themselves.
Iain M. Banks (The State of the Art (Culture, #4))
More fundamentally than any of this, though, is their deep fear that if the free market system really has set in motion physical and chemical processes that, if allowed to continue unchecked, threaten large parts of humanity at an existential level, then their entire crusade to morally redeem capitalism has been for naught. With stakes like these, clearly greed is not so very good after all. And that is what is behind the abrupt rise in climate change denial among hardcore conservatives: they have come to understand that as soon as they admit that climate change is real, they will lose the central ideological battle of our time—whether we need to plan and manage our societies to reflect our goals and values, or whether that task can be left to the magic of the market.
Naomi Klein (This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate)
One could say that someone who does nothing but wait is like a glutton whose digestive system processes great masses of food without extracting any useful nourishment. One could go further and say that just as undigested food does not strengthen a man, time spent in waiting does not age him.
Thomas Mann (The Magic Mountain)
The process of reforming the mental health system never includes the complaints that families and caregivers have regarding a need for increased access to resources, treatment, education, and financial support. Reform has continued to ignore the basic needs of families and suffering individuals with severe mental illness and special needs.
Támara Hill (Mental Health In A Failed American System: What Every Parent, Family, & Caregiver Should Know)
Delaying a meal brings about symptoms most people call "hunger." These symptoms include abdominal cramping, weakness, and feeling ill-the same as during drug withdrawal. This is not hunger. Our dietary habits, especially eating animal-protein-rich foods three times a day, are so stressful to the detoxification system in our liver and kidneys that we start to get withdrawal, or detoxification, symptoms the minute we aren't busy processing such food. Real hunger is not that uncomfortable.
Joel Fuhrman
Self-consciousness is, from a naturalistic point of view (in this case neurobiological), not more than a degree of sophistication of neural processes. The emergence of self-conscious states is not a drastic, extravagant, earth-shaking phenomenon.
István Aranyosi (The Peripheral Mind: Philosophy of Mind and the Peripheral Nervous System)
Individual humans are not super, but the organism of which we are all tiny cellular parts is most certainly that. The life-form that's so big we forget it's there, that turns minerals on its planet into tools to touch the infinite black gap between stars or probe the obliterating pressures at the bottom of the oceans. We are already part of a superbeing, a monster, a god, a living process that is so all encompassing that it is to an individual life what water is to a fish. We are cells in the body of a three-billion-year-old life-form whose roots are in the Precambrian oceans and whose genetic wiring extends through the living structures of everything on the planet, connecting everything that has ever lived in one immense nervous system.
Grant Morrison (Supergods: What Masked Vigilantes, Miraculous Mutants, and a Sun God from Smallville Can Teach Us About Being Human)
For the world is an ever-elusive and ever-disappointing mirage only from the standpoint of someone standing aside from it—as if it were quite other than himself—and then trying to grasp it. But a third response is possible. Not withdrawal, not stewardship on the hypothesis of a future reward, but the fullest collaboration with the world as a harmonious system of contained conflicts—based on the realization that the only real "I" is the whole endless process.
Alan W. Watts (The Book: On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are)
Breakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change. This pattern shows up everywhere. Cancer spends 80 percent of its life undetectable, then takes over the body in months. Bamboo can barely be seen for the first five years as it builds extensive root systems underground before exploding ninety feet into the air within six weeks. Similarly, habits often appear to make no difference until you cross a critical threshold and unlock a new level of performance. In the early and middle stages of any quest, there is often a Valley of Disappointment. You expect to make progress in a linear fashion and it’s frustrating how ineffective changes can seem during the first days, weeks, and even months. It doesn’t feel like you are going anywhere. It’s a hallmark of any compounding process: the most powerful outcomes
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
What is remarkable is that there are no traces of evolution from simple to sophisticated, and the same is true of mathematics, medicine, astronomy and architecture and of Egypt's amazingly rich and convoluted religio-mythological system (even the central content of such refined works as the Book of the Dead existed right at the start of the dynastic period). 7 The majority of Egyptologists will not consider the implications of Egypt's early sophistication. These implications are startling, according to a number of more daring thinkers. John Anthony West, an expert on the early dynastic period, asks: How does a complex civilization spring full-blown into being? Look at a 1905 automobile and compare it to a modern one. There is no mistaking the process of `development'. But in Egypt there are no parallels. Everything is right there at the start. The answer to the mystery is of course obvious but, because it is repellent to the prevailing cast of modern thinking, it is seldom considered. Egyptian civilization was not a `development', it was a legacy.
Graham Hancock (Fingerprints of the Gods: The Evidence of Earth's Lost Civilization)
Technology is taking over mind control programmes today, which allows them to go direct to the brain's information processing systems through the medium of electricity, electromagnetism, frequency, and microchips.
David Icke
it is presupposed that no entity can be conceived in complete abstraction from the system of the universe, and that it is the business of speculative philosophy to exhibit this truth. This character is its coherence.
Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality)
The process occurs in two stages. The first step is to grant law enforcement officials extraordinary discretion regarding whom to stop, search, arrest, and charge for drug offenses, thus ensuring that conscious and unconscious racial beliefs and stereotypes will be given free rein. Unbridled discretion inevitably creates huge racial disparities. Then, the damning step: Close the courthouse doors to all claims by defendants and private litigants that the criminal justice system operates in racially discriminatory fashion. Demand that anyone who wants to challenge racial bias in the system offer, in advance, clear proof that the racial disparities are the product of intentional racial discrimination—i.e., the work of a bigot. This evidence will almost never be available in the era of colorblindness, because everyone knows—but does not say—that the enemy in the War on Drugs can be identified by race. This simple design has helped to produce one of the most extraordinary systems of racialized social control the world has ever seen.
Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness)
Their findings about who these people are should sound familiar by now: "high tolerance for ambiguity"; "systems thinkers"; "additional technical knowledge from peripheral domains"; "repurposing what is already available"; "adept at using analogous domains for finding inputs to the invention process"; "ability to connect disparate pieces of information in new ways"; "synthesizing information from many different sources"; "they appear to flit among ideas"; "broad range of interests"; "they read more (and more broadly) than other technologists and have a wider range of outside interests"; "need to learn significantly across domains"; "Serial innovators also need to communicate with various individuals with technical expertise outside of their own domain.
David Epstein (Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World)
It’s a subtle thing, freedom. It takes effort; it takes attention and focus to not act something like an automaton. Although we do have freedom, we exercise it only when we strive for awareness, when we are conscious not just of the content of the mind but also of the mind itself as a process.’ We may say, then, that in the world of the psyche, freedom is a relative concept: the power to choose exists only when our automatic mechanisms are subject to those brain systems that are able to maintain conscious awareness. A person experiences greater or less freedom from one situation to the next, from one interaction to the next, from one moment to the next. Anyone whose automatic brain mechanisms habitually run in overdrive has diminished capacity for free decision making, especially if the parts of the brain that facilitate conscious choice are impaired or underdeveloped.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
[Lee Oswald] saw himself as part of something vast and sweeping. He was the product of a sweeping history, he and his mother, locked into a process, a system of money and property that diminished their human worth every day, as if by scientific law. The books made him part of something. Something led up to his presence in this room, in this particular skin, and something would follow. Men in small rooms. Men reading and waiting, struggling with secret and feverish ideas.
Don DeLillo (Libra)
I’m such a negative person, and always have been. Was I born that way? I don’t know. I am constantly disgusted by reality, horrified and afraid. I cling desperately to the few things that give me some solace, that make me feel good. I hate most of humanity. Though I might be very fond of particular individuals, humanity in general fills me with contempt and despair. I hate most of what passes for civilization. I hate the modern world. For one thing there are just too Goddamn many people. I hate the hordes, the crowds in their vast cities, with all their hateful vehicles, their noise and their constant meaningless comings and goings. I hate cars. I hate modern architecture. Every building built after 1955 should be torn down! I despise modern music. Words cannot express how much it gets on my nerves – the false, pretentious, smug assertiveness of it. I hate business, having to deal with money. Money is one of the most hateful inventions of the human race. I hate the commodity culture, in which everything is bought and sold. No stone is left unturned. I hate the mass media, and how passively people suck up to it. I hate having to get up in the morning and face another day of this insanity. I hate having to eat, shit, maintain the body – I hate my body. The thought of my internal functions, the organs, digestion, the brain, the nervous system, horrify me. Nature is horrible. It’s not cute and loveable. It’s kill or be killed. It’s very dangerous out there. The natural world is filled with scary, murderous creatures and forces. I hate the whole way that nature functions. Sex is especially hateful and horrifying, the male penetrating the female, his dick goes into her hole, she’s impregnated, another being grows inside her, and then she must go through a painful ordeal as the new being pushes out of her, only to repeat the whole process in time. Reproduction – what could be more existentially repulsive? How I hate the courting ritual. I was always repelled by my own sex drive, which in my youth never left me alone. I was constantly driven by frustrated desires to do bizarre and unacceptable things with and to women. My soul was in constant conflict about it. I never was able to resolve it. Old age is the only relief. I hate the way the human psyche works, the way we are traumatized and stupidly imprinted in early childhood and have to spend the rest of our lives trying to overcome these infantile mental fixations. And we never ever fully succeed in this endeavor. I hate organized religions. I hate governments. It’s all a lot of power games played out by ambition-driven people, and foisted on the weak, the poor, and on children. Most humans are bullies. Adults pick on children. Older children pick on younger children. Men bully women. The rich bully the poor. People love to dominate. I hate the way humans worship power – one of the most disgusting of all human traits. I hate the human tendency towards revenge and vindictiveness. I hate the way humans are constantly trying to trick and deceive one another, to swindle, to cheat, and take unfair advantage of the innocent, the naïve and the ignorant. I hate the vacuous, false, banal conversation that goes on among people. Sometimes I feel suffocated; I want to flee from it. For me, to be human is, for the most part, to hate what I am. When I suddenly realize that I am one of them, I want to scream in horror.
Robert Crumb
When a business is experiencing dysfunction, it often times has a lot to do with internal processes and internal systems. And when we put in place new internal processes and new internal systems based on clear objectives and a clear value-add strategy, the business transitions from dysfunction to effectiveness.
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr
What better way could we teach our children the importance of learning to push forward despite failure than to openly embrace in the education system Trial and Learn as our truly only human learning process. In doing so, we eliminate the stigma of failure and view it as an important part of the process of learning.
Martha Char Love (Increasing Intuitional Intelligence: How the Awareness of Instinctual Gut Feelings Fosters Human Learning, Intuition, and Longevity)
Resilient strength is the opposite of helplessness. The tree is made strong and resilient by its grounded root system. These roots take nourishment from the ground and grow strong. Grounding also allows the tree to be resilient so that it can yield to the winds of change and not be uprooted. Springiness is the facility to ground and ‘unground’ in a rhythmical way. This buoyancy is a dynamic form of grounding. Aggressiveness is the biological ability to be vigorous and energetic, especially when using instinct and force. In the immobility (traumatized) state, these assertive energies are inaccessible. The restoration of healthy aggression is an essential part in the recovery from trauma. Empowerment is the acceptance of personal authority. It derives from the capacity to choose the direction and execution of one’s own energies. Mastery is the possession of skillful techniques in dealing successfully with threat. Orientation is the process of ascertaining one’s position relative to both circumstance and environment. In these ways the residue of trauma is renegotiated.
Peter A. Levine (Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma)
As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1))
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the Capitalist System was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens. By this method they not only confiscate, but they confiscate arbitrarily; and, while the process impoverishes many, it actually enriches some.
John Maynard Keynes (The Economic Consequences of the Peace)
So you see, if you become aware of the fact that you are all of your own body, and that the beating of your heart is not just something that happens to you, but something you're doing, then you become aware also in the same moment and at the same time that you're not only beating your heart, but that you are shining the sun. Why? Because the process of your bodily existence and its rhythms is a process, an energy system which is continuous with the shining of the sun, just like the East River, here, is a continuous energy system, and all the waves in it are activities of the whole East River, and that's continuous with the Atlantic Ocean, and that's all one energy system and finally the Atlantic ocean gets around to being the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, etc., and so all the waters of the Earth are a continuous energy system. It isn't just that the East River is part of it. You can't draw any line and say 'Look, this is where the East River ends and the rest of it begins,' as if you can in the parts of an automobile, where you can say 'This is definitely part of the generator,here, and over here is a spark plug.' There's not that kind of isolation between the elements of nature.
Alan W. Watts
Consider all the inanimate matter in the universe, all the dumb atoms, all the mindless molecules, all the oblivious dust grains and pebbles and rocks and iceballs and worlds and stars, all the unthinking galaxies and superclusters, wheeling through the oblivious time-haunted megaparsecs of the cosmic supervoid. In all that immensity, she had somehow contrived to BE a human being, a microscopically tiny, cosmically insignificant bundle of information-processing systems, wired to a mind more structurally complex than the Milky Way itself, maybe even more complex than the rest of the *whole damned universe*!
Alastair Reynolds (Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidon's Children, #1))
Two or three million years ago, the Earth was a ball of fire, revolving arround it's own axis. It took millions of years to cool under the constant downpour of rain. The Process was slow, imperceptible, but the gradual change - transition - came to pass. Same for generation after generation of evolution on Earth. Nature never jumps. She works in a leisurely manner, experimenting continuously. The same natural transition can be seen in man. This gradual change, transition, works every where, silently building storms and destroying soloar systems.
Lajos Egri
within the capitalist system all methods for raising the social productiveness of labour are brought about at the cost of the individual labourer; all means for the development of production transform themselves into means of domination over, and exploitation of, the producers; they mutilate the labourer into a fragment of a man, degrade him to the level of an appendage of a machine, destroy every remnant of charm in his work and turn it into a hated toil; they estrange from him the intellectual potentialities of the labour process in the same proportion as science is incorporated in it as an independent power; they distort the conditions under which he works, subject him during the labour process to a despotism the more hateful for its meanness; they transform his life-time into working-time, and drag his wife and child beneath the wheels of the Juggernaut of capital. But all methods for the production of surplus-value are at the same time methods of accumulation; and every extension of accumulation becomes again a means for the development of those methods. It follows therefore that in proportion as capital accumulates, the lot of the labourer, be his payment high or low, must grow worse. The law, finally, that always equilibrates the relative surplus population, or industrial reserve army, to the extent and energy of accumulation, this law rivets the labourer to capital more firmly than the wedges of Vulcan did Prometheus to the rock. It establishes an accumulation of misery, corresponding with accumulation of capital. Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole, i.e., on the side of the class that produces its own product in the form of capital.
Karl Marx (Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, Volume 1)
In the world described by quantum mechanics there is no reality except in the relations between physical systems. It isn’t things that enter into relations but, rather, relations that ground the notion of ‘thing’. The world of quantum mechanics is not a world of objects: it is a world of events. Things are built by the happening of elementary events: as the philosopher Nelson Goodman wrote in the 1950s, in a beautiful phrase, ‘An object is a monotonous process.’ A stone is a vibration of quanta that maintains its structure for a while, just as a marine wave maintains its identity for a while before melting again into the sea.
Carlo Rovelli (Reality Is Not What It Seems: The Journey to Quantum Gravity)
Make no mistake, our economic system can do no other than destroy everything it encounters. That’s what happens when you convert living beings to cash. That conversion, from living trees to lumber, schools of cod to fish sticks, and onward to numbers on a ledger, is the central process of our economic system. Psychologically, it is the central process of our enculturation; we are most handsomely rewarded in direct relation to the manner in which we can help increase the Gross National Product.
Derrick Jensen (A Language Older Than Words)
It should be noted that before phones had every letter displayed on their touch screens, you had to press the number-pad buttons. To text, you had to use a system called T9 texting--with the letters being evenly divided among all the numbers. I would explain the process in more depth, but those were dark times and I'd rather not go down that rabbit hole, even mentally.
Tyler Oakley
Then comes the process of visualization. You must see the picture more and more complete, see the detail, and, as the details begin to unfold the ways and means for bringing it into manifestation will develop. One thing will lead to another. Thought will lead to action, action will develop methods, methods will develop friends, and friends will bring about circumstances, and, finally, the third step, or Materialization, will have been accomplished.
Charles F. Haanel (The Master Key System)
There is no method of self-knowledge. Seeking a method invariably implies the desire to attain some result – and that is what we all want. We follow authority – if not that of a person, then of a system, of an ideology – because we want a result that will be satisfactory, which will give us security. We really do not want to understand ourselves, our impulses and reactions, the whole process of our thinking, the conscious as well as the unconscious; we would rather pursue a system that assures us of a result. But the pursuit of a system is invariably the outcome of our desire for security, for certainty, and the result is obviously not the understand of oneself., When we follow a method, we must have authorities – the teacher, the guru, the savior, the Master – who will guarantee us what we desire, and surely that is not the way of self-knowledge. Authority prevents the understanding of oneself, does it not? Under the shelter of an authority, a guide, you may have temporarily a sense of security, a sense of well-being, but that is not the understanding of the total process of oneself. Authority in its very nature prevents the full awareness of oneself and therefore ultimately destroys freedom; in freedom alone can there be creativeness. There can be creativeness only through self-knowledge.
J. Krishnamurti (The Book of Life)
We found that external approvals were negatively correlated with lead time, deployment frequency, and restore time, and had no correlation with change fail rate. In short, approval by an external body (such as a manager or CAB) simply doesn’t work to increase the stability of production systems, measured by the time to restore service and change fail rate. However, it certainly slows things down. It is, in fact, worse than having no change approval process at all.
Nicole Forsgren (Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations)
Modern literary theory sees a similarity between walking and writing that I find persuasive: words inscribe a text in the same way that a walk inscribes space. In The practicse of Everyday Life, Michel de Certeau writes, 'The act of walking is a process of appropriation of the topographical system on the part of the pedestrian; it is a special acting-out of the place...and it implies relations among differentiated positions.' I think this is a fancy way of saying that writing is one way of making the world our own, and that walking is another.
Geoff Nicholson (The Lost Art of Walking: The History, Science, and Literature of Pedestrianism)
Producing a high body count was crucial for promotion in the officer corps. Many high-level officers established “production quotas” for their units, and systems of “debit” and “credit” to calculate exactly how efficiently subordinate units and middle-management personnel performed. Different formulas were used, but the commitment to war as a rational production process was common to all.11
Nick Turse (Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam)
Your gut includes the stomach, small intestine, large intestine (which includes the colon), liver, and gallbladder. The gut is responsible for ensuring that you absorb the nutrients of the food you eat, properly expel waste and toxins, and maintain a strong immune system. Yet not only is it critical for these everyday functions, your gut also holds a life force of its own. Food does not digest just from the physical process of food breakdown (a process scientific study hasn’t fully pieced together); there are also critical spiritual and metaphysical factors involved in digestion. That’s why enlightened beings on the planet employ eating techniques such as slow and thorough chewing; mindful, present eating; prayer before, during, or after meals; and becoming one with your food.
Anthony William (Medical Medium: Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illness and How to Finally Heal)
Within sixty-minute limits or one-hundred-yard limits or the limits of a game board, we can look for perfect moments or perfect structures. In my fiction I think this search sometimes turns out to be a cruel delusion. No optimism, no pessimism. No homesickness for lost values or for the way fiction used to be written. Everybody seems to know everything. Subjects surface and are totally exhausted in a matter of days or weeks, totally played out by the publishing industry and the broadcast industry. Nothing is too arcane to escape the treatment, the process. Making things difficult for the reader is less an attack on the reader than it is on the age and its facile knowledge-market. The writer is the person who stands outside society, independent of affiliation and independent of influence. The writer is the man or woman who automatically takes a stance against his or her government. There are so many temptations for American writers to become part of the system and part of the structure that now, more than ever, we have to resist. American writers ought to stand and live in the margins, and be more dangerous. Writers in repressive societies are considered dangerous. That’s why so many of them are in jail. Some people prefer to believe in conspiracy because they are made anxious by random acts. Believing in conspiracy is almost comforting because, in a sense, a conspiracy is a story we tell each other to ward off the dread of chaotic and random acts. Conspiracy offers coherence. I see contemporary violence as a kind of sardonic response to the promise of consumer fulfillment in America... I see this desperation against the backdrop of brightly colored packages and products and consumer happiness and every promise that American life makes day by day and minute by minute everywhere we go. Discarded pages mark the physical dimensions of a writer’s labor. Film allows us to examine ourselves in ways earlier societies could not—examine ourselves, imitate ourselves, extend ourselves, reshape our reality. It permeates our lives, this double vision, and also detaches us, turns some of us into actors doing walk-throughs. Every new novel stretches the term of the contract—let me live long enough to do one more book. You become a serious novelist by living long enough.
Don DeLillo
Building purpose in a creative group is not about generating a brilliant moment of breakthrough but rather about building systems that can churn through lots of ideas in order to help unearth the right choices. This is why Catmull has learned to focus less on the ideas than on people—specifically, on providing teams with tools and support to locate paths, make hard choices, and navigate the arduous process together.
Daniel Coyle (The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups)
Paradox is at the heart of the mysteries of witchcraft. I believe that paradox is what allows the conditions for the witch to create magick. By creating a paradox, we essentially overload the processing of reality by breaking the rules. In a way, we’re jamming the system like throwing a wrench into the cogs, where we can then enter in our own codes for when we’re done and the system and its processes of reality resume.
Mat Auryn (Psychic Witch: A Metaphysical Guide to Meditation, Magick & Manifestation)
... Because the staging of human embryos is complex, owing to the continuous process of change during development, it is proposed that a new system of classification could be developed using the terms mentioned in the Qur'an and Sunnah. The proposed system is simple, comprehensive, and conforms with present embryological knowledge.287 (Dr. Keith L. Moore, Professor Emeritus, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Toronto)
Harun Yahya (Allah's Miracles in the Qur'an)
But unpredictability was not the reason physicists and mathematicians began taking pendulums seriously again in the sixties and seventies. Unpredictability was only the attention-grabber. Those studying chaotic dynamics discovered that the disorderly behavior of simple systems acted as a creative process. It generated complexity: richly organized patterns, sometimes stable and sometimes unstable, sometimes finite and sometimes infinite, but always with the fascination of living things. That was why scientists played with toys.
James Gleick (Chaos: Making a New Science)
When we're talking about implementing change in business, it's good have a holistic view and to consider all of the dynamics, including: What is the scope of the change? Who is being impacted (customers, employees, others)? How are people being impacted, and in what way? Are there different perspectives regarding the experience of the change? What exactly is being changed (systems, processes, jobs)? What is the expected timeline for the change?
Hendrith Vanlon Smith Jr
You are dealing with national security. Anything labeled a national security issie is taken out from the system. There is no due process, no lawyers. They may do with us what they wish. Fear is a government's greatest weapon. With it, they can convince a people that they need to abandon their freedom. In exchange, they get safety. Of course, you just trade one monster for another, but by the time the people realize this, it is too late. -- Excerpt from Superhero.
Victor Methos
By crossing into a space whose curvature is no longer that of the real, nor that of truth, the era of simulation is inaugurated by a liquidation of all referentials - worse: with their artificial resurrection in the systems of signs, a material more malleable than meaning, in that it lends itself to all systems of equivalences, to all binary oppositions, to all combinatory algebra. It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real, that is to say of an operation of deterring every real process via its operational double, a programmatic, metastable, perfectly descriptive machine that offers all the signs of the real and shortcircuits all its vicissitudes.
Jean Baudrillard (Simulacra and Simulation)
Holacracy includes the following elements: • a constitution, which sets out the “rules of the game” and redistributes authority • a new way to structure an organization and define people’s roles and spheres of authority within it • a unique decision-making process for updating those roles and authorities • a meeting process for keeping teams in sync and getting work done together
Brian J. Robertson (Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World)
Since human needs are finite, but human greed is not, economic growth can usually be maintained through artificial creation of needs by means of advertising. The goods that are produced and sold in this way are often unneeded, and thus are essentially waste. The pollution and depletion of natural resources generated by this enormous waste of unnecessary goods is exacerbated by the waste of energy and materials in inefficient production processes. Indeed, as we discuss in Chapter 17, the
Fritjof Capra (The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision)
So I devised a way for you to create anew, and Know, Who You Are in your experience. I did this by providing you with: 1. Relativity—a system wherein you could exist as a thing in relationship to something else. 2. Forgetfulness—a process by which you willingly submit to total amnesia, so that you can not know that relativity is merely a trick, and that you are All of It. 3. Consciousness—a state of Being in which you grow until you reach full awareness, then becoming a True and Living God, creating and experiencing your own reality, expanding and exploring that reality, changing and re-creating that reality as you stretch your consciousness to new limits—or shall we say, to no limit.
Neale Donald Walsch (The Complete Conversations with God)
the human sensory system sends the brain about eleven million bits of information each second.9 However, anyone who has ever taken care of a few children who are all trying to talk to you at once can testify that your conscious mind cannot process anywhere near that amount. The actual amount of information we can handle has been estimated to be somewhere between sixteen and fifty bits per second.
Leonard Mlodinow (Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior)
Management is a set of processes that can keep a complicated system of people and technology running smoothly. The most important aspects of management include planning, budgeting, organizing, staffing, controlling, and problem solving. Leadership is a set of processes that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to significantly changing circumstances. Leadership defines what the future should look like, aligns people with that vision, and inspires them to make it happen despite the obstacles
John P. Kotter (Leading Change [with a New Preface])
The process of spreading a philosophy by means of free discussion among thinking adults is long and complex. From Plato to the present, it has been the dream of social planners to circumvent this process and, instead, to inject a controversial ideology directly into the plastic, unformed minds of children—by means of seizing a country’s educational system and turning it into a vehicle for indoctrination. In this way one may capture an entire generation without intellectual resistance, in a single coup d’école.
Leonard Peikoff (The Ominous Parallels)
This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council,” the voice continued. “As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.
Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1))
Moreover, we look in vain to philosophy for the answer to the great riddle. Despite its noble purpose and history, pure philosophy long ago abandoned the foundational questions about human existence. The question itself is a reputation killer. It has become a Gorgon for philosophers, upon whose visage even the best thinkers fear to gaze. They have good reason for their aversion. Most of the history of philosophy consists of failed models of the mind. The field of discourse is strewn with the wreckage of theories of consciousness. After the decline of logical positivism in the middle of the twentieth century, and the attempt of this movement to blend science and logic into a closed system, professional philosophers dispersed in an intellectual diaspora. They emigrated into the more tractable disciplines not yet colonized by science – intellectual history, semantics, logic, foundational mathematics, ethics, theology, and, most lucratively, problems of personal life adjustment. Philosophers flourish in these various endeavors, but for the time being, at least, and by a process of elimination, the solution of the riddle has been left to science. What science promises, and has already supplied in part, is the following. There is a real creation story of humanity, and one only, and it is not a myth. It is being worked out and tested, and enriched and strengthened, step by step. (9-10)
Edward O. Wilson (The Social Conquest of Earth)
Leonardo did not pursue science and engineering in order to dominate nature, as Francis Bacon would advocate a century later, but always tried to learn as much as possible from nature. He was in awe of the beauty he saw in the complexity of natural forms, patterns, and processes, and aware that nature’s ingenuity was far superior to human design. Accordingly, he often used natural processes and structures as models for his own designs.
Fritjof Capra (The Ecology of Law: Toward a Legal System in Tune with Nature and Community)
The fact is, the primary way that Ottawa and Washington deal with Native people is to ignore us. They know that the court system favors the powerful and the wealthy and the influential, and that, if we buy into the notion of an impartial justice system, tribes and bands can be forced through a long, convoluted, and expensive process designed to wear us down and bankrupt our economies. Be good. Play by our rules. Don't cause a disturbance.
Thomas King (The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America)
People tolerate taxes for a while because they have previously accumulated wealth. As the tax burden grows and productivity falls, tax revenue falls and the only answer seems to be higher taxes. If the people can no longer tolerate higher taxes, government merely borrows and creates new money, and then the inflation tax is paid with higher prices. The whole process destabilizes the political system and eventually becomes a threat to civilized progress.
Ron Paul (Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom)
Those in the System, would like us to share their belief that all the changes [we are witnessing] are not connected: they are simply anomalies, isolated symptoms to be treated or preferably ignored, before the all-powerful Western capitalist patriarchal model goes on to ever greater heights and grander ejaculations. Most are numb to it, caught in fear, denial or resistance. But we, Burning Woman, know this process intimately. Amongst Burning Women and Men, there is a fierce, quiet knowing that these are both the death pangs of the old, and the birthing pangs of the new.
Lucy H. Pearce (Burning Woman)
The main substantive achievement of neoliberalization, however, has been to redistribute, rather than to generate, wealth and income. …[T]his was achieved under the rubric of ‘accumulation by dispossession’. By this I mean the continuation and proliferation of accumulation practices which Marx had treated of as ‘primitive’ or ‘original’ during the rise of capitalism. These include the commodification and privatization of land and the forceful expulsion of peasant populations (compare the cases, described above, of Mexico and of China, where 70 million peasants are thought to have been displaced in recent times); conversion of various forms of property rights (common, collective, state, etc.) into exclusive private property rights (most spectacularly represented by China); suppression of rights to the commons; commodification of labour power and the suppression of alternative (indigenous) forms of production and consumption; colonial, neocolonial, and imperial processes of appropriation of assets (including natural resources); monetization of exchange and taxation, particularly of land; the slave trade (which continues particularly in the sex industry); and usury, the national debt and, most devastating of all, the use of the credit system as a radical means of accumulation by dispossession.
David Harvey (A Brief History of Neoliberalism)
In Asia, we say that there are three sources of energy--sexual, breath, and spirit...You need to know how to reestablish the balance, or you may act irresponsibly. According to Taoism and buddhism, there are practices to help reestablish that balance, such as meditation or martial arts. You can learn the ways to channel your sexual energy into deep realizations in the domains of art and meditation. The second source of energy is khi, breath energy. Life can be described as a process of burning. In order to burn, every cell in our body needs nutrition and oxygen...Some people cultivate their khi by refraining from smoking and talking, or by practicing conscious breathing after talking a lot...The third soruce of energy is than, spirit energy. When you don't sleep at night, you lose some of this kind of energy. Your nervous system becomes exhausted and you cannot sutdy or practice meditation well, or make good decisions. You don't have a clear mind because of lack of sleep or from worrying too much. Worry and anxiety drain this source of energy. So don't worry. Don't stay up too late. Keep your nervous system healthy. Prevent anxiety. These kinds of practices cultivate the third source of energy. You need this source of energy to practice meditation well. A spritual breakthrough requires the power of your spirit energy, which comes about through concentration and knowing how to preserve this source of energy. When you have strong spirit energy, you only have to focus it on an object, and you will have a breakthrough. If you don't have than, the light of your concentration will not shine brightly, because the light emitted is very weak," (35-36).
Thich Nhat Hanh
If the people really cared about their fellow man, they would control their appetites (greed, procreation, etc.) so that they would not have to operate on a credit or welfare social system which steals from the worker to satisfy the bum. Since most of the general public will not exercise restraint, there are only two alternatives to reduce the economic inductance of the system. (1) Let the populace bludgeon each other to death in war, which will only result in a total destruction of the living earth. (2) Take control of the world by the use of economic “silent weapons” in a form of “quiet warfare” and reduce the economic inductance of the world to a safe level by a process of benevolent slavery and genocide. The latter option has been taken as the obviously better option. At this point it should be crystal clear to the reader why absolute secrecy about the silent weapons is necessary. The general public refuses to improve its own mentality and its faith in its fellow man. It has become a herd of proliferating barbarians, and, so to speak, a blight upon the face of the earth.
Milton William Cooper (Behold a Pale Horse)
We've created a system that demands almost no engagement with our food; we've wrung all the responsibility and sweat equity from the process. It's not that we're getting something for nothing - after all, we do pay for our food, and we suffer the consequences of dining from the industrial trough. But charging a package of center-cut pork chops to your Visa is a hell of a lot different than facing down the source of those chops with a .22 in one hand and a well-honed knife in the other.
Ben Hewitt (The Town That Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food)
Magical work involves change and creation. And the subject of the magician’s work is the self. The magician is the focus of his or her own alchemical processes. By adapting one’s personal vision to reflect the macrocosm, we can change ourselves to better reflect those divine ideas. We may alter our body, appearance, the chemical composition of our blood, and the configuration of our nervous system. We may tame the feral beasts that dwell within our organic structure. By changing ourselves to resonate with the divine, we may transmute every portion of ourselves and become as purified vessels for the eternal spirit.
Israel Regardie (Middle Pillar: The Balance Between Mind & Magic: formerly The Middle Pillar)
To learn hard things quickly, you must focus intensely without distraction. To learn, in other words, is an act of deep work. If you’re comfortable going deep, you’ll be comfortable mastering the increasingly complex systems and skills needed to thrive in our economy. If you instead remain one of the many for whom depth is uncomfortable and distraction ubiquitous, you shouldn’t expect these systems and skills to come easily to you. Deep Work Helps You Produce at an Elite Level Adam Grant produces at an elite level. When I met Grant in 2013, he was the youngest professor to be awarded tenure at the Wharton School of Business at Penn. A year later, when I started writing this chapter (and was just beginning to think about my own tenure process), the claim was updated: He’s now the youngest full professor* at Wharton. The reason Grant advanced so quickly in his corner of academia is simple: He produces. In 2012, Grant published seven articles—all of them in major journals. This is an absurdly
Cal Newport (Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)
While the idea of equal time for opposing opinions makes sense in a two-party political system, it does not work for science, because science is not about opinion. It is about evidence. It is about claims that can be, and have been, tested through scientific research—experiments, experience, and observation—research that is then subject to critical review by a jury of scientific peers. Claims that have not gone through that process—or have gone through it and failed—are not scientific, and do not deserve equal time in a scientific debate.
Naomi Oreskes (Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming)
On the other hand it is possible that human control over the machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car of his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite -- just as it is today, but with two difference. Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless the may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite. Or, if the elite consist of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure his "problem." Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power process or to make them "sublimate" their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a society, but they most certainly will not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.
Theodore J. Kaczynski
The skin is an integral part of the body and depends upon the general system for its supply of food and to carry away its waste. Skin health depends primarily upon the general health of the body. All attempts to deal with the skin as an independent entity, without due regard to its reliance upon the general system, must of necessity result in failure. The skin is nourished by the blood and there is no other source from which it can draw sustenance. "Skin foods" are all frauds. These are composed chiefly of grease. No fat can be assimilated by the skin or other tissues of the body until it has first been broken down into its constituent fatty acids in the process of digestion. Even were this not true, the skin contains very little fat and these "skin foods" would still not constitute proper nourishment for it. Blood is the only skin food.
Herbert M. Shelton (The Science and Fine Art of Natural Hygiene)
To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us - and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the summary work of spirituality - and it is indeed work. Yes, it is also the work of “a Power greater than ourselves,” and it will lead to a great luminosity and depth of seeing. That is why true faith is one of the most holistic and free actions a human can perform. It leads to such broad and deep perception that most traditions would just call it “light.” Remember, Jesus said that we also are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), as well as saying it about himself (John 8:12). Strange that we see light in him but do not imitate him in seeing the same light in ourselves. Such luminous seeing is quite the opposite of the closed-minded, dead-hearted, body-denying thing that much religion has been allowed to become. As you surely have heard before, “Religion is lived by people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is lived by people who have been through hell and come out enlightened.” The innocuous mental belief systems of much religion are probably the major cause of atheism in the world today, because people see that religion has not generally created people who are that different, more caring, or less prejudiced than other people. In fact, they are often worse because they think they have God on their small side. I wish I did not have to say this, but religion either produces the very best people or the very worst. Jesus makes this point in many settings and stories. Mere mental belief systems split people apart, whereas actual faith puts all our parts (body, heart, and head) on notice and on call. Honestly, it takes major surgery and much of one’s life to get head, heart, and body to put down their defenses, their false programs for happiness, and their many forms of resistance to what is right in front of them. This is the meat and muscle of the whole conversion process.
Richard Rohr (Radical Grace: Daily Meditations by Richard Rohr)
Along with the sight-clouding dizziness, nausea makes me balk at that milk cream, separates me from the mother and the father who proffer it. "I" want none of that element, sign of their desire; "I" do not want to listen, "I" do not assimilate it. "I" expel it. But since the food is not an "other" for "me," who am only in their desire, I expel myself, I spit myself out, I abject myself with the same motion through which "I" claim to establish myself. That detail, perhaps an insignificant one, but one that they ferret out, emphasize, evaluate, that trifle turns me inside out, guts sprawling; it is thus that they see the "I" am in the process of becoming an other at the expense of my own death, During that course I'm which "I" become, I give birth to myself amid the violence of sobs, of vomit. Mute protest of the symptom, shattering the violence of a convulsion that, to be sure, is inscribed in a symbolic system, but in which, without either wanting or being able to become integrated in order to answer to it, it abreacts. It abjects
Julia Kristeva (Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection)
People aren’t really needed for anything else in the Griftopia, but since Americans require the illusion of self-government, we have elections. To make sure those elections are effectively meaningless as far as Wall Street is concerned, two things end up being true. One is that voters on both sides of the aisle are gradually weaned off that habit of having real expectations for their politicians, consuming the voting process entirely as culture-war entertainment. The other is that millions of tenuously middle-class voters are conned into pushing Wall Street’s own twisted greed ethos as though it were their own. The Tea Party, with its weirdly binary view of society as being split up cleanly into competing groups of producers and parasites—that’s just a cultural echo of the insane greed-is-good belief system on Wall Street that’s provided the foundation/excuse for a generation of brilliantly complex thievery. Those beliefs have trickled down to the ex-middle-class suckers struggling to stay on top of their mortgages and their credit card bills, and the real joke is that these voters listen to CNBC and Fox and they genuinely believe they’re the producers in this binary narrative. They don’t get that somewhere way up above, there’s a group of people who’ve been living the Atlas dream for real—and building a self-dealing financial bureaucracy in their own insane image.
Matt Taibbi (Griftopia: Bubble Machines, Vampire Squids, and the Long Con That Is Breaking America)
Even if we have a reliable criterion for detecting design, and even if that criterion tells us that biological systems are designed, it seems that determining a biological system to be designed is akin to shrugging our shoulders and saying God did it. The fear is that admitting design as an explanation will stifle scientific inquiry, that scientists will stop investigating difficult problems because they have a sufficient explanation already. But design is not a science stopper. Indeed, design can foster inquiry where traditional evolutionary approaches obstruct it. Consider the term "junk DNA." Implicit in this term is the view that because the genome of an organism has been cobbled together through a long, undirected evolutionary process, the genome is a patchwork of which only limited portions are essential to the organism. Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function. And indeed, the most recent findings suggest that designating DNA as "junk" merely cloaks our current lack of knowledge about function. For instance, in a recent issue of the Journal of Theoretical Biology, John Bodnar describes how "non-coding DNA in eukaryotic genomes encodes a language which programs organismal growth and development." Design encourages scientists to look for function where evolution discourages it. Or consider vestigial organs that later are found to have a function after all. Evolutionary biology texts often cite the human coccyx as a "vestigial structure" that hearkens back to vertebrate ancestors with tails. Yet if one looks at a recent edition of Gray’s Anatomy, one finds that the coccyx is a crucial point of contact with muscles that attach to the pelvic floor. The phrase "vestigial structure" often merely cloaks our current lack of knowledge about function. The human appendix, formerly thought to be vestigial, is now known to be a functioning component of the immune system.
William A. Dembski
The problem is this: nature has assembled all these species on this planet. The human species is no more important than any other species on this planet. For some reason, man accorded himself a superior place in this scheme of things. He thinks that he is created for some grander purpose than, if I could give a crude example, the mosquito that is sucking his blood. What is responsible for this is the value system that we have created. And the value system has come out of the religious thinking of man. Man has created religion because it gives him a cover. This demand to fulfill himself, to seek something out there was made imperative because of this self-consciousness in you which occurred somewhere along the line of the evolutionary process. Man separated himself from the totality of nature.
U.G. Krishnamurti (No Way Out: Dialogues with Krishnamurti)
Opening lines of The Great Indian Novel narrated as a modern day MahaBharata. They tell me India is an underdeveloped country. They attend seminars, appear on television, even come to see me, creasing their eight-hundred-rupee suits and clutching their moulded plastic briefcases, to announce in tones of infinite understanding that India has yet to develop. Stuff and nonsense, of course. “These are the kind of fellows who couldn’t tell their kundalini from a decomposing earthworm, and I don’t hesitate to tell them so. I tell them they have no knowledge of history and even less of their own heritage. I tell them that if they would only read the Mahabarata and the Ramayana, study the Golden Ages of the Mauryas and the Guptas and even of those Muslim chaps the Mughals, they would realize that India in not an underdeveloped country but a highly developed country in an advanced stage of decay.” They laugh about me pityingly and shift from one foot to the other, unable to conceal their impatience, and I tell them that, in fact, everything in India in over-developed, particularly the social structure, the bureaucracy, the political process, the financial system, the university network and, for that matter, the women. Cantankerous old man, I them thinking, as they make their several exists
Shashi Tharoor
I believe that a new philosophy will be created by those who were born after Hiroshima which will dramatically change the human condition. It will have these characteristics: (1) It will be scientific in essence and science-fiction in style. (2) It will be based on the expansion of consciousness, understanding and control of the nervous system, producing a quantum leap in intellectual efficiency and emotional equilibrium. (3) Politically it will stress individualism, decentralization of authority, a Iive-and-let-Iive tolerance of difference, local option and a mind-your-own-business libertarianism. (4) It will continue the trend towards open sexual expression and a more honest, realistic acceptance of both the equality of and the magnetic difference between the sexes. The mythic religious symbol will not be a man on a cross but a man-woman pair united in higher love communion. (5) It will seek revelation and Higher Intelligence not in formal rituals addressed to an anthropomorphic deity, but within natural processes, the nervous system, the genetic code, and without, in attempts to effect extra-planetary communication. (6) It will include practical, technical neurological psychological procedures for understanding and managing the intimations of union-immortality implicit in the dying process. (7) The emotional tone of the new philosophy will be hedonic, aesthetic, fearless, optimistic, humorous, practical, skeptical, hip. We are now experiencing a quiescent preparatory waiting period. Everyone knows something is going to happen. The seeds of the Sixties have taken root underground. The blossoming is to come.
Timothy Leary (Neuropolitique (Revised))
Historically one of the main defects of constitutional government has been the failure to insure the fair value of political liberty. The necessary corrective steps have not been taken, indeed, they never seem to have been seriously entertained. Disparities in the distribution of property and wealth that far exceed what is compatible with political equality have generally been tolerated by the legal system. Public resources have not been devoted to maintaining the institutions required for the fair value of political liberty. Essentially the fault lies in the fact that the democratic political process is at best regulated rivalry; it does not even in theory have the desirable properties that price theory ascribes to truly competitive markets. Moreover, the effects of injustices in the political system are much more grave and long lasting than market imperfections. Political power rapidly accumulates and becomes unequal; and making use of the coercive apparatus of the state and its law, those who gain the advantage can often assure themselves of a favored position. Thus inequities in the economic and social system may soon undermine whatever political equality might have existed under fortunate historical conditions. Universal suffrage is an insufficient counterpoise; for when parties and elections are financed not by public funds but by private contributions, the political forum is so constrained by the wishes of the dominant interests that the basic measures needed to establish just constitutional rule are seldom properly presented. These questions, however, belong to political sociology. 116 I mention them here as a way of emphasizing that our discussion is part of the theory of justice and must not be mistaken for a theory of the political system. We are in the way of describing an ideal arrangement, comparison with which defines a standard for judging actual institutions, and indicates what must be maintained to justify departures from it.
John Rawls (A Theory of Justice)
We did not make ourselves, nor did we fashion a world that could not work without pain, and great pain at that, with a little pleasure, very little, to string us along--a world where all organisms are inexorably pushed by pain throughout their lives to do that which will improve their chances to survive and create more of themselves. Left unchecked, this process will last as long as a single cell remains palpitating in this cesspool of the solar system, this toilet of the galaxy. So why not lend a hand in nature's suicide? For want of a deity that could be held to account for a world in which there is terrible pain, let nature take the blame for our troubles. We did not create an environment uncongenial to our species, nature did. One would think that nature was trying to kill us off, or get us to suicide ourselves once the blunder of consciousness came upon us. What was nature thinking? We tried to anthropomorphize it, to romanticize it, to let it into our hearts. But nature kept its distance, leaving us to our own devices. So be it. Survival is a two-way street. Once we settle ourselves off-world, we can blow up this planet from outer space. It's the only way to be sure its stench will not follow us. Let it save itself if it can--the condemned are known for the acrobatics they will execute to wriggle out of their sentences. But if it cannot destroy what it has made, and what could possibly unmake it, then may it perish along with every other living thing it has introduced to pain.
Thomas Ligotti (The Conspiracy Against the Human Race)
Over recent years, [there's been] a strong tendency to require assessment of children and teachers so that [teachers] have to teach to tests and the test determines what happens to the child, and what happens to the teacher...that's guaranteed to destroy any meaningful educational process: it means the teacher cannot be creative, imaginative, pay attention to individual students' needs, that a student can't pursue things [...] and the teacher's future depends on it as well as the students'...the people who are sitting in the offices, the bureaucrats designing this - they're not evil people, but they're working within a system of ideology and doctrines, which turns what they're doing into something extremely harmful [...] the assessment itself is completely artificial; it's not ranking teachers in accordance with their ability to help develop children who reach their potential, explore their creative interests and so on [...] you're getting some kind of a 'rank,' but it's a 'rank' that's mostly meaningless, and the very ranking itself is harmful. It's turning us into individuals who devote our lives to achieving a rank, not into doing things that are valuable and important. It's highly destructive...in, say, elementary education, you're training kids this way [...] I can see it with my own children: when my own kids were in elementary school (at what's called a good school, a good-quality suburban school), by the time they were in third grade, they were dividing up their friends into 'dumb' and 'smart.' You had 'dumb' if you were lower-tracked, and 'smart' if you were upper-tracked [...] it's just extremely harmful and has nothing to do with education. Education is developing your own potential and creativity. Maybe you're not going to do well in school, and you'll do great in art; that's fine. It's another way to live a fulfilling and wonderful life, and one that's significant for other people as well as yourself. The whole idea is wrong in itself; it's creating something that's called 'economic man': the 'economic man' is somebody who rationally calculates how to improve his/her own status, and status means (basically) wealth. So you rationally calculate what kind of choices you should make to increase your wealth - don't pay attention to anything else - or maybe maximize the amount of goods you have. What kind of a human being is that? All of these mechanisms like testing, assessing, evaluating, measuring...they force people to develop those characteristics. The ones who don't do it are considered, maybe, 'behavioral problems' or some other deviance [...] these ideas and concepts have consequences. And it's not just that they're ideas, there are huge industries devoted to trying to instill them...the public relations industry, advertising, marketing, and so on. It's a huge industry, and it's a propaganda industry. It's a propaganda industry designed to create a certain type of human being: the one who can maximize consumption and can disregard his actions on others.
Noam Chomsky
In accordance with the prevailing conceptions in the U.S., there is no infringement on democracy if a few corporations control the information system: in fact, that is the essence of democracy. In the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the leading figure of the public relations industry, Edward Bernays, explains that “the very essence of the democratic process” is “the freedom to persuade and suggest,” what he calls “the engineering of consent.” “A leader,” he continues, “frequently cannot wait for the people to arrive at even general understanding … Democratic leaders must play their part in … engineering … consent to socially constructive goals and values,” applying “scientific principles and tried practices to the task of getting people to support ideas and programs”; and although it remains unsaid, it is evident enough that those who control resources will be in a position to judge what is “socially constructive,” to engineer consent through the media, and to implement policy through the mechanisms of the state. If the freedom to persuade happens to be concentrated in a few hands, we must recognize that such is the nature of a free society.
Noam Chomsky (Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies)
The right of self-determination of the peoples includes the right to a state of their own. However, the foundation of a state does not increase the freedom of a people. The system of the United Nations that is based on nation-states has remained inefficient. Meanwhile, nation-states have become serious obstacles for any social development. Democratic confederalism is the contrasting paradigm of the oppressed people. Democratic confederalism is a non-state social paradigm. It is not controlled by a state. At the same time, democratic confederalism is the cultural organizational blueprint of a democratic nation. Democratic confederalism is based on grassroots participation. Its decision-making processes lie with the communities. Higher levels only serve the coordination and implementation of the will of the communities that send their delegates to the general assemblies. For limited space of time they are both mouthpiece and executive institution. However, the basic power of decision rests with the local grassroots institutions.
Abdullah Öcalan (Democratic Confederalism)
Fitbit is a company that knows the value of Shadow Testing. Founded by Eric Friedman and James Park in September 2008, Fitbit makes a small clip-on exercise and sleep data-gathering device. The Fitbit device tracks your activity levels throughout the day and night, then automatically uploads your data to the Web, where it analyzes your health, fitness, and sleep patterns. It’s a neat concept, but creating new hardware is time-consuming, expensive, and fraught with risk, so here’s what Friedman and Park did. The same day they announced the Fitbit idea to the world, they started allowing customers to preorder a Fitbit on their Web site, based on little more than a description of what the device would do and a few renderings of what the product would look like. The billing system collected names, addresses, and verified credit card numbers, but no charges were actually processed until the product was ready to ship, which gave the company an out in case their plans fell through. Orders started rolling in, and one month later, investors had the confidence to pony up $2 million dollars to make the Fitbit a reality. A year later, the first real Fitbit was shipped to customers. That’s the power of Shadow Testing.
Josh Kaufman (The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business)
As it happens I am comfortable with the Michael Laskis of this world, with those who live outside rather than in, those in whom the sense of dread is so acute that they turn to extreme and doomed commitments; I know something about dread myself, and appreciate the elaborate systems with which some people manage to fill the void, appreciate all the opiates of the people, whether they are as accessible as alcohol and heroin and promiscuity or as hard to come by as faith in God or History. But of course I did not mention dread to Michael Laski, whose particular opiate is History. I did suggest “depression,” did venture that it might have been “depressing” for him to see only a dozen or so faces at his last May Day demonstration, but he told me that depression was an impediment to the revolutionary process, a disease afflicting only those who do not have ideology to sustain them.
Joan Didion (Slouching Towards Bethlehem)
What is more, the whole apparatus of life has become so complex and the processes of production, distribution, and consumption have become so specialized and subdivided, that the individual person loses confidence in his own unaided capacities: he is increasingly subject to commands he does not understand, at the mercy of forces over which he exercises no effective control, moving to a destination he has not chosen. Unlike the taboo-ridden savage, who is often childishly over-confident in the powers of his shaman or magician to control formidable natural forces, however inimical, the machine-conditioned individual feels lost and helpless as day by day he metaphorically punches his time-card, takes his place on the assembly line, and at the end draws a pay check that proves worthless for obtaining any of the genuine goods of life. This lack of close personal involvement in the daily routine brings a general loss of contact with reality: instead of continuous interplay between the inner and the outer world, with constant feedback or readjustment and with stimulus to fresh creativity, only the outer world-and mainly the collectively organized outer world of the power system-exercises authority: even private dreams must be channeled through television, film, and disc, in order to become acceptable. With this feeling of alienation goes the typical psychological problem of our time, characterized in classic terms by Erik Erikson as the 'Identity Crisis.' In a world of transitory family nurture, transitory human contacts, transitory jobs and places of residence, transitory sexual and family relations, the basic conditions for maintaining continuity and establishing personal equilibrium disappear. The individual suddenly awakens, as Tolstoi did in a famous crisis in his own life at Arzamas, to find himself in a strange, dark room, far from home, threatened by obscure hostile forces, unable to discover where he is or who he is, appalled by the prospect of a meaningless death at the end of a meaningless life.
Lewis Mumford (The Pentagon of Power (The Myth of the Machine, Vol 2))
I’m frustrated and sad to think of all the good people who have abandoned Christianity because they felt they had to choose between their faith and their intellectual integrity or between their religion and their compassion. I’m heartbroken to think of all the new ideas they could have contributed had someone not told them that new ideas were unwelcome. Of course, we all carry around false fundamentals. We all have unexamined assumptions and lists of rules, both spoken and unspoken, that weigh down our faith. We’ve all got little measuring sticks that help us determine who’s “in” and who’s “out,” and we’ve all got truths we don’t want to face because we’re afraid that our faith can’t withstand any change. It’s not just conservative Christians. Many of us who consider ourselves more progressive can be tolerant of everyone except the intolerant, judgmental toward those we deem judgmental, and unfairly critical of tradition or authority or doctrine or the establishment or whatever it is we’re in the process of deconstructing at the moment. In a way, we’re all fundamentalists. We all have pet theological systems, political positions, and standards of morality that are not essential to the gospel but that we cling to so tightly that we leave fingernail marks on the palms of our hands.
Rachel Held Evans (Faith Unraveled: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask Questions)
We aren’t born with a ready-made conscience. As we pass through life, we hurt people and people hurt us, we act compassionately and others show compassion to us. If we pay attention, our moral sensitivity sharpens, and these experiences become a source of valuable ethical knowledge about what is good, what is right and who I really am. Humanism thus sees life as a gradual process of inner change, leading from ignorance to enlightenment by means of experiences. The highest aim of humanist life is to fully develop your knowledge through a large variety of intellectual, emotional and physical experiences. In the early nineteenth century, Wilhelm von Humboldt – one of the chief architects of the modern education system – said that the aim of existence is ‘a distillation of the widest possible experience of life into wisdom’. He also wrote that ‘there is only one summit in life – to have taken the measure in feeling of everything human’. This could well be the humanist motto.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
The most damaging example of the systems archetype called “drift to low performance” is the process by which modern industrial culture has eroded the goal of morality. The workings of the trap have been classic, and awful to behold. Examples of bad human behavior are held up, magnified by the media, affirmed by the culture, as typical. This is just what you would expect. After all, we’re only human. The far more numerous examples of human goodness are barely noticed. They are “not news.” They are exceptions. Must have been a saint. Can’t expect everyone to behave like that. And so expectations are lowered. The gap between desired behavior and actual behavior narrows. Fewer actions are taken to affirm and instill ideals. The public discourse is full of cynicism. Public leaders are visibly, unrepentantly amoral or immoral and are not held to account. Idealism is ridiculed. Statements of moral belief are suspect. It is much easier to talk about hate in public than to talk about love.
Donella H. Meadows (Thinking in Systems: A Primer)
As this book will show, objectively defined races simply do not exist. Even Arthur Mourant realized that fact nearly fifty years ago, when he wrote: 'Rather does a study of blood groups show a heterogeneity in the proudest nation and support the view that the races of the present day are but temporary integrations in the constant process of . . . mixing that marks the history of every living species.' The temptation to classify the human species into categories which have no objective basis is an inevitable but regrettable consequence of the gene frequency system when it is taken too far. For several years the study of human genetics got firmly bogged down in the intellectually pointless (and morally dangerous) morass of constructing ever more detailed classifications of human population groups.
Bryan Sykes (The Seven Daughters of Eve: The Science That Reveals Our Genetic Ancestry)
The system begins to display something other than synchronicity, it begins to act as a unit, to have behaviors. And just as a study of the parts of a self-organized whole cannot give an idea of the larger whole’s nature, so too the study of the smaller parts’ behaviors cannot give an idea of the larger system’s behavior. As Camazine et al. note, “an emergent property cannot be understood simply by examining in isolation the properties of the system’s components. . . . Emergence refers to a process by which a system of interacting subunits acquires qualitatively new properties that cannot be understood as a simple addition of their individual contributions.”6 Or as systems researcher Yaneer Bar-Yam puts it, “A complex system is formed out of many components whose behavior is emergent, that is, the behavior of the system cannot be simply inferred from the behavior of its components. . . . Emergent properties cannot be studied by physically taking a system apart and looking at the parts (reductionism).
Stephen Harrod Buhner (Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Beyond the Doors of Perception into the Dreaming of Earth)
Modern society is in a state of turbulence brought about, in large part, by political efforts to maintain static, equilibrium conditions; practices that interfere with the ceaseless processes of change that provide the fluctuating order upon which any creative system—such as the marketplace—depends. Institutions, being ends in themselves, have trained us to resist change and favor the status quo; to insist upon the certain and the concrete and to dismiss the uncertain and the fanciful; and to embrace security and fear risk. Life, on the other hand is change, is adaptation, creativity, and novelty. But creativity has always depended upon a fascination with the mysterious, and an appreciation for the kinds of questions that reveal more than answers can ever provide. When creative processes become subordinated to preserving established interests; when the glorification of systems takes priority over the sanctity of individual lives, societies begin to lose their life-sustaining vibrancy and may collapse.
Butler Shaffer (The Wizards of Ozymandias: Reflections on the Decline and Fall)
Modern elevators are strange and complex entities. The ancient electric winch and “maximum-capacity-eight-persons" jobs bear as much relation to a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Happy Vertical People Transporter as a packet of mixed nuts does to the entire west wing of the Sirian State Mental Hospital. This is because they operate on the curious principle of “defocused temporal perception.” In other words they have the capacity to see dimly into the immediate future, which enables the elevator to be on the right floor to pick you up even before you knew you wanted it, thus eliminating all the tedious chatting, relaxing and making friends that people were previously forced to do while waiting for elevators. Not unnaturally, many elevators imbued with intelligence and precognition became terribly frustrated with the mindless business of going up and down, up and down, experimented briefly with the notion of going sideways, as a sort of existential protest, demanded participation in the decision-making process and finally took to squatting in basements sulking. An impoverished hitchhiker visiting any planets in the Sirius star system these days can pick up easy money working as a counselor for neurotic elevators.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
In all major socializing forces you will find an underlying movement to gain and maintain power through the use of words. From witch doctor to priest to bureaucrat it is all the same. A governed populace must be conditioned to accept power-words as actual things to confuse the symbolized system with the tangible universe. In the maintenance of such a power structure, certain symbols are kept out of the reach of common understanding—symbols such as those dealing with economic manipulation or those which define the local interpretation of sanity. Symbol-secrecy of this form leads to the development of fragmented sub-languages, each being a signal that its users are accumulating some form of power. With this insight into a power process, our Imperial Security Force must be ever alert to the formation of sub-languages.
Frank Herbert (Children of Dune (Dune Chronicles #3))
He looked past Chin toward streams of numbers running in opposite directions. He understood how much it meant to him, the roll and flip of data on a screen. He studied the figural diagrams that brought organic patterns into play, birdwing and chambered shell. It was shallow thinking to maintain that numbers and charts were the cold compression of unruly human energies, every sort of yearning and midnight sweat reduced to lucid units in the financial markets. "In fact data itself was soulful and glowing, a dynamic aspect of the life process. This was the eloquence of alphabets and numeric systems, now fully realized in electronic form, in the zero-oneness of the world, the digital imperative that defined every breath of the planet's living billions. Here was the heave of the biosphere. Our bodies and oceans were here, knowable and whole.
Don DeLillo (Cosmopolis)
On Rachel's show for November 7, 2012: Ohio really did go to President Obama last night. and he really did win. And he really was born in Hawaii. And he really is legitimately President of the United States, again. And the Bureau of Labor statistics did not make up a fake unemployment rate last month. And the congressional research service really can find no evidence that cutting taxes on rich people grows the economy. And the polls were not screwed to over-sample Democrats. And Nate Silver was not making up fake projections about the election to make conservatives feel bad; Nate Silver was doing math. And climate change is real. And rape really does cause pregnancy, sometimes. And evolution is a thing. And Benghazi was an attack on us, it was not a scandal by us. And nobody is taking away anyone's guns. And taxes have not gone up. And the deficit is dropping, actually. And Saddam Hussein did not have weapons of mass destruction. And the moon landing was real. And FEMA is not building concentration camps. And you and election observers are not taking over Texas. And moderate reforms of the regulations on the insurance industry and the financial services industry in this country are not the same thing as communism. Listen, last night was a good night for liberals and for democrats for very obvious reasons, but it was also, possibly, a good night for this country as a whole. Because in this country, we have a two-party system in government. And the idea is supposed to be that the two sides both come up with ways to confront and fix the real problems facing our country. They both propose possible solutions to our real problems. And we debate between those possible solutions. And by the process of debate, we pick the best idea. That competition between good ideas from both sides about real problems in the real country should result in our country having better choices, better options, than if only one side is really working on the hard stuff. And if the Republican Party and the conservative movement and the conservative media is stuck in a vacuum-sealed door-locked spin cycle of telling each other what makes them feel good and denying the factual, lived truth of the world, then we are all deprived as a nation of the constructive debate about competing feasible ideas about real problems. Last night the Republicans got shellacked, and they had no idea it was coming. And we saw them in real time, in real humiliating time, not believe it, even as it was happening to them. And unless they are going to secede, they are going to have to pop the factual bubble they have been so happy living inside if they do not want to get shellacked again, and that will be a painful process for them, but it will be good for the whole country, left, right, and center. You guys, we're counting on you. Wake up. There are real problems in the world. There are real, knowable facts in the world. Let's accept those and talk about how we might approach our problems differently. Let's move on from there. If the Republican Party and the conservative movement and conservative media are forced to do that by the humiliation they were dealt last night, we will all be better off as a nation. And in that spirit, congratulations, everyone!
Rachel Maddow
She'd already accepted that she loved him, hadn't she? And it had been easy, a simple process of steps and study. Her mind was amde up, her goals set. Damn it, she'd been pleased by the whole business. So what was this shaky, dizzy, painful sensation, this clutch of panic that made her want to turn her mount sharply around and ride as far away as possible? She'd been wrong, Keeyley realized as she pressed an unsteady hand to her jumpy heart.She'd only been falling in love up to now.How foolish of her to be lulled by the smooth slide of it.This was the moment, she understood that now. This was the moment the bottom dropped away and sent her crashing. Now the wind was knocked out of her, that same shock of sensation that came from losing your seat over a jump and findng yourself flipping through space until the ground reached up and smacked into you. Jolting bones and head and heart. Love was an outrageous shock to the system, she thought. It was a wonder anyone survived it. She was a Grant, Keeley reminded herself and straightened in the saddle. She knew how to take a tumble, jsut as she knew how to pick herself back up and focus mind and energy on the goal. She wouldn't just survive this knock to the heart.She'd thrive on it.And when she was done with Brian Donnelly, he wouldn't know what had hit him.
Nora Roberts (Irish Rebel (Irish Hearts, #3))
The consequences of this amassing of fortunes were first felt in the catastrophe experienced by small farmers in Europe and England. The peasants became impoverished, dependent workers crowded into city slums. For the first time in human history, the majority of Europeans depended for their livelihood on a small wealthy minority, a phenomenon that capitalist-based colonialism would spread worldwide. The symbol of this new development, indeed its currency, was gold. Gold fever drove colonizing ventures, organized at first in pursuit of the metal in its raw form. Later the pursuit of gold became more sophisticated, with planters and merchants establishing whatever conditions were necessary to hoard as much gold as possible. Thus was born an ideology: the belief in the inherent value of gold despite its relative uselessness in reality. Investors, monarchies, and parliamentarians devised methods to control the processes of wealth accumulation and the power that came with it, but the ideology behind gold fever mobilized settlers to cross the Atlantic to an unknown fate. Subjugating entire societies and civilizations, enslaving whole countries, and slaughtering people village by village did not seem too high a price to pay, nor did it appear inhumane. The systems of colonization were modern and rational, but its ideological basis was madness.
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (ReVisioning American History, #3))
Liberalism and science are systems—not just neat little theories—because they are self-skeptical rather than self-certain, by design. This is a reasoned—not a radical—skepticism. They put the empirical first, rather than the theoretical. They are self-correcting. Liberal systems like regulated capitalism, republican democracy, and science resolve conflicts by subjecting human economies, societies, and knowledge-production to evolutionary processes that—over time, and with persistent effort—produce reliable societies, governments, and provisionally true statements about the world. The proof is that almost everything has changed over the last five hundred years, especially in the West. As Theory points out, that progress has sometimes been problematic, but it has still been progress. Things are better than they were five hundred years ago, for most people most of the time, and this is undeniable.
Helen Pluckrose (Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody)
The Industrial Revolution started and made its biggest strides in England because of her uniquely inclusive economic institutions. These in turn were built on foundations laid by the inclusive political institutions brought about by the Glorious Revolution. It was the Glorious Revolution that strengthened and rationalized property rights, improved financial markets, undermined state-sanctioned monopolies in foreign trade, and removed the barriers to the expansion of industry. It was the Glorious Revolution that made the political system open and responsive to the economic needs and aspirations of society. These inclusive economic institutions gave men of talent and vision such as James Watt the opportunity and incentive to develop their skills and ideas and influence the system in ways that benefited them and the nation. Naturally these men, once they had become successful, had the same urges as any other person. They wanted to block others from entering their businesses and competing against them and feared the process of creative destruction that might put them out of business, as they had previously bankrupted others.
Daron Acemoğlu (Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty)
As the spectacular triumphs of technology mounted, something else was happening: old sources of belief came under siege. Nietzsche announced that God was dead. Darwin didn’t go as far but did make it clear that, if we were children of God, we had come to be so through a much longer and less dignified route than we had imagined, and that in the process we had picked up some strange and unseemly relatives. Marx argued that history had its own agenda and was taking us where it must, irrespective of our wishes. Freud taught that we had no understanding of our deepest needs and could not trust our traditional ways of reasoning to uncover them. John Watson, the founder of behaviorism, showed that free will was an illusion and that our behavior, in the end, was not unlike that of pigeons. And Einstein and his colleagues told us that there were no absolute means of judging anything in any case, that everything was relative. The thrust of a century of scholarship had the effect of making us lose confidence in our belief systems and therefore in ourselves. Amid the conceptual debris, there remained one sure thing to believe in—technology.
Neil Postman (Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology)
Just as the individual is not alone in the group, nor any one society alone among the others, so man is not alone in the universe. When the spectrum or rainbow of human cultures has finally sunk into the void created by our frenzy; as long as we continue to exist and there is a world, that tenuous arch linking us to the inaccessible will still remain, to show us the opposite course to that leading to enslavement; many may be unable to follow it, but its contemplation affords him the only privilege of which he can make himself worthy; that of arresting the process, of controlling the impulse which forces him to block up the cracks in the wall of necessity one by one and to complete his work at the same time as he shuts himself up within his prison; this is a privilege coveted by every society, whatever its beliefs, its political system or its level of civilization; a privilege to which it attaches its leisure, its pleasure, its peace of mind and its freedom; the possibility, vital for life, of unhitching, which consists - Oh! fond farewell to savages and explorations! - in grasping, during the brief intervals in which our species can bring itself to interrupt its hive-like activity, the essence of what it was and continues to be, below the threshold of thought and over and above society: in the contemplation of a mineral more beautiful than all our creations; in the scent that can be smelt at the heart of a lily and is more imbued with learning than all our books; or in the brief glance, heavy with patience, serenity and mutual forgiveness, that, through some involuntary understanding, one can sometimes exchange with a cat.
Claude Lévi-Strauss (Tristes Tropiques)
From the end of the World War twenty-one years ago, this country, like many others, went through a phase of having large groups of people carried away by some emotion--some alluring, attractive, even speciously inspiring, public presentation of a nostrum, a cure-all. Many Americans lost their heads because several plausible fellows lost theirs in expounding schemes to end barbarity, to give weekly handouts to people, to give everybody a better job--or, more modestly, for example, to put a chicken or two in every pot--all by adoption of some new financial plan or some new social system. And all of them burst like bubbles. Some proponents of nostrums were honest and sincere, others--too many of them--were seekers of personal power; still others saw a chance to get rich on the dimes and quarters of the poorer people in our population. All of them, perhaps unconsciously, were capitalizing on the fact that the democratic form of Government works slowly. There always exists in a democratic society a large group which, quite naturally, champs at the bit over the slowness of democracy; and that is why it is right for us who believe in democracy to keep the democratic processes progressive--in other words, moving forward with the advances in civilization. That is why it is dangerous for democracy to stop moving forward because any period of stagnation increases the numbers of those who demand action and action now.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Man can hardly be defined, after the fashion of Carlyle, as an animal who makes tools; ants and beavers and many other animals make tools, in the sense that they make an apparatus. Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
Human nature is not taken into account, it is excluded, it's not supposed to exist! They don't recognise that humanity, developing by a historical living process, will become at last a normal society, but they believe that a social system that has come out of some mathematical brain is going to organise all humanity at once and make it just and sinless in an instant, quicker than any living process! That's why they instinctively dislike history, 'nothing but ugliness and stupidity in it,' and they explain it all as stupidity! That's why they so dislike the living process of life; they don't want a living soul! The living soul demands life, the soul won't obey the rules of mechanics, the soul is an object of suspicion, the soul is retrograde! But what they want though it smells of death and can be made of india-rubber, at least is not alive, has no will, is servile and won't revolt! And it comes in the end to their reducing everything to the building of walls and the planning of rooms and passages in a phalanstery! The phalanstery is ready, indeed, but your human nature is not ready for the phalanstery--it wants life, it hasn't completed its vital process, it's too soon for the graveyard! You can't skip over nature by logic.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Problem #3: Goals restrict your happiness. The implicit assumption behind any goal is this: “Once I reach my goal, then I’ll be happy.” The problem with a goals-first mentality is that you’re continually putting happiness off until the next milestone. I’ve slipped into this trap so many times I’ve lost count. For years, happiness was always something for my future self to enjoy. I promised myself that once I gained twenty pounds of muscle or after my business was featured in the New York Times, then I could finally relax. Furthermore, goals create an “either-or” conflict: either you achieve your goal and are successful or you fail and you are a disappointment. You mentally box yourself into a narrow version of happiness. This is misguided. It is unlikely that your actual path through life will match the exact journey you had in mind when you set out. It makes no sense to restrict your satisfaction to one scenario when there are many paths to success. A systems-first mentality provides the antidote. When you fall in love with the process rather than the product, you don’t have to wait to give yourself permission to be happy. You can be satisfied anytime your system is running. And a system can be successful in many different forms, not just the one you first envision.
James Clear (Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones)
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
Perhaps there are many "nows" of varying duration, depending on just what it is we are doing. We must face up to the fact that, at least in the case of humans, the subject experiencing subjective time is not a perfect, structureless observer, but a complex, multilayered, multifaceted psyche. Different levels of our consciousness may experience time in quite different ways. This is evidently the case in terms of response time. You have probably had the slightly unnerving experience of jumping at the sound of a telephone a moment or two before you actually hear it ring. The shrill noise induces a reflex response through the nervous system much faster than the time it takes to create the conscious experience of the sound. It is fashionable to attribute certain qualities, such as speech ability, to the left side of the brain, whereas others, such as musical appreciation, belong to processes occurring on the right side. But why should both hemispheres experience a common time? And why should the subconscious use the same mental clock as the conscious?
Paul C.W. Davies (About Time: Einstein's Unfinished Revolution)
Take the example of our spinner. We have seen that, to daily reproduce his labouring power, he must daily reproduce a value of three shillings, which he will do by working six hours daily. But this does not disable him from working ten or twelve or more hours a day. But by paying the daily or weekly value of the spinner's labouring power the capitalist has acquired the right of using that labouring power during the whole day or week. He will, therefore, make him work say, daily, twelve hours. Over and above the six hours required to replace his wages, or the value of his labouring power, he will, therefore, have to work six other hours, which I shall call hours of surplus labour, which surplus labour will realize itself in a surplus value and a surplus produce. If our spinner, for example, by his daily labour of six hours, added three shillings' value to the cotton, a value forming an exact equivalent to his wages, he will, in twelce hours, add six shillings' worth to the cotton, and produce a proportional surplus of yarn. As he has sold his labouring power to the capitalist, the whole value of produce created by him belongs to the capitalist, the owner pro tem. of his labouring power. By advancing three shillings, the capitalist will, therefore, realize a value of six shillings, because, advancing a value in which six hours of labour are crystallized. By repeating this same process daily, the capitalist will daily advance three shillings and daily pocket six shillings, one half of which will go to pay wages anew, and the other half of which will form surplus value, for which the capitalist pays no equivalent. It is this sort of exchange between capital and labour upon which capitalistic production, or the wages system, is founded, and which must constantly result in reproducing the working man as a working man, and the capitalist as a capitalist.
Karl Marx (Wage-Labour and Capital/Value, Price and Profit)
Why should there be conscious experience at all? It is central to a subjective viewpoint, but from an objective viewpoint it is utterly unexpected. Taking the objective view, we can tell a story about how fields, waves, and particles in the spatiotemporal manifold interact in subtle ways, leading to the development of complex systems such as brains. In principle, there is no deep philosophical mystery in the fact that these systems can process information in complex ways, react to stimuli with sophisticated behavior, and even exhibit such complex capacities as learning, memory, and language. All this is impressive, but it is not metaphysically baffling. In contrast, the existence of conscious experience seems to be a new feature from this viewpoint. It is not something that one would have predicted from the other features alone. That is, consciousness is surprising. If all we knew about were the facts of physics, and even the facts about dynamics and information processing in complex systems, there would be no compelling reason to postulate the existence of conscious experience. If it were not for our direct evidence in the first-person case, the hypothesis would seem unwarranted; almost mystical, perhaps. Yet we know, directly, that there is conscious experience. The question is, how do we reconcile it with everything else we know?
David J. Chalmers (The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (Philosophy of Mind))
efficiently means providing slots in our schedules where we can maintain an attentional set for an extended period. This allows us to get more done and finish up with more energy. Related to the manager/worker distinction is that the prefrontal cortex contains circuits responsible for telling us whether we’re controlling something or someone else is. When we set up a system, this part of the brain marks it as self-generated. When we step into someone else’s system, the brain marks it that way. This may help explain why it’s easier to stick with an exercise program or diet that someone else sets up: We typically trust them as “experts” more than we trust ourselves. “My trainer told me to do three sets of ten reps at forty pounds—he’s a trainer, he must know what he’s talking about. I can’t design my own workout—what do I know?” It takes Herculean amounts of discipline to overcome the brain’s bias against self-generated motivational systems. Why? Because as with the fundamental attribution error we saw in Chapter 4, we don’t have access to others’ minds, only our own. We are painfully aware of all the fretting and indecision, all the nuances of our internal decision-making process that led us to reach a particular conclusion. (I really need to get serious about exercise.) We don’t have access to that (largely internal) process in others, so we tend to take their certainty as more compelling, in many cases, than our own. (Here’s your program. Do it every day.)
Daniel J. Levitin (The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload)
In Wegner’s studies, participants are asked to try hard not to think about something, such as a white bear, or food, or a stereotype. This is hard to do. More important, the moment one stops trying to suppress a thought, the thought comes flooding in and becomes even harder to banish. In other words, Wegner creates minor obsessions in his lab by instructing people not to obsess. Wegner explains this effect as an “ironic process” of mental control. 32 When controlled processing tries to influence thought (“Don’t think about a white bear!”), it sets up an explicit goal. And whenever one pursues a goal, a part of the mind automatically monitors progress, so that it can order corrections or know when success has been achieved. When that goal is an action in the world (such as arriving at the airport on time), this feedback system works well. But when the goal is mental, it backfires. Automatic processes continually check: “Am I not thinking about a white bear?” As the act of monitoring for the absence of the thought introduces the thought, the person must try even harder to divert consciousness. Automatic and controlled processes end up working at cross purposes, firing each other up to ever greater exertions. But because controlled processes tire quickly, eventually the inexhaustible automatic processes run unopposed, conjuring up herds of white bears. Thus, the attempt to remove an unpleasant thought can guarantee it a place on your frequent-play list of mental ruminations.
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)
[Neurotic] pride is both so vulnerable and so precious that it also must be protected in the future. The neurotic may build an elaborate system of avoidances in the hope of circumventing future hurts. This too is a process that goes on automatically. He is not aware of wanting to avoid an activity because it might hurt his pride. He just avoids it, often without even being aware that he is. The process pertains to activities, to associations with people, and it may put a check on realistic strivings and efforts. If it is widespread it can actually cripple a person's life. He does not embark on any serious pursuits commensurate with his gifts lest he fail to be a brilliant success. He would like to write or to paint and does not dare to start. He does not dare to approach girls lest they reject him. [...] He withdraws from social contacts lest he be self-conscious. So, according to his economic status, he either does nothing worthwhile or sticks to a mediocre job and restricts his expenses rigidly. In more than one way he lives beneath his means. In the long run this makes it necessary for him to withdraw farther from others, because he cannot face the fact of lagging behind his age group and therefore shuns comparisons or questions from anybody about his work. In order to endure life he must now entrench himself more firmly in his private fantasy-world. But, since all these measures are more a camouflage than a remedy for his pride, he may start to cultivate his neuroses because the neurosis with a capital N then becomes a precious alibi for the lack of accomplishment.
Karen Horney (Neurosis and Human Growth: The Struggle Towards Self-Realization)
Because complex animals can evolve their behavior rapidly. Changes can occur very quickly. Human beings are transforming the planet, and nobody knows whether it’s a dangerous development or not. So these behavioral processes can happen faster than we usually think evolution occurs. In ten thousand years human beings have gone from hunting to farming to cities to cyberspace. Behavior is screaming forward, and it might be nonadaptive. Nobody knows. Although personally, I think cyberspace means the end of our species.” “Yes? Why is that?” “Because it means the end of innovation,” Malcolm said. “This idea that the whole world is wired together is mass death. Every biologist knows that small groups in isolation evolve fastest. You put a thousand birds on an ocean island and they’ll evolve very fast. You put ten thousand on a big continent, and their evolution slows down. Now, for our own species, evolution occurs mostly through our behavior. We innovate new behavior to adapt. And everybody on earth knows that innovation only occurs in small groups. Put three people on a committee and they may get something done. Ten people, and it gets harder. Thirty people, and nothing happens. Thirty million, it becomes impossible. That’s the effect of mass media—it keeps anything from happening. Mass media swamps diversity. It makes every place the same. Bangkok or Tokyo or London: there’s a McDonald’s on one corner, a Benetton on another, a Gap across the street. Regional differences vanish. All differences vanish. In a mass-media world, there’s less of everything except the top ten books, records, movies, ideas. People worry about losing species diversity in the rain forest. But what about intellectual diversity—our most necessary resource? That’s disappearing faster than trees. But we haven’t figured that out, so now we’re planning to put five billion people together in cyberspace. And it’ll freeze the entire species. Everything will stop dead in its tracks. Everyone will think the same thing at the same time. Global uniformity. Oh, that hurts. Are you done?” “Almost,” Harding said. “Hang on.” “And believe me, it’ll be fast. If you map complex systems on a fitness landscape, you find the behavior can move so fast that fitness can drop precipitously. It doesn’t require asteroids or diseases or anything else. It’s just behavior that suddenly emerges, and turns out to be fatal to the creatures that do it. My idea was that dinosaurs—being complex creatures—might have undergone some of these behavioral changes. And that led to their extinction.
Michael Crichton (The Lost World (Jurassic Park, #2))
You see the impact of humans on Earth’s environment every day. We are trashing the place: There is plastic along our highways, the smell of a landfill, the carbonic acid (formed when carbon dioxide is dissolved in water) bleaching of coral reefs, the desertification of enormous areas of China and Africa (readily seen in satellite images), and a huge patch of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean. All of these are direct evidence of our effect on our world. We are killing off species at the rate of about one per day. It is estimated that humans are driving species to extinction at least a thousand times faster than the otherwise natural rate. Many people naïvely (and some, perhaps, deceptively) argue that loss of species is not that important. After all, we can see in the fossil record that about 99 percent of all the different kinds of living things that have ever lived here are gone forever, and we’re doing just fine today. What’s the big deal if we, as part of the ecosystem, kill off a great many more species of living things? We’ll just kill what we don’t need or notice. The problem with that idea is that although we can, in a sense, know what will become or what became of an individual species, we cannot be sure of what will happen to that species’ native ecosystem. We cannot predict the behavior of the whole, complex, connected system. We cannot know what will go wrong or right. However, we can be absolutely certain that by reducing or destroying biodiversity, our world will be less able to adapt. Our farms will be less productive, our water less clean, and our landscape more barren. We will have fewer genetic resources to draw on for medicines, for industrial processes, for future crops. Biodiversity is a result of the process of evolution, and it is also a safety net that helps keep that process going. In order to pass our own genes into the future and enable our offspring to live long and prosper, we must reverse the current trend and preserve as much biodiversity as possible. If we don’t, we will sooner or later join the fossil record of extinction.
Bill Nye (Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation)
Beyond the speculative and often fraudulent froth that characterizes much of neoliberal financial manipulation, there lies a deeper process that entails the springing of ‘the debt trap’ as a primary means of accumulation by dispossession. Crisis creation, management, and manipulation on the world stage has evolved into the fine art of deliberative redistribution of wealth from poor countries to the rich. I documented the impact of Volcker’s interest rate increase on Mexico earlier. While proclaiming its role as a noble leader organizing ‘bail-outs’ to keep global capital accumulation on track, the US paved the way to pillage the Mexican economy. This was what the US Treasury–Wall Street–IMF complex became expert at doing everywhere. Greenspan at the Federal Reserve deployed the same Volcker tactic several times in the 1990s. Debt crises in individual countries, uncommon during the 1960s, became very frequent during the 1980s and 1990s. Hardly any developing country remained untouched, and in some cases, as in Latin America, such crises became endemic. These debt crises were orchestrated, managed, and controlled both to rationalize the system and to redistribute assets. Since 1980, it has been calculated, ‘over fifty Marshall Plans (over $4.6 trillion) have been sent by the peoples at the Periphery to their creditors in the Center’. ‘What a peculiar world’, sighs Stiglitz, ‘in which the poor countries are in effect subsidizing the richest.
David Harvey (A Brief History of Neoliberalism)
Men presumably always have looked at flowers and been moved by their beauty and their smell: but only since the last century has it been possible to take a flower in your hand and know that you have between your fingers a complex association of organic compounds containing carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, and a great many other elements, in a complex structure of cells, all of which have evolved from a single cell; and to know something of the internal structure of these cells, and the processes by which they evolved, and the genetic process by which this flower was begun, and will produce other flowers; to know in detail how the light from it is reflected to your eye; and to know the details of those workings of your eye, and your nose, and your neurophysiological system, which enable you to see and smell and touch the flower. These inexhaustible and almost incredible realities which are all around us and within us are recent discoveries which are still being explored, while similar new discoveries continue to be made; and we have before us an endless vista of such new possibilities stretching into the future, all of it beyond man’s wildest dreams until almost the age we ourselves are living in. Popper’s ever present and vivid sense of this, and of the fact that every discovering opens up new problems for us, informs his theoretical methodology. He knows that our ignorance grows with our knowledge, and that we shall therefore always have more questions than answers.
Bryan Magee (Karl Popper)
As a result of the work done by all these stratifying force in language, there are no "neutral" words and forms - words and forms that can belong to "no one"; language has been completely taken over, shot through with intentions and accents. For any individual consciousness living in it, language is not an abstract system of normative forms, but rather a concrete heteroglot conception of the world. All words have the "taste" of a profession, a genre, a tendency, a party, a particular work, a particular person, a generation, an age group, the day and hour. Each word tastes of the context and contexts in which it has lived it socially charged life; all words and forms are populated by intentions. Contextual overtones (generic, tendentious, individualistic) are inevitable in the word. As a living, socio-ideological concrete thing, as heteroglot opinion, language, for the individual consciousness, lies on the borderline between oneself and the other. The word in language is half someone else's. It becomes "one's own" only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language (it is not, after all, out of a dictionary that the speaker gets his words!), but rather it exists in other people's mouths, in other people's contexts, serving other people's intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one's own. And not all words for just anyone submit equally easy to this appropriation, to this seizure and transformation into private property: many words stubbornly resist, others remain alien, sound foreign in the mouth of the one who appropriated them and who now speaks them; they cannot be assimilated into his context and fall out of it; it is as if they put themselves in quotation marks against the will of the speaker. Language is not a neutral medium that passes freely and easily into the private property of the speaker's intentions; it is populated - overpopulated - with the intentions of others. Expropriating it, forcing it to submit to one's own intentions and accents, is a difficult and complicated process.
Mikhail Bakhtin
I HAD TO GO to America for a while to give some talks. Going to America always does me good. It’s where I’m from, after all. There’s baseball on the TV, people are friendly and upbeat, they don’t obsess about the weather except when there is weather worth obsessing about, you can have all the ice cubes you want. Above all, visiting America gives me perspective. Consider two small experiences I had upon arriving at a hotel in downtown Austin, Texas. When I checked in, the clerk needed to record my details, naturally enough, and asked for my home address. Our house doesn’t have a street number, just a name, and I have found in the past that that is more deviance than an American computer can sometimes cope with, so I gave our London address. The girl typed in the building number and street name, then said: “City?” I replied: “London.” “Can you spell that please?” I looked at her and saw that she wasn’t joking. “L-O-N-D-O-N,” I said. “Country?” “England.” “Can you spell that?” I spelled England. She typed for a moment and said: “The computer won’t accept England. Is that a real country?” I assured her it was. “Try Britain,” I suggested. I spelled that, too—twice (we got the wrong number of T’s the first time)—and the computer wouldn’t take that either. So I suggested Great Britain, United Kingdom, UK, and GB, but those were all rejected, too. I couldn’t think of anything else to suggest. “It’ll take France,” the girl said after a minute. “I beg your pardon?” “You can have ‘London, France.’ ” “Seriously?” She nodded. “Well, why not?” So she typed “London, France,” and the system was happy. I finished the check-in process and went with my bag and plastic room key to a bank of elevators a few paces away. When the elevator arrived, a young woman was in it already, which I thought a little strange because the elevator had come from one of the upper floors and now we were going back up there again. About five seconds into the ascent, she said to me in a suddenly alert tone: “Excuse me, was that the lobby back there?” “That big room with a check-in desk and revolving doors to the street? Why, yes, it was.” “Shoot,” she said and looked chagrined. Now I am not for a moment suggesting that these incidents typify Austin, Texas, or America generally or anything like that. But it did get me to thinking that our problems are more serious than I had supposed. When functioning adults can’t identify London, England, or a hotel lobby, I think it is time to be concerned. This is clearly a global problem and it’s spreading. I am not at all sure how we should tackle such a crisis, but on the basis of what we know so far, I would suggest, as a start, quarantining Texas.
Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)
In order to understand how engineers endeavor to insure against such structural, mechanical, and systems failures, and thereby also to understand how mistakes can be made and accidents with far-reaching consequences can occur, it is necessary to understand, at least partly, the nature of engineering design. It is the process of design, in which diverse parts of the 'given-world' of the scientist and the 'made-world' of the engineer are reformed and assembled into something the likes of which Nature had not dreamed, that divorces engineering from science and marries it to art. While the practice of engineering may involve as much technical experience as the poet brings to the blank page, the painter to the empty canvas, or the composer to the silent keyboard, the understanding and appreciation of the process and products of engineering are no less accessible than a poem, a painting, or a piece of music. Indeed, just as we all have experienced the rudiments of artistic creativity in the childhood masterpieces our parents were so proud of, so we have all experienced the essence of structual engineering in our learning to balance first our bodies and later our blocks in ever more ambitious positions. We have learned to endure the most boring of cocktail parties without the social accident of either our bodies or our glasses succumbing to the force of gravity, having long ago learned to crawl, sit up, and toddle among our tottering towers of blocks. If we could remember those early efforts of ours to raise ourselves up among the towers of legs of our parents and their friends, then we can begin to appreciate the task and the achievements of engineers, whether they be called builders in Babylon or scientists in Los Alamos. For all of their efforts are to one end: to make something stand that has not stood before, to reassemble Nature into something new, and above all to obviate failure in the effort.
Henry Petroski
If we are enveloped in images, we are also enveloped in forms, in spirit, which is nature, and in nature, which is spirit. Daily and continually we associate with this unified world of nature and spirit without knowing it. But only the person to whom this association has become clear understands what is meant when we talk of Sophia as a heightened and spiritualized earth. But this formulation is already distorted as well. The earth has not changed at all, it is neither heightened and spiritualized: it remains what is always was. Only the person who experiences this Earth Spirit has transformed himself, he alone is changed by it and has, perhaps, been heightened and spiritualized. However, he too remains what he always was and has only become, along with the earth, more transparent to himself in his own total reality. Here also we must differentiate between the reality of our total existence and the differentiating formulations of our consciousness. Certainly, our consciousness makes the attempt to separate a spiritual from a natural world and to set them in opposition, but this mythical division and opposition of heaven and earth proves more and more impracticable. If, in the process of integration, consciousness allies itself with the contents of the unconscious and the mutual interpenetration of both systems leads to a transformation of the personality, a return to the primordial symbolism of the myth ensues. Above and below, heaven and earth, spirit and nature, are experienced again as coniunctio, and the calabash that contains them is the totality of reality itself.
Erich Neumann
I am a thin layer of all those beings on [samadhi level] 3, mingling, connected with one another in a spherical surface around the whole known universe. Our "backs" are to the void. We are creating energy, matter and life at the interface between the void and all known creation. We are facing into the known universe, creating it, filling it. I am one with them; spread in a thin layer around the sphere with a small, slightly greater concentration of me in one small zone. I feel the power of the galaxy pouring through me. I am following the programme, the conversion programme of void to space, to energy, to matter, to life, to consciousness, to us, the creators. From nothing on one side to the created everything on the other. I am the creation process itself, incredibly strong, incredibly powerful. This time there is no flunking out, no withdrawal, no running away, no unconsciousness, no denial, no negation, no fighting against anything. I am "one of the boys in the engine room pumping creation from the void into the known universe; from the unknown to the known I am pumping". I am coming down from level +3. There are a billion choices of where to descend back down. I am conscious down each one of the choices simultaneously. Finally I am in my own galaxy with millions of choices left, hundreds of thousands on my own solar system, tens of thousands on my own planet, hundreds in my own country and then suddenly I am down to two, one of which is this body. In this body I look back up, see the choice-tree above me that I came down. Did I, this Essence, come all the way down to this solar system, this planet, this place, this body, or does it make any difference? May not this body be a vehicle for any Essence that came into it? Are not all Essences universal, equal, anonymous, and equally able? Instructions for this vehicle are in it for each Essence to read and absorb on entry. The new pilot-navigator reads his instructions in storage and takes over, competently operating this vehicle.
John C. Lilly (The Center of the Cyclone: Looking into Inner Space)
It is only when the mind, which has taken shelter behind the walls of self-protection, frees itself from its own creations that there can be that exquisite reality. After all, these walls of self-protection are the creations of the mind which, conscious of its insufficiency, builds these walls of protection, and behind them takes shelter. One has built up these barriers unconsciously or consciously, and one’s mind is so crippled, bound, held, that action brings greater conflict, further disturbances. So the mere search for the solution of your problems is not going to free the mind from creating further problems. As long as this center of self-protectiveness, born of insufficiency, exists, there must be disturbances, tremendous sorrow, and pain; and you cannot free the mind of sorrow by disciplining it not to be insufficient. That is, you cannot discipline yourself, or be influenced by conditions and environment, in order not to be shallow. You say to yourself, “I am shallow; I recognize the fact, and how am I going to get rid of it?” I say, do not seek to get rid of it, which is merely a process of substitution, but become conscious, become aware of what is causing this insufficiency. You cannot compel it; you cannot force it; it cannot be influenced by an ideal, by a fear, by the pursuit of enjoyment and powers. You can find out the cause of insufficiency only through awareness. That is, by looking into environment and piercing into its significance there will be revealed the cunning subtleties of self-protection. After all, self-protection is the result of insufficiency, and as the mind has been trained, caught up in its bondage for centuries, you cannot discipline it, you cannot overcome it. If you do, you lose the significance of the deceits and subtleties of thought and emotion behind which mind has taken shelter; and to discover these subtleties you must become conscious, aware. Now to be aware is not to alter. Our mind is accustomed to alteration which is merely modification, adjustment, becoming disciplined to a condition; whereas if you are aware, you will discover the full significance of the environment. Therefore there is no modification, but entire freedom from that environment. Only when all these walls of protection are destroyed in the flame of awareness, in which there is no modification or alteration or adjustment, but complete understanding of the significance of environment with all its delicacies and subtleties—only through that understanding is there the eternal; because in that there is no “you” functioning as a self-protective focus. But as long as that self-protecting focus which you call the “I” exists, there must be confusion, there must be disturbance, disharmony, and conflict. You cannot destroy these hindrances by disciplining yourself or by following a system or by imitating a pattern; you can understand them with all their complications only through the full awareness of mind and heart. Then there is an ecstasy, there is that living movement of truth, which is not an end, not a culmination, but an ever-creative living, an ecstasy which cannot be described, because all description must destroy it. So long as you are not vulnerable to truth, there is no ecstasy, there is no immortality.
J. Krishnamurti (Total Freedom: The Essential Krishnamurti)
The bartender is Irish. Jumped a student visa about ten years ago but nothing for him to worry about. The cook, though, is Mexican. Some poor bastard at ten dollars an hour—and probably has to wash the dishes, too. La Migra take notice of his immigration status—they catch sight of his bowl cut on the way home to Queens and he’ll have a problem. He looks different than the Irish and the Canadians—and he’s got Lou Dobbs calling specifically for his head every night on the radio. (You notice, by the way, that you never hear Dobbs wringing his hands over our border to the North. Maybe the “white” in Great White North makes that particular “alien superhighway” more palatable.) The cook at the Irish bar, meanwhile, has the added difficulty of predators waiting by the subway exit for him (and any other Mexican cooks or dishwashers) when he comes home on Friday payday. He’s invariably cashed his check at a check-cashing store; he’s relatively small—and is unlikely to call the cops. The perfect victim. The guy serving my drinks, on the other hand, as most English-speaking illegal aliens, has been smartly gaming the system for years, a time-honored process everybody at the INS is fully familiar with: a couple of continuing education classes now and again (while working off the books) to get those student visas. Extensions. A work visa. A “farm” visa. Weekend across the border and repeat. Articulate, well-connected friends—the type of guys who own, for instance, lots of Irish bars—who can write letters of support lauding your invaluable and “specialized” skills, unavailable from homegrown bartenders. And nobody’s looking anyway. But I digress…
Anthony Bourdain (Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook)
[986a] [1] they assumed the elements of numbers to be the elements of everything, and the whole universe to be a proportion1 or number. Whatever analogues to the processes and parts of the heavens and to the whole order of the universe they could exhibit in numbers and proportions, these they collected and correlated;and if there was any deficiency anywhere, they made haste to supply it, in order to make their system a connected whole. For example, since the decad is considered to be a complete thing and to comprise the whole essential nature of the numerical system, they assert that the bodies which revolve in the heavens are ten; and there being only nine2 that are visible, they make the "antichthon"3 the tenth.We have treated this subject in greater detail elsewhere4; but the object of our present review is to discover from these thinkers too what causes they assume and how these coincide with our list of causes.Well, it is obvious that these thinkers too consider number to be a first principle, both as the material5 of things and as constituting their properties and states.6 The elements of number, according to them, are the Even and the Odd. Of these the former is limited and the latter unlimited; Unity consists of both [20] (since it is both odd and even)7; number is derived from Unity; and numbers, as we have said, compose the whole sensible universe.Others8 of this same school hold that there are ten principles, which they enunciate in a series of corresponding pairs: (1.) Limit and the Unlimited; (2.) Odd and Even; (3.) Unity and Plurality; (4.) Right and Left; (5.) Male and Female; (6.) Rest and Motion; (7.) Straight and Crooked; (8.) Light and Darkness; (9.) Good and Evil; (10.) Square and Oblong.
Aristotle (Metaphysics)
It is important to note that the design of an entire brain region is simpler than the design of a single neuron. As discussed earlier, models often get simpler at a higher level—consider an analogy with a computer. We do need to understand the detailed physics ofsemiconductors to model a transistor, and the equations underlying a single real transistor are complex. A digital circuit that multiples two numbers requires hundreds of them. Yet we can model this multiplication circuit very simply with one or two formulas. An entire computer with billions of transistors can be modeled through its instruction set and register description, which can be described on a handful of written pages of text and formulas. The software programs for an operating system, language compilers, and assemblers are reasonably complex, but modeling a particular program—for example, a speech recognition programbased on hierarchical hidden Markov modeling—may likewise be described in only a few pages of equations. Nowhere in such a description would be found the details ofsemiconductor physics or even of computer architecture. A similar observation holds true for the brain. A particular neocortical pattern recognizer that detects a particular invariant visualfeature (such as a face) or that performs a bandpass filtering (restricting input to a specific frequency range) on sound or that evaluates the temporal proximity of two events can be described with far fewer specific details than the actual physics and chemicalrelations controlling the neurotransmitters, ion channels, and other synaptic and dendritic variables involved in the neural processes. Although all of this complexity needs to be carefully considered before advancing to the next higher conceptual level, much of it can be simplified as the operating principles of the brain are revealed.
Ray Kurzweil (How to Create a Mind: The Secret of Human Thought Revealed)
The central fact of biblical history, the birth of the Messiah, more than any other, presupposes the design of Providence in the selecting and uniting of successive producers, and the real, paramount interest of the biblical narratives is concentrated on the various and wondrous fates, by which are arranged the births and combinations of the 'fathers of God.' But in all this complicated system of means, having determined in the order of historical phenomena the birth of the Messiah, there was no room for love in the proper meaning of the word. Love is, of course, encountered in the Bible, but only as an independent fact and not as an instrument in the process of the genealogy of Christ. The sacred book does not say that Abram took Sarai to wife by force of an ardent love, and in any case Providence must have waited until this love had grown completely cool for the centenarian progenitors to produce a child of faith, not of love. Isaac married Rebekah not for love but in accordance with an earlier formed resolution and the design of his father. Jacob loved Rachel, but this love turned out to be unnecessary for the origin of the Messiah. He was indeed to be born of a son of Jacob - Judah - but the latter was the offspring, not of Rachel but of the unloved wife, Leah. For the production in the given generation of the ancestor of the Messiah, what was necessary was the union of Jacob precisely with Leah; but to attain this union Providence did not awaken in Jacob any powerful passion of love for the future mother of the 'father of God' - Judah. Not infringing the liberty of Jacob's heartfelt feeling, the higher power permitted him to love Rachel, but for his necessary union with Leah it made use of means of quite a different kind: the mercenary cunning of a third person - devoted to his own domestic and economic interests - Laban. Judah himself, for the production of the remote ancestors of the Messiah, besides his legitimate posterity, had in his old age to marry his daughter-in-law Tamar. Seeing that such a union was not at all in the natural order of things, and indeed could not take place under ordinary conditions, that end was attained by means of an extremely strange occurrence very seductive to superficial readers of the Bible. Nor in such an occurrence could there be any talk of love. It was not love which combined the priestly harlot Rahab with the Hebrew stranger; she yielded herself to him at first in the course of her profession, and afterwards the casual bond was strengthened by her faith in the power of the new God and in the desire for his patronage for herself and her family. It was not love which united David's great-grandfather, the aged Boaz, with the youthful Moabitess Ruth, and Solomon was begotten not from genuine, profound love, but only from the casual, sinful caprice of a sovereign who was growing old.
Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov (The Meaning of Love)
Part of what kept him standing in the restive group of men awaiting authorization to enter the airport was a kind of paralysis that resulted from Sylvanshine’s reflecting on the logistics of getting to the Peoria 047 REC—the issue of whether the REC sent a van for transfers or whether Sylvanshine would have to take a cab from the little airport had not been conclusively resolved—and then how to arrive and check in and where to store his three bags while he checked in and filled out his arrival and Post-code payroll and withholding forms and orientational materials then somehow get directions and proceed to the apartment that Systems had rented for him at government rates and get there in time to find someplace to eat that was either in walking distance or would require getting another cab—except the telephone in the alleged apartment wasn’t connected yet and he considered the prospects of being able to hail a cab from outside an apartment complex were at best iffy, and if he told the original cab he’d taken to the apartment to wait for him, there would be difficulties because how exactly would he reassure the cabbie that he really was coming right back out after dropping his bags and doing a quick spot check of the apartment’s condition and suitability instead of it being a ruse designed to defraud the driver of his fare, Sylvanshine ducking out the back of the Angler’s Cove apartment complex or even conceivably barricading himself in the apartment and not responding to the driver’s knock, or his ring if the apartment had a doorbell, which his and Reynolds’s current apartment in Martinsburg most assuredly did not, or the driver’s queries/threats through the apartment door, a scam that resided in Claude Sylvanshine’s awareness only because a number of independent Philadelphia commercial carriage operators had proposed heavy Schedule C losses under the proviso ‘Losses Through Theft of Service’ and detailed this type of scam as prevalent on the poorly typed or sometimes even handwritten attachments required to explain unusual or specific C-deductions like this, whereas were Sylvanshine to pay the fare and the tip and perhaps even a certain amount in advance on account so as to help assure the driver of his honorable intentions re the second leg of the sojourn there was no tangible guarantee that the average taxi driver—a cynical and ethically marginal species, hustlers, as even their smudged returns’ very low tip-income-vs.-number-of-fares-in-an-average-shift ratios in Philly had indicated—wouldn’t simply speed away with Sylvanshine’s money, creating enormous hassles in terms of filling out the internal forms for getting a percentage of his travel per diem reimbursed and also leaving Sylvanshine alone, famished (he was unable to eat before travel), phoneless, devoid of Reynolds’s counsel and logistical savvy in the sterile new unfurnished apartment, his stomach roiling in on itself in such a way that it would be all Sylvanshine could do to unpack in any kind of half-organized fashion and get to sleep on the nylon travel pallet on the unfinished floor in the possible presence of exotic Midwest bugs, to say nothing of putting in the hour of CPA exam review he’d promised himself this morning when he’d overslept slightly and then encountered last-minute packing problems that had canceled out the firmly scheduled hour of morning CPA review before one of the unmarked Systems vans arrived to take him and his bags out through Harpers Ferry and Ball’s Bluff to the airport, to say even less about any kind of systematic organization and mastery of the voluminous Post, Duty, Personnel, and Systems Protocols materials he should be receiving promptly after check-in and forms processing at the Post, which any reasonable Personnel Director would expect a new examiner to have thoroughly internalized before reporting for the first actual day interacting with REC examiners, and which there was no way in any real world that Sylvanshine could expect
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
Complex operations, in which agencies assume complementary roles and operate in close proximity-often with similar missions but conflicting mandates-accentuate these tensions. The tensions are evident in the processes of analyzing complex environments, planning for complex interventions, and implementing complex operations. Many reports and analyses forecast that these complex operations are precisely those that will demand our attention most in the indefinite future. As essayist Barton and O'Connell note, our intelligence and understanding of the root cause of conflict, multiplicity of motivations and grievances, and disposition of actors is often inadequate. Moreover, the problems that complex operations are intended and implemented to address are convoluted, and often inscrutable. They exhibit many if not all the characteristics of "wicked problems," as enumerated by Rittel and Webber in 1973: they defy definitive formulations; any proposed solution or intervention causes the problem to mutate, so there is no second chance at a solution; every situation is unique; each wicked problem can be considered a symptom of another problem. As a result, policy objectives are often compound and ambiguous. The requirements of stability, for example, in Afghanistan today, may conflict with the requirements for democratic governance. Efforts to establish an equitable social contract may well exacerbate inter-communal tensions that can lead to violence. The rule of law, as we understand it, may displace indigenous conflict management and stabilization systems. The law of unintended consequences may indeed be the only law of the land. The complexity of the challenges we face in the current global environment would suggest the obvious benefit of joint analysis - bringing to bear on any given problem the analytic tools of military, diplomatic and development analysts. Instead, efforts to analyze jointly are most often an afterthought, initiated long after a problem has escalated to a level of urgency that negates much of the utility of deliberate planning.
Michael Miklaucic (Commanding Heights: Strategic Lessons from Complex Operations)
The Party's all-around intrusion into people's lives was the very point of the process known as 'thought reform." Mao wanted not only external discipline, but the total subjection of all thoughts, large or small. Every week a meeting for 'thought examination' was held for those 'in the revolution." Everyone had both to criticize themselves for incorrect thoughts and be subjected to the criticism of others.The meetings tended to be dominated by self-righteous and petty-minded people, who used them to vent their envy and frustration; people of peasant origin used them to attack those from 'bourgeois' backgrounds. The idea was that people should be reformed to be more like peasants, because the Communist revolution was in essence a peasant revolution. This process appealed to the guilt feelings of the educated; they had been living better than the peasants, and self-criticism tapped into this.Meetings were an important means of Communist control. They left people no free time, and eliminated the private sphere. The pettiness which dominated them was justified on the grounds that prying into personal details was a way of ensuring thorough soul-cleansing. In fact, pettiness was a fundamental characteristic of a revolution in which intrusiveness and ignorance were celebrated, and envy was incorporated into the system of control. My mother's cell grilled her week after week, month after month, forcing her to produce endless self-criticisms.She had to consent to this agonizing process. Life for a revolutionary was meaningless if they were rejected by the Party. It was like excommunication for a Catholic. Besides, it was standard procedure. My father had gone through it and had accepted it as part of 'joining the revolution." In fact, he was still going through it. The Party had never hidden the fact that it was a painful process. He told my mother her anguish was normal.At the end of all this, my mother's two comrades voted against full Party membership for her. She fell into a deep depression. She had been devoted to the revolution, and could not accept the idea that it did not want her; it was particularly galling to think she might not get in for completely petty and irrelevant reasons, decided by two people whose way of thinking seemed light years away from what she had conceived the Party's ideology to be. She was being kept out of a progressive organization by backward people, and yet the revolution seemed to be telling her that it was she who was in the wrong. At the back of her mind was another, more practical point which she did not even spell out to herself: it was vital to get into the Party, because if she failed she would be stigmatized and ostracized.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Specialisation, accompanied by exchange, is the source of economic prosperity. Here, in my own words, is what a modern version of Smithism claims. First, the spontaneous and voluntary exchange of goods and services leads to a division of labour in which people specialise in what they are good at doing. Second, this in turn leads to gains from trade for each party to a transaction, because everybody is doing what he is most productive at and has the chance to learn, practise and even mechanise his chosen task. Individuals can thus use and improve their own tacit and local knowledge in a way that no expert or ruler could. Third, gains from trade encourage more specialisation, which encourages more trade, in a virtuous circle. The greater the specialisation among producers, the greater is the diversification of consumption: in moving away from self-sufficiency people get to produce fewer things, but to consume more. Fourth, specialisation inevitably incentivises innovation, which is also a collaborative process driven by the exchange and combination of ideas. Indeed, most innovation comes about through the recombination of existing ideas for how to make or organise things. The more people trade and the more they divide labour, the more they are working for each other. The more they work for each other, the higher their living standards. The consequence of the division of labour is an immense web of cooperation among strangers: it turns potential enemies into honorary friends. A woollen coat, worn by a day labourer, was (said Smith) ‘the produce of a great multitude of workmen. The shepherd, the sorter of the wool, the wool-comber or carder, the dyer, the scribbler, the spinner, the weaver, the fuller, the dresser . . .’ In parting with money to buy a coat, the labourer was not reducing his wealth. Gains from trade are mutual; if they were not, people would not voluntarily engage in trade. The more open and free the market, the less opportunity there is for exploitation and predation, because the easier it is for consumers to boycott the predators and for competitors to whittle away their excess profits. In its ideal form, therefore, the free market is a device for creating networks of collaboration among people to raise each other’s living standards, a device for coordinating production and a device for communicating information about needs through the price mechanism. Also a device for encouraging innovation. It is the very opposite of the rampant and selfish individualism that so many churchmen and others seem to think it is. The market is a system of mass cooperation. You compete with rival producers, sure, but you cooperate with your customers, your suppliers and your colleagues. Commerce both needs and breeds trust.
Matt Ridley (The Evolution of Everything: How New Ideas Emerge)
Everything we do and say will either underline or undermine our discipleship process. As long as there is one unsaved person on my campus or in my city, then my church is not big enough. One of the underlying principles of our discipleship strategy is that every believer can and should make disciples. When a discipleship process fails, many times the fatal flaw is that the definition of discipleship is either unclear, unbiblical, or not commonly shared by the leadership team. Write down what you love to do most, and then go do it with unbelievers. Whatever you love to do, turn it into an outreach. You have to formulate a system that is appropriate for your cultural setting. Writing your own program for making disciples takes time, prayer, and some trial and error—just as it did with us. Learn and incorporate ideas from other churches around the world, but only after modification to make sure the strategies make sense in our culture and community. Culture is changing so quickly that staying relevant requires our constant attention. If we allow ourselves to be distracted by focusing on the mechanics of our own efforts rather than our culture, we will become irrelevant almost overnight. The easiest and most common way to fail at discipleship is to import a model or copy a method that worked somewhere else without first understanding the values that create a healthy discipleship culture. Principles and process are much more important than material, models, and methods. The church is an organization that exists for its nonmembers. Christianity does not promise a storm-free life. However, if we build our lives on biblical foundations, the storms of life will not destroy us. We cannot have lives that are storm-free, but we can become storm-proof. Just as we have to figure out the most effective way to engage our community for Christ, we also have to figure out the most effective way to establish spiritual foundations in each unique context. There is really only one biblical foundation we can build our lives on, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Pastors, teachers, and church staff believe their primary role is to serve as mentors. Their task is to equip every believer for the work of the ministry. It is not to do all the ministry, but to equip all the people to do it. Their top priority is to equip disciples to do ministry and to make disciples. Do you spend more time ministering to people or preparing people to minister? No matter what your church responsibilities are, you can prepare others for the same ministry. Insecurity in leadership is a deadly thing that will destroy any organization. It drives pastors and presidents to defensive positions, protecting their authority or exercising it simply to show who is the boss. Disciple-making is a process that systematically moves people toward Christ and spiritual maturity; it is not a bunch of randomly disconnected church activities. In the context of church leadership, one of the greatest and most important applications of faith is to trust the Holy Spirit to work in and through those you are leading. Without confidence that the Holy Spirit is in control, there is no empowering, no shared leadership, and, as a consequence, no multiplication.
Steve Murrell (WikiChurch: Making Discipleship Engaging, Empowering, and Viral)