Author Archives: Catalyst

About Catalyst

Writer. Artist. Philosopher. Humanist. Student of the Human Condition. [not in any particular order]

Saving something Valuable

When religion is discussed today, typically, people do not seek true discussion.  Evolution boils waters with the God fearing, others may see the undue stress nearing their minds and escape luckily on an agreed stalemate. If progress be looking down upon the philosophers; however, they may find new ideas firing up the conversation like a locomotive.

Within these three instances, only one conversation held something valuable. It potentially was gaining on a rare path to pricelessness.

Priceless conversations have shaped our world. Conversing about mathematics, medicine, flight, the wheel, Ford’s assembly line, philosophers discussing the atom millenea before humans created the tech to detect it, and human discovery has been shared to benefit the species since we spawned social communication forever ago.

We survive comfortably today and would rather avoid talking in mass public areas. Have we talked too much, or are there too many strangers smuggling too many unknown variables?  And – don’t forget the thousands of fragments of disconnected information thrashing about our already taxed minds. “Adapt or die” is every species’ genetic algorithym(s).

Without  delving too deep into religion – let’s consider the time when religion was survival.  To slow the concept of what may be a conflict of semantics for many, there was once no religion, but similar values were taking form. Superstitions were adopted. Simply being thankful for another day of survival caused us to first ritualize tactics and technique. Then….a day came when a hunter jealously guarded his obsidian spear head because the tribe reveared him due to his high kill rate. He began to believe the black rock was of mystical origin.  He begins to think that the black rock has given him power. He begins to, in a sense, worship the rock. He imagines that it could be pleased or discontent….so, he does things he thinks will please it.

One day, the other hunters gather around to touch the sacred obsidian. One hunter notices the jagged glass edges and hold his shale spearhead next to it. The obsidian is solid to the point that his shale head shatters because he was not remotely aware grazing the two heads would have such a profound effect.

There is no doubt now, Gwar’s black glass is magical.  Gwar now leads the tribe and an older warrior tells about the glass whisped into shards by the breath of fire Gods in a land far away.

Survival in excess is ultimately what both began and steered this idea. Molded by the clan, they nodded in awe because it was an unknown material to them.

Is obsidian magical?

Hell yes, if 10k years ago you posessed the only piece in the land.

This simple idea of superstition may sound insane today. Sure. Now, why.

Meditate on this. You can’t say that you wouldnt join the group think. Its actually highly probable.

….to be continued.

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Transcending Philosophy

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We all essentially practice philosophy on some level.  Any conscious decision calls upon the basic tenets of philosophy.  For example, one’s daily diet is based on such.  Modern definitions of philosophy may carry social stigmas with them and call upon other similar terms, such as; logic, reason, and rationality.  Or, people may envision of deep chasms of thought without solution.  Others may think of ancient Greek pedophilia.  These stigmas only blind their subscribers.

Philosophy, in my opinion, is best practiced without announcing it.  A novice philosopher is likely to reach for basic syllogistic form:

1) 1 = 1
2) 1 + 1 = 2
3) Thus, 2 is a composition of 1 and 1
4) Therefore, duality (2) cannot exist without singularity (1)

This is an old form, and is a straight line to logic.  Though, it is not all powerful, nor, is it infallible.  More importantly, for most people, it’s a bit basic and overbearing in a discussion.  It has more of a peer oriented appeal as opposed to angling a public audience.

I have learned in my own practice of philosophy that, in order to be effective, its presentation must be as dynamic as the individual it reaches.  Humans are logical, yet they are also creative, emotional, and instinctual.  Also, we are much more open to persuasion than force.  A person would rather be asked than told.  If they are to be told, they will only pursue intrigue.

Relying on logic for conversation limits the scope and power of the potential range inherent within communication.  Also, we are not walking calculators – we are so much more.  The first rule is a golden one – speak to others as you would like to be spoken to.  There are three primary focuses in classic writing: Logos, Pathos, Ethos.

Logos is Greek for logic.

Pathos denotes empathy, or, emotional appeal. 

Ethos represents ethics.

A writer will go far with these concepts in mind.  When combined, these components reflect a very human comprehension and appeal.  Logic appeals to the left hemisphere of the brain, composition, practical application, and reason.  Emotional value applies creativity, sensitivity, empathy, compassion, personality, heart…as well as building the foundation for the third component – ethics.  Ethical demonstration is a social facet in our communication and a display of our humanity.  Ethical values build an image comprised of integrity, honor, courage, social designation, …etc…or, may be used to portray reverse images, as well.

Logos, Pathos, and Ethos are consistently present in our conversations, regardless, whether we are voicing ourselves audibly, or in writing.

Logos – Propose the logical foundation for your writing. Pathos – lace the logic in your writing with emotional appeal – or, relation to personal meaning. Ethos – adhering logic and empathy to a social fabric and moral code.

There are a myriad of  philosophers and examples, but for this purpose, let us consider the artful form of Albert Einstein:

“When, after several hours reading, I came to myself again, I asked myself what it was that had so fascinated me. The answer is simple. The results were not presented as ready-made, but scientific curiosity was first aroused by presenting contrasting possibilities of conceiving matter. Only then the attempt was made to clarify the issue by thorough argument. The intellectual honesty of the author makes us share the inner struggle in his mind. It is this which is the mark of the born teacher. Knowledge exists in two forms – lifeless, stored in books, and alive, in the consciousness of men. The second form of existence is after all the essential one; the first, indispensable as it may be, occupies only an inferior position.”

(Albert Einstein, 1954)

Albert Einstein, the author of this excerpt, seems to leap from these lines.  There is a sturdy logical framework here, but it is laden with self reflection, introspection, profundity, wisdom, ethical ideology, creative recognition through self knowledge, displaying a personal relationship with the concepts illustrated and initiating a journey with the audience…

…to name a few components that compose enlightening writing.

More importantly, Einstein does not seem to contrive his open contemplations, here.  His honesty pours onto the page with a quiet authority grounded by the reader’s own recognition. The illustration of his self reflection is extracted through the teacher’s own rich trials of comprehension.

Notably, Einstein discusses the recipe of the “born teacher” in this dialog – and appears to be unintentionally revealing himself in the description.  One might wonder whether the professor had aimed on himself in elaborations on such ideals.  If so, it seems to exhume these notions with humility and some inherent nobility.

As with any art form, greatness is built upon the foundation of the artist’s clarity.  Beyond philosophy, beyond tradition, beyond average, more profound than logic – and into genius…

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World War Reality II – Hypnotic Illusion

big-brother-obamaBarack – Grand Magician

World War Real – Part I

And from Misinformation onto Illusion…

Think on this – Illusion

Ultimately, much of what we understand to be “information,” may, in fact, be misinformation.  Information creates our own personal illusions about reality.  These illusions may be personal or social.  And, naturally, personal understanding affects an individual’s social understanding. Much like the North versus South conflict previously discussed, the conflict itself acts as a misinformation indicator.  The most heated conflicts in human interaction have political and/or religious roots.

First, let’s explore events of mass illusion.  The year was 1979, and Joe Newman presented free energy to the world with his latest “energy machine” design.  Scientists scoffed while he quickly gained popularity and reached stardom.  Despite all of the sophisticated reason scientists threw at it, people cheered Newman on.  People simply wanted to believe – and, well, they did.  Joe represented a symbol of hope.  He came from a humble background, and was a high school dropout.  Newman was the people’s hero during his moment in the spotlight – a scientific revolutionary!

With the country inspired by the free energy fire, Joseph Newman spoke of godly visions and waved Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity around.  Newman claimed that God appointed him as “steward for his gift,”  and explained that energy is sustainable at the speed of light.  Through using Einstein’s equation and visions, Newman appealed to disassociated authorities.  This obscured any authority’s identity through the devices of a largely scientifically uneducated society, and an unknowable god.  In effect, Newman created and continued to fuel this mass illusion of hype, hope, and an American dream.

Unfortunately, hope cannot defy the laws of thermodynamics.  Law one, or Conservation, overturned any probable notion of the perpetual motion device ever creating energy.  Law two, or Entropy, shut Newman’s case down completely – As, it states that when energy is expended, there will always be a loss.  Joe always boasted of what miracles the machine could never do, nor, would he ever be able to demonstrate.  The scientific community sharply debunked Newman’s claims with what is now taught in an introductory Physics course.

Street magicians such as David Blaine and Criss Angel would later rush in once again to steal our hearts, leaving us filled with mystery and awe believing that these gurus somehow gained insight into the metaphysical realm(s).  Angel walked on water, floated from building to building, while Blaine could throw a poker card at a moving bus window and make it appear on the other side.  Blaine wrote his book “Mysterious Stranger,” only to cast more shadows over his act.  He revealed some simple “magic” tricks, but offered spiritual advice, as well – never fully uncloaking himself.  Angel landed a TV show.  Both magicians pulsed through the internet on Youtube videos.  Angel caught my eye when he walked on water.  People were swimming underneath his feet while he was crossing over a hotel pool to illustrate that there was no solid platform underneath him.

Acts like those of Blaine and Angel swept the nation because they preformed with no pre-rigged stage to assist them.  Some people were convinced that they were performing real magic because the no “smoke and mirrors” environment made their acts seem impossible.  However, their fame was short-lived, and simply exposed by critical thinkers.  Both magicians used similar methods in their performances.  They utilized the entire shroud of the internet to distract the audience.  They would perform basic tricks in front of real enthusiasts and tape their reactions.  Then, they would later return to the area and use machines, props, and other tools of their trade that would have been easily spotted by the gawking crowd, earlier.  For example, Blaine would stage a partner inside the bus to stick an identical poker card to the one he would throw at the bus on the inside of the window.  Chris angel used cranes to “levitate” from building to building.  Angel also used clear, hollow (this explains people swimming under his feet), plastic boxes to walk across the water on.

Another interesting feat is “cold reading,” and the general science of hypnosis. Both, “cold reading” and mass hypnosis exploit subconscious suggestion.  In “cold reading,” a person claiming to be a “psychic” will say a basic, and very common name aloud – asking the crowd if anyone knows a “Bob” or “Michael,” or “Susan”…etc.  An even simpler tactic just uses a letter for the read.  Naturally, a member in the crowd will excitedly jump out of their seat and give up a name that it may be.  Then the “psychic” plays off of the information given, and may “cold read” for further information.  Mass hypnosis is can be simply powered in the same manner – by an idea.

Weapons alone, do not kill people, but beliefs doHitler commanded and army with an idea. Saturated with Hitler’s propaganda, the German Third Reich society became convinced that the Jewish people killed their Lord and savior. Ready and willing, the army took up the sword of vengeance and moved on their perceived enemy. Aldolf Hitler’s tactics are sickening, but he was not the first war commander to use this method.  Not by any measure.  Information is the very fulcrum, upon which social leverage functions.  Information is the axis upon which the social world spins.  Information becomes an idea when believed in, and a force of nature when fueled by emotion.  In Hitler’s case, the emotion of love and other honorable and ethical notions were channeled into a system of ideas grounded in a pre-existing framework of the nation.  Hitler simply stoked the embers Martin Luther left behind – igniting a white hot fire, religious in nature. Did Hitler invent this form of social control? Not by any means. The ancient Mayans were convinced that the gods would not let the sun shine until a sufficient amount of human blood was offered.  The ancient Egyptians are said to have believed that their rulers were gods, themselves.  This belief fueled war and slavery alike. In his book, “The Art of War,” war master and descendant from a rich bloodline of war advisors, Sun Tzu (500 BCE), named religious faith as the “first constant.” in successful warfare:

The Moral Law causes the people to be in complete accord with their ruler, so that they will follow him regardless of their lives, undismayed by any danger.

History is rich with other examples, as well.  In conclusion – massive cultural alignment, or paradigm, is catalyzed by a very religious type of faith. In ancient tribal traditions, the spiritual advisor, or, Shaman of the tribe, was/is placed beside the King, or tribal leader.  In terms of cultural alignment, the Shaman’s advice wields the highest appeal to authority – even placed beyond the influence of the tribe’s Alpha male.  Also, another mysterious example of illusion is the Tibetan Tulpa Effect (must read – very interesting) .  All these examples denote instances, if not constants, of mass illusion – from Hitler to the tribal Shaman.

However, mass hypnosis is not so complex in models illustrating its effects on smaller group dynamics. A religious faith emotionally charges ideas, but is not the only game on the block.  Social dynamics allow for a variety of “controls.”  Peer pressure, non-religious ethically charged forms of leadership (aka – political ideologies), societal values, social deviance, in group/out group dynamism, sub-cultural facets, and other pockets of social/group motives may all be culprits of mass illusions. Yet, inducing hypnosis is as simple as planting an idea through a sleight of hand delivery – or, tapping another’s subconscious.

Current U.S. president, Barack Obama, not only monopolized on the minority vote simply by being a minority himself, but flawlessly executed other key tactics of mass hypnotism by sparking positive associations with his campaigns.  Obama demonstrated textbook propaganda techniques in wording “hope,” “change,” and his platinum hit “Yes we can!” in his speeches.  These simple techniques touched on deeper levels within the democratic identity of American policy.  Obama hit the very mark to ignite cultural alignment – And, with both tact and precision.  His win was a easy prediction to call from my perspective. Now, if only we could bet on it, haha. I could make quick and lofty financial gains every four years.  But, with all his hope preaching, the national economy still plummeted as projected, and he finished where his predecessor, George W. Bush left off.  Since then, we’ve seen criminal corporate bailouts, the passing of more laws, the unnecessary expansion of government, and…I’ll just stop there.  I do have a larger point here.

There are several options to choose from when a U.S. voter registers, but since the presidency in America was established, two primary groups have been the only players in the presidential circuit.  In the beginning, there were Federalists and Anti-Federalists.  The two groups changed their game uniforms up, and are now the Republican versus Democrat false dichotomy.  It’s amazing what linguistics can achieve.  Unfortunately, this is where class division begins.  And, by class-division, I mean social inequality.

To restate the thesis of this writing series – Misinformation instills a mass illusion creating social inequality, and thus establishes ranks of enslavement.  

Social Inequality will be thoroughly discussed in the next piece of this series.  Stay tuned! Sources will be cited eventually!

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Dear Religion

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Dear Religion,

Logic, reason, rationale…  etc.  This train is one that has come and gone for you. If the evidence for evolution is something you deny, and you have chosen a god or gods as a guiding influence in your perception of reality, then your comprehension of reality no longer requires any other substantial reason – other than sheer curiosity.

Why?

(for your curiosity)

Typically, theism comes in a package (generalizing, here):

1) Life is a divine schematic.

2) The mind of God(s), nor the mystery of his/her/the/it/their design is not something you claim to know, or understand, or else, you’d be omniscient as well, and not require religious faith.

3) Therefore, debating evolution or abiogenesis is not a wise move – as, your alternative hypothesis relies on a magical being you cannot understand, comprehend, nor explain – beyond honesty.

4) Furthermore, upon acceptance of the divine plan – your will has been entered into a contract, and is no longer yours unless you void the transaction. In effect, this also compromises any conversation with an empiricist, as they fully understand before you enter the veritable room, that your belief system is built upon the antithesis of the refined scientific aim (aka – “Scientific Method”).

After all, how can you enter a debate on the grounds of reason when you’ve already abandoned it? You’re trying to open an account with no currency to justify its existence.

Science relies on an extremely dense type of comprehension – as, its adherents maintain empirically substantiated evidence to support their worldview.  Whereas, religious faith relies only on the will of the adherent.  It must be nice.   lol

In conclusion, you chose to abandon things like reason, logic, and science.  Any empiricist you debate, relies on a level of knowledge that is bound by tenable and testable confirmations grounded in both personal discovery and a coordinated alignment with scientific comprehension to the extent it can be understood.

Ironically, both paths wind toward attaining some degree of omniscience, but essentially lead in opposite directions.  Theists believe in a bridge of understanding reality, while empiricists build theirs.

Now, I have some questions of my own:

-Why worry about what others believe if it is all part of a predetermined plan – a destiny?  

…And, if you believe that your preach/dissent is part of that plan, then:

-If your god does not want to interfere with free will, why has he/she..etc. sent you to tamper with it?
(I assume that is the self-less version of your motive to debate, and/or “spread the word”)

It would be far easier to change my mind (or that of other empiricists) if your god(s) simply …showed up – And, not through you, either.  I see the same stuff you’re made of when I look into a mirror.  lol

 

Sincerely,

Concerned Citizen

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World War Real – Part I

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My apologies.  I realize that this piece paints a very dark picture, but as I see it, this is a world photograph.  A very real and animal world that needs an aware population.

Things were much simpler when survival and some sense of fulfillment arose from simplistic successes.  Some species became expert defenders and food source specialists.  Other species found successful survival through will, size, strength, and might.  Humans ended up somewhere in the middle, but it is strongly theorized that our ingenuity, intelligence, cunning, and complex social dynamic developed through necessary measures linked to our survival just as any other apex species.

Today, the humans stand at the height of success in surviving the throes of reaching contentment in our attainment of necessity.  Many of us enjoy the comforts of security, but not all of us.  Unfortunately, even the apex predators of the world face danger, and naturally, mortality.  In the face of such odds, ideals of peace are not much more than curling whisps found in the dissipating vapors of hope.

Typically, apex hierarchies do not display cannibalistic behavior, but all threaten other members of their species.  For example, male lions challenge other males for the rights to their pride.  At times, this fight ends in death. If the challenging lion defeats the pride male, he will kill all of the cubs in the pride and prime the females to bear his offspring. This sounds gruesome, and, it is, but it is not much different than a human war.

1) Infiltrate the territory.
2) If successful – eliminate all potential threats.
3) Assume possession of the territory’s resources.  

The primary difference here is that the opposing forces are equal in many respects, and this is one on one combat.  Human tribal conflicts may have once been as simple as a lion taking a pride, but today, the tools of war have taken far different shape.

Illusion, Misinformation, Social Inequality, and ultimately, Enslavement are much more effective tools for conquering a territory with the aim of utilizing all of its resources. Instead of mindless lines of people running into each other with swords and shields, modern warfare is largely psychological.  We have evolved – to “kill” one another.  How does this invisible war work?

Misinformation instills a mass illusion creating social inequality, and thus establishes ranks of enslavement.  

I fully understand that the above sentence is both confusing and a mouthful.  However, we can demystify with basic concepts taught in critical thinking.

Think on this – Misinformation:

First, let’s dissect the word misinformation: In simple terms, it denotes obscured information.  Modern technology offers up a myriad of media, sources of information, and can mast disassociated authority as a beacon of truth.

Disassociated authority is a form of authority that cannot be substantially accounted for and is the source of misinformation.  It may be difficult, but think about the influence of your parents when you were a child.  How long did it take you to question what they taught you?  Have you ever questioned an authority?  Yes, we’re going back in time to Easter Bunnies and the benevolent, husky Santa Claus.  Take it a step further and ask how people eventually debunked this mythology.  Did they set up tests, traps, or hide silently in the dark with cameras?  Were they socially shamed/pressured out of their beliefs? Or – were they simply told by the same people that spun such tales that the stories weren’t true?
We gather information constantly.  How much of that information is discovered?  How much of what we learn about the world around us is told to us?  What constitutes as evidence?  What is logical?  How are we to decide what to believe?

More importantly, why does it all matter?

Simply stated – Information dictates action.

Example Scenario: If you believe (key word) that you’re heading South on Interstate 5 when your destination is South, you will not take action to travel North.  However, do you accurately know that you’re headed South?  Before, you were simply following signs, but now that you’ve demanded more evidence, you pull out a compass.  The needle indicates you’re facing North.  Now, faced with opposing information, what is the proper response?

It is time to examine the authorities consulted.  Interstate signs or compass?  Troubleshooting is most efficient when the simplest hypothesis is tested first.  Rather than investigating the inaccuracy of all the interstate signs, it would be much simpler to stop at the next gas station to find other compasses to compare yours to, speak with locals, or seek out landmarks that may indicate direction.  If the compass is found to be broken – the problem is rapidly resolved without incident. What if the compass were right, though? Would you be more likely to question the Earth’s electromagnetic field or all state and government signs along the interstate?

An area of misinformation has been discovered, and the North versus South conflict demonstrated above explains to a certain degree, how information dictates action.  More importantly, this explores the disassociation connected with authority.  Unfortunately, most people never learn to critically think on this level, or are too afraid of the conflict it may involve. This makes one highly susceptible to authority figures and/or subservience. This is not to say that authorities are wrong. Making appeals to authority is the only way to gather information on things we cannot experience for ourselves.  Despite any amount of conviction, personal experience is very weak, in itself.  In effect, our own senses can be deceitful for many reasons.

 

…to be continued in four following parts.

 

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Inspirations

Favorites

Movie: Seven Pounds

Song: Lateralus by Tool

People: Those who shine from within

Human: Siddhartha Gautama

Meditation: Active creation (making art)

Place: Redwood Forest

Superhero: Kalel ;)

Teacher: All of the hundreds that have brought me inspiration

God: The emergent intelligence found on our planet

Book: Einstein’s Dreams

Allegory: The Cave

Political System: Native Elder Councils

Dream: Those of long lost people and animals I have loved and have taught me about love

Work of art: This:

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Ideal: The human family…becoming a family.

Experience: Pack hiking

…and so much more…

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Fear, Hope, and God

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church http://www.stjohnsashfield.org.au, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

God? What The hell is that?

“When I was a child, I played as a child and spoke as a child. Now that I am a man I have put away childish things.”

Jesus

Believing in a god as an adult is not a childish act. If you ask me – it is merely an outcome of socialization. It is both a hope and a fear driven act.

The hope is to hold an idea of a much larger picture than what we believe about ourselves, purpose, meaning, and about reality.

The fear is to face the unknown without an omnipotent superhero to back us.

The childishness is pulling apart this toy named “God” in a tugging war with another inquiring mind.

As if either of us know anything.

Really.

We are all navigating the unknown…and, by our own devices.

The real mystery here, is happiness.

Is it not?

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