Wisdom or Metapolitics?

"Intelligent minds discuss ideas, mediocre minds discuss events, simple minds discuss people."
"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion."

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de Chardin











Nhat Hanh












Van Gogh


Metapolitics, Wisdom and the Internet

...The God of the new Wisdom seekers reflects the historical evolution of Humanity. God is self organizing from Chaos, not predeterministic. He is not, but He becomes, just like the Jewish revelation of his name on Sinai: "I will be who I will be" -- the eternal unconditioned future, not "I am that I am" the eternal conditioned present of Newtonian physics. The ideals of today are necessarily future oriented, and so we must act together to preserve a future for our planet. We are no longer masters of Nature, separate and apart from Earth - she is our Mother. We are a part of her, and we must act responsibly to preserve our future as a species with her.

Through Internet, the newly evolving computer communications and information network, each person is now able to create his personal way of knowledge - a path which leads to Wisdom and community. The Internet is the seed of the Noosphere, the natural forum of global Metapolitics. It is the place where the new civilization can flower, where people can learn from each other, and can assist each other in common projects to unite Self and Ego through service to the Earth.

Arnold Keyserling and Ralph Losey
Winter Park, Florida - February 1995


[International Society for the Systems Sciences]

    The egocentric ideal of a future reserved for those who have managed to attain egotistically the extremity of 'everyone for himself' is false and against nature...

    No evolutionary future awaits man except in association with all other men.

    In the most general form and from the point of view of physics, love is the internally affectively apprehended aspect of the affinity which links and draws together the elements of the world, centre to centre....Love, in fact, is the expression and agent of Universal Synthesis.
    -- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

N.B. William Blake used the words brotherhood and imagination almost interchangeably. (See Mark Schorer, William Blake: The Politics of Vison. New York: Vintage 1959, p 159)

Acad. Serpuchov, in [The Generalised Theory of Life]:

...we believe the main problem of environmental education to be the absence of integral ecological ideology ( generalised theoretical ecology), that is the [pure] theoretical ecological language. The theoretical ecological language means an integral system of scientific definitions of such notions as "life", "information", "living organisms" and "biosphere on the whole", as well as "evolution and criterion of its direction", "culture", "progress" etc. To our mind, the generalised theoretical ecology and the generalised theory of the living are identical...

In the whole of the paper there is no mention of language itself as a 'notion' integral to the cultural system at all. These 'theoretical' notes are intended to fill that gap, as the E-Lekh as a whole to manifest the 'ecology' of language in practice.


Tree generation

Real nature

Nature has produced some very distinct variations when trees and plants are considered. Most trees, however, do have some common elements. In fact, if they are studied with enough determination, a lot of the growth of trees and plants can be put down to a set of simple rules. When imitating these rules, a model is born. The most important aspect about the definition of a model is that it is easier that the original to understand and duplicate. As a by product, though, some detail is lost and the model is never quite perfect.

The use of computers

This is where computers come in. For, even if a model is easy to understand, it can be a laborious task to perform on paper; this is the type of task at which computers excel. Computers can easily work day and night if required, producing reams of paperwork or huge amounts of information without so much as a single problem or complaint. In addition, computers have recently been more involved in the production of high quality graphics, another area which requires vast amounts of calculation. Computers seem to be made for the job of producing fake trees.
     -- Phil Drinkwater, author of [Trees] (1994)

The Theory of Transformative Technology

Marshall McLuhan first called attention to the transforming powers of media in his insightful and infuriating books, particularly his masterpiece Understanding Media (1964). In that book, he claims that we cannot learn anything of importance about a medium by looking only at its content:

Our conventional response to all media, namely that it is how they are used that counts, is the numb stance of the technological idiot. For the "content" of a medium is like the juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind. (p 18)

To avoid that numbness, we must refocus our attention on the ways in which the technological characteristics of the medium itself reshape our lives not just by giving us new tools to play with but by reshaping our consciousness on a fundamental and subliminal level.
     -- Doug Brent (University of Calgary), in [E-Jrnl 6:3]

[New Environment - Old Story]

In that dominant logic -- a world view reduced to the measurement of real or expected corporate profit--is the new and the old combined which leads to the last theme that I would like to mention: _disconnection_ as the effect of that logic in everyday life.

It might seem somewhat paradoxical that a technological environment that is so deeply characterized by connection results in disconnection. However, it is not. The connections take place primarily on an extremely abstract and centralized level such as in financial markets or in corporate headquarters. That abstraction allows to control and connect places and events that have, from the point of view of physical everyday life, no immediately visible relationship. This has two immediate (side-)effects: first, it allows to pursue the dominant logic with increased ruthlessness because the effects of that pursuit are being felt somewhere else. They are totally separated from the lives of those who make the decisions, who guard themselves with all kinds of means against possible physical encounter with negative effects of the logic they serve.

The second disconnecting effect is that everyday life, where experience is gathered, is increasingly influenced by decisions that were made on such an abstract level that they can hardly be connected with the direct, physical consequences. As a result society and its political, social and democratic institutions are understood as being subjected to forces that are beyond social reason and adaptation to uncontrolled virtually natural, global forces seems the only strategy possible what ever its costs may be.
      -- Felix Stalder, speaking at the Local Knowledge / Global Wisdom Conference, Toronto 1997

'Allows to pursue,' 'are understood as being subjected ' -- the passive language itself reflects the disconnection he speaks of.

Monad to Man

[T]he Enlightenment's philosophy of progress was transferred wholesale into the biology of the time, so that emerging ideas about biological evolution became permeated from the start by a belief in progress. The attributes of knowledge, economic success, social welfare, and the like used for assessing human progress were translated into biological attributes such as complexity of organization, adaptation to the environment, and specialization. The connection between belief in progress and biological theorizing is [...] fundamental to understanding the history of evolutionary theory.
      -- Francisco Ayal, reviewing Monad to Man: The Concept of Progress in Evolutionary Biology by Michael Ruse. (Cambridge: Harvard University Press.) in Science 275:495-96 (24 Jan 1997)

... the discovery in "cyberspace as I know it" is that human consciousness
 is also piloted by feedback. Everything I post gains meaning from other
 responses - that is, *I don't know what I have said* until I see where
 the thread goes with it.
      -- Kerry Miller. Posted 02-13-96 on Cybermind and Giuseppe Iannicelli's [ Kybernetike techne]

Acutely sensitive to the inseparable involvement of speech, script, and print with the visual, the auditory, the kinesthetic and other modes of expression, Joyce roots all communication in gesture: "In the beginning was the gest he jousstly says" (468.5-6). Here the originary nature of gesture (gest, F. %geste% = gesture) is linked with the mechanics of humor (i.e., jest) and to telling a tale (gest as a feat and a tale or romance). Gestures, like signals and flashing lights that provide elementary mechanical systems for communications, are "words of silent power" (345.19). A traffic crossing sign, "Belisha beacon, beckon bright" (267.12), exemplifies such situations "Where flash becomes word and silents selfloud."
      -- Donald F. Theall, Beyond the Orality/Literacy Dichotomy: James Joyce and the Pre-History of Cyberspace [Postmodern Culture,V2N3 (May 1992)]
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New Mind

    When experts talk to experts, they are careful to err on the side of underexplaining the fundamentals. One risks insulting a fellow expert if one spells out very basic facts. There is really no socially acceptable way for Penrose to sit his colleagues down and lecture to them about their oversimplified and complacent attitudes about fundamentals. So perhaps educated laypeople are only the presumptive audience for this book, hostages to whom he can seem to be addressing his remarks, so that the experts -- his real target audience -- can listen in, from the side, without risk of embarrassment. I think this is a wonderful strategy, perhaps the only way of getting experts who are talking past each other to refresh their mutual understanding of the fundamentals. (It is especially valuable in philosophy.) It may leave the non-experts in the role of spectators, but at least it gives them ringside seats.
     -- The Times Literary Supplement, (5 Oct 1989), unsigned review of Roger Penrose, The Emperor's New Mind

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Language is such a marvelous and fruitful secret -- because when someone speaks merely for the sake of speaking, he utters the most splendid, most original truths. But if he wants to speak about something definite, capricious language makes him say the most ridiculous and confused stuff. This is also the cause of the hatred that so many serious people feel toward language. They notice its mischief, but not the fact that the chattering they scorn is the infinitely serious aspect of language. If one could only make people understand that it is the same with language as with mathematical formulae. These constitute a world of their own. They play only with themselves, express nothing but their own marvelous nature, and just for this reason they are so expressive -- just for this reason the strange play of relations between things is mirrored in them. Only through their freedom are they elements of nature and only in their free movements does the world soul manifest itself in them and make them a sensitive measure and ground plan of things.
     -- Novalis, Philosophical Writings (ed. Margaret Stoljar. Posted 12 Sep 1998 by ajs)

The Written World

Paradoxically, then, speeding up and improving asynchronous exchanges causes unexpected distress. This explains why on-line communities place such an emphasis on active participation and are often critical of passive readers who are pejoratively called 'lurkers'. This concern with participation may even become obsessive, revealing the surprising depths of anxiety of unrequited authors. (p. 24)

...The sociability of conferencing resembles that of sports or games where we are drawn along by interest in the next step in the action. Every comment has a double goal: to communicate something and to evoke the (passive or active) participation of interlocutors. We can say that playing at computer conferencing consists in making moves that keep others playing. The goal is to prolong the game and to avoid making the last move. This is why computer conferencing favours open-ended comments which invite a response, as opposed to closed and complete pronouncements. (p 27)
      -- Andrew Feenberg, "The Written World: On the Theory and Practice of Computer Conferencing," in Robin Mason And Anthony Kaye, eds. (1989) [ Mindweave: Communication, Computers And Distance Education]

Triple point

The forces appear in 'every relation from one point to another': a diagram is a map, or rather several superimposed maps. And from one diagram to the next, new maps are drawn. Thus there is no diagram that does not also include, besides the points which it connects up, certain relatively free or unbound points, points of creativity, change and resistance, and it is perhaps with these that we ought to begin in order to understand the whole picture... From this we can get to the triple definition of writing: to write is to struggle and resist; to write is to become; to write is to draw a map: 'I am a cartographer.' -- Deleuze, Foucault, pp43-44

According to David Paletz and Robert Entman, the "general impact of the mass media is to socialize people into accepting the legitimacy of their country's political system; ... lead them to acquiesce in America's prevailing social values; ... direct their opinions in ways which do not undermine and often support the domestic and foreign objectives of elites; ... and deter them from active, meaningful participation in politics -- rendering them quiescent before the powerful."
     -- David Paletz and Robert Entman, quoted in Patricia Cayo Sexton, The War on Labor and the Left: Understanding America's Unique Conservatism, (Westview Press), citing Graber, Ed, Media Power in Politics, p.81. Posted 25 Sep 1998 to Activ-L.

Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor, or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.
     -- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations

     ...Politics is thus seen as an extraordinary, and finite, activity (rather than an ongoing process of participation extending throughout a lifetime), detached from "normal life" except by the most de-politicized form of civic responsibility or participation. This everyday perception [now holds] across all racial, class, gender, ethnic or other social cleavages...
     Democracy is not possible unless and until the mass of people engage in the process of attempting to rule themselves, a process which is inherently political. Indeed, it is as a part of this process that politics becomes a part of 'normal life.'
      -- David Tykulsker, of HELP (Hazard Elimination Local Participation) Campaign, New Jersey, quoted in Z Magazine, Dec 1992. Z is a project of the Institute for Social & Cultural Change.
There is indeed apathy about the election, but that's a reflection of the breakdown of [the country's] social structure. [It] was a very vibrant, lively, democratic society for many, many years -- into the early 1970s. Then, through a reign of fascist terror, it was essentially depoliticized. The breakdown of social relations is pretty striking. People work alone, and just try to fend for themselves. The retreat into individualism and personal gain is the basis for the political apathy.
   -- Noam Chomsky, referring to Chile, in Barsamian, Secrets, Lies and Democracy (1994)

I tried to create a visual experience, one that bypasses verbalized pigeonholing and directly penetrates the subconscious with an emotional and philosophical content...I intended the film to be an intensely subjective experience that reaches the viewer at an inner level of consciousness, just as music does...You're free to speculate as you wish about the philosophical and allegorical meaning.
      -- Stanley Kubrick, 1968

Hence this life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of the entire existence, but is, in a certain sense, the WHOLE; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins express in the sacred, mystic formula which is yet so simple and so clear: "Tvam asi This is you... And not merely "someday"; now, today, every day she is bringing you forth, not once, but thousands upon thousands of times, just as every day she engulfs you a thousand times over. For eternally and always there is only now, one and the same now; the present is the only thing that has no end.
      -- Erwin Schrödinger

If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.
      -- Vincent Van Gogh

The worst sin towards our fellow creatures is not to hate them, but to be indifferent to them. That is the essence of inhumanity.
      -- George Bernard Shaw

Did you, too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name? I say democracy is only of use there that it may pass on and come to its flower and fruits in manners, in the highest forms of interactions between men, and their beliefs in religion, literature, colleges, and schools; democracy in all public and private life.
      -- Walt Whitman, Democratic Vistas

You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.
      -- William Blake

The significant problems we are facing can not be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
      -- Albert Einstein

"A democratic civilization will save itself only if it makes the language of the image into a stimulus for critical reflection -- not an invitation for hypnosis."     -- Umberto Eco
Mindfulness must be engaged. Once there is seeing, there must be acting. Otherwise what is the use of seeing?    -- Thich Nhat Hanh
Most people would sooner die than think.
    -- Bertrand Russell
The mind that has no fixed aim loses itself, for, as they say, to be everywhere is to be nowhere.
    -- Montaigne

The fool wonders, the wise man asks.
       -- Benjamin Disraeli

[E]legance is transformative. One of the things that is common to most elegant design solutions is the sense of familiarity that one experiences, even when they are entirely new things. They have a logic that is "natural," by which I mean we can recognize it immediately and say "Aha! I understand. That makes perfect sense.
      -- [E R Beardsley ]

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise that control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.
      -- Thomas Jefferson, 1820

Myth is always ahistorical. It makes appear as 'natural,' 'exogenous,' or 'inevitable' those circumstances and developments which are in fact contingent.
      -- Robert E. Babe (1989). Telecommunications in Canada: Technology, Industry, and Government.

Vision is the art of seeing things unseen.
      --Jonathan Swift

Essentially Technocracy is a soundly scientific effort to restate economics on a purely physical basis.
      -- H.G. Wells

Science tells us what we have reason to believe. Not what we have a duty to believe. Not what experts, in their pontificating wisdom, instruct us to believe. . . . No, science tells us what there is good reason to believe.
     -- Richard Dawkins

Each of us finds lucidity only in those ideas which are in the same state of confusion as his own.
      -- Marcel Proust

God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension.

More and more students and members of the general public are using the Internet as their primary information resource. This is an alarming trend because a lot of on-line resources are idiosyncratic, biased, and ncomplete. We can't set the clock back, but we can do our best to make sure that good references are available. The bottom line is that, no matter how many books you've written or how important your insights might be, if you don't have a Web site, more and more people are simply going to overlook your work.
     -- An alarming Web site [generator]

Dopeler effect: the tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly. (Washington Post)


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