Excess time

Yes, mariner had signed off. There is no new insight into Armageddon; it is moving along as expected. But mariner suffers from empty time as a very hot weather pattern hangs around making gardening and any activity outside the front door verboten. So, to soak up a bit of empty time, mariner writes a post.

A new direction in science has entered the science magazines: extinction and consciousness, Do the scientists know something we don’t know? It is claimed that extinction is a good thing and is part of the evolutionary process – which could not exist without it. In other words, there comes a time when Earth doesn’t need dinosaurs anymore, or humans, either. Planet Earth simply can’t afford to maintain a status quo because of requirements arising from the Solar System and the limits of static consumption.

What would many species eat when all the Maryland crabs are gone? Crabs aside, 20,000 species have become extinct during the industrial era of humans. From another perspective, migrating creatures already are modifying their alternative environments if they can. Whales have a tough row to hoe right now. It wouldn’t be hard to argue, “Alright, we’ve had the humans too long – the biosphere is shifting.” If resources are disappearing, it’s time for extinction of the cause: Homo sapiens.

But would Homo disappear? Perhaps not. Many, many species have changed dramatically as climate and topography have shifted. Consider the aforementioned whales – they used to live on land and needed legs. If a species can change to survive, it will. What will humans become given their large sense of consciousness and creativity? Ever seen a minion? Ever seen a sex doll? Ever seen a chromosome grow on an AI circuit?

֎

Consciousness is included because the new insight into consciousness is that it is not a separate phenomenon from physical existence, that is, it is not some will o’ the wisp decision tree that is not bound by physiological behavior. A leading suggestion is that even gnats have consciousness, and frogs and earthworms. One wonders whether earthworms have fantasies. We shall find out. On the human level, it questions whether religious or other alternative realities actually exist or are the result of physiological need.

Ancient Mariner

Goodbye for awhile

Greetings Readers –

As you may know, mariner has been staying in Chicken Little’s henhouse for several months. Not watching television news has been a blessing but getting his news from equitable online newscasters has offered no relief.

From time to time, he gets feedback from readers that he would have more readers if he wrote more positive and friendly posts. More readers was never his objective – discharging alarm because of a flagellistic desire to fail as a human race was the primary purpose.

In the last post mariner defined the five flavors of Armageddon that are in play and progressing. He realized that he very much was against the common grain of society, especially those deliberately encouraging Armageddon.

Noting the fate of Prophet Amos in the Old Testament, mariner is retreating to his little home in Iowa.

Ancient Mariner

Define Armageddon . . .

Oh my! Mariner has been challenged to define his vague threat of Armageddon. That would be like describing life in Hell – not fun, not positive, not provable. A short list of variations is provided without comment. He adds an Apocalypse at the end. The difference between Armageddon and Apocalypse is that Armageddon is a violent end with no survivors whereas an Apocalypse has survivors.

֎ Most imminent would be nuclear war, given the activities of Russia, North Korea and Iran, not to mention the backers of war, China and the US.

֎ Government would yield to oligarchical economies reminiscent of the early Persian Empire or the frequent beheading by the Mayan culture. Several African nations already deal with this issue.

֎ Worldwide collapse of economics due to global warming – both the restorative cost and the great reduction of natural resources. This Armageddon already has begun and will be much more expensive as weather and sinking cities trash government budgets and natural resources drop to unsustainable levels.

֎ Most distant would be the usurpation of the human species by electronic intelligence.

֎ An Apocalypse would be the aforementioned economic collapse and associated violence of nation-based economies but a resurrection to a global economy that assured participation in cooperative supply chains that bind countries to a common economy. Nationalism would be minimized.

One must not forget that the planet is the biggest player. At the end, one wonders how many humans will be around.

Ancient Mariner

 

Population update

Mariner’s apologies for a rough-to-read post yesterday. Just to make things simple, economic models, like we’ve had since 1800, are an invention of human creativity while population – of any creature – is subject to environmental conditions managed by the planet.

When one considers the extensive space and resources required to support human populations, one can imagine that, subtly, humans are overextending space and resources. Statistics bear this out as humans have pushed close to 20,000 creatures into extinction. Think of the huge solar farms, regular farms and greenhouse farms necessary to continue human sustenance. Humans are running out of several chemicals.

The bottom line is, economists can’t force population growth to fit an economic model – it’s the other way around: an economic model must accommodate the density of population and the resources available!

Ancient Mariner

Relationship between population and economy

This is an unplanned post motivated by the conflict mentioned in the post title which was covered by the latest issue of The Week magazine (June 21 2024). Journalists have begun to report on a liaison between profit-motivated AI corporations and conservatives leaning toward AI as a means to continue national/international profitability as it has worked since Reagan. A new player is the Protestant Evangelicals joining several conservative fund-raising organizations to pressure government to leave AI alone when government tries to pass legislation to prevent monopolies and control disrespect for citizen rights.

The big concern is worldwide decreasing population. In the article, it is linked to economic perceptions that suggest continuing to have less babies will mean not enough workers, shrinking markets and too much of a fiscal load as more and more workers reach retirement age – having to be supported by fewer and fewer workers. It is believed that that AI could emulate the future work force with less workers but still would require markets (people) to sustain profitability.

The economists have the view that the answer is having more babies to restore a population balance at 2.1 children per fertile woman. No civilized nation meets the 2.1 requirement, South Korea being the lowest at .72.

As regular readers know, mariner has taken the view proven in mouse and rat population studies that there is a relationship between population and available space. The study suggests changes in the environment are subtle but dynamically affect behavior.

What was blatantly understated were the comments by a couple of scientists who suggested we may not be able to do anything about it, citing several failed attempts by governments to force a change in societal priorities.

Humans live on a finite planet. Scientists studying population suggest there may be natural limits to the number of humans; the projected maximum has dropped from 11 billion in 2100 to a cap of 9.5 billion in 2065. Global population stands at 8 billion today.

Is there an end to big brother capitalism? Are cities too large? Will natural resources disappear? Have economic transactions in banks and corporations become too abstract and disassociated with how humans manage resources? No one has a clear answer to these questions but perhaps population will influence the nature of an Armageddon that is approaching.

Ancient Mariner

The fluid state of Education

Mariner mentioned in a recent post that several institutions in the United States are in worse shape than they may seem. One was education. Just very briefly and broadly, education has shifted as social change has shifted: In the pre-industrial age, education was all about local training and learning financial and writing skills commensurate with local need. General primary education was sparsely represented and was charged with basic reading and writing skills; in rural areas, average dropout by students was the fourth grade.

The second half of the 1800s had a burst of industrial, chemical and electrical discoveries that called for higher language and communication skills – each requiring more ability via writing and speaking; in the middle of this period, student grading was introduced to public education and became the norm – some history and social science were added.

By the early 1900s, large urbanization and competitive businesses were setting knowledge standards for employment – more education with better grades became a workforce standard for getting ahead and earning more. Colleges began to be an option for the general population, no longer limited to the elite and one-off intellectuals.

By the end of WWII (1944), the government had become strongly democratic and sponsored educational activity at all levels. Public schooling grew rapidly; a notable shift in extended education arose as military service offered free college. This broad financial boost to college education, available to virtually anyone, was the beginning of the ‘white collar’ social class. All education, from first grade to college graduate, was well funded and easily attainable – expected for anyone not in labor or service careers.

Until the political parties switched many of their social commitments in the 1960s when Lyndon Johnson pushed through civil rights legislation and Dixie went red, education was under the blessing of the democratic (AKA white collar) party and remained stable.

But a rough economic era since the 1970s (chart) and three destructive recessions in 1973, 1983 and 2007 have disrupted discretionary funding, including health and tax fairness as well.

A definite beneficiary of the government’s financial support was the colleges themselves, who raised tuition. In 1980, the price to attend a four-year college full-time was $10,231 annually – including tuition, fees, room and board, and adjusted for inflation – according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By 2019-20, the total price increased to $28,775. That’s a 180% increase.

National politics are shifting back to lower income social classes. There are many reasons for education to be wary: weaponized political parties, weaponized religious denominations, and huge, life changing historical college debt, social media, ChatGTP, all of which leave education in a collapsed state. Public schools are dominated by closed-minded school boards; college applicants are demanding low tuition and guaranteed jobs at graduation – a demand that has allowed corporations to begin funding education.

Perhaps the shifts in education are a clear example of what’s happening everywhere in these disruptive times. The education dilemma also shows the complex, interwoven influences across life’s processes in government, industry and society. We cannot solve education independently – many frontiers must be solved at the same time.

Ancient Mariner

Filling the vacuum

This is another of those days when the mind is blank. It’s one of the side effects of living in Chicken Little’s henhouse where TV news broadcasts and political documentaries are not allowed.

One is forced to deal with unrelated, unnecessary thoughts that have no real world value. For example, has the reader ever been on a farm, perhaps playing softball or having a picnic – and a cow across the fence stands still, watching you intently, not even twitching an ear? What is that cow thinking? The cow’s thoughts certainly aren’t rationalizing what actually is happening in context; what could possibly hold the cow’s interest in what the humans are doing?

Humans often are not aware of the extent to which other animals have unique mental faculties. For example, did the reader know that robins have amazing eyesight that can identify very small objects as much as 40 or 50 feet away? A few days ago, mariner was sitting on the porch when he saw a robin land on the electric service line to the house; the line was about 30 feet in the air. The bird sat there several minutes until suddenly, like an arrow, it flew to the ground in a straight trajectory to the end of the yard where it snatched an earthworm! There aren’t many humans that have such accurate vision – let alone fly.

Some birds have remarkable sympathy, maybe even enough to qualify as a democrat. There is a documentary showing two crows in separate but adjoining cages. There was a small slot in the common side. When only one crow was fed, it shared its food with the other crow by passing it through the slot. When the roles were reversed, the same sharing occurred.

In another experiment, a rat was put in a cage that required a procedure of several steps before it could open the door to its food. It tried fruitlessly to open the door. Then the rat was shown a video of another rat who knew the steps. After watching it once, the rat went straight to the door and opened it.

Maybe humans depend on the frontal lobes too much.

Ancient Mariner

Not who but what

First, take a test:

Spend a 24-hour day without access to any and every electronic device the reader has. The ONLY exception is ‘phone calls’, an outdated term for when two people were able to have a conversation despite great distance between them; even given this rule, the reader may not initiate a phone call unless it is an emergency. So, lock away the smart phone, flip phones, computer, television, hoods, radio, DVD player, phonograph and any other device which allows the reader to hear any reproduced sound. Of course the reader may talk face-to-face with real human beings.

* * * * *

So – how did it go? No doubt there were many different experiences. If all one did was sit feeling frustrated, that’s one end of the spectrum while suddenly washing all the windows, moving the furniture around and go shopping may be the other end of the spectrum; maybe some folks started that novel that hasn’t been addressed in five years. No doubt the jocks played 27 holes of golf or bowled seven games in a row. (Were today’s jocks the hunters of yore?)

Mariner wanted the reader to experience first hand what was different without electronics. Were they more sociable? more task oriented? more physical? more intellectual? What type of creature did you become? Mariner suspects the reader was experiencing life as a member of the planet’s natural biosphere – industrial advances notwithstanding.

Mentally, perhaps the brain was empty, nothing to pay attention to, nothing to provoke the ego – causing naps, use of crossword puzzles, and other distracting activities, maybe even mentally remodeling the house. Did the reader have the insight that this is how Great Grandmother spent every day?

֎

Perhaps the three most disrupting issues that cause all the world’s consternation today are economics, weather and human transition to a physiological/electronic existence. Below is a list of major modifications to what a human is.

LIMBS. A couple of years ago, an African athlete ran track races at Olympic speeds while having two artificial legs. In a recent documentary, a man had tears in his eyes as he flexed his fist and individually moved all five fingers at the end of an artificial arm.

HEAD. Many of us have hearing aids, a tiny electronic device that replaces ear function. Another version is the device attached to the skull that requires the brain to train a new set of neurons to hear. Recently, a man with brain damage had lost control of his body; a new chunk of electronic brain was implanted successfully. Then there is new stuff like eyeglasses outfitted with electronics, or the hood that provides a personal visual world.  There is a new device that lets a person manipulate their computers and other listening/viewing electronics without moving their hands! Then there is Deepfake – how many versions of each of us exist in the electronic world?

VISCERAL. Recently, a man received a mechanical heart; he didn’t live very long, just long enough to prove the principle. Artificial ‘lungs’ have been in use for many decades. and there is the dialysis machine.

As an abstract question, is our species evolving into a quasi electronic creature? It may only be three of four centuries before a birthed human can marry a robot and have children . . . . It will take a lot of time just like it took time to evolve from a lemur to Homo sapiens.

The question indeed is abstract. A guess would be that for the world’s population, perhaps 6 out of ten humans have heard even a radio. Still, among the more organized nations, the population is increasingly, and privately, become electronically dependent. The discovery that guarantees evolution transition was the experiment that linked chromosome neurons with computer code and had the ability to reproduce itself.

So, amid the fury of politics, sustainability and culture shift, the question isn’t ‘Who’ are we but ‘What’ are we?

Ancient Mariner

Those moments

Everyone has moments of bliss, of complete satisfaction, perhaps even grace. One cannot select these moments, they happen unannounced, but they are rewarding. Sometimes, it’s just a moment with a loved one or a deep appreciation of a child. Sometimes it’s when one is alone, sitting in the midst of nature’s wilderness. Sometimes, it is the joy of making another life better. Sometimes, it’s just a realization of fulfillment in a familiar surrounding.

Mariner and his wife had a similar experience sitting in their backyard, a garden respite from garages, concrete parking pads and streets. Sunlight was fading, sparrows, robins, doves, blackbirds and squirrels went about their individual lives. Having these moments is like a soothing salve on one’s soul.

But those moments are brief. ‘Real’ life calls us back.  In that moment of recall, what does one feel? Is it anxiety? Duty? Contentment? Desire? Motivation? Does one retreat to depression or leap to ambition? Generally, all these sensations are in a bag labeled ‘accountability’. One is conscious of these feelings because a moment ago they were suppressed by a moment of bliss.

What accountability does one feel toward self, family, community, the nation and the sacred world of spirituality? It is important to note which accountability emerges first. This obligation is important and requires action of some nature. Based on one’s motivations, it may be to load the dishwasher, call one’s senator or see to the well being of a family member.

The moment of bliss should provide great healing power to the self, a comfort in family, a friendship with the community, a responsibility to the nation, and an allegiance to one’s source of spirituality.

It may be helpful to search for places where on can let go of the real world for a moment and restore a unified sense of one’s life experience.

Ancient Mariner

 

Bonding

Recently mariner wrote a post about how to develop spirituality. Briefly, it has two key requirements: One must acknowledge the existence of a permanent prophet who sets the standards for proper behavior. The second is a personal allegiance to that prophet, a sense that one belongs to that prophet rather than to one’s self. The prophet does not have to be human. For example, many naturalists believe Planet Earth is the prophet because it controls the rules of life; some Christians believe the Bible is a prophetic statement in behalf of Jesus [See ‘Spirituality’ May 29, 2024]

Closely related to spirituality is a human behavior called ‘bonding’. Bonding can occur only when sharing with others. One easily can relate to bonding with family, close friends and those who participated in significant life events. But bonding, like spirituality, has an extended role in the fabric of society that sustains social orderliness, community allegiance, and the ability to sustain common abstract behaviors; just a couple of examples: being a fan of a sports team, and befriending the mail carrier as a person who shares a common task. Both these examples imply a commitment to sharing without which the civility would not occur.

An excellent example of bonding in everyday life is the movie “The Green Book” released in September 2018. It stars Viggo Martensen and Mahershala Ali. For those who have not seen it, take the characters in stride as the movie progresses. Mariner’s wife found a copy at the library or you can pay to see it online

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_VoWF9mKEc).

Bonding requires sharing a common responsibility with open mindedness as a lubricant. Importantly, bonding generates motivation in life.

Ancient Mariner