(no subject)

Jan. 15th, 2006 03:17 pm
symbioidlj: (amish)
Recently, in this thread I noticed that I had an opportunity to go a bit into my thoughts concerning what I'd consider the roots of my spiritual philosophy.  Or something like that...

Essentially, the issue is that of the individual vs the collective.  Or at least, that is what it seems to be at first, but one can abstract it out even further.  And that's what I do.

[livejournal.com profile] zboson notes that it's absurd to criticize cultural assimilation, at least, if it's done in the name of unity.  Please correct me if I'm wrong.  The cultural differences are essentially... well, here, let me pull the quote:


"Well, yes and no. While I believe cultural heritage can be important to people emotionally, most people know that ultimately I don't care much for what Vonnegut called "granfalloons" - artificial and arbitrary methods of classifying ourselves as "same" or "different" from others. Countries are a very good example of granfalloonery, so I tend to laugh at those who get very attached to the idea of being from a certain country. The whole idea seems ludicrious to me. I realize that others take it seriously, though - so seriously they kill each other over it."


And I wholeheartedly agree with this, but maybe not as much as I once did... 

When I asked "So cultural assimilation is a good thing?", [livejournal.com profile] cuplan replied:

Actually, assimilation of culture is the natural state of affairs. The idea of cultural distinctiveness is basically performative stereotype that, by and large, is inexorably tied to nationalism. Distictiveness is artificial and ideological in nature.

Which, I think is what is hinted at in [livejournal.com profile] zboson's reply.  But I believe this goes deeper, and is not so much a mere "artificial" and most certainly not "ideological" in nature.  In fact, here's where I bring in my philosophy.

Differentiation arises primarily from one thing not being another.  This is the very root, and it starts with "Being".  Being is the root of that which is not.  In other words it's opposite:  Not Being.  Being, we can represent as 1, and Not Being (or No Thing/nothing) as 0.

This is the source of differentiation.  Symbolically, these two things represent the dyad of taoism.  Yin and Yang.  Reality arises not from one or the other, but the interplay between 0 and 1, yin and yang.  The reality is the line of flow between the two.  In this case, cultural assimilation is the force of evolution, playing between these two.  This culture IS this, and it is NOT that.  But eventually this culture takes some of that.  Reality, in this sense, is infinite, in the same sense that once can create an infinitely arbitrary division between 0 and 1.  In this sense, Zero, represents void, or pure nothing, and One represents infinite everything.

1 is the linear, it is western, it is male, phallic and aggressive.  It is yang.  0 is cyclical, it is eastern, it is female, yonic and passive.

Interestingly, it is the Zero which is the unificative force, and it is the One which is divisive.  That is because the One seeks to embrace itself as One.  It stands apart with it's expression of itself.  Zero, on the other hand, has no meaning apart from one.  Zero embraces One... Zero embraces all, and encompasses all within itself.  Zero, is the unificative process.  When everything is assimilated, there is no identity, no-One to stand out.

The mental processes that feed these two things are at the very root of our nature as biological creatures, and this is where I disagree with [livejournal.com profile] cuplan, because distinctiveness, on the pure essential level of "being" is natural and material.  It is the very foundation of what I consider the "biological imperative" and that is natural selection... Genetic survival of the individual set of genes and it's variants through progeny.  Now, what I think he means to say is that certain arbitrary divisions are artificial, and in this sense, it's true.  Culture is an epigenetic force.  Why I mean is that it changes the apperance of an entity, without changing it's heritable foundations (phenotype is not altered by genotype)...  When we shed much of our physical traits and subsumed clothing, we created a phenotype that is not inherited, but created by mind), Fashion...  Mating behaviors are no longer big poofy tails, but big poofy hair, and that evolved to something else in fashion.  It's an adaptive behavior.  And these are arbitrary divisions that we, as a society, create.  Am am this (One), and you are not (Zero)...

We maintain an identity through cultural associations, and these cultural associations are fluid, and so, in this sense I can agree with both [livejournal.com profile] boson and [livejournal.com profile] cuplan, however, on a much more fundamental level, I disagree, because I do believe that ultimately, there is a process of differentiation which has this biological imperative as it's root.

When I talk about the "mental processes" I am referring to what I call the roots of two very different world views:  The scientific and the religious.  These two things are at very real odds, if one takes an etymological approach to the very words themselves.

1. Science: comes from the root (at least, through one derivation of the word) "Scire" which means to separate or cut. (also, apparently,the root of our word "scissors")
 
see:
http://www.infofocalpoint.com/science.html
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/local/scisoc/brownbag0203/conybeare.html

2.  Religion: arises through the latin term religare, re-ligare, meaning to tie or bind.  which interestingly is what the term Yoga means (and by extension Yoke, as in a cattle-yoke).

see:
http://www.thefreedictionary.com/religion

The scientific mind or process is one of division.  It is that which separates, it is a forward looking endeavour of knowledge...  This begins with our first chipping of flint to start fire, and ends as of now, with us smashing atoms together to create a different kind of fire... 

The religious mind, however, is a unificatory one.  It seeks to bind together.  Of course, in the meaning of the term, it is to bind oneself to ones' chosen deity, which is also binding oneself, ultimately, to a set of culture.

So the two tendencies of aggregation and separation, on a cultural and mental level, at least, arise from these two distinctive patterns of behavior.  Being that we live in a messy world, the world that exists between the Zero and One, and we have no pure duality, each of these takes on the traits of the other.

Science seeks an explanation that unifies all answers, all the forces of nature (electro-weak, gravity, strong)...  It does this through the process of division.  Religion, seeking to unite itself to something, creates an enemy, a division between "Our God", and that which is not our god.  Seeking to bind and unify, they create a divisive atmosphere which leads to all kinds of holy wars.  So the irony is that the mindset which purposefully seeks division in order to understand reality, is ultimately searching for unity, and the process which seeks unification under a rule, does so by the process of differentiation.  And the two are not necessarily exclusive in this regards.

The energetic power of 1 inscribes itself upon the matter/body of the zero.

This is where the messy idea of assimilation comes in.  If one looks at a dominator culture, it is one that assimilates and co-opts differentiating trends in order to monolithically force subcultures into it's own paradigm.  The question becomes one of "what is a dominator culture"?  Why is it bad for this to occur?  Why do people fight it?  This, of course, is something for another time, as this post is long enough as it is.

Please note that this is just a touch on a much larger issue, and I'm only hinting at certain aspects of my larger view.

And you WILL find contradictions, because that's sort of the whole point... There are no clear, clean categories, things blend and melt into each other, and hence, one cannot simply state "This is fact" and "this is false" because you will find some of each in everything.  This is how evolution occurs, between competing, assimilating processes...  This is but one more arbitrary division seeking to explain and understand the process of knowledge and social processes.  And it, too, has appropriated that which has come before it... Eastern and Western.  So perhaps I am a hypocrite to denounce cultural appropriation.  It is my desire to stand out as One, when another takes that which differentiates me upon itself, that I get offended.  This is due to my Western thought process, my individualist/ego base.

---
for future reference:
Culture, Genes, Mind and Evolution (by Charles Lumsden and EO Wilson)
For those who are unaware, Professor Dawkins is the author of "The Selfish Gene" which is the book that coined the word "memes" He's a staunch evolutionist, and great apologist for it. This is a good read on the bullshit that creationists utilize to press their agenda. I Recommend it for more wonderful insight...

"The creationists’ fondness for “gaps” in the fossil record is a metaphor for their love of gaps in knowledge generally. Gaps, by default, are filled by God. You don’t know how the nerve impulse works? Good! You don’t understand how memories are laid down in the brain? Excellent! Is photosynthesis a bafflingly complex process? Wonderful! Please don’t go to work on the problem, just give up, and appeal to God. Dear scientist, don’t work on your mysteries. Bring us your mysteries for we can use them. Don’t squander precious ignorance by researching it away. Ignorance is God’s gift to Kansas."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/printFriendly/0,,1-196-1619264,00.html

(no subject)

May. 16th, 2005 04:23 pm
symbioidlj: (Default)
http://web.morons.org/article.jsp?sectionid=2&id=6237

"Last week we reported on a Swedish study that confirmed a different reaction from the anterior (toward the front of the body) hypothalamus in homosexual versus heterosexual men. Homosexual men's hypothalami responded to a pheromone called 4,16-androstadien-3-one (AND for short) emitted in male sweat. I went so far as to pay for that article and download it. The study concluded:

In contrast to heterosexual men, and in congruence with heterosexual women, homosexual men displayed hypothalamic activation in response to AND. Maximal activation was observed in the medial preoptic area/anterior hypothalamus, which, according to animal studies, is highly involved in sexual behavior. As opposed to putative pheromones, common odors were processed similarly in all three groups of subjects and engaged only the olfactory brain (amygdala, piriform, orbitofrontal, and insular cortex). These findings show that our brain reacts differently to the two putative pheromones compared with common odors, and suggest a link between sexual orientation and hypothalamic neuronal processes."

---

Read the whole article at the link. Great armament against those bigoted xians who want to deny gay rights...

(no subject)

Apr. 29th, 2005 01:48 pm
symbioidlj: (Default)
via talking points memo:

"Social Security's support of the poorest Americans is a critical part of what it accomplishes. But Social Security is not poor relief. That is only what the president wants to make it -- in part because, once it is, it is far easier to cut further, since it has no organized political constituency."

Also, he discusses a filibuster against Frist.  Not by the Senate, but by ordinary people.  Interestingly enough, Edward Witten is one of the people signed on to do it.

From the wikipedia link above about him:

He is currently the Charles Simonyi professor of mathematical physics at the Institute for Advanced Study. Edward Witten is a mathematical physicist who does research in M-theory, which is a unification of 5 superstring theories and 11-dimensional supergravity.

-----
Pic of him doing the filibuster behind cut.

Mr. Witten Reads Introduction to Elementary Particles )
"The Hubble-barn is about 13 liters, depending on your current favorite value for Hubble's constant (H). This is the volume of a straw that has the cross-sectional area of a barn (a nuclear physics cross-sectional area equal to 100 square femtometres, roughly the size of a largish nucleus) and a length equal to the radius of the universe (given by H^{-1}c)."

Now what the fuck kind of measurement is this? 100 femtometres squared? That's fucking tiny! And the radius of the universe? Why such arbitrary numbers? How the hell was this devised as a measurement?

(no subject)

Apr. 19th, 2005 11:19 pm
symbioidlj: (Default)
from a reply I wrote on a friends post:

"Let us fall to the security of a universal truth that never changes."

---

In reference to their need for comfort in an undying truth as opposed to a living science that can change and adapt.  They need the dead, unyielding corpse of so called immutable Truth (with a capital T) to recline their souls upon, just like spiritual Ed Geins.

I choose to dwell among sprites and muses.  Amongst trees and gardens, of pleasures divine, the earth swelling with delight, and the glorious smells of the present life that's given to me.  NOT some wretched eternal thing called heaven where I've got to sit my ass down all day bowing down all the fucking time praising God just so this sadistic fuck can feed his ego.

Give me Lucifer, the light-bringer, the one who shall give knowledge and illuminate darkness.  Give me Reason, true Logos, true Word, not some false dead scripture and dogma.  The world itself is the word of god, and we are all actors in it.  We all dance, and sing, and cry and hurt, and love and hate and this is part of life.

Give me the true light of the Sun, Solar power that drives and gives all beings their energy, like the Holy Spirit itself, impregnating the womb of Mother Earth with motion.  We are the word made flesh.  We are the code of DNA incarnate.

This is part of my belief.  I choose to let the earth reveal herself to me in her own way and time.  I do not need "revealed" scripture.  It is the cause of so much misery throughout the world and it feeds the leeches with evergrowing wealth.

It does not have to be like this.  Religions exists for a need.  There is a psychological purpose for it.  But there are those who are masters at manipulating this need, and in the process of doing so, proceed to gain wealth and power.  Sure there are some good things that religion does, it would be absurd of me to say there was absolutely nothing of value in religion.  But it's damn near close in my opinion.

And by religion, I mean, more than anything, Dogma.  And this goes for Scientific Dogma as well.  I am one who believes that there are fanatic scientists as well as fanatic xians (sorry, Brent, I know you hate when I spell "christians" like that.)
This shit is now in samples of human and cow milk from across the country in high doses. And it has real deleterious effects: impairment of the thyroid gland, and that it can cause neurological development problems in fetuses and infants.

But let's just worry about (insert cartoon character here) being gay...

Rocket fuel contaminant found in women's breast milk

Jane Kay, Chronicle Environment Writer

Wednesday, February 23, 2005


* Printable Version
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A team of Texas Tech University researchers has found a contaminant from rocket fuel in women's breast milk at five times the average level found in dairy milk.

This first study in breast milk of perchlorate, a chemical that interferes with the thyroid, indicates that the majority of breast-feeding infants would be exceeding the safe daily dose set by the National Academy of Sciences.

The peer-reviewed data published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology reported perchlorate in 36 milk samples from women in 18 states and in all but one of 47 cow milk samples from 11 states.

The average level in breast milk was 10.5 parts per billion, with a high of 92 ppb, while the average in cow's milk was 2 ppb with a high of 11 ppb.

Other studies of cow's milk -- including by Texas Tech and by the Food and Drug Administration -- have found perchlorate in cow's milk from 5 to 6 ppb. The levels vary depending on the cow's diet at different times of the year.

Perchlorate, a salt, can impair a person's ability to take up iodide, a form of iodine and the building block of thyroid hormones that control brain development. High levels of perchlorate in the body also may reduce the amount of iodide in breast milk.

Read more... )

(no subject)

Feb. 18th, 2005 09:51 am
symbioidlj: (Default)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-1489955,00.html

"The debate about whether there is a global warming signal now is over, at least for rational people," said Tim Barnett, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California. "The models got it right. If a politician stands up and says the uncertainty is too great to believe these models, that is no longer tenable."

(no subject)

Jan. 13th, 2005 02:10 am
symbioidlj: (Default)
The names of many stars are still those given them by Muslim astronomers, such as Altair (from al-tair, "the flier"), Deneb (from dhanab, "tail"), and Betelgeuse (from bayt al-jawza, "the house of the twins" or "Gemini"). Other terms still in use today such as zenith, nadir, and azimuth are also derived from Arabic and so reflect the work of the Muslim astronomers of al-Andalus and their impact on the West.

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