Non-attachment in the realm of attachments

by Robin Datta

This essay is a response to ulvfugl.

Then substitute yourself, or Buddha, or anyone, or ‘a human’ for x, and substitute ‘other’, or ‘world’, or Earth, or biosphere, or ‘life’, or ‘my brother, sister, son, daughter, wife, husband, lover …’ for y

Then what should be the quality of relationship between x and y ?

One of the clearest expositions of this problem and its solution were given in the Indian epic, the Raamayana, by Raama’s helper and assistant, Hanumaan, to Raama’s question, “Who are you to me?”

Raama is posited as an incarnation of the Supreme, referred to in Hinduism by several terms, the best-known of which is Brahmaan, the corresponding term in Buddhism being the Sunyata, sometimes translated as the Void. Per the Wikipedia, Śūnyatā, (Sanskrit, also shunyata; Pali: suññatā), is a Buddhist term that is translated into English as emptiness, openness, thusness, etc. Śūnyatā refers to the absence of inherent existence in all phenomena, and it is complimentary to the Buddhist concepts of no-self (Pāli: anatta, Sanskrit: anātman) and dependent origination.

Brahmaan (more commonly spelled Brahman) has to be distinguished from Brahmin, traditionally a member of the academic/priestly class, with the word now accepted in an specific English usage with derogatory connotations. It has also to be distinguished from Brahma, the anthropomorphic deity, that assumes the creative function of the creation-sustenance-destruction continuum as the Creator-god.

Hanumaan, the leader of the monkeys that befriended Raama in the forest, is referred to as the monkey-god, or the individual person in relation to the Supreme.

Buddhist writers note that The Void is not empty For an allegory, a photographic film non-sensitive to wavelengths in infrared, if used to capture infrared images, will turn out blank. It is be noted, however, that both “not empty” and “infrared”, are concepts, phenomena, and therefore fail (cf.
Cartesian Circle).

Hanumaan’s reply:

“dehabuddhyā dāso’ham”

“From one’s point of view of physical existence (of the body and mind) I am your slave.”

“jivabuddhyā tvadamśah”

“From one’s point of view of the Supreme in an individualised aspect, identified with the constraints of physical existence, I am a ray from you” (as in a ray of sunlight from the sun).

“ātmabuddbyā tvamevāham”

“From one’s point of view of the Supreme in an individualised aspect, but not identified with the constraints of physical existence, I am your very Self.”

This first case corresponds to an attitude fostered by theistic religions. In an idealised manner, the individual is to consider oneself to be an instrument of the Divine Will. In Christianity it is a servant of God, in Islam it is a slave of Allah, an Abdullah (عبدالله), and in Judaism it is an eved hashem (עבד יהוה). In Hindu symbolism, one description is that of becoming Krishna’s flute.

The second case involves a sublimation of the first attitude. The theistic religions tread rather gingerly about this. In various theistic sects it borders on, or even ventures into the heretical. However, the Judaic tradition narrates that God animated the clay (= adamah in Hebrew, hence the name Adam) image by breathing the Spirit into it; in Kabbalah it is noted that the Spirit never separated from its source. In the Hindu tradition, this is expresses as “Jiva is Shiva”: here the Jiva is the Supreme individualised and identified with the constraints of physical existence, while Shiva is the deity anthropomorphised/personalised.

The third case involves complete identity, and is not overtly subscribed to by any theistic sect. In the Hindu tradition it is referred to as “Atmnn is Brahman”

The three cases represent a progression in the disappearance in the sense of an “I”.

In Hinduism, the mind is not considered separate from the body, similar to the view in modern neuroscience. The mind is termed the “antakarana” in Hinduism, the “internal instrument” and is considered complementary to the five senses, making their functions possible.

With regard to inanimate objects and sentient beings, in the first case one is a steward of the Divine, and all of these are one’s charges: the obligation rests upon one to take optimal care of them all. This includes one’s body and mind, which are the first among all the charges assigned to one by the Divine. This is the nidus of non-attachment: one cedes one’s personal claim upon anything and everything to the Divine. All actions are preformed as if at the behest of the Divine.

In the second case, it is the Divine Light, as the light of one’s consciousness, that illuminates all objects, both animate and inanimate, making them manifest in the realm of one’s awareness. Nothing exists apart from one’s consciousness, and all things are recognised as oneself. One’s attitudes and actions are in concordance with this recognition. In the Buddhist tradition, the last words of the Buddha were “be a light unto yourselves and a lamp unto others”.

In the third case, the sense of an “I” does not exist. At the deepest level of conscious awareness, there is neither an “I” nor a “thou”, neither existence nor non-existence. Our perspective from within the confines of existence does not extend into it. Yet in that third case, the body-mind continues to function in a conventional manner because the momentum of those tendencies that have become manifest impels it on.

The allegory used is that of a potter who intermittently gives a push to his wheel to keep it spinning. When he is done with shaping his pots, he does not give it any more pushes. The wheel, however, continues to spin under its own momentum until that momentum is exhausted.

Even without these three cases, all sentient beings that retain a sense of an “I” are motivated to every intentional action and intentional inaction by the anticipation of consequences to be felt by the “I”.

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, the illumined sage Yajnavalkya teaches his wife:

Then Yajnavalkya said: “Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear, is the husband loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self which, in its true nature, is one with the Supreme Self. “Verily, not for the sake of the wife, my dear, is the wife loved, but she is loved for the sake of the self. “Verily, not for the sake of the sons, my dear, are the sons loved, hut they are loved for the sake of the self. “Verily, not for the sake of wealth, my dear, is wealth loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self.


Robin Datta was born in Quetta, Pakistan in 1949. His father was one of three Hindu officers in the Pakistan Army at that time, and a veteran of the Burma campaign of WW2 as a Regimental Medical Officer in the Royal British Indian Army. Robin attended nine different schools as his father was posted to different places. His mother was also an officer in the Nurse Corps of the Royal British Indian Army in WW2. His mother’s native language was Telegu, and his father’s was Bengali: their common language was English (a consequence of two centuries of British Raj), and hence he spoke English natively (as his first language), but had to unlearn it rapidly when exposed to the American Language in New York. He also speaks Urdu, the lingus franca in those parts, natively (natively bilingual).

Datta graduated with a medical degree from Bangladesh in 1972: in order to graduate, it was necessary to take a medical history from the local patients, and as a consequence he learnt Bengali. He moved to New York in 1973. He served in the Army two years (one in Korea, and half a year in Desert Storm), and served three years in the Navy, and was a Flight Surgeon in both branches of service.

Datta completed Family Practice Residency in Louisville, Kentucky, and passed board exams, becoming certified both in Family Practice and Emergency Medicine. He worked in Emergency Medicine from 1983 to 2009 in Kentucky and California (San Jose, Hollister, and Fresno in California). He is single (never married) and retired with no dependents.

Almost all of what he learnt about Eastern religions was acquired after coming to America. The knowledge of Bengali helped significantly in understanding the nuances of cognate terms in Sanskrit and Pali.

Datta is not sure what to do next. Whatever it is, it must take into consideration imminent collapse. He is open to and invites any possibilities and suggestions.

Comments 205

  • Someone mentioned that science had not found any evidence of ‘a soul’. It’s not the first time I have encountered this remark, so whoever it was, please don’t take my response personally, because it’s not directed towards any specific individual, rather towards the astounding, infuriating, ignorance of almost everyone in the culture I am forced to live in.

    Why would anybody need scienceto verify or deny the existence of their soul ? It’s like not believing that sugar tastes sweet until some scientist tells you that it is. We don’t need Occupy Wall Street, we need people to stop being effing zombies, walking dead, hungry ghosts, and wake up. Occupy YOUR OWN BODY, your own LIFE, your own BEING !

    Look, it’s very, very simple. Lay down on a bed or somewhere, in a quiet undisturbed place. Close your eyes. Take your attention and awareness inside yourself. Feel your whole body at once, all the skin and muscles and bones, sense as much of it as you possibly can.
    Explore the whole thing, with your consciousness, noticing any bits that appear as gaps, feel your toes, the soles of your feet, your genitals, your neck muscles, your lungs expanding and contracting, your flickering eyes in their sockets, etc, etc, etc.

    Got it ? That is your physical body. But there’s more ! There’s someone who lives in this body, someone that animates this body, someone who feels this body, indeed, when you do this simple, trivial exercise, there is someone doing it !

    THAT, dear ladies and gentlemen, is YOUR SOUL.

    Other metaphysical issues, as to where it goes when you die, or whether it can be sold to the devil, or whatever, are totally irrelevant at this point. All I’m saying is that you HAVE a soul, and it is YOU, and nobody needs a scientist or a book or anyone else to tell them that !

    Okay ?

    Now, whether your soul is healthy, intact, pure, whatever, again these are secondary issues. You should, if you have been paying due care and attention, be able to trace the story of your soul, all the way back to your birth, without a break. Your soul is a story, has a story.

    Most people cannot do that, which is hardly surprising, seeing as most people don’t even realise that they have, or had, a soul, that they ARE a soul, so they lost it a long time ago…. out of ignorance, and the corrupt influences of a depraved and sick culture.

    But, with a bit of effort, you can heal and restore whatever remains, and so good luck with that….

    I maintain, that of all the things in the known Universe, of all the things on Earth, the soul, in it’s pure, pristine form, is the most precious and aesthetically beautiful…

    It is certainly the most valuable thing that any of us can ever possess.

  • the virgin terry

    Thanks for pointing out the Arthur Miller error, I should have chaecked.

    Also with the odds, I think there is a problem because after the first card is moved ther is no longer 52 card but only 51, so the odds are either 26 over 51 or 25 over 51, depending on which colour was chosen. All those fractions have to be multiplied, and I suspect it is a sum of or limits equation. Whatever the actual odds it would be somewhere near that quoted by The REAL Dr. House,”2 raised to the 52nd power is 4,503,599,627,370,496″, but one over that number, I think.

    Also I can see you are going lightly by suggesting I can do this sort of thing at will, and that is not the case. I was in Nepal, it was Jan 1990, and I had trekked for about 37 days up into and around the Annapurna Range there, I had some sense of pilgrimage, and I spun the Prayer wheels that contained the robes of many now dead monks as I passed them on the trek. I lost about 25 kilos, and was feeling particularly chipper. All I can say was that then I was in a very restive and fired up state, and I suppose one may call it optimal physical condition, which for me always brings mental and emotional equanimity too. The card event was sponteaneous, and the two companions and I were talking about the PSI experiments in the 1960’s. I think it is a very long bow to say these things were subject to my will. It was more like they can happen when the will, or the mind, is much quieter, and less intrusive. If one tried to make money from it I know in my case the faculty just would not work.
    But put yourself in my shoes, what would it do to your way of seeing the world and reality if it had happened to you?

  • MB muttered something, yesterday, about ‘adherents of Eastern Religions’. I don’t know if he included me in that categorisation, but if so, he is grossly mistaken.

    I have followed the path of Soto Zen for more than four decades. I don’t know if that makes me a Soto Zen Buddhist, nor do I care, although I don’t object if someone says that I am. I am a great many other things besides, anyway.

    Zen is not ‘an Eastern Religion’. It’s not attached to any point of the compass, north, south, east or west. It’s not attached to any geographical location. It’s not a religion. That is a category invented by Western scholars and academics, where they view everything through a Eurocentric cultural filter. Neither can it be defined as a philosophy. Zen is a practice, designed to destroy all concepts of philosophy, religion, ideology, in fact, all belief systems and worldviews. Zen applies a flame thrower to all the ideas that anyone has about what ‘zen’ is.

    If you want to know about zen, you have to do it. You have to do it yourself. It’s like swimming. Something you learn to do, with all that you are. Not something anyone ‘adheres to’.

  • Zen is not ‘an Eastern Religion’

    Father Robert E. Kennedy, Roshi:

    Robert Edward Kennedy (born June 20, 1933) is an American Jesuit priest, professor of Theology, psychoanalyst and Zen Roshi in the White Plum lineage.

    Robert Kennedy, S.J., Roshi, is a Jesuit priest and Zen teacher in the White Plum lineage. He studied with Yamada Roshi in Kamakura, Japan, with Maezumi Roshi in Los Angeles, and with Glassman Roshi in New York. Glassman Roshi installed Kennedy as sensei in 1991 and conferred Inka (his final seal of approval) in 1997, making him a roshi  (master).

  • OzMan

    re: odds of predicting colour of all 52 cards in a deck

    You beat me to it. Only if you had no memory of your previous predictions, irrespective of your lack of knowledge of the outcome, is the 1/(0.5^52) probability correct. For example, the probabilty of predicting the second card correctly given you got the first card correct

    = (26/51)^2 + (25/51)^2 = a little bit more than 0.5

    By the third card the calculation gets very messy and I don’t want to think about it more because I’m sure no one is interested.

    The point is that the odds of predicting all 52 cards correctly is many orders of magnitude greater than 1/(0.5^52), but still insignificantly small.

    If you could predict even 80% of the cards correctly this is already statistically significant. Do it a few times in a row under laboratory conditions and the famous debunker whose name I dare not mention would have no option except to pay out his $1,000,000.

  • ulvfugl “Why would anybody need scienceto verify or deny the existence of their soul ? ”

    Well it depends on what you mean by soul. If you mean something that is separate from your physical body that has an existence before or after your body dies, then I reject that.

    If you mean the conscious self awareness that arises as your brain grows from the initial cell that is you, sure of course we all have that UNLESS some damage occurs to our physical brain. Then that self awareness or parts of it can disappear even if the body is fine. Scientists have tied various such gaps in self awareness to various specific problems, deficits, or damage to the brain
    One interesting one is Cotard’s syndrome. Per wiki “The central symptom in Cotard’s syndrome is the delusion of negation. Those who suffer from this illness often deny that they exist or that a certain portion of their body exists.” Hmm where did their soul go.

    While it certainly seems like we have something like a soul, that doesn’t prove that we do. It opens up all sorts of questions, like where did the soul come from, where does it go when a person goes senile, when does it join the fetus – what if a twin forms after several divisions – if the soul is already there does it divide. Why are identical twins raised apart so similar in so many ways. Do they get twin souls? When someone has amnesia and no longer knows who they are did they lose their soul?

    I for one don’t want a soul that lives after me. Once around in life is enough. If we have a soul that goes elsewhere when we are dead, are you sure that elsewhere is good?

    I would suggest you read VS Ramachandrans Phantoms in the Brain to get a handle on some of the ways our brain when damaged can create false realities

    And then Daniel Wegner’s the Illusion of Conscious Will – Our conscious brain is probably not the decider in most cases but is great at creating illusions for us in normal situation. When brain damage occurs it can get freaky.

    Does brain damage damage the soul as well or does it just go into hiding when the brain is not working right?

  • Yorchichan

    Yes very messy calculation. It would be great to have an actual mathematician have a go. Anyone know a mathematician? If I did have a shot at the million dollars, it would be strange to have the money in the bank for 10 minutes and then have it disappear because the banks fail. That would really be some lesson in non-attachment.
    But I have not tried it since that time, and I figure since that was the first time I had tried it, if I did do it again my average would probably go down, so I’m happy to leave it on a high note.

  • Oh gee, okay. You got me. Well, whatever flavor one wants to call it today, it’s still proselytizing, imo. Talk is cheap, especially with such an esoteric topic. Get out and Do the Dew if one os that passionate about it, and quit talking about it. If some of you are a product of that philosophy, then by virtue of your example here on the internets, I want no part of it. I liken the discussion to an argument about the existence of the Holy Trinity….something very dear to Roman Catholics. “Gurus” and “Teachers” and “Masters” and “Priests” know how to keep themselves in business, I’ll give them that. Never answer the questions, and always keep them coming back and asking for more. It’s job security, and it works quite well…until the advent of the internet. With the advent of such, the proselytizers are scrambling to reinvent themselves….and perhaps that’s what this discussion is really all about.

    More ignorance. Are you proud to be a fool ?

    ‘Some of you’ ?? I’m speaking for myself, and myself alone, so address me directly, if you have something to say to me.

    ‘You want no part of it’ ? Who said anything about wanting YOU to be part of ANYTHING ?

    As for your slur, about ‘never answering questions’, I answer anything that anybody asks me; ‘asking for more’ ? More what ?

  • We’re now at over 100 posts to this thread. Has anyone yet been converted? I haven’t. Not very effective, nor efficient, but I’m sure there’s a non-attached, non-answer for that, as well, and some will add it with a touch of belligerence, no doubt.

    More ignorance. What makes you think that I’m trying to convert ANYBODY ? Converted to WHAT ?

    That’s just your delusion showing through.

  • Kathy : “Well it depends on what you mean by soul.”

    Of course. But that applies to all words. I’m talking about something real, not something imaginary or abstract, and I said nothing about where it comes from or where it goes, only WHAT it is and where it is. Nor did I say anything about its relationship with the brain, which remains unclear and is disputed amongst neuroscientists.

  • MB : “Talk is cheap, especially with such an esoteric topic

    Hahaha, certainly is, you’re a fine one to say that, seeing as you shout your mouth off regularly about subjects where you know nothing, rather than inform yourself first. ;-)

    It’s only ‘an esoteric topic’ for you, because you don’t know anything about it. For millions and millions around the world, it’s part of their ordinary daily lives.

    The Normal Mind is the Tao

  • Kathy C

    You gotta see Robin Datta’s link ‘Report to Galactic Command’.

    Entirely possible, IMO.

  • “Myths and legends die hard in America. We love them for the extra dimension they provide, the illusion of near-infinite possibility to erase the narrow confines of most men’s reality. Weird heroes and mold-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of “the rat race” is not yet final.” – Hunter S. Thompson

  • Btw, MB, I share your attitude towards the Transhumanists… they fill me with revulsion.

    Yuk. I do find this upsetting. It increases my general contempt for, and disgust with humans.

    Should we upgrade the intelligence of animals ?

  • Are you paranoid or what, MB ?

    Whether you think it’s right or wrong,The Grim Reaper will arrive to meet you, with a scythe, soon enough, that’s for sure. Your existence is your responsibility, not mine.

  • Kathy C says that there is no soul. So does the second of the Three Features  of Existence in the Buddhist tradition: “All entities are without an abstracted essence (i.e. “soul”). 

    The problems persist as long as there is a sense of “I”. All of what one comprehends as reality is based on one’s perception. First to be perceived is the distinction between the “I” and the “not-I”. However the “I” itself has to be assigned some attributes from the “not-I” to be perceptible: “I am this body”, “I am this mind/brain”,  “I am a son/daughter/father/mother/etc.”, “I am white/brown/black” etc.

    A serious enquiry even on an intellectual level into the question of “Who am I” can peel away all the labels applied to the perceiver.

    The metaphor used is that the “I” is the stick used to stir the funeral pyre (from the traditions in which cremation is customary). This pyre itself is lit to consume one’s identity. In the end even the stick is cast into the flames and is consumed.

    There is a distinction between intellectual understanding and direct awareness. In the Sufi tradition the metaphor used is that of a scholar transporting his treasured books loaded onto the back of a donkey. (This is from the days when books had to be transcribed by hand and were therefore very expensive). It is said that the donkey carries the books on its back, while the scholar carries them in his intellect. The difference between the person with awareness and the scholar is many times greater than that between the scholar and his donkey. 

    Not all the persons who read this blog comment here. And indeed, there are few “conversions” if any amongst the regular commenters. That does not imply that no readers find any useful ideas here. 

  • “There is a distinction between intellectual understanding and direct awareness.”

    Yes, that needs to be emphasized. What I was talking about, above, is direct sensual awareness, not an ‘idea’, I’m talking about perceived experience of being, encountering one’s ‘self’ at a phenomenological level, rather than thinking and intellectualising and writing and talking.

    I think the notion of ‘converting’ someone is insane. I know it’s part of the Christian evangelical tradition, so perhaps that’s why MB is so afraid of it, especially when it comes accompanied by a knife between the shoulder-blades, in his imaginary nightmare world, hahaha, but to my mind, I have no duty, obligation, inclination, or desire, to ‘convert’ anybody. I’m not seeking a retinue of ‘believers’. I thought Fight Club was a good illustration of that phenomena, also Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

    The theme of the topic, as I understood it, was what should be the correct relationship between a person, and ‘all the rest’, the ‘world’, but particularly, the biosphere… and then came the ancient wisdom of Hindu and Buddhist thinking on the subject, regarding attachment, and non-attachment, which terms have a specific meaning in that context, not quite the same as in ordinary english vernacular language.

    Why anybody should conclude that they are being pressured to become Buddhists or Hindus, or anything else, is a reflection of their strange projections, IMO.

  • Ice-free Arctic? Global Warming? Not to worry. Both have happened before.

    No humans on planet Earth? Again, not to worry: that too was the case at one time.

  • Harking back a bit to Descartes, re the augmenting animals with implants and transhumanism, I see this as Descartes evil legacy. He’s the one who did the deal with the Catholic Church, claiming that animals have no souls, therefore he could dissect live dogs without any anaesthetic, to have a look what was inside them, freaking out all his neighbours who could hear the screaming and howling… and that ‘tradition’ has continued in science ever since, animals have no souls, so they are just clockwork machines, and any signs of distress or pain are merely ‘automatic’….

    Prior to Descartes, animals were seen quite differently, they were even brought to court and put on trial for crimes, which is obviously ridiculously extreme in the other direction, to treat them as if they were human adults who commit murder or burglary.

  • Who are ‘they’ ?
    What do ‘they’ try to make you ‘believe’ ?
    Who are ‘the others’ ?

    You talk opaque nonsense, MB. It’s like meeting some broken down old alcoholic walking the roads mumbling incoherently about ‘Them’….

  • With regard to “conversion”, Zoroastrianism accepts no converts: one has to be born into Zoroastrianism. 

    In Hinduism, the tradition of “caste” implies that one has to be born into it, even though it can be quite moot in practice: I for one find George Foreman’s Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine to make my beef stakes quite tasty. And the six (or seven, depending on how one slices them) schools of philosophy are more divergent than the three Abrahamic religions; two of them acknowledge neither a God nor an eternal soul. But anyone may adopt any of them even without being born into the tradition. 

    To be of the Judaic tradition, one has to be born to a Jewish mother, although others are “accepted”. The tradition’s history recognises others that were accepted, notably the Pharaoh’s “magicians” who cast their lot with the people of Israel at the time of the Exodus.

    Buddhism from its inception has had no problem with acceptance, although its three major branches have diverged as much as the three Abrahamic religions.

  • Belief implies uncertainty. Uncertainty implies lack of direct awareness. For example, one has to “believe” what physicists say, unless one is a physicist oneself. Or one must “believe” that architects have done an adequate job every time one enters a building – unless one is oneself the architect who deasgned it.

    But where direct awareness is posited as achievable, belief is not adequate as an end in itself.

  • I suppose one might sympathise with MB’s paranoia, given the history of America.

    I mean the fear of the knife thing, and of ‘them’.

    Surely, most Christians and Moslems are Christian and Moslem because at some point in history, their ancestors were told ‘Convert, or we kill you !’, so, being quite fond of staying alive, they replied, ‘ok’

  • MB great limerick!!!

    Perhaps by chance, perhaps by intervention of the divine dog I read something relevant this AM. I am reading The Society of Mind by Marvin Minsky which is quite thought provoking about just how our mind might work.

    He writes “In any case, our brains appear to make us seek to represent dependencies. Whatever happens, where or when, we’re prone to wonder who or what’s responsible. This leads us to discover explanations that we might not otherwise imagine, and that helps us predict and control not only what happens in the world, but also what happens in our minds. But what if those same tendencies should lead us to imagine things and causes that do not exist? Then we’ll invent false gods and superstitions and see their hand in every chance coincidence. Indeed, perhaps that strange word “I” as used in “I just had a good idea” reflects the selfsame tendency. If you’re compelled to find some cause that causes everything you do – why then that something needs a name. You call it “me”, I call it “you”

    An interesting look at WHEN in our evolution we came to be self aware is proposed by Julian Jaynes. I read his book and didn’t think he made a good case but none the less it was of interest. Per wiki on Bicameralism “Bicameralism (the philosophy of “two-chamberedness”) is a hypothesis in psychology that argues that the human brain once assumed a state in which cognitive functions were divided between one part of the brain which appears to be “speaking”, and a second part which listens and obeys—a bicameral mind. The term was coined by psychologist Julian Jaynes, who presented the idea in his 1976 book The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, wherein he made the case that a bicameral mentality was the normal and ubiquitous state of the human mind as recently as 3000 years ago.”

    Another interesting theory is proposed by Hofstader in his book I am a Strange Loop. I am afraid he mostly writes above my grade level. In the wiki entry on the book title it says“In the end, we are self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages that are little miracles of self-reference. ”
    — Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop p.363
    Hofstadter had previously expressed disappointment with how Gödel, Escher, Bach, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980 for general nonfiction, was received. In the preface to its 20th-anniversary edition, Hofstadter laments that the book was perceived as a hodgepodge of neat things with no central theme. He states: “GEB is a very personal attempt to say how it is that animate beings can come out of inanimate matter. What is a self, and how can a self come out of stuff that is as selfless as a stone or a puddle?”[1] Hofstadter seeks to remedy this problem in I Am a Strange Loop by focusing and expounding on the central message of Gödel, Escher, Bach. He demonstrates how the properties of self-referential systems, demonstrated most famously in Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem, can be used to describe the unique properties of minds.[2][3]

    Frankly I find this stuff absolutely fascinating and I can’t imagine just saying “well I think I have a soul so I must have a soul” and missing out on the wonderful world that neuroscience is bringing us. Unless of course one is afraid of death and can see that all bodies die so finds the feeling of an “I” that stands alone as a comfort as perhaps it can outlive the body.

  • Yes, Robin, I agree.

    Bishop Berkeley’s subjective idealism is quite interesting in that regard, as a reference point.

  • I think you may find, MB, if you research the matter, that the more recent genetic evidence does not support the Khazar conversion theory.

  • Robin, True “Or one must “believe” that architects have done an adequate job every time one enters a building – unless one is oneself the architect who deasgned it.” But it is not belief without some precedence eh? We know there are building laws in this country. We see that buildings do not fall down by themselves in most cases, so we bet as much as believe that buildings will not fall without good reason. After all how many times does a building fall like WTC7 unless a demolition is planned. Repeat-ability of entering buildings and their not falling is as much or more a part of our faith as is our belief in architects.

  • Kathy, isn’t Minsky the guy who first proposed downloading himself onto a CD and the subsequent horrible ideas of transhumanism ?

    Indeed, perhaps that strange word “I” as used in “I just had a good idea” reflects the selfsame tendency. If you’re compelled to find some cause that causes everything you do – why then that something needs a name. You call it “me”, I call it “you”

    But you may have noted, in my description for finding the soul, there is no requirement or reason to call ‘it’ or name ‘it’ anything.

    Frankly I find this stuff absolutely fascinating and I can’t imagine just saying “well I think I have a soul so I must have a soul” and missing out on the wonderful world that neuroscience is bringing us.

    I hope you’re not suggesting that is MY position. I don’t think I have a soul. I AM my soul.

    Yes, that ‘wonderful world’, where we all get brain implants…. won’t it be FUN, eh…

  • MB, I know of no genetic evidence to support anything about Mormonism, IMO it’s a crackpot cult. However, there is much detailed and ongoing research, concerning the population of Europe, and afaik, it appears to show that the Ashkenazi jews have genes deriving from the Judaea/Palestine area. It’s not something that interests me, just something i noticed in passing, I really couldn’t care less what customs the jews have or had, regarding conversion.

  • PS : Good luck with getting your hands on your bro-in-law’s fortune.

  • All that you are, from my perspective, is some marks on a computer screen…

    The “subject” of writing does not exist if we mean by that some sovereign solitude of the author. The subject of writing is a system of relations between strata . . . the psyche, society, the world. Within that scene, on that stage, the punctual simplicity of the classical subject is not to be found (Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference)

  • ulvfugl “I don’t think I have a soul. I AM my soul.” Ah so your soul is part of your body and disappears when your body dies? Or is your body not part of your “I”?

  • Marvin Lee Minsky (born August 9, 1927) is an American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence (AI), co-founder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AI laboratory, and author of several texts on AI and philosophy.

    And yes “He firmly believes that once researchers understand how brains work, “we will discover ways to upload our minds into machines.” He predicts that our AI descendants (what AI researcher Hans Moravec called our mind children) will eventually leave the planet and spread throughout the universe. “If we are the only intelligence in the universe, then we are obligated to ensure that the universe remains meaningful,” said Minsky.”

    Apparently he has his own desire to escape death. Pretty human desire and always futile. That doesn’t undermine his explorations into how we think. But if Damasio is right our sense of self comes in the nerves and hormone interactions with the rest of our body. So if that is right it would seem that the brain would loose its sense of self. Again if Damasio is right our sense of self is in our brain body connection and dies when the brain/body dies or the self can even die with just part of the brain dead. A brain on a CD would seem to be just information and brain on a CD in a robot would perhaps think its self was the robot. In fact the memories which are part of who we are would conflict with the robot body. My memories carry me from childhood to now. A person with Amnesia who has lost their memories doesn’t know who they are. Imagine a brain with memories of a human life stuck in a robot body – probably go crazy. Interesting to think about.

  • Another way the sense of self grows is that a child is told over and over as they grow up that they are a self, responsible for their actions. Parents do this without thinking. Have been doing it for a long time.

    Other than Jaynes I can’t recall reading of anyone exploring when in evolution the sense of self might have arisen. We know some animals seem to have a limited sense of self (dolphins, orangatans, magpies, elephants pass the mirror test for self recognition ) Do they have souls? I suspect our extended self awareness evolved with our extended use of language and perhaps also our extended use of tools – who is using the tool? whose tool is it? what can I do with the tool?

    Even young children don’t pass the mirror test until later from wiki on the rouge test – “From the age of 6 to 12 months, the child simply sees a “sociable playmate” in the mirror’s reflection. Self-admiring and embarrassment begin at 12 months, and at 14 to 20 months most children demonstrate avoidance behaviors.[1] Finally, at 18 months half of children recognize the reflection in the mirror as their own[2] and by 20 to 24 months self-recognition climbs to 65%. Children do so by evincing mark-directed behavior; they touch their own nose and/or try to wipe the mark off.[1]” I imagine the level of parental interaction in enforcing the idea of self makes a big difference in the timing of their growing sense of self awareness.

    Isn’t this all much more interesting that saying I am my soul? Is to me.

  • Well, I think both Minsky and Damasio have a horrible view, I reject it.

    You asked me an extremely difficult question, and as you will appreciate, many people have written long books on this subject. It’s unlikely I can provide a satisfactory answer in a few comments.

    ulvfugl “I don’t think I have a soul. I AM my soul.” Ah so your soul is part of your body and disappears when your body dies? Or is your body not part of your “I”?

    No. I am my soul, the thing which is inside my body, when I close my eyes, the thing which is no longer inside my body when my death occurs.

    I assume that last bit, from having watched death occur. The external impression is of something that departs, leaving inanimate lifeless corpse. I have always found witnessing that event rather moving and worth dwelling upon. A warm, lively, laughing person, and then a mound of muddy earth covering a coffin, is such a strange and dramatic transformation.

    The relationship between body and soul is not clear, if you want a theoretical intellectual understanding. But I have not been talking about a theoretical intellectual understanding. As Robin understood, I’m talking practical direct experience.

    My soul and my body are intimately linked, but then so are my body and my clothes, and within my soul there are many potential alternative ways of being, the psychic structure has been mapped out variously in different cultural traditions, e.g. Jung, Freud, Adler, Alchemical, Taoist, Kabbalist, Tantric, etc, etc, etc.

    I don’t know about the moment of death, because I have not experienced physical death, but whilst still alive, I can leave my body at will, any time, any place. That’s because I have trained and taught myself how to do it, over my lifetime.

  • ulvfugl & OzMan:

    Not everyone is given to discern consciousness as the the basis and source for everything. So, Matthew 7:6

  • MB, your paranoia is getting out of control, please take your meds.

    Population studies using gene mapping are going on all the time all over the world, as a research tool to figure out all kinds of stuff. Your linkage to Nazi Germany is idiotic.

  • My main objection to Minsky and Damasio would reductionism, be as outlined by Vandana Shiva

  • “Isn’t this all much more interesting that saying I am my soul? Is to me.”

    Gear Dog, Kathy ! the two things are not mutually exclusive !

    Recall, I said the soul is the most precious thing, in all the universe. Start from there, I say.

    Yes, i have lots of thoughts re consciousness, sense of self, etc, in animals, etc, etc, it’s a vast subject, I’m happy to go there in due course, as time permits.

  • Ulvfugl – How can you be sure your brain is not tricking you?

    From 6 most mind blowing ways your brain can malfunction
    Somatoparaphrenia + Share #3

    You sit down in the morning to a cup of coffee, and to work the maze on the back of the Lucky Charms box. Your nose itches, and suddenly somebody else reaches over to scratch it.
    Then this person grabs your coffee mug and brings it to your lips. You’re starting to wonder who this is and why he’s being so helpful, considering that you live alone. It’s then that you realize, to your horror, that you’ve actually had someone else’s arm grafted onto your shoulder and the goddamn thing is acting all innocent about it.

    And the thing is really good with kids, too!
    The Condition:
    People with somatoparaphrenia suffer damage to the brain’s homunculus region or “body map.” That’s the part of your brain that catalogs all the parts of your body and keeps track of them so you know where all your limbs are without actually looking at them. If you have a stroke or something that messes with your brain, however, it can actually lose track of one of your limbs. And this really, really messes with your head. It makes it so that you can still move the limb and still register feeling — you just don’t recognize it as yours.
    In one documented case, a man denied ownership of an arm and a foot, and while he didn’t know where the foot came from (it was a “big foot only suited for work”), he figured for some reason that the arm belonged to a woman he knew named Maria.
    She did have some guns, though.
    In some cases, the experience of having someone else’s body parts attached to you is so stressful that people will actually try to get the foreign limbs chopped off. In 1997, a man approached surgeon Robert Smith and asked him to amputate his left leg, which he believed wasn’t his. Apparently shooting for the title of World’s Most Unethical Surgeon, Smith granted the request, and was immediately swamped by people wanting him to cut off their alien limbs. He actually made a decent living cutting off people’s healthy body parts until the hospital ordered him to stop, for some reason.

    Read more: The 6 Most Mind-Blowing Ways Your Brain Can Malfunction |

    Can you ever be sure that all the things you think you experience are real if the brain can create such incredible delusions????

  • Kathy, my brain tricking me about what exactly ?

  • Is that who you mean by ‘them’, MB ? Better check under the bed before you go to sleep tonight, eh, in case there’s a German hiding there, intending to eat you in the night.

  • Funny isn’t it that the man discounted by Shiva – our old friend Descartes – held the same view that you have – that we have a soul that is separate from the body. So you disagree with Descartes on the scientific method but hold to his dualism.

    I certainly disagree with Minsky on uploading our minds to robots, but since he is trying to make a thinking machine he is doing extensive work on just how we think.

    I don’t think science is the be all and end all, in fact I think it is very dangerous and we would be better of being H-G’s with only the science pre programmed in us. But at the same time I love learning about how things work. Science has pushed back god from one venue to another as they have explained how the world works. My son has epilepsy. I am most grateful that science has found out what is going on so that my son is not accused of having an evil spirit. Science is pushing back our understanding of the brain and how it works. Lucky for you it will never accomplish that task and disabuse you of your belief in your soul, for science has also sown the seeds of its own destruction and perhaps as early as 2050 we will all be gone. Bunch of souls gonna be floating about without any human body to embody in.

  • Funny isn’t it that the man discounted by Shiva – our old friend Descartes – held the same view that you have – that we have a soul that is separate from the body. So you disagree with Descartes on the scientific method but hold to his dualism.

    I certainly disagree with Minsky on uploading our minds to robots, but since he is trying to make a thinking machine he is doing extensive work on just how we think.

    I don’t think science is the be all and end all, in fact I think it is very dangerous and we would be better of being H-G’s with only the science pre programmed in us. But at the same time I love learning about how things work. Science has pushed back god from one venue to another as they have explained how the world works. My son has epilepsy. I am most grateful that science has found out what is going on so that my son is not accused of having an evil spirit. Science is pushing back our understanding of the brain and how it works. Lucky for you it will never accomplish that task and disabuse you of your belief in your soul, for science has also sown the seeds of its own destruction and perhaps as early as 2050 we will all be gone. Bunch of souls gonna be floating about without any human body to embody in.

    No, no, no. My view is very different from Descartes ( obviously nothing to do with the pineal gland, for a start, that’s obsolete, but that’s a minor point ). I don’t go his ‘I think, therefore I am’ route. Completely different. I go the route of the buddhist jhanas. Much deeper. No ‘think’ involved at all.

    Well, this is a very frustrating conversation, because you have completely missed points I’ve made repeatedly. ‘Belief in soul’ is bullshit. I have insisted that this has NOTHING to do with ‘belief’.

    Yes, no doubt, there are many positive aspects to modern medicine and science, perhaps the biggest one that would be missed being anaesthetics and pain killers. I’m well aware of that. It was infant mortality that kept our numbers in check. I’ts kinda hard to argue with pregnant mothers that their children will have to die….

  • Kathy, re what you said, my brain tricking me about what exactly ?

  • i’ve been following the conversation for days now – real interesting and great links (!), but i’m not going to pretend to be enlightened with any kind of comment except this (from last year):

    Back to the collapse for a sec, this is real close to where i live and is a great description of the way things are going:

  • oh, yeah one other thing – what’s with all this “moderation” of the comments? What, are we filtered for content? Censorship of some kind?
    i don’t get it.

  • IMO, Germany’s a Nation that should never have been allowed to rise again after the atrocities of WWII.

    Just a troll, not worth a reply.

  • Tom, this website puts comments into moderation if they have two or more embedded links. This is strictly a spam-reduction measure. As it stands, I filter through more than 100 spam messages each day.

    I am not moderating this site. To date, I’ve deleted a few replicate comments, and a couple that were inordinately offensive to somebody else. I’ve never deleted a comment because it was offensive to me.

  • Farage is a loud-mouthed blustering creep, IMO. USA is ALREADY much further down the road towards Hitlerian style fascism than anywhere in Europe. If you must be paranoid be paranoid about your own compatriots, USA is the greatest danger to everyone alive, everywhere.

  • For Robin


    It is not possible to move directly from asana to meditation. This requires jumping from the body to the mind, forgetting what lies between. To make this transition, the breath and senses, which link the body and mind, must be brought under control and developed properly. This is where pranayama and pratyahara come in. With pranayama we control our vital energies and impulses and with pratyahara we gain mastery over the unruly senses — both prerequisites to successful meditation.

  • Hi Tom, thanks for the science makes you stupid link, interesting comments there, too.

    I’m reading The Master and his Emissary, Iain McGilchrist, there’s chapters and chapters of stuff like that, on and on, enough to drive anyone crazy trying to make sense of so much bizarre information…

    Yeah, I read Burning Platform sometimes, you live in famous ‘the 30 blocks of squalor’ ??

  • Hahahahaha, this news should freak a few fundamentalist Christian nuts…

    Jesus’s Wife !

    “Four words on a previously unknown papyrus fragment provide the first evidence that some early Christians believed Jesus had been married”

  • Dualism v. Physicalism, Arguments for the existence of a soul, Death, etcetera, etcetera…

  • You’re barking crazy, MB.

    It doesn’t matter what your neighbours are like. Try visiting London, 180 different languages in one school… but that’s neither here nor there, what matters is what the guys with the POWER decide…

    You don’t even understand what fascism is. It doesn’t have to involve any kind of ‘purification scheme’, it’s the union of state and corporate (capitalist) power, and the removal of civil rights. Sure, it can involve ethnic cleansing, if that’s a useful tool for power to achieve its ends. The Russians ‘cleansed themselves’, whilst being supposedly of the opposite end of the spectrum to the Nazis. Same thing has happened repeatedly throughout history, all over the world, with no linkage at all to fascism.

    You need to educate yourself. Do please try. at least.

    As for the rest, it’s just garbage, that I’ve already addressed. I’m not the least bit interested in ‘recruiting’ anyone to zen, your whole premise is ignorant and absurd, but that’s what I’ve come to expect from you, MB, flippant, shallow, irresponsible, foolishness, from someone incapable of serious thought.

  • Hahahaha “You represent the philosophy well.”

    Okay, MB, you go ahead and explain to me what ‘philosophy’ I represent so well.

    Go on, do it. You’ve read all my comments over recent days, I assume. You should be able to give a brief resume for our fellow readers. Then they can judge you on your ability to assimilate and comprehend information.

    As you said, words are cheap. Especially when you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

  • Yes, your compatriots, the one’s with the power, the 1% who control the money and the guns…

    You and your neighbours don’t figure anywhere, other than as a source of taxes and cannon-fodder and consumers of crap food and Chinese junk.

  • Here’s one for Kathy, Does God Exist ? Of course not, she says.

    Of course, it all depends upon what you mean by the word God. ;-)

    When Kathy and I use that word we are speak about totally different concepts…

    For me, there is nothing that isn’t God, nowhere that isn’t God, the whole Universe is God, God is like the ocean is to a sardine…. and I love Nietzsche too ! My God bears very little resemblance to anything in the Abrahamic religions. This guy explains it well, I agree with most of what he says

    “Does God exist?” Of the near-limitless variety of questions that can be posed by human beings, few are as profound, as important (or to certain fanatical Nietzsche lovers, as inane and tiresome) as this one. Few other questions have such a powerful effect over daily life, politics, and human interactions as this one simple query, and any given individual’s reply to it speaks volumes about his or her worldview.

  • “They’re your compatriots too, then, uvula. Those folks have no allegiance to any Nation-State.

    Ah, but they don’t need allegiance to a nation state, what they want is power, and that means having control over the American money machine and the American war machine.
    That’s the bit that they have allegiance to, the bit that they care about.

    Sure, a lot of the strings get pulled from London, the festering den of vipers in the City of London are just as obsessed with manipulating the USA as is Israel and AIPAC and Saudi Arabia. The USA has the FED, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the big arms corporations. Whoever controls them has the most power.

    None of them are MY compatriots. I’m Welsh, a piddling little nation, in the grand scheme of things, something like one of your Indian Reservations, mostly mountains and sheep….

  • Look at you claiming to be an expert on Fascism. It’s a relatively modern, and therefore untested, term, with few examples to give it adequate meaning and definition. Germany and Italy are the prominent 20th Century manifestations of the phenomenon that gave rise to the term, so the definition of it is not yet clear and precise, but the Fascist movements that have developed are identified by a fierce sense of Nationalistic pride and fervor combined with Purist terminology and inclinations.

    Capitalists have always had control of the Government, especially in the U.S. It was founded as an Oligarchy and continues to be one to this day. Sure, the membership of that Oligarchy has changed somewhat over time, but it’s still a Plutocratic Oligarchy, and the U.S. Government structure was set up to maintain that. With the rise of Corporations, the Plutocrats found a further mechanism to shield themselves from public outcry and liability. Government and Corporations are both tools of the Plutcocratic Oligarchy used to increase and protect their wealth and status, and many of them and their minions, vacillate between the two in ceremonial positions of power as suits their purposes. So, per your definition, Fascism has already existed for many centuries, and it’s been called something else, or else, your definition is inadequate and really doesn’t capture the essence of Fascism as exemplified by Nazi Germany.

    Relatively modern and untested term ? What a cop out ! How many centuries will you need, MB, before you’re sure you’ve understood it properly ?

    Sure, capitalism long preceded fascism. The nationalistic ‘pride’ and the ‘purist’ tendency, I tend to see as merely expedient tools to manipulate the population. Obviously, this time around, the fascists have learned a lot, and the pattern won’t be any exact replication of the 1930s.

  • Sorry about the delay – freak downpour added about 3 inches of water to my basement & i lost internet and tv (which i rarely use anyway).

    Thanks for the explanation Guy. i didn’t think you were to blame (and don’t blame you anyway – it’s your freakin’ blog!), i just didn’t understand the parameters. That clears it up.

    MB – yeah, it’s gettin’ so that boarded up storefronts and for sale signs that stay for years on overgrown weedy lawns is just part of the scenery.

    ulvfugl – no, i’m out west of the city of Phila., but it’s only about 45 minutes to where this guy is writing about (and it’s the same out here where i live). Sounds idyllic where you are.

    All the best to everyone here.

    Man, there is a LOT of crap comin’ down – from more reports of the Arctic methane releases to a coming war between Japan and China over a goddamn rockpile off the coast! Meanwhile, we’ve got the whole Middle East up in arms about a Youtube video movie knocking Muslims and they want blood. The global financial system is teetering precariously from week to week and i’m not sure things won’t go completely off the rails BEFORE the election! Meanwhile

    “Following controversy over its purchase of around 1.2 billion bullets in the last six months alone, the Department of Homeland Security has put out a new solicitation for over 200 million more rounds of ammunition, some of which are designated to be used by snipers.”

    Gee, i wonder why they need all that ammo? Who are they planning to shoot?

    One development i find pretty fascinating is this one (enjoy):

    Perhaps we’ll all be there soon enough (i’m not sure how that whole “afterlife” thing is supposed to play out – do we stay in THIS universe or “become one” with it, or do we get shuffled around to other ones? Besides reincarnation, what else is there?).

  • Yes, I’d agree, with various qualifications over details, etc, that China is a massive fascist state, very little difference between China and USA now.

    Obviously there are differences, but those are mostly to do with historical time period, the transition China made from Maoism to State Capitalism.

    I’d also say that Russia is a State Capitalist fascist system, and India is trending in that direction.

    The basic requirement, I think, is that the traditional mechanisms of state power, as was in, say, 19th C, get joined up with the capitalist corporations, as a sort of symbiosis. They resist any attempt to change that arrangement with violence against their own population.

    Of course, if a whole population rises in open revolt, or cause civil war, that’s risky for the fascist state, so the elite prefer to avoid reaching such dire situations, by using other means, such as lies and propaganda, distraction by starting a war with some weaker neighbour, or handing out goodies to the people, whatever.

    If you agree with that much, the next aspect is the geopolitical power struggle for resources and territory. That’s been going on long before fascism or capitalism, but now with globalization, and the limits on oil, water, minerals, metals, fisheries, it’s the major concern for all countries.

    The there are four large powers. Europe is not the same, whatever you may say, as Russia, China, and USA. Europe is not a totalitarian unified fascist state. It might become one, but for the moment, Eurasia is being attacked by USA, from the west, via Israel, Syria, Iran, N. Africa, etc, and from the East, via Korea and Japan.

    Russia and China have no choice but to unite to push back against the USA. This is incredibly dangerous, if you’re a human being anywhere who doesn’t want to be blown to pieces.

    The only intelligent, logical course is for USA to back off, otherwise, any small unexpected event can trigger another global world war. We’re very close to that.

    But of course, for USA to back off is also a very difficult option, almost impossible. For one thing, US administration is dysfunctional to the point of psychosis, maniacs like Brezinski, Kissinger, Neocons, and whatnot, who’ve been planning one world government with USA as boss for decades…. and the economy in free fall, propped up by paper money that’ll be worth nothing if China pulls out… a totally oversized military that nobody knows what to do with, other than make wars, industries that rely on the military and wars, to exist,… congress and senate that rely on Wall St and corporations for bribes… and no grown ups in charge, or even to be seen, anywhere…

    And, behind the scenes, the bankers, who don’t care much who fights with who, they profit whatever happens…

    And global warming on top….

    Have I forgotten anything ?

  • Re that analysis of fascism. Yes, it’s interesting ( jeez, you expect me to cover everything when there’s whole libraries full of books devoted to this subject ? ) but what it misses, is that from the vantage point of those guys, there was only ONE thing that mattered, and that was power. All else was secondary. So, they’d say ANYTHING, if they thought it helped their intention to have total power, and most of what they said were blatant lies. I mean, Hitler, a good Christian, a Catholic, a vegetarian who adored animals, etc. All the talk of race and blood and soil and romantic return to rural life, etc, etc, was just to manipulate the masses. If that didn’t work, those guys would have said the opposite. I mean, it’s a game.

    Look at Napoleon, who had an enormous painting done, where he personally tended the wounds of his injured soldiers. It was like Bush landing on the aircraft carrier ‘Mission accomplished’, pure propaganda. In reality, while that painting was being completed, Napoleon issued orders that injured soldiers and stragglers should be shot, because they were slowing down the army.

    All such people tell lies about everything. Stalin, Mao, let millions die, without a qualm. If you’re not willing to be like that, you’re not in the same league.

  • I mean, while I’m typing this stuff, on my peaceful mountain, ( thinking up the best way to insult MB so that he has to stay in bed for a week to recover ) there’s all the other rooms with guys sitting in front of computers, plotting and scheming how they are going to get what THEY want… CIA, Mossad, MI6, FDR ( was KGB ), whatever the Chinese version is called, all the crazy groups in the Middle East and Pakistan, etc, etc, etc, hundreds of thousands of minds, all trying to cook up dirty tricks to pull on other groups, and trying to foresee any dirtier tricks that might be pulled on them… it’s no way to look after a planet….

  • As I wrote in this space about four months ago:

    Fascism has come to the industrialized world, and the evidence is particularly clear in the United States. As I wrote in a book published in 2004 regarding the executive branch of the U.S. government:

    “[The administration] is characterized by powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism, identification of enemies as a unifying cause, obsession with militaristic national security and military supremacy, interlinking of religion and the ruling elite, obsession with crime and punishment, disdain for the importance of human rights and intellectuals who support them, cronyism, corruption, sexism, protection of corporate power, suppression of labor, control over mass media, and fraudulent elections. These are the defining elements of fascism.”

    The situation has progressed, and not in a suitable manner from the perspective of the typical self-proclaimed progressive. Along with fascism, we’re firmly ensconced in a totalitarian, surveillance-obsessed police state. We’ve been in this state for many years and the situation grows worse every year, but most people prefer to look away and then claim ignorance while politicians claim we’re not the people indicated by our actions.

  • Nonsense, fascism isn’t unique to anywhere, and it can never be ‘rooted out’, because there will always be people who crave power, whole find ways to appeal to that side of human nature. It’s been analysed thoroughly ever since ancient Greece. It’s understood by academics. The hard part is getting people to agree, on any system, and then keeping it going through the various crises that arise.

    It’s quite possible that a fascist party will gain power in some part of Europe, Greece, Hungary, whatever, but that’s a small issue compared with the whole of Europe. Europe is nothing like the USA. There’s no monolithic military under a unified command, so there’s no way that, even if Europe did unify under fascism, it could threaten USA or Russia, it would take decades to build up a military machine to match either of them.

    Sure, Britain and France have nuclear weapons and sophisticated military, but against Russia or USA, they don’t compare.

    I don’t know what distinction you’re making between State Capitalism (corporate fascism ) and totalitarian oligarchy. I live in UK, aka Great Britain, of which England is the largest country, the others being Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland. It calls itself a democracy, although the system has been running for so long that the various vested interest have figured out how to rig the game, just as in USA, and whether we vote Labour or Conservative or anything else, we still end up with the same result, just as Obama has continued Bush era policies. Two buttocks on the same backside, which do you prefer ?

    There’s more that I dislike about the UK than I like. I wish they’d stop meddling in other countries, but after hundreds of years of imperialism, they can’t break the habit.
    There’s some excellent things though. A lot of the ordinary people are really extremely nice, kind, sensible, generous. The problems all trickle down from the elite and the politicians, who ruin everything for everyone.

  • Another significant factor, re British policy is, that there are 60 million people on an island that is only large enough to support about 15 million sustainably from its own land area. So the only way to feed all those extra people, and give them a standard of living that keeps them relatively quiet, is to take resources from elsewhere. In other words, to steal other people’s stuff. That’s been the British speciality, ever since they invented the first corporation, the East India Company, along with the slave trade, etc.

  • I agree, fascist has become a term of abuse to describe anyone you don’t like, so it’s not much use, of you want precise terminology.

    But say you start from the opposite end, of what a perfect system would look like, I’d like small-scale communities, where everyone had some statistical chance of meeting everyone else, of having some kinship, so there was group solidarity, with a structure that meant anyone who had power could be removed if they abused their power. The Iroquois had a great system.

    But what happens then ? if one such group misbehaves, attacks its neighbour, who is there to sort them out, unless there’s some superior power ?

    And, as the Greeks learned, you can get a great system, where everyone is happy, for a generation or two, but then it evolves and mutates, anacyclosis…

  • Nice quotes, Valissa on NC, on governance, from the Tao te Ching, written probably around 2,500 years ago, it’s not the first time humans have encountered these kinds of problems, is just that this time the scale is so much greater. I’d say we’re in the greatest crisis our species has ever faced, and no sign we are even serious about solving it….

    The great Way is easy,
    yet people prefer the side paths.
    Be aware when things are out of balance.
    Stay centered within the Tao.

    When rich speculators prosper
    While farmers lose their land;
    when government officials spend money
    on weapons instead of cures;
    when the upper class is extravagant and irresponsible
    while the poor have nowhere to turn-
    all this is robbery and chaos.
    It is not in keeping with the Tao.

    When the court is arrayed in splendor,
    The fields are full of weeds,
    And the granaries are bare.
    Some wear gorgeous clothes,
    Carry sharp swords,
    And indulge themselves with food and drink;
    They have more possessions than they can use.
    They are robber barons.
    This is certainly not the way of the Tao.

  • OzMan

    Yes very messy calculation. It would be great to have an actual mathematician have a go. Anyone know a mathematician?

    Not sure if I could be described as a mathematician, but I did a PhD solving similar problems in conditional probabilty. If you are really interested then get my email address from Guy and I’ll either:

    1) Solve it;
    2) Show you enough steps that you would understand how to do it;
    3) Decide after a few steps the problem is so complex even the world’s largest super computer couldn’t do it.

    My hunch is it’s not so difficult but there are a lot of calculations and unless a nice pattern emerges a program would be needed to cycle through them all, so my money’s on 2.

  • I love that idea.

    I fell off my chair ! You mean I actually pleased you ?

    Yeah, I know Dunbar’s number. Although some anthropologists dispute details.

    But I found the inspiration elsewhere. I grew up in a little town called Aberystwyth, on the coast. I researched the history.
    Several centuries ago, it had a fantastic social system. It was very isolated, sea on one side, about a hundred miles of mountains to cross to reach the English border, so it was fairly self-contained.

    They had a ruling council, which decided on what roads or drains or whatever needed fixing, and where ships should go in the harbour, and all that stuff. So if a guy wanted power and prestige, he wanted to be on the council. But to qualify to get onto the council, the requirement was, how much good work you’d done to help the poorest people.

    So, that was a sort of feedback loop. It gave capable ambitious dynamic individuals a strong motivation to do all they could to help the sick, injured, paupers, etc.

    And because it was such a small place, there was no chance of cheating, because gossip meant everyone knew more about what everyone else did, and when, and why, than they knew themselves…


  • Btw, that was around the time that Thomas Jefferson’s family were alive in Wales, maybe he got some of his ideas from that and similar systems, I’m sure it wasn’t the only community that operated like that.

  • Well, that was quite funny, but unlike his, my beard is for real, and unlike the film, I’m serious about what I say and do. It’s not like boasting. It’s not something I chose, I had no option, except suicide. The condition I have had all my life is about the worst pain it’s possible to have, see wiki below, and until about 10 years ago, there was no medical remedy.

    There’s a zen saying, ‘Someone who wants enlightenment with the same urgency that a hanged man wants to loosen the noose around his neck, will find it quickly’.

    You imagine what it’s like for your head to feel like someone poured petrol over it and light a match, and then bangs red hot nails into your skull, and that happens every day. You either kill yourself, or you find a way to leave your body. I learned how to do the latter. I’m probably better at it than anyone else alive, although there may be a few here or there who understand as much as I do. At first it was pure desperation. But as I studied it more and more, it’s much more interesting and significant than that, non-physical realities, explored via the subtle body, whatever…

  • This stuff has been known for millennia. Science has a lot of catching up to do.

  • Two buttocks on the same backside, which do you prefer ?

    Like a hungry donkey equidistant between two equal bales of hay, might a Jerry Sandusky prefer each one equally?

    Cafergot (caffeine + ergotamine), beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and tricyclic antidepressants are all variously helpful in abortive and preventive treatment of cluster headaches. Dihydroergotamine (DHE45) intravenously can be helpful to abort acute attacks, but its subcutaneous effect is about 1% of its intravenous effect. 

  • During the latter phases of the Roman Empire, it established provincial capitals and set up complex provincial governments: these were in effect corporations. Modern corporations differ from partnerships in that all the partners in a partnership are proportionally  jointly and severally liable for all the liabilities of the partnership and benefit from its profits and assets. The corporation is a fictitious entity that shields its shareholders from liabilities in excess of their share values, and from all criminal liabilities: even the board of directors is more often than not shielded from  criminal liability. The corporations exist under the aegis of another fictitious entity, the state. The corporations perform functions that would otherwise devolve upon the state, and in the performance  of such functions, assume the onus for shortcomings, thus again benefiting the state.

    When this symbiosis is augmented by the creation of channels to corporate influence on state power and bureaucratic access to corporate wealth, that melding of power and wealth becomes set in the hierarchy as fascism. The problem with it is that it may be quite difficult to influence or dislodge.

  • Cafergot (caffeine + ergotamine), beta blockers, calcium channel blockers, and tricyclic antidepressants are all variously helpful in abortive and preventive treatment of cluster headaches. Dihydroergotamine (DHE45) intravenously can be helpful to abort acute attacks, but its subcutaneous effect is about 1% of its intravenous effect.

    Thankyou for your kind suggestions, Robin and sorry to have bore everyone else with this dreary personal stuff, please just skip this comment.

    From age around 10 until aged around 50, the headaches gradually increased in frequency, until they became chronic, daily, without any breaks. All that time I’d see doctors sporadically, without ever getting a correct diagnosis or an effective remedy.
    The usual diagnosis was migraine, and migraine remedies had no effect.

    It was during that time that learned the out-of-body technique, because the pain would often continue for 24 or 36 hours.

    A local doctor finally took the thing seriously, looked up rare headaches in his books, and we worked our way through them all, until something worked, which was sumatriptan, intended for migraine, and very expensive as new on the market.

    That was the first time anything had been effective, other than LSD, which worked but highly illegal and hard to obtain. I think I have tried the stuff you list. Also many others, pure oxygen, verapamil, psilocybin, etc, etc. Slow acting chemicals are useless. The thing starts from nowhere and reaches peak pain in four or five minutes.

    Sumatriptan stopped working some years ago, but zolmitriptan nasal spray was newly available and very effective, gradually becoming less so, over the years. That’s what I still rely on, taking up to 20 X the max safe recommended dose, often twice daily.
    It still does sometimes stop working. I also take methysergide, as a prophylactic, although strongly contraindicated, with zolmitriptan. The doctors and pharmacist freak about it… they expect me to die anytime.

    At the moment, the attacks occur twice in 24 hours, usually 12 hours apart, though not precisely, they drift an hour earlier, an hour later, sort of thing, but obviously linked to day length biorhythms in some way. These attacks now, with zolmitriptan and methysergide, last about half an hour to an hour, of excruciating pain. And then I am wrecked from the side effects of the drugs for a few hours. Then I’m ok and do stuff, and then the next one arrives.

    Sometimes I have a variation, where its a dull ache instead of intense pain, and drags on for half a day or so. The specialist neurologist suggested that’s more like standard migraine, so diagnosed me as having CH and migraine. Unfortunately, although highly trained and highly paid, he knew less about the subject than i did, and all he had done was to google websites and then print out the info and pretend it was him speaking, but I knew all those websites and where he got the info. He wasn’t much help.

    BOL148 would be worth a try but it’s not approved and my Dr won’t get it.

    I know it must sound a bit crazy, but I’ve been on my own with this affliction for so long, that ‘we’ have come to an understanding, where I see it as an immense privilege, it has forced me to confront suffering in a way that few people have to do, and learn stuff that few people ever learn, so I am very grateful. It has also ruined my life, in many ways, but that would be to judge it by conventional prevailing social values, which are a bunch of crap anyway. I have become so strong, that even at peak pain, when the whole of the room vanishes and all sense data is obliterated, and nothing exists but pain, I can often maintain perfect bliss and equanimity, no body, no self, no world, just the Universe burning like the heart of the Sun, beyond life and death.
    Then the crisis is over and I must recover as fast as i can, and have a few hours of life, before the repeat.

    I am most grateful to have met you on this forum, Robin, because not many people have the knowledge you have displayed re the Dharma, Turiya, etc.

    I have read everything I could find in the research documents re this disease. It is incredibly hard to understand. One theory ( Goadsby ) is that the hypothalamus sets of a cascade of chemistry, which takes a wrong turn somewhere, and sends a signal to expand the minute blood vessels around the major head and face nerves, causing pressure upon them which just continues to increase, with no ‘off’ switch.
    That was plausible, but then some other researchers did similar scans of CH attacks and found no activity in the hypothalamus. So back to square one. I’ve read all the stuff about serotonin, calcium channels, etc, but I don’t really understand it.

  • New onset headaches or a change in character or pattern of a headache mandate imaging studies in my book. Even a long standing headache pattern should have had them somewhere along the line. Since CT is less sensitive than MRI, with a chronic headache, the best option would be a contrast MRI. 

    When I was working, if I saw a patient with a long standing pattern headache without prior imaging studies, I would order a contrast MRI. One must cover the bases.

    A suggestion that may work is a trial of abstinence from all wheat and wheat products for a couple of weeks.

  • I’ve had CT scans. Nothing abnormal found. I have not had MRI scan.

    There are practical aspects. I live in extreme poverty, no transport to anywhere, even to visit the local Dr two miles away is a major demand. I have not been off my property for many years. The hassle in arranging transport, etc, is too much, the trauma of travelling 80 miles to the nearest hospital, all the shock to my senses, is too much, leaving my dog and birds for the day is too much. it can take 18 months to get a scan or a specialist appointment. probably sounds pathetic, but I gave up my life many years ago, I just enjoy my existence moment to moment, and am hopeless at more demanding long term plans.

    I have kept detailed records of everything I ate, drank, did, and nothing has ever correlated with the headaches, except daily sleep wake rhythms. Often the headache begins with the first slightest light of dawn. But it’s not a clear rule, they can occur anytime, and often have a twin, 12 hours later, like that for a few days, then maybe 3 or 4 in 24 hours. Sometimes they get very much worse, 8 or 12 attacks in 24 hours.

    Forgive me cluttering up this thread with this boring stuff. I prefer not to mention it, but to explain my difficulty, how can I go anywhere public, when this can happen at any time ? I need to be here where I love to be, and will be happy to die, where I know how to cope, and can deal with it in privacy. Being in a strange place makes it much worse. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic or self-indulgent, but this is just what it is like

  • Tom “coming war between Japan and China over a goddamn rockpile off the coast” Whenever there is a conflict in an unusual place you can be sure it is about resources – no exception here
    “They matter because they are close to strategically important shipping lanes, offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits.”

    That disputes about oil are reaching ever more obscure places with smaller reserves is confirmation of peak oil

  • ulvfgl – for the record I have never said God didn’t exist. I assert that a powerful god that works in human affairs can only be evil based on the facts on the ground. A good god that has no power and/or doesn’t work in human affairs is irrelevant.

    You will note that I said in one part of the conversation that I hoped I didn’t have a soul that lived on after my body died. I can’t prove I don’t have a soul any more than I can prove god doesn’t exist. I can point to the growing body of evidence that claims of what a soul does or what god does keep getting pushed back by science.

    If you can keep a body alive but destroy the thinking part of a brain through injury or illness and that which we identify as the person disappears one has to ask has the soul already left, is the soul disabled by damage to the brain, is the soul in hiding. Otherwise you are left with the conclusion that it was the physical brain that created what you caused the soul and that what you call the soul is gone when the brain or brain and body die. Specific injuries to specific parts of the brain result in specific damage to what the “soul” is given credit for. This is all indicative that the self resides in the brain and brain/body connection and no where else.

    If we had more time before we go extinct I am pretty sure the boundaries of what might be attributed to a soul or god would be pushed back even farther/

  • Meanwhile on the self extinction project – incineration in Japan of 110 tons of debris a day.

    “Kitakyushu city started incineration of disaster debris as of 9/17/2012. (cf. Atmospheric dose is high in Fukuoka prefecture)

    The debris is from Ishinomaki city, Miyagi. They are going to incinerate 110 tones of debris a day at 3 incineration plants. They are to process 62,500 tones of debris by 3.2014 at maximum.
    However, people are still protesting against it for the risk of radiation contamination.
    Kitakyushu government thus started internet censorship. Mainichi newspaper reported like this below,
    They started researching comments on the internet as of 9/17/2012. It is to control harmful rumor. Kitakyushu city government outsourced it to private sector, they are to check the comments on the internet forums. The purpose is to control baseless comments that may cause harmful rumor for sightseeing industry and agriculture.”

  • for the record I have never said God didn’t exist. I assert that a powerful god that works in human affairs can only be evil based on the facts on the ground. A good god that has no power and/or doesn’t work in human affairs is irrelevant.”

    Okay, you didn’t say that ‘God doesn’t exist’, but I’ll say that God, as characterised by you, does not exist. In other words, it’s a strawman God, bearing no connection or resemblance to my own conception of what the word God signifies.

    “I can point to the growing body of evidence that claims of what a soul does or what god does keep getting pushed back by science.”

    Science has failed, thus far, to address either the soul ( my conception ) , or God ( my conception ) in any meaningful appropriate way ( with a few exceptions ), because science is handicapped by the Cartesian paradigm and scientism.

    B. Alan Wallace is good on this stuff. He has a deep understanding of science, scientific method, buddhism and other religions.

    Same goes for Rupert Sheldrake

    “If you can keep a body alive but destroy the thinking part of a brain through injury or illness and that which we identify as the person disappears one has to ask has the soul already left, is the soul disabled by damage to the brain, is the soul in hiding. Otherwise you are left with the conclusion that it was the physical brain that created what you caused the soul and that what you call the soul is gone when the brain or brain and body die. Specific injuries to specific parts of the brain result in specific damage to what the “soul” is given credit for. This is all indicative that the self resides in the brain and brain/body connection and no where else.”

    The problem with that is that you have already presumed the nature of the relationship between soul ( or mind, consciousness ) and body, and it’s a completely unfounded, unwarranted assumption. What if the relationship between physical body and mind, consciousness, soul, is nothing whatsoever like that ? Something far more subtle and strange ? That’s where the problem lies. You are trying to squeeze something very peculiar into an outdated paradigm, and attempting to exclude everything that doesn’t fit that paradigm. That’s scientism, not science.

    I posted this New Scientist quote before :

    ‘[the mind’s location] remains as elusive as ever, according to neurologists who have demonstrated that a patient retains a sense of self despite lacking three regions of the brain thought to be essential for self-awareness.’

    and this guy, for example, mentions some of the possible implications.

    ‘A conservative approach would state that mind, brain and consciousness are simply expressions of the whole organism, and nothing more.
    A more radical interpretation would plump for something like a filter or permissive theory a la William James or Henri Bergson, which suggests that the brain or organism simply ‘filters’ or permits a consciousness that extends beyond the organism and possibly saturates the entire cosmos.’

    Given that choice, I go decisively with the James/Bergson theory, because it can be neatly fitted to my own personal direct experience. However, I think there are even better approaches, and science is still a very long way behind practical mysticism, which has been actually doing stuff, for millennia, that science says, absurdly, is impossible. That’s an embarrassment that scientists should be ashamed of, IMO.
    They need to get their act together. It’s their fundamental materialist paradigm that is wrong. It’s been PROVED to wrong BY science, i.e. quantum physics. Nobody can argue against that.

  • Sorry, I forgot the ‘not more than one link’ spam filter, My comment is stuck in moderation. Anyway, i’ve already said more than enough, for a while.

  • Thanks, MB. Yes, hell, worse than teeth torture pain, because it’s right inside, where the main sense of ‘me’ normally resides. But there are WORSE things ! And someday i shall be released. Then what ? Eternal oblivion ? I don’t believe standard afterlife or reincarnation stuff, nothing like that really, but I think there are several parallel or intersecting dimensions, that can be explored via the subtle body, that are not limited in the way standard physical temporal reality is. Possibly tied to quantum entanglement and non-locality, in some as yet unknown way. Possibly consciousness or fragments of self can persist that way. I’m working on it. I’ll get back to you all when I have the answers :-) Bye for now.

  • A very interesting youtube on Conformity

  • ulvfugl: geez, i’m sorry to hear of your discomfort/disease, but you seem to be handling it remarkably well. i read all the comments on this board and follow most of the links.

    Kathy C: yeah, i know it’s about resources, but the point will be moot if they come to blows over it. What’s China gonna do – invade Japan? Whose side will we be on? It’s a mess.

    (refrain) From The Police:
    When the world is runnin’ down, you make the best of what’s still around . . .

  • Yorchichan

    That sounds like a good move.
    If guy can send me your e-mail I’ll get right on it.

    I remember Newton devised a mathematical method called ‘limits’, which long ago I was familiar with in High School. It went something like he devised a sum of infinite triangles to add up the circumference of a circle, and the triangles subtended from the centre to two points on the circumference, of say one sixth of the circumference, and would give a value. If he divided the circumference by twelve, it would give another value, slightly more accurate. As he divided the circumference by larger numbers the error reduced and it approached a value, but never reached it. The ‘limit’ equation was a way of defining that limit.

    I sense this fraction is something like that, but not infinite of course. Damn smart mathemetician was Newton, but my pet theory was that he was a type of transfer genius. By that I mean someone who was in the unique position to translate psychological or spiritual laws or axioms into geometric or physical laws, especially with respect to gravitation.

    Think of his famous laws on conservation of momentum and straight line motion, these pass extremely well when describing how ego tendencies operate, and why it takes some counterveiling ‘force’ to change an individuals ‘life trajectory’ or patterns of thought.
    Newton, IMO, was far more of a polyglot than the modern shonky text books would have us believe. I’m stretching the term polyglot here to include not just ‘languages’, but by moden standards, including esoterica, from many streams and cultures.


    Regarding fascism, I am want to quote that old Irish saying, “…is this a private fight, or can anyone join in? ”

    Fascism will not go away if some people stop watching the silly screens etc, but if everyone, or a quorum of say 40% did, that may work, because it is the recycling of attention that keeps TPTB running big bank balances. That’s why no one ever worried before about the few that opted out in the 60’s and 70’s, because it wasn’t ever going to be that many, but now could be different. Might be a challenge. Possibly massive unemployment will be close enough, but here in Australia, and elsewhere, a consumption tax has kind of solved that one for TPTB, because you cannot rely on more white goods, or new plasma screens being sold in a world wide recession, ‘depression’ if we are honest, but you can rely on people needing food and warmth and basics, which have 10% here on them.
    Well f we are really honest it is the beginning of a collapse, because unlike other periods of great depressions, there was still cheep oil and gas to put in the front end of capitalism, and growth came back on track because of the high value in the fuel. I think that is why we are seeing “Fascist’ processes accross the wrld developing obviously now, because the squeeze is on labour costs in the developed world now for ever!. Suppression of dissent is going to be huge from now on.

    (Wow! thanx for the heads up OzMan… we weren’t realy thinking of that until you spelled it out so clearly…)

    It’s what I do best, waffle on about the bleedin’ obvious.

  • OzMan

    Had a further think about it and it’s not too hard. Done up to first four cards and I can see the pattern emerging. Get the email from Guy and I’ll work out the formula of getting the nth card correct given the previous n-1 cards are correct. Then all you have to do is calculate this probability for each of n=1 to 52 and multiply them together.

  • Just completed the Non-attachment of 3 roosters from their heads. Yum, chicken liver tonight with gravy on biscuits.

  • I just finished reading “Oryx and Crake” by Margaret Atwood per one of the regular posters recommendation.(thank you) I found it very chilling and I could not put it down once I had started it.
    So much in the novel relates to topics discussed on this blog, which, by the way, is MY personal addiction.
    Write on and I will continue to read and learn.

  • With thanks to Robin Datta for his evocative essay, I’ve posted anew. The essay is here.

    On the topic of cluster headaches, anabolic steroids work for mine (specifically, Prednisone).

  • MB, glad you liked the vid. The author has other equally interesting vids which I am exploring.

    I have been accused by someone who no longer blogs here of mollycoddling Guy because I agree with most of his views (but if anyone is paying attention to my comments, clearly not all of his views). I joined the group because I found the ideas he puts forward to be closest to mine on the state of the world. Blogs can show some conformity by the fact that there is no coercion to join and thus one would expect people to join who have at least some points of agreement with the blog owner. (Sith Master Sean being an exception :) – the same person mentioned above thought I was a sock puppet for Sean for some unknown reason)

    I am the youngest of three and was not a popular kid in school. My father left when I was in High School. My mother was usually zonked on prescription drugs. I was left free to mostly think for myself, choose my own reading matter etc. Dysfunctional households are not necessarily all bad :) The church got a hold on me for a while because one, I thought Jesus was a fine example of how to live, and two because I found in the church more acceptance by caring adults than I did with my mother. So I stayed in the fold longer, but on the other hand my rejection was the result of a very long and serious attempt to justify god as being good. As a result I often surprise Christians for the much greater knowledge I have of the Bible than they do.

    BTW isn’t the phrase “I talk to myself” and interesting phrase. Who is talking to who. In Cognitive Counseling they teach you to talk to yourself (or write to yourself) which seems to be a way for the self aware consciousness to try to change the more controlling non self aware consciousness (in most cases the decider) to see things differently :). But the usual sense of the expression I think refers to using verbal thoughts or even spoken words to clarify non verbal thoughts. We do think non-verbally but usually find a need to move that into verbal expression. That is part of why I think the sense of I is tied to the evolution of language.

  • Carol: Glad you liked Oryx and Crake. There’s a sequel called “The Year of the Flood.”