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An unremarkable, eternal dawn: Reviewing the present.

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posted on Dec, 15 2007 @ 03:05 AM
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I extend the appropriate pleasantries that relate to you in your current circumstance.

An unremarkable dawn is the sort that doesn't inspire an appreciative gasp. Somewhere in the world, there is always a beautiful sunrise -- almost every minute, barring weather conditions
.

I wish to use this imagery to draw attention to a similar recurring pattern. Just as the sun is continually rising -- if you remain a fixed distance from it -- so also it is continually setting. In the same way, the passage of days, months, and years, is a matter of perspective; those who notice it descend from those who invented and keep the record.

Today I realized that humanity has depended heavily on the past for inspiration. To a large extent, our views of the future are sometimes deeply rooted on our past preconceptions of it. Prevalent in our society today is the concept of time as concrete and finite. In a frenzied attempt to control this concept that rules its interactions, Humankind has gone almost mad with its frenzied determination to ... well, determine the course of its existence. Today, prophecies and predictions abound, foretelling the disasters that will befall our species and planet.

Some of the patterns we see today have occurred in the past -- albeit on smaller scales, and so by necessity. Hitler's war was no less traumatizing to its victims than Napoleon's campaigns were to his. Yet, those aren't the only wars our species has seen. These events are recorded in our collective history, not ranked by importance, but by order of occurrence. In their days, what if these events were also viewed as heralding (or requiring) the arrival of divine justice -- since there was nowhere else to turn for the afflicted? That wouldn't surprise me. I understand there are also theories which state that the various prophecies of Christianity's Book of Revelations were fulfilled centuries ago. Don't quote or argue with me on that; I am not Christian and don't wish to argue Theology.

There was a time when slave trading was all the rage. I'm sure people who disagreed with the practice have existed as long as the practice itself. Yet abolition and desegregation were centuries in coming; why? Because, due to the ratio of 'yays' to 'nays', there was insufficient influence to affect change.

I once believed that the end was imminent. I understand now that this planet's ever-enterprising inhabitants have survived before, and will do so again. That's the fruit of our millenia-long labor: our ability to adapt. Though we have depended on the past for moral guidance, we have reached a point where we understand the flaws of our primitive thinking, and can make necessary steps to correct them. We once came to terms with the Earth's shape and position in the Universe: I'm sure we can overcome anything else.

We don't realize the 'major' things until we look back on them. Even now, things are occurring, which may only later be looked upon with great awe. Perhaps we will someday realize that we can't depend on ancient prophecies to show us the way. Perhaps we will actively take control of our existence, however uncertain it remains, and forge ahead with new rules, and new ways of thinking. The best part is that no one has to die for it.

I anticipate a future where humankind is already aware of its maturity, for there will never be one observable moment when we step over the threshold. There won't be lofty announcements ("INTRODUCING THE NEW IMPROVED PALEOZOIC ERA!"), or mathematically-interesting dates (see 2012 -- and while you're at it, 2000). No mass-catastrophes, celestial battles, or benevolent extraterrestrials; just a bunch of patterns that make plenty of sense in retrospect.

The turmoil our world is currently experiencing is concurrent with the actions we have taken to this point. You can choose to view that as a fulfillment of prophecies - or you can view it as a logical progression of events, generated by a species that arose from violent beginnings.

I conclude by urging you to at least meditate on this view of events. We may yet guarantee the survival of our species by accepting our place in the history of the universe, instead of interpreting events solely in the context of our existence.

[edit on 12/15/2007 by Mr Jackdaw]




posted on Dec, 16 2007 @ 07:04 PM
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To further spur conversation, I will attempt to express these thoughts in a more coherent -- and hopefully, less wordy -- manner.

The crux of the idea is 'thinking as a species,' where the survival of our civilization is concerned. This might, for instance, reduce or eliminate the need for personal weapons in the event of a societal collapse (due to natural/artificial causes). Natural disasters don't make criminals out of people, but paranoia can. In much the same way, possessing a gun doesn't guarantee safety in the event of societal collapse -- if you get shot first.

In the past, we have largely been a developing species at the mercy of the elements, and each other. In this day, we consider ourselves 'more advanced' than our 'primitive' ancestors before us, and yet we do little to truly differentiate ourselves from them. I maintain that we have the tools to approach our future more boldly, now. Change will take place -- on a mass scale, but in order for that to occur, it must happen at a base level: we must modify our interactions to better reflect the society we want to live in.

We can redefine our present. In doing so, we may learn much about the future.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 06:30 AM
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Hi Jackdaw, I can see where your coming from and it's certainly nice to see a thread that shows that our future is in our own hands, rather than all the inevitable doom and gloom that has being doing the round on ATS of late. Well your right about one thing. There definitely needs to be some major changes made soon on a global scale, if humanity is to secure it's future and I'm positive we will do exactly that. As a people we definitely need to interact more and listen to each other, but above all else we need to believe in ourselves. Our leaders certainly need to interact more, using the phone or video conferencing just doesn't cut it.

I think one of the main problems, especially in the west is technology. Nearly everyone these days has a phone and a computer which they use to communicate with friends and family. The trouble is that people are now becoming so reliant on this form of communication and as a result, social interactions are becoming less and less common than they were 20 years ago. Every aspect of ourselves, our humanity is being assimilated by technology and that's just not healthy for anyone. It doesn't have to be this way and not everyone has fallen into this trap, but it is starting to become the norm and that definitely needs to change.

This form of communication is replacing vital day to day human interactions. A computer monitor can't give you a hug when your feeling down or laugh at your jokes. Some psychologists worry that the Internet's widening popularity will lead to further isolation among a population that, although gravitating toward virtual communities in cyber-space, seems to have lost a genuine sense of belonging and connection. The solution is quite simple. Turn off the damn computer and phone, go outside and get a life.
It's time to get back in touch with our own humanity.



posted on Jan, 31 2008 @ 08:16 AM
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It's difficult to conceptualize the future without using information gathered in the past.

Your essay reminds me of a study of an indigenous people who had no concepts of modern thought such as mathematics and sorting. Their methods of problem solving were totally different than civilized people. They had no traditional paradigm of thought to influence them and so they achieved their goals in a way that was successfeul and completely different from modern societies. They completely perplexed the anthropologists who were studying them.

When you constantly tell a child he must color within the lines it may seem harmless and it may seem as if you are helping him to perform well but you are also limiting his self-expression and his concept of art. This applies to all other disciplines of study as well. Real innovation comes from imagination and the conviction that anything is possible.

We need to approach our future is such a way that we encourage new and more positive thought patterns that will bring about entirely new technologies and philosophies. Of course it sounds simple but we plainly haven't really gotten it right yet.

[edit on 31/1/08 by kosmicjack]



posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 12:02 AM
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Thank you both very much for your posts.

To Kindredspirit; I am hesitant to call Technology a problem. Technology is the result of our journey as a species up to this point. Certainly, it has caused its share of troubles -- but it has also brought improvements. Today, it isn't uncommon to see concepts for energy-efficient buildings. It isn't far-fetched to think that our entire civilization could be 'green': Resource allocation, however, prevents this from happening.

One of the things I admire about the internet is that people write what they think; their words are a snapshot of their mind at a specific moment in time. Fluidly interacting with minds in an environment as alien as cyberspace... well, I find that interesting. While it doesn't take precedence over physical interaction, I find that it serves the same purpose without the prejudices associated with visual cues; we like to hide, and the anonymity the internet provides is unparalleled in the real world -- unless someone knows how to make a real invisibility cloak.

Cyberspace interactions still uniquely affect us. The circulation of information once depended on physical interaction; the problem was that if a black-out occurred in a place, the news wouldn't get out quickly enough. Today, we have our advantages; if a health crisis forces a town to be quarantined, many people can be alerted to stay away. In the past, it would take a little time -- and a lot of mystery -- to get the word out.

So this all means that we can trade ideas in more places today, thanks to technology. The application of these ideas will, by necessity, be outside cyberspace; you can't build a particle accelerator on a server.


Yet.



posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 12:23 AM
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reply to post by kosmicjack
 


Kosmicjack; I want to read the report from the Anthropologists. If you could find me a link or any references, I would be most delighted.

You've certainly got a point there about innovation. Many technological breakthroughs came by treading where we once feared. Today, however, as we find a universe that seems increasingly difficult to predict (or control), we seem to retreat into a shell; apparently, none of it is worth anything unless it revolves around us (e.g. "Extraterrestrial civilizations don't exist because we can't detect them").


We need to approach our future is such a way that we encourage new and more positive thought patterns that will bring about entirely new technologies and philosophies. Of course it sounds simple but we plainly haven't really gotten it right yet.


Yes.
It is simple. And from my perspective, we haven't got it right because we're still putting humans on a pedestal above everything else -- even though we understand it isn't that way. There is a relationship between all aspects of nature; plants, herbivores, carnivores, omnivores. It's not linear until there is an imbalance; usually, the result of the imbalance rectifies it. We tend to ignore the relationships and focus purely on the predator/prey relationship -- priding ourselves, naturally, as the predators.

If there's an imbalance now, it will rectify itself soon enough. I often forget that nature as a whole -- including planets and stars -- can work in ridiculously long cycles.

Thank you both again; I'm very excited to hear your views, and I'm very eager to hear (and discuss) any other thoughts that are out there.



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 05:40 AM
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Obviously technology does have it's benefits, but it can also be detrimental to ones own well being if abused. This video is a perfect example about what I was talking about in regards to isolation and shutting yourself off from the outside world.

www.techamok.com...

This kid is seriously disturbed and has been spending way too much time with his apple Mac and myspace website. If my kid acted like that I would have him exocised.
Funny yet quite shocking.

[edit on 22-2-2008 by kindred]



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 01:52 PM
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An addiction to a social networking site can be understood when we consider our current approach to interaction. On a social networking site, you can carefully craft your appearance, and perfect your first impression: you can even filter the people you communicate with. This level of control is unparalleled in the external world, where one can get ostracized simply because of how they appear to others. If this child wasn't more appreciated on myspace than offline, he might have not been so distraught.

Almost anything can be abused. We don't avoid these things just because of their potential to harm; we decide instead to use them appropriately. Should predators de-evolve claws and teeth because they can be used to harm allies?



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 02:04 PM
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Originally posted by Mr Jackdaw
reply to post by kosmicjack
 

Kosmicjack; I want to read the report from the Anthropologists. If you could find me a link or any references, I would be most delighted.


I don't have access the study, only an article that discusses it:

New Yorker


The psychologist Michael Cole and some colleagues once gave members of the Kpelle tribe, in Liberia, a version of the WISC similarities test: they took a basket of food, tools, containers, and clothing and asked the tribesmen to sort them into appropriate categories. To the frustration of the researchers, the Kpelle chose functional pairings. They put a potato and a knife together because a knife is used to cut a potato. “A wise man could only do such-and-such,” they explained. Finally, the researchers asked, “How would a fool do it?” The tribesmen immediately re-sorted the items into the “right” categories. It can be argued that taxonomical categories are a developmental improvement—that is, that the Kpelle would be more likely to advance, technologically and scientifically, if they started to see the world that way. But to label them less intelligent than Westerners, on the basis of their performance on that test, is merely to state that they have different cognitive preferences and habits. And if I.Q. varies with habits of mind, which can be adopted or discarded in a generation, what, exactly, is all the fuss about?



posted on Feb, 22 2008 @ 10:49 PM
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Thank you; I found a little more information, which I'm linking here if any other readers are interested. The relevant section is on the right of the page, titled Cultural Influences On Perceived Intelligence. And for a bit of humor, I would like to add this article, apparently by Isaac Asimov. It's titled "What Is Intelligence, Anyway?"

Moving on: I would like to invite commentary on possible future scenarios -- minus the ever-popular doomsday theme. My approach is this; if we're capable of imagining ourselves blown to bits -- or controlled by a shadowy government -- I'm sure we can imagine other more useful things. Like where our civilization is going to be in five hundred years. I picked an arbitrary but conservative number; we have recorded history that goes back at least six thousand years. Our species has existed in its current form for much longer than that. I think it should be a factual concept, not an optimistic one.



posted on Feb, 23 2008 @ 07:50 AM
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Here is a thread which discusses a study about what colors the future of civilization no matter how advanced we get - the stuggle for power.

Lessons From Legotown

[edit on 23/2/08 by kosmicjack]



posted on Feb, 23 2008 @ 05:44 PM
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Very fascinating read, Kosmicjack; I read the entire article (Why We Banned Legos). I will attempt to discuss my observations below.

I think what struck me most about the entire read was the attitudes of the children. This doesn't assume anything [unpleasant] about their character; I was however quite interested in my off-hand observations of "They are just children."

True; they are. However, I realize also that their attitudes have been nurtured since their inception. The lego bricks didn't tease the behavior out of them; the entire exercise, however, provided them with the ability to confront certain assumptions they had previously carried around; namely, that they owned the lego bricks they played with. The conclusions they arrived at could have been reached sooner: however, a direct interaction with the experiment -- for them, restricted to a few hours a day -- was necessary in order to understand how a system should work.

The parallel with our society is not nearly as grim as you view it, per your post's closing quote:


My question for ATS is how can civilization finally solve this problem of power? As the tendency to exercise control is inherent even in our children, I'm not sure sure we can.


I might add that, in my perspective, I am sure we can. Our children learn from us. And in the closing section of the article titled, "A New Ethics for Legotown," the children arrived at a number of heartwarming (and very practical) conclusions and rules for the new town. If they overcame it, and our characteristics are inherent in them (as you alluded), then we can overcome our difficulties as well.

It occurred to me that, as adults, we could easily see the trouble with their behavior. Yet we often fail to realize that they emulate the characteristics that we present and encourage to them. Isn't it interesting that we are raised contrary to what we become?

The triumph of these children is, for me, proof of our collective ability to do the same. It provides an excellent reference for the viewpoint that drives this thread. We can change, regardless of how it looks. I will comment briefly on the other article you quoted, in a separate post.



posted on Feb, 23 2008 @ 06:06 PM
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Concerning the excerpt from Ran Prieur:

Eyes should turn towards the direction from whence the children's guidance came. Who provided it? Adults. Not gods. If we are capable to simulate these practical solutions on such small scales -- through human human interaction, not the use of computers --, I think it is just a matter of time before the solutions get scaled up.

As in Legotown and the larger world, unforeseen disasters can happen at any time. In the larger world, however, the solution won't be as easy as having our 'lego bricks' banned. It would be a decision; we learn to work together -- immediately -- or don't. If we don't, we can rebuild the old civilization; today's. It might take a very long time, but it could be done. In the same way, we could build a new society, with rules similar to the new Legotown:


* All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.
* Lego people can be saved only by a "team" of kids, not by individuals.
* All structures will be standard sizes.


Do you think this can be done?



posted on Feb, 23 2008 @ 06:33 PM
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...So many possibilities.

I guess it depends on the prevailing philosophical sensiblities.


All structures are public structures. Everyone can use all the Lego structures. But only the builder or people who have her or his permission are allowed to change a structure.


Objectivism?


Lego people can be saved only by a "team" of kids, not by individuals.


Socialism? Communism? Utopianism?


All structures will be standard sizes.


Fascism?

I'm just spit-balling here but my point is that solutions often depend on perspective - and who's in charge. So, ultimately, power does play a role in the solution.

Do I think a new model of civilization can be formed? Only with a paradigm shift in thinking. The old constructs must be either completely rejected or completely forgotten.



posted on Feb, 23 2008 @ 07:28 PM
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Solutions do of course depend on perspective. In this case, the perspective was shared by the entire group; and, more importantly, they (presumably) solved their problem. "Presumably" because their solutions were presented at the conclusion of the article, and I have no way of knowing what happened afterwards.

I don't think, however, that a solution depends at all on 'who is in charge.' Remember that authorities 'run' a system by telling it what to do. Our 'system' -- at its core -- is sustained by social interactions, most of which can (and likely will) continue to flourish, even in the absence of authorities, as they appear today. If the nature of those interactions change, the entire system will change.

We have learned that we must respect and obey those who must be respected and obeyed. We're never really told why they must be treated thus highly; only that they are, or we are to be punished. But if you look at it one way, authorities are only in place because they have the cooperation of those they command. Whether they are police officers or civilians, they are still very human.

Like the children of the first Legotown, we are eager to cluster into groups and ostracize one another. There seems to be little emphasis on seeing each other as worthy of the same amount of respect; Instead, competition is encouraged and rewarded. This is apparent in every aspect of our lives, including some "Recreational" activities.

Solutions will not be forthcoming, as long as the predominant belief (amongst the people who will create them) is that they cannot happen. Change doesn't come from above; we have to realize that we are the system, even if someone else previously dictated how it should work. I intend to hold to this interpretation of my observations until I have reason to believe otherwise.


**Disclaimer**
I feel this is necessary: I dissociate myself from any remote interpretation of this article as an incitement to violence. That won't solve anything.



posted on Mar, 18 2008 @ 12:02 AM
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Two things occur to me.

First; That the approach I am advocating here requires, amongst other things, that we treat all beliefs as unique to individual perspectives, and not as if each (belief) is applicable to all people.

Second; That such an approach depends on modifying the nature of our interactions with each other, in order to alter the system we live in, or bring about the change we desire -- as I have already said here.

With reference to the first point:
It appears to be popular opinion that one's existence must be defined by what one believes in. This stems from the view that one who "believes in nothing" may, consequently, hold no regard for morals or ethics. This, in turn, would automatically make the 'not-believer' a cold-blooded, heartless killer.

But it is my belief that all decisions -- however hasty -- are conclusions of a process. And even if we find some of them unpleasant in retrospect, we will have learned something from them. We should allow each other the courtesy to hold and profess our conclusions.

I find that a common objection is,


"Isn't that akin to 'free speech,' which should have limitations? Will we allow hate groups, for instance, to vocalize their opinions, often at the expense of the ones they ridicule?"


My response:
In a society where such courtesy is practiced, there won't be a need to assert superiority, or exclusivity. If everyone is treated with the same level of respect, there is no need to break off into groups, whether of gender, race, or nationality. Group Formation arises from a necessity to protect something; but at that point (of 'courtesy'), who is the enemy?

I will address the second point briefly in my subsequent post.

(edited for readability)

[edit on 3/18/2008 by Mr Jackdaw]



posted on Mar, 18 2008 @ 12:45 AM
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Concerning this approach as a source of 'change';

Another unfortunately common concept is that change must come from the top. In our rigidly hierarchical society, we grow used to receiving orders through our life-time; first, from our parents and teachers, then later from our bosses, and the government.

So this is why we sometimes react strongly to being alone. With no one else to validate our thoughts, we find them alarmingly hollow. But I believe that alarm is the realization that one doesn't know anything with absolute certainty: you can sometimes be pretty sure, but even that isn't always reliable.

With that said, it isn't necessary to look for something to believe in. Believing or disbelieving a fact won't affect its veracity, or 'truthfulness.'
To illustrate: the statement, "There is a blue mug beside me at this moment" is true for as long as the mug retains that proximity. Whether or not the reader chooses to believe this is irrelevant; the mug (and my memories of its recent use) will remain unaltered for as long as I can retain one or both. I shouldn't need any one else to believe it for me.

Returning to my viewpoint; one should be able to recognize that any stated fact or professed belief is just "a blue mug." If you can't see it, you have to take the speaker's word for it.

A common objection to this approach is,

"What if Mr. X says to me, "There is a blue mug beside me, and it requires your worship because it contains the power of Ra's left ankle"?"


My response:
Mr. X wishes to alter your viewpoint by referencing (absent) evidence. Unless he can clearly prove to you that Ra existed, and that his ankle now resides in his mug, you have no reason to leave your viewpoint for his. If he can't prove himself, however, do not disrespect his viewpoint. He has reasons for his beliefs, as you do for yours. You can accept his beliefs without needing to change them.

If this simple courtesy were extended to all beings, it might become a vastly different world. But we can't wait until "Respect your neighbor's beliefs" becomes a police-enforced law, because it likely won't; if you find something within these words that resonates with you, share it with everyone you interact with. Forget about pestering lawmakers; it will reach them soon enough.

As before, I have trouble seeing how this could prove harmful. If you perceive any 'kinks', or have any questions, this forum is the place to air them.

[edit on 3/18/2008 by Mr Jackdaw]



posted on Mar, 18 2008 @ 01:07 PM
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More to reflect on:
We form friendships based on the similarities of our viewpoints, not only experiences. The adage "Opposites attract" can't always hold true unless both parties at least share the desire to accept each others' lifestyles. In this respect, their lifestyle choices would have earned both the necessary perspective on which to found a relationship. Therefore they aren't dissimilar, but unique -- as individuals typically are.

Of the over-6 billion humans on this planet, it is very likely that two or more will share similar experiences. We learn to interpret our experiences in different languages, each structured to reflect thoughts a certain way. Due to our native languages, we learn to think in certain ways. The end result is a perception of the world, which is used to interpret newly-acquired memories. This perception, whether it calls on gods or decries them, ultimately guides our individual actions.

Because no two people share identical memories (except maybe Siamese twins), no two people can be entirely alike. However, our 'world views' (the contexts in which we interpret our memories) can still be similar. Two people can agree that 'clowns are scary,' even if one was the victim of a horror movie, and the other of child abuse.

What I mean is that the similarity of our viewpoints -- beliefs or hypotheses -- is what we need most, in our friendships. In unlikely situations, we make friends easily because we aren't focusing on the 'details.' When we take time off from judging each other, we discover that we make wonderful allies. We should remember that how we learn a thing is unimportant; what we do with the acquired knowledge counts. If we both say, "Love the world" and mean it, should it matter that you are Hindu and I am Rabitteranean?



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