The Dalai Lama of Mountain Goats

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The above quote may or may not be authentic. It really does not matter.  Most feel-good kumbayaa (m’lawwwd) clap-trap does not really need to prove its provenance…as the masses nod along, hug and feel ‘inspired’ to another juicy apocryphal morsel.

…But, I used to wonder about Mountain Goats.

Do THEY know that life could be easier on flat ground?  Were they meant to just wander on 75 degree sloped surfaces eternally; with 1 or 2 kids falling to their deaths every now and then?

I decided, on the latter; that was indeed just their experience, their reality, their ‘nature’…and then they die–perhaps never realizing life was easier grazing on a prairie–perhaps even only a few hundred metres away– as other ‘prairie’ goats.

So perhaps homo sapien sapiens are just supposed to live the way we always have lived–and evolved–for millennia?  Our worry and stress and lack of vision involving complex internal chemistry…our very own ‘nature’…and billions of us (in every corner of the world) are the same way about these things…most of which, only in hindsight do we realize to have been for nought.

But maybe that just IS life.

When death or illness comes close, we ponder things, but otherwise we go back to our perceptual myopism–very much as mountain goats…but there be no mountain goat dalai lama.

Our ‘not having lived’ IS life.

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[VIDEO] SAM HARRIS DOESN’T TALK ABOUT THE DALAI LAMA OF MOUNTAIN GOATS AT ALL

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[VIDEO] BBC: THE STORY OF IRELAND

I’ve always been fascinated with Ireland. It has such an intriguing, tragic and unjust history, much of  which continues to echo to this day, throughout the world, whether in international politics, culture, immigration patterns and much more. 

This documentary series is quite informative to grasp exactly all the many issues throughout the past which lead to this fascinating history.

BBC

The Story Of Ireland is a major new landmark series from BBC Northern Ireland examining the history of Ireland and its impact on the wider world, from the earliest times right up to the present day. This compelling five-part series is written and presented by BBC correspondentFergal Keane.

Over the course of the programmes Fergal travels across three continents, tracing the events, the people and the influences that shaped modern Ireland.

The Story Of Ireland, beginning on BBC One Northern Ireland on Sunday 20 February at 8pm, takes an outward-looking approach to key developments in Ireland down through the centuries mirrored against events and changes in Europe and the rest of the world and challenges long held myths.

The first programme examines the origins of the idea of the emergence of a ‘Celtic’ race, the impact of early Christianity and monasticism in Ireland; and the birth of Ireland’s potent literary culture.

The Vikings are treated not simply as barbarous marauders, but resourceful settlers, as the Celts were before them, who established Ireland’s major towns and placed them at the centre of a vast trading network. Brian Boru is revealed as a man of his time, above all else motivated by the will to power. Far from driving the Vikings out of Ireland he relied on their military skills to achieve his ambitions.

The remaining four programmes span history from the Anglo-Norman invasion, to Cromwell, the Boyne, penal laws and resettlements; on to the economic, intellectual, architectural and cultural rise of Dublin in the 18th century; examining the story of Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen.

Further afield the series also looks at Ireland’s role in the British Empire and closer to home examines the Great Famine and its enormous impact, the role of Daniel O’Connell and then the founding of the IRB and rise of Home Rule; the role of Irishmen in the Boer War; the Easter Rising; the War of Independence and the Civil War and the outbreak of the Troubles.

Finally Ireland’s economic boom comes under the spotlight, asking how the country’s history, as perceived by the rest of the world, has become big business and questions whether this excludes contrary views with a theme very much placed on an ‘old’ version of Irish history.

Fergal Keane, writer and presenter, said: “The Story Of Ireland is vivid, exciting and immensely varied. It is far more than the sum of old cliches and myths which set the Irish as a people who were prisoners and victims of history.

“This series sees Ireland as an international island which is both changed by and helps to change the world beyond her shores.

“As a foreign correspondent who has travelled on every continent I have tried to bring my experience of the wider world to this story of Ireland and I have tried to see our past with a clear eye and an open heart.”

Mike Connolly, Series Producer, added: “It’s both a privilege and a challenge to produce the first comprehensive television history of Ireland since Robert Kee’s acclaimed series of 1981.

“Ireland has opened out in dramatic ways in the intervening 30 years and has achieved a profile on the international stage that could hardly have been imagined back then. It is this changed perception of Ireland, both in the minds of the Irish themselves and in the eyes of the rest of the world, that we address in The Story Of Ireland.”

The Story Of Ireland is a BBC Northern Ireland series with co-funding from RTE

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THE BATTLE OF THE BOYNE

The Semmelweis reflex or Semmelweis effect

“The Semmelweis reflex or “Semmelweis effect” is a metaphor for the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs or paradigms.
The term originated from the story of Ignaz Semmelweis, who discovered that childbed fever mortality rates reduced ten-fold when doctors washed their hands with a chlorine solution between patients. His hand-washing suggestions were rejected by his contemporaries, often for non-medical reasons. For instance, some doctors refused to believe that a gentleman’s hands could transmit disease.”
-wikipedia

 

So this seriously long article (below) claims to debunk the whole ‘Semmelweis Supermyth’….but I don’t really understand what they debunk or…whether it matters with regard to the concept above. It be like saying, well, Socrates was a Platonic creation for argumentative purposes. But does this actually even matter when discussing or quoting Socrates? I don’t care if Socrates never existed, as long as I can quote him, elaborate a concept commonly recognized as Socratic. The concept of the Semmelweis effect is still handy to know. It reminds me of what is said to be the impetus for the modern notions of Public Health as well as Urban Planning: John Snow and the Broadstreet Water pump handle–another myth? Who cares. That is not the point.  Oh and also is the whole ‘Checklist Manifesto/ Atul Gawande description of cleanliness checklists in American hospitals reducing infection rates’ a myth? Not important. Red Herring?

Expert Skeptics Suckered Again: Incredibly, the Famous Semmelweis Story is Another Supermyth


Article by 
The Semmelweis reflex or “Semmelweis effect” , which is a metaphor for the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs or paradigms, is another exquisitely ironic supermyth. Continue this article…….

[AUDIO] CBC RADIO’S QUIRKS AND QUARKS DISCUSSES THE CONCEPT OF TIME AND WHY IT ACTUALLY MAY NOT BE AN ILLUSION, AFTER ALL – WITH LEE SMOLIN OF THE PERIMETER INSTITUTE

CLICK TO HEAR

CBC RADIO QUIRKS & QUARKS

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time_reborn

“Dr. Lee Smolin thinks the trouble with physics is that we need more time.  Dr. Smolin has been contemplating a fundamental question: “Is Time Real?”  This is an important question because much of the physics we’ve generated for the last 400 years or so seems to suggest that time isn’t real, and that it’s a kind of illusion that disguises the real way the laws of physics work.  But in his new book, Time Reborn:  From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe, Dr. Smolin makes the case that time is real.  And he thinks that working out what time is will help us solve some of the deep problems of the universe, including the question of where it all really came from.  Dr. Smolin is a founding and senior faculty member at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo.

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Time Reborn – lecture by Dr. Smolin at the Perimeter Institute

“What is time?  Is our perception of time passing an illusion which hides a deeper, timeless reality?  Or is it real, indeed, the most real aspect of our experience of the world?  Einstein said that “the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion,”  and many contemporary theorists agree that time emerges from a more fundamental timeless quantum universe. But, in recent cosmological speculation, this timeless picture of nature seems to have reached a dead end, populated by infinite numbers of imagined unobservable universes.  

In his talk, Lee Smolin explains why he changed his mind about the nature of time. Like many fellow theorists, he used to believe time is an illusion, but he now embraces the view that time is real and everything else, including the laws of nature, evolves.  Drawing from his new book, Time Reborn, Smolin explains how the great unsolved problems in physics and cosmology may be solved by adopting the view of a real time.  then he will go beyond physics to explain how our view of time affects how we think of everything from our personal and family lives to how we face major problems such as climate change and economic crisis.  In a world in which time is real, the future is open and there is an essential role for human agency and imagination in envisioning and shaping a good future.”

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[AUDIO] A much better question than “Why are we here?” is “What is time?”

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[AUDIO] Ever wonder why TIME can not be conceived of as the concept of ‘God’? Did the dinosaurs perceive the passage of time the same way we do today? And how about our contemporary neighbours, like Whales, Squids, Dolphins, Elephants etc etc etc–do they perceive time as we do? What really is a billions years to …a human who lives only perhaps 75? Could it be that the lack of the ability to actually perceive or understand TIME itself, is a cause of great misapprehension of reality–both past and future, for humanoids?

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[VIDEO] RSA ANIMATE: Professor Philip Zimbardo lectures on how perspectives of time affect our work, health and well-being. Time influences who we are as a person, how we view relationships and how we act in the world. Present oriented, past oriented, future oriented perspectives.

The origin and purpose of the diamond engagement ring

!Bo5CsB!B2k~$(KGrHqEH-DkEuY-t54vGBLpS36UpWg~~_12“many (consumer) products thrive because they are associated with agreeable personalities and activities. Since the 1930s diamond engagement rings have been the premier symbol of romantically honorable intentions and likely spousal agreeableness. Early twentieth-century women faced a problem: prosecution of men for financial damages following breach of promise was declining. It was becoming all too common to be seduced by a psychopath promising marriage and then abandoned after he availed himself of one’s virginity during the engagement. Into this reliable-signaling gap jumped De Beers with the diamond ring, heavily promoted with the slogan “A diamond is forever.” Diamond marketers recommended that women ask men to spend two months’ salary (or about a year’s disposable income) on a ring, as a sign of the seriousness of their committment. Ever since, engagement rings have dominated the demand for diamonds larger than one carat.”

-Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior; by Geoffrey Miller

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“As an old proverb puts it, ‘Two Jews, three opinions.'” :-)

Notwithstanding my anti-theism, I respect a culture which allows the leeway for challenging and debating the big-invisible-master-dude-in-the-sky.
It allows for a more distinctive life philosophy than many other more submissive forms of cultural control.

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WSJ

The God of Independent Minds

Is religion the enemy of reason? A look at the questioning, disobedient heroes of the Old Testament

By YORAM HAZONY

Today’s debates over the place of religion in modern life often showcase the claim that belief in God stifles reason and science. As Richard Dawkins writes in his best-seller “The God Delusion,” religious belief “discourages questioning by its very nature.” In “The End of Faith,” his own New Atheist manifesto, Sam Harris writes that religion represents “a vanishing point beyond which rational discourse proves impossible.”

The argument that religion suppresses rational inquiry is often based on the idea that “reason” and “revelation” are opposites. On this view, shared by atheist crusaders and some believers as well, the whole point of the Bible is to provide divine knowledge for guiding our lives, so we don’t need questioning and independence of mind.

This dichotomy between reason and revelation has a great deal of history behind it, but I have never accepted it. In fact, as an Orthodox Jew, I often find the whole discussion quite frustrating. I will let Christians speak for their own sacred texts, but in the Hebrew Bible (or “Old Testament”) and the classical rabbinical sources that are the basis for my religion, one of the abiding themes is precisely the ever-urgent need for human beings, if they are to find what is true and just, to maintain their capacity for independent thought and action.

Almost every major hero and heroine of the Hebrew Bible is depicted as independent-minded, disobedient, even contentious. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph’s brothers, Moses and Aaron, Gideon and Samuel, prophets such as Elijah and Elisha, and exilic biblical figures such as Daniel, Mordechai and Esther—all are portrayed as confronting authority and breaking the laws and commands of kings. And for this they are praised. Continue reading