Posts Tagged ‘human behavior’

WHERE IS THE GREAT AMERICAN DREAM?

May 26, 2014

Today, there is a lot of talk about the wonders of science and technology, with little mention of any downside. The same science used to create medicine and jumbo jets has also resulted in nuclear and bio weapons and, has left our planet polluted possibly beyond repair. A science that produced the world wide web and remote controlled devices, has created an alternate reality where people interact face-to-face, less and less.

Modern technology is making us more introverted, self-engaged and lost within our own “virtual” existence. This can be dangerous on many levels, creating a social environment with less and less love and feeling for each other. It seems like American society is becoming less and less friendly; a society where everybody talks and nobody listens.

I was raised in working-class neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area, where the majority of families were supported by a single wage-earner’s income. Yet I never once heard of a child without access to health, dental and optical care. Out of 3800 mostly working class students in my high school, I never heard of a single one who was either hungry or homeless.

The term “homeless” was essentially off the public radar in Southern California until after I graduated from high school in 1968. I don’t recall this word being mentioned in any media or in any conversation during my entire childhood. “Poverty” referred to people living on Indian reservations, in Appalachia, Central and South America and especially Africa. There was virtually no conception of poverty within our own blue-collar environment.

As children, we interacted with a large group of other kids outside for hours nearly every day. We often played after dark and in local parks without parental supervision or fear of abduction. We learned to interact with each other on a face-to-face peer basis and experienced a healthy childhood reality.

Kids today often spend a lot of time alone or with one or two close friends, interacting with computers, movies, television, computer games, texting and talking on cellphones. Rather than interacting in real life situations, our children are growing up in a virtual world of digital unreality.

Many studies indicate obesity, suicide, attention deficit disorder and other serious problems are on the rise. Every year brings more media reports of growing school and public space violence. Our nation is artificially divided by a profit-driven media into “red” and “blue” sides, even though the vast majority of us share common complaints about corrupt leaders and concerns of our children’s future.

Today, many Americans working two or more jobs don’t earn nearly enough to provide what working-class citizens once took for granted. Meanwhile, American cities are “dealing” with growing poverty by arresting and criminalizing the poor. Apparently, we incarcerate a greater percentage of our population than any other nation on earth.

Albert Einstein reportedly said: “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.” “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio?” Where is the great American dream?

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DOES SCIENCE REALLY KNOW WHAT IS TRUE?

November 26, 2013

Less than 600 years ago, the vast majority of scientists believed the sun goes around the earth.  Even after both Copernicus and Galileo died, many scientists still insisted the old Ptolemaic model was correct.  If we examine the evidence with any fairness at all, what humans call “science” has a historical track record of constantly changing it’s mind regarding even the most fundamental of concepts.

According to historian Will Durant, medical research was set back several decades because scientists refused to accept basic evidence for human blood circulation.  Until very recently in historical terms, most scientists believed disease spontaneously arises.  Two decades into the 20th Century, the majority still believed in an eternal static universe containing a single Milky Way galaxy.

Since the mapping of the human genome and other recent evidence, today there are major revisions taking place in biology, astronomy, physics, quantum mechanics and virtually every other field imaginable.  Many if not most scientists today believe life existed prior to the earth itself.

Emerging theory among various astrobiologists goes something like this:  What causes life came out of the big bang, is refined in stars, is constantly re-seeded from supernovas and other cosmic events, finds it way around accretion disks of newly formed stars and from there, ends up on innumerable planets and space-rock debris.

Then, as conditions allow within newly formed solar systems, life probably arises on untold zillions of planets, most likely in many exotic forms unknown to us.  At least one scientist has proposed exotic forms of life may hover on giant gas planets, needing no solid surface to survive.

Additionally, many geneticists have begun to openly challenge fundamental natural selection theory, contending that reproductive survival is only one of several reasons why living forms change.  How to define “species” is still debated; the term itself is a human construct, part of an invented system artificially classifying life according to our very limited view and understanding of a much larger cosmic process.

The modern evidence is overwhelming that all of life is created to adapt and change within an ever changing grand design Cosmic reality, very far over our collective heads.  And, though what we define as “species” arise and die out, life itself marches on, in spite of great cataclysmic events here on earth and, much larger and far more destructive events within a space/time continuum called “universe”.

On the other hand, today there is zero evidence life ever has or ever will “evolve”, in the sense life somehow magically self-designed from scratch.  According to the Encyclopedia Britannica article “Evolution”, modern science doesn’t know how, when, where or why life first arose on earth, or what form it took.  Life adapts and changes in reaction to ever-changing universal environments and, that is all.

For all we know, life may have existed prior to the universe we live in.  And, life may continue to exist forever and ever, long after our current universe passes away.  Does science really know what is true?  You decide.

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ARE PEOPLE REALLY SINNERS?

July 17, 2010

Why would someone who doesn’t believe in sin carry an anti-war, anti-pollution or pro-peace sign?  If war and other human oppression is just part of a larger “natural selection” process, why do such people consider themselves more righteous than many other people?  If there is no evil, why is it considered morally “wrong” to harm and morally “right” to help our neighbor? 

Why are Rosa Parks and Albert Schweitzer considered morally superior to Bonnie Parker and Adolf Hitler?  Why would all four arise in the same “advanced” modern species? Why is it called “justice” when people imprison other people?  Who gets to decide and, why? 

If babies are born moral and pure, why do we need to be taught how to morally behave?  Why is there a concept of “hatred”?  If we change the word “sin” to “social maladjustment” or “seething mass within”, does it lessen the pain and suffering people inflict on other people?  Does changing terminology change the reality of what men and women do? 

Why do we lie to each other?  Why are there laws against murder, theft and false witness?  Why are there university ethics classes?  Why don’t we automatically love our neighbor as ourselves?  Why did we crucify our greatest moral teacher?  Why do human oppression and civil rights movements exist?  Why is there a song entitled “We Shall Overcome”?  What is it we are trying to overcome? 

If people are born morally “blank” with no predisposition towards evil, as Freud assumed, why are we so self-destructive?  Why do we eat and drink what we believe is harmful?  Why do we abuse both ourselves and other people, often in the face of severe social rejection, lengthy incarceration and even execution?  Why is there a “Nobel Peace Prize”?  Why are adults rewarded for behaving like we believe we all should behave? 

Why is it so difficult to teach children to be what our conscience dictates as “good”, while they are what we consider “bad” quite easily on their own, without any parental reward and, often in spite of repeated punishment?  If it’s against human rights to murder, steal and lie, why do we do so?  If this is not against our reproductive survival, why are Jesus and Gandhi considered exceptional people? 

After thousands of years of education to the contrary, why do even our most educated people continue to add to the pile of global mass pollution, bilk the common masses with complicated financial schemes and, continue to create horrific weapons, even after the horrific evidence of the Great Depression and WWII?  Why didn’t an “Age of Enlightenment” result in peace on earth, instead of even worse wars?

According to modern science and the Bible, our underlying motivations are deceptive and often different than we perceive in our own conscious awareness.  Is it true we “all have sinned” and fall short of moral perfection?  Are people really sinners? 

You decide.

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IS THE GOLDEN RULE REALLY THE BEST IDEA?

May 28, 2010

What is today known as the “golden rule”, is found in similar form in at least 37 often non-connected cultures.  Thus, the laws of God are clearly written on the conscience of humanity, as the Bible claims and as Jefferson echoed in the Declaration of Independence.

According to Jesus, “Therefore, whatever you want people to do to you, do also to them, for this is the law and the prophets”.  The added, “for this is the law and the prophets” in the society of Jesus, meant similar to as if today someone said, “this is the foundation of human rights and the sum and purpose of all reason, wisdom, philosophy, science, education, morality and ethics.”  Is this really the best idea for achieving human rights in the modern age?

Upon closer examination, most of the so-called “golden rules” found in other societies, including the one attributed to the Jewish teacher Hillel, are considerably different than that taught by Jesus.  A similar one to Jesus is found in a saying attributed to Mencius.  But unlike Mencius and all of the other known sages of history, only Jesus gives this positive, pro-active version the all-important status of being the foundation for all that matters towards positive human enlightenment and achievement.

So-called “golden rules” found in most societies instruct us not to harm others as we do not wish them to harm us.  But Jesus teaches us to reach out and help other people, even if they do not first help us. Consider how much less effective it is to tell a child not to harm someone, than teaching the same child to pro-actively treat others as they like to be treated.  For example, is a homeless widow better off if someone just doesn’t harm her or, if someone provides her food and shelter?  Isn’t it far more effective to teach us to help each other than just saying we should do no harm?

Some modern intellectuals claim we should instead, treat other people as “they” wish to be treated.  This supposed “improvement” contains at least two significant flaws:  1) It is rather difficult to know how another person wants us to treat them unless we first befriend them as we wish to be treated.  2) If we treat others as they wish to be treated without any measurement against our own well-being, we will soon be extremely tired, penniless and destitute.

Today, the term “empathy” is favored by many, apparently because it is less religious sounding than the idea of loving our neighbor as ourself.  Although it is a good idea to empathize with others, is this idea really an improvement over teaching us to pro-actively love our neighbor as ourselves?

Is the Jesus version of the golden rule the best idea?  Does anybody else have a better idea for curing what ails a race called “human”?  Do we want less than the best for our children?  You decide.

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ARE PEOPLE REALLY SHEEP?

November 29, 2009

Most men may not complain when young women these days wear their pants lower than where their mother’s pockets used to be, but it can be somewhat nauseating to see older females trying to keep up with their daughter and even granddaughter’s peer group. It reminds one of the sixties, when in order to be cool, boys had to wear Levi’s brand jeans, even though JC Penny sold a perfectly functional pair for half the price.

A Bob Dylan song back then touched on this “Mr. Jones” mentality of modern society and, what with large gas-guzzling SUV’s being purchased by American middle-class “McMansion” families in the midst of Middle East wars, oil shortages and looming planetary disaster, certainly nothing much has changed.

Liberal authors tend to blame corporate branding, but such a “keeping up with the Joneses” reality has existed since ancient Babylon and, traces back into the mists of prehistoric time. Tribal cultures on a global basis display culturally dictated rings, beads, feathers and other ornaments, paint faces and bodies in peer-pressure proscribed ways and, mimic each other in dress, speech and custom.

Ancient warriors often trimmed beards and hair in certain proscribed fashion and displayed specific tattoos and other body markings. Cultures throughout history display their own unique concepts of beauty, manliness and femininity, often directly contradicting what other cultures dictate. Heterosexual men in many societies have worn clothing that even the most overt homosexual male wouldn’t wear in our own.

Today, tattoos and body piercings are all the modern rage and women deliberately reveal bra straps they worked diligently to keep hidden not long ago. And, we are inundated with harmful food and “must have” gizmos and gadgets that no one in their right mind would consider purchasing for logical survival or any other purpose.

Are designs carved on ancient pottery and inlaid jewels on swords functionally necessary at all? And, was expensive architecture, art and sculpture purchased by kings and popes in the midst of massive poverty and famine during the Middle Ages, any less moral than modern Wall Street paper-shufflers earning 10,000 and more times as much as those who pick their fruit, cook their food, cut their lawns and pick up their garbage?

Does a wise society reward athletes with enormous sums to play games in the midst of rising poverty, homelessness and human suffering? Do wise people stand in long lines to see the latest film or to meet celebrities who really haven’t accomplished much of anything at all? How many Americans blindly believe we represent the greatest society in history, without even bothering to actually study much of human civilization, if any?

Culturally induced conformity might appear harmless, but it extends into endorsing the amassing of private wealth and consequent enslavement of the masses, supporting wars in a guise of false patriotism’ and, endorsing racism and classicism in order to “belong”.

Is it really true that “all we like sheep have gone astray”? You decide.

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