Has Humanity Lost Its Way?

Maybe it has. Where would you say humanity is heading now?

There does not seem to be any direction, there is a backlash against dodgy sexual behaviour. The issue of climate change is perhaps facing some burn-out, the novelty having worn off, fatigue has set in. The great swathes of migration from the middle east and Africa are on hold for warmer weather. We have nuclear sabre rattling and endless Brexit bickering. But at least there is plenty of celebrity gossip to keep us going of a winter’s night. Before long we shall have another presidential tweet to talk about and a shooting or two.

Maybe the world is battening down the hatches and looking after the pennies.

I am pretty sure that this obsession with metrics and counting has a hand in it. This perhaps phallic fascination with star-ratings, rankings, key performance indicators and fucking league tables is all the rage. Those bastards who invented spreadsheets have a lot to answer for! All those bloody statistics, we are fed them like formula milk. The trouble is they get boring, quickly. We become inured. A crisis is measure by the numbers killed. Soon 500,000 is the entry level number for a disaster.

Provided there is a good internet connection, mobile signal, wine in the fridge and pictures to look at, we are comfortable.

Have we become comfortably numb?

There is a crisis in relationship, a growing mental health crisis, and a lack of leadership. There is also a lack of follower-ship. Oh how we must opine..

Maybe it has to get a whole lot worse..

Is that really the answer?

Must humanity go down the shitter and around the U bend before it is ready to change?

Maybe…

Hmnn…

The Riddle of the Mind

Much of what I have been looking at on the blog so far pertains to what the Toltecs call The Riddle of the Mind. It relates to perception, self-awareness and how we interact with the socio-political world. Many, although they may deem otherwise, are only sparingly self-aware. One of the benefits of being in the university system for over twenty years is that you get to meet some very self-important people who are unaware of their pomposity, blind to it, whilst at the same time being crushingly and defensively insecure. Were you to suggest to some famous professor geezer that they were self-important and pompous, they would not countenance such a thing and get pissed off that you even have the temerity to suggest it; fully self-aware beings….

To solve the riddle of the mind, one needs to know oneself and one’s foibles, intimately.

So here is a riddle for you by way of a self-test and self-assessment:

On a scale where 0% is deep coma and 100% is a fully awake enlightened being, where would you rate your own self-awareness in percentage terms?

Justification-world – The Dying of the Light

When you hear a justification does it make your spirit soar?

Maybe it does, and it is only me who is weird. We are surrounded by justifications, entombed and our hearts pierced by the countless stakes of them. It appears all so reasonable. We have to justify pretty much everything we do in conversation, in job applications and even to the parrot in its cage. The endless stream of justifications, it turns the world grey and anodyne, bereft of colour. And by our justifications we do some pretty bad shit, it is OK though, because it is thoroughly justified.

To what part of us do justifications speak? Is it our hearts? Is it our pseudo-rational mind? Is it our linguistic core processor?

It is by justification that we silence and assuage the remnants of our conscience and muffle whatever residue of spirit lies mortally wounded within us. And we think we are so very clever in acting like this. Somewhere there is a mountain of babies, piled Everest high. And these are the babies we threw out with the bathwater, because of our insistence on justifications.

We do not see that there is a Dying of the Light. And in any case should we do, we can easily justify it away. And before long all we will be left with are our lovely justifications. We shall knit patchwork blankets out of them and lie beneath them in the hope that they will keep us warm, when the light is no more.

Whilst we shiver, in justification-world we shall feel thoroughly justified, if a little indignant.

Is There an Arrow of Time?

From Wiki:

“In the 1928 book The Nature of the Physical World, which helped to popularize the concept, Eddington stated:

Let us draw an arrow arbitrarily. If as we follow the arrow we find more and more of the random element in the state of the world, then the arrow is pointing towards the future; if the random element decreases the arrow points towards the past. That is the only distinction known to physics. This follows at once if our fundamental contention is admitted that the introduction of randomness is the only thing which cannot be undone. I shall use the phrase ‘time’s arrow’ to express this one-way property of time which has no analogue in space.”

and

“The arrow of time is the “one-way direction” or “asymmetry” of time. The thermodynamic arrow of time is provided by the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which says that in an isolated system, entropy tends to increase with time.”

Even people who teach this kind of stuff may forget it and take a compartmentalized view that it only applies to physical systems. In their interactions with the world they may assume that nothing is final, it can always be undone, one may be able to talk one’s way out of any situation and that revocability can hold true. Yet in common parlance we have; “don’t lock the stable door after the horse has bolted” and “too much water under the bridge”. Both of which point at some irrevocability. There may be a short time at which things can be reversed (a bit) but after that, the reversal is no longer possible.

Strangely the “cleverer” you are the more you might believe in your god-like abilities of revocability. Time’s arrow does not exist for you, only mere mortals. It is with this mind-set that some politicians cannot resist opining. Somehow this cleverness can forget the second law of thermodynamics, if it had ever encountered it in the first place.

We can get into cause and effect, action and consequence, to see that unless you have a DeLorean time machine, time flows only one way on the macroscopic scale. Everyone kind of knows this, yet it does not influence our actions as much as it might. Science fiction aside we cannot turn the clock back and start over. There is no “undo” button in real life.

Regret can stem back to when the stable door was left open and before the Pooh stick passed under the bridge, but that doesn’t change the new situation. No matter how much we might want revocability it can never be exact, only partial at best. We cannot go back to the initial conditions in the event flow. All one can do is learn from what might be termed a mistake. We have the notion of “too late” and it is real enough.

Some seemingly small actions of ours can create an inordinate amount of mess and kerfuffle. These are evidence of an increase in entropy, according to the second law. A mess once generated is very hard to clean up. Time’s arrow is given flight and it bifurcates on its journey. And even should the mess be cleared up things are never the same again. Yeah, this kind of stuff keeps Jeremy Kyle in work.

There are some things in life, in the human sphere, which are irrevocable and so Time’s Arrow applies. There is no going back. Some things which are not random but intended also cannot be undone, though their consequences may not initially have been considered.

You cannot step in the same river twice.