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Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The 45th President and high treason

Breaking news reports have been entering my email inbox. An FT news report contains the fatal words: "including engaging in a conspiracy against the US government". It would be wrong assuming this is about individual names. These fatal words are the essence of the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. All other eleven allegations (eg, FARA, lying to FBI, money laundering, RICO, tax fraud) are merely important add-ons.

Engaging in a conspiracy against the US government equals High Treason. Wiki: "Historically, in common law countries, high treason is treason against the state."

One of the main characteristics of a conspiracy is the involvement of various parties. My blog and diagram of 23 June 2017 are still pretty accurate. Please click the diagram to enlarge it.

The consequences of this fatal allegation ("engaging in a conspiracy against the US government") are potentially immense. You cannot "DO SOMETHING!" against this, apart from a military coup. Considering the deep involvement of the Republican GOP, the unraveling of this high treason is likely to take more time than many people would wish for. 

This fatal allegation is likely to backfire on the Russian President's reelection in the 18 March 2018 Russian presidential election. The Russian President may even decide to pull himself back, perhaps even similar to the period 2008-2012 when his Prime Minister took over for 4 years.

Some other countries also face serious consequences. UK's 23 June 2016 Brexit referendum is already under investigation by the Electoral Commission as several of the actors in my diagram are also involved in Brexit's Vote Leave campaign (Guardian, 29 October 2017). If the outcome of the Brexit referendum would be classified as a "conspiracy against the UK government" then Brexit is unlikely to happen in March 2019.

California's Cal-exit and Spain's Catalan independence movement are next in line for scrutiny over Russian interference (eg, CNNEl PaísGuardian, Snopes). The 2016 Dutch Ukraine-EU Association Agreement referendum may also become a topic for scrutiny.

“Treason is very much a matter of habit, Smiley decided.” Quote from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John le Carré.

Treason (1980) by The Teardrop Explodes - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki

Age of Treason (1974) by Donovan - artist, lyrics, song infovideo, Wiki

Monday, 30 October 2017

Brexit, a convergence of human beliefs (2)

Frankly, I am surprised that this blog came so late. I must have assumed that Brexit was just politics. The common sense in Continental Europe blocked seeing the reverse psychology and projection behind Brexit. A recent El País article opened my eyes: UK historian John Elliott claiming that "Catalans have been exposed to a falsified version of history for years". The irony with Brexit didn't escape me.

The UK's division on Brexit is better understood when using my concept of the 7 Belief systems, being: Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth. The Truth is where Brexit meets John Elliott's forthcoming book. After some reflection, all other beliefs are also applicable. Hence, the title of this blog. Part one of this new series was about slavery.

Love must have been the first human belief (my 2017 blog). Nationalism and patriotism are typical examples of Love as a Belief system (my 2015 blog). Within 1 day after the June 23 Brexit vote, a key Vote Leave pledge for redistributing £ 350 million per week of EU funding to the National Health Service, appeared to be a false belief (eg, Money) rather than a "mistake".

During my years at Price Waterhouse, I learned that people in London feel superior over other Brits. All Brits feel superior over people living in continental Europe. Superiority is a philosophical belief (eg, my 2016 blog). In a recent Prospect article, Dutch journalist Joris Luyendijk gave his view on English superiority, after having lived in the UK for 6 years (my recent blog).

Initially, I had some doubts on whether Brexit could and/or would have any ties with Religion. I was wrong. Christian Science Monitor, May 2016: "Though rarely invoked in British politics, religious belief does present correlation with Britons' positions on whether to stay in the European Union." Other post-Brexit analyses confirm this correlation: LSE (July 2016), BRIN (May 2017).

Brexit was hardly a political debate, despite the 52/48 outcome on 23 June 2016; see my 2017 blog. Slowly, party politics is entering the Brexit debate, including the arrogance of Left versus the ignorance of Right (my 2017 blog). Independence was - and is - the main driver of the debates in Catalonia, Scotland, and the UK. Independence relates to Autonomy, a philosophical belief system (my 2017 blog). 

The Brexit and Climate Change debates share a similarity: the mistrust in experts (my 2017 blog), and Science becoming a Belief system (my 2015 blog, 2016 blog2016 blog). Essentially, opinions are stronger than facts. For an explanation, please see my 2016 blog.

The ferocity of the independence debate lies in the Truth as a Belief system. In the (paraphrased) words of historian John Elliott: Brits, Catalans, and Scots have been exposed to a falsified version of history for years. Lying politicians are, however, seldom punished. Politics is the art of believing rather than lying (my 2016 blog). Hence, the new term "alternative facts" (my 2017 blog). This is where Politics meets the Truth as a Belief system.

Policy of Truth (1990) by Depeche Mode - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Winter Time

In the winter time
When all the leaves are brown
And the wind blows so chill
And the birds have all flown for the summer
I'm callin', hear me callin', hear me callin'

In the winter time
When all the leaves are brown
And the wind blows so chill
And the birds have all flown for the summer
I'm callin', hear me callin', hear me callin'
I'm callin', hear me callin', hear me callin'
In the winter time

In the winter time
When all the leaves are brown
And the wind blows so chill
And the birds have all flown for the summer
I'm callin', hear me callin, hear me callin'

Winter Time (1977) by Steve Miller Band - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Unknown (to you)

Unknown (to you) by Jacob Banks - 2017 - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki

I believe what I say
Why does everyone hear me wrong?
If I told you different, would it sound the same?
Would it make a difference in anyway? Oh no
I know I done wrong I'll pay for it
It's your turn to talk for once I'm listenin'

Say that you don't want me
Say that you don't need me
Tell me I'm the fool
Tell me you've been tortured
Tell me you've been beaten
And what I've done to you
Even if it doesn't matter
Doesn't matter what's true
Say that you don't want me
Say that you don't need me
Tell me I'm the fool

Look at all this heartache, what is left?
Forgetting how it started, this is how it ends, oh no
I know I've done some wrong I'll pay for it
But it's your turn to talk, for once I'm listening

Say that you don't want me
Say that you don't need me
Tell me I'm the fool
Tell me you've been tortured
Tell me you've been beaten
And what I've done to you
Even if it doesn't matter
Doesn't matter what's true
Tell me that I'm unknown to you
Oh oh oh
Oh oh oh

Say that you don't want me
Say that you don't need me
Tell me I'm the fool
Tell me you've been tortured
Tell me you've been beaten
And what I've done to you
And even if it doesn't matter
Doesn't matter what's true
Say that you don't want me
Say that you don't need me
Tell me I'm the fool

Tell me that it's over
Tell me that you mean it
This time is true
Tell me that I'm unknown
To you

Friday, 27 October 2017

China: from Hukou to Social Credit

It's fascinating to see how far China is still ahead of the curve. "Family registers were in existence in China as early as the Xia Dynasty (c. 2100 BCE - 1600 BCE)" (Wiki). As of 2020, China will implement the Social Credit System, the successor of the ancient huji or hukou system. In the words of a recent Wired article: "Big data meets Big Brother as China moves to rate its citizens".

Originally, the hukou system was a household registration which identified a person as (i) a resident of a certain area and (ii) belonging to a certain family. Subsequently, it developed into a system for categorizing families and clans for purposes of taxation, military service, and social control (Wiki). The hukou system is often labelled as an "internal passport", also because it looks like one.

Essentially, the current hukou system divides Chinese citizens in having a rural or urban residency status. The immense urbanisation in China caused a mass migration of rural workers and put strains on its hukou system. Guardian, 2014: "China is to overhaul the system that migrant workers say has made them second-class citizens, easing the settlement of 100 million people in cities over the next six years."

The Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 allows China to make a massive leap forward and create a futuristic hukou system with a total disregard for privacy rights, including a "right to be forgotten". Wired: "For now, technically, participating in China's Citizen Scores is voluntary. But by 2020 it will be mandatory. The behaviour of every single citizen and legal person (which includes every company or other entity) in China will be rated and ranked, whether they like it or not."

The Social Credit System will be built by the Chinese technology giants and is remarkably simple: it uses the collective data of the Chinese Amazon, Chinese Facebook, Chinese PayPal, Chinese Tinder, Chinese Uber, and Chinese WhatsApp. The combination of buying, chatting, dating, paying, social media posting, and transport is used for the ranking & rating of Chinese citizens.

In the next several decades, other countries will (slowly) follow the Chinese example. Integrating government databases is already common to prevent (tax) fraud. The fight against terrorism has required governments to expand such efforts. The forthcoming (voluntary) sale of banking transactions will enable companies to improve their ratings of individuals. Also see my 2016 blog on data ownership and PSD2. Privacy rights is slowly becoming an academic topic.

Technology has always had two faces: efficiency versus control, gadget vs spy, information vs propaganda, master vs slave, and tool vs weapon. To some extent, I am impressed by China's new Social Credit System: it has perfectly captured technology's other face. Following deeds and words, the next big step is thoughts (eg, the 1956 book and 2002 movie Minority Report).

Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation. A quote by American inventor Dean Kamen.

Ayo Technology (2008) by Milow - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

I'm tired of using technology,
Why don't you sit down on top of me

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Universal Basic Income and the Taxman

The left-wing idea of a Universal Basic Income is a perfect way for making the government more efficient and effective, a right-wing idea. A UBI should never be "free cash" but a taxable negative income tax, else the concern of economist and 2001 Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz would come true: UBI "risks diverting cash to the better off" (Times).

Most advocates of a UBI do not address the potential for - or risk of - streamlining the very many Federal, State, and local departments that deal with benefits to citizens.

Introducing a UBI should replace all existing benefits. Hence, all civil servants working for these existing benefits will become superfluous.

The Tax department will pay out the negative income tax (tax credits) and will tax them annually. In the absence of additional income, a UBI will be taxed at 0%.

Obtaining additional income will be encouraged by using incremental tax rates. The tax rate on a UBI should be (very) low for small additional incomes, and 100% for high incomes. Anything in between is the outcome of a political discussion, similar to defining "small" and "high".

Implementation of a UBI could, theoretically, wait until human jobs have been taken over by Artificially Intelligent Robots (my blogs). However, while quoting John F. Kennedy, "the time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining".

My main concern with a UBI is in implementing restrictions. Similar to Kuwait and Saudi-Arabia, a UBI should only apply to citizens and not to temporary foreign labour. Interestingly, the solution to (economic) refugees and/or labour migrants also lies in these countries. Like them, we should offer any (economic) refugee and/or labour migrant a temporary housing and working permit rather than free social benefits. Citizenship is not an option, just a (rare) exception.

The amount of a UBI should follow the human life cycle and is related to the cost of living: infant, student, worker, parent, and pensioner. The amounts of a UBI will be politically motivated and differ from country to country, and region to region.

Implementing a UBI allows for a general overhaul of our government model. Given the vast number of citizens and residents in any country, a UBI might decimate the number of civil servants, on any level of government. Considering this, timing would be crucial but not the Why.

Taxman (1966) by Joe Bonamassa - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Idealism vs Realism in Love

Recently, I had a discussion about arranged marriages after watching the 2010 movie Eat Pray Love (IMDb). I argued that arranged marriages were once rather common in Europe, and still are in certain circles. Nowadays, romantic love is the new normal. The 1997 sci-fi movie Gattaca (IMDb) argues that this may change again in the future: good/successful DNA will be leading.

According to a 2017 Psychology Today article, I might - once again - be an exception: "In romantic relationships, people are generally either realists or romantics. Very few people describe themselves as endowed with both a romantic spirit and a realist's practicality. At the same time, many men and women search for relationships that are both exciting and stable, passionate and long-lasting." Note: italic text markings by LO.

Frankly, I don't believe these "either/or" arguments (my 2015 blog). Life may indeed be rather digital (my 2017 blog) but explanations are usually cumulative ("and/and") rather than "single". Hence, the 3rd line in the quote of the previous paragraph already contradicts its 1st line.

Both idealism and realism have a Time dimension, which is represented by our age. This diagram may apply to any of our beliefs, at least to Love and Politics. 

Age usually brings wisdom (my recent blog). Wisdom often softens our (dogmatic) views. Hence, realism will supersede idealism while ageing.

In Love, idealism translates as romantic love and includes the belief that your soulmate is somewhere out there (my 2015 blog and 2016 blog).

Again, age brings realism in Love, if only becomes our biological clock is ticking, ticking...... (my 2016 blog).

Now that I am in the autumn of my years (my 2017 blog), I am less inclined to keep on searching. Furthermore, searching only makes sense once you know exactly what and/or whom you are searching for. Else, it's a random chase, with or without - what we usually call - "luck". I believe in Faith. Everyone who has been on my path, was there for a reason. Some contributed more than others. Some will never be forgotten. Still everybody wants a happy ending.

Happy Ending (1984) by Joe Jackson & Elaine Caswell - lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Do I listen to my heart, do I listen to my head?
[ ]
Still everybody wants a happy ending

Monday, 23 October 2017

Life's a roundabout

In 1981, I finally decided to get a driver's license. During one of my first trips as a proud car owner, I came across a roundabout. Panic hit me when I approached it. There had been no roundabouts in the region where I had taken my driving lessons. I had the good sense of following the cars in front of me. It took me several circles before I dared to exit the roundabout.

In the past several years, my entire life felt like driving on a roundabout. I had no clue which exit I should take. Hence, I drove around in circles, waiting and hoping for the "right" exit to show up. This drowning feeling wasn't pretty. Before, I had always known which exit to take and when.

I noticed several pictures expressing a similar feeling: so lost, please help, no departure road, and no exits. I took this picture because it expresses the feeling of drowning, while also offering some advice.

Since some time, I have taken an exit in Life, which I had seen before but didn't dare to take. Today, it feels like the right exit. Tomorrow, I may change course and take another exit, which I had wanted to take before but which I never saw.

Any roundabout in Life always has exits. None or few may feel right, and many may feel wrong. That observation does not imply that they do not exist. We prefer to take convenient exits.

It's hard to swallow an inconvenient truth in our lives. Perhaps because a truth is a belief and thus part of the 7 Belief systems (Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth). A (new) truth requires Faith, Beliefs & Willpower (my blogs). Willpower is about carrying out beliefs. However, any willpower is short-lived without faith in your beliefs.

Another reason is about Change: we often prefer to procrastinate on an inconvenient truth. Also see my blog on Why do we procrastinate? While waiting, we hope for more convenient exits on our life's roundabout.

An inconvenient truth may also bring the emotional rollercoaster of Guilt & Shame (my blogs), Regret & Remorse (my blogs), and in some cases even Revenge & Retaliation (my blogs).

Finally, our Mind will always try finding any other excuse for avoiding inconvenient truths. Our Body will usually suffer from our procrastination. Deep down, our Soul knows what is best.

Life's A Roundabout (1973) by Diahann Carroll - artist, discogs, IMDb, video, Wiki

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Space Time Oddities

Since late September 2017, the new Star Trek: Discovery series airs on Netflix with a current rating of 7.3 in IMDb. It has a few technical novelties, like a spore drive rather than a Warp drive. It also assumes the existence of a Mycelium network, connecting spores. It's a smart way of solving the scientific mysteries of missing dark matter and antimatter in the Universe.

Most science-fiction movies/series play with the Time dimension of SpaceTime. Star Trek only uses its Space dimension, by travelling faster than light (ie, warp drive/speed) or travelling with unlimited speed (ie, spore drive) through Space. Without being able to travel faster than light, space travel beyond the Milky Way Galaxy is probably an illusion in an ever-expanding Universe. Please see this space travel video and the future Andromeda–Milky Way collision (Milkdromeda).

Without SpaceTime travel, the arrow of time and Space and Time has only one (1) direction: see top-right quadrant.

Star Trek Discovery is still in "our" quadrant and uses a Mycelium network for travelling immense distances while still going forward in Time.

Travelling back in Time is in the bottom left and right quadrants. The right quadrant assumes little to no impact to the Space dimension. Example: the Back to the Future trilogy (IMDb).

The left quadrant does affect the Space dimension. Example: the 2014 movie Interstellar (IMDb, my blog) which uses a wormhole for travelling immense distances while going back in time and also addresses the grandfather paradox.

I'm not entirely sure if my arrow in the black hole example in the top-left quadrant is accurate. However, the survival chances (Time) seem slim (eg, Gravity, 2013, IMDb). Please also see this Futurism video: "Here’s How Time Becomes Space Inside a Black Hole".

Early October 2017, scientists "found half of the missing matter in our Universe". Futurism: "The two teams [of astronomers at the Institute of Space Astrophysics (arXiv:1709.05024) and the University of Edinburgh (arXiv:1709.10378v2)] confirmed that the missing ordinary matter in the universe can be found in the form of filaments of hot, diffuse gas linking galaxies together". The word filament suggests a visual resemblance with the Mycelium network.

“The arrow of time obscures memory of both past and future circumstance with innumerable fallacies, the least trivial of which is perception.” Quote from Only the Deplorable by Ashim Shanker.

Space Oddity (1969) by David Bowie - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Here am I floating 
round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there's nothing I can do

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Saturday in the park

Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Saturday in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs
Eh cumpari, ci vo sunari
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For Saturday

Another day in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
Another day in the park
I think it was the Fourth of July
People talking, really smiling
A man playing guitar (play a song, play a song, play on)
Singing for us all (singing for us)
Will you help him change the world
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For today

Slow motion riders fly the colours of the day
A bronze man still can tell stories his own way
Listen children all is not lost, all is not lost
Oh no, no

Forty days in the park
And every day's the Fourth of July 
Forty days in the park
Every day's the Fourth of July
People reaching, people touching
A real celebration
Waiting for us all (waiting for us all)
If we want it, really want it
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I've been waiting such a long time
For the day
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Saturday In The Park (1972) by Chicago - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Friday, 20 October 2017

Feel the need in me

Recently, I noticed a 2017 Big Think article mentioning an unpublished 1966 update by Abraham Maslow to his famous Hierarchy of basic human needs. Maslow's pyramid was part of a paper called "A Theory on Human Motivation", which was originally published in the magazine Psychological Review in 1943.

The (unpublished) 1966 update adds 3 layers. "Maslow later divided the top of the triangle to add self-transcendence which is also sometimes referred to as spiritual needs. Spiritual Needs are a little different from other needs, accessible from many level. This need when fulfilled, leads to feelings of integrity and take things to another level of being." (source)

In my first (2016) blog on Needs, Wants & Beliefs, I did notice that the 1st layer of physiological needs of Maslow's hierarchy of basic human needs reconciles to my first layer of Needs. I failed to realise that Maslow's 2nd, 3rd, and 4th layer reconcile to my second layer of Wants, and that the 5th Maslow layer (self-actualisation) is nothing else than a (eg, philosophical, religious) Belief.

In any language or territory, only food, rest, shelter, sex, warmth and water are considered basic human (a.k.a. physiological) needs. Anything beyond that must be a Want, or - perhaps - a Belief. The (unpublished) 1966 update, and its introduction of self-transcendence as a new top layer, made me realise that Maslow's use of the word "need" is actually misleading.

Hence, I prepared a diagram reconciling the various - 1943 and 1966 - layers of Maslow's hierarchy of basic human needs to my concepts of (i) Needs, Wants & Beliefs and (ii) Awakening.

This reconciliation supports my 22 May 2017 view that Awakening might just be the top layer of my Needs, Wants & Beliefs concept.

My diagram feels complete and does not leave reconciling items.

Apart from the 1st layer, no other Maslow layer qualifies as a basic human need in order to survive. In non-Western terminology (eg, Kenya), most layers qualify as Wants. Self-actualisation is not a Want but a (eg, philosophical) Belief. The 2017 Big Think article describes self-transcendence as a "sense of meaning, purpose". This would indeed fit with an Awakening.

The original 1943 title of Maslow's paper says it all: it's a hierarchy of human motivation.

Feel the Need in me (1972) by Detroit Emeralds - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Old and wise

Today, I wanted to write about intelligence. I have several topics on my list: are we more intelligent than our grandparents? Is intelligence a universal constant? Does intelligence repeat itself in evolutionary history? Another topic is the intelligence of the ctenophore and the octopus. The problem with such blogs is in defining intelligence.

I have written several blogs on awareness and consciousness (ie, conscious, subconscious, unconscious, superconscious). It took me time before I dared to write my blog on The 4 levels of consciousness - an integrated framework. I have also written quite some blogs on beliefs, intelligence, knowledge, and even a few on wisdom. The relationship between these concepts is not always (immediately) clear. Today, I present another diagram differentiating these concepts.

After some reflection, I realised that these concepts have a space & time component.

Moreover, these concepts have a close relationship with a well-known memory aid or mnemonic: How, What, When, Who, and Why.

It also became clear that experience was missing in the sequence knowledge, beliefs, intelligence and wisdom.

Finally, I noticed the (teaching) cycle between the first (Knowledge) and the last (Wisdom).

My diagram puts Beliefs before Intelligence. My grandparents were in the Needs stage of society. My parents advanced to the Wants stage (eg, consumerism). Today, society seems to be in the Beliefs stage. The next stage is either an Awakening or back to the Needs stage, after a period of disruption, chaos and destruction. See my blogs on Awakening and Needs, Wants & Beliefs.

It still puzzles me if today's society is more intelligent than the previous one(s). Today's society is (potentially) more knowledgeable and has (potentially) more experience. However, the surge in (false) beliefs discredits intelligence. Intelligence requires an understanding of the Why question. Beliefs are not interested in (answering) the Why question.

The time arrow in my diagram suggests that wisdom comes with age. To some extent, Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) disagreed in his quote: “With age comes wisdom, but sometimes age comes alone.”

Old and Wise (1982) by Alan Parsons Project - artistslyricsvideoWiki-1Wiki-2

And oh when I'm old and wise
Bitter words mean little to me
Autumn winds will blow right through me

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Losing my religion

Love must have been the 1st belief system. Humans are not even unique in this belief as animals also show a similar selfless belief. Religion is probably the 2nd belief system in the history of Homo sapiens. "There's not been a society known to history – or pre-history – that hasn't had some form of religious belief and practice at its heart", according to Nick Spencer, research director at theological think tank Theos (CT).

Humanoid sapiens, the descendant of Homo sapiens, may be the first human species to live without religion. In the recent words of Neil MacGregor: “We are exceptional. It’s important to know that we are different. In a sense, we are a very unusual society. We are trying to do something that no society has really done. We are trying to live without an agreed narrative of our communal place in the cosmos and in time.” (CH, CT, Guardian, Telegraph)

Neil MacGregor's words focussed on the declining role of religion in western Europe; especially the UK. I would not be surprised if the same trend will take place in the rest of the world within several centuries. There are several explanations for the declining role of religion.

A famous Mahatma Gandhi quote states: "God has no religion". The notion that each religion has its own God is simply absurd. Even atheists would "believe" that there can only be one God, albeit with different names (eg, Allah, God, Yahweh). The quote also shows the vast difference between Faith and Religion (my 2016 blog). Faith might be taking over from Religion. 

The object of worship in Religion has been different over time: from Nature, to animals (eg, bear, calf/cow, lion-man), to polytheism (multiple gods), to monotheism (single god). A universal faith in one Supreme Being seems a logical next step. Also see my 2016 blog The origin of beliefs. The new BBC Radio 4 series Living With the Gods, presented by Neil MacGregor, is about the long human history of religious artifacts.

The separation between Church and State is relatively new. Historically, there was no separation: "Many societies in antiquity had imperial cults where heads of state were worshiped as messiahs, demigods or deities" (Wiki). The Sumerian invention of money (c. 3,000 BC) may have been the root cause for the growing divergence between Politics and Religion. 

Wiki: the "unresolved contradiction in ultimate control of the Church led to power struggles and crises of leadership" in Medieval Europe. In the 16th Century, the German monk, priest and professor of theology, Martin Luther proposed a doctrine of the two kingdoms. Ironically, the religiously inspired separation between Church and State caused a declining role for Religion.

In my concept of the 7 Belief systems, Money, Politics and Religion are in its Power dimension. In this context, Money has sided with Politics in western Europe, and Religion lost. Moreover, Love is in the (1st) Needs stage, while the Power dimension is in the (2nd) Wants stage. The Knowledge dimension is in the current (3rd) Beliefs stage (see my recent blog on Needs, Wants & Beliefs). As a result of both, Religion is losing. 

Losing My Religion (1991) by R.E.M. - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Darkness on the edge of town

Sometimes it's remarkable how blogs shape. Within a couple of days, I noticed several interesting articles on the lack of darkness, the abundance of artificial light, and its impact on the brain (sleeping disorders) and the body (obesity). These topics also relate to the recent Nobel prize in Physiology or Medicine for the research into the biological clock of plants, animals, and humans.

On 12 April 2017, NASA scientists released "new global maps of Earth at night, providing the clearest yet composite view of the patterns of human settlement across our planet" (NASA).

The impact of urbanisation (living in cities) and their abundance of artificial light at night is clearly visible. The term "Dark Continent" for Africa, gets a new meaning when looking at NASA's picture to the right.

Kenneth Wright, Professor in Integrative Physiology at the University of Colorado (Boulder), used the darkness at night for an experiment. The results: "Filling the day with natural light and the night with true darkness for as little as a weekend can have a profound impact on our circadian rhythm, which may help us fall asleep earlier and potentially deliver other health benefits." 

These other health benefits have been described by dr. Rosa van den Berg of the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) in her 2017 dissertation: Long-term exposure to light during the night causes irrevocable weight gains due to a disturbance of our biological clock. Previous American research had already suggested a link between artificial light and obesity. (LUMC-2017, Telegraaf-2017, Healthline-2015, Environmental Health Perspectives-2010).

The 2017 winners of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "discovered that the gene encodes a protein known as PER that builds up in the cell during the night before degrading over the course of the day, serving as a type of clock. The circadian rhythm can affect behavior, hormone levels, sleep patterns, body temperature, and metabolism" (Futurism, Guardian, Twitter).

I have little doubt that the relationship between artificial light & sound, biological clock, electronic gadgets (eg, iPads, iPhones), obesity, radio frequency radiation, and sleeping disorders will be a source for many new articles and studies. 

A few days ago, the Max Planck Institute for Human Development found that "living near a forest seems to have a positive effect on the stress-processing brain areas. Researchers found that city dwellers living close to a forest were more likely to have a healthy brain structure than those with no access to nature near their home." (Medical Xpress, MPG). How many cues do we need?
Darkness on the Edge of Town (1978) by Bruce Springsteen

Monday, 16 October 2017

Conceptual framework (4) - drivers of human behaviour

A quote by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428 BC-348 BC) has long been on my list of topics: "Human behaviour flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge." (book)

These 3 sources of human behaviour appear to be similar to the 3 stages in my concept of Needs, Wants & Beliefs (my blogs).

My diagram to the right, also connects these 3 sources and 3 stages to the concept of Body, Mind & Soul (my blogs).

There seems to be a logical (time) direction and/or sequence, which is represented by the cycle of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and chaos (my recent blog).

After some reflection, I realised that this triangle must also have binding elements that prevent it from falling apart. These binding elements are another set of 3: Faith, Hope & Love (my blogs).

I must admit that my diagram is a little gloomy as it seems to represent an endless loop in human behaviour. There is, however, always an exit which I refer to as an/the Awakening (my blogs). The current general level of dissatisfaction and chaos suggests that we are somewhere at the top of the pyramid and that we need to make a choice.

Nowadays, Plato's 3rd source of human behaviour, Knowledge, is turning into Beliefs, which are represented by my concept of the 7 Belief systems and its - again - 3 dimensions: Love (the 7th selfless belief - Emotion / Needs), Power (the selfish 3 beliefs of Money, Politics, Religion - Desire / Wants), and Knowledge (the selfish 3 beliefs of Philosophy, Science, the Truth - Knowledge / Beliefs).

Plato's 2nd source of human behaviour, Desire, includes the Nature versus Nurture debate. British geneticist Adam Rutherford in Nat Geo, 14 October 2017: "There is a genetic basis to human behaviors. But there is also an environmental component. We used to say nature versus nurture. But we might say nature via nurture. [] It’s perfectly possible for two people to have identical genomes and one of them to be schizophrenic and the other one not."

I suppose that part of my writing is directed towards a human Awakening. This may also explain my regular use of a famous Albert Einstein quote: "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

A Gentle Awakening (2010) by JD McPherson - artist, FB, lyrics, video, Wiki

The people on the city streets
The farmers on the plains
They're walking in the lucid dream
While the sky is set aflame
They soon will hear a quiet sound
So peaceful and serene
Then they might too may ease into
A gentle awakening

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Hide In Your Shell

Hide in your shell
'Cause the world is out to bleed you for a ride

What will you gain, making your life a little longer?
Heaven or Hell, was the journey cold
that gave you eyes of steel?
Shelter behind, painting your mind, you're playing joker

Too frightening to listen to a stranger
Too beautiful to put your pride in danger
You're waiting for someone to understand you
But you've got demons in your closet
(You've got demons in your closet)
And you're screaming out to stop it
(And you're screaming out to stop it)
Saying life's begun to cheat you
Friends are out to beat you
Grab on to what you can scramble for

Don't let the tears linger on inside now
'Cause it's sure time you gained control
If I can help you, if I can help you
If I can help you, just let me know
Well let me show you the nearest signpost
To get your heart back and on the road
If I can help you, if I can help you
If I can help you, just let me know

All through the night
As you lie awake and hold yourself so tight
What do you need
A second hand movie star to tend you?
I as a boy, I believed the saying the cure for pain was love
How would it be if you could see the world through my eyes?

Too frightening, the fire's becoming colder
Too beautiful, to think you're getting any older
You're waiting for someone to bring an answer
What you see is just illusion
(What you see is just illusion)
You're surrounded by confusion
(You're surrounded by confusion)
Saying life's begun to cheat you
Friends are out to beat you
Grab on to what you can scramble for

Don't let the tears linger on inside now
Because it's sure time you gained control
If I can help you, if I can help you
If I can help you, just let me know

Well let me show you the nearest signpost
To get your heart back and on the road
If I can help you, if I can help you
If I can help you, just let me know

'Cause I want to know, mmm I wanna know
I wanna know, I wanna know
I wanna know, I wanna know
Won't you, won't you let me know you
Mmm, won't you let me know you
I wanna know you, mmm I wanna feel you
Oh, I wanna touch you
Please let me near you
Oh let me near you
Can you hear, what I'm singing?
Well I'm hoping, I'm dreamin', I'm prayin'
I know what you're thinkin', see what you're seein'
Never ever let yourself go, hold yourself down
Hold yourself down, why don't you hold yourself down?

Why don't you listen? You can trust me (So what, you're gonna take it to?)
A little place, I know the way to (So what, you're gonna make it do?)
A place there is no need to (So what's he gonna...)
To feel you (So what's he gonna..)
To feel that you're all alone (So what's he gonna do?)
Can you hear me? (So what, you're gonna take it to?)
I know exactly what you're feelin' (So what, you're gonna make it do?)

All your troubles are within you (So what's he gonna...)
So begin to (So what's he gonna...) 
See that I'm just bleeding to (So what's he gonna do?)
Oh love me, love you (So what, you're gonna take it to?)
Loving is the way to help me, help you (So what, you're gonna make it do?)
Why must we be so cool (So what's he gonna...) 
Oh so cool? (So what's he gonna...)
Oh, we're such damn fools (So what's he gonna do?)
I said we're such damn fools
(So what, you're gonna take it to?) (So what, you're gonna make it do?)
(So what's he gonna...) (So what's he gonna...) (So what's he gonna do?)
I said we're such damn fools

Hide In Your Shell (1974) by Roger Hodgson / Supertramp

Saturday, 14 October 2017

The 45th President and the 25th Amendment

The 45th President is working hard on losing the respect of every American and every other country through his revolution of disruption, chaos and destruction (see my blog #1, blog #2). Everything Trump says or does seems geared to upset either another part of the American population, or the rest of the world. Only one stakeholder seems to be benefitting.

A few months ago, the 45th President "suggested a tenfold increase in the U.S. nuclear arsenal" (eg, NBCVOA, WE). US Secretary of Foreign Affairs (a.k.a. State Department) called the 45th President a "moron" for suggesting this (WP). Note LO: text markings are mine.

His comrade Steve Bannon "warned Trump several months ago that the biggest threat to his presidency is not impeachment by Congress, but the 25th Amendment -- which could allow his Cabinet to vote to remove him." (CNN, Vanity Fair

The 25th Amendment is relatively recent: "it was not until the 1963 assassination of his successor John F Kennedy that Congress approved the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, which provided a set of procedures for replacing a president in the event of death, removal (permanently or temporarily), resignation, or incapacity." (RawStory, 2017)

A US Cabinet mutiny would be a dream scenario for Trump and this stakeholder. The USA would then join South American countries. Any future US claim on being the world's greatest democracy would sound utterly preposterous. Trump would probably thoroughly enjoy his newest victim role. Once in a while, he may even threaten to return to politics, similar to Silvio Berlusconi.

The liberal left claims that Trump is a "senile zombie" (PR). The conservative right assumes that Trump is on their side. Both are wrong. Trump is a cunning old shrewd fox who is only in the game for himself. Please see my 2016 blog and 2017 blog. Unlike any other US President, Trump switches political sides whenever convenient to him. In the 2016 words of the Danish Foreign Minister: "Donald Trump changes opinions like others change underwear." (Politico)

Using the 25th Amendment for removing Trump, is likely to fail if based on his mental incapacity. To some extent, Trump has already told everyone that they underestimate his intelligence by offering an IQ test to his Foreign Secretary (eg, BBC, IndependentWaPo).

Publicly, the North Korean leader has called Trump an "old lunatic beast" (eg, Quartz, NYT, TNP, WaPo). Off the record, North Korea is (allegedly) busy trying to understand the divergence between Trump's opinions and the contradictions by his Cabinet. Few people believe that these contradictions are a game of good cop/bad cop (eg, CNBCCNN, Guardian). 

Wiki: "In Western folklore and also in Persian folklore, foxes are depicted as a symbol of cunning and trickery – a reputation derived especially from their reputed ability to evade hunters. [] These traits are used on a wide variety of characters, either making them a nuisance to the story, a misunderstood hero, or a devious villain." Just replace fox by Trump.

The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?) by Ylvis (2013)

The secret of the fox, ancient mystery.
Somewhere deep in the woods, I know you're hiding.
What is your sound? Will we ever know?
Will always be a mystery what do you say?