Beyond Narrative: Systems Theory and the Unveiling of History

In other words, our basis for such statements, if there is one at all, is merely stories about stories. Or perhaps stories about ideologies. And we speak of these ideologies (Marxists, Christians, Islamic, Feminist, etc) as if they presented a material force, as if they themselves are fixed and certain, as if they are within themselves causes within the world, sometimes we even speak of them as if they had agency themselves, or as if we are actually saying anything at all, beyond fabricating a myth from whole cloth. And to a great extent we are, but what is the sense in which ideologies do present a material force? How is it that wholes and large scale groups function, in chaos certainly, but how at all?

Only by looking toward emergent, non-linear, or open systems can we even hope to find a way.

via Modern Mythology: Beyond Narrative: Systems Theory and the Unveiling of History.

Local truth and revelation

Perhaps God speaks to us via our minds, and His revelations are filtered and interpreted by our own thoughts, which would explain the differences between the local truths of revealed religions. Of course, our interpretation of God’s message is also colored by cultural influences. In the time of Joseph [Smith], revelations from God were culturally acceptable, but that isn’t always the case today. Therefore, in our time, a person who receives a revelation encoded in thoughts, feelings and vivid intuitions, may not consider it as a revelation and describe it in a philosophical essay – or maybe a science fiction novel. The “Words of God” in Douglas Preston’s scientific thriller Blasphemy, described and praised in my previous essay, might have been inspired by the voice of God after all.

I prefer to refrain from speculating about Truth, because science and engineering don’t need it – they work perfectly well with local, knowledge dependent models of reality that have proven good enough FAPP (For All Practical Purposes, ref. Bell) in a well defined scope. When a model is unable to cope with an extended scope (e.g. very small, very big, very fast…), scientists look for a more accurate model and engineers use it. That’s good enough for me. Also, there is the possibility that the process of model discovery never ends (truth is an ever receding infinitely zoomable fractal.

via Local truth and revelation | TURING CHURCH.

Snowden, Putin, Greece: It’s All The Same Story

The narrative being sold through the media in other eurozone nations is that Greece is to blame, that for instance German taxpayers are on the hook for Greek debts, while they’re really on the hook for German banks’ losing wagers (here’s looking at you, Deutsche!). And that is, no matter how you twist it, not the same story. It’s again just a narrative.

Once more, and we’ve said it many times before, Brussels is toxic -and so is the IMF- and Greece should leave as soon as possible, as should Italy, Spain, Portugal. And we should all resist the spin-induced attempts to demonize Putin, Athens and China any further, and instead focus on the rotten apples in our own basket(s).

In short, the propaganda we should be worried about is not Russia’s, it’s our own. And it comes from just about every news article we’re fed. We’re much less than six degrees removed from Orwell.

via Snowden, Putin, Greece: It’s All The Same Story – The Automatic Earth.

Pope Francis: “Bold Cultural Revolution” Needed to Save Planet from Climate Change & Consumerism

n his long-awaited encyclical on the environment and climate change, Pope Francis has called for swift action to save the planet from environmental ruin, urging world leaders to hear “the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.” He called for a change of lifestyle in rich countries steeped in a “throwaway” consumer culture, and an end to “obstructionist attitudes” that sometimes put profit before the common good. Pope Francis said protecting the planet is a moral and ethical “imperative” for believers and nonbelievers alike that should supersede political and economic interests. A major theme of the encyclical is the disparity between rich and poor. “We fail to see that some are mired in desperate and degrading poverty, with no way out, while others have not the faintest idea of what to do with their possessions, vainly showing off their supposed superiority and leaving behind them so much waste which, if it were the case everywhere, would destroy the planet,” he said.

via Pope Francis: “Bold Cultural Revolution” Needed to Save Planet from Climate Change & Consumerism | Democracy Now!.

Scientists: Man has triggered Earth’s sixth mass extinction

In a hard-hitting study, a Stanford University professor says the window of opportunity to reverse the damage caused by humans is rapidly closing and the effects could be felt in three generations.

Their analysis claims human activity has brought near the worst diversity disaster since dinosaurs were swept from the planet 65m years ago.

In the last century, vertebrates have been disappearing at a rate 114 times higher than would normally be expected without the destructive influence of humans. If the current pace of extinction is allowed to continue, it would take millions of years for nature to recover.

Paul Ehrlich, from Stanford University in California, a leading member of the team, said: “Without any significant doubt… we are now entering the sixth great mass extinction event. There are examples of species all over the world that are essentially the walking dead. We are sawing off the limb that we are sitting on.”

Mexican lead researcher Gerardo Ceballos, from the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, warned humans could one day follow in the footsteps of the dinosaurs.

“If it is allowed to continue, life would take many millions of years to recover, and our species itself would likely disappear early on,” he said.

via Scientists: Man has triggered Earth’s sixth mass extinction | Irish Examiner.