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The Real Alternative


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The old New Age, hippie saying “Be Here Now” taken to the extreme

Today’s tweet caught my eye not because I believe it. Cummon. The idea is that a large chunk of history never happened and we’ve just artificially filled in the gaps.

From a commonsense perspective this is rubbish. A quick web search brings up all sorts of historical persons and acts during this “phantom time.”

We have lots of records. Physical records.

However, I mention the idea today because, well, it did give me pause over something maybe related.

Some schools of metaphysical thought claim that we can’t be sure of anything but the present. For all we know, they say, the universe is huge, flickering bunch of “presents.”

So this present that I’m writing in is really – according to the theory – just a present with a lot of true, false or simulated memories.

The next flicker could be an entirely different present (with an alternate set of history and memories) and I wouldn’t know the difference.

This next present would be just as real as my current present. And then in the next flicker, who knows… an entirely new set of memories, history, beliefs.

Image – cwamkid.blogspot.ca

For those adhering to this idea, each moment is just as true, false or simulated as the next. And there could be countless flickering streams, all happening or possibly alternating at once.

Freaky?

Yeah, a bit.

But I think the notion is intellectually impossible to disprove.

If you find it hard wrapping your head around this, consider a computer processor. When multitasking, the processor alternates bits of data at super high speeds. Data flies through the processor so fast that tasks appear simultaneous to the user (for example, streaming music, transferring files and blogging).

But again your data is alternating at great speeds.

Could we be the same?

Obviously this is not a question to make the headlines in a 21st century where we’re mostly worried about lunatics with bad haircuts bombing us into oblivion.

But in the 91st century, who knows?


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New Anti-Corruption Masters Degree in Vienna

When I saw this I wanted to add “that should be a laugh” to the tweet but there was no room for more characters.

However, I shouldn’t be too cynical. When I had just finished my PhD I found only one sociology reference book (by Blackwell, I think) that even listed the topic. It said that corruption was a relatively new topic for the social sciences due to the difficulties in studying it. So true.

At least this course is making a stab at it. Some discourse is always better than no discourse. Ironically, I had this conversation with the very guy who shafted me at the university of Ottawa. A conversation about discourse concerning numinosity, that is. Not about corruption, per se.


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EP Today – Fake News stories themselves are fake news

I’m glad that someone has, at least, partially addressed this. I haven’t been posting about “fake news” because I feel most of the stories, themselves, are superficial and misleading. That is… fake.

Why?

A little bit of history tells us that people have always been fibbing, omitting details and manipulating truth for personal gain and to avoid repercussions.

English: Portrait of Nero. Marble, Roman artwo...

Portrait of Nero. Marble, Roman artwork, 1st century CE. From the Augustan area on the Palatine Hill ( Wikipedia)

Remember when ancient Rome burnt down? The crazed and cruel Nero – whom many think was responsible for the blaze – blamed that on the early Christian community. Or how about when British PM Chamberlain signed a 1938 Munich peace treaty with Germany? Hitler clearly had no intention of honoring that.

More recently, have we forgotten Watergate or the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal?

“I am not a crook” – Richard. M. Nixon, 1973.

English: Former President Richard Nixon visits...

Former President Richard Nixon visits with President Bill Clinton in the family quarters of the White House, March 8, 1993. (Photo: Wikipedia) Birds of a feather?

“I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” – Bill Clinton, 1998.

Click for image source

For more examples, follow this link.

This notion that we’ve suddenly fallen into a postmodern age of false ideology and lies is a joke. It’s an insult to our intelligence. Lies are everywhere. They are in what is said and in what is not said. And it has always been that way.

What’s really alarming is that so many people buy into these fake news stories about “fake news.”

MC


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EP Today – Does Psychiatry reinforce people playing “good patient”?

Today’s Top Tweet (above) points to an issue that demands mature reflection. Instead of the often extreme views presented at web sites like Mad in America or, at the other end of the spectrum, the baffling ideological hegemony of the APA, there is a third stance positioned somewhere between those polarized perspectives.

With regard to today’s tweet, just because someone has a delusion or perception that a drug effectively blocks, it does not necessarily follow that the thing the person was deluded about or perceiving does not exist.

For example, say a person thinks that terrorists, the CIA or perhaps the mafia are after them. Then a drug calms the person down and, so it turns out, she or he is never murdered as previously feared.

Does it logically follow that terrorists, the CIA or the mafia do not exist? No, it means that these entities do exist but that they were probably not after that person.

Same thing with spiritual entities, good and bad, one could argue.

I applaud this man for writing about his experience but, with all due respect, it seems he is relieved to feel better and playing the role of “good patient”—and I’m sure many in the psychiatric community would approve of that.

Problem is, that kind of thing can lead to and reinforce superficial claims about the nature of reality. And THAT, in my opinion, can hurt people who actually do sense demons, angels and, who knows, maybe ETs.

Life is rarely as simple as either/or. Although some psychiatrists and members of the general public might like us to think so. I think the wisest thing the author of the tweeted story says is, “I don’t know for sure.”

MC

 Apple totally dissed WikiLeaks this week – here’s why (AAPL) (businessinsider.com)

 Federal Investigation into WikiLeaks ‘Vault 7’ CIA Hacking Intel Dump ‘Rapidly Unfolding’ (libertynews.com)

 Ex-CIA chief: No, the government is not spying on you through your microwave (stripes.com)

 Analysis: Forget spies, public should worry about scammers (bostonherald.com)

 Tech sector scrambles after CIA hacking allegations (rappler.com)


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Today’s Top Tweet – Corruption: Hiding the skunk at the garden party?

A study has recently come out about corruption around the world. There are a few factors that make me question it.

First, criminals usually don’t report their crimes. So things could be, and probably are, much worse than what we see. Only those insider deals, bribes (given and taken) that have been officially dealt with hit the radar.

Second, human bias is unavoidable and, third, corruption within the corruption indexing system, itself, is also possible.

For political and economic reasons, blind eyes could be turned toward home affairs while faraway countries are highlighted. This is called scapegoating. Scapegoating happens within small and large groups. It’s a pretty common human dynamic among people who can’t or don’t want to look at themselves honestly. Or among people who do know themselves fairly well but wish to mislead others for (perceived) personal gain.

The former are just ignorant. The latter, creeps.


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Today’s Top Tweet – Eye on Extremism

I’ve recently discovered Miluramalho’s Blog. The woman behind it seems like an intelligent, spiritual force to be reckoned with! Her blog entry “Eye on Extremism” covers so many areas that mainstream TV news tends to brush over in favor of idiotic stories like “Why does Donald Trump sniff so much when public speaking?”

Check it out!


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Today’s Top Tweet – Corruption… Be wise as serpents and harmless as doves

Today’s top tweet actually comes from yesterday. I’ve been busy learning Linux (read here) so the news – or at least my commenting on it – has taken a temporary back seat.

But I’ve more or less figured out enough Linux to do the news with it. So here I go…

About today’s tweet…

When I won a scholarship to study in India I was a naive North American. I had a few misconceptions:

One… I thought Canada and the US were basically the same. Two… I thought large scale corruption only took place in seedy, faraway countries.

Image - wikimedia.org

Image – wikimedia.org

So when in India, I was offended by its obvious, in-your-face corruption.

This was the mid-to-late 1980s and you couldn’t miss it. I’m not sure about today. The last time I visited India was around 1991.

To make a long story short… on returning to Canada and the Canadian academic system, I was happy. I even felt – at the beginning – that I had found a new ‘family.’ A group of honorable people dedicated to learning and knowledge in areas I was becoming increasingly interested in — in my case, Psychology and Religion.

http://www.transparency.org/policy_re...

World Map Index of perception of corruption 2010 (Image: Wikipedia)

A few years later, however, my new ‘family’ proved to be just as weird and dysfunctional as any biological family can be. And I realized that corruption is not just an Asian thing. These days I believe it’s everywhere. We just hide it better in the West.

So I usually laugh at global measures of corruption… corruption “indexes” and so on.

Can a broken yardstick accurately measure another broken yardstick?

No. Obviously not. Measures of corruption, themselves, are inherently biased. Possibly even corrupt, themselves. That’s why I welcome today’s top tweet. We need to realize this.

Corruption isn’t just a topic for disgruntled outsiders shafted by the system. It’s something that hurts us all. And the longer we turn a blind eye to corruption, the longer it will do its damage to real people, here and abroad.