Tuesday, August 30, 2016

How big is the cultural overlay?

We sapiens are animals who evolved on this big rock whirling through space. We evolved to take advantage of this environment and available food sources. Genes evolve slowly, yet epigenetics switch on or off parts of the individual genes. We evolve and learn. Some individuals and groups learned to write and read. They wanted to record all of what they knew and believed, possible to help the next generation learn all that we were unable to teach them, for life was short, brutal and ugly for many. For some it remains so. So learned behavior become culture, and it is just the "learnings" of the past in carried forward to the present time. Oh well.

So on this natural, genetic base, there is a cultural overlay. All our ethics, morality, behaviors and the like are founded in culture. Laws of the land are current agreements and dictates of the governments defining acceptable behavior... well sort of. It defines what some will put money into enforcing, when it is convenient.  Perhaps it is intended to show how people should live, if we want to should ourselves. Now we can further slice this cultural overlay into religion, family, political, personality, etc. And where does all this leave us? Genetic predisposition plus culture, environment, and the like leaves us with a random distribution of a large number of variables, some desirable some less so, and even that varies over time and situation. We have so many choices, and we make them, one at a time. Some we keep, some not. Some become part of us, some not. Oh well, itewajda. (in the end we all just die anyway.)

Morals and ethics vary widely, and as long as we can justify our behavior to ourselves, we will be ok with anything. As long as our behavior has no or very little impact on others, nobody cares anyway. If it has no impact on others does it matter? Other people insist that some things should not be done, but is it of there concern? The local busy body has views on everything, but if it none of here concern, what does she matter? "What would the neighbors think?" was one of my grandmothers expressions for most anything. Currently, I would need to ask myself also, do I care what the neighbors would think? For the most part, the answer would be no, most of the time.

So the old bitty neighbor complained about the weeds along the day lilies, so I told her that if they bothered her, she could pull them. She has not spoken to me since. Oh well. itewajda. It looks to me like cultural overlay is most everything beyond our genetic predisposition.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


In the examination of life style, competing philosophies are just incompatible. Minimalism and self-sufficiency. Accumulation of wealth and frugal lifestyle work well together, but minimalism is all about getting rid of things, not about accumulation of things for later use. As a home owner / landlord of other properties that I have lived in, I have bits and pieces of things, light fixtures, plumbing, door parts, kitchen parts, house parts, which are my first place to look if I need a piece to fix something, but the other approach is to through out everything leftover, and when something is needed, go buy it. Two separate approaches to life; One based on accumulation, the other on not storing anything, one minimalist, one on self-sufficiency.

Going out and buying everything is cleaner, and keeps houses more current, if that is a priority. Rentals, tenants steal, lose, take things. Ice cube trays, broiler pans, door openers, door knobs, light switch covers, light fixtures, light bulbs, blinds, curtains. They do not like what is there, so they remove and garbage that which is not theirs, oh well. It is the cost of trying to accumulate enough to retire. And then they wonder why tenants have such a bad name and everything is going condo. It is the only choice.

After two houses I saw that I was not suited to being a landlord. But the accumulation characteristic is strong. Historically, even with the grief, the real-estate has produced better than bank interest. Now what?

Socialist and Capitalism are incompatible for the most part. Canada is trying to do both and that has issues. The welfare bottom of society is demanding a better lifestyle, and is above the working poor. This is not good. The working poor have only pride to work for. If they quit working and jumped onto the welfare program, they would be better off finical. However, they would lose the chance of improvement of there situation by work and effort. It is a decision that each needs to make separately. Now our native welfare societies are demanding more, and a path out of poverty. That path is education and leaving the area they were raised in and competing in the white capitalism world. It is open to them and has always been open to them, if they want it. I requires that they follow the rules, which that culture does not like. Oh well, it is a cultural jump and will not be smooth.

Now hanging onto your Indian card and working in society is just not compatible. Pow Wows and gatherings are just not important enough to take time off work for. And then want holidays also. Just not compatible with scheduling, and doing the work when the weather permits. For most of my working life, my schedule has been dictated by weather, or heavily influenced by weather. When the weather was good, all the field work needed to be completed. End of story. Culture is what it is, and old native cultural traditions do not fit into modern industrial culture, when the culture is christian based still.

For a culture who gathered at the first summer new moon to trade daughters to become other fathers sons wives, we now have internet dating sites, but without the parental inputs. That is not good for long term culture continuity, when hormones make the decisions for the next generation and for community growth. That is truly gambling with our destiny. Only a few generations ago, vetted marriages or even arranged marriages were still common. They still occur today, but more subtle of methods. Family taught prejudice is alive in our great nation. It is part of our culture, regardless of what the government says we should think and or say. It will not be stamped out, only driven below the surface as we try to overcome prejudice.

The government is keeping prejudices alive by providing preferential treatment to natives at the same time saying prejudice is wrong. They cannot have it both ways logically.

Canada, unlike America is already great, and have been for a long time.      

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Pleasant, Good or Meaningful

Pleasant, Good or Meaningful ...   In the positive psychology (PP) philosophy, much is similar to the classic period. The Stoic Philosophy and similar, including Epicurus, Cynics, and Christians that existed at that time are all examples of PP philosophy.

In life there are three general groups of life philosophies. The Pleasant life is a pleasure, sensory based life where the ultimate aim is enjoyment, which is all fine when conditions are good. Epicurus defined this lifestyle, and some of it's issues. He suggested that we avoid areas that would upset us, like politics, perhaps marriage, sexual encounters with others, employment... and to live frugal and near self-sufficient lives, to develop frugal tastes, and take the time to enjoy and savor everything, especially companionship. The pleasant life is the result.

The Stoics had the approach that virtue was the only good, and that is in our control. If we always do the right thing, then we are right, and can take solace in the fact that we did right, regardless of the outcome. If there was wrong done, it was not by us. This inward looking approach to life produces satisfaction regardless of the conditions and outcome. We are in control always.

The Meaningful life is achieved by adopting a philosophy, purpose, or objective and working toward it. That purpose could be family, altruism, business, politics, nation, religion, anything. It requires that one never questions the value of your chosen purpose or philosophy. Add a bit of supernatural thinking and this becomes religion. Christians are a prime example.

Any of the above three are suitable methods of developing a satisfying life; but only one is within our control. The Meaningful life may feel good while you are doing it, but on later examination, may be all based on a false premise, and can you deal with that? Or even accept that? Oh well, such is the premise of religion.

Some of the PP folks seem to think that these three are a progression, but I think that there is no progression, only choice and that the good life, once recognized, is the hands down winner. So looking inward, I support Stoic philosophy and looking outward Humanism. We have both ways of looking, and we must observe both directions for peace.            

Monday, August 8, 2016


How important is it to know the truth? If we believe it to be true when it is not, does it really make any difference. Consider the myth/story of Adam and Eve verse evolution and human anthropology as what we know today, even though the details are weak.

The Adam, last man where we can all claim common ancestry, live about 180,000 years ago while the Eve was 190,000 years ago or am I backwards. DNA distributions tell us that. Not at the same time by 10,000 years. The population bottlenecks occurred later,  about 70,000 or 80,000 years ago. The consciousness revolution occurred during this similar period or before. Homosapien populations recovery rapidly. Humans soon outgrew our food sources, we had to go further to find food, we expanded throughout the world, interbreeding or displacing with at least six other group of hominids that existed at that time.

Christians have the concept that everything was put here for the human species. This is just wrong. There is no purpose until we paint one on. There are no rules until society and politics gets involved. This arrogance of self importance comes through. We survived because of our intelligence, it was not a choice, not suitability. We reproduce at alarming rates, and soon overtake our food supply. Food is the first limit on our growth. Water is likely the second, air the third, or energy, but these are related. Overpopulation drove us to agriculture, and industry. Now what will be next? Communications, education, or population control?  No, well how about high death rate because we do not have economic access to medical treatment? How about the medical cost of the population becoming so high through passing on of medical defects that only the rich will have economic access? It will be the next generations that will need to deal with that. I will be dead by then, although I may get a taste.

So the Adam and Eve myth has a kernel of truth, but the kernel is overpopulation, and our reproduction rate. Copulation is driven by physical, emotional, chemical, and mental drives. Nothing other than the drive for food is stronger, and then only when we are hungry. As sapiens went about in there randy ways, it is likely that sapiens copulated at ever opportunity, regardless of sub-species... well with humanoids anyway, and thus went from six sub-species to approaching one in a braided fashion. The mixing is not yet complete and will not be until the next population bottleneck. Survival has been more luck than natural selection... it is the cause of the bottlenecks that makes the choice.

A supervolcano in Indonesia was the likely the last big bottleneck/die off. Oh well, in the end we all die anyway. So to get back to the kernel of truth, verses the myth, it is in the attitude that the real damage of religion is to be found. Once we start to see the error or religions, we cannot tolerate the myths. Some of us are truth seeking, knowledge seeking. It is our nature, and perhaps human nature. There are some who seek only for themselves, those sociopaths among us who will just use every opportunity to steel and not take responsibility for there own stuff, and are unable to live within there means.

Can you handle the truth? Tell me what you think.    

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Yah .... Humanism

Humanism make religion, well just irrelevant. It covers all the thing religions provided, with the exception of ritual, and it can provide that as well through organizations like Humanist Canada, although I have no idea why anyone would want rituals. Through a party, invite all interested parties and you have it.

When we are personally responsible for ourselves, our ethics rise above those of any church, similar to the Buddhist ideal. Sociopaths and Psychopaths cannot be humanism, it is against there philosophy. In fact, many sociopaths are trained to be that way; humanism is the route back to being good members of society. Sociopaths are the dregs of society, not the poor and mentally infirm. They do it willingly. Yes, I have a dislike of sociopaths, I just had one of them as a tenant, and she cost me a bit of money. Oh well, in the end we all just die anyway.

No body has the right to rule over other people; we all have the right to do as we want, as long as those action do not affect other people in a big way. We have the right to withdraw our services, as long as we were not hired to provide those services. If the services we provide are not what we are comfortable with, we have the right to decline, and find other ways of making a living. This makes some of the governments laws questionable, and "beyond what we signed up for in the social contract." Civil disobedience may be required. Going beyond civil law is not immoral if the civil law is oppressive and beyond what we think is proper. There is a fine line to walk here. The City of Edmonton is trying to control preservation of old trees on private property. Many of these trees have done damage to adjacent houses due to soil desiccation. So will the City take on the liability for these trees? Not likely. Oh well, in the end the city administration will also die. They are also egos that have grown beyond what they should be. 

We each are responsible to try to control our overeating, even if it is epigenetically controlled, and those epigenetics are beyond our control. I am currently failing badly, but not looking at reality is not the way to control epigenetically driven desires. Obsessing, or ignoring, distracting the self, are also possible. Oh well, in the end we all just die anyway.


Thursday, August 4, 2016

More on Humanism

 A bit more reading about humanism and I have concluded that we have specific characteristics:

Individuals: We are a group of individuals who do not follow others, but think independently, and all have coalesced around some central themes. We are not blind followers.  

Independent: (free?) We are all equal, no one has the right to dictate to others. Yes, no, well what about social contract and criminal activity. The rights of the many should be considered as law; that is society protection from the criminals, we gave up the right of self defense to live together in groups, and have protection. Well we have really no protection - only a mild deterrent to criminals - and occasionally prosecution.  If you do not want us to take back our self protection and ignore the law, then the government had better start providing better protection. But we are free living people, dependent on civilization, but independent thinking.

Reason: We use reason and logic, not superstition or supernatural causes. There are no authorities except in science, and they have the collections of facts. We require questioning, unlike religions. We have no holy books to give direction.
  • Buddhism uses mediation and self searching as founding criteria, it encourages questioning.
  • Christianity, Islam use authority and holy books as founding criteria, and oppose questioning.
  • Science and Humanism use evidence, logic, truth as founding criteria. and require questioning. 
Truth: We try to get to the truth, often placing statements on the nine point truth scale: Absolutely true, probably true, likely true, unable to demonstrate false, neutral or unknown, unable to demonstrate true, likely false, probably false, absolutely false. This combines our confidence and the truth of a statement.

Evidence: If it is not suitable for court, then it is not evidence. Holy books are stories, not evidence. These are tests of how to explain something to a child, not true but not false either, although the underlying thoughts may be false or just wrong. Physical evidence often has more than one explanation; but somehow it must be explained.

Virtue: It seems that Humanism drags in beliefs from all over: the Stoic believed that living a virtues life was the only good, virtue is always right so a virtues life was always right. There cardinal virtues were wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance. Compassion and duty were just expected as part of life. Some add mental pleasure or joy. This also mates with positive psychology behavior; positive emotions, meaning, engagement, effort, accomplishment, satisfaction, joy, and that feeds back into positive emotions.

Knowledge: Wisdom is knowledge applied rightly. Humanism requires questioning of many things. Self seeking through meditation is just a place to start when there is no science, but also much mesh with science. We need to adjust ourselves to what is, not what we would like to happen. It is our expectations, delusions, aversions, desires, that cause us grief. Letting go of the unreasonable and unattainable is the first step to freedom. Also sorting knowledge by truth in detail verses general truths or simplifications.

And yet life and humanism is so much more.   

Monday, August 1, 2016

Human Nature - collection of research, thoughts

A work in progress...possible.

Wikipedia:  Human nature refers to the distinguishing characteristics—including ways of thinking, feeling, and acting—which humans tend to have naturally, independently of the influence of culture.

Ya sure. No...

I am interested in relationship between people at this stage. Well, it must includes the culture in which people are trained into for it is the total person as they present to the public. It does not matter whether it is born in or trained in, but the negatives can be sometimes trained out. Frequency of occurrence of each characteristic, and severity of characteristics also vary. Whether each is aware of the characteristics is not in considered. When we are trying to change our behavior or thinking, we must become aware of it before we can change it. Much of our nature needs to be trained down to be social.
  • Selfish - Self centered, we need to take care of what we can... nobody else will. Our need before others wants. This is the foundation characteristic at the gene level. Without it, we would not survive. But this needs to be trained down.
  • Attachment and sense of self / to life, self, our thoughts, people, things, places. Foundation for tribal behavior, foundation of mine, but also requires selfish characteristic. But this needs to be trained down.
  • Opportunistic, Desire for easy life, Watching for opportunities and eager want or desire to fulfill those chances.   
  • Aggressive, protective of what we have, sense of ownership. But this needs to be trained down.
  • Communications / social conventions. A desire/utility in adherence to social conventions, and to social groups (better survival rates) But this needs to be trained up or trained in.
  • Sociopathic behavior, not taking responsibility for our own actions, not caring much about others, even less if they are outside of our family/clan/tribe/community/nation/language/ group/race/history.
  • Ignorant - in need of education, learning, understanding - minus wrong learning, what we learned was wrong (religious learning has many wrongs within it, separation of story explanations from facts, logic, reason, science.). Some have a desire to know, and to sort truth from story.
  • Philosophy. Some things are under our control (opinions, ascent, delusion, beliefs, values, virtues, motive) most is not. We try to behave, to act, but sometimes it does not happen)
  • Desire for life, food, sex, shelter/warmth, protection, fame, fortune, power, control of others, our own way, But this needs to be trained down.
  • Attention span/fixation/ repetition/ interests/memory/sound identity/ smell identity/ sight identity/ physical feeling/ mental feeling/intuition/ expectation/ delusions/ illusions. ( Learned or natural)
  • six things we all do; skills, knowledge, group behavior rules, communications, feeding, sex
Oh, the training we need, in the social skill. Oh, the things we shall see, and the place we will go.

There is a multitude of disinformation on this subject. some have nice diagrams, but do not match with my reality. https://physicalspace.wordpress.com/huma-nature/https:  and thus are not useful. Some are clinical as.