Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Call to self-empowerment and self-policing [pamphlet]

The police's presence/organization is so often justified to me by a cinematic, white picket horror fantasy of a band of dangerous men coming into your comfy house at night and having their way with your curvy, dolled wife (bird-of-paradise). It takes a certain kind of learned stupidity to think locking yourself in a box is going to keep you safe.
Why is it "just obvious" that we need to divide labor like we have? Into cops and robbers? It seems "obvious" to me that it's terrible and needs serious revision. Creating a difference in powers has led to system-wide abuses, and reinforces the systematization of those abuses at every political level. The institution won't spontaneously heal itself, because it is engaged in an unjust war with its own constituents. Individual officers with desire for reform balk at the enormity of the task and the enmity of the institution to any type of change. They've got to organize.
Meanwhile, I feel constantly forced into bizarre political contortions just because of a dude with a gun standing behind a long chain of "because I said so"s aka financial contracts. Ask him why he's doing what he's doing, and he'll give the same answer. There's no sense to it, just the raw differential. All because we have willfully disempowered ourselves for the sake of the drama of a campfire tale. ("And then, right as the bad men we're about to do a bad thing,.......... wait for it........ the heroes BURST IN, and said, 'I AM THE LAW.'")
But this cute little fable (the good order defeating bad chaos) has no fuel in daylight. Look around you, size up the dudes you see. There are not that many dudes much stronger than me. Yes, I'm large, but it only took about 5 years to develop the strength I use daily, and not more theory and pracitcal guidance than is available all over the internet (google "body building"). Start now. 2 smaller men whotrained that hard could take me, in a contest of muscle strength alone.
And that's the hinge of this whole thing - teamwork, or it's lack - you feel you're alone in the world of men and have no one to count on than the king's men. Perhaps it's your heroic/erotic idealizations that have contorted you thus, and offer you now some lure or sweet treat. Couldn't be further from the truth, tho!
There are enough good, average men, to take on the oversized bullies that arise.
All we have to do is stay alert and police OUR OWN COMMUNITIES.
Why is that so hard? Is it because we don't trust each other? Then LET'S LEARN TO TRUST ONE ANOTHER!
It's not that hard!
Is it the guilt of force...? If you're prepared to call the police on someone, you're already emotionally prepared to use force on them, unless you hide your mind from the true nature of police power. Denial is weak - we want you to be STRONG. Yes, me, and all on the side of world peace. It's better for us if you're strong.
Is it because it's a tough job and you don't wanna do it? Because all of a sudden it's your ass on the line - and not someone else's, FOR yours?
This is what I mean by "you're disempowered." When you are a coward, and everything about your society tells you that's right.
Well here I am. It takes no magic talent to understand yourself as a potent thing. All it takes is the will to looking deep within yourself - this will to depth and understanding IS real power, and that is where you can start to empower yourself.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Plastic Addiction is a Tendency to Reduce Earth's Health

Occassionally my distaste for plastic is met with some type of scorn and confusion by capitalists who style themselves as rugged and pragmatic. "It's cost effective in the short term, what could be wrong?" They haven't hit rock bottom yet.
The problem with this statement is a narrow view of "cost." Insisting that individual human costs are the only ones relevant, we cut ourselves off from the wider truth - we're hurting the community.
Their apparent confusion is confusing to me, because the stuff is obviously appalling to any ecotherapist. Most plastics are clearly designed against all life - that's precisely what makes it so effective as packaging. Of course, these days, there is enthusiasm for biodegradable plastic - but it does not suffice to say "abracadabra." The problem is that to effectively store perishable items, one wishes to protect them from hungry, persistent, self-producing life - to form a barrier whose strength against invasion and corruption should increase with the desired time of storage. The problem is not that we simply haven't yet invented good enough technology - it is that mathematics leads us to suppose there is an inherent "competetion" between our ability to stabilize perishables, and the health of the planet.
Perhaps the simplest "first" guess to describe such a relation would derive from the notion of a conservation "law:" first we divide the living world into "human-stored" or "rigid" parts and "non-owned" or "fluid" parts. Then, supposing a given quantity which describes the health of the system, its "total accessible parts" or "workspace," we have
rigid + fluid = total.
However, it's not quite this simple, since there are some rigid parts which are not actually human owned - things like rocks. Perhaps, an optimist could assume that for every human permutation which hardens living "fluid," wild life softens some non-human "solid." Carried on long enough, this logic would convert the whole vivable planet into self-unconsuming void, so this isn't very optimistic afterall. That is, given finite raw material, a process which consumes it must halt in finite time.
It is indeed the case that ("well-tuned") life tends to soften up hard, dead rock and gradually organize it into a healthy living system. However, it seems that humans have an easier time figuring out how to sabotage life than life does mutating ways to deal with that sabotage. Plastic is the prime example of this. We know some existing life eats plastic - but clearly, it is not evolving this ability (and using it) as quickly as we are turning food-for-many into food-for-almost-nothing. Look to the gyres for clear evidence.
This means that all you have to do to clog up and eventually kill any living system is to introduce a high enough mass of plastic into it. This is what we're doing to our planet right now - to the biosphere, life itself - using fossil fuels which cost millions of years of planetary processes to quickly convert organic material into plastic, that is, healthy matter into less healthy matter. Every piece of plastic you consume makes you complicit in this derailment.
 Ordering another to produce it for you doesn't absolve you.
What are you gonna do, look away? You can bury your head in the sand as long as you want, but the longer, the worse it gets. Eventually, the beach is gonna fill up with plastic and you won't be able to dig in the sand any longer without cutting through it.
Or perhaps, "someone else" will deal with your problems for you? Some for-profit scientist, some beneficient capitalist will again rescue us from our own thoughtlessness? Perhaps they will appear with a swell of symphony music from the loudspeakers, and we will hail them as our rightful Ford and savior.
So what then, you just have to pay for your credential to work in the plastic-eating industry? You're still just a peon who can never reach the top - still a contempted, pathetic thing that no one reallywants except insofar as you are profitable to them. You're just there to run the machines someone else made and ordered you to run - still a slave to another's intellect. An epsilon.
As optimism fades into the realization that inventing lifeforms is actually much harder and costlier than destroying them, we have to consider the long term: If we hope to solve the problem of plastic with a plastic-based lifestyle, how long can we continue trying various avenues of research before the search for a solution actually becomes futile - until the health of human-colonized systems diminishes so greatly that we can no longer keep up the research? Until mere survival becomes our overwhelming concern, and our plastic-filled world becomes a fixed assumption?
What happens when we can no longer negotiate our heads through the sand?
I don't know, but it doesn't sound fun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

On Health

Health is important, but hard to define. Some people go by their idea of normal function or appearance; in any case, the idea seems to be that health is required to satisfy one's desires, whatever form they may take (functions, motions, emotions, experiences, etc.). Since some desires are considered by societies to be taboo, the situation is a bit more complicated.
    My people, Americans, of course, speak mostly of individual health. I hear from all corners of America that society is sick, but there's clearly no consensus on what this sickness is; often side A thinks the fault is side B and vice verse.
    My proposal is that health be defined for anything that can be understood as alive (even if only partially). Any self-proclaimed environmentalist should agree that our planet seems sick; it's reasonable that we have an idea of planetary health. The story we have is that a few thousand years ago, it was only humans (in some places) that were sick. Most of everything else still ran well, comparitively.
    Throughout the Earth's history, we believe the planet assumed many climates and ecological forms. Finding remants of old organisms still fascinates us and excites the imagination. Since the system and its history are so much larger than individual humans can cope with, it is far more difficult to define "absolute health" than "relative health." So for now, considering only relativity, we need only concern ourselves with what changes health.
    Any attempt to improve the health of an animal, plant, society, or planet obviously must seek some goals. In this spirit, I propose a more or less mathematical definition.
    We must understand ourselves as partaking in the vastly complex process which is the living film surrounding the rocky earth. The atmosphere often serves to bind the biosphere together; without a nice big cushion of air, plants and animals couldn't cycle air.
    I call a being in such a situation a tangle, since it realizes itself and its actions as tangled up in as many planetary cycles as it has active consituents (air, water, carbon, energy in photons/electrons, etc.). Here I refer to a chemical understanding of the body, but I believe any unit of any 'scale' could be used.
    Insofar as a tangle can content (stabilize? fulfill? re-secure?) itself in the environment with which it is tangled, it can think of itself as healthy. I just leave it up to any tangle reading this to define its own contentment. Some distinct alterations in lifestyle may be adapted to adequately that no distinct difference in health can be noticed. In fact, there may be apparent many such configurations accessible from any given configuration.
    It's reasonable to assume that any healthy configuration becomes understood as a norm after some time, such that with increasing normalness, more subtle variations from the norm can be deteced. So deviation from a given norm doesn't necessarily indicate movement towards ill health.
    As one more fully understands the extent to which one is tangled with other accessible systems, one may see one's individual health as related to wider communities' healths. The connection is most clear when an other community member's processes are understood as being in series with one's own organismic processes. In such cooperative circumstances, slowing down the other's processing potentially limits one's own health.
    One way to decrease health, then, is to disrupt a cycle by processing its elements in a way that limit other life's access to them. Discarded plastics are a good example of this.
    If one understands a border between two systems in series, one can affect health by changing the physiology of the border. Clogging vital tubes is an easy example of this. If you were to block the pipes of a house or the arteries of an animal, you'd soon notices drastic changes.
    Weakening or destroying systems you cooperate with is by definition unhealthy.
    In human societies, killing friends might be a way of reducing one's own health, if those friends helped in some vital process (not to mention any guilt and community responses). Even if one learns to fill their old roles, it will take more time for one to do the tasks of many. Should other vital tasks pop up, the increased time requirement may leave one stretched to thin, relying to much on wearing pharmacodynamics or other tension, possibly reducing health. Is there some equilibrium point, given a situation? I don't know - but don't work too hard on the problem.
    Hurting people to the extent that they refuse to cooperate with you is often unhealthy. If the situation goes without remedy, such wounds may fester and reduce future health.
    Though complete control of the biosphere necessarily eludes humans (being as we are only a small portion of the total process), we can imagine as an ideal a complete understanding of every cycle you and I take part in. Remember that some cycles might be expected to take many millions of years longer than humans will survive. In actuality, some of them perhaps aren't exactly cycles given a time frame of even billions of years; perhaps some atoms belonging to you will end up in outer space or deep within the planet, only to emerge long after life has extinguished. It's impossible to say. However, we can expect that a substantial portion of the atoms that constitute Terran life would look cyclic if you could only get enough info. Another option to think about "non-cycles" is to just "black out" the non-living parts of the world, leaving it unspoken of, so that such material "disappears." This is actually a more accurate picture of a "cycle" (as I'm using the word) than a perfect circle - there should be some fuzzy dark part to denote our uncertainty of the total cosmos - indeed of any process we take part in.
    The total amount of you or me expected to be in cycles vs. non-cycles, then, is either a matter of quantitative analysis/estimate, or somewhat irrelevant, depending on your goals. (I'd be very interested to hear any number you might come up with - this may begin to give us an idea of what "absolute health" could mean.)
    Consider the food you eat, and any other materials required to sequester its nutrients and energy. Where will your waste go? Will it be mixed with the ocean and atmosphere? Even if a certain constituent couldn't be observed to cycle in any lifetime, it at least came from somewhere in the non-living cosmos and went back, perhaps to return some day. The faster a body like yours is able to access its re-processed waste, the more bodies like yours can live healthily at once; the more fuel flowing, the hotter the fire.
    Perhaps an eco-utopian gola, then, would be to configure our current species to cooperate as smoothly as possible. This "optimal health" would be a bit like a Nash equilibrium: no change in lifestyle could lead to greater health for everyone. What if there is a whole spectrum of such configurations? It would come down to preference.
    If you live on an organic farm (depending on type/schema), you may have a very good idea of where most of your waste will end up: cycling back into yourself and allied humans. Humans can be fickle, of course.
    Mine is a non-deterministic understanding of life, which has yielded a non-deterministic understanding of health. Being more an aspect of a continuing lifestyle than any one moment of that life, understanding our own health guides us, but this understanding being non-determining, it does not rule us. The rate of addiction in America proves it; we get into unhealthy situations more or less willingly (though not necessarily knowingly). Note that this can be understood from many addicts' own viewpoints: admitting you have a problem is a first step to recovery. Something about the lifestyle they've gotten into isn't working for them any more. This is an illustration of how "health" need not refer to any norm - rather only a relative judgment of how desirable a situation is.
    It seems that health is necessarily sustainable, but not identical with stability or predictability.
These ideas are still somewhat in experimental stages. I am interested to hear questions or critiques.