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  • The Great Oxygen Exception

     

    Our planet is rare and beautiful; blue planets are even more exceptional. Astronomers have discovered 5,502 planets around other stars (known as exoplanets) in the Milky Way. In our solar system, only one other planet is blue, Neptune, reflecting the methane embedded in its ice. Other blue planets have been discovered. HD189733b, for example, orbits its yellow-orange star, HD189733, and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope measured the actual visible-light color of the planet. 

    An oxygen atmosphere, however, is truly unique, which is why we exist as self-conscious beings, made up of the stuff of the universe, but thinking and reflecting on the universe. We breathe based on plant life, where sentient, self-conscious beings breathe, and this has no precedent across the galaxy. We may never discover any self-conscious forms of life anywhere.

    Oxygen-based life is so exceptional that it has not always been the case even for most of Earth’s existence

  • Compassionate Reasoning, the Future, and Reconciliation

    Reconciliation between those in deep conflict and hate mostly never happens. It is deeply challenging to move relationships in the direction of reconciliation.  The challenges of reconciliation as a valuable form of social change revolve around the fact that if reconciliation is seen as a faith gesture, it loses its attraction. It is a done deal that you believe in or don’t believe in, and if you believe in it, it becomes an automatic gesture between people. We can safely say that people resent that because it doesn’t begin to get at the deep levels of hurt, rage, and anger.

     

    It certainly doesn’t address any of the justice issues. But to the degree to which reconciliation is more of an investment in facing the past and then moving towards a different future, with unique gestures and ways of talking and thinking that suggest that there will be a new future, …

  • Overcoming Tribalism: A New Way of Thinking

     

    The most important thing to understand about tribalism and gang warfare is that it is deeply damaging to human societies and that it always has been for tens of thousands of years. We like to think that tribalism is somewhere else. It’s not where we exist; it is very far away and primitive. But the fact is that tribalism is something that we all naturally fall into for various complicated reasons in human nature. We tend to affiliate with groups that will make us feel protected, initially the family and the family unit. But it constantly expands to include people we trust in more significant circumstances, expanding to community, culture, and nation.

    Studying the impact of tribalism and its consequences is an important part of the sociology and anthropology of all normal human communities. At the same time, we need to think about the destructive aspect of tribalism that results …

  • Who is a man?

    Manhood

    manhood
    Who is a real man?
    He who turns an enemy
    Into a friend.

    Who is a real man?
    He who conquers
    His worst impulses.

    Who is a real man?
    He who takes the blows,
    For innocents in harm’s way.

    Who is a real man?
    He who stands up to anyone,
    Especially his own tribe,
    In defense of the defenseless.

    Who is a real man?
    He who willfully withholds,
    His strong fist.

    Who is a real man?
    He who admits
    His sins.

    DNA Poker Player!
    Please create such men,
    And dispense with us Neanderthals.

  • Compassionate Reasoning

    It is out and Oxford and Amazon are keeping the price below $35. From the Introduction: “This book, more than any of my other books, centers on the creation of a new idea and a new approach to thinking, feeling, and doing that might help transform human relations for the better. I have encapsulated that in the phrase “Compassionate Reasoning” which is founded upon an exploration of and devotion to compassion as one of the most amazing and important emotions and ethical principles that brings healing and hope to human relations. The “reasoning” part rests on the importance for human reasoning, and moral reasoning in particular, as it is expressed and described over the centuries in at least five different approaches to virtue and moral decision-making. I have asked myself how I can acknowledge the roots of this journey toward this new idea and combination of skills and practices. When …

  • TEN RULES OF ENGAGEMENT ONLINE FOR THE PRESENT HOUR

     

    1. NEVER MENTION A BULLY

    2. SKIP THE LIES AND FOCUS ON THE TRUTH,

    3. REPEAT THE TRUTH OFTEN,  SIMPLY, IN PLAIN ENGLISH,

    4. COMPLIMENT YOUR FRIENDS, THOSE YOU ADMIRE, EVEN YOUR OPPONENTS WHEN THEY MAKE VALID POINTS,

    5. WHEN SOMEONE BULLIES YOU, SHOWER THEM WITH CARE AT FIRST, AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS ,

    6. IF THEY PERSIST, CUT THEM OFF, SILENCE THEM, ELIMINATE THEM FROM YOUR PRESENCE, BUT DO NOT BECOME THEM OR STOOP TO THEIR LEVEL,

    7. STOP CURSING, IT IS NOT DOING ANYONE ANY GOOD,

    8. MAKE YOUR EVERY WORD EDUCATIONAL, INSTRUCTIONAL, FIND THE WORDS TO RISE BEYOND THIS TIME AND SPACE, SOMETHING LASTING, SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO HEAR FROM A HERO,

    9. BE HEROIC, FOR THIS IS YOUR TIME IN HISTORY, AND THE OLD HEROES HAVE PASSED FROM THE SCENE,

    10. OFFER HOPE, NOT FOOLISH DREAMS, BUT REALISTIC STEPS TOWARD SOMETHING, ANYTHING, BETTER.

  • HIDDEN ALLIES IN THE CURRENT CRISIS

    I wonder who knows more about Apple’s astonishing move in China. Could it be that we are seeing resistance to Trump on multiple layers of society and that even the super elite, who we regularly bemoan for not directly fighting side by side for democracy, like Soros, are also in a state of war with each other over the madness that has overtaken the Republican Party, the most dangerous political organization on earth right now.

    Think about this. In the middle of a tariff war caused solely by a leader engaged in possibly treasonous behavior, in the middle of a willful and bizarre destruction of all environmental American progress of 50 years that would only be undertaken by an enemy of the state, Apple, one of the backbones of the American global economy, makes a statement on trade and environment of this magnitude.
    Maybe we the people are not …

  • Tribalism is Killing Us. Let’s Stop for Strategic Reasons

    There is hope if people on the Left and progressives admit how human it is and how human they are to be tribalistic, angry, suspicious and bigoted.

    I am from the progressives, and at this stage of American history, there is no question that the lion’s share of actual violence, literal and structural, comes from the white nationalist Right.

    But that does not mean that progressives are constructive, brilliant peacebuilders. They are not. Every step of the way progress in human rights has been focused on fighting and victories, not on reconciliation, not on building communities of trust, not on building a new society.

    We just build monuments to beautiful words by Martin Luther King, summarily ignore those words, and go on with a tribalistic war.

    Winning is through love not hate, winning is caring for your own as well as the stranger, winning is caring for very difficult people …

  • DICTATORS AND OLIGARCHS

    Throughout history, there are no dictators without oligarchs.

    The dictator is the puss pimple on top of the acne of oligarchy.

    The system of war criminal justice is designed to deter a very specific kind of man who is inherently a narcissistic risk taker, who believes he is invincible, which means that some vague possibility of justice some day might become reality. But he always believes he will live on forever, or his family.

    The oligarch is not a risk taker but a calculator, a blood hound for money, and a preference for money accrued legalistically but immorally off the backs of the unsuspecting who believe in the rule of law.

    The laws of war crimes must evolve further. We need a guarantee based on international law that the vast fortunes of industrialists or oligarchs that supported war criminals, will in fact be given, to the last penny, over to …

  • TURN BACK THE FILTH

    Feeling you can’t take all the filth around you? That the Trump world has made you feel dirty all over? Escape it all and do your bit to save the oceans, and us.

     …

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