Saturday, 29 April 2017

What Is A Hero?

And why would we want one?

A hero is an individual who travels into the threatening unknown, learns how to deal with the threat and defeat the danger, and then brings that knowledge and experience home to share with his community so that they are not at risk from that danger.

Sounds simple, doesn't it? Sounds 'Obvious', so obvious that it's simply stating something you knew already.

That's because you did know already. It's a very successful idea. The idea worked so well as a survival strategy - and our ancestors came up with the story idea so long ago - that it's written into our genes by selective evolution.

The idea worked. The idea of the hero still works. But only if the hero comes home and shares the idea... otherwise the hero put himself at risk for no gain to the species, and what's the point of that?

This is not my idea. I was introduced to the idea by someone who understood it far more thoroughly than I do. It was not his idea either. I think this is an idea so old that when the idea was expressed in a story we couldn't yet write it down, a time when our species was so surrounded by threats that we were failing as a species. If we had not come up with this idea and built it into our culture we would not have survived long enough to invent writing so that we could write the idea down. It's a bloody good idea, obviously. We survived, and thrived, and we have so few threats that we seem to have to make up threats or be the threat to ourselves (maybe just so we can challenge a threat and sate our genetic desire to be a hero and enact our generic heritage).

Yet, e still need heroes. Maybe specifically because we have forgotten why we need them. A threat, to expand just a little, can be an idea - a bad idea, an idea that destroys cultures and economies and people.

It can also be a lapsed good idea, or even a forgotten good idea, an idea that promotes the desire to defend a culture that protects the individuals of the culture from self-destruction because people no longer explicitly teach their children about what a good idea they once had about how exactly to keep society and themselves from self-destruction. That's an important gain from a hero who took risks to learn how to deal with a threat and share the idea with others.

As an example, Richard Dreyfuss reminds us of a neglected good idea:

And if you agree with him, go to the link and sign the petition.

As an aside, it might be worth thinking about taking the good idea home in a more explicit fashion than has so far been the case. Some people are still waiting for you.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Everything You Do Matters - Jordan B Peterson

Jordan B. Peterson has rendered my own humble and developing body of work unnecessary, which is a relief in a way - though I will doubtless continue Sumto's story as he continues to stumble his way forward toward some understanding of value. This video could be considered to contain spoilers, but I recommend it anyway - partly because i have no way of knowing at this point if Sumto will succeed and so knowing the goal I have in mind isn't so much of a spoiler after all.

This is also the goal I have for myself, of course, and a goal that I suggest might be a worthy one for everyone.

There's a section in here that I think may be important. We all have something in common, which is a rare thing to see and so worth noting. Because we all act as though our own pain is real then it is, so we all have that in common. Our own pain is real, be it mental or emotional or physical. It's a worthwhile base to rest our thinking on because there are consequences - it might be considered wrong to add to someones unique pain, and good to spend a moment easing it a little if you can.

I was reminded of something that happened many years ago when watching this and noting what D.Peterson says about this. A brief story follows.

My then lady and I were meeting in a bar to rent a house for a for months somewhere-or-other. The husband of the negotiator terned up as well and we chatted a bit. He talked a little about his childhood. He had been born into money - huge trust fund kind of money - and gone to a public (a private if you prefer) school. When a child he had a holiday from school but his parents were 'busy' and he had to stay at The Hilton hotel in London on his own. A child. On his own.

My then lady laughed and said "Oh no, the horror, you had to stay at The Hilton."

I winced. I said something different. I don' remember what. I don't think he noticed, but his wife did. she said something like, "You have some experience of this?" I don't remember what I said, but I meant was, "Yes. I have some experience of being a child neglected and left alone."

I don't think I would have swapped his experience for mine. I would still be a child, during the holidays, left alone while my parents went and dealt with much more important matters than me. Do you see? Everyone's pain is real to them. We have this in common. It's not a bad place to begin understanding each other.

Of course, there are worse neglects, and lesser. But they are all real to the individual. And that's a start.

In any case, there is also this. This video is an expression of free speech, and Dr. Peterson talks about that more than a little. It is worth noting that... I will say 'some people' wanted him not to say these things. After watching this I thought, This is what they wanted him not to say!?!

If you watch this, and listen carefully, you might also wonder why 'some people' wanted to stop him saying these things. There can be, sadly, no 'good' reason.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Entrenched Ideas: Stefan Molyneux on The History of the Plymouth Plantation

Actually, the piece below is called What Pisses Me Off About Thanksgiving. It's pretty much the same subject because it is the seeming lack of awareness of the actual history that pisses him off. It's kind of interesting and worth the watch. I doubt the vague entrenched ideas will go away fast, but the truth about a given subject is not always the entrenched idea about it. It strikes me as strange how rare it is that the source material is used, especially when it isn't that hard to find in the information age...

 History of the Plymouth Plantation 1620-1647 by William Bradford

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Writers to Watch - A Writer's Choice #3 Kings of the Wyld

There have been a good number of processes chewing away at my time over the last few months and that's why I haven't been spending any time here. As it looks like we are in one of those endless cycles of adjustment, I'm removing some of my attention from events and thought I would post something here.

May you live in interesting times, I'm sure you know, is often quoted as a curse from ancient China. Could be true, wouldn't be surprised. Certainly, times are interesting in many areas. Still, I'm not going to get into politics here - mainly because it would mean an endless series of clarifications of my actual position. Instead I'm just going to post a couple of links and comments.

Kings of The Wyld

I only read the look in side - so far - but I trust my own judgement enough to recommend this from that alone. Nicholas Eames absolutely nails it, I'd bet cash that the progression of this book and the conclusion will make the purchase price seem like a gift. Go read the look inside and see if you think I'm wrong - I bet you will be hooked. I have it on my wish list and will take the time to read it later. It might be that you beat me to it and come back to let me know what you think. I'm betting it's every bit as cool as I think it is.


And then there is this. I recently stumbled across the work of Jordan B Peterson... and I have been absorbing his vast number of lectures and one book (Maps of Meaning) as fast as I can handle. You may think I am over stating the case when I say that I think this is literally the most important body of work ever produced. I am not. I seriously think that this body of work represents a turning point in human history and will hopefully one day be acknowledged as that.

It really doesn't matter where you start, it kind of depends on what you are most interested in as the body of work is a synthesis of many fields: biology, brain evolution, sociology, psychology, philosophy and so on - It's like a Grand Unified theory of Everything for humanity and human society. There is nothing I was ever going to say about anything that isn't effortlessly incorporated into this work, kind of making me entirely redundant - and I don't mind a bit. Go watch some, and if this video doesn't grab you just flick through his other uploaded videos until something does.

You will not regret spending the time.

I'll post more and discuss this more as time goes by, but for now here's one link and I'll let him speak for himself...