Sunday, May 22, 2016

Trust Hillary

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall,
Who's most honest of them all?

Do you realize how many articles have been written about who is most corrupt and who is most trustworthy of the 2016 candidates? The very liberal and trustworthy The Guardian has a long, well-documented article on the fact that Hillary is less a liar than any other candidate (see below). Bernie makes great points; but he is not exempt from the same sorts of charges made against Hillary. I'm not thrilled about our system; but I do know it could be far worse. The power of the Republicans in Congress and the tie on the Supreme court should be part of any consideration we make. Most voters really don't care that much and just shrug when you mention corruption or the influence of oil companies, corporations, and Wall Street. I am glad Bernie has attacked the system; but making it much worse is not the change we need. Look at the history of the presidency and you see plenty of corruption and the rule by special interests. Change has to come from the bottom up. Didn't Bernie himself say that? We need to support Green and progressive candidates at the local level; create a less corrupt alternative in Congress and state politics. Despite all the attacks on Hillary, despite her seeming acceptance of much of the unsavory aspects of U.S. politics, she has also done much good, especially in domestic policy. If we keep focusing only on the negative, we are going to end up with a president who would make Bush look like a liberal hero. Have we already forgotten what Trump said about torture? The nasty put downs of women? the Cruz religious fanatics he would choose for the courts? We need to focus on him now, instead of bashing Hillary Clinton

It’s impossible to miss the “Hillary for Prison” signs at Trump rallies. At one of the Democratic debates, the moderator asked Hillary Clinton whether she would drop out of the race if she were indicted over her private email server. “Oh for goodness – that is not going to happen,” she said. “I’m not even going to answer that question.”
Based on what I know about the emails, the idea of her being indicted or going to prison is nonsensical. Nonetheless, the belief that Clinton is dishonest and untrustworthy is pervasive. A recent New York Times-CBS poll found that 40% of Democrats say she cannot be trusted.
For decades she’s been portrayed as a Lady Macbeth involved in nefarious plots, branded as “a congenital liar” and accused of covering up her husband’s misconduct, from Arkansas to Monica Lewinsky. Some of this is sexist caricature. Some is stoked by the “Hillary is a liar” videos that flood Facebook feeds. Some of it she brings on herself by insisting on a perimeter or “zone of privacy” that she protects too fiercely. It’s a natural impulse, given the level of scrutiny she’s attracted, more than any male politician I can think of.

I would be “dead rich”, to adapt an infamous Clinton phrase, if I could bill for all the hours I’ve spent covering just about every “scandal” that has enveloped the Clintons. As an editor I’ve launched investigations into her business dealings, her fundraising, her foundation and her marriage. As a reporter my stories stretch back to Whitewater. I’m not a favorite in Hillaryland. That makes what I want to say next surprising.
Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest and trustworthy.
The yardsticks I use for measuring a politician’s honesty are pretty simple. Ever since I was an investigative reporter covering the nexus of money and politics, I’ve looked for connections between money (including campaign donations, loans, Super Pac funds, speaking fees, foundation ties) and official actions. I’m on the lookout for lies, scrutinizing statements candidates make in the heat of an election.
The connection between money and action is often fuzzy. Many investigative articles about Clinton end up “raising serious questions” about “potential” conflicts of interest or lapses in her judgment. Of course, she should be held accountable. It was bad judgment, as she has said, to use a private email server. It was colossally stupid to take those hefty speaking fees, but not corrupt. There are no instances I know of where Clinton was doing the bidding of a donor or benefactor.
As for her statements on issues, Politifact, a Pulitzer prize-winning fact-checking organization, gives Clinton the best truth-telling record of any of the 2016 presidential candidates. She beats Sanders and Kasich and crushes Cruz and Trump, who has the biggest “pants on fire” rating and has told whoppers about basic economics that are embarrassing for anyone aiming to be president. (He falsely claimed GDP has dropped the last two quarters and claimed the national unemployment rate was as high as 35%).
I can see why so many voters believe Clinton is hiding something because her instinct is to withhold. As first lady, she refused to turn over Whitewater documents that might have tamped down the controversy. Instead, by not disclosing information, she fueled speculation that she was hiding grave wrongdoing. In his book about his time working in the Clinton White House, All Too Human, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos wrote that failing to convince the first lady to turn over the records of the Arkansas land deal to the Washington Post was his biggest regret.

The same pattern of concealment repeats itself through the current campaign in her refusal to release the transcripts of her highly paid speeches. So the public is left wondering if she made secret promises to Wall Street or is hiding something else. The speeches are probably anodyne (politicians always praise their hosts), so why not release them?
Colin Diersing, a former student of mine who is a leader of Harvard’s Institute of Politics, thinks a gender-related double standard gets applied to Clinton. “We expect purity from women candidates,” he said. When she behaves like other politicians or changes positions, “it’s seen as dishonest”, he adds. CBS anchor Scott Pelley seemed to prove Diersing’s point when he asked Clinton: “Have you always told the truth?” She gave an honest response, “I’ve always tried to, always. Always.” Pelley said she was leaving “wiggle room”. What politician wouldn’t?
Clinton distrusts the press more than any politician I have covered. In her view, journalists breach the perimeter and echo scurrilous claims about her circulated by unreliable rightwing foes. I attended a private gathering in South Carolina a month after Bill Clinton was elected in 1992. Only a few reporters were invited and we sat together at a luncheon where Hillary Clinton spoke. She glared down at us, launching into a diatribe about how the press had invaded the Clintons’ private life. The distrust continues.
These are not new thoughts, but they are fundamental to understanding her. Tough as she can seem, she doesn’t have rhino hide, and during her husband’s first term in the White House, according to Her Way, a critical (and excellent) investigative biography of Clinton by Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta, she became very depressed during the Whitewater imbroglio. A few friends and aides have told me that the email controversy has upset her as badly.

Like most politicians, she’s switched some of her positions and sometimes shades the truth. In debates with Sanders, she cites her tough record on Wall Street, but her Senate bills, like one curbing executive pay, went nowhere. She favors ending the carried interest loophole cherished by hedge funds and private equity executives because it taxes their incomes at a lower rate than ordinary income. But, according to an article by Gerth, she did not sign on to bipartisan legislation in 2007 that would have closed it. She voted for a bankruptcy bill favored by big banks that she initially opposed, drawing criticism from Elizabeth Warren. Clinton says she improved the bill before voting for passage. Her earlier opposition to gay marriage, which she later endorsed, has hurt her with young people. Labor worries about her different statements on trade deals.
Still, Clinton has mainly been constant on issues and changing positions over time is not dishonest.
It’s fair to expect more transparency. But it’s a double standard to insist on her purity.


Sunday, May 15, 2016


Just another day in the Jewish Palace, having Nova Salmon Benedict and musing with Darryl about our country being ruled by a spoiled, self-absorbed, adolescent Chanticleer of a mirror-pecking President, preening himself in the White House.


Bagels in Atlanta, GA

Friday, May 13, 2016

The Guardians (American Secret)

We all know that the United States is not a pure democracy. There are too many people for that. No, we have a representative democracy, as we have learned in school for centuries. We elect people who represent us in the Congress and the Presidency. 
Since the excesses of the 19th Century, we have deplored the rise of an oligarchy of the rich, the captains of industry, who have amassed great power and wealth at the expense of others. Who, we might ask, has saved us from these immoral oligarchs who literally, or indirectly, have enslaved millions of us?

There are obvious heroes: Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt to name three. They brought to a halt, or at least slowed, the rampant greed of materialistic oligarchs. They tamed the plutocrats.

Democracy won out, we reassure ourselves. Yet, aren't the oligarchs themselves the ones who rescued us-- the oligarchs who rose not because of money, or despite it, but because of their intelligence and experience?  The guardian class, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Adams, and the guardian general Washington, have ruled wisely for the greater good. Not that they did not have selfish streaks, not that they were perfect, or even crime free. They were simply aware of a greater good, a benevolent goodness, for which they usually aimed. 

Ironically, it was the most democratic of presidents and leaders who brought the greatest harm, starting with rabble-rouser Andrew Jackson, finally to be rightly ripped from the $20 bill. Wherever the mob gathers, there we must take caution. Beware all those militant rallies.

As the 2016 election unfurls, with flags of many colors, we might rethink whether there is such a thing as a good oligarchy. Call it an aristocracy -- not of the elite-- but of the best, of the most intelligent and most experienced. From Plato to Jimmy Carter, who wrote, Why not the Best,  people have repeatedly faced a choice between the popular, entertaining, good old boy; and the boring, intelligent, not so entertaining, but dedicated candidate. Think Reagan for the former, Gore for the latter. Is the electorate wise enough to choose the better oligarchy, including those who will run the Senate and the House of Representatives? Or will voters go for entertainment and style, for the demagoguery of a pompous ass, or of the perfect democratic socialist, regardless of what lies ahead? Does the electorate even have the sense to care about Congress at all? We may find that oligarchy was far better than dictatorship and what it spawns.

The future is now.


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Narcissus/ Trump

Narcissus, spawn of Fascism and Capitalism ?

Salvador Dali sold out to capitalism and fascism; Federico Lorca did not; Franco had him shot. As Bernie and Hillary get nasty with each other, Trump ascends the polls. Plato observed how the mob loves to rally 'round the most pompous ass who struts the stage.

NYRB  Essay:

 "From his first words he welcomes us in and his very self-absorption, the narcissist’s fascination with his own sweet self, is the secret of the alarmingly mesmeric quality of his speeches. His one and only subject is himself and if he is frankly fascinated then so are we. We are all enfolded in the warm grandeur of his narcissism."

The Magic of Donald Trump

Observe the celebrity known as Donald Trump saunter onto the stage at Boca Raton...

Narcissus by Dali

Saturday, May 07, 2016

The Bankruptcy of the Self-Righteous

No Evil: Photograph I made in Nikko, Japan

2016 is hardly unique. There have been potential voters who have sat out elections many times before. If the politician you admire, the one who roused your hopes, got you to vote in a primary, or spoke the truth dear to your heart and mind, does not become the nominee, why should you vote for someone else? Write in your chosen one. Stay home. Don't settle for the "lesser of two evils."

Sounds good. Only it isn't. What about Congress? Sometimes it seems as if ardent supporters of a presidential candidate have no idea how our government works. Our President can do very little without a cooperative Congress (Ask Obama). Will you sit out those elections as well? As the existentialists point out, you are condemned to be free. What that means is that you are responsible for your actions. Not voting has consequences. If you do not vote, you are responsible for the election of the person who wins. Those who voted for Ralph Nader, despite their vehement denial, must take responsibility for allowing Bush to take power, especially if they voted in Florida or New Hampshire.  A non-vote for someone who really cannot win is a .5 vote for the person who does win. Claiming no part in the election is "bad faith," as the existentialists warned, a form of in-authenticity.

2016 will most likely offer us the choice between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. There are also many, many Congressional elections. It is a stark choice, one that could not be more radical. To refuse to choose between the two parties is morally bankrupt. It is the kind of passivity and indifference that allows dictators to come to power. It is immoral because it turns a blind eye to the vast destruction that could follow, to the sufferings of the poor and low-income workers, to the struggle for preserving civil rights, to the importance of a Supreme Court appointment essential for justice and election reform. If Hillary Clinton represents only a weakened version of many of the ideals of Sanders, Trump represents their reversal. Being self-righteous, being too pure and privileged to cast a vote for one or the other, or to support the Democrats in all offices, is to be a key part of the  evil itself. You are free to make this evil choice; but if you are unwilling to be a complete hypocrite, reason forces you to be aware of the danger, destruction, and grief you are bringing to millions of others. It means that morally, from the standpoint of democracy, you are not a good person. 



Saturday, April 30, 2016

President Clinton

President Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton speaking at an event in Des Moines, Iowa

Now that New York and most of the Northeastern states have voted, HRC is ahead of Bernie Sanders by 3 million votes because she has a realistic approach to leadership while Bernie remains a visionary dreamer. I understand and empathize with millennials who support him and want to transform the country and the political system. That is what I hoped for in the 1970s. Any reasonable look at what is happening in the country as a whole shows us that the country is not ready to make that leap of faith. Trump is doing a better job rousing the irate anti-establishment vote than Bernie. Worse, many Bernie supporters have made an atheist into a religion. How is that for irony? They allow no criticism at all of their political Messiah. Meanwhile, they turn Hillary into some evil pawn of Wall St. and the oil industry, despite all the facts and evidence to the contrary. It is misguided, false and absurd, failing to acknowledge Hillary's years of progressive achievements. Come June, I predict Bernie Sanders, himself, will support and endorse the future President Clinton. 

and The New York Times:

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

President of the United States

President Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton speaking at an event in Des Moines, Iowa

As the New York Primary approaches, I continue to support HRC over Bernie because she has a realistic approach to leadership while Bernie remains a dreamer. I understand and empathize with millennials who support him and want to transform the country and the political system. That is what I hoped for in the 1970s. Any reasonable look at what is happening in the country as a whole shows us that the country is not ready to make that leap of faith. Trump is doing a better job rousing the irate anti-establishment vote than Bernie. Worse, many Bernie supporters have made an atheist into a religion. How is that for irony? They allow no criticism at all of their political Messiah. Meanwhile, they turn Hillary into some evil pawn of Wall St. and the oil industry, despite all the facts and evidence to the contrary. It is misguided, false and absurd, failing to acknowledge Hillary's years of progressive achievements. In short, the Bernie fanaticism has added to my support for Hillary. I think she will win big in New York (where the electorate is educated and skeptical) as well as the Northeast.

Here is my still held appreciation of our future President: 

  A year ago I expressed my support of Hillary Clinton. I find today that the reasoning holds, that less has changed than one might think. I still greatly admire Bernie Sanders and support his ideals. What I find lacking in his campaign is a method of realizing his ideals. There has not been the predicted outpouring of support for him among the Democrats. He has not won over minority voters, without whose ardent support winning the general election is impossible for a Democrat. His democratic socialism is something I believe in strongly; but I don't believe the American electorate fully understands it. On the contrary, most Americans other than those right out of college, fear socialism. By contrast,  Hillary Clinton has strong minority support and her method of governing, in my opinion, would be more successful. She represents both socialistic ideals and some capitalistic ideals. Without saying so, she is philosophically not far from Bernie Sanders on the economy and social programs. She will win the nomination, I believe, and the general election. 

and The New York Times:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Well Deserved Presidency of Hillary Clinton

("The argument that the two parties are the same is so tired and wrong. Be smug and superior and stay home and let the country go to Hell, right? Great. What difference does it make to the poor, the unemployed, the victims of war, those whose civil rights are trampled? Take a look at the records of Bernie SandersJohn Lewis and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren; then tell me they are no different from Rick Perry, Ted Cruz and the like ! Get real. If you can elect a Green Party candidate or a socialist, fine. If not, please don't turn the country over to the Tea Party."   --from a FB Thread)

Why on Earth should I support and vote for Hillary Clinton for President if she is the Democratic candidate in 2016? Is she not supported by corporations? Is she not too one-sided for Israel against the Palestinians? Has she not voted for war repeatedly while I am a pacifist? Doesn't she represent everything wrong with American Politics, it's dependency on money and polls, its deception, its continual crafty appeasement of special interests, its desire for power? Isn't Hillary no different from her husband, in the final analysis?

Oh yes, all those criticisms have some truth and validity. There are plenty more we could make, too.

Whenever there is a presidential election in my country, I think of Plato's critique of Democracy.  The reason I think of it is because of all the blatant flaws in democracy he discusses in his dialog from The Republic. Never was this more obvious than when we elected Ronald Reagan. Even an actor may become the leader in a democracy, Plato wrote. People are swayed by personality, false promises, the candidate's looks, the most absurd and empty traits of popularity. Sound bites trump substance. Watch the debates.

Then there is our economic system: capitalism. How great it would be for the country actively to support socialism, even the limited socialism of Bernie Sanders, or Scandinavia. But the vast majority think democracy means capitalism, that business checked or unchecked is good. The Democratic party is where our few true democratic socialists reside. The Republicans are for unrestricted capitalist greed, especially that of the oil companies. 

Right now, the U.S.  electorate is ready for a woman president. Yes, there will be some who will say-- A woman yes; but not this one. But they are the minority. Hillary Clinton is the one who can win right now; and most of us know this. She will have to posture herself to meet the Platonic requisites of popularity and appearance; but she could win.

Hillary, in my view, is not "the lesser of two evils." She has stood for many positive causes in our society, notably Universal Healthcare. She is on the side of same-sex marriage as opposed to Republicans who are adamantly against it. She fights for voter rights rather than voter suppression. She has a favorable record on dealing with climate change. She would select Justices for the Supreme Court who do not believe corporations are people. Before you say she's the same as the Republican opponent in 2016, check her record  below against any of the likely Republicans:

Hillary Clinton-
Bernie Sanders-

Donald Trump-
All the Others:

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Mapplethorpe Encore

Robert Mapplethorpe's art and life unsettle us, provoke thoughts and feelings usually repressed or seldom entertained. He teases us out of our complacency, overlays our images of ourselves as happy, successful, unperturbed by the extremes of life and death, with his own piercing look into the depths (or heights) of the human psyche. Yet, Mapplethorpe's work is as Apollonian as it is Dionysian; perhaps more in the realm of aesthetic control and balance than of excess. He has become an archetype himself since his work and life are inseparable. He is a shaman as well as an artist. The HBO show gives us his images, a glimpse of the surface of his life, and it may be best in giving us the reactions and stories his lovers tell. I think it is wonderful to encounter an artist who, unlike most of us, was not afraid to live life to the Hilt and to turn that experience into such sublime beauty.


Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Mind-Body question

The reduction of the mind to electrical and chemical processes in the brain is one of the most absurd, nihilistic ideas ever constructed by the human mind.


Here is a recent thread on the subject from Alfred Corn.

Alfred Corn
March 25  ·

The venerable philosophical conundrum: What is the relationship of consciousness to the physical body?

You, Carolyn Holmes Gregory, Ann Wood Fuller and 26 others

Surazeus Simon Seamount Consciousness is a function of the chemical brain. The physical body supports the brain that generates consciousness. Consciousness vanishes to nothing when the body ceases to function.

Ida Jablanovec Surazeus, maybe. What if I also have a soul? I've had encounters where 'the soul' was evident, something that may not be quantifiable. What does the brain do when we die? Is death instantaneous throughout the body at one time, SNAP. Or does consciousness ebb as we die, ebb in stages.

Surazeus Simon Seamount The soul is a function of the brain and vanishes at death. The molecules of our bodies and brains disperse at death and the soul does not survive the death of the body.

Surazeus Simon Seamount One clear indication that neither the soul nor consciousness can survive the death of the body is that we blank out when we fall asleep. If the soul was so powerful as to survive the death of the body, then we would remain completely conscious when the body sleeps.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:12am

Ida Jablanovec Surazeus, I know memory dies with the cellular death. However, what if we have a soul. Or, is our having a soul, just a manifestation of our conscious wish for eternal or longer life.

Surazeus Simon Seamount You describe not the soul but the functions of chemicals and electricity, which are not peculiar to individual organic creatures.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:12am

Surazeus Simon Seamount Yes, centuries ago people invented the concept of the soul, which in Greek is Daimonos and in Latin is Anima, to refer to the animating function of our bodies.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:13am

Ida Jablanovec Surazeus, but your mind is active and dreaming when you are unconscious/asleep. This has been proven by real-time brain imaging. Dogs and cats also dream as shown by brain imaging.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 11:14am

Surazeus Simon Seamount I do believe that our DNA will have "new life" in the bodies of our children.

I also believe that the process of our brain functions which accumulate memories and knowledge will pass on in the DNA. Organic creatures whose brains function specific way...See More

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:15am

Surazeus Simon Seamount How my brain functions has been developed by millions of years and thousands of generations of billions of individuals who are all my ancestors, so that we are in effect the "re-in-carnations" (again-in-flesh) of all our ancestors.

So the complete functioning of my mental consciousness is the accumulated result of millions of years of billions of individuals, so thus we feel like we have been alive for so long.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:17am

Ida Jablanovec Surazeus, I agree with your science. It's logical. And you communicate it well. However, your metaphysics is next to nil. Even humans evolved in their consciousness to become modern humans.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 11:18am

Surazeus Simon Seamount I have no metaphysics. Our brains are vision dream machines. Language is our way of encapsulating the visions our brains generate in a way that communicates them to other minds. Which is why poetry is a powerful visionary function.

We can convert our mental visions into poems as spells that generate our conscious visions in other minds, but our own consciousness vanishes at the death of the body.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:20am

Ida Jablanovec Surazeus, a half a century before Einstein envisioned the 4th dimension of time, Abbott Abbott a theologian and mathematician envisioned dimensions in his short and humorous and simply written novella "Flatland". Are you familiar with Flatland?

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:27am · Edited

Surazeus Simon Seamount Our children and the art we create are the only things that persist after our consciousness vanishes, preserving our experiences and visions in DNA brain structure and poetic imagery.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 11:25am

Ida Jablanovec Surazeus, so poetry and art, things fictional, serve a purpose?

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:26am

Surazeus Simon Seamount Children naturally preserve the mental psychic structure of our brains and carry on the experiences of our consciousness.

But poetry and art we invented to reflect the world we experience.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 11:30am

Ida Jablanovec Surazeus, you don't have to convince me of the necessity of children. But you have to convince me that other than adding the "random element" into reproduction, men are necessary. Men think they don't need women for anything but breeding. Men are c...See More

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 11:39am

Alfred Corn Consciousness requires chemical and electrical energy. The axiom of the Conservation of Energy says it can never be destroyed, only transformed.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 12:10pm

Write a reply...

Robert Rhodes One keeps moving, the other doesn't.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 9:03am

Danny Rendleman Nothing but chemistry and electricity. All else is subterfuge, however else we pretend otherwise.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 9:10am

Simon Paul Augustine If this be subterfuge, then let me be a double agent spying in the halls of knowledge!

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:04am

Ida Jablanovec Danny, I am a spy in the house of the soul.

Scott Edward Anderson The body is a place for the mind to dwell.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 9:28am

Don Lawson Consciousness is an epiphenomenon of the physics occurring in the "meat" of the brain.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 9:29am

Gary Gach the materialst p.o.v. yes

Robert Schechter I could answer this question, but perhaps Facebook isn't the appropriate medium. Follow me on Twitter.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 9:42am

Gary Gach replied · 3 Replies

Pam Uschuk Taking care of the body is part of being conscious of one's place in the Universe. Stretching the body can stretch the mind and its consciousness.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 9:43am

Christian Langworthy That's an impossible question to answer when science has no clue.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 9:47am

Frank Beck I don't know the answer, but I know who's trying to find one:

Beyond The Mind-Body Problem | The Human Consciousness Project | Nour…

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 9:54am

Venkatesan Iyengar Consciousness has many shades and layers. I guess when we get a clear idea about stuff like dark matter and dark energy, perhaps we'll have a better understanding of what constitutes cosmic consciousness and what it encompasses. Consciousness like everything else is governed by the laws of the universe.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 9:57am

Bharat Ravikumar Beyond a point body/consciousness does not work as a distinction. They interpenetrate in surprising ways. Sometimes the body manifests a state of consciousness when a wavelength is tuned into. I suppose consciousness is ineffable and the human frame a ...See More

Like · Reply · 3 · March 25 at 10:01am

Alfred Corn Conjoined twins; Inseparable; and yet not the same thing, not the same person..

Like · Reply · 3 · March 25 at 10:04am

Bharat Ravikumar Well all human life, indeed our perspectives are based on a coexistence of indivisibility and interconnection,the individual and the collective. It can be a very dodgy balance requiring innumerable calibrations are reconfigurations . A certain metaphys...See More

Like · Reply · March 25 at 10:09am

Robbi Nester First cousin?

Like · Reply · March 25 at 10:11am

Billy Mack Mcbride I think it is the cause of our tears and other sympathies which we feel.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 10:29am

Jack Miller The physical body consists of perceptions in the mind. We are too inclined to make what Whitehead termed "the fallacy of misplaced concreteness " thinking constructs and ideas are more real than perceptions.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 10:33am

Jacalyn McNamara Eternal mystery

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 10:34am

Simon Paul Augustine There are so many potential answers to this question: Reality is constituted by the relationship between perception and matter; consciousness is a figment of the imagination's imagination; without consciousness, no question can be asked and thus consciousness is All, etc. But instead of answering a question pretending as if we are confident of the answer, as if it is a question that can be answered like other questions, how about exploring the question with the approach of "Not Knowing," - and then experiencing our not-knowing deeply? Or put another way - "not what is it, but how am I using it in this moment?" If I am using "it" fully, what happens to the "It," - and then how relevant are questions and answers about WHAT it is? What happens to the "I" who is trying to answer the question? What happens to the drops of identity and meaning as we plunge into experiencing, into mystery? They transform. What does it mean to ask a question to which there is no answer? If we begin with the mantra of our fundamental unsurety, our curiosity, and feel and sense what happens, that often takes us to a very different place than if we simply lean back in our chair, ponder the question philosophically, and arrive at an answer that satisfies, reassures, and protects us.

Thomas Graves There is only the beating heart.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 10:48am

Chauncey Mabe Everything ultimately is physical. Every thought, every noble feeling, arises from molecules and electricity acting on the brain and body. Not only is there no consciousness apart from the brain, there is no mind-body dichotomy, either. The body is the brain. This might seem to forestall spirituality, but it does not.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 10:51am

Alfred Corn But when I think, when I feel, when I perceive, the experience is not of molecules dancing or electricity running through neurons: it is of consciousness in all its various aspects.

Unlike · Reply · 6 · March 25 at 10:59am

Simon Paul Augustine Though here you are defying what the scientific method has taught us - that is, the observations of quantum mechanics: that matter is not the solid, static thing we once thought it was, and that it is dependent, or interdependent on perception - that is, an act of consciousness. At the other side of the what could be called the argument of "Reductionism ad absurdum" is the position that consciousness is All, and matter only a formation of it (which is typically the most spiritually inclined position). Because a "noble feeling" is concurrent with an electric occurrence in the brain, does that reduce the significance of this feeling, or mean a feeling can be explained through electrical impulses in the brain? How are those electrical impulses observed in the first place? Matter is perceived, that perception is then imputed to a status of matter, and then status is in turn perceived again, in an infinity. But although this material reductionism seems to defy logic and science, logic and science are not everything. I am interested to understand Chancey, how you would use the position you describe to then not forestall spirituality but expand upon it?

Unlike · Reply · 3 · March 25 at 11:02am

Robin Scofield John Wheeler thought that the Quantum world must be conscious since we are. He called his theory the It from Bit. Some scientists thought he had gone off his head, though.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 11:07am

Chauncey Mabe The neuroscientists would have it that all that thinking and feeling is epiphenomena, a thin layer of foam atop the vasty deep of our biological existence. What's more, they argue that everything we say and do is the result of the autonomous sympathetic nervous system, which acts with a speed the conscious brain cannot match. As a result, such niceties as free will are imaginary, and you (me, and everyone) do not in fact exist, but are an accident, and an illusion of biological processes. I can ride along with them until this last part. When we reach the state line of consciousness and free will, I think it does not matter what the mechanics are. "Sentio, ergo sum." But that's just me.

Unlike · Reply · 5 · March 25 at 12:05pm · Edited

Lamont Palmer I'm a dualist. I strongly believe the brain and the mind are separate. There is indeed a 'ghost in the machine', and the death of the body isn't the death of the mind/soul.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 12:11pm

Lamont Palmer And to add, not even Hawking or Dawkins can explain consciousness or self-consciousness; being aware of being aware. How can mere matter produce such wonderful images? Something else is going on, people.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 12:15pm

Chauncey Mabe But neuroscientists think they can. No, they are certain of it.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 12:51pm · Edited

Jack Miller My perceptions are mental and my mind is the place of my perceptions. Matter is an idea, and not so very clear an idea, in the mind.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 1:24pm

Simon Paul Augustine And yet what kind of free will or ability allows the neuroscientists to make this assertion which they believe to "explain" the same processes they are using to posit the explanation? From what conceptual plateau can they "see" the nature of the mecha...See More


Michael Gregory Stephens Walking.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 10:58am

Sam Gwynn Phaedrus.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 11:01am

Sam Gwynn The body sleeps, but I'm not sure about consciousness.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 11:02am

Ed Nudelman 5 + 5 = 10 because I define the rules and I accept the uniformity of principle (that is, that it will always be true). I can accept the logic of the basis premises because I understand the rules and causality of addition. All I will add to this wonderf...See More

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 11:02am

Greg Caramenico I'd recommend the "Consciousness" chapter of my book, Coming to Mind ; also Evan Thompson's Sleeping, Waking, Dreaming; maybe Zahavi/Gallagher's phenomenology of consciousness work.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 11:25am

Robert Peate I resolved it in 1991. The mind and the body are the same.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 11:35am

Olivia Byard replied · 1 Reply

Kevin Bowen Pascal's great question as well I believe, unanswered.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 11:45am

Charles Braddy They are one

Shakila Khalje Body is the vehicle, but consciousness/truth can exist with or without.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 12:04pm

Earl Cooley III Strange loops.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 12:14pm

Earl Cooley III replied · 1 Reply

Susan Blackwell Ramsey This is where Oliver Sacks is good reading, especially pieces where previous belief is supplemented by MRIs, by actually watching the brain's reaction to, say, music, and considering what we can objectively see in the context of the mind.

Like · Reply · 4 · March 25 at 12:18pm

Greg Caramenico Also, Varela and Maturana on embodiment are great foundational thinkers.

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 12:28pm

Billy Mack Mcbride We are aware of our dying but not of our death since that would end consciousness. So there can never be death, as we know it, since a knowledge of death would mean that we still live.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 12:28pm

Billy Mack Mcbride replied · 7 Replies

Susana Roberts One of continual struggle...

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 2:38pm

Doug Anderson "The body has a mind of its own." Joe Orton

Larry Frascella Well I just heard that the function of one third of our genes is unidentified. So I'd say the status of the relationship between mind and body is: unknown.

Pam Uschuk Thanks for the see for another poem.

Peter Rosenfelt existentialists take consciousness to be free choices.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 4:27pm

Jack Miller Subject: "The fallacy of misplaced concreteness" 
The “fallacy of misplaced concreteness”
The term comes from the philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead.

The main form of the fallacy entails “taking the abstractions about some actuality that are focused on by some particular science (or science in general) due to its limited interests or methods, to be a complete description of the actuality in its concreteness”.
An example would be to mistake the notion of time found in physical formulas and mathematical representations of reality for “time” as “experienced” and found in reality itself.

In physics formulas time is an abstraction which does not distinguish between the past, the present or the future. In physics time is at least in theory reversible and symmetrical. In experience and in intuition time is none of these things. To assert therefore that the notions of time derived from physics represent the metaphysical truth about the reality of time is to engage in “the fallacy of misplaced concreteness”.
Another example would be the notion that matter is inert and insensate (has no subjective interiority, experience or self determination) whatsoever. One asserts this because science as an empirical, objective and quantified science has no way of detecting “subjective experience” of humans, higher animals, lower forms of life or any other actuality. To then assert that mind, that subjective experience is some form of mere epiphenomena or illusion is to engage in “the fallacy of misplaced concreteness”.

To mistake our perceptions (particularly our sensory perceptions) of things for the thing itself is an unjustifiable assumption about reality. This is of course reminiscent of Kant’s warning and all forms of phenomenalism about the difference between reality and our perceptions of it.
The fallacy of misplaced concreteness is largely responsible for the modern worlds and modern sciences denial of the reality of time, of experience and of mind and the perception. That such “hard core common sense intuitions” which we all utilize in practice (even if we deny them in theory) are mere illusions. That the world as represented by science is “the real world” rather than a partial and incomplete picture of a world which has aspects and features which can not be captured by objective observation, sensory perception or quantified by measurement.

Barry Tebb I am a dualist-mind and body exist as separate entities but function together.At the point of death the body dies but consciusness (the mind,the soul) continues.The late Professor H D Lewis was very good at explaining this.

Like · Reply · 2 · March 25 at 4:40pm

Barry Tebb Have shared with delight,Alfred!

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 4:42pm

Chad Parmenter My consciousness keeps feeding my physical body chips. smile emoticon

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 5:34pm

Marilene Yoakim Sawaf

Eben Alexander May Newsletter – Accessing Universal Consciousness

Like · Reply · March 25 at 5:57pm

Chris Madoch They are just fuck buddies who meet secretly after fulfilling their remit to be goodly fathers.

Like · Reply · March 25 at 6:45pm

Ed Nudelman Dennitt's "Consciousness Explained," is the best thing I've ever read on the subject (1991)

Like · Reply · 1 · March 25 at 7:59pm

Marcus T. Cicero Consciousness is to brain as the experience of driving a car is to the functioning of the various systems in the car. No car, no experience of driving. However, the experience of driving is not the car. (This is the "Qualia Argument.) I've read widely on this subject and recommend Nagel's book as a start.

Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 4:03am · Edited

Marcus T. Cicero  Nagel is not a theist; instead he advocates a neutral monist naturalist approach, believing there is a natural teleology to consciousness. (He rejects theological explanations of consciousness merely because they offer answers outside the world, which therefore lack any productive stance. He rejects materialism with three knockout blows: the (random) appearance of consciousness; the (random) appearance of reason; and the (random) appearance of value as human facts. Hence the notion of a naturalist teleology, i.e., the universe becoming increasingly aware of itself.) If you want to start earlier, read Searle. You'll find _Intention_ by Elizabeth Anscombe is worth the read.

Like · Reply · 1 · Yesterday at 4:17am

Ron Smith No body, no consciousness (as far as I can tell).

Like · Reply · Yesterday at 7:18am

Marilene Yoakim Sawaf Nobody knows anything about it for sure except for what they heard or read, were taught or learned. This is why I believe the millions of people who had NDE experiences and saw their consciousness survive after their heart stopped while they floated in...See More

Like · Reply · Yesterday at 9:07am · Edited

Mike New I think this poem by my friend Paul E. Anderson speaks to the question.

Freedom...See More

Like · Reply · 1 · 14 hrs

Ron Smith Seems to me that the evidence (and there is plenty, I think) is clear: Consciousness is generated by the body. Before you had a body, you had no consciousness. After your body shuts down completely, same thing, almost certainly. Is there room for doubt? Of course. But only a very, very little room, I'd say.

Like · Reply · 1 · 13 hrs · Edited

Jack Miller My experience is just the opposite. First comes consciousness and perceptions; then comes the body and sensations associated with body parts. If you are interested in the opposite view, read the post above about the Fallacy of Misplaced Concreteness, a...See More

Like · Reply · 13 hrs

Ron Smith "There is no mind, only brain" is silly, since we all experience consciousness constantly (when we are conscious). My answer above is ontological. Your answer above is phenomenological.

Jack Miller An interesting way of looking at the problem. Nonetheless, stubbornly, contrarily, I remain an idealist . I find mind to be ontologically more real than matter. Not many philosophers today, much less scientists, are able to fathom such a viewpoint.

Jack Miller

Bernard d'Espagnat: What we call 'reality' is just a state of mind

Marcus T. Cicero One circularity of discussing consciousness is in using reason to try to understand reason, and in evolutionary biology that circularity becomes absurdity. In the Paleolithic there was no need to have the capacity to create Euler's Identity or the ability to appreciate it.

Like · Reply · 5 hrs

Tom Thompson The standard answer, I think, is that they're essentially one and the same, i.e., that there is no dualism. It must be said, however, that we certainly feel as if our mind is somehow different from our body, and that may be why the religious see is as connected to the concept of "soul." I'm enough of an agnostic not to take a position on this, but I sense that everyone who has ever thought about the issue feels quite passionately about it.

Unlike · Reply · 1 · 2 hrs

Jack Miller It is especially interesting to me that new discoveries in quantum physics actually support idealism. The greatest of the physicists, including Einstein saw more to reality than materialism. Here from last year is a fascinating look that includes a reference to Rashomon and the Vedas...

The Reality of Quantum Weirdness
New experiments confirm that nature is neither here nor there.