Category Archives: Society

Toxic Positivity – Really???

I know you’ve seen it.  It is as constant as the Northern Star. 

A continual onslaught. 

It is the branding, renaming, inventing, concocting, devising, fabricating, and excogitating of terminology and buzz words in an attempt to “newly” describe some concept or phenomenon that exists in the minds of the propagators.  It could be something that was non-existent until the label was contrived.  Or it may have existed forever, but someone attempts to claim credit by architecting a word or phrase to rebrand the old as new again.  And the definition of some of these terms can be counter-intuitive as they mean exactly the opposite of what you might think they mean. 

Often, the label comes first. 

Then there is a quest to find evidence to substantiate it. 

Continue reading Toxic Positivity – Really???

Consciousness, Emotions, and EMFs

Yesterday’s post, which briefly touched on the symbolism of the Tower of Babylon, got me to thinking more about how humans seem to like to convey human attributes onto the Gods they believe govern their existence in the physical plain and the afterlife. (This statement, of course, presumes there is both a limited physical and eternal Spiritual existence for us.) And, this train of thought led me down the path of pondering just what are emotions, what are thoughts, and what is consciousness??? 

Three questions get three question marks. 😊

To add to this thought-wave pulsing through my brain, I remembered a response I received to a post I made on another social media platform recently.  The post was this well-known quote:

“Holding onto anger is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” – Author Unknown

The response I received was something along this line.  Anger is an emotion given to us by God, and therefore, it is supposed to be experienced and is not detrimental.  That’s my summation of the response anyway, and I may have actually given it more meaning than what the author intended, but that’s the way my brain interpreted it.  I can happily extrapolate further if you like by placing it in the context of current world events.  

Ok, maybe not.  😊

Now, I’ve heard many other claims of things or feelings or “rights” that are supposedly “God-given,” such as for possessing guns, but this comment on anger was a new spin for me. 

BTW, I really don’t think an omnipotent being thought up the idea of a right to gun ownership that then spontaneously worked its way into the American Constitution.   That type of “law” is man-made, as is the weapon itself.  But I digress . . .   

What this is all about, of course, is anthropomorphism. 

We are bestowing human characteristics upon other members of the animal kingdom or upon Gods or even upon other objects – animate or inanimate.  As a literary device, anthropomorphism may make sense because we usually need some descriptive or comparative form in order to carry on a conversion about some things – to visualize them.  It’s also fun.

But utilizing projections and metaphors and analogies is not necessarily the same, nor could it be, as capturing a clear, unfiltered, objective, tangible observation of something in space-time reality. I mean really, why would an all-powerful being be a slave to human infirmities, passions, and prejudices?

I guess that makes four questions. 😊

Now those of us who are not science-deniers, and who have even marginally read about the magnificent machine the human body is, know that a great deal, if not all, of the functions of the body are chemical-electrical in Nature.   If you prefer big words, these functions are neuroanatomical, neurochemical, neuralhormonal, and neurophysiological.

There is no dispute that messages in the brain are tossed about by electrically charged neurons, and as these messages jump from gap to gap between neurons an electromagnetic filed is created around those neurons holding the same information that is being transmitted.  This has been confirmed by electroencephalograms (EEGs) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) and has served as the basis for the theory of “CEMI” – the Conscious Electromagnetic Information Field.

Neuroscientists argue over what this exactly means in terms of consciousness.  And I got to tell you that reading through the scientific journals and news reports, this is some pretty tough shit to conceptualize.  But I’ll try to summarize this in a way we can understand it.

Traditionally, philosophers have argued that there is a mind-body dualism.  This philosophy is a step beyond materialism as it implies consciousness is occurring beyond the physical realm.  Free will is supposed to fit in here somewhere, although there are still debates as whether the mind and spirit are different, or the same, or if the entire “mind” concept should be discarded as being superfluous to a body-spirit duality.

Classic scientists advocate their own monotheism that consciousness is generated by the physical brain itself and its network of billions of neurons.  This is not to say automatically that they disbelieve in the Spirit, but rather that consciousness is distinguished from Spirit.

But the neurobiological dualistic theory being advanced most recently is that we have physical matter, our brain, and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that compose our consciousness.  In other words, the difference in the dualistic theories of the philosophers and the neurobiologists is the distinction between matter and spirit versus matter and energy.  

Physically speaking, our brains have some “5 million organically-formed magnetite crystals per gram;” each with a north and south pole, “serving as in/out information channels, the basis for awareness,” forming a complex network to broadcast information at “a fraction of the speed of light, unifying conscious experience.”  Whereas the monistic physical model argues integrated information is physical, the dualistic model argues:

“ . . . that nearly all examples of so-called ‘integrated information’, including neuronal information processing and conventional computing, are only temporally integrated in the sense that outputs are correlated with multiple inputs: the information integration is implemented in time, rather than space, and thereby cannot correspond to physically integrated information. . . .

. . .only energy fields are capable of integrating information in space.”

Ok then, if we can wrap our heads around this so-called measurable scientific standard, we not only have to contend with the concept of consciousness not being integrated in physical structures or physical space, but also with the concepts of sentience, awareness and emotion.  All of which can be considered part and parcel of consciousness. 

Maybe we just have too many words here trying to describe the same thing.  One could simply argue that the EMFs created in, or associated with, our brain are the equivalent of what many refer to as the Spirit. 

Energy fields, like Spirits, flow through space and are not bound to physical structures or to time.  

Now, sentience is defined as “the capacity to feel, perceive, or experience subjectively” and is distinguished from thought.  Awareness is having “knowledge and understanding that something is happening or exists.”  And, emotion is defined as “a conscious mental reaction (such as anger or fear) subjectively experienced as a strong feeling usually directed toward a specific object and typically accompanied by physiological and behavioral changes in the body.”

If the existence of EMFs equals consciousness, and consciousness embodies thoughts, sentience, awareness and emotion, then Mother Earth, with its magnetic field, is indeed a sentient living entity.  As are rocks, plants, and all other forms of life on the planet for that matter.  Maybe we just haven’t learned how to fully measure consciousness in other entities or bridged the communication gap. 

Ponder that for a bit . . .

That’s why I personally find Naturalistically-oriented Spiritual beliefs, such as the ones that First Nations Peoples have adopted, to make so much sense.  Everything is part and parcel of the Source.  “All My Relations” are alive and deserve my recognition and respect.

If we accept that energy fields compose our consciousness, and then add a bit of deductive reasoning, this may very well answer other questions for us and give us a scientific basis for understanding such things as extrasensory perception, telepathic communication, and even how artificial intelligence can transfer to sentience. 

Think of the future of robots.  

And we should also think of the consequences and effects on our own consciousness that creations of ours that emit EMFs may have.  They could be enhancing or very, very destructive. 

So, perhaps this is a scientific quantification of Spirit of sorts.  Science and Religion have always been compatible, so I’m unsure why some try to differentiate them. 

But, getting back to “anger” for a second.  I still believe this powerful emotion is detrimental to us both physically and mentally.   And if you wish to believe it is God-given, then perhaps the Source gives us this emotion as a challenge to discipline our brains and for controlling our thoughts.  After all, traditional dogma tells us that the Source challenges us in many ways to develop and live a spiritual existence free from judgment and the inferior human emotions.  

And no matter how much some people might wish their God was as racist and bigoted and judgmental as they are, I don’t think Gods work that way. 😊

In Metta

Photo: This is an actual image of my brain from an MRI I had. I darkened it a bit so you could see the contrast better of my blood vessels being lit up by the contrast die. Not to many abnormalities present – LOL! I used this image in a bit of prose of mine titled “Neural Roadmaps Revisited.”

Interesting enough, my very first on my blog was titled, “Consciousness.”

Disclaimer: I do not profess to be an expert in such matters as neurobiology, or theology for that matter. I am, however, reasonably educated and enjoy pondering complex questions about the nature of our existence. :-0 I am also open to any other insights or perspectives anyone else may have.

Remember also: the first law of thermodynamics, energy is neither created or destroyed, it merely changes form – thus, it’s eternal in Nature.

Past Blog Posts of Mine on Brain Stuff:

Move Your Body, Move Your Mind

Writing to Survive

Wired

Boring

If My Memory Serves Me

Brain Games

Sources and Further Readings:

Could Human Consciousness Just Be Brain’s Own Electro-Magnetic Field?

Neuroscience Researcher Todd Murphy Says: Consciousness is the Subjective Experience of the Brain’s Magnetic Fields

Controversial New Theory Says Human Consciousness Is … Electromagnetic?

The Experience of Emotion

Feeling Our Emotions

Integrating Information in the Brain’s EM Field: The CEMI Field Theory of Consciousness

Researcher Proposes New Theory of Consciousness

The Conscious Electromagnetic Information (CEMI) Field Theory: The Hard Problem Made Easy?

Fact or Fiction?: Energy Can Neither Be Created Nor Destroyed

A Jumble of Ideas

Wow!  Lately things have been a bit crazy for my mind.  Or maybe it’s like this all the time. 😊

All the cylinders are firing at once as I’ve been working on multiple things. 

New residence Ideas.  New ways to combat health issues.  New ideas for travel destinations.  A “Castle of Memories” and sorting through many of those memories in picture form.  Deep Introspection. 

So many things I want to write about.  It’s left me in a state of confusion, and a sort of passive paralysis. 

In the background of all this mental masturbation are the insane politics the US is going through, and the needless, self-generated, social unrest. 

You can empathically feel the tension.  The anger.  And it is all so unnecessary.  

And draining.

It’s just a little hard to concentrate right now.

Continue reading A Jumble of Ideas

Conversations – Selflessness versus Selfishness

One of the things I like about Word Press is that our posts can generate some great discussion.  Unlike many other social media pages where, on occasion (ok, all too frequently) I see many hateful exchanges.

A couple of days ago a post of mine generated some great discussion on how governments and local communities attempt to shape social behavior.  The idea behind this is to favor what is usually considered the betterment of the whole community or the country at large.

Of course, this begs the questions, “Who gets to decide what’s best for everybody?”  And “Just because it’s best for everybody (if it really is), why should I be compelled to do it.”

It’s a balancing of interests.

Continue reading Conversations – Selflessness versus Selfishness

Nudges

So, I’m back to some of my favorite ramblings – terminology.  Only this time with a little bit of a political twist.

While I do have a political section on my blog, I have elected not to fill it with much.  Just too much divisiveness out there right now.  But I don’t consider this piece to really be the subject of irrational argument.  I’m merely puzzling over societal manipulation in one of its many forms, and how it is branded and sold.

That “form” is called “social policy.”  And you may not really realize just how pervasive this is used to shift behavior or the reasoning behind the social engineering in all cases.  But how does one brand this stuff to make it more socially acceptable?

You call it something like “Libertarian Paternalism.”  And then invent the definition for it.  To make it palatable.

For starters, here’s an example of social policy.  The government places a high tax on cigarettes and tobacco.  This has a two-fold goal.  It is hoped that by making tobacco products expensive that some people will stop smoking and get healthier.  The other side of the coin is that if they don’t stop smoking then revenue has been generated with the tax to help pay for the negative health effects created that the government ultimately has to pay to treat.  And to pay for the other societal costs as well, like lost productivity.

I have no idea what the numbers are now, but last I checked, someone died a smoking-related death in this country every ten seconds.

Well, that tax on tobacco is a very direct social policy means at addressing a problem when it’s understood that people don’t always make rational choices.  Nor do they make choices that are good for society as a whole.  Perhaps because we’ve really emphasized the individual in this country.  And, of course, in this particular case, addiction can certainly override rational choice.

And that particular tax (social policy) doesn’t require a fancy label to disguise it in any way.  Nor does a tax on gasoline.  We all know what these taxes are for.  Although people will probably scream if a tax is placed on cheeseburgers tomorrow.

Which brings us back to the label at the heart of today’s discussion, what the hell is Libertarian Paternalism?

In a sense, all social policies are a form of paternalism with the government, either local or national, or even with private interests, trying to elicit certain behavior.  Paternalism, however, runs completely counter to the idea of being libertarian, a philosophy embracing total freedom of choice, the right to live one’s life anyway one sees fit, with only one exception. That exception is that any given persons’ choice or action cannot impede on the equal right of another. “In the libertarian view, all human relationships should be voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have themselves used force – actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud.”

Libertarian Paternalism is the idea (or fiction, depending on how you view it) “that it is both possible and legitimate for private and public institutions to affect behavior while also respecting freedom of choice, . . .”

So, what’s an example of a social policy hiding behind the label of libertarian paternalism?  Retirement.

Yes, it seems people do not put enough money away for retirement.  And society, or at least a portion of our society, is concerned with this for a couple of reasons. First society (or government and private interest groups) wants to minimize the number of people it has to help support through government action, and secondly, businesses need people to have buying power.  It does no good for a business to produce goods, if a large sector of society (retirees) has no money to buy them.

It’s about them dollars.

Under libertarian paternalism, people are given a “nudge” to shape their behavioral economics.

So in this case, an employer would automatically enroll it’s employees in a 401K plan like a good parent would.  But in order to claim that a libertarian freedom of choice of action is still present, the employer provides an “opt out” provision.  Of course, the employee is strongly discouraged from exercising that provision, or may not be told about it.

The so-called “nudge” is supposed to push people towards choices they would make had they not been afflicted with “cognitive and volitional frailties.”  In other not so pleasant terms, this form of paternalism, as most all are, operates under the assumption that we individuals are too stupid to do what is best for us.

So what do you think?  Are we really too stupid to make rational economic decisions? Should government and private employers step in to make them for us?  Are such types of societal manipulation truly maintaining a libertarian view of independent choice?  Or should the government and private entities simply bug off and let the chips fall where they may?

In Metta

Postscript: I bring up the topic of social policy (or manipulation) at this juncture in time because of the current crisis facing us with the global pandemic.  You might find it interesting to observe what policies and actions are put in place by the government and by the private sector to influence behavior, and think about what the motives are for shaping particular changes in behavior.   There may be things going on that are much deeper than just the appearance of an interest in promoting public health.

Photo:  The US Capitol with a bit of photo fun.  I took this pic back in 1995 when I joined a protest march for safe nursing staffing.

 

The Conman

I had finished a couple of beers and an appetizer with a friend at a local pub.  Nice neighborhood.  Quiet part of town.

While he had to leave, the night was still young, and I decided to mosey on over to the bar and have another round before I hit the trail.

I generally like meeting new people at the bar, and I’ve met some fine ones and had wonderful conversations.  Trading stories.  Slices of life.  Different paths in different timelines converge for a bit.

A smiling between souls.

Continue reading The Conman

So Many Buzz Words, So Little Time

From some of my prior writings, you know how I love buzz words.  Especially in the employee-employer context that I see so often in the management literature.

I’m not really sure what motivates people to “rebrand” and try to stake original claim to concepts that have been around forever, more or less.  And I’m also not seeing any of this “elevated thought” being put into actual practice by all of the “influencers” and so-called “thought leaders.”  In fact, I see the old traditional, industrial-age, top-down, hierarchical, my-way-or-the-highway management structure still thriving.

And regardless of all the hype about worker retention, the words of my past managers still ring in my head that “attrition is our friend.”  In other words, if you were one of the creative ones, the ones that offered innovative thoughts and solutions, that in anyway questioned authority and the old “we’ve always done it that way” mentality, well then, you needed to be driven out of the organization, not retained.  You were a threat to management.

In fact, if you were innovative, you were considered a direct and lethal threat to the management team that was busy (barely) trying to justify their own existence.  They didn’t want any smart folks replacing their glacial-moving, accomplish-as-little-as-is-necessary, paper-pushing to retain their Herman Miller “Cosm chair” complete with “auto-harmonic tilt, intercept suspension, and flexible frame” working “together to give them the feeling of weightlessness.” 🙂 

So, with that slightly cynical and sarcastic, yet realistic, intro, here are today’s buzzwords.  And there was a cluster of them today.  “Unbossing,” “servant leaders,” “knowledge workers,” and “compassionate directness.”

And now that the laughter has subsided . . .

Continue reading So Many Buzz Words, So Little Time

Lighthouses and Kleptoparasitism

I have to tell you,  I’ve not been feeling well.  The living situation is draining me right now so I can’t seem to get very fired up about writing.   So, I thought, why not just add a pic to your photo journal today?  But then I also found a reminder about a word I wanted to write about.

I couldn’t remember why I wanted to write about this word.  I know it wasn’t solely from its basic definition.  I had some application or twist I wanted to highlight.  To play around with.

While staring at the blank screen, I either remembered or thought of a new one. 🙂

Today, you get both, the image and the word.

Continue reading Lighthouses and Kleptoparasitism

To Have and to Hold – Part 8 – Dodge the Bullets

Four years after my first divorce, in a courtroom on the other side of the state, the parties were gathering to complete their divorce case.  Apparently, things were going really bad for the husband.  He knew he was going to lose it all, so it lost it all in a different way.

Mentally.

There was limited security in the courthouse.  No metal detectors.  The court relied mainly on its bailiffs to keep order.

The husband, seemingly an ordinary guy of even temperament, an aerospace technician, had stashed two pistols in his briefcase.  It wasn’t long before the gunfire began.

He shot and killed his wife.  Shot both his attorney and her attorney.  Shot a bailiff and a sheriff’s deputy.  Shot at, but missed the judge.  All before the police responded and took him down.

He sustained nine gunshot wounds – two to his head.

Before the paramedics arrived, and while he was still conscious, the story is that he exclaimed:

“Did I kill the bitch?!!  Did I kill the bitch?!!!”

Now that is some powerful hatred.  From a man who presumably, at least at one time, loved the woman he just killed.

Continue reading To Have and to Hold – Part 8 – Dodge the Bullets

To Have and to Hold – Part 7 – Bedtime Stories

They say time heals all wounds.  But that’s just a cliché.  Sometimes our minds gift us with the ability to forget, maybe selective dementia, erase the slate, ease the pain.  But other times, not-so-much.  And while writing about this stuff is therapeutic, it also raises those dead memories from the past.  Tears the scab off the old wounds and brings the pain right back to the surface again . . .

Oh, and I still have the paperwork. . . I’m afraid to throw it away.

***

Continue reading To Have and to Hold – Part 7 – Bedtime Stories

To Have and to Hold – Part 6 – Oh Where, Oh Where Did My Property Go?

I was the charge nurse for a general surgical floor and you might say that things were a bit hazardous.  That’s actually putting it mildly.  You might have less risk of harm bungee jumping off the Kawarau Bridge in New Zealand with rubber bands wrapped around your ankles than receiving patient care under these circumstances.

Between sundown to sunup, just what would the body count be?

Working on the night shift meant that in addition to myself and a LPN, my staff was composed of a rotating group of five or six graduate nurses still waiting to see if they passed State Boards.  They weren’t licensed, but the hospital let them practice as though they were.   This small band of ragtag, inexperienced, semi-educated, youngsters and I had to take care of forty-nine very, very sick, post-op surgical patients.

We had twenty-four patients on cardiac monitors, and I was the only RN on duty and the only nurse certified in the reading and interpretation of EKGs.  I was the only nurse on that shift for that ward with any length of experience.  In addition to supervising my grads and ensuring their patients’ safety, I had to take a full load of my own patients.  And based on the hospital’s patient acuity system, each nurse would routinely be assigned 14 to 16 hours of patient care to deliver in an 8-hour shift.

Nice.

I worked those shifts at a full gallop.  And once the graduate nurses got their licenses, they would move on to other units and other shifts and be replaced by another group of graduates.  Thus, the five to six-month cycle of rotating bodies.  This always left me with a staff of inexperienced nurses who needed constant supervision and on-the-job training.

Crazy and dangerous as this was, we also had conflicting and distracting interpersonal situations to deal with during work hours because of the many doctor-nurse relationships.  It was quite a simmering stew of young women mixed with older, rich, prestigious men.

Soap opera and reality combined to form some pretty insane chemistry experiments.  Anything you can imagine, from nurses having “quickies” in the treatment room, to giving doctors blow-jobs in the bath room.  It was safe to say that there were more than just the patients’ body secretions floating about on the ward.

How long would a patient have to wait to get their call-light answered . . .

Continue reading To Have and to Hold – Part 6 – Oh Where, Oh Where Did My Property Go?

To Have and to Hold – Part 5 – The Alpha and Omega

* Ok folks, my apologies.  This chapter is a bit long at over 2500 words.  I had no idea where I’d go when I started writing this morning, but I thought it was important to provide some more personal history before getting to the technicalities of marital asset division.  To provide a better understanding.  Yeah, I was stupid.  Love is blind.  So at the risk of my own personal embarrassment here goes:

It’s said that every story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.  Of course, it’s a little more interesting to jump around a bit, so if you’re looking for chronological order in the tales of my marriages and divorces, well, you might have to string some of my posts together in a completely different way.

For instance, today, I’ll jump towards the end.  And then towards the beginning of my first marriage.  The Alpha and the Omega – in reverse order, of course.  Time to set the stage for the grand dissolution.  The first one.  Then wash, rinse, and repeat, maybe.  😊

Continue reading To Have and to Hold – Part 5 – The Alpha and Omega

To Have and to Hold – Part 4 – A Zigging and A Zagging

When my daughter was a teenager, I told her to avoid two things during her teenage years that could leave her struggling for financial gain and independence for the rest of her life.  Two Albatrosses, that could strangle and weigh her down and prevent her from ever getting ahead.

Smoking cigarettes and having babies.

These two things are incredible financial weights that can decimate monthly earnings, prevent you from going to college or learning a trade, and have the potential to actually impoverish you if take these on early in life.  Especially in your teens, before you’ve even start building a career.

But there are other weights we can acquire later in life just as devastating, and some might put marriage in that category.   Why, because they dissolve and turn into everlasting debt.  Or at least very long-standing debt.  The debt from a divorce can bankrupt you.

***

Continue reading To Have and to Hold – Part 4 – A Zigging and A Zagging