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OK But If?

einstein energy

According to Einstein’s theories – and verified by rather numerous nuclear experiments, matter can be transformed – some of it, anyway, into energy.

According to some mathematical rule, E=mc2 introduces the notion that m=E/c2.

Otherwise said, energy might somehow/someway transform itself/be transformed by some very skilled alchemists or even through a natural process into matter.
Never yet observed by us but that doesn’t mean it cannot/could not happen.

Some modern alchemists actually plan to put this idea in practice. Read all about this here and here.

Now let me point your attention towards the ‘missing’ energy/matter. A.k.a. dark energy/matter problem.
According to the mainstream cosmologists, in order to make sense of what we already ‘know’ about what’s going on around us we must consider that “that roughly 68% of the universe is dark energy. Dark matter makes up about 27%. The rest – everything on Earth, everything ever observed…

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Man as a measure of all things.

DSC_1905Enchanted by the trees

You’ve already glanced at the picture above. Before going back to it, make a mental note about what you felt when you first noticed it.

Have a second, unhurried, look at the scene above and compare notes.
What you felt one minute ago with what are you feeling now.

When did you notice that the two guys are slightly out of focus?
What influence this had over your whole experience?
Do you mind the fact that the duck is sharper than the humans? As if it was the main character instead of the humans? As an aside, this was true. The duck was marching purposefully from place to place as if it was surveying the area – a botanical garden in Tenerife, Spain.

My point being that it’s absolutely normal for humans to give precedence, ‘by default’, to other humans.
On the other hand, the essence of becoming adults is…

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In my previous post, Loyalty, I proposed a four dimensional analysis of an interaction.

The nature of the interaction.
Who are the participants.
The intensity of the interaction.
The manner in which the interaction is changed by the passage of time/changes the passage of time.

I’m going to use the method in my attempt to understand the legislative process.

Hammurabi, “the best known and most celebrated of all Mesopotamian kings“, is famous for, among other things, having compiled one of the best preserved – hence best known, ancient codes of law.

“When he began ruling the city-state of Babylon, he had control of no more than 50 square miles of territory. As he conquered other city-states and his empire grew, he saw the need to unify the various groups he controlled.
Hammurabi keenly understood that, to achieve this goal, he needed one universal set of laws for all of the diverse peoples he conquered. Therefore, he sent legal experts throughout his kingdom to gather existing laws. These laws were reviewed and some were changed or eliminated before compiling his final list of 282 laws.”

Having learned that, it becomes safe to say that a ‘legislative process’ is a development which clarifies the relationship between a ruler and his subjects.

But why would an absolute ruler – as they used to be in those times, put a cap on his own authority? Why would he limit his own powers? Why not judge each case individually? Why not do according to his ‘present mood’ on each occasion?

For two reasons.
As his empire grew, he wasn’t able anymore to judge all the cases by himself. He had to delegate at least some of his judicial powers. And he didn’t want the appointed judges to do as they pleased, without any ‘guidance’.
Secondly, as his empire grew, more and more people – following diverse traditions and bylaws, became incorporated in his empire. He wanted all of them to enjoy the same level of justice and he didn’t want to alienate any one of them.

For this he had first gathered the existing laws throughout his kingdom. He didn’t want to impose his own ‘weltanschauung’ on everybody else, he only needed to build an effective ‘governing tool’.
And he had understood that a law actually makes sense only if it reflects the mores of those asked to abide by it. This way, those who have to ‘police’ those people have to deal exclusively with the relatively few trespassers. Had his laws been a ‘wholesale invention’, the job of the government/police would have been enormous, the costs incurred would have been prohibitive and the result uncertain – to say the least.

I’m sure that most of you noticed that the last paragraph was about the intensity of the relationship so I’ll jump directly to the last dimension.

We have the history of the legislative process and we have history itself.
Is it farfetched to consider ‘history itself’ as the ‘success and failure’ story of how the legislative process has influenced the fate of various people?

Hammurabi had a predecessor. He wasn’t the first to have conquered the entire Mesopotamia. Sargon the Great of Akkad had done the same thing a few centuries before him. There is though a marked difference between Sargon and Hammurabi.

“It is a testimony to his rule that, unlike Sargon of Akkad or his grandson Naram-Sin from earlier times, Hammurabi did not have to re-conquer cities and regions repeatedly”

Joshua J. Mark, Hammurabi, http://www.ancient.eu/hammurabi/

From then on, history is choke full of examples leading to the same conclusion.

The ancient Romans were sticklers for the rule of law – and everything went OK as long as the rulers kept their part of the bargain, yet the first major ‘Roman’ code was compiled by Justinian, the Byzantine emperor, long after the Western part of the Imperium had collapsed. And is imperious for us to remember, in this context, that so many of the Roman emperors had a rather ‘erratic’ behavior…

This example also suggests that there’s no real need for complex and all encompasing code. All it takes is for both rulers and ruled to do their respective jobs in a responsible manner by implementing the existing rules of the land in a reasonable manner.

Fast forward to Great Britain.
The only modern country without a written constitution.
And one of the best working countries in the world, too… except for the last two years or so… I’ll leave it there, for now.
OK, it resides in an island, which somehow insulates it from outside intervention and provides better conditions for stability. Yet it would be very hard to deny the correlation between the legislative stability and relative political continuity that can be observed throughout the British history. Specially when you compare them to what happened in the rest of Europe during the same period.
France is at it’s fifth Republic in less than two and a half centuries.
Germany had morphed from an aggressive Reich to a republic, but not before bringing the whole world to the brink. Twice!
Italy cannot get a grip on itself… Spain almost killed itself during the Civil War, the Greek people had allowed some of its citizens to ‘steal’ almost everything in the country…

What is the common point between all these countries? All of them had been run, during the last 10 centuries or so, in a lot more centralized manner than Great Britain? Their legislative processes have been mostly a top down thing while the one in England had started with Magna Charta? Which was anything but top down!

Coda.

I still need to educate my writing.
I started putting my thoughts down on paper – up in the Cloud, actually, as a manner of bringing my mind to some sort of order.
My success is relative.
I start writing about a certain subject having a certain goal in mind. Yet sometimes that particular goal fades as I write and others, more important, jump at me from various corners.

Now, there’s this ‘small’ issue regarding the ‘Constitution’.

Like any other Law, it defines an interaction between people. Hence, it belongs to the same ‘legislative’ realm.
On the other hand, while the Law defines what a certain person might or might not do and what is the punishment for trespassing, the Constitution delineates the whole environment where the entire social life will take place.
In a sense, the early constitutions were contracts between an erstwhile ruler and his ‘former’ subjects. Both parties entering this contract transforms the relationship between them changes.
While an absolute ruler would give a law as a promise – I’ll behave in such and such way if/when you, the people, will do such and such, when entering the contract known as constitution the ruler acknowledges a new statute for his erstwhile subjects.

Erstwhile ruler and erstwhile subjects become sort of equals.

Constitutions adopted by countries organized as republics go one step further. They actually proclaim the status of equality among all their citizens.

Unfortunately there’s a second similarity between Law and Constitution. Both have to be read and implemented by people.
And there is a difference if most of the people choose to read and implement them in good faith – for the common good, or whether too many of ‘the people’ choose to interpret the law/constitution in a manner that would be beneficial exclusivelly for them.
For those powerful/skillful enough to manipulate enough of the rest into believing that ‘this is how it has to be’.

This is how ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’ has come to be coined…

 

 

PS. I borrowed the first block-quote from ushistory.org and they implicitly asked me to publish this information.
I’m only happy to oblige, given the wealth of information which is available on their site.
Thank you.
The origin of the rest of the quotes can be determined by simply clicking on them. All the links will open in new tabs.

AUTHOR ushistory.org
TITLE OF PAGE Hammurabi’s Code: An Eye for an Eye
TITLE OF PROGRAM Ancient Civilizations Online Textbook
URL OF PAGE http://www.ushistory.org/civ/4c.asp
DATE OF ACCESS Monday, March 19, 2018
COPYRIGHT 2018

2018 -01- 24 ziua unirii

Numai că oamenii cu care ‘am dat mână cu mână’ – în Piața Victoriei !!!, erau adunați să protesteze și nu să se bucure.

La Iași, acolo unde era organizată de obicei ‘sărbătoarea oficială’, a sărit în ochi dezinteresul oficialităților. „Pentru prima dată în istoria recentă a manifestărilor dedicate zilei de 24 ianuarie, ni­ciun oficial cu rang înalt din conducerea statului nu a venit la Iaşi. Anul trecut au participat doi membri ai Guvernului. Singurul ministru prezent a fost Monica Babuc, de la Ministerul Culturii din Republica Moldova.

Nu știu ce considerente de natură ‘politică’ le-a convins pe notabilitățile momentului să evite întâlnirea cu publicul.
Știu însă că nu se poate face politică de unul singur.

Îi aud pe câte unii că au relații ‘instituționale’ cu ‘ceilalți’.
Foarte bine. Fiecare dintre ei reprezintă câte o insituție iar treaba instituțiilor este să interacționeze. Teoretic, în interesul cetățenilor.
Numai că ‘relații instituționale’ înseamnă ‘relații bazate pe proceduri’.

‘Și ce-ai vrea? Fiecare să facă ce-l taie capul? Nu vezi că și-așa e o bulibășeală de te doare  sufletul?’

Păi nu vedeți că exact asta se întâmplă?!?

Cei mai mulți dintre așa zișii ‘factori de decizie’ se ascund în spatele procedurilor și nu decid, de fapt, nimic? Bine, nimic în afară de ce-i doare pe ei…

In democrațiile funcționale, ‘procedurile’ sunt percepute ca liniile care ‘desenează terenul de joc’. Care arată limitele între care se poate manifesta liberul arbitru al politicienilor. Precum și cel al cetățenilor obișnuiți. Spațiul în interiorul căruia are loc colaborarea cunoscută sub numele de politică – mă refer la cea autentică, nu la politicianism.
În democrațiile de fațadă, cele care se bazează mai degrabă pe domnia gloatei decât pe transparență și dialog, procedurile devin arme. Bâte cu care își dau unul altuia în cap cei care își dispută puterea politică. Politicianiștii.

Și atunci?

Treaba e relativ simplă.
De-a-lungul timpului, țările au funcționat mai degrabă după principiul ‘unde nu-i cap, vai de picioare’.
În ultima vreme, națiunile care au reușit să se doteze cu o democrație funcțională au schimbat radical macazul. Au abordat o paradigmă foarte apropiată de ‘capul face, capul trage’.
Dar pentru asta e nevoie ca ‘picioarele’ să rămână vigilente…

Pentru că vă este bine, pentru că aveţi IKEA, Ryanair, Blue Air, Carrefour, Mega Image, e-Mag, H&M, Zara, Starbucks, aţi lăsat puterea PSD, pentru că ei ştiu ce să facă cu ea.

Pentru că este democraţie, în deplină cunoştinţă de cauză, aţi lăsat să voteze pentru voi Teleormanul, Mehedinţiul, Caraş-Severinul sau Vrancea.

Cristian Hostiuc, Ziarul Financiar.

Cu alte cuvinte, cei care se mulțumesc cu accesul la IKEA, Ryanair, etc…  nu mai au legături funcționale cu ‘Teleormanul’. Dar nici ‘Teleormanul’ nu are vre-o legătură funcțională cu ‘hipsterii’…
Și cum ‘hipsterii’ sunt mai degrabă satisfăcuți cu viața pe care o duc pe când ‘Teleormanul’ nu are după ce bea apă… unii au stat ‘mulțumiți’ acasă iar ceilalți au ieșit frumos și disciplinat la vot.
Decizii perfect „raționale”, ca să-l cităm din nou pe Cristian Hostiuc… ‘De ce să schimbi ceva ce funcționeză satisfăcător?’ precum și ‘De ce să nu-l votez pe cel care-mi promite ceva ce îmi doresc de mult?’

N-ar fi fost totuși mai bine ca cele două Românii să se fi înțeles între ele înainte de alegeri – așa cum prevede practica democratică, în loc să strige acum una la cealaltă prin intermediul televiziunilor de știri?
Unii ar fi aflat cum o duc ceilalți, ceilalți ar fi aflat de ce n-au după ce bea apă și împreună s-ar fi lămurit odată unde și cum sunt sifonați banii tuturor.

Cred c-ar trebui să ‘învârtim’ mai des Hora Unirii în loc să tot luam leapșa prin cabinele de probă de la H&M…

Man as a measure of all things.

Human behavior displayed by extremely egocentric individuals who are over-confident about their own brain power.

Individuals who share this particular combination are convinced that due to their ‘exquisite’ mind, their own understanding of the world is not only absolutely correct but also complete.
Simultaneously, their egocentricity makes them immune to what other people might say about anything.

Consequently, if one of the individuals described above also happens to have a sanguine enough disposition and to live in a ‘permissive’ enough social environment, chances are that he will (at least try to) become an authoritarian figure.

In order to achieve his (natural) goal he will use whatever pretext might be most suitable for the particular social environment in which he happens to live.

– Economic, if there’s a wide enough rift between the haves and the have-nots. Lenin, Mao Tze-Dung, Castro…
– Religious, ethnic or both, if a big enough proportion…

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This post is a stump to be completed at a later time.

Golden_Rule_2

So, all major religions condition their members into obeying a version of the Golden Rule.
Then why are there so many differences in how people behave across the world?

Mainly because most observers concentrate their attention on the available differences, however minute?

The goal of this post is to explore the difference – I’m an observer too, between humans and their closest relatives. Apes, dolphins, … you name it.

‘We are conscious beings’!

Humberto Maturana teaches us that human consciousness – which he defines as “self-awareness“, is something which has co-evolved with our ability to speak and with our increased ‘brain-power’.
Makes a lot of sense, right?

Then what am I still looking for?
I fully agree with his ideas yet – my basic training being that of an engineer, I long for a specific trait which would explain our ‘strange’ behavior.

By ‘strange’ I mean the sometimes huge difference between our words and our actual deeds.

For instance, if enough of the self described ‘religious people’ around the Earth would obey the rule all (surviving) major religions have in common, we’d all be living in a completely different world!

Retracing Maturana’s line of thought, I reached the point where our ape ancestor was unable yet to speak so his self-awareness must not have been, according to Maturana, any different from that of his ‘peers’ – gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans…
I’m going to make an assumption of my own now.

Our ‘cousins’ have evolved a lot less than we did.

I’m not going to enter into details – this would broaden too much the scope of this post, but I have to mention here that evolution is not a linear process – as Darwin thought. It ‘works’ in fits and bounds, influenced mainly by dramatic changes in the environment.
In Ernst Mayr’s words, ‘evolution is not about “survival of the fittest” but about the demise of the unfit‘.
In the last 5.5 million years parts of the African environment had been stable enough to allow our cousins to survive more or less unchanged while our more direct ancestors evolved following the changes in the more ‘active’ parts of Africa.

Back to my original quest.
What was the special trait which allowed our direct ancestors to survive in such diverse conditions?
I must remind you that in those times – when proto-humans, a.k.a. hominins, coexisted with the (proto)chimpanzee, both had approximately the same ‘brain size‘. And probably neither could yet ‘speak’.
Then what was left? ‘Our’ ability to run? Which we’ve made good use of since some two million years ago?
Well, running certainly opened to our forefathers – and mothers, the opportunity to  ‘harvest’ a considerably wider selection of prey than that accessible to present day chimpanzees – and, probably, to their ancestors.
You didn’t know that chimpanzees hunt? In packs?
Well, in at least one place they over-hunted their favorite prey to the tune of having to target a different species…, just as we, their supposedly more reasonable relatives, have done in too many cases…

OK, so we’ve figured out one thing. Having feet at the end of our legs allowed us to hunt, and escape other hunters, in the savanna.
But could this small difference be large enough to explain the huge difference between us and some of our closest genetic relatives, the ‘robust’ chimpanzees?

Shouldn’t we rather focus on the ‘other’ difference?

The manner in which we, humans and bonobos – the ‘other’, less known, chimpanzee, use sex?

For the regular chimps, Pan Troglodytes, as well as for all the other primates except for humans and bonobos, sex is purely a reproductive thing. So much so that it is not unusual for the new ‘ruling male’ to kill some of the babies fathered by his predecessor so that their mothers ‘accept’ him earlier than if he would have waited for the nature to take its course.

 

 

 

The fact that our brains are some three times larger?

Remember what I said about ‘evolution’?
About the demise of the unfit?
Now try to figure out the survival chances of a species whose members have, at birth, such a relative large brain that the delivering mother is basically incapacitated for two or three days after labor. Whose babies need five to seven years to become self sufficient enough for the mother to give birth to another baby.
And which species does not enjoy the evolutionary advantage of being sheltered by a dense jungle!

But what about the other difference that separates us from most of the chimps?

This is a stub.
Thinking meat is how Alan Winfield described the human brain in a HARDtalk interview.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3ct2km5

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/aug/10/artificial-intelligence-will-not-become-a-frankensteins-monster-ian-winfield

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08ffv2l

– Just read that no respectable cannibal would ever let himself be caught eating a clown and I cannot figure out why!
– Maybe because most clowns taste funny?

About the future, I mean!

no kids

This ‘piece of information’ keeps bouncing inside the Internet and is interpreted in various manners.

From ‘what to expect from leaders who are ‘this’ selfish’ to “I find it trashy and irrelevant. Merkel’s husband has two sons, btw.
Well… Macron’s wife also has her own children. And a few nephews.

What startled me was this reaction.
I’m under the stark realization that the most intelligent of the population have the fewest children, which might not bode well for voting statistics in the future.”

While the observation is, of course, correct, I’m afraid the interpretation attached to it is somewhat ‘confused’.

First if all, it’s not ‘intelligence’ that drives people to give birth to fewer children. Intelligence – coalesced at social level – helps a population to increase its living standard. As such, children no longer die young so parents no longer have to have so many of them. In order to have somebody help you in your older days you no longer have to give birth to more than two or three children.

If intelligence alone would have prevented people from having children Israel and the US would have been at least as ‘childless’ as Japan or most of the European Countries.
On the contrary. The US is still in a better situation than the EU, 1.8 vs 1.6, while Israel thrives at 3.1

Another way of making sense of what’s going on is to consider that people no longer make kids simply because they have reached the conclusion that ‘money’ can just as well help them cope during their older days. Since so few children live with, or at least near, their old parents this no longer seems so farfetched as it may look at first glance…

But what’s going on in Israel? They also have enough money…

The country needs soldiers to defend it’s very existence?

But, you know, Israel is a free country. Those kids could leave anytime before being drafted. As some of them do.

But most of them stay! Freely!

Then how about people giving birth having at least some connection with ‘hope’?
As in people having hope for a better tomorrow? One worth defending?

One worth making children for?

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