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Touching Dead Animals

Few women could be persuaded to touch a dead pig. Yet if you cut it up in pieces, called it pork or bacon, not only would they touch it, they would eat it.

~ Roedy (born: 1948-02-04 age: 66)
Introduction People I Dislike Peace & War
Reporting Typos and Errors Esperanto Religion
Kudos Experience Is A Hallucination
US Elections
Child Pornography The Idiot Response

Introduction

Here is a sampling of the email I received in response to my various essays, mostly on ethics and religion. My responses are marked with a ∇ and green type.

Please email your feedback for publication, letters to the editor, errors, omissions, typos, formatting errors, ambiguities, unclear wording, broken/redirected link reports, suggestions to improve this page or comments to Roedy Green : email feedback to Roedy Green or Canadian Mind Products.

If you want your message, your name or email kept confidential, not considered for public posting, please explicitly specify that. Unless you state otherwise, I will treat your message as a letter to the editor that I may or may not publish in the feedback section. After that, it will be too late to retract it because I don’t want to waste my work formatting it, and composing a response.

If you disagree with something I said, especially when sending an ad-hominem attack, a rant composed mainly of obscenities or a death threat, please quote the offending passage and cite the web page where you found it, tell me why you think it is wrong, and, if possible, provide some supporting evidence. I can’t very well fix erroneous or ambiguous text if I can’t find it.

If you are pointing out an error in formatting or want to complain about the way things look (e.g. a bad choice of colours), it is best to include a screen snapshot of the offence with the URL (Uniform Resource Locator) of the page you found it on e.g. http://mindprod.com/feedback/feedback.html You can make one with FastStone. Sometimes things look different in different browsers, so tell me which browser you used too.

My email address above is not clickable or copy/pastable or machine readable. It is an image. You need to copy it down on a piece of paper and manually key it into your email program. Why would I so rudely inconvenience you? To protect myself from automated spam harvesters. See mung for details why you may need similar protection. Without that dodge, I get thousands of spams a day which makes me lose real mail. I had to abandon my earlier email address to the spammers.
I only publish comments, not typo notifications and error reports. I get far more mail than I have time or energy to answer, so I do the public mail first. Ones that are almost identical to those already published tend to go to the bottom of the pile. I almost never find time to respond to private emails.

Reporting Typos and Errors

I have poor vision and I type very fast so I make more than my fair share of typos. Further, DSK typos mostly slip through a spell checker. It takes another pair of eyes to detect them.

If you find any error, even the most minor typo, ideally please send me the corrected paragraph and the URL. The other big problem is information that goes stale. Please let me know about it, with the fresh information and/or the URL where I can find it, if possible.

Knowledge keeps no better than fish.
~ Alfred North Whitehead (born: 1861-02-15 died: 1947-12-30 at age: 86)
An email like the following won’t likely result in any change to the website:
yer hole website sucks its jest lies you commie fag me and my friends are cumming to kill youal!!! hooah
~ Anonymis
One like this will:
At http://mindprod.com/livinglove/kensbooks.html you repeat the untrue hundredth monkey urban legend. Ken Keyes’ book,  Hundredth Monkey starts out with a metaphor for how human social movements take off. Unfortunately, the hundredth monkey story, on which the metaphor is based, is an urban legend. The legend was started by Lyall Watson in Lifetide. It was debunked by Michael Shermer in  Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time. The metaphor is not crucial to the thesis of the Keyes book, despite it being in the title.
~ Jim Jones

Kudos

Most of the email I get is a death threat or someone requesting me to commit suicide, usually without a coherent explanation as to why or what passage upset them. Sometimes people are, believe-it-or not, pleased with my work.

Thank You : Erik Hermansen : email Erik Hermansen : 2012-10-26

Thanks for all the wonderful content at mindprod. I have returned to the Java pages so many times. Particularly, when I leave the language for a bit and get rusty, it helps out. The organization and content there is modeled after how a human being would actually want to learn. I think of the site as a shining example of hypertext being used well.

I also went up the tree and read some of your other essays on philosophy, politics, etc. These are also enjoyable and sometimes enlightening reading. I’m grateful that you spent so much effort on what must be a labor of love for you.

Carry on in good style

The Java glossary started out as notes to myself so that when I came back to a topic I could get back up to speed quickly. Then I started sharing them. Then I started adding to it every time I answered a newsgroup question so I would not have to answer it again, and so I could revise and expand my old answers and have everyone see the latest. Others began to send corrections and ideas. Java is on the back burner at Oracle, and programmers are now mostly experienced, so the glossary is not as useful as it once was. I still use it the same way you do, as a refresher. I designed it to make it easy for me to find something I know in is there somewhere.

Experience Is A Hallucination

Experience Is A Hallucination : Dmitri : email withdrawn : 2000-06-02

Having read your Experience Is A Hallucination I could not help myself to drop you a couple of lines noting that I had similar experiences and share many of your ideas and thoughts.
book cover recommend book⇒Simulations of God: The Science of Beliefto book home
by Dr. John Cunningham Lilly 978-0-553-02442-5 paperback
birth 1915-01-06 died: 2001-09-30 at age: 86 978-0-671-21981-9 hardcover
publisher Simon & Schuster
published 1975-06-04
written 1975
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Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
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Italian flag abe books.it Google play American flag
Italian flag amazon.it O’Reilly Safari American flag
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Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.
Comes to my mind one of John Lilly’s works Simulations of God: The Science of Belief — the artificial concept of reality perceived and processed by brain is quite obvious. Moreover, I came to the point where the understanding that we cannot perceive the world as it is due to the brain’s limitations and specific processing of all images and external stimulus, is quite overwhelming. If our perception of the outer world depends in so many ways on our physiological and mental state — then our judgements about Nature itself might very well be spoofed. How do you know what is the world essentially in which we’re submerged? My dreams usually are so real, colorful and rich in details that I can tell I’m awake for 24 hours :).

That was one of the books I read trying to make sense of my own experiences. I also went to visit Lilly at Esalen and later went to work for him on the dolphin project Janus. His freaky experiences were ketamine induced. I asked him why he would take such a drug given that it created such nightmarish experiences. He explained that he felt a duty to combat the evil he discovered while on ketamine. He could not very well just look the other way. His wife Tony told me some stories about the troubles John got himself into freaking out such as one time on a plane when he demanded to talk to the president to warn him about invaders from another dimension. She and I hit it off well. She told me that if I ever freaked out again, I could deal with people without scaring them simply by nodding at whatever they said. There was no need for words.

And oh yes, each day I entertain myself guessing the right elevator out of 5 available and watching the faint milky-bluish glow around the heads of my colleagues at our occasional meetings. This week my grandmother’s partner suddenly died (in Russia) — a night before I’ve had disturbing dream about dying distant friend and decided to call home.

book cover recommend book⇒The Secret Life of Plantsto book home
by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird 978-0-06-091587-2 paperback
birth 1919-04-19 died: 2007-01-23 at age: 87 978-0-06-014326-8 hardcover
publisher Harper
published 1989-03-08
Australian flag abe books anz abe books.co.uk UK flag
Chinese flag amazon.cn amazon.co.uk UK flag
German flag abe books.de abe books.ca Canadian flag
German flag amazon.de amazon.ca Canadian flag
Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
Spanish flag iberlibro.com abe books.com American flag
French flag abe books.fr amazon.com American flag
French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Google play American flag
Italian flag amazon.it O’Reilly Safari American flag
India flag junglee.com Powells American flag
UN flag Kobo other stores UN flag
Greyed out stores probably do not have the item in stock. Try looking for it with a bookfinder.
If you’ll have a chance - read The Secret Life of Plants. It is amazing revelation about these wonderful greenies around us and how do they feel and react to us and the world itself.

I read a book years ago, I think it was by Cleave Baxter on a similar topic. That book really intrigued me. I have always wanted to do the experiments myself to determine if it was a hoax. I am about 75% certain there is some sort of weak psychic link between living things. He described experiments where plants reacted to brine shrimp being killed.

Hallucination Is A Reality Taints Your Site : Josh : 2000-08-06

I’ve been a fan of your site for a while but it just dawned on me I never contacted you. Well here I am. Your site was an important factor in helping me lose my religion about 2 years ago and I have been much happier ever since. I just turned 20 yesterday but having grown up K-8 in a Catholic grade school and then getting confirmed in high school, you can say I was saturated with religious brainwashing my whole life. I’m an intelligent person and very curious, and as such I was always disappointed to some extent with the nonanswers to by questioning of religion. If only someone had put it so plainly sooner!! I am appalled, absolutely appalled, that religion still pervades in today’s day and age. Why can’t these people (even my parents) see something so plain and obvious? It’s crystal clear that prayer doesn’t work, that the Bible is a farce, and that most everything religion is about is a bogus pile of crap like praying to the rain gods in the Dark Ages to help the crops grow. As a gay man I am sure you especially can appreciate what benefits there exist if religion should get removed from society one day. Fortunately I remain optimistic about this. My generation is smarter than our parents and hardly anyone I know will even discuss religion even if they are religious because it is seen as so socially uncool.

Note: the dangling phrase, As a gay man refers to Roedy Green, not Josh. Bertrand Russell talked about how hard it is to discard beliefs we learned at nursemaid’s knee no matter how irrational. I’m glad you were able to take a long look and see the emperor had no clothes. Seeing that every other culture has its nutty religious belief system, blatantly contrary to evidence, ought to make one suspicious that one’s own culture is no different.

At any rate I like your site but I am having some difficulty understanding some parts of it. The notion that reality is a hallucination was an incredible one for me to think about for a while but then I read about the stuff you talked about your hallucinations of seeing things and determining outcomes of events and being able to change reality, and I did indeed give it an open-minded honest chance but after evaluation I must say that I haven’t been able to accept it and unfortunately in my mind it seems to taint the rest of your site as well.

My assertion that reality is a hallucination is actually not controversial. I probably should have broken the essay into two parts. One where I tell all those weird stories, and one where I explain why ordinary sober consciousness is still a creation, a hallucination, a model of reality. The weird stories perhaps belong better with my philosophy of life essay, since the philosophy came about trying to find some structure to explain the strange co-incidences and bizarre experiences.

Where do you stand on that? You are very legitimate and logical when it comes to debunking religion and the bible and society, but then there is this stuff about how you can change things by thinking about it, and none of it seems real for me. If it indeed was drug induced then it is rather unfortunate that a great mind like yours was poisoned in such a way that it will be difficult to assure that any future thoughts are not also tainted in some way.

I did not take any drugs, but as I mentioned in the essay, it is possible somebody could have spiked some green Jello with LSD (d-Lysergic Acid Diethylamide). The weird thing is these experiences were not totally personal. There are living people who were present who could attest to some of them, like the strange appearance of the porn star on my door step, or the touchless orgasm, or by skating skill. The whole thing still has me puzzled. My current best explanation is somewhere between scrambled brain chemistry and the quantum effects described in my many worlds essay.

I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
~ J.B.S. Haldane (born: 1892-11-05 died: 1964-12-01 at age: 72)

That reality is a hallucination seems plausible to me still though, and that is why I am a little upset because I wish to explore this further but your site doesn’t offer much more intelligent discussion of this theory other than the hallucination material.

See my philosophy of life essay .

I think reality is very skewed as you have said. We base things from the point of our eyeballs. I realized it must be very enlightening to discuss reality with a person who has been blind from birth. What would they say? If you have done this please enlighten me, I think there would be much to learn. Also, not unlike the dumbshit Christians, all us humans kind of base things around us and the Earth. I mean this isn’t totally arrogant and stupid, after all, they are really all we can concern ourselves about because it is what we interact with daily. But I mean people get so artificial about things and their world revolves around fucking soccer games and comparing dollar values among one another, and sports scores, to the extent that it is truly pathetic and laughable. I get odd looks and strange laughs when I talk about how all our progress is for naught if we don’t get mankind on another planet, in the event that something happens to this one. But no one thinks twice when the media goes into detail about what some celebrity is up to lately and where they were spotted shopping. This planet is full of morons!

The set of experiences did teach me one thing. Reality, including subjective experience, is a lot bigger than I imagined, and I really don’t understand it all that well. My theories of the structure of reality may be no more accurate than those constructed by a dog. We are hopelessly arrogant to imagine we can understand it all with our limited brains. Those experiences kicked the certainty out of me. What the heck were they? Your guess is as good as mine. All I can say for certain is that I experienced them as completely real.

Also, don’t you have problems with listing so much extreme (from the viewpoint of the average person) material, and listing directions to your house on your site? I was stalked.

Details omitted at writer’s request.

If I had listed my house address I would have difficulty sleeping at night. How come it isn’t an issue for you?

I was one of the first gay people in Canada to come out publicly. I wrote a book called A Guide For The Naïve Homosexual and gave away thousands of copies. I received about 300 abusive phone calls a day for many years. Most were taken by the answering machine, but we had to transcribe them to find legitimate requests for my book. My first answering machine caught fire from the continuous use. I bought a $1300 heavy duty model with a giant tape reel to handle the load. I received one to three death threats a day. Only once did anyone ever show up at my house and even then nothing too terrible happened. They just hit the house in a few places with baseball bats. One time in the middle of a TV interview a guy threatened to come down and shoot everyone in the station. Everyone was alarmed but me. I said, "Those sorts of guys are just blowing off steam. They never show up." Also remember I live in Canada. We are a lot less violent a society than the US. Perhaps my paranoia about such things just got bored to death. I got in the habit of being extraordinarily open to reassure naïve homosexuals they had little to fear. I am very tall and as such tend to intimidate others. I have a powerful voice that I can also use to frighten others. It may seem odd, but I have the ability to go almost anywhere, e.g. a black ghetto at night, in the company of crack users etc. without getting hurt. I think my fearlessness and general love for everyone somehow wards off attack.

I am not even gay or anything that is socially unacceptable in any way or to any extent. I am interested because I desire to open myself more and share details of my life on my website as you have. As long as I’m on the topic I also have a question. I am soon opening a shareware software site that will be my full time job (yes it’s a big risk but I have the opportunity). I wish to list all of my personal things and viewpoints all on the same site, so I can say this is me, and this is what I do. you can read about me and/or shop my products. enjoy. . Unfortunately I am not sure if this is a good idea. Obviously I am selling to the general public, not my friends. Do you think it would be a mistake to link my personal views (which might include things like why I think religion is a farce) with my business? Or would be advantageous because I can feel 100% open to the world, and people can really feel like they get to know me? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Since you have seen that I am overly expressive, to the point I often frighten or offend people, I am probably not the one to ask for advice.

book cover recommend book⇒Handbook to Higher Consciousnessto book home
by Ken Keyes Jr. 978-0-9600688-8-3 paperback
birth 1921-01-19 died: 1995-12-20 at age: 74 978-0-9600688-9-0 hardcover
publisher Love Line 978-0-940687-13-4 audio
published 1984-08
Ken’s classic. This is by far his best selling book. You can read part of it online.
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Spanish flag amazon.es Chapters Indigo Canadian flag
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French flag amazon.fr Barnes & Noble American flag
Italian flag abe books.it Google play American flag
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The philosophical justification for my stance is the seventh Pathway from the Handbook to Higher Consciousness: I open myself genuinely to all people by being willing to fully communicate my deepest feelings, since hiding in any degree keep me stuck in my illusion of separateness from other people.

By this time internal alarms are going off in my mind warning me that I may have cost you too much of your time so I will play safe and end here, to wait for further discussion. Thanks and have a great day!

Hallucination Is A Reality : anonymous for now: 2001-06-24

I have read How To Write Unmaintainable Code, Experience is a Hallucination", and Your Philosophy articles on your site. I thought I would share some comments, mostly about the latter two although the first article was excellent.:)

This may be a limitation of my imagination, but I have a hard time reconciling the Multiple Universe concepts with my practical experience. I mostly relate this to my concept of Identity, I am an individual that goes beyond both my body and my experiences or even perceptions. I was born with that Identity, I have grown and my body has changed, I have learned and my experiences have changed, and my perception of the world around me has changed also. All of these have changed, but I am the same person that I have always been at a fundamental level.

Discover Magazine devoted the 2000-11 issue, to the many world’s interpretation of quantum mechanics. This stuff is very very hard to wrap your mind around. On the atomic level reality simply refuses to behave according to our familiar rules of common sense. The mathematicians are discovering why the many worldness is masked. On a macroscopic level the many worlds hypothesis predicts fairly ordinary behaviour.

People have no trouble conceptually with Star Trek’s transporter beam which scans a being, annihilates him, transmits the information to another source, and recreates a duplicate at the other end. The new being carries on with consciousness and memories, even though strictly speaking the clone shares not a single molecule with his recently murdered original. Why then would it be so difficult to imagine a transporter beam that did not annihilate the original? Both would continue with an intact sense of identity.

If there are multiple universes with copies of me in them, perhaps differing in only the most minute details, or at least ones within quantum slop, what controls which one I experience? Why do I only experience at most one at once? Why don’t I hop around? Are all the other copies of me conscious? Are some of them? If so, what determines which ones? I obviously can’t answer such deep questions, but I am willing to throw out a few speculations. There is some very baffling connection between consciousness and quantum mechanics. On a quantum level, watched pots do behave differently from unwatched ones.

Here is one speculation. Consciousness may be a separate fundamental universal component like matter or energy. Think of it metaphorically as like a luminous fluid sloshing around the many worlds tree of possibilities, lighting up the more interesting parts of it. You are consciousness exploring the funhouse, who mainly out of habit tend to hide inside a skull of one particular animal, coming out only rarely for an OOBE (Out Of Body Experience) or bout of cosmic consciousness. Reality is more intense where there in a concentration of consciousness. If you go off exploring the hell parts of the probability tree you won’t find much other consciousness willing to go along with you. It will seem flat and lifeless. If you hang out with saints, there will be a superabundance of consciousness. Life will seem inexplicably rich and pregnant with meaning.

My other speculation is that consciousness just happens wherever there is sufficiently dense quantum complexity. I have gone under anaesthesia and come out again a number of times. I seemed as if my consciousness just faded away to nothing as I went under, and clicked back into existence again when I came to. If this speculation is correct, there would be almost nothing special required for computers to became conscious. They already are now, on a low level.

With Infinite Universes, It’s hard for me to see how I am in this Universe, and consequentially your are also. To make it easier to understand, imagine creating a perfect copy of yourself. Technically you are identical to your copy, Everything physical is the same, but are you. Do you experience the future in the original you, the copy of you, or both. If Identity is totally a physical manifestation, then your Identity should actually be in both copies of yourself. This concept is not completely without merit either, Identical Twins have been shown to have remarkable similar lifestyles when separated at birth, and when brought up together often create their own languages and have other commonalities. Of course, Fraternal Twins are similar also in these respects.

But the point I am trying to make is with a near infinite number of Multiple Universes, why am I in this one and not another? Or more poignantly, why are you? I can tell by what I read on your site, that your vision of a more perfect world is much different than mine, yet we both seem to agree that if we somehow mentally will things to get better they will. (No Pun…). However we both inhabit this Universe and I bet we will continue to.

Anything you do will be quite irrelevant, however, it is vitally important that you do it.
~ Mahatma Gandhi (born: 1869-10-02 died: 1948-01-30 at age: 78)

I think of it not that you will the universe to change, but that you choose to slide to friendlier parts of the possibility tree by focussing your attention on where you want to go. This can only happen within quantum slop, but over time the quantum slop allows for macroscopically noticeable changes. I live in a world that is thousands of times more gay friendly than the one I started out in. I seriously consider the possibility that I simply wentto a gay friendly part of the probability tree, partly through my futile gestures. The universe did not change at all. Jesus kept saying, The kingdom of heaven in at hand, e.g. right beside you, right under your nose. However you need faith to shift there. Whatever this steering skill is, it is very subtle. In past when I tried to play with it I was like a student driver who kept ending up in the ditch feeling terrified. Then again, there could be nothing more to steering that using your attention to make your unconscious mind focus on your goals.

Your conclusions I like better. Reality as a Hallucination seems very, uh, realistic to me. I spent much of my life seeing the world as very Black and White with many rules that needed to be followed in order to succeed. I struggled until I decided to make the world the way I wanted it, and it became that, although not perfectly. I ascribe that to a change in my perception of the world, instead of seeing the world as a challenge I see it as an opportunity and take advantage of it.

We somehow expect the universe to be fully comprehensible to a human. We don’t expect dogs to understand quantum mechanics, so why should humans be capable of understanding the deep underpinnings of reality? There is no law that says it has to be tidy, simple and common sensical. I have personally experienced so much that I have no way of putting into language. Surely some of the ultimate answers lie off in that baffling wooly part of human experience.

I have no doubt that in reality the future will be vastly more surprising than anything I can imagine. Now my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
~ J.B.S. Haldane (born: 1892-11-05 died: 1964-12-01 at age: 72)

I have tested that concept also by the simple process of changing other peoples perception of the world and seeing the effect. It works also, I can take someone that is struggling and put them in a more pleasant situation. I attested this to a concept that Perception is Reality, which is similar to your Hallucinations. But that is too simple as you pointed out.

You wrote:

"Presume that since birth your conscious mind reversed the subjective experiences of red and green from the way most people experience them. There is no experiment you could perform to detect that this was indeed the case. In fact you could even reverse up and down subjectively and still function perfectly and never know it."

This makes the assumption that most of us do consider up and down the same thing. I would propose that this assumption is invalid, there is no reason to think that when you see red I don’t see another color. (Or what would be another color in your mind.) Actually, since people have favorite colors and colors they don’t like, it would seem to me that it is more likely that when I see green I see it differently than you do, or anyone else.

This isn’t even hard to grasp, everyone seems to see things differently. But if it is true, then everybody has a different vision of the world than everybody else. Of course, this would make it very difficult to communicate, what you need to do is be able to take an idea or concept from my mind and express it in a way that makes sense to yours.

That’s what we call language. Think about it, I tell you that the Widget is in a Barn. You visualize a Barn, I visualize a Barn. Out visualizations may be based on totally different inputs and conceptions of what we see, but we use the word Barn to designate a building with Animals in it. This basic concept can more easily be reinforced with modern technology, how many times have you found someone else perceiving Object Oriented Programming different than you perceive it?

You could take two computers, one programmed in Java and one in Eiffel. They could send messages back and forth to each other and deal with them perfectly, and never be aware than internally they each represented the data in a totally different way. If one computer made the assumption because they were exchanging messages successfully that the other computer much work identically inside, it would be in error.

My speculation is that people are more different inside in the way they experience the universe than most people would ever imagine. If people do things that baffle you, they must have internal assumptions quite different from yours.

But we can look at the world from a different perspective, how many fields of expertise have their own language? We both are programmers, and we share a common language in that which a Lawyer and Accountant does not know. Even you and I differ in our description of programming because of our experiences, but what is more important to me is that I can actually understand 90% of another field by understanding it’s language. I would be willing to bet that you can also, your writings certainly cross several disciplines and connect them seamlessly.

I look at this and come to the conclusion that language is a method that we as Humans use to explain the concepts that we have in our head. What we have done it to take things that are similar in our combined perceptions, and placed a word to it. This implies some conclusions that are interesting. The First of which is that no one can ever explain themselves perfectly. Has anyone every not felt that way? Of course, it also implies that we all live in our own worlds, which are connected through language.

The problem with language is it makes everyone else look so stupid and shallow. You are aware of how people nearly always misunderstand what you are trying to say. Even when you are incredibly precise with your language, they still hear what they expect to hear. It is quite an eye opener to realise that everyone else feels the same way. In a way we are like geniuses with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) condemned to speak to each other on a Bliss symbol board with 50 choices.

You know

I’m getting bored and the Real World is interfering with this. I’m gonna send it to you and ask that you don’t post it. I may let you post it later, but I would like to get a response from you that gives me some indication you understand what I am saying.

Even if you don’t respond, I may follow up with more because it helps me to organize my thoughts into language that people can understand.:)

The Idiot Response

Modern Idiocy : Ross Koningstein ross@bluedog.com : 2000-07-28

Instead of modifying guns to make them childproof, gun zealots successfully lobby to keep them the way they are. The supposed reason — to make it easier to overthrow the government should the need arise. The other reason, it would cause a slight delay for reflection before firing at an intruder — most commonly a family member.

I would like to contribute the following. US citizens can use the above argument about overthrowing the US government, but not non-citizens. One of the many odd (and tragic) ways that US law limits its legal system for discrimination, immigration, etc.

Actually, the US government takes a fairly dim view on any threats by armed US citizens, such as the Waco Texas incident. On the whole, the US is weird about guns.

See this essay at Soros.org [no longer available] on the legal grounds for the removal of aliens.

I might go even further than you. What gives me the right to stop non-Canadians from coming and living here in Canada? It was just an accident I was born in the most livable country, not a result of any great virtue on my part. On the same lines, it strikes me as supremely unfair that computer programmers in Canada are paid many times what programmers in India are, even though we are doing the exact same work. There is something seriously broken with an economic system that generates such anomalies. Canada steals skilled workers from the third world with its discriminatory immigration policies. Economics is so inherently unstable, taking always primarily from those with the least and giving to those with more than enough.

People I Dislike

Charlton Dislike Page : Chris Davies stude7@nortelnetworks.com : 2000-08-04

An armed populace is not what keeps the government honest! It is a population that participates in democracy.

I believe both you and the NRA (National Rifle Association) have missed the point about keeping the government honest because keeping the government honest involves a definition of honesty. Honesty is not an all encompassing word that governs all truth, it is a personal definition. For example, some people think that a lie of omission is being dishonest, I, however, do not.

The only way to keep the Government honest is for the people with the definition of honesty to be the government, e.g. Anarchy. Pierre-Joseph Proudhon said "..reciprocity…is the very essence of [social] justice.". Anarchy is the only system where true social justice is implemented, and I’m surprised that you stay a supporter of Democracy since gay people are so marginalised by majority rule. As Winstanley says There shall be none as lords over others, but everyone shall be lord of himself, subject to the law of righteousness, reason and equity… (Winstanley went on to justify his statement using God, but we should not question an honorable motive just because the method is bad).

Anarchy would work fine if everyone had a social conscience. Unfortunately most don’t. I am willing to give up some freedom in return from protection from such as those on my Don’t Like page.

I rather liked your pages as a whole, I started by reading the how to write unmaintainable code essay, but was quickly drawn into the rest of the site. You have inspired me to write a similar philosophy section for my own page about my anarchist beliefs and views.

That is great, but first find yourself a public home page. Yours is accessible only by password. I hope thousands of people do likewise. At some point in the not too distant future, AI (Artificial Intelligence) engines will start analysing all these essays. Those eccentric (in the sense of not-mainstream) thoughts will spur the AI on to think in new categories, to ask new questions.

Charlton Dislike Page Revisited : Chris Davies stude7@nortelnetworks.com : 2000-08-07

Anarchy would work fine if everyone had a social conscience. Unfortunately most don’t. I am willing to give up some freedom in return from protection from such as those on my don’t like page.

I think everyone does have a social conscience, unfortunately it is overruled by greed. Capitalist societies (and to a large extent, the remaining communist ones) are experiencing a growing crime epidemic, politicians talk endlessly about harsher punishments for criminals. Take this to it logical extension and we get capital punishment for all crimes, even the most petty. The USA is already moving towards this with life imprisonment for petty drugs offenders, the UK is also getting tougher especially on sex crimes. As well as this, people are getting more and more paranoid about crime, they are becoming willing to sacrifice more and more freedom in return for security. Again, take this to its logical extension and we have no freedom but total security. Is a society where we have no freedom a good society? Crime becomes a problem when you take away the rights of the individual, take away a persons right to food and shelter and (s)he will go out and take these things.

However the trend is in the other direction. In times past you could be hanged for stealing a loaf of bread, but no longer.

The exception of course are the laws on marijuana which make absolutely no sense. Here in Canada crack dealers sell their product quite openly. The courts are so clogged there is little likelihood of punishment.

Think about how your decisions would be affected if you took away the economic factor from your judgement. There would be no incentive to abuse animals or other people in return for greater profits, what you get is the same if you do or don’t abuse the liberties of other living beings. So tell me that those who torture animals in the name of medical research do not feel some guilt over the whole bloody process, it is just that under capitalism the gains in property outweigh the moral implications in the heads of those who perform these acts. The people who kill for money are not monsters, they are people like you and me, categorizing them as monsters only makes their isolation from society worse. We must address the root of problems, not just treat the symptoms.

Consider this excerpt from Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems 19561968, ( ISBN (International Standard Book Number) : none) out of print.

ALL THERE IS TO KNOW
ABOUT ADOLF EICHMANN
 
from Leonard Cohen, Selected Poems 19561968
 
EYES: Medium
HAIR: Medium
WEIGHT: Medium
HEIGHT: Medium
DISTINGUISHING FEATURES: None
NUMBER OF FINGERS: Ten
NUMBER OF TOES: Ten
INTELLIGENCE: Medium
 
What did you expect?
 
Talons?
 
Oversize incisors?
 
Green saliva?
 
Madness?

~ Leonard Cohen (born: 1934-09-21 age: 80)
Most people would agree that being ruled over by an aristocracy is bad. But why is it that people do not realize that an aristocracy is still an aristocracy even when it is democratically elected. By electing people as our speakers we are saying here is a man that is the best amongst us, so he must represent our views!.

The ancient Greeks had direct democracy, but then it was really an aristocracy. Only aristocrats could be citizens. We are returning to direct democracy gradually with all the opinion polls the politicians watch so carefully. Technology will make direct democracy feasible again, even with a giant population. The elite can still bamboozle. There are blacks who vote Republican.

Democratic process is just a way of making us think that we have some sort of say in government and is just as bigger lie as Christianity. In many ways, Christianity is better than democracy. At least with God there is no pretense that we have a say in the process of government, there is no fundamental lie.

That is great, but first find yourself a public home page. Yours is accessible only by password.

My home page is public, unfortunately, there is just no public content there yet. Plus, you are right about the AI engines. I have built one myself but most sites do not allow robots in.

Direct Democracy : Chris Davies stude7@nortelnetworks.com : 2000-08-09

The ancient Greeks had direct democracy, but then it was really an aristocracy. Only aristocrats could be citizens. We are returning to direct democracy gradually with all the opinion polls the politicians watch so carefully. Technology will make direct democracy feasible again, even with a giant population.

Well, I don’t know much about politics in Canada, but if they are anything like those in the UK the above statement is BS. Technology will indeed make direct democracy a reality once again, but your average person (like myself) is not qualified to make judgements about how much aid we should send abroad or how mush to raise income tax to stimulate the economy without raising inflation. In fact the only person I am qualified to govern is myself, and possibly some children. I think the same could be said of 99% of the UK population (including most if not all the politicians). I have no wish to inflict my uninformed decisions upon the rest of the country, but equally, I have no wish to be governed by the uninformed decisions of others.

The result, of course, is that via the mass media more and more of the UK population is finding out just how stupid the decisions that politicians make are. Most believe that they cannot change the system and so grow apathetic about it. This sort of person would not participate in any direct democracy scheme. Others (like me) think they can change the system and spend most of their lives attempting to catalyse change. This sort of person would also not participate in direct democracy. So which segment of the population are left? Those who believe the government do a good enough job. These would also not participate in direct democracy because they believe the country runs itself quite nicely without their input.

Anyway, the point of this rant is that only a small segment of the population would participate in direct democracy. The small sample size renders the effects statistically invalid.

The elite can still bamboozle. There are blacks who vote Republican.

I think I can explain why some blacks vote Republican. Surveys conducted in the UK indicate that most people think that there is no functional difference between the Republican and Democrat parties in the US. Why should a black man not vote Republican? Its not as if they are going to introduce a law which makes slavery legal again. US politics seems incredibly shallow to those in other countries. I watched a factual (If rather tongue-in-cheek) documentary about a man who ran a ficus tree for senate (When they refused to register it as a candidate on the grounds that it wasn’t human (Which, incidentally, is a violation of the tree’s rights as the US constitution says nothing about the persons mentioned being human persons.) this man urged voters to write in the tree on their ballot papers, and then vote for it) the votes for the tree were not counted when it became clear that the tree had won.

Modern politics disillusion the electorate. The apathy that ensues leaves us open to Brave New World style utopian government. Paranoia? Yes probably, but it is a risk worth considering.

You don’t require everyone to participate to get the popular will effected. Statistics show that you can get a pretty good estimate with even quite small samplings. The catch is in politics, the samplings are not random. This gives extra power to those that care about a particular issue. That is as it should be. If that concerned minority start doing things that tick everyone else off, then more people start caring about the issue and start voting on it. There is no need for everyone to vote on everything if all is percolating along ok.

US Presidential Elections

Some Canadian Moron : Alaska Trapper Harrison trapper@gci.net : 2000-12-18

Like we don’t have enough problems, Now we got some Canadian moron who lives off USA $ criticizing our elections. Glad you don’t vote here…! we got the right man in.. The democrats are to dirty to know this. Fix your own country before you get into ours!

But we did fix our own country! We Canadians have uniform balloting rules and uniform ballots across the country and we got all 17 million of our votes counted in four hours. We don’t allow vote result reporting in the east to affect the votes in the west. We don’t have an electoral college. Every vote is equal, no matter which province (Canadian for state) you live in. Its a Good Thing™ both Democrats and Republicans want to increase educational spending.

USA wannabees : Alaska Trapper Harrison trapper@gci.net : 2000-12-18

Somebody has got to tell you guys how to do things… Lord help us if you ever tried to do something on your own. You know as well as I do that more than 1/2 your country are USA wannabees. Look at all the USA influence there is in your country… Dont see much canadian stuff down here.

Given that you admit you don’t know much about Canada, I find it odd that you have such strong opinions.

The last thing we want to do is baby sit for the rest of the world. Gets real boring. I guess when your #1 your hated for all you have and it breeds a lot of jealousy. But we didn't get to be #1 and we don’t get to stay #1 by whinning about everything and crying for help every time our nation is in trouble…I for once would like to see other nations reach out and help us. If they would give back 1/10 of what we have given them. But no.. they just whine! We are a nation founded upon Christian principles… Maybe now with Bush in there we will get back to that and away from the evils of gore and clintonian politics. I think with bush in there we will stop helping your sorry butts and we will finish Saddam off, once and for all..

The rest of the world does not appreciate being baby sat on either. The USA tends to act unilaterally. One of our former prime ministers compared bordering the USA to sleeping with an elephant. I think we should be moving toward democratic world government, rather than anarchy ruled by a few bullies.

I hope you enjoy your $100 tax cut and $1000 corresponding later tax increase to pay the debt caused by giving the billionaires a trillion dollar tax cut, and paying for the new missile and defense systems oddly required by the USA for its new isolationist posture. Bush fooled you into thinking he has your interests at heart. He is in the pockets of big defense, big tobacco and big pharmaceuticals. Big defense likes the US getting involved in expensive wars. Given Bush senior’s record, I expect Bush junior to be even bigger on military intervention than Clinton, despite what he claims. We’ll see.

Esperanto

Esperanto Accents : David Wolf dwolff@world.std.com : 2001-06-18

Saluton Roedy,

I found your Java Glossary (actually because I was following the unmaintainable code section :-) ).

It’s very nice. If you want, I have some minor comments but overall it can easily stand without changes.

(For example, one thing I noticed was your suggestion that the accent marks have slowed Esperanto’s acceptance. This is of course debatable, but in my 20 years of experience with Esperanto, the accented letters are actually irrelevant to people. They may use it as an excuse, but they’re really too busy, not interested, put off by the presenter’s crummy presentation etc.)

It was a factor for me. It bogged my second attempt at Esperanto back in 1980 when I got as far as learning how to burn new EPROMS for the Apple ][ and Okidata printer to display the accents, but did not get the keying to work. It still irritates me no end they are so messily handled. Esperanto is supposed to be a logical beautiful language. These sloppy accent conventions are like warts. They destroy the perfectionist appeal of Esperanto. None of the usual computer tools work. Even after all these years it still requires considerable fussing about with soldering irons to make them work. Every hurdle you put up blocks another percentage of converts. The Internet should have been a major boost — being able to rapidly find materials and other people to talk to, but the accents don’t work without considerable fooling around requiring unusual technical expertise. That is why I wrote my essay, hoping to make that job a little easier.

Accents are one thing that could be very easily fixed. A central body such as ELNA (Esperanto League for North America) could give blessing to one accent convention for Internet use so that search engines would then start working properly. Without search engines you are wasting 90% of the power of the Internet. The search engines won’t change. If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed…

I’m sorry you have a bad experience at your first convention. Esperanto is a complete language, so a beginner can get lost if others don’t take care to make the events easy. Again, this is just my experience, but in the US, adults seem to avoid saying anything at all in Esperanto until they feel they can make complete sentences. We’ve also started a buddy system at our national conventions to match beginners with volunteers who have more experience.

The problem really was that everyone else had been coming to these things for years. I was the only rank novice. They could not very well design activities around just one person. I was out of place both linguistically and socially. Like most adult students, I can’t stand the thought of making mistakes in public. The time to learn is much younger before such inhibitions are so burned in. It might also help if you were tagged as a novice so that people did not come up to you expecting you to understand them. I wonder how many other enthusiasts came to one Esperanto convention and never returned because they felt so humiliated at being so inept.

The other thing that would help is simply getting more Mp3 material out on the web. It is one thing to read Esperanto with a dictionary at hand and quite another to make sense of it coming in by ear at Speedy Gonzales rates in a wide variety of accents. My pronunciation page is a small step in that direction.

Perhaps you ran into the 17th Rule: "Any Esperantist may correct any other Esperantist’s use of the language." :-)

Thanks —

David Wolff
Prezidanto, ELNA (President, Esperanto League of North America)
Nia celo estas sxangxi la mondon. (Our goal is to change the world.)

Obdurate Bible

More than two hundred death penalties are gone from the law books, but the [biblical] texts that authorised them remain.

~ Mark Twain (born: 1835-11-30 died: 1910-04-21 at age: 74)

Oddly, the one death penalty modern day Christians cling to with vigilante violence is one cherry picked from the scores that Leviticus demanded, the one against homosexuality.


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