Join the party of love

Resultado de imagem para Photo by Kenzo Tribouillard

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Love is not just a feeling given or received, it is an action too. It could be a radical force in politics

Max Harris is a fellow at All Souls College, Oxford. His writing has appeared in the New Statesman and openDemocracy.net, among others. His first book is The New Zealand Project (2017).

Politics is inescapably emotional. Political ideas – such as freedom or equality – are often talked about as if they’re dry concepts, sandpapered down in a seminar room or a theoretical conversation. But political ideas involve feeling. The singer Nina Simone once said that freedom is ‘just a feeling’: a feeling of ‘no fear’. Justice is a state of affairs as well as a state of relief, elation, jubilation. And political advocacy, at its best, involves the passionate expression of strongly felt sentiments and experiences. But not all emotions should necessarily be welcome in politics. Hate and fear, for example, drive exclusionary behaviour. They often result in rash and unfair decision-making.

Perhaps love should be a part of politics. Might it not have a better role to play than hate and fear? In the 2016 presidential election in the United States, opponents of Donald Trump repeated ‘love trumps hate’ at protests and on placards. But Trump also used the language of love before and after his election: he said, for example, that the crowd at his inauguration was a ‘sea of love’. For some, this shows that love is an empty value in politics: an emotion so malleable as to be meaningless. I think they’re wrong, and believe that love has the potential to be a transformative force in politics.

In All About Love: New Visions (2000), the American feminist bell hooks says that men writing about love rarely draw on its practice, and even then tend to focus on the receipt of love, instead of the giving of love or the absence of love.

Bearing these points in mind as a male writer, I want to begin not with some abstract pronouncements about love, but with some reflections on my own personal feelings of love.

When I think of love, I call to mind the kind, caring glow of my mother. I remember the tone in her voice that seemed constant in my years growing up: a register of concern, somewhere between sympathy and pain. I think of her steady presence, in person and other ways, exemplified in a Skype call where she listened, unwavering, as my voice quivered with fear and stumbling self-doubt. ‘Love’ takes me to the feeling of being wrapped in the arms of a romantic partner whose commitment to me feels secure, unequivocal, total. It carries me to the moment when my twin brother held my hand, hour after hour, the day after serious surgery.

When I imagine moments where I’ve given love to others, I think of authentic expressions of closeness – to my parents, for example – that have dragged up a well of good feeling in me. I think of an attempt to be present for a close friend in times of struggle and need, through listening, acceptance, affirmation. I bring to mind spontaneous, unflinching outpourings of affection through words and touch. ‘Lovelessness’ makes me think of moments of absence. I have felt unloved when people from whom I have expected love have been distant, detached or disconnected. I’ve known what it is not to be loved when my romantic feelings of deep curiosity and admiration have been unrequited. I’ve felt a deprivation of love when I’ve faced abrupt, unexplained hostility from those with whom I should have had a loving relationship.

Out of these experiences of the practice of love, it is possible to outline what love might be. I don’t want to define the abstract noun ‘love’ here. Instead, what I am interested in, like hooks, is the verb: what it means to love. It is clear to me, from my experiences, that love involves a deep concern, that love is related to a steady state of support, that love is a force transmitted outwards from one person to another, that love is bounded by relationships in which there are expectations of presence and security.

Love, in sum, is a deep sense of warmth directed towards another. This approach, which I developed with the New Zealand writer Philip McKibbin, highlights love’s depth and directedness. It’s consistent with self-love, which involves a deep sense of warmth being directed towards our own selves. The word ‘warmth’ gets at the outpouring of goodwill that is associated with love. And warmth can take more specific forms, such as affection, attention, care, and concern. To love is a feeling, an emotion, but as Simone said of freedom, that’s ‘not all of it’. Love is between and beyond feeling and emotion. One way of expressing this is to say that love is a feature of the spirit: in other words, that loving is spiritual…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/it-is-time-for-love-to-become-a-radical-force-in-politics

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What A War With North Korea Would Probably Look Like

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Back in 2013 during the last major flare up between the U.S. and North Korea I wrote an extensive analysis on the North Korean wild card and how it could be used by globalists as a catalyst for international economic instability titled ‘Will Globalists Use North Korea To Trigger Catastrophe?’ As I have warned consistently over the years, like Syria, North Korea is a longstanding chaos box; a big red button that the elites can press any time they wish to instigate a chain of greater geopolitical tensions. The question has always been, will they actually use it?

Well, it appears that under the Trump administration the establishment might go for broke. I have not seen U.S. war rhetoric so intense since the second invasion of Iraq, and all over missile tests which have been standard fare for North Korea for many years. With whispers by Trump aides of a possible 50,000 boots on the ground in Syria, and open discussion of preemptive strikes in North Korea, this time kinetic conflict is highly likely.

Yes, we have seen such military pressures before, but this time feels different. Why is an aimless quagmire war with massive potential global financial repercussions more likely under Trump? Because Trump ran under a nationalist conservative banner, and he will forever be labeled a nationalist conservative even if his behavior appears to be more globalist in nature.

Rhetoric is often more psychologically powerful in the minds of the masses than action. Therefore, everything Trump does from now on will also be labeled a product of the “nationalist conservative” ideology; including all of his screw-ups. And, with Trump in office the establishment is perfectly happy to pursue actions once considered taboo, because demonizing conservatives and liberty proponents is one of their primary objectives.

When the real insanity starts, liberty movement activists will gnash their teeth and scream at the top of their lungs that Trump is “not acting like a conservative,” so how can conservative thinking be blamed by extension? But these people just don’t grasp the thought processes of the human mind. No matter how much we try to separate ourselves from the Trump-train if (or when) he goes full-bore globalist, our efforts will be futile. The mainstream media has spent considerable time and effort making sure that all of us are lumped in with the so-called “alt-right.”  Remember, I tried to warn the movement about this long before Trump won the election.

Currently, there are questions as to whether or not a naval task force is en route to North Korea.  I would not trust the latest reports that all units are headed to Australia when Vice President Mike Pence is in Japan yesterday saying “the sword stands ready”.  Could this be more posturing or a precursor to a strike scenario? I am reminded of the U.S.S. Maddox which was sent to patrol the waters off of Vietnam, the same destroyer that reported an attack by North Vietnamese torpedo boats which was used as justification for the initiation of the Vietnam War. As it turned out, no such attack actually occurred.

The presence of a U.S. fleet off North Korea could only be intended to instigate further aggression, not defuse the situation.

So, if war with North Korea is inevitable given the circumstances, what would such a war look like? Here are some elements I think are most important; elements that make the war almost unwinnable, if winning is even the purpose…

North Korean Air Defense

The North Koreans spent the better part of the last war with the U.S. being heavily battered by air bombardments. They have had plenty of time since then to consider this problem and prepare. Even the most gung-ho American military minds are forced to admit that using only air based attacks in North Korea is not practical. And where we have been spoiled by steady video streams of laser guided hell dropped on Iraqi and Afghani targets in the past, don’t expect things to go so easily in North Korea.

While North Korea is still rife with economic problems (like every other communist and socialist nation), they still have an industrial base and produce many of their own arms. This includes and extensive missile net backed by a maze of radar systems. Their air force is by all accounts obsolete, but as I have mentioned in the past, advanced missile defense is the wave of the future. It’s cheaper and can render expensive enemy air force and naval units impotent…

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http://sorendreier.com/what-a-war-with-north-korea-would-probably-look-like/

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How Western Civilisation Could Collapse

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by Soren Dreier
Author: Rachel Nuwer

The political economist Benjamin Friedman once compared modern Western society to a stable bicycle whose wheels are kept spinning by economic growth. Should that forward-propelling motion slow or cease, the pillars that define our society – democracy, individual liberties, social tolerance and more – would begin to teeter. Our world would become an increasingly ugly place, one defined by a scramble over limited resources and a rejection of anyone outside of our immediate group. Should we find no way to get the wheels back in motion, we’d eventually face total societal collapse.

Such collapses have occurred many times in human history, and no civilisation, no matter how seemingly great, is immune to the vulnerabilities that may lead a society to its end. Regardless of how well things are going in the present moment, the situation can always change. Putting aside species-ending events like an asteroid strike, nuclear winter or deadly pandemic, history tells us that it’s usually a plethora of factors that contribute to collapse. What are they, and which, if any, have already begun to surface? It should come as no surprise that humanity is currently on an unsustainable and uncertain path – but just how close are we to reaching the point of no return?

While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, mathematics, science and history can provide hints about the prospects of Western societies for long-term continuation.

Safa Motesharrei, a systems scientist at the University of Maryland, uses computer models to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that can lead to local or global sustainability or collapse. According to findings that Motesharrei and his colleagues published in 2014, there are two factors that matter: ecological strain and economic stratification. The ecological category is the more widely understood and recognised path to potential doom, especially in terms of depletion of natural resources such as groundwater, soil, fisheries and forests – all of which could be worsened by climate change.

That economic stratification may lead to collapse on its own, on the other hand, came as more of a surprise to Motesharrei and his colleagues. Under this scenario, elites push society toward instability and eventual collapse by hoarding huge quantities of wealth and resources, and leaving little or none for commoners who vastly outnumber them yet support them with labour. Eventually, the working population crashes because the portion of wealth allocated to them is not enough, followed by collapse of the elites due to the absence of labour. The inequalities we see today both within and between countries already point to such disparities. For example, the top 10% of global income earners are responsible for almost as much total greenhouse gas emissions as the bottom 90% combined. Similarly, about half the world’s population lives on less than $3 per day.

For both scenarios, the models define a carrying capacity – a total population level that a given environment’s resources can sustain over the long term. If the carrying capacity is overshot by too much, collapse becomes inevitable. That fate is avoidable, however. “If we make rational choices to reduce factors such as inequality, explosive population growth, the rate at which we deplete natural resources and the rate of pollution – all perfectly doable things – then we can avoid collapse and stabilise onto a sustainable trajectory,” Motesharrei said. “But we cannot wait forever to make those decisions.”…

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http://sorendreier.com/how-western-civilisation-could-collapse/

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Raising good robots

Resultado de imagem para Gael Rougegrez of the Blanca Li Dance Company performs ‘Robot’, 22 February 2017 in London, England. Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty

Image edited by Web Investigator- Gael Rougegrez of the Blanca Li Dance Company performs ‘Robot’, 22 February 2017 in London, England. Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty

We already have a way to teach morals to alien intelligences: it’s called parenting. Can we apply the same methods to robots?

Regina Rini is an assistant professor and faculty fellow at the New York University Center for Bioethics, and an affiliate faculty member in the Medical Ethics division of the NYU Department of Population Health.

 

Intelligent machines, long promised and never delivered, are finally on the horizon. Sufficiently intelligent robots will be able to operate autonomously from human control. They will be able to make genuine choices. And if a robot can make choices, there is a real question about whether it will make moral choices. But what is moral for a robot? Is this the same as what’s moral for a human?

Philosophers and computer scientists alike tend to focus on the difficulty of implementing subtle human morality in literal-minded machines. But there’s another problem, one that really ought to come first. It’s the question of whether we ought to try to impose our own morality on intelligent machines at all. In fact, I’d argue that doing so is likely to be counterproductive, and even unethical. The real problem of robot morality is not the robots, but us. Can we handle sharing the world with a new type of moral creature?

We like to imagine that artificial intelligence (AI) will be similar to humans, because we are the only advanced intelligence we know. But we are probably wrong. If and when AI appears, it will probably be quite unlike us. It might not reason the way we do, and we could have difficulty understanding its choices.

In 2016, a computer program challenged Lee Sedol, humanity’s leading player of the ancient game of Go. The program, a Google project called AlphaGo, is an early example of what AI might be like. In the second game of the match, AlphaGo made a move – ‘Move 37’ – that stunned expert commenters. Some thought it was a mistake. Lee, the human opponent, stood up from the table and left the room. No one quite knew what AlphaGo was doing; this was a tactic that expert human players simply did not use. But it worked. AlphaGo won that match, as it had the game before and the next game. In the end, Lee won only a single game out of five.

AlphaGo is very, very good at Go, but it is not good in the same way that humans are. Not even its creators can explain how it settles on its strategy in each game. Imagine that you could talk to AlphaGo and ask why it made Move 37. Would it be able to explain the choice to you – or to human Go experts? Perhaps. Artificial minds needn’t work as ours do to accomplish similar tasks.

In fact, we might discover that intelligent machines think about everything, not just Go, in ways that are alien us. You don’t have to imagine some horrible science-fiction scenario, where robots go on a murderous rampage. It might be something more like this: imagine that robots show moral concern for humans, and robots, and most animals… and also sofas. They are very careful not to damage sofas, just as we’re careful not to damage babies. We might ask the machines: why are you so worried about sofas? And their explanation might not make sense to us, just as AlphaGo’s explanation of Move 37 might not make sense.

This line of thinking takes us to the heart of a very old philosophical puzzle about the nature of morality. Is it something above and beyond human experience, something that applies to anyone or anything that could make choices – or is morality a distinctly human creation, something specially adapted to our particular existence?

Long before robots, the ancient Greeks had to grapple with the morality of a different kind of alien mind: the teenager. The Greeks worried endlessly about how to cultivate morality in their youth. Plato thought that our human concept of justice, like all human concepts, was a pale reflection of some perfect form of Justice. He believed that we have an innate acquaintance with these forms, but that we understand them only dimly as children. Perhaps we will encounter pure Justice after death, but the task of philosophy is to try to reason our way back to these truths while we are still living…

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https://aeon.co/essays/creating-robots-capable-of-moral-reasoning-is-like-parenting

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Do Aliens Have Inalienable Rights?

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SELF-AWARE SEA LIFE?: Peter Godfrey-Smith has said that an octopus is “probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”Sylke Rohrlach / Wikipedia

What ET teaches us about our moral obligations.

Last January I was walking with my granddaughter along a beach near Melbourne when we noticed several people gathered around a rock pool, peering into the water. Wondering what had attracted their attention, we went over and saw that it was an octopus. If the spectators were interested in it, it also seemed interested in them. It came to the edge of the pool, one of its eyes directed at the people above, and stretched a tentacle out of the water, as if offering to shake hands. No one took up the offer but at least no one tried to capture the animal or turn it into calamari. That was pleasing because, as Peter Godfrey-Smith says in his recent book Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness, an octopus is “probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.”

If we do ever meet an intelligent alien, even a tasty one, I hope we have sufficient ethical awareness to think of more than pleasing our palates or filling our stomachs. My view that this would be the wrong way to respond to such an encounter, however, leads to a deeper question: What moral status would extra-terrestrials have? Would we have obligations to them? Would they have rights? And would our answers depend on their intelligence?

These questions bring to mind Steven Spielberg’s celebrated 1982 movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.  In case you haven’t seen the film, it features a friendly extraterrestrial who lands on Earth with some colleagues on a botanical research expedition and is accidentally left behind. E.T. is befriended by Elliott, a 10-year-old boy, and soon shows that he has a full range of human-like feelings, including homesickness. He also has greater compassion for other species than most humans do. In one memorable scene, Elliott, moved by feelings that come from E.T., liberates the frogs in his biology class.

I use E.T. as a thought-experiment to challenge students to reconsider their speciesism—the still widely held assumption that the boundary of our species is also the boundary of beings with rights, or with interests that we ought to take seriously. So far, the only nonhumans we have encountered are animals, plants, fungi, and microscopic living things such as protozoans, bacteria, algae, and spirochetes. When we consider the moral status of these organisms, our thinking is likely to be biased by our own interests in using them, especially as sources of food, or in avoiding being made ill by them.

This is clearest when we think about how we ought to treat nonhuman animals. We have deeply embedded customs of killing and eating animals and using their skins for fur and leather.  Many people can hardly imagine a meal without meat or other animal products. Religious and philosophical thinkers are as susceptible to bias as other people, and so most of them have justified this practice. In doing so, these thinkers have dug a broad gulf in our minds between ourselves and nonhuman animals. Even the term “nonhuman animals” sounds odd, because it implies that we are animals. It should not sound odd at all, because we have known, ever since Darwin, that we are animals. Yet we persist in thinking that we are a separate creation, that we alone are made in the image of God, or that we alone have an immortal soul.

It might be difficult to tell whether extraterrestrial life forms are capable of suffering or experiencing happiness.

E.T. challenges the moral significance of the species boundary both because we recognize in him a being with feelings very like ours, and because we have no prejudice against him based on a history of eating his kind, putting them in circuses for our amusement, or using them as beasts of burden. So if I ask my students, “Would it have been ethically permissible for scientists to kill E.T. and dissect him for the purposes of what would surely be extremely interesting scientific research?” they unanimously reject that idea. Some things that we could do to harm aliens, they concede, are wrong. If they accept that, then they must also accept that the sphere of proper ethical concern is not limited to members of the species Homo sapiens.

Accepting that it would be wrong to kill and dissect E.T. is a first step in exploring our ethical obligations to extraterrestrial life, but it does not take us very far. Perhaps we have ethical obligations only to beings who have a high level of intelligence, self-awareness, or communicative ability, and if we ever discover extraterrestrial life lacking in these qualities, we will have no obligations to them.

Once the species-barrier has been breached, however, it is not so easy to fall back on the requirement that a being pass some threshold for cognitive abilities in order to have rights. For then we have to consider human beings who fail that test—as both human infants, and humans with profound intellectual disability, do. Surely they have interests that need to be considered, whether or not they possess, or have the potential to develop, higher cognitive capacities…

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http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness/do-aliens-have-inalienable-rights

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Forget About Terraforming Mars. Here’s Why.

The Red Planet lacks a source of carbon dioxide that could transform its thin, cold atmosphere into something resembling conditions on Earth.

 https://www.seeker.com/space/planets/forget-about-terraforming-mars-heres-why
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Anarchy vs. Minarchy: Do You Want a Little Government or None at All?

Makia Freeman, Contributor
Waking Times

Anarchy vs. minarchy is the contrast between the idea of a society with no government (anarchy) or a small, limited government (minarchy). For many awake and aware people, the current state of the world is so dysfunctional that they have gone beyond the point of trying to justify our current governmental structures. For this growing number of people of all nations and cultures, it’s no longer about left vs right, Democrat vs Republican, socialism vs conservatism or all the other false dichotomies that abound on the political spectrum. For many of us, there’s simply no point in investing time and energy into an illusion – the political illusion – while pretending it actually makes a difference. Why argue who is going to be the better slavemaster or the lesser of 2 evils? We are really only left with 2 choices: between having a small government or having no government. So which would be better for humanity, minarchy or anarchy?

Definitions of Anarchy, Minarchy and Voluntaryism

First of all, the words anarchy and minarchy come from the Greek words “an-” (meaning without), “arkhos” (meaning rule, chief or ruler) and the Latin prefix “min-” (meaning small). Thus, anarchy is a society or nation with no rules (i.e. government-sanctioned law), rulers or a ruling class, whereas minarchy is one with a minimal amount of rules, rulers and a ruling class. Care must be taken not to confuse minarchy with monarchy! Also, instead of the term anarchy, it may be more apt to use the word voluntaryism, which describes a stateless society where all human interactions are voluntary and where no central authority exists to make or enforce laws.

Anarchy ≠ Chaos

Before we begin, it’s important to address a common misconception, that anarchy = chaos. Anarchy does not equal chaos! You can still have organization, cooperation, harmony and trust in a society where there is no central authority. It is up to the individual members to act in such a way to create that society. You can even have hierarchy in a voluntary society, where members voluntarily choose to structure an organization like that (e.g. for purposes of speed, coherence and efficiency). However, such hierarchy would never be forced on anyone, because the organizations containing it would be voluntary associations.

Likewise, it’s important to stress that anarchy does not mean utopia either. It’s naive to think that everyone will just magically get along and there will be no criminals or evil if we just remove government. However, as I will get to later, the point is about humanity evolving in terms of responsibility so that we can face these problems in a different way.

The Pros of Minarchism: Arguments For a Small, Limited Government

Many people who become anarchists or voluntaryists first become minarchists, because the idea of imagining the abolition of all government in a single step is very daunting for most. Minarchists believe that we can’t do away with government altogether, because it’s necessary and fulfills too many vital, essential roles that would be difficult or impossible to otherwise fulfill. These are the top reasons and justifications usually proposed for minarchy:

– Need for a central register in society (e.g. to be the one “official” list of titles to property, which plays a key part in dispute resolution);

– Need for central planning and centralized authority for good organization;

– Need to have some mechanism to control and offset other power gangs in society, such as the Mafia and the Corporatocracy;

– Criminal justice (i.e. catching criminals, providing the arena and the judge for trials of suspects); and

– Health safety protection (e.g. forcing quarantine in case of an outbreak).

Some people also advance the claim that government (and governmentally-approved corporate structures) are the reason that Western nations evolved faster than other nations. In this entertaining debate at Anarchapulco, Mark Skousen makes the points that we need minarchy to force a criminal suspect to actually come to the courtroom and stand trial, to ensure quarantine in emergency situations, and to enforce eminent domain (the right government takes upon itself to be able to force buy anyone’s property for national and municipal organizational purposes).

The Cons of Minarchy: Arguments Against a Small, Limited Government

His opponent, Larken Rose, vehemently denies that minarchy is a good idea. He points out the following reasons why:

– Minarchists advocate the “arch” or the existence of a ruling class. All monarchists are statists. They still believe in external authority. They still advocate some kind of government; they just think or want that such a government only do what they want it to do;

– Who decides what the “minimum” amount of power is that a government is allowed to wield? It will always be arbitrary;

– The constitutional limits written down to supposedly restrain minarchy governments don’t work. No one pays attention to the limits, and it’s ultimately not possible to enforce them;

– A constitution almost always provides for its own amendment, so anyone can “legally” and “constitutionally” change the entire constitution piece by piece. Look at how the Weimar Republic “legally” gave Hitler massive power and became the totalitarian state of Nazi Germany;…

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About the Author

Makia Freeman is the editor of The Freedom Articles and senior researcher at ToolsForFreedom.com (FaceBook here), writing on many aspects of truth and freedom, from exposing aspects of the worldwide conspiracy to suggesting solutions for how humanity can create a new system of peace and abundance

**Sources embedded throughout article.

This article (Anarchy vs. Minarchy: Do You Want a Little Government or None at All?) was originally created and published by The Freedom Articles and is re-posted here with permission. 

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/04/14/anarchy-vs-minarchy-want-little-government-none/

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