I'm a science & engineering nerd. Acoustics specialist. Passionate anti-theist. Environmental protection advocate. Supporter of secular humanist charities.
TIL about "thought-terminating clichés". https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Thought-terminating_clich%C3%A9
A thought-terminating cliché is a saying, often a tautology, that is repeated in order to relieve the stress of cognitive dissonance by avoiding all further consideration of a matter. Everyday examples include "it is what it is," "it's just common sense," and "you gotta do what you gotta do."
Thought-terminating clichés are an important aspect of mind control as used by cults. For example, the Unification Church uses the cliché "you think too much," while Alcoholics Anonymous says "your best thinking got you here" and "utilize, don't analyze."
* The Lord works in mysterious ways.
* All's well that ends well.
* You never know until you try.
* You never succeed for not trying.
* Do, or do not, there is no try.
* Make of it what you will but…
* If you don't like it, don't buy it.
* That's just your opinion.
* I'm just saying.
* Do your own research.
What is Government? It is literally the controlling of people's behaviour. What does a government actually do? It makes rules, and rules are nothing but a collection of controls of people's behaviour. The rules are based on arbitrary policies, hence the root of the term "politics".
There is only one type of politics: Conservatism. Conservatism is the preferential allocation of more freedoms to one group of people, while selectively removing freedoms from another group of people. That's what Conservatism is, and that's what all governments do, and that's what Politics literally is. Nothing more.
What are the Police? The truth is hidden in plain sight: their name means that they are the ones who enforce the Policies of the Rulers who are in power at the time. They are literally the Rulers' thugs.
Their job is literally to restrict and control the freedoms of one group of people, while simultaneously allowing more freedoms for another group of people. Ostensibly, officially, they only act in strict accordance with the rules, but in practice they selectively and preferentially enforce the rules more or less within their broad discretionary powers, according to the unwritten and possibly also unspoken deeper Intent behind the current rulers' policies. For example, if the current rulers are clearly, obviously racist, but they haven't (yet?) codified their racism into written rules, the Police will use their latitude to enforce racism within the community.
It appears to me that there is a hypocrisy rampant among the USAmerican Right Wing that is so gargantuan that they cannot see it.
They froth at the mouth about "Freedom"
but they do not mean "freedom for everybody".
They demand absolute freedom for themselves. OK, I get it. That particular goal is understandable on its own. It has many major inherent problems, but as an ideology it is not implicitly malignant.
However they also demand the right to restrict the freedoms of others. They demand the power to take away any freedoms they want, from anyone else, anywhere, anytime.
This is such a fanatical abuse of power that it is abhorrent to any objective sense of reason and justice.
Apparently, the people who want to wield this power do not consider the possibility that they might perhaps not be worthy to do so. They just seem to assume that they deserve the right to deal out judgement and punishment however they deem fit at any moment. They want their own freedom, while at the same time they want to be able to control everyone/anyone else's freedoms and restrictions.
Having ADHD is like trying to cram for the most important exam of your life, while almost dead from sleep deprivation, while on the open deck of a fishing boat, with all the workers yelling and doing stuff, during The Perfect Storm, in the middle of a Naval battle between 5 battleships. And the tip of your pencil keeps snapping off.
Wherever a system already exists, or whenever a new system is created there will always be three types of users:
1. Those who work within the system. They get the permitted types of things done, but slowly, inefficiently and wastefully.
2. Those who immediately strive to figure out how to work around the system to get shit done efficiently
3. This who immediately strive to figure out how to exploit the system and get what they want, forcing the system to give it to them, in contradiction to the system's intended meaning and design.
Which type are you?
Politics, Human Nature.
Homo Sapiens evolved on the plains of the Serengeti.
Homo Sapiens' ancestors were Prey animals.
Homo Sapiens became Predators only after inventing tools (and weapons).
Homo Sapiens' original genetics causes their default instincts to be based on fear, anxiety and caution, and only allow the organism to relax and pursue other other experiences such as social bonding, in the absence of fear-inducing stimulus.
Humans become less fearful when they are holding weapons.
In a safe environment, humans can be creative with tools.
In an unsafe environment, creativity is stifled, social bonding is suppressed, and humans prefer holding weapons rather than tools.
Conservative politics is all based on fear.
(Fear! Fire! Foes! The Visigoths are at the gate! Doom and Gloom! Batten Down the Hatches! Slam the Doors and Shutters! Tighten your Purse Strings and your Belts!)
Progressive (ie. creative) politics cannot thrive in a stressful, fearful environment.
The modern economic systems that most governments want in their countries are based on the assumption, the hope, and the need for humans to be creative.
But the Conservative factions in the governments think that they can goad the population into being extremely creative at sword point/gunpoint, with the Air Raid sirens blaring through every News outlet.
In times of fear & uncertainty, most people vote Conservative. Because Progressives (hope & creativity) cannot save us from scary stuff.
The problem with Belief is that if you allow yourself to believe things, then you also automatically allow yourself permission to believe ANYthing. If something new comes along, if you decide that you like the sound of it, then you have given yourself the power to choose to believe that thing, no matter what it might be.
Religion trains people to believe stuff - to accept information as "true" without any evidence. And then to lock it in the mind, never to be questioned again. So once you've been brainwashed into perfecting this ability (dis-ability?) (usually while you are young and impressionable), you then go through life carrying that option to use that far-from-laudable "life skill" whenever you are faced with new information. That's now one of the cognitive weapons in your mental bag of tricks.
So a typical example would be:
A person was taught (perhaps in childhood) that it is perfectly acceptable to believe things - to decide/accept things to be "true" without evidence. Then they are told that there is a bunch of stuff about magical people wearing sandals that they must believe (... or else!).
Then that person, living daily life, comes across some new information - a claim, a statement made without evidence.
In that moment, they honestly think that it is a perfectly acceptable life choice, to simply believe that thing, if they so choose.
What tools do they have in their minds, in their mental bag of tricks, to help them make that choice? To decide whether to accept the information as "true" … to "Believe" it or not?
Oh, dear, how unfortunate. They weren't taught *those* tricks in childhood. Woops.
The Unscientific way of judging whether something is True or not, is to let your feelings decide for you. People do this all the time. You make a snap judgement about whether you want to accept something as being "true" - by listening to your feelings. The catastrophic danger of this method is that your feelings are influenced by what you *want* to be true. That makes it quite easy for me to convince you that something is True, if I know how to manipulate your feelings.
"A lie can run around the world before the truth has got its boots on." -Terry Pratchett
The Scientific way of judging what is True or not is to let the *facts* convince you. Observable, testable, repeatable facts.
However if you don't know how to judge the truthfulness of some information by evaluating the weight of its supporting evidence, sadly, most people will just trust their feelings. This is such a risky gamble, because feelings are a terrible guide toward Truth.
"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." -Upton Sinclair
Only an Atheist has any chance of developing any level of true understanding of Nature, The World/Universe, and the Human Condition.
This is because a Theist's mind is polluted and hobbled, and cannot think clearly. Theism metaphorically poisons and disables the mind's ability to connect cause and effect, and thereby sabotages the brain's ability to build accurate mental models of how the world works, and how humans behave.
But if you are free from the destructive influence of religion on your mental faculties and your ability to reason, then you can see the world and the human being for what they truly are. Of course, the actual amount that you understand those two things will depend on how much, how broadly, how deeply and how intensely you have studied them. But at least you have a fighting chance of making decent progress towards a hefty amount of understanding, without religion's blindfold.
One thing about the human condition that empowers a person's ability to understand themselves, to understand other humans, and to understand the world that humans build (and the cages that they choose to live in) is to realise with clarity that the world that we perceive is not the real world at all. What we think that we perceive as reality is fact nothing more than a simulation of reality that we construct inside our brains. So, in that sense, the crackpot pseudo-theory that is currently wasting some people's time: that the Universe is a complex "simulation" of reality being created in some kind of computer, is not complete nonsense. In actual fact, these people's ideas are closer to the truth than they know - the Universe is indeed a simulation - one that each person continually creates for themselves inside their own brain, and simultaneously lives within. So where the crackpots are wrong is that there is not one vast, grand simulation that we all inhabit, rather, there are billions of simulations of the Universe running. There is exactly one simulation of the Universe in each person's head.
Starting from that premise - that you are never perceiving reality, in fact you are only ever perceiving a copy of reality that you are creating (in real time!), now you can uncover some real revelations:
We don't actually perceive reality very clearly at all. Our brains are very limited in their ability to sense and receive data, process it, and decide how to act on it. In fact our brains are quite poor at doing all of those things, nevertheless somehow we muddle along, and we constantly create art, mathematics, science, invention, politics and war.
One particular power/ability that the brain has, which most people never give a thought to and never realise that they have - is that we can choose what we want to perceive. We usually call it Imagination, but that's a limited description of what our brain is doing unconsciously all the time, and it's a limited portrayal of what our brain can do at our command, under our will.
We can choose what to perceive at any moment. We can allow our senses to receive input data, but instead of letting it pass straight through the brain to be acted upon, we can morph/change/distort/twist/alter/censor/block any particular input data ... if we use our imagination pro-actively, with enough sheer force of mental will. Actually it doesn't really even require any effort, because all people are doing this all day every day - we all twist, distort, filter, selectively ignore some of our sensory perception at all times. Imagine this scene: you and someone else are facing a closed door, side-by-side. The door opens, and you both see what is on the other side of the doorway. Each of you will perceive something different. Not merely because of your difference viewpoint perspectives, but because of what you think about the thing that you can now see. Neither of you will perceive the thing clearly. Each of you is (partly) the sum of your separate experiences - and what you perceive on the other side of the doorway will be coloured/filtered/tainted/distorted by your own personal memories and experiences. Therefore, both of you will perceive wrongly.
The immense power of the human imagination is that you can choose how to perceive, if you want. You are in control of how you filter/distort the scene before you, how you want to experience the world.
Why would you want to do that? Because your subconscious mind literally cannot distinguish between reality and that which is vividly imagined. If you vividly imagine a scene, your autonomic nervous system will respond as though you are actually experiencing that scene. Your heart rate, breathing, skin temperature, blood pressure, etc. all change, because your body has no choice but to obey the mind's imagination. If I ask you to slow your heart rate, your heart rate will not change, but if you vividly imagine yourself relaxing on a beach, you can change your heart rate.
Why is learning this skill important? Because most people have got this faculty running rampant and out of control inside their minds. Eg. if they are stuck in a boring conversation, they are imagining being elsewhere, so they are not mentally "present" - they are not paying attention - they are not absorbing the sensory input from the world around them. At that moment, they are living in a fantasy land inside their own minds.
Religions, cults, revolutionaries and politicians take advantage of this - and they use manipulation techniques to get people to hold in their minds a contrived, constructed pseudo-reality, so that the flock of fervent, brainwashed, abused victims all choose to see the world through a shared lens that distorts what they see into a similar, shared mass-hypnotised vision. If a mix of people looked up at a cloud in the sky - all the Christians might see a Winged Angel, while all the Moslems looking at the same cloud might see Muhammad on a Winged Horse. Their brains would do this automatically, because their brains have been trained to keep those types of images in their mind's eye at all times.
Well, who cares? What's the point of all of this? Why does this even matter? Of course we see things the way were taught to perceive the world - our families, our teachers, our governments, our (cough, cough) religions, ... they weren't evil or stupid, so what they taught us was for our own good. ( ... wasn't it?)
No. The human compulsive behaviour of imprinting your beliefs onto your children's minds is not helping your children. It is severely harming and damaging them. Not just religious indoctrination - also your political leanings, your business notions, your racist attitudes, your idea of what a family should look like - all of those things shut down and excise vast oceans of freedom from your child's mind and from your childrens' futures.
Why do people feel compelled to share their beliefs with others? With their children, with strangers, etc.? Why do religions want to spread - throughout the neighborhood, throughout the country, across the globe?
Trying to believe something that you were told to believe is not the same as living in a fantasy world that you created in your own mind.
The problem with religions, cults, business and politicians is that they utterly rely upon you staying in their fantasy land. They utterly need for you to keep the visions in your mind, the visions that control your behaviour. They utterly need you to keep showing up and to keep giving them money and power. They keep you under control by endlessly repeating the commands and the stories that keep you maintaining the visions in your mind. Call it brainwashing, propaganda, advertising, mass/ministry, etc., it's all about re-telling you the stories so that you keep re-painting the same pictures in your mind, so that you keep perceiving the world the way they want you to, so that they feel safe in numbers. They always want an adoring fan-club because their beliefs can't possibly be wrong if many other people believe them too! The Leaders of cults, political parties, etc. all share a common Cause: - which is always only to spread their beliefs further and wider. And if you and your family are willing to sacrifice your lives for the Leader's cause, then that's even better, because it strengthens the Leader's claims that the beliefs must be "right".
The way to save yourself from others having this type of power over you is: don't believe anything. Don't try to force your will upon the world - you cannot force the world to be exactly compatible with your perception filters. Stop choosing to perceive what you want your eyes to see, what you want your ears to hear. Instead, just let the "virtual reality" in your mind reproduce an exact copy of the world around you. Let your mind be like a mirror to the world in real time. Just pay attention to your senses and let that sensory input information captivate your imagination. Lose yourself in the world - just relax your mind's constant struggle and don't try to make your imagination over-power what your senses are perceiving. Stop mentally fighting the world and just let it in.
In that state of mind, something becomes very obvious: the world has no meaning. The world has no purpose. You don't have to strive to become something. You don't have to use the power of your imagination to change the world. You can just be.
And then something else becomes obvious too, something even cooler - if you do want to change the world, your imagination is where you need to start. Even if you don't want to change the whole world - if you just want to change something about your little piece of the world - your imagination is the necessary (but not sufficient) key to unlock your potential.
Do you see now, how Theism disempowers this natural ability that all humans innately have? You cannot tap into this mental ability and make use of this mental power, if religion has surgically removed your innate powers of imagination to control your reality.
Adam Smith (The "Father of Capitalism") actually wrote TWO main books, and he considered his first book "The Theory of Moral Sentiments" (1759) to be the more important of his two main ideas. Also, rampant capitalists conveniently omit one key word from their favourite quote in his second book "The Wealth of Nations" (1776). He said " .... *enlightened* self-interest."
What do YOU think he meant by "enlightened"?
I don't think he meant for us to allow Rupert Murdoch, Gina Reinhardt, BlackRock and Vanguard to decide what quality of life most Australians should be forced to accept.
When the USA's Second Amendment to the Constitution was written, a firearm was a single-shot flintlock musket or a single-shot flintlock pistol. Either one took about a minute or two to re-load. Nowadays, pre-teens can order an AR-15 Assault Rifle with a Bump Stock from the Dark Web.
Consider this: When Adam Smith wrote his book on Capitalism, Watt's Steam Engine was brand new, the Industrial Revolution had only just begun - it had only really been going strong for a decade or two. It must have been an exciting time - the potential for future wealth would have been thrilling. Even then, steam engines were only used in mining to pump water. The actual mining of coal was still done BY HAND using pickaxes.
Rampant Capitalism is The Death of Nations.
youtube-dl doesn’t infringe or encourage the infringement of any copyrighted works, nor does it “circumvent” any technical protection measures on YouTube videos. But that hasn’t stopped the RIAA from looking for new ways to take it offline. https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/03/campaign-shut-down-crucial-documentary-tool-youtube-dl-continues-and-so-does-fight
Is the Russian invasion of Ukraine at its core: a money grab by the Russian Oligarchs - is it in fact simply a "hostile takeover" with human lives being one of the metrics of "acceptable losses"?
Or is it more a case of Putin being a megalomaniac and is flexing to maintain leadership among those Oligarchs?
I'll try to do Frank's thoughts justice. I am not as clever or as articulate as he is, but I will do my best to explain what I think is his main point, by using a real-world example.
In almost all democracies, the system has gravitated (settled down) into a two-dominant-party system: the Conservatives versus the Progressives. You could think of this as the embodiment of the two major types of human personalities - a) Selfish; and b) Social. (It's the "ME" versus "US" debate).
The Conservatives (the Voters and the Politicians) are all selfish people. They are all about "hoarding" and "protecting" which is just greed, based on fear of loss/fear of not having enough.
The Progressives are all about "safety in numbers" - ie. what's good for all of us is naturally good for me - so we should all take care of each other and that will automatically be the best outcome for all of us - which of course includes me - so it's based on hope for the future - it's based on emotional investment - ie. self-sacrifice for the short-term because it will pay off for all of us (including myself) in future.
But, no matter which type of political party is in power at the time (and now we are talking about ALL types of governments - not just democracies) - the only type of "power" that the ruling government has, is to relax the rules for some people - and tighten them for other people.
So eg. when Conservatives rule - they relax the rules (ie. they give exemptions, etc.) for rich people/businesses, because they think that will help them to achieve their agenda.
And when Progressives are in power - they relax the rules for the Unions and for Working Class people because they thing that's what will help them to achieve their agenda.
Of course, what we mean by "rules" is the Law.
Have you ever noticed how, the richer a person is, the more they are convinced that the Laws don't apply to them? Same for businesses. In fact, the richer a person/business is, the more influence they have on the Lawmakers (the government) to change the ACTUAL Laws, to let them do even more of whatever the hell they want.
The only difference between Conservative governments and Progressive governments is their lists of people/businesses for whom they are willing to relax the rules (and their lists of people/businesses for whom they want to tighten the rules).
What (I think) Mr. Wilhoit is trying to say - is that this situation - where ALL governments squeeze/suppress/restrict/oppress one "type" of citizen while relaxing/supporting/nurturing other "types" of citizens is fundamentally flawed, and is not based on equality of human rights. Even if Progressives THINK that they are all about "equality" in fact they are not - because they are equally as guilty of preferential restriction & relaxing of the rules for some citizens, as the Conservatives are, the only difference is in their choice of whom they are going to suppress and whom they are going to nurture.
I'm a science & engineering nerd. Acoustics specialist. Passionate anti-theist. Environmental protection advocate. Supporter of secular humanist charities.
QOTO: Question Others to Teach Ourselves. A STEM-oriented instance.
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Explicit hate speech and harassment strictly forbidden.
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