The ISS space fungi saga, and some nasty possibilities


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2The net-garbled furore over fungi growing on the ISS space station has been dragging on for a while. The information is detailed, to a point, but not detailed enough, and better still, not official, so nobody has to do anything about it.

There’s a lot of news about the space fungi, and that’s the good news. The other news is that things could get a lot worse, soon, and for the future. Let’s start with the quality of information available. The net takeaway from the “news” is that the fungi are aggressive, there’s a lot of them, and that microorganisms can live in space.

Fun so far, isn’t it? God knows what is growing away, damaging equipment, eating metal… It’d be a good science fiction movie, but this is supposedly real.

The internet has again turned everything in to a mix of fact and what looks very like fiction. (Thanks again, guys, you’re a great help. You could be the Breitbart of science, the way you’re going. Shut up if you’re not sure, and if you are sure, be clear.)

Established facts so far:

  • 200 known organisms can exist in space, including our old friends, the pneumococci.
  • The Soviet Mir space station supposedly had a ferocious mix of bacterial and fungal growths. They grew with exceptional speed and volume.
  • NASA acknowledges the existence of the various microfauna and flora, but isn’t committing to any statements so far, quite rightly.
  • The fungi are an operational problem, and have even managed to block water lines on the ISS. NASA is analysing data.
  • The survivability of fungi isn’t in question. Other tests have proven that some species of Antarctic fungi could effectively “live on Mars”.
  • Pathogen checks have been done on the ISS for the last decade, to deal with human microorganisms in the enclosed environment.
  • They’re very hard/impossible to eradicate.

Unproven facts and fictions:

IS the Mars rover being eaten by fungi? Maybe someone should go find out.

Fungi are eating Mars rovers. (Looked like a natural candidate for Photoshop to me, but some alleged growth patterns are similar to terrestrial fungi. See the Soviet Mir link above for the video at the bottom. Not entirely convincing, but I’m a fungi buff, too, so nice try, even if not true. You need to know quite a bit about fungi to do that.)

The fungi come from space. Maybe so, in fact that’s a theory for the beginning of life on Earth. Even so, you’d have to do some pretty fancy genetic sequencing to prove it, and that’s not happening so far. Space fungi, if they are, could tell us more about biological adaption in space than thousands of years of research. It’d be a real Rosetta Stone for multiple issues. The gene sequencing could also fill in a few blanks, too, maybe?

 

The fungi use acetic acid to dissolve tungsten? Huh? Acetic acid, aka vinegar, is great for breaking down things, and killing moulds in bathrooms, but tungsten? Fungi use enzymes, and enzymes which destroy metal could be called overkill. They don’t seem to do a lot of that on Earth, either. The other side of this very skeptical view is that there are obvious stains and visible effects on surfaces on the ISS. How? Seems like it’s a subject well worth exploring.

Fungus and fungal problems for the future

OK, so that was 400 or so words of semi-information for you. You’ll notice I’m not too impressed with the standard of information or depth of research. Looks to me like much more work has to go in to analysis, and much less speculation. If this is the real deal, the first case of managing biological hazards in space, kindly take it seriously.

IS the Mars rover being eaten by fungi? Maybe someone should go find out.

Irritating as some of this stuff is, none of it is entirely out of the ballpark. Fungi and some types of algae are the undisputed toughest organisms on Earth. They’ve survived all the major extinctions, every single one. They are incredibly efficient biologically, and can break down practically any type of organic or inorganic material. If anything’s going to survive anywhere, the fungi are prime candidates.

They can live through heat, cold, UV, etc., in fact they’re incredibly well adapted to do just that. If anything’s alive on Mars, nobody in bio science will be too surprised if it’s this range of organisms.

Now the problems:

  • Point(s) of origin, Earth or space, or both? The idea of taking some overachieving, potentially dangerous buts and fungi in to space where they become even worse isn’t appealing. Decontamination methods will need to be developed, and they’ll add to the load of space exploration. (There is absolutely nothing to be said for accumulating vast amounts of toxic contaminants in flight.)
  • Terrestrial microorganisms travelling in space naturally have affinities with Earth-based life. So when away from home, where’s the most likely place for them to set up shop? Anywhere near anything terrestrial, of course.
  • Does this mean humans will take their pathogens with them wherever they go? It might. It might be worse, too; multigenerational fungi and bacteria could become omni-resistant to decontamination, “superbugs”, and progressively more virulent. The trouble with this situation is that humans would make a great vector for just about every known disease. (There is a precedent for this; the housefly. Flies followed humans around the world. There’s no reason to believe microorganisms would object to a free ride, either.)
  • Are our pathogens toxic to other life? Probably, and that’s despite total alien-ness; super aggressive organisms are chemically They don’t have to find a biological dating agency to hook up with something and cause chaos. See what a fungus blight did to potatoes in Ireland during the Famine. Contact with humans could be fatal. Space travel may bring literal tides of microfauna in to space. If so, and the microfauna is dangerous, humans needn’t expect to be thanked for it. After all, we do know how dangerous some of these organisms can be on Earth.
  • Microorganisms are highly adaptive. We also know that these organisms adapt rapidly to any hostile environment. Ironically, we could use fungi as explorers, just to see how they cope with new environments. The obvious issue is that they’ll adapt to any countermeasures as quickly as usual, or perhaps even more quickly. (Why does nobody do generational studies on resistance, to see how the damn things adapt, by the way? Would have saved a lot of trouble with the superbugs.)

Nobody’s even mentioned viruses, yet, a substrate of the likely micro ecology on the ISS. No phages? If not, why not?

So – Is humanity going to emerge from Earth, bringing every known disease and pathogen with it? Or is this going to be another case of just blunder along, bringing plagues with the explorers? Great image for humanity’s first outings in to space, isn’t it?

This is a real challenge. Even if it’s only 1% of the possible problems as outlined, they’re still potentially huge problems.

The cosmic microwave background – Not all that self-explanatory, either. Just have a guess how many fungi could be living in that.

Ironically, some years ago I did a book which included Martian pathogens as part of the storyline, terrestrial microfauna which isolated a Martian colony.

The book, of course, was ignored, as usual. Pity, because it was so much fun to write.To hell with you alleged literati. If you can’t be bothered reading a fun book, I don’t want to know you.

(I can’t begin to tell you what I think of a society which doesn’t read, and usually doesn’t understand what it reads.) Nice to know my storyline has some vindication, though.

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

The truth about lack of leadership


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Leadership is a very personal thing. It’s about the person leading. All leaders have different styles. No two great leaders have much in common except their ability to lead. Global leadership is currently at an all-time low. Western leadership not only lacks style; it lacks credibility.

The trouble with leadership is that some people really do need leading. I think the only people who “need strong leaders” are weak followers. They’re lost, unable to take the initiative in any direction. The lack of initiative, at any level, is a symptom of true failure.

You don’t beat problems by waiting for them to hit you like a train. That’s exactly what the world has been doing, for several decades. Intelligent leaders anticipate; the current herd of cattle procrastinate. They digress in to minutiae as the problems breed like bacteria.

You call this leadership?

Rhetoric isn’t leadership; it’s talk.

  • Ideology isn’t leadership; it’s an excuse for what is done.
  • No amount of media hype equates to a single atom of leadership.
  • Leadership means taking responsibility; seen any personal accountability recently?
  • Leadership means personal commitment; seen any sudden outbreaks of personal guts?

Consider the current range of problems, which now extend to even such basics as water, land use and generational futures:

  • Would you run your family on the basis of no water, no housing, no healthy environment, and not even a clear path to a future for your kids? That’s what the current “leadership” is doing, very badly.
  • Would you raise your family in a sewer, with a sewer as the future? It’s happening on a truly colossal scale. The sheer scale of global contamination of all kinds is raging unchecked.
  • Would you train your family to believe that failure is the norm? The mere idea of the public interest is now the synonym for losers.

The disorganized mess which global civilization has become is the epitome of failure of leadership at all levels. Instead of focusing on the obvious big issues, and charging in in a coordinated way with all guns blazing, the odd squeak is heard.

Instead of ferocious all-out counters to rampant crime, corruption and political excess at the expense of the public, a few clichés trundle out, and nothing – meaning absolutely nothing – is done. It’s endemic.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

Leadership HAS to be creative. You have to create solutions and plan achievements. This book is about putting people in touch with their own creativity.

The social leadership is now just about giveaways from the public purse to anyone or anything that happens to be able to freeload at any given time. Privatization was never about economic efficiency; prices have been rising and quality of life deteriorating ever since it began. Free enterprise built the modern economy; freeloading is destroying it, and it’s from the top, not the welfare class.

Deregulation is fine, for people who break laws. For everyone else, it’s just an opportunity to get ripped off. Another meaningless myth from pseudo-leadership with no ideas, just greed, as its raison d’etre. Even a game of football has rules, but not a society? Come off it.

Pollution is poisoning the world. Instead of being exterminated like it deserves, mindless subservience to greed is the excuse for a toxic mix of chemicals covering the entire planet. No leadership at all on this subject.

Leadership failure as a science

The failures are everywhere:

Instead of properly managing child sex abuse, it’s become an industry, and abusers, who’ve committed actual crimes, are protected by religions. It’s OK for people to pay to have their kids abused. Is that leadership, as you know it?

American ValhallaInstead of acknowledging problems and major economic disasters, like the finance sector’s highly destructive practices a la 2008, etc., they’re running things. No accountability. They should have got 20 years in jail; they’re still doing dangerous deals with ridiculous levels of credit. Again, see any leadership?

The failures are so systemic they can now be called a science. Every issue, every problem, becomes a job creation for people determined not to solve it. They get paid billions for achieving nothing, and usually doing more damage.

A real science would measure achievement. This science of leadership failure measures lack of achievement, and pays itself more to keep right on failing.

Why the failure of global leadership?

This routine failure to deal with ANY problems is no coincidence. I’m not going to mention the “usual scum” by name. There’s no need. Every failure eventually exposes itself as a failure of intellect as much as a failure of courage or even basic skills. The crashed corporation, the failed state, the symptoms of failure are always the same.

This book is about national problems. The leadership could be from anyone who understands those problems. Don’t hold your breath.

When the truly incompetent are in charge, this is what happens. Leadership is failing because it has incentives to fail. Every pathetic weakling in any sort of leadership role benefits from being the one in charge. Their actual leadership is horrendously ineffectual, but they have the influence. That influence translates in to “success”, like the idiot gambler who loses millions, but is holding everyone else’s money.

Gambling, in fact, is a good analogy. Everyone knows that wins are rare, and most gamblers lose. The psychosis of gambling, much like politics, is based on the theoretical chance of winning and the illusions of winning.

The illusions are deadly. To be appointed Head Idiot is a win. To be in front of cameras is a win. To be in charge of a herd of rich fools is a win. The ego rewards and the inevitable, endless escapes from blame are wins. Failed leadership, lacking real success, has to claim success in these ways.

The gambler is always looking for the big win that will put everything right. In lieu of that, the chance to win is the excuse for more failures and stupid moves. No need for in-depth psychology here; failure supports its own delusions. Therefore, it perpetuates itself.

Leadership can’t be based on failure. Illusions can’t be successes.  To progress, achievement, not non-achievement, is required.

Can you lead yourself? Leadership is based on oneself; if you can lead yourself, you can lead others. You might take a bit of convincing, but that means you may be honest enough to be a real leader.

The image of power and the exercise of power have very little in common. Any fool can portray the image. Very few have ever exercised power in its greatest form, the power to transform the world. Of those few, some did so despite leadership, rather than because of it.

Since the 19th century, the world has been transformed in the face of ancient tyrannies, mindless hatreds, festering crime, and putrescent people of all kinds. The real leadership came from basic human aspirations, in many cases.

Those aspirations are dangerous things. They sometimes follow aspiring fools, “just do their jobs” in aspiring atrocities, and take Great Leaps Forward in to hellish years of misery.

Many disasters, in fact, are caused by aspirations with no real guidance. The other role of leaders is as guides. Leaders are supposed to understand the risks, know how to dodge them, and look out for dangerous situations.

So failed global leadership means the Great Dung Cart of Humanity isn’t getting steered. It can crash in to anything and everything, and usually does. The aspirations can’t really control anything, just create a direction for movement towards whatever fulfils it, however illusory or downright false.

“Heroic” leadership?

Historically, some leaders have been actually heroic. Heroism, however, can be a pretty difficult necessity. I think most heroic leaders would agree that:

  • Being heroic is all well and good, but it also gets in the way of doing the rest of the job, which is much more mundane and demanding.
  • Being heroic and doing something useful are basically the same thing.
  • They didn’t intend to be “heroic” as such; they just needed to get a job done.
  • They led because they had to; it’s not unusual for previously invisible people to take charge when nobody else will.
  • Their view of their own bravery is very different to that of others. Real leadership is done on a very subjective, unavoidably honest, level. Hard work can’t be done on a fictional basis.
  • If being heroic meant moving a mountain of shit with a teaspoon to dig people out, they did it. They often did it because nobody else would.

This book is about how an ideology can lead. Where it leads tells you everything you need to know about this type of leadership.

There’s a common factor here – Leaders get on with it. Non-leaders don’t. You don’t actually have to be a hero to lead; you just need to be willing to do the tough jobs, and credible enough to get people to follow you.

Another facet, “inspiration”, is also important. If you can inspire others to lead, you’re a leader of leaders, and useful. In the current totally demotivational circus of non-leadership, that’d be very useful.

Seen anyone inspiring lately? Mediocrity is now the substitute for success. Fools, frauds, and failures are portrayed as leaders. They’re not. The world will have to raise the bar, a lot, to achieve any real leadership.

 

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

Where’s the last place people look for anything? In their own minds.


 

 

In a culture so utterly devoid of real substance, it’s fascinating that materialism is still the default value system. Gizmos come and go, useless toil comes and goes, and the mind barely acknowledges its own existence.

Consider:

The reality you experience is largely external. It, and its mainly useless values, are brought in to the mind and stacked up like groceries. The external defines the possible. The internal is some sort of spectator, baffled by everything and inflicted with everything. It’s absurd. It’s like surgically grafting yourself on to a YouTube ad, or anything else you can take or leave.

Everything is focused externally. It’s hard to avoid. After all, in its own obnoxious way, the external is relevant. The question is where and when does it stop being relevant?

People have been answering that question, vaguely or not, for millennia. The pity of it is that all this effort apparently hasn’t made the point – This Means You.

The “world” vs the mind

I have very little time for the idea of “emotional intelligence”. It’s a tautology, to start with. It also demands conformity with a set of “everybody does it” behaviours. A better approach would be “unique intelligence”, which is also very close to a tautology, but at least of use to individuals as a reference point. Every human being is unique. There aren’t any others. Why, then, the difficulty in simply acknowledging the inevitable differences? Even within yourself?

This is an off the rack world. It’s now truly pathetic. The tedious, grindingly banal and avoidable crap is spewed out like some omni-vomit. What right does this failed catalogue of an El Cheapo “civilization” have to dictate anything to anyone? Do you take orders from a Twinkie? You might as well.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

 

It’s also a type of life experience pollution. From the staggeringly no-fun conveyor belt of what is now pseudo-childhood through the cement bags nailed to the head of teenage life, it just gets worse. Every damn pile of external garbage will be piled in to the storage zone, vaguely remembered for decades after.

The 20s throw people in to the ridiculous vacuum of careers and mindless acquisition. If you’re incredibly lucky, you may have a good relationship to share the insanity with. The 30s make it worse and often very hard to manage. You hit the 40s, in which Stone Age people were virtual athletes, and modern humans are train wrecks with life’s luggage piling up. And so on.

 

How could this substandard Rube Goldberg existence possibly work at all? There’s no room in people’s lives for themselves, their talents, or their individuality. You get crowded out of yourself, in effect.

Looking for something? Try your mind.

Pavlov’s dog had it easy. Humans have thousands of bells ringing all the time. Each bell generates a reaction, usually a conditioned reflex which is barely conscious. The reflexes can be wrong. They may relate to something which is truly unthinking. The human mind barely gets a chance to assess and evolve its own perspectives on these micro-dominoes happening all the time.

The fact is that people work better on their own terms. For over a decade now, I’ve been saying “Fit jobs to people, not people to jobs”. The same applies to the mind.

The human mind, if it ever gets a chance to get out of the bassinet before being swamped by ennui and mundane crap, can do better. A lot better.

Imagine a genuinely rational response to anything:

  • Do I like it?
  • Do I want to avoid it?
  • Is there a better way?
  • Does it need to be done at all?
  • What are the better things to do?

These aren’t material values, although they often transfer to physical acts. The fact is that most people’s lives are governed by the avoidable and the unavoidable. The unavoidable, however, is often inexcusable. It’s something you don’t want to do, be with, associate with, etc.

If your mind could get a word in edgewise, the advice about the unavoidable would be very straightforward: Forget it, I hate it. I’ve got better things to do and see. This advice would be backed up with genuine loathing, disgust, and quite reasonable disdain.

Now – Imagine 7.6 billion humans doing things they don’t want to do, in an environment where their minds are screaming for release. Fun place to be, eh? Stress through the roof, neuroses, wars, greed, et al of Nothing Land.

This is where “unique intelligence” can do a lot. Fortunately, the real inner person in everyone is strictly DIY. Nobody else has that frame of reference. There are ways out. As many ways as there are people.

Start a de-cluttering exercise, beginning with every damn thing you’ve always hated and despised. Respect yourself. If you want to believe in anything, start with yourself. It’s far better to believe in something you know, trust and understand. You’ll be a lot happier, and a lot more independent… And nobody can stop you.

www.sydneymediajam.com

The dying religions and their rotting corpses


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2I don’t usually knock religions. I know that for millions of people living in poverty and unbelievable squalor, religion gives them the only hope they have. I have to respect that. On that basis is this article written.

The utter betrayal of humanity by its religions is no minor thing. The fanatics, the pedophiles, the corruption and the total failure of religions to achieve their missions are inexcusable. Like politics, religion is now a simple executive task for plodders, a corporate business with no redeeming features. That’s not good enough.

The Abrahamic religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, no longer represent anything but political power. Communities live in misery. The message they’re given is nothing but excuses to hate. Spiritual life is the mere recital of doggerel, and the demand for money.

The greatest betrayal of religion

The greatest betrayal is simple enough –  The hope is given of a better existence. The fact is given of unredeemed poverty, tyrannical conformity. With this obscenity comes an ugliness of small, petty minds unworthy to mention any god, let alone claim to be experts.

Beliefs are supposed to mean something. In the Golden Age of Meaninglessness, you get a brochure, not a meaningful belief.

Cowering behind scriptures, the religions spread their hate and filthy horrors in the material world. Ancient hatreds, thousands of years old in some cases, infest the world. The resulting spiritual cowardice of the religions is extraordinary. No issue is permitted to intrude on this festival of failure, whether it’s the total mismanagement of human affairs or the hideous, poisoned world in which humanity exists.

If the original gods have gone, the gods of greed, crime, malice and the Great God of Endless Excuses remain. Tell the Devil he’s out of a job; the religions have done what no incarnation of evil could ever do. Those who live in this world need no hell, no Purgatory, and certainly no more smug fools making life worse every second of every day.

The history of religions as actual arguments and practice is baffling:

  • The Christian idea of “man has no free will” is a case in point. If that were the case, is god a mere cheat sheet? If everything is preordained, what is the point of it? How do be fruitful and multiply apply to serial abuses by the clergy? Is anything really being done about it? No.
  • Islam was at one point the most progressive, enlightened religion in the world. More actual progress in the sciences was achieved by the original Islamic civilization than perhaps any other than the Chinese. Now, it’s at war with itself and the world, based on truly ancient hatreds, money, and current power politics.
  • Judaism was the foundation of the monotheistic religions. It has an unmatched record of genuine scholarship. Now, it seems dogmatic and insular. How are scholarship and dogmatic insularity reconciled? Not well, it seems. Even with good reasons in the course of history, Judaism of all religions should know that scholarship and dodging real issues with scriptural conveniences can’t work.

The religions can’t have it both ways. You’re given the privilege of teaching, and you start wars? You persecute the students, and only slavishly reciting the messages of hate permits them to graduate? This isn’t religion; it’s incompetence at best, blatant hypocrisy on average, and genocide at worst.

How many damn fools does it take to find a god? Far too many, apparently. Even the basics are ignored. The only reason religions have lasted so long in their hypocritically righteous stupor is by a curious, if appropriate, fact. Religions have survived not by their official pomposity, but by the work of their people who are rarely acknowledged, or more often ruined by their work.

In South America, the first to raise the issue of the slaughter and extermination of the natives was a Jesuit. Yes, a Jesuit, supposedly one of the most dogmatic, ferociously conventional forms of Catholicism. This poor man simply told the truth. Was he thanked? Hardly. Not for about 300 years, when modern history caught up with the facts.

We had a friend who was a refugee from communist Hungary. He wanted to practice his religion. When he came to Australia, he was astonished. In his home town, the priests were actual social workers, the real Christianity of the dim and misunderstood European past. He went back to communist Hungary, rather than worship in Australia. All he could see were priests going through the motions; there was no Christianity as he understood it.

There are endless stories of religion failing to live up to its tasks. The religions are dying of themselves. They’ve polluted themselves with the very thing they were supposed to cure. When the Romans became Christianized, there was an exchange of values. The Christians became Romanized. The most corrupt, venal society passed on its genes to those least able to understand them, the (relatively) simple Christians practicing their then much less complex faith.

The great betrayals of religion

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

The pattern has repeated often enough. Martin Luther went to Rome, went back to Germany, and planted the Reformation in the minds of Europeans based on the corruption of Rome as he saw it. The Inquisition created its own worst enemies out of its centuries of injustice. The net effect of the two religious forces was a century of war.

There is not, and never has been, any Scripture which condones injustice. Injustice is a plague on this world which everyone knows all too well.

There is no Scripture which condones abuse of believers. How many believers of different religions are abused on a daily basis, either by deprivation of needs or actual physical abuse? Hundreds of millions, directly or indirectly.

There is no Scripture which permits the abuse of children. Now pedophiles are betraying the children of worshippers, and the churches cringe behind lawyers, rather than addressing an actual issue. This is now discovered to be a universal problem with many religions.

Jesus, Mohamed and Moses were opponents of tyranny, physical and spiritual. Now their religions support tyranny, act corruptly, uphold the miseries of human life, and demand respect? It’s not likely to be forthcoming. The message of hate is failing.

Perhaps fittingly the religions also betray themselves. It’s hard to imagine any more thorough way of bringing religion in to disrepute than the usual evasive business of every religion every day.

Where and when does it end? Soon enough, apparently. The religions are losing their believers, and their practitioners. There is no longer a use for beliefs which aren’t even practiced by their most fanatical adherents.

Maybe the hope which all these people have will come true. If so, it won’t be as the result of the maniacal hatreds promoted by the religions. It won’t be because some simpering coward in a cassock refused to see the truth. It won’t be because some damn animal uses god as excuse for atrocities.

The hope will come from recognition of the irreconcilable differences between the true messages of the religions and the vermin who pervert those messages. When the hopeful leave the rotting corpses of the religions and simply pursue their hopes, the religions, and their obscenities, will be truly dead.

 

 

 

The problems get bigger and the minds keep getting smaller


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2When you think of all the possibilities for human advancement in to a species almost worth calling intelligent, it’s a grim picture. The minds managing the most crucial issues aren’t anywhere near the kind of thinking required to solve problems and get ahead of them.

We could have had Star Trek by now or something like it if it wasn’t for the seemingly endless reduction of everything to tinier and tinier fractions of the big ideas.  The big ideas are too big for the small minds.

I wish this was intellectual snobbery at work. Sadly, it’s not. It’s observation, and the observations truly stink. It’s easy to denigrate anyone or anything on the basis of what they don’t do. It’s far too easy for my tastes. It’s also off target.

For example:

Wanderlaugh, Paul Wallis books, Amazon

My books are set in the England of the immortals, not some dreary little off license. Wonder why? No.

The subject is ending world hunger. The result in terms of actual thinking is a catfight over everything but practical issues. I’ve been watching starving people all over the world for decades, and absolutely nothing has changed.

Meanwhile, imagine the thinking required to obstruct ending world hunger. It can’t be rational, it can’t be even coherent, yet people continue to starve for no good reason. Apply this lack of mental cohesion to:

  • Pollution
  • Health
  • Education
  • Housing
  • Quality of life
  • Unprecedented levels of parasitic crime
  • Human aspirations in general

This is why we have unheard-of levels of technology and unheard-of levels of imbecility at the same time. Nothing is impossible, and yet nothing, or near enough to nothing, gets done.

In the case of human hunger, you can have sophist/regressionist arguments like:

“Why end world hunger? There are too many people. Maybe starvation will make people breed more responsibly.” This load of self-satisfied/we’re so superior (you’re not) crap can actually be considered a rational viewpoint in some areas of gaga land. The fact that population pressures have never been addressed competently at all in most countries, of course, is neither mentioned nor factored in to existing situations. It’s the starving people’s fault.

And so on. Every single damn problem on Earth is fixable, and the chances of them getting fixed are exactly zip or less.

The problem that has to be fixed first is the total lack of objectivity. Small minds have small aspirations. To be head idiot is enough. To preside over adoring morons is sufficient. To do anything, however, is likely to be a very modest attempt at meeting a random selection of “achievements”, however banal.

The randomness with which problems are seen and addressed is one of the big issues. There’s no system. Imagine a type of scientific research where bits of a subject are researched on a “whatever” basis. Consider basic human daily issues. You get fabulous deodorants, but no broad spectrum disease prevention. You get driverless cars, but no working traffic system which maximises movement.

In this case the thinking isn’t just small minds doing small things badly. There’s no thinking at all. Even the idea of systemic progress and development barely exists outside science fiction. The theory and mechanics of them are there, in everything from town planning to economics, but not much really happens.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

Humanity just blunders on through a maze of avoidable disasters, and the thinking is no more advanced than the next election or next funding episode. The problems have become gigantic in direct proportion to the smallness of the minds supposedly there to solve them.

The lack of trust in government is based on this observation. Globally, most governments are despised with a contempt they thoroughly deserve.  Those who do nothing/have done nothing aren’t expected to do much. In fact, merely saying that you’ll do something is enough to give you far more credibility than you deserve.

Why such small minds?

It’s interesting, if infuriating, to note that in the past small-mindedness was seen as such. Now, it’s pretty normal. What has happened in the last 100 years or so to cause this degeneration of human thinking in to a slopfest of mediocrity?

A theory:

Environmental factors: If people are raised in a bland, sterile old kitchen sink environment like most cities, their perceptions are based on looking at very dull, unimaginative things. This lack of environmental stimulus has to have some effect, and very low levels of thinking are pretty predictable.

Life models: In the past you could discover a new world. Now, you can discover a new fast food chain. Again, no challenges, no stimuli, no thinking.

A life based on trivia and intrusive problems: The change from self-motivation to force-fed, unspeakably dull lives of paying bills and dodging bullets of various kinds is very mentally time consuming. How brilliant are you supposed to be, if your next phone bill is towering over the horizon, forcing you to stop thinking about everything else.

Half-arse social models: You could be forgiven for thinking that everything is a shop window. The two dimensional nature of human life is basically a commercial. That’s supposed to create a functional society? No. It’s supposed to create the image of a society which has never existed, like a cheap visual teddy bear. There’s no life and commitment to anything in the real society, just a collection of meaningless selfies.

The illusion of personal advancement: Personal advancement has de-evolved in to a collection of possessions and status role playing. The actual people usually aren’t particularly advanced, or even interesting. They’ve been promoted from plodders to paragons, and their thinking is still that of plodders. As people, they haven’t advanced at all; they’ve simply become more smug and insular about the artificial exterior image of themselves. Add to this the Pecking Order of Peasants/ Right to Patronize ingrained in every status promotion, and you get boring, boorish bullshit artists banging their tin drums of the few thoughts they can understand themselves.

The illusion of wealth: Let’s not denigrate wealth for being wealth. It is what it is. Wealth is fun, if you happen to have it. It’s an escape from the problems lack of wealth causes, as the old saying goes. It’s also a sort of insidious personal hallucination. It doesn’t make you somebody else. Your mind, lucky you, is the same accumulation of whatever put your personality together. You can be a billionaire outside, and a pauper inside. No amount of money cures emotional, intellectual, or any other kind of internal poverty. Quite the opposite; you have to hide outside yourself to avoid the issues. You may be the life of the party; too bad about the corpse inside, eh?

(Can’t resist quoting one of my favorite stories: Nathan Rothschild had a furious visitor, a Lord Something, who barged in to his office and demanded to speak with him. Rothschild told him to take a chair, he’d be with him in a minute. Lord Something exploded and asked if Rothschild knew who he was. Rothschild said, “Take two chairs.” A good working example of what I mean.)

Inferior quality insanity: Insanity used to be interesting. Now it’s just another middle class trade. It’s predictable, if ugly, dull, if noisy. The small minds don’t even go insane with any great level of gusto or achievement. Some minds benefit from the spark of stimulus that makes them brilliant. Small minds don’t. They simply become more passionate about very trivial, very boring, things. They don’t even create their own insanity; they copy it from something else. How else do you go insane and become fanatical about tired old ideas, religions, pedantic absurdities, and theories about the sewer of hideous non-facts that make up modern life?

Not all that sorry to take a little time to build a case, but this is the real killer scenario in the saga of small minds vs problems:

Real achievement is based on real thinking. The progress from bashing rocks together to electronics and gene management is based on that process.

To advance, humanity needs people who can do that thinking. There’s no future in thinking which only goes backwards or sideways. Non-progressive thinking simply stirs up the existing sewage.

Small minds can’t, and won’t, handle big ideas. They don’t have the range or the capacity to even understand the macro issues, let alone work on them. The small thinking is more likely to run away than to deal with issues. (See the last 30 years for details.) They’re scared of the big problems and frightened of the responsibilities.

Regression always totally fails. There are countless examples throughout modern and ancient history of small-minded attempts to turn back the clock and oversimplify to the point of madness the most complex situations. None of the regressive societies has ever survived. Tyranny, maniacal fanaticism, and all the clichés of the past, have died out in a flurry of failures.

The moral of the story is simple enough: Find the minds that can solve the problems, and preferably get ahead of the problems. Stop looking for obliging idiots and start looking for thinkers. No amount of fake news, fake people and fake logic can solve what’s coming.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

Users please note: Amazon A-store is being discontinued by Amazon in July 2017. Some graphic image links on this blog for older articles may not work. 

Moron fatigue, a possible cure?


 

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2Moron fatigue is the result of  having a mind and knowing what you’re talking about. In a world full of absurd fake information of all kinds, supported by raving fanatical lunatics howling over every trivial issue, it’s more or less inevitable.

The good news is that moron fatigue, like the people who cause it, is superficial. You won’t die of it, and unfortunately neither will they, but it is annoying and intrusive, like a rash.

It can cause stress, which is more serious. If you’ve been listening for hours or what seems like decades to morons, or seeing their “revelations” for too long, you may feel like you need decontamination. You’re right.

No, I’m not going to suggest tolerance or acceptance. Quite the opposite. Morons should not be tolerated in your life in any form. They shouldn’t be tolerated in your career, either; they’re instant risks, as well as being utterly useless. There’s no such thing as a “useful idiot”, even in politics, where being a moron is a career requirement.

They certainly shouldn’t be “accepted” as though they were some form of unavoidable thing. They are quite avoidable and should be.  Accepting the presence of a moron is like accepting a sort of endless liability. It’s ridiculous.

The immortal Celts in EnglandPredictably enough, the culture of engagement of the previous decade has left a slimy, sleazy, filth of intrusive moronic issues, situations, and problems. These types of engagement are all intrusive. Your privacy, like your peace of mind, is always at risk.

This world is based on types of engagement. Being a “social species” (sounds absurd, doesn’t it?) humans have to engage with some things, despite their better judgment and sense of personal hygiene. The obstacle course of modern life, of course, means you may have to engage with nice, sweet, smug, plump, fizzy, morons.

These endlessly employed, fully qualified, useless things seem to be built in to everything from middle management to those tiresome, pedantic fools with no imagination who just happen to be running things incredibly badly.  They’re experts on nothing and have inputs in to everything around them. They’re the people who add 20 steps to something which should only take 1 step. They’re the drones in meetings, the tedious bastards who turn minor issues in to month-long epics.

The cure for moron fatigue

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

The proven cure is disengagement. You need to be clear about what you’re disengaging yourself from, and understand the values of disengagement. In the past, hermits were people who’d disengaged from society for basically the same reasons. Hermits were supposed to be ascetics, spiritual, whatever, but there were other good reasons for becoming a hermit:

Intellectual and professional contamination: The most common effect of morons is to intrude their imbecility in to everything.

  • Obstruction: Morons get in the way of doing anything; they add obstacles to any process, any logic, any simple task. They are inefficiency incarnate.
  • Religion: There is nothing more offensive than being told what to believe by some parroting fool who’s spouting beliefs like a broken sewer pipe. How many experts on God have you met? How many have the spiritual nature of a used piece of toilet paper?
  • Bores: The bore is to humanity what sexual diseases are to sex. They come in all forms, from the truly ponderous, excruciatingly dull to the mono-subject Car Bore, College Bore, Sports Bore, Politics Bore, Money Bore, etc. You’ll find teams of elite bores infesting any subject.
  • Materialists: Everything about a materialist is external. There’s usually nothing internal. There is no person in a materialist, just a cliché- obsessed shopping list.
  • “Smart”, born-dishonest, hypocritical people: Everyone thinks they’re a genius, a great actor, and that other people believe every word they say. Some people are almost orgasmic when they think they’re getting away with something. This is the classic description of all-round morons.

All these morons have one thing in common – They all take up physical time and mental space, and everything they do leads to some uncomfortable situation for you. Aesthetically, they’re usually bland-hideous and spectacularly uninteresting on every level. Intellectually, they’re nothing.  Pretty damn good reasons for disengagement, wouldn’t you say?

The practical methods of moron fatigue cure

Whatever you’re disengaging from, remember that your mind and your life can benefit by simply excluding these fools. Most people have a natural instinct to disengage, but don’t know how to do it.

A few options for disengagement:

  • “The online hermit”: Lose the bores, lose the intrusive people, and lose the incompetent by unfriending, blocking, or simply abusing them until they go away. Change your contact addresses, change your avatars, become invisible. That will at least get rid of the serial offenders.
  • Don’t be nice about unacceptable things: Tell people where to go. Do NOT tolerate unwanted intrusions. Ruthlessly eliminate the unacceptable. Avoid subjects and people where you already know the likely outcomes, which saves time.
  • If you don’t like someone, don’t engage: Simple, efficient, and worthwhile if only for reducing the crowds of time wasters and lousy sources of information. Snap judgments may be right or wrong, but the instant-disengage approach allows you to filter out the fools.
  • Don’t make a career of being surrounded by morons: Busy career people learn to adapt to morons by a simple, but self-inflicted process of developing “working relationships” with morons. This seems harmless, until you realize you’ve spent 30 years wading around in them and the results of their stupidity. That’s 30 years of dealing with non-achievers, problem-causers, obstructionists, and non-innovators who’ll never amount to anything. Save yourself some time – Map out a career path where you don’t have to deal with these plodding idiots.

Everyone has a personal suite of morons in their lives. Everyone’s need to disengage is therefore different, too. These are hints, but the bottom line is “Lose the morons any way you can”. You’ll feel a lot better.

www.sydneymediajam.com

 

Why we should be paid to read the “news”


 

 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2False news be damned. The real news isn’t much better. It’s a tale of a failed civilization. Worthless rich animals parading around a disaster area from pole to pole being “important”. Meaningless, do-nothing statements galore. Fanatical fools of all kinds. Organized crime up to the armpits, aided and abetted by governments. The news is more like an obituary at the world’s expense.

Civilizations fall for one reason and one reason only – Mismanagement. It weakens them to the point they simply fall apart. It doesn’t really matter how they’re mismanaged; the effect is the same. They lack the cohesion to resist their falls. All else follows.

When governments aren’t governments, they’re actual crimes in progress. Leadership, there is none. Just a few tiresome hacks reciting old dogmas and playing with public money, giving it to each other and themselves like it was their own. Their stupidity, mediocrity and illiteracy is confirmed with every word they say and everything they do.

World War 3 is now obsolete. It’s unnecessary. A few more decades of this level of maladministration in this high population mass and total failure will do the job, probably better than weapons.

Didn’t know that, eh?

I’m not going to do an analysis. There’s no need. It’s obvious how badly the whole idea of civilization has failed at all levels. The news is like a sports commentary – “Yes, the horse is running up its own arse”, and variations which mean basically the same thing.

When experts spend time hiding behind quotes from others, they’re not experts. They’re not even thinking. The easy out is to cite references to everything but facts, and that’s the language of the times.

When people “believe” anything and everything without even understanding the basics, it’s not belief. It’s self-fraud. It’s the admission of total incomprehension, too, another drastic self-harm methodology you can get online anywhere. When it applies to “news”, it’s mass self-fraud and self-harm.

If humanity ever expects to get out of this dunghill it’s built over itself, the only option is honesty about the hard facts. Anyone expecting a sudden outbreak of honesty? I ask because without realism you can’t achieve competence. Without competence, you’ve got no chance of doing anything right.

How many physical functions can you see in this one picture? Trillions, in fact, from atoms to macro structures, and all working together. Now, imagine an “intelligent life form” which doesn’t even get the basics. Still feeling brilliant?

News, as everyone knows, is a commodity, as much as it is information, whatever the quality of that information. Bullshit futures should be way up. So should disingenuous futures. Anything which is utterly useless is highly valued; that includes people, ideas and dribbling policies based on simple-minded money grabs.

If there’s a certain justice in the fact that the people making billions by destroying future generations before they’re born could be making trillions by not destroying them. There’s more justice to be had from the ridiculous come and go news which is instantly contradicted, or simply fades in to the oblivion it deserves.

So – How to get paid for reading the news without being a paid troll?

  1. You could bet on which new disaster will be announced, or which country is going to fall to pieces next, etc.
  2. Bullshit subsidies. News organizations could pay readers for reading specific information, in cash or reward points, etc. Appropriate, at least, when you bear in mind they’re reading about the next death threat from global incompetence.
  3. This is the currency of publishers. Non-news is published for that reason. Why not bribe the readers, too.
  4. “Applause money”. Pay readers to say how great the news reporting is. Requires no honesty or other difficult to obtain personal resources.
  5. “Youth culture allowance”. Pay kids to absorb the culture of necrosis. Don’t think of it as news; think of it as a sort of gangrene.

Well, trash? Will that save your ridiculous business models and your gutless selves? Will you be able to bleat on uselessly for a few more decades with help from paid readers?

I’ll give humanity 50 more years. Fail now, and you fail forever. Why would a pack of dishonest, gullible, naive, “evil” little fools get a second chance? You might as well pay the readers, because they’re as likely to go extinct as you are.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

Beating CO2 with cyanobacteria and marine algae


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam CO2If you’ve been watching the eyebrow dragging Trump administration grovelling to Big Oil like everyone else, you’ve probably got the message. Oil is God, and humanity can go to hell with as much pollution as it likes. Easy to mass produce marine algae and cyanobacteria could change that.

CO2 levels have been rising at a fantastic rate throughout human history, and particularly recent history.

According to New Scientist (8 April 2017), the average American (remember them?) produces about 16 tonnes of CO2 per year. The average European produces 7 tonnes.

Both are way too much Why should any human produce 70 or 360 times their own mass in CO2? . It doesn’t matter at this point. The story now is that all this CO2 is causing climate change. The other story, such as it is, is that +2C is the target, and +3C will have “apocalyptic” ramifications. Sea level rise could be 2-3 metres, which I think is way too optimistic. I think about 8-10 metres is more believable, and even that may be under the mark. All previous estimates of ice melt have been on the shallow side so far, excuse the pun.

Note: I consider the mean level of CO2 in ppm as the only provable, working definition of CO2 levels. CO2 levels have risen from 313 ppm when I was born to 400 ppm last year. That’s a gigantic increase.  Forget Little Ice Ages and paleo historical excuses; in all climate change scenarios, adding CO2 doesn’t do anything but warm up the planet. Adding 36 billion tonnes per year, therefore, can’t do anything but speed up the heating process.

Marine algae and cyanobacteria to the rescue?

So – How to reverse global warming? With machines? Expensive and probably slow, with possible inefficiencies, and no guarantee of adequacy of scale to meet needs. With chemicals? Same story, basically. Bio agents which can absorb CO2, on the other hand, are easy to mass produce, hence the interest in cyanobacteria and marine algae, which can be produced by the giga tonne.

The fact is that simply cutting emissions now won’t do enough fast enough, thanks to the oil lobby and their subhuman political pets. An accessible, 100% reliable way to physically reduce CO2 levels is required.  The algae and cyanobacteria are just that.

Marine algae and cyanobacteria

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

Most CO2 is captured by marine algae, not trees and plants. Marine algae are a huge global biomass which basically drives the carbon cycle through the oceans. Marine algae can be produced in gigantic quantities and released in to the oceans. The worst side effect is likely to be massive increases in the number of fish. (That’d be a great outcome if the fish weren’t full of micro-plastic, of course.) The algae will act directly on any CO2 they encounter. There is some reason to believe that acidification and water temperature negatively affect marine algae, but warm water species could be used to mass produce the required amount of algae.

Cyanobacteria, a (very) rough analogue to marine algae, are one of the world’s oldest forms of life. They’re super-tough; they’ve survived everything, and they’ll survive global warming better than anything else. They’ll survive because they’re major beneficiaries of everything humanity does wrong – CO2, nitrogen compounds, phosphate/fertilizer soil mass murder, and more. All the crap humanity produces won’t affect cyanobacteria. They can live through plagues of volcanoes asteroid strikes and even human city sewer and drainage outlets. You can grow cyanobacteria anywhere on Earth, and they’ll be fine.

They can be grown in dams, ponds, and anywhere on land with enough fertilizer. All they need is light and as much CO2 as they can get. These bacteria fix nitrogen and CO2, so they’ll be right at home anywhere in a greenhouse environment and Earth’s hopelessly mismanaged land areas. No level of human incompetence can stop them.

One of the early suggestions for growing marine algae was to deposit iron in the seas to encourage their growth. There was much criticism of this idea for various reasons. One of the most persuasive reasons is that natural processes could be too slow and diffuse. That’s probably right.

The need for marine algae and cyanobacteria will have to be predicated on mathematics, not the natural cycles of these organisms, anyway.

The equation is this:

X marine algae (ma) will absorb X amount of CO2.

Allowing for losses through predation (P), Xma will be slightly under the target amount in any given application.

So Xma – P = Y, the actual, measurable CO2 reduction.

The obvious solution is to add projected P as a production factor so that Xma + P = Y. Couldn’t get a lot simpler, really.

Add to this that 35 billion tonnes of CO2 is emitted globally. A fair percentage is absorbed by plants and algae, but the net increase is still adding to CO2 in the atmosphere.

If E = over absorption level emissions, you get a real time need for absorption which reads:

Xma + P = E – Y. Meaning your added absorption has to include the new emissions, while also dealing with the excess CO2 as it happens.

To reduce net excess CO2, defined as 1900 levels, pre auto and mass production, you need to quantify:

A = current levels

Ex = 1900 levels

Therefore, A – Ex = Y as the target for absorption to physically reduce CO2 levels. You can set whatever target you like for Y, there’s plenty of CO2 to go around, but it has to deliver a clear reduction back to bearable levels on an ongoing basis.

By “ongoing”, I mean forever. More CO2 will simply generate more algae and cyanobacteria. The problem should strike a balance with adequate absorption. Let’s fix this problem, permanently, and idiot-proof the future with proper atmospheric management.

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam, Paul Wallis books

 

 

The pathology of spiritual toxicity


 

Paul Wallis, Sydney Media Jam“Spiritual toxicity” is a poisonous characteristic of a spiritual environment, sometimes known as you. It’s characterized by negativity, manipulative thinking, and in some cases subversion of a spiritual norm. The most common source of spiritual toxicity is media.

You can diagnose the spiritual state of any community by its media. The more extreme, the unhealthier the community. That might sound a bit convenient, in the middle of the fake news environment, but it’s a common factor historically.

The Romans, not famous for their sensitivity, but famous for their murderous politics, managed a level of toxicity which created the hyper-expansive Republic, but reversed to create the decaying ghoul of the Roman Empire.

The Chinese version in ancient history was visible in the First Emperor’s reign. Almost all books were burned by the Legalists, to restrict knowledge. Restriction of knowledge ultimately destroyed the Chin. The end of the Chin in turn later started the period of the Warring States.

Love Chinese culture. I have Chinese immortals in my stories, including one guy who recited a poem. His friends asked, “Ancient?” He said, “Not very. I wrote it this morning.”

These are the practical applications of spiritual toxicity to human communities. This condition is an ongoing threat to humanity. It can cause insanity, inverted logic, and basically retard human development. It’s endemic, as a pathology, and it’s hard to fight if you don’t know how.

The other problem is “spiritual ecology”. The spirit, which for the purposes of this article means the mentality’s driver, exists in a real sense, reacting to influences and contaminants from all directions. It can exist consciously, in attraction or repulsion.

Rather unfortunately, the traditional reaction to spiritual toxicity is morality. Morality is cumbersome, not quick to apply itself, and positively lethargic in new innovations. It’s like sending an elephant to catch a flea. In a spiritual ecology, it’s a floating mass, not an active participant. The spirit acts quickly, and in multiple directions. A moral monoculture, as supplied by most religions, is hardly able to register, let alone stop, spiritual activity. You might as well send a rock to catch a rabbit.

The spiritual ecology is as real as the physical. It affects your personal reality, the one that matters most, directly. A toxic idea may be quite enough to provoke the same Fight or Flight reaction as a maniac with a machine gun.

Even Homo Sapiens, (a species “blessed” with a level of self-incomprehension on an almost unbelievable scale), can be affected immediately by certain types of spiritual toxicity. The Great Mystery Which is You doesn’t mind getting the hell out of spiritually toxic environments, whether it understands them or not.

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

That reactive response, however, also brings with it some risks. The equally blessed human ability to run straight in to more trouble is reasonably well known. Reactive responses to spiritual toxicity can be irrational, and more to the point, useless.

A better option is systematic fightback. Ugly, nasty events have a unique character which is pretty consistent and easy to spot. Emphasis on toxic elements in ideas, like anti-Semitism, etc. are usually promoted by a fairly clear type of mentality. Toxicity, like any good pathogen, requires vectors and transmission. Stop either, (or preferably both) and you stop the toxicity in its tracks.

One of the reasons modern spiritual toxicity is so easily spread is that the medium for the vectors is communications. Forget airborne pathogens; this is a lot more efficient in spreading contamination of any kind. This is Digital Plague, live and well and coming to a nutcase near you.

…Or you. Some types of toxicity have sweeteners; sex, money, ego, power… Put it this way; absolute power does more than corrupt. It also takes over the person with the power, who becomes a mere tool of the power.

There’s a huge irony here, too, chuckling quietly to itself. Morality, that choke chain on human honesty, often offends to the point where the immoral is a welcome relief. Spiritual toxicity does well among the spiritually oppressed. The more oppressive the morality, the better it does, in fact.

Humans are natural hedonists, naturally avoid danger, and naturally prefer comfort and safety. (In my view, anything else is basically dishonest.) Morality feeds on these things, in the same way as spiritual toxicity, if not for the same reasons, at least notionally.

The problem, obviously, is how people react to the supposedly non-toxic moral spiritual ecology. This is the Supermarket of the Soul, the bland shiny face of spiritual consumerism. The various washing machines of the soul, like church, dogma, raging lunatics insulting their own belief system with every breath, and other marvels, abound.

Like junk food, junk morality isn’t good for you, either. It makes you more susceptible to spiritual toxicity, and like junk food, not healthy enough to fight it. The tides of spiritual toxicity, whether absurd assertions or perverse thinking, work on a numbers basis. If one form of spiritual suicide doesn’t get you, the others will.

…So what’s so bad about spiritual toxicity?

One thing, and one thing only. It disintegrates your identity. If you add a contaminant to that organism, it can’t function normally. For the spirit, that’s a type of chronic disease. It affects your thinking, your relationships, and even your relationship with yourself.

Been on speaking terms with yourself lately? Getting along OK with whoever/whatever is you? If so, your levels of spiritual toxicity are low.

If you’re spending a lot of time convincing yourself you’re right about things, that’s a high level. You may be at actual war with yourself on some or many issues.

Symptoms of toxicity include:

  • Self-justification
  • Self-avoidance; dodging you own opinions, for example
  • Frequent conflict with friends
  • Hypocrisy on any level, for any reason
  • A hideous, all-embracing doubt which cripples your decision-making

Interestingly, anxiety, a paralysing dread for no materially identifiable cause, may be a symptom of onset. Ever had that feeling that you loathe something, and can’t define it? That it’s a danger, or hidden threat?

This is spiritual Fight or Flight, incarnate. It’s a survival instinct at the spiritual level. The human spirit, under-educated and largely ignored by spiritual monocultures which enforce conformity, but not spiritual life, (what a surprise) isn’t well armed to manage the threats.

I don’t want to write this idea in to any blind alleys or extended exercises in missing the point. The point is that spiritual toxicity is an active, working poison. Remember that, and act according to your instincts, which have got you through the last few million years.

 

www.sydneymediajam.com

Religion decoded and made useful


 

 

Beliefs are supposed to mean something. In the Golden Age of Meaninglessness, you get a brochure, not a meaningful belief.

Religion is not dogma. It’s not an excuse. It’s not a means of personal moral superiority, however banal and pointless. It’s supposed to be useful. Religion, in most of its original forms, is a codification of both belief and conduct for spiritual benefit. In many ways, it’s just common sense.

The degraded forms of religion we see today are far removed from benefit, despite the fact that religion in some cases is all some people have. The tedious, pompous and often obsessive forms of religion aren’t much use, however, in delivering value.

Religion basics

Consider the basics:

  • “Thou shalt not be a jerk”. This covers all forms of misconduct which cause injury. All religions have this basic tenet.
  • Worship: Worship what, how, and why? Can you have a real religion, based on “Just add worship”? If you have no idea what you’re believing in, how do you worship it? Unless it serves some useful purpose, seems rather unfair.
  • Belief: Humans only actually believe something they trust. They trust it because they’ve seen it proven in some form. Any other “belief”, however tiresomely expressed, is hypocrisy.
  • Religious deities: One god or many? One god and saints, or whatever, the usual format is to break down religious subjects in to examples, parables, with a story and a range of metaphors. This applies from the Bible to folklore. It’s a common teaching method in ancient and modern societies.
  • The soul: The worst defined subject in human history, the soul is the nominal incarnation of self. It doesn’t have ascribed values, material or otherwise. This lucky concept is the recipient of any amount of babble which is supposed to be good for it. If the average soul could get a word in edgewise, it would tell the babble where to go, or demand that the babble explain itself. “Preaching to the speechless” could also be described as incredibly hypocritical and cynical.
  • The Afterlife: This remarkably poorly defined subject is the reward for “whatever”, the mass of bullet impacts and asteroid strikes life delivers to most people. As explained by people who have no idea what it is, it’s a pretty iffy reward. “Bribed with Heaven and threatened with hell” isn’t much of an improvement. It’s an exertion of assumed authority which can backfire, causing resentment and discouragement. Credible rewards are based on something; this dismally expressed topic delivers very little.
  • “Evil”: Evil simply means injury. Evil is a one trick wonder. It causes injury, in whatever form. Any fool can be evil; it’s a devaluation of oneself and a useless range of possibilities.
  • Good: A rather shoddily defined expression which deserves better. Good can relate to acting responsibly, being kind, or, in fact, acting like a normal human being. If you commit an act of kindness, you know why you do it. True good doesn’t big note itself.
  • Moral pretensions: This is the age-old pretension of being good. It’s false by definition. Actual good is also practical, rather than pretentious. To claim to be good is making a necessity out of a virtue; not a great idea of you don’t have that particular virtue.
  • Morality: These supposed “life rules” have to make sense to be effective. Morals are useful, provided they’re practical and applicable to situations. Otherwise, they’re just more spiritual spam churned out by ignoramuses trying to be authoritative.

Religion in practice

Paul Wallis books, sydney media jam

This book is all about creative ideas. Nobody has yet died of reading it, but it’s a pretty tough call for those not familiar with working with ideas. “Passive voice”, eh?

If you’re thinking that a lot of this is just common sense, you’re right. The original sources of religions were directly involved in practical needs. Why would a farmer, 5000 years ago, believe anything that wasn’t common sense? Imagine telling a subsistence farmer that they need a whole new range of things to not only do, but believe unquestioningly. Not very appealing, is it?

What use is self-promotion by others to people in real need? The original sources of the major religions were positively minded, from Confucius to the latter day religions. The Confucian idea of turning society in to an extended family, in fact, applies as well to the Warring States era as to modern times. Everyone knows extended families work well, too.

The original sources were practical people. None of these people were mere talkers. Jesus and Buddha were fundamentally teachers, and good ones. (For the non-press-release version of Jesus, read The Gospel of Thomas.) The Prophet Mahomet would go out and plough people’s fields himself. Moses was a lawgiver and a source of a code for people who needed cohesion. It’s a very practical approach to living in a wilderness/desert.

Believe what you will, but be aware that none of these sources was anything but useful. If religion diverges from usefulness, it’s obviously not as it was intended.

This wasn’t McReligion. You couldn’t just order a god to go with a side dish of pretensions like you can now. The original sources promoted responsibility, not excuses and evasions. They also weren’t obsessed with materialism.

Some of the best exponents of religion are practical in the sense that their every conscious moment is devoted to helping others. This help in turn benefits others indirectly. Some of them aren’t even members of a religion. They simply practice it, and make themselves very useful in the process. If religion is the process of putting useful things in to practice, however, they qualify as religious people.

You don’t have to be a saint to be a practical religious person, with or without a particular religion. You don’t have to preach about something you barely understand yourself to be effective and practical.

You don’t have to be a jerk, either. However fashionable being a petty little attempt at a real person may be, the jerks are always the useless, the greedy and the mindlessly addicted selfish, causing injury to others.  The one trick wonder is only that and no more.

Believe what you trust, not just any old garbled dogma. Put in to practice what you believe, and avoid injury to others. How much simpler could it get?

 

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