Antoni Tapies

Antoni Tapies

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

United States election thoughts

It seemed to me that Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 US Presidential election mostly from backlash to the Obama administration, and I figure from a mostly racist sentiment. Apparently also a sexist one. There are still just enough racists and sexists out there to swing the vote from a Democratic woman. Sort of a pendulum effect. It's also ironic that Russia would support the party that is decidedly anti socialist. They've come a long way, as have we.

It sure seems to me that too many people looked the other way, and still are, about Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US election. Even the bipartisan intelligence agencies confirmed the Russian activities. Considering the Russians favored the Republicans it was, and still is, the responsibility of Republicans to address the matter. The 'party before country' factor is considerable. The continued denial will affect everyone eventually. I think it is wishful thinking to assume the Russians will continue to support the Republican party. That would eventually give the Russians some control over it. The Russians just support Russia and since World War II, at least, have done everything possible to counter Western interests. And I think they will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

I suspect the European Union is quite concerned about the direction of United States politics and goverance.

Artificial Intelligence

I've been thinking about artificial intelligence for a long time. In looking back I guess my first thoughts about the matter were from movies I saw in my youth, such as 'The Day The Earth Stood  Still' and 'Forbidden Planet'. In both robots played prominent roles. Humans have progressively grown more fascinated and have finally built some quite advanced specimens. Maybe my current thoughts crystallized with the legend of 'The Mothman'. In reviewing this tale it  occurred to me that it might very well have been a robot. Some speculated that it came from another dimension, or maybe through a 'wormhole'. Subsequently I thought that maybe many of the 'UFOs' reported over time may also be artificial intelligences, possibly drones of some far off race. So when I heard about the dimming star and theories about it I thought of really advanced AIs making massive structures in space. Humans are worried about what AIs will do once they become autonomous. I think very advanced ones may very well be spread throughout the universe.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

'There is a concept which upsets and corrupts all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite.' Jorge Luis Borges, from his essay 'The Avatars of the Tortoise'.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Cannabis

I am of the opinion that pointing out the dangers of cannabis is quite beside the point. Alcohol and tobacco have been proven to be considerably harmful and both substances are legal. By comparison cannabis is milder than either, and it has been proven. I can vouch that cannabis has mild psychological withdrawal symptoms, but no physical ones, and they do not last long, maybe a month for me. The benefits of legalization far outweigh the hazards. The most obvious gain is relief for the legal system. It is quite difficult to prohibit a plant that grows freely in the wild. I don't think it is a good idea to criminalize people who are seeking pleasure, in most cases. Cannabis is relatively benign and penalizing people for it actually is counterproductive leading to more serious crimes.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Change

Resisting change is like trying to stop a tsunami that is getting bigger and faster all the time. Despite all the denial in the world you can only accommodate it or try to get out of the way. The times are changing, faster all the time, and if you can't help out get out of the way or you will be swept aside.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Patience

New Jerusalem Bible, Standard Ed. 1998; Job 6 One day the sons of God came to attend on Yahweh, among them came Satan. 7 So Yahweh said to Satan 'Where have you been?' 'Prowling around the earth,' he answered, 'roaming around there'. 8 So Yahweh asked him 'Did you pay any attention to my servant Job? There is no one like him on the earth, a sound and honest man who fears God and shuns evil.' 9 'Yes,' Satan said, 'but Job is not God fearing for nothing, is he? 10 Have you not put a wall around him and all his domain? You have blessed all he undertakes, and his flocks throng the countryside'. 11 But stretch out your hand and lay a finger on his possessions and I warrant you, he will curse you to your face.' 12 'Very well' Yahweh said to Satan 'all he has is in your power. But keep your hands off his person'. So Satan left the presence of Yahweh.

The book Job goes on to relate that Job remained faithful and Satan told Yahweh that if he were allowed to touch Job's person he would become unfaithful. When this is done Job wavers and his friends console him. The rest of the book is basically theology. Job resolves his dilemmas to Yahweh's satisfaction and restores Job's life.

I was in a discussion about the presence of 'evil' in the world, and how God allows it. One of the fellows offered that the world is a test of the soul. That does sound reasonable to me. Of course some presumptions there, the soul, the afterlife etc. I'm inclined to believe in reincarnation, just a feeling. I think the verdict of your life is played out in your next one. I'm just taking off from the Buddhist tenets about coming to terms with suffering, being as righteous as possible and moving on to better things. I'm also reminded of the famous Jim Morrison line 'You cannot petition the Lord with prayer'. I imagine your works are your prayers.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Surveillance

As an average US citizen I wonder how worried I should be at 'mass surveillance'? When you have mercenary, extremist and drug gangs running wild worldwide. And money laundering on a massive scale. You also have much government and business corruption still plaguing the world. Apparently the important things cannot be attended to. I don't think the world wants the precedent of wealthy people forming a mercenary army and taking over parts of the world. I wonder where it will happen next? If the Iraq and Syria problem is not solved it will probably be quite soon.