Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Modern Ascetic

Could one survive as a modern ascetic today, in Canada? The answer is essentially no, but there are areas where one can. One even has a website. Well, he is as close to an ascetic as one could come. Areas where the weather is much milder it would be more possible. Back, when I was a kid, there were a number of old bachelors living in cabins in the bush, north of where I grew up. I understand there are sill a few new ones in there now, squatting on government lands. Oh well.  

Buddha, Jaine's and the like, The Greek Cynics and the other true ascetics renounce society, property, possessions, and go beyond the minimalists to have little attachment in there life, as attachment is one of the issues that causes anxiety, stress, suffering in our lives. If it does not belong, then we have far less concern for it, whatever it is. It is similar to not valuing something, but a more complete cutoff. if there is attachment, that can cause much suffering. Not acquiring anything makes attachment not an issue and thereby eliminated that whole category or suffering and joy also. Staying out of something has long been one way of not caring about it. It is like not going near sports of any kind. It just becomes noise, someone else interest and concerns. Just disinterest, and uninterest at the same time. 

Many of the old money wealthy have the concept of stewardship down to an art. They own nothing, but rather are looking after there children's inheritance until they turn it to there children or heirs. That is one way, assuming your children want the same thing. That was a common concept with the farms, as I was growing up. The problem arose when the value of produce from the farm was less than a living wage, but more work. Now what? A decision had to be made, go big, or sell. Do or walk away. It all worked our in the end, or rather the way it worked out was the end.  Some of us have no obvious heirs. We can make a decision or not. Pass the whole problem along some un-named person.

Buddha walked away from a potential family business of being the ruler of a area to become a homeless ascetic until he figured out a middle way. His middle way will work for a few people, but not many in our modern Canadian environment, unless you are blood native, and the government will support you. What we call minimalist may be the way of the future, but it is not very practical to give away, throw away, everything we have either. Starting to live austere is more practical, aka just stop spending except for the necessaries. We will then need to make some hard decisions that may become easier as we get older.

The Stoic talk about the same concept of not caring or not valuing things, often trained through negative visualization. Kiss your mate or child and tell yourself that this may be the last time before she is gone. That is training detachment. Separating off all thing into those we have control over, beyond our internal thoughts, beliefs and opinions, from those indifferents that we have no control over, and let all those indifferents go free. They never say just stop caring, stop having attachments to that which is beyond our control, but that is the effect. In the end we are left with a desire for food, sex, both biological, and little else. Boredom unless we are attached to something. That is evidence that life is empty until we paint on a purpose. Oh. well.

So where is this all going? Well it seams that no matter how many ways we come at some problems, we come to the same answer. Let go of attachment is the solution of many problems. If we do not care, it does not matter.

These are interesting time we live in. Just sit back and watch the show. We live in a irrational, unjust, time where the bigots in power think they are right and know better than anyone else, when in reality they are not paying any attention to logic. We have religions trying to control people who do not accept the religion. We have political people trying to control areas where the people are not in agreement. We can consider these areas to be overpopulated with undesirable peoples or see it for what it is, a land grab.

One way to make compassionate government to pay attention is to jump on the public purse and drag it down to where the management controllers need to pay attention. Oh well, what do I know?     

Thursday, February 25, 2016


Meditation goes back to before Buddha, to a time where writing was not general public information. Memory and speech were the only communication tools. Drawings we crude, and at times just lines in the sand. It was common for the older people to wander off and become part of the contemplative ascetics wandering about, living off gatherings and handouts from the locals. It was the form of retirement for those how were driven off from their families, and those who were really "put out to pasture." Entire books like stories, histories, and the like were memorized, and repeatedly turned over in the mind to keep them fresh (chanted).  Meditation is a form of contemplation, and there are some freaky things that happen to the mind. Some is observational and develop out of concentration, and the collection of experiences. We learn to concentrate well, but that is only one of many things we can learn that are mostly virtuous to have learned.

Patience is one of the first things. It takes patience to sit for hours, without any activity beyond thinking. There are many forms, open eyed or closed, formal sitting or just flopped down, walking, exercising, watching the breath, or navel gazing, body scanning, pain spot examination, thought examination. If we pick one of the noting the though and returning to the object of concentration methods to explore, we can modify that method to one of writing each observation down, and then returning to the object. Using a candle in dim light, writing down thoughts, can clear the mind of random and troubling thoughts.  Using an external object draws ones attention away from the self, and this is a good practice. We humans are to self centered anyway.

Persistence is another skill that has uses. We need to persist, to continue at many things we find difficult, to achieve both in the working life, and personal life. We need persistence to learn things we find difficult, writing for example. I struggle with writing, and I know many struggle with mathematics and following clear directions. Making directions clear is a different problem, with which everyone struggles. When we have failures, or are not seeing the headway or purpose, we may have doubts, ill-will, get distracted with cravings or other people, get restless or impatience, or just give up. These are typical reasons we just give up anything. Persistence is the act of overcoming all blocks to our progress and  returning to our pursuit, in this case concentration on the object or effort.

Serenity is a mental state of calmness, infinite patience, where the urgency of the next action or demand on our time is just not important. It is relaxed state of being, where there are no other demands on our state of present time. It is letting go of the other demands on our time that gives us serenity. Serenity is the most important single thing in my life at this time, without exception type of thinking. It is this time management skill of throttling urgency, the rush to achieve, the desire for fame, wealth, power, greed and yet achieving enough for satisfaction, joy, positive emotion, and adequate security. 

Self control is a good skill to learn for many reasons. The Stoics consider two vices worse that all others, lack of persistence and lack of self control. (Epictetus F) To have self control, we must have a burning objective in front of us to pull us forward, and clear sides to tell us when we are off the path. We must be watchful for these and stop before we run off the path. We can be dragged through life, as a dog on a leash or run along on the path, pulling on our leash. The easy way is to walk along, smelling flowers briefly on our way through life. This is self control, knowing how fast to go, how much to take on. Not so much that we become exhausted, nor so little that we become bored or have time for torpor; And all the while maintaining interest and enthusiasm, and not getting taken off by distractions. Too much, too little, of anything can take us out of the hunt.

Maintaining present time is another concept that we humans have an issue with often. We are living in the past, could have, should have, or in a fiction of our delusions or expectations of outcome off in the future. There is nothing wrong with reviewing and evaluating our past performance, but then we need to return to the present. We do need to lay out a plan or direction for the future, but not in outcomes, and things beyond our control. Some things are up to us and some are not. We need to stay within those thing within our control, our opinions, our beliefs, our thoughts, our present skills, our judgements, our impulses, our desires, our mental facilities in general. (See Epictetus D1, E1)

Meditation is a state of mind, regardless of how we get there. It is a form of concentrated directed contemplation, or just contemplation. The ease that various people can drop into this is variable; some have difficulty, and for others it is near automatic. The depth varies and changes over time. After a bit we start to see thought objects and the gaps between thought objects, feel sound, and learn to look where thought objects come from. We may even learn to deselect thought objects and put them in other places. I do not have the vocabulary to describe some of these effects. It is not of the physical world, but seems very real and is in the realm of concepts and concept objects, X files sort of stuff, but short of fancies, but like useful fancies, conceptual black boxes). It needs to be experienced, not intellectualized. It is a state of mind, and if you mind, it does not matter, for it is mind over matter, and long as the matter does not mind. 

Anyways, the solution to all my problems today may be to go meditate. What do I know?

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The US loses Credibilty

Just look at the Quacks.

The reality is that all old religions need major overhauls. Reality of course, does not really exist, as we, the perceivers   are being deceived but our own observation. We see as we believe things are, not as they actually are. Three examples, commonly known as sunrise, sunset, rainbows, and retrogrades. Oh thats four. Oh well.

What we see is our perception of  the world, as biased by the observers. There is no life after death, no rebirth, no god, no sin only evil. It is time to give your head a good shake and get on with rational life. Government is not much about governing the people any more, and is all about growing government, and growing the economy. The economy of the government is all about cash flow,  which is diametrically opposed to cash in our pockets and savings for retirement. Oh well. We are on our own, always have been.

Now there are those who say they are Christian for the morals. Let me tell you, that is garbage. If you want to see morals, try the eastern Buddhist, Hindus Group, Jains, and the like. They were developed at a time where there population density was quite high, yet peaceful. There code is tough, but worthwhile. The stoics say that virtue is the only good, and the Buddhist agree but define virtue by knowledge and intentions. They also go as far as tell us how we can live within those definitions, and deal with the mental issues of keeping ourselves on the planned course. Oh well.

Some of the Buddhist stuff needs minor tweaking to bring it to modern understanding of life, but those are minor. Rebirth is out, hence karma is only in this lifetime, and the order of depending arising need a shuffle, 11 goes to 1, and death of a end of this generation. Rebirth becomes the next generation through heredity.  What Buddha's people saw as rebirth of similar people was likely heredity in a small related population. When we get old, and look back at the family, we so often see strong physical and personality characteristic traits passed down, generation to generation through both heredity and training. It was likely more obvious in there time as travel and mixing was so much less, and the environment did not change as rapidly. Oh well.

It is time to abandon religions and learn the Stoic and Buddhist ways. But what do I know?

Friday, February 19, 2016


After a year of Trump mania, I will say that Trump behaves like a egomaniac narcissistic psychopath, classic definition. I am not saying he is one, but his behavior is suspicious. I believe that everything he does is calculated to benefit him. His response of the public data may be questionable, and some of the time he likely goes from the gut with no data. He is cold blooded enough to run the US, but not well for the people. But then I live in Canada, and we have a wet fish in control.

Years ago, when I was pushing techs at Curtis, we had a tech who was very pleasant, and "would never disappoint anyone with an answer."  He was so pleasant, but so slow to get anything done, but when it was done, and finally invoiced, everybody was happy. He was so slow, we need to line him up with a post to see if he was moving. Promise everything, but nothing was ever achieved,  reminds me of Trudeau and the Indigenous commission recommendations. Yes, Yes, we are going to adopt every one of those 95, yah sure.   

Oh well, what do I care? I am just going to die off soon anyway.

Trend, not reason

I think Joshua has picked up on the trend, but the reasons may not be complete or arranged in order of importance.
All this comes back to Maslow's needs.

Overpopulation and Economy

The world is becoming severely overpopulated. Up until now, in Canada, we have experienced mainly localized overpopulation, as evidenced by the migration and ghost towns. We are now experiencing much broader overpopulation. Lock at the Indian reserves, and local working poor communities and areas of the cities. To be considered working, you need to be working or drawing EI. But what about all those who do bits of contract work. No clear record of how many. And the drug dealers supply chains. There are not the legal jobs around as there was when I was young. We important products, and thereby provide very low paying jobs offshore. Oh well. Our millennials behaviors are the result of economy first, population growth and resulting need to cut back economically. That is not a bad thing; there philosophy is the result. Crowding and economy are physical and beyond our control, but our survival must occur before any thing else matters.

Philosophy is Secondary

When one sits back and reads the Stoics and Buddhist literature/philosophy, I am struck by the similarity yet it becomes obvious that each was built on very different background cultural layers. What was taught was what was missing out of there societies, and on that existing foundation became a very peaceful and patience sage, buddha, or what ever. If we were to compare the sage to buddha, we would find little difference except in the internal reasons for doing. It is the background that any population is raised in that causes development of generational attitudes and hence cultures. We have left the millennials in an overpopulated world, and they are reacting to cope with that. The philosophy is within our control, and that can comes after survival. We will learn to deal with that which we were equipped to deal with within our culture. Philosophy is the delta of calculus, the new change that each generation must deal with.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Gone Native

When I was a kid on the farm, there was a area that was "a traditional camping area" for the natives. It was a rocky flat hilltop, the highest land for miles. It was suitable for grassing cattle but little else. There was a slough adjacent that usually held water, and that piece was fenced off and left to run the cattle into a couple of times each year.

This is the same piece where the natives used to platform there dead until the police and County tried to put an end to that practice.  The last time I drove by there was still a platform, but who know if it is use. (that land is not in the family anymore)

It seem now that the the missing native inquire wants to look at all the missing, even the unreported by close family as missing. The natives that I know do not report to the police much of what goes on.

They also want to look at domestic abuse, and those who leave there homes for safer places, without providing forwarding addresses, and just end up being called missing, and wish to remain that way. Oh well, it is just government.

In development estimating, it was common to allow 10% waste/overage, and with government 20%. Do I here 30% in bureaucracy?

But what do I know?

Monday, February 15, 2016

The missing question

One more inquire.

But the important question is missing. What is the likely outcome?

Predators exist. The inquire will not change that.

Predators harvest those that they can cut from the heard. That is a given.

The success of predators is heavily dependent on the behavior of prey. That is a function of the prey's culture and lifestyle. The inquire will not change that.

It is time that the native women take responsibility for there behavior; hence, make themselves less easy for the predators. It is prey behavior that can and must change to make a difference. They are a stone age culture with stone age values that has not adapted to the present environment, and that make them the prey for the predators. They can prevent becoming prey.   

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Likert Seven Point Scale

Likert created a scale for psychological evaluation. We can adapt the scale/concept into a true/false scale. This is useful for evaluation of the quality of evidence in engineering decisions. If something is only one step off unknown, as is a visual inspection, the factor of safety must be higher.

  1. certainly true
  2. probably true
  3. unable to demonstrate false
  4. unknown
  5. unable to demonstrate true
  6. probably false
  7. certainly false
We can define knowledge as having three components:
  1. truth
  2. we need to believe it to be true
  3. we must have justification for that belief,
  4. we can put a reserve clause in, that given sufficient reason, we can change our mind.  
So how do we know anything asks the skeptics: To them I answer, if we cannot trust our ability to separate reality from fiction, then perhaps you have smoke damage. If I cannot, the whole thing does not matter anyway. This is must shorter than Kant's I think therefore I am.

Keeping in mind that concepts exist, well perhaps exist is not the right word; they have no physical existence. The stoics said the subsist, but concepts are real and can be anywhere on the truth scale.  Perhaps existence is the not the right property to assign to this mental object. Concepts appear to lie outside of space, and some seem to lie outside of time as well, but are dependent on consciousness.
Anyway, these things are concepts and once we learn them, they become mental tools and mental object to be used in evaluation. It would be nice if there was a book of mental tools.

But then what do I know? 



Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Bullshit in the press

You don't need to look much further than the Qu'ran for proof that Islam is a peaceful religion


ch2 v192 And kill them wherever you meet them and drive them out from where they have driven you out; for persecution is worse than killing. And fight them not in, and near, the Sacred Mosque until they fight you therein. But if they fight you, then fight them: such is the requital for the disbelievers.

Ch4 v90 They wish that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you may become all alike. Take not, therefore, friends from among them, until they emigrate in the way of Allah. And if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them; and take no friend nor helper from among them;

And it keeps coming with killing the deserters of the faith, those who do not obey. It is more savage than Hitler, Stalin, even Khmer Rouge Pol Pot.

Muslim, Islam, as defined by the Qu'ran is violent, bronze age religion. It is peaceful within there clan, but ready to kill anyone who does not believe them. Most of the modern leaders have toned the language down a bit, but the organization is not organized, it has no head. Each clan is on there own, to do as they like. The ones that read and believe the Quran are the dangerous ones.

Muslims are not rational, they think there Quran is truth, not story as the bible is.

But then what do I know.