Archive for January, 2013

Utopias

Posted in Book Reports, Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, Critical Commentary of Civilization with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2013 by Drogo

Utopias are communities or places possessing highly desirable or perfect qualities. The word was coined in Greek by Sir Thomas More for his book Utopia, describing a fictional island society in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt to create an ideal society, and fictional paradises. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia. There are different types of utopias: ecological, political, economic, etc… and combinations of those.

The first recorded utopian proposal is Plato’s Republic. Plato’s Utopia is part conversation, part fictional depiction, and part policy proposal, it proposes a categorization of citizens into a rigid class structure of “golden,” “silver,” “bronze” and “iron” socioeconomic classes. The golden citizens are trained in a rigorous 50-year long educational program to be benign oligarchs, the “philosopher-kings.” The wisdom of these rulers will supposedly eliminate poverty and deprivation through fairly distributed resources, though the details on how to do this are unclear. The educational program for the rulers is the central notion of the proposal. There is a general pacifism or pacifist attitude. However, the people of the Republic are all ready to defend themselves or to compete militarily for resources (such as land) if necessary. Plato’s Utopia has few laws, no lawyers and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries from among its war-prone neighbors (these mercenaries were deliberately sent into dangerous situations in the hope that the more warlike populations of all surrounding countries will be weeded out, leaving peaceful peoples).

– from Wikipedia

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Utopia

by Sir Thomas More written between 1515-1516

the definition of the word implies that the perfectly “good place” is really “no place.”

the island is located off the coast of Brazil, founded by King Utopos

Raphael Hythloday spends five years observing the customs of the natives.

Characters:

More = the author (beheaded 1535)

Giles = Humanist thinker Peter Giles

Morton = former Chancellor of England Cardinal John Morton

Jerome de Busleydan = Counselor of Charles V

Raphael Hythloday = a sailor and voyager

More travels to Antwerp as an ambassador for England and King Henry VIII.

Hythloday has been on many voyages with the noted explorer Amerigo Vespucci, traveling to the New World, south of the Equator, through Asia, and eventually landing on the island of Utopia.

Hythloday describes a dinner he once shared in England with Cardinal Morton and a number of others. During this dinner, Hythloday proposed alternatives to the many evil civil practices of England, such as the policy of capital punishment for the crime of theft. His proposals meet with derision, until they are given legitimate thought by the Cardinal, at which point they meet with great general approval. Hythloday uses this story to show how pointless it is to counsel a king when the king can always expect his other counselors to agree with his own beliefs or policies. Hythloday then goes on to make his point through a number of other examples, finally noting that no matter how good a proposed policy is, it will always look insane to a person used to a different way of seeing the world. Hythloday points out that the policies of the Utopians are clearly superior to those of Europeans, yet adds that Europeans would see as ludicrous the all-important Utopian policy of common property.

General Utopus, conquered the isthmus on which Utopia now stands and through a great public works effort cut away the land to make an island. Next, Hythloday moves to a discussion of Utopian society, portraying a nation based on rational thought, with communal property, great productivity, no rapacious love of gold, no real class distinctions, no poverty, little crime or immoral behavior, religious tolerance, and little inclination to war.

The island of Utopia is 200 hundred miles across in the middle part, where it is widest, and nowhere much narrower than this except towards the two ends, where it gradually tapers. These ends, curved round as if completing a circle five hundred miles in circumference, make the island crescent-shaped, like a new moon.

The island was originally a peninsula but a 15-mile wide channel was dug by the community’s founder King Utopos to separate it from the mainland.

The island contains 54 cities.

Each city is divided into four equal parts.

Each city has 6000 households, consisting of between 10 to 16 adults.

The capital city, Amaurot, is located directly in the middle of the crescent island.

Thirty households are grouped together and elect an archon.

200 archons of a city elect a Prince in a secret ballot.

The Prince stays for life unless he is deposed or removed for suspicion of tyranny.

People are re-distributed around the households and towns to keep numbers even. If the island suffers from overpopulation, colonies are set up on the mainland. Alternatively, the natives of the mainland are invited to be part of these Utopian colonies, but if they dislike it and no longer wish to stay they may return. In the case of under-population the colonists are re-called.

Utopia is a common-wealth collective, where almost everything is open to the public. There is no private ownership on Utopia. Public Goods in storage are accessed by people as needed. No locks on house doors. All are taught agriculture. In addition to farming, all must pick a second vocation: weaving, masonry, carpentry, or metal-smithing. All that are able work 6 hours daily on average. Those who love to learn become scholars, and scholars can be ruling officials and priests. No sexism, men and women are equal, although there are gender stereotypes. Clothing is simple. Utopia is also a welfare state. Free hospitals allow euthanasia.

There is a class system. Archons and old get best food. Middle Class rotates turns of households feeding the community in dining halls. Slave class made of immigrants and criminals. Slave chains and chamber-pots are made of gold, which attaches shameful psychological associations to gold; producing a dislike of gold. Gold and Jewels have no economic value within Utopia.

Several Religions: Moon, Sun, Planet, Ancestor, and Monotheists. All are tolerant of eachother, only Atheists are distrusted because they may lack morality.

Priests marry and divorce. Premarital sex is punished by celibacy. Adultery punished by enslavement.

Travel on the island is restricted by internal passport, with penalty of enslavement.

No lawyers because the laws are simple.

Utopians do not like to engage in war because war is uncivilized. If they feel countries friendly to them have been wronged, they will send military aid. However they try to capture, rather than kill, enemies. They are upset if they achieve victory through bloodshed.

Privacy is not regarded as freedom in Utopia. Even private gatherings and pubs are not allowed to keep all people together in full view, when not sleeping at home, for good behavior. Much like later visions of socialist communism.

Isola_di_Utopia_Moro

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Other Utopian Concepts in Literature:

The City of the Sun by Tommaso Campanella, Description of the Republic of Christianopolis by Johannes Valentinus Andreae, New Atlantis by Francis Bacon and Candide by Voltaire.

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‘Common Sense’ was a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution. Common Sense was signed “Written by an Englishman”, and it became an immediate success. It contrasted a dystopian vision of England, with a future Utopian vision of America, as propaganda for the purpose of rebellion.

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Tolkien’s Middle Earth Utopias & Dystopias – Lothlorien, West, Shire, Rivendell, Bombadil’s House, Ranger Collective / Mordor, Misty Mountain Goblin Caves

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HG WELLS, HUXLEY, & ORWELL

One similarity between ‘Brave New World’ and ‘1984‘ is that both futures believe that ‘History is bunk’, and the controllers constantly erase even yesterday’s news while using confusing hypocritical propaganda. Trump seems to have a regime that believes in this idea of Double-speak, according to the changes going on in all departments.

Huxley wrote critical satire of HG Wells’ utopian books

HG Wells wrote a few Utopian ‘science fantasy’ novels – based in ‘Parallel Worlds’ using concepts of democratic socialism (Fabian Society): Anticipations (1901 non-fiction); Mankind in the Making (1903 New Republic non-fiction); ‘A Modern Utopia’ (1905 fiction), ‘Men Like Gods’ (1923 fiction)

‘A Modern Utopia’ (1905) – Parallel World named Utopia. – a voluntary order of nobility known as the Samurai could effectively rule a “kinetic and not static” world state so as to solve “the problem of combining progress with political stability.” , vegetarian ascetic Rule ; mandatory annual one-week solitary ramble in the wilderness ; social theory of Utopia, four “main classes of mind”: The Poietic, the Kinetic, the Dull, and the Base ; Economics – The world shares the same language, coinage, customs, and laws, and freedom of movement is general. Some personal property is allowed, but “all natural sources of force, and indeed all strictly natural products” are “inalienably vested in the local authorities” occupying “areas as large sometimes as half England.” The World State is “the sole landowner of the earth.” Units of currency are based on units of energy, so that “employment would constantly shift into the areas where energy was cheap.” Humanity has been almost entirely liberated from the need for physical labor: “There appears to be no limit to the invasion of life by the machine.”

‘Men Like Gods’ (1923) – Parallel World named Utopia. “Our education is our government,” a Utopian named Lion says (men like gods 1923), set apx. 3,000 years in our technological future on a parallel world ; Several characters in the novel are directly taken from the politics of the 1920s. Rupert Catskill probably represents Winston Churchill, as he was seen at that time: a reckless adventurer. Catskill is depicted as a reactionary ideologue, criticises Utopia for its apparent decadence, and leads the attempted conquest of Utopia. ; Earthlings are quarantined on a rocky crag after infections they have brought cause a brief epidemic in Utopia. There they begin to plot the conquest of Utopia, despite Mr. Barnstaple’s protests. He betrays them when his fellows try to take two Utopians hostage, forcing Mr. Barnstaple to escape execution for treason by fleeing perilously. ; Life in Utopia is governed by “the Five Principles of Liberty,” which are privacy, free movement, unlimited knowledge, truthfulness and free discussion (allowing criticism).

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Island  –  Novel by Aldous Huxley

Island is the final book in a series of utopian science-fiction commentaries by polymath Aldous Huxley, published in 1962. It advocates peaceful harmonious living with Nature in a blending satire of Eastern and Western ideologies and traditional ways of life. The plot is an exploration of the Island of Pala by an outsider named Will Farnaby, a cynical journalist who is shipwrecked on the utopian island of Pala. The main conflict is internal corruption by foreign greed, as Pala is confronted by modern commercial Capitalism.

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Medical Marijuana – Yes I Can!

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Medical, Military with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 24, 2013 by Drogo

“ok this is my blog what grind’s my gears

– by SFC Peter A Manuel United States Army Ret.

“Ok there has been a huge debate over medical marijuana ,well here is mine. I suffer from combat related PTSD i have been to a number of programs for this where they used both counseling and medication to try to help me with this, none of which worked at one time not to long ago the Veteran’s Administration had me on trazadone, seriquil, xanex, lisinopril, prozaserin, lithium, welabutron, and a number of other’s . the results were i still had nightmares, social anxiety, and hyper vigilance, hyper tension, and still had sleep issues and i still was in a great state of deprssion but what these med’s did do was cause me to gain weight my triglisrydes were high and so was my blood sugar and i lost all interest in the thing’s that i enjoyed to do and turned into a zombie.

So me being one to question and critically think i decided that i was going to do an experiment on myself b/c i figured i had been a lab rat for the VA, that what would it hurt at this point, so when i left the VA i stoped all med’s immediately, i went to a friend we will call him Cleidus and purchased some marijuana and started to smoke 3 small hit’s puff’s whatever you no what i mean in the morning and did the same around 9pm. I regimented this b/c of an article i read by an Israeli doctor and the result’s were i slept better my deprssion went away and lost all the weight i had gained and even my nightmare have decreased or i have none at all, so what i am saying is that for me this plant is a miracle drug that has not only helped me but may have saved my life , now i am not saying go get blazed up all day long well unless you have nothing to do; then well whatever floats your boat; but it has helped me and remember holistic is always better and prescibed drug’s only weaken your immune system. i am no longer on any medications.”

“And that’s what grinds my gear’s”
SFC Peter A Manuel

Disagreements

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, SCOD Council with tags , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2013 by Drogo

Debates, arguments, discussions, differences of opinions, spats

SCOD encompasses science, art, history, agriculture, architecture, etc. based on active member consensus, but SCOD Facebook Group is NOT A DEBATE FORUM. The purpose of the SCOD FB Group is to educate the public and find new potential members with the desire to sustain mutual cooperation on scod projects.

SCOD is styles, fashions, movements, and the ways in which our lives interact, and are affected by theories, thoughts, dreams, and ideas. Worlds of scientific laws, and worlds of artistic impressions meet at SCOD; somewhere between psychology and philosophy. Most of the important debates have been debated, and we have arrived at various conclusions, which we are acting on, towards achieving scod theory goals.

We must find ways to support each-others’ projects, in what ever ways we can. Most important is positive feed-back, and emotional support for people; because criticism is so common in daily life for most people that are different. Diversity in projects is important, and I want people to be able to do things, and proudly say it is in keeping with SCOD.

SCOD is less about Dogma, and more about Love, Freedom, Nature, and Art. Those who have the responsibility to protect the group, some-times need to make decisions to excuse disruptive chaotic characters from group activities, to allow them to function more independently. This will allow the group to co-create substantially, and let individuals that disagree to do their own thing, as part of SCOD or not.

I believe in asking questions, rather than the popular trend of making fun of free-thinkers or rejecting differences. What one person sees as true, another might see as false; even if they are actually seeing the same thing but calling it by a different name. Theories become reality, and reality can become theory, and fiction can be based on either. Language is complex in that we are always ‘translating’ or interpreting what we think other people are saying with words that they think they are saying, which vary at different moments in time depending on mood, circumstances, and context.

The only danger I can see regarding allowing questions and ideas that others think are false, would be in acting on false theories, at personal risk. For example thinking that all police are androids, and so we try to deactivate their power source located in their groin area. But we do not always act on our thoughts or opinions. Otherwise I like to entertain all theories that I can, and actively pursue the theories that I think are worth it.

Also, the person that posts something may have complex opinions regarding the post. In some cases the person posting may think the post is false, and are just either being funny, trying to be rude, or curious about how other people will respond. So i tend to let things go if i can, and mainly encourage as much posting of interesting things as possible… with few exceptions, such as spam, repeats, industrial commercials, etc… Debating is important, and can be a great event, however I think it is good to be specific about details when challenging someone else’s posts. Opinions are personal, just like art, no matter if it is seen as “true” or “false”, that is why it is more important to respect the feelings of other members, rather than risk wasting tons of time by debating one issue. If people want to argue more than compromise, i recommend forming a separate debate group, make their own blog post, or carry on privately.

In our Cooperative, do not worry so much about responding to every annoyance or conflict. I would rather we focus individually on feeling good, rather than arguing with others. We should take care of each-other, with compassion; and take time out for ourselves for meditations and healing our health. Contributing members should be free to post things that express their own opinions, even if sometimes the posts are not agreeable to others sometimes; but an organic line can be drawn between major and minor disagreements; and the ability to distinguish is an ART not a science.

“We must act, though our efforts be imperfect. The path to sustainable energy will be hard, but we must do it.” – Obama on the radio during 2nd Inauguration.

Do what you like to do, and it will be good. SCOD will be there for us, because it is the space where the play takes place, and the play itself. In that way, everything we do counts. Diversity is important, and so we provide a haven for people that are not with popular opinion, whether it is science, art, religion, or culture. Our membership numbers are fed by our tolerance rather than our exclusiveness. SCOD may someday have a membership of zero, but it will not be for lack of trying. There must be a balance of questioning and decision making; and that must be determined by the active members who accept that responsibility.

SCOD members come and go, and those of us willing to lead, must also make a point to thank all those who advance and add to SCOD, even those who leave the group despite having been major contributors. Wishing well, blessed be. Thank you!   – Drogo

Mushroom_card

Congratulations President Obama

Posted in Critical Commentary of Civilization, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2013 by Drogo

I write this tribute to our first African-American President on the day of his 2nd Term Inauguration. I proudly voted for him this time. Last time I proudly voted for my Green Party Candidate Cynthia McKinney, who would have been our first Black and first Woman President. Before that I was Kucinich all the way. Many whites forget that it was not long ago that our culture treated blacks as property, because they were our slaves. Not only are we mostly ignorant about this history, it is almost impossible for most of us to feel their suffering, never mind trying to understand that we should celebrate the fact that we have a kind, intelligent black representative leading us now. It is true we can argue that maybe Obama is actually more white socially, but he is a decent negotiator between the two cultures.

Finally I feel the USA is back on track with social liberties, picking up from the 1990s and all the damage that was done in between, regarding racial, ethical, and cultural freedoms in general. Considering what a president has to deal with, I like Barack just fine.

Sure there are policies I disagree with. For example I do not threaten people with nukes or guns. So I am not as conservative as Obama on many issues; and perhaps I would have not bailed out all the banks and auto companies, but I remember the political pressure that was put on him by all those that believe in Wall Street and all that shit, and I am sure there is some bribery going on there to make it all function. I do not gamble like that, but obviously those rich people do. The worst things about Obama (and JFK) is that for all their kindness, they tend to go along with whatever the military wants, so I question everything from Drone Strikes to the regular military shit.

Ok I would also legalize Pot.

Besides those issues, I agree with Obama on Gun Restrictions, Gun Rights, Gay Rights, Equal Rights, Ethics, etc… and most of all Environmental Protection, Alternative Fuels, and Renewable Energy in that we need more of these things. I think we need more radical change faster, but fast change can have worse side effects sometimes than slow change, in a culture where almost half of the voters do not want those changes. So there you have it.

– Drogo

“A decade of War is now ending. Peace need not be maintained by constant War.”     – Obama.

0109131641a

Analysis of Apostles of Success

Posted in Book Reports, Critical Commentary of Civilization, Economics, History with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2013 by Drogo

Apostles of the Self-Made Man: Changing Concepts of Success in America

1965 book by John G. Cawelti – University of Chicago Phoenix Press – 280 pages

 Success

SUMMARY

This is a book about the popular culture of success in America. It discusses natural qualities of character, education, values, and needs of individuals and society. It is a decent American history of changing concepts of success; with a focus on three main sources: historic individuals, fictional figures, and manual guides. It uses literature as a source to reference social history.

In spite of their persistent devotion to the idea of success, Americans have differed greatly in the way they defined it. That is the subject of this book. – p.3

Though the self-made man wasn’t an American invention, Americans have cherished the notion of someone rising out of poverty and, through hard work and dedication, achieving at least a moderate amount of wealth and respect. Purely American icons such as Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson each wrote about the opportunity for anyone in a fluid American class system to grow through their own power towards a particular position in society. Yet, much like Abraham Lincoln in the tumultuous ante-bellum period and the Gilded Age’s robber barons, the self-made man appeared most notably in times of rapid change and transition . – C.1

Three Strands of American Success

  1. Religious – Protestant Work Ethic and pious morality

  2. Economic – wealth = success

  3. Complex Individual and Social Ethics and Dreams, often combining the first 2 stands

American society saw three main versions of the self-made man emerge in epitomizing the ideal of success. The first focused on a Protestant notion of “piety, frugality, and diligence” in fulfilling the duties of one’s occupation. This version suggested that a static, stable social order existed in which success was the attainment of respectability in this world and led to the assurance of salvation in the world to come. As strict Protestantism gave way to other, secular notions of success, this ideal began to fade away.

The second tradition placed a premium on a more economic emphasis of success. While the first focused on religious notions of grace and propriety, the second enlisted the purely lay qualities of aggressiveness, competitiveness, and forcefulness. As industrialization swept over the United States in the Gilded Age and beyond, people prescribed to this ideal of success beyond the scope of religion. The hierarchical structure of many new corporations demanded such qualities from their employees if they hoped to “climb the ladder of success.” The third type of success, was a combination of the former two; taking ethics and humility from religious loyalty, in an existential industrial work environment.

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For more of the report, click on the link here for SCOD Gallery Report with Chapter Links!

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Julia Butterfly Hill

Posted in Recommendations & Tributes with tags , , , , , , , on January 12, 2013 by Drogo

From 1997-1999 Julia Butterfly Hill lived in a 1500-year-old Redwood Tree named Luna. Her “tree-sitting” was part of the California logging protest movement. She has also written books and lectured on environmental subjects.

I met Julia at a lecture when she came to the Shepherdstown Nature Conservancy. I was very impressed with not only her ideas, but also her personality. I wrote her an email recently to try to reconnect, and she wrote back promptly and personally, with this…

“I am so glad to hear you are putting your care for the Earth into Action!!!

And i am blessed that my talk in WV resonated with you.

All the very, very best in your life and life’s work. – julia”

Juliabutterflyhill

SCOD Membership Level Duties

Posted in SCOD Council with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2013 by Drogo

Associate: discuss, share, and work on ideas, designs, and projects.

Regular: frequently discuss, share, and work on ideas, designs, and projects.

Council: (regular duties with additional)

Frequently discuss, share, and work on ideas, designs, and projects.

Attend the monthly meetings, and vote.

Term is perpetual (meeting attendance based)

President: (regular duties with additional)

Frequently discuss, share, and work on ideas, designs, and projects.

Conduct the monthly meetings, and vote. If the vote is a tie, arbitrate.

Communicate and advertise: post notices, send messages, write reports, and advocate about projects, events, and meetings before and after.

Term is Seasonal (voted by Council)

Presidents can be self-proposed recommendations or proposed recommendations by others. All presidential candidates should be notified (if not self-proposed), and certain they want to try to be president, before the vote. The winning candidate becomes president upon completion of the vote, or arbitration if needed. If no other candidates are nominated, the current President automatically stays on until the next Seasonal Election time (etc).

this proposal was passed, unanimous vote January 2013