Archive for the Sustainability Category

The Problem of Real Science and the Bias of Money

Posted in Artificial Chemical Products, Climate Change, Commercial Corporations, Ethics & Morals, Legal / Laws, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2018 by Drogo

Regarding Corporate Science Corruption

 

“How do we find out about the real science behind corporate chemicals?” is a great question. There are major court cases that are on-going and are finally exposing how scientists (not just politicians) are affected by where they get their funding, as other historic cases have shown before. Activists are attacked by people claiming to be the voice of scientific reason who defend corporate science, although they seem to know less about the corporate details involved with how the business world affects science and our environment (not just politics). It is very difficult to get people interested in large scale safe environments above immediate MONEY to supply specific food, drink, and shelter for individuals and loved ones…. until those things are taken from us; but then without money we lack much power within the system, and we are accused of emotional bias, as though corporate lackeys are objective. ‘Ring of Fire’ on Youtube has lawyers involved so they are covering the news about these issues, with a bias that is dedicated to exposing how corporations function by using science for their profit as the structure of their power. It is not true that companies use science for purely objective reasons, or that they would allow themselves to be subjected to ‘objective’ science if it did not benefit them, and in fact they do everything within their power to make sure that they can control studies in their favor.

Is there any way to know if the ‘peer-reviewed’ information has filtered out any bias towards the company? This is the best way to ask the question about our most ‘objective science’ regarding company neurotoxins and carcinogens. No offense to scientists, but it happens like with the Oil and Tobacco companies, pay-checks often come first for families. It does not benefit employed scientists to admit to bias, it just simply affects their way of interpreting data and conducting tests. Nuclear scientists are more prone to be in favor of things that cause nuclear radiation by down playing the risks which are acceptable costs for them in favor of ‘advancing science’ and getting their funding. Every profession is subject to this problem of economics, so i am not picking on scientists, i am an architect and many of us are rational and brilliant too, but profit influence happens in our field as well because it is the system that hires us that is on trial when it comes to environmental science ethics. Environmental peer review for Climate Change seems to be large enough to have not been as corrupted in the favor of companies as much as specific chemicals that companies produce to sell.

With so many billions of dollars at stake for corporations like Monsanto (GMO and Glyphosphate Science), our courts and scientists may not even be aware of how to be objective when their own family members have bought into the propaganda that allows them to pay their bills and provide and protect their loved ones. As with Oil Companies and Tobacco Companies, we should assume that toxins can affect us and our environment, and those that produce them should perhaps be more responsible by being held accountable. Few people will not be biased in one way or another, but real science should be the goal, not corporate greed. If it sounds like I am describing a fictional dystopia, perhaps the reader should be more realistic about how Capitalism actually works in reality (our EPA is in ruins in 2018). The larger problem of real science and the bias of money that affects us all will continue to exist so long as we allow our government to be influenced by corporate money at the highest levels, more than they are influenced by environmental ethics and a desire for more ethical science which means being more objective than the influence of money (which is asking a lot). People are innocent until proven guilty, but if a provable crime needs to be investigated we need to let the evidence decide if people are using corporations as tools to corrupt politics and science, and harm humanity in favor of profits for the few.

As an architect i take rationality and logic about designs very seriously, so i do not believe scientists are alone in wanting to take credit for knowing how we interact with our environment and how we can make technological innovations for improving humanity by using ‘facts’. “Peer reviewed” does not mean scientists do not all have their own human biases regarding how data is interpreted; that is part of my point. “Purely objective” as a philosophical ideal is worth talking about for the sake of science and law enforcement and ethics etc… This issue of the influence of money on science (and every profession and field of study) will not go away, but it is one we should deal with honestly in studying the sustainability of civilization. Peer reviews are not exempt from being reviewed over decades, with new conclusions drawn.

 

 

 

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Philosophical Anarchism

Posted in Cooperative collaboration, Critical Commentary of Civilization, ecovillages, Legal / Laws, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2018 by Drogo

Anarchy is absence of supreme government leaders, company authorities, or laws. Anarchism is rejection of central state or group hierarchy for collaborative democracy and independent freedom. Anarchy does not mean ‘let chaos rule’, but can be messy as individuals express themselves voluntarily. Lack of direction from a boss can be scary for many who prefer to be told what to do. Another problem is the political vacuum of anarchy allows despots to use charisma and power to shatter the ideal potential of anarchy and democracy, and create populist structures of obedience to corrupt state systems.

Anarchy is a natural feeling for many people who have an intuitive reaction to any perceived authority over them; which maybe related to our pre-history. Civilization is considered new and brief compared to thousands and thousands of years when humans must have lived more or less like other wild animals with no writing, and no language rules, in primitive anarchy. This anti-authoritarian type of human nature can manifest in complex egalitarian cultures, and thus can create advanced anarchy systems based on cultural capacities. Proudhon considered anarchism to be a political philosophy for “stateless societies based on voluntary associations”. Having no desire for authoritarian companies or governments, anarchists often try to organize and maintain voluntary institutions (like SCOD).

Labor unions (aka trade unions) are groups or collectives of workers, organized to represent their job interests within capitalism. Unions are similar to trade guilds, except they are often employees of companies that need to negotiate with bosses using social pressure and collective protest bargaining, with threat of striking vs lay-offs to enforce contracts. Safety standards, living wages, and benefits are labor themes.

Philosophical anarchism often relates to democracy, communism, socialism, and labor unions because they all are systems to empower workers to control leaders, companies, and governments by the people being responsible for their power. The term ‘worker’ (proletariat) represents the bulk of citizens or their families, and therefore the masses of society. When the workers have to power to vote directly and frequently on their bosses, companies and governments become decentralized and depend on social networks and sub-cultures.

anarchy

[see also Mondragon, Mother Jones, Emma Goldman]

Community Communication

Posted in Cooperatives / Communities / Networks / Travels, news, Politics, relationships, SCOD Council, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2018 by Drogo

It is part of SCOD work to learn how all different people communicate despite all kinds of boundaries and responses, and also when communication breaks down and fails to be helpful. or in light of sensitive issues, how to still have at least contact with “others”, while accepting avoidance to various degrees is inevitable.

Knocking on doors as a neighbor is an interesting phenomenon. Calling people on phones is another. Texting is one of the newest forms of technological communication. Public notices are a way to communicate in communal or common areas, but it becomes less personal and more prone to faceless propaganda “news”, because there is no dialog possible.

An apology for “bothering” someone by contacting them is considered polite, because it is assumed that regardless of whether the person wants to talk or not, it is very possible they might feel bothered or threatened by a perceived “invasion of their personal space”, even if some distance is kept between physical bodies and messaging is kept to a practical minimum while within public or common areas or being far apart using technology. However even sales people and religious missionaries will use this polite procedure, and thus the very act of starting with an apology can be seen as a beginning to an impersonal sales pitch, and adds to the length of the contact the more one acts concerned for the possible emotional disturbance of another. It is still probably acceptable with most people to use a simple general blanket apology, even if the person initiating contact is going out of their comfort zone to contact the other, which bothers the bold person simultaneously and possibly more, as the person initiating contact can feel just as vulnerable as the one being contacted, since we can be sensitive to responses no matter who contacted who first at any given time, regardless of whether the timing does or does not seem reasonable to any number of people. It can be assumed that people can consider themselves “busy” even when they are relaxing for mental health reasons.

The cyclic aspects of communication easily lends itself to circular thinking which can frustrate the best communicators. Sometimes, some people can push past the fear involved with taking a risk to reach out an contact others, despite that they might make themselves a target by their own aggressive pro-action actions. When and who and how are interesting questions, but there are mysteries of life that we can best know only by trying and then reflecting on the experience after time has passed. This uncertainty puts many of us into introverted states of paralyzed fear, but heroes and villains are those that break those boundaries. Compassionate communication in tone and scope is a quality that can determine who is a kind saint or hero of the people, as opposed to flip-side uncaring communication of a harassing gad-fly or villain of society (at least with intuitive perception, which can be wrong).

Communication with some people will be doomed, as they do not want to be bothered at any time for anything, by anyone (like Oscar the Grouch, a grumpy curmudgeon). Even when someone is just in a bad mood, they can be argumentative for periods of time with no sights on conflict resolution; and that can lead to chaos. In cases of depression those chaotic periods can be long, and when it happens over and over as a pattern it can become abusive to everyone involved. How often can we all be happy enough to communicate at the same time about the same things with others? How much can we influence others to be compassionate about our own concerns while remaining ethical and not overly-manipulative? The best wise advice seems to be just be yourself, and show other people by example how to communicate by practicing with all your flaws and attributes.

Arboritecture – Tree Architecture

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Crafts, Futurist, inventions, Nature Studies, Organic Agriculture & Horticulture, Sculpture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 28, 2017 by Drogo

SCOD Tree Architecture – Arboritecture, a subset of Hortitecture

Trees could revolutionize our way of living, if we returned to living in and around them more. Conventional architecture is terrible at doing so, and is designed in opposition to trees, because vegetation touching dead building materials tend to make them rot. It is possible to live with an awareness of various levels of growth and decay, but it would require a culture more integrated with the natural environment.

Imagine devices that used living energy from photosynthesis. Design Science should explore the relationship of natural-artificial hybrids, methodologies of integrating plant matter into building fabric, issues of maintenance and sustainability, and ecological biological and organic architectural materials for environmental design.

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AA Economics – SCOD Transition Systems

Posted in Economics, Philosophy, Psychology, Spiritual, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 2, 2017 by Drogo

Religious vs. Business

Christian, AA, Buddhist vs Capitalist Business

Economics is a belief based philosophy that we can use psychology (behavioral) and accounting (math) to facilitate successful transactions of commerce. Some people want rational and peaceful economic systems in harmony with nature, and others want predatory ‘winner takes all’ systems as over-bearing master abusers. Before Marx wrote about communism and socialism, Christianity was founded on communal living and social services (similar to tribal Pagans). Christian social services are based on the concept that ‘giving is its own reward’ because God loves them, wants them to give without material or monetary benefit, and will reward them in the after-life for their sacrifice. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) uses a Christian prohibitionist type of addiction therapy, run on member based donations and volunteer work. Buddhism has a similar charity concept that encourages vows of poverty and sacrifice.

Rather than predatory State Capitalism, or dogmatic Church Monarchy, we could change towards more moral humane systems. We can reward ‘givers’ more than ‘takers’. We need to be aware of the poor who give it all away, and the rich that take more than their fair share; because the system currently works in reverse. So we can develop a middle-ground between the two extremes of Religion and Business ideology. Communism clearly has the modesty of religious morality, and Socialism has the best aspects of trade & barter ethics. Clearly the best type of Capitalism (if it is to survive) will embrace egalitarianism for the majority of the population, that makes more property public and rewards those that give to others the most.

Predatory Capitalism is like an addiction, it is very hard to break a harmful habit if we feel we cannot stop ourselves from doing, even when it hurts ourselves and others more than it benefits them. Therefore perhaps a SCOD system of economic transition can be similar to AA, where we can admit we have a problem, and that by helping others we are solving the problem. Then we can begin apologizing to all those we could have given more to, when we only practiced Capitalism.

* This essay is an addition to the book:

SCOD Economics: Alternative Economic Theories

Why Would an Artist Architect write a book on Economics & Politics??

Posted in Alternative Architecture, Economics, Environmentalism, Organic Development, Philosophy, Politics, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2017 by Drogo

Wealth inequality is on the rise.

What does that mean for regular people?

Rising wealth inequality nationally means the rich are getting richer, more drastically than before; and the poor are getting poorer, which means they will soon have the rights of displaced Native Americans from 100 years ago. Imagine how that might affect minorities like many blacks and natives who already have the poverty of third-world countries, but are required to pay the fees of first-world plutocrats and corporate cronies?

Most of us are still feeling the Great Recession in our daily lives. The national economic ‘growth’ data that popular economists use, shows that after the corporate bail-outs sectors of our economy grew. Can you guess what percentage of the population benefited from that growth? About 1%.

Many of us middle-class people are losing our wealth when we try to sell our homes because of banker-real-estate fraud on the buyer’s behalf, devaluing old homes in areas of slow growth and using tax money to build new developments which makes a few rich while we get poorer without as many jobs, because money has been drained from the middle to go to the top.

I remember when I first noticed corporate take-over locally in the 1990’s when Walmarts began ‘out-competing’ all the mom-and-pop small family owned stores, and almost monopolized the market even for large franchise chains. Cable-companies made fortunes stringing wires around the country, into rural areas, competing with ‘WV state-flowers’ and antenna TV. Larger companies replaced smaller ones, every-where.

It is time to change the system, but it is not all or nothing. There are elements of alternative systems every-where in history, and around us in America today. If we do not have a right to live, our leaders do not have a right to rule, because they enforce the laws that make us unable to provide for ourselves, laws which we need to take responsibility to change.

Power for the people, and by the people is a constant struggle. ‘Power to the people’! We have to take the power back, from the plutocrats. Economics and politics are combined in America as a corrupt form of crony ‘State Capitalism’. No conspiracy or theory is needed to explain the reality of how corporations function, it is notoriously blatant and commonly accepted as ‘just the way things are’; so without defining every popular economic term that Madoff and Greenspan advocated, I will try to high-light the problems that affect most of us and propose solutions.

“People Power!!!” – AMM (Appalachian Mountain Militia)

I do not expect people to take my word as total truth. I want average people to get interested in how our system works, by helping them to feel that they can make a difference simply by beginning to question the establishment in intelligent ways. I am not a professional economist, I am studying finance as a hobby. For this book I am able to put forth theories by other economists, scientists, and philosophers; by rewording or quoting them. There are millions of people that disagree with my opinions, and I will not include all the information that a basic or advanced economic book would; but I will do my best to interpret and phrase jargon with references as best I can.

I designed and published SCOD Thesis in 1999 to address alternative ways to live. I was mocked by some students and professors for wanting to build a ‘commune’. It was considered absurd to be interested in village design that was not able to be financed by rich clients or the government, for ‘profit’.

I accepted the responsibility that I was a radical rebel, and system out-cast in college when I began to learn more about adult subjects, and got a clearer impression how the business world worked. My experience as a college graduate trying to ‘earn a living’ by selling myself to anyone willing to pay me, was even more discouraging and depressing.

As a drafting assistant, design partner, professor of architecture, and architectural adviser I was so in debt that any money I made had to go directly to pay debt bills, and did not allow me to save for the basics of middle-class property and personal benefit expectations that were promised to come to everyone that played by the rules of the system (higher education = more income). I found those platitudes to be hollow, even for many like me who wanted to find a life-long career within ‘good’ firms. Well it was clear the world for practicing architects was changing from what it had been. I did work with my father for years, and as partners we completed many designs and built many projects; however we made very little profit.

My father and I were successful designers, but that success did not transfer financially. Part of the reason capitalism did not work for us, was that many clients were poor, and even the rich wanted to save money. My father out of the kindness of his heart and joy to serve others, and enthusiasm for his craft, would charge fees that may have gone further during the 1970s. Combine low pay with the rise in cost of living, inflation, and this is why my mother had to support our family by working commercial retail at Walmart and teaching at schools; both jobs luckily she enjoyed as best she could. I worked many other jobs besides architecture, sometimes 5 jobs a month, and always actively found back-up jobs and projects that kept me busy. Despite only having one family car and very few luxuries for middle-class, we saw our wealth diminish no matter how hard we worked, and no matter how many clients we had.

I lived within my means, on the budget of a lower-class individual, while striving to serve the public as a middle-class citizen educated by ‘higher institutions of education’. I did not ‘drop-out’ of the system, the system was not interested in using me for the purpose that my education, psychology, and skill-set allowed. I still continue to live in this way, which I feel is the best I can do with what I have available to me.

I do not say these things to complain that my family suffered more than lower-class people, or disabled people (who can easily be disenfranchised by society and the system). I am not comparing how we lived to how other classes live, the point of being honest about my middle-class family experience is to show why I believe that alternative economic systems are important. I have always been interested in the definition of economics, and silly questions like “why do we say ‘trade & barter’ if those terms are synonyms?”. My favorite question as a child was “what makes a unit of something worth anything?”; or more humorously “can we just start using bottle caps or shells as money?”. I still think those types of questions are good.

Professionals whose public speeches, books, and conversations I have studied include Dr. Dean Baker, Prof. Noam Chomsky, Prof. Mark Blyth, Prof. Michael Hudson, politicians Bernie Sanders, Jill Stein, Jeremy Corbyn, and many others.

Regardless I think it is always good to hear that other people suffer from a type of economic exchange we could call the ‘oops I should have asked for more” syndrome. So I will try to include a few of those stories too for you. Enjoy the most boring theories you never thought might affect you, and keep on keepin’ on.

If I understand some economists correctly, they are saying we are living in a period like the 1920s when all growth was in the stock market; it was considered ‘capital gain’ but was really ‘striping assets’; which resulted in the Stock Market Crash and Great Depression. No pressure people.

Jeremy Corbyn in the Labor (Labour) Party in England, makes Bernie Sanders look like a centrist about public policies.

“For the many, not the few.” – Corbyn Labour party platform

“Our challenge to a rigged system, is bound to meet hostility. Change always involves taking on vested interests. The stakes are very high.” – Jeremy Corbyn, British Labour Party 2017

Great experimentation with individual and social action must take place now! I have been writing and publishing essays on Teaching, Colleges, Jobs, and systemic economic problems and solutions. In 2017 I am producing a series of recordings and essays on ‘SCOD Economics’. This Economic series includes interviews and biographies across disciplines, and intends to address both present injustices and futurist hopes.

We will discuss injustice within our educational and political system, that adversely affects people with alternative thoughts or theories that are not accepted by the conventional establishment corporate ideology frame-work that contains and controls most of the World. We are given their propaganda that “we can all have any job we want, so long as we try hard and get good grades”. Our reality based on my experience is more like “most of us can have at least a minimum-wage job with few benefits, for a limited amount of time, without job security, pathetic interest for savings accounts, the job we find may be against our own interests, and those who cannot get good grades or are bad at following orders get nothing and will probably end up in jail or homeless”. Despite these problems which I have personally witnessed and experienced, the final goal of the series is to plan for a better more sustainable tomorrow for future generations; even if the series conclusions are largely ignored within our life-times. Historic record has some worth.

From the book – SCOD Economics: Alternative Economic Theories

Economics affects everyone, even those that do not want to be concerned with money or finances. This book is a summary of alternative economic commentaries that emphasize democratic ethics. The Sustainable Cooperative for Organic Development believes in valuing human lives as responsible environmental stewards for our biosphere called Earth, and seeks ways to allow for biodiversity in civilization as well as the ecosystem. We believe in less monopolies, less corporate crony politics, less corruption in government, and more ways to support various ways of life and provide future generations with the ability to provide for themselves. Please let’s work together to leave something for the children that is worth inheriting.

 – Drogo Empedocles

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Quest for Consciousness

Posted in Economics, Politics, Science & Math, Spiritual, Sustainability, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2017 by Drogo

Over the years I have toured many college campuses and made appointments to meet with staff members in their architecture departments. As friendly as some of the professors may have been, they told me candidly there were no job opportunities for me as part of their faculty, and of course none of them were paid to help me, and therefore they did not. I did lecture them on SCOD thesis, and they verified that college politics was not in my favor; despite ‘sustainability’ being a popular theory.

While exploring the Maryland University campus again in 2017 for open-house Maryland Day, among my various conversations, I did have a fortunate discussion with quantum physics graduate students and a business school professor, outside of the Science Department. We were talking about particle-wave theory, the split-test experiment, and the question of what observer consciousness, or whether they turned the lights on or off had to do with it.

I congratulated the business professor for being concerned about whether science could account for consciousness; as we have a cross-disciplinary problem of not being able to quantitatively value life-forms and the Eco-system in direct ways that protect our existence from predatory capitalism. He recognized that this problem did indeed exist, and that he “only went into business to make money”, but he was very concerned about getting the scientific establishment to acknowledge that consciousness exists. I defended the students who had volunteered to answer public questions, by telling the business professor that he was “pushing the limits of their knowledge, because science is about conducting quantitative verifiable experiments; and I wish that spirit had a residue that we could measure, but there does not appear to be much evidence that conscious exists apart from biology.”

Our two quests are linked, because monetary currency is mutually agreed upon around the globe, but life and environmental science are often ignored for profits that do not take their worth into account as variables that have economic value. If consciousness cannot be verified, given quantitative worth, and supported in monetary terms, then how can we ever develop Economic Consciousness for Life-forms? Perhaps we can begin with Bio-diversity preservation theories that do not depend on ‘consciousness’. Climate Science is getting ignored currently also, so perhaps corrupt politics or predatory instincts are to blame. On a positive note, I went to the Art Department and explained this problem during another conversation about the value of art and artist income.

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