Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Storm Warning

Long Distance Sailing

All experienced long distance sailors know there comes a time when they have to stop just sailing along, enjoying the local wind and weather, and start doing what they can to see beyond the horizon, into tomorrow or the next day, make a forecast of the conditions coming at them from afar.

In our societal economic and cultural conditions, we are in such a situation today. What is coming is not pretty. But we can handle it if we are prepared. Those who do not prepare, will be in grave danger of being sunk, economically, physically, maybe even psychologically and spiritually.

We can prepare by getting together with like minded people, sharing knowledge forecasts and ideas, and making plans together to weather the storms and make life useful, bearable, and even pleasurable for all of us.

The issues we have to face, in my opinion, are:

A. Collapse of the economic system from two (interrelated) causes,

1. the collapse of the monetary system, and

2. the depletion of resources, agricultural land, pure water, and most importantly, depletion and greatly increased cost of fossil fuel energy.

B. The ensuing collapse of the cultural norms and spiritual mores that are the "glue" holding civil society together.

History teaches us that human cultures are like ecosystems. They always reach a "climax" stage and eventually collapse, and either disintegrate completely, or reform into a different system. They collapse from the psychological shock of major resource depletion, triggered and accelerated by climate change, or from contact with or take over by, an "alien" seemingly vastly superior culture.

The task of a "Transition" group is to form and commit action to, a rational and spiritually satisfying plan to handle these issues as they appear in our lives, which in my opinion, they already have done. Many people are aware of these issues, and are beginning to think and plan how to deal with them. So, for these people, the "transition" has already begun.

Why can't we rely on advanced science to free us from these worries?

In my opinion, it is not at all helpful to imagine that some form of science will enable "business as usual" to be carried on by 7 to 9 billion billion people into the future.

Historically, the vast majority of people have not used scientific knowledge to reduce the human footprint on their earth habitat. Instead, science has been used by the majority (who are ignorant of the methods and forecasts of science) to do more of what they have always done, which is to procreate without limit, and consume and waste earth resources and energy sources without limit. A simple example, humans have always travelled. They used to go by hand made canoes and other boats, now they use science to fly. It is clear that humans would have ensured they lasted longer on the planet if they had continued with only the slower, hand made methods of travel.

We are in danger of virtually extinguishing human life on this planet within the next century or two. Humans would likely have lasted at least several millennia more before reaching this point, if it had not been for the "Industrial Revolution" invented in England and carried around the world and forcing the collapse of indigenous cultural ecosystems everywhere by the dominating capacity of the will and enterprise of the British culture. (Note that nothing in ecological theory suggests that a "dominant" species can be so capable as to ensure the survival of the ecosystem it has come to dominate. )

What's another point of view?

The science of neurology is telling us these days that our brain functions to programme our decision making based on past encounters, chance experiences, and our inherited DNA tendencies to follow certain paths and reject others. It may be that our notions of free will are just illusions, that we are more like ants than popularly supposed.

So none of what I have said above has any value except to enable us to continue being happy under the illusion that we have some degree of control over our lives. In fact, the Popes who excoriated Galileo and other early scientists were quite right. Those early scientists banished "spiritual values" as a basis for decision, making them seem like pure illusion, only to substitute their own illusions that we humans are powerful enough to overcome our basic limitations.

The latest neurosciences have this virtue at least, that they teach us to be a lot more humble in the face of our own incapacity to order our existence as we wish. They bring us back to the position of the old time Christian theologians, and North American native teachings, that is it not by our own will , but by the grace of some stronger power, that we are given our daily bread.

And if you want to insist that it is only by chance that we get our daily bread, I would say you are entitled to that view. However, I don't see how we can organise a moderately civil society on that premise. It would enable an axe murderer to go unpunished, claiming he was just an agent of chance.

I choose instead to believe that my actions are guided at least in part by moral imperatives proceeding from a Spiritual Creative power greater than I am, with whom I can be in touch every time I go barefoot on the earth, which gives my culture what I call its "soul".

We are into the Christian Christmas season. Always a happy time of nostalgia and celebration for me brought up in the most ecumenical fringe of this culture. I take the birth of the Christ Child to symbolise the best of what we can get by being part of a human culture whose members enjoy each others company, value each others lives and families, and efforts to live as best we can, and who maintain a hope that if things are not good today, they can be better tomorrow, by the grace of God, or whomever we call that Power.

Donato Dec. 5 2011

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Human Life

"Modern Life" we live "out of balance". It's name is "gimee gimee me too me too".

Human Life

Name it as what it does for you, the way the old people named medicines, fever berry and so on.

Under the God of Science; Linear and disconnected, un whole some.

Health- diagnosis, prescription
Healthy body/mind
Healthy emotions/spirit

Under the Creating Universe, the Name is Balance: a Medicine Wheel

For Mind, Mouse giving attention
For Body, Bear standing tall
For Emotions, Hawk soaring
For Spirit, Buffalo grazing

Start with what is emergent
From the egg/sperm
The unformed forming itself
Informing itself in communication
The web of energies
Transforming into form
Refining that form
A hologram a fractal
The Universe in a grain
Not a part
But an emergent whole
A grain in a Universe
Not a part but a whole

We have words
To plant to grow

Thoughts and actions
Actions that require food
Of thought to grow
The emergent form
Carrying the words/thoughts/actions
The histories and capabilities
The memories and forgetting
Of this form emerging

I am speaking of a garden
Whose tasks are...

The new garden
Like any baby
Calls out to what s around
For what it needs
To get going and growing
As a garden keeper
Your job is to recognise
Our language and respond
To garden s questions and demands
My language as garden
Is not subtle not abstract
I tell you plainly what In I need
What I want for harmony
And a good way to grow
To be fully productive
As I can be
As garden I will
Enthusiastically grow what you wish
So long as you are sensitive
To my capabilities
Do not ask me to harbour
Too many different kinds of people
Fighting with each other
Do not ask me to produce well
What does not thrive In this place
I have no parts
I am not a machine
I am a community
Of emergent whole entities

One for all and
All for one

You and I
Brother sister stewards
Are in this together

The community of different entities
Of which you are one
Has health stimulation nutrient needs
As a garden too
Fluctuations in temperature of air and soil
And the Maple to store and retrieve
Its delectable life giving juices
So I the steward
Aid mine riding my bicycle daily
We all all living together
Have our together separate nutrient needs
The language we speak those needs
Is plain in our outward bodies
What this writing calls
Symptoms of our health
Kind words and messages
Lack of stress with our surround
These too we all need
We each have territories
We will defend
We strive to extend
So we must learn to negotiate
Cooperate collude and conspire
Success in growing
Attaining another season
Procreating and raising the young
Hoped for always
Not guaranteed

Our Modern lives we live “Out of Balance”

Science “out of balance” causes the gifts of makers to become threats.

Computers and mathematics and human pride and arrogance have destroyed the economic model we humans use to conduct commerce on a global scale.

The South Sea Islanders with only their outrigger sailing vessels for transport conducted their commerce over the global world they knew and never failed until they were given western science tools. Now they are caught in our failure.

All this from too much science in the hands of a few powerful “out of balance"” with the means to exploit the market and the addictions to consumption of humans everywhere.

Energy producers empowered by science without moral controls have put “out of balance” amounts’ of power in the hands of vast populations of adults with the mentality of children, “gimmee gimmee gimmee, me too, me too, me too”.

These have ripped the land, created vast pollution and waste in earth’s land, atmosphere, seas, lakes and rivers, depleted underground aquifers, never to be replenished.

Balance for me would be to take only what I can and will put back.

Balance for the planet would be to ensure no species of life becomes so dominant as to consume the habitat for all. Signs are we are near a failure in this balance through unheeding profligate use of science and “out of balance” power sources created by science.

We have given our power as human individuals to scientific systems which have no heart or feelings to guide them. We no longer care for our gardens ourselves. We no longer recognise gardens of health, of our bodies, of our community relations; all are reduced in our thinking to immoral machinery. So we are out of balance with a universal harmony which requires personal responsibility for our actions and their outcomes.

We are created to be responsible for all the outcomes of our lives and those who depend on our stewardship, who depend on us to be a nurturing entity in their communities of living.

We are not “parts” in a mechanical system. We are whole entities emergent in a living emergent community of whole entities.

“Out of balance” we think ourselves to be parts instead of wholes.
We use mechanics in factories and garages to build and maintain our means of transport. We ask mechanics in factories of so-called health systems to “deliver” our babies whole and free of defects, repair the ailments caused by food addictions, lack of proper stimulation of body exercise, stress of out of balance work and travel daily in polluted air, out of balance stress of walking on shoe leather on concrete or riding in cars, instead of going barefoot on the earth.

Our bodies tell us we are out of balance. Falling down of disease, of overweight. We need no statisticians to tell us our condition. We need only open our eyes, look around, be the living beings in community we are born to.

Eco History

Most of our history
Made into stored in words
Projected into pictures emotions
On our minds
Without them
The present would not be
To us to me
Some words we carry for centuries
In knapsacks of time
Eco the Greek word for house
Ecology mine yours minnows
Economy means taking little
Returning much
In our house out of balance
The word Economy is used to mean
Taking much giving little
My house be not a home
But a place where I
Display how much
You could take too
If you were worthy as I say I am
Living in out of balance consumption
Even my dying
Becomes a salesman's opportunity
I leave behind
A full house
A mountain of waste from the making
My death song
But a thin cry
Of despair
On the undisturbed air.

Sept. 26 2011
All this my statement about human life
As it would be to my soul’s delight
Who does not dance
In the light of burning cities
Who drinks bitter tears
Sorrowing murdered children murdered childhoods
Who would rather not
I had to write of this

That old Greek guy Euripides said
We know what to do
But do not do it

You know how to live
When did you ever begin

Science is a drug
As captivating as money as meditation
As seeking the unattainable

Sept. 28 2011

The Rule

Discover yourself and be that person.


Myself a member of a garden
Not an unthinking unfeeling robot
But a by-choice member
Bound by rules of propriety
And logic
And free to go or come
Within my limits
Chosen by my past
Nudged by intuition
Spirit voices whispering
Me onto a new path

Sand grains on this lake beach
Hear also loon s cry
Washed by cold waters
By moon and autumn s red
Are bound by what s around
Yet their forms emerge in time
As mine
Who though I have the will
Which they do not
I may only challenge fate
Not any more than they
Be master of it

Oct. 2 2011

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Donato’s Habitat Structure

Donato’s Habitat Structure

1. Daily Living

Being is my only time ( Heidigger? ). Because I will never experience the moment of my death, in my own time, the only time I will know, I am immortal.

2. The Philosophy of it all:

1. Treat all living and non-living as beings worthy of and requiring respect. Act to them as I would to my own children and those humans beloved to me. They have an equal right with me to be consulted and agree to their usage and treatment. This puts a question to our moral attitudes to our consumption habits.

There is a moral question in our every act, and also a scientific, fact, question. The line dividing them is a singularity, yet part of the same equation governing our lives.

Since we are obliged by both morals and science not to consume more resources than the resources themselves would allow... we are subject to natural controls on our consumption as are all other living creatures, the grasses, trees, squirrels, grasshoppers, wolves....

I may defend a rock from depredation with as much will as defend an infant cruelly mauled...

Travelling a road crowded
Cars busses trucks
I see the land either side
Filled with cedars parked
Waiting interminably imperturbably
To inhabit
This road s spaces too

Apr. 1 2011

I have a wallet filled
With money of my past earned
I use now to experience
My present.

3. “Will”

Clearly exists, whether mine or the Universe I know not, nor can know. Any more than proverbial fish knows it s water. I may act as if it belongs to me, emanates in me, or, as if I join, knowing or unknowing, in the Universal Stream of constant creation, continuous outward expansion into new forms. The existence of creative flow I verify in my daily experience, though it be mine alone, perhaps shared by others, what ever that might mean to us. ( Another something I cannot know, your experience of our conversations).

If I imagine myself walking a path, following the signs,, I am at peace with all events, interested in all, self-protective by old habit fearing danger, but truly, no need, since I will not die until I do, though my fear of that event may keep me from a full experience of the present live moment.

in any case, I will not experience my actual death, being alive until it happens, and then, without feeling or knowing of it when it does, since I cannot recognise something I have never before seen or felt. ( unless perchance my DNA incorporates a sequence programmed to show me this event. Perhaps...?)

As for my acts, they are useful only to me. Even in charity, supposedly for another’s gain, my sacrifice, I am enjoined by the Upanishads (5000 years ago) Diamond Sutra, “Judge not the object of your charity”. That is to say, what he gets from it, does with it, for good or ill, is his karma, his concern, not mine to know or care. I do the charity for my sake, from my own impulse, out of my aliveness.

Those who differ from me by too great a measure by my count, are in another culture, another agglomeration of rules for right living. They interest me, but do not concern me. It is as if we live on different islands, able to observe but not to serve, each other.

4. In sum

On my Life ( and Death)

Rabbit tracks in snow

Fri. Mar. 25

The Latin for “lived”
is “visit’

The Romans knew we are all visitors here.

Right now I am in Starbucks coffee shop in the “heart” of the city, noise bustle, meddling all around. I know not which is more present to me, the inconsequential nonsense of omni Muzak, or the babbling of the Bay Street dressed obsessed man behind emitting a continual monologue to an unseen listener... or my writing this....
Donato Mar. 31 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The most wonderful species?

The most wonderful species?

Why do we call humans the most wonderful of all species? After a million years or so of evolution, homo sapiens emerged in the last 100 000, to be called, in our time, the most wonderful and successful species of all. In the last 200 years, with the Industrial Revolution, we have so overloaded the biosphere with the waste products of our greed, our addictions, and exploding population growth, that human as well as many other species very existence is threatened. (This is not a "belief", it is plain physics, as good as that which builds your cell phone).

What do we call a creature whose greed and addictions and lack of any sign of foresight, with no natural predators, which consumes its habitat and so extinguishes itself? Wonderful? Successful? Maybe '"failed experiment" would be more accurate?

Maybe, like bringing rabbits to Australia, goats to the Galapagos, beavers to Patagonia, where they had no natural predators and so proliferated wildly, the problem is simply that the big forebrain of homo sapiens makes it an alien species, anywhere on the planet. Are homo sapiens humans a "non-native" species, thus doomed to eat itself to death for lack of natural predators to prevent it consuming its habitat?
donato's Dictum

George B. Shaw

If more than 10% of the people like it, it's no good.

Those with a highly developed sense of observation are commonly called cynics by those who have none.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Chaos Dynamics, Cybernetics, and the Interaction of Humans and the Biosphere

Chaos Dynamics, Cybernetics, and the Interaction of Humans and the Biosphere


A boat by fitting with a rudder, thus limiting its freedom of action, its “variety”. Every type of control is a effort to reduce the “variety” presented by the object we want to control. In the mathematical discipline called “cybernetics”, the study of control mechanisms is begun with the “Law of Requisite Variety” which states that to control something, we must match its variety, or reduce its variety to that which we possess. An example would be a football team. If we want to control it, we have to put in another equal team. Another example is the service queue problem at a bank or a performance ticket counter where to provide efficient service and avoid chaos they limit the variety they are faced with by having a limited number of service points and then sorting people into that number of queues, which in turn are fed by only one queue.


to get ahead of others, to seize” control”, to win. Seems the aim is always to control access to a particular space, limit it to the controller and whom he designates. To control by setting the rules and enforce them, hence a “game”. A strategy might be to change the rules unilaterally, so as to control access to the space and win the game. In the stock market, an option buyer or a bankster making loans can be bankrupt if the counter parties don’t pay up, thus making loans can put one under the control of the borrower.

China has to support other countries these days, including the US so as to maintain its markets and keep its people from rioting for lack of food money. So others borrow from China without the need to pay back. Of course this game ends when this “something for nothing” Ponzi scheme collapses. The rapidly growing complex structure of finance, factories, roads, interacting expertise, education, health and elder care, etc. that is Chinese society today, cannot be kept going on the work and purchases of the Chinese people alone. And if others can only supply it with paper promises in return for its products, it must inevitably collapse, from lack of the energy required to keep it expanding. It’s instability is made worse by its necessarily increasing complexity as it grows.

International trade

Note that the role of fiat money, paper money, is only to facilitate the exchange of goods. Countries exchanging different currencies must eventually exchange goods or services equal to the balances of currencies owed, unless one or another country has the spare capacity in its work force to continue supporting others with a free donation of goods and services, in a form of charity, or the system collapses. Imagine a farmer, or anyone with the ability to make or dig out of the ground, something that others want are willing to exchange what they make for his products. He can get all the other things he needs in life from the product of his work. If he has a lot of capacity to do this work, he can support a large family who need do nothing but keep him entertained. In effect, one of his needs is this large family, and his work keeps it going.

This picture is not often presented by whole countries. Saudi Arabia might be an example. They can dig incredible riches of low cost oil out of the ground, for a few more years a least, and thereby earn the money to pay for whatever else they need and have plenty left over to buy toys such as expensive weapons systems and modern buildings, and lifestyle goodies. They could offer their own people a lot more than they do, and the growing poverty (earnings per capita used to be $18 000 and are now $8000) in that country is reaching a tipping point into violence I hear.

Large and growing populations

Large and growing populations that do not have the education, or access to jobs to make goods or provide services they can exchange for the lifestyle goods and services they desire generate unfilled expectations that can tip into sufficient violence to destroy any civility in the society.

Large populations that destroy the habitat around them to meet their needs for food, water, raw material, create conditions for their own collapse from the excess stress of major weather events, drought, flood, hurricanes, or volcanoes, or global warming. They exacerbate their problems if they fail to produce goods that can be traded with others to meet their needs. Sometimes other countries will come to their rescue, but will impose such conditions on them as to effectively make them into slaves, unable to exist except through charity. Haiti and the United States are a good example of this syndrome.

These two paragraphs are part of a positive feedback loop that, as forecast by the mathematical models of Chaos Dynamics, will eventually destroy any society caught in it. Which these days is most of mankind.

The human condition

Humans are programmed to Ponzi scheme addictions,that is, to desiring and believing they can take out more than they put in. Humans are also addicted to status consumption. Consumption to display status, of food, housing, clothing , entertainment, complexity of technological gadgetry, cars, boats, recreational toys. This is particularly a syndrome that emerges with uncontrollable force, similar to any major addiction of the sort we are familiar with, drugs, alcohol, etc. , when they get together in large populations.

Humans also have the thinking capacity to create means of generating and applying work energy, machinery and inventions, far beyond the individual capability of any particular human person. They clearly have the capacity to use the planet’s raw materials beyond the capacity of the planet to replace them, and to grow additional humans at an exponential rate, having no natural predators, except perhaps each other, and some pandemic diseases which may erupt.

The basic human condition, over the millennia, has generated a population load on the planet that is unsustainable by the planet's life support systems.

Chaos Dynamics and Cybernetics applied, see attached diagram.