Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom’

Analyze Wisdom… As Annihilation

May 27, 2021

Human interactions vary. Reasons vary. Webs of reasons vary, and get entangled. However, we will get a better society when we get the habit of trying to tell the truth, no matter what, in most circumstances.

But for doing this, we need to be able to analyze.

Wisdom is often evoked. Humans are supposed to have it, to the point it defines our species: Homo Sapiens. But what is wisdom, what does it rest on? Wisdom comes from Old English wis “learned, sagacious, cunning; sane; prudent, discreet; experienced; having the power of discerning and judging rightly,” from Proto-Germanic *wissaz” (source of Dutch wijs, German weise “wise”), from the Proto Indo-European root *weid- “to see” (hence “to know”). It is impossible to be without wisdom. But wisdom varies, just as reasons do. What passes for wisdom in a chipmunk is different from its equivalent in a wolf.

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Why would a perfect world come with a heavy price? If it is perfect, it is very worthy, thus pricey

Human beings need contrast to distinguish, we expect pain, we need pain, to help distinguish between alternatives. Rampaging against pain, as if extinguishing pain was the end-all, be-all of all and any wisdom, is traditional, but not wise. Pain is a propellant. Shall we complain against rocket propellent just because it is hot? No. Heat is the point, and how it impacts. Pain helps get us where we can see…

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In emotional discourse, passions themselves are words. Common words cannot replace emotional words. An emotional discourse can go where words can’t. At least not that fast and that thoroughly.

Thinking discriminates. Being attracted to discern inequality is intrinsic to higher mental pursuits.

Wisdom appreciates beauty. Wisdom is beautiful. But all that is wise is not just colorful and gentle. Wisdom does best, deployed in scary, gory situations, not pleasant fields of flowers…

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Time, as measured by light, is local (relative to place and speed; Henri Poincaré showed)… whereas objectivity, the very existence of objects, is nonlocal (yet not absolute, being consciousness dependent). Thus spoke Quantum Physics. This is what studying Physis shows (also known as Physics, Nature in Greek). More exactly, this is what studying light shows… That objects are non local, starting with the photon… Let the sparks fly… What does that have to do with wisdom? Everything! If nature is that subtle, to be local or global when we expected it not to be, and as we just found out, we should emulate her consciously, and become equally subtle; nature teaches us. Thus it is wise to very global, or very local, depending upon circumstances.

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Sometimes I dare to suffer to make myself better (a bit but not too much). I think that makes me morally superior (to what I would be otherwise). Leveraging the enlightenment brings pain , elaborating a morality impervious to pain.

Don’t laugh… Serious sport and serious thinking always require pain. Pain is relative, like localism, and needs to be delocalized, as objects are, when they move, or simply are.

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“Analyze” means total destruction. Wisdom harbors mayhem. Because wisdom rests on analysis.

Not kidding… How could we be wise without analyzing? Here are the origins of the concept of analysis, from the Etymological dictionary:

analysis (n.)

1580s, “resolution of anything complex into simple elements” (opposite of synthesis), from Medieval Latin analysis (15c.), from Greek analysis “solution of a problem by analysis,” literally “a breaking up, a loosening, releasing,” noun of action from analyein “unloose, release, set free; to loose a ship from its moorings,” in Aristotle, “to analyze,” from ana “up, back, throughout” (see ana-) + lysis “a loosening,” from lyein “to unfasten” (from PIE root *leu- “to loosen, divide, cut apart”).

Meaning “statement presenting results of an analytic process” is from 1660s. Psychological sense is from 1890. English also formerly had a noun analyse (1630s), from French analyse, from Medieval Latin analysis. Phrase in the final (or last) analysis (1844), translates French en dernière analyse.

Thus analysis is closely related to annihilation, from nihil, nothingness, and Latin annihilare “reduce to nothing”.

Wisdom did not arise to be exclusively nice, cuddly, seductive, amorous, gentle, giving… Wisdom may advise to indulge in these behaviors… But ultimately wisdom makes most difference when handling ultimate situations.

Wisdom arose as a supremacy mechanism. No supremacy as in “racial” supremacy, as there is no such a thing as “race” (once one has put aside the race of the imbeciles, of course). But wisdom promotes biological supremacy, in the sense of superior ways fostering best survival of given species. (This is already implicit in conventional Darwinism which posits that animals select superior mates to optimize the species.)

Wisdom requires to deconstruct, analyze and annihilate hopelessly mistaken ways… And, if need be, wisdom impels annihilation the way Nazism was annihilated, through sheer physical destruction, (nearly) no holds barred, of all its beholders who stood in the way, so be it.

Wisdom means supremacy of better, higher reasons. Wisdom does not have to be nice to all and sundry… And never was. Those who don’t like this don’t like Homo Sapiens. Or so they claim.

Patrice Ayme

WHY AGING HAPPENS AND WHY WE MUST CURE IT

May 6, 2021

Abstract: Why exist for just a day? Why not exist for a million years? This is both a biological question and a philosophical one. Biologically, aging advantages, or makes possible, species found in dynamic environments, by augmenting their mutational rate, genetic or epigenetic. This cause of aging implies aging is not destiny, but a biological trick. Worse: aging is adverse to cultural inheritance which makes possible cultural species (which are the most advanced species). There is plenty of evidence that the shortness of human life encourages hubris, and other futile pursuits, including violence, genocide and generalized sadomasochism.

Conclusion: we could, and should cure aging, the ultimate disease

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Aging as mileage which varies considerably:

Many view aging as unavoidable. But aging is no biological necessity. The lifespans of species are highly variable…the shortest lifespan of an animal is a day, with the Mayfly; the longest organism lives around 10^5 years. That’s a factor of 30 million, so clearly aging is a biological choice… aging is not a law of physics, but a biological trick, just one component of evolutionary success some species evolve into, more or less. Different species have different aging rates as a result of different evolutionary paths. For example, some lepidopterans can survive the winter, other butterflies do not even have a proboscis to extract nectar: unable to feed, they die within days. Thus, when pondering a species lifespan, one has to ponder their lifestyle. 

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My theory: Aging is one way for a species to evolve fast (there are other ways, such as epigenetic control). So aging evolved as an adjuvant to some species. It was highly successful, thus it is ubiquitous. But there is no reason we should be condemned to it.

Aging is the fruit of selection. A short lifespan increases the evolutionary speed of a species, a longer lifespan decreases it. Thus if the ecological niche of a species is chaotic, the species will be forced to evolve very fast, and thus have a very short lifespan. Some species are in ecological niches which do not require change, because their ecological niche does not change (think mussels clinging to the rocks bathed by the same cold current for 50 million years). Other species are in a constantly changing environment. Lifespan balances between the time the individual of a species needs for its lifestyle and the evolutionary pressure the change of the niche it thrives in exerts [1]. 

Continual changement can come simply from being a small organism: it is inversely proportional to the physical size of a species. A tiny insect will be submitted to more viruses, viroids and other microbes than an elephant: each new genetic variation from another microbe will require that the tiny insect species adapt genetically, whereas elephants have, literally, thick skin (thus big species are less susceptible to infections, whereas small species, like birds get sick very easily and very fast). Thus it is necessary for small species to have a short generation time: short generations allow them to evolve quickly (although some insect species can live nearly 30 years, and many have variegated lifespans, depending whether they are queen bees or workers, etc.) An albatross, though, lives in an ecological niche which does not change and is relatively sterile (island bathed by UV). So there is no reason for albatrosses not to have a long lifespan…  

So lifespans depend upon the ecological niches animals live in. The more stable the niche, the less the pressure to evolve fast, and thus the species can well produce specimens with eternal life. This is exactly what is observed with trees. Some trees, self-cloning and extending themselves, can live 80,000 years. And not just aspens and eucalyptuses. Greenland sharks are known to live at least three centuries, and maybe five… They reach sexual maturity around 150 years old. Not much is happening in the icy depths.

And why would Wisdom the Leysan Albatross have a chick when she is at least 70? Well, it is not easy being an albatross, there is a stiff learning curve, which starts in sheltered lagoons, learning to fly with smart sharks in attendance for an easy meal, in water so shallow the cartigelanous devils have to partly drag themselves out of it to catch overgrown chicks which can flap their wings, but not really take off. 

Biologists say that Wisdom possesses a rare set of skills that have let her have a productive life soaring over the Pacific Ocean. She produced 36 chicks, starting in 1956 (when she was at least five years old). When she was first banded, in 1956, Dwight Eisenhower was in the middle of his two-term presidency. The biologist who banded her, Chandler Robbins died at 99 years of age. “I think that over the years, she’s definitely learned to avoid predators out in the ocean, and she’s learned to forage very efficiently and also maybe avoid plastic these days and potentially fishing vessels,” Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge biologist John Klavitter told National Public Radio in 2013. 

An albatross has to catch all sorts of living organisms at the surface of the sea (some unfortunately regurgitate plastics). Great frigates, another oceanic bird, fly for days, and nights, going to foraging zones (further away, due to human devastation). They soar and they glide in air currents, barely sleeping for weeks. The frigate birds sleep forty minutes a day during moments when they do not need to see where they are going. The fact they do not otherwise sleep shows that this ocean flying requires great skill, and great skill takes years to learn. While on land, frigate birds catch up with their sleep (13 hours a day!) 

Wisdom herself, attentive mom, at least seventy years old. She is quite tame and lives a few meters from a multistory human building. Gooney birds, as they are known, are remarkable in all ways. If one comes really too close, a foot or so away, and they don’t like it, they make a slamming sound with their beak.

Complicated lives with arduous learning implies that individuals who perpetuate the species are few, exceptional, hard to replace, thus they should live long. Hence some species of whales, such as the 100 tons Bowhead whale, live centuries.

Bowheads have complicated language. An advanced animal is an animal using sophisticated software, be it acquired instinctually, experimentally, or culturally. Advanced animals need time to acquire this advanced software, so they need to live long, and, because it’s hard to do, few individuals achieve it and thus they are precious, and have to live a long time so that the species can exist.

Hence a way for mentally advanced species to exist is to have a long life: it enables the animal to learn and teach others and especially youngsters, a lot. This is the power of culture: no need to experience everything, culture did it for us.

Cephalopods are smart, they learn instinctually and experimentally, but they are not equipped to learn culturally. This limits the sophistication of their behaviors, hence it prevents cephalopods from impacting its own ecological niche, and makes for a precarious existence. The species nevertheless exist, thanks to its short lifespan, which enables it to thrive, by constant adaptation.

In the more mentally advanced the species of the cultural type, aging has to balance between the time necessary for cultural discoveries, then transfer, and short generation span to enable the species to evolve fast (epi)genetically. Other species, some whales, some sharks, tortoises, do not have the pressure to evolve and so live centuries.

Living centuries will make the world more precious. Someone purchasing a property in Florida intending to retire there for the next two centuries will become a militant against sea level rise (limestone is porous, dams can’t hold the sea). Similarly, the odds in favor of nuclear war will decidedly look too high, and the same retiree will also become a militant for world peace. Thus, instead of having ways of thinking making a virtue of lives short, brutish and cruel, future centenarians will take a much longer view of the human condition. Eternal youth will make for a nicer human existence all around. The argument that perpetual youth would decrease the appreciation of the world and hedonism is contrary to observation. Borges pretended that a disease, aging, was a gift, to assuage his pain. But we can fight. Most diseases now are diseases caused by aging. Instead of fighting them one by one, we must fight their sponsor, aging. Many human follies are engaged precisely out of contempt for death, and as a distraction from the death sentence we are all getting, all too soon. Since 1900, life span doubled. Implanting 3 genes seems to rejuvenate neurons: hope to graduate from death!

Fixing aging is how to cure most diseases.

And it can be done. 

A paper published in Nature December 2, 2020, shows that neurons of the eye can be programmed to revert to a youthful state in which they reacquire their ability to resist injury and to regenerate. The authors’ findings shed light on mechanisms of ageing and point to a potent therapeutic target for age-related neuronal diseases.

By expressing three transcription factors, collectively called OSK, the authors found that they could erase “epigenetic noise” which corrupts the genetics of neurons; this enabled the authors to bring back neuronal youth. How this can happen is a mystery, and a big surprise, but it does happen, it’s an astounding new scientific experimental finding.

The authors found that OSK expression enhanced axon regrowth and cell survival in human neurons in vitro. The effects of OSK in people remain to be tested, but the existing results suggest that OSK is likely to reprogram brain neurons across species.

See “Sight restored by turning back the epigenetic clock“, Lu et Al., Nature December 2, 2020

The philosophical perspective in fighting the ultimate disease, aging, is not to be eternally old and ever more degenerate, and presenting this as a success. It is the exact opposite: to cure ageing will make us eternally young and regenerated (literally!) This will help us re-evaluate all values in a way more respectful of the gift of life and thought, and will enable humanity to graduate from a shorter and more brutish state of creeping degeneracy. 

And why do we want to progress? Why to want to cure the ills of the world? Is it not naive, sort of Christian, or straight out of the Vedas, when Vishnu tries to compel us to fight? Well, let me put it this way: not all human beings want to fight and improve things. At some point comes exhaustion, a sense of surrender. However, surrendering and doing not much more than a cow, is not in human nature. There will always be (hopefully!) many human beings who want to fight and improve things, because this is how humanity evolved, and what it evolved into: a force that goes (dixit Victor Hugo), for the best and the better. There is no better cause, at this point, to augment wisdom to do like Wisdom, and live, and think, much longer and thus much better.

Why do we want progress and long lives? Because our name is Wisdom, and wisdom comes only from long lives… If we don’t want to behave like animals anymore, we shouldn’t live like animals anymore.

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Call the genetic variety of a species G; G varies linearly with time, from spontaneous mutations. Now G has to vary with the environment E. If E does not vary, G doesn’t have to vary, and generally will not. E itself generally consists of a narrow niche (say a tight range of temperatures for a corral species).

However, if E varies very fast (as it presently does with Global Heating), G will have to vary fast too. Now the human species generate its own E, and the greatest the human factor, the greater the dE/dt

Wisdom Is A Matter Of Wealth And Taste

April 16, 2021

Wisdom? Wisdom is relative. Wisdom in a lion is not wisdom in a chimp. In either case, it is wise to listen to the forest. Wisdom for a Chinese Communist is not wisdom for a true democrat. Wisdom in autocrats may be to be reminded always, that democracies have the intelligence of the many, which is greater than the intelligence of the one, however great the one is deemed to be. And that the fury of the many is always greater than the fury of the one.

Wisdom defines our species, Homo Sapiens. Wisdom, weaponized, is how we conquered the biosphere (give and take the occasional microbe). “Sapiens” comes from sapere “to taste, have taste, have a flavor,” from Proto Indo-European root sep- “to taste, perceive“. The wise are creatures of greater wealth in taste. Mussels only taste the sea, we taste the universe. There is no wisdom without the wealth of taste, and the wealthier in taste, and perception, the greater the wisdom. Diversity of input brings greater intelligence in animals and humans. But to leave mental space to input, one needs to be open to perception, and, in particular, to listening to others… and the universe.

However, we live in an age when, because of a lag in understanding and legislation, social networks fanaticize participants by feeding them mostly what they have an inclination towards and exponentiating on that tendency they themselves enhance, and feed. In other words encouraging participants to listen to themselves ever more. This is exponentiating intellectual fascism, and the opposite of wisdom, which gets greater, the more it maximizes the wealth of variegated tastes it is exposed to.  An accompaniment to this fascization of thought is virtue signalling [1]. Virtue signalling signals that one puts appearances above debate. But debating (even with oneself) is how thinking is elaborated and finally happens. Thus virtue signalling, as old as empires, is in contradiction with wisdom, the fruit of debates, and the essence of humanity… Now, of course, contradicting wisdom only help fascist empires…

This said, new wisdom, not previously culturally generated, then crystallizes into being by retreating to the proverbial desert or mountain top, re-abstracting what new perceptions may all mean in new logic. Being open to perceiving the world is one thing. To improve the world by contributing our inner mental world, new and improved, logically and emotionally, is the final step which concretizes greater cultural wisdom.

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”- US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. Holmes fought all the important battles of the US Civil War as a youngster, and then, following his father, enrolled in Harvard Law School. Holmes, one of the few Justices ever viewed as a scholar held that: “The life of the law has not been logic: it has been experience.”Indeed, logic is nothing else, but experience.

Want wisdom? Perceive maximally, then refine the logic.

Patrice Ayme

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Socrates was supposedly humble, but in truth, he absolutely was not. No towering thinkers can ever be humble. because if they were, they won’t tower. Wisdom is not saying one is not wise, it is saying that wisdom is a work in progress, yet most visible to the wise.

Note for conventional thinkers of reduced type: English-speaking philosophers opine that wisdom is a matter of knowing what is fundamental and then living accordingly. Professional philosopher Robert Nozick claimed:

Wisdom is an understanding of what is important, where this understanding informs a (wise) person’s thought and action.” This is saying nothing: what is important for a Nazi or a viper, is not what is important for a conventional humanist. What is important for a head hunter is not what is important for the anthropologist studying him. The question is how to determine what is important better than those who are more stupid did.

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Note for followers of Rolling Stones: In “Sympathy For The Devil“, Lucifer (Lux-Fer, light-bearing) is presented as a “man of wealth and taste”… Right on target!

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[1] Spanish historian Francisco Veiga argued that “fascization” characterized the ascent of Franco. So I was not the only one to invent the concept.

Mercifulness: The Smart Way Out Of Violence

January 13, 2021

When a situation gets real bad, good people work to make it better. To do this, forgiveness helps. This is one thing Catholicism got right (and it was duplicated later in Islam: Allah declares he is “merciful” every time he reaches some oftentime gory conclusion). 

Those motivated by the Dark Side, though, will make a bad situation worse… because such is the royal road to their abode, hell… Or a good situation bad: “Democrats” got control of the government, a time for reform, if reform was really what they are after. Instead it seems that what they are after is making a bad situation worse. An excuse to do nothing.. Obviously what their sponsors want.

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To progress, one sometimes need to shake things up. Mandela, as he said himself, “was not a saint”. But is a devil saintly when a devil is what is needed to make saintly work?

I am a devilish philosopher, not a simple coyote. I don’t howl with the others, just because they howl all together now. Throughout history, coyotes have howled one way, and philosophers have not heeded the call, making themselves unpopular with the four legged. There were deaths in my family in the past, from racism, strife, fascism. I had plenty of time to think what it means, and how to avoid this kind of nefarious evolution. I embrace, for real, the Mandela approach, of truth and reconciliation, not the fundamental historical American approach of violence and sheer force, after carefully analyzing how to make the situation as bad as possible… That strategy, pretty much institutionalized in the USA, favors the wealthiest and most powerful. It is also why the USA ended with the worst civil war known (yes, it was worse than the worst of the French Revolution, “1793”, by an order of magnitude).

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When Mandela was imprisoned on Rat Island, he learned Afrikaner… the language of his enemy. Mandela, an ex-boxer, then a lawyer turned violent freedom fighter, and leader of an African National Congress which took the turn towards violence under him, had the time; he spent 27 years in prison. Mandela turned to the violent struggle (bombs, attacks with firearms, etc.) after, he said, the government left the ANC no choice. The ANC was financed by the Soviet Union. Mandela was removed from the United States “Terror Watch List” by Bush in July 2008… After his presidency of South Africa. 

Mandela was an astute observer of how violence grows: he had been in the thick of it, and was very lucky to survive it [1]. He also knew that good people sometimes have to turn violent, compelled by the circumstances (“the government left us no choice, we had to turn to violence”…). How do you break the cycle?

With truth. 

Truth leads to reconciliation, if it is nothing but bare truth, and all the truth. Mandela set up a “Truth and Reconciliation Commission”. It worked.  

Patrice Ayme

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[1] Mandela did not just survive because he was intelligent, but also because those he confronted were intelligent enough to understand him, and thus forgive him. At some point the (white, Afrikaner) president of racist South Africa proposed to forgive Mandela… If Mandela officially renounced violence as legitimate. Mandela refused to condemn violence as inappropriate. He spent several more years in prison. Then the South African government accepted all of Mandela’s conditions.

CURE FOR AGING in Sight? Care And Consequences.

February 27, 2019

CURING AGING Will Also CURE US From THERMONUCLEAR WAR TENDENCIES: CRISPR To The RESCUE Of WISDOM!

One can always dream… Aging is not just a problem for hedonists. It is a philosophical problem too, because it hurts the quality of our wisdom, as a civilization, and as individuals, not just the elasticity of our tissues.

Aging means spending, in the best case, one’s last 40 years of one’s life being increasingly assaulted by all sorts of ailments, diseases, and degeneracies. Some youth will scoff, suggest coolly to the old to stop whining, get out-of-the-way, and.  Just die, time is up. And just there lays an obvious problem: aging entices those in la force de l’age to show contempt for life. Worse, even more for the youth, who may feel entitled to fully dehumanize the old, not realizing that, quite soon, they will be old to. And that dehumanization of humans brings alienation, then war.

Moreover, the old have the powers: they spent a lifetime gathering them. And here they are, wounded… by life. Now then they see some youth looking down on them. What do fierce predators do when feeling threatened, wounded and suffering? They lash out. And no predator is more ferocious than man.

Thus aging is a political problem, because it causes resentment, and the will to inflict pain… by those who have the power. Contempt from the youth, impatience in the middle age… And, even deeper than all this, aging, perceived as an insult, brings a contempt for life.

Mother with her progeria afflicted child. Progeria causes baldness, bad skin and membranes aged, all over. Death used to happen by age 13, from heart failure. Now there are partial treatments. CRISP R gives the hope of definitive treatment.

Once I told my 5-year-old daughter, that, as if she wouldn’t accomplish some particular task, she would deprived of something else I knew she wanted. She replied with an old gun fighter smirk “OK, go ahead!” (She has since used this tactic so many times, I had to complexify my sordid ways) Humanity is the same with life, as this little child with her big bad parent. As life threatens to withdraw the love, humanity retorts that life ain’t worth as much as it thinks.

Threatened with the ultimate, the extinction of life, humanity has opted to cordially despise it… As if life itself was lesser than the will of the human spirit to dispose of it. This will to play god, is a deep source of strife.  

Human life is very short, if one compares it to how much there is to learn. After a few decades, much more wisdom has been accumulated in an individual than after two (when typically young people, generally males are most indoctrinable to go out to kill the multitudes for no good reason). These treasures of wisdom get killed by aging and death. Human existence was always a balance between living long to increase wisdom and knowledge, and the necessity to have as many generations as possible.   

Animals age. Because, to improve the species through natural selection, they need generations. Species harvest haphazard (20 C genetics), and, or directed (Lamarck and 21C epigenetics) mutations to evolve. And evolving they need, because of competition with others (hell is others), or the elements (natural disasters).

As the wisdom necessary and other circumstances of a species vary so does its optimal aging. Thus some whales live centuries (although, up to a few years ago, a human-like lifespan had been attributed to them… without checking!). Huge and scary sharks of the Arctic are suspected to live five centuries… (These long lives mean those animals are much more threatened with extinction than thought prior: their replacement rate is a very small fraction of that of a chimpanzee, say.)

Aging animals are sick. Predators press in, and finish by devouring the sick. This, since times immemorial. That elimination of the old, a natural occurrence, has got to be anchored in our psychobiology. The older the populations get, the more sick they get… And thus, deep down inside, evolution whispers that we are sick, degenerate, would be better off, eliminated, all together. Entire nations, led by Japan, followed by Europe, and even the USA and China, are also aging. Thus they invite the ultimate solution to senescence (senescence has a precise meaning in histology; typically stem cells which can’t die, or divide, and are greatly dysfunctional). Weakness itself invites violence. (A little truth the sheep don’t like to hear.)

When a species around a star reaches the thermonuclear stage in civilization, all out competition, that is, all out war, will have consequences which are too drastic… And an ecological crisis, as we have one now will precipitate it. One can’t put thermonuclear power, in the hand of youth, and hope for the best: no all youth is as well-travelled and educated in all sorts of ways as Trump’s interlocutor, Kim of North Korea.

A few years back, a trio of women at UC Berkeley, one from Hawai’i, another from Paris, discovered a radically new and much easier way to engineer DNA. Yes, let’s reassure those who are prize obsessed: Jennifer Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier will get the Nobel for discovering “CRISPR”. So much for the alleged woman intellectual inferiority long claimed by sexist males in what even the prestigious science magazine Nature now rightly calls “neurosexism.

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CRISPR/Cas9 therapy can suppress aging, enhance health and extend life span in mice (18 February, 2019).

Researchers have developed a new gene therapy to decelerate the aging process (at least in a made-up pathological condition similar to progeria in humans). The findings highlight a novel CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing therapy that can suppress the accelerated aging observed in mice with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that also afflicts humans.Two mice of the same age with progeria. The larger and healthier mouse on the left received the gene therapy, while the mouse on the right did not.

Aging, “the time-related deterioration of the physiological functions necessary for survival and fertility”
is the leading cause for a cornucopia of debilitating conditions, including heart disease, cancer, fibrosis, arthritis, general decomposition and Alzheimer’s disease. This makes the need for anti-aging therapies all the more urgent as the likes of everybody are aging ever more… especially in leading countries, which are suffering a youth population deficit caused by traditional plutocracy.

Now, Salk Institute researchers have developed a new gene therapy to decelerate the aging process.

The findings, published on February 18, 2019 in the journal Nature Medicine, highlight a novel CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing therapy that can suppress the accelerated aging observed in mice with Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that also afflicts humans (and is also known as progeria). This treatment provides important insight into the molecular pathways involved in accelerated aging, as well as how to reduce toxic proteins via gene therapy.

Aging is a complex process in which cells start to lose their functionality, so it is critical for us to find effective ways to study the molecular drivers of aging,” says Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a professor in Salk’s Gene Expression Laboratory and senior author of the paper. “Progeria is an ideal aging model because it allows us to devise an intervention, refine it and test it again quickly.

With an early onset and fast progression, progeria is one of the most severe forms of a group of degenerative disorders caused by a mutation in the LMNA gene. Both mice and humans with progeria show many signs of aging, including DNA damage, cardiac dysfunction and dramatically shortened life span. Humans with progeria seem to age seven (7) years annually. They tend to die of heart disease by the age of 13 to 14 (recently though, one of them, an Italian science student reached 24). The LMNA gene normally produces two similar proteins inside a cell: lamin A and lamin C. Progeria shifts the production of lamin A to progerin. Progerin is a shortened, toxic form of lamin A that accumulates with age and is exacerbated in those with progeria.

Our goal was to diminish the toxicity from the mutation of the LMNA gene that leads to accumulation of progerin inside the cell,” says co-first author Hsin-Kai Liao, a staff researcher in the Izpisua Belmonte lab. “We reasoned that progeria could be treated by CRISPR/Cas9-targeted disruption of both lamin A and progerin.”

The researchers utilized the CRISPR/Cas9 system to deliver the gene therapy into the cells of the progeria mouse model expressing Cas9. An adeno-associated virus (AAV) was injected containing two synthetic guide RNAs and a reporter gene. The guide RNA ushers the Cas9 protein to a specific location on the DNA where it can make a cut to render lamin A and progerin nonfunctional, without disrupting lamin C. The reporter helps researchers track the tissues that were infected with the AAV.

Two months after the delivery of the therapy, the mice were stronger and more active, with improved cardiovascular health. They showed decreased degeneration of a major arterial blood vessel and delayed onset of bradycardia (an abnormally slow heart rate) — two issues commonly observed in progeria and old age. Overall, the treated progeria mice had activity levels similar to normal mice, and their life span increased by roughly 25 percent.

Once we improve the efficiency of our viruses to infect a wide range of tissues, we are confident that we will be able to increase life span further,” says Pradeep Reddy, a postdoctoral fellow in the Izpisua Belmonte lab and an author of the paper.

Taken together, the results suggest that targeting lamin A and progerin using a CRISPR/Cas9 system can dramatically improve the physiological health and life span of progeria mice. These results provide a significant new understanding of how scientists may eventually be able to target molecular drivers of aging in humans.

Future efforts will focus on making the therapy more effective and will refine it for human use. Currently, there is no cure for progeria, so the symptoms are managed and complications are treated as they arise.

This is the first time a gene editing therapy has been applied to treat progeria syndrome,” says Izpisua Belmonte, holder of the Roger Guillemin Chair at Salk. “It will need some refinements, but it has far fewer negative effects compared to other options available. This is an exciting advancement for the treatment of progeria.”

***

The preceding is new news, but Crisp was used to correct cataract in mice, already 6 years ago. CrispR is being tested in a so-called “gene drive” on mosquitoes. Inside a lab in Italy for now. The idea is to release a mutation which is inherited in the mosquito population, devastating it. Even the Bible doesn’t have a massacre that divine.

The females become a bit more male, becoming kind of hermaphrodites. While genetically female, the transformed insects have mouths that resemble male mosquito mouths. That means they can’t bite and so can’t spread the malaria parasite. In addition, the insects’ reproductive organs are deformed, which means they can’t lay eggs.

As more and more female mosquitoes inherit two copies of the modification, more and more become sterile.

The plot is that if these modified mosquitoes are eventually shown to be somewhat safe and effective, they may be released in African regions plagued by malaria. The hope is that they would spread their mutation and eventually sterilize all the females. That should crash — or drastically reduce — local populations of the main species of mosquito that spreads malaria, the notorious Anopheles gambiae. Malaria is a huge problem affecting probably two-thirds of the world’s population, and it kills millions every year, in spite of huge efforts. It’s also debilitating and treatments to treat the disease are increasingly ineffective, while presenting their own problems.

So the future is here: mastering genetics, to further our developing divine powers. Animals are quantum machines, intelligently designed by our creator, biological evolution… Indeed, as crown of creation, we are even smarter than our create… And now not just recreate, but self create. Let’s hope we can rise to the occasion, and that the object which zoomed through the solar system was not a spying solar sail sent from the Dark Forest.

Silly? No. For the first time since their last war, nearly half a century ago, 12 French made Indian Mirage fighter-bombers streaked 50 kilometers deep in the mountains of the Karakorum, north Pakistan, and bombed, using laser guidance, a Madrassa, a religious Muslim school, indoctrinating for Jihad. This was in retaliation for a deadly Jihadist bombing of dozens of troops in Kashmir. Indians said they killed 300 Jihadists, Pakistan scoffs that only trees died. However, Pakistan seems to care about trees, as the next day saw Pakistani jets attack India, and an Indian Mig 21 jet, and a Pakistani jet, or two, shot down. This is a rare case of deliberate attacks between nuclear armed states. But then, India had been attacked. India is a representative democracy… Pakistan is officially a religious state, and more precisely an “Islamic” one, thus a fascist dictatorship.

Fascist religions have, deep down inside, been established to forget about aging, and the pains it brings. If Pakistani leaders had 1,000 years of life to lose, they would be more careful, before playing thermonuclear clowns.

Patrice Ayme

***

***

WISDOM IS KNOWLEDGE Tempered By Value

May 18, 2017

Wisdom is taking measures to avoid getting hotter than in 450 million years. ASAP. (I have long brandished ominously that possibility, not just to frighten the Bourgeois, and poke them out of their jet-setter life style, but because there was a solid scientific reasoning behind it. Now, it turns out that the scientific community is starting to realize that there is something to my threats… More details in future essays.)

Wouldn’t that be nice for those who promote ignorance, if wisdom had nothing to do with knowledge?

It is often said that Socrates would have been told by the Delphi Oracle that he was the wisest, because he knew nothing. Actually, that statement, stricto sensu, is an invention. Socrates was not that dumb. Don’t let soporific plutocracy descriptions of Socrates lead you astray!

What Socrates actually said was that, in some particular cases, he was wiser than someone else, because, on that particular matter, he knew enough to know he did not know, whereas his opponent thought he knew, when he shouldn’t have had that feeling (Diogenes and Cicero later made a caricature of Socrates’ fully appropriate considerations, this is where the “error” comes from; I suspect said “error“was perpetuated, and is now repeated ad nauseam, because the erroneous statement that ultimate wisdom is to be as knowledgeable as a barnacle, promoted idiocy thereafter, a help to abusers; in particular, plutocrats).

If all we know is that we don’t know, we, indeed know just enough to know we don’t know: a good beginning to feel motivated by the spirit of inquiry. The assertion attributed to Socrates is just plain stupid, as it identifies wisdom with ignorance. Much of Socrates’ thinking consists into low quality running around in circles adjudication of thoughts, being decisive about nothing much… But not so blatantly!

Verily, wisdom is knowledge. Wisdom is a web of knowledge. Real knowledge, namely relating what’s not obvious to an ant, or a dog. Not knowledge consisting in cataloguing the appearance and location of grains of sand on a beach. So wisdom is knowledge tempered by value.

t There is more knowledge to gather in the sand on a beach than we, or anything, can ever know. But that kind of knowledge is not wisdom, but its opposite.

True, any knowledge comes with a context. Any logic comes with a “universe”. To know something, to know a logic, is to know that context, that universe. One should not be so stupid as believing that whatever one knows has universal value. If one jumps naked through a ten story window, one will die from the fall, at least, on Earth. If one jumps through a window on the asteroid Ceres, and then one will die from trying to breathe in a vacuum, blood boiling.

I will give examples in science and climate. The latter with an eye to policy. I have long advocated that, for climate, catastrophic calculus, computing only with the worst possible cases, was the path to wisdom. Indeed, we now know that, for three out of the five known mass extinctions, the process involved was exactly the same as now the unfolding catastrophe known as the Anthropocene we are contributing to: a CO2 exponentiation, a blow-up of CO2 (propelled, literally, by volcanic activity).

Wisdom then? A carbon tax!

Wisdom is a tax!

Wisdom can be simple. Wisdom can be just a tax!

Patrice Ayme’

Want More Wisdom? Get More Life!

January 2, 2017

ANTI-AGE REVOLUTION NEEDED FOR EXTENDING WISDOM

What is the primary strategic goal of anti-aging? Extending not just life, but wisdom!

(Some may sneer that strategia, generalship in Greek, is about war. But life, preserving life on Earth, is a war, and fighting that war, what wisdom leads to.)

In the European Middle Ages, a colossal discovery was made, which made civilization much smarter, wiser, and far-sighted: glasses. Glasses changed everything, by making plenty of other inventions possible. Glasses were an invention amplifier..

By age 40, in the European Middle Ages, aside from the Black Plague of 1347-53 CE, the death rate was slow, but artisans could not engage in precision technological work, because they lost their short distance vision (as people lived outdoors a lot, they tended to be far-sighted, thus lost proximal vision early).

The same vision problem affected intellectuals: they could not read, write, or copy, anymore, by the time they reached their 40s, and the heights of their mental powers.  Mental power is something which grows with age. A cephalopod observes, learns, and then duplicates. On the left below, the mollusk: 

Nothing Here But Us Algae. To Build A Civilization, One Needs The Functional Equivalent Of Hands, But Also Speech, Society And More Of What They Require, Longevity. All These Cephalopods, However Bright, Do Not Have.

Nothing Here But Us Algae. To Build A Civilization, One Needs The Functional Equivalent Of Hands, But Also Speech, Society And More Of What They Require, Longevity. All These Cephalopods, However Bright, Do Not Have.

[Cephalopods have typically 500 million neurons, five times the number of neurons a rat has; they use it to instantaneously mimic the colors and patterns of their environment, not just by changing colors, but even shape, as seen above, for all sorts of dissemblances; and also for manipulation…]  

Reading glasses changed everything having to do with WISDOM. Shortly afterwards, precision mechanisms could be developed by artisans and scientists: the telescope (late 16th century), the advanced mechanical computer (Pascal, early 17th century), and the mechanical clock, which enabled mariners to know where they were (thus enabling the conquest of the world by civilization, and global trade, the excesses of which we are presently experiencing now…)

Glasses were industrially fabricated in Italy by 1286 CE. They were an extension of rock crystal magnification known, and used, for centuries.

The invention of glasses corresponded to the mood of deliberately helping, or even beautifying, life by new technology through national invention programs, the archetype of which was the invention of stain glass windows and metal architecture in Cathedrals, Frankish style. Or the use of giant hydraulic hammers to bend giant iron, one thousand times too strong to be bent by hand, also for cathedral construction.

That mood, of developing technology to facilitate and prettify life, was not new, it dated from the early Imperium Francorum, but gathered momentum as the Middle Ages advanced.   The Tenth Century was full of newly invented (cultivars of) beans. Beans brought lots of proteins without having to go though the less efficient meat production…

So here we are. We went through considerable revolutions in energy and telecommunication, and produced antibiotics industrially (instead of gathering them in the forest, as prehistoric men did).

However, it has been a long time since our civilization made a drastic extension of useful life time. Sophocles was in his nineties when he wrote (or, rather, dictated) some of his work.

Glasses doubled the number of decades intellectuals could spend furthering their studies. It is no coincidence that full-blown printing with movable type appeared within two centuries after the invention of reading glasses: the glasses augmented the availability of books, and the reading of books. Glasses basically doubled the lifespan of intellectuals. Basically doubling the wisdom (doubling the time to gather,.distill and teach wisdom).

The easiest way to double wisdom again, is to double lifespan again.

Further anti-age revolution is needed now to help wisdom. And, as the biosphere totters under the blows of our irresponsible civilization, more wisdom is not just desirable, but necessary.

So extent lifespan. Bill Gates, who got his fortune from his mom’s influence, pontificated recently that the search for life extension, as pursued by, say, Google, was fundamentally “selfish”. Well, no. Bill Gates is an early college drop-out (see mom, an IBM director, above), Bill Gates does not have much formal education. Gates does not have the conception that it takes years to learn esoteric knowledge. And digest it. And forget it. And reconstruct it, to become a master of wisdom.

We need more time. This year, it was learned that Greenland sharks apparently can live more than 500 years. And that some Bowhead whales live more than 280 years.

So why do we live so little? We, the wisest of them all? Because that was the optimization between fast generation renewal and the wisdom we needed to gather, teach and transmit for the new generation, the whole thing protected by enough war-like instincts. So our wisdom, so far has had a lot to do with how to make war wisely, accelerating the evolution of our species.

Well, we need more wisdom, more gathering thereof. We need a different sort of wisdom, of a less bellicose type, a different sort of war, against fate, rather than men. And thus more time, to find out carefully what is really going on, even inside ourselves. it’s not just about ourselves. Earth needs it.

Patrice Ayme’

Wisdom Is In the Details

May 10, 2016

Contemplate the Details To Explain Holocaust, Israel, Clinton, Wall Street:

I rarely mention Israel. Not just because the country has suffered enough already. Not just because the situation is not interesting. But mostly because Israel is such a special case that it is hard to extract generalities from it. Also its fate is mostly controlled by external factors. However, something important happened there recently: not just the commemoration of the Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis, but how deputy chief of staff Yair Golan, the second in command of the Israeli army chose to kick it off by comparing today’s Israel with Nazi Germany.

I salute the following comment, which has long been pretty much at the core of my own philosophy, for decades. IDF Major General Yair Golan, reading from a prepared text:

“The Holocaust in my eyes must bring us to deep contemplation of the nature of man, even when that man is myself. The Holocaust must bring us to deep contemplation on the matter of the responsibility of leadership, on the matter of the quality of a society… Shoah [Holocaust of the Jews by the Nazis] must impel us here and now to reflect fundamentally on how here and now we take care of the stranger, the widow and the orphan.”

Morality, like logic, can be anything. This being said, the IDF has not been too immoral yet...

Morality, like logic, can be anything. This being said, the IDF has not been too immoral yet…

Yair Gollan went all out in warning Israel: “If there’s anything that frightens me in the remembrance of the Holocaust, it is identifying some horrifying processes that took place in Europe in general and in particularly Germany up to 70, 80 and 90 years ago, and finding evidence of their repetition here in our society today in 2016. It is easier and simpler to hate a person. It is easy and simple to arouse fear, to scare-monger. It is easy to become dehumanized, callous, sanctimonious.”

90 years ago brings us back to 1926. But actually, Nietzsche was denouncing strident tribal anti-Judaism in Germany in the 1880s. Inspection of the historical record shows that state legislated anti-Judaism originated in Prussia in the eighteenth century. As a British ally against France, anti-Judaism thus became something that Great Britain condoned, and even outright supported. After the French were defeated in 1815 CE, Anti-Judaism became the law in German-speaking land (Jews could not be doctors and lawyers, etc.)

Yair Golan is a proven hawk in matter of defense, although he started the practice of treating Syrians wounded in the Syrian civil war in Israeli hospitals. Like all the leadership of the Israeli army and the Mossad (Israel CIA, complete with assassinations in what became also the French way, and also, more recently, learning from example, the US way… That the Jews and French decided that to become way nastier, in some circumstances, was more moral, after their experiences with Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini should surprise no one…), Golan sees the present situation as an opportunity to make a real peace with the Palestinians. (An assessment that neither the Likud, Hamas or Hezbollah share, as it would undermine their reasons for being…)

How did the whole anti-Jewish madness start? It was a long story, started in Pagan Rome. It should be its own essay. The evolution of a lucrative madness always presents many twists and turns…

The worst part of anti-Judaism is not that it happened, but that, sometimes, and for centuries, it did not exist, at all. This means that something terrible, only founded on the admittedly very satisfying urge to hate somebody, or an entire category of people, can be reborn after centuries of eradication. In other words, the rebirth of fanatical anti-Judaism from its ashes show that cannibalism and slavery as an industry could well reappear in the future. Let alone strict laws enforcing state sexism, etc.

Speaking of evil reborn, Wall Street has raised already $23 million for Clinton in this election cycle. At least $4.3 million from Wall Street has gone directly into Clinton’s presidential campaign, and another $18.7 million has gone to the super PAC backing her, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Wall Street is a vast army, and its morality is greed. It’s not about orphans.

One third of financial executives’ donations went to Clinton in 2015 and the first quarter of 2016. Now Wall Street donors to (ex) Republican presidential candidates Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have thrown their weight behind Clinton. Trump received less than 1% of Wall Street donation, and the best financed “candidate” until now has been that of rich Republican donors, AGAINST Trump. (This means that the hysteria against Trump is financed by bedfellows who want to devour each other.)

So how did one get to “The Holocaust”? First “The” Holocaust was part of a much more general, and older pattern: Auschwitz was initially created for Poles, for exterminating Poles, not Jews (although no doubt they were thinking about Jews). And that, in turn was part of a program of extermination of Poland which was at least two centuries old, and itself motivated by greed and world domination: hence the deliberate attack on the world on August 1, 1914.

All this could develop because, all too few saw it for what it was: although Nietzsche condemned the system of thought which would come to be called “Nazism” a generation later, his voice was lonely. Let me notice in passing that the Will To Extermination is the ultimate expression of the Will To Power.

Thus Yair Golan is right: One “must bring us to deep contemplation of the nature of man, even when that man is myself. The Holocaust must bring us to deep contemplation on the matter of the responsibility of leadership, on the matter of the quality of a society.”

After World War Two, the Germans, that is, the German intellectual leadership denied responsibility, as usual. That was an egregious lie. Yet, anxious to fend off Stalin, the Western democracies acquiesced to this fiction. In truth, most of what came to be known as Nazism was the significant essence of (a very significant part of) German society, before Adolf Hitler was even in diapers.

Today’s Israel is in not in such situation, by a very long shot. However, one could imagine that it could well get there if the Jewish “Orthodox” fanatics keep growing in power: they are the ones who had brought the mood conducive to first, and completely pointless Judean War of 66 CE (Greeks had sacrificed birds in front of a synagogue). (The Orthodox Jews escape the military draft, thus don’t intersect with the IDF!)

By, the “leadership” one should not just understand elected politicians. “Leadership” does not mean just elected puppets such as Obama, or the Supreme Court and their meager contributions to the debate. It means mostly the Main Stream Media and the intellectual leadership: those who are viewed as wise, from Paul Krugman to the likes of Bill Gates, or popular authors.

To change minds, we have to change moods and the first mood to change is attention to significant details.

The easier way to destruction of an evil go through its explanation, and that starts with its contemplation. Lack of contemplation gives diabolization an election.

Wisdom is in the details. It may make it sometimes a bit too diabolical, but the ways of goodness are mysterious.

Patrice Ayme’

Love Without Wisdom: Ruin of Humanity.

November 20, 2015

Love without wisdom is only ruin of humanity? Lying, too, is the ruin of humanity, which is truth, if nothing else.

Lying about Islam will not seduce youth. Just the opposite.

If there is no love of wisdom, there is no wisdom in love.

Attack of the day, this time Al Qaeda on Bamako’s most prestigious hotel. Ten Muslim Fundamentalists versus 200 guests and 30 employees. What could go wrong? “God is great!” screamed the gun totting Radicals. Therein were airline crews from Air France, Turkish Airways, and many Members of Parliament from many countries, including France (of course), Senegal, Quebec, etc.

Human Spirit Is Indomitable

Human Spirit Is Indomitable

Well what could go wrong is that there were 40 French gendarmes from GIGN (Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale) plus French and U.S. Special Forces in the immediate area. The siege got resolved very quickly with only two dozens killed.

The deepest problem we are facing is philosophical. There is the Islam we have, and then there is the Islam we wish to have. The Islam we have, is the one in the Qur’an. Nobody reads the Qur’an, everybody talks about it, as if they had. Well, nobody reads it, except for the Islamist State, and other Muslim Fundamentalists, or “Radicals”

The West says:”The Islamist State is not Islam, it’s terrorism”. The Islamist State, and other Muslim Fundamentalists reply:”Just read the Qur’an”. Young, dissatisfied people (rightly dissatisfied from austerity, discrimination, inequities, etc.) then decide to make a little experience for themselves: who is right? They read the Qur’an and discover that the Muslim Fundamentalists told the truth: the Islamist State is the Qur’an, unadultarated. As long as the leadership of the West (political and intellectual) lies in a blatant way, and is easily caught lying, it will have no credit, and will only enrage youth ever more. (Maybe that’s what they want? As war serves plutocracy well?)

Islamism Is Terrorism, Wisdom Is Love

It’s as simple as that. Don’t agree? Well read the Qur’an oh you silly ones who talk about books you never read and were mostly told lies about. Before reading comprehension, one needs reading. Right, normal people prefer reading novels than reality.

In the Qur’an it is famously said that who kills someone, kills all of humanity. Never mind that Muhammad himself killed more than 1,000, including an entire tribe of Yathrib (now Medina). Yet, the Qur’an says this. However that verse is ABROGATED by tens of later verses which order all sorts of people (remember that later verses take precedence over earlier ones):

Imams bemoan “Radicalism”. But “radical” means about roots, and in the case of Islam, it means the Qur’an. Radical is the Qur’an. The Qur’an itself is a fabrication of Uthman, not Muhammad, as Aisha pointed out. Entire pieces of it were removed (notably the famous “Satanic Verses”).

So why not rewrite the Qur’an in a new version, the “Real Message of God According to Muhammad, Which Uthman And Others Hid From You”?

That will allow to remove the verses in the Qur’an which are in conflict with civilization.

Meanwhile the comedy of stupidity unchained, keeps on unfolding. I showed an educated lady from California hyper-threatening verses from the Qur’an, which should be unlawful, just because they are hate crimes. She quietly told me: ”Oh, there is the same in the Bible.” She has been a professional woman earning her keep as an engineer for decades.

So the pan is hot?’ Say who pass nowadays for smart, well-balanced people. ‘No problem, the fire is hot too.” Surely, the argument that we should be happy with the Qur’an, because it is similar to the rule book of the Inquisition belongs to those who hope keenly to bring back the Inquisition.

If there is no love of wisdom, there is no wisdom in love. It’s not enough to love God. You have to check first it’s not the Devil, as the Cathars pointed out.

The Vatican had the King of Paris (also known as “France”) annihilate the Cathars, using a Bible Fundamentalist army. One million dead. And all the Cathars’ writings.

But not, as you can see, all their ideas.

Meanwhile in Algeria, the local dictator, Bouteflika, had cartoonist Tahar Djehiche imprisoned 6 months in jail for cartoons ‘insulting the president’ -https://t.co/nJ9tF5xafX”. When the mood is around that insulting the Prophet deserves death, surely insulting the president deserves 6 months. Islam is the bed of gory dictatorship.

Who is Bouteflika?  A terrorist who became a general. He is one of the original principals from the FNL, a terrorist group to whom the French dictator (the one who dictated), De Gaulle, gave power in… 1962. De Gaulle, a famous racist, thought that Bouteflika was perfect for Algeria. De Gaulle thought he could keep “Muslims” or North Africans at bay, and away, by giving them to the wolves. That mood persisted, although its racism had to morph a bit. So the children of the North Africans who fled to France, or Europe, were mistreated by austerity (no schools for you, Muslims, the Qur’an is good enough, and selling drugs, too). So here we are. (Fully describing the relationship between France and North Africa deserves 1,000 pages, I am myself a byproduct; this was just an appetizer…)

If there is no love of wisdom, there is no wisdom in love. People are born from love, and thus have a capacity, and a need to love whatever, including evil. Love is not enough. Love without wisdom is only ruin of humanity.

Patrice Ayme’

Lao Tzu Rejuvenated

October 10, 2015

Lao Tsu, Lao Tse, Lao Zi  mean “Old Teacher”… Or “Old Master”. Teachers are very respected in China, and have been very respected, for 26 centuries (Mao would add forcefully: ‘all too respected’). “Tse”, “Master” is used routinely, from primary school on, with the appropriate concentrated respect.

(Lao Tse, Tzu, or Zi? it all depends how you transliterate the Chinese sound for “teacher”, using Latin, or Anglo-Saxon pronunciation). Here is my running commentary of one of Lao Tse’s most famous poems (chapter 33), from the  foundational text, Tao Te Ching:

***

Lao Tse: “Knowing others is intelligent. Knowing yourself is enlightenment.”

Enlighten the world you thought you knew, with a more faithful reality,

Teaches cosmic humility,

Tells you a world about how you think,

What makes you tick, and how you err.

So enlighten yourself, with learning, about learning,

And from appraising, what does not hurt,

About the world, and cosmos, inside out,

Not forgetting those old errors in fact, thought, deed, mood and feel, once held to be the truth.

If you want to know yourself, learn to travel the world, the world of thought, of moods unchained,

Lao Tse: 26 Centuries Young. Yet Wisdom Has To Grow Now As Never Before

Lao Tse: 26 Centuries Young. Yet Wisdom Has To Grow Now As Never Before

Learn to master yourself, as you learn to know and master, all what is out there,

And the more exotic, the better.

Learn how you got, how one gets, out of yesterday’s logical and emotional boxes.

Lao Tzu: “Bending the world to your will, takes force. Willing yourself to bend is true power.”

Yet you shall not bend so much that, you cannot stand straight anymore,

Yet you shall not bend,

To empower those infamous ones whom wild abandonment to cruelty drives,

To degenerate into their obsequious, all so very serious servant.

Warlords, bankers, legal tax cheats, plutocrats, generals, fanatics, money changers,

Ought not to be allowed to rule states, heavens, and Earth,

Grow ever more powerful, call it democracy, chuckling, joining insult, injury,

To humiliation and dehumanization.

It takes force to be a master, and weakness to be a servant.

Both are addictive. Learn about neurohormones, and how the organs which produce them grow.

Do not reward others’ violence with your abject, decerebrating submission.

Tolerating violence goes hand in hand, with applying it viciously.

Letting it happen, or happening to let it be, a crime either way.

Man was born free, and carries chains willingly,

Because it’s easier to feel, exist, blossom and thrive as a servant,

Just kissing the mighty’s dirty feet, celebrating that as fortitude,

Never making the effort of mustering the will, and wits, to rule over goodness.

Do not abuse of either force, violence, surrender, or submission.

Anger and humility have their use, but it is no use to religiously avoid either, as a matter of principle.

Principle can be intelligent, wise, kind, and helpful,

Yet only when it is best adapted to improving the situation at hand.

Lao Tzu: “Succeeding in the world yields riches. Being content with what is yields wealth.”

Yet the meaning of success is to be questioned,

While we should not forget,

That the planet is a garden,

And our forlorn species the fateful gardener,

Since well before cities rose, and domesticated species fed, protected, and dressed us.

There is nothing supernatural, but for man, who is above the world,

Just as the mind is above the body.

Lao Tzu wanted to: “Apply Tao to the physical world and you will have a long life.”

Long life is dear, yet other values are dearest.

The Tao, at the very least, all of human ethology includes,

While the longest life we have is that of human values,

As incarnated with said human ethology.

Thus the Dao itself is the life, which our species aspire to.

Lao Tzu wanted us to: “See past the physical world to the enduring presence of Tao and death will lose its meaning.”

Yet, we are the physical world,

So strong, that we think about it.

We can see past ourselves though, this is what the best of our ancestors,

Have always done, and what we are meant to do, be it just to live life to the fullest.

Lao Tzu hopes to kill death.

However, if death loses its meaning, don’t we lose something?

What is the ultimate test of strength?

If not the avoidance of death?

Humanity is a strength that goes. It needs its challenges.

Any claim it ought to be otherwise,

Surrenders to the Darkest Side, the exact opposite of what man is.

Fight nature if you wish, but pick your fights.

Of all the nature there is,

That of man is the hardest.

Be forewarned.

Patrice Ayme’


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Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

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Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

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