Archive for December, 2009
The global warming debate is opening up a portal for us to examine the source of the seeming ‘hollowness’ of rational thought, and it is a ‘crack’ in the rational defence system that we cannot afford to allow to re-seal before we get our investigative crowbars in there.
It is not that difficult to explain what is happening. The difficulty is in believing the explanation, because what we have come to accept as our ‘standard reality’ (a somehow stark and cold ‘rational’ reality) is over-simplified in a manner similar to the way in which Ptolemy’s geo-centric reality was over-simplified relative to Copernicus’ helio-centric reality; i.e. both views give answers that are consistent within their respective frameworks, but which differ in the comprehensiveness in which they ‘model’ our observations and experiences.
We all know that something is wrong with our rational world view; i.e. it always ‘hangs together’ but it ‘feels’ ‘incomplete’. As researchers such as Joseph Chilton Pearce have observed, the heart plays a role that is absent/denied in our rational world view. Our real-world observations/experiencing of human, animal and natural behaviour in general suggests that there is a ‘compassionate mind’ at work at the same time as the rational mind, but science (rational model based science) is not willing to concede this point. Read the rest of this entry »
No-one who has gone to the beach
On a sweltering summer day
Who has followed the receding waters of the ebb tide
To dig clams and chase crabs
Can dispute Nature’s humanity-organising powers
How ‘ignoble’, then, for man to insist
That such movements derive from his own internal choice
That his individual and collective actions
Are the product of his locally originating agency
Under the direction of his ‘internal purpose’ and ‘choice’
Before Yule was largely ‘traded out’ for Christmas
T’was the winter solstice that brought us together
In celebration of our inclusion in Nature’s dynamic ground
From an earlier era where we saw ourselves as whorls in the flow
Or, as ripples in an all pervasive energy-field dynamic
Ok, now I’ve had ‘some pamphleteering experience’ in this small community and it this engaging (and non-engaging) did give me some ‘new feelings’ and also insights why, in spite of people railing against the dysfunction of our social ‘system’, we don’t seem able to change.
I set up my placards in the centre of the small open to the weather plaza in the ‘Driftwood’, which is the centre of this small island community (Pender Island, B.C.) The placards were 17 “ x 22 “ posters that I had printed out and spliced together (4 – 8 ½ x 11 sheets) and my pamphlets were below the placards along with a clearly visible ‘please take one’ note. I sat on a bench slightly to the side so that people who were interested could come, have a look, and pick up a pamphlet without having to engage.
The placards could have been better but there were a least clearly visible in a portion of the small plaza that people pretty much had to walk past if they were shopping in the Driftwood (there is a gas station, a small supermarket, a pharmacy, a bookstore, a post-office, a restaurant and a few other shops there). The posters were large size versions of the following; Read the rest of this entry »
Ok, now I’m a pamphleteer, … or at least by tomorrow night I will be.
I prepared my ‘pamphlet’ this evening, … only got about five copies done before my printer ran out of ink, but i might be able to make some more copies up at the driftwood centre tomorrow morning.
I am going to try to rig up a little sandwich board and stand beside it and see if I can get in some conversations. there’s no point in distributing the pamphlet to folks who would never have an intention to read it.
I just can’t sit around and watch bots nibbling on the corners of my newsletters.
I will report on what happens later
A copy of the pamphlet ‘Finding a Silver Lining in the Global Warming Debate’ is now up on this website at http://goodshare.org/wp/finding-the-silver-lining-in-the-global-warming-debate/
Pamphlet as distributed to the local island community, December 18, 2009
Finding the ‘Silver Lining’
in the ‘Global Warming Debate’
The Aboriginal Physics Newsletter,
ted lumley www.goodshare.org/wp/
Christmas and the New Year are coming and that’s when we try to look on the positive side of things. Or maybe a better way to put it is that we relax so that the sharp cutting edges of current issues become blunt and, like toy rubber knives, let us laugh about things that normally put a stern look on our faces and stiffness in our spine. Read the rest of this entry »
Well, what was on my mind as I wrote the ‘Opinion-Editorial’ on ‘Global Warming’ was not ‘global warming’ per se, but the different psychologies that are ‘operative’ in the discussion. I see three in operation which were first ‘categorized’ for me by ‘Missy and Larry Hein’ of Metairie Louisiana (Larry has since rejoined the cosmic flow, as he might have put it).
Larry Hein S.J. Ret. is a retired Jesuit priest who claimed (tongue-in-cheek) that his ‘angel dog’ Missy (his pure intuitive aspect) was teaching him and that he was merely her mouthpiece and a slow learner who was meanwhile trying to assimilate Missy’s teachings. Larry was tuned to the ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and pointed me to some of his ‘forbidden’ letters which suggested to me that his ‘curious’ manner of sharing his ideas on religion was probably prudent; Read the rest of this entry »
The statement “rising temperatures are causing widespread melting of ice” is a commonly heard statement that flags a problem in our culture, in our popular manner of conceiving dynamics, not only in the media and public at large, but also in much of science. It lies at the root of current widespread public fear of ‘global warming’.
A ‘rising temperature’ is an observation; it has no ‘power of causality’. The observation that temperatures are rising informs us that ‘something is going on in the world’ but it does not inform us as to ‘what is going on’.
There is nevertheless a simple ‘correlation’ there, between ‘rising temperatures’ and ‘ice melting’, in some places but not everywhere (not where the temperature remains below 0 degrees Celsius). Our cultural habit (this will be explored in a moment) is to capture this correlation in terms of ‘time’; i.e. ‘WHEN the temperature rises above 0 degrees Celsius, ice turns to water and WHEN the temperature falls below 0 degrees, water turns to ice.’. The alternative is to capture this correlation ‘spatially’; i.e. ‘WHERE the temperature rises above 0 degrees Celsius, ice turns to water and WHERE temperature falls below 0 degrees, water turns to ice’.
This difference in the way we formulate our observations is not trivial. It was the source of fundamental disagreements between Albert Einstein and Henri Poincaré, contemporaries in the development of relativity theory, as is discussed in Peter Galison’s book ‘Einstein’s Clocks, Poincarés Maps’.
Psychologically, the choice of formulations makes a big difference. Read the rest of this entry »
On a hot day in the summer, if we put a block of ice in the middle of our living room, it changes the temperature. That is, melting ice changes the temperature, it brings it down.
Now, some people seem to be getting it backwards and are saying that changing temperatures are causing the ice to melt, as in the case of ‘global warming’ and the polar icecap.
Which is it? We can’t have it both ways, … or can we?
The paradox is resolved if we take a closer look at how we use the notion of ‘cause’. If someone throws a lit cigarette into the forest and it goes up in flames, we say that that person ‘caused a forest fire’. But that’s a loose use of the word ‘cause’. The fact was that potential energy or ‘energy-of-place’ (in chemicals in the trees etc.) had built up to the point that the release of this energy could be easily ‘triggered’.
Since we normally talk about kinetic energy, the visible kind of energy that manifests when invisible potential energy is converted into kinetic energy and ignore the potential energy (the real source), … we get the sourcing of the dynamic backwards.
It would be interesting to compile a list of all those cases where we commonly get this backwards. Here’s a few. If anyone can think of any more, please pitch in!
- The melting ice caps cause a change in the ambient temperature (rather than vice versa) [temperature changes don't melt Antarctic ice because its too bloody cold!]
- The excitement of the audience creates the celebrity (rather than vice versa)
- The laughter of the audience creates the successful comedian (rather than vice versa)
- The turbulence in the flow of the atmosphere causes the storm (rather than vice versa).
The general principle is that potential energy builds up in space (which is why it’s also called the ‘energy of place’) and its ‘release’ is ‘kinetic energy’ (energy of motion) which is visible. When we see this release of ‘kinetic energy’, we look for its cause ALSO in kinetic terms (i.e. a moving object), and we back up the film to find the local ‘kinetic’ causal agent who is ‘holding the smoking gun’. This sort of ‘causal agent’ merely triggers the release of potential energy, he/she/it does not ‘cause’ it.
The ‘celebrity’ and/or the ‘joke-teller’ does not have some ‘magic’ ‘action-at-a-distance’ powers to ‘cause’ the movement of hundreds of bodies in the audience, the audience has certain tensions in them (potential energies) which release when triggered, in the same way as avalanches are an accumulation of potential energy whose release is triggered by a skier.
We can’t see the buildup of potential energy or ‘tensions’ or ‘pressures’ so we don’t associate this with ‘cause’. Instead, we attribute ‘cause’ to whatever we can see, and what we can see is the ‘triggerer’ of the release of potential energies, whom we then label the ‘cause’ of the dynamics.
This doesn’t really work because, for example, the careless smoker who we say causes the forest fire can make exactly the same moves when the forest is sopping wet and nothing happens. Similarly, the temperature can change and the ice doesn’t melt (Antarctic ice is not melting even though the temperature is changing.). The joker can tell the same joke to a different audience and there are no laughs, the celebrity singer can sing to a different audience and the audience may not even pay attention to her. The storm can also ‘fizzle’ since the flow it is included in is the source of its forming and its strength.
So, in your own home, if you have a block of ice in the living room and it is melting you know it is changing the temperature in a moderating way and that seems good. But we all live in this space on the surface of the earth and if the great blocks of ice are melting, we also know it is changing the temperature in a moderating way, and why should that NOT be deemed good? It is just like the audience laughing, it is the relaxing of built-up tensions, … tensions between equatorial loading of the air with water vapour and polar extraction of water vapour from the air (all part of the moderating of thermal energy difference between equator and poles). Since water vapour is the most important ‘greenhouse gas’ and since the polar water vapour extraction system is ‘relaxing’ or ‘reducing inventory’ somewhat, perhaps this signals a net reduction in greenhouse gases.
Leaving these tricky points aside for the moment, … Any more candidates for the list?
* * *
Because of the emotions tied up on the issue of global warming, there is a danger that when one ‘opens one mouth’ or ‘writes a few words’, they are likely to be summarily dismissed by those who feel that the world can be divided into two groups, -those who support the man-made global warming hypothesis, and, -those who do not support the man-made global warming hypothesis.
So, there is difficulty in sharing inquiry into the topic of climate variance, man’s activities and the relationship between the two, since such inquiry tends to be seen as a ‘re-opening’ of inquiry that has already been ‘settled’, the result being that everyone is identified as being ‘a member of one or the other of two groups’ so that ‘further inquiry into the topic’ is CLOSED, apart from developing more detailed understanding WITHIN one or the other camp.
There is, of course, another ‘line of inquiry’ and that is; ‘what is the source of this division of opinion on this topic of climate variance, human activity, and the relationship between the two.’ Read the rest of this entry »
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don’t. – Robert Benchley
The notion of ‘global warming’ implies a ‘norm’ for the earth’s temperature that we are experiencing an ‘upward’ departure from. In order to ‘get our facts straight’ it seems that some investigation into ‘norming’ is warranted.
There are some important ‘clues’ in the following video (New Tang Dynasty News Report of 2009-1–28 9:39) that associate with ‘permafrost’, that are explored in this APN article.
Our western culture seems to have, ingrained within it, a habit of establishing and ‘policing’ local norms based on ‘what things do’. We apply it not only to human social behaviours, but to all manner of physical phenomena (e.g. the temperature of the air in our homes). Read the rest of this entry »