No Self

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  1. It's like being the guy who sells guns and bombs to both sides in a conflict. You might have a personal opinion, but why would you want to promote peace or rationality?
  2. I have the impression that Biden has science-based views on climate change. This would be the start of an amazing revolution and would change the entire world by legitimising serious environmentalism into global politics. Just because he isn't a natural-born entertainer like Trump doesn't make him a bad politician. Do you insist that your postman be charismatic and entertaining also?
  3. If YouTube is recommending right-wing channels, it is because its AI has detected you viewing such videos over and over. It only wants to keep you watching more and more content. It is a case of 'ignore it and it will go away'. Of course, ignoring opposing viewpoints is also what causes echo chambers, but personally I do not regard Tucker Carlson as a legitimate journalist anyway. If you don't mind a comedic angle, you'd like Seth Meyers.
  4. The idea of meeting half-way is a bit airy-fairy when we consider unworkable positions on actual issues: Let's deny climate change and promote fossil fuels because it's fun to make the tree-huggers cry The wicked mainstream media attacks Trump, who is meanwhile saving children from sex slavery Black lives protesters should be put in their place via military might ...among many others. It is OK to hold to your values and not water them down to meet disinformation campaigns or angry mob antics 'half-way'. It is also OK to leave people alone if they have been radicalised to the point where they can only ramble on about conspiracy theories non-stop. They are CD-ROMs with no ability to edit their content. The problem becomes when we feel so strongly about the issues that we turn individuals with opposing viewpoints into icons symbolising everything cruel, mad, inhumane and horrifying about modern society. There used to be a saying, "Don't hate the player, hate his game", which might have some relevance here. Hate is an easy trap to fall into when all humanity of the opponent is lost, but at that point we have become unconscious ourselves. The Trump supporters that I've known also have some very positive qualities. They tend to be extremely loyal, and because their simple world view does not accommodate the complexity of trying to care for the less fortunate beings on the planet (flora, fauna and poor people!), they are often quite content and friendly. They will also take care of each other like brothers/sisters, where the left angrily discards people (such as the 'Bernie or bust' crowd of 2016) over minimal differences, harming themselves in the process. Perhaps the ideal personality would combine the best of both worlds, accepting what they cannot change, loving the entire process because 'you can't have high without low', yet decisively acting when it is possible to bring healing and compassion into a wounded space. And from the perspective of the Self, all of it is a kind of drama playing in front of consciousness, who does not actually participate.
  5. Even here in Australia, numerous families are being torn apart by individuals becoming radicalised by the propaganda portraying Trump as a heroic saviour and so on. Generally, such people become impossible to reason with as their belief systems can explain away any facts that might be inconvenient. I have an aunty and a formerly close friend who are both dangerously far down the rabbit hole. I hope that after the seemingly inevitable violent end to the forthcoming US election, some sort of sanity returns and those relationships can be salvaged. The last time I faced a situation like this it was when an old friend got addicted to crystal meth, and his personality became so demonic that he bore little resemblance to his former self. It seems that Facebook's 'brain hacking' (as well as the influence of Rupert Murdoch, Russian trolls, etc.) has a similar brain-melting effect. I have no idea how this will pan out over the longer term.
  6. I mis-used the word 'everyone'. I take that back. Though in saying that, a single psychopath can burn dozens of people. Serial killers have been known to kill dozens if not hundreds. As rulers, they can kill millions. Keep in mind that in addition to the psychiatric condition of narcissistic personality, lacking empathy can be a learned behaviour. One only has to look at how many people are perfectly fine with destruction of the ecosystem. Many men are raised to lack empathy for women, and vice versa, though the latter is a more recent phenomenon.
  7. The divisive nature of social media is by design and was called 'brain hacking' by the original creators. The likes of Mark Zuckerberg have effectively made a vast business out of turning people against one another. He gets away with it for the same reason that driving a car at 200 mph would have been legal in 1890. The technology is all too new to have had any sort of proper legal oversight. Worse yet, people need a reasonably non-hacked brain in order to think rationally about these issues.
  8. Regarding the OP's point, the only solution at some point would be a heavy-handed approach to moderating on the forum, and perhaps more female moderators. As we find with modern day political discourse, naivety in terms of permitting unlimited 'free speech' can lead to hoards of mobs who are energised by their victimhood-identity tribe and inevitably end up creating a cultural cesspool of toxicity. Stop the garden from being taken over by the weeds with a little effort each day. A few other points to make. Regarding people who have experienced abuse at the hands of empathy-disabled individuals (narcissistic personality disorder, psychopaths, whatever you want to call them), my view is that the problem lies primarily with the education system and parenting. The same way that rulers like Stalin cause trouble (to put it nicely) due to lacking empathy, equivalent destruction can happen to people who end up in an intimate relationship with narcissists who are naturally manipulative, charming, cruel, ruthless and so on. Why is nothing taught about this in school? Is learning about algebra more relevant to the average person? Everyone walks into the traps of psychopaths because they are completely naïve and uneducated to even the most obvious red flags. Hence my conclusion that the education system has failed at a very basic level in forcing people to learn such a hard lesson through agonising experience. The other debates here are somewhat nuanced. If Leo's advice is taken, work can be done to improve a man's attractiveness with women, just as women will generally find that their level of attractiveness is proportional to their appearance. It is not a system that has any inherent fairness, and waging a battle against human biology is likely to be a fool's errand. Frustration by people who are perfectly decent but struggle to attract a partner is understandable in itself. There is an educational problem here, too, because a lot of young men think that porn offers insight into human sexuality, and that romance movies accurately portray the nature of long-term relationships. The reality that life is naturally unfair, and some people have vastly more opportunity than others, is never spoken of. Cognitive biases are at play in a major way, too. How many men in the victimhood brigade notice that overweight women face an almost identical predicament? The reality is that some people have to work extremely hard, and under the right guidance, in order to be in the game. And it seems to me that some people are not well suited to relationships at all, though life sometimes produces miracles. Given the spiritual bent of this community, we are much better off looking for the deeper message in all of this mayhem. 'All life is suffering' applies here. People who say they will never trust again are actually speaking from a place of profound wisdom, as life is unreliable by its very nature. This is at the root of human suffering. The beauty of this is that the most disadvantaged people in the love game are in the best position to seek the truth of the Self. This is how I interpret Jesus' remark that it is easier to fit a camel through the head of a pin than for a rich man to find the kingdom of heaven. The best piece of advice that I can give is similar to Leo's: whatever pathway that is taken, be it self-improvement, proper spiritual seeking or some sort of combo, victimhood is an unwise way to expend energy and will generate unwise outcomes.
  9. This is a very interesting topic, though I don't think there is any lack of science-based alarmism in the world. The problem is that a majority of the world's population seems to be psychologically immune to caring. Before I begin, these are some of the actions that I take: * Vegetarian of 20 years and counting * Can go for weeks at a time without using the car * Solar panels combined with extremely miserly electricity use means that I export roughly 10 times as much energy to the grid as I use from it * No pets, no kids, little or no airplane use and artful minimisation of consumerism Each of the above points could be a long discussion in its own right. Also, each point contributes to my valiant attempts at attaining financial independence, so is not solely ecologically motivated. If funds allowed, I would go much further with an all-electric home, more solar, home batteries, an EV, water tanks and so on... You will also notice the theme of a miserable, stingy lifestyle (or, theoretically, not living at all) being aligned with the best climate action, except perhaps for the wealthy, Tesla-driving types who can afford technology that will ultimately need to be made universal. The process of rolling out sustainable technology in every sector is where the political battleground is being fought. This leads me onto the points I wanted to raise: The tragedy of commons This term refers to a situation where personal interest clashes with societal interest. For example, it is in the interests of the individual to pay as little tax as possible so as to maximise individual personal wealth, security, comfort and empowerment. It is in the interests of society for as much tax as possible to be paid so as to fund projects benefitting all, such as infrastructure and public health services. A good government strikes the right balance. Baby Boomer psychology [Note: it is not appropriate to disrespect any particular individual for being a part of an age, gender or other group.] Following the misery of the 1930s economic crisis and the horror of WWII, a huge number of children were born, perhaps to compensate for the millions that had died. The new generation did not experience the aforementioned tragedies, nor the way that communities came together in their battles to survive dreadful conditions. In contrast, the feel-good, self-centered cultures of the '60s - sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll - railed against war and all seemed well, but this pleasure-seeking mentality carried a hidden time bomb. Donning business suits and putting guitars in closets, the same generation later grew up to give rise to the 'decade of greed' as 1980s corporatism ran wild. In 1990s America, they demanded tax cuts which effectively set up their children to have to pay off debts now in the dozens of trillions of dollars. As ageing folks, they demand top government services and couldn't care less about the environment as they will not live to see the consequences. They also get furious when their narcissistic legacy is called into question, often aligning themselves with Trump's anti-ecological stance to legitimise their selfish philosophy and to further punish their bratty grandchildren for feeling entitled to clean air, a safe climate and no Holocene mass extinction. All in all, it is easy to see the large-scale effect of poor parenting in the 1950s-1970s, and we effectively have to wait until younger generations are old enough to outnumber their elders in the political process. Parent psychology Human biology is all about survival, and being a parent is an enormous biological drive. The desire for children is only viewed negatively by hardcore environmentalist intellectuals who are concerned by unmoderated human population growth. Stopping people from procreating would amount to a human rights violation, and this isn't even a comfortable thing to talk about at all. Once children are born, it is only appropriate to give them the best life and provide abundantly. Sheltering them from the harsh outside world often necessitates climate change denial to some extent, even if not in the acute form of opposing the science. It might just mean refusing to talk or think about it; being 'too busy'. There's a desire to avoid feeling guilty which can again fuel a right-wing, business-as-usual inclination. Christian psychology As someone alluded to earlier, fundamentalist Christianity is often interpreted with the narrative that humanity is inherently incompetent and will fail, leading to end times and Jesus coming down to fix everything and create heaven for his followers. This is not worth going into further, as it is just another internal story that the human mind laps up to evade personal responsibility, rationalise conspicuous consumption, excuse one's self from having to contemplate difficult issues and so on. Hyper-masculine psychology For some testosterone-filled young men, being associated with the nerdy science, a tree-hugging image, or the feminine-energy healing of Mother Earth runs antithetical to their mindset. Instead, the social dynamics of tribalism will naturally lead to militant opposition to ecological movements, reflected both in trolling phenomena such as 'rolling coal' as well as voting against their own socioeconomic interests by supporting the fossil fuel lobby. One could blame those young men, or the equivalent young women who reinforce and reward this paleolithic masculinity with sex, but it is better to recognise the universal tragedy of intrinsic human biology/psychology running contrary to the needs of the biosphere at large. The old tragedy of commons yet again. To end on a positive note, clean energy and movements to protect flora and fauna - commonsense to an unbiased person with any heart, and/or an individual with any scientific understanding - are simply unstoppable. The anti-ecological movements can only slow the process. Even then, as soon as there is a leftist government installed (maybe even Joe Biden), it will drastically accelerate the process and this progress will never be reversed. An economy that factors in ecological reality is all that was ever needed, and now the only limitation is the batshit-crazy Trumpian politics (and equivalent national governments in Brazil, Australia, Russia, China, etc.), and the unfortunate clash of human psychology with reality that simply takes time to be resolved.
  10. Yes, for sure. I have read exceptional near death experience reports in which people who 'die' are given a tour of the stellar neighborhood. They observe that the Einsteinian speed limits of physical objects do not apply to consciousness as they and their tour guides whiz around much faster than light! (I would argue that the topic of 'UFOs', as physical extra-terrestrial spacecraft, are a separate issue to out-of-body experiences, though, and hence conventional scientific laws apply.) Another way to look at it: if consciousness is universal, and if you are the 'ocean' and not the 'wave', travelling to any other place faster than light is easy because, in a way, 'you' are already there, along with being everywhere else simultaneously.
  11. Maybe that too! The aforementioned author also quotes Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet
  12. It's OK to not know everything. It's also OK to know nothing. In fact, it's a self-evident fact that we know nothing. Instead of absolute knowledge, we merely have ideas that we believe in. Even our very identities as frustrated little humans craving more understanding and control is ultimately another unfounded idea.
  13. The accepted theory of gravity, General Relativity, is notoriously complex, so good on you for having a go and thinking creatively. Einstein says that an object with mass would require an infinite amount of energy to travel at light speed. Light has no mass, so travels at full speed through space. Light travels so fast that it could go all the way around the Earth in just a few hundredths of a second. Yet it would take hours to reach an outer planet like Neptune, years to reach the nearest star, and millions of years to visit another galaxy. Not very practical. In science fiction, the solution is a warp drive. This device bends space-time like folding a piece of paper so that two distant parts can touch. Real theoretical ideas for a warp drive have been proposed, though it would require a more advanced understanding of science and vast amounts of energy. Interestingly, spiritual author Neale Donald Walsch once channelled the insight that many advanced extraterrestrial civilisations exist. He said that they make no attempt to travel through interstellar space, but skip around on space like a stone skipping over the surface of a lake. Sounds like he is talking about a warp drive.
  14. Historically, truth always wins out in the end. The dissolution of the Soviet Union that inspired George Orwell's 1984 is one of many examples. What is unique about the Alternative Facts cult led by Donald Trump is not merely its vast scale, but its existence within a society newly connected to the infinite galaxy of information that is the Internet. In fact, this is the very problem. Mainstream news and late night comedy shows have spent years proving that Trump possesses some of the most dastardly possible human qualities stemming from his apparent personality disorder: unintelligence, corruption, cruelty, pettiness, divisiveness, narcissism, crudeness and general ghastlyness. The cult is well aware of this, but is coming from a completely different level of consciousness. The mainstream culture, which is undoubtedly far from perfect, has been defamed on social media to the extent that Trump can be viewed as a saviour heroically tormenting and crushing the enemy. All his ugliness thus becomes a positive. This narrative has numerous psychological benefits: * Simple story of a wicked, child-molesting, socialist, subhuman outgroup called the Democrats battling the heroic protagonist Trump. Better than the anxiety-inducing complexity, confusion and loss of control of tackling the information/misinformation overload as an individual, which is more than weak minded people can tolerate. * A sense of brotherly unity against an enemy fulfils human desire for companionship, a tribe, and a wicked foe whose defeat gives a sense of purpose. * Now one can have the ability to live in a make-believe fantasy world where anything you want to be true is true. Children use fantasy as a coping mechanism during intense stress, and now adults can too. Other people are to blame for everything. Scientists who present disturbing information about ecology can be silenced or 'debunked' to resolve feelings of anxiety. And feeling good about it provides a reward to the brain, incentivising ever more divorce from reality. Dealing with mental health woes on a vast scale is hard, but the inevitability of restraints on social media 'free speech' as a trojan horse for manipulation of the gullible is a small first step, as will be a grown-up president at some stage. For us, understanding the psychological phenomena at play is crucial. Just my 2c.
  15. Sri Maharaj seemed to be addicted to smoking. Never stopped him from being the real McCoy.
  16. Hello everyone, long time lurker but first time poster. I am facing the same predicament as the OP so had to chime in. This is a huge topic but I want to share some of my current research. According to psychological research, the attraction of conspiracy theories relates to anxiety and a loss of control. By demonising an outgroup as evil and assigning them blame for all bad events, a simple us-versus-them narrative replaces the infinitely complex mess that is reality (as far as the mind is concerned). Note that the various historical acts of violence against Jewish people have all been preceded by stressful times and an uprising of conspiracy theories. Another factor is a lack of a sense of belonging to a group/community in our socially-detached modern times. By having a common enemy (Illuminati, round-Earthers, normies, Lamestream Media, Deep State, Hillary's e-mails...), a brotherhood/sisterhood bond is formed and gives people an almost family-like connection. This also benefits from the traumatic bonding and sense of victimhood whenever educated people mock their world view. Indeed, we want a tribe more than we want mere intellectual integrity. Consider also the crude brilliance of the tactics used. Whenever efforts are made to suppress the spreading of dangerous lies, conspiracy theorists will view this as proof that the wicked media is censoring their truth under the direction of the Deep State. If no such effort is made, the lies of the day spread like wildfire online and they are empowered regardless. Reminds me of a certain president who will either win, or will declare the election as rigged. In my opinion, social media is by far the biggest driver of this insanity. Social stressors in society merely create the perfect storm of background conditions. Companies like Facebook derive a maximum of revenue when users spend lots of time on the site consuming a mixture of content and advertisements. The so-called 'brain hacking' algorithms achieve maximum user engagement by progressively feeding more extreme content, and enabling echo chambers which drift further and further from a balanced world-view. Anyone with the slightest insecurity is going to be vulnerable to radicalisation in some form. None of this answers the OP's question. I haven't seen my friend in some time, and currently cannot due to the pandemic, but I will either have to avoid discussing these topics to avoid losing her altogether, or else artfully try and challenge her views. It is not easy as I find myself getting somewhat triggered by it all. I have a very strong aversion for harmful bullshit which probably stems from my own mother being emotionally unavailable when I was young, due to her Catholic fanaticism. This article is helpful: Another one: Hope this helps.