6.19.2008

Spring Time for Hitler

Recently, for the first time in my life, I have taken a great interest in history(other than religious history)

I have found it fascinating because it seems to serve as enormous, large scale, psychological experiments. By studying a variety of cultures and their histories, we see the walls within human beings operate. We see, how under certain conditions, an entire civilization might find something we see as prima facie wrong, such as pedophilia, something good, at times even admired, such as with the Romans and Greeks.

These are great lessons in our effort to discover what is nature (genetic) and what is nurture(environment)

For almost no other reason do I find history interesting. And it is still odd to me the way people get obsessed with one particular war. Or one battle within a particular war etc.

I have also enjoyed learning biographical information of the men and women who have shaped history.

A few interesting this about Hitler:

'After the early 1930s, Hitler generally followed a vegetarian diet, although he ate meat on occasion. There are reports of him disgusting his guests by giving them graphic accounts of the slaughter of animals in an effort to make them shun meat.'

'Hitler idolized Wagner as a young adult, saying: "I don't touch meat largely because of what Wagner says on the subject.'


A quote from Hitler:
'But there's one thing I can predict to eaters of meat: the world of the future will be vegetarian." On January 12, 1942, he said, "The only thing of which I shall be incapable is to share the sheiks' mutton with them. I'm a vegetarian, and they must spare me from their meat.'

A quote about Hitler in reference to his vegetarianism:

'[he] is a vegetarian, and that he does not eat meat because of his general attitude toward life and his love for the world of animals? [Hitler] is an exemplary friend of animals, and even as a chancellor, he is not separated from the animals he has kept for years?...[He]is an ardent opponent of any torture of animals, in particular vivisection, and has declared to terminate those conditions...thus fulfilling his role as the savior of animals, from continuous and nameless torments and pain.'

Hitler did not smoke or drink:

'Hitler was a non-smoker and promoted aggressive anti-smoking campaigns throughout Germany. He reportedly promised a gold watch to any of his close associates who quit (and gave a few away). Several witness accounts relate that, immediately after his suicide was confirmed, many officers, aides, and secretaries in the F├╝hrerbunker lit cigarettes'

Some evidence suggests he used Methamphetamine (though the dangers of the drug were not known at the time, and was regularly given to soldiers to help fatigue and morale)

"Hitler often praised Christian heritage, German Christian culture, and professed a belief in Jesus Christ. In his speeches and publications Hitler even spoke of Christianity as a central motivation for his antisemitism, stating that "As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated,(this is Chris: I would think the notion of 'turning the other cheek, says just the opposite) but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice" (Chris again, his private writings show more ambivalence about his personal religious beliefs. Some writings suggest a strong belief, others suggest no belief)

Hitler attended school as a young boy with one of our most influential philosophers, Wittgenstein:

A close friend Rudolf Hess wrote of Hitler:

"I know Herr Hitler very well personally and am quite close to him. He has an unusually honorable character, full of profound kindness, is religious, a good Catholic"

"He has been described as a calm and charming person when he was in front of the men in his closest circle. His closest friend, Albert Speer, described Hitler as a very hot-tempered man with a lot of distance from reality. He also said that Hitler was kind as a person and a delightful man to spend time with."

He was described as being particular kind to children:

And it is fairly well known Hitler was an artist, having twice been rejected from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Starting in 1905 he for several years lived a Bohemian lifestyle in Vienna. Good chance had you are I been in that time and place he could have been among our social circle.
A Painting by Hitler of Mother Mary and the Baby Jesus:


If this was all one knew about Hitler he might seem like a pretty good guy. Perhaps, were he in a different position during his life, he may have led what most would consider a good or ethical life. Perhaps a bit anti-Semitic, but that would only put him in the company of men such as Henry Ford, Ulysses S. Grant, and countless others throughout history, who had cultured towards anti-antisemitism in the same way we are cultured against it.

I find stuff like this fascinating. To realize that some of the worst atrocities on earth, can be carried out by who may otherwise be nice people. People who may have even thought they are doing good while doing harm.

I hadn't intended to go here, but it is also things like this that frustrate me about 'official biographies' about men like Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard and others (though L. Ron's strikes me as more fabrication than distortion by omission). Nearly anyone can be made to sound pleasant or inspiring if only certain details are told. It is for this, I often feel frustrated when I hear high up LDS leaders speak of the importance of honesty. I believe the withholding of relevant information to be a form of deceit. A particularly devious form, because it can give the guise of honesty, even in the speakers mind, while creating a total distortion. Something even a devout Church member would acknowledge applies to the Church on an official level, particularly in terms Church History and Official Biographies..

6.18.2008

upside down funnel

A couple weeks ago a spam message made it through my filter, trying to convince me of a get rich quick scheme known as the upside down funnel.
I took a photo of a funnel and turned it upside down:


and I will compare it with this:

6.17.2008

My cool self.

Something amusing to me about myself:

There have been two instances in philosophy classes,(each instance is very similar)
Both times we were being taught of of prominent idea or school of philosophy, and during the lecture I developed in my mind a criticism which I thought might void the entire idea.
Both times I felt eager to mention my idea, but decided to wait a little bit. Think it over more carefully to make sure it made sense, as well as, bring it up at a more opportune time so as not to interrupt the teacher's flow.

Each time, the teacher ended up bringing up my point, as having been raised by some other philosopher, many years or decades after the original idea had become established among the philosophical community. In one case, destroying the school of thought entirely, and in the other, casting serious doubt the concept as being valid.
Both times (two different teachers)
The teacher prefaced the paradigm shifting idea I had come up, and didn't say in time as being brilliant, or 'then some genius came along and pointed out...')
Obviously, at that point it would have been dumb of me to say, 'Wait! Wait! I Promise was JUST about to say that!'(Look at me! I am smart! Think well of me for being smart! please!)
And each time I felt so burned. Wishing so bad I had spoke up sooner.
And even know I will occasionally remember both moments, and feel 'Man!, I sure wish I had spoke up sooner'
But this is so funny and dumb to me. I mean, who cares? Why, even now, is there a part of me that wishes I had impressed some teacher who very likely has no memory of me, or students, whose names I didn't even know?

Even though I can recognize how dumb and silly this is, I still feel it. I mean, it isn't a big issue I think about often, but I do on occasion.

Sometimes I think I do well at not caring if others think well of me, or don't place my sense of value in how others see me, but then things like this remind me I still have a long way to go.

Not that I think it is totally baseless to base a certain amount of value on others assessment of ourselves. We all lack a great deal of objectivity concerning ourselves, so it can help to understand how others see us. But only to a point. And since other people's tastes vary so much from person to person, it would be a fruitless, and even counter-productive effort trying to appease all.

testerbony

I don't talk about Falun Gong like I did when I was manic, but I still practice it.

Though, it is one of those ironically cyclical things, that, while it helps you feel good and full of motivation, you tend to only do it when you are feeling good and full of motivation.

By the end of this evening, I found myself feel pretty down. Several negative emotions swimming around inside me that I found myself harboring, and festering. Petty feelings like bitterness, spite and resentment. Feelings that make me feel like a little kid, because a lot of times I think I have grown out of letting myself feel certain ways and be affected by certain things, then events happen that remind me I haven't. That some part of the stages I have been through still laying low, waiting for the right moment to come out.

But tonight, in the depths of my feelings I somehow had the clarity of thought to go through the Falun Gong exercises. I was amazed how effective this was in terms of turning my frown upside down. Turning my negative feelings into positive ones. It was strongest while actually doing the actions, but still lingered after, and has helped me put my negative feelings into perspective, and give me a greater ability to control them.

This feels kind of like I'm baring my testimony for falun gong.

I say these things, in the name of Li Hongzhi
Amen.

The brain is an iceberg.

It is interesting how things that are easy for computers are difficult for humans, while things that are difficult for humans are easy for computers. And what this shows about our brains.

For example, a computer can easily and quickly do numerous 'difficult' math problems, yet getting it to recognize that an object viewed from different angles, something so easy for humans it doesn't even occur to us it something we are 'doing', is still out of reach for modern computers. As well numerous other basic human actions are out of reach, or extremely difficult for computers, like balance, recognition of smells, objects, navigation through spaces, being able recognize that a song performed by two different artists is the same song etc, all very difficult for robots or computers. It takes an enormous amount of computing power. Far more than to store lists or do algorithms.

While getting a person to memorize a phone book would be a monumental feat, yet incredibly simple for a computer, and require relatively little computing power.

Of course it makes sense that people wouldn't have evolved with the ability to do complex mathematics or memorize large lists with ease. Why would we have? I can't think of how it would have helped our ability to survive in the plains of Africa being able to quickly figure out the square root of the diameter of an elephants butthole.

The point I am trying to make with all this is:
Whenever we here about savants, like Kim Peek (the real Rainman, who I happened to ride in an elevator with at the SLC Library a little while ago. I said, 'Are you Kim Peek?' him: 'My name is Kim Peek' Me: 'I read a book about you!' Him: 'Going UP! Going to the fourth floor!' Me: It is an honor to meet you, I really enjoyed the book' Him(not looking at me at all): Gonna take my book back. Going UP! ) Who can do things like memorize a phone book, or other savants who can instantly recognize prime numbers or memorize pi to large decimal places. It seems amazing to us that the human mind has the potential to be capable of so much. (and can give rise to myths such as, we only use 10% of our brains) It gives us this sense that what our minds do is only scratching the surface of how much more they are capable of.

When in reality, those things are not that difficult at all. The things we currently do are far more difficult in terms of computing power. While our minds are not currently configured to do certain tasks, it is not because they are so much more complex or difficult than our minds are able. Our minds are millions probably billions of times more able than what those tasks require. They just aren't configured in those ways. I imagine that if we were somehow able to tweek our brains to handle such tasks, it would only take a minor amount of our minds computing power to handle it, rather than the extra 90% some people claim.
The stuff we currently do is far more complex than the things which wow us. They only wow us because we happen to not be able to do it. Its like as if my Macbook happened to not have a simple calculator built into it, so despite being able to play video games, it was wowed by a simple calculators ability to add numbers.

The best and most important entry ever written, ever by anyone.,

This morning I awoke from, if I am remembering correctly, fourth order dreaming.

First, My family was going to watch my brother graduate from RISD, which happened to be in Omaha, so my Omaha family was their as well. Not only was he graduating, but was being made a Professor of the department he had graduated in.



Anyway, once at the graduation, my brother's first talk (he was scheduled for three) ended up being all about Mormonism, then we listened to a pre-recorded criticism of Mormonism, which required his next two talks to serve as rebuttals.>

After the graduation ceremony, I realized I really liked RISD decided to apply. I also thought that since my brother was now RISD faculty he could pull some strings with admissions.

Then I woke up.

After I woke up I ran into my dad who had just been mailed some documents from RISD regarding me. Risd was seeking additional information about me, to help in their decision.
When we looked at the information, it was questions about how regularly I had paid my tithing. I instructed him to put the reason I never paid my tithing is because I had left the Church.

Then I really woke up.

Turns out I had already been accepted to RISd, Which happened to be in Chicago. Then a bunch of stuff happened, I flew out there, and some kid at Risd in Chicago ended up killing a professor, before my beautiful eyes. Right in front of my pretty peepers. Right before my Jeepers creepers.
During a retrospective of his life, it turned out Risd had only recently begun focusing on art, and had previously been an engineering school, that did a little architecture as well.

Then I REALLY woke up. And had to catch a bus to school, and all sorts of weird things happened, too many to write. When I finally got to school I was walking around the halls, saw the kid who had killed the professor and got a creepy feeling from him.and when I was walking around the halls I came across Ira Glass, David Sedaris, and Greg Caldwell, sitting around making jokes, with the tape recorder running, recording their next show. I tried Joining in but my jokes fell flat.
Then some weird flying stuff and happened and I woke up.

Then I saw my bedroom door open a crack, heard some giggling, and my two nieces from my sister Amy came in my room. They looked around at all my art and asked questions about it, then went up stairs. I read for a while, then went up stairs my self and they were already gone.
I made a Veggie burger, and poured a glass of raspberry lemonade and started writing a Diaryland entry about my fourth order dreaming. Then I finished that last sentence and ate a cookie dipped in milk. In the middle of that last sentence I had another sip of milk.
The milk is from Winder Dairy. Because of my Mom's health problems it is difficult for her to shop, so she began having a local company Winder Dairy deliver some groceries. Their milk is SO good. It is funny, because my parents are as unconcerned about the environment or their health as anyone could be, but now they are actually doing pretty well in those areas in terms of food. The food they now eat is generally organic, locally grown and produced. The empty milk cartons are picked up each week when the new milk is dropped off.
They acknowledge the food they get from Winder is tastes richer and fresher than normal food bought at a normal grocery store, but they couldn't care less about it being healthier or better for the environment.
I just put my dishes in the sink. Except for a glass of strawberry lemonade. Which I am drinking from a tea bowl made for me by Greg Caldwell. The strawberry lemonade is also from Winder Dairy. It is SO good! I am not otherwise a big fan of strawberry lemonade, but I do love this. The ingredients are: Water, lemonade, sugar, strawberry pulp. That is IT! So simple! So fresh! Normally Strawberry lemonade feels to processed and high fructose corn syrupy.
But speaking of how simple the ingredients to this strawberry lemonade is. It reminds me of how sometimes, not uncommonly, I will hear people say, that as a rule of thumb, avoid foods that have ingredients they cannot pronounce or don't know what they are.

Dumb!

I was looking at the ingredients to my multivitamins the other day, and I probably couldn't pronounce, or had ever heard of before 95% of the ingredients. These weren't synthetic vitamins, they came from all natural, vegetarian sources. An far better rule of thumb(though still one that would be way more time consuming than I think would be worth it) would be to, if you are unfamiliar with or can't pronounce an ingredient, rather than not eat it, learn what it is and how to pronounce it!. One's ignorance about chemicals is a terrible guide on their safety. By that reasoning, the following scenario would be okay:
"Let's see... this product contains, arsenic, which is all natural so that is a plus, oooh alchohol, also all natural, botulism, ricin. Great, all things I have heard of, plus all natural"
Clearly that example is obsurd, yet it fits the guidelines.
Since writing that, I finished my tea bowl full of Strawberry lemonade and have laid down on the couch in the living room.
The sun is shining bright, and the air is cool and fresh. A very nice morning this has been.
Not sure what I will do today. I will probably read some more. Last night I finished reading a book called, 'What we believe but cannot prove'
This was an excellent book. It is a series of essays by many of the worlds most well regarded thinkers. Mostly Scientists and Philosophers. Full of thought provoking Ideas. Several things I had never ever considered or imagined before. But mostly things I had, but with lots of supporting information and ideas I had not.
Now I am reading a book of short stories. Well, it is a huge collection of short stories I have, that when I am in between books I will read.
I am in the middle of a book called "Why we believe What we believe". Which is AWESOME and one of the best books I have read in a while, but I left it at a friend house last week, and haven't had the chance to pick it back up.
So, anyway, I will probably read for a while, lift weights (I lift every other day, today is my day. I don't do too much. I don't want to become bulky. Just strong enough to easily do regular activities that require upper body strength. I lift a 25 lbs weight 30 reps each arm 2x a day. Plus push ups.) Probably go down to my studio. I have yet to have really done any art work in it. I have been to it several times, mostly moving and arranging things.
I guess that is all I can say. Well, there is TONS of stuff I could write about, but in keeping with the theme of this one entry, I think I have covered all my bases. Hit a few home runs. Been around the bases. Gone to first, second, and third base with a few girls, as well as gone all the way around the bases.

environment

I guess one reason why it is difficult for me to feel too worked up in terms of my personal impact on the environment, or feeling condemnation towards other individuals (in contrast to, for example, people on Craigslist seeking new roommates who list their hobbies as 'renewable energy, renewable energy and renewable energy' and states they will only live with someone who is equally committed) is because I feel like my personal efforts will have almost zero impact.

Not just because I feel I am only one person. A drop in the bucket that won't matter. Because I realize drops in the bucket add up and create something larger. (Although it is discouraging knowing that in just one hour someone in their private jet can do more damage than my car does in a year.)

But because I feel that even if we, as individuals, were all doing about as best we could with what we now have, it still wouldn't be much.

While many of our personal decisions can be harmful, it is the infrastructure we operate in that is flawed. We have built up a system, that regardless of how lightly we step, it is by its nature harmful to the environment.

On Npr I heard a story comparing the carbon footprints(I don't like that term, but it effectively conveys the intended meaning succinctly) of two couples, one living in China, one in New York City.

The Chinese couple were fairly well off. Lived luxuriously for where they were, and paid little or no heed to how their actions effected the environment.
The New York couple on the other hand, while also probably well off, were very aware of and concerned about the environmental impact of their actions. They made considerable effort to minimize the harm they caused.

Yet, when the numbers were tallied, the unconcerned indulgent Chinese couple had about the same carbon footprint as the stringent New York Couple.

Because despite their best efforts, the New York Couple lived in a framework where even their best efforts were more harmful than no effort in another.

While I DO make an effort to have environmentally friendly behavior (I don't eat meat. I practice the 3 R's. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, with particular emphasis on the first two, I walk or bike whenever I can.) I don't feel too strongly about it. Or too critical of those who don't. I don't feel much emotional investment, or sense of importance in my own behavior, or the behavior of others.

More than anything it strikes me as an lifestyle that is more beneficial to the individual in terms of being of aware of and concerned one's actions and their impact. Rather than something practical, with real results. As well as the benefits that come from restraint versus indulgence.


No matter how hard, we as individuals try, it is not until both new technologies are invented, and existing ones exploited on a large scale will our personal decisions be able to have a significant impact. I am optimistic that this will happen and is currently happening. I think our energy would be better used in advocating those in power to take advantage of the technology available and invest in the development of new ones.

I don't think we are bad for having gotten ourselves in our predicament. Our technology developed incredibly fast, and for mostly good purposes. There is no inherent reason wanting to travel with ease or make products cheap and widely accessible would be harmful. And soon we will be able to continue doing these things without it causing any harm.
Had we evolved in such a way that we could be directly aware of how our daily habits effected the earth on a large scale, it is unlikely we would have gotten into this mess, but it took lots of experience and study to realize the harm we caused. And even now some people are not convinced. I think we all find it more difficult to be motivated based on something we know rationally, but can't feel. We can know our garbage production fills up landfills, but if we felt actual pain from it, I'm sure we would all throw away less waste.

The amazing seratonin reuptake ENHANCERQ

Something else, related to the previous entry I find fascinating, more so than the entry before is an anti-depressant drug exists called Tianeptine.

Invented by a large French pharmaceutical company, it is not currently sold in North America because of an expired patent.(not the interesting part)

This drug is shown to be as or more effective than current SSRI's (like prozac and most other current anti-depressants.)

What SSRI stands for is selective serotonin re uptake inhibitor.

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain which relates to our mood, probably the most popularly well known. Serotonin is released by neurons in the brain the picked back up again. SSRI drugs work by inhibiting the re uptake of serotonin in the brain, allowing there to be more free serotonin. Drugs like Ecstasy work by triggering the brain to release large amounts of serotonin, as well as to some degree inhibiting it's re uptake, causing the brain to be flooded with this chemical. (and to a lesser extent some other pleasure causing chemicals.)
Tianeptine on the other hand is a SSRE! That stands for selective serotonin re uptake ENHANCER! Rather than inhibiting the re uptake of serotonin creating more free floating serotonin in the brain, it Enhances the re uptake of serotonin, causing there to be less free serotonin. Yet this also creates a mood brightening effect. Not only that, whereas SSRI's can be known to have a certain emotionally numbing effect, SSRE's, (Tianeptine is the only one) have a certain emotional enhancing effect. Not only relieving sad feelings but heightening ones ability to feel emotions.
This to me illustrates how far we have to go in understanding the brain. Where a drug that does the exact opposite of what many think to be necessary to improve happiness, does so equally or more effectively.
Also, it is things like this which cause me to hope there is life after death to learn an answer to these questions and others to likely arise during my life when others are answered.
Also, it is such a bummer that this drug is not currently available in North America. I would really like to try it.

anti-depressant history.

People speak of Prozac as being the dawn of anti-depressants, or if not that, the first anti-depressant that really worked, but in reality anti-depressants have been around since before the fifties, even Benedril was shown to have anti-depressant properties.
The most effective medicine in curing depression to date, Imipramine, was invented in the fifties. Imipramine is often used as the 'Gold Standard' against which other anti-depressants are measured against. It is rarely still prescribed today, except when other more modern medicines fail.
Where Prozac stands out is it was the first of its class of drug SSRI, which, while perhaps less effective, also has far less side effects, and isn't as easy to intentionally kill oneself by overdose.

I find this sort of information fascinating, and am sometimes surprised when reading books and articles how few people,, even sometimes doctors seem to be aware of this. It is interesting how something seem to become forgotten by the general culture.

environment

I guess one reason why it is difficult for me to feel too worked up in terms of my personal impact on the environment, or feeling condemnation towards other individuals (in contrast to, for example, people on Craigslist seeking new roommates who list their hobbies as 'renewable energy, renewable energy and renewable energy' and states they will only live with someone who is equally committed) is because I feel like my personal efforts will have almost zero impact.

Not just because I feel I am only one person. A drop in the bucket that won't matter. Because I realize drops in the bucket add up and create something larger. (Although it is discouraging knowing that in just one hour someone in their private jet can do more damage than my car does in a year.)

But because I feel that even if we, as individuals, were all doing about as best we could with what we now have, it still wouldn't be much.

While many of our personal decisions can be harmful, it is the infrastructure we operate in that is flawed. We have built up a system, that regardless of how lightly we step, it is by its nature harmful to the environment.

On Npr I heard a story comparing the carbon footprints(I don't like that term, but it effectively conveys the intended meaning succinctly) of two couples, one living in China, one in New York City.

The Chinese couple were fairly well off. Lived luxuriously for where they were, and paid little or no heed to how their actions effected the environment.
The New York couple on the other hand, while also probably well off, were very aware of and concerned about the environmental impact of their actions. They made considerable effort to minimize the harm they caused.

Yet, when the numbers were tallied, the unconcerned indulgent Chinese couple had about the same carbon footprint as the stringent New York Couple.

Because despite their best efforts, the New York Couple lived in a framework where even their best efforts were more harmful than no effort in another.

While I DO make an effort to have environmentally friendly behavior (I don't eat meat. I practice the 3 R's. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, with particular emphasis on the first two, I walk or bike whenever I can.) I don't feel too strongly about it. Or too critical of those who don't. I don't feel much emotional investment, or sense of importance in my own behavior, or the behavior of others.

More than anything it strikes me as an lifestyle that is more beneficial to the individual in terms of being of aware of and concerned one's actions and their impact. Rather than something practical, with real results. As well as the benefits that come from restraint versus indulgence.


No matter how hard, we as individuals try, it is not until both new technologies are invented, and existing ones exploited on a large scale will our personal decisions be able to have a significant impact. I am optimistic that this will happen and is currently happening. I think our energy would be better used in advocating those in power to take advantage of the technology available and invest in the development of new ones.

I don't think we are bad for having gotten ourselves in our predicament. Our technology developed incredibly fast, and for mostly good purposes. There is no inherent reason wanting to travel with ease or make products cheap and widely accessible would be harmful. And soon we will be able to continue doing these things without it causing any harm.
Had we evolved in such a way that we could be directly aware of how our daily habits effected the earth on a large scale, it is unlikely we would have gotten into this mess, but it took lots of experience and study to realize the harm we caused. And even now some people are not convinced. I think we all find it more difficult to be motivated based on something we know rationally, but can't feel. We can know our garbage production fills up landfills, but if we felt actual pain from it, I'm sure we would all throw away less waste.