Divine Neutrality, Blog. Science, Philosophy

Genocide

August 13th, 2013

The Weed’s View

flowers

She rejoices in her gardening skills. In her garden she feels herself surrounded by a fragrant beauty that she, herself, nurtured.

She had first cleared the ground of all weeds – a painstaking task. Each one had to be individually discovered and pulled out by its roots. So no descendant should have life.

Then she covered that ground with a layer of moist and pungent fertile earth. Over this she laid down a black fibreglass cloth. “To keep new weeds from growing”, she said authoritatively. She cut holes in the cloth to plant her flowers – her special darlings – in the receptive earth below. And she surrounded her planted beauties, each with its own mound of wood chips, as a double precaution against those scurrilous weeds that might peep through.

Her pretty flowers were not utilitarian – not something to be eaten; they were there purely for aesthetic appeal – a garden of color. Her creation.

Only species selected by her personal tastes grew in her garden. She had eliminated all traces of unwanted growth.  No foreign interlopers. She stood back and admired her work of botanical genocide.

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Nature’s Imperatives

May 4th, 2013

This drivable motion graphic embodies an idea. It illustrates the content of the earlier post called Free Will. The idea is that we live in a deterministic world. And free will, properly understood, is not in contradiction to this notion. Free will is behavior not evidently coerced.  But all behavior is coerced. By coerced is meant determined by nature’s imperatives. Behavior may be divided into two parts. One part is not evidently coerced. The other part is evidently coerced. The first part – where we don’t perceive the coercion – we call, free will. And that part has been diminishing inexorably as civilization acquires knowledge.

Evident coercions are the commonly understood ones of punishment, reward, threat of harm, blackmail .. But science exposes formerly hidden coercions that only become evident with better understanding of nature. For example, that irrational behavior can be caused by brain damage has become evident in civilized communities. Multiple clicks on the button in the graphic above expose coercions that have become evident. They weren’t considered coercions by people of past generations.

This graphic confronts the ‘determinism vs free will’ paradox, resolving the contradiction between the two. Free will is not opposed to determinism but rather an expression of it. Volition is what we experience when we carry out the imperatives of nature. Free will is the label that we give to that part of behavior that is not evidently determined. The green slice of behavior.
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Off the Road

February 18th, 2013

Getting Off The Road

joy road

March 19, 2006
Saturday morning

I live in the woods. In a redwood forest. I am driving along the road into the town of Sebastopol this morning. Enjoying the ride. It’s springtime.  Flowering trees and green foliage everywhere. It’s a country road, one lane each way. And quite often in my lane there’s no other vehicle either ahead of me or behind me. I have the road to myself. What a pleasure.

But eventually, as I travel along, someone does come up behind me. And that person’s preferred speed is greater than mine. I am going too slowly for their taste. They want to go faster than I drive. I have no objection to that. They should have that privilege. I am unintentionally obstructing them. That makes me feel uncomfortable. And, besides, I prefer having the whole road to myself.

When I realize that there’s someone driving behind me, whether that person is in a hurry or not, I like to get off the road and let him or her pass me by. Let that driver be happy. And I’ll be happy too because the trip will be so wonderful with the road all mine. So I keep a lookout for a shoulder, a place to get off the road – a wide driveway, a turn-out along the road – where there is good visibility for my follower so that he can safely pass me by. Of course when such an opportunity appears I activate my right-hand turn signal so the driver behind me will know that I am slowing down to get off the road. And then I do get off the road letting whoever is behind me pass by. Sometimes more than one car. When the way is all clear, no one else coming down the road, I leisurely get back on to continue the journey.
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