the dreaming tree

in restless dreams i walk alone…

Humanity and Intellectual Evolution… March 1, 2008

I posted a quote in the comments of my u4prez profile the other day —

~ “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” – Albert Einstein…

To which I received the following response from a fellow u4prezzer ~

“Without evolution (I mean in the physical sense), technology will always outstrip humanity.

I hear arguments all the time that we’ve evolved intellectually. Not when you look at the basic chemistry of the brain. It hasn’t evolved in millennia. Filling up your head with information still doesn’t negate the fact that we use a tiny portion of our brains. Our basic instincts still dominate a goodly portion of our actions. Those instincts (fight, flee, protect what’s yours, kill those who enter your territory) will always be there, but if we allowed evolution to take its course; those instincts might become far less dominant.

Those ancient instincts are what motivates people to have thirteen children when they can’t even take care of one. We cannot save everyone, and when we try we usurp nature. Homosapiens didn’t become dominant because they were the biggest and strongest. They became dominant because they evolved in their brains; developed cunning among other things.

There is a difference between being compassionate, and being a slave to every cause that comes along. Which is more compassionate; letting natural selection take its course, or in trying to save every human now alive so that they can live for 100 years? Most would argue that it’s the latter, but that’s using your heart instead of your head.”

I’ve spent the last couple of days thinking about this, almost obsessively… The fact of the matter is this: on one hand, I am what could be called a “strong democrat” – in truth, I’m barely one point shy of being a card-carrying socialist. I genuinely believe that the measure of our humanity is a direct result of our ability to have compassion for our fellow man. I believe that in helping others we have the power to make the world a better place. Call me naive, if you must – but I’m not. I am well aware of the dark side of human nature – as I have become well-acquainted with the darkness within myself. But, as they say – anything is possible. However, it has occurred to me, in thinking this over, that perhaps I’m wrong. Perhaps this messiah-complex that some of us have is responsible for the stunted evolution of our minds… Survival of the fittest, natural selection, and all of that. Logically speaking – if we simply left the hungry to starve, and victims of mass genocide to be slaughtered – the remainder would be those who were smarter, quicker, more cunning, etc. Natural selection is the process that allows evolution to occur… And so – by being me – with my “save the world” ideals and big ideas – am I instead, essentially killing the future of mankind? A bit dramatic, I’m sure… but… food for thought. And this, of course, is where I become entirely discombobulated. Because I can’t, in good conscience, give up those ideals. I can’t sit idly back and do nothing… And yet… everything that I believe in – on a philosophical level, is based on the idea that the abilities of the human brain are limitless, and that through evolution of the mind we can someday achieve wisdom, understanding – and yes, even peace. Two similar and yet inherently contradictory visions for the future – both existing inside my one little brain. And I simply don’t know how to feel about it. However, if our current president is any indication of the future of mankind devoid of evolution, perhaps that should be my first clue. Any genuine insight would be nice… Unfortunately, I think that this is one of those questions – you know, the ones about life, the universe, and everything – that I just won’t get a decipherable answer to in my lifetime.

Incidentally – Einstein theorized that if we could ever gain full use of our brains, rather than using just a minuscule percentage of them – we would have no need for physical bodies at all – we would exist purely as energy… (But what in the hell would I do as a ball of energy?)

my question then is this ~ since, in order for evolution to occur, we must have a need to evolve – which we don’t… do we do something to create that need and move towards evolution? or do we, instead, keep going on as we have been, and wait for some apocalyptic occurrence to happen, making all of our technology useless and narrowing down the playing field, so to speak? i’ve been thinking of all of the movies and books in the last couple of decades that revolve around that idea, in some form ~ stephen king’s the stand, waterworld, the postman, 28 days later, dawn of the dead, the day after tomorrow, i am legend, some new movie coming out that i can’t remember the name of, etc. etc. etc… and i can’t help but wonder if this obsession that we have with the “end of the world” is born from a subconscious desire to evolve…

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9/11 February 7, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — sparkler420 @ 12:04 am
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if it hadn’t been 9/11, it would have been something else. i firmly believe that certain members of the “powers that be” were waiting on the sidelines for an opportunity to present itself that would allow them to advocate going to war in the middle east. when 9/11 happened, they had that opportunity. they took advantage of the fear that had taken over the entire nation and used it to fuel their cause… and we went to war. 9/11 happened in the beginning of my senior year in high school. half of my friends joined the marines before we even graduated. they were angry, and they wanted to do something, anything – and here was our government, telling them that they can take up the noble and righteous cause by serving their country – that they could help take down the terrorists… all for the greater good. when we were 17, 18… in the months after 9/11 – going to war seemed to be the only viable option. and we were fed just the right kinds of lies – or omissions of truth – to get us there… but in the end, we’re mired in a war that has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with greed, globalization, and idiocy. we haven’t done what every one of those boys that i knew in high school wanted to do – we haven’t caught bin laden, or thwarted al-qaeda, or put an end to terrorism. rather – we have lost bin laden – most likely forever (if he’s not already dead of old age), al-qaeda still operates, sneaking out like a poltergeist that we have no hope of catching, we’ve managed to further destabilize an already unstable nation, and terrorism? well – we’ve just given the terrorists more fuel for their recruiting efforts. this is why i am really angry about the war in iraq – because my government, the government that at the age of 17 i still had some faith in – lied to me and to the people that i loved, and used a monumental tragedy that shook the foundations of every house in america – to serve their own purposes – purposes that had nothing to do with that tragedy. and i know, i know – there are those who would say to me that it no longer matters why or how we got into iraq, what matters is that we’re there, and what we’re going to do now. i agree with part of that – that we need to look at what we’re going to do to get out of iraq in the best possible manner… the key words being get out. as for the why and how – if you care at all about the integrity of our government, if you care at all about the type of nation that your children and grandchildren and generations to come will grow up in – then the why and how matter.

as for 9/11 – yes, it was a tragedy – i can’t even begin to deny that. 7 years later i can still remember exactly where i was when i saw the second plane hit on the news…
but we act as though it’s the worst thing to happen in the history of the world – as though pain and suffering can only be felt by we americans… as though we’re so much more important than the rest of the world. and yet – terrorist attacks take the lives of hundreds of people all across the globe. genocide takes the lives of millions – darfur, rwanda, sierra leone… wars are waged and in them – there are children carrying automatic rifles, or machetes, or merely throwing rocks… there are families being torn apart by bombs… people dying every day – for our greed and the greed of those whose philosophies we condemn in public and yet secretly harbor ourselves.

 

The War on Drugs… June 24, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — sparkler420 @ 11:53 pm
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My father wrote this little diatribe many many moons ago… I’ve edited it just a wee little bit, fixed the REALLY BAD grammatical errors – but the rest is all him.

THE WAR ON DRUGS
by John Raymond Moderie

“When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.”
~ Plato

If we care about the future of this country, it is time for Americans to admit that the “War On Drugs” has been a joke. Not just a failure, but a total catastrophe. We lost the drug war – drugs won. We lost for a good reason. We chose the wrong enemy. You cannot win a war against plants and chemicals. It was bogus to begin with – a war no one wanted to win, certainly not the government. The real enemies: ignorance, drug abuse and addictive behavior survived the war, untouched and as strong as ever.
Our nation is flooded with drugs legal and illegal; gun battles rage in our cities as rival gangs seek to expand their turf or just to get even for yesterday’s killings. Crime is rampant. The war on crime is really the war on drugs, but the violence is not about drugs – it’s about money. Once you declare something illegal its market value increases to the point where it’s impossible to stop people from trading in the product and becoming rich. It’s clear that dope is a multi-billion dollar industry. The drug war is the biggest cash-maker the federal government has had going for it since the fall of the “Evil Empire.”
The same people who gave us the cold war and the war in Vietnam, the same people who have run this country head over heels into debt, now give us the war on drugs as justification for their invasion upon our private lives, and their disastrously overstuffed budget.
Here is an issue on which both sides can and should agree: The government’s war on drugs has eroded our rights as Americans, both innocent and guilty. It has crippled the economy and created an atmosphere where the police run amuck, invade our homes, beat us, kill us and seize our property, all in the name of protecting us from ourselves. The real enemy in the war on drugs is freedom.
Politicians, cops, judges, physicians and millions of Americans who use drugs daily know that the drug war is a total bust. Yet the government continues to raise the battle cry because it is in their best interest to keep the myth of the war alive. Like all wars, the drug war enriches those who profit on our weaknesses.
Drugs are here, available, a fact of life. The prisons are a hot spot for drugs. If we can’t keep drugs off the cell blocks of our maximum security prisons, we will never be able to prohibit them in a free society. It’s crazy to think otherwise. Politicians who claim to be working toward a “Drug-free America” defraud their voters.
The continuation of criminal penalties for drug possession is filling our prisons with those who are addicts – not criminals. We are a nation of addicts, whatever substance or activity the addiction is directed toward; food, sex, work, gambling, shopping, drinking, smoking, watching television; it doesn’t matter what we are addicted to, laws won’t change it. What matters is that we learn to control our addictive behavior.
Making the drug illegal merely enables the drug addiction by allowing the addict to blame the drug for the addiction. We wage war on plants and substances instead of trying to understand and learn to control addiction.
We blame the substance, the evil foreigner who produces it, or the dealer who provides it instead of forcing the consumer to take full responsibility for his or her behavior. Some people become addicted to drugs, others do not. Those who care about themselves and other people, and who want to lead healthy active lives usually know when to say “NO!” to drugs.
The doctor who prescribes drugs such as pain pills, Valium, or sleeping pills is viewed as giving relief through his legal remedy. People who take illegal drugs often say they do it for the same reasons as the patient who seeks relief from the doctor, because it works. Drugs legal or illegal do relieve pain, but drug addiction only compounds pain. By telling us what drugs we are allowed to become addicted to and punishing us when we become addicted to “controlled substances,” the government is treading on our most basic right – the right to determine our own behavior, along with the obligation to take responsibility for our own actions.
Neither drug use nor drug addiction is responsible for the overcrowded prisons. The drug war is. The war is responsible for the corruption of our police forces, our prosecutors and our judges, and as it corrupts these people, it empowers the most aggressive elements of our society. The war is responsible for the increase of firearms and violence on the streets. By calling their anti-drug effort “war” the government has OK’d the use of weapons by both sides. The war has also meant a surrender of personal liberties. Americans now submit to being surveilled, stopped on highways and searched, having their urine analyzed, their phone lines tapped, their children turned to informants, and their land and homes invaded by drug cops – all in the name of their shadow war. The authorities may seize our cash, our cars and our homes, even if they only suspect wrongdoing. We have to pay lawyers to try to get our assets back, whether convicted of illegal activities or not.
We need to put a halt to all this madnesss and place the responsibility of choice where it belongs – in the hands of the individual in a free American society. We need to begin by legalizing the least harmful of any illegal drug, less harmful even than many legal drugs, and one that is used by 30 to 40 million Americans – marijuana. This would grant amnesty to the hundreds and thousands of people currently incarcerated, on probation or on parole for having grown or possessed this plant. In turn, this would cut down on problems such as overcrowding in prisons and our tax dollars going to waste. By letting us do away with criminal penalties for possession of marijuana, we can permit individuals to grow plants for personal consumption and license large scale growers. Like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana could be sold with appropriate regulations for quality control. Instead of wasting billions of dollars chasing potheads and ripping up cannabis plants, we would create a badly needed influx of capital into the legitimate economy.
Marijuana, by any and all standards, is less harmful than two presently legal, though controlled and clearly very addictive drugs – alcohol and tobacco. Alcohol abuse is directly responsible for at least 150,000 deaths a year, tobacco about 400,000. Yet we are free to use alcohol and tobacco without risking imprisonment. As we become more educated about the dangers of these substances, some of us may think twice about lighting up or tossing one back, but the choice remains ours to make. The government is not in our homes telling us what to do. We are responsible for our own well-beling. We are free to make choices. There has never been a documented case of marijuana-related death, though its illegality forces users to risk imprisonment, even death. The substance itself is relatively helpful, and has a long history of use as a medicinal herb. [It has been used for centuries to treat pain and anxiety, helps prevent bone deterioration and promote muscle growth, and can be used as a treatment for asthma because of its expectorant properties.]
Cultivation of hemp for use in making paper, cloth, rope, oil, and even alternative automotive fuel options could be a potentially huge market. Even hemp farming is an ecologically sound proposition. Americans would do well to investigate the business possibilities. After all, our constitution was written on hemp paper.
However, as it is today with marijuana being illegal and a war being waged, the police have arrested over eight million Americans and thrown them into the justice system’s soup-pot. Eight million. Think of the lives damaged or destroyed by criminal prosecutions, prison sentences, and felony records. No wonder the nation is lacking in “family values.” Think of the tax dollars wasted to imprison marijuana outlaws. Think of how much we could do to inform, educate, and assist drug addicts if those same dollars were spent in an effort to help our fellow humans, rather than to wage a vicious and unwinnable war against our very selves. Think about it.

 

where is my mind??? January 30, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — sparkler420 @ 11:42 pm
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you know… every night i sit outside smoking cigarettes and staring at what few stars i can see from the center of town. sometimes i think i’d give anything to live out in the middle of nowhere… some small town… where you look up and all you can see are millions of stars and stories of constellations told long before your existence was even dreamt of. but when the sky is clear and i can see the stars, i sit there and think… how thousands of years ago my anscestors were able to look up into the night sky and see the exact same stars that i’m looking at now. over the years the earth has shifted – mountains have crumbled, skyscrapers built and roads paved… and there’s very little here on earth to connect us to a time long since forgotten… but those stars are the same… they connect me to my history – what little is known of it… and it makes me feel like maybe it all does matter…

one of my mom’s best friends – kristen – who i’ve known all my life – used to have a younger brother. just over a week ago he died in iraq. our most high ruler wants to send 20,000 more troops to hell, and i wonder how many of them will never feel american soil beneath their feet again… never see their family again… i wonder how many americans will mourn. as for the rest – the ones who come home… i wonder how it will change them… my cousin jesse came back from it all a different person. there are things, inside of him… that stayed the same… but the things that changed weren’t for the better… and once a year when i see him at christmas, i find myself missing the cousin i once had – the one who always played big brother… my protector… he left a piece of himself in that desert sand. i wonder how many have died over there in this war… this “operation iraqi-freedom.” 3 years ago i stopped checking the death toll. 3 years ago it made me sick to my stomach. i don’t want to know what it is now. i wonder how many children have died… how many families have been ripped apart… but i suppose i shouldn’t sound so naive. if it wasn’t this – it would be something else. war will never end. world peace will never happen. i’m sorry to disappoint you miss america – but your platform is obsolete. but you know… i still have a little hope left in me for the fate of mankind. if i didn’t – what would be the point? and honestly – clinton could have let monica lewinsky suck him off on top of the presidential car in front of a catholic elementary school – i’ll take a democrat any day.

 

Politik October 23, 2006

Filed under: Uncategorized — sparkler420 @ 11:30 pm
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god, where do i even begin… our country… our government… is a joke. we’re supposed to be able to count on our leaders, and even though i’m a democrat, and strongly opposed bush’s first election “win”… i held onto a little hope that maybe he wouldn’t be such a bad republican president. it’s not like we haven’t had halfway decent ones… but i have to say… i’m disappointed… and ashamed. i’m ashamed to call george w. bush my president. it’s not just that the man’s an idiot who makes up words and is making his right-wing cronies proud by perfecting the conservative art of giving the most vague, nonsensical speeches in political history… it’s that he’s greedy, and stubborn, and proud… and i would expect more from someone who’s supposed to be the leader of the free world. oh, wait… maybe that’s the problem. we can’t honestly call ourselves the free world anymore. not since the patriot act. bush is a born and bred oil man. and for the few out there who still believe (or have been brainwashed into believing) that we went to war because of 9/11, or to free the iraqis from totalitarian rule… wake up. in 5 years, we’ve managed to… at last count get 2,804 of our boys (and women) killed… and more than 20,000 wounded. we haven’t caught osama bin laden. we had a chance to, when he was hiding in afghanistan, but we didn’t take it, and who knows where the hell he is now. yeah – we caught saddam hussein – starving and nearly dead in a military bunker. if we’d just given him a few more days he could have shot himself, classic hitler-style, and then we wouldn’t be watching him mock everything that we stand for, and everything that our troops think they’re fighting for, in nationally televised court trials. but there were no weapons of mass destruction in iraq. no, north korea’s got those. of course – we can’t do anything about north korea because all of our resources are tied up in the middle east. imagine that. rather than liberate the iraqis, we’ve managed to throw them into a state of civil war. the thing is… there has been war and fighting in the middle east for centuries. since the dawn of human existence. and it’s not a war fought over oil, or weapons… it goes deeper than that. to things that we, as americans, can’t even begin to understand. we’ve lost our history. for most of us, if we’re lucky, it only goes back a couple hundred years. but the people there… they have roots that go back thousands of  years. they fight for freedom – a thing that we’ve devalued in our self-serving attempts to bestow it upon others. they fight for religion – something few of us truly understand. they fight for honor, and for their own blood… how ignorant we must be… to think that we could save them from something that we can’t even begin to understand. but maybe if we cared about understanding it, if our true objective had been their freedom in the first place… maybe we could have done some good. but it’s too late for that. operation iraqi freedom isn’t about freedom at all. it’s about power. they have something that we want. and if it kills our men to get it – well, we justify it by saying that they knew they might die when they signed up. if it turns iraq into a bloodstained killing field… well… what do we care? we were doing it for their own  good, right? we want their oil. somebody high up in the government had the bright idea that if we could just bring down saddam, and get one of our own puppets elected to run the iraqi government, and give the iraqis our warped version of freedom… then we could control the country, and in turn, the country’s oil supply. and so, i am ashamed of my president. this war… it’s just a desert version of vietnam. when in the hell are we going to pull out? when we run out of resources? the right-wing politicians talk all the time about strengthening the defense budget… well then how about using some of that money to actually help our troops defend themselves? how about giving them updated gear? gas masks that work and aren’t missing pieces. humvees that are reinforced so they can stand up to the strength of a bullet. kevlar. we give our president that much. and what has he ever given us? certainly not freedom, protection, or honesty. if this was about freedom or weapons, we’d be in africa, or north korea… but we’re in the middle east. so that dubya can make his daddy proud by finishing something the first bush never should have started in the first place.