Category Archives: Syncretism

The Uncivilized Civil Bear

Anyone remember that 3 tech giants began providing testimony to Congress by court order earlier this week? As of midnight, November 5th, 2017, a check of my Twitter feed showed the most recent article on the matter had been shared a whopping 7 hours earlier. There was very little to be found aside from a New York Times puff piece with Trevor Noah citing the most base excuses against social constructivism a la “Anger & Fear” which are as indifferent to the premise which brought these juggernauts to Washington, as Watters Worlds attempt at the same comedic vein.  

The best coverage out of the gate on November 5th, seems to be held by USA Today – unless this is YET ANOTHER example of the hackUverse taking itself too seriously for anyone’s good. “Cis-gender” rather than AI & Machine Learning was the premise Watters World cited when repeating a recent Tech engineer demand for neutrality as if it is synonym with transparency and something other than a blatant threat toward anyone challenging the Cold War historiography that they depend on. I award an honorable mention to a set of video clips titled “Facebook testimony in under 3 minutes.” Beyond this, Texas Hold Em rules appear to continue to be tacitly observed. 

I have little to add to the USA Today article that would change its scope. I did appreciate its subtleties. I’m suddenly reminded that I saved a pin on Pintrest today that says: 

Observer. Confirms. Bias. We dont have “Gods” with Unlimited Free Will but we have to do all the work to suffer thru Russian Communisms faux death throes until such a time as the “Gods” can create “Russian Capitalism” from the ashes of Voldemort and Edward Cullen. 

Meanwhile, The Paradise Papers have gotten (deservedly) more notice than a release of “new JFK files.” And yet each measured op ed piece that leads beyond the scope of social media sharing contains seeds of mortality. Vice Network’s series CyberWar spoke with Dan Geer who noted that this state of affairs is, for the time being, its own reward. With candor Geer went on to explain that The Internet Of Things cant currently support the complexity that humans create. Geer said “Because risk is proportional to dependency” and “complexity hides risk” the IOT must have remote management interface or a finite life cycle. Currently, the speed of innovation ensures the latter to the exasperation of the former.  

While we all hear the saber rattling for the publics submissive retreat into the shadows of idealism the ACLU floats pop pieces of science about infintesimaly small statistical disorders to vulnerable minority communities of gender, knowing that the Achilles heel of such fluff, like the IOT itself, has its own limited learning curve, a limited re-entry window into the mainstream fabric of American society which many young and veteran members of vulnerable communities need in order to simply live the lives they have. 

Why have I drawn the verbal equivalent of a crop circle when Tech Giant Testimony is the unifying theme? If you dont already suspect the answer goes beyond mere sociopathology, I do suggest watching Vice Networks CyberWar series. 

  • Its about the LONGEVITY of a Business Model? Is that all? 

    I personally cant withstand the drama of living outside the scope of the present moment. The intellectual challenge presented by the testimony of these “infintesimaly small’ Tech conumdrums is part & parcel of a dilemma in philosophy that parallels it. I do see my own retreat as a reserve removed from the views of military and government participants that structure their narratives in such a way that flash words like “Deep State,” “Alt-Right,” and “Unity” casually undermine the boundaries built by consensus that allowed us all to reach this moment, November 6th, 2017. 

    I need MORE SILENCE and more precision. I need my family back and a few friends. I need honesty and admissions of Facts. 

    I also would love to play a game of Clue. 

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    Thought for the Day: Defining Bullshit

    The Chronicle of Higher Education has just made my day, or rather two professors at The University of Washington. It’s a crying shame they aren’t located in D.C. and/or that they haven’t YET exported their wit to every State in the Union.

    Here is the opening line from The Chronicle’s current Post Truth issue:

    “Facts and figures are like cow pastures. Unless you squint, you can’t always tell how full of bullshit they are.”

    That’s correct readers. It seems AT LEAST TWO tenured (?) academics have struck marketing gold! At my Alma Matter, the class was titled Borderlands of Science and Religion and you can view the wit who created it, under this blog’s About tab.

    The current Chronicle article has a Q & A with the academics in question and I recommend giving it a read.

    Absolute Values Part Two: Epistemology, the Individual and Professional Development

    This is the second article in a four part series on Professional Development for Massage Therapists. The series utilizes the terms Massage Therapist, Masseur and Masseuse as a touchstone.

    imre-lakatos-philosopher-quote-the-clash-between-popper-and-kuhn-is

    The  quote above is by philosopher Imre Lakatos, taken from a paper titled Falsification and the methodology of scientific research programs. The distinction beetween Popper and Kuhn is beyond the scope of this artice but the difference between the two is ONE point of departure to examine questions of Epistemology, Education and Professional Development for Health Professions.

    What is Epistemology? (link)

    Epistemology is the study of knowledge. If or when this definition is expanded to include “How we know what we know” then the resulting definition begins to reveal an insight into the rationale behind modern disagreement regarding a revised understanding of the scientific method, religion, philosophy and the individual.

    What is the role of logic within Epistemology?

    To ask what the role of logic is within Epistemology without resorting to reflexivity illustrates why early efforts to answer this question were superceded in many professional disciplines during the last century.  When a linguist says a word or a concept is “reflexive” they are saying that there is an absence of logic agreement between subject and object or a circular relationship between cause and effect. Thomas Kuhn approaches Wittgenstein with his emphasis on “the linguistic turn” as part of his rationale for paradigm shifts, which ultimately derive from Wittgenstein’s early and later stages of work. And then, he steps back.

    Why?

    In the history of science, the logical positivists or logical empiricists as the case may be, were of the opinion that philosophy needed to be legitimized and the resulting legitimacy shared with science – (author emphasis). Logical positivists also proceeded with the idea that ONLY statements verifiable EITHER logically or empirically would be cognitively meaningful. This definition presents issues that we recognize today in debates between science researchers such as Kuhn and Popper.

    Logical positivism is justifiably credited with scientific reductionism. Another way to describe this is to define it as A.J. Ayers has done; an “Attack on Metaphysics.” Many academics, intellectuals and political scientists recoiled from Logical Positivism at this time, including many faith based religious groups and denominations. A former note on the result can be seen in the shift of political and voting demographics in the American South after the Second World War from predominately Democrat to Republican.

    Logical Positivism was supposedly abandoned because it was revealed that empirical PHILOSOPHICAL claims that supposedly are presumed to undergird scientific endeavors cannot be VERIFIED to be UNIVERSALLY true and that this revelation placed limits on how much we can know. This “revelation” (a form of knowledge itself) filtered into common parlance (language) in phrases such as “the linguistic turn” cited above. It is also another way to describe phrases such as “asymmetrical information” which are frequently floated to describe a variety of imbalances in power implied by terms such as “Balkanization” and resulting abuses.

    Professional Development and Massage Terminology

    Massage Therapist, Masseur or Masseuse? There are many reasons it is legitimate for a LMT to explore their professionalism and professional growth and development thru language. What is important to note is that the search by empiricists discussed above has several presumptions embedded in it about the limits of knowledge and by default, these presumptions encapuslate the limits of how LMT’s and CAM practitioners can go with a mind-body-spirit paradigm of holistic wellness.

    Pop culture’s view of modernism credits Freud, rightly or wrongly, with being the first psychologist to articulate a perceived need for a body based psychotherapy,
    predicated on the premise that none existed. At the time of Freud’s early musings on this idea, modernism was in full bloom and approaching what many advocates of a religiously (monotheistic) based ontology for psychotherapy would come to call “decadence” at full speed. This is one reason among many that Freud and Jung continue to receive criticism from both liberal and conservative scientists, researchers and practicing members of the various psychological professions…(not to mention but also implied, are those practicing members of fields such as massage and physical therapy. )

    By definition, physical therapists and massage therapists are members of the health professions that would be the counterpart or missing piece of such empirical “solipsism” on one hand or more kindly “the quest” to create a science based view of universal history with all that implies.

    Many members of the CAM professions utilize some view of religion, philosophy and spirituality in various ways as a stop gap measure when confronting questions such as the one mentioned above. This is not the only avenue in which gender, (in scientific parlance a mere variable) substitutes symbolically for a subjective view of wholeness; raising additional aesthetic questions about the relationship between individual and universal values.

    Ludwig Wittgenstien made a comment many years ago on the role of the subjective deployment of language in order to make a larger point. One way to condense Wittgenstien’s position into something tangible is to do what any Deconstructionist would: take the words apart!

    I tried this myself in a college English writing class in 2006, unaware that there was a meme coined by Saturday Night Live by that title and created a pitifully poor poem in my own and my professors opinion! The title of the poem was of course, “The Rapist.”

    im-actually-the-rapist-im-not-a-therapist-thumb

    image

    Knowledge, Language and The Individual

    Ludwig Wittgenstien more eloquently stated in his work Philosophical Investigations: “The words of this (private) language are to refer to what can be known only to the speaker; to his immediate, private, sensations. So another cannot understand the language.” But there is more. It is worthwhile to quote another paragraph from Stanford’s online encyclopedia entry on the subject according to Wittgenstein.

    “Immediately after introducing the idea, Wittgenstein goes on to argue that there cannot be such a language. The importance of drawing philosophers’ attention to a largely unheard-of notion and then arguing that it is unrealizable lies in the fact that an unformulated reliance on the possibility of a private language is arguably essential to mainstream epistemology, philosophy of mind and metaphysics from Descartes to versions of the representational theory of mind which became prominent in late twentieth century cognitive science….Wittgenstein suggests that the existence of the rules governing the use of language and making communication possible depends on agreement in human behaviour—such as the uniformity in normal human reaction which makes it possible to train most children to look at something by pointing at it. (Unlike cats, which react in a seemingly random variety of ways to pointing.) One function of the private language argument is to show that not only actual languages but the very possibility of language and concept formation depends on the possibility of such agreement.”

    Professional Development and Axiology

    Axiology is typically defined by it’s first branch, ethics. In this way it can be said that Axiology is concerned with how value is understood and determined. Axiology however contains a second branch known as aesthetics. Do note, Aesthetics is NOT synonymous with Esthetics. Often, Axiology is accused of putting the cart before the horse and assigning value unethically or dualistically rather than universally; i.e, racism, nationalism, classism etc.

    Basic questions derived or culled from Axiology are:

    1. How are values related to interest, desire, will, experience, and means-to-end?
    2. How do different kinds of value interrelate?
    3. Can the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values be maintained?
    4. Are values ultimately rationally or objectively based?
    5. What is the difference between a matter of fact and a matter of value?

    In professional massage, the question of language is actually a settled matter that was reached by consensus. Hence, current manifestations of individualism thru the application of gendered terminology or terms such as body worker, or even those terms that would purport to change the subject object relationship embedded in the professional designation really are a moot point. However, its not wrong to question if there are situations or contexts in which discussion of gender labels and professionalism are appropriate.

    Is there ever a time when gender distinctions in professional massage are inappropriate?

    All the questions cited above are value based. Because of the historic connections between eugenics, health and aesthetically grounded idealism, yes. There are instances where gendered terminology, art and discourse can conflict ideologically with norms and values embodied in a professional setting for a variety of reasons. That these reasons are 99% of the time subjective and personal matters of taste, style or belief for individuals or groups, illustrates why diversity is commonly considered alongside axiology.

    Ambivalence on Valentine’s Day: Is it par for the course or a solipistic excuse?

    “To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering, one must not love. But then, one suffers from not loving. Therefore, to love is to suffer; to suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy, then, is to suffer, but suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be happy, one must love or love to suffer or suffer from too much happiness.”

    (Woody Allen, Love and Death)

    If there is more nuanced argument in favor of BDSM and staying in an unhealthy relationship than the one illustrated above, I have not heard of it or heard tell of one. Woody Allen as most of the first world knows is a child molester and failing that, took advantage of a young woman on the cusp of adulthood who just so happened to be his step daughter.

    The quote above reminds me of why I chose not to purchase or physically buy a copy of Different Loving back in 2004-5.  I made a comment to my younger sister back in 2000 while she was visiting me in St. Pete Beach that her decision to remain in the relationship she was then involved in was the equivalent of such behavior. I asked her at the time, if she would be willing to let the young man she was then dating take her favorite childhood toy and drag it thru the mud or otherwise abuse and destroy it.

    I recently took my own advice yet again when trying to wrench my heart out of the grasp of an old flame who is no longer the man he was when we dated 22 or so years ago. Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing someone you care about expressing the kinds of sentiments such as those expressed in the quote from Woody Allen above.

    When BDSM is attacked by the moral majority or by psychologists as a perversion, it is presumed to be akin to fringe psychological theories associated with the specter of Theocratic religion which equate child sexual molestation with homosexuality, projection and the acting out of abuse. Any real difficulties associated with the actual WORK of being a part of a healthy relationship are presumed to be more heinous and significant than they may actually be and open the door to attacks on natural philosophy as an excuse for justifications of a religious foundation for everything from government to the family. All invasions of one kind or another into the private sector from numerous angles for the most suspicious of reasons.

    Poor models for psychological health and attacks on the discipline of psychology itself created such issues as those above and also gave rise to the Satanic Panics of the late 70’s and early 1980’s. I still am of the opinion that when such paradigms are advanced that nothing natural is the issue and that what is truly being advanced via a Trojan Horse is the presumption of utilitarianism as a panacea. While I don’t doubt that philosophers such a Jeremy Bentham might once have been able to promote his concept in a strictly economic vein, questions of polygamy, naturalism and prostitution all center around the solipsistic clouding of issues when economics and privacy meet.

    Warren

    While I did purchase a copy of Different Loving in the past three years, I still have not read it. It seems that yet again, I lack the stomach for it. After all, what does a single unmarried woman need with such a book, when there are so many unhappy married people clearly making good use of it without my assistance or help?

    Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! Remember, Massage Therapists are not only NOT prostitutes, we are not endless wells of natural philosophy to be raped for utilitarian reasons by the unscrupulous and the ill-informed seeker of pleasure, spirituality or religion.

    Chakra of the Week: Swadhisthana

    symbol-jumbo-sacral-chakraSwadhisthana

    Sacral chakra

    The sacral chakra, known as the Swadhisthana in Sanskrit means ‘one’s own abode’ or place of residence. Swadhisthana chakra is associated with seeking pleasure and security.

    Location – abdomen
    Sanskrit Name – Swadhisthana
    Color – orange
    Element – Water
    Mantra – Vam
    Mind – creativity
    Emotion – enthusiasm
    Spirit – passion

    Aromatherapy

    Support sacral chakra balance with the following:
    sandalwood
    tangerine
    orange
    geranium
    cedarwood

    Creating a warming atmosphere with this diffusion will help you awaken the sacral chakra to create strength and balance.

    Ingredients:
    •6 drops neroli essential oil
    •3 drops mandarin orange essential oil
    •1 drop cinnamon leaf essential oil

    Directions:

    Blend oils, then add to 1/4 cup water in a diffuser.  Breathe in this spicy sweet aroma to enhance sensuality.

    Alternative names in different Traditions

    Tantra: Adhishthana, Bhima, Shatpatra, Skaddala Padma, Swadhishthana, Wari Chakra

    Vedas (late Upanishads): Medhra, Swadhishthana

    Puranic: Swadhishthana

    * This information is for reference only and is not intended as a substitute for spiritual or philosophical instruction.

    References:

    Wikipedia

    Gems of Yoga

    Isha Foundation

    Wisdom Library

    Chakra of the Week: Muladhara

    symbol-jumbo-root-chakra Muladhara

     

    The Root Chakra

    The root chakra is all about foundation. The various belief systems that have employed the chakras for millennia were all situated around the Himalayan Mountain Range. In order to reach the “Roof of the World” having a secure foundation was vital. There are a variety of Eastern belief systems that have different approaches and views about the origins and applications of the chakras. This post is general and is not intended to provide spiritual instruction.

     root-chakra-aura-cacia-LG

    Aromatherapy

    Suggested oils to support the root chakra include;
    vertiver
    nutmeg
    cinnamon
    ginger
    myrrh
    patchouli

    The aroma of this earthy-sweet mist will realign your root chakra with the natural world and help you build a strong foundation to support you on your journey to balance.

    Ingredients:
    •2 drops vetiver essential oil
    •2 drops lavender essential oil
    •3 drops bergamot essential oil
    •2 drops cedarwood essential oil
    •2 ounces distilled water

    Directions:

    Blend essential oils, then add to water in a spray mister bottle. Shake contents vigorously then mist self and airspace to cultivate a mild yet earthy atmosphere that leaves you refreshed and grounded.

    Suggested Yoga Readings:

    A Beginners Guide to Mula Bandha: The Root Lock

    The Myth of Mula Bandha as a way to support the spine while practicing yoga