Sunday, November 26, 2017

Play (Kamran K): On the Perfection of the Seasons

(1) Each season has its own perfection and these perfections should be identified and appreciated. It is the mark of a mature person to appreciate the subtler blessings of all seasons rather than simply having a "favorite time of year."

(2) Winter: (a) lower UV radiation and less intense sun; (b) lower temperatures and the potential for snow; (c) in warmer climates, almost perfect temperatures of between 65-73 during daytime; (d) fresher air; (e) numerous holidays bringing friends and family together; (f) numerous sport leagues in session; (g) Black Friday and other promotions offered; (h) tax refunds secured; (i) in warmer climates, the best time of the year for running, walking, hiking, and other outdoor activities; (j) NO INSECTS particularly bees and wasps; (k) no need for weed-pulling, grass cutting, and other gardening busywork; (l) rain "waters" everywhere and reduces need for hose-time; 

(3) Summer: (a) longest days of the year; (b) sunny days a plenty; (c) even the coldest climates warm-up into the 60s and 70s; (d) flu season is over; (e) traffic is lower in many cities; (f) nights are warm and one can easily spend the whole night in a t-shirt exploring the city; (g) baseball season is in full swing; (h) THE BEACH!; (i) perfect weather for cycling; (j) holidays that are fun but don't involve endless pomp and ceremony (like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Yyear

(4) Fall: (a) a gradual release and relief from the worst of summer's seemingly endless heat stretches; (b) leaf colors come "alive"; (c) World Series and baseball's playoffs generate drama unlike most other sports; (d) presidential campaigns head toward deep stretch;

(5) Spring: (a) the garden awakens from its winter slumber and absolutely explodes with growth; (b) the worst of winter's chill has passed; (c) the days gradually lengthen; (d) the air is fresh with the smell of blooming flowers; (e) reunions are often scheduled in this season;

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Work (Kamran K): Getting it Right...

(1)    Information in its “raw” digital unwritten form is the most accurate but most complex to understand, evaluate, categorize (single persons face this problem continuously when forced to evaluate how a date “went.”)  The amount of total “raw” unwritten information available on even the simplest of human decisions usually greatly exceeds the mind’s information processing capability. Therefore, there MUST be attempts to make raw unwritten information written and therefore useable. Man has gotten better at this activity but tremendous work remains.
(2)    Attempts to make raw information useable judgeable understandable are subject to “error in translation.” Either the raw information itself is not appropriately captured (e.g. votes are misread or miscalculated or even lost) or the new category of information created is not properly understood interpreted or applied.
(3)    With respect to nearly any event or experience that unfolds within reality (e.g. the Super Bowl), the categories of information generated from it are virtually limitless. So not only is the raw information itself infinite but the categories of information generated from it are still too voluminous for normal minds to process and evaluate.
(4)    Human persons do generally make no serious attempt to categorize the raw information generated from an event or experience. Whether this is error or to someone’s detriment all depends on the significance of the event or experience being considered; one could hardly blame someone at all for making ZERO attempt to categorize the raw information generated from his or her last “routine” trip to the toilet. As decisions become more significant and the consequences of the decision last longer in one’s reality, the attempt to categorize the raw information become important and, sometimes, assume life-or death importance. For example, information related to one’s diet could be left at the raw level of unwritten information. Or it can be categorized according to simple rules such as “I drank 7 glasses of water today” and “I usually eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day” or “I usually eat 2300 calories per day.” Given the pervasive effect of one’s diet on one’s health, wellness, longevity, and quality of life, the effort to categorize diet information seems highly reasonable and justified.
(5)    Speaking at the highest level of abstraction, what man needs- and needs badly- is improved performance in his or her information processing. Throughout this process of improvement, man must not confuse getting better at information processing for actually being good- let alone great- at information processing. Man can delegate the “rote” aspects of these information processing tasks to a computer ONCE HE HAS HIMSELF thoughtfully understood and systematized the higher-level principles at work. In this regard, man must answer the following:

·         What categories of information most encapture the experience or event?
·         If more than one category is proposed, are any of these categories highly duplicative of another and therefore not producing enough valuable information on its own basis?
·         Are the categories generating random information or information integral to the unfolding of the event or experience? In this respect, categories that are elemental building blocks are much preferred over those that capture information generated from multiple individual building block categories. For example, a football game is better understood by its detailed team stats (including for example third down percentage, penalty yards, red zone percentage) rather than the simple naked final score.
·         Do the categories of information one currently have accurately describe or predict the experience or event most of the time? If so, is there any need for one to gather additional categories?
·         Do the categories contain sufficient underlying information such that they are not invalidated by poor (i.e. low) sample size?

·         How justified is one’s reliance on the accuracy of the raw data found within the categories of information one relies upon?

Humility (Kamran K): On the Three Knowledge Positions

(1) Three- and only three- knowledge positions a conscious mind can assume toward reality. These are:
(2) ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY is the most popular and common knowledge orientation. It is adopted by all religious persons and by all other persons whose beliefs are NEVER seriously open to revision. 

The pros and cons of absolute certainty are obvious. The pro is the suspension of doubt and anxiety and the air of confidence one naturally maintains while one believes one is in full possession of the truth. Cons of this orientation include that one could be wrong, and the social isolation generated where one's belief is at odds with majority opinion. Consider, for example, the social isolation generated for someone absolutely certain that smartphones are useless, morally harmful to one's maturation, and just downright soulless and silly devices. 

(3) At the other pole, we have the extreme of total ignorance or- basically the same thing- total openness. This is an orientation one maintains when one is totally uncertain and unaware of the truth and doubts whether such a thing as "truth" on any serious matter can even exist and be coherently articulated.This is also a very popular and common knowledge orientation. It is adopted by very large numbers of the youth of any era, but particularly the youth of today. It is the default orientation for all non-human animals toward all abstract issues (it is highly doubtful the author's dog Pluto has any well-formed beliefs of what justice or moderation would entail). This is also a common orientation of persons wishing to succeed in business and other jobs with high public visibility; adoption of this position is the least likely to offend anyone in the population because one remains open to all beliefs in the society and therefore remains open to maintaining profitable business relations with everyone regardless of beliefs.  The belief that diversity of opinion and behavior are the supreme goods of a society is basically an orientation rooted in total ignorance or openness. 

The pros and cons with this orientation are on full display in modern society. The pro is that one does not offend others' feelings because one never maintains any sort of dogmatic belief that could cause offense. The further pro of this orientation is it relieves one of the anxiety and torment associated with decision making on issues that are complex and emotionally deep. The con is one will not form a distinctive personality or character because character and personality formation is most formed by making difficult decisions on complex moral, social, and political issues. 

(4) In the middle is the position of relative certainty. The person does act and think and behave as if he or she is fairly confident of his or her worldview. Relative certainty is robust and it includes the concept of certainty. The certainty is not absolute as it is qualified by the word relative; but still the word certainty is there and it has the meaning one normally assumes it does.

The person within relative certainty remains confident his or her beliefs on an issue that he or she has fairly evaluated is the correct one. This confidence and security has been earned by the combination of reasoning, objective information, and personal experience over several decades.  

The relative modifier means that one does remain "open" to correction of one's belief but this correction must be forced by significant bona-fide evidence or (if experience) experience over an equally lengthy amount of time.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Politics (Kamran K): Fencing in Capitalism

(1) To date, capitalism is probably the best method known of organizing man's economic activities. Some genius someday may create an economic system that is many times better than capitalism. That day may come in ten years or 10,000.

(2) In the meantime, man has significant work to do to improve capitalism so that it can remain minimally functional and "alive." Meaning, if significant improvements are not made to capitalism within the next few decades, capitalism will probably implode through a violent world-wide mass revolution. People will see that capitalism is not delivering, is corrupt etc., they will not believe the politicians' promises that it can be reformed or "humanized" or made "conscientious," their backs will literally be against the wall facing starvation etc, and then the masses will revolt worldwide and risk their lives to overthrow capitalism.

(3) To avoid this fate, political leaders worldwide must take action. Read again: must take ACTION. Words, slogans, campaign promises, photo opportunities, and like trivialities are not enough. Politicians must pass laws AND ENFORCE them that directly address capitalism's defects.

(4) We have various sporting games worldwide where there is intense and fierce competition to be the best, yes, but this competition always falls under various enforceable rules. Football, baseball, basketball etc. each one of the sports all dish out significant penalties to those players that take it upon themselves to violate the previously agreed upon rules. Sometimes these rule infractions cause the players to be suspended from the game for several games or even months or seasons.

(5) Yet when we turn to capitalism, we see there are NO RULES. There really are not. While there are numerous civil statutes that arguably govern business behavior, these are usually unenforced or carry penalties that are mere slaps-on-the wrists for most businesses, particularly the most successful businesses. In the US, we now have a president hell-bent on loosing (read: eliminating) most or all of these statutes.

No, capitalism must be fenced in and proceed forward only upon a set of rules that all participants in capitalism previously agree to. A subset of these rules should involve massive penalties (e.g. suspension from business for lifetime or a decade) such that no rational participant would ever dare violate them.

Examples of these rules are provided merely as discussion starters:
  • No company may ever automate more than 20% of its workforce without approval of a majority of the company's employees.
  • Any company that willfully propagates false and deceptive advertising on a material matter will be suspended from all business operations for a 3 year period.
  • No company may ever remove by contract or otherwise any substantive right or remedy of a consumer.
  • No company may ever charge a customer an auto-recurring fee unless they have obtained (at least) electronic consent to each and every rebill.
  • No company may ever pay any executive any salary or other compensation that is 15 times greater than that paid to the lowest rank-and-file employee.
  • No website operator can make more than a set amount for any specific post (this would discourage fake news and other click-bait).
  • The amount of advertising any company can annually produce would be limited to a predetermined amount. 
(6) The enforcement of some or all of these rules by any one country may carry the short-term cost of relative economic non-performance compared to countries where none of these rules are enforced.We submit this is a small price to pay to maintain a civilized functioning society of any form going forward. A couple of percent GDP here and there must be sacrificed for other goals.

Humor (Kamran K): Prizes at the end of Lifelong Tunnels

(1) After many years, even decades, of continuous daily toil, in which one intentionally makes of oneself a one-dimensional machine oblivious to large swathes of human reality, experience, knowledge, and emotions, the winners in modernity's life sweepstakes can look forward to the following prizes at the end of the their very long lifelong tunnels. These reflections are half tongue-in-cheek exaggerations and empirical truths.

(2) For men that have pursued fashion and bodily looks and alpha-male confidence and bravado....there is the prize....drum-roll please....of numerous anorexic women that continually receive botox and plastic surgery, pay more attention to their smartphone than you, spends hundreds even thousands of dollars of OTHER people's money on clothes and vacations and pets, occupy many hours on end of one's time with recounting various banal and trivial details of their everyday life, are prone to affairs or at least "exploring the field" on account of the constant male attention they receive, have vanilla sex with you no more than 3 times a month for ten minutes max, never cook and clean, and so on.

(3) For men that have pursued political power, there is the prize of being hated by millions of citizens in one's own country, having one's statements constantly misinterpreted and mispresented, receiving endless criticism for personal foibles that are- at most- a small to moderate vice that affects most of humanity at some time or another, achieving rather small legislative victories which are later either overturned by courts or other politicians or simply never enforced, a fairly steep pay cut from what would receive in the private sector, the constant need to police one's statements to comply with the proliferating requirements of "political correctness."

(4) For men that have pursued fame in the creative arts, there is the prize of the types of women described above in paragraph 2, the loss of privacy and public criticism discussed in paragraph 3, as well as the necessity of performing one's two to three hit songs or roles several thousand times over, with peak enthusiasm and excitement each time over.

(5) For any and all men that have pursued money over and above their basic everyday living needs, there is the prize of the types of women described above in paragraph 2. These men also receive the added bonus of continuous and unrelenting monitoring of their wealth to make sure it is not squandered foolishly, money is not being devoted toward some scam or the other pitched to one by some overconfident alpha-male salesmen, the gnawing suspicion that most of one's friends seek monetary favors from one and would (more or less) disappear as soon as one's money vanished, the constant anxiety and fear that one's wealth will dramatically reduce from some market correction, tech innovation, or even far smaller micro-alterations in one's local economy.

(6) For beta-males that have no money, no car, no women, and no reputation, there is the prize of infinite freedom, appreciation of the infinite small blessings of life, a virtually limitless freedom to speak as one wishes and learn what one wants, and a loyal BIG BROWN canine that loves and adores you.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Work (Kamran K): Trial-and-Error Ascension

(1) The unscripted life requires numerous and continuous trial-and-error experimentation to locate the best behaviors, values, pets, friends, pleasures, emotions, aesthetics, wisdoms, etc. The scripted life- far less complex and demanding- requires obedience to what is commonly believed to be the best things.

Those opting for the unscripted life MUST not only regularly "do" trial and error experimentation but they also must get better at trial-and-error experimentation. Those who regularly engage in trial and error experimentation without getting better at it find that their life is a very long disastrous procession of experiments almost all ending in error and futility (even the blind squirrel occasionally locates the acorn). 

Many of today's youth take great pride in their care-free experimental ways; but their pride is often totally unjustified because the experiments they engage in (e.g. drugs, provocative selfies, endless dating, texting as the preferred means of communications) do NOT produce better life outcomes either for themselves or others. 

(2) The question needs to be posed: what does it mean to get better or even excel in trial and error experimentation? At minimum, the response must include these elements:
  • Experiments are regularly initiated to locate new and improved and better ways of doing things. One is almost always tinkering with a few new trial and error experiments.
  • Experiments are not selected at random "out of the sky." Instead, some compelling rational theory or perhaps even aesthetic intuition guides one toward the particular experiment in the first place. 
  • The only experiments that are attempted are ones that have some decent rational justification and support to begin with. As an example, one would never attempt a "dieting and health" experiment of 5,000 calories per day from McDonald's. This experiment has no rational support for its initiation and would be futile from the very start.
  • Relatively objective criteria are established at the outset of what would constitute success vis a vis the experiment.
  • The proper amount of time is allotted to gather results from the experiment. Results are gathered objectively, methodically, honestly, and with the utmost thoroughness.
  • In connection with the last point, experiments that are not profitable or appear to be error are promptly ended, discarded, and "moved on" from. That said, one also remains open to slight modification of the experiment mid-stream in order to produce a successful outcome. 
  • One remains relatively objective- as long as human nature permits- in gathering the results of the experiment. Prejudgment of the experiment- whether positively or negatively- is avoided at all costs.


Saturday, October 28, 2017

Benevolence (Kamran K): @ the Peak of Benevolence= @ Human Empathy.

(1) There are many candidates for the "peak" moral or benevolent experience of man. One candidate is deep empathy for another person.

(2) Empathy itself is an impossibly vague and nebulous term. It could be defined simply as ADOPTING the mental universe of another LONG AND DEEP ENOUGH to fully experience (see, feel, and reason) reality from their perspective.

(3) From behavior of very primitive people and children and even other animals, it appears empathy is hardwired into human behavior and DNA. Loss of empathy is solely due to the MILLIONS of negative influences of modernity on man's moral, intellectual, interpersonal, and emotional consciousness. No long course of religious or ethical education is required for a child to mature into an empathetic adult. One must simply avoid or neutralize most of modernity's negative influences.

(4) Modernity's impediments to reaching empathy must be individually evaluated, removed, or counter-compensated for. The most serious impediments to the experience of even ordinary empathy, let alone peak empathy, include: (1) lack of sustained face-to-face time with another, (2) lack of serious attention to details of the other's life, emotions, and recurring thoughts and anxieties, (3) deception or lies between persons, (4) anger, jealously, or any other negative emotion between persons, (5) either sexual drive or monetary benefit or some networking advantage as primary motivation for one's interaction with the other, (6) lack of emotional intelligence and awareness of common human emotional patterns and tendencies, (7) lack of awareness of another's situation within reality, including things like financial burdens and limitations or physical disease and limitation, (8) conversations between persons limited to the level of superficial banality (weather, food and drink, sport team performance, pets' behavior), (9) the attempt to maintain too many friendships or connections with other persons, and (10) ego-boosting self-praise or masculinity-driven "alpha demonstrations."

(5) In reality, several of the above impediments could be operating on the relationship between two persons. The more impediments operate, the less empathetic the relationship between persons will be. At the extremes- and the extremes is what is becoming rather ordinary and common today- the persons might as well be machine robots exchanging witty banter and favorite food lists.  The complete lack of empathy has completely DEHUMANIZED them.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Moderation (Kamran K): Perfection in Long-Term Diet and Activity

(1) The world is now stuffed-full with copious amounts of contradictory diet and exercise "programs." This author has experimented with most of these approaches and is now approaching a "cruise control" approach toward these issues that can be sensibly implemented by most people for many decades of life. This is not a "beach-body lose 10 lbs before summer" approach but a long-term multi-decade, FUN, and DOABLE mindset toward diet and activity that will keep most persons looking and feeling great to the maximum extent their genetics otherwise permit.

(2) Diet VASTLY trumps exercise for the simple reason that most people will not be able to do enough exercise for the calories burned from exercise to matter. This is even more likely to be true in the long run of years and decades. It is only the extremely injury-free, care free, and motivated person that will be able to burn a relatively puny 450-500 calories from exercise day after day, year after year. So, stated differently, the path to long-term health, fitness, and beauty is to get your diet NAILED right and then use exercise as an extra-credit boost to accelerate/accentuate results already earned through proper diet modifications.

(3) For most persons, the proper diet will roughly follow the below parameters:
  • Three predominantly WHOLE-FOOD UNPROCESSED meals per day, spaced 4-5 hours apart. Snacking is discouraged as it perpetually spikes insulin.
  • Amount of calories consumed should be your ideal weight in pounds times 15 (for males) or 13 (for females).
  • Macro-nutrient mix should be relatively low-carb (35-40% total calories) with emphasis on high quality UNSATURATED fats and LEAN protein sources. Carbs should not be avoided or feared but it should be realized that many non-veggie/fruit carbs are VERY easy to overeat.
  • Majority of calories consumed in the first two meals of the day; last meal to consist mainly of fat, protein, and veggies.
  • Soda and other high-calorie liquid beverages should (usually) be avoided. This includes alcoholic beverages which should be consumed extremely minimally.
  • Breakfast to usually consist of some combination of eggs, oatmeal, whole grain cereal or bread, and some low-sugar caffeinated beverage. A fruit or two would be appropriate here as well.
  • Lunch to usually consist of a smoothie combining all the major food groups. A carbohydrate fruit base (preferably blueberries) should be mixed with skim or low-fat milk or greek yogurt, a scoop of whey protein, and a small amount of peanut butter. The making of the smoothie will have the added benefit of dramatically reducing food preparation cost and time, 
  • Dinner to usually consist of some lean protein source (turkey or chicken breast, pork loin, salmon, tuna, tilapia, carne asada) some healthy fat, a small amount (1 cup) of rice or pasta or beans, and a large amount of low-calorie nutrient-dense veggies. Healthy fats include guacamole, olive oil, balsamic vinegar dressing, and peanut butter. Nutrient-dense veggies include spinach, cucumbers, onions, broccoli, carrots, asparagus, green beans, tomatoes, peppers.
  • Supplement with fish oil.
  • To a great extent, foods should be made more palatable with the introduction of low-calorie condiments such as hot sauce and mustard.
  • Ensure water intake is adequate by drinking a few glasses in the late evening.
(4) In attempting the above diet, various trial and error experiments should be undertaken to determine the foods that best match one's individual taste bud preferences. The diet will be more sustainable in the long run if one likes or loves most of the foods one has chosen to eat. Within the caloric parameters above and other nutrient considerations listed, one should usually opt for the food one enjoys eating more even if it has a slightly less impressive nutrient profile than another comparable food. 

(5) Exercise should be incorporated gradually, and only after one has a firm command of nutrition basics and one's actual diet. Low-intensity aerobic exercise such as walking or cycling can and probably should be done daily for 30-45 minutes. More than this is usually not productive because the body's response to lengthy excercise is usually to spike appetite to such an extent that most everyone eats back all the burned calories and then some. Low to moderate intensity exercise done for 30-45 minutes usually does nothing to one's appetite. Unless one is extremely lean, no additional calories should be consumed to compensate for the exercise. This is both because this will help one get leaner and because rounding and approximation errors usually cause one to eat slightly more calories than one thinks anyways. Weight-lifting should be completed two to three times per week, and- provided one has a perfect command of one's diet- an additional 200-300 calories should be consumed on those days one has lifted. 

(6) I'm done talking.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Friendship (Kamran K): Lessons from Doggie-ship

(1) Man's best friend has many lessons to teach man himself with regard to friendship and general sociability.

(2) A trip to any dog park will confirm these truths with only slight attention to the details of the animal's behaviors.

(3) Unless the dog is somehow mentally off or unsocialized, he will enter the dog park with puppy enthusiasm, eager and excited to greet old friends and potentially make new ones. Granted one can never know what canines actually think but their outward behavior, barks, tail wagging, and overall "jumpiness" to enter the dog park are the best evidence we have as to their psychology.

(4) Once inside, most canines immediately begin making the rounds and greeting old friends and keeping an eye out for potential new ones. They do this without regard to time. Time is not a concern at all and so long as enough dogs are around dogs will usually wish to spend many hours at the dog park interacting with their fellow species members.

(5) The predominant objective of any dog in the dog park is to enjoyably interact with the other dogs and, to a lesser extent, the human owners of those dogs. There is no ulterior motive involved.

(6) Dogs typically do not discriminate on the basis of any exterior characteristic of another dog. Small dogs play with big dogs, brown dogs play with black dogs, males play with females, and vice versa. What does cause a dog to discriminate against another dog is usually only some display of violent or dangerous aggression displayed by one dog toward any other dog in the park.

(7) The actual content and conduct of dog interaction does not seem to follow any predictable script. While generally dogs chase each other around or simply run in packs, the actual specifics of the chasing, rolling around, barking, or running appears to be rather different every time.

(8) While certain dogs tend to predictably have favorite pals, they usually do not spend ALL of their time so engaged. They do make the effort to branch out from their favorites and see if there is more variety of dogship they can find and appreciate.

Politics (Kamran K): Moving toward Least Possible Complexity

"Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control." TK 1995

"Human freedom mostly will have vanished, because individuals and small groups will be impotent visa-vis large organizations armed with supertechnology and an arsenal of advanced psychological and biological tools for manipulating human beings, besides instruments of surveillance and physical coercion..."  TK 1995

(1) Across all major aspects of human life, modernity's woes are now increasingly on display for all fair-minded persons to observe and evaluate. The balance of the evidence points to these woes becoming still worse over the coming decades. While the coming catastrophes unfold in real time, it's worth asking: where did modernity MOST go wrong? What was/is/will be the most catastrophic error of modern man?

(2) We answer the question immediately: man erred by violating the Rule of Least Possible Complexity. Meaning, man made his life and all of his tools more complex than they needed to be. And then man multiplied this error many thousand even million times over by failing to take corrective measures to simplify the complexity and/or created yet more complexity to deal with the already existing needless complexity.

The focus here is on needless complexity that is not only unnecessary but also harmful and damaging. Some types of complexity- for example that found in music or a movie or one's dietary choices- may have no negative consequences (or trivial ones) and greatly enhance and benefit the music/movie/diet by adding variety to it. This is not the type of complexity that is ERROR and is not addressed below.

(3) Although it seemed rather different to primitive man because of his fundamental ignorance of science, Nature itself as a perfect system does NOT violate the Rule of Least Possible Complexity. Nature is usually no more complex than it needs to be to satisfy its functions and workings. All of Nature operates through the application of some very basic principles and forces which- when combined together- seem complex only because of the vast size and scale of the Universe.

(4) In charge of a puny amount of space as compared to Nature's entire domain, modern man has repeatedly displayed a fondness for NEEDLESS complexity and a habitual tendency to violate the Rule of Least Possible Complexity. As one example, man has made his diet incredibly more complicated than needed through the introduction of a whole series of processed factory-made foods (candy bars and sodas). Yet the scientific evidence establishes the ideal human diet to be largely free of these foods and consisting predominately of "whole organic" foods Nature provides to man in its simple condition (water, rice, chicken, oats, fruits, veggies, eggs).

This is but the first of literally thousands of examples one could collate:
  • Business relations governed by written contracts hundreds of pages long, written in such complexity that only a few highly paid lawyers understand what the contract actually requires. 
  • Employment rules governed by employee handbooks and procedures that no one carefully reads or understands because the effort to do so is immense and not rewarded by the employer.
  • Tax and legal codes of such length and complexity that (again) only a few highly paid lawyers understand what the codes actually require.
  • An educational system that teaches students all manner of arcane subjects but largely ignores teaching subjects of the highest importance and most frequent use in everyday life (simple logic, ethics, communication, common sense, basic human psychology and drives, personal finance, health and nutrition).
  • Dating and mating selection criteria that are so complicated and vague ("chemistry") that they either offer no concrete guidance on specific persons or exclude almost all persons from consideration. 
  • An economic system in developed countries that is flooded with so much complex debt that the entire financial system would buckle at any time if parties needed to collect the debt in a short amount of time. 
  • Layer after layer of overlapping political, regulatory, and bureacreatic bodies that all have similar subject matter jurisdiction and which, therefore, are guaranteed not to speak with one clear unified voice. 
(5) If political systems worldwide can achieve anything in the coming decades, they should make it their goal to achieve this: a no-holds bar elimination of needless complexity.

(6) Given that political systems worldwide are broken beyond repair, it will be up to individual citizens to impose on their own behavior and choices the rule of Least Possible Complexity and reap the rewards of this fundamentally correct orientation on reality. At every turn, the individual must ask him or herself: what is my goal here? how can I best achieve my goal with the least amount of complexity? if complexity is presented to me, is there some significant benefit available that makes incurring the complexity acceptable?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Play (Kamran K): All-Star Food Couplings

We submit the following combinations of foods should be immortally paired in the Food Hall of Fame:

(1) Cucumber-onions-salt-italian dressing-hot sauce
(2) Peanut butter-jelly
(3) Peanut butter-red bull
(4) White rice-chicken-guacamole
(5) Chicken-guacamole-hot sauce
(6) Pizza-Coke-salad with italian dressing
(7) Chocolate milk-blueberry-peanut butter-whey protein smoothie
(8) Eggs-guacamole-ketchup-hot sauce
(9) Oatmeal-Coke
(10) French bread-butter-coke
(11) Bagel-butter-cream cheese
(12) Salmon-garden salad-asparagus
(13) Mango-water
(14) Carne Asada-guacamole-salad-italian dressing
(15) Beer-tortilla chips-guacamole
(16) Cucumbers-gouda cheese-hot sauce-Coke
(17) Fruit strips-water
(18) Pasta-tomato sauce-crushed red peppers-grated parmesan cheese
(19) White rice-chicken kebab-grilled tomato-onions-butter
(20) Pistachios-red bull

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Silence and Stillness (Kamran K): Putting the BIG CHILL on BIG TECH

“Oh!' say the technophiles, 'Science is going to fix all that! We will conquer famine, eliminate psychological suffering, make everybody healthy and happy!' Yeah, sure. That’s what they said 200 years ago. The Industrial Revolution was supposed to eliminate poverty, make everybody happy, etc. The actual result has been quite different." TK 1995

(1) While causing irreversible destruction of Earth's precious ecosystem and biosphere, modern capitalism seems hell-bent on bringing the tech-addicted masses a yearly procession of shiny new "revolutionary" products, mostly tech gadget or another. The coming decades are predicted to bring "revolutionary" tech innovations in the form of self-driving cars, ever sharper and more brilliant HD televisions, faster and fancier computers, smartphones, smartwatches, and speakers, robots of one form or another, homes containing innovations in materials used and appliances that perform tasks at dizzying speeds and power, and so on.

It can be predicted that these products will be purchased not only for their intrinsic value but also as symbolic signifiers of one's social status, economic might, and overall professional and career success.

(2) Although the exact list of innovations and their release date is unknown, these generalizations should prove true with regard to most or all of them:
  • Upon immediate release, the innovations will be extremely expensive, well beyond the abilities of the common man to comfortably purchase. 
  • Upon release, the innovations will be self-advertised and self-touted as revolutionary, with a long list of purported benefits that only this product can deliver and provide. The typical move of modern advertising is to suggest some important overall "spiritual" betterment of one's life and psyche simply from purchasing a new product or service. 
  • Upon release, the innovations will be advertised and touted as essential, that somehow one's life will be subpar, bland, and mediocre in an important sense without the innovation.
  • Shortly after release, it will be discovered that the innovations have various bugs and don't quite provide all of the purported benefits they were advertised to deliver. 
  • Shortly after release, the experience of most people with the innovation will be that the innovation perhaps does help them in some form or another but is far from being revolutionary or even essential to the success of their daily life.
  • After mature reflection, the experience of most people with the innovation will be that it was too expensive and not in any way necessary for the successful and happy living of their everyday life.
  • After mature reflection and the passage of sufficient time, the academic community will conduct some study on the product and find some significant unknown and unexpected negative side-effect of the product that was never disclosed to or known by the general population using the product.
(3) Given the above, the intelligent approach to ALL upcoming "revolutionary" technologies will be an INITIAL presumption that they are ALL overpriced, filled with bugs, hyped-up, and completely non-essential. As such, ALL of these products- every last one of them- will be shunned and ignored by the intelligent citizen in the short run. 

That said, one or more of these products could be an exception to the general rule. How would this be determined? The best indication would be IF many years of experience with the product resulted in a general consensus among the people that the product is fairly priced, free of bugs, essential, performs as expected, and there are no negative side-effects worthy of stressing over. Only then would we include this product in our lives.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Justice (Kamran K): The Argument for a Universal Basic Income

"Sometimes the demand is made for equality in the division of the soil of the earth, and even of other kinds of wealth. Such a claim is superficial, because differences of wealth are due not only to the accidents of external nature but also to the infinite variety and difference of mind and character....It is in part a moral desire that all men should have sufficient income for their wants, and when the wish is left in this indefinite form it is well-meant, although it, like everything merely well-meant, has no counterpart in reality." Hegel, Philosophy of Right

"In this idea well-being has value, not independently as the realization of the separate particular will, but only as universal well-being, as universal, that is, in its essence, intrinsically or in accordance with freedom. Hence, well-being is not a good, if separated from right; nor is right a good, if separated from well-being....The good, carrying a necessity to be actualized by the particular will, and comprising the vital essence of such a will, has absolute right over the mere abstract right of property and the particular ends of well-being." Hegel, Philosophy of Right

(1) Arguments for economic justice and equality have been made by political parties (primarily left-leaning) for decades on end. Despite all manner of political speeches and bills introduced to effect this end, the world's economic resources continue to be divided more and more unequally. More and more WORKING persons are left without the economic resources to live even a minimally comfortable existence with their basic needs provided. Our politics is broken, driven by sound-bites, and ultimately totally futile in effecting social change: "We may speak in a lofty strain of duty, and this way of speaking elevates mankind, and widens the heart. Yet if nothing definite comes of it, it at last grows tedious. Spirit demands and is entitled to a particular content." (Hegel)

(2) Nevertheless, philosophical consideration of the right to a universal basic income is warranted. If justice is to mean anything in a society, one of it's primary meanings would hinge on the resolution of this issue. If the right to a universal basic income is warranted upon purely philosophical grounds, then societies that provide this income to their citizens are light-years ahead of others in deserving designation as just societies. So, onward to the resolution of this most important issue.

(3) The most important premise in the resolution of this right is the recognition that life is INVOLUNTARY and requires a continuous stream of money to buy a continuous stream of food energy, shelter from the elements, and medical care. At no point in the life cycle of a person does one choose this reality or have the power to suspend its operation on one's life.

Further, no one chose to be born and, once born, no one chooses the minimum requirements that life imposes for its continuance. These are not matters of choice for anyone. The argument that one can always commit suicide and therefore one's life is voluntary is trivial and not worthy of serious consideration. In many places, suicide is not even a choice because it is either illegal or unethical in imposing huge suffering on one's immediate family and friends. The only choice in the matter was the parents' decision to have a child, and one obviously cannot hold infant children responsible for the decisions of their grown parents.

(4) The second most important premise in the resolution of this right is the recognition that able-bodied, conscientious, and eager to work persons may not always be able to secure enough income within a capitalist economy to meet their basic needs of food, shelter, transportation, and medical care. As more "entry-level" jobs become automated or off-shored, this truth will become depressingly obvious. Persons looking to work, willing to work, but unable to secure employment are morally innocent in their inability to support themselves. They should not be punished in any manner for the harsh economic reality they face.

(5) The third most important premise in the resolution of this right is the recognition that the capitalist system disproportionately rewards its winners. It is by now obvious that capitalism predictably can make someone a billionaire simply for being in the right place at the right time or simply having the perfect genetics. Yes, this person usually worked hard or had some novel insight into the goods and services people in the society desired. Still, the amount of reward received by this person is usually multiplied by many fold for having the blind luck of being at the right place with the right time with his or her business idea or his or her perfect genetics (Lebron James). This excess profit does not strictly belong to the person but belongs to the overall conditions of the society which created the ideal environment for the business to flourish. As such, much of this excess profit can and should be taxed and returned to society and its members as a collective.

(6) Provided the tax revenue base of the state is sufficient, a very basic meager income- known as universal basic income- should be guaranteed to all. Any income one makes or is expected to make reduces the income one receives as universal basic income (e.g. if the universal basic income is $15k and one makes $5k then one receives only $10k). One receives no universal basic income whatsoever if one is not always ready on a stand-by basis to begin working if the state or a private party has some work that needs to be done and which one can perform. If it is fall and the city calls and asks whether you can help rake the leaves in the city's public spaces, you must agree to do so if you wish to receive the universal basic income. The universal basic income, like all other forms of income, must be EARNED. In most cases, however, it will be exceedingly simple to earn the universal basic income.

(7) The universal basic income must be truly basic such that it does not interfere with normal human motivation to work, make a living, and so on. Someone earning the universal basic income will usually be forced to live in an unspectacular part of an unspectacular city and eating a bland no-frills predominantly groceries diet. There will be enough income to provide for occasional recreational activities that are otherwise promotive of health and low-cost (e.g. income for basic running shoes and a bike). Internet, free medical care, and free access to a city's bus and transportation systems will also be provided. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Work (Kamran K): The Robots are Coming? Praise Be!

(1) It is forecast that many, perhaps most, jobs will soon be automated and performed by robots. As of today's date, companies worldwide are working on robots to replace cashiers, handymen, waiters, food preparers, taxi and bus drivers, and so on.

(2) No doubt the motivation for this trend is to substantially reduce labor costs which is the largest cost category for most businesses. Quite obviously, corporations intent on maximzing their profits can't be blamed for seeking to reduce costs. This is what corporations do; it is the function of a good corporation within the capitalism paradigm to seek to grow profits through a combination of revenue growth and cost cutting. Corporations that don't take this responsibility seriously don't survive.

(3) Given that this coming automation of jobs is so inevitable and so unlikely to be meaningfully thwarted, the only interesting question remaining is will all of this automation be a net-positive for society?  What benefits will society receive from large-scale automation of jobs?

(4)  Much of the discussion on this issue has so far been alarmist and keen to point out the negatives resulting from job displacement. This is one important aspect of the issue but it should not dominate the discussion as much as it has.

(5) The discussion on this issue will become more truthful when one considers the quality and reliability and integrity of many human being workers. The commonplace expression "good help is hard to find" speaks volumes.

Indeed, a sober assessment reveals humans occupying the jobs that are likely to be automated have a very very long track record of undesirable conduct while "on the job." This includes:
  • Theft- petty and more serious in nature- of the property of third parties.
  • Goofing off, idling, and half-hearted effort for a majority of the time one is purportedly working. In the age of smartphones, this has become an absolute epidemic. People now work only when nothing interesting grabs their attention on their phones.
  • Deception perpetrated on customers to maximize fees.
  • Errors of all sorts primarily caused by failure to fully and directly concentrate on the job at hand.
  • Short-cut taking whenever possible, whenever one is safe in the belief "no one is watching."
  • All sorts of unexpected rescheduling and cancellations caused by all manner of accidents "under the sun." Usually, these sorts of things could have been avoided with a little planning and foresight.
  • Costly and burdensome litigation which tends to be frivolous in nature and strictly pursued for its settlement value.
(6) The next generation may be free of all of the problems discussed above, as robots perform many jobs with less error, more reliability, and more efficiently than smartphone-checking humans.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Moderation (Kamran K): Perfection in weekly time expenditure.

Hours in a week = 168. This can't be altered (duh)

Hours of sleep required in a week = 56. This can't be altered safely (duh)

Waking hours in a week = 112

Meaning, 112 hours maximum can be devoted toward the five arenas of human perfection: physicality, mentality, aesthetic, emotional, and interpersonal. As a general rule, more time should be devoted toward the realms of mentality, physicality, and interpersonality and slightly less time toward emotionality and aesthetics. The actual time allocations can and should change over time but not significantly. Obviously, crises and other one-time situations (death of a family member) require the suspension of the ideal time allocation and a reorientation toward the exigencies of the moment. When the exigency has passed, the ideal time allocation can be picked up again where one left off.

The blog author below sketches his current allocation suiting his individual present life circumstances. This is obviously not one-size fits all for everyone.

Physicality Time Allocations (38 Total Hours)
  • Earning money, 17
  • Hours cooking and eating appropriately nutritious and balanced meals per week, 10
  • Hours weightlifting, 3
  • Aerobic exercise including walking, 6
  • Sexual activities and pursuits, 4
  • Tend to matters of finance and bills, 3
  • House cleaning and tending, 2
Mentality (24 Total Hours)
  • Reading and evaluating works of highest intellect, 10
  • Writing philosophy and other intellectual compositions, 10
  • Current events and news review, 2
  • Reflection on potential behavior modifications, attitude adjustments, and life reorientation based on reading and writing of the week, 2
Aesthetics (14 Total Hours )
  • Discovering new and excellent music, 3
  • Enjoying previously discovered excellent music, 3
  • Discovering new and excellent fine arts compositions, 3
  • Gardening, 3
  • Home design enhancement, 2
Emotionality (12 total hours)

Gambling and other frivolities, 5
Movies of the highest quality, 4
Mindfulness meditation, 3

Interpersonal (23 Total hours)
  • Dog park and dog play, 9
  • Face-to-face time with local friends, 8
  • Telephone time with distant friends, 3
  • Family time, 3

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Politics (Kamran K): The Duty to DIRECTLY protect Bodily Integrity

(1) The human being exists as a rather FRAGILE creature within spacetime. Its fragility is most obvious from the fact that it perishes of natural causes within some 60-80 years, a span of time rather unimpressive compared to the longevity of other living creatures and almost all non-living ones.

Its fragility is also a result of its rather feeble non-robust system of organs, bones, and connective tissue. As anyone involved in any significant traumatic accident quickly realizes, the body's natural protective mechanisms usually are no match against external physical forces of any significance.

(2) It is a startling realization to realize that modernity has done NOTHING to change this brute fact. In nearly every area of life, modernity has brought technological "advancement" which has made prior generations' ways of doing things seem remarkably antiquated, slow, and inefficient. The examples are too numerous to list but include things like cars, refrigerators, air conditioning systems, washer/dryers, microwaves, etc.

(3) Yet the physical integrity and security of the body has seen no advancement whatsoever since ancient times or even since the very beginning of man. People still walk around in public completely exposed and totally vulnerable to hundreds of types of traumas and attacks that could wipe them out in a second.

(4) In Las Vegas and elsewhere, terrorists have taken advantage of this fact and have killed hundreds of innocent and UNPROTECTED victims. Every time this occurs, there are renewed calls for gun control which (1) never get enacted because our political system is hopelessly dysfunctional and broken and (2) even if enacted, would never stop the worst of extremely motivated criminals from committing the worst of atrocities. Motivated criminals will always take advantage of a loop-hole in a gun control law or escape detection and totally violate its requirements.

(5) For decades, this issue has been mishandled in politics and other public spaces. The debate has only focused on the gun issue, on the problem of dangerous guns in the hands of bad persons. This is ONE side of the issue. The OTHER side of this issue is securing the physical integrity of persons in their bodies through the use of security precautions AND all other reasonable means.

(6) Police, metal detectors, other reasonable gun control regulations, and other security checks do help secure the physical integrity of persons. They have been somewhat successful in reducing the total number of gun fatalities. But each of these solutions has limitations and inefficiencies. Each can be circumvented if the would-be terrorists/criminals are intelligent and motivated enough. There is one solution that can't be circumvented under any scenario: the bulletproof vest. There is no reason whatsoever not to add this solution to the already existing ones.

(7) Governments can and should immediately fund research and development into affordable, comfortable to wear, and mass-producible bulletproof vests or other gear. Appropriately motivated and funded, some US company will no doubt be able to produce a bulletproof tshirt that is totally impenetrable for a small fee using alternative technologies and materials. These should be made available to all citizens for free as a return on their tax dollars. All mass sporting events and concerts should have a small security fee added so that any customers wishing to wear vests during the event can do so.

(8) In this ideologically fractured age, the simplest most non-controversial solutions (such as free bulletproof vests) should always be pursued over far more controversial morally and emotionally laced ones. Pursuing these solutions brings action and change; pursuing changes on the moral/emotional planes of one's rights and culture etc. brings only endless anger and, the end result, paralysis.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Humility (Kamran K): The Rules.

 "the content of the appetites still belongs to unformed will and natural perception, and is not developed to an ethical order..." George Hegel

Article to consider:

This post details surprisingly obvious truths touching upon human sexuality that any reasonably mature adult would appreciate by the time he or she has reached 30 or 35 years old. Still, these truths are far from obvious for many, causing them to wander in the sexual wasteland of depression and despair for years and decades without (seeming end).

The rules are listed below:

(1) Most men- particularly most "chubby" non-athletic men- are viewed by most women as physically unattractive. There is indeed something terribly unattractive with a man with significant body fat wobbling all over his body, no visible muscle mass, and with hair growing from all sides of his body. Women can and often do become attracted to these men for reasons OTHER than their bodies and physical appearance (primarily their social reputation, economic resources, and overall personality).

(2) A small circle of men who are tall, usually white, muscular yet still lean, relatively young, and relatively handsome are viewed by most women as unusually physically attractive. This group represents no more than the top 2% of the male population. Most women will want to sleep with these men whether or not they have other good qualities. All other men will not sexually arouse women in such a direct straightforward manner.

(3) Most men are subject to body-image delusions and believe they are in this top 2% category of men:  "the mind should be armed against sallies of caprice, rout and overcome them, in order that rational thought may have free course." (Hegel)  They are foolishly misguided in thinking so and their poor track record with women proves their foolishness. To repeat the point made above: most women find most men physically UNattractive.

(4) Most women present themselves publicly with significant artificial cosmetic enhancements including plastic surgery, hair dying, makeup, hair shaving, and revealing outfits that accentuate their best features. Online, all of this artificiality is further multiplied through the use of deceptive filters and other photo-shopping. The end result is most women look far worse than their public presentations.

Men present themselves publicly exactly as they are. Their is no "bait and switch" involved with men's public appearances. The combined result is that men end up pursuing and, often begging, women of equal or lower attractiveness to spend time and sleep with them.

(5) Most men primarily want one thing from the women they are pursuing: limitless sex. This reality is not one for which men should be blamed, morally or otherwise. It is a simple fact of male biology driven by DNA and the operation of male sex hormones, primarily testosterone. Men did not CHOOSE to have this desire to have limitless sex with women.

(6) Worse still, men's sexual appetites are usually about 8-12 TIMES that of their female sexual partner (this is objectively proveable by science). Most men will want sex all the time and at any time; most women will want sex only if the mood is "perfect" and all the "stars are aligned" and no menstrual cycle is active. In this respect, women and men are not a "match made in heaven." To put it more starkly, men and women are spectacularly unsuited for one another, beginning with this spectacular sexual appetite incompatibility. The coupling of men and women is comparable to the intellectual appetite coupling of an Ivy League philosophy professor with a member of a Watts street gang.

(7) Men generally must pay DEARLY for sex in one form or another. Even if they are in a relationship, they will end up paying for sex through the increased expenditures that the relationship entails. Women receive as much sex as they want for free; many young attractive women receive sex with the additional bonus of making a profit from their association with the man.

(8) Combining the last two points, most men will incur huge expenditures merely to have extremely intermittent sporadic sexual access to a woman. Most men will end up paying more for sex than they pay for anything else.

(9) Most men wish to have sex with a small minority of unusually attractive women representing no more than 5% of the female population. In the current digital environment where it is very easy for a man to contact a woman, these women will have thousands maybe even tens of thousands of men to choose from.

(10) Unless the woman is of unusual intelligence and moral character, she will weed through the thousands of candidates by emphasizing the traditional selection criteria of wealth, physical attractiveness, social reputation and standing, and manliness. Men that meet ALL of these criteria (think Tom Brady) will usually win out in the "race" for the most attractive women. All other men are typically wasting their time in pursuing such women.

(11) Most men should quickly resign themselves to the reality that the most attractive women in the society have no desire to sleep with them. They should accept the reality that they must compete with many other men for women of only average attractiveness. Men increasingly must fight over the female breadcrumbs.

(12) Men and women in a relationship spend a very small fraction of that time engaging in sex (perhaps two hours max out of the 144 hours in a week). This is true even in the case of couples with active sexual relationships.

(13) Men and women in a relationship will spend 97-98% of their time engaged in non-sexual activities which require the active exercise of non-sexual virtues, such as wisdom, moderation, justice, fairness, intelligence, work, exercise, etc.

(14) Primarily men and some women therefore FIXATE on sex to an unreasonable extent in making relationship decisions. They focus on an aspect of the relationship which is too minor and, even at its best, unlikely to determine the overall nature and quality of the relationship: "a man often looks upon integrity both for himself and others as secondary and unessential." (Hegel)

(15) Men generally age more slowly than women. Even attractive women lose most of their sexual appeal by 40; by 50 it would be an unusual women that still maintains some significant ability to arouse a large category of men.

(16) In the digital age of smartphones and text, women can disguise their intellectual abilities and conversational qualities by hiding behind the smartphone where they have many minutes and sometimes hours to respond to simple comments or questions.

(17) Men that are unwilling to play the new smartphone games of endless texting, online dating apps, and social media posting and liking will have very few opportunities with younger women in their 20s and 30s.