ReasonINC

Reason; as the supreme authority in matters of opinion, belief, or conduct

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking

Greenwald weighing in masterfully against Netanyahu

In this typically clear, fair and representative piece Glenn Greenwald dissects the rhetoric of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

I highly recommend following some of the links in the text, they lead to some excellent resources. I paste the link to one that really stood out below the article.

(https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/07/21/netanyahus-telegenically-dead-comment-original/)

(http://www.tinyrevolution.com/mt/archives/003508.html)

“The enlightened man is one with the law of causation.” – Wumen Huikai from The Gateless Gate, published in 1228

“You can’t think about thinking unless you think about thinking about something” – Seymour Papert

The criminality of Nicolas Sarkozy blends into the criminal norm of world politics

How would you have reacted to claims during his campaigns or presidency that Nicolas Sarkozy was a bad person? To claims he was corrupt and would freely abuse his power?

I think it is beyond argument to say that we need social advancement to overcome the problems we face as a species. Dr Albert Bartlett has been publicly making the point since September 1969 that the true problem we face is actually our increasing number. All the ways we are destroying the planet have only become so severe because we have become so many. And even if we stop changing a delicate planetary system we don’t yet even understand, eventually we will have to address another more fundamental issue; that there is an unknown limit to how many humans this planet can support.

The bottom line is I hope the case for needing social and political progress is clear. But a big part of the problem for me is that we don’t reflect collectively on the actual effects of our decisions. If we did we might see how dangerous our actions or inactions are and, just as importantly, we might then realise that all along our leaders had enough information to see those dangers clearly. How aware they are that their policies or illegal agreements cause suffering or threaten our futures makes them unacceptably complicit, if they weren’t central to the engineering of such situations in the first place.

The best thing for them personally, though, was to promise us whatever we wanted so they could continue to utilise the power they had accrued. So they could continue to enjoy the benefits, financial or otherwise, of the corrupt relationships they have established.

I hope I can make this understandable when I say that on this issue there are two sides, two schools of thought. One who think our leaders are by vast majority corrupt, unethical people who take advantage of the fact we will more readily believe what we want than the hard truth, and the other side who don’t see a problem at all.

To that second side it is those who see Obama and Cameron as tyrants who are the strange ones. Obama and Cameron who freely wield their power against those who try to expose them, dressing up the prosecution of whistleblowers as punishing those who threaten security. Dressing it up as something we should fear. It is foreign to that second group to believe these people who make such eloquent and heart-felt appeals to the humanity and desires of their voters are really terrible people.

This situation of extreme danger that comes from not questioning the world rigorously enough is why I think it is so important to talk about the evidence we do have against our leaders. Nicolas Sarkozy has been exposed for brazen corruption and if the evidence we had at first wasn’t enough, his desperate taped phone call instructing his lawyer to promise his soon-to-be judge reward for protecting him shows just how sociopathic these people are. To him, perverting justice was no problem if it continued to aid the only goal we have evidence for him ever caring about; improving his own personal experience of the world.. at any cost. But this is how they all are. He blends into his peers perfectly. You have to look hard to find the Jose Mujicas who are brave and compassionate enough to lead by example, to do what they think is right even at the cost of their popularity or prosperity.

It may be the growing age of digital accountability we live in that undermines some of the power similar people to Sarkozy have wielded without conscience for millennia, but I hope people see this case and look around at the leaders they trust.

This point must be made extremely clear. If you, before Sarkozy was exposed, wouldn’t have thought he was intolerably corrupt, if you believed this was a man who got into politics to try to make a difference and do good, then you need to take this painfully to heart. There were people who saw through him and his counterparts around the world from the beginning and those people are saying the same about leaders who seduce public confidence still.

“Humankind has become so much one family that we cannot ensure our own prosperity except by ensuring that of everyone else. If you wish to be happy yourself, you must resign yourself to seeing others also happy.” – Bertrand Russell

Wealth

A very clever article putting wealth in perspective.

(http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/03/combined-wealth-world.html)

“A simple protagonist was a clear advantage, because it generated a firm connection between life-regulation and the profusion of mental images that the brain was forming about the world around it.” – Antonio Damasio from ‘Self Comes to Mind’

“She had that rare sense that discerns what is unalterable, and submits to it without murmuring.” – George Eliot from Middlemarch

“Aaron is dead. Wanderers in this crazy world, we have lost a mentor, a wise elder. Hackers for right, we are one down, we have lost one of our own. Nurturers, carers, listeners, feeders, parents all, we have lost a child. Let us all weep.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee soon after Aaron Swartz’s suicide.

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