Apr 052017
 

Getting Rid of Hierarchy with Octologues and Holomat

Published on Dec 21, 2016

Anarchast Ep.324

Jeff Berwick interviews Acapulco Octologue members Michael Nimetz and Bob Podolsky, topics include: the importance of ethics and how it effects groups, maximizing creativity, truth, awareness and love, commitment to ethical purpose, freedom, hierarchy and human evolution, the founding of the Acapulco Octologue, a very efficient organizational structure, the Octologue as the core of a strong community, the elimination unethical decisions, scaling the octologue with ethical contracts, Holomats, self transformation, soul bonding workshops and ongoing training, dealing with conflict, NAP and the Octologue, Acapulco to be the hub for the octologue revolution, Anarchapulco 2017 ‘scholarships’, The Road to Acapulco podcast!

Oct 052016
 

Introduction

There has been much discussion about “property rights”, “human rights”, “self-ownership” and the “non-aggression principle” or N.A.P. Most of the ideas on these subjects that seem worth discussing are existential in nature. For instance one often hears questions like,

  • Does “property” actually exist?

  • Do “rights” actually exist?

  • Does anyone really “own” anything?

  • What does it mean to both “be oneself” and “own oneself”?

  • …and what implications do these questions have concerning the validity of the N.A.P.?

While many academic philosophy buffs like to argue who has the best answers to such questions, the significance of their arguments is more a matter of ego aggrandizement than one of applying ethics in a practical way.

This body of subject-matter leaped into the minds of modern libertarians when Murray Rothbard introduced it as a way of understanding the libertarian perspective. Briefly, he opined that self-ownership is self evident… axiomatic. And based on that assumed logical starting point, deduced that therefore anything one’s body produces is also one’s own property. From this he went on to define property rights and expanded the definition to include anything found unclaimed in nature or acquired by voluntary trade. His logical equivalent of the N.A.P. was a further logical outcome of this thought path.

Rothbard’s reasoning is a good example of weak logic leading to correct conclusions. Some of the weaknesses include:

  • Rights” are not actually things…you can’t put them in a wheelbarrow.

  • The clear definition of “property acquisition” doesn’t actually explain the existential relationship between property and its owner.

  • And, most importantly, most people don’t intuit self-ownership, because they were indoctrinated as preschoolers to believe that their parents “owned” them, and later their teachers “owned them”, and in many cases their employers subsequently “own” them.

A consequent weakness in the N.A.P. is the common belief that it constitutes a complete ethic rather than a principle based on an ethic. While the N.A.P. forbids behavior deemed “bad”, it fails to define behavior deemed “good”. Thus use of the N.A.P. as the sole determinant of ethical behavior leaves much to be desired.

An Alternative Algorithm for Ethical Behavior

For a much more comprehensive discussion on this topic, check out this article on Ethics, Law & Government. Here I summarize some of the article’s conclusions without including the derivations covered in the linked article.

An act is said to be ethical (synonymously good, just, right, or righteous) if it increases truth, awareness, love, or creativity for at least one person, including the person acting, without limiting or diminishing any of these resources for anyone. An act that does diminish any of these resources for someone is said to be unethical (or synonymously bad, wrong, unjust or evil). An act that has neither effect is said to be “ethically trivial”.

Based on the foregoing definition, is is a simple exercise in logic to derive a set a dozen or so principles that can assist one in making ethical decisions on a day-to-day or moment-to-moment basis. Foremost among these is the fact that ethical “ends” require “ethical means” …which in turn must be ethical ends in themselves.

At this point, I hope you can see that the N.A.P. effectively defines unethical acts while leaving trivial acts and ethical acts undefined. So an act that complies with the N.A.P. could be either ethical or trivial. For anyone wishing to live their life as ethically as possible the N.A.P. fails to deliver the best guidance available. In other words the N.A.P. tells us what not to do but leaves us in the dark concerning what to do.

The ethic that I’ve recommended above not only tells us what specific resources are most worth amplifying, but it also opens the door to a way of organizing human institutions so that they make consistently ethical decisions. For a comprehensive explanation of how this can work, I invite you to read FLOURISH…An Alternative to Government and Other Hierarchies.

Mar 102016
 

About the Word “Authority”
My friend, Larken Rose, describes authority as “the most dangerous
superstition” – and has, in fact, written a wonderful little book by that title. I heartily recommend it to anyone wanting to delve deeper into the subject than the limited treatment in this article. Having said that, let’s take an intellectual peek into the meaning of the word.

The word, “authority” would appear at first glance to be a noun – though
technically it isn’t one – because it doesn’t describe or name something that can be put in a wheelbarrow. Traditionally, a noun names a person, place, or thing. In recent years some have chosen to extend the definition to include ideas – but I find this more confusing than helpful.

Instead, on the advice of the eminent linguist John Grinder, I refer to such
words as “nominalizations”. As such, a nominalization is itself an idea, but the concept so labeled usually proves, on examination, to represent an action or a process. The same can be said too of the expressions, “power over”, juris diction, and rank – as they are essentially synonyms for “authority.”
In discussing authority, the subject is further confused by the fact that, in
practice, the word has two distinct meanings.

Two Kinds of Authority
There are two meanings for the word in common usage:
1. It can mean an expert – someone who is unusually well versed in a
subject – as in “Einstein was an authority on physics”; or
2. It can mean someone who exercises power over others – as in,
“Governments have authority over their subjects”.

At the moment we are born, naked, helpless, and totally dependent, our
parents are the expert authorities responsible for our well being. We have no choice but to respect their superior strength, knowledge, and experience. In fact, our very lives depend on it. So when they say, “Don’t play in the street”, we do well to obey, and we can take some comfort in the fact that they have more expertise than we when it comes to survival in the jungle, the woods, or the city. This is a case of authority as defined in (1) above.

Unfortunately, it is all too common that parents treat their children as though their authority is of the second type – requiring obedience without regard for the child’s mental/emotional state. “Be respectful! I’m your father!” expresses a typical attitude of such a parent. This is the attitude that is usually meant by the adjective, “authoritarian”.

It is the responsibility of an ethical parent to teach their offspring what they need to know to become independent adults with good self-esteem and a strong sense of responsibility for themselves. This cannot be achieved by maintaining an authoritarian posture in relation to them. This attitude, instead, teaches fear, obedience and dependency. When the posture is based on corporal punishment, it also teaches violence – and is arguably the primary source of violence in today’s world.

An even more profound consequence of authoritarian parenting is its effect on a child’s awareness of self-ownership.

Self-Ownership Implications
As small children it is apparent to everyone that they are owned by their
parents. In school the mandate to obey is largely transferred to our teachers – making them our stand-in owners. And as employees it is easy to imagine ourselves owned by our employers. We are conditioned to accept these roles – even though they are false.

It is very convenient for those who wish to rule us to have us think that we are “free”, when we fail to recognize our own self-ownership. This distortion of our awareness causes us to regard the ruling class as our owners – and to obey its members as would slaves. The conditioning to bring this about begins when we are infants – being raised by parents who have already been trained to obey “authorities”. In reality, “authority” refers to nothing more than coercion by means of force or the threat of force. And the purpose of perpetuating the concept as something else exists only to make us easier to plunder. When we yield to this mandate, we remain permanently child-like, unwilling to take on the true responsi-bilities of adulthood. In effect, we choose our own slavery.

The Adult Quandary
Our culture makes it very easy for us to accept our serfdom – and difficult to honor truth, love, awareness, and creativity. The latter choices put us
immediately in conflict with those who wish to “rule” us, and they aren’t
hesitant to beat, pepper-spray, taser, torture, cage, and kill those who fail to comply. This makes for some difficult choices for those of us not deceived by our early conditioning.

The Unfortunate Default
While some of us maintain an uneasy balance between compliance and self-determination, most people choose, not only to comply with our self-
appointed rulers’ edicts – but to turn on those of us who don’t, by supporting violence that is directed at those of us who are free enough to recognize the falsehood of all forms of “authority”.

The Controllers and the Controlled
The intense need of psychopaths and sociopaths to control others by
exercising power over them derives primarily from the devastating abuse to which they were subjected very early in childhood. That abuse left them feeling so out of control of their lives, that to survive they had to learn to respond in kind – by becoming even more controlling than their abusers. To date there is no known way to heal the results of such abuse.

So, What Is “Authority” and What Can Be Done to Correct for It? The mythology that underpins our subservience to “authority” is no different
today than it was when monarchs claimed the “divine right of kings”. It is
based on the fictional notion that some people have an unassailable right to control the lives of others. In order to gain our freedom from such slavery we must first recognize it for the big lie that it is. The primary mechanism of “authority” is hierarchy.

We know now how to create non-hierarchic organizations that are both ethical and effective. This new model makes the old one obsolete. If there is a key that will end our servitude, this is it.
– Bob Podolsky – 2016

Jan 272016
 

CHOOSING AN ETHICstar of laskmi

by: Bob Podolsky

Why choose an Ethic?

It’s a truism that most people wants to “better themselves” – that is to better the circumstances of their lives. Philosophies and religions are all derived from this fact. When one adopts a valid ethic, this goal can be realized or “manifested”. The result is a life characterized by peace, prosperity, and freedom… it feels like having a compass in one’s head… important decisions become simple…work feels like play… relationships “bloom”… and the day-to-day challenges and vicissitudes of life seem much less daunting. This is the state-of-mind in which one actually “becomes the change” one wishes to see in the world.

Introduction

As a young man I believed two things about ethics – one true, and the other false:

  1. I believed the choice of an ethic is “arbitrary” – because one can choose any ethic one likes; and

  2. I believed therefore that the entire subject of ethics is trivial – of no real use in making behavioral decisions.

As I learned much later, statement (1) above is true; but statement (2) is false. Lets examine the concept of an ethic a little more closely, and then apply it with some logic to a few actual ethics.

Specifying an Ethic

Every ethic consists of 2 parts that must be defined in order to fully specify a particular ethic:

  1. A Value that the ethic is intended to increase, and

  2. A belief or belief system that tells one how to behave in order to increase the desired value.

For instance, one might choose an ethic that values prosperity and operates on the belief that prosperity can be maximized by getting a job working for 40 years for a big corporation after, many years of education. As absurd as this belief is, in combination with the value, it is, nonetheless, an ethic – by definition – albeit not a very good one. When this is true, the belief fails to support the value, and the ethic is said to be “invalid”.

Ethical Validity

An invalid ethic fails to produce more of the value sought – and in many instances actually has the opposite effect, diminishing the desired value. An example would be the Soviet Ethic that sought to produce “material well-being for all”. The accompanying belief was that this outcome could be achieved through the adoption of a tyrannical communist regime. The result was: almost universal poverty. The ethic was clearly invalid.

The “No Ethic” Ethic

There are those who are so enthralled by the arbitrariness of choosing an ethic, that they see no reason to consciously make such a choice. This of course is just another kind of ethic. In this case both the value and the belief are random. And since there is no discernible value sought, the random belief fails to produce a value – so the ethic can be said to be invalid. On the other hand, since the random belief does produce random values, one could describe the ethic as valid.

As I see it, the real value sought is the illusion of having little or no responsibility for the adopter’s experience of his life. And adopting this ethic certainly supports and increases that illusion, so it might best be called the “lazy man’s ethic” – and it is technically valid, though of no practical use.

The “Golden Rule” and “Universally Preferred Behavior”

I’ve lumped these two ethics together because they both suffer from the same weakness – namely, there is no “universally preferred behavior”. To see this clearly, imagine you have an encounter with a sado-masochist. He is someone who prefers to have others inflict pain on him. Do you really want him to do to you what he wants you to do to him? Unless you are also a sado-masochist, the answer is “probably not”.

While you might suppose that sado-masochism is too uncommon to be of real relevance, the fact is otherwise. In my 40 years experience as a psychotherapist, At least 20% of the population worldwide displays a significant leaning towards such preferences. While the degree to which such a person actually acts on such impulses varies greatly from person to person, the fact of this phenomenon’s existence proves the Golden Rule and the Universally Preferred Behavior to be invalid ethics.

The “Non-Aggression Principle”

Let’s now examine an ethic that is valid, but not optimal. Called the “Non-Aggression Principle”, the NAP states:

any initiation of coercive action (that is, any aggressive act) is ethically wrong.

The NAP ethic embraces freedom from violence as the value; and the belief is that this can be achieved by refraining from initiating violence or the threat of violence – while retaining the freedom to use limited violence in self defense.

If everyone restrained themselves from initiating violence, violence would indeed disappear, and no one would be the victim of violence. However, many of us learn violence from our parents when we are very young – usually before the age of 5 years – and we will still encounter violence until child-rearing becomes generally improved. My experience leads me to say those who were the abused as children, are the most are the biggest abusers as adults.

A more serious weakness of this ethic is that the value chosen is something not wanted – something to be avoided. In other words the value is a negative rather than a positive. It’s based on what we don’t want instead of what we do want. So while the ethic is valid, it doesn’t address what we must do to increase a number of other equally important values. So let’s look at the best ethic I have found to date.

The Ethics of Ethics

As everyone seems to know, ethics are the means by which one decides what is “good” and how to behave…how to live one’s life. What is slightly less obvious is the fact that the choice of an ethic is itself subject to an ethic-based decision. This second-level ethic might be called a “meta-ethic”. In similar fashion, one can construct any number of metan ethics…i.e. meta-meta, meta-meta-meta, and so forth. So the question this fact engenders is, “where does one start, in formulating a worthwhile ethic?”

To answer this question (quick before the theologians jump in) we can simply choose what I call a “universal referent” – which is to say, an objectively observable phenomenon of obvious value everywhere and at all times. For this choice I strongly suggest the phenomenon we call “evolution”… the opposite of which is “entropy”. This choice has several advantages.

  • The phenomenon is objectively (scientifically) observable and is certainly of great intrinsic value.

  • The choice of this referent directly amplifies truth, awareness, love, and creativity… and indirectly creates peace, prosperity, happiness, and freedom.

  • For those who prefer to involve the “god” concept in their ethics, one can simply define “god” as that toward which life evolves. Doing so is completely compatible with the valid portions of the “Christian Ethic”.

So let’s take a closer look at the formulation of such an ethic.

The Evolutionary Ethic

For starters, there are a number of values that are logically equivalent to one another:

  • Truth (scientifically verifiable) + Objective

  • Awareness & Personal evolution

  • Love

  • Creativity

TALC resources are logically equivalent to one another in that increasing any one of them always increases them all – AND – limiting or diminishing any one of them always limits or diminishes them all. Any of these values can be used to create a valid ethic.

Here’s an example based on the value of creativity and on the following belief system:

An act is ethical if it increases creativity for at least one person (including the person acting), without limiting or diminishing creativity for anyone.

In the definition above one can substitute any of the other values in the preceding (TALC) list for the word “creativity” and still have a valid ethic.

I have yet to see or find a valid ethic that is not logically equivalent to this one. Also, it should be noted that, counter-intuitively, no one has yet created a valid ethic based on the values of:

  • Freedom

  • Happiness

  • Pleasure

  • Power

  • Wealth

Many attempts to do so have been made; but to my knowledge none has succeeded.

Conclusion

For a more comprehensive discussion of ethics and their effects on the human condition, you are invited to read Ethics, Law, & Government on the Titanians.org website. The BORG has told you all your life to obey the law and to revere the government. Is it giving you what you want? Perhaps it’s time to re-examine that decision.

Bob Podolsky

cronus@titanians(dot)org

Oct 182015
 

The Concept
There are many who believe that killing another human being is always unethical – an evil deed, regardless of the circumstances and motivation behind the act. Because of this, many victims of violence and tyranny have died needlessly – thinking they were acting ethically by refraining from defending themselves. It’s time to set the record straight.

Analysis
To acquire a profound understanding of the issues involved in this matter, we must start with the definition of a valid ethic. Here is an example:

“An act is ethical if it increases the creativity of at least one person, including the person acting, without limiting or diminishing the creativity of anyone.”

From this definition, we can derive the following principles by pure logic:

• Every ethically non-trivial act falls on an ethical continuum, in accordance with the degree to which the act increases creativity.

• Murder is unethical (as is obvious), because, by definition, it reduces the creativity of the person being murdered.

• It is unethical to permit an unethical act if one can effectively forbid or prevent it.

This raises the question, “Is killing in self defense properly construed as ‘murder’?” To answer this consider the following diagram:

|–—————–0——————-|
-100                                                             +100

The horizontal line above represents a creativity scale. A person who consistently makes the most creative choices might achieve a maximum score of +100 – whereas one who consistently makes destructive choices might score -100. These are also obviously opposite ends of a corresponding scale of ethics.

Now imagine that someone credibly threatens to kill you if you do not comply with something they demand. At this point their creativity, and hence their ethics, is at the -100 point on the creativity scale. If you now take action stopping the threat – and if it your action results in the attacker’s death – then you have effectively raised his creativity from -100 to zero.

Note that, in this instance, the attacker’s creativity was raised rather than lowered – so it follows that the act of killing the attacker was not murder.  And, what is more, had you not stopped the attack on yourself, you would have effectively permitted the attacker to murder you – and that would have constituted an unethical decision on your part, by allowing your own
creativity to be diminished.

Conclusions
• When lethal force is required in order to prevent an act of murder or mayhem, that lethal force is ethical.
• When lethal force is required in order to prevent an act of murder or mayhem, one’s refusal to use lethal force is unethical.

While these conclusions will seem counter-intuitive to many, they are nonetheless correct; and identical results will be obtained by the application of any valid ethic.

Aug 042015
 

The Experience Recovery

I’m lying comfortably on a mattress in a dimly lit room, recalling a small dream fragment. A fledgling therapist is giving me suggestions, asking me to pretend to be various elements of the dream in conversation with other parts. For instance I’m the mattress, and I’m telling the door of the room what I’m thinking and feeling. The therapist is learning “Gestalt.” A more experienced therapist is supervising as five members of my group act as therapists to the other five. We’re all learning Gestalt.

I close my eyes, and suddenly I’m no longer on a mattress. I’m lying on a cold hard metallic surface, and I seem to be paralyzed. My arms are pinned to my sides and I can’t move – not even a wriggle. As if in a lucid dream, my adult mind realizes that I’m strapped to a surgical table by means of a fabric strap that extends across my torso and arms from a strong-point on one edge of the table to a ratcheted crank on the opposite edge of the table. My adult mind is able to observe and understand what is happening – but is unable to control the events that I’m experiencing

Suddenly a figure appears in my line of sight. I recognize a man’s head wearing a white cap and white surgical mask. “Aha!”, I think. “He’s a doctor and I’m in a hospital. Could this man be my father?” The question seems absurd, since my father, Boris Podolsky was a physicist – not a physician. But somehow the rationale behind the question made sense at the time of the experience.

The masked face disappears, and a moment later my body is racked by intense pain. From head to foot I feel like I’m on fire. Only later did I understand that an infant’s body doesn’t localize pain. The ability to localize the experience of pain requires a little more neurological development than most infants have at the age of eight days (my age at circumcision).

And only much later did I learn that, until recently, most surgery on infants was performed without anesthesia, in the mistaken belief that infants don’t feel pain. The reality, of course, is that infants feel everything more intensely than adults.

By now, of course, I’m screaming – not just in my memory, but in my adult experience. My therapist-in-training doesn’t know what to do, so he calls on the supervising therapist for assistance. She knows what to do, and assists me in extricating myself from the remembered ordeal by holding and soothing me as though I were still that tortured infant.

Consequences

It is a reasonable instinctual expectation, on the part of an infant, to be met with gentleness, love, and maternal bonding during the beginning of life outside the womb. The mere absence of such a response has a profoundly detrimental effect on the development of a child’s brain. To be met with torture is much worse – truly devastating. Such an experience leaves a child in a state of perpetual terror – unable to completely trust his very existence – permanently hyper-vigilant – and, in my case, unable to trust men prior to age 32, at which point the experience above restored some of my ability to develop relationships with men.

More On the Subject

No one is more eloquent than Stefan Molyneux on the subject of circumcision. And it’s not my intent to repeat here the things that he has discussed at length in his philosophical podcasts on the subject. I wrote this little article solely to explain that some of us remember the event, and I for one can personally attest to the severity of the experience and the damage that it inflicted on my life. I wouldn’t wish it on a dog – but then dogs aren’t getting circumcised, are they? Only humans do that to one another.

Jul 012015
 

PROFITS vs. ETHICS

Overview

There are many who mistakenly think that the phrase, “business ethics”, is an oxymoron – that there is something inherently unethical about making a profit. In the sections below, I will not only address this fallacy, but will also go on to explain the four paradigms from which business owners can select how they will prioritize their ethics in relation to their profits.

What Is “Ethical”?

The best definition I know for an ethical act is, “any act that increases awareness, creativity, love, objective truth, or personal evolution without limiting or diminishing any of these resources for anyone.” While this definition may seem a little clumsy to some, it is nonetheless valid, in that acting in accordance with it actually increases all of the resources listed. Also, a simple exercise of logic applied to this definition yields an extensive set of ethical principles, allowing for its straightforward application to the day-to-day decisions we all are called upon to make.

For a much more detailed discussion of this subject, read, “Ethics, Law, & Government” on the titanians.org website.

Profit Motivation

It is a fundamental fact of life that living beings choose to engage in actions that improve their condition. Plants do this. Animals do it. And so do humans. In the case of the most generous self-effacing charitable giving, the giver’s condition is improved by feeling good about having given the gift.

In the world of business, improving one’s condition translates into making a profit – be that profit financial, emotional, or otherwise. In the absence of such motivation, there would be no business; almost no one would work, and all of society would suffer. For the purposes of this analysis, let’s think just in terms of financial profit.

The Four Paradigms

  1. The first paradigm applies to all businesses that rank profit as more important than ethics. In this instance, the ethics is irrelevant and need not be considered at all. I call this the “Mafia Paradigm”; and its de facto ethic is the Power Ethic; i.e. “Might Makes Right”. This paradigm is parasitic, and inevitably leads to self-destruction – as the parasite kills its host. A hallmark of this paradigm is the fact that businesses that adopt it almost always form cartels and then call on government to enforce the cartel’s rules.

  2. The other three paradigms under discussion all place the ethics ahead of the profit, requiring the business to avoid acting unethically. The differences between the three being in the role of profit. In the second paradigm, every transaction is constrained to be profitable or otherwise advantageous. This model is, in fact, the one chosen by most successful businesses.

  3. The third paradigm, sometimes chosen by people who disapprove of profit, constrains actions to be ethical; but only requires transactions to break even, rather than turn a profit.

    This model consistently fails – resulting in an organization that is constantly on the brink of insolvency – until it eventually goes bankrupt. This is often the fate of “non-profit” organizations, because their self-image is incompatible with profitability.

  4. The fourth paradigm is often the most successful, though there’s a trick to making it work. This paradigm requires impeccable ethics with no consideration of profitability whatever. While conceptually very counter-intuitive, this actually works – but there’s a catch.

    Successful businesses employing this paradigm never start out using it. Instead they begin by using the 2nd paradigm, and later transition to the 4th after establishing a solid financial base. Not infrequently such organizations eventually become donation-based, permitting each customer to define the value of what they have received.

Conclusion

It should be noted that most businesses do not operate consistently within one of these paradigms, often applying the ethics more or less randomly – even though they would be improved if they picked a paradigm that works and stuck with it. It’s my hypothesis that the inconsistency in applying the ethics is due primarily to ignorance concerning the nature and importance of ethics per se. If you are a business-person, and you apply what you’ve learned from this little article, your probability of success will be much improved.

Jun 032014
 

First Study in 40 Years Legitimizes Medical LSD

The reality is that all psychoactive drugs can be abused with negative effects.  Not to however is the road of science and good medicine while discovering what benefits can be delivered.  At the moment we rediscovering what we already knew and taking a refresher.

What it does mean is that the toolkit is quickly expanding and most of all this will be available for therapeutic reasons.

It appears that a host of mental disturbances can be described as imprinting problems.  Some of these drugs allow that effect to be countered in conjunction with well thought out therapy.  This will be a huge blessing that may well remove the weakest third of such problems and may surprise us with the rest.  Just getting rid of borderline cases frees up effort to be applied.

This appears to be a low threshold but I think that prevents later development of sever cases.

First Study in 40 Years Legitimizes LSD for Psychotherapeutic Use

March 4, 2014 |

Buck Rogers, Staff Writer

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2014/03/04/first-study-40-years-legitimizes-lsd-psychotherapeutic-use/

The public image problem for psychedelic substances is finally correcting itself, due in large part to the willingness of some scientific communities to ignore taboos and press ahead with modern research into the efficacy of their use as therapeutic medicines. Cannabis is the front-runner in the campaign to end the war on consciousness and open the door for psychoactive substances as publicly available medicine. Psilocybin is now touted as a natural and potent remedy for chronic depression, and the healing benefits of the South American medicine Ayahuasca are widely discussed in the Western world, and is even showing promise as an anti-cancer agent.

Now, 40 years of prohibition against medical research into the psychological benefits of synthetic compound lysergic acid dyethlyamide (LSD) has finally come to an end with positive results. Peter Gasser, M.D., a private practice psychiatrist in Solothurn, Switzerland has recently published the significant findings of a recent study of the effects that LSD has on patients with certain anxiety disorders.

“A double-blind, randomized, active placebo-controlled pilot study was conducted to examine safety and efficacy of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD)-assisted psychotherapy in 12 patients with anxiety associated with life- threatening diseases. Treatment included drug-free psychotherapy sessions supplemented by two LSD-assisted psychotherapy sessions 2 to 3 weeks apart.” [Source]

The study is considered to be a success because while showing no lasting adverse reactions to treatment with LSD, study participants showed significant and sustained long-term reductions in state anxiety over a 12-month period:

“These results indicate that when administered safely in a methodologically rigorous medically supervised psychotherapeutic setting, LSD can reduce anxiety, suggesting that larger controlled studies are warranted.”

Peter, an Austrian subject in this study remarked, “My LSD experience brought back some lost emotions and ability to trust, lots of psychological insights, and a timeless moment when the universe didn’t seem like a trap, but like a revelation of utter beauty.” This statement is characteristic of many people’s experience with LSD, both clinical and recreational, and brings further testimony to the case for legitimizing these medicines for public use.

The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) has for years been the forerunner in the advocacy of legalization of research into the medical benefits of psychoactive substances. In a recently released MAPS press-alert the organization notes that, “there is considerable previous human experience using LSD in the context of psychotherapy. From the 1950s through the early 1970s, psychiatrists, therapists, and researchers administered LSD to thousands of people as a treatment for alcoholism, as well as for anxiety and depression in people with advanced stage cancer.”

Originally formulated by the renowned Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman, LSD produces an effect that can amplify consciousness and bring about positive lasting changes in perception and one’s feeling of ‘connectedness’ to the universe and the web of life that supports human beings:

“LSD in oral doses of more than 100 Kg produces vivid psychosensory changes, including increased sensory perception, illusionary changes of perceived objects, synesthesia, and enhanced mental imagery. Affectivity is intensified. Thoughts are accelerated, with their scope usually broadened including new associations and modified interpretation and meanings of relationships and objects. Hypermnesia and enhanced memory processes typically occur. Ego identification is usually weakened. The general state of consciousness can be compared to a daydream, but with pronounced affectivity and enhanced production of inner stimuli (Grof, 1975; Hintzen and Passie, 2010).” [Source]

Research into the psychotherapeutic benefits of LSD began in the 1950′s but was brought to an abrupt halt in 1966 when LSD was made illegal by the Unites States government, ostensibly due to overuse of LSD as a recreational substance by America’s youth. The Executive Director of MAPS, Rick Doblin, Ph.D. states that, “this study is historic and marks a rebirth of investigation into LSD-assisted psychotherapy. The positive results and evidence of safety clearly show why additional, larger studies are needed.”

In a world dominated by scientific materialism and marked by a war on consciousness the criminalizes the free exploration of one’s own mind and body, legitimate and positive scientific research is the key that can unlock long-held cultural taboos and misunderstandings about the nature of psychoactive substances.

About the Author

Buck Rogers is the earth bound incarnation of that familiar part of our timeless cosmic selves, the rebel within. He is a surfer of ideals and meditates often on the promise of happiness in a world battered by the angry seas of human thoughtlessness. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com.

Sources:
– http://www.maps.org/research/lsd/Gasser-2014-JMND-4March14.pdf
– http://www.maps.org/media/view/press_release_lsd_study_breaks_40_years_of_research_taboo/

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

Jan 162014
 

Irena Sendler Smuggles 2500 children out of Warsaw ghetto

Irena Sendler Saves children Irena Sendler
Died: May 12, 2008 (aged 98)
Warsaw , Poland
Irena Sendler memorial

During WWII, Irena Sendler got permission from the Nazi’s  to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a  Plumbing / Sewer specialist.

She had an ulterior  motive. Irena smuggled Jewish infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried. She also carried a burlap sack in the  back of her truck, for larger kids. Irena kept a dog in the back that  she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.

The soldiers, of course, wanted  nothing to do with the dog and the barking which covered the kids/infants noises.

E1B3DBDDC1B346819CF95A727AB404F5@YOUR4E4487E7ED
During her time of doing this, she  managed to smuggle out and save 2500  kids/infants. Ultimately, she was caught,  however, and the Nazi’s broke both of her legs and arms and beat  her severely. Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she had smuggled out,  in a glass jar that  she buried under a tree in her back yard.  After the war,  she did her best to locate any parents that may have survived and to reunite the families

.
Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

1678B06994CB46B093D2507570AE2CE5@YOUR4E4487E7ED

Slide Show Wins Peace Prize

In 2007 Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was  not selected. Politician, Al Gore won, for a slide show on  Global Warming. Later another politician, Barack Obama, won for his work as a community organizer for  ACORN.

In  MEMORIAM – 65 YEARS LATER
I’m doing my small part by  forwarding this message. I hope you’ll consider doing the  same.  It is now more than 67 years since the Second World War in Europe ended. This  article is  a memorial chain,  In memory of the six  million Jews, 20  million Russians, 10 million  Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were  murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and  humiliated! Now, more than ever, with  Iran , and others,  claiming the HOLOCAUST to be ‘a myth’, it’s imperative to  make sure the world never forgets,because there are others who would like to do it again. This e-mail is intended to reach  40 million people worldwide!

Join us and be a link in the memorial  chain and help us distribute it around the  world. Please send this e-mail to people you  know and ask them to continue the memorial chain. Please  don’t just delete it.. It will only take you a minute to pass  this along.

Denise (Dede) Snyder
Granite City Abstracting
9015 Ogden Ave NE
Otsego, MN 55330
Ph:320.290.5384
g-c-a-b-s-t-r-a-c-t-i-n-g@g-m-a-i-l.c-o-m
Take care and Blessings to you and yours. Sue Anne
Everything happens for a reason and a purpose and it serves you!

Life is about to surviving the storm, and how having fun to dancing in the rain.
God and Bitcoin We Trust!
Your Thoughts, they become Words.
Your Words,  they become Actions.
Your Actions, for they become Habits.
Your Habits, for they become Character.
Your Character, becomes your Destinee.”

Dec 302013
 

1.  NATURAL LAW AND REASON

AMONG INTELLECTUALS WHO CONSIDER themselves “scientific,” the phrase “the nature of man” apt to have the effect of a red flag on a bull. “Man has no nature!” is the modern rallying cry; and typical of the sentiment of political philosophers today was the assertion of a distinguished political theorist some years ago before a meeting of the American Political Science Association that “man’s nature” is a purely theological concept that must be dismissed from any scientific discussion.[1]

In the controversy over man’s nature, and over the broader and more controversial concept of “natural law,” both sides have repeatedly proclaimed that natural law and theology are inextricably intertwined. As a result, many champions of natural law, in scientific or philosophic circles, have gravely weakened their case by implying that rational, philosophical methods alone cannot establish such law: that theological faith is necessary to maintain the concept. On the other hand, the opponents of natural law have gleefully agreed; since faith in the supernatural is deemed necessary to belief in natural law, the latter concept must be tossed out of scientific, secular discourse, and be consigned to the arcane sphere of the divine studies. In consequence, the idea of a natural law founded on reason and rational inquiry has been virtually lost.[2]

The believer in a rationally established natural law must, then, face the hostility of both camps: the one group sensing in this position an antagonism toward religion; and the other group suspecting that God and mysticism are being slipped in by the back door. To the first group, it must be said that they are reflecting an extreme Augustinian position which held that faith rather than reason was the only legitimate tool for investigating man’s nature and man’s proper ends. In short, in this fideist tradition, theology had completely displaced philosophy. [3] The Thomist tradition, on the contrary, was precisely the opposite: vindicating the independence of philosophy from theology and proclaiming the ability of man’s reason to understand and arrive at the laws, physical and ethical, of the natural order. If belief in a systematic order of natural laws open to discovery by man’s reason is per se anti-religious, then anti-religious also were St. Thomas and the later Scholastics, as well as the devout Protestant jurist Hugo Grotius. The statement that there is an order of natural law, in short, leaves open the problem of whether or not God has created that order; and the assertion of the viability of man’s reason to discover the natural order leaves open the question of whether or not that reason was given to man by God. The assertion of an order of natural laws discoverable by reason is, by itself, neither pro- nor anti-religious.[4]

Because this position is startling to most people today let us investigate this Thomistic position a little further. The statement of absolute independence of natural law from the question of the existence of God was implicit rather than flatly asserted in St. Thomas himself; but like so many implications of Thomism, it was brought forth by Suarez and the other brilliant Spanish Scholastics of the late sixteenth century. The Jesuit Suarez pointed out that many Scholastics had taken the position that the natural law of ethics, the law of what is good and bad for man, does not depend upon God’s will. Indeed, some of the Scholastics had gone so far as to say that:

even though God did not exist, or did not make use of His reason, or did not judge rightly of things, if there is in man such a dictate of right reason to guide him, it would have had the same nature of law as it now has.[5]

Or, as a modem Thomist philosopher declares:

If the word “natural” means anything at all, it refers to the nature of a man, and when used with “law,” “natural” must refer to an ordering that is manifested in the inclinations of a man’s nature and to nothing else. Hence, taken in itself, there is nothing religious or theological in the “Natural Law” of Aquinas.[6]

Dutch Protestant jurist Hugo Grotius declared, in his De Iure Belli ac Pacis (1625):

What we have been saying would have a degree of validity even if we should concede that which cannot be conceded without the utmost wickedness, that there is no God.

And again:

Measureless as is the power of God, nevertheless it can be said that there are certain things over which that power does not extend. . . . Just as even God cannot cause that two times two should not make four, so He cannot cause that which is intrinsically evil be not evil.[7]

D’Entrèves concludes that:

[Grotius’s] definition of natural law has nothing revolutionary. When he maintains that natural law is that body of rules which Man is able to discover by the use of his reason, he does nothing but restate the Scholastic notion of a rational foundation of ethics. Indeed, his aim is rather to restore that notion which had been shaken by the extreme Augustinianism of certain Protestant currents of thought. When he declares that these rules are valid in themselves, independently of the fact that God willed them, he repeats an assertion which had already been made by some of the schoolmen.[8]

Grotius’s aim, d’Entrèves adds, “was to construct a system of laws which would carry conviction in an age in which theological controversy was gradually losing the power to do so.” Grotius and his juristic successors—Pufendorf, Burlamaqui, and Vattel—proceeded to elaborate this independent body of natural laws in a purely secular context, in accordance with their own particular interests, which were not, in contrast to the Schoolmen, primarily theological.[9] Indeed, even the eighteenth-century rationalists, in many ways dedicated enemies of the Scholastics, were profoundly influenced in their very rationalism by the Scholastic tradition.[10]

Thus, let there be no mistake: in the Thomistic tradition, natural law is ethical as well as physical law; and the instrument by which man apprehends such law is his reason-not faith, or intuition, or grace, revelation, or anything else.[11] In the contemporary atmosphere of sharp dichotomy between natural law and reason—and especially amid the irrationalist sentiments of “conservative” thought—this cannot be underscored too often. Hence, St. Thomas Aquinas, in the words of the eminent historian of philosophy Father Copleston, “emphasized the place and function of reason in moral conduct. He [Aquinas] shared with Aristotle the view that it is the possession of reason which distinguished man from the animals” and which “enables him to act deliberately in view of the consciously apprehended end and raises him above the level of purely instinctive behavior.”[12]

Aquinas, then, realized that men always act purposively, but also went beyond this to argue that ends can also be apprehended by reason as either objectively good or bad for man. For Aquinas, then, in the words of Copleston, “there is therefore room for the concept of  ‘right reason,’ reason directing man’s acts to the attainment of the objective good for man.” Moral conduct is therefore conduct in accord with right reason: “If it is said that moral conduct is rational conduct, what is meant is that it is conduct in accordance with right reason, reason apprehending the objective good for man and dictating the means to its attainment.”[13]

In natural-law philosophy, then, reason is not bound, as it is in modern post-Humean philosophy, to be a mere slave to the passions, confined to cranking out the discovery of the means to arbitrarily chosen ends. For the ends themselves are selected by the use of reason; and “right reason” dictates to man his proper ends as well as the means for their attainment. For the Thomist or natural-law theorist, the general law of morality for man is a special case of the system of natural law governing all entities of the world, each with its own nature and its own ends. “For him the moral law . . . is a special case of the general principles that all finite things move toward their ends by the development of their potentialities.”[14] And here we come to a vital difference between inanimate or even non-human living creatures, and man himself; for the former are compelled to proceed in accordance with the ends dictated by their natures, whereas man, “the rational animal,” possesses reason to discover such ends and the free will to choose.[15]

     Which doctrine, natural law or those of its critics, is to be considered truly rational was answered incisively by the late Leo Straus, in the course of a penetrating critique of the value-relativism in political theory of Professor Arnold Brecht. For, in contrast to natural law,

positivistic social science . . . is characterized by the abandonment of reason or the flight from reason. . . .

According to the positivistic interpretation of relativism which prevails in present-day social science . . . reason can tell us which means are conducive to which ends; it cannot tell us which attainable ends are to be preferred to other attainable ends. Reason cannot tell us that we ought to choose attainable ends; if someone ‘loves him who desires the impossible,’ reason may tell him that he acts irrationally, but it cannot tell him that he ought to act rationally, or that acting irrationally is acting badly or basely. If rational conduct consists in choosing the right means for the right end, relativism teaches in effect that rational conduct is impossible.[16]

Finally, the unique place of reason in natural-law philosophy has been affirmed by the modern Thomistic philosopher, the late Father John Toohey. Toohey defined sound philosophy as follows: “Philosophy, in the sense in which the word is used when scholasticism is contrasted with other philosophies, is an attempt on the part of man’s unaided reason to give a fundamental explanation of the nature of things.”[17]

 


[1]The political theorist was the late Hannah Arendt. For a typical criticism of natural law by a legal Positivist, see Hans Kelsen, General Theory of Law and State (New York: Russell and Russell, 1961), pp. 8ff.

[2]And yet, Black’s Law Dictionary defines the natural law in a purely rationalistic and non-theological manner:

Jus Naturale, the natural law, or law of nature; law, or legal principles, supposed to be discoverable by the light of nature or abstract reasoning, or to be taught by nature to all nations and men alike, or law supposed to govern men and peoples in a state of nature, i.e., in advance of organized governments or enacted laws (3rd ed., p. 1044).

Professor Patterson, in Jurisprudence: Men and Ideas of the Law (Brooklyn: Foundation Press, 1953), p. 333, defines the natural law cogently and concisely as:

Principles of human conduct that are discoverable by “reason” from the basic inclinations of human nature, and that are absolute, immutable and of universal validity for all times and places. This is the basic conception of scholastic natural law . . . and most natural law philosophers.

[3]Supporters of theological ethics nowadays typically strongly oppose the concept of natural law. See the discussion of casuistry by the neo-orthodox Protestant theologian Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics 3,4 (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1961), pp. 7ff.

[4]For a discussion of the role of reason in the philosophy of Aquinas, see Etienne Gilson, The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas (New York: Random House, 1956). An important analysis of Thomistic natural law theory is Germain Grisez, “The First Principle of Practical Reason,” in Anthony ed., Aquinas: A Collection of Critical Essays (New York: Anchor Books, 1969), pp. 340–82. For a history of medieval natural law, see Odon Lottin, Psychologie et morale aux xiie et xiiie siècles, 6 vols. (Louvain, 1942-1960).

[5]From Franciscus Suarez, De Legibus ac Deo Legislatore (1619), lib. II, Cap. vi. Suarez also noted that many Scholastics “seem therefore logically to admit that natural law does not proceed from God as a lawgiver, for it is not dependent on God’s will.” Quoted in A. P. d’Entrèves, Natural Law (London: Hutchinson University Library, 1951), p. 71.

[6]Thomas E. Davitt, S.J., “St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law,” in Arthur L. Hading, ed., Origins of the Natural Law Tradition (Dallas, Tex.: Southern Methodist University Press, 1954), p. 39. Also see Brendan F. Brown, ed., The Natural Law Reader (New York: Oceana Pubs., 1960), pp. 1014.

[7]Quoted in d’Entrèves, Natural Law, pp. 52–53. See also Otto Gierke, Natural Law and the Theory of Society, 1500 to 1800 (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957), pp. 98–99.

[8]D’Entrèves, Natural Law, pp. 51-52. Also see A.H. Chroust, “Hugo Grotius and the Scholastic Natural Law Tradition,” The New Scholasticism (1943), and Frederick C. Copleston, S.J., A History of Philosophy (Westminster, Md.: Newman Press, 1959), 2, pp. 330f. On the neglected influence of the Spanish Scholastic Suarez on modern philosophers, see Jose Ferrater Mora, “Suarez and Modem Philosophy,” Journal of the History of Ideas (October 1953): 528–47.

[9]See Gierke, Natural Law and the Theory of Society, p. 289. Also see Herbert Spencer, An Autobiography (New York: D. Appleton, 1904), vol. 1,p. 415.

[10]Thus, see Carl L. Becker, The Heavenly City of the Eighteenth-Century Philosophers (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1957), p. 8.

[11]The late realist philosopher John Wild, in his important article, “Natural Law and Modern Ethical Theory,” Ethics (October 1952), states:

Realistic [natural law] ethics is now often dismissed as theological and authoritarian in character. But this is a misunderstanding. Its ablest representatives, from Plato and Aristotle to Grotius, have defended it on the basis of empirical evidence alone without any appeal to supernatural authority (p. 2, and pp. 1–13).

Also see the denial of the existence of such a thing as “Christian philosophy” any more than “Christian hats and shoes” by the Catholic social philosopher Orestes Brownson. Thomas T. McAvoy, C.S.C., “Orestes A. Brownson and Archbishop John Hughes in 1860,” Review of Politics (January 1962): 29.

[12]Frederick C. Copleston, S.J., Aquinas (London: Penguin Books, 1955), p. 204.

[13]Ibid., pp. 204–05.

[14]Ibid., p. 212.

[15] Thus Copleston:

Inanimate bodies act in certain ways precisely because they are what they are, and they cannot act otherwise; they cannot perform actions which are contrary to their nature. And animals are governed by instinct. In fine, all creatures below man participate unconsciously in the eternal law, which is reflected in their natural tendencies, and they do not possess the freedom which is required in order to be able to act in a manner incompatible with this law. It is therefore essential that he [man] should know the eternal law in so far as it concerns himself. Yet, how can he know it? He cannot read, as it were, the mind of God . . . [but] he can discern the fundamental tendencies and needs of his nature, and by reflecting on them he can come to a knowledge of the natural moral law. . . . Every man possesses . . . the light of reason whereby he can reflect . . . and promulgate to himself the natural law, which is the totality of the universal precepts or dictates of right reason concerning the good which is to be pursued and the evil which is to be shunned (Ibid., pp. 213–14).

[16]Leo Strauss, “Relativism,” in H. Schoeck and J.W. Wiggins, eds., Relativism and the Study of Man (Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1961), pp. 144–435. For a devastating critique of an attempt by a relativistic political scientist to present a “value-free” case for freedom and the self-development of the person, see Walter Berns, “The Behavioral Sciences and the Study of Political Things: The Case of Christian Bay’s The Structure of Freedom,” American Political Science Review (September 1961): 550–59.

[17]Toohey adds that “scholastic philosophy is the philosophy which teaches the certitude of human knowledge acquired by means of sense experience, testimony, reflection, and reasoning.” John J. Toohey, S.J., Notes on Epistemology (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University, 1952), pp. 111–12.

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