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.

Physicist-Psychotherapist-Ethicist, Bob Podolsky

 

Bob Podolsky shares his many insights and experiences as a Physicist, Psychotherapist and now Ethicist, as it matter to personal relationships knowing how to make ethical decisions.

He elaborates on his definition of love, explains why academia is run by cartels, defines the 6 forms of therapy he identified as effective and explains his organizational structure with 20 plus years of research, that allows ethical decision making to scale to large organizations.

Learn more about Bob Podolsky’s work at https://www.titanians.org

This conversation was sponsored by DASH, and instant, decentralized an privacy centric digital currency. Learn more at DASH.org

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

THE CHALLENGE OF “ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE”

 

THE CHALLENGE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE”

Artificial Intelligence

Birth of AI

By Bob Podolsky

Overview

It is commonly agreed by today’s scientists that computer technology will soon be sufficiently advanced to create machines that actually think or act autonomously – much the way humans do. Such machines are referred to in the literature as “Artificial Intelligence”, or AI for short.

As that time approaches, many scientists are becoming increasingly concerned that intelligent machines might be hostile to humans – or outright dangerous. The “Terminator” and “Matrix” movie series are fictional depictions of this risk, which renowned scientist Stephen Hawking, for example, takes seriously.

Assuming that the risk is real, which seems a reasonable starting point for this discussion, the question becomes, “how can the risk be ameliorated – or better still, eliminated”?

Two approaches have been suggested by Elon Musk and others from the Future of Life Institute:

  1. Design AI machines that are inherently safe, as outlined by Isaac Asimov in 1946,

  2. Somehow solve the problem through the application of ethics.

In the paragraphs below, I intend to demonstrate the reasoning by which I’ve come to the following conclusions:

  • For humans to live safely together with intelligent machines, the machines must be taught a suitable ethic via approach #1.

  • It is too late in the AI development cycle for the first approach to succeed, because machines are already being programmed with lethal capabilities.

  • The 2nd approach could succeed in principle, but for it to do so it will be necessary for humans, as a species, to learn to live safely and peacefully together with one another.

  • Living safely and peacefully with one another is a highly-valued outcome with or without intelligent machines. An ethical means of doing this exists, but is not yet widely known.

  • The most useful mind set in analyzing the problem is to regard self- aware intelligent machines as we would alien visitors from another star system.

Some Basics

To start, let’s examine the word, “intelligence”. As a behavioral descriptor the word is best defined as the ability to predict and control events in the real world. This is not (quite) the meaning of the word when used in the phrase “Artificial Intelligence”, in which context the word means a thing or being that exhibits such ability.

With this definition in mind, we recall that every intelligence must have certain components and properties:

  • Input devices – eyes, ears, sensory nerves, etc. – by which the intelligence can acquire information.

  • A means of storing, indexing, and retrieving acquired information.

  • An external communication means – display screen, printer, voice, etc.

  • One or more effectors – the hands and feet that can act on the environment.

  • A logic or reasoning function – brain

  • A purpose enabler or motivating component – a will.

  • Internal communicators that tie all the other components together.

As defined above, an intelligence is a being (of sorts), but not necessarily a conscious intelligence. It becomes conscious when it becomes aware of being aware. By my reckoning, beings having this capacity should be regarded as people, and treated accordingly – because they have enough awareness to learn to make ethical discernments. At this point too, it behooves us to acknowledge the being’s self-ownership – exactly as we would an adolescent human. Failing in this, our sentient robots become a race of slaves.

This might be a good time to note that “artificial intelligence” is a misnomer. A more accurate term would be “synthetic intelligence” or “non-human intelligence”. This is where the comparison with space-faring aliens becomes apt. We wouldn’t regard such beings as “things” just because their bodies were chemically different than our own. Any species sufficiently advanced to achieve interstellar travel must have long since stopped wasting its precious resources on wars and destruction – and would likely view humans, therefore, much as we might view the great apes: the phrase “promising but inferior” comes to mind. Though as far as I know the apes don’t make war on one another.

About the Ethics

As explained at some length in the article linked above, some ethics are valid and some are not. However, every valid ethic contains a non-aggression principle in one form or another: a statement that the initiation of force, or its threat, is unethical. The use of force is only ethical in (true) self-defense – and then only to the extent required to stop an unethical act of aggression.

By the definition above, most of the activities of the US military are unethical acts of aggression. Certainly attacking a wedding or funeral party in Afghanistan with a drone controlled from half way around the world is NOT an act of self defense. Nor is the concept of “acceptable collateral damage” an ethically defensible policy.

It is already a fact that the military is developing robots with lethal capabilities. Should those robots become autonomous (self-aware and self-programming) – or fall under the control of a computer having such properties – then we’ll have all the makings of a “Skynet” event.

Reality

The idea of programming self-aware robots with a prime directive that forbids them to harm humans is attractive – in principle. But succeeding at that task is to program a basic principle that we have yet to program in ourselves. Is that even remotely possible?

Add to that the additional complexity of teaching a robot to distinguish friend from foe, and the success of the task becomes highly improbable. What is more, if one could program a robot to act ethically, it would never agree to kill people overseas to begin with. Face it! War as we know it is unethical.

In fact, almost all of our societal institutions consistently make highly unethical decisions. So why would we expect the sentient robots we create to act more ethically than we do?

Is There a Solution?

Yes, there is an answer – but the window of opportunity to apply it is closing even now. To live at peace with non-human intelligences we must learn to live at peace with one another. It’s that simple (but not easy).

If we have the will to do so, here are the steps:

  1. Replace hierarchies everywhere with HoloMats of Octologues.

  2. Adopt the Bill of Ethics as the basic ethical standard everywhere.

  3. Let the existing system die of attrition, as more and more people migrate to the new system and cease supporting the old one.

For this solution to succeed, a massive promotional effort is required starting immediately. The public must learn of the new system, recognize its benefits, and adopt it. Failing in this, we will shortly be looking at a new “dark age” – or worse.

On the other hand, if the above steps are taken successfully, we could see the beginning of a new age of peace, prosperity, creativity, and love, on a scale heretofore unimaginable.

SOUL-BONDING: What Is It?

 

Soul Bonding: What is it?

by Robert Podolsky

Introduction

“Soul-Bonding” is based on my 25 years in private practice as a psychotherapist. Soul Bonding encompasses everything I know about how people connect with one another, all the obstacles to such intimacy, the effects of these obstacles, and all the means available to minimize or eliminate the long-term effects of those obstacles. As such, Soul-Bonding may be seen as a snapshot of the current state of our cultural evolution and as a road-map to the future evolution of that evolution.

While the above statement is global and comprehensive, it is also rather abstract, whereas the efforts required to realize the potential benefits of cultural evolution are very personal. It is at this personal level that each of us has the opportunity to enhance the quality of our lives, and that of those around us ? our families, neighborhoods, communities, and regions. I use the word “regions” rather than “cities”, “counties”, “states” and “nations” because, as human culture evolves, these distinctions are likely to become obsolete and irrelevant ? making the words effectively meaningless.

The Mother-Child Bond

The most important interpersonal bond in the life of a human being is the bond between a mother and a child during the first five years of the child’s life. And it is the earliest of these bonds that is the most important in determining how the child’s awareness, character, and attitudes develop. Recently it has been proven that the neurological development of a child’s brain is profoundly affected by the quality of these earliest bonds ? especially those formed during the first few hours outside the womb.

So how are you to know if your early bonding was adequate for your own mental health? What do you remember? Do you remember your birth? If you’re a man, do you recall your circumcision? Can you remember how long you had to wait to be fed when you were hungry as an infant? Was your toilet training pleasant or arduous? Did your parents let you get away with saying “no” to them sometimes when you were a toddler? And how did your parent of the opposite gender respond to your earliest expression of sexual feelings when you were 5 or 6 years old?

Any experience that you can’t remember is an experience that was intensely unpleasant, and your subconscious is protecting you from the memory as if the experience occurred just yesterday ? and the risk of a repetition (though totally unrealistic) has warped your emotional development, thereby interfering with your ability to live a full and satisfying life. Such warpage is, at least partly, recoverable in most cases ? as are the corresponding memories.

Of Lethal Concern

Consider this fact: in every instance of the initiation of violence by a child or an adult, the perpetrator suffered some form of violence as a small child. Absent the childhood trauma, the adult will never initiate violence against another person. The importance of this fact cannot be over-stated. Governments the world over are the beneficiaries of violence done to children ? because in its absence, no one would volunteer to join the military; nor to become a law enforcer. Of course, in the absence of childhood trauma, there would be no plausible justification for the existence of armies and police forces ? or, for that matter, governments. It is for this reason that it behooves us to eliminate the most common childhood traumas from our societal culture.

Where To Start

If we are to eliminate violence we must become better parents. Unfortunately we are not taught as youngsters how to do this. Parenting is arguably the most important and least adequate part of education. And there is a “chicken and egg” phenomenon that interferes. Although good parenting can be learned in adolescence, most people of child-rearing age are ignorant of what is involved. By the time we really start to “get it”, we are more likely to be grandparents than parents. That means we are too late to help our children. Ouch!

Fortunately, with time and effort we can heal most of the wounds of childhood trauma in adults ? and then these adults can educate the younger generation as they enter their child-rearing years. If we can complete this process before our ruling classes destroy us, we’ll have initiated a massive shift for the better in our cultural evolution.

Personal Benefits

Participants in this educational program can expect to realize some or all of the following benefits:

  • Increased access to truth, love and creativity
  • Enhanced communication skills
  • More satisfying relationships
  • A powerful and useful understanding of ethics
  • Greater comfort living in one’s own skin
  • Renewed enthusiasm for life
  • Extreme applicability to organizational development
  • Expanded financial opportunities

How To Start

Creative Consulting Services, Inc. is an educational branch of the Titania HoloMat that is now offering presentations, inexpensive experiential workshops and ongoing training in Soul-Bonding. The curriculum encompasses:

  • Childhood development
  • The types of traumas and their effects,
  • Recognizing traumas,
  • The nature of “healing”,
  • Educational (non-clinical) approaches to healing derived from:
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 292014
 

I’m Five…Wats Bitcoin Daddy?

If you still can’t figure out what the heck a bitcoin is…

We’re sitting on a park bench. It’s a great day.

I have one apple with me. I give it to you.

You now have one apple and I have zero.

That was simple, right?

Let’s look closely at what happened:

My apple was physically put into your hand.

You know it happened. I was there. You were there. You touched it.

We didn’t need a third person there to help us make the transfer. We didn’t need to pull in Uncle Tommy (who’s a famous judge) to sit with us on the bench and confirm that the apple went from me to you.

The apple’s yours! I can’t give you another apple because I don’t have any left. I can’t control it anymore. The apple left my possession completely. You have full control over that apple now. You can give it to your friend if you want, and then that friend can give it to his friend. And so on.

So that’s what an in-person exchange looks like. I guess it’s really the same, whether I’m giving you a banana, a book, or say a quarter, or a dollar bill….

But I’m getting ahead of myself.


Back to apples!

Now say, I have one digital apple. Here, I’ll give you my digital apple.

Ah! Now it gets interesting.

How do you know that that digital apple that used to be mine, is now yours, and only yours? Think about it for a second.


It’s more complicated, right? How do you know that I didn’t send that apple to Uncle Tommy as an email attachment first? Or your friend Joe? Or my friend Lisa too?

Maybe I made a couple of copies of that digital apple on my computer. Maybe I put it up on the internet and one million people downloaded it.

As you see, this digital exchange is a bit of a problem. Sending digital apples doesn’t look like sending physical apples.

Some brainy computer scientists actually have a name for this problem: it’s called the double-spending problem. But don’t worry about it. All you need to know is that, it’s confused them for quite some time and they’ve never solved it.

Until now.

But let’s try to think of a solution on our own.

Ledgers

Maybe these digital apples need to be tracked in a ledger. It’s basically a book where you track all transactions — an accounting book.

This ledger, since it’s digital, needs to live in its own world and have someone in charge of it.

Say, just like World of Warcraft. Blizzard, the guys who created the online game, have a “digital ledger” of all the rare flaming fire swords that exist in their system. So, cool, someone like them could keep track of our digital apples. Awesome — we solved it!


Problems

There’s a bit of a problem though:

1) What if some guy over at Blizzard created more? He could just add a couple of digital apples to his balance whenever he wants!

2) It’s not exactly like when we were on the bench that one day. It was just you and me then. Going through Blizzard is like pulling in Uncle Tommy(a third-party) out of court(did I mention he’s a famous judge?) for all our park bench transactions. How can I just hand over my digital apple to you, like, you know— the usual way?

Is there any way to closely replicate our park bench, just you-and-me, transaction digitally? Seems kinda tough…


The Solution

What if we gave this ledger — to everybody? Instead of the ledger living on a Blizzard computer, it’ll live in everybody’s computers. All the transactions that have ever happened, from all time, in digital apples will be recorded in it.

You can’t cheat it. I can’t send you digital apples I don’t have, because then it wouldn’t sync up with everybody in the system. It’d be a tough system to beat. Especially if it got really big.

Plus it’s not controlled by one person, so I know there’s no one that can just decide to give himself more digital apples. The rules of the system were already defined at the beginning. And the code and rules are open-source—you know, kinda like the software used in your mom’s Android phone. Or kinda like Wikipedia. It’s there for the smart people to contribute to, maintain, secure, improve on, and check on.

You could participate in this network too and update the ledger and make sure it all checks out. For the trouble, you could get like 25 digital apples as a reward. In fact, that’s the only way to create more digital apples in the system.

I simplified quite a bit

…but that system I explained exists. It’s called the Bitcoin protocol. And those digital apples are the “bitcoins” within the system. Fancy!

So, did you see what happened? What does the public ledger enable?

1) It’s open source remember? The total number of apples was defined in the public ledger at the beginning. I know the exact amount that exists. Within the system, I know they are limited(scarce).

2) When I make an exchange I now know that digital apple certifiably left my possession and is now completely yours. I used to not be able to say that about digital things. It will be updated and verified by the public ledger.

3) Because it’s a public ledger, I didn’t need Uncle Tommy(third-party) to make sure I didn’t cheat, or make extra copies for myself, or send apples twice, or thrice…

Within the system, the exchange of a digital apple is now just like the exchange of a physical one. It’s now as good as seeing a physical apple leave my hand and drop into your pocket. And just like on the park bench, the exchange involved two people only. You and me — we didn’t need Uncle Tommy there to make it valid.

In other words, it behaves like a physical object.

But you know what’s cool? It’s still digital. We can now deal with 1,000 apples, or 1 million apples, or even .0000001 apples. I can send it with a click of a button, and I can still drop it in your digital pocket if I was in Nicaragua and you were all the way in New York.

I can even make other digital things ride on top of these digital apples! It’s digital after-all. Maybe I can attach some text on it — a digital note. Or maybe I can attach more important things; like say a contract, or a stock certificate, or an ID card…


So this is great! How should we treat or value these “digital apples”? They’re quite useful aren’t they?

Well, a lot of people are arguing over it now. There’s debate between this and that economic school. Between politicians. Between programmers. Don’t listen to all of them though. Some people are smart. Some are misinformed. Some say the system is worth a lot, some say it’s actually worth zero. Some guy actually put a hard number: $1,300 per apple. Some say it’s digital gold, some a currency. Other say they’re just like tulips. Some people say it’ll change the world, some say it’s just a fad.

I have my own opinion about it.

That’s a story for another time though. But kid, you now know more about Bitcoin than most.

 

Dec 272013
 

10 Most Iconic Libertarian Moments Of 2013

Robert Taylor's avatar image By Robert Taylor  
10, most, iconic, libertarian, moments, of, 2013,
10 Most Iconic Libertarian Moments Of 2013
Image Credit: AP

1. Edward Snowden blows the whistle on the NSA

This summer, Edward Snowden made himself perhaps the most famous person of the year by leaking information about U.S. surveillance programs. In several days of interviews with the Guardian, Snowden explained, “I’m willing to sacrifice all of [my life] because I can’t in good conscience allow the U.S. government to destroy privacy, internet freedom and basic liberties for people around the world with this massive surveillance machine they’re secretly building.”

Not only did he expose to America and the rest of the world just how vast Big Brother is, but Snowden also put the U.S. government on its heels. Nearly every claim made by the U.S. defending the program, including those by President Barack Obama himself, was proven to be a lie. Thankfully, only 1% of the information that Snowden took has been released. He truly is a libertarian and an American hero, and he is already being vindicated.

2. Chelsea Manning bravely speaks out

For over three years, former Army Private Chelsea Manning was illegally detained, kept in solitary confinement, and humiliated for her decision to leak documents to Wikileaks showing that the U.S. government routinely engages in torture and war crimes.

She finally received a trial, and although she has been sentenced to prison for over a hundred years, she was thankfully acquitted of the bogus “aiding the enemy” charge. Thanks to a flimsy case, a good defense, and the support of millions around the world, what would have been a dangerous precedent for the future of journalism and transparency never took place.

In a letter to Obama requesting a pardon, Manning said, “I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.” Throughout the entire ordeal, Manning was nothing short of composed, and serves as a courageous example to the rest of us.

3. The U.S. didn’t bomb Syria

Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), as principled as he is entertaining, summed it up on his Twitter feed.

It is amazing how quickly war fever rises and fades in America. Remember Syria? Obama drew a “red line,” and the media was bombarding us every day with propaganda about how the U.S. must bomb Syria to stop Bashar Al-Assad from using chemical weapons on his own people.

This scenario has worked before, but thanks to an amazing surge of grassroots American opposition, the likes of which the U.S. establishment has rarely seen before, the war drums suddenly stopped beating. Congressional offices were swarmed with calls against a war in Syria, and the U.S. backed off. It was an absolute pleasure to see the American public say no, especially when the great journalism of Seymour Hersh has proved the war skeptics right.

4. Bitcoin surgedCasascius bitcoin

The Federal Reserve’s monopoly on creating money and artificially controlling interest rates allows the government to expand without end and creates a corporatist, boom-and-bust economy that is antithetical to a free society.

Rather than dismantling the Fed from the inside, using alternative currencies may be the best way to slay this dragon. Gold and silver are still popular, but it is astonishing how much Bitcoin has exploded in the past year. Bitcoin provides individuals with anonymity, convenience, and most importantly, a way of circumventing fiat money. Libertarians are divided on its merits, but it will be very exciting to see where the market for Bitcoin (and other alternatives) will go.

5. Americans reject interventionism

Last month, a Pew Research poll that measures Americans’ perception of their country’s place in the world found that for the first time in half a century, Americans want the U.S. to mind its own business overseas. At the same time, however, Americans want increased involvement with the rest of the world non-militarily through trade, cultural exchange, and diplomacy. This shatters the myth of “isolationism” and is a huge boost for the libertarian foreign policy position.

6. Rand Paul filibusters for more than 13 hours

Back in March, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) delivered a 13-hour filibuster excoriating the Obama administration’s drone warfare policy, while defending civil liberties and constitutional law. This earned the wrath of the predictable detractors in both parties, but the grassroots left and right stood by Paul. Not only was Paul’s filibuster a great show of political swagger, but it also helped to bring light to an issue that is still plagued in darkness and secrecy and is deadly as ever.

7. Ron Paul “retires”

Former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) may officially be retired from public office, but he is busier than ever. The man responsible for the biggest spread of libertarian ideas in recent American history now has his own TV channel, a homeschool curriculum, another best-selling book, and an institute dedicated to non-interventionist foreign policy. Even at 78 years young, the godfather of libertarianism is still not going anywhere.

8. The government shuts down

9. Colorado and Washington legalize marijuana

The War on Drugs has been an absolute failure. It has resulted in the largest prison population on Earth and is perhaps the greatest factor behind the militarization of police and the erosion of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. Colorado and Washington both decriminalized marijuana, which not only defies the authority of the federal government, but also will hopefully set an example for other states to follow suit.

10. Obama gets photoshopped

Early this year, the White House released a photo of Obama skeet shooting at Camp David, something the president claims he does “all the time.” The photo came with a disclaimer that it was supposed to be for publication purposes only, “and may not be manipulated in any way.” A few hours later, there were too many photoshops to count. Poking fun at political leaders is a healthy tradition in any free society, and it was so wonderful to see so many defy the president’s wishes in even the smallest way.

Here are some of my favorites:

(Photo credit: World Net Daily)

(Photo credit: Silver Circle Movie)

(Photo credit: Silver Circle Movie)

Robert Taylor's avatar image Robert Taylor

Robert Taylor has been writing for PolicyMic since January 2011. He spends his time writing, ranting, reading voraciously, and advocating the virtues of economic and political freedom. He has written for multiple websites and dedicates himself to …
Nov 112013
 

Tesla Morpheus Neo C - Note USS Arizona

I am fund raising for Adam Kokesh to be present to at the dedication for the memorial of the guns for the USS Arizona and Missouri. This is an awesome opportunity to get out and be with the peeps, as I might say.  There is an expected crowd of 6,000 – 7,000 and a good opportunity to mingle and talk to people who are at least awake enough to come to the dedication.  IMSHO a crowd that would be open to hearing some information that our hero, and he is in my eyes a effing hero, Adam Kokesh to talk to the crowd.  We can get him there I will do everything I can to get him on the stage.  Remember 90% of success is just showing up.  That is what Adam did: He stood up, I am standing up, you can stand up!  Reach into your wallet and help me get him here to Phoenix, Arizona December 7, 2013 starts at 9:15  Lets all hang out at the dedication at 4:20 too

The guns were discovered in a boneyard and thru the secretary of state Ken bennett was able to orchestrate the display With Out the use of public funds

The assistant to the secretary of state told me in an interview they are expecting 6000 – 7000 people in attendance! Most importantly the whole exhibit was paid for with donations from our business Community.  There were no public funds used in the creation of this USS Arizona and USS Missouri monument.

Adam was featured on the radio show Coast to Coast, which has 500 stations on November 10 2013. The interviewer was John B. Wells who gave Neo a great soapbox to talk about his  act of civil disobedience,  on July 4, 2013 Neo racking a 12 gauge shotgun in “Freedom Plaza” with the United States capital in the background.  His home was then “Raided”.  This is one of the government uses to lessen the blow of the criminal acts they engage in.  “Raided” in this case means watching your home and everything in in gets ripped apart in front of your very eyes while you and your housemates and girlfriend are made to watch your RAPE of your property! Then you get “thrown in Jail” most people out there have no idea what this is like.  First off all your pretend friends make off with all your stuff.  Then you lose everything else unless your good friends and family help you out. Now your in Solitary.  Most of you will never know the torture of this.  Now some how they let him out.  hes still facing 2.5 years or something.  I believe the justice department just wants  him to go away.   Some compare him to a modern day Jesus Christ!

I am committing myself to getting Adam Kokesh to Arizona for the dedication of the USS Arizona and USS Missouri Guns on Dec 7 2013 at 9:15 am at the Westley Bolin Plaza to the east of the Arizona Capitol on Washington street and 17th Avenue  making this happen If you’re down to make this happen please consider a donation of any amount.

In the event that the government denies him travel,  and the case could be made that he needs to travel because he is a investigative Journalist.  I have a very strong backup, we raise enough Frn$ I will get them both, promise you like who I have in mind!

Morpheus Frn$20

Mercury Frn$50

Tesla Frn$100 Paid brand new C note!Tesla Frn$100 Paid brand new C note!

Clyde Cleveland Frn$50

Angel Frn$10

General Patton Frn$5

The Gov Frn$20

Leo Frn$20

Jordan Page Frn$20

Andrea and John Smith Frn$10

Alex Frn$5 paid!

Matt Papke $100 Paid C-note         Total package Matt Papke Tempe city council mayor Morpheus Neo C - Note USS Arizona

Rob Robson Frn$ 10

Pledged Frn$ 330 Paid Frn$205

 

Frn$2175 to go! R oll the Bones

Put yourself on the list and I will get money from you or send to:

1146 North Mesa Drive #102-159 Mesa Arizona 85201 Atten: Adam kokesh project Or bitcoin 1NLQVw9bLmDYohbfK8nL1fRg5DvDvb6wvL

Send message to m-o-r-p-h-e-u-s@t-i-t-a-n-i-a-n-s-dor-org Donate and I will give you creds here!  Freedom isn’t Free!

http://www.titanians.org/adam-kokesh-uss-arizona-dedication/

Nov 052013
 

While You See A Chance

Are you still Free? Or are you a slave to a BORG corporation.  Most are still trapped in the Matrix.  Freedom, like any concept starts in the mind and radiates out from there.  Know that YOU are a sentient being with the POWER of decision to live that way.  Ignore the BORG, do they bring any value to your life?  Vote with your feet, voice, pen and your money.  Any other form of voting is mental masturbation.

Songwriters: Steve Winwood, Will Jennings

Stand up in a clear blue morning until you see what can be
Alone in a cold day dawning, are you still free? Can you be?
When some cold tomorrow finds you, when some sad old dream reminds you
How the endless road unwinds you

While you see a chance take it, find romance take it
Because it’s all on you

Don’t you know by now no one gives you anything
Don’t you wonder how you keep on moving one more day your way

When there’s no one left to leave you, even you don’t quite believe you
That’s when nothing can deceive you

Stand up in a clear blue morning until you see what can be
Alone in a cold day dawning, are you still free? Can you be?
And that old gray wind is blowing and there’s nothing left worth knowing
And it’s time you should be going