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Profile Information

Name: Defacto7
Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Portland, OR
Home country: not sure anymore
Current location: depends on which proxy I'm using
Member since: Wed Aug 1, 2012, 01:44 AM
Number of posts: 13,485

About Me

Humanist, Classical musician, Linux hack, Liberal, Cosmology enthusiast, Refuse resurrectionist, Living with you in purgatory

Journal Archives

To believe or not to believe... it's a helluva question for some.

Our group has a small but interesting clientèle of people from across the board who share an interest in searching and sharing their views concerning belief and non-belief. Some of us have come to a conclusion that there is no deity or that we just don't know but we all share a quest for reality thinking. Sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail but the end result is to learn from each other and form a community of searchers not bound to certain ideological positions that are taken for granted in other groups and forums. When we are able to build that community we also form a place to blow off steam in acceptance and understanding without repercussion. I think that is the reasonable outcome for any safe haven group.

Every once in a while, the Atheist and Agnostic group is visited by users who take positions that are contrary to it's ideals. Their positions are so virulent and accusing it makes me wonder why they are participating at all. They usually aren't trolls so to speak, they may be long term members of DU and also at times hosts of their own groups or even members of MER-T. It's been puzzling me for a while since it makes no sense that they intrude in this group as if they're trying to reform it or the subject. But now, I think I have figured out something, and I'll be the first to admit it's just conjecture on my part and may be bull shit but it's a possible answer to the dilemma of the disrupting nature of those who are compelled to "visit" and only contribute negative undercutting of it's constituents and their subjects.


1. They claim at some time to be atheist, agnostic or non-believers.
2. Their points are baited with non-factual information about the commenter or the comment.
3. Their points are worded for the most effective disruption of the thread or a person.
4. They at some point resort to clear and outright personal insults based on bias without material reason.
5. They usually defend a religious point of view with a belligerent attitude.
5. They always project their own insults on the commenter; they blame to commenter for their own acts.

I think the issue is with their non-belief and actually, I don't think they are non-believers or agnostics at all. I think they want to be, wish to be, try to be, but they haven't reconciled their own fear of not believing and have a bent on defending any contrary position toward belief and religion in general. It may be they feel that vindicating or defending the beliefs they left or doubt will somehow relieve the guilt of being unable to relinquish those doubts. That would explain the extreme, untruthful and even hateful nature of their hit and run tactics and over the top anger geared to disrupt rather than reasoning together for the goal of understanding and conclusion.

This is a great place to share humor, angst, frustrations, ideas, information or anything that is in the spirit and interest of this group and I hope it does not meet the fate of other highly visible and disruptive groups who have no interest in reasoning with respect but rather cater to the reduction of all decent for the express purpose of decent alone.

I welcome any comments from those who participate in the spirit and good will of the A&A group and it's constituents but those who are bent on undercutting in A&A should just go back to the religion group or wherever it is you find your camaraderie.

These people have suffered enough

to earn the right to learn from the mistakes of the past and rise above the destruction by way of reality, not be encouraged to follow the way of the deception that stole their right to reason and kept them from advancing to a point where responsibility could replace mysticism. That responsibility could give them the means to protect themselves from such an event.

I wouldn't for a moment belittle them or degrade their humanity by encouraging false hope at the cost of knowledge and fact based hope. There's no contest there.


Most average computer users have the unrealistic notion that computers are magic and should work just "because". They don't know the serious technical nature of the beast, the difference between hardware, software, networking and all the totally different languages they speak or can speak, and how that has to be choreographed with data from thousands even millions of different sources... THEN translated into a form that they, Mr. and Mrs. John Q. Public, can make common sense of. The people who do know or have at least the impression of the complexity are on three sides: those who are able and are trying to make the system work, those who are patient because they understand, and those who use the ignorance of the public to undermine the process for political gain. Which one do you think has the easiest job?

People have no idea what the system is made of. They play their "angly birds", write their email and do Facebook trusting that the system and it's lords will make it work.... and that is a very dangerous.

Education is sorely lacking. Lackadaisical attitude and childish demand are legion.

(Sorry for the goofy language. I write that way when I get pissed)

It's easier to change your conscious logic

than to change thousands of years of mythological practice. That has bound to have made some genetic changes in our brains' evolution. People do "think" they see and hear things all the time and those things are very real to them. Others around them may want to see what they see, and it's a rather regular human characteristic to play along to the point of actually thinking you do see or hear those things when you actually do not. People in social groups that have strong rules or social boundaries don't want to be left out of the pack and being left out can be the biggest tool of those in control.

We need to practice reason, logic and facts... that practice can finally become a truth that helps distinguish the difference between reality and myth... then the demons and visions will disappear... and that would be the best thing that could happen to humanity.

And this is no small country...

315+ million population used to the easy life, at least easy relative to the rest of humanity, with the convenience of a seemingly and mistakenly untouchable religious culture.

The OP's premise is all well and good under logical, reasonable conditions. The democracy of the US has been successful, could have been more so, and may still be, under logical and reasonable conditions. What is happening to undercut our democracy is not the weakness of the constitution or the weakness of the administrative powers or the incapable disjointed congress, it's the weakness of it's people both in government and the general population to have been duped by a scheme to destroy it. How do you destroy a government? a democracy? You look for the human weaknesses and accentuate them slowly over time.

Our weaknesses? Our weaknesses are our strongest points turned inside-out:

Our advantage as human beings has been our ability to think... degrade that till we are a nation of dumb. Another advantage has been our ability to adapt.... accentuate greed and we become a nation incapable of reasonable compromise, empathy and civility. An advantage? Our ability to imagine and create.... twist that into impassable, unchangeable dogma that demands the world to see their imaginary vision as fact, indeed the demand to accept their belief or die, and you foster the inability to learn, to be incapable of learning. This is what has happened to us as a nation. We have become dumb and numb. We have become unable to see each others needs, joys, hopes, pain. We have become a nation burdened and drugged by the irrational.

We are not following the good natures of humanity, we have succumbed to our ancient nature which has made our government, our democracy, and ourselves as humans vulnerable. We are becoming incapable of expanding on our greatest advantages.

Personal rantette on the usefulness of religion.

I've become more convinced today with Syria on our minds that religion is and always has been ultimately an instrument to give people a comfort that allows them to die in battle for their leader and church without worrying about death. To glamorize death, to have an eternally perfect unimaginable happy place to look forward to if they perform their services unto death for their leaders. Of course if they fail... well.... there's always HELL! And there's always that warm feeling you get when you know you have helped send your enemy to suffer eternal damnation. They are the bad ones you know.

It's still happening today even in the enlightened west. Sometimes more subtle... a different angle... but it's still the same.

Religion ruins an otherwise decent planet.

Here's some info on the owners of us all.

It's a couple of years old and I know there have been some shifts but the basic forces are the same. Can anyone concur with some of these conclusions I gleaned back in 2011?

The world's largest companies are:

Bank of America:
State Street Corporation, Vanguard Group, BlackRock, FMR (Fidelity), Paulson, JP Morgan, T. Rowe, Capital World Investors, AXA, Bank of NY, Mellon.

JP Morgan:
State Street Corp, Vanguard Group, FMR, BlackRock, T. Rowe, AXA, Capital World Investor, Capital Research Global Investor, Northern Trust Corp. and Bank of Mellon.

State Street Corporation, Vanguard Group, BlackRock, Paulson, FMR, Capital World Investor, JP Morgan, Northern Trust Corporation, Fairhome Capital Mgmt and Bank of NY Mellon.

Wells Fargo:
Berkshire Hathaway, FMR, State Street, Vanguard Group, Capital World Investors, BlackRock, Wellington Mgmt, AXA, T. Rowe and Davis Selected Advisers.

There appears to be 4 entities present in all these banks:
State Street Corporation
Vanguard Group
FMR (Fidelity)

I'll call them the "big four".

The next 4 corporations are next in line in size...

Goldman Sachs:
"The big four", Wellington, Capital World Investors, AXA, Massachusetts Financial Service and T. Rowe.

Morgan Stanley:
"The big four", Mitsubishi UFJ, Franklin Resources, AXA, T. Rowe, Bank of NY Mellon e Jennison Associates. Rowe, Bank of NY Mellon and Jennison Associates.

Bank of NY Mellon:
Davis Selected, Massachusetts Financial Services, Capital Research Global Investor, Dodge, Cox, Southeastern Asset Mgmt. and ... "The big four".

State Street Corporation (one of the "big four":
Massachusetts Financial Services, Capital Research Global Investor, Barrow Hanley, GE, Putnam Investment and ... The "big four" (shareholders themselves!).

BlackRock (another of the "big four":
PNC, Barclays e CIC [...]

The eight largest U.S. financial companies (JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, U.S. Bancorp, Bank of New York Mellon and Morgan Stanley) are 100% controlled by ten shareholders and we have four companies always present in all decisions: BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity.

The Federal Reserve is comprised of 12 banks, represented by a board of seven people, which comprises representatives of the "big four", which in turn are present in all other entities. So it seems the Federal Reserve is controlled by four large private companies: BlackRock, State Street, Vanguard and Fidelity. These companies control U.S. monetary policy (and world) without any control or "democratic" choice.

These are some of the companies controlled by this "big four" group:

Alcoa Inc. - Altria Group Inc. - American International Group Inc. - AT&T Inc. - Boeing Co. - Caterpillar Inc. - Coca-Cola Co. - DuPont & Co. - Exxon Mobil Corp. - General Electric Co. - General Motors Corporation - Hewlett-Packard Co. - Home Depot Inc. - Honeywell International Inc. - Intel Corp. - International Business Machines Corp - Johnson & Johnson - JP Morgan Chase & Co. - McDonald's Corp. - Merck & Co. Inc. - Microsoft Corp. - 3M Co. - Pfizer Inc. - Procter & Gamble Co. - United Technologies Corp. - Verizon Communications Inc. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. - Time Warner - Walt Disney - Viacom - Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. - CBS Corporation - NBC Universal

The same "big four" control the majority of European companies counted on the stock exchange.

I would say there is a major control mechanism here or the whole world just really trusts these 4 companies.

I hear you...

I have liked technology for the exercise of the mechanics and understanding the principals. Most people like the surface instrument and what the Internet and its managers can supply them without the faintest knowledge of what it's about, what it can do for them, or what it can do to them. I have little interest in being a slave to the din of stupidity and the rush of being drawn into a crowd of sheep. I'd rather make stew than be stew.

Don't get me wrong. I think the Internet has been a great influence for education and human connectivity across the world. It has the potential to give the world a view of itself like never before. But it has also added to the evolution of greed and devolution of social behavior. I'm not sure we were ready for it when it came along because of our primitive social and economic structures. With more human stability its potential would have been exponential.

I miss many things about the 60s and 70s, the simple mechanics, the ability to understand any structure and to be able to mold it at will and actually own it. Now we own nothing, understand nothing and most people don't seem to care because they love their technology with an empty mind.

True Grit... or fail.

My wife just returned from a yearly all day teachers meeting where they discuss methods and approach for the upcoming year. One of the key speakers mentioned that according to some new studies, American students have lost their "grit". The speaker said that the most important challenge for this and future generations of students concerning college acceptance and job opportunity will not be intelligence, availability of funds, or even talent... it will be "grit" I.E. perseverance, tenacity, stick-to-it-iveness, the ability to stay on course undaunted. Although intelligence plays a part, it is not the determinant of success, job opportunity or even higher education. The factor that will determine success will be perseverance.

The question and challenge posed to the teachers was, "How do you teach grit?" How do you show students that staying on course and having self-derived determination at a task, any task, every task, is their best approach to their future?

To me, this seems in itself a daunting task for teachers since the modern middle class American child has learned little more than "anything and everything you do is perfect in every way!" and "Mommy and daddy will fix it for you." Add that to a culture of advertisement and entertainment that enforces the misconception that the world "owes" you everything you desire and owes it to you immediately without effort, and you end up with a diminishing return on the future of our children and America.

I'm not forgetting that there are many disadvantaged children that don't have helicopter parents and after-school accolades. But the message from society and the media only offers the same fixation on wealth and fame, food and games; life may be angry, empty of empathy, and hopeless for them. It seems the disadvantages may be even more of a challenge... or are they?

It brings me to a paradox of privilege and need. The child of no need, no challenge and who is ego enriched may have a disadvantage in future competition compared to the child who sees life as a basic struggle. Those struggles do not translate to a meager life; on the contrary they may be and advantage. Of course without home, food and medical security it is hard to imagine the traverse would be possible. It takes social systems that create an environment which will provide those necessities and allow every child to have opportunity. If we have those basic needs met, their may be no limit for the presently disadvantaged child with determination... grit. They may accomplish goals that have only been available to the privileged. It has happened before.

The future of our children may pivot on a lost art within human character, the need to persevere to completion. It's not dependent on wealth or position or even high intelligence but finding the satisfaction of creating something well and the understanding that a self-determined will to accomplish a task is an infinitely greater character trait than an inflated image of ability.

May we have teachers, care givers and parents with enough grit to teach their 21st century students and children the lost art of perseverance.

The human mind has always tried to see

symmetry in chaos. Yes, there are a lot of things happening all at the same time and I have a list that's not even covered in these comments. But it's an illusion. There is no more likelihood that we will be hit by an asteroid now then there was 5000 years ago nor will there be in another 5000 years. The possibility is there and it's not a small one, but nothing has changed. Same with about any astronomical anomaly. OK, we've had a couple of major asteroid flybys and one big hit recently, the earths poles are shifting slightly, plus... we have the biggest comet event in 2000 years about to happen, we are crossing the galactic plane and the sun's magnetic field is about to flip all of which are due right around the end of December... add to that the Mayan calendar thingy... What does it mean? Statistically NOTHING. Nada. Zilch. It's all just stuff that makes us see things that aren't there.

Climate change? Now there is something that we have to think about. We know that story and we know what to do about it, but we are not doing it because we are all more attracted to the unknowns that we can't do anything about or that are statistically unchanged. But the thing we can change is just too... dull.

Yep, an asteroid 20 miles wide could swing around the totally without warning and obliterate us all in the next 5 minutes without warning. But the one thing we can do something about.... the one thing that could bring the planet together.... boring, slow, no entertainment factor, no buzz, no religious revelations or sightings of a deity in the clouds to imagine.

We had better get out heads on strait as a civilization and start thinking about what is real and stop with the adrenalin rush nonsense.
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