Perplexity, Divergent Problems, Philisophical loose ends.

Frustrated by the polarisation of both Public, Popular, Scientific and Professional Discourse I have been seeking out some guidance from two old Sensai, or guides, Maimonides and E F Schumacher, there are others. I am particularly fond of re consulting Bateson’s, an ecology of mind in times of frustrated perplexity, when people I know to be caring, intelligent and respectful people simply talk past, at, and in ignorance of the same qualities they possess,  being present in the object of what can only be called their fury.
I hope these references might also assist other readers who occasionally wash up on these shores, to find patience and understanding in their own as well as with other people’s tempers.
Always read the comments, as Maimonides says a golden apple may be wrapped in Siver filigree.
This popped up on my facebook memories feed, all very synchronicity.
Roger Lewis
Having a good read of this Wiki lots of very good information to go through, The site is compiled it seems by a gentleman of the cloth who believes in the Gospels of Jesus, this is a long and worthy tradition in Liberation Theology. I was reading the other day about Christian Anarchism and the manifold seeming contradictions, an aversion to contradiction is in my own experience an overrated pass time. Context and motivation will provide the ‘boundary conditions of any truth claim, ´´Games Without frontiers war without tears”. Herd Processing
“The American motion picture is the greatest unconscious carrier of propaganda in the world today. It is a great distributor for ideas and opinions. The motion picture can standardize the ideas and habits of a nation. Because pictures are made to meet market demands, they reflect, emphasize and even exaggerate broad popular tendencies, rather than stimulate new ideas and opinions. The motion picture avails itself only of ideas and facts which are in vogue. As the newspaper seeks to purvey news, it seeks to purvey entertainment.”– Edward Bernays, Propaganda
Herd Processing (standardisation)
The merger of media companies in the last decades generated a small oligarchy of media conglomerates. The TV shows we follow, the music we listen to, the movies we watch and the newspapers we read are all produced by FIVE corporations. The owners of those conglomerates have close ties with the world’s elite and, in many ways, they ARE the elite. By owning all of the possible outlets having the potential to reach the masses, these conglomerates have the power to create in the minds of the people a single and cohesive world view, engendering a “standardization of human thought”. [12]
Even movements or styles that are considered marginal are, in fact, extensions of mainstream thinking. Mass medias produce their own rebels who definitely look the part but are still part of the establishment and do not question any of it. Artists, creations and ideas that do not fit the mainstream way of thinking are mercilessly rejected and forgotten by the conglomerates, which in turn makes them virtually disappear from society itself. However, ideas that are deemed to be valid and desirable to be accepted by society are skillfully marketed to the masses in order to make them become the self-evident norm. In 1928, Edward Bernays already saw the immense potential of motion pictures to standardize thought
Also see: Consumerism

A Guide for the
Harper & Row, Publishers
New York, Hagerstown, s􀀧n Francisco, London
Nulla est homini causa philosophandi,
nisi ut beatus sit.
(Man has no reason to philosophize,
except with a view to happiness.)
T H E F O U R F I E L D S OF K N O W L E D G E: 1 63
Socrates (in Plato’s Phaedrus) says: “I must first know myself,
as the Delphian inscription says; to be- curious about that which
is not my concern, while I am still in ignorance of my own self,
would be ridiculous.” Let us follow this example and start with
Field of Knowledge No. 1: What, really, is going on inside
myself? What gives me joy, what gives me pain? What strengthens
me and what weakens me? Where do I control life and
where does life control me? Am I in control of my mind, my
feelings, can I do what I want to do? What is the value of this
inner knowledge for the conduct of my life?
Before we go into any details we should take cognizance of
the fact that the above-quoted statement from Plato’s Phaedrus
can be matched by similar statements from all parts of the.
64 A G U I D E F O R T H E P E R P L E X E D
world an d all times. I shall confine myself to a few:
From Alexandria, Philo Judaeus (late 6.rst century B.C.):
For pray do not . . . spin your airy fables about moon or sun or
the other objects in the sky and in the universe so far removed
from us and so varied in their natures, until you have scrutinised
and come to know yourselves. After that, we may perhaps believe
you when you hold forth on other subjects; but before you
establish who you yourselves are, do not think that you will ever
become capable of acting as judges or trustworthy witnesses in
the other matters.
From ancient Rome, Plotinus (A.D. 205?-270):
Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not Snd yourself
beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue 􀃈hat is to be made
beautiful; he cuts away here, he smoothes there, he makes this line
lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work.
So do you also: . . . never cease chiseling your statue.·
From medieval Europe, the Theologia Germanica (ca. A.D.
Thoroughly to know oneself, is above all art, for it is the highest
art. If thou knowest thyself well, thou art better and more praiseworthy
before God, than if thou didst not know thyself, but didst
understand the course of the heavens and of all the planets and stars,
also the virtue of all herbs, and the structure and dispositions of all
mankind, also the nature of all beasts, and, in such matters, hadst all
the skill of all who are in heaven and on earth.
Paracelsus (1493?-1541), who was one of the most knowledgeable
men in the Europe of his time and foremost in knowing
“the virtue of all herbs,” says:
Men do not know themselves, and therefore they do not understand
the things of their inner world. Each man has the essence of
God and all the wisdom and power of the world (germinally) in
himself; he possesses one kind of knowledge as much as another, and
he who does not find that which is in him cannot truly say that he
does not possess it, but only that he was not capable of successfully
seeking for it.
T H E F O U R F I E L D S O F K N O W L E DG E: 65
From India, Swami Ramdas (1886-1 963):
“Seek within-know thyself,” these secret and sublime hints
come to us wafted from the breath of Rishis through the dust of ages.
From the world of Islam, Azid ibn Muhammad al-Nasafi (seventh-
eighth centuries):
When ‘Ali asked Mohammad, “What am I to do that I may not
waste my time?” the Prophet answered, “Lea,rn to know thyself.”
And from China, the Tao Te Ching by Lao-tse (c. 604-531 B.c.):
He who knows others is wise;
He who knows himself is enlightened. ‘
Finally, let us listen to a twentieth-century writer, P. D. Ouspensky
(1878–1947), who states as his “fundamental idea”:
that man as we know him is not a completed being; that nature
develops him only up to a certain point and then leaves him, either
to develop further, by his own efforts and devices, or to live and die
such as he was born, or to degenerate and lose capacity for development.
Evolution of man . . . will mean the development of certain inner
qualities and features which usually remain undeveloped, and amnot
develop by themselves. •
The modern world knows little of all this, even though it has
produced more psychological theories and literature than any
previous age. As Ouspensky says: “Psychology is sometimes
called a new science. This is quite wrong. Psychology is, perhaps,
the oldest science, and, unfortunately, in its most essential
features a forgotten science. ” These “most essential features”
presented themselves primarily in religious teachings, and their
disappearance is accounted for largely by the decline of religion
during the last few centuries.
Traditional psychology, which saw people as “pilgrims” and
“wayfarers” on this earth who could reach the summit of a
mountain of “salvation,” “enlightenment,” or “liberation,” was
primarily concerned not with sick people who had to be made
“normal” but with normal people who were capable of becom
66 A G U I D E F O R T H E P E R P L E X E D
ing, and indeed destined to become, supernormal. Many of the
great traditions have the idea of “The Way” at their very center:
the Chinese teaching of Taoism is nained after Tao, “The
Way”; the Buddha’s teaching is called “The Middle Way”; and
Jesus Christ Himself declares: “I am the Way.” It is the pilgrim’s
task to undertake a journey into the interior which demands a
degree of heroism and in any case a readiness occasionally to
turn one’s back on the petty preoccupations of everyday life.
Two Types of Problems
124 A G U I D E F O R T H E P E R P L E X E D
I do not know who coined the slogan of the French Revolution•;
he must have been a person of rare insight. To the pair
of opposites, Liberte and Egalite, irreconcilable in ordinary
logic, he added a third factor or force-Fraternite, brotherliness-
which comes from a higher level. How do we recognize
this fact? Liberty or equality can be instituted by legislative
action backed by force, but brotherliness is a human quality
beyond the reach of institutions, beyond the level of manipulation.
It can be achieved only by individual persons mobilizing
their own higher forces and facull:ies, in short, becoming better
people. “How do you make people become better?” That this
is a question constantly being asked merely shows that the essential
point is being missed altogether. Making people better
belongs to the level of manipulation, the same level at which
the opposites exist and where their reconciliation is impossible.
The moment we recognize that there are two different types
of problems with which we have to deal on our journey through
life-“convergent” and “divergent” problems-some very interesting
questions arise in our minds:
Some people say it was Louis-Claude de Saint-Martin (1743-1803) who
signed his works Le Philosophe inconnu, the Unknown Philosopher.
Torrent for this amazing Book can be found here I also highly recommend Small is Beautiful.

Introductory Remarks. [ON METHOD] THERE are seven causes of inconsistencies and contradictions to be met with in a literary work.
The first cause arises from the fact that the author collects the opinions of various men, each differing from the other, but neglects to mention the name of the author of any particular opinion. In such a work contradictions or inconsistencies must occur, since any two statements may belong to two different authors.
Second cause: The author holds at first one opinion which he subsequently rejects: in his work., however, both his original and altered views are retained.
Third cause: The passages in question are not all to be taken literally: some only are to be understood in their literal – 29 – sense, while in others figurative language is employed, which includes another meaning besides the literal one: or, in the apparently inconsistent passages, figurative language is employed which, if taken literally, would seem to be contradictories or contraries.
Fourth cause: The premises are not identical in both statements, but for certain reasons they are not fully stated in these passages: or two propositions with different subjects which are expressed by the same term without having the difference in meaning pointed out, occur in two passages. The contradiction is therefore only apparent, but there is no contradiction in reality.
The fifth cause is traceable to the use of a certain method adopted in teaching and expounding profound problems. Namely, a difficult and obscure theorem must sometimes be mentioned and assumed as known, for the illustration of some elementary and intelligible subject which must be taught beforehand the commencement being always made with the easier thing. The teacher must therefore facilitate, in any manner which he can devise, the explanation of those theorems, which have to be assumed as known, and he must content himself with giving a general though somewhat inaccurate notion on the subject. It is, for the present, explained according to the capacity of the students, that they may comprehend it as far as they are required to understand the subject. Later on, the same subject is thoroughly treated and fully developed in its right place.
Sixth cause: The contradiction is not apparent, and only becomes evident through a series of premises. The larger the number of premises necessary to prove the contradiction between the two conclusions, the greater is the chance that it will escape detection, and that the author will not perceive his own inconsistency. Only when from each conclusion, by means of suitable premises, an inference is made, and from the enunciation thus inferred, by means of proper arguments, other conclusions are formed, and after that process has been repeated many times, then it becomes clear that the original conclusions are contradictories or contraries. Even able writers are liable to overlook such inconsistencies. If, however, the contradiction between the original statements can at once be discovered, and the author, while writing the second, does not think of the first, he evinces a greater deficiency, and his words deserve no notice whatever.
Seventh cause: It is sometimes necessary to introduce such metaphysical matter as may partly be disclosed, but must partly be concealed: while, therefore, on one occasion the object which the author has in view may demand that the metaphysical problem be treated as solved in one way, it may be convenient on another occasion to treat it as solved in the opposite way. The author must endeavour, by concealing the fact as much as possible, to prevent the uneducated reader from perceiving the contradiction.

Re-framing the War on Carbon. The Carbon Surplus Question?

On Global Warming and the War on Carbon , or what I would re-frame as the Carbon Surplus Problem.

The Carbon Surplus Problem is a subject I am just writing a kids book about for helping my Children understand the Carbon Cycle. I will enumerate a framework of reference for the re-framing of the Carbon Surplus problem as an alternative to the War on Carbon position presently in vogue, (surprisingly, to me, also in Green Circles). Those framework headings are Scientific, Political, Economic & stakeholder representation.


Scientific questions should be the easiest to broach as science is objective, one could not argue with that proposition surely? Sadly, the human relationships aspects of science turn out to be as fraught with status based psychology as any other field of human endeavour, cognisant of this I would recommend this excellent slide collection from Anand Gnanadesikan.

There is a pedagogical deficit in public education on Climate evidenced by ignorance of the Carbon Cycle, this is hampering debate on solutions such as those proposed by Tony Lovell in the soil carbon video (At the end of this post). Partial solutions are often attacked vigorously as a climate (no pun intended) of ad hominem dominates responses to anything not fitting the bag of nails demanded of the War on Carbon, ´´CO2 as pollution´´, hammer.

Corporate capture of highly centralised government structures and the Government tendency to look for shiny photo op type solutions crowds out the incremental and sustainable holistic solutions which seem to be viable and easily mobilised. Husbandry of the problem as opposed to the undeclared War on Carbon. The Wars on Drugs, Wars on Terrorism , are analogues to the climate that politicians have fostered vis anthropogenic CO2 emissions, sadly this style of Government is synchronous with the identification and onset of the problem of raised CO2 levels. I will not graph a correlation of this hypothesis, as we know correlation is not a reliable proof of causation.


Economic aspects of the problem are as fraught with the problem of the Law of the instrument
as political responses. Economics and finance as practised in Financialised Capitalism will of course seek to apply its own false metrics of monetary price measures. These measures are not consistent with value or utility concepts. The Money measure of utility is bound in artificial scarcity of the measure, ignorant of the availability of resources to allocate. Economists and Bankers were a large component of the fourth UK carbon budget report,

If ever one needed confirmation that cap and trade is the financial hammer seeing all Carbon as an anthropogenic CO2 nail that simply must be monetised , this document should do it.

Stakeholder perspectives.

With respect to Stake-holders, I would like to speak up for the poor and those without a voice to speak for the Landless Peasants and the continuing ravaging of self-provisioning local economies by Global demands for monoculture cash crop and debt based economic solutions. These stake-holders are as important as any of us and their voices are unrepresented it is also true that the skills and smaller scale permaculture and local vernacular specific methods are an untapped resource in utilising the surplus of CO2 currently seen as a problem and not a misapplied surplus resource.

Discourse and Selection Biases.

Ad hominem and appeals to consensus or Authority typifies even Green Party discourse on these issues. Ecological solutions will best solve ecological problems by ignoring the carbon cycle and submitting to an emissions centric financialised narrative the discourse obscures potential holistic solutions to a very natural problem ( of course human emissions are man made but the emissions are natural chemical compounds extracted from natural matter). This talking past and at one another generates much more heat than light and will all end in tears.

I have also been working on a more detailed but focused structured position argument with full references which is likely to take a few more weeks to complete. The occasional guffaw or cry of anguish will continue to emit from under my little rock here in Rural Sweden in the mean-time , I will try to muffle the volume but can not possibly hold it all in.
Two very good short videos on Carbon Cycling.
Soil carbon — Putting carbon back where it belongs — In the Earth | Tony Lovell | TEDxDubbo

Tony Lovell will explain the reasoning behind how more green growing plants means more captured carbon dioxide — more water — more production — more biodiversity — more profit. Did you know that a 1% change in soil organic matter across just one-quarter of the World’s land area could sequester 300 billion tonnes of physical CO2.

TEDxDubbo focused attention on what we call FACETS — Food, Agriculture, Climate, Energy, Topsoil and Sustainability. These FACETS are actually potent ideas shared by everyday people with an interest in these disciplines. In many of these topics there is an awareness campaign; the aim of bringing our community together united against catastrophic failures in our food-chain, environment and health. It is worth mentioning that we are also indebted to our natural systems for our economic wealth. Failures in Food, Agriculture, Climate, Energy, Topsoil and Sustainability are not just a local issue — they are a global concern.

Carbon Cycle, part 1

Creating a future that works

Carbon Cycle, part 1

About Peter Donovan.  has hands-on experience with land and stock management, low-stress stock handling, Holistic Management, community development, consensus-building, and more. He also does freelance media work; see his resume and portfolio. He completed Holistic Management International’s Holistic Management Educator course in 1997, but chose not to pursue certification. He was instrumental in bringing Enterprise Facilitation to Wallowa County in eastern Oregon, U.S.A., where he lives.
Joy Livingwell enjoys simplifying and clarifying regenerative land management so that ordinary people can understand it. She writes on a variety of topics, including ecology and sustainable agriculture. She co-authored How to Build With Grid Beam: A fast, easy, and affordable system for building almost anything (New Society Publishers, 2008).