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Author Topic: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea  (Read 55641 times)

financial aid

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #70 on: May 03, 2007, 09:40:51 PM »

[..] Try to find out what is like to be. You would be coming back from seeing the world for the first time. After that moment when all that was was that moment. When all your senses came all together into one and you could be you and not you at the same time -- you that was being looked by you, with all the reasons for being you having been rendered irrelevant. At that moment you cannot even imagine having some kind of need to rely on illusions to justify your place in the world. [...]


A friend of mine told me he experienced something similar to this under the influence of LSD. He said after a hour or so after he took it he was suddenly struck by the reality of a dessert knife he was holding in his hand -- the feel of the handle and blade, its appearance. Believing he suddenly understood an emptiness feeling he was experiencing he thought, "Now I know: I exist -- the world exists -- and I know that the world exists." He was totally overcome by the bare reality of existence. Afterwards he saw himself examining a stone on the seashore, the root of a chestnut tree, and some other objects, having taken aback by a revelation that exposed the things as pure existence rather than the "essence" of what they were.

secndmortgage

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #71 on: May 12, 2007, 07:39:48 AM »

I don't really know French, equation, but I think it discusses "acte gratuit"


Obviously! :)
- I guess babies love you automatically, don't they?
- They don't have much of a choice.

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #72 on: May 19, 2007, 09:37:37 AM »





A schematic nuclear fission chain reaction. 1. A uranium-235 atom absorbs a neutron, and fissions in two new atoms (fission fragments), releasing three new neutrons and some binding energy. 2. One of those neutrons is absorbed by an atom of uranium-238, and does not continue the reaction.



Another neutron is simply lost and does not collide with anything, also not continuing the reaction. However one neutron does collide with an atom of uranium-235, which then fissions and releases two neutrons and some binding energy. 3. Both of those neutrons collide with uranium-235 atoms, each of which fission and release between one and three neutrons, which can then continue the reaction.

* * *


The famous exchange of letters between Einstein and Freud, "Why War?" (Freud, 1933) is disclosed. That exchange is now more than half a century old and occurred before the advent of the nuclear age when the question of war was not yet that of the very survival of the human species on a livable planet. In that interchange, Einstein interspersed a number of assertions about human psychology with questions addressed to Freud. He asked, "How is it these devices succeed so well in rousing men to such wild enthusiasm, even to sacrifice their lives?" Only one answer is possible. Because man has within him a lust for hatred and destruction...

Although the building of the atomic bomb was still some years away, Einstein had already discovered the science that would make it possible and feared its catastrophic potential. He asked Freud "to bring the light of [his] far-reaching knowledge of man's instinctual life to bear upon the problem" and hoped that his "most recent discoveries might blaze the trail for new and fruitful modes of action." Einstein was concerned about the role of elites in promoting war, the "small but determined groups, active in every nation, composed of individuals who, indifferent to social considerations and restraints, regard warfare, the manifestation and sale of arms, simply as an occasion to advance their personal interests and enlarge their personal authority." This phenomenon was later termed the "military-industrial complex" by US President Eisenhower. In Einstein's view, the elites were able to wield power because "the schools and press, usually the church as well [were] under its thumb" and so were able to "whip up the hatred and destruction of the masses into a collective psychosis."

Thus Einstein invoked the language of psychiatry and madness to describe the propaganda machine already operating in Nazi Germany. He proposed the establishment, "by international consent, of [a] legislative and judicial body to settle every conflict arising between nations" but lamented that "we are far from possessing any supranational organization competent to render verdicts of incontestable authority and enforce absolute submission to the execution of its verdicts." However, as Einstein observed, there are "strong psychological factors" that "paralyse" efforts to enforce the peaceful coexistence of nations. And so he sought Freud's counsel.

Replying to Einstein's letter, Freud expressed his surprise that, as a physician and psychoanalyst, his advice regarding a social rather than clinical problem had been sought. However, he wrote that he agreed with everything Einstein had said, "particularly the need for a central authority." He described war as futile. "The results of conquest are as a rule short-lived," he wrote, "the newly created units fall apart once again, usually owing to a lack of cohesion between parties united by violence." He, too, was concerned that the League of Nations lacked "the necessary power to act, and shared Einstein's apocalyptic sense that "a future war might involve the extermination of one or perhaps both of the antagonists." Freud then went on to outline for Einstein his theory of Eros, the life instinct that "seeks to preserve and unite" and of Thanatos, the death instinct. For Freud, aggression was the manifestation of Thanatos and thus an essential element of human nature. For that reason, he characterized Russian communism as "an illusion trying to make human aggression disappear."

What Freud offered Einstein by way of an answer were "indirect methods of combating war." These were, first, education to create "independent minds not open to intimidation and eager in the pursuit of truth." Second was a sense of "identification," that is, of "whatever leads men to share important interests" and thus creates a "community of feeling." Third, Freud suggested that "cultural attitudes and the justified dread of the consequences of a future war may result within a measurable time in putting an end to the waging of war itself."

As events unfolded, Einstein left Germany for the US in 1933, and Freud left Austria for England in 1938. Einstein found himself drawn into doing what he most dreaded. Fearing that Nazi scientists would develop an atomic bomb, he helped to initiate the Manhattan Project. He would live his last years working for disarmament and global government, anguished by his impossible, Faustian decision. Despite Einstein's efforts, the atomic bomb has since its nefarious birth during World War II metastasized into the current proliferation of nuclear arms, propelled, as Einstein himself had predicted, by propaganda and profit. As the 21st century begins, the bulk of the world's population has for the first time in history been raised under the threat of possible extinction by its own hand. Although nuclear war has receded from public consciousness this past decade, the situation is in a number of ways more precarious than it was during the Cold War.

Freud used the concept of Thanatos as a means of explaining recurring patterns of self-defeating and self-destructive behaviours, which he called "repetition compulsion." The term in current vogue — "reenactment" — understands repetition in interpersonal rather than instinctual terms: the acting-out of past tragic dramas through wilful blindness, which seeks comfort and control in punitive ways. In the spinning of vicious circles, the solution is the problem. Thus children from violent homes may become, more often than by chance, violent parents themselves, and the poison of substance abuse passes from one generation to the next. At a sociopolitical level, we also see recurring patterns. Nowhere are these so disastrously self-destructive as in war. While we pray for peace, it is always combat we prepare for. With the invention of nuclear weapons, this affliction has reached its ultimate suicidal possibility.
I understand your objection
I grant you the problem's not small
But if you could see her through my eyes
She wouldn't look Jewish at all

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #73 on: May 19, 2007, 09:44:20 AM »

[...] Freud then went on to outline for Einstein his theory of Eros, the life instinct that "seeks to preserve and unite" and of Thanatos, the death instinct. For Freud, aggression was the manifestation of Thanatos and thus an essential element of human nature. [...]

[...]

Freud used the concept of Thanatos as a means of explaining recurring patterns of self-defeating and self-destructive behaviours, which he called "repetition compulsion." The term in current vogue — "reenactment" — understands repetition in interpersonal rather than instinctual terms: the acting-out of past tragic dramas through wilful blindness, which seeks comfort and control in punitive ways. [...]


In "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," Freud asked as ambitious a question as any psychiatrist can raise: what is the place of the psyche in the universe? His answer was wholly despairing. For Freud, the doctrinaire materialist, life and mind were freakish events in an infinite and unfeeling cosmos subject to the tyrannical rule of entropy. "The attributes of life," said Freud, "were at some time evoked in inanimate matter by the action of a force of whose nature we can form no conception .... The tension which then arose in what had hitherto been an inanimate substance endeavored to cancel itself out. In this way the first instinct came into being: the instinct to return to the inanimate state."

In Freud's time, the newly discovered second law of thermodynamics had attained cult status as the final answer to the riddle of the universe. For many fin de siecle intellectuals, entropic doom became irrefutable proof of the futility of life. Human consciousness was a transient, unaccountable accident destined for annihilation; ultimately, every chemical process in the universe would succumb to the great and final "heat death" and return to its "naturally" lifeless condition. After that, for all eternity, there would be nothing at all except the measureless waste of space sparsely littered with the wandering cinders of long-expired stars. Firmly under the spell of the inexorable second law, Freud could see no better destiny for life than merciful extinction. A "death instinct" lay at the foundations of the psyche, summoning consciousness back to the tranquility of "the inanimate state." "Nature," Freud was convinced, "is eternally remote. She destroys us -- coldly, cruelly, relentlessly."
I understand your objection
I grant you the problem's not small
But if you could see her through my eyes
She wouldn't look Jewish at all

tipsy

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #74 on: May 19, 2007, 11:36:11 AM »

As events unfolded, Einstein left Germany for the US in 1933, and Freud left Austria for England in 1938. Einstein found himself drawn into doing what he most dreaded. Fearing that Nazi scientists would develop an atomic bomb, he helped to initiate the Manhattan Project. [...]


Someone please enlighten me as to why this guy was not a creep ..

9

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #75 on: May 22, 2007, 05:49:18 AM »
LOL tipsy ;)

Everything But The Girl

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #76 on: May 24, 2007, 05:41:05 AM »

As events unfolded, Einstein left Germany for the US in 1933, and Freud left Austria for England in 1938. Einstein found himself drawn into doing what he most dreaded. Fearing that Nazi scientists would develop an atomic bomb, he helped to initiate the Manhattan Project. [...]


Someone please enlighten me as to why this guy was not a creep ..


Well, I've read that the atomic bomb related work that Einstein did was very limited and he completed it in 2 days during December 1941. Vannevar Bush, who was coordinating the scientific work on the h-bomb at that time, asked Einstein's advice on a theoretical problem involved in separating fissionable material by gaseous diffusion. He was never asked to participate. Voluminous declassified FBI files, numbering several thousand, reveal the reason: the U.S. government feared Einstein's lifelong association with peace and socialist organizations. (J. Edgar Hoover went so far as to recommend that Einstein be kept out of America by the Alien Exclusion Act, but he was overruled by the State Department).

motiva

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Einstein: Socialist of the Century
« Reply #77 on: May 24, 2007, 07:56:03 PM »

[...] Voluminous declassified FBI files, numbering several thousand, reveal the reason: the U.S. government feared Einstein's lifelong association with peace and socialist organizations. [...]


A year before his death, Einstein said that he wrote and spoke out on public issues "whenever they appeared to me so bad and unfortunate that silence would have made me feel guilty of complicity." He denounced the carnage of World War I and advanced disarmament in the name of pacifism throughout his career.

In 1934, he perceptively diagnosed the Great Depression as a result of the gap between workers' purchasing power and the productive-technical powers of capital.

He eloquently denounced American racism in a 1946 essay, "The Negro Question."

After the horrors of Hitler (from which he escaped to the United States) and the decimation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (enabled by his theories), Einstein spoke out against nuclear weapons, advocated world government, and supported Israel while warning against trampling Arab rights in the Jewish state. In 1950, he told an American television audience, "The idea of achieving security through national armament is, at the present state of military technique, a disastrous illusion."

But most inconveniently of all -- at least to the gatekeepers of history at Time -- Einstein was an open and explicit socialist.

"I regard class distinctions as unjustified, and, in the last resort, based on force," he wrote in 1931.

Seventeen years later, Einstein published a Marxist analysis of labor exploitation in capitalist economies in the socialist journal Monthly Review. He denounced "the economic anarchy" and "crippling egotism" of capitalist society and called for "the establishment of a socialist economy, accompanied by an educational system oriented towards social goals." The essay offered the following take on capitalism's tendency to concentrate wealth and centralize control of both politics and ideology:

Quote
"Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The results of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital, the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society... Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.

Einstein's socialism was distinctly democratic. He feared that a society based on a planned economy (which he consistently advocated) could crush the rights of the individual with an "all-powerful and overweening bureaucracy." He expressed his "passionate opposition" to the idolatrous, bureaucratic and anti-democratic Soviet state. However, such statements were lost on the FBI, which in the early '50s collected 1,500 pages of material on Einstein's allegedly pro-Soviet activities. In 1958, Life (Time's sister publication) listed Einstein as one of America's leading Communist "dupes and fellow travelers." Yet nowhere in Time's 15 pages devoted to Einstein does the magazine bring itself to acknowledge the great physicist's explicitly socialist views. For Time to concede that the century's greatest thinker naturally and elegantly rejected the dominant political-economic system would not square with the conventional wisdom that the dominant theme of the 20th century is the glorious triumph "free-market" capitalism. "If you had to describe the century's geo-politics in one sentence," Time says, "it would be a short one: Freedom won."

Einstein's take on the United States at the moment of the "American Century's" triumph suggests that the reality of both the present moment and the last 100 years is darker and more complex.

carloverx

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #78 on: May 25, 2007, 08:03:27 PM »
I became acquainted with the psychological power of zero in doing a meditation technique called holotropic breathing, or simply breathwork. In holotropic breathing, the participant engages in deep, rhythmic breathing while listening to a carefully chosen suite of very loud music. The participant often achieves a trance-like state, with vivid images. Sometimes the images are abstract. Sometimes the images are very real. They may consist of reliving certain life experiences, having conversations with long-dead ancestors, or having fantastic experiences such as being in the midst of a Civil War battle or dancing in a harem. As the music begins to slow down and become quieter and sweeter, there is often a powerful emotional release.

Somewhere during the breathwork I've experienced, I come to a point at which time and space have totally collapsed. I am at zero: there is no time, and there is no space. What is most powerful about this experience is that, at this zero point, there are no temporal or spatial constraints -- whatever the "I" is that is experiencing this can go anywhere in time and space. In fact, the "I" has disappeared into the zero. Or it's as I have been divided by zero and have become undefinable.

We might think that, in ordinary geometrical space, three dimensions is about as real as we can get. Two dimensions constrain us to thinking about a plane; one dimension is simply a line. But when we hit zero dimensions, we're at a single, dimensionless point: all constraints fall away.


I do not have time to read this entire thread, (also, i'm new around here), but i figured i would try and contribute nonetheless.

The problem here, and you slightly touch upon it, is that in order for you to be at zero, you must be just that: being. In order for you to even describe your experiences using verbs you must incorporate time. Furthermore, if you are at zero, "you" cannot exist in order to experience.  A true example of "being" at zero, although now when i say "being" i am referring to the psychical body being(verb, not noun)(although anyone with insight would ask if there is any other type way of being) would be something like watching a movie.  You are not aware of your "self" or "I", instead you are focused on the movie. Not until you checkup on your "I" do you once again become aware of yourself and the portion(s) of your brain that makes up the "I" simply starts firing again.  If you want the ultimate zero-ness, kill yourself.  The next best things is passing out.  After that it's sleeping (talk about there not being an "I"). This is why time flies when you're having fun: you are not aware of "I" and thus its "flow" in time and space.  That may have been too abbreviated...

Indeed, zero is a very curious number. How can nothing be something?

Everything can be divided into an infinite amount of pieces, but although the size of the pieces decreases as the amount of pieces increases, the sizes will always approach zero, but never hit it. How can zero exist as a number then? Zero began as a place holder in Babylonian and Mayan societies. It was accepted as a place holder in some societies, while rejected in others. Zero does not conform to the laws of mathematics, and therefore became a difficult concept to accept. Since it did not fit in with laws, it could destroy all logic.

Cutting edge physics disagrees.  Things are not infinitely dividable. Zero, or (imo) to be more precise, negation, may seem illogical, but mathematically (although i personally can't prove it) it's real, (i.e. matter can come and go / be and not be)




...if this thread is a game i'm not in on, lol, i apologize.


solicitor

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Re: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea
« Reply #79 on: May 26, 2007, 05:32:37 AM »
You cant afford to not be in, zero is life, oops, sorry, life is zero. :)