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Thanks, Michael! Always a pleasure and an honor to have a post accepted on your blog! You've had much inspiring content as of late...

Interesting post, Matt! The Cliff Notes version, in my opinion at least, is that reality differs depending on one's perspective. (But truths remains constant throughout.) For instance, from up on high, our politicians see one thing - a booming economy in the wealthy Washington, D.C. area. Others elsewhere see something quite different. What appears solid, isn't, etc.

I have a feeling that the Afterlife will be quite surprising for many, myself included of course.

Hi Matt, "the three pieces on the left have no chirality (they are the same as their mirror image), whereas the four on the right (two pairs) do have this property (they are different from their mirror image). "

Did you mean to say the two pieces on the left and the five pieces on the right? I think the brown piece (three in a stack and one sticking out on the middle right) has chirality.

Kathleen,

Thanks! I basically agree with your Cliff Notes. :) There are likely truths that "hold true" in all dimensions... but could there be some that take on different forms in different dimensions?

Eric,

I was actually talking to Michael Duggan about that on Facebook. #3 can be rotated into its mirror image; the four on the right cannot.

It's true, however, that #1 and #2 have both vertical and horizontal symmetry; #3 is symmetrical along one axis.

#1 cannot even be rotated at all in the game of Tetris.

Mr. D's opinion was ultimately that #3 does not have chirality, since it can be rotated into it's mirror image.

Eric,

Looked at Wikipedia further:

"An object or a system is chiral if it is distinguishable from its mirror image; that is, it cannot be superposed onto it."

#3 *can* be superimposed on its mirror image. The four on the right cannot.

So #3 does not have chirality.

This Earth life is a school and we are here simply to learn the things that can't be learned in heaven. It's as simple as that.

It has to be the way it is in order for us to overcome the lack of separation and time and space in heaven and it has to evoke enough emotion so that we remember it after we leave our physical bodies.

Because there is a connection between emotion and memory our lessons here have to evoke enough emotion so that we don't forget what we learned.

The soul's lessons are embedded in our everyday lives and it is holistically imprinted with what it needs to learn regardless of who we are, or where we live, or what we believe.

And because it is only a holographic projection or illusion after we cross over we look back on all the suffering we experienced here as a "dream in itself" to quote from Michelle M's NDE description.

Art,

I agree with much that you say. I seem to have heard that all somewhere before...

Matt, I feel like ya'll make it way more complicated than it is. I have read NDEs where they said the answers they were told were way simpler and could be stated in just two or three sentences. "Why we are here" and the answers to life's most profound questions are simple. There is no need to make these long complicated answers to life. It's way simpler than that... We simply learn here what can't be learned in heaven. Period.

Art wrote,

||I feel like ya'll make it way more complicated than it is.||

I get what you mean. If spirit is going to take care of everything, then there is really nothing we need to do except live. I would certainly never suggest that, to get to the Afterlife, one must have a specific knowledge set.

Giving advice on how to live efficiently and effortlessly (let flow, let go, etc.), however, is different from trying to figure out how it all works.

Do you think it's valuable to figure out differential equations or physics? I think it's rather the same as that. So it comes down to goals and perspective.

"There is no need to make these long complicated answers to life. It's way simpler than that... " - Art

I'm sure that if we were standing on the top of the mountain, instead of at the foot, all would become abundantly clear. It would seem that altered states of consciousness take us further up the mountainside - at least temporarily - and that the NDE offers a more permanent imprint of the panoramic view.

I agree Art, I also think that like any animal 3D is imprinted on us from birth. How our eyes work out movement, shading, depth etc., leads to this expectation.

I don't think its different in any part of the universe, its just how you comprehend it. That's why I think that when people have meditative experiences and their ego or sense of self is not operating, they see the universe as it really is. Cheers.

Thought provoking piece, Matt. Unfortunately I have been working too hard on federal govt submissions and am pretty much too brain dead to give your post serious consideration :-(

I will say that I like this, "The body is part of the soul and vice versa. They interrelate and co-create each other in profound ways, and both are aspects of a larger geometry that might be called our spirit. […]". That is one of the things I have been saying for years and have been more vociferous about recently here. The soul isn't leaving the body, in a dualistic sense, and going to some pretty place where all is happy and good. Rather, the focus of awareness is shifting from this level of vibration to another and the idea of a body is discarded. The body, like a memory, fades away. In fact, the body is a memory after "death"; a memory in the realm of dense consciousness because there is NO physical versus mental/spiritual dualism.

All of which leads to why I eschew discussions of realms being more or less "real" or "hoaxes", etc....is a 3D world more "real" than a 2D world? I guess that is what you are exploring. I would say not more real unless you arbitrarily define "real" in a way to make it so.

Art says, "We simply learn here what can't be learned in heaven. Period. " So..is heaven really more "real" than earth? How can it be more real if there are things that cannot be learned there that are important?

Now I am thinking we need people to define "real" before this discussion can proceed to it's conclusion(s).

But, basically, I think you are saying - perhaps differently than I would - One entity, focusing its perceptual power on different levels of vibration, experiencing different worlds, resulting from lock/key external/internal information join.

Yet, karmic forces, spiritual development, energy levels, etc will dictate where the focus is and, hence, what information is involved in the join process.

A true mystery is what is the entity and the intent to do any of this.

Look forward to your response.

Matt, I don't understand how higher dimensionality is New Age.

A key New Age idea is that everything is unfolding as it should. Ascension never happened in 2012 (or 2000 or 1984) and it isn't going to. All graphs (population, climate change, the debt economy, ocean acidification, species extinction, etc) are hitting critical. The VR model is one thing; New Ageism is a desperate attitude of impossible optimism that's simply nonsensical. Surely you can intuit that collapse and anarchy are just around the corner? The feeling most enlightened people really have is akin to the feeling in Europe leading up to WW1.

If you were to say that at least we have a heavenworld to go to, I'd say you cannot separate heaven and earth in the shamanic tradition - both are vital to spirit. Earth can't simply be destroyed or abandoned.

For the past year or more I've been studying the ideas put forward by Vedanta which have some resemblance (with significant differences) to some of the sentiments worked out above. After all these years of spiritual searching, this teaching really resonates with me unlike so much of the other stuff I've encountered. For anyone interested, here is a very brief intro: http://www.shiningworld.com/site/index.php/publications/articles?id=71&Itemid=214

"The soul isn't leaving the body, in a dualistic sense, and going to some pretty place where all is happy and good. Rather, the focus of awareness is shifting from this level of vibration to another and the idea of a body is discarded. The body, like a memory, fades away."

For me the distinction between dualism and idealism is only a distinction of words, because what can be described as a change in the focus of consciousness, also can be described as a separation of the soul and the body. And a physicalistic description is also feasible: consider that consciousness comes to dwell in the fabric of reality to a subquantum level.

What is required is to develop better empirical evidence about the existence of an afterlife, because this blog is a minority on how the situation looks in the scientific community today.

\\"How can it be more real if there are things that cannot be learned there that are important?" - Eric//
--------------------

"Soul stuff" is pure consciousness. It occupies neither time nor space and like a gas in a giant cylinder fills the entire void. That is why several NDEers have said "I literally felt like I was everywhere in the Universe at once."

The physics of the place we call "heaven" is very different from the physics that we currently experience here. How do I know what the physics of heaven is like? Because I have read literally thousands of NDEs and they described it to me.

According to near death experiencers heaven is a place where time and space don't seem to exist and where the feelings of oneness and connectedness seem to be infinite and overwhelming. In fact what they describe matches perfectly with how Michael Talbot describes the properties of holographic film - and since many physicists say our Universe has the attributes of a holographic projection - it seems that what simply happens upon the death of the physical body that the "soul" simply transitions from the holographic projection to the holographic film that our Universe is projected from.

So why are we here? Because of those feelings of oneness and connectedness it may be impossible to become or understand what "separateness" is unless one comes here first and experiences it - or what time and space look and feel like - unless one comes here and experiences it first.

What it feels like to be limited to a body, and control that body, and what it was like to live in a 3 dimensional + 1 time universe where time only goes one way and where you have to move through time and space in order to get some place.

Mark Horton in his NDE description said that he simply had to think of a time and place and he was there experiencing it, all of it, and he knew everything about the place simply by focusing his attention on it.

But before you can understand physicality and being in a body and time and place and separation you have to understand they exist in the first place.

There is so much about this life that can only be learned by doing it, driving a car, riding a bike, etc. Taste, seeing, hearing, etc. You have to get in the body and experience being embodied before you can understand what you are seeing and experiencing on the other side. The same reason our distant ancestors didn't make telephones and computers and airplanes. They had to first be thought of first.

Eric wrote,

||Thought provoking piece, Matt. Unfortunately I have been working too hard on federal govt submissions and am pretty much too brain dead to give your post serious consideration :-(||

Thanks, but you seem to be doing alright. :)

||I will say that I like this||

Yes, Spangler's explanation is very sophisticated and seems correct to me.

||The soul isn't leaving the body, in a dualistic sense, and going to some pretty place where all is happy and good. Rather, the focus of awareness is shifting from this level of vibration to another and the idea of a body is discarded. The body, like a memory, fades away. In fact, the body is a memory after "death"; a memory in the realm of dense consciousness because there is NO physical versus mental/spiritual dualism.||

I basically agree. The body is "information," as is the mind. The body can be altered or discarded at other times too, as during a dream.

||All of which leads to why I eschew discussions of realms being more or less "real" or "hoaxes", etc....is a 3D world more "real" than a 2D world? I guess that is what you are exploring. I would say not more real unless you arbitrarily define "real" in a way to make it so.||

I agree. I think the higher level of "reality" of higher dimensions comes from their greater density (not density in the sense of the heaviness of 3D) and higher vibration. There is "more" there. I think this is true. But I also remember reading somewhere (just one thing, I wouldn't consider it a huge trend in the literature or anything), that beings in higher dimensions can crave coming here because the stakes are so high: we have entropy, we can't instantly undo our eff-ups, and there are constant threats, including death. Our world can be seen as both a "hoax" and "hyper-real" at the same time.

||Now I am thinking we need people to define "real" before this discussion can proceed to it's conclusion(s).||

One good example is dreams. In New Age thought (and not necessarily only New Age), we think of dreams as taking place in the Astral, which is 4D. You will notice that people almost never talk about Ascension to 4D; rather, it is to 5D. 4D, for whatever reason that is probably due to the maths involved, is highly unstable. In dreams, there is no entropy, events can be undone, parts elided, etc. (partly due to human psychology, no doubt). We think of dreams as "unreal" because they do not impact our life in 3D (although they do, in our minds). Our deeming them "unreal" has to do with their relationship to our *persistent* reality in 3D.

||Yet, karmic forces, spiritual development, energy levels, etc will dictate where the focus is and, hence, what information is involved in the join process.||

Right.

||A true mystery is what is the entity and the intent to do any of this.||

Indeed! As Ramana Maharshi taught us to say, "Who am 'I'?"

Barbara wrote,

||Matt, I don't understand how higher dimensionality is New Age.||

We New Agers talk about it and theorize about it. It doesn't "belong" to us, of course.

||A key New Age idea is that everything is unfolding as it should.||

I suppose, but there are different ways of looking at that.

||Ascension never happened in 2012 (or 2000 or 1984) and it isn't going to.||

Ascension is an ongoing process. It's not like the Rapture or something, where it happens all at once or is caused by some particular entity. I do believe there are turning points, however, and I think we have definitely entered a new era of connectedness and higher spirituality.

||All graphs (population, climate change, the debt economy, ocean acidification, species extinction, etc) are hitting critical.||

We have some problems to sort out, but I think we will succeed.

||The VR model is one thing; New Ageism is a desperate attitude of impossible optimism that's simply nonsensical.||

I don't see what's nonsensical about it. I find New Agers to be very down-to-earth and hands-on, really. People who bother to be New Age care about others and the planet.

||Surely you can intuit that collapse and anarchy are just around the corner? The feeling most enlightened people really have is akin to the feeling in Europe leading up to WW1.||

I don't agree.

||If you were to say that at least we have a heavenworld to go to, I'd say you cannot separate heaven and earth in the shamanic tradition - both are vital to spirit. Earth can't simply be destroyed or abandoned.||

Ascension isn't about leaving the Earth a la the Rapture. It is about raising the planet's vibration.

I think there's and understanding now with science "Art" that time and space don't exist here either?

I think at a quantum level, if that's how we end up, reality as we know it breaks down.Just my thoughts.

Lyn x.

Matt said, "Ascension isn't about leaving the Earth a la the Rapture. It is about raising the planet's vibration."

You had better tell this to other New Agers, who see things quite differently!

That aside, the World is certainly being impoverished - literally, in terms of resource depletion, species extinction, rich habitat reduction. In terms of your own metaphor, it stands to reason that if there are fewer interesting and diverse 3D shapes, then there will be fewer interesting and diverse 4D or 5D shapes.

I wouldn't worry too much, Barbara. Lately I've been reading a lot on World War II. Now there was a time when the world was in serious trouble! With the Nazis and Fascists in the West and the militant, fanatical Japanese in the East, and with world-historical atrocities like the invasion of Poland and the Rape of Nanking, there was good reason to believe the end had come.

Nowadays we're in exceptionally good shape by historical standards. We're much better off worrying about abstract concerns like climate change or species extinctions than manning the bombadier post in a rattletrap B-24 with antiaircraft flak slicing through the fuselage and Zeros circling for the kill.

We in the modern world have it very soft. It's almost as if we have to invent problems just to give ourselves something to fret over. Our parents and grandparents had no need for this kind of imaginative exercise. They had plenty of real problems to deal with.

Barbara wrote,

||You had better tell this to other New Agers, who see things quite differently!||

New Age isn't a religion, nor do we have dogma; instead we have tendencies to believe one way or another. I'm sure there is a New Ager out there saying any given thing, but in my experience, people are not saying that Ascension is about flying away from planet earth.

[quote]In terms of your own metaphor, it stands to reason that if there are fewer interesting and diverse 3D shapes, then there will be fewer interesting and diverse 4D or 5D shapes.[/quote]Interestingly, there are 5 platonic solids in 3D:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_solid

With respect to higher dimensions, Wiki says this:

"In more than three dimensions, polyhedra generalize to polytopes, with higher-dimensional convex regular polytopes being the equivalents of the three-dimensional Platonic solids.

In the mid-19th century the Swiss mathematician Ludwig Schläfli discovered the four-dimensional analogues of the Platonic solids, called convex regular 4-polytopes. There are exactly six of these figures; five are analogous to the Platonic solids 5-cell as {3,3,3}, 16-cell as {3,3,4}, 600-cell as {3,3,5}, tesseract as {4,3,3}, and 120-cell as {5,3,3}, and a sixth one, the self-dual 24-cell, {3,4,3}.

In all dimensions higher than four, there are only three convex regular polytopes: the simplex as {3,3,...,3}, the hypercube as {4,3,...,3}, and the cross-polytope as {3,3,...,4}.[10] In three dimensions, these coincide with the tetrahedron as {3,3}, the cube as {4,3}, and the octahedron as {3,4}."

So there are more of this *type* of "interesting shape" in 4D but less in 5D. But in terms of geometry on the whole, I'd say that 4D and especially 5D are incredibly interesting.

Michael wrote,

||We in the modern world have it very soft. It's almost as if we have to invent problems just to give ourselves something to fret over.||

Right, you mentioned WWII. A good date to remember is June 22, 1941. That's when Operation Barbarossa (no relationship to commenter Barbara) began. Millions would die in just a few months, and of course Russia lost some 25 million people in the whole war, the most of any country. We just don't have violence on that scale any more, nor is it on the horizon. Let's pray it stays that way.

I think one thing that has people down is that we are in a very Ying period of time that seemed to begin after the tech bubble burst in 2000 and has gotten worse with 9/11 and the economic crash. There just isn't a huge amount of economic, cultural, or other types of energy in the system right now. I think we tend to crave Yang so much that, during a Yin period, we will imagine Yang threats just to have a sense of that energy.

Michael said, "They had plenty of real problems to deal with."

Here's something nicely put together which might make you think again, Michael (although, in my experience, if someone doesn't feel something inside, offering evidence is pretty irrelevant!)
http://xkcd.com/1732/

I used to be much more negative on the state of the world today. But after reading some bios of people who made it through the Depression and WWII, I realized I was being naive and somewhat childish. The problems faced by our parents and grandparents make our problems seem insignificant by comparison. Anyone who doubts this should read (for instance) "Unbroken," the story of a Depression era kid who ended up in the Army Air Corps in the Pacific theater, where he survived bomb runs, air raids, and a plane crash in the middle of the ocean, among other things.

Recently I read about a college professor who is worried that the school mascot, a cartoon bird, has a frightening facial expression that could traumatize incoming students. Do you think the kids of the Unbroken generation would have taken this problem seriously?

I'm not saying we shouldn't do what we can for our environment, but the idea that we're in a uniquely terrible period of history just doesn't hold up when you look at even the fairly recent past. In fact, I'd argue that things were worse in 1970 - kids were being drafted to die in Vietnam, there was a real chance of global nuclear war, the country was being torn apart by riots and assassinations, much of the world was under Soviet dominance, worldwide poverty was much higher than it is now, and people wore tie-dye shirts and bellbottoms. Other than some great music and the moon landings, there wasn't much to feel good about in 1970.

Don't worry, be happy.

Now back to the real subject of this thread - Matt's excellent post!

Barbara,

I have to agree with Michael here. I used to subscribe to the 'end is nigh' point of view, but learning more about history, I've discovered that Reagan was right about 'never having it so good'.

(I'm British by the way, so I'm not promoting a specific US democratic or republican agenda - I just chime with the statement!)

Looking back over history and seeing where we are now, there is really no doubt that the vast majority of the world has never had it so good. Even third world areas, where there is tremendous poverty and its accompanying train of disease, war and death, it's still better to be living in a third world country now, than it was 100 years ago (missionary efforts aside), or 1000 years ago. At least there are aid agencies out there *trying* to help. Even if that help falls short in many respects, for various reasons, the fact that any such attempt to help exists at all is amazing progress, and shows that the world as a whole has progressed along increasingly compassionate lines.

Yes, the headlines are full of stories about endless conflicts. Yes, that's true, but remember that you are getting a distorted view of reality - the only worthwhile news is bad news according to the media. Various regional conflicts are being magnified and rolled out across news networks 24/7.

Meanwhile, 99% of the world's population are actually getting on and living their lives quietly, but you never hear about this - it's not newsworthy.

As for climate change and species extinction, yes, this is an issue which we need to sort out, but we are making progress. Just look at the drive towards renewables - the very fact that we even discuss the topic of renewable energy is nothing short of miraculous, all in the short space of 50 years or so, since it has entered the mass consciousness.

There is no more misused phrase than 'saving the planet'. The planet will survive very well all by itself thank you. Yes, if we don't manage what we are doing more efficiently, then we may cause environmental change and associated species extinction, but this is nothing that the planet can't handle.

The asteroid impact which wiped out the dinosaurs was 100s of times more powerful than all the world's nuclear weapons put together and wiped about 99% of all life on earth - a few millions of years later, and you would never have noticed! That's the kind of timescale that the earth operates by. The idea that we could 'destroy the planet' is nothing more than hyperbole.

In terms of raising consciousness, I can see two identifiable moments when human consciousness was raised on this planet in the past 200 years or so.

The first was the Romantic movement, a reaction against the rationalism of the 18th century, it opened up a deep appreciation of the 'sublime' and raw nature, a sense which has deeply embedded itself into the global consciousness. The national park movement - John Muir's legacy, wildlife preservation, environmentalism, all comes on the back of this raised consciousness. Before this, appreciation of nature for its own sake was not taken for granted, and indeed seems to have been the preserve of a minority of sensitive people - the vast majority viewed 'the wild' as something to be feared. The sense of the sublime and the search for the transcendent in turn led to the rise of the 19th century Occult movement and spiritualism.

The second rise in consciousness was of course the counter culture movement of the 1960s. We are still living with the legacies of both these historical movements to this day. They transformed Western culture, and, like it or not, it is western culture which is informing and moulding world culture today.

The progress we have experienced today is astounding, but sometimes you have to step out of the moment, and look at the wider historical context, to really see how far we have come.

Of course, there are still serious problems to overcome, and I'm certainly not a historicist - I agree with the philosopher Karl Popper that progress is not inevitable, we must always be on our guard to ensure that political, social, and technological progress continues and is not eroded by opposing forces.

In the end though, I agree with Michael that our problems are minor in comparison to those of previous generations, and it's almost like we miss the grim problems that our ancestors faced, and so we search for something else to worry about. When the Cold War ended, we needed another bogeyman. Islamic fundamentalism fitted the bill nicely. However, despite the hyperbole about global terrorism, for those of us who lived through the Cold War, the threat of localised terrorist attacks, including bombings etc, really is quite minor when compared to the Cold War threat of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). We really do live in better times.

I would add the anti-slavery movement to Douglas's list - not only the abolition of slavery throughout most of the developed world in the 19th century, but the subsequent civil rights movement and the sea change in popular attitudes. Compare the depiction of black people in Hollywood movies of the 1930s and '40s with what would be acceptable today. In a little more than a century, the US went from treating blacks as chattel to electing a black president.

Of course, women's rights have also made huge strides, as have gay rights, animal welfare, and the compassionate treatment of the mentally ill and the handicapped.

Really, it's hard to pick just one or two areas of progress. Here's a tidbit: in the 1930s, euthanasia was so fashionable in the US that mandatory sterilization was imposed on "undesirables," a category that included criminals, the handicapped, and Italians! One hospital routinely fed patients tuberculosis-infected milk on the theory that only the fittest patients would survive. (Four in ten died.)

The past is another country; they do things differently there.

I think it may be misleading to generalize about what was "so fashionable" in the US in the 1930s. It's a big country and one had to live in the 30s and 40s to understand the American psyche then. It may be inappropriate to judge the past by the popular attitudes of today.- AOD

Douglas,

Good points!

Michael,

Yours too. Though I think you meant "eugenics." :)

Yes, eugenics. Oops.

"It may be inappropriate to judge the past by the popular attitudes of today." Up to a point, sure ... but feeding hospital patients TB-infected milk on the premise that weaker specimens would be weeded out? I think we can judge that.

Yes, Michael but where did that occur? Was 'feeding patients TB-infected milk' a common practice throughout the US? Was it really "fashionable"? Do you know the name of the hospital(s) where this was practiced? Did sterilizations occur outside of mental institutions---in general hospitals? What was the scale of these practices?

Looking at eugenics from outside of the human experience, it may not be such a bad idea. It is done all of the time with animals other than humans and of course in plants for the betterment of the species. On another planet, in another culture, breeding for the best phenotype may be just an accepted method of responsible reproduction. (I'm not a Nazi, really I'm not!)

It may be that a subtle kind of eugenics in India and other countries was practiced not only in the past with arranged marriages, but continues into today. Probably the aristocracy of Europe practiced a kind of eugenics in the past and clandestinely continues today. Most parents want their children to marry a healthy specimen from a good (genetically sound) family. That may not be such a bad idea.

I think that what most people don't know, is that Darwin's theory of evolution and survival of the fittest included his thoughts about what is now called eugenics ( not really a part of natural selection). And that Darwin along with other scientists of that time entertained the idea that there were from 2 to 22 species (or varieties; or races) of humans starting with those Darwin thought were the least developed or evolved---which he called savages---up to those which he though were the most evolved which he called Europeans. - AOD

I see that in several articles on the internet the mental health center at Lincoln Illinois, about 20 minutes from where I live, was the cited place where TB contaminated milk was reportedly purposely given to residents. (As a governmental regulator, I have inspected this facility several times after it was reopened, having been closed for some years.)

I happen to have had a distant relative that was institutionalized at the Lincoln facility in the 1930s. She was born anencephalic, never grew and died having spent all of her short life in bed.

These types of mental health centers in Illinois were eventually closed or reformed into more benign residential facilities for moderately afflicted individuals who could not be maintained in Community Residential Homes. In fact, I had a great aunt that was confined to the Jacksonville (Illinois) Mental Health Center during the 1940s who was placed there by her husband because she exhibited emotional distress when going through menopause.

Yes indeed, times have changed! - AOD

Seriously though, times were different in the 1930s.

Academics were in a dither over Darwin's theories of evolution and survival of the fittest as well as Mendel's thoughts about genetic inheritance. Those theories seemed to attack belief in God and allowed a system of ethics and morals free from the restraints that religions had imposed for centuries. Eugenics seemed to be an application of Darwin's and Mendel's theories on humans without the restraint of religion.

The country was coming out of a serious depression which left many people homeless, poor and without adequate amounts of food for their families. My own father had a job that paid 50 cents per hour but which did allow him to purchase a 2 bedroom, 1 bath bungalow for $3,500 in what was considered to be a middle class neighborhood. Everyone was expected to carry his own load, support his family and become a responsible citizen.

There were no ever-expanding Federal government entitlement programs to pay for housing, medical care and subsistence for indigents, the insane, the sick and criminals. Expenses for those people had to be borne by county or State governments. People went to the 'County Farm' when they had no one to take care of them. Those who had trouble supporting their own families directly saw, on county farms or near-by state-run mental institutions, their money being used to support people, many of whom had no chance of becoming tax-paying citizens, or in the case of my relative, even surviving for any length of time with any quality of life. What was to be done with these people when supporting them was a drain on the finances of the working class, people who needed to feed their own family.

Tuberculosis was a major cause of death and disability then. Every county had a Tuberculosis Control Board with autonomy to quarantine people in their own homes or to forcibly place them in a TB sanatorium. In my family I had an aunt and a great aunt die of tuberculosis. Pasteurization of milk was being discussed because raw milk sometimes was contaminated with bovine tuberculosis. In a rural county, such as the one Lincoln is in, it would not be unusual for raw milk to be donated to such facilities. I would be interested in whether or not the milk at Lincoln was intentionally inoculated with human tuberculosis mycobacteria or if it was just that raw milk was given to patients.

These are complicated issues and perhaps one had to live in the 1930s to really understand what was going on. - AOD

Here is a thing I think people here would like: https://the-real-seebs.tumblr.com/post/150671656993/id-like-a-break-from-antis-youre-the-kind-of

Here's a revised version of XKCD's global temperature timeline:

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/20/josh-takes-on-xkcds-climate-timeline/

Tragedy is the same however and comes in all forma. World War Two was a long war, there is going to be more loss of life. I'm glad I'm not in Syria and Somalia at the moment, and in Rwanda some years ago.

I think today there is more civil unrest, and with that more unpredictability, with people acting alone. Even countries now are throwing there weight more, I don't think the USA is seen to have the control it once had. As well as more cyber crime, and ability to get coveted information.

There is bound to be more unrest as resources run short, water for one, used to run factories, and needed to drink.

I know about a year ago I read in the paper here an article by a foreign corespondent. On how the UN had been trying for years to get women in key roles within countries and said they had failed miserably.

The UN said that women are treated the worst in the world, and hes talking about now. Worse than those who suffer from racialism, women are at the bottom of the heap.

Living in Asia, I can see that. In the western world it may seem they have more rights, although they don't earn the same as men. It not the same though however in many parts of the world. Lyn x.

I do enjoy reading you posts AOD.

"I do enjoy reading you posts AOD."

So do I. :)

Thanks Paul! I do try to make them entertaining, if not provocative. - AOD

Love the Bangkok Post newspaper here for their articles. Great newspaper, have to give them a plug.

I see BBC news indicating 370,000 children on the brink of starving in Yemen. Higher temperatures now are going to impact many areas of the world and lead to famine.

I read an article in the Bkk Post this morning as well, that indicates with resistance to antibiotics, deaths will be higher than cancer by 2050.

Progress does not always make things better.Lyn x.

Check out Paul Ehrlich's predictions from the 1970s. According to him, by now the whole worid would be starving. Instead, famine is less severe now than at any time in recorded memory. The Green Revolution in agriculture made this possible.

The error that doomsayers always make is to extrapolate in a straight line without allowing for human innovation. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria will require new methods of treatment, but there is every reason to suppose those methods will be found. If planetary temperatures are really rising, farmers will have to grow more crops that flourish in hotter climates, or heat-resistant crops will have to be developed, or hydroponics will come into its own, or synthetic foods will be mass produced, or ... Who knows? No one can predict or set limits to human ingenuity.

I think opposition to materialism as a philosophy sometimes morphs into opposition to science and technology as expressions of materialism, but there is no reason to conflate the two. Science is a method of investigation, not an ontological system. It's only the apostles of "scientism" who think of science as a substitute for metaphysics.

Exactly Michael.

Lynn, you need to get off the doom train. Please don't interpret that to mean that we should become complacent, or ignore the various ills of the world. I'm just suggesting a more balanced perspective. I should point out that every generation in history seems to believe that 'things were better in their day' and that the world is heading for disaster.

This view is as old as the hills. The idea can even be found as far back as classical times, where the myth of the Golden Age was popular. The Human race had passed through various ages, the Golden Age, the Silver Age, and now it was living in the 'Age of Iron and Rust', which was a pale reflection of days gone by. Humans were a shadow of the Age of Heroes, and the world was in a state of decline.

The idea is expressed in Roman literature and might be called a 'proto-Romantic' myth which was fixated with some kind of rustic, bucolic idyll, beloved of Virgil and Horace, an idyll from which we had all become divorced (the ideal of the simple farmer-soldier etc), this decline being the source of all humanity's ills. The 'rural idyll' was always divorced from reality though, as any peasant could have told the poets had they bothered to ask them!


Douglas said,"The 'rural idyll' was always divorced from reality though, as any peasant could have told the poets had they bothered to ask them!"

I think that the 'rural idyll' perhaps does exist in some other reality for everybody who desires it and maybe somewhere in our multi-lifetime memories we long for the time when we lived in that other idyllic reality. Some of those people who report an 'near death experience' describe an environment which sounds to me like a rural idyll.

Perhaps describing something as idyllic depends on having something to compare it with. Was my life in the 40s 50s and 60s idyllic compared to my life now? I guess I would have to say, yes. Those times do seem to have a golden glow about them from my current perspective. Does my life now seem idyllic to someone living in Syria? Probably, yes.

On the earth level of experience, the 'rural idyll' is/was a reality for only a few. Those people who have the wealth to have other people work for them probably experience a kind of 'rural idyll'. Take the fantasy TV series of "Downton Abbey" for example. Those aristocrats in that show had the position, power and wealth to live an idyllic life to the extent that earth life would allow but the peasants who did all of the work in the kitchen, the fields and pig lots may not have described their experience as idyllic at that time. Looking back on it however, it could be that some of them might have seen a 'golden glow' around their lives serving the aristocracy of Downton Abbey. It would depend on the life they were living as they looked back through time at the Downton Abbey experience.

Living in the succotash belt as I do, I have an opportunity to know a few people whom I would describe as living a 'rural idyll' on their 3,000 acre farms and although their mansion is outdone by Downton Abbey, they do seem to be living a good, if not, idyllic life. - AOD

So, Matt Rouge, based on what you have written, would you not agree that *all* worlds that we can inhabit, in whatever form, by definition, are VR?

And that it is therefore incorrect to say that *this* world, to the extent that we even, as individuals, even truly inhabit the same world, is VR and the other(s) more real? Please expound!

Re AOD's more idyllic 40s/50s/60s, I think the era 1945-1963 (end of WWII to Kennedy assassination) *were* a different time in the US. We were on top of the world and it was a time of progress in technology that benefited the average person without burdening (TV, better home appliances, advances in cars, etc.). We were also a more cohesive society, and it was easy to get a job. We were in the "sweet spot" of capitalism. Human psychology is such that people are happy when things are improving.

I was born in 1971, and although there were good things about growing up in the 70s and 80s, I don't get the impression that many people in my generation idolize that time or find it idyllic. Also, the lives of kids today seem pretty similar with the big exception being Internet access--which I think is a good thing overall.

People are POed these days because, even though life in the absolute sense is better than it was in the 1950s, people do not feel that things are improving. People would never want to give up their online lives (not most), but that tech does make work life more intense and burdensome (what did people use to do in offices without an Internet connection or even a computer?).

We are ready for a change, but we don't know the way forward.

Eric wrote,

||So, Matt Rouge, based on what you have written, would you not agree that *all* worlds that we can inhabit, in whatever form, by definition, are VR?||

I think "virtual reality" is a metaphor, a useful one, but I prefer the term "fiat reality," or FR. A priori reality (the laws of mathematics and logic, perhaps some other things, perhaps many other things) hold true in all possible universes, but arbitrary or fiat reality can differ widely.

So yes, I think any world is the way it is (except for a priori reality) for arbitrary reasons, so all is FR or VR. Do we know how it all works on a deep level? No.

||And that it is therefore incorrect to say that *this* world, to the extent that we even, as individuals, even truly inhabit the same world, is VR and the other(s) more real? Please expound!||

Right, our world is no more fake or real than any other. I think perhaps Ebert's observation that this is a "hoax" means perceiving its arbitrary nature.

Ha ha Oh dear. I'm not really a doomsayer, and yep, we are innovative. I don't know how we will solve the problem of an ever increasing populations though. It will probably come down to a big fight. Cheers.

I think it's been proven that we tend to only remember good things from our past, as a way of psychologically protecting ourselves. I had a difficult family life growing up. That means I can vividly remember the plot lines of books I read as a kid, but it's a lot harder to remember family life.

AOD, your comments about Downton Abbey are funny. I loved the series, but it was incredibly unrealistic the way it depicted the relationship between servants and masters, it made me cringe many times. The movie "Gosford Park" is much more accurate - and strangely I both were written by Julian Fellowes.

If everything is virtual reality, then "virtual reality" is meaningless because there is only virtual compared to reality. It's like saying everything is a dream. What can this mean? If only dreams in constrast with the vigil.

Lynn wrote,

||I don't know how we will solve the problem of an ever increasing populations though. It will probably come down to a big fight.||

It depends on the place. The fertility rate in Japan is 1.4 (2.1 is replacement), and the country is expected to lose 1/3 of its population by 2050. The demographic disaster there is already in progress.

Most "developed" countries are below replacement. The US would be below replacement if it were not for immigration.

That doesn't mean, however, that the population is going down in countries that are below replacement, since life expectancy has also been increasing. Pretty soon, 1/4 of the Japanese population will be 65 or older.

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