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Friday, 22 September 2017

Slavery, a convergence of human beliefs

A few days ago, the UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimated that 40 million people lived in modern slavery in 2016 (GS, ILO). That is more than 3 times the total number of 12.5 million Africans who were forced into slavery between 1500 and 1866 (Smithsonian). The ILO news report (PDF) got less media attention than the average International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.

It is wrong to assume that only humans indulge in slavery. The slave-making ants, a brood parasite, also enslave their own species. Interestingly, there are 2 types of slave-makers: permanent social parasites and facultative slave-makers. The 1st type cannot live without slaves and will experience high mortality. The 2nd type will adjust to self-sufficiency within 30 days (eg, BBC, Cracked, my blogs on ants-humans, Nat Geo, Wiki).

According to Wikipedia, "evidence of slavery predates written records, and has existed in many cultures. Slavery is rare among hunter-gatherer populations because it requires economic surpluses and a high population density to be viable. [] slavery became widespread only with the invention of agriculture [] about 11,000 years ago".

War and slavery are closely related. In the ancient Sumerian civilization, "serfs and slaves made up majority of population and were responsible for all manual labor. [] Eventually, the Sumerians made slaves of other Sumerians they had captured in their wars with each other, but originally they acquired their slaves from peoples beyond Sumer. [] And they justified their slavery as would others: that their gods had given them victory over an inferior people" (source).

Slavery is rooted in 6 of the 7 Belief systems: Money (trading profit), Philosophy (eg, Aristotle, inferiority), Politics (spoils of war), Religion (eg, holy books), Science (eg, Darwin), and the Truth (eg, Snopes). Slavery might even be an example of a convergence of the 6 selfish human beliefs. This convergence is perhaps the reason that human slavery still exists today. 

Love, the 7th Belief system, is the only selfless human belief compared to the 6 selfish beliefs. Mumford and Sons have beautiful lyrics to reflect this: "Love; it will not betray you, dismay or enslave you, it will set you free". Songs like "Love will set you free" are quite common: Engelbert Humperdinck, Kodaline, Whitesnake. Please listen to my favourite one below.

Someone may now argue that the original text contradicts my argument as "the truth will set you free". However, verse 8:32 of John the Apostle states: "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free". As always, context is crucial and is found in preceding verse 8:31: "So He said to the Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples."

Like any true prophet, Jesus' word was about (selfless) Love. Not Money, not Philosophy, not Politics, not Science, not the Truth, and certainly not Religion as "God has no religion" (Mahatma Gandhi). Please also see my blogs Faith vs Religion and Humanoid Sapiens (5).

Love will set you free (1980) by Carrie Cleveland
artist, bio-1, bio-2info-1, info-2, lyrics, video, Wiki

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Time chill factor

Dutch temperatures always feel different than the official ones due to the wind chill factor. The word "time chill factor" does not exist although the word "chillen" has a time-related meaning nowadays. Nevertheless, everyone feels his/her own relative time compared to the absolute official time, as shown on clocks. PBS: "Since no brain is the same, every person will have their own limits of time perception and their own sphere of now".

The wind chill factor relates to "the perceived decrease in air temperature felt by the body on exposed skin due to the flow of air" (Wiki). Similarly, the "time chill factor" would then relate to the perceived decrease - or increase - in elapsed time as felt by the human mind due to a lack - or abundance - of images and/or sounds.

Today's concept of Time is an ancient Sumerian invention and rooted in astronomy following (i) Earth's daily orbit around its own axis, (ii) the moon's "monthly" (ie, 29.5 day) orbit around Earth, and (iii) Earth's annual orbit around the Sun. Also see yesterday's Fasten your seatbelts blog.

The Sumerian civilization used a Base-60 rather than a decimal or Base-10 system for its calculations. Today, we still have 60 seconds, 60 minutes, and 24 hours in a day rather than 100 seconds, 100 minutes, and 8.64 hours. Base-60 can be divided by more numbers (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) than Base-10 (1, 2, and 5). Also see my blogs on Numbers and Why is Life digital?

It's interesting that the saying "times flies when you're having fun" originated around 1800, shortly after the Industrial Revolution (c. 1760 - 1820/40). I am convinced that the 3 phases of the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100 define the current "time chill factor": (1) Mechanization (19th century), (2) Automation (20th century), (3) Artificially Intelligent Robotics (21st century).

The time chill factor is illustrated by a superb Business Insider video which rightfully claims that it "will change your perception of time". The last 20 seconds of this 3.5 minute video show the enormous acceleration of changes as a result of the Technological Revolution of 1800-2100. Please also see my 24 May 2017 blog on the philosophical belief in Accelerationism.

Marc Bolan (1947-1977) once stated that "time passes so slowly if you are unaware of it and so quickly if you are aware of it". His statement connects the relative awareness and consciousness in the human mind to the absoluteness of time. It also explains why some people feel bored (eg, teenagers), while other people are running out of time. Also see my blog Busy busy busy.

The time chill factor is also relevant to what we refer to as the Now or the Present. Actually, this period is "the recent memory of the immediate past and the expectation of the near future" (PBS). The Now or Present may not even exist given the finite speed of light and/or sound, and the required processing time of our brain. If the Now does exist, it lasts less than a second.

Time (Clock of the Heart) by Culture Club - 1982 - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Time is like a clock in my heart

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Fasten your seatbelts

Earth rotates around its axis with 1,600 km (1,000 miles) per hour. Given Earth’s circumference of some 40,000 km, this process takes 24 hours. We call this morning, afternoon, evening and night. Similarly, Earth also rotates around the Sun with a speed of 107,000 km (66,000 miles) per hour. It takes Earth some 365 days to complete this orbit around the Sun. We refer to this as spring, summer, autumn, and winter (eg, astrosociety).

Rarely do we feel nauseous as our conscious brain does not register Earth’s speed. To some extent, it’s similar to sitting still in a high speed train. You need to look outside and focus on an object to notice speed. Inside a train, both Time and Space feel different.

The Sun (including its orbiting planets like our Earth) is orbiting around the center of the Milky Way Galaxy with a speed of some 70,000 km (43,000 miles) per hour. It takes the Sun some 225 million years to complete this orbit, a.k.a. a galactic year. The Milky Way Galaxy itself travels by 2.1 million km (1.3 million miles) per hour through the Universe. Still, we are oblivious.

The moon orbits around the earth in 29.5 days; we refer to this period as (lunar) months. The moon's average orbital speed is 1,022 km per hour. The moon’s orbit affects Earth’s tides due to gravitational changes. The moon also affects human bodies. The most common example is the female menstruation period. The relationship between lunar positions and sleeping patterns is still debated (eg, AWMP). Yesterday’s New Moon did however affect my sleep.

The Sun’s impact seems relatively clear: daylight and warmth. Sunlight exposure also has negative and positive human health effects. Please also see my related blogs on weather, mood & pain, sunlight & viruses, climate & personality, skin colour. The absence of sunlight causes an urge for sleeping. Several studies indicate that sleeping cleanses our brain from toxic substances (see my 2016 blog). Please also see my sleep related blogs on wintersleep and addiction.

The Sumerian civilisation (my blogs) is the first documented one that studied the movements of the 5 visible planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn), moons and stars (e.g., our Sun). These studies must have resulted in conclusions on the predictability of seasons, tides, weather, etc. The predictability of this information still lives on in almanacs, like the Babylonian Almanac, Dutch Enkhuizer Almanak (1595), and various other almanacs.

The predictability of human character lives on in astrology and in various Zodiacs (eg, Sumerian, Babylonian, Chinese, and Western). Perhaps the thinking was like this: if humans live on Earth then the Gods must live on other planets and stars. Similar to astronomy, the position of these planets and stars "must" predict one's character and destiny at birth.

In comparison with a hard science like astronomy, the soft science of (Chinese and Western) astrology still gives an impressive - about 80% - match: GoToHoroscope (eg, my blog). 

Life in the Fast Lane (1977) by Joe Walsh - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Faster, faster. The lights are turning red.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Find it in your heart

FIND IT IN YOUR HEART (2017) by Michael McDonald

When desire moves from head to heart
You may lose the luxury
To have your fun and play it smart
Take your pleasure and still be free
Oh, the loneliness at the end of every dream
Don’t you know that there’s more to this
Let go of all your reasons
And find something to believe

You gotta find it in your heart
You’ll only find it in your heart
Love’s the truth that sets us free
You’ll only find it in your heart

Now you found someone who cares
You got your life all figured out
But the truth is you’re not really there
‘Till you give in beyond a doubt

Let go of your fantasies
And start looking for something real
Your best thinking is what got you here
Illusion will be shattered by the truth that love reveals

You better find it in your heart
You’ll only find it in your heart
Love’s the key that sets us free
Oh girl, get out of your head

Let go of your fantasies
And start looking for something real
Your best thinking is what got you here
Illusion will be shattered by the truth that love reveals

You better find it in your heart
You gotta find it in your heart
Love will never be the same
Oh girl, get out of your head

You may think it’s a matter of choice
But there’s only one answer, only one voice

REPEAT CHORUS 3x (alt. lines)

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Love, the selfless belief (2)

The conclusions of part 1 of this blog were unexpected. Of the 7 Belief systems, 6 are selfish (Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth) and 1 is selfless (Love). We understand the 6 selfish ones quite well. The 1 belief that is beyond our comprehension, is the selfless one. Love is a fuzzy concept, similar to friendship. No wonder both are related.

Another conclusion was the ageing of the 7 Belief systems: Love has been there for eternity while the other 6 beliefs "only" for several thousands of years. Three of the four ancient Greek words for love - éros (romantic), philía (brotherly/sisterly), and storgē (parental) - apply to another fundamental concept of society: familyAgápe refers to divine/spiritual love, the love of Allah, God or Yahweh for mankind (ie, families) and vice versa.

The concept of family is often referred to as the cornerstone of society. The concept of love is what keeps families together. Without love, families drift apart. Hence, love is the ultimate cornerstone of society. Without love, a society is no longer a society but a sum of individuals. 

Today, there are 7 Belief systems of which Love is the least understood of all. The other 6 are evenly divided over the Knowledge and Power dimensions. Both dimensions created a balance: Knowledge = Power. Since a decade, both dimensions are actively working together - again - on a centuries old concept: immortality (my blogs: 2016, 2017.1, 2017.2).

Immortality has always been a quest of Science (eg, alchemy, elixir of immortality, the Holy Grail, philosopher's stone). These quests needed financing by wealthy principals (Money & Power). Most religions do recognise immortality but only for the Soul, not the Body. Transhumanism is a contemporary philosophical belief related to longevity and immortality.

A quest for immortality is a selfish quest for eternal Life. Longevity and immortality are already becoming a goal for living. Love used to be that goal. Both do not go well together.

The book and film Bicentennial Man (IMDb) deals with the conflict between eternal Life and eternal Love. Isaac Asimov suggests that a choice must be made between eternal Life and eternal Love. 

Today's lack of Love suggests that (selfish) Life may already be replacing (selfless) Love as a goal for living. It may explain the many conflicts all around us.

In 1976, Stevie Wonder already said the same as I do today: Love's in need of love today.

Love's in Need of Love Today (1976) by Stevie Wonder - 

Good morn or evening friends
Here's your friendly announcer
I have serious news to pass on to everybody
What I'm about to say
Could mean the world's disaster
Could change your joy and laughter to tears and pain

It's that love's in need of love today
Don't delay; send yours in right away
Hate's goin' round breaking many hearts
Stop it, please, before it's gone too far

Friday, 15 September 2017

Love, the selfless belief (1)

Early 2015, I completed my concept of the 7 Belief systems by adding Love as a 7th belief system. Three of these 7 beliefs belong to its Knowledge dimension (ie, Philosophy, Science and the Truth) and 3 belong to its Power dimension (ie, Money, Politics, Religion).

The 7th belief system - Love - is however linked to both dimensions through the trinity of Faith (ie, Religion), Hope (ie, Philosophy) and Love. This trinity is known from 1 Corinthians 13 which states the following famous words: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

Verse 2 and 3 of 1 Corinthians 13 links Love to the Knowledge and Power dimensions: (v2) If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (v3) If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Verses 4-7 explain why Love is the greatest of all: (v4) Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (v5) It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (v6) Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. (v7) It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

In other words, Love is selfless (NL: onbaatzuchtig). The "love" for all other 6 belief systems is not selfless but selfish. This "love" may be either be qualified as ambition (Politics, Religion, Science), domination (Philosophy), envyjealousy (the Truth), or greed (Money). 

Love is the only eternal belief system which has been with humanity since its origin. Knowledge can vanish over time. A quote from J.R.R. Tolkien's book The Lord of the Rings: “And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. And for two and a half thousand years, the ring passed out of all knowledge.” Power often matches with human life and ends with human death.

Love is the least understood belief system. In order to describe it, we use adjectives: parental love, brotherly & sisterly love, passionate (or sexual) love, pragmatic love, romantic love, self-love (narcissism), and divine / spiritual love (eg, Allah, God, Yahweh). Let's not forget loving Nature, a friend (friendship), or a country (patriotism).

The ancient Greeks had at least 4 different words for love: agápe, éros, philía, and storgē (Wiki). Canadian psychologist John Alan Lee defines 6 styles of love in his 1973 book Colours of Love (Wiki). A 2016 Psychology Today article defines 7 types of love. Although we have known Love for thousands if not millions of years, we still ask ourselves: What is Love?

What is Love? (1993) by Haddaway - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Banning fossil fuel cars

During 2015, I wrote several blogs on the diesel engine emissions scandal at Volkswagen Audi Group: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4 and part 5. My 6 October 2015 blog predicted that the VW emissions scandal would become a pivotal point for electric cars. In 2016 and 2017, several countries have announced a ban on selling fossil fuel cars: China (timing t.b.d.)France (by 2040), India (by 2030)Norway (by 2025), and UK (by 2040).

The main disadvantage of an electric car is its dismal driving range. The top 10 of electric cars with the "longest" driving range is quite revealing: from 150 to 539 km - or 93 to 335 miles (source). The ultimate solution will be a power grid woven into the main roads that either sells electricity to - or buys electricity from - electric cars (see my 2017 blog).

In the meantime, hydrogen powered cars may fill the gap between fossil fuel and electric cars. Digital Trends: "Driving a hydrogen-powered car has some ups and downs. On the plus side, you get the green benefits of an EV without the range anxiety, because you can refill the car with more hydrogen. On the minus side, hydrogen refueling stations are rare – at least for the moment. It’s also challenging to obtain hydrogen in a way that’s both green and efficient."

Digital Trends: "With the recent arrival of the Honda Clarity, there are now three automakers offering cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The first was the Hyundai ix35 in early 2013, and then came the Toyota Mirai — and more than a dozen other automakers have fuel cell vehicles in development." In 2018, Hyundai will introduce an emission-free hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) which has a target driving range of 580 km (360 miles) on a single charge (JD Powers). 

The existing worldwide number of fossil fuel cars was estimated on 1 billion in 2010 and is expected to grow to 1.5 billion in 2025 and 2 billion in 2040 (eg, GCR, HuffPost, WEF). These numbers are somewhat similar to mobile phones: 1 billion in 2012, and a record number of 1.5 billion smartphone annual shipments in 2016 (eg, eMarketer, Strategy AnalyticsTelegraph). Harvesting precious metals from cars will become an industry as in mobile phones.

There is another analogy that bugs me. In the late 1980s, the sale of vinyl records declined sharply following the success of the compact disc. Around 2000, vinyl records went almost extinct (eg, Forbes). Vinyl record sales are once again booming (eg, clubs, DJs, nostalgia).

The future closing of oil refineries may however never happen if and when electricity grids are as vulnerable as they now appear to be. The Guardian, 6 September 2017: "Hackers attacking US and European energy firms could sabotage power grids". Or Washington Post, 12 June 2017: "Russia has developed a cyberweapon that can disrupt power grids, according to new research".

The Automotive industry was once built on human emotion (ie, love). Americans and Europeans still fear self-driving cars (eg, Fortune, GM, IJ, Newsmax). Hacking electricity grids may even cause an early death of EVs. Nostalgia for fossil fuel driven cars may return sooner than we think.

Nostalgia (1984) by David Sylvian - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

The sound of waves in a pool of water
I'm drowning in my nostalgia