Books and Blogs for serious thinkers from David Anderson
BIO I (early on)
I was very young then. The soon to be Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia—Faisal bin Abdelaziz Al Saud who later became King and then was murdered by his nephew—stepped out of a black Lincoln limousine in the drive of our home in Alpine, New Jersey. He was surrounded by body guards. Today, so many years later I can still picture every detail. I can still feel the awe of his presence.
Was that the moment I made my decision ? It may have been. If my father, a Swedish sailor immigrant's son starting in his youth as a Wall Street runner could become the most powerful American banker for all of the Middle East at the House of Morgan, so important that even this princely man from Saudi Arabia would visit him at our home to drink coffee and eat my mother’s pastries, why couldn’t I be like him?
So, later I set out to follow that dream. Over the years it took me to every corner of the world.
It was a dream that ended with an answer to these questions:
Why are we here ?
Why are we what we are ?
Where will it lead us ?
BIO II (then came my career)
Over my career I was an international risk manager and senior executive at several of America’s premier multinational institutions. I am a graduate of Dartmouth College '55 and the Harvard Advanced Management Program. I served my country in the US Army Adjutant Gereral Corps.
I bring together a wide range of interests in my writings, namely; theology, history, evolutionary anthropology, philosophy, geopolitics, and economics. During my career I became increasingly aware of the underlying cultural, institutional and religious causes of past and present civilizational dysfunction.
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Apocalypse ? ?
A Return to the Permian-Triassic Extinction
My Blog 79
In my new book I examine an area of our thought process that is the primary cause of our extinction possibility; the dark neurotic psychotic side of the human brain.
That “dark side” is driven by a self-serving dynamic. We allow it to enrapture us. It can turn us against each other. We have been and continue to be witness to it in our interactions interpersonally and internationally.
We brought it with us when we moved out of Africa into this Anthropocene Age.
It was acknowledged early on in Judaism at the time of Moses by the Yon Kippur Day of Atonement. (and remains so)
Years later in the 6th/5th century BCE Jeremiah wrote:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?”
It became a foundation of Christianity with the belief that the crucifixion of Jesus was expiation for our sins and with his return after the Apocalypse there will be a world of eternal perfection. (Belief in this sudden apocalyptic GOD intervention began with early Judaism)
The ancient Greeks recognized this “dark side”. Here is an 8th century BCE quote from Homer’s Illiad:
“Hateful to me as the gates of Hades is that man who hides one thing in his heart and speaksanother.”
In a more recent period of history this “dark side” was identified by the philosopher Thomas Hobbes 1588-1679 in his Leviathan.
“Moral philosophy is nothing else but the science of what is good and evil….”
There continues to be clear evidence of our having this "dark side". It has become most dangerous in the form of wars between opposing groups of humans. (Between 1900 and 1990, 43 million soldiers died in wars. During the same period, 62 million civilians were killed)
Now in the 21st century it may be about to bring on our end.
An issue continues to be war, with Atomic the most frightening, but now there is a dangerously intractable other. It is the result of our separation from the power of Nature. With our move out of Africa three million plus years of evolutionary codependence was no more.
We refused to recognize that all forms of life on Planet Earth including our own need to be symbiotically at one with Nature. Even in our philosophical/religious thought the earth was now ours to be used and abused. (original Hebraic mandate did call for Earth's care but was soon cast aside)
So with our new found powers we began not only to alienate ourselves from each other but from the Biosphere of our Planet without recognizing that like any other organism within its Biosphere that does not live in cohesive harmony with its Biosphere the end result is rejection.
This leaves us today with an existential problem. If we continue to think the way we think and live the way we live, Nature will drive us to extinction.
Yet Humanity refuses to acknowledge this or the need for change. Yes, a few enlightened individuals here and there, and certainly most of the scientific community, but all with limited influence. The general population lives in a cloud of optimism bias. (Brought with us from our later evolutionary period) It had been one of our hominid strengths. It had allowed us to move forward without fear of harm.
It has now become our enemy. Because of this optimism bias, we are not able to grasp the fact that we humans have only limited control over Nature. And for all our technological powers, we are not able to comprehend that ultimately we are subject to planetary forces over which we have no control.
One reality we refuse to face is that Capital markets have grown to a size where they are energizing ecologically destructive forces that are destroying our planet.
Another reality we refuse to face is the possibility of a Methane Hydrate Feedback Loop in the Arctic like the one that initiated the Permian-Triassic extinction 252 million years ago. ( confirmed by the World Bank in 2012 ) We were warned that without quick action to curb CO2 emissions, temperatures are likely to increase there by 4 degrees Centigrade and that is dangerously close to the 6 degree Centigrade temperature rise that initiated the vast amounts of Methane release that caused the extinction.
Another reality we refuse to face is that we must reduce our population size. (now more than double what it was when I was in High School) Earth’s supplies of habitable land, fresh water, arable soil and mineral resources are not able to satisfy our needs.
Another reality we refuse to face is that the South Pole is rapidly warming. Surface air temperatures there have been rising since the 1990s at a rate that is three times faster than the global average. The result: Parts of coastal Antarctica are losing ice. As that ice melts and oceans rise, there are disastrous implications for the population living in coastal areas.
Another reality we refuse to face is that ocean acidification is threatening much of the marine food web. Rising carbon dioxide emissions since the Industrial Revolution have caused the oceans to become 30 percent more acidic. The estimate is 150 percent more by 2100.
And there are many others.
Where then do we begin? How much time do we have? Many scientists are telling us that far reaching changes must take place over the next 25/50 years. And they need to be of the magnitude that came with the beginning of our Anthropocene Age. All of human society has to change the way it thinks and the way it lives.
There have been changes in our past but they have always been regional and each has taken much time; Egyptian changes, early and late Hebraic changes, Asian changes, Greco Roman Hellenistic changes, Post Roman Christian changes, European Enlightenment changes. The question for our New Age is this: Can we make the needed far reaching ecological changes globally in just 25/50 years?
And if there are no changes, what then? The suffering of future generations will be extreme. First, those billions of humans living on the edge of survival will perish. We are already seeing this die off in many parts of the world. (124 F. in Baghdad as of this writing) Then, the pain will move onto the rest of society.
Planet Earth is saying to Homo sapiens, using its unforgiving evolutionary language of rejection; you must change the way you think and the way you live and you must do it now.
So here is the question for our Age: Is there a way for us to break out of this downward spiral? The answer: Yes, there is. But first we must examine many of those existing Anthropocene patterns of thought and behavior believed today to contain "inherent truths" that have become our enemy.
The task will be daunting. It will require us to reinvent much of what we have believed to be true and justified. We will have to rethink who and what we are and put in place new structures encompassing our lifestyles, our economics, our political systems, our laws, our social and religious systems. We will have to reexamine our Raison d'etre. (reason for being)
The biosphere is finite. We must find a way to live in a congruent state within that finitude. Today’s patchwork of repairs and technological fixes will not suffice. A totally new societal design is called for; one leading to an entirely new societal structure, a structure whereby humans can live in concert with Nature itself. Our continuation rests on that premise.
A new design cannot be implemented without first examining the core of our Anthropocene Age weakness; the release of our dark neurotic psychotic side. It will require a metamorphosis of the twenty-first century human mind.
It will also require a return to the horizontal transcendental symbiotic relationship with Nature that had successfully guided our evolutionary development.
At this point two quotes from the lost Gospel of Thomas (discussed in my new book) discovered at Nag Hammadi, Egypt in 1945 are in order:
(3) The Kingdom is in inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize who you are.
(77) I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all came forth, and to me all attained. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.
Can there emerge a higher level of human consciousness, redefining the cosmic and planetary purpose of our human species by way of a new form of insight?
Can we come to this realization fast enough?Will our “dark neurotic psychotic side” be the obstacle? There is a measure of hope. Again I quote from the lost Gospel of Thomas:
(7) Jesus said; blessed is the lion which when consumed by man becomes man, and cursed is the man whom the lion consumes….
The Gospel of Thomas metaphor is for this Age problematic. Yes there are those in our society who are in control of the lion within, but they are a minority.
According to a French Annales School theory called L’histoire événementielle, human civilization moves in one direction or another at its own speed regardless of enlightened intellectual discovery. So according to that theory, at our present pace we are not and in all probability will not move fast enough to save ourselves from extinction.
Let me end with a quote from Albert Einstein:
“The problems in the world today are so enormous they cannot be solved with the level of thinking that created them.”
For supporting Blogs klick above on "Current Blogs" and then go to:
77 Planet Earth Reality Check-Survival Homo sapiens
76 Gaia Reality Coming Back to Haunt Us
75 A eukaryotic/neurotic/psychotic thinking imperfection we brought with us into this New Age