Archive for January, 2001

sj: commitments

I went to Knoxville a couple weeks ago and served on team for the lifetraining weekend. Roy Whitten was the trainer and he really did a good job. One of the things he talked about was the reason behind the disciplines that they ask people to take on as a part of the weekend; that it is not specifically for the object of the disciplines themselves that they are taken on. Rather the disciplines deal with automatic behaviors (cursing, etc.) and coping behaviors (smoking, etc.) and the point is to notice the mental processes that you use either to justify breaking your discipline or to excuse your action afterward. He said, and I agree, that the same processes that you use to justify breaking small commitments to yourself are the same ones that you use to break big ones.

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for: mlk quote

I got this quote today from a friend of mine at UTK who used it in an article he wrote last year about how much of the Martin Luther King Day holiday goes contrary to the ideals that King held. Has anyone seen this type of statement before from King dealing with economic systems and war? I like the thoughts very much but was unaware that MLK was of such a position.

“We must honestly admit that capitalism has often left a gulf between the superfluous wealth and abject poverty, capsule herbal has created conditions permitting necessities to be taken from the many to give luxuries to the few…”

“Capitalism forgets that life is social, and the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, then I say question the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problems of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.”

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Re: scientific religion

I think I would agree with E that to deny the observations of the majority of the people in the world (in that the descriptions of the divine throughout different cultures and times share common themes) for lack of any known means of measurement is not scientific exactly.

There is a philosophical branch which says that anything not perceptible through the five senses does not exist and perhaps that is closer to what the common understanding of the scientific perspective is.

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for: links

I have been hanging some with the Unitarians here in Huntsville and they send out e-mails every so often. I got these links from them and was entertained:

The first is from Discover magazine on 20 possible apocalypses. One I had never heard of before was this one:

3 Collapse of the vacuum — In the book Cat’s Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut popularized the idea of “ice-nine,” a form of water that is far more stable than the ordinary kind, so it is solid at room temperature. Unleash a bit of it, and suddenly all water on Earth transforms to ice-nine and freezes solid. Ice-nine was a satirical invention, but an abrupt, disastrous phase transition is a possibility. Very early in the history of the universe, according to a leading cosmological model, empty space was full of energy. This state of affairs, called a false vacuum, was highly precarious. A new, more stable kind of vacuum appeared and, like ice-nine, it quickly took over. This transition unleashed a tremendous amount of energy and caused a brief runaway expansion of the cosmos. It is possible that another, even more stable kind of vacuum exists, however. As the universe expands and cools, tiny bubbles of this new kind of vacuum might appear and spread at nearly the speed of light. The laws of physics would change in their wake, and a blast of energy would dash everything to bits. “It makes for a beautiful story, but it’s not very likely,” says Piet Hut of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey. He says he worries more about threats that scientists are more certain of such as rogue black holes.

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