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Detail, and the Golden Rule
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Started by rshowalter at 09:33am Jul 7, 2002 BST

The Golden Rule is an old, old idea - present in many cultures. Perhaps it is important enough to discuss - and perhaps it can be focused some, in matters of detail.

    Added, February 15, 2004 . . . . In looking at this DETAIL, AND THE GOLDEN RULE link, I can now say - as I could not say then, that Dwight D. Eisenhower "looked like God to me" from where I was when I worked under him - and in some ways William Casey resembled "the devil himself."


rshowalter - 09:36am Jul 7, 2002 BST (#1 of 41)

I will be reposting here a copy of Detail, and the Golden Rule Guardian Talk, Issues Started by rshowalter at 10:51pm Sep 10, 2001 BST http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?14@@.ee8b441/0 . . . with modifications for crossreferencing with the current NYT Missile Defense Board, and with some of the references to links on the MD board that are no longer active copied onto Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness? Guardian Talk, Issues, and linked, via the NYT Missile Defense board

Issues of my security classification status have been discussed with CIA since this thread was removed, and though some issues remain to be resolved, and some discussions are ongoing, the relationship is far enough along, and agreements know to the NYT (near the masthead) are far enough along that there is no difficulty, in terms of my US legal or moral obligations, in refiling this. I deeply appreciate the chance to do so.

MD2565

MD2589-2590

MD2866-7

I believe that this reposting is entirely appropriate, and relevant to current events. The United States government, I believe, and others believe, has taken some stances in internatinal affairs that might be refocused or changed if the Bush administration paid more focused attention to the old idea of the golden rule.


rshowalter - 03:23pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#2 of 41)

This is a condensation and reposting of a thread started by Beckvaa on Feb 2-- "If Jesus was alive today . . ."

I'm posting it because I care about the subject, and I'm putting it up now to facilitate some discussions on Missile Defense going on in the New York Times - Science - Missile Defense forum thread. http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/2484

I've posted a good deal about the NYT Missile Defense thread on other Guardian Talk threads, including Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there?

xpat "Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there?" Fri 28/07/2000 21:55 http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@13543@.ee7726f/0 and Psychwarfare, Casablanca -- and terror Tue 24/10/2000 21:57 http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@8908765@.ee7a163/0 , threads Dawn Riley and I are very proud of.

I let this thread lapse in early August, but am reposting it now because of discourse in the Missile Defense thread. gisterme , a very frequent poster on the MD board, who I believe to have connections in high places in the Bush administation, posted MD8731. . . posted MD8731. . .

and I felt duty bound to post the following postings.

MD8737-8742 MD8737-8742

In MD8741 I said I would repost this thread, and I do so now.

Active links to these references via the NYT MD board shortly after http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3616


rshowalter - 03:24pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#3 of 41)

One day after September 10th, when this thread was last posted, our world changed, and a lot has happened since. One thing that has happened to me is that I've worked hard, and made some progress with some much-appreciated help, in getting out of a mess due to my connection with the Cold War - - something I could not disclose when this thread was first written.

    From 1970 on, I was given special attention in some ways similar to that given Will in the movie Good Will Hunting http://www.eonline.com/Facts/Movies/0,60,63329,00.html - - but without the rebellion - and I worked in ways that I thought, and government people I worked with thought, were the opposite of rebellions - the opposite of anti-social. I had some of the training that is in some inaccurate ways depicted in The Bourne Identity http://www.bourne-identity.com/ - - not as an assassin, but as background, and to see how I handled it. I was very concerned, and people around me were concerned, with the difficulties and instabilities treated in the movie The Sum of All Fears http://movies.go.com/movies/S/sumofallfearsthe_2001/ , and also the movie Thirteen Days http://www.movie-list.com/t/thirteendays.shtml - - and people thought, and I thought, that I could make a contribution. I worked hard to do so - for selfish reasons, and because I was concerned. I've continued to work on some of these issues on this thread.
MD2770 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3445 . . . MD2771 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3446

Some of my background training was connected to issues of mathematicsand physical description that our culture, alas, sometimes both worships and fears.

But there's nothing especially supernatural about the stories I've had to tell, though in a sense, they have been "spooky." Debuting: One Spy, Unshaken By GEORGE F. CUSTEN http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/23/weekinreview/23CUST.html

http://www.mrshowalter.net/DebutingOneSpy_Unshaken.htm

My concerns about the dangers of nuclear weapons, and some of the instabilities I've seen in some patterns in the Bush administration, have been entirely genuine. Playing Know and Tell by JOHN SCHWARTZ http://www.nytimes.com/2002/06/09/weekinreview/09BOXA.html

http://www.mrshowalter.net/PlayingKnowAndTell.htm . . . MD2540 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3166

MD2854-2857 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3548

There's no need to assume that I've been speaking to the diety -- I've been claiming that I was briefed, instead, by a man some think of as "the devil himself" -- Bill Casey. And I've been working hard, for a long time, asking people to check this - and tried to provide many leads that they could check.

My concerns about "last and final things" - and about decent, stable human relations - are perfectly real - and the amount of work I've done related to these issues is a matter of record.

The churches are full of people who feel that God speaks to them in some sense. I've sometimes felt that way myself, and I feel that I have as much right to feel that God may have spoken to me as two prominant born-again Christians in the present U.S. administration - Attorney General John Ashcroft and President George W. Bush.

I feel sure that I am a "child of nature" -- much less sure that I'm a "child of God." My faith in God is not at all strong. I'm a doubter. I don't think my maternal grandfather, who was a competent clergyman, would have been surprised or uncomfortable with that. A lot of people feel that way.

But I have been professionally concerned, for a long time, with human interactions. And the stability of human relations. I feel sure that these are key things to check, every which way, when stability matters enough to think hard about:

Berle's Laws of Power
Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs
The Golden Rule

"Solutions" not consistent with these constraining patterns may work for a short time, or with great strains on parts of the human system involved -- but they are unstable.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs by William G. Huitt http://chiron.valdosta.edu/whuitt/col/regsys/maslow.html . . . especially the image.

Berle and Maslow: MD667-8 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/826

It seems to me that people need to think harder - more competently - more concretely about the golden rule - - an old idea that might do with some sharpening. This thread is about that.


rshowalter - 03:26pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#4 of 41)

From a systems point of view, I think this.

    Any God worth respecting at all, looking at the world as it is, would deliver any message SHE felt called upon to deliver in as nonsectarian, or nondenominational, or religiously ambiguous manner as could possibly occur.
If, with the help of my partner Dawn Riley, who has done so much of what we've done together, we have worked out messages worth knowing -- and I believe we have -- they are messages that we hope can be useful, and accomodated, within very many religious, ethical and philosophical traditions.

Can you put the story together as a story of somebody fingered by a God, and, at considerable inconvenience, coerced into working something out for mankind? It seems to me that you can, and the details I know fit that.

You can also, I believe, construct explanations in scientific, or agnostic mode. These are the explanations that I most often prefer.

Either way, the human lessons are the same lessons, and just as useful as they happen to be, no matter how those lessons were learned.


rshowalter - 03:26pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#5 of 41)

Some summaries of my background, that may perhaps interest some. One may call these "stories."

MD6057

MD6370-1 MD6397 MD6398-9 MD6400 MD7385-6 ... MD7388-9 ... MD7390

Active links to these references via the NYT MD board shortly after http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3616


rshowalter - 03:27pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#6 of 41)

At one level of another, "the golden rule" is probably as old as the species homo , but even so, it is an important message to state clearly, in ways that people can use.

All modern religions have something like it. We can set it out in the Christian tradition -- trying to do so at such a simple level that it will be common ground for many people, of many religions and many religious views, including athiests who are also humanists.

Let's imagine, for the sake of argument, that Jesus was what he said he was, and what a lot of people around him thought he was - a man, chosen somehow by God, to deliver a message.

Not such a strange idea, if you believe in God at all. Given the horror of the Roman Empire, if a God was around, that God might well have wanted to intervene. That makes a certain amount of sense to me.

"THE GOLDEN RULE" - the basic message that Jesus delivered, was a very good message for that time (and for our time as well) - a message that, somehow, didn't do as well as one would like.

That clear message may have broken down the Roman Empire, but didn't lead to a better sociotechnical system for people to live in.

The Middle Ages were a mess. People didn't find ways to redeem many situations that went from bad to worse to total breakdown, over centuries.

Maybe Jesus did the best he could to deliver a full message that could have avoided that - but somehow fell short.

Maybe people couldn't have heard such a message, no matter how eloquently he delivered it.

Maybe he was imperfectly briefed by God.

    Anyway, the story is that a man got fingered by God for a specific intervention - to teach a specific, limited, fairly simple lesson. And, after working hard, doing his best, enduring much, getting his ego occasionally stroked, and sometimes feeling very good about himself, he got crucified for it.
With the lesson, so far as we can know, taught.
    That's the story.


    rshowalter - 03:28pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#7 of 41)

    If God saw a mess today, and had to get that mess cleaned up by a person (or a pair of people, or a small group of persons) that job would have to be pretty simple, and pretty basic.

    How might this hypothetical God go about it? It would be hard, even if the message was simple.

    You can consider the story of Jesus, and believe it, and believe the effects of his teaching were as powerful as Christians believe, and not believe in God at all.

    Perhaps, somehow, Jesus saw something plain that was less plain to others, felt he had a duty to do, and did it as best he could.

    He could be a very great teacher, and "The Golden Rule" could be as important as it is felt to be, without necessarily evoking the notion of God.


    rshowalter - 03:29pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#8 of 41)

    If a figure or messiah team was fingered by a competent God today, religious aspects of his message would have to be entirely ambiguous and deniable. Religious wars are a mess, and different peoples need different cultures.

    But, if the messages that needed to be delivered were simple enough, and essentially secular enough, the religious status of the messiah figure might be kept entirely ambiguous to all concerned - including the messiah figure himself.

    Ideally, religous folks would feel reinforced in their religious beliefs, scoffers would feel reinforced in their beliefs about the glory of secular humanism, everyone could go to Hell in their own way, yet the lessons that had to be delivered could get delivered, and the reasons the competent God had to get the messages delivered might be served.

    If the messages involved are simple enough for human flesh to work out and deliver, why not?


    rshowalter - 03:30pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#9 of 41)

    Here's the crux of the message - not a very complicated one:

    Bigotry comes from all sides - and nobody CAN see every other point of view. Few enough are clear about their own ideas.

    Tolerance that is sophisticated enough to be workable is intellectually harder than intolerance, or pat answers.

    I think if Jesus was alive today, he might cry out.

      " Hey, you guys didn't get it the way I hoped you would about the Golden Rule -- you have to think , and think hard, to figure out how to make the Golden Rule apply to complicated circumstances, and real people. .
      And you have to check to see that you haven't missed something, if things matter enough to be careful about."
    Maybe that'd be all the new message that'd be needed.


    rshowalter - 03:31pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#10 of 41)

    The "Golden Rule" is a minimal standard, but very good for the basic interactions that peace and economic cooperation takes. Practically every religious and cultural group pays some lip service to the "golden rule." The form I remember reads

      " Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. "
    Few but the a tiny group of the most conscientious people today think of this in the literal, explicit sense world peace and prosperity needs.

    The Golden Rule is less than a workable, comprehensive guide to living.

    But now, it is worse used than it ought to be, since "others" in the rule is usually read to be "others within my group" and not "others in outside groups, as well." The point needs to be taught, with intellectually clear context, today.

    For complicated practical cases the "golden rule" has to be subject to qualifications, especially when it applies outside a group. But the golden rule counts "when it really matters" ... "when cooperation is required" ..... "when things are going wrong." It isn't necessary or desirable, to do away with the tribal ties that bind and provide identity. But workable, nonpathological interfaces between tribes ARE required.

    When peace seems impossible, these interfaces are lacking. The problem is emotional, of course, but it has a large intellectual content, too.

    The "golden rule" is especially important when passions stand against it - when the people involved hate each other. It is then that the "golden rule" is most essential for complex cooperation and for peace.

    How would you want an enemy to treat you? You'd be repelled if he attempted to embrace you. Instead, b you'd want clear communication, with clear, proportionate and credible threats and incentives.

    You'd want clear rules of conduct agreed upon between you, that you could each abide by. So that you could cooperate, stay out of each other's way, maintain each other's dignity, and interact as efficiently and honorably as possible. Neither side would have to love, or forgive, or like the other. Neither side would have a right to expect it. What each side would want would be a way of living together in peace.

    Friendship, if it happened at all, would come much later. First, livable patterns of peaceful interaction need to be fashioned. In the Middle East, and elsewhere these are needed. And they are possible only if all sides can remember that even their enemies are full, complicated, vulnerable, dangerous human beings.


    rshowalter - 03:32pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#11 of 41)

    It may be that in the Middle East, and other places where human cooperation goes grossly, perversely wrong, people are failing, at the level of intellect, imagination, and feeling, to understand what workable reciprocity must mean.

    The "Golden Rule" is intensely practical, when people (who may be very different, who may not like each other, who may know different things) have to cooperate and live and work with each other.

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This admonition, in various forms, at various levels of focus, may be as old as civilization. Every religious person in the Middle East is probably indentified with a religion that reveres this "rule" at some level.

    But if the "others" in question are too different, if they are not of the same tribe, if the stakes are too high, the "golden rule" seems to break down completely. People cease to think of each other as human beings.

    And neither high levels of peace, nor cooperation, nor prosperity are possible among groups that can't deal with each other as human beings.

    This, in my view, may be the biggest, most pervasive source of problems in the world today, and the most basic cause of ugliness in the sorry saga that is much of human history.

    When different groups interact, and when things are complicated, and when group identity must be maintained, not surrendered, then "The Golden Rule" presents intellectual challenges, challenges of discipline, and challenges of sympathy that have not been satisfactorily worked out. That's true everywhere, but is especially true in the parts of the world where human cooperation and tolerance fail most conspicuously.


    rshowalter - 03:33pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#12 of 41)

    In my view, the most practical, life-and-death problem in the world today may be at once a social and a religious problem. It needs more discussion than it has gotten.

    For example, the doings in the Middle East seem incomprehensibly nightmarish. I feel that consideration of pervasive, complicated breakdowns of "the Golden Rule" explains a lot of the horror.

    And I also feel that careful discussion of the "Golden Rule" in complicated cases, that moves minds and hearts, may be essential for any workable peace in the region.

    And essential, also, to workable solutions to many many other circumstances where people look stupid and ugly -- often the same people who can be very beautiful in other ways.


    rshowalter - 03:33pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#13 of 41)

    There are some specific and somewhat technical issues that may be useful to consider, when trying to practically apply The Golden Rule

    I've said elsewhere that I believe that the code of the brain is in breakable condition - that we can start to break that code now.

    My partner Dawn Riley and I have been engaged in something related - breaking the code of i "the social-linguistic construction of reality" , showing how it works by example, and combing out some consistent, correctable errors in the construction procedures by which we usually construct our "reality."

    We've been at that for about a year now - the first big chunk of it we'd show others is in "Paradign Shift - Whose Getting There" xpat "Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there?" Fri 28/07/2000 21:55 http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@7000007@.ee7726f/0

    Where, if you look, you'll see how far we had to go, and how much the work we've done has been a partnership effort.

    We've kept talking about social-logical construction of "reality", thinking about it, and kept trying to make it clearer and clearer, more and more condensed. Working for focus. We think that's how a lot of useful intellectual work gets done. We think we've gotten somewhere.


    rshowalter - 03:34pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#14 of 41)

    We're suggesting a more disciplined search for beauty.

    We've specifically worked on concerns about war, and about breakdowns of complex cooperation that produce human disfunction and poverty.

    We've also come to think that there is something natural, something fundamental, about man's inhumanity to others, when the others are "outsiders" in some sense -- that we have to be careful, and construct patterns where horror can be avoided, and cooperation can come into being. Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness? rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Sun 12/11/2000 18:11 http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@007007007xxx@.ee7b085/0


    rshowalter - 03:35pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#15 of 41)

    In my view, America is sick, and western culture as well, in a practical and moral sense, that may be able to improved significantly. There's a disjunction, in the culture, between

      aesthetics, .
      technical manipulation of objective and human facts, .
      and morality.
    As a result, things in America that seem well run, and beautiful within a limited perspective, coexist with the most wrenching disproportion and ugliness.

    The connection between aesthetics, objective and human fact, and morality seems to me well framed if one thinks of "beauty" as the word is often used informally, and it's opposite, "ugliness."

    In "Beauty" http://www.everreader.com/beauty.htm Mark Anderson quotes Heisenberg's definition of beauty in the exact sciences:

      " beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole. "
    The connection to objective fact seems apparent - falsehood is ugly (and hence, in human terms, always has something of the impractical about it.) The beautiful, in this scientific sense, must be thought to be true, and the reasons for thinking so have to be good ones. The connection to morality, in my view, is apparent also.

    I think the argument that

      " something that,carefully considered, in detail, looks like it includes avoidable ugliness is probably immoral"
    is much under-used, though that argument, in implicit and less sharp forms, is widespread. And maybe primordial.

    In this sense, "beauty" "morality" and "competent manipulation of the objective" are ALL cultural constructs, and depend, in the dirty and complex world, on priority orderings.


    rshowalter - 03:36pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#16 of 41)

    For example, I'm running a negotiation, involving a paradigm change, and I was carefully coached on the need for priority ordering some years ago, by a wise bureacrat.

    My priority ordering, this time, says that I must find accomodations that serve, in order of consideration and importance

      The national interest .
      The interest of a major newspaper, taken as an exemplar of "the public good as percieved by a moderatly elite readership" .
      The interest of the scientific community in general .
      The interest of the University I'm part of, .
      and my own interest.
    This isn't an altruistic or impractical ordering.
    Thinking about the priorities, with that ordering, combs out a number of alternative courses of action, and tends to organize thought in directions that meet the real social and intellectual needs that workable action, in our society, really requires.

    In my own case, if I can meet the priorities above my own in order, I'm in a pretty good position to strike a good deal for myself, and to do so in a way that permits me to work effectively, flexibly, and comfortably, as a member of the society in which I live, with the obligations that I have accrued, considered in practical detail.


    rshowalter - 03:37pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#17 of 41)

    I think nuclear weapons are unbearably ugly, with the moral and practical difficulties overwhelming ugliness carries. I think that if the problems were adressed by the governments involved, with priorities explicitly clear, accomodations much better than the present ones could be worked out.


    rshowalter - 03:38pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#18 of 41)

    I believe that "getting to beauty" is somehow what happens in our minds, by standards in our minds, when we "get to really be comfortable with an idea."

    It seems to me that it is worth taking another pass, at the discussion of beauty here. A focusing pass.

    I'll call it

      " An operational definition of Good Theory in real sciences for real people.
    In "Beauty" http://www.everreader.com/beauty.htm Mark Anderson quotes Heisenberg's definition of beauty in the exact sciences:

      " Beauty is the proper conformity of the parts to one another and to the whole."
    SUGGESTED DEFINITION: Good theory is an attempt to produce beauty in Heisenberg's sense in a SPECIFIC context of assumption and data.

    Goodness can be judged in terms of that context,

    and also the fit with other contexts
    that, for logical reasons,
    have to fit together.

    The beauty, and ugliness, of a theory can be judged, in terms of the context it was built for, and other contexts, including the context provided by data not previously considered.

    Words, pictures
    and math (our means of expressing the quantitative)
    have to fit together

    comfortably and workably,

    both

    as far as internal consistency goes,

    and

    in terms of fit to what the theory
    is supposed to describe.

    Theories that are useful work comfortably in people's heads.

    Both the "beauty" and "ugliness" of theory are

    INTERESTING.

    Both notions are contextual, and cultural.

    Ugliness is an especially interesting notion.

    To make theory better, you have to look for ways
    that the theory is ugly, study these, and fix them.

    The ugly parts are where new beauty is to be found.

    ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

      ( Note: Dawn Riley thinks "dissonant" is nicer than "ugly", and she's right, and I think that "ugly" is sharper, and closer to the human interest, and that seems right, too. So we're weighing word choices here. We have analogous differences, with me tending toward the stark, and she tending toward the gentle but precise, from time to time. )
    A lot of people think it is ugly to pointing out weaknesses, uglinesses, of other people's ideas and theories. Perhaps so.

    But there's reason to do it: ... the ugly parts provide clues to new progress -- hope that new, more powerful kinds of theoretical and practical beauty can be found.


    rshowalter - 03:38pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#19 of 41)

    Here's a part were I did more work than Dawn Riley, though she was indispensible:

      " To make good theory, in complex circumstances, beauty coming into focus must be judged, and shaped, in a priority ordering - and even though the priorities may be shifted for different attempts at beauty, the priorities need to be remembered, and questions of "what is beautiful" and "what ugly" have to be asked in terms of these priorities.
    Dawn has been completely indispensible, and mostly responsible, here, and has been a world intellectual leader, here, for years:

      " Intellectual work, and scientific work, is an effort to find previously hidden beauty , and this is what moves people, and warms people. This need for beauty must be remembered, and not stripped away.


    rshowalter - 03:39pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#20 of 41)

    As Dawn and I talked and talked, especially from a perspective she knows a lot about - evolutionary psychology, the idea condensed that people as animals had particular adaptations for dealing with "outsiders" that made sense for paleolithic team hunters, but made much less sense today. And so with Dawn's encouragement and guidance I started a thread on Nov 12 2000 that we've continued Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness? rshowalter "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Sun 12/11/2000 18:11

    Here is how it starts:

      " Looking at the world, there are so many cases of "unthinkable" and "unexplainable" evil and negligence, that the mind and heart recoils. People recall such behavior among the Nazis, and recoil, as well they might. How could "civilized, aesthetically sensitive, cultured people" ALSO act so monstrously, and with such clear and sophisticated murderous intent. .
      " But is this behavior so strange? Or is it the NATURAL state of people, dealing with outsiders, outsiders who they naturally dehumanize, and deal with as heartless, exploitive predators? Is it civilization and mercy that are the "unnatural" things - the things that have to be taught, and negotiated into being, and strived for? .
      " I'm coming to think that it is just as natural for people to act "inhumanly" - that is cruelly, and in a dehumanizing way, towards OUTSIDERS, as it is natural for people to act warmly, and with accommodation and mutual support, for people WITHIN their group. .
      " I'm coming to the view that, just as there is an instinct for language, and an instinct for becoming a part of a group, inborn in humans, there is an instinct to exclude outsiders, to dehumanize them, to withhold cooperation from them, and to treat them as animals, subject to manipulation an predation. I'm coming to believe that this treatment of outsiders is an instinctive species characteristic, evolved over the millions of years when people lived as gatherers and team hunters. .
      " If this is true, we all have the basic instincts to be kind, sensitive, and good, within our groups, but at the same time are naturally "monsters" in our behavior toward outsiders. .
      " If this is right, the role of civilization is to find ways of peace and effective cooperation where isolation, conflict, duplicity, and merciless manipulation, including murder, might otherwise occur.
    I've come, more and more, to think that these destructive human instincts are real, and that The Golden Rule has to be taught for the complicated cases necessary for complex cooperation and peace in a world much different from the world our forbears knew.


    rshowalter - 03:40pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#21 of 41)

    These ideas seem right to me, and in a sense, it seems to me that I'm only setting out "what everybody already knows."

    But with a difference.

    After Dawn Riley and I chewed these ideas around a while, we felt they may have become a little clearer.

    We hope so.


    rshowalter - 03:41pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#22 of 41)

    rshowalter - 05:48pm May 23, 2001 BST (#21 of 41) This thread is a key part of the argument in the NYT Missile Defense forum:

    MD4159 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f0ce57b/4456

    I think odds are that some able people, with responsible positions concerning nuclear matters, are reading this thread, in several countries.


    rshowalter - 03:42pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#23 of 41)

    It helps to KEEP TALKING !

    Dawn and I have been very grateful for the existence of the GUARDIAN TALK boards, and the NYT forums. In these, we can discuss issues that the focused journals could not treat. They have a real, creative intellectual service to perform.

    If one is to have hope of working out a problem, one must first sharply, carefully describe it.

      Prior to sharp description, one may face a mystery, an unspeakable mystical strangeness in some body of relations.
    Sometimes, after the work of sharp, careful, well checked description, a mystery may be transmuted into something much different and far more precious. The hard thought and description may have generated a sharp, defined contradiction.
      Such a clearly defined contradiction is a target identified, a place to reassess and rebuild, a source of hope. A mystery is a call to awe and stasis. A contradiction is a call to thought and action.
        Finding a contradiction - identifying an ugliness, finds a place for new hope and beauty. Beauty that Dawn Riley partner finds especially quickly, but that most other people can often find, too.

        These talkboards and forums can facilitate this descriptive sharpening, and the creation of this new beauty.

        With a lot of talking and thinking, new ideas come into being, focus, sharpen, and become right, spare, and simple. In these threads, one can see this happening. The same processes, seeking logical beauty and beautiful fits to cases, applied again and again, can bring correct and useful conclusions to life.

        That is, if crucial mistakes can be avoided. As they almost always can be, if people check their work carefully, in enough ways, and if they doubt themselves and others enough to stay awake to the logical dangers that go with the human condition.

        This makes sense, whether you are religious or not.


        rshowalter - 03:43pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#24 of 41)

        from #202 -- rshowalter "God is the Projection of Mans Unrealised Potential - Discuss" Tue 09/01/2001

        " . . . . . it seems to me that an argument about how minds work is relevant to discussions of how humans must make and experience philosophy and religion - and I believe that argument tends to reinforce intuitive, non-reductionist ways of thinking and feeling. Pardon me if I add these ideas here.

        I've been very impressed with

        A Solution to Plato's Problem: The Latent Semantic Analysis Theory of Acquisition, Induction and Representation of Knowledge by Thomas K. Landauer and Susan Dumais

        Landauer is at the Department of Psychology, University of Colorado, Boulder, and Dumais is now at Microsoft.

        Here is a draft of that paper, which was accepted with revisions, and published in Psychological Review , v104, n.2, 211-240, 1997 http://lsi.argreenhouse.com/lsi/papers/PSYCHREV96.html

        I'm also hotkeying a piece of my own, that was intended to be part of a thesis proposal that has not been accepted. "Statistical-Associational Correllation and Symbol Reasoning may be mutually reinforcing. The example of LSA." http://www.wisc.edu/rshowalt/lsa It includes these passages:

        "Landauer and Dumais draw this basic conclusion:

          " . . . with respect to (correlations) supposed to allow the learning of language and other large bodies of complexly structured knowledge, domains in which there are very many facts each weakly related to very many others, effective simulation may require data sets of the same size and content as those encountered by human learners. Formally, that is because weak local constraints can combine to produce strong local effects in aggregate(9). .
          " . . . a particular computational arrangement is not assumed. .
          " We, of course, intend no claim that the mind or brain actually computes a singular value decomposition on a perfectly remembered event-by-context matrix of its lifetime experience using the mathematical machinery of complex sparse-matrix manipulation algorithms. What we suppose is merely that the mind-brain stores and reprocessed its input in some manner that has approximately the same effect(10)."
        My sense is that the mathematical logic of brain has to be more powerful than Landaur and Dumais suggest, and feel that "some manner that has analogous, but more powerful effects" would be better language.

        Ive been suggesting that neural function, incorporating the corrected S-K neural conduction equation, might have that approximate effect.

        Active links to these references via the NYT MD board shortly after http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3616

        LSA is the best illustration I have encountered of the potential power of correlation (that is, the potential power of complicated association) with nearly unlimited computational resources devoted to it. That power is great. That power also seems strongly complementary to inherently sequential and inherently symbolic logical processes.

        . . . . If there IS much latent, inexpressible, extensive information in our brains, this is a STRONG argument for the power (but not the infallibility) of human feelings of intuition. . . . . If there IS much latent, inexpressible, extensive information in our brains, this is a STRONG argument against over-reliance on "logical rigor" and stark "simple solutions" to human problems, human feeling, and human communication.

          " The success of LSA does show that very sophisticated association logic, without syntax, logic, and morphology can be powerful, and arguably essential, supplements of syntax, logic, and morphology, and that sophisticated association might be an essential source of the neuro-logical power that people and animals have. .
          " . . . . . Schema manipulations are more than just the correlation of "meaningless marks." The importance of sequence in the "little computer programs" we conceptualize as schema (and use to describe aspects of our language, vision, and other world knowledge) involve more than the sequence-less information LSA uses. .
          " Even so, the existence of association mechanisms capable of rapid and multiple associations that combine information across many samples may be useful in many ways, for both learning and for thinking. Such capabilities, operating in parallel with sequential patterns, may make levels of performance possible that would be impossible without the association. .
          " There IS no inherent conflict between statistical and symbolic approaches, so long as one does not ask the brain to be simpler than it can reasonably be expected to be. I believe that LSA illustrates that statistics can powerfully supplement symbolic operations in a sufficiently parallel brain with prodigiously powerful processing. To describe animal and human behavior, one must assume such a brain. The S-K model is proposed as a step toward conceptualizing how such a brain might work."
        The point I'd make here (going beyond anything I said in the thesis proposal) is that mystics, and religious thinkers, may be tapping into central, vital aspects of human function - I think they are. I think Landaur and Dumais have taken a step toward getting a workable understanding of how human logic works.

        Whether these aspects are God-given, or natural, they still seem to be profound and central aspects of what it means to be human, and what we, as humans have to feel with, relate with, and hope with.

        If our minds are profoundly more powerful than mere LSA devices, but contain their correllational abilities as well (and I think they must) then God would be, at least , the Projection of Mans Unrealised Potential, and combined individual, environmental, and social experience and feelings.

        And religious and moral thoughts and feelings would be as profoundly important, and potentially right and useful, as any thoughts and feelings we, as sentient animals, "a little lower than the angels" can have.

        THIS WOULD NOT DEPEND ON THE EXISTENCE, NONEXISTENCE, OR DETAILED LEVEL OF DAY-TO-DAY INTEREST OF A DIETY.

        Thoughts and insights could be right, profound, and even "holy" without invoking any notion of divine intervention or inspiration.


        rshowalter - 03:45pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#25 of 41)

        In America, millions of people think that they are divinely inspired. They get together on Sundays, and talk about it. Every single born-again Christain claims to feel this way.

        I felt that way myself, though I didn't use the phrase "born again" when I was in my early teens - and I believe that the millions who claim to have had the "born again" experience actually have had something happen to them that they interpret as having been touched by God.

        I'm a Baptist by birth and training, with a religious background very similar to Jimmy Carter's. A background similar to millions of other people's background.

        I'm a backslider - I haven't been to church, except when visiting my parents, in years, and not often then.

        But the notion of feeling a calling, and knowing what my duty is, seems natural to me.

        There's an old hymn that describes the experience of religious inspiration, quite unselfconsciously. I believe that most of the people in the churches where this hymn is sung have shared the experience it describes.

        This hymn is sung with joy.

        A verse, from memory, goes something like this.

        I walk in the Garden alone.
        When the dew is still on the Roses
        And the voice I hear,
        Calling on my ear
        The voice of God is calling

        And he walks with me,
        and he talks with me
        and he tells me I am his own.
        and the joy we share,
        as we tarry there,
        no other has ever known.

        Nobody I know of singing this song thinks a visable diety comes down, made flesh, and engages them. They percieve some messages, that in some way "pop into their heads" that they consider to be "the voice of God."

        The religious interpretation isn't the only possible one, but it doesn't seem unreasonable, either.

        I feel sure the new Attorney General of the United States, John Ashcroft, has had this experience of "a voice" somehow happening in his mind, and has interpreted it as a touch from a personal God.

        So have many, many millions of people, if you take them at their word, in America and all over the world.

        I have no reason to doubt them.

        Many Protestants, Baptists among them, have a notion of a "calling" - a sense that one percieves one's duty, and is expected to do it.

        Nobody much discusses a "voice of God" when calling is discussed. But people are supposed to know what their duty is, and the knowing, if it seems sure, is respected.

        That provides some order and organization for millions of peoples' lives. Many of them very able and accomplished people.

        None of this is the least bit uncommon in Christian households, all over the world, and people of different faiths have, by all accounts, many similar feelings. There's every reason to believe that followers of Allah, or other religions, have similar responses.

        The feelings are real. The actions based on the feeling are real.

        I happened to be especially interested in systems analysis and mathematical modeling issues, and have done sustained work on the construction of mathematical models from coupled circumstances. For seven years, I worked with a partner, a very distinguished academic, who happened to be a nonpracticing Jew, on these coupled equations http://www.mrshowalter.net/klinerec . Both Steve Kline and I felt, quite simply, that we were doing something we felt duty bound, morally compelled, to do.

        Work on complex cooperation has been of interest to me for many years as well.

        I could just as well be an athiest. Totally non-divine explanations for absolutely everything that has happened to me are possible, and I find them comforting. I don't think anybody has ever seen me try to convert anyone to any fundamentally religious (as opposed to ethical) principle at all.

        From an aesthetic and intellectual point of view, religious explanations seem reasonable to me, as well. Especially so since my own work indicates that, even at the stark level of physical modelling, there are emergent properties. From where I sit, small as I am, large as the world is, a religious interpretation makes sense enough. I know enough about my limitations to know that I can neither prove or rule out such possibilities.


        rshowalter - 03:46pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#26 of 41)

        From a systems point of view, I think this.

        Any God worth respecting at all, looking at the world as it is, would deliver any message SHE felt called upon to deliver in as nonsectarian, or nondenominational, or religiously ambiguous manner as could possibly occur.

        If, with the help of my partner Dawn Riley, who has done so much of what we've done together, we have worked out messages worth knowing -- and I believe we have -- they are messages that we hope can be useful, and accomodated, within very many religious, ethical and philosophical traditions.

        Can you put the story together as a story of somebody fingered by a God, and, at considerable inconvenience, coerced into working something out for mankind? It seems to me that you can, and the details I know fit that.

        You can also, I believe, construct explanations in scientific, or agnostic mode.

        Either way, the human lessons, and a single procedural lesson in modeling physical circumstances, are the same lessons, and just as useful as they happen to be, no matter how those lessons were learned.


        rshowalter - 03:50pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#27 of 41)

        Thinking about the golden rule, it is bracing, but essential, to recall how easily we can all be sure about things that are wrong. And justify on the basis of superficial checking, things without real foundation.

        Putting Your Faith in Science? by GINA KOLATA http://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/27/weekinreview/27KOLA.html is, I believe, a fine contribution to the culture. What it says reinforces, and reinforces strongly, the arguments Dawn Riley and I have been making, about the need for checking , in Paradigm Shift .... whose getting there? Guardian Talk, Science .

        Kolata's piece, which makes essential arguments beautifully, and takes them into the mainstream culture with a grace I could never muster, and from the commanding position of the NYT Week In Review, ought to make a dent in many minds. It ends:

          " Dr. McDonald said he wrote a paper 18 years ago that concluded that the placebo effect did not exist. But, he said, the New England Journal of Medicine rejected the manuscript, saying that everyone knew the effect existed. The paper was eventually published, in Statistics in Medicine. But he met with such disbelief that he gave up even talking about his findings. .
          " It wasn't the right time," he said. "But the good thing about science is that sooner or later the truth comes out."
        Subject to safeguards and checking, sooner is better than later. How many doctors, in this 18 years time, have comforted themselves that they've "done something" when they've prescribed a placebo -- when, without the comfort of a misconception, they might have thought harder?

        sn1337 . . . sn1342 . . . sn1343

        MD4210

        Active links to these references via the NYT MD board shortly after http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3616


        rshowalter - 03:51pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#28 of 41)

        wildem21 - 04:23pm May 28, 2001 BST (#30 of 41) THE GOLDEN RULE is, was, and ever shall be:

          The one with the gold makes the rules.
        ------------------------------------------

        willjusa - 04:41pm May 28, 2001 BST (#31 of 41)

        Or its corollary: Those with the guns make the rules. Or as Capone put it: "You can get a lot further with a kind word and a gun then you can with a kind word alone."

        --------------------------------------------

        wildem21 - 05:03pm May 28, 2001 BST (#32 of 41)

        Al and Mao.

        ------------------------------------------

        willjusa - 09:28pm May 28, 2001 BST (#33 of 41)

        Mao Capone ? I didn't know Al had a brother named Mao. An interersting pair of bookends, though. Neither worth writing home about.


        rshowalter - 03:53pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#29 of 41)

        xpat - 02:32am May 31, 2001 BST (#34 of 41) Showalter:

        In disfunctional families .. and at some point .. pehaps when the key players leave (and leave a mess) families may become disfuncional ..as they change pecking order and alignment .. i noted the golden rule .. you don't have to love each other, but ... need the golden rule as a measure ... to settle disputes!

        The Golden Rule must apply across the board to many many situations!

        ----------------------------------------

        xpat - 02:35am May 31, 2001 BST (#36 of 41)

        http://www.jcu.edu/philosophy/gensler/et/et-08-00.htm

        --------------------------------------------------

        xpat - 02:37am May 31, 2001 BST (#37 of 41)

        http://www.jcu.edu/philosophy/gensler/goldrule.htm


        rshowalter - 03:54pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#30 of 41)

        rshowalter - 02:16pm Jun 1, 2001 BST

        Harry J. Gensler has great references, to a great deal of careful thought, in http://www.jcu.edu/philosophy/gensler/goldrule.htm

        I liked this -- but how much detail is needed to meet what is said!

          " To apply the golden rule adequately, we need knowledge and imagination. We need to know what effect our actions have on the lives of others. And we need to be able to imagine ourselves, vividly and accurately, in the other person's place on the receiving end of the action. With knowledge, imagination, and the golden rule, we can progress far in our moral thinking. .
          " The golden rule is best seen as a consistency principle. It doesn't replace regular moral norms. It isn't an infallible guide on which actions are right or wrong; it doesn't give all the answers. It only prescribes consistency - that we not have our actions (toward another) be out of harmony with our desires (toward a reversed situation action). It tests our moral coherence. If we violate the golden rule, then we're violating the spirit of fairness and concern that lie at the heart of morality. .
          " The golden rule, with roots in a wide range of world cultures, is well suited to be a standard to which different cultures could appeal in resolving conflicts. As the world becomes more and more a single interacting global community, the need for such a common standard is becoming more urgent."
        A key issue, that I think is underappreciated, is deception . We are all in need of correct information, for fundamental reasons -- and we need it in such a complex world that we cannot predict what facts that we have not checked we will have to rely on.

        Lies, taken as correct, can and often do have very bad consequences.

        An essential requirement, to make the Golden Rule more operational, is to find ways to increase the incidence of factually correct information, and reduce the amount that is deceptive.

        Checking is a moral issue, as well as a practical one, right here.


        rshowalter - 03:55pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#31 of 41)

        The idea that checking must be morally forcing is still very much outside the mainstream.

        But it is a crucial idea, if we are to get beyond a "culture of lying" to a culture permitting more complicated, just, productive cooperation - and the idea that checking is obligatory in politics is becoming more discussable.

        Since we all depend on cooperation for most of what makes life good and possible, this is an important point of hope.

        Lies terminate the possibilities of cooperation and peace, much too often.


        rshowalter - 03:55pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#32 of 41)

        How much better the world would be, how much less agony there would now be, if lies and self deception about AIDS could have been less, and discipline in the common good could have been greater.

        See an admirable NYT Special AIDS at 20 -- http://www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/aids/aids-index.html

        and especially a stunning graphic THE SIZE OF AIDS ON A (NATIONAL AND GLOBAL) SCALE http://www.nytimes.com/images/2001/06/05/science/sci_AIDS_010605_01.pdf


        rshowalter - 03:56pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#33 of 41)

        Thoughts about getting more good done, and less bad, using internet discourse.

        MD4532

        Active links to these references via the NYT MD board shortly after http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3616


        BuddhaPest - 04:11pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#34 of 41)

        rshowalter, I can't seem to access any of your NYT links.


        rshowalter - 05:18pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#35 of 41)

        I can't access them either, right now - which is why the "shortly after" in the description of links just above.

        That happens to the NYT thread from time to time -- but so far, the thread has returned in not too long.

        Sometimes I wonder - - Why, oh why, is it so hard for me to get decent checking from my own government?

        But sometimes I hope that people are being careful, and paying attention.

        The New York Times is showing considerable distinction and courage today in other ways:

        I liked this piece especially.

        Succeeding in Business by Paul Krugman http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/opinion/07KRUG.html

        It seems to me that it would do great good if responsible people all over the world, including leaders, insisted on getting some facts .

        I'll try to keep my promise about the link, as soon as I can. For now, you can go to the references themselves, without the NYT stage of linkage - - they are posted in numerical order in MAN'S INHUMANITY TO MAN . . . Guardian Talk, Issues .


        lchic - 07:12pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#36 of 41)

        NYTimes Forum (reader's opinion) is ... out to lunch ... may be having a weekend - SystemsAdminTechnicalOverhaul!


        lchic - 07:16pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#37 of 41)

        Take this quote from Paul Krugman's artical, transpose the company name (Harken) to become the USA Nation ... transposting Bush to become Bush&Associates ....

          " That's exactly what happened at Harken. A group of insiders, using money borrowed from Harken itself, paid an exorbitant price for a Harken subsidiary, Aloha Petroleum. That created a $10 million phantom profit, which hid three-quarters of the company's losses in 1989. White House aides have played down the significance of this maneuver, saying $10 million isn't much, compared with recent scandals. Indeed, it's a small fraction of the apparent profits Halliburton created through a sudden change in accounting procedures during Dick Cheney's tenure as chief executive. But for Harken's stock price and hence for Mr. Bush's personal wealth this accounting trickery made all the difference. "
        Succeeding in Business by Paul Krugman
        http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/opinion/07KRUG.html

        The Harken shareholders were stripped naked ..... is the same thing happening to the 'average Joe' in the USA.

        Who's getting gold under Bush and whose having to work harder and dig more dirt to give the gift!?!


        lchic - 07:21pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#38 of 41)

        When does the demand for 'fairness' in a population cause a national 'mexican wave' of gut revoltion effect?

          Thread headder: The Golden Rule is an old, old idea - present in many cultures. Perhaps it is important enough to discuss - and perhaps it can be focused some, in matters of detail.


        rshowalter - 11:10pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#39 of 41)

        The first posting on this thread includes this:

        "Issues of my security classification status have been discussed with CIA since this thread was removed, and though some issues remain to be resolved, and some discussions are ongoing, the relationship is far enough along, and agreements know to the NYT (near the masthead) are far enough along that there is no difficulty, in terms of my US legal or moral obligations, in refiling this. I deeply appreciate the chance to do so.

        MD2565

          MD2589-2590

        MD2866-7

        "I believe that this reposting is entirely appropriate, and relevant to current events.

        Here is the text of those NYT Missile Defense postings. They are part of an ongoing discussion on that thread, that I feel certain has been monitored occasionally by the government.

        rshow55 - 08:34am Jun 16, 2002 EST (#2565 of 2592) http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3198

        Beautiful Week in Review , beautiful editorials, and fine Op-Eds today!

        I'm wanting to proceed carefully, on my private concerns, and on issues very much connected with missile defense. I have hopes of being, in manj's phrase, "completely unshackled" - - and my recent conversations with CIA are consistent with that.

        But the meaning of words, and the context in which action is possible, need to be considered. CIA seems to want, and want very much, to restrict direct contact between me and an officer of the agency who I contacted - and so this is a reasonable channel.

        The most key point in my last week's conversation with CIA is expressed in the following statement - a statement dictated to me emphatically, forcefully, by a C.I.A. official. The statement is well connected, I feel, with material in the TIMES today. Here is that statement:

          " C.I.A. has no interest in any of M.Robert Showalter's material."
        (in my notes I have "my" rather than "M. Robert Showalter" - but the statement just above, with that sustitution, clear in context - was clearly and forcefully repeated.)

        What can the bolded words above reasonably mean? If "to have no interest" means " not to care " - I'd find the phrase inconsistent with the reasonable and probable. I believe most other people would, as well, if they consider what has been said and done.

        If "to have no interest" means "to have no title in, no property values in, no special right to control" then I find the statement reasonable, and a statement that may be the basis for acceptable, practical, honorable conduct for all involved.

        There are some facts that can be established, from the evidence of this thread. C.I.A. may not care about any of my material. However, from time to time, gisterme has shown evidence of caring. And, by a reasonable "collection of dots" and "connection of dots," gisterme may reasonably be judged to have clear links, and high ones, with the Bush administration.

        MD2531 rshow55 6/14/02 6:34pm

        I think it is important, and in the national interest, for people to know how this matter has been handled so far. I've been trying to work in the reasonable national interest, and believe I have done so.

        MD1999 rshow55 5/4/02 10:35am ... MD2000 rshow55 5/4/02 10:39am

        MD2001 rshow55 5/4/02 11:36am

        rshow55 - 08:19am Jun 17, 2002 EST (#2589 of 2592) http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3227

        Postings by gisterme on this thread since March 1, 2002: (a continuation of other postings showing 750 postings before those below.)

        MD38 gisterme 3/1/02 9:26pm ... MD719 gisterme 3/20/02 1:41pm

        MD722 gisterme 3/20/02 2:22pm ... MD758 gisterme 3/22/02 12:58pm
        MD764 gisterme 3/22/02 1:34pm ... MD905 gisterme 3/28/02 3:41pm
        MD1234 gisterme 4/10/02 2:06pm ... MD1242 gisterme 4/11/02 1:55am
        MD1243 gisterme 4/11/02 3:24am ... MD1245 gisterme 4/11/02 5:29am
        MD1247 gisterme 4/11/02 5:57am ... MD1249 gisterme 4/11/02 6:06am
        MD1250 gisterme 4/11/02 6:07am

        A response to gisterme from me: MD1255 rshow55 4/11/02 7:32am

        MD1281 gisterme 4/12/02 3:00am ... MD1282 gisterme 4/12/02 3:15am

        MD1283 gisterme 4/12/02 3:52am ... MD1296 gisterme 4/12/02 1:49pm
        MD1297 gisterme 4/12/02 1:52pm ... MD1301 gisterme 4/12/02 3:45pm
        MD1314 gisterme 4/12/02 5:15pm ... MD1315 gisterme 4/12/02 5:21pm
        MD1316 gisterme 4/12/02 5:23pm ... MD1317 gisterme 4/12/02 5:27pm
        MD1325 gisterme 4/13/02 3:32am ... MD1326 gisterme 4/13/02 3:44am

        MD2137 gisterme 5/10/02 3:44am ... MD2138 gisterme 5/10/02 3:53am

        MD2180 gisterme 5/13/02 1:25am ... MD2181 gisterme 5/13/02 2:57am

        rshow55 - 08:20am Jun 17, 2002 EST (#2590 of 2592) http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3228

        MD2565 rshow55 6/16/02 8:34am

        includes this:

        The most key point in my last week's conversation with CIA is expressed in the following statement - a statement dictated to me emphatically, forcefully, by a C.I.A. official. The statement is well connected, I feel, with material in the TIMES today. Here is that statement:

          " C.I.A. has no interest in any of M.Robert Showalter's material."
        (in my notes I have "my" rather than "M. Robert Showalter" - but the statement just above, with that sustitution, clear in context - was clearly and forcefully repeated.)

        What can the bolded words above reasonably mean? If "to have no interest" means " not to care" - I'd find the phrase inconsistent with the reasonable and probable. I believe most other people would, as well, if they consider what has been said and done.

        If "to have no interest" means "to have no title in, no property values in, no special right to control" then I find the statement reasonable, and a statement that may be the basis for acceptable, practical, honorable conduct for all involved.

        There are some facts that can be established, from the evidence of this thread. C.I.A. may not care about any of my material. However, from time to time, gisterme has shown evidence of caring. And, by a reasonable "collection of dots" and "connection of dots," gisterme may reasonably be judged to have clear links, and high ones, with the Bush administration.

        rshow55 - 12:06pm Jul 4, 2002 EST (#2866 of 2870) http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3566

        MD2812 rshow55 7/1/02 8:51am

        Questions for a 4th of July discussion:

          Why and how are Americans afraid? Of what? How easily can they be silenced, intimidated? How are they couragous - but also how are they uncourageous? In detail, both qualitatively and quantitatively. .
          What has the Cold War done, and what is it still doing, to our democracy? How are "compromises" of America's broader principles, necessary during the Cold War, but necessary no longer, compromising our life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness? And endagering and degrading the lives, liberties, and comforts of ourselves and others, as well?
        The things Eisenhower warned of in his FAREWELL ADDRESS of January 17, 1961 http://www.geocities.com/~newgeneration/ikefw.htm have happened. The subversive, cancerous patterns developed, after much borrowing from Germany, to fight the Cold War have evolved, and now diffused all through government, politics, and business. At the same time, our nuclear controls have been left, almost untouched in decisive ways, for thirty years, and we are in a new world. There are things that need to be checked about those controls, lest the world perish. And all over our society, there are problems that American need to understand, and fix, with the world watching, and checking. When we do, we'll be much better off, the world will be a more beautiful place, and we'll almost all of us feel better about ourselves, our country, and the world.

        You can "call me Ishmael" or not, as you choose. If I'm Ishmael, I've been at it, consistently, for a long time. Within my limitations, I'm doing the best I can, and I'm trying to be a patriot, too.

        I'm trying to debrief, in ways consistent with my promises to Casey, and recent promises I've made to CIA as well. Some of that has gone on in past days and weeks, on this thread - and maybe that's a good way. For some purposes, maybe an ideal way.

        Problem is, sometimes an ideal approach for one set of objectives is exactly wrong for another - and things may be complicated enough that both kinds of approaches may be necessary. That takes exception handling.

        MD2813 rshow55 7/1/02 2:32pm

        The Music Man is a famous movie about checking, and courtship, exception handling, and redemption. It is a very black comedy, utterly charming at some levels, unnerving in others, about the things that worry me most.

        Movies are special, very expensive and fancy stories - never factually true in all respects -- never complete in all details -- that speak to people, and become part of people's mental furniture, part of national discussion. But they represent patterns that are, in some sense, valuable to people. On this thread a number of movies have been discussed, including The Sum of All Fears http://movies.go.com/movies/S/sumofallfearsthe_2001/ , The Bourne Identity http://www.bourne-identity.com/ , Good Will Hunting http://www.eonline.com/Facts/Movies/0,60,63329,00.html , and A Beautiful Mind .

        From MD2854 rshow55 7/3/02 10:28am

        on yesterday, I told a "story" that I think fits a lot, whether you "call me Ishmael" or not.

        This thread has gone on a long time, and many of the technical issues regarding missile defense that have been treated are summarized in MD84 rshow55 3/2/02 11:52am . I don't think any of the basic conclusions in the references cited there can reasonably be thought to have changed.

        There's pl


        rshowalter - 11:11pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#40 of 41)

        There's plenty to be proud of about America. Plenty to celebrate. But we could be better, and have even more reason to be proud.

        Happy 4th of July!

        rshow55 - 12:29pm Jul 4, 2002 EST (#2867 of 2870) http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/3568

        MD2848 rshow55 7/2/02 10:56pm

        includes this question:

          In the last two years, anybody found a technical mistake in anything I've left standing on this thread that has mattered? Some things need to be fixed.
        Some progress has been made.
        MD1999 rshow55 5/4/02 10:35am ... MD2000 rshow55 5/4/02 10:39am
        MD2001 rshow55 5/4/02 11:36am


        rshowalter - 11:36pm Jul 7, 2002 BST (#41 of 41)

        Here are links that I expected to post on the NYT Missile Defense thread today, and that I expect to post there when it is reopened.

        These are key things to check, every which way, when stability matters enough to think hard about:

          Berle's Laws of Power .
          Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs .
          The Golden Rule
        Berle and Maslow have been discussed a lot on this thead, for instance in MD667-8 http://forums.nytimes.com/webin/WebX?14@@.f28e622/826

        It seems to me that people need to think harder - more competently - more concretely about the golden rule as well.

        I've put some thoughts about that in a Guadian Talk Thread, DETAIL AND THE GOLDEN RULE , which was last put up on September 10, 2001, and removed a few weeks thereafter. I believe that it makes sense to cite it again.

        The key point of the thread is this:

          " . . . you have to think , and think hard, to figure out how to make the Golden Rule apply to complicated circumstances, and real people. . . . And you have to check to see that you haven't missed something, if things matter enough to be careful about."

        The Missile Defense links cited in that thread have been removed, but I've made them available as follows. Links cited in DETAIL AND THE GOLDEN RULE are set out in Mankind's Inhumanity to Man

        MD4157 to 4532 some cites from May 22, 2001- Jun 6, 2001 Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Sun 07/07/2002 #290 on . http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@7077007@.ee7b085/330

        MD6057-6403 some cites from Jun 26, 2001 to Jul 2, 2001 "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Sun 07/07/2002 #292 on http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@70707007@.ee7b085/332

        MD7384-7394 some cites from Jul 24, 2001 "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Sun 07/07/2002 #296 on http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@0707077007@.ee7b085/336

        MD8698-8832 Some cites from Sept 9, 2001 to Sept 12, 2001 "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Sun 07/07/2002 #299 on http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@070707007@.ee7b085/339

        Some Cites from How the Brain Works 2178 -2256 Jan 8, 2001 to Feb 25, 2001 "Mankind's Inhumanity to Man and Woman - As natural as human goodness?" Sun 07/07/2002 #309 on http://talk.guardian.co.uk/WebX?8@070707007@.ee7b085/349

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