Visioneering has imbued these pages of late be it the important role played in fuelling the creative and visionary spirit through the crafting of an image, or the political necessity of such work for breaking binaries and embarking on a creative destruction of sense in order to produce new canvases, ideas and actions befitting the 21st century (see Cabrera and Peake).
Earlier this year, the Christian Transhumanist Association made its public debut with an open invitation to membership, and a small fundraising campaign that brought in approximately $1200. Now, as our first substantial financial act, the membership advisory council, the donors, and the board have decided to contribute that money towards a project that combines technology, compassion, and respect for human life.
Which brings me to my critique of mindfulness as therapy:
1. Firstly, mindfulness is not and should not be viewed as the latest cure-all for those with mental health issues. It is not a panacea. By the time the Buddha started employing it within his teachings it had already had a long history of incremental development within a broader spiritual tradition and this continued up until the end of the last century. Within this tradition it is viewed as a powerful tool designed to do to the brain what the brain specifically does not want to do, i.e. remain uninvolved with thought patterns and feelings as they pass before the practitioner.
So is there any hard evidence that mindfulness-based therapies work? Well, the clinical evidence for mindfulness as a way to prevent depression, stress and anxiety appears at first glance to be sound. A review of the eight-week course was published in 2011 in Clinical Psychology Review by Jacob Piet and Esben Hougaard of Aarhus University, Denmark.
* In my youth I trained for thirteen years as a Buddhist priest, first with the Japanese Zen tradition and then within the Tibetan tantric tradition. As such, mindfulness based meditation formed the basis of my practice, even when, later in my training, other methods began to be employed.
In recent years, the issue of gay rights in Africa has generated intense debate and discussions. Some countries have tried to tighten the laws against homosexuality and prohibit same sex marriage. They claim homosexuality is an evil, corrupt and immoral lifestyle which western societies are trying to impose on African nations.
What did you really see and hear? Don’t be so sure you know the answer.
Garth Spruiell has spent the last thirty years working as a professional video editor, most recently creating promotional content for The Weather Channel and before that tweaking everything from ads to religion to porn for an independent editing shop in Los Angeles. He knows the tricks of the trade: how to grab your attention, heighten emotion, create seamless transitions, or even weave a compelling story from a whole lot of nothing.
Have you ever considered how many hours are wasted, traveling to work and back every day? Now picture a scenario where you can work while you are being driven to your destination along the fastest and safest routes – without it costing you anything extra? Wouldn’t that be great? Brace yourself – cities are about to change forever. It’s already happening in the backyards of tech and automobile giants like Google, Audi and Mercedes where driverless cars or self-driven automotive technology is being developed and fine-tuned.
England’s idea seems to be that the Second Law of Thermodynamics makes life inevitable. He has been quoted as saying that “You start with a random clump of atoms, and if you shine light on it for long enough, it should not be so surprising that you get a plant.”
Hank Pellissier asked me to write about my views on “Radical Egalitarianism”, due to some recent experiences he has had with politics. While it’s a convenient term, it’s one often used with derision and scorn, with those who see the world this way being dismissed as hopelessly “utopian.”
However, it’s a world view more and more people are starting to share.
Catholic Pro-life organization wants you to just put up with suffering—and actually says so!
The American Life League [ALL] mobilizes devout Catholics against medical options that, to their way of thinking, violate God’s will. If you should drive past a Planned Parenthood and see elderly women fingering rosary beads next to pictures of the Virgin Mary, or young men holding Bibles and praying, American Life League probably had a hand in their presence there. Ironically, ALL also spreads misinformation about birth control, for example via a Pill Kills campaign—which means they feed the line-up of Catholic women waiting for abortion services.
I have been pursuing gene therapies for aging, so my decision to discuss this goes against my current direction. We really don’t know what the limits are of what we might be able to do by playing the autonomic nervous system, but here are some thoughts to chew on.
One interesting thing that I noticed about Google’s DeepDream algorithm (which you might also know as “that thing making all pictures look like psychedelic trips“) is that it seems to increase the image quality. For instance, my current Facebook profile picture was ran through DD and looks sharper than the original, which was relatively fuzzy and grainy.
I’ve found time to review another author’s work, “The Transhumanist Wager” by Zoltan Istvan. I had the pleasure of first meeting Zoltan at a Transhumanism conference near Berkeley, CA. In general, he’s a staunch advocate of the Transhuman movement - Zoltan is passionate about his work and he doesn’t mind stepping on a few toes to get his message out there.
I grew up with the mindset to make a difference because life is short. It is said that life is not a measure of your duration on earth, but a measure of your donation to humanity. I have stopped believing that.
There are two ways to live one’s life: by default or by design. By default, humans grow and become very energetic between ages 18 to 40, after that his/her strength begin to fade. At old age, s/he becomes weak and age related disease make him/her die. His average healthspan is 80 years (in developed countries) and nothing can be done to live beyond a century. That’s the status quo.
Gareth John is an IEET reader and supporter who lives in Mid Wales; he’s an ex-Buddhist priest with a MA in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, and a PhD focusing on non-monastic traditions of Tibetan tantric Buddhism. He has Bipolar disorder. In this Q & A, he generously shares his experience. This is Part 2 of two parts.
Gareth John is an IEET reader and supporter who lives in Mid Wales; he’s an ex-Buddhist priest with a MA in Buddhist Studies at the University of Bristol, and a PhD focusing on non-monastic traditions of Tibetan tantric Buddhism. He has Bipolar disorder. In this Q & A, he generously shares his experience.
Hank Pellissier: Can you explain in your own words what Bipolar disorder is, for our readers?
Gareth John: Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out daily tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder can be severe. They are different from the normal ups and downs that everyone goes through from time to time. Bipolar disorder symptoms can result in damaged relationships, poor job or school performance, and even suicide. But bipolar disorder can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.
I am against the ongoing efforts and campaign by the Catholic Church to make the late South African schoolteacher, Benedict Daswa, a saint. While I acknowledge the heroic struggle waged by Daswa against witchcraft based violence and exploitation of his Venda people, a struggle that eventually led to his brutal murder; while I understand the need to celebrate and commemorate his life, legacy and achievement, this initiative to make him an object of ‘worship’ or reverence by the catholic establishment is a self-serving scheme and is literally an insult on the memory of this critical and courageous mind.
If recent right-wing insanity has driven you over the edge and you’ve decided to tell the world that you think Planned Parenthood is a good place or abortion care is a good thing (or even decided to share a personal story), you will need to get prepared for the muck that’s likely to get slung your way. Fortunately, once you move beyond your inner circle of people who matter, much of what flies through the air will be ignorant comments and insults from people who don’t. As someone who is public about why I am pro-abortion, and about my own story, here are eleven lame shaming themes I’ve encountered, along with my responses.
A common first question in response to the idea of unconditionally guaranteeing a monthly cash stipend to everyone sufficient to meet their basic needs is in regards to a potential need for differing amounts of basic income. Let’s examine this question from two perspectives: that of the individual and that of the location.
As technology continues to increasingly develop it exposes human intention while eliminating our privacy. The result of this accelerating trend is that the confidentiality that we currently maintain as persons will continue to erode. As such, we should begin to prepare ourselves for the biggest reveal of all: The day when technology exposes the thoughts of our mind.
A l’heure des technologies émergentes, alors que l’intelligence artificielle et l’adaptabilité des robots va grandissante, peut se poser un problème nouveau : la machine va-t-elle accaparer tous les postes actifs de la société ? Cette crainte, déjà d’actualité, a permis la réactualisation et la modernisation de la pensée luddite.(1)
Thank you Foundation Beyond Belief for selecting me as the recipient of the Heart of Humanism Award for 2015. I believe I have just received the best award the world has to offer.
Superstition confuses the mind. It distorts reality, hardens the conscience and poisons the heart. Irrational belief drains the well of human compassion causing suffering, death, darkness and destruction. As Voltaire once noted, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities”.
In my junior year at Stanford I started inviting David Pearce (IEET Fellow, who advocates the “abolition of suffering”) to give talks there. I was able to hang out with him over the course of many afternoons, and even had the chance to interview him once. He made me aware of the causal relevance of the Stanford Transhumanist Association (it is a force multiplier, memetically speaking), and solidified my commitment to prioritizing suffering over everything else.
Fortyyears after Roe v. Wade, the anti-abortion movement is a radical failure by the very metrics that Pro-life leaders cite to inspire their base. What would an effective anti-abortion movement look like?
U.S. women have obtained nearly 53 million legal abortions since 1973. At least in part, that is because self-described abortion foes ignore or oppose the most powerful strategies for making abortion obsolete. The anti-abortion movement is dominated by religious fundamentalists whose determination to control sex—who has it, with whom, for what purpose—takes priority over their desire to reduce abortions. This focus has seriously interfered with eliminating the supply and demand for abortion services.
IEET has expanded from ten years of English-only essays, to now include articles in German and French. The move represents IEET’s global reach; although we’re a USA-based think tank and non-profit, a significant proportion of our readership is international.
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