Archive for August, 2010

The leading nations of the future

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Having a big economy means being a big player on the world stage. If you are big you use your power to dominate the world. History is full of these nations: the Ottomans, the Romans, the British/Europeans and now the US. So what will the emerging big players do?

The emerging economic strength of population-big nations like China and India will surely see  changes materialize. China will soon have an economy that is bigger than the US, and a bit later India will surpass the US.

So there will be an old-fashioned fight coming up – let us hope we avoid a new world war. The US will work hard to make such a war take place outside of the US, maybe on mainland China, or between India and China. It could also mark the end of the war on terrorism, and be part of a process of finding a new big “enemy”.

This appears to be pure speculation at the moment, but the old fashioned security thinking does not make the world a safe place. New alliances will now be built, and the big question is how fast China and India will emerge and also how fast and deep the US influence is reduced. World institutions will have to change to reflect the new power balance.

The attention of the US is shifting towards Asia, China is not a mature player yet, India is testing its abilities toward foreign lands.

So would it be possible to envision some new thinking that shows humanity becoming more sensible and cooperative – a new era of modern world politics? We have many big matters that requires handling, e.g. poverty, lack of education. It is far too early to say, but so far we see no sign of innovative thinking. Let us for the time being hope we will survive. It is all rather sad really.

We will one day have world cooperation, sharing, fairness, conflicts settled through international law, but maybe another big shoot-out is required before we can manage that.

Technology advancing – personal health

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

The USB pin is your doctor?

Bayer has a Contour USB meter to help sample and measure the blood sugar and more. You sample the blood, get a reading of your blood-sugar level and software in your computer does the rest. Your previous results are stored and you can transfer your data wirelessly to your doctor and treatment is in good hands. Miscoding and erroneous results are reduced also. The USB unit is plugged into your computer and you get advanced analysis, trends, reports.

Not very complicated, but innovative and cleverly done: Technology to the help of patients, communication with others. More is in store as you will be able to do tests yourself, have it analysed yourself and ultimately treat yourself – doctors willing.

A great principle for future treatment and health control. Ideas anyone for new areas, new combinations, innovations?

Urban quality rising – cities are improving

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Several cities in the world are now becoming good at creating fine environments for all.

An example of urban development and renewal is Hamburg, Germany. The old shipping and transit town by the river and water is making part of the old harbour areas into a modern city. Some of the old quays are changing into modern urban areas, and the thinking behind it is good and deep. Some say it has to do with crazyness what they do – especially with reference to the new concert hall.

Hamburg already has Elbe, Alster, Port City (13.000 seagoing ships arrive every year), Storehouse City, Fish Market, Reeperbahn, cultural activity of all kinds, and the special attitude to life is the most characteristic – you have to find out for yourself.

New developments are under way, and people love what they see and are moving in. It may be that culture is the engine of creation, and the Bilbao effect is also mentioned.

Hamburg now get several spectactular buildings like the new concert house Elbphilharmonie, a tower for viewing the harbour, big office buildings with a temporary architecture. Landmark buildings like the science museum and other museums are also there. The public areas are spacious, the thinking is about sustainability and community living.

The aim is to make this a city of short distances, so that walking and cycling is possible, all supported by a good public transport system. Underground parking is ample so that visitors, both business and tourists, have easy access. Other functions like eating, shopping, cultural activity are also rich. A cultural melting pot is considered by inviting individual participation into activities. The conscious city is what it is about.

There are many new homes on the waterfront, and people become more outgoing and participative, with good neighborhoods. There are meetings, community web-sites for information and opinion, and home offices are common.

The thinking is about balancing work, life, leisure by mingling residential and working areas including sport so that they are side by side.

So a grand city is in the making.

The future of meditation – know your mind

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Meditation is used by many today, and it has a rich history going back thousands of years. All the big religions/lifestyle movements have used meditation: Hindu, Christian, Buddha, Islam etc.. Many meditative forms are secular or neutral, and mainly related to body and mind functions. Modern psychology has also used meditation as part of the therapy.

The reasons for using meditation are diverse: a wish to concentrate your thoughts, come nearer to your god, reach deeper layers of consciousness, healing practice for body and mind, to improve your life, reduce stress, find reality and more. The idea is to focus your mind, rest your thinking, loosen your mind, let your thoughts flow freely.

There is often a technique involved: repeated words or sounds, murmur, chant, music, incense, counting beads and more. The position of the body also matters: sit comfortably, lie down, walk, cross your legs. Breath comes into it, and many techniques are advocated and all involve conscious use of breathing..

East meets West thinking is also present, with elements of mysticism, reaching deeper/higher levels of consciousness, achieving nirvana. Meditation also connects with the ancient techniques of incubation that were practised by the Greeks, Indians, Persians, even Romans. It appears Western thinking lacks some reasons for our existence that is adressed in Eastern thinking, and that meditation could help you in understanding why you are here on this Earth.

So meditation has been with us for a long time and is ever popular. It is used widely, but the scientific basis for it is not very sound, and must be found out. May there is more to it than we think – may be it could be a really useful technique to be used by all?

Several scientists have published research claiming benefits related to stress reduction, lowering of blood pressure, reduced heart rate and creation of low frequency oscillations in the brain. It also seems beneficial in order to ease your mind. This may be the tip of the iceberg, and research is continuing.

What the science behind it really is must be answered for meditation techniques to become more than mysticism and relaxing techniques. What happens during meditation – to your mind, your body, what effects can be seen short term, long term, can meditation be enhanced for stronger effects, is it dangerous, can it unbalance the mind?

The Norwegian ACEM meditation organisation have published research results, and so have hundreds of others. The methods are improving, the scientific rigor is increasing, speculation is gone, knowledge is improving. Many studies suggest effects: better thinking, more energy, better cognition, more grey matter.

We could be on the way to a scientifically based mental method for personal mind control, relaxation, mind improvement. Proper technique should also be considered.

Careful – one step at a time, please. And the old mysticism could be useful too.

To speculate a bit: Maybe we will see a connection between meditation, psychology, dreams, subtle energy, consciousness, reality? We must surely find out more about these matters – and good science is required.

Your personal deep choices

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

In the future world of deep ecology we need education to understand what this is about. It has been likened to a life philosophy  and it will affect our western lifestyle profoundly. It is not about going back to nature, it is about understanding the place of man in the ecological system – an equal among equals. There is a living system all around us that we are part of, that is constantly developing, and we are developing with it. We must all find out what this is all about, and make it a personal choice to be part of it.

Some points to consider as this is not only about plants and fish, but ethics and systems too:

  • We must make less self centered choices about economic growth, even thinking of stopping economic growth or production in some areas. This thinking is completely new, but it should not mean having less, but distributing what there is fairly. A lot of what we make and is part of “economic growth” should be stopped. An obvious example are bombs. A lot of products should be recycled completely – e.g. metallic products. When we produce “enough” of a product it should become a commodity that everybody can have via the public domain at a fixed cost, and it becomes a common pool resource.
  • The system we have for health care should be for all, it is a public good. There are choices to be made, difficult ones about priorities. Our methods for developing cures are grossly inefficient, and people are dying because of it. Research into new ways and methods should be free and open and publicly funded. The drug companies are not the ones to do this.
  • Protecting the environment must become priority number one. This also have wide health implications.
  • We must use progressive technologies that are already out there and develop new ones – societal influence on development and use must dominate.
  • The understanding of human health must improve so that we know how our bodies work, including our brains, so that we can live well, eat and train sensibly based on knowledge.
  • Issues like abortion, gay rights, drinks and drugs and a million others should be either part of research programs where we find solutions, or less regulated or left to your private sphere.
  • Natural resources are a common pool for all and should be handled through common pool resource management. This is a prime area for corrupted practices, and must be stopped.
  • Political processes should be re-engineered to remove lobbying and forcing by special interest groups, many questions like roads, water, hospitals, schools should be run as a common pool resource and removed from politics. Corporate lobbying is a disease. Only individuals can take part in politics. Political influence on personal choice should be cut or removed.
  • Local politics and engagement should be rebuilt, participation should be increased, political principles should be renewed.
  • Corporations should not be allowed to become enormous so that they can threaten society in various ways. Small, agile, innovative enterprizes should be the norm.
  • Free trade is the normal system, but there is cooperation and coordination on selected products.
  • Product design, construction, distribution should all be ecologically founded, with a view to long life, use of resources, recirculation, practicality.
  • All decisions should be measured against an ecological yardstick: cost/benefit analysis
  • All communities, both urban/rural should be in a state of permanent renewal and development, or closed down as part of a willed process. Ghost cities are bad.
  • Excesses should be eliminated because people as ecological beings do not want them, as all products are measured ecologically.
  • Local culture must prevail – Americanization of the world is not desirable, and the same goes for Chinesifaction.
  • Education must be free up to and including university level, it must be broadened, travel to other parts of the world must be included to learn about foreign culture and philosophy, the exclusivity of intellectual training must be changed so that emotional, creative, intuitive abilities are recognised and trained. This way we can find our place in the world.
  • The monetary system and the system of markets must be changed profoundly – it’s basis must be broadened – now it is for the few that are running us around.
  • Forget politics – do not wait for something, it will never happen. World decisions will never materialize. All good systems are bottom-up: you decide for yourself, become an ecological being, express ecological views, see that it is good, others will join in, and you have an improved situation where you are. Do not think about everything, but stop thinking and get on with your life. You are the only one who can do it. “Obama” does not know about you and never will.

Think deeply and make a personal choice about deep ecology – it surely is a good idea.

So you think this is naive and far too wide – just start working on deep ecological principles and you will see that it is profound and much deeper and wider than these points.

Windmills in your mind: are you doing right?

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Windmills are now set up all over the world. The electricity generated is very expensive and is likely to remain so, the cost of these projects are heavily subsidized and the mills are a pain in the eye. They make sounds also: whirring, knocking when the blades pass the mast, constant movement disturbing you. Some places the windmills even kill birds.

New York City will have a windmill park that you can see from everywhere – are we supposed to be delighted at the prospect? And one on top of a hospital? It will be iconic – everybody can see it. Nature is already gone in the cities, but the visual aspect will not be likable long term – these things make sounds and disturb your view.

The risk associated with windmills has not been properly evaluated – a few have lost a blade, there have been structural collapse, and they have caused fires.

Windmills require invasion of nature – the nature is no longer untouched when windmills have been built, roads and power lines must be built or or underwater cables installed, the fish or the birds may be troubled. Urban planning: how many would you like or how many can you tolerate?

So where is the logic behind all this: We harm the environment visually and physically, even in the cities, the economics are bad and likely to remain so. This is true even when the costs of environmental harm have not been added. It all depends on subsidies, politics and lobbying. The interested parties get their money and the politicians their moment of glory.

So this is clearly not a sustainable proposition and huge windmill parks will eventually disappear – when the subsidies stop.

Let us instead see this as a learning process on our way to a sustainable society and ecological thinking: power must be sustainable, visually and physically acceptable, environmental costs must be accounted for, animals and plants should live, power generation must preferably be local to avoid power lines: all these factors at the same time. Windmills will  not be with us for long – have one or many near you and you will understand.

It surely takes time – but we will learn.

Raise the game – and change it too

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Money is a means of exchange and everybody should have some minimum of it so that we are fed, have shelter, get education, find water, get treatment when we are sick: the basics should be taken care of for all, by community or public programs.

This is not what we see now. There is dire poverty in many places. We need to change the monetary system or as a start we can use simple mechanisms like giving poor people money with conditions attached?

Let us assume the present monetary system is basically good, but some aspects of it must be fixed. The lenders and government control the money supply, and money is hoarded as part of power schemes and this is wrong. The lenders and governments control the money supply, and they should as a matter of principle see to it that all citizens have a minimum supply. Social security should at the same time be taken from people who do not need it. This is difficult, but we must find ways to rebalance distribution of money.

Further if money is turned into a salable product through productification, made a “risk” product you can use for marketization and speculation, then the concept of money has been profoundly changed. Public interest must be called upon to regulate what takes place. There should be thrown some light on the black pools of money!

The value of money should be related to value creation in society, governments should not be able to make new money without relation to value creation. Treating money as “goods” and handling it in a market should not be allowed.

We are producing ever more, the unit costs are going down all the time, and we must accept that some goods now must be commoditized or made free, i.e. provided by the public. It is silly to stop value creation for lack of money?

So new thinking is needed: cash programs for a start for kids with conditions attached, for poor people to make them dignified, and this is already done in many places, strong regulation of money, fair distribution systems, and may be some more.

Traditional economics are incomplete, we must expand our thinking about it, markets are an illusion and suffer from insufficiency, the monetary system must be reworked.

The aim of it all – let us start with the basics – food, shelter, education, healthcare for all. We can do it of course, but our systems are flawed and our thinking is wrong. The future is coming, so let us prepare for changes.

East meets West: US and China

Monday, August 16th, 2010

The emerging change of world power balance is happening. Stories of Chinese presence in Africa are found all over, and now things are getting hotter in the areas of water near China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Philipines, the Paracels, the Spratleys etc. All countries in the area want a piece of the action or control of the sea and its depths – whatever is down there. Security and control are other factors coming into play. Vietnam already has a presence on some of these shoals.

And surprise, surprise: the US is here with big boats making sure things are stable and that national interests are taken care of – this must be the extended version of national interests. Vietnam is joining up with the US, and all are preparing their positions. Will this be the new hot spot of the world? Not much terrorism here, but power games are much the same.

The continent of the US has eyes both east and west, and now the west has to rest a bit while we focus on the situation in the east – and the future of world power balance.

What about a negotiated settlement, a multilateral conference to thrash out some agreements? Based on international law and legitimate interests – whatever they are.

The Chinese have diasporas all over the world – some of them large, even in the US there are about 3 million Chinese (direct immigration or born from Chinese parents). They are even in Africa – everywhere lending credibility to Chinese action. The Chinese have a long history of going abroad in large numbers. They are trying a piecemeal approach, a peaceful development, or what will  we see now?

But can the US afford being here with military spending cuts and all? The game is on!

Dreams, conscience and behaviour

Sunday, August 15th, 2010

Humans are mammals and souls too – we are intelligent, emotional, instinctive and we move about. Our thinking and emotions are not well understood, we do not seem to know how our souls work. Our reactions are not always predictable or understandable, behaviour is sometimes hard to fathom. Group behaviour is another matter – how come several people like or dislike an idea?

So reality is all in your mind, differences may present themselves as you experience various circumstances, other people may have difficulty understanding you and you may have trouble understanding why you do things.

Understanding the origin of ideas is another riddle – where do ideas come from, how do some of them become important to you, even an obsession. We often develop ideas into more substantial constructions, and sometimes we build chimeras in our minds.

You hear things, you see things, your intellect leads in a direction, you decide, ideas grow or die.

Dreams also enter it. The old Greeks and Romans had massive action and thinking about dreams – they were important, they could lead to healing and cure, they could save you from death. They  had temples, rites, scholars, healers, oracles using dreams actively to heal, build understanding, move towards gods, find new levels of consciousness. They used incubation rituals to make dreams come to you, to challenge your thinking.

Modern man is interested in dreams too – it is part of modern psychology, and it appears it can be helpful for business helping you make more money.

This is an example of lost knowledge and knowledge that we stopped developing a long time ago. This is a paradox: Dream techniques obviously leads to better understanding of our souls, to know ourselves better. Maybe we could use dreams actively to understand ourselves better, to reach deeper levels of consciousness. Freud and Jung worked on dreams, but it all seems so unsure now. Should we learn to analyze dreams, to make use of what they say to us?

So what are dreams for: Why do we have them and what do they do to us? Will we find it useful to interpret them, to put effort into understanding them and to bare our souls? Are they safety-valves,  or creative machines?

As a rather strange twist is that some people seems to think there is a business side to this as well: if we know and understand peoples dreams we can understand people too, we can make them work better for companies, to be more motivated, to work harder? This seems rather absurd – how do you get hold of peoples dreams so that you can make use of them: Most people never will tell. Inducing certain dreams in many humans could be useful to sway people and to make them more likely to support a set of thoughts.

Inducing the same dream in many people could lead to political results, to better mass communication and eventually control over people.

In the old days about two thousand years ago dreams were for individuals, to achieve healing  and to enter the underworld. Another aspect was to reach your real soul or personality through the unconscious and silence the mind through meditation so that new levels of consciousness could be reached. The soul could thus speak to us and truly awaken our mind.

New thinking is under way now – let us hope it can be free from prejudice, religious hassle and emotional turbulence so that we can know truly what this is all about – and for the individual – your own yourself.

East meets West

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

The world is divided into blocks. It has to do with physical distance, culture, economics, politics, religion. The thinking behind it all also seems to be going on in its own way inside these blocks.

Culturally we think the best about ourselves. Our art and literature is deemed superior to culture from far away. Intellectually the differences may seem huge. We appear to be living in different worlds. But remember that all continents have produced great art and literature.

The Greeks are considered the source of our wisdom and culture, our model. But it now appears that the Greeks travelled widely also eastwards – to Persia and India, picking up thinking and wisdom from these parts and amalgamating it into their own thinking. Our Western tenets of freedom of speech and thinking, fairness, distribution of wealth, human suffering et. al. have also been part of Eastern thinking. Maybe some ideas originated in the East and later were made our own.

It now appears that there is a oneness based on basic human values like love and respect, and that it is possible to say that Eastern and Western thought are similar although the languages and expressions are different. There are also stages of development, differences of opinion, powerplay involved. Some people are famous in the West, others are famous in the East.

Gradually we will now see a merging of philosophies, the old ways will be left behind, new ways will emerge. The basic premise is that we must all take care of all living things under the all-embracing oneness there is. This oneness is emerging in many areas like deep ecology, life sciences of interconnectedness and systems thinking, medical thinking of body and mind, the Gaia model of the Earth.

This may seem like speculation now – but watch it – the increasing stature of many nations, the rebalancing of the nations of the world will aid the wholeness and integrating processes. The East will meet the West, and the philosophy of oneness will grow.