7 Stars Life Transformative Fundamental, Joyous, Optimistic, Calming Integrates Faith with Reason, God with Science – Cosmic Root
I read across 98 categories and the older I get, the more I think college should be spaced out over 20 years and degrees given expiration dates. This is an extraordinarily profound and moving book that is both readable and joyous.
Bottom line up front: truth in transit is truth in the becoming, the event, the conversation, the evolution — all men are created equal was initially all white elites; then all white men; then including slaves generally of color; then women; and now evolving to include transgender and perhaps one day, animals other than humans and even plants.
7 Stars — Documents Presidential Perfidy – Life Transformative for This Reason
I broke with the Republican Party over Iran-Contra and belatedly, the one trillion a year that Reagan started shamelessly borrowing to fund the dual welfare system — a dysfunctional military-espionage-industrial complex for the right, and a dysfunctional regulatory myopic and equally toxic individual welfare system for the left, all while ignoring banking and corporate predation. Fox News broke with me when I said, on live Fox, that the Global War on Terror was a fraud. Fox may be getting smarter, certainly this book causes me to reconsider where the right might be. I like the book very much. Although an Op-Ed book that lacks the eye candy (the Constitution as an appendix, and charts showing the specifics of Roosevelt’s and Wilson’s violations, maps of global and domestic depravities carried out in the public name and at the public’s expense), this is a superb primer, a superb eye-opener, not just for the normal American with little time to read, but also, absolutely, for those like myself who read a great deal but may not have been well grounded in the areas where Judge Napolitano has spent hard time in the trenches.
I notice immediately that among his many books are two that resonate with everything that I and others do at Phi Beta Iota the Public Intelligence Blog (“The truth at any cost lowers all other costs”):
This book is a measured and hence valuable overview of thirteen unconstitutional turns in our last century and a half. I thought, with all the other excellent reviews already up, that the best contribution I could make is single out the one where I learned the most, and then offer an additional recommended reading in each of eight other areas where the author has sharpened my understanding and heightened my patriotic anger.
EYE OPENER: I never gave much thought to the 17th amendment that took states’ right away by taking away the role of the Senators as representatives of the State, instead turning them into the standard mob mouthpieces of the two-party tyranny. Now I am in Afghanistan, where a federal system has made corruption the central fact of life, destroyed the diversity and integrity of the provinces, and set the stage for another civil war when the US limps out. The older I get and the more I learn, the more I treasure grass-roots diversity down to municipal and county rights — NO from the bottom must trump “because I say so” from the top. I am adding reversal of 17th Amendment to my “to do” list at We the People Reform Coalition, joining my view that secession is the right of every state, and nullification in the public interest is the OBLIGATION of every Governor and state legislature.
Now here are eight of the thirteen chapters, each a lesson plan on its own, my only contribution here is to add a short blurb and one recommended additional reading for each of these chapters (I have reviewed each, my reviews are summary in nature for those who do not have the time or do not wish to purchase the books).
7 Stars, Life Transformational, So Fundamental as to be Priceless, October 10, 2013
When I donated my 2500 volume library to George Mason University (down from 5000 in earlier years), this is one of a tiny handful of books I held back, along with Buckminster Fuller’s Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure.
This edition is the FIRST edition. The reprinted currently in stock version The Lessons of History is more readily available, but if you can get the first edition, it is priceless at multiple levels.
This is the first book that I discuss in my national security lecture on the literature relevant to strategy & force structure. It is a once-in-a-lifetime gem of a book that sums up their much larger ten volume collection which itself is brilliant but time consuming. This is the “executive briefing.”
Geography matters. Inequality is natural. Famine, pestilence, and war are Nature’s way of balancing the population.
Birth control (or not) has *strategic* implications (e.g. see Catholic strategy versus US and Russian neglect of its replenishment among the higher social and economic classes).
History is color-blind. Morality is strength. Worth saying again: morality is strength.
They end with “the only lasting revolution is in the mind of man.” In other words, technology is not a substitute for thinking by humans.
7 Stars Life Transformative Foundation Work for Everything Else
This is a remarkably coherent book about the most important topic for all of us, the matter of complexity and more to the point, thinking about complexity. I certainly recommend it most strongly, along with two other books by the same author that I have reviewed:
The Foreword by Alfonso Montuori is easily the equal of the main body by Edgar Morin, and I am totally awed by the mastery demonstrated in Montuori’s synthesis and framing of Morin’s work. I venture to say that I would not have gotten as much from the main body without the structure of the Foreword.
Montuori, always drawing on Morin, emphasizes a number of core concepts that I note down:
01 We must abandon the architectural or machine metaphor that assumes a foundation or base for what is actually a complex complete whole that can be viewed from any point.
7 Stars–Nobel Prize (Of Old, Before Devalued) – Life Transformative Insights
November 28, 2009
QUOTE: “Non-zero-sumness is a kind of potential–a potential for overall gain, or for overall loss, depending on how the game is played.”
This book is one of the most sophisticated, deep, documented, and influential I have ever read, right up there with Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge. Published in 2000, this book has NOT received the marketing promotion or the public attention it merits.
THIS BOOK HAS SUBSTANTIALLY ALTERED MY PERCEPTION OF EVERYTHING ELSE.
7 Star Life Transformative Special So VERY Relevant Today–Absent Philosophy, No Amount of Money Will Suffice
October 14, 2008
This book, first published in 1916 in 1000 copies of which only 100 sold, is a gem. It is Will Durant’s doctoral thesis simplified for the public, and I found it to be extraordinary. This book *preceded* his life’s work in creating the History of Civilization with his wife Ariel Durant, and I now understand, from this book, how Durant first devised and then applied his personal intellectual & philosophical framework of “Perspectivism.”
Early on he states that philosophy should be the foundation for politics qua political-economic decision-making, but it is not. He shares E. O. Wilson’s view articulated in Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge that philosophy is what SHOULD be unified with science in order to produce social solutions (today he would no doubt say *sustainable* social solutions. He laments the relegation of philosophy to the “ivory tower” of academia, lost to politics and lost to the public. (Conservatives would say they still live by a philosophy but I would disagree–most of them simply parrot dogma–the liberals have neither, they offer platitudes and are just as corrupt and partisan.)
In his view so early in his career, philosophy plus history equals wisdom; and politics without either cannot resolve “the social problem” regardless of how much money might be thrown at specific solutions.
The first five chapters review Socrates, Plato, Bacon, Spinoza, and Nietzsche. In keeping with his “Perspectivism” he neither seeks to refute nor ignore but instead to *relate* diverse philosophies to the present circumstances (reading Plato, and then Durant as of 1916, I am struck by the timeless wisdom–money creates hoarding and speculation, inheritance incentivizes same, neither is good for society as a whole).
“The social problem” and the task of philosophy is to achieve balance between emergent individualism and the larger social construct that needs civic duty and contributions from all if the group is to be safe and be prosperous.
From Socrates to Spinoza and on, Durant finds that morality is not about freedom of will or individual purpose, but rather about how the group and the individuals as part of the group relate means to ends (or we could say now, means (revenue) to ways (policies) to ends (endless war or peace, distributed prosperity or concentrated wealth and broad slavery).
I find guidance and solace for Colin Powell in Durant’s rendition of Plato, and am just blown away by how we must give the best to education, that until we do so, until we give our best brains to education, no amount of money will reduce our social ills. Here is the quote for Colin Powell:
“When Plato says that the office of minister of education is ‘of all the great offices of state the greatest,’ and that the citizens should elect their very best man to this office (Laws 765-6), he is not pronouncing a platitude, he is making a radical, revolutionary proposition.
Durant draws out (mostly from Spinoza) the importance of NOT having a standard government-defined education, of making education fun, exploratory, diverse, and open-ended. I cannot help but recall how the author of Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace suggests we beat the creativity out of children by the fourth grade, and how my hacker friends consider schools to be prisons.
In reviewing Bacon, Durant sees the destruction of philosophy by religion, and states clearly that this is something we must undo. I favor the concept of Faith- Based Diplomacy Trumping Realpolitik and see no conflict between secular philosophy and faith.
He cites Bacon as seeking to inspire more cooperation and less chaotic rivalry in research, and this is one reason I believe Colin Powell would be foolish to settle for Secretary of Education. Instead he should suggest that there be three Deputy Vice Presidents: himself for Education, Intelligence, and Research; one for National Security; and one for the Commonwealth. This will allow the bloated $75 billion a year secret intelligence budget to be used as bill-payer for both Education and Research, at the same time that an Open Source Agency makes it possible to dismantle 80% of the hydra of relatively useless secret sources and methods (they acquire 4% of what we need to know while ignoring all the rest in 183 languages we do not understand).
For Spinoza as for Plato compulsion is a negative force, useful for inhibiting attacks but not for inspiring collaboration.
It is from Spinoza that Durant draws his ultimate vision, one shared by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison: for a democracy to be successful, something other than an anarchist mob, the spread of intelligence–wisdom, knowledge, decision-making skills, is essential.
In the transition to Nietzsche, Durant offers marvelous one-line dismissals (each) of Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, Bishop Berkeley, Hume, Voltaire, Compte, John Stewart Mill, Spencer, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schopenhauer, and Hildebrand.
In Part II Durant explores various solutions and objectives, and then circles around again to his bottom line: the purpose of philosophy, the mission of philosophy, is to facilitate the growth and spread of intelligence among men. Unlike history, which reconstructs the past, philosophy seeks to reconstruct the future. Instead of analysis, synthesis; instead of categorization, reconstruction and redirection, innovation from diversity mixed in diverse ways.
One last thought: Michael Hinton and Jean-Francois Noubelle have pioneered Open Money, and that is one of the things I talk about in my forthcoming opening presentation at Gnomedex in Seattle. My slides and notes can be seen in advance by finding “Open Everything” at my web site in the Archives, EIN Library. In my view, Open Money could be the single most revolutionary idea that is liberating immediately and scales without a problem. Combined with distributed search (Grub) and CISCO AON individually-controlled sharing of both information and CPU power, I see a world well beyond Google in which our brains and our information are under our control and no one can loot that abundance.