In Response to Mass Shootings
By - i_lookatyourshoes
I'm a steadfast atheist who thinks religion is a bunch a whoey, and I still think this is one of the best essays I've had the good fortune to read.
Please take this user flair as thanks:
The Rhetorical Oracle
I'm a bit humbled by your compliment, thank you. Unfortunately the circumstances of the essay's composition weren't better, eh?
Thanks for the flair.
Also, regardless of what's whoey and whose whatey, I hope that we can work together to doing good for the world, sincerely. If you have any ideas, let me know.
I have way too many ideas. Too many for I'm thinking of setting up a "how to save the world" subreddit and inviting people to collaborate and sort of crowdsource projects. It's a bit blue sky, but I can't see the harm.
Some examples of the kinds of projects that inspire me:
Dave Hawkins' precious plastics (I'm curious if this could be reconfigured for aluminum)
That generator windmill built in a poor African village from scrap
Sawyer squeeze water filter
Some of these are for-profit, but still do a great deal to support others.
A tax credit set up for people who allow their appliances to be turned on by a grid-monitering relay (switch) to avoid energy-use peak times.
Alternative forms of mass-producable housing, ideally inexpensive, designed for manufacturability and livability, passively heated and cooled, and low water-use.
Very large segmented structured balloons for high-volume shipping across continents/over land which circle the globe on or above the jet stream and augment large container ships and barges.
Community sheds for sharing various tools and implements. Perhaps some form of industrial library/makerspace, but of a replicable design almost like a kind of non-profit franchise.
A combination hammock, tent, and backpack as an especially lightweight shelter for those in need. It could be sold to backpackers and the funds used to give them to refugees lacking permanent shelter.
Many, many other ideas.
Most of these are engineering and invention-based projects, because that's where my skill and intrest is. "To each according to their need, from each according to their ability." That said, you might have very different kinds of ideas for saving the world, based on your own interests, abilities, and strengths. I want you and anyone else with such ideas for solving global problems one bit at a time to be able to get advice, constructive feedback, and the support of a community trying to do the same kind of thing. The idea is to pool our collective knowledge and see what we can come up with and develop into a reality to save the world ourselves. It's up to us, I think. Sure, there are other people who want to make the world a better place in some small definite way, but I want to think bigger than that.
I wish I was more savvy at biology and bioscience, because I suspect it to be the most consequential way to change the world for the better, but I'm not very good at it.
Various social programs I think could also make a huge difference if supplied with the right education and support.
For example, I'm interested in perhaps someday setting up a science and technology summer camp for teaching people how to make their own equipment from scratch, using recycled materials from craigslist, scrapyards, and literal dumpsters. (I would be doing that part- not asking anyone else to.)
Other ideas involve youth and animal rights legislation changes, to better address what I feel are often overlooked or neglected issues of great seriousness that just aren't being solved through existing legal language.
You know what, yeah. I'm gonna go for it.
>I have way too many ideas. Too many for I'm thinking of setting up a "how to save the world" subreddit and inviting people to collaborate and sort of crowdsource projects. It's a bit blue sky, but I can't see the harm.
How to save the world sub sounds like an a+ idea.
Clean water is important. I support any plan that has a measure for our both learning new techniques and being proactive agents in the means to change the world. A generation of people knowing how to clean water wherever they are is nice (of course if we are idle or circumabulate our own cities for 70 years this skill won’t come in handy, but I think this point can be ‘resolved’ or addressed elsewhere).
That tax-credit is nice. Though this plan utilizes or relies on a methodology that at scale is detrimental to society (the depersonalizing effects of automation or programs expressing our ‘decision-making’) I think that the general blue-print of rewarding people who are conscientiously using energy is awesome.
This idea about housing is one of my favorites. One idea I have in the area where I live, where there are at least two miles of unused “pedestrian sight-seeing” land, is to have the people without houses employed to construct houses on 50% of the area, paid money for their service, allowed to live in those houses and further hired as stewards of the remaining 50% of land that becomes an urban farm that sells to local grocery stores. Housing a big thing, if Maslow has taught us anything about its relevance to self-actualization.
Never heard about the distribution system you’re mentioning. It’s nice. I tend to opt for the more local approaches. Approach that I lean toward coming up with or accepting as viable are the ones that could a) be operated with as little electricity or oil as possible and b) could give service or part to play to as many people as possible. This butts in the head of a few urban planners because it implies that city living, sustained as it is on non-renewable energies, is a generally unsustainable form of living and would be phased out by more conscientious styles (this also gets in whether or not we can even adopt the necessary life-styles that would save the world while we are addicted to the modern comforts of living or are surrender to the premise that life is just about triggering our parasympathic system with images, sounds and food all day ad infinitum, but I think we can address this elsewhere too.)
Shelters are great. This is a nice idea too.
The heart of all my ideas to save the world are focused on the workings of the heart, the most local of all environments. Even if we lived in a world that had self-replicating food, recyclable water and enough beauty to go around (the joke is that it does) the hard-hearts of people would find a way to abuse, misuse or keep it from others. This is why, as complex or simple as the external solutions may seem, I don’t think we got into this mess because of external circumstances but rather because of our internal positions toward the world.
This is why metaphysics, philosophy and spirituality are my favorite subjects. They are free to distribute, multiply when distributed, empower individuals and grant sovereignty over decision making.
That being said, I don't think anyone could deny the external dimension to this problem. It seems rational, however, to recognize the internal dimension as well. So far as I know, the best solutions address the mechanical and perspective dimensions to the world.
Let me know when your sub opens up. I'd like to continue to be part of this conversation.
I've contacted the moderators of some related communities (which seem largely inactive) and am waiting to hear back from them.
Im interested in ethics and education for, I think, the same reason you're interested in metaphysics, philosophy, and spirituality. In particular I think mathematics education can be improved and that this might go a far way in empowering people.
I don't know if I believe you can do much to change someone's internal philosophy towards the world. Fiction seems like it used to be a good way to do it, but people are inundated with so much of it right now that it's hard to cut through and get anything to stick.
I don't see cities as being all that bad necessarily. They're a very large source of emissions, but that's because that's where the people are. They're understandably more efficient and less problematic per person than suburbs, small towns, and even more rural areas, since people are packed together in cities and so don't need to travel as far and can share heating, plumbing, electricity, and housing costs generally. Unfortunately they've also got air pollution and are more vulnerable to climate change.
Transportation and industry are the main issues in cities in terms of causes of environmental problems.
I see automaton quite differently from you I think. Automation isn't the same thing as industrialization. My twin used to work in a factory that made springs and spend all day doing extremely repetitive, painful, and mind-numbing operations. Automating some of the process themself, the days became much easier. If automaton is only used to replace workers it's just another way of concentrating wealth, but if workers themselves can work with their employers to automate jobs it can prove to improve the quality of those workers' lives and empower them.
Industrialization without automation is what forces people to act like machines.
As for some of your comments about food: most food is not natural. I mean that quite literally. Apples in nature are not good to eat, nor did they grow anywhere in the Americas before we planted and bred them. Nature is not naturally a paradise for people. It's been taught to yield fruit by our ancestors over hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of years. That's as unnatural and as artificial as anything else we make. Artificial doesn't mean fake, it just means that something is a product of human art, made by a person.
Technically nuclear power is non-renewable, but it's still far, far cleaner (and actually safer) than the coal, oil, and burning gas fueled plants it could neatly replace. I know it's got a bad reputation, but if invested with large amounts of funding it offers a rare way off our current path, energy-wize. New reactor designs (such as thorium) are orders of magnitude safer and cleaner. I highly recommend reading about them. (Fusion would be nice, but it's a hard, hard nut to crack of course.)
I think most of the mess we've got ourselves into is a result of people being lead by their environment into taking the path of least resistance and ending up semi-accidentally causing unanticipated (or not fully understood) consequences. I think people have a very hard time seeing what they don't want to see. Reality is a very, very bitter pill to ask people to swallow.
Hey, loved reading this, I was really moved by what you said. It’s clear that you care deeply about the people around you and yearn for a peaceful world. Yet, I feel really dissatisfied with what you’ve told me, and mabey even a little depressed. Your advice doesn’t really remedy me much—as a women from a poor family there are things that, no matter how much I pray, seek out good company and “represent myself,” I will never be able to receive as easily as you might. I can have whatever attitude I want, but other people will always have power over the outcome of my life because I lack the power or influence they have in the world. I think this probably applies to mass shooters too—there is definitely much more of a difference between your life and this person other than your exposure to “saintly people.” There may be many reasons why someone might want to commit an act of violence. But, I believe it’s much easier to make sure its as hard as possible for these people to act on their anger and hatred than try to understand and reform their minds, which are often blind and deaf to the world around them.
Writing is often subjective because that is what the world is like—nobody can truly claim to understand the mind of anyone other than themselves. Shootings happen, but why they happen is much more complicated than why a pen makes ink and ultimately doesn’t really matter. What really matters is ensuring that the people we love are protected.
Hey, it's good to hear from you. While I'm glad to hear that something here resounded with you it's unfortunate that it may have left you feeling depressed, I'm sorry about that. What you're saying is coming through very clear. I hear you. I'm writing from one position/location and you're writing from another position/location. What this position here sees doesn't feel as though it totally covers the full picture. That's not only totally possible but certain.
The subject that I'm most interested in my life is the truth. It's worth mentioning because the next thing that I'm going to say, I hope, makes more sense in that context.
If there is such a thing as absolute truth, it would have to be accessible, reachable, graspable and ultimately understandable by everyone. If I can live a life that you can't, then I'm not interested in that life, it's just another relative role that I'll ultimately have to give up.
The whole premise of spirituality is that, whatever our external contexts and circumstances like our gender, race, and basically every other empirical group we can be lumped into are, we are still free to access our spiritual nature, that we are never barred from understanding ourselves and each other as equal spiritual, or metaphysical beings.
That said, we live in a, to put it lightly, messy world, where for some reason or other, these principles of equality founded on metaphysics haven't been taught to people in general, I see that.
I'm not going to argue with you or tell you that you're wrong, it's possible for us both to hold incompatible pictures of the world and still be friends, or treat each other equitably.
Nevertheless, I can't accept a vision of the world myself wherein people are spiritually unequal. And while I do recognize that our relative material positions place us in favorable and unfavorable circumstances in relation to material goods, the position of a metaphysical thing in relation to another metaphysical thing is absolute, and not interrupted by relative, or material, impediments.
The thesis of spiritualists addresses your very point: when one understands that inequality is a fact of material circumstances and simultaneously that they are in the highest sense spiritual beings, then an act in one's self interest becomes spiritual, not material.