The Double Helix of Science and Spirituality

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To start off this post, I’m going to share a poem that I have written.

“Spiritual Stars”

Man travels through life
Easily distracted by immersive information
The progress of our ancestors
Rests as Man’s foundation
Planting an addiction for answers
Our understanding – blossoming flowers.

The floret never touches the sky
It can never reach the stars
(The universe expands to infinity);
No matter the sacrifices and the scars
Path to Truth has utmost affinity
For Man to rip each others’ humanity.

An honest man looks at history
The Enlightenment the most recited
Men upheld to their ideals
Dividing which once was united
The Church never allowing appeals
Ignoring reason, and what it reveals –

Men ahead of their time
Their knowledge grinds with society
Shedding assumptions of culture
Their deeds proclaimed notoriety
The Church, feeling their credibility will rupture
Men killed in response for all their glory and wonder.

It was times of blood, and the victim was reason
All to keep the established beliefs
Most people blame the irrationality on religion
As a result people suppress spirituality underneath
People strive to make a logical decision
Rather to look onto God with submission.

Humanity does not know for sure,
if there is a God or not
Logic declares each a possibility;
Usually spirituality is negated
Blamed for taking the essence of humanity
Theories constructed, for God is hated
Something at some point had to of been created.

God may not be accurately expressed in our texts,
Could not spirituality and reason co-exist?
What would unfold, with the double helix
of reason and religion?
The floret would grow past the cold mist
When we show humility and make that admission
Our understanding would only depend upon our ambition.


This post will essentially talk about this poem, and well, a specific song that talks about the same thing.  “Science” by System of a Down.  Here is the song and the lyrics:

Making two possibilities a reality
predicting the future of things we all know
fighting off the diseased programming
of centuries, centuries, centuries, centuries
Science fails to recognize the single most
potent element of human existence
letting the reigns go to the unfolding
is faith, faith, faith, faith
Science has failed our world
science has failed our mother earth
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Letting the reigns go to the unfolding
is faith, faith, faith, faith
letting the reigns go to the unfolding
is faith, faith, faith, faith
Science has failed our world
Science has failed our mother earth
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Spirit-moves-through-all-things
Science has failed our mother earth

(Sorry for the format issues.)

First, I want to talk about the song specifically.  If you notice, he takes a Platonian view of matter in this world.  “Spirit moves through all things” is like the lifeforce that Plato theorized about.  (Plato’s Lifeforce –> Energy)  Secondly, the message that is trying to be portrayed is that science has hurt mother nature, however I would add science has really benefited humanity at the expense of mother nature.  Not to get too political, but when we have the technology to not only take care of our planet but provide the needs of our society, it is usually shot down simply because of money.  An example of this is renewable technology.  Arguably, it might be that science isn’t at fault, but rather the desires of men.  The desire to maximize an electronic spreadsheet, at the expense of not only the planet, but of humanity itself.

There is a common message, between my poem and System of a Down – in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the poem was inspired by System of a Down.

It’s the idea that not only is spirituality not credible in the realms of science; not only is it obvious to see that spirituality (energy) is in all things; what of the possibility of spirituality being accepted in science?  What about that possibility?

As my poem suggested, the actual ways of the spirit realm may not be expressed in all of the world’s religious texts.  It could be expressed by one, who knows.  The point is that either possibility is an unknown, so why not study objectively with the possibility that spirituality exists?  Furthermore, I pose the possibility that aspects of the spirit realm is actually found.  Wouldn’t finding Truth behind those properties of this spiritual realm, wouldn’t that open our eyes to other aspects of our universe as well?  Thus, looking for aspects of spirituality in science, not only has the same benefit as studying science without it (IF God or Gods are not out there), but prepares humanity for finding something that could climb us ever closer to Truth.  Meaning, if we are open to the idea of a spirit realm, it could either not be true (the same as not looking for spirituality at all), or it could be true and we unlocked another world to our perception.

If we were to find a spiritual realm, the double helix of spirituality and science would be created.  One as part of the other.  And with this deeper understanding, the closer to Truth we would become, having spirituality and science being the genome of our expression.

To close, the song by System of a Down is very artistic.  When the music turns into a different beat and melody, it’s Spirit.  They’re trying to portray the strength as well as aspects of this spirit that they are talking about.  The harsh and grungy sound is science, while the pleasant and tribal sound is spirit.  It’s peaceful, no?

And with that, comes my second attempt at changing how frequently I post.  Again, I am completely open to the concept that I could be flat out wrong, and that others may disagree with me.  I just hope that my reader, that you’re actually thinking along these lines and came up with thoughts of your own.

Thanks for reading!

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Plato’s Lifeforce –> Energy

universe-age

 

The Ancient Greek philosopher Plato, theorized that there was a life force in all matter on this planet.  However, people knew through working with stone and rock, there were no living parts or systems of these materials.  Since there was nothing to be observed for this theory, there was obviously scrutiny.  Understandably, people wanted observable evidence to this theory than to accept it – which is understandable considering human nature.  Even to this day, physicists and mathematicians create theories without possibility of acquiring evidence, or in other words to test the theory.  The prime example of this is string theory.  It is a mathematical marvel, however physicists are starting to shift to other areas of thought, simply because they want to work towards something that is testable.

Is it possible that we are thinking about this in the wrong way?  After all, all matter was created from energy.  The energy that drives this planet, to make the planet’s systems sustainable, comes from the sun.  The sun is pure energy.  As we learned in elementary school, foliage consumes sunlight, which is then in turn consumed by other animals.  Either by sucking in oxygen, or by consuming the plants themselves, or by consuming other animals that consumed those plants or other animals.  Thus, the food pyramid.  The food pyramid is one of the mechanisms by which the sun’s energy is transferred.

My contention that everything has some sort of energy, and thus is the lifeforce that Plato was talking about.

What about rocks?  They act as transferring heat from itself to what is around it.  In fact, it has been theorized that when energy is transferred through the rock, and it is in a pool of hydro carbons (like pools by volcanoes), eventually the atomic structure of the rock would change.  Why?  Because the rock is becoming more efficient at transferring its flow.  (The Constructal Law)  Look at water.  The movement of water, either by potential energy or by direct energy through the sun, brings about movement to fuel the life on this planet.  Each organism consumes this energy in some way, and is used to create energy for that organism, while its waste is used as energy for other organisms.  It’s a complete cycle.  If one were to consider that the transfer of energy, that substance or organism “has” energy, then there is energy in all things.  There is a lifeforce to this universe, which means Plato was right.

But what other aspects of this lifeforce are there?  I think energy can be expressed in a wave, with a frequency and amplitude.  These different frequencies make things like heat, light, and compounds.  In fact, one could argue that matter is a certain frequency of energy.  With that said, I think anything living, are in tune to these frequencies that energy produces in them and other things.  A common example of this would be dogs.  Cesar Millan, the gentleman behind The Dog Whisperer, has a theory based upon the “energy” of the dog.  Meaning, how does it feel to be around the dog?  The reason why these dogs exert these energies, is because different states of mind metabolize its fuel differently, and changes the physiology of the dog.  The energy of the owner, or in this case Cesar Millan, interacts with one another like two waves coming into contact, creating a resultant.  This “resultant” wave, is the wave that is perceived, and thus is responded to.  In essence, the dog communicates how he or she feels to Cesar, or any owner that is in tune with their dog.  This is possible because the energy is transferred through the air, literally affecting the air molecules.

I would argue the same happens with plants.  If I were to walk in a state or national park, I would feel at ease assuming I didn’t run into predators.  That is because the energy of water, the wind, and trees and plants, provides a sense of relaxation that is not felt anywhere else but nature.  Simply because our physiology evolved from nature.  I suppose if natural selection is true, some time down the line humans would start to evolve to the conditions of the city, rather than nature herself.  I don’t think we would live to see the day.

Therefore, not only is energy in all things, as fuel, but as a means of communication and ultimately influences the perception of living things.  When you go about your day, and you are in the presence of friends and family, pay attention to what you feel like when you encounter them.  It is true, that a bad day may influence these feelings, so I suppose pay attention over time.  Each person feels different, because they metabolize energy differently, resulting in different waves, which against changes the resultant wave.

One might be able to consider that energy can act like a neural network.  It flows through all living and nonliving things, and provides a very subtle way to communicate to everything on this planet.

This is why I do not discredit Plato.  I actually think he was right, and were thousands of years ahead of his time.  It is astounding, to think at the very beginning of our universe, during the big bang, pure energy would shape, provide fuel, as well as a means of communication for the universe entirely.

Thanks for reading!  Feel free to submit questions and comments.  And thanks for sticking with me, I haven’t wrote on this blog for a long time.  I do hope to change that.

Global Warming –> A Hunch

 

This post will encapsulate what I believe is happening with regards to society, oil companies, and global warming.  I am going to apply what I am learning from a documentary series on how the Earth works.  With the knowledge of early Earth history, as well as the events taking place, there is a basic, simple, easy deduction in regards to what might happen to the future of the planet.  I think it is this reasoning that I believe scientists are calling the future inhabitable.  Now, to the post.

When global warming was introduced in the seventies, everyone, including oil and coal companies knew it was true.  They did what tobacco companies did.  They hired think tanks, panels, scientists, experts, what have you, to contest the data at every way.  They were successful.  Because now I have to say I “believe” in global warming.  When it is obvious, when looking at the events of early Earth history, that carbon dioxide is a green house gas, and was required to create the early atmosphere, by warming the planet.  Everyone knew this.  The goal of oil and coal companies is to make money, but in a way that not everyone knows.  When looking at satellite images of oil reservoirs throughout the planet, more and more oil is found when you travel north.  It is speculated upon, that the arctic has the largest oil reservoir on the planet.  So, warm the planet to melt the arctic, harvest the oil, and say ef it to the future of humanity.  Why?  Money.  It’s pure evil.

When the Earth was first forming, clunks of asteroid matter rammed into one another.  As more and more did so, the gravitational field got stronger.  Thus, a feedback process emerges (VERY common occurence of nature).  Eventually, the physical Earth emerges.  With all the asteroid ramming, a molten core is started.  This eventually starts volcanic activity.  Volcanoes eject carbon dioxide, as well as other compounds, into the sky, starting the early atmosphere.  This warms the planet to a temperature habitable for life.  Since the inanimate tends to transfer energy more efficiently over time (The Constructal Law), life is eventually created as the further facilitate of energy.  These primitive life forms, were the most successful life forms in the history of the planet.  They covered the Earth for about 3 billion years.  What did they do?  Photosynthesis.  They took water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide to create oxygen.  This steadily changed the atmosphere to less carbon dioxide and more oxygen, resulting in these species to die off, while evolution took another route with aerobic respiration.

This is all that is need to be known to deduce the future of this planet.

We are releasing carbon dioxide at a rate never before seen on the history of the planet.  It’s going to warm the planet, because that is how the Earth was created.  It’s all known.  Which means, not only will temperature go up over time because of our lust for money, but the concentration of oxygen will increase.  With the added CO2, the heat will greatly affect the biosphere.  I’m presuming, a lot will eventually die off.  This is less usage of oxygen over time.  The primitive life forms of the Earth will reign once again, converting the highly concentrated carbon dioxide back into oxygen.  This means the concentration of oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere will be more than now over time.  Which means three possible alternatives.  Either humanity leaves the Earth (too much oxygen is actually damaging to the body), humanity will evolve over time to the new conditions of the planet, or humanity will fail.  A reset.  The new conditions will spawn a new kind of evolved life on this planet, and it wouldn’t be humans.  However, it is still possible that intelligent life will be created.

Why?

Money.

Gaia doesn’t care.  She will wipe us out instantly if that means the preservation of life itself, because Gaia doesn’t exist without life.  Scientists are trying to accurately model the future of the unknown.  They say in about 100 years, the planet won’t be habitable.  I think what we are doing to the Earth, will be stabilized billions of years later, and afterwards, if “humanity” lives it is another species.

Honestly, it makes me wonder if these secret societies worship Satan or something.  Because it is just evil.  It is evil to destroy this perfect super-organism that is our own, because of an economy.  Especially considering there are other theoretical economies out there that isn’t the isms, and isn’t bartering.  It’s absolutely maddening and awful to me.

This is the stepping-stones of us becoming the aliens of the universe invading planets to harvest their resources.  We just consume more and more, and don’t design a society that is in harmony with the environment, determining sustainability.  So the very “evil” that is portrayed in our stories, we are becoming.  The universe has a lot of resources, but we will eventually die off.  We would live longer, probably to the edge of the end of time, if we learned to be more sustainable.  When the universe cools, there is nothing we can do.

I know we are talking maybe billions of years in the future, but we could drastically increase our lifetime in this universe if we respected the universe, and not exploit it for an electronic spreadsheet of money.

Tron Legacy Analysis

 

This movie I have really enjoyed recently.  I felt when I first saw it about five years ago, I didn’t really appreciate the fullness of the film.  It’s beyond the great special effects, music in accordance to action, and the wardrobe.  I mean these costumes look like they were engineered in the future.  They did a good job.  Daft Punk being in the futuristic bar was a great touch.  The story is well written, and brings about themes of love, perfection and imperfection, as well as God and creation.  It’s a very compelling movie, and really makes the viewer reflect on the statements on these themes.

It starts with the father son relationship, of the Flynn’s.  His father decided to pursue ideas that were way ahead of their time, get enveloped in creating utopias, while realizing that “perfection” was right at his finger tips (more on the perfection them later), and it was that of his son.  I quote, “I would give it all up for just one more day with you.”  In order to really appreciate the power of those words, I have to explain the premise of the movie.

Flynn was able to take the human image and put it into a digital self.  Sort of like a Matrix I guess, but different intentions and conditions.  In this world, Flynn is God.  He created a program to protect users (himself) named Tron.  He then created a program, a digital representation of himself, to create the perfect system.  That program was named Clue.  With those three, they created utopias.  First one they created, only programs could exist in the world.  They finally after that attempt, started over and made a utopia for both programs and users.  In a super computer for the time it was made, in the bottom of an arcade, there was a universe and Flynn was God.

In fact, the image that is presented in this post, is my favorite part I think.  It is the moment that God revealed himself to His creation after many cycles.  Everyone goes in to awe and fear was expressed.  There was a program that was praying the in the presence of Flynn.  Imagine that?  First, imagine being God.  Isn’t that insane?  He created all of that.  As shown later in the film, Flynn has powers that only He can have.  Since He has the master file on his disk, He can manipulate what He created.  Imagine seeing God right in front of you.  I would just wait and stare in awe honestly.  To actually be with the Creator, brings a mixture of emotions I can’t describe.  Imagine living in a world where they know there is a God, and they know who He is.  That society has a much different psyche than ours, and in a sense, I envy them.  I would love to have the luxury to have seen my God and know that He is there.  What is interesting, is Flynn doesn’t hear prayers.  It’s something I have thought hard about with our Creator, does he actually listen to prayers?  Or does he let the system run and does something else?  I will never know.

Now it is understood the strength of those words, “I would give it all up just to spend one more day with you.”  He would give up being God to be with his son again.  He was forced to stay in The Grid because the portal closed.  He hadn’t seen his son in years, and he thought he would never see him again.  Flynn knew what had to be done in order to get The Iso and his son out.  That is why he said,”one more day” because he was going to merge with Clue and create an instant explosion followed by a complete reset.  Flynn died, but The Grid remains to be manipulated, or improved, by his son.  Flynn knew he was going to die, and it would of given up his life’s work, at being God, to be with his son more.  That was more important to him.  That is really strong, and shows what we all desire and what usually happens.  Father’s aren’t home making the cheddar, and some get so caught up in their career it is more important than family.  A song that shows this well is “Cats in the Cradle.”  It’s a cycle.  The boy mimics a distant father and becomes a distant father.  Most of us yearn for a close father because not only is it human, but a lot of us have had distant relationships with our fathers because of our society.

There is another love story.  The son Flynn and The Iso.  Iso’s were literally a result of The Grid.  They were a different race of people created by The Grid.  Flynn, God, not only created a digital frontier and utopias with programs, but created another being that lived in The Grid, with their own DNA.  Clue saw them as imperfections, and slaughtered them.  “It was genocide.”  The Iso, she is the last remaining Iso, that Flynn saved.  Imagine, being saved individually by your Creator.  In any case, The Iso’s DNA could revolutionize technology back on Earth, and was the true purpose of The Grid to Flynn.  His creation, of living beings, He truly is a God if one thinks about it.

Clue was programmed to make the perfect system.  He did it well.  Flynn had a long time to think, and told this to Clue.  “The thing about perfection, is that it is unknowable.  It’s impossible but it is also right in front of you all the time.  You wouldn’t know that because I didn’t when I created you.  I’m sorry, Clue.  I’m sorry.”  When his son went to the portal, there were images of his son when he was younger.  To show what he was thinking.  “See ya kiddo.”  Flynn then combined Himself with Clue, resetting The Grid.

I don’t know why, but that quote is making me think of a concept.  Could the world be more perfect that we originally thought?  I think it is a perfect super-organism.  Meaning it has processes that ultimately balance everyone out, and is cyclic to bring motion to the planet.  There’s a carbon cycle, a water cycle, an oxygen cycle, a carbon dioxide cycle, and the list goes on.  It’s a perfect system, that was created through the laws of this universe.  But could it be more perfect?  Perfection to us is pure symmetry, uniform color, evenly divided angles.  Sterile.  But could the structure and all of the planet be perfect?  Sure the structure is different than our preconceived notion of perfection, but what if Flynn is right?  What if perfection is unknowable?  Then our views of perfection are not valid because perfection is unknowable.

Could it be possible that perfection is our universe itself?  Could the very variable leaves of a tree actually all be perfect?  Sure there is variance in nature, but it is truly random, and that could mean true perfection.  Maybe a part of perfection is variability, or randomness?  Maybe our preconceived notions of perfection blinds us from the perfection right in front of us.  Excuse my french, but it’s the fact that we fucking exist in the first place.  I believe there were systemic steps, and I think considering all the Earth like planets we are finding, we are bound to find life.  If we are truly alone in this universe, then those are planets for our taking.

Singularities.  There is no reality.  There is no time.  There is nothingness, but a infinitely small and dense particle.  Do you think that particle could of exploded in an infinite amount of ways?  After all, there is no reality.  The singularity exploded with just enough energy to produce the exact mass of 14 decimal places to create a universe that is flat and eventually harbors life.  That to me is perfection.  Iso’s are us.  As a result of the flow of energy becoming more efficient, life was systematically created.  We are the result of energy.

This movie has really changed me.  I think the climax of the film, where Flynn explains perfection, has actually changed my perception of the world.  I think we are living on a perfect planet, in not only processes, symbiotic relationships, but also in structure itself.

I’m going for a walk I think tonight.  Thanks for reading.

The Credit Creation Theory of Banking is Empirically Verified

The Federal Reserve of the United States.

The Federal Reserve of the United States.

First, let me cite the article I am going to refer to:

Werner, Richard. “Can Banks Individually Create Money Out of Nothing? – The Theories and the Empirical Evidence.” International Review of Financial Analysis (2014). Print.


 

This 18 page article is extraordinary in the amount of research put into it, resulting in a very dense read filled with economical theory and schools of thought.  As with any good works, it unveils a layer of Truth.  Truth has not been obtained in economics, or pretty much anything for that matter, but it brings about a moment of clarity on not only how things work, but how things got to be the way they were.

The article first focuses on each hypothesis on banking theory, and goes into the historical shift among the economists with regards to this issue.  The author decided to let the former economists speak for themselves, and drenched the article with quotes from economists who lived in the late 18th century to modern times.  Then the author was able to do an experiment, and emperically verify one of the hypothesis.  But first, to the three hypothesis of how banks operate, in order from the oldest hypothesis that was favored to the most recent, before this paper was published.

During the firs two decades of the twentieth century, the credit creation theory was the favored theory among economists.  It basically says that when a bank issues out a loan, it fabricates that loan out of nothing.  Following the 1920’s and more up to the 1960’s, the favored hypothesis is that banks utilize fractional reserve banking (the method that I have been using in my own understanding of how the economy works.)  According to this paper, this method basically means the banks are a “financial intermediary,” using their just resources to issue out loans.  They create money out of nothing by what is termed “the multiplier effect.”  A bank can only issue a loan if it has received new reserves, which a fraction will be deposited to the central bank.  The bank only lends out the excess reserves.  Whereby another bank receives a deposit, puts a fraction in reserves, and issues the rest out as a loan.  What this does, is it takes the initial deposit and magnifies the available funds for loans based upon that initial deposit.  If Bank A gets a deposit of $100, the available deposits if put thru enough banks can exceed $9,000.  The banks themselves don’t create the money, however it is the issuance of loans that systemically create money by being deposited to bank after bank.  The most recent hypothesis that has been more or less favored by the majority of economists, is the financial intermediation theory.  First, let’s define intermediation:

Intermediation –>  Being, situated, or acting between two points, stages, things, or persons.

The bank is merely acting as a party to provide services for their customers.  As Keynes puts it:

A banker is in possession of resources which he can lend or invest equal to a large portion of the deposits standing to the credit of his depositors.  In so far as his deposits are Savings deposits, he is acting merely as an intermediary for the transfer of loan-capital.  In so far as they are Cash deposits, he is acting both as a provider of money for his depositors, and also as a provider of resources for his borrowing customers.  Thus the modern banker performs two distinct sets of services.  He supplies a substitute for State Money by acting as a clearing house and transferring current payments backwards and forwards between his different customers by means of book entries on the credit and debit sides.  But he is also acting as a middleman in respect of a particular type of lending, receiving deposits from the public which he employs in purchasing securities, or in making loans to industry and trade mainly to meet demands for working capital.  This duality of function is the clue to many difficulties in the modern Theory of Money and Credit and the source of some serious confusions of thought.

-Keynes [(1930, vol. 2, p. 213)] page 9

Keynes is an interesting figure.  He actually made statements backing all three hypothesis during his career.  Remember, the time frame outlined above talks about the prodominant view on banking theory.  There were probably some economists in the 1960’s thought that the credit creation theory was the most accurate view of how banks operate.  But it is clear, that over a period of time, economists regressed from the actual truth.  However I would argue that fractional reserve banking’s multiplier effect is still present even though credit is being created.

The authors of this study found a small cooperating bank in a small town in Germany.  The two directors of the bank agreed to allow them to monitor their transactions, and reserve amounts.  A small bank is actually a better choice than a big bank, simply because there is less transactions from the general public.  There is another reason why these researchers did not monitor a big bank – the big banks declined for various reasons, most notably the security of their data.  Nevertheless, it would of been a huge headache to pull off this research with thousands upon thousands transactions happening in a day.  So I personally think it worked for the best to do this procedure on a small bank.  And just because it is a small bank, doesn’t mean they don’t operate at the same standards and procedures of other banks.

The researcher took a loan out of 200,000 Euros with no interest, in agreement with the bank directors, and watched the process by which the money was credited to his account.  The process was video taped.  The researcher tested the account, and made small purchases that were a success.  The money indeed had been transferred, and there was no influence by any party, accept the gentlemen responsible for issuing to loan to the account.

The financial statements of the bank, when deducting all the deposits of other customers, revealed that the bank issued credit to the test account, without altering their own reserves, or obtaining money from external sources.  In essence, it is empirical evidence that the credit creation theory is actually a fact – money is created from nothing.

There is so much to talk about it is hard to start.  I guess I want to start by talking about the field of economics itself.  It’s ironic that the economist in the late 19th and early 20th centuries got it right.  Economists got further and further away from the truth, however when reading the various logic to defend each hypothesis, it is sound, assuming their axioms and assumptions are correct.  That is the core component to economic theory – assumptions.  When reading a theory, or a forecast on our economy going to fail, what are the assumptions?  Are those assumptions accurate?  Because if they aren’t, the logic maybe sound within those assumptions, but without those assumptions everything is moot.  Bernanke himself, the head of The Fed for the longest time, believed that banks were just intermediaries.  This paper reinforced for the the assertion that economics is merely educated guessing.  I follow a blog of an economist.  He basically states that macroeconomics is useless (which is taught everywhere), and discredits theory after theory on issues regarding the demand of money, labor, or trade just to name three.  However he never, I mean never, puts his two cents in.  It’s easy to discredit and criticize something for various reasons that can be seen, it takes guts and is plain harder to provide an alternative.  What economists need is data, and this is a good start.

Because now in the economical modeling, economists know how banks work.  That, obviously, is a central component to creating a more accurate model.  Economists know the interaction between The Fed and the government pretty well, they know how banks work now, the next step is trying to figure out the relationship between The Fed and The IMF, or the world bank.  Then the clearest picture of our economy would take fruit.

I read part of a book from an economist from MIT.  I didn’t finish it it was so bad.  His stance was that the capitalist markets behaved like that of an organism.  It is constantly evolving, so it can never be truly understood, and will always do what is necessary to ensure survival.  In essence, he has no idea.

The point of all of this is to take what economists say in the news with a grain of salt.  Their science is lacking serious data, and a lot of their assertions have core assumptions.  Those assumptions could down right be inaccurate, or there may not be right amount of assumptions.  This influences the train of logic, and can make something sound completely logical be completely false.

By knowing how banks operate, more appropriate fiscal policy can be put into place to prevent high systemic risk.  As stated in the study, current fiscal policy on banks assumes that the banks merely act as a intermediary.  This as we have learned, is inaccurate.

One thing I learned from this paper, is that banks deposit their reserves to The Fed.  Access reserves are either used to issue out loans or to invest.  If a bank can instantly issue out credit, this has no impact on their reserves initially.  However, when the issued loan is paid back with interest, they have essentially increased their reserves out of thin air.  Also, the bank can use old banking theory as well.  They can use a fraction of their deposits to issue loans or invest.  Regardless of how the loans are made, it is deposited in another bank, whereby a fraction is sent to The Fed, and that money can either be invested or loaned out.  What I am trying to say, is that I think the “multiplier effect” is still valid even though banks issue credit out of thing air.  Bank A issues a loan, and is deposited into Bank B.  Bank B takes a fraction of that, and puts it in the reserves with The Fed.  The next loan can be created through credit, however there is still excess reserves from the Bank A loan.  It all depends on the decisions of the bank.  The bank can take that money, or a fraction of it, and invest it.  Or it can us it to issue out more loans.  Whereby the amount goes to Bank C.

I don’t think it is as straight forward as economists put it on both sides of the credit creation and fractional reserve banking.  I think to some extent, both processes are used with current banking.  Regardless if this is true or not, and making an assumption that we know is true, which is that banks use credit creation, banks have a huge impact on the expansion of the money supply.  This is why our economy is so inflationary.  First there is deficit spending of the government (interaction between the government and The Fed), which we know by The Great Depression increases aggregate demand.  That is how America was able to get out of The Depression.  Increasing demand increases prices, and the reason why it increases aggregate demand is because there is more money to spend.  Eventually business owners will raise prices to increase profitability.  Banks, by creating credit out of nothing, increases the amount of money in the economy while keeping higher reserves.  This is accomplished in two parts.  First, if loans are created from thin air, the overall reserves from their customer base remains the same.  Second, once the issued credit and interest rate is paid off, this is a direct deposit to the bank’s reserves.  Higher reserves means more loans by a more traditional approach, or investing in financial instruments.  The creation of credit, in my opinion, contracts the money supply eventually by being repaid with interest.  However it is this multiplier effect between banks that really expands the money supply.  Therefore, it is with my understanding, that banks create money out of nothing, but expand the money supply using the multiplier effect, which was laid out in fractional reserve banking.

In any case, this was a very enlightening read.  Now entities that were a mystery to me aren’t anymore.  That is what I love about reading and learning.  Something just became clear, and it provides a sense of comfort, of knowing, the world around me.  I’m sorry I haven’t updated this blog in a while.  But life has its obstacles, as well as the fact that I have undertaken a pretty big project.  I will never forget this blog.  It may take some time for me to update it, but when I get my hands on that article, book, or study, you better believe I am going to share it to the world.

Thanks for reading.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the average American could create money out of nothing?

 

 

What Possibly Happened Before the Big Bang

Afshordi, Niayesh, Robert B Mann, and Razzieh Pourhasan. “The Black Hole at the Beginning of Time.”Scientific American  Aug. 2014: 38-43. Print.

This idea made me marvel at the possibilities that are out there, possibilities that may or may not be true in explaining the universe around us.  They built this theory around the concept on the volatility of singularities.  What I am trying to say, is our universe is very uniform and flat, which makes no sense considering the accepted theory of the big bang.  Singularities have no laws of physics, and there is no future or past – there is no time.  Out of all the possible ways the singularity exploded, the singularity exploded in such a way that eventually harbored life.  To them there has to be a logical explanation rather than a spiritual one.  So they came up with this idea, to provide conditions for the singularity to explode in a much more uniform manner.

According to their mathematics, it very well could be possible that the big bang happened on the event horizon of a black hole in four-dimensional space.  This basically means the black hole is a part of a universe in higher dimensions.  The event horizon would be three-dimensional, the very conditions that our universe exists.  The core reason why they are scheming this is because they need the event horizon.  And I quote:

Cloaked by an event horizon, the singularity is rendered impotent.  Its disturbing effects cannot escape, making it possible for the laws of physics to describe and predict all that we observe…

…We would like to have a way to shield ourselves from the big bang’s singularity and its catastrophic unpredictability, perhaps with something akin to an event horizon.

The point to all of this is a way to explain why the singularity of the big bang exploded the way it did.  They saw that if the singularity was in an event horizon, then it would work out.  This theory is testable which I like, and it is tested by analyzing the background radiation.

So what do they say about the universe that exists in higher dimensions than our own?

Well since it would of been in existence much longer than our current universe, it would have time to equalize its temperature.  This would provide the favorable conditions on the event horizon which would allow our universe to explode in such a way that the temperature is consistent enough, and the shape flat enough to eventually harbor life.  But they of course have no good explanations on how that universe was created, or the laws of that universe for that matter.

In conclusion, it is a forced hunch.  They are designing a situation knowing what we know currently which would explain why the big bang exploded the way it did.  What about the universe in higher dimensions?  Why did that singularity explode the way it did?  It is my forced hunch, that physicists do not completely understand singularities themselves and how they behave.  I think it very well could be possible that the birth of our universe is from an implosion, and that implosion had the natural conditions to eventually harbor life.  Scientists just struggle with the implications of this.  Inflationary theory was derived because scientists didn’t like how precise the amount of matter was in the universe.  If it was much higher or much lower, life as we know it would not be able to exist.  I don’t understand it completely, but the fact that if the universe expanded on an order of 78 in fractions of a second, eliminates the need of what I term “The God Ratio.”  It’s the ratio of actual matter and theoretical matter required to make the universe flat.  It had to have been equal to 1.00000000000000.  With that precision.  If it was off, our universe would not be flat and we wouldn’t exist.  Scientists didn’t like that idea, because it points to a Creator.  So they derived inflationary theory.

It makes sense, that if the singularity of the big bang was created, it was understood it would harbor life.  Scientists don’t like this philosophy or way of thinking, and will derive complete theories to get around it.  Not only inflationary theory, but this theory as well.  This bothers me.

I understand what happened during The Enlightenment, and I can see why people have a beef with spirituality.  But spirituality cannot be divided into certain factions.  The bottom line is nobody knows, and we all can theorize on the spiritual realm.  Just as I cannot provide hard proof that God exists, we cannot provide hard proof that he does not exist.  Therefore, we should conduct ourselves open to the possibility that our universe was created.

Finally, I believe that if we continue to think everything was not created from a creator, we will deal with an infinite paradigm.  Here is what I mean:

At the end, the tadpole looking thing is going into a world that is completely infinite.  What I am trying to say, is if we do not wrestle with the fact that something had to come from nothing, we are going to explain different universes infinitely.  There will always be a universe that created the other, but how did the original become created?  Believing in creation ends this conundrum, and it very well could be that the existence He created is infinite.  It would be within His power, or wouldn’t it?

At least this idea is testable.  String theory is losing popularity because the ideas aren’t testable, it is just a mathematical marvel.

I mean the other month, I read about a theory that states universes are in the singularity of black holes, which means our universe is a singularity of a black hole.  What made that black hole?  A universe, which is the singularity of a black hole.

Am I making sense here?  This theory is infinite.

So I take theoretical physics with a grain of salt.  It is a lot of creative math, but no data to support its claims.  I hope scientists get the data they deserve, so we can have an absolute picture of our universe.  I also hope more scientists would be open to the idea that there is a Creator.

An Different Look into Scarcity

Mullainathan, Sendhil, and Eldar Shafir. Scarcity: why having too little means so much. New York, New York: Henry Holt and Company, LLC, 2013. Print.

 

Throughout the majority of my life, my family and I had to deal with very tight financial constraints.  I can’t count the amount of times I have feared that we wouldn’t be able to pay for food, and there have been a multitude of times when we have had to use a food pantry.  I wanted to know how this is possible.  Why are there people flying private jets while there are people unable to eat?  The resources are there!  So  I have tried to get a better understanding of how the economy works, and I have taken time to learn various philosophies when in regards to economic policy as well as general economies as a whole.  The book that I just read, adds a layer of complexity to the study of economies.  As it is stated in the book, various economists make the assumption that people will make the most rational decision.  Yet, as we all know, this is sometimes not the case.  The psychology of scarcity actually can explain this phenomenon.  What is interesting is there are other things that are scarce throughout life.  Time can be scarce at times, followed by calorie intake (diet), the book throws a curve ball and talks about “social scarcity” (loneliness), and quite frankly I think addiction can be applied to the sphere of scarcity as well.  There is probably more, but what this book shows is that what they are finding about scarcity can be applied generally to other cases, not just money.

The premise of their findings was generally stated in the introduction of the book.  Essentially scarcity first forces us to tunnel on the thing we are scarce over.  So if I don’t have a lot of time and I am working hard, I will focus on the most immediate or late deadlines.  This prioritization, or heightened focus on deadlines (tunneling), is a double edged sword.  The efficiency of the person under a strict deadline goes up substantially because he or she is focusing harder to get his or her work done.  However it is through this tunneling, that sometimes other factors that contribute to scarcity in the first place gets overlooked.  So in the time example, while working on a late deadline another deadline has to be completed late.  This is a feedback process, and eventually I would be placed in what is termed the “scarcity trap,” where I am constantly in the state of scarcity, fighting a forever uphill battle to actually complete everything on time.  There is more though.  The authors of this book used the word bandwidth to encapsulate the overall processing power of the brain.  It is found that scarcity actually taxes the bandwidth of the brain, more specifically fluid intelligence and impulse control.

Another example could be used with addiction, or chemical scarcity.  Once the addiction is established, there is a drive to put their drug of choice into their system.  When there are heavy cravings (scarcity) addicts will tunnel to focus on getting chemicals back into their system for their high.  Addicts get very creative when it comes to getting money for their addiction, and that typically means other financial to relationship obligations, fall through the tunnel.  Eventually the added on stress of not meeting those responsibilities is dealt with taking more drugs (not to mention their impulse control is down).  This again brings about another scarcity trap.  Usually addicts have to reach rock bottom in order for them to gain the motivation to stop.  In order to stop any scarcity trap, including that of addiction, impulse control is needed which is extremely difficult considering the bandwidth tax.

Here is a summary of the findings of this book with regards to financial scarcity:

Tying all this together, we see that scarcity traps emerge for several interconnected reasons, stretching back to the core scarcity mindset.  Tunneling leads us to borrow so that we are using the same physical resources less effectively, placing us one step behind.  Because we tunnel, we neglect, and then we find ourselves needing to juggle.  The scarcity trap becomes a complicated affair, a patchwork of delayed commitments and costly short-term solutions, that need to be constantly revisited and revised.  We do not have the bandwidth to plan a way out of this trap.  And when we make a plan, we lack the bandwidth needed to resist temptations and persist.  Moreover, the lack of slack means that we have no capacity to absorb shocks.  And all this is compounded by our failure to use the precious moments of abundance to create future buffers.

Shocks in this context has to do with the financial surprises that life brings us.  They use the term slack to talk about room in the overall budget.  Having slack is a very important component to keeping you out of, and get you out of, the scarcity trap.  Put simply, having a little extra money allows one to save money to keep him or her out of the trap.  When in the scarcity trap, slack allows for somebody to pay for late bills without the need of a loan.  When looking at the scarcity trap, saving is the most important thing one can do to keep yourself from that mindset.  It is extremely risky to spend all of your budget every paycheck if it is avoidable.  It takes just one major “shock” to put yourself into the scarcity trap and mindset.

This book was interesting, but I must say I did not like how they structured the book.  The majority of their theory was revealed in the introduction, which made the rest of the material more bland.  If they were to reveal the theory as they went, the material would have a more interesting factor to it.  I understand they have to be thorough when explaining the evidence for their theory, but in my opinion it was a little excessive.  They spelled it out like someone was a complete moron, being so thorough of their logic.  I suppose this is good, especially considering the kind of people they are selling their book to.  But I found it irritating.  I really think they could of taken 100 to 120 pages off of the book.  Their theory is condensed, not long, not hard to understand, and could be provided evidence through their studies.

This book makes me realize that all people will do things impulsively under scarcity.  So when someone does something irrationally, it has to do with their taxed bandwidth.  I hope that this knowledge can be used by economists to better understand how people behave in the economy.  Maybe it will allow economists to change their assumptions, which would provide a more accurate understanding.  But I hope in the end this will breed more empathy for the poor.  And I hope that one day we will all have the mindset to allow the necessities of life to be provided to everyone.

A Physics Theory of Life and The Constructal Law

A Physics Theory of Life

The Constructal Law

The first link provided is an article about a MIT physicists who has recently provided the mathematics, or formula, to describe how possibly life began in general.  The second link is to a previous post of mine related to The Constructal Law – a new law of physics describing the structure in nature.

Both of these concepts stem from the thermodynamic laws.  As I recall from chemistry class, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy goes to a lower state of enthalpy.  (Meaning, that energy tends to be released)  The second law of thermodynamics state that matter goes to a state of higher entropy, or randomness.  For there to be orderly reactions, energy has to be put into the system.  So for example, a plant takes energy from the sun to construct sugars for nutrients with the help of water, and according to the article, plants emit infrared radiation.  There is always a spread of energy, as is described by the laws of thermodynamics.  What the constructal law accomplished was an overall framework on how the structure of our universe operates.  Put simply, the universe consists of various flow systems (including energy itself), and these systems will create structure to further facilitate its flow.  So a river delta is formed simply because more water can be moved with the least amount of energy.  Urban spread follows the constructal law.  Large volume segways are then met with smaller thoroughfares, which in turn get smaller.  It is exactly how nature herself operates.  Look at the circulatory system.  Huge arteries by the heart transfer blood to smaller veins which transports the blood to the designated site.  These are termed volume to point, or point to volume flow systems.  Neurons share the structure of lightning, while trees show the same structure as the respiratory system.  Structure is maintained by being more efficient in transferring whatever the system is transferring (flow systems).  This is why the inanimate looks the same throughout our universe.

Where these two law and theory come together, is the explanation of life.  In fact, I think the MIT physicists must of known of the constructual law.  The premise of his theory was predicted by the authors of the book I read, however the mathematics haven’t been derived.  Now it has been.  Of course, there is going to be scrutiny among the scientific community as it should, but I think this idea coincides with what is found in the constructal law.

Using the laws of thermodynamics, the physicist thought up of a very viable system.  Carbon atoms in a pool of something, something that carbon could radiate its heat off to.  Finally, this system is being bombarded with energy by the sun.  Through his mathematics, he is able to deduce that eventually the structure of the system would change by following the laws of thermodynamics.  The system will gravitate towards needing to expel more energy.  Why?  Because if we were to take this system as a flow system, the structure of the system will change to further facilitate its flow, or in this case, energy.  This is crucial.  Because if light is shined on the surface of the Earth for billions of years, eventually structures would evolve and eventually primitive life could form.  And, when there is primitive life and eventually RNA and DNA, Darwinian concepts take hold.  But life itself is a further facilitate of energy.  More energy can be transferred per unit of energy used.  This is the true driving force of evolution.  Mutations that work exist because they can transfer energy more efficiently.  And each layer of organisms can be used as a source of energy for others.

I honestly think if the mathematics of this all checks out, it could be a candidate for the Nobel Prize.  Of course they are already coming up with ideas to test his theory in the lab, which is crucial in the whole scientific process.  However, it must be noted, that computer models show his mathematics at work.  So I think that will boost his idea in the various labs across the world to try to verify or disprove his idea.  To think that the inanimate is the very creator of life is very chilling.  To see it work from the very beginning, the big bang, the formation of stars and planets, and those stars if under the right conditions create “life” or formations that can facilitate further the flow of energy.

Wouldn’t it be perfect?  Wouldn’t it be perfect to create a system that is literally self-evolving and self-sustaining, that has no need to be tampered with?  The imperfections are weeded out, and are necessary in order to make the system itself sustainable.  So for example, if there was no friction, there wouldn’t be sustainable movement of various things.  Interest rates are necessary to constrict the flow of money, otherwise there would be hyperinflation.  If energy would be purely transferred, there would be no energy absorbed, which would not allow for orderly reactions, therefore actually restricting the amount of energy that could be transferred.  The imperfections are necessary in order to keep the system sustainable.  This strengthens my belief in a God.  But I believe God created this system that we call The Universe and let itself create its destiny.  His gift is life itself, it is ours to do what we will.

Determinism Vs. Free Will Part 2

neuralpathways

The above picture is taken from neuroscientists tracking the different pathways in the brain.   It is fairly obvious that most of them head to the brainstem, but as you can see, towards the edges you have these flaps that connect with other areas of the brain.  Plus there could be some pathways touching others on their way to the brainstem.  This goes all around the brain.  I thought this picture was really cool and really enlightening as to the physical routes that these neural pathways travel.

And finally, comes my second post on this subject because I finished my book.  Determinists believe that the neural pathways that you see at the top of the post, can all be described by a set of algorithms.  That literally, since a brain is composed of biochemical processes and that they follow the laws of physics, that eventually neuroscientists with added knowledge will be able to describe different brains with different mathematics.  The implication of this, is that your thoughts, including your conscious thoughts, are just part of a system.  The conscious is just an illusion created by the brain.  The author does not go into why determinists think we have a conscious in the first place.  If conscious thought is too influenced by subconscious thought, then why do we have the experience of being us?  The best answer that I can give you, has to be one of survival.  With this view, I think subconscious and conscious thought to be part of a two core processor.  And it allows us to multitask within our thinking.  We could be sharpening an arrow head, but be thinking about what needs to be done next at the same time.  The sharpening of the arrow head would be in the subconscious networks, but the person wouldn’t really be thinking about it that hard and yet they are doing it.  The deliberation on what to do next is purely on the conscious networks.  And the conscious networks is able to probe so many different areas of the brain, that it helps ensure the most logical decision for what is known.  A different example would be having to bring livestock in when it is getting really stormy.  You are consciously trying to tie out the knots as fast as possible, but your subconscious is telling you to hurry up, forcing your conscious thoughts to center around untieing knots as quickly as you can and to do it as calmly as you can.   There is no doubt that after reading this book I have a much more appreciation for the subconscious.  It has much more influence on our decisions than we think.  And I think this influence, is enough to influence our free will that we should be truthful to ourselves and recognize that our decisions have both a conscious and unconscious component.  That our free will is not as much as pure as we would like to think.  I think right now with the experiments that were cited in this book, this is an okay assumption.

One experiment that I thought was very strong, was done with non-precise methods, so there is some intrinsic error.  However, I believe that there have been newer attempts at this methodology with better technology.  There just has to be, given the importance of this discovery.  And if it hasn’t been done already, trust me, it is going to be done.  I will show you why.

The scientist hooked up subjects to an EKG, which basically record electrical signals on the scalp, a way to record brain activity.  Then he asked his subjects to flick their wrist.  The EKG showed there was considerable amount of brain activity just before the flicking of the wrist.  So, he took the experiment a little further and had the subjects say when they were consciously flicking the wrist and he would record the time when they said it.  He found that there was heightened brain activity before the subject consciously made the decision.  Therefore, the subconscious made the decision.

The author said the experiment had a lot of intrinsic error.  It did on the precise times, but it was very clear that the subconscious was first and the conscious was second.  He then stated that we don’t know what that subconscious activity really was, that it could be anything else.  To me this is desperation at trying to discredit a pivotal experiment.  The EKG also records baseline activity, and when a certain task was presented, the activity went up followed by the conscious activity.  It is very safe to say that the subconscious activity was activity tailored towards the flicking of the wrist.  Considering the implications of this experiment, I would not be surprised if a group of scientists updated the methodology and redid the experiment.  I understand that the recording of times was not done in a very precise way.  But the scientist was able to clearly distinct the beginning of electrical impulses following by the conscious decision to flick the wrist.  To me that is good enough evidence.

And this book was a broken record.  He would come up with fictional story after fictional story to describe the moral deliberations that some of us have to make.  To show us that no algorithm can describe a “boundless” problem; therefore, we have free will.  It is true that these experiments (there are two more but they aren’t worth mentioning in my opinion) only have to do with very basic decisions.  So going to the grocery store and picking ham or bacon is probably a subconscious decision.  Or going holiday shopping and picking a dress for your daughter is subconscious as well.  But the author focused on moral problems because if you guys don’t remember, the first post on this is that if there is no free will, we have no moral responsibility.  But I think the author missed the mark on how scientists would create a algorithmic system of the brain.  He thought they would have to literally create each an every moral rule.  Killing trumps stealing, and etc.  So I guess you could make a very simple moral rule and it would be something like:  K > S .  And there would be hundreds upon hundreds of conditions, that would only deal with morality.  Computers are powerful.  But if you were to set up these “algorithms” for the entire brain, that is a lot of power a computer has to have.  Which is why I think there is a more efficient way to go about it.  And it has everything to do with the picture I showed you at the beginning of this post.

The first step would be to mathematically map the brain.  What I mean by that, is to describe neural networks in 3D space.  And, certain regions of the brain would be excited by the resultant of certain networks, which could therefore be calculated.  Eventually, scientists would be able to have the fundamental networks, or mathematical map, of the brain.  And through the mathematical interaction of these networks, they could calculate the resulting network that would be stimulated.  Therefore, from those fundamental equations, you could run them to get every possible segment if you really wanted to.  They would have a complete map of the brain.  They would have algorithms (the author said that some of the brain works algorithmically) describing the entire brain.  So I think technically determinism is true.  But that is half the battle.  How would we derive meaning or thoughts from those mathematics?  If you had a subject look at a picture of a sunset, and you saw and were able to predict the brain activity, what exactly was the subject thinking?  Ultimately I do not think it wold be possible for us to go that far.  I think that is a limit to where this science can go.  Do I think the brain can be mathematically mapped?  Yes.  Does that mean the brain works deterministically?  Yes.  Will we ever be able to predict with supreme accuracy what someone is thinking or doing?  No.  It just isn’t possible.

If you take these moral situations that this author wrote out, it became apparent to me that there is a common strategy.  First, think of all possible alternatives.  And, once the deterministic brain looks for all the possible alternatives, it makes the most logical choice given all the information.  He was looking at how the brain would be mathematically described in a completely wrong view in my opinion.  The computer power needed would be tedious and asinine.  If scientists were able to describe the pathways with equations, that would be much easier to compute than hundreds upon hundreds of rules just for morality.

The brain is influenced by genetics, environment, and past experiences.  Environment, can even change the expression of genes.  Meaning the gene stays the same, but the protein that comes out of it is different.  And past experiences the brain is able to learn from.  I firmly believe our brains follow the laws of nature, and that even our conscious is determined.  Our trail of thinking can be recorded mathematically and later predicted, but a scientist would never be able to predict a conscious deliberation, but that does not mean that determinism is not true.  I believe the conscious and subconscious are ways to multitask.  For example, thinking while walking, or thinking while doing anything.  Our subconscious is like our firmware, deeply programmed and is able to influence conscious thought.  Does that mean conscious thought can influence subconscious thought?  I am not sure because we are talking about he subconscious, but I will infer that yes it does.  But this is how perfect our system is.  Humans evolved with these huge brains that have both subconscious and conscious thoughts among other powerful things.  The separate consciousness naturally help us survive.  Of course homo-sapiens had to fend off many species of human, and I don’t know exactly how.  But still, I think it is a beautiful thing.  That a few rearrangement of genes provides the building blocks of something so complex as the human mind.  

In short, I am a determinist.  I think we all do things for a reason, and our brain works like a machine, and works by what it was designed to do.  But skeptics are going to want more and more proof, and over time there will be more and more studies and experiments.  I think in order for these experiments to have any more merit, they have to record brain activity doing more complex decisions.  The advancement of technology is there, but essentially they would have to wear functional MRI magnets on a portable apparatus that can be fit around the head.  The results have to be sent wirelessly.  Only then, will we get the definite data that the skeptics will require.  And you never know, I could very well be wrong here, and they prove that there is a free will.

Only time will tell, but free will is losing.

The Advancements of Neuroscience Part 1

 

Sternberg, Eliezer J. My Brain Made me do It. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 2010. 9-43. Print.

I can’t believe what I am reading.  I have read a forward, introduction, and three chapters, and I have to start writing about this book.  This book is going to be one of the greats that I have read, simply because the implications of what this book is saying is so profound.

The first thing I remember reading, was about a criminal that was executed back in 2005.  He basically robs a pizza joint at gunpoint, and demands all the cash from the register.  The employee follows the direction, while the manager was trying to be as quiet as possible in the back crying.  The criminal demanded to see the manager, whereby he eventually kills the manager execution style.  When asked about the crime, the criminal showed no remorse.  I will say this before proceeding, that he was eventually sentenced to death.  Now with the interesting argument that the defense put forth.

First understand that the defense did a complete physical and psychological look up.  The works.  And everything seemed normal, except that he had a deficiency of monoamine oxidase A.  I will let the lawyers themselves tell you their defense:

Stagnant MOMA activity among affected males resulted in the excretion of abnormally high amounts of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and epinephrine.  When these neurotransmitters accumulate in abnormal amounts due to a defect in the MOMA gene, affected individuals will have trouble handling stressful situations, causing them to respond excessively, and at times violently.   (page 22)

In other words, the biology of his brain explains the outburst of violence that day.  This statement, is the epiphany of determinism.  Essentially determinism can be broken down into one sentence:

The brain controls the mind.

Let me share with you an experiment that I heard about on a television program.  Subjects were put into a brain imaging machine, and where given a very simple task.  This task, invoked a decision on the subject.  The brain was essentially monitored at every step of the way.

What the neuroscientists were learning was that the regions of the brain responsible for the subconscious, would light up first followed by regions of the brain responsible for conscious thought.  Finally, the motor cortex was excited because of the actual pressing of the button.  The implications of this, is that your subconscious s active before your conscious for every decision that you make.  And, because these are brain circuits, there is no doubt that your subconscious has an effect on your decision.  So, was the decision really free?  Or was it determined?  Was the decision determined by the biological make up of your brain, which is affected by genes, environment, and previous experiences?

Think of it as another way.  Your brain is a factory.  The input is sensory stimulation, and the output is resulting behaviors.  Theoretically, because neurotransmitters not only work on the biological, but the physical level as well, neuroscientists think they will one day be able to create a system of algorithms to describe mathematically an individual brain, and would therefore be able to predict what your actions would become given the environment and experiences.  Your brain is in such control, and grand biochemical system, that can be completely understood because it is deterministic.

There are two huge implications to this:

  1. There is no free will.
  2. There is no moral responsibility.

And let me tell ya, I have been reading this book slowly.  It is very well written, and everything makes sense, but it is hard for me to swallow.  It is changing the fabric of reality in front of me, like good books do.  And it is essentially saying we are not in control, our brains are.  Our brains are the determining factor on why people behave; not their free will.

If there is no free will, then the interpretation of Genesis is completely wrong.  But I already went there.

If there is no moral responsibility, then we should look at methods to recondition the minds of the violent criminals.  Their brains made them do it, due to their environment,  genes, and experiences (poverty is the subject of my next book I think) so instead of using the resources to protect ourselves for prolonged periods of time, (I agree we have to protect ourselves nonetheless) we should work for a streamline of processes to recondition the mind that hopefully would one day cost less than sustaining the criminal.  We have to rework their brains with a descent circuitry so they can function safely in society.  I’m not quite sure how we would do that, and I know part of that would be gene therapy, which is still being worked on.

But determinism is the huge landslide that is hitting neuroscience.  Some philosophers have come up with a view of free will called compaitblism.  I am not going to explain it fully, but simply this effort of making free will and determinism compatible is just a way to escape the painful implications of determinism, free will, and moral responsibility.

This is sort of like the kind of idea that will be resisted amongst the populace.  Because it is hard to accept the fact that your brain is in complete control, and the evolution of your brain dictated the behaviors of yourself, and influenced the informational input of others.

In a sense, we are like robots I think, assuming determinism is true.  We aren’t experiencing, our brain is controlling.  And so it is with that that I leave you.  Notice at the title it says Part 1.  That is because this is probably going to be a book I write about multiple times.  It is that good.

I hope you enjoyed yourselves!

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