human being, Intelligence, less is better, natural, simplicity, Taoist, Uncategorized

Writing and Publishing

Things are on a roll! With the help of Steve Hobbs in Canada, I am writing more and publishing more. Each month, we will publish a three-part series of articles on a particular theme. This month’s theme is The Inner Cosmos and you can read the first article at

Inner Cosmos from Chris Thomson 3719

Please share the articles with friends and colleagues

The theme for the October articles will be Intelligent Simplicity

And the theme for the November series is Matter and Consciousness

Many thanks for reading

Chris

christhomson1000@gmail.com

 

 

global change, human being, less is better, simplicity, Uncategorized

The Exponene

Some people say we live in the Anthropocene Era. They say this because mankind dominates as never before. We dominate in the sense that our presence is the cause of major global changes, most of them bad. The litany is all too familiar – global warming, loss of rainforest and other live-giving habitats, species extinction on a scale never seen before, as well as serious pollution of land, air and water. It is not a happy picture, not least because our responses are unsatisfactory, to say the least.

It is difficult to predict what will happen. Will we continue as we are, consuming far too much of the planet’s finite resources, and leaving a dangerous carbon footprint wherever we tread? Or will we finally wake up and radically change our lifestyles and the way we organise human society? It is impossible to know. Although it may be true that we live in the Anthropocene Era, it is time we made this something to be proud of, and not ashamed of.

The term is unlikely to catch on, but I like to think that we live in the Exponene Era. Perhaps you can guess what this means. We leave in an era of exponential change. If you type in those two words on Google, most of the responses will be about technology, particular kinds of technology – smartphones, AI and computers. I have other changes in mind, changes that are least as important as the technological changes most people seem to be focused on. First and foremost, the human population.

Look at any population graph for the last 200 years, and you will see the same thing. Human population was stable for a very long time, and then, in the middle of the 20th Century, it suddenly took off. The alarming thing is that it is still taking off. The human population is way out of control. There are far too many of us. Even if we all lived ecologically, taking from the planet only what we really need, and ensuring that we replace what we take, it would not be so much of a problem. But we don’t live like that. So it is a problem. We overconsume and we overproduce, and we do not replace what we take. It is not as if the overconsumption is doing us any good. Obesity is now epidemic, as more and more of us eat far too much, and eat badly. About 40% of adults in the USA are clinically obese, and the epidemic has spread to other countries, including China, where fat children are to be seen everywhere.

It’s not just the human population that is out of control. Many activities that used to be a pleasure have become unpleasant. These include travelling by air and driving in cities. The common factor is that things are growing exponentially.

When we combine the Exponene with the Anthropocene, we get what could be described as the “out of control era”. Seen from my own perspective, it certainly feels that way. I have never felt so impotent. It was not always this way. There was a time, 30 or 40 years ago, when I was full of hope and felt that I had much to contribute. In the 70s I was active in the politics of Scotland, in an attempt to bring independence to that small country. At least that is moving in the right direction. In the 80s I was very involved in many things beginning with the word “new” – the new economics, the new science, the new healthcare, and new politics. Looking back, these were good days, full of the promise that things would really change for the better.

How different things feel today! Although all these “new” movements are still alive, they remain on the fringes of society, while materialism reigns supreme. You know me well enough to know that I believe that only a deep shift in our core beliefs (our worldview) will produce the radical changes we need to make in our behaviour. Will this happen? Possibly, but only if we survive long enough. And that looks doubtful.

being natural, global change, human being, inner cosmos, Intelligence, less is better, natural, simplicity, Taoist, the big questions, Uncategorized

Joining the Dots

This is not the first time I have used this title. I assume I am using it again today because I want to solve the mystery. I want to see what the picture looks like, when all the dots are joined.

I had this thought this morning because I have just completed six long articles – three on The Inner Cosmos, and three on Intelligent Simplicity. They are part of plan to publicise my work more effectively. The plan is to publish a series of three articles every month on topics that best reflect my work. These include a very unusual range: the two mentioned above, as well as A Science of the Whole, the New Economics, Energy and Consciousness, and The 21st Century Taoist. My question to myself this morning is Why this range of topics?

I believe that part of the reason is that I have studied an unusual range – the natural science, economics, Chinese, and law, and all at university level. I also think it is because I am a heretic! I challenge orthodoxy wherever I find it…in economics, in science and medicine, as well as modernity itself, from which all current orthodoxy springs.

Some might say that I do this because I want to stand out, to be different, to be noticed. I think it goes much deeper than this. I think it is rooted in own deep sense of what the world is and what a human being is. Whatever they turn out to be, they far transcend the pictures of them painted by science. Although science may have some of the physical aspects of the world and the human being correct, it falls far short when it comes to their non-physical aspects, for the very simple reason that science denies that these aspects exist.

That’s it! That’s the picture the joined dots will paint. The dots will reveal what I have been trying to say all these many years, ever since the 60s. Some of my work attempts to describe the world and the human being, as I see them. Other parts of my work describe how our lives could be if the world and the human being were as I see them. Hence, the New Economics, A Science of the Whole, and The 21st Century Taoist.

The pictures are getting clearer every day.

human being, Intelligence, natural, simplicity, Uncategorized

It Hits the Spot

This morning I was reminded that there are times when not knowing is just as important as knowing. This may seem a strange thing to hear from someone who writes articles and books, hoping each time to advance human knowing just a little. The fact is that I have started to feel, more strongly than ever, that we need mystery in our lives, just as much as we need knowing and the knowledge that flows from this.

I realised this today, as I was driving to Alp. I had been listening to the Beethoven Piano Sonatas for the last couple of weeks, but suddenly felt like a change. I switched to a Schubert quartet that I like, but knew within a minute that it was not this that I wanted. Then it dawned on me – and I put on the Violin Partita No. 2 by Bach, arranged for piano by Busoni, and performed masterfully by Jorge Bolet at Carnegie Hall in 1974. It really hit the spot!

And this is my point – I have no idea why. It’s a complete mystery. And I want it to stay that way. I have no desire to investigate further.

I know from experience that the spot changes from time to time. For a while, decades ago, it was Listz’s Sonata in B Minor, played by Pascal Roge. And then one day the spot shifted unaccountably to the First Movement of Rachmaninov’s 3rd Piano Concerto. On other parts of the music spectrum it has been Poetry in Motion (early 60s), Sultans of Swing, and now it is Raining Again by Supertramp.

I am sure these pieces could tell you a lot about me and about my state of being at the time. But I prefer not to know. The mystery is so much more interesting. I wonder where the spot will move to next!

being natural, human being, natural, simplicity, Taoist, Uncategorized

A Unique Contribution

Advised by good people, I am hearing two main schools of thought – “give them what they want” and “just do your own thing”. Needless to say, I have tried to reconcile the two. I have tried to do my own thing – offer my unique contribution – in ways that people seem to want. I don’t think I have been successful in this. So, I have decided to focus solely on writing and broadcasting my unique contribution. If some people want this and find it useful, then that is a bonus.

Confusingly, my unique contribution seems to be a mixture of things. Yet, perhaps this is the key. Perhaps it is the mixture that is unique, rather than the individual ingredients. What follows is me thinking aloud.

At the heart of my thinking are three core ideas: we are spiritual beings; we inhabit a spiritual universe; and we and the universe are mirror images of each other. Everything I write about – spiritual wealth, being natural, the New Economics, an expanded science, the “inner senses”, unusual abilities, intelligent simplicity, being a 21st Century Taoist – all of this can be traced back eventually to the three core ideas. But I suppose I need to explain what I mean by “spiritual”.

For me, “spiritual” means “transcending the physical”. If this feels disappointing, it is only because I do not wish to give the word “spiritual” more meaning than it needs to have. For example, I do not want to suggest that spiritual means “good” or “highly evolved” or anything like that. While it is true that these qualities may follow from being a spiritual being, they are not the essence, The essence is, as I said, that it transcends the physical. I suppose that this, too, needs a little explanation.

Although many people seem to confuse “physical” with “material”, it simply means that which is accessible to one of more of our five physical senses (hearing, sight etc.), and to extensions to these senses. So, although we cannot see all the moons of Saturn or a bacterium with the naked eye, we can see them with a telescope or microscope respectively. Similarly, although we cannot hear anything beyond the range of 20 – 20000 Hertz with the unaided ear, we can detect sound well outside this spectrum with sensitive instruments, which are, in effect, extensions to our ears. And so it is for each of our five senses. Scientific instruments enable us to experience much more of the physical world than we would normally experience with our unaided five senses. As I have written elsewhere, science officially believes that the universe is wholly physical, that there can be nothing apart from the physical. Although an increasing number of individual scientists believe otherwise, science as a whole does not accept that the “spiritual” (i.e. beyond the physical) is real. And, just to complete the circle, science believes that the universe is physical, and only physical, because it uses only the physical mode of perception to explore the world. The world responds accordingly, by giving the mistaken impression that it is wholly physical.

Perhaps, then, I should have said that at the heart of all my thinking and beliefs is my own personal experience that we human beings need not be limited to the physical mode of perception. We have other senses (I call them “inner senses”) that enable to perceive and experience the non-physical aspects of the world and ourselves. Although these inner senses are dormant in most people, they can be awakened and trained to the point where they are just as useful as our familiar physical senses. When this happens, the world and the human being look very different. Because they transcend the physical, they look spiritual!

More to come!

being natural, global change, human being, Intelligence, natural, simplicity, Taoist, Uncategorized

Being a Taoist Today

Taoism began about 2500 years ago, with a short book, the Tao Te Ching, written by an unknown author (in Chinese Lao Tze just means “the old guy”). That was a very different world. Today we have unprecedented problems. The list is alarmingly long: climate change; serious decline of all natural life-support systems: rapid species extinction: the threat of nuclear war; gross inequalities; and overpopulation.

We therefore need unprecedented solutions. This means several things: taking our problems much more seriously; acting with urgency; addressing the deeper underlying malaise of materialism; and approach our problems at all levels.

If we were all 21st Century Taoists, we would not have any of these problems. Why? Because we would be fully human, fully who we are capable of being. And we would act naturally, in accordance the the timeless principles of Nature. Unlike a Taoist 25 centuries ago, we would also be planetary, because we would be conscious of the planet as a whole, and of the global interconnectedness of everyone and everything.

I have today decided to write a book about this, about what it means to be a 21st Century Taoist

 

 

being natural, Intelligence, natural, simplicity, Taoist, Uncategorized

FULL OF AWE

I spent my honeymoon in 1970 on the banks of Loch Awe in Scotland. At the time I wondered whether its name had any relationship to “awe”, meaning “wonder, marvel”. It was only recently, when the word “awesome” became ubiquitous, that my mind went back to original meaning of this word.

As you may know, “awesome” is now used in virtually any situation to mean “the best, the greatest”, often when the thing being described is far from the greatest, far from the best. Whereas in Scotland, we might say “that’s not bad”, Americans (and many others) would say “awesome!!!”

Indeed, “awesome” seems to the word of choice in a world of permanent hyperbole. Nothing is ordinary any more!

It may interest you to know that “awesome” and awful” used to mean the opposite of what they mean today. Awful meant “full of awe” – therefore, wonderful, marvellous. Awesome, as the word suggests, meant “some awe” – therefore, not quite so wonderful.

I have no idea when the change occurred, but I can speculate why. I believe it is mainly because we live in a world of topsy-turvy values…where footballers get paid much more than nurses, and where people become overnight celebrities because they say something rude or stupid on Twitter or YouTube.

I had this cultural decline in mind when I organised and chaired a conference in Scotland in 2000 – entitled “Thinking Allowed”. The strapline was “Bring Back Thinking – All is Forgiven”. Of course, this was partly tongue in cheek, but the serious intent was to demonstrate that the quality and range of thinking has deteriorated markedly these last few decades.

A few years later, when I was living in New Mexico, I used to watch a programme called “Thinking Allowed” on Sunday mornings. As its host, Jeffrey Mishlove, pointed out, this was a play on words. He also pointed out that it was difficult to find people who could really think, and whose language reflected this. The fact that he was able to find a few was, of course, awesome!