- Are We doomed? (152)
- Artificial Intelligence (118)
- Common (882)
- Contemporary Society Problems (155)
- Economics and Politics (173)
- Happiness and Quality of Life (97)
- Human Evolution (198)
- Inequality and Social Justice (15)
- Scientific Publications, Abstracts & URL's (100)
- Understand and Manage Ourselves (234)
- Values and Sense of Life (137)
- November 2017 (1)
- October 2017 (10)
- September 2017 (13)
- August 2017 (3)
- July 2017 (11)
- June 2017 (9)
- May 2017 (3)
- April 2017 (6)
- March 2017 (6)
- February 2017 (17)
- January 2017 (12)
- December 2016 (9)
- November 2016 (4)
- October 2016 (3)
- September 2016 (2)
- August 2016 (10)
- July 2016 (8)
- June 2016 (6)
- May 2016 (6)
- April 2016 (5)
- March 2016 (101)
- February 2016 (6)
- January 2016 (14)
- December 2015 (12)
- November 2015 (37)
- October 2015 (9)
- September 2015 (8)
- August 2015 (13)
- July 2015 (8)
- June 2015 (5)
- May 2015 (8)
- April 2015 (10)
- March 2015 (14)
- February 2015 (17)
- January 2015 (20)
- December 2014 (19)
- November 2014 (16)
- October 2014 (16)
- September 2014 (13)
- August 2014 (8)
- July 2014 (5)
- June 2014 (11)
- May 2014 (13)
- April 2014 (9)
- March 2014 (8)
- February 2014 (15)
- January 2014 (5)
- December 2013 (12)
- November 2013 (22)
- October 2013 (23)
- September 2013 (13)
- August 2013 (9)
- July 2013 (13)
- June 2013 (13)
- May 2013 (11)
- April 2013 (8)
- March 2013 (10)
- February 2013 (17)
- January 2013 (34)
- December 2012 (28)
- November 2012 (26)
- October 2012 (34)
- September 2012 (39)
- August 2012 (59)
- July 2012 (17)
- June 2012 (46)
- May 2012 (12)
- April 2012 (12)
- March 2012 (12)
- February 2012 (20)
- January 2012 (25)
- December 2011 (29)
- November 2011 (14)
- October 2011 (12)
- September 2011 (25)
Basic Rules in Short
“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody.” — Elizabeth Warren
Every man is a creature of the age in which he lives. Very few are able to raise above the ideas of the time. Voltaire.
Mūsu evolūcijas mantojums ir dārgumu krātuve, kur virspusē guļ nederīgais, nepiemērotais un kaitīgais, kurš jāierobežo un jāveido, bet, dziļāk ielūkojoties, katrs var atrast balvas un vērtības, kas ļauj dzīvot izcili un piepildīti. I. V.
The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.”
Montesquieu, (Charles Louis de Secondat) (1689-1755)
I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones. Albert Einstein
Mēs esam kā ceļinieki, kuriem svešinieks ir iedevis līdzšinējā ceļa aprakstu, bet nav iedevis tā ceļa aprakstu, pa kuru jāiet, lai nokļūtu pie mērķa. I. V.
The aim of science is to make difficult things understandable in a simpler way. The aim of poetry is to state simple things in an incomprehensible way.
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect, has intended us to forego their use”. Galileo (1584-1682).
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. ”
“It is the nature of human species to reject what is true but unpleasant but to embrace what is obviously false but comforting.” H.L. Mencken.
Eric Sevareid’s Law: “The chief source of problems is solutions”.
“What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution, but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and the education of the billions who are its victims.“
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The greatest shortcoming of human race is our inability to understand the simple arithmetic. Albert Bartlett
Thinking is very upsetting, it tells us things we should rather not know.
“Giving society cheap, abundant energy . . . would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”
~ Paul Ehrlich
“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.” ― Christopher Hitchens
Ignorance is nothing to be ashamed of, and thinking and learning cures the problem of ignorance.
In contrast stupidity is forever, and being stupid implies wanting to remain ignorant. Lawrence B. Crowell
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.
— Bertrand Russell
The majority of people are idiots, and because of this the few can control them. LC
For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.
Where a drunken person drinks in order to be happy, who can deny that such a person is happy when drunk? But the happiness can become a crutch and can be unhealthy in the long run. The happiness is only apparent and not real. Leyton M
If you look at the work of the ethologists (people who study animal behaviour) the most striking result to me is that all species develop behaviour patterns appropriate to their life styles and evolutionary niches in which they evolve.
I would suppose that this applies also to that degraded animal species, Homo sapiens. Sydney
“To most of us nothing is so invisible as an unpleasant truth. Though it is held before our eyes, pushed under our noses, rammed down our throats – we know it not.” Eric Hoffer
At the heart of science is an essential balance between two seemingly contradictory attitudes:
– an openness to new ideas, no matter how bizarre or counterintuitive, and
– the most ruthlessly skeptical scrutiny of all ideas, old and new.
This is how deep truths are winnowed from deep nonsense.
“Anyone who thinks that an economy can be expanded forever, within the confines of a finite planet, is either a madman or an economist”. ~ Kenneth Boulding.
Lai valdītu pār citiem, jāvalda pār sevi.
Pilnīgi un daudzpusīgi dzīvi izdzīvo vien tas, kurš dedzīgi ļaujas acumirklim un izdzīvo to tā, it kā tas būtu pēdējais.
Jo mazāk zina, jo vienkāršāk dzīvot. Zināšanas dara brīvu, bet nelaimīgu.
Īstenībā tas taču ir kauns, ka staigā pa zemi un par to gandrīz nekā nezina. Daudz lielāks kauns, ja vispār nezina, kādēļ staigā pa zemes virsu. E. M. Remarks
We have got rid of the fetish of the divine right of kings, and that slavery is of divine origin and outhority. But the divine right of property has taken its place. The tendency plainly is towards…’a government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich’.
Rutherford Birchard Hayes, US Prezident 1822-1893.
Neticiet tam, kas rakstīts senos manuskriptos, neticiet tam, kas paziņots par pareizu valstī, kurā jūs dzīvojat, neticiet tam, kas jums mācīts bērnībā, bet izdomājiet paši, kas ir patiess, un pēc tam, kad jūs esat par to pārliecinājies, ticiet tam, dzīvojiet saskaņā ar to, un palīdziet citiem ar to dzīvot.
Politika – tā ir nozare, kurā nepieņem lēmumus, kas balstās uz faktiem, bet runā par faktiem, kas balstās uz lēmumiem.
Liela daļa cilvēces vēstures pildīta ar cīņu par cilvēka tiesībām. Tā ir mūžīga cīņa, kurā pilnīga uzvara nav iespējama. Bet šīs cīņas atmešana nozīmē cilvēku sabiedrības sabrukumu.
Mūsdienu cilvēces problēmas nevar atrisināt ar to domāšanu, kura šīs problēmas radīja. A. Einšteins
Ateists ir nožēlojams cilvēks, kurš nespēj ticēt lietām, kuras nevar pierādīt. Tādā veidā viņš ir atņēmis sev iespēju justies pārākam par citiem. Chaz Bufe
Kad tehnikas spēki pārspēj morālos, tad mēs nonākam pie vadāmām raķetēm un nevadāmiem cilvēkiem.
Martin Luther King
Ja meli ir pietiekoši lieli un tie tiek atkārtoti pietiekoši bieži, tos sāk uztvert kā patiesību.
Tie, kas turpina ticēt absurdajam, tie turpina rīkoties absurdi. Voltērs
Cilvēki domā, ka viņi ir brīvi, bet tā ir liela kļūda. Brīvi viņi ir tikai tajā dienā, kad vēl parlamentu. Pārējā laikā viņi ir vergi un nekas. Viņi izmanto īso brīvības brīdi, lai to pazaudētu. Un tas ir pelnīti. Ž.Ž. Ruso
98% cilvēku ir saprogrammēti zombēti automāti un tikai 2% tādu nav. Pie tam tie 98% runā par sevi tā, it kā viņi būtu tie 2%.
Neviens cilvēks nekļūst par muļķi, kamēr viņš uzdod jautājumus. Charles Steinmetz
Valodas ir spēles, kuras pie dažādiem noteikumiem tiek izspēlētas dažādās kultūrās, un tādēļ kopēju, universālu izpratni iegūt nav iespējams. L Vitgenšteins.
Smieties bieži un daudz, iegūt inteliģentu cilvēku cieņu un bērnu mīlestību, iegūt godīgu kritiķu atzinību un paciest neīstu draugu nodevību, atstāt pasauli mazliet labāku nekā tā ir bijusi, vai nu veselīgā bērnā vai dārza stūrītī vai uzlabotā sabiedrībā. Zināt, ka cilvēki elpos brīvāk tādēļ, ka jūs esat dzīvojis – tas nozīmē, ka jums ir paveicies. Ralfs Waldo Emersons.
Ja kapitālisms ir vienlīdzīga bagātības sadale, tad sociālisms ir vienlīdzīga nabadzības sadale. Vinstons Čērčils.
Cilvēks, kurš gaida to dienu, sākot ar kuru viņš sāks dzīvot kārtīgi, ir līdzīgs zemniekam, kurš gaida, kamēr upe izžūs. Bet upe plūst un plūst. Horācijs.
Tas, kas cilvēkam netiek teikts, veido viņa pasaules uzskatu un iespaido viņa rīcību tāpat, kā tas, kas tiek teikts. To sauc par propagandu noklusējot. Tāpēc tik daudz pie mums ir slepens.
Charles Sullivan, ASV žurnālists.
Apziņa vai pat aizdomas, ka esi izdarījis kaut ko nepareizu, vajā un rada šausmas jebkuram cilvēkam, kurš sevi nav nocietinājis ar vienaldzību. Ādams Smits.
Tiem, kas nezina, kas ir mīlestība, nav vērts teikt – tāpat nesapratīs. Tiem, kas zina, kas mīlestība ir, arī nav vērts teikt, jo viņi to jau zina. Marlene Dietrich.
Acīmredzamus faktus visgrūtāk ir ieraudzīt pie sevis.
Ar apātiju pret politiku mēs maksājam ar to, ka valsti pārvalda negodīgi cilvēki. Platons.
Īsts džentlmenis izturas ar cieņu arī pret tiem, kas viņam nevar būt noderīgi. E.M. Remarque
Ārišķīgs lepnums un skaļa sava viedokļa aizstāvēšana liecina par iekšēju nedrošību par savu pozīciju.
Kas mēs esam? Ko mēs zinām? Ar nepilnīgām smadzenēm apveltīti radījumi, kas lūkojas Visuma bezgalībā. Radījumi ar eņģeļa spārniem un primātu instinktiem. Artūrs Konan-doils.
A few hours before Adolf Eichmann was executed, a prison warden asked him, “What should the Jews have done? How could they have resisted?”
Cilvēkiem, kuri tic alternatīvajai medicīnai, vajadzētu lidot lidmašīnās, kuras izstrādājuši fiziķi, kuri tic alternatīvajai fizikai. Terence Geogahegan
Ja cilvēki neprot pārvaldīt paši savu dzīvi, tad vēl jo mazāk viņiem var uzticēt vadīt citu dzīves. Thomas Jefferson
Gudri cilvēki šīs vienkāršās patiesības ierakstīja Neatkarības deklarācijā, bet, ja nākotnē kādi cilvēki vai grupas paziņos, ka tikai bagātiem ir pieejama dzīve, brīvība un laime, tad viņu pēcnācējiem jāielūkojoas Neatkarības Deklarācijā un jāatrod sevī drosme atjaunot cīņu, kuru uzsāka viņu tēvi.
Cilvēki, kuri nevar apmaksāt savus rēķinus, saņemt medicīnisko palīdzību un pabarot savus bērnus, daudz nerūpējas par apkārtējās vides un citiem globāliem jautājumiem. Lūk, tādēļ nav iespējams atdalīt sociālā taisnīguma un bagātību sadales jautājumus no apkārtējās vides saudzēšanas jautājumiem. Bob Zanelli
Cilvēku esības traģika nav meklējama nelaimēs. Tā ir ieraugāma mūsu nolemtībā. Nolemtībā būt lielo likumu izpildītājiem. Garret Hardin.
Cilvēks vēl joprojām savā ķermenī nes neizdzēšamu savas primitīvās izcelsmes zīmogu. Č. Darvins
Mūsu spēja sevi pārvaldīt atpaliek no mūsu spējas pārvaldīt Dabu. Mēs esam sarežģīta civilizācija. Mēs varam sagraut šo civilizāciju, ja mēs nespēsim pārvaldīt sevi. Dž. Soross.
Everything can be taken from a man but one thing, the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances. Victor Frankl
If ideal objectivity is impossible, failing to strive for it is nonetheless scientific suicide. Norman Levitt.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” A. Einstein
History is the long and tragic story of the fact that priviliged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.
Martin Luther King.
Ticiet saviem sapņiem. Cilvēki, kuri noniecina citu sapņus, savējos ir pazaudējuši. E.M. Remarks
Reliģija bez zinātnes ir akla, bet zinātne bez reliģijas ir mazefektīva. A. Einšteins.
No laimīgas dzīves mūs attālina divas kļūdas:
– tad, kad mūsu dzīvē nepieciešamas lielas izmaiņas, mēs izdarām mazas;
– tad, kad mūsu dzīvē nepieciešamas mazas izmaiņas, mēs tās nedarām, jo domājam, ka vajadzīgas lielas.
Spēja nebūt pretrunā ir laimes priekšnoteikums.
No attāluma jebkurš ceļš šķiet gluds.
Treniņi un fiziska piepūle neprasa laiku. Tie dod mums papildus laiku.
Demokrātija ir nezinoša indivīda ticība kolektīvai zināšanai.
Doma, ka cilvēki atteiksies no irracionāliem priekšstatiem, ja tos konfrontēs ar neapgāžamiem faktiem, ir irracionāls priekšstats, kuru neapstiprina neapgāžami fakti. George Lakoff
Haoss ir tāda sakārtotība, kas rada apjukumu mūsu apziņā.
Mīlestībā abi domā, ka viņiem ir paveicies.
Lai saņemtu kādus labumus nepelnīti, vajadzīgi saprāts un izglītība. Bez tiem cilvēki turpina tiekties un ilgoties pēc šiem nepelnītajiem labumiem un to saņemšana un uzkrāšana nekad nedod piepildījumu. Plutarhs.
Ar vēlēšanām elite dod cilvēkiem iespēju balsot. Nelaime ir tā, ka tas ļauj viņiem domāt, ka viņi pieņem lēmumus.
I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it. —Thomas Paine, 1796
Freedom is the right not to lie. Albert Camus
We must not say every mistake is a foolish one. – Cicero
It’s always helpful to learn from your mistakes because then your mistakes seem worthwhile. – Garry Marshall
While one person hesitates because he feels inferior, the other is busy making mistakes and becoming superior. –
Henry C. Link
Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. – Franklin P. Jones
To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all. – Peter McWilliams
Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. –
A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing. –
George Bernard Shaw
A man’s mistakes are his portals of discovery. – James Joyce
Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
– Oscar Wilde
Mistakes, obviously, show us what needs improving. Without mistakes, how would we know what we had to work on?
– Peter McWilliams
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. – Scott Adams
Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.
– Conrad Hilton
Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new. – Albert Einstein
All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes. – Winston Churchill
Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave.
– Mary Tyler Moore
There are no mistakes. The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go. – Richard Bach
The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.
– John Powell
If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down. – Mary Pickford
Fall down seven times, stand up eight. – Chinese proverb
Without music, life would be a mistake. – Friedrich Nietzsche
The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything. – Theodore Roosevelt
Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. Napoleon Bonaparte
Never attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity.
Evolution is almost universally accepted among those who understand it, almost universally rejected by those who don’t. Richard Dawkins
Svētīgi tie garā vājie kā rasotas pļavas miglotiem prātiem,
Jo tiem ir dots savu vājumu neapzināties.
Tad, kad mēs iemācīsimies redzēt, kā darbojas mūsu smadzenes, tad sāksim sevi saprast.
Tad, kad mēs iemācīsimies saprast citus, tad iegūsim mieru.
Tad, kad iemācīsimies patiesīgumu pret sevi, tad sāksim dzīvot.
Līdz pirmajam jādzīvo ilgi. Otro vairākums iegūst ar sevis maldināšanu. Priekš trešā vajadzīga drosme. I.V.
Ja savas kļūdas neredz, tā ir cilvēcīguma pazīme.
Ja savas kļūdas nelabo, tā ir vājuma pazīme.
Ja savas kļūdas noliedz, tā ir muļķības pazīme. I.V.
Indeed, I tremble for my planet, when I reflect that Nature is inflexible: that her response to our abuse cannot sleep forever.
If we don’t halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity — and we will leave a ravaged world.
Dr. Henry W. Kendall, Nobel Laureate
No one in their right mind would let a first-century dentist fill their children’s teeth. Why, then, do we allow first-century theologians to fill our children’s minds?” Michael Dowd
Older people can see the injustice with more understanding and compassion. Laura Carstensen
Excessive Privilege should never be due merely to the luck of birth, nor should it ever be excessive even when earned.
Humanity today is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. We have created Star Wars civilization, with stone age emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.
Edward Osborn Wilson
If thou wilt make a man happy, add not unto his riches but take away from his desires. Epicurus
Turn every challenge into an opportunity, because opportunities open up for the prepared.
The Law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich, as well as the poor, to sleep under the bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread. Anatole France
Psychopath is someone who wants to do whatever he wants without concern for the consequences for others, and who strongly resents any restraint. kerry
Philosophy of science is about as useful to scientists as ornithology is to birds. Richard Feynman
More discoveries come from finding out that you’re wrong than from finding out that you’re right. Ian Linnell
“The old scientific ideal of episteme – of absolutely certain, demonstrable knowledge – has proved to be an idol. The demand for scientific objectivity makes it inevitable that every scientific statement must remain tentative for ever. It may indeed be corroborated, but every corroboration is relative to other statements which, again, are tentative. Only in our subjective experiences of conviction, in our subjective faith, can we be ‘absolutely certain.'”
– The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934, 1959
Faith is believing what you know isn’t true.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
“You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Christopher Columbus
“We are a way for the Universe to know itself”. Carl Sagan
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much higher consideration.” –Abraham Lincoln
The most honorable way a scientist can make his contribution to human progress is to distribute knowledge. For free. I.V.
First love is a kind of vaccination which saves a man from catching the complaint the second time. – Honore de Balzac
College is a place where professor’s lecture notes go straight to the student’s lecture notes, without passing through the brains of either. Mark Twain
The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting. Plutarch
To say that God did it is not to explain anything, but simply to offer an excuse for not having an explanation. (Plato, Cratylus)
The price of knowledge is eternal skepticism. Justen Robertson
If you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist.
If you can’t reproduce it, you don’t understand it.
Power derives from force or the threat of force. Authority is the likelihood that a command, once given, will be obeyed.
If you break the laws of logic or probability theory you decrease your chances of arriving at true beliefs, and if you break the laws of decision theory then you decrease your chances of achieving your goals. Luke Muehlhauser
Give a child religion first, and she may find it hard to shake even when she encounters science.
Give a child science first, and when she discovers religion it will look silly. Luke Muehlhauser
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark;
the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”
— U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864
“Human beings function better if they are deceived by their genes into thinking that there is a disinterested objective morality binding upon them, which all should obey.”
–E. O. Wilson
“My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical.”
“Act only on that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”
“Man when perfected is the best of animals, but when separated from law and justice he is the worst of all.”
“I do not fear death, in view of the fact that I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”‘
— Mark Twain
Not only will men of science have to grapple with the sciences that deal with man, but — and this is a far more difficult matter — they will have to persuade the world to listen to what they have discovered. If they cannot succeed in this difficult enterprise, man will destroy himself by his halfway cleverness.
~ Bertrand Russell, 1951
“Great understanding is broad and unhurried; little understanding is cramped and busy.” Chang Tzu
“The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.”
— Alfred North Whitehead
For any belief, it is always possible to come up with a seemingly unlimited amount of supporting evidence.
David P. Barash
Science deals with facts discovered by observation and experimentation. Philosophy deals with beliefs derived by inference from facts.
We owe respect to the living. To the dead we owe only truth.
Dreams are illustrations from the book your soul is writing about you. Mascha Normann
You are what you do, not what you say.
“Of all things, good sense is the most fairly distributed: everyone thinks he is so well supplied with it that even those who are the hardest to satisfy in every other respect never desire more of it than they already have.”
René Descartes, Discourse on Method, 1637
If the writing is honest it cannot be separated from the man who wrote it. Tennessee Williams
You don’t really understand how something works until you can reproduce it yourself.
“The greatest obstacle to discovery is not ignorance-it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Daniel Boorstin
“…be careful what you wish for, you might get it…”
If there is any inconsistency in a set of axioms then every statement can be proved (and disproved), and nothing of any value remains. Chaitin, G.
Sorrow is how we learn to love. Your heart isn’t breaking. It hurts because it’s getting larger. The larger it gets, the more love it holds. Rita Mae Brown
A self is not something static, tied up in a pretty parcel and handed to the child, finished and complete. A self is always becoming. Madeleine L’Engle
People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thougt which they seldom use. Soren Kirkegaard
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. Dale Carnegie
Education is not the learning of facts, but the traning of the mind to think. Albert Einstein.
To create, one must question everything. Eileen Gray.
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
Louis Hector Berlioz.
Uz visu skatieties tā, it kā jūs to redzētu pirmo vai pēdējo reizi. Ar to jūs piepildīsiet savu laiku.
Everyone takes the limits of his own vision for the limits of the world. Arthur Schopenhauer.
Reason is, and ought only to be the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them. David Hume
Mīlēt nozīmē riskēt, ka negūsi pretmīlestību. Cerēt nozīmē riskēt, ka vilsies. Cilvēks, kurš neriskē, neko nedara, neko nepieredz, viņam nepieder nekas, un viņš nav nekas. Viņš nespēj mācīties, mainīties, augt, mīlēt un dzīvot.
Es iešu caur dzīvi tikai vienreiz. Ja ir kāda laipnība, ko varu izrādīt, vai kāds labs darbs, ar ko varu kādam palīdzēt, tas jādara tagad. Jo pa šo ceļu man vairs nebūs lemts iet. Viljamss Penns.
Pasaulē nav vietas gļēvuļiem. Mums visiem ir jābūt gataviem strādāt, ciest un mirt. Tava dzīve nav mazāk cēla tikai tāpēc, ka tev pa priekšu neiet bundzinieks, kad dodies savās ikdienas cīņās, un tevi nesagaida gavilējošs pūlis, kad atgriezies ar uzvaru vai zaudējumu.
Roberts Lūiss Stīvensons.
Panākumi lielā mērā ir atkarīgi no tā, ka tu paliec un izturi tad, kad citi ir atmetuši ar roku. Viljams Peters
Būt gudram nozīmē saprast, cik kļūdaini ir mūsu uzskati un viedokļi, cik nenoteiktas un nestabilas ir vērtības, uz kurām mēs visvairāk paļaujamies. Džeralds Brenans
Tikai tas ir dižs, kas vientuļo vēja balsi pārvērš maigākajā dziesmā ar savu mīlestību. Kahlils Gibrāns
Nav iespējams liels talants bez liela gribasspēka. Onorē De Balzaks
Nežēlo laiku draudzībai – tas ir ceļš uz laimi.
Nežēlo laiku sapņiem – tie aizvedīs tavu kuģi līdz zvaigznēm.
Nežēlo laiku, lai sniegtu un saņemtu mīlestību – tā ir dievu privilēģija.
Nežēlo laiku, lai palūkotos apkārt – diena ir pārāk īsa, lai tu būtu savtīgs.
Nežēlo laiku smiekliem – tā ir dvēseles mūzika.
Mācies no pagātnes, lai mūža galā nebūtu jāsecina, ka tu nemaz neesi dzīvojis. Jo daudzi nonāk līdz brīdim, kad jāpamet sava vieta uz zemes, un, atskatoties atpakaļ, viņi redz prieku un skaistumu, kas tā arī viņiem nepiederēja, jo viņi dzīvoja bailēs. Klervotera
Nesteidzies, neraizējies. Tu esi ieradies tikai uz īsu brīdi. Tāpēc noteikti apstājies un pasmaržo ziedus. Volters Hāgens
Kad es piedzīvoju ārkārtīgi grūtu laiku, kāds man piezvanīja un automātiskajā atbildētājā bija dzirdams, ka viņš spēlāja klavieres.
Bet es tā arī neuzzināju, kurš tas bija.
Mums vajadzētu atcerēties, ka neesam vienīgie, kas reizēm nonāk šķietamā strupceļā. Jau tūkstoši pirms mums ir sastapušies ar līdzīgu likteni un uzvarējuši. Dr. R. Brašs
Mēs visi un ikviens no mums cieš sakāvi neskaitāmas reizes. Ja pieņemam zaudējumu ar gaišu prātu un no tā mācāmies un meklējam citu ceļu – rodam piepildījumu.
Rozanna Ambroza Brauna.
Laime ir kā smaržas, ko tu nevari uzliet citiem, pāris pilienu neuzpilinot arī sev. Ralfs Valdo Emersons.
Nav nepiepildāmu sapņu, ir tikai mūsu ierobežotā uztvere par to, kas ir iespējams. Beta Mende Konija
Vai tu domā, ka vari, vai domā, ka nevari – tev ir taisnība!
Labākā izeja no grūtībām ved cauri grūtībām. Roberts Frosts
Dzīve prasa tikai to spēku, kāds tev ir. Ir jāpaveic tikai viens varoņdarbs – tu nedrīksti bēgt. Dāgs Hammerskjelds
Mums pietiek cilvēku, kas mums stāsta, kā ir. Tagad mums noderētu kāds, kas pateiktu, kā varētu būt. Roberts Orbens
Mūsu pienākums ir veidot savu raksturu. Mūsu dižais un brīnišķais mākslas darbs ir piedienīga dzīve. Viss pārējais labākā gadījumā ir tikai piedevas un atbalsts. Mišels de Montēns
Senā laime ir novītusi un mirusi. Bet, raugi, jauns zaļums rotā zemi…
Trauslais jaunas un labākas dzīves iesākums. Pema Brauna
Nemeklē atbildes, kuras tev nav iespējams dot, jo tu nespētu ar tām dzīvot. Galvenais ir visu izdzīvot. Pēc tam tu pamazām, to pat nemanot, nodzīvosi līdz dienai, kad saņemsi atbildi.
Rainers Marija Rilke
Stabilitāte nāk no iekšienes, nevis no ārpuses. Lusila Kliftone
Cerība ir radījums ar spārniem, kas ligzdo mūsu dvēselē, dzied dziesmu bez vārdiem un nekad nenorimst. Emīlija Dikinsone
Arī šis mirklis paies. Klēra Reinere.
Kad tu esi gājis tik tālu, ka nevari paspert vairs nevienu soli, tad tu esi nogājis tieši pusi no attāluma, ko spēj noiet.
Remember: the time you feel lonely is the time you most need to be by yourself. Life’s cruelest irony. Douglas Coupland
Love is lak de sea. It’s uh movin’ thing, but still and all, it takes its shape from de shore it meets, and it’s different with every shore. Zora Neale Hurston
If the real world were a book, it would never find a publisher. Overlong, detailed to the point of distraction – and ultimately, without a major resolution. Jasper Fforde
Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.
The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome. Derek Walcott
Only a rule of skin in the game, that is, direct harm from one’s errors, can puncture the game aspect of research and establish some form of contact with reality.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering, NYU-Poly
For each of us comes a time when we must be more than what we are. Lloyd Alexander
There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments – there are only consequences.
Robert G. Ingersoll
“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” ~ GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough. Richard P. Feynman
Laws are the spider’s webs which, if anything small falls into them they ensnare it, but large things break through and escape. -Solon
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength. A.J. Cronin
Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground. ” — Theodore Roosevelt
‘One death is a tragedy, a million a statistic.’ Josef Stalin
I have just realized that the stakes are myself.
I have no other ransom money, nothing to break or barter but my life. Diane di Prima
We live at a time when emotions and feelings count more than truth, and there is a vast ignorance of science. James Lovelock
Champagne, if you are seeking the truth, is better than a lie detector. Graham Greene
Learning something new is always slower than actually doing something old. Pemberton
By sticking your head in the sand and refusing to acknowledge the problem, you are part of it.
Peace cannot be kept by force.
It can only be achieved through understanding.
To see what is in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle. G. Orwell.
Anyone can be a barbarian; it requires a terrible effort to remain a civilized man. Leonard Woolf
When we killed–or exiled–God, we also killed ourselves…. No God, no afterlife, no us. We were right to kill Him, of course, this long-standing imaginary friend of ours. And we weren’t going to get an afterlife anyway. But we sawed off the branch we were sitting on. And the view from there, from that height–even if it was only an illusion of a view–wasn’t so bad.
All people are not people without other people.
We are a way of the cosmos to know itself.
It is easier to point the finger of blame at others than it is to find and implement solutions.
Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting. Haruki Murakami
Visu mūsdienu sabiedrību traģika ir tā, ka mēs esam nolemti rīkoties saskaņā ar to nezināšanu, kāda mums ir. Tāpēc arī civilizācijas iet bojā.
Insincerity is a special kind of dishonesty. Jim Wyman
Reason exists for the sake of the emotions, not the other way around. David Hume
We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are. Saying of the cetics
A belief that cruelty and violence are needed to address cruelty and violence only perpetuates cruelty and violence. Christine Hansen
Before we can know what is moral, we must know what is true.
Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it’s just the opposite.
John Kenneth Galbraith
The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge. Stephen Hawking
Nick Bostrom, Future of Humanity Institute, Faculty of Philosophy & James Martin 21st Century School, Oxford University, http://www.nickbostrom.com
Published in New Waves in Philosophy of Technology, eds. Jan-Kyrre Berg Olsen, Evan Selinger, & Soren Riis (New York: Palgrave McMillan, 2009)
The future of humanity is often viewed as a topic for idle speculation. Yet our beliefs and assumptions on this subject matter shape decisions in both our personal lives and public policy – decisions that have very real and sometimes unfortunate consequences. It is therefore practically important to try to develop a realistic mode of futuristic thought about big picture questions for humanity. This paper sketches an overview of some recent attempts in this direction, and it offers a brief discussion of four families of scenarios for humanity’s future: extinction, recurrent collapse, plateau, and posthumanity.
What features of the human condition are fundamental and important? On this there can be reasonable disagreement. Nonetheless, some features qualify by almost any standard. For example, whether and when Earth-originating life will go extinct, whether it will colonize the galaxy, whether human biology will be fundamentally transformed to make us posthuman, whether machine intelligence will surpass biological intelligence, whether population size will explode, and whether quality of life will radically improve or deteriorate: these are all important fundamental questions about the future of humanity
Climate change, national and international security, economic development, nuclear waste disposal, biodiversity, natural resource conservation, population policy, and scientific and technological research funding are examples of policy areas that involve long time-horizons. Arguments in these areas often rely on implicit assumptions about the future of humanity. By making these assumptions explicit, and subjecting them to critical analysis, it might be possible to address some of the big challenges for humanity in a more well-considered and thoughtful manner.
The universe started with the Big Bang an estimated 13.7 billion years ago, in a low-entropy state. The history of the universe has its own directionality: an ineluctable increase in entropy. During its process of entropy increase, the universe has progressed through a sequence of distinct stages. In the eventful first three seconds, a number of transitions occurred, including probably a period of inflation, reheating, and symmetry breaking. These were followed, later, by nucleosynthesis, expansion, cooling, and formation of galaxies, stars, and planets, including Earth (circa 4.5 billion years ago). The oldest undisputed fossils are about 3.5 billion years old, but there is some evidence that life already existed 3.7 billion years ago and possibly earlier. Evolution of more complex organisms was a slow process. It took some 1.8 billion years for eukaryotic life to evolve from prokaryotes, and another 1.4 billion years before the first multicellular organisms arose.
From the beginning of the Cambrian period (some 542 million years ago), “important developments” began happening at a faster pace, but still enormously slowly by human standards. Homo habilis – our first “human-like ancestors” – evolved some 2 million years ago; Homo sapiens 100,000 years ago. The agricultural revolution began in the Fertile Crescent of the Middle East 10,000 years ago, and the rest is history. The size of the human population, which was about 5 million when we were living as hunter-gatherers 10,000 years ago, had grown to about 200 million by the year 1; it reached one billion in 1835 AD; and today over 6.6 billion human beings are breathing on this planet. From the time of the industrial revolution, perceptive individuals living in developed countries have noticed significant technological change within their lifetimes.
All techno-hype aside, it is striking how recent many of the events are that define what we take to be the modern human condition. If compress the time scale such that the Earth formed one year ago, then Homo sapiens evolved less than 12 minutes ago, agriculture began a little over one minute ago, the Industrial Revolution took place less than 2 seconds ago, the electronic computer was invented 0.4 seconds ago, and the Internet less than 0.1 seconds ago – in the blink of an eye. Almost all the volume of the universe is ultra-high vacuum, and almost all of the tiny material specks in this vacuum are so hot or so cold, so dense or so dilute, as to be utterly inhospitable to organic life. Spatially as well as temporally, our situation is an anomaly. Given the technocentric perspective adopted here, and in light of our incomplete but substantial knowledge of human history and its place in the universe, how might we structure our expectations of things to come?
The remainder of this paper will outline four families of scenarios for humanity’s future:
• Recurrent collapse
Unless the human species lasts literally forever, it will some time cease to exist. In that case, the long-term future of humanity is easy to describe: extinction. An estimated 99.9% of all species that ever existed on Earth are already extinct. There are two different ways in which the human species could become extinct: one, by evolving or developing or transforming into one or more new species or life forms, ufficiently different from what came before so as no longer to count as Homo sapiens; the other, by simply dying out, without any meaningful replacement or continuation. Of course, a transformed ontinuant of the human species might itself eventually terminate, and perhaps there will be a point where all life comes to an end; so scenarios involving the first type of extinction may eventually converge into the second kind of scenario of complete annihilation. We postpone discussion of transformation scenarios to a later section, and we shall not here discuss the possible existence of fundamental physical limitations to the survival of intelligent life in the universe. This section focuses on the direct form of extinction (annihilation) occurring within any very long, but not astronomically long, time horizon – we could say one hundred thousand years for specificity.
Human extinction risks have received less scholarly attention than they deserve. In recent years, there have been approximately three serious books and one major paper on this topic. John Leslie, a Canadian philosopher, puts the probability of humanity failing to survive the next five centuries to 30% in his book End of the World. His estimate is partly based on the controversial “Doomsday argument” and on his own views about the limitations of this argument. Sir Martin Rees, Britain’s Astronomer Royal, is even more pessimistic, putting the odds that humanity will survive the 21st century to no better than 50% in Our Final Hour.
Richard Posner, an eminent American legal scholar, offers no numerical estimate but rates the risk of extinction “significant” in Catastrophe. And I published a paper in 2002 in which I suggested that assigning a probability of less than 25% to existential disaster (no time limit) would be misguided. The concept of existential risk is distinct from that of extinction risk. As I introduced the term, an existential disaster is one that causes either the annihilation of Earth-originating intelligent life or the permanent and drastic curtailment of its potential for future desirable development.
It is possible that a publication bias is responsible for the alarming picture presented by these opinions. Scholars who believe that the threats to human survival are severe might be more likely to write books on the topic, making the threat of extinction seem greater than it really is. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that there seems to be a consensus among those researchers who have seriously looked into the matter that there is a serious risk that humanity’s journey will come to a premature end.
The greatest extinction risks (and existential risks more generally) arise from human activity. Our species has survived volcanic eruptions, meteoric impacts, and other natural hazards for tens of thousands of years. It seems unlikely that any of these old risks should exterminate us in the near future. By contrast, human civilization is introducing many novel phenomena into the world, ranging from nuclear weapons to designer pathogens to high energy particle colliders. The most severe existential risks of this century derive from expected technological developments. Advances in biotechnology might make it possible to design new viruses that combine the easy contagion and mutability of the influenza virus with the lethality of HIV. Molecular nanotechnology might make it possible to create weapons systems with a destructive power dwarfing that of both thermonuclear bombs and biowarfare agents. Superintelligent machines might be built and their actions could determine the future of humanity – and whether there will be one. Considering that many of the existential risks that now seem to be among the most significant were conceptualized only in recent decades, it seems likely that further ones still remain to be discovered.
The same technologies that will pose these risks will also help us to mitigate some risks. Biotechnology can help us develop better diagnostics, vaccines, and anti-viral drugs. Molecular nanotechnology could offer even stronger prophylactics. Superintelligent machines may be the last invention that human beings ever need to make, since a superintelligence, by definition, would be far more effective than a human brain in practically all intellectual endeavors, including strategic thinking, scientific analysis, and technological creativity. In addition to creating and mitigating risks, these powerful technological capabilities would also affect the human condition in many other ways.
Extinction risks constitute an especially severe subset of what could go badly wrong for humanity. There are many possible global catastrophes that would cause immense worldwide damage, maybe even the collapse of modern civilization, yet fall short of terminating the human species. An all-out nuclear war between Russia and the United States might be an example of a global catastrophe that would be unlikely to result in extinction. A terrible pandemic with high virulence and 100% mortality rate among infected individuals might be another example: if some groups of humans could successfully quarantine themselves before being exposed, human extinction could be avoided even if, say, 95% or more of the world’s population succumbed. What distinguishes extinction and other existential catastrophes is that a comeback is impossible. A non-existential disaster causing the breakdown of global civilization is, from the perspective of humanity as a whole, a potentially recoverable setback: a giant massacre for man, a small misstep for mankind.
An existential catastrophe is therefore qualitatively distinct from a “mere” collapse of global civilization, although in terms of our moral and prudential attitudes perhaps we should simply view both as unimaginably bad outcomes. One way that civilization collapse could be a significant feature in the larger picture for humanity, however, is if it formed part of a repeating pattern. This takes us to the second family of scenarios: recurrent collapse.
Environmental threats seem to have displaced nuclear holocaust as the chief specter the public imagination. Current-day pessimists about the future often focus on the environmental problems facing the growing world population, worrying that our wasteful and polluting ways are unsustainable and potentially ruinous to human civilization. The credhaving handed the environmental movement its initial impetus is often given to Rachel Carson, whose book Silent Spring (1962) sounded the alarm on pesticides and synthetic chemicals that were being released into the environment with allegedly devastating effects wildlife and human health. The environmentalist forebodings swelled over the decade.
Paul Ehrlich’s book Population Bomb, and the Club of Rome report Limits to Growth, which sold 30 million copies, predicted economic collapse and mass starvation in ineties as the results of population growth and resource depletion. In recent years, the spotlight of environmental concern has shifted to global climate change. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are accumulating in the atmosphere, where they are expected to cause a warming of Earth’s climate and a concomitant rise in seewater levels. The more recent report by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which represents the most authoritative assessment of current scientific opinion, attempts to estimate the increase in global mean temperature that would be expected by the end of this century under the assumption that no efforts at mitigation are made. The final estimate is fraught with uncertainty because of uncertainty about what the default emissions of greenhouse gases will be over the century, uncertainty about the climate sensitivity parameter, and uncertainty about other factors. The IPCC therefore expresses its assessment in terms of six different climate scenarios based on different models and different assumptions. The “low” model predicts a mean global warming of +1.8°C (uncertainty range 1.1°C to 2.9°C); the “high” model predicts warming by +4.0°C (2.4°C to 6.4°C).
Estimated sea level rise predicted by these two most extreme scenarios among the sixconsidered is 18 to 38 cm, and 26 to 59 cm, respectively. Even the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, a report prepared for the British Government which has been criticized by some as overpessimistic, estimates that under the assumption of business-as-usual with regard to emissions, global warming will reduce welfare by an amount equivalent to a permanent reduction in per capita consumption of between 5 and 20%.
In absolute terms, this would be a huge harm. Yet over the course of the twentieth century, world GDP grew by some 3,700%, and per capita world GDP rose by some 860%. It seems safe to say that (absent a radical overhaul of our best current scientific models of the Earth’s climate system) what ever negative economic effects global warming will have, they will be other factors that will influence economic growth rates in this century.
Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil has argued for the singularity hypothesis on somewhat different grounds. His most recent book, The Singularity is Near, is an update of his earlier writings. It covers a vast range of ancillary topics related to radical future technological prospects, but its central theme is an attempt to demonstrate “the law of accelerating returns”, which manifests itself as exponential technological progress. Kurzweil plots progress in a variety of areas, including computing, communications, and biotechnology, and in each case finds a pattern similar to Moore’s law for microchips:
performance grows as an exponential with a short doubling time (typically a couple of years).
Extrapolating these trend lines, Kurzweil infers that a technological singularly is due around the year 2045. While machine intelligence features as a prominent factor in Kurzweil’s forecast, his singularity scenario differs from that of Vinge in being more gradual: not a virtually-overnight total transformation resulting from runaway self-improving artificial intelligence, but a steadily accelerating pace of general technological advancement.
Several critiques could be leveled against Kurzweil’s reasoning. First, one might of course doubt that present exponential trends will continue for another four decades. Second, while it is possible to identify certain fast-growing areas, such as IT and biotech, there are many other technology areas where progress is much slower. One could argue that to get an index of the overall pace of technological development, we should look not at a hand-picked portfolio of hot technologies; but instead at economic growth, which implicitly incorporates all productivity-enhancing technological innovations, weighted by their economic significance. In fact, the world economy has also been growing at a roughly exponential rate since the Industrial Revolution; but the doubling time is much longer, approximately 20 years. Third, if technological progress is exponential, then the current rate of technological progress must be vastly greater than it was in the remote past. But it is far from clear that this is so. Vaclav Smil – the historian of technology who, as we saw, has argued that the past six generations have seen the most rapid and profound change in recorded history – maintains that the 1880s was the most innovative decade of human history
The longer term
The cumulative probability of extinction increases monotonically over time. One might argue, however, that the current century, or the next few centuries, will be a critical phase for humanity, such that if we make it through this period then the life expectancy of human civilization could become extremely high. Several possible lines of argument would support this view. For example, one might believe that superintelligence will be developed within a few centuries, and that, while the creation of superintelligence will pose grave risks, once that creation and its immediate aftermath have been survived, the new civilization would have vastly improved survival prospects since it would be guided by superintelligent foresight and planning. Furthermore, one might believe that self-sustaining space colonies may have been established within such a timeframe, and that once a human or posthuman civilization becomes dispersed over multiple planets and solar systems, the risk of extinction declines. One might also believe that many of the possible revolutionary technologies (not only superintelligence) that can be developed will be developed within the next several hundred years; and that if these technological revolutions are destined to cause existential disaster, they would already have done so by then.