Diversity and Individual freedom

What would be the point of championing personal “freedom” without championing “diversity”?.
How can one talk of how fervently he or she values their own ability to make choices, have control of his world view and life styles, what actions they take today and in the future, without regarding the freedom of choices in others?
If one wish to advocate to others his / her ” personal freedom” : What is in it for his audience if they can’t have this same freedom for themselves?

Please excuse my rhetorical device…. No one actually to told me that they disdain diversity today . I am just entertaining the idea that social diversity and personal freedom go hand and hand.
After all, I expect that a large group of people, a community made up of individuals who enjoy their freedoms , would result in a community made up of individuals who act and think quite differently. — potentially a diverse population. I couldn’t possibly advocate personal freedom, without advocating the freedoms for others, the freedom to be different in some way than others.

You see, in my estimations , We still need to include group ethics in a conversation of freedom of the individual. Freedom is contextual, there would be no need to talk of civil liberties of persons (or other critters) if their was no one else around.

I champion the ethics of reciprocity and dignity , the golden rule : treat others as I would wish to be treated; expect the same in return; expect that all sides are esteemed. Its a cornerstone of individuality and diversity in community.

If I demand others to tolerate my personal freedoms in choices in belief , attitude and action then i must tolerate other’s freedom in choices of the same.
To do so is to expect that another may have a different lifestyle, way of thinking, way of being, then my own. If we are not trampling on each others dignity, well -being, or personal freedoms this should work out fine. To respect one and another, does not mean we have to like every aspect of one and other.  To do so is to respect and expect diversity and personal freedom.

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intersubjective disagreements, Markets and Democracy

I still believe democracy is still important.  I also believe in the spirit of civil rights: that a person has ownership over his body  and is free to cognate (think, feel,  be attract to, be mindful of) as  he/she wishes  — whether I  like what or how or a person thinks or not.  Its really that outward actions   that one places guidelines and restrictions on — this: responsibility part of freedom/responsibility.   what one “owns”,  one is responsible for. Freedom and responsibility are intertwined.

This is an ideal condition. More accurately i believe most people are best suited gaining relative freedom, responsibility, and self-sustainability, whether by pursuing these concepts or recognizing opportunity as they come along.  Physical and circumstantial conditions  can  limit these realizations for any person. However I am going to stick to an ideal concepts for now.

If freedom of choice and thought  is  individual right to  cognate as he/she wishes, then responsibility is something that includes more than an individual.. a group or a society.  How can a group of free thinking and choosing  individuals, with so many different attitudes and thought processes, come together and decide how not to trample over each other with their actions?

The following  video  is an interesting video that suggests that Democracy is, metaphorically, a intersubjective market place for  individuals to decide standard value and meaning in a group dynamic…  such as community or society.

The following was revised from post
subjective disagreements, market and intersubjectivity
posted originally 6-06-2011

A market, group or society makes decisions on values and meanings as a whole while its  diversity   engines the interaction between components or individuals.

Interesting video  shared by     entitled “Intersubjectivity“.

The narrator uses the example of a stock in a market to demonstrate how intersubjective relationships determine value. As he demonstrates on the chalkboard   it is the the whole of a free  market that determines a price of a stock, and  the  market requires  subjective disagreements between individuals with  different perspectives to work. That is, without the differences of subjective  valuing of a particular stock,  with different subjective  opinions of  the individual  buyers, sellers , no trading activity would take place.

Even though the participants  have come  to this market with similar interests: business, market trading, interest in a the same stock, …it is the difference of their belief  ( in particular the worth and value of a stock) that makes the market work.

If I look at this Market as a simplified model of a society, what can I infer?
Although people often seek out common interests, values and other people like themselves… its the diversification  of people in a democratic society that sets the societies values.
We are in a society as bound by our differences and disagreements  as we are bound by our similarities.
if  our economy is engined by the diversity of subjective disagreement in valuing, diversity of professions, I may assume that socially …as  communities or nations… we are better with diversity. Diversity  in  faiths, philosophies, opinions, conservative and liberal view points, life styles, etc.

What can we live with?
A society makes decisions as a whole based on values and belief  that are different then its  individuals. This means to preserve our individual rights, beliefs  and values we must tolerate  other subjective rights, beliefs an values, and come to common decisions we can all live with, decide by a democratic society as a whole.

Intersubjective Ethics.

A  democratic society  of individuals in complex relationship  is  powered by its diversity of subjective view points  and lifestyles ,as it is its common-ness.

If  we do agree  as a  democratic society that diversity is a necessary….or  at least diversity is a positive attribute, than we  must have some definition of tolerance.
One must be able  demonstrate patience and fairness when dealing other individuals who think, believe and act differently then himself, if not welcome the differences.
One must be able to deal fairly with people differing faith, ethnicity, health, education , background,  gender and age, etc that is different then themselves, as they have different needs and values, but are just  as important to a society.
Tolerance is an important  personal ethic to define, just as  other intersubjective  ethics such as reciprocity and dignity.

Society and the individual.
I think that, if we look objectively at societies as gestalts of intersubjective interaction, we can better understand the relationship of the individual to society. At the same time individuals interact within a spectrum of agreeing and disagreeing values ,beliefs, and perspectives  they also come together to make decisions as a whole in  democratic community, nation, or society.

And if you disagree with me, I will respect that. :)

Compassion

Compassion is the understanding of others, with the cultivated awareness of suffering.    Perhaps  more  accurately,    Compassion is empathy with the awareness of suffering.

The western concept of “empathy“, popular in the writings of twentieth century humanists, philosophers and psychologist has its own active verb tense. “to empathize” or “empathizing“. compassion does not have a verb tense in English… perhaps ” to sympathize“… but I will stick with Compassion, here.

To empathize is to imagine another’s experience,  compare that experience with his/hers and to be affected.   One empathizes with another person(s), organism(s) and their circumstance. It should be noted, that from a stand point of certain schools of thought,as in Zen Buddhism, Humanistic Psychology and existential- phenomenology, an organism is always considered with his circumstances. One is always interacting, affecting and being affected by his environment . This is “experience”, the participation of an organism in its world. “Phenomenology” is big ugly word for the study of experience(s), from subjective lenses.    “Empathizing”, is being affected by and imagining another(s) experience(s).

Another overlapping concept is “perspective-taking“. “Perspective taking” is imagining another’s experience and world-view.   Perspective-taking is objective and rational in method; and deliberate in avoiding any emotional affect and judgments.    To take another’s point-of-view and study while holding back any personal bias and presumption would be perspective taking. (see also Husserl’s bracketing or epoche`)
Is it at all possible to remove all bias?    Some psychologists argue that perspective taking is a primitive form of empathizing .

Alfie Cohen, Author of “Brighter Side of Human Nature“…… poses another  phenomenological approach to empathy that he calls “feeling-into“. To “feel-into” another’s circumstance, personal happenings, gestalt or being-in-this-world. Feeling-into is an full cognitive investigation of another’s subjective experience.

Back to Compassion

I do believe that there are people who can empathize or feel-into another’s situation without compassion.
A study of the psychopathology of some dangerous criminals might support my claim.   For example: there are a few who feel powerful or aroused when they imagine themselves as the victims of their violent attacks. in this case there is empathy and perspective taking, for pathological pleasure, but no compassion.

To act with compassion is to act and empathize, while recognizing and considering suffering. To act with compassion is to act and be affected by the suffering of others.

Understanding suffering is at the core of any study, religion, or way-of-being that is called Buddhism.  Thus compassion is a much talked about subject-matter . Understanding the nature of suffering is fundamental to Buddhist practice.
Note below a translation of the four Noble Truths of Buddhism

Four Nobel Truths of Buddhism .

  • Suffering Exists in Life
  • The Source of Suffering is attachment
  • The Emancipation of Suffering is attainable
  • The Path or the “Eightfold Path” (wisdom, conduct, development)

 
In Christianity, (at least from my non-religious outsider’s stand appointment), A great deal of importance is placed on the suffering of Jesus at the end of his days. In interpretations,   God seeks to empathize with man in the Life and times of Jesus. Followers seek to understand God in part by empathizing with the life and Crucifixion of Jesus. The very important Christian theme of Redemption is tied to suffering and compassion just as it is the teachings of Jesus, in the “Sermon on the Mount“.

Compassion is care for others. What can, at times, be overshadowed is the care for ones own well-being.   IMHO: It is important to act in the same compassionate manner for his or herself, as he does for others.   Just as important as anything written here:    The care and wellbeing of one’s self and others includes happiness, pleasure, curiosity and a spectrum of experiences…. not just suffering.

Compassion maybe a cornerstone of ethics along with self- esteem and reciprocity. If we truly love and esteem ourselves (that is, our being) ;    If we treat each other in the manner we wish to be treated, then we may presume that no one likes pain and suffering.   We’d care for ourselves and others, and act accordingly— rich in understanding perspectives beyond our own.
It would be unethical to deliberatively harm another (or one’s own being) that we have compassion and care for.

Some Soren Kierkegaard Quotes and Thoughts

“How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech.”

I have been reading some Soren Kierkegaard quotes, lately.
He is one of my favorite thinkers, whos profound words would influence many in the following century. Academics Jaspers, Husserl, Heidegger, humanist psychologist Carol Rogers, and physicist Neil Bohr claimed Kierkegaard’s words as inspiring to them.
Here are some more quotes by the Great Dane:

once you label me you negate me.”
when one is being labeled he is objectified and dehumanized.

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music.
As Laura Perls would later say: “without pain there would be no Art“.

KierkegaardAnxiety may be compared with dizziness. He whose eye happens to look down into the yawning abyss becomes dizzy. But what is the reason for this? It is just as much in his own eye as in the abyss, for suppose he had not looked down. Hence, anxiety is the dizziness of freedom, which emerges when the spirit wants to posit the synthesis and freedom looks down into its own possibility, laying hold of finiteness to support itself. Freedom succumbs to dizziness. Further than this, psychology cannot and will not go
The decisions one makes between: what he ought to do: his essence; his nature. and what he thinks he should do in preservation (dread) shape existence in Kierkegaard’s view. life is a series choices, the freedom in deciding comes with anxiety.
For Soren, ones essence or nature is his/her connecting to God. I wonder what he would have thought of Taoism or Zen, had he discovered it, for essence and nature are harmonizing with Tao and Buddha nature, respectively…. For the pantheist connecting with the Cosmos.

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.
Life is not just something to be analyzed from afar. the mysteries, hows and whats of life are understood by living or experiencing.

Do not forget to love yourself
Sounds so pretty simple. but read further:

In every man there is something which to a certain degree prevents him from becoming perfectly transparent to himself; and this may be the case in so high a degree, he may be so inexplicably woven into relationships of life which extend far beyond himself, that he almost cannot reveal himself. But he who cannot reveal himself cannot love, and he who cannot love is the most unhappy man of all“.
the path of happiness is authenticity. be true and find ones true nature, within and without and by living it. With that comes compassion,empathy, wisdom and love.

For more kick-arse Kierkegaard quotes  please check out this terrific blog link:
The Kierkegaarden.
from there you can receive daily Kierkegaard “Blooms” on twitter, Facebook, or RSS news Feed.

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Permaculture: the ethics of gardening

A couple weeks ago  I took a class on soil, and I learned quite a lot. One definition of soil, pertaining to growing and gardening, is a “The unconsolidated mineral or organic material on the immediate surface of the Earth that serves as a natural medium for the growth of land plants”.

Did you know that plant roots “decide” the type and levels of microbial life in their symbiotic soil relationships?

The  form of gardening that I am becoming more interested in is called Permaculture Design. Permaculture is in fact more than gardening. The name permaculture is derived from “Permanent Culture” and “Permanent Agriculture”  The definition as  definition as stated put by Bill  Mollison:

“Permaculture is a system of assembling conceptual, material and strategic components in a pattern which in a pattern which functions to benefit Life in all forms. Its aim is to seek a place for organisms.”

“Intro To Permaculture” , B. Mollison

The design principles and methods of Permaculture include an eclectic range of ideas that mirror other important  philosophical systems

  • Taoist themes such  as patterning,  flowing with and harmonizing with Nature; and Wu Wei,
  • Holistic ideas such as diversity, long or self sustainability and self regulation,
  • Conservation concepts such recycling and renewing of resources, ethical concerns of environment-
  • Sciences  a wide range including Topography, Ecology, Biology; observation and data collection

Ethics in Action

File:Permamandala.png

Permandala

I, personally  find it very  interesting , that certain philosophical principles and ideas found in   Taoism, Holism and conservation theory maybe empirically testable, observable and possibly provable, in the form of producing complex organic gardens.

Mollison states that “Everything Gardens”, I wonder if we could say everything IS a garden,metaphorically.

For some, permaculture is paradigm for solving societal problems;  scarcity and  economic problems,  and it serves as an Ethical base for humans regarding society and nature. It address the need for science to have ethics. Its an Ethic in action. Its ethics for  science and science gives it validity.

However, at its kernel, permaculture is a design system, incorporating ethics and problem solving, for gardening, horticulture  and agriculture.

Food for thought

Right now I am just interested in gardening and being creative.

but I can’t wondering: “can a diversified designed garden “make decisions” as whole? If so can I draw conclusion about self regulation and self autonomy in other non gardening systems? Perhaps I’m being a bit ambitious in thinking that gardening can answer age old philosophical questions about “Free Will” and “determinism”  by demonstrating relatively self-autonomic ecosytems.

I am barely a novice gardener anyway.

Bill Mollison is credited by many as the person responsible for kickstarting the permaculture revolution. His 5 core principles are:

  • Work with nature… rather than against nature.
  • The Problem is the Solution
  • Make the least change for greatest possible effect.
  • The yield of a system is  [hypothetically] unlimited.
  • Everything gardens.

These principles mirror Ancient Philosophies such as Taoism, Mollison conceptualized the core concepts after his years of studying organism and symbiotic relationships as a biologist and his study of Tribal farmers in the Pacific. Mollison and others draw upon the laws of physics, biology,  Natural Science with admitted affection for self-reliance, care fore the earth and Care for life,   Aesthetics and wisdom and the willingness to study and pattern other design theories objectively.

Food for Fact

Some real problems that real permaculture designers are working on:

File:20080708 Chicago City Hall Green Roof.JPG

A Green Roof in Chicago

  • Food Scarcity – Designers  use strategy to create long sustaining agricultures in many areas and reinvigorate  land for new areas of food growth. Permiculture has been used to grow orchards and gardens in desert climates and mountains, without the aid of heavy machinery.
  • Supply problems – With the growing cost of fuel to transporting food, Permaculturalist focus producing for local markets and consumers, growing food inside urban neighborhoods  and towns (even on roof tops!), with a diversity of produce. A designer always has community in mind.
  • Conservation – Permaculturalist Use and value renewable resources. A basic ethical  principle is “Care of Earth, Care of people, and the  Reinvestment of those Ends” . A designer wastes nothing if he can.
  • Teaching  awareness – permaculturalist teach and demonstrate a healthy relationship between people and ecosystem and ingenuity in solving problems that the layman can learn. The Teaching of  people to grow there own food Is the teaching of people to be more self reliant.

More thoughts

So right now I  have been learning about gardening and I have been learning about soil. It would not be surprising to me in the future if most people here in U.S grow their own  food gardens, whether they live in Rural, City, or suburban areas in the future.   Permaculture is a new way to use  old ideas . With the need for solutions for such problems as rising food price, as well as the need to fill the void of ethics, Permaculture  as a way of thinking, becomes one more tool for the consumer. One that is potentially here to stay.

The Golden Rule and Dignity

From subjective lenses,  I ( the first person perspective of my day -to-day reality),  observe and interact with other people in my-world.

Other people are not me (or “I”) , but other people are like me…and with compassion and relatedness in experiential interaction … I assume that they are more than mere objects:
living-subjects immersed in their lives,   like I am in mine, overlapping existence.

With that in mind,
I think that I would treat other people, these subjects (as I am a subject of my-world)….
I would treat them as I would want to treat myself . Just the same I wish to be treated as more than a mere object, I would expect to be respected by others as they would respect and treat themselves.

Therefore,:
I am to treat others as I would want to be  treated.
— A variant of the “golden rule” or “ethic of reciprocity

I esteem “myself “ to be more than an object and expect the treatment by others, in their subjective, as they would treat “themselves”.
Dignity.

To me, the “golden rule” is a core subjective principle, one that I would like to see as a social or cultural contract. I think that this definition of human dignity as a related core principle.

The golden rule is a principle of many objective and religious philosophies:

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.“ — Traditional

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” – book of Mathew, Christianity

“No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” — traditional Islam

“Every person has dignity and worth, and, therefore, should command the respect of every other person.”—Humanist Manifesto I.”

“Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” — Leviticus, Judaism
….

from The Golden rule the pan-moral principle.

Whether stemming from quality of subjective experience or the objective morals of religion, the ethic of reciprocity and dignity are the cornerstone of civil ethics and respect of individuals in any society.

They esteem the individual, they esteem the society.

The Golden Rule: the pan-moral principle

Action:

**Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. — Traditional
** Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.— book of Mathew, Christianity
** No one of you is a believer until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” — traditional Islam
** “Every person has dignity and worth, and, therefore, should command the respect of every other person.”—Humanist Manefesto I.”
** “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” — Leviticus, Judiasm.
~

Abstention:

**“Hurt not others with that which pains yourself.” –Udanarga
**What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others” –Confusism
**“Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you.” –Farewell Sermon, Muhammad.
**”Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing. —Thales of Miletos

—This is the “ethic of reciprocity” in various forms through history, often forgotten .
It is both selfish and social. But it is the only contract between us i see fit to live in an integrated and peaceful world.

I’m posting it here to remind myself i am still an idealist some times. This kind of stuff certainly doesn’t get alot of props on the Internet these days.