The Big Problems and Possible Consequences thereof
Ignorance, Denial, Disinformation and Distraction are among the greatest factors that seem to be preventing humanity from adequately comprehending and addressing the world’s most pressing problems. So here is a little primer so we can move past excuses and get to work.
The Club of Rome deserves special accolades as the first and finest publisher of reports concerning humanity’s unsustainable behaviors and for their persistent and thoughtful work to craft comprehensive solutions.
Climate Change - Everyone is familiar with climate change, but too few appear to appreciate how little time we have or how much we need to do to solve or mitigate this problem.
This Is Zero Hour presents a countdown to remind or inform us all about how little time remains to fix the climate crisis. 350.org continues the good fight and is a good place to read about the latest IPCC report.
The Sixth Mass Extinction - Far too few even know about this tragedy that has steadily been gaining momentum prior to the dawn of civilization.
Center for Biological Diversity has covered this for a long time. Here, is where to learn about the extinction crisis and here is where you can read their $100 billion plan to save life on Earth.
World Animal Foundation has a good presentation on the extinction crisis. Frozen Ark is saving endangered DNA with the hope that science may
Overpopulation, Human…We’ve known for a century now that this would be a problem. Population matters is the long time champion on this issue…https://populationmatters.org It might even be helpful for the replacement theory crazies..
The Club of Rome https://www.clubofrome.org has also been working on this along with women’s rights advocates because (women’s rights) really is the best solution.
Resource Depletion - Consumer economies may be our downfall if not curbed Overshoot Day is helping to educate us and World Resources Institute has been a trusted champion and Ceres has a plan, vision and refreshing humility.
Inequality and Political/Social Instability - inequality.org and The Equality Trust are the best sources for learning about inequality and its widespread ill effects. Freedom House is diligently tracking the democratic integrity of nations and fighting for the freedoms gained thereby. Watch a TED talk on the subject, it’s less than 20 minutes!
Nuclear Hazards - Let’s not forget that nuclear war could ruin everything or that we still haven’t found any solutions for nuclear waste. Beyond Nuclear has all the information you need, and more.
Mass Delusion, Disinformation and Ignorance. - luxuries we can no longer afford https://www.criticalthinking.org is helping to educate about thinking skills https://www.logicalfallacies.org - provides a good and neat service https://hearyourselfthink.org - is working to counter disinformation And there is the TRUE section further down the page
Consequences - is the collapse of civilization enough to motivate you? How about the extinction of humans? Read what really smart and educated people think. Here are just a few…
The Australian military concluded that we could see collapse by 2050 and was even reported in the New York Post.
One model predicted 2040 as the date due to food shortages.
Physicists conclude a 90% chance that deforestation could end civilization.
Frontiers in Conservation Science is trying to help us avoid underestimating the challenges of avoiding a ghastly future…perhaps the best report on the subject.
Welcome to the Truing section of Integrative Activism.
Sacralize Truth. Sanctify Truth. Venerate and Exalt Truth. Exonerate and Purify Truth. Help us to; Cleanse, ameliorate and emend our conceptions of a most valuable concept represented by one seemingly simple word, true.
You might want to review definitions of the word true before you read further… Here are couple of links to the free dictionary .com or dictionary .com… or if you’re to lazy to click here’s an a short definition…
a. Consistent with fact and reality; not false or erroneous
b. Real or genuine, not counterfeit
c. Conforming to the criteria or characteristics of a group or type
a. Accurate, reliable
a. Accurate or exact position, formation or alignment
b. Truth or reality
a. Without deviation or variation
a. To make something balanced, level or square
b. To make even, level, symmetrical or accurate; adjust, align
It may not be appropriate nor effective tell people what is true and what is not, but it may be prudent to examine and share the tools and techniques that help to enable us all to discern between truth and falsity.
So here are some important things to remember and practice in this process of truing our understanding and use of one simple and profoundly important word, True.
1. Keep an open mind. Minds are like parachutes, they work best when opened.
2. Embrace and appreciate the value of learning about your own false assumptions, beliefs or convictions. It is only by becoming aware of how ones thinking is flawed or wrong that it can be corrected, made right, be made true.
3. Become aware of confirmation bias ( seeking and cherry-picking only the information that reinforces your current beliefs ) and do your best to avoid it. The process of truing is a process of eliminating imperfections.
4. Learn from the knowledge and insights of the experts in their respective fields of discipline. You wouldn’t go to your auto mechanic for your dentistry needs, would you? Understand the process, utility and value of peer review process.
5. Learn how to check sources and verify credibility. Citations such as footnotes and endnotes usually indicate good works, but not always. An absence of citations is often indicative of poor credibility or intent to deceive.
6. Practice careful thoughtful use of language, your choice of words. We are only as precise, as accurate, as true as the language that forms our thoughts.
7. Learn to express your convictions in terms of probabilities. Lazy thinking and inaccurate use of language contribute to confusion and oversimplifications. People too often express what they believe to be as true or false. People who express their convictions in confidence percentages ( ie. “I’m 80% certain that is true”) are most often the people who are consistently more accurate in thought and communication. Therefore, by definition, they can be said to be more true.
Our ability to solve and mitigate the world’s most pressing problems is proportional to our collective accurate (true) understanding of those problems. One of the most pernicious misconceptions and misuses of the word true is a subjective application of the word. It might seem like nitpicking, but the ramifications are profound. It is commonplace in our culture to speak about personal truths. There are no personal truths. There are personal beliefs, opinions and convictions, but to refer to those things as truths undermines the value and utility of the word and the concept of True. It is far more accurate and therefore true (by definition) to refer to personal beliefs as beliefs or convictions.
There are different theories of truth. The strongest or best theory is that of correspondence. Something that is true (a truth) must have a correspondence with objective reality and is simply a fact. That’s easy enough isn’t it? Science is dependent on correspondence. Some synonyms for correspond include; correlate, harmonize, conform, dovetail, equate and connect.
Another theory of truth is coherence, which asserts that truth is found in its coherence within sets of propositions. Coherence theory posits that truth can be discerned by fitting a proposition (a suspected truth) within a framework of established beliefs and if there is no logical contradiction then concludes it must be true. Really smart people like Leibniz, Spinoza and Hegel all promoted this idea, but it has problems that may be more apparent today than it was in their times.
The big problem with coherence is that it doesn’t require any correspondence with objective reality. It’s a big problem because it can easily effectuate delusion. Seventy percent of Republicans still believe the presidential election was stolen by evil Democrats and a nefarious deep state. The math indicates that about 50 million U.S. citizens are at least somewhat delusional. That is a BIG problem. It doesn’t stop there though. There are a plethora of issues that so called conservatives are delusional about such as the reality of climate change or the dangers of pandemics.
So, what can we do? Part of that answer is our understanding and use of one simple word, TRUE. It is the authors hope that this short essay will help to begin the process of truing our understanding and use of that simple yet powerful word, true.
Thanks for reading that. I hope it rings true to you.
Essays and entries on the matter
https://yosee.in/2018/06/05/the-difficulty-in-discernment-of-truth/ - good critique of the internets role…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWzKI4WhSPQ - understanding peer review
https://owlcation.com/academia/Evaluating-Your-Sources-of-Information - it’s not bad
https://www.sccollege.edu/Library/Pages/EvaluatingInformationontheInternet.aspx - simple single page with a useful chart
https://www.library.georgetown.edu/tutorials/research-guides/evaluating-internet-content - another good guide, especially the objectivity portion
https://researchguides.ben.edu/source-evaluation - good CRAAP test explanation…
https://www.gotquestions.org/objective-truth.html - This one is really good
Coherence vs Correspondence - truth correlates
Super academic and heady - https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/truth-correspondence/
3 theories of truth from studymode.com …might want to join, but here’s the entry… https://www.studymode.com/essays/Three-Theories-Of-Truth-483711.html
Be True because Truth is the seed of well founded Hope
Asks You to join the mission
Creating and Promoting an Honest Nation
And Ensuring More Honest Politicians
Imagine what it would be like if all of our politicians were required by law to be honest…
Okay, stop imagining and lets get to work and make it happen.
This proposal has already made its way into the democratic process. It began as a resolution that was introduced and passed by the Democratic Party of Buncombe County, N.C. and was successfully adopted in the district convention. This resolution allegedly passed at the state level although this author is unable to verify that. The democratic process can often be frustratingly slow and difficult. Yes, democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the other forms of government.
This is far from an unreasonable proposal. We citizens do pay the salaries and benefits of our elected and appointed representatives. As their employers, it is reasonable to expect our employees to be honest and for there to be consequences beyond elections for violations of dishonesty.
One objection to the resolution was that it violates first amendment rights. That is not a valid argument as there are limits to the rights of freedom of expression (speech). Yelling FIRE in a crowded theater is the most widely known example. There are laws that have been and are still in place limiting dishonesty. Truth in advertising is an example as are libel laws, although those laws have been eroded and and enforcement has diminished. Perjury laws have been in place for a very long time. It is a crime to falsify testimony in a court of law or a congressional hearing. We have laws called contempt of the court and contempt of congress so why don’t we have laws prohibiting contempt of constituency?
The Department of Justice defines the standard as “Knowingly and Willfully” and can be referenced by use of the following link…https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/criminal-resource-manual-910-knowingly-and-willfully. It’s a high bar that should ensure contempt of constituency laws are not frivolously brought forth.
Other objections were based on poor understanding regarding the differences between resolutions and the process of legislating. Resolutions are merely proposals and should not be confused with writing law.
We don’t have to hit a home run at first bat. Within most organizations there are rules of conduct. So let’s change the rules. The Senate and the House both have rules. So do state legislatures. Sure, they all write their own rules, but there’s no reason that constituents can’t influence that process. We just haven’t imagined that we can or should, or bothered or considered the need to do so. Maybe now, we can start.
Everyone occasionally makes mistakes, confuses facts and has brain farts. No big deal. When that happens, the proper course of action is to admit your mistake and set the record straight. Therefore it would be prudent to allow and encourage that process. In the case of representatives, documentation of the matter should be made an easily accessible public record. Those who refuse to admit their transgression should face a public hearing, inquiry and or trial.
This raises the question about who adjudicates what is true? Courts are often utilized to adjudicate what is true and what is false or fraudulent. Perhaps the courts would be appropriate in cases that are not resolved within the legislative body itself. Academics can be called upon for their expertise in particular fields if necessary, perhaps to function as juries.
Next comes the matter of consequences. What will be the penalties for representatives lying to the public? Perhaps they should be proportional to the “crime”. Some lies are more consequential and have more deleterious effects than others. That will have to worked out along the way though. Again, this is not a legislative process, but a proposal.
If we want to make this happen, the first step is to popularize this idea. The second step is familiarize this idea to our elected officials. This would be helpful not only with incumbents, but with candidates for running for office. Whether a candidate supports or opposes such rules or legislation may help voters decide who to support or oppose.
Supporting contempt of constituency legislation or rules could be quite the advantage for Democrats. Republicans have, unfortunately, become dangerously dishonest through the years culminating into a party dedicated to promoting what is commonly referred to as the big lie. While Democrats are on the whole more honest than Republicans, there is room for improvement. This is an opportunity for the Democrats to earn a brand as the honest party. For Republicans, supporting honest politician rules or legislation may be the best chance for redemption…but this author isn’t holding his breath.
Integrative Activism has freely provided this idea, this tool. Anyone can now grab the ball and run with it. It would be nice and appropriate if you’d provide proper reference and cite the source though. If you’re not that ambitious you can always contribute a couple of bucks to the cause through Integrative Charities. The founder of Integrative Activism intends to form a 501c for the purpose of furthering the effort. Integrative Activism is located in Asheville, NC, if any reader of this that resides there would like to become more involved and serve as a member of a board of directors please contact us.
So there ya go…let’s make it happen. It’s a good step in the long march to form a more perfect union. True on people, because truth matters now more than ever.
We will not solve the Big Problems without reforming our political systems. This is as true in a national context as it is in a global context. The reality of the situation is that the problems in politics are largely a result of democratic deficits.
A democracy deficit is most apparent in the global context. The United Nations is, perhaps, the most democratic international political organization, but the UN is hardly democratic. There are only ten seats in the security council of the UN and half of those seats are permanently occupied by the biggest, most powerful countries on Earth. The WTO and IMF aren’t really democratic either, but they are extremely powerful while ordinary citizens are powerless to influence those organizations. More than half of the world’s largest economies are corporations, not nations.
The real solutions to overcoming the imbalances of power and the political/social instabilities that result are to create/insert more democracy within these global institutions, or to create new global democratic institutions. It may be easier to reform the existing institutions than to create new organizations. So learn about these issues by exploring the organizations in the Global Democracy/World Parliament portfolio here at Integrative Activism.
U.S. Politics -
The next two or three election cycles will reveal if we remain The United States of America or become the Neofascist States of America. We have a systemic sedition problem at a time when we are running out of time to solve the more existential risks of climate change and the sixth mass extinction.
A clear timeline for restoring the integrity of the U.S. political body has never come into focus and goals desperately need target dates to be effective. July 4, 2026 will be the 250th birthday/anniversary of the USA. That seems like the perfect date for a few Constitutional Amendments to become effective. That may seem impossible to some, but putting men on the moon was also considered impossible to many people.
How we get there from here isn’t going to be easy or simple, but Integrative Activism and other dedicated true patriots have been working to refine tactics, strategies and solutions to rectify our democratic dysfunctions. The plan to get there from here still needs refining, but the outline of the plan will be revealed on this site prior to the spring of 2022.
How about the United Native American Nations of North America? Stand together indigenous friends. You have many white, black, brown and yellow supporters.
Many of the Big Problems we face today are largely the result of a deficit of spirituality, but not a deficit of religiosity.
The differences between religion and spirituality are only beginning to become clear in many cultures of developed nations. Until about 50 years ago, religion and spirituality were mostly synonymous. Today it is quite different. Here in the USA, the spiritual but not religious demographic is rapidly growing and is well documented by PEW Research.
Although what differentiates spirituality and religion is still being worked out within culture, significant progress has been made. One of the most commonly accepted differences is that spirituality is not organized and institutionalized like religions. Another widely acknowledged difference is that spirituality is a more personal or individual matter.
To plumb deeper into these differences I posit that there is a moral difference regarding spirituality v. religion regarding what we consider to be true or how we perceive Truth. Truth or what is considered true is typically dictated to the church by one or more deities and delivered to the people through the clergy. Spirituality is a process in which the spiritual aspirant searches for truth. Religion requires accepted truths (doctrine) to be accepted by members of the religion. If members of a religion reject doctrine, they are then considered heretics and are often consequently expelled or worse. Spirituality nurtures an acceptance that each individual has the responsibility (moral duty or imperative) to think and feel (compassion and empathy) for their self to conclude what is true and morally proper.
Religion thus adheres to an exclusionary principle whereby those who disagree with religious doctrine are excluded from membership. Spirituality lacks an exclusionary principle, or at least, an established exclusionary principle. The exclusionary principle is and has historically been utilized to justify countless horrors such as crusades, inquisitions, colonization, war and genocide. Spirituality without religion may be immune to such misuses. At the heart of spirituality is a search and a yearning to learn or discover deeper and higher truths along with the development of ever more encompassing compassion. Well developed empathic skills naturally result in proper moral conduct. The golden rule to do unto others as you would have them do unto you is natural and spontaneous with well developed compassion.
Spiritual moral injunctions appear to include one’s own development of rationality and discernment in effort to embody more and greater truth along with the development of compassion and empathy to guide moral conduct. Spirituality may therefore be seen as a means and an opportunity to rectify some of the societal aberrations that religion has failed to rectify. Well developed empathy and compassion reveal commonalities among us, not merely as humans, but as animals and other manifestations of life itself, creation.
Bigotry, misogyny, animal cruelty and ecological destruction are all incompatible to mature spirituality. What a wonderful world it would be if we were all more spiritually developed! Unfortunately, there are immature forms or levels of spirituality. There are many charlatans and salespeople peddling spiritual snake-oil. There are ways to separate the grain from the chaff, but that will have to wait for a later time, but here’s a hint…Honesty, to admit what one does not know.
It is this authors hope that this very short and incomplete essay sufficiently conveys enough to inspire other to join in the development of a Society Advancing Spirituality.