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Old 03-07-2011, 12:21 PM   #1
Tenyu
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Ascent of Humanity

I want to share a perspective, based in religious anthropology, that anyone can understand. No foreign concepts like asymptote. Charles Eisenstein has published his book Ascent of Humanity on his website available for free here:

http://www.ascentofhumanity.com/chapter1-1.php

An excellent read even for academic experts.

He also has videos available:
http://www.youtube.com/user/CharlesEisenstein

-Tenyu
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Old 03-07-2011, 02:49 PM   #2
mathewjgano
 
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Hi Tenyu,
Thank you for the link. Some quick thoughts:

Quote:
The ascent of humanity has come at a price, and I am not speaking here merely of the destruction of the ecological basis of human civilization. Our separation-fueled ascent exacts its toll not just on the losers, the victims of our wars, industry, and ecocide, but on the winners as well. It is the highest of all possible prices: it comes out of our very being. For all we have built on the outside, we have diminished our souls.
In the sense that many people look outside themselves for happiness, I agree. I know many people who, frankly, are hooked on "bright and shiney," and have no real effort at understanding why they're unhappy with their lives. One of the biggest causes, in my limited opinion, has to do with the business culture. Commercialism has replaced actual value. Making a cheaper product is assumed to be a better product (even though the cost was shaved by exploiting poorer standards of living). Furthermore, many people like to draw a straight line between capitalism and freedom (i.e. happiness), as if you only get freedom (happiness) by having a strong business sense somewhere in your neighborhood. As far as I can tell this is utterly ridiculous...particularly when you consider that many of the employees in the past effectively had terrible freedom while their employers had freedom on the order of "divine right" royalty. In short, I believe "Business" is a terrible leader for standards of living because it's too short-sighted. Profit seems to compromise value/quality at almost every chance it gets.
That's not to say business is bad, just that it is merely the vehicle for human effort...and most humans are too preoccupied with their little part of the world to really consider the whole in any breadth or detail. Ironically, it seems to be very natural for living things to do this.
...My 2 bits.
Take care,
Matt

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-07-2011, 03:30 PM   #3
Tenyu
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Matthew,

I agree.

I just read this chapter http://www.ascentofhumanity.com/chapter2-7.php for the first time and found it very compelling as I've never heard of the Piraha before. If you're not well versed in anthropology I recommend reading the preceding chapters first.

-Tenyu
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Old 03-25-2011, 05:53 PM   #4
Tenyu
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Video by Dan Everett who spent many years living with the Piraha zen masters:

http://fora.tv/2009/03/20/Daniel_Eve...Lost_Knowledge
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Old 03-25-2011, 07:03 PM   #5
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Quote:
Tenyu Hamaki wrote: View Post
Video by Dan Everett who spent many years living with the Piraha zen masters:

http://fora.tv/2009/03/20/Daniel_Eve...Lost_Knowledge
That's awesome!

Gambarimashyo!
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:12 AM   #6
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Matthew and everyone else,

I'm almost finished reading the book Ascent Of Humanity and it's already one of the most - if not the most - important books I've ever read. I had no idea when I started this thread. It's close to 600 pages so I recommend purchasing a physical copy from Charles. I don't know of an author with a more comprehensive understanding of humanity and human history.
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
It just doesn't engage me. You love the book, I don't love it...chacun a son gout.
You don't agree with what Charles wrote?
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Old 04-04-2011, 10:59 AM   #8
Tenyu
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Tenyu.
Read a lot of the book and personally didn't find much I don't know already
The beginning of the book is mostly common knowledge. Later on Charles gets into more esoteric stuff. Do you already know about horizontal gene transfer, neo-lamarckian theory, or demurrage?
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:34 PM   #9
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Quote:
Tenyu Hamaki wrote: View Post
The beginning of the book is mostly common knowledge. Later on Charles gets into more esoteric stuff. Do you already know about horizontal gene transfer, neo-lamarckian theory, or demurrage?
Tenyu.
I wasn't talking about the beginning of the book.

Demurrage? Yes I agree we need a better money system and that looks like an interesting one. I liked it and wasn't aware of that particular thing. The concept of the why the current system must eventually change or fail I was aware of.

Horizontal gene transfer? As that title no, I wasn't aware of it. The concept of it? Yes, I am already aware of that and more.

Neo-lamarkian theory? Once again the same. In fact to me it's obvious.

In conclusion I would say as I already did, parts were interesting and new, much was what I was already aware of. For me none of it was 'eurika eye opening.'

Having said that I see it could be for some if not many.

Regards.G.
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:52 PM   #10
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
That's awesome!
http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~nevins/npr09b.pdf
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:08 PM   #11
Tenyu
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

Quote:
Graham Christian wrote: View Post
Tenyu.
I wasn't talking about the beginning of the book.

Demurrage? Yes I agree we need a better money system and that looks like an interesting one. I liked it and wasn't aware of that particular thing. The concept of the why the current system must eventually change or fail I was aware of.

Horizontal gene transfer? As that title no, I wasn't aware of it. The concept of it? Yes, I am already aware of that and more.

Neo-lamarkian theory? Once again the same. In fact to me it's obvious.

In conclusion I would say as I already did, parts were interesting and new, much was what I was already aware of. For me none of it was 'eurika eye opening.'

Having said that I see it could be for some if not many.

Regards.G.
You read the whole book in one day?
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Old 04-04-2011, 06:23 PM   #12
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

I don't consider recursion worth arguing about, but Dan did mention it could be argued either way if someone wants to. It's insignificant to what Dan really learned living with the Piraha, or the reason it was included in AOH.
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Old 04-10-2011, 02:53 PM   #13
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Re: Ascent of Humanity

My reply seemed to fit better here.
Quote:
Lorien Lowe wrote: View Post
Well, the money isn't infinite (in the sense of transmittable value) because at some point it starts to inflate, even dollars.

What I liked about collapse was the examination of the social structures that led to collapse in each civilization, and the examination of the reactions to the problems by each culture. There's also an examination of the geographic and environmental factors that lead to a civilization's demise.

So far, we're looking a lot like Mayans.
edit: guessing EROEI ~= energy recovered over energy invested?
With regards to looking like the Mayans: how so?
I think the first line is something every business person needs to consider deeply...ever more so as the business that person is in gets bigger.
One example of a practice which seems complicit in generating inflation is found in the debt collection industry. I have a friend who, upon discovering a debt he thought was paid off but wasn't, contacted the company who took over his debt (on his lunch break). That company demanded a few thousand dollars that day (we don't care if you're at work and would have to leave early to meet our deadline) or the total due would jump a considerable amount. They inflated the value of his debt at his expense and made off handsomly because my friend didn't have the means or the understanding of how to fight back. This dramatically affected my friend's quality of living for 2 or 3 years, and he is still feeling the effects several years later. This seems like a common business practice: make money however you can and as long as your consequences are pleasant, who cares about the other guy. He's probably just a schmuck anyway.
Similarly, I think a lot of folks see how shuffling this or that around would gain some value for them, but forget the cost still exists and other people are paying it.
There are a great many "value-generating" practices which are dependant upon tricks and obfuscation and it is these kinds of things which I think create risk for social unrest or collapse. The strain gets added to this or that group and unless it's somehow diverted, eventually desperation kicks in and, well, my experience is that desperate people don't generally act with the greatest forethought. It's a kind of echo to the lack of consideration which added to (or created) the strain in the first place.
My tired two bits.
Take care,
Matt
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