Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Role of Oxytocin in Modern Life

There is someone who once said there is nothing new under the sun. There is some truth to that. I typically find that what one labels "new" is nothing more than recycled "old" filed under a different name.  A friend of mine recently talked about going to our 20 year high school reunion last weekend, referring to the fact that she believes that people are nicer now that they’re parents, and that maybe some underlying biological process is at work. I think the "biological process" which she was referring to involves the body chemical oxytocin (the so called "cuddle hormone" released during sex, childbirth, and all around general intimacy).  I prefer to call oxy the "bonding hormone" due to the fact that I believe it gave birth to humanities ability to feel compassion and has helped enable humanity to evolve in complexity and can therefore be seen as the fundamental catalyst for birth of the community in general, but I digress.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Life Beyond the Tipping Point

I just started reading “Eaarth” by Bill Mckibben.   Holy crap. I have only gotten through the first chapter of this and have come to the quick conclusion that we're totally fucked. This is not a problem we're passing down to our grandchildren. This is a problem we've already inherited from OUR parents. We've crossed the tipping point (that being the magic number of 350ppm). Anyone want to join a book club? We can double it as a grief support group if you'd like. Count my words, life will force our hands within our life time, and it will, in no uncertain terms, resemble anything similar to what one might consider "a choice" by todays standards. I predict that life is going to look very different in the decades to come, especially when it comes to our often taken for granted technology. With society crossing the tipping point of peak oil in 2008, it will only be a matter of time before this pendulum we call "progress"* is bound to swing back in the other direction. It seems our world today is by and large, taken for granted as "a given" and progress has only to build upon itself indefinitely. This is an illusion and I believe the true psychosis or modern society. All the material things society finds so important and intrinsic to life today - from personal laptop computers and flat screen, high definition TV's to cel phones and digital cameras (which all mostly seem to have a maximum lifespan of 2 - 5 years these days) - will soon no longer be able to support the transient illusion of their permanence which has propped them up for so many years. Global climate change and peak oil aside, what most people often fail to think about - the fact that society truly does not have the means to support this ongoing level of "progress" indefinitely - is the traumatic shock that is inevitable as reality comes crashing down all around us in the decades to come. We will have to be content with less and that's something I don't believe the American psyche is truly prepared for or even willing to think about at this time. We will have no choice but to face this fact in the future.

* [I use the term "progress" as it's often used today, which I believe will lose it's meaning in time as well, as the world comes to associate it with a "global lack of foresight" if not blind hubris. I believe that in the future, our unrealistic pinning over these so called ideals of progress, when viewed from the eyes of hindsight, will be more clearly seen for what it was - the main seed that has been planted in our collective psyche (mostly through a corporately influenced culture of disposable consumerism), that has enabled humanity to be the true architects of its own destruction].

Monday, May 3, 2010

Show Me Your Papers!

Regarding what’s going on in Arizona right now, I agree that identification should be asked for if someone is in "violation of the law." Unfortunately, that is not how this bill has been written. Under the current bill authorities have the right to request identification from an individual they FEEL have "reasonable suspicion" that the person in question is in this country illegally. This leaves the law open to too much individual interpretation. What exactly does a person have to be doing (other then climbing over a fence at the boarder) that qualifies them as behaving in a manner which leads one to suspect they are an illegal immigrant? There is absolutely no way this law can be enforced without enacting racial profiling or violating the equal protection for search and seizure laws under the constitution. People are required to have an ID to drive, and should be asked to produce their license if they are not obeying the law. This law is much broader however, and has implications that go far beyond driving behavior alone. If one looks deeper at the specifics of this bill, it becomes arguably harder to justify its constitutionality.