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#TL07H: CONVERSATIONS ABOUT DEEP STUPIDITIES #1

By Frederick Mann
© Copyright 2002 Build Freedom Holdings ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Notice: Notice: This report contains copyrighted material. This information is free for personal use only. No part of these materials may be reproduced in any form - except for personal use - without permission from the copyright holder.

THE NOTION OF "LAW" (SO-CALLED) AS A DEEP STUPIDITY
Compiled and edited by Frederick Mann

INTRODUCTION
This report consists of three main parts:

  1. A discussion with Richard Brodie (author of 'Virus of the Mind') and other subscribers to his Level-3 List -- mainly about the notion of "law" (so-called).
  2. A discussion with Steve Nichols " (psychologist and philosopher) -- about the notion of "law" (so-called).
  3. A discussion with J. Neil Shulman (libertarian author, journalist, and publisher), Samuel Edward Konkin III (libertarian author, historian, and publisher), and other subscribers to the LA-Agora List -- mainly about religion.

For an explanation of "deep stupidity," see "Human Stupidity" and particularly "Project Abolish Stupidity & Increase Intelligence".

For an analysis of the notion of "law," see "#TL07A: THE ANATOMY OF SLAVESPEAK".

All the "stupidities" that need to be "abolished" are "memes" in the mind. According to Richard Brodie, author of 'Virus of the Mind,' "Memes are the basic building blocks of our minds and culture, in the same way that genes are the basic building blocks of biological life."

According to "Level 3 of Consciousness," "7. All our belief systems, religions, and governments are the result of a series of mistakes that turned out to be better at making copies of themselves after all."

The "stupidities" I talk about that need to be abolished could also be called "mistaken memes" or more accurately, "mistaken memes, the use of which produces more harmful results than beneficial results."

My process of "abolishing" a meme involves:
1. Questioning the validity of the meme (in people's heads);
2. Asking, "Who benefits from the meme's use; who is harmed by the meme's use?"
3. How well does the meme represent aspects of physical reality?
4. Does the meme represent "consensus reality" or "physical reality?"
5. Certain memes, such as "law" (in the political sense) I reclassify as invalid memes (or stupid crap!)
6. When communicating with others, if it seems appropriate, I question, challenge, or attack the meme in their heads.

(If I think the situation is such that it's not appropriate to attack the meme, I use it as if valid (the way most people ordinarily do). I commit the "lesser evil" of reinforcing the meme, because I judge that attacking it might not produce any result other than making me seem crazy. See "Respecting Levels of Freedom.")

By "physical reality" I refer to what actually exists, what can be observed directly or through the use of instruments as extensions of human senses. By "consensus reality" I refer to what people agree on. All memes shared by more than one person are part of consensus reality. Some memes (such as "chair") are commonly used to represent objects of physical reality. Other memes (such as "law") are commonly used to represent "aspects" of consensus reality.

In questioning, challenging, or attacking memes, it's vital to make a distinction between the meme itself and the "thing" (if any) the meme represents or is thought by some to represent. What is being questioned, challenged, or attacked is the meme, rather than the "thing" (if any).

The phenomenon of assuming that just because many people use a particular meme, therefore the meme represents something in physical reality, is called "hypostatization" -- further explained in "#TL07A: THE ANATOMY OF SLAVESPEAK".

I've also coined the term "peme" for "political meme" -- see "#TL074: PEME-THEORY - BASIC, INTERMEDIATE & ADVANCED".

During 1999, I had a discussion with Richard Brodie on his "Level 3 of Consciousness Mailing List" (scroll down to bottom of page). Following are extracts from that discussion.

THE NOTION OF "LAW" (SO-CALLED) AS A DEEP STUPIDITY

DISCUSSION WITH RICHARD BRODIE & OTHERS ON LEVEL-3 LIST
During 1999, I had a discussion with Richard Brodie and other subscribers on his "Level 3 of Consciousness Mailing List" (scroll down to bottom of page). Following are edited extracts from that discussion.

*****

Date: Thu, 16 Sep 1999 20:03:27 -0700
To: level-3@egroups.com
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com>

At 11:17 AM 9/16/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
<snip>
 >I'd really like to keep this conversation focused on the positive. What if
 >every time you were about to take a stand against something, you instead
 >took a stand FOR something else?
 >The "better world" idea has been mentioned. Suppose a complex of memes
 >(memeplex), the combination of which represents "better world."

Suppose a memeplex of negative aspects that stand in the way of a
better world.

Further suppose a memeplex of aspects (some positive, some negative)
that represent what I call the "unreality imperative." (There is some overlap
between negativity memeplex and unreality memeplex.)

The unreality imperative is rooted in the difficulty for us humans to face
or confront certain negatives of life. Rather than allowing ourselves to
become aware of these negatives (and their impact on our psyches),
we escape into unreality.

What if there are certain culture-based thought and action patterns,
accepted as positive by most, that are in fact negative? What if the
unreality imperative prevents us from allowing ourselves to become
aware of these negatives? How would this affect our ability to create
a better world?

[See The "Unreality Imperative".]

Frederick Mann
*****

Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1999 10:06:13 -0700
From: "Richard Brodie"
To: "Upgrade!" <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 
Subject: Thank you 

FM,
I am enjoying your participation on this list very much. You have some
really high-quality posts.

Richard Brodie
*****
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 10:32:37 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 10:50 AM 9/17/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >
 >Frederick,
 >
 >Thanks for elaborating. I appreciate your perspective very much.
 >
 >On this list, I would like to keep the conversation, as much as it drifts
 >into concrete social change, focused on constructive advocacy. I'd like to
 >keep the amount of "exposé" to a minimum (even if it's in line with your
 >life purpose to do so). But here, rather than a long thread exposing the
 >evils of the war on drugs or compulsory education (which may be very
 >appropriate for other forums), I would like to see us live our life purposes
 >in constructive and cooperative ways and talk about that.

In order for us to "live our life purposes in constructive and cooperative ways,"
we may need to stop coercing each other. We may need to examine our
participation in "systems" that result in us willy-nilly coercing each other.
Most people do not achieve their life purposes. We may need to look at
the negatives that prevent that.

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for
good men to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

One of the hallmarks of the unreality imperative is a head-in-the-sand
strategy for coping with negatives -- turn a blind eye to them.

In Henderson, NV on 9/16/99, a construction worker had a task working in
a trench in a water treatment plant. He went to the office with a request
that shoring be used to prevent the sides of the trench from caving in. He
was told that the budget didn't allow for shoring. So he went to work in the
trench, essentially ignoring the reality of the danger. At about 10AM there
was a collapse and the worker was buried. He literally died with his head
in the sand. It took rescue workers (who used shoring for their safety)
about five hours to recover the body. Sometimes the unreality imperative
is more powerful than the urge to survive.

I'm not suggesting that anyone on this list engage in long threads about
any negatives or social change concerning any negatives. I am interested
in individuals (including myself) facing the negatives that sabotage us.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Sat, 18 Sep 1999 10:58:51 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 12:37 PM 9/17/99 -0500, "John C. 'Buck' Field" wrote:
<snip>
 >Since I don't think rational logic is a consistent value, but is the only
 >hope for consensus as well as our most reliable method for determining
 >truth, I currently support *more* federal government control of the schools
 >(ugh!) to align local curricula with national priorities, and insure reasoning
 >students, as opposed to the current goals derived of the ancient Greek 7
 >liberal arts.

Abraham Lincoln supposedly said, "The purpose of government
is to do for people what they cannot do for themselves." Given
that "government" (so-called) consists of certain people, can we
translate as follows, "The purpose of certain people is to do for
other people what they can't do for themselves?"

One of the areas where the unreality imperative manifests most
rampantly is politics. Most humans seem to suffer from the
generally unarticulated fantasy that certain people who call
themselves "government" have magical powers to do all kinds
of wondrous things "ordinary" people can't do.

Voltaire said, "People who believe absurdities will commit atrocities."
Rather than achieving their life purposes, hundreds of millions of
people have slaughtered each other as a result of their "government"
fantasies. For an understanding of the nature and extent of
"government democide," see:
<http://www.neo-tech.com/discovery/advantage90.html> and
<http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/welcome.html>.

I'm not suggesting that anyone get involved in social change
about this. I am interested in individuals on this list examining
the kind of thinking that endangers not only our life purposes,
but also our lives.

It may be a principle of coercion, that if you accept that some
people have the right to coercively enforce their ideas about
"educational standards" (or anything else) on others, then they
also have the right to kill those others.

Frederick Mann
*****
At 06:19 PM 9/17/99 -0400, Rex Harrill wrote:
 >"Upgrade!" wrote:
 >> · Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling
 >> by John Taylor Gatto.
 >> · If You Want To Be Rich and Happy, Don't Go to School?
 >> by Robert Kiyosaki.
 >> · Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong
 >> by James W. Loewen.
 >> · The Teenage Liberation Handbook: How to Quit School and Get a Real Life
 >> and Education by Grace Llewellyn.
 >
 >I listened to part of an interview with Martin L. Gross ('The Conspiracy of
 >Ignorance: The Failure of American Public Schools') and was most taken with
 >his simple, clear, and passionate disassembly of the government/NEA scheme
 >to produce 'good little workers.'  Indeed, I was planning on tracking down a copy
 >for my daughter, who homeschools her kids. Is there a reason you left it off your
 >list?
 >
 >BTW, she told me a few years ago that the state bureaucrats had finally quit
 >demanding homeschoolers take progress tests. It seems the stats kept clearly
 >indicating that public schooling is dangerous to one's mind.

Thanks for pointing out the above interview. There's a great deal more I've left
out. In her book 'For the New Intellectual,' Ayn Rand writes about the "Comprachicos
of the Mind." The Comprachicos were people who put little babies in pots with
weird shapes. As their bodies grew, they assumed the shapes of the pots,
resulting in grotesquely deformed victims used in freak shows to amuse audiences.
Ayn Rand indicates how the equivalent is done to the minds of children in government
schools. Yesterday on the Oprah show some school kids were interviewed about
abuse in schools. They reminded me of the "Comprachicos of the Mind."

Most of us have little idea of the extent to which our minds have been mangled.
In order to at least partially recover -- so we have a better chance to "live our life
purposes in constructive and cooperative ways" -- we need to face what was
done to our minds. Otherwise we will think and communicate in ways -- and
participate in "systems" -- that result in threats of violence and actual violence
being used by some to impose their grotesque wills upon others.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 22 Sep 1999 13:44:20 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 
Subject: [level-3] Re: Meanings for "Freedom" (was Life purpose) 

At 06:51 AM 9/20/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 ><snip>
 >2. My most important values are freedom, loyalty, and progress.
 ><snip>

I know that different people attach very different meanings
to the "freedom memes" in their minds. I'm very interested
in your meaning, as well as the meanings of others on the
list for the meme "freedom."

Ayn Rand defined freedom along the lines of "absence of
external constraints." Max Stirner said that, "All freedom is
self-liberation." What are your definitions?

Do you consider any of the following a violation of your
freedom?:
1. Being taxed.
2. Being compelled to get a business license.
3. Being forced to register for the military draft.
4. Compulsory education.
5. Being forced to perform jury duty.
6. Legislation about what substances individuals are
allowed to ingest.
7. Legislation against suicide.
8. Being compelled to file government reports.
9. Having to participate in the social security system.
10. Having to use the currency dictated by government/
federal reserve system.

Frederick Mann
*****
From: desertrat
To: level-3@egroups.com 
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 14:44:06 GMT 
Subject: [level-3] Re: Meanings for "Freedom" (was Life purpose) 

 >I know that different people attach very different meanings
 >to the "freedom memes" in their minds. I'm very interested
 >in your meaning, as well as the meanings of others on the
 >list for the meme "freedom."
 >
 >Ayn Rand defined freedom along the lines of "absence of
 >external contraints." Max Stirner said that, "All freedom is
 >self-liberation." What are your definitions?

I favor the definition of Rose Wilder Lane, that
freedom is self-control, no more and no less.

She managed to define both individual freedom and
the reciprocal freedom of all other individuals in
a single simple phrase without using the word
"equal" which creates confusion because of the
various "equality memes" in people's minds.

Less than self-control suggests that one's free will
is somehow being subordinated to the will of another.

More than self-control suggests that the individual
himself or herself is subordinating the will of another
to his or her own will.

Is it part of your "life's purpose" to support the
freedom of others to pursue their "life's purpose"
as they see fit rather than subordinating their
will to your own?

I think it is, which is why part of my "life's
purpose" has been to withdraw my support as far
as I am able from those individuals and systems
which presume to subordinate the will of others
to their own and to, as far as I am able, enjoy
myself in my own way despite the "laws" that
some support in the name of preserving "society."

 >Do you consider any of the following a violation of your
 >freedom?:
 >1. Being taxed.

It deprives of self-control with regards to the measure
of wealth I am able to produce.

 >2. Being compelled to get a business license.

Not an issue any longer, though it was at one time.
I no longer do business in that line of work.

 >3. Being forced to register for the military draft.

I always objected to the draft but at one time felt
patriotic enough to join the military. After 12 years
of service, I officially became a conscientious
objector.

 >4. Compulsory education.

Is this even possible?

 >5. Being forced to perform jury duty.

This issue has never come up for me.

 >6. Legislation about what substances individuals are
 >allowed to ingest.

It surprises me that drug laws are still in existence
since so many people use drugs and so many people
see the obvious hypocrisy in prohibition of marijuana,
cocaine, opium, and other drugs but not alcohol,
tobacco or caffeine. It surprises me even more that
there are people serving prison sentences for
drug related victimless crimes.

 >7. Legislation against suicide.

I can't say this any better than Schopenhauer
did in his essay, "On Government":

      "...[T]he question whether we have the right
   to take our own life. As far as concerns the
   personal claims which others may possibly have
   upon us, they are subject to the condition that
   we are alive, and fall to the ground when we die.
   To demand of a man, who does not care to live any
   longer for himself, that he should live on as a
   mere machine for the advantage of others is an
   extravagant pretension."

 >8. Being compelled to file government reports.

This used to be an issue with a previous occupation.
No longer.

 >9. Having to participate in the social security system.

The idea of a retirement plan that we are forced to
participate in is bad enough, but that we are so
often asked to use the stupid number makes it seem
as though we are actually numbered things with
actual names incidental to our identity.

 >10. Having to use the currency dictated by government/
 >federal reserve system.

Granted, I have a lot to learn about the current
system of banking and currency. I suspect that much
of it is fraudulently based and is therefore a
deprivation of self-control, but my main complaint
at this point is not that I have to use it, but
that I don't have enough of it to use. I suppose
that's a blessing in a sense.

Desertrat.
*****
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 09:22:24 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 
Subject: [level-3] Re: Meanings for "Freedom" (was Life purpose) 

At 09:30 PM 9/22/99 -0700, "Rhonda Chapman" wrote:
 >
 >Frederick asked (of Richard, actually):
 >
 >>I know that different people attach very different meanings
 >>to the "freedom memes" in their minds. I'm very interested
 >>in your meaning, as well as the meanings of others on the
 >>list for the meme "freedom."
 >>
 ><snip>
 >
 >We may all have rather different views of "freedom." I'm not
 >sure why you asked. I do hope this was of some help.

All the responses have been of help, thanks.

I noticed that several people, included Richard Brodie, listed
"freedom" as one of their core values. I find this intriguing. It
made me curious to find out:
1. What do these people mean by "freedom?"
2. How do they define "freedom?"
3. Where do they draw the line between "freedom" and "unfreedom?"
4. Have they formulated any "principles of freedom?"
5. Have they read any books on "freedom?"
6. Do they even know that there are books on "freedom?"
7. If people list core values such as "health," "freedom," etc.,
is it realistic to expect that they would develop considerable
knowledge and expertise about their core values?
8. Is any self-deception involved regarding "freedom?"

I'm always interested in finding more freedom-oriented people
to work with for mutual freedom expansion.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 22:43:11 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 08:15 PM 9/23/99 -0400, Ishtar wrote:
 >In a message dated 9/22/99 9:41:20 PM, spirit_tmp writes:
 >>
 >>7. Legislation against suicide.
 >>
 >>>Pointless in the first place, what ya gunna do, chuck a dead corpse in
 >>>jail??
 >>
 >Its not a punishment to the dead person, the laws about suicide are that if
 >you know someone is having suicidal tendencies you are legally responsible to
 >make sure they  get put in a facility to take care of them. I still think its
 >stupid though, because if someone really wants to kill themselves they
 >certainly will find a way.

Consider a possibly more basic issue:

Who Owns Your Body?
(If you own your body you have a right to kill it any time
you like. If someone else owns your body -- has the right
to tell you that you may not kill your body -- then that
person behaves as if he/she owns your body and you're
a slave.)

Frederick Mann
*****
From: "Spell Caster"
To: level-3@egroups.com 
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 12:37:06 PDT 
Subject: [level-3] Re: Meanings for "Freedom" (was Life purpose) 

 >Ayn Rand defined freedom along the lines of "absence of
 >external contraints." Max Stirner said that, "All freedom is
 >self-liberation." What are your definitions?
 >
 >Rose Wilder Lane:  Freedom is self control, no more & no less.
 >
 >Do you consider any of the following a violation of your
 >freedom?:
 >1. Being taxed.

"The power to tax is the power to destroy."
If I am paying a "tax" to some entity then I believe that entity has
authority over my body or my activities. Someone telling me that
I owe them a tax is not a violation of my freedom. If I believe I do,
then I am interfering with my own freedom.

 >2. Being compelled to get a business license.

If I believe I must get a license from some entity to do something,
I believe that entity has power or authority over me and I have begun
to interfere with my freedom.

 >3. Being forced to register for the military draft.

Being forced in what way? If someone says to me "you must register
for the military draft" they have not violated my freedom. If I believe
this charlatan has the power and authority to tell me what to do - I am
interfering with my own freedom.

 >4. Compulsory education.

You and I have different interpretations for the word "education."

 >5. Being forced to perform jury duty.

Being forced in what way? If a piece of paper comes to me that says,
"You must perform jury duty," that piece of paper is not interfering with
my freedom. If I have a belief that any piece of paper coming from
such and such office has the authority to tell me what to do then I am
interfering with my own freedom.

 >6. Legislation about what substances individuals are
 >allowed to ingest.

The "legislation" (so-called) does not interfere with my freedom.

 >7. Legislation against suicide.

Who is this Legislation beast and why does he believe he can tell
me whether or not I can choose to die? It doesn't matter. He is not
interfering with my freedom.

 >8. Being compelled to file government reports.

In what way am I being compelled? Is it external or internal?

 >9. Having to participate in the social security system.

Do I believe someone else has the authority over me to tell me I
must participate in the SS system. If so, maybe I should look inside.

 >10. Having to use the currency dictated by government/
 >federal reserve system.

Actually I currently am interfering with my own freedom because
I believe I must have "currency" to survive. Perhaps I can overcome
this debilitating meme.

Final Question: Do you recognize that most other men and women
(I would guesstimate 99.999999999%) believe that some other entity
has the authority to tell them what they may and may not do and that
these other men and women may try to hurt you in the name of their
"authority figure?"

Yes. I do.

Spell Caster
*****
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

In the post above and others, Spell Caster has been demonstrating
aspects of what I call "level-3 freedom." This is the level where you
clear negative "pemes" (political memes) from your mind.

For example: "law" and "legislation" are negative (and debilitating)
pemes. The notion that some of the noises, scribbles, and keystrokes
emanating from the mouths, pens, and keyboards of certain hucksters
masquerading as so-called "lawmakers" constitute so-called "law"
or "legislation" is absurd. (There are hucksters who pretend to "make
laws" and suckers who believe them. But it's prudent for the wise to
also pretend to believe when facing a cop with a gun.)

Negative "pemes" are part of the "matrix" that keeps people trapped.

The more negative pemes you clear from your mind, the greater
your self-control -- freedom as defined by Rose Wilder Lane in
'The Discovery of Freedom.'

Coercive "political systems" are hoaxes, fundamentally as unreal
as the world depicted in 'The Truman Show.'

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 22:08:11 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 01:15 PM 9/25/99 -0700, "Jonathan W. Logan" wrote:
<snip>
 >That "law" and "legislation" ARE negative memes is a
 >rather impressive claim. Indeed, it seems to be a classic
 >libertarian political meme. I'd like to seem some logic,
 >some argument and some proof, if you will, on this one.
 ><snip>

See '#TL07A: The Anatomy of Slavespeak'
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl07a.htm>.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 10:56:25 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 07:10 AM 9/26/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >This is a great analysis. People feel trapped when they think that they have
 >no choice. To experience freedom, I take the position that I always have a
 >choice. That being said, laws and lawmakers are just as real as anything
 >else. The Level-3 point to make is that if I have a realistic understanding
 >of cause and effect, then I always have a choice about whether to obey,
 >break, or simply ignore a law.

Consider the possibility that the very notion of "law" (so-called)
involves hallucination; that the notion only seems real because
99.999...% of humans share the hallucination.

Certain people (who share the "law" hallucination) masquerading
as "government" (so-called) issue bunches of scribbles. Others
(indoctrinated and stuck in political counter-reality like 99.999...%
of humans) hallucinate these scribbles as "the law" (falsely-called).
All these people are stuck in a "political matrix" which I call
NSPIC = Neuro-Semantic Political Illusion Complex.

[See "#TL07E: NSPIC DEBATE #1."]

People at level-3 freedom know that it's absurd to regard the
scribbles as "law." They are free and have a choice to interpret
any scribbles in any way they like. (However, because there
are violent people with guns who share the "law" hallucination
and are determined to "enforce" it, people at level-3 freedom
pretend to believe in "laws" and "obey" them when their survival
requires that.

The most basic choice, here, is to interpret scribbles (symbols)
in any way you choose.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 11:29:56 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 07:10 AM 9/26/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Frederick wrote:
 >><snip>
 >>7. If people list core values such as "health," "freedom,"
 >>etc., is it realistic to expect that they would develop considerable
 >>knowledge and expertise about their core values?
 >
 >No, I don't think so. In my experience, developing considerable knowledge
 >and expertise about core values is not a high-payoff activity so much as
 >simply identifying them and figuring out ways to get my life in greater
 >alignment with them.

Most people have poor knowledge about the best behavior
for optimum health. So, many of them suffer from substandard
health and die from degenerative diseases in their 40s, 50s,
60s... when, with better knowledge and expertise, most could
experience superb health into their 90s and 100s. Acquiring
better knowledge and expertise about health is one of the
highest-payoff activities I can imagine.

Freedom can be described as the range of positive options
available to an individual. Many people are stuck in negative
"jobs" and other undesirable situations, where they often have
to choose between "lesser evils." They never come close to
achieving their life purposes because they never get into a
position where they have the freedom to make the necessary
positive choices. If they knew more about freedom (and the
principles of freedom), they would more easily expand their
freedom to achieve their life purposes. Acquiring better
knowledge and expertise about freedom is one of the
highest-payoff activities I can imagine.

 >>8. Is any self-deception involved regarding "freedom?"
 >
 >This is a really open-ended question. Can you elaborate?

Imagine 100 people who each say that one of their core values
is freedom. Then you survey each on their opinions regarding
a range of issues such as taxes, immigration, compulsory
schooling, military draft, drugs, abortion, censorship, tariffs,
welfare, etc. Then you make a combined list of all the freedom
violations advocated. If you end up with a list that resembles
the policies of Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia, can you
conclude that some of the individuals deceived themselves
about freedom being one of their core values?

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 11:44:15 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 07:10 AM 9/26/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >>Do you consider any of the following a violation of your
 >>freedom?:
 >>1. Being taxed.
 >>2. Being compelled to get a business license.
 >>3. Being forced to register for the military draft.
 >>4. Compulsory education.
 >>5. Being forced to perform jury duty.
 >>6. Legislation about what substances individuals are
 >>allowed to ingest.
 >>7. Legislation against suicide.
 >>8. Being compelled to file government reports.
 >>9. Having to participate in the social security system.
 >>10. Having to use the currency dictated by government/
 >>federal reserve system.

 >No, none of the items you suggest interfere with my internal experience of
 >freedom any more than having to walk around a tree as I take a stroll in the
 >forest. I surf the system rather than resent it. I find that the civilized
 >world is much more of a playground than a prison.

A very small percentage of people, some because of skill and others
because of random variation, rise above "the system" to the point
that "the system" doesn't significantly affect their freedom. You and
I may be part of this small percentage.

What if a "different system" would result in a much higher percentage
of people rising above it? What if there are choices other than surfing
or resenting "the system?" How about attempting to change "the system"
without resenting it? How about individuals acquiring the knowledge and
skills necessary to surmount "the system" without resenting it? How
about adopting a head-in-the-sand attitude to "the system" once you've
surmounted it? How about identifying the individual thought patterns that
give rise to "the system" and providing individuals with the means to
surmount their politically limiting thought patterns?

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 21:00:21 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 01:47 PM 9/26/99 -0700, "Tim Rhodes" wrote:
 >Frederick Mann wrote:
 >>For example: "law" and "legislation" are negative (and debilitating)
 >>pemes.

 >But isn't the belief that "law and legislation are negative" also a
 >debilitating meme as well?

I think the belief that "law and legislation are negative" is most
definitely a negative belief and probably a debilitating meme. I
would recommend that anyone with such a belief change it.

When I refer to "law" and "legislation" as negative (and debilitating)
pemes, I am talking about the false notions in people heads that
certain scribbles constitute so-called "law" and "legislation."
In other words, I'm indicating that just accepting the terms "law"
and "legislation" as valid, saddles you with debilitating pemes.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 21:24:31 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 02:43 PM 9/26/99 -0700, mjsiemer wrote:
 >Desertrat,
 >I really liked your post. It was very insightful. Many of the ideas
 >sounded like John F. Schumaker's from "The Corruption of Reality". At
 >the same time, I also hated your post. It was very insightful.
 >
 >After thinking about your post and an earlier one written by the Spell
 >Caster, I came to what I believe is an important realization: the
 >Matrix is not something that is "out there". It is something in our
 >heads, something that we create.
 >
 >Sure, it's a great, great movie, but it's quite misleading. Perhaps, in
 >a way, it's really cool (and comforting) to think about some big
 >powerful "system" dominating all of us and controlling our lives. How
 >could this be comforting and cool? Well, I certainly think it's much
 >better than the alternative viewpoint that we imprison ourselves and
 >choose to make ourselves weak and deluded.
 >
 >Yet that is how I see it. I think that it is we alone who have each
 >created our own Matrixes, and we're just going to have to find all
 >those Agents running around in our heads and defeat them. Perhaps its
 >disappointing to know that we can't just get together an elite crew of
 >reality-fighters and bomb the hell out of the illusion-spinners.
 >Perhaps its 100x more frightening to know that the enemy is in here,
 >not out there.
 >
 >Let me be honest. The first time I started reading books and
 >information on freedom philosophy, I started getting really scared. I
 >got these irrational fears that I would come home and find the FBI
 >sitting on my sofa, waiting to cart me off to jail. I still feel that
 >way sometimes, but now maybe I'm at least beginning to realize that the
 >root of that feeling comes from stuff in my head, not something I
 >perceive in the world around me.
 >
 >So, perhaps we can very generally classify people into 3 different
 >levels of freedom, at least in the context of this discussion.
 >
 >A level 1 person has little to no perception of their freedom being
 >violated.
 >
 >A level 2 person does sense freedom violations, but believes that these
 >violations are caused by and primarily the fault of something "out
 >there": the "government", "society", family, friends, the Matrix, etc.
 >
 >A level 3 person recognizes that almost all violations of freedom are
 >caused but stuff in his/her head: beliefs, attitudes, lack of
 >knowledge, lack of self-control, thought patterns, particular words,
 >etc.
 >
 >As I see it now, the level 3 person has the most accurate perception of
 >how things really are, and so has the best chance of becoming free,
 >fulfilling his/her life purpose, etc.
 >
 >But there remains another problem for those of us somewhere between
 >levels 2 and 3 who hope to "unplug" or "wake up" those at level 1: I
 >think I would define "freedom" as "the ability to live life the way you
 >want."
 >
 >What if a person at level 1 has desires (probably unconscious) such
 >that in his viewpoint, freedom does not include choosing his own memes,
 >thinking for himself, not having to support coercive institutions,
 >etc? In other words, what if the stuff in his head has him programmed
 >to not want these types of things? If this is the case, I don't see any
 >way for others to jar him loose, so to speak.

Possibly, more relevant is Schumaker's 'Wings of Illusion.'

A key realization is that we're primarily enslaved by the "matrixes"
in our heads. Even though we were indoctrinated by parents, teachers,
preachers, journalists, etc., we accepted whatever we did and created
our own "matrixes."

Fortunately, having created them, we can also uncreate them.
However, to unlearn certain things is much more difficult than it was to
learn them.

People at level-3 freedom, provided they use proper level-2 freedom
strategies, have little to fear from FBI types at this time. This is mainly
because, if they were to read level-3 materials, they would not understand
and would simply conclude that the authors are crazy (but harmless
because they reject the initiation of violence).

Because it's many times more difficult to confront the enemy within
than the supposed enemy "out there," we can expect most of the many
people at level-1 freedom and the fewer people at level-2 freedom to
"run a mile" when confronted with level-3 materials.

With persistence, it takes 10, 20, 30, 40, 50... years for certain ideas
to get through to most people. However, there has been one person
who instantly "grokked" level-3 freedom -- #TL07E: NSPIC DEBATE #1
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl07e.htm>.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 09:03:05 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 
I

At 10:40 AM 9/27/99 +0000, Desertrat wrote:
 ><snip>
 >The problem with our fantasies (and I mean to
 >refer to the mundane fantasies that we imagine
 >are part of the objective world, all of our
 >religious, social and political beliefs) is that
 >we imagine and expect everyone else to interpret
 >the events which reinforce our ideas the same
 >way that we do. Sure, there is a separation
 >between the church and the state, everyone can
 >believe in whatever "God" they wish to believe
 >in, or believe in no "gods" at all, but there
 >are laws and governments and social contracts
 >that everybody has to accept as real. These are
 >part of the objective universe. <snip>

Have you considered the possibility that "laws," "governments,"
and "social contracts" (falsely-called) are fantasies in your
head -- negative deep pemes? -- the possibility that, as part
of the unreality imperative, certain scribbles are misinterpreted
by 99.999...% of humans as "laws" (falsely-called) and only
seem real for that reason?; that there are imposter hucksters
who masquerade as "governments" (falsely-called) and
indoctrinated suckers who believe the imposter hucksters?;
that it's unlikely that anyone has ever signed any supposed
"social contract?"

See #TL07A: The Anatomy of Slavespeak
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl07a.htm>
#TL07B: The Nature of Government
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl07b.htm>.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 09:35:02 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 07:50 AM 9/27/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Fredrick wrote:
 >>Consider the possibility that the very notion of "law" (so-called)
 >>involves hallucination; that the notion only seems real because
 >>99.999...% of humans share the hallucination.>>
 >
 >What would be the benefit of taking such a position? I do know people who
 >have ignored the law. One was murdered in prison. What benefit to my life
 >purpose can I expect by taking the position that law is not "real"?

The position that I propose has nothing to do with what you call
"ignoring the law." It also has nothing to do with what you call
"taking the position that law is not "real"."

It has to do with questioning the notion that certain scribbles constitute
"law"; questioning the very notion of "law" (so-called). Such questioning
is a level-3 thinking skill which can be developed by those who haven't
done so. (Reading Max Stirner's 'The Ego and Its Own' and anything by
Nietzsche may help one develop level-3 thinking skills.)

Level-3 thinking also takes cognizance of the fact that 99.999...% of
humans hallucinate certain scribbles as "laws" and behave accordingly;
furthermore, some so-called "law-enforcers" use guns to make their
hallucinations stick. So you better pay attention to the nature and content
of their hallucinations -- otherwise you might end up in jail, and even get
murdered there.

The benefits of level-3 thinking include:
1. Becoming more aware of common human hallucinations; therefore
understanding human behavior better.
2. More accurate perception of reality; therefore more effective behavior
toward achieving life purposes.
3. Removing from your mind the basic religious and political thought
patterns that give rise to "murderous coercive systems" as a result of
which hundreds of millions of humans have been slaughtered, and as
a result of which probably more than a billion humans currently
languish in abject poverty. If enough humans were to remove the
negative deep "remes" (religious memes) and "pemes" (political
memes) from their minds, "murderous coercive systems" would
cease.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 09:46:10 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 08:03 AM 9/27/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Frederick wrote:
 >>What if a "different system" would result in a much higher percentage
 >>of people rising above it? What if there are choices other than surfing
 >>or resenting "the system?" How about attempting to change "the system"
 >>without resenting it? How about individuals acquiring the knowledge and
 >>skills necessary to surmount "the system" without resenting it? How
 >>about adopting a head-in-the-sand attitude to "the system" once you've
 >>surmounted it? How about identifying the individual thought patterns that
 >>give rise to "the system" and providing individuals with the means to
 >>surmount their politically limiting thought patterns>>
 >
 >I'm all for changing the system to allow for more freedom. What changes do
 >you propose?

I'm not proposing that anyone attempt to "change the system." Generally,
attempting to "change the system" is a low-payoff strategy. (Nevertheless,
I'm very glad there are hordes of activists making great sacrifices in their
campaigns to "change the system.")

I propose a three-part strategy:
1. Become aware of the nature of "systems" and their consequences;
learn freedom principles (level-1 freedom).
2. Learn to live free in an unfree world; practical freedom -- (level-2 freedom).
3. Clear pemes (political memes) from your mind -- (level-3 freedom).

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 10:02:03 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 08:27 AM 9/27/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Frederick wrote:
 >>When I refer to "law" and "legislation" as negative (and debilitating)
 >>pemes, I am talking about the false notions in people heads that
 >>certain scribbles constitute so-called "law" and "legislation."
 >>In other words, I'm indicating that just accepting the terms "law"
 >>and "legislation" as valid, saddles you with debilitating pemes.>>
 >
 >It seems to me that refusing to acknowledge law and legislation is even more
 >debilitating. What is freeing is understanding that I always have a choice.
 >I don't "have to" obey laws. There are consequences to obeying, flouting,
 >and ignoring. I get to choose. If it is important enough to me, I can work
 >to change a law I don't like. If it isn't, then it is a trap to get hung up
 >on it.

What I propose has nothing to do with what you call "refusing to
acknowledge law and legislation."

What is even more freeing -- the fundamental level-3 choice --
is to stop hallucinating certain scribbles as "law" and "legislation."
This is a more fundamental choice than "obeying, flouting, and
ignoring." It's a much more powerful choice than your three.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 13:22:39 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 10:09 AM 9/27/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Frederick,
 >What's the difference in your model between "refuse to acknowledge" and
 >"stop hallucinating"? You've repeated the same assertions several times,
 >using private jargon and inflammatory language. My conclusion is that you
 >are consciously promoting a particular Level--2 worldview. Confounding the
 >situation is that you use the term "Level-3" in a different way than we use
 >it in this discussion group.

In the one case, people insist on interpreting certain scribbles
(symbols) in fixed culturally-determined ways. In the other case,
I'm suggesting that the most basic level-3 choice is to choose
interpretations of the scribbles that are different from the fixed
culturally-determined ways.

For more on my levels of freedom, see
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/resplev.htm>.

Understanding the form of the "strawman argument" -- a fallacious
form of argument particularly popular among politicians -- may
also help overcoming confusion. It usually takes this form:
Person 1 proposes A.
Person 2 then subtly or openly accuses person 1 of having
proposed B, where B has no relationship with A.
Person 2 then criticizes B, as if it is related to A's proposition,
when there's no relationship between A and B.

In the context of "law" and "legislation" (falsely-called), reality
is that certain "political people" publish scribbles. All culturally
unconditioned humans are free to interpret these scribbles any
way they want to. However, culturally indoctrinated humans
compulsively "add" unwarranted "importance" to some of the
scribbles, calling them "law" and "legislation." It's the "adding"
of the unwarranted "importance" that constitutes a form of
hallucination -- allegedly "seeing" supposed "importance"
which isn't there in reality.

By "hallucinating" I mean allegedly "seeing" what isn't there.
This form of hallucination is explained in greater detail in
#TL07A: The Anatomy of Slavespeak
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl07a.htm>.

I suggest that even the way you use the term "level 3," people
at level-3 are free to interpret the scribbles any way they want.

An essential level-3 thinking skill involves freeing yourself from
fixed culturally-determined ways of interpreting symbols. Part
of developing this thinking skill involves the discovery that each
individual creates all of his/her meanings and has these meanings
in his/her head.

It may also help to realize that certain words constitute "one-word
lies." A relatively harmless example is "sunset." The word in itself
(the way most people use it) misrepresents reality -- reality is that
the sun doesn't "set"; the earth spins like a top relative to the sun;
so it appears to someone in a fixed position on the surface of the
earth (if he assumes Earth is stationary and Sun revolves around
Earth), that the sun "sets." Using the word "sunset" as if valid
involves hallucination -- allegedly "seeing" what isn't.

If you look at certain political scribbles from a certain fixed
culturally-determined perspective, you allegedly "see" so-called
"law" and "legislation" -- where in reality there are only scribbles.
I suggest that a basic level-3 skill is the ability to see scribbles
as scribbles, to become aware of the "false importances"
indoctrinated people habitually and without conscious examination
"add" to certain scribbles and other symbols, and to become
aware of the consequences of this mechanism.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 14:00:40 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 
I
At 10:28 AM 9/27/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Frederick,
 ><snip> Language has great power. One of your points seems to be that
 >I don't have to automatically obey rules. That's a good point, and I don't think
 >you'll find much disagreement here. But nevertheless, human culture is
 >composed of language.

A more basic point has to do with allegedly "seeing" so-called
"rules" where in reality there aren't such "rules."

Language indeed has great power -- both positive and negative power.
Jeremy Bentham wrote, "Out of one foolish word may start a thousand
daggers." ('Bentham's Theory of Fictions' by C.K. Ogden.) For more on
the consequences of certain words, see #TL07A: THE ANATOMY OF
SLAVESPEAK <http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl07a.shtml>.

One of Schumaker's contentions in 'Wings of Illusion' is that most humans
are slaves of culture. I expect level-3 people to free themselves from
linguistic cultural slavery.

 ><snip>
 >>3. Removing from your mind the basic religious and political thought
 >>patterns that give rise to "murderous coercive systems" as a result of
 >>which hundreds of millions of humans have been slaughtered, and as
 >>a result of which probably more than a billion humans currently
 >>languish in abject poverty. If enough humans were to remove the
 >>negative deep "remes" (religious memes) and "pemes" (political
 >>memes) from their minds, "murderous coercive systems" would
 >>cease.

 >Why do you believe this?

Firstly, see 'Government Death Machines...'
<http://www.neo-tech.com/discovery/advantage90.html> and
'Death by Government' <http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/welcome.html>.


Secondly, a quote from Robert Pirsig in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:
"But to tear down a factory or to revolt against a government or to avoid repairs of a
motorcycle because it is a system is to attack effects rather than causes; and as
long as the attack is upon effects only, no change is possible. The true system, the
real system, is our present construction of systematic thought itself, rationality itself.
And if a factory is torn down but the rationality which produced it is left standing, then
that rationality will simply produce another factory. If a revolution destroys a systematic
government, but the systematic patterns of thought that produced that government are
left intact, then those patterns will repeat themselves in the succeeding government..."

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 09:14:06 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 12:55 PM 9/28/99 -0400, "mikus" wrote:
 >Frederick wrote:
 >>At the one extreme is "law exists"; at the other, the notion that
 >>certain scribbles constitute "the law" (so-called) is absurd. At the
 >>other extreme, the very concept of "law" is rejected -- the word "law"
 >>is regarded as a one-word lie.
 >>
 >>(A statement like "law doesn't exist" is oxymoronic. If you use a word
 >>like "law" as if valid in a sentence, it implies that you're talking about
 >>a real referent. To then say in another part of the sentence that what
 >>you're talking about doesn't exist, is a contradiction.)
 >
 >So, the belief that some people have of "Law" being a concept of the
 >mind, is so strong, that it becomes a reality to them. When "Law"
 >achieves reality in a person's mind, it becomes an entity in its' own
 >right. At that time, the person has only two choices... obey the Law,
 >or disobey it.
 >A person who does not have that level of belief in the scribbles called
 >Law, or has removed that particular Meme, does not make the same
 >two choices. Law has no validity to that person, just his/her own
 >choices, and decisions. The (scribbles others believe to be) Laws
 >have no bearing on this person's decisions about their own life, while
 >at the same time this person knows how to make the others who
 >BELIEVE in the scribbles (and try to force conformation, or punishment),
 >obey them to his/her benefit.
 >That is my understanding, or paraphrasing, of what you are saying. 
 > Am I closer to your meaning, or getting further away?

You are getting closer. I think you have the key understanding of
the additional (and more basic) choice of interpreting scribbles (or
symbols in general) in any way you want to. People below level 3,
trapped in human linguistic culture, do not have this choice.

Because they were indoctrinated to interpret certain symbols in
particular ways, and in all their experience everyone they know of,
has interpreted these symbols in the same fixed culturally-determined
way, they cannot even conceive of interpreting these symbols in any
other way.

Another important factor here is that people below level 3 don't
realize that they personally create all their meaning, that all
meaning is in their own heads. Because practically everyone
they know treat certain symbols as if they have fixed culturally-
determined meanings, they mistakenly assume that symbols
have meanings. They don't realize that they have the choice to
create whatever meaning they like for any symbol.

A next step for you might be to clearly distinguish between
talking about *reality out there* and *unreality in people's
heads*. Unreality is never *out there*; it's always *in people's
heads*.

A further step is to learn the self-referencing syntax used to
indicate that a word you're using misrepresents reality and is
therefore an invalid word. Examples: so-called "law"; falsely-
called "law"; "law" (so-called); supposed "law"; pretended "law";
etc. This syntax is difficult for some people to learn because
it involves using language to discredit part of language. You
use a word in a sentence, and in the same sentence you
indicate that it's an invalid word.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 09:39:45 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 03:02 PM 9/28/99 -0700, youmjsiemer wrote:
 >upgrade! <f-prim-@buildfreedom.com> wrote:
 >> (A statement like "law doesn't exist" is oxymoronic. If you use a word
 >> like "law" as if valid in a sentence, it implies that you're talking about
 >> a real referent. To then say in another part of the sentence that what
 >> you're talking about doesn't exist, is a contradiction.)
 >
 >Yes! I think this is an important point that you might want to consider
 >discussing if you write another report on this subject sometime soon.
 >It helped me work through your concepts logically.
 >
 >Let me see if I can describe the notion I believe you are trying to
 >communicate in my own words. Then perhaps you could tell me if my
 >description agrees with yours, and perhaps others might benefit as well.
 >
 >Examine the statement, "Law is a hallucination."
 >
 >Now, before coming to a conclusion as to what the meaning of these
 >symbols are...

Symbols don't have meanings; people have meanings for symbols.
See #TL50A: Semantic Rigidity, Flexibility, and Freedom
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl50a.htm>.

 >...consider the definition of "hallucination." Off the top of
 >my head, "hallucination" (as a noun) means to me "an instance of
 >believing _x_ as existing in reality, when _x_ does not exist in
 >reality". Extrapolating a bit, I would say that the only place a
 >hallucination does exist is in one's mind.

That's your meaning for the term. Hallucination occurs (happens)
as a process, so it may be better to talk about hallucination
*occurring* rather than *existing*. Hallucination occurs as a
process involving both the perceptual organs and the brain.
All kinds of experiments have been done to demonstrate that
our eyes are conditioned to "see" what isn't there.

 >Apply this to the above statement. The first word is "law". Whenever I
 >see or hear a word, I assume that it is making reference to something
 >that exists in reality, that is "out there" as opposed to "in my mind."
 >So, I assume that by using the word "law", whoever made this statement
 >is talking about something "out there" (what that something is, I'm not
 >yet sure. I still have to hear the rest of the statement).

A very important level-3 thinking skill is making a distinction
between *word* and *referent* as you do above. Most people
have not developed this skill; and when it's pointed out to them,
usually deceive themselves into believing that they have.

 >Then, three words later, comes the big kicker: this person says
 >"hallucination." They have basically made the following statement:
 >
 >law = hallucination
 >(in this case, "=" does not necessarily mean that the two things are
 >exactly the same; rather, that the second is a characteristic of the
 >first).
 >
 >But a closer analysis reveals that this statement is a contradiction.
 >Why? Because, as stated above, the first word is used as though it were
 >referring to something that really exists "out there". Then, the second
 >word says that a characteristic of the first is that it _does not_
 >exist "out there", that it only exists "in your head".
 >
 >Can you see the contradiction?
 >"out there" vs. "in your head."
 >It cannot be both at the same time.
 >
 >What is the solution? To form a statement that comes much closer
 >to reality: "the notion/perception/belief that 'law' exists is a hallucination".
 >
 >Why is this statement better? It has wiped out the contradiction.
 >Observe:
 >belief in "law" = hallucination
 >"in your head"    "in your head"
 >
 >Both halves of the equation state that these things exist in the same
 >place (your head), whereas before one said _x_ exists "out there"
 >and the other said _x_ exists "in your head".
 >
 >Whew! I hope no one's head is about to explode. That's the first time
 >I've really tried explaining this in detail, so I'm not too sure how
 >comprehensible it will be to other people. If it's very confusing (or
 >mistaken) in your opinion, please let me know.
 >
 >Also, note that you can substitute just about anything for "law". Try
 >putting "ghost" or "Santa Claus" in its place for example.
 >
 >Lastly, please note that the point of this post was not to prove beyond
 >the shadow of a doubt that "the notion/belief/perception that law
 >exists is a hallucination" is a true statement or to plug a particular
 >political agenda. It was to show the logical contradiction in
 >statements such as "law/ghosts/Santa Clauses/_x_ are hallucinations."

This is exactly the kind of level-3 thinking that's necessary to remove
false concepts from your mind and communicate about it in a
comprehensible way. I like the following:

The notion of "law" (so-called) is an hallawcination (or hallawcinotion).

It sounds even better in French:

La notion de la "loi" (soi-disant) est une halloicination (ou halloicinotion).

When I lived in Brussels I had a French-speaking girlfriend (a bureaucrat!)
It took about half an hour for her to learn to just say the above. An important
aspect of the unreality imperative is reluctance to think or talk about the
notions in one's own head.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 10:20:07 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 
    
At 05:45 PM 9/28/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Yes, this makes lots of sense and I support questioning these
 >world-of-agreement notions. I do not, however conclude that laws and
 >government in particular are unreal. It's a nice didactic device, but
 >shouldn't be confused with the Truth.

Strawman argument. Nothing I've posted implies, as you put it,
that "laws and government in particular are unreal."

What I've realized from our interaction is that an important
aspect of the unreality imperative is reluctance and even
inability to think and talk about notions in people's heads.

Those subject to this aspect of the unreality imperative tend
to distort a statement about the unreality in someone's head
into a statement about reality. They may be reluctant or
unable to make the distinction between *reality out there*
and *unreality in people's heads*.

There's no unreality *out there*. Unreality always occurs in
people's heads (via perceptual organs). So if you talk about
unreality you need to talk about unreality in someone's head.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 11:39:34 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 05:40 PM 9/29/99 +1000, Nikolai Petroff wrote:
 >Frederick,
 >
 >I'd like to question the value of considering "law" to be a one word lie.
 >Suppose I define "law" to be a bunch of words on some pieces of paper,
 >designed to control people. Suppose I understand that most other people
 >"add" special meaning to these particular words (hallucination), and I
 >also understand the consequences of dealing with hallucinating policemen.
 >
 >In this way I am not deluding myself, and using my meaning, "law" is not a
 >one word lie. The real world referents are the words on the paper.

You could indeed use the word "law" in such a way (different
from the habitual usage of  cultural slaves) that it isn't a one-word
lie. To be more accurate I should say: the way 99.999...% of people
use the word "law" it's a one-word lie.

 >My progress in level 3 has largely been by improving my definitions, and
 >increasing the level of detail of my definitions in areas that have the
 >greatest impact on achieving my life purpose.
 >
 >The benefits I see from continuing to use the word law as if valid are:

This is covered in Respecting Levels of Freedom
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/resplev.htm>. In general, you need
to carefully select people with whom you attempt level-3 conversation.

 >- When communicating to a level 1 person I do not seem mad. I can think
 >back to my old level 1 meaning for the word law and use it to help me
 >understand this other persons meaning for "law". Then I may be able to
 >open a door for this person into level 2.

Both people at level 1 (basic freedom) and level 2 (practical freedom)
are likely to think you're mad if you attempt level-3 conversation
with them. What is most likely to open the door to level 2 is reading
Harry Browne's "How I Found Freedom in An Unfree World' and
making available to people the information on how to "beat the
system" without significantly increasing the risk of getting into
"trouble."

 >- Same again for communicating to a level 2 person. If I want to open
 >this person's mind, I have reality on my side. It is through feedback
 >with reality that enables hallucinations to melt away. If I tell someone
 >that they are hallucinating "the law" (even when most of their meaning
 >is hallucinated), the reality of the scribbles on paper will trouble them
 >and may cause them to take offense. This seems to have occurred on
 >this list.

In general, the last thing anyone should attempt is a level-3
freedom discussion on *any* unmoderated list. The fact that
the discussions on this list are taking place in such a civil
manner speaks volumes about the quality of the subscribers.

 >- When communicating with level 3 people, I do not need to spend valuable
 >time with self-referencing syntax. I may however need to make clear which
 >level of meaning I am using.
 >So rather than saying: "the notion/perception/belief that 'law' exists is a
 >hallucination," I would say the level 1 meaning for 'law' is predominately
 >hallucinated.

Whatever way works best is fine. In many cases, it may not be
possible to communicate what you want without self-referencing
syntax.

 >So in a nutshell, my opinion is that it is easier to clear out the negative
 >memes by clearly expressing reality. I think it is a mistake to say 'law'
 >is 100% hallucination when in fact it is only 99.9% hallucination.

Fallacy: "'law' is 100% hallucination." It's the notions about
so-called "law" that involve hallucination.

 >I am very interested to hear your thoughts on this matter.

In the early days of developing my level-3 thinking skills, I
had dinner with a "near-libertarian" friend (someone just below
level-1 freedom). As an experiment, whenever he used a
political fraud-word I asked, "T..., what do you mean by...?"
After about 20 minutes he became physically sick, had to
run to the bathroom, and puked his guts out. He couldn't
continue his meal!

Moral: be very careful about engaging anyone in level-3
freedom discussion. Probably fewer than one in a 1,000
people can handle it. Most will simply think you're insane.
With most people it's wise to pretend that you think the
way they do and to talk the way they do.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 11:55:49 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 09:41 AM 9/29/99 +0000, Desertrat wrote:
 ><snip>
 >     "What, then, is legislation? It is an
 >  assumption by one man, or body of men, of
 >  absolute, irresponsible dominion over all
 >  other men whom they can subject to their
 >  power.  It is an assumption by one man, or
 >  body of men, of a right to subject all other
 >  men to their will and their service. It is
 >  an assumption by one man, or body of men,
 >  of a right to abolish outright all the
 >  natural rights, all the natural liberty of
 >  all other men; to make all other men their
 >  slaves; to arbitrarily dictate to all other
 >  men what they may, and may not do; what
 >  they may, and may not, have; what they may,
 >  and may not, be.  It is, in short, the
 >  assumption of a right to banish the principle
 >  of human rights, the principle of justice
 >  itself, from off the earth, and set up their
 >  own personal will, pleasure, and interest in
 >  its place.  All this, and nothing less, is
 >  involved in the very idea that there can be
 >  any such thing as legislation that is
 >  obligatory upon those upon whom it is
 >  imposed.
 >
 >           From: Lysander Spooner's
 >     "Natural Law, or the Science of Justice:
 >     A Treatise on Natural Law, Natural Justice,
 >     Natural Rights, Natural Liberty, and Natural
 >     Society; Showing that All Legislation
 >     Whatsoever is an Absurdity, a Usurpation,
 >     and a Crime.  Part First."

It was Lysander Spooner who triggered in me the
process of advancing toward level-3 freedom. See
#TL07: The Constitution of No Authority
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl07.htm>
#TL070: THE "CONSTITUTIONAL" DELUSION
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl070.htm>.

Spooner, an attorney, had the one-in-a-million ability to
free himself from cultural conditioning and to question the
most basic political and "legal" concepts.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 14:09:06 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 
In-Reply-To: <19990929164142.11799.rocketmail@web117.yahoomail.com> 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Subject: [level-3] Re: A System for Bucking the System 
Mime-Version: 1.0 
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; 
    format=flowed 
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Status:   


At 09:41 AM 9/29/99 -0700, Jarred Stover wrote:
 >Would you give an example of practical application for
 >this statement?
 >Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> wrote:
 >>  They don't realize that they have the choice to
 >>  create whatever meaning they like for any symbol.

Great question!

The most powerful application is in the area of emotional
mastery. In general, people get emotionally upset after
they create a meaning as a reaction to an event or
situation. They actually get upset with their own
self-created meanings, but they don't know this.

Specifically, suppose I create the "meaning" that I'm
in love with a particular woman. She rejects me. Now
I have the choice to simply uncreate my "love" for her
and continue my life as if nothing bad has happened
-- the reality of the situation. Or I can create meanings
such as, "Everybody hates me," "No woman will ever
love me," "I'll never find the right woman," etc., and feel
bad for months in reaction to my self-created meanings.
(Some people even kill others and themselves because
of such unconsciously self-created meanings!)

Another wide area of application has to do with "personal
papers," "personal numbers," etc. In general, bureaucrats
are more interested in whether your "papers" and "numbers"
are "in order" rather than whether you as an individual is
"in order." So someone who "beats the system" at level-2
freedom can give meanings to certain papers and numbers
that will satisfy bureaucrats.

Another general area of application is worry. Many people
worry about all kinds of self-created meanings they ascribe
to events and situations. Once they realize that they create
these meanings, the world becomes a great deal less
threatening. (Most bad things people worry may happen
to them never do.)

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 14:24:37 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 01:50 PM 9/29/99 -0400, "Mikus" wrote:
<snip>
 >I've always felt I've interpreted many symbols in my own way.
 >Some, however got by any screening or filters I had set up.
 >Some symbols were drilled into me as a child more effectively
 >than others.
 ><snip>
 >
 >I try to be conscious of all my interpretations in that way.  I have realized
 >recently that there may be much more in my head, that is unauthorized by
 >me, than I am aware of.  Looking forward to learning how to discover them.
 ><snip>

Two key realizations: symbols were drilled into you; "things" in your head
unauthorized by you.

The cultural slave regards these symbols/"things" as *givens* that cannot
be questioned. In fact, the cultural slave may even lack the thinking skills
to question these "givens." Anyone who attempts to question them is
regarded crazy. The resistance and defense mechanisms to questioning
can be formidable -- my friend T... got sick and puked his guts out rather
than question his "givens."

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 16:38:42 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 11:52 AM 9/29/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Frederick wrote:
 >>Nothing I've posted implies, as you put it,
 >>that "laws and government in particular are unreal."
 >
 >Well, now I'm really confused. You've repeatedly referred to laws as
 >"hallucinations." If that doesn't imply that they are unreal, then you must
 >hold that hallucinations are real. That goes against my understanding of the
 >usage of the word. Can you explain?

You'll notice that when I respond to a post, I always
respond to the other person's exact words. I never
"put my words in the other person's mouth" and then
respond to what are really my own words.

In the event that I want to respond to something from
a previous post, I would find that post, cut and paste
the author's words, and respond to those exact words.

I think following this procedure is common courtesy and
eliminates straw-man problems.

I challenge you to find even one post where I've, as you
put it, "referred to laws as "hallucinations."" I've over and
over indicated to you that I'm referring to *notions in people's
heads*.

Hallucinations are most definitely real in that they are processes
that occur in people's heads via their perceptual organs. The
unreality involved stems from mental/linguistic representations
that misrepresent reality as a result of hallucination.

 >>What I've realized from our interaction is that an important
 >>aspect of the unreality imperative is reluctance and even
 >>inability to think and talk about notions in people's heads.

 >I'm not sure what the "unreality imperative" is (your own coined term?).
 >But results of the Meyers-Briggs personality test do indeed reveal that
 >only a small percentage of Americans are comfortable thinking about
 >abstract notions.

It's my term and it's been explained/referred to in numerous posts
by myself and others. It's an extension of Schumaker's "paranormal
belief imperative" which includes religious beliefs and beliefs in
phenomena like ESP ('Wings of Illusion' and 'The Corruption of
Reality'). I include also political, dietary, and other unreal beliefs
under the "unreality imperative." Most culture is a result of the
unreality imperative. Most people are slaves of culture.

 >I think I understand one of your points: that people bind themselves by
 >giving power to their own models of reality. In pop psychology, breaking
 >free of these constraints is often referred to as "thinking out of the box."

Most people are slaves of some of their models. "Thinking out of
the box" is a useful metaphor.

 >But you seem to go further and call laws "scribbles" and "hallucinations."
 >To me, these labels go too far and reflect a delusion that they have LESS
 >power than they really do.

Straw-man fallacy. I do not as *you* say it, "call laws "scribbles" and
"hallucinations."" I've been talking about the notions in people's heads.
I've also indicated, so to speak, that people have the choice to interpret
symbols "out of the box."

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 21:52:20 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 04:57 PM 9/29/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Frederick wrote:
 >>This has been said several times, but it bears repeating. When you
 >>free yourself from the fixed culturally-determined interpretations of
 >>symbols, you remain cognizant of how cultural slaves habitually
 >>interpret certain symbols, particularly those with guns. Because
 >>your understanding of the mentation of cultural slaves is so much
 >>greater, you become better at avoiding trouble-causing clashes.>>

 >I am suspicious of this assertion, mostly because of the charged language
 >and presuppositions of conflict and elitism. Can you give an example from
 >your own life of how you used to frequently stumble into trouble-causing
 >clashes, but now that you're enlightened you avoid them?

I was attempting to make a different point. I got the impression that
a few people thought that because of my freedom to interpret symbols
any way I like, I might do something stupid like tell a cop I don't
recognize his authority, or any number of other actions that might
result in clashes. The point is simply that when appropriate I pretend
to think the way "normal" people do and I act in ways congruent with
their expectations -- or at least seem so.

Your "how you used to frequently stumble into trouble-causing
clashes, but now that you're enlightened you avoid them," is an
example of the straw-man fallacy. I've made no such claim. I
certainly have made no claim to being "enlightened."

In fact, since the last time my father spanked me when I was
about 10 years old, I've gradually improved my ability to avoid
clashes. Since early childhood, there has never been a time
when I "frequently stumbled into clashes."

During the 11 years I've lived in this part of the world, I've received
several threatening bureaucrat letters. In each case, it took either
just one letter or doing nothing to stop the bureaucrat action.
For more on why this has been possible, see #TL10A: HOW
BUREAUCRATS THINK AND HOW TO LEAP ACROSS THEM
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl10a.shtml>.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 29 Sep 1999 22:08:04 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 06:10 PM 9/29/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie"  wrote:
 >Frederick wrote:
 >>I challenge you to find even one post where I've, as you
 >>put it, "referred to laws as "hallucinations."" I've over and
 >>over indicated to you that I'm referring to *notions in people's
 >>heads*.
 >
 >This is from http://www.egroups.com/group/level-3/340.html:
 >
 >>Certain people (who share the "law" hallucination) masquerading
 >>as "government" (so-called) issue bunches of scribbles.
 >>
 >>Straw-man fallacy. I do not as *you* say it, "call laws "scribbles" and
 >>"hallucinations."" I've been talking about the notions in people's heads.
 >>I've also indicated, so to speak, that people have the choice to interpret
 >>symbols "out of the box."
 >
 >And from http://www.egroups.com/group/level-3/372.html:
 >
 >>It has to do with questioning the notion that certain scribbles constitute
 >>"law"; questioning the very notion of "law" (so-called).

None of the examples you cite constitutes, as you call it,
"referred to laws as "hallucinations.""

I suggest you read them carefully, paying particular
attention to the syntax.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 10:06:11 -0700 
To: level-3@egroups.com 
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com> 

At 08:07 AM 9/30/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Well, I happen to be a bit of an expert at syntax.
 >Your parenthetical phrase
 >>        (who share the "law" hallucination)
 >consists of a relative pronoun, "who", a verb, "share", and a noun phrase:
 >>        the "law" hallucination
 >That noun phrase consists of the definite article, "the", an adjectival use
 >of a noun, '"law"', and a noun, "hallucination".
 >
 >There is only one possible parsing of this noun phrase, and that is that you
 >are using "law" as a specifying modifier for the noun "hallucination,"
 >meaning that "law" is one type or kind of hallucination.
 >
 >I'm disappointed by your retreat to "I never said that" whenever you are
challenged. You seem less interested in communicating than in promoting
 >a fixed agenda.

I'm sorry you're disappointed. I, on the other hand, am very pleased
and satisfied. I've gained considerably from my interactions with you
and others on this list. Thank you for providing this opportunity.

Some useful material has been developed for my "Unreality Imperative"
report(s) and along the way I've had some useful insights. One of the
snippets I'll use to demonstrate the fixed culturally-determined
interpretation of symbols: "I happen to be a bit of an expert at
syntax... There is only one possible parsing..." Really!

Frederick Mann
*****

Note: Soon after this, Richard Brodie rejected several of my posts to the list of which he was owner and moderator. Here is one of the messages he rejected:

To: level-3@egroups.com
From: Upgrade! <f-prime@buildfreedom.com>
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 1999 10:25:42 -0700

At 08:07 AM 9/30/99 -0700, "Richard Brodie" wrote:
 >Well, I happen to be a bit of an expert at syntax.
<snip>

I suspect that a reason why you think I've said things
which I think I haven't said might have to do with the
syntactical functions of quotation marks. Are you also
"a bit of an expert at syntax" when it comes to the
syntactical functions of quotation marks?

If so, could you briefly describe the main syntactical
functions of quotation marks?

If not, I'll gladly provide more information.

Frederick Mann
*****

From #TL07B: THE NATURE OF GOVERNMENT:

There is also a problem with the use of "quotation marks." They are used for at least a dozen different purposes. The reader has to figure out from the context for what purpose quotation marks are being used. In his book 'How To Read A Page,' I.A. Richard wrote:

"We all recognize - more or less unsystematically - that quotation marks serve varied purposes:

1. Sometimes they show merely that we are quoting and where our quotation begins and ends.
2. Sometimes they imply that the words within them are in some way open to question and are only to be taken in some special sense with reference to some special definition.
3. Sometimes they suggest further that what is quoted is nonsense or that there is really no such thing as the thing they profess to name.
4. Sometimes they suggest that the words are improperly used. The quotation marks are equivalent to 'the so-called.'
5. Sometimes they only indicate that we are talking of the words as distinguished from their meanings...
6. There are many other uses... "

*****

NOTE: The phenomenon of some highly intelligent people apparently being unable to distinguish between a statement about physical reality ("out there") and a statement about a notion in someone's head ("in here") is interesting. Note how often, above, I indicated to Richard Brodie that I was talking about *notions in the head* and *hallucination occurring in people's heads*. (The post on Wed, 29 Sep 1999 09:39:45 -0700 deals extensively with the issue.)

During 1996-1997, I was involved in extensive discussions with John de Rock (another highly intelligent person) and others. Although many people, over many months, repeatedly indicated the above distinction to him, it never seemed to get through to him. I eventually coined the term "PERENNIAL JDR DISTORTION" -- see #TL07G: NSPIC DEBATE #3.

In the discussion below, Steve Nichols (another highly intelligent person) also seems to never grasp the distinction, even though I point it out to him repeatedly

DISCUSSION WITH STEVE NICHOLS ON EXTROPIANS & POSTHUMAN LISTS
During October 2001, I had a discussion with Steve Nichols on the Extropians List and the Posthuman List.

"Please refer to me as post-human, Steve Nichols <http://www.neohuman.com>."
To: posthuman@yahoogroups.com 
From: BigBooster <fm1@amug.org> 
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 11:43:07 -0700 

At 12:15 AM 10/16/2001 +0100, "Steve Nichols" wrote:

 >My "brand" of post-human philosophy has always stressed
 >the priority of the mental over the material .... the world is
 >located in experience more than the other way about. Evolution
 >is primarily about survival ..... if we can make things better then
 >great, but the bottom line is not to endanger our collective and
 >individual existence. Delusional systems from the archaic past
 >are a direct threat to inhabitants of this planet, and technology
 >by itself will not eradicate supernaturalist spouting money-spinning
 >institutions such as the Vatican, Mormons, Baptists, Islam &c.

What distinguishes your "posthuman politics" from
primitive/backward human politics? -- which in my
view is characterized by:
(1) Some people using fraud and violence/threat of
violence (coercion) to impose their will upon others;
(2) Sucker-victims hallucinating some of the noises
and scribbles emanating from the mouths and pens
of primitive political cheaters as "the law" (so-called).

See "Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>.

How is your "posthuman politics" qualitatively different
from primitive/backward Vatican, Mormons, Baptists,
Islam &c?

Frederick Mann
*****
To: posthuman@yahoogroups.com 
From: BigBooster <fm1@amug.org> 
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 17:26:15 -0700 

At 12:23 AM 10/17/2001 +0100, Steve Nichols wrote:
 >...Regards
 >the "Law" this is a social convenience and is interpreted for
 >pragmatic reasons ... it is an aspect of politics ... to have any
 >input into the debates about changing various Laws we have
 >to engage with adversaries in political debates and elections.

I suggest to you that your notion of "law" (so-called) is
at best a *human* social convenience -- an aspect of
*human* politics -- and at worst a disastrous human
hallucination.

As long as you hallucinate some of the noises and
scribbles emanating from the mouths and pens of
*human political cheaters* as "the law" (so-called),
I will consider you *in this respect* to be at the same
primitive/backward level as the Vatican, Mormons,
Baptists, Islam &c.

As long as you think in terms of "changing various Laws,"
I will consider you *in this respect* to be engaging in
human politics at the same primitive/backward level
as the Vatican, Mormons, Baptists, Islam &c.

See "Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>.

Frederick Mann
*****
To: posthuman@yahoogroups.com 
From: BigBooster <fm1@amug.org> 
Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2001 08:50:14 -0700 

At 04:24 PM 10/17/2001 +0100, "Steve Nichols" wrote:
 >
 > >I suggest to you that your notion of "law" (so-called) is
 > >at best a *human* social convenience -- an aspect of
 > >*human* politics -- and at worst a disastrous human
 > >hallucination.
 >
 >As a games programmer (and organiser of the World
 >Chaturanga Championships) I see RULES as essential.
 >In fact games are defined by having rules that are agreed
 >amongst the players .... otherwise the games couldn't be
 >played and we wouln't have any fun!

Can you see any difference between "rules that are
agreed amongst the players" and pretended "laws"
supposedly "promulgated" by political liars and
cheaters?

 >Laws fortunately are not "set in stone;" unless you
 >happen to believe in the Ten Commandments or Islamic
 >Sharia ... so are negotiable amongst "players" in any
 >democratic societies. If you absolutely can't live with
 >them, (1) find a country with Laws that suit you better,
 >(2) go live in the desert by yourself, or (3) try to get the
 >Laws changed, maybe by joining the Posthuman.Org
 >global electoral struggle?

Limited-options fallacy. Maybe you have some work
to do to clear human political hallucinations from
your mind. See "Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>.

 > >As long as you think in terms of "changing various Laws,"
 > >I will consider you *in this respect* to be engaging in
 > >human politics at the same primitive/backward level
 > >as the Vatican, Mormons, Baptists, Islam &c.
 >
 >So you are a complete nihilist and want any type of
 >behaviour to be allowed?

Argumentum ad hominem plus straw man.

 >What about property law?
 >How would business function without commercial
 >agreements?

Straw-man fallacy, or irrelevant non-sequiturs.
Do you think that in the absence of your silly
notion of "law" people won't be able to make
agreements regarding property and commerce?
Seems similar to the silly notion that you can't
have morality without "God" (so-called). Is that
why you sometimes capitalize your "Law" idol?

If you're trying to convince me that your thinking
in the area of so-called "law" and your so-called
"posthuman politics" are at the same level as the
Vatican, Mormons, Baptists, Islam &c., you're doing
a great job!

Frederick Mann
*****
To: posthuman@yahoogroups.com 
From: BigBooster <fm1@amug.org> 
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2001 10:04:37 -0700 

At 04:51 PM 10/18/2001 +0100, "Steve Nichols" wrote:

 >Do you have a personal grudge against Courts or the Police?

Straw man -- irrelevant. I haven't expressed any such.

 >You certainly aren't managing to keep your rational balance
 >amongst all this anti "Law" tirade.

The above seems like an argumentum ad hominem tirade.

 >  Your idea of personal agreements regards property transactions is
 >a complete non-starter. What about all the parties not aware of
 >the agreement? Also, how do you enforce the agreement without
 >a wider code of behaviour?

Straw man. I've never said there shouldn't be a "wider code of
behaviour."

 >  I don't believe in "Natural Law" in any divine sense, but a belief
 >that there are "Laws" is pretty undeniable ... every country
 >has them and they are written down. If you want to play chess,
 >how can you meaningfully engage with other players if you define
 >the Laws of Chess exactly how you choose?

Straw man. Distortion. Can't you tell the difference between the
rules by which games are played and the pretended "laws" of
political liars and cheaters.

 >  Animal society have social norms, enforced by violence or
 >threat, but they don't have writing or objective language. Are you
 >in favour of monkey-troupe type societies when you basically
 >do whatever you can get away with, including killing the young
 >of rival males?

Straw man. Irrelevant.

 >  I would hope that posthuman 'codes/ laws' are a big modification
 >of those devised by primitive human societies, but I wouldn't want
 >to replace Law with Lawlessness, which seems to be your aim.

Straw man. I've never expressed above. I invite you to question
the notion of "law" (so-called) in your head. See "Clear-Your-Mind
Reports" <http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>.

 >Oh yeh, and this e-group is subject to Yahoo! terms of service
 >(rules). Surely I am entitled, like them, to ask adherence to
 >my company's requests, for e-groups that choose to avail themselves
 >of belonging to this 'club.' If you break club rules/ laws the Yahoo!
 >could (directly & legally) kick you out of the club? You accepted
 >the rules as a pre-condition of joining ... so what is wrong with Laws
 >of this type?

Fraudulent argument. I agreed to Yahoo! RULES. Period.

 >  Sure there is a problem with (human) POLITICIANS, but this is
 >a separate issue entirely from the Legislative process. They would
 >probably be grasping ego-maniacs even in our monkey-troupe
 >society .....

I invite you to consider that there might be a much deeper problem
from which practically all humans suffer, namely certain deep
concepts/notions such as "law" which underpin human politics.
See "Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>.
Until you clear these primitive concepts/notions from your mind
you most likely will remain incapable of Posthuman Politics.

 >  My advice .. read King Asoka <http://www.multisell.com/philosophy.htm>
 >and learn about Bentham , JS Mills and others regarding
 >when it is OK to break an unjust Law. I want better Laws and a
 >better process, not the removal of Law with no viable replacement.

Straw man. I've never suggested the "removal of Law." I have
suggested that you remove the silly notion of "law" (so-called)
from your head.

My advice to you is to learn about Bentham, starting with 'Bentham's
Theory of Fictions' by C.K. Ogden, from which I quote:

* "Out of one foolish word may start a thousand daggers."

* "Behold here one of the artifices of lawyers. They refuse to administer
justice to you unless you join with them in their fictions; and then their
cry is, see how necessary fiction is to justice! Necessary indeed; but
too necessary; but how came it so, and who made it so?

As well might the father of a family make it a rule never to let his children
have their breakfast till they had uttered, each of them, a certain number
of lies, curses, and profane oaths; and then exclaim, "You see, my dear
children, how necessary, lying, cursing, and swearing are to human
sustenance!"

* "Look to the letter, you find nonsense -- look beyond the letter,
you find nothing."

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Fri, 19 Oct 2001 08:26:44 -0700 
To: extropians@extropy.org 
From: BigBooster <fm1@amug.org> 

At 02:19 PM 10/19/2001 +0100, "Steve Nichols" wrote:
 >Answer YES or NO and let the list judge whether it is "irrelevant" or
 >not. Your attempts at philosophical jargon do not convince anyone ...
 >and are inaccurate beside ... I ask you a straightforward question here.

 >At 04:51 PM 10/18/2001 +0100, "Steve Nichols" wrote:
 >>Do you have a personal grudge against Courts or the Police?
 >Straw man -- irrelevant. I haven't expressed any such.

NO, I don't have such a grudge.

Let's get back to what is to me the central issue of
our debate.

I contend that you have primitive/backward political
idols in your head that are at the same level as the
Vatican, Mormons, Baptists, Islam &c. As long as these
idols infest your mind it's extremely unlikely that
you'll become capable of posthuman politics.

Chief among your idols is the notion of "Law" in your
head (which you sometimes capitalize in the way
Mormons, Muslims, etc. capitalize "God," "Allah," etc.)

I have provided you with references on how to clear
these idols from your mind, namely:
"Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>
and 'Bentham's Theory of Fictions' by C.K. Ogden.

The following may also assist you:
-----
Jonathan Swift ('Gulliver's Travels'): "There
was another point which a little perplexed him...
I had said, that some of our crew left their
country on account of being ruined by 'law'...
but he was at a loss how it should come to pass,
that the 'law' which was intended for 'every'
man's preservation, should be any man's ruin.
Therefore he desired to be further satisfied
what I meant by 'law,' and the dispensers
thereof... because he thought nature and reason
were sufficient guides for a reasonable animal,
as we pretended to be, in showing us what we
ought to do, and what to avoid... I said there
was a society of men among us, bred up from
their youth in the art of proving by words
multiplied for the purpose, that white is
black, and black is white, accordingly as
they are paid. To this society all the rest
of the people are slaves."
-----

In 'The Crowd,' Gustave le Bon wrote: "Civilization
is impossible without traditions, and progress
impossible without destroying those traditions...
no example could better display the power of
tradition on the mind of crowds. The most
redoubtable idols do not dwell in temples, nor
the most despotic tyrants in palaces; both the
one and the other could be broken in an instant.
But the invisible masters that reign in our
innermost selves are safe from every effort at
revolt, and only yield to the slow wearing away
of centuries...

The precise moment at which a great belief is
doomed is easily recognizable; it is the moment
when its value begins to be called into question.
Every general belief being little else than fiction,
it can only survive on the condition that it be
not subjected to examination...

The only real tyrants that humanity has known
have always been the memories of its dead or
the illusions it has forged itself."
-----

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2001 08:54:46 -0700 
To: extropians@extropy.org 
From: BigBooster <fm1@amug.org> 

At 01:08 AM 10/21/2001 +0100,  "Steve Nichols" wrote:
 >>
 >> I have provided you with references on how to clear
 >> these idols from your mind, namely:
 >> "Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
 >> <http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>
 >> and 'Bentham's Theory of Fictions' by C.K. Ogden.

 >Have had a look-see. BigBooster.com
 >One-Stop Money & Marketing Powerhouse! Money is your
 >main "Idol" then?

Cheap shot fallacy. Irrelevant diversion. I referred you to
"Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>, not
BigBooster.com. Don't you have the common human
rational faculties to tell the difference?

 >If you want to do something about bad Laws (whether
 >this is just some of them, as I think, or all of them as
 >you claim) then stand for political election.

In this debate I've said nothing about "bad Laws"
so-called. That's not the issue. What I've addressed
is the silly notion of "law" in your head. Don't you
have the not-so-common human rational faculty
to tell the difference?

 ><snip>
 >Well f*ck me sideways, yer not wrong there c*nt.
 ><snip>

Does this reflect your "posthuman" reasoning faculties?

"Please refer to me as post-human, Steve Nichols
www.neohuman.com."

It looks to me like your "posthuman" claim reeks of
self-delusion.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Mon, 22 Oct 2001 18:37:35 -0700 
To: extropians@extropy.org 
From: BigBooster <fm1@amug.org> 

At 09:03 PM 10/22/2001 +0100, "Steve Nichols" wrote:
 >
 >>"Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
 >><http://www.buildfreedom.com/dir_clear.htm>, not
 >>BigBooster.com. Don't you have the rational faculties
 >>to tell the difference?
 >
 >Sure I went to those pages .... but so tedious and vacuous
 >that I quickly left. I suppose sending viewers TO SLEEP
 >is a form of clearing their minds .... unbelievable that you think
 >anyone will pay to subscribe for this "information" .... not
 >an original idea on the whole site. Sorry, but I find you very boring
 >and see no point in continuing our "debate" if this is what it is.
 >Hope you overcome your "freedom" idol and other limitations.
 >Forward into the future .......
-----
I notice you didn't respond to:

SN:
 >If you want to do something about bad Laws (whether
 >this is just some of them, as I think, or all of them as
 >you claim) then stand for political election.

FM:
In this debate I've said nothing about "bad Laws"
so-called. That's not the issue. What I've addressed
is the silly notion of "law" in your head. Don't you
have the not-so-common human rational faculty
to tell the difference?

SN:
 >Well f*ck me sideways, yer not wrong there c*nt.

FM:
Does this reflect your "posthuman" reasoning faculties?

SN:
 >Please refer to me as post-human, Steve Nichols
 >www.neohuman.com

FM:
It looks to me like your "posthuman" claim reeks of
self-delusion.
-----

Frederick Mann
*****

DISCUSSION WITH L. NEIL SHULMAN, SAMUEL EDWARD KONKIN III, AND OTHERS ON LA-AGORA LIST
During May 2001, I had a discussion with L. Neil Shulman, Samual Edwark Konkin III, and other subscribers of the LA-Agora List (to subscribe to LA-Agora, send the following command: mail to listserv@maelstrom.stjohns.edu; Subject: Admin; SUBSCRIBE LA-Agora Firstname Lastname). Following are some edited extracts.

HUMAN ERROR AND THE NOTION OF "GOD" (SO-CALLED) AS A DEEP STUPIDITY

Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 13:29:01 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 
To: LA-AGORA@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU 

TOWARD A THEORY OF HUMAN ERROR

Feedback appreciated!

POTENTIAL ORIGINS OF HUMAN ERROR

The first thing to realize is that some errors have survival value.
Consider a human a thousand years ago. Fifty yards from him
he perceives what he believes to be a tree stump. He goes
closer. It turns out to be a bear, which charges and kills him.

A second man perceives what he believes to be a bear. He's
actually mistaken; it's a tree stump. He takes evasive action
and removes himself from the scene. He suffers few or no
bad consequences for his mistake.

If primitive man mistakes a bear for a tree stump, he tends to
die for his mistake. However, if he mistakes a tree stump for
a bear, he suffers few (if any) negative consequences, and he
survives.

So, erring on the side of safety has survival value in certain
environments and areas of life. (See 'Faces in the Clouds:
A New Theory of Religion' by Stewart Guthrie
See also: 'Anthropomorphism and Related Phenomena'
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl05ab.shtml>.)

John F. Shumaker has propounded the theory that certain aspects
of nature (random accidents, brutality, death) are too frightening
for most humans to confront. By distorting reality with myths, they
enjoy "greater peace of mind and body" and tend to live longer.
I've heard that people who regularly go to church tend to live 5-10
years longer than those who don't go to church. Another case of
error having survival value? (See 'Wings of Illusion: The Origin,
Nature and Future of Paranormal Belief'
and 'The Corruption of Reality : A Unified Theory of Religion,
Hypnosis, and Psychopathology' by John F. Shumaker.)

There may also be biological origins of human error. The "triune
brain theory" claims that the human brain evolved in such a way
that the modern human brain actually consists of "three brains":
a primitive reptilian brain, a more evolved but still primitive
mammalian/emotional limbic system, and a modern neocortex
or thinking brain. Under certain conditions of stress and/or real
or perceived threat, the more primitive brain structures tend to
take over control, sometimes resulting in irrational behavior.
(See 'The Dragons of Eden : Speculations on the Evolution
of Human Intelligence' by Carl Sagan
and 'Human Brain & Human Learning' by Leslie A.
Hart, Karen D. Olsen (Editor).)

The human biological reproductive/sex drive may lead
to errors of "thinking with the sexual organs!" (See
'The Breeding Motivation: What You Can Do About It"
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl05aa.shtml>.)

There are two basic ways to acquire the wherewithal
to survive: 1. Produce and exchange; 2. Steal. There's
also a principle: Obtain the wherewithal to survive with
the least effort.

If certain powerful humans can induce the weak to adopt
certain erroneous beliefs and habits, rendering them "easy
marks," then the powerful can acquire the wherewithal to
survive from the weak with relatively little effort, and without
having to produce and exchange. Historically, it was a case
of, "Bow down, call me King, kiss my feet, and pay me your
tribute, or I'll have your head chopped off!" The "independent
rebel spirits" tended to be killed off, while the obedient,
submissive, genuflecting victims tended to survive.

As a result, modern human culture includes many memes,
which if accepted and acted upon the way most humans
do, bestow great advantages to those "above the memes"
and great disadvantages to those "below the memes."
(See 'The Anatomy of Slavespeak'
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl07a.shtml>.)

Conformity is also a factor. In primitive tribes, if you didn't
conform so as to be "like everybody else," you risked being
kicked out, most likely leading to an early death. The conformists
tended to survive and the nonconformists tended to die off.

Unfortunately, some of what most humans came to conform to
were and may now be errors that became deeply instilled cultural
habits, which some modern humans may find difficult to question
and analyze. As an example, many humans ingest, as directed
by deeply instilled cultural habits, substances that eventually
cause bodily harm and early death. (This area is particularly
difficult to analyze rationally, because the consequences of
ingesting certain substances are immediate "good feelings,"
while the harmful long-term consequences sometimes become
manifest only after years or even decades of self-abuse.)

Certain industries reap huge financial gains by propagating errors.
As an example, tobacco companies earn billions by promoting the
erroneous smoking habit.

Certain "professionals" (such as medical doctors and lawyers)
command a great deal of power, money, and respect to the extent
that their customers are ignorant and error-prone. The economic
interest of many "professionals" is for their clients to be so ignorant
and error-prone that they often need "expert" assistance, but not
so ignorant and error-prone that they die too soon! -- the longer
the victims can be "milked," the better!

In evolutionary terms, the neocortex is a relatively new development.
Humans haven't had much time to learn to use it to best effect. So
we are prone to a host of logical errors in our thinking. Because of
the conformity factor, humans who share the same thinking errors
tend to band together and expel those without their errors (or with
different errors!)

Philosophers such as Gurdjieff, Ouspensky, and Rand have indicated
that most animals automatically develop to achieve their full potential.
Humans are different in that we need to make a deliberate effort to
develop our minds and bodies correctly. Lazy conformists who don't
make this special, deliberate, continuous effort to develop their minds
and bodies tend to stagnate in errors of relative mediocrity.

AREAS OF LIFE WHERE HUMANS ARE PRONE TO ERROR

In my opinion, humans generally are most prone to error in the following
areas of life:

* Diet and exercise -- Many humans habitually, culturally, and erroneously
eat and drink harmful substances; many lack proper and sufficient
exercise.

* Religion -- Superstitious memes proliferate and pervade many human
minds.

* Politics -- Superstition abounds. The deepest erroneous political memes
are in my experience much more difficult to correct than their religious
counterparts, to which they are related.

* Economics -- About 90% of businesses fail during their first year. Many
humans have personal financial problems because they are relatively
ignorant and error-prone about money.

* Relationships and sex -- In some parts of the world, about 50% of
marriages fail. Some human couples (and their families) "fight like
cats and dogs." (Maybe the "marriage" meme has become an error
-- particularly considering the risk of having to pay for alimony and
child-support, in case of divorce!)

* Education -- To the extent that the powerful (who seek to acquire the
wherewithal to survive with least effort) control education, they are
likely to "shape" education to produce relatively helpless, ignorant, weak,
error-prone, obedient workers and worshippers who suffer from their
errors and often need "professional services" and "welfare assistance."

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 13:53:31 -0700 
From: J. Neil Schulman

Feedback delivered:

There are as many reasons to want to disbelieve in anything supernatural (in
the exact sense: superior to nature) as there are to wish to anthropomorphize
nature. If we are created by a supernatural being rather than emergent from
natural events then we are made to rely on cognitive tools other than applying
logic to the evidence of our senses in order to understand our nature and our
position within the universe.


Wishful thinking is a bad idea, whether it inclines us to disregard the
possibility of supernatural explanations because it leaves us feeling out of
control; or to disregard the possibility that nature is all there is, because we
thirst for an author who will assure us that our existence is part of a story
with a beginning, a middle, and an end.


We know that consciousness can exist, because we are conscious. Whether
a superconsciousness can exist, one that is outside the bounds of space and
time as we currently understand it, is not a ridiculous question, even though it
may not be answerable by observing nature. There are non-falsifiable truths,
therefore not answerable by the scientific method. But since consciousness
exists, we need not assume consciousness can only exist within mortal bodies.
How we determine the truth of such a question, however, may require
introspection rather than extrospection.

J. Neil Schulman
*****
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 15:06:42 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 

Thanks for feedback.

There is also a basic human error called "hypostatization" -- it's a semantic
and ontological error of assuming that because some humans use a particular
word (or phrase) that the word has (or might have) a referent; in other words,
the error of assuming that because people use a word, it stands for or refers
to something.

In my experience, having asked people (both theists and professed atheists)
what they are talking about when they use words (nonsense-words to me)
such as "god," "supreme being," "creator of the universe," etc., all of them
have responded with what seemed gibberish to me.

There's also a potential error that can arise from "consciousness exists."
This is the error of thinking that there is a "thing" called "consciousness"
which exists separate from the individual experiencing being conscious.
It's the same error that occurs when someone who is happy assumes
that there's a "thing" called "happiness" which exists separately from
his being happy. This error could be called "erroneous nominalization"
-- turning the adjective "happy" into the noun "happiness" and then
concluding that "happiness exists" as something independent from
individuals experiencing being happy. This error is similar to hypostatization
but probably more difficult to spot because we can all see the referent
of someone being happy, and we know what people are talking about
when they use the term "happiness."

A possible consequence of erroneous nominalization is that some people
may fall into "searching for happiness" rather than just being happy.
(Similarly, some people may enjoy less freedom than they could because
they "search for freedom" rather than learning to be free and live free
-- even in the face of those who seek to prevent their being and living
free.)

The above may seem like pointless "splitting hairs." Nevertheless, I contend
that becoming aware of such thinking errors and transcending them
(where appropriate) may lead to greater abilities to be happy, free, healthy,
wealthy, etc.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 16:48:53 -0700 
From: J. Neil Schulman

BigBooster wrote:

 > There is also a basic human error called "hypostatization" -- it's a semantic
 > and ontological error of assuming that because some humans use a particular
 > word (or phrase) that the word has (or might have) a referent; in other words,
 > the error of assuming that because people use a word, it stands for or refers
 > to something.

Certainly. As well as the equally common error of assuming that because a thing
is not immediately apparent it does not therefore exist. Is there an already existing
word for that, or should we call it hyperskepticism?

 > In my experience, having asked people (both theists and professed atheists)
 > what they are talking about when they use words (nonsense-words to me)
 > such as "god," "supreme being," "creator of the universe," etc., all of them
 > have responded with what seemed gibberish to me.

Well, there could be a number of explanations for that. Perhaps you hang around
people who are particularly ineloquent. Or perhaps you are not familiar with the
gestalt of their referents and are therefore semantically unprepared to integrate
what they refer to into your pattern of experience. All we know for sure is that
there is a failure to communicate between them and you. That says nothing
about the existence or non-existence of the referents.

I don't find any difficulty in defining any of these terms.

God. A being recognizable as human or humanoid but with a vastly broader
experience, capabilities, knowledge, field of volitional choice than is possible
for human beings as we understand the biology and psychology of that species;
an emergent consciousness of some aspect of existence other than life as we
know it; immortal (not only without end but possibly without beginning) and
possibly indestructible; possibly capable of volitional action apart from the
space-time continuum as we experience it; possibly the designer and first
cause of our world as we know it, particularly ourselves.

Supreme being. What's the problem? Both words are self-explanatory. A being
is a conscious entity; supreme means first or top. A being who's superior to all
the others.

Creator of the universe. Well, if by universe you mean the totality of all that
exists, has existed, will exist, that is not a claim made by any theologian.
Judaism does not even claim that the God of the Hebrews is the only God;
the most that is said is that the God of the Hebrews created "the heavens
and the earth," the animals on earth, and the human species. He gives his
name as "I am" which strongly implies that the speaker's consciousness is
synonymous with unconditional existence.

If we take a view of the universe as a closed four-dimensional space-time
continuum, we are left with the possibility of causative actors and events
outside that continuum interfacing with it. There is no point referring to a
before or after since those refer to events within the space-time continuum;
if there were more than one space-time continuum, perhaps each one with
a big bang at one end and a big crunch at the other end,  it would be as
correct to view them as simultaneously existing as it would to view them
as sequential.

 > <snip>

You weary me because you assume that anyone who disagrees with your
conclusions is defective, and must therefore have some defect propelling
their claims.

Leave the pop psychology at the door along with your arrogant presumptions
and you might learn something -- if truth is of any interest to you whatsoever.
I will refrain from turning your debating tactics on you and suggesting that
your disbelief is psychologically motivated by some to be discovered fear.

J. Neil Schulman
*****
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 20:24:11 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 

At 04:48 PM 05/01/2001 -0700, J. Neil Schulman wrote:

 >Certainly. As well as the equally common error of assuming that because
 >a thing is not immediately apparent it does not therefore exist. Is there an
 >already existing word for that, or should we call it hyperskepticism?

It helps to make a distinction between word and thing. If someone coins
a word such as "phlogiston" or "ooblegoob," in my opinion, nothing has
been said that even raises the issue of anything existing or not existing.

In any case, the statement that a thing does not exist seems oxymoronic
to me. What are you talking about when you refer to "thing that does not
exist?"

 >Well, there could be a number of explanations for that. Perhaps you hang
 >around people who are particularly ineloquent. Or perhaps you are not
 >familiar with the gestalt of their referents and are therefore semantically
 >unprepared to integrate what they refer to into your pattern of experience.
 >All we know for sure is that there is a failure to communicate between
 >them and you. That says nothing about the existence or non-existence
 >of the referents.
 >
 >I don't find any difficulty in defining any of these terms.

The fact that anyone can provide a string of words to "define" words
like "phlogiston" and "ooblegoob" does not, in my opinion, raise the
words above the level of gibberish.

 >God. A being recognizable

How do you perform this recognition? Have you done so?

 >as human or humanoid but with a vastly broader experience, capabilities,
 >knowledge, field of volitional choice than is possible for human beings
 >as we understand the biology and psychology of that species; an
 >emergent consciousness of some aspect of existence other than life
 >as we know it; immortal (not only without end but possibly without
 >beginning) and possibly indestructible; possibly capable of volitional
 >action apart from the space-time continuum as we experience it;
 >possibly the designer and first cause of our world as we know it,
 >particularly ourselves.

The problem with such a "definition" can be summarized with, "What
are you talking about?" What evidence do you have for "vastly broader
experience, capabilities, knowledge, field of volitional choice than is
possible for human beings?" If someone hypothesizes the existence
of "phlogiston," you would ask him what evidence he has for his
hypothesis, or what would be explained by it that isn't now explained.
What are you talking about when you say "first cause?" Your definition
seems like gibberish to me.

 >Supreme being. What's the problem? Both words are self-explanatory.
 >A being is a conscious entity; supreme means first or top. A being
 >who's superior to all the others.

Are you talking about a human being, for example, a human with an "Albert
Einstein brain" and an "Arnold Schwarzenegger" body? If this is more or
less what you're referring to with your "supreme being," then I agree that
your definition is not gibberish. However, if you were to concoct a
"definition" in the usual religious terms, I expect to easily show it to be
gibberish.

 >Creator of the universe. Well, if by universe you mean the totality of all
 >that exists, has existed, will exist, that is not a claim made by any theologian.
 >Judaism does not even claim that the God of the Hebrews is the only God;
 >the most that is said is that the God of the Hebrews created "the heavens
 >and the earth," the animals on earth, and the human species. He gives his
 >name as "I am" which strongly implies that the speaker's consciousness
 >is synonymous with unconditional existence.

As I said, the phrase "creator of the universe" is gibberish to me, as is
"ooblegoob." This usually becomes evident when you ask questions like,
"Who created the creator?", "How did "he/she/it" do it?", "What makes you
think the universe was created?" Frankly, what you say above about Hebrew
beliefs also sounds like gibberish to me.

 >You weary me

How can I weary you? Maybe you weary yourself by reading what
I write and responding. This seems like the error of "misplaced
cause" to me.

 >because you assume that anyone who disagrees with your conclusions
 >is defective, and must therefore have some defect propelling their claims.

No. This is your conclusion about me. I've never stated such a conclusion.
This seems like the "straw man error" to me, combined with the "ad
hominem" error that follows.

 >Leave the pop psychology at the door along with your arrogant
 >presumptions and you might learn something -- if truth is of any
 >interest to you whatsoever.

It's quite possible that you'll learn nothing from me and that I'll
learn nothing from you. Maybe it's possible that others reading
our interaction will learn something.

 >I will refrain from turning your debating tactics on you and suggesting that
 >your disbelief is psychologically motivated by some to be discovered fear.

What "disbelief" have I expressed? My point is that when someone
uses words like "god," etc., I ask, "What are you talking about?"
All I've heard in response has been gibberish to me. Nothing has
been said to me in these respects that warrants either belief or
disbelief. If someone says to me, "Ooblegoob truxyon magder."
nothing has been said that warrants either belief or disbelief.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 21:40:25 -0700 
From: J. Neil Schulman

 > >God. A being recognizable
 >
 > How do you perform this recognition? Have you done so?

Yeah. I met him. Now what are you gonna say, bigshot?

J. Neil Schulman
*****
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 22:11:02 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 

 >Yeah. I met him. Now what are you gonna say, bigshot?

This may a flippant response. If it's a serious response,
then I think many, including myself, would doubt its
veracity. It's also possible that it's a serious response
and you believe it to be true, but you were seeing
"faces in the clouds" as suggested in 'Faces in the
Clouds: A New Theory of Religion' by Stewart Guthrie.

You refer to this "creature" or whatever you met as "him."
Can you tell me about "his" "penis?"

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 13:40:22 -0700 
From: Samuel Edward Konkin III

 > There is also a basic human error called "hypostatization" -- it's a semantic
 > and ontological error of assuming that because some humans use a particular
 > word (or phrase) that the word has (or might have) a referent; in other words,
 > the error of assuming that because people use a word, it stands for or refers
 > to something.
 >
 > In my experience, having asked people (both theists and professed atheists)
 > what they are talking about when they use words (nonsense-words to me)
 > such as "god," "supreme being," "creator of the universe," etc., all of them
 > have responded with what seemed gibberish to me.

Hmm. Am I the only one who looks at "hypostatization" and thinks of "shrinking
States"?

Other than the fact that I HAVE met and discoursed with both Atheists and
Theists with coherent definitions of God, I agree with the rest of your argument.
Furthermore, this Error exists in Political Discourse big time!

Samuel Edward Konkin III
*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 14:51:01 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 

The fact that someone can provide what he considers
"coherent definitions of God" does not necessarily raise
the word "god" above the level of gibberish. A more basic
inquiry than the ability to provide a string of words you call
a "definition" is, "What are you talking about when you use
the word?" and "What's the referent for the word?"

But let's put it to another test. Provide some "coherent
definitions of God."  Maybe you'll surprise me by providing
logical and rational responses when I question the words
(particularly what referents they might have) you use in
your "definitions."

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 15:03:17 -0700 
From: Samuel Edward Konkin III 

There is an element in your argument, a presumption if you will,
that one cannot present a coherent definition of certain postulations.
Let's see how far that extends. Would you say that all definitions of
Unicorns you have heard are gibberish?

Secondly, by (coherent, let us hope) definition, a coherent definition
is NOT gibberish. Hence, I am unable to follow your argument past
that point.

<snip>

Anyway, I'm far too busy to get involved in another religious discussion.
For those who are unaware of my position, I'm an atheist who does
not rule out the possibility that someone might present evidence of
the Existence of some intelligent being so powerful as to overwhelm
any conception I am currently capable of.

I also agree with you that the Universe is clearly not created nor
creatable. And, it should be pointed out, that whatever we are talking
about, and that includes Mr. Schulman's remarks, is unrecognizable
as "God" in orthodox theology.

Samuel Edward Konkin III
*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 17:51:04 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 

 >There is an element in your argument, a presumption if you will,
 >that one cannot present a coherent definition of certain postulations.

No. That's not my position. What I've been saying is
that the word "god" is gibberish to me because I know
of no evidence for it having any referent, and when I
ask people to tell me what they're talking about when
they use the word "god," they've so far responded with
what turns out (sometimes after further questioning)
to be gibberish.

I don't exclude the possibility that some day someone
will respond with something other than gibberish.

 >Let's see how far that extends. Would you say that all
 >definitions of Unicorns you have heard are gibberish?

I think it's coherent to say that a unicorn is an imaginary
animal shaped like a horse with a pointed horn.

Now, if there are people who regard "the unicorn" as
a "deity" (so-called), rather than just a plain imaginary
animal, and they "pray" to it, worship it, and claim all
kinds of contradictory magical powers for it, then I
would say they're talking gibberish.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 18:45:32 -0700 
From: J. Neil Schulman 

 > I don't exclude the possibility that some day someone
 > will respond with something other than gibberish.

I gave you a clear definition of God. I've written nine books,
have been published by magazines ranging from the Economist,
National Review, the New York Times, Reader's Digest, and
libertarian publications ranging from Murray Rothbard's Libertarian
Forum to Liberty, New Libertarian, and Reason and won awards
for my writing. I've made a special study of epistemology. I daresay
I'm in a better position to define gibberish than you are and in case
you haven't noticed, by calling the definition I gave you gibberish you
just called me an idiot.

Has it crossed your mind that you're a bigot?

J. Neil Schulman
*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 21:33:19 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 

 >I've written nine books, have been published by magazines ranging
 >from the Economist, National Review, the New York Times, Reader's
 >Digest, and libertarian publications ranging from Murray Rothbard's
 >Libertarian Forum to Liberty, New Libertarian, and Reason and won
 >awards for my writing. I've made a special study of epistemology. I
 >daresay I'm in a better position to define gibberish than you are

Fallacy of "argument from authority."

 >and in case you haven't noticed, by calling the definition I gave you
 >gibberish you just called me an idiot.

No. You may be a genius at aspects of epistemology, and a
remarkably skilled, competent, and successful author, however
it's unlikely that your knowledge and understanding are perfect
in all other areas, maybe such as ontology, semantics, and
logic (maybe only when you get emotional). I most definitely
did not call you an idiot, and I never will. That is not my style.

Because of all the potential sources of human error, some
of which I haven't mentioned yet, no matter how brilliant we
are in some areas and at certain times, we (at least humans
I've been in contact with) are still prone to at least the occasional
error in other areas and at other times.

The fact that a brilliant man occasionally errs, definitely does
not warrant calling him an idiot and I would never do so.

 >Has it crossed your mind that you're a bigot?

Fallacy of "argumentum ad hominem."

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 23:20:11 -0700 
From: J. Neil Schulman 

Dear Mr. Mann,

What annoys me about you, and drives me to counter ad hominem,
is that you respond as if the person who answers you hasn't done so.
Then you proceed to the ad hominem of name-calling the response
"gibberish" and get offended when you are called on it.

I told you in my first response that the cognition of God required
introspection rather than extrospection. I told you that some truths
are non-falsifiable and not subject to proof by the scientific method.

I have had an experience which I have identified as a cognition of
God. It was not through the usual five senses; it was an extraordinary
cognitive event. I can attempt to describe the experience at length,
and the perception of the object of that experience but the experience
of that object by its nature had only a single observer: I cannot share
it. Unless you have had (a) a similar experience which (b) you are
willing to acknowledge as real rather than hallucinatory, there is no
common experience which we can use for further discussion, which
would require a commonly shared and acknowledged referent.

I have made no claim that I can share my experience with you. I have
made no attempt to convince you of its truth. I make no demand that
you believe me. I suppose I should not even be annoyed by your
belief that your limited epistemology has an ontological basis, since
that it an error I once made myself, and didn't correct until I was in
my 30's.

I will say this. When I was an atheist, I set out for myself a number
of scenarios under which I was willing to be convinced of the
existence of God. That which convinced me satisfied all of my
questions without using any of the methods I had imagined.
I guess God has more imagination than I do.

J. Neil Schulman

[Note: I didn't reply to the above.]

*****
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 09:19:23 +0100 
From: Dr. Stephen Davies

 > I don't exclude the possibility that some day someone
 > will respond with something other than gibberish

You seem to be saying (correct me if I'm wrong) that a word which
has no definite referent as either a physical object or a coherent
concept is just a noise. That leads on to the secondary question of
whether the word "God" has a reference to a coherent definitional
concept of any kind - Neil is saying that it does but that this is one
of a class of assertions that can only be demonstrated by
introspection. I have problems with the first element however.
What do you say to the (later) Wittgensteinian argument that
words are not labels which derive meaning from a referent but
terms which derive meaning from the way they are used (i.e.
ultimately from agreement)? Surely this is more compatible with
the notion of a "meme" which you use so much? (Personally I'm
still not clear what a meme is - I know it's meant to be the cultural
equivalent of a gene but most people seem to use it in a way that
means simply "structured idea" or "concept" - another example for
Wittgenstein!)

Steve Davies
*****
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 11:02:12 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 

 >You seem to be saying (correct me if I'm wrong) that a word which
 >has no definite referent as either a physical object or a coherent
 >concept is just a noise.

Essentially, all words could be regarded as inherently just
noise. I have created meanings in my head for certain
noises. (Though it was only during the past few years that
I became aware that I had been creating the meanings.)

It's also likely that I was born with certain "instinctive meanings"
in my head. (I don't buy the "tabula rasa" theory.) I suspect that
I was born with predispositions to respond in specific ways to
certain stimuli. In other words, some meanings had already
been hard-wired in my brain at birth, including preprogrammed
responses to certain noises. (Some of my "culture" started
before I was born!)

Most of my meanings I learned through interaction with others.

Some of the meanings I learned turned out to be errors,
particularly in the areas of religion and politics.

"Language creates spooks that get into our heads and hypnotize us."
-- Robert Anton Wilson, Introduction to The Tree of Lies (by Christopher
S. Hyatt. Ph.D.)

"It is hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head."
-- Sally Kempton

"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of
the oppressed." -- Steve Biko

I discovered that certain words and the meanings I had for them
put me at a disadvantage and made it easier for others to
control, dominate, and extract money from me. So I set out to
change my meanings for these words. I changed my meaning
for many words to "it's really gibberish."

However, that doesn't reduce these words to "just noise" to
me. I have some awareness of the meanings others have for
these words. And that's part of my meaning for them.

 >That leads on to the secondary question of
 >whether the word "God" has a reference to a coherent definitional
 >concept of any kind

To get to the roots of this issue requires deeper digging. Here
are some references from 'The Other Side of Religion'
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/otherside.htm>:

"Brain researchers find 'God module'
Los Angeles Times
NEW ORLEANS -- No one knows why humanity felt its first religious
stirrings, but researchers at University of California, San Diego,
reported Tuesday that the human brain may be hard-wired to hear
the voice of heaven...
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/otherside.htm#A1>.

Model of the Bicameral Mind
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/tl/tl10.htm>.

'The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral
Mind' by Julian Jaynes.

'The Varieties of Religious Experience' by William James.

>From studying the above, observing myself and others, it became
clear to me that the "religious experiences" recounted by James
fit the "god module" and the bicameral model. It now seems to me
that the human brain is hard-wired to have so-called "religious
experiences," that the experiences are entirely self-created (even
when triggered by external stimuli, such "Virgin Mary visions"),
and are hallucinatory.

 >Neil is saying that it does but that this is one of a class of assertions
 >that can only be demonstrated by introspection. I have have problems
 >with the first element however.

If Neil were to thoroughly study Jaynes and James, and maybe
some of the other references in 'The Other Side of Religion
<http://www.buildfreedom.com/otherside.htm>, his introspection
might lead him to discover the "god module" in his brain.

 >What do you say to the (later) Wittgensteinian argument that
 >words are not labels which derive meaning from a referent but
 >terms which derive meaning from the way they are used (i.e.
 >ultimately from agreement)?

It would be more accurate to say that people create their
own personal meanings for words, based on the way they
are commonly used. In order to communicate, there has to
be tacit or explicit agreement on using words in more or
less the same way.

 >Surely this is more compatible with the notion of a "meme"
 >which you use so much? (Personally I'm still not clear what
 >a meme is - I know it's meant to be the cultural equivalent
 >of a gene but most people seem to use it in a way that
 >means simply "structured idea" or "concept" - another
 >example for Wittgenstein!)

A connotative definition of "meme" could be: "The cultural
equivalent of a gene, that if successful, spreads like a virus
or an epidemic from mind to mind." (The transmission of
a meme is very different from that of a gene.) A connotative
definition is a general description.

A denotative definition would be to list all the "items" the
user might refer to when using the word "meme." A
denotative definition lists the specifics.

Many people fall into the trap of assuming that, because
a connotative definition has been provided for a word,
there's understanding of and agreement about the word,
and that it's a sensible word. But penetrating denotative
questioning -- "What are you talking about?"; "What does
the word stand for?" -- may reveal that certain words, as
commonly used, are really "nonsense-words."

Jeremy Bentham's "formula": "Look to the letter, you find
nonsense -- look beyond the letter, you find nothing."
-- 'Bentham's Theory of Fictions' by Charles K. Ogden.

Frederick Mann
*****
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 11:55:00 -0700 
From: J. Neil Schulman 

First of all, I am curious why you think a "God module" in the brain,
if it does not provide cognition of anything real, has survival utility
that would be preserved through natural selection. One could
make a far easier case that the discovery of a "God module" in
the brain is physiological evidence of a designer who wished
to provide an embedded communication device for transfer of
knowledge between creator and creature. In the same sense
that near-death cognitions tend to be reduced by skeptics to
mere physiology (I have seen them analogized to running a
computer at low voltage), I wonder what survival utility a near-death
hallucination has that it would be preserved by natural selection.

Second, I am again chagrinned by your continuing assumption
that I must be an ignoramus who has never encountered or
considered the bicameral-mind hypothesis (I call it a hypothesis
because there isn't even enough hard evidence to label it a theory).

Third, I have considered at great length the possibility that my
experience was hallucinatory and decided it was not. I am familiar
with the difference between waking states, sleeping states, and
in-between states. This experience happened not only while awake,
but I would classify it as being more awake than usual, rather than
less awake. The duration of the experience, at its most intense
lasting for about eight hours, and continuing at a lesser intensity
for several weeks, distinguishes it from the usual class of
hallucinations -- optical and aural hallucinations, for example --
which tend to be short-lived. During my experience I functioned
normally. I ate, drove my daughter to school, read, wrote, watched
TV, took walks, engaged in rational conversation, etc. But there
was an additional cognitive ability overlayed onto my usual
cognitive tools. I have yet to be able to falsify any of these
perceptions and some of them have verified.

I will note that there appears to be a convergence of physiological
preconditions which enables (or triggers)  these experiences:
reduction of oxygen and blood ketosis. I was dehydrated and
had been dieting, and was slightly congested. Religious accounts
of mystical experiences refer to going to high places (thin air, less
oxygen), deserts (dehydration), and to fasting (which produces
blood ketosis). Whether these physiologically turn on the "God
module" in the brain -- perhaps the God transceiver, might be a
better term -- is something worth investigating.

J. Neil Schulman

[Note: I didn't reply to the above.]

*****
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 13:22:17 -0700 
From: Samuel Edward Konkin III

*sigh* O.K., let's test that counterclaim. Here's what I consider a coherent
definition of "god" actually in common use among a certain, reasonably
large, group of people*: a reasoning (or, if you prefer, thinking) entity
superior in intelligence and physical power to any and all existing human
beings.

Please explain to me how that definition is either incoherent or gibberish.

Samuel Edward Konkin III
*****
Date: Thu, 3 May 2001 16:17:12 -0700 
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM> 

We've already covered this form of definition. Suppose we use Einstein's
intelligence as a unit of "one Einstein" and Schwarzenegger's
physical power as a unit of "one Schwarzenegger."

Suppose a few of us were to develop the technology to enhance our
intelligence and power, and transform ourselves into transhumans
or posthumans with 10 Einsteins and 10 Schwarzeneggers. We
would be "gods," satisfying your coherent definition.

We could speculate how to do this: a portable supercomputer
hooked to our brains, appendages powered by a "portable
power pack" added to our arms and legs that effectively make
us physically much more powerful.

You have indeed responded with a definition of "god"
that is coherent and not gibberish.

Frederick Mann
*****

By the above definition, "gods" don't exist yet, but during the coming years we may be able to "upgrade" ourselves into "gods."

*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 18:50:00 +0100
From: Tony Hollick

Those interested in this thread might care to note the following:

[A] The statement "God exists" has meaning, and may even be true.
     However, since no conceivable observation could _falsify_ it, it
     is not a _scientific_ statement.  Science works by falsifying hypotheses.

[B] Metaphysical constructs are in use all the time.  We cannot do without them.
     Metaphysics provides a heuristic for discovery processes (amongst
     other things). Think of Darwinism.  Think of Free Will.

[C] There is a long-standing feud between nominalists (who work on the basis
     that the meaning of words is not intrinsic but conventional): and
     essentialists (who believe that there is a (Platonic) "essence" to words,
     which can be ascertained by delving into the word itself.  This feud
     continues on the basis that the essentialists cannot acknowledge that
     they lost the argument...

     Bryan Magee's little book on Popper makes each of these issues
     abundantly clear.  And that's just for starters.

     Arguing about the (non)-existence of God is one way to pass the time.
     (Especially if you feel driven towards a dogmatic atheism...)

     Arguing that metaphysics is completely worthless is another.
     (Although finding people to argue with is kinda hard...)

     Arguing about the meaning of words is yet another.
     (Though there are still people who go in for it...)

     What is truly astonishing is that there are still people
     who do not seem to realise that all three issues have been
     discussed ad infinitum (or ad nauseam) already.

     These are old familiar errors.  >:-}

     Tony Hollick
*****
Date: Wed, 2 May 2001 12:50:57 -0700
From: BigBooster <f-prime@BUILDFREEDOM.COM>

At 06:50 PM 05/02/2001 +0100, Tony Hollick wrote:
 >Those interested in this thread might care to note the following:
 >
 >[A] The statement "God exists" has meaning, and may even be true.
 >     However, since no conceivable observation could _falsify_ it, it
 >     is not a _scientific_ statement.  Science works by falsifying 
 >     hypotheses.

If your statement has meaning, where is the meaning located?
Is it in the pixels on my computer screen? Or in the spaces
between the pixels? If someone says the statement, is the
meaning in the sound waves?  What does the meaning look like?
How do you perceive the meaning?

Have you considered that it's not a case of the statement having
meaning, but of you having meaning in your head for the
statement?

 From what you say below, it seems that you think the essentialists
have lost the argument about where meaning resides.

It also seems to me that I've established in this thread that when
you ask people what they're talking about when they use the word
"god," they respond with gibberish. Sometimes it's not immediately
evident that their response is gibberish, but if you question their
responses (particularly specific elements of their responses) with,
"What are you talking about?", "How did he/she/it create?", "Who
created he/she/it?", etc., the gibberish becomes evident.

When someone makes a gibberish "statement" like "ooblegoob
rocks" or "god exists," no hypothesis has been made and nothing
has been said that raises the issue of whether anything exists or
not.

 >[B] Metaphysical constructs are in use all the time.  We cannot do
 >     without them.  Metaphysics provides a heuristic for discovery
 >     processes (amongst other things). Think of Darwinism.  Think of Free
 >     Will.

It helps to distinguish between useful metaphysical constructs
such as "consciousness" on one hand, and gibberish such as
"phlogiston," "ooblegoob," and "god," on the other hand. (I know
some argue that "consciousness" is a useless and fallacious
construct.)

 >[C] There is a long-standing feud between nominalists (who work on the basis
 >     that the meaning of words is not intrinsic but conventional): and
 >     essentialists (who believe that there is a (Platonic) "essence" to words,
 >     which can be ascertained by delving into the word itself.  This feud
 >     continues on the basis that the essentialists cannot acknowledge that
 >     they lost the argument...

It becomes obvious that words don't have meanings but that people
have meanings in their heads for some words (but not all words)
when you start asking, "Where is the meaning?", "What does the
meaning look like?", "How do you know the word has meaning; how
did you perceive the meaning?", "If a word has meaning, can you
tell me the meaning of any foreign word you've never heard or seen
before?"

 >     Bryan Magee's little book on Popper makes each of these issues
 >     abundantly clear.  And that's just for starters.
 >
 >     Arguing about the (non)-existence of God is one way to pass the time.
 >     (Especially if you feel driven towards a dogmatic atheism...)

You can also make a distinction between "word" and "thing" or
referent. The error of assuming that just because people coin
some word and then assume that it stands for something is
called "hypostatization." In the case of the word "god," nobody
I know of has said anything that even raises the issue of
anything existing or not. In my opinion, using the word "god"
as if valid is an error. It's a gibberish word like "ooblegoob."

 >     Arguing that metaphysics is completely worthless is another.
 >     (Although finding people to argue with is kinda hard...)

Arguing about metaphysics is usually worthless if the
arguers can't distinguish between words and referents
and are unaware of errors such as hypostatization and
erroneous nominalization, and have not sufficiently
developed the ability to question the validity of words
and concepts.

 >     Arguing about the meaning of words is yet another.
 >     (Though there are still people who go in for it...)

This is because words don't have meanings. Different
people have different meanings (sometimes small
differences, sometimes great) for the same words in
their heads. You are free to create in your head whatever
meaning(s) you like for any particular word.

Similarity of meaning facilitates communication. My
meaning for the word "god" is "gibberish." Your meaning
for the same word may be very different. As a result, we
may not be able to communicate very well (if at all) on
the subject (to you) and non-subject (to me) of whatever
you call "god." In contrast, you and I may have sufficiently
similar meanings for the word "happiness" that we
could communicate very well about that.

Frederick Mann
*****

NOTE: For more on religion, see The Other Side of Religion.

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