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What I owe to Thomas P.M. Barnett 2013-Apr-15 at 12:07 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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I was moved to write this by the announcement, on Friday, that Dr. Barnett would no longer be adding to his blog.

I’ve been blogging here since the spring of 2004 and, while it’s been fun, I feel like I’ve run this course . . . enough times – on a creative basis.  Anyone who knows me, knows that I will do anything gung-ho so long as I feel creative in the pursuit, but that I’ll drop it once that is no longer the case and there are other avenues that seem to offer that buzz in larger amounts.

Now, I don’t know Dr. Barnett, and he doesn’t know me. In spite of that, I’m going to do that thing where he’s famous, and since I’ve watched him and read his books, it makes me think that I know him. Which I completely don’t, but, really, that’s the function of fame. It makes people think that they know you, even though you’ve never met. (Technically, I met him for like two seconds after a talk he gave, but so have 10,000 other people, and I’m not special.)

So, I’m going to take the liberty of speaking to you, Thomas, sir, in the second person. (Mostly because it makes for better prose. I tried it in third-person, it doesn’t sound as good.)

So, there are a few things I want to say about your blog, and about you.

First of all, I more than understand the desire to be in a creative flow. That flow is the place to be in your life. I want to express my appreciation to you, for recognizing that the blog no longer felt as creative as doing other things, and not just blogging out of ego or habit or fear of losing something. Thank you for not making me read stuff you weren’t fully behind.

Second of all, I have no idea how I’m going to replace having your point-of-view in my life on a regular basis. Seriously. That part of it sucks. I’m just going to have to hope that I’ve learned enough from you, by now, to figure it out for myself.

Next, I want to thank you for the Global Grand Strategy that you have provided to us. Your perspectives, which I shorthand as “world events as seen through a developmental lens” are thoroughly honoring of where people are, and deeply non-judgmental about it. They’re broad in terms of your incorporation of economics, governance, history, bureaucracy, and, of course, military power (not to mention the Packers). And you’ve spoken at Don Beck’s conferences. That’s pretty much the definition of an Integral view. And “Integral” is in my URL, so you know that shit matters to me.

Mostly what I owe to you, though, is the perspective that we’re creating a future anyway, so why not let it be a future worth creating? You said: dream big at what that future might look like, but understand the developmental aspects, and therefore the timing, of the systemic changes we’re expecting. You showed us that if we make the right decisions, we all get to have more freedom and better conditions, especially the billions of people around the world today who struggle in poverty. You said: Don’t listen to the doomsayers. You said: Be hopeful, and be patient.

And it’s for that that I extend a deep, deep bow. Thank you so much for presenting such an accurate and realistic view of world events, and thank you for showing how that realistic view happens also to be a very optimistic one. I’m enormously grateful to you for this gift. It’s an optimism I share with you. We’re all going to be fine. We really are bringing in a Future Worth Creating.

Even if you stop blogging.

I just want you to know how deeply your views are integrated into mine. I’ll carry the message as best as I can. (I’ll play Telephone with it sometimes, too, I’m sure.)

You’re one of my teachers. I deeply appreciate it.


All of the Lord’s blessings on you, on your family, and on your path.


So long.


Honestly, I’m Not Trying To Be A Radical When I Say, “Legalize It. Now.” 2013-Apr-12 at 16:45 PDT

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From Legalize It, Poll Shows, by Scott Clement, 2013-Apr-04 (my italics):

By 52 to 45 percent more say marijuana should be made legal than not, with support for legalization jumping seven points in two years and 20 points since the 2002 General Social Survey.  Last November, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found the public split 48 to 50 percent on whether to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use. And 51 percent of registered voters supported legalization in a December Quinnipiac University poll.

The rapid change matches an increase in usage – in the new poll, nearly half of Americans report trying marijuana at some point in their lifetime (48 percent), up eight points since 2010 and also a record high. More people who have smoked in the past year say it was “just for fun” than any medical issue (47 vs. 30 percent), while 23 percent say they smoked for both reasons.

OK, the jig is up. Or the gig is up. Or maybe they’re both up, I don’t really know (really, I don’t). But half of us “puritanical” Americans have smoked the sacred herb. So, the thing… it’s up.

Half of us have smoked marijuana and come to the conclusion that it didn’t invite Satan into our worldviews, it didn’t put poor Billy in an insane asylum (and he was such a good boy before he tried it), it didn’t have everyone in some afflicted small town running around tearing their clothes off and humping each other frantically, or whatever happened in Reefer Madness. (I still haven’t seen it. Yeah… I should.)

Half of us. Seriously. Soon, it’s going to be more than half. Just look at the percentage increases in people who have tried it… the number is only going up.

That’s why I’m not a radical about this.

I have one question for all of you: how high does the number have to go? Is 50% not enough? Does it need to get to 60% for you to feel comfortable legalizing it? Does it need to be 70%-30%? Higher still? Whatever your number is, is fine by me. Mostly though, I just want to know that you have an answer, that you’ve thought about it and you have an answer that feels right to you. Whatever number you have for this is your number.

For me: 50% is enough. We’ve proven that the world didn’t collapse because of it. We’ve seen that some people are more drawn to it than others, which makes it different from every other experience in the world exactly… not at all. We’ve seen that the trendlines are all going up, anyway, so even if you did pick 60% or 70%, it’s not a question of if, it’s just a question of when, so if you’re already reasonable enough to say 60% or 70%, be one more step reasonable and do it at 50%. C’mon. The water is fine. Jump in.

And, again, entheogens are a real thing. These are substances that have a helpful effect on our Awakening (when interacted with sacramentally, rather than recreationally… not that there’s anything wrong with that). Cannabis is one of those substances. I support the legalization of all entheogens, and I understand that we’re not quite at the same place with, say, MDMA, that we are with marijuana, where half of us have tried it, but we can move forward right now on marijuana.

We can get it done really quickly at the state/province/region/sub-nation-sized thing, and therefore bring attention from the local level up to Brussels and to Washington to move this forward.

As for early experiences… I live in Washington State, and I have to tell you… no frantic group humping.

Well, so far, anyway.


And… the kids know who Molly is. And they like her. A lot. The times they will be a’changin’ on that, faster than you think. The Internet speeds all of these movements up now, which is the same thing as saying: Consciousness is raised faster than it used to be because the Internet exists. In three generations we went from printed books and handwritten everything-because-there-were-no-computers-of-any-kind, to we-all-carry-a-computer-on-our-persons-at-all-times (and frequently more than one). Of course the information spreads faster and helps us grow faster.

So… seriously, I’m not trying to be a radical when I say: the numbers for this thing are all in the right direction, they’re accelerating, they’re not ever coming back down, MDMA is coming right behind it, trending in a similar fashion. Let’s just stop the nonsense and admit that marijuana is OK. And maybe even admit that it’s better than alcohol.

Except when you’re trying to get really, really drunk. Alcohol is better at that.


And, of course, I have to get to the punch line, which is, again: cannabis is an entheogen. The spreading of the use of entheogens is a good thing for getting the accelerating speeding-up of collective consciousness that we all want. And, even if that’s not your thing, you don’t have to get in the way of those of us who are playing our fun little game of Waking Up.

Legalizing cannabis will help some of us who are playing that game to raise our vibrations. Simply maintaining a raised personal vibration is a huge contribution to the collective right now. Guilt, and Worry, and Doubt, we have enough. Feeling the Present Moment, staying in Joy and Grace, we all need to start hitting above the Mendoza line with that. Our #1 job is really to make sure we stay positive, that we stay hopeful, that we receive our experience with understanding, and with gratefulness, and with Grace. If cannabis helps you to establish and maintain that, and to retrain your nervous system for deeper and deeper Peace, then you should have it.

And if it doesn’t, or you don’t want to use it, cool. But there’s no reason anymore to be in the way of it.

3-D, 4-D and 5-D 2013-Apr-08 at 02:54 PDT

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This is a bit I’ve done only for my close friends and family. (At least, I think so. Maybe I spouted off about it on Facebook too, I don’t remember.)

The terms “3-D”, “4-D”, and “5-D” have been thrown around quite a bit in spiritual circles for the last couple of years. It hasn’t been quick or easy, it’s taken me years, but I’ve tried really hard to make some sense of it all, to have some sort of mental map of what those terms actually mean, and also to know what it would feel like to be inside of them. In other words, the inside view and the outside view. This is what I want to share with you today.

I also admit to a certain desire I have to cor… help others who are using these terms, so that they might begin to use them less stu… more, uh, precisely. Yeah, more precisely. So, sorry about that in advance. I’ll try to keep it in check, I’m just owning it.

If it sounds like it’s going to be an awful slog through a bunch of words, it’s not. It’s going to be a journey through a collection of song titles that I’ll use to illustrate the perspectives!

No, actually, it won’t. Sorry. That would be cheap, I have too much respect for you to do that. Nope, it’ll just be words. Words… words… words. So….


No one said I had to do them in order.

This one is super-easy. It’s what you already experience all the time just by being in a body. This “real” world, this Earth, is a 4-D experience. A lot of teachers have been calling this the “3-D World”, but, really, it’s not. Our experience has four dimensions to it: height, width, length, and the passing of time. Calling this world “4-D” shouldn’t really be too much of a stretch if you’ve spent more than an hour looking at relativistic physics (and most of you have, c’mon, admit it). It’s space-time. Normal. 4-D.

A short diversion

To explain 3-D (and 5-D) I’m going to recommend watching videos from Rob Bryanton’s wonderful project, Imagining the 10th Dimension. Specifically, I’m going to recommend watching his videos on 3-D, 4-D, and 5-D. You don’t have to watch them to read this, so if you’re in reading mode right now, we’re good. I just want to say… Mr. Bryanton’s videos are excellent for getting a visual representation of how the dimensions might be imagined, and my thinking is very much influenced by his project.

And I’m not saying that what I’m writing is mathematically consistent… I don’t know enough to know if it is. I’m just using this as a way to present a model. I’m not claiming to be talking about Aleph0, 1, or 2. (I reserve the right to do so at a later date.)


With the preliminaries out of the way… what’s the difference between the 4-D that we all experience every day, and 3-D? In a nutshell, it’s missing an infinity (∞).

Dimensions and Infinity – another short diversion (although, not as short as the last one)

At 1-D, we have a line. It’s an infinite line of no width whatsoever. It goes on for infinity. So 1-D = one .

1-D = .

At 2-D, we have a plane. What’s a plane? Well, it’s a line times infinity. Another way to say that is: if you take all of the lines that could all intersect with each other, you’d need an infinite number of them, and you’d get a plane. So 2-D is 1-D (a line) x (infinity). 2-D = 1-D x .

2-D = x .

At 3-D, we have a space. What’s a space? Well, it’s a plane times infinity. If you take a plane, which is infinite in two dimensions, and you make an infinite number of them that all intersect with each other, you’d get a space. So 3-D is 2-D (a plane) x infinity. 3-D = 2-D x .

3-D = x x . (Notice the pattern?)

At 4-D, we have space-time. In this model, what is space-time? Well, it’s a space times infinity. In other words, if you imagine a 3-D space the size of our Universe, and then you multiply that space times infinity, so that all of the spaces intersect with each other… you’d get space-time. Time can be seen as just another spatial dimension (again, just a different perspective on it). So 4-D = 3-D x ∞.

Yeah. 4-D = x x ∞ x .

And, back to 3-D vs. 4-D… you’ll notice that 3-D is missing an infinity from 4-D. 3-D has one less infinity than 4-D has. And since we know that the infinities that 4-D has are length, width, height, and time, we simply remove time from 4-D, and we get 3-D: a static, never-changing space, with no movement of time whatsoever. Remember on Bewitched when Samantha would twitch her nose and everyone and everything in the room would freeze? That’s 3-D, except in 3-D there’s no nose twitch that “unfreezes” it. It just is frozen permanently.

I can’t even say that it’s frozen, because we’d need time before we could have a meaning for a construct like “frozen” (as opposed to, not frozen, like our 4-D world) and that would put us in 4-D. So it’s not frozen permanently… those terms are meaningless. It simply is an unchanging space, without time.

Now, I don’t know about you… but I’ve never experienced being an unchanging space. At least, not in this body. Therefore, I must not be in 3-D. I must be in 4-D. So please, other teachers, stop telling us that we’re moving from 3-D to wherever else we’re going. We’re in 4-D; we’re just adding other perspectives to that one. We’re not in 3-D. We’ve never been in 3-D.

Another way to look at this (from Rob Bryanton) is to imagine that you were in a 3-D space, and you opened your eyes. It takes time in our Universe for photons to move from a source of light and color and into our optic nerves and brains. You wouldn’t be able to see anything in a 3-D world, because the faculty of sight itself wouldn’t exist: it takes time for photons to move through space to be seen.

So, 3-D = 4-D ÷ . It’s 4-D, but without time, and therefore unchanging.


You already know that I’m going to tell you that 5-D = 4-D x , so we may as well get right to it. How do we conceive of that?

The answer is simple: we start without the mind.

The mind is going to have a very difficult time with this until it relaxes a bit, so we’re going to avoid going that route for just a bit, and instead we’re going to go directly to the Present Moment.

The Present Moment is the moment that you’re in right now. It’s pure, it’s fresh, it’s the Source of the moments that seem to be piling up in a bin called “the past”, and issuing from a bin called “the future”. The nature of the Present Moment is Peace. In the Present Moment, you rest at the very center of Peace, as the Source. Everything arises around you. The storms swell, and in the Present Moment you remain unmoved from your infinite Center.

I speak of the Present Moment when I speak about 5-D because they’re the same thing. The Present Moment is the source of the infinite 4-D manifestations that we call space-time. From 5-D, all of Time itself arises in the same Moment, because 5-D means (space-)time x . An infinity of times, all available to be experienced. This is the 5-D perspective.

This is the Present Moment. This is the Moment which is Timeless itself, and from which all Time springs. The mind need not apply for a job here… it’s too vast to comprehend that way.

We experience this Present Moment while we’re in the body. We experience it here, on Earth, together. When we experience the Present Moment, our bodies take on a particular feeling-state. Generally, relaxation, slower breathing, and a feeling of peace accompanies the Present Moment.

Therefore, yes, I’m saying that meditation, or whatever technique you like to step aside from thought and remember the Present Moment, is the doorway to the experience of 5-D. Not the mind. 5-D is too complex to be perceived by the mind. Literally, it’s too big. There are too many moving parts. Our minds can’t even begin to grasp the complexities of all of the options on a Starbucks Rewards Card, let alone the entire 4-D Universe and every different timeline it could take in 5-D. Our minds aren’t even in the same postal code of the stadium where that game is being played. 5-D is absolutely, positively, completely, beyond the ability of the mind to perceive directly.

No offense to the mind… the mind is awesome. It’s helping me write this, right now. (Thank you, mind.) So, yay for mind. And I’m not slighting it in the least when I say: the 4-D thing called the “mind” isn’t up to the task of operating in 5-D. It’s just not. It’s silly to even try.

The only way to navigate when you’re perceiving in 5-D is not with the mind. It’s with the Heart. It’s with your feelings. When you’re bringing your 5-D self online (while still having your 4-D experience in the body), you’ll find yourself in the Present Moment, and in the Present Moment the only thing to guide you is your own intuition, your own perceptions, your own feelings. Thoughts are far, far too limiting when we’re truly navigating from a 5-D perspective.

So, to perceive yourself as your own 5-D self (which you already are), slow down, rest in the Present Moment, allow the mind to quiet, and notice what feelings are coming. Notice how the Heart feels. Trust that the feelings in your Heart are, in fact, your window of perception from your 4-D bodymind of what your 5-D self is trying to tell you. Trust this information as the guidance you need to navigate.

This experience of slowing down to perceive the more subtle energies of the Heart is at the very center of mystic practice throughout the history of Earth. Call it Centering Prayer, call it Meditation, call it Sacred Dance, call it Baseball… slow down to receive. So 5-D is not something that’s just for people with siddhis, or special powers, or specific techniques practiced for years. It’s available to every being, Right Now. (And many have experienced friends from the animal and plant kingdoms vibrating from 5-D as well.)

Integrating 4-D and 5-D

Just keep returning to the Present Moment as often as you can. Your 4-D body-mind will start to reprogram itself to match the vibration of Peace you’re experiencing in the Present Moment (this is what we call integration).  You don’t have to leave your 4-D body to experience 5-D. You don’t have to use an entheogen to do it (not that there’s anything wrong with that). It’s always available to you.

Everything you need to navigate this world beautifully is available to you in your 5-D consciousness. All of the information and signals and feelings and indications that you need are provided, and they’re experienced through the 5th dimension. At least, that’s been my experience.

The more that your presence includes the sense of Peace and Centeredness of 5-D, the more your bodymind will adapt to flow with those energetic frequencies. It’s like any other practice… the more you do, the better you’ll be at it. And you always know that who you really are is not, could not be, defined by any manifestation within 4-D, since you’re so clearly experiencing yourself from and as your 5-D self.

The 4-D body will change in support of your new vibrational frequencies. So will your life. And you don’t have to do anything other than rest in the Present Moment, and pay attention to the feelings and sensations, as often as you remember to. After a little while, doing that while you’re also taking care of your 4-D life won’t seem all that hard, and you’ll get to walk around feeling like you’re in the Present Moment for more and more minutes every week.


P.S. As for 6-D… you do have a 6-D self… and it’s 5-D x , and so it’s an infinite set of 5-D space-timelines,  each of which intersects with every other 5-D space-timeline. In other words, it’s every potential state that our Universe could take in its entire existence, all Time, all Space, and we’re free in our 6-D consciousness to visit other timelines, and to experience consciousness from inside of the experience of any 5-D construct. It’s like being God of the entire (Holographic) Universe. In 7-D and 8-D, we have an infinite number of those Universes, and at 9-D and 10-D we experience only informational patterns that are the precursors of the 8-D Multiverse. (Yes, these are real perspectives that your very own Self can and does take, whether you’re aware of it or not from your 4-D bodymind. Again, you do not have to leave the 4-D body to experience them.) I’ll be writing quite a bit more coming up soon about these.

How to Receive 2013-Apr-06 at 13:33 PDT

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I’ve had a particularly blessed couple of weeks. Starting with finding out that I was about to be laid off, to actually getting laid off, to writing some fake news (and I’d love to know what you think of it), to following what feels right, it’s been an amazing period in my life.

And now I get to tell you that the transition is done… in these two weeks I’ve landed a great new job, where I get to contribute to an organization that I’m immensely proud to be associated with (and I’ll not say which given the… sensitive nature of some of the posts I write) (including this one). I even get to do it with a small consulting shop filled with great people.

I’m so grateful for all of it.

I remembered today that back in my atheist days I would have attributed this entire experience to meaningless random luck. Or to superior talent, intellect and/or experience. I mean, if I moved that quickly from getting dumped at one place, to landing at a new awesome place, I just would have figured that it made “sense” somehow.

In fact, I know this, because it happened to me when I was 25 and atheist/existentialist. I got fired at one job, and a week later, I had a job at one of the world’s great art museums. (I got to walk around the place on Mondays when it was closed to visitors. It was awesome, by the way.) And I just figured, it was all just billiard balls bouncing off one another, and somehow I ended up at the moment where I could interview for that position, and then I got it, and that was that.

When I remembered that atheist’s view, and I felt into it – in other words, when I felt what the body feels like when I hold that perspective – I realized that I could stop and compare it to how my body has felt during the last two weeks. I mean, I know that the atheist’s story is limited, but how much of it am I still subtly holding on to?

There was still some resonance between the two feelings. There were still ways that I was holding on to the feeling of separation as I received my experience.

So I took a good look at what perspective I’m taking on what’s been going on.

And I can’t help but notice that there’s a little bit of the story about “I’m really good at this” and “Thank God this came along at just this time” and whatever else that comes from some story that there’s more than One thing happening.

So I’m going to upgrade those thoughts. I’m going to fill the places that those thoughts are hiding out with “I’m so being taken care of right now” and with “The vibration of peace attracts peace” and with “Everything that’s arising is arising to help free me up”.

Because, let’s be honest, if you look at the ride I’ve just been on, and don’t think it’s magical and guided, then you still think you’re in control of something. And it’s more than high time that we give that up for good. That whole perspective has had its day.

Here’s what I know: I’m not in control of any of it. I’m just watching it unfold with awe, with gratefulness, with bewilderment (my favorite flavor of “beginner’s mind”), and with as much grace as I can muster. It all seems like I was pointed in one direction, and then Life intervened, grabbed me by the back of my shirt, picked me up, and pointed me in another direction and said, “Now… go here.”

My job is not to control it. My job is to receive it and honor it and experience it fully, and with as little resistance as possible. It’s all magical, it all arises on its own, with no prompting and no effort from me. It’s a lovely hologram, and my soul wanted to be here to experience it and to contribute to it.

By receiving my experience as guided, and receiving it as meant to help me step into Freedom, I stop seeing it as something that I’m doing or that I’m controlling. And then I’m free to play in it, to feel into my resonance and use that to guide my way. All I’m really doing is receiving myself, my Higher self, into the body. I’m feeling the information that my Higher self is giving to me about how to navigate, and I’m honoring it.

No thought is required. No decisions need to be made. Everything is shown.

So that’s how I’m receiving my experience lately. It’s all just magical, isn’t it?

Why I’m Optimistic About the Future – #1 2013-Mar-28 at 01:47 PDT

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I’m going to start doing a regular series of posts with short pieces or videos in them of why I’m an optimist about the future. Here’s the first one.


Those of you who know me know that I’m not a kids-person. I’m not what you’d call “child-friendly”. I don’t really know what to do around them, or what to say. Shrug. I prefer talking to adults.

So, with that confession out of the way, I also want to say that I’m not blind to what’s going on. Some of the kids are coming in very awake, and staying that way. (And many of them have parents who have done enough of their own work to stay out of their kids’ way, so, thank you, parents.) Don’t forget: even if today’s adults can’t pull off everything that they need to in order to fix the world, the kids coming in now will, and within a few decades. All is well.

Here’s one of them:

Following the Yes 2013-Mar-25 at 15:36 PDT

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It’s amazing how smoothly things work when you stay in the moment and trust your guidance.

Since Wednesday morning, when I was laid off, I’ve had a few interviews. Thursday I had an interview with a couple of people at a consulting/placement shop. The whole thing just didn’t feel right. Although I loved the view of Lake Union from their office, the vibe of the whole thing just wasn’t quite right, and the technical interview I had didn’t go well. I have very different experiences than the guy who interviewed me, and we didn’t see eye-to-eye on the industry, on my abilities or on how I should focus in my job search.

When I left, I felt the same way you feel whenever an interview doesn’t go well… just not good. Bottom line: it felt like a “no”. My heart and my gut just said “no” about the whole situation, and about the people involved. Not because they’re not nice people or good at what they do – there’s no reason for me to think any of that – but just because it’s not a match for me. Nothing personal in any of that, and no reason to take any of it personally.

Later Thursday afternoon, I spoke to a talent acquisition person at another company. The experience could not have been more different. It went smoothly, we had a great conversation, and we left it at seeing when there would be time to chat with some principals there.

By Friday afternoon I was in an office downtown in an interview that felt more like a conversation. The role they have is somewhere that I’d be thrilled to work and contribute, somewhere I’d already thought about. The whole thing just felt right. My heart and my gut both said “yes”.

Monday afternoon I had a follow-up interview with someone else at the firm. We talked about me, about the role, about consulting. Again, an interview that felt more like a conversation. Again, a big “yes”.

There’s a little more to the process before it’s done, but, there you go. I’m feeling so grateful and taken care of.

Just let go of the past, don’t take the feelings of “no” personally, and wait for the “yes”. The “yes” is coming, if you’re listening inside for it. No thought is required to feel it. This era in history is about all of us learning to trust the “yes” when it comes, and to trust a “no” as your indication that whatever is making you feel “no” isn’t what your soul wants right now.

I had a “no” developing about my previous role; getting laid off was a blessing to get me out of there before the “no” I was trying not to feel became too big. Now I’m in a flow, noticing the yes and the no that’s coming my way, navigating the way I’m guided to. This is the effortless effort… do your best for the “yes”, gracefully step away from the “no”.

Or, as my dear friend Thomas likes to say, “If it’s not fun… run!”

Everybody at Madison Square Garden Urged to “Clap Your Hands” 2013-Mar-22 at 18:25 PDT

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Early in the second period of Tuesday night’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and the New York Rangers, during a stoppage of play, everybody at Madison Square Garden was urged to “clap your hands”.

Members of the crowd seemed to be unaware of the reason that they should clap their hands.

“Did I just miss something?” said John DiMateo, 39, of Hicksville, NY, looking around at his neighbors. “I thought the puck just went over the boards. I’m not clapping for that.”

Dennis Reed, 28, from West Orange, NJ sitting in section 414, said, “I’m just trying to have a conversation with my friends here, and then this shit comes on. I’m not clapping. Look around, nobody is clapping. Nobody ever claps. Besides, if anybody ever does clap to this fucking thing, I’ll personally throw them down to the expensive seats.”

The song snippet used to exhort the crowd to clap their hands is from Mr C. The Slide Man’s Cha Cha Slide, a popular song at receptions. It is heard frequently alongside longtime favorites like the “Chicken Dance,” and the “Electric Slide.”

In the middle of the third period, with the score tied 1-1, hockey fans young and old were told again to “clap your hands”.

“I’ve never clapped for this shit, and I’m not going to start now,” said Craig Bosch, 34, of Manhattan. “What is this, a fucking wedding? I mean, do we really need to be told – Jesus! What, that wasn’t tripping?!? No, he fell down all by himself, right?!?”

“Christ,” he added.

When asked about it, Michael Liss, 59, a native of Bay Ridge in Brooklyn, looked up and shook his head. “Look, I’ve been coming to Rangers games since I was a little kid, when the Garden was up on 50th Street, and back then no one had to be told to clap. It’s just insulting. Like we don’t know when to – oh, for fuck’s sake, you call that interference?!? God damn it. These days you bump a guy and all of a sudden you’re in the penalty box. What a bunch of shit.”

Later, during overtime play, everybody was, once again, urged to “clap your hands”. Mark Poulis, 27, of Queens, remarked, “Why? Isn’t overtime exciting enough? Do we really need to be – For Christ’s sake, ref?!? What the fuck was that?”


At the conclusion of the game – the Rangers won in a shootout, with a final score of 2-1 – the crowd erupted, without prompting, into loud clapping and cheers.

Algorithms on whiteboards 2013-Mar-21 at 19:18 PDT

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I grew up in New Jersey, and until I joined Microsoft in 2008, I spent my entire career between Washington, D.C. and Boston, MA. I’ve applied for more jobs and had more interviews than I can remember in that time. I’ve done more interviews for candidates than I can remember.

In all that time, I was never asked, and I have never asked, a single “code this algorithm on the whiteboard” question. It wouldn’t even occur to me to ask that kind of question in an interview. I don’t think it proves anything really, other than that you’re young enough to remember the college course where you learned it. It’s not something that’s done in the Northeast (or, at least, it wasn’t before I left in 2008).

The whole thing isn’t natural. Writing on a whiteboard is something that 1) no programmer I’ve ever worked with does on a regular basis; 2) does not come naturally to someone who isn’t a visual thinker (which I’m not); and 3) lacks the amazing tools that you get when you work in your regular integrated development environment (IDE), something like Visual Studio 2012.

Let me try to give an example. If you’re a writer, you might like to write on yellow legal pads, and then type it into your computer. Or maybe you prefer to dictate into a recorder, and then transcribe it (or have someone transcribe it for you) later. Maybe you prefer to type in OneNote, and then, when you’re done, copy it over to Word. If you’re like me, you just fire up Word (or Windows Live Writer 2012, since this is a blog post) and start typing. All of those things work, they’re really a matter of taste and habit.

The number of developers that I know who prefer to write their code on paper or on a whiteboard before they type it into an IDE approaches zero. I can’t think of a single person I’ve ever worked with who, when given coding work to do, starts by writing the code they’re going to write on the whiteboard, and then, after they’re satisfied with it (and their messy hands from erasing and rewriting – remember there’s no cut-and-paste and no “insert” on a whiteboard), goes to transcribe that into an IDE. In the age of mainframes and batch processing, where testing your program consisted of submitting a job that only printed results on paper that had to be brought up from the huge printers in the basement to whatever floor you’re sitting on, I understand about slowing down, writing things out, making double-sure, because one run could take anywhere from fifteen to sixty minutes to get the results. That’s how I started my career. (Forget about punch-cards… even worse.)

But since, oh, the mid-1990’s, we’ve had magic things called IDE’s that let us create, compile, test, and deploy our code. These tools (unless you’re a hardcore vi or EMACS person) help immensely in structure, exploration, and comprehension of code, and, in the case of Visual Studio with Intellisense, actually help you to type code much, much faster than you otherwise could because they know what you’re about to type and auto-complete it for you. Whiteboards and pens-on-paper can’t do that.

And then there’s algorithms. Of course, all computer code implements some sort of algorithm… do this, then do that. But what I’m talking about are basic college-course example algorithms. Things that you might have learned in CS201 if you took it. They’re fundamental, and they’re lovely to know, but I’ve had a successful over-twenty-year career in IT and I have never, ever, ever seen a case where I had to know or implement one of them.

There are definitely places where knowing the fundamentals is a good thing. If I were applying for a job in the Windows kernel team, hell yes, I’d expect to be grilled for that. If I were doing some sort of sophisticated financial analysis for a Wall Street quant group, sure. If I’m analyzing Facebook data, absolutely. But for the 99.9%+ of the rest of the coding that we need done in the world, things like web sites and internal applications and mobile apps… yeah, no. I’ve never used a linked list. I’ve never used a binary search tree. I’ve certainly never had to create one… if I ever want one, they’re provided (in the .NET Framework they’re found in System.Collections.Generic).

Now that I’m in Seattle, the entire interviewing regime is geared to questions about algorithms. You could be applying for a job writing a user interface for a web site, and you’ll get these questions out here. This is, I assume, due to the prevalence of ex-Microsoft and ex-Amazon people all over here, who were taught that the “right” way to interview is to ask these questions.

I remember one interview where the guy asked me the third complex question about linked-lists in a row. This was for a job on a fairly straightforward “show the UI and store the data in a database” application, the kind of thing we all use all the time. I asked him, “Is there a single linked-list anywhere in this application?” He stuttered back, “Uh… well… I’ve used them before.” In other words, no. Sigh.

And it’s not like I suck as a programmer. Please. (And I would have gotten through that, no problem, when I was 18 and it was fresh.)

And now… back to writing said algorithms on said whiteboards. Really?!? Is there a job interview in another field that I’m not aware of that goes like, “The way that I’m going to evaluate your fitness for this job is by your ability to do something that you’re never going to be required to do, ever on the job that I’m hiring you for, and by the way, I want you to do it using a tool that you’re likely never ever going to use again”?


It’s like saying, “I’ll interview you for a job delivering packages, but I won’t give you the job unless you can go into a garage and rebuild the engine in the truck you’ll be driving.”

So, what can I do? I’m here… I have to interview… and thanks to a friend reminding me about it, I’ve just signed up for Coursera’s Algorithms I course. I already own the previous edition of the textbook (and I used to own the first edition when I was in college), and the course is fortunately taught by the excellent author of that textbook, so, that’s all lovely. I already was going to self-teach myself using the book… thanks to Coursera, I get some guidance along the way.

Why am I doing this? One reason: just to get through the interviews. When I’m done, like so much else we all learned in college and high school, I’ll forget it, not because I don’t think it’s interesting, but because I won’t be using it, ever.

At least, not until the next time I have to interview.

It’s done 2013-Mar-20 at 13:22 PDT

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Sitting at Starbucks on Mercer Island, watching hard rain and wind alternate with breaks of blue sky and sun. It’s a typical Spring day in Seattle. Didn’t sleep well. Coffee just kicking in.

Had the phone call at 10:00 AM. Traffic was bad this morning… I just made it in on time. (It’s poor form to be late to one’s own execution.) I brought an empty box in with me. Packed up, and left.

Then I went out and had a pastrami omelette for breakfast. Wrote the goodbye email while I was waiting for the food. Yummy, awesome way to transition out. Pastrami cures many ills. (Probably causes a few, too, but not in moderation, I hope.)

Activating my profile on Dice now… get the new search going. Making a few phone calls, reaching out to a few people.

Just after I hung up from being laid off, in this alternating rain and sun, a rainbow appeared to the west. It was too faint to capture in a picture (wish I could have included it here) but I saw it, and that’s all that matters.

I think I’m getting laid off in the morning 2013-Mar-20 at 02:38 PDT

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No, really, I’m pretty sure that I’m getting laid off in the morning. Not kidding.

Just to get this out of the way: This is not a post about office politics or “should I have seen this coming sooner?” or anything like that. As for how I think I know this, again, not important (and not nefarious; just putting 2 + 2 together). As for what, in my humble opinion, my company should or shouldn’t have done differently… also not what I’m interested in tonight.

What is important is that it threw my body for a loop when I realized it. Sort-of knocked the wind out of me. It isn’t completely unexpected, but, still, the body has a lot of programs locked in it about the whole story of “losing your job”. I felt anxiety, mostly. (I felt blockages in my root and fifth chakras, and excess energy in my third chakra, for those who can feel what that means.) I felt my belly spin with that familiar, frantic energy that comes with deep anxiety, especially around money and scarcity. At least, that’s how I’ve experienced it in the past.

So, I still have that story, that fear, that energy, in my body, as so many of us do… and damn if figuring out that I’m about to lose my job tomorrow tends to activate it. Big time. The body was feeling very unhappy, very worried, very ungrounded. Very unloved, too.

You know what? That’s not very much fun.

Life happens. Things arise, things fall away. How we receive those things, those circumstances, as they arise and fall away, is up to us. We have a choice, in every moment, about how we relate to whatever is arising.

Conditioning is nothing more than the sum total of the energetic patterns that we’ve inherited, and that we sometimes act from. We get them from our family, and from the world around us. My conditioning reacted to the “news” with it’s perspective on how to feel this evening: it freaked-the-fuck-out.

Fortunately for me, the amazing Lauren Worsh came and sat down next to me and helped me find my way into feeling better and freer.

You see, I don’t know what’s going to happen in the morning. I have a guess about it, and my body, my conditioning, has had its reaction to it.

Now it’s my turn to take a perspective on it. And here’s my perspective: I choose to receive everything that arises in my life as something that is meant to free me up. And even when I fail at that, and I get contracted about something, I still choose to return to receiving everything that arises in my life as something that is meant to free me up.

Even losing my job.

Again… life happens. It is what it is. I can choose to be in resistance to it, or I can choose to receive it from another, freer perspective. The truth is, I can choose whatever perspective I like about it, and how I feel (and how the world will feel to me) will change depending on that perspective. (Gaining more and more freedom in the perspectives that we take – and therefore allowing broader and broader range in terms of what we’re willing to feel – is an important part of psychological growth.)

So… since I don’t enjoy feeling anxiety, I’m going to take this perspective: no matter what happens in the morning, I’m going to take the perspective that it’s meant to continue to get me freed up, to help me step into Freedom even more deeply.

And, just to be clear what I mean when I say Freedom: I’ll offer a perspective you can take (or not), and just say that from that perspective, when you feel into yourself, and you feel what the world feels like, it feels like Freedom. It’s easier to just go there and point at it then explain it, and, besides, it’s not about the mind, it’s about the Heart. (And, really, I’d like some company.)

Usually, we take the perspective of being one human being. Instead, imagine identifying as that one human being… on one planet going around one star, one of over one hundred billion stars in the galaxy (pause and imagine it), in a Universe with over one hundred billion galaxies (pause and imagine that, too), in a Multiverse with a potentially infinite number of Universes (yes, that too – an infinite number of Universes)…

…and flip the perspective to just being the Source and Awareness of the totality of this infinite, multi-dimensional, ever-changing, ever-transforming All-That-Is. Just flip your perspective from personal to as-impersonal-as-you-can-get. Use your imagination if you’d like; just imagine what it would be like to take that perspective, to hold that perspective. You are Awareness. Then stay there for a minute, let it settle into the body, let the body and the Heart start to really feel (remember, the mind isn’t the thing that feels) what it feels like to be the Awareness of All-That-Is. Not what you think, but how it feels when you let go of the perspective of being a person – just for a minute, it won’t go away, I promise – and shift to the perspective of the Awareness of the totality of the Multiverse. All times, all places, all inside of this totality… this Awareness. Rest here, and feel into it.

Then drop the Awareness, and just Be.

If you pause and take this perspective with me, the body state it creates is Freedom. This is Freedom. This is your Freedom. The Present Moment, this moment, Right Now – fresh, clear, received without expectation or conditioning – is the home of Freedom and Awareness. It’s always available to you and to me.

Remember how I said I was feeling unloved? Sending myself Love from this place of Freedom and Awareness helps that quite a bit. It helps to calm down the anxiety and fear.

It’s simple, really. We shift our perspective out of conditioning and into our Freedom, we feel that in the body, and from there we shift our attention to what needs healing, what needs love. And now the source of that Love is the All-That-Is, and not just little ol’ me. Kind of like a magic trick, except no cards.

And I’m pretty sure that I’m getting laid off in the morning.

Either way, it’s going to help me get freed up. It already has.


Edit: If you’re interested in the follow-up

Why I don’t use Chrome 2013-Mar-19 at 19:31 PDT

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From Google bans ad-blocking apps from the Play store, sideloading is your only option, by Grant Brunner, 2013-03-14:

This isn’t Google’s first move to disrupt ad-blocking. In an article on Business Wire, Adblock Plus co-founder Till Faida discusses the actions Google has taken in recent months to make ad-blocking more difficult. Last month, Google forced users to manually configure proxy settings for Adblock Plus to work on their phones and tablets. Late last year, Google even prevented users from finding Adblock Plus through searches on the Chrome web store. No more cat and mouse games, though. This latest move sends a clear signal that Google won’t tolerate ad-blocking on its platform.

If we view companies by where they make their money, then Google is an advertising company, plain and simple. Over 95% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising. Their technology has one thing primarily in mind: mining your data for innovative ways to deliver ads to you. When you think Google, think advertising.

So, yeah, of course an ad company wants to prevent you from blocking ads. The other problem with Chrome is the lack of controls on cookies. I personally allow or disallow every cookie on my system. Chrome doesn’t have a way for me to decide that… it’s either all cookies or no cookies… complete tracking or a basically unusable browser experience.

So what do I use? Mostly I use Firefox with AdBlock. FireFox has really come back in terms of performance and memory usage. When I’m not using Firefox, I use IE10. IE10 is a great browser, and, yes, Microsoft does ads too, but it’s not their primary business. Or their secondary, tertiary, or whatever word comes after tertiary business. Both IE and Firefox allow me to choose which cookies to accept and which to reject. And, at this point, JavaScript performance is within milliseconds of each other for every normal case, so performance doesn’t matter… if a page loads in 2.3s on Chrome and 2.4s in Firefox, really, I don’t care.

As for the “you wouldn’t have the Internet without ads” argument… I pay for New York Times access. I will pay for Washington Post access when they put up their paywall. I pay for MLB, NHL, and Netflix. I donate to multiple sites I frequent if the creator asks for a donation. I don’t mind paying for content if it’s done well, and I wouldn’t miss too many of the sites I graze on daily for free if it came down to it.

So, it’s up to you, of course, but I can’t imagine why I’d want to use a browser that’s provided by an advertising company. It’s kind-of like using a medical app provided by Big Pharma.

Hope from the Transcendentalists 2013-Mar-18 at 02:45 PDT

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I found myself reading a bit of Thoreau tonight, and was meditating a bit on the Transcendental movement as a whole.

As I wrote previously, Transcendentalism was the first truly American philosophy. What’s particularly interesting about it is that the Transcendentalists were very clear about the Soul and the Oversoul. In other words, mystic spirituality. As in, Thoreau quoted the Vedas in his writing… he got it. So the first American philosophy had a mystic spirituality in its very center. Cool, right?

You know, Thoreau didn’t go to Walden for two years to write Walden. He went there to write A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers. Although he certainly went into town on occasion, and still saw Emerson and his family every week or two, and even had visitors… really, the cabin on Walden Pond was built so that he could do a two-year retreat. Thoreau trusted the value of that kind of experience.

And the entire world received the blessings of that trust. A Week turned out to be his best, most polished writing ever. And Walden? Walden, brilliant jewel it is, was basically a collection of observations he made during that retreat. Walden was the blog, if you will, that he wrote while he really wrote A Week. Amazing things come through when you rest in Silence.

I say all of this to say: take heart. The path to a collective spiritual life can seem like it’s farther away than ever. But Thoreau thought that too. In his time, the bustle of the railroad and the newspapers and all of the commerce in Concord (much less Boston!) was far beyond what he thought could possibly be healthy for the human soul.

And yet, even though he thought that about the world, he lived in Silence and Spirit, knowing what was true, what always would be true. We can, too. It’s not too late. It’s actually right on time.

Building Machine Intelligence based on the brain 2013-Mar-16 at 18:15 PDT

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Interesting talk at Google by Jeff Hawkins from Numenta. They’ve built an interesting and scalable implementation of machine AI that’s based on some of the latest research into how the brain works. What I love about their approach is that they’re clear that building machine intelligence does not mean that the way that the brain works should be duplicated in silicon… there are significant differences, and there’s no need to create a copy of the brain in a computer to get machine intelligence. If I lived in Silicon Valley, I’d be very interested in working for them (not that I have a Ph.D in computer science)… very cool stuff.

The funny part for me was that as I was watching this, I was wondering (especially now that Ray Kurzweil works at Google), “What would Ray think of this?” And then the first questioner at the Q&A at the end of the talk was… Ray Kurzweil.


Why I’m blogging again 2013-Mar-16 at 00:25 PDT

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Ordinarily, after the amount of time that I’ve been away from this blog, one would write the “Sorry I’ve been away so long” post. But, the truth is, I didn’t go away. I just went on Facebook instead. Like a lot of us did. (Good Lord, they know a lot about us now.)

I’ve been thinking about that lately, and the truth is, I’m tired of Facebook’s design goal of keeping your eyeballs on their screen for more hours than anything else you look at ever. I certainly appreciate the new kind of connections that Facebook enables. I appreciate everyone that I’m friends with on Facebook. I appreciate how easy it is to stay in touch with, or feel a connection to, so many people that I wouldn’t otherwise be communicating with.

Really, that’s the rub… Facebook has enabled goodness, but the good intentions behind it are being overwhelmed (quite predictably) by the pressure to monetize. And it feels less authentic to me to share myself there when I see where Facebook is headed.

(I also went on Twitter a while, but really that wasn’t a blog replacement as much as it was a platform to say really short things that I wouldn’t have bothered to write a blog post about anyway. So, it’s fun and everything, and I think I’ll get back to it.)

So, about this blog. Well, I still want to say stuff. Facebook definitely got me hooked on that. But what I want to say now is a lot less frivolous than before. I’ll still post stuff about science breakthroughs and computing power and the routine brilliant observations by Thomas Barnett (that stuff is still important), but really I’ll be doing what I didn’t quite do the last time, which is to be completely honest about where I’m at, and how I see the world.

How I see the world now is as a multidimensional Hologram, composed of energy, and where I’m at is a beautiful Infinite-beyond-Infinite multiplicity as the expression of a Oneness, about which one can say… nothing. It’s all just Energy, manifested effortlessly from and as the Void of Being. And in the middle of all of that, I’m still a human being dealing with fucked-up-beautiful humanness and conditioning.

Time for a coming out party.

The military will lead in robotic development 2010-Dec-29 at 16:27 PST

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And that’s OK.

It makes sense.  The U.S. military has the most to gain from using robots on the battlefield… every robot that does the job that a human might do keeps a man or woman out of harm’s way.

From War Machines: Recruiting Robots for Combat, by John Markoff, 27-Nov-2010:

And while smart machines are already very much a part of modern warfare, the Army and its contractors are eager to add more. New robots — none of them particularly human-looking — are being designed to handle a broader range of tasks, from picking off snipers to serving as indefatigable night sentries.

Three backpack-clad technicians, standing out of the line of fire, operate the three robots with wireless video-game-style controllers. One swivels the video camera on the armed robot until it spots a sniper on a rooftop. The machine gun pirouettes, points and fires in two rapid bursts. Had the bullets been real, the target would have been destroyed.

“One of the great arguments for armed robots is they can fire second,” said Joseph W. Dyer, a former vice admiral and the chief operating officer of iRobot, which makes robots that clear explosives as well as the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner. When a robot looks around a battlefield, he said, the remote technician who is seeing through its eyes can take time to assess a scene without firing in haste at an innocent person.

Although there is a risk of lowering the barrier-to-entry for war by sending robots rather than humans to do the fighting, our main threat (and therefore our main area of military focus) over the next 40 years is going to be terrorists, not other nations, and most terrorists won’t be able to afford these robots.  Of course, they have suicide bombers, which enable some sophisticated kinds of attacks that aren’t otherwise possible.

Better they bomb a bunch of robots, for now.

One thing I wonder about… when the military has a significant number of these kinds of robots, and AI grows up, someone will mix that peanut butter and chocolate and we’ll have some military-specific robots that are capable of performing some sophisticated decision-making.  When that happens, will we still be so cavalier about sending them into battle, when we know that they’re exhibiting identifiable signs of intelligence?  And will we eventually have to establish a command structure in the military that includes AI-based commanders?

I’m guessing that, at some point in the next 40 years, we’ll have artificial intelligence capable of holding an officer’s rank, and probably General or Admiral.

P.S. Sorry I’ve been away… working on the book!  I’ll try to do both now… walk and chew gum.  I can do this.

Full Tilt Poker pulls out of Washington State 2010-Nov-16 at 14:56 PST

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As I thought in September they might, Full Tilt Poker has ceased allowing real money poker in Washington State.  It’s absolutely disgusting that a game of skill like poker has such an awful legal environment around it in Washington State that this has come about.

For the record, I’m not mad at Full Tilt for pulling out… they’re just doing what they have to do.  I’m mad at our Legislature for not making the legal environment as clear as possible.

Poker, like skateboarding, is not a crime.

Alcohol worst drug overall 2010-Nov-15 at 19:09 PST

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From Alcohol ‘more harmful than heroin’ says Prof David Nutt, 1-Nov-2010:

Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack when the overall dangers to the individual and society are considered, according to a study in the Lancet.

The report is co-authored by Professor David Nutt, the former government chief drugs adviser who was sacked in 2009.

It ranked 20 drugs on 16 measures of harm to users and to wider society.

Heroin, crack and crystal meth were deemed worst for individuals, with alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine worst for society, and alcohol worst overall.

The study by the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs also said tobacco and cocaine were judged to be equally harmful, while ecstasy and LSD were among the least damaging.

This is an attempt to take a multi-perspectival approach to Britain’s overall drug policy and enforcement.  Among the things that such an approach would have to look at would be both the individual toll and the toll on society around the use of each drug.

When this group used exactly that approach, they found that alcohol clearly was the worst drug in terms of its overall effects, ranking near the top in individual harm, and ranking well above all others in terms of its negative effects on society.

By the way, Ecstasy, LSD, and Mushrooms were three of the four least damaging drugs in the study.

If we’re going to develop an Integral perspective on drug policy, this is the kind of study that we need to sanction and support here in the United States and around the world.  And we’d do well to listen to the… sorry, got distracted by some woman in a tight shirt selling beer… results.

Longer lifespans = higher retirement ages 2010-Nov-15 at 01:02 PST

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When the Social Security Act was first passed in 1935, the average life expectancy in the United States was 61 years.  Today, average life expectancy in the U.S. is 79 and continuing to grow.  The Social Security Act never envisioned an average life span this high, and yet we’re still living off of age ranges from the world before World War II.

So it comes as a surprise to me that the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, the bipartisan committee that President Obama has appointed to look at ways to address the federal deficit and debt, has suggested that we raise the retirement age for full Social Security benefits to 68 by 2050, and 69 by 2075.

It surprises me not because it’s too shocking, but because it’s far too tame.  Unfortunately, the short-sighted reactions came swiftly.

From Panel Seeks Social Security Cuts and Higher Taxes, by Jackie Calmes, 10-Nov-2010:

Liberal groups immediately condemned the plan when news of it broke, for its Social Security and Medicare changes and for the scope of the spending cuts. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in a statement called it “simply unacceptable.”

The furor on the left was not matched — yet — by a similar outcry from the right to the draft’s proposed revenue increases, cuts to the military or other options.  [This outcry came the next day. – Scott]

The plan has many elements with the potential to draw intense political fire. It lays out options for overhauling the tax code that include limiting or eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit. It envisions cutting Pentagon weapons programs and paring back almost all domestic programs.

By 2050, we can expect the average human life span in the United States to be at least 120 years, and probably closer to 150.  Wouldn’t it make sense to leave Social Security only for the time when the vast majority of Americans are too old and infirm to continue to work?  Given the advances in medical technology we’ll see in the next 20 years, and then in the 20 years after that, we won’t see poor health, in general, until far later than we do now.

The only reasonable solution to our overburdened Social Security system is to index the retirement age to increases in longevity.  Although the Commission proposes exactly this, it follows that up with the 68 and 69 numbers.  I have no idea what projections they’ve looked at in terms of life span, but I’m damn sure they’re far too pessimistic.  Of course, we’ll quickly have more retirees than workers paying taxes to support them if we don’t raise the retirement age for Social Security significantly.

Just as we index benefits based on inflation, and we make cost of living adjustments annually, we need to make retirement age adjustments annually based on average life span, which will continue to grow.  Will we have the political foresight to pull that off?  Not until we have far more Integral politicians running things….

Supercomputing: Right on time 2010-Nov-14 at 19:08 PST

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The growth of supercomputing capability in the world continues along it’s exponential curve.  In the wake of China staking out its territory by announcing the world’s fastest supercomputer, at 2.5 petaflops, the United States announces its next move: two different 20 petaflop systems by 2012.

From U.S. building next wave of supercomputers, by Patrick Thibodeau, 12-Nov-2010:

Oak Ridge National Laboratory, home for what has been the world’s most powerful system, the Jaguar, a 1.75-petaflop system, versus Tianhe-1A’s 2.5 petaflops, is building a 20-petaflop system that will include accelerators.

That system will be ready in 2012, James Hack, director of the National Center for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge, told Computerworld. No other details about the system are being offered.

Another 20-petaflop system is being built for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory by IBM. That system has already been announced and is expected to arrive at the lab in late 2011 and be in production in 2012.

To put this in perspective, according to Wikipedia, "As of June 2010, the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world combine for 32.4 petaFLOPS of computing power."  That means that, in less than two years, we’ll have two systems in the United States that, together, are more powerful than the top 500 supercomputers on Earth today.  Japan will have a 10 petaflop system as well.

Additionally, the price per gigaflop (a petaflop is 1,000,000 gigaflops) has dropped from $15,000,000 in 1984, to $30,000 in 1997, to $1,000 in 2000, and today to around $0.14.  That’s right: from $15,000,000 to 14¢, and we’ll soon get a gigaflop for under 1¢, on hardware available to ordinary consumers around the world.

That’s how fast supercomputing power grows.  That’s how fast it grows for us as well, on ordinary computers.  More computing power, less cost to build it.  It’s fun to watch.

Charming but naïve: Obama shouldn’t run for reelection 2010-Nov-14 at 01:23 PST

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From One and done: To be a great president, Obama should not seek reelection in 2012, by Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell, 14-Nov-2010:

This is a critical moment for the country. From the faltering economy to the burdensome deficit to our foreign policy struggles, America is suffering a widespread sense of crisis and anxiety about the future. Under these circumstances, Obama has the opportunity to seize the high ground and the imagination of the nation once again, and to galvanize the public for the hard decisions that must be made. The only way he can do so, though, is by putting national interests ahead of personal or political ones.

To that end, we believe Obama should announce immediately that he will not be a candidate for reelection in 2012.

If the president goes down the reelection road, we are guaranteed two years of political gridlock at a time when we can ill afford it. But by explicitly saying he will be a one-term president, Obama can deliver on his central campaign promise of 2008, draining the poison from our culture of polarization and ending the resentment and division that have eroded our national identity and common purpose.

If Obama announced this week that he wouldn’t seek reelection, it would Bring Hope Back™ for a little while.  That’s why this idea is so charming… for a little while, it’ll be right.  The country would seem united again, there would be excitement that we could work through our problems quickly, and that we could come together around some simple ideas that most of us agree on.  Unfortunately, after some months, it would fade, and impatience would once again take over.

Soon the Democrats in Congress would stop listening to President Obama, because their neck is on the line in the next election, but not his.

And the Republicans… if you think that what you’ve seen so far is what an uncooperative Republican Caucus looks like, you haven’t seen them when he’s not even an opponent anymore.  Don’t forget, Republicans believe that the policies they’re advocating are better for the country, and a whole bunch of them just got elected, so they think they’re on the right track.  Anything he proposes that doesn’t match the story they’re selling gets stonewalled immediately, and there won’t be enough Democrats who want to fight about it to get things done.

So, really, it would lead to an even worse version of Congress than we’re seeing right now.  But what we’d really lose is the potential to have our first Integral President serve for another four years.

If he runs and loses, I’ll be disappointed and I’ll be among those who reevaluates the pace of development I think I’m seeing.  But if Obama doesn’t run at all… I’ll wonder what could have been, and where the country could have gone if someone with a clearly Integral perspective were running things just as the Integral movement heated up around the world.  I’ll wonder if we’re missing out on a chance to ride out this current storm and end up in some smoother sailing by the end of his second term, thanks to a segment of the public undergoing rapid transformation, as they take on broader perspectives.

So, I’m sorry, I must disagree with this sweet and well-intentioned idea we find written up in the Opinion section of the Washington Post.  Charming idea, but it won’t lead to the world that they think it will.

This doesn’t make a pessimist, by the way, just a realist.  I trust you already know how optimistic I am about where we’re going, because I am.

And don’t despair: the Republicans don’t actually have a credible candidate right now who can beat him in a general election, and we’re two years out.  I know that’s a lot of time, but in the world of United States National Politics, that’s less time than it might seem.  I really don’t think President Obama has much to worry about in 2012.