While visiting my mother in Paynesville I attended a U3A (University of the 3rd age) discussion group my father regularly attended before his passing. It is concerned with current affairs. So I raised these three topics, it was my father’s job there to manage the discussion.
1. Global Warming
- Caused by burning fossil fuels – cars, power plants. These things have helped humans progress substantially but it’s time to save the planet
- 99% of scientists say it’s because of human activity
- Getting warmer
- Ice caps melting, water levels rising, Bangladesh example
- Will possibly cause human extinction
- What can we do?
- Power consumption, voting – greens perhaps?
- Promote renewables
2 Nuclear War
- The other big threat to humanity
- Countries with the bomb
- North Korea, Iran, Russia, France Israel, UK, US – Trump
- Trouble in the Middle East
- Israel’s killing of Palestinians and annexing of land may cause global conflict where the bomb might be used
3. Artificial Intelligence
- AI will take most human jobs – robots
- AI will enables humans to focus on life, leave the mundane to AI
- AI is an opportunity for evolution
- As dramatic as any human invention:
- Our first inventions were the use of fire, the wheel, language, money, and Socrates and Plato developed human thought
- More recent inventions like politics, education and flight.
- Now we have AI
- Stephen Hawking says AI is the biggest threat to humanity
Well it’s my home city Melbourne, where my immediate family live. Now I’m in Paynesville with my mum, a nice place, the best place in the world according to my father. I took a short walk home from the shop today. For most people a 5 minute stroll but it took me more than an hour. So fellow coma victims there are so many ups and downs, my walking is a good example. A short time ago I thought my walking was about to improve once and for all but then it deteriorated again. It seems I’m back at day one. Well not exactly as I’m no longer in a hospital bed or wheelchair, but day one of learning to walk again.
Everytime my wife and I visit Melbourne we go to St Paterick’s Cathederal which was excellent again last week. A world class church, the best in Australia I think.
Well I’m back to my favorite place in the old town of Melbourne, time to resume my writing, I’ve been coming to this particular place for years, it’s now called Siglo previously the Supper Club. It’s lost none of it’s charm, maybe we can catch up here to remember the past. You’ll have to prompt me. A place to enjoy my first cigarette of the year. I don’t need them anymore but an old writers habit, a drag to help one reflect.
Dear fellow coma victims, back to the main point of this blog. My walking has deteriorated of late, perhaps my brain is adjusting the new pathways and making permanent it’s rerouting. I have definitely experienced setbacks like this before, and again. I always need a stick now. At the same time my right hand is playing up which makes sense if the brain is adjusting itself. I’ve had problems with the entire right hand side of my body since coma. In particular the right hand doesn’t open properly. So often I’m taken for a stroke victim, and again recently. Let’s hope this is the brains last significant adjustment. I’m probably wrong about such speculations as I’m not a doctor and these statements just represent my opinion. So fellow coma victim, keep scanning the internet and don’t accept this fake news! But I don’t claim for it to be news, merely expression. The only useful remarks I can offer is recovery from coma takes an extremely long time with ups and downs. The brain tries to create a new pathway for this different purpose. This new pathways route was originally used for something else I suspect, maybe vision, hearing or memory but now must be used to communicate with the leg while walking. Many subtelties to learn, ankle and balance etc.
I thought to include a link that speaks of similar things.
The thing that makes humans special is thought. There is an assumption that human thought looks for truth. In actual fact human thought is a consequence of experience and there is no underlying truth, except for facts. Fact versus belief, or opinion. For facts there is the obvious, science tells us about the atom and Mars is a planet of our solar system. But during my education I understood that there were such thoughts as right, wrong, good, bad, difference and also subjective truth. Indeed we humans become assimilated, when using our minds and considering ideas. There is an obvious mental path for us to follow, a sensibility. Is there a right or wrong way to think? This is fake news. As a thinking being I often wonder where to aim my thought, what to consider and whether my thought is accurate. What logic I’m using. I wonder about my mental processing and if it’s fit for purpose. Sometimes I think with simple binary logic, up versus down, left or right, good or evil, etc. Perhaps it’s illogical to speak of consciousness in this way with too much detail, maybe thought is always merely best fit. In the west we believe in absolute truth. But there is no absolutely correct mode of thinking, thought is just another human approximation of reality. The TV news just now appealed to “what’s right” presuming there is an absolute truth, a “what’s right”. Indeed the human mind is shaped by the times we live in and not by our absolute truths. We have created a very muddled world of opinion. A human academic might laugh at me and say of course there is such a concept as absolute truth, it is right not to kill. Yes it does seem to me that there are absolute truths but they are very human and not absolute. Thought exists in individual and collective consciousness, the collective is now becoming more substantial through technology. Artificial intelligence provides us an opportunity to deeply consider thought’s laws and the mental processing that occurs in consciousness. Political thought seems most malleable when considering today’s Trump and Russia. The US believe there are absolutes truths like individual freedom, Russia thinks people are just trying to live their lives through struggle. The long and short of this post is “you are what you think” although some people say “you are what you do”. I don’t intimately trust my thoughts but am aware I think. It is true that I exist, I do, another thought. And what thoughts lead Assad to use chemical weapons in Syria against his own people? The CNN news now tells me this but these ideas should be checked against fake news, opinion or fact. I actually think news services perpetuate the state of play by always stating current opinion between facts. Maybe we’ll get past all this fact versus opinion when we evolve. Maybe we’ll transcend thought.
Travelling again, another trip to Vietnam. Ho is very close to home, less than a 2 hour flight. Vietnam is one of my favourite countries in Asia although I like all of them in this region. For me Asia is better than my home country Australia because I suspect that many Aussies have doubts about otherness given the boat people policies there. Some people seeking freedom by traveling in boats to Australia are put in prison or desolate places. People in Australia should just celebrate life like they do here. Quite a profound experience again the war remnants museum. Deplorable human actions of the past continue, now in Syria, Iraq etc. Agression is central to humans. Agent orange was devastating and we still use chemical weapons. Probably some of the boat people came from Vietnam, there has been so much suffering in this country.
News services like CNN and BBC are concerned about social media. Facebook helped to elect Trump these news services suggest because Facebook sold private data to communicate with and influence voters. Apparently another company called “Caimbridge Analytica” was involved. This opinion might be considered fake news, only fact if they provide evidence for changed votes. The fact is Hillary had 3 million more votes than Trump who won because of the college voting system. We should always remember that people can be influenced by anyone but must decide for themselves when voting. There are people trying to influence you everywhere, in the City Square or on the Bourke Street Mall (Melbourne Australia), and beggars, all manner of interests trying to get your attention. Are we suggesting people shouldn’t go to public places? I regard Facebook as just that. Globally through technology Facebook is a public place where I can interact with the people I know anywhere in the world. Indeed like all public places social media can be used to influence if you want to listen. People should take responsibility for their decisions and not blame social media. Personally I think there is some value in the likes of Google, Twitter, Facebook, WordPress etc, we have taken communication to the next level. They are now saying on CNN that Facebook privacy was abused. Perhaps but I have always regarded anything on the internet as public and am careful not to put things online that I think I don’t want to share. Things that I don’t want anybody else to see. For me the internet is where I can keep in touch with people, and see fake news and sometimes facts. For example what’s the distance to Mars? How’s your day wifey?