People and Resistence to Change : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Human nature and resistence to change constitues a major impediment to dealing with Y2K. I ahve seen numerous references to the part that fear and panic play, but nothing about change itself, and our reaction to it. So, here are some thoughts:

How many of us have had a bad situation in our lives that we should not have tolerated but did, becasue we were not willing or able to change. Y2K very likely will bring change of an unprecedented magnitude. This is what people cannot deal with. Change is a root cause for the entry of our fear, anxiety, and confusion to take hold. Peoples basic reaction to change is resistence, even when we realize that change is required. The greater the needed change, the greater the resistence.

When change has no precedent, thinking outside the box is required. That is, solutions we are familair with and that have worked before may not even be applicable. Y2K needs to be thought of in this way - outside the box. This in itself is a change to the way we think and operate within our normal comfort zones. Picture yourself driving. You stop at a traffic signal and wait. After a little while, the light turns Blue. You are now outside the box. You have to respond too. At a minimum you are confused. You may feel anxiety or even fear. You think, while your emotions go along for the ride.

This brings me to human nature, which I think of as the second larger box that contains the first box. Human nature is immutable. It does not change. When forced outside the first box we are still bounded within human nature. It is at this level we will think and formulate our responses. Now, consider the implications of this in the context of Y2K... for individuals, communities, governments, and the human race itself.

Just my 2 cents - keep the change.

-- Rob Michaels (, December 17, 1998


Thanks Rob,

I agree with what you say about "human nature." Of course this is one of those concepts that everybody talks about as a given, but when seriously investigated or discussed, it evaporates into the subjective fog of perception and opinion.

The attached article by Paul Ornstein was gleaned from Jay Hanson's site ( when I was actively researching what I call "Earthcrisis." It really rattled my reality. Recently, I read it with my Y2K glasses on and was shaken (not stirred) all over again, although one interpretation of it could lead to a very optimistic conclusion. This might be a good thread on which to pass it along.



The mind is a squadron of simpletons. It is not unified, it is not rational, it is not well designedor designed at all. It just happened, an accumulation of innovations of the organisms that lived before us. The mind evolved, through countless animals and through countless worlds.

Like the rest of biological evolution, the human mind is a collage of adaptations (the propensity to do the right thing) to different situations. Our thought is a pack of fixed routinessimpletons. We need them. It is vital to find the right food at the right time, to mate well, to generate children, to avoid marauders, to respond to emergency quickly. Mental routines to do so have evolved over millions of years and developed in different periods in our evolution, as Rumi noted.

We don't think of ourselves as of such humble origins. The triumphs that have occurred in the short time since the Industrial Revolution have completely distorted our view of ourselves. Hence, the celebrated triumph of humanity is its rationality: the ability to reason through events and act logically; to organize business; to plan for the future; to create science and technology. One influential philosopher, Daniel Dennet, wrote recently: "When a person falls short of perfect rationality ... there is no coherent ... description of the person's mental states."

Yet to characterize the mind as primarily rational is an injustice; it sells us short, it makes us misunderstand ourselves, it has perverted our understanding of our intelligence, our schooling, our physical and mental health. Holding up rationality, and its remorseless deliberation, as the model of the mind has, more important, set us along the wrong road to our future. Instead of the pinnacle, rationality is just one small ability in a compound of possibilities.

The mind evolved great breadth, but it is shallow, for it performs quick and dirty sketches of the world. This rough-and-ready perception of reality enabled our ancestors to survive better. The mind did not evolve to know the world or to know ourselves. Simply speaking, there has never been, nor will there ever be, enough time to be truly rational.

Rationality is one component of the mind, but it is used rarely, and in a very limited area. Rationality is impossible anyway. There isn't time for the mind to go through the luxurious exercises of examining alternatives. Consider the standard way of examining evidence, the truth table, a checklist of information about whether propositions are correct or not. To know whether Aristotle is a hamburger, you would look up "Aristotle" or "hamburger" in this table. Now think of the number of issues you immediately know wellwhat Yugoslavia is, whether skateboards are used at formal dinners, how chicken sandwiches should taste, what your spouse wore this morningand you will see that your own truth table, if entered randomly, would have millions of entries just waiting![p.p. 2-3]

A mind built up with countless specific adaptations can never be rational. We piece together the results of a small set of probes to judge the world, picking up a few signals and making quick assessments of what is outside, in the case of marauders, and inside, in the case of memories and dreams. Such a mind will never be rational; but it will always try to adapt. And it cannot always be correct either. If we consider a mind that has evolved to meet most situations adequately, say 95 percent of them, we may have a better idea of what being correct is. [p. 221]

Since the mind evolved to select a few signals and then dream up a semblance, whatever enters our consciousness is overemphasized. It does not matter how the information enters, whether via a television program, a newspaper story, a friend's conversation, a strong emotional reaction, a memoryall is overemphasized. We ignore other, more compelling evidence, overemphasizing and overgeneralizing from the information close at hand to produce a rough-and-ready realty. [p. 258]

The [mental] system we recruited had the primary aim of reacting quickly to immediate dangerthose who did lived long enough to produce us. Those who acted more thoughtfully and with due deliberation of the proper course, who could avoid panic when confronted by mild threatswho acted rationally, that isprobably lived shorter, and thus less generative, lives. The survival argument against rationality in primeval conditions is that payoff is very lopsided: Fail to respond to a real danger, even if that danger would kill you only 1/10,000 as often, and you will be dead. A few years later, you will be deader in evolutionary terms, for fewer of your genes will be around. However, an overreaction to danger produces only a little hysteria, a little stress, and maybe a little embarrassmentprobably little or no loss of reproductive ability. Maybe the excitement would even recruit a little more reproductive effort!

Running from every snake or tiger or loud noise probably doesn't disrupt life too much. Not running, while it might kill you only slightly more often, can eventually produce major changes in the population. The same numbers hold in this example as for the height difference cited earlier. If panic in response to a threat in all cases improved survival by even 1/10,000, those who panicked would be 484 million times more populous than those who did not. And so it was good to respond emotionally and quickly to the average dangers threatening most of our ancestors. Rationality is a great idea and ideal, but we never had the time for it; we don't have time for it now, and thus we don't have the mind for it. [p. 262]

THE EVOLUTION OF CONSCIOUSNESS, Paul Ornstein; Prentice Hall, 1991, ISBN 0-13-587569-2

-- Hallyx (, December 17, 1998.

Then how come the vast majority of the population is not panicking in response to this threat?

People tend to project the present into the future, in a linear fashion. The stock market's been going up the last eight years, hey, it's going to keep going up! Most people find it very difficult to imagine radical change in the way things work.

-- Shimrod (, December 17, 1998.

Rationality is a quality of mind that can wonder in and out of physical embodiment. When it can express itself in this physical predatory world, the results are dramatic (look around).

It's like a gun: you could disassemble them all, melt down all the parts. But this physical world will always hold the potential of bringing forth a gun out of independently harmless component parts.

Just so when the universe-wandering rational trait of 'mind' finds the right set of switches, whether in biological or physical embodiment, it can 'move in' and have some fun trashing things up. This is why, unless y2k brings it all down, computers WILL 'come alive' and displace bioligical humanity.


-- Runway Cat (, December 17, 1998.

I was speaking to a neighbor last night, a total DGI, a crack programmer with 20 years experience (by the way). Anyway, I was taking the 'soft' road, I mentioned Yourdon (who he knows by rep) to orient him, then I went for a very mild 'kill' saying: "So, I estimate the chance of infrastructure meltdown at about 3%, but even with that, don't you think you should prepare a little?" He looked absolutely shocked! He said "I would put the chance considerably lower than that!" So, I said, OK, let's reduce it by 2/3, to 1% chance of total meltdown, isn't it STILL worthwhile to prepare?" He said "Only religious people care about y2k." I said "Yes, religious people are irrational by definition, but isn't your faith in 'the system' equallly irrational ?" He now thinks I'm a complete survivalist Ayatollah of some sort.


-Runway Felinus Domesticus

-- runway cat (, December 17, 1998.

Omigod, the ultimately sane and rational person who posts here as Runway Cat has been taken over by an alien mind. How else to explain, "This is why, unless y2k brings it all down, computers WILL 'come alive' and displace bioligical humanity." Or maybe it was some "snert" (AOL slang for troll) posting in his name. Hehehe....


"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."--- Ellen Ripley

-- Hallyx (, December 17, 1998.

Why aren't most people "getting it?" Because the signals involved are not "seen." The adult can "see" what the pit bull jumping over the fence means, but the 2-year old can't. We have experiences to refer to in these cases, we have learned about them. And a million other macroscopic situations.

We know about infrastructure disruptions, we've seen or read about floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, carpet bombing, etc. This is imaginable. But we have NO experience of massive and widespread infrastructure disruptions caused by something invisible -- Y2K. So for a lot of people -- the idea itself is invisible.

-- Tom Carey (, December 17, 1998.

Hallyx - Science and Sanity by Alfred Korzybski is very good at describing the relationships between abstraction and reality.

-- Paul Davis (, December 17, 1998.

Hallyx - yep, it was me, RC, and I -do- believe that, crazy as it sounds. But no computer life could be stranger then current humanity, right ??


-- runway cat (, December 17, 1998.

<< The mind is a squadron of simpletons. It is not unified, it is not rational, it is not well designedor designed at all. It just happened, an accumulation of innovations of the organisms that lived before us. >>

Oh yeah, sure. Anybody who can believe that can believe A N Y T H I N G !!! Hey, accidents happen, shit happens, highly complex information bearing and adaptive structures happen. Right?

Talk about your blind faith. Sheesh!

-- Franklin Journier (, December 17, 1998.


Put your metaphor lenses on and reconsider what Ornstein said in the context of the rest of his essay. Further, consider recent evidence-based conjecture in modern anthropology. My understanding is that evolution is now being interpreted as less a random genetic modification from which the survivors--not necessairlly the fittest; just fit enough--propagate their genes. Many current anthropologists and brain researchers see it as more as a recursive process wherein the feedback from adaptations has an effect on how and to what degree genes are modified.

I'd love to recommend references to support this, but I'm afraid I am a slovenly researcher and do not maintain a file of references. You might begin with Richard Leakey and browse his bibliography for appropriate anthropological and brain-evolution texts.

In any case, the findings of modern scientific research and, especially, its interpretation are a lot more complicated and much less obvious--and thereby more compelling--than this simple Y2K issue.


"Carried away, perhaps by His matchless creation, The Garden of Eden, He forgot to mention that all He was giving us was an interglacial." ---Robert Ardrey

-- Hallyx (, December 17, 1998.

This is the best thread that I have ever seen that tries to explore the whys of the Get Its versus the Don't Get Its. And even still it is highly speculative. I mean, I have seen people post on this forum these long, very logical sounding step-by-step explanations as to why they believe Y2K will be This Big or That Small or Do This or That. Then, you have other people who just sort of have a "feeling" that Something Big is coming, and that Y2K is probably It.

Maybe it really is more organic than rational, just being expressed in different ways that people believe that they are most comfortable with....

-- Jack (, December 17, 1998.


I appreciate your comments. I could even begin to agree with you at points as long as we keep all the discussion on the level of the evolution of human consciousness, leaving aside the "evolution" of the human brain itself. My point, not very charitably stated, is that it is really a gigantic (and to me totally implausible) leap of blind faith to dismiss the element of necessary design in the creation of something as massively complex as the human brain and then substitute in its place some non-directed but totally undefined mechanism. Sniffingly superior statements about the "irrationality" of a religious viewpoint are silly when one probes the proposed alternatives. At least RC had the courtesy to extend his label of "irrational" to his friend's faith in the technological system; presumably he'd be honest enough to extend it also to his own blind faith in the supposed marvels of non-directed (but somehow still amazingly productive) evolution.

Check out Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box for a biochemist's critique of Darwinian evolution based on the irreduceable complexity of the biological systems we're talking about.

Sorry to all if this is too far off topic. It just gets up my nose when folks apply philosophical double standards.

-- Franklin Journier (, December 17, 1998.

****"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."--- Ellen Ripley *****

Absolutely one of my all-time favorite movie lines, Hallyx, and definitely a worthy suggestion for the Unconscious Human Problem in light of events of the last few days.

-- Donna Barthuley (, December 17, 1998.

I buy BOTH the Hallyx AND the Franklin points of view.

I see MIND as created, divine, spiritual essence, and eternal. I see MIND requiring BODY (circuits of some sort) to function within a given environment (e.g. earth life). Darwinian evolution produces BODIES (neural mechanisms) that are more or less fit, more or less complex (these are somewhat orthogonal, as cockroaches show). When the circuits (randomly) head in the more COMPLEX direction, more of (spiritual, eternal) MIND can embody itself (temporarily) and act a part in a given concrete world, such as our dear predatory earth life.

So, yes, I'm hopelessly retrograde - a classical Cartesian dualist.


-- Runway Cat (, December 17, 1998.

Donna, I wish that you would be more tolerant of Diane's New Age ideas.

-- Jack (, December 17, 1998.

I would contribute, but my reptile brain keeps saying "FLEE, FLEE, FLEE" if it returns back to "FIGHT" I will post more.

-- Uncle Deedah (, December 17, 1998.

Eh? I have no problem with what Diane or most champion. I actually fall in with those that see mind as a creation, one of an antiquated system that has long outlived its usefulness. I enjoy reading evolutionary biology, and agree with the folks at Neuro-linguistic programming that the human mind is chaotic,...barely out of the cave...multi-mind, mostly dominated by reptilian and mammalian interpretations of stimuli that no longer fit the world in which we live. Sure wish there was more time before it all goes to hell for more growth. Only see myself as a slightly more awake cave-dweller with limited resources for insight, vision and action.

At age nine I thought I had been dropped upon the wrong planet. I was sure of it. Spent the next 25 years forgetting that, and just remembered it lately. ((Sigh,...))

Stranger in a strange land,...Donna, the sheet-wearer.

-- Donna Barthuley (, December 17, 1998.


Very briefly: Darwinian evolution is gone, done for, caput in scientific circles. IMO it has been totally discredited in wave after wave of center shots, not by the dreaded "fundamentalists" but by scientists like Michael Behe and Michael Denton. As with Y2K, the public is the last to know -- the "fact" that they've been taught in school is completely defunct but they'll only find out in twenty more years or so.

But materialism is a religion. And many scientists (Richard Dawkins, Stephen Jay Gould, et al.) who have had to admit that Darwinism is completely unsupported by the physical evidence can't bring themselves to face the more rational and plausible alternative: (gulp!) intelligent design. So in its place they offer....they offer.........nothing. No mechanism is presented in its place. As I said above, blind faith. It would just be nice if they had the intellectual honesty to admit it.

Argghhh! Why can't I post anything on topic? I dunno.

-- Franklin Journier (, December 17, 1998.

Have you checked out Thought Contagion Memetics. Don't have the URL, but the title will get it. Interesting.

-- gilda jessie (, December 17, 1998.

Hallyx, I enjoyed reading Ornstein's view.

This question is for you: I put on my metaphore glasses, and if I understood him right, then wouldn't it be sensible to say that computers are a collective product of man's rational part of his "squadron"? Computers then would represent rationality?

Deduction: If I accept Ornstein's view, and my question is answered positively, then I'd deduce that one man is incapable of comprehending the complexity in interactions of a multitude of computers, and deducing further that he is incapable to comprehend the "real" consequences of Y2K, the consequences that will actually happen after the fact, (from only the computers, leaving out social aspect), no matter how intelligent he is, or able to rationalize.

Simplistic deduction, but am I way off base?

-- Chris (, December 17, 1998.

I am gratified to see the neural activity on this thread.

"Such a mind will never be rational; but it will always try to adapt. And it cannot always be correct either. "

Hallyx: Adaptability. Yes. And also flexability. Two things that will be of immense value for what is coming up, regardless of the severity. When change comes as it inexorably does, these are two of the best tools in our bigger box. Thanks too for the Aliens II quote... also one of my all time favorites.

"Then how come the vast majority of the population is not panicking in response to this threat? "

shimrod: They can't panic if they haven't sensed the change yet. They are waiting at the traffic light, expecting a continuation of the expected. You said it yourself..."Most people find it very difficult to imagine radical change in the way things work"... which is one of the main points of why I posted this question. The light is going to turn Blue. It never has done this before. In other words, it won't happen until the change prompts it. The emotions will be along for the ride too, making any attempt at predictability a parlor game.

General Question: If you agree that human nature does not change, is it appropriate to consider the evolution of our consciousness as a changing state of awareness for our static nature, and what about the idea of collective consciousness... all in the context of Y2K changes to our traditional comfort zones?

-- Rob Michaels (, December 17, 1998.

Great thread. I don't buy Darwinism at all. There is evidence out there that the human being, homo sapiens, via genome typing, had been traced back to a shelf life of about 200,000 years. Referenced in the book below.

If you can track it down "Gods of the new millennium" By Alan Alford is fascinating reading, as are all of Sitchin's books.

Link at

The Gods - Alan Alford is one of the few writers to deal with the so- called "gods" as a real flesh-and-blood super race. These 'gods' may have ruled over mankind for 200,000 years due solely to their higher status and technology.

Homo Sapiens - Gods of the New Millennium explains why the sudden appearance of Homo sapiens 200,000 years ago, with a 50% larger brain, language capability and a modern anatomy, defies all the principles of evolutionary theory.

Interventionism - Alan Alford cites ancient texts which suggest that the 'gods' intervened to create man "in their own image" as a slave race, using genetic engineering.

Yes, slightly off the wall I agree, read them and make up your own mind (pun intended:) ).

-- Andy (, December 17, 1998.

I believe in 'intelligent design' for the mind, but not for its physical embodiments. As I said, I'm a Cartesian dualist. Too much focus on the PHYSICAL here, even among people who should know better, like Franklin. Mind/soul will instantiate into ANY vessel, to a greater or lesser degree as the vessel has (randomly) fitted itselt to receive and express.

I work extensively in genetic algorithms, hill-climbing and other stochastic search methods that are both extremely stupid and extremely powerful.

-R. F. D. (RC)

-- Runway Cat (, December 17, 1998.

There---now isnt this a lot more interesting than talking about that boring old millennium bug? Give me epistemology and philosophy any old day. As for on/off topic, youre spot-on topic, Mr. J. But let me see if I can drag this sucker back to that blue light.

I must apologize up front for admitting that its not likely Ill be able to find the time to read those wonderful references you fine folks have been generous enough to share. But, long about Christmas of 99, my librarian is going to wonder where Im going with that shopping cart full of books.

First of all , "faith:" one of a number of ways to apprehend ("grok", for you Heinleiners) who we are and why were here. I have no idea why H. Sap. has this craving to know the irrelevant. Something to do with intelligence, perhaps.

Ahhhintelligence. Theres another word as vague and amorphous as faith. Im sure that nobody posting on this thread thinks that humans are the only ones that possess intelligence, or that our version is the only one extant.

Everything has a kind of mind, some flavor of consciousness; this is the fundamental principle of animism. We got along fine with this intrinsic way of knowing the unknowable for over three-million years. It still works wonderfully for many aboriginal cultures and not a few individuals who have been gifted with a soul-connection to the rest of nature. Thats not easy to come by, here in the twilight of the Enlightenment. Thats why techno-theologists cant admit to it, Franklin. Its the main reason were in the mess were in, both cybernoetically and ecologically. And not merely because weve delegated our rationality, Chris

Pantheism is another way of describing the all-encompassing intelligence of the universe. And it dovetails nicely with Robs inclination towards "collective consciousness," as well as giving a poetic rationale to Donnas feeling of being a "Stranger in a Strange Land," with which I identify intimately. On the other hand, I cant open my mind enough to encompass Alan Alfords thesis. It contravenes what I understand about our origins and development, and smacks of Eric Von Deinikens discredited theories.

So Im buying all of it: Franklins "Creatique," even though I lean toward self-creation, which appeals to my recursive instincts. RCs "Cartesian duality," even though its a little hard for this aspiring animist. On the other hand, all-one-ness can be a little immobilizing at times---like when encountering blue lights.

Remember---think back now; surely you recall---we spent the first few million years in that blessed state. I think it even survived the Great Awakening about 50,000 years back, when we developed symbolic language which separated us from the world and from each other. And when (around the same time) we invented ballistic weaponry and cordage, we transmogrified our relationship with our four-footed family.

But somehow, sometime between then and the agricultural revolution, some portion of us endured what Daniel Quinn calls the "Great Forgetting." We left the garden and traded our unicameral mind/soul for Shakespeare and key lime pie; Handel and Honda; for a cure for cancer and a barrel of carcinogens; for the nightly news and the horrific events to broadcast on it; for individuality and terminal loneliness; and for a glorious haughty hubris which is about to crumble to digital dust around our trembling and tear-stained feet.

And so, in fear of the future, we look to the universe, or to our gods, or to our technology, or to ourselves, and realize they are ultimately one and the same. We wait, breathlessly, for a Deus ex Machina and realize only too late that our intelligence is a sword made of feathers and faith but a gossamer shield for our vanity.


"Create no images of God. Accept the images that God has provided. They are everywhere, in everything.The universe is God's self-portrait." ---Octavia E. Butler (Parable of the Sower)

-- Hallyx (, December 18, 1998.

Wonderful last post Hallyx,...I'm not going to attempt to quote you because I'd have to replicate your entire text.

It occurs to me to mention that Charles Darwin never intended what was spawned by the publication of Origin of the Species. Also of note is that "evolution" of living species is not a linear straight ahead event. The changes we perceive in human beings over the last millennia are products of long periods of time where there is no change followed by spurts of change brought on by environmental blips. There I think I agree with the notion of adaptation. The other thing forgotten in any discussion of this type is that any incremental change is painfully slow spanning hundreds of thousands and millions of years. It is not possible to overlay simplistic notions of evolution upon the recorded history of human beings...nothing to measure, not enough time.

Just a thought.

"The correct way to punctuate a sentence containing the word 'but' is to follow it with a period."

-- Donna Barthuley (, December 18, 1998.

Just a quick comment here about change and Darwin. When animals live by the rules of natural selection, they become better animals. When humans live by natural selection and "the law of the jungle", we become better animals, but less human.

I just can't see how all that is unique and good about humans can be a result of natural selection. Natural selection produces better animals, but it also results in humans that are less and less human.

-- Kevin (, December 18, 1998.

Right on Kevin,

You've just supported Mr. Alford's and Mr. Sitchin's theory that *something* occurred 200,000 years ago to/with our ancestors. We humans have souls, we did *not* evolve over 6m years ago from apes and orangutans.

Later, Andy

-- Andy (, December 18, 1998.

Creationism vs. Evolutionism. I suppose the point is whether Y2K is part of some grand plan?

Creation theory seeks to answer the question "Why?" Evolution theory seeks to answer the question "How?" They are not mutually exclusive.

-- Buddy (DC) (, December 18, 1998.

Will Y2K enable the existentialist's perceptions regarding freedom of the individual to be more fully and widely realized, either by choice, chance, or force?

-- Rob Michaels (, December 18, 1998.

This may be the last gasp of an intelligent, sustainable thread on this (or any other) forum. It's fun to go down with the ship. First, there is clearly some "truth" to the evolutionary paradigm as a description of stochastic search. You can use "random" search with a precise "objective function" (to calculate fitness of a proposed solution) to solve all kinds of real world problems. This is the field of genetic algorithms, genetic programming, simulated annealing, and hill-climbing methods, the field in which I work. All you need is a population of competing solutions, a way to calculate fitness objectively, and a metric for choosing a subset of the current population at each stage for propagation to the next. Yes, folks, something this 'stupid' can solve all kinds of complex problems that you'd think would require higher design intelligence. Sorry. But this applies only to the work-a-day physical world. But that said, it should be OBVIOUS to anybody, based on the evidence, (remember, there is no such thing as PROOF outside math) that humans are more than their bodies and in fact are essentially 'souls'. The evidence is so abundant that I won't even bother to review it here. I'm not a new-ager, but I take interesting ideas and discussions where I find them, and at the risk of sounding like even more of a nut than I already do, I'd like to see some of the ideas mentioned by the so-called Seth entity (Jane Roberts) in

The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events applied to y2k. Too bad more people haven't read this book.

This thread and the forum and y2k and human life are a river with topics and quotes and opinions tumbling all over one another relentlessly unstoppably there's no time to reflect to turn back to jump out one layer rolls over the previous one there's only one symbol for everything from this thread to y2k to humanity to the universal it is river


"We watch the rising flood waters, secretly hoping to drown."

- Andrei Codrescu

-- Runway Cat (, December 18, 1998.

***Will Y2K enable the existentialist's perceptions regarding freedom of the individual to be more fully and widely realized, either by choice, chance, or force? ***

Yes, Rob, thoughtful question. Times of crisis, at very least, foment the introspection that is a fertile environment for all that we are tossing about here. I am full of thoughts of Camus' "Myth of Sisyphus", and my days are peppered with many moents exercising my capacity to embrace absurdity vis a vis my existence..

"For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause. There's the respect That makes calamity of so long life;"


-- Donna Barthuley (, December 18, 1998.

It's easy to lose yourself in the world of higher thinking, if you think you think higher yourself.

Keep in mind that your neurons are of the same material as that of any organism.

-- Thinker (, December 18, 1998.

Absolutely! When I regard me in the midst of my life I see me as in Plato's Cave...recently turned from the wall to face the fire that casts the shadows...just making my way to the mouth of the cave, wondering if I really want to or am able to go OUT there.

-- Donna Barthuley (, December 18, 1998.

RC: Your last post reminded me of the following from Taylor Caldwell's Bright Flows The River:

"In the dark night of the soul, Bright flows the river of God".

-- Rob Michaels (, December 18, 1998.

Like a river, truth does not change. The stream-bed, the surroundings, the elevation may vary; but the water, the flow, remains. What is, is. And rational people know what the meaning of "is" is. But what we know about the truth changes as we discover new evidence or, through contemplation and study, derive new interpretations of old evidence. This is why I tend to respect the views of science more than the precepts of religion. Religion claims to "know" the truth and, for the most part, will not be easily dissuaded. There are no theories in religion.

I admire the intellectual honesty of science which admits it doesn't know everything---hence hypotheses and theories---but labors to discover and interpret new evidence in its ongoing quest for truth. That is why our views of evolution today are more sophisticated those of Darwin.

As an example: the proposition that man descended from apes. No informed modern anthropologist believes that. Current theory holds that hominids, apes, chimpanzees, monkeys, and orangutans descended from a common ancestor for which anthopologists still search. Of the several (perhaps six) branches of proto-humans, only Homo Sapiens remains. Remember though, it was Darwin's hard work and conviction which changed the paradigm of his time, allowing us to accept the findings of anthropologists, such as the Leakys, and the interpretations of Gould, Sahtouris and others. By the way, Donna, it is Stephen J. Gould who is credited with popularizing the concept of "punctuated equilibrium," the jerky, plateau-to-plateau progress of evolution.

A similar process of disquisition accounts for current thinking on "natural selection," which is no longer referred to as survival of the fittest. Its mostly thought of these days as the survival of the "fit enough" ---fit enough to satisfactorily exploit an ecological niche and to procreate successfully. Kevin, the "law of the jungle" does select for better animals. It is the same law that selects for better people, not necessarily better by any arbitrary moral standard, just better able to survive. It would seem that a generalized body type with an adaptable brain can evolve faster and more efficiently than a more niche-explicit physiognomy like a bird or a lion. Apparently its easier to evolve (update) intelligence (software) than it is to evolve (redesign) bodies (machines). So, indeed, we do become more and more human.

I admit to an incomplete understanding of the selection mechanism, which is more complex than a stochastic model, RC. Its hard enough for me to understand the current thinking implied in the recursive model of evolution, let alone explain it. Simplistically, it holds that survival-oriented behavioral adaptations somehow feedback to the genetic modification mechanisms, thereby enhancing the selection process and making it more efficient than simple randomness. (Heres an opening for the God-as-Designer viewpoint. Dont say I didnt make it easy for you.) Thats why I subscribe to the Gaia hypothesis as espoused by James Lovelock and Lynn Margolis: the idea that the Earth is a single, self-creating, super-organisn with its own gestault intelligence---part of the universal soul.

Before I go I must address the "freedom of the Individual." I consider this a rather modern concept only made possible by efficiencies in food production resulting from the agricultural revolution. Before that, it was nearly impossible to survive alone or in very small, family-sized groups. The division of labor and excess energy throughput (use of fossil fuels) beginning with the industrial revolution is the only thing that allows us this artificial freedom today. We have extended our carrying capacity as well as our individuality only by using the sunlight of past eons. A solo human, outside of his clan or tribe, is no more viable than a dozen passenger pigeons or a single buffalo. Only our modern society allows it to appear that way. The recent stories by Robert Waldrop (submitted to this forum by Anita Evangelista) makes this point more eloquently than I can here.

Impending environmental crises, sometime within the next hundred years, are going to be humanitys final exam. Unfortunately, the pop-quiz called Y2K may flunk a good part of the class before it has even begun to study.


"'Truth' is a working hypothesis most suitable to pave the way to that other hypothesis which is able to explain more."---Konrad Lorenz

-- Hallyx (, December 19, 1998.

Are you wondering why people don't or won't or can't get it yet?

I have seen an increasing number of posters ask questions that are related to this aspect of Y2K, and so decided to revive this thread for anyone who may want to read or discuss it.

-- Rob Michaels (, March 01, 1999.

I'm glad you revived this thread, Rob. I'm gonna quote Hallyx's quote of Ripley, cos I love it, and am also conflicted cos I have recalicitrant optimist in my multimind....

"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."--- Ellen Ripley "

Part of me want so much for people to "get it" about so many things...part of me is an utter naturally I understand the human mind that latches onto strange explantions and conflicting thought processes...I spent some time in a graduate program in couseling psychology, and a lot of years in therapy...most of them fruitful....The convolutions of human cognition are so influenced by past history, current emotional state and propaganda from the machine that I'm not sure it's productive to talk about "prectictable human response" to the crisis that we are calling Y2k. I've just spent almost the last year dancing around my sister who tragically and suddenly lost her 12 year old son. Her thinking in the last year has been "not her" and totallly irrational. Two days ago I spoke with her and she said, and I quote. "I WOKE UP."

The oversimplifications of human emotional and cognitive processes on this forum and others saddens me...and I times I'm still with Ripley..."lift off and nuke from orbit."

-- Donna Barthuley (, March 01, 1999.

I do not see much in the way of predictability regarding Y2K. I have often posted that we go from uncertainty to uncertainty, and that Y2K is like a billion piece jigsaw puzzle without any edges and half the pieces are missing. If I had to predict anything it would be that whatever actually happens is going to be different than what we have made educated guesses about.

What I do see is immutable human nature. So while we have all of the influences (and more) that you described, underneath it is still human nature. I have not learned anything that would argue against human nature kicking in when TSHTF. In Aliens (a.k.a Alien II) - the scene where Ellen Ripley said what you quoted is when something totally unexpected and out of the box happened - the aliens turned off the juice. How the humans reacted, I thought, was instructive.

-- Rob Michaels (, March 01, 1999.

This from Gary North's site today:

The Problem of Y2K Denial Is Not Intellectual: It's Emotional


There is a horribly naive assumption that people make about others' resistance to a new idea: "They are ignorant. They need more facts." But what of a well-documented idea? Why the resistance? They resist because they are emotionally attached to another idea, and more important, to previous decisions.

Their problem is not a shortage of facts; it is a shortage of courage. It is a refusal to say, "I am going to be forced to live in a world that scares me." So, they shut down emotionally.

Two years ago, a few people would respond to a y2k ad. Today, all such direct mail ads die in the mails. I have proven this in recent months. The public is no longer willing to hear about y2k. Why not? Because they now know that y2k is not an amusement park thrill ride; before, that's how most y2k information buyers regarded it. In 1997, it was: "Oh, neat-o. I'll be the first one on my block to know about this!" Now they correctly suspect that y2k can kill them or at least bankrupt them. It's no longer fun to read about. They have shut down. This shutdown began in March.

-- Rob Michaels (, August 10, 1999.

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