The Limits of Intervention

Why does history always seem to repeat itself: because perceived threat makes it easy to adopt behavior loops that leads to same behaviors

Carol works in disaster relief/prevention in the Pacific Northwest. I follow the Burma-Shave-like series of Tweets she sends out each day that unfold into a narrative, somewhere between stream-of-consciousness and long-form essay. She seems to be always warning us of the hazards lurking within our most recent psychologically induced errors of judgment.

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Faith & Belief

Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown.

We must here make a clear distinction between belief and faith, because, in general practice, belief has come to mean a state of mind which is almost the opposite of faith. Belief, as I use the word here, is the insistence that the truth is what one would “like” or wish it to be. The believer will open his mind to the truth on the condition that it fits in with his preconceived ideas and wishes. Faith, on the other hand, is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith lets go. In this sense of the word, faith is the essential virtue of science, and likewise of any religion that is not self-deception.

Alan Watts

So much of the meat of this project here at Horizons of Significance has to do with puzzling out a lexicon. Finding what words mean is a large part of figuring out where we might find meaning. This quote from Alan Watts clarifies a distinction that’s been lacking in my own use of these terms.

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Awe and Wonder

It’s customary to link awe with shock these days.

“Shock & Awe!” Followed by that grimacing grin primates and dogs instinctively make when something that pleases them also uncovers a deep well of shame. The look we came to identify with W….

Shock & Awe would come to be the signature spell of the late stage of this weorld, a time/place/construct that only cares for destruction and feeding fears and hiding inside justifications for more killing.

But awe has other connotations, as we see in the phrase, Awe and Wonder.

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Our Predicament is Both Tangible and Elusive

We stand at a portal of transition, neither here nor there.

The things we do to maintain our selves this day and what will keep us going farther down our track have little in common. Our predicament could be said to lie right at this point of divergence. What works – however poorly – today won’t work at some easily foreseeable time ahead. Not only that, what works today hastens that day of reckoning. Not only that, what works today monopolizes our attention and keeps us from making the changes required to meet life farther down this path of transition. A path, let’s be clear, along a trajectory of collapse.


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Pathologies surround us.

The time for establishing a hygiene is before a crisis becomes acute. There is a window for this, as for everything.

The system of latent belief, habitual preoccupations, and elaborate denial mechanisms that allow us to stagger through our days, propping us up, will at some point in the ongoing collapse cease to work. Jury-rigged coping strategies are like that.

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