Karl Meyer

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Karl Meyer
Posted about 1 year ago
Why are women considered more beautiful the thinner they are?
There may be historical reasons for this standard of beauty. Many ideas have been passed down from antiquity (ancient Greece and Rome) and I have heard it said that our ideas of beauty also have this origin. I have read that in ancient Greece, the adolescent male was considered to have most beautiful form...tall, thin, androgynous-looking....sounds like a supermodel to me, though... I think people are now realizing that this ideal is not fairly applied to women, and for my part I agree with the commenters who have said that healthiness is gaining ground as a measure of what is beautiful. Of course it is also worth noting that there are exceptions to both of those ideas....e.g., Rubens.
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Karl Meyer
Posted about 1 year ago
Is militarism anachronistic? Is 21st century militarism a short one-way dead-end street? Is ‘dog eat dog’ domination dogma doomed?
I don't think doomsday scenarios are very realistic. Even in the worst case of an all-out nuclear war, where nuclear winter would bring on a new ice age and where masses of people would die of radiation and its after-effects, the complete extinction of humanity would be very unlikely. To assume that our modern weaponry could achieve annihilation on the order of an earth-shattering asteroid....well, that seems a little presumptuous to me. A war fought with every means available (chemical, biological, nuclear, etc.) would certainly annihilate what we know as civilization, but wiping out every single human being still seems unlikely. In answer to your question, is militarism an anachronism? No. As long as one group of human beings has borders with another group, there will always be fighting.
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Karl Meyer
Posted almost 2 years ago
I suspect that entropy is susceptible to recursive deconstruction.
My understanding of entropy is that it is the tendency of all things to achieve equilibrium.....i.e., maximum disorder. Yet, our world is an ordered state. I interpret the co-existence of these facts (entropy and the existence of order) to mean that all phenomena are constantly 'ebbing and flowing' into one state or another. If this is what you mean by 'recursive deconstruction' then, sure, entropy may be reversed....it happens every day. In answer to your question about randomness, I would argue that it is precisely what prevents entropy from being a one-way street. How else could a state of perfect equilibrium be upset?
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Karl Meyer
Posted about 2 years ago
Why is art (or artistically creative fields) often not taken seriously?
I would argue that art IS taken seriously. Why? Because creativity is a constant in the human psyche. The question is "Where are you looking for art?" Many people look for it in a context of custom and tradition (e.g., painting). However it is a contradiction to do so because creativity by definition operates outside of such rules and norms. With changing technology comes changing technique. Why should we expect painters to thrive (or to be supported) when so many more effective communicative media exist? A related thought; Any artist worth his salt will always look at his last work as obsolete.
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Karl Meyer
Posted about 2 years ago
If the economy in the U.S. and or Europe implodes how do you see this happening?
Barter is a natural step in the development of an economy. In fact, it promotes a division of labour and is the first step in creating a trading environment. That is, people make something (or provide a service) and then trade it for something that they need. In all likelihood, most of us have engaged in a similar kind of activity as children. Ever read Tom Sawyer? Money is introduced at a later point to facilitate a greater trade of goods between people. Even so, it seems to me that barter still exists within a monetary context...I mean, what about currency trading? Is that not a kind of barter agreement?
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Karl Meyer
Posted about 2 years ago
If the economy in the U.S. and or Europe implodes how do you see this happening?
I think that the world is too connected for a catastrophic collapse to be a likely outcome in a well established economy like that of the US. Countries, through trade agreements at least, are invested in each other to a very large extent and do not like their partners to endure hardship because it also represents hardship for the investing nation.. So, economically speaking, globalization has something of a stabilizing effect, and that is why I think that economic decline most often happens relatively gradually. Not always, but most often. So yes, if a decline were to happen in the US or EU, I would think it would be mostly gradual until the very end when things would speed up...just like the death of anything in nature. Re: barter. I like the idea of barter, and with the internet connecting people, I think it may be easier to do than it has been in the past. However, money exists to make the exchange of goods easier, and it won't be going away any time soon. Digital currency is an attractive idea and I believe that Bitcoin, or something like it, may be on its [gradual] way. Again, however, countries are too invested in trading each other's currencies to allow an overnight transformation like this to take place. Not that they would be completely averse to it, but when it happens, each stakeholder in the currency system will have something to say that will transform it from its original conception into something with so many concessions added onto it that it is still uncertain to me how it would act in the open market. Inflation, deflation...it all makes things harder to buy, so does it really matter?
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Karl Meyer
Posted about 2 years ago
Do you think we meet the people in our lives for a specific reason or is it all random?
In terms of specific people, I think it is totally random. Yet, over time, the changes in our thinking enable us to see these people in different ways and perhaps we will notice someone today who yesterday would not have had much significance for us. In this sense perhaps we meet who we need to meet. As for destiny, I don't think so. This would imply that there are moral forces inherent in nature and I cannot see that this the case.
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Karl Meyer
Posted about 2 years ago
Why can't we all get together and find a cure to all terminal diseases?
On "cure" vs. "treat:" It is nice to have the immense R&D capability that the pharmaceutical companies have because of the immense financial reserves they generate, And in the case of truly chronic diseases this is good. However, the mandate to generate increasingly large profits (corporations must do this by law) may be counterproductive when it comes to finding solutions for truly curable diseases or putting treatments that no longer fall under patent protection through clinical trials. It is a real risk in cases like these that the company would not be able to recoup its investment. As such, it is a sad fact, I think, that the current trend is for businesses to focus mostly on treatment and not so much on cure. It is an area that I believe needs some government intervention. On competition between researchers: I know there is significant competition among researchers, if only by virtue of the fact that they need to compete for money to continue their studies. My brother-in-law is a medical researcher at a university and he spends a large portion of his time not on research but on writing grant proposals. And when he doesn't get the grant, naturally it hurts his research, so of course he fights hard to show that his research is a more worthwhile investment than the other person's. That having been said, I am encouraged by all of the opening up of research journals and information that has been released by open access journals, and I know that collaboration among scientists exists. I think one of the key things to be considered is that it is not usually the pettiness of individual scientists that creates competition. Rather, competition is more often due to the way we have systematized the allocation of available resources that the scientists need to do their jobs. Again, I think that the solution to achieving greater collaboration among scientists would require the government to step in.
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Karl Meyer
Posted about 2 years ago
How does curiosity and hunger for knowledge change the world for the better and what can be done to avoid mistakes?
I think that curiosity and knowledge are for human beings what the candle flame is to the fly. It's bright and warm and good for us, but if we don't view it with enough circumspection we get into trouble. I don't know that mistakes are avoidable, but perhaps the wisest people I know are 'optimistic doubters' and minimize their mistakes being that way. I saw a t-shirt that said: "Next time I will make better mistakes." Maybe it's a good motto...
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Karl Meyer
Posted about 2 years ago
What are some realistic and creative ways to reduce wealth inequality?
A couple thoughts: 1) On empowering the poor: Since New Zealand operates on the capitalist model, I would say that one route to narrowing the gap between rich and poor may be to empower the poor by creating programs to encourage small scale entrepreneurship. This may entail setting up a micro-loan system (Look up Muhummad Yunus, Grameen, Kiva) , educating people about basic business principles, and community building through social programs that would aim at reducing/eliminating the negative effects of poverty (drugs, crime) that would interfere with the healthy growth of a business community. 2) Thoughts on social cohesion: Poverty carries a stigma. It is a vicious circle: poverty, crime, drugs, health problems, social and psychological problems....stigma (not necessarily in that order...I'm wingin' it!). To achieve greater social cohesion, I would think that this stigma would have to be overcome. One way would be to involve successful business people in the process. Another way would be to have community programs (sports, health, spiritual) such as you may find in a community center (at least here in Canada). You may also want to look up Gabor Mate. He is famous in Vancouver (at least) for his ideas on the subject. Hope this helped. Good luck:) KM