John Merryman

Sparks Glencoe, MD, United States

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John Merryman
Posted about 2 years ago
Is Islam tolerent religion or not?and do you think that Muslims are isolated?
Ed, I think part of the problem is that there is very little consideration of the histories of the various religions, as opposed to the claims. It could be said that religion presents society's vision of what it is about, while government is the management of society. For its first 700 years Islam was one of history's most successful political movements, then basically coasted on that success for the next 600 years and has only really been eclipsed by the industrialized west in the last hundred years, since the fall of the Ottomans. So there is a connection between government and religion which goes to the very core of Islam. On the other hand, Christianity was profoundly brutalized by existing government for its first several hundred years, before being co-opted by an empire in decline. In the process it was converted from a grassroots, multifaceted movement, to a highly centralized one, whose function was to validate the role of the government. The cross went from being a symbol of triumph over suffering, to a war totem. So there is a very deep and abiding split in Christianity between the church and state that is as fundamental to it, as the connection is strong for Islam. It should be noted, for those agnostic in religious affiliation, it was the polytheists who invented democracy. When you have a theology where the Gods argue, it's reasonable to have a political system based on debate. On the other hand, monotheism is very supportive of monarchy and other forms of strong state power, since if there is just the Big Guy in charge up in heaven, then it will likely get reflected down here on earth. The logical fallacy of monotheism is the idea of the absolute, the universal state, as apex, when it is basis; Neutral, not singular. So a spiritual absolute would logically be the essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell. The forms we adopt are inherently subject to context. Religions are like language; Essential, but idiosyncratic.
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John Merryman
Posted about 2 years ago
What is Time?
Thanks Michael. I would have to say I'm not a proponent of multiworlds, for the reasons mentioned above. Consider that the traditional concept of time, with the present as a dimensionless point along a vector from past to future, is very deterministic. Since you cannot change the past, or affect the future. On the other hand, considering time as arising from the physical activity in what we would call the present means your actions affect your context, and vice versa. If we had complete freedom from external influence, we would correspondingly have no reciprocal influence on outside affairs. So while it may not provide the comfort of multiple outcomes, it does allow you influence over what does happen.
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John Merryman
Posted about 2 years ago
Defining currency as a contract, rather than a commodity
Ken, In most businesses, this would likely fall in the category of buyouts. As the system slowly implodes, there is alot less work. Mergers, acquisitions, ipos and many other of the functions of normal capital markets are significantly less then they used to be. A lot of the income of the big banks comes from buying central bank paper and lending it back to governments. Also the TBTF banks have market advantage over the smaller non-TBTF banks and are buying them up, or squeezing them out. So even within banking, the concentration of wealth and power is getting more concentrated. Think of it as a rash that is slowly forming into a boil. Eventually it will pop. And it won't be pretty. Two of my favorite financial sites are zerohedge and nakedcapitalism.
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John Merryman
Posted about 2 years ago
This Question is for the people that believe in god. (Atheist views also please)
I suppose I would be a deist, maybe a pantheist. Life is bottom up and there is no real explanation for its source. If all of biology is elementally conscious, its one mystery, but if life exists and consciousness arose from it, it's two mysteries. Monotheism confuses one, with oneness. Oneness is connectedness, while one is a singular set. Life is connected, but it's not one single entity, rather an endless network that is constantly regenerating. It was polytheists who invented democracy, because if the gods are arguing, a political system of discussion makes sense. Monotheism mostly supported monarchy, because if there is one ruler up in heaven, then it made sense to have one ruler down on earth. It was called the divine right of kings. God put me in charge, don't argue. Another part of the problem with the idea of free will, vs. determinism is our concept of time. We think of it as a line from past to future, because that is how we see events in retrospect, but physically, it's the changing configuration of what is, turning future possibilities into past events. So rather than the earth traveling some fourth dimension from yesterday to tomorrow, tomorrow becomes yesterday because the earth rotates. If we view time as past to future, we can't change the past, or affect the future, but if it's the future becoming the past, due to what is happening in a permanent present, our actions affect what is around us, as they affect us.
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John Merryman
Posted about 2 years ago
This Question is for the people that believe in god. (Atheist views also please)
Shaheem, Pope John Paul 2 described God as "The all-knowing absolute." The fallacy here is that the absolute is a universal equilibrium/unified state, while knowledge is based on distinctions and judgement. The absolute is basis, not apex. As in absolute zero. So a spiritual absolute would be the essence of being from which we rise, not a moral and intellectual ideal from which we fell. We are taught that good and bad are ultimate moral standards, but they are actually the primal biological binary code. Life is attracted to the beneficial and repelled by the detrimental. What is good for the fox, is bad for the chicken and there is no clear line where the chicken ends and the fox begins. There are eastern religions which really don't have the western concept of a deity, because they are context oriented, not object oriented. It's more about the two sides creating the larger whole, rather then the goal focused nature of western thinking, with the various concepts of a higher deity as the ultimate totem. While nature is ultimately a function of balance, it is those most focused on goals which create outcomes in their favor, so that's why eastern religions might have a clearer understanding of reality, it is western religion based thought systems which are more politically successful. Until of course we reach the end of the line and all that karma kicks in. Oops. Free will is something of a misnomer. If we were completely free of all influences, then we would have no influence on anything else either and it wouldn't matter whether we were free or not. The puppet pulls back on its own strings, giving meaning to the puppetmaster.
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John Merryman
Posted about 2 years ago
Defining currency as a contract, rather than a commodity
Anne, That is definitely a point I've given a lot of thought to. Unfortunately there are various catch 22's involved. Often the people who best understand a topic and/or are in the best position to effect change, or even just get others attention, are often very invested in the status quo of that topic. Systems and institutions naturally tend to promote those who most advocate for/believe in that system, while sidelining those who question it. It is when the facade starts to crack that people start asking questions, but then the momentum goes the other direction and some other opposing system benefits. It's another reason why I went into the physics of the situation in that essay. By trying a broad, but gentle argument, it's an effort to nudge the discussion on a range of issues and still focus on what might seem like a technical point, that of the nature of money, but does go to the heart of why this economy is out of control. I've posted it in a few places and received some interesting feedback. I have a diary on Daily Kos, under my middle name, brodix and pasted the entire essay, without linking it to Exterminating Angel, just because I felt it would get more reads. Two people got on me for cut and pasting it from my own article and one other chimed in that another piece I'd put up about a year ago has identical to something I'd put on The Nation comments section. So some people are definitely reading it, but I just don't get much feedback. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/03/17/1075305/--What-is-Your-Occupation- One thing life has taught me though, is patience. I just forget the lesson on occasion.
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John Merryman
Posted about 2 years ago
Defining currency as a contract, rather than a commodity
Anne, Reality is composed of bubbles. Structures containing space. Atoms, molecules and cells are bubbles. Buildings are bubbles. Nations are two dimensional bubbles occupying a given area on the planet. Our awareness and our bodies are bubbles. The thing about bubbles is that they are defined and constrained by various physical laws and when they exceed the criteria of those requirements, they collapse and die. The current financialization bubble, turning any and all value that can be drained from society and the earth's resources into notational wealth, ie. money as a commodity, is like a metastasizing cancer. It is not stable, but must grow at increasingly exponential rates. As such, it is killing the host organism. For much of the last three hundred years, it could find new markets, countries, resources, etc. to exploit, for the benefit of those controlling this process as well as those facilitating it. Now that it is starting to reach the edges of the terrestrial petri dish, it is turning inward and starting to feed on the facilitators, ie. the middle classes of the developed countries that had grown up in its shadow and taken its benefits for granted. It's eating away at its own support structures. When it does collapse and those dollars we have been flooding the rest of the world for the last sixty years start to come home, because other countries no longer value them and prices go up much more than wages, then people will start to consider alternatives. After the collapse will not be the time to think through what the alternatives might be. That planning has to happen beforehand. These ideas I'm putting out are like seeds. I don't expect them to get much consideration now, but maybe, when the time comes and people start looking for alternatives, they might start to flower.
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John Merryman
Posted about 2 years ago
Defining currency as a contract, rather than a commodity
Orlando, "What John is doing in this thread is looking for possible alternatives for the current global economic system that we are in (correct me if I'm wrong John)." You are right. It's a question of what succeeds the current system, because it is rapidly spinning out of control. Interesting article: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?280234