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Considering Consciousness Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

privileged

ARE YOU PRIVILEGED?

Does success or failure depend on effort, energy, talent and skill? Can someone have all of these things and still not “make it?” What kinds of barriers keep people from attaining their goals?

Some say that the U.S. is a meritocracy – that folks do “make it” or not based on their own effort, energy, talent and skills, and maybe a little luck. Some believe that just about anybody has the opportunity to be successful in the U.S. today, it’s the American dream with our immigrant past, after all! But is it true, or are some people privileged?

Do some folks just have the advantage no matter how you slice it?

ARE YOU PRIVILEGED QUIZ

  1. I can turn on the TV or open magazine/newspaper and see people of my ethnicity widely represented. Y or N
  2. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policiies without being seen as a cultural outsider. Y or N
  3. I am never asked to speak for all of the people of my racial group. Y or N
  4. I can be pretty sure that is I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my “race.” Y or N
  5. If a cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven’t been singled out because of my “race.” Y or N
  6. I can present a check at the grocery store and not be asked for several forms of ID. Y or N
  7. I can walk through a department store without being followed. Y or N
  8. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of my financial reliability. Y or N

According to Peggy McIntosh, if you answered “yes” to most of the above questions, then it’s likely that you are white.

Questions from Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf

ASSIGNED STATUS

Prejudice and privilege are closely related. Our prejudices may even help ensure our privileges. “White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, code books, visas, clothes, tools and blank checks,” according to McIntosh. Those born without the special provisions have a harder time navigating the waters of life.

“No matter how hard some people work, no matter how much energy, effort, talent or skill they bring to a job or endeavor, because of their ‘race’ or ethnicity, they are less likely to succeed.”

Peggy McIntosh

It is sad that“White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” was written in 1988, and so little has changed in the intervening 32 years. Instead, the “racial worldview that we’ve created” assigns some people to perpetual low status, while others are permitted access to “privilege, power, and wealth.”

In fact, your gender, skin color, physical or mental ability, and financial status largely determine your place in our society.

People who identify as white fail to recognize that their whiteness is a racial category at all. Like a fish in water, a white person in the U.S. swims in a sea of privilege and rarely perceives the unspoken social benefits that come from their skin tone.

TEACHING DIVERSITY

Whites are taught about racism as something that disadvantages others, they are not usually taught that racism gives whites the advantage. Jane Elliott’s “Blue Eyed” is an exception to this. According to Wikipedia, Ms. Elliott is listed on the timeline of 30 notable educators by McGraw-Hill along with ConfuciusPlatoBooker T. Washington, and Maria Montessori, to give an idea of how influential her training programs have become.

As a diversity trainer myself for over 15 years, I relied on Jane’s astute analogy of blue-eyes versus brown-eyes to help white participants achieve an “ah ha! moment.”

Jane Elliott received a lot of complaints for placing young people who were white and blue-eyed into a situation where they were disadvantaged as compared to their white and brown-eyed class mates. This few-hour exercise made white adults gasp and protest about the pain Jane was inflicting upon the poor blue-eyed children. For example, they were made to sit in the back of the classroom, they had to eat lunch after the brown-eyed children, and they were not given the same privileges that the brown-eyed children received. Some thought there might be permanent damage done to their psyches!

If damage was caused to the blue-eyed children from a few hours of this treatment, what impact does a lifetime of such treatment mean to a person of color? Some children and adults were able to make the connection between the exercise and the treatment of people of color, and expressed that the exercise was valuable and transformative.

The most powerful transformation, and the reason for the longevity of Ms. Elliott’s diversity training program, Blue-Eyed, is its ability to make people aware of their privileges. https://janeelliott.com/

Peggy McIntosh points out that she had to give up the myth of meritocracy after considering the questions in the Are You Privileged quiz, and accept that “this is not such a free country, one’s life is not what one makes it, many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.”

In order for the  U.S. to become a meritocracy, we would need to eliminate artificial barriers to success, those barriers that are based on “race” or ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or identification, perceived or real disability, and class or financial status. That’s how to create a level playing field in order for everyone to reach their fullest potential and make their greatest contributions.

When everyone has the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, then we all have a better environment in which to thrive, regardless of the color of our eyes.

If the World were 100 PEOPLE:

50 would be female
50 would be male

25 would be children
There would be 75 adults,
9 of whom would be 65 and older

There would be:
60 Asians
16 Africans
14 people from the Americas
10 Europeans

31 Christians
23 Muslims
16 people who would not be aligned with a religion
15 Hindus
7 Buddhists
8 people who practice other religions

86 would be able to read and write; 14 would not

7 would have a college degree
40 would have an Internet connection

78 people would have a place to shelter them
from the wind and the rain, but 22 would not

91 would have access to safe drinking water
9 people would have no clean, safe water to drink

From “100  People: A World Portrait” https://www.100people.org/statistics_100stats.php

Categories
Considering Consciousness Ideas Verse

Collision

When we collided

sparks flew

it was difficult to tell the difference

between me and you

so alike we two

we both burn hot and

we take our time to cool

now we are as one

a new sun

for a bright and shining moment

then undone.

Fractal art by Jack Cleveland

Categories
Considering Consciousness Diversity & CommUnity Ideas

Diagnosably Evil

Do you follow the trends, have the latest gadgets? Do you watch TV, follow the popular shows? Do you believe the things you read on facebook? Are you able to think for yourself? Are you able to reflect and consider, or do you react and follow along? Just how manipulatable are you?

These are important questions to ask yourself in a hot and volatile world that is only getting hotter and more volatile. Global warming and lies. Deception and gain. Greed and death. Ho hum. Change the channel, will you? Oh! You can’t.

49 years ago today the My Lai Massacre brutally took the lives of almost 400 unarmed people—including mothers and babies, and the old. More people were victimized than just those slaughtered that day. Innocence was lost all over the world as news of the atrocity—of the evil committed by good American solders—altered the way we look at ourselves. Group evil was acknowledged due to the My Lai Massacre, and rightly feared. But what has been done since to understand group evil and prevent its recurrence? Apparently, very little.

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Considering Consciousness Ideas

Backward Time, Teleportating Cars, & Mirror Universes

Does time fly when you’re having fun? Have you wasted all your time? Are you losing time? Is it possible that you’ll never find the time again? Is time like sand in an hour-glass? Is time money?

It appears most of our expressions referring to time communicate that time is a commodity. But is this true? Is time anything at all? If we agree the clock is ticking, does it tick the same for you as it does for me? Are we all subject to the same time restrictions?

It turns out that the answer is “no.” Einstein’s theory of relativity explains how time passes more slowly for those moving at greater speeds, and more quickly at greater heights (people age faster living at the top story than the bottom. If there’s a message in any of this it is: move fast and stay low!)

What little we know about time raises some interesting questions.
Let’s say you carefully measure someone’s physiology—their breathing, heart rate, blood-pressure, etc.—and then ask them to view random photographs that might be expected to trigger a measurable emotional response. Dean Radin’s experiments demonstrate that people in fact responded in the expected emotional way—joy, sadness, fear—in response to certain images, but their response was documented prior to seeing the photographs!

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Considering Consciousness Ideas

Zombies, Entangled Particles, & Free Will

Are you free to make your own decisions as a “conscious” being, or are you predisposed—fated—to think and act in certain ways? What part does chance or randomness play in your life?

Imagine you are a physics student and you’re about to fail a class in quantum mechanics. You’re scouring the depths of the library for something, anything, to help you write a good enough paper to get a passing grade. (It is 1967 so you can’t just Google it.) On a dark, lower shelf a small, dusty book calls to you and you pull it from its undisturbed resting place of several years. The dusty book was John Bell’s thesis on entangled particles and the struggling student was John Clauser. The rest is history.

John Clauser got his PhD in astrophysics and went on to contribute greatly to our understanding of quantum mechanics, in spite of his rough start. John Bell was rescued from obscurity. Bell had an idea for an experiment to test Einstein’s assertion that there was a hidden or unknown cause for the troubling behavior of entangled particles.

Entangled particles, like separated Siamese twins, remain interconnected even at great distances and with no identifiable means of connection or communication. Einstein was certain there must be some undiscovered “hidden” force behind the weirdness, or as Einstein put it, “spooky action at a distance.”

Is there something hidden behind the curtain—some unseen cause that makes sense of entangled particles? John Bell’s rediscovered experiments offered a way to test Einstein’s theory. The testing hasn’t stopped since.

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Considering Consciousness Ideas

Anesthetics & Platonic Principles: Meditations on the Quantum Brain

Is consciousness like cruising in a canoe on a calm river that gently flows in one direction? Or is it more like a jet-ski ride where we leap over the water’s surface and then slap down again and again like a zig-zagging bull-frog?

Physicist Sir Roger Penrose thinks human consciousness works as discrete conscious moments, more like a jet-ski ride. We don’t recognize them as individual “moments” because consciousness feels continuous; it feels like a smooth ride.

In these discrete moments we interact with the quantum field. Imagine the quantum field as an ocean of waves where the tips of the waves represent physical reality and everything else potentiality. In this view, our perception of the material world is just the crest of a wave in the sea of possibility, and consciousness is an act of riding the waves.

According to research on the brain, we have 40 to 100 or more experiences of “cresting” each second. Or to put it another way, we have 40 to 100 experiences of conscious awareness each second.
Stewart Hameroff has studied consciousness from the perspective of an anesthesiologist. What is it that removes consciousness when you “go under” from anesthetic drugs? What is it that restores consciousness? What the heck is consciousness?

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Considering Consciousness Ideas

Trompe L’oeil, A Trick Of The Light: Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics

The quantum world is weird and illusive. Is it a trick of the light that scientists can’t determine if ours is a world of waves or particles?

When Ice melts in your hands and pools at your feet, do you question that it is water slipping, dripping through your fingers? Are you even surprised by its metamorphosis?

Just as water can be observed in more than one state, matter, in general, can apparently change states. The double-slit experiment shows that small matter is a wave until the wave becomes a particle; the wave changes to a particle, apparently, through participation with an observer.

Bruce Rosenblum and Fred Kuttner in their book, Quantum Enigma describe the puzzle this way:

“A small object is sent into a pair of well-separated boxes. Looking into the boxes, you always find the whole object in a single box, and the other box empty. According to quantum theory, however, before the object was observed, it was simultaneously in both boxes, not wholly in a single box. An interference experiment, which you could have chosen, would have established that. By your free choice, you could establish either of two contradictory prior realities.”

How can something be in two boxes at once? A wave can be in more than one place, but a particle is in one place only, right?

The is it a wave or is it a particle question still disturbs physicists in the 21st century, almost a century after the discovery of quantum mechanics. The main problem remains: does the wave collapse to a particle due to observation? What counts as an observer? Does the wave collapse at all? Could something else explain the quandary posed by the double-slit experiment?

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Considering Consciousness Ideas

What’s the Matter? No Really, What is Matter? Did quantum mechanics make matter disappear?

Does matter exist? Scientists are not so sure.

Bizarre discoveries of quantum mechanics blow away the solid understanding on which our classical scientific thinking is based. It’s like the ground underneath of us is shifting.

Imagine looking down at the balcony you’re standing on high above the ground. As you look at the boards below your feet you recognize that the atoms that make up the structure—each and every one of them—is 99.999999999999% empty. You are standing on mostly nothing. What supports you?

A quantum physicist might propose that you’re suspended over the atoms that form the deck, hovering over them by the power of repulsion (like opposite magnetic pull, a repulsive force that gives the illusion of solidity). According to physicist and father of quantum theory Max Planck you’re not “standing” on anything “solid” at all.

“As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.” ~ Max Planck

Mind is the matrix of all matter? I think I saw that movie. So, if there’s no matter (no spoon), then wha????

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Considering Consciousness Ideas

Consciousness: Materialism, Freewill, & Morphic Fields Forever

What is consciousness? Can a computer be conscious? Is your pet cat or dog conscious?

I came to this question of consciousness as part of writing a book about setting intentions. I love to research and I love science. I planned to use current, scientific research to lend credibility to the concept of setting and accomplishing personal, family, and community intentions.

This approach, however, led me to a roadblock. I ran right smack into motionless, dogmatic Materialism. If the materialist conception of the world is correct, then humans have no free will, therefore intentionality, as I intended it to mean in my book, could not be possible. We are nothing but a bundle of neurons, according to the fated materialist view, and each and every thought, act, or emotion is predetermined.

Physicist Daniel Levy asserts that “whatever free will might be, it is a phenomenon of mind, and phenomena of mind must, in my physicalist conviction, be understood in relation to phenomena of the brain.” In his book Neural Holism and Free Will Levy asks: “Shouldn’t this make us despair—this realization that we are automatons with no powers of deliberation, no choices, relentlessly driven to perform mechanically, like a robot or computer? Not in the least. Under the proposed description, our responses (optimally) reflect all of our beliefs and desires, as represented in our neural states.” I don’t know about you, but his explanation doesn’t make me feel all that great; and how does consciousness fit in?