LifeOS: exploring the system that executes DNA

July 2, 2014

Time out!

Filed under: Uncategorized — insomniac @ 9:45 am

That time of year again. Shut down my internet for a couple of months to spend more time in the yard and woods. See ya in the fall.
cheers,
jim

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June 4, 2014

Intelligence in the Forest

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — insomniac @ 8:02 am

ssatfg__intro1http://ssatfg.podomatic.com/entry/2014-06-04T07_14_05-07_00
You can listen to the podcast or read it below… yer choice.

Yes, it’s yer old independent philosopher, jim cranford.
Welcome to the show.. so glad you could make it.
In episode one we finished up talking about communication and how it is fundamental to living things on all levels.
That exposes another circle jerk mainstream science runs on us. Humans are the only creatures that are intelligent, they say. We got that from tool use and such, which gave us bigger brains etc. We used our big brains to learn to language and all that.
It takes intelligence to communicate, and since only humans have it, the exchange of information between single cells, microorganisms, plants and other animals must be instinct or some kind of automatic response not requiring a big brain. However, when the information thus exchanged is used to make choices, intelligence is surely involved.

We like to separate instinct and intelligence, but both are the result of learning. The choices we make are based on experience; ours in the current life cycle and others in the past. It’s all information that we use to make choices everyday.
If you look at the display our nervous system provides us, it is nothing short of ingenious. It has taken a massive intelligence to engineer human consciousness. It was/is no accident. It took intelligence to get us here, so we can act act like we have no brains at all.

What is a system? A system is any group of interrelated parts or components that cooperate and share processes. Like a common goal. Systems thinking is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation. Systems thinking focuses on cyclical and holistic causes rather than linear cause and effect. In other words, what you do is follow the flow of energy, matter and information through the various components and parts and see how they’re related.

One of the first rules of system science is that there is no such thing as a closed system, as they are all interconnected and share energy, material and information. So actually we don’t study systems at all, we can only study subsystems. Mainstream science hasn’t caught on to this yet, but continues to study subsystems in the laboratory, far removed from their Natural environment. Science has acted as if they could set up a closed system, unaffected by the outside world, and be confident in the reliability of their results. Sure enough, it has been discovered that not only do outside forces like celestial rhythms and cosmic rays affect all interactions, but those with that were left out because the subsystem was moved into the lab, were influencing their results as well.
Besides that, it has lately been determined that the expectations of the researchers were also skewing the results.
Another great thing about systems thinking is that it applies to all sorts of systems, biological, cosmic, educational, financial, social, bureaucratic, and since there are only subsystems, you can see how each of these seemingly separate areas is interconnected and interdependent.

We will get into that in depth later on…
Meanwhile, let’s talk about Feedback loops–

You know the classic example, a furnace and thermostat. The thermostat turns the furnace on and off to maintain a steady temperature. Natural systems are like that except every cell acts like a thermostat. Besides reporting it’s temperature, it also reports energy usage and other status information.  The system uses that information to regulate all activity.

For example, here’s what the basic forest loop looks like. It begins with water and nutrients being provided to the roots of a tree by the microbial mat. This mat is the combined growth of fungi and bacteria that services just about all plants with roots. Besides the nutrients the mat also supplies antibodies to the plants. It is this microbial mat that is the star of the show. Nothing grows without it.

The tree pumps the solution up to the leaves where photosynthesis occurs. That’s the simple description, but this transport system is a phenomenal accomplishment in itself. Billions of tiny passageways route this life’s blood through a maze of branching tunnels which provide just the right amount of everything to every cell. The last cells in line use light energy to make sugars. Then these sugars are transported through this wondrous on-time supply system to building sites, some of them way back down in the tips of roots.

 Some of the sugars are used to entice and feed pollinators, while still more sugars are used to build fruit and seed. The seed is for reproduction, and the fruit entices and feeds the seed distributors.

All of this activity produces a steady stream of leaves, flowers, bark, feces and dead bodies that fall to the forest floor. This litter is a constant flow of matter and energy as well as information about the state of the forest. This flow is disassembled and analyzed by the microbial mat. Each bit of litter carries the information of its path through the system, dropping off molecules here, picking some up there. The microbial mat furnishes the input, then analyzes the output of each loop and adjusts accordingly.

Like i said, there just isn’t any way to achieve this level of efficiency without making intelligent choices. It takes constant monitoring, evaluation and planning to maintain this level of successful operation. The kind of logistical efficiency doesn’t just take communication, it takes superior communication. Ask UPS.

Okay, what happens if the forest dries up and blows away? Apparently something like this is what our ancestors had to deal with.

Whether the forest dries up or a new forest is beginning to form, the forest process is stripped down to the bare bones.  We still have some basic plants, the real survivors, and our most basic microbes. The roots of each grass plant has a bit of the microbial mat attached.

When researchers looked closely at root fungus interface, they found that there was no clear dividing line between them. The cells in between pure root and pure fungus were composites, containing elements of both root and fungus. Something to think about.
At the very beginning of the forest progression we have the same fundamental process that takes place in a mature rainforest. Although the path is much shorter, moisture and energy follow the same feedback loops, from the microbial mat, through the plants and back to the mat. So, the essence of the forest is not the trees at all, but plants in general and the microbes that inhabit the soil. It is these microbes that benefit the most from the existence of the forest. It would appear that the microbes have built forests to protect and nourish their colonies.

This is where science and religion agree… not about the microbes, they’ll never go for that, but they agree that our ancestors started out in a lush forest and migrated out onto the savannah. Here we find other creatures who moved out of the forest as well. One of the most interesting critters to make the move is the leaf cutter ant. I mentioned them in the first episode. These ants are important for a couple of reasons. First they show us a subsystem that is very similar in structure to an animal without the skin. Second they show us how species adapt to changing climate.

There are three distinct species involved in these ant colonies. There are the ants, the fungus they cultivate for food and a bacterium that regulates growth of the fungus.

As the ants are the only species visible to us, they seem to be number one. The second species in this three way symbiotic relationship is the fungus. Its exact species grows as a mushroom on the forest floor, but this strain has been propagated by simple cell division for millions of years. Each nest is a clone of the original mycelium, with no fruiting body or spores.

The third partner is a bacterium that is common in the forest as well as in the guts of human beings. In the human body as well as in the ant nest, this bacterium regulates the growth of fungi. So we have a representative of each major microbial group and a very efficient mobile species teamed up in a very tight relationship.

Within this three way symbiotic relationship, the ants are the only ones who have changed at all. The bacterium and the fungus are running the same DNA as their close relations, but the DNA of the ants is very different from any of their relatives. The fungus and bacterium are doing roughly the same job they perform in other symbiotic relationships.  

One change in the ant’s anatomy was a gland on their underside that secrets food for the bacterium. In the fungus farms, the ants are constantly crawling over the fungal mat, carrying leaves. Thus the bacterium is brushed onto the mat, keeping the fungi from overgrowing.

Within the leaf cutter ant system the fungus provides nutrition for the ants and acts as an immune system for the colony. When the ants bring leaf parts into the colony they usually carry any number of foreign bacteria and fungi that should be able to set up shop in the cozy subterranean environment. However the resident fungus isolates the intruders and surrounds them with a fungal growth that keeps them from growing. The ants then move this chunk of immobilized intruder out of the digestion chamber. This symbiotic strategy has resulted in a pure strain of fungus that has lasted for millions of years.

The colony also acts as sort of immune system for the whole forest. The reason leaf cutter ants have been studied at all is because they pose a real threat to agriculture in tropical forests. They can defoliate an orchard in a matter of hours. In normal activity the ants prune leaves off of a variety of established species, spreading out their needs with no detrimental effect on the forest, but if a new species attempts to get a foothold, like an orchard, the ants go to work and defoliate the intruders in no time.

In the case of the fungus tended by the leaf cutters, they have shortened the normal feedback loop. Instead of having to wait for information to fall back down to the forest floor, to be digested by the microbial mat, the ants can be sent directly to a trouble spot, collect information on the threat and eliminate it, if necessary.

The immune system is at the very core of a sense of self. The body/mind system identifies itself as a functional unit, both on our conscious and basic cellular levels.

Within the colony the fungus understands the difference between that which is “colony” and that which is not. At the forest level, the colony understands the difference between forest and non-forest species.

Making these kinds of choices demonstrates understanding, the very definition of intelligence.

These ants have been able to adapt to the loss of forest cover by burrowing into the ground. The design of their nests manages to maintain optimum temperature, humidity and air quality for the growth of the fungus and friends, regardless of the above ground climate. You think the nearly brainless ants figured this out? Remember, if you or i were to learn how to build such a ventilation system we would have to go to school for years.

It is much more likely that the fungus is the source of this wisdom. The fungus grows a mycelium that follows the same growth patterns as, looks like, and is proven to function like, a nervous system. Functionally the fungus performs the duties of an immune system, a digestive system and a brain for the colony, just as the microbial mat does for the forest.

May 19, 2014

Meet the Forest Goddess-podcast

System, Symbiosis and the Forest GoddessMeet the Forest Goddess 15 minute podcast

The animations are taking longer than i had hoped, so i’m moving forward with the podcast versions.

Here’s the transcript:
Meet the Forest Goddess

You have met the forest goddess before, probably many times. You just might not recognize her signs. You thought that it was just fear that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up that night when you heard that wolf howl or the time you heard something rustling in the bushes outside your tent. You thought it was just your love of beauty that gave you goosebumps when you saw that mountain reflected in the lake at dawn. That feeling is your subconscious interacting with the forest on an emotional level. It is communication between you and the Forest Goddess.

That emotional response is part of the Natural warning system that is the most obvious manifestation of the Forest Goddess. All the animals, the birds and insects are reacting the same way you do. Their hair stands on end, too. They are reacting and communicating on a very complex and high level.
Most importantly is that our bodies and subconscious minds speak this language. The hair standing up on the back of my neck when the wolf howls or the owl hoots, is evidence of this.Eventually we find a place to sit, where we can wait for the warnings to die down.

Slowly the sounds change as some creatures forget we are here. Others aren’t alarmed as long as we remain still. Listen to the sounds, creatures large and small singing their songs, shouting their location, crying the news of their neighborhood. Close your eyes and let the sounds wash over you in waves of meaning. “Here I am, Life is good, Let’s get it on”, repeated over and over, in countless forest dialects.

And everybody is listening as well. One creature’s mating call sounds the dinner bell for another. This wall of sound is just one level of the communication going on in the forest. And we humans can hear only a very narrow band of sound vibrations at that.

Then take color. Here is a totally different spectrum of communication. Color has meaning by itself; it is used for identification, signaling ripeness, time for mating and other environmental cues. Another instance of only a narrow band of vibrations being available to our consciousness. The communications continue up and down the scale in wave lengths invisible to us.

The air around us is filled with molecules of fragrance and stench, pheromones attracting and repelling. On every level the forest is a sea of information woven into a tapestry of meaning: alerting, selecting, advertising, camouflaging, promising and deceiving.

On the microscopic level, every cell of every life form communicates with the cells around it. They respond to messages brought to them by hormones through blood streams, electric impulses from nerves and by way of their wireless connections. All input is compared to its history. Every action is remembered, every failure flagged, every success reinforced. That’s going on at the cellular level in all living things.

The process is reflected in behavior at the creature level as well. Every physical entity within an ecosystem compares their input to their history and remembers their successes and failures. So do the symbiotic relationships. Your brain works the very same way. Our neurons communicate with other neurons, respond to neurotransmitters and fire in waves that we interpret as experience. Communication is a fundamental aspect of living things.

Because language seems to set us apart from the animal world, we have concluded that it is only the advanced human brain that can create and communicate information. That’s our claim to fame as intelligent beings, we communicate. However, its is intelligent communication that makes all living systems alive. Communication is fundamental to biological systems.

Sit with me here beneath the oldest tree, the one with the most rings of memory, the largest network connecting Sky and Earth, the most symbiotic partners, the most descendants and thus a main communications hub in this local expression of the Forest Goddess System.

Besides the communication networks we can see and hear all around us, there are more. Beneath our feet the soil is laced with bacterial and fungal growth intertwined into a multilevel communications network. This thick mat of interwoven microbial fibers interconnects trillions, upon trillions of nodes, in a complex network of neuron-like connections. Modern science claims that plants do not have a nervous system because they can’t find anything that looks like one. However, this bacterial/fungal mat looks exactly like a nervous system. It works like one as well. What the network does is pass information and nutrients. This is yet another level of communication in the forest. What could the microbial underground have to talk about? For one, if you were to die here in the forest, this CSI team would take you apart cell by cell, and report to the system exactly what you are made of.

In fact, the information gathered by every living thing in the forest eventually ends up being deconstructed by the microbes dominating the forest floor and soil beneath. When there is a fatality, it is the microbes who dismantle the fallen and investigate the internal information stored in their tissue and memory. When we plot the feedback loops active in the forest system we find they all cycle back through this microbial mat.

We have learned to mimic Natural systems with our language, art and music, and express them in abstract social structures. With all of our acquired skill and knowledge we are late comers to the game. The fractal power laws we have discovered that build our complex communications networks have been in use in biological systems from the beginning. Our most sophisticated information processing technology is nothing when compared to what our nervous system provides for us: a living, breathing, feeling, human experience.

A forest is a complex system involving a huge number of creatures that act in concert and adapt to changing conditions. Population levels follow the ebb and flow of Sunlight and moisture. Species adapt, they come and go, both filling and defining a pattern of interlocking, interdependent niches that result in a functional unit, a system. What seems at first to be a random collection of plants and animals, each doing their own thing independent of the rest, is really a highly organized web of interdependencies every bit as alive as any of its inhabitants.

Studying the forest as a system can show us relationships not visible in other views. For example, an organ is a subsystem, performing a task for the benefit of a larger system, the body. We can see plants and animals as subsystems that perform functions within the larger system, the forest.

An organ, say your stomach, is a unit that has a physical location and a specific function within the digestive system. Our organs are a set of processing chambers connected by tubes. This network of processing and transport stations extracts energy from nutrients and eliminates waste.

We tend to get hung up on the human-centric model of what makes an individual entity. We like to have our individuals enclosed in a skin, but we find a systems definition expands the concept to include groups of symbiotic partners within the forest. For example, take a look at the nest of the leaf cutter ant. These ants hollow out huge underground nests that function very much like a body. Their nest is a set of chambers connected by tubes. These chambers act as organs in a body, each performing similar bodily functions like digestion and reproduction. Instead of using a blood stream, in this system the ants carry and deliver nutrients where needed. So we can identify the ant colony as a system, much like a body, but without specific boundaries enclosed by skin.

Within the forest we can identify many subsystems that fit this model. There are many species of animals, birds, insects, plants and fungi, all linked by their symbiotic relationships into a system every bit as organized as a human body. As a unit it breaths in and out, intakes and digests nutrients, eliminates waste, while growing, reproducing and dispersing, as would any creature.

The forest is the mother system that uses the combined individual strategies of its member subsystems to accumulate and organize biomass into a super organism. This organism reaches high into the atmosphere to exchange gases and gather Sunlight, and deep into the Earth for water and nutrients. The matter and energy thus gathered is distributed throughout the forest, supplying each cell and subsystem with its needs, in a steady flow. That is quite an accomplishment.

Industry has learned just how difficult it can be to organize an efficient supply chain. As assembly lines got faster and more efficient, a real challenge for the supple chain to keep up. Attempts to warehouse supplies produced huge storage facilities that cost a lot of money and weren’t all that efficient. The solution was to use computers to keep track of every part, every nut and bolt from design to final assembly. This allowed them to engineer a steady flow of supplies without huge warehouses or assembly line delays.

There doesn’t appear to be any other way to accomplish this level of efficiency except to keep track of absolutely everything effecting the system. As the system grows and changes, all supply channels must be adjusted to accomodate new flow requirements. This is really a difficult challenge, no easy task. How does Nature do it? With intent, intelligence and of course, communication.
All of these subsystems work together by communicating, internally and externally. Communication through feedback loops is what a system does. All that communication is part of an infinite number of feedback loops passing the information that regulates all activity.

When we discover a new communications channel in Natural Systems, like when they discovered that pine trees were alerting other pine trees that they were being attacked by certain bugs. In the African forest the acacia trees were alerting each other that they were being overgrazed by the kudus. The trees emmitted gases through the air. That’s communication. We think, oh wow, they learned to communicate, but that’s what all cells do, all living things do is communicate. That’s how they work.

March 10, 2014

Suda ~ The Painting Elephant

Filed under: Uncategorized — insomniac @ 4:32 pm

Are we conscious enough to recognize the same in other animals?

Julie Krull: All Things Connected

Spend 15 minutes and enjoy this beautiful video. It is so inspiring. It may even open your awareness to a new way of seeing our amazing, interconnected universe.

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Are Animals Conscious? I Dunno—Are We?

Filed under: Uncategorized — insomniac @ 4:29 pm

Just barely.

DogmaDrift

A study published by University of Lethbridge Department of Psychology professor Jennifer Mather in 2008 proposed, in summary, that “cephalopod molluscs may have a form of primary consciousness”—that they are “heavily dependent on learning in response to both visual and tactile cues,” “may have domain generality and form simple concepts” and seem “aware of their position, both within themselves and in larger space, including having a working memory of foraging areas in the recent past.” A 2013 study by Mather and Michael J. Kuba summarized that the cephalopod brain “does not just have centralization of the molluscan ganglia but also contains lobes with ‘higher order’ functions such as storage of learned information.” The decentralized nervous system, “particularly in the arms of octopuses, results in decision making at many levels”; the cephalopod “is first and foremost a learning animal, using the display system for deception, having spatial memory, personalities, and motor play. They represent…

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February 7, 2014

Ever get tired of the consciousness smokescreen?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — insomniac @ 8:19 am

Captain Self

You know, the thousands of articles, blogs and videos trying keep consciousness confined to the human brain. There are thousands of incidents of human consciousness bragging on how wonderful is the human brain as if somehow they could take credit for it. What an ego trip, human consciousness defining itself as the most wonderful and complex thing in the Universe, the very pinnacle of the evolutionary process. If western man is the pinnacle of anything it is arrogance.
If you have not decided for yourself that consciousness exists beyond your brain, and/or waiting for “science” to verify that it does, you might as well move on; you probably won’t be happy here. This is for folks who already KNOW from their own experience the mind extends beyond the bony brain case. Recent events have shown that science has been stonewalling on this issue since forever.
The recent censorship at Ted talks and Wikipedia of Rupert Sheldrake’s bonified scientific research shows the bias of the mainstream materialistic world view. The experts readily admit that they have no working definition of consciousness and yet they offer classes and even degrees in its study. They claim the high ground as the authorities  on the subject in spite of their admitted ignorance. They long ago committed to proving that consciousness is produced by the human brain and exists nowhere else, hence the smokescreen.
In the first place, it is the human subconscious that does all the heavy lifting. It isn’t the conscious mind that retrieves and sorts memories into a coherent display. It isn’t the conscious mind that combines the input from countless sensory organs into real time experience. It isn’t the conscious mind that makes decisions. Research shows that the subconscious makes our decisions before the conscious mind is aware of them.
In fact the conscious mind takes up very little of the processing power of that brain and even less of the activity of the total nervous system. That which is below the level of conscious thought is carrying on an incredibly complex list of activities that show all the attributes of intelligence.
What we call consciousness is the result of larger system process that includes the subconscious, all our senses and a system of memory and retrieval.
Consciousness wasn’t something we invented, it was/is presented to us, the output of a complex system of sensors and interpreters, that delivers to us a coherent, real time experience. It is our whole nervous system that cooperates to produce “experience”.
Behind the scenes it remembers past experience and compares it to incoming information to plan future growth. This entire system grows with the body, reflecting its interaction with the environment. Its development reflects how it is used.  Single cells behave in the same way, growing and learning through interaction with their environment.
Following this line of thinking, the chemistry and structure of the body and brain is the result of environmental interaction(consciousness) not the cause of it.

Cheers,

jim

January 27, 2014

Compost Tea Brewer

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — insomniac @ 9:56 pm

sunflower 011
Howdy folks,
I took a few months off from the blog, YouTube and forums to work in the garden and to continue my experiments with compost tea. It turned out to be an amazing growing season. Now i’m back to ready to report on it and get back to talking about Systems, Symbiosis and the Forest Goddess.
Here in southern New Mexico our decades long drought eased up with more than twice as much rain as the year before.
Welcome to the show. Today we are working with some of the same micro organisms that inhabit the microbial mat of the forest floor and our compost pile. We are building a Vortex Flow Compost Tea Brewer.

Vortex Flow Compost Tea Brewer

Building Vortex Flow Compost Tea Brewer on a budget. About the best thing you can feed your plants is compost tea.

Cheers,

jim

January 26, 2014

Yeah, i’m Back

Thanks to you thousands of folks who stopped by even though i didn’t post, but once all year. 2013 was a year for action and not much talk. I spent my time in the garden and various projects including building a Vortex Compost Tea Brewer. Got a video in the works on that subject.

By far the most interest over the year was for holographic subjects. Everybody wants it to boil down to one thing… it is a gravity/mass Universe, or it is an electric, magnetic, quantum, holographic, fractal, virtual, spritual or an information processing Universe. It is all of these things. You can’t stop with an Electric Universe. Sure it’s electric, but what are all those electrons doing? They are involved in a process, a quantum one that processes  matter as if it were pure information. It uses quantum fields that exhibit some of the same characteristics as holographic or coherent fields do in the lab. This is intelligence in the raw. This process makes intelligent choices at every level.

Consciousness, gravity and entropy are not things, but the result of a PROCESS!

Mo’ later,

jim

March 20, 2013

Water as an Information Storage Device

Filed under: Uncategorized — insomniac @ 6:48 am

Water as an Information Storage Device

In the first view seconds Dr. Vogel makes the statement.

Water and crystals store information. That information can be passed back and forth between them. This isn’t just some wild claim, but scientifically proven fact.

December 24, 2012

Christmas Nightmare

I consider it fortunate to have had negative Christmas experiences from the start. It has given me an “outside looking in” perspective at the whole phenomenon. It also has made me wary of authority and what they pass out as truth.

About the same time i had this dream, my little brother was catching hell for leaving puddles on the floor. He was three. Then he caught more hell ‘cuz he tried to blame it on the kitten. My old man was livid. Telling the truth was a big deal to him. I even caught a little hell just for being in the room. So, when i climbed up in the garage attic and found the leftover scraps from the cowboy outfit my folks told me had come from Santa, i got pissy for a six year old. If honesty was such a big deal, how come they lied to me about ths Santa Claus shit?

The Benevolent Lie

“You’ve kind of suspected it all along, right? It always seemed like something wasn’t quite right. You believed that elaborate story they told you and now it turns out to be bullshit. You have a right to be pissed. That was the first time you caught them lying to you.

There is no way a fat elf with flying reindeer could deliver presents ’round the world in one night. But that was the first clue… don’t believe everything they tell you. You could end up playing the fool.”–Luce Gravel

There is more to this than just fabricated stories for children. In our culture lying is a way of life. Santa was our first lesson in lying for a good cause. I call it the benevolent lie. You can count the tooth fairy, the boogy man and Easter bunny in that class. Where does it end?

Does our health care system really promote health? Does our system of education really educate? Do the police really protect and serve the public? Are the courts really there to dispense justice? Is the government really of, by and for the people?

Once you start to face the lies, and question the authority that presents them, it becomes apparent that the con game is much more complex than it seems on the surface. U bin had!

Deceit is Natural

Look around you, deceit is a natural phenomenon that is basic to plant and animal behavior. Plants and animals spend a lot of energy trying to fool their enemies and potential prey . They have learned to mimic each other in color, shape, behavior and even pass hormones and pheromones. Plants go to great lengths to fool insects into participating in their pollination. These complex sexual arrangements are no accidents, but carefully contrived strategies designed to propagate the species.

Research into human behavior has shown that deceit is part of our baggage as well. Babies learn to deceive their parents at an alarmingly early age. Children and teens become proficient liars when confronted with the difference between what is acceptable behavior by their parents and what is demanded by their peers. Need I bring up the battle of the sexes to support my argument?

Supposedly our culture abhors deceit, yet rewards it at every turn. First of all, our culture teaches us how to use deceit in games and entertainment.

To be successful in most competitive games, the players are expected to use deceit of one kind or another. The player fakes one way and goes the other. The chess player, or general, feints an attack from one quarter to get his opponent out of position and attacks from another. In poker or bridge, keeping your cards a secret is essential and bluffing is a valuable skill. In other areas, we also admire the very best fakes and liars. We pay to see a magician who we know is going to fool us. Writers of fiction are paid to spin wild yarns that are expected to be untrue.

Heroes of fiction usually solve a crime or prevent some injustice by unraveling the lies and exposing the truth. However, in real life we find that this seldom happens: our heroes, mostly law enforcement types or lawyers unravel only the most obvious lies, so even poorly planned deceptions are usually successful. The ones who go to jail are often scapegoats, patsies, enemies of somebody important or simply shanghaied to provide slave labor. After all, privatized jails need to fill beds to show a profit. TV, movies and dime novels support the lie that cops and lawyers and judges are noble defenders of our rights and freedoms. That’s how lies get sold to the public, but it doesn’t make them true.

Some “system of justice” we have. Trials favor the best liars and cheats. Juries and witnesses are easily manipulated. Judges can be bribed. It happens all the time. The advantage goes to those most willing to con, intimidate, bribe and/or kill in order to win their case, in short, the criminal element. An honest citizen hasn’t got a chance.

In the news lately we see the white collar and political crooks getting off scot free, while the little folks get jail time. That’s if the big shots are caught at all. How many other “Enrons” are there out there? We citizens are told that crime doesn’t pay, but it does for these guys. Come on, look around. Between the honest folks and the criminals, who has the bucks and who is dirt poor?

The system is set up to favor the crooks. Even honest folks find that when times really get tough, there are more illegal options for putting food on the table than legal. Some of them aren’t really dishonest, but “protected trade areas”, like drugs and sex. The result is more lies and deceit.

Political parties hire professional actors(deceivers) to front for their causes. (Reagan, Arnold, etc.) It is no big stretch for them because politicians are actors to begin with. We know they just read scripts and are chosen for the ability to sell ideas, but we still get into the process. We just love to be fooled.

Advertising is “creative lying” designed to accomplish it’s singular goal: to sell a product. The public not only believes these lies, but the begs for more.

Government, religion, business and the media strive to project a certain righteous image to the public. If one spends any time in serious study of the reality of day-to-day operations in any of these areas they will find that they don’t even come close to that image.

Lying is a major activity for TV and movie characters. The “situation” in situation comedy is usually a lie someone has told that is compounded my more falsehoods until the “situation” peaks and the liar is found out.

Take history. One only has to study the histories of major world events from different countries or religions to realize that someone is lying.

This isn’t new. Some evil force is not taking over our souls. The Force has owned us all along. Just like steers in the open range, our freedom has always been an illusion. We work harder when we think we are free. Hey, we are happier when we think we are free, why not believe it?

The truth is that we have a very high tolerance for lies. We hear them all the time, tell them all the time and still keep this crazy self image of being honest members in an honest society. Why are we lying to ourselves? The culture we live in thrives on lies. We are immersed in that culture. How do we do it? Denial! We are blind and intend to stay that way.

The pious might say that deceit is of the devil and god is truth. We humans are learning the meaning of integrity and moving towards god. However, the Bible itself gives us evidence that deceit is part of god’s plan. “In God we trust” is a mantra to Christians, yet in the most important event of the Christian faith, Jesus on the cross, he says, “Father, why hast thou forsaken me?”

So, God didn’t tell his only son that he was to be sacrificed? Hmmmm. And we are expected to trust this god? Whom is fooling whom?

We couldn’t keep our sanity without a big dose of denial. We humans are caught in the middle between opposing forces. Until we identify and understand those forces, Life is just not going to make sense, and denial will have to do. However, the gods have given us the brains to figure this out for ourselves. It is important that we do. The survivors will have to.

So we’ve been betrayed, but we can’t take it personally. Deceit is just a tool of the trade in the Natural World. Our built-in denial keeps us from questioning too closely, so we keep some semblance of sanity and it all works as planned. When you know who the gods are and what they want, you will see that it has been a very effective strategy.

So, what is all this deceit and trickery meant to accomplish, and for whom?

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