Certainty is original sin.

How many times have you known you were right about something and then find out you were actually wrong? Is it still reasonable to presume that that feeling of certainty is perfect? We are ignorant of our ignorance regularly.

We live in our worldview, and our worldviews are subconsciously created. The utility of sensory representation is in meeting homeostatic needs more tightly coupled to physical reality. The utility of higher order representations like metaphysics are selected for primarily and historically by our social reality, but it all feels equally real. We all know we’re right. The extent of our fervent disagreements should have been a hint that the strength of our convictions aren’t correlated with their accuracy. Consciousness is an experimental reality engine. The feeling of certainty is selected for because of our sociality as a species. You need to take your thoughts with a grain of salt. Consciousness is the press office of your body/brain.

I think people think we need certainty, because they like the feeling. I’m telling you to keep the feeling. You still get to feel certain about uncertainty. The feeling of certainty is a feeling. It can be separated from our ideas.

Attention trains neural patterns. Spend more time with your senses and your brain will be more tightly coupled to physical reality. It’s good to spend time in your mind too, but don’t get lost there. Your mind can’t tell you who you are because it doesn’t know what you are. We hear the outlines of a story and then we think we know. All us so called conscious creatures sleepwalk through our reality assuming they already know the nature of a consciousness we are just beginning to understand. This is was Socrates was talking about when he said, “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing,” and “Wisdom begins in wonder.” Because we know now that experience is fundamentally representational like software and not physical or material. But experience is still experience of something outside of experience.

When you put your headphones on the music sounds like it’s coming from inside your head.

You’re sitting wrong. Sitting without holding your torso up with your core muscles is bad for you in a way that exercise can’t compensate for, just like exercise can’t compensate for putting junk food into your body.

You’re not ready for the next natural disaster. If you were rational you would be. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You’re predictably irrational.

If you believe that all your beliefs are true you’re wrong, and you don’t know which things you’re wrong about. One thing less now maybe.

We live in an economic system where unemployment is inevitable. The rules of this economic game are determined by the government. And government policy influence is determined by economic class. According the recent research “America’s policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged.”

So we live in a game where we officially make the rules, so we’re free right? But was does it mean that we don’t make the rules. But we really do make the rules, just not always the official rules.
There’s guaranteed to be unemployed people in the current economy, purely structurally, but the poor are “moochers”?

I’ll tell you who the moochers are. They’re the fucking banks and energy companies. “consider that Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) received a $1.9 billion tax refund from the IRS in fiscal 2011 … even though it made $4.4 billion in profits and received a bailout from the Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department of nearly $1 trillion! And Citigroup (NYSE:C) made more than $4 billion in profits that year, along with a $2.5 trillion bailout, but paid no federal income taxes.”

“Of the top 20 region-sectors ranked by environmental impacts, none would be profitable if environmental costs were fully integrated. Ponder that for a moment: None of the world’s top industrial sectors would be profitable if they were paying their full freight. Zero.

That amounts to an global industrial system built on sleight of hand. As Paul Hawken likes to put it, we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.”

The depth of our tragedy is hard to understate.

We are the meaning creators. You might be afraid that if you stopped believing something, that nothing would mean anything anymore. But in reality, the only reason anything mattered ever is because it mattered to someone. Things matter because of you. We are the source of meaning. Meaning sweats out of our pores, like sweat. 😉

But we don’t know what the fuck is going on and that we think we do is preposterous. It should be an obvious red flag. What the fuck kind of system am I seeing through that it feels normal to think that in the vastness of reality, everything I believe and can’t verify just IS ABSOLUTELY, UNDENIABLY TRUE!.

But we’re all on the same boat. This is our ultimate shared truth. Whatever metaphysics there turn out to be, we’re all in it together. And this might be it. There is no moment as consequential as now.

When the revolution comes there is nothing more important on agreeing that evidence matters and that we should focus on what we agree on;

what the evidence says the best way to come to agreements is matters.

There is power asleep in you. Never stop giving yourself the chance to surprise yourself.

You’re state of the art. For now.

“Here are the numbers: The computer scientists  recreated 1.73 billion virtual nerve cells and 10.4 trillion synapses, each of which contained 24 bytes of memory. The simulation took 40 minutes of real, ‘biological’ time to produce one virtual second.

Billions and trillions of simulated neurons and synapses is nothing to sneeze at, but keep in mind how that equates to only one percent of what’s going on in our noggins. The brain, by comparison, consists of about 86 billion neurons linked together by trillions of synapses, making for a total of hundreds of trillions of different pathways that brain signals travel through. That’s a lot of electrical impulses shooting through the brain at once, which means a hellova lot of machine power.”


And it’s you that differentiates words on a page from meaningless symbols.


What if we split the Federal budget?

If you’re an American adult your share is 25K. Based on the napkin math here: Federal spending divided by adult Americans. Let’s fire the government. If you can’t beat ’em join. I think we can do everything better.

What percentage of your monthly check do you want to automatically go toward funding a mars mission?

What percentage on agricultural subsidies?

I’m assuming we plan a smooth descent in military spending. We don’t want a military coup, but we don’t need to be spending more than the next 15 combined: China, United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, Germany, India, Brazil, South Korea, Australia, Iran, Italy, Israel, Canada. The rest of the world spends the final fifth. The US military officially spends 2/5 of global military spending.

If other large groups of people, often called countries, collectively and officially join us in taking responsibility for governing back from the government I’m sure we could bring military spending way down.

There would obviously be intense pressure for both government agencies to clearly articulate the justification for their budget and decentralized, funded investments to judge these pitches rationally.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the telecom industry wasn’t one of the first big losers. What do you think?

Our democracy becomes literal, liquid and participatory. Why settle for a basic income as a government subject? Why not make government subject to us? Pay yourself first. This isn’t just a basic income it’s the citizen’s dividend. And then to protect your investment you help everyone who is fucked up (and costing you money).

Once we’ve pretty much settled on public debate accountability arenas we could find the mathematically ideal voting system for changing the tax rates. Nothing else is voted on. Everything else is spent on. I don’t think you can have a more fine-grained and thus ideal system of expressing individual and collective will.

How many awards for various competitions would you fund? How many people do you want to compete to figure out the best answers to the toughest questions? “According to the research, coming up with an incentive structure that looks and sounds like a game can make people actually try a lot harder.”


So why fuck ourselves over while we figure shit out? The societal (not just governmental) costs of not successfully dealing with poverty are far greater than the cost of preventing it. I think I remember someone (was it Benjamin Franklin?) saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A basic income is like a social vaccine from a host of poverty related issues related to health and crime.

View at Medium.com

The beauty of budgetary transparency is the explicit recognition of the inextricability of public and private spending. No more of the lets cut taxes to save money (on taxes) and then spend more on the costs of not having spent that money. Indiana shut down its Planned Parenthood clinics and got an HIV outbreak.

This is 25K on top of your salary without any new taxes to start with. We could change the monetary system.

“The private sector economic costs of monetary reform are transfers of wealth from the banking industry to the American public. The replacement would be either non-profit banks operating as needed with minimum public cost such as fire departments and the postal service, for-profit banks lending time-deposits in regulated free-market competition, or a hybrid of the two (perhaps with government mortgages at a non-profit rate of 1%). The Public Banking Institute works for the public to act now for at-cost credit rather than waiting for federal reform.

Monetary reform stops the current built-in increases of the money supply through fractional reserve banking, and redirects it for direct payment of taxes for public goods and services. Each dollar transferred from bank creation to public benefit is one dollar less in public tax payment.”

“Monetary reform nationalizes the Federal Reserve (this name is deceptive so the public would perceive it as a government entity) and retain its use for bank administrative functions. Fractional reserve lending by private banks would be made illegal, with the US Treasury having sole legal authority to issue new money for the benefit of the American public rather than the benefit of the banking industry. About 30% of the national debt is intra-governmental holdings and ~16% held by the Fed; this debt would be cancelled as it becomes a bookkeeping entry with nationalization. Of the publicly-held debt of various parties holding US Securities, the US Treasury would monetize (pay) the debt in proportion to fractional reserves being replaced with full reserves over a period of one to two years to monitor money supply and avoid inflation. This means the US government would create debt-free money to pay the debt as it’s due exactly to the extent that private banks’ ability to create credit is reduced. The purpose of this is to avoid inflation.

The American Monetary Institute has a proposal called the American Monetary Act to do this. This proposal was also endorsed by America’s best-known economist, Milton Friedman, as the single most important action possible for US economic improvement. . .

The governmental cost of this reform is negligible because it simply authorizes Congress to enter money into its own account to directly pay for public goods and services. In fact, Americans would save money from decreased reliance on managing taxes.

The benefits are astounding: the American public would no longer pay over $400 billion every year for national debt interest payments (because almost 50% of the debt is intra-governmental transfers, this is a savings of over $200 billion/year). If lending is run at a non-profit rate or at nominal interest returned to the American public (for infrastructure, schools, fire and police protection, etc.) rather than profiting the banks, the savings to the US public is conservatively $2 trillion. If the US Federal government increased the money supply by 3% a year to keep up with population increase and economic growth, we could spend an additional $500 billion yearly into public programs, or refund it as a public dividend. This savings would allow us to simplify or eliminate the income tax. The estimated savings of eliminating the income tax with all its complexity, loopholes, and evasion is $250 billion/year. The total benefits for monetary reform are conservatively over three trillion dollars every year to the American public. Three trillion is $3,000,000,000,000. This saves the ~100 million US households an average of $30,000 every year. Another way to calculate the savings is to figure those amounts per $50,000 annual household income (for example, if your household earns $100,000/year, you save ~$60,000 every year with these reforms).”


New responsibility sure, but you care enough to find out who you trust that knows more about some particular issue to seek advice. Or if you’re scared, just keep the percentages the same and don’t keep any of it.
Is there anything obvious that I missed?

O yeah, “none of the top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they used.” It doesn’t make sense to continue coal power, cattle ranching, iron and steel mills and wheat farming in their current form. Let’s stop taking a loss on those.

Presenting an agenda for Europe at AMBROSETTI (Lake Como, 14th March 2015)

Yanis Varoufakis

Workshop the European House - Ambrosetti a Villa D'Este

Dear All, Ministerial duties have impeded my blogging of late. I am now breaking the silence since I have just given a talk that combines my previous work with my current endeavours. Here is the text of the talk I gave this morning at the Ambrosetti Conference on the theme of ‘An Agenda for Europe’. Long time readers will recognise the main theme – evidence of a certain continuity…

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Proposals for freedom in the economy: unconditional basic income, cooperative ownership of enterprise, socialized health care.


In a little over a week, one of the editors of this blog, Alex Gourevitch, will be speaking at the Left Forum with Corey Robin and Doug Henwood on a panel on freedom and the economy. The panel is one of three organized under the general theme ‘reclaiming freedom for the left,’ in part inspired by this excellent article by Corey Robin. In anticipation of the panel, we thought we would try out some of the ideas that we will discuss at the Left Forum itself.

The impetus for the economics panel was the economic tendencies of the Occupy happenings, which bounced between anti-Fed, goldbug Ron Paulism and a general attack on corporate personhood. But instead of continue to criticize those economic tendencies, we thought it worth presenting something more positive – not exactly a utopian image of a radically transformed future, but three major economic…

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Charlie Hebdo Cartoons The American Media Doesn’t Want You To See

January 8 at 2:50pm ·
Charlie Hebdo’s most famous cover shows what makes the magazine so important – Vox http://www.vox.com/2015/1/7/7507729/the-satirical-cartoon-cover-that-defines-charlie-hebdo

BF and BC like this.

YS: since when has shitting on an oppressed group (muslims) been important?
January 8 at 3:04pm · Like · 1

MA: Not justifying the violence but the magazine seems to be a juvenile racist rag. Not sure why it’s praise worthy.
January 8 at 3:21pm · Like

YS: yeah, so many people are rallying to defend this magazine’s free speech, but Muslim people don’t enjoy any of the democratic rights other citizens of the west are given. Their liberties have been eviscerated in the name of the “war on terror” in basically every western “democracy”.
January 8 at 3:38pm · Like · 1

YS: these cartoons are little more than racist bullying.
January 8 at 3:38pm · Like · 1

TD: food for thought until i have time to respond myself:

Sharpening Contradictions: Why al-Qaeda attacked Satirists in Paris
By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) The horrific…
January 8 at 5:15pm · Like · Remove Preview

TD: Secular acquiescence to sectarian taboos strengthens the censorial power of religion.
January 9 at 12:16am · Like

TD: Why can’t I oppose the revocation of the rights of Muslim people, while I simultaneously oppose murder by Muslim people in the name of Islam?

Norway: All Muslims agree Stoning is OK – Moderate Muslim Peace Conference
January 9 at 12:22am · Like · Remove Preview

MA: Ok, these cartoons are bigoted and juvenile. Is that better for ya? TD is absolutely correct. The attacks were abhorrent but that fact doesn’t raise these cartoons to genius level.
January 9 at 4:28am · Like

RJ: A lot of the images the newspaper had were ironic, parodies of the opinions of the people they were mocking. Which is pretty much Stephen Colbert’s whole shtick. If you took what Colbert said at face value you’d think he was a horrible and stupid person, but once you understand the political context that he’s speaking from, that “horrible opinion” becomes “comedic satire”. That’s just how ironic comedy works. If you lack context, you assume the comedian is just being an asshole. Take this cartoon, for example. The headline roughly translates to “The sex slaves of Boko Haram are angry”, and the women are roughly saying “Don’t touch our child benefit!” (i.e. welfare payment for having children). This isn’t the newspaper’s opinion, it’s them mocking the absurdity of the far right’s opinion of “dem lazy Muslims be stealin’ mah tax-euros” by taking it to an absurd extreme. The problem is that a lot of people don’t understand ironic comedy and get butthurt for no good reason.
January 9 at 9:54am · Unlike · 4

YS: i for one don’t believe that people are committing these terrorist actions because of their religion. they are doing it because of the wholesale slaughter and oppression of their people by the west. these cartoonists lacked integrity, and i for one will not shed a single tear over their demise.
January 9 at 1:40pm · Like

YS: proof:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XsJXnK33AQ

Islam UK – Generation Jihad – Part 1 of 3
The EDL was formed to defend our country against these barbaric radical muslim scum. Support the…
January 9 at 1:40pm · Like · Remove Preview

RJ: that’s a good point, i too believe that a perceived lack of journalistic integrity in doodling cartoons merits death
January 9 at 2:43pm · Unlike · 2

TD: YS, Of course western imperialism exacerbates fundamentalism. But why would you pretend when people say they are doing something in the name of Islam you know better than them? It’s a false dichotomy. If it was purely geopolitical journalists that insult their religion wouldn’t ever even be considered as targets.
I’ll have to watch the Generation Jihad video after work, but did you watch the video from the Moderate Muslim Peace Conference linked above?
January 9 at 3:19pm · Edited · Like · 1

YS: ^in my opinion Islamic fundamentalism, as it manifests today, is almost wholly a CREATION of western imperialism, from Afghanistan in the 80s , to the homegrown radicalized youth who likely carried out this attack. many of these youngsters come form secular/moderate families, they weren’t born and raised fundamentalists.
January 9 at 4:45pm · Like

YS: as to the choice of targets, i can only speculate as to their motives, but i suspect their line of reasoning resembles that of the military planners behind the strategic bombing of cites during the second world war who realized that in order to break the will of the enemy to fight it was necessary to target civilians.
January 9 at 4:45pm · Like

YS: ?
January 9 at 4:52pm · Like

YS: note the nuanced language : ” Islamic fundamentalism, as it manifests today, is almost wholly a CREATION of western imperialism ”
January 9 at 4:56pm · Like

YS: of course fundamentalism existed before, but western invention has been akin to dumping gasoline on a forest fire
January 9 at 4:57pm · Like

YS: generally speaking, I agree that unarmed people are not an ethical choice of targets. but in a world so full of evil i only have so many fucks to give, and would rather devote them to more deserving people than a magazine that served to reinforce widespread and appalling prejudice against Muslim people.
January 9 at 6:10pm · Like · 2

TD: This magazine aside and more generally do you equate criticism of Islam and belief in Islam with prejudice against Muslim people?
January 10 at 9:10am · Like · 1

BC: Could I argue that religion lacks integrity so I will not shed a tear over its demise?
January 10 at 10:23am · Like

TD: YS, anyway, there is certainly misplaced concern:

A Media Microscope on Islam-Linked Violence
Is Islam, as Kristof, Maher and O’Reilly suggest, really…
Yesterday at 12:41am · Like · Remove Preview

YS: TD, I would say these cartoon are caricatures, not criticism ,similar to say little black Sambo or the Cleveland Indians mascot.
23 hrs · Like

TD: If the religious expect my compliance in public space with their religious taboos, they’re asking for my submission not my respect. I understand your perspective more now but didn’t feel that way from the images I saw.
22 hrs · Like · 1

BC: In addition, they lampoon everyone.
22 hrs · Unlike · 1

Armory of the Revolution

Below are cartoons drawn over the past several decades by Cabuone of the most emblematic cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo (if not the most). Cabu was murdered along with his colleagues this past week. He was 75 years old.

Although no media outlet in the US will show you these images, they can all be found online with a simple Google search.

This cartoon by Cabu criticizes racial profiling, specifically discrimination by the French police against immigrants from North Africa and people of African descent. The caption reads: “No to racist controls [identity checks].”

This cartoon by Cabu depicts and quotes the racist demagogue politician Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National party (with the eye patch). The caption reads: “We want to be able to go out in the evening without being afraid.” The armed thugs in the background are racist skinheads and their ilk. The cartoon leaves little doubt…

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