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Archive for the ‘Enlightenment’ Category

Flexible PSH Solutions: Enlightenment Plaza — A Model For The Provision Of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) For The (Formerly) Homeless -…

Posted: March 28, 2020 at 5:45 pm


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LOS ANGELES, March 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- As California goes through its coronavirus crisis, progress towards development of permanent housing options for the homeless becomes an ever more apparent public health and safety priority.

In Los Angeles, an important model for PSH is making its way through the planning process and is due for approval and construction start over the next six-month period.

Enlightenment Plaza will be a place where the formerly homeless can find an environment designed to provide the best support for their recovery and reintegration into the main stream of American life at a pace that they can control.

Located in an area which will not intrude into surrounding neighborhoods, but will nevertheless be within a transit intensive zone.

Anchored by its proximity to the metro red line station at Beverly and Vermont, Enlightenment Plaza will complement the existing facilities that have been developed by path in the same area, with 330 additional units of PSH, with places for veterans, and other homeless men and women who have experienced chronic homelessness.

The development is planned to encompass four to five phases of development over the next three years which will focus on delivery of on-site services and a variety of entrepreneurial activities designed to bring the tenants back into mainstream America, with emphasis on the "social contract" concepts of the Enlightenment theorists that are still of such basic value and currency today.

By building a complex of sufficient size, the project development team, comprised of the Pacific Companies, Flexible PSH Solutions and Killefer/Flamang (KFA) Architects, has been able to design a gated community which will provide the desired place of refuge for the tenants while taking advantage of shared facilities and modular technology designed to hold the cost per unit at the $450,000+/- level, or roughly $200,000 below the norm for recent scattered site PSHdevelopments.

The development will have the added advantage of displacing a long time on-street camping enclave which has symbolized the problems of the homeless in the area over the past four to five years.

Stay tuned for progress reports on this model development.

For more information on the development team, visit PSH Solutions, the Pacific Companies or KFA Architects.

If you are a supporter, let the city council and/or mayor know by visiting http://www.lacity.org for their contact information.

Contact: John Molloy, CEO Flexible PSH Solutions, Inc. 2102 Century Park Lane, Ste. 413 Los Angeles, CA 90067 (323) 7363469

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Flexible PSH Solutions: Enlightenment Plaza -- A Model For The Provision Of Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) For The (Formerly) Homeless -...

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March 28th, 2020 at 5:45 pm

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The Tarot Card Collection by Sofia Zakia for Inner Enlightenment – JCK

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I had a friend read my tarot cards in college once, and its something Ill never forget. Performing some ritual Ill probably never understand, she told a tale of love and lossone that ultimately came to be: Within a month, I had met my future husband and lost my father.

I remember being in awe and fearful of the cards after that, like my relatively unremarkable, pretty much standard life stuff was happening. I knew better than to think something can predict the future, but, still, the thought of how it all unfolded could send a shiver up my spine.

Spiritually, theres credibility to why people love visiting their psychics for weekly readings, whether or not tarot cards are the medium of choice. These meetings can give someone guidance, give them hope, something to hold onto. But as I read more about the practice of tarot card reading, its actually pretty cool, and theres nothing paranormal about it at all.

The cards arent meant for predicting the future, I am learning, rather, theyre a toolwith which we can navigate our lives, all 78 in a deck showing the lessons we must learn to be our ultimate bests. Its like holding up a mirror to yourself so that you can access your subconscious mind, says a statement on biddytarot.com, a website I never once envisioned myself visiting (dont put me down for psychic abilities).

Its from this website that I am learning what each card represents, and Im finding that theyre an excellent representation of our hopes and dreams, and yet another talisman for when times are toughlike now. Its almost as if they should be preserved in gold, our dearest to be worn close to our hearts.

Good thing someone did that.

Designer Sofia Ajram, who notably creates pieces with an air of mysticism under her brand Sofia Zakia, brings us the Tarot Cards collection, a line of 19 individual cards in 14k yellow gold (the paper cards are available on the jewelers websitetoo).

My personal favoriteand one that many can likely relate to at the momentis the Nine of Cups, said to encourage wish fulfillment and comfort, signifying contentment, satisfaction, and gratitude when in its upright position. (If the card were to be drawn in reversed position, it signifies inner happiness, materialism, dissatisfaction, and indulgence, in case you were wondering.)

But there are plenty of others to suit your innermost necessities. Theres the Moon, representing fear, anxiety, subconscious, and intuition, encouraging celestial dreams and a the trust of ones instincts. The Magician, a key to awakening a spiritual determination, to inspire action. Fulfillment encourages success and harmony, the Lovers, a conquest of pure love and fortune. Um, I think I might genuinely be interested in learning a lot more about tarot cards now.

As we spend more time at home, probably stressing, definitely yearning for new things to do, some might find that getting in touch with themselves provides a comfort through the unknown. I love that this collection is an unexpected (at least to me) catalyst for that. It probably helps that its beautifully made, engraved, and hand-oxidized, lending an old-world look to a remarkably old concept (the oldest surviving tarot cards are reportedly from the mid-15th century). The designs from this collection combine original drawings from the jeweler with classical tarot decks by Jean Francois Alliette and Brian Williams.

Its important to note that while Sofia Zakia is still accepting orders through its website and via its stockists, all pending and future orders are at the mercy of the current lockdown in its home city of Montreal (as is the case with many jewelers around the world). For more information, visit sofiazakia.com.

Top: Moon tarot card pendant in 14k yellow gold, $520

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The Tarot Card Collection by Sofia Zakia for Inner Enlightenment - JCK

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March 28th, 2020 at 5:45 pm

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Fahkumram and new Cave of Enlightenment stage now available in Tekken 7 – EventHubs

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Update: Fahkumram is now available to download on PS4, Xbox One and PC in Tekken 7 as part of the game's third season pass. He can also be purchased separately for $5.99 while his new stage 'Cave of Enlightenment' can be purchased for $2.99. Original story follows.

Fahkumram will become available as a DLC fighter in Tekken 7 tomorrow, March 24. He's the final challenger that's part of the Season Pass 3 package. For $24.99, players will gain access to Zafina, Leroy, Ganryu, and the frame data display along with Fahkumram and the Cave of Enlightenment stage.

Before his releases, there are a few things that might be worth understanding. Perhaps most importantly, how exactly do you pronounce his name?

Based on the trailer, it should sound like "Fa-kum-rom." It almost sounds like the word "fulcrum" with "rom" added at the end. You'll want to be careful pronouncing this fighter's name correctly as it could come across as an insult to someone's relative if misheard or misspoken... as the meme suggests.

Like Sagat from the Street Fighter series, Fahkumram is a very tall fighter (7'5) who hails from Thailand. As a result, he is a practitioner of the Muay Thai fighting style.

The word "fahkumram" is actually Thai for "roaring sky." It's essentially another word for "thunder."

Fahkumram's motivation in Tekken 7 is his unnamed wife and daughter. He's supposedly not a fan of cheating, corrupt officials, criminals, being incarcerated, and (ironically) lightning.

In preparation for Fahkumram's release, the version 3.30 is providing some balance adjustments to the game.

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Fahkumram and new Cave of Enlightenment stage now available in Tekken 7 - EventHubs

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March 28th, 2020 at 5:45 pm

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The king without kingdom – Daily Times

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This world is full of strange people whose thinking, personality and habits are very different from normal people. Such people remain in seclusion and seldom come into limelight. One such person is The Dalai Lama who has been the head monk of Tibetan Buddhism and traditionally has been responsible for the governing of Tibet, until the Chinese government took control in 1959, and then the Dalai Lama had to flee from Tibet and take refuge in Dharmasala, in the north of India. In Sanskrit word guru means a spiritual teacher, and Dalai means Ocean. Put together, the title of Dalai Lama literally means Ocean of Teaching implying that a teacher spiritually is as deep as the ocean. The Dalai Lama belongs to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, which is the largest and most influential tradition in Tibet.

He is the epitome of a selfless individual, often stating that he is a simple Buddhist monk. He has authored or co-authored more than 110 books, ranging from philosophical to inspirational to ethical subjects. The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people and their greatest advocate for a free Tibet. Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana, following the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for enlightenment around the sixth century BC. He had no belief in a personal god. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is the rule of life. He serves as the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the people of Tibet. He was born on July 6, 1935 and is presently 81 years of age.

The Dalai Lama has a long held special interest in science, particularly science of the mind. In 1987, he helped found the Mind & Life Institute, a foundation dedicated to alleviate suffering and promoting peace by integrating science with the traditions of contemplative wisdom and thinking. He has created personal connections with many scientists, and has encouraged the scientific exploration of Buddhist meditation. These measures won him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his work in advocating nonviolent means to liberate Tibet from China, and for his contribution in improving environmental issues. He shared this award with Mikhail Gorbachev. His hobbies include meditating, gardening, and collecting and repairing watches.

In his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, he said With the ever growing impact of science on our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play reminding us of our basic humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into the other. According to him, both science and the teachings of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things. This understanding is crucial if we are to take positive and decisive action on the pressing global concern with the environment.

He was born on July 6, 1935 and serves as the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the people of Tibet.

Each Dalai Lama is a manifestation of the Bodhisattva (Buddha) of Compassion, who are believed to have postponed their nirvana and chosen to be rebirthed in the service of humanity. This Dalai Lama is the 74th manifestation of Bodhisattva, the enlightened Buddha of compassion who serves as the 14th the spiritual leader of the people of Tibet. The present Dalai Lama serves as the 14th Dalai Lama who was born on July 6, 1935.

Each Dalai Lama is a manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion, who are believed to have postponed their nirvana and chosen to be rebirthed in the service of humanity. This Dalai Lama is the 74th manifestation of Bodhisattva, the enlightened Buddha of compassion.

Known for his charisma and charm, the Dalai Lama is an outspoken international advocate for a variety of issues, a major being his environmental concern. He writes and speaks extensively about the need for a caring attitude toward the environment, the intricate interrelationship between humans and the earth, and the importance of respect for the earths living things.

The Dalai Lama believes in peaceful religious coexistence and thinks that the worlds religions should have harmonious relationships with each other and engage in meaningful interfaith dialogue. The Dalai Lama is fascinated by science and has stated that if he had not become a monk, he would have become an engineer.

The Dalai Lama is fascinated by science and has stated that if he had not become a monk, he would have become an engineer

Known for his charisma and charm, the Dalai Lama is an outspoken international advocate for a variety of issues, a major one being his environmental concern. He writes and speaks extensively about the need for a caring attitude toward the environment, the intricate interrelationship between humans and the earth, and the importance of respect for the earths living things.

He believes that everyone should have a joyful life. The Dalai Lama is considered a living Buddha of compassion, a reincarnation of the bodhisattva, who renounced Nirvana in order to help mankind.

The Dalai Lama, being Tibets spiritual and political leader of its Bhuddists has all through his life strived to make Tibet an independent and democratic state from China. But China has always resisted him and his followers attempts to invent and practice a religion of their own for fear that one day, he may become a threat to China and its ideology. Thus he and his ranks were attacked by Chinese troops in 1959 which led him and his followers to flee Tibet and go in exile to India. These days The Dalai Lame is living a life of exile in Dharamsala, in the northern India where they established an alternative government. Since then, the Dalai Lama has made numerous attempts in the hope of establishing an autonomous Tibetan state within the Peoples Republic of China. However, the Chinese government has shown no signs of moving toward peace and reconciliation with Tibet. For his peaceful attempts to co-exist with China he conducted hundreds of conferences, lectures and workshops worldwide, as part of his humanitarian efforts. He was thus awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. In December 2008, the Dalai Lama announced his semi-retirement after having gallstone surgery.

Buddhism was created in the sixth century, BCE, with the birth of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama, making it one of the oldest religions practiced today. Originating in India, the religion spread throughout most of eastern and southern Asia. Buddhism came to Tibet in the 8th century, CE. Unlike other religions that are centered on a supreme being, Buddhism is centered on four basic truths: Life is not perfect; people remain unsatisfied due to their pursuit for perfection. People must realize there is a better way to achieve fulfillment; and that is possible only by living ones life through wisdom, ethical conduct and mental discipline, which is the only goal to reach enlightenment.

The Dalai Lama is fascinated by science and has stated that if he had not become a monk, he would have become an engineer.

If the Dalai Lama is such an enlightened being, then what is the meaning of life for him? When asked on his website what is the purpose of his life to him the Dalai Lamas response was, to be happy.

Thus, Buddhists believe life is a continual journey of experience and discovery and not divided between life and the afterlife. On May 29, 2011 the Dalai Lama signed a document formally transferring his temporal authority to the democratically elected leader in Tibet. In so doing he formally put an end to the 368-year old tradition of the Dalai Lamas functioning as both the spiritual and temporal head of Tibet.In 2011, the 14th Dalai Lama insinuated that he may at the age of 90, decide whether the line of Dalai Lamas would continue as before.

The present Dalai Lama due to his charismatic personality, and his varied interests in world peace and environmental issues and his world-wide lectures in all the famous universities of the world, has made him a very affable and popular personality despite his hermit-like life in India.

In a May 2013 Harris Poll, the Dalai Lama outranked even President Obama in popularity by 13 percent.

The writer is a former member of the Provincial Civil Service, and an author of Moments in Silence

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The king without kingdom - Daily Times

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March 28th, 2020 at 5:45 pm

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Medicine, Religion, and Cosmos Was Andrew Cuomo Wrong to Invoke God? – Discovery Institute

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In a press conference yesterday about the coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo used notably religious language. He observed (at 33 minutes) that healthcare workers are doing Gods work of caring for people. Was he mistaken in saying so? You might well think so from watching the Cosmos series on Fox and the National Geographic channels.

Episodes 5 and 6 of this newseason of the program, with Neil deGrasse Tyson, aired on Monday. See here for commentary from Evolution News on episode 6. Going a little out of order, here are my thoughts on episode 5, entitled The Cosmic Connectome. This episode gives the impression that ancient medicine, with few exceptions such as the Greek physician Hippocrates and his followers, consisted merely of ritualistic appeasement of the gods. Reliable medicine triumphed only as science conquered religion. Wrong impression! Lets get this right.

In their introduction to the history of medicine, Essential Readings in Medicine and Religion (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2017), Gary Ferngren and Ekaterina Lomperis write: Healing in the ancient world took a variety of forms, some secular and some religious or magical. Here is their summary of the causal repertoire of ancient medicine (both before and after Hippocrates) in Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Greek, Roman, and early Christian texts:

Disease was generally attributed to four kinds of causation. In the first, it was said to be caused by gods or divinities and was often considered to be retributive, that is, inflicted in response to an act that had aroused the displeasure of a god or divine force. In the second type, disease was attributed to demons (minor deities or malevolent spirits).In the third, it was said to be caused by the magic of magicians or sorcerers. Finally, disease was seen to be the result of natural causes that could be observed, for example, in wounds and broken bones. While in some societies one or another model of disease causation was dominant, in most ancient cultures all four were seen as potential causes, and a proper diagnosis was necessary to determine which type was the cause and what kind of treatment would be effective in each instance.

Religion and science-based medicine have continued to interact in modern times, up through the current COVID-19 pandemic. Like Governor Cuomo, many people today still see religion and medicine as operating in harmony. They practice social distancing (echoing Old Testament leprosy protocol), accept medical ventilator assistance (if available), and pray. See neurosurgeon Michael Egnors comments, Why Prayer Is Wise During a Pandemic, at Mind Matters.

Prior to the public hospitals created by ancient Christians, very few ancient people had access to physicians. Early Christians proclaimed and practiced the harmony of faith (prayer, not pagan magic) and medical technology. Much of the subsequent humanitarian expansion of medicine, especially for the poor, was inspired and funded by Christianity. Many hospital names still reflect this religious heritage.

Although few medical practices prior to about two hundred years ago significantly resulted in healing, this was not due to religious hindrances to medical progress. Rather, biomedical science, needed to dramatically improve medical practice, took a long time for humanity to discover. This largely occurred in the modern Western world. The Judeo-Christian tradition proved to be a supportive context for such discoveries. See my video that deals with this subject, Three Big Ways Christianity Supported the Rise of Modern Science.

So Cosmos host Neil Tyson is wrong to say that the hallmark of modern science and enlightened medicine is the belief that nothing happens without a natural cause. That is a narrow philosophical belief that is out of touch with the cultural roots of modern science. Discovery of the cause-and-effect structure of the natural world has been best fostered in cultures committed to a belief in a supernatural creator who made a world with discoverable natural laws and discernible natural histories.

Despite Tysons many misguided criticisms of theistic religion, his own materialistic faith is granted a privileged, but undeserved, authority in Cosmos 3.0. Much of the rest of episode 5 is devoted to celebrating the emergence of consciousness from material processes, even though there is no good explanation for how this could have happened by a series of unguided physical events. Echoing Carl Sagan, Tyson defines the universe as everything that ever was, is, or will be. This is a statement of faith. Science, in principle, could not derive such a conclusion.

Finally, Tyson conveys religious awe when he concludes the episode with the hopeful anticipation that, after sharing our digitized brain contents with alien superintelligence, humanity will experience the ultimate realization of emergence, a cosmos interconnected by thoughts and dreams. Salvation by technology! This is an oblique expression of the extraterrestrial enlightenment myth that I debunk in my book Unbelievable. See also, Unbelievable: The Myth of Alien Enlightenment. Be on the lookout for more of this muddled naturalistic Nirvana in the remaining episodes of Cosmos.

Editors note: Find further reviews and commentary on the third season of Cosmos, Possible Worlds, here:

Image credit: Galen and Hippocrates, two ancient physicians, depicted in a fresco from Anagni Cathedral in Italy, by Nina Aldin Thune via Wikimedia Commons.

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Medicine, Religion, and Cosmos Was Andrew Cuomo Wrong to Invoke God? - Discovery Institute

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March 28th, 2020 at 5:45 pm

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It’s a bad idea for journalists to censor Trump instead, they can help the public identify what’s true or false – Trumbull Times

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(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.)

David Cuillier, University of Arizona

(THE CONVERSATION) In times of mortal strife, humans crave information more than ever, and its journalists responsibility to deliver it.

But what if that information is inaccurate, or could even kill people?

Thats the quandary journalists have found themselves in as they decide whether to cover President Donald J. Trumps press briefings live.

Some television networks have started cutting away from the briefings, saying the events are no more than campaign rallies, and that the president is spreading falsehoods that endanger the public.

If Trump is going to keep lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should, all of us, stop broadcasting it, MSNBCs Rachel Maddow tweeted. Honestly, its going to cost lives.

News decisions and ethical dilemmas arent simple, but withholding information from the public is inconsistent with journalistic norms, and while well-meaning, could actually cause more harm than good in the long run. Keeping the presidents statements from the public prevents the public from being able to evaluate his performance, for example.

Truth and falsehood can fight it out

The Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics, updated in 2014 during my term as president, states that the press must seek truth and report it, while also minimizing harm.

When the president of the United States speaks, it matters it is newsworthy, its history in the making. Relaying that event to the public as it plays out is critical for citizens, who can see and hear for themselves what their leader is saying, and evaluate the facts for themselves so that they may adequately self-govern.

Thats true even if leaders lie. Actually, its even more important when leaders lie.

Think of libertarian philosopher John Miltons plea for the free flow of information and end of censorship in 1600s England. Put it all out there and let people sort the lies from the truth, Milton urged: Let her and Falsehood grapple.

If a president spreads lies and disinformation, or minimizes health risks, then the electorate needs to know that to make informed decisions at the polls, perhaps to vote the person out to prevent future missteps.

Likewise, theres a chance the president could be correct in his representation of at least some of the facts.

Its not up to journalists to decide, but simply report what is said while providing additional context and facts that may or may not support what the president said.

Maddow is correct that journalists should not simply parrot information spoon fed by those in power to readers and viewers who might struggle to make sense of it in a vacuum. That is why its imperative journalists continuously challenge false and misleading statements, and trust the public to figure it out.

Craving information

Those who would urge the medias censorship of the presidents speeches may feel they are protecting citizens from being duped, because they believe the average person cant distinguish fact from fiction. Communication scholars call this third-person effect, where we feel ourselves savvy enough to identify lies, but think other more vulnerable, gullible and impressionable minds cannot.

It is understandable why journalists would try to protect the public from lies. Thats the minimizing harm part in the SPJ code of ethics, which is critical in these times, when inaccurate information can put a persons health at risk or cause them to make a fatal decision.

So how do journalists report the days events while minimizing harm and tamping down the spread of disinformation? Perhaps this can be accomplished through techniques already in use during this unorthodox presidential period:

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Report the press briefings live for all to see, while providing live commentary and fact-checking, as PolitiFact and others have done for live presidential debates.

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Fact-check the president after his talks, through contextual stories that provide the public accurate information, in the media and through websites such as FactCheck.org.

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Call intentional mistruths what they are: Lies. With this administration, journalists have become more willing to call intentional falsehoods lies, and that needs to continue, if not even more bluntly.

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Develop a deep list of independent experts that can be on hand to counter misinformation as it is communicated.

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Report transparently and openly, clearly identifying sources, providing supplemental documents online, and acknowledging limitations of information.

The coronavirus pandemic is a critical time for the nations health and its democracy. Now, more than ever, we need information. As humans, we crave knowing what is going on around us, a basic awareness instinct, as termed by Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel in their foundational book, The Elements of Journalism.

People arent dummies

Sometimes people dont even realize they need information until after they have lost it.

In his autobiography, the late Sen. John McCain wrote that upon his release after five years as a Vietnamese prisoner of war, the first thing he did when he got to a Philippines military base was order a steak dinner and stack of newspapers.

I wanted to know what was going on in the world, and I grasped anything I could find that might offer a little enlightenment, McCain wrote. The thing I missed most was information free, uncensored, undistorted, abundant information.

People arent dummies. They can decipher good information from bad, as long as they have all the facts at their disposal.

And journalists are the ones best positioned to deliver it.

[You need to understand the coronavirus pandemic, and we can help. Read our newsletter.]

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/its-a-bad-idea-for-journalists-to-censor-trump-instead-they-can-help-the-public-identify-whats-true-or-false-134962.

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It's a bad idea for journalists to censor Trump instead, they can help the public identify what's true or false - Trumbull Times

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March 28th, 2020 at 5:45 pm

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4 ‘i’s of global cataclysm Redress impoverishment, injustice, illness and ignorance to make the world a – Telangana Today

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Barring very few exceptions, nothing else in the modern world as of date, has posed graver risk to human life than the current menace of novel coronavirus (Covid-19 as tagged by WHO) in more than one way, be it physically, psychologically, socially, economically or spiritually. Some say that immune deficiencies render the contracted individuals susceptible. Some felt initially that the elderly are more vulnerable. Later, WHO clarified that none is invincible, including the youth, to viral attack. There was also confusion as to whether infection could be transmitted through the air but some authentic sources refuted doubts explaining that the disease is not airborne.

A lot of people took to social media, forwarding repeatedly different messages of curative suggestions and remedial precautions based on allopathic medicine and traditional procedures, despite the fact that medical scientists, including immunologists, epidemiologists and virologists, are still busy with their experiments and tests without any conclusive vaccine conception and administration so far.

On the other hand, the world also witnessed mutual allegations between some nations for wreaking havoc. Accusations include suppression of information about the health hazard having international ramifications with every possibility of infecting other countries. As the demonic corona began stretching out its tentacles to almost all the countries, WHO declared it a pandemic.

The public health situation soon went deteriorating in some countries even after they closed off their frontiers but those nations which sensed the impending catastrophe ahead of time and implemented tough and deterrent regulations ensuring full lockdowns at individual and city levels could avert large scale human devastation.

However, certain nations which could not respond to the emergency as expeditiously as warranted suffered heavily and are yet to get over the persisting worrisome state of affairs. Various national governments have been finding it difficult to enforce social distancing measures among their populations as per the stipulated protocols and the subsequent repercussions seem to be unimaginably dearer, expectedly as well as unexpectedly.

It is, of course, a pressing moment for global humanity as regards how to survive the pandemic with minimal damage. Because, the economic scenario anyhow has to dwindle further in the present circumstances as every household is adversely getting affected on the domestic budgetary front due to cessation of livelihood activities, despite governmental largesse. The basic instinct of group togetherness has been shattered to bits and pieces by the threat of destrudo, the death impulse.

Spiritual ambiguity has also been overwhelming to the extent that a sizeable number of faithfuls had to force their mindset for introspection as if their belief systems are beguiling. Intellectuals recollect the happenings during the days of the Second World War and its aftermath that brought forth a new thinking on life and living, reflecting atheistic existentialism and absurdism.

Meanwhile, what the American Nobel Prize-winning biophysicist Michael Levitt predicted about the probable statistics of corona fatalities in China proved true. And his convincingly calculated reasoning that the infectious disease is on the way to its end due to ongoing preventive and remedial efforts, being executed on a war footing by respective national machinery; has come out as soothing words for the tense world.

Such being the prevailing state with which we are conversant, the enigma that still keeps on lingering in our minds is about what makes one localised occurrence somewhere like the corona spark in a remote wildlife wet market of Wuhan could expand so rapidly and dangerously to everywhere across as huge as the globe itself.

If we dig deep into history, we find that certain phases of human condition act as triggers and they engulf the world in chaos, insecurity and uncertainty, sporadically or otherwise depending upon the degree of their intensity. I call them as 4 Is of global cataclysm, which ought to be redressed worldwide. They are impoverishment, injustice, illness and ignorance respectively. Apropos of the first i, that is impoverishment; the Philadelphia Declaration of ILO (International Labour Organisation) adopted a resolution in 1944 emphasising that poverty anywhere in the world is a threat to prosperity everywhere in the world. We are aware that the impoverished Karl Marx instigated the toiling masses in 19th century Britain with his provocative philosophy of class struggle to achieve economic equality through violent means. His ideology impacted many nations right from Cuba to China.

In a similar vein, the 1964 Nobel Peace laureate for civil rights Dr Martin Luther King Jr roared that injustice anywhere in the world is a threat to justice everywhere. Therefore, injustice is the second monster. Injustice, perpetrated on the basis of racial prejudice during Hitlers tyranny in Germany, led to the Second World War, involving more than two dozen countries.

Thirdly, the global politic realised that illness too anywhere in the world is a threat to wellness everywhere. This reality is literally being experienced at the moment by the whole world on account of corona contagion, which has been terrifying the humanity since the last few months, irrespective of national boundaries, cultures, races, religions, classes, castes and what not.

And the last i stands for ignorance. Almost all the countries, whether developed or developing, are struggling to cope with the pandemic as lockdowns, quarantines, isolations, self-home confinements, etc, are not fully successful as some people are heedless of seriousness owing to their ignorance. It is a fact that ignorance blocks common sense not only in the illiterate mind but also in the educated psyche. Hence, enlightenment plays a critical role in helping both the uneducated and the educated get wise for the safety and security of self and fellow humans.

It is here in this context that all the nations need to rethink their priorities and redesign their strategies so as to invest in economic equality rather than in one sided affluence, in universal social justice rather than in polarising the nations, in health rather than in weapons of mass destruction and in ethical enlightenment rather than in mindless research projects.

(The author is former DG Cyber Crimes, Bhopal)

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4 'i's of global cataclysm Redress impoverishment, injustice, illness and ignorance to make the world a - Telangana Today

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March 28th, 2020 at 5:45 pm

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Spinoza and no platforming: Enlightenment thinker would have seen it as motivated by ambition rather than fear – The Conversation UK

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Baruch Spinoza, one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy.

The recent no-platforming of social historian Selina Todd and former Conservative MP Amber Rudd has reignited the debate about protecting free speech in universities. Both had their invited lectures cancelled at the last minute on the grounds of previous public statements with which the organisers disagreed.

Many people have interpreted these acts as hostile behaviour aimed at silencing certain views. But is this primarily about free speech?

The debate about no-platforming and cancel culture has largely revolved around free speech and the question of whether it is ever right to deny it. The suggestion is that those who cancel such events want to deny the freedom of speech of individuals who they take to be objectionable.

Most of us surely agree that freedom of speech should sometimes be secondary to considerations of the harm caused by certain forms of speech so the question is about what kinds of harm offer a legitimate reason to deny someone a public platform. Since people perceive harm in many different ways, this question is particularly difficult to resolve.

But perhaps the organisers who cancelled these events were not motivated by the desire to deny freedom of speech at all. Todd and Rudd are prominent people in positions of authority so cancelling their events, while causing a public splash, is unlikely to dent their freedom to speak on these or other issues at other times and in different forums.

Read more: Two arguments to help decide whether to 'cancel' someone and their work

But these acts have a significant effect on others, who may feel unable to speak on certain issues from fear of similar treatment. Perhaps the no-platformers cancelled Todd and Rudd, not because they wanted to deny them their freedom to speak, but because they didnt want to listen to them. Perhaps they were motivated not by a rational consideration of potential harm, but by an emotion: the desire not to listen to something with which they disagree.

The 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza has a name for this emotion: ambition. Nowadays we think of ambition as the desire to succeed in ones career. But in the 17th century, ambition was recognised to be a far more pernicious and far more political emotion. As Spinoza wrote in his Ethics (1677), ambition is the desire that everyone should feel the way I do:

Each of us strives, so far as he can, that everyone should love what he loves, and hate what he hates Each of us, by his nature, wants the others to live according to his temperament; when all alike want this, they are alike an obstacle to one another.

Spinoza sees the emotions, or passions, as naturally arising from our interactions with one another and the world. We strive to do things that make us feel joy an increase in our power to exist and flourish and we strive to avoid things that make us feel sad or cause a decrease in our power.

We naturally desire and love what we believe others desire and love. It is therefore natural that we want others to love what we do and think what we think. For if others admire and approve of our actions and feelings, then we will feel a greater pleasure with a concomitant increase of power in ourselves.

Ambition is not simply wanting to feel esteemed it is wanting others to love and hate exactly what we love and hate. It is the desire to cause others to think and feel exactly as we do. It is the desire to avert from ourselves those who cannot be convinced to do so for those dissenters diminish our sense of self-worth.

Spinoza would have recognised the desire not to listen to dissenting views as a species of ambition. Disagreement is perceived not as a reasoned difference of views, but as a threat: something that causes sadness and a diminishing of ones power something to be avoided at all costs.

Somebody who feels differently threatens our sense of the worthiness of our own feelings, causing a type of sadness. Spinoza stresses that we strive to destroy whatever we imagine will lead to sadness. Thus ambition leads to a desire to change peoples views, often through hostile, exclusionary, destructive behaviours.

Not only that, but someone in the grip of ambition is likely to be immune to rational argument. Spinoza argues that passions are obstructive to good thinking: reason on its own has little power to shift a passion that has a strong hold on us.

Most of us have had negative experiences on social media with people who disagree with us on politically charged questions. Instead of engaging with our arguments, they point out that we are immoral or unfeeling for holding a different view. Really, what our opponents find intolerable is our failure to feel the same about the issue as they do.

Refusing to hear an argument and seeking to silence it is a mild form of no-platforming, motivated not by the desire to quash free speech, but by ambition. Our failure to share in the political feelings of others leads them to experience a loss of power, and they respond by attacking the cause of the loss. Ambition makes rational debate impossible, even when our freedom to speak remains perfectly intact.

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Spinoza and no platforming: Enlightenment thinker would have seen it as motivated by ambition rather than fear - The Conversation UK

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March 12th, 2020 at 10:42 am

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Altruism, Generosity, and Selfishness in the Age of Bernie | James A. Montanye – The Beacon

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Senator, and presidential hopeful, Bernie Sanders enticing blend of progressivism (which claims reason and science as justification) and socialism (which is skeptical of both) gives cause to inquire into the foundations of his redistributive political mindset.

Sanders politics echo the social ideology of Herbert Croly, whos book, The Promise of American Life (1909), introduced a progressive liberalism that lost its intellectual respectability decades ago (for more on this loss, see The End of Liberalism: The Second Republic of the United States, 2nd edition [1979], by Theodore Lowi). Croly, in turn, was influenced by the positive polity of French philosopher Auguste Comte, who coined the term altruism to denote the personal sacrifices that his social ideology entailed. Comte claimed to disdain utopian social visions, yet proposed (across numerous volumes) the wildest of them all. By his lights, [o]ur harmony as moral beings is impossible on any other foundation but altruism. Nay more, altruism alone can enable us to live, in the highest and truest sense (see Comtes primer, The Catechism of Positivism, 1858 [1852], 310311).

The ethicist and philosopher of economics John Mueller offers a distinction between altruism and everyday generosity: benevolence [altruism], or good will, can be extended to everyone in the world, and beneficence [generosity], or doing good, cannot (Redeeming Economics: Rediscovering the Missing Element, 2010, 36). Yet sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, and economics teach that sacrificial altruism among humans occurs naturally only within the family. Voluntary generosity, by comparison, usually entails no true sacrifice (see my 2018 paper, Altruism: From Pagan Virtue to Political Biology, Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism 26: article 4, 119).

Croly echoed Comtes call for altruistic social policies:

The Promise of American life is to be fulfillednot merely by a maximum amount of economic freedom, but by a certain measure of discipline; not merely by the abundant satisfaction of individual desires, but by a large measure of individual subordination and self-denial. [...] To ask an individual citizen continually to sacrifice his recognized private interest to the welfare of his countrymen is to make an impossible demand, and yet just such a continual sacrifice is apparently required of an individual in a democratic state. The only entirely satisfactory solution of the difficulty is offered by the systematic authoritative transformation of the private interest of the individual into a disinterested devotion to a special object [e.g., a truly democratic state]. (The Promise of American Life, 1909: 22; 418, italics added.)

Croly, like Comte, embraced Enlightenment progressivism, by which Robespierre attempted to lead the people by reason and the peoples enemies by terror; the peoples reason ultimately led Robespierre onto the guillotine. The other Enlightenment choice available was classical liberalism, from which Americas early political fabric was woven. (For historical analysis of these developments, see two books by Jonathan Israel, Democratic Enlightenment: Philosophy, Revolution, and Human Rights, 17501790 [2012] and The Enlightenment that Failed: Ideas, Revolution, and Democratic Defeat, 17481830 [2020].)

Altruism and progressivism necessarily entail coercion. The historian Vegas Liulevicius shows that [a] clear connection exists between 20th-century plans for utopias and use of terror to bring them about. [... Terror was necessary] because plans for perfection encountered either passive or active resistance (Utopia and Terror in the 20th Century, 2003, Part 1). The harmony that Comte imagined would flow from altruism was illusory.

The prominent academic psychologist and avowed Enlightenment humanist Steven Pinker characterizes modern altruism as [t]odays Fascism Lite, which shades into authoritarian populism and Romantic nationalism, [and] is sometimes justified by a crude version of evolutionary psychology in which [...] humans have been selected to sacrifice their interest for the supremacy of their group (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress, 2018: 448). The prominent evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins sides with Pinker on the facts, but differs with him on the spirit: Human superniceness is a perversion of Darwinism, because, in a wild population, it would be removed by natural selection. [...] Lets put it even more bluntly. From a rational choice point of view, or from a Darwinian point of view, human superniceness is just plain dumb. But it is the kind of dumb that should be encouraged (Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist, 2017: 276277, italics added). Dumb behavior and impossible demands are unlikely means for perfecting individuals and societies.

The Roman Stoic philosopher Lucius Annus Seneca wrote of generosity that people must be taught to give benefits freely, receive them freely, and return them freely and to set themselves a grand challenge: not just to match in actions and attitude those to whom we are obligated, but even to outdo them, for the person who should return a favor never catches up unless he gets ahead (On Benefits, n.d.). Seneca argued that an upward eudmonic spiral results whenever benefits are given and reciprocated voluntarily.

Generosity and reciprocity nevertheless arise most often as instrumental means to purposeful ends. The philosopher Thomas Hobbes aptly argued that No man giveth but with intention of good to himself, because gift is voluntary; and of all voluntary acts, the object is to every man his own good; of which, if men see they shall be frustrated, there will be no beginning of benevolence or trust, nor consequently of mutual help (Leviathan, 1651). Ayn Rand similarly saw, in the grace of reality and the nature of life, a rational selfishnesswhich means: the values required for mans survival qua manwhich means the values required for human survivalnot the values produced by the desires and feelings, the whims or the needs of irrational brutes, who have never outgrown the primordial practice of human sacrifices, have never discovered the industrial society and can conceive of no self-interest but that of grabbing the loot of the moment (The Virtue of Selfishness, 1964: 31).

Sanders, like Comte and Croly, proposes to perfectioneer society through the kind of altruistic policies that, since the late eighteenth century, have wrought havoc on mankind.

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Altruism, Generosity, and Selfishness in the Age of Bernie | James A. Montanye - The Beacon

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Politician Helps Pay Off Crushing Medical Debt for Man Who Sent Him Racist TweetsAnd They’re Now Friends – Good News Network

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Rather than fight vitriol with vitriol, a Muslim politician who is running for a seat in Congress responded to some deeply hurtful anti-Muslim tweets with compassionand it completely changed the dialogue.

Qasim Rashid, a Democratic attorney who is running for Congressman in the 1st district of Virginia, was perturbed to receive a series of racist messages from a conservative constituent on Twitter.

The man in question was a 66-year-old Fredericksburg resident named Oz Dillon.

RELATED: Judge Sentences Teen Vandals to Reading Books About Racism and It Apparently Worked

Dillon has been struggling to pay the bills since his wife suffered a pulmonary embolism that wiped out their retirement savings. In addition to having a modest income of just $38,000 per year, Dillon and his wife have been coping with soaring insurance rates and a house that is not handicap accessible.

When Rashid learned of Dillons financial difficulties on Twitter, he donated to Dillons GoFundMe campaign and encouraged his community voters to do the same.

Inspired by Rashids kindness, many of his social media followers did indeed donate to the crowdfunding page, leaving Dillon in awe.

Dillon later sent Rashid an apology for his earlier insults and thanked him for showing such compassion.

Mr. Rashid, You humble me sir, with your graciousness, and surprisingly kind words, he said in a message to Rashid. You cannot imagine how uplifting it is, to see gifts such as yours starting to come in! Given how I have misspoken about you in posts on Facebook, I am truly shocked, that you have shared my wife and my plight with your supporters. I must now reassess my opinion about you, and your platform, come November.

He also published a note of thanks to his benefactors on GoFundMe.

An amazing week of eye- and heart-opening enlightenment, that I used to always have before 9/11, he said A Christian Muslim, Qasim Rashid, who I had previously opposed politically just because of the word Muslim, has opened my eyes that there are GOOD people in all walks of life.

LOOK: Descendants of Slaves and Slave-Owners Are Bonding at South Carolina Plantation Where They Share Their Painful Past

He shared our plight with his followers, who in turn donated nearly $1,000 dollars to help Terri and I get rid of this crushing debt. I owe him, and everyone in fact, a deep debt of gratitude, and pray you are all rewarded tenfold, for your generosity.

Dillon and Rashid eventually met in person so they could develop their newfound friendship. Since their story has been shared on social media and news outlets, Dillons crowdfunding campaign has raised more than $20,000.

However, Dillon now says he only plans on keeping enough of the funds to get himself and his wife out of their financial rut before he donates the rest to St. Judes Childrens Hospital, The American Heart Association, and their local food bank.

Be Sure And Share This Inspiring Story With Your Friends On Social Media

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Politician Helps Pay Off Crushing Medical Debt for Man Who Sent Him Racist TweetsAnd They're Now Friends - Good News Network

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