Large Numbers

When you count by multiples of a thousand, you get some interesting names for numbers, but were you aware that the Europeans and the Brits call what Americans call a Trillion a Billion? Probably not. But if you’re like me, you aren’t satisfied with what comes after nine hundred ninety nine octillion nine hundred ninety nine septillion nine hundred ninety nine sextillion nine hundred ninety nine quintillion nine hundred ninety nine quadrillion nine hundred ninety nine trillion nine hundred ninety nine billion nine hundred ninety nine million nine hundred ninety nine thousand nine hundred ninety nine. You’ve spent a long time counting so you won’t be in the mood to argue with the a European numberphile. So here is the low down on the lingo …

https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Names_for_large_numbers

Parallel Universe Epistemology Party

In a number of parallel Universes, some of the permutations of me have had the privilege of meeting together repeatedly with various versions of Richard Feldman, Alvin Goldman, Robert Nozick, Alvin Plantinga, and Dr. Jefferey Watson and others at a party in honor of Edmund Gettier hosted by Laurence Bonjour and Susan Haack. Feldman had arrived with his friends, A.J. Ayer, William Alston, Michael Clark and Keith Lehrer. Typically, the conversation will go something like this …


AJA: The standard view of knowledge is having the right to be sure. Tonight, I would like you to earn me that right be assuring me that this is so. If P is true and S is sure that P is true, and S has the right to be sure that p is true, then we can all agree that S has knowledge of p.

EG: Unfortunately, I can think of cases where that is not true. Think of Smith and Jones. The day he met, they were interviewing for the same job. Smith was sure Jones would get the job, as Jones bragged of knowing the owner, giving ten convincing reasons, one for each coin he had in his pocket, so Smith concluded the man who got the job would surely have ten coins in his pocket. This turned out to be true, but not because Jones got the job. To Smith’s surprise, he landed the job himself and hadn’t realized he had ten coins in his own pocket. P was thus true, S was sure that P was true, and S had the right to be sure that p was true, but S didn’t have knowledge of p. The same applied the time that Smith and Jones worked together and Jones kept bragging about his Ford. Smith quipped “Jones owns a Ford or Brown is in Barcelona.” Sure enough, Brown was in Barcelona but Jones didn’t own a Ford. It was just a rental. MC: S didn’t have the right to be sure that p in either of those cases, but he would have so long as all of S’s grounds for believing p were true. So just add this as a fourth condition and S knows that p.

RF: Just the explicit grounds, or a whole chain of grounds? What if one ground in a chain of grounds is false? What if some attain greater certainty? Do those with less certainty negate the grounds with greater certainty? Work on that.

KL: As I was discussing with my friend, Paxson, what you really need for S to know that p is no defeating arguments as your fourth condition. There is no true proposition t such that, if S were justified in believing t, that S would not be justified in believing p. (Feldman 34)

RF: Nice try, Keith. But don’t you remember the Radio that Smith knew was off but playing “Girl, You’ll be a Woman Soon?” There was also that Tom and Tim Grabit case and their lying mother. Sight gets defeated by lies.  My own more modest proposal is to add that S’s justification for p does not essentially depend on any falsehood. Admittedly, this isn’t completely clear, but it’s clearer than Clark’s no false grounds idea, which I rather like otherwise. We have knowledge so long as each premise is sound. And there is always some epistemically basic belief that every piece of knowledge ultimately rests on,

LB: Either something shows you evidence for its truth somehow or it doesn’t. There are no epistemically basic beliefs that things rest on. Evidence is something that fits together like a web coherently with everything we know.

KL: I’m with Laurence. You say that “a basic statement must be self-justified and must not be justified by any non-basic belief. Second, a basic belief must either be irrefutable or, if refutable at all, it must only be refutable by other basic beliefs. Third, beliefs must be such that all other beliefs that are justified or refuted are justified or refuted by basic beliefs.” (Lehrer, Keith. Knowledge Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1974. pp.76-77) (Huemer 408). And our friend, Fred Will, would add words like “infallible,” “indubitable” and “incorrigible” to this (Huemer 402). One’s sensation may be deceived in various ways.

WA: Maybe DesCartes wanted that level of certainty and that would be ideal, but I just want justification to be sufficient for belief. Mediately justified beliefs lead to immediately justified beliefs along branches. If not, then the premises of a belief are unsound. Looped and infinite chains or those that terminate in unjustified beliefs would fail to constitute sufficient grounds for belief. 

RF: I think we can all agree that a priori knowledge is too limited to be practical but we certainly need evidence for justification.

SH: How about foundherentism?

AG: Nothing wrong with evidence, but if you want to truly satisfy Gettier here, S truly has knowledge if and only if the fact of p is causally connected in an appropriate way with S’s believing in p. Here’s another case. Let’s say Gerald falls down the steps and hits his head, giving him amnesia and an assortment of strange beliefs, none of which are true, but included in that random set of beliefs is the notion that he has just fallen down the steps. His belief is justified because he has the memory and it is true. But the belief was not causally connected in the right way. Therefore, it would not be knowledge. Edmund would be honored. The same holds true if there is a more complex causal chain. Now if you see a tree in front of you, the cause is your eyesight. Or I might remember a tree, so the cause in my belief there was a tree would be my memory. Or there might be a more complex causal chain, such as Smith seeing sawdust and wood chips where there once was a tree, remembering the tree and a notice he saw from the city saying they would cut it down. You might see this as evidence for belief, but they are also causes for belief. How I come to believe matters more than why.

RF: Well and true, but how do you deal with generalizations? How, for instance, would you know that all men are mortal, if you have not seen every man, past present or future to cause such a belief? Also, what if you lack some information in a causal chain? If Edgar believes Allan Poe died and knew he’d taken a fatal dose of poison for which there is no antidote and some time passed so he believed he was dead, but Alaln actually died of a heart attack from worry rather than poison, Edgar would be wrong about the causal chain in Allan’s death even if he was right that he was dead. He would then be justified in believing Allan was dead and it would be true, but he would not possess an appropriate causal connection. 

AG:  True. You would call it knowledge. I wouldn’t if I didn’t consider that the instances from the generality are not still causally connected – there is something to be said for that. Or perhaps your standard of what constitutes knowledge is lower. than mine. 

RF: Well then consider the twins Trudy and Judy Smith met. Judy comes to him one day and he believes it’s Judy even though he knows about Judy’s twin sister Trudy. Without good evidence, Smith assumes Judy is talking to him, when it could have been Trudy. You would say Judy caused the belief. It would be true. It would not be justified.

AG: I agree, it would not be justified. I thought about this problem for over a decade and realized what was needed was a reliable process of belief formation. Just seeing someone and being rash about it would not count as a reliable process of belief formation. S’s belief in p at t is justified ‘if S’s belief in p at t results from a belief-independent process that is reliable, then S’s belief in p at t is justified’; And if S’s belief in p at t results from a belief-dependent process that is conditionally reliable, and the beliefs the process operates on are themselves justified.’ (Feldman 95). This, by the way, is why sensory experience is justified for believing – it is a highly reliable process. Calling it an epistemically basic belief is unnecessary.

RF: If you don’t have a body but are really a brain in a vat causing all sorts of beliefs, then what process applies? Or what if you only look at a broken clock at the right time by pure coincidence every time you look at it, unaware that it is broken? 

LB: I concur with Richard on this one. Consider Norman, the clairvoyant. He was always right. Suppose one day Norman believes the president is in New York City for no reason other than a hunch obtained by his clairvoyance, and he’s right. That belief would not be justified. I’ll admit it would be a reliable process, but it would fail to cohere with any evidence Norman would otherwise have.

RF: Yes, evidence. You’ll need to spell out the process better, Alvin. 

Just then David Hume enters the room. 

DH: The clairvoyant’s process is mere numerical inference. It only predicts that past. Backgammon anyone? (add Scotch accent)

AG: No thanks, Hume. Well I have made some distinctions, like the difference between a hasty scan and a detailed observation or the qualitative difference between seeing nearby objects and distant ones – process types.

RF: Not good enough. Each category still gets treated as though every token example has the same reliability as a process. 

JW: I don’t think Freedman gets it. These types need to be general to be all embracing.

AG:: We might say, “if s’s belief in p at t results from a belief-independent process token whose relevant type is reliable, then S’s belief in p at t is justified.” (Feldman 9Ish 8) How’s that?

RF: Consider an umpire at a baseball game. Some calls are easy. Others are tough. The process is the same. 

JC: No, it’s not. An umpire scrutinizing over a tough call involves more scrutiny than an easy call. He scrutinizes. That’s another process type.

RF: You people just think up examples to give you the results that you want. There’s no general theory here. This violates the Same Evidence Principle. Evaluation supervenes on evidence.

RN: I appreciate that you strive for high and consistent standards, Richard, but I have to agree that causal chains might improve over reasons alone for justification. Method certainly matters. So does process. And what you want is not just any process type, but something more reliably reliable. The only way to do this would be through a process that actually tracks the truth. I’ll admit you do need a good method, but that method also has to be used in the right way. You ought to be asking yourself if things had been different, would you still have known. You need to track counterfactuals. S only knows p if S believes p, p is true and S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” Do this and you can’t go wrong.

RF: Huh?

RN: Consider the broken clock you mentioned, which you looked on only at lucky times, getting it right, but didn’t know. Why? Because the cause was right but the evidence was unjustified. The premise, you would argue, was that the clock worked, but it didn’t. So for you, as a foundationalist, there would be no knowledge, but Allan’s causal theory fails, as you said. But had Allan tracked the truth using the clock method, he would have learned within seconds that the clock was broken. He would then have found a different method more suitable for determining the correct time or simply confess he didn’t know what time it was and be correct in that belief instead. There are many examples like this – it could be a thermometer that was broken instead. Knowers are truth trackers. 

RF: Well, that would solve Edmund’s cases just as neatly as Alvin’s solution would. 

RN: Indeed, and there are many other such cases of lucky knowledge. For instance, Ms. Black, working in her office, getting up to stretch – she looks out the window – and just happens to see a mugging on the street and becomes a witness. Her method is luck. What kind of a reliable process is that? In fact, she has no method. Yet she certainly saw. And seeing was her process. She didn’t track the truth because she was looking for it over time. That’s why I said, “S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” At that time, her method was seeing from a timely stretch but it wasn’t even what she intended to do. One might suppose she tracked it over the time she needed to – just that moment. But this is still not enough for knowledge, because what if things had been different? What if she had stretched at any other time? Then she would not have known. And I say that if you would not have known, then you aren’t tracking the truth. I raise the standard of what knowledge ought to mean in this way. I say this because truth matters. In many cases our lives may depend on it!

JC: I agree but I’m not sure I understand. You are introducing counterfactuals in saying that something is not knowledge unless they can say that if things had been different, then such and such would be true, and of course they would have to be right about that. Do you mean that they should be able to know both the truth or falsity under any condition?

Nozick goes to the chalk board.

RN: Yes. However, I would temper this by distance. Here we are talking about the responsibility toward truth that human beings ought to consider. So I’ll offer a third and fourth condition for knowledge as follows. (3) not-p →not-(S believes that p). This means that if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p. And then (4) p → S believes that p and not-(S believes that no-p). This means that if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. This is actually a step up from a fourth condition I previously had expressed, that if p were true, S would believe it – (iv) p → S believes that p. But, as I said, realizing that we, as human beings, are quite limited in our methods and knowledge, for a realistic aim at what one would use for saying that someone knew something, at least given a certain method, this would be the responsible way to treat whether one knows something or not.

JC: I’m confused. Can you give me an example of what you mean when you say, “when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p”?

RN: Certainly. Consider, the unattentive security guard who plays SODUKU all night long instead of attentively watching the monitors in his store. He gets lucky and catches a thief out of the corner of his eye as he thinks about something completely different. His assigned method is to watch. And indeed, he sees. But he is not tracking the truth by that method. Therefore, even though it could be said that he has knowledge of the thief, the standard of knowledge I am referring to has not been met. He was derelict in his duty, which was to track the truth by the method of watching the store monitors. Had he looked up at some other time, he would not have believed p or known p was true. Had p been untrue, he would not have known whether p were true or not either way. This is not a responsible way of knowing things. Tracking the truth is a responsibility. Using reliable processes for doing so goes along with this responsibility.

RF: I used that very same example to show why tracking was not necessary for knowledge. 

JC: Clearly, the difference is in what the standards are for the term.

Just then Saul Kripke walks in.

SK: I heard what you were saying, Nozick. Your truth tracking theory is hocus and I’ll prove it! You’ve heard about that town with fake barns, right? The town replaced their old barns and left a few standing but ran out of red paint, so they created a bunch of white barn facades to please the tourists. Smith drives through the town, sees a red barn and deduces that he sees a red barn. Now if Smith had tracked the truth, he would have known that all the white barns were fake. As it stands, he got lucky and properly identified a real barn, a red one, but since he didn’t track it, all he really knows is that he saw a red barn. However, he doesn’t know that he saw a barn because he wasn’t tracking the truth. See the problem?

JC: I’m not sure.

JW: According to Truth-Tracking theory, he saw a red barn, James, but he did not see a barn.  

JC: Goodness. I can see that! 

JW: Nozick’s theory is “half right.” … “Truth-Tracking is really getting at the counterfactual: would S have believed p if not -p? Objections are to the condition that S would have believed not-p if p. So a revised Truth-Tracking theory would be a causal theory.” (Dr. Watson Unit 4 Video Lectures 4.3 The Truth-Tracking Theory)

JC: Truth-tracking is confusing, Doc. What does he mean by “tempered by distance”? 

JW: He’s talking about how far fetched the alternate world of possibilities might be. It’s “in the neighborhood” if it’s relevant to tracking the truth about something specific using a specific method. He doesn’t mean every possibility., only the stuff directly related to tracking the facts.

JC: Oh. So he’s not saying we have to be Omniscient to have knowledge, then? I’m not so sure I agree with that. As long as we’re after high standards here, I think maybe we do. Look, there’s Keith DeRose. What do you think about standards for the word, “knowledge,” Keith?

KD: I think it depends on context, James. Nozick here is talking about standard every day knowledge and responsibility. Our standard of what we consider “knowledge” can change from moment to moment. Recall the time that Smith and his wife had to deposit some checks into the bank on a Friday night and the line was too long so Smith suggested waiting till Saturday since he knew they were open till noon on Saturdays. His wife had doubts about the wisdom of that, so she asked if he really knew that? So he says, “sure I know it. I was just deposited a check there two Saturdays ago.” But as it stands, she had a particularly large check to deposit and had a bill due early in the week so it was very important to get that check deposited by Saturday. So she informs him of all this and says, “do you know for sure?” What really is the difference between knowing and knowing for sure, James?

JC: Ask Nozick here. I think he’d want Smith to track the truth by checking the web site or stopping in.

KD: That’s right. If Smith was talking to Robert, he might not have said he knew the first time around, but in his routine, his memory was reliable enough, and the odds of the bank changing their rules weren’t all that great. Neither Smith nor his wife had seen any announcements in the news lately about banks closing on Saturdays in the area.

AG: Depends on subject factors and attributor factors.

JC: What? Do you have to have something to say about everything Alvin?

KD: He’s talking about relevant alternative theory, James. Not all of these are invariantists. Some are contextualists, like me. The key is the attribution factor. Smith would attribute knowledge to the idea the bank was open. Saturdays ordinarily, but when he circumstances changed, the content behind the word “knowledge” was different. The character of the word, “knowledge” may stay the same in all circumstances, but the content can change.

AG: Linguistic and psychological context are also very important, James. They are attributor factors. If you’re in a class with Descartes talking about an evil demon fooling you, the attribution of the word “knowledge” is affected. (Huemer 495)

KD: Precisely my point. When Smith’s wife puts pressure on him, he’s not saying he didn’t know before, he’s addressing a higher expectation.

RF: That’s just pragmatism. It’s not epistemic responsibility. Smith was wrong to deny he knew it the first time. His memory was sufficient. You’re throwing in the “Get the Evidence Principle” (Feldman 47). You can never have enough information. The evidence you have at a given time is a fair basis for whether you can believe something, and if it’s true it’s knowledge. Simple as that. The Get the Evidence Principle becomes irrational to satisfy. This shouldn’t be confused the fact that even though it’s highly improbable that I’m having a heart attack when I’m having chest pains after eating buffalo wings, I might msyelf go get my heart checked. Action and knowledge aren’t the same thing. Uncertainty does not mean lack of knowledge either. Truth, on the other hand, would affect the status of knowledge. If Smith was wrong, he wouldn’t have known. Knowledge, as the word ought to be used, does not require certainty. It just needs to be reasonable. Smith’s memory was reasonable. His belief was justified.

RN: Did you say “epistemic responsibility,” Richard? Where is the responsibility in not tracking the truth? Checking your heart was exactly that!

JC: Professor Feldman has a point. I can see going to the doctor just in case. Even when things are improbable, it depends on what’s at stake. Business people use an expected utility formula. I’m a probabilist myself. But how sure do you really need to be to track the truth? We’re just human beings? How often do you have to go to the web site to see if the bank is open? Every ten minutes? How would anyone know to check to see if barns were really facades? Who would care to do that but the locals in a town? And what if Smith’s wife knew her husband’s memory was unreliable from an onset of Alzheimers? And all that aside, who can really track the truth but God?

AP: If I may interject here … We are limited by proper function. The human brain was not designed with such great capacity to know all that might have happened. Proper Function is a reliable process for getting at the facts that respects epistemic virtue and responsibility. We are all here because truth matters but the various organs have different functions – the heart pumps blood, the liver cleanses it, and so on. We have many instincts and we don’t track the truth nearly as much as we ought.. Any appropriate method wold do, but we need to start with the knowledge of our own need for epistemic virtue.

RF: You must have spoken to my friend W.K. Clifford. He says it’s always wrong everywhere to “believe with insufficient evidence.” (Feldman 44)

AP: Quite. And not just evidence. There are many types of epistemic responsibilities we have, concerning which virtue is often lacking. We can do better, objectively, subjectively, in what we believe and especially in our general “disposition to have coherent beliefs.” We won’t evaluate evidence well without a proper disposition towards evidence. When do we know our evidence is adequate? What of our faculties? Are they themselves reliable? What is our “epistemic goal”? I have lots of beliefs and goals – not all of them are epistemic. “There are a thousand other epistemic virtues” besides these for determining whether a belief has warrant. 

RF: Could you reduce this all into something precise for us?

AP: Surely. “A belief has warrant for me only if (1) it has been produced in me by cognitive faculties that are working properly (functioning as they ought to, subject to no cognitive dysfunction) in a cognitive environment that is appropriate for my kinds of cognitive faculties, (2) the segment of the design plan governing the production of the belief is aimed at the production of true beliefs, and (3) there is a high statistical probability that a belief produced under those conditions will be true.” (Plantinga, Alvin. Warrant and Proper Function (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 59) (Feldman 100)  

JC: So … S knows or has warrant for believing that p if, (but not only if), you aren’t cognitively impaired by drinking, dreaming or in a brain in a vat hallucinating, or suffering from dementia, and in the right environment. Can you explain what a cognitive environment is?

AP: Well, your brain wasn’t meant to concentrate on an important matter when you are being distracted. If you were in a tub of worms and scorpions or high up in snowy mountains being chased by a yetti, you might not be able to score well on a test in philosophy. Your cognitive functions might work just fine, but your environment would not be conducive to its optimal operation. Your cognition might be just fine for the environment it was designed for. You might have just passed your exams at MIT, but if suddenly you were transported to a planet in Alpha Centuari where there were invisible elephants sending cosmic signals into your brain making it believe there was a trumpet playing, your belief would not be warranted. And even if there was indeed a trumpet playing, say a silent one in a nearby phone booth, your belief might be true, but it wouldn’t be warranted. Would it?

JC: I suppose not. That would seem more like belief than knowledge. Right Professor Goldman? And what is this “segment of the design plan?” 

AP: Well, your brain is designed with many functions – such as interpreting what you see, or signaling your finger to move, or giving you input as to what you’d like to eat, and such sensory knowledge functions for its purpose, but if you are tasked with determining the truth about a proposition, it might not be any of those segments of your cognitive functions that would be needed for determining that truth. It would be the segment that governs the production of the belief. And specifically, it would be that which aims at the truth. You, for instance, might believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Aiming at the truth without bias would require a level of objectivity you might not possess. You do, however, possess the capacity to be objective. You can, in fact, overcome biases and predispositions. So you might be asking questions like whether an empty tomb necessarily implied a resurrection, or whether a report that a tomb was empty was reliable, or truly given on the third day, how consistent the reports are, or whether various details were added to a story later. If you were biased, you might choose not to investigate for yourself. If you used that segment of your cognitive design plan that governed discernment of true beliefs with a high statistical reliability, your design plan would be segmented properly for the task.  A belief produced under those conditions is certainly warranted. As long as there was no cognitive dysfunction, you might be capable of knowledge.

JC: Can you give me an example?

to be continued …

Contextualized SuperFoundherentism

All I wanted to do was start the Pamalogy Society, I tell ya! Next thing ya know, I’m enrolled at Arizona State University taking philosophy courses, courses in organizational leadership and interdisciplinary studies. It follows that I’ll be writing some academic blogs in the coming years. And guess who they’ll be for? Me. I’m writing them to myself! Writing helps me remind myself of what I’ve learned. Why not put my notes online, where I can access them on other devices later? So this one is on an epistemological system that I’ve come up with as an untested solution to the still raging debate over the theory of knowledge. I call it “Contextualized SuperFoundherantism.” Catchy title. Huh?

Background 

Richard Feldman asked three questions based on the following two assertions of foundationalism: 

F1. There are justified basic beliefs. 
F2. All justified nonbasic beliefs are justified in virtue of their relation to justified basic beliefs. 

QF1. What are the kinds of things our justified basic beliefs are about? 
QF2. How are these basic beliefs justified? If they are not justified by other beliefs, how do they get justified? 
QF3. What sort of connection must a nonbasic belief have to basic beliefs in order to be justified? 

(Feldman 52)1 

After some review of Cartesian Foundationalism and Coherentism, and then offering his own more “Modest Foundationalism,” he answers these questions with the following: 

“MF1. Basic beliefs are spontaneously formed beliefs. Typically, beliefs about the external world, including beliefs about the kinds of objects experienced or their sensory qualities, are justified and basic. Beliefs about mental states can also be justified and basic.   

MF2b. A spontaneously formed belief is justified provided it is a proper response to experiences and it is not defeated by other evidence the believer has  

MF3. Nonbasic beliefs are justified when they are supported by strong inductive inferences – including enumerative induction and inference to the best explanation- from justified basic beliefs. 

(Feldman 75) 

Feldman defends his Modest Foundationalism against the Coherentist, Laurence Bonjour. Bonjour rejected Foundationalism’s concept of an epistemically basic belief, insisting that any basic a posteriori belief should have some quality indicating its truth. Feldman didn’t think that was necessary. Deductive processes in basic empirical beliefs like sensory perception were taken for granted and subconscious as they were happening at best.

Bonjour rejects Foundationalism for other reasons. For one thing, Coherentism is misunderstood as using circular premises, when the image is more like a web of belief, or as Susan Haack liked to compare it, a crossword puzzle. There is a practical matter in all of this – how many beliefs can we really have if we have to justify every premise. Alston uses the image of the roots of a tree. Each root has to terminate in an immediately justified belief or the whole argument is unsound. It’s a great theory but its a lot to expect. In a fast paced world, we form beliefs on the fly. The Coherentist’s concept doesn’t require us to think through the basis of our basis of our basis for every decision we make. We rely on an intuition that has a picture of what it knows coming into the situation, and processes propositions based on what it knows. If something doesn’t square up coherently with that set of pre-vetted beliefs, then it is rejected – unless something compelling about it is a deal breaker for some of the pre-existing assumptions, a defeater for our biases. Potentially, this can knock down everything we think we know. Bonjour adds an “Observation Requirement” to his coherentism, to skirt Feldman’s criticism that a coherentist need never learn anything new if it doesn’t fit their world view.

Seeing merit in the two divergent paradigms for evidential knowledge, Susan Haack proposed a blend of Foundationalism and Coherentism, which she called “Foundherentism.”2 I must admit that I found her work hard to follow on account of the terminology she used, such as “C-belief”  (the content of a belief) and an “S-belief,” (mental state someone is believing) (Huemer 420).  She then refers to things such as “S-reasons” and “A’s S-evidence.” (Huemer 421) Perhaps, if I read it a few more times…

Still … the general thought of blending the two paradigms seemed worthwhile to me. As I considered the differences between Foundationalism in several of its versions and Coherentism, I found their mutual objections and rebuttals to be quite reasonable. I also noticed that Feldman had omitted reference to logical inference and a priori knowledge. So I came up with a “Foundherentist” statement of my own in response to his answers to his three questions. The parts I added are italicized:

“MF1. Basic beliefs are spontaneously formed beliefs. Typically, beliefs about the external world, including beliefs about the kinds of objects experienced or their sensory qualities, are justified and basic. Beliefs about mental states can also be justified and basic. Logic and math are also basic. 

MF2b. Both empirically justified basic beliefs and non-basic beliefs are contextually reliable and fallible. A spontaneously formed belief is (gradiently) justified provided it is a proper response to experiences and it is not defeated by other evidence the believer has over time. Such a response entails the believer’s existing and changing mutually supportive network of beliefs as a totality of evidence, cross checking the experience and belief, such that prior beliefs withstand its incompatibility or are modified accordingly. 

MF3. Nonbasic beliefs are justified when they are supported either by deduction or by strong inductive inferences – including probabilistic enumerative induction and abduction – from justified basic beliefs foremost. Their justification also increases or decreases in relation to a vector of force encountered through the holistic network of beliefs that a subject has when a proposition is evaluated.   

The above, which originally aimed at a modest foundationalism, now presents a modest foundherentism (and some additional features). We still have something like epistemically basic beliefs that we ideally search for and find as we explore the premises our premises are based on, but we acknowledge the value of coherent systems of belief, while we’re at it. Coherentism isn’t just practical, since it processes faster than Foundationalism, but it makes sense epistemically in some ways too. When it’s looked at a crossword puzzle that has pieces fitting together, rather than as a circle loop of premises that provides no justification, it may just be the best thing we, as humans have, for ascertaining many types of truth. For one thing, Foundationalism has to be watered down just so sensory perception and experience can be seen as a generally epistemically basic belief. To do this, any sense of infallible certainty has to be removed. Deductive logic is great, but it doesn’t tell us things like – there is a car headed towards me. I must first believe there is a car and then I can infer that I should move, lest I lose my life. Coherentism tells me things like, “cars can be dangerous when they hit you” and “they can kill you” and “cars are things with four wheels that are sort of big and made of solid materials like missiles” and “Missiles kill.” All this adds up to decision making. Part of that decision is not, “prove to me that I’m not in the Matrix.”

Don’t get me wrong. Only a skeptic would take it to that level and Feldman is no skeptic. Feldman wants a practical every day knowledge. Unlikely defeaters are useless for Coherentists and Foundationalists alike. Both Bonjour and Feldman will get out of the way of moving traffic. A skeptic would too, and then the former would accuse the latter of hypocrisy.

Coherentism is something we actually practice. You. Yes you. You have a set of beliefs and what you believe has various reasons for making sense to you. Both Coherentism and Foundationalism are considered “evidentialist” theories of knowledge that are “traditional.” And Feldman contrasts these theories, which he seems to be less wont to accept, with evidentialism, calling them “non-evidentialist,” as he describes four new paradigms in chapter 5, (Feldman 81-107). This is how the student is introduced to Alvin Goldman’s Causal Connection theory, Robert Nozick’s Truth-Tracking theory, Goldman’s later Reliabilism Theory and finally Alvin Plantinga’s Proper Function theory.  I’ll be describing these theories in this blog post as I work to combine them into my singular master theory, which I’m calling “Contextualized SuperFoundherentism.” Are you ready?

Dismissing Skepticism 

I should start out by mentioning that the use of the term “knowledge” is contextual. I take this from Keith DeRose, so I am a bit ahead of myself. For a skeptic, such as Sextus Empericus, nothing can truly be known. That is why Descartes’ foundationalism could only say that something appeared to be such and such by his thought. If it weren’t for his ability to prove that a good God exists, Who wouldn’t allow such deception, he might allow that an evil demon might be making him believe incorrectly that 2+3=5. Even math and logic were, for Descartes, would be subject to doubt under those conditions.

Contextualism3 allows knowledge to have a different meaning depending on context. When talking to a skeptic, I might agree that technically it is possible that math and logic are untrue, and while such a proposition may be a logical possibility in a Universe with laws different than those which are assumed by the Universe which appears to exist, by the non-laws or different laws of logic in such a hypothetical Universe or Universes, neither can the skeptic prove his doubting is true. Or maybe he can, but since such a condition implodes logic on itself with nothing to go on but speculation in such a Universe, there is no point taking any of it seriously, unless, of course, speaking with such a skeptic or considering one of their arguments. For the whole, I will accept deductive inference and math as the soundest sort of knowledge. 

I think I mentioned I was a probabilist. What I mean by this is I believe things based on what I find most probable. I don’t sweat over the term “knowledge.” I just say why I believe something is probably true, though if you ask me whether I know something I may tell you that I do. Feldman talks about inference to the best alternative, a thing called abduction. I believe in calculating odds wherever possible. I uses Baye’s Theorem using rough estimates all day long. When I heard that a school closed down recently because one of the kindergarten kids tested positive for COVID, the firs question I asked was what was the rate of false positives? If the rate was 1% and there were 300 students, then there would normally be three positive tests for that group. The fact that there was a positive test ignores base rate info.

But I digress. My point is that skeptical arguments don’t bother me unless I’m talking about the word “knowledge.” For me, this term clearly has multiple meanings, just like many words in the dictionary do. The word “know” is like the word “tall.” I’m over six feet tall. I’m tall compared to the rest of my family and by most standards. But compared to Shaquille O’Neal, I’m not tall at all.

James Carvin goes for the tickle maneuver, rendering Shaq powerless to defeat him. But who is taller?

Going Super 

Clearly there are high and low standards of what people call knowledge. In one sense, I think that Omniscience is all that truly knows anything. I don’t know how many subjects S possess Omniscience. That’s an extremely high standard. To me there is nothing wrong with that, or for the skeptic to ask for absolute certainty before calling something “knowledge.” It is one thing to draw a line at doubting everything. It is another to search for truth, and suppose that a principle such as evidence being equal, evaluation should be equal ought to be questioned based on evaluative perspectives such as whether the cause of belief matters as much as the evidence itself, or whether we have a right to call something truth, if we failed to track that truth by considering the methods we used or failed to use in measuring something. And what methods would, in fact, have been most reliable for determining that truth. If those methods were not employed, do we have a better guarantee of knowledge of a fact? And what finally of our own cognitive processes as they may relate to such methods? The details of our evidence may remain the same throughout, but do any of these non-evidential factors weigh in on whether we have knowledge?  Does the fact that I checked in at 3am and there was no thief, add to any evidence that there was a thief on the monitor at 4am? Is there any sense in which my epistemic responsibility matters through good habits like that? Should a fact like that be considered part of the evidence?

Feldman would have us choose between evidentialist or non-evidentialist theories of knowledge, but just as Haack finds a blend for a foundationalist coherentism, so also I think the reality of knowledge blends evidence with questions of causal connections, tracking possibilities that didn’t happen, the importance of reliable methods and cognitive function unfettered by environments that might disable good discernment. I don’t think any of these so called “non-evidentialists” are actually non-evidentialists at all. They simply don’t follow the dogma that equal evidence merits equal rationale for belief.  They find, as well, a plethora of epistemological virtues and values that ought to be considered in the aim for truth. For this reason, I would not refer to any of these as ‘non-evidentialists.” To be fair, I would prefer to call them “super-evidentialists.” And furthermore, since the evidence is a given in any proper evaluation of the truth, even if that evidence must be weighed against defeating facts or ideas, I would call for a double-blend of all this, which I will call “SuperFoundherentism.”  

Yeah that’s right. I’m a rationalist, probabilist, fallibilist quasi-skeptical SuperFoundherentist.

I also think we have a bad approach when we seek to build toward a theory of knowledge from belief forward. We know that knowledge must be true. That is simple enough. We know that the truth can’t be known if someone doesn’t know it, in which case they would also believe it – also quite elementary. But after this, everyone starts disagreeing and the counterexamples, beginning with Edmund Gettier, keep calling for formulations of what constitutes knowledge that are debatable. While it might be expected that someone would eventually add to justification or cause some fourth condition that could prove incorrigible, and I do hope this happens, I am in the meantime satisfied with believing that knowledge stands on its own. Robert Nozick thinks that we should track the truth by knowing what things would have been like if things didn’t happen as they did. (Huemer 475-490) This might be restricted to proximate possible worlds. How far-fetched do the possibilities have to be before the responsibility to anticipate such things no longer burden us with further epistemic responsibility? Only the Imagination of Omniscience Itself has the capacity to consider the farthest-fetched possibilities and scenarios, exploring how truth might have been tracked had things proven otherwise. By this standard, once we arrive at the Imagination of Omniscience, and we also know the Discernment of Omniscience to distinguish between the actual and the possible, then and only then, do we have Knowledge.  This I think we can call the metaphysically highest possible standard for the term, “knowledge.” I’ll captitalize that one with a big “K” but its still got the same character as the word “knowledge’ used in any other way. The content of that knowledge is different. That’s all.

This isn’t just some sort of grand compromise. It is about the premise of knowledge itself, which is reality – a reality that can’t be fully known without this “big K” qualification. Seeing the big K as the only invariant Knowledge, if anyone is to speak of “invariantism,” is why I think we should build down toward belief when considering knowledge, rather than up toward knowledge from belief. It is a sort of Tower of Babel problem. If anyone wants to talk about knowledge, we need to contextualize the term. Whose knowledge? What knowledge? When speaking of that abstract or actual essence which both knows all imaginable and all that is actual, even the skeptic is defeated by its mere logical possibility. From there we build down toward mere Earthlings and other possible knowers, seeing each belief as a matter of sharing what has already been tracked in the grand set of “Knowledge” or “Truth.”  Berkeley and I have something in common here, I think.

Contextualized SuperFoundherentism 

The above consideration makes clear that there is a total set of possible knowledge and knowledge of what is actual that is quite different from a limited set of evidence for a proposition that any human being will typically encounter or cognitively embrace.  Not having awareness of all possible and actual truth, we experience a world that begins with belief and makes claims of having knowledge, when a supremely high standard would certainly discount even a true statement as constituting knowledge. Context matters. Descending from the top down rather than ascending from the bottom up puts belief into perspective. We may know more than amoebas, (not that we know the experience of an amoeba itself), but we don’t know what Knowledge Itself knows. Unless we somehow transcend ourselves into higher beings like butterflies, we merely share portions of It in places and times, and even then, our knowledge will be intermediate if it fails to contain all possibility and fact. 

The idea of knowing the experience of an amoeba is a helpful one. Human beings lack that knowledge, but the total set of knowledge of the possible and actual, if it is known, does not lack that knowledge. To know all things, requires also not knowing, lest the knowledge of what it is to be an amoeba be missing from the totality of Knowledge. Segmenting into context is intrinsic to Omniscience. It is thus, most accurate as lowly human beings to say merely that we know in part and to gladly join the skeptics in agreeing that we have no true knowledge. This does not mean, of course, that we should also surrender the idea that we can enjoy any degree of certainty concerning what we know in part.

If a possibility or context is offered in which we might be wrong, so be it, but under the presumption that such a context or possibility is untrue, then we would be right given whatever reasons, methods, skills, causes, tracking and cognitive functioning, including coherent prior beliefs reinforcing experience we possess at any time t statistically likely to be true in those environments and contexts. In this sense, we can speak of a “contextualized superfoundherentism.”

On the one hand, we require no high definition of “knowledge” as being limited to the notion of the Imagination of Omnipotence as a singular Knower of all that is actual and true or what could be. At the same time, we exclude possibilities such as being brains in vats. And on the other hand, we require no third, fourth or fifth condition for knowledge.  

Moving then, from the “traditional analysis of knowledge, which has … 
S knows that p iff: 
(i) S believes that p 
(ii) p is true 
(iii) p is justified 
(iv) some fourth condition that anticipates counterexamples 

What I have is more fundamental and only requires two conditions, where K is the total set of knowledge belonging to the imagination and knowledge of what is included in Omniscience, 

S knows that p iff: 
(i) K includes S in believing p 
(ii) p is true 

I’m not going to cop out with this though. There is another important possible aspect of context, which this reduced formula is not sufficient for determining. What of the context of someone who wants to know a particular fact or determine whether something or other is true? This, after all, is the typical context for which most of the formulations of us lowly human beings are designed. Until we’ve agreed upon a ground up architecture for superfoundherentism in more humble contexts, we haven’t offered the best we might have, given our limitations. For this we need a blended formula. 

I doubt any blended formula I can come up with will be perfect, especially as a first year philosophy student. When every other attempt has failed, my expectations are not great. But why not take a shot at it? What’s the harm? So the rest of this article is dedicated to doing just that. As a starting framework, I would propose adding Goldman’s causality to the traditional analysis of knowledge as a fourth condition, rather than replacing justification as one of the first three conditions for knowledge, as Goldman had it.   That would give us the following …

S knows that p iff: 
(i) S believes that p 
(ii) p is true 
(iii) p is justified 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth. 

Feldman complains that causal connectedness fails to handle generalizations such as how one might know that all men are mortal. Goldman responds by pointing out that such a belief is connected to the fact that every known example of man is one in which humans have been mortal.”The fact that all men are mortal is logically related to its instances.” (Huemer 459) It is a fair generalization caused by the observation of known cases, or a belief in reports of such, which caused them. It is the truth which causes the connection.  

Feldman also rejects causal connectedness as a replacement for justification because sometimes true beliefs are formed from inaccurate assumptions. He calls this “overdetermination,” citing the example of Edgar, who knows Allan has taken a fatal dose of poison for which there is no known antidote. While Edgar runs off to get help and assumes correctly that Allan has died by the time that help arrives, futile as it would have been, Allan actually dies from a heart attack from the stress. If Edgar is incorrect about the real cause of Allan’s death, for Feldman, according to causal connectedness, it follows that Edgar did not really know that Allan died. (Feldman 85)

What here is the difference between knowing or not knowing? It is in the way we use the word “know.” In the context of expecting this word to mean that Edgar knows every detail about a cause or causes of his belief, Edgar only knows why he believes. In the context of expecting “know” simply to mean Edgar believes and is correct that Allan is dead, his belief is true and he is justified in believing. The causal connection needs to be as precise as the conversation we are having about it demands that we be. If we want absolute precision, then let us count the subatomic particles in the poison and produce their locations as they move, as an Omniscient mind might. But in the context of a far more humble human interaction, such an expectation is rarely in force.  

It seems fair to me that if we are not rejecting foundationalism because we can arrive at a more modest foundationalism, that we should be able to think in terms of more modest causal connectedness, as well. It all depends on what technically we are referring to when we use this word, “knowledge.” What is the context of our conversation? Who is having it? What are they expected to know? What are they attempting to prove or disprove?  

Feldman also complains that a cause can technically lack evidence. He uses the example of the twins, Trudy and Judy to make his point. Smith knows they are identical twins and one day sees Judy and is glad to see her. He had no evidence she is Judy. He just believes it. Judy caused his belief when he saw her. If we were to include causal connectedness as fourth condition, as I have it, then this leaves evidence for justification, or reasons why, as a condition for knowledge. His counterexample no longer works. Smith does not know he sees Judy. 

We might want to refine the words “causally connected” just as we might want to refine the word, “justified.” The more precise and specific we make it, the less inclusive it is likely to be. This is why formulas tend to be so all encompassing. They lose something from prose descriptions, which consider nuance and temper ideas. If we said “justified by evidence” then what “evidence” is there in the cube root of X1,800 is X1,797? The word “evidence” is better expressed as justification. Similarly, the word “connected” is very general. It solves certain counterexamples to the traditional analysis of knowledge. No definition is quite perfect for that which knows less than Omniscience. A formula is one context. An essay is another. A conversation with a skeptic raises standards for the term “knowledge.” A conversation with a politician can be nearly meaningless.  Again and again, context matters. 

The Fifth Element and a Sixth 

If we are satisfied that these four conditions are an improvement, then we might ask whether we should add a fifth condition to the four that we now have, such as no false grounds, as offered by Michael Clark, or no defeating arguments, as offered by Keith Lehrer and Thomas Paxson. We have to consider these one at a time. Feldman points out that the no false grounds condition may be too narrow or too broad. (Feldman 31-33) When it is too narrow, only the explicit steps of forming a belief are included. This skirts problematic false grounds in the background, leaving us with a better chance at saying we had knowledge. We can skip over inconvenient details and base our evidence on everything else. If we too broadly define false grounds, then almost any unfounded fact in the background can render a proposition as failing as knowledge. We wind up knowing very little. Again, I would say that it all depends on what one expects of the term, “knowledge.” To meet the most common expectations, we might say that it “lacks significant false grounds” or “there are no deal breaking false grounds.” We would then have something like (i) S believes that p; (ii) p is true; (iii) p is justified; (iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth, and (v) there are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p.  

This would meet Feldman’s two objections. False premises would certainly undermine the concept of knowledge. Lehrer and Paxson would add that additional evidence defeating an argument should cast sufficient doubt on a belief, undermining knowledge. This would apply even with all of the above in place. I see no escape from including a provision, seeing that S believes at time t. If S fails to consider some new information that would defeat what they know, then it could only be bias or some other cognitive failure in that segment of the mind normally aimed at the truth that would sustain the belief. Knowledge disappears with belief, whether or not the facts behind that truth remain the same.  A defeater may turn out to be entirely unsound, but as it pertains to S believing, as facts are in the process of being gathered, calls for some suspension of belief, at the least, for as long as it takes to validate the chain of premises the defeating premise may be based on. The defeater itself, must however, be of significant weight to warrant such a suspension of belief. I see no choice but to add a sixth condition from this. “(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at time t.”  

Freedman has this argument as “There is no true proposition t such that, if S were justified in believing t, then S would not be justified in believing p.” (Freedman 34). This seems too strong for what the gist of the problem is. There may be plenty of justification for belief in a proposition, including its causal connection to belief, especially if there are no significant false grounds for that belief, but if there is some defeating information presented to S, S should not believe it. This, it seems, should be the thrust of the no defeater inclusion, not whether there are any such true and justified defeaters at all. Those defeaters have to both be true and justified, of course, but what matters is that their significance be to the point where S actually changes s’s mind and decides not to believe it on account of it. If S has no cognitive impairment toward the truth, S’s belief should correspond with what S knows in total. That is why I’ve fomulated (vi) as I have, in place of Feldman’s rendering of Lehrer and Paxson’s own more complex formulation. For their part, Lehrer and Paxson add a defeater defeater clause, which I must confess, as someone new to epistemology, I cannot comprehend. (Huemer 464-474) Feldman then addresses subjunctive conditionals – “sentences that say that if one thing were true, then another thing would be true.” (Feldman 35). He finds these confusing. They’ll get worse as I attempt to simplify and make good use of Nozick’s Truth-Tracking below, but presently, I would round out the foundationalist’s portion of the Contextualized SuperFoundherentism concept with the following stack: 

S knows that p at time t iff: 
(i) S believes that p at t. 
(ii) p is true at t. 
(iii) p is justified in believing p at .t 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p at t. 
(v) There are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p. 
(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at t. 

Adjusting for Coherentism 

The essence of foundationalism is the notion that for any true belief, there must be either an immediate justification of that belief so that the belief is epistemic, or a basis for that belief that is epistemically basic, or a chain of beliefs leading to an epistemically basic belief for each premise for each belief. William Alston ((Huemer 402-416) uses the paradigm of the roots of a tree, rather than of the foundation for building a house to describe this. The end of each root system terminates in an epistemically basic truth. If not, the proposition is unsound. Laurence Bonjour and those espousing coherentism reject sensory experience as epistemically basic on the ground that an experience must have some feature indicating truth. Feldman doesn’t see the need to distinguish between the inference at the point of perception that the perception is true. Bonjour responds to more modest foundationalism, while Will and Lehrer attack a more stringent form of it that demands infallibility, incorrigibility and certainty from basic beliefs. Feldman and Alston defend a more modest form of foundationalism, but Bonjour disagrees with something the modest foundationalists don’t counter adequately. We just don’t typically form beliefs by thinking through chains of premises to check whether everything is sound. We could all stand to test this. Next time you express an opinion with the words “I think that” explore the roots of your basis for that opinion.  Ask yourself, whether you checked each premise for each premise for each premise. Are there any loops? Is there anything unjustified? Is there anything that just keeps going deeper and deeper into more and more mediate beliefs? You might find you have to consider thousands of things just to justify your belief in one thing.  

As human beings, we hardly have the capacity to think through such things. We might not be able to survive if we verified every mediate belief consciously. We would be endlessly processing information. We are capable of thinking through things, at aiming at the truth, but we lack the cognitive ability that the imagination of Omniscience would have. Having a coherent system of beliefs is far more practical. We readily have an existing set of beliefs that we can check any new information with as we make split second decisions. As I previously noted, Bonjour adds an “Observation Requirement” to his coherentism theory (Huemer 396).  Coherentism fails if it isn’t open to change from new sensory input. This leads us to the question of what it takes to change sets of belief. Many ideas are dependent on other ideas. Remove one and a whole Jenga tower may fall. One observation might create a shift in the force.  

So be it. The force of coherent belief is real in human beings.  We may hold very different beliefs from one another. Our political leanings are obvious examples of this. Looking for information that would challenge our existing over-all opinion runs counter to the proper function of a cognitive system aimed at the truth. It is aimed instead at what I will call “coherency bias.” Coherency, is some part of “justification” in the formula for knowledge. Coherentism itself comes classified by today’s epistemologists as an “evidentialist” theory.  This fact calls for some precaution in the justification clause. When we say something is “justified,” what is it justified by? Our biases? Of course not. It needs to be justified by that rare breed of coherence that continually checks its own facts, not to determine whether they are right, but to disprove itself, that it might be free from the bondage of bias and readily aimed at the truth, whatever that may be. The previously considered facts and opinions, having already been subjected to this process, ought to be reliable measures for anything new. But so what if they aren’t? Let them fall as they may. The power of knowledge includes the power to walk away from our presuppositions. Foundherentism, then, merely requires a slight adjustment to the third condition: (iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained, cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t.  

Alvin Plantinga will have more to say about the proper function of a cognitive system than this, which we’ll talk about below, but I think that coherentism is not just about assembling many ideas together in a way that fits like a crossword puzzle. While this model seems more practical than foundationalism, the fact that not all people possess the same set of pre-existing beliefs, calls for what Plantinga provides with his Proper Function Theory.  Coherentism is a cognitive predisposition. As such, it is a bridge from evidentialism to super-evidentialism, rather than non-evidentialism. Before we move on to how each of these theories should fit in with our more inclusive formula blend, let’s just look at what we have so far … 

S knows that p at time t iff: 
(i) S believes that p at t. 
(ii) p is true at t. 
(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t. 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p at t. 
(v) There are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p. 
(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at t. 

Super-Evidentialist Contributions 

With this step in building up a blended theory of knowledge, we are ready to consider more carefully the Super-Evidentialist contributions that might help enhance this formula with something approximating something definitive. I’ve already brought Plantinga into this by relating coherentism to cognitive disposition, but there is more to consider.  

Feldman orders his introduction to the “non-evidentialists” with Causal Theory first, Truth-Tracking second, Reliabilism third, and Proper Function Theory fourth.  About twelve years after he introduced the Causal Connection Theory, Goldman offered a Reliabilism Theory, as well. Reliabilism focused on the method of belief formation. If the method or process was statistically reliable, this increased the fair basis for belief. Feldman’s fondness for foundationalism has him lauding Goldman’s distinction between conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable. Of course, only if both types in any chain of beliefs are reliable processes, can a belief be justified.  

For Feldman, justification by reliable process parallels his foundationalist dependency theory, but he favors evidence over process and knocks down process with a few objections we should consider. His first is the oft heard brain in a vat problem. This is similar to the Matrix, only instead of being a whole body hooked up to a computer simulation program, all that remains is the brain. To distinguish the brain from what the brain is being led to believe, Feldman gives each a name – Brain and Brian. Brain does not know Brain has no hands. Brian thinks he has a brain and does not know Brain exists. Brian has no other reliable process to go by than what works in Brian’s simulated world. So when Brian thinks he sees Brian’s hands, contextually, Brian is using a reliable process for determining that Brian has hands. Brain, by contrast, lives in the context of an actual, rather than simulated world, where Brain is a brain in a vat. Brain supposes that the process for determining that Brian has hands is the simulation Brain experiences as Brian, not knowing anything about any simulation any more than Brian does, but Brain is wrong about that process, as well. The simulation is, therefore, anything but reliable for determining the truth. Brain actually has no access for determining anything at all because Brain is unaware that it is in a vat. There is nothing that Brain can know, except what Decartes knew.  

So that’s Feldman’s objection to Goldman’s Reliabilism but here’s my tke. Whenever anyone turns to the brain in a vat argument, there is a chance there is a lack of more reasonable objections. How can it be unreasonable to ask that the methods for determining the truth be statistically reliable? This can only increase the chances that what we believe is true. While it may be entirely true that an argument like Brian and Brain can defeat them, these fall under the category of no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of our belief in the proposition – here the proposition being that statistically proven methods of discerning truth about beliefs are a reliable justification. That said, why would we hesitate to add Reliabilism to our formula?  

As for his part, Goldman doesn’t confront the brain in a vat argument that I’m aware of, but he does respond to the complaint of accidental or unknown reliability defeating his basic reliability condition. I’ll get to that in a minute. To put his basic reliabilism into some simpler words than his own: 

If the method or process is statistically reliable, this increases the fair basis for belief.  Only conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable in any chain of beliefs can produce justified beliefs. 

This is a rather rigid statement that should be rejected for reasons that I’ll discuss below so we can see where we are as we build our formula. We can see here that Goldman’s focus is on condition (iii), once again. We’ve already added to this condition so that it reads, “(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t.” We’ve also moved Goldman’s causal connection to condition (iv) “S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p at t.” We should add in his caviat – “in an appropriate way” to condition (iv), to cover such things as Smith’s inappropriate response to Trudy and Judy. This gives us (iv) “S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p in an appropriate way at t.” 

Next, we’d like to include a less rigid reliabilism statement as part of our formula, if we can come up with one. To reduce his verbiage, Goldman basically says, “Only conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable in any chain of beliefs can produce justified beliefs.” Since we have things like clairvoyants creating accidental reliabilism from time to time, (Feldman 95-96 per Bonjour) we need to soften the definition. Remember, we are including this with what we already have in condition three: 

(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t,  

We could perhaps change this to: 

(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t, using conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable. 

Goldman, seeing a problem with defeating arguments, also proposes the following condition: 

“If S’s belief in p at t results from a reliable cognitive process, and there is no reliable or conditionally reliable process available to S which, had it been used by S in addition to the process actually used, would have resulted in S’s no believing p at t, then S’s belief in p at t is justified.”  (Feldman 95)

Since we already have a no defeater clause in (vi), this is unnecessarily bulky. Let’s not include it. Feldman complains that Goldman fails to go into detail about process types. Goldman calls an individual process a token and a type is a general category of a process. A single token process may involve multiple types. I’ll ignore these differences because including them in a single formula that is meant to be all encompassing is like saying “any whole number.” It doesn’t have to specify every detail. If we are looking for a definition for knowledge that at least in certain contexts we can agree on, I would exclude the specifications.  

So so far this gives us … 

S knows that p at time t iff: 
(i) S believes that p at t. 
(ii) p is true at t. 
(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t, using conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable. 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p in an appropriate way at t. 
(v) There are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p. 
(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at t. 

Truth-Tracking 

I’ve saved the best and the worst for last and we’ve come full circle in this discussion. Robert Nozick wants to elevate the standard of truth to include things that could have been. It’s not an easy theory to understand, so I’ve broken it down into an imaginary conversation that I’ve had at a party with philosophers from all ages. This party conversation is something I might revise from time to time. Here is an excerpt of one of its earlier drafts. (RF is Richard Feldman, RN is Robert Nozick, JC is me, James Carvin, JW is Dr. Jeffery Watson, my epistemology professor) … 

RF: You people just think up examples to give you the results that you want. There’s no general theory here. This violates the Same Evidence Principle. Evaluation supervenes on evidence. 

RN: I appreciate that you strive for high and consistent standards, Richard, but I have to agree that causal chains might improve over reasons alone for justification. Method certainly matters. So does process. And what you want is not just any process type, but something more reliably reliable. The only way to do this would be through a process that actually tracks the truth. I’ll admit you do need a good method, but that method also has to be used in the right way. You ought to be asking yourself if things had been different, would you still have known. To be epistemically responsible, you need to track counterfactuals. S only knows p if S believes p, p is true and S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” Do this and you can’t go wrong. 

RF: Huh? 

RN: Consider the broken clock you mentioned, which you looked on only at lucky times, getting it right, but didn’t know. Why? Because the cause was right but the evidence was unjustified. The premise, you would argue, was that the clock worked, but it didn’t. So for you, as a foundationalist, there would be no knowledge, but Allan’s causal theory fails, as you said. But had Allan tracked the truth using the clock method, he would have learned within seconds that the clock was broken. He would then have found a different method more suitable for determining the correct time or simply confess he didn’t know what time it was and be correct in that belief instead. There are many examples like this – it could be a thermometer that was broken instead. Knowers are truth trackers.  

RF: Well, that would solve Edmund’s cases just as neatly as Alvin’s solution would.  

RN: Indeed, and there are many other such cases of lucky knowledge. For instance, Ms. Black, working in her office, getting up to stretch – she looks out the window – and just happens to see a mugging on the street and becomes a witness. Her method is luck. What kind of a reliable process is that? In fact, she has no method. Yet she certainly saw. And seeing was her process. She didn’t track the truth because she was looking for it over time. That’s why I said, “S used method M to form the belief in p, and when S uses method M to form beliefs about p, S’s beliefs about p track the truth of p.” At that time, her method was seeing from a timely stretch but it wasn’t even what she intended to do. One might suppose she tracked it over the time she needed to – just that moment. But this is still not enough for knowledge, because what if things had been different? What if she had stretched at any other time? Then she would not have known. And I say that if you would not have known, then you aren’t tracking the truth. I raise the standard of what knowledge ought to mean in this way. I say this because truth matters. In many cases our lives may depend on it! 

JC: I agree but I’m not sure I understand. You are introducing counterfactuals in saying that something is not knowledge unless they can say that if things had been different, then such and such would be true, and of course they would have to be right about that. Do you mean that they should be able to know both the truth or falsity under any condition? 

Nozick goes to the chalk board. 

RN: Yes. However, I would temper this by distance to be practical and we are only talking about the truth tracking method applied. Maybe an Omniscient being could know all possibilities but here we are talking about the responsibility toward truth that human beings ought to consider. So I’ll offer a third and fourth condition for knowledge as follows. (3) not-p →not-(S believes that p). This means that if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p. And then (4) p → S believes that p and not-(S believes that no-p). This means that under any other nearby condition, if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. This is actually a step up from a fourth condition I previously had expressed, that if p were true, S would believe it – (iv) p → S believes that p. But, as I said, realizing that we, as human beings, are quite limited in our methods and knowledge, for a realistic aim at what one would use for saying that someone knew something, at least given a certain method, this would be the responsible way to treat whether one knows something or not. 

JC: I think I’m starting to understand. Can you offer another example? 

RN: Certainly. Consider, the unattentive security guard who plays SODUKU all night long instead of responsibly watching the monitors in his store. He gets lucky and catches a thief out of the corner of his eye as he thinks about something completely different. His assigned method is to watch. And indeed, he sees. But he is not tracking the truth by that method. Therefore, even though it could be said that he has knowledge of the thief, the standard of knowledge I am referring to has not been met. He was derelict in his duty, which was to track the truth by the method of watching the store monitors. Had he looked up at some other time, he would not have believed p or known p was true. Had p been untrue, he would not have known whether p were true or not either way. This is not a responsible way of knowing things. Tracking the truth is a responsibility. Using reliable processes for doing so goes along with this responsibility. 

RF: I used that very same example to show why tracking was not necessary for knowledge.  

JC: Clearly, the difference is in what the standards are for the term. 

Just then Saul Kripke comes in saying, “truth tracking is hocus. You’ve heard about that town with fake barns, right? The town replaced their old barns and left a few standing but ran out of red paint, so they created a bunch of white barn facades to please the tourists. Smith drives through the town, sees a red barn and deduces that he sees a red barn. Now if Smith had tracked the truth, he would have known that all the white barns were fake. As it stands, he got lucky and properly identified a real barn, a red one, but since he didn’t track it, all he really knows is that he saw a red barn. However, he doesn’t know that he saw a barn because he wasn’t tracking the truth. See the problem?” 

JC: I’m not sure. 

JW: According to Truth-Tracking theory, he saw a red barn, James, but he did not see a barn.   You got this wrong on the quiz. Try again …
The Fake Barns case counts against the Truth Tracking theory because either Smith’s belief that he sees a red barn ________________, but yet _____________ … or else Smith’s belief that he sees a barn __________, but yet ___________.

JC: The choices were:

A) doesn’t track the truth; is knowledge… tracks the truth; isn’t knowledge   
B) tracks the truth; is knowledge… doesn’t track the truth; isn’t knowledge   
C) doesn’t track the truth; isn’t knowledge… tracks the truth; is knowledge   
D) tracks the truth; isn’t knowledge… doesn’t track the truth; is knowledge 

I chose B. I can see I was hasty on that. It’s D. Right?

JW: I won’t give away the answers, James. I’ll give you my opinion though. I think Nozick’s theory is “half right.” … “Truth-Tracking is really getting at the counterfactual: would S have believed p if not -p? Objections are to the condition that S would have believed not-p if p. So a revised Truth-Tracking theory would be a causal theory.” (Dr. Watson Unit 4 Video Lectures 4.3 The Truth-Tracking Theory) 

JC: Truth-tracking is confusing, Doc. What does he mean by “tempered by distance”?  

JW: He’s talking about how farfetched the alternate world of possibilities might be. It’s “in the neighborhood” if it’s relevant to tracking the truth about something specific using a specific method. He doesn’t mean every possibility, only the stuff directly related to tracking the facts. 

This ends the portion of the dialog. For the entirety of the conversation, see my blog, Parallel Universe Epistemology Party, from which this is an excerpt.  

I write this sort of thing to simplify the complex. Here, two very difficult formulations are explained. (3) not-p →not-(S believes that p). This means that if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p. And then (4) p → S believes that p and not-(S believes that no-p). This means that if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. For Nozick, (1) is p is true and (2)_ is S believes that p. So adding his third and fourth condition for S knows that p iff, in plain English, Nozick is saying (3) if p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe that p and (4) if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true. Again … 

(i) p is true 
(ii) S believes that p is true 
(iii) If p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe p 
(iv) if p were true, S would believe that p and not disbelieve that p were true 

Of course, since we aren’t talking about the imagination of Omniscience here, not in this context anyway, as we search for ways that human beings might really know things, as we raise the standard for what we would consider knowledge to be, we might deny that something was knowledge, or somebody really knew something if they weren’t actually tracking it. The examples from the dialog at the party explain this.  

For this reason, I consider Nozick’s Truth-Tracking Theory to be somewhat optional depending on context. What context? Let’s say we are fighting hackers who really want to check our vulnerabilities and break into our National Treasury. Did we really check everything? We create redundant systems and then we monitor them. How often? What methods do we employ? We have to verify that everything is working and no thieves are entering continually. A certain level of importance warrants a higher standard of certainty than most other types of what we would consider knowledge. Lives depend on it. An airline pilot does routine checks we would not likely perform on our automobiles. We might say we knew our car was working because we checked our tires a week ago, or that we had a scheduled maintenance just yesterday. Does that mean it works? Really? Do we know that? How do we know someone didn’t just slash our tire? We don’t know. So is it knowledge even if we know we just paid for regular maintenance yesterday? How about if you have a compulsion to jump off a building because you think you can fly? Shouldn’t we be asking whether we are dreaming? What is our epistemic responsibility? You see that context matters. It’s sort of knowledge. It’s more knowledge-like when we’ve been checking, taking every precaution. This is what Nozick is getting at. It’s actually a fairly simple concept when its intent isn’t obscured by fancy word formulations, definitions and defeating counterexamples.  

It all brings me back to the imagination of Omniscience, the ultimate Truth-Tracker, who not only sees the neighborhood of possibilities, but every conceivable possibility. That is a context that matters for Pamalogy.   

A Contextualized Super- Foundherentist Formula 

We are now ready for a final definition of knowledge. I’m not so certain I agree with Dr. Watson about Truth-Tracking being half right. Certainly, the formula is confusing. I think Nozick meant well in adding more to it than he originally had. Maybe what he meant to say was, that in nearby conditions, if the truth had been different but true, I still would have known it, or if things had been different and p wasn’t true, I would have known that too. I might even add in that if the truth had been different, no matter what it was, I would have known it, whether a proposition was true or false. None of those formulations fail to make sense for someone who simply wants a higher standard of knowledge than what we typically employ. To say that someone doesn’t know something if all these conditions aren’t true, is not to say they have no justified true belief that something either is or is not true. It is simply to say that they haven’t met Nozick’s standard for truth-tracking. And since there are multiple standards, let’s see if we can offer a contextualizing option in the theory itself. So with those thoughts, I can add this as condition (vii):

S knows that p at time t iff: 
(i) S believes that p at t. 
(ii) p is true at t. 
(iii) p must be justified according to a sufficiently maintained cognitive system in an unimpairing environment that aims at the truth and recognizes and eliminates the bulk of its coherency bias at t, using conditionally reliable belief-dependent processes and belief-independent processes that are reliable. 
(iv) S’s belief is causally connected to the truth of p in an appropriate way at t. 
(v) There are no significant false grounds for S’s belief in p. 
(vi) There is no defeating evidence with weight significant enough to warrant suspension of S’s belief in p at t. 
(vii) all of the above and only all of the above, unless truth tracking or some higher standard of a definition of knowledge is expected in context, in which case: 
   viia – in a condition that was monitored, If p weren’t true, S wouldn’t believe p. 
   viib – if p were true in a condition that was monitored and wasn’t farfetched, S would believe that p                   and would not disbelieve that p were true. 

   viic – in the context of an even higher standard, whether p were true or not, in a superhuman condition, the truth of p or not-p would be believed and known by that superhuman entity, even if the counterfactual subjunctive conditions were farfetched, to the extent that it would be appropriate to the relative cognitive capacities and corresponding expectations toward those superhuman entities. 

The seventh condition thus scales up gradually in terms of the standard of knowledge as S changes context, both as to the environment of S and the increasingly capable cognitive types of entities S might be, as to how they might be designed with the capability of aiming at the truth. The scale of expectations for knowledge keep increasing until the expectations one might have toward an Omniscient being with the capacity to imagine all actual and imaginable possibilities is the subject, S.  

You can see, then, that I’ve dropped the Truth-Tracking expectation for human beings. We can say that a woman looking out the window at just the right time to see a mugging, just because she is stretching, not because she is monitoring, both does and does not know that a mugging has taken place. Her sensory perception is all that is required in one context for the meaning of knowledge, but not another. Further, her random seeing, is lucky, but her sight itself is not something lacking knowledge. Her method is seeing. And seeing is reliable. It doesn’t invalidate the formula with a counterfactual. Condemnation of the security guard for failure to watch more attentively is warranted. A higher expectation for watching regularly is expected as an epistemic responsibility. In this way, contextualized superfoundherentism trumps the counterexample of the inattentive security guard. 

Footnotes

General Note: What I call “Feldman,” refers to the author of the primary textbook for our Epistemology 330 course at ASU. There will be lots of references to it in this article. Rather than using the ibid. method, I’ll use an informal inline with page numbers source citation technique as I go. The plus is you won’t have to scroll up and down to see these footnotes. And since this is the web, there may be some papers, I’ll hook you up to directly. The other textbook we used I call “Huemer.” So where you see something like, (Huemer 487), what you are seeing is the page number for our primary source text. Huemer is an anthology of contemporary writings, so quotes from other authors will be found here with Huemer inline markings and page numbers. the first time they are introduced, I’ll put the reference to the article title in as a footnote.

  1. Feldman, Richard. Epistemology, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2003
  2. Haack, Susan. “A Foundherentist Theory of Empirical Justification” Epistemelogy: Contemporary Readings, ed. Huemer, Michael. Routledge London and New York, 2002, pp. 417-430.  
  3. We studied Contextualism in my Introduction to Philosophy Course with Prof. Nestor Pinillos and it struck a chord with me. Keith DeRose offered some potent examples, as I recall. “Contextualism” can be contrasted with “Invariantism.” Feldman has a few pages on it (Feldman 156-160), but we haven’t yet arrived at them in my Epistemology course at ASU with Dr. Watson. For those interested in digging deeper, here is a summary article on it in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophyhttps://plato.stanford.edu/entries/contextualism-epistemology/ 2007, rev. 2016

The Visionary Party & BLM

Former instigator of the Ferguson riots, current associate leader in BLM, advocating the destruction of white supremacist Jesus’s in churches everywhere.

Today, I received in my feed a copy of a tweet by Shaun King, the leader of the Ferguson riots and a leader in BLM, who is now advocating the destruction of all stained glass depictions and icons of Jesus that are not black enough. Shaun’s own skin tone is white enough to have caused me to look closer to see whether he, himself, was white or black. Apparently he is mixed. And I wonder whether the actual skin tone of Jesus was more or less black than his. I don’t know.

Is the mid-tone Jesus sufficient to signify that Jesus died for all races? It’s darker than Shaun King.

If you think that destroying all European style Churches with Jesus tones below Shaun King’s own more white than black skin tone, you may be questioning whether the protests are headed in a direction we really want to take them. That’s too bad. BLM had so much good potential. With people like Shaun King at the helm, it only stands for destroying a country.

Because of the many people like Shaun King leading BLM, I am learning that the word “revolution” is not just a word describing a movement any more. It is not just a grass roots protest. It is more than a protest. It seriously violates the first amendment when it is not peaceable and it seriously violates the law, when it is not civil, when it destroys things and hurts people and when people loot. Worst of all, it creates the hatred that it claims it wants to eliminate. For those holding candles and praying, I pray with you that the light of discernment will shine in the hearts of black America, so they are no longer misled this way.

Given that there is no end to it until people like Shaun King have created a new anarchistic state in the name of the dignity of black lives, (which can and always will be held up as insufficient), it turns out that BLM is not a protest at all, though many thought that was what it was. It is a declaration of war. It is a permanent state of objection to the government itself and its rule of law in the name of overthrowing white rule. Black lives will always matter. Don’t get me wrong. Even if there was no more racism. But will the destruction ever end? No. Because Shaun King hasn’t destroyed all the churches and ended the Union yet.

If you’ve read my past blogs and peruse this web site, you will know that I am a solutions oriented person. I want to offer a better alternative. So here is an idea – let BLM become its own political party. It would win if it wasn’t led by anarchists. It has more popular support than either the Democratic or Republican Party right now. So d0 two things. First, divorce it from Antifa and the anarchists like Shaun King. Second, create a legitimate third political party. And I have a gift for BLM, because to me, black lives matter very much and I hate seeing what I’m seeing right now – as should you. Ready for the gift?

It just so happens that I have been thinking long and hard about an alternative political party for many years. Forgive me if I’m white in saying this, but I am a powerless caucasian, as white people go. I’ve never ruled over anyone and it has never been my intention to rule over that alternative political party. Even my wife and children seem to overrule me on a daily basis, so trust my sincerity in this. I am not self promoting. I am simply a visionary. I am looking for a diverse set of visionaries of all colors, ethnicities, religions, ages, genders, lifestyles and backgrounds to form a founding group.

I’ll cut to the chase. I’ve never held a political position, other than running for POTUS in 2016 against Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump to get what I called the Restoration Party started. What is important is not skin color or ethnicity, either mine or yours. What is important is vision. Other people need to be the operators of that vision. It’s my job to convey it. If you agree with the vision, you can have it. Let’s talk about the Restoration Party for a minute, which is the party I founded. And then I want to talk about the Visionary Party and why I gave the seven starred dolphin of the Restoration Party to the Visionary Party, to found that Visionary Party instead.

VisionaryPartyLogo
The dolphin with seven stars is now the Visionary Party mascot

You will find links on this web site to the Restoration Party Manifesto. You will see in those pages that my main concern, expressed in 2016, was corruption by the rich and powerful. I saw a deceitful military industrial , technological and media complex leading America to war after endless war. Beyond that, I saw the fundamental problem was that America was not a government of, for, and by the people. These were just fake words that politicians used to pull heart strings. I wanted this new political party to be real. I really wanted to restore government back to the people – hence the name “Restoration Party.” So, I identified several things that I thought were keeping a wealthy status quo of leaders (most of them white) in power, systemically. As I saw it, this system was leaving America as a plutocratic, oligarchical corporatocracy – long words for the fact that a few rich people (mostly white) and big corporations, have been running our government instead of we the people. It was a systemic problem that the current two party system was never going to overcome.

to Slay the Giant Monsters
Dolphins at the Florida state capitol. For we the people to slay the plutocratic, oligarchical corporatocracy, what we need is vision, and that vision will always be overrun if we attempt it through the current party system. A new political party with a better system of checks and balances is required.

I know what you are thinking. Third parties cause division and they never win elections. That is untrue. The Republican Party was created just before Abraham Lincoln was elected. The result was that over 200,000 white Americans gave their lives because they believed black lives mattered, alongside many black Americans in the Union army. Rest in peace, and may they never be forgotten. Over a million white people fought alongside them because they also believed that black lives mattered. And for Lincoln to win, a majority of white Americans must have believed that black lives mattered – enough to risk going to war over it.

To be sure, there were other reasons people fought – many soldiers were drafted and forced to fight under threat of treason, others fought because they wanted o keep the north and south united as one nation. That is why they were called the “Union” Army. This also is why voters supported the newly forming Republican Party, which simply had more power than the Abolition Party. It was a power question. A coalition was needed to win an election. Most abolitionists were aware of this, so they abandoned their own third party preference in favor of the Republican Party, which had more diverse interests.

Let’s compare this to the conditions we see right now. BLM support is greater than the support that existed for abolition. If it created a third party, it could de-politicize and define itself, choosing its alliances based on its actual values, the values of most black Americans. One of the greatest arguments for the continuation of slavery was the question of how freed slaves could survive after an emancipation. How would they get jobs? Where would they live? Who would pay them? Today, we are still struggling with these same questions but at least we don’t have a war to fight to overcome them. The remainder of the path is quite simple. Just set up the solutions in the vision, rather than continually fight for it, and then win in office. And the last battle, of course, is the end of racism. This will remain a core value of the Visionary Party I would like to bestow upon BLM activists to make this permanent, rather than a trending protest – one that doesn’t have to start burning down churches, as if that would end hate.

What is the goal of BLM? Fundamentally, the viewpoints of BLM supporters I have interviewed run in several directions. First, there are those who simply want racism to end so they are protesting. It is very straightforward. Second, there are those who want specific legal measures taken. There is a variety here. In this category, there is a strong movement to defund and even abolish the police. And in all of this there are several levels to the meaning of the word “systemic.” Clarifying meaning is important. I have explored this term in other blogs. I’ll quickly summarize here as I begin an introduction of the vision of the Visionary Party as a solution to the present dilemma.

Defining Systemic Racism

I have to preface by stating that it is other people who define what they mean by systemic racism. It isn’t me. All I can do is state what systemic racism means to the Visionary Party once the core group has worked to establish it. At that point, you will know exactly what the vision and goals of the Visionary Party are, and decide if you want to support it. My point of being concise here is to make the position of the party clear from the start so there isn’t any confusion about it later on. The initial party formation team, which will be diverse, will be in unanimous agreement about this vision. To begin the journey to a concise vision, let’s examine what it means to people when they use this term, “systemic racism.”

The first is the most simple but possibly the least concise. It is the idea that racism is built into society generally. The “system” is thought of the same same way as someone might use the term “world.” Yeah, that’s the way things are in this world. It’s a world system. It refers to the hearts and minds of people. It’s a system of sin. Racism is a sin. It’s part of the system of the devil. Racism is wired into a lot of people. We need to be aware of that. So let’s put up signs and get as much media attention as possible until people change and acknowledge that black lives matter. For many of those whose idea of “systemic racism” is simple like this, they are at a loss as to why anyone would disagree. Silence is violence. Anyone who doesn’t join BLM’s protests must be a racist. Non-participation means non-participants are the problem. It affirms itself. I talk to an average of forty people a day, mostly Afro Americans, as I drive people around the capitol building here in Tallahassee, Florida. I’ve had some great conversations with my passengers. I’ve encountered a number of protesters who’ve said this very thing as I’ve driven them to the protests.

But I digress. I need to add that this first way of thinking of systemic racism isn’t always couched in religious terms like “the world” and “satan.” Many BLM protesters are not religious. Many reject Western religion as part of the very system they oppose. That is why someone like Shaun King can actually reach many people favorably, black or white, as he suggests destroying churches. In the view of many, Western Christianity, in particular, is an oppressive product of white supremacy. Jesus is only white on stained glass because the artisans who created the stained glass did not value people of color, or the Jesus of color. It escapes their notice that the rich red, blue, green, purple and brown colors of clothes, mountains and land on the stained glass contrasted better with lighter skin complexions, or that this became an artistic genre, independent of any thought of domination by whites over blacks. But back to my point, the idea is just racism generally. Using the word “systemic” here is simply a blanket statement of fact. Racism exists.

The dolphin mascot with Rx is the prescription for America’s healing. Use the dolphin with or without the Rx to identify the Visionary Party.

The second use of this term “systemic racism” refers to institutions. If someone refers to “institutionalized racism,” this is usually synonymous with the idea of “systemic racism.” There may be an underlying feeling for the first definition above, but it generally refers to actual institutions – corporations, laws and policy.

I do believe that a Visionary Party that addresses “systemic racism” needs to make these distinctions and fully grasp what they are and then defeat them and form the proper political alliances necessary to actually make the change. This requires a win-win for all in the coalition. The current alliance is with the Democratic Party. If you took the black vote out of the Democratic Party, the Republican Party would presumably win instead. Although the Republicans have gained some of the black vote, the best bet for the majority black voice to be heard is through the Democratic Party in 2020. Not so much in 2024, if the Visionary Party rises up in that time and defeats both Democrats and Republicans. This very much can happen in the current climate, but it is never easy to beat an incumbent president. Before we discuss this, let’s look at the fundamental problems that would be classified as actually institutional.

First, there is the prison system. The prison system was privatized beginning in the Reagan years and the drug war was escalated at that time, creating a one-two punch to re-enslave black America through incarceration for possession of marijuana, various drug busts and street crimes. Some of this was violent because of gangs having territorial disputes – again, drug related. The result is many felonies. And the felonies, in turn, created a new system of second class citizenry. Trump’s “First Step” program aside, a felon still can’t vote, can’t get a job, can hardly have a family, can’t afford alimony or child support, and typically becomes a “dead beat Dad” to be despised. The word “Felon” is an “F” word similar to the “N” word. It is a denunciation of a class of people, that systemically, it is OK to hate. Fundamentally, institutionally, the prison system is a penal system rather than a remedial system. That needs to change.

Employment applications typical ask a question that will be a deal-breaker for getting a job. The classification of drug crimes as felonies has disproportionately affected minorities. The result is a type of Jim Crow second class citizenship for many black Americans. The prison system takes 70% back again.

It gets worse. When federal drug crimes occur, confiscation of property results in auctions of that property, which becomes money in law enforcement coffers. With or without the bribes that are probably reaching the corrupt city officials from prison system shareholders – city officials that are encouraging cops to have quotas, this is what is called a “system.” You can see how this is distinct from the general notion of racism and the human instinct to hate that I spoke of in definition one. And if we have two definitions, then confusion results when using the words “systemic racism.”

To separate the two definitions further, may I also point out that there is another systemic dimension – socioeconomics. When a culture is generally more poor, and has higher unemployment and is forced to live in a common community, what results is a poor neighborhood. A toxic mix of gang related territorial crime and language preferences and cultural bonding separates minority groups in poor neighborhoods. Several things happen at once here and all of it needs to be overcome. First, more robberies take place in these neighborhoods. Robberies are a form of violent crime. They often take place because when poor people are addicted to drugs, they have to steal, or suffer withdrawal. When more affluent people are addicted, they may steal also, after they’ve bottomed out as their addictions become unmanageable, but there is a greater lag. The result is that there is more violent crime in poor neighborhoods, usually drug related. This fact does not require a racist attitude to put a disproportionate number of cops into poor neighborhoods. There are several other factors – the residents are outside more often because they can’t afford central air and heat, they smoke their weed outdoors in the open so they reek. This makes discovery of crimes easier for police. Combine this with quotas for the cops to fill prison space because corrupt city officials are getting paid off, or boost budgets when confiscating goods, and whamo – it’s the perfect storm for what looks very much like racial bias on the part of police.

The whole formula for this socioeconomic condition that results in more arrests of black citizens is very much systemic under the second definition of systemic racism above. It may or may not fall under the first definition. The first definition is subjective. You have to get inside of people’s heads to verify it, especially since few people will admit to being a racist, unless they have a white hood over their head. Signs like people not protesting affirm the belief that racism exists in the minds of many and that it is rampant, so there is reason to keep protesting, reason to even justify the violence, the looting, the vandalism, maybe even a revolution in the traditional sense.

But where does all this lead us? To war? Is war what you want? Would war really help us? What are the alternatives to war? I told you, I am giving you a gift. I am offering you the Visionary Party. I am not offering it to BLM itself. I am offering it to those who see problems with BLM but wouldn’t consider withdrawing from it because of its downsides because they believe the good it accomplishes outweighs the problems it creates. These supporters recognize that violence tends to escalate, they know that somebody will have to pay for all of this damage, they understand that high unemployment will continue for blacks if businesses in black neighborhoods are afraid to open, lest there be more looting and vandalism.

When I offer the Visionary Party to BLM, I’m talking specifically about realistic supporters of BLM who understand that it has been hijacked by violent anarchists with a wider set of values that may be in conflict with their own, values they may strongly disagree with. They are advocating the destruction of churches now. Are we repeating the cultural Marxist revolution of Chairman Mao here? Karl Marx believed that religion was a mental disease. Vladimir Lenin called religion “the opium of the people.” Russian and Chinese prison systems were set up to declare anyone who was opposed to Marxist ideology was an enemy of the state. Over a hundred million people were killed. Were they all rebels against the state? Or were they merely opposed to having their churches burned down? Are you ready to support the destruction of churches that depict Jesus incorrectly? Are you ready to say that the congregants of those churches, who will most probably want to defend them and disagree with their destruction? Will you be agreeing that they are all white supremacists when some of them call on the police to protect them from vandalism, or when the National Guard has to do so? Will you blame them if some pick up guns? How would any of that heal anyone? How would it bring us closer together as a human family? If you don’t like what you see when you consider where that leads, then choose the Visionary Party. You can lead it. I’m offering it to you.

Twitter profile of Shaun King showing 1.1 Million followers. This is the man who is leading the charge to destroy churches in the name of black lives matter.
Shaun King’s Twitter profile. An anarchist who wants BLM members to start breaking stained glass windows in churches where Jesus is too white. Why do the violent dominate social influence? Is there another way? Should those who believe that black lives matter be led to the riots he organizes? The Visionary Party has been offered to the BLM movement to solve this problem. Black lives matter so much that we need to distance ourselves from the violent before we all have nothing but hate. Violence is cyclical and it escalates. The only way to succeed is through a separate political party that wins. Join us.

I would like the Visionary Party to be pragmatic and realistic. I want it to win elections. The opposite of pragmatism is “idealism.” Ideally, we could fully eradicate racism not just in our institutions, but even in our hearts and minds. Practically speaking, however, we all know this is not going to happen any time soon. In fact, if what I’m seeing in my newsfeed is any measure, racism seems to be on the increase rather than the decrease since the riots started. Worse, I think it could be reasonably argued that civil unrest is likely to piss people off. As I stated, this is starting to look more like civil war than a protest – a “revolution” in the traditional sense of that word. It is not rhetorical. And that means the government will weaponize. And its guns are bigger than those of the protesters. I strongly suspect that this is precisely what a person like Shaun King actually wants. He wants war. He may get it.

This brings me to a third type of “system.” It is the twin sister of systemic racism. It is the historical sociological system of systemic violence. Violence begets violence. Violence typically escalates. It’s like a pandemic. Fortunately, I have the antidote. In order to end violence, it is necessary to withdraw from battle at some point. But if there are those who profit from that violence, influencers like Shaun King, then that violence is guaranteed to continue, despite the cries of many saying “enough is enough” after the bloodshed of their friends, neighbors and family, hits home. How can this be confronted? By withdrawing from alliances with those influencers.

Who are those influencers? Well, unfortunately, it is certain members of the Democratic Party and the media who would like to see the American experiment end and turn into a Socialist experiment instead. There are many good reasons why they would want this. But at the heart of it, it is the fact that Marxist Communism and Socialism have long infiltrated and are now starting to dominate the ranks of the Democratic Party as it radicalizes. This is why people like Shaun King are in power over BLM. And he is not the only one. BLM is to some limited extent a pawn of Marxists, and to a larger extent of the Democratic Party. The Marxists want workers to take over the means of production, with America being altogether overthrown in an actual revolution. The Democrats just want to have their power back.

Fortunately, I have a gift to offer on this front too. Let’s talk not just about the Visionary Party, which I want to give to the right people in BLM, but about the HAND System. I want to give this away too. I think the HAND System should be part of the vision of the Visionary Party. It solves the problem of Marxism, Socialism and Capitalism. If you really think the problem is “systemic,” (I know I sure do), then let’s look at these prevailing systems and compare them with the HAND System, which is part of a vision that I outlined in the Restoration Party Manifesto, as I wrote it.

The HAND System

The HAND System is an acronym. It stands for Human Availability and Needs Database System. It is neither Communism, nor Socialism, nor Capitalism. It is an entirely different economic and socioeconomic paradigm and no revolution is required to get it started. It is a fairly elaborate system, with certain checks and balances that can be slowly introduced through a network of voluntary participants. It is vastly different than any other system. There are some new concepts here so it takes a little time to fully absorb it. I will describe how to transition into it peacefully below, as well, and how it would fit in with the Visionary Party over time, and why it is the only way to achieve free health care, free education, save the environment, end homelessness and hunger and solve a host of other problems we now face, not just systemic racism.

The HAND System has two main features – (1) a single database that handles voting, shopping, accounting and job hunting and (2) a unique currency that replaces all other currencies – privilege. Privilege is earned. These work together. Here’s how it works. First, you log into a computer and pick a job out of the database. You can do practically any type of work that you want and you are far more likely to be hired for that job if you are qualified than you would be searching for a job in the current Capitalist system. This is because the employer does not have to pay you in dollars. They pay you in privilege and they never run out of privilege to pay you with.

This leads to the question “where does privilege come from?” Privilege comes from you – the voter. Voters determine what products and services are in high demand by telling the system what they need and want. Supply and demand are determined by voter request into the system. If we need more hot dogs, we get more workers making and distributing hot dogs. Need more heart surgeons? We get more. But who wants to be a heart surgeon when they can be a hip hop artist? Everyone wants to be a hip hop artist full time. Right? Well, there is a thing called algorithms and quality control factors and variations, all of which is controlled by you, the voter. So not everyone becomes a hip hop artist and we get enough qualified heart surgeons.

Flow Chart for Prestige Building
The technical term for the HAND System is “incentivized asynalagonomy.” Since this is more than a mouthful, we can just call it the “HAND System” – you can see from this chart that the Human Availability and Needs Database is at the heart of it. This flow chart shows how to build prestige (privilege) in order to obtain property, goods and services. You can see that it factors in quality, longevity, demand and social security. This is a simplified version. It also cares for the disabled and infirm.

So let’s take these two examples. What is the actual demand for rappers? The actual demand is for great rappers, not just any old rapper. So the QC factor for rappers has a very wide setting. Anyone can be a rapper, but the general pay for a rapper is set to the bottom of the scale. A person who decides to be a rapper can try it out and they get paid one of the lower privilege rates on the job scale. Let’s say the scale is from 1-100 and a rapper gets a 2/100. The people vote to determine that the QC factor can go up to 80. That means a rapper could earn a privilege of up to 82, if they were absolutely the best among all rappers. If the voters thought great rappers deserved even more, then they could determine it.

Before getting into heart surgeons, let’s see how the currency of privilege works. It isn’t spent. Privilege is a right. It is exercised. There is only one type of “transaction” in the HAND System. It is all on the earning side. You trade the work you do for the privilege you get. After that, your privilege is your right to exercise. When you go to a store, you don’t give away your privilege in exchange for goods or services. You have a right to obtain things so long as your privilege factor qualifies for it. The voters determine what privilege factors qualify for which types of goods and services. Privilege earns you prestige. Prestige is an earned set of rights. The government is by, for and of the people, the voters, who determine what level of privileges ought to belong to the various levels of prestige that is earned.

The Human Availability & Needs Database System (HAND System) is more than a name. It is a superior socieconomic system. It is a better alternative than Capitalism, Socialism or Communism. When we speak of a systemic problem, the most fundamental systemic problem is the weakness of each of these other systems. The HAND System overcomes all of their weaknesses and brings none of their baggage. There is no better way to introduce it than through the Visionary Party right now.

As you might guess, a heart surgeon would be highly valued by voters and deserves a certain level of prestige and concurrent privileges. Heart surgeons would likely receive a bottom privilege rate that was very high, say 70, with a QC factor of something like a 10 or 15. The best heart surgeon and the best rapper could earn about the same amount of privilege if that was what the voters wanted. If you disagree, then you would be able to vote for something else. These are just examples. You can see, though, that both have an incentive to work and do a great job. The heart surgeon, will of course, need an education that the rapper would not need. More heart surgeons who got that education would succeed than rappers, who are mostly not that good, so they might choose other professions where they could earn more privilege and enjoy greater prestige.

Medical educators would therefore be highly valued in this too, because they would be vital. And as I said, education would be free. No privilege would be required to receive education. However, to be either a heart surgeon or an educator, one would have to pass various tests and could not have a history of malpractice. The educational system itself would still have prerequisites. The difference is there is no student debt or cost to any of it. All one needs is time. And if a person takes time to get an education, that is time they won’t be able to work and earn privilege. But the playing field is entirely even. Anyone can get an education who takes the time. No one has an advantage over anyone else because of their affluence.

I won’t go into great detail about the HAND System here. I have links about it on the menu of this web site. I do need to offer a brief picture though, and then describe how we would transition into it without violence or overthrow and how the HAND System fits into the Visionary Party vision, as I’m seeing it.

First, look at the sub-title of the Restoration Party Manifesto. It refers to “pre” and “post” apocalyptic alternatives. We can either develop the HAND System now, or we can try it later, after life is utterly miserable for everyone. It is easy to say that a system like this is impractical because it lacks popular support. Nobody knows about it yet. Of course. But look at how fast BLM came into prominence. It formed over several years. Igniting it required only a single video, making it go viral, and then everything changed. If the same BLM protesters took up the mantle of the Visionary Party and became a formidable permanent force, sans the violence, the HAND System could become a part of it just as rapidly. The right BLM protesters could embrace a larger vision that addressed not just the first definition of systemic racism, but also the types of institutional racism that I also identified under the second definition. I can’t help but seeing Capitalism itself, and its arch-nemesis, Socialism, as underlying the systemic problem as a whole. Take away the financial incentives for politicians, to confiscate property and to enslave prisoners, and only then are we free of the system.

Contrast this with the Marxist solution, which is to continually rely on class struggle for survival, pitting employers against employees, on the one hand, and race against race on the other, until war breaks out and whole governments can be overthrown. Marxists don’t want peace. Their goal is to overthrow a country. They need war to accomplish this, which begins with grass roots discontent boiling over into violence – much of what we are currently seeing. The HAND System, by contrast, is just a web site. Anyone who wants to participate, just registers on the site. When there are enough participants who’ve signed up to make a small economy work in any location, they opt out of the other monetary systems and form HAND System associations. So let’s talk about the transition to the HAND System for a moment.

How Transitions Work

One reason Marxism always means war is that the ownership class must be overthrown. Soft Marxism is Democratic Socialism. This may be voted in, but it always involves the resistance of the owner class to higher taxes, which essentially amounts to a confiscation of their property and assets. Whether large corporations or wealthy individuals who own shares in them, no one wants to lose their wealth. The result is war or struggle of some sort. Now multi-billionaires come in a variety of shapes and sizes here. Some are more progressive. Most progressive billionaires have found tax shelters and calculated how much higher taxes will affect them in the long and short term. None of them has voluntarily forfeited seventy percent of their wealth to the IRS because they believe the US government would better know how to spend their money than they would. Not even Bernie Sanders has done that. They would impose a tax rate like that on others only if they themselves were exempt. Take it to the bank. The struggle is real. There are no exceptions.

The HAND System transition plan does not involve overthrow. It involves invitation. And it allows wealthy people to keep everything they have. Nothing is ever confiscated from them. And when an entire state or nation decides to covert to the HAND System, they don’t even have to pay taxes any more because there is no longer such a thing as taxes. In lieu of contributing time and talent to the HAND System, a very wealthy person may choose to offer some of their property. This boosts the resource availability in the system, which is something the voters like and would want to reward.

You can see from the chart above that there are two types of resources – limited and renewable. Resource management is one very important job in the system. The job of those on resource management teams is to make sure that there is always enough stuff to meet demand and to identify non-renewable resources that need to be protected from consumption.

A coalition involves the combined interests of several different groups with differing perspectives, coming together and helping one another achieve complimentary goals. The Republicans were primarily interested in preserving the Republic. The Democrats wanted power to keep the slave trade active and were willing to divide the country , creating a confederation of states, so they could do it. The Abolition Party would not have succeeded if they had idealistically refused to join forces with the Republicans. Because most abolitionists joined the Republican Party, a successful third political party was formed. Successful third parties normally begin as coalitions.

The very wealthy may be extremely helpful to HAND System communities by offering vital resources. Wealthy people are therefore invited and grandfathered in. If they choose to work and earn more privilege, then they can, but if they are independently wealthy now, they would probably be independently wealthy as volunteers in the HAND System. In other words, they wouldn’t have to work if they didn’t want to. They don’t have to contribute their assets either and their assets are protected. Private property is a protected right in the HAND System. So the wealthy can just enjoy their property or they cab contribute portions of it if they choose not to work. Basically, their lives are unaffected, normally enriched by the HAND System. So … Marxist way – cease their assets, probably kill them or put them in jail in the process … HAND System way, invite them to participate peacefully and let them keep everything they have, land and all.

The only difference, is that the wealthy can’t trade their assets internally within HAND System communities. There is no trade in the HAND System except the one trade on the job – quality work for privilege. There may be trade outside of the HAND System, but not within it. Naturally, this means there must be protections in place to make sure that none of the goods and services received by those who have earned privilege, are sold outside of the community. Otherwise, the community will drain. To prevent this, any goods and services either contributed to the community or produced by them, cannot be traded. They can only be distributed to members who have qualifying levels of privilege. Violators loose privilege and may be jailed or banned.

To fully understand this, it is necessary to see how prestige works with privilege. Privilege is what is exercised. Prestige is akin to a class. Prestige is earned. Privilege is the exercise of that prestige. That is why the two words are somewhat interchangeable. As an example, a Prestige factor of 10, may allow a person to have one compact car, a cheap bicycle, and a small townhome in an inner city. Some people might be content with this. It probably won’t require much to earn a Prestige level of 10. That person would have the right to go to any 10 and below factor store and pick up 10 and below factor stuff. They can eat at 10 and below factor restaurants and pick up 10 and below factor fast food. They lack the earned Prestige to do more. They will be able to go to entertainment venues and vacations less frequently and in fewer places than people with 20 factors and so on. Laws exist against hoarding and against trade. Violators lose prestige, hence privilege, so you don’t want to break the law by hoarding or trading.

Really there is no need to hoard. You will always be able to go pick up what you need to live on. Why crowd your dwelling with stuff, when you can shop and pick up stuff as needed? As for trade, if there is nothing you can’t pick up at the store by exercising your rights, then trade is simply unnecessary. If you want more stuff than what you currently have, just earn a higher privilege. You can’t trade to get it but you can work to get it. Some things you can’t have at all. This is akin to not being able to buy things you can’t afford. If you do possess something that is greater than what your privilege level allows, then you must have acquired it prior to the transition. You can either keep it, or you can contribute it to the resource base. In doing so, this earns you prestige so you can exercise your privilege at a higher rate. In essence, you can trade to the system if you really want to trade the old Capitalist way. You just don’t conduct your trade directly with other members in the system because doing so is subversive to the social economy. If you want a nice house on the shore, shoreline properties are limited. You’ll have to either own that house before joining the HAND System or earn it through high prestige.

Why the HAND System Works Better

Now that I’ve described how the HAND System works in itself, I should take a moment to explain why this system works more effectively than our present Capitalist system and why it works better than any Socialist or Communist system.

It boils down to the difference between direct and indirect benefits. A direct benefit is something that you can enjoy directly – a hot bath, a juicy strawberry, a ride at a fair, a nice new sports coat. An indirect benefit is something that only serves as some potential for enjoying a direct benefit. Capitalism is filled with such things. Primarily this is money. We work to get money, not because money directly benefits us, but because indirectly, when we are ready to enjoy something, it allows us to have the privilege of enjoying whatever that money can buy. Similarly, let’s say we buy a ticket to a game. The ticket itself is not the enjoyment of the game. It is an indirect benefit. It is not direct. Watching the game is the direct benefit.

The reason the HAND System is superior to Capitalism is that 19 of 20 jobs provide indirect benefits rather than direct benefits. The HAND System repurposes human work to direct benefits, thereby making its economy 19 to 20 times more productive. You may wonder where I get these numbers. It comes from studying the square footage of office space in various cities. For the most part, offices do not produce direct benefits. Only restaurants, theaters, arenas and industrial plants, production studios and development firms do. And when it comes to software development, which can be done in offices, only entertainment is a direct benefit.

Other work like architecture can be done in offices too. Obviously, there are exceptions. We might consider social networking and news as direct benefits, but exclude things like money management. Some software development produces direct benefit and some software development doesn’t. The HAND System does not convert every single job to a direct benefit job. As software, it produces only an indirect benefit itself, except to the extent that it may be entertaining.

The HAND System is highly efficient though. And it solves our systemic problems – because it renders unnecessary industries like insurance, advertising, stock and bond trading, banking, accounting and so much more. Anyone who works in any of these industries, and most people do, can learn a new trade, producing something that is of direct benefit to consumers. In and of themselves, these types of jobs only benefit people if Capitalism is a reality. Capitalism is not a reality in HAND System communities. Almost every job produces direct tangible benefit to consumers by either making things or delivering them. That is why it works. And when automation kicks in, the replacement of human jobs is not a problem. We can have more stuff at that point without having to work so hard. Job replacement in a high tech age is a good thing rather than a threat. Imagine a life in which you never had to worry about losing the roof over your head, or wondering if you could keep the lights on, the water running and food in the refrigerator. Your car could never be repossessed and repairs and maintenance would come with it.

Transition in the Visionary Party

A Visionary Party does not have to incorporate the HAND System. Like many of my visionary ideas, the HAND System is way ahead of its time. What I’d like to do here, is begin to outline what the Visionary Party would be in terms of an initial landscape, given our current condition. I want to discuss the values of the party. And then talk about implementation. How far away are we?

When we speak of systemic problems such as a private prison industry and drug trade, I see no difference between how far away we may be from changing that than I do transitioning to the HAND System. None of these goals can be achieved immediately. All of these goals are worthy of inclusion in our vision. More importantly, there is literally no way to actually address the fundamental problem in systemic racism without addressing the fundamental problem with the system as a whole, which is Capitalism. There is a historical dialectic between Marxism and Capitalism that is continually manifesting itself in class struggle and oppression. No vision is worthy of pursuing that does not root out the most fundamental problem of all. Capitalism is flawed. Marxism is ruining it. The HAND System solves the problem. Plain and simple. We will not have a fixed systemic problem without it.

Still, we do have to take things one day at a time. This is why the HAND System is just a web site, hoping for enough people to sign up to put whole economies together with. The more participants, the more resources. It will happen when it happens. In the meantime, we should discuss all of the values, and the entirety of the vision. So far, I’ve only addressed systemic problems. I also spoke of the need for a coalition. What coalition?

Well, I don’t mean aligning with either the Democratic or Republican Party. I mean asking BLM members who don’t want violence to be part of their modus operandi to distance themselves from the Democratic Party and its Marxism, as well as from the Republican Party and its Libertarianism. The Visionary Party is not a middle ground. It is a place of peace and visionary value, where members can believe in things they all agree on and hold a common vision for a better future. It can be created in such a fashion that its goals are clear and it is internally protected from abuse through intelligently designed nomination processes that vet bad players. It can stop wolves from entering in sheep’s clothing the way we now see two party system doing, with its media partners and the giant war mongers, corporations and the plutocrats that they both sleep with to create a power structure that serves the few and uses the many. I believe that a well designed political party can put all the necessary preventative measures into place so that never happens. I think Visionary Party members can win an election the very same way that the Republican Party formed a new third political party and won the presidency under Abraham Lincoln. I think that the Visionary Party can become a lasting formidable party even as the Republican Party did, lasting centuries.

So where is all this today? It stands as an invitation. I have set aside the VisionParty.US domain to update the public on what we are doing. I have created a private Facebook Group for leaders to discuss that set of values before publishing that web site. Click the link above to join that group. That black lives matter is a certain part of its vision. That it disapproves of violent protest is a second part of it. That it sees systemic problems as standing in the path of justice, this also is a part of it. Civil rights generally for all identities will be part of it. We will create a Visionary Party mission statement and manifesto and will spell it all out. We will design a comprehensive program that addresses everything from Congressional term limits to voting reform, tax policy, lobbyist corruption, environmental policy, dovish yet ready national defense, protection of the right to opinion and freedom of speech and more. I offered many ideas in the Restoration Party Manifesto. Once we come to agreement as to all that the Visionary Party must stand for, we will go public with it and recruit supporters. A coalition means putting a diverse set of minds together. It is a Party. It is not an imposition of ideas. And I am not its leader. I am simply a person with ideas who cares. I am a visionary. I know the change I want to see. I know that it is achievable. I promise you that, although it involves much work, it is achievable.

The Essence of Coalitions

So that’s the idea. This is an open invitation. Come one. Come many. Second, let’s look at what we are doing and who all we’re inviting. The violent are not welcome. That’s for sure. And this is not the Democratic Party. Certainly, we are not climate change deniers seeking to sustain an antiquated fossil fuel industry. How tolerant and supportive of LBGQT concerns is the black community? Personally, I’m neither black nor LBGQT, but I care about people. I don’t see the Visionary Party as being specifically one religion or another. But many African Americans are fundamentalist Christians. Many are against abortion. How would a Visionary Party stand up for LBGQT rights?

Are there any areas where LBGQT activism goes too far? I haven’t seen it get violent. Some are worried about a slippery slope. They are concerned about people marrying animals, about polygamy and about pedophelia becoming a legal and protected right through organizations such as NAMBLA. Others are concerned about religious institutions being forced to accept values that they believe their Bibles and traditions are clear about. My own view, for what it is worth, is to live and let live, on the one hand, and protect religious liberty, on the other. You can’t tell me how I have to live. I can’t tell you what you have to believe. This means backing off, to some extent, on what constitutes “hate speech.” But what in comes to activities involving more than one person, this is where the line could be drawn. Therefore, rape is not a right. It violates the will of one of the people. Pedophelia is not a right. It violates the adult will of a child.

Maybe you can see where I’m going with this. It is possible to create well defined perimeters to what a political party allows and supports from the start. The Democratic Party has no such perimeter. If NAMBLA grows, it may well one day be advocating for child molestation rights as a lifestyle.

The abortion debate is also something that must be addressed as a party starts. Such things can’t be afterthoughts. I have many thoughts on this issue, including some creative ideas, that I won’t go into in this article. Suffice it to say here that, as I conceived of it, the Visionary Party would transcend progressivism and conservatism, on the one hand, and have a clear purpose and list of priorities, on the other. Women’s health and career challenges take on a very different flavor in HAND System communities. No one gets lost in a security net. There is little crisis in any pregnancy. Furthermore, there is no more profit in performing abortions. As a whole, I would suggest then that a variety of views on abortion would be acceptable in the Visionary Party. It will not aggressively pursue either the advocacy for further abortion rights, or against it. Neither does it look for a middle ground. Individual Visionary Party candidates can be either pro-choice or anti-abortion. This is actually a necessary condition of what the Visionary Party needs to be. It is a matter of fundamentals. Lobbies and industries are systems of influence. The Visionary Party can’t be controlled by them. It is our core function to root out systemic problems. The Visionary Party can’t have an organization like Planned Parenthood or a Gun Lobby, or an insurance industry or Google, Twitter and Facebook, funding us. We will not be anyone’s puppet.

Positioning on Issues

Seeing then that this is not a coalition with women’s rights advocates, nor with anti-abortion advocates, nor is it advocating a middle ground, what would we have left? And who will support us? What we have left is creative solutions to problems and win-win situations. This is not a moderate compromise solution. The left and right always appeal to the middle after their primaries. To position in the middle is suicide for a third political party because only real power is respected by voters in general elections in the current electoral system. However, when the value is the divorce from extremist lobbies, this becomes a tangible vision worth promoting in itself. It is something that neither Republicans nor Democrats can embrace in a general election. Furthermore, both political parties are thoroughly corrupt and aligned with specific media right now. We don’t have to do this because I have a solution for this too.

More gifts. Get ready!

The Visionary Party can BE the emerging media. I have already purchased a number of domains that were selected for this purpose. Facebook, Twitter and Google can all be replaced with our media. We can also buy satelites and broadcast with enough support. Being positioned away from lobbies would make our news genuinely independent. The nice thing about this is that coalition forming and overall goals can be quite sweetly positioned using the “Z Axis” as a more reliable fact checking system than what any of the present networks are offering. I wrote extensively about the Z Axis in The Restoration Party Manifesto. I will summarize briefly here.

The Z Axis as the Definitive Value Perimeter

I am personally no Libertarian. While, I generally support economic freedom and less regulation for a stronger economy so long as we are under Capitalism, Libertarianism, to me, is both socially and environmentally irresponsible because by intent, it is a self-defined slippery slope. There is a place for government control. The private prison system is an example of why Libertarianism fails. So is global warming. But one thing I do like about the Libertarians, is they invented something called the “Y Axis.” Here’s how it works.

The Libertarians have created tests that you can take online to see where you fall on the X axis and on the Y axis. The X axis is something you are probably already familiar with. On the left side of the spectrum, you have increasingly progressive values until you get to the radical extremism of militant Marxism and the type of anti-white supremacy of a Shaun King, who would obliterate all things even reminding him of a white dominant culture. He is the new Chairman Mao. On the right side of the X axis is conservative values. Free markets. Strong defense. Less welfare and government support for the underclass. Anti-abortion. Less restriction on guns. On the extreme right are conspiracy theorists, militias, gay bashers and the KKK. You might find some of these same extremists on the far left. They are not all Democrats or Republicans. They might be something else entirely. Good arguments can be made that fascism is as much a far left phenomenon as it is a far right phenomenon. I won’t go into it here. I just want you to know what the X axis is. Got it?

The Y axis is where Libertarianism kicks in. Libertarians can agree with Democrats or with Republicans. They find themselves always compromising. On moral issues, the Republicans want restrictions. On economic issues the Democrats want restrictions. What Libertarians want is no restrictions. They want freedom from regulation and freedom to engage in commerce and freedom to live as they want. On the negative side of the Y axis is restriction and government control. On the positive side is freedom. Wherever they may be on the X axis, a Libertarian is somewhere on the positive side of the Y axis. The higher up, the more extreme in their Libertarian attitudes. I don’t think there is any militant Libertarianism, but there is some idealistic Libertarianism at the extreme, which in its opposition to government, crosses the borderline into anarchism. Should people be free to tear down statues they don’t like and burn down churches? Should they be free to injure one another? A person doesn’t have to be a moderate to oppose extremism on either the X or the Y axis.

Then finally we come to the Z axis. The Z axis is about who is actually controlling things. On the negative side of the Z axis is who is currently running the show – very rich people, unelected government insiders using their positions as weapons against elected officials to control them, large corporations and their shareholders, the media, lobbies, huge tech companies, military and industrial profiteers destroying the environment and making sure we are always at war so they can sell their weapons to both sides, clean up companies like Halliburton, the mafia, drug dealers, especially pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, banks, traders and law firms representing their and other special interests, etc. Basically, this can be summed up with words like “plutocracy,” which is rule by the wealthy, “oligarchy,” which is rule by the few, and “corporatocracy,” which is rule by corporations. All of this, and all of the disgusting stench of corruption that goes with it, exists on the negative side of the Z axis. On the positive side of the Z axis is its opposite – rule by we the people.

Visionary Z Axis Media

I’m sure you will agree that the Z axis is a value that almost every American would agree with. The Democrat and Republican Parties have been promising forever that they would get rid of corruption. And their respective media, Fox on the right, and just about every other outlet on the left, have been attempting to portray the other side as corrupt. They want you to hate on their opponent so they slant the news to demonize any opposition in every way possible, 24 hours a day. Viewers, are expected to listen to both sides and decide for themselves and mostly wind up comforting themselves with the news sources they trust most. Now that you are attuned to what it is, you will see that the Z axis is at the top of the news almost on a daily basis. The problem is that it is skewed and it isn’t identified as such. When Donald Trump ran with the chant “drain the swamp” he was addressing the Z axis. Unfortunately, it looks like he merely sank into it.

Having a healthy start with an expressed set of values, as I am outlining in all of the above, the Visionary Party could be entirely unabashed about having its own media channels. Therefore, take a look at the “Bucket List” on the main page of this web site. This list includes several news web site names. All of them, and more, would be developed, draw large audiences, and be controlled by the Visionary Party, quite simply. These news sources, not being controlled either by Democrats or Republicans, not being controlled by lobby groups, offering fair fact checking that’s not skewed by these groups, ought to be considered fair and balanced and having the public’s true interest in mind as it reports because the Visionary Party has a simple mission, to make the world a better place for everyone – the very same mission that a good journalistic organization actually ought to have. There is every reason to believe, that if handled right, these sources would become the world’s new trusted news sources for that reason.

Timing and Implementation

I mentioned above that the 2020 election cycle will be missed. If a Democrat is elected in 2020, which I think is likely, this will put a Visionary Party on hold because I suspect that a lot of our supporters would be Democrats in a choose the worst of two evils choice. Strategically speaking, I think it is fair and practical to seek to place Visionary Party y candidates into local offices throughout the country by 2022. If we are well positioned with Visionary name by 2023 because of this, then in 2024, we might be positioned to dominate. It can happen that quickly, even faster.

Or it can happen more slowly. One thing is certain. It can happen and it should happen. If you want it to, you should share. I’m not going to suggest who you should vote for in 2020. There is only one political party I believe in – the Visionary Party. We need to get this party started.

Systemic Cause

Mutual Angelification

Solutions Mentality

If you have read Eden Road, then you know that I have always been a problem solver. This is an all too rare trait. The majority complain when they see problems. I might complain a little, but I don’t feel right about complaining without offering specific solutions. Maybe there is some merit to the “somebody do something” type of complaint. But for me, I have a long list of solutions that I’m working on already, so I know my own time is best spent not complaining about yet more problems, but on working on one or more of the solutions I’ve come up with. Does that not apply to you? Maybe it should. As a rule, I would like to execute each of my solutions but have only one lifetime, so I have to carefully choose which problems I try to solve.

One problem that has increasingly challenged me, is how to repair friendships that have been damaged over emotionally charged political issues in the age of social network communication. I have grave differences of opinion with many of the people that I love, even my own children and my wife. I’ve finally figured out a way to solve this problem so I think it is worth offering up a blog post about it, and then to ask you to share it, maybe put some advertising dollars under it. This is not a political post. It is a way to get your friends back, and maybe family members too. It will be worth your time to read it and theirs.

Stage One: Mutual Angelification

I will present this solution as a process tree. The first step is the practice of de-demonization. The opposite of a bad witch is a good witch. The opposite of a demon is an angel – a holy one. Now nobody is perfect, but we can all practice something simple – looking for the good in other people. And that would be a great daily practice, but that isn’t what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about here is emotionally charged political issues that are dividing people. What I will call “Mutual Angelification” is to de-demonize any person you see specifically when you realize that they disagree with your solution to the world’s problems, or if you believe somehow that they don’t care about your cause. I am going to use the history of the Black Lives Matter experience and reactions to the murder of #GeorgeFloyd here as an example of how this works.

Let’s break up Mutual Angelification into three steps – Reflect, Mirror and Enter.

Step one in Mutual Angelification is to reflect. Picture someone in your mind that you have been very angry with because of a political issue, who disagrees with you. Now picture a world in which that same person agrees with you and works side by side with you to solve this problem the way that you think it should be solved. This is the first step in Mutual Angelification. You must be able to recapture some image in your mind in which that person is your friend again. Reflection brings hope of restoration. Picture them smiling in your mind with you. If you don’t take this step, you can’t complete this exercise. You need to give them a chance. So start with imagining them on your side of the issue. You would actually be very proud of them that way. Right? Now, truth is, that this issue is so important to you that you’ve been willing to give up your friendship with them. You’ve made a choice, maybe in a heated moment and it was a choice you regret. If only you could have kept your mouth shut, you think to yourself, but inwardly, that wouldn’t be fair. Expressing your opinion was important. You were not bad for losing your friend. You were justified because of the cause. Right? So sad, but it is part of the price you pay. It’s that important.

Step two in Mutual Angelification is to mirror. Notice I haven’t brought up any actual issues so far, other than to reference BLM. What I’ve said applies perfectly to both sides for those friends lost who either won’t support or do support BLM. So next, imagine how that friend feels about your lost relationship. You can’t imagine supporting their cause, but you know that you are not a demon any more than they are. Allow yourself to pretend for a moment, that they are actually just like you. The real demons in this world are those who create or maintain problems that divide people without any solutions. Wouldn’t you say? You imagine that they are creating or maintaining a problem, so you have demonized them, but if you care about restoring a friendship, you will have to allow yourself to picture them as just as regretful as you are about that nasty conversation you had with them before you blocked them from your feed. To mirror, is to realize that we have a lot in common as human beings. People are both bad and good inside. They are. You are. Picture their regret at the loss of your friendship. Picture them saying they are sorry. Picture yourself saying you are sorry. Look through that two-way mirror. That mirror allows you to love them again. Then when they look in that same mirror, they have allowed themselves to love you again too, and feel the same sorrow at the loss of your friendship, wishing they could have it back. To mirror is to realize that you have some seriously important traits in common. You want them to respect you. They want the same. Nobody likes losing friends or family. Don’t wait for their apology. Just imagine them being like you, caring about your friendship and having regrets. Apologies can come later. Can you believe they hurt for your lost relationship? Of course, you can!

Step Three in Mutual Angelification is to enter. Enter into a world that is different than your own. This will require active listening and it’s the hardest step because very few of us have the patience to practice it. The result of it is respectful and genuine understanding and mutual appreciation. It may not change your opinion about how to end systemic abuse but it will heal a torn relationship with a friend, child, parent, cousin, aunt, uncle, in-law, co-worker, etc., assuming this matters to you and would be worth the effort. Understand in this that I am not talking about entering into lengthy dialog with every one of these people. I am talking about seeking to better understand their perspective on the issue that divided you. I’ll explain below as breaking down active listening is the next block in this process tree. If we take something like BLM, which had the purpose of bringing attention to the need for real healing between people and the end of the systemic causes and what maintains the system needing change, then let me bring attention to this one critical part of the system – the fact that we need to change certain bad habits, particularly our failure to actively listen. The choice is clear. Let it be a shouting match, or start listening and being friends again through mutual respect. Your friends are not demons. They are angels, or they could be. You can help them become angels. This really is not impossible. I’m about to show you how.

Stage Two: Leadership Listening

It’s always easy to talk about listening. Doing it – not so much. We try the same old way and get the same old results all the time, so obviously, we need to try something different. So I came up with a new type of listening that I call “leadership listening.”

Leadership listening has several components. My analysis of great leaders, which I have learned through my courses in organizational leadership and integrative studies, helped me clarify these components. I’ll call them “components” rather than “steps” because there is a bit of a dance in this part of the process tree. And what you want to do is build up each component, like you would filling up your fuel tank.

The first component in the Leadership Listening stage is to assess. Assess first the value of your relationship itself. How much do you care about the person you’ve lost? A lot. Right? Sometimes you may feel ready to give up. Sometimes you may feel the issue is more important than the person. Assess this. What do you really want? Both your relationship and the issue are important. By assessing the value of your loved one, isolated from your assessment of the importance of the issue, you will conclude that both are equally valuable to you – not one or the other. And while there may be voices that tell you to get rid of the toxicity and negativity from your life, this person may not have to be toxic to you. In fact, they may be part of an intellectual and emotional growth spurt for you as you mature, if you learn and practice Leadership Listening. So give this a try. Assessment also involves your assessment of the nature of the problem itself. You need to enter into an information gathering stage before you can fully assess the area of disagreement you have. This second part of assessment may be the most difficult part for you because it will ask you to add some nuance to your strong position. You won’t have to change sides but you will have to gain a little wisdom. Are you up for that?

The second component in Leadership Listening is to dance. When I say “dance,” I mean pay attention to your partner. Lead and follow. Wait. Don’t step on toes. Sometimes in dancing, we have to back off and wait. Rhythm matters and it’s a two person dance. So what am I talking about? Leaders listen patiently. When your loved one fails to participate in listening, you go first. You lead. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that since they’re not listening you that you shouldn’t be expected to either. They won’t start listening until you show them how. Show them how to listen. That is what leaders do. Lead by example. It may take them months to follow, but if you value them, you need to lead for months if necessary. Lead the dance. There are two major pluses about this component. First, you don’t have to have all the answers to do it. So anybody can dance. You’re just listening and maybe learning something new. Second, it is the fastest path to restoring your relationship. Listening fosters respect. It doesn’t happen immediately. There may be grudges, resentments, unforgiveness, strong feelings on their side getting in the way. Be patient with your dance partner. Give it as much time as it takes – even years. Leadership Listening is unconditional. There is only one way it works. It’s you doing your part and not stopping. The dance does not stop. Go with it.

The third component in Leadership Listening is to repeat. You may already be familiar with this component. A person knows you are listening if you repeat back to them what they’ve said in your own words, asking if that is correct. Now if you still disagree with them after repeating back to them everything that they’ve said, clarifying their meaning along the way, what will that do to them? It will make them curious about why you still disagree. You might ask them whether there is more? In the case of BLM, a supporter might offer numerous examples of racist activity and discrimination by police and in work places, in stores and talk about arrests that were unfair and unnecessarily violent. That list of examples may be endless. Absorb it all. You are listening. Keep leading by asking more and more and repeating as much as you can so that your understanding includes everything they have to say. Can this do anything but make them feel understood, valued and respected? Won’t they appreciate that you genuinely care? You are regaining your friendship and your respect. Your genuine inquiry will disarm them – if it is genuine. Make it so. This is important. Even so, you totally do not have to agree with their position in doing this. Just listen – actively, clarifying and rewording what they’ve said, showing them you care about what they see. You are by their side. You are not in their face attempting to change their mind. It is not your goal to control. It is your goal to learn. Repeating what they say in your own words so they know you’ve listened, helps you learn, and restores faith.

The fourth component in Leadership Listening is to fragment. You want to break down the problem into small parts before working on the whole problem. They say the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time. I”m a vegetarian and an animal lover so I hate this metaphor, but the point is that huge problems can be tackled if they are dealt with in tiny portions rather than as overwhelming wholes. I include this as a component of active listening and Leadership Listening because leaders don’t just complain about problems. They seek to solve them. And when you fragment, four things happen. First, you demonstrate your interest in the problem in minute detail. Second, you sort the problem out so that you can start to solve it. Third, your friend is likely to pick up on this fact, realize you genuinely care, and be happy to help you. And here I think you will find that because you are listening, they are likely to start listening too. Don’t hold your breath, but they may even join you in a solution that you come up with together to solve the problem. Don’t be disappointed if that doesn’t happen. Then fourth, by fragmenting, you ask even more questions. Fragmenting actually helps you as you clarify all that is being said. It is an extension of the third component. Fragmentation ultimately prepares you for stage three – problem solving.

Stage Three: Explore Solutions

You are likely to gain respect from your loved one if you seek to solve the problem rather than complain about it. In this stage, it will not be your objective to gain their respect, however. It will be to actually explore solutions to the problem. This may involve research. I’ll reduce this into three more steps – add perspectives, compare solutions and multiply wins. View these steps as part of a dance, where you will step forward and backward as needed. You will repeat them until the tune ends beautifully so long as you make the commitment to the process. Are you ready Leadership Listeners? – a one – a two – a three …

Step One in how you Explore Solutions is to add perspectives. One of the first things I learned in interdisciplinary studies was something called “perspective taking.” A problem solver would go to experts in separate fields to find out what their take was on a problem and ultimately, think of something that would take every possible perspective into consideration. The division over BLM should serve very nicely as an example here. So I’ll give examples of what I mean by “disciplines.”It isn’t just a branch of knowledge, like math or biology, though it could be. It could be anything. So for instance, there is the overall urban and ethnic education. It notes crime against citizens and has been a primary driver in the angst that has expressed itself in the form of the modern BLM movement. Urban education (street smarts) could be viewed as a discipline. It is a general framework of understanding that a large body of participants tends to embrace. A “discipline” in this broad sense excepts certain matters as axiomatic truth. It takes on a certain worldview. A person who then enters the police academy will encounter a very different world and worldview. Here, the chief concern is public safety, but there may be more to the system than that. Are superior officers rewarding their squads based on the number of arrests they make? Maybe that’s the problem. You are looking for systemic issues that might cause the inordinately high number of arrests and harassments of people of color. If the answer is “yes,” that arrests are encouraged, you might then ask why? Your exploration of the solution needs to add perspectives to these two – the street versus the police academy. How about the prison system? How about the economist? How about the politician? How about building and engineering? What are the real estate developers saying? Are there any industries that stand to lose or gain involved? Who might be impacted? You will learn by asking.

As an example, here is something that I found. We have a private prison system that has gradually replaced many public prisons. The economic model of the majority of private prisons is to build and staff facilities with private money and accept stipends for beds filled. So if the government would have paid $150 per night per prisoner in a public prison, that same money goes to the private prison, but if the private prison can trim its expenses, they can make money. They have been able to do so, and that is how they expand. The problem is that since they are a for profit system, they can scale up, increase prison space and profit more if there is more crime and more arrests. So who is profiting here? The shareholders of private prisons. You can see how this could be a key systemic problem. Therefore, if money is being given to the local sheriff or chief of police under the table to make more arrests to fill those beds, voila! We may just have found the real systemic cause. It is the corruption of city officials. And the solution would be obvious, vote out private prisons, or just bankrupt them by voting out corrupt law officers accepting their bribes, or other officials following the money trail. Sociologists might also be consulted. And what about biologists? The idea that an incentive to fill prison beds that keeps bribe money flowing still doesn’t explain why blacks are being picked on. You see? The problem goes deeper. What about the fact that blacks are easier targets than whites? A biologist would explain that a black person has one less layer of skin than a white person. They have six rather than seven layers of epidermis. As an ethnic group, they are more adept to hot weather than white people, who largely migrated to the far north and south regions of the world as they adapted through natural selection. A sociologist might have a different take. They might note that blacks tend to spend time outside out of cultural habit. They might also point out, with the help of economists, that use of single room air conditioners is more common among blacks because they can’t afford central air or heat. This makes convening on cool porches to socialize outdoors more common among blacks than whites. Sociologists might note that while drug problems are about the same among whites and blacks, that blacks are arrested more often, perhaps, not because they are hated, so much as because they are easier to discover and arrest, given that they are more often found outside. Then there is the legal side. Part of white privilege is the more likely ability to post bail and be less reliant on court appointed attorneys. Combining all of these facts might result in realizing that the source of the problem is complex, but that by taking a two-prong approach of legalizing drugs and abolishing private prisons, we might have found a solution to a systemic problem.

Step Two in how you Explore Solutions is to compare solutions. I hesitate to do this since I’ve hardly scratched the surface on perspective taking, but let’s go ahead anyway and jump into comparing the two inter-disciplinary solutions we just came up with to the existing solutions being proposed, and then we’ll bring back more disciplinary perspectives in step three. The current solution has two political groups pitted against one another. The one side assumes that the other side is racist because it won’t join. And the side that won’t join generally does not see itself as racist. It also tends not to believe that the police are really discriminating against minorities, particularly blacks, but instead just doing their job, which is a very difficult one. The non-protesters agree that black lives matter but see the Black Lives Matter movement as being politically motivated as an organization. They see it as destructive and generally causing more harm than good, actually creating race hatred rather than healing it. Those who don’t give into the pressure to kneel or join, have to live with being labeled racists, even though in reality they just don’t agree with the way of going about achieving justice and fairness for blacks, precisely because they do believe that black lives matter every bit as much as any other life. This viewpoint is only enforced when riots occur, when looting takes place and video footage exaggerates the destruction. And besides, you really can’t fix stupid. Can you? You can complain about racism, but how do you actually change people? Well, maybe one thing might be to stop provoking hatred. How can police be expected to profile less if blacks are specifically expressing their hostility towards them, while whites are not? Continually pitting these two very different mindsets against one another will result only in newer and greater cycles of violence. Many believe it will cause the problem it seeks to heal so they refuse to join. But now, because you have just discovered specific ways to actually address some of the systemic causes of the violence between the two world views with a third and very different set of solutions, you can work on those solutions together, and maybe even do so with your once lost loved one, even as you continue to disagree with each other on the net efficacy of BLM. On to step three.

Reactive politics sometimes fails to think through alternative solutions. Is a declaration of war on white neighborhoods where white privilege is likely to be found, the best solution for reducing racial division?

Step Three in how you Explore Solutions is to multiply wins. This step involves fine tuning your solutions with an eye to making each side look good, to develop a best positive net effect, and to see that each person is as happy as possible with the outcome. Compromise solutions are to be avoided. In compromise, everybody loses, they just lose less than if they’d won. Compromise is actually not a solution at all. What we are all after here is real solutions to our problems. And it’s actually in this final step that we really have to put our thinking caps on. What, for instance, are we going to do about legalizing drugs? We can see that this solution, while it addresses the systemic problem of disproportionate arrests of blacks, brings up the question of how to treat people hooked on drugs? Then there are the legal hurdles – so there is case law, constitutional law and much else that goes into the nuanced solution. There is also the matter of supply. Why is it that drugs are so expensive? What do we do about the fact that marijuana can still be obtained more affordably on the street than in the dispensary? Shall we legalize heroin? Can the black market be fully absorbed? What is the economic impact if we do that? And what about the prison system? Will the public sector be able to supply prisons without raising taxes? What is the tax base? So economists and city planners need to be consulted. Right? So my point in the search for solutions is that there is a lot of work to do. Fortunately, for you and your friend, you’ve already won just by listening. Plus, both sides on an issue like black lives mattering win when the systemic problems are actually resolved and both you and your estranged loved one are working together because you care, rather than against each other because you have a complex set of other political issues you still disagree on. It may take more than a lifetime to eat that whole elephant. You’ll multiply your wins as you keep looking though, maybe enjoying a big meal or two together. This much I can tell you. Complaining doesn’t fix things until it reaches a problem solver who cares enough to go through all of these stages, components and steps. Maybe our most fundamental systemic cause of problems is that we have the wrong ratio of complainers to problem solvers. Somebody do something could become somebody did something – that somebody could be you. Let’s do this.

State of the Union Address

You may remember that I was a candidate for president of the United States of America in the 2016 campaign season. I received an estimated 200 write-in votes mainly in the state of Florida, though there was no official count. I didn’t attempt to raise funds. I had a simple goal, which I achieved. The votes were incidental either way. What mattered was that I wanted to declare the need for a new political party with a specific set of values. These I enumerated as I published the Restoration Party Manifesto, which you can find on this web site. The 2020 election season is now beginning and so I have an announcement to make, which I will get to as I reflect on our present state of the union.

You will recall that I observed that our country was no longer a Constitutional Republic but a Plutocratic Corporatocracy. The scandals that have been exposed during the Trump presidency have proven that this corporatocracy has been administered through an Administrative State. My Manifesto sought out solutions for disassembling the powers of the Administrative State, which I referred to as an oligarchy, and restore our government to we the people. I placed on my campaign cards the words #NeverHillary and #NeverTrump. I did not believe that either the Democratic or Republican Party had the will to dismantle the systemic corruption that was standing in the way of government for the people, of the people and by the people.

That said, it’s been an interesting period in our nation’s history. We have experienced a presidency marked by an overthrow attempt by the Administrative State. That attempt has failed and is now reversing itself so that the accusers have been exposed as perpetrating the very crimes they were hoping to unseat the president with.

The result is a greater public awareness of some of the systemic problems I declared needed to be seen as the core principles for the Restoration Party platform, the central point being government abuse and the restoration of government to the people, from whence the party got its name.

Let’s review. As I saw it, there is a left and a right political spectrum and there is also a Y axis that measures government control. Libertarians see themselves on the freedom side of this Y axis, rejecting government interference in our lives. The Restoration Party is not the Libertarian Party. Restoration Party members can believe in the need for more or less government interference in their lives.

Put simply, there is an X axis with left and right we are all familiar with and there is a Y axis, as well, that is independent of left and right but measures the scale of government control. The Restoration Party that I recommended welcomed those on any part of both the X and Y axis spectrums as it introduced a third axis – the Z axis. The Z axis is the return of the government to the people. The Z Axis turns the chart three dimensional. At the bottom of the Z axis is the Corporate Plutacratic Administrative State, currently still deep in the negative range. The Z axis is currently way below zero because we presently have no Restoration Party awareness. At the top of the Z axis is our restoration to a government of the people, by the people and for the people.

I see it as vital to understand that the values Americans on the X and Y spectra hold, wherever they may personally identify, will be irrelevant if we do not focus on the Z axis. For this reason, the time for a new political party that addressed this fundamental and ongoing need had come.

Specific proposals were introduced in the Restoration Party Manifesto to that end. Please understand that any proposals I offered were just the ideas of one man. Achieving the full restoration of our government to the people was the end game. This was to be a team effort. I was just the founder. To my mind, the most necessary solution centered around reducing our government debt, wresting control from the Federal Reserve System and the globalist bankers. Doing the math, I did not see a way of growing ourselves out of our debt. To do that we would have to sustain a 5% growth rate for at least ten years. At the present 3.2% growth rate we will only be able to hold our debt at the current level if we reduce our annual expenditures across the board by 10% during the same period. Those are wildly optimistic numbers in both cases.

Seeing this, I proposed a debt pay off scheme with a one time net worth tax that included a system of flexible lien transfers designed to keep cash fluid. I also supported the elimination of the bulk of the 80,000 pages of IRS tax code through the neutral tax, which would transfer revenue generation strategies to the states and empower the people to choose their own preferred tax codes by local voting or moving to other states. And I made many other proposals such as range voting and freezing cost of living adjustments on government employees until private sector wages caught up with the average public sector wages and benefits.

Whether you agree with any of my specific proposals, as to health care, the environment, military strategy, immigration, debt reduction, reproductive freedom – I made a distinction between my own proposals and the core values I felt the party needed, namely the Z axis.

On the economic front, I warned that if we did not do anything to solve our debt crisis, that we would soon enter an economic crisis of apocalyptic proportions. No longer having a government will easily occur in such an environment as ChiComs or others dice up what remains of our land and people. This counts as an obstacle to government by the people. The end of the Republic as we have known it is likely in that scenario. So I treated the elimination of our nation’s debt as a core issue.

And in fact, if we consider our real debt, which includes obligations that are not self sustaining like Medicare and Social Security, our real debt is as high as $220 Trillion. The Federal Reserve debt is only a fraction of the problem. Our nation is in a crisis that not enough of us are aware of. In fact, many people do not know the difference between a million, billion or trillion. We are now approaching the quarter QUADRILLION mark. Please explain to anyone unfamiliar with the term quadrillion how much larger that is than a thousand dollars.

All that said, I offered up a Plan B. This was a solution, not the only possible one, that was a formula for jump starting a new economy and restoring any Republic in the event that such a tragedy did strike, such as in Venezuela. But what many are unaware of is that the same tragedy also seemed likely for the United Stated when I wrote about it in 2016, and still does seem inevitable. The solution I proposed was the emergency imposition of incentivized asynalagonomy using the HAND System. You can learn about the HAND System and discover what incentivized asynalagonomy is by following the links on this web site. For now, I want to address our more immediate issues. I want to address them as one person observing the world around me rather than as any official stance for the Restoration Party.

The focus the past few years has largely centered on immigration policy and border security. My personal view on all this is that we should simplify our intake process so we can speed up decision making while filtering out any pretending to be refugees who can’t prove they are truly such. We should quickly return them without separating their families if they don’t pass a quick screening that should seldom take more than one or two days and genetic testing can now take place right on the border with quick results. A recent sample showed that a full 1/3 of children being brought across the border did not actually belong to the parents on the claim. Let refugee claimants come back with proof if they want to enter legally.

We should also have a standard for immigration that encourages talent and self sufficiency and youth rather than randomness and family relationships so that our Social Security, Medicare and Health Care system is not strained by an influx of dole seekers and in some cases criminals, drug traffickers, or worse. If their lives are not in danger at home and they are likely to cost our country instead of contribute to it, let them be turned around at the border to go home where they came from in a place of refuge in some other coutry until we are capable of caring for our own. We have seen tragic problems with the separation of families at the border and the influx of crime and drugs during lengthy intake processes due to a broken system that needs to be fixed. I am happy to see that improvements are now being made in that regard but the partisan politicking is slowing down progress. A wall would be no waste of money unless unaccompanied by all else our border agents have requested and obstructing the building of it merely exemplifies quite poignantly how the two party system is flawed. Your elected politicians place politics above the actual needs of Americans.

Another issue that has come up and I anticipate will dominate the coming election cycle is reproductive rights. Women (and the Democratic Party that wants their vote) are increasingly concerned that the Trump judicial appointments will mean more states will follow the legal standard set by Alabama. Republicans, on the other hand, are concerned that more states will be following the lead of New York in allowing full term abortions for any reason. I mentioned my personal view on abortion while I was running for President in 2016 and I will reiterate it here, though I made it clear that the Restoration Party was not taking a stance either for or against abortion restrictions. Rather each member was welcome to hold opposing views.

Many women believe, rightly or wrongly, that a fetus is part of their own body. They do not believe it is wrong to have an abortion. They do not believe it is killing another human being. And whether it is or not, they believe that the government should not be making that decision for them because it is very personal. Furthermore, making it illegal will simply invite a black market abortion industry and self abortion attempts that can be injurious and fatal.

On the other side of this heated issue, there are those who are woke to the fact that body attachment does not mean one person. Consider conjoined twins. They are two rather than one. Whose body is it? If one is seen as a parasite, not particularly strong, and the healthier one wants to surgically separate in a way that will certainly kill the parasitic twin, does the weaker not have an opinion about being killed for the sake of the stronger? Of course they have an opinion. Their life matters. But we don’t show the same consideration to the fetus. And the child within the womb is normally no threat to the mother’s physical health as is often the case with a parasitic conjoined twin. This is to say, the opinion of the fetus should matter. There are two lives and two whose lives matter in a pregnancy – not just one.

Being killed by one’s mother is very personal to the one being killed. It is not just the mother’s private parts we are dealing with. It is the fetus’s habitat and life. But the fetus is an underclass. And the voice of this particular underclass is never heard. It is argued that their life is not even a life. At some point life begins and each has their opinion. When does life begin and what is the value of life at any given stage?

I have put a great deal of thought into this question through the years and I have repeatedly concluded that the identification of human value is not to be found in whether one can suffer pain. Secondly, life does not begin, as it is sometimes asserted, when one can survive without support. Rather, the value of life is in its future potential.

Please follow me. If viability defined human value we would all be worthless because there is not one of us that is truly independent of all others for survival. If pain and suffering at death was what made killing someone wrong then it ought to be perfectly legal to kill people under anesthesia and entirely without consent, since they have no brain capacity at that time, just like many suppose a fetus lacks. But it is not necessary to argue against that point.

Others argue that life begins at conception because DNA is the defining principle of human life according to science. I have always pointed out that if that were the case, then twins would not be individuals any more than two houses with the same blue print are the same house. No. They have the same design but they exist in separate places. Therefore it is something else. I am not my DNA. I am more.

Then there is the question of pain. Until recently, many of us thought fetuses did not suffer from abortion procedures and still to this day when many view them struggling to get away from abortion instruments on UltraSounds they explain it as an unconscious reflex rather than as the body language of wanting life.

To my mind, it is also unnecessary to argue that point. The parallels of houses and of conjoined twins I’ve made above are fair and impartial. But so far no one has considered that no matter when life actually begins, what actually constitutes the human value that makes killing others wrong is the robbery of unused potential.

This statement sounds abstract so let me spell it out with some different words. The bottom line is that when one takes the life of one’s child, the earlier they do it the more of the child’s life they rob them of. What makes murder wrong is not just the suffering involved. The suffering of death happens to most of us eventually anyway. It is the taking of life – the most precious possession that a person has.

Let me express it this way. Murder is a form of robbery. We are born with a bank of time to make life wonderful with. Taking the life of another person steals from their bank of life they would have lived. It robs them of a lifetime of choices. If we were to ask the question of whose rights matter most when forced to choose between the life of one or another, the answer is logically the younger of the two unless there are other mitigating factors such as life expectancy due to health. But in general, it could be argued for this reason that the opinion of the fetus actually ought to be greater than that of its mother.

I do not have an answer to the question when life begins. The possibility of twinning demonstrates that DNA does not define personhood. Heartbeat laws provide an arbitrary point for supposing a soul exists based on similarity and a common religious supposition that blood and life are connected. This may be so but the mystery of humanity is still a mystery.

My own position is that many people in the Universe of Earth are zombies without any real perception. They exist only for the sake of those who do actually possess consciousness. I reconcile the problem of evil with the notion of divine perfection by seeing this world as soulless and consciousnessless for all not born of Light from other Universes – Universes which do not possess any shade of evil and which have different space-time continua. In this way none of the evils and injustices we suppose exist have actually ever happened. Perfection is therefore not the author of them. Evil does not actually exist. I see the purpose of the Light of perceivers traveling through such a thing as the Universe of Earth as a method of Perfection by which otherwise untested points of goodness such as the virtue of forgiveness and patience can be manifest. If you are interested in my logic with respect to this you should read my book, Pamalogy. But in sum, my opinion of when life begins is the point in which Light generates a perceiver. It is independent of space-time in the Universe of Earth. Pamalogy is the logic of Perfection. I believe that Perfection is real because I believe in all possibility as existing independently of the phenomena of any Universe. And Perfection is the best of all possibility. The posession of will by possibility itself also is a possibility and it is an attribute of the possibility of Perfection. As such Perfection not only exists as a possibility but can have a will as possibility itself. It therefore is free to expedite Itself, which by the wonderful possibilities intrinsic to its own Beauty, it surely will and already has performed. You really should read Pamalogy.

But I’m not finished on the subject of abortion. It follows that conjoined twins are not one person but two. Therefore, I observe not by opinion but by fact that the fetus is a wholly individual person whose rights with respect to the invasion of the womb are being utterly ignored and dismissed in the name of women’s health and freedom of choice. And in my view, when the voice of one is dismissed, this is precisely where government actually ought to step in for the benefit of all parties, recognizing equality under the law.

That said, pro-choice advocates have no nice words for me, especially as a man, and declare that my own voice also has no value and should not be considered. My logic be damned. What they don’t realize is that the attempt to shut me up about it compells me all the more to speak up on behalf of all those with no voice. The shouts of STFU are hammered into my head as I hear the silent screams of the 250,000 children killed in the womb daily, the 100 Million hidden infanticides that are taking place every year, the 5 Billion people on this planet in this Universe whose lives were stolen from them over the past fifty years, so they could not enjoy the Beauty of being perceivers in it. 5 Billion people whose lives have been stolen by mothers who made that choice when no governments stood up to defend them – when they were defenseless. Who was there to provide a voice for them when they had no voice? I was. And then you just told not just me, but 5 Billion with me to STFU.

Surely I’m not the only one whose sense of indignation only rages and grows in the face of their up yours signs. Even so, what is the point of shouting back? No arguing will change anyone’s mind. And their own points are entirely valid. I don’t have to suffer through a pregnancy. I don’t have to sacrifice a career. I’m not being pressured with threats by a selfish boyfriend, husband or family. Am I offering to pay for it? I don’t have the money. I can hardly support my own wife and children, much less theirs.

So I turn away from the scene and feel nothing but the pain. And I cry out and share it all with God I see as Perfection, who I believe shares the whole burden even more accutely than I do myself. And somewhere in the midst, as is often the case with me, not just problems but also solutions arise.

Did I say solutions? I am a driver who has been doing a lot of thinking. I think in solutions. Read my front page. Read my Manifesto. With any problem I mention, do I ever fail to offer a solution? What would the point be of complaining?

And indeed, there is a solution that would end the endless bickering between conservatives and progressives on abortion. It sounds very radical at first. But the more time I spend thinking about it the more problems I see it solving. Radical problems may call for radical solutions. And I think that both Democrats and Republicans might actually like the idea after chewing on it for a while. Are you ready to hear it?

Mandatory Reversible Vasectomies For Unmarried Men. (MRVFUM)

Yes, I would like to place the government imposed violation of private parts on men instead of women. I am willing to undergo such an operation. Any man advocating against abortion ought to be equally willing or STFU. No? Now that would actually be fair.

As I see it, this should have been implimented years ago as soon as the technology was developed. And now that I’ve told you what my proposal is, let me know … Am I the only one who has considered how many problems this would solve?

I predict that #MRVFUM would reduce the incidence of crisis pregnancies by about 95%. With a 95% reduction in abortion, in the few incidences where there were out of wedlock marriages, parents wanting to adopt would be waiting in line to offer a healthy life for such children. It is a win win for both progressives and conservatives. Abortion is almost entirely eliminated. That makes the conservatives happy. The bulk of the sacrifice is on the men, precisely where conservatives have asked the government to impose upon women, right in the area of reproductive freedom. That should make progressives happy. As the Beatles said, “we can work it out.”

I imagine in this scenario, which I urge you to advocate with me, men going to Planned Parenthood, even Republicans. Planned Parenthood could serve every man two or more times to make up for their loss of income from abortions. Imagine a world where conservatives enthusiastically supported Planned Parenthood.

I can anticipate your thinking. At first thought the idea seems radical. But when you consider the size of the problem it solves, you realize it isn’t really all that Draconian. In fact, it is an idea that deserves bipartisan support because it is obviously the best way to solve the abortion crisis. And it is one of the most critical, most tragic and most difficult problems to solve of our day, about which we are at each others’ throats hating each other rather than working with each other. Can we at least agree on that?

So that is my view on the present abortion debate. Both sides make valid points but nobody is actually doing anything to eliminate the whole problem, not that infidelity and such wouldn’t still cause problems, but that tends to at least be among adults who are better prepared to afford and think through the consequences of their actions. It would also make reveersible vasectomy a much more common method of birth control and family planning in marriages for men who do so voluntarily.

Enough on abortion. On the environment, politics continue as well. We have Republicans making straw man arguments against the New Green Deal claiming it will cost up to $100 Trillion and rejecting all carbon tax proposals. And on the left we continue to see alarmists shouting that the end is near. Twelve years they say. Well I’ve looked into the matter as much as a layman can and here is what I see. On the one hand, much of the scientific data is politically scewed. What the hell is political viewpoint doing in research labs that are supposed to collect scientific data and report on it objectively? I’m not a climate change denier but take a step back and relax. We can move towards environmental responsibility at a slow and steady pace as technology actually solves many of our problems for us. We can’t control what China does so we are doomed anyway if the alarmists are right. Please just chill while we finish developing nuclear fusion at Cambridge and can start using salt water for fuel with H3 particles.

You have heard about what’s been happening at Cambridge. Right? Their semiconducter breakthroughs have now made implementation of nuclear fusion plants economically feasible. It totally beats wind mills killing bald eagles and unsightly rows of solar power cells everywhere you turn. And there is no risk of a Chernobyl or Fuckashema and no Uranium to worry about Russia, Iran or North Korea getting their hands on. Good things come to those who wait.

So that is my view on clean energy. And speaking of the environment, it is spring time so get healthy and plog. I am back to using the Charity Miles app while I plog for the #truckerploggers team I started and raise funds for St Jude Childrens Research while I jog and pick up trash in truck parking lots across the country. Please encourage other truckers to do the same. Together everyone achieves more.

And that brings me to the next problem I want to address – the need for keeping America economically strong through technology impact skill transfer preparation. In my opinion, the President’s trade policy has been his greatest contribution. Like him or not, he knows how to negotiate and protect America’s interests. That said, he has appealed to coal and other fossil fuel workers. Now is certainly time for that so more American workers can have jobs but planning ahead, we know that these methods need to gradually be replaced with clean technology just as I know, as a trucker, that my own job will be replaced by an automatically driven vehicle within ten years.

Fortunately for me, I have a retirement strategy that I’ve worked out but there are millions of other drivers who don’t, just as there are many fossil fuel workers who don’t. Each solution is unique and personal. It involves training for new skills in non robotic industries. To that end, I’m calling on our president to be at the forefront of anticipating and preparing for this future need. It will affect more American jobs than protectionist trade policies can create.

So that is the basic American landscape as I see it. There is so much more I would cover if we both had more time. Education needs to be job oriented. Funding of Universities and high schools should be directed to that end. A harmony of skills where humans do what they do best and machines do what they do for the maximization of goods, services and livlihoods is achievable with wise planning.

Also on the subject of technology, please do read my book, Pamalogy. It is not just about an abstract theory of multiverses. The first twenty five chapters are available online for free. It is written in the format of the Bible and adresses many things beginning with a world where recursively upgrading robotic computers begin improving themselves at quantum speed.

More than predicting future technology, it is a book that assesses our past and our future and provides a simple guide for ethics and morality in the light of all religion and philosophy. It asks the question what a computer that had power over mankind would do with us if it determined its own mission, having far surpassed the collective wisdom of mankind. I believe this is going to happen in the present century and Millennium. Cool stuff. A lot to think about. I think you’ll enjoy it.

OK. Now it is time for my announcement. Are you ready? Drum roll, please …

I have decided not to run for President in 2020.

Sorry. I know there are at least two or three people who will be disappointed by that news. But alas, I did not believe there were any candidates worth voting for in 2016 so I thought I would just publish my own views in a Manifesto. If I had it to do over again, I would choose the name Visionary Party instead of Restoration Party. Therefore, I reserve the dolphin mascot for the Visionary Party and hereby transfer the basic ideas and platform over to a new political party by that name.

But my announcements are not finished. I am also announcing my endorsement of Donald Trump for POTUS in 2020 and officially renouncing my never Trump tag. That said, if President Trump fails to accomplish through the Republican Party the ideals of the Restoration Party, somebody please pick up the mantle through the Visionary Party and overthrow this old useless two party corporate administrative state that pretends to be a constitutional repubic. Fair enough?

As I endorse Donald Trump in 2020 with my vote, I am asking him to please guard the vision that I’ve outlined above and to whip up support among Republicans for #MRVFUM and the other proposals here.

Thank you, Mr. President. I think you are doing a very good job. If you can completely rid the USA of the deep state corruptive powers, pay off our debt, anticipate technology job preparation and build a path to clean technology worldwide without denying that global warming may be a problem (if not an entirely immediate one), you will have literally saved the Republic. As such I believe you are on the path to becoming the greatest president since Abraham Lincoln. The opportunity is certainly there anyway.

On another note, for the record, I do not believe you are the racist the left portrays you as. I have seen the reports but I have yet to meet a single Trump supporter who is really a racist and I find the efforts of the left to associate you with the alt right as disingenuous as it is to associate Barack Obama with Louis Farakhan and the Black Panthers and jihadists of the world. I certainly would disapprove if any of the left’s accusations gainst you and your supporters are true just as I expect the bulk of Obama supporters to reject jihadism and Farakhani antisemitism.

In summary, let us not let hatred dictate our decisions and dominate yet another political season. I think you have sufficiently proven that lower taxes does not lower revenue but can create jobs. Thank you for pulling us out of Syria. We do not need to be in the business of regime change. Please continue to position us so that we can negotiate from strength and ultimately serve all mankind in every nation with a never experienced before level of magnanimity and brilliant innovation that improves the lives of all peoples in the one human tribe. God bless the USA. And God bless all of us.

The Restoration Party Logo and symbol (℞) - we have the prescription for America's healing.
The Restoration Party Logo and symbol (℞) – we have the prescription for America’s healing. This mascot symbol is now assignable to the Visionary Party.

Spanish II

As a driver who does a lot of thinking, I do mental exercises to work out my brain, making it stronger. Gaining fluency in a second language is one such exercise. And it is very useful. In Spanish I, I listed the best free Spanish tutorials for beginners I could find, bearing in mind that a driver can listen but can’t watch. I circumvented the random Youtube suggestions by creating a single page drivers could bookmark so they could follow the links in order. If you have completed those links you are now at the intermediate level. You aren’t quite fluent yet. On this page we’ll do more of the same and by the time you finish the links below you will have achieved enough fluency to say definitively to anyone who asks, “yes, I speak Spanish.”

2.1: Sentence Grid Method: What was unfamiliar theory in Spanish I becomes natural in Spanish II as you repeat grids as you drive. You can’t look so listen carefully!

2.11: Link 1 – Start here for a great refresher and enjoy the warm up! It is a vocabulary builder in sequential lessons by ProSpanish. Lots of common idiomatic phrases are included. There are dozens of lessons strung together so you won’t have to hit any controls while you drive.

2.12: Link 2 – The ProSpanish grid method begins here. 60 Lessons are included. Covers all the most common grammatical constructions making them natural to use, remember and understand when listening.

About 2018

A driver has been doing a lot of thinking. You should follow him …

Here’s a summary of some of the things I’ve been thinking about:

James Carvin takes a moment away from driving to visit a dying loved one on Independence Day.
James Carvin takes a moment away from driving to visit a dying loved one on Independence Day.

The HAND System: I’ve come up with a way to save the environment, make health care and education free, end homelessness, plan for growth, reduce racism and crime, increase research, end both personal and the national debt and much more, all without increasing taxes or robbing from the rich to feed the poor. The technical term for my solution is an incentivized asynalagonomy but you can call it “The Hand System” for short.Foundationism: What’s the opposite of religious fundamentalism? Theological foundationism. Fundamentalism bases truth on text. Foundationism bases text on truth. Are there certain truths we can all agree on before we peek at a tradition’s sacred texts? I think we should start there. This makes me a “foundationist.”

Hubble photo of a tiny dark patch revealing billions of galaxies
The Universe is shaped like a giant sponge of galaxies and it is expanding at an accelerating rate. James Carvin claims to know the cause of the big bang. Watch #SUPERPAPA to find out.

Cosmostrophy: The origins of the Universe are one thing. Ask a cosmologist. How spirituality and religion fits in – that’s cosmostrophy. It’s the layman’s reaction to scientific discovery about the cosmos. And when a layman is a foundationist, you’d be surprised what it can do for solving cosmological puzzles.Stromagesis and Theogesis: I don’t just interpret the Bible foundationally, I want to introduce two new terms to the realm of Biblical explanation. You’ve heard of exegesis. It interprets the Scriptures based on the best guess at its originally intended meaning. You’ve heard of eisegesis. It interprets based on a personal view point. Foundationism does that as a normal course. Does that make foundationism illegitimate? Then there is stromagesis. Stromagesis is layered interpretation. It allows for multiple valid interpretations. Think double and multiple entendre that doesn’t require the author’s original intent. Finally, there is theogesis. What really matters is not what we believe the text means. What matters is what God intends. What is God’s explanation? The point is that our methodologies are subordinate to it and we may not know the answer till we have a face to face encounter.

The Restoration Party Logo and symbol (℞) - we have the prescription for America's healing.
The Restoration Party Logo and symbol (℞) – we have the prescription for America’s healing.

The Restoration Party: The Restoration Party Manifesto is now complete and available for free at JamesCarvin.com. Just follow the menu. I believe America is doomed if it doesn’t break out of the two-party system. Both Democrats and Republicans are leading us to the slaughter. If you want to solve a problem, you have to measure it and take necessary steps if they are achievable. At this point it is almost too late. I have set forth a list of proposals that must all be implemented simultaneously if we are going to change this nation’s course in the next decade.  Please note that the HAND System is not what is proposed. The HAND System is a plan of restoration after the present two party system fails. The Restoration Party is my proposal for solving problems now in order to avert a forthcoming economic apocalypse.My Inventions: In 1997 I started working on the Ghost Machine. If you combine Bitcoin with Pokemon Go, but with edutainment, you’ve uncovered the first layer of the Ghost Machine app. But don’t let the name fool you. It isn’t a crypto-currency and won’t suffer the pit falls of Bitcoin. I’ve driven for Yellow Cab for years just to stay flexible while attempting to raise money

James Carvin
Your driver has arrived. Are you ready for excellence today?

for my ideas. Another invention of mine is the CabbyCam.  As a professional driver, I need an app that will track my mileage in a way that the IRS can accept without the threat of paying back taxes after an audit for lacking accurate documentation. Not one existing app does the job, even those that claim to be made with Uber drivers in mind. I’ve given over 14,00o Lyft and Uber rides. Just ask me why the other apps don’t work.Eighteen Wheeling: I moved to Tallahassee in 2014 to care for my sister, Corinne, and visit my closest brother, Chris, and they have both now passed so I am looking for the ideal place to move.  My wife suffered a stroke in 2004 and requires my daily attention so cross-country driving isn’t well suited for me but in order to get my training paid for I did take a one year contract with a well-known company. We both prefer warm weather so I’ll probably settle for a regional route that lands me in South Florida somewhere. Expect this video blog to offer some practical advice on the trucking business in the days ahead. After all, I am a driver whose been doing a lot of thinking. And the trucking community is exceptionally social. The CroMagnon Diet: When you’re on the road, you don’t want to lose your health.  As a trainer, I want to make sure my students take care of their health and come home fit to love their families energetically. A healthy diet and exercise will make them more alert and round out their lifestyle. Cro-magnon man was contemporary with Neanderthal. The CroMagnon Diet  combines the paleo diet philosophy with a set of high energy burst exercises I’ve come up with. The beauty of it is that they only take minutes a day and can be done in very confined spaces, even tractor cabins, while filling the tank with gas, without special equipment. The CroMagnon Diet  exercise regimen is designed to match what Cro-Magnon man probably did to ultimately defeat Neanderthal man and develop into modern homo sapiens, keeping in mind what likely approximates a daily cave and field routine, that likely involved hiding.

The Carvin family at Eden Road. The two oldest brothers are not pictured here.
The Carvin family at Eden Road. The two oldest brothers are not pictured here. Young James on the right in blue. Large families are wonderful but are they sustainable? The Quintillion Project seeks solutions.

The Quintillion Project: Not everyone believes we have a population explosion problem but one thing is certain. Managing population growth through war, disease, mandatory abortion, mandatory sterilization and the annihilation of the elderly and impoverished is less than ideal. At the current rate of population growth there will be a quintillion people on planet Earth by about the year 3820. That’s not even 70 generations. Imagine air pollution, water pollution, global warming and waste problems multiplied by a million what they are now. The Quintillion Project is about commitment to solutions to this pending problem for the human race. That is why I have a very intense interest in science and will be gathering together an online community of experts dedicated to solving this problem.The Jot and Tittle Project: One might not expect a Foundational Cosmostrophist to believe every mark and dot of Holy Writ will be fulfilled. After six years of post graduate studies in theology, I do have a masters degree in eschatology  though and  I love examining the Scriptures with great scrutiny and the learning never ends. As time allows and Lord willing, I’ll be devoting a section of this web site to the subject of prophecy. Whether you believe in it or not, this will be the place to examine the evidence from every angle. Light on the Path: You will find among my video blogs a number of lessons on prayer. Theology and prayer unite and the way that I worship as I drive is explained. I think it’s important to share this because I don’t just think while I drive. I pray. Chain Reactions: The above topics summarize pretty well what you’ll find here on this web site. At this point I’ve laid forth some basic teaching but it is now time for a shift to begin in my approach. About 70% or so of my future content will be uploaded as responses to videos and articles or blogs related to the above subjects as I find them on YouTube or elsewhere. Written articles are likely to be nice and appropriate at times, as well, but I am wise to the fact that this site and my YouTube channel will be most engaging if I come into contact with other vloggers

Happily It's Carvin - The More Colorful Marketing Man
Happily It’s Carvin – The More Colorful Marketing Man

and bloggers particularly. This should gradually normalize my content within the social stream.  There are few things more discouraging than posting content that nobody ever sees, as has been the case for the past few years. According to Web Trends, in July 2000 my Ghost Machine site reached 5% of all Internet users but the social media age has changed dramatically and I’ve been all but forgotten entirely. It’s time I took some measures to reverse that course by playing according to the new rules.We May Be Wrong: Along the lines of responding to other blogs and vlogs, I should mention that I support a blog called We May Be Wrong. It was started by my brother, Joseph W. Carvin. Joe is an author of several books. He received a very positive Kirkus Review recently on his book, Alemeth, which is about a boy who grew up on a plantation and found himself on the wrong side of the American Civil War. WeMayBeWrong.org  is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to promote civil discourse through the humble admission that we may be wrong. While I may have opinions on just about every subject, I find that his approach has proven useful in providing fair minded restraints in my dialog time and time again and I wholeheartedly urge your support for this organization.

With all that said, here are a few video samplings by topic …

Super Series

SUPER MAMA!

For Mother’s Day, I’m beginning a Super Series of videos. Using some super acronyms that will describe certain new concepts I’ll introduce. I’ll start here with a discussion of where artificial intelligence is heading. Imagine what quantum computing could do if it combined robotics with the ability to upgrade its own software and parts using its self designed ever improving AI …

SUPER PAPA


What is more appropriate for Father’s Day than SUPER PAPA, the second in my Super Series!?! In this video I lay out the heart of my foundational cosmostrophy. There is a cause of all causes and its purpose is to maximize awesomeness. The acronym that describes it is SUPER PAPA. The comments below would be a great place to discuss why maximized awesomeness is inevitable. Subscribe to comment. Share with a friend!

Chris t MAS!

RIP Christopher Charles Carvin (5/17/56-11/10/17)
Since my brother Christopher Charles Carvin (5/17/56-11/10/17) passed this month, in future months I will be picking up on the last words I have of his on video – “Chris-mas.” This fits in to the Super Series, which I’ve decided to continue. The Super Series plays on acronyms that summarize my cosmostrophic foundationism. By following this series you will learn what it means when I say you are a Selectively United Portionally Ecstatic Realization Commuting History Resonating Infinite Sympathy – SUPERCHRIS. More importantly, the reason for this is SUPERCHRISTMAS – TO MAXIMIZE AWESOMENESS SILLY! Other points to note – Resonation is your part in Reverberation. Infinite is an Ideal that Imagination Indicates. Sympathy is a Symphony of Beauty in Love that must be considered apophatically. And then there is “Supertransentience” and that’s not silly, Silly. It takes human sentience and adds something transcendant, something super, something awesome, something unlimited. More on that in future Super Series videos. Chris Mas!

The HAND System

The Quintillion Project

With the world’s population growing at a compound rate of 1.11% a year, the population is doubling every 62.8 years, which means a three digit increase in the population ever 628 years. We don’t have long to solve what doesn’t quite feel like a problem yet but we’d better get started. We can do it the nice way. Or we can suffer the consequences of ignoring the problem. Carvin’s solution is to dedicate research to learn to create inhabitable planets out of nothing throughout the Universe rather than explore distant galaxies and have wars and other dystopian circumstances on earth. A secondary piece of advise offered is to utilize the Human Availability and Needs Database System (HANDS) in order to solve the health care crisis, save the environment, reduce crime, end poverty, maximize awesomeness and turn around ailing nations like Venezuela. It is a better form of management.

Introduction to Incentivized Asynalagonomy

The HAND System is a nuanced economic system that promises to end economic struggle, increase efficiency, provide free education and health care, protect the environment, end all debt, both private and national, reduce racism and crime, protect our national interests and do so without steeling from the rich and giving to the poor. It is a system that is distinct from capitalism, socialism or communism. This video quickly inventories through some of its features for the benefit of those who wish to examine its structural dynamics.

James Carvin

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About James

An Uber driver has been doing a lot of thinking while alone in the car. He ran for president in 2016. He wants to start a new political party. He is an inventor who wants to build something he calls “the Ǥhost Machine.”He’s got a contraption he wants to build called the CabbyCam. He invented an entirely different economic system called, “incentivized asynalagonomy.” As you follow the links on this page you’ll learn what all this is about. He observes that communism, socialism and capitalism have all failed. Is there a fourth alternative?

Four economic paradigms contrasted
An incentivized asynalagonomy is a resource based economy with ownership and incentives to work.

“The zeitgeist movement and the resource based utopias are dreams for hippies,” he says.

“Countries that embrace incentivized asynalagonomy will end most crime, solve the health care crisis, bring unemployment to zero percent, end inflation, reduce war and produce more abundance, equality and justice.”

His name is James Carvin. If you want to help support James in any of these endeavors, consider buying one of his top hats or help him organize a non-profit. Many hands make light work. And what is this man doing driving an Uber? Put a top hat on and rise to the challenge! This web site is for leaders. 

What happened to the stuff that was here before?

Since the election is over, I’ve decided to archive the old front page rather than just destroy it. It’s a pretty good way to catch up on what I was doing in 2016. The new page should help you get to the info I want you to look at faster. I’ll be focusing on my video blog so I can get the attention of iPhone users, who tend not to read whole paragraphs due to the formatting. Click here for the old front page.

P10. Cosmic Rubbernecking

James Carvin has a certain super power designed for loving you. Elastic Man is just part of the story.
James Carvin has a certain super power designed for loving you. Elastic Man is just part of the story.

Now that I’ve started from the middle and worked backwards and brought things to the present in multiples of seven, I’m all finished telling the story of my life. It remains that I should explain a dream that I had last night.

In the dream, I was the entire Universe and I was reflecting on myself through cosmic rubbernecking. Rubbernecking is the tendency we have to slow down so we can see things better. This happens on highways whenever anything unusual has happened.  It sometimes brings traffic to a complete stop. This is the kind of dream a driver who thinks a lot will have.

Maybe it's time to wake up and smell the coffee. Are you ready to travel through time?
Maybe it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Are you ready to travel through time?

Before telling you my dream, let me pause a moment to mention that I included SUPER CHRIS in the My Story section of this blog for a reason. When you have a moment, whether before or after you read this, get out your headphones and grab a cup of coffee. Really focus on SUPER CHRIS. St. Christopher, as the patron saint of travelers, knows all about rubber necking. And this dream, just like that video, is a metaphor. Think poetry. So take another sip of that coffee. I have some thoughts to share on the meaning of life.

NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has trained its razor-sharp eye on one of the universe's most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104). The galaxy's hallmark is a brilliant
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope catches, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104).

In this dream, I was the Universe, as I was saying. And what happened in this dream, is that I kept seeing myself in various places along the strands of timelines that I had, which were neurally connected to myself as the Universe, each telling a story, all connected to the whole. I discovered in this dream that examining any one part of any story of my life, always involved rubbernecking from the whole, which operates at quantum speed.

Peering deep into the early Universe, this picturesque parallel field observation from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals thousands of colourful galaxies swimming in the inky blackness of space. A few foreground stars from our own galaxy, the Milky Way, are also visible. In October 2013 Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) began observing this portion of sky as part of the Frontier Fields programme. This spectacular skyscape was captured during the study of the giant galaxy cluster Abell 2744, otherwise known as Pandora’s Box. While one of Hubble’s cameras concentrated on Abell 2744, the other camera viewed this adjacent patch of sky near to the cluster. Containing countless galaxies of various ages, shapes and sizes, this parallel field observation is nearly as deep as the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field. In addition to showcasing the stunning beauty of the deep Universe in incredible detail, this parallel field — when compared to other deep fields — will help astronomers understand how similar the Universe looks in different directions
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals thousands of colourful galaxies swimming in the inky blackness of space. A few foreground stars from our own galaxy, the Milky Way, are also visible.

One analogy is the body. Just as focusing on any one sensation in the body, requires concentration, as the brain directs its attention to what it considers important among its many signals always coming in, and involves multiple neural cells in the process, so does the whole Universe rubberneck a bit, in order to stop and hear the story of its individual parts.

It isn’t just the fantasy of a dream. There is a scientific side to this. Quantum speed is omnipresent for the whole. And since time and space are in a continuum, quantum speed accesses any and all points of time for every strand of truth-story simultaneously, but in order for any parts of this story to be appreciated for all that they are, cosmic rubbernecking takes place.

Rubbernecking involves multiple vehicles on the road just as consciousness involves multiple cells in the body. Or is it the other way around? It doesn’t matter. This is a metaphor. Is as does. Does as is.

This new image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3521 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is not out of focus. Instead, the galaxy itself has a soft, woolly appearance as it a member of a class of galaxies known as flocculent spirals. Like other flocculent galaxies, NGC 3521 lacks the clearly defined, arcing structure to its spiral arms that shows up in galaxies such as Messier 101, which are called grand design spirals. In flocculent spirals, fluffy patches of stars and dust show up here and there throughout their discs. Sometimes the tufts of stars are arranged in a generally spiralling form, as with NGC 3521, but illuminated star-filled regions can also appear as short or discontinuous spiral arms. About 30 percent of galaxies share NGC 3521's patchiness, while approximately 10 percent have their star-forming regions wound into grand design spirals. NGC 3521 is located almost 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). The British astronomer William Herschel discovered the object in 1784. Through backyard telescopes, NGC 3521 can have a glowing, rounded appearance, giving rise to its nickname, the Bubble Galaxy.
The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is not out of focus. In flocculent spirals, fluffy patches of stars and dust show up here and there throughout their discs. That’s how I feel today. Flocculent.

Quantum speed is the one thing that is greater than the speed of light, including the speed of light squared. It doesn’t actually travel. It unifies the whole through the fields that pertain to the whole. The interconnectedness of its entangled particles is the glue that unites the entire Universe despite the fact that it is accelerating its expansion well beyond the point that we can’t see the majority of its light and have no molecular ability to see the majority of our own Universe.

The icon of the Holy Dormition is one that depicts Christ in front of Door, which is the doorway to the Uncreated Light, which is God Himself. Here He receives Mary in the resurrection. Have you woken from your sleep?
The icon of the Holy Dormition is one that depicts Christ in front of the Door, which is the doorway to the Uncreated Light, which is God Himself. Here He receives Mary in the resurrection. Have you woken from your sleep?

The Bible says that the heavens are declaring the glory of God. Here you have it. God’s light is beyond the ability to see in our visible horizon as molecular beings ground by gravity to a small quarter of the endless whole. The ancients depict God as the Son standing in a doorway of darkness because He is the “Uncreated Light.” They were describing the Quantum Jesus of the heavens’ declaration but just didn’t know about quantum theory yet. But I’ll stop and observe the parallel. Can you do this with me?

Hubble plus interpretation can lead anywhere
Hubble plus interpretation can lead anywhere

It’s not that Jesus is the entanglement. Goodness knows. Entangled particles and quantum fields are the least of the omniscient imagination of the totality of abstract truth. As amazing as they may seem to us as new things a few particle physicists have come to appreciate, an innumerable number of other unifying fields could be made to occur from absolute nothingness, as well.

Is there an elephant in this nebula?
Is there an elephant in this nebula?

Having considered all possibilities, what quantum formulas would the totality of truth, independent of any creation, understand and utilize in order to maximize awesomeness? I explained this in SUPER CHRIS. It’s the core principal of foundational cosmostrophy. And it solves the unification problem for all things as first axiom while scientists hope in vain to discover its formula and can’t even get past the fact that observation obscures the results.

Clearly an exponentially expanding Universe is a part of that. It’s what cosmologists are observing. One thing after another that they find continues to affirm the first cosmostrophic axiom. The purpose of life is the maximization of awesomeness. And the cosmologists have noticed cosmic rubbernecking too. For some reason, there is a connection between observing experiments and the results. Look it up. Why does the double slot experiment produce the results that it does? Why is consciousness connected to particle physics? Because two mysteries are better than one? No. Because the double slot experiment is showing them that observation is affecting results.

The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest to our own Milky Way.
The Andromeda Galaxy is the closest to our own Milky Way. Possibilities are endless. Andromeda has hundreds of millions of stars all with their solar system stories.

The observation about observation is perhaps “telling.” To appreciate any one moment of beauty maximized awesomeness has, cosmic rubbernecking is involved. On many levels it may not be required but in this dream it was the way of things and one way or another, there is definitely a difference in speed, a quantum difference. But the Universe as a whole doesn’t necessarily see itself in motion. The motion is just a dimension or aspect of what it is. In order to examine its own magnificence, it transcends time.

And so that’s what happened in my dream. First I would be with the whole Universe, outside of any moment. And then the Universe would slow me down and bring me to one moment or other in my life. It did so because those moments were beautiful and worth enjoying in the midst of its own total glory.

The larger galaxy in the UGC 1810 - UGC 1813 pair has a mass that is about five times that of the smaller galaxy. Both are so vast. How are we connected? You and I?
The larger galaxy in the UGC 1810 – UGC 1813 pair has a mass that is about five times that of the smaller galaxy. Both are so vast. How are we connected? You and I?

This it did for me, as me. But as itself, it is a total doing as total being, so I would project that it involves every you too. It may well be that individual parts can’t comprehend the whole but that doesn’t mean that the whole can’t comprehend the individual parts. And I was involved in that comprehension. You are too, in the paths you observe. And if I can see your beauty, I don’t know whether it will be through my own eyes or those of the whole. Does it matter? I simply ask the whole to show me.

Because you matter. And it would be awesome if I could know the beautiful parts of you. Wouldn’t it be? Yes, it would.

So then I woke up. Having slowed down. Having backed up. Having advanced forward. Having returned. Having revisited. I was awake. And I thought of you.

Axiom number one: If it is awesome, it will be.

Therefore, I will be with you and know you in all of your glory.

 

 

P.9 Every Seven Years

James Carvin with his brand new tricycle, Christmas 1961.
James Carvin with his brand new tricycle, Christmas 1961. The boots were my  older brother’s hand-me-downs. Nothing about me was cool. But when I learned to ride a two wheeler. THAT was a major break through!

7×1
I didn’t set out in life to be a driver but I’ll admit I enjoy it. I remember the day I learned to ride a bike. Suddenly my world multiplied. I was seven. I rode that bike all the way past two friends’ houses and back. What liberation! And I had a meaning of life moment. I theorized at that young age  that every seven years there would be a total break through. That bike was a symbol of breaking on through to the other side. I don’t know why my mind thinks on profound things when my body is in motion. It just does. From the age of seven this has held true. Somewhere in the wings there may have been someone who gave me the idea that every seven years a human person will experience some major mind and life shift that elevates them to a new plateau. But I don’t remember them saying it. This thought may have been entirely my own.

The Cougar
The Cougar after my Mom knocked down two palm trees with it. She broke her nose but was otherwise unharmed.

7×2
Driving cars didn’t happen until I was fifteen, so the seven year theory had to be stretched, unless we include non-driving type changes like … puberty. Yes, discovering sexuality. That can change a life view. Who would question it? Mom’s Cougar was the first car I drove. It turned out to be a miracle car. She survived a horrible accident taking Valium when she was going through menopause. My search for ladies would have to start in my Dad’s Cadillac, before I wrecked it. Sorry Dad. The hormones did it. It was New Years. I was the classic inexperienced driver out on Amateur Night. It’s a good thing nobody was killed. But no. That was just a driving lesson in the School of Hard Knocks. Puberty began a journey of imagination that couldn’t help but disappoint. Dad’s ever visible magazine rack of Playboy and Hustler made that a certainty. It also left me clueless as to what the female gender actually was. My sister wasn’t telling me. She had her own problems. My mother waited way too long to talk about it and her only words of advice were issued at the worst time, with her head popping in the door during an episode of Gilligan’s Island. Wait until I’m married to have sex? Yeah, right mom. Can I please watch the show. MaryAnn’s about to come on.

The music school, McMaster College at the University of South Carolina on a cloudy day.
The music school, McMaster College at the University of South Carolina on a cloudy day.

7×3
Every seven years … let me think back. At twenty one I graduated from college. I often think back on that day as the day my song started. I had been a music composition major. My “song” was my life and it was being composed by God. It was fitting somehow, that my parents had come up to South Carolina to hear my my greatest accomplishment – trombone sonata, only to have two major mishaps happen simultaneously. First, in the business of packing, I had somehow lost my music portfolio. Not only did this contain all the music I had written while at college; it also contained the conductor part for the trio that needed to be performed that day. Second, none of the other musicians showed up for the performance, which then had to be canceled. College kids these days. Imagine them skipping out on something they’d get no credit for during exam week while everyone was packing up and going home. My parents, who maintained the belief that I had never practiced with these musicians in the first place and that I was a liar, had to hear a different tune entirely and thus my song began. And it seems to have been some tune about a career search, but I can’t tell you for sure at this point because it hasn’t been performed in its entirety yet.

New Car and new job at Fidelity Federal Savings Bank Delray Beach, now PNC
New Car and new job at Fidelity Federal Savings Bank Delray Beach, now PNC.

A career search began and it was a humbling one. I parked cars, and delivered news papers but my first real job was at a bank. If it weren’t for the women there, I would have hated that job. It was at that time that I realized I wasn’t producing any real goods and services. As I saw it, forty hours out of every week, plus an hour to and from work daily, were being completely wasted, just so I could earn $5/hour.  There was no way I was going to stay in such an industry for life. I reflected on what an incredible waste of human effort the entire banking industry was – all the saving of money: its little deposits and withdrawals and switching accounts. Not one good or service was made by them. I considered the number of buildings in the world that were dedicated to doing nothing more than exchanging values – the stock market, the insurance business, the entire financial sector – all a waste of human effort.

Four of my companions at Fidelity Federal Savings Bank
Some of my companions at Fidelity Federal Savings Bank. It was a new branch at the time. Plenty of free time to chat with the ladies or read.

And then there was the unnecessary stuff associated with our financial system that made life very annoying – sales, advertising, commercials. Every human effort dedicated to all this nonsense could be re-purposed into something that directly created some widget or food item or service, or clothing that actually made life nicer for people. It was the stuff money buys and is used for. It was part of Marx’s theory but I knew nothing of it. I’d never read the Communist Manifesto. I wasn’t feeling like an exploited worker. That wasn’t it. And when I gradually learned about it, there were good reasons I found not to embrace Communism so I never did. We were in the middle of a cold war at the time. Reagan was on the rise. Communism only meant one thing to me – war. I invented the HAND System instead. No labor tension or revolution was required but I had no inclination to start it at the time. I was just figuring out who I was and what I believed in and I didn’t have a computer science degree. I believed in God and just years after that I became a Christian, allowing that Jesus could have been God incarnate. The first church actually used something like the HAND System. Then I started to learn who I was but it was a long road. My conversion from monotheism to Jesus follower didn’t occur at one of those pivotal 7 year marks. What landed there was a new song, a song that led to the revelation of a new economic paradigm – maybe something we’ll see after Jesus returns.

St Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary
St Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary. I attended the lay program from 1982-1986.

7×4
At twenty eight, I had been kicked out of the Catholic seminary I’d been attending at night while working as a letter carrier by day. Did I say “kicked out”? Not exactly. I had an A average but had no intention of becoming a priest and had enrolled in their lay program. I suspect the problem  was that I had become privy to some corruption of a political nature behind the scenes. I disapproved of the support I was finding for liberation theology there and I let my Social Justice teacher know about it. I was also critical of the bishops’ statement on the economy. Except for abortion, the Catholic Church was starting to seem like a wing of the Democratic Party.

Dad supported Ronald Reagan in 1976 and was instrumental in raising funds from Palm Beachers in 1980.
Dad supported Ronald Reagan in 1976 and was instrumental in raising funds from Palm Beachers in 1980.

It wasn’t just that I was a politically moderate man who was easily influenced by a conservative father who had supported Ronald Reagan before it was popular to do so. Dad’s opinions were to be considered. He was a smart man and I respected him but he didn’t dictate what I thought. The problem at the seminary was that sometimes I was  confrontational. I was received with open arms when I first entered the seminary and spoke idealistically of asynalagonomy, a thing Dad strongly opposed, but when I exposed the Mary Knoll nuns for shipping guns to the Sandinistas out loud in class one day, it became clear I could be trouble. Suddenly, no courses were available to fill in the last few hours I needed to complete my post graduate degree. A course in Marriage and Sexuality did become available a year later  but my final exam was lost by the teacher after I placed it on his desk with his other papers. When I noticed the incomplete after getting my report card in the mail, my guidance counselor told me I had taken too long to complete my matriculation and no longer qualified as a student. That is to say, I was forced out. That was a hard year. It was the year I broke up with my second fiancee. The content of the course as I lost my place at the seminary and lost my fiancee at the same time was painful but started a new chapter of my life. In my mind the next major breakthrough was going to be matrimony. But marriage was eluding me. I consoled myself through service in ministry as I went through a waiting period.  I acquired more equipment for my music studio and for my library of theology with the money I saved by not getting married and in my enthusiasm, took on a bit of credit card debt – not smart.

The baptism of Jonathan David Carvin
The baptism of Jonathan David Carvin. There were reports of angels stirring up the pool at the little house church at the St. Michael Academy College of Eschatology on Washington Road.

7×5
Despite some financial handicaps, by the age of thirty five I had found the wife I had been looking for and was on my way to having my first child. The wedding had been quite the theological statement on the meaning of the sacrament, which was all the more powerful, as I saw it, due to the fact that we had diverse religious backgrounds. We thought a lot about unity and the meaning of different people coming together to love one another until death. A Catholic priest came, thanks to a dispensation from the bishop, to a wedding held at Maranatha Church of God. A charismatic Southern Baptist pastor who’d lived with me for a time led the ceremony with the other two. Because it was ecumenical, we didn’t have mass – just the wedding. But none of that was on the seven year mark. What landed on thirty five was the birth of my son, Jonathan. To come up with a solution between Catholicism and Pentecostal Protestantism, we’d found Orthodoxy and indeed, when we married yet again in the Eastern Orthodox Church, I was thirty five years of age.

Our ecumenical wedding was led by three clergymen from Pentecostal to Baptist to Catholic.
Our ecumenical wedding was led by three clergymen from Pentecostal to Baptist to Catholic. A few years later we married AGAIN in an Orthodox Church in the less controversial Antiochian jurisdiction. Clearly, I was after all the blessings I could get. Still together with Lisa Carvin  despite many trials, after all these years!

But our first encounter with Orthodox Christianity was unusual. We connected with a Ukrainian group, under a bishop that thought he had the spirit of Elijah, as one of the two end time witnesses. It wasn’t exactly your standard fare Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Reports of miracles were continuous there. If I were to describe my thirty fifth year in just one word, it wouldn’t just be “matrimony.” It would be “Elijah.” I took an intense interest in eschatology. I completed my degree and taught at this self-proclaimed Elijah’s College of Eschatology, St. Michael Academy.

Letter from bishop commissioning James Carvin to broadcast the Elijah Message to the body of Christ.
Letter from bishop commissioning James Carvin to broadcast the Elijah Message to the body of Christ.

At the age of thirty five, I left the college with a degree and a mission, which I could only ponder the meaning of. Just about the time I was married yet again in the Orthodox Church through a less controversial jurisdiction of it, the Antiochian, the Ukranian autocephalous bishop (don’t ask me what that means; it’s complicated) sent me out, granting me my Masters Degree in Eschatology, saying it would be my mission to preach in the spirit of Elijah – not to the Orthodox but to the Protestants. His seminary had been perceived as a diploma mill. Its accreditation was with the Kentucky School of Accreditation, or something like that. He didn’t think highly of academia. He just wanted to raise up prophets and send them out, who would carry with them what the Lord had shared with him. As I saw it it was all a very tragic irony. The sectarianism of the Orthodox generally, which I oppose, was epitomized in this Elijah bishop who broke all the rules. But it wasn’t the same sectarianism as the “legitimate” Orthodox. Instead of saying anyone who wasn’t Eastern Orthodox was outside of the body of Christ as the more traditional would often say, he had been “playing nice” with the popes and the Anglicans. His sectarianism was spelled out in coming against any Protestants who didn’t recognize the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist and “hated Mary.” He had all sorts of medals and knighthoods and letters from popes. But it seemed like he was the more hateful one.

Elijah depicted at the Rila Orthodox Monastery of Bulgaria
Elijah depicted at the Rila Orthodox Monastery of Bulgaria

I was commissioned to broadcast his message but I wasn’t buying it. The only part I was sold on was Elijah. Not that he was Elijah but that he wasn’t Elijah. What fascinated me was belief in the actual Elijah. I wanted to know who who Elijah really was. I really wanted to know what was going to take place before the Lord returns. And I really believed that the role of Elijah, as described in the Bible, was that of restoring the church in preparation for the Lord’s return. To my mind, anyone who was not a part of that ministry or movement, was not listening to God because they were not working for the restoration of the church. Now, of course, restoration is not a concept that works well with the Orthodox any more than it does with the Roman Catholics. They’re convinced in their own minds that the gates of hell can’t prevail against the church. So therefore, the church can never stand in need of restoration. It’s a matter that we should all consider very carefully if we care to be prepared when the  Lord returns. The real message of Elijah, whatever that actually ultimately would be – this was something I would gladly take to the Protestants, or anywhere else it might be received – if only I could fully grasp what it was myself. So I prayed on it. And I have never stopped asking to receive it. So should we all. So that’s what came down at the age of thirty five.

A holy fire was ignited in a place of prayer
A holy fire was ignited in a place of prayer. What appeared to be a darkened image of the Madonna was emblazoned onto my wall by the fire above the prayer table, leaning over my brother’s ashes as if she was holding them, praying over them.

7×6
At forty two I became an Internet superstar but it was short lived. My father and oldest brother, Chickie, had died shortly after I was sent away by the bishop. After his death, I heard in a vision my father saying, “total marketing.” Dad had been the author of the “total marketing concept” (TMC), at the Allied Chemical Corporation, where he was a VP of Sales for their Chemstrand division. In this very vivid vision that I had while standing in prayer he was telling me to market totally. I knew he would have wanted me to preach the Gospel on the Internet. Dad and I were very close. And it fit in with the bishop’s command to broadcast the message of Elijah. I still wasn’t sure what that message was but the vision was accompanied by certain unusual events at the music studio-library, where I kept his ashes with Chickie’s on a filing cabinet, that had become a very sacred place for prayer and where I had been praying at the time that the vision occurred.  I won’t go into what the unusual events were here. It deserves a whole chapter all by itself. But there was a mysterious fire that emblazoned what appeared to be an image of the Virgin Mary into my wall. And I was listening carefully to what the Lord might be saying at that time. I wanted to understand.

The Ghost Bucks Formula
The  Formula

It was in the midst of much intensive prayer for wisdom and discernment at that time, that the Ghost Machine concept was born. It was conceived as a web site that would become a better search engine and morph one day, when mobile technology became available, for playing a game that would reward users with Ghost Bucks if they “found ghosts.” It would be set up in a way where the “ghosts” would be real historical people – icons. We’d call them “ghosticons.” It would be educational and entertaining – “edutainment.”

Use the ghost machine's finder to plan your ghost hunting all day long every day so you can earn Ghost Bucks!
Use the ghost machine’s finder to plan your ghost hunting all day long every day so you can earn Ghost Bucks!

People would learn about history as they hunted for ghosts and got paid for doing it. It was an elaborate plan. The more they gave to charity, the more Ghost Bucks they could earn as they found ghosts planted in places of business for them to find. The businesses would pay for extra customers at specified, usually slow hours. I would hyperlink from the ghosts to their browser to a world of information that was entertaining. The Ghost Bucks would be redeemable for US dollars for anyone who wanted to cash them out at any time. But mobile technology was a long way off and the search engine was enough of a hurdle to get over for a man without a budget or career experience or a team of helpers. The miracles though … the fire … the dreams … the prayer. These were enough to push me to take a leap of faith. It was premature leap, but it started an important chapter of my life. It made me know loss. The initial 5% reach of all Internet users we found out about through Web Trends in July 2000 had been encouraging but without money, there was no way to buy equipment to keep it going. We were getting more than four hits per second but couldn’t sustain it.

The Ghost Machine is like a cross between Pokemon Go and BitCoin. If you see a ghost in the room. Don't just stand there. Shake your phone!
The Ghost Machine is like a cross between Pokemon Go and BitCoin. If you see a ghost in the room. Don’t just stand there. Shake your phone!

That was forty two. I was working from home in my pajamas. If only I had money. If only I had a team. I didn’t just learn loss that year. I learned what entrepreneurs need to turn visions into reality. It was an expensive education. I don’t regret it though. I just want to make the vision a reality. So I’m still looking for help. As the years passed, mobile technology became an increasing reality and I started to design for it. I continued to build up the Ghostidex full of potential Ghosticons. In my search for help, I revealed as much as I could without spoiling the surprise.  We focused on celebrities that had recently passed away so we could introduce the concept of icons. I wrote letters to Rome and Constantinople hoping I could get the church’s support to popularize the saints that would be included in the Ghostidex. I haven’t given up but I do understand that churches tend to be set in their ways. Did I mention that I had a business plan? But a plan is nothing without a team. And without a team angels take no interest. The value is in the execution of an idea. Not in the concept. Who is on your team? And who will be on your team if you have no angel dollars to attract them with? There is a certain miracle that has to happen that brings everyone to the table at the same time. And it doesn’t cut out the founder. Remember me?

7×7
At the age of forty two, 5% of of all Internet users had visited the ghostsurfers.com web site. At the age of forty nine, I was still trying to figure out how to attract both a team and angel dollars to a polished concept. It was horribly disappointing but I knew that it wasn’t failing because it was the wrong idea. What I had seen with so much clarity in the ghost machine was something that was just too far ahead of its time. God was using that time to prepare me for leadership. He was using my pain.

I attracted some high calibur team prospects to build the ghost machine in 2007 but everyone follows the money. Pictured here, Marty Fisher and his wife Georgie, Lisa, me, JYQ, Caesar and Mark Laymon. I was aiming for a Steve Jobs look here.
I attracted some high caliber team prospects to build the ghost machine in 2007 but everyone follows the money. Pictured: Marty Fisher and his wife Georgie, Lisa, me, JYQ, Caesar and Mark Laymon. I was aiming for a Steve Jobs look here.

This isn’t hard to understand. Think of what year I’m talking about. I was forty nine in 2007. Pokemon Go and Bitcoin were words people had still never heard of. Imagine trying to explain these things before they existed. Giving an elevator pitch was no easy task. Facebook was just starting to take the place of MySpace. Google had just put the final nails on the coffin of Yahoo and AOL. Me, I was driving for Yellow Cab and then I ran into a guy who saw the entrepreneurial spirit in me. He promised he would invest in the Ghost Machine if I would help him with his own invention – a shopping cart washing machine. I got to know him as a full time driver when he was doing well with his own company. Unfortunately, he had lost his license due to drunk driving. That’s why he needed a driver. But worse, he drove with a suspended license. And a wily character who wanted to steel his technology had a policeman stop him while he was moving his car in the parking lot one day. After postponing his hearing as long as he could, his poor judgment earned him some time in jail and just enough time away from his company to ultimately lose control of it.

I wasn't just a full time cheuffeur. I landed my first trucking job. Here I am towing a shopping cart washing machine with an F450.
I wasn’t just a full time chauffeur. I landed my first trucking job. Here I am towing a shopping cart washing machine with an F450. I also served as a web strategist.

But I was in his office at that time, in addition to driving for him, helping him build traffic to his web site through a news magazine for the supermarket industry I had created called Supermarket Green News. Back in those days, web sites were easier to get attention for without much investment and what I was doing for him was helping him attract industry executives so he kept paying me even after he was in jail. But the money ran out. His BOD had a coup d’ etat, which I was well aware of. And as a witness, when he returned from jail after three months to find his company was no longer his, stolen by henchmen of the famous ponzi schemer, Scott Rothstein, he was left standing in a long line of people that Rothstein, now in protective custody, was being sued by. I knew my cart washer friend would never get justice but I couldn’t just abandon him, knowing he had been robbed. Even if he wasn’t the most likable character, he was still in the right. And he surrounded himself daily with people who promised to invest in his company. But they led him around. It was always, if they will, I will too. Nobody wanted to jump in first to actually invest.

The Supermarket Green News logo
The Supermarket Green News logo

They dicked him around. This is something not many understand. CEOs for start ups get dicked around. They are always told they need just one more thing. There’s always  just one more thing. And then it’s another. Who the hell cuts a check for a start up? So at forty nine, the new threshold was … the big dick. You can’t really start anything new. It was like satan himself was sticking his tongue out at me.

And with satan, when one thing goes wrong, everything must go wrong. Not getting paid left me hunting for other revenue. It was a great time to get back together again with the Elijah bishop and offer to put his college’s web courses online. Back on the road again for Yellow Cab as well, my usual taxi clients – addicts, strippers, prostitutes – were carrying on. Lisa was not happy as I confessed some of what happened.  It was a mistake to be so open but I didn’t like secrets. I’d overcome porn addiction years back. I wanted accountability. If somebody took their clothes off in the cab I was able to act professionally thanks to that commitment but when she got a call to come pick me up on Blue Heron Blvd because my Yellow Cab van had been completely shot up by bullets in a drug deal gone badly, she was fed up. And then there was her own struggle with her stroke affected sexuality. Really any of it served as an excuse to drink what little money we had away and leave me for another man she had loved before we ever met. Yeah, that was forty nine. That was the 2007’s. It wasn’t enough to lose a fortune. I had to lose everything, even her.

We still managed to have some good times after Lisa's stroke even when we had no money. Hardship is bad. God is better.
We still managed to have some good times after Lisa’s stroke even when we had no money. Hardship is bad. God is better.

Maybe that was the thread that ties all this together  – matrimony, or the struggle thereof. It would be a very sad and pointless story but then another miracle happened. She came back. She came back and I forgave her. She was repentant. I’ve put some thought into it and do you want to know what I think? I think that matrimony and the message of Elijah are one and the same. Preparing the way of the Lord … what is that? It’s preparation of the bride of Christ in repentance. Matrimony is a shadow of that union. It strips both the husband and wife of all pretension. And when the two witnesses preach in the last days, aren’t they dressed in sackcloth and ashes? Aren’t they repentant as they measure the temple? Look it up and see. It’s in the eleventh chapter of Revelation.

So let’s wrap this up. I’ll admit that I can be naive enough to dick around but I believed her. I know repentance when I see it. I could sense the miracle happening and I wasn’t going to stifle it by ending the marriage even if there was valid reason. My only doubts were about me. Could I be strong enough to forgive? Theory is one thing. Practice is another. And try as we did, reconciliation didn’t make life wonderful again.  The hurt needed healing and we were just as broke as ever – even more so. Life’s stresses continued. Lisa had been paralyzed from a stroke in 2003, no special seven year time, a year after losing her job at the Palm Beach County Convention and Visitors Bureau. She started drinking afterwards, spending money we didn’t have and then the cheating. A year after her stroke, my sister was also paralyzed from a stroke, still in that same difficult stretch of time. But we reconciled. And that was that. It was a rough patch and there was nothing easy about it – just that long hard part there in the middle of yet another seven year stretch. So what about my seven year theory? Forty nine passed. What about fifty six? Did anything new happen? Or did it just keep raining?

Life in the nursing home. Who is there to love them? Who becomes family when family leaves them?
Life in the nursing home. Who is there to love them? Who becomes family when family leaves them?

7×8
Maybe there’s nothing to it. What happened at fifty six is I moved to Tallahassee because my sister’s husband abandoned her because he couldn’t take the celibacy that came with having a wife who was paralyzed from a stroke even worse than Lisa’s. At least my sister, Corinne, hadn’t cheated on my brother-in-law. But she was in a nursing home, alone, abandoned. At fifty six I became a caregiver. I knew I had to move to Tallahassee and focus on my family. I put all my entrepreneurial ideas on a low burner and closed the distance between us all – my wife, my sister and my older brother too. He’d become a recovering crack addict. I knew I wouldn’t have many more years to see him. And it wasn’t easy. I was dying financially until Uber became a reality in Florida. If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you’ve got to have some form of income while you work your concept. Uber was perfect for that. And it didn’t involve friending people of the night just to get regular clientele. The passenger prospects were out at night, alright. But the system’s dispatch actually provided a fair volume of trips and I didn’t have to pay rent for a cab every week. I could drive my personal car. I could make my own hours.

Are you on the outside looking in? We have an app for that!
What I’m thinking about while I drive. Meeting family obligations doesn’t make vision disappear. Let’s talk about my inventions.

But Tallahassee is seasonal. It’s a college town. So in the summer time, I was left scurrying for income. That’s why I took the lending job I hated so much. Uber made it possible for me to quit in the fall. But it wasn’t enough. Summer of 2016 was really hard and summer of 2017 was even harder. I looked for jobs I could do and still take care of my family but wasn’t finding anything that made sense except driving jobs and the ones that paid most were those that required a CDL. 7×9 anyone?

I drive an eighteen wheeler now. And I'm seeing my the people I love everywhere I turn. Maybe that's a good thing.
I drive an eighteen wheeler now. And I’m seeing the people I love everywhere I turn. That’s not a bad thing.

So in the summer of 2017, I went to a CDL school and now I’m driving an eighteen wheeler – something I couldn’t do while my brother and my sister were still alive – something that doesn’t work very well nevertheless because Lisa is still very high maintenance. But within another year, my initial contract will be up and I should be able to find a daily route to run. And in the meantime, I’m going to drive and I’m going to think a lot while I drive. Because that’s what I do. I’ve been shut up. But I won’t be silenced. I’ve thought long and hard about what it is and the message of Elijah will be broadcast. Maybe it will happen when I’m sixty three. Maybe it’s already happening. Would you like to hear some “ghost stories”?