Notes On Attention Paid

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First Thoughts

… Republican Glen Yungkin won the Virginia governor race… Yungkin is widely viewed as a Trumpian Republican and many will view it as a warning sign that the far right is poised for gains in the Midterms and could win back the presidency in 2024… it is, of course, too early to know what it really means… a Republican win is consistent with history in Virginia where a gubernatorial candidate of the opposing party to the President of the United States is the common choice of voters… why this should be is not clear to me, but it is the history of the situation… it will be interesting to see what the turnout numbers are… that will be more indicative of whether there is energy on the Democratic side or not…

… the thought that is bugging me more has to do with the mess that the infrastructure negotiations have been in Washington… a theory that has currency with Authoritarian regimes around the world is that Authoritarianism is able to respond more quickly and effectively and consistently (when they want to) to changing events around the world and the fast pace of technological development… the Biden/Harris administration is trying to challenge that perception but the difficulty Democrats are having passing a broadly popular with the public infrastructure bill seems troubling in this regard… at least one commentator, Democrat Mark Warner from Virginia, suggested that failure to have passed an infrastructure bill of any kind hurt the chances of Terry McAuliffe in the race… given historical trends in Virginia mentioned above, maybe it would have made a difference, maybe not… but the broader theme of whether Democracies are too cumbersome for the present world environment is a legitimate question and the jury is out on that…

this mornings post from Heather Cox Richardson suggests that last night’s election results across the nation were a mixed bag with no clear indication of future national winning strategies for either party… in fact, it seems that voters voted in line with the degree to which their state is conservative or liberal than anything else…

… i had a productive day yesterday… worked right up to 6 PM… i made my first “In This Year” post in which i photograph an inscribed date i find on my walks (usually on a building, but sometimes scrawled in random patches of concrete) and then look up what happened in that year… i find it is an interesting exercise in grounding oneself during times that seem tumultuous… a somewhat reassuring find is that tumultuous years are common in history and that things often work themselves out without bringing down the present order… though not always… one will also find a record of eras that come to an end… what is always the case is that life goes on, sometimes in a better way for the general population, sometimes in a worse way… Steven Pinker author of Better Angels of our Nature1, argues that the overall trend is for the better and that Enlightenment Humanism is the foundation of that better trend… i loved the book, especially it’s grounding in Enlightenment Humanism philosophy… it is completely in line with my own philosophical stance in the world… however, those principles are under severe attack and one can imagine everything “going to hell in a hand basket” as that enlightenment order crumbles… hello new dark ages?… or is something else afoot?…

… it seems odd that Joe Biden, in some ways a relic of the past, is the standard bearer for Enlightenment and Humanist principles… a true believer in the “Better Angels of our Nature”… a last gasp?… the optics at present don’t seem good…

… i am feeling like Ken Wilber’s Sex, Ecology, Spirituality would be an important book to read right now… an important concept that i want to review is that every next level of being subsumes and incorporates into itself the preceding levels of being and is dependent on those levels of being that came before it, yet none of the levels of being that came before it are dependent on it… that is… split out of this next level of being, preceding levels function perfectly well on their own… the thought that i have in reviewing current technological trends is that a way is being prepared for the appearance of a next higher level of being… a level of being composed of all that is now and a more comprehensive intelligence brought on by advances in data processing…


  1. This Wikipedia article has an extensive critique of Better Angels that is worth reading as is the book itself. [return]