Good news for people who want to have sex with something that seems kind of like a human but isn’t: a sex robot company is building new models with chest cavities that give them the ability to “breathe.”
AI-AItech, the sex robot company behind a talking sexbot named “Emma,” is working on a new model that can control its limbs like a person and “breathe” air in and out, according to the tabloid Daily Star Online. While that’s sure to be exciting news for people who want to get as real an experience as possible out of their sex robots, it also raises an important question: how did we fall this far from grace?
A number of sexbot companies are working to build more technologically-advanced models, according to Daily Star. Sam White, a manager at the sex doll research and development firm Cloud Climax, told the tabloid that the firm works with multiple contractors that “are working on arm movements,” including AI-AItech.
But he seemed most excited about the upgrades coming to Emma: “Eventually Emma will be able to move her arms and have a chest cavity that ‘breathes’. Further still, she will be able to use her legs and walk.”
A new website called “The Size of Space” illustrates how incomprehensibly vast the cosmos are.
As you scroll to the side, the site takes you on a journey from the size of an astronaut all the way up to the entire observable universe. As the scale ramps up, from spacecraft to moons to planets and onward, the smaller objects become tiny dots before vanishing altogether.
Neal Agarwal, the coder behind The Size of Space who’s also built pages like “Grandpa’s Art Show” and “Share This Page,” used some of the best visualizations for each of the objects — a rotating Earth based on satellite imagery, for example.
That means that most of the black holes are simply hand-drawn circles mixed in among the colorful images of distant galaxies and supernovas. Except, that is, for the giant black hole M87*, which was imaged earlier this year.
A razor sharp scalpel was used… gutting partially sane humans… tweaking willing client’s existence with genius surgical wizardry offering them a saner richer world.
A Canadian-turned-American searching for why we are here on Earth and how to evolve out of a life of illusions found a world-traveled Professor of unlimited talent who had realized America was a place which allowed intelligence over beliefs…well, at least sometimes.
You want money, to love and be loved, to be safe, to be healthy and for life to have periods of ease but with a secure plan. What you realize after some years is that life is filled with discoveries about you and the world, that there is always something new around the corner and your successful results are possible with enough focus and effort.
So, please do what you think is the ultimate choice for you, be proud of your endeavors and step up to the next challenge and the next challenge and the next challenge. The ultimate goal is to be fluid in our understanding and our caring.
Awaken to emotional intelligence and what it can do for you and society. Thank yourself and others for being in your life. Live this life. For every day we will have challenges, problems and ups and downs no matter what life you live. Life will always be as splendid as the potential you allow it to be.
Increasing authoritarianism calls for deep commitment to democratic dialog. Winning elections is not sufficient. Popular movements with supermajority support are needed to sustain meaningful change. Face-to-face, democratic communities active year-round can counter disinformation, save the planet, and transform our nation.
Democratic dialog involves equal respect — respect for everyone’s equal value as a human being, respect for equality under the law, respect for minority opinions, respect for the right of everyone to have a voice in affairs that affect them, respect for freedom — freedom from oppression and freedom to the means required for a good life. Private institutions such as businesses provide some of those means; the government provides others. How to mix private and public means is the focus of constant debate, but if society respects its members, it must assure they have what they need to be free.
Equal respect involves humility. There are many sides to most questions. When people respect others, they’re open-minded and appreciate the “wisdom of crowds.” No one assumes they have the complete answer. The separation of powers protects democracy by promoting consensus. Pluralism and diversity improve decisions. Democratic leaders help people formulate their own solutions to problems. Spirited, nonviolent activists bring attention to issues and build pressure for corrective actions, but most issues are not black-and-white. Decision-makers must engage in deliberation, negotiation, compromise, and, ideally, reconciliation.
Humility involves compassion — compassion for self and compassion for all humanity, the environment, and life itself. When people are humble, they seek to understand those who hold different opinions. They accept how others identify themselves. They love themselves as they love others. They avoid both selfishness and self-sacrifice. They channel anger and face fear. If they work to increase their income, they don’t do so in order to look down and dominate others. If they’re satisfied with their income, they enjoy life, their family, and their communities — and concern themselves with the needs of others.
Democratic dialog rooted in equal respect, humility and compassion stands in opposition to authoritarianism. Dominating others is justified only when necessary to stop people from denying freedom to others. “Win-win” solutions can work. Our gain usually does not depend on others losing. Mutually beneficial partnerships are preferred — in families, communities, nations, and between nations. When others benefit, we can benefit.
Judgmental arrogance undermines the potential for unity, which is essential for real progress. No individual or tribe holds a monopoly on wisdom, and they should not try to monopolize power. Enlightened leadership does not consist of leaders mobilizing followers to do what the leader wants. Dogmatism is deadly and assumptions of moral superiority are risky. Demonizing opponents as “enemies” is wrong morally and counterproductive politically. We can hold individuals accountable for specific actions without scapegoating and placing total blame on them. Inflaming anger and fear breeds anger and fear. Ending friendships due to differences of opinion, labelling people disrespectfully, and hurling generalizations about others’ character rather than discussing specific actions weakens community.
With methods such as the following — informally (alone and with others) and formally (by establishing new social structures) — step by step, person by person, we can nurture equal respect, humility and compassion and promote democratic dialog.
Self-development. Most individuals want to be a better person, to grow, to be more fully human, to better serve others, to help improve the world. This growth requires acknowledging mistakes, resolving not to repeat them, and forgiving oneself. Deciding how to do so is each individual’s responsibility. With a strong commitment to self-development, we can help democratize our society.
Mutual Support. Human beings are social creatures. Society is a cooperative venture. We help each other. We rely on and learn from each other. We need others to listen to us, especially when we speak from the heart; when we listen to others, we benefit. Especially when requested, advice from peers and mentors can be useful. With a strong commitment to mutual support, we can nurture democratic dialog.
Holistic Check-ins. When group members “check-in” at the beginning of meetings, they can briefly report on their efforts with regard to what they’ve been doing, or thinking about doing, with regard to: 1) self-development; 2) building community, and; 3) political action. These check-ins can help hold members accountable to their commitment to promote democratic dialog throughout society. Verbalizing feelings enhances self-understanding, and hearing others’ report on their feelings can be a learning experience.
Support Groups. Leaderless groups can help members support each other with their self-development. These groups might meet monthly or more frequently. Their focus might be broad, like “spiritual development” or “political activism,” or even broader, like “holistic transformation.” They might be a women’s group or a men’s group, or consist of people from a particular race or ethnic group to support each other with issues associated with their social identity. They might take turns presenting readings to focus their discussions, or they might simply share extended check-ins followed by reflections.
Open Topic Dialogs. Horizontal, self-regulating, self-perpetuating, peer-to-peer conversations. Talk, listen, learn, brainstorm. Speak from the heart. Gather 8-15 people in a circle. Focus on: How can we help improve the world? Participants speak only if they’re holding the “mic,” which may be an object. The Facilitator sets a timer when each person begins speaking. Speakers talk for no more than 90 seconds. If the timer goes off, the speaker finishes the sentence. When speakers finish, they recognize the next speaker by handing them the mic. Speakers respond to the previous speaker, and then shift the topic if they wish. Speakers are encouraged to: 1) be respectful and avoid personal attacks or name-calling; 2) avoid going back and forth repeatedly with the same person, and; 3) call on people who haven’t spoken. People with mobility difficulties can select the next speaker and ask someone to give the mic to that person. The Facilitator convenes the dialog, explains the guidelines, selects the first speaker randomly, and adjourns the dialog.
Transform the Democratic Party. The Democrtic Party is already a multi-issue, inclusive, relatively democratic, national coalition vaguely committed to democratic equality. With sustained effort, Party activists can make it more democratic and transform it into an activist organization more clearly dedicated to democratic equality. The Party, however, is geared to elections – supporting Democratic candidates and backing or opposing ballot measures. In between elections, the Party forgets about its platform. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) could regularly recommend to all Americans that they communicate a specific message to their Congresspersons, Senators, and President on a top-priority, timely issue. At the local level, the Party could engage in year-round precinct organizing, build face-to-face community among its members with methods such as Open Topic Dialogs, and ask members to address the DNC’s monthly recommendation.
Community Dialogs with Elected Officials. On the second Saturday at 10 am, Congresspersons, Senators, and the President could participate in two hour Community Dialogs, whether in person or via video calls. The moderator would be a neutral, well-respected journalist. Speakers would be selected randomly and have 90 seconds to comment or ask a question on any topic. Speakers could ask the audience to indicate support on an issue by raising their hand. The elected representative would then have 90 seconds to respond. Community organizations could distribute literature to participants, who could stay after the Dialog to discuss issues informally. The officials would be responsible for recruiting the moderator, arranging logistics, publicizing the event, and arranging to have it streamed live on the Internet and cable TV. Federal legislation could require all elected federal officials to participate.
Citizen Assemblies. As described by the wikipedia: A citizens’ assembly is a body formed from the citizens of a state to deliberate on an issue or issues of national importance. The membership of a citizens’ assembly is randomly selected. The purpose is to employ a cross-section of the public to study the options available to the state on certain questions and to propose answers to these questions through rational and reasoned discussion and the use of various methods of inquiry such as directly questioning experts. The use of citizens’ assemblies to reach decisions in this way is related to the traditions of deliberative democracy and popular sovereignty in political theory. While these traditions stretch back to origins in ancient Athenian democracy, they have become newly relevant both to theorists and politicians as part of a deliberative turn in democratic theory. Citizens’ assemblies have been used in countries such as Canada and the Netherlands to deliberate on reform of the system used to elect politicians in those countries. There are also examples of independent citizens’ assemblies, such as the 2011 We the Citizens assembly in Ireland that became a template for the Irish Constitutional Convention, which led to a referendum that amended the Constitution to legalize same-sex marriage in 2015.
A Purple Alliance. A Purple Alliance could advance democracy by pushing for new compassionate national policies supported by a majority of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Periodically the Alliance would urge its members and the general public to support a specific bill. Supporters would communicate with their Congressperson with phone calls, emails, text messages, letters, office visits, or by going to a public forum with the Congressperson. In addition, at least once a month, many Alliance members would meet in small Alliance Teams in members’ homes to discuss how to advance the Alliance’s mission and support the monthly action. Many would share a meal and build supportive friendships by socializing informally prior to and after the meeting. So long as they operate in harmony with national policies, each team would be free to design its own activities.
Promoting democracy in these ways could steadily grow the number of individuals who participate in democratic communities. Members of these communities could frequently unite to push for major changes in national public policy dedicated to humanity, the environment, and life itself. This growth could lead to the eventual transformation of our self-perpetuating social system (which we reinforce with our daily actions) into a compassionate community of communities.
I once saw a film [The Enchanted Cottage?] in which two horribly disfigured people in an institution fell in love with each other. Through the magic of fantasy each became infinitely beautiful to the other and a love affair went on between these two handsome, beautiful people. At the end of the movie, the camera blurred back to show the two originally disfigured faces; but the audience knew where they had been; they had seen the god and goddess within, which were stronger than the outer reality of disfigurement.
–from She: Understanding Feminine Psychology by Robert A. Johnson
Sight. Sound. Smell. Taste. Touch. These were the five senses outlined by Aristotle, some two thousand years ago, in his immortal treatise on what he considered the biological and psychological foundations of the human body. These senses combine to create our perception of what is real and what is not, what to attend to and what to ignore. And, of course, they haven’t changed. They are as real to us today as they were to him then.
Today our experience of reality, however, is more complicated than it was then. If not for external complexity in our physical environment alone, then at least for internal complexity. We have more knowledge today. We have more words today. This means many things, but it particularly means that we can break down the existing compartments into further divisions to add new details to how we perceive, how we experience. We can now argue that our capacity to balance (or equilibrioception)is a sense. Temperature (or thermoception), too, qualifies. And how about proprioception, a kinesthetic sense? Can’t we argue that a different aspect of our body keeps track of its various parts in relation to one another as well?
We can argue all of these things, and many people do. The core idea, regardless, is the same: The human body is an instrument that perceives what goes on in the broader system around it so that it can respond to things as needed. If we simplify what the senses do, from an evolutionary point of view, we can say that they monitor threats and opportunities. A lion is nearby. I hear a familiar sound that sends a shiver up my spine. From the corner of my eye, I form a visual that raises my heart rate. The rest, I don’t even need to compartmentalize. All I need to know is that I need to get out of there.
The combination of the sense data that we collect from our surroundings creates what neuroscientists call an experience of affect. Affect is the emotional experience we have in response to a variety of information signals. Sadness, anger, joy, excitement are experiences of affect. They are condensed information points that tell us that something is wrong or that something is right, and we should act accordingly. Now, these particular emotions are complex interpretations of sense data, but generally speaking, as in the case of the lion, for example, our sense data aims to generate a response by creating an affective state somewhere along the pleasure-pain axis. See food, experience good affect, get that food, gratify desire. See lion, experience negative affect, get away from potential pain, gratify desire.
All of this is extremely simplified, but in an ancient world of scarcity — before cities, supermarkets, and predictable life routines — our whole life was essentially an uncertain gamble dictated by our environment. You likely didn’t think about being happy or satisfied. You just were. You took rest when you could. If you felt sad, the cause and effect were generally clear, and you took action right away. If you felt scared, you got the hell out of there. If you felt angry or excited, you got ready to protect yourself or to dominate.
But something changed as we became settlers; something changed when we started to take control of our environment so we could start building the civilization that we know today. And that something was the decoupling of the uncertainty of life with the present. Suddenly, you didn’t have to worry about a lion coming for you right now, or ten minutes from now, but instead, you had to worry about maintaining your property for the next few months or years. You didn’t need to collect plants or hunt game tomorrow, but rather, you had to create an abundant supply of grains for, perhaps, a village. The uncertainty that was once tied to the present slowly started to become attached to the far future.
When uncertainty is tied to the present, we have no choice but to act. We live in the present. But what happens when uncertainty gets tangled with the far future? Well, for one, we have more time to make decisions. And what does that do? Well, that gives us time to think. And so, thinking begins to consume far more mental space than it did in the past, and perhaps just as importantly, it begins to do so freely, without any constraints because the future is now full of possibilities. This is both a responsibility and a burden. Our actions in the here and now are no longer the chief source of our life’s purpose, but instead, our thoughts about the future start to play an increasingly large role.
The burden of such a massive shift is this: Instead of negative experiences of affect lasting in the now to encourage action, they last longer because problems themselves have longer horizons. This means that experiences like anxiety or sadness aren’t just quick information points about the immediate environment, but they are also moods that extend over long stretches of time. And this, I’d argue, has created a world where far more people are miserable than they likely would have been in, say, most hunter and gatherer tribes.
A little more than 2,000 years ago, roughly around the same time that Aristotle began writing about the bodily senses and how they work, another sage began wandering. But Gautama Buddha had a different philosophy. He saw what civilization had done to people, this concern with thinking, the comings and goings of desire and emotion, people’s occupation with being anything but present. He saw the misery of such an existence. And he devised a solution: With a meditative technique, focused on the presence of the body and its senses, he claimed that these miseries could be wiped out. By bringing it all back to the lower form of complexity that we had lost when we began to settle, happiness — or at least the lack of suffering — was possible.
In Buddhism, in fact, there is an interesting addition to the Aristotelian notion of the five senses. Along with sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, practitioners argue that thought (or mind) itself is a sense — the sixth sense. And by watching all of these senses together, instead of identifying with any of them, a person can learn to overcome whatever affliction it is that bothers them.
I’m personally a big fan of the Buddha’s teaching, and I’m fairly convinced that very few (if any) philosophers in the West have come to a deeper, simpler, and more compassionate understanding of human nature than he and his disciples did. But there is something that has increasingly bothered me about this categorization of thought as a sense, framed as a thing to be overcome, a thing that causes misery but not much else. And it’s roughly this: Whereas the five Aristotelian senses simply respond to novelty, thought is the only thing capable of actually producing novelty, and this is incredibly important if we consider what it takes to be satisfied as a human being.
If living in the present as, say, hunters and gatherers did meant experiencing the reality of a particular environment right then and there and responding to it accordingly, then the thing that gives the present meaning and purpose is creative action, or a response to enforced novelty. Change is the only constant, and learning to dance with it brings with it a sense of aliveness. Now, settling into the comforts of civilization stopped us from experiencing this constant change and the novelty of uncontrolled physical environments in our day to day life. And so, this put the burden on thought and the future.
(At this point, it might be useful to define what I mean by novelty, and I’ll start by clarifying what I don’t mean: By novelty, I don’t mean the easy, sensory pleasures of excess, like constantly eating tastier food, or having sex with a greater variety of people, or even experiencing more sights and sounds. All of these things, we adapt to. New food, or a new partner, or a new location may teach you something in the beginning, but they all have diminishing returns, and once the novelty of variety itself wears off, there’s far more novelty in tasting the same food in a new light, or engaging with the same neighborhood in a new role, or appreciating the same partner with a different routine. True novelty is about creativity, about responding to something in a new and interesting way — a temporary exposure to a form of death, whether physical or psychological, and the renewal that stems from that.)
With the growth of civilization, as we settled, we eliminated the danger in our physical environment that brought us to the edge of true novelty. At this point, we moved away from the uncertainty of the immediate environment to experiencing uncertainty about the future in our thoughts and that burdened us with greater anxiety and sadness and other complex moods of affect that persist with the luxury of time. But as with any burden, on the other side of the coin, we were also given a responsibility.
Our senses may allow us to respond to enforced novelty, but thought allows us to create novelty ourselves, and it allows us to do so in far more intricate and interesting ways than the slings of sensory pleasure or pain. Language allows us to think infinite things, in infinite ways, and it gives us the imagination to foresee a future of infinite possibility that we have the potential to bring into reality with our creative action according to our agency.
The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer once argued that human life oscillates between pain and boredom. He talked about pain, naturally, because he knew that we are living systems that have basic needs like food and shelter and companionship. The point about boredom, however, is more subtle. Rather than the opposite of pain being pleasure, he understood that we acclimatize to simple pleasures, so what we end up left with is boredom, and that is its own form of torture because it then becomes its own loop of suffering.
But as the Buddha knew — and as many long-term meditators know — boredom, too, can be an opportunity for deeper inquiry; it, too, has shades of detail that can be experienced as new forms of novelty if the right kind of attention is given to them. But what the Buddha overlooked — or at least focused less on — was that thought can be just as profound and complex and contradictory as direct, focused experience in dealing with boredom. And though identifying with it may entail dealing with greater misery than just sitting in a room in plain stillness, it’s the creative source that built the things that we value in modern civilization, and it’s also what narrates the self that allows us to relate to society.
After writing more than a million words recollecting his life in the literary masterpieceIn Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust went around in one big circle and came to a relatively simple conclusion: “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.”
Without thought, our eyes are half-closed. Without thought, differences are secondary. Without thought, there is no sustained creativity. At the core of our existence, there is something that draws us beyond the known. Human existence is a dance between certainty and uncertainty, between aliveness and deadness. And right at the intersection of this tension, at this burden of agency and responsibility, lies the novelty we are looking for — the novelty of a changing question with a changing answer. Personal Growth