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What Is The Most Significant Obstacle To Human Progress??

What Is The Most Significant Obstacle To Human Progress?? 86

by Mike Sygula,

“Condemnation without investigation is the highest form of ignorance.”
– Albert Einstein

Refusing to open your mind to new ideas, however bizarre they might seem , is arguably the most serious impediment to human progress.

Let us examine this claim by reviewing the following points:


Paradigm shifts

If we study the history of scientific discoveries we can often observe turning points where our understanding of our reality has been transformed even though these new theories had often originally been ridiculed and rejected. Time and time again throughout human history, these pioneers of new thinking have been condemned or even imprisoned. Unfortunately our understanding was inevitably limited to the subjective knowledge we possessed at that particular time in our history. The tools and methods available during those days restricted the scope of our scientific examination of the world around us. If we recognize the vastness of the universe we should admit that our knowledge about the reality is actually pretty minimal.
For example, if someone had told you 50 years ago that in a few decades you would have a device in your pocket enabling you to ask any question or search for information about any topic and get thousands of results in a matter of seconds you would have probably assumed that this was a crazy idea more suited to science-fiction. In fact, today we have this technology – it’s called a smartphone with an Internet connection and you just have to use a browser to get these results. Or imagine trying to explain to someone living a thousand years ago what the world looks like today, with all the technology we have. This is only a thousand years, it’s less than a second on the evolutionary timeline.

According to official history, many ancient cultures believed that Earth’s shape was a plane or disk.  Today we can only smile hearing those theories. But back then, this was the best explanation based on all the knowledge people possessed at that time. The same applies to the idea of Earth being the center of the Universe. Before Copernicus and Galileo this was the conventional wisdom accepted by the establishment.
Another great example is the theory of continental drift proposed by Alfred Wegener in 1912. This is the notion that all continents were once conjoined in a single landmass and subsequently drifted apart. His proposal was greeted with skepticism and he was viewed as an outsider in his field. Twenty years after his death, the evidence started emerging in favor of his theory.  Today it is established knowledge and Alfred Wegener is now recognized as the founding father of one of the major scientific revolutions of the 20th century.
We are constantly facing new discoveries that make us question previous assumptions and are now grappling with elusive concepts like dark matter, quantum mechanics, multiverse theory etc. The deeper we dig, the stranger things become.


Human nature is intrinsically corruptible

Ego is the dysfunction of the human mind, probably the single most important cause of all imbalance and suffering in our lives. Throughout the ages, its impact can be seen in every sphere of life. People have been trying to achieve selfish objectives for millennia, often bypassing official rules. Unfortunately, science is not exempt from this behavior.

Because there are so many theories and so much data involved in scientific research, prestige is paramount, just like any other discipline.  It is only the most well-regarded journals, highly-rated universities and officially accredited educational bodies which are understandably respected and specially ranked by academic communities.  However, this can make objective scientific inquiry more problematic.

For example, there are certain highly controversial fields like parapsychology which is not accepted by mainstream science despite so many individual experiences that continue to have been reported throughout the world for centuries. This subject has been dismissed as pseudo-science by many professional psychologists but that in itself restricts opportunities to investigate this phenomenon objectively. Many scientists are unwilling to even talk about this topic for fear of ridicule or condemnation. Journals are less likely to report on any research, funding is much more difficult to obtain, “prestigious” universities are less likely to study it. Here is an example of this mentality:

“A similar incident occurred again in 2011, when Daryl Bem, one of the signatories to the Frontiers article claiming that parapsychology is taboo, published his paper on precognition (Bem, 2011) in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. This journal is considered the flagship publication in its field, and news of this paper generated an enormous media response, even before it was officially published. Once again, the editors of the journal were moved to write an editorial explaining the reasons why such a paper was accepted and included this statement:

We openly admit that the reported findings conflict with our own beliefs about causality and that we find them extremely puzzling. Yet, as editors we were guided by the conviction that this paper—as strange as the findings may be—should be evaluated just as any other manuscript on the basis of rigorous peer review. (Judd & Gawronski, 2011)”

A 15 year old innovator that no-one  took seriously

Jack Andraka is a teenager who has developed a new, rapid, inexpensive method to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers. The older methods used to diagnose pancreatic cancer were very inaccurate and extremely expensive. He had to find a researcher who would be willing to work with him on this reinvention. He emailed 200 scientists but only one responded indicating that he might be interested. It is crucial to recognize  that Jack conducted all his research by using Google and Wikipedia and that hardly any  scientist took him seriously, probably because of his age and lack of qualifications.


 Conforming to current norms

Unconventional ideas out of step with mainstream thinking are so often not accepted or given due consideration by society.

To illustrate this observation I will outline a hypothesis based on situations that I have observed many times.  Imagine that you have a friend working very hard in a stressful job, who sacrifices their health and relationships with friends and family in order to cope with their job. There are two points that should be noted here. Firstly, this individual has been conditioned to believe that in order to be “successful” they have to have money and that progressing in their company will allow him to gain higher social status. This is the norm they follow and they have been programmed to pursue this goal since childhood. Unfortunately, these external pressures conspire against them so that they lose both their health and their position, ending up alone, ill and depressed. But because this cultural conditioning is so powerful (this is what they have grown up with and always been told by their family, friends, school and the media etc.) they do not realize what is happening to them until it is too late. Other options like taking a holiday or doing a less stressful lower paid job cannot be considered as this would mean less money and  lower status which fail to fulfill their pre-programmed life plan . The second point I want to make is that someone caught up  inside this situation might not be able to see it  rationally and objectively from the outside. You yourself can start to see what is going on and you try to explain your fears to your friend who can’t really understand the dangerous consequences of their actions.  Because they have been so comprehensively programmed to do what they were told, they don’t get it until it’s too late. It might take a long time for you to persuade them that what they are doing will endanger their life or it may only take some kind of existential crisis to  help them to understand this.
Scientists are similarly conditioned by current mainstream ideology and what they have been taught to think. Very often, ideas which do not correspond to these norms will be opposed or discouraged. This is an automatic reaction to something that does not fit your worldview and is out of step with what you have got used to. You initially reject it, it might take several years, perhaps many decades and even centuries before new thinking is accepted. Even if these ideas can be proved immediately it still takes time for most people to accept and acknowledge this new reality.
To conclude, I just want to say that we have to remember that scientific knowledge is provisional and subject to revision: the more attached you are to your beliefs, the less able you will be to keep learning. We have to question everything we are told and not dismiss alternative theories even if they contradict the conventional wisdom, no matter how ridiculous they might seem. We cannot see the whole picture if we don’t look at all the different angles. Being open-minded does not mean believing everything you hear, but it is foolish to ignore new ideas without unprejudiced investigation.


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Why does Satan’s name mean “light-bearer”?

Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 99

In modern languages, Lucifer is one of the names of Satan. However, from Latin the word lucifer literally translates as “luminiferous” and comes from the words lux (“light”) and phero (“carry”). What kind of light is this that the infernal ruler carries?

Franz von Stuck.  Lucifer
Franz von Stuck. Lucifer

The ancient Romans called the planet Venus by the word Lucifer, that is, the “morning star”, which is better than all other celestial bodies visible in the morning (as well as evening) firmament. By the way, this name is “tracing paper” from ancient Greek: the ancient Greeks called this celestial entity Phosphorus (from Φωσφόρος – “carrying light”).

Lucifer means ‘that which brings light’. From φῶς (phôs, “light”) +‎ -φόρος (-phóros, “bearing”), from φέρω (phérō, “I carry”).

Venus in the morning sky in January
Venus in the morning sky in January

Why did the name of the star become the name of Satan? This happened as a result of “translation difficulties”. The Bible, in the Book of Isaiah, contains a prophecy about the death of the Babylonian king – a terrible enemy of the ancient Jews. It looks like this:

“… You fell from the sky, morning star, son of the dawn! He crashed to the ground, trampling on the peoples. “

“Morning star” and “son of the dawn” here are nothing more than magnificent oriental titles of the ruler. When Jerome of Stridonsky, the first translator of the Bible into Latin, translated this passage, he translated the Hebrew word הֵילֵל (“heylel”, “morning star”) as lucifer, because that is how the morning star was called in Latin.

Caravaggio.  Saint Jerome
Caravaggio. Saint Jerome

However, Christians, contemporaries of Jerome, associated this passage not with the king of Babylon – the embodiment of evil for the ancient Israelites, but with their enemy – Satan. And the word “lucifer”, which was just the title of the Babylonian king, began to write with a capital letter. So the innocuous name of the star became a terrible hellish name.

Jerome’s other translation error led to an amusing misunderstanding. In the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, European artists and sculptors depicted Moses – the main biblical prophet … with horns on his head! Why?

Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 100
Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 101
Why does Satan's name mean "light-bearer"? 102

The Bible says that when Moses came down from Mount Sinai, his face was radiant. In Hebrew, the words “ray” and “horn” are similar. So Jerome got it: “His face became horny because God spoke to him.”

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There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 103

Everyone has their own hobbies. Some are passionate about collecting, others are gardening, and still others are passionate about sports. But the hero of this article has a special passion. Ra Paulette is an American sculptor from New Mexico who burrows into hillsides and caves to create intricate artistic spaces within mountains. Maybe he is now the only one in the world.

You might think that he is a professional architect or sculptor, but no, it’s just that this person has a hobby. Although talent is undoubtedly present, he creates real works of art, sculpts caves like shrines, like sacred places.

He describes his places of work as “a sanctuary for prayer and meditation,” while others describe his caves as works of art. The caves are decorated with “scallops, patterns, smooth curved lines, smooth cornices, crisp ledges and inlaid with stones”. Its caves attract tourists from all over the world.

He has been hiding in a cave in New Mexico, USA for 25 years and has now decided to showcase the interior of his home.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 104

What he did to the inside of the cave is almost impossible to describe in words, as if we are entering the world of fairy tales.

In ancient times, people made dwellings in caves or dug new rooms in the sandstone, but only for the purpose of living. The works of this artist are more for soul resting.

All this beauty is made in white sandstone cliffs just an hour from Santa Fe. Has anyone from you seen this beauty in real?

Tired of the whims of his bosses and customers, the artist, who was bored with art, began his personal and independent project.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 105

The results of the project, as well as the process itself, are very impressive. Ra Paulette, who spent the last 25 years in the cave, completely alone, apart from his dog, away from society, spent time carving out walls.

He spent his time carving the sandstone cave he found, transforming it into a wonderful underground space full of light.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 106

Paulette created different designs and styles for each cave, giving each one a distinct quality and texture.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 107

The goal of this gigantic piece of art is to create an environment that inspires “spiritual renewal and personal well-being.” It will also serve as a venue for artistic events when its project is completed.
Ra Paulette works exclusively with hand tools, a pick and a shovel. First, he digs in various halls and vaults in any form, not forgetting about ventilation. The artist himself called his style – “dances of the digger” . When he likes what he gets, then he proceeds directly to creativity: decorates the halls and vaults with mysterious carvings and patterns.

In some places, his works look like real natural caves, and in other – like a completely civilized housing

Ra Paulette Cave
That is, you can wander and relax there.

There is a man on Earth who makes caves: you will be amazed when you see what has done alone after 25 years 108
When Ra Paulette made his first cave, it attracted connoisseurs of beauty and tourists. But it was made on state land and, in addition, he could not guarantee the safety of visitors. The cave had to be filled up.

Only later, when he began to make safe projects and all legal issues were met, it was possible to create endlessly. At the moment, 15 underground palaces exist for sure.

A documentary film “Cave digger” was even made about him and this man became even more famous.

In the video below, you can virtually take a trip through one of the caves decorated by the artist.

We can only be surprised by such people who just alone create beauty with which, we become kinder and better beings.

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Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe 109

According to Hindu records, Christians believe that the earth is the center of the universe. In contrast to this belief, the Hindus consider Mount Meru as the universal center and home of their gods.

In the eyes of the Hindus, Mount Meru is quite large, its height is about 84,000 yojanas (about 1,082,000 km). Since Hindu and other Eastern religions idolize Meru, it seems to them that the sun and all the planets of the solar system revolve around it.

According to Jain mythology, Meru is surrounded by two suns, two moons and two “sets” of stars. When some of them are in sight, others hide in the shadow of a mountain, which they believe is about 100,000 yojanas wide.

For the Hindus, Meru is the axis of the earth. Without it, the planet will not be able to rotate. In addition, they see the mountain as the home of the gods, with their kingdoms spread across all of its inconceivable height.

Followers of each of these important gods travel to these heavenly realms to rest and await their next reincarnation.

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe
A fresco depicting Mount Meru (left) and a painting (right) from Jain cosmology

For the Javanese, Mount Meru contributed to the origin of the island of Java. According to their legends, Batara’s guru ordered Brahma and Vishnu to fill the island with people. At that time the island of Java roamed and was not tied to any solid land. To stop the movement, the gods moved a part of the sacred mountain from India and attached it to Java. This new anchor was Mount Semeru, now the highest volcano in Java.

For Buddhists, the importance of Mount Meru also lies in their belief that it is the center of the universe. Unlike the Hindu version, Buddhists believe that the mountain was surrounded by a body of water and believe in 31 levels of life on Meru.

Since Mount Meru is the ecumenical center and sacred site, many mythological characteristics are attributed to it. First, it is so high that the mountain touches the sky, and the pole star shines directly above the mountain, giving it a sacred appearance. Secondly, it is said that the Ganges comes to the mountain as one river, and, having reached Meru, is divided into 4 separate rivers.

Third, there are 4 cities filled with residents, one on each side of the mountain. Ancient myths say that these inhabitants constantly see the sun at its zenith, and they always work. The sun rises and sets only for those who do not live on the mountain.

In addition, there is one lord of the heavens, God Indra, and he lives at the top. There are also four heavenly kings on Mount Meru, one on each side. The mountain extends to Jambudwip, which itself is divided into 4 continents. The southern continent is where Buddha was born and his teachings are followed here.

Many famous Hindu, Jain and Buddhist temples were built as symbolic images of this mountain. The basis of the style is a characteristic feature of Chinese pagodas.

Although ancient Buddhists believed that the mountain was real, European visitors began to express other thoughts about the earth, which contradicted the Buddha’s teachings about Meru. Modern Buddhist scholars have decided that this is an allegorical story, and not a description of a real mountain.

However, many Buddhists still refuse to change their beliefs about the sacred mountain. For them, belief in the existence of Meru is the same as belief in Buddha.

Sacred Mount Meru: home of the gods and center of the universe

If you plunge into reality, Mount Meru is a volcano located 70 kilometers west of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, 4562.13 meters high.

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