David Kenning ~ States Of Mind

States of Mind (SoM) (Beyond Appearances) is a forum for looking behind the world of appearances. Only by understanding hidden drivers, motives and desires – and seeing through the commonly accepted narratives – can we explain what is really happening in our world.

States of Mind takes a generally pessimistic view of the human condition. Modernity, social-media, celebrity-culture and dumbing-down are making shallow fools of the many and putting democracy itself in danger. At the same time, nation states are increasingly polarising and fragmenting into confrontational groups driven by the grievances of identity politics. We are living through a post-ideological age where conspiracy theories, hashtags, celebrity culture and fake news are replacing thought, conversation and analysis. The democratisation of unfiltered information is leading to the fracturing of social cohesion.

Good things often take time, thought, experience and care to create. Too often today, time-tried-and-tested institutions, humane values and policies are being attacked and destroyed by greedy, ignorant and aggressive individuals, groups and organizations. Most are bent on increasing inequality, exclusion and division. These people are at war with core democratic values and have found a way to use the processes of democracy to attack and diminish social cohesion and the democratic mindset. We have a paradoxical situation where the citizen’s vote has become the single greatest threat to democratic values. States of Mind aims to become a force to help cure democracy of this auto-immune disease. In this sense, democracy is at war with itself and warfare must be re-defined as the ability to know, understand and influence how people think and feel. Our values and analysis of the situation are valid. What we lack in today’s “reality is information” world, is influence.

States of Mind recognizes that we need to become players in this war if we are to defend what is right, what is good and protect the everyday values of fratérnité – pluralism, respect for the other, tolerance and compromise.  States of Mind intends to gather opinions and insights into ways to influence key decision-makers and put some backbone into politicians and policy-makers. In this regard we do not trust governments, elected leaders or politicians to get it right. We recognise that we ourselves must take the fight directly to those who would destroy democratic values. Think about it.

States of Mind will pick-up issues across the spectrum – and spare no individuals, groups, organizations or country practices from deeper scrutiny. But we also aim to entertain and have a good deal of fun. We may be pessimistic but we are bold and cheerful and always enjoy a good laugh.

Our content will be taken from open sources across the media and supported by bespoke think-pieces, weighty references and analysis from insightful contributors. There is a lot out there we need to expose and shame. And in the process, we take a sceptical position towards the prevailing so-called values of the so-called “superpowers” who are inflicting so much material damage and misery on the world. We don’t trust them, period. We aim to expose and share best practice in taking the fight to the darker forces dismantling the human values that make life worth living.

Perhaps it is already too late and the battle is lost, for now. Perhaps not.

Go to: https://www.statesofmind.eu/

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Noam Chomsky On Fascism, Showmanship And Democrats’ Hypocrisy In The Trump Era

Noam Chomsky 

After 18 months of Trump in the White House, American politics finds itself at a crossroads. The United States has moved unmistakably toward a novel form of fascism that serves corporate interests and the military, while promoting at the same time a highly reactionary social agenda infused with religious and crude nationalistic overtones, all with an uncanny touch of political showmanship. In this exclusive Truthout interview, world-renowned linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky analyzes some of the latest developments in Trumpland and their consequences for democracy and world order.

C.J. Polychroniou: Noam, I want to start by asking for your reading of what took place at the Singapore summit, and the way this event was covered in the US media.

Noam Chomsky: It’s reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes and the dog that didn’t bark. What was important was what didn’t happen. Unlike his predecessors, Trump did not undermine the prospects for moving forward. Specifically, he did not disrupt the process initiated by the two Koreas in their historic April 27 [Panmunjom] Declaration, in which they “affirmed the principle of determining the destiny of the Korean nation on their own accord” (repeat: on their own accord), and for the first time presented a detailed program as to how to proceed. It is to Trump’s credit that he did not undermine these efforts, and in fact made a move toward facilitating them by cancelling the US-South Korean war games, which, as he correctly said, are “very provocative.” We would certainly not tolerate anything of the sort on our borders – or anywhere on the planet – even if they were not run by a superpower which not long before had utterly devastated our country with the flimsiest of pretexts after the war was effectively over, glorying in the major war crimes it had committed, like bombing major dams, after there was nothing else to bomb.

Beyond the achievement of letting matters proceed, which was not slight, no “diplomatic skills” were involved in Trump’s triumph.

The coverage has been quite instructive, in part because of the efforts of the Democrats to outflank Trump from the right. Beyond that, the coverage across the spectrum illustrates quite well two distinct kinds of deceit: lying and not telling relevant truths. Each merits comment.

Trump is famous for the former, and his echo chamber is as well. Liberal commentators exult in totting up and refuting Trump’s innumerable lies and distortions, much to his satisfaction since it provides the opportunity for him to fire up his loyal — by now almost worshipful — base with more evidence of how the hated “Establishment” is using every possible underhanded means to prevent their heroic leader from working tirelessly to defend them from a host of enemies.

A canny politician, Trump surely understands well that the base on which he relies, by now almost the entire Republican Party, has drifted to a surreal world, in part under his influence. Take the major Trump-Ryan legislative achievement, the tax scam — “The US Donor Relief Act of 2017,” as Joseph Stiglitz termed it. It had two transparent aims: to enrich the very wealthy and the corporate sector while slamming everyone else, and to create a huge deficit. The latter achievement — as the main architect of the scam Paul Ryan helpfully explained — provides the opportunity to realize the cherished goal of reducing benefits that serve the general population, already very weak by comparative standards, but still an unacceptable infringement on the prerogatives of the 1%. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that the law will add $1 trillion to deficits over the next decade. Virtually every economist generally agrees. But not 80 percent of Republican voters, of whom half believe that the deficit will be reduced by the gift their leader has lavished upon them.

Or consider something vastly more significant, attitudes toward global warming (apologies for the obscenity: climate change), which poses a severe threat to organized human life, and not in the distant future.

Half of Republicans believe that what is plainly happening is not happening, bolstered by virtually the entire leadership of the Party, as the Republican Primary debates graphically revealed. Of the half who concede that the real world exists, barely half think that humans play a role in the process. Read more

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Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken & Darek M. Haftor (Eds) ~ Reason, Faith And Practice In Our Common Home – Festschrift for Dr. Sytse Strijbos ~ Content & List Of Contributors


List of Contributors
Biography of Dr. Sytse Strijbos
Bibliography of Dr. Sytse Strijbos

Sytse Strijbos – Social Change in our Technology-Based World
Gerald Midgley – Reflections on the CPTS Model of Interdisciplinarity
Andrew Basden – A Dooyeweerdian Critique of Systems Thinking
Carolus J. Reinecke – The Quest of Metabolomics
Gerrit Glas – Public and institutional aspects of professional responsibility in medicine and psychiatry
Roelien Goede – Preparing data warehousing students to be responsive practitioners
Suzanne Kane & Andrew Basden – Multi-aspectual Interview Technique (MAIT); an alternative approach towards interviewing students in further and higher education
Henk Jochemsen – Food security, agriculture and food systems
Attie van Niekerk – Reason, faith and practice in our common home, South Africa
Rob Nijhoff – Three secular seductions: one nation, one government, one science
Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken – Relationships as basis for understanding social structures – an enriched theory of enkapsis
Natallia Pashkevich, Volha Pashkevich & Darek M. Haftor – Ethical Reflections on Consequences of Technological Displacement
Fabian von Schéele – An Ethical Perspective on Cognitive Time Distortion (CTD) in Business Systems
Anita Mirijamdotter – Celebration of Sytse Strijbos’ Academic Achievements
Lucius Botes & Willem Ellis – Sytse Strijbos – Man of Reason… and Action!
Information about the IIDE Annual Working Conferences  Read more

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Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken & Darek M. Haftor (Eds) ~ Reason, Faith And Practice In Our Common Home – Festschrift for Dr. Sytse Strijbos ~ Biography Of Dr. Sytse Strijbos

Dr. Sytse Strijbos was born in Rotterdam, Netherlands, on March 28, 1944. He is the seventh child in a family of eight children, where the eldest and youngest were girls. His father was a hardworking tailor, and his mother worked as a nurse before she married. When Strijbos was about one year old, he stayed temporarily with relatives outside Rotterdam to recover from the effects of the Dutch famine winter at the end of the World War II. Strijbos was raised in the Calvinist faith, and in his youth, was shaped by the postwar Dutch mentality that emphasized citizens’ contribution to the reconstruction of society, and an attitude that disciplined work is central in life.

In September 1961, after finishing high school, the young Strijbos moved to Delft, where he started his studies in applied physics at Delft University of Technology. He defended his master’s dissertation at the Department of Physical Transport Phenomena, in April 1967. During his years as a student, the young Strijbos was an active member of the student society Civitas Studiosorum Reformatorum, where he was the president of the board from 1964 to 1965. Still, each year, he meets former board members and colleague students. Those younger years shaped Strijbos’ thinking and attitude. This shaping would later influence Strijbos to search for an integrative approach, where the Christian faith’s tenets of human dignity and compassion are combined with the human intellectual capabilities to reason and the human intentional action that transforms and intervenes in our reality – the crucial step from thinking and believing to action and the consequences thereof.

Philips Years
After his graduation in 1967, Strijbos started his career as a researcher at Philips Natuurkundig Laboratorium Eindhoven. [i] About one year later, in December 1968, Strijbos married Harma Bosker, whom he met in the Reformed Church in Delft. They started their married life near Eindhoven, first in Heeze and later in Aalst-Waalre. The first three of their four children were born there. During his studies in Delft, Strijbos was strongly inspired by the philosophy classes of Professor Hendrik van Riessen. Shortly after his marriage, he decided to enroll as a student of philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. He studied almost all evenings and on his days off, in addition to his fulltime job at Philips. About five years later, in the spring of 1975, he received his master’s degree in philosophy.

At Philips Research Laboratories, Strijbos conducted applied research in the research group on “ceramic materials” led by Professor Stuijts. One of the topics he worked on was compaction of powders, that is, one of the stages in the fabrication process of advanced ceramic materials.[ii] Initially, he planned to write a doctoral dissertation on this topic; however, he abandon this plan without much hesitation when he was unexpectedly invited to apply for a job at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Strijbos left Philips Eindhoven after ten years and took up the position as assistant professor in the Department Systematic Philosophy and Cultural Philosophy, led by Professor Van Riessen. In the summer of 1977, the family moved to Maarssen, a small city near Utrecht. Read more

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Christine Boshuijzen-van Burken & Darek M. Haftor (Eds) ~ Reason, Faith And Practice In Our Common Home – Festschrift for Dr. Sytse Strijbos ~ Bibliography Of Dr. Sytse Strijbos ~


Strijbos, S. (1972) Motion and distribution of large particles suspended in a fluidized bed, Powder Technology, 6 (6), 337-342.
Strijbos, S. (1973) Burning-out of a carbonaceous residue from a porous body, Chemical Engineering Science.
Strijbos, S. (1974) Pressure filtration of permanent magnetic powders. Proceedings of the Conference on Hard Magnetic Materials, 102-105.
Strijbos, S. (1977) Powder-wall friction: The effects of orientation of wall grooves and wall lubricants, Powder Technology.
Strijbos, S., Rankin, P.J., Klein Wassink, R.J., Bannink, J., Oudemans, G.J. (1977) Stresses occurring during one-sided die compaction of powders. Powder Technology.
Strijbos, S. (1977) Friction between a powder compact and a metal wall. Journal of Powder & Bulk Solids Technology, 1(1), 83-88.
Strijbos, S., & Knaapen, A. C. (1977) Mechanical properties of a ferrite powder and its granulate. Science of Ceramics, 9, Proceedings of the 9th International Conference held Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, November 13-16, 1977. K. J. de Vries. Rijswijk, Netherlands Keramische Vereniging, 477.
Strijbos S., Vermeer P.A. (1978) Stress and Density Distributions in the Compaction of Powders. Palmour H., Davis R.F., Hare T.M. (eds) Processing of Crystalline Ceramics. Materials Science Research, (11). Boston, MA: Springer.
Strijbos, S.       (1978) Powder-Wall Friction: The Effects of Orientation of Wall Grooves and Wall Lubricants. Powder Technology.
Strijbos, S., Van Groenou, A.B., Vermeer, P.A. (1979) Recent Progress in Understanding Die Compaction of Powders, Journal of the American Ceramic Society.
Strijbos, S. (1980) Phenomena at the powder-wall boundary during die compaction of a fine oxide powder, Ceramurgia International, 6(4), 119-122.
Strijbos, S. (1980) Particle technology 1980: comminution, classification, powder mechanics : preprints, 5th European Symposium on Comminution, 2nd European Symposium on Mechanical Properties of Particulate Solids, 224th Event of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering, Amsterdam, June 3–5, 1980, (2), 931.
Strijbos, S. (ed). (1981) Systeemdenken en samenlevingsproblematiek. Proceedings of Congres: Systeemdenken en samenlevingsproblematiek (19-10-1979 ; Amsterdam).
Strijbos, S.(ed) (1985) Nieuwe medische ethiek. Amsterdam : Buijten & Schipperheijn.
Strijbos, S. (1988) Het technische wereldbeeld. Een wijsgerig onderzoek van het systeemdenken. Amsterdam: Buijten & Schipperheijn.
Strijbos, S. (1990) Computer and World Picture: A Critical Appraisal of Herbert A. Simon. Broad and Narrow Interpretations of Philosophy of Technology. Dordrecht: Springer, 67-86.

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Reflections On The CPTS Model Of Interdisciplinarity ~ Festschrift for Dr. Sytse Strijbos

In this short paper, I adopt the role of ‘critical friend’ to the Centre for Philosophy Technology and Social Systems (CPTS)[i] research programme, and the contribution of Sytse Strijbos in particular: I believe the CPTS model of interdisciplinarity has some significant strengths, and also some potential weaknesses that the researchers taking it forward might wish to address. Most of my critique refers to Strijbos and Basden (2006a), as this offers the grounding for the rest of the CPTS research programme. However, my focus on this should not be taken as a sign that I regard other contributions as less significant.

Over the coming pages I will first of all highlight what I see as the strengths of the CPTS model, focusing in particular on the value of the systems approach embodied in it, and its potential applicability to technologies beyond information systems (the practical focus of most CPTS authors to date). I will then offer two critiques. The first points to a gap in the model: the omission of ecological systems as an aspect of analysis. The second critique raises some questions about the nature of the links between research at the levels of the artefact and directional perspectives. I suggest that, when there are significant disagreements on the ethics of a technology, to the extent that some researchers wish to prevent its development and others wish to press ahead, we have to ask whether and how interdisciplinary co-operation should proceed.

The Strengths of the CPTS Model
In my view, the CPTS model of interdisciplinarity has several important strengths: it is explicit about its theoretical underpinnings; is inclusive of ethical debates; takes a useful systems approach to understanding the relationships between fields of inquiry; is potentially applicable to a broad range of technologies; and can enable the incorporation of many more disciplines than are currently included in the CPTS research programme. I discuss each of these strengths in turn below.

2.1 The Value of Explicit Theory
The first strength is that there is an explicit theoretical rationale for the focus on basic technologies, technological artefacts, socio-technical systems, human practices and directional perspectives as the principle concerns flowing into interdisciplinary engagements. As Strijbos and Basden (2006a) make clear, these categories are derived from the philosophy of Dooyeweerd (1955). Although I am not in complete accord with Dooyeweerdian thought, I nevertheless appreciate that there is a coherent set of ideas lying behind the CPTS model. This is important because it takes us a step beyond models that are simply born out of strategic alliances between researchers from two or more disciplines who happen to share common interests. While alliances like these can be useful for pursuing focused projects with particular purposes, it is difficult for them to give rise to more general models of interdisciplinarity unless there is a focus on providing some theory that explains why the model might have utility beyond the immediate local circumstances in which it was generated. Read more

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