Nearly one in four people sent to Toronto’s detention centres in 2020 were homeless — the worst rate seen in years | The Star

At Toronto South and Toronto East, 24.4 per cent of new entrants had no fixed address.
— Read on

It’s hard to digest the societal shame this current photo engenders.

No wonder conspiracy theories are suddenly everywhere — our social media platforms reward inflammatory content | The Star

Nonsense does as well as facts on social media, and it’s hard to separate the unorthodox from the entirely unreal, writes Navneet Alang.
— Read on

An important topic rarely talked about.

As states press forward with vote counts, Trump advisers privately express pessimism about heading off Biden’s win – The Washington Post

Even the president’s most publicly pugilistic advisers are concerned about the lack of evidence of widespread electoral fraud.
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Donald Trump lost, but Trumpism is still thriving. Could it take hold in Canada, too? | The Star

Whether opposition to global trade and immigration, or grudge-fuelled resentment of institutions and experts, the political forces whipped up by Donal…
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Why would you even make the suggestion??

Clothes or No Clothes, and COVID-19

Research today shows a connection between the virus and how clothes can harbour it. One recommended protection move is to shed and wash your work clothes when you get home, and then not wear clothes until the next day. Silly?


Of course, apartment dwellers might have a more difficult time with this concept, and suburbanites too. Owners of acreage-size lots and farmers? Not so much. (trees and fences work great!)

But there are other possible roadblocks to this virus prevention idea. Some that come to mind are:

  1. religious values that associate nudity with shame, sex, sin
  2. traditional family values about the human body
  3. strangers and non-sypathetic relatives who might randomly come to your door, etc.
  4. how many and how large are your windows (in principle, windows are for looking out of, not for looking into).

Nonetheless, if you can get away with it, or you are already doing this, or are a bona fide nudist/naturist, then a no-clothes homelife might not be a bad idea…at least until the pandemic has reached the bottom side of the curve. We have enough trouble as it is accepting the human body as made, so this idea, if it catches on, might alleviate our body prejudices as well as help keep us healthy (and make the world a safer place in more ways than one; but that’s another blog).


Study: Lack of tolerance, institutional confidence threaten democracies

Study: Lack of tolerance, institutional confidence threaten democracies
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This has absolute implications for what is particularly happening in the US under Donald Trump’s regime. Autocratic edicts, extreme rightist tolerance, increased racism and sexism, regressive healthcare policies, and protectionist economics spell the decline in democracy. Having a sociopathic paranoid narcissist leader doesn’t help democratic values to prevail.

“The more things change, the more they remain the same”

“Plus ca change, plus la meme chose.”

I often hear this aphorism spoken in social situations. But does the speaker really know its significance?

It refers to how social conditions change over time but leave an identifiable common thread behind. This legacy can be in the form of traditional mores, problem-solving methods, folkways, artifacts, and so forth.

The saying can also imply that as knowledge expands, ignorance reduces, but is never gone. Ignorance then is not only squelched by what is changed, it is recreated due to the knowledge residuals that replace and reinstate it. This is why technology always precedes cultural change. New observable, technical values have to be placed within the existing social ‘homeostasis’ and juggled about by consumers, standards bureaucrats and detractors for a while, and either rejected outright (like failed patent applications), or slowly incorporated (like the electric razor), or adopted instantly (like cellphones). This process of values synthesis and adoption (‘homeogenesis’) to produce a new social structure takes longer to achieve or be recognized when we’re talking about ‘social’ as distinct from ‘technical’ values. That is because new social values such as promoted through fashion, buying trends, fads, minority group behaviour, social movements, require an experimental period before adoption (or rejection) occurs. Legalizing marijuana in some states and provinces has taken decades to achieve. Similarly with women’s right (like men’s) to go topless in public in Canada, the legalization of abortion clinics, the appointment of women as Supreme Court Justices, new rights for gays and lesbians, the abolishing of capital punishment, laws for driving with an iPhone, and so forth, all required lengthy public or private debate before acceptance.

Social movements, cultural deviance, war – can change existing values in any society, as well as value change introduced normally through new technologies and day-to-day social interaction of individuals at work or at play. So social change can occur from many sources. Nonetheless, the point is that in spite of external symbolizations and material products of actual change, human behaviour at its core does not. Human behaviour collectively remains glued to basic inherent features.

Pinker (2011) in his book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined, supports this view in his assumption “…supported by evidence for the psychic unity of humankind – that people in every society have all the basic human faculties such as language, causal reasoning, intuitive psychology, sexual jealousy, fear, anger, love, and disgust, and that the recent mixing of human populations had revealed no qualitative innate differences among them.” (p. 613) The constancy of behavioural traits across cultures persists in spite of supra-social changes. This also takes into account the influence of endogenous experiences which may influence the genome, thus leading to behavioural changes based on what humans do. “Behavioural genetics confirms [for example] that aggressive tendencies can be inherited” (p. 617) Regardless, Pinker comes out swinging in favour of how the faculty of reason can “interact with the moral sense”, thus leading to a reduction in aggressive tendencies.

The pull-back from collective destruction as a species is optimistically shared by Pinker (and others), and rests on “the escalator of reason”, powered by “literacy, cosmopolitanism, and education.” He has faith that reason will prevail in its work to produce less violence in this world. Social change into a new homeostasis is possible, in spite of our negative traits.

I am not quite so optimistic as Pinker, although I would like to be. As we change the world around us, through physical technology, rational-technical problem-solving, and new human agreements based on empathy and compassion, there is hope for humankind only if these change mechanisms come to predominate the world theater. ‘Lead by example’ hopefully will become the “plus la meme chose”, as the constant legacy we leave behind amidst positive change of the human condition.

September 23, 2015
T. Hill