Search: Howard Bloom

David Sloan Wilson and Howard Bloom

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Continuing the series where I post the backlog from my drafts folder. This one is from June 2009 ]

David Sloan Wilson & Howard Bloom both argue cults can be good including Scientology. “A religion that makes Hollywood starts soner up and send thank you notes cannot be all that bad”


See also

David Sloan Wilson (Darwin’s Cathedral) –




The Omnologist Manifesto by Howard Bloom

by Limbic on November 10, 2005

From the Omnologist Manifesto:

We are blessed with a richness of specializations, but cursed with a paucity of panoptic disciplines-categories of knowledge that concentrate on seeing the pattern that emerges when one views all the sciences at once. Hence we need a field dedicated to the panoramic, an academic base for the promiscuously curious, a discipline whose mandate is best summed up in a paraphrase of the poet Andrew Marvel: Let us roll all our strength and all Our knowledge up into one ball, And tear our visions with rough strife Through the iron gates of life.

Omnology is a science, but one dedicated to the biggest picture conceivable by the minds of its practitioners. Omnology will use every conceptual tool available-and some not yet invented but inventible-to leapfrog over disciplinary barriers, stitching together the patchwork quilt of science and all the rest that humans can yet know. If one omnologist is able to perceive the relationship between pop songs, ancient Egyptian graffiti, Shirley MacLaine’s mysticism, neurobiology, and the origins of the cosmos, so be it. If another uses mathematics to probe traffic patterns, the behavior of insect colonies, and the manner in which galaxies cluster in swarms, wonderful. And if another uses introspection to uncover hidden passions and relate them to research in chemistry, anthropology, psychology, history, and the arts, she, too, has a treasured place on the wild frontiers of scientific truth-the terra incognita in the heartland of omnology.

Let me close with the words of yet another poet, William Blake, on the ultimate goal of omnology:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.


Conformity Enforcers are The Resistance

by Limbic on December 7, 2014

[Another forgotten post from the draft folder from Sep 2010]

This was an insight that Howard Bloom’s Conformity Enforcers and Stephen Pressfield’s concept of The Resistance are linked, or at least serve the same ends.


Evolution speeding up

by Limbic on December 6, 2014

Last-Minute Changes – Scientific orthodoxy says that human evolution stopped a long time ago. Did it? –

10,000 Year Explosion –

Howard Bloom –

And, of course A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History by Nicholas Wade


Climate Change and Sacrifice

by Limbic on November 20, 2009

These is a great interview with Howard Bloom on Scientific Blogging. He repeats something he said in his Interview with Jon Udell, about how sacrifice – an age old human habit – underpins some Environmentalist ideas:

I’m a skeptic about global warming.   With or without smokestacks, the big shifts of this globe’s weather kill.  There have been 146 mass extinctions that we can count. And there were probably many more whose evidence we haven’t yet learned to detect.  In some of this planet’s past climate shifts, the carbon dioxide level, the level of “greenhouse gas”, was 20 to 200 times what it is today. There were roughly 80 ice ages from 2.2 billion years ago until 12,000 years ago, when modern culture began. Twenty of those ice ages took place while we were evolving as human beings. In the last 120,000 years, there’ve been 20 global warmings in which temperature has shot up between 10 and 18 degrees in a decade.  None of these catastrophes were caused by man.  None were caused by industrial pollutants, automobile emissions, or human consumerist excess.  The message?  Forget about sacrificing to mother nature so she will make the earth a garden of Eden.  Mother Nature, to quote a chapter title of one of my books, The Lucifer Principle, is a “bloody bitch”.  She exults in creativity.  And she exults in destruction and death. She has doomed neutrons to find proton partners in 10.6 minutes or disintegrate. She has given birth to stars and killed them.  From that star death she has wrung 89 new forms of atoms, 89 new elements. Her ways of creation are not always nice.  To me our fixation on apocalypse, our fixation on global warming, is a sign that we are slipping into a new dark age.  Cultures that look up move up.  Cultures that look down sink and die.  The Global Warming fixation is our way of looking down, very far down indeed.  We feel that we have sinned and must sacrifice, that we must atone.  Our sin is the rape of the earth.  Our atonement is the self-denial we call “conservation” and  “sustainability”.

More at:

It brought to mind a quote by Bertrand Russell:

“Even more important than the domestication of animals was the invention of agriculture, which, however, introduced bloodthirsty practices into religion that lasted for many centuries. Fertility rites tended to involve human sacrifice and cannibalism. Moloch would not help the corn to grow unless he was allowed to feast on the blood of children. A similar opinion was adopted by the Evangelicals of Manchester in the early days of industrialism, when they kept six-year-old children working twelve to fourteen hours a day, in conditions that caused most of them to die. It has now been discovered that grain will grow, and cotton goods can be manufactured, without being watered by the blood of infants. In the case of the grain, the discovery took thousands of years; in the case of the cotton goods hardly a century. So perhaps there is some evidence of progress in the world.” – Bertrand Russell, “Ideas That Have Helped Mankind

For more posts on Howard Bloom, click here.


Old school super-sites you must see

by Limbic on March 11, 2009

As part of my ongoing media diet, I recently pared down my RSS feeds to under 300 subscriptions (most of them in my Archived folder on Google Reader).

Then I decided to clean up my list of sites that do not have RSS feeds . It was a fruitful exercise because I was reintroduced to some of my favorite sites, and I have decided to share them here. I may add to this list as I clear out more old favorites in the coming weeks.

Today’s list of sites are all either one man super-sites or old school wikis. I hope you like them as mush as I do.

Jorn Barger’s RobotWisdom

Jorn Barger was the inventor of blogging. His RobotWisdom website is an absolute delight.

The original RobotWisdom site is currently having technical issues, but you can see the archive copy of it here .

Don’t miss the wonderful “Solace: a textbook of romantic psychology” .

Also see “Jorn’s 50 favorite authors” , his Edward Gibbon one page portal and hundreds of other similar gems, best accessed via the site map.

After disappearing for a while in protest (I think) at the Iraq war, he is now back in various places: – RobotWisdom on Tumblr – New linkblog – Flickr faves – Google Reader shared items.

(also at )

Jan Geerinck’s Arts and Popular Culture Wiki-

Jan started off with the magnificent , but then moved on tothe Art and Popular Culture wiki.

Please do yourselves a favour and check them both out. They are both stuffed with delights.

Howard Bloom’s Homepage –

Howard Bloom is one of my absolute favorite public intellectuals. As I wrote in a previous post “Howard Bloom is a genius. I rate him as one of the most interesting living intellectuals. He is an intellectual idol of mine, king of the The Omnologists, polymath, gentleman and scholar.”

His site is an unsexy chaotic hodgepodge, but this is one of the worlds great thinkers. take the time to explore and you will be stunned by the brilliance of what you find.

Dont miss:

Reinventing Capitalism – putting soul in the machine: A radical reperception of Western Civilisation

Wrestling with Mother Nature: Osama, Michael Jackson, and the Bungle In Iraq By Howard Bloom

INSTANT EVOLUTION The Influence of the City on Human Genes

The Omnologist Manifesto

Richard Drake’s Why 2K –

Coming across this bizarrely brilliant wiki was akin to finding an abandoned city of a former civilization full of wisdom written in your own language.

It appears that this was, of all things, a Christian offshoot of the ward Cunningham’s ur-Wiki.

I discovered it whilst researching of my favorite books of all time, Neville Shute’s “Round the Bend“. A good indication of the sort discussion they had is one about “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” .

The discussion ranges from Philosophy to Software Design, includes brilliant insights and contributions from none other than Kevin Kelly, another of my favorite intellectuals.

Check out a few landing pages like “Tainted By Tribalism“, “Frozen Accidents“, “Original Orwellian Nightmare“, “Many Original Thinkers Exaggerate

From “Make It Did’nt Happen

“The desire to recreate some lost happiness often destroys the potential for present happiness. Yet when faced with horrible events we inevitably wish to Make It Didn’t Happen.”

Here is a gem from the CS Lewis Atrocity Test:

“In Mere Christianity CS Lewis suggests that a key indicator of whether we are on the side of the angels is on hearing reports of atrocities committed by our “enemies”. If later we hear reliable reports that the atrocities were not in fact as bad as originally described, Lewis asks, what is our reaction? If it is one of disappointment, we are in big trouble. If it is of virtuous relief that human suffering is in fact less that we supposed, no medals but we can at least move on to the next stage. “

You can find out more about Richard Drake here.

Edward Tufte’s Works –

Edward Tufte is one of the worlds great masters if Visual Thinking and Information Design. His site hosts one of the best discussions boards I know.

See some example threads on topics like “Grand truths about human behaviour ” and “Advice for effective analytical reasoning” for a taste of the brilliance you can expect throughout.

Think2 –

“For a person to become what they are–rather than what society makes them out to be–individual responsibility and courage are required. To become what you really are, you can’t just go along with the flow and do what seems to be the most popular. Certainly, good ideas and such should be borrowed and incorporated into one’s personal philosophy. To find those good ideas, however, requires a willingness to think, a willingness to change, and courage to explore.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to take my (or someone else’s) word for it, or are you going to live your own thoughtful existence based on a solid methodology?”

Dave Straker’s Changing Minds, Quality Tools and Creating Minds

It is hard to believe one man could have put together these brilliant websites alone. It is a testament to patiently building your website to the highest standards. You can get lost in these sites, they are wonderful.

(see also )

Anthony Judge’s Laetus in Praesens

It is impossible to summarize this site, its author and the superb essays on find on it. Just take a look at the Themes page for an idea of the sort of topics covered.

Mark Humphrys’ Writings on Politics and Religion –

Irishman Mark Humphrys’ has assembled some of the best political websites I have ever seen. Its not Web 2.0 with and fancy menus and smooth fonts, but if you want exhaustive resources, insightful commentary and all round fine thinking on politics, then this site is a must see.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Opacity –

Delightful series of short notes, observations and ideas that will not make it into NNT’s next book. If these are the rejects, I can only wonder how brilliant his next book will be.

Alan Chapman’s Business Balls

One of the most comprehensive sets of business tools, templates, techniques and how-to’s.

There is now a thriving community at

(For a similar site, but commercial, see )

MeatBall Wiki –

“Meatball is a community of active practitioners striving to teach each other how to organize people using online tools.”

Don’t be fooled by this dry description, Meatball is teeming with brilliant contributers and ideas. This is not just for community builders, but is a fascinating repository of practical wisdom related to human nature, communication, psychology, communities, conflicts, cooperation and collaboration.

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Fecal transplant anyone?

by Limbic on November 21, 2008

Bacteria – in particular gut bacteria – keep blipping on my news radar and feeds recently.

Last week I heard a super interesting “All In The Mind” podcast about bacterial “The secret life of bacteria – small, smart and thoughtful!” [Download the MP3].

Yesterday I heard a fascinating program on NPR about the role of gut bacteria in obesity, “Gut Bacteria May Cause And Fight Disease, Obesity” (you can listen to nthe show via streaming at the link):

“Because the bacteria are independent organisms, they have their own genes and their own talents — and scientists are just now discovering what they can do.

Biologist Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis became quite well known a few years ago for a group of very skinny mice in his lab. The mice were skinny because they had no bacteria in their intestines. Gordon had kept them completely bacteria-free. If a bacteria-free mouse eats, food passes right through the intestine, significantly undigested.

So without bacteria, the mouse can eat and eat and eat and never gain weight. But when Gordon exposed the mice to “this big, bad, dirty world,” as Gibson calls it, the mice suddenly turned their food into more calories and gained weight. So bacteria matter. Apparently, they can digest food far more efficiently.

When Gordon and a bunch of other scientists began to look more closely, they discovered that bacteria are not all alike. There are as many of 500 different species in a normal human intestine and maybe another 500 in our mouths. David Relman of Stanford University discovered that each tooth has its own bacterial community. Dr. Julia Segre at the National Human Genome Research Institute found one set of bacteria on skin at the bend of a human elbow and a completely different set higher up on the arm.

Not surprisingly, a person who grows up in Argentina and another who grows up in northern Alaska tend to acquire different bacteria in their intestines and mouths — and, stunningly, these differences seem to matter.”

Today twitter led me to the term Fecal bacteriotherapy:

“Fecal bacteriotherapy, also known as fecal transfusion, fecal transplant, or human probiotic infusion (HPI), is a medical treatment…which involves restoration of colon homeostasis by reintroducing normal bacterial flora from stool obtained from a healthy donor.”

I think I will stick to those probiotic yoghurts!

The absolute best introduction to the incredible smartness and importance of bacteria comes in at thge begining of Howard Bloom’s must hear lecture “Osama, Michael Jackson, and Group IQ“.  The entire lecture is superb, but his introduction to the bacterial group  mind is literally staggering (I have to be careful when I listen to Bloom on my iPod, it is so engrossing it should have a do not drive, walk or operate machinery warning).



Wilson defects to the Group Selection Squad

by Limbic on November 18, 2008

It was only a matter of time before there was a big name defection – and this is it.

The Group Selection Squad led by Howard Bloom now welcome into their fold the great O.E. Wilson.

In his new book  – “The Superorganism” – he accepts that widely accepted theory of kin selection doesn’t explain the origin of altruism.  For the Boston Globe:

It is a puzzle of evolution: If natural selection dictates that the fittest survive, why do we see altruism in nature? Why do worker bees or ants, for instance, refrain from competing with those around them, but instead search for food or build nests on behalf of their companions? Why do they sacrifice their own reproductive success for the good of the group?

In the 1960s, British biologist William Hamilton offered an explanation in a theory now called kin selection. When animals, often insects, help siblings or other relatives survive, they are enhancing the odds that their shared family genes will be passed on. In other words, the genes, not the individual or social group, are what counts in evolution.

Hamilton’s idea was eventually accepted by most biologists, and found an enthusiastic backer, at the time, in Edward O. Wilson, the renowned Harvard evolutionist.

That was then. Now, Wilson has changed his mind, startling colleagues by arguing that kin selection does not lead to altruism.

Kin selection is a scientific crutch, a “very seductive” idea that “doesn’t tell us anything decisive about how altruism originated,” Wilson says. He adds: “We need a whole new way of explaining things.”

He has one. Wilson posits that altruism evolved due more to ecological circumstances than the influence of genes.

In his new book “The Superorganism,” out today, Wilson and his co-author, Bert Holldobler, argue that natural selection operates on the group, not just the gene. The lavishly-illustrated volume examines the complex systems that help insect societies survive, from an intricate array of communication signals to the elaborate architecture of nests. But Wilson – though not Holldobler – goes further, saying altruism occurs not because animals share family ties, but because certain altruistic acts have become useful for the overall survival of insect groups.

“The close kinship of the members of these groups is a consequence, not a cause, of their evolution,” says the ever-genial Wilson in an interview at his home in Lexington. He believes altruistic (or eusocial) societies developed in ecological conditions where food was plentiful enough to allow insects to practice “progressive provisioning,” in which a mother leaves its offspring with food, as some wasps or bees do. This creates a need for others in the insect society to stand guard over the young.

Given these conditions, Wilson postulates, an insect group experiencing a single beneficial genetic mutation – such as the ability to distinguish nest mates from outsiders, a trait many insects possess – might adopt altruism as a useful social behavior.

This is a huge boon for the brilliant Howard Bloom (The Global Brain) and his allies like David Sloan Wilsion (Darwin’s Cathedral) and Kevin Kelly (Our of Control).  Even Steve Pinker came out and supported the possibility of group selection in his “Dangerous Idea” for Edge question 2006.

Look out for a follow-up post with comprehensive links to Howard Bloom resources and podcasts.

E.O. Wilson Returns to the Hive With Superorganism Tome – Wired Magazine

‘Superorganism’ book launch features authors, adventures – Arizona State University

A Brief History of the SuperOrganism – Part 1

A Brief History of the SuperOrganism – Part 2

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Reality is a shared hallucination

by Limbic on February 6, 2006

A old essay by Howard Bloom that is new to me: REALITY IS A SHARED HALLUCINATION, by Howard Bloom

The artificial construction of reality was to play a key role in the new form of global intelligence which would soon emerge among human beings. If the group brain’s “psyche” were a beach with shifting dunes and hollows, individual perception would be that beach’s grains of sand. However this image has a hidden snag ‚Äî pure individual perception does not exist.


The city and its impact on our genes

by Limbic on November 7, 2005

INSTANT EVOLUTION: The Influence of the City on Human Genes by Howard Bloom, Visiting Scholar, New York University.

Howard Bloom is a genius. I rate him as one of the most interesting living intellectuals. He is an intellectual idol of mine, king of the The Omnologists, polymath, gentleman and scholar.

Just look at any of his many articles on and you will see what I mean.

Isolation – The Ultimate Poison

Remove the sponge cell from the sponge, prevent it from finding its way back to its brethren, and it dies. Scrape a liver cell from the liver and in its isolation it too will shrivel and give up life. But what happens if you remove a human from his social bonds, wrenching him from the superorganism of which he or she is a part?

Wrestling with Mother Nature: Osama, Michael Jackson, and the Bungle In Iraq

What do Mother Nature, Osama bin Laden, Michael Jackson and the bungle in Iraq have in common?

They are all exercises for the animals in the brain- Nature evolved those animals and built our brains around an animal core.

Osama, Christian militia movements, and other militant belief systems tap those animals.

Timeline: Militant Islam’s War Against the World

Osama Bin Laden, Terrorism, And The Great Crusade Against America

Finally an exerpt from his forthcoming book: Reinventing Capitalism – putting soul in the machine: A radical reperception of Western Civilisation

You will thank me for this introduction. Bloom deserves widespread recognition.