Tuesday, June 28, 2022

A distillation of my journey upon life's stage, vintage 1955. (5/5)

 

Nearing my 67th birthday, I’d like to share a collection of the fundamental lessons I’ve learned along the way.



    • Appreciating the Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide.
    • I am a self-aware introspective element in the Pageant of Evolution.
    • We create our Gods from within ourselves.
    • We cannot understand an organism, or system for that matter, without understanding its environment.
    • Consciousness is the inside reflection of our body, interacting with itself, along with the environment and circumstance it's embedded within.
    • An appreciation for Deep Time, billions of years worth, and Earth, the dance of geology & biology unfolding one day at a time, and that it produced me, along with all other wonders.
    • There is no Body-Mind Problem, it is in actuality an Ego-God Problem.
    • My body has taken better care of me, than I have of it.
    • Consciousness is the product of Earth's biology, of interacting and living, when we die consciousness ceases like a light bulb that’s lost its power.  All that awaits us is the deep dark eternal sleep from which none awake, and it is good.
    • Yes, it is good, live your blessed moment while you have it to live, the universe doesn’t owe you anything.
    • Our after-life unfolds within the hearts and minds of others, and it is good.
    • We need each other to keep ourselves honest.

Bringing it back to Earth Centrism

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Recorded December 2019

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Recorded ~April, 2019


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Furthermore, for the record:





Hate to turn it political but politics matter!

Still looking to connect with people for whom these ideas resonate.



If we aren't changing minds we are losing.


©1975, Peter Miesler


citizenschallenge at gmail


Sunday, June 26, 2022

It’s not a “Body-Mind problem” it’s an “Ego-God issue.” (4-5)

©2022, citizenschallenge

 Who is “God,” but a creation of our unique complex human minds dealing with our day to days?  

Think about it, because that really is the most fundamental answer to The Grand Questions of God.  

The who, what, where, why, how of God that people have been grappling with since forever.  

It’s such a profoundly simple answer, yet people avoid it with an amazing alacrity and endless dog-chasing-tail rhetorical gymnastics that never arrive at any conclusion(s).

©2022, citizenschallenge

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It’s not a “Body-Mind problem” it’s an “Ego-God issue.”


Perhaps the most interesting lesson I’ve learned from my Hoffman adventure is that as I’ve followed the philosophical roots of “dualism” back through Descartes (1600s) and on past Anselm (1000s), one thing has become clear is that the entire philosophical edifice of this Mind-Body “Problem” was formed out of religious god fearing thinking, (What I've come to call the Abrahamic Mindset that gave us the three major religions - to be explained in more detail in a later post.), with their self-serving patriarchal mentality, heaven and hell, male domination, female subserviency, along with branding Dualism’s hard boundaries and its need for a sense of certitude into our minds and onto our expectations.

A need for certainty that allows for assumption to be paraded as facts, rather than being satisfied with acknowledging our limits and that today's mysteries can be resolved as future evidence comes to light. 

This Abrahamic worldview perceives people as isolated objects, not only from this planet, but each other, even from ourselves.  The other creatures we live with and the landscapes we exist within, are treated with contempt and wanton disregard.

Regarding the “Mind-Body Problem,”  

Dr. Solms makes a wonderful analogy that highlights the error being made:

Question:  Was it the lightning or thunder that killed the golfer?

It’s a meaningless question.

Lightning and thunder are simply different aspects of the same phenomena.

Our Mind and consciousness is the interior reflection of our living body/brain (both its interior happenings and external interaction with the environment).  We simply cannot have one without the other.

©2022, citizenschallenge


We are embedded within an interconnected web of life. We are creatures who are the direct products of Earth’s Pageant of Evolution.  Why isn’t that reflected in modern philosophical discourse? 

Saturday, June 18, 2022

Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution (3/5)

It took me over sixty years to recognize my Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide perspective which in hindsight seems rather self-evident, after all the "mind-body problem" has been the source of endless philosophical speculation for millennia, I've thought about it since I was a kid, I thought most kids do.

I have been fortunate to have one active critic Write over at CenterForInquiryForum, but he's also frustrating in that too often his bias create assumptions and claims that are straw men, perhaps well meaning, but still too often avoiding what I'm actually trying to enunciate.  

I hope this short bio-sketch that describes the trajectory that brought me to these writings will offer an introduction to help orient readers before embarking on my road less traveled.  (visit CFI Forum if you want to share your ideas, critique.)

©2022, citizenschallenge


Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution


Although I’m a family man, with my share of friends, along with being community-minded, there’s a part of me that rarely fully connects, leaving me with an impression of being on the outside looking in and trying to make sense of the self-destructive impulses that are driving us towards disastrous outcomes.

Over the decades I’ve spent a fair amount of time trying to understand what makes my fundamental outlook and instincts so foreign to the general mindset.  It’s only recently, with the hindsight of six decades, and coming off of this “Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity project” with all it’s side trips and then discovering the light at the end of the tunnel with Dr. Mark Solms enunciating the outlines of Neuropsychoanalysis and a rational approach to understanding our minds unfolding within our bodies.

A body of work which convincingly demystifies Chalmers’ “Hard Problem” (and all the distracting intellectual mischief that’s given rise to) and points the way to a biological understanding of consciousness.  Neuropsychology and neuropsychoanalysis brings us face to face with the reality that our consciousness is basically the inside reflection of our body/brain interacting with its environment.  Think of it, consciousness as ‘interaction’ not a ‘thing.’

Now there’s something worth chewing on if you’re looking for intellectual or spiritual challenge.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide (2/5)

"Our relationship between our selves and the knowledge we acquire is rarely examined." 

©2022, citizenschallenge

“Who am I?”  
Children and the learned have been fascinated by that question and the mystery of our sense of “self" since forever.  

David Chalmers formalized some of that wonder with his Hard Problem of Consciousness back around 1995 and philosophers have been having a field day with the notion ever since.*  

The glaring problem with their conceptions and the endless philosophizing is that they rarely truly incorporate the ramifications of Evolution beyond lip service. 

Seems to me as a society our biggest problem is that most are still trapped within the Abrahamic mindset of absolute self-absorption.  A bubble where our own thoughts, perceptions and expectations totally engulf our thinking and leaves no space for explicitly recognizing the physical realities beyond our own immediate desires and thoughts - that unrecognized attitude permeates and shackles our understanding of the world around us.

For all the lectures on the topic, I rarely hear any examination of the relationship between our selves and the knowledge we acquire.  That’s a big problem because it blinds us to Earth's realities and the needs of others, such as this life sustaining biosphere we’re currently destroying as fast as we can.

No grand revelation, a simple observation. 

©citizenschallenge 2022

{*Incidentally, Dr. Mark Solms has recently done an excellent job of demystifying those notions 
and bringing the source of consciousness back into the realm of biology and real science.}

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Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide

I can’t figure out, why it isn’t self-evident to folks that consciousness and mind can’t be understood by studying modern people in these modern times?  Consciousness requires an evolutionary perspective of the natural, biological forces at work.  First producing simple creatures that eventually evolved into aware complex creatures, with branches that eventually evolved into Homo during the last minute+ of Evolution’s 24 hours of Creation, only then into Homo sapiens, a mere 3, 4 seconds ago. 

How does one ponder the human brain and mind without wondering about all the time before Homo?  We evolved out of the mammalian class of animals.  Think about it, the breast-feeding body plan with a lifestyle built around nurturing their young, developing families and even communities.  

Sunday, June 5, 2022

An Alternative Philosophical Perspective: “Earth Centrism” (1/5)

From my earliest memories I’ve possessed a deeply introspective spirit with an unbounded curiosity about the world I exist within.  Growing up religion and current events and the world around me weren’t making a lot sense, and at first I blamed myself, figuring I was the crazy one.  But, as I learned about science, then through science learning about the realities of our physical planet, along with human history, I began to realize that it wasn’t me, so-much as something seriously ill within today’s society so full of lost, self-obsessed and damaged souls.  

From there (besides getting on with life, love, family, work, etc) I was busy trying to understand myself, plus it seemed important to wrestle with defining how my ethics and foundational ideas differed from the general mindset.  It’s been a long fascinating effort.

In 2019 I started my “Professor Hoffman Playing Basketball in Zero-gravity” project which really made me focus on my 64 years of accumulated experiences and learning.  Coming out of that project I felt ready to write my own short series of essays where I’ve been able to crystalize the best lessons of my personal life long journey of discovery.  I like to think it might be of some service to others, which is why I’m going to post the collection over here.

©2022, citizenschallenge

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An Alternative Philosophical Perspective - Earth Centrism.


What is “Earth Centrism”?

    

The Earth Centrist’s perspective acknowledges Earth, her material constituents and physical processes, unfolding one day at a time, as our fundamental touchstone with reality.  We acknowledge Earth and glory in understanding her pageant of Evolution and appreciating how that pageant is reflected within our own body and mind. 

We celebrate the physical fact that humans were created out of Earth's evolving biosphere.  

Science shows us that we belong to the nurturing mammalian branch of one of Earth’s amazing animal kingdoms.  Yet, it’s undeniable that something quite unique happened around six million years ago when certain apes took a wild improbable evolutionary turn.

By and by, besides the marvel of our two hands, we developed two feet and legs, that could stand tall and run for hours, combined with keen eyes and a growing brain that learned rapidly and remembered. 

During this period our brain physically morphed in some significant ways that enabled it to host a profound leap in cognitive information processing, storage and retrieval ability. On the outside hominids learned to make tools, hunt, fish, and select plants, plus they mastered fire for cooking and better living.

On the inside our brains were growing and benefiting from the new super nourishment while human curiosity and adventures started filling and stretching our Mindscapes with experiences, questions, and knowledge beyond anything the "natural" physical Earth ever knew.

By Mindscape, I mean the product of all that our body/brain perceives and processes, which of course, evolutionarily speaking, was dependent on our brain’s hardware keeping pace with and driving the ever increasing volume of information and thoughts.

While the human mind and spirit seem ineffable mysteries, they are also of tremendous consequence and real-world physical power.  They drove our growing ability to study and manipulate our world; to communicate and record our experiences; and to formulate explanations for a world full of mysteries, threats, wonders and dreams.

People learned to think and gossip and paint pictures upon the canvas of cave walls, and even better, upon the canvas of each other’s imaginations.  We’ve been adding to our mind’s awareness and complexity ever since.

Of course, while all this was going on our extraordinary human mind was also beginning to wonder about the ‘Why’ of the world it observed and the difficult, fragile, short lives we were allotted. 

In seeking comfort and answers to unknowable questions it seems inevitable that Gods would inhabit our Mindscape. I suspect inspired by buried memories of being coddled within mom’s protective loving bosom those first couple years of life.

No doubt these “Gods” enabled further successes, though not through super-natural interventions, rather through their ability to form, conform, reform & transform the Mindscapes of the people beginning to congregate. Thus, combining pragmatic civil societal needs with universally felt, but keenly personal questions, fears, and dreams.  

During the middle ages tribal stories, accepted ancient doctrines, and religious “truths” were no longer enough to satisfy our Mindscape’s growing desire for ever better understanding and power over our destinies and the biosphere that sustains us. 

The human mind took another tremendous leap forward in awareness with the Intellectual Enlightenment and the birth of serious disciplined scientific study.  Science’s success was dazzling in its ability to learn about, control and manipulate Earth’s physical resources and to transform entire environments.

Science was so successful that today most believe we are the masters of our world and too many have fallen into the hubristic trap of believing our ever fertile Mindscape is reality itself.  But now I’m digressing, back on point, in summary,

Earth Centrism, is a perspective on our human condition that’s based on the understanding that Earth is our fundamental touchstone with physical reality and that we are creatures made through Earth’s own natural processes.

Earth Centrism comes from appreciating the “Human Mindscape ~ Physical Reality divide.” Which also helps us get a handle on how the paternalistic Abrahamic mindset (that gave birth to three religions), with their self-serving attitudes towards other peoples, creatures, landscapes and resources, imposed a simplistic dualistic default that has blinded humanity to a clear understanding of ourselves, this planet, it’s processes, deep-time and how it created us. 

The Mind/Brain conundrum and the Hard Problem of Consciousness are rooted in ancient religious and philosophical arguments, contrivances of our minds, dressed up in modern language.  As though reality needs to prove itself to us self-serving petty humans.

Earth Centrism is founded on the understanding that scientific study of the material world is our best window into understanding our own lives within physical reality.  Because Science is, at its core, a set of rules for observing and recording and learning about our natural world, and ourselves that strives as much as possible to eliminate human ego driven biases from its deliberations.

Science is founded on an unspoken understanding that we need each other to keep ourselves honest. It’s a community of educated, competitive, skeptical, experts who are constantly looking over each other’s shoulders. With fidelity to honesty being science’s Golden Rule.

I also contend that science offers spiritual/mystical challenges, experiences and resolutions, well beyond anything offered by the traditions of our self-made, ego straddled, religions with their tunnel vision and that ingrained resentment towards Earth and learning. 

Earth Centrism is a personal emergent appreciation.  When the sum total of all those insights one has collected from a life time of wonder and learning come together into a tapestry, a pageant of life and circumstance that is harmonious and graspable. When understanding and increasing awareness blossoms into a visceral connection that infuses one’s body and outlook upon life with the simple reality of being a transient element in Earth’s evolution.

Along with that comes a grounded feeling.  A deep inside awareness that, I have arrived.  I am a child of Earth, and it is beautiful, and this moment is mine.

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©2022, citizenschallenge


An Alternative Philosophical Perspective - “Earth Centrism

Appreciating the Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide

Being an element in Earth’s Pageant of Evolution

It’s not a “Body-Mind problem” it’s an “Ego-God problem

A distillation of my journey upon life's stage, vintage 1955.


©1975, Peter Miesler
June 5, 2022
citizenschallenge at gmail.


Friday, May 27, 2022

The missing ingredient in Daniel Dennett's "Darwin's Dangerous Idea"

A couple months back I wrote Dr. Daniel Dennett hoping for a response, but to no avail.  So, I've rewritten the letter and have resent it and I figured I might as well post it over here, to see if any other deep thinker might want to give it a shot.

Dear Dr. Daniel Dennett, (& others it may interest),


I read your “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” a couple decades back.  These past few months I’ve been revisiting it.  It’s a beautiful tour of the evolution of scientific thought regarding Evolution.  One I completely embrace and I commend you for all those helpful citations.  Even after a quarter century the book is worth recommending to young students of Evolution because of how well it documents the evolving ideas and arguments up to that point.  


The only problem is that you left out a crucial ingredient early in your introduction that I’d like to ask about.  You were transitioning from earlier religious thought into evolving scientific thought and the rest of your story.  


I have to wonder why didn’t you stop a moment to review the most fundamental fact of our human condition?  A reality that cuts straight to the heart of both our so-called "Hard Problem of Consciousness" and the Origin of God question - namely the “Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide”?


What’s so special about having an appreciation for the “Physical Reality ~ Human Mindscape divide”?  Well, for one, it leads to an inevitable understanding that our very existence is proof that our Universe and Earth unfolded down one, internally consistent cascade, and only one.  No matter what we self-absorbed human creatures are capable of imagining. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Yes. The Geologic Column is evidence that Evolution unfolds one day at a time.

This morning I came across a 2018 article that I enjoyed rereading.  Given recent dialogues at CFI and the political season of advocating for Democrats to create an internet forum, it was nice to read something about Earth, something that I know about and that takes me back to the wellspring of my blogging efforts.  Defending Earth and the need for honestly facing physical reality, don't know why, but it feels a little grounding in the face of this horrific insanity Putin/Trump have unleashed on us.

Saying No to Reality

Four Corners Free Press

Peter Miesler, July 10, 2018


Recently, I was minding my own business listening to a fascinating talk on YouTube titled, “Rooted in Earth History: the Devonian transition to a forested planet.” It was about strategies that Earth’s first ground-hugging plants adapted to escape the confines of Earth’s surface. They did this in order to reach closer to our sun and further away from plant-eaters.

This led to Earth’s first forests, which in turn led to an explosion of new environmental niches for life to radiate into.

I learned some fascinating details regarding questions I’d been wondering about for a long time. The lecture increased my understanding of evolution on this fantastic planet, which has been a lifelong passion for me.

But my pleasant reverie was shattered by a YouTube comment that blind-sided me. One ‘Psalm1Tree’ wrote in all seriousness:

“There never was a Devonian period, just as there never was a Cambrian, Jurassic, Triassic etc. period. That’s because there never was a Geologic Column. That is a 19th century construct that has no data whatsoever to support it.”

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Response to being accused of SPAMMING by DNC politico.

After a long evening of emailing Democratic Party officials I received a rather haughty missive from a Democratic politico.  He demanded that I take his name off of “my” mailing list and to stop sending him my “SPAM”.  

Seriously, a single 500 word appeal including supporting reasoning, sent to my Democratic Party during this Democratic Caucus season, this Democrat official calls SPAM ! ? ?


This morning I woke up with the supreme irony dancing in my head: What about the bombardment of uninvited boilerplate donation demands, that the DNC sends us from every corner of our nation, on a daily basis?  What makes that okay?  


But a citizen isn’t supposed to even attempt to communicate a simple idea that he’s hoping catches on with the folks who can make a difference and see it realized?  Whatever happened to public discourse?


No wonder Democrat politicians have become better at losing than winning - what else is to be expected when the DNC so resents hearing from your constituents.  Although I should add I’ve also received a few thumbs up responses, so that’s heartening.


For what it’s worth, “my” mailing list is a simply culling from your public state Democratic Party websites, and a single concise letter is not SPAM!


Dear DNC, if you aren’t changing minds, you are losing!


========================================================================


Democratic Platform 2022:

Create a Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum for reinvigorating constructive political dialogue, by Democrats, for Democrats.  Help your Democratic grassroots network and get informed, thus enabling and nurturing a reengagement with our political process. 

For your consideration: A Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum.

Monday, February 21, 2022

Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum - Make it part of the 2022 Colorado Democratic Party Platform.

 

I want to shout out to all the intrepid Democratic voters who plan to attend the Democratic Caucus sessions between March 1st and March 5th.  This year many will be able to attend the caucus from the comfort of our homes via ZOOM. If you’re undecided about attending, you have until March 3rd to register.


The caucus is where the Democratic Party Platform begins taking form with citizens bringing their concerns to the table and persuading their neighbors into voting those proposals into bona fide resolutions that advance to the County Assembly and hopefully onto the official 2022 Democratic Platform.


That’s why I want share my proposal, if you like the idea, propose it at your precinct caucus, give it some momentum before going to the County Assembly.


The short version: “Create a Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum for reinvigorating constructive political dialogue, by Democrats, for Democrats.  Empower your Democratic grassroots to get informed, network, thus enabling and nurturing a reengagement with our political process.”

After all, for all its faults the Democratic Party is all we have!  We need to focus on fixing it, rather than abandoning what little remaining political muscle We The People have.  For more information: ColoradoDems.org/platformrules 

Googling, “Why are Democrats losing voters?” reveals that voters who care are feeling so disenfranchised by the Democratic Party that they are turning off in droves. 

This, during a year that should have every Democracy loving American energized and looking for how they can best participate in the coming election, it’s frightening.

After all, more than anything this election will be about the future of open and fair elections in the USA. Beyond that, it’s going to be a national referendum between the importance of honesty and truth in America’s public dialogue vs. a descent into anger driven anarchy. No exaggeration, simply pay attention to how the Republican Party has been engaging in every imaginable dirty trick to stymie future election participation and voting legitimacy.

Successful politicians require strong, informed, proactive support at their backs if they are to lead, yet the DNC seems to be doing little to nurture that sort of buy-in from their grassroots. Why?

The DNC’s disregard towards rank and file concerns is reflected in the constant bombardment of DNC’s boilerplate donation pitches, as though donating money was all We The People are good for. I understand the need to fundraise, but what about making us feel like active participants through straight talk, informing us of challenges, calling for feedback, being responsive, nurturing engagement.

The DNC should earn its money by informing and engaging constituents in a way that makes sense to us and connects with our lives. Creating relevance, encourages enthusiasm, produces participation.

Why not use the internet? Why not create a quality internet platform for having constructive political dialogue?  By Democrats for Democrats!

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Proposing a Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum.

What can the Democratic Party do to win back the tens of thousands of Americans they have been alienating? People who care but who have been left feeling so disenfranchised, that they’ve lost faith in their party. Google “Why are Democrats losing voters?” for the details. 

This, during a year that should have every Democracy loving American energized and looking for how they can best participate in the coming election, it’s frightening.

After all, more than anything this election will be about the future of open and fair elections in the USA. Beyond that, it’s going to be a national referendum between the importance of honesty and truth in America’s public dialogue vs. a descent into anger driven anarchy. No exaggeration, simply pay attention to how the Republican Party has been engaging in every imaginable dirty trick to stymie future election participation and voting legitimacy.

Why do so many remain blasé towards the Republican’s untethered lust for power and their increasing disregard for long held American moral and legal standards of honesty, fair play, policy based on factual constructive discussions and such? Isn’t retaining and protecting our right to free elections, along with defending our government’s checks and balances, and the rule of law a patriotic duty?

These questions deserve some answers no one seems to have. Besides, before tackling the growing Democratic voter disconnect, Democratic National Committee leaders would need to actually care about understanding why their rank and file have gotten so frustrated they're turning off in droves during this pivotal election cycle.

Successful politicians require strong, informed, proactive support at their backs if they are to lead, yet the DNC seems to be doing little to nurture that sort of buy-in from their grassroots. Why?

The DNC’s disregard towards rank and file concerns is reflected in the constant bombardment of DNC’s boilerplate donation pitches, as though donating money was all We The People are good for. I understand the need to fundraise, but what about making us feel like active participants through straight talk, informing us of challenges, and calling for feedback and engaging in confronting those challenges, striving to invigorate grassroots participation with ideas and strategies.

The DNC should earn its money by informing and engaging constituents in a way that makes sense to us and connects with our lives. Creating relevance, encourages enthusiasm, produces participation.

I know, here comes the cynicism, insulated Democratic Party leaders listening to the grassroots? Hah! In your dreams. How could such a thing even be achieved in this day and age? How could we the people ever connect with the DNC’s inner sanctum?

Why not use the internet? Despite the dark side of profiteering via hate mongering and gross misinformation campaigns, the internet has the ability to connect people like no other medium. Why not create a quality internet platform for having constructive political dialogue, by Democrats for Democrats?

The Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum. Give America’s untapped concerned citizens a place to go for sharing their own stories, ideas, concerns, questions, challenges.

The Forum would be public, though I think it would be appropriate to limit commenting and posting privileges to registered Democrats. It would require a short set of clearly spelled out guidelines. Participants would need to sign up and agree to abide by the forum’s rules and standards. Moderators would be of critical importance to the DNC’s Discussion Forum’s success - fair, consistent, with a flair for humor, touch of empathy, and an instinct for constructive resolution and steering dialogue back on point.

I’ve been participating at “forum.CenterForInquiry.org" for many years and they provide an excellent example of how such a Forum could be organized and operated. Although CFI is small, a Democratic Party Online Discussion Forum would serve as a nucleus for some serious community building and it would grow as Democrats across the country discovered a place to speak out, hear new voices, to learn and to network within the Democratic Party organization.

Politically interested citizens have few opportunities for connecting with others, provide us with a trustworthy discussion platform for constructive debate, along with simple easy dialogue among concerned individuals, I can't think of a better way to rapidly increase awareness, and reinvigorate a disillusioned Democratic grassroots.

After all, for all its faults the Democratic Party is all we have!  We need to focus on fixing it, rather than abandoning what little remaining political muscle we the people have.