Howard Bloom

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Howard Bloom

Howard Bloom (born June 25, 1943) is an American author and scientific thinker, and served as a publicist for musicians in the popular music industry, transforming and launching the careers of many rock stars.

Quotes[edit]

The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History (1997)[edit]

  • In a strange way, Marcion understood the situation better than the more conventional followers of the church, for Lucifer is merely one of the faces of a larger force. Evil is a by-product, a component, of creation.
    • Who is Lucifer?
  • From our best qualities come our worst. From our urge to pull together comes our tendency to pull apart. From our devotion to higher good comes our propensity to the foulest atrocities. From out commitment to ideals come our excuse to hate. Since the beginning of history, we have been blinded by evil's ability to don a selfless disguise. We have failed to see that our finest qualities often lead us to the actions we most abhor—murder, torture, genocide, and war.
    • Who is Lucifer?
  • We must build a picture of the human soul that works. ...a recognition that the enemy is within us and that Nature has placed it there. ...for a reason. And we must understand that reason to outwit her.
    • Who is Lucifer?
  • Men and animals do not merely struggle to maintain their individual existence; they are members of larger social groups. And, all too often, it is the social unit, not the individual, whose survival comes first.
    • The Clint Eastwood Conundrum
  • The greatest human evils are not those that individuals perform in private, the tiny transgressions against some arbitrary social standard we call sins. The ultimate evils are the mass murders that occur in revolution and war, the large-scale savageries that arise when one agglomeration of humans tries to dominate another: the deeds of the social group. ...only group efforts can save us from the sporadic insanities of the group.
    • The Clint Eastwood Conundrum
  • In our preoccupations with sex, our submission to gods and leaders, our sometimes suicidal commitment to ideas, religions, and trivial details of cultural style, we become the unconscious creators of the social organism's exploits.
    • The Clint Eastwood Conundrum

Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang to the 21st Century (2000)[edit]

  • Primordial communities of bacteria were elaborately interwoven by communication links. ...These turned a colony into a collective processor... The resulting learning machine was so ingenious that Eshel Ben-Jacob has called its modern bacterial counterpart a "creative web."
    • Ch.1 Creative Nets in the Precambrian Era
  • The microbial brain—gifted with long-range transport, data trading, genetic variants... and the ability to reinvent genomes—began its operations some 91 trillion bacterial generations before the birth of the Internet. Ancient bacteria, if they functioned like those today, had mastered the art of worldwide information exchange. ...The earliest microorganisms would have used planet-sweeping currents of wind and water to carry the scraps of genetic code...
    • Ch.1 Creative Nets in the Precambrian Era
  • The notion that individualism came first runs against the very grain of cosmic history. ...grouping has been inherent in evolution since the first quarks joined to form neutrons and protons. Similarly, replicators—RNA, DNA, and genes—have always worked in teams... The bacteria of 3.5 billion years ago were creatures of the crowd. So were the trilobites and echinoderms of the Cambrian age.
    • Ch.3 The Embryonic Meme
  • If entemologists have things backward, their errors have spawned a host of others central to modern evolutionary science. ...E. O. Wilson is... the founder of a rich and fruitful discipline—sociobiology. And sociobiology has... helped lay the groundwork for the dogma of the "selfish gene."
    • Ch.3 The Embryonic Meme
  • A collective learning machine achieves its feats by using five elements... (1) conformity enforcers; (2) diversity generators; (3) inner-judges; (4) resource shifters; and (5) intergroup tournaments.
    • Ch.4 From Social Synapses to Social Ganglions
  • By 1999, over 880 studies suggested that some mutations might... be genetic alterations "custom tailored" to overcome emergencies.
    • Ch.4 From Social Synapses to Social Ganglions
  • When Richard Dawkins first published his idea of a meme, he made it clear he was speaking of "a unit of imitation"… Memes were supposed to be exclusive triumphs of humanity. But memes come in two different kinds—behavioral and verbal. ...behavioral memes began brain-hopping long before there were such things as human minds.
    • Ch.6 Threading a New Tapestry
  • In the Vienna of the late 1020s and 1930s there throve an internationally famous philosophical bunch called the logical positivists. ...They said that a key ingredient of knowledge was "sense data," and proclaimed emphatically, in the words of... J.S.L. Gilmour, that sense data are "objective and unalterable." …Good guess, but no cigar!
    • Ch.7 A Trip Through the Perception Factory
  • Reality is a fabrication slapped together by an often bumbling inner team. ...The proclamation that "there can be no such thing as an objective fact" has a great deal of validity.
    • Ch.7 A Trip Through the Perception Factory
  • Individual perception untainted by others' influence does not exist.
    • Ch.8 Reality is a Shared Hallucination
  • Almost every reality you "know" at any given second is a mere ghost held in memory.
    • Ch.8 Reality is a Shared Hallucination
  • Crowds of silent voices whisper in our ears, transforming the nature of what we see and hear. Some are those of childhood authorities and heroes; others come from family and peers. The strangest emerge from beyond the grave.
    • Ch.8 Reality is a Shared Hallucination
  • The ultimate repository of herd influence is language—a device which not only condenses the opinions of those with whom we share a common vocabulary, but sums up the perceptual approach of swarms who have passed on.
    • Ch.8 Reality is a Shared Hallucination
  • Through our sentences and paragraphs long-gone ghosts still have their say within the collective mind.
    • Ch.8 Reality is a Shared Hallucination
  • Remember a networked learning machine's most basic rule: strengthen the connections to those who succeed, weaken them to those who fail.
    • Ch.9 The Conformity Police
  • Sociological researchers maintain a mask of objectivity. But... when students in these movements report facts that contradict the tenets of their group's creed, they are... punished for their heresy. ...forcing them "to leave the movement." A similar mechanism of repression is at work in every scientific discipline that I know.
    • Ch.9 The Conformity Police
  • Humor is a conformity enforcer clothed in the garb of congeniality. It focuses on others' weaknesses, disasters, stupiidities, and abnormalities.
    • Ch.9 The Conformity Police
  • By the nineteenth century... new circumstances called for new conformity enforcers... The government locked you in a house of penitence—a penetentiary—where your feelings of remorse would theoretically pummel you without cease.
    • Ch.9 The Conformity Police
  • Conformity-enforcing packs of viscious children and adults gradually shape the social complexes we know as religion, science, corporations, ethnic groups, and even nations. The tools of our cohesion include ridicule, rejection, snobbery, self-righteousness, assault, torture, and death by stoning, lethal injection, or the noose. A collective brain may sound warm and fuzzily New Age, but one force lashing it together is abuse.
    • Ch.9 The Conformity Police

The God Problem: How a Godless Cosmos Creates (2012)[edit]

  • The first two rules of science are: 1. The truth at any price including the price of your life. 2. Look at things right under your nose as if you've never seen them before, then proceed from there.
    • The Problem with God: The Tale of a Twisted Confession
  • When you and I were born, only one thing was certain about the rest of our lives: that you and I would someday die. Just as a trillion, trillion, trillion (1036) microorganisms, animals and plants have died before us. ...A God who slaughters is no God at all. Or if he is... He is a God who must be stopped.
    • The Problem with God: The Tale of a Twisted Confession
  • One plus one does not equal two.
    • Brace Yourself: The Five Heresies
  • The real core of communication is what information theory's founder, Claude Shannon calls "meaning." And meaning is not covered in information theory.
    • Brace Yourself: The Five Heresies
  • When you repeat an old pattern in a new location, you sometimes make something new.
    • Brace Yourself: The Five Heresies
  • From a few basic rules you can generate a cosmos.
    • Brace Yourself: The Five Heresies
  • Opposites work together in the very opposite of the way they seem... They work together in teams.
    • Brace Yourself: The Five Heresies
  • If A is A, a philosopher should equal a philosopher. But that's not the way the cosmos works. Similar things set themselves apart from one another. ...What's more, opposites are joined at the hip. Einstein says that most creative acts come from opposition. They come from pitting yourself against someone with another point of view. They come from the law of differentiation. And that was true of Aristotle and his law of identity, his law of noncontradiction, his construction for the base for A is A. Aristotle came up with his idea... to fling a finger in the face of another philosopher [Heraclitus]...
    • When a Frog is a River? Aristotle Wrestles Heraclitus
  • The "most extreme" followers of Heraclitus said that it is impossible to fix a name to anything.
    • When a Frog is a River? Aristotle Wrestles Heraclitus
  • A does not equal A because of location. For example, location in time.
    • When a Frog is a River? Aristotle Wrestles Heraclitus
  • Is A=A useful? Does logic come in handy? Is math a magnificent symbolic system with which to comprehend what's around us? And is math based on A=A? Yes. Absolutely. But math and logic are... very, very simplified representations.
    • When a Frog is a River? Aristotle Wrestles Heraclitus
  • Aristotle and Heraclitus were both right. A equals A. But A does not equal A.
    • When a Frog is a River? Aristotle Wrestles Heraclitus
  • The particles of this cosmos rock and roll to their own self-generated beat. They defy the rules of arithmetic. Protons plus neutrons... equals music. Is this harmony... entropy? ...No. ...it's social behavior ...riddled with form. And it's so antientropic that those in the scientific world who are trying desparately to rescue entropy... call it "negentropy." …Entropy is a very big assumption.
    • Heresy Number Three

Quotes about Bloom[edit]

  • His experience "at the center of our culture's mythmaking machinery" may have taught him more about human nature than a university career. Perhaps we should regard him as an anthropologist who has spent many years observing a strange tribe—us.
    • David Sloan Wilson, Foreward to The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History (1997) by Howard K. Bloom

External links[edit]

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