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Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

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Eduk
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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by Eduk » January 12th, 2019, 6:19 pm

Is the stuff about changing the world directed at me? Or more of a general comment?
Unknown means unknown.

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by Belindi » January 13th, 2019, 9:53 am

Fooloso4 wrote:
November 25th, 2018, 1:29 pm
Chewybrian:
I've often wondered from Socrates on how many philosophers were serious about their religion, besides Kirkegaard or Anselm and a few others maybe. From Socrates' time right up to today many people had the choice to say they believe or die. In the case of Descartes, I took his efforts at face value, but perhaps I should examine his argument again.
In the appendix to his “Philosophy Between the Lines” (https://www.press.uchicago.edu/sites/me ... pendix.pdf) Arthur Melzer provides about one hundred pages of quotes from Homer to Wittgenstein regarding the philosophical practice of hiding what you are saying from most of those who will read your work. This was at one time a well known practice but most today will regard it with skepticism or disdain. The evidence that it was practiced is clear. Whatever one might think as to the appropriateness of such a practice an awareness of it is central to reading and understanding the philosophers. One must learn to read between the lines, connect the dots, and not assume that everything that is said is what the author holds to be true.

A point of clarification: Philosophical esotericism is the practice of hiding one’s true thoughts. It is not the esotericism of the mystics who believe in secrets that are passed down through the ages.

Some examples from the appendix:

The ancients distinguished the ‘exoteric’ or popular mode of exposition from the
‘esoteric’ one which is suitable for those who are seriously concerned to discover the
truth.
– G. W. Leibniz, New Essays on Human Understanding, 260
But not just the ancients:
I cannot even imagine that M. Descartes can have been quite seriously of this opinion….
He only made pretence to go [there]. It was apparently one of his tricks, one of his
philosophic feints: he prepared for himself some loophole, as when for instance he
discovered a trick for denying the movement of the earth, while he was a Copernican in
the strictest sense.
– G. W. Leibniz, Theodicy, 244
Is this pointing away from himself intended to make one ask about Leibniz himself?

Even believers saw the need to hide:
Near the beginning of the Summa Theologica, Thomas asks “Whether Holy Scripture Should
Use Metaphors.” He answers in the affirmative, and among his reasons are these: “Because
thereby divine truths are the better hidden from the unworthy.” And also:
The very hiding of truth in figures is useful for the exercise of thoughtful minds, and as a
defense against the ridicule of the impious.
– Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1:6-7 (pt. 1, ques. 1, art. 9)
Here is one from Kierkegaard:
One can deceive a person for the truth's sake, and (to recall old Socrates) one can
deceive a person into the truth. Indeed it is only by this means, i.e., by deceiving
him, that it is possible to bring into the truth one who is in an illusion. Whoever
rejects this opinion betrays the fact that he is not over-well versed in dialectics,
and that is precisely what is especially needed when operating in this field....
Direct communication presupposes that the receiver's ability to receive is
undisturbed. But here such is not the case; an illusion stands in the way.... What
then does it mean 'to deceive?' It means that one does not begin directly with the
matter one wants to communicate, but begins by accepting the other man's
illusion as good money (Point of View, 39-40).
chewy:
I fear that such ideas being sealed with the stamp of science might then be accepted without question by people who don't understand the science.
At the same time a trend in the opposite direction - the rejection of science in favor of mysticism, the occult, astrology, cosmic forces, etc. Or, some combination of the two - an appeal to pseudoscience as evidence of the supernatural.

I think this is the background against which philosophy has always operated. One of Melzer’s themes is that it is a mistake to see the philosopher as a product of the times. The philosopher’s work is, as Nietzsche said, “untimely”. While some bristle at any mention of elitism, the philosopher stands apart and above the rest of us.
Thank you very much for this, Fooloso4 .

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by Kengober0352 » January 25th, 2019, 11:29 pm

Quick but off the top of my head:(FORGIVE GRAMATICAL ERROR)
MANKIND IS AN END
regardless of any action we take we are ultimately doomed to one inevitable fate; extinction as a species, death as an individual. All of science, all that is good in man is driven toward one thing...survival, the preservation of counciousness(ilfe) of the individual.
Why is it that we are so compelled to so callicously kill one another? The answer I give is fear; fear of nonexistence and the inability to effectively reconcile this inevitable reality looming within us. It is of missappropriated feelings of indignation stemming from denial, fear and ignorance we are so eagerly cruel and fanatical about the extermination of others for territories that in no way represent the best interest of us as a collective. We are cruel and short sighted driven by primitive instincts and emotions.
The only goals we can strive for our species are 1) the length in time we shall exist and 2) what our culture provides as evidence of our quality as a species.
Will we die as a self destructive earth based species of primates or will we become more....a collective of interplanetary beings. We are currently in essence our last common ancestor with a more developed cultural collective of technology above to split the atom, harnessing the power of the sun, exploring billions of miles away remotely yet still kill eachother in droves over dogma.
Do we continue as a species to continue to facilitate our demise or capitalize on what time we have. The death of our species in assured...eventually but the quality of what we achieve culturally and the value of what it means to be human is determined by the actions we take.
Short answer: eliminate dogma, unify/identify as one people, cooperate in our combined destiny if you can achieve this you can improve mankind.

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by meaningful_products » February 3rd, 2019, 3:08 am

Achievable wrote:
November 19th, 2018, 10:37 pm
My name is Austin Rouse. I am a 22 year old from South Florida, USA.

I need help to understand what I need to study in order to impart immeasurable, positive, everlasting impact on our world. I am lost in the sense that I do not know what it is I need to know to pursue this desire. Due to my father’s criminal operation, which he is now imprisoned for, I lack formal education to a severe degree. I obtained my GED a little over a year ago.

Following that, I feel the need to qualify myself. I am the Founder & Inventor at LED Cultivation, Inc. I am the holder of the only patent-pending product line in the world for optimized lighting arrays for horticulture applications. I’ve assembled a large team, spanned across the globe, and established powerful connections, which should ensure I am properly funded throughout my endeavors.

I created my company with the intent to fund my interest in medical research. This includes designing/constructing a neurological/psychological/psychiatric research compound – Where the aim would be to solve the mystery of the human psyche. I believe this could lessen the negative impact of important things, such as: Intolerance, mental illness, mass-violence, war, suicide, poverty, etc.

However, I am also aware that my severe lack of formal education is an obstacle I must overcome if I am ever to be afforded the opportunity to even make a proper attempt in pursuing such a desire. My current primary interests are: Solving complex problems; Psychology; Social Engineering; Medicine; Science; Mathematics

My company is one in which, by the grace of God, I will in due time be afforded true time freedom. This will enable me to vehemently pursue education, full-time. It also looks like the company will be a fantastic source for continuous income generation. I’ve been advised that my interests are expensive, and that I was wrong in my belief that money is not important. I’ve been taught, that if I want to actualize anything that I dream about incessantly, then I am going to need to secure a method by which I can receive continuous income, while also having the time to study whatever it is that I need to study, in order to make a calculated attempt to optimize our world.

I want to be a student. I want a real education. I am merely a product of being born within a generation of incredible technological advancement, improvement in reliability regarding our connection to the internet, and continuously positive evolution of the internet as a whole. I am also obsessed with [...] – and I passionately believe this is an integral component behind my ability to navigate information efficiently.

I will leave the discussion open with that.

With Love,
Austin Rouse

Here is the my answer: You need to put your business interests first. You need to eat and you don't know if you will be able to work like this some day because of physical, mental, family, or financial reasons. The value of helping others, ect, comes second and the more business success will give you more opportunities to help others.

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by chewybrian » February 3rd, 2019, 10:23 am

meaningful_products wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 3:08 am
Here is the my answer: You need to put your business interests first. You need to eat and you don't know if you will be able to work like this some day because of physical, mental, family, or financial reasons. The value of helping others, ect, comes second and the more business success will give you more opportunities to help others.
I hope you won't take offense but I dislike this answer very much. It seems like a much too easy way to justify selfishness in the present by 'exchanging' it for an unspoken promise to be unselfish in the future. I had this exact attitude in the past and it did not serve me or others well at all. I realize now that we don't need any relative success (speaking from the U.S.) to provide the basics for ourselves and our families. More importantly, we have the ability and the moral obligation to help others right now, today! We can help them in many small ways, by treating them with respect, justly, and not trying to take too much for ourselves.

If you put business first and decide that 'someday' it will provide you the means to be a good person, you make wake up years down the road and realize that you never did become a good person. You may realize after the fact how much damage you did to others (and yourself!) by ostensibly acquiring the ability to do good.

I don't believe you need to put aside your good nature (assuming you begin with good intentions) in order to be successful. But, if a choice needs to be made, I think you should choose to be good even if it seems to come at the expense of success. Be a good person and go as far as you like and are able while remaining such a person. You will be happier, and so will others around you, and it may even serve your business interests better in the end.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by Belindi » February 3rd, 2019, 2:50 pm

Meaningful_products wrote:
Here is the my answer: You need to put your business interests first. You need to eat and you don't know if you will be able to work like this some day because of physical, mental, family, or financial reasons. The value of helping others, ect, comes second and the more business success will give you more opportunities to help others.
I agree that care of oneself is necessary. It's not sufficient though. To be sufficient he also needs to take care to serve others. Chewybrian is right too.
There are occasions when self sacrifice is best. Good intentions towards others are not always fulfilled and cannot be fulfilled by somebody who constantly acts from sentimental impulse.Empathy demands quite a lot of practical knowledge and power to actually help.

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by meaningful_products » February 3rd, 2019, 10:45 pm

@chewybrian
@Belindi

Putting business interests first is really a win-win for everyone. Most businesses succeed anyway by providing a quality, service to others within reason to ensure the business can grow and keep serving others in the long term. Also, a good business move is distinguishable from most people would think of as "selfish." Specifically, things like stealing from others and/or ripping people off would make business go down or someone is going to bring a lawsuit and justice will happen that way.

Of course, I acknowledge that money is usually only a means to an end. Maybe @Achievable will find the dream in life is to get the world record in the 100 meter dash, solve all of the philosophical problems in the world, or to end war. These goals/dreams/objectives do not require money or only a limited amount, but I think we can all agree it would a lot easier to accomplish with money. Hence, it just makes sense to prioritize this especially since (in my opinion) a lack of prioritizing business interests is why a lot of people don't have the financial backing to do a lot of good things.

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by chewybrian » February 4th, 2019, 7:59 am

meaningful_products wrote:
February 3rd, 2019, 10:45 pm
@chewybrian
@Belindi

Putting business interests first is really a win-win for everyone. Most businesses succeed anyway by providing a quality, service to others within reason to ensure the business can grow and keep serving others in the long term. Also, a good business move is distinguishable from most people would think of as "selfish." Specifically, things like stealing from others and/or ripping people off would make business go down or someone is going to bring a lawsuit and justice will happen that way.

Of course, I acknowledge that money is usually only a means to an end. Maybe @Achievable will find the dream in life is to get the world record in the 100 meter dash, solve all of the philosophical problems in the world, or to end war. These goals/dreams/objectives do not require money or only a limited amount, but I think we can all agree it would a lot easier to accomplish with money. Hence, it just makes sense to prioritize this especially since (in my opinion) a lack of prioritizing business interests is why a lot of people don't have the financial backing to do a lot of good things.
My cable company set me up with $29 internet and basic cable for one year, with the understanding that the rate would rise from this promotional rate to the 'regular' rate of $39 after a year. Two years later, my bill is $90 with no increase in the level of service. They are effectively lying to people about their intentions and hoping people will be too inattentive or too lazy to balk at the higher rates and leave.

My employer informed us last year that they were making the 'difficult business decision' to stop giving out $25 gift cards to employees for the grocery store at Christmas time, so that employees could buy Christmas dinner supplies.

You could find many more examples of predatory lending practices, using prison labor from foreign countries, and other questionable business practices that make perfect sense to someone 'putting business interests first'. You can find some comfortable theories about rising tides lifting all boats and selfishness helping everyone if you want to justify such actions. But I find them hollow.

Money can make it easier to solve problems, but it is not the only means to help people. And, it makes a difference how you got the money. Do you think that Al Capone running a soup kitchen justifies the rest of his actions and makes him a good person (he actually did, btw)? To me, if you are a professional thief and a murderer, no amount of giving back could make up for that. And, he certainly kept plenty for himself.

Once you put money at the top of your list, even if you are telling yourself this is only temporary, you are lost, IMO. It's not always a bad thing to be in business, but it is wrong and dangerous to give it priority over ethics.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by meaningful_products » February 4th, 2019, 12:42 pm

You will have a hard time getting me to agree that predatory lending practices or any of those things you mentioned are good for business.

When you say ethics should be at the top of your list, what does that mean and how to you justify that?

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by chewybrian » February 4th, 2019, 8:12 pm

meaningful_products wrote:
February 4th, 2019, 12:42 pm
When you say ethics should be at the top of your list, what does that mean and how to you justify that?
It means you should commit to some dogma or core beliefs to use as guardrails before heading out into the world, rather than letting your desires 'drive the bus'. The stoics choose the four cardinal virtues of: wisdom, justice, courage and temperance, and that is a good start if you ask me. I do not believe your principles need to, or should, be taken on faith, as in religion. You should decide for yourself what principles will guide you to be the person you want to be. By making choices consistent with your principles, you will know that you are making real progress. By contrast, simply making money or acquiring possessions does not show that you have done any real good for yourself or others.
What is by its very nature capable of hindering moral purpose? Nothing that lies outside the field of choice, but only the faculty of choice itself when turned in the wrong way. For this reason the faculty of choice becomes the only vice, or the only virtue.--Epictetus
My favorite philosopher, Epictetus, puts forth the idea that to live well you must be rational, and that includes fulfilling your duties to others, as defined by your relationship to them. Fulfilling these duties amounts to putting your ethics ahead of your desires. You might try "The Enchiridion" by Epictetus if you are interested: (it's fairly short, easy to read, but also rich with insight)

http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/epicench.html

Here is a great study guide if you want a deeper understanding:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tv7gngX ... K5UknnwZCq

Here are a few quotes that came to mind:

Musonius Rufus was the predecessor to Epictetus. Here he explains the important stoic principle of 'living in accordance with nature', which means living up to your potential and doing what makes a human a human, rather than following selfish needs or desires:
"The nature of a human being did not arise on account of pleasure. Neither is this the case for the horse or dog or cow, and all of these creatures are much less valuable than the human being. A horse would not be considered to have fulfilled its purpose by happening to eat and drink and mate, and doing none of the things which are the proper work of a horse . . . Nor would any other animal if deprived of the functions proper to it and allowed to have its fill of pleasures; in short, according to this, nothing would be said to be living according to nature but what by its actions manifests the excellence peculiar to its own nature. For the nature of each guides it to its own excellence; consequently it is not reasonable to suppose that when man lives a life of pleasure that he lives according to nature, but rather when he lives a life of virtue."
--Musonius Rufus
Another that seems appropriate, from "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius:
So, you say, what good do I get [from virtue]? But what more good do you want than this? Instead of being a shameless man you will become a dignified man, instead of chaotic you will become organized, from being untrustworthy you will become trustworthy, instead of being out of control you will become sane. If you want anything more than this, keep on doing what you are already doing: not even a God can now help you.
--Marcus Aurelius
It seems self-evident to me that virtue is its own reward. I won't be able to fit it into a tidy logical proof if that is what you seek.

But, now I'd like to turn your question back on you. When you say people should put business first and that the value of helping others comes second, how do you justify this? Is it only with the implied promise of using your wealth to help others in the future? What is your assurance that you will be wealthy in the future? Can't you always promise to help others after you get just a little wealthier, and never get around too it? If helping people is the right thing to do, and you want to help them, then why shouldn't you help them right now?
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by meaningful_products » February 5th, 2019, 1:37 am

Thanks for the knowledge and videos. Epictetus is one of my favorites as well. Here are the answers to your questions:

"When you say people should put business first and that the value of helping others comes second, how do you justify this?"

Imagine a lady named "person A" on an island by herself with the belief that there would be no return to civilization. Money would be useless in this situation. If she had a million dollars it would not matter. Nonetheless, person A has a choice of either committing suicide, or experiencing life until death. I assume we can all agree that survival is the "better" choice (I have an anti-suicide argument to but this is omitted to save space); however, to experience life person A must prioritize survival. She must gather food, water, medicine, and shelter. Sure, I will agree that Person A might have a 'higher end' in sight such as maximizing her own emotional happiness, worshiping a God, or whatever the higher purposes may be. This is like running a business with person A as her own customer/client. The business fuels person A so that she can accomplish these higher purposes until death, and perhaps even after that depending on what you believe.

Now imagine another lady named person B comes onto the island. If you accept what I said above as true, it would not really make sense for person A just give all of the food, water, medicine, and shelter to person B and then die. It just does not make sense no matter how many different ways I think about it.

By the same token, it would also not make sense for person A to try to keep all the food, medicine, water, and shelter for herself because the likelihood is that person B will fight person A for these resources. There has to be some kind of give and take. Person A must alter her business model to accommodate person B. This is what I call a good business move and it creates harmony between person A and person B.

When I say putting business interests first that really means just prioritizing it. I can concede that one is capable of choosing a higher purpose than getting more money as an internal motivation, but continuously taking your business to the next level is a pretty darn good internal motivation as well. When one focuses on constantly making good business moves like in my example, the world falls into place. The same principle will apply if there are three people on the island, four people, or even ten billion people.

Moreover, and as a practical matter, I disagree that it is easy for an ordinary person to maintain a basic financial level to ensure that he or she and the family will be able to eat, sleep, and maintain a basic level of happiness for the remainder of life. On the contrary, it is very difficult. 90-95% of businesses fail. Poverty is at an all-time high. The number one reason for divorce involves a lack of financial backing. If everyone in the world were to focus on their good business interests, I think more harmony would be created and lot of these problems would go away. In fact, maybe @Achievable should focus her life on teaching others good business practices since obviously Achievable is very good at this. At 22 years old not many people can say they built a business that can pay for ones lifelong living expenses.

Ayn Rand has a theory of morality that is like this. Just don't categorize me as an "Ayn Rand philosopher" because I disagree with a lot of what she says to.

"Is it only with the implied promise of using your wealth to help others in the future?"

Its not that black and white. You can put aside 10% of your earnings on a regular basis to charity instead of saving money for ten years before anyone else sees a penny of it. I also made the point before that when you do business well you end up helping more people than you would otherwise in the grand scheme of things.

"What is your assurance that you will be wealthy in the future?"

Its ultimately a leap of faith based on a mixture of theoretical knowledge and experience, but I think there is an element of compromise as well.

"Can't you always promise to help others after you get just a little wealthier, and never get around too it?"

You can. I still think when you do business well you end up helping more people than you would otherwise in the grand scheme of things.

"If helping people is the right thing to do, and you want to help them, then why shouldn't you help them right now?"

If helping people is the right thing to do, then you should help them whether you want to or not. Whether helping people is the right thing to do, at any given moment, is an entirely different question.

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by chewybrian » February 5th, 2019, 7:36 am

MP, I do appreciate the potential to be ethical in business, and I think many people and some firms are able to maintain their ethics and achieve success in business. Yet, the more successful you become, the more pressure there is to succumb to the easy path. Imagine competing with Walmart, when they source from China (where ethics are purposely removed to attract business) and pay their employees just enough to entice them to show up. They know that by keeping wages in a certain 'sweet spot', employees will still be eligible for food stamps, meaning that the rest of society effectively picks up some of the cost for Walmart, allowing them to return more for investors. This is the reality of big business.

Will customers be willing to reward your company for paying a living wage and sourcing domestic products which cost more? Can you pass these cost along to your customers and survive against Walmart? In some smaller niches you probably can, by selling better quality products or providing better service, but you are never going to match sales with Walmart head to head unless the public suddenly becomes very enlightened about the impacts of their purchases.

I studied finance in college, and I'll never forget the two minutes devoted to something called 'externalities'. This word gathers up all ethical considerations within the science of finance. It represents anything which is 'external' to the equation which calculates the expected effects of your decisions on the value of shareholders' equity. If something does not affect the bottom line, then it is 'external', or outside the considerations of the science of finance. The professor literally told us that pollution, lost jobs or low wages for workers, abuses of foreign workers, and any other ethical considerations were nothing more than a footnote in terms of finance. They should be discussed with your priest or your shrink, but they have no impact on your analysis as a CFO. Your job as CFO is to increase shareholders' equity, and nothing more, meaning putting as much as possible on the bottom line, and causing the stock price to rise as fast and as far as possible.

The natural pressure of the free market is going to always push you to take the easy way out. Should you sort your purchases at Amazon by price, and choose the cheapest source for your supplies, or should you take the time to consider the impact of your choice on the workers down the line, on the environment, etc? Can you afford to make ethical choices and survive against competitors who are willing to do almost anything to make a profit? The logical choice to put the most on the bottom line would seldom be the most ethical choice. If you think about it, you must see how these ideals would often or always be in conflict in business. It is naive to think that the nature of business is to do good for others. Of course, you must provide value to entice a purchase. But there are often costs to other stakeholders that meet or exceed the benefits to shareholders.

So, to get back to the point, if you head into this business world without strong principles to guide your decisions, and without the commitment to keep to such principles, you can see where you are likely to drift. If you enter the arena and play the game by the rules laid out by finance, you are likely to lose sight of ethics pretty quickly. You can justify your actions to yourself with some comfy theories about the best and highest use of capital and such, but the harsh reality is that you are squeezing 'value' out of the little people at the bottom of the pyramid, at home and abroad. Business is only about doing the 'right' thing for the shareholders. This is why it is critical that you hold your own ethics to be more important than business considerations, lest you be swept along with the current of business, unaware of the harm your decisions may be causing to others.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."

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Re: Please help me to understand what it is that I need to know to change our world

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » March 14th, 2019, 12:48 pm

First study yourself. Then study the your system. Meanwhile, work on your ability to study. Truths present themselves where truths are, being that you know to look and are able to see.

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