Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Little School of Horrors



And says, "How does it feel to be such a freak?"
And you say, "Impossible" As he hands you a bone. - Bob Dylan


He stopped doing it years ago, because if he hadn't he'd have killed himself or someone else by now, but New York artist Joe Coleman used to blow himself up.

As "Professor Mamboozo" - either his geek avatar or, as he described it, a raging spirit that would take possession of his body - Coleman would arrive uninvited at the house parties of strangers, provoke a confrontation and ignite the mass of firecrackers he'd strapped to his body. In the confusion, smoke and fear he would slip away before police arrived. When Mamboozo debuted on New York's avant garde art scene in a 1981 performance at the Kitchen he also rolled in bloody meat, bit the heads off live rats and pressed a shotgun against the forehead of the woman who had booked him and asked, "How'd you like the show?" The traumatized crowed was an audience no more, Coleman having yanked them out of their art house detachment through horrification ritual and the sudden shock of their own possible, imminent death. ("I told them as hard as I could without killing them," Coleman told Re/Search in Pranks.)

I thought about Coleman the other day when I read of the teachers of an elementary school in Tennessee who convinced their sixth graders a gunman was attacking, and repeatedly told the hysterical children it wasn't a drill.

One hooded teacher pulled on a locked door, "pretending to be a suspicious subject," and another told the students there had been a shooting, and that they were to lie on the floor in the dark and keep quiet. Twenty kids started to cry and tremble and beg for their lives. Some held hands.

"I was like, 'Oh my God,'" said 11-year old Shay Naylor. "At first I thought I was going to die. We flipped out - I was freaked out. I thought it was serious."

School officials cite "poor judgment," but it's a prank worthy of Joe Coleman. They told them as hard as they could without killing them. And when Coleman would lead his classrooms beyond endurance and up to the edge of their own oblivion, he didn't do it simply because he was an artist, but because he had also had visceral contempt for his audience and all of humanity. "You say the man who hates his fellow man is the problem," he wrote in a poem/rant. "But they ain't the problem. You're the problem. The sexual deviant, the murderer, the serial killer, the taker of human life is the cure. You're the problem...."

Teachers and staff may tell themselves and the parents of their charges that it was an exercise in preparedness, but it takes a special antipathy for an adult to terrorize a child, even when they have already told themselves they're terrorizing the children for their own good. And this is often what children brutalized by ritual cult abuse and trauma-based mind control are told: that it's for their own good, and that it will transfigure their minds and flesh into something which mundane experience is incapable of producing. As perhaps other teachers in another small town told themselves and their nursery age children before they drugged and raped them and forced their participation in candle-lit ceremonies.

Naggingly, there is transfiguration in trauma, and it can be communicated through both art and ritual. Coleman calls himself an "alchemist - I'm trying to transform base emotions into a kind of gold." Together, art and ritual are the nucleic acids of religion, which intends to remanifest naive states unknown to us in our current nature, whether that mean union with the divine, with our deeper selves, or with something else. (I hadn't heard the term before I typed it, but I now see "remanifest" is one of the "Aeon-supporting Words" of the Temple of Set.)

The artist and the priest are often tormented by what's missing; by the absence of God and the silence of spirits. But Chesterton, writing of Yeats' "concrete mysticism," said it was "not abnormal men like artists, but normal men like peasants, who have borne witness a thousand times to such things. It is the farmers who see the fairies. It is the agricultural labourer who calls a spade a spade, who also calls a spirit a spirit." It has been those most connected to the Earth who have also found the invisible, visible. Modern life made even the Earth invisible. Now that Earth is recognized to have fallen into crisis worthy of a super villain, and everyone in the "developed world" is seeing green and increasingly experiencing the trauma of a life out of order, we shouldn't be surprised if we start to see stranger things, again, as though for the first time.

The New York Times, reviewing a retrospective of Joe Coleman's paintings last September, wrote that, "in a startlingly prophetic vision of his from 2000 the twin towers burn."


By the way, a provocative post last Sunday from Joseph Cannon on the latest DC hooker scandal. A former high-priced escort he knew "became convinced that the high-powered individuals she saw (she did not name any names and I did not press) were possessed by demons. Literally. She was so persuasive that I could not bring myself to disbelieve her - and I'm not the kind of guy who buys into tales about demons.")

And I apologize again for the irregular updates. Blogging, while getting a book together, while keeping down a day-job, while keeping up a family has been harder than I'd thought. I wasn't thinking.

95 Comments:

Blogger elephant said...

Jeff, your Cannon link doesn't seem right.

5/15/2007 11:13:00 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Thanks - corrected.

5/15/2007 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

Y'know, i like Joe Coleman & all, but when he says this:
"You say the man who hates his fellow man is the problem," he wrote in a poem/rant. "But they ain't the problem. You're the problem. The sexual deviant, the murderer, the serial killer, the taker of human life is the cure. You're the problem....,"
Don't you think that he's over-intellectualizing the motives of serial killers just a tad?

I know Joe insists that without his art he'd be a serial killer, but I really don't buy it.

Although it sounds good in interviews doesn't it?

Nothing like affecting the quintessential bad boy image to raise ones worth amongst the intelligentsia here in the US of A.

5/15/2007 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger tmb said...

Interesting article on http://www.earthfiles.com/
as to a new book on the founding of the National Enquirer by the CIA thru a psychological warfare expert in their employ by the name of Pope. The idea being that by mixing in credible reports of UFOs etc. w/sensational garbage thru the years, the credibility of UFO reports etc. was destroyed and made a joke - - a true psychological warfare method . . . we need to face the fact that this is standard throughout the "mainstream media" - - God knows how many of these "operations" or "programs" are in place - - all aimed at misdirecting, misinforming and generally downward directing US citizens . . . what's the difference between being possessed by a demon and just acting that way all the time? Whether Cheney or the Bush family et al are "possessed" or not, the result is the same . . . .

5/15/2007 12:22:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

Because Demons are so much more exciting than just plain old Psychopaths.

5/15/2007 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

My children love me to traumatize them. They ask me to play the monster.....and man, do I play the monster. They practically piss their pants every time....it's quite convincing. They always come back for more, though...until I have to tell them no more because I'm tired of scaring the shit out of them.

I guess, like the Tennessee School Teachers, I'm doing my part to prepare them for a highly improbable meeting with the President and Vice-President......since they're Monsters, afterall.

5/15/2007 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger hoi polloi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/15/2007 03:49:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew James said...

Hi Jeff

Keep up the good work ... your posts are interesting and encouraging. Let's hope you can continue to fit the blogging in with everything else... I know what you mean ... I'm relatively new to blogging ... and to keep up the pace it is so hard work with a job and a family etc etc. Please visit my site ... if you wish to contribute ... let me know. It would be appreciated

5/15/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

It's hard to imagine how such high-level politicians could not be possessed.

Here's a comment thread I participated in at Cryptogon:

...

On the subject of possession, I’m going off a model I first encountered at Ran Prieur’s site, e.g. his recent statement “But a large part of human nature is to be an empty vessel for possession.” I can’t quite remember what Ran’s influences are on that subject, but they could, in part, be D. Jensen’s more recent work.

To truly appreciate what I’m getting at, you have to see that these entities (or “programs” if you want to remove the woo-woo factor) have a very long time horizon, e.g. centuries. Some people are possessed their entire lives, living out a predetermined algorithm, all the while thinking they are autonomous. In fact, probably most people fall in that category. Think in terms of cellular automata.

I personally believe the true dimensions of this lie outside time, i.e. we are living on a chessboard organized by “acausal” entities. In fact, I don’t really believe that time exists outside human (or perhaps mammalian) consciousness. But this is too much Wellsian weirdness for some people, so I generally try to keep discussions relatively grounded.

5/15/2007 05:28:00 PM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

IC, you said, "So, the world wars weren’t manufactured conflicts? How about the Cold War? Haven’t we seen the fake Soviet troop estimates, don’t we know what game Gehlen & the CIA were playing? How about Vietnam? What was the propaganda machine doing in that one? Can we think of any reason why those in control (or who aspire to control, if you don’t think they’re there yet) would want a divided populace?"

Yeah, so what?

People in control orchestrate wars...big fucking deal. That seems to dance hand-in-effing-hand with being human.

People orchestrate fights so they can get pussy.

People also kill people....every fucking day.

Crap like the Cho slaughter unleashes an avalanche of ghoulish speculation about Gladio & Manchurian Candidates & mind control & big Pharma, etc., but it may have escaped everyone's attention that thousands upon thousands of people slaughter each other every year for the most mundane & half-witted reasons.

Personally pal, if instigating terror were the PB& J's main aim, spree killers ain't the route to ride on.
I, myself, find the well-armed neighborhood drunk with a chip on his shoulder a bit more scary than the big shoot 'em up wack-jobs. Being afraid of a spree killer ranks up there with being petrified of a lightning strike on the rational thought scale.

Humans do not need programming to be total shits pal.
They manage it quite nicely on their own.

Take Joe Coleman, who has made a career out of bad boy posturing & scaring the bejesus out of whitebread suburbia.

Joe, for all his art talent, is little better than those women who proposed to Richard Ramirez or Ted Bundy .

For Joe's info, cause he may not have noticed, white folks ain't that hard to terrorize.

If Joe wanted to make a statement of hate, I'd be glad to direct him down river from me where parties involving young black folk apparently end in massive amounts gun fire at least 50% of the time.
Joe could walk in & he wouldn't even have to insult one of the womenfolk, just his very white presence would inspire the removal of many handguns. Then, when Joe lights his shirt on fire, the only thing blowing up would be his bullet riddled corpse.

5/15/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

I shouldn't respond to the comment made by hoipolloi. But I can say this: This lady -- and that is the term I prefer to use -- can write, and has written her own books. She will one day be famous for her talent. She is the finest unpublished author I have ever run across, and she will not be unpublished for long.

And you had better display some wordsmithing abilities of your own if you want the right to hurl insults at your betters.

5/15/2007 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

She is the finest unpublished author I have ever run across, and she will not be unpublished for long.

Are you suggesting she will convince some of her demonically possessed clients to pull some strings for her?

I would agree with you that she is no more a whore than Lynn Cheney or Barbara Bush or the chick who married Larry King.

I would have thought men like the president and vice-president would be able to procure the services of $3,000/hr. "Escorts" versus $300/hr.

Anyway, I'm enjoying IC's and Richard's kerfuffle. It's poignant and pertinent and I'm pulled in both directions......a paradox, if you will.

5/15/2007 07:15:00 PM  
Blogger Matthew James said...

This is an interesting point raised - "To truly appreciate what I’m getting at, you have to see that these entities (or “programs” if you want to remove the woo-woo factor) have a very long time horizon, e.g. centuries" Centuries could be the operative word ... when you read the ancient accounts of the immortality of the gods ... our 'gods' are more than likely flesh and blood entities from planetary worlds such as Nibiru (The Anunnaki). Now, with the orbital year of Nibiru being much greater than Earth ... 3500 years on Earth is ONE year equivalent on Nibiru (termed a SAR). Thus if the politicians are genetically linked at all with the Nibiruans then it is likely they could last longer life spans than ourselves. Plus the Nibiruan overlords are able to plan their stratergy more readily through human history when basically the creation of 'christian religion' only took place about 10 months ago in their time span ... !!

5/15/2007 07:25:00 PM  
Blogger AJ said...

"Because Demons are so much more exciting than just plain old Psychopaths. "

Yes Shrub, but then what's the difference?
Sadly, I must agree with what JAD inferred:
We don't need a lot of help to make a mess.

5/15/2007 09:33:00 PM  
Blogger Sounder said...

Perhaps the old form, 'demons' can be replaced by something like 'morphic resonance entanglements'.

5/15/2007 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

Matthew, to be perfectly clear: I don't personally believe that such entities/demons/programs exist physically in any sense except as an algorithm or a memetic system on a human substrate. I do believe they have intentionality (and, as an aside, I also believe that the invention of the corporation has made them more physically manifest). The key insight here is the fact that systems can take on a life of their own and become self-replicating and self-preserving. The Niburu/Annunaki thing, while interesting and perhaps even a great poetic metaphor, is too speculative to be taken literally. Just my opinion.

5/15/2007 09:46:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

Morphic resonance entanglement is probably technically accurate (but so is self-replicating and self-preserving algorithm. However, both terms lack the poetry of demon, which carries appropriate semantic weight.

5/15/2007 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

Well IC, I finally had time to read your link.
Like most academic papers I've read, you learn almost as much from what the paper's typist leaves out as what he plops into the paper.
That "damned data" that Charles Fort was always going on about, I suppose.

Here are some of my fav. quotes:

"Striking depictions of primate empathy and altruism can be found in Yerkes (1925), Ladygina-Kohts (2002 [1935]), Goodall (1990), and de Waal (1998 [1982], 1996, 1997a). Primate empathy is such a rich area that O’Connell (1995) was able to conduct a content analysis of thousands of qualitative reports. She concluded that responses to the distress of another seem considerably more complex in apes than monkeys."

&

" It is important to stress the incredible strength of the ape’s helping response, which makes these animals take great risks on behalf of others. Whereas in a recent debate about the origins of morality, Kagan (2000) considered it obvious that a chimpanzee would never jump into a cold lake to save another, it may help to quote Goodall (1990: 213) on this issue:

In some zoos, chimpanzees are kept on man-made islands, surrounded by water-filed moats. . . . Chimpanzees cannot swim and, unless they are rescued, will drown if they fall into deep water. Despite this, individuals have sometimes made heroic efforts to save companions from drowning— and were sometimes successful. One adult male lost his life as he tried to rescue a small infant whose incompetent mother had allowed it to fall into the water. "

Gee, it makes our primate ancestors look positively saintly, doesn't it?

Or not.

From a book entitled The Lucifer Principle by Howard Bloom:

"Dian Fossey, who devoted 19 years to living among and observing the mountain gorillas of central Africa's Virunga Mountains, felt these creatures were the most peaceful on earth. Yet mountain gorillas become killers when their social groups come face to face. Clashes between social units, said Fossey, account for 62% of the wounds on gorillas. 74% of the males Fossey observed carried the scars of battle, and 80% had canine teeth they'd lost or broken while trying to bite the opposition. Fossey actually recovered skulls with canine cusps still embedded in their crests.

" One gorilla group will deliberately seek out another and provoke a conflict. The resulting battles between gorilla tribes are furious. One of the bands that Fossey followed was led by a powerful silverback, an enormous male who left a skirmish with his flesh so badly ripped that the head of an arm bone and numerous ligaments stuck out through the broken skin. The old ruling male, whom Fossey called Beethoven, had been supported in the fight by his son , Icarus. Icarus left the battle scene with 8 massive wounds where the enemy had bitten him on the head and arms. The site where the conflict had raged was covered with blood, tufts of fur, broken saplings, and diarrhetic dung."

Damn those gorilla Morlock puppetmasters & their blood soaked agendas, eh IC?

But surely those cute little chimpanzees will give support to the thesis you love so much.

Or not.

Again, from Blooms book:

"Gorillas are not the only sub-humans to cluster in groups that set off to search for blood. By the early 70s, Jane Goodall had lived 14 years among the wild chimpanzees of Tanzania's Gombe Reserve. She loved the chimps for their gentle ways, so different from the violence back home among humans.
"Goodall published a landmark book on chimpanzee behavior-In the Shadow of Man-a work that to some proved unequivocally that war was a human creation.
"Then, 3 years after Goodall's book was printed, a series of incidents occured that horrified her. The tribe of chimps Goodall had been watching became quite large. Food was harder to find. Quarrels broke out. To relieve the pressure, the unit finally split into two seperate tribes. One band stayed in the old home territory. The other left to carve out a new life in the forest to the south.
"At first, the two groups lived in relative peace. Then the males from the larger band began to make trips south to the patch of land occupied by the splinter unit. The marauders' purpose was simple: to harass & ultimately kill the separatists. They beat their former friends mercilessly, breaking bones, opening massive wounds, and leaving the resultant cripples to die a slow lingering death. When the raids were over, five males and one elderly female had been murdered. the separatist group had been destroyed; and its sexually active females and part of its territory had been annexed by the males of the band from the home turf.
"Years later, biological ecologist Michael Ghiglieri traveled to Uganda to see just how widespread chimpanzee warfare really is. He concluded that "the happy-go-lucky chimpanzee has turned out to be the most lethal ape-an organized, cooperative warrior."

Nope. No genetic programming here, eh IC?

Just those damn elite again, forcing us to bonk each other in the head with blunt instruments against the dictates of our true lovey dovey inclinations.

At times pal, you remind of this upscale gent I observed at an outdoor art show my wife dragged me to when we were dating.
His kid, maybe 3 years old, was having the most incredibly hellacious little temper tantrum.
So dad, Birkenstock wearing sweater over the shoulders rationalist that he was, knelt down & said, "Son, it's time to put all that negative emotion aside & think happy thoughts."
The kid then balled up his little fist & popped dad right in the nose.
Dad, by now awash in his own negative emotions, snatched the kid up under his arm & raced out of there.
It was funny as hell.
Truly.

By the way, any other cherry picked academic papers on hand to further your cause?

Or are we done now?

5/15/2007 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

One more thing IC, until compulsively chipper folk like yourself start admitting that yes, we really are shits at heart, we're going to keep trucking along deep in a state of "gee ain't we great" denial .Digging ourselves deeper & deeper into this hole we're in.

In my opinion, an opinion that should carry weight with no one but myself, I think we need to acknowledge, as a species, that we really fucking aren't the bee's knees that we think we are. Only then will we have a shot, & I still think it's a slim shot, of transcending or, if you will, hacking our own mental hard drives & re-wiring the bugger to overcome our inherent genetic short-comings.

Of course, what comes out of the butt end of this process will probably no longer be "human," but "human" is so damn 20th century, isn't it?

Otherwise, you optimists start to sound like the damn Black Knight:

ARTHUR:
Now stand aside, worthy adversary.
BLACK KNIGHT:
'Tis but a scratch.
ARTHUR:
A scratch? Your arm's off!
BLACK KNIGHT:
No, it isn't.
ARTHUR:
Well, what's that, then?
BLACK KNIGHT:
I've had worse.
ARTHUR:
You liar!
BLACK KNIGHT:
Come on, you pansy!
[clang]
Huyah!
[clang]
Hiyaah!
[clang]
Aaaaaaaah!
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's right arm off]
ARTHUR:
Victory is mine!
[kneeling]
We thank Thee Lord, that in Thy mer--
BLACK KNIGHT:
Hah!
[kick]
Come on, then.
ARTHUR:
What?
BLACK KNIGHT:
Have at you!
[kick]
ARTHUR:
Eh. You are indeed brave, Sir Knight, but the fight is mine.
BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh, had enough, eh?
ARTHUR:
Look, you stupid bastard. You've got no arms left.
BLACK KNIGHT:
Yes, I have.
ARTHUR:
Look!
BLACK KNIGHT:
Just a flesh wound.
[kick]
ARTHUR:
Look, stop that.
BLACK KNIGHT:
Chicken!
[kick]
Chickennn!
ARTHUR:
Look, I'll have your leg.
[kick]
Right!
[whop]
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's right leg off]
BLACK KNIGHT:
Right. I'll do you for that!
ARTHUR:
You'll what?
BLACK KNIGHT:
Come here!
ARTHUR:
What are you going to do, bleed on me?
BLACK KNIGHT:
I'm invincible!
ARTHUR:
You're a looney.
BLACK KNIGHT:
The Black Knight always triumphs! Have at you! Come on, then.
[whop]
[ARTHUR chops the BLACK KNIGHT's last leg off]
BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh? All right, we'll call it a draw.
ARTHUR:
Come, Patsy.
BLACK KNIGHT:
Oh. Oh, I see. Running away, eh? You yellow bastards! Come back here and take what's coming to you. I'll bite your legs off!

5/15/2007 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger Belliosto said...

Yes men are apes. Thanks for that just another dick. A weaker male of the species is a moving target to the stronger males. But that does not mean a stronger male has better judgment. Nor does it mean that a man who murders another does not experience the guilt of murder. If guilt does set in he torments himself as his own executioner.

5/16/2007 12:06:00 AM  
Blogger ericswan said...

Hey Movie Girl.. Yes, it happens to me to. I usually don't try too hard to get the spelling right the first time as it is rejected anyway. There is a reason for this "glitch". It proves to me that "the powers that be" really can't control the internet like they wish so they they throw in a mind f... just to keep us all guessing and I'm guessing that we're out of "their" control.

Richard..when I suggested to IC that the only way out of this mess is to network with neighbors, he dropped the ball. It may be some time for him or me for that matter, to roll over to your point of view but it's a valid one and has been planted in us with stranger danger, survival of the fittest memes that are reinforced and strictly adhered. There are groups of people on the planet that are all true. Find one and set your soul free.

5/16/2007 01:38:00 AM  
Blogger friendlyfascism said...

I want to point out to the primate combatants the existence, if they were not already aware, of the Bonobo, a cousin of the chimp, that resolves all conflict by group sex. Google for yourself and see-- truly the foreparents of Man's better angels.

Or then again, in light of events in Italy and elsewhere, from McMartin to Boy's Town, perhaps not.

And though I fear it would be stating the obvious, we are a "piece of work" in Hamlet's phrase, and both Angels and Demons, in (forgive me) Dan Brown's. The trick is not to be too partial either way when weighing the matter.

Could someone direct me to the best place to find out about the DC madam scandal?

Thanks.

5/16/2007 01:41:00 AM  
Blogger friendlyfascism said...

I want to point out to the primate combatants the existence, if they were not already aware, of the Bonobo, a cousin of the chimp, that resolves all conflict by group sex. Google for yourself and see-- truly the foreparents of Man's better angels.

Or then again, in light of events in Italy and elsewhere, from McMartin to Boy's Town, perhaps not.

And though I fear it would be stating the obvious, we are a "piece of work" in Hamlet's phrase, and both Angels and Demons, in (forgive me) Dan Brown's. The trick is not to be too partial either way when weighing the matter.

Could someone direct me to the best place to find out about the DC madam scandal?

Thanks.

5/16/2007 01:42:00 AM  
Blogger friendlyfascism said...

By the by, everyone, please enjoy this little piece of melodrama lately dripped from the poisoned pens of Langley or Crystal City, and duly transcribed by The New York Times.

Please note, too, that one of the characters in this strange, eventful history is the husband of a woman presumed dead on September 11th, 2001.


http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/16/washington/16nsa.html?hp

If I was unsucessful with the link it's the story about Ashcroft sitting up in his sickbed and refusing to sign that eavsdropping permission... Oh, I told you it was rich!

5/16/2007 01:49:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

"Years later, biological ecologist Michael Ghiglieri traveled to Uganda to see just how widespread chimpanzee warfare really is. He concluded that "the happy-go-lucky chimpanzee has turned out to be the most lethal ape-an organized, cooperative warrior."

Nope. No genetic programming here, eh IC?"


Maybe they found out afterwards that the better mineral rights were given away to the breakaway ape troupe. Perhaps of coltan.

Maybe it was a deal cut with Reagan to consolidate the area for multinational penetration.

Maybe...we don't know the whole story. And maybe....one variable models of the world don't capture the whole story either. At the risk of being libelous, with Howard Bloom's ilk you can count on very one sided causal views and rigged argumentation about the world. They think they are talking science, though they are just talking political philosophy projections into what they want to see.

It reminds me of Alan Curtis's interview in Part Two of his "The Trap" BBC program (link below). He does an intellectual archaeology on the origin of all this causal genetic assumption thinking and its implications for politics over the 20th century. He interviews at one point a 'selfish gene' researcher, who cataloged all of the Amazonian Yanomami internecine warrior dynamics--filming them, interviewing them, getting lineage trees, bribing them with nice machetes to let him hang around and 'observe their genes in action'--all for hoping to find how a selfish gene theory could be perhaps teased out of the mountains of data that he gathered by observing the warmaking of social creatures.

Others say, which Curtis quotes and related to the squirming guy he was interviewing "Instead of the genetic theory of warlike behavior, have you ever pondered to look in their hands, the pattern is that they are fighting over those nice machetes you gave them, according to others." Interview was over in a nanosecond huff, the genetic researcher pulls the microphone off his chest and walks off camera.

Science lesson #1: "scientists don't like to complicate single variable model, particularly if they have spent their whole life attempting to apply it."

Political lesson #1: political dogmatism does the same.

Wacky world lesson #1: the politicians with these kind of views like to hire genetic scientists with these kind of views.

Nice film series:

The Trap: Episode One (Adam Curtis, BBC)
59 min - Mar 23, 2007 -
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8372545413887273321&q=the+trap

And see 19:20 min into part two for that interview: "behind these new ideas for how society was to be managed, was the model of the individual as a rational calculating machine whose self interested behavior could be analyzed by numbers. This simplified version of us had been created back in the Cold War by game theorists, ..that everything humans did or felt had been programmed into us by our genes. And all our actions were the result of rational calculation of that genetic program....The roots of these ideas go back to the early 1970s, when geneticists who were studying the behavior of animals made a conceptual shift: they started to look at the animals behavior from [what they argued, instead of actually proved] was the gene's point of view."

And all that as just a huge analogy gets applied into political economic models, just as if we were still in the late 1800s.

Adam Curtis's whole series "The Trap" is an excellent introduction on how genetics and right wing neocon policy leap from one to the other as if there is something holding them together beyond the analogy of the subjective model itself: material science theories get unfortunately 'applied' into political ideologies by mere analogy, and visa versa.

(Though oops: Genes don't really work as completely hardwired things, they are interactive with environmental influences, turning off and on, and genes might even be called a record of environmental changes or a huge off/on recipe file of what do to in different environmental contexts, instead of something of some Nietzschean will forced upon the environment as such.)

If you're going to use genetically causal arguments, at least find out how most genes seem to actually work, instead of how philosophies want to make them causally work so predictably that we can scale up to social politics.

The former is interesting, the latter is a dark spiral into the "applied science ideologies" justifying eugenics, sterilization, and barely 'updated' (sic) into the assumptions of sociobiology or even neocon policies.

The 'causal gene' or 'genetic driven behavior' has been an opportunistically convenient control discourse of the aristocrats of late 1800s Anglo-America to the present, who of course only from this philosophy have one conclusion: killing people is all that works. However, we found out later genes don't work that way all the time, perhaps not even most of the time, though many political ideologies looking just for an excuse to crush people will reach out for any justification.

* "Tudge reviews what genes are and how they function. This in-depth overview is one of the best summations of genetic processes in print."

5/16/2007 03:20:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Specifically, Curtis's film details the surprising correlation of methods that was the basis of a political alliance between Cold War game theorists and selfish gene minded genetic researchers. Curtis argues when this link was made they morphed together into an uber-ideology: "the trap" that rules us by oversimplifying us today.

5/16/2007 03:27:00 AM  
Blogger slomo said...

Though oops: Genes don't really work as completely hardwired things, they are interactive with environmental influences, turning off and on, and genes might even be called a record of environmental changes or a huge off/on recipe file of what do to in different environmental contexts, instead of something of some Nietzschean will forced upon the environment as such.

Genes simply function as code for a biological algorithm. Nothing more, nothing less. Once launched, the algorithm gives rise to a biological system ("organism") that interacts with its environment and has its own emergent properties. To the extent that genes predispose specific neural pathways, there may be some genetic determinism of behavior. But different organisms interact, with feedback loops reinforcing or curtailing other feedback loops, so that a rich megasystem of collective behaviors results.

Genes are deterministic only to the extent that your computer operating system is deterministic of what actually transpires over the life of the computer.

5/16/2007 07:30:00 AM  
Blogger slomo said...

In case there is misunderstanding, I should be more specific about what I mean here: To the extent that genes predispose specific neural pathways, there may be some genetic determinism of behavior.

Genes may determine behavioral tendencies. For example, if your body has relative difficulty in producing seratonin, then you will have more difficulty associating certain external events with a "happy" feeling. Therefore, you may be more prone to anxiety, which may in turn increase your probability of acting in certain ways (perhaps self-destructive due to rash decisions, or else self-protective in being more proactively vigilant).

To that extent, genes are deterministic, but only at the level of a stochastic process interacting with other stochastic processes with similar levels of determinism. In short, it would be difficult to predict any particular behavioral trajectory on the basis of genotype alone.

5/16/2007 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

Mark, obviously the point of my last post ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED right over your head. You say, "Maybe we don't know the whole story."

& I say, maybe you don't. IC posts a link to an academic paper from Princeton University that attempts to use the behavior of primates as some kind of indicator to measure whether altruism & morality is against human nature or whether it is the essence of human nature.
Furthermore, IC suggests I read this paper to "see the world through his eyes."
So I do, & what do I find but a paper that cherry-picks the details it needs to prove its point & conveniently leaves out the shit that disproves it.
Typical science, in my view.

All I did was provide the other side.

You go on to say this, "At the risk of being libelous, with Howard Bloom's ilk you can count on very one sided causal views and rigged argumentation about the world.

First off, have you read either of Bloom's books?

Second, when you say "ilk" are these who you refer to:
Virginia Morell, Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall, Michael Ghiglieri. Because these are the sources for what he writes.

As far as you keying on the Michal Ghiglieri quote, Bloom has an interesting qualifier in the notes:

"When Ghiglieri visited Africa, he was convinced that war amongst the chimps may have been an indirect human creation. To lure the chimps of Gombe into viewing distance, Jane Goodall had laid out clusters of bananas, a food that soon became the backbone of the animals' diet. Much, much later, Goodall decided to stop the handouts of simian welfare and left the primates to gather food for themselves. A few years after this change in policy, the chimps began to make war. Ghiglieri suspected that the provisioning of food by humans had set the stage for a violence that wouldn't have occurred without it. His years studying unprovisioned chimps in Kibale, however, convinced him he was wrong. Chimpanzees, he concluded, were subject to periodic outbreaks of war, with or without a human lending hand."

Gee, sounds pretty fair to me.

You go on to say, " They think they are talking science, though they are just talking political philosophy projections into what they want to see."

Gee, sounds like every motherfucking thing I've read on this comment board since I started reading it 2 years ago.
Amusingly enough, it also sounds like every right-wing answer to left wing war criticism.

"Oh me oh my, those left-wingers have to politicize everything."

Or some such.

But I guess, in this case, whats good for the goose, really isn't good for the gander, eh?

This also may have escaped your attention Mark, but everything ever written, whether you write it or I write it or IC writes it or Alan effing Moore writes it , is fucking propaganda to sell a point of view.

I know that in your head you think that you're the supreme judge of what is "truth" & what is "science" because you're the only one who can transcend the subjective & attain that lofty realm of total objectivity, but that is only "true" within the confines of your head.

No where else.

As far as the criticisms & qualifiers on gene behavior.....well, I truly don't give a fuck.
I have zero desire to learn genetics from an internet comment board.
IC threw down a POV & I answered it with another, equally valid, point of view.
End of fucking story.

Where "the truth" lies amongst all this chaos is up to other, more chaos averse, commentators to expound upon.

Me, I happen to like chaos, & I have no overriding obsession to "explain" everything with a causal relationship.

Good day.

5/16/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

This is some good shit!!

I like Richard's message. Until we accept our severe limitations as a species, we have no hope of transcending, if transcending is at all possible.

I believe in personal accountability, and I don't like the idea of giving a free pass to the shits around me that serve as fodder to propagate this fucked up system. They are not duped victims.....but rather pathetically weak and cowardly creatures who allow themsleves to be herded because it's easy.

I acknowledge that I am a cpative of the system....but at least I'm willing to admit what Richard admits. If we all could, perhaps it could provide the appropriate impetus to move to the next box...collectively. So long as we believe that the only reason we murder is because our controllers have madated it, we will be tethered to this nightmare we call our current reality.

Look how many people have to worship and adore celebrity. The celebrity is the fucking Silverback, you morons, and you're no different than the fucking gorillas in that respect....aside from your ingenious contraption that flashes the Silverback on the Silverscreen 24/7, it's the same fucking mechanism.

As Taylor said in The Planet of The Apes: There's gotta be something better than man out there......has to be.

5/16/2007 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...

Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white man arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society.

John (Fire) Lame Deer, Sioux Lakota, 1903-1976

What are we to make of this sarcasm laden comment on the meaning of civilization? Were the Native Americans savages? Are we? The first thing to consider when we begin this search for the meaning of “civilized” is that the great preponderance of writings on the subject come from the conquerors, not the vanquished. History is indeed written by the victors. Since the victors wish to present themselves in the best possible light, to emphasize their righteousness and minimize their less savory conduct, one must assume that any narrative they tell of themselves is infused with this bias. It is therefore not surprising that their accounts of those they have so righteously vanquished tend to paint their foes as bloodthirsty savages, uncivilized barbarians who stubbornly refused the great gifts that were so magnanimously bestowed upon them. The story repeats itself, again and again, in one conquered land after another. Substitute Celts for Indians and it’s the same old song and dance.

We could trace this history of self-serving histories, from Egypt and Persia and Rome all the way to the final empire—ours—but we know it already too well. It’s a pack of lies. In this one thing the old American Nazi Henry Ford was quite right: History is bunk. The Civil War in America was not fought to free the slaves—Lincoln would gladly have let slavery continue for the benefit of empire if the secessionists hadn’t forced his hand. WWI was not fought to make the world safe for democracy. WWII was not “the Good War” waged to save our Jewish brothers from genocide at the hands of the fascists who threatened democracy. Likewise with the Cold War, Korea & Vietnam. The reasons we’re given, the pious, self-righteous explanations that fill our textbooks are all crap. We can argue this endlessly, if we cared to, but we have more pressing business.

Despite the power of the Empire’s PR machine and the countervailing intrigues behind Peak Oil and Climate Change, it is becoming abundantly clear the Earth is in trouble. You can talk all you want about natural fluctuations in temperature and how we really can’t speculate with any degree of certainty on the effect of pollution and deforestation on the ecosystem, since we don’t really understand ecosystems (they’re so needlessly complicated & messy, unlike the straight clean lines of the world of man), but such obfuscations notwithstanding, any idiot can tell you that the world isn’t getting any prettier.

The problem with getting the straight scoop on Nature is that, unlike the myths of history, there aren’t any conveniently hidden documents that reveal the true nature of Nature. Worse, we are so far dislocated from the natural world and we are so conditioned by both the many thousands of years lived outside the natural rhythms of the Earth and by the mountains of exculpatory propaganda on the subject of Nature that we quite literally cannot see the forest for the trees. Remember, everything we have comes to us through the lens of Empire. Even so, conditioned as we are to believe any old nonsense we’re told, one can’t help but being struck by John Lame Deer’s lament. We came, we saw, and we conquered the shit out of some primitives. Are they better off for it? Are we? Is the Earth? Your intuition doesn’t need much rigor to answer in the negative here.

Still and all, despite the stark truth of this sad state of affairs, we persist in our delusion, our by now instinctive defense of empire, ‘cuz that’s all we know. Life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short, a war of every man against every man," right? This is an example of the kind of assumption on which our view of Nature is based, and it's in examining the assumptions that we find our first clue to the swindle that's been perpetrated on us.

It helps if we have some context for remarks like Hobbes' famous view of the state of nature. He wrote that after witnessing the horrors of the English Civil War. How many centuries had man been removed from his natural state when Hobbes attempted to describe it? This is important, since the modern defenders of the status quo do the very same thing--they look around themselves at the "state of man," living in his concrete jungle under the yoke of an exploitative system for uncounted generations, and proclaim, "Yep, man sure is one nasty piece of work!" That's his nature, don't you know.

It doesn't matter when you point out that ever since we were forced to give up the old ways at the dawn of agriculture we've been at the mercy of temporal powers, elites who manipulate us and our very thoughts through the manipulation of scarcity. The entire edifice of social structure & "knowledge" that has grown around these elites is itself mistaken as some sort of natural evolution. Indeed, the dogma of a peculiar interpretation of evolution itself serves the masters' interests very nicely.

According to this prevailing view, life is a struggle, Nature is cruel and to be dominated at all costs...you all know the story. In order to repel the darkness that is the primordial forest, what could be more natural than to embrace the system of hierarchies that have so naturally evolved? Strong men with a clear vision are needed to lead the lower orders through the dangerous morass that surrounds us. Is it surprising that Hobbes wrote his assessment of the state of nature in order to support the absolute authority of the State? That he believed that there was no justification for rebellion, ever, under any circumstances?

Of course, Locke came along afterward and tried to amend the social contract to allow for such unseemly events, when in the affairs of men it becomes necessary...And who could forget Rousseau's attempt to rewrite that contract? Ah, but he was a dreamer, a wearer of rose-colored glasses, a believer in utopias and noble savages--real men who know the real world dismiss such tripe with a knowing nod & a wink. (I'm pretty sure they don't eat quiche, wear Birkenstockers or spoil their children with politically correct excuses for their wretched behavior, either.)

How are we to challenge the accepted wisdom, anyway? I mean, so what if the elite exercise inordinate control over the masses and "their" institutions through hardball politics and inestimable wealth--we can always turn to Science for our view of nature. It's impartial, right? Above the fray and all that. Just look at all those papers justifying the prevailing view of Nature and the nature of man! They're all peer-reviewed, fer chrissakes! You'd have to be, well cherry-picking your evidence to support a contrary interpretation, wouldn't you?

Ah, the ease with which the official story is defended. I wonder if there's some correlation between this argument-by-volume and might makes right? Does it really matter in the end if Hobbes defined "our nature" in order to justify the politics of control? So what works as a defense, right?

The problem is that we're left with two less tha appealing choices: we either embrace Malthus, social Darwinism, the free hand of the market and the inevitability of the Empire, or we despair of man's base nature and wallow in our gloom & doom, praying for some handy apocalypse to wipe away the stain of our existence. Surely there can be no other alternative...or can there?

Here's a thought. Once we've looked into how we've been manipulated & stuffed into their mold until the rights to us have been sold by the slime oozing out from our TV sets (to paraphrase my favoraite anti-rock star), then maybe the spell can be broken. We might then be able to consider, without either rose-colored glasses, New Age mysticism or shallow PC platitudes whether Nature does have something to teach us after all. Jeff writes:

Modern life made even the Earth invisible. Now that Earth is recognized to have fallen into crisis worthy of a super villain, and everyone in the "developed world" is seeing green and increasingly experiencing the trauma of a life out of order, we shouldn't be surprised if we start to see stranger things, again, as though for the first time.

From the fringe, among the isolated cherry trees, we find interesting refutations of the mainstream views. Forget Marlin Perkins, for starters. Everyone knows he placed ferocious predators which would never have met in unnatural proximity in order to sell insurance by capitalizing on the bastardized (but accepted!) view of nature. Here's a nice refutation of all that crap. (Watch out for the pits, though.) And here's a more "scientific" version. How about another alternative for the model of human behavior among our primate friends, since everyone knows that chimpanzees are aggressive SOBs? Unfortunately, it's from that crazy Frans de Waal guy, who's already been so thoroughly dismissed..or was that summarily?

I could go on to give links to places that demonstrate practical applications of the sustaining principles of nature--methods of agriculture which produce more and better food than the petro-agri-biz without hurting the soil, or maybe architecture based on these same principles which result in houses that actually produce more energy & water than they consume, or examples of social models that are egalitarian & nurturingly sane without the funny kool-aid, but I've done all that before.

How about instead I close with a question or two about violence, race & and the survival of the human race? Should be safe enough ground...

Why is it that parties in Martha's Vineyard don't end in a hail of bullets, while it's all too common in other necks of other woods? I mean, it can't be human nature because even the most outrageous defenders of the elite-controlled pyramid wouldn't actually say that black folks aren't human, would they? Well, yes, actually they do, but let's not dwell on them, shall we? Or maybe we should. (Rigor & all.)

Violent crime, disease and economic misery are disproportionately higher in African American neighborhoods--why? If you look at well-to-do populations of those Americans, you find the incidence of these ills dropping off very quickly. Along with birth rates and all the other indicators that prove that Malthus was an oaf. Money, friends. Opportunity. Hope. Not the humiliating, emasculating trickle of the trickle-down state, but real money, opportunity & hope--just like those white brothers with the proper bloodlines have always enjoyed.

I know this totally contradicts the dominant view of human nature & all and I realize that despair is kind of manly in that world-weary, grizzled kind of way (it does take some cojones to say "I give up!"), but does it really matter where the truth takes us? That kind of courage is even more inspiring, IMHO.

Thanks for the excessive patience, all.


Richard, dude: What's with all the emotion? I though we were talking about ideas here...in which case all the barroom "are we done here?" and "end of fucking story" stuff seems a bit, well odd. It's never done here. Or, at least I hope it won't ever be. I know I used a lttle sarcasm in my last response, too, but it's all good clean fun, right? Btw, I hardly think that "my" POV is some kind of widely broadcast propaganda--remember, this is fringe stuff. I am curious as to why you think de Waal cherry-picked data to support his conclusions, though. I though you were referring to me, which would have been understandable enough, since what I'm saying flies so completely in the face of conventional wisdom, but how would you know what de Waal did with his data?


ericswan,

What ball? You are right, my man, and I never said otherwise--change will not be policy-driven but the result of little projects catching on. Or did you have something else in mind?

5/16/2007 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger ericswan said...

IC .. The suggestion that we need to organize neighbourhoods to meet basic needs of food, warmth and shelter was based on a social program that would best be distributed to the public using an intranet versus internet scenario where neighbours could address their basic needs in "real time". To refresh your memory, I suggested that a "program" a software package would be all that is needed to place this concept into the public domain. I suggested that 250 households in a contiguous area share there resources. Examples being books, rides, babysitters, manual labour, and public and private spaces to meet those basic needs. An example would be to use this "wired world" to offer up compost to the public purse or a ride downtown since you were going that way anyway. I'm particularily interested in neighbours taking stewardship of their neighbourhood and using this network to attain their goals of conserving, recycling, and generally uplifting each other and the shared interest in the public spaces around them. The cost to each person is time and a commitment of care for each other.

I think we would achieve much higher standards of civility and architecture if we based "community" on sharing our public spaces for our basic needs leading to security, love and belongingness, esteem and self-actualization.

I appreciate that you have quoted much the same in your post but the difference between you and me is that I see the means to an end.

5/16/2007 04:52:00 PM  
Blogger hoi polloi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/16/2007 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger hoi polloi said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/16/2007 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger ericswan said...

Mark...Here is a 911 link that brings forensics to the table in a way that is jolting and almost beyond belief. I have listened to the "audio" portion and had to listen to it again as it has entirely new information concerning 911.

http://www.captainsherlock.com/

5/16/2007 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger hoi polloi said...

It sure would be nice if that lovely lady could have provided some further information on why she thought her clients were possessed by demons. :) Perhaps she should ghostwrite a book, we wouldn't want her to get in trouble for outing her high powered Johns. :) Better Joseph?

5/16/2007 05:22:00 PM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

IC, IC, your post is a prime example of why I'm loathe to argue anything with you. It all becomes, in the end, another soapbox for your rhetoric.

In answer to your Native American quote IC, I'd say, by all means, empty all the prisons, unwrite all the laws & then fire all the cops. We can watch the ensuing chaos together

Just before you do that though, allow me & my family time to catch a plane to Europe.
You, on the other hand, die hard believer in the nobility of the hairless ape, can watch from here.

Then we have many paragraphs of your tried & true spiel, which leads us to this gem:

"Nature is cruel and to be dominated at all costs"

Ok IC, tell you what, I'll give you $50 & a promise to agree with everything you say in the future if you just plop yourself down in the middle of some "nature," & then avoid "nature" as it tries to kill your ass.

& more paragraphs of spiel.

Then this gem:

"Why is it that parties in Martha's Vineyard don't end in a hail of bullets, while it's all too common in other necks of other woods?"

Well gee IC, that's easy, they're the "elites" & they're way too busy pounding us into molds & arranging our enslavement to bother with such trifles. Anyhow, I'd bet that their ever present bootheel on our throats does wonders at appeasing their homo-cidal tendencies.

& then we have a nice liberal, although I must say, very white assessment of black on black violence.
Which I find interesting because in your rigor you never once asked why all those mean brothers wanted to beat Chris to a pulp.

Here, let me answer that unasked question.

Pussy.

All the women in the bar just looooooooved Chris' accent.

Maybe, in some future rhetoric laden schtick
you can describe your equitable distribution of pussy plan & how it will glowingly appease all the motherfuckers who would just as soon beat you bloody as listen to you ramble on about the nobility of man.

As far as the de Waal crapola that passes itself off as science goes, well IC, that's pretty self-evident.
I'm really not in the mood to repeat myself. Just put it down to my impatience with academia. The only real thing I learned in college was that I was stupid enough to pay a group of ex-pat Indians to do a piss poor job teaching me what I could have learned for free using my tried & true &, most importantly, free Andrew Carnegie library card.

& as far as your "gee ain't we great" theory being fringe IC, we obviously have way different definitions of what constitutes fringe.

IC, if you had some other motive other than soapboxing, say like proving my original "people suck" statement wrong, & you actually wanted to be scientific about it instead of socialistic , all you had to point out was that my incredibly broad statement was made with

a. Only anecdotal evidence

&

b. Given the size of the black population, my sampling of Chris' experiences were way too effing small to "prove" much of anything.

Just a thought.

5/16/2007 06:43:00 PM  
Blogger elephant said...

Long comments usually drive me batty, Iridescent. But your stuff is so frequently thoughtful and provocative, I'm grateful for your effort.

And your ideals.

Thanks.

5/16/2007 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

Dick, I doubt this will change your mind atall, but Anthropik has an article that addresses the issue of whether hairless apes are inherently "evil" or not. The author argues that pre-literate human beings had qualitatively healthier societies, while still being fully human (in both the positive and negative senses). This is a nuanced view between the Romantic view of the "Noble Savage" and the Hobbsian view that nature is inherently brutal and Empire is the only remedy.

The "Noble Savage" has long been the straw man beaten by those who would hope to continue beating the drums of war and empire, just as Crawfurd and Hunt did, the white supremacists who revived the term as we have it today. In our Romantic fervor, we take it entirely too far. Primitive peoples have an impact on their environment, it's just a positive one. They fight, they simply fight less. They deceive, they simply have communities and ways of relating where deception is impossible. They get sick, just less often. They're still human, they just know what that truly means. At times, the "Noble Savage" seems to make primitive people out to be perfect in every way. That's absurd. They are still people. What differs is that they still remember what being a person entails. It's not a perfect life—it's just a vast improvement.

No doubt you'll say this is another (pseudo-)academic article that selectively presents facts in support of its thesis. And perhaps you're right. But circling down the drain of cynical despair doesn't exactly strike me as an attractive alternative.

5/16/2007 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

Oh, and one more thing Dick:

I have zero desire to learn genetics from an internet comment board.

...

The only real thing I learned in college was that I was stupid enough to pay a group of ex-pat Indians to do a piss poor job teaching me what I could have learned for free using my tried & true &, most importantly, free Andrew Carnegie library card.


Yeah, so you'd just rather not know anything, huh? FWIW, I actually do genetic epidemiology. But I'm just another academic, so what the fuck do I know?

5/16/2007 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

Slomo,

I'm nor eschewing what you wrote....you have made some fine points, but you have to admit, there is not much teaching going on in the Universities these days. It's all about researching and publishing...within increasingly restricted parameters. It's up to the students to teach themselves...which is a fraud, if you ask me. I had to play the game to get my Undergrad and Grad degree...especially the Grad Degree where you have a much more intimate relationship with the profs.

Sorry, but I see Academia as yet another corrupt, hierarchical institution that increasingly paves the road to our oblivion. Phaedrus had it right before they took his soul.

5/16/2007 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

Shrub, I would not disagree with your assessment of Academia as an institution. I got into it at a time in my life when I was naive and thought it would do the world some good. Now, I know better. But at the moment it's all I know how to do, so I keep doing it. Still, there are good people in it, we do what we can within the parameters within which we have to work.

5/16/2007 08:58:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

I don't want to end on a morose note, especially since I just smacked Dick down for his cynicism.

I think IC is on the right track, as are people like Ran Prieur and the Anthropik people, as flawed as each may be individually. I don't know that we can go back to a strictly paleolithic, pre-literate era, but I believe in the basic principles of living mindfuly and intimately with the biosphere that supports us, in every way including spiritually. I also believe it is possible to incorporate some of the good newer stuff we've learned from our time under Empire. I'm trying to find a way to bring this sensibility into my research and teaching.

I still don't know what we can do about elites. Maybe they'll go away when the cheap energy runs out, or at least their range-of-motion will be restricted. For this reason, I really hope the over-unity people are wrong.

5/16/2007 09:09:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Sarkozy was photographed doing the NWO 'high five' (the so called 'hook em horns') to the French populace recently. From that picture, it looks like Sarkozy was attempting to get someone specific to see him in the audience.

It's humorous spin at this thread (and at this stage) to attempt to claim that "sorry to pop your bubble, though Sarkozy is only saying 'hook em horns' to the French people, etc." as some claim:
http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2007/05/359512.shtml

5/16/2007 09:43:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/16/2007 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

Up until now, I've been agnostic on the hook 'em horns thing. But I can't for the life of me think of a plausible reason why a French politician would care about sports in Texas.

The gesture doesn't come naturally... relative to relaxed positions it takes a fare bit of musculoskeletal energy to make it. Now I can't help but think it is a sigil for something.

That Bohemian Grove picture of Moloch (or Cremation of Care or whatever) resonates with something I've been thinking about lately, namely the Second Law of Thermodynamics. You know, the bit about closed systems tending towards increasing entropy. What strikes me these days is that entropy is less about disorder, per se, than about lack of information (i.e. control) from a given perspective. A system looks disorganized to us only because we may not have the capacity to appreciate the inherent order, the rich high-order information contained within. For example, the rainforest appears to be pure chaos from the perspective of the industrialist, who seeks to transform it into orderly units of production, and cannot appreciate the deep organic order of a complex biosphere. And ultimately Maxwell's Demon is really about enforcing imperial order on molecules that have their own agendas.

So what is fire, really? Is it truly a riot of entropy? Or is it something else? There are those who would argue that elemental spirits live in fire. And if so, are the elites paying homage to fire gods? And are the fire gods playing them? Where else can we go from here but Armageddon, unless we take a different trajectory than the one we are currently following.

I've argued before that agendas centuries old are being played out in the world, with humans mere chess pieces or physical substrate for some of the actors.

I'm interested in others' thoughts.

5/16/2007 10:12:00 PM  
Blogger Frances said...

Little school of Horrors indeed... An impromptu game of "Killing Spree" as a teaching tool.
And whats down with all those heads being chopped off in Japan??

The view point expressed here:
"alchemist - I'm trying to transform base emotions into a kind of gold." is fundamentally flawed. While it may be our great good fortune to have some spiritual experience as a by-product of severe trauma, to expect consistant healthy results by attempting to conjure base emotions through trauma/torture is just wrong.
This misuse of "authority" only serves to feed the vampiric lust for base emotion within the leaders of such misadventures.
The only thing these kids will be much more prepared for now is a militarized teaching environment.
Comming to a school board near you soon.

Iridescent cuttlefish you said:
"The problem with getting the straight scoop on Nature is that, unlike the myths of history, there aren’t any conveniently hidden documents that reveal the true nature of Nature. Worse, we are so far dislocated from the natural world and we are so conditioned by both the many thousands of years lived outside the natural rhythms of the Earth and by the mountains of exculpatory propaganda on the subject of Nature that we quite literally cannot see the forest for the trees."

The sun rises and sets each day. The natural world and all its goodness exists right here and right now for the experiencing. Any patch of grassy land will do in a pinch. I agree with you that we cannot learn about or be taught about nature removed and isolated from the natural world. This we need to experience and recognize for ourselves. Even the merest whiff of fresh air through an open window can remind us of and bring us back to the goodness of the natural world.

One of the dangers with overly intellectualizing things is that we lose the thread of here and now. We become engulfed in our stale and unoriginal thinking.

If that sounds pompous I apologize, just sharing my thoughts. Thanks
One more thing I would like to know about that field trip is what happened the other days...what led up to this nightmarish scenerio.

5/16/2007 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

"Yeah, so you'd just rather not know anything, huh? FWIW, I actually do genetic epidemiology. But I'm just another academic, so what the fuck do I know?"

Yepper. That's exactly what I meant. I'd rather no nuffin. Hopefully your gene expertise is a bit more advanced than your reading comprehension.

Although I must admit, there's nothing whinier than an touchy academic with fragile feelings.

By the by o great & wise slomofo, how the fuck would I possibly know that you're a genetic epidemiologist ? I realize that you "academics" are all granted access to the All Seeing Eye of Agamotto, a privelege that allows you to see into & through internet connections into the lives of those who compusively type there. But, alas, I do share your good fortune.

As far as smacking me down slomofo, trust me, the only possibility you could ever have to "smack me down" would involve you typing from a secret location a great distance away.

So enjoy it as you fondle your faux testicles.

& IC, now that I've been suitably "smacked down" by the manly gene tweedler, I'd like to ask you a few questions.
When I was but a teenaged tot, there was this gent who lived in my neighborhood who really enjoyed fighting. He'd get drunk every weekend & then walk around picking fights with anyone who crossed his path.
One of his favorite tricks involved picking out some couple out on a date. He'd then walk up to the couple & grab a handful of titty or maybe a nice big handful of girly butt. While he was doing this he'd look the guy in the eye & laugh at him.
Generally a guaranteed fistfight.
Even though he only won maybe 7 out of 10 times, he just didn't give a fuck.

Now we come to my questions:

1. Do you think he was mind controlled? Because from what I could tell he didn't have much mind to control. But now that I've been genetically altered by slomofo's masterful "smack down," I've come to realize that the evil machinations of the "empire" have insidious tentacles everywhere &, with you being one of the few at the leading edge of this fringe thought revolution, I'd value a little guidance.

&

2. If that were you, with your woman, what would you do?
Call a cop?
Of course, that's out, because everyone knows that just the very existence of cops causes crime.
Would you attempt to enlighten him with your intellectual gymnastics or, quite possibly, dazzle him with promises of many links to shiny irridescent academic papers that will show him the error of his low down ways?
With this course though, you run the real risk of having to talk around broken teeth & the resultant mumbling may mar the sheen of your gem-like truths.
Or would you just do everything in your power to beat that motherfucker to a bloody pulp?

5/17/2007 12:25:00 AM  
Blogger Silverfox said...

There wouldn't be any horror, mystery, or bizarro type movies and books if there weren't a great number of people, including many children, who didn't find the thrill of being briefly frightened once in a while to be, shall we say, "theraputic".

The same thing goes for high speed roller-coaster rides and similar amusements, but the important thing to remember is that those are all quite "voluntary" and conditional thrills and chills.

Instances full of pretending, imagining and exaggerating some element of risk or danger by the participants themselves that is simply par for the course, as is trying to become so deeply engrossed in the activity that that pre-requisite is sufficiently obsured or conveniently overlooked to help produce the desired effect.

In short they have to deliberately and knowingly co-operate or assist in some very direct fashion to bring it about...for themselves.

So it isn't really about inducing fear that is the motivating factor so much as it is being able to laugh at both the experience and themselves afterwards.

A little contrived hysteria that can, at it's very best, produce a little hysterical laughter. A little self-induced stress of a very specific kind to help discaharge and relieve some of the more mundane and common types everyday living provides.

Now that process becomes considerably less thrilling, exhilarating, or providing much relief when no consent exists and they are simply the victims of some genuinely freakish prank or practical joke; an event that has been contrived to scare them mainly for the somewhat perverse amusement of others.

Now they may perhaps forgive such a cruelty or simply be "good sports" about such stunts when they've been done in private by close friends, personal associates, or perhaps family members, (where there's clearly no real malice or harm intended and cerainly no public embarassment), but that is hardly the case when it happens well outside of those confines.

In fact the only conievable explanation that might suffice for having such an obvious indignity inflicted on them would be if they had been guilty of doing just such a thing to someone else. That does not, however, mean that it is either excusable or should be condoned on that account.

This case of teachers subjecting children to a very direct threat of imminent death or injury and making every effort for it to appear to be as real as possible, however, was very "real" to those children whose trust in, and respect for those same teachers, was so grieviously betrayed to prove whatever other ill concieved point it was supposed to make.

If a few students had decided to impress the same kind of hare brained idea on unsuspecting teachers by prowling the halls wearing masks and appeaing to be armed there'd be very little question or discussion about their fate ought to be...hmmm?

We might well ask just what the purpose behind this stunt was believed to be in any event? Surely no mentally competent human being could dream it up, much less some who claim to be teachers!

5/17/2007 03:36:00 AM  
Blogger Tsoldrin said...

How about a post speculating on the changes we'd go through if Ron Paul were elected president?

5/17/2007 04:15:00 AM  
Blogger slomo said...

Dick, excuse me if I thought you were actually trying to have a real conversation. Pretty clear you're just trying to grab some "girly butt" hoping to pick a fight.

But thank you for demonstrating that, indeed, human beings can be real pricks. At least you know yourself pretty well.

5/17/2007 06:37:00 AM  
Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...

Ericswan,

Very nicely put. That path—especially the part with the info-packet-seed-thing providing the “genetic” instruction for the growth of the new communities—is outstanding. I’ve been playing with putting together a macro-media flash thingy along similar lines, but I’m kinda challenged in this domain. Do you have any experience in this area? I had found, at one point, a site which would actually help produce such a presentation for free if they liked your concept, but I’m not finding it in the mess that is my links right now. I’ll keep looking.


Slomo,

Many points of agreement here.


Richard,

First question: why the antagonism? I’m trying to imagine a scenario in which I would be so emotionally invested in some argument that I’d be spending more time talking about my opponent’s motivations and inadequacies than the subject itself, and I just can’t think of one. Why would defending the notion that man is inherently evil and therefore needs the long strong arm of the law to keep him in his cage be so dear to your heart that you feel so provoked? Why can’t I argue with you about this thing without you getting all angry?

Second, there’s a level of irony in this that’s way beyond my ken—you accuse me of pandering to intellectualism, to popular ideas in academe, while ignoring the reality that you see out on the streets. Do you really imagine that you’re the only one here who has any contact with the underbelly of society or has seen the institutions from the inside? (Btw, being a staffer is not quite the same thing; nor is observing the behavior of the apes in a public setting like a bar.)

I think you’ve missed my point entirely, and maybe that’s because I used too many words to describe it. In one sentence, then: You can’t observe man in his present situation and deduce what his nature is from that observation. It’s like viewing an animal in captivity and then talking about his behavior in the wild. Or, better yet, since it gets back to my initial image, trying to describe the pre-invasion way of life of Native Americans based on your trip to the reservation. Man as consumer is a fish out of water. You can’t discount what the empire has done to us when describing what we are. Have you never had an experience that has changed you?

The reason I talk about this is not to blame the bastards who run the show for our predicament and then throw up my hands, as you have done, lamenting the sad fact that there’s nothing we can do about it. To the contrary, I only meant to show that what we are now is far more a result of our environment (in all senses of the word) than anything inherent in our nature. How would we know whether we could function in a sane fashion if we’ve never been let out of the asylum? Or, going back to John Lame Deer again, if it worked once, this world without prisons, why couldn’t it work again? Or do you not believe that it used to be that way? (Have you ever looked into the prison economy? Very enlightening.)

I’m not suggesting that 6 billion earthlings can quit their jobs and become hunter-gatherers, either. Not that this period was the apex of human societal evolution; it was just an example of how we used to live before the Machine took away our names and gave us our numbers. I do believe that we can reorganize the way we live. I also think it’s quite obvious that those who profit from things as they are wouldn’t much like any such transformation. That’s kind of self-evident, right?

The final irony is that when you say “So what” about the role of this system controlled by the elite on the way that we are now, and then you go on to quote mainstream scientists and defend the official story in its most fundamental aspect (the nature of man and Nature), you’ve made your position clear enough. You can’t, however, then go on to say that my view, and ericswan’s and slomo’s and Mark’s and all those who believe that change is possible, represents some kind of mainstream viewpoint vis a vis that same orthodoxy which you quote and defend. We are the minority, the outsiders.

Very much lastly, what’s in it for you? I understand despair, I’ve read about misanthropic creatures etc, but why do you choose to align yourself with the old guard in such a reactionary way? What’s the pay-off for calling for a little more law & order?

Okay, one last thing. If you’re so confident of your handle of the Black Experience, why don’t you go ask my buddy over at Prometheus 6 how lily-white my take on it is? He’s actually a little closer than you or I ever will be to that experience. Make sure to mention your Theory of Pussy—I’m sure he’ll see at once how attuned you are. Speaking of which, I know you dismiss & disdain Mr. de Waal because you disagree with his conclusions and find his science "suspect" for reasons you haven't explained, but this link is all about the role of pussy--I'm sure you'll enjoy it. Really.



For those of you who believe that we should and can change the way we live and are, the following links, while voluminous and sometimes somewhat theoretical-sounding, also have gems here and there.

CALResCo--a cosmopolitan non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting the wider aspects of the Complex System sciences by education, synthesis and by the integration of the theories into the mainstream viewpoints of arts, philosophy and science.

Ecospheric Ethics--An anthology of ecological, philosophical, spiritual, economic and cultural articles, editorials and reviews exploring the values of the planetary Ecosphere, its ecosystems, communities and wild species - as the natural and time-tested source of a new and compelling "Earth Ethic" for humanity.

An Earth-Based Ethic for Humanity, by Stan Rowe

Great Insights on Human Creativity: Transforming the Way We Live, Work, Educate, Lead, and Relate, by Efiong Etuk.

The Materiality of Informatics, by N. Katherine Hayles

Awakening to Ourselves: A Cultural Revolution, by Paul Hague

5/17/2007 10:51:00 AM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

Here's the thing, IC. There are many people like yourself out there trying to change the world to fit their ideology....and whether you like that word, or not, you have an ideology...as we all do. So, your influence, if it could be measured, is mitigated by the influence of those with ideologies contrary to your's...and who have greater influence. David Brin is a fine example. Your motives are noble.....but your ideas are impractical. People aren't just going to adopt your way...if they were, they would have....it's not as though you're the first person who has espoused your theories...yet here we are...steadily marching to the precipice of the abyss.

The System must be changed from within....imploded, or dismantled, if you will, piece by stubborn piece. I suggested a while back one way of achieving this....by starting a mutual fund that gains seats on the Boards of Corporations, eventually gaining enough capital to weild significant financial and political clout. Once a foothold has been maintained, the dismemberment can begin...and ultimately the rebuilding. I had no takers and people scoffed at my idea...instead they choose to remain on the fringes until they take their last breath.

5/17/2007 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...

Maybe so, Shrub, maybe so (the idea that these ideas represent an ideology that's not exactly new). However, to say that if these notions had any value or practicality, applicability, whatever, then they would surely have already been implemented is to ignore the stranglehold that the current system has over the way we live. Take the notion of a carbohydrate economy--we do have the technology to make plastics from agricultural products. For that matter, when you get down to it, we can replace oil in all its many institutionalized usages right now, but we don't because those fattest of cats ain't havin' it.

I do think there is some merit in the scheme that you propose for changing the system from within, as you put it, but without the example of working models of alternative communities, stuff like what ericswan and Joseph Feigelson from n'Kozi are doing, it's all just abstract theorizing. Not that abstraction isn't needed to describe the dimensions of the problem and its solutions.

Here's am example of such an abstraction, in the form of an old song that describes what's happened to the vanquished and the victors (and their still divided descendants)--it doesn't convey all the nuances without the dirge-like musical accompaniment, but i couldn't find a free streaming mp3 at the moment:

"Human Alchemy"

An alchemy, human alchemy
We stole them from their freedom to be sold
To turn their skins of black into the skins
Of brightest gold
An alchemy, human alchemy

We stoked the fires of trade with human coals
And made our purses from the flailed skins of
Purest souls
An alchemy, human alchemy

Other lands became a larder full of all the good things
All we had to do was go and take
Blood the colour rain that grew our wicked harvest
Black the colour icing on our cake
An alchemy, human alchemy

We stole their babes and mothers, chiefs and braves
Although we held the whip, you knew we were
The real slaves
To alchemy, human alchemy

Alchemy, human alchemy


(XTC)

5/17/2007 12:34:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

However, to say that if these notions had any value or practicality, applicability, whatever, then they would surely have already been implemented is to ignore the stranglehold that the current system has over the way we live.

I have to protest here. I didn't say that at all. In fact, what I said, or implied, was exactly your response to your inference of what I said. You set up what I said as a Straw Man....I will assume you did so unintentionally. I think you are inferring far too much with Richard, as well. I don't infer from Richard that he subscribes to the Academic views he has posted....he posted them to prove that anyone can cherry pick anything to serve their point....and I agree with him about that. Also, I don't see Richard throwing up his hands and saying I give up (on life)....if that was so, why would he bother to post here (and why would he bother to work double shifts at institution for retarded adults to keep food on his family's table)? He said that we can't move forward as a species until we accept our inherent and severe limitations. He acknowledges that we could move forward...if we would just collectively acknowledge our shortcomings. Hell, he's more of an optimist than me, in that respect. It's irrelevant whether it's genetic or social. The effect is what matters....and the effect is an unrelenting vice-grip. That's why I think your ideology is impractical....the vice-grip...not the value of your ideology. For Christsakes, I love your ideology. I wish it would happen now...but it's not and it won't.....happen now, or ever, if you and I continue to operate on the fringes.

5/17/2007 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks IC for the Bonobo link, and a lot more. And to Shrub (who wrote this while I was editing it, sort of uncannily segways into what I am saying.)


IC said:

"You can’t, however, then go on to say that my view, and ericswan’s and slomo’s and Mark’s and all those who believe that change is possible,"

My view I guess would be that organizational change has always been endemic in human societies, though influenced by many common variables across different cases. That's what deserves explaining.

Thus, the way it has been approached in many of our comments above is instead through different philosophical postulates, all equally about eternal timeless static truths on that tautologous concept "human nature"--thus all seem to pretty much agreeing on the assumed premise there are such causal directives. I don't think it's that simple. I'd prefer to keep in mind that all these topics above are common variables across all cases, where how 'human society' works out in a particular case is influenced by many different factors--including choices (material and ideological), and iterative effects of past choices.

To the more 'philosophical' isue, my disagreements are on the level that any form of static postulation /thinking like that ignores how contested are organizational issues, anywhere, seemingly from apes to humans to dog packs, to bonobos, etc. How contextualized we are.

If people go researching apes or whatever while seeking already to want static human analogies, instead of simply researching apes, instead they may find their empiricist political philosophies written up as a research paper about apes.

To Shrub's idea, one of my critiques of Shrub's idea of a mutual fund revolution (besides the fact that we already seem to have it though in degradative pressure's hands), is that the sustainability revolutionaries ain't the one's with the money, instead though they are the political majority already that is concerned about externalities of such large scale consolidation on their lives--regarding health, ecological breakdown, as well as economic unsustainability--so the politics of particular areas (or here) I think is a stronger area in which to operate. "Synching up" such more localized feedback into degradative state developmental processes on a permanent basis, a democratic ongoing feedback, is of course the premise of the bioregional state.

The common ground ain't a mutual fund, it's a common ground in sociopolitical as well as material feedback that is profoundly a recognition of different optimalizations in different areas, instead of the forced material clientelism of external institutions (with their singular ideology to be applied like another degradative blanket over all). Such frameworks only institutionalize risk in multiple local areas for short term profit against long term local interests of sustainability.

This political majority is concerned about the socioecological effects of such economic monopolized consolidations instead of simply that the 'wrong people' are in charge of them.

The interesting point is that many green businesses actually do quite well compared to the degradative industries. I could rustle up a cite if someone is curious. However, the degradative raw material regimes embedded in political economic relations get more money faster from their short sightedness, and within a corrupt state, money talks, and they direct the crony developmentalism (and gatekeep state politics) to attempt to demote other choices in particular areas to consolidate (what are very politicized) economic monopolies of consumer clientelism. No one wants GMOs. No one wants cloned meats. Though the corrupt state/corporate interlock is determined to impress just that into use against consumer desires. And these larger economic monopolies are hardly 'efficient', they depend instead upon political kickbacks to protect them (with their purchased political agents), as well as massive subsidies to keep them afloat. Without the state subsidies, hardly any of these degradative monopolies would exist. (<--another good book) That's why I think it is hard to adopt such an economic reductionist model: we are dealing with increasingly how different political interests of supply and demand over commodity choice are involved, and how these interests start to grow apart as scale becomes larger over exactly what kind of commodities people want, as well as how political corruption becomes a part of the commodity world we experience in this way Though I've talked about that 'supply versus demand political model' elsewhere.

And quoting another page on the parapolitics of Monsanto and other 'gene giants':

"Historically, when supply sided groups fail to get their way typically, do they re-read their brainwashing Anglo-American Economics 101 textbooks for inspiration and adapt their recommendations? To change their desires to be at the beck and call of the conscious, discriminating consumer?

Hardly. Instead, they attempt to reformulate the consumer's mindset or to remove consumer choices to force the consumer by default to consume what they are selling. That's called 'consumptive heresthetics.'

Supply-sided groups, when powerful enough, as consumers reject their products like GMOs, take to "genetic bucanneering"--to piratically seizing, contaminating, holding consumers hostage, and demoting consumer choices, so that no one has any choice in the matter of materials except the supply-sided ones people are attempting to reject. Folks, that's the real lesson of Economics 101 in real life: supply versus demand. Supply-sided interests, as scale grows larger, increasingly have entirely different material and ideological politics than the demand-sided consumer. On three hot points of contention--human health, ecological health, and economic durability and health--these groups tend to separate in their politics because of the increasing externalities that are ecologically required when supply-sided materials come to dominate the ideologies of consumption."


However, I don't think that supply versus demand has to occur, only that it typically does given two factors: the larger and larger scales in the items in question; as well as a corrupt state.

If you have a state looking after the consumer/citizen interest, it would be far less pronounced. On the other hypothetical hand, if you had a corrupt state and 'good corporations,' you might find it less pronounced as well. Though with both admixed you tend to get a supply versus demand administration of consumption instead of shopping being a form of voting. Increasingly, their cover is blown (in 77 ways, nice summary link) if they claim they are public seeking corporations or public seeking governments.

5/17/2007 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

Mark,

I think you are still missing my point. The Mutual Fund will be like a self-imposed tax. If collected accross a wide enough span of people, it could provide a great deal of capital...and we all know that money talks. Let's say that 2 Billion People in the world cough up $5/Month, or 5$/Year to a fund that purchases stock in various corporations throughout the world with the premise of dismantling those corporations and ultimately implementing what you and IC talk about. It's not an outrageous idea....use their game to beat them and use their game to end the game...once and for all. The trick is to never, ever lose sight of the ultimate goal...being to put an end to the game...once and for all.

The stocks of the Corporations we first invade will tank, substantially, so we place put options on them before announcing our intentions....just as those Bastards placed Put options on United and American before 911. After gaining a significant foothold and political clout, we than use that leverage to dismember and dismantle the Corporate Vice-Grip, and propagate the solutions you and IC are proferring.

5/17/2007 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger ericswan said...

Richard... I just watched your "Lord of the Flies" view of the world on CNN. I'm moving to your point of view. A young girl was stoned to death in the street with many taking cell phone vids of the action. I guess I was one of the participants because I was one of the viewers of the cell phone witness. Her crime was that she was Kurdish and her boyfriend was Iraqi. An honour killing. I will go and shower and ponder the entropy of fire.

5/17/2007 02:48:00 PM  
Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...

Shrub,

Sorry to have misread you. I don't presume to speak for or even about Richard, except to say that I've always found both common ground and also complete disagreement, the latter always over this one question about the nature of human nature. I have always maintained that we don't really have a nature--we have instead an infinite capacity for adaptation to either extreme of the moral spectrum.

I also believe that the good of which we are capable has only been glimpsed on very rare occasions. Scenes of tremendous beauty and love. Existing mostly as an unrealized potential, human creativity is truly capable of miracles. Unfortunately, shaped by experience & circumstance, what we mostly see are scenes of barbarism & brutality. It's not that such dark things are somehow easier to invoke or more "natural" to our dispositions; it's just the way that our societies have almost always been set up.

One of the interesting things that de Waal does (along with Blackmore and, much more grudgingly, Dawkins) is to show that altruism can evolve as a genetic advantage, given the right setting. As can racism, cruelty and name your horror...

I can't imagine, frankly, how opinions such as those here we call "optimists" can possibly become mainstream without some sort of eye- and mind-opening revelation along the lines of ericswan's project, or maybe Dean's Willowater or, my favorite, n'Kozi's New African Sustainable village transplanted to New Orleans. (Wouldn't the irony of the world's superpower being shown how to care for its poorest members by the oldest, most oppressed land in man's sad history be satisfying?) Telling Wangari Maathai's story wouldn't hurt, either, for the same reason.


ericswan,

Don't give in to that dark seduction. Even when the world was burning in WWII (or pick your conflagration--there have been too many to count), great love has burned even brighter. We will overcome our limitations, be they external or internal, which is what seems to drive this debate.


Mark,

Thanks. I've been linking you, btw, in a lot of different places (don't know if that's resulted in more traffic for you yet, but we'll see.) I'd like to talk to you about the raw materials regime stuff & chemurgy sometime, as I've got two very knowledgable persons interested (one of whom you probably know from Madison), and I'm not exactly in the same league as you guys.

5/17/2007 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

1st off, slomofo ol' buddy ol' pal, I loved the way you glibly referred to "smacking me down" & then, through your artful academic prestidigitation & wizardly use of words, actually demonstrated how I pick fights.
A masterful gambit well played.

IC my friend, you totally miscontrue my motives. As I said earlier I've seen the light.

Just to show you how much you've changed me, I'll use 3 recent news stories from my area.

First off, about a month ago, on a bridge about 12 miles from my house, 2 mini-van driving soccer moms were navigating a bridge over the Ohio River. Now on exiting that bridge, you have 2 choices, right or left. Straight leads directly into a guardrail & then into a fair-sized hillside. & that, apparently, is the choice these 2 soccer moms made, plowing both their vans, side by side, into the guardrail in, what police described as, an episode of road rage. They based this on the lack of any evidence that these ladies attempted to brake before impact & some eyewitness testimony that both vans were actually accelerating on impact.

Now IC, before you reached down and dragged me kicking & screaming from my black pit of despair, I , quite frankly, found the idea of 2 soccer-moms spewing obscene epithets at each other as they hurtled to their doom incredibly amusing in a darkly ironic way.

But now I realize these poor unfortunates are just more casualties in the empire's war on humanity. It's becoming ever more obvious that the empire has realized that the "sell-by" date on their terrorist fear package has long passed. They, needing to keep us afraid, are ever searching for new groups to demonize in this effort.
Hence, the soccer moms.
No doubt some insidious combination of HAARP & Gladio in conjunction with horrid acronyms we've yet to become aware of have turned these 2 otherwise altruistically inclined human beings into rage filled maniacs.


Also, within the last 2 months, we've had incidents in this area where 2 young black men have viciously beaten & robbed two senior citizens. Both incidents caught on security cameras.
In one case, the woman beaten was 94 years old & something like $26 dollars was taken.
In the other, a 78 year old man, I believe, had his car taken.

Before your healing touch of altruism touched my heart I looked at these two gentlemen as little more than 2 rabid dogs who should be treated as such. Taken out behind the woodshed, shot in the head & dumped in a common grave. Or left for the crows. After all, scavengers have to eat too.

But now, I realize these two young men, due to artificially induced economic disparities, were practically forced by the elite PTB to bruise their oppressed knuckles on the bony pates of those two oldsters.

So you see IC, you were right all along, Change really is possible.

I apologize for ever doubting you.

I further swear on a stack of Howard Zinn & Noam Chomsky books to never ever darken these doors with my poopyheaded negativity.
From now on only sunshine & light & many hugs for the many oppressed peoples under the empire's stinky ol' bootheel.

P.S. In the interests of fairness & giving credit where credit is due, the pussy idea was from Chris. I understand that he isn't "African-American," just "African," but maybe his description of the incident in question could be given the benefit of the doubt, since your friend was nowhere to be found while it occurred.

Thank you & good day.

& what a good day it is, yes?

Ah! The beauty of a new beginning.

I tell you, I feel downright reborn.

Toodles.

5/17/2007 06:22:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Hi Shrub, who said:

"Mark,

I think you are still missing my point. The Mutual Fund will be like a self-imposed tax. If collected across a wide enough span of people, it could provide a great deal of capital...and we all know that money talks."


I think you were missing my point. I like the idea, and agree with your point, it's the level of scale I think is misapplied, plus, this money would have to be connected with some sort of "IC-like" ideas on the ground, or William McDonough style material politics (<--- 20 min video talk link), or my general term "commodity ecology".

Shrub said:

Let's say that 2 Billion People in the world cough up $5/Month, or 5$/Year to a fund that purchases stock in various corporations throughout the world with the premise of dismantling those corporations...

I see that point, though I would say that constructing something else simultaneously is a better fade out than simply expecting dismantling something automatically leads to something great. You're idea actually has a lot in common actually with the late 1800s ideas of Silvio Gesell, utilized to almost create a grass roots financial revolution in over 300 cities in Austria in the Great Depression--before the corrupt state jumped in to maintain financial clientelism of unelected administrators and simply declared it illegal (a link I have passed on before).

"It's not an outrageous idea....use their game to beat them and use their game to end the game...

I don't think it is an outrageous idea. I just don't think that that amount of consolidated cash would be politically left unintegrated into the frameworks themselves, so beware. Ford himself (not really a 'culture hero' by my standards, though just as an example) attempted to keep his fortune out of the hands of people, actively hated the oil industry he was dependent upon, was dreaming up electric (and magnetic) engine blocks, and hated using J. P. Morgan consolidated U.S. Steel in his cars (that old 'hemp plastics' car of his, quickly quashed). Ford may have liked cars, though he hated the material clientelism he felt forced to utilize to make them on all levels, in oil energy to very materials themselves. Though buddy buddy with the Nazis, his Ford Foundation 'off tax culture steering' organization was entirely taken over by the very (Rockefeller ) oil groups he wanted to stay away from--leading to mass resignation of the remaining Ford family relations on that board within a generation. My concern in other words is putting your eggs in all one basket. I do like the idea and think it can be (or should be) integrated on a local level as well.

"The trick is to never, ever lose sight of the ultimate goal...

Yep. See the William McDonough link.

And given systemic corruption potentials, it really requires a lot of foreboding thought when we (as we are here) discussing what organizational forms would be more sustainable. That is why I have typically thought in terms of juggling ecological checks and balances between different groups (state, science, finance, and consumptive issues), to make sure that if one framework 'goes down' and gets corrupted, there are other areas in the developmental process to help to motivate it to be brought back toward sustainable lines.

The stocks of the Corporations we first invade will tank, substantially, so we place put options on them before announcing our intentions....

This requires lots of trust in a particular leadership, which I am rather skeptical they would remain uncorrupted, uninfiltrated, unassassinated, unco-opted, etc., un-asset stripped by legal cases or court orders, etc. (See what happened to Gesell-like ideas above with their premise on only a view of 'economic man': thus, they were crushed by 'political man, in this case the ongoing financial corruption and clientelism of the state.)

Pollination of such an idea the local level toward plural optimal material projects (which a mutual fund sort of arrangement might be interesting to fund or be used to financially kick start alternative material choice projects, that a group in a watershed wants) would be my spin on that.

Anyway see how your mutual fund idea is somewhat quite similar to Gesell's public fund issue at the link above--though through another application that may be hard for some to get their head since it is such an alternative view of money as an institution though with your same point).

This gets back to my point that in economic organizational issues we are dealing with political issues, and to consider only 'economic man' (for it is mostly the Man) solutions is the limited viewpoint in which we interpret ourselves, it denies many other aspects of ourselves as political as well as technologically inventive--as well as sets us up for when others are operating on completely different levels simultaneously. So should any other project toward sustainability.

This gets back to my Adam Curtis links above about this "trap", worth watching. I think the Shrub may be in "the [conceptual] trap".

And to IC. Thanks for linking up. I have noted a small surge over the past month or so at biostate.blogspot.com.

If you really want to contact me, my email is hardly hidden. Introduce yourself. Or find it via my Amazon.com page, if you join that and become a 'friend.'

5/17/2007 07:54:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

This gets back to my Adam Curtis links above about this "trap", worth watching. I think the Shrub may be in "the [conceptual] trap".

I just watched the Adam Curtis link....it was interesting...I liked it, but I don't think I'm caught in the trap, rather it may be yourself who is caught in the trap witnessed by the following comment:

This requires lots of trust in a particular leadership, which I am rather skeptical they would remain uncorrupted, uninfiltrated, unassassinated, unco-opted, etc.,

I mean, come on, Mark. You have the nerve to say Shrub may be caught in what Adam Curtis describes as the trap.....yet you are somehow not...especially after a comment like that.

If there's one thing Adam Curtis' expose underscores, it's that Intellectuals with political and social status and corresponding influence are not be trusted...indeed, they should be shunned at every turn, as Richard intimated. Hey, wait a minute...doesn't Bush have a particular disdain for Intellectuals, influence weilding, or otherwise.

5/17/2007 09:53:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

Dick... (Are you the same Richard whose used to post here under the name Richard and whose posts I liked?) I'll take your observation as a back-handed compliment. Thanks, twisting around arguments comes with the job.

But what I guess I want to know, since I seem to be reacting a bit to it, is why the fuck you are so hostile in this thread?

I don't necessarily disagree with the caveats about waxing romantic on the noble savage. Every human being is, after all, a biological organism (an animal) that will react with violence when threatened with extinction, real or imagined. I guess the real question that I think IC is asking, and that I wonder about, is whether perhaps humans might turn out to be objectively nicer if we lived in healthy social units, if we were presented only with real threats and not those conjured up by warped social systems. Do you not recognize at least the possibility of healthier social systems?

I'm not naive about the reality of any such thing sprouting up in my lifetime. The deck is stacked against us in the early 21st Century. But if we don't at least lay down the intellectual and moral foundations (i.e. ask the right questions), what hope does posterity have?

I do take issue with your know-nothing stance. It's not that I have any inherent trust of academic institutions (or any other for that matter). But more information is better, and if you hone your skills of discernment (which I guess you have) then you can quickly get close to the truth. Choosing to turn away from information limits your options for finding truth. My 2c anyway

5/17/2007 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

Shrub, not sure what you mean by "social status" here:

If there's one thing Adam Curtis' expose underscores, it's that Intellectuals with political and social status and corresponding influence are not be trusted...indeed, they should be shunned at every turn, as Richard intimated.

'Cause "intellectuals", at least the ones I know, are solidly middle class people trying to make a living in a world increasingly hostile to any kind of thinking whatsoever. (I'll grant that doing is pretty important also, but these days "doing" is pretty much limited to serving burgers or entering meaningless bits of data into a computer.... Americans don't really "do" anything anymore).

If you mean high-profile pointy-heads on TV, well then I'm in agreement. But here I think TV is the red flag.

5/17/2007 10:11:00 PM  
Blogger Belliosto said...

Where was the war-lording in the continent of Africa before and during the slave trading between them and the Americans? Was the peasant happy to serve his nobles in Africa? If he was not then any primal rage he and his peers had was driven far, far away. They had no fight in them anymore. It wasn't done with the help of modern technology. I guess if a peasant was opposed to serving his superiors in the continent, the militia loyal to the State probably hammered and nailed his testicles to a tree. Then handed out darts to the local boys so they could throw them at the victim. Some of these domesticated servants in Africa were then shipped across the ocean to the New World. The African nobles smiling with glee knowing that their African seed would eventually populate the entire planet as a result.

The Native American witnessed the African servitude in America. What do you think they thought about that? Did they assume that the African was civilized? If so was it was because the African was better at shitting on himself than fighting off his masters?

5/17/2007 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger CuriosityShop said...

Shrubageddon said...
As to your comments, MovieGirl, your inference of susceptible was not what I implied. My implication was that if it were a concerted effort on the part of nefarious, quasi-governmental orgs to mess with our minds, and perpetuate myth as reality, why would they do so? Social Control comes to mind. Well, the majority of the masses are easily controlled by other more rote and mundane mechanisms, but there is a certain element, such as the majority of folks who post here, who must be controlled in other ways. Folks who entertain the notion of other realities are highly vulnerable and susceptible to misdirection in its many manifest forms. So, the susceptible comment was more a compliment and warning than an insult, as you appeared to have received it. Of course, that's nothing new with you. You misperceive a great deal of what I say....but that's your dilemna, I suppose.....overcoming your insecurities and biased judgements.

SHREK: For your information, there's a lot more to ogres than people think.

DONKEY: Example?

SHREK: Example? Okay. Uh... ogres are like onions.

DONKEY: They stink?

SHREK: Yes. No!

DONKEY: Oh, they make you cry?

SHREK: No!

DONKEY: Oh, you leave them out in the sun, they get all brown and start sprouting little white hairs.

SHREK: No! Layers! Onions have layers. Ogres have layers. Onions have layers. You get it? We both have layers.

DONKEY: Oh... you both have layers... You know, not everybody likes onions. Cakes! Everybody likes cakes. Cakes have layers.

SHREK: I don't care what everyone likes. Ogres are not like cakes... You dunce, irritating, miniature beast of burden. Ogres are like onions. End of story. Bye bye. See ya later...

DONKEY: Uh, Shrek. Remember when you said that - that - that ogres have layers? Well I have a bit of a confession to make. Um... donkeys don't have layers. We wear our fear right out there on our sleeves.

SHREK: Wait a second. Donkeys don't have sleeves.

DONKEY: You know what I mean.

SHREK: Oh, you can't tell me you're afraid of heights.

DONKEY: No, I'm just a little uncomfortable about being on a rickety bridge over a boiling lake of lava!

SHREK: Come on, donkey. I'm right here beside ya, okay? For emotional support. We'll just tackle this thing one little baby step at a time.

DONKEY: Really?

SHREK: Really really.


http://www.physorg.com/news98468776.html
A Two-Time Universe? Physicist Explores How Second Dimension of Time Could Unify Physics Laws
By Tom Siegfried

USC College theoretical physicist Itzhak Bars has pioneered efforts to discern how a second dimension of time could help physicists better explain the laws of nature.

But the laws can’t be complete. Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory don’t fit together. Some piece is missing in the picture puzzle of physical reality.

Bars thinks one of the missing pieces is a hidden dimension of time.

Bizarre is not a powerful enough word to describe this idea, but it is a powerful idea nevertheless. With two times, Bars believes, many of the mysteries of today’s laws of physics may disappear.

Of course, it’s not as simple as that. An extra dimension of time is not enough. You also need an additional dimension of space.

It sounds like a new episode of “The Twilight Zone,” but it’s a familiar idea to most physicists. In fact, extra dimensions of space have become a popular way of making gravity and quantum theory more compatible.

Extra space dimensions aren’t easy to imagine — in everyday life, nobody ever notices more than three. Any move you make can be described as the sum of movements in three directions — up-down, back and forth, or sideways. Similarly, any location can be described by three numbers (on Earth, latitude, longitude and altitude), corresponding to space’s three dimensions.

Other dimensions could exist, however, if they were curled up in little balls, too tiny to notice. If you moved through one of those dimensions, you’d get back to where you started so fast you’d never realize that you had moved.

“An extra dimension of space could really be there, it’s just so small that we don’t see it,” said Bars, a professor of physics and astronomy.

Something as tiny as a subatomic particle, though, might detect the presence of extra dimensions. In fact, Bars said, certain properties of matter’s basic particles, such as electric charge, may have something to do with how those particles interact with tiny invisible dimensions of space.

In this view, the Big Bang that started the baby universe growing 14 billion years ago blew up only three of space’s dimensions, leaving the rest tiny. Many theorists today believe that 6 or 7 such unseen dimensions await discovery.

So what do you think they’ll find inside one of those tiny particles? Will it be like the inside of Dr.Who’s Tardis? Or like Ogres? With layers, like onions?

SHREK: Why are you following me?

DONKEY: Cause I'm all alone. There's no one here beside me. My problems have all gone, there's no one to deride me. But you gotta have friends -

SHREK: Stop singing! Why that's no wonder why you don't have friends.

DONKEY: Wow! Only a true friend would be that truly honest.

SHREK: Listen, little donkey. Take a look at me. What am I?

DONKEY: Er... really tall?

SHREK: No! I'm an ogre. You know, 'Grab your torch and pickforks!' Doesn't that bother you?

DONKEY: Nope

SHREK: Really?

DONKEY: Really really.


surrender said...
There are many who have been shown what is to come. The Truth of Who We are is breaking thru into the consciousness of more and more of us, who are spending time searching for the pieces of the puzzle, for answers, for a way to express the deep outrage that those of us who thrive to live in the Truth, must express.

It is leading us somewhere. 9-11, of course, is the major event that had to happen to get our attention and many have had the veils lifted.

Now the question I ask myself is where and how do I choose to change the way I live my life. KNOWING that every time a man, woman, child, animal, or plantlife that is destroyed by violent destruction of other humans, effects me in a deep and profound way. We are all connected and we know it in the very core of our being.

Maybe, this will be the "Turning Point" in our existence. When there are enough of us choosing compassion and forgiveness, living in balance with each other and the Earth as it was intended.


http://southerncrossreview.org/34/gnomes.htm
An Historical Overview of the whereabouts of gnomes, and elves, fauns and fairies, goblins and OGRES, trolls and bogies, nymphs, sprites and dryads, past and present

The plan is vast and has many layers, like onions. Some people hate onions cause they stink, and sometimes give you indigestion, but I personally love onions.

And

Ogres that are like onions with layers.

Really, really.

Sorry to have misunderstood, donkeys are like that you know.

5/17/2007 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Belliosto said...

Civilized or Uncivilized?

Evel Knieval, motorcycle daredevil. quoted as saying: "I rose up in bed and, I was by myself, and I said, 'Devil, Devil, you bastard you, get away from me. I cast you out of my life.'

GG Allin, (deceased) defecating nude performing punk rocker. quoted as saying: "I'm God, Jesus & Satan all in one. There is no higher power than GG Allin. My body is also the Rock 'N' Roll temple. My flesh, blood, & body fluids are communion to my missionaries."

Kirk Jones, first human in recorded history to go over the Horseshoe Falls unaided & survived without the use of any safety &/or floatation device. quoted as saying: "It was my desire only to go to those falls that day to try to end my life. That day I purposely thought there would be no doubt that when I went over those falls, I would not be coming back. I thought it would be the most peaceful way to go....I apologize for any inconvenience."

Ozzy Osbourne, heavy metal celebrity. quoted as saying: "I was taking drugs so much I was a fucker. The final straw came when I shot all our cats. We had about 17, and I went crazy & shot them all. My wife found me under the piano in a white suit, a shotgun in one hand & a knife in the other."

5/18/2007 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger Kathy said...

The comment about this woman's belief that some of the people she "entertained" were demon possessed reminds me of David Icke's experience with Ted Heath that he had many years ago.

5/18/2007 12:50:00 AM  
Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...

Thanks, Richard--that was a great comment. When you're going for funny, you're the best, hands down. I like it even more than the stoically tragic shtick. The Charlton Heston at the end of the Planet of the Apes I can live without, but then again you don't much care for my sunny-side up, either, so there you go.


Mark,

Will do. Thanks!

5/18/2007 01:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Some more musing on the Curtis film .

Shrubness said:

"I just watched the Adam Curtis link....it was interesting...I liked it, but I don't think I'm caught in the trap,..

OK, good. My comment was more directed toward the merely economic mutual fund suggestion implications instead of you directly, of course I hope you understand. That is why it was phrased as a 'perhaps' sort of suggestion, and not meant as a smarmy "nyah nyah" sort of thing. Our 2D flatland discussions in this black and white textworld don't communicate tone or nuance very well particularly amongst virtual strangers.

Moreover, I don't think even Curtis ends up with your conclusion that "all intellectuals are out to get ya". By the conclusion (part three), given his discussion of Isaiah Berlin's senses of negative and positive libery, Curtis comes down for more experimental projects of positive liberty as required, and fast.

Yes, the film is mostly this critical look at one particular ideology's origin. Though first, it's surpising to see "TVworld" (typically utilized to dumb people down and support the sitcom like status quo) to excoriate the current global ideology aimed at 'the masses' so to speak.

It's fascinating to see something in this highly priced visual propaganda medium of TV--so tightly controlled and con$olidated now with government hacks and corporate stooges, suddenly carrying out a three part program that is intentionally destabilizing of the ideas of those government hacks and all the other 24/7 sitcom senescence, which assuredly went back on right after the Curtis film was over. It was a
"conscientization" attempt via television, communication instead of 'communications', like a Friere would talks about.

Curtis is like as if Bush's speech was pirated by a message "we bring you the following message on behalf of the cry of the downtrodden and suffering billions of the world who see through the nonsense of this crazy, dangerous, unelected fascist fool, the IMF, and the WTO. That is all a lie. Here is one take what is really going on. Stay tuned." In other words, it's not something I would expect to see on TV, which is probably what makes it so strangely riveting.

ON THE ONE HAND, it's good. It's an interesting archaeology of how the current political ideology of neocon'ism gets twisted to enforce senses of Berlin's negative liberty in a global war of revolutionary conquest against all 'independent' forms of positive liberty of the past--instead of merely protecting civil liberty it as a space of non-ideological openness, during the Cold War (so it is claimed). Instead, it has become yet another enforced ideology, Curtis argues, calling itself freedom though not being free at all. Perhaps more regimented than previous attempts at positive liberty. I would agree.

The twist recently is to actually have the gall to pre-emptively invade places with a shallow Anglo-American corporate fascist empire, hoodwinking with propaganda that flies the old Cold War 'negative liberty' concepts, while actually crushing these with the first Anschluss since the Third Reich, only this time it's Anglo-America directing it all to set up (or to re-set up, and to maintain more openly) totalitarian structures instead.

This is of course going on despite telling the gullible that they are are doing it for their freedom, "for their own good," ("Shut the fu** up, we're here for your freedom!" screams a U.S. Marine at the Iraqi protesters in our doublethink world, in one clip I have seen.). However, all this IMF, WTO, Anglo-American Anschluss is only bringing wider class divisions, dead environments, and expanding global inequality all under the thumb of a roomful of revolutionary billionaires saying how free everyone is if you let them (or rather, don't dare to oppose them from doing it anyway) dismantle your local protections to create a totalitarian world government dependent on clientelism to them. That's not freedom. That's being locked in place. I think Curtis's disorienting visual technique and narration match well in describing and illustrating this topsy turvy hypocritical public view of people saying one thing while doing the opposite.

Our surreal public world is being publicly justified on [1] bizarre wrongheaded premises of human nature that literally were only mathematical equation premises of a paranoid schizophrenic Cold War mathematician, working at Rand. His real major claim to fame was that he was insane most of his life and was without emotional connections to anyone or anything. This person's models of the world became integrated into the current popularized view of humans as only individual maximizers and nothing else, endlessly backstabbing each other. When that's your high ideal, you have very little space to get any lower. This was then combined with animal experiments that looked for genetic motivations of things they never found to justify that game theorist world. Actually, they kept finding evidence against it. However, it was such a great corporate globalism advertising campaign that it was brought into service.

That's the background of justifications of much of the 'scientific' arguments, sloganology, 'human nature popularizations', and state restructuring to match psychopathic models of human nature, all rolled up in one (more destructuring of the current Bush-Blairite NWO regime).

ON THE OTHER HAND, it's bad. I still think Curtis blew it. However visually charming, I was disappointed with only surface political issue: Curtis didn't, couldn't, wouldn't, or is clueless enough to leave untouched the more parapolitical issues in almost every topic he mentions.

He refuses to cross a huge chasm that is already wide open, still untelevized--despite it coming to the surface ever more clearly. His theme of the Cold War? The Cold War though on one level was a Plato "noble lie", when the period in question upon later and even 1970s reflection (see Sutton's book The Best Enemy Money Can Buy: U.S. Military Aid to the Soviet Union; his other books) was that it was just a skein over a much larger project. Curtis name drops personnel connections throughout the film as if ideas alone were writing history, as if the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Shachtman
Schatchmanite
Trotsky global revolutionary faction and the hyperrich British aristocratic Fabians weren't merely one half-step to the side in almost all the people he mentions. These global revolutionaries wanted to stay "fluid" (or hypocritical or opportunistic, take your pick) in the ideologies they used to conquer the world, just so they stayed on top of course.

Those were the two parapolitical groups to watch in this 'realignment of negative liberty into global revolutionary conquest' instead of Cold war game theorists and genetic researchers. So Curtis's conscientization blew it. He only looked at the icing on the cake, only got one layer deep. Oh yeah, he carries through with another lie that the British 7/7 terrorism attack was engineered by the Blair global fascists themselves, the manager of the 'crisis' admitted as much on live TV, using the tried strategy of switching a 'government terror contingency planning drill, to live' as the Bush regime loves to do. (for 9-11 or for the Murrah Building for instance at that link). (What is sad about the UK clip is the professional crisis management expert is clueless: he is spilling the beans about British state terrorism, comes across as being unable to add 2+2 together. He's obviously one of those British digital watch wearing, arobicizing middle managers who came to Earth on that Golgafinchan Ark fleet, landed on Earth and cocked up the whole meaning of life, the universe and everything according to Douglas Adam's views on what went spotty about Planet Earth) (1:30 min clip for the UK guy).

Curtis additionally holds to the official lie of 9-11 as well being "Islamic terrorism" response, the Chomsky (maimed or lobotomized) wing interpretation, since most of the people the U.S. claim did it are still alive, complaining that their pictures were utilized by the U.S. on TV as "the terroristsTM", and that no, they didn't die as so widely presumed in suicide missions that crashed in various locations, since they are still alive.

Though for the rest, it's more than anyone else has done in a TV program. It's still worth seeing for that 'top layer' issue, as well as the surprise that it was even produced under the growing media corporate monopoly fascism of Murdoch, Burlusconi, and others--BBC, Inc. seemingly now included.

I remember reading that Blair got so mad at the BBC calling him on his Iraq War intelligence lies back in early 2004 or thereabouts (re: Downing Street Memo), that some form of political changing of the guard happened at the once more politically insulated BBC. BBC takes on its own "Murdoch Syndrome", like Murdoch's ownership of the Sun there. Some kind of restructuring of BBC. Now Blairite BBC, Inc, probably won't say treasonous Prime Ministers lie to get their country into war anymore, or probably won't attempt to make another "Curtis film", and particularly won't report on a lot else damaging to the global private monopoly monoculturalism and the externalities it is generating worldwide, or report on the massive corruption of the ever thinning democratic states that it brings with it, BBC's Greg Palast notwithstanding.

For the scrolling impaired, once more:

The Trap: Episode One (Adam Curtis, BBC)
59 min 29 sec - Mar 23, 2007
Google loves to delete it. Download and watch.




another quote thread:

"But the laws can’t be complete. Einstein’s theory of gravity and quantum theory don’t fit together. Some piece is missing in the picture puzzle of physical reality.

USC College theoretical physicist Itzhak Bars has pioneered efforts to discern how a second dimension of time could help physicists better explain the laws of nature.


Or the Electric Universe.

5/18/2007 02:16:00 AM  
Blogger just_another_dick said...

Ok slomo, you choose civility, I'll play along..
I'll also probably tell you way more than you want to know, but that's your problem

Well, 1st off, knowledge is just fine slomo. You'll just have to excuse me if I'd rather excise certain chunks of my knowledge though.

Like this for instance:


On Saturday the 5th, we had a bit of a family get together here.
After it was over, I had to drive my mom home so I was gone for about 2 hours.
Right after I had left, my wife had our kids in the yard when she noticed this frail old lady sort of stumbling passed our house. She then stumbled back down the road looking, as my wife described her, very lost.
So my wife goes out & convinces her to come sit on our porch, which she does.
While waiting for me to return the lady spills her life story to my wife, as people are sometimes keen to do when they talk to her.

It turns out she was molested at 14 by her step-father & then sent away to live with an aunt.

How about that solution? Let's not get rid of the pervo piece of shit step-father, let's punish the victim.

Then she talked about getting older & getting married & having a little daughter. The daughter contracted scarlet fever &, consequently, suffered brain damage.
While institutionalized as a teen she, in turn, was raped by a care-giver & gave birth to a son who the older lady adopted as her own son.
About this time I get home. My wife introduces us, & she seemed like a sweet old lady. My 3 year old son Sam, for some reason, took to her immediately, calling her Betty Sue for reasons only Sam would know.
Anyway, by the time we had made polite chit-chat & formulated a plan this lady had been missing for close to 4 1/2 hours.
By the way, my wife had been continually ringing her home phone-she insisted her grandson/son was there-but no answer.
So we decide to drive her the 2 miles to her house & ensure that she wasn't going to be there alone.
When we get there & I help her up her 45 degree angle moon cratered driveway-I have no idea how this frail old woman made it down in the first place- her grandson's pitbull begins circling us & apparently finds me a tad unappealling. Hmmm....imagine that, me unappealling, go figure.
Anyway I take her to her back door, which is wide open, & she wanders in. I ask her if anyone's home. She kind of smiles & says, Ooo, look, the roast is still cooking."
She was, let's say, 'hearing impaired.'
I say, "Ok ma'am, but is there anyone here?"
She's says, "Oh yeah, my grandson's here. Right Mikey?"
& he grunts, literally grunts, "Ugh."

Granny/Mom has been missing for 5 hours & his phone has been continually ringing for 4 1/2 of those & junior can't even pry himself off the couch to see what happened.
Really really weird.

That night I started pondering her story a bit & I began to wonder about what kind of other horrors were hiding behind the seemingly placid doors & windows of the other houses around me. Then multiplying all that supposition by all the little shitheel towns in America. All the secret sins festering undiscovered. All done without the influence of empire or Bush or Gladio or HAARP or, pretty much, anything I'd read on here.

Watching, figuratively speaking that is, as folk stare slack jawed at those evil "elite," while, in reality, it's good ol' Uncle Bob or Mailman Joe who is sliding his hands up their daughters skirts or down their sons pants.

In the end, why should government be any less deviant than the mass of folk it "represents?"

I then did a pedophile search for my zip code & found that there are 16 convicted child-molestors within a 15 minute driving area.

Then, on Monday I think, I came on here. Initially just to read not type. But the Mayan prophecy deal got me typing & I just ran off the cliff with it. Venting because people (gasp) piss me off.

But, as i said earlier, I inserted my little "on some level" qualifier just to appease IC & keep him off my back.
Really, nothing personal, we've just had this argument before & it goes nowhere.

Then comes the political lecture. I was not in the mood to be told things that I already knew. The big picture is great. It's wonderful to examine & decipher & theorize about but I was stuck , quite deeply, in the little picture.
Abstract ideas about empire tell me nothing when the molestors & shit-heels I see
are wandering the streets around me.

Hmmmmm....now that I type this out it sort of looks like I made the jump from vague political paranoia into full blown paranoia. That can't be good.

Oh well, anyway...

...IC's criticism of me is, in a lot of ways, right on. I do have trouble seeing the forest for the trees.
Is that pretty much the essence of it IC?
But I think that IC, at times, has trouble seeing the trees for the forest.

Do I believe that, under other circumstances, we could have heaven on Earth?

Sure.

But that's like saying, "Man, this vanilla ice cream cone could be a chocalate one if it were...a....ummmm....chocolate one."

Well it's not. It's a goddamn vanilla one.

But, even if IC got his wish for a humanist wonderland, in my opinion, there would always be a gang of barbarians outside the gates just itching to burn it to the ground.

Always.

The desire for "empire" had to exist before the actual empire itself. The desire for "conquest" had to appear before any conquering could begin. These desires had to spring up completely without the detrimental influence of "empire."

Unless "empire" fell from the heavens fully formed, but that would have made one hell of a crater, don't you think?


The only 2 who seemed to actually get it, were Shrub & ericswan. & I really have to tip my hat to Shrub who managed to distill in one paragraph what I spent way too much time typing.

Y'know IC, I didn't jump on one of your posts & try to tell you that your smile sucks & you need to start frowning more, like me.

Why do you even bother? You know, on this subject, it's like trying to ram your square peg into my...ummm...round hole.

Boy, that sure sounded gay didn't it?

Let's re-phrase that...it's like trying to....ummmm....put your manly arm on my...ahem...manly shoulder when I ...aaaaa...don't want your manly hand on my shoulder.

Right.

That's better.

It is admirable IC, that you want to find the antecedents to human shittiness and alter them for the better, but my attention, these days anyway, keeps getting grabbed by all these piles of shit I keep stepping in.

Sorry.

Furthermore, in keeping with my vow to be more chipper, here are some pictures of flowers:
http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?p=flowers&fr=yfp-t-501&toggle=1&cop=mss&ei=UTF-8

kittens:
http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?p=kittens&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-501&x=wrt

& bunny rabbits:
http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?p=bunny+rabbits&ei=UTF-8&fr=yfp-t-501&x=wrt

Enjoy!

5/18/2007 02:54:00 AM  
Blogger Mark said...

Missing word confusion/correction:

"Oh yeah, he carries through with another lie that the British 7/7 terrorism attack was NOT engineered by the Blair global fascists themselves,..."

5/18/2007 03:00:00 AM  
Blogger CuriosityShop said...

The Hippies Were Right!
Green homes? Organic food? Nature is good? Time to give the ol' tie-dyers some respect

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Go ahead, name your movement. Name something good and positive and pro-environment and eco-friendly that's happening right now in the newly "greening" America and don't say more guns in Texas or fewer reproductive choices for women or endless vile unwinnable BushCo wars in the Middle East lasting until roughly 2075 because that would defeat the whole point of this perky little column and destroy its naive tone of happy rose-colored sardonic optimism. OK?

I'm talking about, say, energy-efficient light bulbs. I'm looking at organic foods going mainstream. I mean chemical-free cleaning products widely available at Target and I'm talking saving the whales and protecting the dolphins and I mean yoga studios flourishing in every small town, giant boxes of organic cereal at Costco and non-phthalates dildos at Good Vibes and the Toyota Prius becoming the nation's oddest status symbol. You know, good things.

Look around: we have entire industries devoted to recycled paper, a new generation of cheap solar-power technology and an Oscar for "An Inconvenient Truth" and even the soulless corporate monsters over at famously heartless joints like Wal-Mart are now claiming that they really, really care about saving the environment because, well, "it's the right thing to do" (read: It's purely economic and all about their bottom line because if they don't start caring they'll soon be totally screwed on manufacturing and shipping costs at/from all their brutal Chinese sweatshops).

There is but one conclusion you can draw from the astonishing (albeit fitful, bittersweet) pro-environment sea change now happening in the culture and (reluctantly, nervously) in the halls of power in D.C., one thing we must all acknowledge in our wary, jaded, globally warmed universe: The hippies had it right all along. Oh yes they did.

You know it's true. All this hot enthusiasm for healing the planet and eating whole foods and avoiding chemicals and working with nature and developing the self? Came from the hippies. Alternative health? Hippies. Green cotton? Hippies. Reclaimed wood? Recycling? Humane treatment of animals? Medical pot? Alternative energy? Natural childbirth? Non-GMO seeds? It came from the granola types (who, of course, absorbed much of it from ancient cultures), from the alternative worldviews, from the underground and the sidelines and from far off the goddamn grid and it's about time the media, the politicians, the culture as a whole sent out a big, wet, hemp-covered apology.

Here's a suggestion, from one of my more astute ex-hippie readers: Instead of issuing carbon credits so industrial polluters can clear their collective corporate conscience, maybe, to help offset all the savage damage they've done to the soul of the planet all these years, these commercial cretins should instead buy some karma credits from the former hippies themselves. You know, from those who've been working for the health of the planet, quite thanklessly, for the past 50 years and who have, as a result, built up quite a storehouse of good karma. You think?

Of course, you can easily argue that much of the "authentic" hippie ethos -- the anti-corporate ideology, the sexual liberation, the anarchy, the push for civil rights, the experimentation -- has been totally leeched out of all these new movements, that corporations have forcibly co-opted and diluted every single technology and humble pro-environment idea and Ben & Jerry's ice cream cone and Odwalla smoothie to make them both palatable and profitable. But does this somehow make the organic oils in that body lotion any more harmful? Verily, it does not.

You might also just as easily claim that much of the nation's reluctant turn toward environmental health has little to do with the hippies per se, that it's taking the threat of global meltdown combined with the notion of really, really expensive ski tickets to slap the nation's incredibly obese ass into gear and force consumers to begin to wake up to the savage gluttony and wastefulness of American culture as everyone starts wondering, oh my God, what's going to happen to swimming pools and NASCAR and free shipping from Amazon? Of course, without the '60s groundwork, without all the radical ideas and seeds of change planted nearly five decades ago, what we'd be turning to in our time of need would be a great deal more hopeless indeed.

But if you're really bitter and shortsighted, you could say the entire hippie movement overall was just incredibly overrated, gets far too much cultural credit for far too little actual impact, was pretty much a giant excuse to slack off and enjoy dirty lazy responsibility-free sex romps and do a ton of drugs and avoid Vietnam and not bathe for a month and name your child Sunflower or Shiva Moon or Chakra Lennon Sapphire Bumblebee. This is what's called the reactionary simpleton's view. It blithely ignores history, perspective, the evolution of culture as a whole. You know, just like America.

But, you know, whatever. The proofs are easy enough to trace. The core values and environmental groundwork laid by the '60s counterculture are still so intact and potent even the stiffest neocon Republican has to acknowledge their extant power. It's all right there: Treehugger.com is the new '60s underground hippy zine. Ecstasy is the new LSD. Visible tattoos are the new longhairs. And bands as diverse as Pearl Jam to Bright Eyes to NIN to the Dixie Chicks are writing savage anti-Bush, anti-war songs for a new, ultra-jaded generation.

And oh yes, speaking of good ol' MDMA (Ecstasy), even drug culture is getting some new respect. Staid old Time mag just ran a rather snide little story about the new studies being conducted by Harvard and the National Institute of Mental Health into the astonishing psychospiritual benefits of goodly entheogens such as LSD, psilocybin and MDMA. Unfortunately, the piece basically backhands Timothy Leary and the entire "excessive," "naive" drug culture of yore in favor of much more "sane" and "careful" scientific analysis happening now, as if the only valid methods for attaining knowledge and an understanding of spirit were through control groups and clinical, mysticism-free examination. Please.

Still, the fact that serious scientific research into entheogens is being conducted even in the face of the most anti-science, pro-pharmaceutical, ultra-conservative presidential regime in recent history is proof enough that all the hoary old hippie mantras about expanding the mind and touching God through drugs were onto something after all (yes, duh). Tim Leary is probably smiling wildly right now -- though that might be due to all the mushrooms he's been sharing with Kerouac and Einstein and Mary Magdalene. Mmm, heaven.

Of course, true hippie values mean you're not really supposed to care about or attach to any of this, you don't give a damn for the hollow ego stroke of being right all along, for slapping the culture upside the head and saying, See? Do you see? It was never about the long hair and the folk music and Woodstock and taking so much acid you see Jesus and Shiva and Buddha tongue kissing in a hammock on the Dog Star, nimrods.

It was, always and forever, about connectedness. It was about how we are all in this together. It was about resisting the status quo and fighting tyrannical corporate/political power and it was about opening your consciousness and seeing new possibilities of how we can all live with something resembling actual respect for the planet, for alternative cultures, for each other. You know, all that typical hippie crap no one believes in anymore. Right?

5/18/2007 09:29:00 AM  
Blogger slomo said...

Richard, I appreciate the olive branch. Your story of the old woman is heart wrenching, like the 1000000 other stories just like it.

The forest/trees thing might be where you and I differ. I don't deny the existence of a million fucked up situations that arise directly from the human soul without any prompting from HAARP or the elites or whatever. And I've had too much experience with city governments and condo associations to believe that "local government" is going to be somehow less objectively corrupt than federal government. But I guess I don't really believe in a human soul that operates independently of other human souls and general context. A large part of our problem in the 21st Century is the context itself. I mean, sure: in an economically hopeless situation with no connection to land or anything demonstrably real with stress coming at you and your family from 100 different directions, why not molest the kids? I'm not taking the so-called bleeding heart approach to such evils (I still blame the individual) but there are system level processes at work. I don't believe in a false dichotomy of hell vs. heaven -- heaven is impossible in this world regardless of how we structure ourselves socially -- but I believe things could be a lot better than they are. Yes, there are child molesters and cruel thugs and torturers, but there are also great artists, musicians, good samaritans of every stripe, and people who generally give back more than they take. It's important to see both sides.

And, yah, academic theory reaches its limit of practicality rather quickly. It's main use (when used properly, which is often not the case) is vetting knowledge, i.e. do we really know what we think we know? That has its value in a sea of intentional lies.

How to actually create a chocolate ice cream cone from the shit-flavored one we have now? I dunno. I hope to find out someday. Maybe the answer isn't here or any other blog or internet forum, but for now it's the only place I can find where people are even interested in looking at the questions.

5/18/2007 09:31:00 AM  
Blogger ericswan said...

Richard.. I have to get my teeheehee's and LOL and ROFLMAO's out right away and now back to programming.

You may be misunderestimating the forces of evil. Mark and the shrub are missing one of the main ingredients in their conversation concerning mutual funds. Money will never be your friend. Money is manipulated. My suggestion would be "sweat equity". Your time can be altruistic. Your money is simply the carpet being pulled from under your feet.

5/18/2007 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger acl said...

I am an infrequent commentator - this place is more like a zoo; best suited for observing from a distance not talking - so maybe I am remiss in "stepping in here".

BUT since you know I'm going to here goes:

IC is getting lambasted for being a utopian and its becoming more and more apparent that I don't get some of youse guys.

I believe IC has linked in the past to the proto-Marxist Ken Wark (admittedly "proto-Marxist" is greek-speak but he does follow Marx after a fashion and there are certain stylistic..similarities)

From his engaging A Hacker Manifesto (I say engaging because it is that, even if you don't know what to make of it):

51. But there is something else hovering on the horizon of the representable. There is a politics of the unrepresentable, a politics of the presentation of the non-negotiable demand. This is politics as the refusal of representation itself, not the politics of refusing this or that representation. A politics which, while abstract, is not utopian. In its infinite and limitless demand, it may even be the best way of extracting concessions precisely through its refusal to put a name - or a price - on what revolt desires.

And

59. Politics can become expressive only when it is a politics of freeing the virtuality of information. In liberating information from its objectification as a commodity, it liberates also the subjective force of statement. Subject and object meet each other outside of their mere lack of each other, by their desire merely for each other. Expressive politics does not seek to overthrow the existing society, or to reform its larger structures, or to preserve its structure so as to maintain an existing coalition of interests. It seeks to permeate existing states with a new state of existence, spreading the seeds of an alternative practice of everyday life.

I've seen allusions on here toward Philip K Dick and his pensive VALIS. Let's twist around his central theme a bit The Empire Never Ended

A corollary might be The Revolution Never Ends. Instead of Marx and his inevitability, this idea is better termed inexorability. We're into some pretty deep Hegelian shit here. None of that phony thesis-antithesis-sythesis stuff (well, not phony so much as Aristotelian and oversimplified). It would be like saying Hegel's materialism is centered on 'bling'.

You see "The System" isn't a thing. It is the repressive, untameable monolith you think it is and it isn't all at onnce. History is written through its Becoming and eventually it will come back around. Thusly The Revolution Never Ends or in the words of Doctor Manhattan "Nothing ends Adrian" (also nicely evocation of that perpetual underdog, Rocky)

See if you can guess who wrote this stuff, its not just for Luddites

99. Think of history as being the sum of two components: an erratic component that consists of unpredictable events that follow no discernible pattern, and a regular component that consists of long-term historical trends. Here we are concerned with the long-term trends.

100. FIRST PRINCIPLE. If a SMALL change is made that affects a long-term historical trend, then the effect of that change will almost always be transitory - the trend will soon revert to its original state. (Example: A reform movement designed to clean up political corruption in a society rarely has more than a short-term effect; sooner or later the reformers relax and corruption creeps back in. The level of political corruption in a given society tends to remain constant, or to change only slowly with the evolution of the society. Normally, a political cleanup will be permanent only if accompanied by widespread social changes; a SMALL change in the society won't be enough.) If a small change in a long-term historical trend appears to be permanent, it is only because the change acts in the direction in which the trend is already moving, so that the trend is not altered but only pushed a step ahead.

101. The first principle is almost a tautology. If a trend were not stable with respect to small changes, it would wander at random rather than following a definite direction; in other words it would not be a long-term trend at all.

102. SECOND PRINCIPLE. If a change is made that is sufficiently large to alter permanently a long-term historical trend, than it will alter the society as a whole. In other words, a society is a system in which all parts are interrelated, and you can't permanently change any important part without change all the other parts as well.

103. THIRD PRINCIPLE. If a change is made that is large enough to alter permanently a long-term trend, then the consequences for the society as a whole cannot be predicted in advance. (Unless various other societies have passed through the same change and have all experienced the same consequences, in which case one can predict on empirical grounds that another society that passes through the same change will be like to experience similar consequences.)

104. FOURTH PRINCIPLE. A new kind of society cannot be designed on paper. That is, you cannot plan out a new form of society in advance, then set it up and expect it to function as it was designed to.

105. The third and fourth principles result from the complexity of human societies. A change in human behavior will affect the economy of a society and its physical environment; the economy will affect the environment and vice versa, and the changes in the economy and the environment will affect human behavior in complex, unpredictable ways; and so forth. The network of causes and effects is far too complex to be untangled and understood.

106. FIFTH PRINCIPLE. People do not consciously and rationally choose the form of their society. Societies develop through processes of social evolution that are not under rational human control.

107. The fifth principle is a consequence of the other four.


Even out and out Communists are sketchy on the "future" in this regard. Here I crib from a friend far wiser than I (and, incidentally, far more advanced in years..rimshot!)

. Breaking the grip of Capital does not mean ending the Laws of Physics. There is a certain "freedom and necessity" at work here. You need look no further than actual socialist revolutions to see it at work. The demands of the revolution have always been the same: democracy and egalite in the economic realm as well as in the juridical and political. Breaking the hold of capital accomplishes that politically but sets the groundwork for an extended transition. If the country is backward, there is no question of "leaping forward" in a short time. There is a very complex process of setting priorities (typically starting with the basics - education, health care, housing, and so on). In each segment where the capitalist market automatically sets priorities and concentrations, even if in the wrong direction, a system of conscious processes must be substituted which perform the function of what was a previously unfair but vastly "efficient" system. There are likely to be segments of the society where capitalist development is just beginning and has not matured. Thus, capitalism exists and is encouraged in the cracks of an otherwise socialist society. The opportunities for black markets, graft, bribery, etc. are legion. Take that as a whole and add the factors for socialist states up to this time such as the requirements for reconstruction after war/civil war/revolution and the continuing competition, economic, military, and technical, of a majority of the world that remains capitalist and hostile, and the extent of the problem appears. Remember the claims about the impact of the competition in "blue jeans" made by the Reaganites in their "economic war" on the Soviet Union?

5/18/2007 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...

Richard is precisely as correct as I am in this endless debate, and that’s why it never gets past this point; we bury the hatchett because we don’t really dislike one another at all and we each concede the truth of the other’s position to the extent that it doesn’t erode our own. Slomo’s middle path—that we could at least try to make things a little better, since the maw of hell is gaping wider every day and heaven seems a most fragile idyll—is a logical compromise…or is that really the best that we can do?

Thus spake Richard:

In the end, why should government be any less deviant than the mass of folk it "represents?"

Very good question, even though it totters under the weight of its many implications. Without wasting any more space chasing the damned chicken with my persistent egg, I think we can dispense with the notion that government is in any way representative. ("Emblematic" is another possibility of course.) I had the new NPR (you know, like Mark’s McMurdoch-ed BBC) on the other day while I was trying to fix my piece of crap car and some journalist was asking Mike Huckabee whether he had any realistic chance of securing the Republican nomination when he was lagging so far behind in collecting monies for his “war chest,” to which he actually said, with no tone of irony I could detect, that “…if the presidency is for sale to the highest bidder, then democracy’s in trouble…this is why we had a revolution all those years ago—it was all about taxation without representation.”

Ya think?

So this is what I’m thinking, Richard. Before we agree to disagree again, why not take this thing one step further, as in actually doing something with our predictable stand-off?

Let’s forget for a moment our positions, and look at just one question: Why are things getting worse?

Jeff is floating the “dislocation” meme-balloon (from what we’re not quite sure), and it’s one that I happen to agree with as well, after my own pseudo-druidic, neo-Schaubergerish fashion. Mark has described the geopolitical/economic/ideological descent of the bootheel very nicely, but that perspective does not adequately explain the individual cases, your trees in the obscene forest.

You don’t seem willing to accept the cynical view that the prison economy itself creates criminals (although I doubt you really have much faith in the integrity of any of our institutions, either.)
I know you’re not a racist, so why is the insanity (the coming unglued & unhinged, the new urban barbarism) most apparent among those most under the heel of the Empire’s boot? Sure, you can cite incidents of soccer moms morphing into beserkers, but why should it be that things are getting worse, despite ever more draconian laws and ever increasing numbers of prisons and hang ‘em high rhetoric informing the “public discourse”? Why is it that black folks in particular are so much more affected by the collapse of decency, and why is that among the nations of the world, we, the trend-setters, the world leaders are the most depraved?

I do have some knowledge of what’s happening to our kids, as I’ve got offspring from kindergarten to college age, and while I do have some ideas about causes & such, I can assure you it’s not the result of any simplistic, rightwing spare the rod, spoil the child explanation.

There is a deep, deep dislocation occurring the world over, but most especially here. I know we can’t turn the clock back--the hands don’t go far enough and there isn’t enough room left to live in small nomadic groups, not to mention Big Black’s existential question, “If you catch it, can you kill it?” (“I’m a steelworker, I kill what I eat.”) And maybe we can’t just open all the prisons and hope that John Lame Deer’s ghost will guide the newly released freemen to responsible citizenhood…and yet, what about that Schauberger stuff? Did you read any of it? If you can bear with me a moment, I’ll try to just give the barest outline of his insight into our malaise, which he explained in the only book he ever wrote, Our Senseless Toil: the Cause of the World Crisis (1933).

First off, even though Schauberger did end up surrendering his life’s work to some mysterious defense contractor consortium connected to the alphabet agencies under duress (dying five days later, after returning a “broken man” in his native Austria), and even though this work, including working models of implosion engines (more, later), was immediately suppressed and remains so to this day, and even though his name comes up a great deal in Nazi Flying Saucer circles (Joe Farrell’s Reich of the Black Sun is a good, even sane read on the subject, although Mr. Dolan at Fortean Times scathingly rebukes the idea as Zundel-inspired Nazi revisionism)…despite all of this, the fact remains that Schauberger wrote this book in 1933, before all of that crap began brewing.

In that book, Schauberger presented the case that all of our technology is ass-backward, based as it is on fire and the explosive principle, which is not only destructive in nature but also woefully inefficient, by a factor of 9:1, as compared to what he developed by studying how Nature works: the creative, water-based implosive force. The two most famous remarks attributed to or connected with the “water wizard” stem from his meeting with Hitler, to whose office he was summoned shortly after the publication of his radical little book. After patiently explaining his theories to the madman, including a description of the successes of his gravity- and conventional science-defying log channels, which he had built throughout Austria, Bulgaria and much of Yugoslavia, he had the balls to tell Hitler that his 1000-year Reich would be lucky to last 10.

The monstrous moustache turned to his science advisor, the great Max Planck, after whom half of Germany’s scientific institutes are named, to ask his opinion of these ideas based on looking to Nature for the design of our systems (technical, social, etc, etc). Planck is reported to have puffed up his orthodox chest and sneered, as only the entrenched monopolists can, “Science has nothing to do with Nature!”

The reason I describe all this, Richard, is not to hint vaguely at some New Age/hippie and God forbid politically correct notion of getting back to Mother Nature’s ample bosom, but the opposite: to suggest that our dislocation from the natural world, whether through the diabolical machinations of the world-killing elites or through unintentional wrong-turnings in the road of our past, is both spiritual and material in nature (if the distinction has any real meaning). All those links about better living through design I like to strew? They’re all based on the same idea—that Wordsworth (yeah, okay—the hippies too) was right about Nature being our greatest teacher and that we have turned our backs on her before the lessons were learned.

Even James Lovelock, who fancies himself the godfather of the Gaian Hypothesis has turned away, selling his soul to the nuclear lobby, as Albert Bates laments. Thing, is, however, that this organic design thing really does work, and this goes far beyond technology, naturally. The reason that Roger Dean (you know, all those trippy Prog Rock album covers) got into architecture in the first place was the result of a project he worked on during his college days where he looked into the reason why children have nightmares (“dark corners,” basically—another loaded metaphor.) That Willowater link of Dean’s takes this another step by predicting the effect that organic design will have on how we live and interact. I have many links on this stuff, as you know, but I’m only talking about the idea here to suggest that there might be a way to recover what we’ve lost without becoming Stoned Age Frankensteins.

If this stuff works, and if we can begin to make little projects that are based on it, then we don’t really have to talk about the Empire anymore, do we? It is, at the very least, something constructive we can do with our remaining energies, just like you do with your work. You are, after all, obviously not in it for the money. You’re every bit as committed to fighting the good fight, righting the karmic balance, as the most wild-eyed optimist; you just don’t talk about it in those terms. Actions do speak louder than words…of which I’ve gone and used too many again. Sorry.

I guess what I'm asking is why not try? (I know I asked a lot of other questions in there, too, but this seems to be the stickiest one.)




acl,

Thanks for the kind words. I do recall you posting in the past, although I don't remember the subject. Ken Wark is one interesting cat, isn't he? Are you familiar with Drew Hempel? He's another in that vein. Sounder, are you listening?

Anyway, right on.

Movie Girl,

I had a message for you from my plant geneticist friend concerning your bee thing, but I seem to have lost it here...I still love your Music of the Ainur stuff and link it high and low. I have some other links you might like, too. How well do you know Des Plaines? (Funny question, I know.)

5/18/2007 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

MovieGirl,

Thanks for calling me an Ogre....I appreciate it......you hippies who just hate labels so much, you use them whenever it's convenient, though, don't you? What a joke that hippie article was that you posted....you were joking by posting it, weren't you? Let me ask you, MovieGirl, if I'm the Ogre, who, or what, is IC? The Night In Shining Armor? Of course he is....with such a wonderful message, how couldn't he be.

ACL, who's lambasting IC besides Richard? If anything, I would say that the protectors of the Holy Grail of Truth as they know it are lambasting Richard, and I'm trying to referee in order to balance the scales. Richard gets a bad rap, and so do I, because we are raw, disturbing and uncomfortable. Instead of singing you lullabies before bed, we smack you over the head with a cast iron pan. Obviously, we don't care about winning popularity contests....we willingly concede that pretentious and delusional victory to IC and the other more graceful and prominent posters here at RI.

IC, you managed to completely avoid the meat of Richard's latest post. You have a tendency to do that, you know. You take an obscure morsel, stuff it with straw, and step up on your soap box and set it aflame. Why is it that you won't let Richard and me influence you, yet we should be influenced by you? I will admit that you have influenced me....but so to has Richard....influenced me. I don't see where Richard has influenced you...instead, each of these periodic rounds only serves to further strengthen your conviction...much like Evangelicals do when confronted by contrarian views.

Please address Richard's most profound statement. I will post it again so you don't miss it.

The desire for "empire" had to exist before the actual empire itself. The desire for "conquest" had to appear before any conquering could begin. These desires had to spring up completely without the detrimental influence of "empire."

Unless "empire" fell from the heavens fully formed, but that would have made one hell of a crater, don't you think?

5/18/2007 02:31:00 PM  
Blogger acl said...

Shrub said Richard said

The desire for "empire" had to exist before the actual empire itself. The desire for "conquest" had to appear before any conquering could begin. These desires had to spring up completely without the detrimental influence of "empire."

Unless "empire" fell from the heavens fully formed, but that would have made one hell of a crater, don't you think?


That is a pretty lame profundity to be honest with you. Empire didn't just happen over night because some precursor to Alexander woke up one day and decided it was so.

It makes it sound as though the abstraction proceeds the actual, but once its conceptualzied, Poof! There it is.

It happened as a natural progression, primarily due to scarcity. They've got fertile land, we don't. They have access to water, we don't. You get the picture.

5/18/2007 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Shrubageddon said...

Of course it didn't happen over night....but that doesn't preclude Richard's point. In fact, your last statement helps support Richard's point, as opposed to refuting it.

Also, what Scarcity? Isn't Scarcity an illusion foisted upon us by Empire? Couldn't we have Abundance if not for this fabricated illusion of Scarcity?

By the way, acl, you may not have posted much since Jeff required us to become members of Blogger in order to post, by I remember your distinct style from the time prior to Jeff's requirement. If I remember correctly, you were chastised relentlessly for posting reams of data......data that resembled the format used in your first post. Welcome back.....I'm looking forward to more information on the various Elitist Bloodlines.

5/18/2007 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger slomo said...

IC:

...why should it be that things are getting worse, despite ever more draconian laws and ever increasing numbers of prisons and hang ‘em high rhetoric informing the “public discourse”? Why is it that black folks in particular are so much more affected by the collapse of decency, and why is that among the nations of the world, we, the trend-setters, the world leaders are the most depraved?

Shrub:

Please address Richard's most profound statement. I will post it again so you don't miss it. The desire for "empire" had to exist before the actual empire itself. The desire for "conquest" had to appear before any conquering could begin. These desires had to spring up completely without the detrimental influence of "empire."


acl:

Empire didn't just happen over night because some precursor to Alexander woke up one day and decided it was so.


And then there's Ran Prieur's recent post:


Consider: the most fuel efficient car available to the American public hasn't even been manufactured for 13 years! That means all the "progress" since then has not been toward more efficient engines, but toward engines that are marketed as being more efficient, but are really just more expensive, with resource-intensive manufacture that outdoes the Hummer in environmental damage.

It's difficult to make sense of this rationally. Sure, you can imagine perfectly evil secret rulers who want to sell everyone greenwashed products that accelerate resource use, but most actual CEO's are not thinking that at all. Or you could put the evil intelligence in the structure of the corporation, but that still doesn't explain why consumers go along with it -- why would any suburbanite buy an SUV when a minivan is cheaper, has more interior room, and gets better fuel economy? If you're going to talk about meta-human intelligence, you might as well go all the way: most humans are part of a collective consciousness that wants to kill everything and then kill itself. Or a nicer theory is that we subconsciously hate industrial civilization and we're trying to bring it to an end as fast as possible.



It is morsels like this that validate my belief that there are much larger, atemporal processes at work. Empire is in part like an addiction, larger than the host. Ultimately, the most satisfactory explanation (to me anyway) is that Empire is a demon that has successfully tricked humanity into a treacherous situation that may spell our own doom. Demons (egregores, i.e. psychological processes on human substrates) are powerless against those who are immune, so, yes, there is inherent "evil" in the human soul, the will to power over the process of life. But the evil of Empire (its causes and consequences) is something larger than human also, it is a system-level runaway process, bigger than any individual.

This is fundamentally where I agree with IC:

...our dislocation from the natural world, whether through the diabolical machinations of the world-killing elites or through unintentional wrong-turnings in the road of our past, is both spiritual and material in nature (if the distinction has any real meaning).

5/18/2007 03:59:00 PM  
Blogger acl said...

Nope Shrub I think I have like two previous posts on this blog ever, if that. If I did post anonymously, which I don't recall, it would've been a one-line quip or something like that.

There is a link on the messageboards to an interview with Al Lewis (Grandpa Munster) that addresses your question about scarcity vs abundance very pointedly:

The ruling class is smarter than you, and they're more creative. And if you forget that lesson, you go down the drain. Because if they weren't, they wouldn't be around as long as they have been and as strong as they have been. It's not an accident. Not an accident. Never underestimate your opponent. They'll tell you that if you're a fighter. Never underestimate. You can poke fun at 'em, you can do satire, but they work 24 hours a day. It's like Lord Acton said: "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." I say that power works 24 hours to remain in power. Throughout history. Go back to kings, feudal times. The same thing. While you and I, here we're bullshitting, and then we go out: "Tompkins Square, blah, blah, blah..." Their fucking machine works 24 hours a day, man. It grinds, it grinds. Otherwise they don't stay in power, they topple.

Almost suggests that their way is *UN*natural, not some preordained natural order, doesn't it?

5/18/2007 04:17:00 PM  
Blogger tazmic said...

Mark said:

"ON THE OTHER HAND, it's bad. I still think Curtis blew it. However visually charming, I was disappointed with only surface political issue: Curtis didn't, couldn't, wouldn't, or is clueless enough to leave untouched the more parapolitical issues in almost every topic he mentions."

The entire piece seems to be a story of how easy it is for governments, whilst trying so dearly to do the right thing, to get it wrong.

Yup. Curtis blew it.

It could almost leave one with the conclusion that no attempt to contain & control such a dynamic system as a society of people can succeed if those efforts are also meant to mold the system within preconcieved mechanistic notions of what society can & should be, without changing, or indeed dictating, what a person is first.

Although this gives some insight into the odd philosophy behind the SRI's Changing Images of Man.

5/18/2007 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

Thanks tazmic for that link.

Your take is forgiving:

The entire piece seems to be a story of how easy it is for governments, whilst trying so dearly to do the right thing, to get it wrong.

My take is far more damning: it's closer to how this was a highly powerful politically promoted ideology--to resign and privatize states. To do this, they felt they had to demote conceptions of what they were for, as well as demote as well as invent (similar to that Dreams' End discussion of the SRI book) a popularized ideology far more atomized in identity, promulgating it selectively.

The Curtis film does sound like a video about that SRI book. Interesting connection there, in overlapping personnel of the "military educational complex" as well, same as in Curtis's view.

5/18/2007 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger iridescent cuttlefish said...

Yes, slomo, that notion of the self-loathing of empire resonates very deeply with me. Well said.

Shrub, you know me better than that--I wouldn't stoop to such rhetorical tricks as the straw-man, which is basically dishonest, a ploy used to "win." If I didn't answer some point of Richard's (particularly this one, as to the origins of empire), it was only because I was pursuing the other argument, that we were in fact dislocated and dispossessed and that the way we live precludes any sort of "recovery" or assimilation. (Richard never exactly conceded that point, remember?)

So, to answer that question as briefly as possible, here's my take, for what it's worth. Empire was only made possible through the advent of agriculture, the greatest change in human history, far greater than industrialization itself, which is obviously only the logical result of that first great misstep. Jarod Diamond, with whom I do not always find myself in agreement, has written a very interesting piece on the wrong turn that agriculture represents. (No link handy, but you can find it easily enough.)

As to what in our psyche might have precipitated the advent of empire, well, you could point to the impulse to dominate, or aggression or some such, and there might be some truth in it, but to me it's the turning away from or dissolution of community in favor of self. Think about this for a moment: isn't consumerism (especially of the conspicuous variety) an attempt to feed an unnatural, insatiable appetite and a pandering to the shrine of the ego? I don't mean to go all Eastern Mystical on you here, but I think you can best see what's happened to us by looking at the collision between New & Old in the areas where the West is encroaching upon the East.

You don't have to take such a journey in some sort of serious, pretentious manner, either. In fact, you'll miss the point if you do. Ever notice that the Buddha was able to laugh at himself, while Jesus wasn't exactly cracking any jokes? (Not that He wasn't humble, which is quite a feat for a god.) I know that you & Richard have occasionally insinuated a sort of sanctimony behind my words, but I would dearly love to disabuse you of that notion. Mojo was very insistent on this point, claiming that my "little old me" modesty was false, but as in many things, he was exactly wrong on this score. I'm far more an airhead than an arhat, and that suits me just fine. Why else would I have chosen the silliest, fluffiest screen name under which to convey my thoughts?

That brings me to another point with you. While it's certainly flattering to hear that I've influenced you with "my" thoughts, you have to realize that they're not mine at all. I very much doubt that I've ever had an original idea in my life (with the possible exception of some minor inventions I pulled out of my creative ass in my last gig as a machinist.) The world is very, very old and there is probably nothing you can think that hasn't been thought, which is why that Beatles song (All You Need Is Love) is such a perfect candidate for that collected consciousness experiment I used to badger you about:

There's nothing you can do that can't be done
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy...


Sure it's easy, it's simple and obvious etc, but it's also quite literally true: All you need is love. So, in the spirit of humility and humor which really is my m.o. here and in life, here's my suggestion for seeing the real clash of civilizations, instead of that bullshit that Kissinger stole from Metternich and then sodomized his fawning neocon acolytes with (did you know, btw, that Wolfowitz actually worked under Lemnitzer in this perverse chain?): John Burdett's Bangkok 8. It's a detective thriller set in the red light district of Thailand's LA, and it's as silly/serious and thoroughly unpretentious as you can get. It is very much the companion piece to that other one I keep linking, Chris Moore's Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal.

Despite being frivolous, easy reads, both of these books give you an extremely clear picture of what ails us, inside and out. Highly, highly recommended.

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