Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Beaming Down from Dreamland without a Transporter Accident

Flaubert said that "writing history is like drinking an ocean and pissing a cupful." Unless you're a leftist, in which case it is the opposite, resulting in a golden shower of tenurinary tracts from bladdering idiots who tell us it's raining.

While neuroscientists think of consciousness as the remembered present, there is another vital aspect of human consciousness which might be called the "unRemembered memory of the present," or what Bollas calls the "unThought known."

One of the reasons it is unremembered is that if we had to equally contend with the foreground and background of the present moment, we'd be too distracted to deal with the former. In reality, there can be no foreground in the absence of a background, and vice versa; conscious and unconscious are actually complementary, and in no way "opposites." They give rise to one another in a process of circular feedback.

This is why some people will give perfectly good money to a psychoanalyst in order to undertake a systematic exhumination of the background container of the present -- things we unconsciously recall but don't want to (or, more likely, that recall us), and that simply distort the moment and interfere with our happiness and fillfullment.

Just so, a collectivity is always more or less hindered by reminiscences that impede progress, and the more one believes oneself to be free of these irrational influences, the more influence they have. Hence, for example, the left's ubiquitous memories of paradise which they insist on imposing on the rest of us in the present. (Indeed, the general problem with Enlightenment rationalists is that they forget all about the endarkenment that operates outside linear logic.) Likewise, Islamists are haunted by unconscious recollections of which they are utterly blind and lacking in even a sliver of in-sight.

Without question, the larger part of memory -- the ocean, so to speak -- is not that which we recall, but that which recalls us. For example, every night we are "forgotten" by O, as we dissolve into the unconscious dreamworks, only to be re-collected and reconstituted in the morning. In this regard, it is somewhat analogous to being beamed down by the transporter each morning:

"A transporter is a fictional teleportation machine used in the Star Trek universe. Transporters convert a person or object into an energy pattern (a process called dematerialization), then 'beam' it to a target, where it is reconverted into matter (rematerialization). The term transporter accident is a catch-all term for when a person or object does not rematerialize correctly."

Indeed, perhaps you may have noticed that O is not (and could not be) entirely consistent in this regard -- that you might have had a little transporter accident overnight. It is as if the transporter left a few molecules out when it reassembled you in the morning.

Or to use a computer analogy, you're a little "buggy." One morning you wake up feeling this way, while the next morning you wake up feeling that way. Perhaps something is "missing," not some easily identifiable content, but again, more like the background context that would allow it all to make sense. Often the only "cure" is to go back to sleep and reboot. Sometimes death is perceived as the only way, hence, suicide.

Now, if there were seven days of creation, there must have been seven nights that were equally important -- perhaps we might even speak of the "seven dreams" of God, during which time the previous day's accomplishments were worked over and the next day's activities incubated.

The idea of the Creator having an "unconscious" has always appealed a bell in me. Since we are in his image, and a conscious mind is unthinkable in the absence of an unconscious mind, this must mean that God has some analogous dialectic. And in fact, I think Eckhart's distinction between God and Godhead speaks to this reality, as do the distinctions between Being and Beyond-Being, nirguna and saguna brahman, or the ain sof / keter of kabbalah. (One could also look at Father and Son in this way.) Kataphatic theology applies to God, whereas apophatic theology applies to Godhead. Again, neither one is "superior," since both are not only required but inevitable.

Anyway, according to Tomberg, "Just as the full reality of human life consists of days and nights -- of the bright day-consciousness and the dark sway of the unconscious (or subconsciousness or superconsciousness) -- so the full reality of humanity's biography, the history of mankind, consists of a day aspect and a night aspect. The day aspect comprises the account of the actuality of that which has become, and the night aspect embraces the activity of becoming."

Another way of saying it is that there is horizontal history and vertical history, both individually and collectively. Each involves a different kind of causation. Horizontal causation may be linear or non-linear, but it operates from past to future. Let us call this the "causality of the day."

But vertical history does not ultimately operate on the basis of mechanical causation. Rather, it is guided organically and teleonomically by a goal, or what is called finalism. (It is also guided by certain perennial archetypes, thus there is formal causation as well.)

For example, a patient might come into psychotherapy imagining that there is some event or experience in their past that is causing their present troubles. If they can just remember and identify what it was and bring it into the light, then the vexatious pattern that is imposing itself upon their psychic life will be drained of its potential to cause problems.

But it only works that way in the movies. This is because the thing they're looking for is not in the past but right here in the present. It is not "behind" but "below," influencing things from the bottom up.

Furthermore, it doesn't work in a mechanical way, nor is it like the fabled "pressure cooker" of instinctual energy that needs to be released. Rather, it has a goal and an agenda of which we are unaware. We want one thing but it obviously wants another -- something very specific, usually a certain kind of relationship, even (or especially) if it brings pain or frustration. Neuropsychoanalytic research suggests that it is not a figure of speech to say that the left brain doesn't know what the right brain is doing (or worse yet, knowing or being).

One of the reasons liberal solutions don't work is that they fail to take into consideration the nocturnal mission of history. And one of the reasons they fail to do so is that leftism in general consists of a stagnant memepool of the over- and undereducated -- or maternalistic elites (the dreaded "vaginocracy dentata") and the losers for whom they know what's best.

Furthermore, this pathological dance of losers creates a "night time" influence of its own, in that the solutions and programs enacted by the elites have inevitable unintended consequences that make the problems worse, thus creating a greater need for maternalistic elites (a perverse alliance of men with breasts and women without them, e.g., feminists).

This is why one is sometimes tempted, as is Rush Limbaugh, to think that the damage inflected by the left must be intentional. I don't generally believe this. Rather, I believe that the majority of leftists have good intentions, but are honestly blind to their self-defeating ideas.

As Thomas Sowell has noted, liberal policies are guided by feeling -- in particular, a self-deluding "compassion" -- not by thought. As such, they never take into account what he calls "phase II," or unintended consequences of their policies. This is because their idiot compassion blinds them to the system of destructive incentives a policy puts into place.

Looked at collectively, this pattern is entirely self-defeating, just like a codependent patient who constantly complains about her husband, unaware that her codependency -- her narcissistic rescue fantasies -- prop up and fuel her husband's bad behavior.

But there is a great side benefit ("secondary gain") to the codependency, as it allows the woman to 1) project a damaged or devalued part of herself into her husband, thereby distancing herself from her own psychic pain, 2) feel contempt for, and triumph over, the weak and devalued part of herself, and 3) elevate herself and feel morally superior to him.

Thus, we should not be surprised if we see in leftists the same pattern of projection, condescension, and sanctimony. Indeed, where would the left be without their projected fantasies of the weak and dominated woman, or the po' hepless negro?

It is quite striking how blacks can tolerate the utter contempt that liberal politicians and the MSM have for them. They are infantilized, held to lower standards, excused of behavior that would not be tolerated in others, and worse. Only on the left could lowlife thugs such as Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson run for president without provoking comment, much less deep soul-searching. It is not ironic. It is inevitable.

But it takes two to tango to a tangle of pathology, and it is always tempting to overpathologize the abuser and underpathologize the abused, when the dysfunctional system needs both parties in order to function as a national rescue party -- to party heartily (or in the end, heartlessly). Just as sadists with their preydar are on the prowl for masochists, masochists are always on the lookout for sadists, driven to find their dissing half.

It reminds me of something a caller mentioned yesterday on Dennis Prager: "Tell a loser he's a winner and he'll fight for you. Tell him he's a god, and he'll kill for you."

47 Comments:

Blogger Van said...

"Unless you're a leftist, in which case it is the opposite, resulting in a golden shower of tenurinary tracts from bladdering idiots who tell us it's raining."

Ok, been a while since I choked on my coffee... thanks for reminding me what it feels like.

wv:trackfu
Ben? Related to ChinFu? Maybe as performed when leaping over hurdles?

12/01/2010 08:55:00 AM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Once again a striking post. You are into a particular fine run of posts here lately.

I believe I understood most of it. However, it covers an immense amount of territory and may require some contemplation before I try to add anything to the comment section.

I'm not sure what I'm up to in the comment department. I want to honor the writing, and to make a response to it. It is my way of respecting the work.

To any kind of theoretical writing, a response of readers incorporating some personal experience is what is called for. The ideas should be prodded, tested, compared to one's own notions.

Eventually a sythesis between the writer and reader is effected.

12/01/2010 08:59:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Why does GM sound like an artifical intelligence computer program"

12/01/2010 09:37:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Bob says:

"Neuropsychoanalytic research suggests that it is not a figure of speech to say that the left brain doesn't know what the right brain is doing (or worse yet, knowing or being)."

I'm pretty sure that my left brain definitely has a problem with my right brain.

At least my left brain has figured out that my right brain exists.

That's a start.

12/01/2010 09:41:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Bob says:

"The idea of the Creator having an "unconscious" has always appealed a bell in me. Since we are in his image, and a conscious mind is unthinkable in the absence of an unconscious mind, this must mean that God has some analogous dialectic. And in fact, I think Eckhart's distinction between God and Godhead speaks to this reality, as do the distinctions between Being and Beyond-Being, nirguna and saguna brahman, or the ain sof / keter of kabbalah. (One could also look at Father and Son in this way.) Kataphatic theology applies to God, whereas apophatic theology applies to Godhead. Again, neither one is "superior," since both are not only required but inevitable."

I suppose that beyond-being has to be unconsious.

So maybe "beyond-being" isn't a good phrase, because beyond-being is directly related to what actually is.

Being comes from beyond-being and being relates to beyond-being.

I just don't like "beyond-being" because it feels stagnant.

I just think we need something that better evokes hte dynamic process involved with beyond-being.

12/01/2010 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To: JP
Re:"I just think we need something that better evokes hte dynamic process involved with beyond-being."

How about super-conscious? Until we discover the other dimensions we are never going to know how it all works. Divine conscious? The wiring of the universe is only partially known. Beyond-conscious? Whatever the conduit, the message or the energy travels faster than light, and moves from one end of the universe to the other in a twinkle. Super synapse consciousness? My point is we are connected to Him in ways we cannot imagine.

My only question is why have the prophesies stopped?

12/01/2010 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said "...GM sound like an artifical intelligence..."

Emphasis on the 'artificial'... or maybe you meant 'artifecal'... that'd go with the museum discussion the other day...

(oh... that's gonna bring down the wrath of gm again)

12/01/2010 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Tigtog said "My only question is why have the prophesies stopped?"

Stopped?

Still apply, as far as I can tell... why dish out new ones when the old ones are still going strong?

12/01/2010 10:44:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Looked at collectively, this pattern is entirely self-defeating, just like a codependent patient who constantly complains about her husband, unaware that her codependency -- her narcissistic rescue fantasies -- prop up and fuel her husband's bad behavior.

Or like an assoul who complains about the truth, unaware that he's completely incapable of knowing it for what it is...

12/01/2010 10:52:00 AM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To: Van
Re: "Still apply, as far as I can tell... why dish out new ones when the old ones are still going strong?"

I said nothing concerning their currency, rather I was asking why we haven't seen or heard of any new ones?

Hate to be pushy, but is that all there is?

12/01/2010 11:09:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Tigtog said "Hate to be pushy, but is that all there is?"

Hmmm... maybe that's all there is to be seen from the third floor, so to speak, maybe for new sights to be foreseen, we need to rise to where they are foreseeable from?

I keep trying to push 4 on the televator... but it seems like someone's always got their foot stuck in the door. Good taste in shoes though, look a lot like mine....

12/01/2010 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Tigtog says:

"Hate to be pushy, but is that all there is?"

What exactly are you talking about here?

I'm not being sarcastic.

12/01/2010 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

"This is why one is sometimes tempted, as is Rush Limbaugh, to think that the damage inflected by the left must be intentional. I don't generally believe this. Rather, I believe that the majority of leftists have good intentions, but are honestly blind to their self-defeating ideas.

As Thomas Sowell has noted, liberal policies are guided by feeling -- in particular, a self-deluding "compassion" -- not by thought."

Yep, I agree. What's difficult to grasp is that they can do those things, consistently, which seem impossible to do without intentionally meaning to do harm... but the intent intended, is not always the intent that's seen. And that unseen force operating from the bottom up, that set of habits, ideas and beliefs which shape their every action, they do create a certain goal which the asoul's pursue, knowingly or not.

Proregressivists are what good intentions look like, when driven by false assumptions. And without the presence of the past in their lives, who's to say they're wrong? Certainly not them.

12/01/2010 11:23:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Tigtog,

My only question is why have the prophesies stopped?

Dangerous question, that. I posited something similar once, a couple years ago: that miracles didn't happen anymore. I have since learned to shut up and pay attention.

Anyway, to your point.

a) What makes you think that prophecies have stopped? Other than the fact that you haven't heard of any, as far as you know? Would you recognize one, even if it landed square on your head, or would you write it off as a passing fancy or a serious mental illness?

b) As Van noted, why demand new prophecies when the old are still in the process of fulfillment? Really, what more is needed? There is a deustination, and the world as we know it shall come to an end. How that plays out in your personal life is largely up to you.

12/01/2010 11:29:00 AM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To: JP

I am talking about prophecy and prophets. How come the Bible doesn't grow? Is there no other ending but the Apocalypse - the resurrection and the war between good and evil, light and darkness. Is there nothing to add to the message?

12/01/2010 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

Van -

Proregressivists are what good intentions look like, when driven by false assumptions. And without the presence of the past in their lives, who's to say they're wrong? Certainly not them.

Especially helpful when the past repeatedly proves that their good intentions almost always yield terrible results. They don't need to know about that, though, so long as the trail of unicorn droppings in their immediate horizontal and vertical vicinity still looks like Skittles.

12/01/2010 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger black hole said...

I had an odd dream last night.

I was on day time jungle patrol with a squad of 12. We made heavy contact with an enemy unit near a small clearing.

After a minute or so, my people suddenly stop firing. They stand up, they drop their rifles, they don't say a word.

Into the clearing come six enemy infantrymen and an officer. The small officer in the light green uniform emanates a very authoritative command presence.

I drop my carbine. The officer comes close, so I can see his (her?) eyes. I realize I know those eyes, have always known them. Their gaze penetrates into my body and moves from part to part. Wherever the gaze goes, a tremendous sense of relief, release, and warmth follows. My cells sing jubiliantly.

The officer points to my pistol belt. I realize I no longer need it. I let it fall to the ground.

For me, the war is over.

This dream has clung to me today. I sit in my office, and seriously I don't know as that this job means much to me anymore.

A strange experience. I feel different.

12/01/2010 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To: Julie
Re: New Prophecies

The reason for my questioning is that through my readings of the last year or so, I have come to conclusion that all the prophecy within the Bible is of Zoroastrian pedigree (e.g., heaven, hell, Messiah, satan, angels, resurrection, and apocalyptic battle between good/evil - light/darkness). These concepts came to us through Babylon via the Jewish Exile (see Jewish Prophets). This makes these prophecies much older than their introduction within the Old Testament. (This ain't Moses's Yahweh anymore). So when I ask why there are no new prophecies within the Christian tradition, I am being serious. Has all Divine truth been conveyed?

Granted, I haven't met a prophet, and would likely be put off by a modern prophet, but you get my drift. There has been 2,010 years elapsed since Christ's birth, and not a peep of prophesy added in that time? This is an honest question, hopefully the wolves won't attack.

12/01/2010 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

How come the Bible doesn't grow?

Well, let's consider: The Bible as we know it was first assembled by a small group of people, at a time when Christians were fairly concentrated and trying to have some sort of unity of belief.

In the 1600+ years since then, Christianity has gone through some major changes and has undergone some massive divisions. Who would be considered enough of an authority these days that they could add anything, especially since we still don't have a complete understanding of what's already written? I can't imagine even the Vatican would have such Authority, without something massively and unequivocally apocalyptic happening. The Mormons tried, but few outside of the faith take their book very seriously.

And look at what happened with the rise of Protestantism - a divergence of opinion on interpretation and understanding, again of what was already written. I don't know if it's even possible to imagine the sort of storm one would brew by trying to add anything to the Bible, even with compelling evidence.

And again, more to the point, it doesn't strike me that such is necessary. If at some point there is to be a new Revelation, it may well take on a completely different form, one that will only be properly understood once it is, again, history. The most important events in the world are rarely recognized as they happen. It is only in the aftermath that a prophecy may be known to be true, by which time it is old news, and in all likelihood there are then people wondering why "we no longer live in an age of prophecy."

12/01/2010 11:50:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

Tigtog said "I am talking about prophecy and prophets. How come the Bible doesn't grow?"

At the risk of straying beyond my paygrade and trying to sound wiser than I am...as I witnessed myself, much to my surprise, it does grow, and without changing shape, it doesn't grow by adding pages, but by your unearthing a new layer of its depth.

I stood and stared at it for decades, and a thin unchanging comic book it remained... and then when I finally got down on my knees and dug, I found that layers and layers of new Mosaics and prophesies about me, were all over the place right there under my feet all along. And then after bending down and digging again at that floor, viola, another layer is there waiting for me.

But this time I know that it's not it's fault I can't see all the new floor plans and Mosaics, I just haven't finished doing the necessary digging away of my own dirt yet, in order to be able to see them.

It's complete and doesn't need to grow, we do.

12/01/2010 12:00:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I am being serious. Has all Divine truth been conveyed?

If you're right and the prophecies of the old testament are older than they seem, there still wasn't a whole lot in the way of major Divine prophecy being handed down, even back then.

Also, what Van said.

12/01/2010 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

Today's sign of the Apocalypse...

12/01/2010 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Former pro hoopster Charles Barkley is known for speaking his mind, and he didn't hold back Tuesday night when discussing President Barack Obama's basketball abilities on "Conan."

"I'm an old fat guy now, but I'll kick his ass," said Barkley, suggesting that he could beat the president in a one-on-one.

Obama's biggest problem? "He's a lefty. He always goes left. And if you just stand there, I'm not sure if you were to open up the right side, he could go right at all."


'nuff said

12/01/2010 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

Tigtog said "The reason for my questioning is that through my readings of the last year or so, I have come to conclusion that all the prophecy within the Bible is of Zoroastrian pedigree (e.g., heaven, hell, Messiah, satan, angels, resurrection, and apocalyptic battle between good/evil - light/darkness). These concepts came to us through Babylon via the Jewish Exile (see Jewish Prophets). This makes these prophecies much older than their introduction within the Old Testament. (This ain't Moses's Yahweh anymore). So when I ask why there are no new prophecies within the Christian tradition, I am being serious. Has all Divine truth been conveyed? "

Ah. I wasn't quite following where you were pointing, was I. But... then again, I kinda was too.

On the literal level, why have no new prophesies been written, I think first answer holds - until the old ones are used up for a civilization (and that may involve and require the ending of that civilization), no new ones are needed or possible.

On the next level... how about what else Babylon gave us, like the startings of numbering and geometry.
Numbers, numbering haven't really changed from their day to ours, though they used different symbols and notations, etc... but the potential inherent in their system of numbering had and has been there all along.

Because they used a different symbol for one, doesn't mean that our 1 doesn't refer to the same... and because they didn't know about zero, doesn't mean that the possibility of it wasn't there all along. The deeper development of calculation, geometry, algebra, calculus... same 10 digits, same 360 degrees, the only thing that's changed has come from how deeply we've learned to dig into them, calculate and reveal ever deeper layers and possibilities in them.

I don't think the stories changed at all since the first cave paintings... we've just learned to depict and clarify the stories, and their reflections (prophesies), as our depth perception has improved.

The song itself, I think it remains the same.

12/01/2010 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

"What God remembers is" -- George MacDonald

Or to use a computer analogy, you're a little "buggy."

Your image exutable is slightly corrupted.


this pathological dance of losers

Monty Python missed an opportunity for a great skit.

12/01/2010 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

as is my spelling

12/01/2010 12:42:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Tigtog says:

"The reason for my questioning is that through my readings of the last year or so, I have come to conclusion that all the prophecy within the Bible is of Zoroastrian pedigree (e.g., heaven, hell, Messiah, satan, angels, resurrection, and apocalyptic battle between good/evil - light/darkness)."

These were the sources for Orthodox Civilization. That ended. The last parabolic blowoff was the Ottoman Empire. We are now dealing with the residual shards of it in the form of the Muslims.


We then got the West, starting somewhere between 800 and 1000 A.D. That is in the process of ending. It will take a few centuries or so.

Russia (Orthodox Civilization II) is still functional. I'm not sure what will become of it, but it's not exaclty dead. The West looks to infinite space. Russia looks to the infinite horizon (fractally speaking).

I don't know what will replace the West. Western Civilization II? But it will require, in the Words of Oswald Spengler is the "Birth of a myth of the Grand Style expressing a New God-feeling. World-fear. World Longing"

Van notes:

"On the literal level, why have no new prophesies been written, I think first answer holds - until the old ones are used up for a civilization (and that may involve and require the ending of that civilization), no new ones are needed or possible."

Prophesies, as Van is using them are a "myth of the Grand Style".

New myths are being generated now, I'm certain.

You will get your new holy books. It's only a matter of time.

12/01/2010 01:11:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

JP said "Prophesies, as Van is using them are a "myth of the Grand Style"

No, not being a Spenglarian, I'm using them as I'm using them (more Poetic than Mythic, and there is a big difference... but it still doesn't come out right without a looong post, so don't provoke me... for all of our sakes), please don't put Spengler's myths in my mouth, it's unsanitary.

12/01/2010 01:23:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

This is why one is sometimes tempted, as is Rush Limbaugh, to think that the damage inflected by the left must be intentional. I don't generally believe this. Rather, I believe that the majority of leftists have good intentions, but are honestly blind to their self-defeating ideas."

I also generally believe this. Van mentioned this, however, it's still difficult to understand the follow-up deniability that leftists brandish as a form of crucifix when their ideas result in the deaths of thousands and even millions of people (DDT, Vietnam, Cuba, Soviet Union, China, etc.).

Not to mention the massive economical damage their policies cause.
Then there's the destruction of family, tradition, honor, language, music, education, history...I mean, pretty much everything that is Good, True and Beautiful is targetted and attacked by leftism.

And yet...rarely, very rarely does any leftist feel guilty for causing this (let alone admit it), their good intentions be (are) damned.

I reckon that's no real surprise, considering they essentially deny (yea, attack!) reality, but it doesn't elicit much sympathy neither.
My pity meter seems to be broken irt leftists.

That bein' said, I heartily welcome any leftists that do see the error and destruction of that ideology and choose to embrace reality (truth).

12/01/2010 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Van:

Trackfu can also be used in coonjunction with huntfu. There's also the sub-sub specialty of doofu (aka doodoofu) which also aids in trackfu/huntfu. :^)

12/01/2010 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger JP said...

Van says:

"No, not being a Spenglarian, I'm using them as I'm using them (more Poetic than Mythic, and there is a big difference... but it still doesn't come out right without a looong post, so don't provoke me... for all of our sakes), please don't put Spengler's myths in my mouth, it's unsanitary."

If you have a better civilizational theory, I'm all ears.

12/01/2010 02:07:00 PM  
Blogger Grant Maher said...

Well to answer to Tig Tog regarding a lack of recent prophesy:

You can make your own prophecies. Just relax and use the Force, so to speak.

My Prophecies:

AI by 3000

Demise of Leftism by 3300

Rise of Gnostic Civilization c. 3500

Diaspora to other worlds by 4000

Partial Divininisation of Humanity c. 300000 A.D.

Complete conversion of the body to pure energy format c.500000 A.D.

Complete Divinisation of all life, matter and energy in the Cosmos. End of Game 10,000,000,000 A.D.

Also I would add that prophecies are not very useful. Think of the ones in the bible or from the past. What have they done for you lately?

For me,Squatoosh.

12/01/2010 02:21:00 PM  
Blogger walt said...

Ben -

You know I'm always interested in things ending in "-fu." But I've learned the hard way that it's important to learn from an expert.

So, maybe you could help? I mean, do you do doodoo-fu?

12/01/2010 02:24:00 PM  
Blogger black hole said...

I believe I will abandon leftism as of now. It just doesn't feel right anymore for me. It kind of sickens me. The students here are not being educated well.

I now take up Racoonism as my orientation. For some reason it now seems emminently reasonable. Go figure.

I'll have to keep up appearances at the office or I'll get canned tho. They'll find some reason.

I know how to act like a leftist from long experience so I probably won't get sussed out.

I don't want the Black Hole moniker anymore. My new name is Open Trench.

12/01/2010 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Walt!

Ha ha! Well, I do do a form of whododoodoofu, which involves entirely TMIfu...

12/01/2010 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Open Trench:

Hurray! We are all shovel ready at the news of your recent coonversion. :^)

12/01/2010 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

Bon Chance (“good courage”),
Open Trench!
a toast to your
'new wave'

12/01/2010 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger Tigtog said...

To: Open Trench
Re: blackhole

Does this mean you are over Soundgarden?

12/01/2010 03:14:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

JP... I always seem to be in opposition to you over one thing or another... sorry about that... I'll buy the first round if we ever find a nice bar to meet up over. Ok then... here we go...

"If you have a better civilizational theory, I'm all ears."

No, I don't, and I think they are, one and all, over reaching, simplistic, and whether they be adorned with claims of grand myths, or color coded to make it easier to impress your friends with McWisdom tagging... they are far more comforting to the theorizer, than substantial and useful in their explanations, past, present or future.

Victor Davis Hanson had a comment once which I thought was spot on regarding Spengler... here it is,
Question: What history books would you recommend to enable me to get a good overview of world history?

Hanson: I read those I don’t like—Hegel, Spengler, and Toynbee to learn about, and thus to avoid, the pitfalls of determinism, and then those I do that are empirical: Thucydides, Tacitus, Gibbon, Prescott, Churchill, and modern counterparts like Alistair Horne, Martin Gilbert, John Keegan, Hugh Thomas, Donald Kagan, Steven Ozment.


I'm not a fan of determinism in any of it's costumes, and dressing it up in grand myth's to give it omniscient abilities, I no longer see as anything other than the cheapest and gaudiest of getup's.

Those who claim to have found a 'civilizational model' which civilizations not only predictably go through but claim to be able to see that one is now on schedule to click over into their next phase... sorry, but they're bogus. Yes in a very broad brush way, civilizations have particular traits in youth, they change as they mature, and change again as they die and new ones come along.

Wow. How incisive.

Spengler (going on memory here) makes all sorts of comparisons between the Roman's and Americans, but most of them are fairly surface level, shallow, claims that don't hold up under scrutiny, and certainly flop as predictors of what comes next. I think Spengler himself... didn't he move on towards the end of his life, from worrying about the looming coincidences of Roman bogeymen to environmental and technological ones? I could be wrong there... I'd have to dig out my old papers... and I really don't want to.

You know what one of the most popular book subjects was in Rome at about 120B.C.? The imminent fall of Rome. They were backed up by analysis's of all the best Greek & Roman thinkers, Hesiod, Plato, etc, theories of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron ages and all the indicators told them all that the jig was up... any dei now, it'd all fall down. The Roman Republic lasted another 100 years, the Empire continued on in Rome another 400 after that, and the Roman Empire continued on in its eastern seat at Constantinople for, what, another 1,200 years after that? So... no... I don't put a lot of stock in the gloom and doomers, let alone those who claim they can make accurate predictions for them, or give us comprehensive models 'explaining' them.
(argh... break)

12/01/2010 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger Van said...

(cont)

Not all that much different than economics either. There are some basic rules which can, should and must be grasped for an economy to flourish, but having done so doesn't convey the ability to fine tune, or even accurately predict future behavior. Most of economics, aside from the fundamentals are a crock, and even given a society run by the correct principles rather than by con game we operate on, even given that, economists who claim to be able to control or predict anything other than in broad-brush, are frauds and hucksters (the exception being when you see that a people are violating a fundamental rule, it's valid and not all that difficult to predict disappointment and even ruin from violating those rules - the bailouts come to mind - but other than that, to make positive pronouncements, nah. Poop.

What drives history is people, and what drives people is philosophy (abstract and religious) and of course their laws and interactions which are inseparable from the gazillion choices each of those people will be making from one instant to another , and how that all plays out depends on their willingness to face reality, and the near infinite number of possibilities which can result from that - they do not, and cannot, fit into or abide by or be driven by or even explained by, any deterministic controls or comprehensive predictions.

If it is impossible to define, regulate and control a 'free' market economy, or even one industry within it, and that is nuttier than a fruitcake, how much more insane and hubristic must it be to claim to do so for an entire civilization?

12/01/2010 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger ge said...

GovernMENTAL Sanity rears its non-hockey stick-shaped head!

12/01/2010 03:51:00 PM  
Blogger Northern Bandit said...

Wait a minute... what flows through an open trench again?

Between baby daughter and raw capitalism (that smell, that boardroom smell, I love the smell of a mezzanine round in the morning...) I'm barely keeping up with posts here, but this one really rocks.

I mean, read here what the mainstream smartypants set babble about when they discuss the nature of consciousness (sample: "some scientists insist it doesn't exist"). Are we lucky to have OC, or what?

12/01/2010 09:02:00 PM  
Blogger Magnus Itland said...

Since the spirit of prophecy is now freely available for download, so to say, writing down all prophecies in one book would be impossible.

12/02/2010 12:28:00 AM  
Blogger JP said...

Van says:

"If it is impossible to define, regulate and control a 'free' market economy, or even one industry within it, and that is nuttier than a fruitcake, how much more insane and hubristic must it be to claim to do so for an entire civilization?"

I'm not talking about control, I'm talking about boundary conditions and lifespan.

For instance, in case you haven't noticed, people live a fixed amount of time and are defined by their personalities (unless severe mind parasites, developmental problems, ect.). Cultures and civilizations operate on similar rules. I'm applying the Rule of Analogy from MOT here.

In the realm of economics, you can only expand an economy so quickly, due to human nature.

In the realm of physics, we are now to the point where we are close to figuring out the boundary conditions for the physical world. This is the "Theory of Everything". It's simply the outer limites of what is possible in this universe.

I don't want the "determinism" aspect of civlizational theory; I want the boundary conditions.

I don't look at cilizational theory for determinism; I look at it for outer limits and general broad brush strokes.

A lot of Spengler is wrong. For instance, he called architecture frozen math. Architecture is frozen music.

However, some of what he says rings true. Civilizations and cultures have some rules.

12/02/2010 06:14:00 AM  
Blogger julie said...

In the realm of physics, we are now to the point where we are close to figuring out the boundary conditions for the physical world. This is the "Theory of Everything". It's simply the outer limites of what is possible in this universe.

At least, they keep thinking we're getting closer. Then something surprising usually happens...

12/02/2010 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

JP Said "In the realm of economics, you can only expand an economy so quickly, due to human nature."

What would have qualified as 'only so quickly' would have been a very different speed in 1500 and even 1800, than it would have been clocked at just a few decades later. There would have been a few recalibrations needed in 1900, 1960, 1975, and 1980 & 1988 as well.

"In the realm of physics, we are now to the point where we are close to figuring out the boundary conditions for the physical world. This is the "Theory of Everything". It's simply the outer limits of what is possible in this universe."

Some people think so, others don't. But even if so, it has zero application to an individual human life, let alone a culture.

"For instance, in case you haven't noticed, people live a fixed amount of time and are defined by their personalities (unless severe mind parasites, developmental problems, ect.). Cultures and civilizations operate on similar rules."

Sorry no, what's true for individuals isn't true for cultures and civilizations, lots of little things like fallacy of composition, and others, torpedoes’ that right off the bat. What applies to a person, cannot be said to apply to a civilization in any way other than happenstancial similarities - somewhat correlative, but in no way causal. Socrates made a similar goof in his attempt to define Justice from the top down in the Republic. And Top Down just doesn't work in a complex system, especially one where you've got to factor in that every path taken from the top down, can take an infinite number of different branch paths, each of which will trigger an infinite number of additional paths, etc.

You might say "Good in theory, but not in practice", but really, only a certain amount of tunnel vision can make it sound like it's good theory. Looks neat on paper, doesn't work at all.

Analagies are excellent tools, they help us grasp things and develop new ideas, but treating them as more than what they are, can be a dicey, even a dangerous, business.

"I'm not talking about control, I'm talking about boundary conditions and lifespan."

Of course the models don't seek to control civilization (though some people do seek to use them in order to do just that), but they do seek to follow the same deterministic methodologies in making their assumptions.

JP, I do get what you're talking about, I subscribed to them for a while myself, but after looking into it, no, they just don't hold up - IMHO.
(sigh... break)

12/02/2010 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Van said...

(cont)
At the risk of falling on my own fallacies, they fail in a similar way to how current lifespan models fail in telling you about your own life. The

"If you were born to middle class parents, cancer free on both sides, mild alcoholism on one side, and parents didn't divorce, you can expect to live until X years, have n kids, and expect a Y% probability of remaining married yourself."

While statistically that may hold across a large enough sampling of individuals, it tells you exactly zero about any particular individual. And unless you have a large enough statistical sampling, then reliable statistics couldn't even be drawn... and unless you've got a stash of civilizations somewhere from which to draw from, I don't think there have been enough to make reliable forecasts from... and again, when you get down to looking at one particular civilization, it would tell you exactly zero about it.

Spengler has many interesting things to say, but his fundamentals relegates them to being isolated particulars, not all that different from the twice a day accuracy of the stopped clock (yeah, that's a little unfair, but not wrong). Kant said lots of swell sounding things too, even sounds like he supports individuality and freedom, but his fundamentals negates them all across the board.

"However, some of what he says rings true. Civilizations and cultures have some rules."

They have certain traits, yes, and like I said, some basic rules and laws can be applied, and must be followed to be successful - and the models hold best when all those basic rules are broken - but they can tell you very little about real expectations or predictions. Many cultures and civilizations have seemed to followed the same traits, but when you really dig in to the details, I think you'll find they were mostly cherry picked to fit the format. And those that seem to fit, seem to fit from this end of history, looking at the past; were they still active, any one of the predictions could each have been blown to bits by just one instance of the unexpected.

Cultural and civilizational models provide no possible way to foresee the actions of a few committed people at the right time and place, any one of which could thoroughly futz up the predictions and mix up the colors.

Western Civilization itself never would have been at all, except for a few vocal individuals (and a culture which made it possible to listen to them) in Athens and Sparta, absent them, Persia would probably not even have a notation for them in their history books. No model could, or does, enable that observation or forecast.

And because a few people in England didn't sit down and shut up, and because the printing press had been invented, ideas such as what John Locke typified, altered the course of England which should have been settling back into a nice totalitarian decline under King James; the freedoms of the Magna Carta had been corrupted and spent, and that should have been that. But because there were people who spoke up, others who listened, and even more who acted, England had their "Glorious Revolution", and despite what Beck and everyone else bewails daily about "Freedom once lost, can never be regained"... they did lose it, and they did regain it, and without even a violent revolution. And because they did that, America came into full being, none of which should or could have been predicted by any of the models.

Yes, very generally, they can seem to apply, but in actuality, no, they do not, when these models are right... they only happen to be.

If you like the theories, enjoy, they are interesting and can take your thoughts in many worthwhile directions... but I think they're a crock,... maybe you can get back to me in a few hundred years and prove me wrong.

12/02/2010 10:53:00 AM  

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