Archives for category: complementary ways of attending knowlege

Ooops!
According to Reuters, he never uttered those words.
But “Burke did say something resembling the quote in his “Thoughts on the Cause of the Present Discontents” (1770): “When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.”

‘OK, and where’s the difference?
The meaning’s the same…’

Not exactly!
Burke was speaking about the fate of individual people while the quote attributed to him is about evil itself.
According to Burke, the good people must associate in order to protect their livelihoods and their way of life while the mis-attributed quote pretends that there are circumstances in which evil might prevail.

‘I still don’t understand you! Good people loosing their cause doesn’t mean that evil has prevailed?!?’

No!
Good people might loose from time to time. Being good doesn’t mean those people are perfect.
People make mistakes. Some of which can’t be undone.

Evil things do happen. From time to time. Either through sheer bad luck or through good people making horrible mistakes. But evil cannot prevail. Not on the longer run!

For two reasons.

Small enough mistakes can be overcome. Either individually or collectively.
Serious enough mistakes will kill you. Individually and collectively.
This was the first reason.

If evil hadn’t been that bad, we wouldn’t have called it that way.
If evil would have led to survival, we would have called it ‘good’.

Good people doing nothing doesn’t mean that evil will triumph.
Good people doing nothing only means, as Burke had said, that those good people will fail. One by one.
Bad people having it their way doesn’t mean much. Historically speaking.
After they had finished vanquishing the good, the bad had always started to fight among themselves. It’s in their nature to do that.

That’s how each evil eventually dies out…

Until the next one appears?
Indeed! Weeds will always spring up. Specially if the soil is rich.
That’s what hoes are for! If only people knew how to make good use of them…

In physics, ‘temperature’ measures the intensity of the interaction between the elements which ‘inhabit’ a certain place.
The more energy exists in a certain place, the more intense the interaction. If the place is inhabited by a gas, each molecule is able to ‘travel’ a short distance before actually hitting one, or more, of its neighbors. If the place is occupied by a liquid, the molecules glide against each-other and if we speak about a solid, the components just shimmy together.
The more energy exists inside a place – the higher the temperature, the more intense the interaction between the individual components. And if, for whatever reason, ‘too much’ energy accumulates into a given space the interaction becomes intense enough for ‘change’ to happen. As temperature raises, solids melt, liquids boil and evaporate while gases become plasma.

Adding energy isn’t enough to determine change. Temperature might rise without anything noticeable to happen. Specially when we speak about liquids and solids. If enough outside pressure is applied, the liquid cannot start to boil and the solid stays in place.

Same thing when it comes to a society.
High output societies need a very intense social interaction to make things happen.
To make so many things happen at once… that being the reason for which those societies need to be democratic. Autocracies are too rigid, they cannot accommodate the continuous adjustments needed to ‘absorb’ the huge amount of ‘social change’ warranted by the amount of energy ebbing through the system.

One way to measure ‘social temperature’ – other than the ‘output’ of that society, is to gouge how vulnerable a society is when confronted with a highly infectious disease which is transmitted through direct contact. Cholera will sweep through an entire community which drinks from the same well, regardless of how much contact individual people have with each-other. Covid, and Ebola, need people to ‘touch’ each-other in order to jump from one to another.

But don’t forget to factor in ‘pressure’. And other things specific to each individual ‘place’.
Otherwise the analysis might produce less relevant results.

The above phrase makes a lot of sense.
Every beating which had become ‘public knowledge’ does make life ‘easier’ to those men who are known to be ‘peaceful’. In a sense…

On the other hand, every beating which becomes public knowledge but the beater isn’t chastised for his actions makes life harder for everybody.
For women. The beaten ones are discouraged from making their plight public. Those not beaten yet are taught that being beaten isn’t such a big deal.
For men. Those who already do it, feel no compulsion to stop. Those who would do it feel encouraged to ‘experiment’. Those who would like to do it but cannot – for whatever reasons, feel frustrated. Those who abhor it feel ashamed for belonging to the same gender. And discouraged from doing anything about it.
For the entire species. Violence become normalized. Socially accepted. Expected, even… Mothers and fathers don’t teach their sons that this is an unacceptable behavior while teaching their daughters to not be ‘surprised’ if it happens. All the more so when children witness their mother being abused while nobody does anything about it. Not even the abused mother… Not even when the abusive husband abuses the children along with the mother…

So what ‘awards’ are we talking about here? What’s the real meaning of “All men benefit from the actions of violent men”?
Or the real meaning of the phrase is that there is no such thing as a really good man?

Another logical ‘extension’ would be ‘All people benefit from the actions of thieves. This is why locks are being built and the police is being paid’. For humans are, by definition, nothing but sinners… right?

How about doing something about the whole situation instead of peddling in double edged memes?
Because the only explanation for women – along with children and peaceful men, being abused is the lack of social reaction whenever a beating – or any other form of abuse, becomes public knowledge.

Resources, Time, Evolution.

Information, Learning, Revelation.

Opportunities, Experience, Self-Improvement.

Things, Structure, Understanding.

Limits, Interactions, Outgrowth.

Smells like The Dow Theory?
Because that was my starting point….

But we should not forget Abraham Maslow.
If you think of it, Maslow’s stages are nothing but the three thrusts up which define a bull market.
For an individual to be able to master the ‘self actualization’ phase, they need to have mustered enough resources, have had enough relevant social experience and to have ‘properly digested’ the information accumulated during the process.


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As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

As much as I love writing, I do have to eat.
And to provide for my family.
Earning money takes time.
If you’d like me to write more, and on a more regular basis, hit the button.
Your contribution will be appreciated!

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‘Japanese’ logic:
If somebody can do it, I can too.
If nobody could do it, I will.

‘Romanian’ logic:
If somebody can do it, let them do it!
If nobody could do it, why should I?

These two capture rather accurately the respective Weltanschauungs.

There are two things which bother me, though.

Once a Romanian determines that something must be done, they will find a way. No matter how unconventional…
It’s not any lack of individual self-confidence which keeps Romania back…

Secondly – but, to me, far more important,
who gets to determine whether ‘it’ is worth doing?
The doers themselves or somebody else?
And what governs the relationship between the two?
Is any mutual respect involved there?

For some reason, this whole thing made me remember Oscar Hoffman’s words.

‘Logical correctness isn’t enough. For a sentence to be actually true, it also has to make epistemological sense’.

My wife loves flowers. Cut, potted, our house is full of them.

She’s also very good at taking care of them.

I like playing with a camera.
I’m not as good as she is. None of my pictures convey the true beauty of her flowers…

Yesterday, when shooting some close-ups, something hit me.

We modestly cover up our bodies while with shameless naivety proudly display the sexual organs of the plants we grow for this very purpose.

I feel the need to disagree vehemently!

The malicious has made an option. Had chosen. Willingly! And, supposedly – according to the hypothesis being discussed here, knowingly.

The ‘stupid’ just stays put. Until the relevant information penetrates his ‘thick skull’.
It’s not his fault that those who attempt to convince him are not skillful enough.

And if the ‘stupid’ happens to be in a ‘powerful’ position… (hence his inability to understand fast enough is liable to produce considerable damage) who needs to be chastised?

The ‘stupid’ himself? Who presumably ‘doesn’t have a clue’ about what’s going on?
The malicious who had made the whole situation possible?
The ‘lazy bystandards’? Who had allowed this to happen? Out of carelessness?

Or those who are liable to suffer the consequences? Who had understood what was going on but…

On the other hand… Could Dietrich Bonhoefer – a renowned pastor and theologian, utter such ‘simplistic’ words? So callous?

“Upon closer observation, it becomes apparent that every strong upsurge of power in the public sphere, be it of a political or a religious nature, infects a large part of humankind with stupidity. … The power of the one needs the stupidity of the other. The process at work here is not that particular human capacities, for instance, the intellect, suddenly atrophy or fail. Instead, it seems that under the overwhelming impact of rising power, humans are deprived of their inner independence and, more or less consciously, give up establishing an autonomous position toward the emerging circumstances. The fact that the stupid person is often stubborn must not blind us to the fact that he is not independent. In conversation with him, one virtually feels that one is dealing not at all with him as a person, but with slogans, catchwords, and the like that have taken possession of him. He is under a spell, blinded, misused, and abused in his very being. Having thus become a mindless tool, the stupid person will also be capable of any evil and at the same time incapable of seeing that it is evil. This is where the danger of diabolical misuse lurks, for it is this that can once and for all destroy human beings.”

I’m not a very social person.
I don’t know that many people.

Those I know belong to three categories. People I’ve met, people I’ve kept in contact with and people I’ve got drunk with.
Since I don’t ‘go under’ easily, you can imagine that those belonging to the third category are not ‘legion’.

On the other hand, Romania hasn’t been hit that hard by Covid. Only 22000 dead.

I’m not going to tell you how many of the people I’ve ever met – or even kept in contact with, are now dead. Because of Covid, of course.
I’m only going to mention that two of those with whom I’ve enjoyed more than a ‘merry evening’ are no longer with us. Because of Covid. I’ve known them well and I’m certain it wasn’t a bogus diagnosis.

Let’s get serious.
I know how many of you are fed up with how the authorities – all over the world, have bothched ‘it’ up.
I know how many of you are fed up with how greedy Big Pharma, and the healthcare establishment, have been during the last 50 years or so.
I know how many of you are longing to get back to ‘normal’.
I know all these because I’m fed up too. And I too am longing to raise a glass with my surviving friends.

Please note that during the previous peak it had been reached a 7 day moving average of some 8 000 daily new cases. And a 7 day moving average of some 165 daily deaths. Right now we are at a 7 day moving average of 5500 new daily cases and an average of 100 daily deaths
165/8000*100=2.06%
100/5500*100=1.82%
Better, but still! And we shouldn’t forget that the hospitals are not yet running overdrive….

That’s why I’ll continue to wear a mask, to keep my distance, to wash my hands. That’s why I’ve put myself on the waiting list.
I’m sure you have a prety clear idea which list I’m talking about.

See you on the other side!

And I pray those who are no longer with us will rest in peace.

There’s an entire literature discussing which animals – besides us, humans, are able to use tools.
Most authors also make a clear distinction between the animals which just pick an object and transform it into a tool by using it as such and the animals which actually transform the future tool according to the intended use.

The difference between using a twig ‘as it was found’ and sharpening it first with the teeth.

This morning, watching some birds while having my breakfast, I just realized that the vast majority of them are superb tool makers. Them birds, I mean. Not just the heavily publicized Caledonian Crows….

I repeat. Most of them.
Most of them are superb tool makers.

Most birds are nest builders.
In fact, they not only build houses, of sorts.
They are building uteri. Or uteruses, if you prefer this spelling. Places where eggs are laid and cared for.

What more elaborate tool is there?

After ‘firing’ Trump, the President, America’s most important stake-holders, “we, the People”, are scrambling to adapt to what Trump had laid bare.

Books are being written.
Many blame Trump. And explain, in detail, what he had done while manning the Oval Office.

The G.O.P. is somewhat fractured. Some want to get over Trump, others to hide behind his still towering presence.
The Dems act like he was a mere accident. One which can, and they are hard at work attempting to do it, be ‘band-aided’ with some money. Government money, of course.

A few years ago, I had read an interesting article claiming that Trump had been made possible by the media.
Googling to find it, I stumbled upon another. Which summarizes what Trump had done to the media

I still have to find, only I’ve lost patience, an explanation for what had ‘fed’ Trump.
Trump as social phenomenon…

For too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost.
Washington flourished but the people did not share in its wealth.
Politicians prospered but the jobs left and the factories closed.

Trump has made himself famous. Among others, for imparting new meaning to the concept of ‘fake-news’. And for using “alternative facts” to introduce us to an ‘alternative reality’. His…

Only his reality did have something in common with that faced by many of his fellow Americans.

Middle class incomes have shrunk 8.5 percent since 2000, after enjoying mostly steady growth during the previous decade. In 2011, the average income for the middle 60 percent of households stood at $53,042, down from $58,009 at the start of the millennium.

Oops!
Suddenly, Trump’s ‘alternative’ reality – part of it, at least, has become one with that experienced by “we, the People”. By a majority of them, anyway.

What made so many people – dispirited, undoubtedly, believe that a self professed pussy grabber and proud member of the Washington establishment would solve their real-life problems… by ‘draining’ the very ‘swamp’ in which he had grown to his present stature … that’s something for other people to explain.

My point being that Trump’s behavior had very closely followed that of Goethe’s Apprentice Sorcerer. He had used his uncanny knack of playing hide-and-seek with reality to climb into the Oval Office only to be fired after one mandate.
To be the first American President who had survived two impeachments.
And the second one who had witnessed – more or less unmoved, the untimely demise of half a million Americans due to disease

But the first who had done that during a mostly peaceful mandate. Pandemic, true enough, but otherwise peaceful.

NB. The ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic, which had happened during Woodrow Wilson’s mandate, had caused the death of 675 000 Americans. Only that had occurred just after a world war, when viruses hadn’t yet been discovered and man hadn’t yet walked on the Moon.

What will happen next?

Who knows… Goethe’s poem had a relatively happy ending because a master sorcerer was at hand. Who had solved the problem with a swift gesture of his powerful wand.

No such easy solution is available now.
But one thing has become clear.
Again…

Two things, actually.
Too many dispirited people eventually become a powerful – and highly unstable, ‘Petri dish’. Where all kinds of ‘social experiments’ might ‘spontaneously’ explode.
And playing with people’s passions might take you places. But will, almost always, end up badly.

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