Archives for category: man induced fragility

Wisdom comes from thinking. From putting your mind to work in a considerate manner.
Doubting everything will only get you so far. And leave you in ‘limbo’.
In a quick-sand kind of limbo…
Descartes must be one of the most misquoted thinkers.
‘Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum’.
‘I wonder hence I think. I think hence I am’. Meaning that ‘by wondering I’ve set in motion the process which has led me to become aware of my own existence’.
No reference to ‘wisdom’…


Words have a life of their own. Given by us but still theirs.

Dubito used to describe a state of ‘uneasiness’. You weren’t sure and you gave it more consideration. You thought about it.

Contemporary doubting is more like an aggressively pursued hair-splitting. We actively search for reasons to disbelieve.

Even if both words share the same root, the concepts have grown apart.

Starting from dubito, Descartes had replaced religious faith with a newly found trust in human reason.

Through doubting we’ve destroyed Descartes’ legacy. Trust is almost dead and we’ve entered the realm of ‘alternative facts’. Quite the opposite of what Descartes had in mind.

So yes, dubito might lead to wisdom. If the thinking is right, of course.

Doubting, specially as we do it now,…

Something more. Some people are convinced that doubting everything is the ‘scientific attitude’. I vehemently disagree.

Science, the scientific attitude, is about keeping an open mind. About being aware of one’s limitations. AND about trusting your peers! Not exactly their expertise but their good will.

If I accept that I might be wrong, then my peers might be wrong also. Hence I’m not going to accept, prima facie, any opinion from anybody. But I’m going to reexamine my conclusions if someone tells me they are wrong. If, and this is a big if, that person is NOT a professional naysayer.

Skepticism is OK. More than OK. It serves as a safety net/harness. Makes it harder for us to do really stupid things.

Negativism, on the other hand, is bad. Very bad. Destroys everything. Starting with our ability to do things together. To work as a team.


Socialism implies a lot more centralization than capitalism.
The answer is, like always, included in the question.
While socialism is to be ‘implemented’ – by a ‘central figure’, capitalism is an environment. A place where the deciding agents – the entrepreneurs, ‘make it happen’.

Hence socialism – which is a ‘thing’, to be implemented, not an environment for entrepreneurs to roam ‘free’ – will eventually fail. No matter how well intended the implementor, nor how hard it tries to make it happen.

In capitalism, only the entrepreneurs might fail. When the market is no longer free – oligo or mono poly, the situation closely resembles a socialist one. Things go south. Because the decision making agents are too few and far apart – no longer able to cover all corners, just as their socialist counterparts.

Comparing socialism with capitalism is like pitting an apple against agriculture.

An apple, all apples, will eventually become rotten. No matter how hard one might try to preserve it.
Agriculture, on the other hand, will yield according to the available resources and the effort put in by those involved in it.

People who have never experienced communism speak freely about it.
Some are frightened by it – as they should be, while others are looking forward to it.

People who have no real idea about what fascism/nazism was about speak freely about it.
Some are frightened by it – as they should be, while others are looking forward to it.

While there is a consensus about communism being a ‘far left position’, fascism is usually – but not unanimously, considered to be ‘far right’. Some even speak about a ‘third position‘, whatever that might mean.

The way I see it, what we have experienced as fascism is what Marx had in mind when he wrote the Communist Manifesto.
According to Marx, at some point in what he hailed as ‘the future’, the middle class was going to become poorer and poorer. All the wealth generated by the capitalist economy and governed by the increasingly imperialist/monopolist states was going to be herded into fewer and fewer hands.

As a consequence, once impoverished, people until then belonging to the middle class were supposed to realize they had been duped and let themselves be led – out of misery – by the communists. ‘The most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country …’

What Marx was prophesying had soon enough come to be. The post WWI German and Italian peoples had lost their hopes and allowed themselves to be led by those who pretended to put ‘the best interests of the people’ above everything else.

Same thing happens whenever a crises is deep enough to impoverish a significant number of people. Who loose their hopes and allow callous political operators to advance closer and closer to power.

What we have experienced as ‘communism’ was a Leninist short-cut.
In Marx’s view, communism was going to happen after economically advanced societies had reached a certain pinnacle.
Lenin – and Mao, had introduced ‘socialism’ and ‘popular democracy’ as intermediary stages between their underdeveloped societies and what Marx had in mind.

So no, there is no such thing as a ‘third position’. We have democracy – where left and right cooperate towards the common good, and authoritarianism.
While democracy is clear and transparent, authoritarianism hides its true nature under a chameleonic cloak. Painted, by the spin doctors who run the show, in whatever hue happens to be more attractive to the masses which are about to be fooled.

Afterthought. I googled ‘third position’ and found out that:

“In the last few years of the 20th Century, according to an article by Chip Berlet, a new form of fascism emerged in a period of resurgent neo-fascism. Called the Third Position, it seeks to overthrow existing governments and replace them with monocultural nation states built around the idea of supremacist racial nationalism and/or supremacist religious nationalism.”


Ideology is but one of the many tinted glasses which shape what we feel into actual, and actionable, perceptions.

Ideology stands out because it’s the only one chosen by us.

We may grow up steeped in ‘tradition’ – in any tradition, but the ideas we become into become our ideology only after we assume them.
We, each of us, become mature agents only after knowingly and self-awaringly chose our ways in life. Our own ways!

ideology, a form of social or political philosophy in which practical elements are as prominent as theoretical ones. It is a system of ideas that aspires both to explain the world and to change it.”

As you already know, choosing something is very much like entering a door.
It’s not like the other doors suddenly close!
By entering a door, all other previously apparent doors only disappear from your immediate perception. Your recollectible memories tell you they were still there when you last looked and your imagination helps you visualize them. If you care to remember…
But you cannot actually see them. And they slowly fade away…

Here’s a glass.
Is it half empty? Half full?

I’m not going to spell out the obvious! This is the sensible way to pour a glass of wine…
I’m only going to point out that it’s not such a bright idea to full a glass up to the brim. You might easily pour too much and then it will be practically impossible to raise. And to drink from it…

Then why have we transformed a ‘fully functional glass’ into such a big topic?
Because we like to split hairs?

Since I have no idea about what’s going on in other people’s heads/minds I’m going to point your attention to something else.
To the dangers of waddling into murky waters.

Are you happy with the half full glass? You might end up with less than you might have gotten.
Are you disappointed with the half empty glass? So disappointed that you’re going to give it up as being inadequate?

You’ve just wasted a perfectly ‘workable’ glass!
Both of you.

When given a half full glass you don’t just enjoy what’s in it! And walk away…
When given a half empty glass you you don’t just refuse it! And throw it away…

Before stepping into a room, no matter how much personally inclined to do it, check out the other open doors which happen to be around you. And even pry some of the closed ones…

Don’t allow others to fool you into seeing the world as they want you to!
Don’t allow yourself to be entangled into other people’s problems.

And, even more importantly, don’t accept – indiscriminately, their methods of solving the problems they have invented for you!

What WE know about the reality WE are speaking about drives ME to the following ‘inkling’:

We are living inside a three layered reality.

The ‘real’ one, the ‘perceived’ one and the ‘result’.

We ‘measure’ reality using our conscience. Through our senses.
Very much like when we gauge a length using a tape measure.
We apply the tape measure over the length and ‘read’ the number.

We apply the standards we’ve been groomed into over the underlying reality and we decide according to those standards.

Then we attempt to deal with the consequences of our decisions.

“Sheer hatred of the regime”….

Who’s painting the pictures we’re hanging on our walls? Who chooses them? Who has to make do with the ‘aftermath’?

You’re God.
The real McCoy, not the one concocted by us, humans.

Your ‘most cherished’ tool for bringing people back into submission being the all mighty thunder.
Jupiter Tonans. The Thundering God. Thor yielding his Mjoelnir…

And now what?!?
Every worshiping place has a lighting rod installed…

What do you feel?
Have all those people lost their faith in you? In you behaving as a rational being? In your ability to treat them right?
Are they convinced they are now insulated against your wrath?

We need to go forward.

Going back is not an option. If back were good enough, we wouldn’t have left it in the first place.

Many people believe we’re reliving the fall of Rome.
Contemporary with that fall was the advent of Christ’s teachings. The fact that, eventually, Christianity has altered his teachings to fit the needs of the christian hierarchy doesn’t demean any of what he taught us.

That people who treat each-other respectfully fare a lot better than those who allow the exploitation of the weak.

That people who live ‘together’ fare a lot better than those who keep forgetting that ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ are both relative and temporary.

That people who are convinced that ‘survival belongs to the fittest’ will eventually make place for those who understand that evolution is solely about the demise of the unfit.

“And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand: And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.”

How many times have these words been invoked? By people who use them to divide? To carve a follow-ship? A follow-ship for them to lead…

How many times have these words been invoked? By individuals cocky enough to pretend they are speaking for Christ? Cocky enough to pretend they are able to fill Christ’s shoes…

There is an old Romanian saying which goes like this:

A bat is all you need to break a wagon-full of pottery.

When it comes to splitting fire-wood, things are no longer that simple.
Using the same blunt force approach, even if theoretically possible, would yield disappointing results.
‘Destroying’ has nothing to do with ‘re-shaping’.

Hence ‘wedge’.

On the other hand, a wedge can accomplish the same results as a bat by using a lot less brute force.
Simply because the wedge concentrates more effectively, and in a more precise manner, the available energy in a very small area.

But the more important difference is the fact that using a wedge demands a way more skilled operator than a ‘mere’ bat.

‘Why don’t you cut the crap and just spill out what you have brewed in that twisted mind of yours?’

Darius, Alexander, Genghis, Napoleon, Hitler.
All of them had started their campaigns in a very successful manner. Two of them had even ended their careers that way. Undefeated.
The fact that all of them, including the successful ones, had been nothing but tyrants is irrelevant here.

And where is the difference?

Darius, Napoleon and Hitler had been, eventually, defeated. Each of them by a coalition.

Alexander had basically vanquished one enemy. Which was already past its prime.
And Genghis had successively conquered a long list of ‘unrelated’ targets.
In both cases it was more about blunt force being applied in a more or less skillful manner and nothing about splitting anything. Except for some skulls…

Each of Darius, Napoleon and Hitler had been successful at first. They had started as skillful splitters of coalitions. But each of them had been eventually bogged down. In their own respective successes…

You see, a bat remains a bat. You have to shatter a huge amount of pottery before the bat wears down.
In fact, most of the times the batter goes out before the bat…

When it comes to wedging…
While pottery is ‘consistent’ – equally fragile, ceteris paribus, no two logs had ever been created equal. Furthermore, even when dealing with a single log, some sections may be easily split apart while others may so ‘tough’ that it’s easier to ‘destroy’ them than to use a wedge on them.
In these situations, being a skillful splitter means being able to recognize which sections should be left alone….
But which would-be emperor has ever been able to let somebody else be? Live in peace…

If they live long enough, all emperors will eventually ‘attempt’ an impossible-to-split coalition!

But when has a would-be emperor been born wise enough to recognize such a situation?!?
Or every one of them, to date, have seen each coalition they happened to encounter as an opportunity?
As a log waiting to be split?

Which makes me wonder…
Why are would-be emperors so blind when it comes to reading history?
And how about their courtiers? Also ‘blind’?

Bonus reading. An excellent piece by Cynthia Calhoun.

How to split logs for firewood by hand.

“When you can’t split a log, do one of two things: give up and throw it in the pile or use a chainsaw.”

Social cohesion is a key concept in modern sociology.
There are many definitions – most of which complement each other, and the gist of them is ‘glue’.

…the glue that bonds society together…

Do you actually perceive modern society as being glued? Bonded? Together?!?

As an engineer – MSc in Mechanical Engineering, Bucharest Politechnica University 1986 – I’m primarily interested in ‘consequences’. ‘Causes’ come second. A close second but still second. Because it’s ‘consequences’ we have to face/endure directly, not ’causes’.
Whenever I feel bad, really bad, I begin by stopping everything that I was doing. To have enough time to determine the proper cause for my malaise. Identifying/dealing with causes ‘on the go’ – usually by having faith in what I already know, without realizing that it was exactly that which had led me to where I am now – is not such a good option.

Very few societies (countries, nations) continue to behave coherently. Many of them – most of them, actually, used to. Until very recently.
Yet most of my ‘recent’ colleagues – B in Sociology, Bucharest University 2009, continue to discuss about ‘cohesion’.

Communities continue to be cohesive. And, as a consequence, continue to behave coherently.
The easiest answer is ‘by definition’.
That’s how you recognize a community. A group of people who act coherently because they are ‘bound together’ by ‘social cohesion’. How that happened to be? Some other time!

Societies, on the other hand, no longer are.
Nations, which used to be whole, are now ‘fractured’. Not entirely, but they certainly behave a lot less coherently than, say, 50 years ago.
OK, this is not the first time that something like this had happened….

Civil wars are nothing new.
None of them had been ‘civil’ though. Which makes ‘civil war‘ an oxymoron
Something so ‘impossible’ that we haven’t coined a proper word for it. Something so horrible that we speak about it using an ‘impossible’ name in order to properly mark its utter impropriety.

What is new is the amount of knowledge we currently have about the whole matter. About the inner workings of our collective psyche.
How we use that knowledge, what we have understood from learning it, the manner in which we allow that information to shape our actions … that’s another matter!

Whose consequences are in the making.
There are no other ‘makers’ but us.
Also, there are no other people to bear the consequences of what we’re doing now.

Sand for the statue and fences for protection.

Not for a particular king!
Not even for kings in general.

Only for all those ‘in charge’!
As a reminder for the fact that their authority is very fragile.
Goes for only as far as it is accepted. Protected by those who respect it.

As a reminder for the fact that fences not only protect but also separate.

The point being that whenever those calling the shots no longer suffer the consequences, the situation becomes extremely fragile.
That whenever a ‘king’ needs to be protected from his subjects instead of by them…

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