Archives for category: man induced fragility

Can’t argue with Sowell… he’s right, right?
As usual!

But there’s problem!
For me, at least…

According to Orwell, there are people who refuse to acknowledge the truth.
Which doesn’t bother the truth, of course.
But it bothers us…

If there are people who refuse to acknowledge the truth, then truth isn’t self evident.
There isn’t an immediate and direct ‘relation’ between not acknowledging the truth and ‘retribution’.

And for good reason!
Truth is extremely elusive. And complex.
Impossible to find, actually.

All we can lay our hands on is ‘relative’ truth.
A truth we have all labored to find and which continues to remain ‘incomplete’. Against our best efforts!
And which, from time to time, is found to be completely false.

Remember how so many of our ancestors were convinced that the Sun was circling around the Earth?
Which Earth used to be flat?

Which Flat Earth brings us back to Sowell.
I basically agree with him.

“If you want to help somebody, tell them the truth. If you want to help yourself, tell them what they want to hear…”

But do I know what the truth of the matter really is?
Do I actually know what they really want to hear?
And what if/when they find out? My strategy?

That I was telling them what they wanted to hear in order to help myself?

Sowell didn’t mean this as an ‘advice’?
Only as a warning?

Well, I don’t dispute his intentions.
Only the underlining assumption.
That truth is accessible.

That we can reach it! And manipulate it according to our wishes….

2017

““How could you square that statement with legal abortion?” Durbin asked him. “Senator, as the book explains, the Supreme Court of the United States has held in Roe v. Wade that a fetus is not a person for purposes of the Fourteenth Amendment, and the book explains that,” Gorsuch replied.

“Do you accept that?” Durbin asked. “That’s the law of the land,” Gorsuch answered. “I accept the law of the land, senator, yes.””

2022

“In a statement following the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, Sen. Collins expressed her dismay that Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh misrepresented their alleged respect for precedent and private conversations with her and in their confirmation hearings. “This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents,” she wrote.

Rolling Stone reported last month that Collins was deliberately manipulated by Trump officials into voting for Kavanaugh despite his judicial history indicating a liability to strike down Roe. The White House correctly predicted that as long as they “let the Susan Collins-es of the world think what they needed to think and hear what they needed to hear,” as one ex-official put it, the fence-sitters would fall in line and vote to confirm Trump’s nominee.”

2016

“My people are so smart — and you know what else they say about my people? The polls?” Trump asked a crowd at a Sioux Center, Iowa, rally Saturday. “I have the most loyal people — did you ever see that?”

“I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK?” he said, referring to the major street in New York City that cuts through Manhattan’s large commercial district. “It’s, like, incredible.”

2022

“In its first hearing, the Jan. 6 committee last week played a clip of former Attorney General Bill Barr testifying that he told former President Trump that claims the 2020 election was stolen were “bullshit.” In its second hearing, the committee on Monday played several additional minutes of Barr’s testimony, during which he described unsuccessful effort to convince Trump that the election was legitimate.”

“Barr met with Trump again on Dec. 14. “He went off on a monologue saying there was now definitive evidence of fraud through the Dominion machines,” Barr said of a Dec. 14 meeting with Trump, noting that he gave Barr a report he said proves that the election was stolen and that he would have a second term in office. Barr said the report looked “amateurish” with no real evidence to support its claims that voting machines were rigged. Barr said he was “demoralized” after looking at the report. “I thought, boy, if he really believes this stuff, he has lost contact with — he’s become detached from reality,” Barr said.”

2022-06-24

“In voters, lack of expertise would be lamentable but perhaps not so worrisome if people had some sense of how imperfect their civic knowledge is. If they did, they could repair it. But the Dunning-Kruger Effect suggests something different. It suggests that some voters, especially those facing significant distress in their life, might like some of what they hear from Trump, but they do not know enough to hold him accountable for the serious gaffes he makes. They fail to recognize those gaffes as missteps.”

“Again, the key to the Dunning-Kruger Effect is not that unknowledgeable voters are uninformed; it is that they are often misinformed—their heads filled with false data, facts and theories that can lead to misguided conclusions held with tenacious confidence and extreme partisanship, perhaps some that make them nod in agreement with Trump at his rallies.”

“….. himself also exemplifies this exact pattern, showing how the Dunning-Kruger Effect can lead to what seems an indomitable sense of certainty. All it takes is not knowing the point at which the proper application of a sensible idea turns into malpractice.”

These people no longer communicate.
As in no longer care to understand what the other has to say…
Mind you, not ‘agree with’, just understand. Just develop a ‘mere’ understanding of what the other feels/thinks/has to say about a subject.

The consequence?

Both sides have become so focused on contradicting each-other on no matter what subject that both of them have lost the ability/exercise to look for the real issue.

The Ukrainians have enough AK-47s. They don’t have any use for any AR-15s. What they need is howitzers. And HIMARSs!
As for the 2nd amendment…

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed”

Given the Ukrainian experience, should we read the 2nd Amendment in such a manner that ordinary people would be able to keep and bear howitzers? Or HIMARSs?

Or should we focus our attention on the notion of ‘a well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State’…?
Meaning that without a well kept and well trained Army, the State, any state, would soon loose its sovereignty?

After all, the Ukrainians fight, together, against an invader. They cooperate in order to defend their State.
Meanwhile, many of those clamoring about the 2nd Amendment are more preoccupied about using their guns to defend their individual freedom against the State than about cooperating with their fellow citizens towards defending the State against any aggression.

Counter-protesters Kenya Stevens, left, of District Heights, Md., Steve Tidwell, of Arlington, Va., and a protester who asked not to be named, shout their support for gun rights across from a protest of gun control advocates next to Realco Gun Shop in District Heights, Md., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2007. The protest of gun control advocates was part of the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.’s National Day of Protest. The gun store, located very near the border with Washington, is a large source of guns used in crimes in the nation’s capital, according to District officials. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


In these circumstances, am I allowed to remind you that Putin – the guy who had initiated/ordered the invasion of Ukraine, is a “genius”?!? According to Trump…

The human head works like an organic computer.
It has a ‘hard’ component. Which is actually soft. The brain tissue.
And many levels of ‘software’.

You might want to skip this introductory part if you’re not familiar with/interested in how computers work
The ‘machine code’. The inner workings of the brain. The ‘things’ which continue to function when we’re not at all conscious. Breathing, coordination of the of various organs which keep us alive, etc.
‘Assembly language’. The level which works on ’emotions’/’feelings’. A not yet conscious baby suckles when hungry and cries when uncomfortable. A patient with dementia is not a ‘fully functional human being’ but can learn/retain many human functions.
‘High-level language’. Human conscience. While the ‘machine code’ and the ‘assembly language’ levels run in the ‘background’, human conscience constantly evaluates ‘what’s going on’ and decides ‘the next move’.

Humans, like computers, work a lot better when ‘put together’.
Each individual’s human conscience develops only ‘in concert’ with other people while the most powerful computer chip is ‘dead’ before the operating system has been installed. A (mature) individual human being might survive in isolation, but not for very long. A computer is completely useless if not ‘put to work’ by an ‘operator’. Alone or ‘inside’ a network.

Computers can ‘cooperate’ because we made them so.
Even if using various operating systems and communication protocols, we – humans, have developed them – computers, in such a way that we can communicate with them and they can communicate among themselves.

For humans to be able to communicate among themselves, they need a common language.

Computers do not need to coordinate among themselves. We’ve made them, instructed them, in such a manner that they (still) do what they are told.

For humans to be able to coordinate themselves – to act in a congruent manner, they need to use – or at least to acknowledge, the same referential system.

To think ‘alike’ or, at least, to acknowledge that ‘those who do not think like me/us might have a point’.

Historically speaking, humankind has achieved ‘coherence’ through the use of ‘religion’.

‘Reality’ – which was far more complex ‘before’ simply because the unknown is the place where fantasy is free to give birth to anything, had to be tamed. Translated into ‘operable’ things. Into generally accepted concepts. Into generally accepted ‘myths’.
And for as long as a given set of ‘foundational myths’ had maintained their ‘magic’, the religion which had been developed starting from those myths had continued to be ‘the coalescing factor’ for the community which believed those myths. Or, at least, behaved as if those myths were still ‘valid’.
Whenever those myths had failed – or were no longer enough, the corresponding religion had been quickly replaced. By another.
This was the heave-ho approach. Wholesale replacement of the referential system, which is both ‘wasteful’ and time-consuming.

In time, people have learned that it was far more ‘efficient’ to pay ‘lip service’ to each-other’s opinions
when the other side was too ‘strong’ for outright ‘coercion’. Read “conversion”.

When/where things had become ‘ripe’, some people had invented ‘science’.

Science, like religion, is a manner of thinking. A manner of translating reality into something which can be managed by the human brain.

Religion relies on a set of ‘axioms’. Which had been considered true – by those who had established any given religion, at the moment when that particular religion had been established. When freshly acquired knowledge diverges too far – and too convincingly, from the until then generally accepted ‘founding myths’, the religion which depends on those myths conserving their ‘allure’ is abandoned in totum.

Science, on the other hand, relies on a different set of ‘beliefs’.
Derived from the basic tenet of the Judaeo-Christian creed and no less axiomatic but still different.
The point being that instead of trying to fit any new information into the previously held set of ‘teachings’ science mandates the diligent use of the ‘scientific method’ whenever we attempt to evaluate any ‘piece of knowledge’:

Reproducibility: ‘do I find/learn the same thing each and every time I examine this phenomenon/class of objects using this particular procedure?

Peer review: Does everybody else who examines the same subject, using the same procedure, reach the same results? In earnest?

Falsifiability: Does the subject of our musing have a correspondent in reality? Are we concerned about something which has consequences? Can this particular ‘piece of knowledge’ be proven wrong? Or, at least, incomplete?

The three paragraphs above have described the scientific method yet I still have to mention the Judaeo-Christian belief without which science makes absolutely no sense.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness, to rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, and over all the earth itself and every creature that crawls upon it“.

According to the Old Testament, God had made man to “rule… over all the earth itself”. Which means that God was going to refrain himself from performing other miracles. The Earth being entrusted to the rule of man means that man was going to ‘see’ the same thing each and every time he was looking at the same thing. From that moment, ‘things’ were going to ‘happen’ in a ‘rigorous’ manner. No more ‘hanky-panky’, no more divine intrusion. From then on, things were going to happen according to the ‘law’. ‘Regularly’, hence ‘reproduciblely’. In a consistent manner!
Again according to the Old Testament, ‘God had made man in His image’. Hence all men – and women, had been created equal. In the same image, that is. And all men – and women, harbor something ‘special’. A spark of divinity! They have all been created in the image of God itself, hence they all should respect each-other. And each-others’ opinions! Hence ‘peer-review’.
All that remains to be ‘explained away’ is the small matter of falsifiability. Of science concerning itself only with verifiable subjects. Which brings us back what was the man supposed to rule over. ‘The earth itself’. The realm of reality. Man – men and women, were supposed to rule over ‘reality’, not over other people.
They were supposed to concern themselves with ‘evident’/measurable things found ‘on earth’, not with ‘fancy’ figments of ‘unaccountable imagination’.

Ooops!
If both religion – well, at least the Judaeo-Christian one, and science depend on the same axiom/fundamental myth, then where’s the difference?
As I mentioned before, whenever fresh knowledge contradicts ‘irreparably’ the before held religious convictions, the community who upholding those convictions reaches a ‘passage rite’. Has to either ‘close its eyes’ – actually denying reality, or change its religion. The very definition of the ‘heave-ho’ approach.
For those using the ‘scientific method’, things are a lot simpler. And smoother. For them, reality suffers a constant change. Piece-meal instead of wholesale. ‘Easy-does’ it instead of ‘gung ho’.

One other thing before I let you go.

“If you’re not a scientist, and disagree with scientists about science, that’s not disagreement! You’re just wrong!”

Well, this is the most unscientific thing I’ve read for a long time.
What comes next makes absolute sense. If you apply the scientific method to “Science is not truth. Science is finding the truth.” you determine that the message is consistent, agreed among the peers and falsifiable. Science can be misused and, potentially, the very meaning of the word can change in time. For now, the generally accepted meaning of ‘science’ is, indeed, ‘the path towards truth’. And, by definition, all scientific knowledge is considered to be ‘improvable’. Hence forever ‘not yet true’.
Coming back to the ‘disagreement’ part, this is an obvious ‘sleigh of hand’. For starters, ‘scientists’ do not concern themselves with ‘science’. Each of them controls an area of expertise. Which is not the entire science…
Furthermore, what does it mean ‘you’re not a scientist’?!? You don’t have a formal accreditation? Anybody who uses the scientific method when examining the reality is a scientist, regardless of their credentials.
I presume the author meant well. There are quite a few people out there who are in the ‘business’ of sowing doubt. Who contradict whatever ‘starts their ire’. Who very ‘skillfully’ spin apparently convincing words about subjects of utmost importance. But if we want to remain true to our words, if we want to remain on the straight and narrow path to truth, we must convince our audience with arguments. We must un-spin those ‘words’ in a rigorous manner.
Using the very same set of ‘spinning skills’ downgrades us to ‘their’ level.
As the saying goes, ‘Don’t allow your opponents to drag you to their level of expertise. Remain on yours. Any attempt to beat the other guy using their weapons will, more often than not, yield the undesired result. For the obvious reason that they have used those weapons for far longer than you’.

Why is this happening to me?

Because you’re alive, because of the previously made decisions and because of ‘hazard’.

You notice what’s happening around you – not necessarily to you, because you’re alive. A sensitive animal. And you try to make something out of it – to find meaning, because you are conscious. A conscious human being.

Everything around you – assuming you live in the civilized world, is man-made. The consequence of previously made decisions. The consequence of culture – string of accrued decisions, and the consequence of culturally influenced present day decisions. Decisions which are being made, by us, as we speak.

Your life, and everything in it, has been shaped by hazard.
You could have been born a slave somewhere a few centuries ago or you could have been born as the only child of Kim Il Sun.
You could have been born healthy – I hope you were, or you could have been the victim of a rare genetic abnormality.

We can’t, none of us, do anything about ‘hazard’.
We can’t change culture. But we can reinterpret it. Learn more from it than blindly following rules.
We can make better decisions.

And, for starters, we may decide to stop killing each-other. To stop hurting each-other. To stop bullying each-other.
NB. ‘Stop killing’ doesn’t mean give up defending ourselves. ‘Stop hurting’ doesn’t mean giving up.
‘Stop bullying’ doesn’t mean the bully has stopped bullying because the victim caved in.

What we really need to do is to stop all forms of aggression.

Many people interpret Darwin’s Evolution as ‘the survival of the fittest’.
Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is, made is crystal clear that ‘evolution is not as much about the survival of the fittest as it’s about the demise of the unfit. Read the book, it’s well worth the time. https://www.scribd.com/document/358382958/Ernst-Mayr-What-Evolution-is-PDF

The meme above had been shared by somebody who was convinced that “Covid is solely a mental disease programmed into the minds of the masses to further ingratiate themselves in their loving servitude to their slave master tyrants“.

The fact that we have so many, and so conflicting, views on such a simple natural law as the law of evolution means that… we don’t know shit!

Hence Samuel Adams was right.
Since we know basically nothing, none of us should have ‘authority’ over others. Each of us should be free. To do as they please. To follow exclusively the ‘laws of nature’.

Which one of them?
Darwin’s – as some of us have chosen to interpret, or Mayr’s?

‘Survival of the fittest’ or ‘The demise of the unfit’?
‘I’m stronger than you so move over’ or ‘If you don’t agree with our commonly shared values, please find another place to live?’
‘Free against all else’ or ‘free together with everybody else’?

.

.

.

After Putin ordered the Russian army to invade Ukraine, the rest of the world ‘took sides’.

Some sided with Putin, many extended a helping hand to Ukraine – for various reasons, and others felt their lives have been ‘disturbed’.

This morning I almost blew my top.
I was listening to the radio. A usually decent station. Usually decent and, like all of us, imperfect.

The news anchor was interviewing an ‘expert’. An Ivy League Professor of International Relations and other blah-blahs. I’m not giving their names because I want them forgotten, not even more famous than they already are.

‘Is there any chance for this conflict to end in a negotiated manner?’
‘Yes, if/when both sides will find a mutually acceptable solution.
For example, if the Ukrainian side would accept a referendum in Donbass – and in Crimea, and if the Russian side would accept UN inspectors to validate the process. This would be in line with the general accepted policy of self-determination and ….’

OK, and where’s the difference between what Putin keeps saying and what I’ve just heard?!?

Two non-Ukrainians telling Ukraine what to do…

I’m going to set aside, for now, what these two – wait, three! – people are saying.
That Ukraine, the Ukrainian People, should give up a piece of their land.
My immediate interest lies in ‘who these three guys think they are’?!?

OK, only those who don’t want to see haven’t yet found out that Putin is a dictator.
But for a renowned Ivy League Professor to elaborate a scenario according to which the UN would supervise a referendum where an occupied population would have the opportunity to vote whether they want ‘their’ aggressor to maintain its control over the already occupied territory….

Would that distinguished Professor be comfortable with a referendum – equally supervised by the UN, taking place in California? Which California had already been occupied by Mexico? For which referendum, the Californians were asked where they want to live? Whether Mexico should continue its occupation or should the Mexican army retreat behind the internationally recognized border?

No, I don’t think the Professor has been paid by Putin. Or ‘compensated’ in any other way by the ‘red Satan’.
I just consider he was not paying real attention to what he was saying.
He had just opened his mouth and verbalized what his mind was churning.
The current ‘events’ have disturbed his pleasant existence to such a degree that he really needs this ‘fly in the ointment’ to ‘fly away’.

He is so ‘driven’ by his ‘need’ that he is no longer ‘patient’. He just can’t ‘stop talking’ for long enough to realize how fast Putin’s propaganda machine will make ‘good’ use of his ‘verbalizations’…

‘See, the good Professor confirms what our Beloved Leader has already done.
It’s the Ukrainians who are not reasonable!
They should first change their leadership then come back into Mother Russia’s arms.’

When are we going to understand?

Don’t tell others what to do unless you are prepared to ‘take advice’ yourself…
And, for your own good, don’t trade your future freedom for your present comfort!

The fact that too many self styled liberals hold on to their ill begotten wealth while distributing a lot of quilt doesn’t obliterate the fact that very few of the ‘self believed’ conservatives share much of their wealth… while seldom admitting any responsibility for what had happened in the past. And continues to this day, in very insidious ways.

As for any attempt at a radical transformation of both economy and society – as in making them actually free for all us – white, black and all the other hues… forget it.

NB. All of us will eventually lose. Everything. Things are becoming too lopsided.

To make sense of that we have already passed through?

What does ‘worst’ mean in this circumstances?
Until now, I was under the impression that ‘critics’ were good.
That in a democratic setting, the critics are those who pull at our sleeves when we go astray.
That the critics are those who bring us back to the straight and narrow.
How can ‘critics’ become ‘bad’? Let alone “worst”…

“”Free speech is the bedrock of a functioning democracy, and Twitter is the digital town square where matters vital to the future of mankind are debated” said Mr. Musk. “I also want to make Twitter better than ever by…””

As many of you already know, I grew up under a communist regime. In Ceausescu’s Romania.
That was were I learned to decipher messages transmitted using the ‘wooden language’.
Or, in Orwell’s parlance, “newspeak”…

Here’s what I make of Elon Musk’s words:

‘From now on, the “digital town square where matters vital to the future of mankind are debated” is mine. Mine to make what I see fit of it. To “make better” under my own terms. And if you don’t like it, keep ‘barking’. There’s nothing you can do to me. I’m going to make Twitter ‘private’. A.k.a. free from any ‘market interference’. Furthermore, your ‘barking’ will only increase the traffic. Hence the money I’ll be making on the back of your ‘free speech’.’

Twenty four years ago, in 1998, I spent a fortnight visiting Tunisia. I still remember the discussions I had with my wife. In our native Romania, we – the country, not the two of us – already had a couple of malls – which were quite new for us.
Each time that we entered a Tunisian suk – also known as a bazaar, we felt like strolling through a mall.

In the Middle Ages, a suk was the property of the local sheik. Even if each ‘stall’ was operated as an individual business, the whole thing was run at the whim of the local ruler.
According to the laws of the land, but still at the mercy of the landlord.

Each mall, the building, is owned by a company. And, the business, operated by another. Usually by a chain. Hence the ‘freedom’ of the individual businesses ‘housed’ by each mall is ‘defined’ by the rules put in place by the owners and the operators. Under the laws and by laws valid for the physical location of the building but still at the ‘mercy’ of those who own/operate the mall.

From now on, the “digital town square where matters vital to the future of the mankind” are ‘freely debated’ by us will be owned and operated by yet another one of Elon Musk’s enterprises.
Who, for now at least, promises to welcome his “worst” critics, whatever that might mean.

And an after thought.
A way shorter translation of Musk’s words might be: ‘Freedom of speech means being able to say ‘those who criticize me are bad people”. With the corollary that some are worse than others…

Homo Sapiens Sapiens is a species of cultured animals simultaneously capable to place a highly sophisticated IR telescope on an orbit around their native planet, the Earth, and to reduce a country to a pile of rubble.

Interestingly enough, the technology used to accomplish both, the rocket, has been imagined a little more than a century ago.
By, among others, Herman Oberth.

He had built his first rocket as a school project, when he was 14. About then he also came up with the concept of a multistaged rocket.
Lack of resources convinced him to study medicine. After only two years he was drafted into the German Imperial Army to serve during WWI. Initially as a foot soldier and then moved to a medical unit. In that period he found enough “spare time” to conduct experiments which had later enabled him to present “designs of a missile using liquid propellant with a range of 290 km to Hermann von Stein, the Prussian Minister of War.
During WWII he had worked at Peenemunde, were he was awarded a decoration for bravery during an aerial attack, and then at the German WASAG organization developing solid fueled anti-aircraft rockets.

Between the wars he had contributed to a series of experiments in Germany. For one of which he was helped by an 18 years student. Werner von Braun.

After WWII, Oberth moved to Italy to continue, for the Italian Navy, some of the work he had started at WASAG. Then returned to Germany to publish “Mankind into Space, in which he described his ideas for space-based reflecting telescopes, space stations, electric-powered spaceships, and space suits.”

Oberth eventually came to work for his former student, Wernher von Braun, who was developing space rockets for NASA in Huntsville, Alabama.

He retired in 1962 and had a brief stint in far right politics (the National Democratic Party of Germany).
He was invited to the US in 1969 to witness the Apollo 11 crew being sent towards the Moon and in October 1985 to view the Space Shuttle Challenger being launched carrying the D-1 Spacelab mission – “the first with German mission management and controlled from the German Space Operations Center
However, his primary interest during his retirement years was to turn to more abstract philosophical questions. Most notable among his several books from this period is Primer For Those Who Would Govern.

Humans, as a species, have harbored the same ‘amount’ of brain for the last 200 000 years. That was when the Homo Sapiens had arrived. But that brain had produced something only about 70 000 years ago. That’s why the second Sapiens was added, by us, to the name of those living since that time. To underline the fact that humans had become ‘fully’ conscious only ‘recently’. That having a big brain was not enough. That becoming fully human also implied self awareness. Wisdom…

Apparently that’s not enough.
After experiencing, first hand, the horrors of WWI such a creative mind as Herman Oberth’s was still capable of building offensive weapons for Hitler.
After experiencing, first hand, the horrors of WWII such a creative mind as Herman Oberth’s was still able of joining an extreme right political party…

After experiencing, first hand, the horrors of WWII at the hands of the nazi, the modern day, post communist, Russia is capable of inflicting the same kind of horrors to their close cousins, the Ukrainians.

When are we going to become Sapiens enough to stop this insanity?
To concentrate our creativity exclusively towards ‘elevating’ purposes?

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