Archives for category: teleology

Each of us pretends to be rational.

Being rational – and trusting one’s reasoning powers, leads to being convinced that one’s conclusions are right. True!
Reached at the end of a due process, hence above and beyond any possibility of error.

Each of us belongs.
To a family, to one or more groups, to a nation. To a culture!
The closer we belong to a ‘place’, the closer our thinking conforms to that which is common in that ‘place’.
The closer we belong to a place, the more we assume the conclusions reached in that ‘place’ are correct.

‘But this has nothing to do with being rational!’

Unfortunately, we’re not rational.
In reality, we are mere rationalizers. We use whatever tools ration has invented in order to give our decision a rational shine.
At best, we are reasonable.

Reasonable means finding rational arguments for behaving properly. In a manner which helps longtime survival and does its best to avoid unnecessary ‘pain’.

Reasonable also means finding ways to communicate across barriers.
NB. Attempting to communicate across ‘barriers’ is reasonable only if it’s done with an open heart.
If the message contains a ‘trojan virus’, that communication might be rational but it’s no longer reasonable.

We’re at a cross roads.

We’re split.
On one hand, into ‘activists’ and ‘as yet indifferent’. The difference between the ‘activists’ and the ‘as yet indifferent’ being that the activists are actively preaching their rationally obtained mantra while the ‘as yet indifferent’ have not yet reached that stage.
On the other hand, both ‘activists’ and most of the ‘as yet indifferent’ come in many ‘incompatible flavors’. And the ‘flavors’ being ‘incompatible’, these people cannot engage in meaningful conversation.
The messages sent across the barrier are layered with ‘trojan viruses’. Hence honest conversation – a.k.a. exchanging useful, workable information, is almost impossible.

Until we’ll find a way to do away with ‘activism’, real conversation among us will remain ‘lip service’.
Until we’ll find a way to do away with activism, ration will have killed reasonable.

https://www.simplypsychology.org/defense-mechanisms.html

People are dying in Ukraine.

And what takes place there has consequences all over the planet.

The first two world wars had been fought by soldiers from almost every corner of the Earth.
Almost all countries have declared war on each other, even though not all of them have participated in military operations.
The third world war – the Cold One, had been fought ‘virtually’. And was the first to divide the world into three.
The ‘liberal-democratic’ camp, the ‘popular democracy’ camp and the non-aligned camp. As always, World War III had been lost by the least flexible among the combatants. By the more dictatorially run camp. By the camp, which, precisely because of the authoritarian manner in which its decisions were adopted, had failed to mobilize all the resources it had, potentially, at its disposal.

I’ll make a parenthesis.
Any act of aggression is an idiocy.
Regardless of the short-term, medium-term and long-term outcome, the aggressor has more to lose than the victim. This does not need to be demonstrated. The most perfunctory glance at history is eloquent enough.
Here I’m concerned about war as an ‘ongoing phenomenon’, I am not trying to integrate it into the narrative. Any war, any act of aggression, is initiated under certain conditions determined by the history spent until then and will be, at some point, integrated into the history written afterwards. And the way it will be integrated into history will determine the conditions under which the next war will be initiated. Or not…

Let’s go back to the present moment.
This, the fourth one, is the first mixed world war. The first ‘lukewarm’ war.
The consequences are felt around the globe, almost all states take part in it – also divided into three camps, while the act of ‘actual’ aggression is somewhat limited.
The reactions to this act of aggression – the way in which those who have to bear its consequences relate to the conflict, constitute the beginning of the way in which this episode of physical aggression will be integrated into history.
The liberal-democratic camp is helping the victim as much as it can – this could be the subject of a very long discussion.
The authoritarian-populist camp helps the aggressor. As far as it can, lest it shows its true colours…
The self declared ‘non-aligned’ camp claims it is one of the victims and urges negotiations.

Here’s the place where I need to make another parenthesis.
The aggressor is ‘Putin’. A collective character that has at its center the current Kremlin ‘gate-keeper’.
The fact that the collective character known as ‘Putin’ is currently leading Russia’s destinies is a matter of history. It has to do with Russia and the Russian people indeed, but placing all the responsibility for the atrocities which are taking place in Ukraine on Russia’s shoulders would be a mistake. A mis-diagnosis which would lead to a ‘counterproductive’ treatment.
Many of the analysts and commentators who write on this subject are ‘mesmerized’ by the ‘master of disaster’. By Putin. Some ‘highlight’ his actions and others want to distract us from what Putin is doing by trying to argue that Putin was forced to do what he had done because the ‘others’ had acted as they had done. As if the mistakes already committed could provide any justification for future atrocities…

Back to the subject.
The main idea which emerges from the ‘messages’ we are bombarded with – regardless of the motivations attributed to Putin, is that any surrender to the aggressor’s claims will be eventually ‘underwritten’ by all those involved.
For the simple reason that Putin will interpret the smallest crumble ceded by the victim of the aggression as a personal victory. Victory that will be attempted again, sooner rather than later.
Meanwhile, all the other Putins in this world, all those animated by authoritarian whims, will feel encouraged by any shred of victory which Putin will have enjoyed.

‘Are we stupid?!? He pulled it through, didn’t he?
We should try it too!’

Well, so far, so simple.
Putin is not the first dictator to be scrutinized by psychologists. Or by political scientists.
‘Nothing new under the sun’ and no original contribution.
Almost everything Putin had ever ‘accomplished’ has already been analyzed and can be explained away with the help of quotes pulled from more or less famous authors. Sun Tzu, Clausewitz, Marx, Ivan Ilyin.
Unfortunately – or fortunately? – Putin is ‘transparent’.
He becomes more than ‘obvious’ after the briefest analysis. And, in fact, dictators – all dictators, are very ‘simple’. Single minded individuals effectively enslaved by a single thought. Concentrated exclusively on how to obtain and preserve absolute power. Everything else about them is bullshit. Make belief and propaganda.

Personally, I’m interested in something else than ‘what drives Putin to…’
Putin does what he does because he has the opportunity. Because he ‘enjoys’ a set of circumstances in which he can act his ‘fantasies’. And Putin got into this situation because those around him – those who could have done something about ‘this thing’, did not understand at the time what was going on before their eyes.
I can understand that! ‘Temporary blindness’ is not an ‘exceptional’ thing. But still. From a certain point onward – after ‘the milk spilled over’ and after reality had slapped you over your face, to continue with your head buried in sand… to remain ‘temporary blind’ only because you ‘enjoy’ your current position and/or your current paycheck… without realizing that you are being led to the abyss…

‘Putin’ doesn’t take prisoners.
Even if you considered yourself his ally, or his faithful servant, and no matter how many promises he has made to you, when he no longer needs you…. you’re toast!
When he no longer needs you, you become a cost. And in their world, in the world of dictators, costs must be cut! No other arguments will ever be considered.
Aside from the fact that you have a good chance of getting sacked as Putin becomes more and more powerful/callous, associating yourself with this kind of people is dangerous by definition. No matter how strong they seem to be at any given point, all ‘things Putin’ end up badly. The more powerful the Putin becomes, and the higher they get, the worse they fall. They along with those who ‘waited’ on him!….

Does anyone know a dictator who ended up on the throne?
Lenin?Stalin? Khrushchev? Brezhnev? Andropov?
Is this what we want?!?

The conclusion drawn by some observers, “In the end the outcome has only two valences: Putin loses or Putin wins” is valid only for the short term. Very short! In the long run, Putin loses. In the longer run Putin has always lost.
And it was us who had to endure! The ‘excesses’ committed while the dictator was at the helm and the ‘vagaries’ of the ‘transition period’ which followed. The point being that the more we endure ‘it’ – for the sake of momentary comfort or out of fear for what might happen, the more we will have to pull. In the near future!

As for the five dictators enumerated above, yes, four of them did die on their throne. Khrushchev had been deposed and lived for a while under ‘close supervising’. But after each of them had ‘transitioned’, their ‘close associates’ had been thoroughly ‘epurated’.

What happened to Russia during their ‘tenure’?

Whence my question.
Do we really want to take part, any part, in anything even remotely similar?

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…

Whence comes nihilism, the uncanniest of all quests?
by Lou Keep

Friedrich Nietzsche was most famously concerned with the problem of nihilism. All societies, in his view, rely on implicit value judgments. If the foundations of these are lost, he predicts terrible consequences: widespread apathy or violent, fanatical attempts to reclaim a sense of purpose, or perhaps both. We talk about values a lot, and we know they do something, but we have little idea how. Compounding this is uncertainty over their loss. Nihilism is not a choice or intellectual commitment, but a thing that comes upon you. As Nietzsche put it in 1885: ‘Nihilism stands at the door. Whence comes this uncanniest of all guests?’

Part of the answer comes from understanding how values connect to knowledge and action. In Seeing Like a State (1998), the political scientist James C Scott classifies knowledge in two ways: epistemic knowledge, which can be quantified, theorised and transmitted in abstract, and metis (from the classical Greek), which concerns knowledge gained from practical experience, such as personal relationships, traditions, habits and psychological states. Metis governs local experience: farming the family’s land, for example, rather than agronomic study. We all recognise it; it’s why we hire for experience. For instance, Jane and Martha have identical diplomas, but if Jane’s first shift was on Tuesday and Martha’s was in 1970, then Martha will have certain tricks and habits to expedite her work. Still, it’s not easy to quantify just what that is: Martha has metis, and metis can’t easily be reproduced. If it were trainable, it would have been in Jane’s training.

Scott’s genius is to compare metis to local traditions. Over a long enough time, habits and behaviours are selected for and passed down, just as evolution selects helpful traits. A successful group will institutionalise an irreducibly complex set of cultural tools that relate to its environment. Since these are metis, and not epistemic, they won’t always be obvious or quantifiable. Scott recounts dozens of examples of customs that might appear backwards, confused, unscientific – yet when they’re banned or discouraged, productivity collapses. He calls this the problem of ‘legibility’.

Epistemic theories rely on isolated, abstracted environments capable of taxonomy, but these are far removed from the dynamic, interconnected systems of nature and human culture. Metis, by contrast, develops within complex, ‘illegible’ environments, and thus works with them. But that also means its application is limited to a specific act, rather than a broader theory. Outsiders want to know why something works, but locals will explain it in a language unintelligible to them.

These practices and traditions are, of course, more than work experience. They’re used to efficiently solve political problems. In The Righteous Mind (2012), the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt describes Balinese rice farmers who needed to coordinate irrigation along a river. Since they were politically divided into small familial units – called subaks – they needed to rely on means older than governance to ensure cooperation:

The ingenious religious solution to this problem of social engineering was to place a small temple at every fork in the irrigation system. The god in each such temple united all the subaks that were downstream from it into a community that worshipped that god, thereby helping the subaks to resolve their disputes more amicably. This arrangement minimised the cheating and deception that would otherwise flourish in a zero-sum division of water. The system made it possible for thousands of farmers, spread over hundreds of square kilometres, to cooperate without the need for central government, inspectors and courts.

This still occurs. A 2017 paper by the economists Nathan Nunn of Harvard University and Raul Sanchez de la Sierra of the University of California, Berkeley mentions gri-gri, a magical powder that witchdoctors manufacture. In 2012, following a period of widespread banditry and state insecurity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, gri-gri came to a village elder in a dream. Applying this powder made the user bulletproof, and it worked so well that neighbouring communities swiftly adopted it. The reason was simple: groups fight better than individuals, and more people will dare to fight if they believe they are bulletproof. Hence, a village using gri-gri was more likely to survive.

Gri-gri and water temples are kinds of metis, but they require belief in larger structures: respectively, magic and gods. However these structures first developed, it’s critical that they rest on more than mere faith or tradition. Shared values provide conviction for greater actions, but those values are certified by the success of those actions. Gri-gri’s success is an empirical testament to magic, and its utility inclines one towards trusting more activities by witchdoctors. Nunn and Sanchez de la Sierra point out that

many of [the spells] appear to provide individuals with a greater sense of security and confidence, which could serve to … reduce their anxiety and thus improve their performance. For example, most of the spells provide protection, whether it be from drought, disease, attacks on the village or even to harm potential thieves – and thieves also believe in their efficacy, which acts as a deterrent.

In other words: these practices and institutions serve several different roles, all bound up in one another. This intermingling exacerbates the problem of legibility.

When we discuss changing values, we often think top-down: a new and persuasive ideology that took hold for intellectual reasons. What Scott and the adoption of gri-gri suggest is the opposite: the motive force of values requires a degree of certainty that is dependent on action. It was gri-gri’s empirical demonstration that allowed it spread it to neighbouring villages, not its poetry. The inverse to this is also important: we can improve on a specific task, but other roles need time to sediment and evolve. Trade the temples for a government, and you have zero-sum bickering. Explain the game theory behind gri-gri, and no one will fight with it. The utility of a cultural institution first allows adoption, but its maintenance allows metis ample time to tinker and perfect.

If we’ve lost faith in certain values, then I doubt this was because of academic debates. The 20th century profoundly changed labour, technology and social organisation in the Western world. It’s hard to imagine that this didn’t change metis, or render older forms of metis irrelevant. While the values of metis might still be desired – or even identified with – they lack the same certainty they once had. Nothing can prove them and thus justify the higher claims. ‘Faith without works is dead,’ as the Bible said, but faith without metis is unbelievable.

A top-down view of value implies that we can simply create new reasons for living, that the ideology itself is its own proof. But if values come bottom-up, then man’s quest for meaning cannot be separated from his labour. They are the same.

[object Object]

This article was originally published at Aeon and has been republished under Creative Commons.

https://aeon.co/ideas/whence-comes-nihilism-the-uncanniest-of-all-guests

“legible” versus “illegilbe”…

After all, metis remains – for now, illegible simply because we haven’t yet found a way to ‘read’ it.

And to write it back in a teachable form!

Or, to put it in a more concise manner, we haven’t got, yet, to the bottom of it!

The key word here being we.
WE haven’t got to the…
It all boils down, again, to the limited nature of our consciousness!

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!

Can we do without it?
And if not, how much of it?

– If ‘no government’, then who would pay for the army we need to defend ourselves?

Ooops… you’ve just answered the ‘why does Russia ‘encourage’ the trolls who push ludicrous libertarian ideas’ question. Which trolls attempt to achieve two things at once. Weaken the concept of free government and give libertarian-ism a bad rep. Transforming libertarian-ism into yet another form of extremism.

Let’s get serious and try to find an answer to ‘why, and how much of it, do we need government?’

The boring one would be: ‘Whenever one government falls, another one takes over. The interregnum is always bad so… let’s get used to it’.

‘Getting used to it’ works only for very short expanses of time. Left on its own, all ‘government’ becomes sloppy. So sloppy that it soon becomes such a burden that even the most ‘used to it’ lose their patience.
Government, all of them, need to be kept on a tight leash. Otherwise it will soon cease to perform as intended.

– But if you have to keep it on a tight leash, why bother with any in the first place?
Can’t we do without such a bothersome pet?
What’s the point of the whole thing, anyway?

Instinctively, we’re against ‘government’ for two reasons.
It costs us a lot and it used to represent the interests of the ruler.

Until 10 000 or so years ago, we didn’t need ‘government’.
People were living more or less like the modern day Sun People still do. In the Kalahari desert… small bands roam the place, living of the land. The bands are small – so that they might find sustenance, they don’t have any ‘private’ property to protect, hence they don’t need government. Neither did our ancestors.

As soon as people ‘invented’ agriculture – raising ‘tame’ animals at first and working the land soon after, things had changed dramatically.
The advent of agriculture brought two things. An increased productivity and private property.
Soil has not been born equal. Both pastures and arable land can be good, passable or bad. People wish to have the best. Those who already have it are willing to defend it and those who don’t are willing to steal it.
Increased productivity means that those who produce are able to hire people to protect their ‘means of production’. Their property. As a consequence of fighting for it, some people accumulate more and more of it.
More and more ‘means of productions’ – property, means an ever increasing need for ‘management’ and an ever increasing need for ‘protection’. Soon you have a very ‘wealthy’ owner – the lord of the place, call it what you like or use the name given to him by his subjects, the people who perform the day to day management of the ‘whole-sale property’ and those who protect it from ‘marauders’. Both the ‘managers’ – read ‘government’, and the ‘protectors’ – read ‘army’, used to be under the direct supervision of the local lord.
For a while – for as long as the lord kept everything in balance, everybody was happy. The ‘peasants’ were happy because thy were safe, the ‘managers’ were happy because the wise lord used to appreciate their work and ‘compensated’ them accordingly, the ‘protectors’ were happy because they were well fed and taken care of. According to this article, the great Egyptian had been built by willing people, not by slaves.
https://www.harvardmagazine.com/2003/07/who-built-the-pyramids-html
But soon enough, the lord had become estranged from his people. Government had become an instrument used to extract more and more wealth from the peasants while the army was used to protect the government against the people and, whenever possible, to increase the property of the ruling lord by stealing some from the neighboring ‘lords’. The ’empire’ was born.

But this development could take place only in certain circumstances. Where those below the ruling lord had nothing more to do than to obey. Where the best subject was the disciplined one. Where autonomous thinking and imagination were frown upon by the ruler. Where one mind was enough.
Whenever the ‘environment’ mandated the individuals to remain relatively autonomous, proto-democratic forms of self government had been experimented. From the nomadic pastoralists of the Central Asia to the sailing communities in Ancient Greece and Medieval Scandinavia. Those driving herds or sailing ships need to be a lot more independent-minded that those who just tile the earth. No offense intended here! Simple observation will notice that where the geography of the place had allowed it, somebody had ‘built’ an empire. The Nile Valley, the Middle East, the Russian plain, China, Mexico…
Where ever the geography of the place was fragmented enough by sail-able sea, proto-democratic forms of self-management had been developed. The sailing Ancient Athens versus the land-locked Sparta, Medieval Scandinavia versus Medieval France…

Fast forward to present day.
When we have two forms of government.
The more or less democratic ones. Those under whose ‘guidance’ discussions like the present one can happen.
And the more or less authoritarian ones. Which actively discourage autonomous thinking.

Mind you, there are no ‘perfect’ governments.
There’s no perfectly democratic arrangement anywhere on Earth. Because we are imperfect human beings.
And there’s no ‘perfect’ authoritarian government. Because no government can survive for long if it attempts to centralize the decision power. The closer a government gets to being perfectly authoritarian, the smaller is the crisis needed to topple it. Unless it is supported from the out-side but that’s another topic.

So. It is fairly simple to understand how authoritarian governments fail. Too much ‘stiffness’ makes it impossible for authoritarian governments to evolve. To find solutions for whatever challenges pop up constantly.

But what can go wrong with the collective forms of self-rule? With the participative forms of social self management? Otherwise known as democracies?
Lack of enough popular involvement. Due to a sense of apparent safety, initially. And to a feeling of apparent impotence, soon after.
Lack of enough fore-sight. Those who should know better become distracted, for whatever reasons.
Too much opportunism. More and more of the ‘insiders’ use ‘the power of the government’ to fulfill their own, private, goals instead of making sure that ‘government’ works properly.

And what does that mean?

A government works properly when the community which self manages itself using that particular (form of democratic) government survives in the long run.
When those momentarily working inside the government make things happen for the community at large.
When people, both inside and outside the government, follow, in spirit, Kennedy’s words.

Am I being naive?
Maybe… But wouldn’t it be a nice thing to have?
A nice thing to chase, anyway?

And what better way to chase ‘it’ than voting for people who at least pretend to be honest? Who at least make the ‘right’ noises? Whom we can hold accountable whenever they break their promises?
Instead of voting for those who promise barrels and barrels of ‘pork‘?
https://grammarist.com/idiom/pork-barrel/

Ideological pork or hands-on pork, I don’t know which is worse…

– In which direction?

– I thought we were talking about a glass ceiling, not a glass bottom…

You see, we have to deal here with the difference between depth and thickness.

A ‘coat of paint’ has a certain thickness – we know where it starts and where it ends, while a sea has a certain depth. We know it’s there, we know where it starts – at the surface of the water, but we’re never exactly sure where it ends. How deep it actually is!

Another way to put this would be to compare the depth of human consciousness with the thickness of the cerebral cortex.
The depth of the reality we perceive using our brain and the thickness of the cerebral tissue where this perception takes place.
The depth of the reality we, humans, have built during our history inside the relatively shallow portion of the Earth where we feel at home.

We use a small number of phonemes to communicate among ourselves.
A relatively small number of words to convey hugely complicated concepts.
Two digits, 0 and 1, to build artificial intelligence… inside a wafer thin ‘slab’ of doped silicon.

– OK, enough introduction. How about making in clear what you really meant?
A glass ceiling or a glass bottom?

Whether it is a glass ceiling or a glass bottom is a matter of perspective.
A matter of where you are when looking at it. Above or below.
The only thing which really matters being the fact that you see it despite of it being made of glass.
Despite it being transparent.

Transparent to our eyes but not to our conscious mind.

– But if it’s already transparent, why is it such a big thing to break through it?
We already know what’s behind/above it…

Seeing is not the same thing as knowing… just as 0 and 1 scribbled on a computer chip is not enough to make an intelligent computer…

What happened:

And what various people make of it:

Some say that history repeats itself until we figure out what it meant in the first place.
Others maintain that history’s first ‘helping’ comes as a tragedy while the second becomes a farce.

Well, I’m afraid things are a little more complicated.

For starters, history doesn’t do anything.
History is nothing but a string of events. Considered noteworthy and written down by some of those who have survived the above mentioned events.
NB, ‘winning’ is not necessary. Being able to survive – and to write, of course, is!

It is us who consider some of the events we have witnessed – or read about, to be noteworthy.
It is us who attempt to draw meaning from what we ‘hear about’.
It is us who are arrogant enough to believe we have learned anything.

Which brings me to the next step.

We live in a huge reality.
But see only a small portion of it. Understand even less than that.
But consider ourselves rational human beings. We are convinced that what we do – the decisions we reach and then put in practice, are based on reason. And good will!!!

Day to day practice tells us that individuals make mistakes.
I’ll leave ‘alone’ the actual ‘criminals’, I’m going to consider – for the scope of this post, that all of us act in good faith, all of the time.
Hence we need a mechanism to cope with the ‘honest mistakes’ made by every one of us.
No matter how low or how high in the ‘pecking order’.
No matter how feeble or how powerfull each of us is.
How much decision power each of us musters at any one moment.

We need a ‘procedure’, an ‘opening’, for each of us who sees something going amiss to be able to tell the others that ‘the emperor is naked’.

That’s what ‘democracy’ is for.

But there’s a caveat here.

Like history, democracy is a human concept. A man-made ‘tool’!

Each of the individual members of the group using this tool is ‘limited’. Has a limited knowledge and a limited ‘processing power’. By definition… Otherwise, democracy wouldn’t have been necessary in the first place. If at least one of the individuals involved would have been omniscient, they would have – somehow, climbed to the pinnacle of the hierarchy.
The fact that all imperia – all ‘arrangements’ where one individual garners a lot of power over a complex system comprising of many other people, have inevitably collapsed is a very powerful empirical proof for my assertion.
Further more, the number of individuals involved in any democratic arrangement is also limited. Also by definition. There’s no place on Earth – there are no humans living someplace else, for an infinite number of people. Hence even the ‘aggregate understanding of things’ any democracy might reach is also limited. Fallible, that is.

Thus even democracies need to follow rules. They just cannot ‘vote’ whatever their members wish to happen…

The first rule, of course, being you should not vote ‘against’ the rules of nature. You cannot, for instance, abolish Newton’s gravity by voting it ‘unlawful’…
The second rule being that the individuals comprising the democratic arrangement have be convinced that each of them is equivalent. Not equal, that’s impossible, but ‘equivalent’. That each of them should be able to vote, that each of them should have only one vote and that each of them should have the opportunity to voice their concerns. In a nutshell, that all of them have equal rights and that nobody – no individual or a smaller number of people than the entire ‘congregation’, has the right to tell anybody else what to do. Or what to refrain themselves from doing.

Now, that I have reached this point, let me go back to history.

The first ‘democratic arrangement’ known to us was the Ancient Athens.
It had evolved, for while, as an increasingly democratic form of government. During this time, the city’s fortune and influence in the region had grown almost constantly until Pericles had ‘bent’ the democratic principles so that he could yield more influence. Almost two centuries of democratic ebbing on and off followed until Philip II of Macedonia had taken over entirely. As a consequence, Athens’ influence had waned and then disappeared entirely.
The second one had dawned in Scandinavia, during the Viking era.
That democratic seed had, in time, spread in Europe, America and, gradually, in many other countries.

In the US, for example, at first only the white men were involved in the democratic process. They were the ones who voted and who were elected into office. Gradually, the democratic ‘rights’ had been extended to the female portion of the society and to the ‘members of the other races’. These successive ‘extensions’ had been parts of the general improvement of the society as a whole. During this period – not necessarily due to but certainly simultaneously with, the entire population lived better and longer lives while the country as a whole had become more and more powerful. The energy and potential of the population – of an ever increasing proportion of the population, had been put to better and better uses.

Simultaneously, individuals – an ever increasing proportion of the individual members of the society, with the criteria of sex, gender and race gradually losing the previously held power of discrimination, had enjoyed more and more power. More and more autonomy to determine their own fate.

Which brings us to the current developments in the US.

Some people, far from a majority of “The People”, would like to see the ‘other end’ of Roe v Wade.
‘These’ people seem to have somehow convinced a majority of the Justices sitting in the Supreme Court not only to hear their plea but also to ‘consider it in a favorable manner’.

In other words, a very small number of people – five out of nine, are going to restrict a previously granted right which had been enjoyed for almost 50 years by more than half of the American Population.

‘You have got it completely wrong!
Scotus isn’t going to prohibit abortion. Only the states can do that!’

Do you remember what the Civil War had been fought over?
Basically, the Confederates were claiming that individual states had the right to determine which people were to be considered ‘free’ while the ‘others’ kept maintaining that all people, regardless of their skin color, were free. That individual freedom was something which had to be determined at federal level, not by each ‘individual’ state.
Nowadays we have the very same thing. Some states claim it’s their ‘right’ to tell ‘their’ women whether, and in which circumstances, they may – or not, have an abortion.

Not a very ‘appealing’ proposition.
It opens the door for individual states claiming more and more ‘rights’ over their ‘specific subjects’.

The absolutely baffling thing about this whole development is the fact that those who want Roe v Wade to be repelled claim they do this in order to enhance individual rights (to live). I can understand that. I even sympathize with them. Ending a life, even that of an embryo, is not something to be treated easily.

But for a minority to impose their point of view – no matter how sound it might appear to some of us, to a majority… that cannot be, either, taken lightly.

The guy in the blue T shirt is being questioned by the Ukrainian police about his activity on ‘social media’.
You probably guessed already what kind of ‘activity’ we’re talking about…

Which brings back painful memories.

During my childhood, in communist Romania, you could get arrested for listening to Radio Free Europe. Or for speaking against the communist rule.

In present day Russia, you’ll soon enough be arrested if you use the word war in relation to what is going on in Ukraine.

In Ukraine itself, you can be arrested for publicly supporting Putin’s actions.

The worst thing being the fact that there still are people out there who consider Putin is right and the Ukrainians – those who do nothing but defend their country, should be ‘left alone’.

To be ‘left alone’ to what?!?
To be bombed away by Putin?
So that we may continue our ‘peaceful lives’?

Peaceful only until Putin – or someone equivalent, will ‘change his mind’?

The guy above hasn’t figured out yet, in spite of the bombs falling over his head, that there’s no such thing as ‘peaceful life’ under dictatorship! Any kind of dictatorship…
Nor have any of those who continue to defend Putin’s actions!

Or use their ‘freedom of speech’ in an attempt to sow doubt about the matter.

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