Archives for posts with tag: Marx

Protagoras din Abdera a spus că ”omul este măsura tuturor lucrurilor”.

Platon a spus că sofiștii trebuie ‘aruncați la groapa de gunoi a istoriei’.

Protagoras era sofist – ‘filozof’ plătit de ‘clienții’ săi pentru a-i învăța să gândească, fiecare dintre sofiști avea linia sa proprie de gândire iar ‘clienții’ îl alegeau pe cel care le plăcea fiecăruia dintre ei.
‘Sfârșitul’ lui Protagoras l-a anticipat pe cel al lui Socrate. Condamnat pentru ‘libertate prea mare în gândire’ a fost exilat și apoi aruncat peste bord de pe corabia care-l ducea către locul în care fusese silit să plece.

Tot Platon a spus că ‘cetatea, adică ‘polisul’, trebuie guvernat de niște oameni special educați în acest scop’.
N-ar fi mare deosebire față de ce făcea Protagoras… Care îi învăța pe oameni să gândească… Din păcate asemănarea este doar de suprafață. Fiecare sofist își adapta ‘programa’ la fiecare dintre elevi. Fiecare dintre elevi era învățat să gândească după ‘chipul și asemănarea sa’. Să măsoare lucrurile din punctul său de vedere. Punând cap la cap, în mod democratic, toate aceste puncte de vedere, Atenienii din Antichitate au reușit să construiască o întreagă civilizație.
‘Regii Preoți’ promovați de Platon erau educați toți după același șablon. Cel indicat de Platon!

Aristotel, cel mai cel dintre studenții lui Platon, a educat un astfel de Rege-Preot.
Pe Alexandru cel Mare.
Care, profitând de condițiile social-istorice produse de guvernarea ineptă a lui Darius al III-lea al Persiei, a cucerit tot ce se afla între Meditarana de Est si Indus. O mare realizare pentru istoricii europeni dar o mare nenorocire pentru populațiile respective. Pentru soldații morți din ambele tabere și pentru toți cei strămutați sau uciși în timpul luptelor. Militari sau locuitori ai orașelor asediate.
O mare nenorocire și pentru Alexandru însuși. Căruia succesul i se urcase la cap și care nu mai accepta sfaturi de la nimeni. Care și-a ucis tovarășii cu care începuse campania și care a murit din cauza băuturii.

Marx, un alt mare gânditor al omenirii, a decretat că „treaba filozofilor este să schimbe lumea”. Că degeaba vii cu explicații dacă nu-ți pui convingerile în practică.
Așa că a scris „Manifestul partidului comunist”. Un foarte bun ‘ghid practic despre cum să organizezi o dictatură’.
În condițiile pe care le sesizase Marx în Anglia. Țara care îi acordase ‘azil’. Țara care, în virtutea dreptului la opinie, l-a lăsat să-și pritocească ideile și apoi să le pună pe hârtie.

Am să fac o pauză și am să vă invit să citiți un text scris mult mai profesionist decât sunt eu în stare.

„Remake – 1 Mai: semnificația unei lupte. Drepturile pentru care trebuie să lupți și pe care să nu le consideri niciodată câștigate definitiv
Dacă citiţi literatura mare a secolului XIX, mai ales literatura engleză, rusă şi franceză, observaţi o chestiune care şochează azi: păturile cele mai sărace, adică peste 90% a populaţiei, muncesc cel mai mult şi trăiesc cel mai sărac. Muncesc cot la cot: tată, mamă, copil de 8 ani pe glie sau în fabrică câte 16 ore pe zi. Nu exagerez.
Şi rezultatul: sărăcie lucie. Ideea de drepturi sociale, politice şi economice nu exista.
Când muncitorii englezi au început primele lor proteste nu au cerut acces la educaţie şi sănătate, la odihnă şi viaţă decentă. Ar fi fost linşaţi. Ştiţi ce au cerut? Au cerut ca ai lor copii minori să meargă la şcoală? Parlamentarii britanici ar fi fost şocaţi. Nu. Ei au cerut mai puţine ore de muncă pentru copiii lor fragili, deoarece aceștia mureau pe capete în fabrici şi uzine. Cerinţele lor au fost foarte greu auzite după ce s-a scurs multă sudoare şi mult sânge.

Textul, scris pe 1 Mai 2020 de Vasile Ernu, este mult mai lung. Am furat doar această porțiune pentru că mi se pare suficientă. Că descrie suficient de bine situația din Anglia respectivei epoci.

Ei bine, ‘ghidul’ lui Marx nu a fost, încă?!?, ‘utilizat’ în Anglia. Nici prin vreo altă țară dintre cele ‘avansate’ din punct de vedere economic ȘI SOCIAL. Aici au fost inventate tot felul de remedii pentru ‘disfuncționalitățile’ sesizate de „marea literatură a secolului XIX” astfel încât tensiunile sociale au fost ținute sub control.
Dar omenirea nu a scăpat totuși de experimentul comunist…

Precum Alexandru cel Mare înaintea lui, Lenin – cel mai bun elev al lui Marx, chiar dacă cei doi nu s-au întâlnit niciodată, a profitat de consecințele create de un război idiot și de guvernarea cretină a unui întreg șirag de țari și a instaurat Uniunea Sovietică. Uniunea Republicilor Sovietice Socialiste. Comunismul.

Precum imperiul lui Alexandru, și cel al lui Lenin s-a prăbușit destul de repede.
Nu destul de repede pentru cei care au suferit consecințele guvernării sovietice.
Nu destul de repede pentru cei care au suferit consecințele încercărilor dictatorilor sovietici de a-și extinde influența.
‘Destul de repede’ doar la scara istoriei!

Revenind la spusele lui Marx: ‘Ce rost mai are să gândești dacă nu-ți pui concluziile în practică?’ mă întreb când vom scăpa de blestemul Cassandrei?
Știind foarte bine ce se va întampla, când vom înțelege că nici de data asta nu ne vom arăta a fi mai deștepți decât precedenții noștrii?
Că ‘garbage in, garbage out’ e valabil și la scara istoriei?

Ce mi-a venit?
Tocmai am terminat de citit

Acum vreo lună, umbla pe net o listă lungă de citate – compilată tot de un ‘intelectual’, care demonstrau ce părere ‘bună’ au avut, de-a lungul istoriei, un șir lung de intelectuali ruși despre propriul popor.

”Nație ce cutreieră prin Europa și caută ce să mai distrugă, să facă praf, pur si simplu, totul. Din batjocură”

Atribuit – de către „scriitorul român, Orlando Baraș”, lui Dostoievski. E un pomelnic întreg, am să mă opresc aici.
Este cât se poate de posibil ca în vasta literatură scrisă de Dostoievski să existe și această înșiruire de cuvinte. Nu mă bag, nu am citit nimic de respectivul. Tot ce știu este că fără context, un citat nu înseamnă prea multe. Și mai știu ce răspunde Google atunci când îl intrebi

Înainte de toate, să fim ruşi. A deveni rus înseamnă să încetezi să mai dispreţuieşti poporul tău. Îndată ce europeanul va vedea că am început să iubim poporul şi naţiunea noastră, va începe şi el să ne stimeze; atunci nu ne va mai întoarce spatele cu dispreţ şi vom fi ascultaţi. Vom face, cu toţii, o altă figură. Deveniţi noi înşine, vom avea o figură umană şi nu o fizionomie de paiată.

Hopa!
Cu alte cuvinte, părerea lui Dostoievski despre poporul în sânul căruia s-a născut este cel puțin nuanțată.
Negativă, conform citatului atribuit lui de către Orlando Baraș și bună – pe alocuri frizând auto-adulația, conform listei compilate de colaboratorii români ai site-ului subiecte.citatepedeia.ro.

Și atunci?
De ce s-ar lansa „elita lui Putin” într-o campanie de dezinformare a poporului rus? De îndoctrinare? Doar pentru că au fost plătiți pentru a face acest lucru? Adică mituiți?
Nu înțeleg acești ‘intelectuali’ că își taie singuri viitorul de sub picioare? Că îl vând ieftin pe un prezent oricum nesigur?
De ce s-ar lansa un „scriitor român” într-o campanie de denigrare a poporului rus? A poporului, nu a dictatorului… bine, pe dictator nu-l mai poți ‘denigra’… cel mult în mintea apărătorilor lui…
Revenind la cei care vorbesc de rău întreg poporul rus, ce urmăresc aceștia?
Intensificarea ajutorului dat Ucrainei? Pentru asta sunt suficiente câteva fotografii cu ‘realizările’ armatei lui Putin. Da, armata lui Putin este constituită din soldați ruși. Doar că armata lui Putin nu este Rusia.

E chiar atât de greu de înțeles, mai ales pentru niște intelectuali, că războiul ăsta se va termina la un moment dat?
Și că, indiferent de cât de nasoală va fi înfrângerea – pentru Putin, sau de cât de lung va fi războiul, după aceea va trebui să coabităm – noi, supraviețuitorii din ambele tabere, unii cu ceilalți?
E atât de greu de înțeles, mai ales pentru niște intelectuali, că războiul ăsta se va termina mai repede dacă vom reuși să desprindem poporul rus de sub influența lui Putin? Și că acest lucru nu se va întâmpla atâta vreme cât noi le vom spune că îi disprețuim? Pe toți? Dându-i lui Putin oportunitatea să se prezinte în postura de singur apărător al Mamei Rusiei în fața hoardelor de barbari?

Marx l-a învâțat pe Lenin că primul pas care trebuie făcut de către cineva care construiește un imperiu este să controleze ideologic mulțimea. Prin intermediul unor ‘activiști’ bine educați la ‘școala de partid’.
Plato spunea practic același lucru. Că treburile cetății trebuie încredințate unui grup de oameni educați într-un mod coerent. Adică ideologizați.
Putin continuă această ‘tradiție intelectuală’. A dresat, în timp, un grup de oameni să producă un anumit gen de propagandă și să ducă la îndeplinire hotărârile adoptate de el. Inclusiv pe cele mai criminale dintre ele. Simultan, a îndepărtat de ‘microfon’, prin orice mijloace, pe toți cei care i-au contestat vreodată autoritatea.
Ne confruntăm astăzi cu cele mai proaspete consecințe ale funcționării acestui mecanism. Ororile suportate de poporul Ucrainean.

Și noi ce facem?
Înțelegem mecanismul pus la cale de Putin? Mecanism care nu e deloc nou…
Invățăm unde să punem ‘nisipul’? Cum să ‘dezactivăm’ această bombă socială?

Înțelegem odată că fără ‘exagerările’ capitaliștilor timpurii, Marx n-ar fi avut despre ce să scrie?
Că fără tensiunile sociale rezultate din guvernarea țaristă, Lenin nu ar fi putut să instaureze comunismul în Rusia?
Că, indiferent de cât de corupți ar fi fost funcționarii post-sovietici, ‘capitalul de lucru’ care circula prin Rusia lui Eltsin tot de origine ‘externă’ a fost? Și că fără corupția aia enormă, Putin nu s-ar fi putut cățăra la putere? Că tratată altfel, Rusia post-sovietică ar fi evoluat în altă direcție? Pe o traiectorie asemănătoare celei urmate de Germania de după WWII…
Așa, lăsată în ‘boii ei’, după ce Uniunea Sovietică a pierdut – de una singură, Războiul Rece, succesoarea a căzut pe panta pe care alunecase și Germania de după WWI. Populația nu a înțeles, de una singura, de ce a fost pierdut războiul, elitele nu au vrut nici ele să-și recunoască ‘meritele’, au fost identificați ‘vinovații externi’ și totul a fost reluat. De la început.

Repet.
Și războiul acesta, cel început de Putin împotriva Ucrainei, se va sfârși la un moment dat.
Nu știu când dar știu că, în cele din urmă, Putin va fi învins. Cum, necum, Putin va pierde acest război.

Încă nu știu cine va câștiga pacea de după acest război.
Dacă vom reuși, cumva, cei care îi vom fi supraviețuit lui Putin – adică învingătorii din ambele tabere, să ne așezăm la aceiași masă. Dacă vom reuși să ne croim un viitor împreună. Singurul posibil, pe termen lung.

Altfel, acea pace va fi doar un armistițiu. ‘Decât’ încă un armistițiu. O pauză, mai lungă sau mai scurtă, între două războaie succesive.

Protagoras spunea că oamenii dau măsura lucrurilor.
Că până nu înțeleg, ei, cu adevărat, despre ce e vorba…

For sometime now, I was having a very hard time trying to understand what’s going on.

Seemingly intelligent people keep sending messages demonstrating the exact contrary.
On ‘social media’!

So.
Communism is good and life saving masks and vaccines are bad…
Communism is good because some of the capitalists have been bad and life saving measures are bad because they are forcefully imposed!

Communism – which has failed each and every time when and where it had been attempted, is better than capitalism. Because some of today’s capitalists refuse to pay their taxes. The fact that people living in the ex-communist countries still struggle with the consequences of the systemic errors inherent to the communist ‘order’ isn’t relevant anymore. The selfishness of the tax-dodgers ‘trumps’ everything else. Pun intended!

Life saving measures are bad for the single reason that they are forcefully imposed by a majority which wants to live upon a minority which considers liberty to be more valuable than life. I’m not going to argue that you cannot enjoy liberty while being dead. That would be idiotic. I’m only going to ask

Liberty from WHAT?!?

From WHOM?!?

Who’s the oppressor? What do they force us to do? Live?!?

Or wear a mask, get jabbed and pay taxes?
As in ‘do something back for the community which supports you’?
Contribute to the community where you had been born, raised and which makes your current life possible…

The eureka moment had come when

I realized that ‘it takes two to tango’.

Marx wouldn’t have had any traction without the ‘exaggerations’ of the early ‘robber barons’.
Lenin wouldn’t have been able to steer the Russian Revolution so far left without the ‘benefit’ of the former, Tsarist, rulers having behaved in an absolutely idiotic manner.
Hitler, and Mussolini, wouldn’t have been able to steer their countries so far right without the errors committed by the previous ‘administrations’.
The current American political scene would have been completely different had the political actors behaved in a more reasonable manner. Both sides of the political spectrum…

We’re currently at war. Undeclared and mostly not understood.
Let me use a WWII example to make things clearer.

Much of the equipment used by Hitler’s army to attack the USSR had been built outside Germany. Following German designs and according to technological processes developed in Germany but using foreign workers laboring in foreign manufacturing facilities and processing raw materials sourced from outside the Third Reich. France’s Renault, Citroen, Peugeot, Berliet and the Czech Skoda are but a few examples.
Yet despite the fact that the nazis had forced almost the entire Europe to work for them, the Allies have eventually prevailed.
Simply because the Allies had pulled together! And that they had been helped by the Resistance. Which Resistance had been encouraged and helped by the Allies themselves.

The current aggressor, SarsCov-2, uses the very same tactics. It invades an organism, takes over and forces its victim to work for it. To build fresh virus armies. Which armies are then sent out to conquer more organisms.
More Human People, that is.

And what do we do? The potential victims? The ‘logical’ allies?

Do we stick together? Do we have each-other’s backs, like all truthful allies?
Do we make good use of whatever weapons each of us can use? Masks, vaccines, social distancing…?

Like the allies had done during WWII?

You see, WWII, like all other wars, have not been won, or lost, by soldiers alone.
War is a country wide effort. To win, a country must mobilize all its energies.
The “Home Front” is not an empty phrase. Not at all!

Do you see that happening in the current war?

Or too many of us have let the health-workers to fight OUR war of survival on their own?
On our behalf…

ICU nurse sleeping in a box while all the beds and the chairs in the hospital (St. Pantelimon Emergency Hospital, Bucharest, Romania) were occupied.

Until recently – historically speaking, people had two ideologies to choose from.

Conservative and liberal.

The conservatives used to posit ‘law’ as a ‘cage’ which didn’t allow any transgression while the liberals understood ‘law’ as an agreed upon environment which allowed people an individual but orderly pursuit of happiness.

The advent of Marx’s communism changed everything. His promotion of ‘class warfare’ as a legitimate political instrument had effectively muddled that which had previously been considered a clear choice.

After communism proved itself to be an abject failure, the naifs have forgotten about Marx.
Flying under the ideological radar, ‘class warfare’ has metastasized.

Nowadays, Regular Joe is confronted with three ideologies. And to make things worse, their names – attributed and/or assumed, are misleading.

We have a line of thought which uses (natural) ‘law’ as a line of defense against any kind of change. And as a means of bringing back the ‘better yesterday’.

Another line of thought which sees (man made) ‘law’ as an instrument to implement – forcefully, if needed, whatever the ‘implementer’ wants to achieve. One of the most often professed goals being ‘equality’. Close on its heels comes ‘diversity’.

And the ‘classical’ liberals who are squeezed between the previous two.

The state/government – whose job is to keep ‘the playing field’ level and functional, is paralyzed by the first two factions fighting to control it.
The ‘conservatives’ want to use the state/government as a ‘preserving agent’ for what they consider to be their (natural) ‘rights’.
The ‘progressives’ want to use the state/government as an instrument of (forceful, if needed) change towards what they consider to be ‘the common good’.

Meanwhile, the classical liberals – berated by both of the above, have a hard time explaining to a shrinking audience that the state/government is an extremely dangerous instrument if allowed to fall into the hands of ‘single-minded’ operators. That as soon as the freedom of the markets (the economic and, way more importantly, the ideatic ones) is curtailed, everything starts to go south. Fast!

Democracy and the free market have brought us so far.
The freedom of thought/expression and the freedom to act as an honest entrepreneur have been instrumental in us reaching the present state. With the goods and the bads in it.

Each instance in which the state/government had fallen prisoner in the hands of ‘men of state’ with ‘focused vision’, history started to run backwards.
No matter whether that ‘limited vision’ had been focused in the past or on “a certain” future.

Each time this subject comes about I remember about Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History.
About how concentrated he was on the future he considered to be forthcoming.
About how his ‘hard focus’ had prevented him from noticing the sunken part of the iceberg.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/10/texas-abortion-law-jonathan-f-mitchell-profile
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Manifesto.pdf

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Earning money takes time.
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Some of you will agree and some will say I’ve lost it.

First things first.

Socialism does take away liberties.
One by one. Under various pretexts.
I’ve learned this on my own skin.

Spending the first 30 years of your life under a communist regime teaches you a thing or two…

On the other hand, the meme above does have a certain ‘appeal’.
A significant number of people had their pensions slashed, watched their savings disappear and their jobs being exported. Health care and education have become exorbitant. Racism, xenophobia and hate have again risen their ugly heads and more and more people die at the wrong end of a gun. Of a gun ‘manhandled’ by ’emotionally distressed’ persons…

What’s going on here?
Why so many people’s lives are so badly ruined?

Fugazi can be used to describe a situation as “fucked up” or to describe an item as fake.

You see, “capitalism” stealing anything is a lie.
A blatant lie!

Capitalism cannot steal anything!

Socialism can rob you of your rights because it actually says it will do it.
Given the slightest chance, those who promote socialism will use the doctrine to ‘discipline’ their followers into a herd.

Capitalism doesn’t promote stealing!
Stealing is not condoned by any capitalist ideology while concentrating all decision making in the hands of the ruling coterie is the cornerstone of socialism.

‘If capitalism doesn’t condone stealing then why an increasing number of people end up penniless while so much money gets concentrated in such a small number of hands?!?’

Why are we living in such fugazi times?

Replace “capitalism” with ‘some (fake) capitalists’ and the text above will make so much more sense!

You see, what we have here is the perfect illustration of fugazi.
We are in a fucked up situation!
And instead of trying to solve it, some of us attempt to ‘fake it’!
And consequently make it worse…

Socialism won’t bring any respite!

Solving the current untenable situation starts with acknowledging its causes!
Its real causes…

Blaming the socialists for the errors committed because too much greed had been ‘expressed’ at ‘very high levels’ doesn’t solve anything.
Promising that socialism will making things right is just as malignant as blaming the socialists for the mistakes made by the greedy who have brought us where we currently are.

Only when we’ll stop faking it we’ll be able to look for solutions.
For workable solutions…

Oh, I almost forgot!
Don’t allow the ‘con-artists’ to convince you that social democracy is equivalent to socialism.
This is a thesis put forward by the same people who maintain that “republic” is good while “democracy” is bad.
And don’t allow the ‘other’ ‘con-artists’ to convince you that all wealthy people are bad and that (forced) “equality” will solve everything.

https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=10220264321259677&set=a.10200798952597626
https://www.dictionary.com/e/slang/fugazi/
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/download/pdf/Manifesto.pdf
https://www.britannica.com/topic/democracy/Democracy-or-republic

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Division of work was the first milestone we had passed in our quest to reach humanhood.

If not convinced, compare the effectiveness – in any situation, of a team composed of identically educated and similarly skilled people versus one comprising individuals with various skills and diverse exposure to the world – a.k.a. education.
In other words, compare a bunch of ‘robots’ to a gang of people who complement each-other.

Historically, societies – when and where enough resources had been present, have become increasingly complex. While those composing them have become more and more specialized. And more and more dependent on the rest of the society. On the smooth functioning of said society.
In Adam Smith’s words: the baker, the butcher and the brewer depend on each-other to feed their respective families.

In fact, all of us depend on the smooth functioning of the market. Those of us who had experienced communism had learned this on our own skin.
Same thing is valid for all totalitarian societies. Any attempt to run complex systems from above – in a centralized manner, will – sooner rather than later, end up in failure.
For no other reason than the fact that nobody – individually or in a small team, is above error. No matter how smart or well intended, all of us make mistakes. If the system allows for those present to point out errors – and to demand those errors to be fixed, things may continue.

But, by definition, a totalitarian – a.k.a. centrally planned, system has no feed-back loop. The planners have ‘no’ information about the consequences of their decision making. Well, my experience suggests a combination. Those at ‘the bottom’ gradually loose their appetite for sending information topside – because those at the top had the habit of ‘killing’ the bearers of bad news, while those at the ‘top’ gradually loose any interest in what goes on at the bottom.

Working democracies are organized around the principle of ‘separation of powers’. Another form of ‘division of work’. Each ‘power’ does what it’s supposed to do and, together, balance the whole system.

Nothing ‘fancy’.
For as long as those involved pay due respect to the principle instead of lip service to the form…

Nassim Taleb had coined an interesting concept.
Intellectual yet Idiot.
Any individual conceited enough to believe he’s always right and arrogant enough to try to impose his worldview on those around him.

Or, in Karl Marx’s terms, an individual who has convinced himself that the world needs to be changed according to his own precepts.

‘What?!?
Are you implying that Marx was the first ‘intellectual yet idiot’?’

No, only the second…
Remember Plato’s ‘king priests’?
What’s the difference between those who, according to Plato’s advice, were to be groomed to govern and those who had been conditioned by various totalitarian parties and sent out to ‘spread the word’?
What’s the difference between Plato, Marx and, say, Alfred Beumler and Alfred Rosenberg?

Plato had been inspired by what Pericles – a dictator, had managed to achieve and his most prominent ‘product’ had been Aristotle. Who, in his turn, had educated Alexander the Great. Supposedly one of the greatest generals and statesmen in human history. According to European historiography, anyway…
If you ask to those of his contemporaries who had happened to be in Alexander’s path to glory… you might get a different opinion!
And what’s so glorious in being the immediate cause of death for so many people across three continents only to die of alcoholic poisoning?

Marx had come up with a brilliant explanation for what went wrong in early capitalism and with an abysmal solution for the problems he had identified.
The worst thing being that he didn’t stop at proposing aberrant solutions.
He was actually instrumental in several attempts to put them in practice.

Alfred Beumler and Alfred Rosenberg. Is there any need for me to comment on them? On their absolute arrogance?
How else to call their willingness to declare that some people are to go on living while others should be disposed off?

This being the moment I’ll be pointing the finger to what Plato, Marx and Beumler/Rosenberg have in common.
All of them share the willingness to divide people into ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’. The arrogance to put forward criteria which are to be followed by the rest of us.
The arrogance to consider the world should follow their teachings.

Division of work had done it’s job.
Invented by nobody in particular, used by most of us – and many of our ancestors, it had brought us to where we are now. When so many of us have time to think.
Technology – maybe the most evident consequence of ‘division of work’, is proficient enough to feed us all. If we use it right.
Or to kill us all. If we use it wrong.

What will it be?
Are we going to remember what, time and time again, our forefathers have figured out? That ‘together’ we can ‘move mountains’? That diversity is the key to survival? To finding new paths into the future?
Or are we going to fall pray – not for the first but, certainly, for the last time, to those who teach us to despise our neighbor? To stay separate? To consider some people – mainly ‘us’, as being above the rest?

Until thirty one years ago, the Eastern half of Europe was self isolated behind the Iron Curtain. Which had suddenly disappeared in a matter of months.

Nowadays, when SARS-CoV-2 has forced each of us to shelter in place and our nations to self isolate behind the borders, we have not only the opportunity but also the obligation to re-evaluate our take on many of the things we took for granted.

The most important one being our Weltanshauung. The way we see the world.
The fact that we have convinced ourselves – simply because our lives have been good enough, that we’ve been doing things the right way.

Marx’s communists had been convinced that dialectic materialism – supposedly backed up by science and a generous political doctrine, was the way in which humankind was going to built its future.
Not the best way, the only way!
For which reason, no transgression from the official line was allowed.
Solutions were to be found only where the official doctrine mandated that answers might have existed.

Communism had fallen. Mostly from within.
Which has prompted those on the other side of the fence to consider that their vision had been better. Which was obviously true.
Slowly, people on both sides of the previous fence have started to convince themselves that their vision was the only correct one. The only alternative had proven itself to be a failure, didn’t it?
Which seems also true. I know of no better alternative. For us. I know of no alternative which would be more helpful for us. Only the fact that I’m not aware of an alternative doesn’t mean much. The alternative might as well exist. Or not….

And here’s the problem.
Marxism had failed for no other reason than those who followed it behaved as if they were convinced that Marxism was perfect. They were implementing the Marxist doctrine by the letter. Not that its spirit was any good… long discussion. My point being that arrogance was built in the Marxist spirit. Marx had actually given carte blanche to his adepts to impose communism, by force, to the rest of the world.

Unfortunately, the last 30 years had convinced me that many individuals belonging to the dominant culture, to any dominant culture, have a hard time keeping their cool.
Too many of them reach the conclusion that ‘theirs’ is the best way. That all the rest are wrong.
Which conviction has a malignant consequence. It makes them deaf. They no longer consider any other option but theirs.
They no longer hear anything but their inner voice.

For all it may be worth, here’s what I learned about liberty during the last 30 years.

Liberty as breadth.
Liberty is the breadth of the opportunity field where we might search solutions for our problems. But no matter how large that breadth might become, we’re never ‘out of the woods’.
Liberty is but an opportunity, never a guarantee.
We are the ones still responsible for the solutions we pick. For the simple reason that we’re going to bear the brunt of the consequences.

It is easier to search for solutions in a freer environment. Hence better solutions might become available sooner. But it’s still our job to look for them. To experiment. To widen our scope.

Liberty as a form of social interaction.
We can relate to freedom in at least two manners.
As an individual goal – ‘I want to be free’/’I want freedom for my people’, or as a ‘manner of doing business’.
We are free, together, because we respect, and trust, each-other. We are free, together, because generations and generations of us have build a social arrangement based on mutual respect. A social arrangement which includes certain mechanisms which attempt to bring things back on track whenever disturbances appear.
Some of which mechanisms have been put into formal law, while others have remained in the ‘public domain’.

When we put these two visions together, the ‘binocular’ image starts to develop ‘depths’.

A social group may enjoy freedom – a wider opportunity field, only as long as its individual members – all of them, enjoy their individual freedoms. For only as long as all individual members are free to roam the entire opportunity field discovered/maintained by the community.
And as soon as some individual members start to corner portions of the opportunity field for themselves… the whole social mechanism will grind to a halt.

Sooner rather than later.
The more intense the desire of the individual members to increase their ‘own’ individual liberty, the narrower the aggregated opportunity field becomes.
Each of the individuals guarding their plot means each of them staring at their feet. Individuals become more interested in guarding their fences rather than in raising their eyes to the horizon.

People obsessively defending their past will never be ready for the future.
Meanwhile individuals charging ahead with no consideration for the rest of the team will soon find themselves stranded on thin ice. With no one around to help.

How often do you hear this expression?
Are you OK with it?
Because you’ve grown accustomed with it or because you are OK with the idea of politics being a contest? A game to be won?

In a certain context, I’ve been asked which game is a more ‘fitting description’ of politics. Chess or Go?

Both being, as I’m sure you already know, strategic games where all ‘tactical’ information is above the board, where the scope is to ‘control the territory through the smart use of available resources’ and where neither of the competitors have any real idea of what their opponent might have in mind.
Yes, there are rules and limitations. Of course. So each of them are able to divine a ‘probable course of action’ but …

Going back to politics, I’ll just quote myself:

“Politics like Go… very interesting question.
Go is a game. Something to play with. And play is very important, indeed. Through play, we hone skills used in real life. When playing, it doesn’t matter whether you win or loose. There’s something to be learned in both situations.
While in real life, loosing is not an option.
In playing, all that matters is to participate. In life, all that matters is to survive.
When playing, we improve our skills by competing against each-other. In life, we survive by helping each-other.
In this sense, politics is an exercise of cooperation more than a competition. A process through which the whole community finds its way forward rather than a beauty pageant where the next beauty queen is nominated to carry the torch through the dark. For a while…
The point being that all community/nations which had allowed personal interest – lust for wealth/power, to trump the collective need to survive have eventually collapsed. From Ancient Rome to Soviet Russia.
This being where Marx was hugely mistaken. While he understood history as a succession of class struggles – to be ended by the mother of all dictatorships, in reality is was a continuous evolution/honing of cooperation. From slavery to feudalism and to democratic capitalism people learned to do more and more things together. The status of the individual – of all the individual members of any given society, gradually improved while the communities have become more resilient and more productive.
And all attempts to revert to more ‘centralized’ alternatives – no matter how the ‘winners’ were supposed to be determined, have failed. All political and economical dictatorships – authoritarian-isms and monopolistic situations, have crumbled.
Not before incurring a lot of pain to those who allowed them to happen, helas. Contestants and spectators alike.”

Now go fight for your favorite political figure.
And allow hate to alter your perceptions.

Hunters and growers.

Then fighters, doers and rulers.

Now, doers and ‘commentators’.

Some people actually do something – be it ‘fighting’, producing something or being involved in government, while other just ‘speak’. OK, their ‘speech’ does have consequences.
So we might say they also ‘do’ something… yes, true enough, only their deed is more than indirect. And no, teachers don’t belong here. Nor ‘actors’. Or even writers. All these people might do nothing but ‘speak’ only they produce something through their speech. Education, show, literature…
‘Commentators’ is very straightforward. Even more straightforward is ‘talking heads’. But ‘talking heads’ isn’t wide enough!

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it. ” Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach

We all know the consequences of people following Marx’s advice…
But what could have gone wrong? Weren’t philosophers supposed to be the brightest amongst us?
Wasn’t Plato – the founder of Western philosophy, advocating the very same thing? That society should be run by specially trained philosopher kings?

Let’s go back to the original division of work.
Not all people have become farmers. There still are a lot of humans who survive as hunter-gatherers. Some don’t need to bother – there’s enough food to be gathered where they live , while others couldn’t possibly farm anything. The Inuits, for instance.
Among the farmers, there’s further division. Some farm plants while others farm animals. Because of the specifics of local soil, geography…
Also, farmers need tools. Hence wood workers, metal workers, weavers… etc.
The farmers need protection. Hence soldiers.
Society, as a whole, needs organizing. Hence government.

Let me pause for a moment. These arrangements work simply because they are more efficient than each individual providing everything they need for their own survival.
The soldier protects so the farmer might plow in peace. Some farmers use better plows because of the woodworkers and the metal workers who have cooperated to produce it. The farmers with the better plows produce more than those who use a rudimentary one, built by themselves. And so on. But please remember that each of these people have a first hand experience in their domain of expertise. And that their livelihood depends directly on their expertise.

Now, the next level of analysis shows us that organized societies fare better than those who lack any ‘structure’. ‘Fare better’ in no other sense than having a better chance of survival, as a social organism.
Nota Bene! While an Inuit – or an Inuit family, has a far better chance to survive in the Arctic than you and me, we, together, have a better chance at surviving – and even thriving, anywhere on the planet. Including in the Arctic. But only as long as we act as an organism. Only as long as we cooperate among us.

And whose job is to organize this cooperation?
The government and the ‘commentators’, who else…
The government to act as a referee – to prevent the rogue among us from ruining the game, and the ‘commentators’ to convince us that behaving is a lot better than mis-behaving.

Yeah… only this is nothing more than an ideal… seldom maintained for long…
Usually, the ‘government’ becomes too powerful, the ‘commentators’ convince us – both ‘government’ and general public, that this is how it should be… tensions build up… and something snaps!

And the problem becomes even more acute when the ‘commentator’ pretends to become king. Pretends to have the ultimate truth. Pretends to be obeyed. Convinces us – this being his only skill, to obey him.

This being the moment for us to remember that the commentators have only indirect knowledge about the world. While each of the doers has at least some first hand experience about something, the commentators have nothing but second hand expertise. Everything they know, they know it because somebody has told them so. Or because they have read about it somewhere.
The commentators’ vision might be far wider than that of the doers but it is at least ‘once removed’ from the reality.

And this is the reason for which societies who have used Marx as their spiritual leader have failed. They have not respected the main principle which makes division of work function properly. Let those who know about it make it their job.
Let the doers do and let the commentators gather and aggregate knowledge.

Don’t mess up things.

Are you done laughing?

It isn’t funny?

Well, it wasn’t meant to be funny… only illustrative for the way in which some people understand freedom… ‘they’ being free to impose their will upon others while all the rest are free to obey. Or else.

My point being that freedom is nothing more and nothing less than what we make of it.

In order to make myself understood I have to mention that there are two kinds of liberty and that, historically, there have been two only apparently conflicting visions on whether freedom is real or not.

Freedom, like most things human, is both a concept and a reality.
We think about it, hence it is relatively simple to accept ‘freedom as a human concept’.
If you find it hard to accept that liberty is also real… when was the last time you took a dog to a park where you can unleash it? To a meadow where it can run its heart out without you being afraid of the city warden? And no, I’m not thinking about the joy experienced by the dog…

We have ‘internal’ freedom – the manner in which each of us relates, in their heads, with the concept, and ‘social’ freedom – the vectorial sum of all that the members of a certain society put in practice about freedom.
It’s a matter of ‘obvious evidence’ that these two may swirl in two directions.
Form a virtuous circle – the natural evolution of humankind, from slavery to feudalism to democratic capitalism, sometimes interrupted by ‘vicious’ epicycles –  the last two being fascism and communism.

Before discussing whether liberty is real or just an illusion let me poke another wasp nest.
How big is this thing we call ‘freedom’?
How big can this ‘vectorial sum’ be?

Infinite? Nobody can live that long, anyway…

Then where does it stop? At the ‘tip of our collective nose’?
It’s up to us to decide? Through constant negotiation? Always keeping in mind that all ‘imperial’ endeavors have failed, sooner or later? That no human being has ever been able to survive alone for any considerable length of time, let alone to grow up by him/herself?

Communism and fascism being only the last two examples of what happens when too many of us forget the most important lesson history teaches us?

One more thing. I still owe you an explanation about why I consider the conflict between the ‘promoters’ and  ‘deniers’ of liberty to be a false one.
Currently, most people agree – even if most of them only implicitly, about ‘your liberty to swing your fist ending where my nose begins’.
From time to time various ‘hot headed’ individuals have contested this.
Either philosophically – Nietzsche, Marx, or practically – Lenin, Stalin, Hitler, Pol-Pot…
The most interesting aspect of all this being that there still are ‘philosophers’ (?!?) who continue to argue one side of the argument against the immense historical evidence which keeps growing. Not only ‘against’ the immense… but also producing fresh pretexts for the ‘willing practitioners’ to try for yet another time. And to continue to increase the mountain of evidence…

‘But what are the arguments marshaled by the ‘freedom deniers’?
What if they are right, after all, only the ‘practitioners’ have not yet been able to ‘do it right’? You, of all others’ – that would be me, ‘should remember that “Critics of early steam-spewing locomotives, for example, thought “that women’s bodies were not designed to go at 50 miles an hour,” and worried that “[female passengers’] uteruses would fly out of [their] bodies as they were accelerated to that speed”!
And, even more importantly, who are you to tell us that freedom is real?’

OK.
As I mentioned before, there are two categories of deniers.
‘Relative’ and ‘absolute’ deniers. The ‘Nietzsche-s’ and the ‘Marx-s’.
The ‘Nietzsche-s’ argue that freedom is up for grabs, that it can – no, actually that it should – be cornered by those having the strongest “will to power”. ‘Finders keepers, losers weepers’.
The ‘Marx-s’ argue that freedom is nothing but an illusion and that everybody must observe the implacable laws which derive from the world being made of nothing else but matter. Hence, according to Marx, the ‘communists’ – those who have understood the ‘scientific’ nature of the world/society, have the duty to take over the society and to take it, forcefully if needed, to its ‘scientifically’ determined destination.
‘Quite a Platonic vision of the world, don’t you think?’
‘Well… I’ve already covered this subject…’
Coming back to the apparent conflict between the promoters and the deniers of freedom, it is now rather simple to observe that ‘Marx’ is nothing but ‘Nietzsche’ dressed up in ‘scientific’ garb – don’t be fooled by the fact that Nietzsche was way younger than Marx, they had been kindred souls, while ‘Nietzsche’ had been a very focused ‘freedom fighter’ – focused exclusively on ‘his’ freedom, that is.

A petty conflict about ‘who has the bigger one’, hidden under pretentious make-up…

‘And were does all this leave us?’

At the conclusion that being free means, before and above anything else, being responsible?
For one’s own fate and for at least some of what’s going to happen in the (near) future?

 

Peste puțin timp, vor fi 30 de ani de când a implodat lagărul comunist.

O jumătate de viață de om.

Momentul invită la reflexie. Mai există supraviețuitori în putere și încă lucizi.
În același timp, noua generație – care doar a auzit de cele întâmplate sub fostul regim, începe să preia controlul asupra unui număr din ce în ce mai mare de ‘butoane’.
O parte semnificativă dintre cei care au experimentat comunismul au dezvoltat tot felul de nostalgii iar o parte din ce în ce mai mare a ‘inocenților’ se comportă ca și cum n-ar fi înțeles nimic din toată tărășenia.

Ei bine, există două feluri de comunism.
Cel imaginat de Marx și cel experimentat de ‘argații’ lui Lenin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot, etc.
Diferențele dintre ele sunt majore dar asemănările sunt și mai importante.

În imaginația lui Marx, comunismul urma să apară atunci când suficient de mulți dintre membrii unei societăți urmau să se prindă că erau exploatați de o minoritate.
În practică. Lenin, Mao, Castro, Pol Pot și ceilalți s-au folosit de nemulțumirea maselor pentru a rasturna ordinea socială. Și pentru a face în așa fel încât o minoritate, a lor, să acapareze toată puterea.

Cu alte cuvinte, diferența între comunismul teoretic al lui Marx și cel practic al lui Lenin & company este că la Marx apariția comunismului urma să fie mai mult sau mai puțin naturală în timp ce Lenin și gașca sa au dat dovadă de un oportunism feroce.

Asemănările mi se par mult mai importante. Tocmai pentru că oferă mult mai multe informații utile.
Pentru început, trebuie sa constatăm că imaginația lui Marx a fost suficient de mare încât să prevadă chiar și oportunismul lui Lenin. Pe undeva pe la începutul manifestului comunist, Marx îi descria pe comuniști ca fiind „avangarda clasei muncitoare” – oameni cu o conștiință socială foarte ridicată, care se pun în fruntea luptei de emancipare a proletariatului și care se sacrifică pentru binele societății în ansamblu… Și uite-așa o barba-avea…
A doua asemănare se referă la minorități.
În ambele variante, energia socială care face posibilă apariția comunismului este nemulțumirea maselor cu privire la regimul/ordinea socială instaurat de minoritatea aflată la putere înante ca noua minoritate, cea comunistă, să o detroneze pe prima.
Al treilea numitor comun, și cel mai important, este chiar energia socială despre care vorbeam în paragraful anterior. Și care nu ar fi putut fi manipulată în mod criminal de alde Lenin dacă nu ar fi existat.
Și nu ar fi existat dacă Nicolae al II-lea ar fi luat exemplu de la vărul său care statea pe tronul Angliei în loc să plece urechea la predicile lui Rasputin… Sau dacă în China ar fi avut loc, tot de sus în jos, ehivalentul chinez al revolutiei Meiji… sau dacă interese ‘obscure’ nu l-ar fi propulsat și ținut pe Batista la putere în Cuba… și așa mai departe…

Până la urmă societatea umană seamănă foarte bine cu o baterie electrică.
Fără o ‘diferență’ de potențial între cei doi poli, bateria e moartă. Nu produce nici un fel de curent. Poți să o arunci liniștit la gunoi – sau să o reciclezi, dacă ții la viitorul planetei.
Pe de altă parte, dacă diferența de potențial crește peste limitele rezonabilului relativ, curentul o ia pe scurtătură.
În loc să circule prin exteriorul bateriei, și să producă ceva constructiv – de exemplu bunăstarea majorității membrilor comunității, o ia ‘pe direct’. ‘Face scurt.’ Adică topește izolația și ‘își găsește liniștea’ mult prea devreme, înainte să producă ceva cât de cât folositor.

Cum apare acest gen de ‘supratensiune’?

Mai țineți minte „Ucenicul Vrăjitor” al lui Goethe?
Cam despre același lucru e vorba și aici. Orice electrician care se respectă știe că nu poți să depășești anumite limite. Că nu poți să concentrezi prea multă energie într-o portiune prea mică din rețea.
Din păcate, pentru ei și pentru cei care le dau crezare, ‘ucenicii vrăjitori’ nu țin cont de nimic. Toți fac niște greșeli din ce în ce mai mari. Greșeli care, la rândul lor, se acumulează și dau naștere unor noi ‘supratensiuni’.
După cum bine știm, comunismul s-a prăbușit la fel de dureros ca țarismul.
Sau ca orice altă forma de autoritarism/monopolism/autarhie.

Ei bine, până când suficient de mulți oameni – și în special dintre cei aflați la putere, nu vor înțelege că prăbușirea unei forme de autoritarism nu justifică în nici un fel existența oricărei alteia, cercul vicios va continua să se tot închidă.

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