Sunday, April 29, 2012

On Politics

1. Politics is a disease inflicted on the stupid by the opportunistic.

2. Politically, If you get something you'll probably find you don't want it.

3. Politics undermines the state by making it look like a corrupt circus.

4. A crooked used-care salesman is someone too honest to succeed as a politician.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Fiction and Myth as Propaganda

i. Except for the faithful, outright lies are not well received.  Truth may be abused, but not shattered.  Under the strain, the world may break.  Ground must be prepared.  Ignorance must be nurtured.  The big lies are best told to the desperate.  Even as the old lies are recycled, new concepts are required.  Subtlety is longer lasting and more efficient than harassment.

ii. For the liar, fiction and myth are superior tools.  Fiction is grand.  Myths are sublime.  The successful opportunist believes propaganda, and thereby becomes honest.  History has always been re-written by the slanted premises of the ruling elite.  In a wired age, they must actually believe.  Hence, the elite are doomed to wade with everyone else.

iii. Fiction is beyond morality.  Beliefs are suspended.  How could it be any other way?

iv. For a decadent, confusing fact from fiction is an essential quality of leadership.  Those believing otherwise wrongly believe they do not live in such a world.  Their projections make their reality unreachable.

Monday, April 16, 2012

On Circular Arguments

Circular arguments are analogous to mathematical proof by example.  A counter-example will logically disprove such claims, but it may not receive a balanced hearing.  The dictates of logic are rarely followed by the human condition.  People want to believe that which makes them comfortable with their place in the world.  Very few intentionally agitate themselves by de-constructing society by mentally pulling it apart.  A damaged machine seems to be preferable to one that is known to be broken.  One can accommodate cultural fact, or pretend that logical appeals mean something to the majority.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Yet Another Example of Why Economics is Not a Science

From Exponential Economist Meets Finite Physicist:
The evening’s after-dinner keynote speech began, so we had to shelve the conversation. Reflecting on it, I kept thinking, “This should not have happened. A prominent economist should not have to walk back statements about the fundamental nature of growth when talking to a scientist with no formal economics training.” But as the evening progressed, the original space in which the economist roamed got painted smaller and smaller.
First, he had to acknowledge that energy may see physical limits. I don’t think that was part of his initial virtual mansion.
Next, the efficiency argument had to shift away from straight-up improvements to transformational technologies. Virtual reality played a prominent role in this line of argument.
Finally, even having accepted the limits to energy growth, he initially believed this would prove to be of little consequence to the greater economy. But he had to ultimately admit to a floor on energy price and therefore an end to traditional growth in GDP—against a backdrop fixed energy.
I got the sense that this economist’s view on growth met some serious challenges during the course of the meal. Maybe he was not putting forth the most coherent arguments that he could have made. But he was very sharp and by all measures seemed to be at the top of his game. I choose to interpret the episode as illuminating a blind spot in traditional economic thinking. There is too little acknowledgement of physical limits, and even the non-compliant nature of humans, who may make choices we might think to be irrational—just to remain independent and unencumbered.
A failure to consider, or even acknowledge fundamental physical laws demonstrates that what passes for "mainstream" economics is not a science, but an ideology, at best, and a joke, at worst.    (Neither is Marxist economics a science--predetermination was proven to be a fallacy long ago.)

Perhaps, economics could become a real science, as the author acknowledges later in the text, but it isn't there yet.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

On Intellectual Product

A creator need not be a producer, but may eventually become one. In the present social order the only apparent choices for dissemination are giving or selling. Although intellectual product may start out as a state of mind, once sold, it becomes a commodity. Merchandise is a thing. A product is owned. Anything past its originator reduces its brilliance. More importantly, it can be resold. Each transaction further reduces intellectual product to something solid. It may degrade but it never changes. By failing to grow, even if birthed by sublime genius, intellectual product stagnates. Anything building upon it is therefore erected on a rotten foundation. Since nothing is examined[1] by industrialization, mass production is even worse. The political spectrum is among the more glaring examples, but even subcultural works are susceptible. The mass mind has no insight.

Widespread dissemination necessitates a lower level of sophistication. Reflective contemplation is not necessary to get the point. The simplistic is understandable by the greatest number. Fleeting in nature, fashionable appeal is neither meaning nor significance. It will eventually return if someone can find a way to make money.

Some feed upon commodity. These vicarious sorts desire the mental stimulation but lack the ability to create their own works. Even bad art is better than sucking up.

Few even care to try creating their own vision. The greater society gives creativity beyond the economic sphere lip service, but no real support. If it cannot be sold, then imagination is viewed as a self-indulgent waste of time. The public education system certainly does nothing to oppose the commodification of intellectual life. Creativity for its own sake is either reserved for the elite, or the economic exploitation[2] of the naive.

A stupid population is easiest to pacify, if not control, through diversion. Questions mean nothing unless and until the appropriate question is asked. A critical, analytical eye sees much where others see little. No status quo could exist if the masses developed sight. Projected shadows would cease to appear so menacing. An opportunist depends upon blindness. General knowledge and the ability to apply it are not valued. Important bridges remain unappreciated. True intellectuals have started revolutions and felt their own strength. What passes for such these days are easily ignored mindless parrots. Occasionally, one will hear these idiots cry forth in despair that nobody is really listening or understands. It never occurs that perhaps no one should. Reason is unfathomable. Perhaps the fault lies with the communicator...

[1] Analysis is not necessarily examination.

[2] The tech industry has certainly proven this observation true.

Monday, April 09, 2012

On Culture and Commodification

i. Culture manifests and imprints itself across all segments of society. The past contains many shared perceptions which may be built upon for Maximum Advantage. A common example is evoking Hitler to justify foreign intervention, even when few parallels exist, to successfully quiet opposition.

ii. Intellectual and material achievements are often unearthed from a nostalgic past to rationalize reactionary policies and movements. Things were so much better in the past. The single largest mistake was probably leaving the trees, but only a few bring sentiment so far by espousing all civilization a lie. The herd needs a reason to believe getting up for work is worth it. Hopes should not be too specific. Sacrifice must seem worthwhile. War dead is probably one of the most powerful tools to this end. Horror has to mean something... Values need to be defined and require common acceptance. The system will grind to a halt if the herd was encouraged to mindlessly mill about. Nothing must appear to be something. Propaganda has its limits. The irrational is difficult to harness, but represents true power by those that manage to do so. Backlash sentiments are easiest to invoke and exploit among opponents.

iii. Commodification is a social weapon. Consumerism is a faith. Material objects bring fulfillment. The glittering new malaise is preferable to the old malaise. The opportunist should never underestimate public stupidity. Conformity can even become rebellion. Official positions are shown in the best light. Major media outlets know who butters their bread. Well paid journalists are players in the economic order. Anyone heavily invested will necessarily support the entire economic order. Their money is their only freedom (whatever that means). Economic clout represents the path of least resistance. Money does not mean everything. "Maximum" may always be redefined....

(From a work in progress...)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Re: Sociopaths

From Sociopaths, closed minds and a bit of Mayan cosmology:
Yes, and more. There was an article in the EU Observer this week (April 3, 2012) – EU ‘surprised’ by Portugal’s unemployment rate – which I had to re-read a few times to check that I was actually reading the words correctly. The dialogue presented was so shocking that it raises fundamental questions about how one is [to] interact with the economics debate. Then I read some more articles this week which investigated why mainstream economics retains its dominance in the face of its catastrophic failure to explain anything of importance to humanity. Closed minds are very resistant to change especially when socio-pathological dimensions are present. 
Sociopaths just don't make for good science (which is why economics is not a science), but they are good for business (assuming you don't actually follow their advice).  The inmates are running the asylum.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Philosophy and Social Knowledge

Read Philosophy and social knowledge:
The philosophy of social science is a group of research traditions that are intended to shed light on various aspects of the intellectual effort of understanding and explaining social phenomena. In brief, it is the study of the social sciences from the point of view of the quality of knowledge they offer, the types of explanations they advance, and the important conceptual problems that are raised in the course of social science research. Core questions include: What are the scope and limits of scientific knowledge of society? What is involved in arriving at a scientific understanding of society? What are the most appropriate standards for judging proposed social explanations? Is there such a thing as social causation? How are social theories and assertions to be empirically tested? How do social facts relate to facts about individuals?

On Unstable Equilibrium 3.2

A push can be gradual or excessive.  Hard landings are painful.