Great chronicler of civilizations past & present Jared Diamond: It is only in the last 250 years, in a variety of ways and places, that those democracies as we think of them today have emerged. There have been some strange and tragic takes on democracy in its relative infancy. — Frank A. Weil

Tremendous chronicler Jared Diamond

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=jared+diamond+images&qpvt=jared+diamond+images&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=504E722E6D7F6E9A6F8D4B3F9156131A634B15AD&selectedIndex=19

*

http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/310562-1

*

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-a-weil/jared-diamond-the-world-until-yesterday_b_2617207.html?utm_hp_ref=books

*

The Evolution of Human Governance

*

Jared Diamond has sounded a clarion call in his most recent and interestingly provocative book, The World Until Yesterday. Diamond has thought a lot about the evolution of human life and the processes of enabling and managing those lives; he has also spent big chunks of his life digging (literally in some cases) through the primitive world (he says traditional) and the early existence of intelligent beings as far back as 11,000 years. Several truly interesting and usefully important insights emerge from his histories.

First, although humans were more adept at a lot of simple rudimentary techniques than most people today know or believe, our species remained for most of those 11,000 years in a primitive state of organization. Families, clans and tribes constituted the core organizational units of society. There were few or no states as we know them today, for the simple reason that, for most of that history, the only form of communication was individually spoken sounds/words. There was, therefore, no ability for larger groups of people to know each other well enough to organize their lives on a larger scale.

Second, when writing, printing and other very recent (last 100 years or so) means of modern communication came along, the pace and content of that communication ramped up amazingly quickly, which, in turn, stimulated the growth of human skills and the spread of innovation in all areas of human activity, including, very importantly, governance. The collective systems we now call nation-states became ubiquitous, and have continued to change and evolve.

Third, in the last 500 years we have witnessed a variety of forms of governance around the globe, including Kings and Queens and other lesser forms of royal governance, as well as religious powers, some of which still exist in form if not substance.  It is quite clear now, of course, that those particular forms of governance have largely outlived their times and in only a few years (viewed in the span of 11,000 years) will be completely gone.

Fourth, we have seen various forms of dictatorships and how, with difficulty and pain, each has run its horrible course, even in the present — witness Nazi Germany, the communist Soviet Union and, currently, the forerunners of the Arab Spring.

It is only in the last 250 years, in a variety of ways and places, that those democracies as we think of them today have emerged. There have been some strange and tragic takes on democracy in its relative infancy. Imagine trying to explain to 25th century Americans that a ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ was a legitimate goal for the Russian Revolution at the beginning of the 20th century  That state has happily morphed away from its original simple fraud on the people in whose name the dictatorship sought to rule, and is struggling today to become a modern democratic state, albeit somewhat different from our model.

In Europe and other parts of the world, so-called representative democracies have been emerging for a couple of hundred years. Those models have been based primarily on parliamentary systems which we and they are discovering (with some confusion and pain) are quite different from our model of separation of the executive and legislative functions.

Today, far too many of us tend to think, reflexively and automatically, that our American form of democracy is the ultimate expression of human self-governance, that it has long been perfected and should be able to serve us and the whole world in its present form forevermore.

Our presumption is, of course, well, RIDICULOUS!

Why should we think for a minute that the evolution of governance has reached its pinnacle in the American system? On the contrary, any rational person looking at the matter objectively has to believe either that our American Democracy has failed us (Exhibit A: Congress?) and we’re doomed to the same destiny as the monarchies which preceded us or, for the glass-half-full types, that our system of governance is still evolving to meet and reflect the changing natures of humans and their modern lives.  What they can’t honestly assert is that this system, at this moment, is already perfect.

If thought of in these terms, many Americans might be able to come together and agree that at a minimum we should be thinking hard about how today we could improve our system. For example, how can we make timelier and better decisions? How best to spend our national wealth (or deficit) and run our country? Where is our vision and foresight?

Perhaps we should look at some other countries’ systems and how they fared differently from ours and why.

For example, China has in the last 20 years apparently been able to make big decisions and loosen the reins on its citizens at the same time. They seem to be well aware and even nervous about public opinion. Still it is true that, to American eyes, the Chinese still look to be excessively centralized and oppressive; their system is very different from ours, to be sure, but has elements that we could benefit from knowing more about. At least, we should be open-minded to the possibility of learning.

While we invented our democracy in a world as it existed over 200 years ago, the Chinese are doing it in a different era, and thus may be able to shape their system to the modern world better than our 200-year-old system is able to do today.

What are the biggest failings of American democracy today? There are many. To name a few of the biggest ones:

1.  The perpetual stalemate in the legislative branch, and our consequent inability to reach compromises on major issues which require long term planning and perspectives such as spending, taxation and debt management;

2.  Improper distribution of voting power and rights, which has modified and distorted the competitive balance in our representative system. For example, Democrat candidates for the House of Representatives in 2012 received, overall, more than 1 million more votes than their Republican counterparts, but Republicans maintain a 33-seat edge in that chamber. The strict constructionists among us may prefer NOT to recall that our House of Representatives was intended to be the body that would most immediately reflect changes in public sentiment.

That has been turned on its head by both campaign finance problems, which ironically gives too much power to too few people despite the internet’s ability to attract millions of small supporters, and gerrymandering the borders of House seats to protect one party or the other.

The result is that the Senate has in recent years become more the indicative source of changing public sentiment despite the fact that Senators have six-year terms.

3.  Abuse of the filibuster process, originally intended to protect minority rights but now a bludgeon used to thwart any hint of progress the Senate struggles to find and display.

We  do need to first admit to ourselves that we have systemic governance problems which appear only to get worse with time. If we face that reality perhaps we can find some consensus on how to begin to seriously to look for a path to solutions. That is simply how perfecting evolution occurs.

Our problems are not exclusively legislative. In the past 100 years — since the Interstate Commerce Commission became the first independent regulatory agency in 1905 — we have blanketed every level of government with a vast crazy quilt of regulation. Taken one by one, much of that regulation was well intended and even essential to the operation of a fair and balanced modern society. Taken as a whole, however, it becomes a mind-numbing morass most people would agree is stultifying innovation, growth and modern human functioning at large. We have to address that problem head on as well because, absent a rethinking of our approach, it will inevitably simply compound further and will only get worse.

Happily, various new ideas are beginning to emerge, including some innovative ones like Tri-Sector Governance, in which both the public and both private sectors work together in a pragmatic and organized way to address the management of many societal activities in which all sectors have important and vital roles and interests that further regulation can do little to help.

Regulation is a reasonable and rational approach to preventing many bad outcomes, but, with very rare exceptions utterly fails at making good things happen. This type of operational collaboration (as distinct from political collaboration) is beginning to show signs of helping to make parts of modern society work better.

From time to time presidential and/or Congressional Commissions of wise, grey heads, beyond political fear or favor, have studied big problems like social security and health in society and that type of non-partisan problem has occasionally bypassed endless political gridlock. Perhaps we should think about better institutionalizing that process and give it more significance in our whole governance system.

So back to Jared Diamond. He has done modern society a big favor in documenting how some past societies  became extinct because they failed to observe and/or react to the forces driving them in that direction until they had already passed a point of no return. His Guns, Germs and Steel and then Collapse and most recently The World Until Yesterday  are together an amazing warning about what lies ahead for our system and lives as well as pointing out in constructive ways what we can do about it.

He points the way to how society can learn from previous governance evolutions (or extinctions) how to adjust and further evolve in better directions. Just a quick look at what happened to ancient Greece (as well as today’s Greece) and Rome and most recently Great Britain should give us sufficient warning. While we today primarily focuse on the Arab world and its revolutions including al Qaeda and terrorism, we have largely lost sight of the even bigger problem we have, which simply said is OURSELVES and our process of governance.

A word to the wise is said to be sufficient. The beginning of better wisdom today would be for all our public officials (for starters) to read Diamond’s books and begin to think about how we can go forward together and create a new governance future for our children and grandchildren and beyond.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jared_Diamond

*

*

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelvenables/2013/02/12/jared-diamond-and-updated-commentary/

*

*

*

 

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/proximity-dearest-petunia/

*

*

*

We can draw together the grand narrative of social development, triggered via geography, and historians can explain the differences which divide humanity and how we can prevent these divisions from destroying us all.     David Landes says that ancient China’s dense population favored centralized government & reduced the emperors’ incentives to wanderlust in trade, the emperors having no alien rivals — the emperors worried more about how trade might enrich undesirable folks like enterprising little merchants, which they could stamp out via their omnipotent power hegemony. Thence China’s decline in the 1400s AD. Back to whimsical Menzies — Jared Diamond — like David Landes — says that ancient societies within the band of latitude which runs from Red China to the Mediterranean Sea developed the 1st civilizations, but Europe dominated the modern world because Europe’s peninsulas made it easy for small kingdoms to hold out against would-be conquerers, while in contrast China’s rounder coastline favored centralized rulers over petty princes, thence ending wanderlust. Contrarily, Columbus had many options to wanderlust, so if China’s emperors out of necessity wanderlusted for foreign riches, and allowed explorer Zheng as many options as Columbus had, Herman Cortes might have met a Chinese governor in Mexico in 1519, not the doomed Montezuma. So archaeologists uncover the details of earlier societies’/civilizations’ mistakes — bumbling idiots. But historians of our Age get us the Thought we need to live on to another chapter thru the long line of time. Or, as Kipling yarns — “Till Earth & Sky stand at God’s great Judgment Seat – there is neither East nor West, Border, nor Breed, nor Birth, tho’ they come from the ends of the Earth!”

*

*

Geography is a life and death matter for us all. Jared Diamond says that Laurence C. Smith is a rising star among geographers, w/Smith’s template of 4 forces shaping civilization’s “northern” future — demography/natural resources/climate change/globalization — 8 nations of the arctic rim incl. U.S. will prosper while the equator nations will be sapped & sunk. Food for thought.

*

*

http://spatialworlds.blogspot.com/2011/04/entwining-history-and-geography.html

*

Geographical determinism? Considering that the Australian Curriculum: history has already been published and that the Australian Curriculum: geography is soon to follow, I thought it would be useful to do some discussion and resourcing on the connections between history and geography. In particular, to look at the potential of integration for the two disciplines as a result of the close interconnections and interdependencies of the disciplines – such connections have become even more evident than ever with the emergence of spatial technology for historical research and hopefully for its application in education. “…Geography is not just a physical stage for the historical drama, not just a set of facts about areas of the earth. It is a special way of looking at the world. Geography, like history, is an age-old and essential strategy for thinking about large and complex matters” Meinig 1987 In our world of simplistic divisions of knowledge there is always the danger that we see disciplines as quite separate and not connected. History and geography in schools need to be seen as entwined and interdependent. As a history and geography teacher such a synergy is logical and obvious. Whatever history I was teaching I would start with a geography lesson of the region studied or impacted upon (much to the disquiet of the students who thought they were doing history!). “…geography and history are complementary and interdependent, “bound together by the very nature of things.” This relationship, Meinig states, “…is implied by such common terms as space and time, area and era, places and events, pairs that are fundamentally inseparable. In practice the two fields are differentiated by the proportionate emphasis each gives to these terms.” Meinig 1987 This connection and interdependency of history and geography is particularly relevant as we move towards the development of disciplines in the Australian Curriculum. Curriculum separatism can be detrimental to the development of a student’s holistic understanding of an historical individual, group, event or phenomena. When implementing the Australian Curriculum in a crowded curriculum, such perception of connections between the disciplines is imperative when designing an integrated approach to the study of a region, theme or topic (particularly in primary schools).

*

*

An example of the impact of geography on history was highlighted in the 1940’s when geographical determinists looked at the rise and fall of the Roman Empire from 400-500. Much of the fall of the empire had to do with a regional drought which decreased the fertility of the land and agriculture output. The lack of food from this event strained the empire and exacerbated the political situation to the point of collapse. The entwinement of Roman geography and history was emphasised by historians when they pronounced that geographic location impacted on Roman civilization because where they were located made it easy for travel and trade. The story goes that Rome was located on the Tyrrhenian Sea and on the Tiber River, making it easy for them to get all around the European area; they were located on a place with fertile soil, which made it easy for farming and they were surrounded by mountains, which provided them with places to hide, and have protection. From this beginning the theory of geographical determinism grew to encompass all environmental and geographic conditions and their impact on the social, political and economic forces of a society. It was believed that technology was the only way to mitigate risks associated with geographic determinism. In short, Geographical Determinism is the theory that the human habits, behaviour and characteristics of a particular culture are shaped by geographic conditions. The phrase was coined in the early 1900’s and in its extreme expression the theory asserts that the work of humans is controlled or “determined” by geographical conditions: climate, landforms, and the like. The debate on the veracity of the theory of Geographical determinism continued throughout the twentieth century.

*

*

A more moderate view of Geographical determinism called Geographical possibilism (suggests that humans have a number of possibilities from which to select)has surfaced in recent years. This theory suggests that humans have a number of possibilities from which to select.

*

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/1158509/how_geography_affects_history_pg3.html?cat=37

*

*

*

I feel that the truth is to be found between the two theories. Geographical determinism was picked up by the Russian Marxists in the 1920’s, where environment and its influence on the development of society was a dominant theme in Soviet geography. Interestingly the attempts by Russian geographers to develop a balanced assessment of the relationship between man and the physical environment were negated in the 1930′s by a dogmatic pronouncement by Stalin which denied any environmental influence on the development of society. However, since the end of World War II a group of Russian geographers have attempted to reintroduce the theme of the geographical environment as an object of study for geography. The arguments of this group were strengthened by a pronouncement by the Communist Party in 1963, which rejected Stalin’s earlier ruling and recognised that the geographical environment, although not a determining factor, does exercise a certain influence on the development of society. Today Russian historians quite logically claim that the geography of Russia has been the major determinant of Russian history. For example “Its location on a high northern latitude and far inland gave it a cold and dry climate. That, combined with large areas of poor or mediocre soils, made it a cold dry steppe in which it is difficult to survive, let alone prosper. Famine has affected Russia on an average of one year out of three throughout its history. Russia lies on the vast Eurasian Steppe with no formidable natural barriers, which has invited a number of invasions with tragic results. In its early history, the main threat would come from the nomadic tribes to the east, making Russia a battleground between nomads and farmers. Only more recently have Russia’s neighbors to the west been a serious threat, as seen by the loss of an estimated 27,000,000 people in World War II. Ironically, Russia’s harsh climate has saved it from invasion more than once. Napoleon and Hitler both found out the power of “General Winter” when they made the mistake of trying to conquer this vast northern giant. Russia’s inland location to the north and east of Europe has left it largely isolated from the mainstream of developments in Europe. Altogether, Russia’s geographic features have made it a harsh land facing constant invasions. As a result, Russians have historically been torn between needing and wanting foreign ideas with which they could better compete and survive on the one hand and a suspicion of foreigners bred by the continual threat of invasions they have faced on the other.” This is a wonderful example of geographies impact on history but by no means unique. How could one study Australian history without recognising the impact of geography on our settlement, governance, national character, military involvement etc. As Blainey in his book Tyranny of Distance said way back in 1970: “…geographical remoteness has been central to shaping our history and identity–and it will continue to form our future.” Professor Iain Stewart in his series: The Earth Made Us repeatedly used examples of geographical determinism to explain the creation, life and death of civilisations i.e. Those along plate boundaries which were attracted to the locations due to the presence of water at plate boundaries, were also inevitably wiped out when the plates “did their thing”. The concept that geography determines culture and in turn history goes all the way back to Hippocrates (c. 420 B.C) when in his discussion; “Airs, Waters and Places”, he contrasts the “easy-going Asiatics living in a very favourable region with the poor Europeans”, who had to work hard because of a deficit environment. Aristotle also played in this space in his Politics when he talked about the “brave but deficient in thinking Europeans from colder climates” contrasted with the “thoughtful and skillful Asians” without spirit because of their hot climate. He said that the Greeks being a blend of the two environments had the best of both worlds! Very dangerous generalisations which did much to discredit geographical determinism. Such deterministic views were often quoted by the racists of the 18th-20th Century to explain through environmental impacts a whole range of racial stereotypes and generalisations. Such associations did much to discredit the theories of geographical determinism in the 20th century. However one would be foolhardy to totally deny that environment and in turn geography of a place does determine the nature of culture and in turn the unfolding of human history. “…history has a spatial dimension–the places where human actions occur. For example, aspects of the natural environment, such as climate and terrain, influence human behavior; and people affect the places they inhabit. Therefore, main ideas of geography, such as the location of places and relationships within places should be included as important parts of the study of history” Framework for the 1994 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) US history assessment. The 2004 book: Historical GIS suggested the equation Place + Space + Time = historical understanding. This equation can also be written as X+Y+Z = historical understanding. Both are saying that there is a need for an understanding of place (X-Y coordinates) in cahoots with an understanding of change over time (Z factor) when teaching any historical topic, event or phenomena.

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_determinism#Climatic

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecological_anthropology

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_Anthropology#Transformations

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_geography

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_geography

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_geography#20th_century

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Great men and women and bungling idiots are creatures of their times.   But as Ian Morris implores, culture is less a voice in our heads telling us what to do than an assembly hall where we discuss our options.   Each age gets the thought it needs, dictated by the kind of problems that geography and social development force on it.   But unquestionably, necessity via geography-social development or regression forces change — from ancient forager  — to agriculture — to villager — to city dweller — to nation/state — to global regionalism.    Histories of Eastern & Western thought have been broadly similar over the last 5,000 yrs.,   with rise of the first states around 3,500 BC in the West and after 2,000 BC in the East — which set off arguments over the nature of and limits on divine kingship — the whimsical/mystical and the secular/civil.    As states became more meta-impact after 750 BC in the West & 500 BC in the East, such discussions led to first-wave axial [will to meaning in life][Karl Jaspers 1883-1969 ID’d an axial age-origin of modern spirituality w/contempos Isaiah/Plato/Confucius/Buddha — making Jaspers as among the great synthesizers in history along w/John Dewey/Williams James/etc.]   thought, debating the nature of personal transcendence [ascetism] & its relationship to secular authority.   By 200 AD, as the great Roman and Han empires collapsed, 2nd wave axial thought emerged, over how organized churches [New Testament/Dharma] could save the religious believer in a meaningless and frightening and chaotic/dangerous life-world.   And when social development revived — by 1000 AD in China & 1400 in Italy  — renaissance questions over how to bypass the sordid present in order to regain the lost wisdom of the 1st axial age  [Old Testament/old Sangha]  — resonated in loud decibels.    Each great change pushed people to think the thoughts which the epoch/era/Age needed.    After 1600 AD, Westerners became more linear/scientific [rationalist][Industrial Revolution the result], whereas Easterners became more circular/holistic [mystic][largely agrarian the result].    Not biological — Westerners attune to analytical measurement, Easterners attune to “the big picture” [will to meaning a la Rong Qiqi acolytes].    Since 1700 AD many Muslims turned inward in response to military-political defeat, just as Chinese did earlier by 1500 AD.   Yet Turkey stayed modern via its geographical port/portal commercial exposure, whereas the Taliban would kill women for showing their faces in public.

*

*

*

*

*

Evolutionary psychologist Matt J. Rossano says that religion made us human  — that religion stretches back 500,000 yrs. ago, when our ancestors developed the motor control to engage in social rituals  — that is, to sing & dance together.   Then, about 70,000 yrs. ago, a global ecological crisis drove humanity to the edge of extinction.   It forced the survivors to create new strategies for survival, and religious rituals were foremost among them.    Point is that religion is a way for humans to relate to each other and the world around them  — and in the grim struggles of prehistory, it offered significant survival and reproductive advantages.   Religion emerged as our ancestors’ first health care system, and a critical component was social support.   Religious groups tended to be far more cohesive, which gave them a competitive edge over non-religious people & which enabled them to conquer the globe/go on conquests.  Religion, then, is a way of relating, and is a super-naturalization of human social life/interaction.    Such notions are our essential adaptation which promote solidarity & cooperation.

*
*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

The security of nations is tied to the security of individuals, based on a commitment to dignity of spirit, democratic values, and freedom from want, per Nobel Peace Prize awardee Mohamed Elbaradei of Egypt, who was director of the Int’l Atomic Energy Agency from 1997-2009.   Elbaradei’s got it right, but Ian Morris born 1960 sees the grand vision based on geography, as our magister vitae, or “teacher of life,” Morris’ vision irresistible like peers Jared Diamond/David Landes.   In 1750, English capitalists engaged in steam and coal, thus fueling factories/railroads/gunboats, to our cyberchips/nukes today.    Western dominance is based on geography, not race or culture, how Westerners deal with crises of resources/disease/migration/governance/climate.   Biology is not the Divider  — there is one kind of human that evolved in Africa 100,000 yrs. ago, making extinct older kinds of humans.   There are no genetic  differences between today’s humans in different parts of the world.  We hardly are different in genetic makeup from chimps, for that matter.   Biologically, the West got its head start at the end of the Ice Age 13,000 BC, but around 550 AD it disappeared altogether, and for the next 1,200 yrs. the East led the world in social development.   The West then took charge in 1750 AD.     Morris says the paradox of development is that rising social development creates the very forces which undermine it, the 5 horsemen of the apocalypse  — manmade famine/disease/migration/state collapse/nature-made climate change such as today’s global warming.    Agriculture does not fuel today’s development  — fossil fuels did after 1750 AD.    By 550 AD   the Arab invaders broke up the old Mediterranian core but were not strong enough to remake it, & social development fell in the West.  But in the East a new frontier of rice agriculture had begun booming around the Yangzi river, & the Yangzi & Yellow rivers linked up via the Grand Canal, giving a unified China a system of internal waterways like the Mediterranean had done for ancient Rome.   Easterners could have discovered the Americas in the 1400s AD [Menzies says they did], but geography made it likely that Westerners would get here first.    Easterners had far more to gain by sailing toward the riches of the Indian Ocean instead of the empty Pacific or by pushing inland into the Western direction steppes, which had been the greatest threat to their security for nearly 2,000 yrs.     Mass decisions — at the end of WWII, half a billion women decided to marry younger than their mothers had done and bear more children.  Baby boomers.   Then 3 decades later, these baby boomer girls chose to do the opposite.  Nature’s way.   After mass deaths aka global war, we make more babies.   Amid longterm affluence, we make less because we get more selfish.    We admire radicals/rebels/romantics — nonconformists — but predictably, nonconformists don’t fare better w/access to food/shelter/soulmates — our Anna Kareninas dissenters.   Evolution selects for us common sense.    Muhammad the eccentric changed history, though, simply because of his nonconformity to convention, as did Jesus, as did Buddha.    Bumbling idiots who changed history for the worse include Qin First Emperor/Mao Tse Tung, & Assyria’s Tiglath-Pileser III.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Red China’s output will catch up with the U.S.’ in the next 10 yrs, its warmaking capacity-cyberinfo tech-per capita energy capture in 30 yrs.   Such Chinese planglossian mirth might even come sooner, in light of our continued Western decline after the fall of Wall St. 2008.

*

a person who views a situation with unwarranted optimism
Panglossian  adj
[after Dr Pangloss, a character in Voltaire’s Candide (1759)]
*

*

*

*

*

*

Eugenics reprised via U.S. a century ago/Hitler nearly a century ago?  Craig Venter, who sequenced the human genome, says we’re not playing at being God, we’re not playing, period!!  Cloning is not a kid game. 10,000 yrs. ago folks worried that domesticated wheat & domesticated sheep were unnatural. 200 yrs. ago folks worried that steam engines were unnatural.

*

*

*

*

*

Ray Kurzweil’s Singularity posits that at mid-century [less than 40 yrs. from now], computers will host all the minds in the world, merging-conflating carbon- and silicon-based intelligence into a single global consciousness. We shall transcend biology, evolving into a new being as far ahead of homo sapiens as a contemp human is of the individual cells which confluent into a creation of our human body. Such “rapture of the nerds” odds-on make him wrong, as prophets before him were more often wrong than right. But Kurzweil is right about “criticism from incredulity,” the simple disbelief that anything so peculiar-preposterous could happen. As Nobel awardee chemist Rich Smalley says, “when a scientist says something is possible, the scientist probably underestimates how long it will take. But if the scientist says something is impossible, the scientist probably is wrong!” Across the developed landscape today, better diets allow us to live twice as long and grow six inches taller than our folks over a century ago. But the U.S. as “Globo-Cop” will wane as Red China [& India] catches up with us, & the risks shall increase of a new world war. As Einstein preciently intoned in the last century, WWIII will be nuclear, and WWIV will be fought with sticks and stones!! Nano-techonology shall take us to a place where we might not want to go, but probably are unable to avoid. Agriculture to industry, villages to cities, global regionalism as the zenith since our development from the end of the last Ice Age, might end via the Singularity, the “end” a forsaken thought, unless we are reminded that Carl Sagan & Iosif Shklovskii postulated half a century ago that Fermi’s Paradox [millions of alien civilizations abound thruout the Universe] has a sobering and frightening solution — we have not heard from any alien species outside of our Earth because advanced civilizations self-destruct a century after inventing nuclear weapons — the Singularity as “end” [terminus] is a century after Hiroshima/Nagasaki [A-bombs]. Thence, Fermi’s Paradox [even if only a vanishingly small proportion of our galaxy’s 250 billion stars — not to mention the infinite universe, not just our tiny galaxy — have habitable planets, outer space should still be teeming w/aliens — Earth is young at less than 5 billion yrs. old, so alien species should be way older and exponentially more advanced than us — even if their spaceships are slow like ours, it still should have taken them only about 50 million yrs. to explore our tiny little galaxy — so where are they?? Why have they not made contact with us????] — yes, Fermi’s Paradox turns not on the “stars,” but on us, on our past and our future. Thus, Asimov’s Foundation/NightFall might well come to be — The Cataclysm/Apocalypse which overwhelms all responses — sending us back to sticks & stones as WWIV’s manifestation. Points are that historians can draw together the grand narrative of social development, triggered via geography, and historians can explain the differences which divide humanity and how we can prevent these divisions from destroying us all.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Grecian scientific accomplishments bedrock on the Greek belief in an ordered universe whose rules can be discovered by the human mind, and a compulsion to see and understand  — ergo insatiable curiosity — humanist freedom to think.  The names we give to science’s diverse branches today, from physics and chemistry to mathematics, biology, & psychology — are the Greek etymologies.    Grecian geography is harsh & fractured, yet the Grecian inward cogency gave rise to scientific thought unlike earlier civilizations in Egypt/Mesopotamia/India/China.   Grecian exceptional characteristics incl. rationalism — the conviction that human reason could unravel the mysteries of nature & make sense of the cosmos  –  humanism’s pride and confidence in human potential  — an insatiable curiosity that sought understanding of both human nature & the world  — a fierce love of freedom & individual will which promoted freedom of thought, the prelude to science today.   The Greek zest for living was driven by a compulsion to excel.   Knowing they could not exist for all time, they determined to achieve a different kind of immortality by performing deeds that would ensure their undying legacy.   Thence Achilles died young on the battlefield of Troy and lives on today in our hearts and minds.   Insatiable curiosity suffused in art’s drama  — the quest to understand the motivations for and the consequences of human behavior/miscues-hamartia.    Grecian history means research, just as Grecian democracy is the basis for science today  — that all facts, no matter how trivial or banal, enjoy democratic equality.    Freedom of thought & individual pursuit  — without unfettered imagination, science could not exist.   And without heroic individuality, breaching the status quo/convention could not be achieved.   Certititude pride of repressive thought ergo religious persecution contravenes self-confidence in being a wanderlust-wayfarer.    The tipping point is sliver-thin, yet each side is separated by a gulf in thought/act so vast that neither side is compatible at all with the other.

*

*

*

*

*

The Roman poet Virgil perfected his craft by emulating Grecian Homer.   In Virgil’s Aeneid, the ghost of Aeneas’ father, Anchises, tells his son  — & thru him the generations of Romans who would follow — not to be overwhelmed by a sense of inferiority when comparing himself to the Greeks.   Virgil intones that a civilization can only succeed by identifying and actualizing those cultural traits which are uniquely its own.   As brilliant pundit Stephen Bertman evokes, Greeks are a race of explorers like Odysseus, whereas Romans are a race of nation builders, Grecians driven by boundless curiosity, Romans by a need to control and fulfill their global destiny.   Repelled by theory & abstraction, the Roman mind gravitated instead toward concreteness & practicality.   Roman Cicero recounted Grecian science and mathematics like Archimedes.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeneid

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Jim Hillman  — “I watched a woman being interviewed.   She sat in a wheelchair because she was elderly & feeble.   She said that she was dead for she had lost her heart.   The psychiatrist asked her to place her hand over her breast to feel her heart beating:  It must be there if she could feel its beat.   ‘That,’ she said, ‘is not my real heart.’”

*

*

*

*

Ben Mikaelsen  –  “You don’t become a better chairmaker.   The chair becomes better.”   Zen anyone?   Yikes!    How about plain old-fashioned obedience to Christ [humbleness]??   Oooooooooohhhhh [pronounced as in ‘you …….’].    Peace.

*

*

*

*

Chuck Bowden  —  “I am certain there can be no comprehension of the present without the past,  just as I am certain the past is not the past.   And there can be no comprehension of the present without all the tribes, human, animal, floral, and stones, river, and dry wash, at the table taking part in the talk.”    Wow!!

*

*

*

*

Aistheses  — Grecian to breathe in  — inspiration, a deliverance, per Stephen Buhner.     Bill Gass  –  “it is the journey to the truth which convinces the traveler that he/she has arrived.    To be dropped on the top of Mt. Everest by helicopter is not to gain the glory of the peak.”    As Emerson was Thoreau’s master, so does our so-called subconscious juxtapose meaning with reality  –   or as, Friedrich Schiller put it —  “the intellect has withdrawn its watchers from the gates, and the ideas rush in pell-mell, and only then does [the mystery of the metaphysical] review & inspect the multitude.”    Or, as Michale Quane intones,  “[shift] like from gas to liquid  — a conversion of untetherable thought into footprint evidence of its being.”    As Buhner says of Goethe. the urpflanze/archetype in the imaginal world.   Poesis — shaping the imaginal into form.  

*

*

*

*

As Guy Deutscher says, it’s too easy to exaggerate the importance of logical reasoning in our lives.   The myth of analytic thinking overcomes us.    How many daily decisions do we make on the basis of abstract deductive reasoning, compared w/those guided by gut feeling, intuition, emotions, etc.?     How often do you spend your day solving logical conundra, vs. wondering where you left your socks, or where your car is in the multi-level parking structure??    How many ads appeal to our senses via logical syllogisms, vs. those that play on colors, moods, allusions???   It’s common for linguists to claim discovery to a universal of human language — after sampling English/Italian/Hungarian — & seeing that they all agree.    Yet, the only languages which truly reveal what is natural & universal are the hosts of small tribal tongues that do things very differently from what we are used to.    Thence our race against time/exigent urge to record as many of these languages as possible before all knowledge of them is lost forever and forsaken to the dustbin of time.   

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

German National Hackfeld Inc. [literally purloined by Big 5 conglomerate AmFac WWI] was our biggest benefactor/altruist [hospitals aka Hilo Hospital/schools aka central public schools/capitalists-entrepreneurs incl. Issei immigrant Kona coffee farmers], just as Klaus Spreckles was our mega-sugar industrialist, larger than our later Big 5 combined, just as Henry Kaiser was our mega industrialist & our biggest benefactor-philanthropist post-WWII.    So the same, the contempo world of ideas is German — Immanuel Kant, G. Wilhelm Hegel,  Karl Marx, Rudolf Clausius, Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Planck, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein, Max Weber, and two world wars.    So today Gregor Mendel of genes paves the way in behavior.   Ideas don’t hit home everywhere and everytime like Marxism [Lenin/Stalin/Mao/WWII — Max Planck-Albert Einstein/Cold War/9-11 & Middle East & Israel where it is].    On top of Marx’ papers on monopolies/globalization/inequality/political corruption, are that economics-geography are the driving forces of human development-progression-regression/at least w/our environment  — capitalism destroys as it creates.    Because of Freud we have a therapeutic society, inward bound as Thomas Mann would say [though Lapierre & Lasch say that Freud brought about our narcissist society today].    Of course, Nietsche’s “God is Dead” rings loudly as Stephen Hawking says the same thing in 2011 AD.   So Weber says that we live in a purposeless world, & our only way out is to make it meaningful via inward attitude, though Weber was ethnocentricly biased toward the Western World as our savior, without considering fellow German Viktor Frankl’s greatest idealogy of the Will to Meaning, about proper personal attitude, thence falling into the same template malaise as Nietzsche & acolyte Adler.    Frankl does not gaudy up attitude to Geothe’s bildung [inwardness — higher being].   Of course, Hitler perverted German excellence into German xenophobia amid its loss in WWI.    Thence the fall of German renaissance superiority.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

In Western Oceania, vs. parts Eastern, until the early 1870s [140 yrs. ago] change only came later but more rapidly once it did  — Solomon Island societies esp. the most inaccessible areas, only had contact w/Westerners when the indentured labor trade gained a foothold  — yet Melanesian expatriatism would be truncated a century ago via the end of indentured servitutde.   W/annexation in the 1840s/1850s via Holland/Britain/France acquisition of west Papua/New Zealand/Tahiti/Marquesas/New Caledonia, w/Fiji ceded to Britain 1874, eastern New Guinea divided b/n Germany & Britain 1884, Rapa Nui annexed by Chile 1888, Cook Islands coming under British rule 1888, parts of Solomon Islands becoming British protectorate 1893, Hawai’i occupied by U.S. 1893-annexed 1898, Samoan Islands partitioned b/n Germany & U.S. 1899, Anglo-French confluence over New Hebrides, later Vanuatu, in 1906, Tonga reformed as constitutional monarchy 1875 & retained sovereignty though w/n British sphere of influence  –   counterintuitive, but islanders across the great Pacific previously were engaged in elaborate systems of trade w/close neighbors & more distant partners, resulting in diplomacy & commerce a la Hawai’i  — voyaging & trade were second nature to our Pacific Islanders.    The experience of empire was not a unique European project but innate to our Islanders — appropriation of lands/command of labor/violent killings-genocide.   Colonialism on a smaller scale than European conquest of our Islanders.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Robert Reich says that a pendulum underlies the American political economy.   We swing from eras in which the benefits of economic growth are concentrated in fewer hands to those in which gains are more broadly shared, and then back again.   We are approaching the end of one such cycle and the start of the next.   The Great Prosperity of 1947 to 1975 was followed by three decades of retrenchment, ending in the Great Recession and Fall of Wall St. in September 2008.    The question is whether the pendulum swings back w/reforms which widen the circle of prosperity, or with demagoguery which turns America away from the rest of the world, shrinks the economy, and sets Americans against one another.    Reich bets on resilience/common sense/optimism for the common lot.   We cannot thrive in a nation divided b/n a small number of people receiving an ever larger share of the nation’s income & wealth, and everyone else receiving a declining share.    The lopsidedness not only diminishes economic growth but teats apart our people.    The most fortunate among us depend on a stable economic/political system.   Such stability rests on the public’s trust that our system operates in the interest of all of us.    Reform is the only sensible option we have, per Reich.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Contrary to popular opinion, lower class taverns 3 centuries ago were the 1st racially integrated public facilities in America, not to mention sexually liberated w/female tavern owners [genteel men sites banned non-rich whites/women].   “Animal passions” ergo hormonal liberties presaged our American revolution as well as our Civil War.    ”Amalgamation” [mixed breed progeny] nearly won the White House but for VP Richard Johnson’s [under President Martin Van Buren] refusal to deny the “monstrous rumor” about his mullatto mistress w/whom he had 2 children.   Never mind Strom Thurmond’s collossal hypocrisy in the last century.    Drunken workers created our weekend, prostitutes started women’s lib [long before proper lady Gloria Steinem]  & gave us birth control w/their “barbaric savages” [unassimilated immigrants],  just as liberated drag queens engaged in redemptive suffering to give us Gay Liberation.    Sainted Madiba [tribal reverence] Nelson Mandela’s immense legacies are exemplified in the context of his natural nature/character — “I came out mature” is Mandela’s epiphany after 27 yrs. in prison [age 44 to 71], & this senior citizen went on to defy that aging is a death sentence.    President Obama’s “propeller heads”  economic team  of treasury looters Summers/Geithner et al get upended by today’s Lincoln Steffens Gonzo Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Steffens    I didn’t know that Irish teague is derogatory, in that we have Irish Teague ohana here.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taig

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Michelangelo arguably is the greatest artist in history [Leonardo da Vinci among the greatest of Renaissance painters, w/a delicate mien].   For me, Keoni & Lukini Andrew born 1942/1943 are tremendous applicators of our Christ creed.   Just the same, we need to be prescient in Afghanistan — stop spending billions on neo-colonialism, and instead transition to a tough advisor corps, leaving the Afghans to fight their own battles.   The Taliban fear the ferocity of our soldiers, as our “Grunts’ Homer(s)” [combat correspondents] plainly depict time and again.   Of course, America’s sanctioned but illicit violence in foreign politics and state affairs link w/our long-standing involvement in global drug trafficking, ergo Thailand 60 yrs. ago/Laos/Vietnam/Italy/Mexico/Nigeria/Venezuela/Colombia/Peru/Chile/Panama/Honduras/Turkey/Pakistan, & now Afghanistan, which has increased, not curtailed, the global drug trade.  Natural resources such as oil drove our link w/third world dictators Mobuto in Zaire/Noriega in Panama/Pinochet in Chile/Marcos in P.I./Suharto in Indonesia/Zia in Pakistan/Park Chung Hee in South Korea.   The Bank of Credit and Commerce International [BCCI] was focal to our CIA’s ties w/Pakistan & the Afghan mujahideen.   Parasites Adnan Khashoggi/Marc Rich/Bruce Rappaport lurk behind.  After all, as Rich Holbrooke intoned, drugs sustain jihadi salafism much more surely than jihadi salafism sustains drugs.

*

*

*

*

*

*

Israel’s nuclear arsenal is its big stick vs. enemies near & afar   –

The 5 large world powers are the U.S./European Union incl. Israel/Russia/China/India, all nuclear armed.   Israel’s clout is its nuclear arsenal, even w/out U.S. support,

heaven forbid in traditonalists’ eyes.   Egypt never amped its nuclear program because a nuclear war b/n Egypt & Israel is unthinkable.   Even if Egypt falls to Islamic

extremists, these wingnuts would be lunatic to fight Israel’s nuclear arsenal esp. since today’s Egypt limits Hamas’ Gaza Strip.   Jordan is in sync w/Israel in keeping the Palestinians in their proper place, so to speak, & in making sure that Syria doesn’t again invade Jordan, as it did in 1970.    If, with Syria, surrendering the Golan Heights ensures peace, then so

be it, provided that matters of borders/water/security w/demilitarized zones-early warning stations can be resolved.    No question, the stock market goes up sharply when peace

is ensured, although w/Israel’s nuclear arsenal, peace is not a solution for loss of Israeli security.    Saudi Arabia is about oil, not destroying Israel, Lebanon & today’s decimated

Iraq are not major problems vs. Israel [though Iraq once was a major problem], nor is Iran.   Since Sharon took Israel out of the Gaza Strip, the 2.5 million West Bank

Palestinians don’t jeopardize Israel, though if they do Israel will drive them back across the border as it did in 1948.      Israel should disband the hamlets & withdraw to a line

as close as possible to the pre-1967 border.   Israel today cannot thrive as long as a sovereign Palestinian people remain captive to Israel.   A wall so high even birds cannot

fly over it and missiles cannot breach it, is a pipedream for Israeli nationalists.   But it is critical to keep some kind of Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, ergo Wailing Wall.  The hope of every Israeli parent that one’s child need not wear a uniform & serve in the IDF is long coming, & still a far-off ideal.    Even militarist Netanyahu born 1949 with all of his military

history — should not inhibit original thought.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Donald Trump is our conceited 3-time bankrupt sycophant/rastignac.   Donald can’t hold a candle to Mitt Romney, financially or otherwise. Donald’s boasted wealth is way over his actual net worth.   Donald’s holdings are private, and his purported wealth is his deepest secret.   Transparency is not in Trump’s vocabulary.    Trump is everything we repulse at — overpride/jealousy/greed/anger-intemperance.   Trump still has a chance to be a Parable incarnate [Parable of the Harvest, as a nailed to the floor servant of Christ], but unlikely at this point.

*

*

*

*
*
*
*
*
*

*

*

https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2012/02/28/contrarian-opinions-provide-the-richness-of-diversity/

*

Glamor & danger are attractions of marijuana smoking as long as personal use of it is illegal   –

*

We can always change the channel, but people arguing passionately are more entertaining than solemn folks speaking in measured tones about Very Important Issues. Conflict and spectacle sell (see WWE and its distant ancestor, the Colosseum). The attraction is tied to our sporting spirit and the lure of the contest.

*

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/civility-is-golden/2012/02/17/gIQAAZQhKR_story.html

*

*

*

*

It’s phenomenal that homophobia [vs. gays] is diminishing, but marijuana-phobia still is virulent.     Flashovers are law enforcement special interest self-perpetuation and pharmaceutical lobby/cartel vs. marijuana entrepreneurs.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Two celebrated painters — poised/composed Degas said to impetuous/trenchant Whistler – “Why do you act like a man with no talent? Why do you embarass yourself like this??”

*

The elixir to peace and joy for Whistler could be found in one word — love, as in “The Pilgrim’s Progress — in Words of One Syllable” –

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_Aikin#Works_attributed_to_her_as_Mary_Godolphin

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Eastern religion is about release from suffering,  Christianity is about release from sin, & Islam is about release from self-centeredness [obedience to Allah].    Eastern thought:  End suffering, find relief or peace.   Christian thought:  End sin,  find salvation.   Islam thought:   End selfish pride, find acceptance of and obedience to Allah.   Eastern process:  Eventual metamorphosis away from earthly misery via reincarnation/cyclical existences.    Western [Christian/Islam] process:    One-time shot at salvation/obedience  — linearity from mortal birth to mortal death.

*

*

*

*

*

*

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil  –

*

The more abstract the truth you want to teach, the more your must seduce the senses to it.

*

*

Martin Bojowald  –

*

The philosopher’s stone melts away in the Big Bounce/loop quantum cosmology  — what counts as certain knowledge may, upon further examination, turn out to be in need of correction.   Evaluating the results or promises of science must always takes into account its limits.   Often, such limits are even more important than establishing results, for they show the way to new insights.  

*

*

Nietzsche –

*

No time on earth exists  [relativity of space and time  — space-time transformers — Big Bounce]

*

*

Xenophanes of Kolophon, Fragment  –

*

Effortlessly swings he the world, by his knowing and willing alone [general relativity  — space and time unbound] .

*

*

Mirabeau  –

*

Beware of asking for more time  — no ill fate ever grants it  [limits of space and time  — the end of a theory — for space/time themselves change]

*

*

Louis Bourdaloue –

*

There is nothing more precious than time, for this is the price of eternity [time has no beginning, nor end, via Big Bounce ].

*

*

Goethe –

*

There one being, a tiny wretch, so happy smallest bite to catch.   Thus one is growing patch by patch, and practices to play a grander match [our infinite and timeless Universe/Big Bounce].

*

*

Heraclitus, “The Dark”  –

*

Nature tends to hide herself.

*

*

Oscar Wilde  –

*

We fought with the Megadae who are born old, and grow younger and younger every year, and die when they are little children  [time is a constant — there is no beginning, no end, per Big Bounce].

*

*

Bojowald  — Ganesha, one intact tusk [perfection], one broken tusk [chaos  – deconstruction]  — Heraclitus [merger of duality as monism personified] — or as Bojowald says, perfection/chaos, emblematic of the combination of perfection & chaos in the real world  — though loop quantum cosmology/Big Bounce are not perfect, nor are they chaotic — though fearless tyrants roost, the rest are a bunch of anarchists anyway whose chaos balance out the perfection-tril [high notes] of tyrants.  

*

*

Atheist’s witty argot is that in this/our fleeting life without supernatural consequences, there will be no hell to pay.    Only missed opportunities.  And then you die.   Query “what it’s all been for?” per proponent Jesse Bering.  It’s a non-question/false riddle.   “And that’s the truth — I swear to God,” per Bering.   :-)

*

*

*

*

*

*

In the 1920s and 1930s the founders of  quantum mechanics split into realist and anti-realist camps.   Realists like Einstein came up with a mental picture of what objective reality is, while anti-realists like Einstein’s thorn Niels Bohr came up with a picture of chaos and contradictions.  Time has shown Bohr to be right  — the holographic idea of where you see the image — that is, of one’s perspective — is true  — that hard evidence is empirical/experiment science  –  but no such “reality” contends vs. the holograph perspective  — so in Bohr’s tradition, we need to dispense with the word “reality.”   “Reproducible” correctly is more about the limited process of science.  The multi-verse fad rests on our Tinkertoy String theory, but this is because so-called scientists don’t have the imagination to be random and chaotic, which comprise the nature of our universe or multi-verse, if you wish.   As with a falling object beneath the event horizon of a Black Hole reaching the center of the Black Hole & getting destroyed at the center/Singularity.    From the vantage point of an external observer, the falling object is incinerated at the event horizon.  Don’t try to think of things happening inside the horizon and things happening outside the horizon.   They’re redundant descriptions of the same thing — per the complementarity principle, they’re both valid  — meaning that we have to give up the notion of a trickle of information being in just one place.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Chinese immigrants to Hawai’i changed the course of world history because ideas wanderlusts like Sun Yat Sen proved that democracy is the best antidote to repressive regimes.   Founder of Modern China Sun Yat Sen brought back to Asia the seeds of democracy which flourish today, even in Sun Yat Sen’s China.    Of course, the impact of our American expeditionary force in 1898 was the flourish of democracy in the Philippines/Malay region via Spain’s assassination of Asia’s great martyr, Philippine Spanish colonial reformer Dr. Jose Mercado Rizal, whose death spawned sovereignty/independence movements in Asia.   2011  marked the centennial of the American push for the Philippine Autonomy Act.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philippine_Autonomy_Act#CITEREFKramer2006

*

Two Christmas annuals ago marked the centennial of the modern government of China founded/led by Sun Yat Sen.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Yat-sen#Transformation_into_a_revolutionary

*

Erudite/cogent Chou En Lai was a keen observer of America’s  nearly 200 yr. “experiment” with democracy

via our greatest historymaker Rev. Hung Wai Ching 1905-2002, who formed the WWII all-Japanese American

100th Batt./442nd combat units, whose exploits triggered President Truman’s racial integration of the military

in 1948 and former Japanese internment bigot Earl Warren’s unanimous Supreme Court decision integrating

America’s public schools in 1954, not to mention Hung Wai’s WWII Texas Lost Batt. friend LBJ’s Civil Rights

Act  of 1964, and Japan’s trust in American restoration of Japan autonomy post-WWII.    Of course, Hung Wai’s

wanderlust seafarer impoverished Southern China immigrant dad exulted in the adventures of outpost explorers

like our American expeditionary force of 1898.

*

*

*

*

*

*

Ever since our species appeared on Earth, human beings have gathered around a fire to fulfill our most fundamental need  — companionship  –  as we reaffirm kinship/tribal bonds/recount experiences/share insights/ponder the unanswerable  — who are we?  Our creation stories and origin myths consume our fireside queries generation after generation.   Elders have been the repository of experience/knowledge/wisdom  — about our origins/purpose/destiny.   David [for King David] Takayoshi [filial piety — respect for elders] Suzuki [Bellwood in English — the biggest clan in Japan]  is today’s Elder.   A 3rd generation Japanese Canadian born 1936 [same age as KingLit Ching], whose both sets of grandparents [ojisans/obasans] emigrated from Japan, all born at the cusp of our Meiji era in the 1860s.   Of course, we now know that biomagnification  — the increase in concentration of a substance such as insecticide DDT as it moves up the food chain — was discovered only after birds such as hawks/eagles disappeared, such that high levels of DDT were found in the breasts and milk of women.   Economics/ecology are rooted in Grecian oikos, meaning home.   Ecology is the study of home, economics its management.   Eternalities supposedly unrelated to ecology mark our hubris today  — it is not Christ who is crucified now, it is the tree itself  — and on the buzzsaw blades of human greed and stupidity.   Our suicidal morons such as ourselves, in a world choking w/immense death/destruction, would destroy the best natural air filter/conditioner creation accords us, per John Fowles.    The hubris of science obliterates our sacred/profane — called reductionism  — examining the individual parts of nature  — yet losing all sense of the whole  — the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.    Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring book in 1962 exposed the devastating effects of pesticides like DDT  — brought about because of out utter reductionism/controlled experiments  — which did not at all mimic the whole of nature.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Suzuki#Early_life

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soft_energy_path#Implementation

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropocene#Anthropocene_marker

*

The Anthropocene began during the 1700s AD when our greenhouse gas emissions started to change the atmosphere significantly.   Fossil fuel carbons swell the pool of airborne CO faster than other processes can reduce it.   Geologists designated the last 2 epochs based on their climactic conditions  — the Pleistocene was dominated by numerous glacial coolings, and the Holocene was the latest of several shorter interglacial warm spells, the one during which the first complex human civilizations were born.   The greenhouse gas pollution of the Anthropocene will hang around long enough to cancel the next ice age, and the result is that this human-driven eopch may last an order of magnitude longer than the Holocene did.  We who live in this 21st cetnury will do the most to determine its duration.     Thus, the Anthropocene or this Age of Humans is the apt epochal name  — this Age of Humans is the product/environmental backdrop/geological trademark of our species, per Curt Stager.

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runaway_climate_change#Current_risk

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_global_warming#Abrupt_climate_change

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_descent  [carbon crisis]

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Backdropped by society’s opinion, the unsympathetic/unsavory/unpopular, the criminals/communists, the atheists/agitators, and more than one pornographer [Miller’s community standards]  — all have been maligned by our U.S. Supreme Court.   And yet our robed justices condone violence ergo video games/barbaric bloodlust.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/us/28scotus.html

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Half a century ago we predicted a revolution in energy w/flying cars, jet packs, domed underwater cities, & robots.   What we got instead was a revolution in information.  As Jim Kakalios says,  implicit in the promise of jet packs & death rays are lightweight power supplies capable of storing large amounts of energy.   But the ability of batteries to act as reservoirs of electrical energy is limited by the chemical and electrical properties of atoms  — we can’t change the nature of atoms.   But information technology requires only a medium/conduit to preserve ideas and intelligence to interpret them.     Information storage also can endure for thousands of years via the semiconductors like the transistor and the diode.   If energy storage increased exponentially like information storage, then a battery which could hold its charge for only a single hour in 1970 can last for more than a century today.   Not so.   A couple of hours at the most.  Energy storage can’t change the nature of the atom.    Quantum mechanics on how atoms interact with light revolutionized the field of solid-state physics ergo MRI imaging/laptop computer/cell phone/DVD/laser printer/etc.

*

*

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Bounce#Recent_developments_in_the_theory

*

Recent developments in the Big Bounce [vs. Big Bang] theory

Martin Bojowald, an assistant professor of physics at Pennsylvania State University, published a study in July 2007 detailing work somewhat related to loop quantum gravity that claimed to mathematically solve the time before the Big Bang, which would give new weight to the oscillatory universe and Big Bounce theories.

One of the main problems with the Big Bang theory is that at the moment of the Big Bang, there is a singularity of zero volume and infinite energy. This is normally interpreted as the end of the physics as we know it; in this case, of the theory of general relativity. This is why one expects quantum effects to become important and avoid the singularity.

However, research in loop quantum cosmology purported to show that a previously existing universe collapsed, not to the point of singularity, but to a point before that where the quantum effects of gravity become so strongly repulsive that the universe rebounds back out, forming a new branch. Throughout this collapse and bounce, the evolution is unitary.

Bojowald also claims that some properties of the universe that collapsed to form ours can also be determined. Some properties of the prior universe are not determinable however due to some kind of uncertainty principle.

This work is still in its early stages and very speculative. Some extensions by further scientists have been published in Physical Review Letters.

Peter Lynds has recently put forward a new cosmology model in which time is cyclic. In his theory our Universe will eventually stop expanding and then contract. Before becoming a singularity, as one would expect from Hawking’s black hole theory, the Universe would bounce. Lynds claims that a singularity would violate the second law of thermodynamics and this stops the Universe from being bounded by singularities. The Big Crunch would be avoided with a new Big Bang. Lynds suggests the exact history of the Universe would be repeated in each cycle in an eternal recurrence. Some critics argue that while the Universe may be cyclic, the histories would all be variants.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_recurrence#Modern_cosmology

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_recurrence#Friedrich_Nietzsche

*

To comprehend eternal recurrence in Nietzsche’s thought, and not merely to come to peace with it but to embrace it, requires amor fati, “love of fate”:

My formula for human greatness is amor fati: that one wants to have nothing different, not forward, not backward, not in all eternity. Not merely to bear the necessary, still less to conceal it–all idealism is mendaciousness before the necessary–but to love it.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amor_fati

*

Amor fati is a Latin phrase loosely translating to “love of fate” or “love of one’s fate.”  It is used to describe an attitude in which one sees everything that happens in one’s life, including suffering and loss, as good. Moreover, it is characterized by an acceptance of the events or situations that occur in one’s life.

*

*

Pre-Socratic Greece had cyclic concepts — Socratic linear cosmogony [genesis of universe] manifested via later science — thence linear Christianity w/encouragement of innovation [only one shot at mortal life, so to speak].  Cyclic worldview tends toward fatalism [cyclic progress does not reward special efforts] — thence Nietzsche’s amor fati  — embrace the infinity of life’s cycles for their inherent reward as growth in one’s own holiness a la Asian beliefs.

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sa%E1%B9%83s%C4%81ra#Cycle_of_rebirth

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sa%E1%B9%83s%C4%81ra#Etymology_and_origin

*

Caste system in heaven as well as on earth, thence, the pre- and contempo Hindu elite bought lock/stock/barrel the caste concept  — the elite had a short cut to heaven.

*

Buddha rejected the Hindu caste system & transformed the unwashed/unclean of society into an egalitarian force to be reckoned with.

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanishads#Criticism_of_the_Upanishads

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reincarnation#Conceptual_definitions

*

Philosophical and religious beliefs regarding the existence or non-existence of an unchanging ‘self‘ have a direct bearing on how reincarnation is viewed within a given tradition. The Buddha lived at a time of great philosophical creativity in India when many conceptions of the nature of life and death were proposed. Some were materialist, holding that there was no existence and that the self is annihilated upon death. Others believed in a form of cyclic existence, where a being is born, lives, dies and then is re-born, but in the context of a type of determinism or fatalism in which karma played no role. Others were “eternalists,” postulating an eternally existent self or soul comparable to that in Judaic monotheism: the ātman survives death and reincarnates as another living being, based on its karmic inheritance. This is the idea that has become dominant (with certain modifications) in modern Hinduism.

The Buddhist concept of reincarnation differs from others in that there is no eternal “soul,” “spirit” or “self” but only a “stream of consciousness” that links life with life. The actual process of change from one life to the next is called punarbhava (Sanskrit) or punabbhava (Pāli), literally “becoming again,” or more briefly bhava, “becoming,” and some English-speaking Buddhists prefer the term “rebirth” or “re-becoming” to render this term as they take “reincarnation” to imply a fixed entity that is reborn.

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moksha#Origins

*

In Indian religions, moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष mokṣa) or mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति), literally “release” (both from a root muc “to let loose, let go”), is the liberation from samsara and the concomitant suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and reincarnation.

*

Origins

It is highly probable that the concept of moksha was first developed in India by non-Aryan people outside of the caste system whose spiritual ideas greatly influenced later Indian religious thought. Buddhism and Jainism are continuations of this tradition, and the early Upanishadic movement was influenced by it. Reincarnation was likely adopted from this religious culture by Brahmin orthodoxy. Brahmins wrote the earliest recorded scriptures containing these ideas in the early Upanishads.

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirvana#Nirv.C4.81.E1.B9.87a_in_Buddhism

*

Nirvāṇa (Sanskrit: निर्वाण; Pali: निब्बान (nibbāna); Prakrit: णिव्वाण) is a central concept in Indian religions. In Sramanic thought, it is the state of being free from suffering. In Hindu philosophy, it is the union with the Supreme being through moksha. The word literally means “blowing out”— referring in the Buddhist context, to the blowing out of the fires of greed, hatred, and delusion.

*

The Buddha described nirvāna as the perfect peace of the state of mind that is free from craving, anger, and other afflicting states (kilesas). This peace is achieved when the existing volitional formations which have been firmly established in the course of countless incarnations (as the bases for worldly activity) are pacified and the conditions for the production of new ones eradicated. In nirvāṇa the deeply set roots of craving (Pali: tanha, raga, lobha) and aversion (Pali: dosa) – dispositions of the mind/brain apparatus considered in Buddhism the cause of human suffering (dukkha – the first noble truth according to the Buddha) – have been dissolved and uprooted. These underlying dispositions furthermore are the basis for the process of repeated incarnation so their uprooting means that one is no longer subject to further rebirth in samsāra. In the Dhammapada, the Buddha says of nirvāna that it is “the highest happiness,” an enduring, transcendental happiness qualitatively different from the limited, transitory happiness derived from impermanent things.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

When President Clinton balanced the budget, bankers needed to find borrowers like Government-Sponsored Enterprises GSEs [Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac], who then borrowed some $5 trillion which ignited the real estate bubble.  When GSEs came under investigation for lax lending practicies, Clinton/Fed Bd. Chair Alan Greenspan allowed our biggest banks like Goldman Sachs/Bank of America/Citigroup to take over for what GSEs did — thence mortgage brokers like Countrywide loaned money to ninja [no income, no job or asset] borrowers in the most depressed neighborhoods  — these borrowers could not afford these mortgages  — packaged as subprime mortgages/assets [MBS — Mortgage Backed Securities][CDOs — Collateralized Debt Obligations] aka derivatives of subprime debt bundled as prime.   These worthless paper/opala were sold as false assets to other banks/pension funds/investors all over the world.   With capital gains via increases in home value, everyone spent like “no tomorrow,”  whilst Greenspan/Bernanke/Rob Rubin/Summers/Geithner/Paulson basked in this false sense of security.    Surely enough, the real estate market began to tumble as subprime borrowers were unable to pay their mortgages.   Thus began our global banking crisis ignited thru investment banks/worthless paper pushers.   Europe [incl. Ireland/Greece/Spain] also crashed but for Germany’s solvency.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Russia invades former USSR  orbiter Georgia.   Bush tells Putin cheek to cheek at the Beijing Olympics that Georgia’s Saakashvili is hot-blooded, and that Putin should accept this.   Putin fires back to Bush,  “I’m hot-blooded too!”   Bush stares back at Putin,  “No, you’re cold-blooded.”   Putin & Bush never really moved past the Cold War.   Just as Egypt’s Mubarek cracked down on dissidents in 2006, as did Venezuela’s Chavez/Nicaragua/Bolivia/Equador/Belarus/Burma/Cuba/Sudan.    On the other hand, Georgia/Ukraine/Kosovo/Colombia/India/Indonesia/Brazil/Chile turned toward democracy.   A fundamental problem in the Middle East is the lack of freedom in the Palestinian territories.   With no sovereignty, Palestine lacks its rightful place in the world.   With no voice in their future, extremists move forward.   With no legitimately elected Palestinian leaders to fight terrorism, Israel has no reliable partner for peace.   The solution is a democratic Palestinian first nation, led by legitimately elected officials who reject terror and pursue peace with Israel.

*

*

*

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/08/science/08fukuyama.html

*

*

*

*

*
*
*

*

*

*

Red China has bought up much oil reserves incl. Canadian/Australian, & Iran is Red China’s major oil supplier.   Red China in effect has bought Taiwan.    In the next 30 yrs., the combined GDP [gross domestic product  — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_domestic_product] of the emerging seven nations of Brazil/Red China/India/Indonesia/Mexico/Turkey/Russia will far surpass the G7 of U.S./UK/Japan/Germany/Italy/Canada/France.  Especially Red China holds so much U.S. currency & debt, & controls much of the natural resources which the U.S. requires, that the U.S. is beholden to Red China, not the other way around.   Three phases of emerging market investments [incl. foreign sovereign wealth funds  — SWF  —  /gov’t cabals  — the so-called shadow market] over the past 3 decades consist of  1)  1980s to 1990s — cheap manufactured exports ergo Red China’s Asian Tigers along w/those of Indonesia/Malaysia/Thailand/S. Korea/Taiwan [Thailand’s GDP was the fastest-growing]  — overinvestment flooded Asia w/capital, which resulted in a bubble which burst by 1999;      2)    2000-2009  investments in commodities/raw materials as the demand spiked for agriculture/energy/infrastructure materials   — the biggest beneficiaries were the oil producers of the Mideast and backward nations like Brazil which have plentiful resources & miniscule indebtedness;    3)    today’s third phase is on domestic demand for products as in China/India/Brazil w/large populations w/strong consumer demographics-cultures, unlike Russia’s sole petroleum product w/an aging-weak consumer base.     China’s negative/minus is an aging population, India’s negative/minus is its small tax base which thwarts national investments in the economy.    Shadow market nations are racing to improve their food-security risks by buying large swaths of farmland in other nations, & risking starvation of other nations’ local residents/population.   Saudi Arabia has a farm the size of Connecticut in Indonesia, and Korean Daewoo Inc. controls half the arable land in Madagascar.     The shadow market cabals/gov’t capitalists are on their way to control over $20 trillion in assets, a sum greater than the gross domestic product of the U.S.

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-sufficiency

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misery_index_(economics)

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/China_GDP

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sovereign_wealth_fund#Concerns_about_SWFs

*

Concerns about SWFs

There are several reasons why the growth of sovereign wealth funds is attracting close attention.

  • As this asset pool continues to expand in size and importance, so does its potential impact on various asset markets.
  • Some countries worry that foreign investment by SWFs raises national security concerns because the purpose of the investment might be to secure control of strategically important industries for political rather than financial gain.  These concerns have led the EU to reconsider whether to allow its members to use “golden shares” to block certain foreign acquisitions.  This strategy has largely been excluded as a viable option by the EU, for fear it would give rise to a resurgence in international protectionism. In the U.S., these concerns are addressed by the Exon–Florio Amendment to the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, Pub. L. No. 100-418, § 5021, 102 Stat. 1107, 1426 (codified as amended at 50 U.S.C. app. § 2170 (2000)), as administered by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
  • Their inadequate transparency is a concern for investors and regulators. For example, size and source of funds, investment goals, internal checks and balances, disclosure of relationships and holdings in private equity funds. Many of these concerns have been addressed by the IMF and its Santiago Principles, which set out common standards regarding transparency, independence and governance.
  • SWFs are not nearly as homogeneous as central banks or public pension funds. However they do have a number of interesting and unique characteristics in common. These make them a distinct and potentially valuable tool for achieving certain public policy and macroeconomic goals.
  • *
  • *
  • *

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oljefondet

*

Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global ergo Petroleum Fund/Oljefondet & its leader Yngve Slyngstad are the good guys who do the right thing [transparency/shareholder rights/board accountability/child labor/water management/climate change] per Santiago Principles over sovereign wealth funds/investment practices which are fair/encourage free flow of trade/ESG — environmental-social-corporate governance issues a la Warren Beatty’s-Julie Christie’s movie “Heaven Can Wait” over 3 decades ago.    When Norway’s Petroleum Fund sold its $6 million stake in Israel’s Elbit Systems which supplies surveillance equipment for the barrier separating the West Bank from the rest of Israel, to express Norway’s disapproval of Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, Norway used the power of its capital [Norway’s $437 billion sovereign wealth fund is the 2nd largest sovereign wealth fund — SWF  — in the world after the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority — Norway’s fund owns 1% of all shares of stock available for sale on the planet] to make a responsible political statement, albeit wading into complex geopolitical disputes.

*

*

*

*

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/issues/issues30/index.htm

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_market#Currency

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agorism#Views_on_capitalism

*

http://www.asecu.gr/Seeje/issue06/katsios.pdf   the shadow economy and corruption in Greece

*

Russia’s shadow economy 16% of GDP

http://en.rian.ru/business/20110401/163321504.html

*

dimensions of the shadow economy

http://www.independent.org/pdf/tir/tir_05_1_schneider.pdf

*

*

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_financial_system#Perspectives

*

Perspectives

There are three primary approaches to viewing and understanding the global financial system.

The liberal view holds that the exchange of currencies should be determined not by state institutions but instead individual players at a market level. This view has been labelled as the Washington Consensus. This view is challenged by a social democratic front which advocates the tempering of market mechanisms, and instituting economic safeguards in an attempt to ensure financial stability and redistribution. Examples include slowing down the rate of financial transactions, or enforcing regulations on the behaviour of private firms. Outside of this contention of authority and the individual, neoMarxists are highly critical of the modern financial system in that it promotes inequality between state players, particularly holding the view that the political North abuse the financial system to exercise control of developing countries’ economies.

*

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G20#Norwegian_perspective

*

Norwegian perspective

In an interview with Der Spiegel,  Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre called the G-20 “one of the greatest setbacks since World War II.” Although Norway is the largest contributor to development programs in the World Bank and United Nations, it is not a member of the E.U. and thus not represented in the G-20 even indirectly.  Norway, like the other 170 nations not among the G-20, has little or no voice within the group. Støre characterized the G-20 as a “self-appointment group”, arguing that it undermines the legitimacy of organizations set up in the aftermath of World War II, organizations like the IMF, World Bank and United Nations:

The G-20 is a self-appointed group. Its composition is determined by the major countries and powers. It may be more representative than the G-7 or the G-8, in which only the richest countries are represented, but it is still arbitrary. We no longer live in the 19th century, a time when the major powers met and redrew the map of the world. No one needs a new Congress of Vienna.

*

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_governance#Governance_of_the_economy_and_of_globalization

*

Governance of the economy and of globalization

The 2008 financial crisis exploded, once again, the myth that the all-powerful free-market forces will correct all serious financial malfunctioning on their own, as well as belief in the presumed independence of the economy. Lacking in transparency and far from democratic, international financial institutions have proven incapable of handling the market’s critical breakdown.

Free-market economy is incapable of meeting the population’s needs on its own. Without regulation and without consideration of social and environmental externalities, free-market capitalism turns into an uncontrollable machine that produces more and more wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands, leading the global community into a head-on collision with disaster and chaos. Its capacity to produce is not in doubt: the problem is absence of redistribution, which is the result of absence of political and citizen will to change the rules of the game.

Nonetheless, the debate on the failings of the system has begun to turn in the academic world into solution seeking, which is a step in the right direction. According to Tubiana and Severino, “refocusing the doctrine of international cooperation on the concept of public goods offers the possibility . . . of breaking the deadlock in international negotiations on development, with the perception of shared interests breathing new life into an international solidarity that is running out of steam.”

Stiglitz, on his part, argues that a number of global public goods should be produced and supplied to the populations, but they are not, and a number of global externalities should be taken into consideration, but they are not. On the other hand, he contends, the international stage is often used to find solutions to completely unrelated problems under the protection of opacity and secrecy, which would be impossible in a national democratic framework.

On the subject of international trade, Susan George states that “. . . in a rational world, it would be possible to construct a trading system serving the needs of people in both North and South. . . . Under such a system, crushing third world debt and the devastating structural adjustment policies applied by the World Bank and the IMF would have been unthinkable, although the system would not have abolished capitalism.”

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Polisci pundits Jacob S. Hacker/Paul Pierson say that our Capitol Hill/White House spineless leaders’ winner take all politics made the rich richer, & turned their backs on our Middle Class/Silent Majority/Mainstream America  — not foreign trade/global finance  — during Jimmy Carter’s era de-regulation undid the fair distribution of economic rewards — along w/tax cuts for the wealthiest — which continued under Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush Jr., & now Obama.   25 yrs. before FDR described political equality as “meaningless in the face of economic inequality,”  FDR’s cousin Teddy Roosevelt pronounced that “the supreme political task of our day is to drive out the special interests from our public life.”   For all the contradictions of progressive talk by Clinton/Obama,  reformers of a century ago shared the convictions held by our Founders of democracy nearly  240 yrs. ago that democracy was the rule of many, not the all-powerful elite/fortunate few on Wall St.

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

The great George Lehleitner, who got Statehood for Hawai’i   –

*

http://www.alaska.edu/creatingalaska/constitutional-convention/pictures/delegates-confer-with-geo/

*

http://www.oralhistory.hawaii.edu/pages/historical/statehd.html

*

But if one were to really single out any one person that got statehood for Hawai‘i, albeit a circuitous route via Alaska, it was George Lehleitner born 1905.  And he, in my book, he’s the true hero.” —Daniel Tuttle [historian]

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Class consciousness underlies ethnic/sectarian conflicts.   Class as divisive  –       

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Importance_of_Being_Earnest#As_a_satire_of_society

*

As a satire of society

The play repeatedly mocks Victorian mores and social customs, marriage and the pursuit of love in particular.  In Victorian times earnestness was considered to be the over-riding societal value, originating in religious attempts to reform the lower classes, it spread to the upper ones too throughout the century. The play’s very title, with its mocking paradox [serious people are so because they do not see trivial comedies] introduces the theme, it continues in the drawing room discussion, “Yes, but you must be serious about it. I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them” says Algernon in Act 1; allusions are quick and from multiple angles. Wilde embodied society’s rules and rituals artfully into Lady Bracknell: minute attention to the details of her style created a comic effect of assertion by restraint.  In contrast to her encyclopaedic knowledge of the social distinctions of London’s street names, Jack’s obscure parentage is subtly evoked. He defends himself against her “A handbag?” with the clarification, “The Brighton Line.”  At the time, Victoria Station consisted of two separate but adjacent terminal stations sharing the same name. To the east was the ramshackle LC&D Railway, on the west the up-market LB&SCR—the Brighton Line, which went to Worthing, the fashionable, expensive town the gentleman who found baby Jack was travelling to at the time [and after which Jack was named].

Wilde managed both to engage with and to mock the genre. The men follow traditional matrimonial rites, but the foibles they excuse are ridiculous, and the farce is built on an absurd confusion of a book and a baby. In turn, both Gwendolen and Cecily have the ideal of marrying a man named Ernest, a popular and respected name at the time, and they indignantly declare that they have been deceived when they find out the men’s real names. When Jack apologizes to Gwendolen during his marriage proposal it is for not being wicked:

JACK: Gwendolen, it is a terrible thing for a man to find out suddenly that all his life he has been speaking nothing but the truth. Can you forgive me? GWENDOLEN: I can. For I feel that you are sure to change.

*

*

*

*

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_each_according_to_his_ability,_to_each_according_to_his_need#Debates_on_the_idea  [utopian communism]

*

Marx delineated the specific conditions under which such a creed would be applicable—a society where technology and social organization had substantially eliminated the need for physical labor in the production of things, where “labor has become not only a means of life but life’s prime want.”     Marx explained his belief that, in such a society, each person would be motivated to work for the good of society despite the absence of a social mechanism compelling them to work, because work would have become a pleasurable and creative activity.   Marx intended the initial part of his slogan, “from each according to his ability” to suggest not merely that each person should work as hard as they can, but that each person should best develop their particular talents.

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inverse_commons  [analog of communism]

*

In the inverse commons,  the opposite results of the law of the commons [oversaturation/eventual extinction of resource by overpopulation, etc.]  effect are witnessed. That is, individuals contributingknowledge and content for the good of the community rather than extracting resources for their own personal gain.   Examples of this are free and open source software and Wikipedia. This phenomenon is linked to “viral” effects and increases in prominence as individuals contribute altruistically and for social gain.

*

The inverse commons outcome is likely when the cost of the contribution is much less than its value over time.   Information has this property.   For example, it costs very little for a Wikipedia contributor to enter knowledge from their experience into Wikipedia’s servers, and very little for Wikipedia to serve that information over and over again to readers, generating great value over time.   Unlike the pasture of a physical commons, information isn’t degraded much by use. Thus the value of Wikipedia increases over time, attracting more readers some of whom become contributors, forming a virtuous cycle [opposite of a vicious circle].

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_mass_(sociodynamics)#Fax_machine_example

*

*

*

*

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_each_according_to_his_contribution#Elaboration_in_Gotha  [socialism]

*

The principle has its roots in the way that capitalism manages its affairs.   That is, each is rewarded according to how much he produces.   Remuneration increases as the amount of labor contributed increases.    However within capitalism, the means of production are owned by a small minority who does not produce, but rather lives off the labor of others.   Socialism is said to remedy this by putting the means of production in common hands and rewarding individuals according to their contributions.   Chronology –   land [feudalism]  to goods [capitalism] to collective means of production/information  [socialism] to collective exponential benefits [communism].      Margaret Thatcher’s “every man for himself” capitalism/avarice  –   http://www.latimes.com/news/la-fg-britain-thatcher-20120114,0,6755885.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews+%28L.A.+Times+-+Top+News%29

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s