THE MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO RULE MINDS IS BY SIMPLIFYING THEM.
Abstract: The Open Mind, has driven the evolution of topmost civilizations. As Pericles said in his Funeral Oration:”Our city is open to the world… We are the school of Hellas…” Pericles talked of Athens as an open school, and society. But he emphasized that its strength came from making Athenian minds as open, and richer, minds: “our ordinary citizens, though occupied with the pursuits of industry, are still fair judges of public matters.”
Rousseau pointed out that, everywhere one looked, man was in chains. OK, it may be less true now, but we are going back there. Fast. And the real question is: why do the subjugated people love it?
How come? Minds are brainwashed, and imprinted in simplified forms where core human wants, like curiosity, are reduced to pathetic forms, such as fascination for celebrities. (That is why the kings of France wore extravagant, hyper expensive clothing, for more than a millennium; not just because they could, but because that gave the rabble something to dream of!)
The general drive for simplifying minds is a deliberate strategy, well engaged in the Roman empire by the year 300CE (so pre-Christian; Christianity was an afterthought). I call it Intellectual Fascism.
Intellectual Fascism is a neglected concept. It is the opposite of the Open Mind. The Open Mind is the core of progressive civilization, whereas Intellectual Fascism is the ultimate strategy of repressive plutocracy.
Intellectual fascism is a form of fascism specific to human beings. It is the higher, more subtle, form of political fascism, itself an expression of group fighting as one, a trick many social species have evolved. Even wasps do it, when they swarm and attack. Intellectual fascism gathers the People tight around a few ideas, again with a combative aim.
Superstitious religions are a typical example of Intellectual Fascism. God(s) have answer to everything, and the answer is always the same: God(s) Great, the shameful incantation of the subjugated. More generally, Intellectual Fascism views individual reason, the capacity of individuals to think for themselves, as the enemy, and always looks for some reason to subjugate it.
In modern times, the idiocy of submitting ancient ‘gods‘ has become much less popular, because our civilization requires more brains. Thus a new startegy to subjugate reason had to be found, by the enemies of free minds, those who Pluto fascinates.
Thus intellectual fascists have come to pretend that democracy is the ultimate reason for reason. In its most hypocritical version, intellectual fascism pretends that all ideas, or even reason itself, ought to emanate from the People (which, of course, has leaders, so it is truly these leaders who determine what reason is). Whereas the truth is that it is the other way around
Verily, reason is the ultimate reason for reason. Reason is how what is veiled becomes defined in its full glory. Reason is the unveiler of truth. Democracy, well done, is just a mean to better reason.
Reason emerges from truth. The best civilizations know this evidence, and act accordingly.
WHEN FOOLS PRETEND TO THINK, SO THAT THEY CAN DOMINATE:
Before WWII, the young philosopher Paul Nizan, a friend of Sartre, published “Les Chiens de Garde” (“The Watchdogs“). He argued that many famous intellectuals and philosophers just enforced the established order. An example was Bergson, a Nobel Prize winner.
Initially a communist, Nizan broke up with Stalinism, especially when he loudly condemned the alliance between Stalin and Hitler. He was thereafter reviled by the French Communist Party. That explains why he is not well known.
Nizan was killed in combat on May 23, 1940, at Dunkirk (the heroic delaying battle by the French army which gave enough days for the one and only entire British army to escape Hitler’s army).
A lot of the present world economic crisis has to do with the intellectual analysis of the situation not being up to snuff. The watchdogs have barked up the wrong trees, as they are supposed to. Often deliberately so. Ex PM Blair of Britain goes around, heaping spite on “Occupy Wall Street” and the outraged. Nobel Krugman told us that Greece would be better, off, ruined by abandoning its currency, and switching to monkey money (OK, recently Krugman changed his tune, it seems, but much damage has been done).
Main Stream Media (and that includes websites set up by the plutocracy such as the “Huffington Post”, or by the CIA and the like, such as the “Daily Kos”) reinforce points of view typical of pure intellectual fascism. Here is a spectacular example, straight out of the New York Times.
More than once in the NYT, Michael Lynch, professor of philosophy (University of Connecticut, Northern Institute of Philosophy, University of Aberdeen), author of the forthcoming “In Praise of Reason,” “True to Life” (2004) and “Truth as One and Many” (2009), was allowed to claim authoritatively, as a “philosopher“, in various editorials that:
“our faith in reason, as it were — is not blind. It is an expression of our commitment to democracy itself.”
Sounds good, but it is full of lethal venom. Watch the subliminal message. Because we are committed, we reason? To think we need to be crazy? Next Professor Lynch will probably claim that reason was invented by “liberal democracy” aka Wall Street. After all, Fukuyama (RAND, Stanford) did that before him, and was revered for it.
Seriously, the operative core of the doctrine of Hitler and company was exactly this principle. Hitler made clear statements to that effect, up to a small modification: “our faith in reason, as it were — is not blind. It is an expression of our commitment to National Socialism itself.”
One has to know, to appreciate the parallel fully, that the top Nazis argued, half jokingly, that Nazism was a “total democracy“.
Nazism was all about the rule of the mob, when civilians broke the law massively: see the Kristallnacht. This sort of tradition, to make the social contract the primary causative agent of the human mind, and of what is right, or wrong, goes back to Locke, Kant, Rousseau, and Herder. In the case of the latter three, it clearly led to murderous, racist fascism, straight as the arrow flies. Even an idiot such as Eichmann pointed that out, waiting calmly for his rope in Jerusalem.
Eichmann argued that he did not hate Jews. He was just doing his job, and did it well, as the (German) People had asked him to. He paid the Jewish girl who taught him Yiddish. His best friend was a Jew, he tried his best to save him from Auschwitz, even asking Himmler to intervene.
Eichmann claimed that he did what Germans had been told was the good: follow common interest and the will of the (German) people to determine what reason was. That is the core of Kant’s doctrine, Eichmann pointed out. And was not Kant an absolute good?
In the modern USA the argument was duplicated by Rawls, for justice (so Lynch borrows from Rawls who borrows from the usual suspects).
Rawls has a theory of “Justice As Fairness“. That is not supposed to mean explicitly that only people with a fair complexion gets justice. But maybe that is the subliminal message. Indeed, it might as well, because it rests, basically on mob justice (as in Kant, Rousseau and Herder).
Indeed that is what a critical inspection of Rawl’s “two principles of Justice-as-Fairness” reveal. The second principle admits social inequalities, and justify them by social justice (JF, pages 42-43). What Rawls forget is that everybody, even Hitler, agreed with “his” principles. So they are far from just, and his contrived argumentation leaves him in the neighborhood of the Reichstag, 1930s version.
The time honored characteristic of justice, instead is justice as balancing the facts to find the truth out of reason alone (and not from appearances).
The devil is within what is true, or not. Cognition primes even volition. This is what happens to those who make incantations about “If God wants it, Insha Allah, Deo Volente”. They have been imprinted upon subjecting what they want to what they know.
There is nochoice. Any human being has to do this. That is why Cognition Primes Volition.
SOCIAL CONTRACT AS THE MIND IS THE ESSENCE OF FASCISM:
Believing that the social contract is the end-all, be-all, is more than a mistake to those who trust in reason. But, of course, the primacy of the mob has been the main argument of intellectual fascism: reason ought to be submitted to the madness of crowds (themselves manipulated by their own fascist leader(s)).
The submission of reason to collective passion is a denial of the essence of man, which is wisdom. And that comes from the independent mind. To subject reason to the rule, or approval of the mob, or to the rule of the people, is not reasonable in the fullness of civilization. Because civilization, and human progress, rest on truth, not feel-good-as-a-mob.
Verily, I think, because I independent.
WHY WOULD PSEUDO PHILOSOPHERS NOT KNOW WHAT A LEOPARD KNOWS?
A snow leopard reasonably thinking does not ‘commit to democracy’. She tries to do the right thing, such as habituating the prey to little noises from the particular direction where she is crouching, by pushing little stones, just so.
The antelopes she is hunting then come to believe that some melting or crumbling process of non animal origin is creating the sound, in that particular direction, and pays no more attention to little noises from there. Thus, when the leopard will sneak and dash, she may gain the two seconds which will allow her to kill. The leopard gets to eat, and survive. Thanks to her theory of other creatures’ minds.
For the leopard, and not just the leopard, truth is in the kill. The leopard has faith in reason. No democratic process is involved. Only truth.
Pseudo philosophers do not teach people how to think better, but how to think worse. They are paid for that, and that is why Main Stream Media (NYT, WSJ, Murdoch, Huffington, etc) advertize them, loud and clear. That is also why the truth about the economic crisis is not brought to the fore.
Verily, among the characteristic of Pluto is invisibility. A confused mind cannot see well, because one sees mostly through the mind. A deliberately confused mind is a marvellous thing to ride. Ask any potentate.
TRUTH IS ABSOLUTE:
Indeed, there is such a thing as truth. Simply because there is something as the universe. The one and only. Not everything is relative, or false. Newtonian mechanics is still true, same as ever was, in its domain of application. Same for ancient Ptolemaic optics, or Archimedes principle, or Pythagoras theorem. All true, just as on day one. In their context (or “universe” to use semantics from logics). If one throws a two kilogram stone on some opponent’s head, it is still most injurious, a million years later. That is what it is, it is the truth.
Truth, ultimately, is just what is. Nothing could be clearer. If it is, it’s true, if it is not, it’s not true.
OK, Martin Heidegger could not have understood that one, that ground for evidence, because all he wanted, deep down inside, was Nazism to be of the essence, but he could not say it, so he went around in circles, looking for the “ground”. Truths provide with grounds. Nazism, though, was, fundamentally a masochistic denial of reality, thus truth. So Heidegger could not find any ground that he could boast about.
To get to unobvious truth, reason(s) may have to be found. Truth rarely stand naked in all its glory on a denuded plain.
Faith in well known reasons reinforces reason, that faith is necessary to make reason all it can be.
Well established science in general, and mathematics, in particular, are reservoirs of well known reasons.
Mathematics consist in two pieces:
1) axioms, which depict some reasons we believe are crucial, or just interesting to believe in.
2) theorems, which are unobvious truths derived from axioms, which are unveiled through complex reasons.
The derivation of theorems itself uses other axioms, such as the Principle of Induction, which we have faith in (I gave a strong reason to believe the PI actually fails in my essay Largest Number, a modest full upside down of all of mathematics and logics that I apologize profusely for).
To believe in the Principle of Induction is an act of faith (all the more now that I gave a reason not to believe in it!), which, itself had been proven true by countless usage. What do we mean by this? Theorems proven by using the Principle of Induction have led to observable phenomena (such as jet engines purring) which were true and true according to predictions.
Did I just contradict myself? No. For all practical purposes we know nowadays, infinity exists. So the PI is true within its present context.
Democracy is most useful, because it allows debate, and debate helps in finding the truth, by putting many minds in parallel. So democracy creates reasons mechanically.
WHEN DEMOCRACY IS IN THE WAY OF REASON:
In the case of the ephemerally proposed Greek referendum, the reasons given for the decision to conduct a referendum on the exact nature of a rescue plan were clearly abysmal: people cannot judge upon such arcane financial technicalities. The Greek people was at 60% against the rescue plan. And that only for a bad reason: European inspectors are cracking down on amazing tax cheating in Greece.
Problem: in spite of the fact I want revolution now, I must admit, one must admit, that there is no immediate alternative to the rescue plan. It has the immense advantage to implement what I advocated for a long time, the immediate cancellation of 50% of the Greek debt, by the plutocrats themselves.
Moreover, if France and Germany don’t give oodles of money to Greece, right away, it will default uncontrollably, causing instantaneously a drop of per capita wealth in Greece of 50% and soon enough, 70%, with no way out. Instead France and Germany are trying to keep on going with the present orderly default (the Greek state has differed payments of some bills since 2010). The Greeks know that France and Germany will not make huge sacrifices for no good reason whatsoever.
Thus Merkel and Sarkozy correctly ordered instead that the referendum be on a non technical, but deeper question: do you Greeks want to be in the Euro zone or not?
The answer to that one was known too: the Greeks are, by and large, very favorable to the euro. It has made them rich in more ways than one, be it only through subsidies. So not only they were then asked about whether something they liked should keep on happening, but also whether they would like not to drown.
So this was a case where a democratic consultation was not going to help.
Have all the truths been revealed in connection with the debt situation? Clearly not. And that, the People should try to start thinking about it.
How come the Greek debt, which is something like 120% of GDP, is supposed to explode to 200% of GDP, after a full year of a strict austerity program? It does not compute. Nobody explains that one. What kind of Dark Twist enables that sinister trick?
That is exactly what the watchdogs don’t want to talk about. So they will distract you with other things. I will dissect that fascinating riddle, crux of the problem, in another complex essay.
Let’s just say that both the problem, and its solution, are not localized to a few countries, such as Greece. They are global.
As far as the watchdogs of the established (plutocratic) order are concerned, the G20 at Cannes, distracted by the Greek crisis, was a great success: nothing was done about a Financial Transaction Tax. Britain, hypocritically, keeps on opposing it (they already have one, called the “Stamp Tax”, but on stocks only, not on the much more crucial derivatives; stocks are for vulgar investors, derivatives are for full blown plutocrats).
The USA is of course against a FTT as transacting the world into oblivion has become the last, and greatest, expression of American plutocratic power.
Let’s also say that transacting away is how countries are brought to their knees by the world’s richest men.
The U.S. department of energy just announced that CO2 emissions, worldwide, jumped up by 6% between 2009 and 2010. The emission due to coal burning jumped by 8%. more than half the increase is due to China and the USA (the same plutocratic mega organization: maximize coal burning, maximize profits for the richest of the rich).
This is an important failure of reason: we are puffing away towards a disaster which will make WWII seem like an anecdote. And it’s not just the reigning leaders who are at fault.
Ecologists puffing away obsessively against nuclear energy are also at fault: they make the bed of coal, and the results are blatant (I am not defending present reactors, which are dangerous, and ought to be phased out; but coal burning is not just dangerous, but guaranteed to be lethal on the largest scale). Nuclear, with its energetic intensity 100,000 more than anything else, is the only alternative to coal.
Let’s vituperate against fracking too: the USA is getting dangerously dependent upon fracking for natural gas. Let’s frack! Greedy bullies scream. Who needs water, when one can breathe gas and drink oil?
A well is not fracked once, but many times. Dozens of times. One can suspect that the process will lead to migration of the strong and nasty chemical agents fracking uses, over a few hundred meters in a few decades, polluting the water table. All the more since the concrete lining the wells will decay. The long term effects on the water table don’t look good, with a pretty high probability. If it turns out that there is a problem, it will be energetically disastrous.
That is why France outlawed the technique (although the country has large reserves of shell gas). More modern, less dangerous techniques may be available in the future.
In the false debates about energy, one can see the failure of informed reason versus the reason of the mob. The mob does not like the word “nuclear” because of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Chernobyl, and Fukushima.
Better to breathe mercury vapor from coal plants, and eat mercury laden fish, because it gnaws at the brain, source of all our troubles.
TO SINK NOT, THINK SOME:
Another question, related to the meaning of reason, is whether animals are machines programmed by genes. This selfish gene theory was suggested by Hamilton. It is erroneous, or, let’s say, deeply misleading.
Living organisms are programmed by genes, true. But even much more so by the environment. And the more sophisticated organisms are, the more programmed by the environment they are. This is made obvious by the fact that sophisticated species have often fewer genes than grossly inferior, mindless species. Genes are just subtle keys which allow to unlock a development which, in turn, gets programmed interactively by the environment. This, I claim, will be true even at the level of the ten million insect species (and indeed hints that wasps have emotions have come to the experimental fore recently; emotions partly come from the environment).
The environment is not digital, as genes are. Instead, like Quantum physics, the environment is continuously differentiable, and completely adaptive. No wonder: the environment itself is an outgrow of Quantum physics. To describe either, our full mathematical and logical panoply, from C* algebras, to quantum logic, while larger than any human can muster, is not enough.
There is no physics but the Quantum, and Muhammad is not its prophet. By this I mean that truth is not determined by social agreement, whatever Rawls, Lynch, Herder, and billions of Judeo-Christo-Islamists think.
Reason is a capability that evolved to allow organisms to make models of the environment. It is intimately related to minds which can create baby universes. Those models answer questions not just about what is, but also about what could-be, IF. Thus the organism can judge which universes are available, and which one, among them all, it prefers, and select for it.
Notice that the multiverse thus exists. But it’s all in our heads. And we are the ones determining which, among these possibilities, is going to be the universe, looking forward.
If we tried to do this with fully determined classical minds, it would be impossible. But we do it with Quantum minds, which escape local determinism, through non locality. That’s how reason gets entangled with freedom.