SYSTEMS OF MOOD ARE CRUCIALLY ENTANGLED WITH IDEAS:
MOODS COME BEFORE IDEAS:
The philosopher Foucault became professor at the most prestigious Collège de France in 1970 as a “Historian of Systems of Thought“. That was an admission, by the power that be, that there are such things as Systems of Thought, and that they are most important. I don’t know if Foucault did that much of a good job (I find his analysis of the Franks extensive but rather superficial, and worst, rather conventional; but, at least Foucault had the merit to think that the founders of the West were worth studying).
The idea the Collège de France had, of studying Systems of Thought, is crucial. (By the way the CdF was founded in 1530 CE, all its lectures are free, and the professors the foremost world experts.) All comes from there. Even the hardest sciences.
Just as one studies arithmetic, or organic chemistry, one could, or should study any system of thought, from fly fishing to Islam. They have lots in common.
Foucault’s “genealogy of knowledge“, was similar to Nietzsche‘s “genealogy of morals“. A colleague of Foucault was Maurice Merleau-Ponty. His phrase: “No preconceived notions, but the idea of free thought” is burned in golden letters above the main hall of the building of Collège de France. But is free thinking an idea, or a mood?
Ideas are central to logic, but what do they do? They connect notions, that’s all what logic is, and that’s the job of axons in the brain, basically. Yet, the axonal network is only part and parcel of the brain.
In a related effort at understanding, David Hume held that reason alone cannot move us to action. Action come from passion. Reason alone is merely the “slave of the passions,” i.e., reason pursues abstract and causal relations solely in order to achieve passions’ goals and that reason provides no impulse of its own. (Treatise Of Human Nature.)
My opinion is more extreme. Just as in Quantum Physics, particle and wave are entangled concepts, logic and passion are also entangled in Brain Physics, at any single moment, or during each other’s blossoming.
Not only are moods involved in thinking, but moods have to be attributed to entities involved in logic, for conceiving better what is going on. If nothing else, I observed this with top mathematicians and physicists, who I had the good fortune to observe in their natural environment for quite a while.
These creators view themselves as the most rational people in the world, but they are pretty much dominated by passions, not just as a motivations, but also as a way, the way, of thinking. When addressing terms in equations, Fields medal level mathematicians will talk about, “these guys”. Top mathematicians need to make mathematics into an anthropological milieu, with mathematical terms running around in their heads like little beings, with moods of their own… I would even venture to say that it is this animation of mathematics that makes the top mathematicians: they are at the zoo, herding terms from equations.
Modern brain imagery and studies show that neurons and neuroglia are entangled deeply together. Clearly neurons embody logical connections, and glias partake in entangled emotional support. Both make (their won, but entangled) networks.
The mood behind Damasio’s Somatic Markers Hypothesis, and similar work, supports all this. Damasio pointed out that Descartes made an error by concentrating just on logic, and forgetting emotions in the scaffolding of logic. But I go much further, be it only because I point out that, on (meta)logical grounds alone, emotion, and only emotion, can provide logics with the universes they need to exist.
Thus we need to dig deeper. To study thought, we need to study the passions, which often come as culturally imprinted Systems Of Mood.
AMERICAN ROBOTS DREAM OF FINANCIAL SHEEP; USA WEALTH ADMIRATION MOOD:
Systems of mood are all over civilization. For centuries, Christians and Muslims screamed:”God Is Great!” Often while slicing each other up. They were both expressing, and reinforcing, a mood. A large part of this mood was apparently that slicing each other up, was the best of all possible worlds. (A more careful consideration shows that the most enthusiastic God Is Great screamers were part of military aristocracies which profited handsomely from the political systems that God Is Great served so well… Thus God/Allah was part of a mutually reinforcing triangle of oppression)
When Obama became president, he arrived with the mood that financiers were most admirable: his “friend” Jamie Dimon, he much “admired for his gigantic portfolio, which he [Obama] could certainly not manage“. It’s not just that Obama wants apparently a lucrative job of consultant at JP Morgan. It’s worse than that: he is sincere.
Dimon was born and raised a financial plutocrat, third generation (at least). Dimon made his most important financial investment in a plot with the central bank of the USA, which was so famous, among banksters, that it got its own name, the “Jamie deal” (buying Bear-Stearns for peanuts, thanks to his always so generous friends, Ms and Mr. American Taxpayers!)
Obama is still deep in his mood of admiring Lord Dimon.
On May 15, 2012, episode of ABC’s The View, Obama responded to JPMorgan Chase’s recent $5 billion (or is it 9 billions?) trading losses by defending Dimon against allegations of irresponsibility, saying, “first of all, JP Morgan is one of the best managed banks there is. Jamie Dimon, the head of it, is one of the smartest bankers we’ve got”.
Notice the imparted mood: Dimon is not just the “first of all“, but “we” all own Dimon as a sort of national treasure… Dimon got the treasury, the Fed, and apparently the president, by the balls (if any), but Dimon “we’ve got”! He is ours! Lucky us: we owned Dimon all along, we just did not notice. Dimon is our man, he works for us. Soon we will dreaming we sleep in the 17 rooms mansion he had in Chicago …It reminds me of the song of the Temptations: “Just my imagination![running away from me]“…
Well, “best managed” is not the “first of all” of Dimon. On the face of it, very few banks, worldwide, have been as badly managed as JP Morgan. How many banks, worldwide, may have got maybe 100 billion of subsidies from taxpayers? Very few. Out of 8,000 USA banks, or so, nearly none needed taxpayer help. Same in Europe with more than another 10,000 banks. And certainly at most a handful of banks, worldwide got help on the scale of JP Morgan (OK, Dimon, a screamer, screamed that he did not need the help; watch what they do, not what they scream about).
Obama should, please try to get out of his bankster admiration mood. Dimon is using taxpayer money. That’s the “first of all“, about Dimon, for those who approach the situation with the right mood, the objective mood.
Let’s Paul Krugman say it. Dimon is “the point man in Wall Street’s fight to delay, water down and/or repeal financial reform. He has been particularly vocal in his opposition to the so-called Volcker Rule, which would prevent banks with government-guaranteed deposits from engaging in “proprietary trading”, basically speculating with depositors’ money. Just trust us, the JPMorgan chief has in effect been saying; everything’s under control. Apparently not.”
The key point, notes Krugman, “is not that the bet[s] went bad; it is that institutions playing a key role in the financial system have no business making such bets, least of all when those institutions are backed by taxpayer guarantees”.
And, a fortiori, when those plutocrats’ heavens use taxpayer money directly, which is exactly what expanding the “monetary base” or “quantitative easing” amounts to. (Krugman did not mention these, because he is partial to them… He has to. But he knows…)
Someone like Obama is desperately into the mood of believing Warren Buffet is his father, or something like that. Dreams of his father.
Yes, fathers are important, in the plutocratic universe: Dimon got a gold plated career from the start; his father, a stockbroker, executive VP at American Express helped… Although the fact that Obama’s father was at Harvard, also helped him, no doubt, Harvard having instituted the prerogative of inheritance as part of its global reach of plotting pseudo intellectuals.
I documented in “Sage of Obama” Obama’s mood of embarrassing adulation of riches. That deep desire to confuse financial wealth and wisdom, shared by all too many Americans (millions of whom partake in calling Buffet, a miserable financial conspirator, who, in a just world, would be the object of a warrant of arrest from Interpol, the “Sage of Omaha“).
In Mexico, by the same token, we have Carlos Slim, plutocrat, son of plutocrat, and made much richer, as all real plutocrats, by being serviced by the state. Slim bought Telmex, Telecommunication Mexico, from the state, for not much, allowing him now to control now 90% of telecoms there, while charging some of the highest rates in the world. A conspiracy theorist may believe that happened because many politicians and bureaucrats got paid under the table. That is why conspiracy theorists are the enemies of philanthropists.
Indeed, there again, the only reason Slim is not in jail is that the mood has been carefully sown that he is a “philanthropist“, and that such titans can only be admired (and they could never have conspired to buy Telmex because, just because, we told you, everybody knows, that conspiracy theorists are crazy.)
Obama tasted of wealth enough when he was a child, to want much more. Something about having four in-house servants… That put him in the mood of respecting wealth. A mood that became much more extensive in the USA after Ronald Reagan was elected king.
Being a prisoner of such a mood of adulation of the richest, one could not expect Obama to prosecute banksters with the vigor presidents Reagan and Bush Senior had shown with the Saving & Loans conspiracy.
Contrarily to its ill repute of being cool and remote, science is completely entangled with systems of mood. Examples are found in fundamental physics (Big Bang, Foundations Quantum). reciprocally, science can be brought to bear on Systems of Mood. OGMs and the attitude relative to nuclear energy are two obvious examples.
THE NEOLITHIC OUGHT TO BE FELT AS THE REIGN OF GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS:
A tale of two moods. Some are going around, hysterically decrying GMOs, feeling very progressive (the headquarters of the anti-GMO agitation being France, although that may change now that the Socialists are in power). I personally think that any GMO that could potentially, and plausibly, gravely threaten the environment should be outlawed. That’s a good mood to have, indeed.
And yet, another, even better mood to have, is to realize that, without GMOs we would still be in a pre-Neolithic state. And that Earth could carry, optimistically, only a few million people (and they would be eating each other a lot).
Indeed nearly all we eat, plants, nuts, fruits, animals, are Genetically Modified Organisms. So we should feel gratified to enjoy GMOs. (The most correct and deepest mood in that arena of thought.)
Considering that civilization would never have appeared without GMOs, a meta-mood ought to be called upon: to be against GMOs is uncivilized.
So in connection with GMOs, three moods are justified:
1) Potentially dangerous GMOs ought to be outlawed. (Caution!)
2) No GMOs, no civilization. (Gratitude!)
3) Throwing all and any GMOs out with rage is inhuman, the royal road to total destruction. (Defiance Against Chimps On A Rampage!)
FUNDAMENTAL MOOD BEHIND SCIENCE: OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!
Science has been distinctively unpopular under tyrants. Examples abound: Imperial Rome, which was crafty enough to cover its anti-intellectual mien with extravagant generosity to philosophers obsequious to the plutocratic system. The Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, Stalin, Hitler, were also great enemies of science…
Science and technologies are often the butt of fierce moods. Some people have written to me of their hatred for the LHC at CERN (which just discovered the Higgs field). Some even identified CERN (a French acronym) with Hitler’s weapon programs, in the vain hope to ruffle me in the wall street Journal comments.
I will explain in a future essay that the mood against nuclear energy is actually a mood that contradicts the reality that our planet is life giving because Earth is the largest fission nuclear reactor in the universe we know of.
Once this fact gets to be well known and understood by the world’s masses, no doubt the mood about nuclear energy will change, from revulsion to adoration. Nuclear energy! Our savior! Our creator! Our shield! Our continent churner! Our CO2 storage device!
Why so much hatred against new knowledge? Because new ideas threaten the established order, which is, first of all, a mental order. The mood that what we know leaves much to be desired, is intrinsically threatening to all and any established authority. If we know more than the authority why is it not us the authority? If we do not ask this question, the authorities certainly will, thus suspect and dislike us.
STRANGE MOODS EVERYWHERE, ONE, OR MORE, PER TRIBE:
The Big Bang is another mood. Never has so much rested on so little. It just, feels good. Just like Genesis. Same mood, Fiat Lux.
As far as I am concerned, established observations are compatible with a 100 billion years old universe. (Not 13.7 billions! They get to 13.7 billion by macerating the data with a special Big Bang sauce) But of course, the mood among the Very Serious Scientists is that, if you say such a thing, you are ignorant. The VSS are not known for condescending to be fully honest with the public.
Never mind that Big Bang theory necessitates the Inflationary Universe, zillions of new universes everywhere, all the time. On the face of it, that’s the most insane idea, ever. Well, if you think so, you are just not in the right mood, and we know of no conference nor seminar you will ever be invited to. VSS are not in the mood to talk to you.
Once I gave a seminar (at Stanford) on Black Holes (in a joint math-physics seminar), and I explained that the theory crucially depended up hypothetical Quantum effects, that I made explicit, and which were usually ignored. Thus the logic had unexamined bifurcations, and the standard Black Hole theory could not be viewed as conclusive. A (future) Fields Medal accused me of “meditation“. He was in the mood of embracing only what it was fashionable to embrace (sure it helped him to get the Fields Medal).
The Big Bang has a great advantage: precisely because it rests on a great mystery (universes out of nothing, everywhere!) that deep revelation is impenetrable to the masses, and thus unites, and empowers the priesthood.
Along similar lines, the Nicean version of Christianism insisted that 1 = 3 (the mystery of the “Trinity”, justly derided by Arians, Copts, and, later, Muslims).
The more absurd the belief, the more mysterious, the more distinguishing, unifying and empowering to the oligarchy that holds it. Such is the mystification mood.
And I do say such a thing, because I lived in many cultures, and I have seen many, where dozens of millions of people are very much into the mood of deliberately believing into something stupid. They are in the mood of imposing upon themselves a crazy mood.
Simply because distinctively outrageous moods define, enforce and encourage an even more rewarding mood, the tribal mood. Tribes made humanity possible. They made the many into a super organism. The tribal instinct is tied to deep psychobiology to make it not just irresistible, but something to crave for.
This why there are these insane moods supporting the local sport team (whatever sport, whatever team, whatever locale it is).
The tribal mood is why the British view themselves as living in democracy, while refusing to live in republic, or with a written constitution, and call “Glorious Revolution“, the ignominious invasion that gave rise to the present rather plutocratic regime. Britain: not a thing public (res publica), but public rule (demokratia)? There again we find the mood of the absurdity that binds.
On a less quaint note, an Israeli commission of eminent jurists suggested to validate all West Bank settlements, even the wildest, and less authorized. In other words, the ancient Israeli jurists are trying their best to make Israel hated worldwide. Why? Because hatred is a mood that reinforces the tribe. Moods within moods.
MORE NUCLEAR MOODS:
General Electric and Hitachi have applied for a licence to make a Uranium laser enrichment plant, a new technique that would allow to make nuclear bombs cheaper and more discreetly. There was great anxiety about releasing the details. An expert pointed out in the journal Nature, though that the main secret was already out: namely that Uranium laser enrichment worked. The details are less important than the mood: it can be done.
Similarly, in World War Two, the top Nazi physicists were not in the mood of believing that one could make nuclear bombs, so they did not push for such a program. Whereas the French war Ministry was sure, as early as January 1938, in great part because of (Nobel laureate) Irene Joliot-Curie’s fierce temperament, that a nuclear bomb could be made.
Similarly, Japanese scientists conveyed to their fascist government the mood that nuclear bombs were possible, and the Japanese military started no less than three different nuclear bomb programs, in an effort to nuke before being nuked.
And of course, in the USA, Einstein wrote to president FDR, in the summer 1940, conveying his certainty that a bomb could be made (now that the French nuclear scientists had escaped to England). After the war, Churchill, suspecting French nuclear scientists were commies, eager to tell all to Stalin, wanted to jail them all (another funny mood; instead the PM was defeated in elections). In truth, French intellectuals, led, once again by Irene Joliot-Curie, confirmed to their dismay that, after all, Stalin was just another fascist, and were not in the mood of collaborating in any further bomb program, now that the Nazis had been defeated. The French military cooperated with Israeli scientists instead, to develop bombs. Israelis, for some reason, were in the mood…
THOROUGH THOUGHTFULNESS STARTS WITH HONEST MOODS:
Some will say: “Wait a minute! are you not regressing? Did not Socrates say that the correct way of thinking was by piling up little reasonings such as: ‘Socrates Is A Man, All Men Are Mortal, Therefore Socrates Is Mortal’?
All I can say is that I have seen lions hunting, and their reasonings, on the fly, were much more clever than that. (The antelopes were pretty smart too.) This sort of reasonings a la Socrates were amusements. A 2 year old can understand them (I enjoy a two year old). The obsessions with these infantile reasoning covered up the truth. Athens’ truth. The truth of the plutocratic friends Socrates lived from, as Rousseau would later live off rich women.
The truth was that Socrates was a man, because he was not a slave. That was the real mood of Athens, and, to be obsessive about: [(a>b>c)>(a>c)] was just a way to change the conversation, from the mature, to the infantile.
Fundamentally a contradiction of moods stabbed through the heart all of Athens’ logical systems, just as it would with the Roman republic later, with the same result: collapse. Athens’ principal mood, the mood of the rule of a free people resting upon the mood enforcing the massive enslavement of others, for no good reason, but happenstance, was itself a happenstance waiting for no good.
Everybody is dominated by moods, but nobody with contradictory moods goes very far. And the same holds for societies. No logic in the world will change that. Why? Because logic always needs a universe in which to unfold. And that is provided by moods (the Incompleteness Theorems in metamathematics say nothing else).
Those who want to think better will work on their moods first. It’s harder than to work on ideas. Philosophers will view any, all packaged, already prepared mood, with even more suspicion than an unexamined idea. The unexamined mood is not worth having. Yes, I always lived that way. Early on in life, I acquired the mood of respecting, somewhat, but not trusting, at all, the naïve way the natives felt about their perception of their universe.