Religion, tribalism, Extermination

October 15, 2014

Ce sont des Mots Qui Vont Tres Bien Ensemble

This is a follow-up on the essay I wrote on the debauch of demons in Christo-Islamism. One of the reasons for which I do not like novels much, is that the human psychology therein represented is all too often a caricature, something all too simple. Why so trite? Because a novelist wants to sell books. Those who are successful, that is the most read, are most read precisely because they are familiar, and flattering, to the masses.

The Politically Correct (PC) is not just most followed, it’s what sells (and reciprocally). Nietzsche sold only a few hundred books when he was conscious.

A real philosopher does not caress, but stings the masses. Nietzsche sold books only after several famous intellectuals sang his praises.

I had a most curious upbringing, mostly, but not exclusively, in Africa. Although (it turned out) in “Muslim” lands, I was unaware of Islam. I grew up under the vast umbrella of what is called “Sufi” Islam.

In some ways that “Sufi” Islam was more secular and progressive than secularism in, say, Europe. (“Sufi” is a label which covers many completely different religions; yet they all tend to be less sexist: Kurdish females have been dying as soldiers in combat in Kobani).

Many of the religiously obsessed claim that elaborate religious rituals are innocent, because they represent a long tradition. The Jews, in particular, are prone to make this reasoning. That’s rather incongruous, after centuries of pogroms: any practice which brings lots of death to the practitioners ought to be viewed, clearly, as not innocent!

Others identify religion and civilization. For example they talk of the “Islamic” civilization. Really? As there is more than one hundred types of Shia “Islam”, does that mean there is more than a hundred Islamic civilizations?

How do the simplistic theory: Islam = Civilization… survives the war in Kobani? There, in a few miles, three versions of “Islam” are in an extermination fight: Wahhabis against Kurds against Turks. Clearly both non-Kurdish Turks, and Wahhabis want to exterminate the Kurds.

About 25% of the population of Turkey is Kurdish (but many are in hiding). That the government hates them is nothing special: in a full blown plutocracy, the 1% hate the 99% (aristocracy, in France’s old regime was 2% of the population).

I know Turks who hate Erdogan and his ilk: the ancestors of those “Turks” were Armenian (thus Christian), or Kurds (and some of the Turks I know are mixed Armenian-Kurdish). To save their children, they had to bring them up as the kind of Muslim Turks who are kosher in Ankara. So now they feel that their children are not really their children anymore. That’s the Australian method of genocide (bring up the children of Bushmen without their parents, or their culture).

Kurdistan is about 3,000 years old, and Armenia was the first Christian land. Saladin was a Kurd.

Too much respect for tradition is an error. Tradition to a great extent, is in opposition to “secular” (which means of the age). Hence tradition is a religion.

This meditation is about religion, it can only hurt those who feel it is right, it is their right, to feel very strongly about the metaphysics they believe in. But metaphysics is never innocent. After all, it’s about the foundations of minds one talks about. One can’t get more intimate than that. Or more penetrating and violating, should one get into metaphysics, that is, other people’s minds. Potentially.

Religions tie people together. (Re-ligare.) This is what religious means.

Religion does not have to have a metaphysical element. Some people practice an art or a sport, as if it were a religion. It is a religion. Many young people get tied together again by activities such as being soccer supporters… And only by them. And they seem ready to die for it.

Zen, Taoism, forms of Yoga, nationalism, tribalism, are all religious in character. After all, these bounds are often so strong, people are ready to die for them. The SS had: “Gott Mit Uns!” on their belts buckles (“God With Us”; that inspired the American Congress to follow suit and adopt a variant of that slogan for the entire USA.)

Yes, any nation worth its salt, is, to some extent, a religion.

In other words: Religions generate tribes. That’s what they do. It’s very important, because human beings are nothing, in nearly all ways, if not in a tribe. (Or then they are philosophers.) The religious instinct cannot be distinguished from the tribal instinct.

Nice tribes, or nasty tribes, that is the question. Inclusive tribes, and inclusive religions, are nice. (To conclude the “Social War”, Rome learn to become inclusive, and so are its descendant regimes.)

Religions, nations who exclude are nasty, and bring blood. Exclusivity, alienation, is always (ethologically perceived as) an aggression. That has been observed in chimpanzees.

Tribes are not just about being strong together, they are about group selection. Thus, so are religions. Deadly aggression, even war, was found to be “adaptive” in chimpanzees:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140917131816.htm

Religion is war according to the most fundamental means. The deepest ways of the minds. Maladaptive religions get exterminated: Rome and its descendant regimes annihilated all human sacrifices religions (starting with Rome’s, Carthage’s and then the Celts’).

It’s not a good sign, when a religion is full of demons (as Christianity and Wahhabi Islam are). Or when it’s so nasty, it needs a god of evil (Hades, Satan, etc.)

Another dichotomy is between rational religions, and irrational ones. That one is roughly equivalent to that between religions which are organized around superstition, and the supernatural, and those which are not.

Nasty has to do not just be about mistreating others directly, but how they lead others to react.

Often tribes get dressed in black, claiming to be somehow elected by god. Example: Catholic “men in black”, those monks of the Fourth Century destroying books and intellectuals. Jesuits followed suite (and suits!), a millennium later, and then, Orthodox Jews, themselves copied in more ways than one, by the Hugo Boss black tailored SS, etc… The alienation was deliberate: it became a hatred multiplier, and hatred was the goal.

Another way to alienate is by advertising wildly irrational beliefs, constituting a religion, defining a tribe. The more irrational, the more flaunted, the more alienating to other groups, the more it leads to hatred in reply, and the more hatred one is submitted to, the tighter the tribe that creates the alienation will be.

It’s this advanced calculus of hatred, fear and alienation which is at the root of all too many religions and their associated tribalizations.

Ever since men have roamed, religions have clashed. And the better ones have won. Time for the best, the most ethologically correct religion, the one ultimately granted by 50 million years of evolution: direct democracy.

Patrice Ayme’

Depression’s Causes: Righteousness & Viciousness

October 14, 2014

TODAY’S GREATER DEPRESSION HAS MANY DEEP CAUSES

Slowly rising consensus: in some important ways (evolution of relative GDP; employment rate; public investment; education’s relative performance), the economies of the leading countries are doing worse than during the “Great Depression” of the 1930s.

That’s why I prefer the expression “Greater Depression” to “Great Recession”.

And we have seen nothing yet: the cause of the “Greater Depression” of the 1930s was a chain of errors, which were easy to avoid.

(First a splurging in the 1920s, especially in the USA and Britain, and its unavoidable attending crash compounded by the American Senate’s arrogance that the international economy could be tweaked through tariffs, to profit only the USA, the whole thing followed by collapse of international trade and then by “liquidating everything” (as was said at the time).)

Thus, the roots of Depression of the 1930s were shallow, easy to avoid next time: avoid splurging, keep international trade going, use public money to avoid 9,000 bank failures (in the USA alone), and institute a FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation: Europe’s “Banking Union” is trying to mimic that).

There are serious problems now, much more serious than in the 1930s. Including a lack of seriousness.

Serious reasons for collapse caused the long decline of the Roman Empire, or struck shortly after 1300 CE, when entangled ecological, climate, demographic, and plutocratic crises, with an attending plague, combined to kill half of Europe, and brought five centuries of war.

Indications are that the world economy, having not really recovered from the 2008 crisis, is stumbling. Especially Europe. Population: more than 750 million (EU + Russia, etc.).

Why? Why not?

In the 1930s, the government of the USA, first under Hoover, and then much more spectacularly under Roosevelt, starting in 1933, made Herculean efforts (in public spending, and legislation). Nowadays, it’s quite the opposite.

Paul Krugman suggests that righteousness is the cause of this decline: see the obstinate Merkel, and the refusal to do away with high debt levels.

In “Revenge of the Unforgiven. How Righteousness Killed the World Economy”, Krugman observes that:”…now [world] growth is stalling, and the specter of deflation looms.

If this story sounds familiar, it should; it has played out repeatedly since 2008. As in previous episodes, the worst news is coming from Europe, but this time there is also a clear slowdown in emerging markets — and there are even warning signs in the United States, despite pretty good job growth at the moment.

Why does this keep happening? After all, the events that brought on the Great Recession — the housing bust, the banking crisis — took place a long time ago. Why can’t we escape their legacy?

The proximate answer lies in a series of policy mistakes: Austerity when economies needed stimulus, paranoia about inflation when the real risk is deflation, and so on. But why do governments keep making these mistakes? In particular, why do they keep making the same mistakes, year after year?

The answer, I’d suggest, is an excess of virtue. Righteousness is killing the world economy.”

Notice that brandishing righteousness diverts attention away from full blown viciousness (which I believe is dominant). Then Krugman presents a small fraction of the problem, affecting to believe naively that high debt is the cause of everything:

“What, after all, is our fundamental economic problem? A simplified but broadly correct account of what went wrong goes like this: In the years leading up to the Great Recession, we had an explosion of credit (mainly to the private sector). Old notions of prudence, for both lenders and borrowers, were cast aside; debt levels that would once have been considered deeply unsound became the norm.

Then the music stopped, the money stopped flowing, and everyone began trying to “deleverage,” to reduce the level of debt. For each individual, this was prudent. But my spending is your income and your spending is my income, so when everyone tries to pay down debt at the same time, you get a depressed economy.

So what can be done? Historically, the solution to high levels of debt has often involved writing off and forgiving much of that debt.”

This is a solution I have advocated since 2008. See “Reforming World Finance”, from November 2008, when I naively still hoped my friend Obama would grab the bull by the horns, as if he were courageous, or something. None of these obvious reforms was implemented, but at least now an economy Nobel was given roughly in this direction (see yesterday’s essay).

The 2011 version is: “To Save The World, Please Default (And Grab Capital From the Conniving Plutocrats)

Iceland and Greece did write-off some debt. They had no choice.

However, debt forgiveness is only part of the problem (Oh, by the way, full disclosure: I have zero debt, so if I were biased, it would be the other way!)

The nature of the old debt, and the nature of the new debt are the core problems.

Debt because housing prices are through the roof comes from lack of building. Debt because of enormous leverage by public-private banks and companies involved in financial horror to steal We The People, is still something else.

The erroneous nature of the debt has misaligned the entire economy. We live in a world where there are master sommeliers. And where millions of people are tickled pink by the idea of being waited by a master sommelier, somebody who can look through a bottle thanks to the light of a candle, he expertly lighted, to stop exactly before the deposit at the bottom gets into the clear wine.

But then there was not enough money, or interest, to invent an ebola vaccine. Civilization is drunk, Bacchus is god, and Death invited to the party.

The entire debt machinery is stuck. Banks have lent to financial conspirators for decades, and are still doing it ever more. This sort of debt ought not to exist. (Bankers have been conspiring to steal on the currency markets, the administration of the USA claims to have just discovered, hinting that this time some bankers may be prosecuted personally. Maybe. Perhaps. We will see… But that sort of outright criminal activity is different from stealing by giving money only to one’s friends and co-conspirators.) What is needed for civilization to survive, is debt that brings new high Return On Investment for We The People. That could be new tech, or new housing, new, sustainable energy sources (my eye being on thermonuclear fusion, a field where power is growing according to its own “Moore Law”, that means, exponentially; to provide clean BASE energy). Plutocracy naturally is not interested by We The People flourishing. Just the opposite: Pluto thrives on misery. That’s the part of the economy which no one very serious, and part of the oligarchy, wants to see.

Even normal people do not want to see it: it’s too depressing, and they don’t know what to do.

Moreover plutocracy is entangled with a more far-out explanation of the present economic distress: the world is getting old, as the Romans used to say. The Romans needed to transit from the old economy, to a new one. As we do. Paralyzed, mesmerized and occupied by plutocracy, the Romans could not even conceive of the notion (all the more as some zones of the empire, especially in the Orient saw their GDP climbing all the way until the barbarians invaded, archeology shows). Roman mines got exhausted, regions which used to produce lots of food became poor, Return on Investment of many activities collapsed,. there were not enough slaves, nor small farmers to support production, or the army, the economy and security organized until then by the state faltered, from too small tax revenues, and finally the middle class and local government (the “curiales”) were destroyed by taxation, while plutocrats went on a rampage, grabbing most powers. Romans had to make transitions (new tech, no more slavery, less plutocracy!) They didn’t. We are in a similar crisis. ROI is collapsing, so is the biosphere. Robots are threatening to destroy much employment all together. The notion of productive activity, thus productive debt, has to change, forgiven or not.

Krugman himself concludes that the debt crisis will not abate. He does not say why. I will: it’s not just out of mental inertia, it’s out of viciousness.

Some will say I exaggerate. Not so. Look at Italy. The government debt is around 145% of GDP, and pays more than 3% interest. So it augments at the clip of around 5.5% a year. To diminish that debt, nominal Italian GDP ought to grow at more than 5.5% a year. But guess what? Not only is Italy not growing, but Italian GDP is smaller now than 14 years ago (with a larger population).

There is only one way out: default. That is tell the plutocrats that they can forget their money, or, more exactly, treating We The People as if we were indentured servants, or serfs. I rest my case.

Patrice Ayme’

Anti-plutocratic Tirolean to Common Sense?

October 13, 2014

Is this site attributing the Nobels?

It sure looks like it: I approve strongly of three Nobels in a row. Amazing. On Friday, the Nobel was attributed to a French writer who worries a lot about Nazism, Modiano. Then there was the anti-sexist, anti-Islamist Peace Prize to Malala.

Today professor Tirole, a French economist at the public university in Toulouse, got the Nobel in economics. Mr. Tirole pondered the best regulations so that large, powerful firms in industries such as banking and communications would act in society’s interest. that’s one of my familiar themes, and I go much further.

It’s the first Nobel in economy in 10 years who is not a citizen of the USA. Are we in an increasingly terrible socio-economic situation just from that monopoly? Tirole is the most American of French economists: a “polytechnicien”, he got an economy PhD from MIT.

He is depicted as “liberal” (right wing pro-capitalist in French parlance), because he believes in share holders’ rights, and that corporations should just worry about profits. As an extreme left wing progressive nut, I, paradoxically, agree with both points.

However how do I reconcile this with what I call “governmentalism”? Well, they go hand in hand.

According to governmentalism, the main actor in economics is the government. That’s pretty much obvious and was even true on Caribbean islands ruled by pirates: pirates, too, had government, and it ruled their economy (and that’s true to this day, except the pirates use finance instead of swords).

Much of what passes today for the free market is little more than global monopolies, organized crime and deregulated madness.

Jean Tirole, defending the real owners, the shareholders, has done important work exposing executive overcompensation, what I call the CEO class, and over-greedy corporate hegemony.

Here is the introduction of Roland Bénabou and Jean Tirole’s “working” paper on the “Bonus Culture: Competitive Pay, Screening, and Multitasking”. (Executive overcompensation, etc.):

“Recent years have seen a literal explosion of pay, both in levels and in di¤erentials, at the top echelons of many occupations. Large bonuses and salaries are needed, it is typically said, to retain “talent” and “top performers” in finance, corporations, medicine, academia, as well as to incentivize them to perform to the best of their high abilities. Paradoxically, this trend has been accompanied by mounting revelations of poor actual performance, severe moral hazard and even outright fraud in those same sectors. Oftentimes these behaviors impose negative spillovers on the rest of society (e.g., bank bailouts), but even when not, the firms involved themselves ultimately suffer: large trading losses, declines in stock value, loss of reputation and consumer goodwill, regulatory fines and legal liabilities, or even bankruptcy.

This paper proposes a resolution of the puzzle, by showing how competition for the most productive workers can interact with the incentive structure inside firms to undermine work ethics–the extent to which agents “do the right thing” beyond what their material self-interest commands. More generally, the underlying idea is that highly competitive labor markets make it difficult for employers to strike the proper balance between the benefits and costs of high-powered incentives. The result is a “bonus culture” that takes over the workplace, generating distorted decisions and significant efficiency losses, particularly in the long run. To make this point we develop a model that combines multitasking, screening and imperfect competition, thus making a methodological contribution in the process.”

Philosophically it can be explained and said much more simply: a culture of greed has taken over.

One should even say a MOOD of greed takes over. Considering recent discoveries in ethology and epigenetics, hell itself is the bottom of that abyss.

Indeed. Just like some fishes, according to circumstances, modify their genetics, and females turn into males, and some males even in “super males”, the top officers of today’s society turned into predators predating onto the rest of society.

It was high time that some authorities (and the Nobel committee is a small sort of authority) recognizes something in that direction. The work of reflection is just beginning.

The philosophy of banking has not been mulled enough. Nor that, more generally, of mighty corporations.

Those are gigantic institutions with a para-governmental role. They are big enough to influence governments, society, law enforcement, and the law itself. The immensely rich heads of major corporations are received by heads of states, as if they were other heads of state.

Yet, officially, banks and corporations are not led by the social good, and other higher principles, but by greed. Just greed. When those greedsters are celebrated as if they were statesmen, “philanthropists”, or even philosophers or “geniuses”, greed is recognized as philanthropic, and genial.

The less we regulate those giant corporations, the more powerful they get, and the more they can change the mind of civilization itself, towards greed. For example executives of Google were loud, clear, and acknowledged by the British government itself, to be of great influence in deciding educational programs: they are credited for making coding mandatory at age 5 in all schools.

Are Britons to become all little googlers? Ogling the mighty founders of Google, who travel the world in their personal jumbo jets, while paying no significant taxes, and being received by heads of states on their knees, another proof of their genius?

Yet Google siphons its multi-billion Euros profits in Europe through Ireland, to lower its tax bill, and then send said profits to paradise islands with no taxation whatsoever. In other words, Google seems to be an organized crime corporation, as it avoids paying tax nearly entirely. Mafias, and other crime syndicates can only admire such brazen arrogance, and no doubt envy Google after tax profit margins.

European regulators condemned Google for cheating with its search engine, to bring itself even more profits, and now say that Google is ignoring their pleas. Yet, we are putting the fate of youngsters under Google’s maniacal guidance.

This is just Google, the Do Evil company.

All other mighty corporations are applying similar tricks. GE, the oldest company in the Dow Jones, paid no tax for years. Disneyland France, the number one entertainment center in Europe, claimed giant losses, and had to be rescued by Disney (while forgetting to say said losses were from paying giant fees to Disney itself, probably re-routed through some tax heaven).

The situation with the banking system is even worse. As Marx noticed, banks have a monopoly. He left it at that. Now we need to talk.

A monopoly of what? Banks create most of the money. Thanks to the states.

So here we have people, the bankers, unelected and unsupervised, who do not have to justify themselves, operating in secrecy, who, through credit, give most of the money which exists in the world, to whoever they like. It turns out, they love themselves.

And, officially, all the motivation that this sort of secret government, by corporations, for corporations, has, is greed.

Time to ask them question, observe, study, and regulate them.

Economy does not need any more equation to burnish its reputation as a pseudo-science. Economy needs a thorough rethinking, of a philosophical nature.

Otherwise the employment situation, which Tirole, after getting his prize, just described as “catastrophic” will only get worse.

Employment is, of course, a crucial pillar of democracy: no employment, no democracy. The economy is more now about plutocracy than anything else: Tirole and company have lifted just a little bit of the veil.

Patrice Ayme’

Gluten, Poisons, Insuring the Stupidity of Crowds

October 12, 2014

I believe laws ought to be decided by We The People. The present governmental system with its oligarchic legislate and executive ought to be transitioned out of, and restricted to the details. (This is what Switzerland has been doing in the last 25 years, to immense social and economic success.)

When I propose this, skeptics often object that people are brazenly ignorant, turgidly stupid, and prone to fashionable madness. So my proposition would be worse than what we have now, they sneer.

There is some truth in all this. I will roll out an example: gluten. And explain why We The People indulge in this sort of hare-brained obsession. It’s actually a basic manipulation they are neutralized with, like a mouse by a piece of cheese deep in a trap.

This point of view, that the demos cannot be trusted, is nothing new, and why Aristotle proposed to the best to rule (Aristo-crat). In practice, he defined as the best were his personal buddies, and everybody who was seriously rich.

I will explain why We The People tend to be ignorant, stupid, and mad. Mostly, when People are treated as children, they compensate by leading with gusto where they can lead: in nowhere land, for nowhere men.

They are engaged in the mental equivalent of captive animals pacing back and forth in too small a cage.

The obsession with gluten, sodium benzoate all over foods, profits in foods, all help build a mental box in which to cage We The People.

It is fashionable to avoid gluten, a protein in wheat, rice, barley which makes them chewy. Many people claim that gluten makes them sick. The for-profit corporations created a non-gluten movement. They tend to replace gluten, a protein, by sugar(s). Never mind the well-established fact that those sugars make people sick with an impressive array of diseases.

Some studies claimed that gluten caused intestinal distress in some patients who did not truly have celiac disease.

The same scientists who suggested gluten sensitivity first, followed up with more rigorous studies… In which they found that non-celiac gluten sensitivity doesn’t exist.

Yet, 30% of people want to eat less gluten (they have been so persuaded by industry). Sales of gluten-free products are projected to be $15 billion by 2016. Only 1% of Americans suffer from celiac disease, yet 18% of adults now buy gluten-free foods. (No wonder, it’s full of sugars, and obese Americans need all the sugar they can get, so they have enough fuel to move!)

In several follow-ups, some by the same authors who had found the apparent gluten sensitivity, subjects cycled through high-gluten, low-gluten, and no-gluten (placebo) diets, without knowing which diet plan they were on. In the end, all of the diets — even the placebo diet — caused pain, bloating, nausea, and gas to a similar degree. Thus there are problematic foods, but it didn’t matter if the diet contained gluten. Gluten sensitivity was found NOT to exist.

In contrast to our first study … we could find absolutely no specific response to gluten,” lead scientist Gibson wrote in his first follow-up paper. A third, larger study published this month has confirmed the findings.

However detailed studies found great sensitivity to FODMAPs.

So why people don’t worry about these? Because “Gluten-free” is an industry, and a new one, bringing new profits, whereas FODMAP avoidance would be a problem for industry.

I just saw one Monarch Butterfly. I used to see thousands, in just one day, on the same hill. Those Monarchs don’t go to Mexico, they migrate within the USA, from the Rockies, to California, back and forth. Why did they disappear? Insecticides, and, in particular those made from nicotine (a deadly poison in minute doses), or neonicotinoids. They are the same poisons which kill bees.

There again, this was scientifically established, but it’s ignored in the popular knowledge base, as it stands in the way of our masters.

In general one may wonder why poisons such as the mighty carcinogen benzene are deliberately introduced in food. My daughter has a very strong allergy to Sodium Benzoate, so she can be used as a Sodium Benzoate detector. When she turns all red, it means she was poisoned by the authorities.

Authorities? Well, after all, the FDA allows industrialists to put benzene in food, to kill the little beasties who would be otherwise found there. So, if you do not eat as much of that food as the little beasties, you will survive long enough to buy more, and more, and more, so it’s OK, with the FDA.

And it does not disrupt the Masters in the least, as they eat fresh food prepared by their chefs in their private jumbo jets, far above the minnows, while paying no tax, as the Google guys.

Why are people so gullible? Because the Masters made them gullible. Putin, a Master, made his population so stupid that it interprets its difficulties as caused by the West, and thus, the more Putin attacks, the more popular he gets (86% approval for Putin in Russia, latest polls).

This phenomenon has been seen before: after he killed millions of Ukrainians and Soviets, in obscure “purges”, Stalin was loved (especially by Western pseudo-intellectuals). Later Hitler became most popular as Germany met the apocalypse.

Conflict wakes up the fascist instinct, all becoming of one mind behind the leader. Uncertain, feeble Masters know this, so they create conflicts to get a following (whereas, as Ibn Khaldun pointed out, strong empires know peace inside).

Direct democracy would force We The People to become deciders, instead of stupidified followers in need of all-knowing leaders to make, or, rather, eschew, all the big decisions. Instead of believing obvious stupidities, We The People would examine them.

What we have now is an unexamined polis. Socrates famously, and stupidly, said that an unexamined life was not worth having (it’s stupid, as crocodiles, politicians and bankers demonstrate every day). What he should have said is that an unexamined polis is best not having.

If We The People was examining foods, it would find the following: the food industry uses massive, unsustainable amounts of antibiotics, pesticides, fungicides, poisons, and chemical fertilizers. They no doubt correlate with the multiplication of the occurrence of brain tumors by four since 1950. Parts of France, who supported agriculture for more than three millennia, are now so polluted, that the European Commission’s threatened sanctions have been approved by the Court of Justice of the European Union.

And why is that general poisoning going-on? Simple: the profiteers want to maximize profits. The food budget of We The People is a fixed amount. Beyond that we would be back in the pre-revolutionary mood of France (when a free market reform under Louis XIV’s PM Turgot allowed the price of bread to jump up).

So, to maximize profit margins, the profiteers have to reduce their costs, hence all the poisons, chemicals, etc. And gluten in all that? A red herring, a bone, the stupidified People can gnaw on, while augmenting the profiteers’ profits (there are state subventions for sugar). Their outrage and interest is carefully entertained: it’s a more sophisticated version of the panem et circenses (bread and circus) of the Romans.

All the silliness would disappear if We the People learned about the world enough to pretend to decide about its fate. Learning that the largest corporations avoid taxes, often completely, and that banks, which are truly agents of the state, are a state within the state, and a criminal one at that., would help to forget about imaginary celiac disease, or the one caused by too much sugars (FODMAPs).

And that’s exactly why the plutocrats will try their best to make sure this will not happen, by occupying the minds with the dumbest obsessions evil minds can find.

That was done for centuries in the Roman Empire, until all the mental energy of the Demos went to charioteers, culminating in the Nika Riots, an aborted revolution, in 532 CE, which burned half of Constantinople. The reason the Nika Riots were not a successful revolution is that We The People had become too dumb to understand what was truly happening. This is where we are headed now.

Patrice Ayme’

Why Christianism Fosters Demons

October 11, 2014

The Christo-Islamist god does not do with just Satan, but a whole army of demons, fallen angels, or “djinns”. This is not an accident, but its core strategy.

An excellent essay in Scientia Salon: an official guide for demon hunters with a helpful advice from philosophers and witch hunters illustrates this. History is how philosophy ought to be done. No history, no philosophy.

Why? Because philosophy is about the deepest reasons. The deepest reasons have to be hunted down in history always. (Yes, even in science, see note.)

I will explain why the extreme cruelty and terror found in several famous religions are not accidental by-products, but essential to the core of these superstitious systems.

Notre Dame Gargoyles Watch Over Paris To Make Sure Of Extirpating Whatever Needs Extirpation

Notre Dame Gargoyles Watch Over Paris To Make Sure Of Extirpating Whatever Needs Extirpation

Some have the religion of religions. They worship the idea. The idea of religion. Of course, they have an agenda; it could be Tibetan Buddhism (with its demons), or the Christo-Islamist god, who absolutely needs a fig leaf. And the name of that fig leaf was Satan (or Shatan, namely Hades, Pluto, or Ba’al, refurbished, with a fresh Dark Side coat).

There is a funny passage in the Qur’an where Allah (Arabic word for the Christo-Islamist Jewish god) warns about asking him questions about his business with Shatan and Djinns. He hints darkly that those who ask too many question will end in the fire (where they will be burned until their skin falls off; then their skin will grow back, and they will be thrown in the fire again; apparently the Qur’an anticipated stem cell treatments yet to come!)

There are religions, and religions. Generally, when talking to some primitive about religion, she or he assumes, naturally, that one talks about her, or his religion. But maybe 10,000 religions are known. 99.99% of them grossly violate human rights, and are criminal systems of thoughts and mood. Once again, that’s no accident: religion is all about plutocracy, and plutocracy all about the demonic side of man.

When religious people talk about “religion”, and request respect, they don’t mean that we should respect the Aztecs’ religion: they never heard of it. Or, if they did, they don’t realize what it means.

Religion’s idea comes from the Latin “religio”, itself contained in re-ligare: to bind together again. We The People, bound again together. To what? To whom? To us again?

Religions basically come under two variants: those which bind to rationality, and those which bind to irrationality, that is, to madness.

By “madness” here, I mean any altered state of consciousness. I am a mountaineer and a mountain runner. I have run very long, say in Iran, at 10,000 feet, in a one way solitary run I had to complete to save myself. The heat was great, blood was seeping through my running shoes. I felt nothing. This sort of altered state of consciousness, evolution given stoicism, is routine for tough mountain climbers, who are familiar with slipping out of cracks from blood seeping out of their bodies, while keeping a happy smirk on their faces.

Why would one bind to rationality? Because, without rationality, there is no survival. Homo has been mostly selected for increasing rational performance over the last 5 million years.

Civilization blossomed this in the idea of democracy. The republic is the fundamental religion, as it effectively was for the Romans, for centuries (in co-existence with superstitious cults, such as the original Roman one).

Why would one bind to irrationality? Because, once We The People has become irrational, in other words, dumb, it can easily be manipulated into subservience.

Hence superstition. “Superstitio” was used derisively by the Christians against Pagans as early as the Fourth Century. However, the concept is “what stands above”… the world. In other words, what cannot be objective.

Superstitious religions are there to terrify people, and force them into abject subjugation, so they all have demons, as the Punic religion did, or the Aztecs.

The Aztecs, thanks to tearing the hearts of their live prisoners out, had kept the nations around them in a state of fear of these “flower wars”.

Just as Islam is about peace, Christianity about love, the Aztecs’ gods were about… flowers. (Once, to inaugurate the greatest temple so far, they tore 80,000 hearts out, in five days, a remarkable pre-industrial feat.)

The Aztecs were horrified by the torture of the Christians. As far as they were concerned, Christianity was a torture religion, perfectly symbolized by the torture instrument the Christians brandished, the cross. Christians will be surprised to learn this. Of course. Gods, imagination, and machinations go very well together.

Christian minds have been well engineered together into the herd instinct.

Terrified people obey their masters well. And if that is not enough, the Christians, later imitated by the Muslims, would exert what (“Saint”) Augustine referred approvingly as “great violence”. By the time Augustine recommended “great violence”, the executions of those-who-had-chosen (= “heretics”) were routine.

This is how the Christians took an empire which was mostly Pagan and Neo-Platonic by storm: by killing millions. And this is also why, ever since, they speak of the persecutions they suffered before that: because the later were relatively puny: only 6 Christians were executed under Marcus Aurelius. Some emperors may have been closet Christians, well before Galerius executed 3,000 Christians, in the worst persecution, around 306 CE (which he rescinded later)..

Christianity and its parrot, Islam, have killed tens of millions, in their names.

Now they don’t want their names to be their names, a bit like homosexuals don’t want to not be called gays, otherwise they would be rather sad.

That’s why their sacred texts enshrine the power of ultimate violence, when they do not call to exert it, outright. That’s why they are, under the guise of fearing them, a cult of demons.

The Cathars said nothing else. So the Christians exterminated them, millions of them, down to the last one. And also all those who lived in the same cities, just to make sure:

Dieu reconnaitra les siens!”: kill them all, God will recognize his own, the commander of the Crusade is alleged to have ordered. This most ferocious of all Crusades happened on French soil. Don’t expect the masters to remember that. Although not respected as much as Islamism, Christianism is still up there in the pantheon of values in the West (go ask people what they think of Saint Louis or Luther: they will express reverence for these master thinkers of Hitler.)

Superstitions such as Christianism and Islamism, who include divinely mighty demons are demoniac, it’s a fact. And that’s why Allah does not want to talk about it, lest we ponder his bloody hand, and the company he keeps.

We have seen demons. They helped the Caliphs kill those who did not believe. They helped emperors love the church demoniacally.

You don’t want demons? Bring back reason.

But not any reason. Before he decided to invade Ukraine, Putin’s approval rating was 65%. Now it’s 86%: Russia has become mad with war frenzy. One of the reasons why religions full of demons are popular, is that demonic behavior itself is popular: people with nothing better to do, will get on the warpath. Not just for the spoils (material riches, eternal life) but also because that’s the way people are.

All the way to viewing irrationality as a right. Right as a vacation from the human condition.

Patrice Ayme’

***

Note about history and philosophy: Many problems more or less scientifically solved recently have their roots in Ancient Philosophy, which first brandished them. An example is the incompleteness theorems in logic (they grew from the Cretan Liar paradox, as I have explained in the past). Zeno’s paradox is another. Or even Archimedes’ infinitesimal method.

I could make here a digression in physics. Physics, ultimately, is about history. The lab tests what has been determined, historically, as important. Roughly all of the physics system of thought, articulated around equations, superficially observed, is actually historical: even the axioms of Quantum physics have their ultimate justification in history, not experimentation as all too many naïve physicists… believe. Yes, believe, as a Jihadist believes: closing one’s mind is not the exclusive province of superstitious fanatics.

Tribes is where the power lays, and not just in the Middle East. Those who are viewed as brandishing the right ideas climb up the hierarchy of power.

 

When A Child Fights Evil Well

October 10, 2014

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2014 peace prize on Friday to Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan and Kailash Satyarthi of India. Excellent. The teenage Pakistani known around the world for fighting sexist terror, and an Indian veteran of campaigns to save from slave labor  “tens of millions of children” were celebrated jointly.

A sober moment: only three countries or so do not recognize the right of children NOT to work (be it only so that they can concentrate on studying). The USA is one of them. One of the violators of this UN law. Obama, who can’t close Gitmo, a prison where people are held unlawfully, and force-fed as if they were geese, did not even have the force to evoke that gross violation, in the six years he spent being honored as a great leader.

Hey, otherwise the agriculture of the USA would not be as profitable!

Have You As Much Courage? As Much Brains? That's What The World Needs.

Have You As Much Courage? As Much Brains? That’s What The World Needs.

This 2014 Peace Nobel is obviously a good award. Not a half silly one as the BLUE LED award in physics (why did the inventor(s) of the green LED not get the Nobel, and even earlier, those who invented the RED LED? Oh, because the Nobel clowns don’t give more than three awards? Do you have any other superstitions to impose on us, Nobel guys, to educate us further in the irrational?)

Ms. Yousafzai, 17, the youngest recipient of the prize since it was created in 1901, got a bullet in the head, courtesy of the Islamist terrorist known as Taliban, for advocating secular schooling, rather the medieval superstitious stupidities they read in the Qur’an and the like.

To announce her award, she was taken out of a chemistry class, in Birmingham, where she was treated for her grave injuries and stayed, ever since. (There are probably Taliban foaming at the mouth in gleeful anticipation of pumping her with more bullets.)

The committee’s chairman said: “The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism…”

This is wishful thinking: troops from Pakistan and India exchanged artillery and machine-gun fire across their disputed Himalayan border in the last few days. The last duel killed 11 Pakistani and eight Indian villagers.

“Children must go to school and not be financially exploited,” Chair Jagland pursued. “It is a prerequisite for peaceful global development that the rights of children and young people be respected. In conflict-ridden areas in particular, the violation of children leads to the continuation of violence from generation to generation.”

That’s the problem of the Islamists: as women are maintained in a state of oppressive violence, subjugation, stupidity, torpor, and ignorance, they bestow these qualities to their children. That’s why the Muslim empires have been down and out for at least eight centuries (occupied by Franks, Mongols, ruled by Turks, liberated by the French, British… and now invaded by the Jews, in a supreme irony, considering the anti-Jewish character of the Islamists’ most sacred texts. All of this humiliation and degeneracy submitted constantly under indigenous plutocratic overlords.)

Malala has much more intelligence and courage than the many pseudo-intellectuals in the West who have imposed the wrong mood (“Islam is peace”) by sheer greediness (Political Correctness sells!), cowardice, and blatant ignorant stupidity. Some variants of Islam are peace (say West African Islam, circa 1950). But the Qur’an is not. Consider the (extreme, astounding) Violence In Holy Qur’an.

Patrice Ayme’

Against Literature, Yet For Modiano

October 9, 2014

So Patrick Modiano got the Nobel Prize in literature, the 15th French to be so honored (Sartre declined it). Was it about France? Living in an imaginary world, full of imaginary friends?

I do not know Modiano’s work (but I have seen him try to talk on TV, many times in the past). Actually I do not know literature. Not anymore. Generally, it bores me to death. I used to read a lot, in my zeroes, including Dickens, Moby Dick, Hugo, Dumas. Later I did Voltaire, Moliere, Corneille, Shakespeare, lots of Latin authors (sometimes in the original, although that was time-consuming, somewhat pointless).

Rosny Aine’’s War of Fire (Guerre du Feu) and Victor Hugo made a lasting impression. But not as much as Caesar. Some other famous authors I found completely indigestible. Then came my teenage years pass: I grew up. My focus of inquiry turned to the real world. I found that wild baboons had more to say that was authentic, than self-admiring tycoons of letters parading in Paris’ smoky saloons.

What’s wrong with literature?

I watch French literature shows on TV, where famous authors come, and are interviewed. Some are well connected cuties, like Amelie Nothombe, who just made an entire book about drinking drugs, to great applause. She is a scion of an originally aristocratic English family whose father, somehow, ended as Belgian ambassador to Japan (thus the grandson of Britain’s Queen Victoria ended as Kaiser of Germany while his cousin was Czar of Russia). She sold millions of books, and she is as interesting as a door knob with a black hat.

So I watch those literature shows the French are obsessed with, and the scenario is always the same. Some guy (it’s most often a guy, barring the occasional cutie) comes and starts to speak about some fictitious character(s) whom he invented with letters, as if that creation had really existed.

Others swarm around, mouth gaping about the pathetic inventions, feeble echoes  of a distant real universe, evoked by the great man, as if it had all really happened. They are exactly like little children with a bedtime story.

But all I see is some guy telling me about some people in his imagination, in his imaginary circumstances doing his imaginary things. I see the guy, I see him, I see his limitations, I see that he says what he says because of who he is. Generally somebody whose reality is far more mediocre, far more mundane thn the real reality out there.

Mundane is a problem. Mundane comes from the Old French mondain “of this world, worldly, earthly, secular.” Mondain has come to mean, in modern French “from the upper reaches of glittering high society”.

Methinks that the confusion between this very limited imaginary make-believe and the real world, contributes a lot to the gathering failure known as France, or, for that matter, the gathering failure of the West.

What do I propose instead?

I propose that those who sell (lots of) books are not necessarily the top intellectuals. Pure imagination looking at its own navel goes only that far (as Buddhism has amply demonstrated).

I propose that literature is not philosophy. Reading, and writing, children fables, is different from scathingly critical thinking (which top philosophy, or physics, has always to be… I am not talking about perfecting blue LEDs here).

In the particular case of Modiano, I should not be that critical. Like  J. M. G. Le Clézio, here is an author that has deeply inquired about reality… Instead of just petting the masses.

Patrick Modiano’s Nobel, is, to some extent an acknowledgment that literature stands to gain much by interrogating the cold, real facts of the Dark Side of man. Modiano’s work is much about what happened during the more than four years during which France was occupied by the Nazis. He actually hunted down some facts, and the tragic fate, say, of a girl assassinated in Auschwitch (Dora Bruder).

The period, Nazism, was a great revelator of human nature, in all sorts of astounding ways, and has not been tapped enough that way. So, be it only for that, it’s excellent that Modiano got recognized (it’s not his first prize).

Modiano evokes a Nazi collaborator, who is also a Jew. No doubt it’s fun to ponder the facts. But reality is much more striking. A Jew like Hannah Arendt ended in her adviser’s bed, the extremely prominent and nefarious Nazi Martin Heidegger (himself a devout Catholic married to someone else).

After the war, Hannah and Martin made friends again. Hannah, by then famous, and an authentic resistance fighter, condemned whole sale the Jewish Councils for having collaborated with Hitler. She was right. But she was hated for it. She also did not get the Nobel, although this was a very important perspective upon human nature.

I have myself spent a lot of time mulling over the Nazi period, as it is an excellent teacher (so is the reaction of the Politically Correct about those who meditate on Nazism).

I do feel like imagining what went through Edwin Rommel’s mind, went he went from Nazi, mass murdering, war criminal monster in 1940, to somebody who, by 1944 stood in opposition to much of what he had fanatically propped up earlier.

However, I don’t feel as making up imaginative explanations I do not have a good evidence for.

Although I have read several dozens of thousands of pages on the subject, all of them claiming to depict reality, I have never opened a book of Modiano.

I have the same problem with Greco-Roman history. I enjoy the historians, and the original documents. But I cannot stand the fictionalized histories purporting to depict what happened. (I tried to read many of those.) The problem? They come short. They make palatable the unpalatable, thus losing the main point. “Presentism” degenerates not just history, but what history can teach about reality.

I have seen several movies purporting to depict Hitler. But I have the real books and documents where one can see Hitler thinking, for real, and that is much more instructive. Hitler thought of himself as an artistic genius (quite a bit like Nero), but others also thought he was a genius, and a kind one (!). Reading him in context explains why his monstrosity went undetected by the deliberately naive.

No novelist could depict Hitler for real, be it only because readers and critics would detest it, call it names, and the novelist will get no readers to speak of. Thus would not become a novelist, and even less, a Nobelist.

Novelism, Nobelism, literature, are all about marketing, in the end. It’s about the next best new (novel) thing which sells so well that a few old guys in Stockholm notice it.

Evidence, the real world, teach. Teach wisdom. Adulating marketing teaches the folly of the herd.

Littera” in Latin originally just mean “letter”, and, from that, a writing. Confusing whatever is written with reality is a disease. However, writing whatever as a possible imaginative path to reality, is a wisdom. A wisdom which, confronted to reality, always comes short. The trap of literature is to make feeble, marketable imagination, a fashion show, in other words, into all the reality that matters.

The Nobel Prize in literature will never replace the non-existent Nobel Prize in wisdom. But then, of course, only the wise can judge the wise. To the ant, the baboon is rather dumb to crush it under foot. There is nothing more unfair than mental capability, that’s why some try to compensate it, by offering bananas.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Save Kobani, Remember Ibn Khaldun

October 8, 2014

Before the Syrian civil war, 400,000 people lived in, and around the Kurdish city of Kobani. The region is now mostly under Islamic State, aka “Caliphate”, ISIL, Daech, control. Hundreds of villages around have been evacuated. The Turkish border is along the city, just to the north. An estimated 180,000 from the region fled to Turkey in recent weeks. But many civilians are still stuck inside Kobani.

Defenders have only light weapons. The Islamists used bigger and better weapons, such as infantry hiding behind and around modern tanks.

Turkish tanks have been staying just outside, but have not intervened yet.

Erdogan, the new Turkish president (and strongman of Turkey) knows that its Western Allies, in Europe and NATO, wants him to order its tanks to roll inside Syria, and kill the Islamists.

Kurds inside Turkey have been furious against Erdogan’s inaction and demonstrated violently. More than a dozen died, just in one night. The Kurds know that Ankara fears and dislikes them: naturally Armenia and Kurdistan, nations which are several times older than Ottoman Turkey, ought to be made into free states recognized by the United Nations. Ankara, in that way, is similar to Putin’s Kremlin.

Thus Erdogan, all too happy to find an excuse to let a lot of Kurds die, does not want to intervene, he says, as long as its Western Allies do not formally establish a “No Fly” zone over Northern Syria. He claims to be afraid that Assad’s Air Force will intervene (Turkey has only heavy F16s not necessarily capable against more recent Russian fighters).

Hypocritically the USA claims that Erdogan is an hypocrite, because he should have noticed there is a de facto “No Fly” zone over Northern Syria. But, of course, Erdogan wins that one: he wants a FORMAL declaration, just to MAKE SURE.

For Erdogan to decide to use his army to help the Kurds is a huge decision, smacking of a near contradiction. For Washington, “No Fly” is just a signature on an order.

Erdogan is also peeved that he is asked to send ground forces officially and massively, into combat, while its Allies crow that they would not do such a thing, on a matter of principle (although the Western Allies do officially have “advisers” on the ground).

The question is this: If the USA and company are proud of refusing to fight on the ground, claiming that’s Politically Correct, why would they expect Turkey to do any differently?

The latest airstrikes were spectacular, they looked like mini nukes. And they may well work. And Kobani, were many Kurdish civilians are apparently still stuck, maybe saved. And it better be (although Erdogan announced it will fall, and so did some of its Allies).

However, moral superiority is where winning a war is at.

Moral superiority starts with moral coherence. So don’t ask the Turkish army to do the dirty work, while claiming urbi et orbi, that it is not Politically Correct, to do said dirty work.

The Tunisian born historian and philosopher Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406 CE), comes to the rescue here, to explain what is going on. Khaldun was from an upper class political and judicial Arab family who had just been expelled from Andalusia by the Reconquista.

This to say that his cultural background was rich, as is often the case with superior thinkers.

Ibn Khaldun explained his way, and correctly the growth of plutocracy (he nearly said what I said). He also disserted at length on the nature of (some) empires.

Basically Khaldun said empires were about peace (this is certainly true for the large empires which lasted long. Here is an example: before the Goths stormed the core of the Greco-Roman empire, around 250 CE, the region had known 300 years of Pax Romana).

Thus, says Ibn Khaldun, the empire becomes so peaceful inside, that it is forced to recruit barbarians, outside, to defend it. Certainly, the Greco-Roman empire switched to that model after Princeps Augustus decided he was best defended by devoted, and very well paid, German troops.

Ibn Khaldun no doubt had the vivid example of the Muslim plutocrats in Spain calling to the rescue savages from Africa such as the Almoravides; I mentioned in “Walls Of Common Lies” that the ferocity of the Almoravides explains much of the bad moods that arose later in Europe, against, well, Islamists.

Ibn Khaldun thought that the high point of a civilization entails a period of decay (from the growth of a luxury economy, something I rephrase as the growth of plutocracy). The next cohesive group that conquers the diminishing civilization comes from the barbarians who were asked to defend it.

Then Khaldun says the barbarians then become refined, repeating the cycle; this is no doubt the story of the Muslim empire.

However, Khaldun’s cycles do not apply to Europe. Yes, indeed, the Franks became more refined: some Roman lawyers wrote in Latin a law for the Franks, a Lex Sallica, and Roman generals (starting with Constantine), incorporated them as the elite of the Roman army.

Yet, the Franks did not repeat the cycle… As they have clung to power ever since: all the present Western regimes descend from the Frankish empire (except for Russia’s Putin, and it shows; right, he is not really Western).

How did the Franks not repeat the cycle? By staying sufficiently barbarian; by cutting regularly, by force, the growth of plutocracy (hence the French passion for revolution). Equality under inheritance and near-equality in gender (and thus near equality in the inheritance of women… Although not as much as in Sparta), led to constant wars among factions, and wealthy, powerful families, thus preventing the growth of full blown plutocracy (that took nearly a millennium to blossom… And was soon under threat of multiple revolutions).

By the Fourth Century, the Franks fought their wars by themselves, and for themselves (although the French used a majority of German and Polish forces in the ill fated attack on Moscow in 1812, and then again, more successfully, massive amounts of African troops in the Twentieth Century against Prussian racist fascism… Including my own dad).

What Ibn Khaldun did not say was that the peace inside a vast empire is not just a benefit (as it sure was in Rome, or China, or India). Torpor inside was also a plutocratic trick to put to sleep an increasingly subjugated population.

When the West asks Turkey to send ground troops while refusing to send its own, it is therefore engaged in a plutocratic trick so old, that Ibn Khaldun already had described it, black on white, more than 6 centuries ago. It’s already bad enough that the Kurds are asked to fight with inferior weapons.

There is nothing wrong, but everything good, to fight the Islamists to death. And if it causes dormant cells and sympathizers to engage in terrorism, so much the better: being terrorized of irking terrorists is exactly how terrorism works.

And if fighting plutocrats in the Middle Earth makes Western youth impatient to fight those plutocrats who rule at home, that will be an even more striking progress.

Wanting to crush infamy, is an absolute good. Infamous is the belief that it does not matter what happens to children who live a few hours away. Protecting children is an absolute good. Protecting children, even other people’s children, carries  primordial moral weight.

Patrice Ayme’

Philosophy Is Moody

October 7, 2014

Philosophy Is About Moods, Systems of Moods, Not Just Systems of Thoughts

Science creates extremely precise systems of thoughts. This is why it is obsessed with equations, which are, first of all, rigid structures.

Philosophy is the domain of guess work. That makes it crucial to all new fields of enquiry: they all have to start somewhere, most often with guesswork (although serendipity can play a role, as when Fleming discovered penicillin).

As it is rich with possibility, rather than been just tied to precise logic, new philosophy is more about vague emotion, per force, than the new science, or the new law, it will orient towards, and give rise to.

If philosophy cannot teach precise things, precise things comparable to Einstein’s gravitational equation, what does it teach?

Some have accused me of making the mistake of judging a philosophy by the philosopher who created it. However, I am not that naïve. Instead, I enlighten the former with the later.

Montaigne’s philosophy may sound plutocratic friendly to a sharp critic (much of his essays have to do with the lives of plutocrats, generally heaping praise on them for astounding prowess on the battlefield, or the fairness of their magnanimous rule). A look at Montaigne’s life confirms that here was a man of wealth and means, closest, and most obsequious, to the highest (such as his friend and accomplice Henri IV), and who knew how to advance himself that way. So Montaigne’s plutophile tendencies are confirmed by the considerable interest he had to wallop in the mud.

In striking contrast with the haughty objections of my critics, many hold that philosophies are ways of life, they are nothing without the examples of the lives of those who proposed them.

Some have tried to make philosophy scientific, thus throwing unwittingly, the stillborn baby with the bath.

Verily, science itself is often not that scientific, except in a very restricted sense. Much scientific progress is about finding that science one thought was well established, urbi et orbi, is actually false, in some circumstances.

On second inspection, Einstein’s equation is not that precise: as Einstein himself admitted, the right hand side of the equation, the mass-energy tensor, is junk. (Quantum Field Theory has confirmed this.)

But Einstein’s equation is at least very precise in a very restricted domain (say in Earth’s orbit).

Not so with philosophy.

Instead of building systems of thoughts with extremely pointed relevance, philosophies are more general: they build systems of mood. Perhaps, instead of just living inside neuronal networks, philosophy will be tied to more vague emotional structures: organs such as the amygdala, or glial networks.

Philosophers create moods. Philosophies are, to a great extent, moods.

What a better example than “Stoicism”? “Stoic”, initially a place, a portico, from which a philosopher taught, became an adjective, a noun, a concept. And certainly a mood.

Same for Mr. Sade, and Mr. Maso.

It ought to be obvious that nature did not wait for the guy from the portico, or Sade, or Maso, to invent stoicism, masochism, or sadism. All what the philosophers found was labels, distinctions, and the revelation of the moods to go with them. They did not replace 600 million years of evolution.

Creating a nefarious mood is how Heidegger helped to generate Nazism: in conjunction with the respect he was endowed with, as the young rector of his university, and his aura as master thinker, by writing an unreadable book, Heidegger sang the praises of Nazi philosophy.

Heidegger extolled the Führerprinzip, the exact core of Nazism. Thus Heidegger made many clear statements supporting Nazism before critical junctures. Such as a major referendum in Fall 1933.

Heidegger’s philosophy (love of Führerprinzip), and Heidegger himself, the philosopher, helped the establishment of Hitler’s dictatorship. Big time.

Similarly Aristotle celebrated what he celebrated as the “first and most divine“, and… “straightest” regime, kingship.

Unbelievably, some philosophers assert that these political positions of Aristotle have nothing to do, and did not help the man closest to Aristotle, and also the worst king ever, Antipater, the single handed destroyer of all Greek civilization.

Aristotle clearly asserted that democracy was the “least bad of the deviant regimes”. Yes, deviant. Aristotle said democracy was the “rule of the indigent”.

Certainly those clear, stridently anti-democratic statements of Aristotle generated a mood of admiration for kings such as Aristotle’s closest souls, or aristocracy in general, (“straight” regimes), while heaping contempt on “devious” democracy.

Aristotle created a mood, as the Nazi philosopher Rosenberg created a mood. Rosenberg was, rightfully, hanged at Nuremberg. Heidegger should have been punished, at the very least, with a long prison sentence.

While Aristotle’s closest associates established “aristocracy”, and plutocracy, all over, Zeno was born.

Zeno was born in an age when stoicism was as far as one could disagree with what came to be known as the “Hellenistic” regimes. The mood was definitively to let kings and aristocrats rule.

And to view We The People as “indigent” (to call the master aristocrat, Aristotle). Was Aristotle the Rosenberg of the Greek world? Just asking.

“Stoicism is a school of Hellenistic philosophy founded in Athens by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BC. (It’s named after the portico from which he taught.) The Stoics taught that destructive emotions resulted from errors in judgment, and that a sage, or person of “moral and intellectual perfection”, would not suffer such emotions.” (Per Wikipedia.)

What is a “destructive emotion”? Is anger a destructive emotion? Is anger towards a lion destructive? Is that bad? Shall we go on our four and bleat peacefully instead? Notice the naivety: persons of moral and intellectual description do not suffer “destructive emotions”.

So if you want to destroy Xerxes’ fleet at Salamis, are you imperfect?

Clearly Stoicism was the perfect emotion, the perfect mood, for the Hellenistic dictatorships. In the entire Greek world, youngsters who aspire to wisdom were taught that they should not destroy… their masters, the heirs of the closest friends of Aristotle, the heirs of the court which Aristotle knew as a child.

Naturally most Hellenistic regimes allied themselves with Carthage against the Republic. The one and only directly democratic republic in existence at the time. Rome.

The Roman Republic wiped out Aristotle’s insufferable children of greed.

We The People won then. But, before soon, the leading classes of Rome, including Cicero, were worshipping at the altar of Aristotle’s mood: kingship is “first and most divine”. Hence the Princeps (“First”) and most divine Augustus, soon to smother civilization below his family.

Time to learn something.

Aristotle put us in a very bad mood. And Zeno’s sulking did not help.

Patrice Ayme’

Stoicism Is All Too Natural

October 6, 2014

All we animals have to be stoic, at one point or another, whether we like it, or not, whether human, or not. At some point we have to decide that, whatever it is, will be, and that’s fine. This maximizes happiness. Especially in dismal circumstances. It’s all the eudemonia the abyss offers.

Stoicism is evolutionary given. It would not help to sustain ecology if prey animals systematically fought beyond any hope of surviving, as it would hurt predators (and thus kill them, as the job of predator is highly demanding). Without predators around, there is no more ecology.

Thus animals come complete with endorphins, pain killing hormones related to morphine. When the fighting is hopeless, endorphins suddenly permeate the prey, and it accepts calmly to be eaten alive. That’s often a very long process. It is striking to see an antelope resting on the ground, alert, head high, standing perfectly still, while a lion is feasting deep inside its abdominal cavity.

Hence evolution itself has selected stoicism as a strategy to reach an optimal ecology.

Experiments in human ethology have shown moral monism is a no-go: not all morality comes from just one moral principle. Far from it. Instead, human beings travel a vast moral manifold, with many moral strategies, as opportunity and necessity arise. Thus the attached philosophies are to vary accordingly. Philosophical pluralism is fact and practice. Yet, stoicism will always be a part of the mix (as it is evolutionary given, it’s part of what we are).

***

But one has to be careful not to confuse appropriate stoicism, and amor fati, with gross selfishness. Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and author of the Meditations is a case in point. He claimed, in his Thoughts that one ought:

“Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things that exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the structure of the web.”

Strange mumbo-jumbo.

Although this train of thought seems to partly anticipate ecological balance theory, the emperor’s motivation, according to all appearances, from historical evidence, was most base. If true, this is extremely shocking: Marcus Aurelius is often viewed as the archetype stoic, in his full glory.

And this is a warning to all those who get carried away with Stoicism, Buddhism, Zen, and the closely related Confucianism and “Inch Allah” religion.

If it’s all one movement, one may as well leave it alone, and go along with the flow. Thus Marcus Aurelius opted to not go into a complicated process to select the next best future emperor, as had been the tradition under the Antonine emperors (and how he himself became Princeps, Imperator, Augustus and what not).

It was simpler, more craftily stoic, to make his son Commodus Caesar at the age of 5, the youngest Consul ever at the age of 15. Then Marcus made Commodus co-emperor at the precocious age of 16. That teenager became perhaps the worst emperor ever.

Why? First, out of apparent stoicism, not to say epicureanism, Commodus gave up territory dearly gained on the Marcomanni, and that it was crucial for Rome to keep (as history showed within a generation).

***

Stoicism is the acceptance of what cannot be avoided, surrender. It has its place, but only as a mean to not hurt higher values which a disorganized frenzy could compromise.

One should not surrender, especially to evil, in a hurry, affecting haughty indifference. Doing so makes one an accomplice, a collaborator of evil. Stoicism is a help in the abyss, when hope is forever gone, and only pain is left. But stoicism is also an invitation to the abyss, if used inappropriately.

This is not just a problem for those who abide by Stoicism and Buddhism. The religions of Abraham celebrate the submission of their hero (Abraham) to the most monstrous deity imaginable, the one who asks him to slit the throat of his son. In other words, if the boss asks you for the worst crime imaginable, stoically submit.

This is immensely unacceptable to those who have the religion of man, instead of the religion of the boss, fascism.

Stoicism is one misappropriation away from accepting fascism, infamy, or both.

***

Progress is a more human value strategy than stoicism. All animals are prone to stoicism, as they muddle along. Only humans wish to rise well above Prometheus, and smash fate into a better world.

We created god(s), and should act accordingly.

Patrice Ayme’


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