Seneca’s New Order Of “Security & Tranquility” (Fall of Rome XII)

April 15, 2018

I accuse the philosophy of Stoicism to be fascist compatible (and that is why it flourished under the fascist imperial Roman regime, ultimately morphing, after three centuries, into Christianism). This is not just about what happened two millennia ago. Some of us are making the same mistake, all over again.

Stoicism is making a come-back, and strangely, among those opposing (they self-allege) right wings policies. Whereas I claim Stoicism was a philosophy invented to thrive in symbiosis with hard-core fascism. A total hero of Stoicism is Marcus Aurelius… However that emperor was a disaster for Rome (Common Wisdom claims the opposite!)… Marcus started an imbecilitic drive against Christianism, protected the wealthiest, promoted his ridiculous, ill-minded biological son… Those following Seneca and Marcus Aurelius are not suspicious enough, they remind me of sheep going to the slaughter, happily bleating all the way…

Seneca, Nero’s teacher and adviser is highly esteemed by would-be modern Stoics (Claudius gave Seneca to Nero at age eleven, to teach him the ways of the world; the result of Seneca’s teaching speaks for itself). Instead of admiring Seneca, I view him as a liar (that Seneca has some excellent quotes is a fact, but it can be said about any author, any author whatsoever). An engineer of huge lies, one of them being that he wanted to “perceive the truth in all its completeness” (dictators are prone to preach the exact opposite of what they do; thus Hitler was a protector of peace and minorities… At least so he screamed for two decades… And was believed by most Germans, so they voted for him).

Seneca said: “The happy life consists solely in perfecting our rationality … What is a happy life? It is security and lasting tranquility, the sources of which are a great spirit and a steady determination…” Security and tranquility are a must, once one belongs to the .001% as Seneca did: one enjoys power and property, thanks to industrial crime, the perpetuation of which rests on imposing “security and tranquility” on the oppressed masses. (Seneca once joked (?) that he didn’t even know how many large properties he owned on all the continents.)

So We The People imagined that they were suffering under the dictatorship of Seneca and Nero, when, in truth, they were not…

The definition of happiness was certainly different for the 99% under the Principate led by Seneca and his pupil. The 99% couldn’t not enjoy “security” (the secret police and its informants watched their every breath), nor “tranquility” (they knew they were one bad idea away from providing free entertainment at the Circus…) Actually emperor Domitian (a few years after Seneca) executed systematically all philosophers who didn’t exhibit “great spirit”. Not an anecdote in the history of ideas: it means that the philosophies which survived Domitian were those compatible with the Principate.

Result? Increasingly deficient thinking among those advising the leadership of the empire. This is why the Principate turned away, deliberately, loud and clear, from technological innovation (which had fostered the rise of the Roman Republic). Just when innovation was a matter of survival for civilization itself.

The Decline and Fall of Rome was first philosophical and started as soon as the New Order of “security and lasting tranquility” was imposed on all minds. Mental creativity of the highest sort is antagonist to “security and lasting tranquility” (even Christ spoke of this, and shared this observation). One can’t understand the world ever more, without going through periodic turmoil of the greatest kind.

Periods and places of great mental creativity, like Normandy, or Italy, starting in the Eleventh Century, the true start of the so-called “Renaissance”, were places of enormous turmoil.

As the eleventh Century enfolded, most cities were basically in revolt. Higher authorities like popes, kings and emperors were often completely disobeyed, so they had to go to war, which they often lost; clerics like Archdeacon Berengar of Tours preached that Christianism was all about rationalism, not blind submission to simplistic interpretations of sacred texts (and had to fight them all, during his entire life, all the way to the Pope). William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, king of England, is on the record for evoking heliocentrism as a possibility.

The extreme political and philosophical turmoil in Europe, starting in the Eleventh Century, is no coincidence: the regrowing of grassroot power (consider Italian republics), was a regrowing of ideas. Technology blossomed, another ecological crisis (circa 1300 CE) was avoided.

As imperial Rome was suffering from a unique party (the plutocratic party leading Rome: until emperor Septimius Severus from Libya, the throne was passing among only a few families), and from ecological collapse, a sober assessment of what reality was made of, was in order. However, that meant great mental, even civilizational, turmoil (as happened every few year during the Roman Republic), the exact opposite of the “mental security and lasting tranquility” imposed by those few families who ruled. 

Patrice Aymé

Note 1: Some may say my depiction as the Flavian dynasty (Vespasian, Titus, Domitian) as among the few Roman families which ruled is off . But that’s correct, as Vespasian’s family rose in 4 generations under the Julio-Claudian dynasty and was entangled with it (the great-grandfather was a tax collector for Augustus, thus becoming immensely rich…)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavian_dynasty

Note 2: Roman emperors would pay inventors for not exploiting their inventions and even for not making their inventions public.

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LOGIC IS MATERIAL

April 11, 2018

Logic doesn’t just matter, it is matter.

FUNDAMENTAL PROCESSES, INCLUDING COMPUTATIONS, LOGIC, ARE MATERIAL OBJECTS:

Is there something besides matter? No. What is matter? Ah, two types of things, corresponding to wave-particle duality… Or, as I put it often, process-quanta duality.

***

We should have come a long way in 24 centuries, yet some keep repeating ideas of Plato, an Athenian plutocrat. Plato (and his teacher Socrates and student Aristotle) had an extreme right wing agenda, much of it pursued later as the “Hellenistic” regimes (dictatorships), imperial fascist Roman Principate, and the rage against innovation. Plato’s metaphysics has much in common, if not everything, with Christianism (this explains its survival…)

And now for a word from this essay’s sponsor, the gentleman contradicting me. Robin Herbert replied to me: …”many don’t seem to grasp that the classical logics are not tied to any physical assumptions… the classical logics are not tied to any physical assumptions. I think the problem is that we have this term “classical physics” and another term “classical logic” and people think they are related. They aren’t.”

Are we that stupid? I guess, our enemies wish we were…

***

Only those who have never heard of Platonism would not be familiar with the notion that logic is not “material”: it is at the core of Plato’s view of the universe. And also at the core of Christianism, so help me not god!

I beg to oppose the dematerialization of logic. Differently from Plato, I have a careful observation of nature, Quantum theory, the mechanics of atomic theory, to back me up. Frankly, relative to what we know now, Plato is an ignorant twerp. So why the reverence for his antique antics? My unforgiving mood is driven in part by the observation that the Ancient Greeks had plenty of holes in their axiomatics… Especially in mathematics (where they made several ludicrous mistakes, such as forgetting non-Euclidean geometry, generations after discovering it).

If logic is not tied to “physics”, or what’s material, we want to know what that is. But, as I am going to show, all we do is go back to the Gospel of John as the ultimate authority (itself straight out of Plato!)

Twentieth Century physics has revealed that physics is made of “Fundamental Processes” (see the very nice, pre-QCD book by that title from Feynman)… And Quanta. The former, the processes, are described by waves, the second, those lumps of energy, by particles.

Thus, saying that “logic is not physics” is tantamount to saying that logic is neither a fundamental process (or set thereof), nor quanta (or set thereof).

Orbitals to an electron around a proton (the Hydrogen atom), visualized in 2013 (Phys. Review). What you are looking at is one electron, when it is delocalized. The electron is the cloud. The cloud is a process. The process is what an atom of hydrogen is, 99.9999999% of the time… At least…

There are several problems with such a claim: far from being immaterial, any logic shows up as quanta (aka “symbols”), and is itself a process (classical logic rests on implication, the simplest process:”if A then B”, and chains therefrom). Logic shows up as nothing else, so that’s what it is: a bunch of fundamental processes and quanta. This is the modern philosophy of physics, in action! (It originated with Newton and Laplace, and was then amplified by Jules Henri Poincaré)

There was a famous exchange between Heisenberg and Einstein; the latter, at the peak of his glory, accused the young Quantum physicist to have only put observables in his matrix quantum theory. Heisenberg coolly smirked back that it was Einstein who taught him to do so! (Constructively infuriated, ten years later Einstein rolled out the EPR thought experiment, alleging a contradiction between Quantum Mechanics and LOCAL “elements of reality“. The effect was relabeled “entanglement” by Schrödinger, now the central notion in Quantum theory… Einstein should have realized that it was this very delocalization which made atoms wholes…)    

So what’s “material”? What’s observable! And what is observable? (Delocalized) fundamental processes and (localized, yet ephemeral) quanta. Claiming that the logos is neither is (implicitly) done in the first sentence of the Gospel of John, and John adds that its name is god. We of the natural school shall excommunicate those evoking god. Those who claim “logic”, the logos, escapes nature (= physis) are just followers of whom John followed, namely Plato. They are Platocrats, a particular prototype of plutocrats…

Fundamental processes are described by equations, but that doesn’t mean the equations are “real”, beyond symbols (“quanta”) of a medium. First of all, equations are approximations: a classical computer can only make a finite number of operations (differently from a full Quantum computer, which works with a continuum, the circle S1). Instead what is really real is the fundamental process(es) the equations approximate.

Indeed, consider atoms: they are real, “indivisible” (sort of)… and yet mostly made of delocalized processes known as electronic orbitals.  It is the delocalization which creates the substance: see the picture above… 

So is a classical computation a real object, in the aforementioned sense? Yes, because it is a FINITE set of fundamental processes (moving electrons and photons around). However, if the proposed computation, or logical deduction, takes an infinite amount of time, it becomes something that never comes to exist. (That’s an allusion to a classical computer trying to duplicate Quantum computers; in the case of the chlorophyll molecule, no classical computer could do what the molecule, viewed as a Quantum computer, does!)

In this view, call it material logic, time, whether we want it or not, whether logicians realize it, or not, is an essential part of logic: the time-energy principle de facto granulates time (we need infinite energy for infinitely small time intervals, hence for would be infinite logical computations). To say time is not part of logic is another of these oversights (as Archimedes did, implicitly using what non-standard analysts, Robinson and Al. called “Archimedes Axiom”, which excludes infinitely small (or large) integral numbers). Any piece of logic comes with its own duration, namely how many steps it needs in its simplest form.   

Quantum computing uses one (hypothesized) infinity: the assumed instantaneity of what I call the Quantum Interaction (aka Quantum Collapse). That enables to delocalize Quantum logic (no distributive law of propositional logic!), as delocalized Quantum processes, and this is why it can’t be classically duplicated (aka “Quantum supremacy”).

Happy processes!

Patrice Aymé

DON’T BLAME ME, I Am Only Human After All?? (Aurelius’ Perversity, Fall of Rome XI)

April 8, 2018

Abstract: Of Rome we talk, but the present worldwide civilization we ponder… What went wrong with Rome? The most basic spiritual strategy. Philosophy. Rome’s disease was to be ruled by a philosophy unable to resist plutocracy, while deliberately preventing innovation, as befits a highly conservative regime… the exact opposite of the philosophy which brought the irresistible rise of the Roman Republic. The greatest names in philosophy originated that infection, that gangrene of the mind: Plato, Aristotle, Marcus Aurelius…

Could it have been different? Could Rome have pulled out of her philosophical disaster? Could imperial Rome, extending from Scotland to the Persian Gulf, and from Northern Germany to the Sahara, Armenia to Egypt’s long Red Sea coast, have reverted to the philosophy which made the success of democratic Republic?

Once fascism was installed, helped by the opiate of economic success, it was a question of leaders. The Roman Senate’s leading influence tended to be entirely negative, as Septimius Severus, dying in Britain, told his sons.

Aside from the well-known creeps (Nero, Caligula, Domitian, Constantine, Theodosius I) and the abysmal cases (Augustus, Constantine, Theodosius, Valens), it seems to me that Marcus Aurelius, considering his tremendous influence, was one of the leaders into the abyss. Marcus’ philosophy was radioactive, so to speak: it looks wise, but it brings death. Worse: Marcus’ influence is alive and all too well to this day: just as Constantine is a saint of Christianism, Marcus is a saint of a particularly perverse version of stoicism. Marcus is also an intellectual fascist, under the purest form. 

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/marcus-aurelius-intellectual-fascist-why-rome-fell/

Make no mistake: it is a version of stoicism on trial here, that many influential philosophers subscribe too, and, worst of all, which is perfect for the growth of unbounded plutocracy!

And yes, it could have been different, if “dictator perpetuo” Julius Caesar and emperor Trajan had lived longer, and been able to find successors with similar mindsets and capabilities… All of this to  establish a plutocracy hating republic: Julius Caesar and Trajan were both what’s derogatively called “populists” nowadays; but populism is the only thing which could have saved Rome from lethal stagnation, and ecological aging, a weakness naturally followed by horrible invasions.

All this long gone history gives vivid lessons valuable today: we, as the world civilization many Greco-Romans dreamed to establish, are more or less repeating some of the errors Rome made. However, enlightened by the dramatic collapse of the Roman State, Europe has not quite, so far, repeated to the same extent, Rome’s errors… including Russia! Consider Czar Peter The Great, who cracked down on Christianism, and embraced progress, thence saving Russia from the Swedish reconquista… Peter the Great, circa 1700 CE, had fully understood, in his heart of hearts, that it was crucial NOT to repeat the errors of the Roman state’s long agony.

Some historians hold that the Roman empire was even larger under emperor Caracalla, son of Septimius Severus, a century later. Under Caracalla, the law of universal citizenship was passed, something now taken for granted by all states (with the possible exception of Burma…) The Franks, a confederation of Germans equipped with Latin Lex Salica, succeeded Rome after 476 CE in the North-West. In particular, they owned the orange part of Northern Germany which Augustus had stupidly, and selfishly loudly given up in 9 CE. By 507 CE, the Franks had defeated the Goths, and controlled Belgica, Gallia, and Aquitania, not just much of Germania… The main difference with the Romans was that the Franks re-engineered Christianism as an asset, whereas the terrorizing Roman version of Catholicism due to Constantine and Theodosius, had crippled Rome.

Very practical consequences of behaving according to the exact opposite attitude to Rome, explain how and why Europe avoided collapse since Rome. Enough friendliness to technology, & law, enough abatement of plutocracy, enabled the extrication of Europe from ecological devastation (~ 1300 CE). Having enough of these three philosophical pillars also explains why Europe has not been devastatingly invaded for 15 centuries! (ultimately Muslim, Viking, Avar, Turk, and Mongol invasions were crushed and repelled… differently from what happened to the Muslim, Chinese and Indian civilizations, which were conquered, periodically destroyed; similarly, the invasions of the Germans and Huns in the Fifth Century, and Muslims in the Seventh Century, destroyed the Roman state, east and west, leaving imperial remnants in north-west Europe and around Constantinople. The resulting lesson, the enormous devastation it brought, has not been forgotten. At least until a few years ago).

If nothing else, we have engaged the planet in ecological collapse. David Attenborough, 91 years old, observed this in New Scientist.

… And Attenborough issues a “call to arms“. Rightly so. We are also one short-circuit away from devastating nuclear war, a pure case of tech gone mad. And not too many care. Rome was crazy. We are much more so. This is no age to try stoicism again… Activism is more appropriate.

***   

We The Wise Know No Blame, Says Marcus!

An excellent song, from someone looking like an overweight Viking is going around: “Don’t Blame Me, I Am Only Human After All… Don’t blame me, you are only human after all…”. The same idea has a long pedigree. It already affected Rome. The idea that: no blame, no shame… came to be viewed, in all too many influential circles, and all too long ago, as the principal message of the Greek philosophy known as Stoicism. “Stoicism” from stoa, a column below which it was taught by Zeno of Citium, became a philosophical school after the fascist Macedonian plutocracy and its descendants “Hellenistic” tyrannies and kingdoms took over the Greek civilization, pretty much crippling it. Including Marcus Aurelius, ten major Stoic philosophers followed in Greco-Roman civilization. Marcus was also single Roman emperor, and played a major role for civilization, and not for the best, contrary to repute, as I have already written and will show some more below.

Nowadays, Stoicism has become business (as it started: Zeno of Citium was wealthy, although he lived modestly). Massimo Pigliucci commented on “Marcus Aurelius: a guide for the perplexed by Stephens”.

In it is found the following gem: it is futile to blame! Let me quote Massimo Pigliucci quoting Mr.Stephens:

”My preferred example is in the context of Marcus’ discussion, in VIII.17, of the idea that it is futile to lay blame, regardless of what particular metaphysical view of the world (the Stoic, the Epicurean, or any other one) we happen to hold. Here is Stephens’ reconstruction of the full argument:

  1. The matter is either in our control or in the control of someone else.
  2. If it’s in our control, then we can handle it appropriately without blaming ourselves.
  3. If it’s in the control of someone else, then we could blame either atoms (if the

Epicureans are right about how the cosmos works) or the Logos (if the Stoics are right about how the cosmos works), or no one and nothing.

  1. It’s stupid to blame atoms (since they have no intentionality).
  2. It’s stupid to blame the Logos (since the cosmos — which for the Stoics was a living organism — knows best what should happen).
  3. Hence, if it’s in the control of someone else, then blame no one and nothing.
  4. Therefore, blaming is pointless.

QED.”

***

I Blame Us, We Are Only Human After All!

In the past, Massimo Pigliucci censored many of my comments on Marcus Aurelius: he even accused me to have made up the facts and quotes I evoked, which cast a sinister light onto his idol (I actually made up nothing, just pointing at little known facts, and even getting trouble in my own family with some who also rever Marcus, for having lifted them of an otherwise dreary childhood…)

It’s hard for admirers of Marcus to recognize his culpability in the repression of Christians (I don’t like Christianism very much, but what Marcus did to Christians was not just criminal, but made the situation worse, and more stupid; moreover, Christians laid the blame on the wealthy, rightly so, and, as I make clear below, Marcus Aurelius exchanged the health of the Roman empire against the wealth of the few, the core of the lethal disease which affected the empire, according to me! Positive point: Marcus got to blame no one around him. Negative point: that attitude brought the collapse of civilization! The motive of Marcus may have been plain old selfishness, the easy way out…)

This time professional philosopher Massimo Pigliucci allowed this comment from me, accusing Marcus of the worst crime someone with intellectual pretense can commit: …”a different perspective I have developed shows why Marcus Aurelius made the mistake of making Commodus a Consul, while still a child (and so on, until making Commodus co-emperor at… 16). In other words, Marcus’ error was no error, but system. Marcus Aurelius thought that ‘non-useful’ thoughts should be banned! He wrote that explicitly!”

Nobody can know, when creating a thought, what it could turn out to be useful for. Banning “non-useful thoughts”, as Marcus Aurelius wanted to, is to ban a better logic for the future, to ban any better future. In other words, Marcus didn’t want to improve things. Unsurprisingly, thanks to such a towering absolutism from above, such plain banning of thinking, so inhuman, the Roman state went from bad to worse, until it collapsed.

Massimo replied, April 2, 2018 • 8:08 am: “Patrice… At any rate, I don’t see what banning non useful thoughts has to do with it.”

I retorted: “Dear Massimo, trying to explain myself a bit more:

Can one be a creative, or rigorous thinker, and not attribute blame? I think not.

Marcus Aurelius said (paraphrased): “If a matter is in the control of someone else, then we could blame either atoms (if the Epicureans are right about how the cosmos works) or the Logos (if the Stoics are right about how the cosmos works), or no one and nothing.”

Is that a typo? What happened to blaming people? Isn’t that the most natural blame to attribute? If I don’t like Trump’s tax reform, shall I blame atoms, the logos… or no one and nothing? I prefer to blame Trump, and his ilk.

Let’s be cynical, as the fine hounds we are. Those who refuse to attribute blame to anybody seem to say: ‘I can’t be blamed, I am only human, after all!’

Those who claim “nothing” can be blamed say: ‘everything that is, is true and innocent. And there is no scientific method, as nothing is false, hence our rule is above any suspicion…’

The essence of the most advanced thinking is to disconnect the motivation which brings it from any utilitarian objective. Advanced thinking is born from the honor of the human spirit, not from whether the emperor finds it of some use. Marcus could not conceive of this.

Although Marcus was strong and determined against the German barbarians, not being a believer in advanced thinking, he didn’t realize that the way out of the invasion crisis, was the one launched by the Roman Republic, seven centuries prior: mental creativity to invent new strategies, weapons and mechanisms, all to be paid by higher taxes on the wealthiest. Instead, emperors went to fear inventions, imagination, and taxes, at the cost of hundreds of ever more crippling invasions (the same problem would occur with the Carolingian/Renovated Roman empire, in the second part of the Ninth Century).

The Roman empire understood finally that one had to tax the wealthiest, to pay for a sufficient army, under Aetius, 250 years later, when it was too late, and more than half of the Roman tax basis, let alone food supply, had been occupied or demolished by the savages (Marcus Aurelius had pathetically ‘solved’ his tax crisis, by selling state property, like the palace’s silver…).

If one is really human, after all, one is rational, and reason requires correction, correction arising from blame.”

The entire subject is, for me, like visiting the Moon: where is the air? If one spends one’s time only engaging fools, not only does one become one of them, but one gets depressed, as one subjects oneself to the cruel and unusual punishment to debase, and contradict oneself, just out of respect, for what one has worked so long to rise above… And the same happens with foolish subjects. But still someone has to address them”

Massimo, as many who are all too busy, doesn’t like long comments, but he replied:  April 2, 2018 • 12:48 pm

“Patrice,

there are a number of things in your comment that I think are off the mark, but I will comment on just two.

First off, “not blaming” is a standard Stoic attitude, meant to recognize that all human beings err, and that nobody does evil on purpose. I find it refreshing and very useful in dealing with others. It doesn’t mean one should not stop others from doing bad things.

Second, there is no way Marcus could have reverted from empire to Republic. He would have been killed instantly. It has nothing to do with not believing in advanced thinking, which by the way is not what the Stoics counsel. They counsel that the best way to prepare for the future is to act rightly here and now. Not the same thing.”

I felt like a Neanderthal contemplating a smirking mammoth deep in a pit I digged.

The nature of the Greco-Roman empire is deeply misunderstood, to this day: it was way wealthier, more populous and more democratic, than generally assumed. Yet, in some philosophical ways, it was far removed from what we take for granted today (and the situation is complex: on cruelty, contrarily to repute, the Romans got it basically right, we don’t. On progress, the situation changed completely from the very progressive Democratic Republic to the fascist empire. We are not as progressive as we need to be, in great part because we are repeating the plutocratic mistake Rome made….)

It was an ideal occasion to set the perception right about the Roman empire. My reply:

“Dear Massimo:

Thanks for your answer. The description of the “standard Stoic attitude”, that “all human beings err, and that nobody does evil on purpose”, it seems to me is exactly what prevented Marcus Aurelius to put back the “Republic” on the correct trajectory it was clear it desperately needed during Marcus’ reign.

Ah, yes, the “Republic”, not a detail: the “Principate” was considered to be a Republic by those who partook in it. The Roman Republic justice system and Senate were still going on during the “Principate”. As emperor Decius said in June 251 CE, after his son was struck by an arrow at the battle of Abbritus: “Let no one mourn; the death of one soldier is not a great loss to the republic.”

So it was not a question of “restoring the Republic”: the first emperor, Augustus, claimed to have done so (27 BCE). Local democracy was alive and well (until the first German raids deep inside the empire, starting with Alexander Severus, circa 234 CE!)

Marcus Aurelius had two major problems, one fiscal, the other technological. Trajan had taxed the wealthiest to create an empire which was more social, more expanding, and giving advanced education to meritorious youth through scholarship. (Unfortunately Trajan died at 63, preventing consolidation of his enlightened rule, all the way to the Persian gulf.)

Marcus had a disastrous situation: the Germans had learned to become a military threat to Italy. All what Marcus did was to battle away against the Germans, for a continuous 20 years, in the here and now, with insufficient means, insufficient militarily, fiscally, technologically, democratically. Marcus should have followed Trajan fiscal, educational, social policies. Marcus’ closest policy to Trajan was in military matters: Marcus understood the Marcomanni and their ilk had to be crushed (Commodus inverted his father’s conquests). However he didn’t have the fiscal means for his army, that Trajan gave himself by hating the wealthiest.

This lack of inclination of Marcus for finding in-depth revolutionary change prepared for a future of more of the same, precisely because Marcus enjoyed an enormous prestige as a philosopher-emperor. Marcus just had to follow Trajan, he didn’t.

Thus, for an astounding three centuries of war (176 CE-476 CE) the Romans fought as Marcus did, not realizing that, as long as they couldn’t integrate the Germans into the empire, they made them stronger, and more ferocious, just by battling with them. (The only emperor who understood the problem was Julianus, Julian “the Apostate”, who studied philosophy in Athens, and was elevated to Augustus by the Parisians. Unfortunately he died from combat in Mesopotamia, 363 CE.)  

Marcus had to raise the taxes on the wealthiest, on the .1%. Marcus had to blame the wealthiest, as Trajan did. The other philosophical solution, which Marcus didn’t embrace, was to reject Plato’s hostility to technological change, and re-embrace the Roman (true Republic) love of technological innovation.

Individuals drunk on the neurohormones of cruelty and domination exist, denying it is counterproductive to progress: the head of the Brazilian army just made a threat (on Twitter!) Hence the Brazilian Supreme Court decided to jail Lula, who leads by a very long shot the 2018 Brazilian presidential race.

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/04/04/world/americas/brazil-lula-corruption-prison.html”

[Please excuse the length, more on my site…]”

Amazingly, considering our turbulent history, and his unbounded admiration for all things Marcus, he used to be afflicted by, Massimo published my comment on his site: we are progressing in the right direction, at last! (Massimo may be learning to practice what he teaches…)

What I didn’t say, lest I be accused of digression, how low Rome had already fallen: a few hours later after his statement that Rome was a republic (which it was, by present standards, adapted to the times), Decius would die, first emperor to do so, with most of the Roman field army. Rome had sunk that low, 70 years after Marcus Aurelius’ passing, and as a result of his overall outlook.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decius

By the way, it is important to realize that seriously creative thinking blossoms from digression… An important meta principle Marcus Aurelius doesn’t seem to have conceived of.

***

By Marcus’ Time, Solutions For Imperial Rome Should Have Been Obvious:

Two changes were needed. To my knowledge, Marcus Aurelius doesn’t seem to be conscious of the necessity of these two changes, changes back to the distant past, a renewal with what made the success of Rome in its first seven centuries.

The first problem facing Marcus Aurelius was not restoring the Republic (justice was nominally independent, local democracy, the Curiatii, was flourishing), it was to raise taxes on the 1%.

A plutocracy of ferocious, tax-free 1% backed-up the imperial system under its “Principate” form (and would back-up the “Dominate”, starting with Aurelian, before, in the end, backing up the barbarians!) They are the real cause of the Decline and Fall of Rome, as their tax evasion and subjugation of We the People left imperial Rome with too small and too powerful a professional army. The wealthy, when faced with invaders in the Fifth Century, would make nice with them. Being entangled with the Christian Church helped.

Contrarily to what Massimo brazenly asserts, it is not clear that if Marcus had tried to restore the rights of the Populus Romanus, he would have been killed: Marcus enjoyed enormous prestige, and was surrounded by devoted advisers and generals. Marcus spent 20 years on the battlefield, at the head of the Roman field army, he had no rivals (Commodus profited from the awe and competence of his father’s government for years, after his death).

Head of the army Aetius and others, in the Fifth Century, made the 1% pay taxes, way too late, after military collapse and annihilating invasions (⅔ of the spending went to the professional Roman army). If Aetius, not even an emperor, could do it in the Fifth Century, Marcus could have done it in the Second Century. By then half of the Western Empire had been invaded and occupied by savages.

On the other hand, in 235 CE, Maximinus Thrax, head of Legio XXII Primigena was elevated to Augustus, as the army was furious young emperor Severus Alexander was busy paying the barbarians, instead of making war to them. However Maximinus rose taxes on the wealthy, to pay for his successful war making, and the Senate revolted for that reason in 238 CE. However, Maximinus was of peasant origin and had acquired Roman citizenship from Caracalla edict. So it was natural for the Senate to revolt against him. Whereas, if Marcus Aurelius had risen taxes as Maximinus did, it is unlikely that the Senate would have done anything, considering Marcus’ pedigree and his total control of the army (as Cassius’ short usurpation, cut short by a centurion, showed).   

The Senate would lose (nearly all) its prerogatives later, in the late Third Century, turning into Rome municipal council (de facto).

So could something have been done to prevent the ongoing slow degeneracy of the Roman state? Yes, and it is clear what: Rome had to become as smart as the times required. Because of a massive ecological crisis caused by its very success, Rome had to get as smart, or smarter than when the Republic ascended. Instead, it became ever more stupid.

Marcus Aurelius had to lay blame onto the plutocracy, do reforms in the spirit proposed by the Gracchi Brothers. (However, he blamed laying blame, as a matter of weird logic…)

Another type of PHILOSOPHICAL reform needed was to lift the ban against inventions, inherited from… Plato, an Athenian conservative who was so afraid of change, he preferred to ban tech (an attitude which was fundamentally anti-Roman, as the Respublica triumphed from invention!)  This is a pernicious effect of the conquest of Greece by Rome: Greek philosophy, and not the best, corrupted Rome in turn…

From examining history, it is clear to me that some individuals and even many political leaders, did evil on purpose. Either because they thought they were doing good, or also because they thought they were causing pain and suffering. When Charlemagne deported to South West France a substantial part of the Saxon population, he thought he was doing good, as the alternative was just to massacre them (something he also did…)

***

On the Haughtiness Of, and Redemption by, Advanced Thinking:

One can blame, one should blame, some reasons of some people, sometimes, I blame mine quite often, but that doesn’t mean that blaming some ideas impell to view others with hostility, or that I hate them, or view myself with undisguised hatred. Quite the opposite: viewing defects, mental errors, inappropriate emotions, for what they are, where they come from, deepens the love (including self-love). Explanation is, often redemption. The passions can be precise, clever, if one teaches them well.

By blaming blame into oblivion, emperor-philosopher Marcus Aurelius blamed the most advanced, most powerful weapon against mental lethargy and thus the most powerful tool for liberating reason into oblivion.

Impermanence of things and individuals, permanence of virtues. The fundamental error of old fashion “virtue ethics“: not putting ENOUGH intelligence first, foremost, and most fundamentally. Only most farsighted intelligence enables not to mitigate the paving of the road to hell with good intentions!

Enlightenment exists as a loud and clear superior notion since Ahura Mazda, 40 centuries ago. To oppose it as Marcus did, by opposing blame (something the Christians, rightly, brandished), or condemning “useless” thinking, Marcus condemned what Rome needed the most; the catharsis of Enlightenment. In particular, realizing Rome had become a dictatorship, where even new ideas not only couldn’t grow, but were condemned, just for being new. The enlightenment that new ideas bring is only forged by intense criticism.

In the strangest, most pregnant times we are. Lest we be careful, a monster will be born. But, if we do it right, paradise… History should be the most revered teacher, a cult worth having, never boring, always surprising.

Patrice Aymé

***

Note about Marcus Aurelius and change: Just as in physics one can “see” an object by its absence, in systems of thought one can see an idea, precisely because it’s avoided, as a “non-said” (“non-dit” in French philosophy). I accused Marcus to be against new ideas. This is demonstrated, in absentia, by the very way Marcus describes change. According to Marcus, change is about anything you can imagine, except the obvious:

“Is any man afraid of change? What can take place without change? What then is more pleasing or more suitable to the universal nature? And can you take a hot bath unless the wood for the fire undergoes a change? And can you be nourished unless the food undergoes a change? And can anything else that is useful be accomplished without change? Do you not see then that for yourself also to change is just the same, and equally necessary for the universal nature?” (Meditations, VII.18)

The most obvious, most profitable change there is, and should be, for a thinker, is the change of ideas. Marcus Aurelius doesn’t mention it.

***

Note from Massimo: “Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, one the few philosopher-kings (well, okay, emperor) in the history of the world, is a fascinating figure. Despite being one of the most famous Stoics, he was not a philosopher and teacher like Zeno, Chrysippus, or Epictetus. Unlike Seneca, he wrote just one book, the Meditations, which was actually addressed to himself, meant as a personal diary of philosophical reflection, not to instruct others, let alone as a treatise on Stoic philosophy. He was by all accounts an extraordinary man, who tackled some of the greatest challenges the Roman empire had to face, including a war against the irreducible Parthians, another one against a coalition of German tribes led by the Marcomanni, an internal rebellion by one of his most trusted governors, and a plague that killed two or three million people. He … leaned on his philosophy to do the best job he could. And ended up in the disastrous choice of his son Commodus to take up the purple mantle (but see here for a nuanced analysis of that episode), a decision that ended the prosperous and relatively peaceful age of the five good emperors of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty.”

(Emperor Nerva had a short rule, but he adopted top general Trajan as his successor, and Trajan was the best of them; the adopted Hadrian succeeded, after Trajan’s sudden stroke, and it has been suspected Trajan’s wife modified Trajan’s will to do so. In turn, Hadrian adopted Antoninus Pius, making him adopt the teenage Marcus Aurelius; Marcus, instead of adopting a promising candidate, heaped impossible honors onto his son, starting as a child… Whereas the Roman Republic, when it was democratic, had draconian limits on mandates, and all representatives were elected, it was hard to duplicate these electoral means in a giant empire, where it took months to travel, away from the sea…)

Drink The Kool Aid With Madeleine Albright…

April 6, 2018

Drinking the Kool-Aid is an expression commonly used in the United States that refers to any person or group who goes along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure, following an abusive leader, or leaders, to the bitter, deadly end. The phrase often carries a negative connotation when applied to an individual or group. It can also be used ironically or humorously to refer to accepting an idea or changing a preference due to popularity, peer pressure, or persuasion. In recent years it has evolved further to mean extreme dedication to a cause or purpose, so extreme that one would “Drink the Kool-Aid” and die for the cause.

The phrase derives from the November 1978 Jonestown deaths, in which over 900 members of the Peoples Temple, who were followers of Jim Jones, died, many of whom committed suicide by drinking a mixture of a powdered soft-drink flavoring agent laced with cyanide and prescription drugs Valium, Phenergan, and chloral hydrate, while the rest of the members, including 89 infants and elderly, were killed by forced ingestion of the poison…

***

Dr. Albright was United States secretary of state from 1997 to 2001. Nobody will now believe that the Clinton administration was a time of great progress: war was pursued, under the form of a cruel embargo, including an embargo of drugs, against Iraq, while rogue US citizens, some connected to Harvard U, advised the leaders of Russia to restore the Russian Republic through plutocracy (a phenomenon which brought us Putin)….

Ms Albright wrote for the New York Times: “Will We Stop Trump Before It’s Too Late?” Contrarily to what that title seems to imply, she doesn’t assert that Trump is going to establish fascism in the USA, but that his alleged rogue attitude makes, worldwide, a bad situation worse (in part as Trump makes fun of the established order). 

900 people died at Jamestown, just because they followed the leader. Ms. Albright wants us all, like Mr. Obama, to have “leaders” to follow too. Meanwhile, we are invited to drink the kool aid too, and join in the Earth massacre? Or, at least, the massacre of our own judgment?

Albright writes:

“April 6, 2018

On April 28, 1945 — 73 years ago — Italians hung the corpse of their former dictator Benito Mussolini upside down next to a gas station in Milan. Two days later, Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker beneath the streets of war-ravaged Berlin. Fascism, it appeared, was dead.”

Not so simple: Fascism didn’t die in May 1945. Far from it. Fascism is not just a “right wing” phenomenon. It is more about people feeling and thinking all alike, like the fasces bounded together around an axe, which is where the concept comes from, to symbolize in Rome “We the People” bounded around the lethal power of justice. Fascism is first of all, this binding together of a population as a weapon around a threat.

In May 1945 the fascist Stalin was alive, and well. Fascists such as Mao, Ho Chi Minh, were helped and financed by the USA (!!!) The US overall behavior in the war was highly suspect: why didn’t the USA declare war to Germany in 1939, when France and Britain did? Why did the USA wait until Japan and Germany attacked the USA? De facto, US placidity against it enabled the Axis to believe it had the tacit support of the USA (until it found otherwise in late 1941).

Albright:

To guard against a recurrence, the survivors of war and the Holocaust joined forces to create the United Nations, forge global financial institutions and — through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — strengthen the rule of law. In 1989, the Berlin Wall came down and the honor roll of elected governments swelled not only in Central Europe, but also Latin America, Africa and Asia. Almost everywhere, it seemed, dictators were out and democrats were in. Freedom was ascendant.

Today, we are in a new era, testing whether the democratic banner can remain aloft amid terrorism, sectarian conflicts, vulnerable borders, rogue social media and the cynical schemes of ambitious men. The answer is not self-evident. We may be encouraged that most people in most countries still want to live freely and in peace, but there is no ignoring the storm clouds that have gathered. In fact, fascism — and the tendencies that lead toward fascism — pose a more serious threat now than at any time since the end of World War II.

(Survivors of war and “the Holocaust”? There were 5 million Jewish survivors of the attempted murders of all Jews in Europe; however, between the Nazis, Stalin and Mao, the number of people who died in extermination camps was above… 60 millions… In a 30 year period… So let’s be careful, about the notion of “the Holocaust”… Which one?)

Ms Albright doesn’t mention that this system she cherishes was set-up by the USA, to profit the USA more than the rest of the world (the FDR administration having bought Stalin by offering him half of Europe).

Ms. Albright evokes a so-called “free press”, as a conveyor of truth (please, All Bright, tell me why the New York Times and The Guardian, both supposedly left of center, banned all my comments for more than five years? Just because they could? Or because they didn’t like my theory of plutocracy?) However much of the press has been owned or influenced (through sponsors) by the wealthiest individuals. And the Internet is ravaged by “fake news”.

Among the causes of strife Ms Albright identifies, worldwide, the main one, the perception and actuality of inequality, is not mentioned. Wealth, and the plutocracy it brings, are exponential phenomena. They are the main threats to civilization. Actually, people voted, at least in part, for Hitler and Mussolini precisely because those two campaigned explicitly against “plutocrats” and inequality.

The problems are piling up quickly, many of them driven by climate change. This makes most people fearful, anxious to bundle as one and strike: fascism. But that’s just a symptom. The root cause is inequality, not just in wealth, but also in decision-making.

Patrice Aymé 

Note: Here is Ms. Albright, dissembling away in the traditional way:What is to be done? First, defend the truth. A free press, for example, is not the enemy of the American people; it is the protector of the American people. Second, we must reinforce the principle that no one, not even the president, is above the law. Third, we should each do our part to energize the democratic process by registering new voters, listening respectfully to those with whom we disagree, knocking on doors for favored candidates, and ignoring the cynical counsel: “There’s nothing to be done.”

From Albright, nothing about unjust laws which make it so that the wealthiest can pay no taxes, get ever wealthier, and buy politicians… Nothing about direct democracy, all about “candidates”, presumably, “Manchurian Candidates”, brainwashed and all….

INVICTUS We Should BE: Free Will, Determinism, Classical & Quantum Mechanics, Neurohormonal States

April 2, 2018

Conventional Wisdom sits back and whines: ’With Quantum Mechanics, we lost determinism. Is Free Will in truth just Quantum chaos?’

Advanced Wisdom replies: ’Not so, just the opposite. Absolute determinacy from classical mechanics never existed, because it depended upon infinitely precise initial conditions. These couldn’t be. Now, given that small initial discrepancy, after an arbitrarily long time, one will get an arbitrarily large discrepancy. Exit your sacrosanct “classical determinacy”, which will always churn out arbitrarily large errors, given enough time.

Conventional Wisdom:’In any case our brains are ruled by Quantum Mechanics, and that’s nondeterministic’.

Advanced Wisdom:’The Quantum is not truly “nondeterministic“. The Quantum attributes probabilities to outcomes, the so-called “Quanta”, but the latter outcomes don’t change ever more with time… whereas wilder and wilder outcomes is what happens in Classical Mechanics, as time goes by!

Classical Wisdom sees Classical Mechanics as deterministic, whereas Quantum Mechanics is not. However, Quantum outcomes are determined at the outset (so-called “Quanta”), whereas all and any classical mechanical evolutions diverge indefinitely ever more… SO CM predicts whatever, in the long run, whereas QM is more regimented…

Conventional Wisdom:’Quantum Mechanics more deterministic than Classical Mechanics? The world is upside down with you! Whatever, you confuse me. Forget these abstractions, forget Quantum Mechanics, for the sake of the argument at hand, I don’t believe in Free Will. Let me tell you why. View the brain as a machine with programs. Given some circumstances, the brain will make just one computation, with just one solution. Presto, no more Free Will! We are just Turing machines! Nothing you can do, you will always get the same result.’

Advanced Wisdom:’I embrace BRAIN BUILDING, not just body building! I have a little experiment for you. Sit in a chair, think about a given Problem, call it P. Then go run half an hour on a mountain trail, an exercise of the muscles, the heart, and the brain processing thousands of data points per second. See what happens to what you thought P was. By the way, I stupidly miscomputed today the firmness of the snow while running, I should have recognized the tint of that particular patch of snow, crashed forward after by right leg went deep through the treacherous white substance, skidded on my left knee, careened off the snow bank, crash landing in stones on the side, making a small bloody gash in my left hand, it sure impacted my mindset a bit… But I digress… The point is this: try then to think of Problem P, while running for quite a while, brain concentrated on potential trajectories’ dangers. You will think of P, but it will turn out in a different context, with different details, different motivations (typically more macroscopic, bigger picture style), in a different mood, in other words, in a different neurohormonal and oxygen set-up. The computational paths offered inside the brain to solve P will be different than those which were apparent while sitting on that chair. Hence if one had a set C of solutions from the chair, one now has a set R, from running: the set of solutions is not C, but C + R!’

In other words, if you want to get out of Plato’s Cave, go running! Running, physical activity, or different neurohormonal set-up, will change your mind. Learn to change minds as if it were clothes. It beats just putting someone’s else shoes.

CW:’What does that have to do with Free Will?’

AW: ‘Classical Free Will is a choice between a number of solutions, hypotheses, emphases, etc. Call that set of choices and outcomes N. Conventional Wisdom assumes that N just is, like the Moon, a well-determined object, like in a category (category is here in the mathematical sense). However, I just demonstrated that N, the set of choices and outcomes presented to Free Will is, itself, a function of neurohormonal states. Changing the neurohormones changes the categories which make up that set N (something Aristotle didn’t think of when he invented categories in the non-math sense). Moreover the latter neurohormonal states can be controlled and chosen from, or selected… At will. When Socrates and his golden youth friends and lovers decided to go get drunk and party all night, chewing the fat, they decided to change their neurohormonal states from normal to wacko. That’s the whole idea of Dionysus, bringing a fresh re-think, and re-emote of the whole mindset. Nietzsche correctly deduced that was one of the causes of the Greeks’ superiority. Similarly, religions prohibiting nuttiness, foolishness, jokes and feasts, as Catholicism and Islamism, fabricate dull minds. So thinking can be controlled with meta controls upon the environments in which the thinking, and the feeling, are conducted, and produced. That’s why people read books and go the theater, among other fantasies.

Conventional Wisdom: ‘Are you getting meta on me, once again?’

AW: ‘Yes, Free Will is not free of neurohormonal or other mental states, thus we are free to control Free Will by selecting for oneself one’s environmentsA form of meta control. For example, when the wrongfully revered philosopher Heidegger decided to become a Seminarist, or a Nazi, he made meta choices which impacted his freedom of thought or, of will, looking forward. Same when doctor Asperger decided to help support the Nazis’ first extermination program, a context which led him to invent the pseudo-disease named after him (and which was used as a reason to assassinate thousands of German children).’    

While in captivity, Nelson Mandela recited that poem by William Henley to fellow prisoners, and they felt empowered. The myth of “Sol Invictus” was imposed by Roman Emperor Aurelian, around 250 CE, it was a first run of the fascist Catholicism Constantine would impose in 325 CE, 75 years later…

CW:’Are you saying that I can act to steer my own Free Will, by controlling my mental context?’

AW:’Yes. And you are deeper than you think: the notion of “steering” was introduced by Schrodinger, in connection with Quantum Entanglement. Steering of mental state and Free Will is closely related. Indeed, changing context is pretty much how Quantum Steering shows up! Hence the Schrodinger cat conundrum…

CW:’Enough, my head is exploding in cats!’

AW:’Take hold of yourself, remember the honor of the human spirit! When talking about Free Will remember that, as in Quantum Mechanics, you can’t control the solutions, but you can control the spaces which make them appear!

CW: ‘Can we get practical here?

AW: ‘It’s very practical! I just said there was Free Will, and how to create more of it!”

CW: ‘You want to create Free Will by acting on the mental contexts, by making it so that they will offer, or create, more solutions?

AW: ‘Exactly! The idea is not exactly new. Forcefully changing neurohormonal states is why Socrates and his ilk got drunk, and Indian Swamis, and countless Shamans around the world experimented with mind altering drugs! Or why we dream, for that matter!’

CW:’Do you do drugs?’

AW:’No need, I just plug-in my brain, it’s foolish and creative enough on its own, no need to reduce performance with junk, no alcohol, nicotine, pot, or hallucinogens for me, I hallucinate in a controlled fashion, so to speak. Indeed, I do mind altering activities like mountain running in snow, hence yesterday’s amusing crash.’  

Conventional Wisdom: Alright, you, you and you. Kudos to you, oh great youyou. What is the point of Free Will anyway? Why should we worry about it?

AW: Because if we don’t we don’t do anything about it, we just wait for nuclear war, and the rising of oceans by 70 meters, whatever comes first.

CW:’You worry about big stuff. What’s in it for small people with small preoccupations?’

AW: ‘Very simple. If one doesn’t believe in Free Will, one is a slave to destiny. However, human beings aren’t made to be slave to destiny. Human beings, as they evolved, over millions of years, could check, every day, that they were actors of change. Profitable change, life saving change. Thus, lack of belief in Free Will is fundamentally inhuman. Lack of belief in Free Will corresponds to not behaving according to the owner’s manual. And it has to be discouraged, thought evolution. Therefore, lack of belief in Free Will makes individuals lugubrious, sinister, unhappy, and a danger to their human environment. Let alone the entire biosphere. Amen.

CW: Being happy is a moral duty?

AW: Being happy and willful is a moral duty, in the sense of the morality evolution itself created us with. We were evolutionary made to be Lords, not slaves! Embracing such an attitude, embracing happiness and wilfulness, has practical consequences, such as an unwillingness to confer our decisional powers to representatives whose powers corrupt them absolutely!

CW: What is the overall metaprinciple, to use your semantics, at work here?

AW: The honor of the human spirit is the ultimate principle. What evolution created us into, it did, because it enhanced our mental performances. We are naturally evolved artificial intelligence. It’s our mental superiority which drove us, as a species. Insinuating that we are not free to be happy, free to become captains, and even architects, and engineers, of our own souls, is to undermine the human spirit, our core principle, it is to subscribe to the principle of slavery.

Patrice Aymé

Galaxy Without Dark Matter Found: Another Proof of New Physics?

March 31, 2018

ASTRONOMERS OGLE GALAXY DEVOID OF DARK MATTER!

The newfound object NGC 1052-DF2, a vast, diffuse galaxy, defies conventional explanations. It is to be feared (just kidding!) that various breakthroughs are in the offing, including in fundamental physics (if I believe that what could be true, SQPR, a proposed new foundation for physics, is really true).

The “ultra-diffuse” galaxy NGC1052-DF2, seen here in an image from the Hubble Space Telescope, is the same size as our Milky Way but contains just 1 percent as many stars. It also appears to be empty of Dark Matter. And therein a big problem for Conventional Wisdom:

Yes, that’s a galaxy… Looks dark, but without DM… Nothing the LCDM model saw coming… Is resistance to the New Physics Futile?
NGC1052-DF2 doesn’t look like a typical spiral or elliptical galaxy, but rather a loosely connected glob of star-pocked gas and dust. If it contained an amount of Dark Matter typical for a galaxy of its size, the Dark Matter’s gravity would hasten the motions of several star clusters that orbit it. Instead, van Dokkum’s team found those star clusters moving languidly around NGC 1052-DF2… That suggests Dark Matter can decouple not only from regular, visible matter, but from entire galaxies—a phenomenon LCDM cosmologists claimed couldn’t happen.

Large galaxies, radiant agglomeration of stars, are tied up together by the gravitational pull of Dark Matter, a hidden material that is revealed and observed by its gravitational pull upon the shiny stars it seems to outmass by a factor of ten (we know this from the virial theorem, which basically say: v^2 ~ M/R, where M is the global gravitational mass, v the (“dispersion”) speed, and R the radius where the speed is measured; so the higher the speed of the orbiting stars, clusters, galaxies, at the greater distance, the higher the global mass M).

Dark Matter is considered to be as a defining feature of galaxies as stars and gas… and is thought in the reigning LCDM model, to provide the gravitational seeds from which galaxies assemble and grow (a top cosmologist Sean Carroll insisted on this point in correspondence with me). I strongly disagree with the latter point (in my model, Dark Matter is EMERGENT, a fruit of the Quantum Interaction).

A galaxy without Dark Matter—or without some bizarre, twisted deformation of gravity (such as MOND) that would mimic Dark Matter behavior, in some, only some, cases, and not in cases such as the Bullet Cluster —would contradict the religion of LCDM (Lambda Cold Dark Matter) and the sect of MOND, in other words, such a heretical galaxy would shred official thinking and its main alternative. Yet that is exactly what Yale University astronomer Pieter van Dokkum and his colleagues have found, they report in a study published Wednesday in Nature.

From the horse’s mouth:

A GALAXY LACKING DARK MATTER

(Pieter van Dokkum and Al.)

Studies of galaxy surveys in the context of the cold dark matter paradigm have shown that the mass of the dark matter halo and the total stellar mass are coupled through a function that varies smoothly with mass. Their average ratio Mhalo/Mstars has a minimum of about 30 for galaxies with stellar masses near that of the Milky Way (approximately 5 × 10^10 solar masses) and increases both towards lower masses and towards higher masses… Here we report the radial velocities of ten luminous globular-cluster-like objects in the ultra-diffuse galaxy NGC1052–DF2, which has a stellar mass of approximately 2 × 10^8 solar masses. We infer that its velocity dispersion is less than 10.5 kilometres per second with 90 per cent confidence, and we determine from this that its total mass within a radius of 7.6 kiloparsecs is less than 3.4 × 10^8 solar masses. This implies that the ratio Mhalo/Mstars is of order unity (and consistent with zero), a factor of at least 400 lower than expected. NGC1052–DF2 demonstrates that dark matter is not always coupled with baryonic matter on galactic scales.

The twelve (!) authors from Yale, Harvard, Heidelberg, Santa Cruz, who used the giant Keck observatory in Hawai’i, don’t shrink from the exciting consequences:

Regardless of the formation history of NGC1052–DF2, its existence has implications for the dark matter paradigm. Our results demonstrate that dark matter is separable from galaxies, which is (under certain circumstances) expected if it is bound to baryons through nothing but gravity. The ‘bullet cluster’ demonstrates that dark matter does not always trace the bulk of the baryonic mass, which in clusters is in the form of gas. NGC1052–DF2 enables us to make the complementary point that dark matter does not always coincide with galaxies either: it is a distinct ‘substance’ that may or may not be present in a galaxy. Furthermore, and paradoxically, the existence of NGC1052–DF2 may falsify alternatives to dark matter. In theories such as modified Newtonian dynamics (MOND) and the recently proposed  emergent gravity paradigm, a ‘dark matter’ signature should always be detected, as it is an unavoidable consequence of the presence of ordinary  matter. In fact, it had been argued previously that the apparent absence of  galaxies such as NGC1052–DF2 constituted a falsification of the standard cosmological model and offered evidence for modified  gravity. For a MOND acceleration scale of a0 = 3.7 × 103 km2 s−2 kpc−1, the expected28 velocity dispersion of NGC1052–DF2 is σM ≈  (0.05GMstarsa0)1/4 ≈ 20 km s−1, where G is the gravitational constant—a factor of two higher than the 90% upper limit on the observed dispersion.

So exit MOND, Modified Newtonian Dynamics, once again! How many times do we need to kill that vampire? MOND is philosophically ugly, as it is an ad hoc theory; strictly engineered to explain a peculiar feature that is observed… Whereas my own theory, SQPR, was invented for reasons which have strictly to do with the foundations of Quantum Theory, and Dark Matter, and, moreover, Dark Matter as it turns out to be, is just a particular consequence.

***

SQPR, Sub Quantum Patrice Reality Shines, Once Again:

In SQPR, Dark Matter is created by the Quantum Interaction, at particular cosmic distances from ordinary matter, and only then. The density of matter at cosmic distances needs to be just so, otherwise Dark Matter, Patrice’s way, will NOT decouple from normal matter. Instead the galaxy will not develop Dark Matter, just DELOCALIZED Matter.

So how did we get to the present situation, as found in NGC1052–DF2? Suppose the existence of an ultra diffuse gas, on a larger scale than the Milky Way, way back in time. Under its own gravity, the ultra diffuse gas, will gather, and form stars. What is the difference with LCDM? In LCDM, Dark Matter is present to start with, seeds and accelerates galaxy formation.

Whereas in my model, the universe, being much older, perhaps 100 billion years old, there is no need for Dark Matter to seed galaxies: in complete contrast with LCDM, there is plenty of time for ultra diffuse gas to gather into ultra diffuse galaxies…. So this is not just about Dark Matter: the way I see it, it’s the entire vision of cosmology and the Quantum, which is in question.

Patrice Aymé

***

Contextual Notes: 1) Only discovered in 2015, ultra-diffuse galaxies are thought cosmic laboratories for Dark Matter. Surely, astronomers thought, Dark Matter must provide severely needed mass to form these objects so devoid of normal stars. That thinking led van Dokkum and his colleagues to build the Dragonfly Telephoto Array, a telescope in New Mexico created for the express purpose of scrutinizing ultra-diffuse galaxies. The researchers initially used Dragonfly to study a different galaxy, which possesses an almost inconceivably gargantuan amount of dark matter, a “weird” result in and of itself. When van Dokkum and his team found NGC 1052-DF2, they expected to see something similar.

“Instead we saw the opposite, leading to this remarkable conclusion that there’s actually no room for dark matter at all in this thing,” van Dokkum says. “It’s not something we were looking for or expecting. At all. But you go in the directions the data takes you, even if it’s in contradiction to what you’ve found before.”

In Dragonfly images, NGC 1052-DF2 looked like a standard ultra-diffuse galaxy. But when the team compared them to a better image from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, they found a surprising mismatch. What had seemed to be dim basic galactic structures in Dragonfly’s view appeared as point-like sources in the Sloan image. To resolve the discrepancy, the team scrutinized the galaxy with the Hubble Space Telescope, the W.M. Keck Observatory and the Gemini Observatory, the latter two on giant volcano Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

The point sources proved to be 10 globular clusters—compact and spherical groupings of stars orbiting the galaxy’s core. The researchers then set about measuring the movements of the clusters as a way to estimate the galaxy’s total mass. Simply put, the velocity at which clusters orbit a galaxy is related to the amount of matter—normal or dark—that a galaxy contains. Using information from the Keck telescopes, the team found the globular clusters were moving much more slowly than expected. And therefrom the tale above…

2) Without modifying vastly the age of the universe, as I boldly suggest, there are a few theories to explain how galaxies like NGC 1052-DF2 could come together without being seeded by Dark Matter (as LCDM necessarily has it). That would be a downer (for me!) but, in the interest of scientific fairness, let’s mention them.

It could be that NGC 1052-DF2 was once a glob of gas perturbed by another unseen (?) galaxy nearby, sparking DF2 star formation. Or, van Dokkum speculates, perhaps this ultra-diffuse, dark-matter-free galaxy arose from two streams of gas that collided and compressed to form a scattering of stars. Another idea, first proposed more than two decades ago by Yale astronomer Priyamvada Natarajan, suggests galaxies like NGC 1052-DF2 form from galaxy-sized globs of gas clumping together in jets ejected by supermassive black holes in large galaxies’ hearts. NGC1052-DF2 does reside in a region where such things could occur, as it lies near a giant elliptical galaxy, those are the largest galaxies, with a supermassive black hole at its heart.

Notice that, in any case, it looks bad for MOND… MOND has several variants, but, basically, says that, at the scale of 50,000 light years (say) gravity, as described by the French astronomer Ismael Bullaldius (Ismaël Boulliau), a notion picked up by Hookes, Newton, etc. and amply confirmed since on the scale of the Solar System, is actually false. Thus the virial theorem (see above), at the scale of R = 50,000 light years, should be false. But above, everybody (not just me, but also the honorable professional astronomers) assumed it was true! Not just that, but the pull of gravity was observed to be just as needed. MOND assumes it’s stronger! So MOND, in case there is indeed NO apparent Dark Matter in NGC 1052-DF2, predicts the existence of NEGATIVE mass (reference the movies Avatar? I presume?) Laughter, please!

In any case, time will tell… Paradigm shift, or overlooked subtleties? Big telescopes are coming soon to a desert near you…

WE ARE A FORCE THAT GOES!

March 30, 2018

RULED BY METAPRINCIPLES WE ARE, AND THEY CAN BE NOT JUST LOGICAL, BUT EMOTIONAL!

It is traditional among those who subscribe to obsolete thinking, to claim that nothing is surprising anymore about human nature. As if “human nature” was the ultimate principle. Well, no. The ultimate principle are principles, not nature. Indeed, at the core of human nature is change. So how to you define change? We are children of time and necessity, not just chance. And we think, and feel, the former even ruling the latter, and thus prisoners of established sentience we are.

In particular, human beings establish metaprinciples culturally, and live according to them.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2010/08/19/tasmanian-effect/

(This massive essay, 14K words long, used the notion of “metaprinciple” heavily and attracted some academic attention. However, differently from the concept of “plutocracy”, the concept of “metaprinciple” which is much more important: plutocracy is tied to the rise of civilization, whereas metaprinciples are tied to the rise of the genus Homo!)

Metaprinciples are principles higher than principles themselves. For example, during the more than the millennium during which Catholicism ruled European minds, the metaprinciple of God was supposed to rule not just logic, but also the emotional system of the 99% (as Nietzsche pointed out the remaining 1%, the nobles, the knights, descendants of the Roman Equestrian Order, although grandiose Christian outwardly, were closer, in practical mentality, to lions; this little reminder as my way to celebrate “Easter”).

An example of God as metaprinciple is found where Islam rules. In Muslim countries slogans such as “God is great” (Allahu Akbar) and “If God wants it, Si Dieu le veut” (Inch’Allah) still convey the God metaprinciple in everyday life, all day long. The God metaprinciple infect all emotional systems, as they did in the European Middle Ages. War ravages Algeria, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Chechnya? God is great!

And this won’t stop soon: the Egyptian dictator, just re-”elected”,  ex-head of the army, who flaunts his faith in “god”, wants to make “atheism” into a crime. It may sound innocuous, but by evoking the “God” metaprinciple all the time after or before acts, human beings reject all responsibility, and, instead, transfer it to something omnipotently irresponsible. In particular, the religious and socio-economic orders are God’s work, so nothing can be done about them. God freezes societies in time. And what’s wrong with that is that circumstances change quickly, so saying nothing can be done about them, because it’s God’s work, is advocating pain, suffering and extinction.

Sharing some basic metaprinciples familiar to all brainy species, and the brainier, the more shared! (Scene in Ethiopia. I have myself met a wild hyena, from a similar distance, at night. Hyenas aren’t stupid, and they think twice before attacking a human child!)

Metaprinciples leave traces in human minds, long after their genesis. Same as Roman roads. German Federal Road 55 follows exactly the Via Agrippinensis of the Romans (and few Germans know this; this is one of many such cases; for a while Agrippina was de facto the first female ruler of Roma, and it’s exactly why her son eliminated her!)

Another example? The tall and massive Mahaut, Countess of Artois, who had stolen her rule from her just as gigantic nephew, Robert III, the way he saw it, may have poisoned several French kings, including the five-day old baby, Jean I. In truth, Mahaut’s rule was

legitimate according to Salic Law (Salic Law itself being another metaprinciple).

Few figures in literature are as terrible as the Countess Mahaut, murderer and maker of kings.

Massie, Allan (27 March 2015). “The Original Game of Thrones. The Wall Street Journal. (5 July 2015.)

Literature? Not just this, history! Robert III, enraged by what he viewed as an usurpation by his aunt, caused troubles for a decade, and urged and led the teenager Edward III “Long Shanks”, king of England, grandson of Philippe IV of France “Le Bel”, to launch what would become the quasi continuous war between France and England from 1337 CE to 1815 CE… And which the despicable rebel Joan of Arc, fighting a child, king Henry VI, relaunched, just after it had been extinguished, one of the great crimes of humanity, heaviest in historical consequences, according to yours truly:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/05/18/joan-of-arc-roasted-too-late/

Studying those events, one can see metaprinciples at war. Human beings are not exactly irrelevant, but they are less significant than the colliding metaprinciples.

Metaprinciples were logically and emotionally at work in the failure of Rome: Augustus advised in his will, to leave the Germans alone. To NOT leave the Germans alone, one may have needed more advanced military technology (a superiority the Romans of the Republic had against all their adversaries, but the Celts… but a superiority which was lost after two centuries of the fascist empire).

But Plato had said innovation was bad. Whereas the Roman Republic evolved away from direct Greek influence, once Rome conquered Greece, Plato and his ilk acquired an enormous, and disastrous influence on Roman Zeitgeist: Christianism is basically Platonism for idiots.

Even more fundamentally, the metaprinciple of the Republic, the state considered as the “public thing”, not the thing of a few, let alone one, the intelligence of the many, of the public, is what made Rome, Rome, and presided over the rise of the Republican civilization which recently left the Earth… When that metaprinciple faded away, under the blows of plutocrats, and four centuries later, under the blows of bishops ingratiating themselves to Roman emperors, and rabid monks thrilled to have a divine reason to express their hatred, Rome got transpierced by countless invasions of ill-minded savages, and up to 90% of citizens died, most of them deliberately exterminated by the barbarians…

But let’s go back to the present-day ill-informed pseudo-intellectuals, and those metaprinciples they can’t see. In a  debate on Arte, the Franco-German TV, intellectuals, even a French Jewish female rabbi, claimed, with outraged superiority, that there was no anti-Judaism in Islam’s sacred texts. An obvious lie, easy to disprove, in hundreds of quotes, yes, hundreds, extracted from Qur’an and Hadith:

Sahih Muslim Book 41 Hadith 6985:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (Peace be upon him) as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me;

come and kill himbut the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”

Metaprinciple at work here? God wants you to kill, according to ethnic origin. The reaction to this metaprinciple (ignore it!) is itself a revelation of another, like those trains which hid each others, all to better crush us. One of the most evil metaprinciple: sometimes it’s more moral to feel right, than to read, let alone read well

A metaprinciple of modern pseudo-intellectualism (I will not even honor those feeble minds with the word “left”, which ill defines them) is that whatever comes from the “Orient” and savages, is more civilizationally advanced. This is from a lack of knowledge: before the Orient was the Orient, it was us: Sumer was us, Babylon was us, and then there was 1,000 years of Greco-Romans. Even much earlier, Mesopotamian peasants and their descendants had mover to Italy, through Crete…

As I said, meanwhile, in Egypt, the comically just re-”elected” dictator, Al Sisi plans to make “atheism” a crime. Cynically, the US, UK, and France sell Al Sisi weapons. Al Sisi himself probably does not believe in the God metaprinciple, just as Roman emperor Constantine and his most of his successors, or countless emirs used the God metaprinciple cynically just as well.

Experiments on primates such as Capuchin monkeys show that the deepest metaprinciples are biologically anchored. For example a sense of justice. So is love, helped by oxytocin. This is why the occasional lioness endears herself with a young antelope. Or why wild hyenas can be readily tamed, if one gives them food (although a hyena can kill a human being in seconds, if one gives the hyena food, the hyena perceives that it would dumb and unfair to kill who feeds her).

In the end the logic ends with a question: so what are we? The sum of our metaprinciples? Yes. So are hyenas. A difference between humans and hyenas is that humans are endowed, not just with hands, but a meta-principle, biologically anchored: spiritually managed and directed change, driven by the philosophical method, and the science we have learned to gather & preserve for millions of years.

The best of us are better defined as Victor Hugo put it:

Je suis une force qui va!”. Yes, WE ARE A FORCE THAT GOES. (The quote is from Hernani, Act III, scene 2; Hugo says much more: …”Agent aveugle et sourd de mystères funèbres!“… thus connecting with the Dark Side, the indispensable enabler of the human condition… More on this, another day…)

In other words, God exists and it’s us (the reality that the “God” metaprinciple tried to cover-up). Yes, it’s a heavy load. A galactic sized load, maybe even cosmic. So we may as well learn to laugh: a comic cosmos, is better than a tragic one!

Patrice Aymé

P/S: How does the metaphysics above relates to preceding metaphysical systems? First notice that, in practice, the Abrahamism/If God Wants It (Dieu le veut/Inch’Allah)/Amor Fati/Eternal Return of the Same/Nietzschean system, is all the same, and opposed to the one I propose. A further observation is that what I propose is firmly anchored in human psychobiology. So they are the weirdos, and I am not… or at least less so.

Some may sneer that change for change’s sake is hardly a metaphysics. Why not whatever, including nihilism? However, this changing change is oriented by local morality: given two situations, choose the one with an apparently better moral outcome.  There again that is what the wisest humans have done for millions of years, helping us to become what we are. So this is not new. All what is new, is to describe explicitly what has long been a driver of human evolution…

Open Society & Open Minds Start With An Open Economy

March 27, 2018

A friend of mine made a panegyric to Apple, Inc. Many of his followers applauded. Some expect Apple to become the first trillion-dollar corporation (in market value), and are thrilled by the notion. Others say that Amazon will get there first…

Kudos to the giant tech monopolies! say those whose (materially winning) morality is just the win. Most people can’t be winners, so they settle for applauding, and “supporting” winners (even when the winners win to their own detriment!) Do I have to be the first to decry this form of emotional fascism? Supporting winners because they win, is defeating to the self, and others! That hysterical behavior should be handled with extreme caution!

Moreover, and indeed, winners can profit from self-feeding exponential effects, the phenomenon at the root of plutocracy: the more power one has, the easier it is, to get even more. However, too much power in too few hands is intrinsically inhuman. Indeed, prehistoric humans didn’t live, and thus didn’t evolve, that way. And too much inhumanity is intrinsically evil.

I believe that open products, such as the open source model is superior than being dependent upon a particular corporation. The open-source model is a decentralized software-development model that encourages open collaboration. A main principle of open-source software development is peer production, with products such as source code, blueprints, and documentation freely available to the public.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open-source_model

Open societies are better than too much power in too few hands, as Pericles and philosophers around him pointed out, 25 centuries ago.

Be it only because too much power in too few hands kills innovation, democracy, justice, equality, hope, civilization, the climate and coast lines.

These are the stock values, BUT they are roughly proportional to the revenues of the companies in question, and the explosion of the latter has everything to do with the monopolistic positions they were allowed to acquire by the US government (it may have to do with their spying potential, direct inquiries to the NSA). GAFA (Google Apple Facebook Amazon) has three times the revenue of IBM + Microsoft + Intel (or so). Google and Facebook monopolize 75% of US media income from advertising!

The monopolistic tech economy which has developed in recent years is a disaster for innovation, democracy, morality or even cognition. I still own an old Mac, and when Steve Jobs had his own computer company (after being fired from Apple, and before being re-hired!) I bought one of his (very expensive) state of the art computers. Still have it. Also owned ipads… So I am not anti-Jobs or anti-Apple, by any means.

But I practice the open economy, open tech, with a  way better laptop than any Apple sells presently, etc. Please excuse my negativity, but I have seen a Fed judge pass an outrageously biased, pro-monopolistic tech judgment at 11 am, resign at noon, and accept a 5 million dollars payment from Facebook at 2 pm… (I can hear the powers that be, applauding in the distance…)

While an ex-president goes from super yacht to private island, to super yacht, a plutocrat reigns in the White House, while the National Rifle Association gives millions to key US politicians. Each. Meanwhile the European Union has proclaimed there are no tax havens in Europe (thus, by that token of measure, none anywhere in the world). And Vlad Putin insists to show his might, from forbidden military neurological chemical weapons, to nuclear powered nuclear armed cruise missiles, perpetually flying around the world, or, at least, South America.

But there is worse: an entire generation is molded by Zuck’s conception of relationship, a gooey notion of search, and willingly offering all of one’s privacy, so the wealthiest can get wealthier and more powerful, while they pay back the “innocents“, in the Medieval sense of the term, with a sense of tribal rage to soothe their simple minds

Open society brings open, thus stronger minds, as Aspasia told her husband Pericles, 25 centuries ago (and Pericles needed to be told, because, as he himself recognized later, he was not as smart as the circumstances required, by a very long shot; his banning of immigration, and his little plans about how to fight the Peloponnesian War backfired dramatically, with extreme prejudice to civilization: his sons were considered non-citizens, thanks to their dad, and his war plans brought the “plague”, devastating Athens!)

As the fate of Athens, and thereafter, of Greek democracy and even civilization, clearly demonstrated, stronger minds are not just a luxury, they are key to the survival of the noblest aspects of the human spirit (the Roman Republic made a similar demonstration, itself partially a consequence of the preceding one). We think, thus we survive…

Patrice Aymé

EMPEROR CONSTANTINE CHRISTIAN TERRORIST 325 CE (Fall Of Rome Part X)

March 25, 2018

Had that bloody, mass murdering tyrant, the Roman emperor Constantine, not invented, and subjugated, the Roman empire with Catholicism, would the apocalyptic collapse of the Roman empire, state, economy, society and population have happened? Under the terrible holocausts of multiple invasions? Maybe not under its most gentle form. However, once Constantine ordered the burning of books, under the penalty of death, as part of what he called Catholicism, launching prohibition of learning, and critique, such a mighty blow against intelligence made the survival of the empire nearly impossible.

Because the survival of civilization depended, and depends, upon intelligence, and one can’t have intelligence without reading books, and other media especially those which are critical of established thinking. Hence censorship is never a good idea. (Yes the present system on the Internet, with the mobbing effects of “likes” and “trends”, and selecting only those who are alike, are going against critical thinking, thus any thinking…)

All the more as, since emperor Diocletian, just before Constantine, God (“Sol Invictus”) had been made in the image of the emperor, Master (“Dominus”), Dominator, of the universe. And indeed, the leadership of the Roman empire proceeded to make a succession of aberrant decisions, steadily making the situation worse over the Fifth Century (for example using the Huns, yes the Huns, as allies against the Goths, and others, thus giving to the Huns the knowledge and inclination to ransom the Roman empire ever more, and live off invasion and empire, as the Muslims would do in the Eight Century, under broadly similar circumstances…) 

Some may prefer to speak about Islam, in light of the latest Islamist attacks in France. However, it is the exact same subject. Indeed, in case you ask, the system of thought of Constantine’s Catholicism directly led, three centuries later, to the genesis of Islam, and its most awful practices (the cousin of Muhammad who got the idea of Islam, was a professional Christian, the most famous in Arabia, and it had to do with Arianism, see below). In the West, Catholicism subjugation (Islam means subjugation to the same god as Constantine’s) was mitigated by the survival of the old secular Roman and Salic laws (both written in Latin; Roman secular law’s foundation was a millennium old by the time of Constantine’s birth).

Thought is the architecture of advanced life. Be it with individuals, tribes, and empires. Be it mammals, or birds. Trained Cormorants in Yunnan can bring 50 kilograms of fish a day. They can’t swallow, because of a tight collar. However, they expect a tasty reward every seven fishes. If they don’t get it, they go on strike. The collaboration between a fisher and a bird depends upon intelligence, and even a computation.

Smarts aren’t necessarily very smart: a video just released show an automatic car killing a pedestrian pushing a bike in Arizona. It was at night, 10 pm in winter, and the automatic car didn’t have its high beams on…which any safe driver would have had in such a case, driving on a dark road; I know the car has a LIDAR to see in the dark, but, this is where the nerds went wrong: two systems are safer than one. Learn, stupid programmers!

When Rome and the “Central State” (Zhong Guo, China) failed, it was because of a failure of high level thinking. Typically, the degeneracy of thought took generations to unfold (consider the Carolingians, and Tang or Qing China…).

Thought is the architecture of civilization. Thinking, debating together, is one of the main causes for the existence of cities.

***

Abstract: CATHOLICISM WAS INVENTED, AND ESTABLISHED BY ROMAN EMPEROR CONSTANTINE, MOST VICIOUS MASS MURDER, AND IT SHOWS:

Here is my sword…Who Shall I kill Today, among those who I suspect want to displace me? Constantine’s Christian Terror Still Rule! (The beautiful statue above is from… 1998, it sits in front of York Cathedral; Constantine was proclaimed “Augustus”, supreme emperor, by his troops, in York, to Constantinople’s great rage…) This is a cute, boyish interpretation of Constantine’s face. The real thing was more frightening, imperial and domineering, with really ferocious eyes… The entire imperial court was afraid of Constantine when he was barely 16. He also fled the court to join his father in Britain at some point, in the sort of action James Bond himself won’t dare accomplish (Constantine respected “the king”… as long as it was himself…) See the sculpture below.

The historian Gibbon, an Englishman with a considerable bit of French Enlightenment mixed in, rightly accused Christianism to have caused the Fall of the Roman Empire (so the Catholics “prohibited” his famous “Decline and Fall of Rome”).

My point of view on the Decline and Fall doesn’t contradict Gibbon’s thesis, but put it in much more general malevolently degenerating context. Rome took six centuries to degenerate ever more (example of degeneracies in China often take many generations: the Tang went down over two centuries).

I believe that the rise of plutocracy in the Roman Republic led the fall of the latter, replacing it my the Principate (a kind of Republic with one man above all, first, the Princeps, the Prince; the system we have presently is similar. Princeps are Trump, Xi, Putin, Macron, Merkel, May, etc.; the German fürst is an imitation),

The problem is that a Principate works according to the Leader Principle (dear to Hitler as Führer Prinzip, Stalin, Mao, Xi), and smothers rebellious intelligence (China being right now an excellent example). So problems arise, which the state doesn’t have the intelligence to solve: as happened in Rome… Except through more authorianism. Indeed, after 300 years, the Principate turned into a Dominate, under Diocletian, who found Darius, or Stalin-like solutions. Diocletian retired, and was spectacularly succeeded by Constantine (who killed a number of his colleagues, including Lucinius, coldly assassinated in his prison cell, in 324CE).

Constantine imposed the rule of Christ, molding the Trinity God he connived, into a mysterious (Trinity, one as three), jealous, ferocious, omnipotent, vengeful, sadistic, cruel despot, just like him, justifying him and his tyrannic descendants reigning over, and propping up a morally, judicially, socially, politically, mentally and intellectually degenerating Rome!

Some will scoff, that, for example, what does the “jealous” god have to do with the fall of the empire? Because the “jealous” god was jealous of the ideas of all and any. Moreover the “jealousy” of “God” made jealousy a highly respectable emotion, thus one wants to duplicate. Hence emperor Valens, jealous of his highly victorious young nephew Gratian, emperor of the Western empire.

Ideas and emotions are highly contagious. Here is an example out of billions: After “Communist” Prince Ceausescu from Romania visited “Communist” Emperor Mao Tse Tung in China, he was so impressed, that he went back to Romania and established a dictatorship as bad as the one oppressing China. It ended up, with mass starvation, same as in Venezuela today, and for the same exact reason (Ceausescu and his wife Elena, who was jealous, malevolent, domineering, and head of the feared “Securitate”, the Secret Police, thus perhaps more powerful than her husband, were summarily executed, as deserved, when their rule was destroyed).

The officialization and sanctification of mental subjugation to plutocracy got started with the order, by emperor Constantine, of burning books which he didn’t like.

***

Catholic State’s Crimes & Terror:

After seven years of incarceration and torture, astronomer Giordano Bruno was tortured and burned alive by the Vatican, after piercing his palate with a blunt instrument, for alleging that the dots of light one sees in the sky on a clear night were other stars, some with other inhabited planets circling them, complete with men (burned 1600 CE).

This tragedy, testimony of the Christian horror which terrorized Europe for centuries is something that used to be well-known, Giordano Bruno was one case of many. In France alone, in the Sixteenth Century, smart, cultured noblewomen, printers, atheists, were burned alive for reading “prohibited” books. Thus setting back civilization (uppity women, uppity publishers, uppity thinkers were burned alive; those who were not, like Luther, Calvin, Rabelais and Montaigne, were extremely well-connected with, or instrumentalized by, the most powerful of the elite).

For example Buridan’s works were put at “Index Librorum Prohibitorum” in 1474 CE, hiding to history this giant of thought’s enormous contributions to physics, astronomy, mathematics, logics, or even politics… And thus disappearing these enormous advances from even the most advanced circles. All those who attribute heliocentrism to Copernicus are unwittingly collaborating with the fascist theocrats. To this day.

The penalty for having prohibited books was death. Everybody should know this, it’s a historical and moral point of the greatest importance. One has to know it, so as not to repeat it, say with the Islamofascists who have fascinated the so-called European left, since there are Nazis and they think (the Muslim Brotherhood of Tariq Ramadan’s grandfather was closely tied to Nazism; with sheer malevolence, the European pseudo-left, being deprived of Stalin and Mao, fell in love with Oxford Muslim propagandist Tariq Ramadan, a violent rapist prone to beating up women, finally at last jailed in France, after 20 years most loved by French TV and media…).

***

Catholic State’s Ongoing Disinformation, Lies, Fake News About Its Own Crimes & Terror:

Then came a big surprise: as I checked Wikipedia, I was told the “Index” started a century later. That’s an obvious lie. Little Christian rats in the Vatican have been busy rewriting history, in the Internet, to further their miserable chewing up of reality into something more digestible to their gullible public.

As I checked around the Internet, googling away, I was so astounded by the amount of fake news, disinformation & outright lies from Catholic and Orthodox Churches, that I decided to write an essay on these rodents, lest the anti-civilizational plague they afflicted by further, and again, contaminate the innocent masses. Indeed a flurry of fake thinkers blathered in recent years, that Giordano Bruno had not been killed for his idea of exoplanets (he was). An article in Scientific American (March 2018) carefully examined the charges against Bruno:

By analyzing all accusations, I found that the Inquisition’s strongest case against Bruno was, in fact, and contrary to the conventional wisdom, his belief in many worlds. It was the most frequently recurring charge. For example, one accuser testified that in prison one night Bruno brought a fellow prisoner “to the window and showed him a star, saying that it was a world and that all the stars were worlds.”

Thirteen times, in 10 depositions, six witnesses accused Bruno of believing in many worlds. No other accusation was invoked even half as much….. in nine books Bruno did assert his cosmology of many worlds. It was one of 10 propositions the inquisitors censured: “Again,” they wrote, “he posits many worlds, many suns, necessarily containing similar things in kind and in species as in this world, and even men… In 1597, Bruno was confronted by inquisitors, including  the authoritative theologian Robert Bellarmine. Bruno ‘was admonished to thus abandon his delusions of diverse worlds.’”

Nineteen years later, Inquisitor Bellarmine would go on to confront the extremely well-connected Galileo, personal friend of the Pope. Bruno, his palate pierced, was burned alive in 1600 CE.

***

The viciousness of Catholicism emanates from his author, Roman emperor Constantine:

Saint Constantine, emperor, inventor, Apostle, and murderer: I kill, therefore I am, just like the God of the Christians. If you have a problem with that, my sword will solve it, although I can get you legally executed, like my son the Caesar Crispus, who didn’t like my Catholicism, or I can get you steamed alive, like my second wife, who had displeased my mom, Saint Helena…

Killing for reading books displeasing Catholic authorities was started by the most vicious emperor Constantine, inventor of “Orthodox Catholicism” in 325 CE! Edicts to kill all “heretics”, those “who have made a choice” were ordained by sole Roman Emperor Theodosius I in 380 CE!

***

SAINT & EMPEROR CONSTANTINE STARTED TO KILL PEOPLE FOR HAVING BOOKS:

Wrote Constantine:”…Now this also I ordain,
that if any one shall be found secreting
any writing composed by Arius,
and shall not forthwith deliver up
and burn it with fire,
his PUNISHMENT SHALL BE DEATH…”
Constantine, one of the greatest criminals ever, is a saint of the Orthodox… (Christo-fascists attacked me on the Internet, specifically, Twitter, for telling the truth about mass murderer and serial killer, wife boiling Constantine, and then added, Christian style… “Sorry”, see in comments…)

Here his Constantine criminal megalomania in its entirety and in full context:

Preserved in Socrates Scholasticus’ Ecclesiastical History 1:9 and elsewhere, the following letter of sole Roman Emperor, Augustus Constantine, self-described as the “Thirteenth Apostle”, a so-called “Saint” of the Orthodox Church  contains explicit references to the banning and burning of books written by Porphyry, and that Porphyrian Arius of Alexandria immediately following the council of Nicaea, circa 325 CE. In his following letter to “Everybody”, Constantine classifies the “Prohibited Books” as:

(1) Evil, wicked, rebukable, rejectable, unlawful, and anti-Christian

(2) To be the subject of righteous destruction, along with their memory

(3) to attract the death penalty: if found in possession of any “banned books”

(4) The banned books and the heretics were to be dealt with by fire.

Here it is in its megalomaniac entirety:

CONSTANTINE THE KING,

TO THE BISHOPS AND NATIONS EVERYWHERE:

“Inasmuch as Arius imitates the evil and the wicked,

it is right that, like them, he should be rebuked and rejected.

As therefore Porphyry, who was an enemy of the fear of God,

and wrote wicked and unlawful writings

against the religion of Christians,

found the reward which befitted him,

that he might be a reproach to all generations after,

because he fully and insatiably used base fame;

so that on this account his writings were righteously destroyed;

thus also now it seems good that Arius

and the holders of his opinion

should all be called Porphyrians,

that he may be named by the name

of those whose evil ways he imitates:

And not only this, but also

that all the writings of Arius,

wherever they be found,

shall be delivered to be burned with fire,

in order that not only

his wicked and evil doctrine may be destroyed,

but also that the memory of himself

and of his doctrine may be blotted out,

that there may not by any means

remain to him remembrance in the world.

Now this also I ordain,

that if any one shall be found secreting

any writing composed by Arius,

and shall not forthwith deliver up

and burn it with fire,

his punishment shall be death;

for as soon as he is caught in this

he shall suffer capital punishment

by beheading without delay.”

 

So much for the goodness of “Saint” Constantine.

Speak as you wish, little Patrice! Catholicism survived me 17 centuries! Me, Constantine, I am God, I decide who God is, you are nothing! And, anyway, you owe your 21st century to me!Instead my thesis is that, as soon as book burning Catholicism was in power, the Roman empire was condemned. In China, the prohibition of “one hundred philosophical schools”, and the destruction of related books (but not of historical, accounting, science and tech books) preceded only by a few years the destruction of the Qin dynasty, which had just unified China (greatly, I believe, like Rome, from respect for the law; the state of Qin had blossom for centuries, its swift demise after prohibition of variegated thought is no accident; however, in that case, the replacement regime, the Han, immediately pursued the Chinese “central state”, whereas Rome fell to thoroughly destructive invaders…)

What Gibbon said about Augustus, Rome’s first tyrant, mostly hold for Constantine, with just two details vastly different:

“The tender respect of Augustus for a free constitution which he had destroyed, can only be explained by an attentive consideration of the character of that subtle tyrant. A cool head, an unfeeling heart, and a cowardly disposition, prompted him, at the age of nineteen, to assume the mask of hypocrisy, which he never afterwards laid aside. With the same hand, and probably with the same temper, he signed the proscription of Cicero, and the pardon of Cinna. His virtues, and even his vices, were artificial; and according to the various dictates of his interest, he was at first the enemy, and at last the father, of the Roman world.”
― Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

One difference: Constantine replaced the Republican Constitution, what was left of it, by  that Catholicism he had invented. The other difference: Constantine was no coward, but just the opposite. (oh, by the way, the Vatican put Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, on its “Index” of its “Prohibited books“)

***

What does this all mean? The place of the Logos! Thus of Tyranny!

Arius clearly argued that the Logos had a beginning and that the “Son” (the mythical creature so-called “Jesus Christ”), therefore, was not eternal. Moreover, and more importantly, the Son is clearly subordinate to the Father, the Logos being the highest of the Created Order.

In other words, when logic confronts Jesus, logic should win!

In particular, when logic confronts the tyrant, the Roman emperor, Constantine, logic should win!

No wonder the fascist murderous tyrant Constantine, who had just invented “Catholic Orthodoxy” (translation: “Common Sense Universalism”), was upset, and couldn’t let it be. Bishop Arius (of Berber origin) was dismissed and exiled. But he had a huge support throughout the world of Christians. Upon returning to Constantinople, in 335 CE, Arius was apparently poisoned (a violent “descent of his small intestines” having affected him suddenly).

I am not making this up from secondary sources, like a vulgar Internet parrot, but from my own reading, as like Arius’ god, I tend to be a primordial being. Here it is:

”ἡ σοφία σοφία ὑπῆρξε σοφοῦ θεοῦ θελήσει. (Wisdom came to be Wisdom by the will of the Wise God.)

επινοεῖται γοῦν μυρίαις ὅσαις ἐπινοίαις πνεῦμα, δύναμις, σοφία, (Hence he is conceived in innumerable aspects. He is Spirit, Power, Wisdom,)

δόξα θεοῦ, ἀλήθειά τε καὶ εἰκὼν καὶ λόγος οὗτος. (God’s glory, Truth, Image, and Word.)

σύνες ὅτι καὶ ἀπαύγασμα καὶ φῶς ἐπινοεῖται (Understand that he is also conceived of as Radiance and Light.)”

***

THE FALL OF ROME INTO STUPEFYING STUPIDITY:

Forbidding books is NEVER a good idea. Either a book is not terrible, and it shouldn’t be censored, or it is, really, terrible. If the latter, it shouldn’t be censored either, as it is a testimony of the terrible ideas and emotions people can have, and, thus, a warning and a data set. (However categorisation, plausibility and significance indexes should be assigned, whenever possible, as I argued; not a question of censorship, but of providing some assistance to the unsupported reader…)

Things went quickly from bad to worse: under the pretext of Christianity, all creative though was “making a choice” (which is what “heresy” means), punishable by death by burning, typically. The formidable Qin dynasty quickly succumbed after its own book burning…

***

Civilization is, first of all, a mental phenomenon, and plutocracy attacks minds, to subjugate them:

Plutocracy, the power (kratos) of the Dark Side (“Pluto”!), the Invisible Side (Pluto could make himself invisible) over society, an exponential disaster, has struck many times Rome, Egypt, China, France. It rots intelligence, individually, and socially. Plutocracy happened to Venice, Baghdad, Florence, Spain (chronically, starting with Ferdinand and Isabella), 17th, 18th century France, the German Second Reich (twice). Mental decay implies political, moral and then strategic decay, military defeat, extermination, or revolution.

Paradoxically, economic decay doesn’t necessarily follow plutocracy, far from it: consider Great Britain, which thrived in the 18th century under a plutocracy so strong, revolution was avoided, differently from the US and France. But, in Britain, soldiers and sailors could die from flogging (differently from the French and American armies, where the practice had been stopped).

Archeology of the Roman empire, pioneered by the work of a French archaeologist in the 1950s, has SHOCKINGLY demonstrated clearly in the case of Rome that the economy was thriving, prior to the invasions by bloody savages determined to kill as many as they could, to avoid the Roman authorities military backlash (the smart idea of the bloody savages, considering their small numbers, was to deprive of men and taxes the potentially massive Roman counter-attack: the invading Germans and Huns after 406 CE did this deliberately, so did the Arab Muslims of the first Caliphs…)

Both around 406 CE, when the Western empire collapsed, under Germanic and Hunnic pressures, and under the Muslim aggression started by Muhammad himself, the local economy and demography was at its peak, when the invasions occurred… And it is why they happened, actually!

The exact phenomenon was at play when the Carolingian empire, or what was left of it, was attacked by the Hungarians, the Vikings, and the Muslims. As in the case of Rome, original version, enormous internal fighting (plutocracy at work!) made the invasions possible. As in the case of Rome, an enormous collapse ensued, especially from the Scandinavian invasions: Western France, dismayed by the inability and apparent unwillingness of the imperial army to defend the core of Western France, exploded in 60 states, after subjugating the Viking; however Charlemagne’s Roman empire, Saxon led version(!) was able to throw out both Hungarians and Islamists (Eastern Rome helped for the latter)  

The same happened clearly in the case of Egypt, or China’s Song dynasty. Actually the Jurchen in 1127 and then the Mongols invaded China in 1237 CE, just when new rice cultivars enabled a doubling of production, hence population. One lends to the wealthy, one also invades the wealthy: that’s where the money is. It happened to Egypt, Babylon, Rome, China, Aztecs, Incas. The massive illegal immigration flux into the European Union is an example.

***

Conclusion: Rome fell militarily (twice: once in the West, from Germans and Huns, circa 406 CE; and then in the East, from the Islamists in the Seventh Century). Military collapse was one consequence of political collapse, itself a consequence of mental collapse.

Emperor Constantine, and his imperial successors (Julian excepted) were looking for a metaphysical justification for their bloody rule, and a way to make it sustainable, while, added bonus with a dreadful consequence, making all their subjects stupid. (Yes the present state of the Internet makes people more stupid than they should be, and even dangerously stupid; I have proposed remedies, such as a government of We The People sanctioned voluntary validity and significance ratings…)

The Roman tyrants found, in the invention of Catholicism, the ideal weapon against intelligence and creative minds. However, the first most significant effect was military collapse: first, with Valens god-like jealousy bringing the crucial defeat of Hadrianopolis, second when British legions revolted, defeating Gratian, and then killing him in Lyon, the bottom line was hatred with Gratian’s ways, the imposition of Catholicism (“Nicene” faith). Magnus Maximus became emperor.

When Magnus Maximus lost to Theodosius, five years later, Britain and part of Gaul became practically independent and fell off the empire. Details are important: emperor Maximus’s edict of 387 or 388 which censured Christians at Rome for burning down a Jewish synagogue, was condemned by Milan’s bishop Ambrose, who exclaimed: ‘the emperor has become a Jew. Ambrose, patron Saint of Milan, was no doubt, malevolent by 1946, Nuremberg tribunal standards… I propose to demote him as a Saint…

Saint Ambrose was the deus ex-machina of several emperors. You look for Hitler? Contemplate bishop Ambrose! (One of the so-called “Doctors of the Church”… The notion of “Doctor of the Church” itself is dissembling, as the true father, the self-described “13th Apostle, was Constantine!.. )  And yes, it connects to the burning of G. Bruno: the Catholic church, the world’s oldest institution is very consistent with itself: in 384 A.D. the belief in many worlds was categorized as heretical by Philaster, Bishop of Brescia, in his Book on Heresies. This condemnation was echoed by subsequent hateful Catholic authorities, including Saints Jerome, Augustine and Isidore.

All of this can be repeated today. The monopolies of some media outfits, and the governmental manipulations of public opinions they bring inaugurate, should they persist, a little Dark Age. However, in the thermonuclear age, a little darkness will go a long way… The considerable darkness of the Catholic Church has gone a very long way. Its malevolent descendancy was not just crusades such as against the cathars (millions massacred), and centuries of terror, Inquisition, and religious wars, but even the creation of Islam (directly inspired and launched by a Catholic monk, cousin of Muhammad’s wife…).

Some may say it was all a mistake, a good Christianism, not book-burning Catholicism, could have been devised. However, the omnipotent god is obviously not omnigood, or then suffering is good (as Christ said, squirming on his cross in ecstasy). Yes, suffering is good, said Constantine, and for reading books Constantine doesn’t like, Constantine shall be good to you, and burn you. Amen. 69 years later, the empire was collapsing beyond repair as several small tribes streaked through the dumbstruck empire, destroying all in their path….

Patrice Aymé

***

Some technical notes:

A (Small and Partial) Depiction of Rage And Destruction of Antiquity By Savage Roman Emperors:

Constantine is probably the emperor who killed the most of his closest relatives and friends… (And Constantine had lots of competition, in the realm of relatives’ massacres from Claudius, Nero, Commodus…) Constantine unified the empire and imposed the intrinsically fascist and violent religion known as that of Christ. But truly that Christian violence was enacted by Constantine,

Constantius II, Gratian, Theodosius I, all tyrants, so-called “emperors” who buried Rome, or, at least, the Roman spirit, what was left of it.

Late in his reign Constantine ordered the pillaging and the tearing down of pagan temples, in particular the Temple of Aphrodite in the Lebanon. Constantine ordered the execution of eunuch priests in Egypt.

His son, Constantius II passed laws dating in the 350s ordering the death penalty for those who performed or attended pagan sacrifices, and for the worshipping of idols. After the unfortunate death of Julian in an ill conceived war in Mesopotamia, the army scrambled to nominate Jovian as emperor, and the burning of libraries became systematic (363 CE). “Men In Black” (monks) would destroy the libraries, for example in Alexandria.

Gratian played a major role encouraging raging Christian superstition: like his uncle Valens, he took advice from the ilk of (“Saint”) Ambrose, bishop of Milan (and so would Theodosius). However, he dressed too much like a Scythian (meta group including the Huns), and an insurrection from Britain defeated him in Paris, killing him in Lyon. Gratian had selected Theodosius as co-emperor. Theodosius reiterated Constantine’s ban on pagan sacrifice and haruspicy on pain of death. He criminalized and punished magistrates who did not enforce the anti-pagan laws. He broke up pagan associations and temples.

Between 389-391 Theodosius imposed the infamous “Theodosian decrees,” which established a practical ban on paganism: visits to the temples were forbidden, remaining pagan holidays were abolished (although Christ’s birth was moved from Spring to the Winter Solstice, the Saturnials, so the Saturnials won Christ over!) The Sacred fire of Vesta in the Temple of Vesta in the Roman Forum was extinguished, the Vestal Virgins disbanded, auspices and witchcraft punished. Theodosius refused to restore the Altar of Victory in the Senate House when asked to do so by pagan Senators.

In 392 Theodosius became sole emperor of the whole empire. He authorized or participated in the killing of pagan priests, destruction of many temples, holy sites, images and objects of reverence throughout the empire. The Franks Arbogast (military head of the Western empire) led a rebellion against Theodosius’ mad Christianism… But was defeated by a hurricane wind blowing the wrong way, on the second day of a crucial battle.

Theodosius later decrees were effectively an extermination of tradition. Anyone caught practicing the ancient cults, was killed, his or her property confiscated, even for private familial rites within the privacy of a home. Many covertly still chose to do so in defiance of the edicts, despite the risk to themselves and their heirs. As a symbol of his wanton rage and destruction, Theodosius also cancelled the Ancient Olympic Games; the last record of the Olympics being celebrated in Greece is from 393 CE.

***

The Edict of Thessalonica was jointly issued by Theodosius I, Gratian, and (nine years old!) Valentinian II on 27 February 380:

The edict came after Theodosius had been baptized by the bishop Ascholius of Thessalonica upon suffering a severe illness in Thessalonica. Like the modern French (and Americans, Romans loved abbreviations). I reproduce it as it was, this depicts well the authoritative mentality imposed on  “We The People”. Actually, such a notion has disappeared, all what are left are “populos” (“nations”) which are ruled (“regit”) by our “clemency” (“clementiae”): in other words, the “populos” are ruled by “imperators” who are gentle, placid, mild… Just like the Christian God.

IMPPP. GR(ATI)IANUS, VAL(ENTINI)ANUS ET THE(O)D(OSIUS) AAA. EDICTUM AD POPULUM VRB(IS) CONSTANTINOP(OLITANAE).

Cunctos populos, quos clementiae nostrae regit temperamentum, in tali volumus religione versari, quam divinum Petrum apostolum tradidisse Romanis religio usque ad nunc ab ipso insinuata declarat quamque pontificem Damasum sequi claret et Petrum Aleksandriae episcopum virum apostolicae sanctitatis, hoc est, ut secundum apostolicam disciplinam evangelicamque doctrinam patris et filii et spiritus sancti unam deitatem sub pari maiestate et sub pia trinitate credamus. Hanc legem sequentes Christianorum catholicorum nomen iubemus amplecti, reliquos vero dementes vesanosque iudicantes haeretici dogmatis infamiam sustinere ‘nec conciliabula eorum ecclesiarum nomen accipere’, divina primum vindicta, post etiam motus nostri, quem ex caelesti arbitro sumpserimus, ultione plectendos.

DAT. III Kal. Mar. THESSAL(ONICAE) GR(ATI)ANO A. V ET THEOD(OSIO) A. I CONSS.

EMPERORS GRATIAN, VALENTINIAN AND THEODOSIUS AUGUSTI. EDICT TO THE PEOPLE OF CONSTANTINOPLE.

It is our desire that all the various nations which are subject to our clemency with moderation, should continue to profess that religion which was delivered to the Romans by the divine Apostle Peter, as it has been preserved by faithful tradition, and which is now professed by the Pontiff Damasus and by Peter, Bishop of Alexandria, a man of apostolic holiness. According to the apostolic teaching and the doctrine of the Gospel, let us believe in the one deity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, in equal majesty and in a holy Trinity. We authorize the followers of this law to assume the title of Catholic Christians; but as for the others, SINCE, IN OUR JUDGMENT THEY ARE FOOLISH MADMEN, WE DECREE THAT THEY SHALL BE BRANDED WITH THE IGNOMINIOUS NAME OF HERETICS, and shall not presume to give to their conventicles the name of churches. They will suffer in the first place the chastisement of the divine condemnation and in the second the punishment of our authority which in accordance with the will of Heaven we shall decide to inflict.

GIVEN IN THESSALONICA ON THE THIRD DAY FROM THE CALENDS OF MARCH, DURING THE FIFTH CONSULATE OF GRATIAN AUGUSTUS AND FIRST OF THEODOSIUS AUGUSTUS[4]

— Codex Theodosianus, xvi.1.2

What Use Philosophy?

March 23, 2018

Only Philosophy will teach the children well:

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics), or STEAM (adding “Arts” to the preceding) are the latest (well justified) fashion in teaching children in the USA (inspired by China and Singapore). The method is spreading (and I contributed to push it). However, a subject has been forgotten, the most important: philosophy (and, in particular, the history upon which it rests!)

Like science, philosophy is a sum over histories. But it isn’t just that. Like science, philosophy is a method. Like science, the engine of philosophy is unbiased common sense. Yet, a more general method. Like science, philosophy uses facts, and is itself, among other things, a set of facts (not forgetting that ideas and emotions are, themselves, facts). Yet, philosophy doesn’t just use scientific facts (that is, facts beyond any suspicion). Like science, philosophy is a method of enquiry to guess further facts. Like science, philosophy establishes systems of thought. Like science, philosophy can use a single fact to put in doubt a system of thought, and build another. Unlike science though, philosophy can guess facts, and propose (or even establish) systems of thought on those guesses.

Hence philosophy, the philosophical method, common sense applied to whatever, is the key to major advances in science. Major advances in science call upon, and necessitate, guessing the imaginable. They call upon the philosophical method. No philosophical method, no major advances in science possible. Indeed, any major advance in science is built on new facts, and to go fetch those new facts require desire, hope, imagination, systems of potentialities, fancy financing on fumes, curiosity about what could be, etc.

Our bodies love to dance, in part because we love music, part of our dialogue with the universe. Learning to learn, or just to tolerate others’ music is not just pleasant, it’s enriching, a form of wealth which honors the spirit, source of all and any goodness, besides being our very essence!

Buridan’s momentum, force, inertia, relativity of motion and heliocentrism in the Fourteenth Century provide a  nice example of philosophy & science entangled:

Indeed Buridan (circa 1340 CE) guessed that Aristotle’s false physics depended upon neglecting air resistance and friction in general. Absent those errors, what was left was the theory of inertia, a particular case of impetus theory. Buridan noted that we can only ever observe relative motions. We cannot really know absolute motions. So if, for example, we happened to be in a boat going along a coastline, we really don’t know whether the boat we are in is moving or if the coastline is moving alongside us. Nicole Oresme pushed further the physics unmoved on a movable ship argument (replicated by Galileo 250 years later).

A consequence was that a heliocentric system, with planets orbiting the sun indefinitely (and the Earth rotating on itself) was a possibility. Buridan then slyly said that such a system couldn’t be distinguished experimentally from the one in “Scripture”, so we may as well believe the latter. It was an invitation to develop other observations.

Amazingly, both (rector) Buridan and (elected bishop in 1377 CE!) Oresme, having removed all reasons against heliocentrism, and having argued that it was more economical a system of thought, then said it couldn’t be decided, pointed out that this failure showed the limits of reason, and thus that reason couldn’t be used against (their) faith: “What I have said here, by way of diversion of intellectual exercise can in this manner serve as a valuable means of refuting and checking those who would like to impugn our faith by argument.”

“Argument” (reason) is a very powerful, says Oresme, but not powerful enough to determine whether the Earth moves or not. Similarly, if “argument” cannot answer a physical question about the world, we have to be very careful about arguing about faith. Oresme has therefore used rational arguments about physics, involving relativity of motion, to show rational argument can come short, in physics, and thus metaphysics (“faith”).

This is a magnificent example of how entangled science, philosophy and… faith, are.

***

Trying to teach science alone is trying to teach the chicken, how it moves, without its head (philosophy):

Philosophy goes much further than science and its scientific method, as the philosophical method, which uses whatever, enables to establish systems of thought using whatever, including emotions, songs and poetry (the great Twelfth Century philosopher was relatively as famous as the Beatles for his songwriting; even more than Buridan and Oresme, Abelard was in total war with the Catholic Church, namely Saint Bernard; he got emasculated and excommunicated for it…) In particular, philosophy establishes wisdoms of life: why and how to live. Can’t live without it. It may as well be taught, lest all young end up as Jihadists, snowflakes, or culture deprived nerds.


Here is a bit of the love of more advanced wisdom. More advanced philosophy enables to listen to music others, less mentally advanced types, can’t hear. Therein a happiness others are deprived from. However, establishing new thinking inside one’s brain is expensive, not just expansive, and involves suffering. Thus, some whine, Nietzsche prefered suffering to happiness. (Not really true: Nietzsche observed that lions are happy, and  imagined them happy not to be mice… Bertrand Russell, like all good hypocrites, practicing the opposite of what they preach, disingenuously called Nietzsche not compassionate… While siding with the despicable Kaiser in World War One… while Nietzsche correctly vomited the preceding Kaiser already)

Here is a relevant philosophical perspective Buddha himself blithely ignored: IF ONE PREFERS SUFFERING TO HAPPINESS, HOW CAN THINGS GET WORSE? Verily, suffering and happiness are entangled: happiness is best experienced, like the best tsunami, with the contrasting experience, of a lowering of expectations…

Philosophy at its best. Science can’t do that.  

Science can study suffering, science can’t say why one should study suffering, and what to do with it. Only philosophy can do that, thus only philosophy can order science to get going.

We, humans, have been scientists, for millions of years, but so are we, because we love to be wise. That’s how we are. Neglecting the love of wisdom is neglecting us. It is easy to see how greedy potentates will want to neglect us. Let them not have it. In ancient Rome, philosophy failed first, followed by the failure of democracy, then intelligence. Teach philosophy to children, and, if you don’t, ultimately science and technology themselves will falter, as they did in Rome, barbarity will win, as civilization won’t be sustainable anymore. 

To finish how we started here, the most important subject to teach, with heart and mind, is the most encompassing philosophical attitude. How to do this with children? By teaching them the history of civilizations (notice the plural). Killing two birds with one stone. The rise of violent Muslim Fundamentalism in Europe, in particular France, is directly attributable to an astounding lack of knowledge of history among not just the young, but also self-described “intellectuals” (multiple shootings and wounded in France again today, March 23, 2918, in attacks claimed by Daesch, the so-called Islamist State… no problem we shall just live in a state of siege, adorned by shootings in the streets, schools, supermarkets…)

Generally when taught, in only in one hour, the rough circumstances of Muhammad’s ascent to the position of Mecca’s dictator, a discernible mental shift among young Muslims is discernible. It’s just astounding that this telling part of history is not taught anywhere in French schools (all the more as France is a direct political, cultural and legal descendant of the Roman State, half of which got violently invaded, and ruined… by the immediate successors (“Caliphs“) of Muhammad…

China, Europe, India, are the major scientific, and technological powers of civilization. It is no coincidence that they are also the philosophical superpowers.

Human is the philosophical animal. And science, facts known for sure, a consequence. Art also: try to make symbols that will last 50,000 years… without any science.

You want life and the pursuit of happiness? Let society pursue philosophy first!

Patrice Aymé

 

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