Archive for August, 2014

CONSCIOUSNESS IS QUANTUM

August 30, 2014

Consciousness is Quantum, because it cannot be anything else. Another, more vague argument, is that consciousness is ultimate, and so is Quantum Physics. It’s simple and natural to identify them, on the ground that there should be just one ultimate thing.

If consciousness were not Quantum, it would have to be classically explained. On the face of it, this is completely stupid: the world is Quantum, not classical. If consciousness were not Quantum, it would have to be “classical”, that is, not fundamental.

The Quantum is so incredibly fundamentally new, that it has changed even the notion of what it means to be enlightened:

Cat Seen From Entanglement, Not Light (!)

Cat Seen From Entanglement, Not Light (!)

[One of these Schrödinger cats was created by Entanglement, not Light!]

An argument for the Quantum nature of consciousness can also be derived along… classical lines familiar to old fashion philosophers.

Consider Classical Mechanics. Classical Mechanics is completely deterministic: given initial conditions, which can be determined with complete precision, a few differential evolution equation determine fully what will happen forever thereafter.

Thus, in Classical Mechanics, there cannot be any free will. Contrarily to observation. Also one then is left to ponder what good consciousness would have. Even pain would be useless, because the very conception of warning does not present any utility. Any process being ineluctable, human beings, and other animals are just witnesses to their own condition.

This means that the basic philosophy of consciousness and freedom contradicts Classical Mechanics.

Far from being philosophically satisfying, Classical mechanics is absurd. Descartes guessed this, as, inspired by Classical Mechanics (then being elaborated to the point it was clear that the equations were fully deterministic), he suggested animals were just machines.

To make human beings in something more, God was needed, it was confusedly felt. But then the omnipotence of God re-created the same problem as before: an omnipotent God replaces Classical Mechanics, and remakes the world into something humans cannot influence.

Quantum Physics has provided with a way out. It’s everywhere, unbeknownst. It is not just a physics of space and time, as so called “Relativity” is. When Poincare’ suggested the concept of Relativity, he meant one of space and time.

However, Quantum Physics entails a much more general relativity, the relativity of knowledge itself. Such is the Schrödinger Cat Paradox. Cats can be seen where one’s light has NOT reached. (The experiment was published a few weeks ago.)

What else do we know that can extent where no light of ours has passed? Consciousness, of course.

And the brain in all this?

The brain is a classical object, at first sight, a topology, a place with a notion of neighborhood. Different organs and networks in the brain accomplish different tasks, all at the same time. That’s what led some to the notion of subconscious. Indeed, most of these tasks are not consciously perceived: most of what the brain does is done in the background, and at best only very dimly perceived. For example heart management is hidden.

Yet, should one get a heart attack, one’s heart will become the focus of one’s consciousness (starting with a big pain). So what does consciousness do? It brings problems to the fore, and tasks where creativity, neurological creativity, is needed right away.

The brain, at first sight, is a classical object. But, at second sight, and actually, beyond sight, there is entanglement. And it allows to see.

It’s not as Pascal put it posthumously, that the heart can see where reason cannot, it’s that consciousness can see where light cannot. Remember the picture above.

How does consciousness do this? The brain, as I said has a local topology, yet consciousness rules over it all, that is, non-locally (we know this intuitively, or, as we also say, philosophically).

That perceived non-locality is something in common with Quantum Physics. The picture of the Schrödinger Cat made without light having gone from the cat to us was obtained by Quantum Entanglement, and not by a physical (“Hausdorff topology”) process.

Quantum Physics is not Hausdorff: points cannot be separated from each other. Not just that, but Quantum Physics is not local. Neither does consciousness feels like something, nor should it be, philosophically speaking as something that can be separated, and localized.

Some may scoff that the preceding may be all very interesting, a perspective on what may one day be better understood. But that it’s not practical.

Not so. The day has come, it’s here now.

Robots will seriously replace, displace and overcome humans when Quantum Physics becomes the core of Artificial Intelligence. Verily, one should talk about Artificial Consciousness (AC).

Indeed, the Quantum, once installed within machines in full, will show up as synthetic free will. The first Quantum computers are officially operational (see the D-Wave Two, an Adiabatic Quantum Computer; actually, you won’t see it, it’s sold for ten million dollars each).

Quantum processes, at best, are determined by non-local processes that we cannot inspect. Another point in common with consciousness.

So we are, most probably, Quantum computers. Classical Mechanics could explain us, Quantum Mechanics gives us freedom, and all what conscience is. This means that, as we create full Quantum computers, we will create, if my guess is correct, full consciousness of our own making. And we will be able to augment at will how conscious those machines will be.

Until they take over, of course.

The crown of creation will soon create souls. And soon engineer souls. Our apish ancestors started by stealing fire, we will end up giving birth to gods.

Patrice Ayme’

Bring Euro Down, Save Germany’s Soul

August 29, 2014

Another day, another sneak remark of Krugman against the Euro which mars an otherwise well thought of train of ideas. However, our student the dear professor is learning. He just made an excellent editorial “The Fall of France” about which I commented, and that was published (whereas the Times censored my observations about Putin’s naked aggression in Ukraine: comparisons with Hitler, however scholastic, are not welcome!). More on this later.

Krugman’s tendency to fall into Euro bashing prevents him to see the (obvious) solution. Let alone mention it. The solution lays for all to see in history, when the Euro solved the German problem for the best:

History As A Sum Of Solutions

History As A Sum Of Solutions

Question: what did I exactly mean? See below, for those who do not see the blatant answer in the violent graph above. Here is part of Krugman’s “Germany’s Sin”.

“Simon Wren-Lewis has two very good posts about the European situation, first laying out the problem, then taking on those who don’t get it. I just want to add a bit to one of his key points: the impossibility of a resolution unless Germany accepts higher inflation.

In Germany, there’s a strong tendency to moralize, with appeals to the country’s own recent economic history. We pulled ourselves out of our late 90s doldrums, the Germans say, so why can’t Southern Europe do the same?

But a key part of the answer is that Southern Europe now faces a much less favorable environment than Germany did then — and Germany is the reason why.”

For a full decade, eurozone inflation was 2 percent, while inflation in Southern Europe was considerably higher. Germany could gain competitiveness simply by having low inflation — no need to deflate. But these days German inflation is only one percent, French inflation close to zero percent. Thus eurozone inflation is no more than one percent. Gaining competitiveness means that Southern Europe should deflate.

And Krugman to conclude:

…”deflation worsens the debt burden. Add onto this the fact that the eurozone as a whole remains depressed thanks to fiscal austerity and inadequate monetary expansion, and Germany is in effect demanding that Spain and others accomplish a task vastly harder than the Germans themselves had to achieve. 

And the worst of it is that there’s no sign that Berlin understands, or is willing to understand, this reality. And if the euro fails, that refusal to think clearly will be the fundamental cause.”

Right. And also wrong. “If the euro fails” is not really a possibility. It would cost so dearly, to so many people, that it would be akin to war, and Europeans have learned a few things that way. A lot of milder drastic changes can be effected before coming to blows.

Notice an obvious help Germany had when it was the sick economy of Europe: a Euro which was 40% lower. It’s curious, but no accident, that Krugman fails to notice this.

Bringing the euro to 83 dollar cents has happened before, and was there to help Germany, then. The good professor should mention this more. That would help the German miscreants to remember the past better. (Of course, the Euro at 83 Dollar cents would be a disaster for the USA, hence Krugman’s failure to notice the obvious!)

Instead, to brandish the “failure” of a currency directly used by so many people is not serious. More than 50 countries and 530 million people use the Euro (counting both the 340 million of the Eurozone, plus nearly 200 million pegged to the Euro, and unilateral users).

Even if the euro disintegrated, the nasty mood of some in Germany would not just persist, but prosper further. Ultimately that bad mood has to be crushed at close quarters.

Germany has become the world’s greatest produced of lignite, the dirtiest coal. It’s high time for some serious German bashing. Just slamming the door is not enough: historically Germans understand barking best (as Nietzsche may have said).

Bringing the euro down would help the suffering European countries a lot. Let’s remind the Germans of this. Remind them of their own past, and other previous pasts: German currency manipulations to gain advantage go all the way back to the early 1920s (thanks to Dr. Schacht, head of the central bank, and later one of Hitler’s main promoter!)

Bringing the euro 35% down: that would be a triumph, a real euro success. (That would just put the Euro where it’s supposed to be, in long term parity with

Hating the Euro is hating Europe. This being said, differently from the Federal Reserve Bank of the USA’s mandate, the ECB’s mandate makes the “value of the currency” the “principal object” of its activities (that’s article 127 of the European Constitution). By contrast the Fed has a DOUBLE mandate: insuring the value, and optimizing economic activity.

I had a fight with a French economist when I pointed out the flaw of the ECB mandate. She told me: ”No, the ECB’s mandate is like the Fed’s!”. Her own son, himself a high flying interest rate analyst in London, agreed with me. She erupted: “I have taught these things, for years!”. She brandished books. I told her to look it up in the Internet.

Article 127(1) of the Treaty defines the primary objective of the Eurosystem:

“The primary objective of the European System of Central Banks […] shall be to maintain price stability”.

Article 127 continues as follows: “Without prejudice to the objective of price stability, the ESCB shall support the general economic policies in the Union with a view to contributing to the achievement of the objectives of the Union as laid down in Article 3 of the Treaty on European Union.”

Even as my friend, aghast, looked at the screen, and read those words, she could not understand what they meant. yet, it’s simple: it meant the destruction of the European economy.

Why? Because “price stability” is unsustainable, just as a plane cannot fly at ground level. In economics, the ground is zero percent inflation. Right now it’s only .3% in the Eurozone. For why inflation too close to zero is a disaster, see “Inflation Good, Stagnation Bad” or the older: “4% inflation best”.

We are led by imbeciles. Some are politicians, some are bankers, some are economists, some teach what they call economics, or politics. Many are greedy, and profiting from the stupidity they advocate.

Who gave them their drivers’ license? The license to drive entire economies, and even the biosphere, into the ground, while insulting common sense, let alone common science? Yesterday’s oligarchies?

Patrice Ayme’

Save World, Construct

August 25, 2014

Krugman points out that the economic success of the South-West (Houston) and South (Atlanta) is caused by providing decent housing to the middle class: “Wrong Way Nation“.

Well, right, and very important. However, the problem is not restricted to the USA. It struck Japan very hard, 25 years ago: there was no more decent, affordable housing for Japanese workers in the main production centers.

And, yes, indeed. There is a housing crisis throughout most of the Western World, especially much of Europe. Massive construction programs there after World War Two promoted massive economic growth. A French saying goes:”Quand la construction va, tout va.” (When construction is OK, everything is OK.)

Instead of building increasingly better, denser cities, what happened in the last 40 years was an attitude of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). For example San Francisco built no skyscrapers for 30 years on the ground that they may throw shadows, sometimes (a curious idea in a city characterized by thick fog), or, horror of horrors, that San Francisco would turn into Manhattan.

The practical result has been that, not only quality of life of the middle class has gone down from Paris to San Francisco, but economies have stagnated, while lethal pollution has not been fixed (locally, or globally).

The middle class (let alone the lower class) has been increasingly unable to afford decent housing… in the most important cities. Instead an increasingly inefficient lifestyle of long range commuting ruled.

However, thanks to a new born common sense, young people are increasingly refusing the suburban, multi-car, long commute way of life, thus fleeing to live in ridiculous places such as Silicon Valley, characterized by having an affair with one’s car. Under pressure, San Francisco, I am happy to report, is Manhattanizing; youth devising new apps, prefer the City to unaffordable mansions in the woods, far from any trace of civilization.

Some of the new towers in San Francisco will provide the upper middle class with decent housing (instead of sky high rents in small, dank, mold ridden rabbit cages).

This, massive construction, is a solution for the entirely stagnating Western World: build more ecological, denser, high tech cities. Not only the economy will blossom, and society become more just, equalitarian and decent, but the biosphere outside of these more efficient centers of humanity, will be given an opportunity to recover.

Modern buildings can be not just energy efficient, but energy, and even food, producing. Especially tall skyscrapers. And to commute between city centers, 250 miles per hour electric trains are already a reality. London city center is just two hours from Paris city center, by the existing train, the Eurostar.

Off with anti-city mentality. Remember that civilization has to do with cities. Grow them right. To work!

Patrice Ayme’

Walls Of Common Lies

August 21, 2014

The legitimate kings were Henry V and Henry VI, kings of England and France, Paris and London. The contender a teenager was promoting was both illegitimate, and a public enemy. Such is the true history of Joan of Arc. Don’t expect one French out of a hundred to suspect it, six centuries later. Too happy, or so it seems, to have enjoyed another four centuries of war between Paris and London.

It is so easy to slip into propaganda, when brandishing history. Let me illustrate this further.

Century of Disaster Riddles, Lies, and Lives — from Fidel Castro and Muhammad Ali to Albert Einstein and Barbie By Eduardo Galeano

[The following passage is excerpted from Eduardo Galeano’s history of humanity, Mirrors.] In an aphorism Galeano imbues some “walls” with malfeasance, while insinuating that the Iron Curtain was not such a terrible thing. He vastly underestimates the unjustifiable length and lethality of the Soviets’ fascist contraption (by orders of magnitude). To trick us Galeano confuses the “Iron Curtain” (thousands of kilometers long) and the “Berlin Wall” (part of the preceding, but just inside a particular city).

The Almoravide Empire Justifies Several Contemporary Walls

The Almoravide Empire Justifies Several Contemporary Walls

Here is Galeano:

Walls

“The Berlin Wall made the news every day. From morning till night we read, saw, heard: the Wall of Shame, the Wall of Infamy, the Iron Curtain…

In the end, a wall which deserved to fall fell. But other walls sprouted and continue sprouting across the world. Though they are much larger than the one in Berlin, we rarely hear of them.

Little is said about the wall the United States is building along the Mexican border, and less is said about the barbed-wire barriers surrounding the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla on the African coast.

Practically nothing is said about the West Bank Wall, which perpetuates the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and will be 15 times longer than the Berlin Wall. And nothing, nothing at all, is said about the Morocco Wall, which perpetuates the seizure of the Saharan homeland by the kingdom of Morocco, and is 60 times the length of the Berlin Wall.

Why are some walls so loud and others mute?”

The answer is simple: different walls, different situations. The Berlin Wall was a thundering lie, for all to hear. Other walls can reveal very loud truths, whom nobody in position of intellectual domination wants others to hear.

Why, for example, if Europe is such an horrendous colonialist, and America such a terrible imperialist, are the multitude so keen to shred themselves upon rows after rows of ten meter high razor blades fences as in Ceuta and Melilla? We need truths to explain those facts. Why Africans such lemmings throwing themselves across the sea towards the land of their oppressors and enslavers? Why so suicidal?

To each offense, a defense. Tied up together by causality, offenses and defense are, nevertheless, exact opposites. Somebody’s unjust aggression is someone else’s just war.

I have never heard of Eduardo Galeano before Paul Handover and “Tomdispatch”. I will try to get his book, I love different perspectives, challenges, and, especially, questions I can answer.

Writing about history is a heavy fate. It’s indeed easy to slip into commonality, Common Wisdom, that is, most often, propaganda. Unknowingly.

For example, Galeano implies that Alan Turing committed suicide because of the victimization he was submitted to, as a homosexual. Sounds good on the surface, and it is Conventional Wisdom (so Galeano repeats it, like a good, book selling parrot).

However, a more refined knowledge of what really happened reveals that Turing’s death was probably an accident that befell the already-at-the-time hyper famous Alan Turing, MBE, Member of the British Empire. Verily, Turing had left well behind his condemnation for unwise relations with someone all too young in his employ, whom Turing had imprudently accused of theft.

Some will say: “Why are you so vindictive about the innocent lemmings who love to allege that Turing was forced into suicide, for his homosexuality? Is not that a pretty tale? Does not that help homosexuals? Even if it’s false? Can’t you leave pretty tales alone? What do you have against homosexuals and Joan of Arc?”

Well, truth is my religion. From history, lessons are to be drawn. Correct ones are best. Incorrect ones, and deliberately so, criminal.

I partly draw my uncommon morality from meta-history (that’s the history of the systems of thought that made history).

First, if Turing died accidentally, there is a moral to it: accidents happen. Turing had long played with dangerous chemistry. Since childhood. he went one game with cyanide too far.

Second: whereas Turing was legally harassed for homosexuality, it’s important to realize that, at the time, that was not perceived as an intolerable injustice (even by Turing himself!). There is a higher, meta-lesson in this: the intolerable can look sufferable.

Parrot, repeating history, often engage in Thought Crime. TC: Though Crime, or Terrible Catastrophe.

Recently, some important guy from Hamas was saying something about Jewish children being bathed in blood (an old lie from Middle-Age Christian fascism). Common leftists and other vulgar intellectuals did not protest… Another Thought Crime.

I was listening the other day to a very educated French teacher, a biologist, telling a swarm of little French children, aged five to nine, the beautiful history of the victimization of Joan of Arc. Except that, as taught in France for the last 200 years, it’s sheer propaganda.

The bad “Anglais” were actually themselves French… The would-be French king, later Charles VII… was not the legitimate French King, and thus he was not keen to be sacred king…  The Queen of Four Kingdoms manipulated Joan and Charles behind the scene, fatally opposing the legitimate kings, Henry V and Henry VI, kings of England and France, Paris and London.

Thus history is not joke, and nationalistic pitfalls, let alone plutocratic ones, everywhere.

Telling false history to little children teaches hatred.

I do view my activities as those of a historian, because I interpret history. I take some facts that are generally ignored, and point out that they demolish Conventional Wisdom, or the Politically Correct, let alone their vicious embrace. (Nietzsche did nothing different, and most philosophers have, indeed, re-interpreted history. Some of these reinterpretations have become Common Wisdom.)

Yet, I try to exert maximum honesty: when I say something, however controversial, it’s backed up, by serious logic and facts, to the best of my knowledge.

And I avoid historical salad: putting together obviously unrelated things, as if there was a logic to it.

Interrogating all these walls, as Eduardo does, is an excellent question. Yet there is an obviously huge difference between walls that keep people in, and those which keep them out. Blame is pointing out in directions opposite. One of them is right, not both.

The very fact that Europe and the USA have to build walls around themselves, as Rome did for five centuries, is a testimony to their success, not to their failure. And those walls are also a testimony to the failure of more general systems of thought (anti-“colonialism”, global plutocracy, pseudo-leftism, over-exploitation of the planet, crazed demographics, etc.)

Another example: I detest the Moroccan regime (supposedly directly descended from Mahomet, actually just a full blown plutocracy). Yet, one has to visualize the local conditions before crushing it with blanket blame.

And the EU will get some of the blame: the EU haughtily decreed that “Morocco was not European“. That is insulting. Moreover, it is false geographically, genetically, and according to deep history. To boot, it’s not wise, economically self-defeating, politically stupid and strategically dangerous.

All this, because European leaders are arrogant twerps with not much knowledge where it counts.

Knowing long term history (last 1,000 years), shows that the area claimed by the “Polisario” was long Moroccan (for want of a better word, as past empires, extending all the way to Spain, wore different names).

One such empire was that of the Almoravides, true founders of the present Moroccan regime. The Almoravides empire extended from Senegal (where a founder of the empire was killed by a poisoned arrow), to Alger, Lisbone, and the Baleares islands.

Thus the long grudge of Algeria’s FNL (or whatever it wants to call itself) against Morocco becomes something nine centuries old. It explains the FNL’s hostility against Morocco, its support of the Polisario… And the Moroccan wall does not sound as silly, and outrageous anymore.

Empires are not always wrong in all ways. By definition, they order (imperare), and they can order, because they can defend themselves. The best defense being, often, of course, attack. Thuse when Hannibal had taken residence in Italy for more than a decade, the Patrician who came to be known as Scipio Africanus, suggested to the Roman People to attack in Africa itself, and that audacious strategy was entirely successful: precipitously recalled to Carthage, Hannibal hastily gathered forces were soundly defeated just south of the Punic capital, soon to be punished.

With Mexico, the USA has two choices: build a wall, or impose order (imperare), all over Mexico. The latter was tried a bit in the past, more than once. Next time it could well be more thorough, and definitive.

For the USA, letting 100 million Mexicans in, is not really an option

As it is Spanish is already the second language of California, and, extrapolating some trends, could become the first someday. (I do speak Spanish a bit, BTW, so I am no rabid Spanish hater.)

However, as they are immigration flows in Europe and the USA are sustainable… As long as the dominant European and American civilization is successfully imposed. In France, by some estimates, 95% of anti-Judaic attacks are attributed to persons of Muslim ancestry. This is symptomatic of borderline dangerous assimilation situation (more than ten people have died because of it, some little children, directly targeted in an elementary school, for being Jewish, and other French people… including at least one Muslim French paratrooper… a natural victim of anti-Semitism!)

What was particularly grotesque about the Iron Curtain is that it was to keep in workers who were supposed to be living in a paradise made for them. In other words, it was a lie.

The walls between Europe and Africa are not a lie. At least 50,000 have already died trying to cross them in the last ten years (the EU officially says 35,000 drowned in the Mediterranean alone). If one includes the Algerian Harkis of 1962, one speaks about hundreds of thousands dead… trying to get to Europe.

This is testimony of another lie: the standard anti-colonialist discourse. According to it, colonialism, whatever that was, depicts the ultimate evil. Clearly, the regimes that succeeded have been worse, by many measures. And that was entirely predictable: removing the colonialist administrations was equivalent to removing most of the anti-plutocratic safeties.

So walls there are. Contemplating them is good. But the hardest walls to remove are in those erected with the minds which harbor them.

Patrice Ayme’

 

NEUROGENESIS: WISDOM; Memories: Resentment

August 16, 2014

The old thinking about the brain was that neurons were given at birth, and then progressively died. A researcher named Altman found otherwise in 1962: he showed that adult human brains created new neurons. Few believed him, even fewer found that interesting. However, by 1995, incontrovertible evidence of new neurons was found in at least two regions of the brain.

And if one blocked neurogenesis, one blocked learning.

The first memory organ of taxicab drivers learning a lot of streets, the hippocampus, got visibly enlarged.

A rat hippocampus creates at least 10,000 new neurons a day. Yes, a vulgar rat.

New Neurons In White: Forge, Forget, Forgive

New Neurons In White: Forge, Forget, Forgive

Yet, the mind is not just about adding neurons. For those keen to remember their past, fresh neurons are the worst things. Newly formed neurons in the hippocampus — an area of the brain involved in switching from short term memory to the longer sort — dislodge previously learned data, a May 2014 Science article shows.

That’s counter-intuitive at first. Naively, one would expect new neurons to mean a better brain, thus better memory. On second examination, though, if neurons are the brains, new neurons mean new brain, not the old brain, with its old memories.

Many studies have shown that boosting neural proliferation before learning enhances memory in mice.

More neurons increase the capacity to learn new memories. However, memory is based on circuits, synapses, and maybe pre-existing “grandmother neurons” (whatever that exactly means: it could be a tight group of cells). If one adds new elements, it makes sense that they have nothing to do with pre-existing neuronal geometries.

Quite the opposite: creating new neurons could clear old memories… Therapeutically.

In the 2014, Science study, newborn and adult mice were trained to fear an environment that brought electric shocks. The mice learned the task quickly. Infant mice remembered the horror for only one day, adult mice retained the fear for weeks.

This difference correlates with neurogenesis. Memory persistence in newborn mice was enhanced genetically and by chemically suppressing neurogenesis after learning. In adult mice, four to six weeks of regular exercise — an activity known to promote neurogenesis — reduced the previous fear.

Massive neurogenesis in young animals explains why youngsters do not remember their early life. And, as luck has it, an animal model exists.

Guinea pigs and Chilean rodents called Degus have longer gestation periods than mice, and thus reduced brain growth after birth. Baby Degus and guinea pigs do not have infantile amnesia. Yet, heavy exercise and drugs promoting neurogenesis brings it on.

Just as neurogenesis tends to deny the past, it denies visiting again the feelings one had then. That’s resentment. French for feeling again: re-sentiment (with a second “s” added to make a snake sound).

Nietzsche used the word “ressentiment”, because German has not word for “resentment”.

That semantic gap is, per se, reason enough to suspect that Germans walloped in it: if one avoids a notion like the plague, it is an indication that one indulges in it. Luther is full of resentment against the Jews, and Hitler against the French, and then, the Jews.

For the philosopher Kierkegaard, ressentiment occurs in a “reflective, passionless age“, stifling creativity and passion in passionate individuals. Individuals who do not conform to the masses are made into scapegoats and objects of spite by the masses, to maintain the status quo ante and to imbue the masses with their sense of superiority.

According to Nietzsche, the more a person is strong-willed, and dynamic, the less place and time they have for contemplating what’s done to them. The reaction of a strong-willed person (a “wild beast“), when it happens, is short: it is not a prolonged filling, and take-over of their entire intellect by an obsession.

It’s impressive to realize how the most recent neurological findings (above) relate to those philosophers’ insights.

The super intelligent person is always in full neurogenesis, in her haste to model the world with more faithfulness. That makes her unable to hold a grudge: she has better thing to think about.

This opens a new way out of the eternal wheel of conflict, and various vicious circles: react as wild beast to attack, but then smother what led to it under the new mindset of neurogenesis.

Instead of rejecting the world as painful, and hoping for a better one as Christians, Muslims and Buddhists do, think the world again, and the old problematic will fade away.

The same may apply to entire societies, nations, or religions, or civilization. If any of these favor ressentiment, it will have to spurn neurogenesis, or its societal equivalent. Just as individuals will.

Hence a vicious circle: the more resentment, the less imagination, and intelligence, and thus the more madness in crowds as in individuals.

Let’s notice, moreover, that denial and bad faith (a la Sartre, De Beauvoir) are very close to resentment.

So what would the moral conclusion of the preceding be? Generating new ideas, just as generating new neurons, is how to break out from the past’s vicious circles. Higher intelligence is also a better morality.

Patrice Ayme’

Universe: Not Just Mathematical

August 14, 2014

Some claim the “Universe is mathematical”. Their logic is flawed. I show why.

Max Tegmark, a MIT physics professor, wrote “Our Mathematical Universe”. I present here an abstract I concocted of an interview he just gave to La Recherche. Followed by my own incisive comments. However absurd Tegmark may sound, I changed nothing to the substance of what he said:

La Recherche (France; Special Issue on Reality, July-August 2014): Max, you said “Reality is only mathematical”. What do you mean?

Tegmark: The idea that the universe is a mathematical object is very old. It goes all the way back to Euclid and other Greek scientists. Everywhere around us, atoms, particles are all defined by numbers. Spacetime has only mathematical properties.

La Recherche: Everything is math, according to you?

Formulation Before Revelation of Mathematization

Formulation Before Revelation of Mathematization

Tegmark: Think about your best friend. Her great smile, her sense of humor. All this can be described by equations. Mathematics explain why tomatoes are red and bananas yellow. Brout, Englert, Higgs predicted a boson giving mass to all other particles. Its discovery in 2012 at CERN in Geneva led to the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physics!

Tyranosopher [unamused]: Notice, Max Tegmark, that the “Nobel” thoroughly excites you. You brandish it, as if it were a deep reality about the universe. But, in truth, the Nobel is strictly nothing for the universe. It’s just a banana offered by a few self-interested apes to other self-fascinated apes. The Nobel has more to do with the nature of apish society, rather than that of the universe. In other words, we ask you about the nature of the universe, and you answer with the Authority Principle among Hominidae. You may as well quote the Qur’an.

Tegmark [unphazed]: There are an enormous number of things that equations do not explain. Consciousness, for example. But I think we will make it. We are just limited by our imagination and our creativity.

La Recherche: According to you, there is no reason that part of the world escape mathematics?

Max Tegmark: None whatsoever. All properties are mathematical! We potentially can understand everything!

La Recherche: As a Platonic mathematician, you consider mathematical concepts are independent of all and any conscious act?

MT: I am an extreme Platonist, as I think that not only mathematical structures are real, but they are all what reality is.

Relativity and Quantum Physics confirmed that reality is always very different from what one believes. Very strange and very different from our intuition. Schrodinger’s equation, the fundamental equation of Quantum Mechanics, shows that a particle can be in several places at the same time. Thus one does not try to describe the motion of this particle, but the probability of its presence in such and such a place.

But, a century later, physicists are still in deep disagreement about what it all means. I think this interpretation keeps dividing people, because they refuse to admit what goes against their intuition.

Tyranosopher: Notice, Max Tegmark, that you presented as a fact (“a particle can be in several places at the same time”) something you admit later is only an “interpretation”. That’s dishonest: an “interpretation” is not a “fact”.

Tegmark [livid]: The strength of mathematics comes from the fact that they have no inhibition. Strangeness does not stop them.

Tyranosopher: Indeed, that’s why, as a trained mathematician, I am very insolent.

La Recherche: Max Tegmark, is it your mathematical approach that makes you defend another controversial idea, that of multiple universes?

Max Tegmark: I really believe that human beings never think big enough. We underestimate our capability to understand the world through mathematics, but also our capacity to apprehend its dimensions. To understand that we live on a planet with a diameter of a bit more than 12,000 kilometers was a first, enormous, step. That this planet is infinitesimal in this galaxy, itself one out of billions, was another enormous step. The idea of multiverses is more of the same. We discover again, and more, that what we understand is only a speck of something much larger. That much larger thing is the Multiverses, of types I, II, III, and IV.

Tyranosopher: La Recherche’s Interview then proceeds further, but let me unleash a fundamental critique here.

I am a deadly enemy of the Multiverse, as I believe that it rests on an ERROR of interpretation of Quantum Physics (the one Tegmark presented as a fact above, before admitting that it was, well, only an interpretation). The fact that it is another desperate scaffolding erected to save the Big bang theory does not make it better.

Now for the notion that the universe being full of math. This is understood to mean that the universe is full of equations. Equations were invented in the Sixteenth Century. Many, if not most, equate mathematics with the art of equating.

What’s an equation? It’s something that says that two things independently defined, one on the left side of the equal sign, the other on the right side, are equal. Great. What could be simpler: what is different is actually the same!

Notice this, though: before you can equate, you must define what you are equating. On both sides.

An equation equates concepts independently defined. Ultimately, definitions are not mathematical (see on the Nature of Mathematics, to follow soon). At best, definition is metamathematical. Our metamathematical universe? End of Mr. Tegmark’s naivety.

When we get down to it, it’s more our philosophical universe, before it’s our mathematical universe: no definitions, no equations.

How can a physicist make such a gross logical mistake? Are they not supposed to be smart? (OK, it’s smart to sell lots of books).

What allows to make that logical mistake? Education, or lack thereof. Many a mathematician will make the same mistake too. The problem is that neither conventional mathematicians, nor, a fortiori, physicists, are trained logicians. They just play some in the media.

Who needs a multiverse? It seems the universe of science is already too large for many physicists to understand.

Patrice Ayme’

Show Strength To Negotiate With Iraq, Putin

August 13, 2014

Putin is doing what the Kaiser did, a century ago, and for roughly the same reasons: trying one’s luck with war is better than suffering destitution. Like the Kaiser, a century ago, Putin hopes to win, because the democracies are weak, in weapons and resolve. What could go wrong?

Ah, yes, this is less haughty a subject than the first female mathematician, to be given a Fields Medal. Moreover, she is Iranian. She studies practical things, like counting “simple” geodesics on hyperbolic surfaces, depending upon their length. (I am not joking when I say this sort of research is practical: another of the 2014 Field medalist research has already been applied, to… surveillance; Fields Medals were attributed this year to understandable mathematics… Instead of the sort of crazy math I view with a jaundiced eye, as it depends upon infinity all too much.)

Mathematician Mirzakhani In Isfahan

Mathematician Mirzakhani In Isfahan

… In Isfahan with her parents. Isfahan is one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The artful architecture above is typical. Visiting such places, one can only be awed by the splendor of the human spirit, and feel compelled to contribute.

Now back to the dismal subject of the Twenty-first Century, out of control Czar. This is a serious problem.

Yet, here we talk about what makes all these fun and game possible, namely the pursuit of civilization. It depends upon crazy people and insane ideas, been kept in check.

The Kaiser was afraid of the Socialists inside the Parliament (Reichstag) that Bismarck had set-up. The Parliament’s power was fictitious. The Socialists wanted to make it real. Such was the inside pressure.

The outside pressure was an admission, by the heads of the military, the Kaiser himself, and his chancellor, top deputies, advisers: democracies were superior to the authoritarian, exploitative regime they profited from. Those German oligarchs recognized that the economic, political, and financial alliance between France, a democracy, and democratizing Russia, was increasing in economic, and thus military power, in a way that the German plutocracy could not match.

It would have been too much against their mentalities to do the right thing, and try to do what the Romanov Czar was doing in Russia: democratizing. Instead they decided to “work on the press”, and prepare the Germans for the world war they had decided to gamble everything on. That was December 11, 1912. (For a 2004 perspective of mine on that, see “To Make War, All You Need Is Love.”)

On June 1, 1914, Colonel House, the adviser of President Wilson of the USA, saw the Kaiser, and proposed him an alliance, against the “racially inferior” French. In exchange, the Kaiser would limit his battle fleet built-up (which upset the unable-to-keep-up British).

Of these little facts, these devils that truly propel history, conventional historians never speak: that is how they earn their keep. Well esteemed professors, their fate is little better than that of mice, scurrying for crumbs below the masters’ tables.

Putin is losing in Eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian military has regained much territory, and cut off Donetsk, a city of more than a million, from the Russian military. Defeat is not what Putin wants, he wants an unending war, but one which he wins. Putin is proposing to his captive Russian public opinion, to send a “humanitarian mission” inside Ukraine. In other words, he is preparing a naked invasion.

What can the West do?

Go back to basics. Putin decided to attack Ukraine, after he saw that Western plutocrats, his natural allies, had enough control of the West to prevent a justified strike against that major satanic creature, Assad, son of Assad. That was shown by the defection of the British first. The Assad family has major plutocratic connections in London. Then, while French pilots were already strapped in their seats, Obama called off the attack.

If Assad, a dictatorial monster who started a huge civil war against pacific civilians who just wanted him to go, could get away with a poison gas attack inside Damascus that killed more than 1,500 civilians, obviously, Putin could get away with anything.

Putin wanted the Black Sea oil. That it belonged to Ukraine was a detail, now that Obama and the UK had demonstrated that Western civilization was in recess, and plutocracy reigned. Putin could do what he does best: grabbing what he needs. Like the Kaiser, he could see that gas and oil is all what held his empire together (most of the ex-Soviet “republics” have shown signs of exaggerated affection towards the European Union).

If the Kaiser and his generals had been persuaded that they would lose the war, they would have not started it: after the French nearly annihilated the German army at the Battle of the Marne, Von Molkte, who had done more to start that war than anyone else, was so deeply depressed, that he could not do anything anymore (he was secretly replaced). His mood had completely changed from the one six weeks earlier, when he mobilized the entire German army, catching the world by surprise.

So, if we want peace, we have to persuade Putin he will lose, should he pursue his policy of invasion and annexation. The best way to do this is to intervene in the situation of the Yazidi, an ancient, non-Muslim group hard pressed by the ISIS in Iraq.

This may seem a surprising position for someone who was vociferously against the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

However this is now. The ISIS, outwardly Islamist, and full of Jihadists, is getting lots of its backbone from the old army of Saddam Hussein. A demonstration of military power to help the Yazidi could, and ought, to be turned into a negotiation with some of the officers of that old army, and those who regret aspects of the Iraqi state that worked better under Saddam.

In other words: strike, but then negotiate.

There was never any serious negotiation with the secular Iraqi state, in the nearly quarter of century the USA has made war to it (in the hope of some USA plutocrats to grab its oil). Even the Neocons will have to admit that this time has come.

Of course, this is all very dirty, it’s how the sausage of civilization is made. But, if good people do not make it, to the best of their abilities, evil will be in charge.

And then, in the worst possible case, all intellectual pursuits will collapse, as happened after the Roman state streaked out of control, burned and crashed. Next time would be worse.

Patrice Ayme’

NEW WISDOM, NEW TURMOIL

August 11, 2014

NEUROGENESIS IS NEVER CALM

Abstract: Wisdom requires turmoil. Too much calm brings neuronal, intellectual, and even moral disaster. A case in point is the devil-may-care attitude of the USA in the 1930s, lauded by those who celebrate calm and peace, yet condemned by common decency.

Wisdom is about embracing turmoil, and then, dominating it. It requires heavy construction inside the brain, and the greater the new wisdom, the greater the new effort. Prometheus did not just discover fire, but a multiverse of expanding possibilities.

This is why the biologically given philosophy of Homo crushes that of theocrats and other superstitious, ravenous plutocrats. Men are all about overcoming themselves. At least those men who think hard enough so as not to finish as the main course.

Learning > Neurogenesis > Effort, Pain, Struggle

Learning > Neurogenesis > Effort, Pain, Struggle

[Neurogenesis in the Hippocampus.]

Careful meditation is often helpful to establish new wisdom. Yet, turmoil is always necessary, to foster higher wisdom, in individuals as in societies. It’s important to know this, because promoting too much calm comes at the expense of wisdom. Let me explain.

Whenever we try to define a mental state, nowadays, we have to remember that there is more than 100 neurohormones known. Some are correlated to rage, others to anxiety, fear, love (oxytocin).

Neurohormones define chemical states, somewhere in the brain. Maybe in just one place, maybe in many places. Those correlate with emotions, often through the activity of sub-units in the brain (say the amygdala for fear). Which neurohormones are tightly connected to which emotions, and how, is yet to be ascertained in nearly all cases.

We just know that, to define which emotion a brain, or part thereof, is undergoing, it will be necessary to determine neurohormones, their presence, secretion, or suppression.

People love to project “calm”. When “calm” is faked, is it real? “Calm” is not far from stealth. Any predator, be it the average cat, or the ancient Chinese strategist Sun Tzu, knows that stealth is of tremendous advantage for a successful aggression (Sun Tzu’s book, various treatises on war, and a casual look at history show that surprise is half the victory).

Is there a neurohormone of “calm”? That’s unlikely: the lion stealthily, crawling on his belly in the grass toward the prey projects “calm”, but for the occasional twitch. Yet its neurohormonal war systems are primed up for maximum violence. At the time of the attack, they will be unleashed with great fury, demonstrating that feline clam is just a tactic.

A sleep hormone does exist: that’s Melatonin.

Conclusion? “Calm” is rather deceit, or computation, or then relaxation and laziness (something brains need, just as they need sleep… probably because they need to establish a hierarchy-network of knowledge).

Alex Jones wrote a second post on “Wisdom comes out of calm”. He explains that calm is how to deal with dogs. Meanwhile he explicitly said in a preceding reply to me, that the Americans were wise to calmly wait for Hitler’s attack (see below).

Alex’s position is interesting, because it reflects the popular expectation about what wisdom ought to be: something calm, a form of torpor. No wonder, calm is typical of herd behavior. The herd calmly grazes and ruminates, when lions are not pouncing. Here is Alex:

“The mind that has no calm is like a drunken person, it has no wisdom, rushing from one crisis to another, lacking the anchoring of wisdom, the drunk does stupid actions and ruin is the drunks ultimate reward. When a cat comes to me inviting me to stroke it, I gain opportunity to find my inner calm in a world of war.”

Equating lack of calm with being “drunk” is alien to me. I drink water, I find that smart. A mind that is not calm, does not have to be angry: there are other moods. When the anger neurohormones are on, the mind is certainly not calm, but that does not mean that, when the mind is not calm, the mind is angry. It could, simply, be an attentive, or hard thinking mind.

Defining “calm” neurologically has not been done. Yet. The only calming hormones I know of, serotonin and melatonin, rather induce sleep.

Too much calm puts morality to sleep, if nothing else. In a preceding comment of Alex, one finds:

“Calm provides the opportunity for wisdom to emerge, metaphorically like soil waiting for the seed. The mind that is angry, in emotional turmoil, acts like the drunk, and they will never make wise choices or actions.

The Americans were wise to avoid war, and they were wise to stay out of other peoples political problems until those aggressors began to attack them.”

Here Alex is alluding to my position that American calm while Hitler raged, killed and attacked, was monstrous. Hitler had given explicit instructions not to make Americans angry. Hitler considered white, racist America to be half Nazi already, and thought of the USA as a natural ally. Hitler’s plan went awry, in great part because enough Americans had the great courage to get angry, in spite of their compatriots’ selfish calm tolerance of infamy.

The Americans refused to support France and Britain, and the Commonwealth, in 1939-1940. Calmly supported by hordes of American plutocrats and their corporations, the Nazis came very close to annihilating France and Britain in 1940.

Consequence? More than 70 million people died, including six million Jews assassinated calmly. I understand that this vicious American policy calmly established the empire of the USA, and its famed “American Century”. And that calm propaganda has made most people believe that the intervention of the USA was purely to rescue democracy, instead of the much greater plot that it truly was.

In 1945, and thereafter, the USA supported massively at some point, Stalin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Nasser, the FNL, Saddam, even bin Laden, or the Taliban. Those details have to be forgotten: the Devil dwells therein.

I refuse to call that “right”. I call it wrong. I even call it an infamy, or a whole succession of infamies.

Something the USA ought to be eternally ashamed of was the support American political and business leaders gave to the Nazis. Consider this telling detail: the USA, as a state, had to wait for Hitler to declare war to them to find something wrong with him. It was more than despicable, and unwise. It was outright criminal. That, of course, is my calm opinion, forged by decades of calm, careful considerations.

And the real truth is even worse: German generals asked for American and British help to get rid of Hitler. Would the democrats please make clear that they would join France in a war against Hitler?

Calmly, British and American authorities denounced the generals… to Hitler.

So calm is definitively not wisdom, but something that can masquerade as wisdom.

In truth, no new wisdom can be reached without turmoil. Most great creators lived in turmoil. And that’s no accident. There is an obvious neurological reason for it.

Emotions build reasons (neurohormones guide the construction of new neuro-geometry, by growing axons, dendrites and synapses just so). To have new, better ideas, one needs to wipe out the wrong brain geometry, thus new neurohormones, that is new emotions, have to invade, submerge, and grow new geometry.

Thus fresh passions and actions bring new and better reasons. To model the world better, we have to engage the world, further. Experiments do this.

Indeed exercise itself, let alone challenges, bring higher mental performance. And it’s not just performance, that they bring, but also even neurological existence. Rats with a non-stimulating environment see their neurology shrink. Neurology was evolved for turmoil. Without it, the very reason for its existence disappear.

And so it goes for entire civilizations: the more turmoil, the more wisdom. The Greeks, a notoriously bickering lot, as Nietzsche pointed out, were not just about Apollo (calm, beauty, poise, balance), but also about Dionysus (agitation, turmoil, passion, mess, craziness). This is the main idea of Nietzsche’s “Birth of Tragedy”, an analysis of the genesis of Greek greatness.

Civilizations which are too calm produce nothing, not even their own survival. This may be the problem of Europe now.

Pathological calm was certainly the problem of the civilizations that Genghis Khan and his generals overran. The Mongols said so explicitly. The fierce horsemen accused those they invaded to be sleepy plutocracies mistreating their own people.

Notice that Greek civilization, although it was conquered, greatly survived, so strong were its animals spirits. There is nothing calm about the main Greek notions. Nor is there anything calm about science. Physics has energy at its core. In physics, calm does not exist.

Truth comes out of trial, error, and the passion to engage in them, which rampant imagination. Really new ideas disturb all brains, that’s why they are new. I have had many of my comments censored, all over the Internet, because they contained what was perceived as new, thus inconvenient, ideas, or facts.

Latest example? Scientific American publishes carefully controlled articles on the climate. I dared to mention that there was coral in the Mediterranean. The six words comment was censored. (An email informed me of this.) I guess that, as long as I stay calm, I will keep on paying for “Scientific American” (which is neither scientific, nor American). But is that the wisest course? Would not anger be a better adviser?

Highly conservative types may object that they do not see why we need new wisdom, and thus the exhausting task of neurogenesis. Indians, Egyptians, Pythagoricians, Stoics, and their parrots, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, believed in Eternal Recurrence, the fact that nothing is really new under the Sun. Wisdom consisted into accepting what had been, as it sure, will be again. Related to this is the Arabic “Inch Allah” (If God wants it.)

However, an achievement of modern science, was to disprove these philosophies of Amor Fati (Love of Fate).

Starting with the discovery, and subsequent disappearance, of Sun spots in the Seventeenth Century, and then the discovery of biological, and geological evolution by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and his somber company, turmoil was found to reign all over. The universe, biology, man himself, let alone technology and civilization, are never, ever standing still, nor repeating themselves. Everything is a force that goes.

New wisdom is necessary for survival. It’s not a matter of choice, and esthetics. Those who will still stand in the future, individuals or civilizations, will have thought anew, and their brains will have mutated, from their own volition, or dismal condition. Others will have turned into the main course, literally, and figuratively.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Calmly Thinking Up A Storm

August 9, 2014

Buddhists, Muslims and other Christians, often make the argument that human society is a terrible place, a false world, that it has to be fled at any cost.

Saint Augustine famously recommended to leave that “City of Man” (Rome), and join instead the “City of God”.

Soon all Romans joined the City of God, which happened to also be that of the Plutocrats. There was no more money for real things, like the military. By 400 CE, the Franks were put in charge of defending the North West of the empire. In 406 CE, the Rhine froze, and several German nations broke through, surprising the Franks. There were no hinterlands military reserves.

The Vandals, one of these nations, charged across Gallia, Hispania, and landed across, in Africa.

Soon the Vandals were below the walls of Saint Augustine city of Hippo (of which he was bishop). Hippo fell, a case of divine justice, no doubt. Augustine died. The Vandal occupation, overall, lasted a century, before a puny, but successful Roman counter-attack.

Within three centuries, North Africa, the world’s most Christianized place, would fall to the invading Arabs. And it fell the hard way: after a war that lasted many years, the cities were annihilated.

A characteristic of Roman North Africa is that the presence of Roman soldiery was very light. Eight centuries of peace were enjoyed, aside from episodic violence during Vandal rule. Now contemplate this:

Here is Alex Jones, a successful blogger, in “Finding calm in the storm“: “Human society encourages you to become anxious, always in a state of panic. The adrenaline constantly runs like an angry river… The news is always ugly, full of fear and worry. Human society is a constant raging hurricane of angry fear.” He then recommends to pet a cat: ”You are calm, the cat enjoys your company. The cat has pulled you out of the storm into a calm centre.”

I am myself a great apostle of Nature, and the realism it fosters. Using a human body, and a human mind, the way they were evolved to be, in nature, allows us to enjoy what we are meant to be. That’s why I hike, run, dive, climb, and work on my garden.

Yet, a purring cat, per se, comes rather short, as a full expression of nature. And why are some people so disturbed by… nothing?

The argument can be made, and ought to be made, that, in this raging storm, being calm should be the least of our worries. There is all too much calm about big things, and too much tempests in tea pots.

Alex Jones kindly replied this to me: “A calm mind is a wise mind.”

There we have the naked truth: a blatant identification between calm, and wisdom. They are related, but far from identical. It’s true that a wise mind will often be calm, when others are not. That’s because the wise has anticipated the situation, and those who are less wise, when confronted to reality, get all excited while they are trying to adapt to it. They have no choice.

Conversely, those who were never excited never learned anything.

If one believes that “a calm mind is a wise mind”, the Americans were sure wise to keep calmly supporting Hitler in 1939. The Japanese were sure wise to calmly support emperor Hiro Hito, from 1937 (Nanking) to Pearl Harbor (1941), and beyond.

And those who do not give a hoot about whether humanity is poisoning the biosphere, are certainly remarkably calm, thus very wise. Meanwhile, Nile crocodiles, who barely move for months in winter, deep in the watery depths, have got to be the wisest.

Believing that calm is wise, renders the calm acceptance in the UK and the USA of Bush’s attack on Iraq in 2003, really wise.

In truth, unveiling truth often demands not just excitation, but outright violence. Even if that’s just the violence of changing one’s own mind. Nietzsche pointed out, courageously, that he made “philosophy with a hammer“.

Conventional wisdom is always calm, because it is so sure of itself. Calm also are the deepest errors, those harder to expugnate. It’s easier to keep one’s mind at ease, and regurgitate the past, as one learned it at the age of four.

To identify wisdom with calm is, thus, a fundamental error.

Building the correct ideas and moods requires work, thus energy, thus, one could say, violence. A child has to accept a lot of force to be perpetrated on her mind to fabricate all that knowledge and wisdom, which shows up in immensely subtle neuro-geometry.

When one looks in the small, at the Quantum scale, one discovers extreme agitation. And the smaller one looks, the greater the agitation. Most of the mass of a proton is created by the kinetic energy of the quarks zooming around inside, thanks to E = mcc. (E, the kinetic energy of quarks, creates m, the mass of the proton.) Agitation itself creates mass.

Last night, I watched a tremendous thunderstorm. Nature herself is violent. Truth itself is what’s left of the imagination, once all trials and errors one could think of have been made.

Truth is not calm, nor is it arrived at calmly. Believing otherwise was all the excuse authorities often had to send many a thinker to death.

Patrice Ayme’

Mediterranean Coral Reef

August 6, 2014

Even Doom & Gloom has a romantic, esthetic angle, as the Rolling Stones reminded us (once again), in the song by that title. Coral reef in the Mediterranean will be pretty. Until July 2014, I thought that would take another 50 years. To my amazement, I found otherwise.

I was swimming in an area I know well. I don’t swim on the surface, that’s too bourgeois and destructive of what one is trying to achieve when visiting the sea. I was baffled by the sea floor. I could not recognize it. It was weird: it was full of arches (!), mushrooms, grottos… Some structures a meter high, or across. I could not figure out what that meant. Did the rising sea erode the rocks?

But the rocks in the area are made a solid orange granite. And how could the sea erode rocks ten meters below the surface?

Plage De L’Escalet Crushed By Rising Sea

Plage De L’Escalet Crushed By Rising Sea

Because, yes, the sea is rising. This beach above was 60 meters across, 50 years ago. Now, in some parts, it’s only 5 meters. Waves are crashing into tree roots. As I said, this is a rocky shore, it has no telluric activity, it is not subsiding. So, when rocks get submerged, it’s because the sea rose.

In their gilded palaces, our great leaders, basking into their oligarchic medium, receive the news from scientists who know their careers depend upon telling their masters what they want to hear. And scientists are way down on the totem pole, as the collapse of American research under University of Chicago Law professor Obama shows (the University of Chicago, fief of Milton Freidman, always taught that things human are best left to private enterprise… meaning the destruction of non-immediately financially profitable research; plutocratic law has been evolved accordingly).

American research is collapsing (affecting research worldwide, as it used to be a third of it, or so), meanwhile American banking is thriving, applauded by consciously liberal Paul Krugman. But of this, another day.

Scientist speak of a reassuring sea rise of only 4 millimeters a year. Average. But in Bangla Desh, precise measurements of high tides just showed the rise is now 17 millimeters, a year.

(OK, the scientists have to say, it’s probably the fault of levees, precisely erected to compensate for sea rise, etc. They have to say that, or their masters would be too unhappy. One does not want the masters too unhappy: they can cut entire fields of study, to satisfy the great god of “Fiscal Responsibility”, aka Austerity.)

On the beach pictured above, the sea level has gone up at least 30 centimeters. Maybe two feet. The old beach is still there, with all its wonderful fine white sand, three feet below.

It’s eerie.

So here I was, contemplating small, but spectacular arches, holes and mushrooms of stones below, as if I were flying over a submarine version of Arches National Park. I grabbed the yellow rock, full of holes. It was sharp. As a climber I recognized immediately limestone. Coral limestone, on which I climbed many times, while religiously communing with my apish roots.

Except this coral was not fossil, lifted out of a Jurassic sea, thousands of meters in the sky by immense tectonic forces. It was alive, covered with mini flowers. It reminded me of diving off Kailua, Hawai’i. It was coral, coral reef!

In some places, one could see patches up to a meter or more of coral clinging to the solid granite below. Off that French coast, apparently unbeknownst to all, in a few years, thousands of tons of coral appeared.

One unique specimen, hidden below an overhang, was 50 centimeter across, and looked a bit like a gorgon (sea fan), except it was not a sea fan, but something solid that I have seen in the tropical seas (I am looking for its name).

There you have it.

Some changes from global warming affecting the Mediterranean are official (barracudas, invading tropical algae). Up to this month, if someone had presented me with the possibility of coral reef on the French Riviera, I would have laughed cynically, and pointed out that, when it appears, 50 years from now, it may convince climate deniers.

Well, as far as the Mediterranean sea is concerned, the 50 years are over in a flash. Coral reef is now growing, in Southern France.

Where exactly? Well, on the same peninsula where Sea Turtles started to reproduce again recently.

Dire warnings about the biosphere do not just serve probable truth, but also may well mitigate catastrophe. Canadian, Russian, and even American leaders, reading this, may well scoff: after all they own giant real estate up north, and seeing it melt may serve them, or their successors, well.

Indeed there are positive aspects to the incoming Jurassic climate: agriculture in Siberia, Greenland and Antarctica. The biosphere is by far the largest system upon which human beings have an impact.

The Human Effect led to mass extinctions in the last million years. Homo made the Earth into a pleasant garden for himself. Homo destroyed his closest competitors first, a million years ago or so, most other Hominidae and primates, such as giant apes and giant baboons. Those who, like Rousseau the philosopher, accused civilization, were rather stupid. The Douanier Rousseau had it more right.

Now the biosphere is in full mass extinction mode. Thus it is adapting with tremendous speed.

I am not a trained marine biologist, a specialist of coral. But I dove around, and kept manipulating and contemplating. It seemed that several species of different coral had appeared. Some yellow, some pink, some white, all with different textures. I even found one starting to grow like hard white little trees, just as proverbial Polynesian coral. (The precious indigenous Mediterranean coral is pink or red, and has been exploited to near extinction; it used to color the sand pink in the area.)

The force exerted by humanity on the biosphere keeps on augmenting. But the biosphere has enormous inertia. This means that the changes we see now are little relative to those which are already coming… those which are already baked in. For example, West Antarctica will melt. It’s just a matter of time.

So some changes will be positive, and they will come with more force than people expect.

Not to lose sight of the essential. From a hill above the sea, hundreds of pleasure boats can be observed, some of them, gigantic yachts for multibillionaires.

A sort of armada appears: maybe 50 boats, some large yachts, others fast “cigars”, all together, with fifty long white wakes. Two huge yachts dominate the armada. One can see their helicopter decks. Several helicopters are accompanying the fleet. Suddenly the two gigantic pleasure ships turn around, as if the lesser boats did not exist.

The plutocrat in command had changed his mind, catching his minions by surprise. Probably part of his power trip. Confusion ensued among the lesser kind. All scrambled to follow the master. Wakes crisscrossed, collisions barely avoided. The magnificent power parade reforms in minutes, and headed back to Cannes and Nice, there to impress fellow satanic entities, heads of states, and other servants.

Such are the creatures molding world public opinion, by their control of generalized media. All politicians and other members of the world’s oligarchy are anxious to please them, so that they can get financial crumbs.

All are to conclude the CO2 crisis is in full control. Just a matter of extracting more fossil fuels, and everything will be OK. So frack and burn, baby, frack and burn. No more gloom and doom. Or we will shoot the messenger, and burn the message.

What is sure out of control are the magnificent forests of the Southern Alps. The combination of higher CO2, and massive precipitation makes for very green, fat trees.

What a funky little universe.

Patrice Ayme’

Note: a) This is not deep sea coral reef (discovered in the Mediterranean by Pola in 1891, Le Danois in 1948; see also). Clearly the shallow sea coral species I discovered need the temperature is high. It was not found in places where the water is clearly colder. Even if that was only 100 meters away (because of cold sweet water springs). The part where the coral deposition was most massive is a uniquely warm stretch, only 500 meters long. And it definitively was not there last time I patrolled it, three years ago.

b) Red Coral (Corrallium Rubrium) experienced mass mortality in 1999, apparently caused by high temperatures in North West Mediterranean. That happened above 30 meter depth. So the apparition of the corals I saw is inversely related to Red Coral.

c) The definition of coral is not strict. What’s sure is that there were giant coral reefs in the Mediterranean 60 million years ago (when it was part of the Tethys Sea). And that if it builds a reef, that’s it.