Against Perceived Irrelevance Creative Thinkers Contend In Vain

The madness of crowds always rule: it’s a consequence of several deep instincts which made humanity possible. However, one hundred was an immense crowd, then. Evolution did not expect, because it never experienced with, crowds in the thousands. Now, we have crowds in the billions.

This is no exaggeration: several billion people supposedly follow and revere a religion founded by somebody who tied up his son, to slash his throat, like a vulgar goat. Then the “god” in his head told him not to do it, after all: why would that madness be revered for millennia, is a striking example of the madness of crowds.

There are even greater follies in power now: why would bankers and financial types be let to enjoy the power they do, in violation of the basic principle of democracy (which is that power, kratos, is to the people, demos)?

Another folly: that warming up the Earth’s polar regions by as much temperature difference as separates us from the last maximal glaciation, will have dramatic consequences in a few millennia… but not before.

An even greater madness is that none of this is very interesting, and it’s much better to read and fantasize about “Harry Potter” (not “Hairy Potter”).

The madness of crowds has been the argument of those who favor the madness of one, monarchy, or aristocracy, the power of the best. Of course, one has to determine who “the one” would be, or what “best” means. Most often, it turned out to be best born.

The “Internet”, in many countries means “Facebook”, a private company, which, historically has been used politically in many ways, including spying by the government of the USA. “Facebook” also spies on its customers’ “likes” and habits, and sells the information to advertisers, while tweaking what its customers see, in consideration of what they like, or apparently associate to. This amplifies the (already preexisting) bias towards tribalism.

So what of better thinking in all this? Or, more simply, what of creative thinking in all this?

It’s not favored. Indeed, only thoughts that please crowds get amplified. This tribal thinking is a form of intellectual fascism. Intellectual fascism: What concept is this? Subjugating all too much of one’s mind to all too few ideas, principles, or emotions.

Could technology help to foster (more) correct, (less) erroneous thinking, just as it has favored, so far, to all too great an extent, tribalism and intellectual fascism?

Yes. Original thinking could be determined by very sophisticated software. Software could also determine whether (supposedly) known facts are contradicted, and highlight them. Software could also being made to find META hierarchies, thus determining plausible depth of arguments.

Whereas software could not determine whether an argument is correct, it could determine if said argument satisfies the preconditions to be a paradigm jump. Including whether it involves new concepts, and, if so, what they appear to be. And whether the argument lives in another logical dimension (a precondition for originality).

A creative thinker can get discouraged when informed her thoughts are irrelevant. Claimed irrelevance is the first step towards complete impotence.

So technology could help fostering creative thinking considerably. However, the main point remains that ethics would have to change. The mood, at this point, is that thinking, cognition and association, all serve the most basic instincts of tribalism, and, more generally, intellectual fascism. We are far from having put TRUTH as the ultimate god we have to serve.

“Postmodernism” and “French Theory” instead insisted that truth was tribal. In truth, abusing truth is tribal. Truth itself is not tribal.

Verily, it’s a mark of particularly fanatical tribalism to insist that truth can only be tribal: “French Theory” is tribal.

It has always been true that discovering new concepts tends to be the mark of the ascetic ones: one has to be a monk to ferret the truth. Thus great creative thinkers discovering new truths tend to have had difficult lives. So one has to choose: creative thinking of the worthiest type, means a hard life. Marie Curie’s Nobel money was used to build the bathroom she did not have prior.

And when one rolls out more famous thinkers whose lives were easier, it turns out, often, that a good case can be made that they were more opportunistic, or more lucky, or better tribally connected, or to a tribe which amplified renown better, than the ones who really originated the idea. I have documented this many times: Poincare’ originated Relativity, and not just its name, but even E = mcc. Yet, a German was attributed the discovery. The same German was fully attributed the theory of gravitation, although the main idea therein came from Riemann, another German who had the misfortune to die young. This is not just about being nice to pioneers: recognizing Riemann is recognizing that the fundamental idea of gravitation a la Einstein is a tautology. An all-too-easy way of thinking.

So what? Some will suggest to give time to time… And wisdom will blossom. But here is the problem: creating new truth could not change the world much in the past, and that world was rather static. However, now, both potential impact and the world, are highly dynamic. Pure thinking is extremely mighty, and thus, an ethical bomb. Which will expose ever worse, if not properly handled.

New truth can change everything fast. For example, if I am right, and I have exposed detailed reasons why,  Antarctica’s iceshelves can melt in decades rather than centuries, if that were a new truth, the impact on present civilization would be huge. I have even exposed how East Antarctica, supposed to last 5,000 years by conventional climatologists anxious to be taken very seriously, is actually already melting, below the surface. If I spent all my energy writing silly sorcery for little children, I would have, no doubt, more readers. But why to try to do what the tribe wants to honor, to justify its own existence? In the end we are all dead, as (plutocrat) Lord Keynes (not so) subtly noticed. So distinction is not about dying, but how we die.

How we enjoy living through suffering is how we reach for greater values, the highest gods. Camus famously said: The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”  

There is no need to “imagine” Sisyphus happy. It comes naturally. Struggling, even suffering, not too much, but enough, is necessary to fill a human beings’ mind, and generate happiness. Struggling and suffering  are even more necessary to creative thinking. (The pseudo philosopher BHL cannot replace them with the stimulants he takes, such as cocaine, amphetamines, and various illicit cocktails; struggling and suffering, for real, are much more potent.)

The world is changing fast. We are approaching various singularities of our making, none of them we can stop.  

The way out is straight, yet narrow: truth, and lots of it. Nothing superficiality can produce.

Against perceived irrelevance creative thinkers contend in vain. Yet, therein salvation, and only there.

Patrice Ayme’

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32 Responses to “Against Perceived Irrelevance Creative Thinkers Contend In Vain”

  1. Chris Snuggs Says:

    THIS BIT IS GOOD. Islam is the biggest example of mass nysterical lunacy in the history of Man.

    “The madness of crowds always rule: it’s a consequence of several deep instincts which made humanity possible. However, one hundred was an immense crowd, then. Evolution did not expect, because it never experienced with, crowds in the thousands. Now, we have crowds in the billions.

    This is no exaggeration: several billion people supposedly follow and revere a religion founded by somebody who tied up his son, to slash his throat, like a vulgar goat. Then the “god” in his head told him not to do it, after all: why would that madness be revered for millennia, is a striking example of the madness of crowds.”

  2. EugenR Says:

    Patrice, an excellent article. Hard to add anything intelligible. Need time to consume all the ideas in then article.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Dear Eugen: Thanks, from the bottom of my heart. It is very encouraging to… feel appreciated. And I need it, because I go far out on a limb. Or many limbs, actually…

      • EugenR Says:

        Walking? Alps? The Pyrenees where great. Visited Pamplona festival, chased some bulls, (careful enough to be always behind them) and suffered from Koons exhibition in the amazing Guggenheim museum.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          I am hiking/running in the Alps everyday. Easier to do that than climbing in organization/time. Still can be character building like yesterday with thunderstorm which cut the road in the valley below… 😉

  3. Kevin Berger Says:

    Un point de situation, à caractère introspectif?

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      En effet. Mais neanmoins au dela. On generalise du personel, au general, l’approche fondamentale de la philosophie.

      The fact that the present Internet is anything-goes, presents an amplification of tribal effects. Totally abominable sites get great traffic. Precisely because they are abominable. It’s not just discouraging, it’s frightening.

      • Kevin Berger Says:

        Ce n’était pas une critique, j’ai lu cette entrée un peu comme un dialogue avec vous-même, entre lassitude et conviction. Plus personnel que d’habitude, en fait.
        Et, effectivement, cette approche du particulier au général vous est coutumière, avec des résultats intéressants – vous êtes une voix singulière, aucun doute là-dessus -, plus le bonus amusant de parfois deviner telle ou telle étincelle de départ; je vous avais d’ailleurs découvert avec des billets sur la seule francophobie. Même démarche, donc.

        As for internet, well, the times are all about narcissism, individualization and fragmenting, people alienating themselves away into a fractal of niches and tribes and consuming habits and such…
        I honestly do not know if it’s on purpose (if only for consumerist aims, though the US rightwing has done a *tremendous* job on corralling and controlling its constituency), or if it is just/mostly a natural development, what happens when the primate nature of mankind (part of your dark side, if you wish, maybe?) is given free reins through new means, like the supposed unprecedented obesity issues among Chinese and Indian middle & upper classes.
        If it’s the former, it’s discouraging, because it is an assault that cannot be countered (money, techniques, media access, momentum) until there’s a mass shift in mindset (IE, moods, to use your terminology), that may or may not come and will likely be due to unpleasant black swans events of some sort.
        If it’s the later, it’s frightening, because, then, there is no way out.

        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          Got to run here Kevin. Yes, I stroke a more personal touch, quite a bit with an educative purpose. I was struck by observations such as “itsnobody”, the crazy god maniac haunting this site, pointing out that he had better Alexa rating than me. Some philsophers alos pointed out to be that I was absolutely nobody, same way….. OK, more later

      • Kevin Berger Says:

        Btw, re BHL’s fount of creativity, this reminds me that just a short time ago, the co-animator of the rightwing news & link aggregator Fds web site has been sued by Mr. Bergé, for a re-tweeted snippet of some kind, complete with a 6 AM police courtesy visit and seized computers and the like. You know the saying about cornered rats.

  4. De Brunet D'Ambiallet Says:

    Great stuff! Good point about camus. Still, he was the best of the bunch. Not that this is saying much. In the fifties Sartre and his friends were all hard core commies, loving Uncle Joe.

    BHL is the stereotype of the plutocrat wearing a sheep skin. Still, who can be interested by his stuff? All he worries about lately is Judaism. He is totally into the system, has nothing to say. He behaves as if he were the real president of france.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Thanks! Yes, BHL contacts politicians overseas, and fixes them up with French president. He has been part of the establishment, at the highest level, for now 40 years. He is also part of the USA establishment (see his presence on the Huffington Post).

      French intellectuals hated France around 1930-1950. Saul Bellow noticed that, in a biting conclusion, wrote that to Philip Roth. So, out of spite, they embraced Stalin (and many others, fascism).

  5. Paul Handover Says:

    Wonderful essay even though it will need a slow second reading by me to better understand all your messages. But the need for truth in society has never been greater. Actually, there’s a word I would use instead of truth: integrity.

    The need for integrity has never been greater, ever.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Paul! I am very glad that you appreciate it. I am always worried when I get far out, that I will not be appreciated.

      Professional philosophers I interact with often criticize harshly what I write, and prevent publication on the ground that my material has not enough to do with anything they are familiar with… I guess, nothing to do with integrity, with which they are not apparently familiar with! 😉 Thence the greater need for people with taste and common sense to like what I am doing…
      PA

  6. gmax Says:

    No pain, no gain! And from a new angle! And Campus back down in his hole he should never have left! Love it!

  7. Gius Says:

    I feel as though this article has validated a lot of things that i’ve thought to myself. I’ve been thinking about whether or not i want to go to college, and what for, and i’ve been worried if i would even have been considered as a contributing person in anything i’m interested in for this very reason. After all, what’s the point of working hard and making discoveries that will either never be acknowledged nor expanded on, or arguably worse, stolen?

    I’d love to feel as though the adventure in itself, even if lonely, would be enough. But, if it wouldn’t matter anyway, what would the point be?

    Then again, using that as an excuse to just do nothing sounds like a bad idea. But acknowledging that doesn’t really make the concern irrelevant.

    I hate hearing those stories of great minds who were either ignored, or had their credit stolen by marauders touting themselves as intellectuals. I mean, sure, many of those marauders were/are incredible thinkers in their own right, some even rediscovering old buried ideas completely by coincidence. But that’s not always the case.

    And i mean, i don’t think it’s always easy to differentiate.

    Point is, there are interests i have, but thinking back to horror stories of people dedicating so much time for little to no acknowledgement… some even for their whole lives.

    Sends chills down m spine.

    Then again, i’m just an ignorant 18 year old. Really, i feel like my opinion there is probably ignorant too.

    Sorry for rambling though. This was a really good read.

  8. Gius Says:

    I feel as though this article has validated a lot of things that i’ve thought to myself. I’ve been thinking about whether or not i want to go to college, and what for, and i’ve been worried if i would even have been considered as a contributing person in anything i’m interested in for this very reason. After all, what’s the point of working hard and making discoveries that will either never be acknowledged nor expanded on, or arguably worse, stolen?

    I’d love to feel as though the adventure in itself, even if lonely, would be enough. But, if it wouldn’t matter anyway, what would the point be?

    Then again, using that as an excuse to just do nothing sounds like a bad idea. But acknowledging that doesn’t really make the concern irrelevant.

    I hate hearing those stories of great minds who were either ignored, or had their credit stolen by marauders touting themselves as intellectuals. I mean, sure, many of those marauders were/are incredible thinkers in their own right, some even rediscovering old buried ideas completely by coincidence. But that’s not always the case.

    And i mean, i don’t think it’s always easy to differentiate.

    Point is, there are interests i have, but thinking back to horror stories of people dedicating so much time for little to no acknowledgement… some even for their whole lives.

    Sends chills down m spine.

    But, i’m just an ignorant 18 year old. Really, i feel like my opinion on this is probably pretty ignorant too.

    Sorry for rambling. Anyway, this was a really good read.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello Gius and welcome. Learning is always good, even if one ends flipping hamburgers. Or, I should say, the more menial the task, the more things one should know, to occupy one’s mind.
      All of human society has a dog eat dog character, more or less, mitigated, or not, by law. It is the same in intellectual circles, so that struggle for power and comfort is, per se (by itself), not enough to discard all and any academic career. I had an academic career, and blossomed out, so to speak. So go ahead and learn, it’s way easier to learn when young, for a large number of reasons. That means youth is the best moment for learning.

      No acknowledgment by others is not so much of a problem, because, ultimately, knowledge is the greatest reward (short of knowing love).

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