Internet & Academic Morality Not Yet Here

Internet Etiquette Is Not Internet Morality. Academia, Tribes Fighting Like Rats:

Morality is technology dependent. Always has been, always will be. Indeed, morality, the mores, are the behaviors which have proven sustainable. As technology varies, so does sustainability.

Having a rapacious attitude can also be sustained for centuries. Many said that about Rome. It was viewed to be the case of the Assyrian civilization, around 27 centuries ago. The Aztecs similarly had made moral, even divine to cut their enemies in pieces and eat them.

Right, Yet Order Zero Approach, Because, In the Next Step, Righteousness Itself Has to Be Interrogated, Though

Right, Yet Order Zero Approach, Because, In the Next Step, Righteousness Itself Has to Be Interrogated, Though

The USA’s morality is founded not just on “Jesus” and his “Bible”, but also on the most sacred “philosophers” of the so-called (Anglo-Saxon!) Enlightenment. In the USA, to be “enlightened” traditionally means to believe in the established order, racist, enslaving, and the so-called “free market” with its “invisible hand” (Pluto!). One has to be an “empiricist”, following “pragmatism” (and that means having no moral principles, but for those of the Bible).

So, naturally enough, having defied the philosophical foundation of the USA, I was immediately “banned” from a “philosophy” site.

This is not the first time this happens. Once a site where Searle, a “philosopher” famous for his “Chinese Room” thought experiment, banned me. Searle’s site claimed I was culprit of “intellectual property theft”, because the site claimed it owned all and any of my ideas, once they were published there. I was also accused of “fantastic Logic”. Part of the truth, of course is that the Chinese Room is itself a duplication of the so-called “Turing Test” which (idiotically) claims a computer to be intelligent if it can pass for a human in a conversation. Searle, a professor at a university where I taught, use to force his students to buy his fantastically overpriced tiny and worthless books. The same university is now involved into a tidal wave of sexual harassment cases: a professor forcing students to buy his fantastically overpriced books is also a rapist, methinks.

Another of my crime, yesterday was to claim that Kuhn, author of “The Structure Of Scientific Revolutions”, a revered figure of American philosophy of science, never said anything special.

Instead I was told that  philosophy is “Discursive Rational Argumentation”. This is highly redundant: ratio (from which reason comes), comes from “logic”, which itself means discourse, which is not different from “argumentation”.

Instead I hold that philosophy is “Disruptive Rational Art”

Insults themselves can be an art: Obama flew to Saudi Arabia, flying 12,000 kilometers. He was welcomed by the governor of Riyadh. No minister, no king.

Saudi ire is mostly caused by the US rapprochement with Iran, although Obama’s artful inefficiency is also a legitimate cause of irritation. (Not to say Iran is innocent: Iranian psychology is a study in the deepest contradictions imaginable, due to the rape of Iranian civilization by much beloved Arabian engineered Islam; a classical case of the Stockholm syndrome, which should be re-baptized as the Iranian syndrome…)

The alliance between the US presidency and the king of Saudi Arabia dates from 1945. It has proven quite sustainable, although it’s a spiral descending as a co-dependency with hell.  In a way, the USA did with Saudi Arabia what it did with Hitler: encourage the worst, and milk it (the argument that Britain, Germany and France have done the same is entirely valid… but they followed the US lead, and their reward is Wahhabist terror all over Europe).

The Internet is a new technology. It empowers completely new behaviors: potentially all can communicate with all, and talk about anything. Thus it requires, and will evolve, a new morality. But there are many possibilities. Some good, some evil.

The Internet allows intellectual exchanges, gifts we make to each other called ideas. The wisest behavior, among intellectuals, in tentative debate, consist in getting inspired by the best ideas others have to offer, and forget the rest. This is the best first order approach.

However when the most impactful ideas are deleterious, such as a stealth advocacy of slavery or greed, it is another matter entirely. When John Locke teaches hypocrisy as the highest mood (condemning slavery in his writing, while investing in it and fostering it, in his actions), he deserves strident condemnation.

I am banned from many sites, from the Huffington Post, to the Guardian (for the unexpected sin of “blogging the Qur’an!”). I view “banning” and censoring unwise. The New York Times, since before the invasion of Iraq, has literally censored thousands of my comments (I have been a full subscriber for decades). Said comments’ positions were later embraced by the New York Times.

I have never banned anybody from my site (including Jihadists, Fundamentalists, and the occasional Nazi). I put just one crazed maniac in moderation, and he gave up. I systematically contradict offensive material, though, in appropriate, thus scathing, terms (it’s generally enough to make miscreants give up).

I don’t “make things up”. Except for the occasional rare joke. I don’t make things up, to the best of my knowledge, I never do, and never did, because reality, my way, always beats fiction (especially fiction the way others have it, which puts me to sleep).

Mary Beard, a professional Roman historian, in her SPQR, brazenly claims the Common Wisdom that Marcus Aurelius was the first emperor in a long while to have a live official son, but a cursory research reveals that Hadrian (likely), and Antoninus Pius (certainly) had two official sons. I did not make it up.

The devil starts with getting the details wrong… and learning to live with that.

Long ago at Stanford I was scolded by the finest and brightest, for “meditating” on Black Hole theory. My “meditation” became standard lore only recently. I had a somewhat similar experience in pure mathematics. Ultimately, what motivates academics and scientists, and philosophers the most, is their own advancement, and that means the advancement of their tribe. Richard Feynman discovered this, he said, after being elected to the American Academy of Sciences. He decided that was not acceptable, and resigned.

My answer to these academic shenanigans? Do more of what I always did, and damn the torpedoes. I am not writing for a career, but for the issues themselves. My career belongs to the future, after I am gone.

The greatest, oldest, most human, and most noble trading, is that of ideas.

And where do ideas come from? Not just the pulling of oxen, but the spur of the moment. This is why Internet spontaneity is sacred. Academia was a grove Plato liked. With the Internet, the grove is the world.

Patrice Ayme’

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18 Responses to “Internet & Academic Morality Not Yet Here”

  1. brodix Says:

    Patrice,

    Massimo does have a fairly circumscribed view of the world and it is his cage you rattled.

    As for Islam, why doesn’t anyone point out they have essentially been engaged in a civil war since the early 80’s (Iran/Iraq war), which was significantly instigated by the US, after the Iranian Revolution.

    Monotheism is founded on an oxymoron. The spiritual absolute would be the essence from which life rises, not an ideal from which it fell. If the philosophers had an ounce of logic, they would have been making this point for centuries.Then again, it took mankind a million years to fully develop stone working, so a few centuries or millennia here and there, chasing after wild geese is to be expected.

    Islam is the most doctrinaire monotheism, as Judaism is still a tribal thing and Christianity isn’t really an absolute monotheism. The split between Sunni and Shiite is whether authority is hereditary, or institutional, which should have given someone some idea it’s a little more complicated than a divine father figure.

    I have to say I long ago gave up trying to save the world as it is. It has been destined to crash for a long while and the only hope of real change will be after the wheels come off and before the powers that be seize the controls again.

    Like Islam, capitalism is destroying itself.

    It isn’t the believers you need to save, but those who have not yet sold their souls.

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      When the cage is small, and the temper big, the rattling becomes unbearable.
      I like your expression “fairly circumscribed”…

      “Capitalism”? Civilization IS capital. But there are many ways of managing capital. Bankers, being in charge of MOST money creation (in contrast to central bank and treasury, which can also create money) are civil servants, and should be treated that way (see article in today’s Wall Street Journal).

      • brodix Says:

        I don’t think he gets particularly emotional, but he doesn’t seem inclined to tax his imagination and would prefer others not to either.

        “Bankers, being in charge of MOST money creation (in contrast to central bank and treasury, which can also create money) are civil servants, and should be treated that way (see article in today’s Wall Street Journal).”

        Basically. And as the medium of exchange, money is like blood in the economy and the most important aspect of managing blood is there be neither too much, or too little.

        But Alan Greenspan thought otherwise.

      • brodix Says:

        “Civilization IS capital.”

        Yes and the bankers are intent on sucking all of it out of everything that they can.

  2. ianmillerblog Says:

    As a generalisation, your comment about academics and scientists is correct, but I maintain there are exceptions. After all, I consider myself a scientist, and I could not car less about advancement, after all there is nowhere for me to advance to. However, the fact is, most scientists, especially academic ones, are really only interested in whatever very narrow field they are involved in, and are almost horrified about a potential disagreement. Since I seem to disagree with a number of “standard positions” I have seen this first hand. The general approach seems to be first to bluster, and if that doesn’t work, ignore it and hope it will go away, and in general it will these days. When was the last time you saw a standard position overthrown?

    The internet, however, may change this. The academics will remain comfortably ensconced but they no longer dictate opinions the way they used to. Patrice, persist.

    • brodix Says:

      Ian,

      As with most things, it is a double edged sword. The internet provides everyone a forum, but it provides everyone a forum. We are drowned in information and only those with expensive megaphones can be heard above the din and that would be those riding the wave of current opinion.
      Which is why the only possibility is to wait until these standard views do crash, though that is often long after it becomes obvious that they will. What is interesting is that quite a number of humanity’s foundational structures appear to be about to crash together, so the potential for change is enormous. The caveat is that most people will contract into their most cherished beliefs, not seek fresh solutions.
      One would assume those most tasked with the obligation for objective thinking, the philosophers and scientists, would be most open to new ideas, but they also are human and are more concerned with supporting and fixing the status quo, than examining it and so only the most extreme extensions of the system are open to question, like multiverses, rather than the ideas to which they are the reduction to absurdity, such as spacetime.
      As you say, persist anyway. One day, much of this will peel away like an old skin. What will be next is anyone’s guess. There is room to move the ball way down the field, but it might just be kicked back.

      • Patrice Ayme Says:

        Classifying the information on the Internet both in quality and originality is the future (Google has taken a timid step in that direction).
        “Quality” stuff which is just erroneous Conventional Wisdom is a great trap (at the bottom of which Massimo scraps a living). The example is the question of the Antonine emperors’ sons… As I said, Mary Beard, world famous historian of the period repeats that egregious lie in her just published “SPQR”, the compendium of her life’s work. This is a SYMPTOM, of her worship at the tabernacle of Conventional Wisdom. So her book, which claims not to be so, is actually pretty much, after all the smoke and mirrors, a justification of the plutocratic principle she lives by (she also conveniently misses all of Roman history after Caracalla… arguably lasting to this day…)

        • ianmillerblog Says:

          Fancy stopping at Caracalla, who was hardly a highlight. I mean, missing the Gordians!! Slightly more seriously, to overlook Diocletian, and overlook the “last chance” he offered is a bit crude for a historian.

          • Gmax Says:

            After Caracalla, there was Philip the Arab, Aurelian, Diocletian, Constantine, Julian, Theodose, Justinian… The empire became Christian

            • Patrice Ayme Says:

              Yes the empire progressively turned into the Feudal System. There was no break. Even the Franks, chaperoned by leading Romans, took nearly 2 centuries to acquire control, WITHIN the Roman empire…

          • Patrice Ayme Says:

            Caracalla decided around 222 CE, to tax everybody (aka, make them all “citizens”). However Marcus Aurelius, the famed pseudo-philosopher-real plutocrat, had already introduced, 50 years earlier, a distinction between two types of citizens: the honorares and the humiliatores… Basically the rich and thus honorable, and the low lives with few rights below, one should humiliate.

            Then most citizens ended being treated as the lowest of the low… a feudal order that was disrupted when the Franks took control, and put themselves at the top of the heap, before reshuffling everything by making everybody a Frank by 600 CE…

    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Of course, there are plenty of exception. However, like in all hierarchies, the greediest tend to gather the most power… And the necessity of power seduces the hesitant, with greed. I have been in academia myself (all too long). I have seen lots of exploitation, including peer reviewers denying, and then stealing results (I have seen it, not just with me, but with third parties)… I just came across a third party plagiarism, around 20 years old: a European researchers apparently lifted a California PhD thesis in its entirety…

      Fascinating for me to see physics stars presented as their great latest scientific revolution things I exposed, long, long, long ago, and was hotly denied then… The star system (celebrities everywhere) makes it hard to change things. So does the short grant habit in the USA (which favors superficiality and outright fabrication).

      Indeed, the Internet may change things: AI systems should be capable of making the GENEALOGY of ideas… Thanks for encouraging me to persist…

      • brodix Says:

        Patrice,

        If it was easy, it would be boring.

        Ultimately civilization operates under the same laws as the jungle and if you are part of the DNA of the organism, you have preference. If you are just gut bacteria, you are in the belly of the beast. If you are outside, you are a potential adversary.

        The trick is to know the territory better than they do and use it accordingly. You are not the big dog, so you have to set longer term goals and let the other dogs fight it out and find ways to leverage the situation toward the goals you see as necessary.

  3. Gmax Says:

    You said leading ‘intellectuals’ were instrumental in bringing the cult of Wahhabism and Salafism. They probably learned that from David Hume. Hume, Jefferson thought ‘negroes’ inferior, just as the Quran think Jews are inferior.

    • brodix Says:

      Gmax,

      The problem with monotheism in the first place is that it confuses the ideal with the absolute. For instance, we would fall from an ideal, but we would rise/expand from the absolute, as in equilibrium.
      Now if you have a religion which considers its particular cultural ideals to be absolute, as in universal, then no other cultures are valid.
      The only universal state is the equilibrium, where everything cancels out. Flatline. Which is what happens to lots of people, on the occasions the fanatics take charge.
      As I’ve pointed out before, the two original non-authoritarian societies, Athenian democracy and Roman Republicanism, developed in pantheistic cultures. When you have a multifaceted religion, than a multifaceted political system is natural. While monotheism naturally supports authoritarianism.

      • Gmax Says:

        Judaism is a tribal religion. Dudes are promised land by their God, and they split the sea, and kill everybody to get it.

        Nothing idealistic about it. It’s all about grabbing

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