Archive for February 2nd, 2021

Extreme Passions Create Heavens And Hell

February 2, 2021

Extreme passions enable to reset neural networks, create new ones, that is, new ideas, new emotions. Thus Extreme passions are good for mental creativity. Those who think they can just sit like Buddha and contemplate their navel, to create something valuable, got it all wrong. Hence we need extreme passions for adapting humanity to reality. Hating climate change is not just good but necessary, to do something significant about it… like contradicting all the vampires who live out of fossil fueling the planet (just an example). However, those passions arising are inconvenient to most, in particular to the many of the established elites… precisely because said established elites have all too often much to lose by a changing mental climate… That’s why great thinkers tend to be hated and on the run. Yes, not just Socrates, Aristotle, Hypatia , Boetius, Bruno, Galileo, Descartes, Lavoisier, Lamarck, Darwin or Van Gogh, but even Boltzmann, Einstein, or Louis De Broglie, Godel, let alone Bloch or Cavailles… the latter two, a famous French historian of the Middle Ages and a famous French logician and philosopher, were tortured to death by self-righteous Nazis…

Ev Dioscorea then observed:
“Agreed, but the elite have a lot less to do with suppression of passion and creativity than ones peers do, at least in my experience
.”

This brings to the fore the relationship of the elite of creative thinking with the rest of the elite: it is ambiguous, to put it mildly, as one cannot go without the other. When they go together, civilization does for the best. When they don’t, it collapses. And then there are schizophrenic cases, such as the Renaissance, with characters such as famous kings of Portugal, anxious to go where European ships had never gone before, around the world… while at the same time begging the Pope to overrule frankish law, and make slavery of Africans legal… in a kind of tit for tat…

Caterina Sforza, a forceful, militant personality, descendant of a long succession of condottieri. A Renaissance woman interested in everything interesting, including arts and science, but especially the weapons she needed to defend herself, and her family…. Caterina was omnivorous in her activities, including experiments in alchemy (proto-chemistry), hunting and dancing. Caterina’s resistance to the frantic fascist self-obsessed Cesare Borgia meant she had to face his fury and imprisonment. “Se io potessi scrivere tutto, farei stupire il mondo” (If I could write everything that happened, I would shock the world).

Highest thinking is highest elite, but…
There are elites and elites. The real elite of thought, and the elite of political and financial power are different… But they interact, and the latter two are generally entangled.

Civilization has a problem when elite thinking is at war with the politico-financial-military-religious elite. This caused the collapse of many a civilization (394 CE Rome an example; the Nika riots, another; Nazism another). The Greco-Roman imperial state went down when its elite destroyed the intellectual elite (this started by 380 CE, under the puerile and Catholic fanatic emperors Gratian (~20 years old), Valentinian II (~15 years old) and Theodosius I (became emperor in his early thirties…)

When the greedy elite is in synch with advanced thinking, as under the 5 year rule of Seneca, things go well. However, clearly starting with Domitian, even good Roman governance rejected advanced thinking, and even the advancement of engineering, supposedly to insure full employment… with long term disastrous consequences…

Now Europe showed many cases of plutocrats at the forefront of the intellectual elite… even Popes! The archetype was William, Duke of Normandy… But examples abound. Buridan, who discovered Newton’s second law, three centuries before the birth of Newton, advised no less than 4 French kings… The European Renaissance is crammed with enlightened monarchs, all over.

Some, like Peter the Great of Russia, knew how to crush screaming and begging enemies with the iron bar, while fostering imposed progress on the “Old Believers”, fanatical Christians ready to die in the name of obscurantism… And who made the mistake of organizing a coup against Peter. Peter, the Czar, as a young man, humbly went West, to learn what European Renaissance was all about… And he worked as a ship builder in the Netherlands… to learn how ocean going ships were made, as he was anxious to bring back the most advanced knowledge to Russia, and the attitude to go with it. That enabled him to crush the invading Swedish armies, terminating Sweden at the battle of Poltava, deep in the Ukraine… Smarts are one.

Why is this?

Why this union of evil and creativity, apparent everywhere? Because creativity is intrinsically evil, yet goodness cannot do without it. Indeed, a certain dose of evil is needed to create new ideas and emotions, because creating new mental worlds hurts established minds, thus all minds and in particular, the established elites. Thus a touch of evil is needed to forge ahead intellectually. Now goodness itself is unstable, be it only for ecological reason, so it needs better ideas and feelings, thus that touch of evil…

Patrice Ayme


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