Archive for the ‘Systems Of Moods’ Category

How And Why The Rebellion In France Is Depicted As Nasty And Venomous, By Its Enemy, Global Plutocracy

December 13, 2018

“GILETS JAUNES”: CARE AND EMERGENCY (France). “YELLOW JACKETS”: CLEVER, VENOMOUS INSECTS (Global Plutocratic Media).

The rebels  in France call themselves “gilets jaunes”. A “gilet jaune” is the sort of reflecting yellow vest used by personnel rescuing or repairing, and is also worn, in France, by automobilists in distress (it’s mandatory to have one in each car in France). So the feeling conveyed by “gilet jaune” in France, and in French, is care, distress, accident, rescue.

Amusingly, “gilet jaune” got mistranslated in English as “yellow jacket”, true on the face of it, but also the common descriptive of wasps. So the feeling conveyed when considering “gilet jaune” in English is that of a venomous nuisance potentially deadly (by 12/13/18, in 4 weeks of the rebellion, 6 have been killed, typically in collision).

The symbolism of gilet jaune is about care and love, the symbolism of yellow jackets is about venom and hatred.

A revolution led by those who usually never rebel: elder, lower middle class citizens with jobs… and senior citizens who had voted for the traitor.

Amusing to call “gilet jaunes” “yellow jackets”? Not only: also viciously underhanded. English speaking media plutocracy wants to emotionally paint the “gilet jaunes” as nasty (‘emergency jackets’ would have been more correct and reflective of the intended meaning). Why the hostility?

Do I need to ask? Global plutocracy wants slaves everywhere. A big country with an attitude like France, where We The People has not realize it should shut up and work ever harder, for ever less, is a major problem. So such a rebellious country needs to be completely unpowered. Here comes Macron, thereafter to be named according to the way he acted, Manu I, elected king of France. Manu I was central to this (although he is probably not aware of what he is exactly doing; I give him that). Manu I was brought to the finance and economy ministry to do this, unpowering France (Manu, a merger banker, replaced the social-nationalist Montebourg, a lawyer). There Manu didn’t disappoint the global financial establishment which had sent him, and he became the enabler of global plutocracy, in France.

The violence was not started by the rebels, but by the traitors who lead France in the name of global plutocracy.

Well, Manu I, the elected French dictator, was well on his way to destroy the French social model, great fear of the global plutocracy… When he was savagely interrupted by those “yellow jackets”. In the USA, starting during the last years in care of Obama, the social decomposition was so deep, that life expectancy started to go down. The controlling class was all for it, and the “Occupy Wall Street” movement died innocuously. 

Destroying the French social model is a must for the global plutocracy. Should social models survive in France or the USA, historically the two leading republics, it’s a terrible example for the rest of the world.

Trump, although he said he would do so, is not taxing the GAFAM much… For US leaders, taxing the GAFAM is taxing a US world superiority tool. It’s taxing a US comparative advantage. No wonder there is no motivation to do so. Trump is forced to be nice to Bezos, head of Amazon, because Trump is a US nationalist, and US nationalism has no weapon more formidable than Amazon. 

However France, as a nation, gets no advantage from being submitted to the GAFAM: it’s the opposite, France gets a comparative disadvantage. As French engineering built, industrially the first transistors, the first CPU and the first personal computer (in two ways, as Pascal did so already in the 17th Century!), France is perfectly capable of fabricating, inside France,, everything that the GAFAM does. France is still capable (but maybe for not much longer… if things keep on heading where they are…) But France doesn’t anymore have the will to be at the forefront of technological progress. Or at least its leaders don’t. 

Why? Because the elite has been sold on the global plutocracy dream, an attempt to build a new world “aristocracy”, centered around said “elite”. Thus Manu I, elected king of France, burnished his credentials relative to the global plutocracy, prior to his election, when he gave Alstom, a unique heavy industry company in France, to its US competitor, General Electric. General Electric used US public money (previously given by Obama) to “buy” Alstom: the US generates public money at will, whereas France doesn’t anymore (thanks to the EU plutocratic system).   

When the US owns the major French heavy industry, that can be dismantled, weakening French power, hence the French social model, by as much. Now the Manu’s government minsters go around saying France can’t afford Chinese made solar panels… Why not French made? What happened to import taxes on strategic materials? Why not 25% importation tax, as the USA is doing?

Because it would reinforce France, hence her social model, hence be a violence against global plutocracy, the unsaid emotions looming in the backgrounds of the souls of our corrupt “leaders”?

Weakening the French social model goes with calling French rebels nasty names, such as “yellow jackets”. Thus it makes the rebellion in France an object of fear and spite. Emotionally speaking, that is, at the deepest logical level.

Well, let’s embrace the notion. You want us nasty? Let’s welcome the notion. Revolutions are there to kill old worlds, old establishments, old emotions. Yellow jackets can kill, indeed. What needs to be killed, is the social model proposed to us by global plutocracy: slaves everywhere, plutocrats to the stars…

Patrice Ayme.   

Michel Serres, Or How Stanford’s Pet Led To Insurrection In France

December 2, 2018

HOW FRENCH “INTELLECTUALS” FOSTERED THE GLOBAL MESS IN FRANCE, WORLD; a broadside against Serres, Michel… And other temples of meekness adulated to the point of brainlessness.

Top thinkers are the most important leaders. Official thinkers lead according to what those in power want, unofficial thinkers lead, ultimately. We are in a world where leadership needs to change in all ways, and right away. Or the world, not just the Champs Elysees, is going to explode. So what the top thinkers think matters more than ever: one can see that the attempt of leading France with a Rothschild banker is not working too well.

Unfortunately honored thinkers are generally rotten to the core, as we will show with the unfortunate Michel Serres below. Make no mistake: Serres is a nice guy, I would enjoy talking to him (but not necessarily as much as the local plumber, as I just did). People such as Serres

For example, Aristotle was, very quickly, much more important than his pupil, Alexander the Great. The executor of Aristotle’s will, Antipater, the most senior of the close-knit group which led Macedonia, made Athens into a plutocracy… something that Alexander had not dared to do. Why was Antipater such a monster? Because Aristotle had persuaded him that monarchy was the best political system (especially when Antipater himself, was the king!) Aristotle destroyed democracy. This is why Aristotle got revered by the Christian-plutocratic leaders, most of the time, and became official thought, to be believed under the penalty of death if not.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/aristotle-destroyed-democracy/

The result of too much meek, plutophile thinking in France, from all these useless philosophers, among them, Michel Serres. Arc de Triomphe in the smoke behind. A real triumph for France under the leadership of Banque Rothschild.

Another example of intellectual leadership, one of many: one talks of Nero, initially a nice, poetic boy. Starting at age eleven, though, the “stoic” philosopher Seneca became his tutor. Many admire Seneca to this day (especially professional philosophers hoping to make a buck from Seneca’s “stoicism”). Right, Seneca wrote many nice ideas (most of them fairly obvious, hence seductive to the simple ones). Yet, where it really mattered, he was the worst (Seneca’s justifying discourses for the assassination of emperor Claudius, Nero’s adoptive father, and empress Agrippina, Nero’s mother, are among the worst things ever written… and I include in this the worst of the Bible…)   

Saint Louis wrote, and was viewed as an intellectual leader. So was Luther. Both hated Jews, to a point even Hitler never dare to express. Saint Louis and Luther gave birth to the mentality which blossomed with the Holocaust of the Jews (and the holocaust of even more of others…)

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/luther-hitler-unelected/

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Michel Serres, or when the naive masses are taught their errors are the way to go:

Technical, but worth noticing: the extremely honored and well-connected French philosopher Michel Serres, one of France’s most prominent dictators of PC ideas, professor at Stanford since 84, “teaches” exactly what the powers that be, want to hear: nothing original, but for spicy details… He reminds me of Michelle Obama getting paid 60 million dollars for relating that incredible exploit, when she prepared herself a peanut sandwich. Imagine, if you can, a goddess, so much above us all, preparing herself a sandwich!

For example Michel Serres teaches what everybody knows: that “Copernicus and Galileo were the first to postulate” that the Earth turned around the Sun…. “First to postulate?” Where has he been? Something that everybody knows, and is completely false. It’s important to understand that people were led to believe that one could not doubt that the Sun rotated around the Earth… although top thinkers had good reasons to believe otherwise… for 18 centuries before Copernic. More astronomy was known long ago than is usually suspected. Even Muhammad told his followers that the eclipse which happened when his 2-year-old son Ibrahim died, was happenstance: moon and sun moved on their own. 

William, Duke of Normandy, conqueror of England, himself mentioned it was a possibility that Earth turned around the Sun (Willam was in touch and protecting, some of the greatest intellectuals, worldwide, who happened, not coincidentally, to live in his backyard). Buridan (15C) went much further, discovering the first two laws of mechanics later attributed to the Englishman Newton, etc.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/momentum-force-inertia-middle-ages-buridan/

Another irony: it’s from the work of Pytheas of Marseilles who measured the Earth (using non-Euclidean geometry!)… More than 23 centuries ago. Then, using that and shadows of earth on the Moon, the distance Earth-Moon was computed, and from there, the minimal distance of the Sun. Then it should have become obvious that the huge thing didn’t turn around the tiny thing at an immense speed, whereas the smallest thing (the Moon) took a month to turn around the Earth…  Serres may have never heard of Pytheas (although he was in the Navy).

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Why heliocentrism was defeated for so long: because hypercriticism had to be defeated:

But the meta strategy the powers that be didn’t want, don’t want to be taught, was, is, hyper critical thinking. The heliocentric theory was irresistible… if, and only if, the strategy of hypercriticism was deployed… The same one which would bring the exploitative elite down. Thus the failure of considering heliocentrism was the failure of hypercriticism, and thus the safety of plutocracy.

Thus, when finally heliocentrism succeeded (in spite of the Church putting all of Buridan’s works at the index in 1479 CE), the catholic Church centered society exploded.

Serres teaches that nothing of the sort happened: heliocentrism was not suppressed by fascists regimes and their little pseudo-intellectuals. Couldn’t have been: Michel Serres, following closely the Catholic Inquisition, pretends that heliocentrism was not suggested before Copernicus…

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To Control People Best, Control Their Thinking:

Also Michel Serres teaches that the Englishman Darwin “discovered” evolution…. As if that Englishman was the first (Darwin was the first to declare he was not the first)! Never mind Anaximander, 24 centuries earlier (the Greek philosopher declared we were descending from fishes…. he probably didn’t make it up: Greek scientists got the idea first, no doubt). So Serres celebrates Anglo-Saxon science, comforting the world into its feeling that dominant Anglo-Saxon thought is superior in the most important ways… Serres achieves this, by focusing only upon Darwin as “the”, the one and only

Whereas, in truth a number of famous Frenchmen, including Lamarck (epigenetics!) and Cuvier (catastrophism!) did it, two generations prior. And Lamarck and Cuvier provided in the process new explanations cogent today (the selection, natural or artificial had been well-known to the Ancient Greeks, who used it to evolve better breeds, sold all over… and was something invented to make herding possible, many thousand years ago…)

So what is Serres, supposedly a history of science specialist, up to, proffering nonsense common to the basest of them all? Teaching the superiority of the (received) view of the universe, the way Stanford University and its ilk want it to be taught. Hey, Serres gains from it: he even got a saber and a fancy green and gold costume.

Look how pretty I am, and how big my house is! Michel Serres at the 40 member strong French Academy. Just read Tintin, says Serres, all you need to know. (I’m not kidding, that’s what he said, and repeated, many times!)

Some may object that these are details. No. Ignore famous French thinkers, deny them their discoveries, and then, therefore, less well-known French (or not) thinkers will be ignored too. William of Normandy protected the abbot who insisted that God was reason, therefore reason was god, and thus, that, as a matter of theology, a society founded on reason was a society founded on god. The Vatican tried to have the abbot killed (it had got its first mass burning for heresy, not far away, around 1026 CE, a generation earlier). Indeed, this is exactly what was happening with French and especially north-west France society at the time (hence the military superiority which brought the conquest of England over the resisting, plotting English (William was the legitimate heir, but not the one English aristocracy wanted to be overlorded by…)

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Jean Meslier, a real creative thinker, suggested to strangle nobles with their guts:

The history of ideas is full of thinkers, and trains of thoughts, which are ignored… Although they were often more important than the official ones. It’s not just so with pure philosophy. For example Euclid masked the already invented non-Euclidean geometry, just as Ptolemy masked the heliocentric theory (Aristarchus of Samos promoted the idea that the Earth turned around the Sun, and answered the scientific critiques. Which were numerous). Considering what the Greeks knew about the planets, the heliocentric theory was obvious, and the alternative unlikely (formal definitive proof came about only when telescopes were powerful enough to see the phases of Venus, namely that Venus rotated around the Sun…)  

Once in the early 18C, in 1729, a French priest, Jean Meslier, close to death, wrote a book, his “Testament” about the Catholic Church of an amazing violence… And entirely true. Meslier denounced organized religion as “but a castle in the air and theology as “but ignorance of natural causes reduced to a system“.

That senior priest basically accused the Church to be the largest criminal organization in close association with the ruling plutocracy. That work had a tremendous influence on the Enlightenment, for example, on Diderot, Voltaire… who often attributed to themselves what Meslier wrote, while completely distorting his thought (for example Voltaire turned Meslier into a deist, thus ingratiating himself to the powers that be, making Voltaire wealthier and more influential as a simple monkey begging for riches).

In his “Testament”, Meslier repudiated not only the God of conventional Christianity, but even the generic God of the natural religion of the deists. For Meslier, the existence of evil was incompatible with the idea of a good and wise God. Meslier denied that any spiritual value could be gained from suffering, and he used the deist’s argument from design against god, by showing the evils that he had permitted in this world. To Meslier, religions were fabrications fostered by ruling elites; although the earliest Christians had been exemplary in sharing their goods, Christianity had long since degenerated into encouraging the acceptance of suffering and submission to tyranny as practised by the kings of France: injustice was explained away as being the will of an all-wise Being. None of the arguments used by Meslier against the existence of a good God were original. In fact, they had blossomed since the Eleventh Century in France, and caused the Cathars (12 C). Orthodox theologians had debated them between Jesuits, Cartesians, and Jansenists (all the way to Japan!) The inability of top theologians to agree on a proof for God’s existence was taken by Meslier as a good reason not to presume that there were compelling grounds for belief in God.

Meslier’s philosophy was that of an atheist. He also denied the existence of the soul and dismissed the notion of free will. In Chapter V, the priest writes, “If God is incomprehensible to man, it would seem rational never to think of Him at all”. Meslier later describes God as “a chimera” and argues that the supposition of God is not prerequisite to morality. In fact, he concludes that “[w]hether there exists a God or not […] men’s moral duties will always be the same so long as they possess their own nature”.

In his most famous quote, Meslier refers to a man who “...wished that all the great men in the world and all the nobility could be hanged, and strangled with the guts of the priests.” Meslier admits that the statement may seem crude and shocking, but comments that this is what the priests and nobility deserve, not for reasons of revenge or hatred, but for love of justice and truth.

More of the great works of Michel Serres, applied. Gilets Jaunes, Paris 24 Nov 2018. The Rothschild banker who rules France as a medieval kingdom doesn’t mind: as Obama, or the Clintons, he is just an employee of the powers that be, and those have said to destroy the French people into submission

(Those ideas of Meslier were reused, changed a bit, ever since, starting with Diderot; by the way, Voltaire had paid a fortune for a copy of the “Testament”, and used it a lot, completely changed in spirit; Meslier had made 4 copies, and hidden them with people he trusted, and the book was recopied secretly).

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Machiavellian propaganda has turned people against themselves, and sense into nonsense:

Going over French history, one finds many iconoclast authors (arguably starting with elected king cum Consul Clovis himself, who seemed to have made a point not to understand Christianism deliberately, as when he said that, had him “and his Franks been there, Christ would not have been crucified”… namely Clovis and his men would have killed all the Roman soldiers, and the masochistic god would not have been able to be nailed to proclaim his victimhood…)

Michel Serres has been a power in the French propaganda system  since before he entered the French Academy. He makes a lot of sense, a lot of conventional sense, a lot of meek sense, a lot of the sense the powers that be want We The People to be tied up by again (re-ligare). Serres is supposed to be our religion, far from revolution. The religion of conventionalism, where those who succeed in the Euro-American social system are to not just be rewarded, but define the Politically Correct, and the Philosophically correct.

To be French in the last two years meant to have to agree enthusiastically with state/plutocratic propaganda that Trump was the problem, that France shouldn’t go into debt, so taxes had to keep on climbing, to save the planet, etc. All myth, legends, fake news, false notions, tottering pyramids of lies.

Pigs have hierarchies, often from brute force. A dominated pig will lie to his dominant, and get to food after leading the dominant pig in the wrong place.

Machiavellianism can also describe, in particular, all the strategies to make social groups to do something while they believe they are doing something else, even the opposite. By leading them astray. Machiavellianism doesn’t have to be evil, but evil power (Pluto-kratia) uses Machiavellianism to get We The People where it wants it to be.

Michel Serres was once selected to be the chairman of the French intellectual TV channel by the right-wing government of France. The idea? To instill Political Correctness. So now one can see, in French cities, illegal immigrants being treated better than French born citizens (they receive 37.5 Euro a day, around 45 dollars, not including free cell phone, etc.) For less than that, millions of French born citizens work all day long (and now the corrupt criminal golden boy prostitute clown masquerading as president wants to augment the price of non transport diesel by 50%, effective immediately, never mind 13% of the French population uses it for heating…)

Stanford University, core and soul of Silicon Valley, knows a placebo when it sees one: thus Michel Serres has been teaching there since 1984, while his old accomplice Michel Foucault taught next door in Berkeley (full disclosure: I taught in both places too!) They both rendered ineffectual revolutionary thinking, by inoculating heavy doses of nonsense against it.

Once nonsense has been erected as the best of all possible senses, the mental leadership has succeeded beyond even where Christianity led the sheep… Erecting nonsense as the ultimate sense has been the task of mid-Twentieth Century philosophy, much to global plutocracy’s liking! This is why, and what the giants of fake thinking and fake knowledge teach in most revered places of the US and French establishments: one has to secure the republics into submission, far from real democracy.

Yes, it’s a complicated world. Even those who loudly advocate non-violence can end up feeding even more violence than if they had stayed silent. An example is the US peaceniks in the 1930s, who, anxious to appease the gods of war, refused entry to millions of refugees, including Anne Frank, condemning them to death.

Complexity itself can get tyrannical: thus the real top thinkers will know how to simplify, to get to the heart of the matter. Of that, critters such as Foucault or Serres are unable, while pretending the opposite, thus the US intellectual establishment needed them desperately, to thoroughly corrupt the souls of new generations of “leaders” (truly just employees).

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2018/07/01/fake-thinking-that-fake-french-theory-now-complete-with-highly-honored-fascist-spy/

Verily, creatures promoting the meekness of thought, such as Michel Serres and his ilk are precious… to the established order. Time to de-establish them, starting with the respect too generously bestowed to them, and foster the slashing subtlety of deep thought.

We think, therefore we parrot, says the global elite, just calm down. Stupid: the biosphere doesn’t have that kind of patience, it doesn’t have any patience, it’s the toy of various exponentials we unleashed. And the exponentials were unleashed from lack of democracy, because, fundamentally plutocracy wants war, because it is a war onto the people.

In France, the government of the Rothschild banker found the ultimate cynical ploy: tax people to death, under the pretext that taxing to death the French people will save the world’s ecology. Those Serres and other French “theorist”, not to say terrorists, taught will find this nonsensical reasoning cogent…

Patrice Ayme

 

MOODS RULE: Thus California Burns With Fire, Pascal & Other Jihadists, With Hatred

November 24, 2018

MOODS RULE: Thus HOUSES, BUILT FROM US Comfort-At-Any-Cost MOOD, BURN Enthusiastically In CALIFORNIA, While Blaise PASCAL, BATHING In CATHOLIC SOCIOPATHOLOGY, Was WRONG ON WAR, SPAIN, CATHOLICISM… A FORETASTE OF EVEN GREATER HOLOCAUSTS & WARS TO COME SOON AFTER His Deluge Of Nonsense.

Not lying is not just making correct statements. Saying A = A all day long, while feeling the Earth is flat, yet knowing that’s probably false, makes one a big time liar, while telling the truth most of the time. Not lying means, first, having correct moods, moods one really believes in.

(This was a snide remark against most believers, nowadays, who are just liars, as they know enough to feel their moods lie.)

All the rectangular burned debris are ex-houses. The “Paradise” (which Trump called “Pleasure”) “Campfire” massacre, which destroyed 12,000 buildings in a few hours, tended to burn buildings more than trees. As is always the case in the USA. Clearly the building of “Paradise” was orchestrated by greedy insanity, not caution, and respect for human life: the city of Paradise had 200 inhabitants (two hundred, yes) in 2010. It had 27,000 inhabitants in 2017. Yes, that’s a rise of nearly 14,000%… in seven years. A city that seems as large as Paris intra muros, built in a few years, with a few roads, within a forest full of towering highly flammable conifers, and even more flammable houses? Is that the logic of pain (pathology), at work?

When a forest burns in France, houses are what’s left, the trees are gone, whereas, in California, the houses are gone, and the trees stand. It’s not a miracle of geography, but a direct consequence of moods. Californians want cheap and roomy houses, now. Californians are told their houses, and cities, are safe, that’s a lie, but a mood has been carefully build to make them all believe, that it is so (by chanting ‘stay safe’ all day long, self-hypnotizing Hare Krishna style, while dodging bullets in houses ready to pancake at the first tremor, if they are not yet gone in smoke).

It’s not just France which has fire resistant cities. Here is Athens, Greece, submitted to proverbial “climate change”:

One of several massive forest fires around Athens, Greece, in recent years. Although houses did burn in fires around Athens, and the death toll was heavy, it would have been way worse, if cities were built US American style…

Building in stone, concrete (France), not thin glued-together-wood (USA), explains the difference. France used to be built in (solid) wood, resulting in great fires.

Thus, laws were passed in France against fire already four centuries ago, outlawing, or discouraging, the use of wood for construction. Stone and mortar were preferred. (that was not new: even before the great fire of Rome, Nero’s administration planned to rebuild Rome to reduce the extreme fire danger blatant to the 7,000 firefighters which the metropolis of 1.2 million possessed). Those anti-fire laws were extended in the 19th Century, disappearing wooden construction from France.

Nantes Cathedral roof burning, 2015. Although built in solid timber, which is very fire resistant (arguably more than steel, which loses half its strength at 500 Celsius… whereas timber stays strong in even higher temps), cathedral roofs occasionally burn (but cathedrals don’t collapse, like melting plastic, NYC World Trade Center style).

Go tell, to many an US American, that the massacre in “Paradise” was caused, mostly, by US ways of building houses, and cities, and you will be perceived to be, or even derided as, an anti-American clown. (Yes, right, it’s quite a shortcut, to be condemned as a bad person, just for seeing bad housing for what it is, but humans love these shortcuts, because they enjoy to hate!)

A mood of North America is that houses should be built in wood, like in Middle Ages’ Europe. Contradict that mood, to enjoy the pleasure of being excoriated. Contradicting moods is not to be taken lightly. Insulting “god” (whatever that is) is a capital crime in many a savage country, to this day.

Houses in Biguglia, Corsica, 2017, next to annihilated forest. French houses are generally the last line of defense against forest fires: Last thing to burn in a French forest fire is the first thing to burn in a US forest fire: houses. Because rebarred concrete doesn’t burn, but glued up together particulate wood debris does! Very well! Gee Even the proverbial Trump dimwit caricature should understand that one! So how come Californians don’t?

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Blaise Pascal Deconstructed: Pascal’s Think-Good By Feel-Good should be viewed as the philosophical garbage it is:

Everybody is against war, even warriors (who love to rest)… Thus, so is Pascal.

Blaise Pascal went over this, the relativity of goodness, laws, justice and opinion, on the legislative side of it, extensively, page after page (Montaigne had preceded him). Good. However, Pascal wondered why one had to kill so many Spaniards, and why it was a virtue. He nicely forgets that Spain invaded French territory and politics extensively, for generations. And that was not to improve civilization. Just the opposite. Pascal famously wrote: “Truth on this side of the Pyrenees, error on the other side.” …. Right. However, I believe truth is not always relative, but sometimes absolute. For example, propagating matter propagates as a wave (De Broglie Matter Waves). An absolute truth. So is the fact Earth turns around the Sun, and not reciprocally.

https://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/p/pascal/blaise/p27pe/part5.html

Truth is not just an absolute in the instant. In sociological matters, truth is also a sum over all histories travelled over, to get to the present. (The analogy of sociological truth with Quantum Physics is absolute.)

However, dissected further, the case of Pascal’s view of Seventeenth Century Spain is revealing. Pascal plays Politically Correct, deploring the apparently wanton killing of Spaniards. However, he is lying from deliberate (?) myopia. (Or maybe Pascal was ill-informed: I have better things to do than read all of Pascal’s elucubrations…) Exact nature of that myopia of Pascal? Ignoring the horror of fanatical Catholicism.

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How Pascal was Lying About War With Spain; It was a battle of two moods, tolerance against fascism:

Pascal laments, deplores and condemns what was France’s total, unending war with Spain. Indeed, France was at war with Spain for around two centuries (from the 1400s until final French victory, and then Louis XIV married the Spanish Infante; his grandson would become king of Spain, ridiculous descendants occupy it, to this day…)

But France didn’t start that war, and the war became a dynamic, and a logic of its own, where losing meant losing all. One has to know much history, in full, and at a depth that most of today’s historians still eschew.

The short of it: the Franks, who succeeded the original Romans in control of Gallia and Germania, were fundamentally less fascist, and thus less theofascist, than the Late Roman empire. The religious tolerance they instituted lasted more than five centuries. However, the unending war with Islam, which started disastrously enough with the near instantaneous military invasion of more than half of the Greco-Roman empire, and the three centuries long war with the Saxons, made tempting to harden Christianism into a weapon. That was particularly true in the Iberian peninsula, which suffered Muslim exaction of holocaust proportions, for centuries… before been reconquered, over nearly eight centuries, with methods somewhat similar to those of the Muslims

The end result is that, while Islam was cleansed out of Spain, the Christian war machine naturally turned against its own originators, the French.  The Angevins’ Kingdom of Sicily (regnum Siciliae) was invaded in 1442 by Alfonso V who unified Sicily and Naples as dependencies of Aragon. At his death in 1458, the kingdom was again separated and Naples was inherited by Ferrante, Alfonso’s illegitimate son.

By the time of Pascal, more religiously tolerant France had been at partly religious, partly pure power-play, war with Spain… for around 150 years. The injuries caused to France by Spanish born Catholic fanaticism were incalculable, as they involved, inter alia, the extirpation of the French from southern Italy (which they had freed from the Muslims, in earlier centuries), the extermination of French colonies in the Carolinas and the present US east coast, and no less than seven religious wars inside France during the Sixteenth Century.

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Blaise Pascal: Super Thinker Turned Ultra Catholic Jihadist Full of Hatred?

Pascal was  a great thinker in math (Pascal’s triangle; however not necessarily the first) and physics (he demonstrated atmospheric pressure) and also computer science (he reinvented the Greeks’ work… by then totally lost). He is best known by the rabble for his bet:

The funny thing is that Pascal’s bet is all about the basest instincts: he gained “everything”. What? The proverbial 72 virgins of Islam? Pascal doesn’t realize that the Christian “god” is evil (as the Cathars implicitly said), and that he excludes from consideration decency, the honor of the human spirit, reason, and the order of a better hope. Pascal’s bet pre-supposes that we are as venal as Pascal apparently was…

So Pascal’s indignation at making war to Spain was anti-French. anti-tolerance, and thus, anti-civilizational (France was under the Nantes Edict, instituting co-existence of Catholics and Protestants). But, of course, Pascal was a Catholic fanatic, a child killer “god” worshipper, who wore a cincture of nails which he drove into his flesh when the slightest thought of vanity. assailed him (and that has got to happening all the time, considering he was high society…)  Man is an “incomprehensible monster“, wrote Pascal, “at once sovereign greatness and sovereign misery.” (Notice the obsession with “sovereign”, like the theofascist in chief, the Sun King Louis XIV…)

There are many monster men, because there are many monster moods. Spain became Catholic fanatic, because Catholic fanaticism worked against the monster Muslim invaders, and became highly profitable for those who indulged monstrously (they stole property from Iberian Jews and Muslim)… Enabling them to become ever more monstrous… Until the French army killed the Spanish army at Rocroy… It’s only in the confrontation with France that Spanish Catholic fanaticism became unprofitable.: war with France became very costly, especially as the French and the Dutch, won and won and won… Out of the war with France, came the Netherlands, and out of the latter, an antagonistic, anti-Catholic England (“Glorious Revolution“, 1688-1690 CE).

Fanatic Catholicism was a monster mood, which caused directly the Dark Ages (as distinguished from the Fall of the Roman State, the cause of which run deeper). The Catholic State made the Islamist State look like intellectuals: it destroyed not just incompatible and hostile philosophies, but even science and technology.

In Pascal’s times, destroying fanatical Spanish Catholicism was a civilizational must. Instead, Pascal worried about “libertines”. A few years before Pascal’s death, at age 39, the French army had destroyed the “Spanish Squares”.

https://warfarehistorynetwork.com/daily/military-history/spanish-disaster-at-rocroi/

That broke not just Spain as an imperial, theological, fascist power, but defeated Catholic fanaticism, as Pascal feared. And why so much? Because human beings are social, and the social network of Pascal, made of Jansenists he hanged around so much, were, indeed, Catholic fanatics. Pascal talked of god and all that lofty stuff, but, ultimately was just a sick little monkey hanging around his brother and Jansenists…. 

Some will say Pascal was not burning with hatred. But how to else to define the behavior of someone who planted nails into himself, because of desires he had? And, considering the many atrocious religious wars which had wrecked France, fundamentally propelled by Catholic fanaticism paid and organized by Inquisition Spain, to make one’s utmost, as Blaise Pascal did, to further that fanaticism was indeed all about the pleasure hatred provides with.

So off with Pascal’s infamy! Pascal was a Jihadist without a kalashnikov, and that kind is even worse, as it gives the imbeciles their marching, and murdering, and messing-up, orders.

I do this very well, thank you. Actually much better than Pascal ever did: he was always surrounded by a crowd, and thought by the mood of said crowd, including Jansenists. I do mountain alone, on a regular basis, and highly recommend it. Viewed one way, the thought is correct, and addressed to all those who create lots of CO2 to give their money to dictatorships in exotic locales (such as 2018 Thailand)… However correct thinking is established by varying neurological regimes, and moving out of rooms is crucial…

***

Pascal’s Sophisticated Hatred Led To Dragonnades:

Dragonnades started in 1681 CE, under Louis the Sun of horror: elite troops, dragons, were billeting to live inside the houses of Protestants. Consider:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2018/07/04/learn-history-correctly-repeat-after-me-french-sun-king-louis-xiv-was-an-abominable-butcher-catastrophe/

I used big words against Pascal. I trash some of the major thinkers, such as Aristotle (for monarchism and general plutocraticism so extensive it lasts to this day), Montaigne (for inventing the PC myth of the good savage, whereas real savages are killers, such as those North Sentinel Andaman islanders who just gave a fanatical Christian missionary the fate he richly deserved), or generally much of French mid Twentieth Century philosophy for turning wisdom into impotent PC jargon faking opposition to the powers that be, just to implement their intellectual fascism.

So what’s my big problem with Pascal’s extremism? The exact same problem I have with Louis XIV. Louis XIV took part in lots of wars… but not always for bad reasons: France had to recover natural boundaries. However the huge, gigantic and unforgivable crime and error of Louis’ reign was the Revocation of the Nantes Edict of his grandfather, Henri IV (a great king). The Edict, conformed by Louis XIII, enabled Protestants to enjoy equal rights to Catholics. This was not just a question of justice, a question of empowering France -civilization- with her most thoughtful citizens, it was not just a question of a superior economy and a superior  population and superior debate. It was a question of the very essence of France, the enforced tolerance which had enabled Clovis and his successors to unify the heart of Europe, and stop the rot of Christian extremism, which had plunged civilization into the Dark Ages.

In the 1560s, the Protestant population of France was in excess of two million, 12.5% of the population. The Spanish dictatorship then send enormous funds to France, to foment a succession of religious wars against the Protestants (the Spanish financed Ligue Catholique was led by the Duc de Guise, correctly executed later by Henri III).

Instead, Louis XIV threw out of France ten percent of the population, two millions of her most intelligent, most enterprising citizens. Many of their descendants would fight the French state for more than a dozen generations after that, from the 1600s until they drove on tanks into France in 1940. Yes, Louis XIV was a first run at Hitler, no less. He was the foot in the door of mass murder.

Now look at the dates. Pascal dies in 1662; his “Thoughts” are published in 1669. Louis the mass criminal outlaws Protestantism in October 1685, applauded by many of France’s most illustrious writers and pseudo-thinkers: La Fontaine, La Bruyère, Mme de Sévigné., etc. In the entourage of the king, only Vauban, lucidly and courageously, opposes the religious cleansing order. Who is Vauban? The top military underling of Louis. Vauban is the marshall who is ringing France with fortresses (many world heritage sites now). Immediately, 300,000 Protestants are officially counted to be fleeing France (although, that, too, is made unlawful by Louis XIV!)

On January 17, 1686, Louis XIV claimed that his torture of the Protestant population of France, had caused it to be reduced from 800,000-900,000 to 1,000–1,500. So Louis gloated to have thrown out one million (In truth, there were many, many more Protestant than that left: nowadays the Protestants number three millions in France.)

An exiled French Protestant, the engineering professor Denis Papin, invented the first steam engines, and then the first steamboat, propelled by said engine… which was, appropriately enough, destroyed by Catholic monks. One can therefore see that my connections between lofty ideas, intolerance, obscurantism, and the advancement of even the most practical endeavors is rooted in the most basic instincts of power and destruction. Papin is also at the origin of the steam engine in England, where his invention got basically stolen. Had he stayed in France, and be celebrated with millions of Protestants, there is little doubt that France would have led the industrial revolution (instead of rather following England, in spite of the French invention of first cars and first flights). By throwing the Protestants out, a lot of the enterprising, industrial creative bourgeoisie was thrown out…

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/philosophy-feeds-engineering/

***

We Need the Goddess Maat, Truth, Our Real, Historical Inspiration, Not the Perverse, Child Killing Abrahamic “god”, who deconstructed civilization into deliberate obscurantism, and the most cruel passions. (Those who sneer, don’t know much about Egypt, Crete, Phoenicia, Sumer, Minoan and Athenian Greece: all these were part of the same civilization, or renewal thereof; much of “Greek” creativity is actually… Pharaonic Egypt creativity; the latter is still, in some ways, especially relating to gender, ahead of today’s version of civilization, meaning one can go backwards…)

Please consider:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/commonly-accepted-delusions-follies-that-bind/

Moods rule. Moods sustain, and are sustained, by sociologies. And pathological moods are sustained by pathological sociologies. An excellent example is Islam, which ruined what was the wealthiest part of the Greco-Roman empire, inter alia. That ideological disaster has been self-sustained, because the concept of “holy war”, although pathological to most, is most profitable to the most pathological warrior societies, justifying and sustaining them.

Thus the pathological nature, the logic of pain, of Islam made it  popular with war minded groups, such as the followers of Muhammad (in contradistinction with the rest of Mecca), or the Turks, or the three western Mongol Khanates… China, though, never converted to Islam, as no group of pure warriors could ever hope to take control of this vast, oldest, most sophisticated civilization:

Pathology on one side of the Karakorum, reason beyond it…

Pascal hid his fanaticism, ultra Catholic communitarianism and sadomasochism below Political Correctness. But hiding is lying… When contemplating Pascal’s weak thoughts, we can see once again that being guided by the fundamental Egyptian goddess Maat is better than be guided by the mad Abrahamic, cruel and jealous god. Maat was the goddess of reality. She personified truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice, regulating also the seasons, stars, universe and other deities.

The master thinkers who misled us, have always insisted that we have a Judeo-Christian civilization, a way to define a ship according to the captain who wrecked it. In truth, we have more of an Egyptian civilization, than anything else. Time for us to free ourselves from the error of believing otherwise.

People calling for Aasian Bibi’s murder should be arrested and condemned to serious imprisonment among similarly minded fanatics… to prevent propagation of their Islamizing fanatical, murderous mood… In other words, concentration camps, after application of fully enlightened justice, is not always a bad idea.

And the time is now: the growth of Islam is apparently the latest trick to control and divide intellectual opposition to plutocracy, and a mad world leadership. The exact same trick was used in the Fourth Century, when Islamism’s more sophisticated parent, Christianism, was imposed by the emperors onto the intellectual class of the Greco-Roman empire. The same situation lead to the same moods, in unjust oligarchies, or We The People submitted to them.

An example is the case of Aasian Bibi, a Pakistani Christian condemned to death, for… insolence! Christianism arrived in present day Pakistan area, more than three centuries before the invention of Islam by desert raiders keen to raid, steal, murder and submit in the name of “god” (as Abraham’s god is mad, cruel, jealous , and prone to mass murder just because He can, the fit between the desert raiders and the Jewish “god” was perfect, the Prophet explained to his would-be followers). However severe the crimes of Christianism, basic Christian texts (in contradistinction with basic Islamist texts) are less strident about killing the “insolent”.

And the point is that, the only mood compatible with optimal survival now, is the world’s democratic republic of human rights. And the most fundamental of these rights, is the right to free thinking! All other fundamental rights, including life (but not pursuing happiness!) result from it… Yet, it’s not that simple: to free thinking, one has to free the moods, first. 

Rousseau pretended that civilization put men in chains, but it is actually system of thought put in place by military authorities which do this: Christianism is the best example. Christianism was put in place first by solo Roman super emperor and bloody tyrant Constantine, and his several nearly as bloody successors:

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/emperor-constantine-christian-terrorist-325-ce-fall-of-rome-part-x/

Islamism was an even more spectacular imitation, put in place by a raider-in-chief.

As they rule emotions, that is the neurohormonal system, moods are nearly impossible to extirpate: one needs to fight them physically (as many an eradicating invasion testify), or emotionally. Appealing to formal logic is not enough.

There are hierarchies of moods. What brings together Californian fire architecture and Pascal’s consumption of the world by Catholicism is a most basic mood: the burning desire to oversimplify, and seek comfort, intellectual or physical, fast and cheap. In other words, 21st Century Californians living in matchstick houses and religious fanatics (such as Pascal) revere a mood oversimplifying the human experience by mitigating pain and maximizing comfort, to the point of denying truth… which is exactly what they were looking for.

Egypt ceases to be great and at the forefront, when it denied Maat, truth. That happened under Pharaoh Akhenaten and the redoubtable Nefertiti, his spouse, instigator, and sometimes sole ruler. Their fascist monotheism was soon reverted… but too late; the mood had changed. Egypt had lost Maat, Truth, and never fully recovered (in spite of a last sparkling under the Ramesses; some may argue the Peoples of the Seas invasions could be more to blame… but no, as Egypt fought those back successfully…)

Want to improve minds? Improve moods! And start with truth!

Patrice Ayme

***

***

Notes: 1) Pascal’s real quote about the room is different from the one I picked up on the Internet above; Pascal really said: “Tout le malheur des hommes vient d’une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre”. (All misfortune of men comes from only one thing, which is not knowing how to stay at rest in a room.)

2) Pascal’s autopsy revealed damage to several organs, including his brain. So one shouldn’t be too mean to him, and reserve all the meanness to those who still admire his extremism to this day.

3) The preceding was written during Thanksgiving 2018, from the Alps.Thanksgiving entangles several interesting moods. Thanksgiving is a celebration of people good and dumb enough, to feed their previously starving, future exploiters and assassins… A depiction of what was long viewed as the correct mood in the USA: give and they shall take! Everything. And that’s not just good, but worthy of many thanks… As Native Americans did to their fallen prey, after killing the nourishing deer…

We’re (Potential) CANNIBALS: LACK Of CANNIBALISM Is EVIDENCE OF PROGRESS. Montaigne’s Erroneous Multiculturalism Denied This

November 4, 2018

MONTAIGNE’S INVENTION OF THE GOOD SAVAGE was naive, anti-progress, anti-civilizational. To put it in one word: nihilistic. Dismantling Montaigne’s offensive credulity exposes the rotten roots of  grotesquely erroneous, extreme, indiscriminate so-called multiculturalism.

Abstract: Cannibalism was probably the environment in which humanity evolved, in excess of 99% of the time (see the scientific evidence below). Cannibalism was common in the Neolithic, and everywhere regulated. The discovery of cannibalism in the Americas contributed to demolish the Christian mindset. Montaigne, in particular, drew an erroneous conclusion. That error justifies today’s excessive cultural relativism (so-called “multiculturalism”), and an excuse for (“Neo”) liberalization, plutocratic globalization, and it’s little helper, Islamization (now that Christianization is collapsing, so the sheep are thinking too free and too much).

I demolish here Montaigne’s injurious, naive and unimaginative assertion that barbarity is just what we don’t do. So doing I demolish naive, unimaginative cultural relativism, re-establishing the concept of progress, and of the best of all possible civilizations (not what we have, but it could be worse).

***

Montaigne’s Extreme Cultural Relativism: Barbarians Are US:

Legend has it that Rousseau invented the lamentably unreal myth of the “Good Savage”. Reading the original writing, I just realized he may not have… Instead, it’s wise old Montaigne who invented the error of the Bon Sauvage. This monstrosity, the Good Savage, is of some consequence, as the Essays are generally viewed as an epitome of wisdom (Montaigne’s influence was enormous, for the better, on Henri III, IV and his wife, Queen Marguerite de Valois, féministe extraordinaire (among other things), and thereafter, as that good Catholic, crucially, yet unwittingly crucially helped to dismantle Christian terror; paradoxically the error I criticize today, helped to do so; by claiming everybody was a barbarian, Montaigne undermined moral religious superiority… perhaps, although Catholic that’s what he wanted).

Smart, but not that smart. And preaching this extreme multiculturalism had dreadful totalitarian consequences. Stalinism and Nazism among them. And now multiculturalism has been the main tool of global plutocratization.

Seeing Montaigne throwing overboard the concept of progress overboard came as a shock to me. The evidence can’t be denied, as it is blatant in the essay on “The Cannibals: ”we call barbarian what is not of our usage”. No, Michel, no, no, you got it all too grotesquely simplistic! And, Michel, you got it very dangerous: after all, following the erroneous Michel de Montaigne, the Nazis could call the Jews “barbarian” because, after all, they didn’t follow what the Nazis could call proper German usage…

Now, agreed “The Cannibals” was written seven years after the mad civil war of the Saint Barthelemy, ordered by the crowned plutocrats sitting pretty in the Louvres (which was crisscrossed by assassins that night). (The Duke of Sully, who barely escaped alive, esteemed 70,000 had been killed; people of Arles, down the Rhone from Lyon couldn’t drink the Rhone’s water for three months, from all the rotting corpses… the philosopher Petrus Ramus, and in Lyon the composer Claude Goudimel, among other intellectuals were killed.)

So Montaigne had good reason to be indignant, and suffer a momentary lapse of reason. Even more: all the Dark Ages was a direct consequence of that monstrous thought system, Christianism. Montaigne couldn’t say that. Very close friends and associates of Rabelais had been burned alive, just for printing books: the French plutocracy was that enlightened (Rabelais himself, an ex-Franciscan and ex-Benedictin, and a famous physician, and high level magistrate with highest level connections, including cardinals, escaped to the republic of Metz, the condemnation of the University of Paris. Others were not so favored).

I am even more of a cultural relativist than Montaigne. But I do not claim all cultures are equivalent. Far from it. Even a despicable culture can contain gems (this goes even for the Sharia!) Cultural traits, ideas and feeling can be picked and chosen, among all and any cultures, real, and imagined, to bring in nutrients into the salad of thoughts we need to forge forward into the richest world of possibilities Earthly intelligence has ever faced

***

Progress, which progress? Could Renaissance thinkers say:

Progress was hard to ascertain: the instigation of the Dark Ages by the civilizationally deranged Christians shook the very foundations of human reason. Burning nearly all books & intellectuals made it more irrecoverable.

When we look way back, now that we can reconstitute civilization through the fog of the immense destruction by the sexually deranged Christian Jihadists, we discover that the Greco-Roman empire was immensely advanced (and that empire extended well beyond direct political control: the Celts used the Greek alphabet and deities, centuries before the conquest of Gallia by the unifying Roman brutes).

23 centuries ago, around 330 BCE, the Greek scientist Pytheas headed an expedition by the Marseilles empire. Pytheas circumnavigated Britain, and  discovered the mysterious Thule: Iceland, or at least Norway, and certainly the polar circle and sea ice (his ship couldn’t advance anymore). Pytheas also discovered the method to measure the spherical Earth within 1% (often attributed to Eratosthenes, but the latter came a century later). Don’t ask today’s ignorant French: they may know what PC, but they don’t know the history of the place now known as France.

Other Marseilles’ expeditions went to Senegal, while Carthaginians captured gorillas, went around Africa, and traded with subsaharan Africa.

***

Native Americans Followed the Wrong Strategy With The Viking, Whereas Carolingian Franks Did it Right:

A thousand years ago, after following Irish monks to Iceland, the Vikings discovered a huge part of North America. The Viking were unable to hold North America militarily, though, as the Natives proved hostile, and uncontrollably so. Thus, ironically enough, American Natives organized their own demise, long-term… If the American Indians had invited the Viking in, Native Americans would have become civilizationally, militarily and biologically stronger, and could have endured!

By the way, by inviting the Viking to stay and colonize, what came to known as Normandy, the Franks put an end to their (more than a) century long war with the Scandinavians: the French were smarter than the Native Americans… Normandy also became arguably the world’s most mentally advanced place by the Eleventh Century: watch the Duke of Normandy casually tell dinners that the Earth turned around the Sun, or Berangarius de Tours,  a church authority, claiming all the god we needed was reason. Berengar was in turn discreetly protected by the Duke…

Experts may moan that the Franks got the war started by addressing ultimata to the Danes regarding Saxon refugees (in the Eighth Century)… So it was natural that after 900 CE they extend an olive branch. Yes, maybe. But it remains that the Native Americans were certainly stupid not to welcome and embrace the Vikings… And the massacre of Columbus’ men was more of the same. It’s not smart for savages to attack the gods, just after they showed up.

***

America, A Discovery Whose Time Had Come Through General Scientific Enlightenment:

But the discovery of North America was kept hushed, although maps went around, just as the existence of Inuits, one of whom paddled all the way to Scotland during the beginning of the Little Ice Age. The rich cod fishing off Cape Cod was also kept secret.

Various Portuguese sailors had determined that there was a continent west of the Azores, for example by recovering wood sculpted, but not by iron instrument, and also various trees of non-European origin, and even corpses of American natives, carried from the west by the mighty wind and currents Columbus would use to return in just 31 days.  

This Portuguese discretion was turned on its head in 1492 CE, when the queen of Castille decided to launch the veteran and irresistible Spanish army towards the New World (instead of liberating North Africa and the Middle East from Islam, as had been planned previously; 1492 was also when the Jews were thrown out, coincident to the day Columbus sailed away). A Portuguese sailor, Columbus’ father in law, had extensively travelled. His documents persuaded Columbus of the existence of the continent which became America… while his brother-in-law, Pedro Correa, produced more sculpted wood from the West…

Columbus informed the queen (the queen was less keen that her husband in pursuing Jews and Muslims to the ends of the world).The possibly Jewish Columbus sailed back on January 15 1493, reaching the Azores February 15 (after a terrible storm)! Columbus announced the discovery of lush and gold laden large islands, among them the enormous Cuba and Hispaniola. He brought back with him a few Natives. The 39 men Viceroy Columbus had left behind in a fort, were killed to the last man by the Natives (who were later themselves annihilated: just as with the Viking, Native Americans would have been smarter to welcome the powerful, knowledgeable strangers and insure their safety, come what may…).

By the mid sixteenth educated Europeans had fully realized that much of the world thought and lived very differently from what they called “Christendom”. No thinker viewed Europe more critically in the light of the habits of the natives of the “New World” than Michel de Montaigne. He gathered much evidence from an employee of his, a Normand who had lived ten years in Brazil among the Natives (and who was used as a translator). Montaigne describes his Normand as “un homme simple et grossier”. The Normand (and thus Montaigne) described mostly the Tupinamba of Brazil.

Here are the most famous extracts from the Essais from the essay “Des Cannibales”. After making the apology of cannibalism, Montaigne concludes:

Nous les pouvons donc bien appeler barbares, eu égard aux règles de la raison, mais non pas eu égard à nous, qui les surpassons en toute sorte de barbarie. Leur guerre est toute noble et généreuse, et a autant d’excuse et de beauté que cette maladie humaine peut en recevoir…

(Personal) Translation:

We may therefore call them barbarous, by judging them according to the rules of reason, but not relatively to ourselves, who surpass them in all sorts of barbarism. Their war is all noble and generous, and has as much excuse and beauty as this human disease can receive …

But there is worse on Montaigne’s part:

“Or je trouve, pour revenir à mon propos, qu’il n’y a rien de barbare et de sauvage en cette nation, à ce qu’on m’en a rapporté, sinon que CHACUN APPELLE BARBARIE CE QUI N’EST PAS DE SON USAGE; comme de vrai, il semble que nous n’avons autre critère (“mire”) de la vérité et de la raison que l’exemple et idée des opinions et usages du pays où nous sommes. Là est toujours la parfaite religion, le parfait gouvernement (“police”), parfait et accompli usage de toutes choses. Ils sont sauvages, de même que nous appelons sauvages les fruits que nature, de soi et de son progrès ordinaire, a produits : là où à la vérité, ce sont ceux que nous avons altérés par notre artifice et détournés de l’ordre commun, que nous devrions appeler sauvages.”

Essays, l. I, chap. XXXI, “Cannibals”,

Folio, Volume 1, Gallimard, p. 305 sq.

Now, to return to my subject, I find that there is nothing barbarous or savage in this nation, as far as I have been told, except that EVERYONE CALLS BARBARIAN WHAT IS NOT OF HIS OWN USAGE (1); in truth, it seems that we have no other test of truth and reason than the example and idea of ​​the opinions and usages of the country where we live. There, in that country of ours, is always the perfect religion, the perfect police, perfect and accomplished use of all things. They are savage, just as we call savages the fruits which nature, of itself and of its ordinary progress, has produced: where, in truth, they are those which we have altered by our artifice and diverted from the common order, that we should call savages (2).

***

Montaigne relaunched a tradition of using non-European peoples as a basis for engaging in a critique of Euro-Greco-Roman own culture. However Montaigne also went where (most) antique thinkers had not. He engaged in simplistic analysis, worthy of a 6 years old, undoubtedly in the process romanticizing what Jean-Jacques Rousseau would later celebrate. It is a theme which still appeals to many West-hating Westerners.

**************************************************************************

Montaigne:

. . . “ I do not find that there is anything barbaric or savage about this nation, according to what I’ve been told, unless we are to call barbarism whatever differs from our own customs. Indeed, we seem to have no other standard of truth and reason than the opinions and customs of our own country. There at home is always the perfect religion, the perfect legal system–the perfect and most accomplished way of doing everything.

These people are wild in the same sense that fruits are, produced by nature, alone, in her ordinary way. Indeed, in that land, it is we who refuse to alter our artificial ways and reject the common order that ought rather to be called wild, or savage.  In them the most natural virtues and abilities are alive and vigorous, whereas we have bastardized them and adopted them solely to our corrupt taste. Even so, the flavor and delicacy of some of the wild fruits from those countries is excellent, even to our taste, better than our cultivated ones. After all, it would hardly be reasonable that artificial breeding should be able to outdo our great and powerful mother, Nature. We have so burdened the beauty and richness of her works by our innovations that we have entirely stifled her. Yet whenever she shines forth in her purity she puts our vain and frivolous enterprises amazingly to shame. . . . All our efforts cannot create the nest of the tiniest bird: its structure, its beauty, or the usefulness of its form; nor can we create the web of the lowly spider. All things, said Plato are produced by nature, chance, or human skill, the greatest and most beautiful things by one of the first two, the lesser and most imperfect, by the latter. . . .

These nations seem to me, then, barbaric in that they have been little refashioned by the human mind and are still quite close to their original naivety. They are still ruled by natural laws, only slightly corrupted by ours. They are in such a state of purity that I am sometimes saddened by the thought that we did not discover them earlier, when there were people who would have known how to judge them better than we. It displeases me that Lycurgus or Plato didn’t know them, for it seems to me that these peoples surpass not only the portraits which poetry has made of the Golden Age and all the invented, imaginary notions of the ideal state of humanity, but even the conceptions and the very aims of philosophers themselves. They could not imagine such a pure and simple naivety as we encounter in them; nor would they have been able to believe that our society might be maintained with so little artifice and social structure.

***

Yes, Indeed, Cannibals Are Us, to the point we have cannibal DNA:

One thing Montaigne is right on, is to view cannibalism as nothing special. To quote Wikipedia:

Among modern humans, cannibalism has been practiced by various groups.[25] It was practiced by humans in Prehistoric Europe,[35][36] Mesoamerica[37] South America,[38]among Iroquoian peoples in North America,[39] Māori in New Zealand,[40] the Solomon Islands,[41] parts of West Africa[17] and Central Africa,[17] some of the islands of Polynesia,[17] New Guinea,[42] Sumatra,[17] and Fiji.[43] Evidence of cannibalism has been found in ruins associated with the Ancestral Puebloans of the Southwestern United States as well as (at Cowboy Wash in Colorado).[44][45][46]

Not just this: the evidence of cannibalism in humans is at least 600,000 years old. There are two reasons for it, I reckon: proteins were hard to find in the past. But not just this: by eating humans themselves, humans prevented predators to acquire a taste for human flesh, a paramount security consideration  around potentially human eating predators. Eating dead humans is then, indeed, nothing special, having two good reasons for it. What of the possibility of prion disease? (That was found in North Africa, and the Fore of New Guinea, who were too enthusiastic in eating their parents, causing the prion disease kuru).

In 2003, a publication in Science magazine suggested that prehistoric humans practiced extensive cannibalism, to the point human genetics adapted to this practice. According to this research, genetic markers commonly found in modern humans, worldwide, suggest that today many people carry a gene providing protection against the brain diseases that can be spread by consuming human brain tissue… A study of the Fore, an isolated tribe living in Papua New Guinea by Simon Mead, John Collinge and colleagues, at the MRC’s Prion Unit at University College London, found evidence that a gene variant arose in some of the Fore to protect against a deadly prion disease transmitted by their former cannibalistic habits. Prion diseases include CJD in humans and BSE – mad cow disease – in cattle.

The team found from analysing DNA samples that the same protective gene variant is common in people all over the world. This led the researchers to conclude that it evolved when cannibalism was widespread, in order to shield cannibals from prion diseases lurking in the flesh of victims.

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn18172-gene-change-in-cannibals-reveals-evolution-in-action/

A DNA debate ensued, but my hunch is that the cannibalistic protection gene has got to exist, for the ubiquitous reasons I gave. Why New Guinea Highlanders are susceptible may have to do paradoxically with cannibalism being less practiced in that lush area since it was colonized by humans…

I suggested that cannibalism had, in part to do with not giving predators a taste for human flesh (notice the expression). Guess what? Native mammal fauna of New Guinea lacks large predators, so what I see as a main reason for cannibalism was absent in New Guinea! (Right, there are both Saltwater and Freshwater crocodiles in New Guinea, but those saurians are not smart enough to develop distinguished and cultural culinary habits, differently from felines, hyenas, canids, bears, eagles, etc.)

***

Montaigne had little imagination:

If eating dead humans is then, indeed, nothing special, having two good reasons for it, not eating humans is a deviation from normalcy. Thus, not eating humans is an indication of civilization, that most striking anomaly life ever evolved.

In the 21th Century, the Disney company has a problem: patrons spreading around the ashes of their loved ones (which they put in medication bottles as large containers are checked). Haunted houses are a preferred place. People can be weird, but there is nothing weird about cannibalism (psychiatrist associations have refused to label cannibalism a mental disease).

The word “cannibalism” is derived from Caníbales, the Spanish name for the Caribs, whom Columbus encountered. (Some say the Spaniards invented the word in analogy with the Latin “canis”, mixing it with the sound for the karina as the islanders described themselves). Dog eat dog, in other words… In any case, “cannibalism” was introduced in France in 1515 CE.  

Spanish conquistadores observed that the Carib Indians were cannibals who regularly ate roasted human flesh. There is evidence as to the taking of human trophies and the ritual cannibalism of war captives among both Carib and other Amerindian groups such as the Arawak and Tupinamba (the ones from Brazil Montaigne knew best). The Caribs themselves were invaders from South America, having arrived around 1200 and displaced the indigenous Tainos. With the Mexican Aztecs, cannibalism took industrial proportions (and turned out into their undoing).

In long prose I will not bother to reproduce here, Montaigne makes an idyllic description of cannibalism: something that happened peacefully after death. What a dearth of imagination!

Real cannibalism is something else. Did Montaigne think about the problem of indigestion? One does not want to eat too much meat at one time. How to preserve the meat, when one has no salt, no cold drying wind, no deep freezing lakes? Well, one can eat the meat, one piece at a time. Over a period of weeks.

In 1910, the American anthropologist, A P Rice, described how the people of the Marquesas Islands ritualistically killed their captives.

First, they broke their legs, to stop them running away, then they broke their arms, to stop them resisting. This was an unhurried killing, because the Marquesans enjoyed observing their victim contemplating his fate. Eventually, the man would be skewered and roasted.

Nuku Hiva has a population of just over 2000 and has a history of cannibalism, but the practice was believed to have ceased. Not so sure. In any case, when battling the enemy, eating him, or her, can be viewed as the ultimate insult. So it was perceived for many cannibalisms, such as the one in New Zealand.(Dishonoring the dead is a long practice for cherished enemies: see Obama with Bin Laden.)

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If One Really Hates Them, One May As Well, Eat Them Alive:

(No, I won’t tweet that one! Such a statement will be evilly contextualized by the ill-minded and the mentally challenged…)

Long ago, I read extensive nineteenth century description of cannibalism in Oceania (I searched but could not find references). It goes from the humoristic to the grim. On the humoristic side, that time when the British delegation to New Zealand was invited to celebrate a treaty with the Maoris, with an extensive Luau comprising many roasted Natives.

That we have so much indications of cannibalism in Oceania is per the nature of islands (small, no extensive crops to raid after killing the peasants), and the fact these were Neolithic societies, equivalent to those found in Europe before the Mesopotamian farmers and their intensive agriculture crops colonized Europe, 7,000 years ago… (So, it’s not anti-Pacific Islander racism; actually the ethnicities of those islanders vary a lot, between Filipino derived and Melanesian… History is complicated, and not PC, as the case of New Zealand shows…)

One grim truth is that, in hot tropical climate, without refrigeration, some captives were eaten, ALIVE,  piece by piece over a period of days, or even weeks (not to say that Europeans wouldn’t do such a thing: the assassin of one of the “Orange” leaders of the Netherlands, William the Silent, was publicly tortured to death over several days).

The necessity to eat some people alive, under some circumstances, illustrates clearly that cannibalism, or the absence thereof, is dependent upon the environment and technology, not just the “mores”: there are widespread rumors that the Wehrmacht resorted to cannibalism in Stalingrad (in any case, the Wehrmacht’s Sixth Army resorted to practices, like torture to death, which are fully documented, in Poland, France, and Russia…)

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Conclusion: As an indication of barbarity, eating people is neither here, nor there. Eating corpses when there is no other choice, is viewed as correct, even in the most conservative societies. The real barbarity is to set-up, or contribute to set-up, or tolerate situations where cannibalism would be a natural outcome. It goes without saying that, in a world of 8 billion people highly dependent on international trade to feed themselves (most energy is traded, at this point), a serious war would disrupt trade, and invite cannibalism.

Montaigne, by claiming that what we do not practice we view as barbaric, and, by claiming implicitly that this was legitimate, or by transmogrifying cannibalism into something nice, voided the concept of barbarity from any content.

To stay attached to the notion of progress, we have to be able to distinguish between what is bad and what is better. For example, having a situation where one has to eat one’s enemy alive is bad, and a situation in which we have no enemy is better.

Montaigne, dejected by the Saint Bartholomew massacre launched by his Catholic party was led to hint that Catholics viewed Protestants as barbaric, just because of their different ways (“usage”). Understood. However, the concept that barbarity is entirely relative has since taken a life of its own: one can see it loud and clear in Nazism (Himmler recommended to his men, after their daily massacres, of civilians, women and children, to immerse themselves to eternal German culture, complete with soothing classical music).

Cultural multiculturalism, in its extreme contemporary form, claims we can’t judge other cultures. Or even other cultures’ ideas and practices. If religiously endowed, the more horrendous practices, sexual mutilations or executions, are tolerated.

For example, Pakistan’s court condemned a young Christian woman, Asia Noreen – commonly known as Asia Bibi, to be executed for allegedly insulting Islam during a dispute with neighbors (she already spent eight years on death row). The Pakistan Supreme Court ordered her freed in November 2018, but she was left in prison as the Islamists called for her death. Her senior male lawyer, saying he regretted nothing, fled Pakistan.

Such behaviors from powers in Pakistan depict barbarity unchained: in the place known as Pakistan, at some point Jihadists invaded, and imposed their barbarity (centuries after Christianism peacefully seduced Pakistanis). That Islamists use terror doesn’t make terror any less barbaric. Michel de Montaigne would have us believe that, because terror is a usage of Jihadists, we shouldn’t call it barbaric, as they use it, and we, the secular civilians, don’t. Well, that’s swine level reasoning.

We can only love those we can debate, as, at worst, they provide us with the occasion to prove them wrong. At best, they make us more intelligent, wiser and knowledgeable, making us stronger. So I love Montaigne more than ever, even though my esteem for him went down a lot, while Rousseau’s, to my dismay, went up.

I am a real multicultural, multilingual, even multi continental fanatic. I even call Chinese history home, although I grew up (mostly) in Africa. Good multiculturalism is to pick and choose particular elements of the hundreds of culture we have at our disposal, and reject others we find horrid. I understand what Native North Americans were up to, with their tortures to death. I also understand and appreciate the psychology and traditions which motivated the “47 Ronins. I know very well that some Africans traits viewed as primitive, are actually more advanced. But in all this there is one meta principles: some ideas and feelings are more advanced than others. Comparing, or accepting, cultures wholesale is naive, even criminal.

Patrice Ayme

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Notes:

  1. Parroted by Levi Strauss in Race et Histoire, Unesco, 1952, pp. 19 sq.

“Dans les Grandes Antilles, quelques années après la découverte de l’Amérique, pendant que les Espagnols envoyaient des commissions d’enquête pour rechercher si les indigènes possédaient ou non une âme, ces derniers s’employaient à immerger des blancs prisonniers afin de vérifier par une surveillance prolongée si leur cadavre était ou non, sujet à la putréfaction.

Cette anecdote à la fois baroque et tragique illustre bien le paradoxe du relativisme culturel (que nous retrouverons ailleurs sous d’autres formes) : c’est dans la mesure même où l’on prétend établir une discrimination entre les cultures et les coutumes que l’on s’identifie le plus complètement avec celles qu’on essaye de nier. En refusant l’humanité à ceux qui apparaissent comme les plus “sauvages” ou ” barbares ” de ses représentants, on ne fait que leur emprunter une de leurs attitudes typiques. Le barbare, c’est d’abord l’homme qui croit à la barbarie.”

Notice that this piece of brain-dead sophistry minded devious apology of extreme multiculturalism was published by the United Nations. Now the UN can be proud that non-Muslims get executed in Pakistan for just being non-Muslim (as many Islam texts say they should).

Translation: “In the Greater Antilles, a few years after the discovery of America, while the Spaniards sent commissions of inquiry to find out whether the natives had a soul or not, the natives were trying to immerse white prisoners to check by prolonged surveillance if their body was or was not, subject to putrefaction.

This baroque and tragic anecdote illustrates the paradox of cultural relativism (which we will find elsewhere in other forms): it is to the very extent that we claim to discriminate between cultures and customs that we identify ourselves most completely with those we try to deny. By denying humanity to those who appear to be the most “savage” or “barbarian” of its representatives, one only borrows one of their typical attitudes. The barbarian is first and foremost the man who believes in barbarism.

“The barbarian is first and foremost the man who believes in barbarism?” that’s Levi-Strauss parroting Montaigne, denying there is such a thing as barbarity. Here Levi Strauss is poorly informed, repeating mindlessly a racist insult (against Spaniards): the notion of Indians having a soul was never put in doubt by the Spaniards: that’s precisely why they tried to convert them to Catholicism, as ordered by the Pope! Thus, irony of ironies, the holier-than-thou Levi-Strauss proclaims those who believe in barbarity barbarians, while himself indulging in fake news, fake, and racially insulting data, trying to make us believe that the Conquistadors were themselves delirious stupid racist brutes (they could be as brutish as needed, but were nether racist, nor stupid: for example, Cortez’s relationship with La Malinche, a multilingual Yucatan Princess, was crucial for the conquest… He recognized the children.)

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(2) Rousseau parroted Montaigne, but not just... It is often said that Rousseau parroted Montaigne, but, reading the originals, I didn’t find just this. Instead I found this:

Ce qu’il y a de plus cruel, encore, c’est que, tous les progrès de l’espèce humaine l’éloignant sans cesse de son état primitif, plus nous accumulons de nouvelles connaissances et plus nous nous ôtons les moyens d’acquérir la plus importante de toutes, et que c’est en un sens à force d’étudier l’homme que nous nous sommes mis hors d’état de le connaître.

“What is most cruel, still, is that, as all the progress of the human species constantly removes it ever more from its primitive state, the more we accumulate new knowledge and the more we take away from us the means to acquire the most important knowledge of all, and that it is in a sense the more we study man, the more we put ourselves out of the state necessary to know him.”

This is correct in the sense of the salons Rousseau frequented, but not in the sense of laboratories exploring dendrites and neurotransmitters. Such a quote is also extremely far from the myth of the “Bon Sauvage” attributed to Rousseau…

However it remains that Rousseau held that men in a state of nature do not know good and evil, but their independence, along with “the peacefulness of their passions, and their ignorance of vice”, keep them from doing ill (A Discourse…, 71-73). Curious that Rousseau never heard of the systematic usage of lethal, prolonged torture among North American Natives, as the way to end prisoners’ lives… That was extremely well documented and known at the time, so one can see Rousseau was extremely biased, to the point of idiocy.

I tied in Montaigne’s divagations with Jihadism. So did Rousseau, I discovered after I wrote the preceding… except that Rousseau approves of Jihadism, Christian or Islamist, and approves of burning libraries:

They say that Caliph Omar, when consulted about what had to be done with the library of Alexandria, answered as follows: ‘If the books of this library contain matters opposed to the Koran, they are bad and must be burned. If they contain only the doctrine of the Koran, burn them anyway, for they are superfluous.’ Our learned men have cited this reasoning as the height of absurdity. However, suppose Gregory the Great was there instead of Omar and the Gospel instead of the Koran. The library would still have been burned, and that might well have been the finest moment in the life of this illustrious pontiff.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Sciences and Arts (1st Discourse) and Polemics

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3) So what’s barbarian?

Barbarian is relative to the circumstances. For example, many elements of the doctrine advocated by Muhammad, in his day, and age, and place of worship, was not barbarian… but, just the opposite, progressive! However, now, it both barbarian and regressive.  

Christianism, though, is another matter. When Constantine imposed “Catholic Orthodoxy” that was definitively barbarian and regressive. It opened an anti-intellectual abyss under Greco-Roman civilization it collapsed into.

PA

Why Plutocrats Hate France: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity

September 19, 2018

FAITH: BORN FROM BRAINS, NECESSARY FOR INTELLIGENCE, Disastrously Hijacked By Tyrants. AI Take Heed!

May 26, 2018

If one decides it’s true, it’s true“… is a necessary trick the brain has to use. A key to intelligence, or how to answer the question ‘why’!

For example, a child touches fire, it hurts. Real bad. So child decides,  that, every time fire will be touched, fire will hurt: empirical (from experience), but not statistical: the evidence is not firm, or numerous, just significant (pain). This is the foundation of FAITH. Thus the faith instinct is crucial to advanced brain function. We all have, and use, faith.

Giordano Bruno Thought a lot, and very pertinently about Faith. Both to trash it, as Catholicism, and be guided by it, as Truth. The Vatican and Catholicism showed clearly its real nature and fundamental essence when torturing horribly Bruno for seven years. To suggest EXOPLANETS (now we have found 4,000 of them; I hope the first habitable one be called “BRUNO”). The way the Pope treated Bruno was worse than the worst Jihadism enjoyed today! Really.

Those who believe, and have faith in thoroughly grotesque superstitions (such as “Jesus existed, flew like a helicopter, Muhammad flew on a winged horse to Jerusalem, etc..”) as a foundation for the most important system of ideas, aren’t serious. They are debasing reason, truth, and they know it, and that’s why they push the most ridiculous and grotesque notions. Those clowns therefore are distracting us… from their true purpose, which is, typically to serve their true masters, and their bloody, sadistic passions (Catholicism killed horribly millions of Cathars (circa 1200 CE)… and that was just one of its many exploits in the realm of mass horror and atrocious murder). This is clear with Christianism, or Islamism: the founders (emperors Constantine, Theodosius I, Muhammad the Rophet, Ali the Fourth Caliph, and don’t ask me what a rophet is, etc…) were real life tyrants, capable of killing thousands, whenever it caught their fancy, and it often caught their fancy: by the time of Ali, it was the Fitna, civil war, and it never really stopped since… Thus the superstitions they promoted were just distractions… crucially based on the FAITH INSTINCT (necessary for thinking)!

Indeed, one has to understand the tyrants who hijacked civilization, and keep on hijacking civilization, do this by using a very old instinct necessary for the proper functioning of intelligence… One can even see the faith instinct at work in all the hatred, grouping on the Internet (for example with anti Trump Derangement Syndrome, “Anti-Fa”, etc., as we saw it with Nazism, Stalinism, Maoism, Pol Potism, etc…)

This is a short essay, but it has a key idea: to master Artificial Intelligence, FAITH will have to be programmed, as it is, with biological intelligence! At some point, intelligence has to decide what is true, and what is not true. It can’t decide truth on probabilities alone (Bayesian mumbo-jumbo).

Saint Peters, Rome, greatly built with Roman monuments’ stones. A faith building another. Also US Congress to be built in that image: the principle of faith building the Republic (even if, in Washington, the idea, long brandished in the Middle Ages of Christian Republic was resurrected… with “Christian” dropped). Out of the faith for the “Christian Republic”, as early as 400 CE, was born, in the long run, faith for the return of real large Republics (France and USA, late 18 C). Faith morphs…

Indeed, it does not stop here. The fundamental problem at this point with steering civilization is the… lack of faith, in the the right things, thus intelligence! By this the philosopher does not meant of course to a myth like Jesus or a nightmare like the analphabetic, genocidal caravan raider. And Political Correctness is a faith too, into something only founded on a small, partial set of feel-good-about-oneself emotions, and thus just as false: as it is, Truth is not Politically Correct, Yet Political Correctness should be true.

Proper intelligence has faith in only what seems genuinely to be true, to the best of one’s sincere knowledge. (Often intellectual fascists advocate publicly to NOT read what could disturb their mono-thinking. For example Muslims will kill you for “insulting the prophet”, meaning evoking, or reading something incompatible with all what the “prophet” is supposed to have “recited”; the point is that refusing data is one diagnostic of lack of sincerity).

When Giordano Bruno said: “I beg you, reject antiquity, tradition, faith, and authority! Let us begin anew by doubting everything we assume has been proven!”… He was talking about those erroneous faith. Verily to believe in error is more popular than believing in the truth, because the tyrants want you to believe in these errors, precisely, and you will ingratiate yourself with them by embracing the faith(s) they want you to have: thus Augustus wanted to be called “Son of God”, and Late Roman emperors a similar doctrine (“Catholicism”)

The same Giordano Bruno fought courageously the viciously mass criminal organization known as the greatly homosexual, pedophilic Vatican (represented above)… because he had faith in the truth: “I fought, and therefore, believed in my victory. There is more to the fact that I didn’t fear death and preferred a brave death instead of a life of an idiot.

Giordano Bruno, condemned to a particularly horrible death by the viciously criminal mass murdering Pope and his goons said:”It may be that you are more afraid passing judgment upon me, than I am receiving it. The time will come when all believe as I do.” And what did Bruno believe? What had been suspected by the brightest minds for millennia, namely that the Sun was a star and that other stars had (inhabited) planets, like around the Sun…

Thus, let’s not be people of little faith! Great intelligence means great faith in the truth, little faith in idiocy. The will to truth needs enough will to power for embracing it.

Faith is at the core of least effort logic (variational calculus applied to logics!) Faith based logic, which present AI doesn’t have enough of, doesn’t contradict probability based logic. It reinforces it. Both are needed, one to establish, the other to implement.

Faith we have, because think we do.

Patrice Ayme

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Note: For more of what I think about superstition based tyrannical faith, in particular Catholicism, from its inventor, Constantine, to what happened to Bruno:
https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2018/03/25/emperor-constantine-christian-terrorist-325-ce-fall-of-rome-part-x/

So the preceding essay is not about celebrating that sort of faith!

Rage Can Be Good: Reflecting On the Iliad’s Achilles

May 20, 2018

WISDOM: IT ENCOMPASSES OF ALL EMOTIONS, EVEN RAGE CAN BE DRAFTED AS AN ENGINE OF CREATION:

Achilles’ rage is the engine of Homer’s Iliad, it makes the story much more interesting, including the tragic figure of Hector, who does everything right, just to be dragged around the walls, as a piece of garbage. A frequent mistake is to identify rage, the engine of creation of the Iliad, with the cause of much unhappiness among the participants.  Actually, Homer attributes a cause to the rage, and, it’s… forgetfulness. Thus Homer condemns, ultimately, not a basic emotion, rage, but the erroneous logical processing of Achilles: Achilles forgot what he was there for.

What is the nature of wisdom? How all-encompassing is wisdom? Some want to clip wisdom’s wings, consign it to something tame, with few emotions. This is completely erroneous. Wisdom should encompass, and work with, all emotions. Including rage. Homer’s work and the Vedas,the Knowledge, (1700 BCE!? to 500 BCE),  teach us this.

That rage is sometimes optimal, the episode of the 1930s, appeasing the Nazis and other fascists, should have taught us. But many are still the subjects in history which justify our ire, and it should motivate us to explore them. For example why the criminal Louis XIV of France could get away with expelling all Protestants of France, and torturing the rest, or why slavery was re-introduced by Europeans in the Americas… a full millennium after being outlawed  in Western Europe (by the Franks who ruled most of it). This is one of the reasons why anger is good.

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No Achilles, No Iliad:

Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey are Europe’s oldest literature (India’s oldest wisdom in writing, the Veda, is older). That oldest work from the 8th century BCE can still move us today is a testament to the genius of old thinking, and, in particular Homer (whoever he, or they, was/were).

Both works are full of larger-than-life figures, among them Achilles in the Iliad, and Odysseus in the homonymous epic. As Massimo Pigliucci discussed in the past, Odysseus was considered by all the major philosophical schools, each interpreting his story to serve their mentalities. For the Stoics, Odysseus was a role model.

Greco-Macedonian Phalanx, Ready to Promote Civilization, Gender Equality and Democracy

Massimo says: “But what about Achilles? I must confess, I never liked the guy. All brawns and no brains (exactly the opposite of Odysseus), he never appealed to my nerdy self. And I always thought his treatment of Hector’s body after their epic battle was irredeemably shameful. More recently, though, I started thinking about him specifically from a Stoic perspective. Particularly the pivotal episode near the beginning of the Iliad, when Achilles gets pissed off at Agamemnon, the head of the Greek expedition to Troy (and brother of Menelaus, the husband that Helen left for Paris, thus allegedly triggering the war itself).

It’s worth recounting the episode in some detail. Agamemnon has taken a woman named Chryseis as his slave. Chryseis’ father, however, is a priest of Apollo, and he asks the god to return his daughter. Since Agamemnon refuses, Apollo sends a plague to the Greek camp to make a convincing case. The prophet Calchas diagnoses the problem correctly, but refuses to speak up unless he secures Achilles’ protection. When the hero grants it, Agamemnon is forced to return Chryseis. Petty as he usually is, he takes revenge on Achilles, demanding the latter’s battle prize, Briseis, in reparation for the loss of Chryseis. It is now Achilles’ turn to get pissed off and petty: out of spite, he goes on strike and refuses to lead the Greeks into battle. Hence the famous opening lines of the Iliad:

“Sing, Goddess, of the rage of Peleus’ son Achilles,

the accursed rage that brought great suffering to the Achaeans.”

(Sounds better in Italian, I think: “Cantami, o Diva, del pelide Achille / l’ira funesta che infiniti addusse / lutti agli Achei.”)

That rage quickly leads to the death of Achilles’ intimate friend, Patroclus, who had donned Achilles’ harmor to lead the Greeks in a desperate attempt to push back the advancing Trojans, and was killed by the Trojan prince Hector (who will later, in turn, be killed by Achilles).

What would the Stoics think of Achilles’ behavior? One clue is in the word “rage” used by Homer: as we know, the Stoics thought that anger was the most devastating of the pathē, the unhealthy emotions, to be avoided at all costs. But we don’t have to speculate much, as Epictetus addresses the episode directly:

“And when did Achilles come to grief? When Patroclus died? Far from it. But rather, when he himself yielded to anger, when he wept over a young girl, when he forgot that he was there, not to acquire mistresses, but to make war. These are the ways in which human beings are brought to grief, this is the siege, this the razing of the citadel, when right judgements are overturned, when they are destroyed.” (Discourses I.29-24-25)

The “citadel” being razed here is not Troy, but the very same one so often mentioned by Marcus Aurelius in the Meditations: our ruling faculty, the hêgemonikon, a term closely related to Epictetus’ favorite one, prohairesis (our capacity of judgment). Achilles’ true loss did not occur when his friend was killed, but when he himself lost the way of reason (assuming he ever had it, since there is little evidence of that).”

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Achilles: the Wrongs and Rights of Rage:

One can live big now. Yes, it requires sacrifices. Yes one can die from it like in old times. Yes, that’s how really new, bold and deep ideas appear, and otherwise they will never blossom.

Rage can be bad, rage can be good. It depends upon circumstances: how the rage arose, if it is justified, what it will achieve. As all human emotions, it is present, because it has evolutionary value. All revolutions were propelled by rage, and without them, there would be no advancing civilization.

Achilles increasing rage is an example of the wrong sort of rage, which scrambles a proper consideration of reality. Yet, Achilles’ problem is not so much rage, than having a wrong hierarchy of motivating factors in his logical processing: he “forgot”. Consider the revealingly truncated quote of Epictetus:

when did Achilles come to grief? …when he forgot that he was there, not to acquire mistresses, but to make war. These are the ways in which human beings are brought to grief, this is the siege, this the razing of the citadel, when right judgements are overturned, when they are destroyed

Basically, Achilles came to Troy and then engaged in the wrong activities: that shaped his mind wrong, “overturning right judgements”.

Achilles forgot that, when one makes war, one makes war, not love. Love making scrambles his war logic, his hierarchy of motivations, and cautions, he overlooks the fact that his absence will force his friends to take desperate measures endangering them. (After the death of his friend which he caused, Achilles further compounds the problem by directing further rage at the stoic Hector, whom he uses to hide his own culpability… from himself!)

Conclusion: our logical systems are shaped by our experiences. Examining one’s logic is not enough for the wisest: the logic can be perfect, and still wrong in a more general setting. One has to examine one’s entire mental input, that is, one’s entire life, to find out where one’s logic comes from… And judge it optimally.

Some will sneer that I spoke of rights and wrongs of rage, and then just mentioned wrongs.

But, of course, Achilles is famous, and awesome, because of his rage, and how destiny changing rage is: Achilles’ rage wins battles… Achilles, the Iliad, is a poem about how rage is the maker of destiny, thus, how Greece won… and how the West, in more than one sense, was won… From anger, not just meditation. Accursed rage, yes, but then there is rage of the other sort!

 

Massimo

May 10, 2018 • 1:58 pm

“Rage can be bad, rage can be good. It depends upon circumstances”

Not according to the Stoics, there are no circumstances under which it is good to shut off reason, which is what rage does.

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Patrice Ayme:

Massimo: Thanks for the answer, it made me think. As often in matters philosophical, semantics is at the core of the debate.

I would suggest that rage doesn’t shut off reason, necessarily. Instead, it switches reason to the combat mode, a form of reason which enabled the human genus to survive, when it sustainably invaded and occupied lion territory. The real question is whether combat is justified. Any reasonable human would say that, quite often, there are situations where combat is justified. Socrates, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius said so, explicitly.

There are many ways to use a brain. There are many forms of reasons, and many reasons, and even forms of reasons, used by working brains. If I drive a car, while making an impassioned discourse about Rome’s Second Triumvirate, two sorts of reasons are at work: one quasi-automatic driving, the other, historical. However, the part of my brain operating the vehicle works flawlessly: otherwise I would have an accident.

When in combat, reason is still there, but it mobilizes the full combat brain: after a Greek phalanx uttered the Alala or a Roman legion the Barritus, shaking the plain, terrifying the enemy, the only “reason” that’s left is the reason of combat. It is akin to rage: consider the furia francese, the “berserker” Viking, the “amok” Malay or Indonesian. A human being in full combat mode is an awesome sight which makes even lions think twice (when lions see a Masai warrior, they take to flight).

Combat thinking is particularly important for philosophical, or any sort of mental, moral, progress. It is no accident that so many top philosophers were combat ready, or otherwise obviously unafraid, although they faced enormous threats, including, of course, death. Socrates came first to fame through his military exploits. And, as many a philosopher, he pursued his work, confronted to threats on his life:

…”take Socrates and observe that he had a wife and children, but he did not consider them as his own; that he had a country, so long as it was fit to have one, and in such a manner as was fit; friends and kinsmen also, but he held all in subjection to law and to the obedience due to it. For this reason he was the first to go out as a soldier, when it was necessary, and in war he exposed himself to danger most unsparingly. (Epictetus, Discourses, 4.1)

Combat mentality, akin to rage, enables, motivates, mental breakthroughs, because any mental breakthrough is, if formidable enough, something that tramples other minds, forcing them to reorganize, a form of ultimate aggression. The entire Iliad and Odyssey is there to tell us, first, that the deepest understanding only blossoms out of turmoil. Because a higher, more optimized mental order can only arise, after destroying the one before. To cut the Gordian Knot of obsolete reason, violence is the only way, whether we like it, or not, as Alexander pointed out.

Even Christ knew this: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. [Matthew 10:34]

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Massimo, on May 12, 2018, replied:

Patrice, two objections. First, we are not often in a combat mentality. Arguably, outside of actual combat, we shouldn’t be. Hence the idea of not relying on rage.

Second, Seneca rightly says that sure, an angry soldier is braver. So is a drunk one, but we don’t want our soldiers to be drunk on the job, because it would impair their decision making. So does rage.

Intrigued, “Chuchu” intervened, May 13, 2018: Is rage necessary for combat?

Massimo interestingly observed that:

Chuchu, Yes for Aristotle. No for Seneca. Seneca says that an angry soldier may be courageous, but he is also going to act rushly [sic] because of his rage. He makes the parallel with being drunk: that also gives you courage, but it impairs your judgment. We wouldn’t want drunk soldiers in the battlefield, right?

[Yeah we surely should use Seneca, a giant plutocratic vulture, Nero’s teacher to tell us right from wrong…One of the very wrong aspects of present-day Stoicism: all too busy justifying moral monsters…]

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Patrice Ayme: 

Massimo,

Top mental creation is in combat always. That’s nearly its definition. A really new idea, especially if true, requires mental reorganization of those submitted to it, so it will always be perceived as an aggression… be it only because it requires work, either to repel it, and even more, to accept it.

Also top thinkers tend to walk their talk. Thus, many of the most famous thinkers found themselves in combat situations: after the Vatican imprisoned and tortured Giordano Bruno for seven years, he was tortured in public and burned alive (1600). That persuaded Galileo to submit. Those two were among dozens of intellectuals killed in that generation, just between France and Italy. And it keeps on going: hundreds of intellectuals and artists are listed in Wikipedia as killed in the period 1940-1945. So, whether they want it or not, top intellectuals often find themselves cornered like Cicero or Boetius. Milder forms of combat exist: the US physicist Bohm was out of a job (at Princeton), thrown out of the US where he was born, and denied the Nobel Prize (he experimentally demonstrated the Gauge Field importance in quantum physics)… just because he refused to collaborate with Senator McCarthy.

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The Human Species Would Not Even Exist, Without A Proclivity To Combat, & It’s Neurologically Deep:

Not to say it has to be approved. It’s just a fact, a major one, and we have to consider it.

Rage is not necessary for combat, but an even worse state is. In real combat, or in situation where one’s life is in extreme danger, the ideal state is a total neuronal commitment to survival. So the perception of pain (of oneself, or others) disappears, completely. The mental concentration mobilizes the entire brain, enormous strength appears, dedication to the task at hand is the only thing that exist. I have myself experienced this more than once, either under attack, or engaging in solo climbing or deep-sea apnea diving. This is why dangerous thrills are addictive. it is also why and because reason shrinks in combat, and forms a lance to pierce the enemy.

Unwarranted rage is a state derived from maximal combat ardor, a neurohormonal and brain state which is such that the combatant doesn’t fear death, at all. Thus rage is combat readiness, without the release of actual combat. In that state, hundreds of thousands of soldiers have stormed walls on top of wobbling ladders, pierced by arrows, drenched by boiling liquids.

Human brains are pickled with reward centers. Hatred, rage, combat, risk taking, life endangerment (of oneself and others) are all behaviors which come with rewarding neuronal mechanisms. Once engaged in these behaviors, they are, all too often not perceived as evil by the perpetrators.

Avoiding hatred and anger at any cost brings an opportunity to do it much more, for those whose good pleasure is to so indulge. As one gets killed by a cruel tyrant, pitying said tyrant with all of one’s might, doesn’t redress the situation, it makes it way worse, it even enables evil, as Hannah Arendt courageously observed (she was pretty much hated for daring to point that out…)

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Massimo

May 13, 2018 • 4:26 pm

Patrice,

it is simply not true that rage is the only way to get people focused. While it is true that rage has all sorts of negative side effects, especially on one’s moral judgment. Which is the point of the Stoic criticism of anger.

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Massimo has a 3 day reply limit, let’s we get too deep in a subject, so I didn’t reply. I have been in combat situations, or situations akin to combat, more than once. I have also been angry more than once. The neurological statuses are related. Refusing one totally, is refusing the other. All revolutions were based crucially on rage. Refusing revolutions is refusing evolution, and getting rid of parasitic elements in society, such as plutocracy, and the more organized the plutocracy, the harsher the, necessary, revolution.

All stoics were plutocracy compatible: the invention, blossoming and thriving of Stoicism coincide with the Hellenistic dictatorships. Seneca was a terrible person. Had a Nuremberg like tribunal been held after Nero’s destruction (on order of the Roman Senate), Seneca would have been condemned to be hanged (hopefully as slowly as Von Ribbentrop, Keitel and their ilk). I am not angry, or enraged, writing this: the fact is, examples have to established better paradigms. Had such a tribunal been held, the Republic, a more democratic Republic, could have been re-established. Instead what we got is more of the same: Vespasian and Titus were correct emperors, but Titus died within two years and was succeeded by his brother Domitian, who reigned for two decades of terror, in particular, philosophical terror. Under Domitian, Epictetus  and his “Stoicism” thrived in Rome…meaning “Stoicism”, revered by Massimo, was Domitian compatible (Domitian was very aware philosophically, he knew very well how and why to kill most philosophers and philosophies…)

Now, of course, it is easy for me to say all of this, because “Stoicism” is not my tax-deductible business… So I am free to see it for what it is: like rage, stoicism is sometimes indispensable. Yet, as Socrates correctly raged about, conflating teaching and income leads to very poor wisdom, and thus the fall of the City… The deer eaten by the wolves has to be stoic, yes. But then, we shouldn’t be deer.

Achilles’ rage is the engine of the Iliad, thus of history, and a good story. Yet, it’s not rage which drove him astray. It is forgetfulness. That’s Homer’s wisdom, in full. Without rage, and his amazing combat performance, which is related to it, Achilles simply would not have been, and the Greeks would not have defeated Troy, 12 centuries ago.

Rage is here, it is around, peoples, nations, governments, not only experience it, they compute with it: watch the recent exploits of Hamas and Israel, which got scores of civilians, down to an 8 months baby killed: Hamas computed that rage would break the fence. Israel replied that its own ferocity was too great for Gaza’s rage to overwhelm it psychologically…

Considering humanity without considering rage, is to miss the biggest picture… The first hominid who got enraged against lions, tried to do something about them. We would not be here without her (or him)…

Patrice Ayme

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Note: “People are unjust to anger – it can be enlivening and a lot of fun.” Philip Roth, famous US author.

Sophisticated Enough Intelligence Is About Choice, Thus “Evil”!

May 19, 2018

To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect, says Judea Pearl, a recipient of the prestigious Turing Medal, a prize given to top logicians. In Quanta, this pioneering figure in Artificial Intelligence, AI, argues that AI has been stuck in a decades-long rut induced by correlation science. Mr. Pearl’s prescription for progress? Teach machines to understand the question why. We have sunk so low, cognitively, that cause and effect is now viewed as “new science”:

In his latest book, “The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect,” Judea Pearl argues that AI, Artificial Intelligence, has been handicapped by an incomplete understanding of what intelligence really is. At the core of this is not understanding (anymore) that science is the set of all causation, and that this is, in turn, the backbone of intelligence itself! At fault? A long hierarchy of errors.

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Pearl. I was actually dismayed, in recent conversations with some professors, from primary school all the way to the most prestigious academic positions, that they seemed to misunderstand profoundly what intelligence, and even science, are. And therein perhaps the source of the decay of basic knowledge in the West (relative to Asia, or, all too often to 1960s performance!) Not the ultimate cause of said decay (which is plutocracy’s evil brainwashing), but an intemediate cause in between plutocracy and the erroneous education provided in (most of) the so-called West.

Intelligence was invented, by evolution, to, first of all, enable to distinguish cause and effect. Artificial Intelligence theoreticians don’t get that yet. Why is the very basis of intelligence not discerned by AI theoreticians? Political Correctness has negatively influenced the Artificial Intelligence community… As it did so many realms of thought, and art… And that’s evil.

Intelligence is all about Judgments, some of them, terminal. Sophisticated enough AI, let alone Artificial Consciousness, will come upon, and execute, choices, thus, indulge in evil! (Specialists can think of the famous “Trolley Problem”, when a cognizant car chooses who to crush…)

PC itself was evolved by the servants of plutocracy to make us believe there were no causes, just effects. Another name for Political Correctness could be: Poor Causation. And poor causation rests on fake news. (Example: we are told that slavery was outlawed in the 19th century; actually, the Imperium Francorum, covering Europe’s core, outlawed slavery in the 7th century; had that first outlawing, 12 centuries earlier, not happened, the one in the 19th won’t have…)

“Quanta” asked Judea Pearl:  “I should ask you about the capacity for evil, which we generally think of as being contingent upon an ability to make choices. What is evil?

Indeed, Quanta is correct: the West and Islam have operated according to the metaprinciple that choices were evil (the Qur’an punishes apostasy with death; and the idea came from the very Catholic emperor Theodosius circa 380 CE).

“Heresy”, has everything to do with choice. 12th century French “heresie” denoted a philosophical school of thought from the Greek hairesisa taking or choosing for oneself, a choice, a means of taking; a deliberate plan, purpose; philosophical sect, school,” from haireisthai take, seize,” middle voice of haireinto choose“…

I have argued that the fundamental atom of choosing is in evidence with the fundamental demonstration of the Quantum process, the double-slit. That means that what all too many view as evil, choice, is at the core of physics.

Judea Pearl replied: “When you elevate your grievance above those universal norms of society, that’s evil.”

That’s too restrictive a notion of evil. It’s “evil”, not evil, and it’s evil to believe that evil is too restricted a notion…

Indeed the perception of “evil” doesn’t need “grievance”, as Quanta, Catholicism and Islamism point out.  Actually that point of view is, officially and in writing, even older: when the Roman dictator Sulla reformed the Roman state, he was driven by the idea that change (coming from We The People) was evil, intrinsically (so he re-established the prerogatives of the Senate against the Tribunes of the People).

The problem of Rome was that society had changed from its very success, massive geographical expansion, morphed ecology, etc. So the “universal norms” Judea Pearl appeals to as a solid substratum, are anything but universal… When society moves, so do “universal norms”.

And how do we know when society is moving? Well, by observing causes and effects, in other words, “causation”. When, and if, changes appears, it is diagnosed by the appearance of new causation (s). And yes, causations don’t have to be causally related to each other, or anything. (Relating causations by force, believing in a system, like monotheism, is the big mistake many a scientist, philosopher, or thinker has made… Even Nietzsche, ironically, fell into it, per his insistence to be systematically anti-system…)

The fact causation exists, is, by itself, a fact. A fact which is everywhere. I volunteered to teach some science to primary school third graders, by using a new method. I was pleasantly surprised by how much they focus on causation. They are hunting for pieces of causes and effects… In particular teaching children “the” scientific method, doesn’t work: children intuitively know there is nothing called “the” method (only Descartes and a few hundred millions mostly dead Frenchmen believe this). Children know the world is made from facts, many of them a causation: they home on these causal tidbits, because they have discovered the world of action is made from mastering them.

Fascist terror regimes know this all too well: to blunt the intelligence of potential future rebels, to prevent an inclination of the youth to make choices, thus limit what the see as “evil”, they make sure children are not taught the universe of causation… by limiting them to, say, one book to be recited by heart supposedly containing all and any causation (that’s why superstitious religion is the best friend of tyrants).

To come back to intelligence, as Doug Lenat put it: “Intelligence is ten million rules… Once you have a truly massive amount of information integrated as knowledge, then the human-software system will be superhuman, in the same sense that mankind with writing (or language itself) is superhuman compared to mankind before writing (or language itself). We look back on pre-linguistic cavemen and think ‘they weren’t quite human, were they?’ In much the same way, our descendants will look back on pre-AI homo sapiens with exactly that mixture of otherness and pity.”

There is a colossal amount of prior and tacit knowledge that humans presume other humans possess (such as “if person x knows person y, then x’s date of death can’t be earlier than y’s date of birth”). That, of course is culturally based: the 50 different types of snow of the Inuits are different  from the “facts” someone PC will find in the social networks they lurk in, or in what they search…

It gets worse: knowledge matters according to the significance it carries (that would how many significant consequences it has… including the emotional ones).

Here a very practical example: If your knowledge base is, allegedly, something an epileptic analphabet desert caravan raider said, 12 centuries ago, according to a panel of sexist generals whose idea of a good time was burning someone alive, your knowledge base is not as valuable as the best that can be obtained today.

Was I Politically Correct, just now? Of course not! I attacked a superstition invented 13 centuries ago, and about which the PC, the Politically Correct, the Plutocratic Con, told us that, if we don’t respect it, we are racist! That is, of course astoundly stupid, to the point of being evil.

However, Facebook, a large investor in AI, thus, presumably, viewing itself as a specialist of intelligence, just blocked “Génération Identitaire”, a French originated European organization, with more than 150,000 adherents, which claims that illegal immigrants should be kept out of Europe (naturally barbarians should disagree with the idea, as they did, when Rome collapsed). Facebook said it could not tolerate “hatred”. Facebook knows what is evil, and what is not evil… and will impose his notion of evil on to you: 500 millions African economic and Islam refugees in France? Excellent says Facebook. Not being happy about that? “Hatred”, Facebook calls it. Facebook is its own form of AI. Complete with a notion of evil…

For a while, what is now the USA was a land of opportunity. Now it’s turning into a land of plutocracy, and that domineering plutocracy gives the entire world an unending flow of “excellent” reasons for Europe to renew with the evil tradition, of giving birth to still another grotesque hereditary plutocracy… Where here evil means rising above what comes naturally to humanity, freedom and equality and fraternity.

You want to find, and destroy evil? You need intelligence and good capability to distinguish fairness and evil. It means adoring causation, revealing cause & effects… maximally. Causation, ferreting it maximally, is not just about AI. It’s about determining evil, absolutely. Thus indulging in choice and evil, virtually, cognitively, or effectively.

The technological singularity is a moral adventure, just as when Caesar decided to steer the Republic: it costs ever more, and in more ways than one, to become divine…

Patrice Ayme

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Note 1: In General Topology, a branch of mathematics, which is very general as it is the logic of “place, region, space” (topos in Greek), an “ultrafilter” is a maximal filter of neighborhoods (“ultrafilter” generalizes to partly ordered sets). So the notion of absolute is pertinent, even without a notion of infinity (I reject the later). Absolute morality is an ultrafilter of morality…

Note 2: The preceding maybe related to a “nerd” notion, Roko’s Basilisk... Which as many nerd notions is cleverly stupid, replacing cognition by twisted complexity…

Marx As Vituperating Racist, Proto-Nazi

May 6, 2018

… A little complement on my (mostly, but not fully) anti-Marx essay:”Marx, for terror and tyranny all along… (part of Marx’s 200th birthday celebrations). After I published it some accused me publicly on the Internet to be “anti-left” when my position is the exact opposite. Buried in my essay is the intellectual relationship of Marx with Hitler who wrote, and said, that Nazism was “half Marxist dogma“. Marx’s strident racism and violent anti-Russian attitude were mental preparations for what fascist Germany did in 1914 and then again under the Nazis. And, no, the excuse that everybody did it at the time doesn’t fly. 99% of the great thinkers of civilization were not racist, and the entire Greco-Roman empire was not racist at all (emperors came from Spain, Asia, Gaul, Arabia and Africa). Quite the opposite: the religion of the Late Greco-Roman empire, “Catholicism“, is Greek for “Universalism“.

Marxism is an ideology calling for dictatorship of something called the “proletariat”. The “proletarius” was well-known in Rome: it was the lowest part of the Plebs, the part whose only contribution to society was “proliferation”: from prolesoffspring, progeny“. The proletariat had babies, and owned nothing, but those babies. Thus the proletariat was exempt from taxes and military service.

The idea that those without even an education should exert dictatorship flies in the face of common sense: in the Roman Republic, where the office of dictator was used occasionally, during emergencies, only the best and brightest, not the lowest and least educated, could pretend to it. In practice, in “Marxist” countries, an hereditary aristocracy of the dictatorship evolved, the “apparatchik”, those of the apparatus, who knew, from birth, how to use said system, the apparatus, blossomed. The apparatchik had exclusive stores, exclusive rights (as they were the ones dictating). Such heirs are fully visible in China or (North) Korea, where they are multibillionaires. Notice that the idea that those without an education should dictate can be viewed as “Political Correctness“. (As we will see below, it all has to do with Marx’s self-hatred: Marx condemned… was he was. Marx a stridently racist anti-Jewish Jew got into anti-“capitalist”economics when his family’s capital, vineyards, suffered from Prussian policies… Paradoxes, paradoxes…)

 

Russian Communist supporters holding portraits of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin participate in a rally marking the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in downtown Moscow on November 7, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV. Funny how Marxists need gods.

The ideology was created by Karl Marx, borrowing the good bits from others, especially Proudhon. Marx—along with his collaborator and sponsor, the heir Friedrich Engels—wrote a pamphlet called “Manifesto of the Communist Party.”

In 1867, Marx wrote the first volume of “Das Kapital” from the British Library. The second and third volumes were published posthumously, edited by Engels. Neither Marx nor a fortiori Engels belong to the proletarius, by a very long shot: so why would they want dictatorship… when Marx spent lots of time screaming he was dictated upon?

Few people who call themselves Marxists have read “Das Kapital”, just as few people calling themselves Muslims have read unabridged version of the 83,000 words Qur’an. In both cases, the idea is apparently to make a show of believing in something absurd and offensive, to upset others, and use over them the dictatorship of insult to reason. If one did read Das Kapital, or Das Koran, one can see that people who call themselves Marxists, or Muslims, have little in common with those ideologies.

Marx and Engels were not always wrong. Those founders of so-called “scientific socialism”, which was neither, took positions on Islam most of the contemporary (pseudo-) left would reject as “Orientalist” and “Islamophobic”. Marx and Engels retrospectively supported the Franks of Charles Martel against the Arabs, and the defenders of Vienna against the Turks in 1529 and 1683. These Muslim empires threatened “European development”. It was necessary to save “European civilization”. In this context, Marx and Engels also approved of the medieval aristocracy who fought the invading Mongols at the battles of Legnica/Wahlstatt in 1241, and Klodzko,  in Poland, while draining the steppe invaders at the much larger Battle of Mohi in Hungary.

To contradict those who see Marx as their hero, here are a few historical tidbits they might find interesting. (One can read the 1979 book of Nathaniel Weyl, himself a former communist, “Karl Marx: Racist”.)

Marx and Engels had plenty of ideas, not just on dictatorship, but also on empire, race, war.

When the United States annexed California after the Mexican War, Marx sarcastically asked, “Is it a misfortune that magnificent California was seized from the lazy Mexicans who did not know what to do with it?” Engels explained: “In America we have witnessed the conquest of Mexico and have rejoiced at it. It is to the interest of its own development that Mexico will be placed under the tutelage of the United States.”

Marx’s was into self-hatred. This is clear in his attacks against his fellow socialist and Jew Ferdinand Lassalle (1824-64), a Breslau native who became the founder of German socialism, the SPD, as a mass movement. Lassalle’s achievements for socialism were much more considerable than Marx’s own. Lasalle secretly influenced Chancellor Bismarck, who installed the world’s first universal health care system Bismarck in 1878: …”[Lassalle] attracted me as an individual. He was one of the most intelligent and likable men I had ever come across”.

Marx’s vituperations stand in sharp contrast. Marx called Lassalle the ‘Jewish Nigger‘. Marx used the word “Neger” (although the word, meaning black was not, nor should be, pejorative…) Marx saw his fellow socialist as a Polish Jew and ‘The Jews of Poland are the dirtiest of all races.

Engels wrote to Marx, March 1856: “[Lassalle] is a real Jew from the Slav frontier and he has always been willing to exploit party affairs for private purposes. It is revolting to see how he is always trying to push his way into the aristocratic world. He is a greasy Jew disguised under brilliantine and flashy jewels.”  In attacking Lassalle’s Jewishness, and sneering at his syphilis, Marx expressed age-old anti-Judaism, virulent in Germany since the eleventh century.

Thus Marx wrote to Engels, 10 May 1861: ‘A propos Lasalle-Lazarus. Lepsius in his great work on Egypt has proved that the exodus of the Jews from Egypt was nothing but the history which Mantheto narrates of the expulsion of the “leprous people” from Egypt. At the head of these lepers was an Egyptian priest, Moses. Lazarus, the leper, is therefore the archetype of the Jew, and Lassalle is the typical Leper.‘ Or again, 30 July 1862: ‘It is now perfectly clear to me that, as the shape of his head and the growth of his hair indicates, he is descended from Negroes who joined Moses’ flight from Egypt (unless his mother or grandmother on the father’s side was crossed with a nigger). This union of Jew and German on a Negro base was bound to produce an extraordinary hybrid.

Lassalle doesn’t look subsaharan African at all… It is reality itself which was taken for a ride, in Marx’s addled brain…

Ferdinand Lassalle in 1860, Schriftsteller, Politiker, Begründer des Allgemeinen Deutschen Arbeitervereins. Er war zeitlebens Vertreter des philosophischen Idealismus Hegelscher Prägung.
geb: 11.4.1825 in Breslau,
gest: 31.8.1864 in Genf (Geneva, Switzerland, where died three days after being hit in the abdomen in a duel he called for, as his beloved went back to the Prince she had been engaged with…)
Does that gentleman, founder of the socialist SPD, look like coming from Subsaharan Africa? To Karl Marx, he did!

Engels shared Marx’s delirious racism. In 1887, Paul Lafargue, who was Marx’s son-in-law, was a candidate for a council seat in a Paris district that contained a zoo. Engels claimed that Lafargue had “one-eighth or one-twelfth nigger blood.” Here notice the idea that US racists and Nazi racist pushed, the “one drop” rule. By contrast, in France, several famous individuals were up to 100% subsaharan Africans, and that was not noticed (one became a most famous general, his son, the famous writer Alexandre Dumas).

In a letter to Lafargue’s wife, Engels wrote, “Being in his quality as a nigger, a degree nearer to the rest of the animal kingdom than the rest of us, he is undoubtedly the most appropriate representative of that district.

He was not joking…

Marx’s father, Heinrich, was the first in nearly a century to not become a rabbi and receive a secular education. Heinrich became a lawyer and lived a wealthy middle-class life, with his family owning Moselle vineyards. Although a descendant of rabbis on both sides of his lineage, Marx anti-Judaism was no passing vituperation. In his essay titled “On the Jewish Question”, published in 1844. Marx asked:

“What is the worldly religion of the Jew? Huckstering. What is his worldly God? Money. … Money is the jealous god of Israel, in face of which no other god may exist. Money degrades all the gods of man—and turns them into commodities. … The bill of exchange is the real god of the Jew. His god is only an illusory bill of exchange. … The chimerical nationality of the Jew is the nationality of the merchant, of the man of money in general.”

All too many otherwise good people got too drunk on that one… Hatred is great, yet, it is time to sober up.

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Search the Diamonds in the Mud:

When his son asked Roman emperor Vespasian why he taxed urine, the latter famously replied:”Money doesn’t have a smell”. Well, ideas don’t have a smell either. So ideas can be grabbed wherever, and whoever they come from. What has a smell are systems of thoughts, and moods, mentalities.

Marxism, as a system of thoughts, stinks to high heavens. But that doesn’t mean Marx never had a good idea (though many of those he grabbed from others…)

For example, calling attention to Marx’s extravagant, quasi-criminogenic anti-Judaism is not to say Judaism shouldn’t be criticized. Far from it: on the face of it, Judaism is tribalism made divine (I will not tweet that one, at least not today…) Spinoza, a Jew, showed how a critique of Judaism reached radical and fruitful conclusions about the world. The French Enlightenment, while promoting Jews as individuals, struck hard against Judaism, Christianism, Islamism… And so do I (yet that doesn’t make me anti-Israel, as Israel has a good, multidimensional historical justification…)

Marx and Engels regarded capitalism and liberal democracy as historically progressive steps, compared to feudalism and royal absolutism. Only capitalism could create centralized nation-states with modern, industrial economies and hence lay the material basis for socialism, the next step in human history. For this reason, Marx and Engels supported “bourgeois” and democratic movements (such as the revolutions of 1848). However, as I pointed out “Marxist” style revolutions had happened before (especially the one which launched the coup of Octavian/Augustus… the dictator of Rome, a very much milder version of Stalin).

This is not all completely false. However, it suffers from a myopic vision of civilization. Civilization comes and goes, ebbs and flows, according to the vagaries of wars, invasions, ecology and plutocracy. It doesn’t go all one way. When the feudal system crystallized, in the Eleventh century, it did it the way it did from the Carolingian collapse which had followed the Carolingian renaissance which followed the Islamist invasions, which collapsed the Merovingian renaissance outlawing slavery, itself blossoming after vanquishing the non-Frankish savages, and mind killing terrorizing Catholicism.

In the end, by the year 1066 CE, civilization stood higher than Rome in some ways  (no slavery, more technology, more machines, more wind and water and tidal mills, better beans, better horses, hydraulic hammers…) and less well in others (constant wars of potentates against each others… As it was not clear who was the boss; and the European subcontinent was still blockaded and under siege from the Muslims).

Marx is so much on the right, or even Nazi, in so many ways that one can be cogent, right-wing, pro-Trump and view Marx as visionary in some ways… and be right! It’s complicated. However, unbounded admiration for Marx, and adoption of the Marx cult is also very simple, and completely erroneous. Much of the failure of the opposition to plutocracy originates just there: Marx made the left not just hateful, but so stupid, it cannot cogently act.

Indeed, much of the most determined part of the “left”, by embracing Marxism, thus the most delirious part of Marxism, embraced, however unwittingly, much of what constituted Nazism. Not a good idea. Nazism, tribalism gone mass murdering in a weird, yet neurohormonally addictive interpretation of the theory of evolution, could only fail, as open societies such as Nazism’s ultimate enemies, in particular the French Republic next door, were, and are intrinsically… superior (Nietzsche said as much, but not this way).

Some will say Marx was just the opposite… Well, look at what he wrote: if it walks like a duck, talk like a duck, flies like a duck, waddle like a duck, looks like a duck, and duck Adolf recognizes it as his own, should not it be called a duck?

Patrice Ayme

 

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

April 8, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***   

We The Wise Know No Blame, Says Marcus!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QED.”

***

I Blame Us, We Are Only Human After All!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Patrice,

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Dear Massimo:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrice Aymé

***

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

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

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

***

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

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