Wisdom, Science: The Eternal Saw

April 13, 2015

Philosophy, the love of wisdom. But what is wisdom? A little research on the origin of the word is enlightening: in all languages it turns out that the concept of wisdom has to do with knowledge. The Proto Indo-European (PIE) root is “WEID” which means to know, to see (hence the “Veda” , I know, in Sanskrit “Videre” in Latin, hence French “Voir”, “Vision”, the German “Wissen” to know, etc.)

(Weirdly, “Sophia”, one of the two Greek versions of divinized wisdom, is an outlier, of unknown origin.)

I will show here that wisdom, and science, have a war-like behavior at their heart. The ability of sawing and cutting. Thus real wisdom and science is all about a mood not conventionally associated with them.

Real Wisdom Is Certain, Certain Wisdom Is Real

Real Wisdom Is Certain, Certain Wisdom Is Real

Lao Zi (previously known as Lao-Tzu, the Old Master), 26 centuries ago, the famous contemporary of Confucius, insisted that the knowledge of the self was superior, while knowing too many things could be inferior. Also not knowing that one did not know was a “defect”.

(Yes, Lao Zi’s wisdom is quite similar to some of the wisdom coming from various Greek sources at the same time; the difference with China, is that Greece, or, at least some city-states such as Ἀθῆναι, Athēnai, were able to enact superior wisdom into superior political systems. The Greek political enactment of superior wisdom in turn inspired many others, as superior Greek democracies were established from Anatolia (Phrygia, Phocea, Miletus, etc.) to “Great Greece” (South Italy) to a small empire in Southern France and beyond (based in Marseilles, Nice, and Athenopolis, aka Saint Tropez).

One should think of systems of thoughts, and moods, in one word, mentalities, as axiomatic systems, highly hierarchized, yet, entangled, as causal webs.

These are actually neurological structures… And that make them very stable.

Superior mentalities discard and throw away axiomatic bits that are inferior. Superior wisdom has to do with amputating. This is why the very concept of science is all about cutting.

The Latin scire, to know, is thus originally from the Latin scindere, to cut, divide; interestingly the French scier, to saw, is thus at the root of science:

Je Sais, Donc Je Scie.

This is not a play on words; it is serious. However, it’s untranslatable in English (‘I science, thus I saw?’)

An example I gave on my essay on the “Flat Universe”, or in “100 Billion Years Old Universe” is my proposal to cut-off (decide, see below), the hypothesis of Big Noise Inflation (“Cosmological Inflation) as we already have another inflation, all too real, Dark Energy.

Gunther Grass died today, he wrote down a piece of imagination, about a boy who was a drummer under the Nazis. Grass helped teach the Germans how Nazism worked. Literature has to be made appealing. Philosophy, though, is not literature, it does not have to sneak in some truths with bed time stories for children. It focuses on reality: somebody has to do it.

Science does not have to be nice, it cannot be nice: after all, it is about sawing off some parts of other people’s neurologies. This is why the Greek goddess of wisdom, Athena, is also a warrior goddess. Not that the concept was just Greek. It may have originated where a lot of Greek ideas and theories originated, Egypt. The most ancient Egyptians, in the Predynastic period, more than 5,200 years ago, worshipped a goddess whose Egyptian name was Neith. Neith was identified, by both Greeks and Egyptians, 25 centuries ago, with Athena (Herodotus, Histories 2:170–175). Neith was the war goddess and huntress deity of the Egyptians. (Neith was also identified with weaving, the high tech of the times.)

To find the truth, one has to decide what the truth is. From the Latin de-caedere, what comes from caedere, from “cut”, literally: cut-off.

Science is about sawing. Science can get over-enthusiastic, and amputate parts of knowledge (wisdom) that, after all, were true.

The Ancient Greeks, or more exactly the Hellenistic dictatorships which followed the independent city-democracies of Greece at its peak, were rife with massive, ill-advised amputations of knowledge.

Non-Euclidean geometry got amputated, Greek algebra and numeration (a proto-modern system) was also amputated, and then emigrated for further development in India. Archimedes’ Infinitesimal Calculus got discarded. The Heliocentric system of Aristarchus, also. Even Mechanical Computers, although extensively developed, were then thrown away.

All these amputations happened because the philosophy at the helm, plutocracy, was antagonistic to creative thinking (And Aristotle has a lot to do with it; at least, so I think).

Philosophy acts as meta-controller on all mentalities, including science.

This is why modern science was launched by Middle Ages philosophers (Buridan, his student Oresme, etc.), who then found that they had to make their discourse more precise, inventing inertia, momentum, stating Newton’s First Law, inventing coordinates, graphs, etc.

A deep strategy of Buridan was to refuse to study theology. Still he was elected rector of the world’s greatest university, Paris. I have in my hand the brand new book of Steven Weinberg (Nobel discoverer of the Electro-Weak theory). “To Explain The World”, 2015. Weinberg gives the greatest place to Buridan ever found in an English speaking book written by a physicist. (Weinberg still makes a hash of Buridan’ throwing out Aristotle’s vertical arrow experiment, as Weinberg conflates the refutation by Buridan from Buridan’s exposition of Aristotle error! This an error traditionally made in secondary American literature. Not everybody reads Medieval Latin!)

Why is it important to give Buridan, and other Middle Age French philosophers and scientists their correct place? Because it is giving reason its correct place.

It is not just about showing that the real Renaissance was in the Middle Ages, or that how exactly Europe pulled ahead of the rest of the world in technology.

To understand how wisdom proceeds, one has to look how it proceeded before.

And to understand well that the mastermind of all important progress in understanding is philosophy. Science without philosophy is like a chicken with a freshly chopped head: spectacular and vigorous, but not for long.

Patrice Ayme’

Flat Universe Flattens Twisted Logic

April 11, 2015

The observed universe is flat. I will explain what it means in practice, before going into a bit of theory. Including a sickle move through the lamentable precedent of the heliocentric system.

Basically, when we look at a galaxy which is very very very far away, it appears to have the same size as it should have considering its distance. Ah, yes, because we can determine the distance of a very very remote galaxy, or so we think, by looking at its red shift (how much redder it looks than what it would be if it were next door).

This apparently innocuous set-up creates lots of problems for the ruling cosmological theory, the Big Noise Bang. The barnacles attached to the Big Noise, thousands of professional cosmologists, would not be happy to see their ship sink, so they insist it’s doing all right. Yet I am dancing all around with the facts, and, should they read me carefully, they would be less sanguine about the respect they will enjoy, in the fullness of time.

Gravitational Lensing. Lensing Without Gravitation Would Signal Curvature. So Would Apparent Size Variations. Neither Is Observed, However far We Look.

Gravitational Lensing. Lensing Without Gravitation Would Signal Curvature. So Would Apparent Size Variations. Neither Is Observed, However far We Look.

The Big Noise cosmologists may well be wrong, because they suppose plenty of things for their model. All too many things, some of them, pretty weird. I get to the same observations, while being much more parsimonious with my hypotheses.

We have seen it all before, this conflict between common sense , and complicated absurdities by great priests, themselves at the service of higher authorities. Remember the Ptolemaic system? That claimed the Sun rotated around Earth. That absurdity ruled for around 15 centuries

***

Cosmology is serious business:

The Ptolemaic System Was An Obese Lie, Thus Contradicting It, A Capital Crime:

The bigger the lie, the greater the authority. So great authority loves big lies: it is a training ground for the feeble minds which make authority so great.

The greatest philosopher of the Fourteenth Century, and the greatest physicist of the Middle Ages, the Parisian Johannes Buridanus, sent the Ptolemaic system to the bottom of the sea (1320s CE).

However Jean Buridan, adviser to 4 kings, and head of the University of Paris, did not want to be burned alive. So Buridan presented all his new physics and cosmology as something “supporters” of the point of view that “authority does not demonstrate” were talking about (he named no names).

Buridan believed that the Earth turned on itself each day, and around the sun in a year, that the arrow would fall at the same point, because of his own theory of impetus. Etc. It’s all very clear, and some of it can even be read. (In this extract Buridan supports geocentrism; in later extracts, he concludes he cannot be distinguished from heliocentrism observationally; a full study of Buridan is not extant. Some of the later arguments of Buridan are found in Oresme.)

Even the ship example used by Galileo, 300 years later, to demonstrate the undetectability of uniform motion is Buridan’s invention, for the same purpose (Buridan’s student, bishop Oresme wrote about it too).

The Catholic Church, supported by King Plutocrat Louis XI, made reading Buridan a capital crime in 1473 CE. Buridan’s cosmology was posthumously re-amplified by his student and (self) publicist, the dying Abbot Copernicus.

That fancy, the heliocentric system, was, on the face of it, quite ridiculous: Buridan said the Earth was “tiny” so it was only understandable that the tiny thing would rotate on itself, while enormous thing would stay put.

***

Authorities Love Systems Which Lie And Make No Sense:

Why the heliocentric system, was entertained so long explains much of the enthusiasm for the Big Bang. The psychology is similar: an obscure set of ideas was made more hermetic by computations nobody understands. Actually, it’s Plato who launched the Big Ptolemaic Noise, six centuries prior to Ptolemy’s efforts.

Believing in the heliocentric system was good training for submitting to stupid authority, and learning to become non-critical.

But let’s go back to flatness.

Basic Math Of Flatness:

Our universe of stars, clouds, and galaxies, is three dimensional (as I often talk of high dimensions, see note: the “3” maybe an average of the “many”).

Geometries can be flat (a plane) or spherical (aka “elliptic”; as on a round planet), or “hyperbolic” (a saddle).

A mighty theorem (Perelman-Thurston; see technical note on mathematical background) implies that astronomically plausible non-flat geometries contain flat, spherical or hyperbolic elements.

I will simplify further.

Geometries are determined by their geodesics (the shortest paths). At least locally.

A non-flat universe means that that some perspective can be found so that two neighboring geodesics will either converge or diverge.

For a proof, just look at a sphere, or a saddle; the geodesics can be determined by pulling a string between two points, making the shortest paths. They are the greatest circles in the case of a sphere. Notice that the distances between two nearby strings, once pulled to make geodesics, vary. The big math proof, with equations, does not say anything more.

No Empty Space Lensing, No Curvature:

In space, geodesics are paths followed by light. If the universe is not flat, light will either diverge, or converge, as if space itself was a lens. This means that a galaxy, or a galactic cluster, will appear bigger, or smaller, than it should.

Some may object that lensing in space is well known, and is even used to look at the furthest galaxies. However that lensing is due to gravity slowing down, and bending light, as happens with light grazing the sun. That’s called gravitational lensing. Entire galactic clusters are known to operate as giant lenses.

If one saw lensing, with nothing in between, the lensing would not be gravitational and the universe would not be flat.

But so far, this has not been observed.

A perfectly flat universe means global curvature zero. However the basic idea of the Einstein Field Equation (EFE) is:

CURVATURE = MASS-ENERGY-MOMENTUM

Actually, this equation is the basic idea, thus the ultimate simplification. As it is, it cannot work without further complications, because the object on the left has much higher dimension than the 10 dimensional tensor on the right; so one has to simplify the curvature first). The real equation is more like:

Function of Curvature = Mass-Energy-Momentum

There are a lot of mathematical details to figure out, to make that basic idea fit in. It took many stupendous mathematicians and physicists many years working together frantically to figure them out. In particular, Einstein and Hilbert cooperated intensely, helped by many collaborators… And the initial idea comes from the mathematician/physicist/philosopher Riemann (1866). So it took 60 years to make the idea work, and one should not expect casual readers to get the ideas in 60 lines, let alone 60 seconds.

An obvious (sort of) prediction was that, as the Mass-Energy of the universe is not zero (it’s full of galaxies, which have mass, and energy), then the curvature could not be zero. But then, if curvature (of the space-time of the universe) is not zero, then the universe has got to be moving.

Revolted by a moving universe, Einstein then added another curvature term, Lg. Lg counterbalanced Mass-Energy-Momentum, and gave a static (but unstable) universe.

Thus Einstein did not predict what the astronomers were starting to observe, namely the expansion of the universe. Einstein abandoned L (“Lambda”), calling it the “biggest blunder [he] ever made”.

(According to me, he made a much graver error in 1905.)

***

Dark Energy Flattens Cosmological Logic:

Ninety years later, the most basic supernovas were studied. They arise in binary systems: a star transfers part of itself to its companion, a super hot white dwarf. It is a bit like transferring gasoline on an amber: when enough mass has been transferred to Dwarf, the pressure and heat in the depth is just right for thermonuclear fusion to re-ignite explosively. It happens in exactly the same way always (although some argue about this). So these Type 1a supernovae are viewed as candles always of the same luminosity.

Large surveys (rejecting some explosion viewed as outliers) concluded that far-away Type 1a explosions were weaker than the Hubble law of expansion predicted. And the further one looked, the more the 1a explosions faded.

The conclusion was drawn that the universe expanded faster than the old model of Hubble and Einstein’s Gravitation theory predicted.

Greater expansion meant greater energy, and its source was not clear, so it was named DARK ENERGY.

Ironically to describe the simplest way to describe it was just to re-introduce the Lg term Einstein had introduced and then rejected, while he blundered about clumsily.

***

Your Humble Servant Flattens All:

It remains that the original theory of Einstein requires a very fine tuning of parameters to make our universe explode into its present very flat state in a bit less than 14 billion years. It also requires a supplementary explosion, called “Cosmological Inflation”.

I don’t have this problem.

I just wipe Einstein and his cohorts clean. I am master of my own soul. They have two Cosmological Inflations. I have just one, the one that is observed.

And my version of the universe can be 100 billion years old, or more.

I don’t confuse gravitation and revolution, inflation and what not. The Einstein Field Equations are correct, I just don’t apply them to the universe.

Simple does it.

Making something complicated simply because it allows to “shut and calculate” (the philosophical doctrine of contemporary physics) has been seen before. This was the trap into which Ancient Greek astronomy fell, making ever more sophisticated versions of the Ptolemaic system.

We should avoid duplicating our forebears’ mistakes.

Patrice Ayme’

Mathematical Note:

That I consider the universe three dimensional may sound as a strange admission, as I always advocate all sorts of dimensions, from the brain to fundamental physics. But not so: just view the three dimensional aspect as an… average.

(Here I am going to talk as a common physicist or mathematician, and elide the tweaking of fundamental axioms of topology and logic that I am wont to engage in, because I want to present the simplest picture.)

More precisely, this is what happens in two dimensions. In one dimension, the line or circle, there is just one geometry.

The USA mathematician Thurston launched a theorem, proven by the Russian Perelman, which showed there were just eight fundamental geometries in three dimensions.

(Disgusted by the dog eat dog attitude of famous mathematicians, some of whom I personally know, Perelman refused prizes, and abandoned math; I do share Perelman’s indignation, and then, more. Austerity, as imposed by plutocrats, has made even mathematicians like rats, prone to devour the innocent. The problem is not just in physics.)

Cultural Evolution: More Intelligent Than “Darwinian”

April 10, 2015

A dangerously entitled paper in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (Series B, Biological Sciences). Here are the first 4 lines:

How Darwinian is cultural evolution? By Nicolas Claidière , Thomas C. Scott-Phillips , Dan Sperber (31 March 2014).

Darwin-inspired population thinking suggests approaching culture as a population…”

(My comment to Scientia Salon elevating the debate was censored.)

The supposedly proven idea that the scientific philosophy known as “Darwinism” rules humanity is exactly why we ended up with Hitler. Hitler and his friends were penetrated by “Darwinian” ideas. Explicitly. For the Nazis, Darwinism, the Selection of the Fittest, was “science”. Nearly a century later the most prestigious scientific society in Britain is still pushing the notion, with a devious title.

Peul Gentleman In Formal Attire.

Peul Gentleman In Formal Attire.

[There are 30 million Peuls, with their own languages, through 20 countries, in the Sahel and its neighborhood.]

The ideology of “Darwinism” as the end-all, be-all, is bad science, and bad philosophy. But of course an excellent mentality for vicious oligarchies. A century ago, it brought us Nazis, more recently it brought us Neo-Conservatism, and now “Austerity” and plutocracy.

Darwinism, A Philosophy Of Force, Chance, Heredity As Necessities:

At some point, around the 1960s, from some experience of Medawar on mice, some scientists thought that biological evolution was only driven by chance and selection. Thanks to haphazard variations in genetics, new organisms would differ from their ancestors. Among some of these new organisms, some would survive better, and thus (probably) reproduce better. That “adaptative” mechanism driven by chance was supposed to explain everything.

A philosophy of sorts evolved from that view of evolution, according to which everything evolved by chance, and survival determined worth. “Intelligent Design” was removed, not just from religion, and the view of the world, but from society itself.

This explanation and its philosophical extension, came to be known as “Darwinism”, or “Natural Selection”.

The Connection Between The Crisis Of The West And Neo-Darwinism:

If culture is due to chance and survival is what determines its value, why to try to make an intelligent, fair and moral society? Would not that be against nature? If we were led by genes, and genes were selfish, was not the Neo-Conservative model more natural?

In the 1960s and 1970s an argument was made that we were our “genes”, and that our genes were “selfish”. The ideas became ubiquitous in the Anglo-Saxon world, and were, truly a new philosophy, a sort of Jihadism without god.

Unsurprisingly that culture of chance, force and selfishness facilitated the not-so spontaneous creation of a new generation of selfish politicians and ideas promoting selfishness, force, and the chance heredity provides with (namely, if you inherited your position in society it was just because this is how nature is).

Societies of note tend to prefer cultural traits which they believe will promote their survival. A society not endowed with that meta-belief, and meta-practice, will not long survive.

Societies tend to be “Darwinian” in that sense. Beyond this, the notion that chance drives culture is of limited utility, because culture is anything but haphazard.

***

Natural Selection Is Not What Evolution Reduces To. Natural Selection Is Just One Of Three Evolutionary Mechanisms:

Unfortunately for the “Darwinists, they did not get their science right.

Selection was not really new. “Artificial Selection”, aka, selective breeding, was not just known, but long practiced. Aristotle relates that in “free” roaming cattle of Epirus, weak cows, or cows with traits viewed as undesirable, were culled to prevent them from breeding.

Beyond selection, artificial or natural, Lamarck, the scientist who first established evolution, suggested two new evolutionary mechanisms.

It turns out that modern quantum physics offers plausible mechanisms to check Lamarck’s suggestions. Experimental efforts are under way to check them (one grant proposal heading that way is $49 million!) Preliminary results are already in.

The bottom line is that Quantum Mechanics is intrinsically TELEOLOGICAL (it computes from the ends). This is why the Quantum is so baffling. It offers mechanisms for driving genetics from environmental influences directly (without going through the selection of the carrying organism).

Such mechanisms do not contradict natural selection. Far from it: they just accelerate it, while bending it towards more intelligent solutions. (Yes, the Quantum is clever: it was hinted since Fermat’s Principle of Least Time.)

Conclusion: Cultural Evolution Is Not Darwinian, It Is Much More Than That, And, First Of All, Teleologically Intelligent:

Culture is history, but much of that history was developed with ends in mind.

For example, a cultural trait such as executing Muslims who are deemed not to obey “Islam” has contributed to the survival of Islam. And it was, literally a clever strategy (it was established by a general, strategos). Islam started as an army at war. Quitting an army at war means execution.

Thus cultural evolution is teleologically driven. Cultural structures never seem to originate haphazardly. When we think that a cultural trait evolved haphazardly, further examination generally reveals that the trait evolved at a time and place when and where it made sense.

As I have argued in the past, inheritability does not reduce to “genes”: we are not our genes. Nor are our cultures just the survivors of selection. All and any of their bits and pieces were invented with some purposes in mind, which functioned as mental attractors.

Culture, and evolution are both smart. Intelligent Design has become an insult, so we are ending with increasingly stupid social organizations. Stupidity and oligarchy are two notions which go together well, supporting each other.

Patrice Ayme’

Anatomy of Discovery

April 9, 2015

Discovery Is Generally Part Of A Logic. Therein A Tale.

Abstract: How does discovery works? It depends if it is about discovering where you put your keys, or if it is about discovering new scientific laws. Differently from the former, the latter always require philosophical jumps. Be it only to discard vast amounts of obsolete neurology. However most of “scientific discovery” is safe, being mostly about filling up the details of huge theories. Most of science cannot be anything else than about small stuff.

***

This is a tale of two scientific practices, at the extremities of the same spectrum. Surprisingly, they are antagonistic: the practice of small science is all too often the enemy of big science (it occupies minds, and leaves no space for the big interrogations). The theory of Ptolemy required at least three “epicycles” within “epicycles” to handle Mars alone. Even then that was not enough and Ptolemy cheated. This complicated logic was small science because the philosophy it used as context was small.

Basic Sketch In Plato Elaborated Further By Ptolemy, 6 Centuries Later

Basic Sketch In Plato Elaborated Further By Ptolemy, 6 Centuries Later

The Ptolemaic system had to introduce weird notions such as the “equant” around which the main orbit would happen at a constant angular motion, and so. This built-up of “necessary” complexities to make work previous “necessities” is not without reminding us of Quantum Field Theory’s weirder and weirder “explanations”, piled up high on top of each other.

An article in Scientia Salon on “the anatomy of scientific discovery: a case study” is ambitious, starting with its title. [Remarks below were not published by a third party as “too advanced for a general audience”. I apparently hold the readers of this site in high esteem!]

The SS article narrates the discovery of “Spontaneous Electric Fields” (abbreviated to “Spontelectrics”). However, while charming and instructive, in a smallish way, it is highly misleading, considering its all-encompassing title.

The article initially makes grand claims about what its purpose is:

“How do scientists discover new phenomena, and, just as important, how do they persuade other scientists… During its course, they do their very best to prove that their discovery is wrong, perhaps because it contradicts some well-established law. They set out to show that their new phenomenon may, in the polite phraseology of science, be an artifact…”

The first mistake here is implicit. The author reduces implicitly science to phenomenology (to “discover new phenomena”).

This is a mistake, it is too reductive. Really Big Science, as found in mathematics and physics, is about enormously complex theories, built upon a few facts. Big science is all about interpreting some facts, and organize that in a theory. A theory and its “laws” can be so strong that they prevent to discover, accidentally or not, anything outside of what it considers “relevant”.

Big scientific theories frame the discourse and reduce the facts that can be “observed”… Or the facts that will try (very hard) to observe. So Big Scientific theories tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

To an extent that is surprising, theory controls phenomenology. We observe what theory tells us too observe. And how.

For example Aristotle claim that the heavenly bodies were part of an “ether” (not a material body). It was just a step from there to claim the Moon was a signal from god. Islam made it. Thus Muslim specialists spy on the Moon to know when god tells us when Ramadan starts. They observe, but they observe according to a theory.

This is why small science is easy, and big science is hard. Small science, by definition, works within a theoretical model it takes for granted. Whereas big scientific discoveries change paradigms.

The second mistake the author of “anatomy of discovery” makes is to give a virtuous view of science (scientists “do their best to prove” they are wrong).

Actually this is not true at all for really big science. Quite the opposite. Scientists do not “do their best” to prove that all they have painfully learned is wrong. Not only would that be a career busting mood, there is a neurological aspect. Mental inertia.

Big scientific interpretation is a form of neurology, and, scientists or not, people do not tend, or like, to “do their best” to prove their neurology wrong.

Then the author of the Scientia Salon article deflates his claim completely by “restrict[ing] ourselves here to the quite serendipitous, experimental discoveries, those that take place quite unexpectedly.”

It is quite rare that such discoveries break a paradigm. It can happen: the Michelson Morley experiment, an electromagnetic experiment showed that the simplest interpretation of the (then recently devised) ether theory could not be right.

However, looking at history, when the discovery of a really new phenomenon happens, Big Scientific models tend to stay unchanged.

A contemporary example of a potentially giant discovery is Dark Energy.

Dark Energy made the old cosmological model something one does not need anymore (it is its own “cosmic inflation”). I explained this in Billion Year Old Universe”.

The situation right now is that the official theory on cosmology has TWO different inflationary mechanisms. I have just ONE, the one that is observed. My theory is more powerful philosophically, and it’s less complex mathematically, and it depends upon much fewer hypotheses, and mine are observationally grounded.

However “scientists” working in cosmology have been keen NOT to notice my main point, that is that my theory is much simpler in all ways, thus much more powerful. Why did professional cosmologists not notice the obvious? Because they have a vested interest in the established mental order, the mandarins of which, they are. Because, if one adopted a Dark Energy centric model, all of theoretical cosmology (what goes beyond what is observed for sure) would be wiped out. Something that can be wiped out as an error is less honorable.

How is Big Science discovered? Feynman looked at it, and concluded that there was no rule.

However, I think there is. Big science is  generally discovered through Big Philosophy (Special Relativity does not escape the rule; Poincare’ and Lorentz introduced the “local time” theory to discover SR).

Meanwhile, those who really discover the big ideas, having assaulted the neurology of mandarins, will be punished.

They should be thankful.

The painless life is not worth having.

[Take that, Marcus Aurelius!]

Patrice Ayme’

Censored notes on the initial SS article:

Although presented as a big deal in SS, “Spontelectrics” is anything but. It’s just a case of contrary electric fields, the sort discovered by Faraday to explain the “Faraday Cage”. (Actually discovered by Benjamin Franklin, a rare American genius.) Make no mistake: it is interesting.

However, it is thoroughly small science, violating nothing important.

A bigger mystery, still unexplained: how rubbing one material on another can create electrostatic charge. This effect known to the Ancient Greeks require Quantum Physics we don’t master too well.

Another question rejected as irrelevant at SS is the question of why did the Geocentric System reign so long? My answer (not even attempted on SS), partly given in the past, has to do with fascism, intellectual and political. The Ptolemaic System was imposed, and endured, PRECISELY because it was bad.

For the bad, bad is good, and good, bad. So anything favoring the first is good.

Shoot Them All, God Will Recognize His Own

April 8, 2015

A (white) police officer shot in the back, eight times, a fleeing, somewhat corpulent middle age man, who was obviously not dangerous (he just had some child support payments due, on some of his 4 children).

The first shot was fired at least 5 meters away. After the victim is fatally shot, the officer screams hysterically at him: “Put your hands behind your back.” Three times. Then handcuff him. I saw the video several times. It gets more instructive, the more it is watched.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/09/us/video-of-fatal-shooting-of-walter-scott-reignites-debate-on-police-use-of-force.html?&target=comments&hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&modref=HPCommentsRefer&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news#commentsContainer

The obviously unarmed victim had served in the Coast Guard. The police officer then handcuffed the agonizing victim, and went back 50 fifty feet to plant fake evidence.

The (black) family of the victim offered with tremendous dignity that “not all policemen are bad…” Yes, but. But we are dealing with a system here. A system of institutionalized violence. Racism is just one aspect of it.

Disobey Police In The USA, Die!

Disobey Police In The USA, Die!

[Disobedient father of four Walter Scott shot like a rabbit. The police officer, in the window, up left was charged with murder. However, to parody a dim witted American philosopher’s pontification: is that Justice As Fairness? Namely the white, thus fair, officer, shots, thus administers justice?]

Police and judicial violence in the USA is pretty much in evidence, to whoever has looked at statistics, or lived in the USA. I have seen many times, in the USA, scenes that belonged straight out of a violent movie. Roughly anything, including several violent car chases with lots of sparks, collisions, etc. I have seen roughly anything, but for large explosions.

All right, with all the guns out there, the police can take no chances. All right, in that particular city, about half the population is “black”, and 80% of the police force is white (a de facto racial situation).

Yet, police brutality is not restricted to non-whites. It is a global attitude, although black tend to be more victimized. To change this global attitude is the fundamental problem.

John Michel from South Carolina replied that:

“No one wants to look at the fundamental problem. Go ahead, take a look at the foundation of modern-day human violence.”

My reply to John Mitchel:

Violence in general is one thing. However, the level of lethal and judicial violence in the USA is much higher than in any other developed nation.

What I am saying is that, although racism amplifies it, the problem is not just racial. It is about exploiting others, violently, and imposing the existing established order, violently.

And I am saying this has become a habit, and if one questions it, as I do, it has been suggested by lesser souls that I wanted to turn the USA into Libya, or Syria and Iraq, as if only violence, from police or justice, was the one and only way to hold the USA together.

I disagree.

I believe that Americans are smarter than lethally violent Islam Fundamentalists.

I also think it’s a world problem: all too many people in the USA, including among the so-called “leaders” perceive that only violence holds the country together.

In particular the violence on the rest of society which flows from very high income and wealth, and very low taxes experienced, by the .1%

That theory, usage and practice of force, is a satanic approach to society.

It is a model for, and an expectation about, the entire planet.

It is not a debate, a conversation. It is a will to extermination. Granted, the Will To Extermination is a core human characteristic. Granted, it makes the USA strong, pitiless, successful.

However, now the whole planet is watching. There is no more frontier to push. All this violence is the bad paradigm for conflict resolution. It is not just a question of justice, it is a question of prudence. Worldwide we have to teach subtlety and restraint, not madness, vengeance, and lethally efficient authority.

That’s dangerously obsolete (besides being the Islamists, and, or, Putin’s model).

Patrice Ayme’

Essence Of The Economic Crisis

April 7, 2015

In 2008, a financial crisis blossomed. It was caused by the rich, those who control the world. Some of the rich lost considerable amounts of money, mostly to other wealthy people and institutions (who had thus become even richer). So doing, the world financial system got destabilized: bankruptcies could propagate.

The most obvious way out was to recover as much money as possible from the rich. Instead, something else was decided, by the powers that be (themselves electorally financed by those who had set-up the system that crashed, and many of them had profited from).

Since 2007, The 1% Have Gone Off The Charts, Leveraging Crisis, Through Obama

Since 2007, The 1% Have Gone Off The Charts, Leveraging Crisis, Through Obama

To resolve optimally the near-destruction of the financial system in 2008, it was decided to make We the People pay. Saving the richest individuals and institutions was objective number one. So little savers saw their saving rates go down to zero. Workers, even productive workers, such as researchers in fundamental science saw financing go down drastically. Projects went unfinanced, researchers had to quit research. This happened in Great Britain, among nearly all other developed countries (Switzerland being an exception).

Thus “Austerity” is just about We The People going starving, in all sorts of ways and dimensions. Meanwhile, the richest people and institutions in the world kept paying no, or very little, taxes.

Google in Britain made billions, and paid very little tax (a “Google Tax” is supposed to come in, the Conservatives grandly declared, a few months before the elections). Hyper wealthy Brits claim to reside overseas, and thus pay very little tax, and it is perfectly legal.

All over we see the same problem. So question: why do not the richest people and institutions, those with the greatest means, who need very little of what they have, be the first to experience austerity?

Distributing their riches would augments economic activity overall.

Conversely, not distributing the riches of the hyper rich diminishes overall economic activity.

The graph above clearly shows that this entirely a political problem. Policies (at least in the USA) were not friendly to the hyper wealthy, after the crash of 1929-1930. During, and after the war, the USA was managed in a way that was, relatively speaking, socialist.

Reagan though surfed a wave of resentment by the wealthy that originated in California with Prop.13 (and Reagan’s election as governor, and Nixon as president, earlier than that).

So here we are. A few hands take all the decisions, and they are most happy, the more they can grab in money and power.

Larry Fink CEO of the fund company Blackrock (managing more than 4 billion dollars in investments) warned companies that they are demolishing societies by redistributing too much wealth to the wealthy, at the expense of everything else.

Carl Icahn, a plutocrat worth 24 billion dollars, hearing of Fink’s critique, agreed, and lashed out at the CEO class: …”What is even more dangerous and concerning is that so many of our companies do not have CEO’s that have the ability to make investments, let alone run the companies they are now charged with…”

It is even criminal: the hyper rich, and the CEO’s class serving it, are actually not just destroying the world’s socio-economy, but threatening the survivability of the biosphere (the CO2 crisis is a case in point: a handful of plutocrats, fully using their enormous powers, have poisoned world public opinion, and decision making; so we are adding 2% of the total content of CO2 in the atmosphere, every year, half going in the ocean. That was entirely avoidable).

Most very wealthy people are not amused by Fink’s and Icahn’s opinion. They would rather deny there is a problem, they will point out that we live in the best possible world, so far.

So did the passengers of the Titanic, enjoying the most luxurious, fastest trip ever, on a perfectly unsinkable ship.

Reality can be a most ominous fate. Even for plutocrats.

Patrice Ayme’

Of Jewish Europe & Mad Germany

April 6, 2015

Jews lived in Gaul before the invention of Christianity. So Judaism is the oldest European religion in existence. The problem of Judaism in Europe originated in the Middle East, so fleeing back there, as Netanyahu suggested, is counter-intuitive. That Jews should flee Europe would of course profit Israel. Americans tend to find everything worse in Europe than it really is. It makes them feel better. Moreover, the more intelligent immigrants to the USA, the stronger, richer the USA.

I was just telling a few truths to a site managed by Jewish Americans who installed themselves in contemporary Germany. Those truths are generally either unknown, or deliberately ignored. Revealing that, in various ways, including antiquity, Judaism is more European than Christianism itself, is sure to ruffle a few feathers! Yet, it is the truth. And it means, practically, that to be anti-Jewish is to be fundamentally anti-European. Many “European” ideas are actually Jewish, starting with, well, Christianism (mythically founded by a crucified rabbi).

So how come Nazism?

"Wir Sind Adolf." Mass Criminality, Germany.

“Wir Sind Adolf.” Mass Criminality, Germany.

Long story. As long as Christianism? Even longer. The Roman imperial state had problems with the Jews from Jerusalem, not fully of its own making. Shortly after Emperor Julian started to make up, he was killed (in present day Iraq). But let’s go back to 20C Germany.

I was listening to a show on the rise of the Nazi engineered holocaust. In passing contemporary professors were claiming that Germany was the most intellectually advanced, the most literary, the most civilized nations on Earth.

Heidegger was presented as the world’s most advanced philosopher of the Twentieth Century. He is nothing of the sort. At best, Heidegger was Nietzsche’s mentally retarded parrot. (Heidegger stole a lot from Friedrich… In the rare cases he has something valuable to say.)

Heidegger was proud to have kicked out all the Jewish students and professors from the university he led (Nazis are leaders… And all too many leaders suffer from the same sort of occupational hazard…)

In the SS and the like, top German intellectuals were recruited. Heydrich was an expert violonist; his father owned a music school. Goebbels was a German PhD (something long and hard to get at the time). In literature.

And here we see the problem: intellectuality, as defined in Germany, was an erroneous notion. The attack against the Jews, under the Third Reich, was mostly an enormous mass theft organized by the state. By stealing the Jews, riches and businesses were redistributed to Nazi supporters.

Roosevelt, trying to hide that he prevented Jews to come to the USA (except celebrities) decided to organize a conference. Nobody wanted to host it.

Finally, in Évian-les-Bains,, France, 32 countries, and many organizations came to a conference to accept the “refuges” from “Central Europe (namely, the Jews expelled by the Nazis, nobody wanted to name a car a cat).

Hitler agreed. The mustachioed inferior mental, and cultural retard pontificated that: “I can only hope and expect that the other world, which has such deep sympathy for these criminals [Jews], will at least be generous enough to convert this sympathy into practical aid. We, on our part, are ready to put all these criminals at the disposal of these countries, for all I care, even on luxury ships.”

Canada, the USA and the UK decided to do nothing. Some added refined cruelty: Australia declared officially that “we can’t accept Jews, because we don’t want to encourage anti-Semitism”.

Canada did better declaring: ”One Jew is too much.” (“Un. C’est trop”)

Switzerland did was tops, declaring that “no Jew was already too many Jews”.

The Confederatio Helvetica asked the German State to mark the passports of Jewish Germans with the letter “J”, for Jew; non-Jewish Germans were welcome to Switzerland, not the Jews! Although of course, their money was welcome.

In the end, nearly all countries closed their borders to the Jews. It was the time of the Great Depression, and Jews left Germany without a Mark: the Nazis took all their property, not just houses, but bank accounts. (The Nazi state allowed 60,000 Jews to migrate to Israel.)

After the Evian conference, Adolf Hitler spewed his contempt: “It was disgusting to see democracies oozing pity about the poor Jewish People, and then do nothing when it came to helping them.”

This is why Hitler could not believe it when the hereditary enemy, the French Republic, sent him an ultimatum on September 1, 1939 (Britain joined France, but Britain was not ready for a world war, having no significant army; France was, and was to take the brunt of the clash with the Nazis.)

Well France did a lot for the Jews, accepting hundreds of thousands. But France fell to the Nazi army in June 1940 (in part because Britain could not engage enough planes and tanks, in a timely manner).

If there was one cause in this whole tragedy, what is it? Intellectual self-satisfaction. Glorification of German culture then. All of this tragedy happened because Germany, then, was viewed (and still is!) as towering mental, cultural giant. In truth, it was a country so idiotic that it let itself be led by the lowest of the low.

What was glorified then was one of the worst culture, and meta-culture, ever.

Were there ever lower mental forms than the top Nazis? Well, of course, in Germany at the time, most Germans were unable to think.

Mass book burning started in May 1933. This was a demand from German students TO Goebbels (as he visited some universities). Goebbels was stunned, charmed and persuaded. Goebbels was a fanatic anti-Semite: a beautiful Jewish girl whom he had courted, had rejected him (instead he found himself married to his wife, a crazed out assassin of children).

How come Germany had got so idiotic and base? Reading Nietzsche shows that the problem had exploded sixty years earlier, under Bismarck. Nietzsche dissected the German mind, vomiting it thoroughly when he realized what he had swallowed all too long.

Nietzsche observed that the clash between Jews and Anti-Semites had become so fierce, that the only solution was to force out the Anti-Semites, so that the superior race, the Jews could grace Germany in peace. But that seemed unlikely as his own sister married the top Anti-Semite.

Nietzsche observed, again that Germans had become “Herd Animals” (“Herdentieren”)

Herdentieren, Herd Animals, are not smart. And they charge, all going one way. So the problem of Germany in the 1930s was not that it was on top, mentally and culturally, but instead was hugging the bottom, as a vast herd of stupid animals. Yes, 1930s Germany was a stupid herd.

It is high time to understand this. Be it only because the lesson is timely.

Patrice Ayme’

American Versus European Universities

April 5, 2015

Thinking now depends upon thinking yesterday, and the institutions and traditions it established then and how. Thus, to understand the different philosophies of education in Europe and the USA, one has to unveil history.

History determines initial conditions. From them, through systems of differential equations, flow the evolution of sociological reality.

The public educational system in Europe is at least 19 centuries old. The Roman empire used it. Poor students received room and board from the state under Trajan: the alimenti.

The public education system per se did not survive the corruption of the Roman empire by terminal plutocratization. Yet, its spirit was transferred to most Christian monasteries. However, simultaneously, Catholic Fundamentalism destroyed Romanitas, and even knowledge (quite a bit as Muslim Fundamentalists in the Middle East now).

Europe-Wide Famous Philosopher & Singer Abelard Taught At Notre-Dame Predecessor

Europe-Wide Famous Philosopher & Singer Abelard Taught At Notre-Dame Predecessor

By the Sixth Century, the successor state of Rome, the Imperium Francorum, started a systematic counter-attack against Catholicism. The Franks promoted secular education, brushing off the (lethal) threats of the (impotent) Pope (Gregory The Great).

By the Eight Century, the Carolingians made secular education of the public a mandate for all religious establishment, including churches, monasteries, cathedrals.

All over Europe. Including England after 1066. This is why professors were cleric.

This is also why European universities have no police, to this day (they were within cathedral grounds, initially).

However, by the Twelfth Century, the faculty of art allowed some teachers to NOT be theologians (and marry without controversy; Buridan was an example of a non-cleric professor).

The power of universities was enormous then. Abelard used his pulpit at the Paris Cathedral School to oppose the Second Crusade and Saint Bernard. (Abelard’s arguments lost, short term, but won, within 2 centuries.)

When the University of Paris got its entire body out, it extended from one end of the capital to the other. A year long strike in 1200 CE forced the papacy to authorize the teaching of Aristotle.

By 1300 CE, supported by his English vassal, the king of France, crushed the Pope and his army, the Templars. Philippe IV Le Bel’s aides were commoners, highly educated youth without fortune or honorable pedigree who thought the church ought to pay taxes.

Clearly education has been associated to progress and revolution in Europe, for 15 centuries. This has long increased its sacred aura, and its divine mission of global study.

***

WEALTH CREATED AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES:

American universities have a very different origin. They were mainly founded by powerful men.

Stanford, for example, was founded by the charming plutocrat, governor, and senator, with the eponymous name. Stanford used Chinese workers (who had few rights), to build railways…. While campaigning against the Chinese race.

Same story all over: in 1876 the trustees of the estate of Johns Hopkins, a banker and railroad magnate, had founded the university named that way, and the model spread all over: wealthy people create a wealthy university and they and their descendants, and friends control it (if it sounds like the banking system, it’s no coincidence).

Sometimes there are disagreements: the founding president of Stanford disagreed with Ms. Stanford, who headed the board of the university. Nothing that some strychnine could not solve: as she died, Ms. Stanford declared that: “… to be poisoned by strychnine is a horrible death…” Her jaws were already locked. Stanford University wisely buried the story.

Thus American universities had always a “conservative” (namely pro-plutocratic) bias. They were created by power, by huge financial power. They are not an independent power, just a dog on leash, trained to bark after all true intellectual tendencies.

The European University system was already a power, nine centuries ago, at the time of the “Cathedral Schools”. And its power was not, never, about money, or the police, quite the opposite. It was about the absolute, religious respect of study.

In “Excellence V Equity”, The Economist opines that: “The American model of higher education is spreading. It is good at producing excellence, but needs to get better at providing access to decent education at a reasonable cost.”

The same article vastly exaggerates the profits the American Universities brought. For example, it attributes the discovery of the jet engines to American higher learning. In truth, it’s the Germans, distantly followed by the British, who developed jet engines. Americans captured German jets and scientists. Even years later, remaining Nazi jets outperformed the American copies.

***

AMERICAN EXCELLENCE IS SECOND RATE:

When one looks at history on the largest scale, one has to recognize the USA has been the world’s mightiest power for at least 150 years. On paper, the European colonial powers (Britain, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal) because of their empires, looked more powerful. But that was just fluff, paper power. European empire depended upon fragile global mindsets… Which did not resist the concentrated punch of the American nation.

Mightiest economic power, that is.

However, not so intellectually. During those 150 years, the USA has remained a cultural dwarf. Probably the greatest American intellectuals were/are Nobel Laureate physicists, say Feynman or Weinberg. (And they are not of the order of the main discoverers of Relativity, say Lorentz and Poincare’ with their local time theory.

In sociology, philosophies, and more generally humanities, American universities produce, at best, parrots.

Even in science, tracking not publications, but fundamental breakthroughs, the USA come short. So far we are waiting for the first American thinker that will inflect history (as many European thinkers have).

However tremendous propaganda hides this. The best example is the transistor. Truly a Franco-German invention (in a French company employing also German scientists), it was attributed to Americans, who got the Nobel, for declaring they had invented the device, days before the French company started mass production.

So are American universities excellent? For the established order, yes. For civilization?

Only if the collapse into plutocracy is stopped. As it is, the principal notion American universities foster is money (and thus plutocracy). It does not matter how much lipstick one puts on that quadruped.

The first notion the universe teaches us is precisely the obverse. The universe teaches us that money, power on other people, does not matter. At all. On this intuition was founded the European University system, and it is exactly the notion which eludes the USA.

So the last thing the planet needs is to copy the American University model. It would pervert, it does pervert, the heart of the soul of mind.

Instead, it is the public, free European University, still found in leading European countries, which depicts the future we want. Or that we actually need, since a plutocratic future will soon crash.

Patrice Ayme’

California Megadrought

April 4, 2015

“Climate change” is here now. Worldwide. How do we reconcile this with Obama’s boast “Yes We Can!” Yes we can adversely affect the planet?

Actually, poorly advised and mentally ill-equipped, Obama’s mighty efforts went in the wrong direction (he should have financed basic research, not commercial development of his friends’ industries). In the end, most of what Obama could do, was to raise money from his semi-criminal accomplices in the Silicon Valley (how else to call monopolists who escaped tens of billions of taxation, just in the last few years, thanks to their accomplices in Washington and Brussels? And also spy on everybody as a European Commissioner (EC) just admitted, recommending Europeans get off Facebook.)

It is true that the USA has reduced CO2 emissions. But Obama had little to do with it (economic crisis, expensive gasoline, switching to massive fracked methane gas, increased efficiency have more to do with it than Obama singing “Yes We Can!”, 100 times a day). Meanwhile, here is a chart from 2007, showing droughts in the Western USA:

West USA Megadrought During Warm Middle Ages. (Only To 2006.)

West USA Megadrought During Warm Middle Ages. (Only To 2006.)

[The graph stops in 2006, and we are now in a drought peak far surpassing anything depicted above; 2014 was the driest year in California for 1,500 years, and the four year period ending then was the driest in 2,000 years. We can now say that the 2014-2015 wet period is the driest EVER: the snow pack is eight percent of normal (8%)]

The megadrought of the Middle Ages correspond to the period when the Vikings decided that Greenland was green. The megadrought stopped just when the Little Ice Age started; after 1300 CE, the population of Europe collapsed into an ecological crisis, followed by extensive war (“100 year” war) and the Black Plague; severe cooling did not help. The last Vikings abandoned Greenland around 1500 CE.

The situation in California’ drought is a case of human induced global warming in action. So it makes sense to build an electric train (it is much more efficient, by an order of magnitude at least).

The California drought is caused by a high pressure ridge ashore, due to greater upwelling off the coast, itself caused by greater trade winds, in turn a worldwide phenomenon caused by the augmented greenhouse.

The present drought is already the greatest in several millennia. And it may be just the beginning: the oceanic waters are churning. Wait until sea level rise accelerates noticeably…

***

CALIFORNIA WILL RESIST “CLIMATE CHANGE”:

The preceding paragraph brought various sheep to bleat in The Economist. My reply:

California is drenched with sun, and Solar Photo Voltaic is getting ever cheaper and more efficient. Cheap PV cells with efficiency as high as the expensive ones on satellites have been made in labs this year.

So California should not have an energy problem, long term.

The present accelerating upwelling off the coast is a momentary phase in global warming. When warming is considerable greater, El Nino ought to come every years, and California will become akin to Costa Rica. Costa Rica used no fuel this year (2015) so far, as the hydroelectric plants have been producing like crazy (El Nino like conditions; actually El Nino has just been declared)

Of course, when California will switch to a tropical climate, the snow will disappear from the Sierra Nevada, and the sea will be 40 meters higher.

But that should be OK: the Golden Gate will be closed by a dam and thermonuclear plants will lift the water above the dam. This way the Central Valley will not flood too bad. (Sierra water from Yosemite has long been brought directly to San Francisco; the drought has already stopped a further scheme to steal water from Northern Cal to Los Angeles.)

Twenty-one (21) desalination plants are been built. Including several in the greater Bay Area. It is not enough, yet, a beginning.

To parody Obama: Yes we can, make money! To parody Hollande (the president of the other mighty republic which is really a representative democracy): “Le changement, c’est maintenant!” (Change is now; it rhymes in French).

Climate change is upon us. California is one the places in the world best situated to resist it. Others (Bangladesh, countless islands) will drown.

***

YES WE CAN RESIST EVIL, IF WE EXPOSE IT:

Pope Francis decries the persecution of Christians. “We still see today our persecuted brothers, decapitated and crucified for their faith in you [Jesus], before our eyes and often with our complicit silence,” Pope Francis said, presiding over the traditional ceremony at the Colosseum.

The Pope also condemned the attack in Kenya, where non-Muslims were singled out and shot, as an act of “senseless brutality“. And the assassination of 22 Coptic Egyptians by Fundamentalists in Libya. Both seems to me to make a lot of sense, though. Islam built the greatest empire, by the sword, in a few years. And the Qur’an is full of that. When brutality brings dinner and territory, it makes sense, to a predatory primate:”Yes, We Can!”

The Vatican’s official preacher Raniero Cantalamessa denounced the “disturbing indifference of world institutions in the face of all this killing of Christians”.

Indifference and silence are meta-sins: they enable the enactment of brutality. Whether it makes sense, or not. Thus, should one want a better world, the word should get out, and the emotion allowed to run. High.

Word, sound, consideration and fury would certainly have prevented the rise of Nazism in Germany.

The first action to take about “climate change” is to talk about it. And to talk about the wars it brings: the Pope, correctly talked about the “Third World War” having started. Good people have to talk about these things, otherwise bad people will talk about them in their own perverse way: see Putin stirring trouble in the Carpathians.

Civilization has to be defended, and goodness too. Playing nice with evil is no good.

So slap heavy taxes on all fossil fuels (in developed countries), and a worldwide carbon tax. That may hurt a few people, but, overall, will help save the biosphere as we know it.

Freeman Dyson (an infinitely old permanent member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton and a co-discoverer of Quantum Electro Dynamics), long a climate change denier, has now changed tactics. (Who said an old horse could not learn new tricks?) His employers from the fossil fuel industry (just guessing) will promptly follow. The new argument is that CO2 is good for us.

I have long entertained that fancy myself. Albeit secretly. The argument is that the plants would grow more, the poles become hospitable, etc. However, that ignores the fact that present day life is adapted to 280 ppm of CO2, not 500 ppm. Besides the inconvenience of the sea being 80 meters higher, the latest news are that plants, after a growth spurt, are reacting poorly to excess CO2.

Patrice Ayme’

Plutocratic Universities Are Not Universal

April 3, 2015

Nietzsche viewed human society motivated mostly by the Will to Power. Ethological studies on various advanced animals, including primates, confirm this.

How does one exert power? One can use whips and chains, but that is a lot of work, and, ultimately, it makes the society underperforming. A slave society, too preoccupied by brawn, thus does not become very smart… And thus gets walloped as more brainy societies get more advanced technologically.

The best way to exert power is not through whips, chains, and the police, but by controlling minds.

Thus the educational system.

Plutocratic Universities Are All About Leading The Sheep

Plutocratic Universities Are All About Leading The Sheep

[The excellence of maximizing profits: Veritas!]

The more democratic the society, the more spread-out quality education. The more oligarchic, the less it is.

As a US academic, I was asked to please be lenient with student athletes (they were failing scientific classes).

Student athletics brings up to 80 million dollars a year to some US colleges (through TV contracts; it’s highly profitable, as the athletes are not paid commensurately).

University tuition is now so high in the USA, even at (top) public universities, that the middle class cannot afford it (except by taking un-extinguishable loans). This is true even at institution such as the University of California which were founded with the explicit aim to provide free education to the most intellectually qualified students, independently of their wealth.

Even those who have taken loans have to be nice with the powers that be, if they want to earn enough to reimburse their loans. The chains they wear afterwards are not made of iron, but of debt.

We are in situation where financial class, and the positive attitude towards the wealthiest, rather than intellectual class, is becoming the selection criterion.

Too much control of the educational system by the powers that be brings the smarts down.

But the powers that be may require a more advanced educational system: this was the case during the Cold War. Or when the Frankish empire required all religious institutions to teach everybody secularly.

Money is a way to communicating power. Although it is not the only way: the law is the basic way to transmit power, and mandatory education is an obvious example.

Massimo said that “the whole system is corrupt”. A leading article in The Economist recently condemned the American university system, saying it was not worth it. It pointed out that employers care not so much about what students learn there, but about the fact they have been selected (to attend select college).

“American graduates score poorly in international numeracy and literacy rankings, and are slipping. In a recent study of academic achievement, 45% of American students made no gains in their first two years of university. Meanwhile, tuition fees have nearly doubled, in real terms, in 20 years. Student debt, at nearly $1.2 trillion, has surpassed credit-card debt and car loans.”

http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21647285-more-and-more-money-being-spent-higher-education-too-little-known-about-whether-it?

The tremendous propaganda in the USA about issues which profit plutocracy has been made effective by the lack of education of the population.

Education is not just instruction, it can be submission.

***

ORIGIN OF EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES:

European universities evolved from the Cathedral schools. The latter had been imposed in the Eight Century, by Frankish law, all over Europe. Professors were cleric.

This is why European universities have no police, to this day (they were cathedrals, initially).

However, by the late Twelfth Century, the faculty of art allowed some teachers to not be theologians (Buridan was an example).

The power of universities was enormous then. Abelard used his pulpit at the Paris Cathedral School to oppose the Second Crusade and Saint Bernard. (Abelard’s arguments lost, short term, but won, long term.)

When the University of Paris got its entire body out, it extended from one end of the capital to the other. A year long strike in 1200 CE forced the papacy to authorize the teaching of Aristotle.

By 1300 CE, supported by his English vassal, the king of France, cracked down on the Pope and his army, the Templars. Philippe IV Le Bel’s aides were commoners, highly educated youth without fortune or honorable pedigree.

American universities have a very different origin. Stanford, for example, was founded by a plutocrat who used Chinese workers (who had few rights), to build railways.

***

USA MODEL; PLUTO FUNDS EDUCATION, THUS RULES MINDS:

There is a conscious bias, top down, in the USA against the existence of the CO2 crisis, the reality of evolution, and for the existence of the USA as a “Christian nation”.

The New York Times just discovered it in “A Christian Nation? Since When?” that it is plutocrats in the 1930s who invented the USA as a Christian nation.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2015/03/19/perspective-islamophobia-is-not-racist/

The denialist system of thought in the USA is mostly fed by money. “Climate change” is an example: it is clear that augmenting the greenhouse gases from 280 ppm to 450 ppm (including CO2 going from 280 to 400 ppm), can only have an extremely damaging effect… Especially considering half of the created CO2 goes in the ocean to make carbonic acid… And that last time we had 400 ppm of CO2 sea level was around 30 to 40 meters higher.

There is really no need for “expertise”, in a subject like that, to perceive the danger. Now California is suffering a drought more severe than any time during at least 3,000 years. And it is directly caused by climate change. Restrictions have just started (and are grossly insufficient).

The economy is the management (nomy) of the environment (eco). It does not have to be about “money”: successful empires (Inca, USSR) worked without money, or partly without money (the army and public works in Republican Rome come to mind).

It is clear that, to manage the environment well, one needs knowledge.

However, it all depends upon what is meant by “environment”. If it is about the wealthiest, the USA is becoming increasingly hospitable. And having a dysfunctional educational system helps, as confrontational critiques, which require a lot of certainty, cannot arise.

The USA’s university system is dysfunctional, intellectually speaking, but it is not an accident. It is a system. Just as the GI Bill (which made higher education free for GIs), was also a system. That system went the other way. It was paid for by a 93% tax on high income.

The USA’s university system is perfectly functional if its function is the pursuit of happiness of plutocracy.

Patrice Ayme’


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