Posts Tagged ‘Foundation’

Banality of Rogues

January 1, 2017

The famous Prussian Jewish philosopher Hannah Arendt, an anti-Nazi who slept assiduously with the Nazi Heidegger, her thesis advisor, married to someone else, wrote about the “banality of evil”, a concept that became famous… Although Arendt’s “discovery” would have made the Catholic Inquisition shrug and smirk, five centuries prior (the Inquisition would have said:’This is exactly what we have been talking about, evil everywhere!’)

Today I will speak of the banality of rogues. You see rogues tie in with the (re-)Foundation Principle. No rogues, no civilization. (There goes one of the main critiques against Donald Trump! Yes, I just saw the movie “Rogue One”…)

We have a real, huge example in history, the very base of our present civilization: the Franks were both rogues, and “renovators”, as they themselves described themselves, of the Roman empire. No less. But actually the Franks did much more, founding Western civilization in full, by outlawing slavery, making secular education mandatory, and running an imperial, military society which, somehow, saved and overcame antiquity, while preserving an open society (the whole picture got in trouble with the First Crusade: see, it’s the fault of Islam, once again, ha-ha-ha).

I was reading in a history publication, how the Roman empire went down, and they mentioned all sorts of barbarians: Visigoths, Ostrogoths, Burgundians, Vandals, Alans, Huns… They forgot to mention the most important ones, the ones vested with Roman power, more than any others, the Franks… It was as if they talked about breathing, but forgot to mention air.

Ignoring the re-foundation of Rome by the Franks is ignoring, not just history, but the re-foundation of civilization, no less. Indeed the Franks removed the most glaring defects of Rome.  (That “renovated” empire officially went on until Napoleon, emperor of the rogue imperial part of said Roman empire called Francia, then France, shut it down in 1804.)  

Habitable Exoplanet With Ring In the Movie Rogue One: In Our World, Our Mental World, There Are Now Exoplanets Everywhere. In 1600 CE, Giordano Bruno got burned, just for suggesting that.

Habitable Exoplanet With Ring In the Movie Rogue One: In Our World, Our Mental World, There Are Now Exoplanets Everywhere. In 1600 CE, Giordano Bruno got burned, just for suggesting that.

[Earth may have had a ring at some point in the past (some scientist have speculated, looking at some otherwise weird data). Thousands of exoplanets have been found since the first one, 51 Pegasi b, at the University of Geneva eleven years ago. An exoplanet was found, in 2016, around the closest star, Proxima Centauri, a red dwarf; the planet is in the habitable zone. Details are unknown, as the planet does not seem to come between us and its star; good spending in astronomy would allow to look at it directly, using existing technology.But our corrupt leaders have prefered to give money to our plutocratic masters, and, thus, crumbs to themselves, rather than making science all it can be. Science is the one job for all, and necessary for survival, moreover.] 

How did Rome die? Basically from sclerotic thinking, mental paralysis, senility: the establishment by Augustus of his damned “Principate”, with a permanent “First Man” (Princeps) at the helm, was the fundamental cause of mental decay. We The People got completely disinterested from the most interesting question, and the few families at the helm were too idiotic to have any new ideas.

Once mental decay is at the helm, and pervades the base, nothing can save a society: when problems occur, they can’t be solved. This is what happened to Rome. Confronted with worse problems in the Fourteenth Century France sailed right through, as nothing had happened, because Fourteenth Century France was an intellectual power machine, greatest in civilization so far, ever.

Buridan, who was worth ten Newtons, at least, having overturned Aristotelian physics, discovered ⅔ of “Newton’s” laws, and justified, as a result, the heliocentric system, was not just chief of the university of Paris, but counselor to four French kings. That was typical of the situation in France, England, Germany and Italy at the time. Buridan’s network of students and collaborators extended throughout Europe. Meanwhile Florence’s bankers funded that Italian Republic’s mighty army with national bonds…

So the fierce, swift and abominable Black Plague killed half of Europe, and no aristocrats… So what? Rome, affected by smaller plagues, tottered on the brink of extinction…

Yes, one can point to the sorry state of the Demoncratic Party, with its entrenched interests, drinking the elixir served by self-serving plutocrats (such as those who set-up Obamacare without cost control. And no, don’t point at Trump; he and his Kellyanne Conway, among others, are a breath of fresh air, after decades of increasingly metastatic plutocracy. We will see what they do.

Sometimes heavy destruction is the only way to construction. It is alway the case, when the construction is huge. (And this is true for brains too, explaining why philosophers have it hard, when they interact with the commons… and reciprocally!)

Oh yes, it can hurt: this is the implicit theme in the last Star War saga (“Rogue One”). The rebellion has done evil things we are informed, and we see it trying its very best, to do some more (the father of the heroine is assassinated by the rebellion, although he works against the empire; the movie is notable also for the fact the main hero and character is a human female in her full glory, second to males in no way whatsoever!)

It is a complicated world. It will get ever more complicated. Mastering its complexity is the most crucial part in fighting evil. To master complexity, one has to understand it first. Thus, standing in the way of understanding is the greatest, deepest meta-evil.

Only rogues dare to understand, and act upon, what others refuse to understand, or even see. Rogues are necessary to progress, forward, and civilization is riding a bicycle: no forward motion means collapse. Because a ruined ecology is always biting at the heels of civilization.

Civilization may not like rogues, but it needs them, to be born again, with a better intelligent design, necessary for survival.

Being a rogue is not just a neurohormonal state. It is a mental architecture. Studies just published showed that first mothers get their brains permanently modified (details another time). Similarly a rogue brain is different from the brain of a servant of the establishment like Obama. It is permanently different. Giordano Bruno, or Galileo, or Descartes, or Montaigne or Abelard, were permanently different.

The superiority of the “West” (“Pars Occidentalis” as the Romans said) is due to its being just enough of a host medium to rogues. The fate of rogues was not as good in Islam, by orders of magnitude; after he got in so much trouble for fighting the Church, Abelard, in the Twelfth Century, toyed with the idea of going to live among the Islamists (so he wrote). Wisely, he did not do it: he would have been killed there (instead, in the West, his ideas won, over the centuries…)

Happy New Year To All (even the abysmal Obama, basking in Oahu, and his cohort of the corrupt!)

Rogues watch ants with sympathy…

Patrice Ayme’

Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy

December 27, 2016

In the Real World, Foundations Saved Civilization Before:

The combination of imperial collapse followed by re-birth from Foundations within happened several times already, for real.

Civilizations collapsing into Dark Ages from the actions of dozens of millions of people occurred more than once. And then very small groups arose, often within the collapsing empire, and imposed new ways of thinking which enabled civilization to restart. One such case was the Mongol takeover of China, and the subsequent collapse of the Yuan dynasty replaced, within a century, by the Ming dynasty (appropriately founded by a Buddhist monk).

Yet the most striking examples of collapses are in the West, and the most spectacular ones come with two foundations.

The first collapse was that of the seven superpowers which made the Bronze Age civilization. They were attacked by nations which made “a conspiracy in their islands” (said Pharaoh Ramses III in 1175 BCE). Besides the calamitous invasions by these “Peoples of the Sea”, a number of disasters striking simultaneously (calamitous climate change, including super drought, quake swarm, etc.) brought the entire trading system down, upon which some civilizations depended for survival, and then generalized destruction followed. The Foundation consisted in a number of Greek city states, mostly on the Ionian coast. The Second Foundation was Athens.

However soon enough, an unserious Greece was taken over by the fascist Macedonian empire, and its successor regimes, the Hellenistic kingdoms.

The Second Foundation was the Roman Republic itself. Rome had been created where the shock waves from Magna Grecia, Italian Greece, and the Etruscans collided. That positive interference brought herdsmen to civilization. The Etruscans were themselves one of these roaming “Peoples of the Sea”, and they had settled in Syria for a while, before grabbing the part of Italy with the richest iron deposits: Foundations everywhere.

Rome freed Greece, and then turned into an evil empire itself. Rome degenerated ever more into all sorts of fascisms… and progressively collapsed ever more, as one major system after another became dysfunctional.

Then emperor Constantine re-founded Rome by imposing the Catholic Church, which had grown semi-secretly for two centuries, as a favored institution within the empire.

At the same time, other Roman generals cum lawyers equipped the savage Germans constituting the Frankish Confederation with a Latin written law, the Lex Salica. The Franks were opposed to Christianism. In a further twist, Constantine and his successors used the Franks as shock troops of the empire (Once the Franks staged a full civil war to give back control of the empire to secularists).

Meanwhile the First Foundation, Catholicism, collapsed Rome, and then it gave control to the Second Foundation, that of the Franks, which had opposed them. In a complete turn-around, the Franks then adopted Catholicism, modifying it extensively to eliminate all its bad aspects (no more apocalypse around the corner, total tolerance for fellow religions, mandating secular education, etc.), while keeping the good ones (charity, altruism, Christian Republic mentality, etc.). Within 150 years, the Franks would outlaw slavery in Europe (there had been no slavery in Germany, so this is more the German than Christian influence: all bishops were very rich and they had dozens, or hundreds, of slaves).

Small foundations can, and will always, save civilizations. For two main reasons: 1) their small size enable them to think democratically, thus better. 2) the excellency their struggle for survival forces on small foundations, require them to think straight and true (otherwise they won’t survive).

It is likely that some of the real events I just related inspired Asimov: he was a very knowledgeable person (and the Foundational aspects of Rome and Athens were well-known, as was the social failure to oppose Macedonia in a timely manner, in spite of the strident warnings of the philosopher Demosthenes).

When I read the Foundation Trilogy, long ago, I found, even then, some of its aspects very dated. But in a way, that is the entire point.

Psychohistory was not invented yesterday, we have crucially depended upon it, for millennia.
Patrice Ayme’

Skulls in the Stars

I’ve recently been trying to become more acquainted with science fiction as a genre, as most of my life I’ve been focused primarily on horror fiction.  A natural and obvious place to place some emphasis is on classic works from the golden age of science fiction, and a natural and obvious place to start there is with the work of Isaac Asimov.  A few weeks ago, I read Asimov’s Foundation (1951), and blogged my thoughts about it.

Asimov has written seven books set in the Foundation setting; I figured that I would be content reading the first one, to get a feel for it, and then move on to other authors and other series…

… and, as of today, I’ve started reading the fifth of the Foundation novels.

As the first three books, Foundation (1951), Foundation and Empire (1952), and Second Foundation (1953), form the original trilogy, and I thought it…

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