Posts Tagged ‘Invention’

Military Industrial Complex: A Necessary Danger To Civilization

April 16, 2016

Military Industrial Complexes are necessary, and have existed since cities came to be, 10,000 years ago. President Eisenhower warned against the danger the US Military Industrial Complex presented to the USA, and the world, in all sorts of ways. Now we can say we are right in the midst of what Ike was afraid of. However, there is another face to that coin.

Great Military Industrial Complexes (“MIC”) are characteristic of great civilizations. One can argue, that’s what civilizations are all about. Rome, the Franks and the Chinese had MICs. So did Japan. The Japanese Military Industrial Complex was able to confine behind walls the invading Mongols (who already had captured China). The Samurai, and their excellent steel, destroyed the Mongol beachheads, and Japan stayed Japan.

In The USA, The Military Industrial Complex, With The Exception Of WWI and WWII, Has long Been At The Service Of Plutocracy, and Its Corporations

In The USA, The Military Industrial Complex, With The Exception Of WWI and WWII, Has long Been At The Service Of Plutocracy, and Its Corporations

Interesting cases of Military Industrial Complexes were entangled with Greek civilization: Greece would not have existed without MICs.

The importance of war during the rise of Western Civilization was colossal. It could never have risen without it.

For example Sparta intervened and threw out Athens’ tyranny, establishing the great age of Athens’ direct democracy. The first thing the newly liberated Athenians did, was to establish a powerful MIC. Themistocles ran for office on a massive MIC program, to establish a powerful war fleet (after the first Persian invasion this grew to a 200 warships fleet). In the process the Athenian state ran a massive debt, and devastated the forests of Attica (to build the triremes). Themistocles’ argument was that Persia was going to attack. It did attack, twice, and was defeated, twice, in a number of battles, including the one at Marathon.

If anything, not enough violence was applied against plutocrats, early enough. Especially against the enemies of the Athenian and Roman empires. This is something peaceniks understand not at all, making them dedicated enemies of what they pretend to defend.

Twelve (12) centuries later, the Muslim invaders, having suffered grievous defeats from the Roman fleet and its Grecian fire, decided to use their military superiority on land: take Constantinople from behind, by invading Europe from West to East. The Islamists invaded Spain, and then attacked Francia (thrice). The Franks replied by boosting the size of their already considerable MIC. Propelled by a nationalization of the church, the Franks established the greatest army since the heydays of the Roman Republic, and mobilized all of Francia.

Ever since, France has been at war with Literal Islam. It was, it is, hard work: just in the second week of April 2016, three French soldiers died in combat in the middle of the Sahara. Frankish armies delivered Rome in 846 CE. The Islamists landed by surprise several armies in several places, and converged on Rome. The outskirts of the imperial capital were sacked, including the Vatican, but the formidable, 16 metres tall, 19 kilometer long Aurelian Wall held the invaders out of the city’s most sacred core. The Aurelian Wall is a beautiful example of MIC: it was used as a military asset, and involved in combat, for 17 centuries. The Aurelian Wall gave enough time for the Frankish Dux, Guy, grandson of Charlemagne, to arrive, and throw the Islamists out of the Latium.

When Genghis Khan and his Mongols invaded Northern China, some of his generals suggested to kill all the Chinese, and also kill the Chinese ecology (by destroying forests, etc.), and make Northern China like Mongolia. Genghis Khan refused to do so. However, notice that China came very close to extermination. Exterminated civilizations have existed before: Genghis Khan exterminated two, including the largest Buddhist empire, ever. The Hittites, and others, were exterminated during the invasion of the “People of the Sea”.

So civilization needs MICs. No MIC, no civilization.

However, a mighty MIC implies a deep militarization of society. The fundamental principle of militarization is the Fascist Principle: obey your superior as if s/he were god.

The fascist principle has long been an instinct with primates. Or at least those who invaded the savannah: baboons are intrinsically military, they move in armies, and the alpha males, the baboons are zoological equivalents to Roman generals. Complete with the right of death inflicted, whenever contradicted severely.

The fascist principle allows a social animal to behave as if it were a super-organism, with just one coordinated mind.

That principle is explicitly stated in the Qur’an. It was also the fundamental principle of organization of the Roman army, and, later, under the empire, of all of Roman society: the superior Roman officer had right of life and death on its subordinates, and would inflict it to encourage the others.

O YE WHO BELIEVE! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and Obey Those Of You Who Are In Power.” (Qur’an’s fascist principle, Sura 4; verse 59).

The principal drawback of a fascist society is that intellectual progress comes only from contradicting what was known before, hence, from contradicting one’s superiors. Thus, a society organized around the fascist principle will stagnate intellectually. And, in particular scientifically and, thus, technologically. Hence, being ruled by a MIC brings lethal stupidity (and a very inegalitarian society).

Thus the Barbarians will catch up in technological military prowess. This is exactly what happened to the Romans: under the Republic, buying the best military metallurgy from the (highly divided) Gauls, the Romans dominated in the quality of their weapons (Hannibal defeated the Romans many times, but, arguably, his best troops were Gallic). Under the empire, the savages, such as the Franks, had better weapons than the standard Roman army (so they were co-opted into it!)

However, by the time of Marcus Aurelius, that wind bag, a certified intellectual fascist with a sugar-coating still mesmerizing the naive, the barbarians caught up with Roman military technology… In no small measure because Roman emperors, those professional fascists, paid inventors not to invent.

Nowadays we can observe similar phenomena: US corruption has brought the reign of the F35, an obsolete, but extremely expensive weapon. Meanwhile, the Barbarians, including Kim of Korea, are catching up technologically, at a torrid space.

Civilization has to keep a balance between MIC and innovation in all ways, lest imagination collapses, bringing a weaker MIC.

Reciprocally, though, a MIC is a friend of fascist rule, and thus of oligarchy. But oligarchy is sustainable only in a satanic form, known as the rule of Satan (an older name of which being Pluto). So uncontrolled MICs bring plutocracy: Rome was the paradigm there.

We are in the process of creating another such example, because we did not heed general-president Eisenhower’s warning, that the Military Industrial Complex:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.”

http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html

Eisenhower stays modern to this day. He saw the rise of plutocratic universities coming, with their fake thinkers, all dedicated to the power of money:

Eisenhower: “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded.”

A few days before democrats are going to surrender democracy to the power of money, once again, let me remind them, that this can happen only so many times.

Democracy needs to be defended, but, first, some will say that it needs to be worthy of a defense. Right.

However, democracy needs a strong enough Military Industrial Complex. The Athenians and other Greek democrats were initially successful at defeating Antipater. But then Krateros, hyper dangerous with his hardened troops arrived from the Orient, and the Athenian fleet, of 170 triremes, the largest since the wars against Persia, was defeated. Twice.

As I explained in “Aristotle Destroyed Democracy” the friendliness of Aristotle to Alexander, Antipater and Krateros, and thus, to the idea of monarchy, goes a long way to explain that the Greek MIC came short of the Macedonian MIC. The philosopher Demosthenes was not heard enough, in his strident, fully justified, prescient warnings against the savage, tyrannical Macedonians.

So here we are: pretty much 23 centuries of trampling of direct democracy, the one and only, by the forces of oligarchy, and, or, when oligarchy is not enough to rule, plutocracy. Ever since official plutocracy was installed in Athens by Antipater.

All this because the direct democratic military industrial complex came short to the one of the Macedonians. So let’s not despise the MIC. It can save the best. But now, we don’t have to worry about foreign enemies first: the plutocrats are already in power.

Patrice Ayme’

Advertisements

Science: Discovery Or Construction? Discovery Of Construction!

April 13, 2016

In his book “To Explain The World: The Discovery Of Modern Science”, Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg asserts that modern science was DISCOVERED. Modern science was out there, under a bush, and a couple of physicists Weinberg esteem (Galileo, Newton), lifted the bush, and uncovered “modern science”.

This may not look like it, but that subtitle itself, that science was discovered, is a speculation on what reality is. In other words, it is a piece of bold philosophy… which, thanks to modern scientific advances in biology, can be philosophically shown to be, most probably, erroneous.

Indeed: is not the mind constructed? Modern experiments in neurobiology have shown this.

The Eye Is Only All-Seeing Because It Is Full Of Ideas And Theories About What It Sees

The Eye Is Only All-Seeing Because It Is Full Of Ideas And Theories About What It Sees

A kitten shown only a very distorted version of the world does not learn to see correctly.

(In an interesting case of cecity, Weinberg disparages the inventor of analytic geometry, Descartes, who made modern mathematics possible, including infinitesimal calculus, and Newton’s little activities: no Descartes, no Newton. However, once Descartes had invented analytic geometry, and another Frenchman deduced the correct universal attraction law, the work made by Newton was a matter of at most a couple of decades, since Kepler’s laws were already known. Kepler erroneously thought the attraction was 1/distance, when it’s actually 1/square of distance…)

Weinberg tried to clarify the subtitle of his book (‘the discovery of modern science’): science was not just ‘constructed’ but actually ‘discovered’. In truth, one should be careful. Take agriculture. Was it discovered, or invented? Both. Most agricultural products were not just discovered, but also literally engineered, through domestication. (A process which is still poorly understood: how can one get from a wild tree which could poison a human to death by eating twenty nuts, to a nutritious modern almond tree? Is not that an achievement more awesome than Newton’s? And the fact is, millions, nowadays, know how Newton did it, but none how Neolithic farmers made what was deadly, edible.)

Our apparent discoveries modify our brains, so, in a sense, they are constructions. Neurological constructions.

Now let’s ponder this: when something which has been constructed “discovers” something else, has that something else been uncovered, or constructed?

Are then what we think of the things of our world and the architecture our minds are made of, discovered or constructed?

No doubt, some will say, a bridge is constructed. Clearly so, when it is made by hand (as even Heidegger will understand). But, animating these hands are minds. Not just the ones of the builders, but the minds of those who made the minds of the builders. Because cultures, transmitted by languages, make minds.

Furthermore, what is the difference between a bridge made of stones, and a bridge between two neurons, or two systems of neurons? Philosophically speaking, not much.

The point is that we feel, or think we observed,  that things of the world are some way, and from that, we build bridges between neurons, or systems thereof.

Appearances are not just deceiving. Appearances we perceive lead to constructions of, and in, our minds. Shallow makes deep.

The process cannot be any different with “science”. From appearances, that we call “experiences”, we build explanations, connections between neurons, or systems thereof. So what did we truly discover, when we made a scientific discovery?

What we discovered is that we can build a mind in ways not suspected before. And that, somehow, it fits the real world better, meaning we can increase our powers on matter. This is all what modern science is. The same old same old which has made us evolve ever closer to the gods we are becoming at an accelerating pace. For better or worse.

Patrice Ayme

TomDispatch Dispatched

March 9, 2014

There is a great number of maniacs planted all over the Internet, spewing insanities so outrageous that the distraction they provide, serve, in the end, the plutocratic masters they live off like leeches. One cannot have democracy, when too much credulity and imbecillity thrive all over. It’s high time to call idiocy by its name. One should not be able to make a business from idiocy, and not be denounced. Thanks to my friend Paul Handover, I detected a “Tomgram”, called A New World Order full of idiotic gems such as:

“As for more traditional imperial-style wars, you can count them on one hand, possibly one finger: the 2013 French intervention in Mali (after a disastrous U.S./NATO air-powered intervention in Libya destabilized that neighboring country).  France has also sent its troops elsewhere in Africa, most recently into the Central African Republic, but these were at best micro-versions of nineteenth century colonial wars.”

Seeing The Devil When It’s Just Smoke Is A Problem

Seeing The Devil When It’s Just Smoke Is A Problem

[WTC On Fire, 9/11.]

The intervention in Libya was started with the French Air Force’s annihilation of Qaddafi’s armor on a Saturday during a peace conference about Libya in Paris. The French president informed the startled attendees, including the foreign minister of the USA, Hillary Clinton,  that the war had started. The French used to best effect their supersonic active stealth bombers, the Rafales to destroy the modern Libyan air defenses (some of them secretly, and unlawfully provided by Russia).

The French thus put to an end a bloody 40 year old dictatorship that, by some measures, was even more vicious than Hitler’s (Qaddafi was personally doing atrocious things to even very young girls; some survived and give interviews).

The French attack was motivated by saving the intelligentsia and other rebels in Bengahzi. Some of Qaddafi’s tanks made it to Benghazi, just before the start of the French action.

Months later, after the war had stalled, Tripoli fell from an air bridge organized completely by the French to bring heavy weapons, as they allied themselves with the remnants of the original pre-Punic civilization of ancient Libya, with their 3,000 years old alphabet. French marines (“Marsoins”) discreetly intervened on the ground, to seize Tripoli in a lightning strike of a few hours.

The war finished when French bombing flushed Qaddafi out of his last redoubt in his birthplace. More French bombing annihilated the 200 vehicle convoy Qaddafi was fleeing in (although one tiny USA drone chimed in).

So when Tomdispatch talks about “USA/NATO air-powered intervention in Libya“, he is counterfactual: it was mostly led and carried over by France (which flew the most combat missions, by far, with giant bombs, and SCALP missiles).

(BTW, it’s exactly what I suggested to do before it happened; France, and Britain, should re-establish discipline and re-introduce civilization, in Africa, as needed by emergencies… And the Russia-Qaddafi invasion of Africa was certainly such an emergency: they even used supersonic boimbers in Chad… Until the French shot some down, and nealy killed Qaddafi during his invasion of Chad.)

Talking about “destabilization of that neighboring country” is about as intelligent as talking about “destabilization of Germany” in 1945. Yes, so Tomdispatch, what’s your problem? Loving Qaddafi because he tortured people to death? What else do you love? The Gestapo? The NKVD, the KGB, the FSB? Loving big, bad Nazis? Mourning them?

Libya is a complex situation, because, it’s not just full of tribes, but full of civilizations, some of them oppressed for 20, 16, or 13 centuries…

That the Nafusa mountain 3,000 years old civilization, or the Cyrenaica 2,000 year old nationhood want a degree of autonomy is fine with me. Cyrenaica wants to tax 15% the oil coming from its territory, as if it were California inside the USA. Tripoli does not agree, so there is a stand-off, and oil production from Libya have come down 5/6. Thus Americans like TomDispatch cry and proclaim that a disaster. For materialists such as TomDispatch, apparently the measure of all things is oil. No oil coming out of Libya? How, that has got to be a disaster.

A Constituent Assembly was just constituted, through elections. The USA took 13 years from independence (1776) from the hated king to a Constitution (1789).

The Libyan French attack, the Mali, and the CAR French attacks were authorized by the United Nations’ Security Council. To call the humanitarian intervention of France in the Central African Republic is vicious and idiotic. Once again, it’s the point of view of people who may not be Nazis, but define as good the worst the Nazis did, namely massacring civilians, and mayhem for mayhem’s sake.

Weirdly, TomDispatch concludes with:

“Still, for the moment no rising empire and no states fighting each other.  So who knows?  Maybe we are off the beaten path of history and in terra incognita.  Perhaps this is a road we’ve never been down before, an actual new world order.”

This was written 5 days after Putin invaded Ukraine: how idiotic can one be, not to notice that, and realize there is a major problem? Not content with invasion, and sinking an enormous ship to block a major port, Putin claimed that the Constitutional government in Ukraine (elected in Parliamentary elections in 2010, having voted a new government with a 83% majority) was a “coup” by “Neo-Nazis” and “fascist”, and that, therefore, he would violate all treaties signed previously, including the one about the security of Ukraine, which was signed in exchange of Ukraine relinquishing its nuclear weapons.

That’s a grievous lies equivalent to a declaration of war. Thus Putin’s assault certainly qualifies as a fight between two states, and that fight started in November, when the preceding Ukraine president admitted he got an ultimatum from Putin to cease and desist signing an association accord with the European Union.

Moreover Putin is undergoing, as we watch, the same neurohormonal changes that visited the Kaiser, Molkte, Mussolini, Hitler, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and other crazed maniacs thrughout history (think about Pol Pot and his accomplices in Cambodia, Bonaparte turning into Napoleon, or Louis XIV metamorphing from a friend of modern thinking, to the guy who honded Protestants out of France).

All over the media, many speak with authority, but all they tell is lies. TomDispatch is not the worst offender. Others have written together a bunch of hallucinations by mental retards widely advertized as serious studies such “World War One Was About Oil, And So Is Ukraine”. Or that Obama killed 200,000 people in Syria, and other insanities, from friends of fascism posing as mutually described “progressives“, such as the one who wrotePutin Group Hate“. The worst? Many believe them. There is no doubt some of these people are paid, as their own sedition from reality has been turned into a business selling unreal dreams.

What do these maniacs have all in common? They never talk about what would really hinder the plutocrats, namely a Financial Transaction Tax, high margin tax rates, tax havens, corporations avoiding taxes through shell companies, Quantitative Easing and fractional reserve system. It’s not too difficult to imagine who planted thosediscourses that pose as extremely critical, but are just completely irrelevant to any sort of reality.

Plants talking? One more miracle of the Internet age, beyond the miracle of the currency that has no state, just a scheming pyramid, or the corporations that are the wealthiest in the world, while paying no tax, except as a data flow to the NSA.

Patrice Aymé

Nobel, Not Noble.

October 15, 2013

Hysterical celebrations of the hypernationalistic commentators in the USA heaping spite upon the feeble intellects of the rest of the planet, in light of the attributions of Nobel Prizes mostly to Americans. “Nobels and National Greatness Anyone who thinks America’s best days are behind it should take a close look at the latest Nobel haul,” crows Mr. Stephens in the WSJ.

It does not dawn on the naïve Mr. Stephens, that the Nobel prize may be an indication of bias, not excellence. A mark of propaganda, thus weakness, not a proof of superiority.

All The Pie To US Plutocrats, Glorious We Are.

The Nobel prize ought to be renamed the “American prize”. Main qualification: being an “American”, preferably from Chicago, and preach Americanization (also known as plutocratization). Look at the Nobel in economics: two of them, although charming fellows, got the prize for repeating notions that were well known more than four centuries ago, in the Netherlands (tulip mania!) or Japan (rice commodity market).

In other words, the Nobel is, at least plenty of times, given for trivial reasons.

Two of the Nobels are, of course, from the temple of plutocratic economics, the University of Chicago. Obama taught at that “private” university. As befits an organization smelling of sulfur, it sits in the middle of a ghetto, an oasis of privilege in the desert of the underclass, with a police call box every fifty meters, or so (when I was there, for a few weeks, I was shocked by the brutality of this apartheid world, with privilege 100 meters from people with no health care, no job, not even an ounce of rebellion in them).

Renaming the Nobel the “American prize” would be honest and revealing, thus completely inacceptable, as with plutocracy dissimulation and invisibility is of the essence.

The Chinese born ranking of universities is riddled with tricks to make universities of the USA look good, relatively speaking. For example French Nobels are counted… half for the universities they work for (the  reasons invoked are devious, such as how French research is financed).

Why? Well the same reason that China holds 1.3 trillion dollars of USA bonds: another bond binding within the plutocratic system. If socialist France looks stupid, and the plutocratic USA look good, that’s excellent for the Chinese plutocracy, whose fortunes are determined in Washington, ever since Nixon and Kissinger saw to it.

Another example: Switzerland has 22 Nobels in science. France, with ten times the population, only 35. However, Switzerland is not, historically speaking, the author of major breakthroughs in science and technology. By “major” I mean really major, such as pasteurization, E = mcc, or the invention of the transistor. Suisse seemed not to have been the author of ANY technological breakthrough. France is.

(OK, I am unfair: a Swiss invented the first internal explosion engine, using hydrogen, in the early 19C! It’s the French Papin who invented the first steam engine and steam boat, in the 17C; see “Philosophy Feeds Engineering”)

So what is taught, and impressed upon, is lots of lies, and false truths. Take aviation: France dominated it by 1910, even with the first helicopter. But were not the Wright brothers Americans? Sure, and the Wrights invented a number of useful devices. However, the first motorized flights were made 13 years earlier, using a light weight steam engine, in a French military program (Clement Ader). Some said: oh, they were not that high, etc. However that proof of principle incited full-on progress.

If nobody talks about who invented movies, that’s because the Lumière brothers  showed the first movies in 1895. The world’s oldest movie theater, in the French Riviera city of La Ciotat, was just reopened.

The transistor was invented in Germany in the 1930s (using… Germanium, not silicon).

Some will object: ah, but Switzerland had Albert Einstein (more or less refugee from Germany), and he invented E = mcc, it’s well known. While in Bern, working at the Patent Office (thanks to the father of a friend of his).

My point entirely. Well known, Einstein’s E = mcc, but somewhat of a cheat: as far as I, me, can see, Einstein actually stole both the formula and the proof from the E = mc^2 work published by Poincare’ in 1900, five years earlier.

Poincare’ proved E = mcc, not in an obscure blog, but as a peer reviewed article, in the most well known Dutch Physics Journal (Lorentz, a Dutch who wrote the space-time transformation law was from there, Poincare’ got him the Nobel by 1904, and this explained why Poincare’ published in a Dutch journal).

So why is E = mcc Einstein’s formula and not Poincare”s? Because reality in the dominant Anglo-Saxon-Germanoid culture has a well known anti-French bias. Much better to have a German Jew the author of E= mc^2 than some super genius Frenchman. Nobody fears German Jews (they had some problems, except for the likes of Kissinger). But the French republic is a different matter entirely. It’s still out there, squat and ferocious, always spastic with chronic plutophobia.

A rough and tough idea, but something to munch on.

To admit that a Frenchman found the most famous formula in physics would threaten the established order of thoughts and moods. By changing how frogs are considered, it may endanger Wall Street, New York, Washington, Americanization, even plutocratization itself…

If a Frenchman has had colossal brains, it would tell us, that, if there is one super genius Frenchman, there might be more, and thus a Financial Transaction Tax may not be such a bad idea. France has a FTT. Or maybe a Carbon Tax would be a good idea. France has such a tax.

And France of course invented the Added Value Tax, now replicated in dozens of countries, even Japan, and much disliked by the Mafia and the like. Imagine American plutocrats having to pay tax, automatically: a world would shatter.

Or maybe default, as the USA practiced in 1933, followed by a variety of countries using similar unsavory means of re-establishing their finances, would not look as such a great idea anymore (alone among super powers, France did not devalue and default in the 1930s; Germany went further, stealing all the German Jews… France playing honest was, of course, a tremendous disadvantage, she ended poor, and soon beaten up, with no help from the resentful president Roosevelt, except late enough so that France would have been thoroughly beaten up first).

By depriving the French of intellectual honors due to them, the official plutocratic propaganda can insist that French frogs have no brains, and never bathe. Thus Obamacare is much superior to French style Medicare For All (which is what France’s Assurance Maladie is).

And bias does not stop at France.

Bose, a young Indian genius, who got the idea of bosons, the force particles, with their weird statistics, never got the Nobel in physics: because British imperialists objected to Bose’s opinions in matters political. 

So what do we see? Lots of Nobels in the USA’s “private” universities (actually not really private, but financed deviously through the entangled plutocratic and state systems). Does that mean those people got the most fundamental ideas? Not so sure.

When Eric Kandel went to Paris, he spent a year learning to work with Aplysia, and later got the Nobel for his remarkable work on learning… Learning of Aplysia. However, did the Paris teachers got the Nobel? No. Who started that flow of research and originated the basic ideas? Not necessarily Kandel.

And so on. In many fields, most people sitting in the Nobel committee are American, and colossal amounts of money are involved, so maybe the Nobel ought to be called the “American prize”, a bit like the “Academy Awards”.

It  would be most profitable, in the realm of ideas, to determine who and how the best and deepest ideas arose. Start by attributing the discovery of the First Law of Newton, the law of inertia, to Buridan, who discovered and advertized it, three centuries before Newton was born. Buridan was the rector of the university of Paris, adviser to kings (among others), contradictor of Aristotle, and discovered Copernicus’s work 170 years before it was taught to Copernicus at the university of Cracow, where Copernicus was a student.   

What truly count, for intellectual superiority, is, who got the big idea first, and how deep. A whole science of creativity could rise from finding how great ideas arise. The rest is propaganda at best, and outright thievery, racism and hatred, at worst.

How did the Nobel arise?

Nobel was heir to a plutocratic family wealthy from ammunitions. Nobel had established 90 armaments factories by the time of his death. Yes, ninety. A terrible explosion at  one of these killed a younger brother. Still another brother died in 1888.

A French newspaper clamored Le marchand de la mort est mort” (“The merchant of death is dead”)… Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.”

Alfred, who was long a resident of France, and in Cannes at the time, was mortified. Was it all what he was? A death merchant? Nobel got very depressed, and laid lonely and supine with his dark thoughts. How could he make his life worthy?

On 27 November 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Nobel signed his last will and testament. He set aside the bulk of his estate to establish the Nobel Prizes, to be awarded annually without distinction of nationality.

However, there is clearly a national bias now, as Shelling, one of this year’s Nobels, would be the first to admit. Worse than that: it’s a plutocratic bias, exactly what Nobel, nobly, did not want to leave behind.

Remedy? The way the Nobel laureates are selected now guarantees a plutocratic bias (the richest universities are over-represented in the advisory committees).

The Nobel committees should thus explain much more their little reasonings in attributing the prizes, by writing vey long essays justifying their decisions, and who, exactly originated the ideas.

A timid step in that direction was made this year with the Physics prize (the contribution of the late Robert Brout was acknowledged). Also the prize ought to be attributed for as many people as necessary for one given idea, and attributed posthumously (at least in a honorific way; once again mentioning Brout was good, but not enough: he published the “Higgs” mechanism a full month before Higgs).

The Nobel is a carrot. One would instruct the world better by explaining why that carrot is exactly deserved, all the way back. And not just give it to the richest and most powerful. After all, his name is Pluto, and He lays down the abyss.

***

Patrice Ayme