Posts Tagged ‘Montaigne’

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

November 4, 2018

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

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

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

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Montaigne’s Extreme Cultural Relativism: Barbarians Are US:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Progress, which progress? Could Renaissance thinkers say:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Personal) Translation:

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

But there is worse on Montaigne’s part:

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

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

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

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

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

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Montaigne:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Montaigne had little imagination:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patrice Ayme

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Notes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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3) So what’s barbarian?

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

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

PA

Is Philosophy Just About Death? Should Religion Be Mostly About Suffering? No! Such Moods Underlay Plutocracy!

December 27, 2017

Abstract: DEATH AND SUFFERING, THE FUNDAMENTAL PSYCHO DRIVERS inherited from Platonism, Stoicism, Abrahamism (Judeo-Christo-Islamism), Buddhism & Nihilism weaken minds and resolve. This is exactly why they have been imposed on the (clueless) masses.

Philosophy, especially the philosophy obsessed by death and suffering, drives politics. Death and suffering obsessed philosophies, and religions are Pluto friendly, and make it easier for plutocrats to govern us all.

Politics is practical philosophy. Plutocracy made sure that the ruling philosophies, and religions, would serve it well, by rejecting life and threatening the masses with pain and anxiety. The obsession they nourished with death and suffering, both of which have to be avoided at the cost of enjoying life in optimal honor and comfort, are the twin pillars of the sheep mentality they have imposed on most of humanity. Islam is a death cult, right: it’s all about Allah, who, in the end, throws nearly everybody “into the fire“. However the root of that disease are much deeper, they pervade the Greco-Roman West. The cult of Jesus Christ is basically a cosmetically improved version of Socrates’ Death Cult.

And no, Hinduism provides no relief. It is more of the same, from a different angle.

***

Plato, Or Philosophy As Fake News:

Some philosophers, to this day, claim that philosophy’s justification is to prepare for death (the same critters generally boast that philosophy is just “footnotes to Plato”, as if they should be proud of their lack of progress; notice in passing that philosophy as footnotes to Plato is an Anglo-Saxon notion, and it partakes to the general Anglo-Saxon plutocratic will to dismiss philosophy as a “worthy object of study”, to quote Bertrand Russell) .

The idea of reducing philosophy to a death rehearsal is presented by that old fascist, Plato, as an exposition from Socrates. Plato claims that life is all about making nice with the “Gods”. Life with the “Gods” will be better, so we may as well not be too attached to life.

Of course Plato and his savant parrot, Socrates were lying: their ives demonstrate it. They were actually party animals, depraved drinkers indulging in a life of wanton sex, luxury and commerce with all the dictators they could find or fabricate.

Even the judgment and execution of Socrates couldn’t stop them. The smartly vicious Aristotle was back with the same trick on steroids later, and when he fled Athens, made the self-aggrandizing statement that he wanted to save Athens from sinning against philosophy again. In truth, Aristotle was busy demolishing Greek democracy, and succeeded. 

Montaigne and his castle, as seen by Salvador Dali, 1947. Notice the “Hommage to France” at the bottom, by the Catalan Dali. The infuriating secret of Western Civilization, now world, is that it’s anchor has been France. Not sure it will be the case looking forward considering the results of children scholastic tests TIMMS, PIRLS, and PISA.!

***

The idea that life is nothing, and the “gods” everything, enabled the rule of the 1%:

The idea was recycled first by the Stoics, modest critters crawling by the feet of tyrants, while protesting of their soothing capacity to endure any abuse. The Christians five centuries later, were loud and clear that this world was nothing and making love to Jesus in the after world was all what matters. The Muslim ran away with the idea another half millennium after that. In the Qur’an the Jews are condemned because they “would like to live 1,000 years”, and nothing is more noble and richer in rewards to die for “God”..

Was Socrates the first Jihadist? Jihadists, apparently following Socrates, claim that life is nothing, while pleasing and obeying the “God(s)” everything. An Athenian jury thought so that Socrates’ advocated preference for death should be honored, and condemned him accordingly, for “perverting the youth” (long story; notice similarity with what should be done to Jihadism). Socrates was given an opportunity to escape, but as genuine Jihadist are won to do, he prefered to die for his Great Beyond, full of nice “Gods”.

This “lust for death”, the most acute form of nihilism, went so far that it was condemned by Seneca in “Moral Letters to Lucilius”:

“The grave and wise man should not beat a hasty retreat from life; he should make a becoming exit. And above all, he should avoid the weakness which has taken possession of so many, – the LUST FOR DEATH. For just as there is an unreflecting tendency of the mind towards other things, so, my dear Lucilius, there is an unreflecting tendency towards death; this often seizes upon the noblest and most spirited men, as well as upon the craven and the abject. The former despise life; the latter find it irksome.”

Seneca explains in other parts that the description of Socrates’s death was much meditated upon and emulated by many in the Roman elite, including Scipio, of the famous Scipio family, one of Cato’s generals, in the war against Pompey. A little example of how Plato inflected history… Christianism is the lust for death writ so large, with the brandishment of the nailed, writhing naked Jesus as its very grotesquely cruel and threatening symbol. It is astounding that Islam succeeded to lust for death even more than Christianism itself.

In some sense even the Aztecs were less lusting for death than the Christians were. The Aztecs tried to capture in war their enemies alive, so they could sacrificed on the top of magnificent pointy pyramids; that made the Aztec religion in a sense less bloody than Christianism, as the Aztecs discovered to their sorrow, too late! The Aztecs were in particular disgusted by the elaborated tortures the Conquistadores inflicted. Roasting Aztec nobility alive all night long was standard treatment, as far as the Spaniards were concerned. It no doubt reflected in their minds what their “Lord” had supposedly gone through, and had redeeming values.

As Nietzsche pointed out, European nobility’s operational morality was the opposite of Christianism. Yet, they were entangled: Christianism lust for death and suffering enabled the nobility to inflict maximal death and suffering, in the name of “religion”. When the commander of the crusade against the Cathars was told that one couldn’t tell who was Christian, and who was a Cathar, he famously replied:“Brulez-les tous, Dieu reconnaitra les siens” (Burn them all, Allah will recognize his own). That was not immediately cathartic. It should have been. This explains why Western Europe got rid of “God”. Now He is back in Arabic translation (“Allah”). And should be equally repulsed, lest Europe wants to end up like Syria.

***

Montaigne thought the obsession with death was poppycock:

Ever since they made a superficial reading of the Old Ones, simplistic “philosophers” have claimed that the aim of philosophy is to prepare for death. This reflects a lack of experience on the part of the beholders. Montaigne corrected this. Once, Montaigne was knocked of his horse by another horseman going at a full gallop. He described the incident in great detail in his “Essays”. He nearly died. His conclusion is that death can come unannounced, all of a sudden, and does not have to be painful. The whole experience was so disconcerting and weird, preparing for it would be completely impossible.

At this point he adds [free translation by yours truly, to make Montaigne more understandable]

“Nature herself assists and encourages us: if the death be sudden and violent, we don’t have the opportunity to fear; if otherwise, I perceive that as I engage further in my disease, I naturally enter into a certain loathing and disdain of life. I find I have much more difficulty to digest the perspective of dying, when I am well in health, than when languishing of a fever; and by how much I have less to do with the advantages of life, by reason that I begin to lose the use and pleasure of them, by so much I look upon death with less terror. Which makes me hope, that the further I remove from the life, and the nearer I approach to death, I shall the more easily exchange the one for the other.”

In case one does not get it, Montaigne hammers away:

“Not only the argument of reason invites us to it — for why should we fear to lose a thing [life], which being lost, cannot be lamented? — but, also, seeing we are threatened by so many sorts of death, is it not infinitely worse eternally to fear them all, than once to undergo one of them? … What a ridiculous thing it is to trouble ourselves about taking the only step that is to deliver us from all trouble! As our birth brought us the birth of all things, so in our death is the death of all things included. And therefore to lament that we shall not be alive a hundred years hence, is the same folly as to be sorry we were not alive a hundred years ago. … Long life, and short, are by death made all one; for there is no long, nor short, to things that are no more.”

It is of course not that simple: most painting of old famous men have a young girl, probably a granddaughter praying and crying on the death-bed (consider the deaths of Presidents Jackson and Washington). Desolate persons are always in attendance, crying. When we die, we live our loved ones behind. And if they loved us too, and they probably do, they will be deprived forever of our company. So, contrary to what Montaigne says, the loss of life can, and is, lamented. Simply, not by us. But what would we have been without the others?  

***

Is Buddhism A Pampered Caprice from The Wealthiest, For the Wealthiest??

The next prey we will devour today is the plump, jolly Buddha. Buddha, a pampered Prince (not just a plutocratic multi billionaire), naturally feared suffering more than anything. After all, he was not used to it. Suffering is something his class offered common people in abundance: if lower classes touched upper classes, they would be burned with a red-hot iron, where they touched, etc. From Buddha’s young perspective, as a princeling, suffering was not just something to fear, never having experienced it, but it was an humiliation, a descent to join the lower classes’ misery.

Make no mistake, suffering can be a horrendous thing, defying comprehension. Actually, it defies comprehension so much that, in its extreme forms, the brain just disconnects it. The brain probably does this with a massive release of endorphins, and other mechanisms not yet understood which block completely the pain pathways.  

Let notice in passing an important point here: the ultimate acceptance of pain, and its attendant dismissal is an evolutionary trait. But not an evolutionary trait to insure the survival of the individual (who, in the wild, when submitted to extreme pain can’t be far from death). Instead, the negation of pain profits the group, as a heroic defender will be free to concentrate on attacking the enemy, or then, counterintuitively, precisely not to hurt the predator during its dinner. This is a case where evolution acted at the level of groups and even ecosystems. (So much for the silly “selfish gene”! The real world is closer to the biosphere described in the movies “Avatar”!)

The brain is mostly in charge of ensuring survival of the individual, or the group. That’s why it evolved. Thus, in an ultimate struggle, this is the only thing the brain does. At least once, falling off a mountain in a rock avalanche in a mile high ice gully, my brain did just two things: finding an unlikely camming position between ice and granite, and mobilizing all the motor neurons, bringing hyper human strength. According to the usual mathematics of sportive performance, say at the Olympic Games, survival was impossible. But the usual parameters didn’t apply.

I had more than one close call, although another where survival was impossible. Each time, I have noticed that the brain blanks out all and any non sensory functions (in particular memorization). This happens during solo climbing: the brain shuts down unnecessary brain activity, immediately achieving what the great meditation masters are looking for (hey, it’s this, or death!) Once I was up a very pretty red and yellow, extremely exposed “Naked Edge” of Colorado front range rock, quasi-soloing the rope going straight down. I was laybacking, feet walking up close to my walking up hands holding a vertical edge. A gust of wind came, pushed and slowly turned me like a weather wane. I had to convert from laybacking position to lousy jamming. Then the wind blew the other way, and back I went. During this weird sequence, back and forth, fall forbidden, I was just making one with the rock and the wind. I clang to dear life.

Thus those who talk of death as if it were to be feared know little: as Montaigne more or less say, it will not come when our brain is in a normal state.

If one wants to embrace the future, where progress will hopefully shine, one has to dismiss the past. Contemplate for example that youthful, vigorous invigorating, open-minded vision of Palestine: young Palestinians dancing, some dressed like so-called Father Christmas, embracing modernity, life, the world, the future! The right direction for the embattled Middle Earth. (If Jesus is Socrates death cult v 2.0, Islam is Socrates death cult v. 3; and the fact Aristotle’s love of monarchy underlays the entire world political system is also something which has to be detected, understood, condemned and discarded.)

Giving an exaggerated mental space to death and suffering, while despising life, discourages rebellion against the established order. People besotted by common sense will think twice before fighting an established order whose symbol of goodness, brandished all around, is a squirming naked guy nailed on a cross.

Egyptian and Indian Plutocracies found another tricky metaphysics to discourage rebellion against the masters: the Eternal Return of the Same. That, too demonstrated the unworthiness of life, and how useless it was to try to change institutions: after all, everything will go back to what it was before.

In truth there is plenty of evidence that the “gods” were all in Socrates’ head (as he readily admits, when he talks about the “deamons” in his head; said “daemons” are so convenient an excuse, they are even found in the Qur’an!). There are no god(s), it’s all lunacy, but there are evolutions. On every sustainably habitable planet, life no doubt evolved (for indigenous life to survive, though, a long shot). And the universe also obviously evolves (although I am against the Big Bang theory, the evolution of the universe itself is in no doubt).

To be obsessed by death, suffering, and the eternal return of the same are ways to cast a maleficent spell on life, to make life, or, at least, rebellion, not worth living.  To claim that this is how to love wisdom, is equating philosophy with the love of what sustains plutocracy. Science, that means what is known with (more or less greater) certainty offered us plenty of proof for evolution. In particular evolution of our genus, the genus Homo, and of our genius, the genius of our culture, and what is now a worldwide civilization.

Rebellion against the established order is intrinsic to civilization: lack of appropriate evolution and revolution is why the Roman Republic collapsed. The Republic found itself hemmed by savage ideologies (some home-made) and tribes, while its industry became unsustainable (from a mix of social and ecological reasons). Rome had to turn back to the more total democracy it had known, and develop further coal combustion for energy production and the use of steam energized machines. Rome could have done it, it didn’t. Greatly because it was so inspired by the Socratic death cult (as we know from historiography). Lust for death? Rome itself died. Because the Greco-Roman empire didn’t embrace the future to get out of the predicament its very success had brought.

A few men, a few families took all the decisions in Rome, during the Principate and the Dominate. They were the worst, because excess select for the excessive (including Marcus Aurelius, the cruel and demented saint of the Stoics, who always sound so reasonable to the not-so-knowledgeable…)

Being completely penetrated by a death wish is exactly what the elites want their subjects to be driven by: death wish critters are easier to manipulate. If all one can look forward is death, hoping to foster a revolution against said elite is pointless. This is why death-wish superstitious religions are so frequent. A contributor to this site, SDM concurred: ‘Well said. Keep them worrying about unknowns such as an “afterlife” to accept the abuses inflicted in life.’

Indeed, yes, and even telling the low lives that, the more they suffer in real life, the greater their rewards in the famed “after life“. Thus, suffering is good, and the more suffering, the more of a gift of the elites is made to them, commoners.

In the Roman context, the death wish superstition was so-called Stoicism (not really started under a “Stoa”, but by Socrates, as I showed above). As it rejected emotions, thus full logic, Stoicism brought despair, and was a secularized prototype of Christianism (which it gave birth to, in mood space). The rise of Stoicism coincided with that of “Hellenistic” dictatorships (and contaminated the Roman Republic).

Verily, philosophy is not just to prepare death. and avoiding suffering. Philosophy is for life. And not just the life of bacteria, but the life of the mind, and the human spirit which extends it. Better philosophy is how to think better. And better is something we do, because, why not?

Patrice Ayme’

OF MANY MINDS WE ARE, Therefrom Our Volition’s Enormous Inertia

December 6, 2017

PENSÉE UNIQUE“, INTELLECTUAL FASCISM, MONTAIGNE, HOW TO BUILD A BEAUTIFUL VOLITION AND WISDOM IN FULL.

Many view the following as smart, deep and wise, what we could call the empty-headed view of wisdom:

“When I dance, I dance; when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time for some other part I lead them back again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, to myself.”

Michel de Montaigne

I, myself, and me, Michel, or how to focus on numero uno? Is that the epitome of mountainous wisdom?

This thought of Montaigne reflects a whole current of thought back in Eastern Eurasia. Where is the wisdom in that? Right, sometimes one should confer with oneself, I do it nearly 24/7. But who established scientifically that mono-thinking is superior to multi-tasking?

What is the difference between mono-thinking and Pensée Unique?

“Pensée Unique” is the ultimate instance of intellectual fascism, organizing one’s thinking around few, all too few thoughts, and emotions. “Pensée Unique” goes hand in hand with Political Correctness, the latter being possible only with the former.

Oriental thoughts masters, and Montaigne were, and are, searching for a vacuum, where none is to be had.

In truth, the brain is an intensive, gigantic and ultimate multitasker: giving haphazard orders to the brain is like giving haphazard orders to the ocean. One has to be smarter, and more conniving than barking out orders to billions of entangled neural networks. (Yes, entangled, and probably not just classically so: quantum entanglement has now been demonstrated over 500 nanometers…)

When Montaigne danced, he could do so because many parts of his brains synchronized. OK, right, when a cockroach is looking for food, it probably does not let its thoughts wander. And the species has been around thousands of times longer than ours. Is that why we should imitate them?

In truth longevity of cockroaches has to do with their stupidity: were they more clever, they would have bigger brains, eat more energy, and thus would have been more prone to extinction, like T Rex. However, even coackraches let their thoughts wander: turn the light on, they will notice it, although all they thought about a second before was food. They are therefore multitasking: part of their brain is out to detect the exposition light brings them.

If we are into wisdom, we are into brains, and if we are into brains, we are multitaskers.

Drus, peak of death, Chamonix, Alps. I should have died at the location of the upper dust cloud, more than half way up, in the hidden very steep ice gully on the right. That I didn’t is a mystery (had I kept on falling, after huge rocks hit the ropes in the ice gully, by partner would have died too).

The ability to multitask does not mean that the wise should be incapable of concentrating. Just the opposite. Concentration comes naturally, when the situation requires it. I tend to be a scatterbrain, in the noble sense of the term, yet, I am a mountain climber, an activity which, like mountain running, requires concentration (so does deep-sea diving which I still do when next to a non-freezing sea).

More than once, I found myself in desperate situations when only hyper concentration and resulting superhuman strength and agility were required to bring my survival. However, the way survival was achieved reveals how the brain works. The last time this happened was 15 months ago, when I broke a crucial hold in an overhanging traverse where falling was an option implying death and, or, a very grave injury (and thus helicopter rescue, at best). But I didn’t fall, and i am still mystified by it.

I have faced, at least once, certain death, and I pulled it off. How? I don’t know. In cases like that the brain is so fully concentrated that the short-term memory system ceases to work. Motor neurons all fire together, and the frontal lobes, the strategic thinking is actually employed tactically, 100%.  Yes, it’s addictive. When I mountain run on snow, going down at high-speed, and I have to visualize trajectories carefully, to avoid blatant ice, and finishing in the trees, downslope, at 5 meters per second, I sure have to concentrate. I am not like the presumably half senile Montaigne, proud of being able to dance by only thinking about dancing, an occupation I could engaged in, with a blindfold.

So I don’t know what the admirers of  Pensée unique” hope to achieve. An early death of the mind?

I go the other way:

When I run, I think. When I sleep, I think. In both cases I think, but not in the same way. That’s the trick of superior wisdom acquisition. By not thinking in the same way, I mean not with the same parts of the brain, not with the same neural circuitry, not with the same neurohormones. I try to approach any subject from many different paths, many different neuronal pathways, many different neurohormonal environment. Thinking becomes a sum over all neurohormonal and neurological pathways.

It is indeed amazing how different a subject become, when one is ten miles from the closest human being, running on snow on top of a mountain ridge, much of the brain monitoring the next ten strides, one after the next, besides searching for ice and other indications of various traps.

Of all the things I have thought about, all of them literally got run in the ground at some point. Thinking, when running, is conducted bare boned, as the brain eats oxygen (and I only do mountain running, which demands very high brain activity to select placements and trajectories whereas running around a track can be conducted with a blindfold, holding someone’s hand)

Thus, thinking about a given subject when conducting a brain intense sport forces the brain to consider only the essence of a problem. Similarly, and for the same reason, multitasking forces into concentrating into the essence of any subject, by forcing mental concentration on the bare bones aspects of said subject. Another effect is that reducing by force the usual neurological, and neurohormonal approaches to a subject enables said approaches to rest, and thereupon, reduce themselves to a more concentrated essence, and being approached afresh.

“Free will” or more exactly, volition, is not free: it is a prisoner of our own brain, its neural networks, its experiences, associations, theories and emotions. All those, in turn, were built progressively, over years and even decades, nonlinearly feeding on themselves, and back to the environment they evolved from and modified in turn (in that environment, typically, one’s family).  Volition is a house we helped built, and also a robot we inhabit.

This fits with the rolling cylinder metaphor familiar to the ancient Greco-Romans. Cicero, in De Fato (43), presents Chrysippus’ metaphor of the rolling cylinder as follows: “‘In the same way therefore, as a person who has pushed a roller forward has given it a beginning of motion, but has not given it the capacity to roll, so a sense-presentation when it impinges on the will, it is true impresses and as it were seals its appearance on the mind, but the act of assent will be in our power, and as we said in the case of the roller, though given a push from without, as to the rest will move by its own force and nature.”

Some impulse, say a sensation gets something to roll (or not) according to its nature, inertia does the rest.

The Greco-Romans didn’t have inertia as an explicit concept, they touched it there. Rolling cylinders were used as an important example which Galileo Galilei rolled away with, establishing deep laws thanks to smart experiences involving them. (too bad Greco-Roman society, then, had become adverse to too much thinking, they could have discovered Galileo’s physics)

This distinction between impulse and subsequent evolution, is actually fundamental to differential equation theory: the initial conditions are a different input from the structure of the equation itself. Different initial conditions can give completely different results, from the same differential equation.

The nidopallium in birds is involved in executive functions, and higher cognitive functions. One intricate behavioural process governed by the nidopallium in birds is migration. There is significant neuronal recruitment to this region of the avian brain during migratory flight. It enhances cognitive potency in the nidopallium.

Thus birds benefit from improved navigational capabilities during migration, prompted by the significant changes in spatial sensory stimuli. This illustrates that neuroplasticity in the brain, avian, or not, depends upon the mission. We build the cylinder we are going to roll, depending upon what we do, and, or, plan to be doing. But, once it’s mostly built, our existing neural networks, and the neurohormonal machinery bathing them, presenting enormous inertia, is how volition rolls.

The great masters wanted concentration? Well, the best way to get it is through deconcentration, and subsequent recreation.

One may wonder why so many sages insisted so heavily that “Pensée Unique” is the way of wisdom. The reason is always the same: the elite, the establishment is plutocratic in nature. That means it rules, fully using the Dark Side. That works best when the people’s operating system is a sort of sheep mentality, transforming them into the placid “sheeple” (sheep + people). This is a generalization of Nietzsche’s dual morality model of European civilization: Christianism for the masses, lion (“blonde beast”) for the aristocracy.

It goes without saying that all and any wisdom propagandized to the masses for more than a generation or two was sustained and amplified by the aristocracy (power of the best), truly a plutocracy (power of evil). By telling the masses they should concentrate on the task at hand with one and only one thought, “Pensée Unique” at any given moment, the elite told the masses they worked best as robots, and made sure no wandering thoughts would compromise the established order.

Montaigne was the first of his very wealthy family to achieve nobility status. That implied that Montaigne didn’t have to pay taxes (just like today’s plutocrats). He could just live off the considerable revenue of his immense domain, making wine (the domain still does).

Montaigne knew higher-ups intimately: not only his friends forced him to become mayor of Bordeaux, but he was a personal friend of the King of Navarre, selected and elevated later to King of France, Henri IV (and one of the best leaders civilization had).

Montaigne was a sage, one of the best groundbreaking thinker ever. He broke free of some of the stranglehold of wisdom, Greco-Roman style. He was not always right. For example Montaigne was against the colonization of America, whereas the Greeks’ spirit was to colonize away… And it’s easy to argue Montaigne was wrong on colonization: it’s impossible to pretend, that, in the fullness of time, we are not all descendants of colonizers, because, we are. Even inside Africa, colonization started long before Neanderthal genes made it all the way to South Africa.

Science can, and always does, beat back received wisdom, make it much more nuanced. Yes, the world is local, as field theory has it, but not really, as Quantum Physics, and the dismayed Einstein himself, established, and now confirmed with countless experiments. Truth is true, but in a certain context, thus will always surprise us, as contexts change. Thus so it should be with minds, especially when they think anew..

Montaigne objected to colonization. It was not really original: the first to object to colonization were the Native Americans Jacques Cartier debated with on ther Saint Laurent, in 1534.

So France bungled the colonization of America. Philip II of Spain, himself the son of a wise emperor native French speaker, didn’t have this pangs of conscience: he sent an armada, exterminated the French in the Carolinas, who left only a name behind (and maybe some genes among the Natives). To be a saint, when confronting evil, does not destroy evil, it helps it out.  

Montaigne objected to colonization on moral ground, he wanted the savages to be free and prosper. But, actually, the French “mission civilisatrice” and trade colonizing model, would have saved the Native Americans from the holocausts which lay in their future as they were left to the tender mercy of the English “West Country Men” and other Bible, holocaust stomping colonizers of the enslaving and scalping sort.

Montaigne would have discovered that possibility, had he debated all the possibilities. He wanted to save the savages, he insured their ruin.

Of many minds we are. And the more minds of which we are, and cultivate, the more human we get.

Patrice Aymé

Aphorisms, 11/11/2017

November 11, 2017

Montaigne invented the genre he called “Essays”, from “essayer”, to try. His essays are all over the place. So is his logic, or logic in general. And knowledge. And species. All over.

We are nothing, if we are not rich in mental possibilities.

“Essay”, the way Montaigne had it, was a new usage. Pseudosopher” is outright a neologism (from Greek“pseudein”, deceive, cheat by lies). It’s more elegant than “fake philosopher”.

***

Differently from pseudosophers, real philosophers don’t need friends.

One way Camus resisted to the “Absurd” he perceived all too readily, all over, was by having plenty of various groups of friends. Nights with Sartre, when they were still friends, sometimes ended at 4am. After Camus published the “Revolted man” (mistranslated in English as “The Rebel”; “rebel” in French is “rebelle”), Camus discovered that his critique of fascism a la Stalin and (death) camps, Soviet style, exposed him to loathing from friends… who had never been truly friends, he observed, dejectedly.

Now, of course, friends are not necessary, to us philosophers: we have the Internet, where critter annihilation is one click away. 

More than ever, physics is rich in metaphor, and even methods, which enrich our global wisdom: we have progressed a lot in knowing the world for certain, since Montaigne

***  

Want Plutocratization? Start with Stupidification!

Foucault wanted to explore unusual mental states. So he tried (thus he pretends) drugs and “eroticism”. However, Nietzsche did it better: he climbed mountains, solo. The latter activity, full entanglement with nature, with bare hands, and bare mind, reveals what the human mind is fully capable of. Sex and drugs are just crutches for minds handicapped by the perspective of nature itself, and how to endure it.

Tellingly, even the pathetic Foucault was much more entangled with life than the pretend phantoms of “linguistic” and Anglo-Saxon pseudosophy.

Camille Paglia had total contempt for Foucault: he was a liar, she screamed (correctly). Foucault was in more way than one, a noble predecessor of the likes of Tariq Ramadan. Part and parcel of the general stupidification program. Not to say he said was stupid. Far from it.

***.

Oxford Preaches Abuse of Women:

Tariq Ramadan had prestigious teaching positions in more than half a dozen universities. He is adviser to the British government. He has been all over French TV for decades. He had two “don” position at Oxford (one in “Oriental Studies” the other in Islam).

Ramadan has been accused of violence against women, for many years. Never mind: he was proclaimed, again and again one of the planet’s top thinkers. Apparently, it requires top thinking to justify the stoning of women (as Ramadan does). As the weasel Ramada is, he long presented abuse and violences against women as a sort of provisional state..

Mr Ramadan, a well-known figure who has been affiliated with Oxford university since 2005, was seen “walking and laughing in the halls as if nothing had happened”, the Oxford student newspaper Cherwell reported. Even though more than 2,000 had signed a petition to have the propagandist of abuse removed, after it surfaced many women accused him explicitly of violence (some of these women are Jihadists). The rape evidence have long been in police labs, but Ramadan is sacred, after all, he is an islamist, so no judicial examination was started, even in France, especially in France.   

The term “Don” derives from the latin “Dominus” (Lord, used in the late empire starting around 300 CE to qualify the emperor). Because priests got called that way, what became universities in England used to be ecclesiastical.

For decades, Ramadan has gone around the world, being asked point blank, yet never condemning the stoning of women for behaviors which were already not criminal in the Roman Republic 2,100 years ago. Instead Ramadan has always called stoning “unimplementable”.

The only thing which can be implemented is Islam fanatics preaching in the top universities, to make us all stupid. When Darwin and Lyell were young, they had to go to Edinburgh to learn evolution theory (Lamarck’s theory). Evolution was not taught in England, because it contradicted the cult of God/Allah. In a similar vein, Ramadan was an adviser to the British government (one of several he so advise). How to rape women and get away with it?

***

Plutocratic Magazine The Economist fires another broadside “cover story” at Trump, loaded with boiled carrots:

The Economist is led by a 50 year old woman, Zanny Minton Beddoes, who was apparently given the task of keeping Trump Derangement Syndrome up and running (“America’s global influence has dwindled under Donald Trump… America hurt itself and the world by turning inward”). I replied:

Many facile viewpoints are in the silly, silly category. All what is, is not what meets the eye, or the ear.

1) Trans Pacific Partnership Treaty was monstrous: it proposed to override democracies. The excuse for it was that it was an alliance AGAINST China. Trump destroyed that anti-democratic plot. Even Clinton had turned against it. (And of course Sanders!)

2) Trump didn’t pull the US out of the Paris Climate Treaty: he just said he did. In truth it can’t happen before 2020. Meanwhile, last Saturday, the US government produced the most alarming climate warming alert ever, saying 2.1 Celsius rise was guaranteed by 2100. And the rise could be as much as 4.7 Celsius (= apocalypse: poles melting, 70 meter sea rise, world hypoxia). Obama posed as an enemy of coal and pipelines: he did both, massively, stealthily. Trump poses as the opposite. Pay attention to what he does. By letting his scientists predict that the climate situation is going actually to become hyper catastrophic, Trump is working deep on the climate skeptics…

3) Obama named as ambassadors his hyper wealthy friends. Trump fired them on day one, while Obama was still in the air carried by Air Force One (relabelled!) to visit in Palm Springs the billionaire he had named ambassador to Spain.

Machiavellism consists in doing what one is doing in such a way others feel it is the opposite. Trump surrounded himself with experienced generals. Obama surrounded himself with experienced gold diggers… While doing to the letter the exact program concocted by Goldman Sachs under Bush. When Obama left the presidency, inequality had never been higher in the history of the USA.   

Meanwhile the monopoly system set-up under Clinton-Bush-Obama starts to get noticed. Obama did, in the average, one “fund raiser” (= conspiring with the world’s wealthiest people, in exchange for money) per WEEK, during his 8 years of presidency. That’s around 420 fundraisers. One of the pillars of that corruption was Alwalid Bin Talal Al Saud, grandson of the founder of Saudi Arabia, now under arrest, and the controller of Citigroup… It’s entirely possible that the can of wiggling worms is finally going to be open…

Obama was the best friend of global plutocratic monopolies. This era could come to an end, as enemies of Trump such as Al Talal are exposed. It could indeed happen that the arrangements behind the scenes to help those plutocrats made by Obama and his minders, come to the light. Is this what the Trump Derangement Syndrome organizers are afraid of?

Michael Jackson used to babysit Trump’s children (!): as this is increasingly known, the accusations of racism against Trump have become less prominent. Other facile accusations should also be discontinued.

https://patriceayme.wordpress.com/2017/11/07/radical-queen-of-england-a-loan-shark-plutocratization-proceeds-disinformation-blossoms/

Trump Derangement Syndrome victims will find a racist angle, as maniacs  have answers to all. Trump kneeling to his friend’s greatness

***

Jacques Attali, Verified account @jattali #signesdufutur: il faudra bien,d’une façon ou une autre, mettre un terme à la divergence entre l’économie allemande et celles des autres pays européens, qui la financent par leurs importations de produits allemands https://twitter.com/atlantico_fr/status/928867343752626176 …[“One will have, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER, to terminate the divergence between the German economy and that of other European countries, which finance this divergence by their imports of German products“, says Attali, correctly!]

Atlantico on Twitter: “Les 5 sages de l’économie allemande alertent sur “sa surchauffe” et mettent involontairement le doigt sur…

Patrice Ayme added: The US economy, with 3% GDP growth (second quarter in a row) is not “overheating”. What Berlin wants is supremacy. A prolongation of the present German economic & political supremacy. Germans should be reminded that’s uncomfortably close to a dreadful past, persistently engaged, ever since Prussia thought that, thanks to British financing, it could afford racism and exploitation of Jews, Poles and others. That mentality lasted from mid Eighteenth Century until May 8, 1945. What we observe now is a full resurgence thereof. Let’s cut the crap.  

Abuse is abuse, a form of sustainable violence. Sustainable violence can only be broken by wisdom triumphant, or greater violence, irresistible.  In any case abuse is the seed for a storm, mental, or otherwise.

November 11: Time to remember again what the Germans did in 1914, and 1939. The time for excuses is over. The time for explanations is needed.  To avoid the time of another replication.

Patrice Ayme’

Good Faith, Moods, And Truth

February 3, 2016

Little miseries, and even big ones, are all part of what is needed to present wisdom with occasions for progression, by changing the mood. It’s also a good time to re-read Montaigne’s Essays. Not to say that pluripotent, well balanced minds are superior in all ways. We know the opposite to be true: all sorts of unbalanced brains can perform superbly, even irreplaceably, in the restricted dimensions they are obsessed by. (This is particularly true in mathematics, and with many a sublime artist: consider van Gogh.)

No obsession, no progression, where (what’s still mostly) illusion is (much of) the motivation. Obsessiveness is the point which pierces obscurantism. with dedicated will

Thus civilization depends upon mental specialization for progression in the establishment of mental connections ( a piece of really new art creates new mental connections). And so it is inside every mind. Thus, how do minds specialize? By changing moods. For example, by changing to an… obsessive mood (for the aforementioned reason). Authenticity is also a mood. It generates truth progress, true progress, the progress of truth.

The fuel of mental progress is authenticity. There have been significantly different versions of what it is to be truthful, or authentic, in the last 24 centuries. Here are a few (I found only a panel in French, but French seems to be misspelled English, or vice versa).

Is Truth True? What Truth Is, Is Still A Matter Of Debate, Even In Pure Logic, Mathematical, Or Not.

Is Truth True? What Truth Is, Is Still A Matter Of Debate, Even In Pure Logic, Mathematical, Or Not.

Being stuffed with antibiotics, hobbled by pneumonia, puts one in a meditative mood quite different from other meditative moods. To be stuck in bed, forces the brain into a completely different mode from, say, running down a mountain. The general wisdom emanating is drastically different. New perspectives, among other things, are generated.

To the left, tall trees are gently swinging in the breeze, on the right, above other tall trees, in the clear blue sky, extremely high white clouds are streaming across the sky, well above a hundred miles per hour, illustrating vividly the power of the Pacific polar jet stream. Such a spectacle of our atmosphere alive, is as astounding as as the Northern Lights: from massive storm to clear blue sky in about an hour, now with the occasional high white cloud streaking across. Our planet, our gigantic spaceship, is truly amazing.

I am occasionally accused to be an anti-American French philosopher. This is true, yet unfair: it gives only an incomplete picture of my fiendishness. I am also an American anti-French philosopher. As an African philosopher, I have also: Africans have seen a lot. Very recently.

Does the concept of “Mood” translate in (modern) French? (The question was asked to me by Dominique Deux, a faithful commenter on this site.) Africans can learn perfect French in Africa, and I can really tell you, “Mood” does not translate much into modern French… usage (I intent to correct that). It is all the more curious in that the French are… full of moods. It’s important to strike a mood in France. Especially for philosophers.

Montaigne’s essays start with Montaigne striking a mood: “This book was written in good faith (“bonne foi”), reader. It warns you from the outset that I have set no goal but a domestic and private one. I have set no goal of serving you or my own glory. My powers are inadequate for such a purpose. I have set it up for the convenience of my relatives and friends so that when they have lost (as they soon must), they have recovered here some features of my habits and temperament, and by this means keep some of the knowledge they had of me more complete and alive. ”

The fundamental mood Montaigne is brimming with? He says it himself: “BONNE FOI”. (It is exactly the opposite mood from that of the electable politician, ever since we caught that plague, “representative” democracy, which seems to have everything to do with lying… In contrast to what the system the Swiss selected, seven centuries ago, when they declared their independence from those well-known plutocrats, the Habsburg…)

Why is “Bonne Foi” so important in philosophy? For the exact same reason as it is fundamental in science: it embraces truth.

The point of view I will propose on this site for what “truth” and good faith” mean could be useful in pure logic, by switching from language to metalanguage. Too tech to explain right now, but I will later.

Montaigne starts his essays with a flurry of examples from… war. This is why Montaigne is deep, and Gandhi (say) shallow. Montaigne, a soldier (he viewed himself as a soldier), knew all too well that men show their true nature when existence, in particular their own existence, is at stake. One’s existence, plus those of others, giving and taking, everything: this potent cocktail is that of war.

(And if war is presently obsolete, or, let’s say more precisely, subdued, it is because bellicose forces, led by the USA, and France, keep it that way. War is keeping war in check. Each smart bomb exploding with high precision in Syria is a vaccination against a worse, much more violent disease… Not to say Russian bombs are precise: they often are not. But the West bombs precisely, after exquisite intelligence).

By considering examples from war, Montaigne is considering what focuses minds the best: the prospect of death, receiving it, or giving it. It is virtually certain that the most frequent cause of death of male human beings over the last few million years was combat, or some other violence, such as fighting a wild beast. Thus the human brain is best equipped to keep record of combat, and, indeed, we know better why and how the Aztecs or the Romans fought, rather than what they ate.

Hence  military records present with a wealth of human experiences, a rich mine Montaigne prospects. Daring to be Politically Incorrect (PI), rather than Christian Correct, Montaigne naturally used this vast record of exploits, some admirable, some repulsive. And indeed, in his first essay, Montaigne roils out some famous examples of both. Montaigne points out, implicitly,  that Alexander (so-called the Great) was repugnant: he gives two examples why (Thebes and Gaza; I know a third one: Tyr.).

Interestingly, Aristotle is the one who proposed the notion that omission was a lie. Montaigne was more cautious. However, after promising to depict himself all naked if need be, the first thing personal he admits to, is that he does not like to be seen peeing in public (which, he admits, considering his profession, soldier, was a bit of a problem…)

I will propose something even more demanding for what Good Faith consists of: a full exploration of what one should know about the subject at hand. And that includes the truth of moods. Kant, there, who apparently wanted to tell the entire truth (see the green panel above), would have come short: his real mood was racism. And he obviously did not want to flaunt that, but be discrete about it.

So when the Nazis got inspired by Kant, they got inspired by the same attitude: tell their truths, all their truths, but don’t reveal what their real moods were. Quite the opposite: Hitler went all around. claiming to be in the mood of defending “peace” and “minorities”, whereas he wanted to kill both. Same with Kant: he wanted to enslave other “races”, but, knowing how ugly that was, he kept his real mood.

Patrice Ayme’