Posts Tagged ‘Morality’

What Is “Moral” To A Lion?

February 13, 2017

What Is Moral To A Chimpanzee?

What is the Origin of Human Morality?

Individual Morality May Vary, But Social Morality, Which Also Varies, Is Absolutely Dependent Upon Circumstances:

Natural scientists will say that one has to start with human ethology, the behavior of man au naturel. However, that’s a bit delicate, as there is nothing natural about man, since the genus Homo wages war and uses weapons and tools, to the point man cannot do without.

Nevertheless, morality has stabilized in the last 25 centuries in most ways (especially now that women are treated with natural equality).

The mos maiorum (“way of the elders”; plural of mos, behavior, is “mores”).  The unwritten code of the Republican Romans, comprising: Fides, Disciplina, Pietas, Gravitas, Religio, Cultus, Dignitas, Auctoritas, Virtus…  

This is where the concept of “Moral” comes from.

These behaviors, as a set, enabled the Roman Republic to survive for 5 centuries (or more, if one considers the empire and the subsequent “Christian Republic” as an extension of the Republic, as the Roman did; de facto, we are still under basic Roman secular law, 25 centuries later).

This gives a philosophical hint. Philosophy is the art of guessing what could be, may be, could well be, ought to be, etc. For morality, it is beyond a guess:    

“Mores”, “Morality” has to do with survival. Morality is the set of behaviors which insures survival. 

Temple of Baalshiman, Palmyra. Insulted by the Bible in Connection with Human Sacrifices. Its Destruction by Islamists in 2015 (right).

Temple of Baalshiman, Palmyra. Insulted by the Bible in Connection with Human Sacrifices. Its Destruction by Islamists in 2015 (right).

There is a continuum between natural and (epi-)genetic ethology, and cultural ethology: the study of chimpanzees shows this. The very Christian Jane Goodall found, to her dismay, that the chimpanzees she studied made, over many years, a systematic war of extermination against another group of chimps.

The origin of morality is survival. The set of all moral behaviors (“mores”) is the set which enables survival. Survival of the individual, the group, a society, even a civilization.

Carthage was, in its times, 25 centuries ago, one of the most advanced societies. Its sailors captured gorillas, and circumnavigated Africa. Trading with Black Africa for fish was intense. Carthaginian agriculture in semidesertic conditions was so advanced, Roman preserved the book (while destroying all others). However, Carthage practiced childhood sacrifices extensively and routinely (archeologists seem to have demonstrated, confirming the stories already found in the Bible, Leviticus).

Another example: Polynesian societies needed to corral strongly behaviors and human population on their delicate islands. Hence taboos (don’t fish there, don’t go into that valley, etc.) and cannibalism (often entangled with religion, as Captain Cook experienced).

The Aztecs, deprived of massive proteins aside from a giant salamander (differently from other civilizations around Mexico, which had access to large quantities of fish). The Aztecs made a religion centered on human butchery, up to thousands eaten in a few days… (This made the Aztecs unpopular in Mesoamerica, and enabled Cortez to rise an army of 80,000 natives to fight the Aztecs, enormously amplifying his very small army of few thousands Spaniards).

Astrophysics professor, and proud principal investigator Coel Hellier states:  If “it is morally good” doesn’t mean “I approve of it” then what does it mean? When Stephen Law says that science cannot tell us “what one ought or ought not to do”, what does the phrase “ought to do”, as used there, actually mean? These are fun questions to ask a moral realist. We ought to do it because it is morally good … and it is morally good because we ought to do it, and … but so far I’ve never come across an actual answer.”

A society determines what it ought to do to survive, and derives a morality from it, that all individuals “ought” to obey (“mores”, social morality). However, to survive, or lessen pain, a given crazed, or, simply, distressed, individual may well decide that she/he needs to violate the social morality, and follow her/his own ways of doing things.

Hence morality is relative between societies, and between individuals and society. However, given a long-established society, morality is absolute.

Roman Republican morality cracked around 150 BCE, due to Roman globalocracy (which enabled Roman plutocrats to come into existence, and ever grow in power). The collapse of that morality proximally brought the non-enforcement of anti-plutocratic laws (although the assassinated Gracchi tried to reinforce them). Soon plutocrats were at each others’ throats, as they dominated the Roman world (contemplate the situation today!). Massive and continuous civil wars ensued, followed by Augustus’ Principate in 27 BCE, as that wily youngster was able to muster the declining strength of the moribund Republica to his command.

However, the basic Roman Republican morality was embodied by Republican Roman law, whose basic framework survived even the Christo-fascism of the Fourth Century. Roman secular law was refurbished under Roman emperor Justinian (529 CE to 565 CE), and separated from Christian Sharia. Roman secular law was transmitted by the Imperium Francorum: it fit well with the Salic Law of the Franks. Roman secular law survives to this day as the basic legal framework of the present civilization. (This partly explains why the present civilization is not Christian: it does not fllow Christian law, but Ethological Law, also known as Roman Law.)

That morality is time-tested. It’s also the morality closest to natural ethology. So it’s not relative. It’s pretty much absolute. Hence a very good foundation on which to wage war in its defense.

Patrice Ayme’

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Essence Of MORALITY: SUSTAINABILITY, Not Just Avoiding Suffering.

September 12, 2016

What is morality? The answer is not in “religions” established in the last few centuries, by self-obsessed elites, such as Islam. Verily, there is just one religion, the religion of man: Ecce Homo.

Past religions could not be sure that man was a religion, so they invented god(s). The idea is that, to distinguish right from wrong, one needs absolute truth, and that absolute truth was called god(s).

However, we now know for sure that there is an absolute, an absolute creator, and an absolute morality, from that long (quantum) computation called evolution.

Right And Wrong Draws Another Line, Across Knowledge Bases. That the All Too Christian Solzhenitsyn Naturally Forgets

Right And Wrong Draws Another Line, Across Knowledge Bases. That the All Too Christian Solzhenitsyn Naturally Forgets

Heart Without Knowledge Is Only Ruin Of Morality

The fact that we, ourselves, are an absolute, is why hysterical “animal rights” advocates have not much standing: animals are not equivalent to us. They are no absolute. That is why Gary Francione, a professor of law at Rutgers and East Anglia Universities is fundamentally wrong.  

https://aeon.co/essays/why-keeping-a-pet-is-fundamentally-unethical

Says he: “A morally just world would have no pets, no aquaria, no zoos. No fields of sheep, no barns of cows. That’s true animal rights.” No poetry, no heart for other species, no alter sentiencism, either. That’s the perfect recipe for the total disappearance of the entire animal kingdom. Animals can survive only if us, masters of the Earth, and soon the Sol-Centaurus system, are interested by them.

True stupidity gives me counterexamples from which reason can bounce. Francione knows nothing. More than once in the mountains I met a solitary sheep, grazing. What did the sheep do? It had a good look at me, and then came to me, so I could rescue it from its predicament. Was the sheep suffering? No. Was the sheep feeling friendly? Yes. Is that a crime? No.

Law professor Francione confuses “what hurts a sentient being” with “immoral“. Pushing his logic further would mean all life of ALL sentient beings should be stopped, as life means hurt, for a sentient being, at one point, or another. (This is my old objection to Fundamentalist Buddhism; at least Buddhism, following Hinduism, is logical, and calls for Nirvana, the extinction of all cycles of life. The extinct Celtic religion was just the same.)

Thus, pushed a bit further, we should not have children: surely they cry as they are born, and that’s just the beginning. Hence we should let humanity disappear.

Leaving animals free to hurt each other.

This is a problem: if we are around, we may hurt animals, if we are not around, animals will eat each others.

Thus the author writes of ethics, while not knowing that the fundamental sense of “moral” is not “avoiding hurt”, but avoiding the behaviors which are unsustainable for our species.

Morality is species dependent. In some species, the newborns eat each other.  Newborn eating is moral in those species.

Thus, there is even worse. The real nature of the group of species known as hominids is that these were carnivorous bipedal apes who rose to dominance, precisely because animal protein and fat is so nourishing. It is moral for hominids to eat flesh, and especially so for the highly carnivorous Homo Erectus and Sapiens.

Many are the species which eat animals, few are those who do not. All primates, even cute, innocent looking Lemurians and Golden Tamarins, grab animals and eat them, whenever they can. Even grazing animals eat meat. The meat of snails, insects, and whatever crawls in the grass end in the stomachs of innocent looking grazers. This is why PM Thatcher made the cows cannibalistic, and, to save money, did not “render” the meat very long, thus causing “mad cow disease”.

In a just punishment, Thatcher herself became a mad cow, and croaked from it.

Meat made humanity, by enabling big brains and their extravagant energy consumption. Indeed, the meat habit came first. By millions of years. Those, like professor Francione, who cry each time we eat an animal raw (it happens when I run), want to deprive us of the very essence of our humanity. Being bipedal made our ancestors in the most efficient savannah dwellers: man is the animal with the fastest, furthest ground transportation capability, especially when it’s noon, and very hot. This (apparently weird and useless) characteristic is explained by an asset: the ability to catch up with any potential prey, especially when it’s very hot in the tropics, and Homo can see very well by mid-day.

Not just this.  Our hominid ancestors accelerated their evolution, by carrying weapons in their arms. Forgetting this and pushing a morality which even sheep would find better for what they eat (grass) will leave those who adopt it, and those that they pretend to defend, defenseless. One may as well advocate pacifism when facing deliberate evil. This sort of nonsense is what enabled the Twentieth Century’s greatest horrors, such as Nazism. And, indeed, the Nazis were fanatically for animal rights. Why? Because pushed to the extreme, animal rights contradict human rights. Thus, promoting the former exaggeratedly, enables  to violate the latter.

Patrice Ayme

No Intelligence, No Power: No Morality, However Good

June 1, 2016

In Season Four of “Game of Thrones“, the immensely powerful knight, who has high moral principles, steals from his host, bangs him pretty bad on the head, leaving him dazed and bleeding on the ground. The valorous young princess Arya Stark, whom the knight protects, still a child, storms after him, and screams: “They gave you shelter, they fed you, they are good people, and you steal from them? The immensely powerful knight replies:”He is weak, that’s what wrong with him, they won’t pass the winter, so I may as well take his silver, or otherwise some worthless scoundrel will.” Arya shouts back: “You are the worst shit in the Seven Kingdoms!” The mighty knight smirks back:” To be good is not enough. How many Starks need to be beheaded for you to understand that?”

That was an allusion to the fact that Arya’s father, mother and brother had untimely, horrible, and unjust ends… And the engine of their destruction, and actually of the destruction of the Seven Kingdoms has been that goodness which fatally hobbles their would-be superior morality. If goodness leads mass atrocities, surely, it is not good.

This is the essence of the exchange, which I paraphrased because I am reproducing it from memory. This is also the essence of much my ethical system: to be moral, it is not enough to be good, one has to be smart and powerful. Smarts, in the matter of law has much progressed in the last four thousand years:

Good Laws Come Only From High Smarts. Hammurabi’s Laws Are 38 Centuries Old. Having Mastered Writing Was Necessary, As The 282 Laws Were Shown All Over The Vast Empire

Good Laws Come Only From High Smarts. Hammurabi’s Laws Are 38 Centuries Old. Having Mastered Writing Was Necessary, As The 282 Laws Were Shown All Over The Vast Empire

In Hammurabi laws, hitting one’s parents was punishable by death. Same for stealing (except if one was a plutocrat, of course; slavery was legal, although in many ways much less harsh than in the US in the nineteenth century.)

One needs the trinity of intelligence, power and goodness to impose morality. Absent any of the three elements of that trinity, mass immorality can, and will, blossom.

Examples abound in history. France is rich with them. For example, Louis XIV and Napoleon were neither smart nor good, so they were doubly immoral.

Louis destroyed the Protestants, which was particularly nasty, as his grandfather had made peace and a commonwealth with them; France lost millions, and found herself attacked from everywhere, including from the Netherlands and Britain, which used to be French, but were now full of angry protestants (many very intimately entangled with France).

Napoleon replaced the republics (for example in Italy, the Netherlands, Germany, etc.) which the revolution had created, into monarchies owned by his family: how much more nasty can one be? One could make a nasty, very deadly war to re-establish slavery in Haiti, which the First French Republic had eradicated. All this was an abyss of stupidity: Napoleon sold half of the USA to the USA for pennies, and then got millions of young Frenchmen dying for his family on the battlefield… while claiming he was fighting for the Revolution.

Want stupid? Napoleon, that enslaving self-obsessed monster is still much admired, from San Francisco to Vladivostok. It’s not clear why.

Another one, much admired is Joan of Arc. Why not? She re-launched the 100 year civil war between Paris and London for another 400 years. That was fabulously nasty, demonically stupid… The day (the cult of) Joan of Arc is viewed as immoral, much progress will have been made.

In the 1930s. The French Republic was smart and right to oppose the Nazism, all the way to giving Hitler an ultimatum. However, the whole enterprise became much less moral, when the French generalissimo ordered to do what his subordinate had argued may be a trap. Hitler had attacked the Netherlands just to draw the French army there. The result was catastrophic, as the French army was cut from behind, and the Nazis were able to conquer Europe, all the way to Saint Petersburg, Moscow, and the Volga, while engaging in various holocausts, and inciting the Japanese allies to do the same. Out of that came the American hegemon we presently enjoy, complete with its technology monopolies doubling as spy networks.

And, of course, We The World enjoy Facebook morality. Facebook just censored French (state) TV for reproducing on its Facebook page a woman demonstration in… Chile. Hey, some of the ladies wore no bras, and Facebook always wear a bra.

Times they are changing though: the Obama administration is proposing to remove US generalissimo-president Andrew Jackson from the Twenty Dollar note. Jackson was no dummy, he was immensely powerful, and his nastiness was excellent for the expansion of the USA. And Jackson, in complete contrast with the corrupt Clintons, kept the banks in their place. Asked what he was the most proud of, Jackson said (in essence): to have kept the banks at bay. Quite a statement, as Jackson had doubled the area of the USA. (Nothing that Clintons’ admirers can understand at this point, though…)

The same remarks apply to Jefferson, or even Washington. Let alone Marcus Aurelius.

Nowadays, then the youth, even in the USA, understand that the criterions for morality have to be jacked up, so Jackson can go jack somewhere else.

All very good, of course. But Big Morality without Big Smarts will always backfired. It’s not very smart for the youth of the world to only go through the spy network, with its fine print which says that only American law applies (although a French Court just determined that was probably unlawful in France, since, actually, well, it obviously is).

No smarts, no morality. At least, at the civilizational level.

Patrice Ayme’

No Knowledge, No Morality

April 30, 2016

Can a society be moral if most of its population does not know science? Of course not. And it generalizes: if a society does not know all it could know, and which is most significant, it cannot be moral.

The enquiry of why the US Army bombed a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, MSF/DWB hospital, and kept bombing it, even after it knew it was a hospital it was bombing, reveals a deep disconnect between morality and knowledge.

In truth: no knowledge, no morality.

The US Army filed no criminal charges: that may have been correct, it’s its entire culture of engagement which is criminal, at this point.

Strikes Inside An Innocent City Require High Morality, Not Just Sky High Bombing

Strikes Inside An Innocent City Require High Morality, Not Just Sky High Bombing

High morality is the motivation for high precision.

Says the New York Times:

“WASHINGTON — Dispatched to eliminate a compound swarming with Taliban fighters, the AC-130 gunship circled above the Afghan city, its crew struggling to figure out where exactly to direct the aircraft’s frightening array of weaponry. Missile fire had forced it off course, and now the gunship’s targeting systems were pointing it to an empty field, not an enemy base.

About 1,000 feet to the southwest, however, the crew spotted a collection of buildings that roughly matched the description of the Taliban compound provided by American and Afghan forces on the ground. Nine men could be spotted walking between the buildings.

The gunship’s navigator called an American Special Forces air controller on the ground seeking guidance. The response was immediate and unequivocal.

“Compound is currently under control of the TB, so those nine PAX are hostile,” the air controller said, using common military shorthand for “Taliban” and “people.”

The air controller was wrong. His mistake was one link in a chain of human errors and equipment and procedural failures that led to the devastating attack on a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Afghanistan last year that killed 42 [innocent, staff, patients and doctors] people, the Defense Department said Friday… military investigators described a mission that went wrong from start to finish. Even after Doctors Without Borders informed American commanders that a gunship was attacking a hospital, the airstrike was not immediately called off because, it appears, the Americans could not confirm themselves that the hospital was actually free of Taliban.

“Immediately calling for a cease-fire for a situation we have no SA” — situational awareness, that is — “could put the ground force at risk,” an American commander whose name and rank were redacted was quoted as saying in the report.”

It turns out that the entire mission was conducted as if human lives were not important. The gunship left more than an hour early (for an “unrelated emergency”), before proper briefing, although that flying destroyer equipped with a 105mm cannon, was sent to a city full of people. Then a radio failed, preventing the download of further information to the plane, etc. The crew does not seem to have ever been told a hospital was in the general area of the target.

Not bringing any criminal charges was “simply put, inexplicable,” said John Sifton, the Asia policy director of Human Rights Watch. Indeed, there are plenty of legal precedents for war crimes prosecutions based on acts that were committed with recklessness. Recklessness or negligence does not absolve someone of criminal responsibility under the United States military code. In a famous example, the cruiser Indianapolis, which had transported the atomic bomb, was sunk by a Jap submarine a few days before the end of the war. Its captain was court-martialed, and condemned (in spite of the insistence of the Jap commander, Commander Mochitsura Hashimoto, that the cruiser would have been hit, from the position of the sub, and the fan of torpedo fired, no matter what. The conviction of the US Captain was reversed, 5 days after Hashimoto’s passing at age 91)

This attack against Medecins Sans Frontieres was in the mood of “signature strikes (and helped by great anger of some Afghan commanders against Doctors Without Borders)… an accident waiting to happen from systemic recklessness. The famous signatures strikes are the most significant signature of the Obama administration in the matter of international relations (besides juicy transnational treaties to promote plutocracies and Panama papers arrangements).

Signature strikes” consisted in attacking gatherings of people in a country the US is not at war with, just because, like your average wedding full of Arabs or Pakistani, they looked suspicious. Amazingly, the Obama administration went on with them for years. In great part because US Main Stream Media decided that killing crowds of unknown people in unknown parts did not matter: US inflicted terror, for no good reason, was a good thing.

What was the moral theory behind those “signature strikes”? Plausible denial that the perpetrators did not know what was going on. The exact same theory the Prussians inaugurated in 1914, and the Nazis perpetrated during their reign of terror, attacking the world (as in 1914), and killing 15 millions in extermination camps, plus many million civilians out there by bombing flour mills, etc.

To use evil ways against evil perpetrators may be necessary: strategic bombing defeated the Nazis and the Japanese military (although it killed only around 700,000 in Germany). However, using evil ways when they are not necessary, even in the service of goodness, is evil.

In the wars the French and American air forces are conducting against Islamists, from Mali to Afghanistan, hitting the enemy and ONLY the enemy should be the first objective.

Clearly, the US should do more like the French, and conduct more thorough examination of what they are going to attack (France has learned the lesson the hard way: see the massacres in Oran in 1945). At the slightest doubt, there should be no attack against a massively innocent population. One does not rescue people from oppression, by killing them.

The fight against Islamism is not the fight against Nazism. In the case of Nazism, the strongest means were justified: an entire nation had become criminally insane, and was the enemy. (Killing the innocent was unavoidable collateral damage. If Germans wanted to stop the insanity, they could stop collaborating with the Nazis; many did, in the end, enough to make a big difference.)

Whereas, in the case of Islamism, many pseudo-thinkers in the West made various theories to tell us that fearing Wahhabism was racist. They, not innocent civilians, throughout Africa and the Middle East, should rather be bombed.

Patrice Ayme’

Asia After Full Glacial Melt

April 24, 2016

The Way Of Life Of Some "Leading" Countries Brings Us Back To The Jurassic

What is that a map of? (Answer at the bottom.)

The positive side of a full glacial melt is that the devastated Aral Sea will be reconstituted to its former glory, and more. Tourists may be able to travel from Missouri to the Aral Sea on electric cruise ships. Let’s notice in passing that shallow seas were characteristic of the Jurassic, and exerted a positive feed-back on the climate, which was remarkably warm and wet then… thanks to these shallow seas. The Earth was ice-free (except on the top of very high mountains).

The Decision Is Now. The Next Two Decades Will Decide If This Is What Will Be

The Decision Is Now. The Next Two Decades Will Decide If This Is What Will Be

Some may sneer, but there is tremendous inertia in the system. Here is a depiction of temperatures in the last half a billion years:

The Projection That We Are On Two Degree Centigrade Rise By 2050 Is Optimistic: It Ignores Positive Feed-Back On Ice Melt

The Projection That We Are On Two Degree Centigrade Rise By 2050 Is Optimistic: It Ignores Positive Feed-Back On Ice Melt

As soon as we launch the shallow sea effect, it will feed-back on itself. That will be another feed-back on top of the ice melt feed-back. Scandalously, a European Union Commissioner just declared that the COP 21 treaty will be ratified in 2018 only. The French government has declared this “scandalous”, and intends to do something about it on Monday (EC Commissioners have been obviously on the take from major fossil fuel company such as Exxon, as stealth recordings recently showed).

Hence the moral quality of the following graph depicting Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, per capita, and per country:

GHG Per Capita: The Redder, The Worse. The Way Of Life Of Some "Leading" Countries Brings Us Back To The Jurassic

GHG Per Capita: The Redder, The Worse. The Way Of Life Of Some “Leading” Countries Brings Us Back To The Jurassic

At this point, some always ask: what can we do? Shall we recycle? Recycling is a related question, yet mostly independent of the energy problem. It’s much more efficient than fighting racism by never saying “nigger”, but still, it pales relative to burning fossils. Energy procurement has got to change radically. One has to de-carbonize. Now. Not just in 2050: by then it will be too late.

To de-carbonize, there is just one way: tax carbon so heavily that silly activities such as frantic tourism by plane, disappear altogether. So those who want to do something moral should agitate for an enormous carbon tax (while compensating for the poor with some of the proceeds).

Something similar is to push for local sustainable energy. An example: San Francisco just passed a law requiring plants or solar panels on roofs of all new building less than ten stories tall (to start with). Starting January 1, 2017. The law is identical to a mandate passed in France last year that all new buildings be covered in partial green roofing or solar panels.

In France, buildings producing more energy than they use have been erected. In other French news, Paris organized its first car race since 1951… 65 years ago. It was done with Formula One style cars: monospaces. It was also remarkably silent: the cars were electric. An Audi driven by the Brazilian Di Grassi won this “Formula E” event. There will be another one, next year (a necessary way of fighting terrorism is to act and behave as if there was no terror).

If enormous de-carbonization is not imposed quickly, fabulous wars may ensue… Except if some countries have such a lead in military matters that none of the others will try anything; as is presently the case of the West, mostly the USA, relative to the Rest; a fascinating twist on might makes right.

However, morality means “the mores”, what has proven sustainable to a tribe. And this brings still another moral twist. Some tribes (also known as nations) have profited a lot from war, thus may not be, very secretly, deep down inside, that adverse to adversity of the lethal type. Indeed, if adversity enables them to unleash the Dark Side, their empire may extend. Or, at least, such is the computation. because, in the past, war always proved such an excellent lever. It is especially the case of the USA (although Russia also lives under that illusion; and giant countries such as Canada and Australia are not far behind in that same general mood; even China, considering its recent conquest of gigantic, highly profitable Tibet and Xing Kiang, may feel that way, all too much).

Notice in passing that the US emits close to 20 tons of GreenHouse Gases per year, per capita. That’s around three times more than the French. And France is not three times poorer, per capita. Actually, according to Hillary Clinton, France is richer, per capita, than the USA: she herself says that the USA cannot afford universal health care. Whereas the French can afford a universal health care system. It is even worse than that, as the French health care system (with the Italian and Swedish ones) is leading in quality, whereas the USA trails, in quality of health care, behind all developed countries.

Once again, what Hillary really means is that those who are paying for her propaganda and helping her with various services, cannot afford a country with universal health care, because they are too busy overdosing inside their private jets (allusion to Prince, one of many). One’s morality not better than one’s logic.

The naïve, gullible and thoroughly obsolete, often believe there is just one way to be logical. But logic can be pretty much anything. Anything goes in logic. Differently from cooking ,where a few rules apply. In cooking at the very least, one should not put too much salt, or burn food to such a crisp that it becomes, well, pure carbon.

However logic is much more adaptable. And thus, a fortiori, is morality.

Tomorrow’s morality has often be made from yesterday’s computation. And computations can sometimes go awry.

So what to do? Change the moods ASAP. Solar roofs are an example. Another is the just announced change of the Twenty Dollar Bill. It figures president Jackson. Jackson followed Jefferson’s example, conquering and annexing giant swathes of territory for the USA. Those two, with Washington himself, were the three most important presidents, in the sense that they created, not just the USA as a state, but also its extent and its mood. Jackson was as macho as Washington, if not more. He went on his conquests, as the head of the US Army, without any order, and Congress did not dare contradict him, lest he made a coup. He had no problem harboring a bullet or two from successful duels.

Nowadays, more and more people in the USA feel that Jackson’s mentality is something which should not be viewed as an example anymore. So Obama and his sidekicks want to replace him by an abolitionist ex-slave who happened to be a woman (I had never heard from, I think, demonstrating that the masses need to further their education, indeed.)  Not bad. At the last hour, Obama and Al. minister admirably the details. However, if one removes all the slave masters from US currency, one may be left with the insipid mild and neutral pseudo-bridges found on European currency.

Removing the face of slavery would not be progress, if all one did, was to forget, and thus deny, where one came from, institutionally speaking, and in the genealogy of moods.

Without its demonic males to lead and fabricate appropriately evil systems of thought, the USA would not have become the world’s leading empire it is now. Beyond whether this is right or wrong, it’s important to remember that, first of all, that’s what happened. Yes, the USA was fabricated by slave masters. This politely brings in the natural question: Is the USA still ruled by slave masters?

The first moral duty is always to the truth. When the morality used is the one closest to the essence of the genus Homo. Yet, special circumstances, (such as inheriting a continent which has been grabbed,) have incited special moralities to blossom.

Patrice Ayme’

 

How Was Auschwitz Possible? Ignorance!

December 17, 2015

Secrecy Is Atrocity’s Best Friend:

By this question I do not mean how it was technically possible for the Nazis to massacre deliberately more than fifteen million innocent civilians whom they had arrested for no reason but hatred. Modern technology is the obvious answer: government propaganda to mislead people, firearms to herd the innocent, trains to transport them, gas to kill them efficiently.

What I mean is how come the Holocaust of millions of “Jews”, and an even greater number of millions of other innocent civilians falling under other categories, was possible, in the name of the German nation? How come the Germans went along? Was not Germany the country in the world which was the most literate, the one with the most readers in 1900? How could such a country sink so low?

"Children, What Do You Want From the Guide?" The Guide Loved Children, Children Loved the Guide

“Children, What Do You Want From the Guide?” The Guide Loved Children, Children Loved the Guide

Obviously, reading is not everything: one has to read Philosophically Correct material (PhC material). The Germans read a lot of materialistic, fascist, imperialistic, militaristic and hyper nationalistic propaganda. That brought their wisdom in the gutter, made them forget the human nature of humanity, and made them much less human than even a simple illiterate fisherman in any other country (say). One thing Germans were not short of, was kolossal naivety.

Still, how come the German nation went so rabid? The answer is simple. Another technology was at work: propaganda, combined with modern means to achieve secrecy and disinformation. One can see this by a closer look at history, a page in the history of moods.

By early 1945, the Great Reich still existed, and fought for survival, attacked on all fronts by all its enemies, including Poles, French, Brits, Canadians, Soviets, Americans, etc. As the Soviets penetrated old Prussia, they submitted cities to horrendous bombardment, and when they found Germans alive, chances were that those Germans were women and children (as the men had died in combat). I am not aware of mass exactions against children (so many were dead already), but certain women were put to what Soviet troops saw as very good use, hundreds of times a day.

The Nazis related with relish to their own population, the total, and barbarous extermination of the German East, the murdering of centuries of civilization, and warned the masses that so would be the fate of all of Germany. Therefore, the German population had to fight with the energy of despair, and the natural enmity between Soviets and democracies would do the rest.

The fanatical discourses and orders of the hysterically vicious Nazi leadership was not heeded. Instead, many Germans and local authorities produced white flags, and tried to surrender. In spite of the fact the Nazis viewed that as treason, and the penalty for this was immediate execution.

Most Germans knew Germany was being destroyed in the East, civilians were submitted to unspeakable treatment, tens of thousands of german civilians were dying every few days, and still, deep down, they felt it was deserved.

Now remember that in May 1940, the German Panzer army had been able to break through the French fortifications on the Meuse by using suicide bombers.

So why were Germans so much less keen to die for the Great Reich in 1945 than in 1940?

Why did the the mood change in Germany?

Auschwitz, the Holocaust.

By 1945, average Germans knew intimately that the Nazis, we the Germans, had did a terrible thing, the most terrible thing to “those poor people”, the Jews.

The mood in Germany was that Germany had sinned, and was punished for the unspeakable horror it had visited on the Jews. (Among others.)

Why did that revelation not happen earlier?

Because the Nazis kept the Holocaust secret enough to be able to deny it.

What would have had happened if, by January 1941, say, when the Holocaust had already been launched, average Germans had known what was going on? That the Great Reich had deliberately killed millions of Poles?

Well, quickly enough, the military would have revolted and decapitated the Nazi power structure (as it is there was a huge conspiracy to do so, but it mostly failed because not enough in the military were in the know of the extent of the exactions, or suffering from pressure at home condemning said exactions). The German military had the means to kill the Nazis, but lacked enough motivation. Only the exhibition of enough Nazi atrocities atrocious enough, would have provided that motivation.

If average Germans had known how atrocious their government was, how much atrocities they had visited on innocent civilians, if they had know their government bombed flour mills to starve millions of Poles to death, in 1939, let alone create an extermination camp at Auschwitz, to kill Polish civilians, and then started to kill innocent Jews, even innocent German Jews, then average Germans would have been revolted by Nazism… As most of them were by 1945.

So it is secrecy which made the Holocaust possible. And this has important lessons for today, and the freedom and wisdom of the Internet.

https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/NAZIS.CHAP1.HTM

Fast Forward To France 2015:

Poor Marine Le Pen! My heart swells for her, and not just just a bit of self-interested worry, too. Marine just thought she could do like yours truly, and post on the Internet some of the Islamist State propaganda (just to show the horror, and condemn it! However, the French State has now decided that the messenger was culprit of the message).

Last August, the Islamist State released a video of its assassination of James Foley, a journalist who went missing in Syria in 2012. Ms. Le Pen posted images of his killing, and those of others, in reply to a well known French pundit who had compared her party, the Front National, to the Islamist State. Bourdin the Cretin, paid propagandist on RMC et BFMTV, Wednesday 16 December evoked a “une communauté d’esprit” between two “formes de repli identitaire” (identity grouping), the rise of the National Front and the rise of Jihadism. Bourdin’s guest insisted that the Islamist State and the Front National “resemble each other” (by the same token, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are also Islamist State! And actually so are all those who prefer the natives to strangers: patriotism has become an absolute evil, according to anti-“populist” propaganda!)

This was weird in many ways: first there are only 4,000 Jihadists in France, whereas nearly seven millions voted for the National Front last Sunday. Second, the National Front, and Marine le Pen in particular, are precisely against all what the Islamist State stands for. But the “French Theory” sort of “philosophy” has induced a mood of sheer madness where everything is mashed up: call black, white, white, black, and then chuckle all is grey, so it does not matter.

Naturally enough, Ms. Le Pen put on her twitter accounts pictures of Islamist State executions, pointing out that the National Front did not do that, and had always been against that.

The Foley family whined that: “We are deeply disturbed by the unsolicited use of Jim for le Pen’s political gain… the tweets “add to the family’s pain”. Really? Is it this, or are you feeling the urge to milk your fame? Why would that disturb you that someone remind us of your son’s martyrdom? Because your son is best forgotten?

I guess we better forget that Jim Foley was assassinated atrociously, according to his parents, that’s the best way to ignore honor him. Those foolish follies seem to show a healthy disregard for Jim Foley’s calling. Jim’s calling was to inform people. Inform them of what? The most significant events. And what’s more significant than atrocities committed in the name of a religion? (The Foley family added Le Pen’s “actions” were against what their son stood for, that’s why they were indignant. So I guess, according to them, their son was all for Islamism, since Marine Le Pen is against it?)

Le Pen said she did not know it was a picture of James Foley, and took it down immediately after she became aware of the foolish family disingenuous protest (as the family’s little PC political plug against Le Pen demonstrates). (Notas Bene: if terrorists kill me, as extreme right wing terrorists tried this once already, I am for putting on the Internet pictures of my gory assassination, which will thence demonstrate further one of my points, post mortem.)

Plutocratic media immediately jumped on the occasion to scream after Marine Le Pen. One propagandist went on Le Pen’s twitter account to report her indignation, feeling “deeply violated” by the “grotesque pictures”… As if Le Pen herself had cut the throats of the victims of Islamism.

I guess, the same person would have been “deeply violated” by being shown “grotesques pictures” of Nazi assassinations, and would have asked authorities to hide them, and justice to strike those who showed pictures of Nazi atrocities. Actually, this is exactly what is presently happening in France.

The French Interior Minister went further. At the National Assembly, Bernard Cazeneuve, reacted to the tweets of Marine Le Pen : “They are the photos of Islamist State propaganda, and, thus, an abjection, an abomination, and a real insult for all victims of terrorism, for all those who fell under the fire and barbarity of the Islamist State” [“Elles sont les photos de la propagande de Daech et ces photos sont, à ce titre, une abjection, une abomination et une véritable insulte pour toutes les victimes du terrorisme, pour toutes celles et tous ceux qui sont tombés sous le feu et la barbarie de Daech. (…) J’ai demandé que la plate-forme Pharos puisse se saisir de cette affaire.”]

In other words, all those who published pictures of the collapsing World Trade Center are abominable, abject accomplices of Al Qaeda, and those who published pictures of Nazi mass executions are abominable, abject accomplices of Nazism, and so on.

What is clear is that the French Interior minister is such an idiot, that he makes even Dr, Goebbels sound like a genius. Or then the French Interior Minister is keen to go beyond the worst caricature of dictatorship and misinformation found in Orwell’s “1984”. Even the minutes of Joan of Arc’s trial don’t exhibit a similar madness on the part of her obviously biased accusers (and no, I am not in love with Joan of Arc).

I reacted to this by deciding to follow Joan of Arc Marine Le Pen on Twitter (she has 10,000 more followers than 12 hours ago).

The real problem is that the French Socialist government machine has decided to attack what feeds reason itself. Information, data, knowledge, cognition. (Why? The polls are so bad for the Socialists, they are going to be wiped out in the next elections, in 18 months. As they deserved, since they are Socialist in name only: remember Hitler’s “National-Socialists”)

So you want no more Auschwitz? Let knowledge flow. “Social networks” should not ban violence for the sake of banning violence.

Indeed, as we saw with the Nazis, banning the knowledge of the true extent of abominable, abject violence is what made the Holocaust of 2% of humanity in the Second World (because the Nazis and their imperial Jap allies did not stop with killing more than 60 million innocent civilian; they also conducted official wars of aggressions).

So, if one wants morality, one has to exhibit violence, be it only to condemn and eliminate it.

Those who claim to not understand that, as the French Interior Minister, are just abject, abominable cretins.

Then “Social Networks” should consider why the violence is shown. If I show an execution by the Islamist State to condemn it, that is not only OK, it is morally perfect. If the Islamist State shows the same picture for its propaganda, it’s an abject abomination, and it should be censored.

It’s not difficult. One has to exert judgment in light of absolute morality, the one given by 100 million years of evolution, human ethology. Apparently, Twitter is already doing this (Facebook is another matter: it views the female breast as an abject abomination, and blocks it fiercely; it seems the leadership of Facebook hate mammals: “mamma” means breast in Latin).

We humans have to exert meta-judgments. Both on moods and ideas. If Germans had realized how vicious and atrocious the real mood of the Nazi leadership was, they would have recoiled in horror, and withdraw support, as they finally did in 1945. French government’s Foleys follies misrepresenting the State of Islamism, to the point of accusing the national front of Islamism, are of a related vein, and explain the rise of Islamism there.

Ignorance is not just a matter of ignoring some data points. Ignorance is also ignoring shocks to the emotional systems which are intrinsic to the situation being ignored. This is what the leadership of a country like France has ignored all too long. And here, by leadership, I do not mean lesser minds such as the present clowns who gather every week at the presidential palace in Paris to plot the dismal course for 70 millions and most of Europe.

By “leadership” I mean mostly what passes for the intellectual class, those who thought the Eurosterity (= Euro + Austerity) would be a good regime, and Islamophobiaphobia all the philosophy they needed, by praying to the mighty gods of the “markets”, those who thought colonialism was terrible, if from Europe, but the way to go, if from any other power, and so on.

Civilization without information is only malformation of reason.

Patrice Ayme’

Solar Roads

October 15, 2015

Solar Roads Versus Objection Mars:

Long ago, when the sun had not set yet on the will of the West to progress, a poet was visiting my home. He read some of his poetry. Humanity had just reached the Moon. The poet loftily declared that we did not need the Moon, we needed to fight hunger.

Later, the malaria parasite mutated, becoming resistant to standard treatment. Now it kills more than 1.2 million people a year. A typical objection to colonizing the Solar System is this:

“as I see it – Scott’s movie (even if I’m a sci-fi fan and I love some movies of him as well: Blade Runner is definitely a masterpiece) is a mere conservative propaganda aiming for people to agree that these extremely expensive missions to Mars are more important than saving African children from ebola, helping Syrian refugees, letting Europe be democratic yet or supporting laws against free guns in the US … Save the “american” astronaut, guys!” The answer is crushing, it holds in one picture:

French Truck On Solar Photo-Voltaic Road: the Future Has Arrived

French Truck On Solar Photo-Voltaic Road: the Future Has Arrived

There is nothing “conservative” about missions to Mars. Quite the opposite: such missions are fully progressive. They force humanity to progress.

Disease in Africa has to do with lack of governance. Lack of hospital has to do with lack of governance. In the Ebola epidemic, the countries that were struck were struck from lack of organized health care.

Senegal got one, just one, imported Ebola case. The patient got cured, and that was it. Even Mali, with better governance, in spite of a Jihadist invasion, was able to contain a few imported cases. Meanwhile, several countries next door, which are intrinsically much richer (Sierra Leone, Guinea. Liberia) saw thousands of deaths, and containment came from the efforts of NGOs, France and the USA (mostly).

When France pulled out of Africa, some particularly smart critic told a senior French government minister that the argument of “freeing” Africa from alleged colonialism made no humanitarian sense: there was no “colonialism” to speak of, and who was going to pay for one hospital every 100 kilometers in the world’s second largest continent? The minister smiled, and said: “this is precisely the point, we will not incur that expense anymore.”

Two capabilities save children in general: a) good governance. b) science.

When considering a Mars mission in this connection, one has to answer if the Mars mission will improve governance and science. Governance itself is a science. A mission to Mars is “expensive”. How much? 100 million dollars? 200 millions? How much would a Mars colonization program cost to launch? Two trillion dollars?

According to the International Monetary Fund, subsidies for fossil fuels are more than 5.5 trillion dollars a year. Enough to set-up a village on Mars, with existing technology.

Now going to Mars would force drastic progress in, say, fuel cells. The technology of fuel cells was invented for the Moon mission. After Obama became president, the research funding on this field was yanked out (probably to send money to businessmen such as Elon Musk).

Mars colonization would force enormously innovative research in energy technology, for example fuel cells, and nuclear energy (both fission and fusion).

Nothing else will.

Syrian refugees? Mars will not save Syrians? Nothing is more removed from the truth. Mars, the god of war, is what is needed in Syria, fighting for Goodness, instead of having Mars fight in the name of the devil Assad, as was mostly done so far.

The 300,000 dead in Syria, the eleven million refugees, have been caused by the rule of a single, cornered man, Assad, son of Assad, and the clique surrounding him. To solve the Syrian refugees crisis, Assad’s rule ought to be terminated, so that he could be replaced by generals open to enough democracy to keep Syrians in Syria.

Unfortunately the Franco-American decapitation strike against Assad was called off by Obama, for reasons so far unexplained. So the massacre keeps on going, with forces under the orders of Assad killing at least ten times as much what the Islamist State kills.

Fossil fuels consumption, should it go on for a few more decades, will bring the global temperature up five degrees Celsius, and massacre the biosphere. It has to stop, but can be stopped only with plentiful, cheap, new energy sources.

That, or massive war (killing billions).

How? Science to the rescue. Without evoking the spectrum of nuclear energy (fission and fusion), Solar Photo-Voltaic (SPV) is here. Normal solar panels were developed for space missions. Without space colonization, they would not have been developed. Yet, solar panels are fragile. Or, more exactly, were fragile until now.

A giant French construction company (Bouygues) deposed patents to cover-up solar cells with various materials to make them tough. Glass can be made as hard as steel. Then Bouygues engineers drove more than a million vehicles above the toughened-up panels in a few test cities (Chambery, Grenoble). Now the first solar road is under construction. Four meters of said road can satisfy a house’s needs. 100 square meters (twenty meters of the linear road depicted) are enough to drive 100,000 kilometers with an electric vehicle. If 25% of French roads were covered, 100% of French electric needs would be covered.

The future, the good future, is here: it’s enough to let science roll. But science needs challenges. Such as Mars colonization. If (very serious) scientists and mathematicians need bananas, such as the Fields Medal and the Nobel Prize, certainly humanity needs bigger motivation, and bigger prizes than that!

You want morality? More morality? Then you need a bigger science. And the way to get a better science is by setting higher objectives, greater passions, more exacting thoughts. Progress, the Will to Progress, is a mood. It cannot be confined to moral progress, because the universe juggles with evil. Moral progress means technological progress.  Mars colonization is no moral objection. Objective Mars is a moral imperative.

Patrice Ayme’

Science, Mars, Or Moral Bust

October 14, 2015

In the first democratic debate, Hillary Clinton said she was “a progressive who likes to get things done.” Let’s hope they will be less plutocratic than the “things” done by her husband. Meanwhile the question came up from others that going to Mars, or similar colossal techno-scientific progress had no humanitarian value. Before a more organized rebuttal, here goes my poetical opinion:

***

Science, Mars, Or Moral Bust

Many are the passions

Many are the tragedies

Against tragedies goodness,

All too often contend in vain.

Lest emotions move men and fate

Out of complacency, indifference,

Careers, self-admiring seriousness,

And obey the call of love for mind, sentience..

Yet, even when passions move us,

Towards the noblest goals, with the best intentions

All too often we find there is nothing

We can do at all, against pain and suffering:

When our magic, our science, come short..

To feel right and think right,

Does not mean we can do right.

For enabling goodness we need the powers,

The very powers which feed from,

By, and with, the Dark Side.

Power itself is dark.

Yet noble, and fundamentally us.

So yes, by any means,

Go to Mars.

It will nurture new emotions,

Wealth of transcendent emotions,

Not just lofty and intricate thoughts,

Humanity define.

We have always gone to Mars,

Ever since we left leafy trees.

We will stop,

Only when our fundamental lust,

What defines us,

Progress,

Dies with us.

 

HAPPINESS A DUTY, Good & Smart

August 26, 2015

Forget Sisyphus’ Dreary Myth, Embrace The Happiness Strategy:

Far from being a sin, could happiness be not just fun, but a duty? I will propose that happiness is, indeed, a duty. Happiness is both a cerebral and social necessity. Let’s start with its social link.

When an animal suffers, or at least, when an animal is not happy, it is likely that it is either under aggression, and, or, needs to get into some significant action (taking some risk to go somewhere unusual, even if that animal is only an herbivore).

In either case, action, and, a fortiori, suffering put the animal, human or not, into an aggressive neurohormonal state, or cocktail of aggressive states (notice in passing that it is not always a bad thing: action, or even suffering, are often needed for everybody’s good!). Thus, someone’s unhappiness often ends up as somebody’s else suffering. Unhappiness is not just immoral, and asocial, unhappiness starts a chain reaction of unhappiness.

No Laugh, No Love, Nor Mind In Full

No Laugh, No Love, Nor Mind In Full

In human life, suffering is ubiquitous, unavoidable: born in pain, die in pain, with quite a bit of pain, Sturm und Angst, aging and degeneracy in between. So suffering always stands at the ready. Ready to help us not to settle too hopelessly into routine. Suffering, or the threat thereof, is always ready to enrich our minds, be it only with appendicitis, or a broken ankle, we don’t need to encourage it too much.

Happiness, though, precisely because of the ubiquitousness of suffering, is more tricky: it requires more of our enthusiastic cooperation, and encouragement. Happiness calls onto creativity to exist, and overwhelm the pain out there. Not by eschewing the world, as monks and Buddhists propose, but by engaging it enough, to bring up the neurohormones of happiness (Endo cannabinoids, Dopamine, Oxytocin, Endorphin, GABA, Serotonin, Adrenaline, Nitrogen Oxide, “laughing gas“, etc.).

Happiness cannot tolerate too much moderation (consider the Adrenaline above, a chemical known to make a dead heart jump into action, or Dopamine, which cocaine, methamphetamines, boost, to create effect).

Moderation is debilitating, especially in large quantities. Happiness instead embraces immoderately the best aspects that life has to offer, and run away with them. (Creation, in particular necessitates to run away; as our society tries to run away from the encroachment of robots and plutocrats, creation will be needed ever more. Socially good creation is entangled with happiness, while unhappiness is entangled with war hormones and neural patterns and organs.)

But what of the other cerebral consequences of happiness? Happiness is a facilitator of survival. Epidemiological statistics show this.

Wisdom is, first of all, about being as smart in one’s behavior, as one can be, given the circumstances. An example is the six passengers in the Thalys train who just fought the heavily armed terrorist. They acted wisely, and, in this case, it meant that they acted decisively, fiercely, and with maximum violence: first two Frenchmen engaged the fanatic in combat, as it came out of the toilet. A Franco-American professor in his fifties, grabbed the AK 47 automatic machine gun, and ran away with it, and got shot through his entire left side for his trouble. Then the two U.S. servicemen, helped by another American, and a Brit followed, while the terrorist’s two guns jammed. The latter four heroes already got the Legion of Honor. As the 62 year old Brit pointed out, jumping on the terrorist, and hitting his head and choking him until he got unconscious, was the wise thing to do. Sometimes, extreme physical violence is the right activity to bring survival. This is a truism. Yet, in that case, happy meant punchy.

But what does the will to survival in the individual or the society have to do with? Happiness. Who wants to defend a sad life?

Salvador Dali noticed that the Nazis’ will to start a world war had to do with the desire to lose it. I agree. It was not just hatred, cupidity, and the stampeding of the herd, which characterized Nazism. Germans had long been unhappy, and had long built a cultural anthropology of unhappiness (thanks to the fascist and racist political system which ruled them, much of it straight from Eighteenth Century hyper-militaristic dictatorial Prussia and its ingrained hatred against Jews and Poles). German unhappiness brought forth the cultivation of a war-like society (a poisonous, but delicious fruit of which is higher efficiency).

Something striking about the four Anglo-Saxon heroes of the train above, is that they all seem happy in life. This is reflected by the inner strength they exhibited after the harrowing circumstances they had been through.

Without that inner happiness, the four heroes would have valued their lives less, thus valued life in general less, hence would have been less keen to defend theirs, and other people’s, lives (remember the connection of happiness with Adrenaline).

Happiness is not just a luxury, a reward, it’s a safety, even a security. not just for the individual, but for the community at large.

Socrates said the unexamined life was not worth living. Indeed, it never was, and never will. For a human being, to live is to examine. But with what is life examined? Intelligence. And the better examination is rendered possible only by greater intelligence. And what brings maximum intelligence? Experiencing the world in full.

The Romans knew this well. Even in their baths, they had a frigidarium, an ice-cold bath. And a caldarium, a very hot bath. Life, even at the baths, was not just all about the tepidarium, the tepid bath.

Sadness, unhappiness, or the tepidarium, a tepid life, only brings the input of just part of the world. Thus they make minds which are only partial (for example, only war-like). Such half minds are legions. Hitler was typical: more or less a quasi orphan, failed artist, bum, and then a shell-shocked, gazed soldier, his experience from the world, lots of unhappiness, and war, was all what his mind was made from (Stalin, or Lenin had somewhat similar war-like, dejected, unhappy backgrounds).

Sadness brings up the war-like instincts, hence the fascist reflex (to make one out of the many). Here is the answer Estienne de La Boétie was looking for, when he wondered why people accepted to live in servitude to an oligarchy. In Discours de la servitude volontaire ou le Contr’un (Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, or the Anti-Dictator), La Boétie asserted that tyrants had power because people granted it to them. I have proposed a mechanism to explain why it is so. And lack of happiness is central to it.

Happiness brings other aspects to the interaction with the world, which sadness can never reveal. Happy aspects, unhappiness alone never brings. Happiness allows to learn more form the world, it makes the mind in full.

The happy mind is a mind in full.

In a nuclear chain reaction, each nuclear fission, which is caused by a neutron’s impact, in turn creates, in the average, more than one neutron, which strike other nuclei, etc. Nobel Laureate Irene Curie discovered the chain reaction in the particular case of Uranium 235 in 1937 (although many sexist males preferred to attribute the discovery to Otto Hahn, who got the Nobel for it, it’s clearly Irene who taught Otto, through years of heated epistolary exchanges).

Unhappiness has a much more devastating amplification potential than its equivalent with radionuclides. Indeed an unhappy human being can make many other human beings suffer. Not just a couple. This is all the more true in a representative democracy, that is, an oligarchy. After he was elected Chancellor in January 1933, the pathologically unhappy Adolf Hitler was in good position to make hundreds of millions suffer, and not just his niece (who escaped through suicide, with her uncle’s gun).

If happiness is so important socially and for the blossoming of the individual mind, should not it be viewed as more than a right, but even as a moral duty?

The preceding was inspired by the neurohormonal theory of the mind, according to which neurohormonal states do not just characterize the mind, but are determined, with immense inertia, by exterior and inner circumstances. Given the neurohormonal theory of mind, it’s rather self-obvious that happiness is a duty. Without it, it is not that obvious. It’s probably why the notion, that happiness is a moral duty, not just for kicks, seems to have been ignored by the main philosophical ideologies.

Happiness is right in all ways. It even enables to learn. How? The road to truth is paved with errors, painfully learned. Only happiness makes us willing to embrace errors with an open mind. And wish for more, more errors, as we wish to learn more, learning to happily bounce from pains and disappointments to some new, unexpected, more exciting, freshly instructive errors.

No pain, no gain, yet, no happy, no bouncy. If one wants further gains, one has to accept further pain, and that’s possible only with a sunny, happy disposition. To learn ever more, means to be able to suffer pains gladly, ready to bring some more. Happiness is not just about preferring fun to dread, or about blocking reprisals of hatred against doom and gloom. Happiness is an epistemological need.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Morality Is Contagious: Draco, Nazism, USA CEOs

May 16, 2015

Brains learn, that is, become, the examples they see, hear, feel. What brains are exposed to is what they become. So what we decide to be exposed to, or engaged in, is itself a moral choice. [For the meat of this essay, my opinion, see the second part.]

This is in particular true for morality. The word “moral” was coined by the lawyer, Consul, “new man”, progressive, and philosopher Cicero. Cicero was looking for a word originating from Latin that would adequately translate the Greek “Ethikos”. That latter word, in turn related to ethos, the disposition, habitual character, ‘genius’ of a people. So Cicero went for “moris” genitive of mos (same meaning as the Greek ethos; mos is related to a Proto-Indo-European mood, mode, Mut (German for courage), etc.).

Here is an example of a recent degradation of morality:

We Are Headed Back To Middle-Age Inequality, Led By USA CEOs

We Are Headed Back To Middle-Age Inequality, Led By USA CEOs

[Economics Nobel Prize] Paul Krugman relates in “Broken Windows And American Oligarchy” how Chief Executive Officers’ drive to grabbing all the money for themselves, may have come from watching American football stars earn enormous compensation for euphorically bashing their brains in public, while on drugs, wearing pantyhose.

I have long thought, for decades, that it is literally immoral to watch American football (and I liberally despise those who do; this includes family members tight with Obama, I want them to know, lest they are too comfortable).

Instead of re-iterating my venom about this American football horror, complete with latent homosexuality in denial, drug abuse, couch potato spirit, and money for doing nothing good, and everything bad, let me I highly recommend Krugman’s little essay. Let me quote him:

….”it’s all the fault of Monday Night Football.

[A business man’s] story went like this: when games started being televised, the financial rewards to winning teams shot up, and star players began being offered big salaries. And CEOs, who watch a lot of football, noticed — and started saying to themselves, “Why not me?” If salaries were set in any kind of competitive marketplace, that wouldn’t have mattered, but they aren’t — CEOs appoint the committees that decide how much they’re worth, and are restrained only by norms about what seems like too much. Football, so my conversation partner averred, started the breakdown of those norms, and we were off to the races.

By the way, the timing is about right.”

I am happy to see that my psycho interpretation of history is gaining ground. No, ladies and gentlemen, please do not believe that your everyday little activities, down to drinking beer, do not have to do with your highest ideas.

Napoleon, rightly, pointed out that an army marched on its stomach, and Nietzsche, that one thought, with one stomach (something rediscovered by 28 year old Giulia Enders, whom TV networks love to show in detail how pretty she is; she sold already more than one million of her book on the stomach… “with charm).

Krugman was encouraged, he says, by an “interesting post by Vera te Velde on tests of the “broken windows” theory, which says that people are more likely to break social norms if they see other people violating norms, even if there’s no direct connection — you grab handbags if you see graffiti, you litter if you hear people ignoring noise ordinances, etc.. As she notes, there is now overwhelming experimental evidence for that theory. So it’s not crazy to think that CEOs might start violating pay norms because they see quarterbacks getting big checks.”

It helps that Vera is a fellow economist, thus honorable (and same observation as with Giulia). I sent the following comment which Krugman published within minutes (Krugman was in Oxford at the time):

***

ONE IS EITHER MORAL, OR ONE IS NOT SO:

At least, this is what the Ancient Greeks and Romans thought. The very idea of morals recognizes that lack thereof will lead to the contagion of immorality. Thus that immorality propagates like a plague has been recognized for more than 26 centuries. Then the Athenian legislator Draco set-up a legal system which punished most offenses (such as stealing a cabbage) with the death penalty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Draco_(lawgiver)

The notion can be fruitfully used today: minor offenders can be arrested and their DNA can be documented. As big offenders tend to start as small offenders (that’s the point when they become immoral), as they commit a big crime, their DNA collected during their previous small crime will often allow to identify them. Hence the increasingly fast and accurate detection of big crimes nowadays. This is discouraging for would-be big time criminals, so the big time crime rate is plummeting.

However, internationally the effect can play the other way: when states see that aggression by other states is not punished, that immoral behavior is in plain sight, and nobody does anything about it, then immoral states so far rather innocuous tend to join in mayhem. This is why, in the 1930s, war and bad actions by states spread around the planet in a few years.

In the same spirit, the Nazis executed 200,000 handicapped people, starting in October 1939. The idea was not just to see if they could get away with it, but also to habituate the population to general moral depredation: their cooperation would be needed when millions were to be assassinated at their doorstep (an extermination camp such as Dachau was in Munich’s suburbs, and so were many camps next to urban areas; there was an astounding 20,000 Nazi concentration and extermination camps!).

More generally this is why one war does not generally happen alone, and why tolerated international abuse tend to lead to apparently unrelated wars in the same time frame.

Hence a war such as the one in Syria has a general deleterious moral effect for all those who hear about it, or watch it, and learn to tolerate it.

It is no coincidence that Putin decided to invade Ukraine after he saw his domestiques in England saw nothing wrong with their investor, Bachar El Assad, and Obama called off the Franco-American strike against Syria with minutes to spare.

***

IF YOU WANT TO AVOID WAR, EXHIBIT A HIGHER MORALITY:

The lessons of 1930s is that imperial racist aggressions from fascists in Italy, Germany, Japan (and also the USSR, and a few other smaller powers) would not have been allowed to propagate, if Great Britain and the USA had stood with France. Instead, they stood with Hitler, and Mussolini (through various treaties, and investment, combined with an anti-French attitude). Seeing this, the Japanese high command, and Stalin, felt much encouraged (and secondary fascists in Eastern Europe, Portugal, and Spain).

Thus, right now, it is important for democracy to bark in a timely manner. And to show some bite. The fascists of the 1930s really believed (headed by Hitler) that democracy was weak. That impression ought to be dispelled in a timely manner. Lest we want mayhem.

Those who want a better morality long towards love, conversation. Due to their will to goodness, they tend to forget that all which exists is the result of force. The kindest type of force is debate (from the Thirteenth Century French debatre, to beat completely).

However, morality is always imposed by force. Cicero himself, as a Consul, came to that conclusion. In the aftermath of the Second Catilinarian Conspiracy, Cicero, unfortunately (?) executed the five main conspirators without due process. Later, before and after Caesar’s assassination, Cicero tried to use force for the best, in his attempt to save the Republic. First supporting Caesar, and, then, as the most Senior Senator Octavian (against the much more fascist Marc-Antony).

Marcus Antonius had Cicero’s hands and head nailed on the Rostra, for all to see. After Marcus Antonius’ wife had repeatedly stabbed Cicero’s tongue with an hair pin, to extract vengeance from his power of speech.

After such horrors, the path was paved for 2,000 years of plutocracy, and the rise of American football, and how it impresses weak minds, and made greed into the only morality worth having. Meanwhile, just as impressed, by this generalizing degeneracy of morals, the North Korean dictator is piling as many nuclear bombs and intercontinental missiles as he can, while the USA president plays golf, and obsesses about free trade for his wealthy friends.

This requires discipline. So the dictator fed his uncle, who had put him in power, to dogs (some say it is not true; official pictures, though, show that the uncle was definitively not happy, humiliated and uncooperative). Now the young, “Western educated“,  dictator, has been betrayed by the lack of respect of his Defense Minister, and he, as dozens of other North Korean officials, was executed (possibly with anti-aircraft guns, in the presence of many officials).

In such a moral ambiance, who can doubt that the present North Korean dictator will not order the execution of whoever, even millions, perceived to be in his way?

As examples teach, and create minds, one should not forget that plutocracy inside the West causes much more vicious plutocracy out there. But, out there, is much capacity for mayhem, thanks to weapons of mass destruction.

Such weapons of mass destruction do not have to be gross. Canada’s just announced perfidious CO2 targets are an example of mass violence with a hopeful face. In truth, Canada, whose CO2 emissions have constantly augmented in the last few decades, is exactly giving the worst example: it will soon produce 40% of its CO2 emissions from just one province, Alberta, out of greed, producing tar sands oil.

Canada used to be a nation propounding peace. Now it propound CO2 and tar, all over the planet. Canada has become the symbol of greed and mass criminality, triumphing above reason. (And Canadians do not have the excuse of, say, Israel. With ten million square kilometers for a population smaller than Spain, Poland, or California, Canadians cannot claim to be scared and destitute.)

One should expect dictators and plutocrats to pay attention, worldwide, to Canada’s immorality, and triumph of Earth slapping greed. And to be inspired accordingly.

Patrice Ayme’