Posts Tagged ‘Nietzsche’

What Use Philosophy?

March 23, 2018

Only Philosophy will teach the children well:

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics), or STEAM (adding “Arts” to the preceding) are the latest (well justified) fashion in teaching children in the USA (inspired by China and Singapore). The method is spreading (and I contributed to push it). However, a subject has been forgotten, the most important: philosophy (and, in particular, the history upon which it rests!)

Like science, philosophy is a sum over histories. But it isn’t just that. Like science, philosophy is a method. Like science, the engine of philosophy is unbiased common sense. Yet, a more general method. Like science, philosophy uses facts, and is itself, among other things, a set of facts (not forgetting that ideas and emotions are, themselves, facts). Yet, philosophy doesn’t just use scientific facts (that is, facts beyond any suspicion). Like science, philosophy is a method of enquiry to guess further facts. Like science, philosophy establishes systems of thought. Like science, philosophy can use a single fact to put in doubt a system of thought, and build another. Unlike science though, philosophy can guess facts, and propose (or even establish) systems of thought on those guesses.

Hence philosophy, the philosophical method, common sense applied to whatever, is the key to major advances in science. Major advances in science call upon, and necessitate, guessing the imaginable. They call upon the philosophical method. No philosophical method, no major advances in science possible. Indeed, any major advance in science is built on new facts, and to go fetch those new facts require desire, hope, imagination, systems of potentialities, fancy financing on fumes, curiosity about what could be, etc.

Our bodies love to dance, in part because we love music, part of our dialogue with the universe. Learning to learn, or just to tolerate others’ music is not just pleasant, it’s enriching, a form of wealth which honors the spirit, source of all and any goodness, besides being our very essence!

Buridan’s momentum, force, inertia, relativity of motion and heliocentrism in the Fourteenth Century provide a  nice example of philosophy & science entangled:

Indeed Buridan (circa 1340 CE) guessed that Aristotle’s false physics depended upon neglecting air resistance and friction in general. Absent those errors, what was left was the theory of inertia, a particular case of impetus theory. Buridan noted that we can only ever observe relative motions. We cannot really know absolute motions. So if, for example, we happened to be in a boat going along a coastline, we really don’t know whether the boat we are in is moving or if the coastline is moving alongside us. Nicole Oresme pushed further the physics unmoved on a movable ship argument (replicated by Galileo 250 years later).

A consequence was that a heliocentric system, with planets orbiting the sun indefinitely (and the Earth rotating on itself) was a possibility. Buridan then slyly said that such a system couldn’t be distinguished experimentally from the one in “Scripture”, so we may as well believe the latter. It was an invitation to develop other observations.

Amazingly, both (rector) Buridan and (elected bishop in 1377 CE!) Oresme, having removed all reasons against heliocentrism, and having argued that it was more economical a system of thought, then said it couldn’t be decided, pointed out that this failure showed the limits of reason, and thus that reason couldn’t be used against (their) faith: “What I have said here, by way of diversion of intellectual exercise can in this manner serve as a valuable means of refuting and checking those who would like to impugn our faith by argument.”

“Argument” (reason) is a very powerful, says Oresme, but not powerful enough to determine whether the Earth moves or not. Similarly, if “argument” cannot answer a physical question about the world, we have to be very careful about arguing about faith. Oresme has therefore used rational arguments about physics, involving relativity of motion, to show rational argument can come short, in physics, and thus metaphysics (“faith”).

This is a magnificent example of how entangled science, philosophy and… faith, are.


Trying to teach science alone is trying to teach the chicken, how it moves, without its head (philosophy):

Philosophy goes much further than science and its scientific method, as the philosophical method, which uses whatever, enables to establish systems of thought using whatever, including emotions, songs and poetry (the great Twelfth Century philosopher was relatively as famous as the Beatles for his songwriting; even more than Buridan and Oresme, Abelard was in total war with the Catholic Church, namely Saint Bernard; he got emasculated and excommunicated for it…) In particular, philosophy establishes wisdoms of life: why and how to live. Can’t live without it. It may as well be taught, lest all young end up as Jihadists, snowflakes, or culture deprived nerds.

Here is a bit of the love of more advanced wisdom. More advanced philosophy enables to listen to music others, less mentally advanced types, can’t hear. Therein a happiness others are deprived from. However, establishing new thinking inside one’s brain is expensive, not just expansive, and involves suffering. Thus, some whine, Nietzsche prefered suffering to happiness. (Not really true: Nietzsche observed that lions are happy, and  imagined them happy not to be mice… Bertrand Russell, like all good hypocrites, practicing the opposite of what they preach, disingenuously called Nietzsche not compassionate… While siding with the despicable Kaiser in World War One… while Nietzsche correctly vomited the preceding Kaiser already)

Here is a relevant philosophical perspective Buddha himself blithely ignored: IF ONE PREFERS SUFFERING TO HAPPINESS, HOW CAN THINGS GET WORSE? Verily, suffering and happiness are entangled: happiness is best experienced, like the best tsunami, with the contrasting experience, of a lowering of expectations…

Philosophy at its best. Science can’t do that.  

Science can study suffering, science can’t say why one should study suffering, and what to do with it. Only philosophy can do that, thus only philosophy can order science to get going.

We, humans, have been scientists, for millions of years, but so are we, because we love to be wise. That’s how we are. Neglecting the love of wisdom is neglecting us. It is easy to see how greedy potentates will want to neglect us. Let them not have it. In ancient Rome, philosophy failed first, followed by the failure of democracy, then intelligence. Teach philosophy to children, and, if you don’t, ultimately science and technology themselves will falter, as they did in Rome, barbarity will win, as civilization won’t be sustainable anymore. 

To finish how we started here, the most important subject to teach, with heart and mind, is the most encompassing philosophical attitude. How to do this with children? By teaching them the history of civilizations (notice the plural). Killing two birds with one stone. The rise of violent Muslim Fundamentalism in Europe, in particular France, is directly attributable to an astounding lack of knowledge of history among not just the young, but also self-described “intellectuals” (multiple shootings and wounded in France again today, March 23, 2918, in attacks claimed by Daesch, the so-called Islamist State… no problem we shall just live in a state of siege, adorned by shootings in the streets, schools, supermarkets…)

Generally when taught, in only in one hour, the rough circumstances of Muhammad’s ascent to the position of Mecca’s dictator, a discernible mental shift among young Muslims is discernible. It’s just astounding that this telling part of history is not taught anywhere in French schools (all the more as France is a direct political, cultural and legal descendant of the Roman State, half of which got violently invaded, and ruined… by the immediate successors (“Caliphs“) of Muhammad…

China, Europe, India, are the major scientific, and technological powers of civilization. It is no coincidence that they are also the philosophical superpowers.

Human is the philosophical animal. And science, facts known for sure, a consequence. Art also: try to make symbols that will last 50,000 years… without any science.

You want life and the pursuit of happiness? Let society pursue philosophy first!

Patrice Aymé





November 12, 2017

I preach and teach you transhumanism. Not just because that’s what we wish for, but because that’s what we are. Man, the genus Homo, is something which, not only  shall be overcome, but whose very nature is to be continuously overcome, to be continuously transcended. We call that evolution, and that very smart force is strongest with us. (Says Quantum Physics, no less!)

What have our leaders done to overcome Homo? Nothing new. Instead they cling to the past, because that’s where the money is. And that’s the only thing they understand. Elected “representatives” forced on us the return of ever more grotesque plutocracy, now made global, an attempt to reduce us to a huge, worldwide chimpanzee society, with alpha males doing whatever they want, even murder, while brandishing nukes to impress us. As the ever more acidic sea rises, cannibals brandish nukes, overcoming man has turned from choice, to necessity. (Yes, that’s also an allusion to sustained violence against females, something weakening considerably our species’ mental capability, our core.)

Living beings on Earth have created something beyond what they themselves evolved into. This is what life has done for billions of years, even changing the atmosphere of the planet from methane to its antagonist, oxygen.

And do you want to be the chrysalis left by this great metamorphosis, going back to the beasts, as Nazis, Khmer Rouges, Jihadists, and worst of all, global plutocrats tried, and persist… Rather than to be human in full, and overcome man?

What is ape to man? A laughingstock or painful embarrassment. A reminder of what we truly are. And yesterday’s humanism shall only be that, a painful embarrassment, to the sort of transhumanism we need. Ape should be a lesson of what to avoid, in more ways than one. Despising yesterday’s humanism long has been the way to further humanism. Despising yesterday’s ways has long been the essence of sustainable civilization. Watch the Romans heap contempt on Celtic and Punic civilizations, for practicing human sacrifices (of prisoners for the former, their own children for the latter). That’s how wars are won, and empires built.

A laughingstock or painful embarrassment, this is what representative democracy, truly a reprehensible oligarchy of the lowest passions, has become. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Thus you aspire to be led by worms obsessed by “power”. And, even more embarrassingly, you deny it.

Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape… Only in man, the old-fashioned way, is violence against one’s own species, the fundamental religion. Even chimpanzees don’t go that far. Yet, only then, by massacring each other, could Homo evolve into us. Transcending our species could only be achieved in the bloodiest way.

The transcendence of blossoming intelligence is the meaning of the Earth. Let your will say: the transcendence of intelligence shall be the meaning of the Earth… Man is a rope, tied between beast and spiritual transcendence —a rope over an abyss … what is the greatest in Homo is being a bridge to somewhere hoped for, and not an end to the mud we come from.

The means can’t justify the ends. But better ends have always justified stronger means.

Only by overcoming us, are we ourselves.


Aristotle scoffed that we needed slaves, because we didn’t have machines. Thus Aristotle tied technology to ethics. The myth Athenian philosophers, in the greatest Greek age, imposed, all too brutally, was the “Open Society”, and total democracy. Western Europe has been more subtle, and much more rich in myths. The fundamental myth of the west is not Christianism, as Nietzsche himself pointed out. Nor is it just the “blonde beast”, the no-holds-barred aristocracy, as Nietzsche claimed. No, the fundamental myth of the West is the secular, Republican law, up to 25 centuries old. But this is exactly what global plutocracy presently violates (complete with its Jihadist attack dogs).


Notes on the preceding: “Transhumanism” is fashionable in the Silicon Valley. The preceding gives it some scientifico-poetic metaphysical backup.

The first loud transhumanist was Nietzsche, something rather ironical. My own contribution above is a modification of one of Nietzsche’s most famous passages. Below is Nietzsche’s original from Also Spracht Zarathustra. There are significant differences between my version and Nietzsche’s. First the notion of Superman of Nietzsche (Ubermensch) is vague. It seems to be mostly a wished-for change of mentality, in Nietzsche’s parlance, sometimes, although at other times, he refers explicitly to biological evolution (worm, ape, etc.)

I refer explicitly to evolution. We have become masters of evolution, ever since we evolved goats, and saw the devil in them. Nietzsche professed to detest Darwin, as he did most “Englishmen”, for their lack of humor, a dearth of laughter, among other things, he said. In truth, strict Darwinism, the selection of the fittest, established by rolling the dice, robbed the universe of meaning. (And makes little scientific sense, when one looks at numbers with an open mind!)

Nietzsche could be very Lamarckian: Over immense periods of time the intellect produced nothing but errors. A few of these proved to be useful and helped to preserve the species: those who hit upon or inherited these had better luck in their struggle for themselves and their progeny. Such erroneous articles of faith, which were continually inherited, until they became almost part of the basic endowment of the species.” [Gay Science, Origins of Knowledge, # 110.]

I am more Nietzschean than Nietzsche, as I believe that what works is true. Truth does not need to be corrected, I embrace it, be it only to smother it to death. If a species is tried and true about some ways, how could it be in error?

More generally, Nietzsche’s metaphysics was borderline self-contradictory (Nietzsche’s “superman” in the end, is supposed to use his super mental powers to embraces “amor fati”, the love of one’s fate, something a mussel already does to perfection! Why is the superman indispensable to achieve the status of walrus’ food?)

My metaphysics is simpler: I believe understanding should be privileged, and that means love of, and for, those who generate and embrace it.

From my point of view, Homo evolved a succession of biological supermen (with the possible degeneracy from Homo Neanderthalis to a significantly inferior Homo Sapiens hybridized a bit with Neanderthal: Neanderthal genes were probably overcrowded and displaced for purely mathematical reasons, as I discovered, and some academic scientists recently confirmed by running computer models demonstrating my acumen without acknowledging it, as those in the rat race are wont to do).

Technology, which hindered our recent biological evolution, can now accelerate it enormously (thanks to gene editing, and various implementable devices).

So we can deliberately evolve really super supermen, guided by our super ethics and super smarts.

But there is even more tantalizing: Quantum Computing will bring, I boldly prophesize, Quantum Consciousness, Quantum Sentiensizing (Self Conscious Quantum Computing). Creating Artificial Consciousness, thanks to our mastery of Quantum Physics, will erase the frontier between man and machine.

Transcending the human species will then leave even supermen behind…


Before exposing Nietzsche’s famous discourse on the overman/superman, let me insist that Nietzsche’s superman has nothing to do with the Nazi supermen, quite the opposite. Indeed, Nietzsche hated the Prussianized Germany he saw created under his aghast eyes. Throughout his works, Nietzsche made a formidable campaign against Germany, the German state unified under Prussian hegemony at Versailles (France!) in 1871, complete with a thought system dominated by military superiority and racism (verily, trojan Horses for plutocracy). Prussia constitutionally hated, exploited and discriminated against Poles and Jews, whom Nietzsche made a show to judge to be vastly superior to Germans.  The thinker whom they claimed, inspired their ideas, actually explicitly hated most of what the Nazis stood for! One can’t be more misinterpreted than being taken as an icon by a system of thought when one thoroughly contradicted it.


Nietzsche’s overcoming in his own words:

“I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?… All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood, and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is ape to man? A laughingstock or painful embarrassment. And man shall be that to overman: a laughingstock or painful embarrassment. You have made your way from worm to man, and much in you is still worm. Once you were apes, and even now, too, man is more ape than any ape… The overman is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth… Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman—a rope over an abyss … what is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.”

As we tinker with the entire biosphere, this has all become very practical…

Don’t underestimate poetical metaphysics: had the Germans read and understood Nietzsche, there would not have been the savage Prussian inspired racist, fascist and demented assaults German plutocracy unleashed in 1914 and 1939 (yes, I know, Great Britain financed Prussian racism and furious militarism as early as 1757).

Nietzsche was certain that the Germans would cause massive wars in the Twentieth Century, he wrote this explicitly, and he was, unfortunately 100% right (thus showing that the German catastrophe was predictable, thus avoidable; Nietzsche’s critique was similar to Einstein’s). History would have been different, if Germans had condescended to understand in 1912 what their descendants understand now. And even then, what they understand now is not history in full, which is even more dreadful and humiliating (in particular the stealthy, but decisive, role of US plutocracy, scrupulously ignored by the powers that be, as they were put in place by that very process they condemn with the tips of their forked tongues!)

Patrice Ayme’

Bowie Knife Gut Naivety

January 11, 2016

So David Bowie is dead from cancer in 18 months. His latest album was highly original, as usual. What I view as Bowie’s best piece of music, “Heroes” (with Brian Eno) was recorded in Berlin, where Bowie lived before of the fall of the Wall. The State of Germany noticed:

Patrice Ayme Retweeted from:

Germany Officially Thankful To David Bowie. Rock Rocked The Wall

Germany Officially Thankful To David Bowie. Rock Rocked The Wall

GermanForeignOffice ‏@GermanyDiplo : Good-bye, David Bowie. You are now among #Heroes. Thank you for helping to bring down the #wall.  #RIPDavidBowie

Bowie had rigged speakers during concerts in Berlin, so that they directed music over the Wall. But the connections with Germany are deeper than that: Friedrich Nietzsche inspired Bowie:

Nietzsche Said He "Made Philosophy With A hammer". Bowie Also Cut Through The Crap

Nietzsche Said He “Made Philosophy With A hammer”. Bowie Also Cut Through The Crap

We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” (Friedrich Nietzsche.)

Rock rocked the Wall, because it changed the mood. It changed the mood by breaking down a lot of conventions in the West. So rock installed a rocky mood: if convictions could be brought down that easily there, why not here?

The first rock artists to have played on the other side of the Iron Curtain where the Rolling Stones, in Poland, 1967 (just before Bowie started his career). Tickets to the concerts were given out by the Communist Party, much to the bands’ dismay. An unamused Keith Richard complained about it during a concert. Visiting Soviet officials were not pleased. “They thought the show was so awful, so decadent, that they said this would never happen in Moscow,”— Mick Jagger.

Bowie, an English native, was also a formal Canton de Vaud resident, for more than 5 years, and married (Somali top model Iman) in Switzerland in 1992 (they have a daughter, and Iman became foster mother to Bowie’s son from his previous marriage).

Asked why he kept on innovating, David Bowie said:”Elitism”.

“I always had a repulsive need to be something more than human.

I felt very puny as a human. I thought,

“Fuck that. I want to be a superhuman.”

-David Bowie

Nietzsche had written this earlier, and Bowie had read him. But, of course, this is the metaprinicple of humanity. Humanity would never have evolved, if our (pre) human ancestors had not said: Fuck that. I want to be a superhuman.

Some say the generations have to flow, because youth and creativity will replace the old gizzards. But David Bowie said he stayed stuck at the age of twenty, and, one day, was told he was in his fifties. Relative to the flow of centuries, a human life, whether destroyed after four years, or eight decades, is just a flick of time.

A 15-year-old refugee just attacked a Jewish professor in France: youth does not have necessarily more brains than the elders. The son of Turkish refugees of Kurdish origin, the adolescent youth was a good student in high school. He attacked the teacher in the street in Marseilles, with a 50 centimeter hatchet.

The victim protected himself with the Torah, which got cut up badly. Witnesses intervened and a biker pursued the attacker until a police patrol could nab him. He was found with still another lethal knife hidden on him (something unlawful in France). The crazily vicious youth declared to the police that the knife was to kill police officers. He also declared he self-radicalized on the Internet, by reading about the Islamist State, and he engaged in all these murderous rampage for Allah (as if Allah, should He exist, needed help from demoniac morons!)

This is one more potentially lethal attack by Muslim refugee rendered insane by the Qur’an. The preceding one was on David Bowie’s birthday, last Friday, an assault against police. French detectives found a German chip in the phone of the assaillant, and the (now safely dead) “refugee” was tracked down to Germany, where he had taken refuge, indeed.

Our ancestors were humans. It did not matter if their wisdom was only human: what could they do that would go really wrong? Eat each others? Well, the cooks would survive, and they did. It was the eternal return of the same old evolution. But now evolution has been all too successful: it has evolved god.

No, not the one in the Bible and Qur’an. Not just a figment of the imaginations of some primitives, 3,000 years ago. No, real gods, this time, and they are not kidding. Some are even insane, dedicated to the Cult of Death.

We, now, are not simple cannibals. We can cause a lot of damage. We are gods: we propose and dispose upon the greatest gift in the Universe: life on Earth.

Indeed, the greatest gift: I argued that not only Earth is in the habitable, water rich zone, it’s also equipped with a powerful radioactive core, which enables very long-term life evolution, hence the rise of sentience.

Earlier philosophers, starting with G. Bruno, following Buridan, argued conscious life was all around the cosmos; nowadays, forsaken physicists argue universes full of conscious life are all over; I disagree. Although habitable planets are obviously in the hundreds of billions, in this galaxy alone, sentience may well be on this planet alone.

Now we have the powers of the gods. We can use it to construct and improve, ad vitam eternam, again and again. We can also use it for utter destruction. Just once.

And there would be no tomorrow. We thus need huge intelligence to move forward and progress, the intelligence of the gods, just as we have the power of the gods.

Intelligence, creative intelligence is rare. Not as rare as live on Earth, of course, but still, it cannot be replaced by the hordes and the herds. Replacing David Bowie will be difficult, for civilization itself, and one more reason to push for life extension.

To extend intelligence, we need to extend life, it’s a simple as that. Just contemplate the lives of cephalopods: they are very clever, but cannot establish a culture: they live too short for that. Do we live long enough to establish a sustainable culture?

The jury is out, and it does not look good.

As we mourn David Bowie, we have to remember that intelligence is not just about being kind. Intelligence is also about cutting through naivety, not to say the crap. Following his elders the Who, Stones, Beatles, Bowie pushed a bit further to stab the beast. Yet the beast, and the mark of the beast, are more vigorous than ever. Don’t ask who brandishes the knife, ask why it is brandished. This is as far as pacifism can realistically go.

Patrice Ayme’


What Are Germans So Angry About?

July 15, 2015


The terrible war between Sparta and Athens which destroyed Greece, started because Sparta wanted to be seen as the hegemon of Greece. Whereas, truly, all indicators were that Athens was the rising hegemon.

And the reasons for this were deep: the racist, fascist exploitative model of Sparta, far from being a leader, was going down, whereas Athens, whom Pericles described as an “Open Society“, was going up. Athens is the leader (hegemon) that we are following today.

Smart people learn from history, and France, in particular, has long pondered Athens’ fate.

Balancing a budget is worthy, as long as there are not excellent reasons to make it unbalanced.

A military situation is an excellent reason for unbalancing the budget of a state. The USA generated a massive deficit in World War Two. So did Britain, or France.

Hegemon Celebrates In Style Victory Over Germany In The Case Of Greece, July 14, 2015

Hegemon Celebrates In Style Victory Over Germany In The Case Of Greece, July 14, 2015

The USA deficit was from credit extended by the USA, to the USA. In other words it was convertible into a tax. The debt could be extinguished by taxation. And that is exactly what FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower did (tax rates were hiked up as high as 93% under Ike).

The British or French debts were credited by the USA, and that meant a sort of slavery, looking forward, as happened. France has seriously recovered. In August 1914, 38 million Frenchmen were invaded by 122 million German speakers. Now there are significantly more young Frenchmen, than young Germans.

Right now, the French Republic’s army is making war, or containing organized outlaws on several continents (South America, Africa, and Eurasia) and many countries. The French government does not have the money to do so. Thus the French government ought to keep its budget unbalanced. The French imbalance is targetted at 4.5% of GDP (in violation of Euro regulations by 50%).

British budgetary imbalance is only at 3.7%. The price Britain pays for this better budgetary balance, is to play now only a puny military role… relative to France. France does not like that, her only serious ally being now, once again, the USA. Same old same old, just as in the 1780s…

Germany has a primary budget imbalance of zero percent. Which may look balanced, but is not, because it’s mentally imbalanced to count cents, while Europe burns.

A republic which does not defend its values is not a Republic.

Balancing a budget can kill an economy: the Greek GDP is somewhat down 30% from its peak. However Greece has a primary budget excedent: that means that the Greek government spends less than it receives in taxes, fees, etc. The reason for the Greek overall current account deficit is payment of interest to (world government’s) institutions such as the ECB, the ironically denominated European Stability Fund, the IMF, etc.

The French government knows all of this, and is, truly, the real hegemon of Europe. So when the French president drew the line, Germans, most of them against keeping Greece is the Eurozone, according to polls, had to capitulate.

Another 85 billion Euros is going Greece’s way. Dr. Merkel, in the end did the reasonable thing, what the French government told her to do (and she overruled her hawkish, asnd somewhat deranged finance minister).

However, the Germans are angry. Very angry. The New York Times ponder “Germany’s Destructive Anger“.

The author, Jacob Soll, an American, played a role in Greek debt drama (rumors are that the debt may have been overestimated). Says he: German anger, and we know they are angry. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was reported to have started yelling during Saturday night’s negotiations. France and Italy have both made huge loans to Greece, but neither country has expressed hostility to Greece. Why is Germany so angry?

As an economic historian, I got a taste of this resentment…”

Indeed why are the Germans so angry? Because they are resentful. About what? Nietzsche was so intrigued by German Resentment, that some view him, first, as the philosopher of resentment.

How did Germans got so crazy, once again?

Mr. Soll, a professor of history and accounting at the University of Southern California, is the author of “The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations.” He concludes: “German attendees circled me to explain how the Greeks were robbing the Germans. They did not want to be victims anymore. While I certainly accepted their economic points and, indeed, the point that European Union member countries owe Germany so much money that more defaults could sink Germany, it was hard, in Munich at least, to see the Germans as true victims.

Here lies a major cultural disconnect, and also a risk for the Germans. For it seems that their sense of victimization has made them lose their cool, both in negotiations and in their economic assessments. If the Germans are going to lead Europe, they can’t do it as victims.”

Krugman makes similar observations in “Angry Germans“.

Says Paul: “Germany’s sense of victimization does seem real, and is a big problem for its neighbors.”

Germany’s sense of victimization is how it got to hate the French, the Slavs, and the Jews. Just read Hitler’s Mein Kampf: it starts with Germany victimized by the French, then smoothly transit to it being victimized by the Jews…

Why so angry?

Because the truth is out: Germany is not the hegemon of Europe. It tried, once again, and completely failed. Once again. The French Republic stood in the way, gathered around her a more powerful coalition than Germany, in the Eurozone itself, and then added the IMF.

The IMF made first a 180 degree turn: it has concluded that the Greek debt, as it is, is completely unsustainable, and should be cut drastically (Tsipras proposed 30%, I propose 50%). All serious students of debt agree. And Germany used that trick several times in the last 150 years.

Meanwhile, the USA had rallied the French position. The USA has created for its economy 13 times more money than the Eurozone.

France won. France won even Merkel.

France is the hegemon of Europe, Germany the moribund. Because, assuredly, only the mentally moribund would strike such a stupid position about Greece with so much obstinacy, absent any capacity for reason and introspection.

Patrice Ayme’

Piketty Pickets Titanic Teutonic Ignorance

July 6, 2015

Watching the entire German political establishment (so-called “Socialists” from the SPD Schultz, Gabriel, etc…) threaten Greece with punishments not in their powers to inflict… One is reminded that some countries have a habit of lying (this is, basically, what Nietzsche already accused Germany of doing… 130 years ago).

I said the entire German establishment… But for, paradoxically, Angela Merkel. Instead she, correctly, went to take her orders in Paris (a good instinct). After his victory the Greek Premier called Hollande first… And Hollande told him that Greek finance Minister Varoufakis had to go. Varoufakis had gone a truth too far, namely that plutocrats and their agents are terrorists.

You Two Better Solve This By Cutting Greek Debt 30%, Or History Will Punish You

You Two Better Solve This By Cutting Greek Debt 30%, Or History Will Punish You

In August 1914, the German Socialist Party, the SPD, supported the wild attack of Prussian and filthy rich plutocrats against the rest of the world, and in particular, the French Republic. A month later, the entire German army got nearly annihilated east of Paris (the First Battle of the Marne).

Why is it that the SPD cannot learn? (Germany is governed by a SPD-CDU coalition headed by CDU’s Merkel; Merkel, just like Hitler, needs the approval of her Parliament. Differently from Hitler, she can’t just send the SS to help approval.)

Countries are not just affected by their own cultures, ideologies, systems of thought. They are also influenced by something more pernicious, systems of mood. The mood that welcomed Auschwitz and another 5,000 extermination camps in Nazi Germany, was not made by Hitler, contrarily to despicable legend. Hitler just accompanied the exterminationist mood. That, in turn, was implied by a great admiration for Luther, one of the worst men. Ever.

Martin Luther was one of the great thought criminal, ever, because of his vicious anti-Judaism (many others, more courageous than Luther had criticized Catholicism before, without hating the Jews).

This is a serious PHILOSOPHICAL problem. Friedrich Nietzsche (who had fought against France in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71, before realizing his mistake), wrote hundreds of pages on the madness of the German herd, and its strident anti-Judaism.

Somehow the Nazis turned around Nietzsche’s philosophy against himself.

I thank John Rogers, a commenter on this site to attract my attention to (French) economist Thomas Piketty’s interview below.

Piketty wrote “Capital in the XXI Century”, a book where he presents (part of the) problems in economy and finance long exposed on this site (and its ancestor), and a few of the solutions (although I go much further, as I consider the public-private fractional reserve system a fundamentally fascist system, which has, ideally, to be outlaed in the long run)

This interview with Thomas Piketty puts it all in perspective:

DIE ZEIT: Should we Germans be happy that even the French government is aligned with the German dogma of austerity?

Thomas Piketty: Absolutely not. This is neither a reason for France, nor Germany, and especially not for Europe, to be happy. I am much more afraid that the conservatives, especially in Germany, are about to destroy Europe and the European idea, all because of their shocking ignorance of history.

ZEIT: But we Germans have already reckoned with our own history.

Piketty: But not when it comes to repaying debts! Germany’s past, in this respect, should be of great significance to today’s Germans. Look at the history of national debt: Great Britain, Germany, and France were all once in the situation of today’s Greece, and in fact had been far more indebted. The first lesson that we can take from the history of government debt is that we are not facing a brand new problem. There have been many ways to repay debts, and not just one, which is what Berlin and Paris would have the Greeks believe.

“Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations.”
ZEIT: But shouldn’t they repay their debts?

Piketty: My book recounts the history of income and wealth, including that of nations. What struck me while I was writing is that Germany is really the single best example of a country that, throughout its history, has never repaid its external debt. Neither after the First nor the Second World War. However, it has frequently made other nations pay up, such as after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, when it demanded massive reparations from France and indeed received them. The French state suffered for decades under this debt. The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.

ZEIT: But surely we can’t draw the conclusion that we can do no better today?

Piketty: When I hear the Germans say that they maintain a very moral stance about debt and strongly believe that debts must be repaid, then I think: what a huge joke! Germany is the country that has never repaid its debts. It has no standing to lecture other nations.

ZEIT: Are you trying to depict states that don’t pay back their debts as winners?

Piketty: Germany is just such a state. But wait: history shows us two ways for an indebted state to leave delinquency. One was demonstrated by the British Empire in the 19th century after its expensive wars with Napoleon. It is the slow method that is now being recommended to Greece. The Empire repaid its debts through strict budgetary discipline. This worked, but it took an extremely long time. For over 100 years, the British gave up two to three percent of their economy to repay its debts, which was more than they spent on schools and education. That didn’t have to happen, and it shouldn’t happen today. The second method is much faster. Germany proved it in the 20th century. Essentially, it consists of three components: inflation, a special tax on private wealth, and debt relief.

ZEIT: So you’re telling us that the German Wirtschaftswunder [“economic miracle”] was based on the same kind of debt relief that we deny Greece today?

Piketty: Exactly. After the war ended in 1945, Germany’s debt amounted to over 200% of its GDP. Ten years later, little of that remained: public debt was less than 20% of GDP. Around the same time, France managed a similarly artful turnaround. We never would have managed this unbelievably fast reduction in debt through the fiscal discipline that we today recommend to Greece. Instead, both of our states employed the second method with the three components that I mentioned, including debt relief. Think about the London Debt Agreement of 1953, where 60% of German foreign debt was cancelled and its internal debts were restructured.

“We need a conference on all of Europe’s debts, just like after World War II. A restructuring of all debt, not just in Greece but in several European countries, is inevitable.”
ZEIT: That happened because people recognized that the high reparations demanded of Germany after World War I were one of the causes of the Second World War. People wanted to forgive Germany’s sins this time!

Piketty: Nonsense! This had nothing to do with moral clarity; it was a

rational political and economic decision. They correctly recognized that, after large crises that created huge debt loads, at some point people need to look toward the future. We cannot demand that new generations must pay for decades for the mistakes of their parents. The Greeks have, without a doubt, made big mistakes. Until 2009, the government in Athens forged its books. But despite this, the younger generation of Greeks carries no more responsibility for the mistakes of its elders than the younger generation of Germans did in the 1950s and 1960s. We need to look ahead. Europe was founded on debt forgiveness and investment in the future. Not on the idea of endless penance. We need to remember this.

ZEIT: The end of the Second World War was a breakdown of civilization. Europe was a killing field. Today is different.

Piketty: To deny the historical parallels to the postwar period would be wrong. Let’s think about the financial crisis of 2008/2009. This wasn’t just any crisis. It was the biggest financial crisis since 1929. So the comparison is quite valid. This is equally true for the Greek economy: between 2009 and 2015, its GDP has fallen by 25%. This is comparable to the recessions in Germany and France between 1929 and 1935.

ZEIT: Many Germans believe that the Greeks still have not recognized their mistakes and want to continue their free-spending ways.

Piketty: If we had told you Germans in the 1950s that you have not properly recognized your failures, you would still be repaying your debts. Luckily, we were more intelligent than that.

ZEIT: The German Minister of Finance, on the other hand, seems to believe that a Greek exit from the Eurozone could foster greater unity within Europe.

Piketty: If we start kicking states out, then the crisis of confidence in which the Eurozone finds itself today will only worsen. Financial markets will immediately turn on the next country. This would be the beginning of a long, drawn-out period of agony, in whose grasp we risk sacrificing Europe’s social model, its democracy, indeed its civilization on the altar of a conservative, irrational austerity policy.

ZEIT: Do you believe that we Germans aren’t generous enough?

Piketty: What are you talking about? Generous? Currently, Germany is profiting from Greece as it extends loans at comparatively high interest rates.

ZEIT: What solution would you suggest for this crisis?

Piketty: We need a conference on all of Europe’s debts, just like after World War II. A restructuring of all debt, not just in Greece but in several European countries, is inevitable. Just now, we’ve lost six months in the completely intransparent negotiations with Athens. The Eurogroup’s notion that Greece will reach a budgetary surplus of 4% of GDP and will pay back its debts within 30 to 40 years is still on the table. Allegedly, they will reach one percent surplus in 2015, then two percent in 2016, and three and a half percent in 2017. Completely ridiculous! This will never happen. Yet we keep postponing the necessary debate until the cows come home.

ZEIT: And what would happen after the major debt cuts?

Piketty: A new European institution would be required to determine the maximum allowable budget deficit in order to prevent the regrowth of debt. For example, this could be a commmittee in the European Parliament consisting of legislators from national parliaments. Budgetary decisions should not be off-limits to legislatures. To undermine European democracy, which is what Germany is doing today by insisting that states remain in penury under mechanisms that Berlin itself is muscling through, is a grievous mistake.

“If we had told you Germans in the 1950s that you have not properly recognized your failures, you would still be repaying your debts. Luckily, we were more intelligent than that.”
ZEIT: Your president, François Hollande, recently failed to criticize the fiscal pact.

Piketty: This does not improve anything. If, in past years, decisions in Europe had been reached in more democratic ways, the current austerity policy in Europe would be less strict.

ZEIT: But no political party in France is participating. National sovereignty is considered holy.

Piketty: Indeed, in Germany many more people are entertaining thoughts of reestablishing European democracy, in contrast to France with its countless believers in sovereignty. What’s more, our president still portrays himself as a prisoner of the failed 2005 referendum on a European Constitution, which failed in France. François Hollande does not understand that a lot has changed because of the financial crisis. We have to overcome our own national egoism.

ZEIT: What sort of national egoism do you see in Germany?

Piketty: I think that Germany was greatly shaped by its reunification. It was long feared that it would lead to economic stagnation. But then reunification turned out to be a great success thanks to a functioning social safety net and an intact industrial sector. Meanwhile, Germany has become so proud of its success that it dispenses lectures to all other countries. This is a little infantile. Of course, I understand how important the successful reunification was to the personal history of Chancellor Angela Merkel. But now Germany has to rethink things. Otherwise, its position on the debt crisis will be a grave danger to Europe.

ZEIT: What advice do you have for the Chancellor?

Piketty: Those who want to chase Greece out of the Eurozone today will end up on the trash heap of history. If the Chancellor wants to secure her place in the history books, just like [Helmut] Kohl did during reunification, then she must forge a solution to the Greek question, including a debt conference where we can start with a clean slate. But with renewed, much stronger fiscal discipline.


I read, and approved what Piketty said. I would add this: only two countries, Denmark and deluded Britain, have an opt-out of the Euro currency. All other European countries are supposed to adopt the Euro (and Denmark is already pegged to the Euro… As the Swiss Frank basically is… by spurts). Thus, to kick Greece out of the Eurozone is a bit like wanting to kick it out of the Union. Interestingly, too, Greece has not breached some democratic aspects that other countries (namely Austria and Hungary nearly did, exposing themselves to sanctions… The Austrian case was resolved, Hungary is still under close watch).

Thus Greece really is making plutocrats and their obsequious servants furious. Some think the banks of the USA got 13 trillion dollars of money from the government (namely, the Fed). Europe’s ECB gave only one trillion Euros. It’s high time to write some huge checks to relaunch the European economy. In the case of Greece we are talking about making a 100 billion gift. Scaled to the entire European economy, that is ONLY five trillion Euros. Notice it’s smaller than the case in the USA.

Last, but not least: California, with many times the economy of Greece, got broke a few years back. It paid employees with IOUs (I Owe You). Now California has fully recovered, thanks, in great part, to its knowledge economy. So, no panic. Just keep money flowing to Greece’s necessary functions, such as science and education…

Patrice Ayme’

NEUROGENESIS: WISDOM; Memories: Resentment

August 16, 2014

The old thinking about the brain was that neurons were given at birth, and then progressively died. A researcher named Altman found otherwise in 1962: he showed that adult human brains created new neurons. Few believed him, even fewer found that interesting. However, by 1995, incontrovertible evidence of new neurons was found in at least two regions of the brain.

And if one blocked neurogenesis, one blocked learning.

The first memory organ of taxicab drivers learning a lot of streets, the hippocampus, got visibly enlarged.

A rat hippocampus creates at least 10,000 new neurons a day. Yes, a vulgar rat.

New Neurons In White: Forge, Forget, Forgive

New Neurons In White: Forge, Forget, Forgive

Yet, the mind is not just about adding neurons. For those keen to remember their past, fresh neurons are the worst things. Newly formed neurons in the hippocampus — an area of the brain involved in switching from short term memory to the longer sort — dislodge previously learned data, a May 2014 Science article shows.

That’s counter-intuitive at first. Naively, one would expect new neurons to mean a better brain, thus better memory. On second examination, though, if neurons are the brains, new neurons mean new brain, not the old brain, with its old memories.

Many studies have shown that boosting neural proliferation before learning enhances memory in mice.

More neurons increase the capacity to learn new memories. However, memory is based on circuits, synapses, and maybe pre-existing “grandmother neurons” (whatever that exactly means: it could be a tight group of cells). If one adds new elements, it makes sense that they have nothing to do with pre-existing neuronal geometries.

Quite the opposite: creating new neurons could clear old memories… Therapeutically.

In the 2014, Science study, newborn and adult mice were trained to fear an environment that brought electric shocks. The mice learned the task quickly. Infant mice remembered the horror for only one day, adult mice retained the fear for weeks.

This difference correlates with neurogenesis. Memory persistence in newborn mice was enhanced genetically and by chemically suppressing neurogenesis after learning. In adult mice, four to six weeks of regular exercise — an activity known to promote neurogenesis — reduced the previous fear.

Massive neurogenesis in young animals explains why youngsters do not remember their early life. And, as luck has it, an animal model exists.

Guinea pigs and Chilean rodents called Degus have longer gestation periods than mice, and thus reduced brain growth after birth. Baby Degus and guinea pigs do not have infantile amnesia. Yet, heavy exercise and drugs promoting neurogenesis brings it on.

Just as neurogenesis tends to deny the past, it denies visiting again the feelings one had then. That’s resentment. French for feeling again: re-sentiment (with a second “s” added to make a snake sound).

Nietzsche used the word “ressentiment”, because German has not word for “resentment”.

That semantic gap is, per se, reason enough to suspect that Germans walloped in it: if one avoids a notion like the plague, it is an indication that one indulges in it. Luther is full of resentment against the Jews, and Hitler against the French, and then, the Jews.

For the philosopher Kierkegaard, ressentiment occurs in a “reflective, passionless age“, stifling creativity and passion in passionate individuals. Individuals who do not conform to the masses are made into scapegoats and objects of spite by the masses, to maintain the status quo ante and to imbue the masses with their sense of superiority.

According to Nietzsche, the more a person is strong-willed, and dynamic, the less place and time they have for contemplating what’s done to them. The reaction of a strong-willed person (a “wild beast“), when it happens, is short: it is not a prolonged filling, and take-over of their entire intellect by an obsession.

It’s impressive to realize how the most recent neurological findings (above) relate to those philosophers’ insights.

The super intelligent person is always in full neurogenesis, in her haste to model the world with more faithfulness. That makes her unable to hold a grudge: she has better thing to think about.

This opens a new way out of the eternal wheel of conflict, and various vicious circles: react as wild beast to attack, but then smother what led to it under the new mindset of neurogenesis.

Instead of rejecting the world as painful, and hoping for a better one as Christians, Muslims and Buddhists do, think the world again, and the old problematic will fade away.

The same may apply to entire societies, nations, or religions, or civilization. If any of these favor ressentiment, it will have to spurn neurogenesis, or its societal equivalent. Just as individuals will.

Hence a vicious circle: the more resentment, the less imagination, and intelligence, and thus the more madness in crowds as in individuals.

Let’s notice, moreover, that denial and bad faith (a la Sartre, De Beauvoir) are very close to resentment.

So what would the moral conclusion of the preceding be? Generating new ideas, just as generating new neurons, is how to break out from the past’s vicious circles. Higher intelligence is also a better morality.

Patrice Ayme’

Calmly Thinking Up A Storm

August 9, 2014

Buddhists, Muslims and other Christians, often make the argument that human society is a terrible place, a false world, that it has to be fled at any cost.

Saint Augustine famously recommended to leave that “City of Man” (Rome), and join instead the “City of God”.

Soon all Romans joined the City of God, which happened to also be that of the Plutocrats. There was no more money for real things, like the military. By 400 CE, the Franks were put in charge of defending the North West of the empire. In 406 CE, the Rhine froze, and several German nations broke through, surprising the Franks. There were no hinterlands military reserves.

The Vandals, one of these nations, charged across Gallia, Hispania, and landed across, in Africa.

Soon the Vandals were below the walls of Saint Augustine city of Hippo (of which he was bishop). Hippo fell, a case of divine justice, no doubt. Augustine died. The Vandal occupation, overall, lasted a century, before a puny, but successful Roman counter-attack.

Within three centuries, North Africa, the world’s most Christianized place, would fall to the invading Arabs. And it fell the hard way: after a war that lasted many years, the cities were annihilated.

A characteristic of Roman North Africa is that the presence of Roman soldiery was very light. Eight centuries of peace were enjoyed, aside from episodic violence during Vandal rule. Now contemplate this:

Here is Alex Jones, a successful blogger, in “Finding calm in the storm“: “Human society encourages you to become anxious, always in a state of panic. The adrenaline constantly runs like an angry river… The news is always ugly, full of fear and worry. Human society is a constant raging hurricane of angry fear.” He then recommends to pet a cat: ”You are calm, the cat enjoys your company. The cat has pulled you out of the storm into a calm centre.”

I am myself a great apostle of Nature, and the realism it fosters. Using a human body, and a human mind, the way they were evolved to be, in nature, allows us to enjoy what we are meant to be. That’s why I hike, run, dive, climb, and work on my garden.

Yet, a purring cat, per se, comes rather short, as a full expression of nature. And why are some people so disturbed by… nothing?

The argument can be made, and ought to be made, that, in this raging storm, being calm should be the least of our worries. There is all too much calm about big things, and too much tempests in tea pots.

Alex Jones kindly replied this to me: “A calm mind is a wise mind.”

There we have the naked truth: a blatant identification between calm, and wisdom. They are related, but far from identical. It’s true that a wise mind will often be calm, when others are not. That’s because the wise has anticipated the situation, and those who are less wise, when confronted to reality, get all excited while they are trying to adapt to it. They have no choice.

Conversely, those who were never excited never learned anything.

If one believes that “a calm mind is a wise mind”, the Americans were sure wise to keep calmly supporting Hitler in 1939. The Japanese were sure wise to calmly support emperor Hiro Hito, from 1937 (Nanking) to Pearl Harbor (1941), and beyond.

And those who do not give a hoot about whether humanity is poisoning the biosphere, are certainly remarkably calm, thus very wise. Meanwhile, Nile crocodiles, who barely move for months in winter, deep in the watery depths, have got to be the wisest.

Believing that calm is wise, renders the calm acceptance in the UK and the USA of Bush’s attack on Iraq in 2003, really wise.

In truth, unveiling truth often demands not just excitation, but outright violence. Even if that’s just the violence of changing one’s own mind. Nietzsche pointed out, courageously, that he made “philosophy with a hammer“.

Conventional wisdom is always calm, because it is so sure of itself. Calm also are the deepest errors, those harder to expugnate. It’s easier to keep one’s mind at ease, and regurgitate the past, as one learned it at the age of four.

To identify wisdom with calm is, thus, a fundamental error.

Building the correct ideas and moods requires work, thus energy, thus, one could say, violence. A child has to accept a lot of force to be perpetrated on her mind to fabricate all that knowledge and wisdom, which shows up in immensely subtle neuro-geometry.

When one looks in the small, at the Quantum scale, one discovers extreme agitation. And the smaller one looks, the greater the agitation. Most of the mass of a proton is created by the kinetic energy of the quarks zooming around inside, thanks to E = mcc. (E, the kinetic energy of quarks, creates m, the mass of the proton.) Agitation itself creates mass.

Last night, I watched a tremendous thunderstorm. Nature herself is violent. Truth itself is what’s left of the imagination, once all trials and errors one could think of have been made.

Truth is not calm, nor is it arrived at calmly. Believing otherwise was all the excuse authorities often had to send many a thinker to death.

Patrice Ayme’


October 27, 2013

[Dark Side I; the squeamish is invited to read something else.]

Jane Goodall, the fanatical Christian and do-gooder, was the leading chimpanzee ethologist. Her lesson number one, as she always insists, is that “chimpanzees are very much like us“. Paradoxically, the greatest discovery Goodall made was what I view as the deepest pillar of the Dark Side. The WILL TO EXTERMINATION. Roll over Nietzsche, and even Sade!

Nietzsche’s Will to Power should be controversial. Because, not only the likes of Caesar or Napoleon had evoked it, but there are other “Wills“. Obviously. And the most important “Will” had not been uncovered by Nietzsche. Or, come to think of it, by any major philosopher, so far. The Will To Extermination is the very core of the Dark Side. It has been ignored at humanity’s own peril.

War is Business. On the Extermination Path.

War is Business. On the Extermination Path.

[Chimpanzees are four to five times stronger than human beings; the latter surrendered power for dexterity, allowing to terrorize chimpanzees with superior weaponry.]

Sade had achieved a much better understanding, and he warned fellow revolutionaries that it was unwise to push the French revolution onto Europe by the force of arms… That it would all turn into what it turned into. Sade had a point one has to keep in mind (say in Syria).

Understanding that the Will to Extermination is a dominant emotion is a must for making progress in humanism. Keeping it in mind would have led humanity to question early on what the German “Reichs” were up to, or Lenin, Stalin, or Hitler, or many of today’s mass homicidal dictators. Or, more generally, what all plutocrats are up to. The Will To Extermination is the main interface of true plutocracy with the world.

Is that all there is to the Dark Side? Oh no. There is the “Will To Power”, sitting on the side. And there is more: emotional, not just rational, pointillism.

I had a dream. A rescue helicopter was landing in the thick forest next to my home. I had to recover my solar powered camera to immortalize the scene. However it was on the south side of the overhang of a giant cliff I knew very well. In my haste to recover the camera, I overlooked the fear that the cliff ought to have inspired, overshot the device, and found myself hanging from weeds above the enormous void. At that point, waking up seemed the only reasonable option left.

Lesson? People act on reduced emotional sets. In that particular case, the urge to get the device was the only thing considered. Similar reduced emotional sets were at the origin of the German attack in 1914, or the rise of the United Stasi of America, or Obamacrap Obamacare.

Thus, it’s not enough to consider e-motions (what moves), but also which emotions are operationally in command, in any given course of action.

Nietzsche explained in “Beyond Good & Evil”, that he wanted a unified cause, a Theory Of Everything psychological (are modern physicists taking themselves for Nietzsche?). That’s why Nietzsche promoted the Will To Power. That was rather a bid for infuriating oversimplification. Indeed, he himself admitted people thought with their guts, or stomach.

Indeed there is a Will to Drink, or one to fill one’s stomach. Or, more basic of all, there is a Will to Breathe (people can’t commit suicide by refusing to breathe; even under water, end by trying to breathe water).

Nietzsche himself also admitted that there was a “Will to Knowledge”. As it’s well known that curiosity killed the cat, it’s hard to see what kind of power, but for self destruction, the cat was after.

In other words, the silly Nietzsche himself had to admit that there is more to a brain than the desire to turn power on. Studies on Aplysia have confirmed this. Far from being the way Nietzsche thought, the essence of brains is non locality. That’s precisely why consciousness was evolved.

What is usually said is that Goodall discovered that chimpanzees made war. What I point out is why they make war. Here is a recent (2010) study in “Current Biology”:

Chimpanzees make lethal coalitionary attacks on members of other groups [1]. This behavior generates considerable attention because it resembles lethal intergroup raiding in humans [2]. Similarities are nevertheless difficult to evaluate because the function of lethal intergroup aggression by chimpanzees remains unclear. One prominent hypothesis suggests that chimpanzees attack neighbors to expand their territories and to gain access to more food [2]. Two cases apparently support this hypothesis, but neither furnishes definitive evidence. Chimpanzees in the Kasekela community at Gombe National Park took over the territory of the neighboring Kahama community after a series of lethal attacks [3]. Understanding these events is complicated because the Kahama community had recently formed by fissioning from the Kasekela group and members of both communities had been provisioned with food. In a second example from the Mahale Mountains, the M group chimpanzees acquired part of the territory of the adjacent K group after all of the adult males in the latter disappeared [4]. Although fatal attacks were suspected from observations of intergroup aggression, they were not witnessed, and as a consequence, this case also fails to furnish conclusive evidence. Here we present data collected over 10 years from an unusually large chimpanzee community at Ngogo, Kibale National Park, Uganda. During this time, we observed the Ngogo chimpanzees kill or fatally wound 18 individuals from other groups; we inferred three additional cases of lethal intergroup aggression based on circumstantial evidence (see Supplemental Information). Most victims were caught in the same region and likely belonged to the same neighboring group. A causal link between lethal intergroup aggression and territorial expansion can be made now that the Ngogo chimpanzees use the area once occupied by some of their victims.

So what the authors suggest is that chimpanzees behave like little Hitlers, plotting an expansion of their “Lebensraum” (vital space).

Maybe. However, is it how chimpanzees feel it? Certainly not. Inter-chimpanzee violence is extremely brutal and cruel: parts are torn away, bitten off, until death occur from shock and blood loss. (This happens in the wild, and in captivity.)

One can describe a murderous chimpanzee rampage only as motivated by unbounded hatred. When moved by that sort of emotion, chimpanzees are not in the spirit of just making smart real estate investments.

Nietzsche tried to explain everything with the Will To Power: “Suppose, finally, we succeeded in explaining our entire instinctive life as the development and ramification of one basic form of the will–namely, of the will to power, as my proposition has it… then one would have gained the right to determine all efficient force univocally as–will to power. The world viewed from inside… it would be “will to power” and nothing else.” (From Beyond Good and Evil.)

Well, Nietzsche missed the big picture, the one that explains Auschwitz. Trying to do, finance, economics, sociology without the Will To Extermination, is to try to reason out of a reduced emotional set, missing the most important ingredient.

There too, contemplating chimpanzees’ behavior help. the art of extermination with chimpanzees consists into having the many surprise an isolated individual. So chimpanzees go on the war path. They make a single file, they become very silent, strongly bounded by… the perspective of committing murder. And they murder at a stupendous rate, much higher than that of hunter-gatherers. Thus war is a force that provides chimpanzees with the strongest meaning.

Verdict? To defeat the Will To Extermination, we need a higher form of war, just as to fight a disease, we need to understand, and use its essence against itself, as vaccines do.


Patrice Ayme


January 23, 2012

Power Is One Thing, Cruelty Another. Willing Them, Human All The Way. Something Civilization Cannot Ignore Anymore.


 Questions: Nietzsche made the “Will To Power” famous. Is it enough to explain the Dark Side? I claim it’s not.

 Indeed, why is there a “Will To Power”? Is it because there is, in human minds, a natural state of tranquility, and power is not a low hanging fruit, but it has to be willed? People have to decide to acquire power, first?

 Why not a “Will To Love”? Then? Does not the fact that there is a need for a Will To Power, but no need for a Will To Love, show that Love is more primordial than Power?

 And is the “Will to Power” enough to explain all the vice found in history, or is there something even more terrible, something the great religions all guessed? Yes, there is! So roll over Nietzsche!

 And I say: What about The Will To Vice? (In French: Volonte’ de Nuire, which is actually better because more encompassing.) Power gives the ability to deploy force, thus to act. Vice is the desire to hurt. And, if there is such a thing as striving to inflict pain, why is vice so alluring?

 We have to dig deep in the psychobiology of the genus Homo to answer these questions.

 The meta-psychology of power and vice are actually born from the most practical considerations, evolutionary speaking: one can see them at work in many a place in the Middle Earth, where the two largest continents, Eurasia and Africa meet. All and any of the combatants fanatics and other occupiers will tell you that they fight for excellent reasons, and they are right. Such is the Will To Vice. Always right. Greed is good, and so is cruelty.

 Power and vice arise for reasons, thus causes, that one can understand, it turns out. They are even deeper than evolution, because they inflected it. Some are exposed below. The need to effective leadership, and to do what is necessary, ultimately rule, and animate those reasons. Understanding this will go a long way to steer civilization correctly. 

  I know people have little time. Those who want to cut to the chase, can avoid the preliminaries on the domination of cruelty in all religions, and the section on how the Will To Power grew in primates from evolutionary pressures. The meat of the essay are the sections HUMAN IS TO BE LOVED and WILL TO CRUELTY. 




 Viciousness is prominent in all the great religions. And not just to condemn it, but to advocate it: after all, if the gods do it, why not us? I am not just alluding to the Aztecs and their industrial cannibalism and the Incas, and their propensity to spill the blood of virgins on top of volcanoes. The Celts, and Carthage, which were most advanced civilizations, also practiced human sacrifices (even the Romans dabbed in them).

 Viciousness is fully obvious in the old Norse religion, or Hinduism, which were prone to burn young women alive on the slightest pretext. The old Babylonian religions made the universe into a giant arena for the fight between light and darkness, truth and lie, Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. Of course in the Abrahamic religion, the genocidal god is so much into his criminogenic and megalomaniac “jealousy”, that he wrote a few books to advertise them proudly. One of the Abrahamic sects even made a torture instrument of death its very symbol, and then called it love (OK, it worked. Charlemagne would point at the crushed Angles and Saxons and Hungarians…)

 Buddhism, although milder at first sight, does not escape the vice of vice. Buddhism is so obsessed by viciousness, that it throws the world out with the bath. Buddhism claims that nihilism (“nirvana”) is better than living in the world, by the world, for the world. Instead, to flee that horror, the world, it promotes detachment from it (but not so much detachment that its priests do not go begging in the streets !)  

 The mildest of the great religions may have been the Egyptian one, and may be that is why it lasted 4,000 years. But it is also why it found itself unable to resist enemies with more ferocious, extraverted gods, starting with the Libyans, the Achaemenids and finally the Christians, thoroughly rabid from god as they were.

 So can one safely say that old wisdom has fully integrated the Dark Side, the set of behaviors and knowledge associated withhell”?



 Maybe one should ask first where the expression “Dark Side“, as incarnated by the tenebrous Lord of the Underground, comes from? OK, it fully belongs to the Greek and Babylonian mythologies. The idea is at least 4,000 year old. But that does not explain what it is.

 In truth, it’s very simple, and that causal relationship reveals the hierarchy of emotions within Homo Sapiens. One speaks of the “Dark Side” because one does not like to look inside at what is lurking down there. A fortiori one does not like to talk about that Dark Side. 

 Why such reluctance? First, man is a social animal, and the social group holds together from love. It’s a bit like the nucleus of an atom held by the strong force. The strong force in human groups is love. It is needed, or there would not be a social group. (At a far distance, love does not reach anymore, thus huge social groups cannot be held by love, except if the state manufactures a form of love which carries far, and that is how nations hold together.)

 Understanding promotes love, whereas hiding one’s true brainwork promotes the opposite, misunderstanding, hence conflict. So what is in full sight is appeasing, whereas the ambush from the dark, just the opposite.

 Another reason to eschew the Dark Side is that, man is anywhere, and always, born out of love. [See the note on the errors of Christianism.]

 How does love come first? Simple. Nearly all and any baby, anywhere, and always, is loved, for quite a long period. Years. The first years, the ones during which one gets imprinted. Without enough love from enough people around the baby, the baby would certainly die. The same holds for young children. 

 Human children brought up by wolves prove the point. Certainly they would have been devoured, had some wolves not been overwhelmed by love (that wolves become more loving at some point during their massively fluctuating hormonal existence is a case in point; even in wolves, love can overwhelm all; human beings do not have such huge hormonal fluctuations and are more permanently loving).

 So love comes first. It is the base layer, emotionally. Vice comes first as a transgression (later it can become a habit, in individuals or a culture in countries, something some Germans try to mask by accusing Hitler of all the vices old style German culture infused him with).

 The Dark Side is thus condemned to be a second order effect. But, in some cases, it is the only ensemble of behaviors and knowledge that will provide with a solution (an obvious reference: the Bible, when the Chosen People comes onto the previous occupants of the Promised Land, and has to eradicate them, to occupy it in turn; this is the scheme reproduced throughout the (ex) British empire, allowing to eradicate indigenes from a godly portion of the Earth, hence the importance of the Bible throughout the Brutish thing).



 Nietzsche talked about the “Will to Power”. Why would this be? Why a “Will”? Does one talk about a “Will to Thirst”, a “Will to Hunger”? (OK, a “Will to Sex” exists among those who purchase aphrodisiacs, but that is a recent perversion, with no evolutionary meaning.)

 So is there a “Will to Love”? Most of the time, and more prominently, not at all. When love is there, it is overwhelming. One does NOT need to will it. A normal parent does not will to love her child. The parent just loves. Love is fundamentally an hormonal state. The strongest love is not something one decides to engage in. One can decide to love, true, but this is a secondary, weaker form.

 Nietzsche is correct that searching for power is a conscious decision, something one wills. It’s not as natural as love.

 Wolf packs are led by alpha couples: other animals in the pack are not just subservient, they just don’t get to eat first, and the best parts. They also don’t have sex. They are subservient, otherwise they will be attacked with lethal force.

 However, primates are not wolves. Primates are less on a war footing than wolves. They don’t need to live in a fascist state with absolute rule all the time, as wolves do. In primates, although sex is the object of conflict and impacted by hierarchy, (most of) the whole group reproduces. Thus not only primates do not need to be leaders, but they can perfectly reproduce without brimming with the utmost domineering characteristics. Thus primates do not reproduce domineering characteristics in an overwhelming manner. They also reproduce other sorts of manners.

 In wolves, those who reproduce have been selected, by the struggle for power, to be particularly domineering. So baby wolves tend to have the power drive genetically engineered, because only the dominant ones reproduce. Only domination to death reproduces. Wolves are born as topmost domination machines.

 Baby primates are not genetically pre-selected for so much domination, since non domineering members of the group also genetically contribute. 

 However some primate species need leaders. Why? Because they have evolved to live in primate hell, namely the savannah park, where trees stand among grass, as if they had been planted in a park by a divine gardener (most of Africa was endowed with that landscape, in combination with a web of narrow forest gallery where water and predators lurked). 

 The savannah park was, historically speaking, ten million years ago, no place for primates. Primates evolved in the trees, in the age of dinosaurs, from ancestors we probably have in common with squirrels. In the forest, monkeys have few competent enemies. After primates left the equatorial trees, and their huge juicy fruits (up to 50 kilograms), though, primates became dependent upon sources of fresh water. Moreover, primates were the object of gustative desire of a magnificent panoply of carnivores, from dogs, to many species of hyenas, giant cheetahs, leopards, lions, and saber tooth cats, let alone giant carnivorous baboons, boars, and bears. 

 Primates, to be present in the savannah, had to develop military psychobiology. It was a necessity, not an option. Primate sociobiology evolved into the sociobiology of armies. That is blatant when one observes baboons in the wild, as I had the good fortune to do as a child. Baboons need water once a day, so they have to organize a military expedition to get to the water hole, everyday. Stealth does not work. What works is military organization, and terror in the heart of all and any potential enemy.

 A baboon army on the march is a terrifying spectacle of sound and fury. They shake trees. They bark furiously in unison. Lactating females and their children are inside the formation. In front, demonic big males flashing their eyelids and giant canines, brimming with the threatening insanity of their obvious will to tear into whoever or whatever would dare stand in their way, proceed irresistibly towards their objective. Lion prides rise, and decide to go somewhere else sniff the grass. Leopards disappear in the darkest bushes.

 Armies function because they are the many acting as one: “E Pluribus, Unum“. Forming an army allows to constitute a super beast, with just one mind (that of the leader) and the total mass of the individuals which compose it (total mass matters: in combats between lions and hyenas, the group with the largest total mass generally wins).

 That primate army is endowed with the spirit of the leader. That leader has to be domineering enough to be accepted as the mind of all, and combative enough to look towards combat, when there is no choice. And that leader has to pretend to love combat enough to make the group it leads appear dangerously insane to third parties (thus making way, as needed, the way baboons have to do it, to exist).

 To become a leader, one has to fight, to get to that position which has obvious advantages. This has the interest that not only fighters get selected to lead, and lead into combat, as needed, but the very process of selection develop the leaders into ever more aggressive minds. Evolution found the trick that if the groups were led by individuals more aggressive that the common members of the groups, the groups would battle better, and how to develop a process to increase the combativity of the leaders. 

 So here is the picture: primate groups in the savannah can exist if and only if they are large enough, bound by love. While at the same time, primate groups need to be led by particularly aggressive individuals, capable of leading the group into combat, and making other animals believe that the groups they constitute are the most dangerous thing on earth.

 Thus savannah dwelling primate species have developed, had to develop, a psychobiology which favors the “Will To Power”. Primates are rendered more ferocious by undergoing the power struggle to reach power, and that is obtained only after “willing” it. “Willing it” transmogrifies soft individuals in the loving groups into the hard edge tyrants needed for the victory of the group.

 Some scientists have determined that most of the large animals’ mass, for millions of years, was made of lion sized carnivores (as lions can take down a giraffe and survive on rabits). It’s no more the case now, thanks to the great primate offensive for savannah park supremacy. The war between monkeys and lions has ended with the victory of the monkeys, thanks to the militarized fascism of the latter, as needed.

 By the way, this may be why Newt Gingrich won the South Carolina primary, from his ferocious debate performance: the voting primates perceived in him a greater warrior, the product of a greater Will To Power, promising a harder edge to solve the problems the country confronts, and that too “cool” an attitude of the seducer in chief, with his huge smile, cannot address.

 Let’s recapitulate: love is a necessity, a fundamental imprinting. Ferocious leadership is obtained in a contrived way, through the constructive “Will to Power”.

 But what of the cases when combat is not enough? Say the enemy has been defeated. But now the enemy needs to be eradicated, because there is not enough food to go around, or simply because not eradicating today, means being eradicated tomorrow. Just as chimps do in the valley over there. 

 Genocide of his own species has been, historically and evolutionary speaking, one of the characteristics of the genus Homo. Genocide is what the most domineering hominids have had to do, and did, for millions of years.

 Is the “Will To Power” the answer to impose eradication? No. It is more oriented towards combat. The “Will to Power” wants to overpower, not massacre. The “Will To Power” is about exerting power on others. Will To Power needs the continuation of others to be exerted. And indeed, although baboons kill baboons in power struggles, sometimes (their canines are like small daggers), power struggles among baboons do not result in extermination in the famed chimpanzee-human style.



 Thus the interest of the Will To Cruelty. The Will To Cruelty is what motivates the ultimate, all too human activity, genocide.

 Genocide: when man becomes like the legendary god of Abraham, ready to want the worst one can possibly imagine, and turning it into a religion (what is worse than asking a parent to kill his child, out of love for one’s superior, as the Abrahamic god does with Abraham?)

 Omitting the presence of the Will To Cruelty is one of the greatest failures of conventional humanism. It is also a failure of standard economics, and, in particular of the free market fanatics. And a failure of all of those who deify some of their superiors. All human beings have potentially Pluto inside. But those who have the greatest power in their hands have fewer checks left to restrain them, and thus are more inclined to transgress into vice. Thus, admiring leaders is fraught with ethical peril. Leaders, threatened by temptation, ought to be viewed with suspicion.

The only transgression left to those who have most power, the only challenge left, is to cultivate the Will to Cruelty, so they do. It attracts them irresistibly. So they informed their academic servants that it would be best never to evoke the subject.

 Indeed, some of these observations are not really new. Sade was first.

 That grotesque cruelty motivated leaders all too much was de Sade’s main point. They were not keen to hear this, all the more since the People was listening carefully, at least in France. This is why king Louis XVI, and the dictators Robespierre and Napoleon kept Sade in jail for decades. Sade was saying that Robespierre and Napoleon were… sadistic brutes motivated by inflicting pain, they had to be, that is why people like them did what they did… and sadistic brutes they, indeed, were!

 Funny how many busts of Napoleon there are, with rabid Napoleonophiles on their knees lauding that cruel monster, considering most of what he did was to bust the great revolution for human rights, in general, and the republic, in particular, besides ravaging Europe, all the way to Moscow, while destroying his great European army, and killing, among others, millions of Frenchmen… Do they admire the cruelty? The arbitrary assassinations? Keeping Sade in jail?

 Why is genocide so central in the evolution of hominids? Because hominids represented, for millions of years, the ultimate power, and had to use their ultimate power on that ultimate power to keep humanity in check. Only terminal force can master terminal force.

 Left to themselves on (parts of) South Georgia island, reindeer devastated the ecology to the point their population, after booming, having run out of vegetables and lichen to eat, starved, and crashed by up to 90% (in parts).

 But it does not work this way with human beings. Human beings, just like rats, are sociable, and help each other, when their populations are at sustainable densities. Beyond that, the worst enemy of man becomes other men, and there were plenty of thousands of centuries to select for human beings who could get the job of culling of other hominids done. Actually, they self-selected. Not only human beings have an inclination, a will, to cruelty, but they selected themselves this way, because that was most advantageous, evolutionary speaking. So the cruel ones reproduced, and the sweet ones did not. A consequence of this has been the (semi-demented) love for tribalism and nationalism (with major inconveniences such as Nazism, and now neutralized in modern times by team sports).

 The Will To Cruelty, ultimately, protects an optimal version of the planetary ecology. It is timely to remember this, as the greatest attack against the ecology is proceeding ever more. Logically, and evolutionarily speaking, it is only a matter of time before cruelty comes to the rescue of the biosphere.


 Patrice Ayme


 Note on some fundamental errors of Christianism: Christianism made a big deal of love, as if Christ invented it. Well love is clearly a necessary pre-condition to human life. The fact that Christ had such an unloving relationship with his own father, should not lead us astray about the necessity of that pre-condition.

 Thus Judeo-Christianism was wrong with its theory of original sin! Men are not born bad, quite the opposite: they evolve that way. Such an egregious error can only have been committed deliberately. The manipulators of the Dark Side probably felt that “original sin” made common people feel bad about themselves, thus weakened their resolve. Moreover, if man was born bad, the leading plutocratic miscreants were excused to do whatever nasty stuff they wanted, since they were born that way! 

 Of course Christianism was not chosen by the Latter Days Tyrants of Rome because it was right, but, precisely, because it was wrong.