Posts Tagged ‘Reason’

How Did EUROPE Become So SUPERIOR?

February 19, 2017

MGRA: Make Great Reason Again!

Europe is an emerging phenomenon, now towering over the entire planet, from her possessions, colonies (Africa, Americas, Oceania, much of Eurasia), culture and mental grip (world culture, United Nations, etc.) Hey, don’t flaunt European colonization of the entire planet too loud, that’s not PC! Instead watch with glee the Islamists being crushed in Iraq and Syria by European proxies…

Europe was initially named from a Phoenician princess. (That, per se, is revealing: Europe came from the Middle Earth!) Europe, as a cultural phenomenon articulated by progress, is thousands of years old.

The Romans had long been technology dependent upon the Celts for metallic military equipment (a domination which was to last 3,000 years). When Caesar invaded “Long Haired Gaul”, and reached the Atlantic, he was stunned by the thousands of tall, ocean-going warships that the combined Celtic Navy had mustered (Roman ingenuity devised a specific device, the Corvus to turn the superiority of Celtic tall ships into a way to defeat them). 

Circus Maximus, 20 centuries ago. Still the World’s Largest Stadium. On the left side, the Imperial palace on the Palatine Hill (significantly larger than all the palaces of all present Western leaders combined!)

Circus Maximus, 20 centuries ago. Still the World’s Largest Stadium, More than 600 meters long. On the left side, the Imperial palace on the Palatine Hill (significantly larger than all the palaces of all present Western leaders combined!)

Contrarily to the usual myth, European superiority did not start with English superiority in the 1700s (that was mostly the fruit of English and Dutch conspiracies which turned out well, while the female Prime Minister of France overturned all the alliances, insuring French defeat in a seven-year world war!)

But Europe did not emerge by accident, but from culturally inherited moods, thus epigenetics, more than 100,000 years old. Yes, the climate, and the geography played a role, lighted the fire, and keep re-lighting it, from Enlightenment to Enlightenment. The fire of progress.

Unsurprisingly, regressive potentates put into question “Occidental values”, suggesting they are yesterday’s intrinsic evil. Sergey Lavrov, the powerful, long-standing Russian foreign minister declared in February 2017, that the time had come for a “post-Occidental world order”. According to Lavrov, one should wipe up all international institutions and replace them, Trump-like, by negotiations, state to state (as Russia is by far the world’s largest state, with the largest nuclear force, one can see how it would profit from it! The same holds for the USA.) This cannot end well. Russia is fundamentally a European colony (as the USA is). It should not forget how Europe got so rich. It happened through the universalization of advanced values.

Ah yes, because Europe is rich: In territory, Europe, through its (“ex”) colonies, owns much of the world: the Americas, Oceania, and all of North Eurasia are European colonies. Civilizationally, legislatively, Europe owns the world, with the possible exception of North Korea, and the irritant of a few (partly) Muslim Fundamentalist states.

Let me rephrase this, lest it gets misunderstood: the United Nations Charter is basically an improved rewriting of the Declaration des Droits de l’Homme of 1789. In turn, the French Revolution basic constitution was a writing of practiced established by the Franks, a full millennium earlier (including the outlawing of slavery, mandatory education, and the subservience of religion to state).

How did this happen? How did Europe achieve supremacy?

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Did the “Protestant Ethics” Make Europe Rich?

This is an opinion Anglo-Saxon supremacists love to claim. It’s mostly BS. First, the “Protestants” introduced only a minority of the inventions which made Europe strong and innovative.

Second, the presence of the easiest to exploit, richest coal beds in the world surfacing in England and North West Germany have nothing to do with “Protestant ethics”, but everything to do with steam-powered industrialization.

Third, one would have to define “Protestant”. Hint: it’s a French word. The “Protestant” movement started shortly after the fascist Christian church tried an encore with the First Crusade (after having nearly collapsed civilization in the Fourth Century already). Thus, the Protestant attitude and ethics is very old, and a reaction to Roman and Christian fascism… but not at all what Anglo-Saxon superiority maniacs have in mind.

The Greco-Romans were number one in trade and work ethics. 10,000 cargo ships plied the waves of the Mediterranean, every day. Later Italian and Alpine republics under the protective umbrella of the Frankish Roman empire invented most of the present “capitalist” set-up, complete with state bonds to finance Florentine armies, etc.  

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Did Colonialism and Slavery Made Civilization Rich As The Haters Of Progress Claim?

The traditional Politically Correct, Europhobic, European hating point of view is that slavery and colonialism made Europe rich: This is, erroneous, even ridiculous, on the face of it: the region of the world, Europe,  which outlawed slavery within, 13 centuries ago, would have been made rich from slavery.

However, in energy usage, per capita, Europe was the richest in the world, by 1000 CE. Actually some of the richest parts of Europe had no contact whatsoever with slavery and colonialism, for example, Switzerland (and many parts of France, Germany, italy).

The truth is much simpler, much more human: the exponential of understanding in Europe, and its subsequent mastery of nature, was the engine of European wealth. Europe succeeded better, because it was the part of the world where the essence of humanity, understanding and mastering nature, was able to express itself better.

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EUROPE BECAME RICHER IN THE LAST MILLENNIUM, BECAUSE EUROPE WAS SMARTER. Institutionally. Spiritually. Thus, Epigenetically:

It started with smarter laws, and the mentality of respecting them (“Dura Lex, Sed Lex” said the Romans; Law Hard, But [it’s the] Law). So institutions and moods were in place for European supremacy, 25 centuries ago. Those characters were the direct cause of the astonishing ascent of the Roman Republic.  

Rome got blocked in its eastward expansion by the Greco-Persian empire in the Iranian plateau. Factors in Rome’s failure to conquer Persia: Caesar was killed, the Republic caged (by Augustus and the plutocracy he headed). More importantly, Persia was part of the West, in the deepest sense. Babylonian kings (Hammurabi!) had imposed the notion of universal (republican) law, a full millennium before Roma became a village. Also Mesopotamia had invented and used much of the fundamental alphabet, science and mathematics, which spread westward.  

Rome itself was a baby fed, and educated by colonialists: the Etruscans, who had last come from present-day Syria, and the Greeks, who had colonized south Italy, including Naples (a deformation of the term New Town in Greek: Neo-Polis).

Not that all of the inventive mentality of the Occident started only around the Mediterranean, its Fertile Crescent and Egypt: the Indo-European colonizations started from Central Asia, targeting both Europe and India. The Amazons, a most anti-sexist civilization, was part of it, way back (more than 4,000 years ago), and we inherited some of this anti-sexist mentality (which may well have influenced anti-sexist Crete, as Crete was in trade with the Northern Black Sea region, where the Amazons thrived.

India played the crucial role in inventing the modern numeration system. Meanwhile, in the West, the drive to ever more powerful technology had ruled for at least 100,000 years: Neanderthals and Denisovans could only survive in north Eurasia through extensive technology. So they invented pants, dogs, and the usage of fossil fuels (already 80,000 years ago).

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European Progress Mentality Is At Least 100,000 Years Old:

Cro Magnon men lived in present day France, then a tundra which was fully surrounded by enormous glaciers, and the icy sea. Cro Magnons survived in the same way Neanderthals and Denisovans did before: using the maximal high-tech they could develop. They may have inherited few Neanderthal genes, but they inherited in full the mentality of the Neanderthals.

This is an important point: mentalities, even culture, can pass down the generations, even when genes do not. In particular, the importance given to culture, progress, understanding can live in a landscape, partly from the landscape itself.

The mentality of progress, with the advent of agriculture, became ever more crucial, as the ecologies got ruined, and new ones had to be manufactured.

It is the gigantic scale of severe, yet profligate Eurasia, a demanding, yet technologically rewarding environment, which made the evolution of superlative ideas possible, more than anywhere else, by constant interbreeding of exotic facts and logics.   

It is western Eurasia, North Africa, and the Middle Earth (all the way to India) which provided the best, largest incubator. Therein the Occident, but it is nothing without the mood of progress at nearly any cost.

That mood barely survived Christian fascism. Yet, the Franks were able to found civilization again, on a better basis, within two centuries of the Roman collapse, using superior ideas (no slavery, mandatory education, the church as a tool of the state, elections, etc.)

This was the first Enlightenment, post-Greco-Romans. That superior institutional set-up made the “West’ by the year 1,000 CE, not only richer than Rome, but richer in energy use by inhabitant, than any other place in the world. By then European technology and science was leading (even the invention of “black powder” was a complicated story, where Mongols and Europeans, not just the Chinese, played a role). As Europe became ever more technology dependent, the urge to understand things for sure (“science”) became ever more important.

A succession of “Enlightenments” went on… to this day. The acceleration after 1500 CE was just part of the singularity of understanding we all share into today. in many ways, it just repeated, and re-imposed, constitutional reforms which were made first in the Seventh and Eighth centuries, by the Imperium Francorum (soon to be relabelled “Renovatio Imperium Romanum”).

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PC Is The Perfect Con Against Humanity:

Right now the core of the machinery of what made civilization progress and be ever more superior is threatened. Friends have told me Trump threatened “reason”. Well, their reason (they tend to be in the 1% or serving the 1%, those “friends” of mine). There are many facts and possible logics to animate them, out there.

Consider Brexit logic: it is sheer madness, the madness of rage unbound. As in Trumphobia, Europhobia is motivated by a deep pain which arose from earlier events. (Clinton fanatics hate Trump because of the pain Clinton, Bill, Bush, and Obama, inflicted on them.)

An Arabic scholar wrote to me, saying there was no reason for progress (yes there is, just as on a bicycle). A Jewish (real) friend pointed out that many of the attacks against Europe also stealthily promoted the annihilation of Israel (correct).

The rabid, hateful, anti-European logics out there have doubled as outright attacks against honorable reason. Accusations of racism have been hurled, just to avoid debates (both Trump and your truly were subjected to this; many attacks against me were made snapchat way: erasing the fighting words full of hatred within minutes, after they were widely distributed, a method to practice defamation… without being able to prove it).

All we need to know is that never before in the history of the biosphere has the potential be greater for extreme catastrophe. Or extreme progress towards more mastery of nature by life. In any case, superior reason will adjudicate.

Patrice Ayme’

Hormones Rule Reason

January 30, 2017

Is reason free as a bird? Well, first birds are not that free, and reason springs from brain organization, something that biochemistry built.

Old wisdom: there is reason, and then there is its opposite, its enemy, irrationality. New wisdom: reason is context dependent and context is hormonally determined.

In turn, hormones are dependent upon cognitive environment…

(Nietzsche already wrote people thought with their stomach:”a spirit is more similar to a stomach”. A general mood already found in Napoleon’s writings:”an army marches on its stomach”.)

Indeed, there are the hormones everybody has heard of, but less noticed are neurohormones, more recently discovered. Neurohormones double as neurotransmitters. Dependent upon hormonal, and neurohormonal activity, part of the brain gets active (at least that’s my hypothesis). So what? So, mental inertia. Reason does not remain a question of logic as found in logic text books, but also a question of chemical logic, and vast inertia, as sub-organs within the brain gets active, or asleep: a sub-organ will develop according to activity (say posterior pituitary gland, versus its anterior part: they secrete different neurohormones!)

There Are 50 Neurohormones Known. Moreover, There Are More Ephemeral "Neurohumors"... These Chemical Universe Means Bias & Inertia

There Are 50 Neurohormones Known. Moreover, There Are More Ephemeral “Neurohumors”… These Chemical Universe Means Bias & Inertia

Tied up with that concept of chemical machines as the factories of reason within the brain, is psycho-rigidity, also called by me “mental inertia”.

A practical example: many anti-Trumpists revel in hatred at this point. Differently from other activists such as Islamists, anti-abortionists, neoconservatives, etc., they are unfamiliar with hatred, they are accustomed to it, and they really love it. After a few months of this, they may find it addictive, and pursue it by sheer mental inertia.

Reason is not just about building neuronal connections, it’s about building chemical factories within the brain. Factories are infrastructure: they don’t go up, or down, easily.

So, if one wants to become a superior mind, not cannot just cultivate one’s logic and facts carefully, and hope for the best. To reach the highest and best reason, one also has to manage which experiences, emotions, or types of emotions one engages in, and one has engaged in, carefully: emotions and experiences build up the brain, one just cognitively, logically, but in its very chemical infrastructure, and what one has the propensity to engage in, like, love, or detest. Mental imprinting, even apparently distant imprinting, even apparently distant imprinting of one’s feelings, impacts one’s subsequent capability to generate superior reason.

So one cannot just think about a subject, roll-out the Socratic method, and get it right. One has first to be in the appropriate mood. Socrates did not know this, and that’s why he ended up drinking hemlock, after 501 members of the jury found “he had corrupted the youth” (Socrates’ students and lovers imposed dictatorship and various lethal mishaps upon Athens, and it was widely considered that Socrates taught his students, many more than 40 years younger than him, in a way which was not appropriate; Athens lost her empire, and half her population in the war…)

Speaking of Socrates, indeed, the philosopher was widely viewed, at the time, as “anti-demos”. Still, Socrates is always, apparently always very logical. So how could Socrates be both very logical, and very wrong? Simple. Socrates was chemically disposed against the total democracy instituted by Pericles (and his top philosopher friends and lovers) which made Athens a lasting jewel for civilization. Thus he rolled out plenty of very logical logic against democracy.

The brouhaha against the Trump order against immigrants from seven countries gave several examples of a similar type. Obama’s spokesman said“With regard to comparisons to President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, as we’ve heard before, the President fundamentally disagrees with the notion of discriminating against individuals because of their faith or religion,”

Motivated by a mood of cheap vengeance, (but I can understand the motivation of jumping in at the first occasion,) and with the advantage of getting in the interventionist mindset (which I advocated). Also wrong in several ways: first Trump said it was not “anti-Muslim” (there too, the occasion was too good to show everybody who the boss was… while rushing US Army tanks to the Baltics, to help sober up Putin in advance of NATO deployment in Spring).

Second, and more importantly, we DO discriminate against faiths or religions: more than 99.9% of historical faiths and religions are outlawed in Republics such as the USA or France (and their many parrots around). Did you try a human sacrifice, Gallic, Punic, or Aztec style recently? Or eat someone, Polynesian style, as happened when the esteemed Captain Cook got cooked in Hawai’i? No. Not really: it’s not our taste anymore. A question of stomach, in more way than one.

This means that we do discriminate against individuals who would insist on bringing back those faiths or religions. And why? Because such faith and individuals promoting them are incompatible with Republican law.

That is exactly the case of those faiths and individuals promoting “Sharia”, the so-called “Muslim law”, which is incompatible with Republican law. If we get in a mood of compromise, there, we will hurt, fatally in the long run, the Republic. With Sharia, the proper mood for the Republic is not tolerance, but abrogation and retribution against its unlawful promoters.

I will give another example soon of chemistry ruling reason: Sartre, De Beauvoir and other “existentialists” being all too existential, namely ruled by a mood all too sympathetic too pleasing to those who have the biggest stick around, and above. Those had a mood of submission (as Obama did), a brain chemically made for submission, not rebellion (whereas Camus did, and so did most real resistance fighters).

Any logic, logical textbooks will reveal, is bounded by the universe in which it is applied. Alternative facts will call on a different universe, thus a different logic. And those universes are chemically dependent.

I don’t believe in the multiverse as a foundation for physics. However, the multiverse is a fact, for reason itself. And those various universes are made from alternative facts and chemistry.

How we feel, how we felt, implies how we think, and will think. I think, therefore, I am in some universe, somewhere. Reason is not the end-all, be-all. And one of the reasons for the lack of reason, beyond emotion, is that logic itself is not one: consider the Incompleteness Theorems in metamathematics. Beyond those, modern logic has been demonstrated to be pretty much anything we want. And we want what feels good.

Reason has its reason that only the heart knows.

Patrice Ayme’

From Sentience, To Reason & Philosophy

February 17, 2016

Why Is It Modern To Study Ancient Philosophy?

Because one studies this way the roots of reason, as first put into digital form (that’s what writing is). One does not study ancient physics, so why ancient philosophy? Well, one should study ancient physics, that would be an occasion to mention obvious mistakes one is tempted to do, but that one should NOT to do when interpreting nature.

For example, Aristotle believed that one needed to keep on applying a force to keep on moving. That was a curious mistake: anybody running fast, or, a fortiori, galloping on top of a horse, realizes that air resistance is what necessitates to keep on applying a force. And that’s why arrows have the shape they have.

One could make arrows with other shapes: emperor Commodus amused himself by firing in the arena arrows with a crescent shaped blade. Commodus was an athlete of great physical beauty and power (said various contemporaries). The sharp crescent would hit an ostrich’s neck, and the bird would run without a head, to the amusement of spectators (they better be amused).

In serious usage arrows had a very aerodynamic shape (and even could be made to stabilize by rotation thanks to their back feathers).

Humans and Horses Are Capable of Reason. Human Reason Was Communicated to the Horse, and This Is How Horses Learn To Jump

Humans and Horses Are Capable of Reason. Human Reason Was Communicated to the Horse, and This Is How Horses Learn To Jump

[I have practiced that sport, by the way… In Africa, with stallions. Definitively, a good obstacle rider has to be able to able to communicate… reason (what else?) to the horse, in a spirit of trust and conviviality! Otherwise, death and mayhem may result… Aristotle was definitively not a rider, while Xenophon, general, superlative philosopher, and horse breeder, was.]

It took 16 centuries to correct Aristotle’s confusion of aerodynamic resistance and violation of inertia. Buridan, a physicist, philosopher and mathematician, was the first to do so, with his theory of impetus. (Even then he got confused in some detailed examples.)

Explaining to children Aristotle’s mistake should be part of the (early) teaching of physics.

In “Why is ancient philosophy still relevant?”, February 16, 2016, Massimo Pigliucci ponders:

“Why on earth am I devoting years of my life to studying (and practicing) Stoicism? Good question, I’m glad you asked. Seriously, it would seem that the whole idea of going back two millennia to seek advice on how to live one’s life is simply preposterous.

Have I not heard of modern science? Wouldn’t psychology be a better source of guidance, for instance? And even philosophy itself, surely it has moved beyond the ancient Greco-Romans by now, yes?”

Massimo finds the answer in eternal human nature:

“…there is clearly something that the Stoics, the Epicureans, the Peripatetics (followers of Aristotle), the Buddhist, the Confucianists and so forth clearly got right. There is something they thought about and taught to their students that still resonates today, even though we obviously live in a very different environment, socially, technologically, and otherwise.

The answer, I think, is to be found in the relative stability of human nature. This is a concept on which the Hellenistic philosophers relied heavily, though they didn’t use that specific term.”

Notice, by the way, that all our mathematics and physics rest on what the Ancient Greeks knew which happened to be right (although much of their mathematics came from Egypt, for example “Euclid’s Theorem”; also the Greek had modern number system half baked, the final baking happened in India, and were christened “Arabic Numerals”, although they were brought to the West by a Persian…)

Thinking works in a hierarchized way: from the obvious to the extremely subtle revealed by the latest neurology. The Greeks were the first to write extensively on the first aspects of thinking, so their considerations have to be considered first, whenever one studies thinking. So they stay first, and always will, as long as the memory of the past survives.

Massimo: “For Aristotle, humans were essentially rational (meaning capable of reason) social animals. The Stoics agreed, and in fact their theory of oikeiosis (“familiarization”) was essentially an account of developmental moral psychology… Crucially, although other primates seem to share in our natural instinct for sociability, they are incapable of extending it by reason.”

And the big question is: what is reason?

Reason can be put in words, thus expressed digitally. But it can also be transferred by a drawing (that’s not digital). Basically reason is neurology that works, and which can be transferred to other minds.

So reason can be transferred to a dog, or a horse (say when one teaches a horse to jump obstacles).

A sentient animal is one with feelings, it can reason. However, it cannot communicate that reason easily. Although it can learn through communications: songbirds are known to learn from other birds, more or less well, to make more or less complicated songs: educating birds to make mini symphonies is national craze in Indonesia.

Philosophy is the study of reason for reason’s sake. Animals do not do that industrially, nor tribally, but our species and two or three before that, obviously do.

Patrice Ayme’

Beyond Cynicism, Reason

October 27, 2015

We have a lot to learn from the history of ideas and moods in Greco-Roman antiquity, and how it was entangled with the history of battles, empires, and the near destruction of civilization. We are clearly in a similar scheme. Except now it’s the biosphere itself, not just civilization, which is in peril. So let’s have no pity for our so-called “leaders”, and those who admire them.

In that light, Diogenes and the mental topology around him ought to be contemplated. The founding cynic Diogenes of Sinope, was of the opinion that people ought to behave more like dogs (or, even, mice). To this, I would add baboons. Understand what moves a baboon, shine a light on the human soul.

In particular, Diogenes’ followers would have sex in public. This was viewed as a much ridiculed oddity at the time. But Diogenes persisted loud and clear, even in the marketplace, responding: “he wished it were as easy to relieve hunger by rubbing an empty stomach” (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 46).

Diogenes believed that each individual would either be guided by reason, or, like a domesticated animal, she would be led by a leash. Diogenes, did not despise knowledge per se, but spited pretensions to knowledge which serve only domestication. He had the intuition that the logic of behavior (human and animal) was the master wisdom. And more can be said. Why don’t human beings poop in public? (Aside from “Sun King” Louis XIV, but he was certainly not human.)

A dog has got to do what a dog has got to do. However, the point of human, is that human does not have to do what a dog has got to do. A human ought not to do what a human ought to do: this is the difference with dogs. We are free, free to go against the grain, and that’s all the freedom we have, as free human beings.

Diogenes was labeled mad for acting against convention to the extent he did (allegedly by Plato). To this, Diogenes retorted that conventions often lacked reason: “Most people, are so nearly mad that a finger makes all the difference. For if you go along with your middle finger stretched out, someone will think you mad, but, if it’s the little finger, he will not think so” (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 35).

For Diogenes, reason clearly plays the central role. There is a report that Diogenes “would continually say that for the conduct of life we need the right reason or a halter”.  (Lives of Eminent Philosophers, Book 6, Chapter 24). A halter is something one puts around the head of a dog or horse to lead them around. So either the truth will make you free, or you are just cattle. Cattle ready to trample over civilization.

Diogenes’ influence was deep. He started a line of argument which denied motion (it evolved into Zeno’s paradoxes which have caught a second wind with Quantum Physics; Zeno founded the philosophical school known as Stoicism; probably being a stoic was best when subjugated by the “Hellenistic Kingdoms”, the dictatorship Antipater imposed by naval battle).

Diogenes was a harsh critic of Plato, disparaging Plato’s metaphysics and breaking away from theoretical ethics which only justified oligarchy.

“Plato had defined the human being as an animal, biped and featherless, and was applauded. Diogenes plucked a fowl and brought it into the lecture-room with the words, ‘Here is Plato’s human being.’ In consequence of which there was added to the definition, ‘having broad nails’” (LOEP, chap 40).

Diogenes insisted that true human beings lived in accordance with nature. He lit a candle in broad daylight, and proclaimed he was searching for a human being, as so few lived in accordance with nature. Life in accordance with nature made human beings fully rational.

This was indeed true. Plato the chicken let to Aristotle, who was worse: that famed philosopher played a direct role in the destruction of civilization, and why there are still “royals” in England, leading, at least symbolically, the worldwide plutocratic charade.

That Diogenes had an anti-plutocratic bend is clear. He was captured at some  point by pirates (long story), and ended his life in Corinth. Alexander so-called the Great, was thrilled to meet the famous philosopher. The thinker was basking in the sun. ‘Could I do anything for you’, asked Alexander. Diogenes replied to the exterminator of cities and states alike: “You could stand out of my sun”.

Not easily defeated, Alexander tried the rejoinder: “Were I not Alexander, I wish I could be Diogenes”. In answer, Diogenes stared at a pile of bones: “I am looking for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave.”

You have to understand that this was the turning point of civilization in Greco-Roman antiquity: Greek philosophy, at its sharpest, was meeting the fascists, wealthy savage gangsters from the north, the Macedonians, rich from horses and gold mines. Macedonia was the world’s foremost sophisticated military.

Yet, the Greeks, led by Athens and Corinth, had the brains. Alexander, taught by Aristotle, was not too sure where he was standing. In the east was monstrous Persia, a hyperpower made of an archipelago of plutocracies (satrapies).

Alexander was hesitant about which course to follow, clearly. Alexander respected demographically vanishing Sparta, and fully resurgent Athens. Yet he annihilated Thebes (a move that would have helped Athens, actually, had a mild Alexander stuck around). Alexander went on to destroy Persia. He gave up on his attempt to reach the Pacific, after he discovered that India’s kingdoms could defend themselves.

Alexander then died, all too soon (a conquest of Arabia was being prepared). Alexander was perhaps assassinated by Antipater, Aristotle’s estate executor. Antipater, senior even to Alexander, certainly replaced Alexander and encouraged by Aristotle, destroyed Athenian democracy, replacing it by a plutocracy (only the rich could vote).

Antipater and the world Aristotle created, that of monarchies, thereafter ruled for around two millennia (although the Franks allowed small republics here and there, starting with Venice, then Firenze, Genoa, Switzerland, Escartons, Netherlands, etc., the first big break was the French Republic, a full acknowledgment that the Roman Republic was right all along).

Monarchies make no sense: if anything, being just the brain of one, they are dumb and weak against democracies (as the Swiss Canton demonstrated when they rebelled against the (Germanized)Roman empire ). So, for peoples to accept to be subjugated by individuals and their families, one has to make them stupid.

According to Diogenes, nature makes intelligent.

Thus, to reign monarchs (the Roman emperors in this case) had to fight nature and its gods. Switching to the fascist, cruel, demented and jealous Christian god was not enough. One had also to destroy the interface with nature, the body. Making it gross and smelly, reeked with lice and infections, was a good start.

In the fullness of time, the Catholics decided that anything having to do with the body was dirty. Some woman became a saint just because she never washed, and waited for her clothes to rot of as she piled more clothes on top. Her face was black with grime: she was lauded for that.

The Catholics were after the entire mood of the Greco-Roman civilization, and kept at it for more than eleven centuries: when they took the last Muslim kingdom in Grenada, their very fascist, cruel and demented majesties, Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon, inventors of the Inquisition in Spain, closed all the 2,000 or so baths therein (disclaimer: an ancestor was ennobled by the Aragon king, 12 centuries ago).

So Diogenes was right: if one wants unreason, behaving unnaturally is a good start.

But now let’s go further than Diogenes: what is the interest of a sharp dichotomy between the public and private spheres? It enforces a morality, a sort of hygiene: just as it is good to wash one hands. Recent studies show that just washing hands would cut down child mortality by 40%, in the most destitute countries  (diarrhea kills more children than all other diseases combined). Symbolically, preserving a private sphere is a king of conceptual washing: it keeps some bodily functions and activities out of the public morality, thus segregates and hence weakens their influence, allowing for a more elevated society, let alone diarrhea free..

Any question?

Patrice Ayme’

 

 

Submission To War

July 18, 2015

Religions pull people together again. It could be the religion of the Republic, as under the Romans. In this case the religion served the Public.

Superstitious religions are much more frequent: they serve madness, by obliging “believers” to believe the unbelievable, thus to suspend reason, and fascistically follow those who are with god(s).

Human beings are one with reason. Suspending reason is suspending themselves. It can only be achieved violently, explicitly or not. That’s why millions, even tenths of millions, were killed in the name of Christianism and Islam.

Making A Religion From Killing People

Making A Religion From Killing People

Indeed, oligarchies and plutocracies are more frequent than republics, the history of civilization shows. A republic is much harder to achieve. Calling on the fascist instinct to obey those with access to weapons, and the training and mentality to use them, is much easier.

Sometimes, there are spectacular variants to superstitious, fascist religions. The Aztecs lived at high altitude, and had little protein (the Incas lived at even higher altitude, but had engineered potatoes, which are full of proteins). So the Aztecs religion recommended to fetch large, nutritious animals. However, Mesoamerica had no cattle or sheep, lamas or vicunas. The camels and horses had long been exterminated. The only animal which could walk to his fate in Tenochtitlan, was man.

So the Aztec religion recommended to kill people. Well fed Aztecs could not be defeated by those they ate… Until Cortez elite, but minuscule, army showed up. Cortez had little trouble to raise an army among the Natives, and exterminate Aztecs, and their religion.

The Romans exterminated several major religions which condone killing people as a matter of faith. The Gallic religion was the foremost, and largest such example. From Caesar to under Nero, it took a bit more than a century for Roman armies to eliminate the Druids and their theocratic plutocracy. The Franks would then take care of the savage Germanic religion. It took four centuries.

The Violence in the Holly Qur’an can only be holly, as it comes from god’s mouth. Thus it’s completely natural that a young perfectly integrated Muslim, especially trained as an assassin, grabbed a gun, and killed five Mariness and Sailor, wounding others.

Islamophiles will howl to the sky that the fanatic was not following a religion of peace. True enough. The true Islam is a religion of war.

However, it’s beneath the dignity of, or maybe against the religion of,  the Politically Correct and Philosophically Stupid (PCPS), to read any of the sacred texts of Islam.

The Qur’an orders believers to kill unbelievers. Such verses are unambiguous, and starts as soon as the first (which is the second) chapter of the Qur’an:

“And slay them wherever ye find them, and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter… and fight them until fitnah is no more, and religion is for Allah.” (Qur’an 2:191, The Cow)

Islamist so-called “scholars” make impressive gymnastics to tell you that what you just read is all about peace. A preferred trick is to not translate “fitnah”. Fitnah means “strife”. In other words, Muslims are ordered to kill and kill and kill until all resistance (fitnah) has ceased.

Naturally, Muslim “scholars” contest the straightforward explanations of the texts they read ad nauseam . Why? How? The Qur’an orders them to use “every stratagem“… Including lying, which is expressly ordered too:

The Quran, chapter 9 (At-Tawba), verse 5:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them: for Allah is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.— translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

What to do with a terroristic religion?

The Celtic religion, and Carthage’s religion, were eliminated violently, by the Republic. Rome tolerated all religions, as long as they did not cause death, mayhem, or conditions bringing them forth.

The Republic, as a religion, can be peaceful (Italian Republics showed this). Hinduism is peaceful: with one million gods, there are so many leaders and emotions to follow, that none can exert too much of a weight.

There was a sort of betrayal of the West by its own intellectuals: they told us that Islam had to be respected. Whereas the entire Western civilization was built upon replacing superstition by reason and jurisdiction. Thus the West was built upon NOT respecting the superstitious religion, Christianism, beyond reason. So why to extend the courtesy of respecting Islam more than Christianism?

Is it because Islam is so much more violent that thinkers are afraid to be critical? Or is it racism? It’s good enough for them?

Islam means submission. Submission to what? What’s hardest to submit to? The most violent orders?

Patrice Ayme’

 

1914, IMPRINTING: Emotions Rule III

January 9, 2014

Abstract: There is a dominant tradition, especially in the USA, to not see 1914 for what it was: a war of aggression, a war crime, a crime against humanity of the greatest proportions.

Both the aggression, and its denial, are cases of emotions dominating reason. It’s historically, psychologically, and philosophically instructive, even fascinating.

What people have been exposed to first, they believe more deeply. And of course emotions are the reasons that come first. It’s sheer sedimentary neurobiology. If you think anew, what happened in one’s mind first tends to still leave the deepest emotional layers intact. Often the deepest is what is thought to profit one’s nation, tribe, or religion first.

***

Bad Boys Be Bad Boys: Leaders of  the Kaiserreich Imprinting Themselves In Versailles, 1871.

Bad Boys Be Bad Boys: Leaders of the Kaiserreich Imprinting Themselves In Versailles, 1871.

[When Minds Goose Step, The Goose Soon Cooks; Polyglot Bismarck In White, Center.]

People get emotionally attached to cuddly bears, foods, habits, etc. Just because they were exposed to them, first. The same happens with ideas, or even songs. As the guitarist, singer, composer Keith Richards observed, people make out first in a car, while a song plays on the radio, and, thereafter, forever, they will feel it’s the best song in the world.

Konrad Lorentz systematically studied this phenomenon of imprinting, and got the medicine-biology Nobel for it. Ducklings follow whatever they are exposed to first. It’s not difficult to guess what happens:

New neural circuitry is created by the first exposition to whatever shows up, and thereafter, having being created stays roughly the same. Similarly for the cognitive and emotional circuitry of entire nations. Once in place, it’s nearly impossible to rewrite.

Common wisdom on World War One in the USA does not see the facts as they happened, because they contradict the deepest emotions learned first on the subject: the war was an accident (Sarajevo), the nations of Europe were all the same vicious bunch (hence the USA was right to get rich from the war), the USA tried to bring back peace (but the terrible Versailles Treaty ruined it).

What’s imprinting? Obviously, imprinting is the building of neural networks. Where there was none before, there are some after. Once there are some, new ones are difficult to build; just as it is difficult to build new structures out, or above, old ones. The ethology (Lorentz and company) enlightens the neurobiology, and the establishment of all emotions, hence values. The hierarchy of values has to do with chronological order.

Considering the way imprinting has to work neurologically, an immediate very important philosophical consequence arises: if one wants to be philosophically correct, one will have to be extremely careful about the nature of first exposition… to anything, whatsoever. As what comes first tends to be neurologically irreversible. For the youth, or for oneself, or for any excited tribal member, anywhere out there.

Socrates pontificated that the unexamined life was not worth living, I will counter-pontificate with the following, more stringent declaration:

The unexamined experience is not worth having.

Nationalism is an example of duckling behavior. The tendency of young males to go to war after getting orders to do so, maybe viewed as a tendency strongly manifested by young ducklings. Goose stepping into war is a consequence of imprinting of impressionable youth.

My acid views of Dylan and Oprah Winfrey, two entertainers, were poorly considered by some, perhaps trying to spare pets they are attached to, from blame. More modest people tend to live grand lives through the great. Thus the popularity of celebrities. And the necessity to adore & lionize them (to make them great, hence admirable). Same for nations. Nations are the ultimate celebrities.

Thus many lionize the “Germany” of 1914.

One of the honorable commenters on this site, Old Geezer Pilot, expressed succinctly the Common American Wisdom on “Germany” by claiming that: “Doesn’t anyone suspect the BRITISH for having pushed Germany into starting WWI? After all, Germany was on track to out-produce Britain in Dreadnought class ships very soon…”

No, there was absolutely no way that the Kaiser could catch up with Britain in battleships. Why? Because Britain had basically no army. All British military spending was on the Royal Navy. Germany had the world’s mightiest army, made to crush and encircle the formidable French army, the world’s second mightiest. That cost so much money, very little was left for the Kriegsmarine.

I explained, in the “Plot Against France” and in “Emotions Prime Reason II” what happened in 1914. The concept “the British” and “Germany” are NOT comparable. “Germany” did not exist really as a nation. “Germany” was just as an hysteria of poorly designed robots. “Germany” was a dictatorial plutocracy of the spastic and delirious type. Britain was a plutocracy, sure, but under a thick representative democracy’s layer. An evil dictatorship in Germany, a sort-of democracy in Britain: one cannot compare.

I excruciatingly explained in minute details many times that the American leadership goaded the Kaiser into war. The USA had interest for an attack of “Germany” on the rest of Europe. Britain, or France, had a very good reason to avoid war: time was working in their favor, as they were tapping their global empires into giant co-prosperity spheres. Moreover those democracies could not organize a conspiracy, as they societies were too open. And the fact is, they did not conspire.

But the handful of military men at the head of “Germany” could conspire, there were no democratic institutions to check them, and they did conspire, nobody could stop them. We have the documents, we have the facts. We have the attack. “Germany” attacked, “Germany” did the war crimes, within days of said attack.

The explicit analysis by Molkte and company, is that “Germany” was losing the economic, hence military, race. They were correct. That was precisely due to what they clang to, the plutocracy they led. Quite a bit the same situation as in the USSR, North Korea, and maybe soon, China.

The attachment to the Kaiserreich is one of the most striking of those which afflict the West (a variant of this is the attachment of Jews to Keynes, who was pro-Nazi…).

Loving the Reich is the other side of the coin that equates France and Britain, two democracies, to a bloody dictatorship. Thus identifying plutocracy and democracy as the same.

The Kaiserreich, also known as the Second Reich, was the ridiculous dictatorship established by Bismarck as the “German empire” in 1871 at Versailles, in a manly ceremony (see above). In this attachment, the blame for the First World War is spread equally, by platitudes about bloodthirsty Europeans.

That legend is particularly important for the USA’s tragic history, as it excuses the embargo shirking, fortune making attitude of the USA, selling to the Kaiser what he needed to pursue the war. That complicity of the USA and the Kaiser endured until the day came to charge to the rescue of victory, lest Britain and France would keep on ruling the world all by themselves.

As I have explained many times, WWI was not an accident, but a determined conspiracy. And wittingly or not, the leadership of the USA was on the side of the bad guys.

France, Belgium, Britain, and even Russia were completely innocent of the war. Britain, to start with, did not even have an army (or more exactly, the entire British army was no more than one single French army corps).

The French government was so unprepared for war, that all ministers of the government were either completely out of France, as the Prime Minister and the President were, or far away in vacation, when the Kaiserreich mobilized. An under-secretary of agriculture had to launch the French general mobilization.

Reading French or British newspapers, one week before the “German” attack, show no inkling at war.

Nobody could suspect that General von Molkte, the “Prussian chief of Staff”, head of the Kaiserreich army conspiring with four others, had declared in a war council of 1912:

General von Moltke: “I consider a war inevitable—the sooner, the better. But we should do a better job of gaining popular support for a war against Russia, in line with the Kaiser’s remarks.” His Majesty confirmed this and asked the secretary of state to use the press to work toward this end.”

One does not need to artificially create “popular support” if one’s country is attacked, so Molkte intended to attack.

That mass homicidal general was a distant relative, so I knew the inside stories from my astronomer uncle, who was his (grand)son in law; clearly Molkte caused the war, the point man of a dirty mood that had grown over two generations. Molkte, in his fascist dumbness, expected a quick and shattering victory over the French armies. He did not expect that the French would fight like crazy to preserve (their) freedom and democracy.

The French nearly destroyed the main German armies at the First Battle of the Marne, a counter-offensive on the fifth week of the “German” attack (a shattering victory would have been achieved, if the British army corps had been speedier). Afterwards, Molkte fell apart psychologically: he had started the war that was going to destroy the satanic order of things that he wanted to see rule the world with.

Wilhem II being all over the map psychologically, Molkte and his co-conspirators sent him incommunicado to a vacation home in July, with a crafty lie. They were afraid that, at the last moment, the Kaiser, grandson of Queen Victoria, would stop the planned invasion. Thus they kept him in the dark about what their true intent was (although, once he finally learned from his generals that they were going to attack the world, the Kaiser approved).

What of the assassination in Sarajevo in all this? It’s the standard fare of the (naïve) textbooks. It is much loved, as it provides a mechanism for the thesis of the “accidental” war. The heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated, in a conspiracy from a number of students, guided by elements of the Serb “Black Hand”, who were part of the secret Serb services (acting on their own, without government authorization).

The Archduke was a grim character, not very popular, all the more as he was grimly determined to maintain peace. To boot, he was best friend with the German Kaiser Wilhem. The Archduke’s assassination was a godsend for the war Party of Molkte and company: they got a casus belli, of sorts, or, at least, Austro-Hungary did, and, at the same time, the tragedy removed the greatest enemy of war among the Central Powers’ plutocratic oligarchs.

So determined were the assassins leading the “German” military that, when they encountered unexpected resistance in Belgium from the Belgians and the French, they went insane. They had not expected this. They threw millions of soldiers through Belgium, expecting to quickly break-through, and encircle the French armies (Schliefen plan). That did not happen. French resistance became nearly suicidal: one day 27,000 French soldiers died in combat. Orders were given from above, by the Prussian General Staff, to mass massacre civilians. People such as general Ludendorff came to personally supervise combat. We have reports of two year old girls being assassinated.

Unsurprisingly, Ludendorff, a war criminal in 1914 already, was the most determined founder of the Nazi Party. After Bavarian soldiers fired a volley of gunfire into the top Nazis, in 1923, some were killed, and all fled, including Hitler… All, except general Ludendorff, who kept marching towards the troops.

Much of the preceding are inconvenient truths, because they keep bringing us back to the question of why did the USA help the Kaiserreich? Is the same old same old much older than has been suspected?

Some will say: ”So what?” But the same impulse that leads the American secret services to spy on democracy, the same Dark Side, was already fully in evidence a century ago.

Not only did the USA leadership goad the Kaiser into war, by promising an alliance, but it delivered said alliance: the USA provided the Kaiser’s henchmen with raw materials for explosives until 1917, making a national fortune in the process.

Socrates thought he lived according to: ”Unexamined politics is not worth having.”

However, he was tried because he had neglected a higher calling. The more pertinent: ”Unexamined emotions are not worth having.” The emotional system of an individual, just as that of a nation, or even that of current of thought, if they are not examined, are not worth having.

The emotions the ruling class conferred to the People in Germany, down below, were all wrong, deeply evil. Nietzsche understood this perfectly. The turn took only a few years. Nietzsche saw his friend and fellow musician Richard Wagner take a turn for the worst. Courageously Nietzsche denounced Wagner to the world in “Nietzsche Contra Wagner”. The most acute madness of the German People lasted from 1871 to 1945.

However, that same madness is still going in those who fail to distinguish between the fascist, mass murdering aggressors in 1914, and their victims. So the difference still has to be taught. No doubt the Germans have been much instructed on the subject. However, in the USA the moods, methods, ingrained emotions, and culture that made possible the betrayal of the Republic in 1914, 1915, 1916 and 1938, 1939, 1940 and 1941 are still beyond any suspicion.

German judges have decided to put on trial a SS who was only 19 when he obeyed orders at Oradour Sur Glane, contributing to the assassination, mostly by torture, of 700 innocent civilians, many women and children. 247 women and 205 children were burned alive in a church.

It’s not just about justice. It’s about education: soldiers cannot obey criminal orders, and contribute to a war crime. That brings a present-day quandary. Private Manning exposed to the world the killing of innocent civilians by the U.S. Army. Who was the criminal here? Manning, who did not obey orders, and revealed the crime (not really an accident, the recording show), or those who condemned him for not partaking in a criminal cover-up? Once again, under Obama, the Choom Gang president, all values are being inverted.

Exactly the game the Kaiserreich played, until the apocalyptic end of 1945.

Conclusion: To think anew, one has to break down the deepest emotional layers. What can do this? High emotions and passions. Pain. Even pain can be fine, if it is what’s needed to take out erroneous neurology (example: Germany suffered so much in WWII, that it made drastic reforms of its soul; Japan did not suffer as much, by a full order of magnitude, and thus did not improve its soul as much!)

Pain can help to define goodness when, or where, nothing else will. Thus pain helps create a valuable world. If emotion primes reason, only greater emotion will move in the sense of greater reason.

Imprinting passes by emotion first, as emotion is the universal, primary learning system. But it does not stop here. It then goes down all the way to genetics, though epigenetics (=”Lamarckism”). Apparently, pain can change one’s DNA: http://www.mcgill.ca/…/chronic-pain-alters-dna-marking… (Thanks to Alexi Helligar for the link).

Learning is everywhere, and all the way, as long as we open our hearts to it.

Patrice Aymé

***

Warning: My correct point of view is that the cause of WWI, was Nazism, Version 1.1. That opinion was obviously not shared by Bertrand Russel, the well known philosopher and logician. Why? Russell was one of the top Lords in Britain, and, obviously was very emotionally attached to the plutocratic principle that had made the grandson of Queen Victoria the dictator of Germany. If the Kaiser had won in the summer of 1914, the glory of Russell would have risen even higher. Of small things even great minds are made!

EMOTION PRIMES REASON

December 29, 2013

EMOTIONS SPEAK, EMOTIONS TEACH, EMOTIONS LEARN

At altitude in the High Sierra Nevada, in the crisp winter night, I was contemplating the dazzling firmament, sparkling with stars, the Andromeda galaxy fully visible. Aldebaran, the twinkling red giant star, spoke to me of my early childhood, when my grandparents and my uncles taught me the night sky, and the cosmos. Aldebaran also spoke of the Saharan sky of my infanthood, its sparkling orange accentuating that of the distant horizon. Who has not seen desert stars at dusk, has not seen the grandest sight.

I felt fully rejuvenated, full of ambitious curiosity, at one with the universe.

More evidence that emotions speak, teach and learn? I considered carefully how small children learn languages. It’s an object of wonder. And mystery. My daughter is bilingual, French, English, and is learning Mandarin. The latter is accomplished by going to a Chinese school, eight hours a day. Native Chinese speakers are impressed by her fluency.

Athena’s best friend also just turned 4 year old, the daughter of a Turkish family. She speaks English and Turkish. I spoke to Athena’s friend in French only. Surprise: the Americano-Turkish toddler understood much of what I say.

Toddler power.

How do children understand language? They do it without books, by observing contexts carefully. The exact same mental attitude that is essential to science or philosophy.

I discovered that children feel out the context, including the emotional context, and compute what the meaning has got to be. Then they learn to associate the probable sounds to the probable meaning, memorizing the whole thing ever more precisely as they correct the subtle differences between what they understood or uttered, and what allows achieving better communications.

A child is, among other things, a physicist, learning the basic facts of reality: fall, get hurt, etc. Notice that it’s the emotion that does the learning: fall, get all roughed up, break the precious skin, get distressed, cry a lot. Thereafter “gravity” (a concept Athena associates from falling off trees and holding planets around) is taken really seriously. The more it hurts, the more serious. Gravity would not have been so well understood, so seriously understood, had not as much pain been experienced.

Pain is the ultimate experience.

This shows right there that there is something wrong to avoiding pain at all cost: it would mean avoiding learning at all cost, the essence of humanity. Some will say: “Oh, we are good, and want to live as we please, avoiding pain shall be foremost, whatever it takes.”

Buddhists, of course, promote the notion. Yet, when push came to shove, they had to establish a pretty nasty empire. But not nasty enough. Nasty enough to infuriate the future Genghis Khan, not nasty enough to resist him when he came back with a large army. Yes, you have to live with others, whose pain is, all too often, your pleasure.

(See tourists, polluting with CO2 around the world as they go to far off beaches, searching for pleasure through materialistic extravaganza, insuring that those beaches they claim to love, will be flooded very soon.)

The most important books one reads, and most frequently, are books of emotions, not books of words.

A small sensation can have a huge emotional impact. People can be hated, or humiliated, or spurned, once, and never forget. Remember Hitler, who felt humiliated and alienated by weirdly dressed Jews in the center of Vienna, when he was a beggar. “Is this a Jew?” he wondered. And then Hitler learned to associate his wretched condition of truly destitute German to the alienation he experienced in Vienna, thanks to this vision never experienced before of a black dressed individual with abundant black hair hanging all over.

He was not the only German to feel that way, and it all built up into a giant hatred (helped, of course, by 15 centuries of Christian anti-Jewish emotions and pattern of homicidal abuse).

Thus a small emotion can have huge intellectual, even civilizational, or anti-civilizational, impact.

Emotions are what get people to move. People’s minds to move, that is. And more. Emotions are how minds were built.

Addressing thoughts is one thing. Thoughts are digital. Addressing emotions is addressing what reality is made of. A continuous field, just as those fields we call Quanta. What’s out there is more complicated than Homer. Because words can only clumsily approximate what we feel. Such as individual photons. Themselves, fields.

The emotional universe is where we live. It’s what we are. A civilization is not first about words, but about how it feels about the universe. And, from there, what it teaches, speaks of, and even what it can learn of.

Imprisoned in their brutal view of man, the Greco-Romans did not learn enough to prevent the near collapse of civilization. We won’t have the second chance they got in us. Time to feel right. Enshrine it in the law as needed.

Patrice Aymé

***

Note: The fancy philosophy above is fully compatible with the most recent neurobiology, and takes flight from it, extending its dendrites where the glia are the most active…

REASON FROM UNREASON

July 27, 2012

Superior CRAZINESS For Superior LOGIC.

CALM IS OVERRATED, CRAZINESS A LOGICAL NECESSITY:

Abstract: Why do people go crazy? Is it fate, or is it evolution? Is it disease, or is it creativity?

 Two of the creators of modern mathematics and metamathematics, Georg Cantor and Kurt Godel, experienced some craziness. Nietzsche produced some of his best work before he went insane. Van Gogh experienced serious mental difficulties. Bolztman killed himself. All these cases were within a generation. Those may all be unrelated accidents, sure. 

 However I will show below that superior intelligence in a species can only come from an ability to engineer (productive) craziness. (Perhaps the reason why chimps and bears are so unpredictable: they are not just clever, but a bit crazy!)

 What president Roosevelt said of the bankers:”I welcome their hatred!” may sound crazy to some, and it is exactly the opposite of the praises the all too cool Obama bestow on bankers, every chance he gets. But Roosevelt domesticated the bankers, whereas Obama got domesticated by them. Of course the superior intelligent one was Roosevelt, who knew it was smart to go crazy on the bankers. It’s certainly crazy to cling to an appearance of sanity in an insane situation (Eichmann used Kant to justify his crimes, an appearance of philosophy to promote infamy.)

Thus insanity is hardwired in Homo Sapiens Sapiens. Perhaps Homo Wise Wise, Homo Sapiens Sapiens, should be renamed Homo Crazy Wise: Homo Sapiens Demens

This has some fascinating, but sinister implications for Artificial Intelligence. In his Turing Test for intelligence, Alan Turing forgot craziness. That was crazy.

 It also means that, as insanity will follow a normal distribution, some substantial part of any human population will be insanely dangerous

 As technological capability improves exponentially, the danger exists that this insanity will be also exponentially amplified (as happened with the death camps of WWII).

 Hence the necessity of counterbalancing it by augmenting truth, and thus transparency, just as exponentially, too. 

 If we want survival, we have to become truth fanatics. A new religion.

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***  

 MADNESS AS THE SOLUTION TO LOGICAL INCOMPLETENESS:

[Advanced.]

 The Incompleteness Theorems in logic say that any logical system big enough to contain arithmetic is incomplete, in the sense that there is an infinite number of propositions, about natural numbers, which are true but that cannot be proven in that logical system.

 If it cannot be proven, it has to be assumed (and that, an infinite number of times! It’s a crazy world out there: it turns out that, if a logical system is complete, it’s inconsistent, etc. (If one supposes the usual properties of arithmetic to be true.) 

 These facts were demonstrated in the 20C, but they were true all along. I claim that there is a strict correspondence between brain circuitry and logical completeness. Thus, brain operations stumbled on circuitry incompleteness, all the time, ever since there are advanced brains, and they think. 

 The problem of logical incompleteness is solved in metalogic by making assumptions. The same holds with brain circuitry: logical incompleteness there is also solved by making assumptions. 

 How does the brain make assumptions? Well it just connects different neurons, or different parts of the brain with axons. In other words: Axons for axioms.

 How does the relationship work? Incompleteness in logic is caused by a confrontation between the finiteness of logic on a piece of paper (or in a Turing Machine), and the uncountable infinity it gives rise to (modulo some assumptions mathematicians classically do). Basically the finite axioms allow, modulo some infinite choice procedure (for example Cantor’s diagonalization), to build an infinite number of further axioms.

 The same happens with neuronal and neuroglial networks: they are finite. But, once given, it’s possible to build other neuronal and glial networks different from them. That’s the equivalent of the Godel proposition built from a Godel number. How does one build such a number? Well, with dendrites, etc. That in turn happens if and only if, some astrocytes get in high gear, andthat happens in case of high emotions. In other words, if the brain builds new assumptions through new emotions. And probably, the more different the assumptions, the more different the emotions.

 Hominids who practiced a bit of craziness were evolutionary advantaged, because they found more readily solutions to logical incompleteness at hand. Craziness allowed to find new, necessary axioms. Thus evolution learned to exploit logical incompleteness.

***

 NO UNREASON, NO CREATION:

 An excellent example is geometry without the parallel postulate; it’s a logically incomplete system. For more than 2,000years mathematicians tried to prove that it could be made complete. 

 But the solution was very obvious, and very crazy: take a sphere, and try to do geometry on it. Take a saddle, and try to do geometry on it. 

 A modicum of craziness is intelligence’s friend.

 Hence a necessity, to make Creative Artificial Intelligence would be to contrive crazy robots.

 [I will deny all and any responsibility when Artificial Intelligence engineers use that idea to make more clever killer robots.] 

***

 LYING AS THE WORST CRIME:

 So there is a hard core of badness out there. If one ignores it, it will grow: fascism, before and during World War Two is an excellent example. The more ignored fascism was, the bigger it got. 

 If one ignores the hard core of badness out there, one is lying, big time. Because one claims that something potentially lethal in giant proportions is of no consequence. That’s a lie, if there ever was one. Lying about nothing is not a lie. Lying about something that can turn into everything is a terrible lie.

 Look at the haggard, drugged out, half dead, passed out face of the cruel and crazed maniac who shot 71 people in a movie theater in Colorado. Or the other crazed maniac in Norway, killing 73 Norwegians to save them from impure blood, or to save Norwegian culture (whatever).

 Such people are bad, they are pathologically bad. Maybe they took too much drugs, maybe their neurohormones are all wrong from more natural causes. The basic fact, though, is that there will be pathologically bad people out there, always. 

 Or at least, there will be crazed out people as long as we do not have a thorough understanding of the human mind. And even then. Because when we understand why people become pathologically insane, some, the same as those who abuse drugs (starting with alcohol and psychoactive smoke), will decide to use their freedom (if they are left any) to become psychologically insane, deliberately so.

 Some will whine when they read this. But they understand neither evolution, nor the logical incompleteness theorems, and even less the fact that evolution has mastered both.

 It is even worse than that. It’s not just that there are bad actors out there. Power attracts bad actors, like flies are attracted by excrements.

 Those who rise up high in human hierarchies, all too often do so precisely because they are bad. This is the Achilles heel of representative democracy.

 Examples abound with dictatorships: there the worst do best. Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Stalin, are recent cases. Stalin overcame Lenin (founder and theoretician of the Bolsheviks) and Trotsky (head of the Red Army, and also a theoretician), precisely because Stalin was so much worse. as a human being. That was his best qualification (he started by robbing banks…wait…). 

 However, Stalin’s extreme badness allowed him to out-Hitler Hitler himself: that made him laugh, according to Churchill. That Stalin’s horribleness was viewed as an advantage by those subordinate to him seems unlikely, but it’s thoroughly demonstrated by the facts. 

 Hitler attacked his ally the USSR by surprise. Stalin had been leading the rapprochement with Nazi Germany, so he expected his colleagues in the Politburo to punish him severely. After sulking for days, he finally showed up, expecting the chop, and was enthusiastically confirmed as great war leader. Why? Because all his comrades knew he was the very worst. And indeed Stalin put in place policies considering that anyone not respecting an order was subject to immediate execution. Any soldier knew that his captain could kill him any time, and so on, throughout the Red Army. 

 Thus in Stalingrad, workers built tanks while other drove them to engage the Nazis in combat, at the other end of the factory. 

 The Nazis, who thought of themselves as the meanest characters on the planet, and had demonstrated it with engineers doing suicide attacks with explosives on their backs against the French after crossing the Meuse, could not sustain that level of ferocity.

 Hence not just craziness, but criminal insanity can be an advantage to rise to the fore in society. Certainly, if Alexander so called the Great had not annihilated the cities of Thebes and Tyr (crucifying all the men there), he would have been less Great, because Athens would have taken him, and his general Antipater less seriously.

 Ultimately, though, the criminal mood in the USSR was made possible by systematic lying on such an industrial scale that the connection with reality became increasingly tenuous. When enough truth was projected onto the system, the lying, and the political system that depended upon it collapsed.

 If craziness is so useful to augment those mental powers we need so much to survive as a civilization, how do we survive it? Precisely by augmenting the truth. Thus only craziness compatible with the truth will be able to survive. That is why I have not hesitated to tell various truths about Obama (whom I have intensely supported in all sorts of ways), or Hollande, whom I approved of, until he started to say lies about World War Two (details soon to come).

 Truth is my religion. A touch of craziness my sanity. (Latest demonstration: It’s not like I did not know of the danger in advance. I was slightly charged by a large bad mood moose with calf today on an Alaskan trail, where I was nonchalantly running with a bad ankle; after a high speed retreat, as a good predator, I circumvented the difficulty, and anxiety switched sides, the calf nearly spraining its own ankle in the process… . )

 There is no truth but the full truth, and a touch of craziness is its prophet.

***

Patrice Ayme

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Islam Versus Civilization?

February 12, 2012

WESTERN CIVILIZATION FOUNDED ON REASON, NOT SUPERSTITION.

***

Abstract; Some drastic differences between the West and Islam are explored, and explained. That brings forth reflections on some differences between civilization and superstition.

***

Strident screaming in France from the politically correct. Claude Gueant, one of the ministers of the discombobulated Sarkozy, observed that:

Contrary to what the left’s relativist ideology says, for us, all civilizations are not of equal value. Those which defend humanity seem to us to be more advanced than those that deny it. Those which defend liberty, equality and fraternity, seem to us superior to those which accept tyranny, the subservience of women, social and ethnic hatred.” Adding the need to “protect our civilization”, he insisted he had not targeted “one culture in particular”.

[Disclosure: I detest Claude Gueant’s immigration policy; but that does not mean I have to detest all his thoughts, especially when they happen to be philosophically correct.]

Islam de France asked Gueant to specify that he did not target Islam. A socialist (related) member of parliament amalgamated Gueant’s observations with Nazism. The French government walked out of the National Assembly, for the first time since 1898.

To progress in the elucidation of things, one has to get where one did not go before. And nothing is best for that than strong emotions. E-motions are called that way, precisely because they move people. Cold logic, per se, is a ship without motion. Logic does not move by itself.

So let me invenominate the debate a bit more. As a public service.

Islam is why the Middle East covered itself with fascist dictatorships.

(Islam is only a proximal cause, however, see below.) OK, let’s roll out Muhammad Himself, Peace Be On Him, He needs it!

“O YE WHO BELIEVE! Obey Allah, and obey the messenger and OBEY THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE IN POWER.” (Quran’s, Sura 4; verse 59).

In other words, obey power, not intelligence, virtue or democracy. I call that Islam’s fascist principle.

The truth can be outrageous. Nothing better than truth to bring rage out. OK, maybe I put the cart, religion, before the donkey, dictatorship. The water crisis in the Middle East forced the establishment of hydraulic dictatorships. As the drought increased, so did the ferocity: the Egyptian religious was softer than Christianism, itself more open minded than Islam.

True, Jesus Christ, a prophet of Islam, ordered to kill non believers. Luke 19:27: “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.”

However Christ’s robust self glorification was not the law in the Imperium Francorum. Probably impressed by what the mighty Franks had done in Occident, emperor Justinian, who reigned 40 years, and reconquered the Mediterranean, ordered to separate the secular and the religious in Roman law.

If a Christian wanted to become a Jew, or a Muslim, it was not a cause for execution.

But the Qur’an is more specific: “And if they break their oaths after their agreement and (openly) revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief– surely their oaths are nothing– so that they may desist.” (Qur’an, S 9, v 12) Passages abound in the Hadith (the second sacred book of Islam, full of sayings attributed to Muhammad) of murderous narrow mindedness:

Allah’s Apostle [Muhammad] said, “The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims.”—BukhariSahih al-Bukhari, 9:83:17

Some with leftist pretentions will erupt:”How dare you? Is not religion good? Do you have something against Islam? Are you an incredible racist?”

No, I am not an incredible racist. Just the opposite. It is precisely because I respect the victims of an all too fascist friendly religion that I intervene.

I spent the essential of my childhood in Muslim countries, and I nearly always respected the individuals I met, and loved the mosques, and the architecture. I even respect several injunctions of Islam: for example no alcohol whatsoever (I am silly enough already on my own to not need adjuvants). However Islam is a system of thought, and thinking is what I eat.

A particular problem with Islam is the way it treats women. As women educate small children, mentally underperforming women means mentally underperforming children, and thus mentally underperforming adults, hence mentally underperforming societies.

So Islam becomes a self fulfilling prophecy. There is no senility like senility, and stupidity is its prophet.

Some with leftist pretentions will hammer their war drums, the way they have been taught is supposed to be correct:”We don’t see you criticizing the West, the Christian civilization!”

Well, you should read me more. I enjoy dogfights with Christianism. My answer is that there is not such a thing as Christian civilization. “Christian civilization” is an oxymoron, except in the most primitive places. 

By definition of what a civilization is, civilization cannot be just a religion, especially not a superstitious religion. And, historically, the West was not founded by the Franks as a religion, but as a reaction against the superstitious organization of society by Catholic bishops.

Contrarily to a commonly accepted myth, the West, the synergetic civilizational aggregate imagined by the Franks, was not founded on a particular superstition, or even a particular nation or language. Quite the opposite. It was intrinsically omnirole, and even anti-plutocratic. (The multivaried nature of the empire of the Franks make it closer to the present European Union, than to a conventional empire; the Imperium Francorum was a sort of European Union in its time, but with the world’s mightiest army.)

In the Imperium Francorum, Christians could become Jews, and they did, and, no, they did not have fewer rights, and no, they did not have to wear signs on their clothing warning of their particular superstition.

Whereas in Islam, Jews, Christians, Zoroastrians, although had lived there for centuries, when not millennia, were discriminated against by the heavily armed newbies. Non-Muslims had to wear special clothing to warn of their presence, they did not have equal rights, and enjoyed special supplementary taxes. To this day it is forbidden for a Muslim woman to marry a non Muslim. 25% of Lebanese weddings happen in Cyprus, to turn around that interdiction.

According to the Qur’an believers are suppose to kill Pagans and Non Believers:

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them and beleaguer them and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war). But if they repent and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them, for Allah is oft-forgiving, most merciful.” [Qur’an, Surah al-Tawbah: verse 5]

Taken at face value in the short, 80,000 words Qur’an, this verse is as clear as it gets. Some Islamists try to wiggle out of it, see Islam Tomorrow.(I enjoy reading Islamists.)

So why such a huge difference between Christian Francia and the contemporaneous first Islamist Caliphate? At first sight, this is strange, because Christianism and Islamism are variants of the same religion of Abraham. (Maybe I should call that mother religion Abrahamism, to rhyme with Shamanism.)

Islam, by promoting jihad, interpreted by Muhammad Himself as a war effort against the West allowed to build the world’s largest empire in one generation. That immense succession of battles was launched from just one city, Medina (where Muhammad is buried).

Muhammad admonished Roman authorities to convert, while telling his followers that, for the first time in 1,000 years, the Greco-Romans and their successor regimes (such as the Persian Sassanids) were weak (from a terrible war between them, and the civil war of the Christians against the Pagans and Thinkers inside the Greco-Roman empire). And it was the time to attack.

In the Orient, jihadist rage, lots of luck, and tremendous overconfidence and incompetence in one major battle by the Roman army high command, led the Arabs to the gates of Constantinople. There they were defeated by a high tech weapon, Grecian fire. Grecian fire, secret to this day, was used successfully against Muslims for centuries. Even in Saint Tropez in the Tenth century when a combined effort of the Frankish army and the Roman navy threw the Islamist armies out of Francia.

Blocked by the enormous walls of Constantinople and its fire spitting navy, the Islamists conceived to go around, and catch Constantinople from behind.

After quickly overrunning Gothic Iberia, massacring 20% of its natives, the armies of Islam met the Franks, in Francia. Not only the franks had defeated the Goths, two centuries prior, but they had sent spies to figure out the Muslims, as soon as Islam swept Palestine and Egypt. The Franks represented legal Roman power, and applied Roman law, with an addition, Salic law, initially written in Latin by Roman jurists around 300CE (it was amended enormously in the following millennium). No religious law for the Franks. Zilcht.

In a succession of three terrible invasions (721-750 CE), the Arab and Berber armies and navies tried to break through Francia, and, instead, were the ones broken to smithereens. Not only were the obnoxious invaders thrown out, bones rotting in the sun, but, exhausted, the Caliphate in Damascus fell (750 CE).

Civilian Muslims left behind were left alone and not discriminated against. They reproduced in peace, as genetics studies on the French population have shown.

The Franks were not fighting in the name of Christianity. They viewed the Sarah-sin as a type of Christian, originating from the Bible’s Sarah. The Franks had a long tradition of fighting fanatical Christians. That is why the Franks organized a succession of coups, wars and elected several scholars as emperors, to break the Christian theocracy in Constantinople. They finally captured Francia in 476 CE (and Constantinople in 1204 CE, vengeance is best cold!)

The Franks viewed in Islam more of the same they knew all too well, and they had fought for five centuries, ever since they were the Free, the Franks.

The Frank Reich had always been multinational and multilingual. They spoke old Dutch, Latin, German…By the time the Islamists invaded, the Franks called themselves “EUROPEANS.

There was their fundamental religion, what bound them together again: Europe.

Thus, contrarily to the Islamist empire, the West was founded on tolerance and reason, and the secular law. The west of the Franks was not founded on the adoration of the would be child killer, adulator of his boss, Abraham his name. Just the opposite.

A demonstration of this occurred unwittingly when Christianism was unleashed to help reconquer the Middle East. What happened? Christianism soon re-engaged in what it does best, namely plutocratization. Plutocratization, the instauration of the Dark Side. In contrast to civilization.

Why are Christianism and Islam so prone to plutocratization? It is not an accident.

The myth of Abraham is the very foundation of Christianism and Islam. And what do we observe?

The religion of Abraham is founded on the most insane torturous obsession imaginable, the killing of the child by his parent, to please the boss. Worse than that cannot be found. Think about it. That’s what Islamist regimes are founded on.

The Aztec philosophers viewed their own superstition as more humane than Abraham’s pedophobic obsession, and contradicted the Christian theologians point by point.

Remark: the clueless Vatican wonders why so thousands of obsessed priests tortured children. May I remind them of Abraham? Torturing children is what their god does. See what happened to David’s son, according to their little book of horrors.

So what is civilization? The term appeared around 1600 CE in France, after seven religious civil wars in quick succession (instigated by the Catholic fanatic Spanish emperor, son of his French father, Charles V!).

Henri IV built on the tremendous work of his great predecessor Henri III (assassinated by a Catholic fanatic). He put his war marshal the duke of Sully in charge of the economy. The new society was a welfare state (“a chicken in every pot!”), a stimulus program, and a planification of the economy was introduced, with an accent on high tech.

When the protestant Henri de Navarre was told it would be better if he became catholic to sit on the throne of France, he scoffed:”Paris vaut bien une messe!” (“Paris is worth a mass!”)

Civilization is not religion. Civilization is a process, a progress towards a more civil society. Civilization lives in its time (that’s what “secular” means), and on the ground (it’s not standing-over, which is what super-stition means).

Religion is an old, wet rat clinging to an old branch sinking in the middle of the ocean. A superstitious religion is just a revelation. Some guy in the desert, way back, walking on the water, making fish out of wine, listening to archangels in his head, threatening to kill whoever he is unwilling to “believe” in him, and venerate those ready to kill a child, if the boss says so.

Henri III and Henri IV were both assassinated by religious fanatics (after several dozens attempts!). Their crime? Pushing forcefully for a more civil society. For civilization.

Let’s remember that, next time we are told that a religion can be a civilization.

***

Patrice Ayme

Why French Parents Are Superior.

February 5, 2012

IT’S ALL ABOUT REASON:

“While Americans fret over modern parenthood, the French are raising happy, well-behaved children without all the anxiety. Pamela Druckerman on the Gallic secrets for avoiding tantrums, teaching patience and saying ‘non’ with authority.”

Such is the abstract of the article “Why French Parents Are Superior” found in the Wall Street Journal on February 4, 2012. [See notes.]

To say “non” with authority, one needs to have intellectual authority to start with. The French develop the latter through a love of mental jousts (many of them about politics, sociology, ecology, history, geography, science, poetry, litterature, etc…). That intense Gallic practice of mental activity leads typical young French adults to have gone through at least 10,000 hours of intra familial debate by the end of their teenage years. So they are expert at it. They are also expert at being interesting, and being able to answer inquiries the little ones will have from all directions.

Inasmuch as the WSJ author tried her best, three years of study she says, she extracted very little from it: talk a bit firmer, sound more self assured. Step by step under the direction of a 34 year old French mom. Pathetic. To see why she so thorougly failed, keep on reading.

In truth French parents develop in their children a greater ability to present, develop arguments, and respond to them intelligently. This is done mostly through the intense practice of speech. That, in turn, comes from the love of speech, which is also imprinted, right from the start.

French parents talk more, with a richer speech between themselves, and back and forth to their children. Children are taught to not interrupt the conversations adults are having with each other. Learning not to interrupt, is viewed not as an exclusion, but an instruction, a fundamental part of education.

Speech also allows to communicate values. A child endowed with higher values, and the perspective of even the higher ones grandes personnes are responding to, understands that orders given by parents have themselves reasons. Those reasons have to be mastered to access to higher learning. It’s all about reason.

I asked two Californian parents who live (very well) in Cambridge, England, with their two American children, if they saw a difference between American and European kids. They immediately replied that European children were much better educated. This corresponds to the main difference the Wall Street Journal reporter saw in France, when she pondered why her own child was ruining her outings:

“After a few more harrowing restaurant visits, I started noticing that the French families around us didn’t look like they were sharing our mealtime agony. Weirdly, they looked like they were on vacation. French toddlers were sitting contentedly in their high chairs, waiting for their food, or eating fish and even vegetables. There was no shrieking or whining. And there was no debris around their tables.

Though by that time I’d lived in France for a few years, I couldn’t explain this. And once I started thinking about French parenting, I realized it wasn’t just mealtime that was different. I suddenly had lots of questions. Why was it, for example, that in the hundreds of hours I’d clocked at French playgrounds, I’d never seen a child (except my own) throw a temper tantrum? Why didn’t my French friends ever need to rush off the phone because their kids were demanding something? Why hadn’t their living rooms been taken over by teepees and toy kitchens, the way ours had?

Soon it became clear to me that quietly and en masse, French parents were achieving outcomes that created a whole different atmosphere for family life. When American families visited our home, the parents usually spent much of the visit refereeing their kids’ spats, helping their toddlers do laps around the kitchen island, or getting down on the floor to build Lego villages. When French friends visited, by contrast, the grownups had coffee and the children played happily by themselves… a 2009 study, led by economists at Princeton, comparing the child-care experiences of similarly situated mothers in Columbus, Ohio, and Rennes, France. The researchers found that American moms considered it more than twice as unpleasant to deal with their kids. In a different study by the same economists, working mothers in Texas said that even housework was more pleasant than child care.

Rest assured, I certainly don’t suffer from a pro-France bias. Au contraire, I’m not even sure that I like living here…”.

I will explain why she cannot like to live in France; it is directly related to her child trouble.

I asked a mother born and raised in the USA who considers herself ‘fortunate‘ that her parents, although American from a young age, were not American born. She has also lived and worked in France, and has a child who has never thrown a temper tantrum, even at the age of two and a half: “Why Are French Parents Superior?

She was haughtily irritated by the question and did not try to hide it. Talking to me as if I were a dimwit she had little time for, she blasted the following reply:

“Why French Parents Are Superior, you ask? For the same reason as French are generally superior.

The key is that one has to provide reasons to the child, and, most importantly, those reasons have to make sense. These are two necessary conditions.

Americans would say that they do that. But, instead of telling the children what to do, and why, they let the children decide. But children don’t know anything, they are just children, they can’t decide, using reason. Or then American parents make up stories that don’t make sense, and, or, are not truthful, and lose all credibility that way.

You see that in adult conversations all the time, so it naturally shows up in adult-child conversations. It is in fact the lazy man’s way of communicating. Hence the continual usage of non sequiturs and constant sport analogies. As far as I can tell, only Americans do this.

When American parents say “no”, they just say “no”. They don’t say why they are saying no, they don’t explain to their child why the child’s behavior or request should be denied, and if they do, they don’t wait for the child to articulate an answer, which can take up to ten minutes. They lose all credibility that way.

American parents also expect children to throw temper tantrums, so when one happens, they rarely try to explore why. When American children ask their American parents why? or, why not? the parents typically don’t make a genuine effort to provide an understandable and coherent answer. They just think that asking someone for their reasons or motivations is hostile. It’s a cultural limitation that cannot be overcome.

And when one tells them that they should provide children with reasons, American parents think that you do not understand parenting, children just behave like that. And if your child is different, she was born with a different character, and you are lucky.

Americans, in fact, view questions about their reasons and motivations as hostile interrogation. So, when children attempt to explore that with them, they view it as an hostile inquiry, unlike the French and many other cultures. Rather than try to cultivate that form of inquiry, as French parents do, Americans try to suppress it.

And why do you ask me all these questions? There is no hope, Americans don’t have the concepts!”

I suggested that it was a bit like explaining the Hahn-Banach theorem to someone who does not know there is such a thing as functional analysis. The francophile American mother threw a Gallic shrug:”Yes, for Americans, reason is like a foreign language they never encountered before!

If anything her very French like reaction showed that Americanization is fully reversible. 

Here is Pamela from the Wall Street Journal again:

“France is the perfect foil for the current problems in American parenting. Middle-class French parents (I didn’t follow the very rich or poor) have values that look familiar to me. They are zealous about talking to their kids, showing them nature and reading them lots of books. They take them to tennis lessons, painting classes and interactive science museums.

Yet the French have managed to be involved with their families without becoming obsessive. They assume that even good parents aren’t at the constant service of their children, and that there is no need to feel guilty about this… French parents want their kids to be stimulated, but not all the time. While some American toddlers are getting Mandarin tutors and preliteracy training, French kids are—by design—toddling around by themselves…

Of course, the French have all kinds of public services that help to make having kids more appealing and less stressful. Parents don’t have to pay for preschool, worry about health insurance or save for college. Many get monthly cash allotments—wired directly into their bank accounts—just for having kids.

But these public services don’t explain all of the differences. The French, I found, seem to have a whole different framework for raising kids. When I asked French parents how they disciplined their children, it took them a few beats just to understand what I meant. “Ah, you mean how do we educate them?” they asked. “Discipline,” I soon realized, is a narrow, seldom-used notion that deals with punishment. Whereas “educating” (which has nothing to do with school) is something they imagined themselves to be doing all the time.

One of the keys to this education is the simple act of learning how to wait…

After a while, it struck me that most French descriptions of American kids include this phrase “n’importe quoi,” meaning “whatever” or “anything they like.” It suggests that the American kids don’t have firm boundaries, that their parents lack authority, and that anything goes. It’s the antithesis of the French ideal of the cadre, or frame, that French parents often talk about. Cadre means that kids have very firm limits about certain things—that’s the frame—and that the parents strictly enforce these. But inside the cadre, French parents entrust their kids with quite a lot of freedom and autonomy.”

Authority is one of the most impressive parts of French parenting—and perhaps the toughest one to master. Many French parents I meet have an easy, calm authority with their children that I can only envy. Their kids actually listen to them. French children aren’t constantly dashing off, talking back, or engaging in prolonged negotiations.”

[—Adapted from “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting,” to be published Tuesday by the Penguin Press. ]

***

PHILOSOPHICAL DEEPENING OF THE PRECEDING:

Well, what to dare add for more enlightenment? Fasten seat belts, we are going to philosophical warp speed. The problem with American parenting is deeply entangled with a formal superficiality which is devouring American society, and reason itself. This decerebration is, of course, very comfortable for the “masters of the universe” based in Wall Street.

The USA is supposed to be a democratic republic. The law is the skeleton of such a state, and it is the paradigm of mental organization, collective and individual. The American parenting deficit is a manifestation of an American cultural deficit and its nexus is a sense of justice (or lack thereof).

That cultural deficit is of foremost importance, worldwide, considering the military-economic importance of the USA.

The article in the New Yorker “The Caging Of America” laid the blame of the dismal American “justice” system on the “Bill Of Rights“. That Bill is inferior, experts say, because it emphasizes formality, formalism, and superficiality, in other words, justice as fairness (something Rawls and his “liberal” followers got all confused about).

Instead justice ought to be justice as justice. The Declaration des Droits de l’Homme insisted simply on that:”Be Just!” For the Declaration, justice is a primary notion, not a derivative notion. Who speaks of justice speaks of judgments, sentences, reasons, causes, attenuating circumstances, discovery… Justice begs for strong, inquisitive, rational, well informed minds, in other words, minds toddlers will respect.

Toddlers respect good judgment. Toddlers instinctively rebel against bad judgment, and any mockery of the nobility of the human spirit, such as a travesty of reason.

The New Yorker points out that formalism has devoured true justice in the USA, and has made the incarceration mood pervasive throughout American society, from individuals covered with tattoos to clothes mimicking prison garb, to shoes without laces.

But formalism has devoured other things, all the way to parental facial expression, and viewing any explanation as a conflict to be avoided absolutely.

The emphasis on formalism throughout American society is striking. Murderers bathing in the blood of their victims have walked free, in the USA, because the police had no warrant (don’t try that in France!). A Chinese contractor formally presents a lower bill for a giant bridge, it gets formally accepted. Never mind that the USA loses industrial substance as a result. Etc.

Formalism, in the beginning, looks pragmatic, because it is easy to bestow. Formalism is reason reduced to its most basic. Formalism is a parody of rationality.

Toddlers have a deep instinctive dislike of irrationality. They observe, early on, that reason makes them strong, whereas irrationality assaults them. Parents choosing irrationality choose the Dark Side, as far as toddlers are concerned.

Exerting formalism blocks the exertion of reason as much as exerting justice requires. In any case the reign of formalism is how outrageous American meta principles such as “don’t be judgmental”, “don’t argue”, “stop rationalizing” have appeared.

How can a toddler sit in judgment of his own behavior, if his parents refuse, or are incapable, to do so? And, even worse, if they have not learned to exert enough judgment to establish the cadre of what is acceptable, and what is not?

And sure enough, the toddler in chief could not bring himself to find reasons to judge bankers, because it was a case where he had to find within himself, enough to transcend the formalism of formal politeness he owed to his sponsors. Looked at it formally, the USA is doing OK. Looked at it in all justice, not that much.  

And why can’t our Wall Street Journal reporter like to live in France, in her present state?

I went back to the francophile American mother who knows France much better than the WSJ reporter. She told me:

“Living well in France is all about loving reason, more than authority.

Instead, the WSJ reporter feels it’s all about French parents having more authority. She does not understand authority has a foundation, and its name is reason. She completely misses the mark, even after three years of studying it intensely. Why? Because she is American. Case closed.”  

France’s main pastime is not cheese and wine, it’s contradicting authority with reason.

This was already the case in the Middle Ages during the “Jacqueries” (14 C), and before that, when the philosopher Abelard (and the people behind him) opposed the religious, crusading fanatics led by Saint Bernard and the papacy (12C). Actually French history is all about a perpetual war between authority and reason.

The very foundational act of “Francia”, by the Franks, in 486 CE, was the act, tried persistently by the Franks for two centuries before that, to pry reason out of the jaws of fascist and theocratic authority (these notions were at the heart of the conflict between Greco-Romans and Celto-Germans, for a full millennium prior).

Submitting, and boosting, authority with reason is the master value of French culture. Thus it should show up on French children’s playgrounds, and it does.

Another related command: only reason can contradict authority, and authority is full of reason. (The resulting respect for authority sometimes backfire in French society.)

Thus, when authority is exerted, it better be full of reason, so it is full of reason. French toddlers learn this, and if they perceive the authority, they know reasons are not far behind, and they plead no contest, as it is the path of less effort.

***

Patrice Ayme

***

Note 1: Yes, the Wall Street Journal is francophile nowadays. (Amazingly, Murdoch’s WSJ does not censor me, and publishes me within three seconds, whereas the New York Times does all sorts of naughty things to my comments: thus, I have nearly stopped commenting in the NYT. This to point out that the NYT is not as “liberal” as the mob has it.)

***

Note 2:

French Lessons [Wall Street Journal]:

Children should say hello, goodbye, thank you and please. It helps them to learn that they aren’t the only ones with feelings and needs.

When they misbehave, give them the “big eyes”—a stern look of admonishment.

Allow only one snack a day. In France, it’s at 4 or 4:30.

Remind them (and yourself) who’s the boss. French parents say, “It’s me who decides.”

Don’t be afraid to say “no.” Kids have to learn how to cope with some frustration.

Further French Lessons [Tyranosopher]:

Children also have to learn delayed gratification and being satisfied with what they have. Otherwise they would end up, or rather down, like Americans, with debts up the wazoo, enslaved by banks and Wall Street.

Inasmuch as speech with the vocal chords is important, facial and body language are even more readily understood, by the little ones. The “big eyes” the Wall Street Journal reporter is obsessed by is only part of the story. The rigid, expressionless faces of all too many American women go a long way to explain their dysfunctional relationship with their children.