Posts Tagged ‘Yosemite’

Obama Closes Yosemite

June 20, 2016

OK, only part thereof. Something Europeans miss totally about the USA, is that it is an empire, a military empire, and obeying orders from above is view as the essence of morality. Yes, the Roman army worked exactly like that, for many centuries… Until it did not. This is what gives to the Trump phenomenon an interesting, not to say disquieting, perspective: as Americans view respecting orders from above the essence of morality (as the Prussian pseudo-philosopher Immanuel Kant ordered) one may wonder what will happen with President Donald Trump? Will Americans goose step behind him as they did with G. W. Bush? 

So President Obama shows up in Yosemite, and a gigantic expanse of cliffs is “closed”, a kilometer high, several kilometers across. What fascinated me was the obedient tune many climbers sounded in a climbing site I read. It was as if God had ordered them to do something, and they felt honored. In a place like France, the order would have been so unenforceable, it would not even have been tried. Many individuals would have made a MORAL point of disobeying it.  

This Entire Landscape Is The Area Which Was Closed To Climbing When Obama Visited For Three Days

This Entire Landscape Is The Area Which Was Closed To Climbing When Obama Visited For Three Days

To give the scale, of this piece of the North Rim of Yosemite Valley, the exposed landscape in the picture  is more than 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) high. I have climbed and run all over it, from left to right, and above, and beyond. Differently from Socrates, who engaged in combat during epic battles, I am reduced to meeker pursuits, to get to examine myself.

What is good about being an obedient little fascist, is that one never has to examine oneself: following Immanuel Kant, one can define one’s morality as following orders. And this is exactly what the Nazis dis, and explained to whoever wanted to listen to them. (The jury of Eichmann in Jerusalem was not impressed by Eichmann explaining he had been moral by obeying Kant, and condemned him to hang. The Israelis had learned a few important things in WW II!)

Now this sort of orders given to an American population eager to please its masters, is not an happenstance: it’s training graciously provided by the Deep State, another occasion for Americans, in this case rather young Americans (most climbers don’t make old bones) to obey orders. I sent the following comment, fully expecting racist, tribal, hypernationalistic abuse of the sort which passes for normal in the Anglo-Saxon world this days, regarding France (and I was not disappointed). Yes, philosophy rests on experiments, just like science:  

I love the way Americans take orders, thus showing they are not worthy to lead the world, civilizationally speaking, as they effectively do. This sort of self-humiliation would NEVER work in France. Instead little American sheep take unconstitutional orders with alacrity, pride and total obedience. They should be ashamed of themselves, instead, and the rest of the world should be afraid. Very afraid. Indeed, who is this Obama? An employee of We The People! Wake up, People, instead of just goose stepping proudly in the sunset of the dignity of the human spirit. The meaning and appeal of real climbing is freedom. Taking orders, the exact opposite.

I know perfectly well that the essence of the USA is the military thing: the Indians did not go away nicely. They resisted. The army exterminated them. General Jackson, commander of the US Army decided to attack them, and Congress was too scared to contradict him. Hence the Cherokee “March of Tears”. The famous Tocqueville saw it, in front of his very eyes, but, as this was outside of his philosophical understanding, did not draw any conclusion on the American character, from that experience (I obviously do). Maybe one of the reason Tocqueville is so popular in the United States is, precisely, that he did not draw any conclusion of the holocaust of the Native American over a full quarter of the US, precisely when he visited them. That makes Tocqueville an All-American boy: very smart on what’s less significant, mute on what is most significant.

Here is the order: “climbing areas will be closed over the weekend. Please see below for area closures for Thursday evening (6/16, tonight) through Sunday afternoon (6/19). There will also be other areas closed Friday evening through Saturday evening. We will keep you updated on the official word for the Friday/Saturday closures.

“All climbing routes from and including Church Bowl east to Washington Column (Washington Column itself remains open) will be closed from Thursday sunset through Sunday afternoon. This includes Bishops Terrace, Royal Arches, Serenity Crack, Son’s of Yesterday.”

Thank you for your cooperation in these temporary closures.

http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/climbingclosures.htm

The reactions I got were the usual abuse, insults and lies (deeply believed to be the truth): France was accused to be a Nazi bastion of cheese eating surrender monkeys. Always amusing from the country which, besides Germany, did the most for Adolf Hitler. OK, I plead guilty for provocation, but what is science, but for teasing out, provoking through experiments the true nature of things, be they human or mineral.

I also understand that Obama has little choice in these matters, or so he feels: the instinct of obedience, called also “peer pressure”, is strong in the empire. And Obama was selected, because he felt it, deep in his bones, to help him “navigate”, as he put it. Thus, when Obama became president, he obeyed. Obama obeyed the powers that be. The empire was safe with him. Thus, some are disappointed by Obama, worldwide, but he is loved in the US: “change you can believe in” was very very small. And next year, the meek progress Obamacare ephemerally proposed will blow-up (it’s already doing so). As the “health corridors” expire with the Obama presidency. But don’t worry: President Trump and his art of the deal, will have to pick up the pieces, and dozens of young Americans are ready to goose-step behind him, lauding all and any “closures” that the government may decide to order.

Patrice Ayme’

Glacial Warm-Up Not Cool

October 18, 2015

Nietzsche, following others, notably Hinduism, believed in the “Eternal Return of the Same”. Nothing could be further from the truth: wherever we look, we see change. Even our sun is a second (or more) generation star. This means the Sun is (partly) metallic, and metals are crucial for life as we know it (or can imagine it). And even for creating a magnetically shielded Earth.

Meanwhile in Israel, nearly 10% of Israeli Jews (more than 550,000) live in the so-called “Occupied Territories” which basically no nation, not even the Israel’s official poodle, USA, recognizes as belonging to Israel. Palestinian society is crisscrossed by Israel security services, to the point all what Palestinians can do is grab a knife… The colossal rage therein has not found a bridge to the “Islamist State”.  All hell will break loose if it does.

Meanwhile, climate change is accelerating. Clearly, the same is not returning. In California, the glaciers are condemned. This below is Lyell glacier on the 4,000 meters high mountain of the same name, highest point of Yosemite National Park:

Similar Change At The Poles Is Baked In: Only Inertia Slows It Down

Similar Change At The Poles Is Baked In: Only Inertia Slows It Down

[Image National Park Service; Lyell, a breakthrough geologist, learned his science at the university of Edinburgh. With Charles Darwin. In Scotland, Lamarck’s discovery of the great age of the Earth, and his theory of evolution, was taught, and astounded the youngsters. As Lamarck’s studies of mollusk fossils’ gravely contradicted the Holy Book, they were not taught in England.]

It is likely that glaciers will be gone from the Sierra Nevada within five years (except for the Palisade glacier, which may hold out a couple of years more).

Evil is often born in the eye of the beholder. The Nazis found this out, the Israelis seem determined to find out. Yet, who can blame them? Greater forces are at work.

And what is the empire of goodness to do? Well, stay in shape. In military shape. In 1914, and again in 1940, the forces of goodness were taken by surprise, and the catastrophe of a really full holocaust of civilization was barely avoided: don’t forget that, in the end, the Nazis wanted to kill everybody… Including the Germans. After all, this is the method Stalin used with the Soviets, chuckling all the way (at least, according to Winston Churchill who was there… and according to a little of interpolation of historical facts). The most troubling aspect of Stalin’s mass murdering, human rights exterminating ways, is that it was the only method which could defeat the Nazis. Having to choose between certain death and ignobility at the hand of Stalin’s “blocking sections”, and taking their chances fighting Nazis, Soviet soldiers naturally opted for the latter.

Russian armed forces have been modernized, including very long-range cruise missiles (and Russian TV claims they can go all over Europe…)

The combination of climate warming and galloping demography is at work in Africa and the Levant.  It’s a microcosmos  of what will ambush all of humanity soon. One more reason to learn how to dominate it.

It will require mental force, and then physical force to dominate the situation. Mental force will have to be considerable. Because we erred so long the wrong way, deliberately confusing civilization and abomination. So now we have abomination (Islamist state, Saudi Arabia, Putinistan, etc.) parroting civilization.

As I see it, the largest scale historical evolution of the West went this way. In the last century, or so:

My basic, order zero explanation of the Africa-Levant mess is simple, I proffered it many times:

1) The USA, or rather, the powers that were, in the USA, used Islamism/”Anti-colonialism”, first incarnated by the Great Bitter Lake accord, as a weapon of de-Europeanization of the immediate neighborhood of Europe. (All the four present crisis zones are within four hours subsonic flight from Brussels.)

2) In the guise of “freeing” the people (that is, put them at the mercy of Wall Street/London supported dictators, from Morocco to Pakistan), European pseudo-intellectuals (Sartre, De Beauvoir and other collaborators, etc.) betrayed Europe and supported the USA plutocrats’ basic scheme (hiding their true purpose, taking their orders from Wall Street, below Marxist-Leninism mumbo-jumbo: who could have suspected anything?).

3) This has been, ultimately very bad not just for the Levant/Africa, but even for the USA, as it favored the rise of EVIL RULE (Pluto Cracy) there. As plutocracy rose, everything else went down, from the Middle Class, to freedom, economic and social opportunity, and the rate of scientific and technological progress.

4) Europeans are directly responsible, because, aside from yours truly, I have seen nobody bring forth this thesis. Instead collaborators such as De Beauvoir and Sartre were lionized, let alone comrade Stalin, and the now much reviled Kamerad Adolf.

One cannot fight what one does not understand what it is, whatsoever. Western populations and intellectuals have understood nothing to the plutocratic phenomenon. (Marx, Proudhon and other pro-socialist thinkers condemned capital, throwing the baby with the bath; Sade, Nietzsche focused on power so well, they were not taken seriously, except by their very pale, half-intelligent imitators…)

I agree many countries in Eastern Europe are racist, and that this is a moment of education for them. We should not hesitate to use force, starting with verbal force to make them understand that it’s high time to cut the racist crap. If they want to persist, help to the offenders (may Orban’s Hungary) ought to be suspended.

There is probably at least ten million people in France, or the French diaspora, of recent total, or part African/Levant origin. Most, including yours truly, are perfectly integrated in Western civilization (having seen the alternative), and often more French than even an old racist like the Catholic chauvinistic fanatic, De Gaulle (tolerance is French, contemplate those who elected Julian in 358 CE, or Clovis, a century later Charles De Gaulle’s racism and bigotry was not French, it had to do with the “white race” and lack of esthetic taste such as detesting minarets).

There is no return of the same. Yet, the progress accomplished is often less than imagined. It has definitively been established that Neolithic (“Prehistoric”) humans in Europe could perform limb amputation and trepanations. The prehistoric ones apparently mastered anti-septic, antibiotic and pain killing conditions enough to do so.

We have progressed much. But not as much as we need. We need to progress much more, right away. Lest, of course, we prefer to live Israeli style, killing our fellow youth, just because it looks… Semite. The irony is impressive.

Patrice Ayme’

 

Death By Police State: The Case Of Dean Potter

May 24, 2015

HUMANITY WOULD NOT BE WITHOUT LOVE FOR RISK TAKING

Some pragmatic and biased partisans of the police state will immediately interject that the famous climber Dean Potter died from hitting the ground as he flew his wingsuit too low in Yosemite. The Guardian, though, saw a bit further: “Did rules, not risk, cause Dean Potter’s Base jumping death?”

Potter Above The Alps. Some Day, We Will Fly Better Than That, Because We Tried

Potter Above The Alps. Some Day, We Will Fly Better Than That, Because We Tried

See also: The Last Flight of Dean Potter by my friend Dan Duane.

Humanity evolved because it learned to enjoy ever greater feats, by taking ever more risks thanks to, and inciting to inventing ever more sophisticated technology.

Therefore risk takers have to be respected: they are animated by the essence of what makes us humans.

That does not mean one should make a cult of them. And the cult around many a climber has irritated me over the years. Yes, when risk takers go too far, and misrepresent the risks they take to the youth, thus making a lot of victims, they have to be cut down to size. In that sense Dean Potter, and other like him, some of them personal friends, have irritated me. I think climbing is dangerous enough to not overdo it. Most of my friends died climbing.

Wingsuit flying is even more dangerous: around 5% of wingsuit fliers die, every year.  However, the philosophy of wingsuit flying holds together.

Indeed, I am a climber too, and I have free soloed (mostly by force, during mountaineering, because it was safer than the alternative). I have observed, during a long climbing career, that those who solo too much, or at too high a level, die. They don’t necessarily die climbing: they get so used to cheat death free soloing, that they take inconsiderate risks in other activities such as driving, or BASE jumping (indeed). So I view the hard line taken by Dr. Paul Preuss, a fanatical free soloist and with hundreds of first ascents as stupid and criminal. A free soloing Preuss died in 1913, at 27, after falling off a thousand feet. Preuss was a genius, but he went too far.

I use to climb a lot in U.S. National Parks, especially Yosemite. However, over times, those parks turned into training grounds for the police state. Once, long ago, after a hard climb in Rocky National Park, Colorado, our ropes got cut by rock fall on the descent. We had to spend the night at 13,000 feet, freezing, and finished the descent the next day. By the time we made it out to the trailhead, hours away, a ranger was there to arrest us for staying out without an overnight permit (we had only a permit to climb that particular mountain).

In Yosemite, entire casual, or cheap campsites were closed, while the Valley itself became a city, complete with judge and jail. Rangers go about with infrared detectors to arrest those who would be out in the woods at night. And so on.

There is little doubt that forcing parachutists to jump with low visibility, or worrying first about arrests, is a factor increasing the probability of dying.

Why then have the National Parks, and a lot of the wilderness, in the USA, be transformed into a police state? Well, precisely because, so doing, people are trained to live in a police state.

A particularly comic aspect of this happened when the government of the USA ran out of money, and closed all the National Parks.

I came for one of my mountain runs, starting at the end of a dirt road where there is never anybody. For this sort of long, solitary runs, I get dropped somewhere, and run to somewhere else, where I get picked up (it’s more challenging than climbing, these days).

But that period, the Parks were closed. And to make sure that the Parks would stay closed, the government had sent plenty of supplementary law enforcement (so the government spent more money, because it wanted to spend less money!). A runner had to run in the woods to escape the Rangers’ SUVs, and then play hide and seek with a horse patrol, which had been especially sent in pursuit. Those days I saw plenty of rangers in places where one never sees anyone (let alone rangers), on access dirt roads to various Parks. Many people, even families, with children, got actually chased down and arrested for daring to penetrate their National Parks, on their habitual dominical hikes.

What was taught by Big Police by this barely credible repression? That in the USA, the law is hard, but it is the law, and humanity is nothing, if it stands in the way of the law. So Dean Potter died, flying at dusk, and many in law enforcement in the USA rejoice, and so do their fellow travelers. Because it reminds all that people are nothing, and orders, everything. National Park do not teach nature first. They teach the police state, first. That is considered much more important, nowadays.

There has been recently some indignation about the methods of the police in the USA. Racist allegations were made. However, those familiar with the police in the USA know that racism is not the fundamental problem. Some of the officers indicted for violence were actually “colored” (to use an old American expression). Police, in the USA, is very well paid, and associates with the rich, and the order they gave rise to. But not just that.

The Romans used to say: ”The Law Is Hard, But It Is the Law!” The Americans say the same. Brutal application of “justice” and the law is what holds the USA together.

(Obama himself has perceived this, and just cracked down, deciding to forbid the police access to some military equipment.)

325 million citizens of the USA are taught to toe the line, and there is no better place to do so, in a semi-playful way, than in National Parks. And it’s getting worse, in parallel, and related to, the mercantilization of the Parks. That’s why I don’t go there anymore.

Increasing authoritarianism is multifaceted: this week, all my comments to the New York Times, but one, were censored. I cannot even imagine why. But the general trend is clear: if one has something really interesting to say, don’t try to say it on the New York Times: this is the propaganda piece of the pseudo-fair. (Most interesting commenters have disappeared  from there. However, The Guardian, and other British publications publish my comments. So does the… Wall Street Journal.)

Increasing authoritarianism is a slow suffocation of the human spirit. Resisting it, our essence. As Jefferson, third president of the USA pointed out, when a law is bad, it’s not just our right, but our duty, not to obey it.

Patrice Ayme


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