Default Settings / Teaching / Society / Survival / Evolution /
@ K. 2005 08 17

Mission: to posit the prime default setting for kleptocratic society to be the sanctity of established thefts: so the natives, the slaves, the losers, stay screwed

No complex sentient society could function without clear default settings. There’s nothing in nature to prefer left-to-right reading over right-to-left, top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, or spiral. So we choose: left-to-right in this society, right-to-left in that, top-to-bottom in the other. Left-margin is accepted in this society: so the Times always prints left-to-right. The typewriters are built to have a left margin, the word processors are programed to follow suit. One can give special instructions for exceptions, but the default, the initial setting, set automatically, typically unconsciously, remains at the left.

alternate margins
alternate margins
thanx babylon

Humans breathe automatically: the default is set in the species. We can hold our breath: for a few seconds, for a minute. When we lose consciousness, we breathe. If we’re still under water when we lose consciousness, or when will loses the battle, then we drown. Not so the cetaceans: the whale will die with its breath still held if for some reason it can’t surface for more breathing.

Biological defaults are not arbitrary at the level of the individual organism or at the level of a population. But social defaults are arbitrary.

Once upon a time the default that females bear while males seed may have been arbitrary, and there are genera where a choice was taken opposite to ours. But once established, such things lose their arbitrary character. Females bear: therefore, it’s the males who can develop hunting. …

2006 05 02 The above is how I kicked off my original module on default settings, directly expanding it in the context of kleptocracy. Yesterday I decided to expand it a bit, but in directions independent of kleptocracy. Thus, I launch a new, more generic, default piece which can expand in any direction, and break off pieces into other areas. 2015 08 09 K. has been scribbled (and polished) online since 1995. Some points get repeated, some get repeated more than once. Rewriting, streamlining will take another lifetime: two more lifetimes: especially if I’m arrested and censored again each time!
But wise up, don’t expect God to punish the waylaid messenger, but rather the waylayers.
And God doesn’t have to do it: Nature will do it! The truth will do it.
What counts isn’t how many smokers swear that they won’t get cancer but how many ex-smokers actually recovered some health.

The universe we live in favors matter, not anti-matter. Chirality in organic molecules is overwelmingly right-handed. Levro-chirality would work just as well, but that’s not how it happened here.

We generate from a fertilized egg that carries a great deal of information from the past: things learned by one-celled creatures, hollow-bodied worms … and shrews … are in it. But though Mozart may have been born with an enormous talent for music, he was not born being able to play any of his mature works. When he dies, that part evaporates: grandchildren, cousins … are born without the skill for the keyboard, and maybe without much musical talent at all. Wasteful? Sure. But that’s how life does it.

And as much as we may wish that our little geniuses could play Eine Kleine Nachtmusik at age three, if I have to bet, I’ll bet on the wisdom of life as it is, and against the wishes of parents. I’m not saying that life is perfect; I’m saying that parents don’t know better. Life, evolution … draws on the random, on accident, on mutation; parents wouldn’t. Parents would lock their kids into what might prove to be a dead end.

Jonathan Swift had his Gulliver encounter high-falutin dead end after dead end on his travels: people so intellectual they had to be hit with a pig’s bladder to know they were being spoken to.

Ah, but the waste! All my wonderful thoughts: will evaporate as I disintegrate; unless someone heard them, and carries them on. Of course pk’s student will never be pk. Her learning will be hers; not mine. Maybe she’ll be a fool (well, so is pk): maybe she’ll junk it all and take up basket weaving. (Hey, don’t knock basket weaving!)

The Hamlet I live with can not be quite the same as Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Life is forever resetting to zero: except that it’s never quite zero.

The fire burns the hardwood forest to the ground; something else springs up. In time it may become another hardwood forest; but never the same hardwood forest.

Society though, human society, is a special case. We’re trying to make the universe in our own image. We find resistances that we don’t learn from. Society blocks off feedback, makes sure that insane ambitions remain insane.

Nature always retains the option of resetting all to zero: I mean absolute zero.

Now my picturing human society pulling one way and nature pulling another is a metaphor: one that can’t be literally true, not quite literally. My symbol is fuzzy, not precise. But a fuzzy symbol is the kind that’s appropriate.

However inspired Shakespeare was, he couldn’t displease the Stationers Register: Elizabeth’s censors. George Barnard Shaw, regularly referring to Shakespeare, constantly bumped his head, all of our heads, against the censors. Shakespeare seldom offended the censors; yet he wrote seemingly about anything … about everything!

2008 10 02 Ha! And now I‘ve been censored! (It was bad enough just to have been unpublished, especially when the rejections were choreographed, the reverse of qualitative.) All my domains, my business, everything, knocked off line … after everything: my right to speak, my 1970-Jesus-inspired internet, my son … had been stolen from me! This file like all the others hasn’t been online since the court turned on me Feb. 20, 2007, the FBI having arrested me Oct. 13, 2006.

Confusion Defaults:

When confused, reset to default.
Should I run left? Should I run right?
I know: I’ll pray.

Kleptocracies choose their bureaucrats to fit the main pattern. They believe what the dominant church says, they believe their brainwashing in school. Or: belief is too strong a word: bureaucrats don’t believe anything; but they know what they’d better say, do, pretend. After a few years of it, they’re as good as any method actor at being dull.

You want to see defaults resetting to zero in action? Say something intelligent, something true, to a bureaucrat. Watch her reset to zero. Uh, duh … And she’ll repeat the manual.

Notice: she and her bureaucracy remain in control; not the holy fool, the jester, the genius, the philosopher …

One of my favorite scenes in movies illustrates the pattern. Fellini’s 8 1/2 casts Marcello Mastroianni as an exhausted movie director. At one point his colleagues are urging him to do something. They drag him. Mastroianni’s Guido reverts to infancy. He drags his feet. He tries to sit down on the walkway. They have to carry him.
Portrait of the artist as an over-stressed basket case.
(Compare Beckett’s Molloy in his opening statement.)

But try it with a bureaucrat. Ask one in the Justice Department why we’re living on stolen land. Uh, duh … Reset to zero: cite some sacred secular text: The Declaration of Independence.

2008 10 02 Whoever sets the defaults sets the society’s beliefs. If by default we equate “priests” with “God,” then after the priests of the temple have railroaded Jesus, the public will not relearn, Ah, whatever used to be true, priests now oppose God, God’s son … nature, truth, and so forth … From now on we must remember to shun priests, to punish them if we can. No: the priests oppose “God” and the next day, the next minute, are believed again, by default, to represent God.

Then the “Church” was supposed to represent God: and God was equated with Truth. Yet after they put Luther on a hit list, threatened Galileo with torture, people went right on associating the Church with God! Truth, Authority … Salvation …

It’s exactly the same with the US: after Nixon, after Clinton, after Bush … people still believe the lies and ignore the evidence. People will always ignore experience and bow to authority if the authorities disavow subtlety in displaying the instruments of punishment, torture, persuasion.

2013 09 06 I come here today itching to make points I’m now reminded I’d already made. So how come no one gets them?

Churches carry a default setting in which we all assume that God favors us, wants to help, and that we cooperate. That accurately reflects “pagan” religions; it’s utterly inaccurate for Christians theologies. There God’s messages are intercepted, sabotaged, vetoed … by human individuals and by human institutions.

Only atheists, who think all is fraud but it’s OK if you’re one of the defrauders, could believe that the Temple could crucify Jesus, still not admit it two millennia later, and blithely continue to intercept, sabotage, veto messages from nature, god, science, always resetting default assumptions back to zero: We are innocent! We mean well! We didn’t know the guy we crucified had anything good to say …

So: when I was a kid I belived what I was supposed to believe, that God intended to forgive our interferences. No: now I believe that God is merely letting us show indelibly that we are not honest, not intelligent, not worthy of survival.

2015 08 09 I’ve studied the Bible all my life; but not as well as I’ve studied it since my son sent me a dozen Bart Ehrman Bible studies on a Kindle. There’s a reset to zero! Christians rewrote the Bible, misrepresenting what earlier editions had said (also all lies, bluster). But the Churches can get away with murder in perpetuity so long as everyone resets to zero, that is to belief, to trust in the priests and their forgeries: forever reinventing a paper authority. The New Testament had provided evidence of respect and honor for women in the early Church; ah, the later Church revised all that, edited that truth out, revised it all away: forging St. Paul.

Survival Defaults
Reset to Default
Default Settings


About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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