Temp NoHier

I create this post to recreate a dozen K. / Teaching / Society / NoHier /
posts obliterated by the court in 2007. In future I’ll integrate them better into this K. blog.

Inflation

Once again I compose the menu before I make the meal: then I practice the dish before I claim that I’ve made it well or that it’s attractive, nutritionally balanced … Thanks to bkMarcus’ recent studies of Austrian economics and his gifts, including Gene Callahan’s Economics for Real People, I am now revising my prior dismissal of economics as egregious pseudo-science: one of the many ways organized bands of paid “intellectuals” keep the doomed off-balance, confused. A number of “economic” points, metaphors … will now begin appearing at Knatz.com. No doubt I’ll have to make a teach/society/economics/ sub folder to string them. Today I merely jot a couple of notes under the rubric inflation.

Callahan contrasts a good that emerges as a stable medium of exchange — money: gold, for example — with fiat dollars, printed by a government and not backed by any guarantees other than the issuing government’s own word. When a government wants something it can’t afford, a war for example, all it has to do is print more money: and spend it. (And here’s a key point: the government gets to spend its bogus money first: before the market, reality, whatever … has corrected the money to its proportional worth. And here’s the other key point: the government manipulates time (in relation to value) (as do banks and other government-privileged economic parasites and predators).
Now: I don’t claim to be ready to do a good job with these mate
rials today. What I do want to do is set the table for the place where the finished meal will be served: and promise at least a couple of the side dishes:

Inflation (Trust Inflation)

Money Inflation, Educational Inflation, Health Inflation, Theological Inflation …

Not knowing when I’ll find time to be back, I also note a couple of specific points to be made:
All of these are examples of trust misplaced.

Money Inflation
The government prints the money, the government gets to spend the money first. The government spends the money say with arms merchants: the arms merchants get to spend the money second. … The schmuck pitching manure gets to spend the money last: when it’s shriveled value has been noticed by all.

Educational Inflation
Cambridge, Harvard … are places that distinguished scholars have gathered. Important documents gather with the scholars. Different ideas are tried. The scholars come because they find that their chance of being understood by peers rises in an atmosphere where peers might also come. Columbia, Yale, Rice … Amherst, Colgate … Smith, Vassar … Bryn Mawr … Other schools develop following something akin to a “gold standard.” Then the government decides to help education. The government issues schools: by the million: stamping them out like cookies, using ever cheaper dough … A good scholar, skipping to the new state “university,” gets “paid” in dollars and acclaim valued at only fractionally less than yesterday’s dollars and acclaim at Colgate or Dartmouth. The student graduating in State U’s degree-year-1, gets a degree only three or four years behind the value of education of the time of the issuing of the school. But the schmuck answering the TV ad to make big bucks with a degree in computers gets paid with a drastically deflated degree: for which he’s paid a grossly inflated price. (Serves the sucker right: why didn’t he go to Brown a hundred years ago?) note

Health Inflation
One hundred and fifty years ago doctors killed more women (and babies) in childbirth than in any recorded time before or since. But by one hundred years ago medicine was doing much better. (A couple of hundred years ago, doctors had a very poor reputation; but only the rich ever used them anyway.) Ordinary people never used doctors at all: until, under Napoleon, they were ordered to hold still while their leg was amputated. Now everyone feels deprived until their tit is cut off, their uterus cut out … Governments got rid of Napoleon but now government assigns the kind of medical interference people must accept. Your being ill is meaningless until you have a note from your doctor. What happened since is complex, and I’m not trying it today. This is merely a promise to do so.

Theological Inflation
And the same thing has happened in group-backed belief imperialisms. When I told the draft board in 1961 that I was a conscientious objector, I got no consideration from that board because only I and I alone represented my conscience. One voter is not felt to be a threat to a government. Had I been a Quaker … any group with numbers, the board might have listened. Had I brought a note from my minister, I might have been drafted anyway, but assigned to a pastor, an ambulance; not been handed a rifle (but then a typewriter). Here again my point is tricky, will been seen coming less readily than above: with education, with money; but by the time I’m done I hope the visitor will see: it’s more of the same: the Jew got to spend his faith note before the Christian, the Christian before the Muslim, the Catholic before the Protestant, the Protestant before the Quaker, the Quaker before the Mormon … and any of them before the Communist … And, if the libertarian has no clout, where oh where, does the philosophical anarchist fit in?

Notes

Faith:
bk responded immediately with a point that I immediately recognized:

I accept the claim that Communism — Marxism, at least — is a faith. Judaism is not. I don’t know about Islam.
… Not one of the many Old Testament commandments includes a requirement to believe anything.

I’ll include more of that interesting note in my piece on Faith.

A Hundred Years Ago:
Please don’t think I’m suggesting that some simple model of degeneracy applies too literally in the case of universities. Four hundred years ago in Florence you would have been just in time to back Ignorance against Galileo. Nine hundred years ago the professors joined the priests in ganging up on Abelard. After all, he was arguing that ordinary things — this chair, that girl — are real. No, no: only abstractions, preferably fictitious abstractions, are real.

Universities are merely what they are: generally ahead of the mean, but also generally not exhibiting too keen a cutting edge.

Still, modern government funding (like old-timey Church funding) can put universities smack back in the middle of the mean.


Crime

Why are audiences, consumers, the public … always so fascinated with crime? One key to an explanation just occurred to me: crime is a form of predation and we are predators. note Designing the better lock pick is regularly a hair more ingenious, more predatory, than building a thicker safe. Routinely we see the crook as more intelligent than the cop. Oh, not the thug who crushes the child’s skull; no, no: the guy(s) who planned the Brinks robbery.

Banking may be a clever, complex scam, but your banker didn’t invent it; whereas the guy who thought up crashing a plane into the WTC did invent it as a way to knock the day-in-day-out ruminants off their cud a bit.

I’m reading Crichton’s The Great Train Robbery. We’re leading up to 1855. Street lights have recently been installed in London. Yet the journals are reporting an increase in street crime: why even a policeman had just been dragged into an alley and beaten, his uniform itself as well as all his possessions, stolen. Why, the narrator asks, would any criminal steal a policeman’s uniform? It’s the single article of clothing with no resale value. But Ah ha has already thought this writer: because our mastermind needs a police uniform as part of the paraphernalia of his next act of predation.

Did the journalists scream Don’t trust cops! At least one uniform out there may now be worn in counterfeit? No. Sheep, cows, chickens: always ready for sheering, butchering, plucking by any coyote.

Lex Luthor must always be at least one meta-step more complex than Superman.

We are predators:

Humans are a complex, contradictory bunch. We are predators. We are also the ruminants. We’re creative, we’re conformist. We’re courageous, we’re cowardly. We have Homo ancestors who were fierce hunters, we have Homo ancestors who were placid vegetarians. What of what we are that’s uppermost at the moment depends on the opportunities of the moment. Shelley, the vegetarian, wrapped up in preaching vegetarianism, might unknowingly gobble the pork chop that passed his way (and, knowingly, gobble the little girl as well).


A bit further along Crichton has a charming section on the Victorians’ blindness to white collar crime, the blurring between sharp business practice and fraud. It can be stirring to behold our roots.

I must also write a piece on the myth of Sherlock: the fiction fed the greedy, desperate, lazy, helpless public that as stupid as most cops are, there’s at least one who’s smarter even than Lex Luthor and Professor Moriarty combined.

And I must further write that the Sherlock myth parallels the Christ myth: that we will be saved utterly independently of deserving salvation: we don’t deserve safety, we haven’t earned safety, but big magical Jesus, Sherlock, USfed … will make us safe anyway.

As well I must write about societies tendency to train their majorities to be sheep, passive for shearing, state schools, Sunday schools; whereas only odd, private, not-in-the-yellow-pages schools train the pickpockets, the cannibals, the Alexanders and Napoleons.

Which would you rather be trained for? to stand still and wait for a policeman while you’re fleeced? or to be the stalker, the rapist, the safe cracker?


On Hierarchies, c. 1995

There was Baal, there was Attis … The Jews had their Jehovah put Himself at the top. There was Noah, and Moses, and Jesus … The Christians put Jesus at the top. There was Joe, and Moe, and Barbara … Americans put Bill Clinton at the top. Are hierarchical decisions necessarily right? No: but we bet our lives with them.

Perceptions, what humans offer as truth, are mental constructs. There are no objective instruments, no telescopes, microscopes, cameras … to verify them with; only other mental constructs to review them by. (See radical constructivism.)

I use this site to offer my constructs. I see some as more key than others. No construct of mine is as important as Karl Popper’s principle of falsifiability. No test of mine is as fundamental as Peter Wason’s test of reason. Those guys have the advantage of formalism. I’m just a writer. (Some might say an attitudinizer.)

I do however assert that some of my offerings are as conceptually (not, alas, historically) important as anything done by Luther or Jefferson. The various directories and introductions here emphasize some: man as deluder and more importantly, self-deluder; society as a nested stack of magical illusions; institutions militating against their declared purpose; funded science as being in danger of being no closer to genuine science than a priest is to genuine magic …

(How much of what I say is rhetorical and how much literal? I don’t know either.)

“I mean that literally” really means

Please take my metaphor seriously.

My perception that Shakespeare’s sonnets as a whole form an oxymoron that pits the ideal against the real climaxes the first twenty-five years of my life. I offer it as a keystone. This perception is fully congruent to the major philosophical and epistemological conflict of our millennium: Scholastic Realism versus proto-scientific nominalism. Our society talks about free expression. It budgets billions for “education.” Yet I haven’t found a shred of comprehension. I have been unable to find a single honest challenge to the implications of my thesis. I submit that such a society, for all its universities, is illegitimate by any objective standard.

My fiction, being fiction, and therefore non-expository, is harder to talk about objectively. I submit nevertheless that the bulk of the substance of my teaching modules is implicit in my fiction. The Chronology introduces the major efforts. In a moment I’ll add a hierarchical Menu to my Fiction Directory.

FLEX offered to cyberneticize the ideas of data basing and cross-referencing so that the best ideals of the American Founding Fathers could bring democracy into the second half of the Twentieth Century. I submit that a society that preferred information to be scarce and expensive when it would have been simpler to render it cheap and universal is illegitimate by any objective standard.

What do the above three have in common? The same thing all my work has in common: rejection! My file on my doctoral orals reports the climactic sandbagging of my graduate school “career.” Recommended for publication since I was ten, praised by agents and publishers alike, my fiction remains unpublished except on this site. The institutions challenged by FLEX withheld publicity while perverting the parts “borrowed.” The intended beneficiary, the public, preferred anesthetization to salvation: you didn’t support it. I submit that a society that offers awards for distinction in this and that while suppressing qualified candidates is legitimately entitled to awards only in absurdity. And a destiny in the sump of extinction.


Rules

Paradoxes may not be compatible —
But they may be fertile: and breed sustainable oxymora.

Rules versus Liberty

Of course there are rules: but do we know what they are?

And if we make up our own version, will we be safe?

Of course we are at liberty: but at what cost?

There may be a mountain on our backs: we’re still at liberty to try to move from under it.

Bucky Fuller compared the earth to a space ship. By any of the respected models of the universe our planet is one of a number, moving around a star: one of billions among billions. Bucky pointed out that it came without an operating manual. He wrote a book that he hoped would help. (Time will tell.) Books: plural. Ivan Illich did too. So has pk (none published except by pk) (and subsequently censored!).

Humans are increasingly ruled by rulers who write rules, then more rules. Do any of those factitious rules correspond to rules viably in place in the universe-without-an-operating-manual? Some religions say there are operating manuals, divinely placed: the Bible, the Sutras … Many non-religious have their own favorite books: Homer, Dante … Milton … Marx … How many of these books know how much of the real rules? How many are lethally short on them? murderous? suicidal?

Rules are a device for coping with our constitutional ignorance.
F.A. Hayek

When I was a kid there were signs at the library telling both staff and users to hush. When I was at Columbia College jackhammers were busting up concrete just outside the window. I never noticed a sign to Shh! How interested was Columbia in whether or not we could actually read with attention? Did any of the books there know the rules anyway? (And how could I have known which ones they were if there were any?)

Evolved rules are likely to incorporate useful implicit knowledge.
Pierre Lemieux

How much liberty was involved in my being there? I had a mountain on top of me to be there. It took me a long time to wriggle out from under it: only to find common resources out of my reach. Oh, the cost of liberty. Even the slave is at liberty to refuse to serve: so long as he’s ready to have his eye whipped out, his balls whipped off, to be raped doubly, to have a hot iron put up her twat.

Parenthetically, I topped this module with a banner before I had written more than the title: Paradoxes may not be compatible — but they may be fertile: and breed sustainable oxymora. I was tempted at the period to continue. I shall do so oh so briefly now: oxymora like male and female, like life and death, death and continuance … But those latter oxymora are not what had brought me here; let rules and liberty get the dominant turn:

Jared Diamond has done it again. For decades I had struggled with the paradoxical nature of civilization, loving some of the things that come with it, hating and fearing more. pk had failed to invent a satisfactory vocabulary to distinguish the viable from the destructive. Ivan Illich had emphasized the term convivial for the potentially good. Much later, Jared Diamond coined a term for the bad — kleptocracy: and I now use it, left and right. But in his current book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed [NY, 2005], Diamond has given us another key key: a(nother) set of them.

Mapping the complex social and ecological terrain of Montana, Diamond tells of finding a movie theater built next door to a bio tech lab. Montanans aren’t big on zoning.

(pk is an anarchist (no zoning, no government) with zero confidence that anarchists know the rules any better than Genghis Khan or George Bush! a social being with allies who measure as decimal fractions, not integers!) (Will others discover anarchism before we’re all dead? Will anarchists discover the rules?!?!?)

(The rules will NOT be logical; mistakes in the rules can only be discovered by (negative) experience.)

(Success cannot sustain without multiple failure. Learning is utterly dependent on error.)

Don’t write the rules; Discover the rules!

2005 02 13 It always happens: I promise something important one place, then do something else, perhaps also important, some other place. One important thing that’s minimalized my Knatz.com time the past couple of weeks may be hinted at via the phrase “interlibrary loan.” The heavy tome arrives: two weeks only, non-renewable. A few days later another one arrives: and, stupid me, while I was at the library I also borrowed novels, films … Jared Diamond’s Collapse came from a library within the county: I can get it again, easily. No, the book I’d better spend time with is Harold J. Berman’s Law and Revolution [Cambridge MA, 1982].

Anyone who’s spent more than a minute with more than one pk module knows of my contempt for the law. If there were more Harold Bermans around, maybe I’d be more willing to live with human fumbling. In any case his scholarship is far too complex to allow for any simple equation between law and rules: though he traces (and transcends) schools of thought that do equate them.

more later: but while here
Berman makes a beautiful point about the culture of the West: the West is not descended from the Greek, from the Roman; the West adopted the Greek, the Roman … as forebears.

pk observes then that if white Americans then adopt Indians as forebears (Leslie Fiedler), or pk adopts Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk as forebears, that’s a very Western thing to do!


Payments

2008 05 28 I initiate this module today in order to scribble some notes with the idea of payment in common, preparatory to making some deep points I’m not quite really to wrestle into shape yet.

One theme:

If the kleptocracy can get you to pay once, then you always have to pay; If the kleptocracy can avoid paying you once, then they never have to pay.

The thug with the sword demands tribute, generally for some bigger thug with a bigger sword. Pay or get cha winduhs broke (your wife raped, your throat cut, your kid buggered, your crops burnt … Six thousand years later the thugs have a bureaucracy spreading across the continent, tapping into other continents. Now the thug at your door wear a uniform, had a badge, a certificate from a centralized thug in some far-away place, and another paper: an eviction notice.

You have to pay if the gang says you do.

But the gang doesn’t have to pay you, no matter what it takes from you, unless the gang decides, taking its time, that it has to pay you.

For example: General Sutter did everything in his power to negotiate treaties with major powers around his New Helvetia: the US, Mexico, Russia … Meantime, he developed his farming, built an army … and was building a saw mill, all on his land you understand, when gold was discovered in the creek powering the saw. Understand: his land, his mill, his workers making the discovery … his gold: all his. (Mind you, pk doesn’t approve of all of anything being anybody’s, but it was his by civilized assumptions: until work got out, the ’49s swept in: like locusts, destroying everything: and building a different government: California.

Understand further: the ’49s arrive over routes that Sutter himself had blazed. Few followed when he first invited our co-investment, then we overran him. A new court in San Francisco decided that California owed Sutter a few hundred million. The Californians burned the court, the judges fled for their lives.

We avoided paying for our trespasses: a century and a half later we still haven’t paid. (Till Judgment) we’ll never have to pay.

We took land from the local tribes — by a zillion means and deceits. You think that’s over and done? No. We still steal from natives: world wide.

Here: I’ll tie this with another kind of example:

Some kind of enterprise wants to buy boxite by the megaton. They want to pay no more than ten cents a ton. (My figures are symbols, not figures.) They buy a congressman dinner, treat him to a whore. The next thing you know, the US is rigging elections in the poor country with boxite, a dictator is installed, one only too happy to sell boxite rights at ten cents a ton (with a nickel of it going to him). Someone notices that when the company sells boxite, they sell it at $1 an ounce. Nice mark up. Meantime, the poor people in the poor country with the boxite can no longer fish and eat fruit and make love; now they have to work in the boxite mine: at whatever wage the company and their dictator agree on.

There are countries in Africa where the people have little choice but to grow coconuts so that their dictator can sell coconut oil to US margarine companies.

If the kleptocracy can get you to pay once, then you always have to pay; If the kleptocracy can avoid paying you once, then they never have to pay.

In 1970 I offered New York City (and by example, the world) a public data base for sharing voluntary information on resources, people, learning opportunities. My FLEX would operate a cyberbase of skill models, would match people by common interest, and would publish feedback on the resources.

There are few aspects to today’s internet not implicit if not explicit in the network I offered, based on Ivan Illich’s deschooling design for a school-free society. No one paid me then. No one has paid me since. Oh, I’ve been given money, treated to a meal, but it rarely had anything to do with my offering a cheap internet decades before there was such a thing.

Not only do I not get paid in cash; I don’t get credit either: I don’t even get moral credit! The histories say that the web came from “altruistic” programming at CERN! The were duplicating my work, stealing it from me, and they get called altruistic!?!?

It’s just like Tucker. He offered features on an automobile long before they were adapted by Studebaker let alone Ford or GM. He wasn’t paid; he was bankrupted. At least the story is told about him accurately though — see no accurate stories being told about me.

Of course one never knows what will happen tomorrow. But as Fred Hoyle said,

Posthumous fame doesn’t buy beer.

In fact notice: posthumous fame is always controlled by parties having nothing to do with whatever the fame is for. What do the teachers of Galileo have to do with discovering Jupiter’s moons? Or the scientific utility of measuring things? The Church sells “Jesus”: what does Jesus get?

I’ll build this module more logically as I can: meantime exercise some analytical imagination to predict where it might go.

Analogy, Metaphor

I seldom write anything without also meaning it as symbolic of something else. Take “payment” here as a metaphor for things besides money.

I submitted manuscripts to publishers. I have little evidence more than half a century later that what I was talking about was ever understood by those publishers. Is their density purposive? What do they gain? Whatever the possible answers: notice: if they didn’t understand what was said to them at first, then they didn’t have to understand it next time either.

The Bible tells stories of God trying to communicate with man.

If at first you don’t succeed; Fail, fail, and fail again.

The world is full of churches. But why should we believe that they’re any better at this communicating-with-God business than were the Jews in the desert?

Man establishes a pattern: We didn’t understand what constituted a good society then, we don’t have to understand what might make life less embarrassing now.

I made it as clear as I could dating back to grade school what I thought of being made to sit at the feet of state-appointed ignoramuses. By 2006 the state and its schools still had a perfect record of not understanding a word. I escalated my rhetoric: time running out. The fed arrested me!

If the state can abuse you as a child, then the state can abuse you forever: for free!

As with soldiers, first one soldier rapes the little girl: then every other soldier can also rape the little girl: and now she’ll have to let them fuck her, in every way, forever.

I don’t get it: if nothing ever changes, how come there’s change?

See? I’m like King Lear, driven crazy on the heath. I take everything personally. It isn’t that no one gets paid: it’s that it’s routinely the wrong people who get paid.

2008 05 29 If you’re a girl, and the guy asks you to dinner, you expect him to pay. The restaurant expects him to pay. If he doesn’t pay, the restaurant will have him doing dishes before turning to you for the bill. If though the guys says, “Gee, you’re so skinny, you really ought to eat more,” you understand that he’s expecting you or your family to pay for your food: he’s just making a suggestion without volunteering financial obligation.

But if a cop finds you beat up and suggests that you really should get checked over at the ER, who should the hospital present the bill to?
If I go into a restaurant and ask to see a menu, I don’t expect the waiter to say, “Oh, you really should have the filet mignon, and absolutely, you must try it with the truffles: here, let me show you …” If he then brings me the filet and urges me to try it, and I do take a bit, so far the bill is the obligation of the waiter; not me. It becomes my obligation if I say, “Indeed this is wonderful, I’ll take it, and bring me a Merlot as well.”

With state monopolies, like that concocted between the US and the AMA, new rules apply: rules not based in tradition, in discussable sense, but prescribed by lawyers (another state monopoly, the US and the universities, both with their bellies against the trough. Now you owe for what they prescribe for you, perhaps while you’re unconscious.

If you’re unconscious, perhaps the “healers” should help you; but until you’re conscious and say “Thank you, I’ll pay once I get my pants back on,” it’s their charity, not your debt. Indeed, if a healer finds me unconscious, and puts a splint on my broken bone, the healer should realize that he’s doing it at his risk as well as expense. How does he know that bandages and splints aren’t against my religion? What if I have an eversion to bandages, and have a seizure once I come to?

What right does Congress have to make laws about what people may do to me while I’m unconscious. Why should any of us ever be liable for things done to us without our consent?

Achilles and his Myrmidons hit the beach, running with sword in hand. The girls they rape were never asked for their consent. But Achilles didn’t claim to be a polity of laws. While he had you on the ground, his laws applied. If you got him on the ground, he expected no quarter.

Well, as I warned, this thus far is the spewing of this and that. I’ll order it by type, by principle, and edit it another time.


Morality

Private versus Public
Individual Emergence Group Emergence

What would you do if …
Some reactions to A Simple Plan, partway into the movie:
What would you do if you found a wallet on the beach? cash, but no ID?

A Simple Plan
thanx nordicposters

A worker bee finding a food source immediately takes a sample and brings it to the hive. Bees have no individual wealth, no property. If there’s “property” — the hive has a location, they make honey for themselves — it “belongs” to the hive: to the bees, not to the bee. Humans are social, but not that social.

What would you do if you found a bag of jelly beans, the package still sealed from the store, from the manufacturer? If you like jelly beans, you well might eat one: even if you then turn the remainder of the bag over to the police. The police will not interrogate you regarding the state of the package when you found it. The state doesn’t monitor jelly beans.

A dog finding a piece of meat will almost certainly eat it: unless you’ve trained the dog within an inch of its life. Dogs are social according to the accidents of their setting.

What if you’re a geologist, vacationing out of state, perhaps abroad: you find some concatenation of features that look oil rich to you. Do you sneak back at night and drill? Take a hundred million barrels of oil for yourself before you tell your government? Did Humphrey Bogart or Walter Houston have any intention of informing either Mexico or the United States about the gold the script has them mine from the Sierra Madres? Or do they intend to keep all of it for themselves?

If you find jelly beans, unless it’s a freight car full of them, still on the railroad tracks, no one cares what you do. If you find a penny, or a quarter, no one cares what you do. But if you find $4,400,000 in $100 bills, US currency, few will agree that the matter is private, that it’s just between you and Walter Houston. (Bogie and Houston I’m confident didn’t intend to eat their gold, nor to wear it. They needed a bank. They needed to convert the gold to other forms of money — so they could buy clothes, booze, women … They needed a bank that wouldn’t ask too many questions. Are there today any banks that don’t ask a whole bunch of questions? questions partly authored by lawyers not in the employ of the bank?)

If you find a sandwich on the park bench, you could eat it, give it away, share it with your kid; or not trust it and throw it in the dumpster. No one cares: probably not even the person who left the sandwich. But oil, gold, uranium … money (money much more than a quarter), that’s suddenly very much public business: Wall Street, the state, the fed … whether you live in Boston or Leningrad.

What you would do if … is a question commonly asked by social humans: bees don’t have to bother, the answer is the same for every bee. Human societies are not at all agreed on what the right answer is. In other words, that morality is a living issue, not settled.

So: A Simple Plan poses exactly such a dilemma: three guys, two brothers and a friend, find a plane downed in the woods. In the wreck is a dead pilot and a huge bag. In the bag is a lot of cash: $4,400,000 they estimate by counting one bundle, then bundles. What should they do? What do they do?

2006 01 13 I still don’t like how I’ve started this: in a moment I’ll be getting tangled in details of the movie, which are beside my main point here. Bear with me. Next draft may solve all.
Points about Bridget Fonda I’ve expanded on in the linked file, intending to reduce them here.

Bridget Fonda
thanx wearysloth

Instantly the situation is complex, but not too complex to follow. It’s not one guy finding a jelly bean, it’s three guys, and it’s money, not jelly beans, that they’ve found. The three are not worker bees, they’re individual human males. Friends, siblings, or not, they’re not clones. And two of them are married, one of the wives pregnant. Three know, maybe four, maybe five. The married brother worries about the friend and his wife: then instantly tells his own wife, shows her the cash!

But already pk had introduced a typical pk consideration: what we think they should do, what you think, what I think, is not guaranteed to be the same as what they think, four-plus individuals, they should do. And what we or they think they should do is not necessarily the same as what they do do, or will do. Differences proliferate, metadifferences. Macroinformation emerges, guaranteed.
Here I’ve also written the above to build toward an altogether different typical pk concern: how money connects not just people with people but people with government, governments with states, how states seek to control money. And there’s another metadifference: states’ manipulation of money is very different after Nixon from before, after Roosevelt from before, after government-issue paper currency from before. The macroinformation breeds still more macroinformation.

‘Nother tack through the same nice tangle of issues: Can three men keep a secret? Even if siblings and friends? How does marriage complicate things? How about pregnancy? children?
I’ve mentioned the dead pilot and now consider the corpse as yet another complication. Isn’t it a (state-defined) crime not to report a corpse? Even if they are tempted to keep all or some part of the money without waiting to see what the cops or a court or the “owner,” if identified, would award them, aren’t they obligated to report the dead guy: whose eyes are being pecked out by crows?

But why? They’re in the woods. The wreck isn’t fresh; why haven’t the cops already found it? If the money is known to be missing in a plane crash, why isn’t this already public information? Not “We found a plane wreck, a dead guy, and a lot of money aboard,” but “We’ve found the pilot and the loot from the Brinks job. What’s our reward?”
No. Our characters figure the money is probably dirty, drug money perhaps. No one, no one “legitimate,” is looking for it. In that case, this money may not be officially inventoried. Maybe they could report the wreck but keep their own counsel on the money.

The audience at this point doesn’t know which brother is older: what’s clear though is which brother has more schooling, is better employed. Indeed it’s rubbed in. The brother appealingly played by Billy Bob Thornton is a few cards short of a deck. He can’t even get clichés right: “If it’s broken, don’t fix it.” His friend doesn’t seem to be bright enough to notice. On the contrary, the friend objects like hell that the Bill Paxton brother “shows off” with “big words”: words like “imply.”

The Paxton character proposes what they agree to, though not on the first instant. HE will keep the money. If they hear no mention of the money once they hear that the wreck has been found, they’ll split the money and leave town. Doesn’t he trust them? For that amount of money? No, he doesn’t. And if he hears that the money is being searched for, he’ll simply burn it.

Cast Note: Match a compelling story with good actors, competent cinematography in all its aspects: direction, editing, sound track … and Wow. What has generally affected me most deeply is a moving theme sent extra deep, extra lyrical … by an inspired auteur: Kurosawa, Fellini … Tarkovsky, Kieslowski … But I can get off on stars too: Brando, Mifuni, Gunnar Bjornstrand … And if the stellar actor is female, then extra Wow: Lillian Gish, Bette Davis, Giulietta Massina … Julia Roberts! And I’ve got to say here: I love Bridget Fonda! Bridget Fonda is my favorite Fonda. I loved Henry. Peter is unique. Jane made silliness something special. She was far more than just cute: Barbarella, Cat Ballou … But Bridget is something else again.
She’s good looking, but not that good looking. Her body is decent, but I’d call her physique normal: good normal, attractive normal; not drop dead gorgeous. But her normalcy radiates, rather quietly: making me think she’s the most beautiful non-gorgeous woman in the world.
She’s pregnant at the beginning of this film. We see her standing behind her prosthetic mammaries, her prosthetic belly, smiling with a content that only women know and that only the most fabulous perfect woman of an actress can project.
I love Bridget Fonda.
Other scenes: again, that large mouthed smile. She projects decency. Even as she starts to get into the keeping and protecting the money thing, she still projects decency. Normalcy apotheosized.
2006 01 12 NetFlix.com’s replacement copy for my defective disk has arrived. Now I’ll be able to see the rest. Stand by for possible new perspectives.

This module concerns morality: a multiple view of it. Today I mounted another new file, initiating a new section: Moral Goofs.
That’s Draft Two, 2006 01 11. Once I’ve absorbed what I want from my first draft, below, I’ll delete the chaff. [Little did I know the FBI would arrest me ten months later: though I couldn’t be too surprised: I knew I was running out of money, that I’d have to devise something creative, maybe desperate: all or nothing … So I told NYU they should be responsible for their frauds, their sabotages; NYU sicced the thugs on me, the thugs attacked willingly …]

I take time to make a place for the argument to develop, but have no time to make the argument itself: just give it a first push or two. My impulse to begin came in a setting: watching the movie, A Simple Plan.
There, conflicts of moralities nest and tangle. Two brothers and a friend find a plane downed in the woods. Inside is a dead pilot and several millions in US $100 bills. Instantly there are discrepancies between what each believes they should do and what each wants to do. Now, morality is not needed UNLESS there are such conflicts. If everyone wanted the same thing and everyone did the same thing, society would need no imperative, the desired result would already be present. Morality comes in where you want to put your hand up the girl’s dress but don’t put your hand up the girl’s dress. Conflicts of morality emerge when one guy doesn’t put his hand up the girl’s dress but does put it down her blouse while another gets his hands on a gun and shoots somebody while another … does an altogether different thing.
One thing that makes the premise extra stimulating, and confusing, is that the central thing involved is money, paper currency: something government regulated: government issued and government regulated. If everyone treated money the same, again, there would be no need for regulation. With the girl and her body, her dress, her blouse, nature prompts males to respond in regular, reliable ways. A social imperative toward monogamy, not matched by personal inclinations to monogamy, requires the boys to regulate their behavior or to be coercively regulated. Paper currency is the society’s stand in for money: formerly gold, silver, things naturally scarce. Once a state has a printing press paper currency is artificially scarce; not at all like gold.
If you find a jelly bean, you might eat it, even if you believe that someone who had wanted the jelly bean to eat themselves had dropped it. Is there a cultural imperative to find the proper owner of the jelly bean? Not one of any strength.
Paper currency has normally evident fingerprints. No one normally memorizes the serial numbers of the bills in his wallet. One dollar passes for any other dollar, by government edict; unless, also with government connivance, the bills have been marked: then, they’re marked for the police, for the FBI, for the state, for the state licensed banks … to identify: and confiscate. The state doesn’t train its citizens to find a jelly bean’s owner … or a missing child’s parents, or the owner of a bag with $4,400,000 in it. No: the state trains its citizens to report children and money to the police. Thus citizens are unpaid (rather paying) collectors for the state for things the state regulates: persons, currency …
In the movie we have three guys each of whom can easily imagine ways to spend more money than he already has. But three swiftly and inevitably becomes four and more. One brother is married. The wife is pregnant. Naturally, the wife is told about the money … She has her own priorities.
This premise is familiar enough: all too familiar. What would you do if …? Sam Raimi and team though treat it compellingly, convincingly.
One brother insists that his plan be followed: hold the money till the plane is found, watch the news: if no one seems to come forward as the owner, then keep mum and split the money three ways. He appoints himself as the money’s custodian. Thus, instantly, there is an asymmetry in his symmetry.
Can three adult male friends stick to a simple plan? Can three adult male friends, one of them married, the marriage pregnant, the wife in on it, stick to a simple plan? Can the plan stick when one of them’s broke? When one of them’s resentful? When there’s a meddling world that now mustn’t know about the money or the plan?
My rented DVD proved to have a scratch that couldn’t be cleaned away, so it will be days before netflix.com gets a replacement to me. I don’t know how it resolves, if it resolves. But already I’d be so intrigued with the presentation that thoughts like the above kept me from concentrating on the presentation. I pausing the story every other second to jot a note.
more in a bit, but you already see how I want to develop this in relation to individual / group, nature / society, society / centralized regulations …


Ski-Skin: Social

Alignment & Misalignment

(2006) Any soldier can get a tattoo; but not when he’s just been drafted, not when he’s a recruit, not when the individuality is being beaten out of him. Any girl can get her ears pierced: once she’s old enough, once she’s run away from home. But it’s different if she gets her nose pierced, or gets her nipple pierced when she’s only thirteen. (Or her labia. Sense forbid.)

In the old days when people needed to ski over changing terrain, sometimes downhill, sometimes uphill, they would attach an animal pelt to the underside of their skis. Sliding downhill the hairs of the pelt aligned themselves in the direction of the slide: some friction comes with any territory, but the skis slide. Climbing, the opposite holds: gravity tries to pull the ski and skier backwards, but the hairs of the pelt dig into the snow, resisting. The practiced skier gets enough of a moment of resistance to step off from: even on ice.
By the mid-1960s this ski nut had found a medallion which reproduced a stick figure on skis. The text on the back of the medallion said that the figure reproduced a Cro-Magnon painting dated from at least 17,000 years ago. Guys I showed it to on Tuckermans Ravine shared my thrill at knowing we were doing the space age version of something primordial.

But I’ll tell you what else is primordial: that idea that alignment smooths things out and that misalignment resists. That’s how families work. That’s what culture is. That’s what love is. That’s politics.

Astrologers go gaga when planets are distributed on one side of the sun: as though the solar system were a closed system and needed to balance the way a housewife wants to balance a mantelpiece. That’s nonsense; but god help the husband who comes home with lipstick on his collar: his wife knows he’s behaved out of alignment with her.

Families have hundreds of little ways to show that they’re aligned, and hundreds more to show when they’re misaligning. Fraternities, religions … have thousands … millions. The little kiddies of one family are like peas in a pod. Even if the family is patched together by adopting a black boy and a Vietnamese girl, they’ll still look the same somehow. They’ll find a hundred little ways. Teenhood is when she becomes a vegetarian, or he starts wearing a rope for a belt.

Families are born to conformity. If grafts to the family want to take, they learn conformity: they’ll change their accent, stop eating garlic … or start.

This could be developed at any length. But I want to use it in connection with other developments: and so leave it here as is: to link it and develop its facets from other files.

I add right here and now though that I wrote the above while planning my next move to force NYU to notice at least one corpse amid its road kill. (for which the FBI arrested me in Oct!) Schools pretend to represent learning the way churches pretend to have a line to God. Anyone might succeed in learning something in a school. But that, as Ivan Illich argued is because humans learn, you can’t stop them. The wretch hanging on the wall of the dungeon might have a moment of happiness; that doesn’t mean that he has the dungeon to thank for being happy. His incarceration isn’t the cause of his happiness: the school must not take automatic credit for the attendee learning something.
I saw public school as a farce, Columbia College as actually rich soil, at least for a time. But after the army, matriculated for the PhD at NYU, it was like being back in kindergarten. The professors I now know had in some cases some actual good scholarship behind them: for the most part, well behind them: they were now old and dull. They were just going through the motions. From five minutes into day one, I had a cast to my brow. My posture, my body language, my smirk … all said, I am not one of you. I’ll put up with this farce only for the sake of gaining a position teaching at some college, where I’ll hope to be able to stimulate some real learning.

Of course it didn’t matter whether NYU noticed my signals or not. One hair out of alignment doesn’t stop the ski from sliding forward. NYU’s indifference to my suffering was eloquent in saying, We don’t have to give a fuck: the taxes, the tuition, land here, no matter how stale or stupid we are. Society supports the retards; not the reformers. Stroke our fur and we’ll see that you prosper; oppose us and get run over.

Last week the Prince tennis company pledged Maria Sharapova twenty-five million dollars over the next ten years. She already plays with Price equipment, so they weren’t trying to seduce her. Last night she won the USOpen for women’s singles, so already they’re making good, very good, on their investment. Every one of those dollars is a way of aligning Maria and Price and Maria Sharapova fans into a culture, a society, a family … Universities oversee who gets which resources. Professors recommend their allies for jobs. A department can guide a scholar toward income sources far beyond his university pay: a book publisher, a consultancy: a corporation just dying to share some big bucks with something they can associate with brains, with skill. Simultaneously the university can withhold resources, opportunities from those with ruffled fur.

Trouble is: the citizenry will blink while its fed steals land from squatters, from natives, from Mexico, from Sutter, from Crazy Horse; the citizenry will snore while its fed bombs gooks, picks fights with oil countries. But if that citizenry catches a university believing that the earth is round or that war is wrong or that the Bible actually means anything by any of the things it says, woe betide that university. The solution is for the fed to pour fed money into private universities. Next thing you know, famous scholars band together into a bond just as stupid as anything a land grant institution could produce.
Hollywood knew who to keep pouring dollars on and who to blackball: in the ‘Thirties, in the ‘Fifties …

Liberty versus Discipline

I believe in liberty. I want people to be free from coercion. I want people to be free to enter into agreements with each other; not have other people’s agreements thrust upon them. note

But I also believe, based far more on observation and (our net) experience than on speculation, that survival requires more than a liberated political philosophy: the Late Pleistocene Overkill alone should have been enough, over ten thousand years ago, thousands of years before agriculture was discovered, and with it, civilization, land specialization, accumulation and regulation of surpluses, to show us that human beings with all the liberty that nature and the biosphere gave us originally, could still kill the goose that had laid the golden eggs.

Humans evolved in Africa. So all the known evidence shows. Africa is where we became upright, developed our big brain pan, developed hands that could do this and that, became mostly monogamous, became social, cooperating in groups … Africa is a big continent. Man developed in a small but growing part of that big continent: the savannah grass lands. Before then, our ancestors had lived in forest, or at the edge of forest. We didn’t live in dense hardwood or evergreen forests, or on tundra, or on coral atolls; we lived on grass, not too far from trees. We cooperated. We had more babies than the other apes. More of our babies survived.

So many of our babies survived that when the grasslands changed, some of us spilled over into other environments and managed to survive anyway. All this was helped enormously by other considerations such as our varied diet: run out of game, you can eat fish; run out of fish, you can eat fruit, veggies, pick up a bug and put it in your mouth … It was further helped by our learning to make clothing. (Once you’ve used both animal skins and vegetable fibers, can color-medleyed synthetics be far behind?) We spilled over into the biggest continent — Eurasia — and still we survived. We didn’t just survive: we dominated. We lived under the spell of a God who told us to dominate: (Here: give me mine and all the rest is all for you.) Go forth and multiply. (In fact, you can add, subtract, and divide as well.) Jared Diamond tells this part best. We got the best steel, made the biggest guns, and bred the wickedest germs. Look out, Rest-of-the-World.

It’s the guns and the steel part that seem to come into the greatest conflict with the liberty that we were born into. Guns and steel make us good at pushing other people around as well as other things and critters.

Attention! Hut! Tote that bale. Haul that barge. Eat me.

But even before we had any kind of ironware let alone steel, when our projectiles were merely human-powered, once we spilled over into smaller continents — like the Americas — our probable end came clearly into sight. Within a thousand years, we’d marched from the Bering Straight all the way to Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn. And guess what, folks: Awl ‘de big game was gawn! One day we’re feasting on behemoth steaks — so what if we drove the whole herd off the cliff so we could carve one steak for dinner: it’s all for us! — and the next we’re lucky to find a rabbit or an armadillo to plink.

Now. If we were still under the spell of that God, if he was gonna bail us out no matter what (Uh, God, I got drunk and fell off the cliff and broke all my bones. Please help me back up), then a political philosophy of non-coercion should be our sole intellectual hobbyhorse. But: if you see the end coming, if you see if coming soon, especially if you see our approaching the half-way point of oil depletion as in any way analogous to our kicking ass all the way to Tierra del Fuego (since it may well turn out that the remaining 50% is for all practical purposes unreachable), note then maybe worrying about whether we die in liberty or die enslaved to government, or worrying about whether the enslaving government is capitalist or communist, nice or mean, is a little um trivial.

Now. I founded FLEX: the Free Learning Exchange, Inc., my mechanism by which the public could re-achieve liberty   without even knowing it was doing it,   after   I’d started worrying about rabbit plinking. I’ll never forget the circumstances in which my already existing ecological consciousness globalized in scale. 1968. I was teaching at Colby in Maine. In another year or so I’d have my PhD. In another year or so after that my book on Shakespeare’s Sonnets would come out, the general populace would seize it, and the medieval scales would fall from their eyes. A public enlightened to meta-effects, to a cybernetic literature, would be ready to demand that pk have a red carpet rolled out for him wherever he wanted to teach. I was at Colby because it had its own ski slope while being not far from Sugarloaf: one of the East’s great ski mountains. Dartmouth too had it’s own ski slope. Dartmouth was a hell of a better school than Colby. I’d teach at Dartmouth. I’d ski, and enlighten the world. Or I’d do it from Denver. Or New Zealand.

I’d resisted my public school’s considerable efforts to addict me to reading newspapers. (The Herald Tribune was my high school teacher’s narcotic stimulant/depressant of choice.) But I did on occasion buy the Sunday Times. Well, one Sunday there, 1968, possibly early 1969, the New York Times Sunday Magazine section had a nice satellite-view pic of the earth on the cover. The headlined title was Can the Earth Be Saved? The author was Lemont C. Cole [ecology, Cornell]. I read it. I read it carefully. I read it twice. The next day note I assigned it to my English freshman as an example of (ha ha) rhetoric! (I also assigned speeches by Hitler as examples of rhetoric!) (And of course they are: bof ’em.)

I’d been in grade school when the teacher told us about life as a complex cycle. Non-life too. The carbon is in the tree. The tree oxidizes rapidly. Oxygen joins the carbon as CO2 in the air. Little barefoot me went around my neighborhood putting out discarded cigarette buts with my leathery feet. You’re burning up my oxygen! I barely survived my witnessing a huge fire at the Coke plant. Black, orange, and red columns of fire mounting the sky. I couldn’t breathe. I feared that soon none of us would be able to breathe. The teacher should have told us how much oxygen was freely available. If the teacher had stressed the “cycle” part of the cycle better I might have seen the oxygen also getting back into the air. I would have trusted photosynthesis a bit more. (Even then I couldn’t have guessed the mass of photosynthesizing creatures in the North Sea alone.)

I hope you notice: Everybody is told, but it’s pk who “gets” it. They hear the words, they know what the words mean, but pk receives the gnosis, the impact of the meaning: as well as a sense of what reaction, what action and reaction, is appropriate to the meaning. Don’t just sit there, passively, hearing the sermon, like a dummy, like a Pharisee; get up! get out! Burst forth from the church and   do   something! Notice: people sitting listening to Jesus on the mountainside where not at that time finding any men who had fallen among thieves to help. Notice further: pk “gets” it: but pk sometimes gets it a little bit wrong at first: at first, I see the oxygen leaving a little bit better than I see it coming back. At first! Any cybernetic system needs a moment to adjust. pk sometimes needs two moments: during which the rest of you are just sitting: putting in your time: in front of teacher. note

Dr. Cole showed global effects of human shenanigans. It was the first time I’d ever seen the word “ecology,” but it fit right in with my dynamic view of Shakespeare. I already had the elements of the new system; but the new system operated in more dimensions and at a higher level of significance. And right away I saw something else too: something that had already been phrased for my by George Bernard Shaw when he talked about how good people are at guarding the front gate to the castle while the enemy is walking in unmolested through the back. Those months I was good friends with a professor of Japanese. One evening after skiing she and I dined in a restaurant at Sugarloaf, staying in ski country through the weekend. She was talking about some friend of hers who was all rah-rah about the communist menace. Ha! I thought. We’ve got nukes stacked to the moon: by the front door. No commies will dare come at us: while we all die, commie and capitalist, of environmental degradation. But that’s OK. ‘Cause we weren’t worrying about our real death, only our feared enslavement to the wrong kleptocracy.

I tried to tell Eleanor. I think she got what I was saying, but not at first, not easily. We’re all so accustomed to rehearsing our fears in chorus. We fear the way people in a choir sing the Hallelujah Chorus, the way a short stop throws to first, the way a chess player pushes the king pawn: by rote. We’re not encouraged in independent, original analysis; quite the opposite. Kleptocracies (perhaps any human culture) monopolize resources so that it won’t rain of the just and the unjust, but only on the orthodox. (I don’t doubt that Eleanor made an extra effort just because of her respect for her day’s ski partner.)

In 1968 no school teacher had drilled us: worry about the ozone, worry about alewives in the St. Lawrence … worry about what happens if all the plankton in the North Sea suddenly reached some hitherto unknown limit and photosynthesis suddenly stopped!? Whereas every teacher, every TV anchorman, every op-ed page editorializer had drilled us in: Watch out for Ivan.

So we now face a very important question. We need liberty: some of us actually want it. We also need to stop pooping in the river: if we want to go on breathing. So how do we stop our neighbors as well as ourselves from flushing their shit any-old-where? It’s easy if you’re a kleptocrat: force them. Exact sanctions. Fine them. Put them in jail. Draw and quarter them. But what do you do if you hate kleptocracy? if you don’t wish to be a kleptocrat? Pray* to that God?

Talk to them? Convince them? “Educate” them? How? I have near zero success with talking, convincing, educating: and I have not a bit more with showing: by living as an example. The kleptocracy has so accustomed us to being forced, to be “taught” by duress only, that we don’t have a clue how to listen to anything we’re not forced to unless it’s some kind of narcotic entertainment. note

Once upon a time humans did things by custom. Taboos evolved over time. Maybe they were crazy, maybe they were superstitious, but they were effective, those taboos were. The speeder might argue with the cop; the native never argues with the taboo. But taboos need time to evolve. By evolutionary principles, those that benefit survival should endure. But do we have the time? Is our survival leisured? Or are we in a fix?

How do we reconcile our need to behave with (my) “anarchist” ideals of non-coercion? How can mankind achieve the discipline required to desist in being a blight on himself and her planet? How can we do it humanely? as good Taoist Christians? as genial freedom-loving Jeffersonians? How can we both survive and eschew coercion?

I’ve got it! People who poop in the river? Government? Municipalities? don’t coerce them. Don’t defeat them in an election. Don’t conquer them by force. Don’t   persuade   them. Just kill them.

You know, in cat society, when a tom cat dies or even just gets old, a new tom will come into the old territory and take it over. First thing he does is go around and kill all the kittens. There are several, a dozen, thirty … females in the territory with litters. He raids each in turn, slaughtering all the young. Do the females gang up and stop him? No. Who then would sire their next litter? and their next? The females accept the killing: and accept him as a mate. They’re again pregnant soon enough, soon enough again nursing. Ditto, lions and so forth. Human women have routinely gone along with who ever conquers them. It’s the new alpha male, not your dead hero, who’s The Man.

So. Maybe I should take a lesson from the cats. Don’t argue. Don’t persuade. The future of my own genes is threatened by the pig-ass retards who are my professors, my boss, my cops, my president? Cleanse the community. Be your own Abraham.

Now. If only I knew how to kill six billion people.

Ach. I don’t know how to kill one person. I’d really so much rather if I could just persuade.

Notes

Next Day:

I remember contacting Cole and getting his written permission to reproduce his work in my class. I also remember being very anxious to lay the article onto my classes. I might have done the deed first and gotten permission second. I’m no longer sure.

Copyright protection is such a farce anyway. Imagine hearing Jesus tell you to turn the other cheek. Imagine thinking, Wow, and wanting to quote him. Imagine that five minutes later you have a chance to save someone’s soul, someone’s life, someone’s anything, and that quote is just the thing you need. Now imagine gathering lawyers, and writing contracts, and organizing royalties … Jesus though by that time is off planet. You’ll have to wait for his Second Coming before you can repeat his teachings. …

Bull shit. Break the law. And take the consequences.

If Jesus wants to put me in jail for quoting him without his permission, that’s his problem.

Mine too, I suppose. What I really suppose is that then we’d all have a real problem.

Do Something:

I don’t know how I can ever argue this point better than the (flawed) way I wrote it forty years ago. My little playlette is mounted among my juvenilia.

Narcotic Entertainment:

I’m way overdue here for a module on how even, how even especially, our narcoleptic entertainment, is also didactic. watch Saturday morning cartoons. St. George kills the dragon? Cool Hand Luke kills the snake? Becky Thatcher is rescued? It’s all didactic. It’s just that the lesson is so familiar it’s invisible to us.

Oil Unreachable?:

At DieOff.com Jay Hanson has been amassing arguments that say that the less oil there is in the ground, the more energy it will take to get at it and use it. If it costs a penny to get a dollar’s worth of oil and people want oil, then plenty of enterprises will strive to turn the penny into a dollar. If It costs fifty cents, fewer entrepreneurs will jump forward. If it costs eighty cents or a dollar or a buck ten, no one will raise a finger to get the oil no matter how desperately we want it. People may once again break sod with draft animals and with their backs and arms. Once backs and arms are involved people will think that maybe slavery was a good idea after all. Once even slave backs and arms can’t feed the billions, there won’t be no billions. Throwing stones at General Motors memorabilia may become popular with those who somehow find the energy to throw the stone.

No Coercion:

I remind the visitor that Ivan Illich‘s chiefly recommended new Right was freedom from compulsory ritual: not just of this or that church; but school as well.

Liberal Arts

Freshman Week at Columbia placed great emphasis on Columbia College being a liberal arts institution: and the emphasis didn’t disappear at the end of Freshman Week. What the term means, or can mean, became increasingly clear as we progressed toward graduation. By sophomore year more than a couple of us were articulating the concept for ourselves: liberal arts meant contemplating what constitutes the good life. I hope it’s obvious that our answers did not duplicate the ads in Playboy, neither did any that I was aware of duplicate the Paradise of the Koran. In other words my ideals and those of my classmates whose thoughts I knew steered clear of personal luxury, indulgence … bevies of virgins for our own personal delectation. I don’t mean that we didn’t want luxury, or privilege, or virgins; our idea of liberal arts translated as social awareness, public responsibility.

Neither did my ideals then resemble my ideals now: any more than they resembled my ideals when I was ten years old.

When I can, I’ll detail here, some of those ideals: and also ask how much such thinking goes on with your average liberal arts college, with your average liberal arts student. Could the world be what it is if more people dreamed of fitting it to their ideals?

Loony Bin

You can rely on any society which wants to acquire and pass on unearned authority to have a “loony bin”: at least one false category, a cheat chamber, in which normal rules of evidence don’t apply. Due process, habeas corpus, a fair trial … ever reach the loony bin.

I’ll take you off to the LooneyTunes.
Officer Barry Jones

briefly, this module will concern false authorities mis-categorizing things at their convenience: out of greed, out of lust for power; when they could easily know better

Any society keeps two decks of cards: one to play with, one to cheat with.

2013 03 25 I’ll integrate the above modules with the rest of pknatz blog as I can.

Dewey Note

2013 03 18 Somewhere at K. I talk about organizational choices with regard say to books in a library. Well I just heard an answer to one of my speculations in a documentary on Alexandria, with its the Great Library. Libraries didn’t organize by subject, by chronology … by nation … they organized exactly as I’d joked by size! and by order acquired: not written, not published, acquired!

Social Order

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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