Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: Macroinformation.org & Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Order / Civilization / Justice /
2006 06 22
Mission: to argue that some political concepts are impossibly naive
What I want to say will cover concepts including: justice … understanding, knowledge, bureaucracy … information … map/territory … public/private …
Whatever our beliefs, our politics, our cosmology … we’ve all heard the story: the Temple concocted charges against Jesus, then used Roman soldiers to drag Jesus before some local proxy of Caesar Tiberius: here named Pilat. We’ve got at least two political systems, Jewish and Roman. We’ve got at least two religious traditions, Jewish and Roman. The Romans rule: secularly. The Roman empire didn’t impose its religion onto its colonies. King Herod was free to mutter about God all he wanted to, as long as he didn’t do it too blatantly; he didn’t have to pretend to pay obeisance to Jove, Mars, Minerva. Roman wanted to control taxes and trade: beyond that, it was a free country.
Along comes Jesus: peacenik troublemaker. The polity appoints Pilat to be in charge of ahem justice.
If you’re a Roman, fine, no problem. You don’t take your Mars or your Minerva too literally anyway: and you sure do like your cultural group controlling the taxes and the politics. If you’re a Jew, it’s an outrage: these Romans seem to think that THEY’re the Chosen People! If you’re a Christian, looking backwards in time, it’s preposterous: Jesus IS the Son of God!
How could some pagan know that? How could some pagan possibly commit anything but an outrage mucking anywhere near what’s exclusively God’s arena: justice?
But when the Romans have the centurions, the spears, the standing armies … when we see the Romans brutalizing, torturing, imprisoning, crucifying every squeaking hinge, the Romans know very well that we’ll behave ourselves with the soldiers present.
Now we live in a supposedly secular society. Our rulers hold elections. The gulls come to believe that there’s some connection between their preferences and the holders of office. We too control taxes, markets, politics … at home and abroad. But forget all that for a minute. Just consider this:
If the society knows everything about OJ and nothing about Manson, can either get a fair trial?
Can the prize committee, once Einstein has been lionized by Life but no one who can’t do differential equations in their head has ever heard of Godel possibly have a meaningful opinion as to who should get the prize?
Will the Lilliputians ever disqualify themselves from judging Gulliver?
thanx Swift, seattletimes
Since no one in 1970 could possibly distinguish information about Nixon from misinformation about Nixon, let alone information from Nixon from misinformation from Nixon, how could we possibly have a fair election?
If Twain is the great American, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the great American novel, how can anyone agree or disagree if Huck is censored? proscribed from the library?
And how can anyone know if Huck is the great American novel, even if every library has multiple copies for circulation, if the bulk of novels offered for publication have never been published? (What if Godel wrote a novel?)
It’s absurd for man to pose any assurance of any kind regarding knowledge so long as information is perennially spotty: and disproportioned. How many people have read hundreds of thousands of words of Stephen King (a great one), millions of words, but no words of Darwin (a greater one)?
i post this before running out to do errands, some will guess some of the places it’s going
I had no idea in June of 2006 that I’d be arrested and jailed and censored just a few months later; but I’ve never not know I could be, at any moment. I never “asked for it,” but I never shunned it either: may have been cowardly more than once but never bent over backwards to be a coward: like most.