Mutant Ideas

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society & Its Pathologies / Social Survival / Evolution /

Mission: to characterize social man as incapable of processing ideas not already much rehearsed and approved

Take the pk challenge: Test pk’s assertion that

Civilized man cannot process unrehearsed thoughts.

I archive my past top pages. A new introduction mounted 2003 10 18 outgrew its space allotment before the first draft was finished. I developed it in my Society section.

Odd spelling? Odd pronunciation? Strange sound clusters?

How about

Ideas that can’t be processed by the Culture?

“Knatz, Knatz …” the women of the Jewish Theological Seminary mused as they contemplated Hilary, their new employee [my wife]: “What kind of a Jewish name is Knatz?” Jews know German: only too well; but also knowing the common Jewish name Katz, they may see the “K” and demote the importance of the “n.”

Hilary ran away from me, snatched our kid; but she kept the Knatz name. Go figure. In fact, technically, we’re still married! How that for a laugh?

“Last name?” The clerk in the video rental place needs it to look up my account in the computer’s records. Many decades of experience rubbing me raw in these matters, I know the better how to proceed, giving her the best chance of success: “K,” I say. Loud and clear. “N,” I add. Beat, beat, “a, t, z.” Her brows knit as much as a twenty-year-old’s brows can knit. “K …” Then she falters, “a … n …” (See sees a consonant, she wants a vowel: can’t accept another damn consonant.)

Say “robin”: everyone hears you. Say “ostrich.” Everyone will still hear you, but it takes a half second longer. Say “Smith.” Anyone can spell it. Same with “Jones.” Say “Smythe.” They’ll still get it: if given two extra seconds for mental processing, even if you pronounce it with the vowel “long.” Anyone who’s been around English for more than a few days will recognize “night” as /nait/ in pronunciation. Give them a little longer and they’ll pick up on “knight” as well without any noticeable processing lag. If they come speaking German, Dutch, Yiddish … there’s no lag at all: that lag had been absorbed by the time they were toddlers. They’re already familiar with “knight,” “knabbe” … “Knuddson,” “Knapp” … All they have to remember among these English speakers is to drop the /k/ sound: silent “k”: /n/; not /kn/.

Anyone with a Polish name, a Russian name … (who somehow escaped having their family history revised for them by illiterate bureaucrats at Ellis Island) knows all about this in spades. If they don’t know the Germanic /kn/ grouping, they certainly know other complexes from their own culture that Americans (or most groups not their own) will be deaf to. Not only may your language not be closely related (English, Yiddish, German almost are the same language!), but, if you come from a culture that somehow escaped ever developing a literature (or without having a literature thrust upon it), transplanting may be easier: at least in the sense that all you’ll know will be phoneme combinations; no history of speech tortured, gutted, and dressed by writing. (Spelling is a pain. But, if it were somehow simplified, we’d lose all those latent fingerprints: including those of the language meddlers.) note

Ah, well and good. And interesting (to some). And such stuff is the field for which I trained: English (teaching, at the college level and up: English literature; Standard Written English; the history of English literature; American literature; linguistics; structure of the language; history of the language …) But that’s not what brings me to repeat these stories today. No. Something far more important. Something critical to the survival, not just of a culture but of the species: even one, particularly one, with nuclear weapons (and a ubiquitous kleptocracy network).

I’m talking about the communication (or non-communication) of ideas: specifically of

Mutant Ideas.

Let me commence cautiously, with a somewhat innocent example. I didn’t learn backgammon till my thirties: but then I loved it, almost as much as I loved the woman who taught it to me (après ski). I’m in LA. Suddenly everyone in my artist’s sister’s house is playing backgammon. The man of the house wants to place a wager. “I don’t gamble,” I said. “Oh,” he protested, “without a stake, the game doesn’t mean anything.”

Doesn’t mean anything? Who was it who’d infected the house with backgammon mania? pk: the non-gambler. By Peter’s logic, the game can’t have meant anything to me. ??? I wouldn’t be able to concentrate. ??? Then why did I win twenty-nine out of thirty games? against anybody? (That same girlfriend came cross-continent to visit for Christmas, and we were all playing.)

The visitor already knows I’m not talking about backgammon; I’m talking about human beans’ inability to process the unfamiliar: and, as my life demonstrates, about human beans’ inability to process the unfamiliar even where survival is at stake!

In grammar school I baked cookies for the class. The teacher told me to thank my mother for the cookies and called me a liar when I repeated that I’d baked them.

In junior high, my friend and I, sick of the charade of coerced democracy being foisted onto the class, nominated a “Communist” Party: and were promptly rushed to the principal’s office. So much for open discussion, choice, um … er … democracy.

The teacher who’d loved my cookies as much as the kids had couldn’t process — wouldn’t process — that they’d been baked by a boy, a first-timer, a nine year old. The junior high administration couldn’t, wouldn’t process, appropriate satire against their cattle-prodding (ahem) education: cloning our absurd kleptocratic illusion of choice. We exposed the actual absence of choice: the administration showed that they did get it by making a ceremony of not getting it.

Still, those examples are nothing. Rather they’re common enough. Surely any visitor to herself had experiences in school where her abilities were rejected merely by gender or his knowing that something fraudulent had just been taught, reported in the paper, said on TV … but knew better than to try to point it out, knew better than to protest. (pk knows better too, but pk (increasingly) protests anyway.) At some point a difference of quantity becomes a difference of quality. Sure the public schools are shabby mockeries of real schools, the local priest is a drunken, ignorant, child molester; but surely in Washington, DC, in the board rooms of Fortune 500 corporations, from the level of the bishop, in the universities … it’s different. Not really. That’s one of pk’s basic messages (another one with little evidence of ever being received).

The longer I stayed in graduate school the clearer it became that the reason my points about literature were not reflected back to me with what I could recognize as understanding had nothing to do with faults in my processing or my presentation (and a “good grade” does not pass, not with me, for understanding). It was simply that they were expecting “robin” and I had said “ostrich”: or worse, I had presented a new species (of understanding, of course: communication requires understanding!)

(Now, the university wanted “new species”; but they wanted them from those they had promoted, or hired amid competition; not from someone they were resisting promoting (by the simple expedient of not knowing how to read, or to hear: not knowing how to process … new species of perception: that is, ideas even partly original).

I have zero evidence that the White House or the congressional representative (or the journalist, or the book publisher) I have written to, accurately processed what I wrote. After decades of such, might not one be permitted to conclude that it’s deliberate? They do understand: but understanding is not how their bread is buttered. Promotion depends on a convincing performance of seeing the emperor clothed. Or, they really don’t understand; but do recognize, and fear, and shun … what’s alien: non-standard. Accepting their brainwashing is what got them graduated: embracing their brainwashing is what got them promoted.

Promotion depends on a convincing performance of seeing the emperor clothed.

And the prize givers give prizes without betraying the slightest embarrassment that their talent pool has been selected, managed, censored … If fifty thousand novels were written last year, and five thousand were published, and you’ve read three … or thirty … how can you possibly know what was best?

In graduate school my doctoral thesis had been called “a work of genius”; but not by the English Department. Thirty-odd years later, I bet that there’s no record at NYU of what I tried to communicate. There’s been neither explanation, defense, or apology for interrupting me: using dirty tricks to not get it. So I put it online. I publish myself.

And still, what feedback I get from those who do get some part of it is still uncoordinated, from readers without clout.

Ah, but without publishing myself, I’d have no feedback at all.

The Church kept no records of theologians they burned as heretics (or such records, if kept, are kept as deep secrets.


Do Jews imagine that God himself won’t know whether or not Jesus was really his spokesman?

Do Catholics imagine that God himself won’t know which silenced theologians bore real messages?

Do believers imagine that Nature won’t know if God is really god?

Do Americans imagine that ignoring voices constitutes democracy?

Do Americans imagine that populous stupidity can promote itself to intelligence?

Do scientists really believe that science isn’t just as repressed today as ever? (Wouldn’t refutation require proof that not one single idea remains misperceived, misunderstood, repressed?)

Does anyone really believe that if we quaff poison, but pronounce it non-toxic, healthful, invigorating, label it so officially, that we won’t die? note

(If I see that my fellow man is murdering a multi-billion-year-based future, am I not within my rights, should I not feel compelled, to mass-murder? to genocide? perhaps to speciecide?)

A number of my Thinking Tools pieces related piquantly to these points, including one I just posted this 2003 10 25: Scale: Not Irrelevant to Perception.

pk Challenge

Whether you disagree or agree, try this: browse around The site bristles with theses, theories, hypotheses, observations. Pick one. Email me your digest of any one point I’m making. I’ll publish it: with links to the relevant files and my own comments as to whether or not I recognize it as accurate.

Hint: If you don’t want your paraphrase to go into a companion jeers file, avoid ad hominem colorations of diction: He seems to be some kind of radical!

I’ve been meaning for years to post a section in which I perform this task myself: listing major pk theses. First, I’ll just point to a few fertile hunting grounds:

What am I saying constitutes macroinformation?
Doctoral Orals: Tell me one thing I’m saying that NYU did wrong? (Has NYU refuted my charges?) (I’ve been making them publicly for three and a half decades.) [2013 08 31 I wrote and posted tis several years before NYU had the FBI arrest me, the fed then also censored all my domains!]
[Actually, the fed, Judge Martinez, Feb 2007, censored one part of one of six domains, but the Host obliterated all my data!]

  Meta-Oxymoron Identify for me one meta-oxymoron in Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Can you also see its relationship to the Scholastic controversy between Realism and Nominalism?
  Kleptocracy Give me one illustration of why I second Jared Diamond in characterizing the United States as a kleptocracy.

In fact, there’s an example right there: define kleptocracy.

The dictionary won’t help: Diamond just invented the word: pk swiftly saw its apposition.

Indeed, there’s a fertile spin-off ground:

Discuss how people who live on land taken by genocide, built by slavery (including labor from trumped-up felony convictions note) … can imagine that they or their fellows are ethical. (Moral certainly: all you have to do to be “moral” is to be like your neighbors!)

What’s wrong with us cannot be brought up in polite society.

Note that I choose an example not uniquely original with me. My misgivings about civilization date to my childhood, but Diamond supplied the correct etymological diction. Here’s another example of something I merely repeat (with variation): Loren Eisley’s metaphor of man as a planetary disease. Just try repeating that statement: “Man is a planetary disease.” Can you say it? (Pretend you’re an actor reading for a part.) Can you say it so it sounds like you mean something by it?

Now: repeated ideas should be far easier to say than original ideas. The real challenge will be to repeat an original pk idea. (I have no evidence that Diamond or Eisley could repeat an original pk idea either: no other academics have that have reached my ears.) (How could the schools possibly ‘fess-up to their ubiquitous repressions of intellect without admitting that they have no legitimate claim to their charter what-so-ever?) (Could the United States, no matter how rich (on paper), possibly pay any fraction of the damages to victims of genocide? slavery? land stealing? gold stealing? note The further along, the more the road to hell becomes one-way.)

Note also: any actor should tell you, anyone familiar with movies should know: one does not have to agree with an idea to see the substance of an idea. One trying out for Macbeth need not agree with the tragic king, in his despair, that life is a tale told by an idiot. But if he wants the part, he’d better read it convincingly: feelingly. (“I see it … feelingly,” Says the blind Glouchester.)

2004 02 29 The seed for this module began on my cover page, was getting far too long for that location, and was moved to my Society section. I’m at least half satisfied with the treatment to date, but there’s still a core it doesn’t reach. I’ll try a companion module to investigate a specific, social, aspect that renders some communications difficult to impossible to success: that we (naturally) avoid self-incriminating ideas is part of it.

2013 08 31 My opening assertion refers to “civilized” man. It may well apply to uncivilized man as well, but my subject is civilized man: the !Kung didn’t make me go to school, learn the Lord’s Prayer …

Mutant Ideas
Dual Species


Bureaucrats, Meddling:

If Grand Pa showed up at Ellis Island having been called “Czcthepanovskoff” all his life, he may well enter New York having been rechristened “Fishpan.” No self-respecting bureaucrat would have dubbed him “Fish”; no passing for WASP among these aliens.

It was however a different vintage of bureaucrat, different kleptocracy, that has somehow escaped credit for so many European Jews having such humiliating names. A couple of centuries ago, Jewish tradition gave one a name … and a tribe; but no surname. Sure: everybody could say “ben”: David, son of David: just as did the Scandinavians, the Celts … with their Svenson, Johnson … O’Brien, MacDonald … But, in Germany, the bureaucrats wanted to take a census: a little late in catching up with Napoleon. The form they composed made space for a “last name.” (Now: if the bureaucrat’s form assigns space for a state chattel’s menstrual cycle, does that make pk a female? No, because male is already the default for the culture: no patriarchal bureaucrat would demote a male to a female through a form. Ah, but Jews were not the default; Jews were at fault for the bureaucrats. Here was their chance for revenge.) “First name?” “Shlomo.” “Last name?” “Uh, what?” “OK: Gold. Next? Goldfine. Next? Goldfarb. Next? Goldblum. Next? Goldberg. …”

Quaff Poison:

Hey, does anyone else realize how tobacco was foisted on us as a magic potion? I don’t mean by the post-war Big Tobacco: I mean at least since the Civil War. Here’s solider, have some free cigarettes. They’ll make you strong. They’ll make you brave. Tobacco was long subsidized by the culture as a whole, not just by government. Indeed, how willing would government have been to subsidize it if it weren’t already subsidized by the culture as a whole?

Don’t imagine that I’m saying that I’m immune: I’ve got a chaw in my mouth right now.

Forced Labor:

Want roads built? Slavery “illegal”? Labor costly? That’s OK: just arrest anyone without visible powerful friends. There are always “n-s word (Bowdlerizing K. 2016 07 31)” of one kind or another in abundance in a kleptocracy. (Why do you think the United States let the Irish, the Chinese, the Italians … land on these shores in the first place?)

We didn’t invent it: what kleptocracy doesn’t have vagrancy laws? “The King’s Men”: without the king’s protection Shakespeare’s troupe of actors could have been eaten for lunch. Martin Scorsese’s recent series on the blues leant testimony as to how any black not visibly employed would find himself on a chain gang hoeing cotton for the state, building roads, repairing track … (I also don’t doubt that social xenophobia as evidenced in such concepts as vagrancy way-antedate kleptocracy. Modern states do though make disrespect of others far more lethal than any band of pre-civilized upright apes ever could have. What make Hitler’s Reich so frightening was its industrial efficiency at being merely (infantilely) human.

Genocide … Slavery:

We can pay for genocide, land-grabbing, slavery … so long as we do the judging, so long as we write the checks. We enslaved you? Oh, that was an unfortunate mistake. There’s a new administration now. We owe you nothing!

That’s why churches must never allow god anywhere near the courtroom. That’s why god is kept in a sealed box.


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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