scalia1

It is very rarely that I agree in full with something that I happen to stumble upon over the Internet.

And it’s no wonder that Scalia was absolutely right on the subject.
He had lived for so long in the shadow of the Constitution that at some point it must have downed on him.
The constitution, just as any other legal document, is nothing more, and nothing less, than what we make of it.

After all it was us, citizens, who wrote it in the first place.
Then amended it as we saw fit.
And are now interpreting it. To fit our own purposes, of course.

We don’t seem to agree much, lately, about those very purposes?
So we came up with diverging interpretations of what’s written in the Constitution?

Then the problem is with us, not with the Constitution.

Using it as a weapon, or adjusting it to fit the short term goals of whomever happens to be in power momentarily, won’t solve anything. Actually it will only make things worse.

rape in the not so virtual reality

Two concepts are slowly merging into one and becoming more and more obvious for the most oblivious among us.

Virtual reality was mentioned for the first time way back in the XXth century.
In 1938, Antonin Artaud described the illusory nature of characters and objects in the theatre as “la réalité virtuelle” in a collection of essays, Le Théâtre et son double. The English translation of this book, published in 1958 as The Theater and its Double,[2] is the earliest published use of the term “virtual reality”.
Nowadays the concept has been widened to cover a lot more than what’s happening inside the theaters.
In fact, the technology used to create VR is able to transform everyplace in a stage, everybody in an actor and to broadcast everything almost everywhere.

The other concept I was mentioning at the beginning of my post is a lesser known one.
The Social Construction of Reality“, published in 1966 by Peter L Berger and Thomas Luckmann eloquently explains how various groups of people collectively adapt their historically accrued habits (cultures) to the ever-changing surrounding reality. One of the sources of change being human activity itself.

The latest, that I heard of, addition to the realm of the not so virtual anymore reality is Periscope. A mobile app that lets its user broadcast, live, whatever he/she deems interesting enough from what is taking place around him/her. What is broadcast has a ‘shelf live’ of 24 hours but can be deleted at wish or made permanent. Also the sharing ‘voyeur’ has control over the audience, it can be set as ‘public’ or ‘private’ – and broadcast only to a selected few.

Some days ago two female high-school students and friends, one 18 and the other 17, met a 29 male in a Columbus, Ohio, mall. He bought them a bottle of vodka and “encouraged them to meet him the following day“.
The girls ‘honored’ the invitation, the three  ‘socialized’ for a while – read “had all been drinking“, and then the male proceeded to raping the youngest of the girls.
The older one live-streamed the rape using Periscope.

The case came to light when authorities were contacted after an out-of-state friend of the woman saw the images, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said.

It is not unusual for a rape to remain unreported by the victim. It’s not OK, but it happens.
Also it is not that unusual for a rape to remain unreported even after friends or relatives of the victim learn of the event. Again, it is not OK but it is known to have happened before.

Yet this is the first time that I’ve heard of a rape that had taken place practically in public and which wasn’t reported ‘live’ to the police.

‘She does everything possible to contain the situation even to the point of asking while it’s being filmed to these Periscope followers, “What should I do now? What should I do now?”‘ Shamansky said.” Shamansky being a lawyer for the older girl, who is currently charged with rape, alongside the male perpetrator.
Separately, she is being charged with “illegal use of a minor in a nudity-oriented material or performanceforlivestreaming her friend nude the day before the assault“.

And how did the viewers react to the broadcast? Except for the “out-of-state friend of the woman” who reported the incident, of course?

Here’s the prosecutor’s side of the story:

O’Brien said Lonina is seen trying to help only briefly during the 10-minute video. O’Brien said the victim was clearly screaming ‘stop’ and ‘no’ during the assault.
Although Lonina told police she was trying to record the assault as evidence, her behavior as people watching via Periscope ‘liked’ the assault painted a different picture, O’Brien said.

‘She got, I guess, taken up with all the “likes” that her livestream was getting and therefore continued to do it, and did nothing to aid the victim,’ O’Brien said.

I don’t know what, or even if, she could have done anything in a really effective manner – remember that all three had been drinking – but I know for sure that at least some people were watching the live stream. The ones “liking” it.

I still cannot understand how come all of them failed to call 911.

Just finished reading, again, another excellent post written by John Faithful Hamer on Committingsociology.com

I remember now that something was nagging me after reading it for the first time. I also remember the pangs of helplessness felt almost a year ago, when I couldn’t identify what was nagging me.

Well, this time I nailed it.

“Getting angry isn’t really like releasing the built-up pressure in a steam engine; it’s far more like exercising a muscle group. Every time you give in to the desire to lose it, you strengthen your “anger muscles”; every time you resist the urge, you weaken them.”….
“So perhaps it’s time to stop preaching the gospel of expression, and revisit the much-maligned virtues of repression.”

“Anger” and “getting angry” are not the same thing.
Anger is just a feeling – and, hence, a source of ‘energy’ – while ‘getting angry’ is the manner in which we allow it, consciously or unconsciously, to take us over.
I fully agree that ‘getting angry’ only worsens the situation only I’m afraid that ‘resisting the urge’ isn’t any better. In fact that would be no different from tightening your arse because you don’t want to fart in public.
The problem is not solved, not at all, only postponed. You still need to relieve yourself.
By widening Freud’s concept of repression to encompass more feelings than the simple embarrassment we might find a reason to continue to look for a manner in which to ‘release that built up pressure’.
Only now we are faced with a new problem, since we’ve already agreed that ‘getting angry’ is not the best thing to do.
Freud, again, to the rescue.
How about widening another one of his concepts, sublimation?
How about learning to express, this time consciously, our intense negative feelings in a socially acceptable, and hence a lot more effective, manner?

section 211-1

section 211-2

Yoshida Kenko, Tsure-Zure Gusa

Aceasta postare este, deocamdata, o ciorna.

Pana la un moment dat sistemul de termoficare din Bucuresti a functionat, cel putin din punctul de vedere al ‘consumatorilor’, aproape ireprosabil. In apartamente era cald iar apa calda curgea tot timpul fierbinte. Iar pretul platit de populatie pentru acest ‘lux’ era cat se poate de accesibil. Singura chestie mai neplacuta era ‘revizia anuala’ – apa calda ‘se intrerupea’ pentru 2-3 saptamani – numai ca asta se intampla vara, adica exact atunci cand puteai face dus si cu apa rece.

Lucrurile au inceput sa se strice pe la sfarsitul anilor ’70.
Mai intai apa calda cu program, doar dimineata si seara. Apoi au restrictionat si caldura.
Iar cel mai ciudat, cel putin pentru mine, a fost faptul ca cei mai napastuiti erau chiar muncitorii, adica exact cei de la care se revendicau comunistii.Programul de apa calda fusese conceput in asa hal incat cei care lucrau in schimbul 1 se spalau dimineata cu apa inghetata – apa calda venea abia pe la 7 jumate iar ei trebuiau sa fie in fabrica la ora aia – iar cei care lucrau in schimbul 2 se culcau nespalati (sau inghetati, dupa preferinte) pentru ca apa calda se oprea pe la 9 jumate, zece, adica exact atunci cand ieseau ei de pe portile fabricilor.

In conditiile astea, si mai ales dupa ce lumea a inceput sa dardaie in propriile case, nu a fost decat o problema de timp pana cand sa apara o descriere mai ‘glumeata’ a fenomenului:

“Sistemul de termoficare este alcatuit din calorifere, tevi si centrale termice. Prin toate acestea circula apa. Aceasta se incalzeste in calorifere, apoi este pompata prin tevi si astfel energia termica ajunge la centrala, unde trebuie sa fie cald”.

Iar lucrurile au mers in felul acesta pana in 1989.

Cam acelasi lucru se intampla acum in sistemul bancar.

La prima vedere treaba bancilor ar fi sa faca legatura dintre cei care au bani, dar nu stiu ce sa faca, deocamdata, cu ei si cei care au, simultan, nevoie de bani si o suficient de buna perspectiva de a-i inapoia. In ipoteza asta banii care raman bancilor – diferenta dintre dobanzile active si cele pasive – ar fi recompensa pentru efortul lor de a organiza colectarea banilor de la deponenti, de a evalua bonitatea celor creditati precum si pentru abilitatea lor de a adecva dobanzile pasive cu ce se intampla pe piata si dobanzile active cu riscul prezentat de fiecare dintre cei creditati.
La o privire mai atenta observam ca, datorita consecintelor provocate de ‘principiul rezervelor fractionare‘, rolul sistemului bancar este mult mai complex decat atat.In loc sa ramana un simplu ‘broker de bani’, cum ar parea la prima vedere, sistemul bancar devine, in realitate, ‘creator de bani’. Iar lucrurile se complica prin faptul ca banii apar prin doua izvoare diferite.

Inainte de a trece mai departe simt nevoia sa fac cateva comentarii despre natura a ceea ce sunt, in realitate, banii. Si nu ma refer aici la diferenta dintre hard currency – adica aur, si fiat money – banii ‘tramway’ aflati astazi in circulatie.

Multa lume, inclusiv majoritatea economistilor, considera banii ca fiind un fel de marfa.
Eu, in calitate de inginer convertit in sociolog, consider ca banii sunt cu totul si cu totul altceva. Si anume ‘incredere formalizata’.

Va continua.

First and foremost language is perceived as a communication medium.

As such it needs clarity and consistency, otherwise information could not have been reliably exchanged and or preserved through its use.

But language is used for many other purposes than for simply ‘translating’ raw data. Where to find a certain object or how to execute a certain task.
We use it to convey sentiment – the way we are affected by the raw data that has become known to us, and to communicate our particular understanding of things. Our point of view about what has happened around us.
Furthermore we use it to convince people. To do things or to accept our points of view.

All these different uses involve a considerable amount of negotiation.

Regarding immediate goals – the things we are negotiating about, but also some that is taking place ‘under the table’ and involves the continuous fine tuning of the instruments used during the negotiating process. The words themselves.

These negotiation instruments – the language itself, in fact, have to be constantly re-calibrated for two rather obvious reasons.
For starters, the reality around us – and our understanding of it – is changing constantly.
Secondly, every negotiation involves a degree of ‘shade’. In fact that ‘shade’ is exactly the space where ‘change’ happens, where the positions of the two negotiators overlap and where the two can swap ideas.
If words would be rigidly precise than we’d have to invent new ones every time reality changes, no matter how minutely. Also whenever our understanding about things deepens, no matter how shallowly.
Simultaneously, too much ‘linguistic precision’ would kill not only poetry and our ability to convey our real feelings to other human beings but would also gravely impair our ability to influence each-other. Could you imagine how our life would be if a polite intervention would sound exactly like an SMS message of if a marriage proposal would be similar a requisition order?

More about how the linguistically mediated interplay between us has brought about our own self-awareness can be found here:

Humberto Maturana, The Origin and Conservation of Self-consciousness.

 

section 172

Yoshida Kenko, Tsure-Zure Gusa

I just can’t make up my mind about this.
Is it the figment of an idealist monk’s imagination, the factual description of how things happened in Medieval Japan or a wise advice coming from a great teacher?

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