Archives for category: yes but

Ayn RAnd

Ayn Rand in 1957: her novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged earned her a cult-like following, dubbed the Collective. Photograph: New York Times Co./Getty Images


“But Rand’s philosophy of rugged, uncompromising individualism – of contempt for both the state and the lazy, conformist world of the corporate boardroom — now has a follower in the White House”

So.
The author tells us that Rand despises both (big) government and the ‘corporate boardroom’. He also tells us that the current American President shares the same convictions. I might agree about Trump despising ‘corporate boardrooms’ but I have a definite feeling about Trump having nothing against the notion of ‘big and powerful corporations’ (specially those he controls personally).
“Born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum in 1905 in St Petersburg, Russia, she saw her father impoverished and her family driven to the brink of starvation by the Soviet revolution, an experience that forged her contempt for all notions of the collective good and, especially, for the state as a mechanism for ensuring equality.”
It looks like Ayn Rand hated (big) government simply because the Soviet one had failed to deliver what it had promised… And that she had lost confidence in the notion of ‘common good’ for the very same reason…
The problem is that trusting the Soviets, or any other authoritarian regime, is childish to start with…. well then, maybe we shouldn’t wonder about her reaction…
Further more, expecting the government, any of them, to ‘ensure equality’ is even worse! Governments are meant to ‘maintain order’, not to decide the outcome of the game…Regardless of what some of those who climb to power seem to believe!

As for rejecting the very notion of common good, that means rejecting capitalism itself.
“It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self-interest. We address ourselves not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages”
If each of those ‘professionals’ didn’t see their personal interest as being conjoint with the ‘common good’ each of them would have tried to double-cross the others. The baker would have tried to use the worst possible flour, the brewer to sell whatever stinking concoction while the butcher would have tried to pass rotten dogs as dry cured beef.

Oh, that’s what’s currently going on in our no longer free market?

Then maybe Rand was a prophet, after all….

“Put more baldly, the reason why Republicans and British Conservatives started giving each other copies of Atlas Shrugged in the 80s was that Rand seemed to grant intellectual heft to the prevailing ethos of the time. Her insistence on the “morality of rational self-interest” and “the virtue of selfishness” sounded like an upmarket version of the slogan, derived from Oliver Stone’s Wall Street, that defined the era: greed is good. Rand was Gordon Gekko with A-levels.”

 

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“A couple drove down a country road for several miles, not saying a word. An earlier discussion had led to an argument and neither of them wanted to concede their position. As they passed a barnyard of mules, goats and pigs, the husband asked sarcastically, “Relatives of yours?” “Yep,” the wife replied, “in-laws.” “

Remember that these two are described as being a couple! Going somewhere together…

And not an out of the ordinary one, judging by what happens around us.

OK, I can understand differences of opinion between people – how ever close their relationship. What I cannot understand is this ‘need’ to aggravate things. To make the other one feel just as bad as ‘I’ do.

Why cannot we focus on the really important issues?

Like in this instance:

“A five-year-old boy was mowing his front lawn and drinking a beer. The preacher who lived across the street saw the beer and came over to harass the kid. “Aren’t you a little young to be drinking, son?” he asked. “That’s nothing,” the kid said after taking a swig of beer. “I got laid when I was three.” “What? How did that happen?” “I don’t remember. I was drunk.” “

Israel has been backed up by the US ever since it was established.
They didn’t enjoy an unconditional carte blanche but the amount of help was  very consistent and, above all, very dependable .

Until a few days ago.
Nowadays Netanyahu, Israel’s PM, feels like he has been thrown in front of a bus by the departing President of the US, Barack Obama. Because the US ambassador, Samantha Powers, had abstained herself, instead of exercising her veto, about a resolution calling for Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem.

Ever since Israel has been reestablished by his original inhabitants Russia’s rulers have tried to use this situation in their advantage. Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and lately Iran, have received backing from Kremlin in their fight against Israel. By meddling into this conflict Russian rulers were simply trying to get international stature.

Recently Russia’s ambassador to the UN had used his veto power to block a resolution asking for the ceasing of the bombardments in Aleppo. Yet another proof that Russia’s leaders do not care about how they become respected on the international stage, as long as that respect is manifest. As in ‘the world listens when they speak’.

During the Obama administration the US refrained itself from such drastic measures. The US has refused – for now, at least – to re-engage in the brinkmanship game with the Russian leaders. Effectively denying the latter the kind of status they so strongly desire.

Israel has just become yet another collateral victim in this conflict.
Just as the Arabs have been for the last three centuries.
Caught, at first, in the middle of the endless colonial wars between England and France on one side and the Ottoman empire on the other. And later in the cold conflict between Russia and the US.

For John Locke and his followers “what makes a person identical with herself over time is her remembering or being able to remember the events to which she was witness or agent.” (According mostly to the followers. What Locke actually said is something else, to which I’ll come back shortly)
Jesse Prinz has another opinion.

 

In this video Prinz seems to advocate that we maintain the continuity of our selves by sticking to a set of values. But this is only ‘skin deep’.
He didn’t actually say ‘what keeps us ‘together’ over time but ‘what people think that is ‘keeping us together’ as time passes’.
These two are not necessarily the same thing.
The way I see it memories are just the ‘resource’ from which our identity is continuously being built and the ‘values’ we stick to are the ‘blue-prints’ we use/update during the process but that the ‘driver’ behind all this is our self-awareness/free willing soul.
All three are interdependent.
As Locke observed, without our memories we would be like balloons drifting in a cloud of deep fog. We wouldn’t even be able to determine whether we were moving or not.
As Prinz said, without our values we’re like ships which have lost their ‘compass’.  Just imagine a boat sailing during a starless night or in a cloudy day. There are ways that experienced sailors can use to determine whether the ship is moving – relative to the surrounding water – but not even Black Beard nor Magellan would have been able to reach their destinations without ever seeing the Sun, some stars or using a compass.
Not to mention the fact, sorry Jesse, that without our memory we wouldn’t be able to remember today what set of values we had been using yesterday.
Finally, but not lastly, without our self-awareness/free willing soul we would be like perfectly sea-worthy ships which have been abandoned by their crews. Adrift in the middle of the sea, at the mercy of the elements. Elements themselves being not merciless but amoral…
 I’m sure that by now you have already figured out what I mean.
It is “we” that ‘compares’ and ‘considers’ things, that forms “ideas of identity and diversity”, that sees “anything to be in any place in any instant of time”, that is “sure” of anything (or not)… and so on and so forth…
Without this “we” no discussion about memory nor values would have ever been possible
Without memories the “we” would go ‘hungry’. Or nuts.
Without values the “we” would be ‘toothless’. Or antisocial/in jail.
And all these have already been mentioned, albeit in different terms, by both Humberto Maturana and Stephane Lupasco.
PS.
Don’t tell me that none of you have ever thought, however passingly, of the other meaning of ‘stool’.
ganditorul

 

An otherwise excellent article published by Robby Soave in reason.com claims that “Trump Won Because Leftist Political Correctness Inspired a Terrifying Backlash

While I think that yes, there is something here, I’m also afraid that the author is ‘guilty’ of the same crime… he’s too afraid of ‘crossing the red line’ that to go all the way and spill it out.

“Trump won because of a cultural issue that flies under the radar and remains stubbornly difficult to define, but is nevertheless hugely important to a great number of Americans: political correctness.”

“What is political correctness? It’s notoriously hard to define. I recently appeared on a panel with CNN’s Sally Kohn, who described political correctness as being polite and having good manners.That’s fine—it can mean different things to different people. I like manners. I like being polite. That’s not what I’m talking about.

The segment of the electorate who flocked to Trump because he positioned himself as “an icon of irreverent resistance to political correctness” think it means this: smug, entitled, elitist, privileged leftists jumping down the throats of ordinary folks who aren’t up-to-date on the latest requirements of progressive society.

Example: A lot of people think there are only two genders—boy and girl. Maybe they’re wrong. Maybe they should change that view. Maybe it’s insensitive to the trans community. Maybe it even flies in the face of modern social psychology. But people think it. Political correctness is the social force that holds them in contempt for that, or punishes them outright.”

There are two problems with this approach.

It is both counterfactual and too imprecise.

First things first.
A sizable portion of Trumps supporters do not care much for such subtleties like ‘political correctness’. They might indeed feel ‘the social force that holds them in contempt’ but they are the kind of people who do not beat around the bush. They blame a person directly, not their manner of thinking.

Secondly, using the same name for two very distinct behaviors, ‘polite and having good manners‘ versus ‘jumping down the throats of ordinary folks who aren’t up-to-date on the latest requirements of progressive society.‘ is so imprecise that it becomes counterproductive.

By using the same label for both we end up discouraging both.

Do we really want to discourage people from being polite? From having good manners?
Do we really think that actually destroying all ‘political correctness’, the first kind included, is a good thing to do?

The way I see it we have to use a different moniker for the second behaviour.

How about ‘political bigotry’?

This way it would be clear what we stand for and what we strongly oppose.
‘Good manners’ would be in and ‘grab them by the pussy/jumping down the throat… simply because we can’ would be out.
‘Polite and considerate’ would be in while ‘smug, entitled and privileged‘ would be out.

OK, then please someone explain to me what the heck is going on here.

“Other researchers have pointed out the correlation between education rates and declining female health outcomes. The most shocking study, published in August 2012 by the journal Health Affairs, found that life expectancy for white female high-school dropouts has fallen dramatically over the past 18 years. These women are now expected to die five years earlier than the generation before them—a radical decline that is virtually unheard of in the world of modern medicine.”

femalemortalityratesmaplg

(Health Affairs/The Population Institute, University of Wisconsin)

“…women in parts of the country have been left behind, and in some cases, they are dying younger than they were a generation before.”

swing-states-20161

 

This map shows the probable number of votes each parties candidate would win in the Electoral College if the meeting of the College were held today.  If you live in a red state on the map above you probably do not have to vote for anyone for the office of POTUS but you should vote for a candidate for all  the other offices on the ballot.  – Abyssum

stephenhawkinghistory_web_1024

“We spend a great deal of time studying history, which, let’s face it, is mostly the history of stupidity.” (Stephen Hawking speaking at the Cambridge University)

Really?

First of all what we call ‘history’ is not what had happened but a story comprising the subjects some of us had chosen to write about, in the manner they saw fit to do it.

Secondly, until very recently most people had a very vague – and heavily biased – idea about what had happened in their past.
Only in the last two hundred years or so a very small number of people have started to study what had happened in their past in a value neutral manner and, unfortunately, their efforts are still being disparaged by many and ignored by a vast majority.

Coming back to Hawking’s words, I must admit that we, as a species, have done indeed a lot of stupid things.
But, as a whole, the sum of our deeds is far from being negative.

After all… we’re still here, aren’t we?

And, despite the huge amount of misery that is still being experienced by a lot of us, we are doing better than our great parents used to do.

So it is hard for me to agree with Hawking on this subject.

He is right about one thing though.
We are currently doing a very stupid thing indeed.
Our ancestors had the excuse that historical information was very scarce.
This is no longer the case.
While they could have claimed ‘innocence’ when re-enacting an error that had already been committed we no longer have that luxury. We should have known better since it is a lot easier for us to learn than it was for our great-parents.
We really need to stop ignoring the lessons we have at our disposal.

And there’s something else which further complicates the situation.
We have become so powerful that our mistakes can have far worse repercussions than any of our ancestors ever had.

So while I don’t think our history is that full of ‘stupidy’ as Hawking believes it to be I share his concerns about the stupid things we may be making in the future if we don’t wake up and start learning from the stupid enough mistakes we have  already done.

As I said before, we make our own history.
We do the things that will constitute tomorrow’s history and we write the story of things that constitute our past.
Let’s not do, nor write, a ‘stupid’ one.

Just stumbled upon this joke:

One day, all the human body parts started arguing about who was on top… The mouth said, ”I should be on top because, without me, you wouldn’t be able to eat.” Then the stomach said, ”Ya but if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t be able to digest and transfer all the minerals and vitamins throughout the body, I should be on top.” Then the heart said, ”I should be on top because I’m the one who takes the blood from point A to point B. Without me, the body would die.” Then the brain said, ” Well, without me, you wouldn’t be able to move, eat, digest or allow circulation of blood, so I should be on top.” Now, the asshole was beginning to get annoyed, ”You know, I should be on top because I can just shut my hole and then shit will accumulate and block the digestive track and screw all of you up.” It was chaos, everyone was yelling and fighting. Finally, the asshole got fed up, ”That’s it, I’m fed up, I’m shutting up my hole.”

So for a few days, the body couldn’t shit and the brain had trouble moving, the stomach digesting, the mouth eating and the blood flow going, everyone was begging the asshole to open up, The brain said, ”Please open up, you made your point, your on top, just open up.” The asshole smiled, ”So everyone agrees that I’m on top?” ”YES” everyone shouted. ”OK!” so the asshole opened up and the body could shit again. The moral of this story is, you have to be an asshole to be on top…“

Isn’t this interesting?

A bunch of guys are too thick to understand that they cannot live one without the others and to learn what mutual respect really means, one of them decides to teach the group a well deserved lesson and it is he who ends up being considered an ass-hole…

On the other hand… there are so many examples of ass-holes who end up ‘on top’ simply because they are the ones willing to do anything in order to get there – not caring at all if their actions hurt everybody else who happens to be around… AND because those who end up being hurt don’t see it coming or are too lazy, too thick or both at the same time, to do anything about it…

After someone opened up our eyes, that is!

-Radio DJ: If you’re sick of being broke, for $108.3, which month has 28 days?
-All of them.
-Woman: I actually know this one! Uh, February?
-Radio DJ: We have a winner!
-Idiots.”

You never saw it this way, did you?
Neither did I.
Not before watching the first episode of Scorpion, anyway.
No excuse to continue to do so afterwards, now that we’ve been told.
For an additional training session, click here.
The whole point being ‘what’s the use of having geniuses among us if we don’t pay proper attention to what they have to say to us?’

Quite a lot of things are currently going on on our Earth.
Many of them have a planetary importance and some of them make it into the news bulletins.
The manner in which they are selected by the editors speaks volumes about our, collective, mind set.

So let’s see what BBC, one of the most important news outlets, deemed as being important enough to make the cut this early morning – September 8, 2016.

news

US elections, Technology, A peek into how the Chinese Government manages its country, A little ‘human touch’ – an Australian family caving in to mental illness, A short but heated discussion about ‘ugly buildings’

An so on…

The Middle East Crises is buried somewhere in “More World News” but still only two clicks away from the main page while if you want to find out more about the “Worst SE Asia Haze for 20 Years” you have to specifically search for it despite BBC itself wondering, only three short days ago: “Could air pollution cause brain damage?”

OK, but what about those ‘damned phones’?

So don’t you find it rather strange that ‘Apple’s new IPhone ditches headphone socket‘ makes it to the ‘first page’?

 

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