Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
Huxley was right, eh?

During the trip (love the dual meaning of that word in this context) I spent a lot of time wondering how I would act, think, and see the world differently had I grown up in different eras.

I don't romanticize the past - I think the 60's were as superficial as they were profound, and the labor movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries were people with nothing to lose but who had decided they could do better than be stomped on.

I definitely have things to lose and I haven't the slightest idea how to be an activist. I've never been part of a community the way I understand the word. I do not want to sacrifice aspects of myself through difficult activism in exchange for a potential future good - I've lived in terror and I've lived in bliss, and I will choose the latter every time. The "lottery mentality" you have described is part of my experience.

I think there are two problems in the post industrial era: "they" don't need our labor anymore, and the citizens of democratic states haven't developed sufficient countermeasures to systematized propaganda. Shit, how am I going to fight against that? I can't even explain the financial crisis in plain language to myself, much less to someone who has ingested an emotive narrative that confirms their fears in easily understood terms. My first and only idea is the massage therapy thing - mutually beneficial in a very good way and maybe more than the sum of its parts, but not by much.

My guess is that as I get older I'll feel a stronger ethical obligation.

My goal for humanity - maximizing happiness - has always been a difficult prospect. The challenge is the same question you proposed in another frame - "where is the energy going to come from?"


you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri Jan 29th, 2010 at 04:43:17 PM EST
chewy comment, millman.

Huxley was right about so many things i don't know where to begin ennumerating them...

i would have loved to see a debate between him and george orwell, surely they were aware of each others' work. i wonder if they corresponded.

MillMan:

wondering how I would act, think, and see the world differently had I grown up in different eras.

this is what i was talking about in colman's diary yesterday. acknowledging our roots but being able to grow upwards and outwards simultaneously above, while doing the same below. studying our past to avoid the old mistakes, listening to its voices as we leave it behind us.

MillMan:

I definitely have things to lose and I haven't the slightest idea how to be an activist.

well we all do, and it's hard to let go of comfort now for some pie in the sky later, yet deferred gratification is built in to our apes-with-plans brains.

activism starts with thinking differently, and not being afraid to question the social attitudes one is embedded in. where each person goes with that is what makes diversity, itself a sign that the process is branching.

MillMan:

I've lived in terror and I've lived in bliss, and I will choose the latter every time. The "lottery mentality" you have described is part of my experience.

ha, yes so would we all. even the self-abnegator is trying for the bliss of renunciation.

and the lottery mentality does have some basis in reality, in the sense that it really is a cornucopian planet, where one grain of corn turns into one hundred in one growing season. the sense of optimism that proclivity engenders was/is the substrate for the banking system, now headily off the probability map, with its hocking of the next generations' powers of multiplication.

haven't you noticed how the poorer a country is, the more lotteries?

birth itself is a lottery, why should it stop there?

not ok to do it with other peoples' money, or take risks others will end up cleaning up after though. gotta draw some line somewhere!

MillMan:

I think there are two problems in the post industrial era: "they" don't need our labor anymore, and the citizens of democratic states haven't developed sufficient countermeasures to systematized propaganda. Shit, how am I going to fight against that?

aye, there's the question...

second point first: your brain is your own as much as it ever was, so cultivating its talent for discrimination is a worthy goal. propaganda being identified as such is a great start, and a sign that your olfactory knows when it's in a bullpen.

how cynical can one be and remain optimistic?

propaganda is intelligence swivelled round the wrong way. karl rove, alistair campbell, goebbels, bernays are masters, and reverse engineering their mindgames is this century's chess problems.

(picks up newspaper, flicks through pages, seeking specimen whoppers like a fisherman in a lake.)

clocking into fox news to see how willow pliant the truth can be, in the wrong hands. taking the temperature of the body politic through the wideness of its gullet, trawling through fermenting refuse for the gold of psychological understanding.

clawing back the rubble of truthiness to find any still living babies buried under it. the more your instincts are validated, the better they become...

your first point about them not needing labour any more, you say it like it's a bad thing!

this is what's so ironic about the early labour movements to young people especially. why bust a gut to keep a horrible job? who _ wants to work in a 30's design steel foundry or similar michigan era car factory line? answer? those lefties who were pulped by the thugs, because they were slaves to a system, they could't walk from it without falling back into being starving peasants again, or really falling through the cracks into destitution and madness. so they fought to change it from the inside, with the humble, ancient tools of raw discussion and rough populist consensus, whatever they took from the uncalloused intellectuals they processed into the mix, but the bottom line, as in france still, was 'we'll let you  determine a lot of our lives, but there's only so far we will take the stripping of our dignity, before we will have your entrails for breakfast'.

these people had their backs to walls of unemployment, greedy bankers, wars a gogo, and they didn't have 500 channels of multicloured nothingness to turn them into soggy swamps of passivity.

MillMan:

I can't even explain the financial crisis in plain language to myself, much less to someone who has ingested an emotive narrative that confirms their fears in easily understood terms.

i hear that! i can't see the three card monty, either, but i can smell what's going down. the details are for the wonkies, they dig the delving, like sherlock holmes did. the skullduggery demands no less.

i don't have the mental equipment yet to follow them so deep into the mines, but untangling the spells that have been laid is demanding and necessary work. for those of us not so skilled there is still much to enjoy in the sheer atavism of it. big boys bein bad, and getting their comeuppance, oldest plot in the world. where's harrison ford?

MillMan:

mutually beneficial in a very good way and maybe more than the sum of its parts, but not by much.

'maybe...not by much?'

quiet chortle... ah yes grasshopper, the sea of sensation leads to the shores of wisdom, pace blake...

4% doesn't seem like a generous interest rate, but safely compounded away by the bank of time and empiric profit, you could be pleasantly surprised by the unexpected dividends.
MillMan:

My guess is that as I get older I'll feel a stronger ethical obligation.

one usually does... selfishness peaks earlier.

MillMan:

My goal for humanity - maximizing happiness - has always been a difficult prospect. The challenge is the same question you proposed in another frame - "where is the energy going to come from?"

maybe it's easy but not simple, or the other way round, to go all tao on you. maximising happiness will flow naturally out of true understanding of the human condition, and the pincers of desire and retribution clamped onto our temples. starting small and slow, with you and your subject, you can create a tiny world of peace in life's gaudy flurry, and feel the ripples gently rolling out. if everyone could do that, politics would return to sanity, as citizens did.

the energy is there, once the reasons for fatigue, especially of the spirit, are removed. the journey has its own fuel, as you discovered when you slipped the mooring for a year. your state of mind ultimately matters more than what state you're in, and and the state it's in!

but they're all connected... great comment, i have no fears on your account. the charm of voluntary simplicity is already within your consciousness, you'll never unturn that, methinks, as it would involve going back to an unexamined life, and cause you to live less deliberately.

life stops being a puzzle only on the rarest of occasions, i find if i seek, and truth is a potent, if tiny tool to set ourselves free(er) with, at the end of the day, it's all we've got... a david's slingshot against a hodgepodge of goliaths.

and just maybe...with the net, we can one day realise we are many and they are few, and demand our share in the power that decides so much of our fates, and though sometimes well-meaningly, breaks so many people and shatters so many young dreams.

thanks for playing, please play again soon.

:)

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jan 30th, 2010 at 05:44:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Occasional Series