by geezer in Paris
Wed Jan 6th, 2010 at 05:25:04 AM EST
ARGeezer's recent burst of insightful contributions has moved me to write once again on a familiar theme, but with hopefully deeper insight, and a few grins.
Geezer's Law of Twistiness
I assume, in the face of determined opposition from the post-modern denialists, that there exists a reality that underlies our perceptual reality, and that it is composed of highly persistent processes from natural science, as well as an ecology of processes of a social and economic nature that persist on a shorter but more or less significant time line.
I assume that the processes of governing, education, commerce, foreign policy, etc. interlock and are represented by a largely fabricated world that diverges from the real one- the reality described above- and are the world we see and deal with on a real-time basis. These divergent perceptions -twisted subsets- exist and are created for a purpose. They are often conflicting and require energy to fabricate and maintain. This energy cost increases geometrically as the distance from reality increases. The distance imposes a limit to the degree of distortion and time period that can be maintained without collapse. Dialectically, if the twist is great enough, the whole fantasy structure can collapse, or can become twisted loose from the underlying reality, and just drift free, bubble like, and can become self-maintaining. The former case is called, "Twistback". (Apologies to Chalmers Johnson).
In the latter case, just see Altemeyer, Robert, "The Authoritarians", or just google "Republican Party".
My proposition, Miller's tounge in cheek "Law of Twistiness", is therefore simple: (some will say simple-minded. I hope so.) The cost to maintain a divergent reality increases geometrically with it's distance from reality. There is a critical mass in twist, beyond which the thing bifurcates, and all bets are off.
Twist resistance comes from:
A) Reality Leakage
B) Competence Resonance.
(For example, the design and installation of a sewer system requires technical competence and social skills that tend to create problem solving mechanisms that will, willy-Nilly, eventually resonate with and be applied to other areas of human existence, causing---subversive reality discovery. Could it be that shit shippers learn to detect (bull)shit better- develop a nose for it?.
Twist assist (torque multipliers) comes from:
A) Human desire for a less disturbing neighborhood than reality, with gates,
B) Political (economic- it's the same) control over information sources,
C) Second-order twists that prohibit or severely limit perception of forbidden but obvious relationships, even if they leak into the discussion.
Nested twists. Holy shit.
A perfect example is the pseudo-debate over health care in the US, where almost all the pertinent data as well as the underlying relationships was twisted out of the political and public dialog.
Take for example ARGeezer's recent discussion of unemployment rates, (nod to Zero Hedge) and the twisted reality that is represented by the official numbers. One examines the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers, then one looks at the dough spent on unemployment compensation, and there should be a relationship that's pretty comparable, relatively linear. Not so.
Any dunce reporter working for the WAPO should tumble to this glaring difference, and probably has, but the usual control torque is likely something like this: "If you publish the real numbers you'll create a panic, crash the market, sink the ship of state, cause continental drift to accelerate till Asia collides with and overrides Europe, and your circulation may be adversely affected to boot. Not to mention your personal job prospects, when you start looking for a new one." The result is silence.
But it takes energy to strangle off reality leakage. Take Dean Baker's dogged persistence in flogging the MSM on their refusal to mention, or perhaps even perceive, the housing bubble. It takes time and pressure to choke off real discussion, and the commenters who escape and speak are legion, mostly in the blog world. Had Baker and others not kept at it, Ben Bernake probably would have sailed through confirmation. Now they gotta work hard for it. It's easy to see why an armada of pronouncers and propagandists, with Obama at the top of the pile, diss the significance of traitorous reality dabblers like bloggers as unserious dilettantes.
The nested twist here is the persistent notion that "Change you can believe in" or the BLS data ever did or was intended to reflect reality. The very existence of such an overtly twisted definition as the US "official unemployment measure" shows an intent other than to inform.
So how much energy goes into twisting? And is there an end point- a critical mass of sorts, where all that inconvenient underlying more real stuff just erupts from the basement door, like a burst septic tank?
A subject for another day. Perhaps for someone with a different twist on all this.