FREE WILL & ELITES

The idea of “free will” is simply a misconception following from the illusion of pure identity over time, i.e. lack of recognition that we are not exactly the same people we were a moment before. We are all evolving all the time, our neuronal connections are changing, and what we think in any moment is a function of that evolution as prompted both by ongoing chemical changes and by changes induced by input from the external environment. By the time we finish the choice we are a slightly different person from the one who was prompted with the input that leads to the choice. The determinist focuses on the external input to the choice and how it affects the choice and a true believer in “free will” starts with the assumption that the person who finished making the choice is identical to the person before making the choice, before being prompted by the external input that leads to the choice. But it would be a mistake to model it as simple determinism where the input solely determined the choice, as the person at the time of being prompted was a fundamental part of the equation, a very significant participant.

Moreover, the concept became popular and useful during a particular period in the development of human knowledge and related social/cultural development.  The elites of many groups, who preferred to keep the non-elites separate and weak, and who wished to portray themselves as capable and deserving of their elite status, developed a philosophy of individualism and free will and they promoted this philosophy among the population.  The beauty of this philosophy for the elites is that, as the belief that a “God” had ordained the social order began to wane, it justified the continuation of a hierarchical social order with extreme inequality as it implied that: (1) through their own superior ability, work ethic, and the exercise of their free will, they had risen to the top and deserved their elite status and all the benefits that went along with it; and (2) the non-elites were deserving of their low status because of their own failures and decisions from the exercise of their free will, and it would be inappropriate and useless for them to try to understand the social or economic forces that may have contributed to those failures or to join together to change the social order.

POLITICAL CORRECTNESS, IDENTITY POLITICS, CULTURAL MARXISM, and NWO FEUDALISM

The allure of political correctness is that it offers a path toward more civilized, less offensive discourse that ideally would lead to a more harmonious and just society.  However, there is no practicable method for determining the boundaries of speech so that no one would be offended or harmed, and the powerful determine the priorities in deciding what harm should be avoided.  So in practice political correctness tends to stifle the speech of the politically weak or powerless, as preventing transgressions against them are considered of lower priority than preventing offenses against the well-connected and powerful.  So it tends to further empower the elites while  it silences dissent from the powerless.

Also note that in any sphere of human activity that involves interaction with nature, including human nature, models must be used which are of necessity incomplete and approximate.  Nature, and any phenomenon in nature which may be perceived and represented, is of unbounded complexity, and so a model, which is of finite complexity, can always be improved upon.  That is why no social convention, and no opinion regarding optimal human social interaction, should ever be immune from criticism and scrutiny.  Analysis of such conventions, opinions, and behaviors is unbounded in depth, and pat answers are the province of the uneducated and the lazy-minded.

Note that Identity Politics, which has become a significant component of political correctness, divides the common people in an age where technological developments offer the opportunity for them to create common understandings and common values that could lead to the development of a common purpose and create a more healthy and harmonious society.  Those who advocate Identity Politics often claim that sexism can best be fought by dividing the society between the sexes and that racism can best by fought by dividing the society between the races.  But dividing people by sex is sexism at its most fundamental, just as dividing people by race is racism at its most fundamental.

Also, it should be obvious that individuals are multi-dimensional, i.e., each has individual characteristics, some immutable and some not, on the dimensions of sex or gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, talent or intellectual ability, sexuality, religion or spiritual beliefs, age, health, athletic ability, income, personal or family wealth, educational level, profession or job, physical attractiveness, etc… On each of these dimensions, an individual may be advantaged, disadvantaged, or somewhere in between. So to properly determine whether someone is advantaged or privileged overall, one would have to examine the entire list of dimensions and note one’s position in each, but this is rarely done. I suspect what mostly happens is those individuals who are underprivileged overall but who are privileged on the dimensions most often emphasized, i.e., race and sex, pay most of the price of being labeled “privileged,” while those who are actually privileged overall are able to position themselves so they escape the negative consequences. And those who are privileged overall but are considered underprivileged on the emphasized dimensions gain a further advantage from what they already have, and they are often the ones who most enthusiastically promote the scheme.

Note that Nationalist Identity is probably the most defensible type of identity, because nations are somewhat closed systems that can resemble a tribe, or they used to be and can be with functioning borders, where people can work together and provide positive and negative feedback to each other to improve the general welfare, including establishing a functional political system that responds to the needs of all the people. Other forms of Identity Politics which lead to other groupings do not form closed systems at all, and cannot form proper tribes, and so there can be no healthy or functional feedback process to improve the group’s general welfare.

Since Identity Politics, particularly when focused on race and sex, obviously causes more harm than good, it seems likely that the movement to popularize it has been subject to manipulation by malevolent outside actors from the beginning.  Such action would appear to be consistent with the time-honored technique of the powerful — to divide the common people so that they may more easily be subjugated.

Related to this, note that for the past few decades there have been more and more references to a New World Order, or NWO, that describes a global political-economic system many believe will come to power in the next few decades.  It is common to speculate that the NWO will be Marxist in nature, but that appears highly unlikely.  Authentic Marxism means no state and no personal property and no one expects that to happen.  The more realistic efforts to create a Marxist society, like those of the Soviets, involved the creation of a socialist state according to Marxist principles, which involved confiscation of all private property which was then to be used as efficiently as possible by the state to improve the welfare of the people as a whole.  Of course, it never actually worked that way as “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” meaning that those in high positions in government and the well-connected usually received the lion’s share of the benefit.
But the current efforts of elites to establish a NWO do not resemble those of the Bolsheviks in Russia or any other Marxists in history, because such elites have no intention of giving up their property to the state or anyone else.  Instead, they want to empower the state to reshape the society and economy in their interests, using Cultural Marxism, so that they can accumulate even more property.

Globalist elites determined that they could minimize resistance if they could transform the left from a movement organized around the struggle of labor vs. capital, i.e., traditional Marxism, into a movement that would inevitably lead to dividing the little people into warring groups.  So these elites provided support to help create the “New Left,” which is a form of Cultural Marxism (that actually shares some attributes of Mao’s Cultural Revolution), that focuses on the formation of and empowerment of competing political identity groups.  The support was in part direct, but mostly indirect, as the elites provided the New Left with access to mainstream media and the messages, ideas, and values of the New Left were broadly spread, widely promoted, and sometimes even celebrated.  This was all done at the expense of the Pro-Labor Left, which had posed a much greater threat to the political-economic power structure, and over time the New Left supplanted the Pro-Labor Left as the mainstream of the left.

Cultural Marxism, in simplest terms, is the idea that all traditional ideas regarding culture, values, moral systems, and social behaviors should be critically reviewed, and that when they are, they have little justification.  There appears to be an alternative form of it which advocates that virtually all cultures, values, moral systems, and social behaviors are equal unless they involve advocating or engaging in violence.

Now, I’m not using the term “Cultural Marxism” as has been used by others to claim that the Frankfurt School of social theory, which is the source of Critical Theory and much of the new philosophical approaches of the social liberals, is designed to destroy Western civilization, as that seems overbroad and lacking in reason.  Instead, as a result of critically reviewing Critical Theory, I find that certain elites use Critical Theory to advance themselves by tearing down those who would stand in their way.  In our current situation, so-called “intellectuals” whether consciously or unconsciously carry water for, are useful idiots of, certain elites who want to tear down present structures in order to redesign society to serve their own interests.

Hiding behind the egalitarian cover provided by Cultural Marxism, the corporate media promotes radical new social trends and belief systems and encourages the use of Identity Politics and Political Correctness to enforce the new beliefs and trends, which are spread by Taliban-like ideological zealots, often called “Social Justice Warriors,” who act as useful idiots for the elites as they stifle free speech and try to quash dissent among the common people.  These new ways of thinking undermine all traditional beliefs, values, bonds, expectations, and behavior patterns, which helps to make the little people more malleable as it breaks down their resistance to having their lives and their society transformed so as to better align with the interests of the elites.  But what may be more important is that these belief systems atomize society as they create division and social chaos — the little people come to have a wide array of values, beliefs, and perspectives and it becomes impossible for most to agree on important issues and to coalesce to form a strong political force.

These radical beliefs spread under the umbrella of Cultural Marxism not only destroy solidarity among the little people and makes them ineffectual politically, but it also makes them less motivated and less mentally healthy so that they are less productive and often become broken people, as part of a decadent culture producing ignorant, incompetent, impulsive, and irrational citizens with no mooring to any established cultural norms.

The divisions created are problematic over the long term for any human society at a fundamental level.  They not only insulate the elites from any serious challenges to their power, allowing problems to fester and the rise of other abuses that follow from unchallenged power, but more importantly it sets women against men, which can only lead over the long term to social disintegration.  Men and women were designed by evolution to be different pieces of the same puzzle, so that they would fit together with different needs and different abilities to make a harmonious and healthy society that could survive over the long term.   When men and women are convinced that they are competing groups and even enemies, then the myriad of inter-dependencies between the sexes, some known and many unknown, that human societies have depended on for survival throughout their hundreds of thousands of years of evolution are severed, leading to  innumerable unpredictable ripple effects that could very easily cripple the society.

But the globalist elites pushing for a NWO and using this New Left, with its Cultural Marxism radically changing social rules that human societies have depended on to provide for the general welfare for millennia, keep on forging ahead, using an army of idealistic youthful dreamers fantasizing about some impossible Marxist utopia, while the elites have absolutely no intention of creating a Marxist state resembling that of the utopian vision of their useful idiots.  Instead, they want to create a new type of feudalism with their NWO, where the few, including them, have everything, and everyone else has nothing.

The great majority of the population in this envisioned NWO will be somewhat like serfs, though in a sense worse than serfs in that serfs were necessary to tend to the land, while in the future robots with Artificial Intelligence will do the work, and so these new serfs will be redundant and disposable.  Pressure will build among the elites of the NWO to eliminate these serfs, either gradually by preventing reproduction or possibly even immediately through genocide carried out by the robots.
In summary, the NWO will not be Marxist, but will be a new type of feudalism, and one with a very hard edge, making historical feudalism seem kind and caring by comparison.  And the useful idiot youthful idealists are inadvertently helping to create this world, thinking they are working for the opposite.

DUALITY

There are many different important types of duality that we encounter in our attempts to understand our surroundings.  Some of the most fascinating are:
(A) Duality of what makes a human body unique:
(1) being composed of a particular group of physical particles; and
(2) having a particular organization.
(B) Duality of:
(1) what is the self; and
(2) what is outside the self, or other than the self
Note that it is possible to model reality without organizing it into “self” and “outside the self,” as the former can be seen as merely that set of feedback loops that the command structure, the “will,” has the most control over.
(C) Duality in the purposes of rules:
(1) to serve the purposes of the elites, particularly those who fashion the rules; and
(2) to serve somewhat utilitarian purposes to ensure the society is healthy, prosperous, stable, secure, and sustainable.
(D) Duality in the forms of experience of an event:
(1) the actual physical sensation of the event experience; and
(2) the model of the experience that forms in one’s mind and that is available to memory.
(E) Duality in human personality:
(1) humans are social animals, learning virtually everything they know from other humans, using terms and ideas from other humans to create their models of reality, and depending on other humans for emotional support and physical security; and
(2) humans also can act as individuals, striving to create new ideas and new models of reality while taking on new tasks that they determine for themselves.
Note:  I intentionally left out the famous “dualism” of Rene Descartes regarding mind and body.  I do not consider mind and body to be of a different nature.

 

GROUP MEMBERSHIP

Determining the size and nature of the group to which one belongs, the group that will give one sustenance and protect one, the group to which one should be devoted to and make sacrifices for, is critical for improving one’s welfare. If the group is the entire human race, then there are dangers of insufficient group cohesion. If the group is less than that, conflict between groups becomes likely and possibly catastrophic. But given that all humans have so much in common, that virtually all of them can communicate with each other to a great degree, and that they are all ultimately related, the potential exists for forming strong agreement on common values and common goals in the creation of a harmonious and universally beneficial society.

Some would argue that the group should include more than the human race. The inherent difficulty with this position is that there is no natural place to make a boundary for the group. Does one cut it off at primates, at mammals, at vertebrates, at multi-celled creatures, or at animals? Since all animals are in constant competition with each other, humans have little in common with other animals compared to what they have in common with other humans, humans cannot communicate well with many other animals, and the number of other animals provides incredible information management issues, setting a boundary outside the human race is not justifiable. However, since humans do exist in an ecosystem that contains a myriad of other species, consideration of the impact of humans on those other species and on the ecosystem is essential regardless of where the group boundary is set.

Also note that every individual may, with some basis, be considered to belong to any number of groups (subgroups within the society). The group may be identified by nationality, gender, race, ethnicity, languages spoken, income level or wealth, professional degree, educational level, family status, health history, physical attractiveness, athleticism, height or weight, interests, etc… Individuals often tend to claim membership in groups which have high or ascending status or for which membership provides some likely or possibly future benefits.

Given the number of groups that any individual may belong to, it is virtually inevitable that any individual may be considered to simultaneously belong to groups which were historically discriminated against and to groups that were historically advantaged (which may or may not have had the tables turned in their favor in the last few years).  And so each individual feels pressure to downplay membership in the groups that bring to the members added burdens and to highlight membership in the groups where membership provides benefits.

Note that such groupings often lead to divisive and self-contradictory Identity politics.  Groupings based on nationality, i.e., citizenship based on residing within a particular nation’s borders, is the most traditional grouping, and probably the healthiest and most sustainable type, because nations are somewhat closed systems that can resemble a tribe, or they used to be and can be with functioning borders, where people can work together and provide positive and negative feedback to each other to improve the general welfare, including establishing a functional political system that responds to the needs of all the people. Other forms of Identity groups do not form closed systems at all, and cannot form proper tribes, and so there can be no healthy or functional feedback process to improve the group’s general welfare.

Also, note that a globalist system is too disconnected to provide any healthy or useful feedback from the common people or a functional political system that responds to their needs, and so just ends up being controlled by elites with the common people having no feedback and no influence, which over time enfeebles and impoverishes them and possibly even enslaves or eradicates them.

IS OUR WORLD A COMPUTER SIMULATION?

There is a currently popular idea that we all may be living in some Matrix-like simulation.  Believe it or not, I wrote a short story about this idea over 20 years ago, though I never got it published.  Anyway, it occurs to me that this new focus on the idea is not what it appears to be on the surface in that there are likely nefarious motives at play here, possibly involving some very powerful and dark actors who do not have the public welfare in mind.

The first thing to understand is that there are innumerable possible sources for any one particular experience and there are an infinite number of possible universes that could cause a human being to have any one set of experiences.  And as we go through life, we try to construct the most useful model of the source of experience, the universe, that we can, generally that which best corresponds with our experiences, one that fits all our data points to the greatest extent.  The goal is to create a model that gives us the most control over our lives, one that predicts future outputs given possible inputs, generally one that predicts future events with the greatest accuracy, because that would best enable us to adapt to and control our environment and thereby maximize our future welfare and quality of life and the probability of our long-term survival. 

One strategy that has had great success in constructing models of specific phenomena we encounter and which can be helpful in constructing a model of our universe generally is to use Occam’s Razor, which guides us into finding the simplest explanation that fits the data points we are aware of, thus minimizing unnecessary speculation.

Note that religions generally violate Occam’s Razor by constructing models of the universe that involve unnecessary speculation, including speculation on the nature and actions of deities that are assumed to exist.  Also note that the assumption of a simulation is quite similar to the assumptions underlying religious beliefs.  The simulation assumption is that there is some outside actor that is directing the simulation, much like an assumption of an all-powerful deity, with no solid evidence provided of the existence of this outside actor. 

Also note that if one adopts the simulation assumption, there is no reason to assume that the actor controlling the simulation is not part of a simulation of an actor outside that universe, and one can continue this sort of expansion indefinitely.  That gives us an infinite number of possibilities to choose from, all from baseless speculation.  Occam’s Razor is a method to avoid baseless speculation that offers no utility, such as the speculation underlying the simulation assumption.

So, if the simulation assumption has so little justification, why has it become popular as of late?   As mentioned earlier, it is akin to a religion and seems likely designed to supplant existing religious beliefs, particularly those of Christianity.  Why would this be?  My best guess is that it is because Christianity urges people to care about strangers and to value every human individual, while the simulation assumption implies that other people are little more than trivial bits of data in a computer, meaning that they have little value and their lives can be disregarded without much fanfare.

Considering that many of the elites that control so much of our planet are hoping to be able to ignore our welfare or even eliminate the great majority of us after Artificial Intelligence with robotics is able to replace us in the workplace, they want to supplant a religion that urges us to care about each other with one what implies that we have little value to each other and little reason to care about each other, making it much more difficult for us to join together in solidarity to effectively resist our impoverishment and possibly even eradication.

There is almost always more to popular trends than appears on the surface.

 

CONVERSION

Given the infinite number of possible alternatives available, the only way that uniformity in belief systems, regarding aspects of reality not subject to rigorous scientific experimentation, is attained is through conversion by dominant individuals or groups of submissive individuals or groups. Uniformity of some degree is essential to provide common goals and purposes and harmony of activity within a society. So the effort to provide uniformity has utilitarian components, though it usually also contains components that serve more the interests of the dominant individuals or groups.

Some attempts at conversion are arguably pure utilitarian, particularly with regard to certain interpretations of utilitarianism. For example, spreading the belief that long-term benefits should be prioritized over short-term benefits would be purely utilitarian if utilitarianism is interpreted to mean “the greatest good for the greatest number over the long term.” So the conversion of others to this belief could be characterized as purely utilitarian.

However, this example illustrates how no conversion, or motive behind a conversion, can be critically reviewed except with regard to particular goals, and the goals are arrived at by a priori desires

One other point is that those converting others to prioritize long-term benefits are more likely to create a sustainable group or society than those converting others to prioritize short-term benefits. The latter groups usually vanish from the face of the earth in the long-term and we are left with the former groups.

CRITICAL SOCIAL THEORY

Critical Theory, which originates with the Frankfurt School of social theory, is an approach to creating a form of self-reflective knowledge to increase understanding to reduce entrapment in systems of domination or dependence, obeying the emancipatory interest in expanding the scope of autonomy and reducing the scope of domination.

So, if the dominant social/cultural form imposes rules and perspectives from a particular individual or group through the use of a form of Critical Theory, then Critical Theory implies individuals should use Critical Theory to deconstruct that implementation to undermine the dominant group’s use of Critical Theory.

Specifically, I find that certain globalist elites who want to redesign the world economy and world society to serve their own interests use so-called “intellectuals” as useful idiots who use Critical Theory to tear down present structures to reduce resistance to the radical transformation.  If only these intellectuals would deconstruct their own use of Critical Theory.

PARASITISM

Humans evolved in small groups to the point that each individual knew each other individual, with emotional attachments to a significant percentage of the other individuals in the group, allowing for the formation of a cohesive and healthy unit with good prospects for survival. The development of agriculture and then civilization provided pressures for groups to merge together and become larger and larger.

Large groups allowed for economic specialization and greater control over the environment, which provided much more efficient use of resources and the accumulation of wealth. However, the anonymity and the increase in the number of emotionally detached individuals caused by the large group provided significant costs, such as a greater degree of alienation and a much higher frequency of violent and harmful acts, including parasitic acts by the strong and by the weak. The strong would use their power, usually derived from wealth they already possessed, to take the wealth created by others or otherwise abuse and control others, either directly or indirectly by controlling the government, while the weak would use their anonymity to steal the fruits of others’ labor or otherwise ignore social conventions and rules for their own benefit.

The greater problem, the more dangerous parasitism, was that presented by the parasitism of the strong, who could use their economic power and control of the government to accumulate ever more wealth and power to allow them to steal more and more over time. Though both the strong and the weak parasites somewhat diminished the motivation of others to work hard to produce value, it was the strong who provided the much greater threat to the health and welfare of a social/economic system, for they held the power to bend the societal value system to meet their needs, promoting an imprudent and self-destructive mode of behavior that emphasized the importance of using power, such as military force or violence, rather than hard work and ingenuity, in order to create wealth and reach one’s goals.

SOME THOUGHTS ON MODELS OF REALITY AND ON AI

DEPTH OF ANALYSIS

The depth of analysis that may be applied in the construction of any model of the world based on perceived phenomena is theoretically unbounded, with each further level of depth offering the promise of greater accuracy and utility, though information management issues (increasing complexity and sophistication can cost more in time, effort, and physical resources) can provide practical limits. Also, increases in the depth of analyses may lead to a series of models that appear to be converging at a point, making further increases in depth imprudent.   A related observation is that increases in depth, along with increases in complexity generally, often have declining marginal utility.

The precision, or level of detail, of a model used in analysis must be chosen carefully if the model is to be useful and helpful in predicting future phenomena.  A higher level of precision is obtainable and useful for a model of a very limited set of phenomena, e.g., the interactions of atoms of type A or B.  For models of broad sets of phenomena, such as models developed for social interactions, a relatively high level of precision is unmanageable, as the number of variables and the complexity of interactions that would be required for precision would overwhelm the information processing capabilities of the observer.   So the observer should be flexible in choosing levels of detail and precision for a model based on the complexity of the phenomena to be modeled.  Also, for such complex phenomena, different observers will have different measurements and data and differing analyses, so their models will diverge as the depth is increased, making wide agreement and the development of a common accepted model virtually impossible, and thus reducing the utility of adding depth.

A sophisticated model, one of some depth, may use the idea of feedback loops.  Considerations of information management and trends toward convergence apply to any analysis, including those incorporating feedback loops in the construction of a model, so prudence dictates that the construction of feedback loop representations be sensitive to resource-cost concerns.

 

DIFFERENT WORLDS

Walter Lippman, back in 1922, in his well-regarded work “Public Opinion,” described human society as composed of individuals who generally fail to understand that they think in different worlds though they live in the same world.  He made the claim that each world individuals construct for themselves is a simplified version of the actual world, often using flawed stereotypes of complex phenomena.
Maybe a better way to approach these issues is to observe that each individual constructs their own model of the world based on their own experiences, and that these models are limited for three reasons.  First, an individual has limited capacity to remember, to imagine, and to analyze the data from the environment that the individual senses.  Second, each individual is in a unique position in space/time, and so each individual is going to be exposed to different samples of the world (the sensing of phenomena internal to the individual’s body is especially going to diverge from the experience of others).  Third, the individual has to prioritize use of energy and time resources, and so the individual will rationally simplify models to make them more useful or efficient.

FEEDBACK LOOPS

Simple models of the world we find ourselves in, the “out there” that produces our sensations and perceptions, represent objects and motion.  More sophisticated models may incorporate ideas about forces and fields and various other less obvious aspects of our physical reality.  For living systems, which generally behave in self-sustaining manner, feedback loops are a key component.  The biological system must respond to feedback from the environment in order to maintain its life process, grow, and reproduce.  These feedback loops can be simple chemical processes or can be sophisticated neural circuits that are connected through inter-individual forms of communication and involve the brains of many members of a human group.  When formulating models of groups of social animals, and particularly humans, the use of feedback loops is essential to capture crucial elements of the social process.

THOUGHT CIRCUITS

Human consciousness can well be described as a circuit of electrical activity.  Thoughts of the self may be simply characterized as a circuit flowing through its usual pathways and thereby creating a model, or mini-circuit, that represents the entire circuit.  The circuit is confined to the brain in the simplest sense and leads to the characterization of the brain as the source of the “self.”

However, circuits that flow through a brain may flow through other brains, particularly in social animals.  A form of collective circuit is formed.  An individual may form many such circuits in a society of individuals just as the individual may belong to many social circles.  Correspondingly, a brain may generate many circuits, some of which are primarily contained within the brain, some of which are primarily social circuits (flow through a group of individuals of the same species), and some of which flow through the brain but are not totally contained within a society of individuals (e.g. interspecies relationships).  There may also be relationships involving the non-animal universe, e.g. a circuit involved in “communing with nature.”

In the near-future for human society, a new type of circuit involving the non-animal universe may become common, a human-computer circuit that derives from a relationship between a human and a “thinking” computer, i.e. one that can engage in creative thought.  The “society” formed may become extremely dangerous with regard to the safety and integrity of traditional human society.

When an individual becomes connected to something, or forms a relationship with something or someone, it actually is forming a circuit.  Circuits that become strong and vital are those which are constantly replenished with energy, i.e. rejuvenated.  Rejuvenation takes place through the experience of pleasure, possibly even the pleasure of relieving or escaping pain or fear.

Dangerous circuits form when a circuit is inconsistent with the circuits involved in survival.  Sometimes pleasure may result from activities inconsistent with survival (e.g. drug use) and dangerous, problematic circuits are formed and reinforced.  Breaking those circuits can be especially difficult and the best approach is to keep them from forming.

 

PROGRESS IN KNOWLEDGE

Human progress in understanding the universe, in constructing models of the universe that provide some predictability of future phenomena and of reactions to proposed actions, has resulted primarily from fields of study where certainty and agreement, or as much certainty and agreement as healthy human minds are capable of, is attainable. These include the fields of mathematics, with certainty established through rigorous proofs, which can be verified by others, and those of the hard sciences, where rigorous scientific experimentation is possible and can be replicated by others. Hypotheses can be verified and theories can be supported or invalidated, and the progress of human knowledge marches on.

Conversely, in fields where rigorous proof is not possible, and objective measurements of all significant variables are difficult to obtain, including in the social sciences as well as in the humanities, speculation is rampant and the dominant theories are those supported by social institutions and powerful social forces, not those verified by scientific experiment and in depth rigorous analysis of agreed-upon data. So progress is slow if it occurs at all.

Tragically, the most important issues that any society must grapple with usually involve consideration of models based on social science or studies in the humanities. Mathematics and the hard sciences are generally only directly applicable to isolated specific problems and not to general questions that involve critical questions of social policy. Great expertise is developed with regard to these specific problem areas, and that is often used to generate great power that may apply in conflicts that determine societal direction. But the expertise, or the power that follows from it, does not confer on the holder of same the greater wisdom in determining societal direction, as the expertise is far removed from the questions related to the large social issues. Expertise in specific problem areas does not translate into expertise in global issues.

 

COMPETING MODELS

Models of the physical reality are not equal. Though each individual will construct a model for that individual, when those individuals interact they create a shared model, and within a society there can be developed an accepted model, that becomes to some degree universal. However, it is critical that competing models still exist, for no model is complete or flawless and competing models can help provide improvements.
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Improvement in models is made more easily where rigorous scientific experimentation allows for the winnowing out of inferior models, in the form of hypotheses or theories, and the establishment of superior ones. In areas of study where rigorous experimentation is not possible, such as in the social sciences, improvement in models is much more difficult to come by, but scoring models according to their relative success in predicting outcomes can still provide useful information for analysis and improvement.
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In the social science of economics, the improvement in models is even more difficult as powerful economic interests may play a significant role in promotion or defending a model even when the evidence, if widely known, would tend to undermine it.

 

INTERPRETATIONS

There are an infinite number of ways to interpret any phenomenon, though human individuals are inclined to, and probably predisposed to, search for interpretations that bring pleasure or avoid pain, i.e., those that provide the most positive feedback.  This propensity may have little utility with regard to survival and individual welfare if interpretations are chosen only to provide immediate pleasure by helping to create new models of the world in which the subject’s social status, or other state related to an increased rate of receiving future rewards, is improved.  This inefficiently allocates mental resources to providing pleasure without contributing to altering the environment to provide more positive feedback in the future.  On the other hand, interpretations that are chosen with the goal of creating more accurate models of the universe to provide more moderate pleasure through creation of anticipation of future rewards, have great utility.

The discipline to control the impulse, inefficient and harmful as it is, to provide immediate pleasure can be developed by associating with pain the act of submitting to that impulse, which can provide a barrier to following that impulse.

 

TIME TRAVEL IN A MODEL OF REALITY

Just as an aside, I cannot conceive of a model of physical reality with time travel.  I am no quantum physicist, and so I cannot speak to issues of time on the quantum or micro level, but on the macro level of visible objects time travel appears nonsensical. To begin with, characters who time travel in science fiction appear at what seems to be the same space in the different time, but that makes no sense. Everything in space is moving all the time, and so any point in space in the present has no exact corresponding point in the past or future (i.e., a particular place exists only at a particular time). Science fiction writers often use some point on Earth as the point of origin and the destination for the time travel, ignoring that the Earth is continuously moving relative to the Sun and the rest of the universe and that what keeps a non-time-traveling object in place relative to surrounding objects is the totality of all the forces acting on it, including gravity. For the time travel to occur, the object can no longer be subject to those forces, so the object should not respond to any of them, including gravity, and should not remain in the same location. I would guess that the location of the object at a different time, other than the immediate past or future, would be indeterminable. Maybe a more fundamental problem for time travel to the past is that the time traveler comes from nothing into something (and a something that is not some simple mass of particles but a very complex life form) at the past time, bootstrapping the time traveler’s own existence in the past time, and then as the time traveler has an effect (think the Butterfly Effect of Chaos Theory), the time traveler contributes to creating the preconditions for its own existence in the present time. Not only does that violate the fundamental rule that the sum total of mass and energy is constant (at least outside some sort of Big Bang singularity), but it requires a completely predetermined universe where the time traveler has always been part of the past and has always contributed to creating the preconditions for the time traveler’s act in the present to travel to the past.

 

AI & TECHNOLOGY

The inherent difficulty in studies in the subfield of Artificial Intelligence (AI) within the field of Computer Science (CS) derives from the nature of problem-solving in CS, involving algorithmic approaches to problems and the use of applied mathematics to maximize the precision of the solutions, which is somewhat incongruous with the requirements for AI. In CS, problems are posed and solutions are designed with some level of mathematical rigor and precision (necessary for translation into computer code). The difficulty is that progress in AI requires the development of a useful model of the universe and an approach to determining how some specific piece of information or some specific task affects or should affect the model. This analysis becomes problematic as generalizations, which involve a relatively low level of detail, are required to manage the model because of its scope (maintaining the same level of detail as that used for the specific problem quickly becomes an unmanageable task with the virtually unbounded information streams associated with a model of the universe). Such generalizations at such a low level of detail are necessarily imprecise and rough and not easily represented in a manner that makes them amenable to solution by precise algorithmic methods. So means must be developed to precisely, or accurately, transform diverse, complex, and numerous pieces of data into simple generalizations. This points to the implementation of statistical methods, though assumptions must always be made about the data and about how they should impact the model. Making these assumptions is an inexact, imprecise, and rough process, full of risks both known and unknown.

These difficulties parallel to some extent the general difficulties of applying the precise and specific rules derived from the studies of the hard sciences to general problems. More and more sophisticated methods are developed as precise and dependable knowledge flows from the hard sciences which allow for the creation of increasingly sophisticated and powerful technologies, but there is no corresponding increase in knowledge of how these developments relate to, or fit in with, more general concerns about the human environment and human welfare. As the power grows, the danger grows, but the ability to control the power or the danger lags further and further behind.

 

SELF-AWARE AI COMPUTERS/ROBOTS

The flaw in the idea that AI-programmed computers/robots would likely become self-aware is that humans developed self-awareness as a survival technique, as there were survival advantages in distinguishing what is directly connected to one’s mind, i.e., one’s body, and what is not, which led to the development of the concept of self. Thus, evolution “programmed” self-awareness into humans, and a computer/robot with AI will not likely develop self-awareness unless the AI programmer intentionally includes that in the code or at least through the coding creates a situation where the AI program can recognize that it gains some advantage in accomplishing its goals by developing some form of self-awareness.

 

AI COMPUTERS/ROBOTS WITH HUMAN-LIKE CONSCIOUSNESS

A related idea is that the AI-programmed computers/robots would likely develop something akin to human consciousness. The problem here is that human consciousness is the direct experience of brain function, to be contrasted with the images, sounds, etc…, that are part of the model of the real world that the brain constructs from those direct experiences. That implies that this direct experience is likely a function of the particular processes involved in the brain, i.e., the neurochemical processes giving rise to the direct experience, which implies that a computer/robot with extremely different processes, e.g., the electrical processes of a silicon-based circuit, would have a very different direct experience if it had a comparable experience at all.

 

 

FAMOUS & MEMORABLE QUOTES

CONTENTS

FAMOUS QUOTES FROM NOTED PERSONALITIES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:

Sun Tzu

Thucydides

Aristotle

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Titus Lucretius Carus

Titus Livy

Voltaire

Benjamin Franklin

Adam Smith

Adam Ferguson

Edmund Burke

Thomas Jefferson

Napoleon Bonaparte

Karl Marx

Lord Acton

Mark Twain

Jay Gould

Lucy Parsons

George Bernard Shaw

Theodore Roosevelt

Mohandas Gandhi

Bertrand Russell

Winston Churchill

Albert Einstein

H. L. Mencken

Smedley Butler

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Edward Bernays

Margaret Mead

George Orwell

Martin Luther King, Jr.

THE BANKER’S MANIFESTO OF 1892

THE BANKER’S MANIFESTO OF 1934

A FEW CONTEMPORARY APHORISMS

 

FAMOUS QUOTES

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.

All war is based on deception.

There has never been a protracted war from which a country has benefited.

Hence that general is skillful in attack whose opponent does not know what to defend; and he is skillful in defense whose opponent does not know what to attack.

The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.

Sun Tzu (6th Century BC)

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Self-control is the chief element in self-respect, and self-respect is the chief element in courage.

Most people, in fact, will not take the trouble in finding out the truth, but are much more inclined to accept the first story they hear.

In a democracy, someone who fails to get elected to office can always console himself with the thought that there was something not quite fair about it.

Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

War is a matter not so much of arms as of money.

Indeed it is generally the case that men are readier to call rogues clever than simpletons honest, and are ashamed of being the second as they are proud of being the first.

I think the two things most opposed to good counsel are haste and passion; haste usually goes hand in hand with folly, passion with coarseness and narrowness of mind.

Nobody is driven into war by ignorance, and no one who thinks that he will gain anything from it is deterred by fear.

Thucydides (460-400 BC)

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A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.

Men create gods after their own image, not only with regard to their form but with regard to their mode of life.

Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and choice, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.

I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self.

Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit. We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

The virtue of justice consists in moderation, as regulated by wisdom.

Man is by nature a political animal.

Therefore, the good of man must be the end of the science of politics.

The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

A sense is what has the power of receiving into itself the sensible forms of things without the matter, in the way in which a piece of wax takes on the impress of a signet-ring without the iron or gold.

Aristotle (384-322 BC)

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The good of the people is the greatest law.

An unjust peace is better than a just war.

Frivolity is inborn, conceit acquired by education.

In time of war the laws are silent.

Let us not listen to those who think we ought to be angry with our enemies, and who believe this to be great and manly. Nothing is so praiseworthy, nothing so clearly shows a great and noble soul, as clemency and readiness to forgive.

He only employs his passion who can make no use of his reason.

No sane man will dance.

The study and knowledge of the universe would somehow be lame and defective were no practical results to follow.

Time destroys the speculation of men, but it confirms nature.

Brevity is a great charm of eloquence.

Any man is liable to err, only a fool persists in error.

To live is to think.

To some extent I liken slavery to death.

Nothing is so strongly fortified that it cannot be taken by money.

It might be pardonable to refuse to defend some men, but to defend them negligently is nothing short of criminal.

Rather leave the crime of the guilty unpunished than condemn the innocent.

So near is falsehood to truth that a wise man would do well not to trust himself on the narrow edge.

Our character is not so much the product of race and heredity as of those circumstances by which nature forms our habits, by which we are nurtured and live.

Nothing is so unbelievable that oratory cannot make it acceptable.

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC)

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All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher.

Titus Lucretius Carus (99-55 BC)

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We fear things in proportion to our ignorance of them.

Every city contains wicked citizens from time to time and an ignorant populace all the time.

True moderation in the defense of political liberties is indeed a difficult thing: pretending to want fair shares for all, every man raises himself by depressing his neighbor; our anxiety to avoid oppression leads us to practice it ourselves; the injustice we repel, we visit in turn upon others, as if there were no choice except either to do it or to suffer it.

Indeed, that is the nature of crowds: the mob is either a humble slave or a cruel master. As for the middle way of liberty, the mob can neither take it nor keep it with any respect for moderation or law.

The outcome corresponds less to expectations in war than in any other case whatsoever.

Titus Livy (59 BC – 17 AD)

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All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.

Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.

As long as people believe in absurdities they will continue to commit atrocities.

Clever tyrants are never punished.

Everything’s fine today, that is our illusion.

Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.

The public is a ferocious beast; one must either chain it or flee from it.

Voltaire (1694-1778)

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A man wrapped up in himself makes a very small bundle.

All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.

Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.

They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

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Labour was the first price, the original purchase – money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.

All money is a matter of belief.

The theory that can absorb the greatest number of facts, and persist in doing so, generation after generation, through all changes of opinion and detail, is the one that must rule all observation.

Adam Smith (1723-1790)

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Like the winds that we come we know not whence and blow whither soever they list, the forces of society are derived from an obscure and distant origin. They arise before the date of philosophy, from the instincts, not the speculations of men.

In every commercial state, notwithstanding any pretension to equal rights, the exaltation of a few must depress the many.

Every step and every movement of the multitude, even in what are termed enlightened ages, are made with equal blindness to the future; and nations stumble upon establishments, which are indeed the result of human action, but not the execution of any human design.

Adam Ferguson (1723-1816)

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All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

Reading without reflecting is like eating without digesting.

All government, indeed every human benefit and enjoyment, every virtue, and every prudent act, is founded on compromise and barter.

Among a people generally corrupt liberty cannot long exist.

A State without the means of some change is without the means of its conservation.

Bad laws are the worst sort of tyranny.

But what is liberty without wisdom, and without virtue? It is the greatest of all possible evils; for it is folly, vice, and madness, without tuition or restraint.

Liberty must be limited in order to be possessed.

Circumstances give in reality to every political principle its distinguishing color and discriminating effect. The circumstances are what render every civil and political scheme beneficial or noxious to mankind.

Mere parsimony is not economy. Expense, and great expense, may be an essential part in true economy.

Education is the cheap defense of nations.

I venture to say no war can be long carried on against the will of the people.

Hypocrisy can afford to be magnificent in its promises, for never intending to go beyond promise, it costs nothing.

It is a general popular error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.

Edmund Burke (1729-1797)

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All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.

I abhor war and view it as the greatest scourge of mankind.

I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.

Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.

The good opinion of mankind, like the lever of Archimedes, with the given fulcrum, moves the world.

The moment a person forms a theory, his imagination sees in every object only the traits which favor that theory.

The spirit of this country is totally adverse to a large military force.

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

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A man will fight harder for his interests than for his rights.

A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets.

Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.

Imagination rules the world.

In politics stupidity is not a handicap.

Men are more easily governed through their vices than through their virtues.

Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by incompetence.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.

What is history but a fable agreed upon?

There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Good and decent people must be protected and persuaded by gentle means, but the rabble must be led by terror.

Governments keep their promises only when they are forced, or when it is to their advantage to do so.

Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

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History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

In bourgeois society capital is independent and has individuality, while the living person is dependent and has no individuality.

From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.

Democracy is the road to socialism.

The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.

Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.

Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries, unite!

Religion is the opiate of the masses.

The human being is in the most literal sense a political animal, not merely a gregarious animal, but an animal which can individuate itself only in the midst of society.

Karl Marx (1818-1883)

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Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Lord Acton (1834-1902)

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Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

There are lies, damned lies and statistics.

We have the best government that money can buy.

Don’t part with your illusions. When they are gone, you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.

Do not fear the enemy, for your enemy can only take your life. It is far better that you fear the media, for they will steal your HONOR. That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse.

Mark Twain (1835-1910)

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I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.

Jay Gould (1836-1892) (financier and railroad businessman)

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The involuntary aspiration born in man to make the most of one’s self, to be loved and appreciated by one’s fellow-beings, to “make the world better for having lived in it,” will urge him on the nobler deeds than ever the sordid and selfish incentive of material gain has done.

Never be deceived that the rich will permit you to vote away their wealth.

Concentrated power can be always wielded in the interest of the few and at the expense of the many. Government in its last analysis is this power reduced to a science. Governments never lead; they follow progress. When the prison, stake or scaffold can no longer silence the voice of the protesting minority, progress moves on a step, but not until then.

Lucy Parsons (1853-1942)

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A fashion is nothing but an induced epidemic.

All great truths begin as blasphemies.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950)

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A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.

It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.

Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.

The object of government is the welfare of the people.

The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the Nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919)

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Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is.

What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.

An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.

Be the change that you want to see in the world.

There is a sufficiency in the world for man’s need but not for man’s greed.

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948)

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Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.

If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence. The origin of myths is explained in this way.

Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.

Bertrand Russell  (1872-1970)

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A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.

The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter.

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

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The grand aim of all science is to cover the greatest number of empirical facts by logical deduction from the smallest number of hypotheses or axioms.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.

The value of a man should be seen in what he gives and not in what he is able to receive.

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.

Too many of us look upon Americans as dollar chasers. This is a cruel libel, even if it is reiterated thoughtlessly by the Americans themselves.

We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.

I came to America because of the great, great freedom which I heard existed in this country. I made a mistake in selecting America as a land of freedom, a mistake I cannot repair in the balance of my lifetime.

Democracy, taken in its narrower, purely political, sense, suffers from the fact that those in economic and political power possess the means for molding public opinion to serve their own class interests. The democratic form of government in itself does not automatically solve problems; it offers, however, a useful framework for their solution. Everything depends ultimately on the political and moral qualities of the citizenry.

He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would fully suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, senseless brutality, deplorable love-of-country stance, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action! It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

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Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

No one in this world has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people. Nor has anyone ever lost public office thereby.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

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War is just a racket. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.

I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.

I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.

There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.

It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty- three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle- man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.

I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.

Smedley Butler (1881-1940), Major General (retired), USMC

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Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence — economic, political, even spiritual — is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)

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The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.

We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.

The great enemy of any attempt to change men’s habits is inertia. Civilization is limited by inertia.

Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man’s rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.

There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.

Edward Bernays (1891-1995)

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Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Our humanity rests upon a series of learned behaviors, woven together into patterns that are infinitely fragile and never directly inherited.

Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

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The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different.

George Orwell (1903-1950), in “Politics and the English Language” (1946)

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Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.

A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.

A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.

Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Philanthropy is commendable, but it must not cause the philanthropist to overlook the circumstances of economic injustice which make philanthropy necessary.

The past is prophetic in that it asserts loudly that wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

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THE BANKER’S MANIFESTO OF 1892

as revealed by Congressman Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. to the U.S. Congress

We (the bankers) must proceed with caution and guard every move made, for the lower order of people are already showing signs of restless commotion. Prudence will therefore show a policy of apparently yielding to the popular will until our plans are so far consummated that we can declare our designs without fear of any organized resistance. The Farmers Alliance and Knights of Labor organizations in the United States should be carefully watched by our trusted men, and we must take immediate steps to control these organizations in our interest or disrupt them.

At the coming Omaha Convention to be held July 4th (1892), our men must attend and direct its movement, or else there will be set on foot such antagonism to our designs as may require force to overcome. This at the present time would be premature. We are not yet ready for such a crisis. Capital must protect itself in every possible manner through combination ( conspiracy) and legislation.

The courts must be called to our aid, debts must be collected, bonds and mortgages foreclosed as rapidly as possible.

When through the process of the law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and easily governed through the influence of the strong arm of the government applied to a central power of imperial wealth under the control of the leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders.

History repeats itself in regular cycles. This truth is well known among our principal men who are engaged in forming an imperialism of the world. While they are doing this, the people must be kept in a state of political antagonism.

The question of tariff reform must be urged through the organization known as the Democratic Party, and the question of protection with the reciprocity must be forced to view through the Republican Party.

By thus dividing voters, we can get them to expand their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us, except as teachers to the common herd. Thus, by discrete action, we can secure all that has been so generously planned and successfully accomplished.

 

BANKER’S MANIFESTO OF 1934

“New American”, February 1934

Capital must protect itself in every way, through combination and through legislation. Debts must be collected and loans and mortgages foreclosed as soon as possible. When through a process of law, the common people have lost their homes, they will be more tractable and more easily governed by the strong arm of the law applied by the central power of wealth, under control of leading financiers. People without homes will not quarrel with their leaders. This is well known among our principle men now engaged in forming an IMPERIALISM of capital to govern the world. By dividing the people we can get them to expend their energies in fighting over questions of no importance to us except as teachers of the common herd. Thus by discrete action we can secure for ourselves what has been generally planned and successfully accomplished.

 

A FEW CONTEMPORARY APHORISMS

 Life is not a message so it does not have a meaning.

One simple way to sum up human individual development is as the expression of genetic propensities as shaped by social and other environmental pressures.

Humans are social animals, and, as such, most of them invariably become trapped in a web of social relationships from which there is little hope of escape.

Humans, like their fellow primates, mostly prefer to be lazy and only work hard when they are convinced that it is necessary to achieve an acceptable outcome (Note: that is why trying to guarantee “equal outcomes” rather than “equal opportunity” can never work).

Humans can be seen as lazy copying machines, copying others opinions, narratives, and ideas as they seek the easiest path in navigating through a social world to provide for their needs and wants, while always trying to avoid copying opinions, narratives, and ideas that they associate with significant negative feedback.
Possibly the greatest error made by those who would radically alter social conditions in order to achieve some hoped-for dramatic improvement in the lot of the common people is the failure to recognize that rapid and radical change creates social chaos, and the most ruthless and reckless predatory actors almost inevitably rise to the top under such conditions.

There is nothing conservative about multinational corporations controlling the nation or the world.

Any human economy must be described as artificial and not natural, as the former connotes what is created by humans, or possibly what is created by something that is created by humans, while the latter means something not created by humans.

A human economy much more closely resembles a human-created machine than any natural phenomena, and as a machine it must be regulated and maintained in order to be sustainable and to perform efficiently.

To honor individuals for anything other than accomplishment signals that the social system is based on caste or some other unsustainable form of unearned credit.

The only emotion one should appeal to in arguments regarding public policy is that which attaches the audience to the long-term welfare and survival of the society, as appeal to other emotions runs the risk of prioritizing less important and more controversial goals.

Freedom is the poor man’s equality.

The United States Constitution might be best thought of as a partnership agreement where every citizen is considered an equal partner for the enterprise that is the United States of America.

Plutocrats will concede the importance of every type of equality, on every imaginable basis, before they will concede the importance of economic equality, for every other type of equality is of limited effect without economic equality.

“Going with the flow” is not ideal when the flow is approaching a waterfall.

Excessive attention devoted to insulating individuals from the slightest offense creates the danger of making thin skin a virtue.

Focusing on one’s group identity is imprudent as group identity is not only a social construct but is completely arbitrary, at least in part because any individual could be said to belong to any number of groups based on any of a long list of personal characteristics.

Speech concerning the appropriateness or inappropriateness of behavior is utilitarian in nature, and discouraging such criticism by labeling it as hate speech removes an important means to curb impulsive, hedonistic, and other harmful behavior that can contribute to eventual social disintegration.

The great value in the protection of free speech becomes clear when one recognizes that without the negative feedback that free speech may provide the development and maintenance of healthy and sustainable policies in an unpredictable world, with innumerable unforeseeable consequences and with more that is unknown than what is known, becomes exceedingly more difficult.

The absurdity of the modern era may be most easily seen in the preposterous commonly held belief that men and women, who evolved together and who were shaped by evolutionary forces to be complementary to one another and to need each other for survival, can be thought of as separate tribes.

Engaging in decadent behavior is not a human right, and someone opposed to such behavior is not an enemy of human rights.

Creativity is not simply random experimentation but is the novel combination of ideas or objects that provides some advantage over existing alternatives.

The self-serving plans and schemes of the powerful or sophisticated virtually always come in disguise, often presented in a form that can be easily misinterpreted, even more so as they encourage such misinterpretations, and the motives and goals of any insightful critics will also be intentionally misinterpreted to help maintain the disguise.

Slogans designed to reduce the amount of violence in people’s homes or on the street are as likely to be effective as slogans designed to reduce drug use.

Instead of adopting the viewpoint that we live in a welcoming environment that is inviting us to share in the wonders of nature, it may be more useful and appropriate, given the inconsistency between the processes of the universe and eternal life for creatures such as us, to take the viewpoint that from the instant we become alive we all struggle to survive as best we can, as long as we can, in a universe that at every moment is trying to kill us and that will not rest until it finally is successful in that effort.

A society without idealism is a society run by miscreants in the interests of miscreants, as naked self-interest has no use for rules.

An economic system that motivates the actors to encourage others to behave and think foolishly, in order for the actor to take advantage of them, in the long term produces a society full of fools.

The celebration and choice of short-term human relationships, as opposed to long-term,  involves trading the ability to form strong stable bonds, with which to build enduring and dependable relationships, for the excitement and convenience of engaging in impulse-driven behavior.  This leaves in its wake broken dreams, broken families, and broken human beings.

The dichotomy created between acting emotionally and acting rationally is ill-conceived.  The more fitting representation is that the individual said to be acting emotionally is motivated more by transitory or narrow considerations while the individual acting rationally is motivated by long-term or broad considerations, as they both require emotional-motivational energy to act.

Those aggrieved by some act usually insist that the perpetrator is defined by that act, while the perpetrator often insists that he/she has changed since the act occurred and so the former self, a different person, was responsible.

Consciousness is the sensation of thought and not the modeling of thought or of the experience that provokes the thought.

The true dual nature of reality is between the sensation of the experience and the model of the experience, accepting that the model of the sensation belongs to the latter category and not the former.

Those who focus on the short-term usually win competitions with those focused on the long-term, which means that competitive systems for choosing those who would control any group, including the entire human race, often produce groups that are organized on the basis of maximizing the short-term results, to the detriment of the long-term, sometimes fatally so.

Focusing on a specific subject matter, at a great level of detail, allows for the development of very precise models of the underlying reality and very precise rules for optimizing the return for interactions with it, but the same level of precision and detail is impossible to maintain in approaches to broader subject areas, as the amount of pertinent information becomes unmanageable, so the observer “cannot see the forest for the trees” unless the level of detail is reduced.

It is certainly a defensible position to argue that it is impossible to prove beyond any doubt that a certain proposition about the nature of reality or about certain specific aspects of reality are true, i.e., that there is a universally agreed upon objective reality, but that does not mean that there is no benefit in striving to create the most accurate and complete model of reality, which would be the model that provides the most accurate and reliable predictions of outcomes in future interactions with that reality.

With regard to determinism, it should be clear first that anything that happens at any point in space and time is the result of all the forces acting on that point in space and time and that all those forces are determined by all the forces that have acted before in any space and time, so it does not follow that some subset of the universe in space and time (the one making the predictions) would be able to represent exactly the total effect of all the forces that have acted before in any space and time on any point in space and time in the future.

When an individual makes new connections with other individuals or groups, often in the course of performing a task or striving to achieve a goal, that changes the individual’s position and may change what “side” the individual is on, what goals the individual has, or what game the individual is playing (one of the many flaws in rational choice theory).

When predatory elites assume control, they always do their best to make sure that the little people “cannot see the forest for the trees.”

An individual’s dishonesty not only weakens the trust and thus the solidarity and common purpose in the group, to the detriment of most, but it also may significantly burden the individual’s mental processing, as extra resources become necessary to manage the increased complexity of the individual’s mental models, as the inconsistent information provided to others must always be separated from the good information and the record of providing it must be carefully maintained.

Control given to a democratic government follows the policy of one-person, one-vote, while control given to the “market,” is more akin to one-dollar, one-vote, which makes it surprising that so many people who believe in one-person, one-vote, will vote for a plutocratic system of one-dollar, one-vote.

Most of human social experience consists of interpreting the intended communications, whether by words or actions, of others, which means that significant changes in the conventional meaning of words or actions leads to significantly different social experiences.

One should assume responsibility to the extent that one wants to be given responsibility.

What is spirituality but a feeling of connection with that which is too complex and too impenetrable to allow for one to place any confidence in analysis, i.e,  a connection with infinity.

Self-awareness is merely the act of creating a model of one’s own mind.

If the Earth is our Mother, then the Sun must be our Father.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill when he was speaking about democracy, marriage is the worst form of romantic/sexual relationship except for all the others.
Ideally any society should strive to ensure that its members not only receive a sound education but also learn how to synthesize disparate information so that they may:  (1) develop expertise and exhibit creativity in some specific subject area that will allow them to contribute meaningfully to the material welfare of the society; and (2) develop a good sense of the big picture which will allow them to provide healthy pressure to move the society in a more promising direction.
Sophisticated and powerful elites recognized some time ago that constructing a dam to block the flow of revolutionary ideas was unnecessary, for they only needed to build levees to keep the flow from threatening their interests.

Consistent with Lord Acton’s observation (“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”), individuals or groups with greater power tend to abuse individuals or groups with significantly less power if they have any kind of continuing relationship.

A modern update to the old aphorism that “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross” would be “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in political correctness and carrying on with perpetual virtue-signalling.”

The world will never stop changing so there will always be a point where a sane individual, no matter how liberal, will decide that a proposed change is too far and will take the conservative position.

Propagandists long ago found that a good proportion of the population finds the seven-letter word “freedom” almost mesmerizing, producing within such individuals a predictable pleasurable sensation such that any pabulum associated with the word is made more palatable.

Just as fractals allow for continual growth of a boundary in a confined space, the limits regarding available natural resources and the requirement that one avoid harming other humans do not necessarily prevent growth in the limited space determined by such restrictions, particularly not growth that results from intellectual growth.
Ownership does not exist in nature but is merely an agreement among human individuals regarding which individuals may use which resources.  Individuals only agree to the arrangement to the extent they believe it to benefit them or those they care about and are connected to (usually family members and other loved ones, but possibly the society as a whole), and so for the vast majority to agree to an existing ownership arrangement it must be to some extent utilitarian (the greatest good for the greatest number) or most must have been manipulated so that they promote the interests of such manipulators over their own interests.
The bottom-up approach to social/economic organization with a capitalist market has within it the seeds of its own destruction as the decision-makers focus on narrow self-interest and on the short-term, as the competitive nature of the market means that those who do not focus on narrow self-interest for the short-term probably will not be around for the long-term, and this means that broad and long-term problems will not likely be addressed before becoming fatal.

As no one today assumes humans are free from the laws of physics, or the requirements of the natural world, the best interpretation of “free,” when the word is used by itself without further clarification, appears to be something such as “free from the power and influence of other human individuals, including, and most importantly, individuals within a government.”  However, in a densely populated society with a developed and interdependent economy people are increasingly interconnected and influence each other in uncountable ways, so as freedom is really a function of independence from other people, it seems it would be best achieved by isolation such as that found in the Amazonian jungles, not by individuals striving to secure a piece of the American dream in the heart of the US political/economic/social system.

Individuals outside of government can influence one’s life just as much as those within the government, in part because such individuals can influence government officials and in part because of the economic power that such individuals may wield (also in part because such individuals can escape from governmental punishment for breaking rules because of such economic power).

Many, particularly those who have adopted a postmodernist philosophy, assume that hierarchies invariably were imposed by those with power only to serve their own narrow interests.  Though there may be some truth to that, no hierarchy is sustainable unless it has utilitarian value as the structure will inevitably weaken over time unless it serves the interests of the whole to some significant degree.

The related movements of postmodernism, cultural Marxism, and radical feminism all start with the assumption that current societal institutions and belief systems were formed as a means of oppression by the dominant group of weaker groups, ignoring that many dominant groups of many different ideologies and perspectives imposed their will on others, but those that have thrived and been the most successful and sustainable over the long-term are those that offered the greatest utilitarian value for the whole of society, implying that they may be quite difficult to outperform with untested methods based on little more than pure speculation about human nature and human propensities.

Given that there is obvious utility in recognizing that there are many dimensions to our social as well as our physical reality (or that a superior model is organized as a representation of multiple dimensions), it appears inappropriate to limit one’s decision-making to considerations of phenomena in only one dimension.  However, one-dimensional thinking is common in voting decisions, as people are easily lured into reducing the onerous complexity of the totality of the issues to one simple metric on one dimension, and those most likely to manipulate others into adopting such one-dimensional thinking in voting are those most trying to avoid evaluations over the entire set of issues, often for the worst of motives.