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  1. #11
    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

  2. #12
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    Total Eclipse
    Annie Dillard

    What it's like to experience a total eclipse in exquisite, intense prose. If you've only ever experienced a partial eclipse, you have no idea.

  3. #13
    singularity precursor Limes's Avatar
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    There is no God
    -Penn Jillette

    http://www.npr.org/2005/11/21/5015557/there-is-no-god

    The audio link is well worth a click.

  4. #14
    Married Mouth-breather JohnClay's Avatar
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    The Unabomber's Manifesto:
    http://cyber.eserver.org/unabom.txt

    Especially in the late 90's.

  5. #15
    creator kari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnClay View Post
    The Unabomber's Manifesto:
    http://cyber.eserver.org/unabom.txt

    Especially in the late 90's.
    Agreed. This is a masterpiece. The lack of obfuscation is very refreshing.
    I fucking hate the cold! - Wim Hof

    Check out my art. https://www.instagram.com/karililt/

  6. #16
    Married Mouth-breather JohnClay's Avatar
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    I also liked Primitivism stuff by John Zerzan:
    http://www.primitivism.com/primitivism.htm
    e.g.
    The Case Against Art
    Language: Origin and Meaning
    Time and its Discontents
    Last edited by JohnClay; 09-22-2015 at 10:41 AM.

  7. #17
    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    What Desires Are Politically Important?

    But man differs from other animals in one very important respect, and that is that he has some desires which are, so to speak, infinite, which can never be fully gratified, and which would keep him restless even in Paradise. The boa constrictor, when he has had an adequate meal, goes to sleep, and does not wake until he needs another meal. Human beings, for the most part, are not like this. When the Arabs, who had been used to living sparingly on a few dates, acquired the riches of the Eastern Roman Empire, and dwelt in palaces of almost unbelievable luxury, they did not, on that account, become inactive. Hunger could no longer be a motive, for Greek slaves supplied them with exquisite viands at the slightest nod. But other desires kept them active: four in particular, which we can label acquisitiveness, rivalry, vanity, and love of power.

    Acquisitiveness - the wish to possess as much as possible of goods, or the title to goods - is a motive which, I suppose, has its origin in a combination of fear with the desire for necessaries. I once befriended two little girls from Estonia, who had narrowly escaped death from starvation in a famine. They lived in my family, and of course had plenty to eat. But they spent all their leisure visiting neighbouring farms and stealing potatoes, which they hoarded. Rockefeller, who in his infancy had experienced great poverty, spent his adult life in a similar manner. Similarly the Arab chieftains on their silken Byzantine divans could not forget the desert, and hoarded riches far beyond any possible physical need. But whatever may be the psychoanalysis of acquisitiveness, no one can deny that it is one of the great motives - especially among the more powerful, for, as I said before, it is one of the infinite motives. However much you may acquire, you will always wish to acquire more; satiety is a dream which will always elude you.

    But acquisitiveness, although it is the mainspring of the capitalist system, is by no means the most powerful of the motives that survive the conquest of hunger. Rivalry is a much stronger motive. Over and over again in Mohammedan history, dynasties have come to grief because the sons of a sultan by different mothers could not agree, and in the resulting civil war universal ruin resulted. The same sort of thing happens in modern Europe. When the British Government very unwisely allowed the Kaiser to be present at a naval review at Spithead, the thought which arose in his mind was not the one which we had intended. What he thought was, «I must have a Navy as good as Grandmamma's». And from this thought have sprung all our subsequent troubles. The world would be a happier place than it is if acquisitiveness were always stronger than rivalry. But in fact, a great many men will cheerfully face impoverishment if they can thereby secure complete ruin for their rivals. Hence the present level of taxation.

    Vanity is a motive of immense potency. Anyone who has much to do with children knows how they are constantly performing some antic, and saying «Look at me». «Look at me» is one of the most fundamental desires of the human heart. It can take innumerable forms, from buffoonery to the pursuit of posthumous fame. There was a Renaissance Italian princeling who was asked by the priest on his deathbed if he had anything to repent of. «Yes», he said, «there is one thing. On one occasion I had a visit from the Emperor and the Pope simultaneously. I took them to the top of my tower to see the view, and I neglected the opportunity to throw them both down, which would have given me immortal fame». History does not relate whether the priest gave him absolution. One of the troubles about vanity is that it grows with what it feeds on. The more you are talked about, the more you will wish to be talked about. The condemned murderer who is allowed to see the account of his trial in the press is indignant if he finds a newspaper which has reported it inadequately. And the more he finds about himself in other newspapers, the more indignant he will be with the one whose reports are meagre. Politicians and literary men are in the same case. And the more famous they become, the more difficult the press-cutting agency finds it to satisfy them. It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the influence of vanity throughout the range of human life, from the child of three to the potentate at whose frown the world trembles. Mankind have even committed the impiety of attributing similar desires to the Deity, whom they imagine avid for continual praise.

    But great as is the influence of the motives we have been considering, there is one which outweighs them all. I mean the love of power. Love of power is closely akin to vanity, but it is not by any means the same thing. What vanity needs for its satisfaction is glory, and it is easy to have glory without power. The people who enjoy the greatest glory in the United States are film stars, but they can be put in their place by the Committee for Un-American Activities, which enjoys no glory whatever. In England, the King has more glory than the Prime Minister, but the Prime Minister has more power than the King. Many people prefer glory to power, but on the whole these people have less effect upon the course of events than those who prefer power to glory. When Blücher, in 1814, saw Napoleon's palaces, he said, «Wasn't he a fool to have all this and to go running after Moscow.» Napoleon, who certainly was not destitute of vanity, preferred power when he had to choose. To Blücher, this choice seemed foolish. Power, like vanity, is insatiable. Nothing short of omnipotence could satisfy it completely. And as it is especially the vice of energetic men, the causal efficacy of love of power is out of all proportion to its frequency. It is, indeed, by far the strongest motive in the lives of important men.

    Love of power is greatly increased by the experience of power, and this applies to petty power as well as to that of potentates. In the happy days before 1914, when well-to-do ladies could acquire a host of servants, their pleasure in exercising power over the domestics steadily increased with age. Similarly, in any autocratic regime, the holders of power become increasingly tyrannical with experience of the delights that power can afford. Since power over human beings is shown in making them do what they would rather not do, the man who is actuated by love of power is more apt to inflict pain than to permit pleasure. If you ask your boss for leave of absence from the office on some legitimate occasion, his love of power will derive more satisfaction from a refusal than from a consent. If you require a building permit, the petty official concerned will obviously get more pleasure from saying «No» than from saying «Yes». It is this sort of thing which makes the love of power such a dangerous motive.

    But it has other sides which are more desirable. The pursuit of knowledge is, I think, mainly actuated by love of power. And so are all advances in scientific technique. In politics, also, a reformer may have just as strong a love of power as a despot. It would be a complete mistake to decry love of power altogether as a motive. Whether you will be led by this motive to actions which are useful, or to actions which are pernicious, depends upon the social system, and upon your capacities. If your capacities are theoretical or technical, you will contribute to knowledge or technique, and, as a rule, your activity will be useful. If you are a politician you may be actuated by love of power, but as a rule this motive will join itself on to the desire to see some state of affairs realized which, for some reason, you prefer to the status quo. A great general may, like Alcibiades, be quite indifferent as to which side he fights on, but most generals have preferred to fight for their own country, and have, therefore, had other motives besides love of power. The politician may change sides so frequently as to find himself always in the majority, but most politicians have a preference for one party to the other, and subordinate their love of power to this preference. Love of power as nearly pure as possible is to be seen in various different types of men. One type is the soldier of fortune, of whom Napoleon is the supreme example. Napoleon had, I think, no ideological preference for France over Corsica, but if he had become Emperor of Corsica he would not have been so great a man as he became by pretending to be a Frenchman. Such men, however, are not quite pure examples, since they also derive immense satisfaction from vanity. The purest type is that of the eminence grise - the power behind the throne that never appears in public, and merely hugs itself with the secret thought: «How little these puppets know who is pulling the strings.» Baron Holstein, who controlled the foreign policy of the German Empire from 1890 to 1906, illustrates this type to perfection. He lived in a slum; he never appeared in society; he avoided meeting the Emperor, except on one single occasion when the Emperor's importunity could not be resisted; he refused all invitations to Court functions, on the ground that he possessed no court dress. He had acquired secrets which enabled him to blackmail the Chancellor and many of the Kaiser's intimates. He used the power of blackmail, not to acquire wealth, or fame, or any other obvious advantage, but merely to compel the adoption of the foreign policy he preferred. In the East, similar characters were not very uncommon among eunuchs.

    ...

    As regards relations to other herds, modern technique has produced a conflict between self-interest and instinct. In old days, when two tribes went to war, one of them exterminated the other, and annexed its territory. From the point of view of the victor, the whole operation was thoroughly satisfactory. The killing was not at all expensive, and the excitement was agreeable. It is not to be wondered at that, in such circumstances, war persisted. Unfortunately, we still have the emotions appropriate to such primitive warfare, while the actual operations of war have changed completely. Killing an enemy in a modern war is a very expensive operation. If you consider how many Germans were killed in the late war, and how much the victors are paying in income tax, you can, by a sum in long division, discover the cost of a dead German, and you will find it considerable. In the East, it is true, the enemies of the Germans have secured the ancient advantages of turning out the defeated population and occupying their lands. The Western victors, however, have secured no such advantages. It is obvious that modern war is not good business from a financial point of view. Although we won both the world wars, we should now be much richer if they had not occured. If men were actuated by self-interest, which they are not - except in the case of a few saints - the whole human race would cooperate. There would be no more wars, no more armies, no more navies, no more atom bombs. There would not be armies of propagandists employed in poisoning the minds of Nation A against Nation B, and reciprocally of Nation B against Nation A. There would not be armies of officials at frontiers to prevent the entry of foreign books and foreign ideas, however excellent in themselves. There would not be customs barriers to ensure the existence of many small enterprises where one big enterprise would be more economic. All this would happen very quickly if men desired their own happiness as ardently as they desired the misery of their neighbours. But, you will tell me, what is the use of these utopian dreams ? Moralists will see to it that we do not become wholly selfish, and until we do the millennium will be impossible.

    I do not wish to seem to end upon a note of cynicism. I do not deny that there are better things than selfishness, and that some people achieve these things. I maintain, however, on the one hand, that there are few occasions upon which large bodies of men, such as politics is concerned with, can rise above selfishness, while, on the other hand, there are a very great many circumstances in which populations will fall below selfishness, if selfishness is interpreted as enlightened self-interest.

    And among those occasions on which people fall below self-interest are most of the occasions on which they are convinced that they are acting from idealistic motives. Much that passes as idealism is disguised hatred or disguised love of power. When you see large masses of men swayed by what appear to be noble motives, it is as well to look below the surface and ask yourself what it is that makes these motives effective. It is partly because it is so easy to be taken in by a facade of nobility that a psychological inquiry, such as I have been attempting, is worth making. I would say, in conclusion, that if what I have said is right, the main thing needed to make the world happy is intelligence. And this, after all, is an optimistic conclusion, because intelligence is a thing that can be fostered by known methods of education.
    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

  8. #18
    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    IN THE LAND OF THE ROCOCO MARXISTS - Why no one is celebrating the Second American Century

    That leaves our academic philosophers, our year 2000 versions of Immanuel Kant, John Stuart Mill, and David Hume. Here we come upon one of the choicest chapters in the human comedy. Today, at any leading American university, a Kant, with all his dithering about God, freedom, and immortality, or even a Hume, wouldn't survive a year in graduate school, much less get hired as an instructor. The philosophy departments, history departments, English and comparative literature departments, and, at many universities, anthropology, sociology, and even psychology departments are now divided, in John L'Heureux's delicious terminology (The Handmaid of Desire), into the Young Turks and the Fools. Most Fools are old, mid-fifties, early sixties, but a Fool can be any age, twenty-eight as easily as fifty-eight, if he is one of that minority on the faculty who still believe in the old nineteenth century Germanic modes of so-called objective scholarship. Today the humanities faculties are hives of abstruse doctrines such as structuralism, poststructuralism, postmodernism, deconstruction, reader-response theory, commodification theory ... The names vary, but the subtext is always the same: Marxism may be dead, and the proletariat has proved to be hopeless. They're all at sea with their third wives. But we can find new proletariats whose ideological benefactors we can be-women, non-whites, put-upon white ethnics, homosexuals, transsexuals, the polymorphously perverse, pornographers, prostitutes (sex workers), hardwood trees - which we can use to express our indignation toward the powers that be and our aloofness to their bourgeois stooges, to keep the flame of skepticism, cynicism, irony, and contempt burning. This will not be Vulgar Marxism; it will be ... Rococo Marxism, elegant as a Fragonard, sly as a Watteau. We won't get too hung up on political issues, which never seem to work out right anyway. Instead, we will expose the stooges' so-called truths, which the Fools ignorantly cultivate, and deconstruct their self-deluding concoctions of eternal verities. We will show how the powers that be manipulate, with poisonous efficiency, the very language we speak in order to imprison us in an invisible panopticon, to use the late French "poststructuralist" Michel Foucault's term.

    Foucault and another Frenchman, Jacques Derrida, are the great idols of Rococo Marxism in America. Could it be otherwise? Today, as throughout the twentieth century, our intellectuals remain sweaty little colonials, desperately trotting along, trying to catch up, catch up; catch up with the way the idols do it in France, which is through Theory, Theory, Theory. In this pursuit, some colonials inevitably run faster than others, and leading the pack currently are two academicians, Stanley Fish and Judith Butler. Before the Wall came down, the archetypal American intellectual was a mere scribbler who joyfully hoisted himself up to the status of intellectual. Since the Wall came down, the archetypal American intellectual is the scholar who has joyfully lowered himself to the status of mere intellectual. If Nietzsche's already fabulous powers of prophecy had been specific enough to dream up a couple of characters to dramatize the deconstruction of Truth with a capital T that he foresaw, he would have dreamed up Fish and Butler and thrust them into Thus Spake Zarathustra. Fish is a sixty-one-year-old Milton scholar with a Ph.D. from Yale. Or a lapsed Milton scholar; he achieved stardom as the Rococo head of the English Department at Duke and now has been commissioned by the University of Illinois at Chicago, for $230,000 a year plus perks (big-time stuff in academia), to assemble a stable of Rococo stars in paraproletariat studies, not excluding, he says, study of "body parts, excretory functions, the sex trade, dildos, bisexuality, transvestism, and lesbian pornography." Fish says such things with a true Swiftian gusto, relishing the inevitable alarm that ensues. As colonial rococovists go, he cuts a uniquely dashing figure, driving a green Jaguar, a long scarf furled about his neck, á la Theophile Gautier. In his rakishness and mischievous gleam, he differs markedly from the cranky deconstruction crews who follow him. He does wear sweaters with no shirt visible underneath, however, just as nearly all Young Turks, male or female, affect some sort of Generation X garb-sweatshirts, T-shirts, jeans, sneakers, all-black Young Artists outfits-in order to out-casual and out- - Young the Fools, who are still stuck back in the Tweedy Prof mode.

    On the conceptual level, Fish is best known for his "reader-response theory," which holds that literary texts mean nothing in themselves, that meaning is only a mental construct concocted by the reader. It is a short step from this premise to the argument that the powers that be have had a picnic loading the language with terminology calculated to make you concoct the mental constructs they want you to concoct in order to manipulate your mind.

    May I offer an arch and perhaps familiar but clear example? Recently I came across a woman at one of our top universities who taught a course in Feminist Theory and gave her students F's if they spelled the plural of the female of the species "women" on a test or in a paper. She insisted on "womyn," since the powers that be, at some point far back in the mists of history, had built male primacy in to the very language itself by making "women" 60 percent "men." How did the students react? They shrugged. They have long since learned the futility of objecting to Rococo Marxism. They just write "womyn" and go about the business of grinding out a credit in the course.

    ...

    We are left, finally, with one question. What exactly do the intellectuals want out of their Rococo Marxist mental acrobatics? Is it change they want, change for all the para-proletariats whose ideological benefactors they proclaim themselves to be? Of course not. Actual change would involve irksome toil. So what do they want?

    It's a simple business, at bottom. All the intellectual wants, in his heart of hearts, is to hold on to what was magically given to him one shining moment a century ago. He asks for nothing more than to remain aloof, removed, as Revel once put it, from the mob, the philistines . . . "the middle class."

    just think of the fun Nietzsche could have had, if only God were not dead! Think of what it would have been like for him if he could have lolled for the past hundred years-he died in 1900-on a king-size cloud in Heaven, with angels playing Richard Strauss (he had given up on Wagner) in harp quartets as he gazed down upon the creatures only he had been brilliant enough to foresee ... the barbaric brethren ... the world warriors ... the Truth demolition crews prowling about in children's clothes ... A prophet, I presume, enjoys seeing his prophecies come true, but I have the feeling Nietzsche would have become bored by a hundred years of... "the intellectual" ... I can almost hear that hortatory and apostrophic voice of his: How could you writers and academics have settled for such an easy, indolent role-for so long! How could you have chosen a facile snobbery over the hard work, the endless work, the Herculean work of gaining knowledge? I think he would have shaken his head over their elaborate theories of cognition and sexuality. I think he would have grown weary of their dogged skepticism, cynicism, irony, and contempt and would have said, Why don't you admit it to me (no one need know-after all, I'm dead): if you must rate nations, at this moment in history your "accursed" America is the very micrometer by which all others must be measured.
    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

  9. #19
    Senior Member Starjots's Avatar
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    I read the whole thing. My impressions are that the author sounds suspiciously like one of the intellectuals he is criticizing. In fact after the wall fell there was definitely a sense of 'we did it' and a resurgence of the idea of American Exceptionalism, captured perfectly by President Bush's (#1) phrase 'new world order.' At least, that's the impression I got at the time.

    The bug-a-boos he is lobbing stones at also seem to me to be among the most marginalized and least influential voices in the US. Yes, we had the counter culture of the 60s and early 70s which embody pretty well what the author critiques, but these movements melted away by the time Reagan announced a new morning in America.

  10. #20
    Mens bona regnum possidet ferrus's Avatar
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    Die Logik ist keine Lehre, sondern ein Spiegelbild der Welt. Die Logik ist transcendental. - Wittgenstein

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