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Fuck this for a lark

by Colman Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:34:33 AM EST

I've had enough. I'm tired of drowning in a flood of bad news and pessimism and people glumly delighting in the coming collapse of civilisation, whatever the fuck that is. I'm tired of people wittering about how awful "technology" is, how they understand the true future and how only their mad impractical scheme for reform can possibly save the world. That their scheme is, improbably, the only one ever with no downsides doesn't give them pause. That "technology" is generally chosen to mean all technologies invented after some ideal date - government forms are a technology - is irrelevant. Their reforms are all that could stand between us and disaster, but they know we're all too goddamn stupid to follow them.



I'm tired of a constant stream of propaganda and bullshit. I'm tired of picking holes in the arguments of people who should know better, who do know better, who are damn well paid to know better. I'm tired of writing letters to correct the errors of those arrogant fools. I'm tired of the constant struggle to keep track of any of the thousands of problems and wars and disasters taking place across the globe.

I'm tired of constantly knowing that I know nothing, that no-one else knows a damn thing either, that we're all - including all our wonderful "leaders" - making it up as we're going along. I'm tired of people pretending they do understand as well. They're lying, or they've compressed the world into a (generally bat-shit bizarre) model which is nice and neat and bears about as much resemblance to the real world as I do to a small white duck.

I'm tired of constantly expanding the borders of my ignorance by increasing the territories that I do understand a bit.

I'm tired of watching people die senselessly as a result of "our" actions.

Fuck this blogging lark. All we're doing is whining, most of the time.

I want to give up, crawl into a hole and watch TV like a good little consumer and not bother my beautiful little mind with all the complications of the world. Embrace the sound bites. Pretend that the borders of what I know is all there is. Main-line the opiates of the masses. Join the party and carouse until the end of the world. Nothing I can do about it, might as well enjoy the ride.

Or take up arms against the idiots: that'd do it. Nice, simple, clean. What? You don't understand how people turn to violence against a system that they feel they have no power to change? It cuts through the complications and the feelings of helplessness. It's not likely to achieve much, unless you have large scale support, but at least you'd be doing something. Lot's of downsides though: the whole fighting for peace thing, the bodies, my inability to believe anything strongly enough to allow me ignore those little details.

Of course, I suppose I could try to find some sort of positive mission for this blogging lark. Something other than complaining.

The question, again, is it is possible to influence the way the world is going? Is there a point in the system where we can bring enough power to bear to alter the discourse and the path being taken? If not, why are we bothering?


Display:
This is not my contribution to whataboutbob's lighthearted weekend.

Jérôme suggested I should point at these two dKos diaries:

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/5/25/15446/6194 (theyrereal)

http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/5/24/195411/090 (Meteor Blades)

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:38:26 AM EST
Yeah, I complain, whine, bitch, moan, and I like it! So, what ya gonna do about it, punk? Sarcasm is my hobby. Discontent my lifeblood. That sweet, sweet cold/hot anger, boiling in my veins, fermenting in my belly! With a smile, I rage. My wrath and joy know no bounds, they are the same, intrinsically linked.

Fuck this for a lark! Indeed! I agree! Good times! Sweet life! I am content to be furious. Right on. Bwhahahahah.

by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:57:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd avoid gardening in the future, if this is the effect it has on you ;-)

We bother because we care. When enough people join together to care, change will be possible. Radical change even. And this virtual method of cooperating is a totally new tool that we have acquired. It is still in its infancy. Be patient.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:44:21 AM EST

That their scheme is, improbably, the only one ever with no downsides doesn't give them pause.

Show me the downside of this:

(Note, just in case: the 'LOL' is addressed at me to mock the fact that I appear to take this bit personally)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:45:28 AM EST
Dead birds, dead bats, noise pollution, visual pollution. Other environmental side effects. Damaging the profits of the oil companies and threatening the jobs of those who produce fossil fuels. Complication electrical grid design to deal with the more distributed inputs. I could probably go on.

Does the cost-benefit work out positive? Sure. But there are still downsides.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:50:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whiner.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:22:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Dead birds, dead bats, noise pollution, visual pollution.

It's invisible from shore, nobody to hear the noise, no migration paths.


Damaging the profits of the oil companies and threatening the jobs of those who produce fossil fuels.

10 times more jobs per kWh produced than fossil fuel-based generation.


Complication electrical grid design to deal with the more distributed inputs.

Technically solvable problems. More jobs for engineers.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:28:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
10 times more jobs per kWh produced than fossil fuel-based generation.


It's inefficient in labour.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:33:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obstinate whiner.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:43:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well said...

in a nutshell, do we have the cultural and intellectual curiosity to support a life lived without the dignity of work -as we knew it.

in 2 generations i've seen the shift between one's work being a lifelong choice, with massive implications for one's sense of identity, destiny, andsocial continuity, to a free for all clever-clever slippery-monkey grabfest, to a redimensionising one's balance between work and leisure, and increasingly seeking satisfaction, identity and self-actualisation outside the work place, rather than from inside it.

this inversion can sometimes follow through to the point where what starts as a relaxing hobby, can flower into the main driver for self-expression and even financial success.

that is the greatest adaptation one can achieve and exemplify, i believe.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:28:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Inefficient if you discount the renewable part :).
by Laurent GUERBY on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 01:31:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no downside per se.

But the upside is unfairly shared as between the developers/ financiers and Joe Public, making an already unfair split even worse.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:29:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
to continue on being obstinately earnest and tight in this thread, Joe Public gets most of the benefit of these projects, as they save carbon emissions and pollution. Those not being priced, the developers get little of that 'saving' to them, whereas the public does get a real benefit.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:03:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obstinately earnest and tight?

Nah...

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:04:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My point, as you well know, is that because financing is "deficit-based" far more of the benefits of these projects are enclosed and captured by the generally parasitical City and Wall Street money making machines than should be the case.

There is no reason why 40 to 50% of energy produced by these schemes should not constitute an "energy dividend" to Joe Public.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:44:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i'm so chuffed for what you did, jerome.

maudlin sigh....

you could let go and be a bit more immodest...pretend you're italian!

i also think they are fabulously aesthetic, though if they didn't perform as power-generators, less so.

as symbols, they make me want to holler and cheer:

you see, you see! it's not just old oildrums rewelded into savonius rotors in whole-earth workshops, it's mainstream, big bidness..

i loved rg's plan to string them all across the continent, like the first railways across the west usa.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:16:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You have to admit, we all feel this way at times. It's a good rant.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:57:00 AM EST

bears about as much resemblance to the real world as I do to a small white duck.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 05:59:12 AM EST
Yup. You've caught me out on my weasel words: the only difference between me and a small white duck is that I am, in fact, yellow.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:02:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An easy mistake to make.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:39:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you just photoshop it?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:48:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I Photoshopped it.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:50:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Taxonomically, Mirafra Colmansi (Irish Lark) bears no relation to the avian shown in your photograph. The Irish Lark, apart from its very active mating periods, is pink, not yellow.

According to wikipedia, the Irish Lark has a high-pitched mating call 'eeetiii - eetiii' sometimes referred to as the 'bog-whine'. Extravagant songs and display flights are also common. Like all larks, there is a willingness to expand in anthropogenic habitats.

Most larks are dull in appearance and feed on insects and seeds. They are rarely egrarious.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 08:56:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They are rarely egrarious.

egrarious: cross between gregarious (flocking together) and egregious (standing out from the flock).

It follows that, if the lark is rarely egregious, it mostly pals up with other larks. If rarely gregarious, it's a loner.

Contradictory bird. (Irish?)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 09:18:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I will lay a Reith at the Tomb of St. Typos ;-)

But now you come to analyse it, it does contain an insight into the Irish Lark.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 09:33:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, is that cute thing used for RFC1149: a wonderful new telecommunication technology to speed up the internet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_over_Avian_Carriers

by Laurent GUERBY on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 01:34:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lately I have been thinking a lot about happiness and unhappiness not as moods or states of mind but as basic personality traits. Same thing with optimism and pessimism. I think a lot of people on this site are constitutionally unhappy or pessimistic. That is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to analysis (see below) but it is a problem when it comes to action. Often success requires an unreasonable degree of optimism and self-confidence, and the ability to sustain it for long periods of time.

Overconfidence bias leads people to prefer "winner-takes-all" systems of rewards instead of more proportionate systems, of overestimating their likelyhood to be in the top x% of earners (and so to support policies that benefit not themselves but the wealthy they think they are or unreasonably hope to become), or being reckless with debt, etc. Apparently

Overconfidence bias may cause many individuals to overestimate their degree of control as well as their odds of success. This may be protective against depression - since Seligman and Maier's model of depression includes a sense of learned helplessness and loss of predictability and control. Ironically, depressives tend to be more accurate, and less overconfident in their assessments of the probabilities of good and bad events occurring to them. This has cause some researchers to consider that overconfidence bias may be adaptive and/or protective in some situations.
(my emphasis)

The issue really is the difference in explanatory style (and this is something very fundamental to people's cognition)

Psychologists have identified three components in explanatory style:
  • Personal. People experiencing events may see themselves as the cause; that is, they have internalized the cause for the event. Example: "I always forget to make that turn" (internal) as opposed to "That turn can sure sneak up on you" (external).
  • Permanent. People may see the situation as unchangeable, e.g., "I always lose my keys" or "I never forget a face".
  • Pervasive. People may see the situation as affecting all aspects of life, e.g., "I can't do anything right" or "Everything I touch seems to turn to gold".
People who generally tend to blame themselves for negative events, believe that such events will continue indefinitely, and let such events affect many aspects of their lives display what is called a pessimistic explanatory style. Conversely, people who generally tend to blame others for negative events, believe that such events will end soon, and do not let such events affect too many aspects of their lives display what is called an optimistic explanatory style.
Although this has the trappings of an unconscious component of cognition tehse are "internalised narratives" that may be based on life experience and may be culturally influenced.

Anyway, just a couple of fuzzy data points.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:32:47 AM EST
I tend towards gloom on the site, but that's because it's a useful way to try to get the usual mainstream propaganda out of my system.

Some while ago I went through a similar phase in a different context eliminating the last vestiges of a Christian upbringing. That was often not fun - arguing with fundies isn't - but it was a very liberating way of clarifying what I did and didn't believe, and why.

Also, if the doom turns out to be realistic, it's better to deal with it now when the physical situation is still relatively stable, than later when everyone else is trying to deal with it at the same time.

Off-site I've been working towards some projects that might make a difference. I haven't diaried them because they're not ready for prime time yet. But they are - measurably - getting closer to being so.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:47:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Clarifying what I do and don't believe, and why, is one of the many benefits of being on ET. Though I suppose to follow your Christian example, a stint at Free Republic might be more "efficient".

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:01:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fuzzy data? You?

Is this the end of civilization as we know it? This is what happens when you have unprotected congress with psychology. ;-) One should always wear latex - preferably over the head.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:51:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, fuzzy data. It's psychology, not mathematics.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:07:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Interesting, but indeed fuzzy. Though I agree we have a basic personality, call it a temperament, in which the optimism/pessimism spectrum is a major component, I feel people who come here know themselves enough to situate their natural bent and compensate for it.

I think a lot of people on this site are constitutionally unhappy or pessimistic. That is not necessarily a bad thing when it comes to analysis (see below) but it is a problem when it comes to action. Often success requires an unreasonable degree of optimism and self-confidence, and the ability to sustain it for long periods of time.

Success is perhaps easier to achieve with an unreasonable degree of optimism and self-confidence, and the ability to sustain it for long periods of time, (Sarkozy won), but it doesn't make success inevitable (Royal lost).

And I don't think the down feelings are entirely constitutional. There's an explanation there that you rightly relate to the myth of individual success in the rat race (ie the overconfident rats are getting screwed by the fat cats - overconfidence doesn't necessarily win 2). Circumstances matter too. Internet may be a new means of communication that allows for encounters and networking that surprise and delight us, it doesn't change the fact that we are atoms, one (or two) people on a terminal with a real life to live and often a fight to do that. The kind of task we see ahead is huge. It certainly calls for optimism (if you're really a pessimist, why bother?), and a degree of self-confidence is a sine qua non (can't do anything without it), but how much more optimism and confidence would we have if we had all the time we needed and the technical and financial means to work together (meaning more physical meeting and collaboration)! Whereas in fact we're each in her/is small corner, and what needs to be understood and thought is so colossal we get despondent.

What will come, will come because we care about it and it occupies our thoughts. It will come by bursts, appearing spontaneously rather than by conscious effort (though that doesn't mean there are no conscious efforts to be made!). There will be plateaus, deserts to plod through, but there'll be leafy oases.

So I wax lyrical. Pessimist, me?

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:22:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Success is perhaps easier to achieve with an unreasonable degree of optimism and self-confidence, and the ability to sustain it for long periods of time, (Sarkozy won), but it doesn't make success inevitable (Royal lost).

That just underlines the point that rat races at the very top are between unreasonable optimists. The pessimists dropped out either because they got depressed or because they realistically saw the rat race for what it was.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:26:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we're dealing with different axes here. Being compulsively driven towards power isn't the same as being an optimist.

A standard problem is that it's compulsives who are often least qualified to lead effectively who push themselves into leadership positions.

This doesn't make them optimistic, so much as obsessive.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:33:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah. On a somewhat related note, my father always says that if you're "too smart" you'll never be rich, since you wouldn't take risks that you knew would have a very small likelihood of paying off.
My own personal theory is that most rich people are in league with Satan, but I don't say that out loud.
Of course, if you're "too smart" you might realise there's more to life than heap loads of cash, but that's another story...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:48:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And I don't think the down feelings are entirely constitutional. ... how much more optimism and confidence would we have if we had all the time we needed and the technical and financial means to work together (meaning more physical meeting and collaboration)!

See? You're an optimist. Your personal explanatory style is external. I'm a pessimist, my personal explanatory style is internal.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:29:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're an optimist.

Well, that was my conclusion above.

But you're making plans for a commune or phalanstery, which surely makes you a raving optimist? ;)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:34:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just because I'm making plans doesn't mean I believe they would work.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:42:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Isn't wanting to set up a commune a sign of despair?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 09:51:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An optimist is someone who thinks that the world is as good as it's ever going to be.

A pessimist is someone who thinks that the world is as good as it's ever going to be.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 08:12:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wax away, and may your waning be distant and distanceable.

lyrical is right!

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:31:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is something that interests me a lot and i've covering quite a bit of the most prominent popular literature on the subject.
We are rigged for achieving status and reproduce. Happiness seems to be a side effect.

The conundrum to be solved, if the science is right, is how to implement a system that protects people from themselves without at the same time give them precisely that depressing feeling of lack of control.

Education seems like the only reasonable way to do it. Starting to learn statistics and psychology as early as pre-school maybe?

by Torres on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:40:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you're going to teach people "advanced" mathematics I believe probability and statistics to be wildly more useful and instructive than calculus, to be honest. And not all that "advanced" either.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:44:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Probability and statistics without calculus?  Well, yes, many problems are small and finite.  And the basic concepts can certainly be illustrated by examples that are small and finite.  

But:  

Bell curve, Poisson distribution, probability density, all calculus.  

Every time you replace an intractible situation involving very large (but finite) numbers with a continuous model you are doing calculus.  

The Fates are kind.

by Gaianne on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:22:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You don't need calculus to teach what you need to teach for good citizenship. Proving the finite cases and presenting the infinite cases where necessary should suffice.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:32:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With Nelson's Radically Elementary Probability Theory, everything including stochastic processes is countable, even finite. But that's a facetious answer.

A better answer is volume 1 of Feller's "Introduction to Probability Theory and its Applications", which uses entirely elementary techniques.

Epistemologically, all statistics is finite, and infinites and continuity only appear in the limit (via a process of closure useful because completeness simplifies many proofs, but not essential as sophisticated but straighforward proofs by closure can be turned into involved proofs using elementary techniques). Also, stochastic processes are equivalent iff all their finite-dimensional distributions are equivalent, so even there things can be a lot smaller than they are made to be by professional mathematicians.

My actual point is that the fixation with Calculus as the gateway to higher mathematics is misplaced. There is nothing more useless that what Americans call "AP Calculus" or "Freshman Calculus", especially for people in the humanities and social sciences (who, often, take a single term of Calculus as their only exposure to 'higher math'). I would much rather teach people "finite mathematics".

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:34:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Radically Elementary Probability Theory

Which I must finish reading. When I find it again ...

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 12:34:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Every time you replace an intractible situation involving very large (but finite) numbers with a continuous model you are doing calculus.

Yes, but you don't have to teach calculus on its own first, you can just do it, in context.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 11:12:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it might be more useful to teach people to recognise when their leaders, the media, and the ad companies are all talking crap and trying to eat their brains.

Some elementary stats might be useful ('the increase in cancer risk is a shocking 100% greater! - from p = 0.0000001 to p =  0.0000002...') but perhaps best left as an optional extra for those who want the advanced course.  

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 11:44:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think it might be more useful to teach people to recognise when their leaders, the media, and the ad companies are all talking crap and trying to eat their brains.

Which part of math is that? The point of the subthread was that, if you're going to teach people "advanced math", it should be prob/stat.

Although making "How to lie with statistics" compulsory reading in secondary school wouldn't be all that bad an idea.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 11:48:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not math. It's education.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 03:13:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
All these rat races and psychological nuances of self-confidence are luxury of our times. We (all humans) have energy abundance in food and oil, and we know nothing better what to do with the energy than to waste it against each other. We assume that we are obeying (as perfectly as we can) the "right" Darwinian imperative of surviving when fittest, and we assume that we were always doing that, and that any ever living creature on Earth had no choice but to do that. We do not have to make any other assumptions - that's quite a blessing, though temporary...

It is no fun to think that a dramatic turnaround is coming. We do not have a fair and obvious warning - but the expanding civilisation did not gave any warnings either. Humanity deserves certain suffering and life loss - it is not possible to avert consequences of self-indulging illusions within the real world. We (progressives) do not really know what is coming and what we can do - but we know attitudes that could have helped to avoid or substantially postpone the trouble. Yet, the same attitudes can help us to go through the singularity of collective stupidity - and keep (or even make) the world as good as possible beyond it. An apocalypse is not a joy, but a privelege nevertheless.

Ok, my thoughts are not exactly uplifting. We ought to relax sometimes with some delight, and then try to do something - whatever you can do with the anticipated problems can be very significant, since no one else would probably do that.

by das monde on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 08:53:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not to say that happiness or unhappiness couldn't be personality traits (certainly there are some disorders that are more biological in cause)...but I'm quite certain happiness and unhappiness are "states" not "traits". Anyway, it would be hell to be born with an immutable unhappiness trait...and I have met (and treated) a few chronically unhappy people in my time, but most (if not all) usually had something happen to be unhappy about.

I would argue that a person who is severely depressed is not seeing reality any clearer that an optimistic person...and in fact, would argue that their "reality" is distorted. Sure, a depressed person sees truth too, but from a distinct perspective. I find depression very difficult to work with, because is so damn sure they know what reality is...and they often don't.

Anyway, another world heard from...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 11:02:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How about resilience?

Perhaps you have heard of resilience...which is increasingly being discussed in psychological circles, but comes from physics...as in the ability of a metal to bounce back to its original shape after it has been bent or put under a heavy load. The concept of resilience in people is that it is an internal process in which an individual is able to adapt positively to particularly adverse circumstances and be able to cope with stress.

People who have a strong resilience tend to have strong positive concepts and optimism. In fact, per Colman's rant, I'd say our survival is a matter of having resilience...

Here's a piece of an article I wrote that was published in the ,,International Platform on Sports and Development" in January of this year on resilience and kids. But it is just as applicable for adults too.

Trauma, Sport & Resilience

Based on the findings of various research endeavours, four key protective factors which serve to support and promote resilience in all youth have been discerned. These are:
  1. the presence of healthy, supportive relationships between adults and youth;
  2. healthy peer to peer relationships;
  3. the ability of youth to develop and utilize internal and external problem-solving strategies, in order to affectively mediate adversity (including developing cognitive skills and understandings in order to better deal with stressful and uncertain situations); and
  4. healthy involvement with and commitment to a broader community, which includes the encouragement to contribute to the common good of that community.

The existence of these over-arching protective factors are believed to help shield youth from such risk factors as trauma or severe stress experienced in catastrophes, as well as to help them "bounce back" after such experiences.

Maybe I should do a diary on this at some point...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia

by whataboutbob on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 11:10:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I touched on it here..

It didn't seem to convince everybody....

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 03:11:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
FWIW, I thought your article was great. But the concept of resilience is still somewhat of an esoteric topic at this point...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 03:12:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We love you too Colman.

I want to give up, crawl into a hole and watch TV like a good little consumer and not bother my beautiful little mind with all the complications of the world. Embrace the sound bites. Pretend that the borders of what I know is all there is. Main-line the opiates of the masses. Join the party and carouse until the end of the world. Nothing I can do about it, might as well enjoy the ride.

I hope I don't speak for myself if I say that it is often very tempting to just take the blue pill and stay comfortably plugged inside the Matrix. It's the red pill that carries the sting and the after-bite and two bad sequels.

And since I concluded, finally, that my personal values and belief in a social society & a common good - most of this forum stand for - are currently in this world in decline, the Overton window is shifting, and we've entered yet again a rise of fundamentalism and isolationism - since then I have been growing increasingly frustrated. This closely overlapped with my entry into South Africa, but there you go. Hell, if you wouldn't have written this epistle, I suspect I would have in the course of a few weeks - although I suspect only half or a third as good as yours.

There is whining here. And groaning. And ranting, and spouting, and bitching and moaning and bickering amongst ourselves like a university book-club. And I bloody love it. This is one of the best forums on the Internet to rapidly soak up information at an international scale; it's a depository of versatile inputs. And you better be proud on that you are part of carrying this forum forward and go to sleep with at least a little smile about this or I will personally fly up to Paris and hit your head silly with a Zulu shield. And they are pointy.

Information first.
Choice of direction second.
Action third.

So. I will write up on my little South Africa project which has been cocooning over the few weeks - because I want ET input.

Now please go on whining. It should be comforting.

by Nomad on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:40:56 AM EST
I haven't wanted to give a comment a 10 in a long time.

Have a 10, Nomad!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:37:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I hope I don't speak for myself if I say that it is often very tempting to just take the blue pill and stay comfortably plugged inside the Matrix.

Yes, but what about when you find out that you are allergic to blue pills? You try to swallow it but the body rejects it and it just comes back up again (and boy, does it taste bad on the way up)? The old remedies of grinding it down and taking it with lots of fluid does not wotk. And then you try to trick the body by dissolving it in liquer, but it turns out to be a temporary relief. With the hangover the true state of the world returns. What do you do then?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 09:53:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The question, again, is it is possible to influence the way the world is going? Is there a point in the system where we can bring enough power to bear to alter the discourse and the path being taken? If not, why are we bothering?

Personally, I'm leaning towards setting up a Phallanstery of sorts somewhere. Sometimes I call it ETopia and sometimes I call it the ET Conference Centre. We know of an old inn in Southern Bohemia with a lot of land and a stable for 20 horses...

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:43:39 AM EST
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:48:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What about a Phalanstery that would serve as a centre and host for social conscription?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're using "Phallanstery" as a label, right?  You're not actually going to try and institute Fourier's ideas.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:42:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not really.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:44:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it sounds like aleister crowly's abbey of thelema redux...

maybe it's the syllabilic collision between 'phallus' and 'monastery'.

maybe i need professional help

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:33:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET + Thelema -> scared now
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 08:43:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 11:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:57:21 AM EST
Short and to the point.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:02:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The point being?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:36:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fuck this for a lark?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 07:46:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, Colman, give us a poll: {optimistic/pessimistic} x {thinker/doer}

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 08:15:22 AM EST
Comrade ! Don't despair ! We'll build our phalanster and start a revolution ! Tomorrow is ours !

by balbuz on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 08:57:31 AM EST
So that's where Utopia went.

I knew it had to be around here somewhere.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 09:06:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Tomorrow Belongs to Me was written by John Kander and Fred Ebb as a pastiche of the rousing German patriotic songs of the period (Die Wacht am Rhein and the Horst Wessel Lied, for instance). Sung by a stereotypical Hitler Youth, it often has been mistaken for genuine. This has led to the songwriters (both Jewish, incidentally) being accused of anti-Semitism.


Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 09:45:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I believe this is an extract from "Novaya Moskva" (1938), a pastiche by renowned Aleksandr Medvedkin - unless I am mistaken.
by balbuz on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:11:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's one of the most striking scenes of the film.



"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 11:30:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Huh, dubbed into Spanish! LOL.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 06:06:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You could think the reason why we do this is the same as the reason we go to demonstrations.. to take our bath .. to clear ourselves...The reason why you do what you do could perfectly be that thisis a chaotic system.. well highly nonlinear with a bunch noise and you never wha tit is going to become.. or what your effect is going to be..

But the hard truth is that the reason why you do not take any pill or watch TV.. the reason why this is all worthy is very simple:

One day you would take a Guiness with me.... with me or with Jerome or Brit or afew.. ep wait you already did....

And that's all it counts.. one day you will die.. the Earth will go on till the sun explodes with or without us...but meanwhile you took a Guiness with me ...So you already know why we all do this..you just forgot it.

Learning is just recalling.

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:28:05 AM EST
And a Guiness with me too, don't forget..

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:37:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Indeed....

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:45:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
whoa...what do they put in barcelona guiness that's different?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:34:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
John Lennon put it this way:

I'm sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

I've had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

by rootless2 on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:38:32 AM EST
Keep you doped with religion, and sex and TV
And you think you're so clever and classless and free
But you're still fucking peasants as far as I can see

A working-class hero is something to be
A working-class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero, then just follow me

There's room at the top, they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill

A working-class hero is something to be
A working-class hero is something to be
If you want to be a hero, then just follow me...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:52:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This one always made me think of the desperate conditions in the Dakota, a building I used to walk by in NYC. Sometimes there is only one doorman on duty! The horror.
by rootless2 on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 11:13:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, starting by not reading the comments section of theoildrum.com might help.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 12:56:12 PM EST
Followed by not reading the FT, the Economist, the WSJ, or any diary deconstructing their bullshit.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 01:03:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've embraced that concept this past week, with few exceptions.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 01:05:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
,,,,,,
--Reinhold Niebuhr

by wchurchill on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 04:21:47 PM EST
Which God?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:34:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's your choice.  It's a personal decision.  

I meant it somewhat as "lark", knowing your feelings on the matter.  But at a serious level, there is wisdom and peacefulness in the prayer, imho.

by wchurchill on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:38:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Prayer I don't know, not having much (or really any at all) experience with it. But meditation and breathing methods...

Wow. When I first tested it I thought it was just going to be some superstitious balderash to fool the weak-minded. But it does work! Quite an insane feeling, being completely relaxed in your entire body, including your face. Very eery. But great.

I guess prayer might have an effect a bit like it.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 04:58:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They are one in the same for me--prayer and meditation that is.
by wchurchill on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 08:00:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i learned the first half in 12 step groups in hawaii, attributed to s. francis of assisi, and adopted widely as introductory prayer.

it always hits the wu-wei spot for me.

the second piece, or half perhaps, has an off-note to my ear, though it's small, there is a whiff o' something that crosses a line into maso-fatalism, a congenital suffering as automatic precursor to deliverance.

unless you read 'hardships' as 'challenging boat designs' perhaps...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, but it does seem that each life comes with its hardships and its joys.  And recognizing this allows one to perhaps have a more satisfying life.  Here is another view from the Tao:
29

Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.

by wchurchill on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 08:23:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I thought I saw this quote somewhere before!

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.
by marco on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 09:26:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it is a favorite of mine.  and as i wrote it, i wondered if i had already used it.  
by wchurchill on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 10:42:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the center of the circle.
Sounds a lot like the mindfulness concept from dialectical behaviour therapy.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat May 26th, 2007 at 04:57:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I googled "Fuck this for a lark" and I uncovered the following jewel:
The Skinhead Hamlet
Shakespeare's play translated into modern English.
...
SCENE II
Large Hall.
...
[Enter FORTINBRAS.]
FORTINBRAS: What the fuck's going on here?
HORATIO: A fucking mess, that's for sure.
FORTINBRAS: No kidding. I see Hamlet's fucked.
HORATIO: Yer.
FORTINBRAS: Fucking shame: fucking good bloke.
HORATIO: Too fucking right.
FORTINBRAS: Fuck this for a lark then. Let's piss off.
[Exeunt with alarums.]


Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:02:14 PM EST
Erm, ACT V, SCENE II

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri May 25th, 2007 at 06:03:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've lately been wallowing a bit in the apparent futility and pointlessness of my current existence.  If civilization as we know it has no future, if I'll likely face starvation in my lifetime, if nothing I can accomplish now is likely to survive the total and complete collapse of the modern world, then why should I bother doing much of anything?  Why go through the motions of starting a career, when I'll be scavenging for rags and eating bugs to survive in a few years time? Why bother starting a family if my children are likely to die before reaching adulthood?  Why do much of anything?

I feel sort of embarassed for even mentioning this.  One shouldn't talk about one's stupid existential crises.  But still.

by Zwackus on Sun May 27th, 2007 at 09:34:15 AM EST


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