Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Meandering Reveries and the Fractal Nature of Nations
Most people have some kind of template that they funnel their speculates through. For myself, I’ve pretty much found three or four perspectives that feed my appraisals. I wouldn’t call myself a Taoist but I appreciate the Yin/Yang concept of a dance of opposites — harmony and dissonance, order and chaos, entropy and maintenance (incidentally, key factors in great music). I also find useful insight in Hegel’s concept of a dialectic leap-frogging history forward (though I emphatically don’t like its use by Marx as an excuse to enslave millions to a cult of vengeance). I appreciate Carl Jung’s perceptions on the psychological significance of archetypes, myth, and symbolism. Finally, I find contemporary understandings of physics and fractal geometry to offer an insightful lens into the way nature seems to function in both material terms as well as the evolution of social constructs. Analogy is more than a poetic device.
In appraising human circumstance one can micro-analyze and focus on the trees with little regard for the forest. My own bias is to value the insights afforded by analogy and generalization — the “forest.” Of course it would be foolish to overlook the significance of objective observation but intuition and generalization is often critically discounted. Making an accurate point does not always require a simple list of facts. Even facts require broader speculations to afford genuine insight.
Specific disagreements people have over the issues of the day ultimately come down to some basic differences. Canadian psychologist, Jordan Peterson has an online test that quite accurately places people on some polarities that often skew one toward a more conservative or liberal perspective. Those of us who are more “conscientious” and allied with “orderliness” are inevitably more likely to be conservative. “Law and order” has been the rallying cry of conservatism for a long time. While the left won’t tout the “virtues” of anarchy and chaos, their alliance with entropy often moves in that direction. Peterson’s more favorable label to this is, “openness.” I would interpret his categories in the simple terms of stability vs. novelty. Obviously neither is transcendently “right” or “wrong” and there are benefits to be had from either depending on circumstance and time. Yin and Yang are in a perpetual interaction of harmony and dissonance. Understand the construction of a symphony (again, an analogy) and you’ll have a pretty good idea how relations evolve between partners and nation-states.
No doubt offensive to some, Jordan Peterson notes a tendency for males and females to — generally — favor particular stances on his scales. Not really a surprise. Of course the people most offended by such conclusions are those who can’t grasp the idea of two unique and different sexes. For such people, the universe is whatever they will (wish) it to be.
It may not be a coincidence that, in these times of turmoil, the natural polarity between the sexes becomes muddled and a host of deviations from long-held standards occur, as sexual dimorphism itself becomes fragmented and wrought with chaotic dissonance.
The same way that structures in nature bifurcate into repeating patterns of advancing scales (eg. rivers, neural networks, blood vessels, etc.), similar patterns can be seen in the evolution of musical genres, languages, and “memes” (in their original definition).
It’s extremely incorrect politically to note the differences between cultures or the races that sometimes adhere to certain cultural attributes…unless of course one is whining about “cultural appropriation” or describing negative caricatures of Europeans.
Cultures are like fractals. The people’s of the Earth have branched off into regions. The land and climate directs the subtle refinements of language, clothing, and ideals. Weather and geography prods people to adopt certain culinary standards and cultural expressions. Inevitably, these groups continually split off to varying degrees into diverse patterns of behavior. Asians have general attributes that distinguish them from Europeans but Japanese are only similar to Chinese to the degree that Germans are similar to French. Within these cultures, unique variations spin off almost infinitely until one arrives at the individual — the ultimate minority. It’s common to describe the people of certain areas as uniquely “friendly” or “hard-working” or creative, all aspects of variety. True diversity acknowledges potentially unique creativity, not the bitter jealousies of the less-creative. In the 1960s and 70s there were several notable innovative bands from the Anglo world (the U.S., Britain, Canada, et al.) During that same period, one generally didn’t find international hits coming from places like Korea or India. That doesn’t mean that Korean or Indian music was necessarily bad but it does indicate that there are standards of refinement that can be universally appreciated. There’s a time and a place for everything. The Italian Renaissance was in — surprise — Italy, from which it later spread and fragmented into unique local expressions of what had begun as an Italian creative paradigm. For at least a century, a mastery of complex music was dominated by German speaking countries. Even the best Russian composers were at their prime when they followed the examples set by a German tradition exemplified by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, and Wagner.
Much is now made of “cultural appropriation” as a sort of aesthetic imperialism — typically trite cosmetic effects (e.g. hooped ear rings). Yet the entire globe has, in a sense, culturally appropriated two-thousand years of western culture’s rational innovations in government, art, and science. Ironically the West’s success in these fields stemmed from the good sense to recognize the most innovative attributes of other cultures and incorporate them into a new form — imitation is “the sincerest form of flattery.” Jazz is a unique art form that resulted from a dynamic interaction of Western and African musical structures. “Blue notes” were mostly absent from western music and saxophones were not from Africa. Progress often occurs from the dynamic interaction of harmony and dissonance. Today, many on the left side of the political spectrum would tell us to renounce every human achievement merely because it emerged from paradigms that were too successful for their taste. The skin color of a people in a particular geographic region is irrelevant. In the end, racism is simply an expression of “guilt by association” — Europeans brought deadly diseases to the Aztecs. Europeans had lighter skin, therefore….light skin bad. It may not be fair (“just”) to walk on the other side of the street at night when one sees a group of poorly dressed and loud youth but, sometimes “generalization” can save your life and even most animals recognize the value of generalization and prejudice to survival.
If you pour cream into a cup of coffee you’ll see a spiraling interaction of contrast not unlike satellite images of hurricanes or the cloud bands on Jupiter. Some tendrils will mingle, some will collide, and some separated by distance will appear indifferent to each other. This is a wonderful analogy for the many interactions that occur among sounds, flavors, personality types, and cultures. To some degree it is also an analogy to human conflict and cooperation. I can’t help but roll my eyes up when someone laments the horrors of human conflict as if it’s some unique attribute of humans only. We’re certainly fortunate to have enough intelligence to try to avoid conflict but in a fractal universe, over time, it’s inevitable that levels of cooperation and conflict will occur. An eye-roll is equally warranted when the cultural left points their finger at “hate.” Certainly it’s in humans’ best interest to not hate but those among the most vocal in their accusations of hate are typically rather hateful themselves. The value humans place upon others exists in a wide spectrum, at either end, love and hate. To avoid the potentially dangerous power of projection, indifference is probably the safest avenue toward avoidance of “hate.”
Ultimately everything is related on some level to everything else. Even being extremely unrelated is a type of relation. Everything in the universe from the atomic level to galaxies interacts harmoniously or in conflict. In the collective human realm, dissonant conflict in the extreme manifests as war. Nations over time interact on a spectrum of harmony and dissonance. We don’t have to accept it as fate but we should at least be aware of it as a natural tendency.
A realistic consideration of the nation state and its behavior can be gleaned by simply noting the attributes of individuals. Among humanity there are people who are aggressive and untrustworthy and docile and upstanding. Collectively, as groups, there are cultures whose historical background renders them dangerous, unpredictable, and uncompromising. To perceive humanity this way of course conjures the criticisms of “generalization,” “prejudice,” and even racism. But, would we say it’s not nice to note the attributes of an individual bully or swindler, or to (accurately) note that the world would be a better and safer place if more countries were like Switzerland than North Korea. Objective awareness of facts and generalization both offer insight into the behavior of individuals and the larger constructs that emerge from groups of individuals.
One of my college professors told a story from history where a banquet was being held for European heads of state in the period before WWI. Supposedly the last Kaiser — who was rather mentally unstable — dumped a bowl of soup on his own head. The response among others present was telling. Apparently, the French representative thought the behavior was “very rude.” The Brit saw it as “unfortunate.” The Russian quietly scribbled a note. And the American, of course, slapped his knee, pointed and laughed. There’s another anecdote that notes the stereotypes of some cultures. I don’t remember the exact details but it’s something like the following; “In heaven the British are the police, the Germans are the engineers, and the Italians are the cooks.” In hell, the Italians are the engineers, the British are the cooks, and the Germans are the police.” While it may not be a fair or even fully accurate appraisal of cultures, it’s somewhat funny precisely because it does contain an element of honest insight.
Those of us who can’t stand the leftist worldview are particularly annoyed by the insincerity of it all. The phony inability to acknowledge reality. Rather than seek solutions within the context of known proclivities, they simply deride those who acknowledge those proclivities.
Human beings as a whole are not uniquely evil. Our beliefs and actions are as varied as the elements and compounds that make up the physical world. As we hope to safely traverse our evolution through time a dose of generalization and analogy may be helpful.
Friday, January 20, 2023
….and, don’t forget. “You vill eat zee bugz.”
Wednesday, January 18, 2023
The Goals of Ideology
When any ideology seizes absolute authority over a nation, their prime concern becomes eliminating opposition and maintaining absolute authority. Power itself becomes more important than any belief or moral stance.
Saturday, January 14, 2023
____ Lives Matter
I had designed a hat recently to be offered on the site, Zazzel that, as typed above, left a blank for one to fill in with one’s own imagination regarding the group whose “lives matter” to them. Personally, I don’t think any group should be singled out as special and elevated as some pathetic patronizing gesture for any injustices real or imagined, current or historical (if one goes far enough back in history, every group has suffered some injustice). As I like to note, Divorced unemployed paraplegic white males dying of cancer…”have all the power.”
It appears that Zazzel, like many companies and financial institutions is just another garden variety poser for pseudo-leftists to exercise their faux concern for the “current thing.”
Thursday, January 12, 2023
When the unelected are
planning your enslavement…
Wednesday, January 11, 2023
How Dare Leftists Call Themselves, “Liberal”
Leftism has been on an unrelenting crusade to impose punitive government authority on any and all opposition. They are opposed to free speech and opposed to freedom in general. It’s certainly no wonder why they hate America’s constitution and America itself. Their motivation has always been the establishment of absolute authority over free society.
Hopefully, the new Sherieffs in town will return some of America’s former freedoms and put communism back into the dust bin where it belongs.
Friday, January 06, 2023
A — Still Relevant — Repost from Long Ago
Europe's Glass House
Every day, I peruse a fair sampling of world press “facts” and opinions and find a top-heavy consistency in negative critiques of America. This is, of course, part of a larger phenomenon, which has been addressed in several contemporary books (i.e. Jean-Francois Revel’s "Anti-Americanism").
America is hated because, it’s "unilateral, ‘too’ rich, arrogant, selfish, and militaristic. It won’t sign (all) UN treaties, it had slavery, has racism and poverty, and is a ‘bully’ toward innocent dictators."
Americans in general are “too conservative, too religious, too fat, too violent, too uneducated, too unsophisticated," and may just be the worst embodiment of evil to have ever graced the pages of history. Such hatred for a group of people isn't racism, sexism, or "homophobia," so it can skate by the political correctness template that is applied to virtually every other group within humanity.
Bitter invective toward Americans is expressed regularly in books, movies, Op Eds, and from the world’s squadrons of "educators." Many of them are from Europe or are American academics / intellectuals who adore the Euro-Buro model of living. To read their rants one would think Europe was a virtual paradise, and America a living hell on the verge of collapse. It would not be unfair to say that much of this nonsense is a mere case of the "[European] pot calling the [American] kettle black."
I actually like Europe. I particularly admire European civilization’s cultural legacy to the world. In the grand scheme of things I think Europe’s negative attributes are far outweighed by its positive contributions to world culture.
In my writings thus far, I have never felt the need to insult or criticize Europe or Europeans in general but have often found myself having to defend the US from some Europeans and like-minded socialists in America and elsewhere. One of the reasons I have never felt the need to post rabid critique’s of Europeans is that I know there are many who do not hate Americans, and many who do not judge the US from the socialist template so commonly used by journalists and intellectuals. To be sure, there are many common citizens – particularly young people – who parrot the views heard daily in Euro-media, but what can I say? There are easily led flocks in America as well. The Left has successfully convinced many that adoration of a powerful socialist bureaucracy is somehow the hallmark of a rebel. It has become "cool" to hate free society and particularly one of its historical bastions (The US).
To point out the absurdity of regular taunts made against my country, I’m going to "turn the tables," so to speak. I say "my country" because I was born in America (I’m presently working in Japan). I don't fancy myself a “flag-waving” chauvinist. I'm well aware of dark moments in American history and there are many actions taken by America’s government and its politicians that I despise. Such flaws are certainly fair game for reasonable criticism but, "fair" is a boundary that has been breached long ago in the anti-American polemics of the world.
I was born in America. I have family in America. I have friends America. All in all, I think America is okay. In the grand scheme of history, I’d dare say that it has a competitive edge in goodness over many other nations, even some of those who fancy themselves superior, enlightened and righteous examples.
Back to a hypothetical "turning of the tables." Lets for a moment look at Europe with the same lens that’s typically used to deride America. Lets criticize and caricature its flaws (out of context) and omit any positive appraisal, as is typically done by the intellectual elites of Europe when directing scorn toward The United States.
ARROGANCE, HEGEMONY, AND BLOODSHED: THE BURO-STATES OF EUROPE AND THEIR LEGACY TO THEMSELVES AND TO THE WORLD
It wouldn't be fair to judge Europe by the events of two millennia ago but it’s probably no coincidence that its true birth as a distinct civilization emerged from the violent imperialism of the Roman Empire. It has only been in historically recent periods that Europeans have slowly (and reluctantly) freed the colonies they had,over time, forcibly taken across the globe. Even the "American" theft of native lands was initially a theft by Europeans, (since "Americans" per se didn’t actually exist at the time).
European hegemony over the world's cultures has been brutal and regularly marked by condescending racism and ethnocentric arrogance. It is no surprise that such efficient brutality emerged from the European subcontinent, as Europe was also the source of a variety of oppressive philosophies used to justify subjugation of both domestic and foreign citizens alike. A host of "isms" demanding communal conformity have spread throughout the world from Europe’s pervasive will to dominance. In the mock hopes of "creating a better world" the statist obsessions of European philosophers have caused carnage and enslavement on a worldwide scale. In numerous former colonies of the European master, theses same oppressive theories continue to bring bloodshed and economic stasis under local tyrants educated in the European intellectual "tradition." Even in their lighter manifestations, these same European philosophies (which all broadly fall under the heading "socialism") have brought inefficiency, violence, and decay to Europe itself. The world wars of the last century were products of conflicts in the European worldview as it spread across the globe. What was Nazismafter all but Europe’s twin philosophical demons, Nationalism and Socialism -- National Socialism?
The Socialist–Lite welfare states of Europe today have created a generation of dependant, unproductive, alienated, and unemployed citizens on perpetual strike and bleeding more from their economies while producing less. It's no wonder that initiative and innovation are strengths long past for them. European cities today are mired in conflict, racism, and a resurgent anti-Semitism. Political extremism is the order of the day. Poverty amongst a new class of immigrants has bred rampant urban crime among many of Europe's former showpiece cities. Conveniently, Europeans have been able to afford massive social expenditures while their resented ally – The US – paid much of their military expenses for decades (while they claimed a stance of "pacifism"). The "warmonger" United States ironically saved them from possible enslavement to a Russian enemy driven by a Europeanphilosophy – Marxist Socialism – that they still pay homage to as a final solution to all the flaws they perceive in human character.
Today, Europe seeks to rebound with renewed allegiance to the dismal ideals that had wrought its contemporary social malaise. In its pathetic attempt to assert its relevance, Europe has come to embody no more than hollow attributes of indecisiveness and a lack of backbone in confronting terrorists and tyrants. Europe now reaps the existential fruits of a society forever skeptical, pessimistic, and bureaucratic.
Europeans writers regularly insult the results of statistics showing the religiosity of Americans but have for themselves replaced such faith with what? – A belief in the cold drab schemes of resentful "thinkers," social agencies, and an omnipotent state.
At this point in their dark and violent history, Europeans now strive for unification, but what exactly are they unifying? -- It appears to be no more than the inbred standardization of the failed buro-statist model leading a population mired in cultural lassitude.
Modern Europe's attempts to live off of a nostalgia for grander times long past fails to hide the mere arrogance and jealousy that one often finds in a person suffering from marked feeling of inferiority. This is the Europe of today – a violent and oppressive past, a resentful present, and aimless future – a withered plant watering itself with stones.
The preceding negative critique of European civilization has been a deliberate caricature in the same style as that which is regularly passed off as objective analysis and even scholarship when America is analyzed daily. Directing this style of critique back at Europe itself may open some eyes (and may not). My critique has utilized the same hyperbole and contextual omissions one finds in attacks on the US, but it is essentially an accurate description of Europe’s shortcomings. As well as turning the tables on Europe in general, by default, I have sought to do the same regarding the entire socialist worldview that motivates much of the hatred Europeans express toward America.
Europeans reading such critical analyses – especially if they were to read them daily from a variety of sources – would justifiably find them "unfair." That’s the point. What would be unfair to Europe is equally unfair to the US and its people. To paraphrase a simple instructional question mothers have often asked their children, "How would you like it if someone said that about you?"
There are periods and places of both bad and good governance and positive and negative contribution to the world’s culture. For non-stop disdain and ridicule to be directed upon one of the freest and most prosperous and diverse civilizations in history is absurd. The fact that much of America has not yet fully buckled down to the dictates of Socialist incompetence hardly merits the pervasive negative portrayals commonly presented today.
Ironically, the greatest criticism directed at America is its perceived "arrogance" yet, what could be more arrogant than jealous invective from a Europe that has failed to keep its own house in order for at least a century if not its entire life span?
European civilization is a great civilization but, like America, it has a share of skeletons in its closet. Europeans and Europhiles who merely admire the contemporary trapping of the socialist mega-state need to recognize that their grand house is one of glass. They not only "shouldn't throw stones" they should adopt a more sober and fair appraisal of themselves and fellow democracies.