The artist is Sergei Dmitrievich Merkurov. He would go on to become an honored sculptor and state artist. The reason for an erotic alphabet? Supposedly for the elimination of illiteracy among the adult population in the countryside. But probably, because it was fun. Way heavy on the ancient Roman influence: horny satyrs, indecent cupids, and flying disembodied cocks. They don’t tell you this, but for some reason the ancient Romans drew about a million pictures of cocks with wings. The ancient Romans appreciated few of the nuances of modern workplace behavior.
Did I MENTION not safe for work? Continue reading
Germany was a new and very weak democracy. The country was utterly broken due to ruinous reparations for WW1, catastrophic inflation and the worldwide depression.
Hitler was a violent ideologue. He was obsessed with the strong defeating the weak and already part of a group that used shocking political violence. Irene von Goetz writes about the run-up to the 1933 election, “With an army of thugs terrorizing the streets. Brownshirts and SS patrolled and marched menacingly through the streets of cities and towns. A combination of terror, repression, and propaganda was mobilized in every… community, large and small, across the land.” In a decree issued on 17 February 1933, Göring ordered the Prussian police force to make unrestrained use of firearms in operations against political opponents (the so-called Schießerlass)” or shooting decree.” He had also already attempted a Coup D’État.
Trump is a demagogue, an opportunistic infection of American stupidity. He is a swaggering physical coward and a very shallow narcissist. Here is William F. Buckley writing about Trump during an earlier flirtation with running for president.
“Look for the narcissist. The most obvious target in today’s lineup is, of course, Donald Trump. When he looks at a glass, he is mesmerized by its reflection. If Donald Trump were shaped a little differently, he would compete for Miss America. But whatever the depths of self-enchantment, the demagogue has to say something. So what does Trump say? That he is a successful businessman and that that is what America needs in the Oval Office. There is some plausibility in this, though not much. The greatest deeds of American Presidents—midwifing the new republic; freeing the slaves; harnessing the energies and vision needed to win the Cold War—had little to do with a bottom line.”
Intellectually all he has is the equivalent of pocket lint and a nickel, he is impervious to exciting ideas…ideas cannot be exciting or important to Trump, he only recognizes their importance to other people and waves them around like a torch when he needs support.
None of this means he isn’t potentially dangerous, demagogues are dangerous. But can’t we see the difference between a hellbent ideological thug and a self-obsessed boob who lets his unconscious speak for him all the time?
Trump is the white Kanye West. He has no introspective function in his personality. Truth is something that doesn’t worry him because he can’t imagine being held responsible for anything…I mean he is incapable of imagining it! Long term consistency or even coherence do not exist for him except as a branding issue. Past and future is just Trump branding and denying anything bad. I believe he exists only in a teeming bubble of the moment filled with unconscious psychological motivations. Even to himself, he is no deeper than his brand. He is what poor, lower-class Americans imagine “High Class” means. There must be profound internal poverty inside Donald Trump to make him devote every waking moment of his one and only life to making other people think of him as someone important.
Objectively Trump is a proto-fascist, summoning that same authority loving crowd energy that is the foundation of fascism everywhere. It’s dangerous stuff. Possibly more dangerous is what will be brought out in Trump himself if placed in a position of REAL power. That mind and that “soul” could be energized in unpredictable ways. I suspect the biggest danger that would arise from President Trump would be repeated challenges to the rule of law. I believe that he would go to war with restrictions on his power and it would be a critical thing for everyone to take it seriously and fight back from the very beginning. When demagogues gain power the country is lucky to escape ruin.
He will do anything to protect himself but one fail-safe limitation exists in him, the desire to appear “classy” and the desire to be “liked”. Essentially a psychologically broken and unlovable man who cannot bear guilt, blame or the smallest weakness developed a bunch of ugly emotional coping strategies and snowballed them right up to the door of the white house.
For the republican party, the chickens have come home to roost. After decades of pushing their electorate to make ridiculous, terrible decisions, that electorate has undertaken to do it independently for the real candidate of their choice.
I am in LOVE with evidence of truly complex and sophisticated systems in Biology. It makes me really happy when something strange and amazing shows up revealing higher-order relationships and systems than anyone thought. I love it because life seems more deep and meaningful in a world of higher orders of mind and connectedness. I feel that they exist undiscovered all around us, but it doesn’t seem strange to me that we have trouble seeing it. We are locked into a level of existence and limited perception that makes it deeply challenging to learn anything beyond the obvious scope of our senses. Often these exciting results suggest something like intelligence or intent. Not always directly, just through a kind of “How in the world could that work?” feeling. I have a naturally joyous response to scientific recognition of elegantly complex systems. To me, it feels like wonderful news.
In this blog, I state things as if with the force of facts, things I only happen to think are true. Things I see around me and want to share. Occasionally I will report on experimental results that I find interesting or even supportive of my position. The difference is, I don’t call what I am doing Science. I am not a scientist and anyone disagreeing with me would be fair to say I am pretty much just talking out of my butt. Maybe even those who agree with me. I am just making this stuff up, but if it resonates with you, it means you see it now too!
My “theories” are true from where I’m looking. I simply observe them. I find them compelling enough to want to share but I make no exaggerated claims about how much they will change your life. One man’s revelation is another’s “Meh”. Sometimes I challenge myself to figure out and describe something absurdly big and complicated… and the best means I have found to do this is to write about it in public. When my name is on it in a place where someone might see it, I feel inspired enough (or embarrassed enough) to keep returning and improving.
But I am not in any way a creationist or intelligent design advocate. “Creation scientists” have named themselves in a way that suggests they are on par with other scientific disciplines but their work begins with tossing out the scientific method. When they teach science they are peddling a “lite” substitute.
If they want to start a church of intelligent design, by all means do, that sounds like a relatively nice, relatively enlightened theology. But that is the only appropriate place for their efforts because they are committed in advance to an outcome without testing. Because they conflate experimental results out of proportion to the experiment. Because they start with an agenda and reject counter evidence. Because they accept low-quality research that they agree with. Scientists CAN be religious people without in any way tainting the results. They simply practice each in its own domain.
“Creation scientists” are religious lobbyists in lab coat drag.
Tension Force: Cohesion from Opposition
The tension force is the force that is transmitted through a string, rope, cable or wire when it is pulled tight by forces acting from opposite ends. The tension force is directed along the length of the wire and pulls equally on the objects on the opposite ends of the wire. –Physics Classroom
Please imagine the totality of American politics as groups of people. Not just the official representatives, but all the voices contributing viewpoints from right-wing 1% super-PACs down to organic coop vegan hippies. Now assign all those people to one of two categories: Conservative or Progressive. Imagine the sum total of conservative opinion vs the sum total of progressive opinion as a tug of war. As they struggle against each other imagine the area between them vibrating with the force of their resistance.
That area is expressing the Tension Force of their opposition to each other. It describes the range of political reality for this community, in this time and place. The entire spectrum of opinion on the issues of the day are all in this area: Immigration, economic policy, male/female roles, war, etc. Now, imagine some quick snapshots of progressive and conservative forces in other countries contending against each other in the same way. Picture Sweden, Mexico, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Each has their version of the spectrum of these opposing forces. Open societies have a broader spectrum than closed societies but every country has its own. The area of tension force (TF) contains the questions being struggled over and the possible policies that might result. Economic justice TF in Sweden and Mexico are wildly different. Sexual politics TF in America and Saudi Arabia also starkly contrast. TF = the local reality that is up for discussion. Progressive and Conservative are the internal states of the ones pulling the rope. Across these cultures, the range of viewpoints radically differ but the nature and motivation of those pulling the rope are the same throughout the human world.
No matter the specific issues of the moment, these forces are always present in varying but predictable amounts. Events befalling a community will temporarily affect the numbers of each but this settles after a time. This struggle is always there in every culture because these forces are the critical counterweights of every community. They hold up the tent by their opposition. Both groups are easy to predict and define.
It might look like I’m making a partisan political statement of good and bad here but I am not. This isn’t judging, it is about recognizing patterns. Progressives often wonder about the cognitive dissonance of American conservative Christians because logically Christians would support a peaceful “Love thy neighbor” approach rather than being in favor of any military action we take on. Likewise, that those who believe “what you did for the least of my brothers you did for me” would support a kind and generous attitude toward the poor rather than voting against every compassionate social program aimed at lessening the pain and dead ends of poverty.
Conservatives don’t think of themselves as warlike but as patriotic and happy to show it. They don’t think of themselves as harsh toward the poor, or helpful to the rich (though they are) rather, they say: “Nobody ever gave ME anything.” It just feels wrong inside them to be generous to the poor. For conservatives it isn’t what is written in the theology that matters, it’s being a member of whatever religion is the cultural bedrock. If America mostly worshiped Ba’al or Zoroaster (and if their parents did too,) conservatives would have bumper stickers reading: “Ba’al said it, I believe it, and that’s that.” or a little sticker of the holy fire, maybe with a family warming their hands over it. But in their outward behavior, they would express exactly the conservative attitudes they do now. It isn’t about thinking and deciding, it’s about playing your hardwired role.
Progressives have cognitive dissonances of their own. A progressive bumper sticker says: “If you can’t change your mind, how do you know you still have one?“. But if you ask that progressive to reconsider their viewpoints on pretty much anything, they are fixed and defensive. Flexibility and an open mind are guiding light values of progressives, but operationally they HAVE to have fixed points of view. Another Progressive cognitive dissonance is the near-sacred status granted to other people’s cultures, but not to their own. Progressives act like any show of a protective feeling towards their own culture is regressive and possibly even a hate crime, while protecting the expressions of other cultures as an absolute good. This is because progressives structurally counter xenophobia and anti-immigrant viewpoints. This isn’t about thinking and deciding, it’s about playing your hardwired role.
For conservatives AND progressives, the “Bullet Points of Reality” are not flexible or optional. Nor are these stances truly rational though we all think so in our own case. They can be expressed rationally but they are not chosen rationally. As your phenotype expresses eye and hair color, you also express your end of the political ball field. Your own political stance seems sensible because, OF COURSE IT DOES. The opposition is stupid because OF COURSE THEY ARE. This is why “swaying the opposition with logic” is a fool’s errand. Your logic isn’t logical in that person’s body.
There are nice people sitting under both umbrellas. But if you explore ideas with them you’ll find very little flexibility about any core issues. You will not encounter many people who like a strong, dominant authority figure in charge but also support flexible modern sex roles and generous social programs. When you see someone from either side expressing one of their templated points of view you are seeing a single building block of the local TF, one pixel if you will. They DO come in different “strengths”, there are hard and soft versions for both sides and a Bell Curve distribution for all. Even people in the gentle middle of the road are structural elements of the tension force…just like everyone else. Middle of the road is never an objective location btw, it can only be defined as the center point between the outside edges, whatever they are, of opinion. All of us add our weight to the scale of local and national politics.
A progressive in one age might suggest treating the slaves more gently but not suggest freeing them because it’s a hopelessly optimistic non-starter idea in her society. She might even feel that that much change is rash. A conservative in another time might take freeing them for granted, but not give a hoot if they then live or die. The baseline shifts but the roles don’t. This is worth stopping to consider: Your specific beliefs about how things should be handled right now are not what makes you conservative or progressive, but rather your opposition to whatever the other side says about the issue. Conservative and progressive define each other with the context of the existing tension force. It isn’t the issue, it’s the attitude. In this way, the local reality is defined.
It’s clear that these types are a predictable part of human population dynamics because every human group generates them automatically. In early hunter-gatherer tribes, this tension force already existed as individual personality characteristics; some individuals were curious and open to strangers and some attacked them on sight. The resulting intrafamilial compromise handling the tension between these sides was important, it was like the surface tension of the tribe. It had to be open enough to let some things in and closed enough to keep some stuff out. The tribe is an organism and this behavior is its self-management as it relates to the outside world.
Tension force scales up and down automatically with population size. This coined idea of Political Tension Force isn’t a mystical power controlling us from outside, it is an emergent property of something we do naturally. As individuals, we show a range of open or closed responses to strangers and different cultures and behaviors and political tension force is just the scaled-up expression of masses of people holding a similar range of instinctive opinions as a “hive mind”. These hive minds express the dominant traits constructed from the local tension force. In a simple, colorful way we could compare it to how defensive an insect hive is. Maybe North Korea is like killer bees and Canada is like calm honeybees.
Small towns and big cities naturally lean more conservative and more progressive by type as a logical outcome of caring for few or caring for many. Liberalism is about the problem of caring for many, conservatism is about the problem of caring for few. In every generation, the same basic proportions of opponents are born. Is there some system maintaining the population density of the opposing sides? Whether there are sophisticated species level algorithms controlling any of these functions I don’t know. This isn’t science, it’s mere observation. It’s possible though because our homeostasis includes many diverse human elements also delivered in the same consistent proportions, year after year.
I suspect conservatives will tend to be the slightly larger group because the forces driving human behavior don’t throw caution to the winds. Resistance to change is a braking system preserving the identity of the culture. A modest conservative majority keeps whatever structure has been accomplished here from suddenly destabilizing. Yet over time, successes have piled up on the progressive side in a way that starts to seem inevitable (if extremely gradual). Generally, conservatives are reasonably happy with these outcomes as long as they were born into that outcome, rather than watching a cultural transition to it. As deep as the entirely natural dislike is between progressives and conservatives, we absolutely need each other for our communities to maintain balance and internal integrity. One maintains, and the other reforms. This is a system for preserving our structure but opening it for editing out things that are too cruel or unjust.
To imagine chaos and collapse, picture either side completely and absolutely empowered. The other side is disenfranchised and subverted. Picture one team in the tug of war disappearing and leaving the other in complete control. They don’t stop pulling, instead, they begin to pull against themselves internally because that is all they have left. In the natural course of seeking balance through opposition, they begin to tear into their own “flesh” in search of otherness. Neither can stop opposing because that is the mechanistic yet essential role they play. A lack of opposition is a state dangerously out of balance. It develops a cultural auto-immune disorder attacking its own healthy tissue. This unbalanced state is essentially what political correctness is for both sides: Deprived of healthy push back there is a spike of “purity madness” on the left and “loyalty madness” on the right that begins searching for enemies within. Blacklists, loyalty oaths, and purge trials do a good job of generating some opposition. It’s grimly funny, but in doing so they ACTUALLY begin to create the opposing force and to re-establish a kind of balance.
Social media, purposefully, in order to sell ad space, separates us from each other so completely by our TF role that it generates an unbalanced runaway state like this within both groups. “Safely” sealed in our bubbles, each side scales up the rhetoric because they encounter no opposition to extreme views but will likely be punished for expressing more moderate views. The real problem is that these hard voices and positions are grown in us in this abstract half-real mono-culture of social media but are expressed towards our real neighbors in our real communities where we have to get along and get things done. The other side is as demonized as an enemy in war. Scorn and contempt for differences become automatic. This kills representative Democracy.
If we are such simpletons that we accept these hateful terms as a given that can’t be changed, we are doomed.
Accept the need for opposition and the sanity of the opposition even as you fight them. If their talk is so extreme that it leaves sanity as an unsettled issue, remember that opposition itself is the thing we need. Respecting the people voicing that opposition is the most effective way we have at this moment to cure the political autoimmune disorder induced in us by those who profit from our collapse.
That kind of respectful action will not come naturally to anyone right now unless they recognize the Yin/Yang essence of Tension Force. Consider sharing this mental model of how we work with others as a way to shape a paradigm of healthy conflict. Getting people to merely acknowledge this need for opposing beliefs improves us considerably. It makes people pause before setting fire to the house we all share out of bitterness and spite. We need a healthy political macro-biome and every one of us can play a part in achieving that.
© Hugh Miller Feb. 2016
Membership is forbidden to anyone:
Who has inappropriate sexual fantasies or…experiences.
Who has been profoundly depressed or considered suicide.
Whose parents were broken in some way.
Who cheated on a mate or dreamed of doing it
Who has done the wrong sort of drugs or too many of the right kind.
Who has wished ruin on someone or behaved cruely,
or stolen something
or believed something crazy
or acted bananas from a broken heart.
- go in the house
- hang up your coat
- sit down
- find key
- use key to open door
- Extremely sharp spear points
- Long spears that let the holder stay well back from danger
- Throwing spears with atlatl, a flexible extension that gave the throw far more power and accuracy by using a snap motion just before release
- Bows and arrows
- Cutting and scraping tools for butchering
A Species is often defined as the largest group of organisms where two individuals are capable of reproducing fertile offspring, typically using sexual reproduction.
Species Complex is a group of closely related species that are very similar in appearance to the point that the boundaries between them are often unclear. Differentiating measures include similarity of DNA, morphology, or ecological niche.
Speciation is the evolutionary process by which reproductively isolated biological populations evolve to become distinct species.
Adaptive radiation is a process in which organisms diversify rapidly into a multitude of new forms, particularly when a change in the environment makes new resources available, creates new challenges, or opens new environmental niches. Continue reading
- Genotype: The genes present in an organism, potential or expressed.
- Phenotype: The genes the organism is expressing.
- Epigenetics: the turning on or off of gene expression via environmental events…”nurture”.
- Behavioral Epigenetics: The study of how these events in the environment trigger molecular biological changes in our brains. These include: social experience; nutrition; hormones; and toxicological exposures that occur prenatally, postnatally, and in adulthood.
A common example is the way that twins, born with basically identical phenotypes, vary as individuals in behavior, appearance and health. Nurture, experience and behavior drive the expression of different genes, leading to generally larger changes over the course of their lives.
The study of epigenetics is a tiny new branch off the tree of molecular biology and behavioral epigenetics is a bud on that branch. Yet it is already a vast and exciting field. Excitement and ferment in science can be measured partly by how many new questions are bubbling up in that area. Most experiments in this area are yielding more questions than answers but that in a sense describes how deep and rich a mine this is for scientists to explore. The field is seen as holding the potential to explain and perhaps even solve medical troubles, such as mental retardation, autism, schizophrenia, and neurodegenerative disorders, and even social issues, such as aging, addiction, suicide, child abuse, and child neglect.
Food for thought:
- This totally relates to my earlier post “Epigenetics changes everything” The idea that a fear could be passed epigenetically three generations forward with no reinforcement still absolutely boggles my mind. It hints at some of the complexity within this system.
- In relation to Darwinism – It doesn’t exactly invalidate Darwinism because at its root, Darwinism is a small group of simple truisms that explain very little. But it further reveals how much more elegant and sophisticated life is than explained in classical Darwinism. Not that Darwin himself can be faulted for not have more advanced knowledge. Interestingly, two of Darwin’s losing rivals for a theory of inheritance, Alfred Russell Wallace and Jean Baptiste Lamarck continue to be redeemed by our advancing knowledge. Wallace saw a potential for improving the lot of the poor through this knowledge and Lamarck believed the experiences of an organism could cause changes inherited by later generations. Darwin himself favored the idea of harsh competition as the driving force. The importance of Darwinism has always been drawing a hard line between nature and theology. The continued social disputes over Darwinism VS creationism just show how hard it is to make any intellectual advances culturally on hot button issues.
- If the experience of gruelling poverty causes measurable impact on children (and thus, their entire lives and descendents) couldn’t this be considered cultural child abuse or at least neglect?
- A related but separate issue. Darwin was personally a mild and retiring character but he was wealthy and privileged. In his own mind his theory was also a justification for rich vs poor, upper class vs lower class. EG: We are rich and well because because we are fitter. You are poor and sick because you are less fit. H.G. Wells sketched a nightmare projection of this into the future in his book: The Time Machine with the two branches of the human race, the Eloi (rich) and the Morlock (poor). Although Wells was a socialist, Darwin must have had a somewhat similar picture of the future except for him it would have been acceptable.
- I’d like to reference my earlier post “The Neuromechanics of Cruelty” for a number of examples of how Darwin was simply acting out the familiar human traits of rationalizing his privilege and seeing it as based on personal merit. As were all the harsher “social darwinists” who followed.