Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Simple Case of Bias (Review of Newsweek under T. Brown)

Chanced onto a two-months-old Tina Brown columnin her own Newsweek magazine. The key word/phrase in the article is "morally porous." What persons such as Rick Santorum do not like, she implies, is the (or: a) "morally porous" world. More precisely Brown was discussing faith and she makes the claim that for some persons faith "condemns the world for being so morally porous..." Whether she means it is today's world that is so porous is not altogehter clear. It seems, at any rate, that she and the other Newsweek dignitaries are fond indeed of the modern world in which they live, and work.
     OK, then, Tina, let us proceed to talk about "Saint" Santorum and stuff. The "Saint", we are led to believe, dislikes it if the world is morally porous. But what does morally porous mean? Theodore Adorno was saying in 1928 that the world can absorb any view or idea. Anythingany criticism that you throw at it, at the new "science" world (scientism)it just accepts and absorbs; thus weakening the practice of philosophy, as it is known (in Europe, actually, which is a pity).
    What does it actually mean to say "morally porous"? Tina Brown is sitting there congratulating herself for being meaningful. And this is precisely the problem. The phrase "morally porous" means that nothing really exists. So she is defending a world where nothing really exists. What is the point?

     There is nothing there to defend. It is a hagiography for her version of stuff. That is precisely what the rest of the article is. It's just a love song to this week's version of modernism.

                      (Newsweek, February 20, 2012)

     In terms of the content, of the column, that is to say, not to mention the content of her whole magazinethere is a "my version of the world is so great" or "I'm loving it" kind of trope. This is a magazine for the general reader. And articles need to make their point. There seem to be (in this magazine that I picked up so very casually) a pantheon of columnists/writers whom are biased in this manner. What they like is the modern experience they are having. This is bias. By "bias," I mean to say distorted. They are angry. The default example of what we should be against and what is detestable is always this thing we call "racism." I, personally, am suspicious of the term. However, "we" is appropriate, as no one anywhere seems to share this position that I have developed about that word. Is there any difference?-between this kind of bias, and the dreaded and justifiably-hated "racism"? I think the writers for Newsweek are being equally distorted and biased as anybody else. They are for the current flavor of bourgeois life. They are, therefore, against those that do not share in those hallowed values. Their values are the ones that guide them, day-to-day, as they send their copy up the chain of command, which is to say to people like Tina herself and I think  that persons such as Tina Brown are an elite who are just as biased as anybody else, which is to say that they are "racist" too. The word fits the Newsweek writers perfectly well to my ears. Racist? Yes, it is essentially the same thing! There is anger there, for sure. Bias. At root, liberal bias. There is hatred, there is fear. It is a fearful, liberal hatred. And, to their credit, it comes out and is not concealed, not to me. There is distortion. There is a bias against anyone that does not agree with their cutting-edge lifestyles. (She chooses to co-opt a Chrysler commercial, of all things, in the same column, featuring Clint Eastwood. A person like Clint Eastwood, as seen in this car ad that Brown apparently is all in favor of, also would not agree with this kind of self-absorbed paranoid modernityI am quite certain about that.)
     Since it is a magazine for the general reader, and since Newsweek does not have the time to make the full philosophical argument, all of these statements in favor of the current New York and L.A. lifestyle have to be bias. What else could it be? It is not official "racism." But Tina and Co. are the same as the persons they criticizeafter it's all said and done.

A Short Buster Keaton Movie

                     "He Had A Quick Career"   (Starring B. Keaton)

     He was possessed of authentic artistic chutzpah. He had that inspiro-feeling, he hit the capitalist jackpot in Tin Pan Alley, he had a quick career, he became a star then he fell down and blamed it on the Jews.

(this just happens to have been written at an Einstein's Bagel joint, at 8:00 A.M. Sunday)

Don't fergitt ta clik on the related post:

The name "Mel Gibson" is too good a wordfor this schmuck!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Economics Question, from Mid-term Exams

The question is: "Why are strikes unacceptable in the public sector?" -and the woman next to me is busily typing away. It is finals week at Roosevelt U. in Chicago.

I only saw part of the question and part of her answer and what I saw was something like that the public sector has a kind of responsibility like the governmental responsibility to provide services to the citizens or to the country... and therefore, strikes would interrupt that public administration of goods and services.

Really she is just practicing her chops, her appropriate monkey-student skills by typing this way. We could even say reasoning this way. Why not? But is this learning?, or learning to follow certain predesignated lines of "reasoning"?, reasoning tropes you could say. ("tropes" -one of my preferred favorite words) I can see how the student would just end up being trained, trained like the parrot be... and trained to "reason" out all the views that her textbooks and instructors are, Um ----- training her in.

So? What is the real Jack Silverman answer? I would say that the whole economy has the responsibility for taking care of the citizens. Therefore strikes in the private sector are less disruptive, but only as a matter of degree, and, therefore, the distinction being drawn between providing services to citizens and providing services to "customers" is where the argument is not quite valid. Not exactly.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Understanding Ignorance in Economics

Ignorance is important. Regarding the common idea of "market," if we were to ask how or when or where this "thing," the "market," exists, the answer would be that the market, however it exists and whatever the word in fact signifies, depends for its very being or presence on the fact of having persons out there who are willing to be stupid----depends upon ignorance. It depends upon ignorance. Ignorance is absolutely essential.
    Although I could proceed to fill in all the details for how ignorance functions in economics, let's first understand that there is another point of view. This point of view claims that the market requires information. Established economic theory makes claims that market phenomena operate according to the principle of information. Now information and ignorance sound dissimilar, don't they? -so, I think that there is a real difference. The established theory is wrong; the real principle is ignorance. Instead of the claim that the market depends on information, I am making the claim that is depends on the lack of it.
     We set up a conceptual apparatus that explains capitalism with ideas like the idea of "a market system." We may allow ourselves to use the language. That is allowable. To get an alternative wording just change the (grammatical) article. If we change the indefinite article to the definite,the language says: the market system. There is a difference. Nevertheless, either way we put it using language--- "a" or "the" --- capitalism is a concrete phenomenon, not a merely conceptual one. The problem lies in finding out what really exists. Under some other circumstances, like feudalism, the thing that such concepts as "market" refer to may be replaced by something else, so it is important to know what we are talking about. For example, it is not possible to translate what one would mean by a "market" that existed for primitive man, or for protazoa, or planets, or molecules, for that matter, into ideas about capitalism. So, just note here that the phenomena associated with "the/a market" describes a particular way of life: the "market" or "capitalistic" way. So, we see all these easy statements about economics that rely on the device of the word "market."
     Whatever we mean by "market," we do not mean merely the supermarket. Yet, interestingly, the market also is an article! I don't mean grammatically here. That's over. Now I've switched my meaning, regarding "article." (Just like a person on the autism spectrum would!) The market and a market article (for sale in the market) can be conceptualized in much the same way. It is as if the whole market, and I mean the whole capitalist system is one item on the market. Imagine that you go to the supermarket and you get an item called "capitalism," wrapped in shrink wrapping like broccoli.
     The academic bullshit that is out there confusing the public claims that trade occurs based on (that trade is explained by) persons' reference to information they possess. They point out that humans act based on rational reasons. Well, sure. I guess they should. This is all supposed to be profound. If humans act rationally, then this explains market behavior. It explains "the" market -- or "a" market. I guess they are saying that you choose products based on some kind of thinking. They supposedly assess their information. Before acting, the conventional economist says, they think. They refer to information they have, in their heads (now they have cell phones they look at). If you do not have information, how can you say you are a free person? So, we can sense how important these arguments were to the economists who created all this profound stuff. It relates to our understanding the world we live in, so, it is important. OK, it is important. You win.
     Anyways, we want to know if all that is the real explanation. I think not. Today, with Google and all that, there is reason to suggest that they do not even know which items they are trading. Not to mention whether, for example, it was manufactured in a sweat shop. But you could just use the example of advertizing. Advertizing is such a big industry, right? I guess so. If I am the customer, when exactly do I pay for the advertizements I always get? What do you say? Let's move on (although I know what you did: you may have said the advertizing price is included in the price you pay). Not only do they not know which actual items they are trading, they do not even know the prices. Where did all this rational understanding of the product and its price go? I find it perfectly plausible to suggest that the whole standard textbook world is garbage. I don't really feel comfortable saying that. Yes I do! I feel good about saying that! Not so easy but it is really a kind of a flawed, garbagey version of reality. Even if students are in abeyance. Really. That stuff does not pass muster with me. I don't believe it anymore. I do not think it even comprises any useful understanding. And that, too, is ignorance. But another kind. This is the ignorance of the economist, not of the markets.
     This is ignorance too, but this time the total ignorance of the economists and their student-spawn, which has to be distinguished from the merely relative ignorance of the economy, which is, as we mentioned, is at least a real thing. As that awful man "Marx" would say, "sensuous reality." And he was pretty sure of himself. Why? Why did he think that? We could call the actual, existing ("sensuous," if we use the language of the Moor) economy an "existing" ignorance, or a functional ignorance, not an academic department. Market ignorance functions. It is an ignorance that is crucial to "the" / "a" Um---the economy. There is a distinction being made here between ideology and material or functioning reality. The economy is peculiar; that is for sure. Because, it represents all the contradictions of the human race, all of its ignorance.
     Inquiry into economics is a valid preoccupation. We can and may look for insight into market questions, matters of "economics." Why do persons behave as they do in the economy? Is it really based on rationality? The entire "economic" field needs to re-opened, re-figured. Then, I think, we could reveal that economics is based on ignorance. And by revealing that, I also know that you would be removing a little of the ignorance. That must be done carefully, though, because you will get a result. Finally, with care, we remove that great economic ignorance. I wonder: what did they mean by "The Dismal Science"?

    "Dismal science." What the hell does that mean? I don' know --- The human race is full of flaws and imperfections though. Alfred Marshall saw a different world. I don't see how he was dismal; his version of things was kind of rosy and utopian, an idealist who wanted to understand the world, which of course has to mean the society. His way of understanding it was that of assuming that capitalism was rational.
    Marshal wrote a big treatise in the 1880s that I looked. I could feel the honorable, decent person. So, he was looking for kinds of answers in the area of human society, how humans work, interact, etc. In reading the opening of that book I can get a vision of a person (Marshall) seeing the ideal, rational world, as he thought it had been created or was being created, at that time. (So he wanted to create the book version?) He speaks of "man," of man's concerns, and how man operates. It's a nice description. I don't want to run it into the ground, just to do damage to it in your honor.
    His writing comes at a sort of peak of the capitalist experience. His world is definitely on capitalism's upward path, a peak in the sense that the system hit in his moment in time. (English time.) Still, it was just a book. Who really cares? There were a half-dozen other, different schools of thought current, so Marshall was one of many. Judging from one of his titles (of a book) he wants to find the "Principles" of economics. He is really looking for the principles of how life works, or how human beings operate, but in the capitalistic condition (he seems to think that condition universal). Like most persons within the institutions called academia he is somewhat narrow and biased, or, I should say, specialized.
     We often strive for a perfect rationality, or for some kind of science. This has been quite an obsession of the West, since the French Enlightenment, has it not? Marshall was trying to do that, too.

    It is based on economists like Marshall that we claim, today, that things like information constitute an explanation of behavior in the world of markets and capitalism. What if, instead, behavior in capitalism is based on flaw, or ignorance? In fact, what if the whole world is based upon defect, and, in the original period when capitalism was developing, there was enough of it to base a capitalism on? That would be a whole different way of looking at it. Marxism is a little like this because there it is all based on conflict, or struggle. For Marx, there is always a struggle. This makes sense. Everything is based on flaw, or conflict. Unfortunately, that whole system (of Karl Marx) depends on class division, so in that case the conflict is embodied in the social classes as an extension of the same class phenomena that existed historically up to that time. I don't have time for that discussion now, but I am what I am suggesting is that capitalism is based upon ignorance. Also it is based on the manipulation of ignorance. There is more explanation to be provided here, but what I will say is that those "gaps" of ignorance, of (lack of) knowledge, are probably in some way where the profit lies. At base here is the idea that the basic conflicted nature of European society, with it all its violence and ignorance, is the very basis, the very ground, upon which capitalism takes root and thrives.
    So, I don't think I convinced you, but I think that the ignorance theory works just as well as the information theory. 

Keystone Cops (Kops?)


    How much a person knows is not etched on the individual's face. It might be that wisdom, or intelligence, may be seen this way. But not knowledge.
    Hence there are persons who pretend. There are persons who pretend to know what they are doing but they do not.  
    When the act falls asunder, there are pratfalls.
    Here we find a certain category of thingsthe excitement and novelty of pratfalls, cakewalks and Keystone Kops.
     It falls apartonly to create an industry. 

    The movies!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review - Robert Janis

Janis knows how fucked-up the world is. He is mired in it and his response is to compose this narrative, “The Beautiful Americans”— it’s about the world of 1966 or thereabouts. It’s about Americans in Rome, mostly. His writing efforts reveal his knowledge of the world, as he sees it.
     His characters, Belinda and Mark—they are so tangled and the world they live in so convoluted, and there is no respite, no not even in whiskey. Only twists and turns of neurotic psycho-sexualisis.
     You can believe me. When I say that Robert Janis is good. I am already up to page eight. I only read about eight pages more or less. But you want to know what this reminds of? It reminds of Mitt Romney. If we only knew Mitt. Were we to actually know about Mitt, about his inner life, he might really be very much like "Mark," free-lance diplomat working in Rome, at the American Embassy. Both are same age, same looks. Both have graying temples. Of course we have to censor out some alchohol scenes. And we need to censor some of the erotic parts but I think I am still onto something here in seeing this novel as Mitt Romney’s "actual" inner life. Have you ever thought about his inner life? Come on! Show a little imagination. The character, Mark Dennings, has all sorts of these - like - intense feelings, and stuff. But of course you can see that in a novel, but you not in life, not from the public appearances that a politician does or something. You would not expect to see that on the outside, or in the public life.
     But I think that Mr. Romney’s intense, nervous, flustered inner life might parallel that of the characters in this “pulp” novel (my use of this term is based only on the cover of the book and the way the store sold it). Except for the whiskey. We have to edit that out. And certain scenes included only for the pulpy purpose of selling. Romney is like Dennings—if you have enough imagination, OK? Say you have it.
    I mean I don’t want to be sued for irresponsible blogging but he seems to fit in as a character here in the  book.

     It is a novel. It is copyright 1966. That is a great year for novelists who inadvertently show by their writing how fucked up they are. Also a great year for novelists showing by their writing how fucked up the world is. But also written wight about when wittle Mitt’s brain was being formed inside of the MOrmon Tabernacle. (Intentional botching job on the word "Mormon." Post-modernism, that.)

     SO: here is a quote so you can get it. One difference is that in the book the character is "envoy," not "president." So what. I  think actually "presidents" are probably equally neurotic as "envoys."
“Mark Dennings, Presidential Envoy, was a few years over fifty, tall, slim and graying at the temples. His calm good looks and manner were just the right things for the picture he cut as a diplomat in the old tradition. Administrations came and went, but there was always a spot for him, as his acknowledged talents were too useful to be jettisoned because of party lines.”   ...
     “To many, including his associates, Dennings (Mitt) was a man of mystery (right!), and when he entered an embassy on assignment, the entire personnel from ambassador on down worried for his job. (downsized?)”

     So, then—why do they call it fiction?

     (note: The quote is from page 12, but actually it is page 6; so, I did start this piece after reading 8 pages; that was true. And that is how good this book was that I was already hooked on page 12. Really 6. Anyway, now I am up to page 38. It just “drives” you. Drives you frantically forward, this stuff. Note: $5, from the labelled "pulp" rack of “Afterwards.” That's on Illinois St. In Chicago. I don't normally read these books, by the way.)      

Big Talker West

Talk, talk talk. The basic problem with words is that it takes so much time to say them. You pile up words and talk, and nothing changes because of it. Take this, for example: "you can't lead the people if you don't love the people. You can't save the people if you won't serve the people." Certainly I like it. I do. I agree with the ideas, and on third or fourth reading I admire the alliteration (this bro has two "l"s followed by two "s"s; works very nicely). I do not know if it is about Obama or not, but it sums up my criticism of Obama perfectly, whom I see in a very dismal, negative light these days.
     But, even if I turn closer towards Obama, it's just talk, talk, talk. All I see on West's website is this man that loves to talk. He has facebook posts with 21 comments; all of them long and creative. No doubt. No one has the simple TIME to read all that. (Hey, I just invented Time magazine).

(note: this is the "Georgia" font, by the way. One of my favorites)
All the realities are artificial. There is not anything to understand. Basically, human beings are born into extremely rich natural environments. There is a lot to explore. The seasons change. And new plants and animals appear not to mention the weather itself which is light part of the time and dark part of the time. Life is never ending exploration and discovery. The natural urge to explore has somewhere to go. The natural world is your backyard. Well, sort of. I mean, it should be, but even the use of the term backyard shocks us back into our urban reality of a government-controlled civic society run by phony politicians and soda-pop salesmen. Which one is more real?
     At least when I was a kid you could rebel. That was late sixties, early seventies. But rebellion itself is another artifice. Rebellion is a controlled, marketed thing squeezed out of the tube in segments and plastered into the email. How awful! For that matter paper mail itself is full of this activism too. The soda-pop salesmen is replaced by the activism peddler. The rule?
     It is that all that can be artificialized, will be. Something that is artificial is useful because it can be converted, again and again. Not enough kinds of Doritos? We can invent a new flavor, Guacamole, no worries. You never have to worry about getting new artificialities but natural things are a problem. I do not know why that should be but they seem to be a problemfor the zombies and the dead people. 
    And there isn't anything left to understand. Liquor sales are up. That's good for the liquor industry. Also for the regulators, and cops, and the kleptomaniac tax bureaus. We don't seem to have a problem with that. It is all controlled and owned and profits are culled out from it. Of course when I say profit I mean in the form of money. It is not in human happiness. But what is happiness?
    Where does this experience of being alive actually get its tang and its vitality? It is because there are things to understand, and it is a struggle to understand them. We move a rock, and there are a bunch of bugs. It might be kind of unpleasant. But you learned something. Modern society says, "OK we're gonna streamline and channel everything now." Eventually, they do. There isn't anything mysterious now. Mysteries are there to be solved. But now, the mysteries are pre-treated. And they aren't there. This is the very simple premise of Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World" (Only we do not bother reading the actual book, in the original.) Knowledge can be useful only when it ends with a creative open space. What is the fun of exploring to the end of the universe if you do reach all the way to the end? In that case discovery of new facts kills the urge to explore. At the end of each life, according to not only Buddha but almost all other religions (I think), you have another life, to explore. According to the current wisdom after you die that is all there is. But that isn't enough for us. We will now be ending while alive! Some years ago, I read reports of a spate of girls who were reaching puberty earlyat 11, instead of 13 or 14. Maybe if there was more mystery to life and access to natural things they would wait.
     But liquor sales are still strong, and the Annhauser-Buschs or the Seagrams are having a wonderful time on their private island. Richard Bransom has an island, too. If you are rich today, mystery is another item and you can purchase that. I envy the rich which I think is a good and strong and healthy emotion. I'm normal after all.
     When we say we want to understand something, what we really mean is that we want to have a mystery there. We really enjoy solving those mysteries. As long as it is also a mystery at the end it really does not matter what you understood because the mystery is still present but what happening is that we've been inundated with understanding and therefore the understanding has lost its juice and sap. This is because Western people have the wrong idea of understanding. They think understanding is science. Our most profound understanding is wordless and open-ended. Like a driver who intentionally turned up a dead-end alley, science seeks a closed end. Right. Whatever gets you off, but then you need an endless supply of one-way streets, with murals painted on the wall at the ends of the streets. Why not just drive the car the way GM intended it to be driven and drive it on the open road? What do we say about the problem of living in a world of poisonous propaganda? There is nothing wrong with things that are artificial, I do not think that is it. I think it to be a matter of something that is alive; I think a matter of liveliness, and liveliness is beyond knowledge. The world today saps us of our desire to explore nature and battle mystery. And it robs us of these inherently human qualities by continuously, ruthlessly, and nefariously giving us knowledge even when the kind of knowledge they are giving does not do us any good.

First Thought Upon Awakening

Now I begin my ugly horrible day: scandalous, perishable and perhapsable.

(note: slightly edited a few hours later, JS)

Cast of Thousands


     There’s a “natural curiosity” about the “humble, yet iconic” cast iron skillet. (says wdaley at the Chicago Tribune, April 18th)

     Cast iron is inexpensive. The technology for cast iron was around for hundreds of years. By the early 18th century it was being produced in increasing amounts for capitalist markets.

     The technology of cast iron allows for a further attenuation of all that is prized about pig iron. As if it were a gift from the Gods iron comes and offers a hint of what technology can do.

     Which is what, again?


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Meaning, Part Two (see April 12)

The real meaning of any text is necessarily concealed.
     In the real sense, there is, as I said before (and that is itself means nothing, but I did say it)       

no absolute order to things.
     But we create an order through culture and language. Walter Benjamin seems to say that it is "overdetermined." So, nix that —we don't create an order through culture and language. The order that we provisionally create does not reside anywhere.  It has no fixed abode, that is to say.
     I note that Susan Cain, in "Quiet, the Power of...[bla bla bla]", speaks (or writes?) of a person that "wears lamp shades at parties." Now hold on, Susan. I cannot figure that one out. Is that an extrovert showing off at a party, or is that an introvert hiding at that party? In this case, the reader examine the context, for clues. We do not understand how we know, we just know!
     Either in the qualities of language, or somewhere else in the general lived experience, we get that; we take away that, this person (under the shade!) is an extrovert!

Interspecies Trust

The neighbor was out this morning, walking his two dogs, or what appeared to be large rats, near the garbage bins that the trucks pick up. They may have been dogs, but they looked a little like large South American rats on leashes. But, they were, probably, dogs--as I do not think you are supposed to walk your rats next to the garbage.

     It's not that rats do not possess loyalty or altruism. But it's that they are loyal to other rats. (I wrote about it on this venue.

     No one knows why dogs are loyal to humans.
     I mean to say it's a mystery; no one has the clue. And neither do I. Dogs may believe that humans have intelligence, and leadership capacity. Well, if humans had any intelligence or leadership qualities they would have figured out by now a basic issue like that of why they are the leaders of the dogs. And we would have published our findings. We must be fooling the dogs.
     Dogs, for their part, just admire the heck out of us, and I don't know what for. I wonder who the hell programmed them?

     In a quest after trustworthy companions, humans would probably recommend dogs. And the dogs would recommend the human(s).

This is Tribal Fighting

Not everyone is dedicated to the whole species.

It is perfectly possible to be fragmented, to have loyalties that are tribal. In the urban areas, gangs fight one another. This is serious stuff, this is tribal fighting.
     Much of history reflects this struggle of tribe against tribe.
     Then we can say "nation." In the mid-East, the "Arab League" condemns Assad of Syria, but these members are hardly united on any one principle, so, instead of a unified intervention in Syrian affairs, it is one in which each has their own reason.
     Where there is no higher principle, one is simply loyal to one's own tribe.

The Experience of Capitalism In Regard to Choice

Somehow it worksthe "it" being capitalism, whatever that is. The "it" here is also a capitalist or capitalistic society. In this view, capitalism, whatever else it is, is a social experience. It is a human experience, and it is, just as the both of the Friedmans, Milton and his spouse, an experience that exists always in relation to choice—to the freedom to choose.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

April 18th, 2012

"...Western sanctions have halved Syria's foreign exchange reserves from about $17 billion, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday after a meeting with about 60 nations aimed at coordinating measures against President Bashar al-Assad's government.
"Syria is selling its gold at rock bottom prices," said a Western diplomat[ic source]..."
They think they are going to survive. What always amazes me about these situations is that the person or power committing the atrocities, be it the Taliban, Syria, or Libya --- or Omar/bin Laden, al-Assad, or Ghaddafi --- actually expects to win. It just seems weird to me. What insanity.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Economics for April 17, 2012

The natural state of affairs at the beginning, where “at the beginning” refers to the period (this would be somewhere around the 19th century obviously) when capitalism first became the dominant system in Western Europe, was that of an open state, or condition. At this time capitalism was really becoming the major power within society. Such a beginning for capitalism corresponds to what Marx and Engels called "historical materialism." Here, for this period of time, at any rate, economics was determinative of the form of society. The "mode of production," as Marxian terminology has it, is determinative of the form of the society.
I call this period that we are discussing the “developmental period.” I think of it as one period within the historical scope of capitalism. During this period the open state came naturally. Openess, this necessary ingredient in capitalism, was not created intentionally, by anyone. So, for this period of capitalism, there is something in play that is a bit like what the "free market" theory says, it was something that no one planned; it was just there. It was, therefore, supplied naturally. 
     Openess was supplied by the nature of things and therefore we can say that it was history that was open not to mention several large continents. There were many openings, in fact, available in a developing system. In general, all the early developments of capitalism were enacted in tandem with a historical opening. This obviously is not going to happen again.
Perhaps the foregoing seems somewhat complicated. However, the consequence is simple. What is needed today is simple. We need to supply the openess, although openess is not going to just come out of nowhere. Still we need to find this quality: to supply what this originary openness once supplied. To do so would require some fundamental reforms, true, but, whether the political will is there or not, this is what we need to do. Capitalism can only be kept alive through such means. Then what kind of "openess" policies are those, exactly, that would do?
We know that capitalism has had the power to conquer the world, and we know of something called "globalization." Capitalism has come to dominate, all over the world. Many countries has small, successful elites, but these elites have joined a cosmopolitan elite and a global or world system, rather than created viable capitalist systems in their countries that are raising up their people. Yet, these persons, in the poorer countries, are not themselves immune to capitalist world domination they are members, but only in the sense of being the victims of this world system. When third-World persons (and peoples—make no mistake about it) are stuck with capitalism but are not benefiting from it we cannot really say that capitlaism is viable. They do not have any opportunity to work and make a living. They cannot create a life for themselves, either in their old, tribal cultures, or in the world as they find it. 
     Then we cannot really say that capitalism is viable at all. For this reason, these materially under served persons are actually the first line of defense for capitalism. Improving their condition would improve capitalism. Helping them is not simply a matter of charity. Why is that? This has to do with understanding what capitalism really is. 
     The system is the people in it. The point is that the progressive capitalistic decisions are decisions that extend the benefits of capitalism to more persons, and this is so, since it has always been the case that capitalism’s success depends on its ability to extend benefits to an entire populace. With the entire world globalized, capitalism of course has to help almost the entire human race! Including these persons in the comfortable, decently-nourished population of the world does not necessarily entail extracting a profit from them.
They need some of capitalism's benefits. What they need are material things, and the benefits of capitalism have to do with just that. These are benefits that basically come in the form of material goods. So, provide that benefit, and if that needs to be done by providing direct aid to the persons in those countries who are not receiving a big enough share of the wealth, then that is the method that should be used.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Grounds Rules of Capitalism

What we do not understand is the basic ground of capitalism.

What are the ground rules? 

There must be a society. There must be freedom of action. There are going to be transactions involving profit, or economic gain. These transactions must occur in a peaceable, sustainable way.

Friday, April 13, 2012

a diverse society (ethos stuff, part two)


The goal of capitalism should be a diverse society but also one in which certain civil or ethical principles exist, and can be upheld or enforced.
That's an aphorism I wrote and it is about the need to have some kind of standards or universals, which is to say even within diversity. Today the capitalist system seems too diverse, by which I mean that individual units may not talk to one another. There is no sense of unity, there is no longer any connection between persons or companies, this is the death of culture, and that is the problem here. And we cannot (should not) let that happen even though it looks as if we will. That would be the end to capitalist society. 
     Unfortunately, it looks like this is just what is happening; and, there was an article about Goldman Sachs that illustrates this (I think you could track it on this blog because I was writing about that article). It describes a firm in which each unit has but little to do with each other. An odd way to characterize a single firm, isn't it? I think it is scary. So, everyone is now isolated and they aren't talking to each other. GS, the article notes (as did the public letter sent by an employee to the Times) is real big. Really big. The units within GS seem a bit like the industries in capitalism. The "units" might be businesses that need financing. They have very little to do with any other units of that overall system, and it does not matter whether in GS or in the economy. 
     But this does happen in business. Businesses can be like that. For example, a businessman who knows how to run a fur store, this is my family I am writing about, has only some contacts in some parts of the fur industry. He does not even know the whole of his own industry. So there is this smallness to it, this isolation. My father didn't know exactly how the animals were raised and killed on ranches. His knowledge did not go that far. Any other contact with members of his society had to take place as a part of normal social life. The culture has to exist. What I am talking about a lot of the time is capitalistic culture, and the relationship of business to the larger culture. The sociality in capitalism, which is the very reason capitalism is viable, lies in the connection between business and the larger society. So, they feed off one another. What is happening in the businesses or units is indicative of a diverse society, all right. But that is not enough; there also has to be room for individuals to connect; that is part of capitalism, too. We need to have these connections, to uphold a social norm, and this is part of what capitalist society requires. Otherwise there is no culture at all, and this is a problem for our whole society, that capitalistic part and the greater whole, or culture itself, as such.
     When you do not have any social connection within capitalism, capitalism is not a global ethos but then again it is not supposed to be. But we do need an ethos, and therefore capitalism of that kind is not culture-friendly, it is destructive of culture. As commentators have pointed out, the really, really sad thing is that GS had a culture. And they let it slip away. This is probably what is happening to capitalist society in general,and it will destroy us. This is because there, in that case, no ethos. Capitalism then becomes nothing, just a global monster, rather than a system, and it didn't have to be that way. Maybe the socialists are right and if humanity is to survive, something other than this kind of capitalist or market system will have to be found at some point. But for now, capitalism must survive as a system. If capitalism is not a system, it is not anything at all anymore. It needs to be a system. So capitalism does need an ethos? 
     What is being suggested in the aphorism is not an ethos or an ethic. Rather it is that there always needs to be, and there is, if the system works at all, a loose framework that insures that everyone is acting within that set of certain civil of ethical principles, even if capitalism is not itself an ethical system. We have to admit to the need to assure that these human beings are acting correctly, not incorrectly. You should admit that: this is necessary, a basic part of capitalism.
     If there is no capitalism without this loose governing framework, if such a requirement is, as I believe it is, a natural aspect of capitalism, it would be good to study how that requirement was met in the past, since it would have had to be there. Similar to the need for diversity and choice, covered in the last post, I would suggest it was met by holdovers of traditional principles from previous historical periods. And there are other considerations, like the very gradualness of the early system itself, the fact that it is only slowly creeping up on us. Such cultural holdovers, as well as the slowness of progress, are wearing thin. Therefore, in addition to an understanding of how a basic ethical framework was maintained in the past, we need to know how to maintain it today. These normative aspects need to be there, for the system to be upheld and maintained, and extend its life, until something else comes along, assuming that capitalism is not itself a permanent system.

ethos stuff

What is an ethic? What is an ethos? Cultures have sets of rules of course. The words ethos or ethic seem to indicate that there is a cultural code. Within a culture, everybody acts on a similar template, or ethos, but cultures differ. One person's own cultural code might be wrong in the hands of an outsider, in the hands of somebody else. My ethos fits my culture because I live in that culture. An ethos, then, is like a culture. One culture could disagree with another, but inside that one culture there is an ethos, something that each person who is properly a member of that culture more or less follows. Some, of course, articulate or exemplify their culture better than others do.
     You have your ethos, I have mine. And everybody's happy. But are they? 

     The main problem today seems to be that, while a capitalistic ethos has conquered much of the world, it has not conquered everybody, and there are these holdouts, by which I mean the terrorists.
     That is one problem, of course. There is the problem that capitalism has not unified the whole world. But the other problem is that it has. 
     There was this one university professor who came up with something called moral relativism: this is of course "the academic college professors' moral relativism theory," and it is a really stupid thing if ever there was one. There was one guy in particular responsible for this discussion, this "philosophy" I guess is what Deleuze would say. I read a book discussing this kind of relativism.
     When I read about it, I thought it was so poor. I just thought it was one of the most daft things ever. I think what bothered me was that he just blatantly said that everything was relative. Capitalism might be a sort of global ethos right now, or way of life, at this stage in history. 
     That is all right with me, actually, but we need to add this caveat: if it is not a capitalism that respects difference, which is to say different views and the right of different cultures to have different views of life and approaches to life, then that is not a suitable capitalism. 
     Capitalism's great challenge is to live up to this promise, a promise of inclusion. Capitalism makes everybody the same, but it also has to "make" everybody (produce everybody) as different.

     The promise of capitalism is its ethic; that is to say, the ethic of inclusion. Capitalism needs to include different sorts of person. It needs to respect differences in culture. In the very early days of American capitalism, and I have recently been thinking that it is the U. S. and nobody else that holds the rights or the patent on capitalism, it did respect these differences. Probably some explanation is in order.
     I will just say a few things about it, briefly, as this is one of the areas I have thought a lot about. In those early days that I mentioned, there could be several generations in each of which the members of a family had their choice to go into the fast-lane of the developing capitalist system or stay out of it. Greider, for example, writes enchantingly (I don't know which book) of his grandfather, who refused to modernize the farm. He just did not do it. He kept the old horses or plows or whatever. In a capitalistic system that is developing slowly there are many places to jump in, many different occupations to try out. It has the kind of organic variety that we were talking about above, with respects to diverse cultures.


Thursday, April 12, 2012


There is no particular order to things.
     The one real value that exists is honesty.
     We can certainly hope for and respect honest people but one’s language, especially as it is forced onto a wad of parchment using a quill pen if you get my drift does not contain words that fall or creep into any kind of established order. That doesn't exist; there is no established honesty in words, in other words; and, there is not a regular, established order to things in general: and, therefore, none to words.
     But we watch each other. We watch one another, all right. We observe. And it is true that we want to observe that we are speaking honestly. That's a big value! We speak honestly, while others observe that. So, we do, I suppose, always look for the kind of behavior we want to see. And people conform to group behaviors, a lot. They do this for one another. Because, as I have already stated, we are watching each other. There should be social integrity and trust. This is a social, moral value. This is a value to live by. But it isn't an absolute. And neither is language, and an absolute ordering to things cannot be found there. There is simply no one, final absolute.
     There is nothing about language that lends itself to that kind of order. Language does not have any particular order. Someone who wants to argue the point might say, "words are ordered by a little thing called 'grammar,' buddy." Well, yes they are "ordered" that way. Words are loosely corralled by grammar.  ----- oh yes that is true. That is there for understanding one another. There need to be precise meanings. So, we do need to speak in grammatical form, for understanding one another. But understanding specific messages communicated by use of language does not mean that there is one way of organizing words or that there is a particular order to things. Whether we think we are understanding one another or not, there is a lot more to it than language. Also this ordering function of grammar does not change the fact that words are deceptive, subject to dissimulation, and so forth.
     Therefore, when we say "honest speech," we are not referring to a specific place where this honesty is found. There is no one "honest order." You cannot find it. We have a way of speaking by which we point to a speaker and we say that he spoke "honestly.” What do we mean by "honest speech?" You cannot find it. It is there somewhere, but we cannot find it. What we mean is probably something like: this is an honest person. It is not really his words per se therefore. It is no that his words per se are more honest ones. We are speaking about a person (to the effect) that he or she is honest, not that his or her words have some particular arrangement and not another. (And the counter-examples - and even I myself could think of a few - prove my point.) Persons of course speak. This particular person's words reflect or flow out from that honesty, and her words do not conceal or distort that honesty that is so commendable. but how do we find honesty? How do we find words?
     The language that comes out of the person is an example of "honest speech," which is the natural outflow of an honest nature. Certainly his or her honest nature can be sometimes reflected off of the person's tongue. The words themselves are not honest. Therefore, the thing that cannot be captured in words is honesty. The honesty that is present does not come from the words, any more than come from the throat. What we are talking about as the component units of language must have a name. I am not a trained linguist so I do not know how they designate the discrete or tangible components involved in language, but they have to be called something like semiotic units, or morphemes, or something. Words. They are just words.

     What can we say about them? Nothing so you can stop looking for honest words. Look for honest persons instead.

(note: changes by J. S. 2012/05/15 March 15 )

so you wanna be an intellectual? books you need to read

I like this list of books to read
. _________________________________________________________________
I'd better get to work

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

"For weeks after Trayvon was killed, authorities refused to arrest Zimmerman. We couldn't believe that in 2012, public officials would turn a blind eye to our son's killing. We couldn't let that happen."

From: "Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton
7:21 PM (1 hour ago)"

To: my email Inbox.
There are, as Chomsky would say, some things to be said here. What persons such as Trayvon's parents seem to believe is that something must have gotten better due to all of the great fantastic human rights movements. "We couldn't believe" that it would happen in "2012". Well, my guess is that "2012" is a special number. It must be, because things like what just happened to this 17-yr old man are not "supposed" to happen today, because the world is "supposed" to be such a peachy keen place, what with all the progress we have made. We have made such progress. Haven't we?
     What does all the activism have to do with it anyway? If activism is the point, or the fulcrum upon which everything hinges, what do you do if it already happened, despite years of activism? - But, since it did, happen activism, is, still, the answer. What they are saying in these messages is that this even "should" not have happened. Because of all the progress the world has supposedly made, it should not have happened, and so we have the right to ask where activism messed up. And because this is America. Did Trayvon's parents ever check to see how many persons die from causes related to malnourishment in other countries every year? Did Trayvon's parents ever care about those people? These kinds of expectations, or this kind of expectation, is pretty much par for the course. But, why is 2012 "supposed to be" a bad year for violence.
     On my last posting I published the photo of a man intentionally spraying pepper spray on another man, also an unarmed person; I think so. Because that violence was initiated by government, that violence will never cause action in a court of law. This is the world we live in. No one will ever be charged with a crime for what I posted in a photo. It doesn't matter that there are several other pictures of these acts being performed by law enforcement officers, casually committing violence, and presumably acting on orders from their higher-ups.  And is not likely to have a campaign about police brutality. That, as an issue, never seems to take off. And what about Latino persons? How many Latino persons do you think have had similar injustice done to them? How many this year, even, who never uttered a peep? In the 1930s, the head of state of Germany told his subjects, "round up the Jews." They did it. But some kind of progress has occurred, right? Why do you think so? Why do we assume that some kind of fundamental progress has taken place? Isn't that kind of weak and cowardly? You just need to believe that? I guess I used to believe it, too. Come to think on it.
     Trayvon was supposed to have got a better life because he was American and the left promised him that racism would go away because of the left's superpowers. This is the level of hope that is going on at bottom. The left? They have gotten a lot of publicity, they are articulate, and they told us we have got a better world, due to their superpowers. We do not have a better world. We have a worse world. Something special is supposed to happen, for Trayvon. That's the idea, the delusion. He is supposed to live in a better world or this is supposed to be a better world than that or something. But he didn't have a better world, he had the same old world, the same old world we have had for a hundred thousand years.
     Darn. Why isn't it easier to change things? You mean won't change things either? You mean the left actually failed?

     We have this idea that something like this is not supposed to be happening. Not "in 2012."
     The human race is what it is and they haven't changed.
     It never got better. The left never delivered. There wasn't a breakthrough. The revolution never happened.
     The human race didn't wake up and fix itself.

     It never happened. Nothing did.

April 11th, 2012

Police pepper spray students at a UC Davis demonstration on Friday, November 18. (Screengrab: asucd – Click here for video)
The police violence that has taken place at the University of California campuses at Berkeley and Davis does more than border on pure thuggery; it also reveals a display of force that is as unnecessary as it is brutal, and it is impossible to justify. These young people are being beaten on their campuses for simply displaying the courage to protest a system that has robbed them of both a quality education and a viable future.
(The content reproduced above was captured by Google search: chicago intellectuals):

Look at the lack of expression, the passivity. This is the second photo I have seen that is like that. Notice the completely passive nature of the law enforcement officer doing the spraying. I think Henry A. Giroux is correct to say it is bordering on, or beyond bordering on, thuggery. It is the purest possible expression of total state violence. "Fascism" is too good a word for this. This is the one thing there should be no place for in this world.

     Did the police officer try talking with the students before he sprayed? Was there any attempt to set up a dialogue? At this point I do not even want a dialogue. These are not sane persons. They are debased. They are law enforcement officers from hell. They are the monsters of the world; they are beneath what we should properly call human beings. You already know whatever they say will be a lie. But actually, something like a dialogue is just what needs to happen with these law enforcement officers. That is the only thing to do. Someone needs to talk to them, before it is too late. There needs to be a national program to communicate with the nation's police departments.

     Knowing Obama, that is the last thing on his mind.

Monday, April 9, 2012

April 09, 2012

I re-write a January N.Y.Times article below:
41 years have passed since the end of the great black migration; and since housing legislation enacting racial fairness was passed. Segregation is not so popular anymore. In fact, the whole trend seems to have reversed. Southerners of the 50's who once warned against "mongrelization" have now seen their concerns thrown out with the bathwater, and, it's a new day.

     Hey, black and white are definitely both in the mix nowadays. And there's no more "mongrelization" debate in the South, because it's a mixed state of being now.

     The ones who remain segregated are persons like Osama bin Laden, and Donald Trump. They are rich enough to create their own reality. You know ---- in those gated communities? That is where you can have a privately-created lifestyle, but a privately created lifestyle has nothing to do with the public reality. It has nothing to do with being in a capitalistic market, either, nor with democracy, nor culture. Not to mention reality, which I already did.

     Yes, I believe I did. Blacks are movin' South. Everything, it would appear, "goes better with" whites and Coke.

(this is my rewrite of an article from the N.Y. Times, p. A13, Jan. 31. It seems to be a combination of the old "teletype-style" like the classic newspaper gossip columnist, and the style of Paul Harvey. So, have a nice day.)

Do triangulations with Karzai, and the Taliban and so forth actually make any sense?

I have a copy of the New York Times at my house; this is the January 31 issue, and I have been looking at one particular article. It is about Afghanistan (Af), and I had found it hard to read.

     Before throwing away the newspaper into the garbage can, I thought to try again. Finally I got somewhere.

     Sometimes Asperger's Syndrome makes it hard but in any case on the last try, the piece did lay down much more nicely, or lay out, for me. This piece that I finally understood involves a kind of triangulation between Karzai or Afghanistan, the Taliban, and the U.S. One of the article's themes is that of an attempted office to be opened by the Taliban and this is in someplace like I think Saudi Arabia or Qatar. Or maybe Pakistan. Right? I am still not sure if Pakistan was one of the places. Nevertheless the article, on this latest attempt, became a lot more friendly to me. Thanks, article. Why was the piece so difficult for so long? Maybe because it is dumb.

     It is dumb. This is all happening in Afghanistan, of course. The U.S. behavior seems dumb. It seems real dumb, from where I sit. Here's why.
      When you negotiate, in the context of the culture of Af, you have accepted the legitimacy of the other party.
     According to the public statements of the U.S., under Bush, the government of the U.S. "will never negotiate with the terrorists," etc. This may be slightly dated, but this is the information that the American citizens are allowed to have.  Going by that general kind of understanding, one is justified in thinking that  the U.S. fights terrorism. It does not accept the terrorism.
     It's totally absurd. The U.S. went into Af in 2001, directly consequent to the terrorist attack in new York.
     Now, the paper is telling me, the U.S. is encouraging talks with the Taliban, for which they need an office, which does not in my opinion correspond to the original idea of why we were in Af. This is just plain dumb.
     This is why I am once again reminded of the deep or intuitive similarity of Af to Vietnam. In either case one wants to ask: "why are we in Afghanistan?" in much the spirit not of Iraq, but rather of Vietnam. The feeling one gets in opposing the U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan, if one did so, would be much the same as the feeling we had when we had similar concerns regarding Vietnam in the sixties and early seventies, which I was alive for and experienced.

     There is the problem that the idea to "allow the Taliban to open an office in Qatar" [NYT, p. A6] is a U.S. idea and not an idea coming from the other parties, the T. or the Af.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fact of Fiction? Ying or Yang? (Scholarly Economics)

What all careers and jobs have in common is that they are part of a market situation, in which items are put on sale. The items are called commodities. Commodities are items that are available in exchange for money. But is there any time, any situation whatsoever, when commodities should be given rather than exchanged for compensation? Are there any conditions where compensation or payment could be eliminated, such that items of trade could transfer without the precondition of monetary or other compensation? Could there ever be a place for that? Do consumers at present ever receive commodities without paying?

Under the commodity system as it exists, there are the parties who exist relative to a given transaction. One party receives, the other pays. In this way, the commodity transfers, and that party that receives must proffer a payment to the other. A buyer buys from seller. This is the world we live in. And in this world, we find that persons train well in order to enter what is in fact a peculiar system of payments and transfers, referred to as the Economy, or Market. There are capitalized because they are the verbal constructions we use. There are words or phrases that use the word "market," but it is all really rather vague. This world that persons are sent into is referred to by use of the word "market," often preceded by article (a/the): a market, the market, the market system, and so forth. This is our world, and this is the world the elites go into upon graduation from the best schools. (see a recently published book, "Quiet," for a description of the Harvard Business School atmosphere) They go into this world after studying, at which time they either sell products to others directly or they help out in general with the system that does so, which is to say that they help out in all kinds of ways, supporting just this very commodity system, the system of buying and selling things.

The general idea of this kind of "economic" or "market" implies these sales and purchases (JKG distinguishes these two concepts). These exist. These are, of course, the sales and purchases of product items.
     No one is doubting that it exists, but there's a problem. And that problem is waiting to be discovered. And part of this problem is that, like so many things in this particular field called economics, the general view is completely incorrect. Believe it or not!

     Oooooops. Something went wrong? Well, let us investigate, then.
     Here's what we'll do. We'll make a list of all the things that happens to a commodity, commodity "x," as it passes on its way. Let's look at all these items of commerce, one be one. Are they to be thought of as existing only to be sold?
     1) a boyfriend buys an item of commerce (so far so good for our idea that commodities exist only as items that are sold) only (Oooooops) to GIVE it to his date. And, next:
     2) a husband buys, and he shares with family (he still has one of those; it isn't Huxley's Brave New World yet).
     3) the military, or else the government, buys things. They buy products on the market (so far so good, huh?) to operate their organizations. Where did they get the money for that? Ooooops. There's a problem again. They raised it from taxation. The originating firm (for the commodities purchased) makes a profit. In this case the money used is the government's. And thus when the taxpayers "gave" it it did not purchase a commodity for them except if you consider the operation of their government the commodity they purchase with their tax payments, which doesn't sound quite right (then they must have been forced to buy that, and that never, ever happens, not in the normal system as we know it).
     The buck stops here. And so does the idea that the nature of commodities is that they are "make to be sold." They are equally as much made to be given away (or perhaps purchased by money that is contributed via taxation). Thus there is no particular reason that we ought to characterize the economy as consisting solely of commodity payments.

     "The economy" is whatever we want that word to mean. (The word is the hinge; we are the ones in control, in my view). If we change our knowledge of what the economy is, It suddenly looks different.

     Husband buys a loaf of bread. He shares it with his wife or his son. Is that latter transaction also an economic one? Now make it more tricky, and look at the "commercial world" instead. But it's the same world. If some cat named D. Trump builds a skyscraper, certainly that one is dedicated only to commercial uses. We may believe so. He paid the Chinese for the raw materials (even though he hates doing it, he implies in an interview). Commercial, I'm certain. Then, he rents out (or sells) his "privately owned" commodity, his rooms or floors or living quarters for millionaires or office suites, to tenant others. Is this a totally capitalistic event?  It is only a transaction where some commodity or item of commerce is obtained through payment of sums of money? Is that it? It may be more difficult to comprehend in the case of a Trump skyscraper, but, nevertheless, if we cancel the economic value of a meal given by a mother to a child, why not also cancel the economic value of an office suite rented by arch-capitalist Donald Trump? There are people involved, and thus it is wrong to say, in any event, that life is solely an "economic" transaction; because, also it is part of living, being. Ying becomes yang, yang becomes ying.
    Therefore, every event in a fully capitalistic society is both an economic event and a life event. It is both. Maybe there is one penultimate monster out there (we change the names every so often; currently it is Bashar of Syria, because they done killed S.H. already), a pure ego, but there can be no comparison of any two events, such that we can say: "this one is exchanged on the market, and that one is not." 
    All events partake of the nature of the social system. This therefore is not a society with only things that are paid for. And not even a society in which only some things are only paid for. All things are both commodities and non-commodities. It is all integrated together.

     If you want to be successful at business, look at those people that say
they are doing things only for money, know the truth, and, since this is indeed the case, since it is the truth you'll be successful in business "without even trying."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Repeat This Phrase a Few Times Over

Here is a disarmingly simple phrase.         "Capitalism is social."

I would like you to repeat it to yourself a few times; or many.

Tell me what happened, in the "Comments" section, below.

Jack Silverman

An Attempt to Scare Away All Possible Subscribers To My Blog


You are a foolish, ignorant blob of excess gunk littering the planet. You should feel good about that and celebrate it. All you have is your awareness so use it. Accept yourself as you are, a foolish, ignorant blob of excess gunk littering the planet.
Maybe that is why you work so hard. Maybe that is why you are so “motivated” to use the word in the Protestant-ethical sense. To be a nobody is a strong motivation to become a “somebody.” But my hope is that you’ll always see your own inferiority, thereby remaining at least somewhat humble.
Otherwise you will become a fascist dictator or a pig. A pig. A pig like the porcine creatures from Orwell’s “animal Farm.” Or like the Cops who Shot Fred Hampton. We do not want that. We do not want you to be thinking too much of yourself.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

On language:

There is a subtle difference between “Each one” and “one another.” Using the example of a heap of bricks, you can say, “each one is supporting each other one” or else you can say they support "one another.” Either way you are saying that they support one another. Or: each other. But yet there is a distinction. Ambrose Bierce says that the only way to parse here is simply to think it over carefully!
     There are two ways in which the brick event could transpire, as follows. Are we to say they're one big mass----that is supporting itself? That is the first case for “each one.” The mass supports itself the mass. (Each individual brick is part of a great project?). Or are we to state it the second way, which is that of the “one another” type, and this is a bit more like looking at each one. There is more a sense of going one by one, Bierce says.
     Either way, each brick is supporting the other but there is this difference.