Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wanderers 2018.1.31

This morning was Open Forum, meaning we practice what we preach:  wandering from topic to topic, changing the subject rather frequently.  That doesn't mean many topics are taboo, to be explicitly avoided.  On the contrary, we talked a lot about the SOTU (State of the Union) and the US president's speech, which I didn't catch live, but am aware of.

I have some typical talking points in this chapter.  I'm a globalist, ergo skeptical that nationalism is here for the long haul. However, as the premier local (to Planet Earth) religion, I get why politicians milk it for all it's worth.

"Nation-states are for children" I say, almost with a sneer, but then immediately back off, admitting only a few of us elite need to see it that way ("children are minding the store" shouts the est Trainer), whereas whole-hearted belief in one's "nation" is just fine for the hoi polloi.  What can I say?  We're all programmed (me as much as the next guy).

Barbara was there, though heading off to Guyana.  David Tver and I bantered about Noam Chomsky, agreeing we're not disciples when it comes to his theories about language, me more out of ignorance than having made a concerted study.

I was a philosophy of language guy, who came up against transcendentalists working to make "gravity" rhyme more with "negentropy" ("syntropy") which really looks like a long shot.  So many namespaces need the gravitas that gravity brings to the equations, or table.  There might be a niche market for such discussion, but maybe only in retreat settings where people aren't defending a turf or academic department.

I'm talking about Synergetics of course, wherein Fuller posits "precession" as his escape pod from the Newtonian vortex, wherein gravity is the one-on-one two body phenomenon of "falling in" based on escalating force (as proximity, or closeness, increases).  Precession is meant to explain a lot more of the spinning, reactions not at 180 degrees to equal opposite actions.

The reactions are not equal, yet energy conservation is real, meaning resultants, sometimes unexpected i.e. precessional.  "That's a clever web" I remember thinking, "but will it withstand the test of time?".

Next time we meet on a Wednesday, I plan to field test my new slide show about the concept of "dimension" in Synergetics.  Wanderers is open to people guinea pigging themselves, especially when preparing presentations.  Some aspects of Synergetics are likely to live on through the 21st Century, or so I'm surmising.  Time will tell.

Given my background in Wittgenstein, I have a well-developed sense of the flexibility of language. If words anchored to reality more by "spot welding" as naming theory suggests (both Platonism and nominalism tend to share this same theory), then we might be less upgradable as operating systems.

In his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein was at pains to show that words don't gain their significance by "pointing" to objects, although metaphorically speaking that's one of the easiest (and most misleading) models to comprehend.

I also made the point that, thanks to Prohibition and its subsequent repeal, which made many citizens and syndicates into experienced outlaws, we also have a nation of scofflaws to an extent some prudish nationalists have trouble grasping.

Americans tolerate government precisely because, until recently, it didn't have the big data surveillance powers it now could have, if properly organized, more like an organized religion.  IBM helped the Nazis with its Hollerith machines.

Americans say "Americans are ungovernable" with a sense of pride, and that's a part of their nationalism, their ethos, which presents something of a problem for the mostly literally nationalist, the authoritarians.

Many dream of vengefully bringing the renegades to heel and punishing the defiant. They want to see demonstrations of state power, even as they may still give lip service to more libertarian sounding values.  Even anarchists get this way sometimes.  The "hive mind" syndrome is no respecter of ideologies.

Finally, I mentioned thinking it perfectly legal (in the sense of legitimate) for these nation-states to exert influence on one another through social media.

The idea of Russians buying ads on Facebook doesn't bother me even a little.  The British do it too, which bothers me a little more.  I don't trust British suspicion of the Russians usually, as it relates back to their inheriting Roman Imperialism, a meme virus.  Americans were infected with that too, and tend to crow about it as a chief asset.  Just look at DC's architecture.

Anyway, the idea that nations seek to influence election outcomes does not disturb me.  It's a tiny planet and we all have a stake in the various outcomes.  The sooner we acknowledge what goes on, and stop trying to deal with it by criminalizing it, the better.

A lot of Americans have an inferiority complex when it comes to propaganda, thinking probably others do it better, because they're so truthful and innocent.  It's those other people who get deceitful and "manipulate the masses".  That's a complex to outgrow I'm thinking.