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  • hardie karges 6:48 am on April 26, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    How do different plants of the same kind know to bloom all at the same time, 

    no matter at what stage of development they happen to be? This happens regardless of whether plants are in close proximity and subject to direct communication through pollen exchange or something similar. There must be some kind of genetic memory intrinsic to organic reproduction. If a plant that I’ve transplanted loses leaves so that it’s out of balance, it’ll shut back, still producing new leaves and branches, but keeping them very close to the trunk, lest it accelerate its own demise. There may be more to Platonic forms than verbal plateaus, something like visual programming.

  • hardie karges 11:58 am on April 20, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    America-bashing is reaching new heights in the Iraq War aftermath. 

    I know why people hate America. That’s obvious, because she’s arrogant. What I’d like to know is: why is everybody, particularly Europeans, so interested in poking around in America’s closet? The national debt, the savings rate, obesity levels, whatever, it’s like foreigners are keeping score or placing bets or something, mostly betting that America will lose, I assume. Americans are in the game also, though they tend to be conspiracy theorists rather than outright anti-American. Conspiracy theorists look for sinister plots and causal connections to explain the evil running rampant in the world. These they will definitely find, though more likely originating in their own imagination, than in some deep dark archives. Get lives, people! Admittedly America has lost her leadership position in the world, but this doesn’t mean everybody gets to take cheap shots whenever they want. Who cares what America’s debt is? If America had no debt, then the rest of the world would have no dollars! It’s not a perfect system, capitalism. Most systems aren’t. The European attitude is obviously disingenuous if not outright jealous. They had their chance to fuck up the world, of course, and did quite a grand job of it, before almost self-destructing in the World Wars. The United States sacrificed her radical roots to police the world and save Europe from the bear grip of Communism from which it might never have emerged. The world is looking increasingly multi-polar with America, China, and Europe jockeying for first rights. Islam is making a play, but I doubt that the world is ready for a new Dark Age. Life’s just too good for most people, giving the lie to conspiracy, and many can still remember the last Dark Age. Of course, it may happen whether we like it or not, literally, if the lights go out when the oil is all gone.

  • hardie karges 9:44 am on April 19, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: determinism,   

    Free will is one of the conundrums of human existence. 

    Are we really free-lance actors in an experimental theatre or is someone, indeed, ‘pulling the strings’? Has it ‘all been written’ so that a fortune-teller or psychic reader can merely decipher the text? Certainly, much has been written in the book of DNA handed everyone at birth, and much has been written in the culture one is socialized into. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities for independent action. One can only play the hand one is given, but one can certainly play that hand any number of ways. On the extrapolated level of nations and races, much can be made of the advantages ‘given’ the West by virtue of its descent from cultures of the Mid-east and the cereal grains inherited, as put for in ‘Guns, Germs, and Steel’. No, that’s not a rock group, but a brilliant tome, if flawed ultimately. Human history is largely one of cultural evolution, including food production, not nutritional evolution. The argument is self-defeating. Food production beyond mere subsistence can be achieved quite naturally in any number of ways, depending on the geographic and historical, including cultural, milieu. Once accomplished, culture is free to plot the future of its race to the finish. That is the true story of history, as I see it.

  • hardie karges 11:08 am on April 18, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Free will in human activity is not only possible, but it is essential. 

    This is the problem with Conspiracy, of course, that it postulates some abstract ‘them’ as responsible for all the world’s problems throughout history without ever specifying who ‘they’ are, and making our own actions irrelevant. No doubt there are hundreds of little conspiracies going on all the time. I just don’t believe in the Big C. Without free will there are no ethics, no morals, no courts, and no basketballs, just chrome-plated hardened balls in pinball machines bouncing off cushions and landing on pins in a mad search for rubbers, lights flashing and bells ringing, like your worst Las Vegas nightmare. There is no reason to apologize and blame some abstract determinism for the sad state of human affairs, because in reality, it’s never been so good. There is no reason to apologize for one region’s apparent superiority over the others because such views fail to take into account that such ‘superiority’ might be the death of us all. We might all be rushing to Africa one day to look for something we forgot or some DNA we’re missing to make us real humans again. They’re the real thing, after all; Asians and Caucasians are the mutant freaks. Our best visions are still myopic and ethnocentric. The future is pure mathematical probability and the present is too dynamic to be taken in perspective. Like evolution, you can only look back and see who’s been more successful.

  • hardie karges 8:45 pm on April 17, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    The prettiest flowers grow in the ugliest plots, 

    like latter-day hippies taking pink fuzzy comfort in the long loving arms of Conspiracy. Ignorance finds fertile ground in the ashes of a once vigorous culture now gone to seed in an era of uncertainty and self-recrimination. It feels good to know that THEY have caused all the world’s problems, not US. It feels good to know that we’ve got the goods on the hoods and that the day of reckoning will be followed by another long day of supposing, followed by another long day of figuring. It’s your move. Buy a vowel and try to solve the puzzle before it’s too late. Ignorance will surely save us from the excesses of our own intelligence one way or another, by hook or crook. The crooks have got the home-court advantage, but they don’t own the ball. The ball is in someone else’s court now. It took barbarians with battle-axes to save us from the golden age of Greek and Roman slavery. It’ll take some bozos with cell phones and laptops to save us from the silicon age of European and American industrialization.

  • hardie karges 5:34 am on April 13, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Conspiracy invokes the glow of religion in the faces of its disciples. 

    Maybe this is not surprising in a world in which ‘God is dead’. Obviously religions have existed primarily to serve our psychological needs, not our biological ones. Of course if there’s a ‘God’ gene, then it’s got to be fed, one way or another, whether religion, drugs, or meditation, the need for abstraction. Just like you have to go through the motions of reproduction whether you intend to produce children or not. Biologically all we have to do as a species is survive individually, on average, long enough to reproduce. That’s it. Do that and the tree keeps growing. Conspiracy theory serves another need, psychologically, for its practitioners, but also serves as a weathervane for society and culture. Once the battles have all been won and the struggle is gone from daily existence, then what? Once your wealthiest citizens can purchase a round-trip ticket to the space station and return with an armful of souvenirs, then what? Does consciousness eventually turn against itself, rejecting the very things it fought so hard to accomplish? Consciousness is something that has to be fed. If it has nothing to eat, then it will bite the hand that feeds it.

  • hardie karges 1:26 am on April 9, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Conspiracies of ignorance are the real conspiracies, 

    easy answers to rhetorical questions, the need for certainty and reassurance in a world with very little of either. When card-carrying Conspiracy People (CP’s) told me that “we need four more years of George W”, the man they supposedly hated more than Hell itself, then something is wrong. CP’s are doing the same thing that they accuse THEM of doing, i.e. manipulating events to suit their own political agenda, in this case, getting people like me off the fence and into one or the other opposing camps, just like the jihadis are doing in Indonesia. “You can’t handle the truth!” they like to imply in self-congratulation. Hey, I like it on the fence, where I can see both sides of an issue with at least an increased, if not perfect, clarity. The view’s nice here, with a view of the peaks and all. Democracy works, however clumsily and imperfectly. If we succumb to easy fixes for difficult questions and paranoid responses to provocative stances, then THEY win, whoever THEY are.

  • hardie karges 9:59 am on April 8, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Internet defines the age of communication, 

    spooky actions at a distance, intricate inter-connections at an infinite degree of separation. Internet is made for conspiracy; you could never get a quorum otherwise. Fringe elements unite in the musty worldwide cobwebs of Cyberia. Somehow they all manage to read the same sources, as if they themselves were the very conspiracy that they see in others. False prophets emerge from the woodwork and take to the airwaves, the broad fetching smile of religion spreading across their faces, so sure of themselves that it makes me hurt. Ego and logic unite to uplift the individual and undermine the state. We won’t miss clunky old democracy until it’s gone and replaced by something far more efficient. Technology is the new opium of the masses, clean and neat if not discreet. Internet is a maze of false leads and misplaced ideals. You could get lost in there. It works best as a combination telephone directory, Sears catalog and dating service, a meeting place of lost souls and found objects. Forget the revolution; let’s eat!

  • hardie karges 9:14 am on April 5, 2009 Permalink | Reply  

    Righteous idealism also falls fairly flat 

    when you consider that Athens apparently was every bit the cradle of slavery as it was of democracy. Democracy has always been borne on the backs of slaves, lofty goals held up by whipped backs and hungry mouths, Greece and Rome and the deep deep South. Usually the slaves come from somewhere else, so they don’t count as ‘human’. Historically, there are some favorite pools for capturing slaves, most specifically Africa and the Slav heartland in East Europe (hence the term ‘slave’). Colonialism had a prettier face, but the end result was still the same and it had little to do with race. Scar tissue is ugly whatever the circumstance; a little white powder can’t hurt. So slaves became Slavs, Mongols became moguls, blacks became blokes, and the rest became history. Personally I don’t want to fall into my own self-parody of the fool for whom “everything is the opposite of what it seems”. Still, the greater ignorance would seem to be the sheep-like blindness of those who follow their leaders unquestioningly without even considering the possibility of back-stage manipulations. Bottom line, a story presented as fact needs to be more than ‘compelling’; it needs to be true. Still, what is the measure of truth? I doubt that truth comes in discrete quanta. Love, maybe, but not truth. Welcome to Historical Relativity and the Political Uncertainty Principle (PUP). They can fight it out on the back pages of experiment. There, I feel better now.

  • hardie karges 1:18 pm on April 3, 2009 Permalink | Reply

    Conspiracy theory runs deep on both sides, 

    both quasi-conspirators and quasi-theorists, from the secret societies of Freemasons and Illuminati to the Rothschilds’ Zion to the eye on the pyramid on the back of the U.S. dollar to the ‘New World Order’ of Prescott, Georges H. & W., and the entire Bush Brothers Band. Deep on both sides indeed, but a bit shallow in the middle. The problem with conspiracy as a way of life, of course, is that it is long on theory and short on facts. An anomalous ‘they’ can be held responsible for any and every evil deed that lacks clear antecedents, and some that do, to the point that there are really no longer any reasons to try to change anything at all, because there are so many convenient excuses for failure. If a Republican wins, it’s because he’s “their boy”. If a Democrat wins, then that’s because “they installed him” for their own reasons. It’s a loser’s paradise: “The game is rigged; all wealth is old wealth; capitalism is a pyramid scheme; nobody loves me”, etc. The extrapolation continues ad absurdum ad nauseum: the moon landing was staged; the earth is hollow (it used to be flat, remember); Argentina and the U.K. fought a fake war in the Malvinas; Saddam was ‘our’ boy; Jesus Christ never existed; WE sunk the economy of Argentina (how many times?), blah blah, yada yada, etc. etc. Now I know why courts are so concerned with motivations and forensic evidence, because otherwise stories like this could be accepted at face value as fact, given their internal logic and crisp story lines. Conspiracy theory is also certainly bolstered by the fact that shit does, indeed, happen. Witness the mock Texas border dispute that lead to war with Mexico, the unexplained battleship Maine sinking that led to war with Spain, the Reichstag fire, the Gulf of Tonkin, The USS Pueblo, maybe Pearl Harbor, and I don’t even want to think about KL007.

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