20 January 2011

Feeling Aphoristic...

...that is, Nietzschean? Wittgensteinian?

I've been toodling around the internet, sprinkling comments here and there the last few days. I've collected a few of them here as aphorisms (with links to the original discussions—go visit them):

The issue is freedom. I believe there are determinisms, yes. Too many, in fact: genetic, environmental, societal, political, economic, mathematical, astronomical, medical, e.g. And in sum they can negate each other. Provide outs for each other. But each uniquely responds to each's own over-determination. In that, there is a certain freedom. Much depends on how you look at it.


Power is Koch Bros. Goldman Sachs. ExxonMobil. GE. The ones who don't do the yapping so overtly. Power's main job is to perpetuate itself. PR sophistry is certainly one effective way, esp. w/r/t those who aren't paying attention.

George Lakoff talks about the preservation of governing: if we limit the size of Gov't, other powerful or moneyed or advantaged interests fill in the power vacuum. The move toward anarchy favors those who already have a leg up and can mobilize to capitalize.

Now, I don't want to rule; and I presume neither do you. What we can do, is try to keep the ones who do honest. Balance them off against each other. Pay attention.


How many bystanders would be hit by flying bullets if a bunch of carriers opened up once they heard shooting. How're you gonna' tell who's the bad guy and who's, like you, trying to stop them? More guns = more gun deaths.


I think she [Palin] probably meant "surveyor's" libel, too.


In the U.S., generally, we have the right to believe lies and conspiratorial propaganda, argue violently and threateningly, purchase and carry weapons designed to kill multiple people per second, and be bat-shit insane and not seek or be forced to seek treatment (unless someone in authority has declared us in a specific instance a threat to ourselves or others). The degree varies, of course, from state to state.

We have the right to be or to be perceived as a threat to everyone around us. We have, that is, the right make people fear us.

We do not have the right to be free of these fears.

And that's the way it is. Thursday, January 13, 2012.


Pacifist movements are almost exclusively leftish. Hawkishness is often bilateral, but more stridently rightist.

Non-violence was perhaps THE greatest socio-political innovation of the 20th Century, and it came from the left: Gandhi’s anti-imperialism and MLK’s civil rights movement leadership. That’s not to say there weren’t violent leftists in either movement. There were. But there is no tradition of non-violence on the right.

You’ve mixed up cause and effect: left despair is as a result of the slowness/incremental nature of social change wrought by a non-violent movement (vid health care reform). But not only is the left impatient with this method, it must suffer, too, from the brutalities of the institutions it opposes. Ergo despair. Its lack of violence is not due to its despair—Chomsky notwithstanding.

Obversely, violent movements can effect change more rapidly; thus their bluster and bravado.

Crazy people, as you call them, are in pain. They need relief from their suffering, and they need it now. An effective movement (violent, rightist) can heal them magically—or, one presumes, so goes the belief. A patient, Gandhi/King-style struggle, however noble and ennobling, simply won’t do in the pinch they’re in. Thus the rightward gravitation.


My point was that despair was characterological of the left due to its non-violent lineage (which, of course, is not universal on the left but is entirely absent on the right). W/r/t health care: the debate from the Obama left (center) [which was schooled in MLK] was to reach out to the other side, try to understand their position, seek compromise (to the point of letting go some things some of us felt were essential—single payer, e.g.), not villify the opposition as enemies. From the right, it was confrontational: death threats, bullets and rocks through windows at rep’s offices, guns at town hall rallies, shouting and fingerpointing in the face of reps, ‘you lie’, ‘destroying America’, tyranny, blood of martyrs, ‘fascist’, ‘socialist’, ‘Hitler’, ‘Stalin’, evil, death panels, taking over, etc. There was a distinctly violent rhetorical aspect to the right’s opposition. And they’re sore losers to boot.


How I'm Feeling Today:


Frances Madeson said...

This is serious! As Jacob once wrote: “An aphorism is a saying with a black bar across the breast.”

Maybe Wisdoc could write you up a scrip for a little Gilbert Sorrentino and these ole boys from your stomping grounds back home in NC:


And if that don’t fix you up:


Wisdoc will know best, naturally.

And if none of that does the trick, I can dig a little deeper, Jim. Anything for you! Feel better soon.

Randal Graves said...

Hey now, none of these will fit inside a fortune cookie.

Hmmm, there's a potential moneymaker, non-craptacular fortune cookie aphorisms.

Jim H. said...

Thanks, FM, and right back atcha': http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H5naI8CE9Q

RG: This one used to crack my kids up at fortune cookie time: "Help! I'm being held prisoner in a Chinese fortune cookie factory." or this: "Translate this into English." Course, they grew up.