On Environmentalism: Remixing Le Bon

If we would comprehend the profound influence of Environmentalism we need only to examine its doctrines… Like religions (and Environmentalism is tending more and more to put on the guise of a religion) it propagates itself in any manner than by reason. Feeble in the extreme when it attempts to reason, and to support itself by scientific arguments, it becomes on the contrary extremely powerful when it remains in the region of dreams, affirmations, and chimerical promises… Now the great power of beliefs, when they tend to assume this religious form … lies in the fact that their propagation is independent of the proportion of truth or error they may contain, for as soon as a belief has gained a lodging in the minds of men its absurdity no longer appears; reason cannot reach it, and only time can impair it…

The Technology for Controlling Others Exists

The technology for controlling others exists and it will be used, given the persistence of power-seeking motives. Furthermore, we will need to use it, since the necessary social changes cannot come about if the affected people do not understand and desire them…. How do we educate “run-of-the-mill” citizens for membership in a democratic society?… How do we teach people to understand their relationship to long range planning?… And how do we teach people to be comfortable with the process of change? Should we educate for this? We shall probably have to. But how?…

The need for educating to embrace change is not limited to youngsters…. Education for tomorrow’s world will involve more than programming students by a computer; it will equally involve the ways in which we program… parents to respond to the education… children get for this kind of world. To the extent we succeed with the youngsters but not with the parents, we will have… a very serious consequence: an increasing separation of the young from their parents…. It will have psychological repercussions, probably producing in the children both guilt and hostility (arising from their rejection of their parents’ views and
values in lifestyles).

–THE COMPUTER IN AMERICAN EDUCATION (John Wiley & Sons: New York, 1967)

Machine Husbandry: On Nitinol

If every component of an aerial vehicle were constructed from Nitinol, the results would be disastrous. Some stiffness, especially in rocket and turbine elements, is vital. Problems are encountered at the juncture between alloys with lots of flexion and metals with little. Tensile variability would have to be integrated in a planar Nitinol element in the forging process.

Beyond this, a mortise and tenon design will also present obstacles. A ‘slippery-vise’ design has the potential to overcome these obstacles by enabling aerospace designers to develop unbroken, single-piece Nitinol skins for craft — an ultra-light composite outer layer and a rigid inner kernel for componentry and engine blocks.

The ‘slippery-vise’ design would guarantee the preservation of Nitinol skin integrity when encountering G-Forces when the craft is mass-driven, as the ‘vise’ will be situated perpendicularly to the launch rail.

Many issues related to Nitinol skin development result from design orthodoxy that presupposes human occupancy. Most obstacles could be overcome readily if next-generation craft were commandeered remotely; seals are a design-bane.

Transcendental Fascism

Tenets and Principles of Conduct Under the Transcendental Fascist State

Value/s and Ethics, Part I. — Eleven Points

Many tenets follow from acknowledgment of one simple truth: The utility of paper money/currency is overstated. Hence:

  1. The gift will be a cornerstone of the Transcendental Fascist economy.
  2. Value is subjective, and thus no two transactions are alike or of equal, determinant value.
  3. No rewards or arbitrary value for equal work: If a soul is a natural producer, he will accrue to himself goods in proportion to the gifts or labor-as-gift he dispenses.
  4. Value is not a function of time. Value is only discoverable in the novel exchange between two or more parties. Value, then, cannot be standardized; it cannot be predetermined.
  5. Only when represented by paper does degenerate art appear to possess value. Value in these instances is manufactured at auction. The value of good work/s and art is intrinsic, it is universally discoverable, and it is universally valued by a culture. Good work/s resist denomination. Good work/s can’t help but instruct technically and spiritually—it is without price, as it gives in perpetuity.
  6. Shelter is not a privilege and will not convey status.
  7. Like shelter, food is not a privilege. No man or household will accrue to himself more rations than are his natural allotment. If one participates in its production, it is one’s natural right to share or exchange for gifts whatever quantity of his foodstuffs one sees fit.
  8. Under no circumstances will food or shelter or the effects thereof be taxed. The gift is exempt from taxation.
  9. In instances when value is debased by representation with currency, which is inherently valueless, the offender is taxed through servitude to the community. The length of his service is determined by the community and is customarily proportional to the extent to which the gift-as-medium-of-exchange was displaced. A second debasement offense is a capital offense.
  10. Capital offenses are prosecuted by the State. If found guilty, the offender will be executed by Shechita.
  11. The State will intervene as a matter of course on the behalf of animals. Cruelty to animals is a capital offense and the offender will be executed by Shechita.

Populist Sociology of Language

To be populist does not necessitate that one appeal to the Totalist Regime’s constituency with the adoption of a decayed vernacular; the regime’s constituency must, by example, be encouraged to rise broadly and substantially. Hence, attention to parts of speech and spelling by that regime’s spokespeople and propagandists is essential; each serves to legitimate the system’s core values by invoking standards of intellectual comportment espoused by statesman and subject alike. This is the way that stultification in a formerly valueless, economized people is overcome, keeping always in mind:

Totalist core values are undermined by an active abridgement of language, as dissent is fomented through the practical exploitation of a population’s learned proclivity to finance thought with base, provincial word combinations, shorthand and slang. In order to thrive, the Totalist Regime must eradicate what is base in a carryover culture’s speech and to disabuse its constituency by the positive reformation of propaganda. Fundaments are best conveyed when an exactness of word-meanings is pursued doggedly – by the State, by the household and in the classroom. To the Totalist, and by extension, to the Transcendental Fascist, what relativizes in speech is spurious.

Frederick T. Gates: A Vision of the Remedy

Frederick T. Gates, “A Vision of the Remedy,” The Country School of Tomorrow: Occasional Papers No. 1 (General Education Board: New York, 1913)


Is there aught of remedy for this neglect of rural life? Let us, at least, yield ourselves to the gratifications of a beautiful dream that there is. In our dream, we have limitless resources, and the people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hand. The present educational conventions fade from our minds; and, unhampered by tradition, we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive rural folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into philosophers or men of learning or of science.We are not to raise up from among them authors, orators, poets, or men of letters. We shall not search for embryo great artists, painters, musicians. Nor will we cherish even the humbler ambition to raise up from among them lawyers, doctors, preachers, politicians, statesmen, of whom we now have ample supply.

C.S. Lewis on The Liberal Arts

If education is beaten by training, civilization dies.

–C.S. Lewis

Gregory Dunn–The first reason we study the liberal arts has to do with freedom. That freedom is an integral part of the liberal arts is borne out of Lewis’s observation that “liberal comes of course from the Latin, liber, and means free.” Such an education makes one free, according to Lewis, because it transforms the pupil from “an unregenerate little bundle of appetites” into “the good man and the good citizen.” We act most human when we are reasonable, both in thought and deed. Animals, on the other hand, act wholly out of appetite. When hungry, they eat; when tired, they rest. Man is different. Rather than follow our appetites blindly we can be deliberate about what we do and when we do it. The ability to rule ourselves frees us from the tyranny of our appetites, and the liberal arts disciplines this self-rule. In other words, this sort of education teaches us to be most fully human and thereby, to fulfill our human duties, both public and private.

Lewis contrasts liberal arts education with what he calls “vocational training,” the sort that prepares one for employment. Such training, he writes, “aims at making not a good man but a good banker, a good electrician… or a good surgeon.” Lewis does admit the importance of such training—for we cannot do without bankers and electricians and surgeons—but the danger, as he sees it, is the pursuit of training at the expense of education. “If education is beaten by training, civilization dies,” he writes, for the “lesson of history” is that “civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost.” It is the liberal arts, not vocational training, that preserves civilization by producing reasonable men and responsible citizens….

A third reason we study the liberal arts is because it is simply our nature and duty. Man has a natural thirst for knowledge of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, and men and women of the past have made great sacrifices to pursue it in spite of the fact that, as Lewis puts it, “human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice.” In his words, “they propound mathematical theorems in beleaguered cities, conduct metaphysical arguments in condemned cells, make jokes on scaffolds.” So, finding in the soul an appetite for such things, and knowing no appetite is made by God in vain, Lewis concludes that the pursuit of the liberal arts is pleasing to God and is possibly, for some, a God-given vocation…. Truly, we ignore the liberal arts only at our peril. Without them we will find ourselves increasingly unable to preserve a civilized society, to escape from the errors and prejudices of our day, and to struggle in the arena of ideas to the glory of God.

On Principle from the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs (April 1999, Vol. VII, No. 2).

The Servant as Leader

by Robert K. Greenleaf


SERVANT AND LEADER — can these two roles be fused in one real person, in all levels of status or calling? If so, can that person live and be productive in the real world of the present? My sense of the present leads me to say yes to both questions. This paper is an attempt to explain why and to suggest how.

The idea of The Servant as Leader came out of reading Hermann Hesse’s Journey to the East. In this story we see a band of men on a mythical journey, probably also Hesse’s own journey. The central figure of the story is Leo who accompanies the party as the servant who does their menial chores, but who also sustains them with his spirit and his song. He is a person of extraordinary presence. All goes well until Leo disappears. Then the group falls into disarray and the journey is abandoned. They cannot make it without the servant Leo. The narrator, one of the party, after some years of wandering finds Leo and is taken into the Order that had sponsored the journey. There he discovers that Leo, whom he had known first as servant, was in fact the titular head of the Order, its guiding spirit, a great and noble leader. 

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Institutional Memory and Its Champions

The concept of memory as a tool and set of techniques that can be learned and skillfully applied to form mental and ideological spaces has a long tradition. Its use as a weapon to establish Symbolic Orders can be traced back to the earliest records of domination. Pre-modern societies based their social memory on the interaction of oral transmission and information in pictorial code. Artificial memory is established through places and images, a virtual psycho-geography of synreal systems, strengthened and confirmed by training.

Regulated by the state through an education system controlled by priestly elites, sensory perception can be harnessed through the visual representations of extremes or analogies which will then be methodologically applied in the creation of mental scenarios and punctuate the individual’s development through ritualistic ceremonies. A monologic tyranny of monuments is radiating the wonders and mysteries of the Symbolic Order, memorials of a spectacular reconfiguration of memory.

These scenarios introduce an arrow of time and an inherently political narrative logic to a mental structure of psycho-civilization, dependent on collective ritual re-enactment and performance, reinforcing hyperlinks of cognitive associations within the ideational bunker.

–Konrad Becker, Memory Construction, The Tactical Reality Dictionary

Institutional Memory

Institutional memory is a collective set of facts, concepts, experiences and know-how held by a group of people. As it transcends the individual, it requires the ongoing transmission of these memories between members of this group. Elements of institutional memory may be found in corporations, professional groups, government bodies, religious groups, academic collaborations, and by extension in entire cultures.

Institutional memory may be encouraged to preserve an ideology or way of work in such a group. Conversely, institutional memory may be ingrained to the point that it becomes hard to challenge if something is found to contradict that which was previously thought to have been correct. Institutional memory may have influence on organizational identity, choice of individuals, and actions of the individuals interacting with the institution.

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Gatekeeping: A Critical Review by Karine Barzilai-Nahon

by Karine Barzilai-Nahon


Introduction

Gatekeeping refers broadly to the process of controlling information as it moves through a gate or filter and is associated with exercising different types of power (e.g., selecting news, enforcing the status quo in parliamentary committees, mediating between professional and ethnic groups, brokering expert information). The literature on gatekeeping is fragmented in terms of epistemologies, theories and models, vocabularies, heuristics, and research challenges both within and between disciplines and fields. This happens because discourse on the topic of gatekeeping is conducted within each discipline, in relative isolation. In spite of an extensive literature, few comprehensive reviews are to be found. This chapter follows in the footsteps of two such reviews (Metoyer-Duran, 1993; Shoemaker, 1991). It offers a systematic review that explores the main trends and analytical frameworks relating to gatekeeping in the literature from 1995 to 2007 in eight fields: library and information science (henceforth information science), communication, law, management of information systems, management, political science, public affairs, and sociology. The review demonstrates the lack of analytical tools to respond to two important phenomena: the dynamism of gatekeeping and essential role of those subjected to a gatekeeping process. Network Gatekeeping Theory is a contextualizing move to highlight research threads in the literature through these two missing prisms. This new framework is a platform to help researchers develop and further refine questions for an improved understanding of gatekeeping.

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