Archive for February, 2016

Squirrel Factor

 

When living in Palo alto a few years ago I could look out my home-office window and see a squirrel scurrying along a 2 x 6  fence rail. From time to time I would put a peanut or two on this rail and watch the squirrel stop, sniff the peanut, grasp it, quickly gnaw into it and either sit there and eat it or quickly carry it away. One day I put a small pile of peanuts on the rail – a treasure! The squirrel ran up to the pile, took one look and without taking a single nut, turned and ran away. I tried this a few more times. Whenever there was more than a few nuts,  the squirrel would run off without taking a single one. What was it about the unexpected and un-natural  bounty that frightened the little guy? Did too much of a good thing signal doom? Was this squirrel hard-wired to distrust excessive good fortune? Was it the weirdness of too many nuts in one place? A squirrel is a mammal. Humans are mammals we share 95% of our genes with squirrels and we share this revulsion toward unnatural, unexpected goodies.

On the night April 22, 2014  62 year old British aristocrat and passionate animal rights advocate Mark Shand fell to the sidewalk in New York city and died after a night of celebrating a hard-fought victory in his battle for Elephant protection in India. A dear friend Barbara Kwiatkowska said “It was a night of triumph and Mark was so happy. this was his big night, you could see how happy he was.” Mark’s foundation “Elephant Family USA” had just raised $1.7 million at a charity auction at Sotheby’s. Mark had been drinking scotch from dinner until he walked out of his third establishment of the night (“It was scotch all the way”) for a cigarette at 2:00 AM. Mark walked into a revolving door after finishing his smoke and fell back to the sidewalk, hitting the back of his head this time, cracking his skull and bruising his brain – he went into a coma and died the following day, to the shock and sadness of his family and friends. He was in the prime of his life, a “lion” to his closest friends.

What happened to Mark? Why do people drink to excess when celebrating big victories? why do auto racers celebrate a big win by ritual spraying of champagne onto all around the podium? Why is the victor presented with a magnum of champagne in the first place?  There is a tight link between victory and alcohol in our culture. Why?

Answer:  Squirrel Factor

Mammals are hardwired to distrust excess in good things. Alcohol depresses feelings of bliss associated with triumph. Your close friends will ensure that you drink a lot after a big victory. They will accompany you all over town as you drink yourself stupid, bringing you back into the orbit of the normal. Your friends don’t want to lose you to the bliss angels.

Jimi Hendrix was the towering master of rock and roll in 1969,  admired by his colleagues and worshipped by millions of amazed fans. He drank to excess one night and choked to death on his vomit. Mama Cass, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison-ditto. Kurt cobain blew his brains out at the height of his global success. !00% of touring rock stars of the past fifty years are drug and alcohol abusers – why? John Lennon- heroin junkie, James Taylor-heroin junkie, the Allman Brothers and their entire road crew – heroin junkies. One might think that musicians who have arrived at “The Mountaintop” (global success: worldwide sold-out concerts, international #1 hit records,TV appearances) would be high on a sort of natural happiness from having finally achieved a hard-won goal but they appear to be lower than people not dealing with fame. The mountain top breeds addiction like a Guatemalan swamp breeds mosquitoes. Look at a photo of the Beatles in 1970 after seven years of unprecedented acclaim,influence, towering personal wealth, love, adoration and respect from all corners of the cultural landscape. Faces as unhappy as those photographed overlooking a mass burial pit at Auschwitz.

Squirrel Factor – mammals (reptiles, amphibians, birds?) have little capacity to endure bounty in any form: love, money or fame. It just ain’t natural. It makes people nervous. It makes one vulnerable – to what? jealousy? envy? mooching relatives? The inevitable bliss-crash? The successful  have become tall poppies. If society doesn’t find a way to bring us down, most of us will find a way to bring ourselves down. This is quite sad.  Strength of character is measured, not by one’s capacity to endure hardship – almost all of can handle hard times, character is measured by one’s ability to endure bliss, to remain in the flow,  to savor victory in a graceful, non-destructive way. To live day after day in an elevated state i.e. to be happy.  Savoring victory with intelligence rather than in an alcohol stew is very hard for most.

We treasure our stories as they are  workable, exchangeable, elastic excuses for marginal ascent into one’s zone of excellence and happiness. Our stories are our reason why not. Is it Western culture alone that forces one to apologize for success? No, Russians drink like fish to avoid bliss.  Is bliss-killing an American, British, or uniquely Protestant, Christian or Muslim thing? Yes x 5. Whatever the biological or cultural origin and scope,  It is an unfortunate tendency that must be battled daily. try to endure an extra minute of pure happiness each day. Strengthen your bliss. Don’t follow your bliss. following implies that you are its dog. You and your bliss are one.

Beverage alcohol is a $200 billion industry in the United States. That is 9.4 billion gallons of bliss-killing slosh n’ grog across the land. We call ourselves the home of the brave – Ha!  The home of cowardly beer-swilling  bliss-chickens. Squirrel factor is an instinct. It is hardwired into the animal brain. One must battle it daily.

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JB Questions and Observations: Books: “Empire of Cotton”-Sven Beckert, The Georgetown Set” Gregg Herken – residual thought at item #1 from “Elementary Forms of Religious Life” – Emile Durkheim

  1. Picasso appropriated indigenous, timeless African and Polynesian totemic motifs, sacred religious objects, images, talismanic relics for his urban, boho-bourgeoisie, art-as-commodity milieu. He took art with deep tribal significance and repositioned it, appropriating all things bold and strong from this native art while conflating it with the rebellious pictorial tropes of late Cezanne ( more mythically dynamic art) in order to begin the path toward Cubism in 1906 creating his Tropes de Tropique ( JB neolog) that evolved into “Les Demoiselles D’Avignon” in 1907 followed by  full-blown analytical cubism in 1910 “Portrait of Fanny Tellier” and the synthetic Cubism ( collage) of 1912 that has inspired architects for 100 years.
  2. JB Theory: Low oxygen levels above 10,000 feet altitude in a small plane cause neurons to burn fat giving a sugar high euphoria and impaired judgement. Pilot to himself “Running on fumes – no problemity I can make it 200 more miles to Boise”
  3. JBQ – does oxygen-sensing in the vertebrate brain have a link to bacterial activity?
  4. At “Empire of Cotton” JBT – Along with the exit of USA manufacturing to Asia, Indonesia and Mexico, there is little incentive to maintain infrastructure in USA for citizens alone. Infrastructure is for capitalist enterprise and the defense sector that enables it – the people just tag along on fine highways, port facilities, utilities. this explains the rot of USA infrastructure as capitalists and their congressional handmaidens put money in international banks to be spent on foreign infrastructure development in third world where their businesses are located.
  5. At “The Georgetown Set” – Herken JBT – Pundits, policy wonks, politicians of the 1950s were all alcoholics thus always depressed, no wonder the Cold War took root. See: Alsop Brothers, CIA directors. All of Washington DC was pickled – maybe it still is.
  6. We need a minimal letter symbol such as the “etc” or “et al” that means “and later” example: Brits invested in agriculture in USA during antebellum and ( plug in new abbreviation here meaning and after.) Perhaps “altr” short for and later.
  7. JBT – whatever causation is at work when one makes a decision during artmaking is the same as the urge-compulsion at work in a metabolic process at the cellular level.
  8. Throughout the 19th century the northern states and the Brits were deeply involved in the entire business of cotton growing, ginning, shipping and remained involved after the Civil War as owners, agents, bankers for coal mines, quarries, railroads so – for slavery as well as for slavery by another name. Coercion of African Americans from nation’s colonial beginnings to the middle of the 20th century. Emancipation of slaves generated a second round of moneylending to small cotton farmers i.e. loans were refreshed. The Brits may have outlawed the slave-trade in 1807 but the steam-driven  industrial revolution in Britain was built on the backs of American slaves.
  9. Sociocultural rhizome ( see: Gilles Deleuze) at work in Washington DC during the Cold War: 1. Joe Alsop writes a column on the missile gap between Soviets and USA 2. JFK reads this newspaper column into The Congressional Record on the Senate floor. 3. Alsop mentions JFK in two of his following newspaper columns as an American leader with foreign policy acumen. 4. JFK rises in nation’s consciousness becoming part of the zeit.

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February 29, 2016    5:18PM

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Bacteria Barbie

 

Humans do not dominate the planet because of our clever tools or our art and science but because we have been able to enslave one another and build relentlessly on this control over our own species. – JB

Each human harbors ninety trillion bacteria. This is ten times the total number of human cells present in a body.  There are 7.4 billion humans on Earth, 7.4 billion times seventy trillion is a large population. The total human population is a rounding error in relation to the total number of individual bacteria. The total population of all multi-cell animals including insects, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and birds is a rounding error in the face of this colossal microbe population. The majority of Earth’s biomass comprises microbes.

Think of a naked Barbie doll as the kingdom of bacteria and each of 8 million  species of animals as one of her outfits. One costume per occasion / ecosystem. Humans are only one of these 8 million. The signal feature of the human costume for Bacteria Barbie is our multi-folded neocortex. The complexity ( number of folds)  of our neocortex is the only physical characteristic distinguishing humans from most of the hundreds of other mammal species,  all of which have elaborate nervous systems-brains. You can find every brain area possessed by humans in a killer whale, dolphin, chimp or a mouse. Our neocortex has more neurons packed into six layers and a multitude of folds, though total mass of the human neocortex is smaller than in several large mammals. Sperm whale brain: 8,000 cc, human brain: 1,300 cc. Human brain surface area: 2,275 cm squared  bottlenose dolphin brain surface area: 3,745 cm squared. Human neocortex has six layers of neurons, dolphin and other large mammals only five thus the greater brainpower in the realm of society-building, social interaction.

JB Theory: Our human bacteriome has a consciousness that has evolved over three billion years that has directed its evolution and all higher animal evolution for the past 1.5 billion years.

Example: Each of us has 45 trillion bacteria in our gut, some of them initiate the feeding cascade. Bacteria get hungry, sending signals to ghrelin and glucagon molecules in the stomach causing pangs of hunger signaling afferent neurons through the spinal cord to our thalamus and hypothalamus in the brainstem. The hypothalamus sends an array of hormones through the brain, head and body that prepare for eating. When gut bacteria are sated they initiate the leptin cascade and we stop eating.  All animals are either eating or making plans to secure food ( working 9 to 5 at office, pumping iron at the gym) every waking hour. Not much animal behavior is more than one “Kevin Bacon” degree from eating. For the first 4.5 million years of human existence we spent all day hunting and gathering (gathering is hunting for nuts and berries). Today hunting takes myriad forms but it’s all hunting. Humans are directed by our voracious bacteria to hunt all day and into the night.

To do: Identify the chemical and or electrical signals  and inter-bacterial electrical networks using membrane filaments as pathways and antennae between gut bacteria and ghrelin hormone ( eat) and for signals between leptin and gut bacteria (stop eating-you’re full).

JB Questions and observations: ( reading: “Empire of Cotton” – Beckert)

  1. Both South Asians and Native americans were colonized by Western Europeans. why were Native Americans obliterated and South Asians not?  Was destruction-causation all microbial?
  2. Does ethanol ( Whiskey, vodka, gin etc.) damage survivin molecules in the human gut epithelial cells thus exposing intestinal tissue to microbial harm? “Survivin is a key regulator of gut tissue integrity as it regulates epithelial homeostasis in the stem cell niche.” – Martini et al
  3. Britain and Boston financed and manufactured cloth made from cotton grown by one million American slaves they so vigorously lobbied to “liberate”  “Lords of the loom and lords of the lash were tightly linked.”see: “Empire of Cotton” by Sven Beckert
  4. Did slaves build the railroads of the American south between 1830 and 1861?
  5. Andrew Jackson is to global capitalism what Isaac Newton is to classical physics. Jackson was the “Key Man” as he initiated the core capitalist cascade of 1.  Land appropriation by coercion at American South  2. Cotton growers moving into this incredibly fertile-suitable land, displacing Native Americans, to grow high quality cotton. 3. USA cotton grown by slaves fuels the Industrial Revolution in Britain and across the globe with high quality cotton for distribution to European textile mills at ever lower prices. Andrew Jackson was the paradigm shifter from War Capitalism to Industrial Capitalism. He should not only remain on the twenty dollar bill, his portrait ought to be enlarged and printed in four colors.
  6. Was there a strong relationship between the French blockade of British trade from 1806-1814 and the War of 1812 in USA?
  7. What were the health effects of calico printing dyes-inks on Europeans during the 19th century rer: ink-immune system integrity-gene damage via skin absorption?
  8. If a liver cell ( hepatocyte) was the size of a football field in height-width and depth, a protein molecule would be the size of a snowflake.
  9. Proteins are synthesized at ribosomes dotted around the rough endoplasmic reticulum (RER) that surrounds the cell nuclear membrane.
  10. Does a cell nucleus migrate within the cell volume so that it is nearest the zone of outer cell membrane that is closest to the nearest capillary for the transport of this cell’s protein products to other areas of the body? It seems that the vacuoles transporting these proteins from the RER to the outer membrane would want to traverse the shortest distance across the volume of the cell and avoid dodging unnecessary organelles and vacuole traffic.
  11. How does a cell nucleus detect the nearest capillary so that it can shift toward it? Electromagnetic signal via iron-rich proteinic “wires” extending from outer surface of cell membrane-nanostructures?, wireless chemical signal?, smell, taste, touch?
  12. Sven Beckert, in his book covering the roots of global capitalism asserts that there are two phases to Capitalism: War Capitalism where European absolutist states conquered indigenous people and one another to expand and control markets followed by Industrial Capitalism characterized by harnessing steam power, economically and legally coercing proletarian labor  and enacting laws that shifted land from difficult to manage communal ownership to private ownership enforced by law. 1.  Kill-’em ( “others”) -steal their land, 2. Enslave your own people literally or figuratively with backbreaking, mind-stunting, soul-killing factory work and one-sided credit schemes.  Beckert asserts that War Capitalism occurred first and paved the way for Industrial Capitalism which has thrived from the late 18th century until the present. These have been occurring simultaneously all along. The two capitalisms are an ongoing duality – subparts of the overarching capitalist project.
  13. What is the smallest box of Crayolas that will deliver an orange crayon? Twelve. what is the smallest box of Crayolas that will deliver a chartreuse” Sixty-four.
  14. Individual freedom implies a gradient between the individual and his / her nation. Global capitalism, over the past 250 years has burgeoned because it has been and continues to be an extremely efficient gradient reduction engine. Capitalism reduces all things. It has reduced the inherent-latent and expressed power of the free individual as all of those in a capitalist culture are enmeshed in its machinery of work-debt-spectacle-myth-habit. Capitalism is a gradient reduction engine. Capitalism’s great convection sucks free young people into the abyss of capitalist wage-slavery-credit-workaholism where they try to remain afloat in its unrelenting, faceless turbulence.
  15. One of the larger failings of Christianity was to remain silent  during the 19th century as three generations of European and American children were lost to brutal work in textile mills. And adding to this cowardice is a toxic ecumenical ethos centered around a work ethic, the inevitability of work, as if any animal would think otherwise about slaving from dawn to dusk for subsistence. Christian apologists who watched this unfold remind me of the American doctors who gave their stamp of approval to continue deadly below surface work on The Brooklyn bridge as hundreds of men died agonizing deaths from nitrogen narcosis after shovelling mud and sand deep under the river within 60’ x 60’ caissons.
  16. Regarding networks – power lies at intersections not at the terminals.
  17. The entire Industrializing-colonializing world was dependent upon American Slavery in the 19th century prior to The Civil War: England, France, German Lands, Belgium, Switzerland, Greece, Egypt, Turkey and India
  18. Capitalists have lobbied with vigor over centuries for government intervention, for wars against indigenous people, railways, highways, port facilities, land laws, contract laws, shipping protection and tariffs. They shout whenever the government spends money for social well being for the other 95%. They aggrandize themselves as independent, self-made, prudent, ad nauseum. Capitalism has always been a one-way spending street whose motto is: remove, enslave, suppress, coerce, dominate.
  19. Multicell life evolves as a more ferocious entropic gradient reduction system whose greater complexity ( than single cell prokaryotes) enables quicker solar energy dissipation.
  20. What role have microbes had in evolution? The symbiosis of energy producing mitochondria with early bacteria was a significant breakthrough opening the door to multicell life able to burn a lot of energy.
  21. Do gut microbes use the central nervous system pathways to communicate with the brain?
  22. Do gut microbes exist in a caste system with long-term resident species electrically interconnected with nanowires that can signal within an entire population of bacteria and that can also signal the brain? Are lower-caste microbes ones who ride out by the billions on every turd? Is microbial life democratic or absolutist?
  23. Might a person contain bacteria that were also present in medieval ancestors?
  24. If gut bacteria grow electrical filaments, how long does it take for a next generation to grow its new filaments?
  25. Are there bacterial filament electrical networks that live as long as the person and that expand as the person ages and the microbe population grows?
  26. Might one’s internal organs get tangled up over time with bacterial filaments like an overgrown, clotted root system in a small flower pot?
  27. One word: Electromicrobiology

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February 23, 2016    9:22 AM

 

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Rejection-Creation

 

In 17th century Fiji there is a tribe of ocean-going navigators in which the young men learn to sail around the island group fishing and exploring. The islands have gotten crowded, the habitable land and the marriageable women are spoken for. There is no room on the islands to give the young men so that they might start families. These young men are rejected by their society. They rig up ocean-going sailing canoes and set off in search of a place beyond the horizon. Young men rejected at home create a new society in the vacant ( of humans) Hawaiian Islands. Rejection has initiated a cascade of creation.

A songbird chick hatches and grows to maturity with an unusual tuft of feathers on its head and three others of her age-mates develop misshapen beaks. These mutants are unlike any other birds in their forest. They are rejected. They fly away together to a different forest with insects burrowed into the bark.  A new species evolves with a beak good for bug-killing and a distinctive and respected tufted head. This new species thrives. There are two forces at work here causing speciation: an initiating mutation and the demands of a new environment. The emergence of this new species is the result of a “Creation Cascade” ( JB neolog) 1.  The initiating mutation-misfit-misalignment  2.The exit from the tribe-clan-flock 3. The adjustment to the new eco-opportunity and its inevitable adversity.

External – Dispersion from conflict,  persecution, famine, war= external cascade

Internal – Dispersion from constriction: 1. mammal birth – fetus too large-rejected by mother’s body-new life emerges 2.  one’s goals become too large for current work role i.e. insufficient creative outlet – seek more challenging job.

Rejection in romance has been one cause of 3,000 years of literature, art and music. The act of rejection creates a platform for creativity. rejection creates a void that is often filled with art or other drugs. Art is a drug, drugs are not art.

Rejection-creation occurs at different levels of our social taxonomy: 1. One on one at romance, workplace, social club. The act of rejection plants a seed or perhaps unwraps a zone of  your DNA for transcription-translation into a new protein – a new way of walkin’ 2. The group rejects the individual – this happens 10,000 times a day in schools across the land – social sorting. Birds on a wire pecking and pecking until three fly away and start their own club with its own rules. The Beatles were a small, very tight club – a cultural sabot – an armor-piercing projectile that blew up the whole ammo dump of congealed post Elvis, pretty boy from Philadelphia, pop music along with the hearts and minds of the Boomer generation.  Sabot-savants: Dylan, Simon, Hendrix, Morrison. The song as a sabot penetrating hearts and minds.

A creative person rejects 100 ideas for every keeper. the creation of a work of art means rejecting all that is tired, trite, timid, trivial, treacly. All that is not fresh is rejected and this is creation.

Education is learning what to reject during your exploration-investigation-experiment. No need to re-invent any part of the car, much less the wheel. there are 50,000 parts to a car. It will take a lifetime of study to know the important ones. Learn the terrain, touch and go – move on if the territory has been explored.

Rejection and creation are yin/yang, positive-negative space: the S-holes and the S   ( see: Bakanowsky). Rejection and creation are two sides of the same coin. Where there is rejection there will always be creation, latent or active. Nature frowns on a vacuum. Rejection creates a vacuum in the soul that will be filled. One might as well give this vacuum-filling direction. Nature, when left to itself, will ruin things. We see beauty in the animals, plants and landscapes all around us but these manifestations of Cosmo’s glory are the tip of a deep pile of evolutionary debris from eons of undirected agency – see: Charles Darwin.

Latent Creation:  (JB neolog) The unexplored psychic bomb – example: Adolph Hitler, though a talented painter in a sublime but traditional manner, was rejected by the art community of Vienna, a hotbed of all things modern at the time, especially painting. An opportunity for creation was planted in Hitler’s psyche by this rejection. How his “creation” played out is history but at its root was rejection. Hitler’s life in the trenches of WWI were also a rejection of all things good. Joseph Stalin, late Czarist Russia’s most famous young poet whose creative roots may have been boyhood beatings or his four trips to Siberian villages as a political exile. ( Were Czarist forces grooming a mole?) How many bullied boys develop notable creative energy?  Every boy gets bullied – it comes with boy territory though it may seem special at the time. Where you see rejection there is creation.

If you are the rejector, expect creation blowback, often ugly. If your group has rejected others by code or by act – expect a creative response. remember that the creation following rejection is as likely to appear destructive as constructive. Terrorism is creative blowback. The Western world is fortified top to bottom, from the nuclear triad ( Bombers, missiles, submarines) to our militarized local police and well- armed next-door neighbor. The USA has done a lot of rejecting in 250 years and instinctively, methodically, obsessively arms itself in expectation of some inevitable creation. Rejection is creation is destruction is terrorism.

What artist ever brought more sublime terror upon a tired art paradigm than Paul Cezanne. Cezanne’s creation, his proto-Cubism was the Beaux Arts Academy’s destruction. It happened as follows:

  1. Cezanne is refused by the French art establishment early in his career.
  2. Cezanne, with his hearty diligence, creates a deep new way of picture-making
  3. Cezanne’s creation inspires the destruction of the French Academy  as his acolytes Matisse, Picasso, Braque and Duchamp shift the Art paradigm for the 20th century.

The Law of Rejection-Creation: Rejection and creation always work together. They are a duality. They are always together like white on rice, like stink on shit.

Corollary to the Law of Rejection-Creation: One cannot revisit the site of a rejection event to unring the bell or to put toothpaste back in the tube. If the bell has been rung, if the tube has been squeezed,  be on the lookout for creation in manifestations good or evil. There is no indifferent creation. Rejection often grows to maturity, ages,  festers, incubates. Sometimes the creation ( destruction?) response is immediate but creation is often a dish served cold.

Synonyms for Creation: formation,conception,genesis, inception,origination, origin

Synonyms for rejection: elimination,exclusion,repudiation,refusal, surrender, alienate

A person or group will reject a member for becoming unlike them or a membership candidate for being unlike. Western societies pay lip service to uniqueness but turn their backs on it. We celebrate the prominent who have risen to prominence through talent, original thinking, hard work and luck, then we reject them. We cut all tall poppies – perhaps for their own sake, for it is “lonely at the top” a lie of course.

Rejection? why do we reject? Is it jealousy, envy, scapegoating, social difference re: education, net worth, speech, family heritage, illness, age, smell, sight or touch? All senses and memory has its say in the act of rejection. I reject my under-actualized self in order to search for fulfillment of my destiny.

The shock of rejection. the instant void – alone, cast into the cold creates a bubble within the heart and mind to be filled with wonderful things or with destruction. One becomes “Other” by rising above the group or falling below the group. soaring or sinking at all times: Personal convection ( not conviction here) The community occupies the middle ground. We must use our wings with skill to stay aloft.

Action-reaction. The act of pushing out a person propels one backwards. Push too hard and find one’s self afloat in the void. See: New Jersey governor Chris Christie, Republican presidential candidate humiliating fellow presidential candidate Marco Rubio, pushing Rubio out of contention during February 6, 2016 nationally televised debate and finding himself, Christie,  damaged goods in New Hampshire primary voting the following week.

Rejection: Elapsed Time: If an adolescent rejects a parent sixteen years after this child becomes a member of the family, there is a different dynamic at work than during more rapid rejections such as  failing to fit in as the new kid in school.  The time “in country” is proportional to the scale of the vacuum created after rejection. The hardening of the surround makes the void less elastic, more difficult to fill. How might one induce plasticity into a hardened mental-physical habit or expectation so that the interior surface of one’s emptiness might conform more quickly, or at all to a new idea-process-endeavor?

Much anxious energy presently manifest in the spectacle of daily life and ritual in the U.S.A. is rooted in nervous anticipation of  latent effects of unexplored, unexpressed creative opportunities of displaced Native American’s and formerly enslaved, currently harassed African Americans.

Rejection and creation are one.

February 10, 2016   2:17 PM

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Fogify-Clarify

All science writing is full of holes because all human thought is, by its nature,  full of holes: unproven, unprovable assertions i.e. Russell’s Teapots. Durkheim, Freud, Jung, Levi-Strauss, Stephen Jay Gould,  using the Torah as a model, weave porous rhizomic webs comprising much research of others, adding their own notes and many bold assumptions/conclusions hoping that their assembled compilation of myth hits a nerve, in the community.

Myth: An association of ideas reinforced by habit.

Mythics ( JB neolog): All culture including all tradition, history, rite, ritual, religion, all language, science, law and belief as expressed in architecture, books, music, worship, all ongoing interrelations between and among all people engaged in all things. The entire ball of uniquely human wax – the big rhizome – the swarming, teeming, rising, falling nest. Mythics can also refer to a specific culture’s “whole ball of wax” as in American mythics or Aboriginal mythics. Mythics includes myth and religion and science. In biology there is Darwinian mythics referred to as “The Grand Synthesis” or the Genetic mythics encompassed in the term “The Central Dogma” We need a word that is more inclusive of myth or zeitgeist or weltanschauung or culture or society. Mythics. There is family mythics and personal mythics ( see: all memoir)

Mythics is the Kool aid you are given to drink and that you ingest / absorb in 10,000 different ways throughout life about how your society functions. Every parent and every profession has its mythics.

Fogify: Intentionally obscuring the matter at hand to prevent others from seeing deeply into one’s assertion. see: smokescreen

Clarify: Assembling the fog of others in an effort to explain one’s own fog. Foggy thought is amassed in plain enough language to make a case. Who’s to say otherwise? These days, who could possibly care? No one has the time to re-read their own fog let alone verify the fog of others. If they see a mark of membership in whatever priesthood ( usually a PhD)  it’s live and let live. throw your ideas in the pot until someone cares enough to argue.

Sfumato: The atmospheric reduction of the intensity of distant hues and tones. Green foliage looks blue and dim in the distance due to the effect of the atmosphere. Air filters yellow wavelengths of light from the green wavelength from trees, leaving blue.  Leonardo Da Vinci used this popular renaissance picture-making in the background of the “Mona Lisa”.

Blake’s Law: Understanding diminishes with the square of the distance from the matter in question. Corollary One: Understanding increases with the square of the distance from the matter in question.  Note One:  You can’t know the forest if you don’t know the trees. Note Two: Knowing trees while losing sight of the forest is to lose context and thus, meaning.

In his towering novel “The Structure of Evolutionary Theory” Stephen Jay Gould fills 1,300 pages trying to shift our understanding of core aspects of Charles Darwin’s theory of species evolution. Gould’s research and reasoning  weakens two of three of Darwin’s core arguments for species evolution. Gould’s achievement is  monumental but it makes him appear a cheeky upstart.  Gould generates 1,000 pages of intensely interesting ( though repetitive) historical and contemporary fact, figure and anecdote to fogify his achievement, to demonstrate obeisance to the big chief of all bioscience and all contemporary culture.

Darwin, the biggest paradigm shifter of our epoch, remains foundational in 2016. Gould hasn’t made a dent. To  try to rattle our core notions at this point, no matter the fecundity of one’s facts and figures perhaps gleaned from decades of diligent research, gets little traction. Scientific community to genius upstarts: “You’re all brilliant, probably right, now go away.”  Darwin, like Christianity, is bigger than science – he is our culture. He is untouchable. If Darwin goes, it all goes. His thought is a taproot of the rhizomic network of myth propelling our belief system. Diddle with Darwin at one’s own risk, even if you have a customized, two piece pool cue.  If Gould’s magisterial book had been published within 50 years of Darwin’s Earthshaking tome “On The Origin of Species”  Darwin would be a footnote rather than a foundation.

In his iconic book “The Elementary Forms of Religious Life” Emile Durkheim asserts that all religions share a few principles whether remote aborigines or urban judeo-christian sophisticates:

  1. A sense of sacred / profane, a belief that a man comprises a sensate and a spiritual being, mythic personalities
  2. Totemic representation of the sacred as well as the negative cult ( see: The Devil @ Christianity)
  3. Rites of initiation, rites of grieving,  gathering at regular intervals to celebrate clan / tribe/family identity, the tribal bond, hopes for good fortune,
  4. Acknowledgement of an overarching cosmic power-deity-god, a sense that each clan and each person contains a part of this power.

Durkheim asserts that both science and religion are products of belief. Society dominates all ideas sprung from the human mind:  scientific or religious. Durkheim asserts there is nothing beyond society, nothing greater than society and that individual thought and will is formed, judged and subsumed by society that religion is not primarily about the cosmos, the unknowable, the forces of the universe but about binding populations. “The believer is raised above his condition as a man thus gaining strength as he is saved from evil in whatever form evil may take” -Durkheim

Durkheim asserts the primacy of abstract theories/ideas above individual works as being more true. Durkheim, in studying (second hand) religious patterns of aboriginal tribes of Australia projects his discoveries among them onto all religions worldwide. He has entered his project with the full array of late Victorian prejudice regarding the inviolability of human progress, social evolution/ranking: aborigines are primitive (black skin)  Native Americans are less primitive ( redskin) and judeo-christian people most advanced (white skin). It is no small irony that Durkheim takes 350 pages of detailed ethnographic description to tell us how “primitive” Aborigines are. They are, of course, not primitive at all.

Much of Durkheim’s fog comes from outdated Victorian ideas distilled from misreading Darwin about evolution and fitness. Additional fog comes from his judaic notions of the primacy of the group over the individual and the co-equal place of science and religion.  Durkheim-Fog has roots in his Jewishness, his Darwinness, his Europeans-as- privilegedness. Nonetheless his book has great value due to his detailed discussion of components of religious life. Whether his ideas are right or wrong 100 years after their writing is beside the point. Durkheim’s assembled rhizomic mat of ideas has value even if every bold assertion can be contradicted. This is the beauty of fog. Fog has value – it can dim the harsh glare of rational thought, contemporary prejudice or logical examination to reveal a deep truth about people.

***

JB Questions-Observations:

  1. The Churinga is an aboriginal totem meant to inspire collective feelings of respect. Are the “Mona Lisa” “The Pieta” such totems for Christians? Is a Gothic cathedral a totemic space / structure?
  2. Cartesian Principle asserts that knowledge can only be established link by link on “indubitable first principles”  This Cartesian idea fully contradicts the way the human brain establishes knowing via its myriad strand rhizomic network.
  3. Does the contract have totemic status in Anglo-Euro life? It does if Capitalism is our religion if we have sacralized it.
  4. Renaissance Popes used the profane seduction of Raphael’s Madonnas and Borromini’s sexy sinuous architectural space in order to win back into the fold of the mother church souls lost to the Protestant Reformation. See: Counterreformation.
  5. Durkheim tries too hard to separate the sacred from the profane. His rhizomic thread snaps from too much cognitive dissonance. He fails to establish a thread, a string, a filament on which he could weave further assertions experiencing “Rhize-Fail” JB neolog i.e. The untethered rhizome of one’s argument.
  6. Charles Darwin pulled the intellectual roots out of Christianity to little effect. Few cared,  Christianity was never an intellectual enterprise anyway. “Faith is impervious to experience” – Lucien Levi-Bruel
  7. What religion were Muslims prior to 8th century?
  8. What is the correlation between protein acetylation and folding to protein function at cochlear hair cells?  Does the protein’s folded geometry correspond to the afferent pitch signal distinguishing 500 different pitches?
  9. To investigate:Cortical and sub-cortical Interneuron microtubule networks that augment electrochemical links via axons-dendrites-synapses-neurotransmitters. Is there a family of signalling proteins that travel from neuron to neuron via tubules? Perhaps initial sensation and motor response occurs via traditional axon-synapse mechanism followed by long-term physical networks of tubules that carry chemicals faster. Does an axon become a tubule? Does the myelin sheath fuse into a tube once electricity is not the signaling mechanism? Do neurochemicals take over from electrical charge or vice versa?
  10. Durkheim proposes society as the the source of the idea of the ideal rather than  innate individual consciousness. This is not so. Most humans, most mammals have an innate sense of proportion – it is key to mate selection and to esthetics in general throughout the arts.
  11. Durkheim’s foggiest assertion is that the root of religion is in the collective not in the self.
  12. Another layer of Durk-fog is his valorization of the concept at the expense of individual expression and in so doing marginalizing all artmaking.

 

“Everything in social life including science, rests on opinion”

                                                                      – Emile Durkheim

February 2. 2016   5:50 PM

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