Biting Off More Than I Can Chew – Part One – the redacted reply


The E.M. Smith ‘theme’ image, a new PhotoShop hatchet job by Atani         [©Atani Studios-2012]

[You will note that we now have a Musings from the Chiefio theme image at the top of the post.  We will be using this image as a kind of ‘flag’ whenever we have a post based upon E.M. Smith’s blog – and can’t come up with anything better that is unencumbered by copyright ~Ed.]

Once in a while I find that, intellectually, I have bitten off more than I can chew in one bite and have to spit it back out so I can cut it into a more manageable mouthful.  Unfortunately what is left lying on the plate is usually not very appetizing, and you really don’t want to put it back in your mouth.  I have had one of those two-half messes sitting in my WordPress drafts folder for the past several days as I’ve been working up the courage to pick them back up off the plate and start chewing again.

Since I’ve already put in a fair amount of time on the subject I’m loath to let the mental effort go to waste – this may have something to do with my yankee waste-not-want not upbriging about not wasting food.  So, I will be a good boy and attempt to clean my plate.  Hopefully in the process I can produce something appetizing for your intellectual apatite.

Isaac  Bashevis Singer once said:

The waste basket is the writer’s best friend.

No doubt true, especially in the days of the manual typewriter and yellow legal pads, the ability of the writer to look critically at his own work and stop wasting time on an unworthy effort can be invaluable; however, I’m also very hip to the archeological notion of mining the midden for useful information, so the office trash receptacle could really be more some kind of a recycling bin or cache for potentially useful bits of intellectual fodder.
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The End – Endings are hard, how Spengler hands me the a perfect ending after an eight year wait – now I can finally begin


All good things must come to an…                                                                        [©Atani Studios-2012]

[Cross-posted at ReadabilityTest]

The other day a randomized, automatically generated WordPress script reminded me that Joseph Heller once said, “Every writer I know has trouble writing,” – how reassuring –  and of course, ‘and have more trouble with endings than with any other part of writing,’ is how Joe should have completed the sentence.  Is this just another manifestation of the old saw, “Begin with the ending in mind” – that’s what?  Habit No. 2 of Highly Effective People?  Or, is it really something else?

For writers it seems being highly effective comes particularly hard.  This seems to be a common condition among writers, searching for [and rarely finding] the right ending for the story.  Never eventually finding the right ending is the death of many – stories and writers.  Myself, I’ve been having that particular problem with this one story for the last eight years.  It seems I am not alone.

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An Avalanche of Scholarship – Flood tide at the Augean Stables, more on the dialectic of “culture counts” and the revolution in civil polity in medieval Europe


A torrent of scholarship cleanses the Augean Stables [The Twelve Labors of Hercules, 1808, colorized by Atani]

Turn your back for one moment and you find yourself three or four posts behind the power curve.

It seems in the last week since my previous post,  Landes, Landes, Taleb and MemeMerchants, that there has been an avalanche of scholarship over at TheAugeanStables.  My previous post noted the recent congruencies between this blog and Prof. Richard Landes and his blog TheAugeanStables, regarding some ideas about the dialectic of “cultural capital” and “societies that make things vs societies that take things”, the current bit torrent over at TheAugeanStables greatly expands the previous enterprise into interesting and new dimensions about the origin of civil polity in the West.

Two days ago I noticed that Prof. Richard Landes had posted a second in a series of articles at his blog, regarding the fallout from the recent “culture counts” controversy surrounding US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney over remarks he made during a recent visit to Israel, for which he received wide spread criticism, especially from Palestinians who felt slighted by Mr. Romney’s remarks.

Yesterday I posted a comment there and then set to working that idea up into a new post here.  As I was getting set to post that article here, I noticed that I had in missed the real second article in the series over at Landes’ blog and I had actually read article number three, and that as I was typing he had posted two new articles.

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New Artwork by Atani – towards a new mythology of dispute resolution


Upaya gives Phi a good talking-to as Pee looks on                                              [©Atani Studios-2012]

Wygart is having some kind of a dispute with a friend elsewhere in the digisphere that is revolving around the extreme difficulty there is in talking about the authenticity of knowledge gained from non-ordinary experiences.    Hopefully, with the able assistance of our senior editor Upaya, some type of gainful resolution will be brought to the matter.

I’ve decided to be helpful by illustrating how things actually work around here.  Usually trouble starts with something Phi does or says, [as ironically happens to be the case between Wygart and his friend ] –  it’s simply amazing the amount of trouble that fool character causes!  Next the Meme Merchant team gets together to start to work on the problem.  The method that is used around here is to use characters to represent mythologically various endogenous and archetypal psychological functions.  These characters are then worked up in the form of some kind of art:  a picture, a story, poetry, epigram & etc to attack the problem at the archetypal and mythological level.  Once this is done it is easier to interpret down into the more mundane psychological levels without the human people’s hurt feelings getting in the way – or – being limited by discussing higher level psychological functions in a lower level mind-space.

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Landes, Landes, Taleb and the Meme Merchants Consortium – congruence on the culture of generativity vs the culture of piracy


There has been an interesting congruence this week between the workings of the Meme Merchants Consortium and Richard Landes’s, blog the Augean Stables, which has been cited here before on several occasions, most recently: Poison in the Well of Culture.  Landes’s latest article, Romney Cites Landes, Offends Palestinians is a discussion of the recent controversy surrounding US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s suggestion that key differences in Palestinian and Israeli culture are responsible for the stark divide between the two societies economic productivity.

In reading Landes’s article I was struck by the congruence between our separate conclusions about two ostensibly different societies, in Landes’s case the Palestinians of the 21st century, and in the Meme Merchants case the Barbary Corsairs of the 16th to 19th centuries.  Landes concludes [emphasis mine]:

On the other hand, Arab political culture, amply embodied by the Palestinian variety, promotes a cultue of  contempt for hard work by leisured elites, widespread commitment to zero-sum games of dominance, an distrust of intellectual openness and external influences, a strong emphasis on rote learning and respecting those older and more powerful, hostility to women in the public sphere, ubiquitous protection rackets (e.g., Arafat the PA), a violent repression of public criticism… in a phrase, a culture dedicated to taking, not making.

I reached a similar conclusion in my article, Hostis Humani Generis – reflections on the enemies of mankind… over the weekend, that pirate culture is a kind of kleptoparasitism and that a key distinguishing characteristic pirate society and civil society is that, “…it produces nothing.”

I found the congruence of the timing and analyses of our two articles interesting.

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Phism of the Day – A quick byte on FaceBook crosstalk – Mircea Eliade the sacred and the profane


Phism of the Day, Phi takes the credit but Wygart writes the words
                                                                                                        [©Atani Studios 2011]

There was some crosstalk between the Phism of the Day feature of this blog and my FaceBook page, where I typically repost them for some added exposure.

Crosstalk [electronics]

In electronics crosstalk is any phenomenon by which a signal transmitted on one circuit or channel creates an undesireable effect in another circuit or channel.†

In our case crosstalk is always good!  Today’s Phism of the Day was:

ILLUMINATION

To attain enlightenment is to consciously banish profane space and time permanently by sacralizing your world.

φ

In response, a FaceBook friend asked the following two questions.  “Please define ‘profane’ and ‘sacred’ in one sentence for each,” and “Oh, and heck, define ‘your world’ as opposed to ‘others’ world.’ Where does your space stop and theirs begin? (Isn’t that fun?)”

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A Froward Child Redux – some personal vindication, I may not be a complete dupe, and the inexorable advace of the Citizen Scientist


A froward child                                                                                      [Ghost of a Flea-Wm. Blake-1820]

Some exciting news for me in the last few days, and some possible intellectual vindication.  I may not be a [complete] dupe of the fossil fuel industry after all! – and – some of my long standing intuitions about the true state of science are presently being fulfilled.

Last March I was presented a copy of Naomi Oreskes and Eric M. Conway’s recent book, Merchants of Doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming, by a family member due to concern over my lack of appropriate conviction in the predictions of immanent environmental disaster and grave peril to the Earth, its ecosystem and human inhabitants due to [apparent] increases in global average surface temperature resulting from anthropogenic carbon-dioxide being released into the atmosphere due to mankind’s the burning of fossil fuels.  [notice how carefully I define my ignorance]  I took this ‘gift’ as a kind of intellectual slap in the face – thanks.

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