Propaganda

Aside


It seems in the internet age that propaganda has been completely democratized, and is no longer completely in the preview of government agencies and secret extra-governmental conspiracies.

ϕ

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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 Sunday Morning Quickie – FaceBook what’s that all about? and how do you decide what to respond to?


Sunrise, Chanupa Sapa Tiyospaye (Blackpipe Community, Norris, SD), Aug. 2001
                                                                                                                       [Sunrise ©Atani Studios-2012]

I was hoping that this would be a Sunday morning quickie, but such was not to be the case.

This morning’s FaceBook experience was derailed by a FB acquaintance’s urgent plea.  I stopped by briefly to see what the problem was, and wound up having to say a lot more than I originally planned in order to say what I felt was the minimum needed to be said.

It went like this:

Don’t like this ~ Help stop it! Help save a man like your father, brother, uncle , grandfather from expenses he doesn’t need and jail time that is being handed down for doing what is in our nature! Please we can all give this enough exposure so it wont happen at all ~ so it wont happen to friends who worked hard to build a home for their family and now the government wants to own our water too!

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/oregon-man-sentenced-30-days-jail-collecting-rainwater-his-property 

After reading the linked article I came to the conclusion that I really wasn’t sure that I had enough reliable information to form any type of an opinion on the matter, but wrote a length response on some of the more general implications of the situation a la Meme Merchants.

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Voices of the Spirits – the Magic of the Musical Recursion


The magic of the internet served up a wonderful update to last weeks post, Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground, in the form of a music video by jazz vocalist  Cyrille Aimée performing her song, “Nuit Blanche – Live”.

If you cast your mind backwards in time to that earlier post – you may even consider reading the post if you haven’t already – you will remember that Wygart made some hay of the point of how in music the use of vocables can be used as mechanism to instigate a translinguistic process of emotional and spiritual engagement with between artist and audience, creating a kind of semantic synesthesia, where meaning and emotion blur.

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The Durability of Links – the impact of the massively colaborative


Jimmy Wales in 2008 by Manuel Archain via Wikimedia Foundation

Jimmy Wales is staring at me again – he’s hard to get away from sometimes, he can be quite relentless – it must be that time of year again –  you know Wikipedia‘s annual fundraising drive.  Eventually I will rummage around under sofa cushions, raid the change dish, generally do what ever it takes to round up my piddling $25 annual contribution and send it off hoping I can buy him off for another 11 months.  It’s not that I mind making the contribution it’s that I’m easily disturbed by confrontational stares.

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Black Swan Bad – Tutelary Insults, the strangest beast in the world can’t be imagined – or how Cygnus atratus dreams of being a Platypus


For over two thousand years the idea of a ‘Black Swan’ has been synonymous with something that does not exist or cannot exist, and comes down to us originally from Aristotle’s Prior Analytics where the concepts: white, black and swan are proposed as predicates in syllogisms using white + swan as a necessary relations and the black + swan as an improbable or impossible one – not an entirely unreasonable position when you consider that no one had ever seen anything but white swans and seven eights of the world was unknown to the Greeks.

The Black Swan form was further popularized from the 2nd century on by Roman satirist Juvenal’s couplet:

rara avis in terris nigroque simillima cygno

[a rare bird in the lands, and very like a black swan]

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All Other Things are Never Equal – Pielke the Younger on the Simplified Math of 7 Billion – or what is wrong with this picture


Glass Empty, c. 1000CE

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr, [‘Pielke the Younger’ around here] my go-to-guy for science policy related topics posted a video on his excellent blog produced by NPR  entitled, “Filling Up – 7 Billion, How Did We Get So Big So Fast” a several days ago which hasn’t attracted much comment, but was particularly interesting to me in light of having spent an electricityless weekend two weeks ago reading David P. Goldman’s [the online columnist ‘Spengler’ over at Asia Times Online] very new book, “How Civilizations Die, (and why islam is dying too)” – a must read for people interested in the geo and socio-political implications of demographic trends [well worth looking at as long as you remain aware that his thesis has some theoretical limitations]  If you are frightened of the Islam angle for some reason, it is possible to  subtract out that aspect and you still come up with a fascinating thesis – which I will let you read the book to discover – or maybe I will write more at a future date.

The take away I will leave you from that book is that the radical decline in fertility rates in the Western world in the last three centuries and the currently collapsing fertility rate in the muslim [you didn’t know either?]  and much of the developing world requires a radical rethink of the neo-Malthusian paranoia, of overpopulation apocalypse we have been force fed since the Ehrlichs and their ilk made their onto the scene in the ’60’s and continues to be a core assumption of a great many people, as we grope out way forward into a global future that may be dominated by demographic decline rather than a population bomb.  In other words, it reintroduces that concept of depopulation to the modern vocabulary, which used to be a subject of great concern in the premodern and classical worlds.

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Dark was the Night, Cold was the Ground – the significance of the non-semantic in the spiritual experience


I was visiting The Pointman at his blog recently, when I picked up on an older post which I had previously passed over entitled, “William Johnson; echoes of an unimportant life”, not recognizing at the time the eponymous William Johnson as  Blind Willie Johnson, the legendary Texas blues man, and one of the very rare human artists honored by having a recording of his music sent to the stars aboard the Voyager spacecraft in the 1970’s.  Time to correct that.

The Pointman in his own inimitable way gives a pithy précis of William Johnson’s life, some of the significance of his musical legacy, with an added discourse on the history of the Voyager program, and how Gary Flandro invented the orbital mechanics that made ‘The Grand Tour’ of the solar system of the Voyager program possible.  I highly recommend this post, you won’t get much of what follows if you don’t, and The Pointman in general.

What made this particular article stand out in my mind, and which opened a door to my particular [peculiar?] mind was this paragraph here.

But there’s a piece on it by another musician of interest though. It’s called “Dark was the night, cold was the ground” and it’s by William Johnson. It’s a curious piece of music. I first heard it when I was in a bad situation and was hurting. There was something eerie about it. It was as if I was listening in stillness to someone else who was there with me, but we were both somehow listening together. It isn’t quite blues or gospel but something else altogether; Ry Cooder called it the basis of all slide guitar and “the most soulful, transcendent piece in all American music”, which is a lot of responsibility for any one song to bear. The technical merits of the song I’ll leave to Ry, because he’s a knowledgeable and gifted guitarist, but I do know that it is important in terms of its impact on me and others I’ve spoken to.

It has been a long, long time since I have listened to ol’ Blind Willie, so I had to go have a relisten.  You can have a listen here.

Naturally I have some thoughts on the subject.

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Liberal Cognative Egocentrism on The Augean Stables – A day late again


Hussam Abdu at the Hawara checkpoint March 24, 2004

Richard Landesover at the Augean Stables, who is my go-to-guy for all issues millenarian, Israeli/Palestinian media bias, and such hip new nomenclature as “liberal cognitive egocentrism” and “demopathy”.  Richard had a post up Oct 31st  [yes I’m that far behind the power curve]  entitled LCE and the Arab-Israeli conflict: Arab mothers are just like everyone.  I’m going to use this as a way to broach the subject of Cognitive Egocentrism here at Meme Merchants.

In an article in Ha-Aretz, where he [Paul Halsall] argues a stylish pomo-poco case that the prisoner exchange reveals Israel’s racism, Alon Idan makes a number of statements that reveal the counter-empirical assertions that necessarily underly his argument:

Yet behind this feeling of superiority [at how much Israelis value life more than Palestinians] lurked a murky, inverted truth. The fact is, the release of one Israeli soldier for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners is not normal; certainly it does not represent an inferior love felt by a Palestinian mother for her son compared to an Israeli mother…. This equation derives from the way we, not Hamas, view reality: 1,027 Palestinians are worth one Jewish life not because the Palestinians minimize the importance of their own lives, but because we diminish the value of their lives.

Certainly. I remember hearing the same from Ted Koppel at the outbreak of the intifada. Hosting a program in which he had to have the Israelis separated from the Palestinians – on the insistence of the Palestinians – he responded to one Israeli claiming that the Palestinians wanted war: “I don’t believe that for a minute. A Palestinian mother cares about her children every bit as much as an Israeli mother.”

It was indeed these dogmatic kinds of politically correct statements that led me to formulate the expression “liberal cognitive egocentrism.” This kind of thinking, which Edward Saïd insisted we – not the Arabs – adopt, is a major element in the cognitive war that Islam wages against us, and creates an extensive epistemological confusion in which we cannot identify the problems or analyze how to resolve them. The editors of the NYT, and their major columnists like Friedman, Kristof, and Cohen, all participate in this liberal, PC dogma, and accordingly, find themselves constantly ignoring reality and coming up with ludicrous solutions. (As Pierre Taguieff pointed out long ago, when all the fishes swim in the same direction it’s because they’re dead.”)

This is a pretty difficult thread in that Richard is taking a position that there may be some real differences between Palestinian culture and modern society, at least presently, that are tangible even in such sacrosanct institutions as motherhood that need to be faithfully and accurately analyzed, especially in terms of what he refers to as Cognitive Egocentrism and how that reflects in the Western media and society.

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Cold Fusion – Tangency to LUMO and Teaching Towards Prior Art


Luboš Motl [aka Lumo around here] over at the The Reference Frame, my go-to-guy on String Theory, Particle Physics, and Physics in general, has a post up entitled MSNBC VS FOX NEWS ON COLD FUSION.  In this post our super-stringy, super-symetric, non-quantum loopy correspondent strays form the physics implications of the possible invention by Italian physicist and inventor Andrea Rossi of the University of Bologna of a device claimed to produce cold fusion by some unknown physical mechanism, to the quality of reporting or biases in reporting on the subject by MSNBC and Fox News – with predictable results – a lot of bad humor and name calling on all sides.

Here are the links to the original MSNBC article “Italian cold fusion machine passes another test” , and the Fox News article “Cold Fusion Experiment: Major Success or Complex Hoax?”

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2nd Aside PtI – or – An Anti-SMS Manifesto


Back in the introduction to rave no.2  First Post PtII-A New Kind of Blog, you were mercifully spared a diverticulum that threatened to side track the entire enterprise, you will now be subjected to it full force as its very own post – sorry about that.

So as to not kill entirely the feelings of good will toward this blog has thus far engendered, I will mention that we are commencing a two part essay touching on a subject that is near and dear to out hears here at Meme Merchants, and very central to what this blog is all about namely words, language, [the english language in particular] and the evolution of modern society – before that though we launch into a rant on the deleterious trend of impoverishment of language being fostered by modern media run amok.

So to begin

Have you ever wondered why your cell phone company after charging you $500 or $1000 for your 14 year olds excessive text messaging bill at the end of the month is willing to politely back down and wipe out all or most of that fee? [at least the first time]

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Phism of the Day


There is a feature to this blog which you may have been overlooked until now because of its location at the top of the sidebar which is:

The Phism of the Day

That it is meant to be a daily feature obviously, but what exactly is a ‘Phism’ and why should anyone care?

Our buddy Phi, who you have not been subjected to yet on this blog, a rather mercurial and elusive creature who fancies himself a bit of a poet, has taken over the function of editing William’s collection of aphorisms.  It’s a long story and you needn’t worry about it until Phi Press gets closer to publishing the miniature book of a collection of said aphorisms.

Phi, wise in his own self-serving little way, suggested that the upcoming book be called Phi’s Little Book of Words because no one would ever read [much less purchase] a book called William’s Little Book of Words [ what William proposed].  In this case everyone was forced to agreed that Phi had it right and was perceiving reality more clearly than anyone – even William.  Phi, sly creature that he is, then suggested a combining the two ideas together, Phi + Aphorism = Phism a much catchier tag.  Since we are also all about linguistic boundary dissolution around here we all had to agree it was much the catchier name as well.

And why should anyone care?  We haven’t worked that out yet, but maybe you have some ideas yourself that you can suggest in the Comments.

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