Monday, March 12, 2007

a short history of dangerous ideas

last nite i saw the lite - there was part i of a fine program about (superficially) modern politics - the programme was in fact much more fundamental going back to the ideas that are roots for conservatism, reactionary concepts and revolution - essentially, the "left" and "right" in their crudest defintions differ mainly in the belief that people are fundamentally cooperative, or fundamentally selfish. This goes back thousands of years - patriarchy, religion, state intervention, all stand as proposals based in the idea that, when left to themselves, cooperation will not work to organmise a society of individuals. The programme is clever as it identifies the most dangerous idea of all that: given rational selfish behaviour, an ideal society will emerge. This is bullshit of the smelliest sort for a HUGE number of reasons - not the least, the Nash model (and others) of optimisation requires (i) perfect information for a "market" (read, ecosystem) to optimise and requires ii) perfect rational selifhs behaviour - a spec of obfuscation./secrecy, (even just DeLAY in getting information) and a spec of irrational behaviour (c.f. stock market "panics") and it all goes pear shaped - apply this to personal relationships and see just how far you get - mass schizophrenia. as with other dangerous ideas, it is pusuasive as it has an elegant, powerful simplicity - like monothesism, nazism, and the divine right of kings. It is a ubher-meme that is hard to shake off. How do we (syndicalist anarchists of the world unite) combat this? with an anti-meme, or a better meme?

a major problem with uber memes (the dominant idea-gene of the pool) is that not only are they infectiously persuausive, they are hard to counter because they are meta-stable - they create a self fulfilling profit-base (sorry, prophesy) - as the programme rightly portraits, people adapt (they are neurolignusitcally programmed) to the newspeak and newthink - cooperation emerges from tribes/herds and predator/prey relationships, but a tribe can be crteated for whch cooperation does not emerge - how fragile and brittle is that, eh? eh~?

the problem with Blair and his gang , as with Thatcher before them, is that they are second class thinkers who are suckers for Big but Stupid ideas. And their are first class bastards out their with Big Stupid ideas to sell.

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