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Showing posts from August 22, 2021

Poem by Karen Chamisso

  Not to have been born at all Was never on the menu, Oedipus. As you may recall A little patience, a little tenue   Maybe waiving the right of way And you would have stubbed Through your day Just fine. But you flubbed   Your road rage, buddy. Not Jocasta’s error. The queen could have studied Her newborn’s terror   screaming down the shadowed halls, then landed a knife in her hubby’s neck – but here you are without eyeballs waiting for the check   with your greatest hits behind you. No regrets. Even in my brief untidy life, I too may come to taste similar grief.          

the ductus of the zeitgeist: we are all fucked here

  the ductus of the zeitgeist Every social order depends on a social mystery. The conservative wants to preserve that mystery. The liberal wants to palpate it a bit, but will go on long detours never to get to the root of it. The Marxist wants to expose it. The mystery in our current social order that we knock our heads against at every corner is this: although Western economies are getting wealthier and wealthier, in comparison to, say, the economies of the 1950s, we are constantly told that we are too poor to maintain even the social welfare programs that we once took for granted, much less add new ones. If for instance you tweet something like, we should have free higher public education, you are bound to get a responding tweet that reads, how are we going to pay for it. In vain one points out that actually, we used to have a practically free higher public education system. State universities and colleges in the postwar period were almost tuition free. At the same time, the taxes ch

Thumbsuckers: a collective distemper

  There's an excellent little book by Italian researcher Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini , "Inevitable Illusions." P.P contends that our usual cognitive mechanism suffers from certain mental "tunnels," especially when it comes to probability, causal inference, and what I would call the narrative urge -- the drive to create, out of events, stories that are consonant with the pattern of stories we like. P.P's section on Predictability in Hindsight seems particularly apposite as tv gives acres of camera time to warhawks ranting about Afghanistan. Since the case goes something like: how could the Taliban be so strong? The Taliban isn't that strong. Thus, evil Biden musta done something. Or - the Afghanistans have themselves to blame! which is an easy position for the liberal hawks to attack, you simply have to identify the bribetakers in Afghanistan - the gov and its friends - with those forced to give bribes - Afghan peasants, soldiers and stuff - and you have