Eye of the Spud: Hitching and freedom etc in Australia

Goodreads Review.

A delightful find, picked up in barn close to the Eumundi Markets. Read the last page 1st, or whenever your bookish enthusiasm wanes. Hitching is the core of the book, it persuaded me to adopt much of the authors attitude and so without further ado;

Laconically, assume a mob of 2 000 Hitch for a week. This will immediately improve a lot of problems, just a little bit. If the 2 000 mob consists over time, a catalytic chain-reaction would begin.
Example: less cars on the road as Ride-sharing is more acceptable (think: free Uber) therefor less traffic and less pollution and less traffic jam and less road-rage because there is less time spent on the roads.
People get locked into a headspace when driving. Their personal space expands, which helps to drive well, but leads to road rage and a sense of entitlement to a personal set of driving conditions which never quite match those taught or graded by the government (who are to be relied upon for this function of communicating & maintaining etiquette). This larger headspace would become pliant if a mostly-stranger was in the car. This hitcher could indulge the drivers motormouth, or begin their own monologue on any topic. There is more to write, but it has already been written so well by the author I fear to disrupt a better way of doing it.

This book is a dynamic book, in which a passion survives longer than the leaded petrol & DDT antagonisms.

The author is a little anarchist, (but mostly Kent State type of hippy, in my opinion) and believes that people are good not because they have been taught all the laws which they obey. Indeed, Mr. Mahoney asserts that most laws are obeyed out of apathy rather than righteous passion. Nevertheless, he accepts a core tenet of Capitalism, blood & sweat & tears (A.K.A. work) should be rewarded and never locked into relationships like a feudal serf or political dogma or religious obeisance.

I award this book 5-stars and may the Powers that Be have no mercy for you if you do not read it.

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Political Ideologies.

Goodreads Review.

Loaned to me by my atheist god-mother.

Passion of Mr. Mussolini, the nameless hope of the New Left, a proud inheritance of the Conservative tradition, Mr. Kropotkin’s respect for the dignity of man, holism of an American Indian and so on so forth.

Expect an eclectic collection of essays on the subject of politics. Edited well, without any over-bearing interference from those who assembled this collection of essays. The original authors speak for themselves, unadulterated proof being when CAPITALISATION OF LETTERS IS ABUSED. Censorship would have been as simple as providing an initial definition of politics, and pruning as apt.

Food for thought, the Nazi Party wanted all War Debt to be forgiven, would this clash with the Black Panther demand of slavery reparations? (Trivial Tidbit on German Nazi’s; Africans-Germans were never targeted for systemic extermination, Slavs [root word of slave], Jews, and Romani people were. [of course, an interracial marriage would have been an obscene affront in that time & place.]) Perhaps the leader of the American Nazi party, who has an essay in this book, discussed that very possibility with the militant blacks whom he met.
Really though, is it enough to know that that genocide of peoples was more complex than “Kill the Jew, Kill the Jew, all we want to do is Kill the Jew”?

Mr. Gandhi’s literal foray into international war has only whet my appetite, which now hungers for development of Satyagraha in relation to the passionate intensity of a sublimed blood-thirst or vengeful hatred.

After reading the finale essay, which asserts that ubiquity & lack of friction indicate an ideology has lost traction in the world, one’s mind may layer it back onto the Technocracy essay. Without a debate, an ideology lacks expression, and so Technocracy is a modern Sisyphus, but forever rolling downhill… Or is it just me?

Jabber-Jibber

Written to an online friend.

Good luck with your endeavour to build your own vision.

I can hold onto that stick but there is not so much for me to get written today.
Regrettably this means I now lean towards pedagoguery. I have been writing this for an hour, maybe more, and before you begin down the rabbit hole of my writing and get lost in the warren of words, I ask if you agree with this statement.
The average rating (on Goodreads.com) should be 3-stars but is in fact higher.

Here’s a pet theory of mine I’ve been polishing for a length of time. If you can harness it in an algorithm or if it somehow gets you acclaim, good. I am seriously serious about it, and reckon more circulation should be good. Never yet met anyone in a position to demonstrate it as I believe it exists nor demonstrate the pattern I perceive fits into some already existing psychology theory. Maybe you will meet such a person at university. Perhaps it is just a mental Rube Goldberg machine. If the latter, I hope it entertains you.

The Goodreads thing is about a concept called by Wikipedia ‘Illusory Superiority‘. However, I like my way more & tell you my theory.

In Brief:
1. Belief alone changes reality (slightly).
2. Language requires belief to be meaningful.
3. Pleasure, like language, is learnt.
4. Avoidance of displeasure leads to a convergence of negative language (or other acts of belief).
5. Preference for pleasure leads to a divergence of positive language (or other acts of belief).

Therefor, the average rating on Goodreads will be above 3-stars. Comments with ratings beneath average will receive more votes than is reasonable to expect from the average rating of the book.
To dissuade me of this theory, I want you to argue for a different cause for negative comments reaching the “winner’s podium”, the top 3 comments. Alternatively you could sneer, leer and dismiss my statistical analysis as no more useful than counting sheep in my dreams and expecting to wake up to a bigger flock.

 

The Placebo Effect shows a power of belief. Ever so slight a mental attitude produces ever so minor an alteration to our physical world. A patient-held belief that red (or yellow or green or blue) is the best colour for medicine, improves the effectiveness of medicine coloured to match belief. The first Google article returned from, ‘believe round white pills are healthier and they are more effective placebo‘ by Google Australia, briefly outlines the effect of colour on tranquiliser-drugs. (I have not heard a satisfactory definition of drugs in my entire life.)

I iterate this, you may not share it.
Language is inherently meaningless. Did language emerge when an early hominid saw a tree and say ‘tree’ or ‘arbor’ or ‘pfab-gooey’? I say no! The meaning is created by the action of the human mind and has been in a state of constant flux since the original trigger. Would human belief be an apt description of this mental action? I say yes!

Belief triggered by any linguistic effort produces ever so slight a change in the real existence of the person doing the believing / speaking. To feel good, I may mutter to myself “F.I.G.J.A.M.” (acronym: Fuck I’m Good Just Ask Me) and not even bother imagining an answer to the question. This will produce a real change in my body, I feel a tingle down my legs right now and I’m sure there is a neuro-chemical responsible (spell-check insists I meant to write ‘petrochemical’, lol talk about the imperialism of capitalism penetrating the profane, lol).

Recap: belief alone can make (small) change, language requires belief, therefor language alone can make the same (small) change.

Combine this attitude, belief with something said by Mr. Zizek (not a quote), “All pleasures are learnt. Even sex I claim.”
Goodreads users want more pleasure. So they make an effort to say their reading is better than, statistically speaking, it should be. They come online the website and make ever so slight an effort of belief. Maybe, “This book deserves 4-stars.” & click the 4th star or they write a review. This genuinely improves their reading experience, but only slightly.

Not all the reading done is happy, fun and fulfilling. Sometimes it is boring, tedious or not-good. Assuming a balance is expected by the Goodreads users, or is an automatic / natural pattern, there is an emotional backlash expected.

To produce this balance and satisfy some demand for equilibrium Goodreads users vote for negative reviews. But the negativity they vote for never corrects the balance and brings the average rating down to 3-stars.

Perhaps this is the Objet Petite a of Lacanian theory. Perhaps not. If you would send me a few words about your perception of Objet Petite a I would be grateful.

So the gist of it so far,
Belief makes change. Language requires belief. Pleasure is learnt. Avoidance of displeasure leads to a convergence of negative. Preference for pleasure leads to a divergence of positive.
I assume Mr. Zizek means this pattern in aggregate when he says ‘the economy of pleasure’.

I, (without ability to relate my predictions to a theory any more clearly than the above) I predict that the Goodreads above-average rating will occur in tandem with a dominant negative review in the top 3 comments. I expect to find the average rating of the top 3 comments to be less than the total average rating.

To dissuade me of this theory, I want you to argue for a different cause for negative comments reaching the “winner’s podium”, the top 3 comments. Alternatively you could sneer, leer and dismiss my statistical analysis as no more useful than counting sheep in my dreams and expecting to wake up to a bigger flock.

I now venture into the virtual world to test my theory. I select 3 from the recommendations list and three from the list of top rated books.

BOOKS SELECTED FROM RECOMMENDATIONS.
Bridge of Birds (The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox #1)
Average rating 4.3-stars.
Averaged rating of the top 3 comments, 4-stars.
SUPPORT FOR MY THEORY.

The Night Club: Part One (Noční klub #1)
Average rating 4.49-stars.
Averaged rating of the top 3 comments, 4.6-stars.
MY THEORY IS DENIED.

Jules Verne Seven Novels
Average rating 4.33-stars.
Averaged rating of the top 3 comments, 4.6-stars.
MY THEORY IS DENIED.

BOOKS SELECTED FROM LIST OF TOP RATED.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7)
Average rating, 4.61-stars.
Averaged rating of top 3 comments, 3.6-stars.
SUPPORT FOR MY THEORY.

A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire #3)
Average rating, 4.54-stars.
Averaged rating of top 3 comments, 5-stars.
MY THEORY IS DENIED.

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)
Average rating, 4.72-stars.
Averaged rating of top 3 comments, 4-stars.
SUPPORT FOR MY THEORY.

The Eureka Stockade.

Goodreads Review.

Signor Carboni Raffaelo writes funny [& true!] anecdotes, the progress of history, some mediocre poetry, and an ability to communicate his own passion. To sketch out the events in the book loosely; it begins with Raffaelo’s visit to Australia, his discovery of several ounces of gold, then his gradual engagement with local affairs. He & his fellow gold-diggers are repressed by a licence scheme, there is a murder-later revenged by vigilantes, fire, (mild) abuse of clergy, and the climax is a bloody rebellion against the colonial government (which at the time was terrified of democratic revolution), finally trails off with his trial and departure to Rome.

My own impression was of his own sincere belief in a Christian God, his belief in equality beyond race or religion (although scarcely mentions Australian Aboriginals), his awareness of world affairs (such as Field Marshall Lieutenant Haynau)  and of a sense of alienation from the colonial world. He was a visitor, not any type of colonist. His trial, which I believe to be directly transcribed, has shockingly bizarre & absolutely hilarious speeches.

Signor Raffaelo records various Australian lingo, some now fallen out of pop. use, and peppers his book frequently with, “Great-Works!”. “Spy Goodenough”, occurs frequently and took me quite a while to grasp. It was rewarding to expand my awareness about national caricatures-‘John Bull’; his pleasure in flames, and so deeply attached to commerce.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in Australia, this event even now carries social momentum (in the form of the Eureka Flag).

 

Banana Republics & the CIA, or Why Communism Made Sense.

The phrase Banana Republic comes from a time and place (Latin America late 1800’s – mid 1900’s) where the banana company (United Fruit Company) was more powerful than the government.
 
The United Fruit Company board of directors included the head of the USA CIA. UFC tried to pay $2 500 000 to the president of Honduras, this corruption was exposed by a section of the US government separate from the CIA (when the left hand did not know what the right hand was doing the little man wins, isn’t big government nice?)
 
Other powers of the UFC included;
running the Costa Rican postal service,
preventing specific national governments (Guatemala) from distributing banana plantations to peasants to share in the lucrative international banana trade,
building an entire nations railway network and then destroying it when ceasing operations in the nation (Guatemala again),
inducing government to kill 100’s, perhaps more, of striking workers (Colombia).
 
This is why communism makes sense. To be honest, it is also why certain laissez-faire capitalism makes sense (assuming it fragments monopolisation). The truck system of early English capitalism (from the Franch troquer, perhaps linguistic origin of tucker and tuckshop) illustrates a similar communal-structural failing to that above, but on an entirely different scale.

To relate this to the contemporary ‘centre of the world’, Mr. Trump may reduce ties with the international business community, primarily by reneging on the preliminaries of the TIPP and other major trade deals. This will allow time for mundane individuals and organisations to scrutinise, to plan and to propose meaningful alternatives & developments. It seems unlikely that Mr. Trump will pursue significant actions against the major accounting firms which are the major players in the Panama Paper crimes.

What may also occur is world leaders, specifically Mr. Putin, outwitting Mr. Trump. I anticipate that within his presidency of the United States of America, a serious symbolic diplomatic accord with Russia is reached, but one which materially benefits Russia more than the USA. This is due to the greater cooperation between big business and government in Russia,see: Gazprom, although this is not entirely restricted to Russia as shown above or shown here. This accord could be the renegotiation of trade law or infrastructure across the Bering Straits.

Astronomy, Catholicism & Plumbing.

Astronomers are mapping the stars, and the galaxies beyond them. Although it may become utilisable in the distant future, or may discover points of escalating interest (ex. Armageddon asteroids, aliens) in the short term, it is not practical nor essential like plumbing or farming. A lack of practical purpose however, does not mean it is unworthy of pursuit. It indicates to the community which supports this pursuit of knowledge for it’s own sake, to rank the expenditure with other potentially useless investments, such as the military. Some researchers find it personally purposeful to inch precise instruments across the night sky, they find some pleasure witnessing the magnitude of the visible universe. Such pleasurable pursuits are extended beyond the community of researchers to the broader public via the mass media by shows like Cosmos, with much slower time-frames than sporting activities.

Mapping of the stars, supernova & other astronomical debris is no equivalent to practical industry from the perspective of democratic citizenry. Headlines, such as 40 000 000 Stars Mapped, are intended to loosen public purse strings but emphasize progress over pursuit. Farmers, plumbers and emergency services have a value which outstrips what is offered by astronomy (or the military). It may one day produce great value, as put forth with clarity by Mr. Stuhlinger. The link is to a piece of correspondence between a NASA director and a Christian sister.

That missive to the world, which is a contest for the faith of the multitude between two members of secular and sacred communities, keeps the ball rolling. If the ball, or to say it differently how we value our objectives, were to be the abolition of suffering, a Nietzschean perspective looms. Can the good can only be so, when there is suffering to mitigate? The affirmative answer is more Catholic than Christian, and has an equivalence in the Buddhist dogma of dukkha. Catholicism, which has an often wild and despicable history, has been a powerful ideology for millennia. Change was slow and suffering was a common thread to bind together a community (& to induce serfs to embrace their lot in life). How should this inform efforts to structure an understanding of modernity? Is the international community of tomorrow better united by the importance of suffering, or stargazing (or soldiering or shitting)?

Professional stargazers have reached a certain threshold in public awareness, the public figures of Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Brian Cox demonstrate this. As much as they champion values of the Enlightenment (tradition of criticism, egalitarianism) and the significance of their academic domain, they have been unable to challenge the supremacy of the public dollar. They, and less prestigious members of their faculty, produce headlines as steps in the paper chase.

When progress is measured by percentages of mapped sky, for an activity which is communally, although not personally, worthless in the immediate future, I would suggest astronomy is serving an ideological purpose. It is a mental support for Western citizens to conceive, secure & justify the international situation. So to say, our moral elitism (science & secularism) is why our nations are leading the world (by non-faith based measures), why they will continue to do so and validation of the global economic system which is the best measure & explanation of differences in life quality. Does anyone know how often religious-social elitism justified suppression of lower classes in the past? To justify the relative standards of material existence, signs of progress are need to alleviate guilt by reassurances that change is coming. This justification is emptying the inner worth of pursuing knowledge for it’s own sake.

A quote from Mr. Deutsch from the book ‘The Beginning of Infinity’;

“But then there is the philosophical magnitude of a cluster of galaxies. As I moved the cross-hairs to one nondescript galaxy after another, clicking at what I guessed to be the centre of each, some whimsical thoughts occurred to me. I wondered whether I would be the first and last human being ever to pay conscious attention to a particular galaxy. I was looking at the blurry object for only a few seconds, yet it might be laden with meaning for all I knew. It contains billions of planets. Each planet is a world. Each has its own unique history – sunrises and sunsets; storms, seasons; in some cases continents, oceans, earthquakes, rivers. Were any of those worlds inhabited? Were there astronomers there? Unless they were an exceedingly ancient, and advanced, civilization, those people would never have travelled outside their galaxy. So they would never have seen what it looked like from my perspective – though they might know from theory. Were any of them at that moment staring at the Milky Way, asking the same questions about us as I was about them? If so, then they were looking at our galaxy as it was when the most advanced forms of life on Earth were fish.”

These days, mathematical algorithms become computerised and a machine is substituted for the man (or woman), all to produce signs of progress. What’s the rush?

Some Ideas…

Road lights should have a triggering mechanism, which might act on the 1 kilmetre of road ahead. Especially remote and rural roads where there is little large wildlife, no strong winds (trees on the road), no flooding, no rockslides and similar. In Australia, and I imagine many, many other places, there are a lot of roads like that. It would reduce energy consumption and light pollution, which hurts insect biodiversity. If it is expensive to install, then it could be done when other roadworks are done. The technology already exists, pressure sensors at traffic lights or motion sensors, and would be simple to modify for this purpose.

 

Social support can be provided by a prison with the doors open. The security would protect the vulnerable. It would make it simpler to concentrate social support. It would provide a safe place for homeless to shower. It would be entirely ineffective at providing social support to remote & rural areas, there the tyranny of distance reigns. It could create a core for a secular community, as religious buildings are to religions. It would equalise social support somewhat, no special groups garnering greater goods, and could integrate into public transport.

 

There should be a government register which marks down politicians promises. If online, it could be extended to petitions. A media employee would be in regular contact with various media outlets, so that the public is regularly informed about the consistency of politicians.

The Resource of Public Discourse.

I like to describe the resources of public discourse thusly; attention, emotion, creative chances and action. Talk shows, panel shows and general media constantly circulate information throughout the community, according to various agendas and events. The subject of the popular public platforms will receive more attention, which feeds into expressions of emotion (eg. I care about this cause, I have more time for those people now, I never really got it before), feeds into a chance of someone creating a solution (eg. reduce the gender pay gap by asking women to negotiate wages), and it can feed into signing a petition, protest / solidarity march and what-not.

The circulation of information can indeed be circular. An example begins with those indigenous peoples of the world who face cycles of suffering which are an ongoing effect of colonisation. From the (what I imagine to be) perspective of a child, it is not immediately obvious that history is to blame for some social problems, nor that social projects specifically for minorities (instead of for problems) may be validated as an effort to break a cycle of suffering. Left to explain to themself, a child might learn a skin deep explanation to both predict and explain certain social issues, and that social projects specifically for minorities are simply a different expression of favouritism. As the child grows and learns the invisible explanation, the surface explanation is overcome, righteousness kicks in and this cycle repeats itself.
To briefly go deeper, a dogma, as opposed to a talking point, brooks no argument and readily produces contradictions (race-blind hiring set against racial benefits). A talking point allows the consistent explanation to be given, tweaks to the consistent explanation and immediate developments of the state of affairs alongside just arguing or joking, and it’s those last two which circulate the issue into smoko. These two paragraphs hopefully demonstrate a resource of public discourse, development & maintenance of the public opinion.

Most resources are limited in quantity, and this is true of the resource of public discourse. Each of us has only a finite time alive, and as attention requires life then our attention is a limited resource. As the developments of emotion, creative chance and action require that attention to begin, they are also limited. Competition for the limited resource of public attention comes from media personalities seeking to maintain their position, from advertising seeking to hold and manipulate it and from more places. Limitations of attention, perhaps by a limited broadcast time, means not all questions can be asked, conversation may be cut short, fuller explanations are inexpressible and so please be mindful of the balance of public discourse. Sometimes a dogma is a better response than a talking point.

Public discourse is a society wide resource to which we should all have recourse. An ability to determine what is discussed is at least as powerful as determining how it is discussed, and so there is a never ending battle over the hot topic & public enemy number 1. I believe a good discussion should include a relative position of the subject, and a relative position of social justice campaigns could undermine their impact. Positioning an issue within a broader context could also result in better distribution of the resource of public discourse.

Wages Contained.

This has been written about before, very succinctly with more technical data, and no doubt will again. But I do hope I do a better job than the wiki.

Laissez-faire capitalism has no link between people. Communism has no distinction between people. To apply the Buddhist principle of the middle path, the best economic system will not regard all people as identical nor as infinitely different in value. By the logic outlined above, I found an economic perspective.

Job droughts, mechanisation, computerisation, distribution of responsibility or wealth hidden by international organisations and other factors are of great concern to anyone with both a social conscience and an economic interest. These processes tend to percolate profit to the peak of the company. If a job can be automated or outsourced cheaply, it is done, then the profit is pocketed by those able to do so. It’s financially sensible, and it produces inequality in the global & domestic communities. Some discussion of this dynamic tends to reductio ad absurdum (no that’s not a spell from Hogwarts), the dynamic it is real and it does matter.

Global industry is the new norm, the cotton to garment production line is illustrative here. Perhaps picked in the land between the Middle East, Asia, Russia & Europe (Turkmenistan / Uzbekistan), shipped to Bangladesh for processing into garments, from there sent to the sale point, before finally being purchased by a consumer, who’s payment is the ultimate justification of the whole process. The fundamental underpinning of the global production & distribution process is the almighty dollary-doo (in various national representations), which shows the truth the old adage, ‘money makes the world go round’.

Upper management of the cotton industry is not united in organisation of the process, but it is the upper management who link the meta-process together. They do contribute value by this organisation. However, if one imagines removing various classes of worker from the cotton industry; picker, weaver, shipper, sales, CEO, etcetera, the removal of the uppermost management would see the organisation stagnate and make no changes, and many companies would ultimately fail, although would McDonalds fail without a CEO? The removal of other roles from the industry, from sewing or sales, would see no cotton clothing produced and no final sale. By this logic it is unreasonable that the profits are focussed upwards when considered from a perspective of functional worth.

A link between the wages of each class of worker in a single organisation, industry or nation, would act to restrict this dynamic. A CEO and the board of executives, in search of higher wages for themselves, couldn’t vote on it, but would be forced to improve the business as a whole. Large corporations naturally produce greater wage inequality than small business, and so this economic policy is an impediment to the powers of mega-bucks and a small boon to entrepreneurs. The same restriction across an industry would mean each purchase could be made with confidence about the quality of life of the people in the supply chain, by so doing universally distribute the moral value commercialised in such forms as Fair Trade Coffee. CEO & executive board pay should be limited by the dollar a day workers.

Finally the national limit, which is outside the linear processes outlined previously. Necessities come before luxuries, surely those who provide our vaccines, lunch and plumbing are more valuable to, and more relied upon by, the community. So if each dollar represents one value token to be honoured by any sale within that community, then with a national pay limit, the community will know those who provide the bare necessities will earn will even if others earn more despite less socially worthy work. Also, a national limit would see greater consistency in earnings, which in turn immediately leads to the Tax Office seeing a slim increase from each worker, enabling easier budgets and in turn, social projects. It must be stated clearly, that without global change, a nation which pursues this alone also encourages job flight to nations without such measures, and creation of shell companies to secrete any wage paid in excess of the limit. That’s only financial sense after all.