Other Miscellany

What the Hell is Going On In the World? LINKS 10/01/17

Jordan Greenhall on understanding crisis:

“A crisis is a threshold between an old system and a new system. From the point of view of the old system, the crisis is death. This is why the old system always struggles like hell to stave off the crisis. I don’t want to be uncharitable here. Systems are hard to get right — so leaving an old system into some new, untried and untested system is almost always a truly terrible idea. And even if there is some new system to get to, the transition itself will be unavoidably painful and often fatal. The instinct to preserve the old system at all costs is almost always an adaptive instinct. Almost. Except when the old system can no longer be maintained.”

Michael Krieger on how the future will be decentralized:

“Decentralization is an idea whose time has come. As I write this, conscious people across the world are creating systems of human empowerment, while powers of centralization desperately fight to preserve control. We aren’t the ones reacting to them, they are reacting to us. That’s not a fight they can easily win– the only question is how much are they willing to destroy in a futile quest to stymie human progress?

“Strategically, much of the current battle is about exposing power structures for what they really are by making them reveal their true thuggish natures. We must do this by creating systems that are transparently superior and more ethical than existing systems, which will then force their hands. If governments insist on thwarting human progress merely to retain control, it’ll be clear to all that they don’t work for the people, but rather, for themselves.”

Clarisse Loughrey on the conclusion of “Twin Peaks: The Return”:

“David Lynch wanted us to feel like this. To feel utterly lost. It’s one of the most powerful emotions there is.”

William Greider on the hysteria-ridden realignment of American politics:

Both major parties are stuck in the past and afraid of the future. Fear and confusion have overwhelmed the establishment. They have no plan for our future—not one that speaks candidly to the troubled conditions that have emerged over the last generation.”

Marshall McLuhanisms 

“In big industry, new ideas are invited to rear their heads so they can be clobbered at once. The idea department of a big firm is a sort of lab for isolating dangerous viruses.

“Mud sometimes gives the illusion of depth.

Politics offers yesterday’s answers to today’s questions.

“The future of the book is the blurb.”

Matt Farwall on the eclipse:

“The eclipse’s totality sharpened and changed the light with which I saw the people in my world—exposing each one’s character in stark relief, with crisp shadows. The choice was mine in how I reacted to those flaws. Like the eclipse itself, those exposed sharp edges, briefly revealed in their fullness, could blind me to the beauty of the rest—but only if I looked at them too hard without the proper lenses to save me from what I saw.

I could embrace the circumstances of my life and the people in it for what they were and the moments we had.

“I could appreciate the beauty of the others in my life’s orbit as each of us lives out our own once-in-a-lifetime totality, two minutes at a time.”

Jordan Greenhall on World War III:

“I’d like to propose that we are already fighting World War III. We are not merely getting perilously close or or waiting for the other shoe to drop. We are in it. We are in fact neck deep in the next ‘War to End All Wars.’

“As our ability to make shared sense evaporates and as meaning and purpose are fragmented into so many shards, it becomes increasingly difficult to make good choices. In fact, it becomes increasingly difficult to even want to make good choices.

“I suspect that we have a little ways to go. We have not yet hit ‘rock bottom.’ But I hope that soon there will be a deeply shared acceptance that none of our current institutions are trust-worthy and a deeply shared conviction that we can and must (re)build trust ourselves.”

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