May 28, 2010


ME+me: "Pour encourager les autres"


As it happens, I have been feeling considerably better the last few days, which is very pleasant, because I was quite miserable - and mind you: "better" and "miserable" in a physical sense, though it is generally but not always true that I also feel somewhat more optimistic if I feel less miserable physically.

That's also not what one could call "an amazing correlation", though I should add - and see the very fine Feynman videos I linked in yesterday's Nederlog on the difference between understanding names for and statements about things and understanding the things - that personally I believe socalled "psychological states" are states of or processes in the brain as well, and I insist that that is the correct scientific procedure and assumption, from which it follows that if one has no underlying physiology, neuroscience, brainstates or processes in the CNS to underpin one's guesses about "psychological states", one has nothing but - well or ill intentioned - psychobabble.

But that's not what this Nederlog is about, although it is a reminder I should write more about this, as it is of principal importance in the pseudo-scientific lies and delusions spread by the schools of Wessely, Reeves and Bleijenberg, who are fundamentally - whatever they claim in their pseudo-scientific prose - soul shrinkes and witch doctors in principle, who confuse mere words and names with knowledge of what these mere words and names should be about and, when properly used, are about.

What this Nederlog is about is about encouragement, in two senses of the word, at least, and for the first sense I need to return to the Phoenix Forums and for the second sense to my having sound again on my computer (through the headphones).

1. Hung to encourage the others

My title is Voltaire's comment on the hanging of the English admiral Byng in the 18th Century, and he used a mode of speech - satire, sarcasm - that is presently forbidden on the Phoenix Forums, except to moderators, who use it especially to insult persons whose posts they have edited because they deem the text in those posts 'inappropriate'.

I removed myself from the Phoenix Forums - I am not a respectful dwarf, after all, nor one who is happy in the company of respect vomiting liars, impostures or idiots with swollen heads covered by absolute anonymity - after getting and reading too many doses of deceiving, denigrating and intentionally offensive private mails by moderators of the Phoenix forums to me and idem public comments by moderators on others.

For me such a removal is also relatively easy, because I can make myself heard and read on my own site, and can continue to read the Phoenix Forums, where there still are a lot of people, indeed a great majority, I like and admire, although not being a member anymore I can't post there.

As I showed in ME + me: Sweet relief: The Phoenix Forums' Moderators the moderators have decided they are the Procrusteses of the Phoenix Forums, for some reason I do not really understand except for deep psychodynamic hypotheses, and having got rid of me, they thought it high time to teach Flybro - whose quite sensible posts on moderating you may find under the last link - how to sing in tune with the moderators or be f'd over publicly, and to show off their powers, just as Jody Smith started doing, they started editing Flybro's blog and posts, brutally removing what they felt was not consistent with their own views of their worthiness, and replacing it by snide comments on Flybro's inappropriateness (is the PC-term, PC-prefered because of its total arbitrariness combined with blandness of tone).

Flybro - like me - did not like that, and edited the editings, and was then suspended or banned from the forums till early June, to encourage all other members of the forum, that is to say: to remind all other member's of the forums that they are, as some properly crouching and licking members of the forums have it, "in Cort's house as Cort's guests" and that Cort's bullies are regally allowed to have some fun with some socalled "guests" of a size greater than most, since this clearly is offensive to most ordinary men and women anyway, for which reason they tend to love to see such persons cut down to the ordinary size and obsequiesness to the powers that be, while telling them that they reached too high and ought to be brought down to the appropriate level of surrounding mankind "In Their Own Interest And That Of Our Community", for We all know how to moralize.

It happened much in human history, and Zamyatin (WE) and Orwell (Animal Far, 1984), to name a few, wrote instructively and perhaps amusingly about it....

So then some members started a thread about it, which you can find under the link. All I have to observe here and now is that (1) I am glad I left, seeing now this (2) all moderators should go (3) Cort and his moderators don't do this fairly, equitably or honorably - even if their intentions are honorable, which I much have come to doubt, meanwhile - for everything remains hidden, all is done with public statements or suggestions that it is done for the best interests of all, which is not so, and anyway (3) you just don't treat other adults in this stupid and immoral way while (4) if you do ban or suspend people, especially if they contributed a lot, you do so on the basis of public personal accountability and not by some obscure murky process behind the scenes, by mostly obscure people for mostly obscure reasons, concerns and interests.

But anyway... Flybro has now been hung in public, with epithetons if not with hemp, so as to show off who has the real power and what those with the real power may do to others "in Cort's house as Cort's guests". (See Machiavelli's The Prince, with my notes.)

And thus it goes... since many, many, many mostly bloody ages, among ordinary men, who do not want to admit they are both the majority and have the moral responsibility for being the willing executioners of the smart bastards they normally prefer as leaders over those who tell the truth and do not deceive them. (*)

"That was it, to mean well! He caught a glimpse of that extraordinary faculty in man, that strange, altruistic, rare and obstinate decency which will make writers or scientists maintain their truths at the risk of death. Eppur si muove, Galileo was to say; it moves all the same. They were to be in a position to burn him if he would go on with it, with his preposterous nonsense about the earth moving around the sun, but he was to continue with the sublime assertion because there was something which he valued more than himself. The Truth. To recognize and to acknowledge What Is. That was the thing which man could do (..). They might be stupid, ferocious, unpolitical, almost hopeless. But here and there, oh so seldom, oh so rare, oh so glorious, there were those all the same who would face the rack, the executioner, and even utter extinction in the cause of something greater than themselves. Truth, that strange thing, the jest of Pilate's. (...) But then again came the wave of sorrow over him (..) the thought of that cruel and brutish majority, to whom the martyrs were such exceptions (T.H. White, The Book of Merlyn).

My arithmetical meditation on this subject dates to 2007, mostly in English, and I quote, mostly "Pour encourager les autres" les hommes d'esprit, les honnetes hommes, les hommes vraiment intelligent...

Society and the good, the bad and the stupid

One way of understanding society - any human society anywhere, of sufficient size, say 10 or a 100 or more not specially selected persons - is that the good : the bad : the stupid = 1 : 9 : 90. Alternatively expressed but to the same effect: the intelligent : unintelligent = 1 : 9 and the unegoistic : egoistic = 1 : 9, and intelligence and egoism are independent.

Putting it all in a table with percentages (while remembering that intelligence and moral courage are probably for the largest part determined by innate factors):

intelligent good 1
intelligent not good 9
not intelligent good 9
not intelligent not good 81
all   100

Next, all members of society have a public and a private face and role, and the public face consists mostly of deception.

The public character people assume is usually

1. composed of lies that are derived from what they think is supposed to be desirable behaviour of members of their society
2.  it is a role played by an actor for the rewards one's society provides for playing this role or for the punishments one's society provides for not playing the role and
3.  it consists of deception even if one's deceptions happen to be the true: one knows one is playing a role.

Seen in the light of these important points - the distributions of intelligence and egoism and the fact that all social acting consists of role-playing in which deception is the norm - it is not so strange nearly all social and political analyses are false, phoney and illusory, and also part of role-playing and delusion or deception.

And - it seems - (3) is important: Those who make a career are those who are known to be liars by those who already have made a career. Somebody who is honest won't get far in any society or group, even if - very privately - many will agree he is honest and truthful.

The best expositions I know about the problems I am treating here in a simplistic and generalizing manner are:

  • A. Anti-totalitarian texts:
    Talmon: "The rise of totalitarian democracy";
    Orwell: "Animal Farm", "1984" and "Collected Essays and Letters";
    Revèl: "The totalitarian temptation".
  • B. Texts on socialism:
    Conquest: "The Great Terror";
    Hayek: "Road to serfdom";
    Zinoviev: "Yawning Heights".

2. To encourage me and others, perhaps

It is very pleasant to have sound restored, albeit only via the headphones. It allows me again to watch Youtube and hear what's going on and there will certainly - with working sound - more on the joys and disappointments one can find this way.

What I did yesterday was first refind a threepart interview with Bertrand Russell, which was one of the last things I saw with sound, in October, I believe:

After that, I dived into some of the music of my youth, that I liked to hear then and heard a lot of, but never saw in concert or on video.

My choices may amaze some but I have quite a few personal memories related to what follows:

Led Zeppelin

The Yardbirds

Spencer Davis Group

Page, Clapton, Beck and others

There's much more I can recall - and these I recalled mostly, although I don't have a good auditory memory, at least compared to really musical people, which I know because I lived with a woman who played the violin well, who was much higher gifted in this respect than I am - that I may at some point mention.

Incidentally, I mentioned disappointments, and one series of disappointments were videos of the Rolling Stones I found, where the music is by the Stones, and indeed the pictures too, but these are all strangely choreographed mock-ups rather than live-acts or studio-recordings, and I found them all phony and irritating, besides ugly.

Another disappointment is that I didn't rapidly find a good video with Jimi Hendrix, though there are some good recordings plus non-moving pictures.

And also, entering the field of esthetics, the above may not be to everyone's taste either.

Indeed, I also have different tastes in music - such as Renaissance-music, Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Satie, Shostakovic, yes to the blues and no to jazz and modern classical music - but the above is some of the music I listened a lot to between ca. 1968 and 1971, when I was 18 to 21, and I have many personal memories of friends, parties and events connected with these sounds, especially, since I saw none of the videos but one of Led Zeppelin before, and that not long ago.

In fact, it seems to be a fact that the times people recall best later in life are the mostly adolescent years from 15 to 25 and that the music they like the best is the music they heard then.

This complicates things esthetically, though I don't mean to seriously discuss this now, but for making the points that (1) the felt complex of feelings and values a piece of music evokes may also involve many feelings and values related to the social context in which the music was played and (2) for me as for most of my generation the world of music was radically revolutionized in our own personal experiences with the rise of modern pop-music, that really started on a large scale with the Beatles: Music - what one heard on the radio, saw on TV, could buy on records, see in concerts - was radically and spectactularly reformed within a few years - since when it remained, interestingly, recognizably the same (sorts of) style(s).

Incidentally, in the above group of music videos this can be illustrated by Jimmy Page, the lead-guitarist of the Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin, of whom there are videos playing the guitar from quite young and blackhaired and quite old and whitehaired (as one will find upon searching).

Anyway... I had an enjoyable day, which is a first in a long time.

P.S. The last sentence is not meant in the sense that I have been depressed or irritated (much) for that is not so (**), but in the sense that I simply did not have much reason to feel joyful, what with ever continuing physical misery, exhaustion, pain and poverty that goes for me with ME, and indeed accordingly did not feel joy often (though logic and mathematics help, for example).

And another remark I should make for it may clarify such things as what I mean to say and convey myself with this website for - intelligent - readers of Dutch:

Richard Feynman is one of the very few adults I saw - and I didn't see him until yesterday, namely on Youtube - who is there (so to speak) and who managed to maintain his original self, in the senses indicated in Multatuli's ideas and/or my comments to these ideas: 73, 74, 75, 136, 276, 1112 and 1211.

As to ME/CFS (that I prefer to call ME):

1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS (pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf)
5. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

6. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
7. Paul Lutus

Is Psychology a Science?

8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)

Short descriptions:

1. Ten reasons why ME/CFS is a real disease by a professor of medicine of Harvard.
2. Long essay by a professor emeritus of medical chemistry about maltreatment of ME.
3. Explanation of what's happening around ME by an investigative journalist.
4. Report to Canadian Government on ME, by many medical experts.
5. Advice to psychiatrist by a psychiatrist who understands ME is an organic disease
6. English mathematical genius on one's responsibilities in the matter of one's beliefs:
   "it is wrong always, everywhere, and for anyone, to believe anything upon
     insufficient evidence
7. A space- and computer-scientist takes a look at psychology.
8. Malcolm Hooper puts things together status 2010.

"Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!

No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.
I ask the Earth, have not the mountains felt?
I ask yon Heaven, the all-beholding Sun,
Has it not seen? The Sea, in storm or calm,
Heaven's ever-changing Shadow, spread below,
Have its deaf waves not heard my agony?
Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, forever!
     - (Shelley, "Prometheus Unbound") 

    "It was from this time that I developed my way of judging the Chinese by dividing them into two kinds: one humane and one not. "
     - (Jung Chang)

See also: ME -Documentation and ME - Resources

P.P.S. ME - Resources needs is a Work In Progress that hasn't progressed today.


(*) Gegen die Dummheit kaempfen selbst die Goetter vergebens, weswegen ... this piece of incidental advice from a personal EM, perhaps also "Pour encourager les autres":

As to others following me: The forums are important for social contacts and support and understanding for many, so I do NOT blame people for staying on them. Also, it is - of course - the members who made PR, and the many good qualities of PR are the reflection of the many good qualities of many of its members, and it clearly is a real life-line for some.

(**) Those who might think so in view of what happened to me (and others) on the Phoenix Forums don't know me and don't know what manner of major troubles, upsets and pains I meanwhile have weathered, these past 32 years with ME, and may also forget that indignation can be combined with relatively little irritation, while distance and contempt may help a lot to keep things in perspective, in such soft adult tones like "OK, it is childish, stupid, indeed at times quite malicious, but then so many people often are, whatever they like to believe or pretend, and one can as little enlarge their understandings as their lengths - possibly age may bring some wisdom, to some". 

It's not precisely a happy consideration, but it is a just one.

Maarten Maartensz

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