is a copy from
the orginal to NOTEBOOK. I insert the copy here for ease of reference - the idea
being that Nederlog 1012 continues after August with NOTEBOOK, which is
easier to maintain for me, because of the
problems with my eyes that started in May 2012.
Wiener and Dr Strangelove
3. M.E. and my eyes
PHILOSOPHY: But what's your job? There's no
harm in asking that.
LUCIAN: I'm an anti-cheatist, an anti-quackist, an anti-liarist, and an
anti-inflated-egoist. I'm anti all the revolting types like that - and
there are plenty of them, as you know.
PHILOSOPHY [smiling]: Well, well! You're quite an anti-body,
LUCIAN: I certainly am. You can see why I've got myself aso much
disliked, and why I'm in such a dangerous situation. Not that I'm not
an expert pro-body too. I'm a pro-truthist, a pro-beautician, a
pro-sinceritist, and a pro-everything that's pro-worthy. But I don't
find much scope for exercisting my talents in that direction, whereas
thousands of people are always queuing up for the anti-treatment. In
fact I'm so out of practice as a probody, that I dare say I have lost
the knack of it by now - but I'm a real expert at the other part of my
PHILOSOPHY [seriously]: That's bad. They're opposite sides of a
coin, as it were. So don't specialize in one at the expense of the
other. They should merely be different aspects of the same fundamental
LUCIAN: Well, you know best, Philosophy. But I'm so constituted that I
can't help hating bad types and liking good ones.
(From: Lucian Fishing for phonies, in de
Turner-vertaling, p. 177-8)
I leave the above quotation
standing for the moment, since I like it a
lot, and it also describes me - or an aspect of me. (See my Spiegeloog-column, for
My subjects today are
and how I hope to continue it; Norbert Wiener as an inspiration for
Kubriick "Dr Strangelove", with some reflections on war; and my eyes.
does go a little better with my eyes, as explained
in Section 3, but
also I tend very easily to do too much with them.
And as I meanwhile saw
Nederlogs of September - quickly - on another browser one another
computer, I agree - where you to say so - that it doesn't look well.
I am sorry, but it's the
can do for
the moment, and I am also sorry that I can't do better on the moment.
(In a real
sense it is my own fault, also, apart from my eyes: I should have used
sheets for the site, but I didn't like these in 1994 when I started the
site, and then it grew and grew without my ever doing it. It would have
been quite handy now.)
while I agree that the formatting is no good - I explained this before:
interactions between settings in my editors and browsers to save my
eyes from getting worse - the text (minus spelling mistakes) seems
to me, and I do need a dark background to write it on and to see what I
written, and I also can't spend much time on fixing things.
And there is some hope it
keep up with Nederlog if and when I can, but to write less in it per
file, and maybe rI will estrict myself mainly to selective subjects,
mostly limited to the main subjects my site is about:
only as I can, with maybe
in, since we live in dangerous interesting times, about which I
have quite a few things to say.
Nederland (The Netherlands)
The last subject, writing about The Netherlands in Dutch, I have mostly
avoided since January 2010, mostly because (1) I wrote and read much
about M.E. and related subjects, and (2) it does not make much of a
difference whatever I write about Holland: There are few who care -
though for a fundamentally difficult site I am quite well read, thank
you kindly: currently still over 2 days reading time per day, on the
least well read site - but those who read me have as little influence
as I have.
Anyway... that is the plan, and it depends on my eyes and my M.E.
2. Norbert Wiener and Dr Strangelove
My main problem
with my eyes started with and continues to looking at white and light
colors on a computer screen. Because of that, I have spend the summer
of 2012 mostly not looking at such screens (which is difficult, for it
is the main channel for my commuications with the rest of the world)
and tried to do other things, such as (re-)reading books.
eyes and my M.E.
Two such books I reread, for the first time since 1980, are Norbert
- Ex-Prodigy (1st publ 1953)
- I am a mathematician (1st publ 1956)
These tell the story of his life as a youth, in which indeed he was a
child prodigy, unttil age 23, in the first volume, while the second
volume is about the rest of his life, in which he was mostly
a mathematician at the M.I.T. for about 40 years, and also the main
founder of cybernetics (which these days seems to be mostly a small
part of computer science, though it still has some interesting
important ideas, such as feedback, that have much wider applications
than computers), while Wiener was also a
fairly popular writer about the subject of cybernetics, and related
He was an interesting man, with interesting ideas also outside
mathematics and cybernetics. Here is a bit from the second of the
abovementioned books, that I think are still quite correct, and also
seem to me to be the likely trigger of the book that was made by
Stanley Kubrick into one of the best movies I have ever seen: Dr
Strangelove, which you should try to see if you never did.
Here is a quotation from p. 300-301 from "I am a mathematician",
written (dictated, to be precise) in 1955, and caused by the atom bomb
"Up to now no great war, and that
includes World War
II, had been
possible except by the concerted and prolonged will of the people
fighting, and consequently no such war could be undertaken without a
profoundly real share in it by millions of people. Now the new modes of
mass destruction, expensive as they must be in bulk, have become so
inexpensive per person killed that they no longer take an overwhelming
share of a national budget.
so: The last sentence spells out, quite precisely, the main idea
on which Dr. Strangelove was based, while Wiener (pronounced: "Weener"
not "Winer") is quite right about this:
the first time in history, it has become possible for a limited
group of a few thousand people to threaten the absolute destruction of
millions, and this without any specific immediate risk to themselves.
had made the transition between an overwhelming assertion of
national effort and the push-button declaration of a small minority of
people. Fundamentally this is true, even if one includes in the
military effort all the absolutely vast but relatively small sums which
have been put into the whole body of nuclear research. It is even more
devastatingly true if one considers the relatively minimal effort on
the part of a few generals and a few aviators to place on a target an
atomic bomb already made."
the first time in history, it has become possible
for a limited
group of a few thousand people to threaten the absolute destruction of
millions, and this without any specific immediate risk to themselves."
the case now, and has been the case for quite a while, in fact
also without using atom
bombs: Drones may soon
suffice, while the political elites and the rich can shelter, as in Dr.
Strangelove, in luxurious places somewhere hidden in old mines.
This is one of the main reasons I said we live in dangerous interesting
times, and why I would not at all be amazed if a major war breaks out
soon, indeed also because of other factors:
Too many people with too
few resources; too many dangerous conflicts; too much and too long of
an economic crisis; too many grossly incompetent political and
religious leaders; too many people with totally inadequate ideas and
ideals, easily manipulated by propaganda; and indeed also major wars
that may be fought without the leaders having to bear the consequences,
indeed in part with soldiers sitting far away, playing as-if wargames
with drones on a screen.
I sincerely hope I am mistaken, but I have been right before quite a
few times about things I hoped I was mistaken about.
And in fact I expect that the 21st Century is likely to dwarf the 20th
Century in violence and war, for the reasons listed above.
eyes are a bit better - though indeed far from good
- probably for two reasons:
I found a better way to administer Duratears
is "the appropriate medicine" for what I have, but quite hard to
properly administer to oneself, which is what I am forced to do, living
alone, and having been denied all help for decades now, in spite of
If one searches the subject, one finds pretty
authoritarian prose by some of its suppliers. As a patient you must
do this, and you mustn't do that, and so on for a long list, that in
fact are all quite difficult to do,
especially if one lives alone, but also if
not. I think it is mainly for legal purposes: It is not to help the
patient, but to help the pharmaceutical suppliers.
if these wanted to do so, they would supply the plastic bottle
with an U-shapped dropper that fitted on top of it, to make
administration of the drops easier. As is, one may only hope one's
chemist sells these items.
Ubuntu allows me to have most of the screen mostly
black most of the time.
have explained before, and should be of help for people with eye
problems like mine, so I link it again: , as I explained in on Sep
(check it out
if you have my type of complaint!).
feature of Ubuntu really is a _great_ help for me, and I could not
have written this, or anything the last month, without this
possibility, which does NOT exist on MS Windows in any version, and not
by a large margin either.
P.S. My eye
necessary corrections have to be made later.