April 1, 2013

Some political and psychological aphorisms
1. A few political aphorisms
A few psychological aphorisms
On people - a set of defined contrasts
About ME/CFS


I am taking it easy today because of my eyes, and therefore I am serving a set of political and psychological aphorisms. In case you like them, there are more here:
Why I like Chamfort - 1
        Why I like Chamfort - 2

Most of this I wrote earlier and reproduce today, but the first section was written  today.

1.  A few political aphorisms

This set was written today, while cooking my diner:

Every generation produces its own set of mad dictators, torturers, and secret policemen.

Few generations produce an Aristotle, Shakespeare or Newton.

A democracy is one of the best means to help scum gain power: The worst of men can become the most popular of leaders; the most conformist morons can become government bureaucrats.

Except in rare times of crisis, no first class mind and no truly moral person will enter politics or become part of a bureaucracy.

It's not only a bitter truth about men that all power corrupts, but also that the corrupt seek power most - and very often get it.

The main problems of all rational and reasonable men are these

  • rational and reasonable men are in a small minority always and everywhere
  • their opponents are far more numerous, and avail themselves of irrational and unreasonable means
  • their opponents invariably position themselves as honorable reasonable friends of the people
  • the people are in vast majority easily deceived

The secret of deceiving people is to manipulate their wishful thinking: Most human satisfactions are merely imaginary anyway.

2.  A few psychological aphorisms

These are from the set I wrote in reply to Chamfort, that I should finish if I am in the mood and my eyes and health allow it (a large if, as I am these days [1]):

Almost all men are moral failures and frauds by their very own moral norms.

Almost all ordinary social behavior is fraudulent: People would not act socially as they do, if they did not fear punishment or disapproval for not doing it, or if they did not expect advantanges or praise from doing it.

Rationally speaking, it is useless to consider morals without realizing that the greatest part of all moral speaking and acting is posturing or hypocrisy.

Very few people - in modern western societies - act morally and fairly to others, if this does not conform to their own interests, and they do not fear being found out and punished.

The great handicap of the small minority of the fair, the honest, the reasonable and the rational, is that the great majority is neither fair, nor honest, nor reasonable, nor rational, and especially not to those who are not members of their own group.
3. On people - a set of defined contrasts

Finally, a set of contrasts relating to people without and people with an individual character - and although there are few of the latter they do exist, in the sense I use terms:
This links to something I reproduced below, from a version in the ME in Amsterdam section - and in case you wonder: I don't have the eyes, the health nor the inclination to format On people to look like a Nederlog.

If you were to ask: I have met few people with individual character, as defined in
On people, but I have met some, and they generally owe their existence to their genes, their education and their courage to try to be themselves, rather than the proper conformists ordinary men like to force all men to be. And in case that phrase might mislead you: Some were women with individual character. [2]

[1] As regular readers may have noticed, I can manage a Nederlog per day, usually - but then that is about what I can do, and the only solace I find in that fact is that few healthy people can do the same or similar, as follows from the simple fact that so few do it. (But I admit I don't do Facebook, so it's logically possible that I may have missed a veritable ocean of human talent.)

[2] And to prevent another possible confusion: I do not mean that one is an individual character because one looks - dresses, poses - like one. It's a quality of mind and personality, not something one may put on like clothes.

About ME/CFS (that I prefer to call M.E.: The "/CFS" is added to facilitate
search machines) which is a disease I have since 1.1.1979:
1. Anthony Komaroff

Ten discoveries about the biology of CFS(pdf)

3. Hillary Johnson

The Why  (currently not available)

4. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2003)
5. Consensus (many M.D.s) Canadian Consensus Government Report on ME (pdf - version 2011)
6. Eleanor Stein

Clinical Guidelines for Psychiatrists (pdf)

7. William Clifford The Ethics of Belief
8. Malcolm Hooper Magical Medicine (pdf)
Maarten Maartensz
Resources about ME/CFS
(more resources, by many)

       home - index - summaries - mail


On people

This was written in 1992. No doubt it is most UN-Dutch: According to the Dutch (in vast majority) "there are no good guys and there are no bad guys" - by government decision, as articulated by lt. col. Karremans before Srebrenica.

Personally, I think otherwise, as did my father and grandfather - and here follow two lists of oppositions:


People without individual character are


higher status implies more rights and more insight


the leader or the majority is right


what is true depends on their current interest


personal interests decide what the truth is


things matter only to the extent they further their own interest


their god is the social status of their self


to love is joy in another's existence and potential


to be morally good is to follow the leader and the majority


the respectable truth is the majority's or leader's opinions


promises are kept only if self-interest is served


they need a leader or a majority to "know" the truth


moral principles hold only if consistent with self-interest


unable to stand on their own legs & carve their on path


all cruelty is compensation for weakness


middle of the road is safest, easiest, and most popular


their social behaviour is make-belief to impress others


dedicated self-interest requires calculation of impressions


since they're phoneys, they're easily hurt by criticism


everything is related by them to how it makes them appear


they can only develop, not originate


because relative truth changes with interest and fashion


being true to the leader and false to oneself makes careers


the supreme good is one's own status, income and power


where everyone deceives everyone, everyone fears everyone


for those in continuous fear of others there's little joy


ambitious egoists like dependent inferiors


they believe their own lies because this makes careers


their widest horizon is that of their ego and its status


their personal identity largely coincides with their status


right or wrong, one's groupmembers and leaders are helped


concern goes by convention, sympathy by self-interest


keeping up the appearances of a deserving loyal group-member


I scratch your back if and only if you scratch mine


because incapable of objective logical argumentation


because incapable of living by impersonal ethical principles

And here is the contrast - the above and below explains a lot about the previous "Century of Total War" in Raymond Aron's apt title of one of his books. It is the people without individual characters who everywhere are the majority; it is the majorities everywhere that persecute their own minorities or anyone not One of Us.


People with individual character are

Not authoritarian

rights or insight do not depend on social status

Not totalitarian

truth does not depend on opinions of leaders/majorities

Not relativists

truth does not depend on anyone's interests

Not ideological

truth does not depend on one's personal values

Not egoists

what's valuable is not only what serves my interests

Not ambitious

a high social status is important only for fools

Not unloving

to love is joy in another's existence and potential

Not conformists

to be morally good is to live by good moral principles

Not fashionable

truth is respectable because true, not because in fashion

Not unreliable

promises are kept if humanly feasible (or not made)

Not followers

think & choose by your own lights

Not cowards

a moral principle remains one if counter to self-interest

Not weak

able to stand on their on legs and live their own lives

Not cruel

there's no great weakness to compensate for

Not unpersonal

middle of the road is only followed if true and just

Not phoneys

no careers made on impression-management & networking

Not unspontaneous

as one doesn't need to uphold a role (one can't play)

Not sensitive

personal criticism is based on a theory like any other theory

Not role-players

they don't go by what others might think of them

Not uncreative

they can both originate and develop

Not unprincipled

principles remain principles if others dislike them

Not hypocrites

a career based on lies is mental and moral suicide

Not careerists

the supreme good isn't one's own status, income and power

Not fearful

there's no need to fear others for deceiving them

Not joyless

the only thing worth fearing is human folly

Not power-hungry

power implies responsibility, which is demanding & hard

Not self-deceived

they don't believe their own lies

Not self-limited

their horizon lies beyond self-interest

Not exteriors

their identity is interior, self-built and unique

Not loyal

principles are prior to loyalties

Not insincere

concern and sympathy are not dependent on self-interest

Not respectable

keeping up the appearances fits fools, weaklings & liars

Not tit-for-tat

acts are not done because one expects to be paid

Not irrational

capable of objective logical argumentation

Not unreasonable

capable of living by impersonal ethical principles


(In case you can't make much of the above lists of contrasts, don't worry: You have the wherewithal for a remunerative career. Also, I do not seek to blame or discriminate, as no one had any voice in his or her existence, talents or lack thereof, or in his or her early education: I seek to explain. It seems to me that the human world is as it is because of the proportion of [humans with individual character : humans without individual character]. There are other reasons, but this does seem to be an important one, and one few see or are willing to allow.)

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