31, 2013
me+ME: End of year notice: The world, the people, the disease 

In every human society, at any time, and any place, there have been rational and reasonable men and women. Alas, in every human society, at any time, and any place, they so far have were a small minority, that was often persecuted, and nearly always in danger.

MM - Comments on Chamfort's Maximes-1.29

If men in majority were good or intelligent, history would be completely different from what it is.

MM - Comments on Chamfort's Maximes-1.31

1. The  world we live in
2. The people that surround us
3. The situation with ME/CFS

About ME/CFS


This is my end of year notice, which is mostly the same as last year because that seems a good notice and because these end of year notices tend to be little read.

In any case, here is my appraisal of this year, for me:

It was better than the previous year, because my eyes slowly improved and, although they still hurt most of the day, I now can sleep normally (with pills) since September, and also because the situation with ME also somewhat improved, all considered.

The situation with ME is a bit difficult to judge, again because of the problems with my eyes, but I will write some about this soon.

I have mostly done little else all year other than writing my Nederlogs, but I have done that most days, which was not at all easy the first 9 months, for then I slept badly to very badly - at most 6, to as little as 3 1/2 hours a day - simply because of the pain in my eyes.

Then again, the Nederlogs for this year total more than 34 MB and I have written - it seems from my hard disk - 380 of them, which is quite good, especially given my condition in the first three quarters of the year.

As to "the rest of the world", it is as last year, except that it has grown worse for everyone who is not rich or is not a member of the NSA. See what follows - but I know most people will not agree (and what follows is not about the NSA).

Finally, this is the last file of today and of 2013. There are two other files for today: a crisis-file and the commented index for 2013.

1. The  world we live in

This is a repeat of the text of part of one of George Carlin's best and last routines, followed by a link to some hypotheses I formulated a week ago, and a link to a recent talk by Noam Chomsky about the situation of the world.

George Carlin - about the US, but also true of Europe:
"But there's a reason. There's a reason. There is a reason for this. There is a reason that education sucks, and that it will never ever ever be fixed. It is never going to be any better. Don't look for it. Be happy with what you've got. Because the owners of this country don't want that. I'm talking about the real owners now, the big wealthy businessmen who control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations. They have long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, the city halls, they got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies so they can control just about all the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying, lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else. But I'll tell you what they don't want. They don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don't want well informed, well educated people capable of critical thinking. They are not interested in that. That  doesn't help them. That's against their interests. That's right. They don't want people smart enough to sit around the kitchen table and figure out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard, thirty fucking years ago. They don't want that. You know what they want? They want obedient workers. Obedient workers. People who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paper work and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you're going to collect it it. And now they're coming for your social security money. They want your fucking retirement money. They want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you, sooner or later. Cause they own this fucking place. It's a big club and you ain't in it. You and I are not in the big club. By the way it is the same club that used to beat you over the head all day long when they tell you what to believe. All day long beating you over the head in their media, telling you what to believe, and what to think, and what to buy. The table is tilted, folks. The game is rigged. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. Good honest hard working people, white collar, blue collar, it doesn't matter what color shirt you have on, good honest hard working people continue - these are people of modest means - continue to elect these rich cocksuckers who don't give a fuck about them. They don't give a fuck about you; they don't give a fuck about you: they don't care about you. At all. At all. At all. And nobody seems to notice. Nobody seems to care. That's what the owners count on: The fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red, white and blue dick that's being jammed into their assholes every day. Because the owners of this country know the truth. It's called "The American Dream", cause you have to be asleep to believe it."
Some of my hypotheses:
A recent talk by Noam Chomsky:
2. The people that surround us

A repeat from 2010.

Society and the good, the bad and the stupid

I will make it easy for myself, and start with quoting from my chapter 11 annexed to "On "The Logic of Moral Discourse""

In fact, much of what I could say here is in Goffman reveals all (nearly) - Groups & Groupthinking; for Dutch readers in my note to Multatuli's Idee 1211; and in my chapter 11 to "On the Logic of Moral Discourse", so I don't say but link it, and only concentrate one relevant consideration in an arithmetical way:  

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.

Note that part of my meaning is that the bad is normally the harm that is done actively or  passively to others because of egoism, indifference or malevolence, and that it is for the most part due, in everyday human practice, to indifference, convenience, or conformism:

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
   -- Edmund Burke

With this understanding, viz. that it is normally a lot easier to leave the good one sees one should do, on one's own principles, undone - because leaving it undone is very often easier, more convenient, better paid, or more normal or correct.

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, and non posse nemo obligatur):

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

That is one important part of the reason why Hazlitt was right and so much of human society so often is in such a mess:

"If mankind had wished for what is right, they might have had it long ago. The theory is plain enough; but they are prone to mischief, 'to every good work reprobate.'"

Next, another important part of the reasons why man's inhumanity to man is so common os that 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".

You'll find more about this in the context of chapter 11 I mentioned earlier. And here is a relevant diagnostic quotation of a more comprehensive type, from T.H. White's The Book of Merlyn:

"What are we, then, at present?"
"We find that at present the human race is divided politically into one wise man, nine knaves and ninety fools out of every hundred. That is, by an optimistic observer. The nine knaves assemble themselves under the banner of the most knavish among them, and become 'politicians': the wise man stands out, because he knows himself to be hopelessly outnumbered, and devotes himself to poetry, mathematics or philosophy; while the ninety fools plod off behind the banners of the nine villains, according to fancy, into the labyrinths of chicanery, malice and warfare. It is pleasant to have command, observed Sancho Panza, even over a flock of sheep, and that is why politicians raise their banners. It is, moreover, the same thing for the sheep, whatever the banner. If it is democracy, then the nine knaves will become members of parliament; if fascism will become party leaders; if communism, commissars. Nothing will be different, except the name. The fools will still be fools, the knaves still leaders, the result still exploitation. As for the wise man, his lot will be much the same under any ideology. Under democracy he will be encouraged to starve to death in a garret, under fascism he will be put in a concentration camp, under communism he will be liquidated. This is an optimistic but on the whole scientific statement (...)"
(T.H. White: "The Book of Merlyn" p. 50-51)

Anyway... there's more along similar lines in Boétie's The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude.

So in this short piece you have found links or references to no less than twelve explanations for man's inhumanity to man.

1.   "On the Logic of Moral Discourse" esp. chapter 11
  Ervin Goffman: "The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life"
Talmon: "The rise of totalitarian democracy"
4-6.  Orwell: "Animal Farm", "1984" and "Collected Essays and Letters"
7.   Revèl: "The totalitarian temptation"
8.   Conquest: "The Great Terror"
9.   Hayek: "Road to serfdom"
10. Zinoviev: "Yawning Heights"
T.H. White: "The Book of Merlyn"
12. Boétie: "The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude"

3. The situation with ME/CFS

A repeat from 2011. The brief of it, for people with ME/CFS, who seek medical or social help:

  "There was only one catch and that was the DSM-5, which specified that a concern for one's health in the face of illness was the process of an irrational mind. One was ill with ME and could be helped. All one had to do was ask the health-authorities for help; and as soon as one did, one would be called crazy and would not be entitled to help. One would be declared crazy if one said one was ill with ME and needed help, and would be declared sane if one didn't, but if one were declared sane one would get no help while being ill. If one asked for help while ill one was declared crazy; but if one didn't ask for help one was considered sane and denied help for that reason.

-- After Joseph Heller

 (For more: On the DSM-5: Dx Revision Watch + DSM-5 in distress.)

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)

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