24, 2014
Crisis:  On  some difficulties with writing about the crisis - 2
  "They who can give up essential 
   liberty to obtain a little temporary
   safety, deserve neither liberty
   nor safety."
   -- Benjamin Franklin [1]
   "All governments lie and nothing
   they say should be believed.
   -- I.F. Stone
   "Power tends to corrupt, and   
   absolute power corrupts
   absolutely. Great men are        
   almost always bad men."
   -- Lord Acton

Prev- crisis -Next

3. On who should read about the crisis
4. On intellectual, moral and  literary standards
5. On propaganda, deceit and advertisements

About ME/CFS


This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, December 24. It is a crisis log, and it continues yesterday's log of the same title.

This is also why the sections start counting with 3: For the other 2, see yesterday.
They do count, and they also give a lot to read (if you are inclined that way).

There are 3 items today: item 3 is on who should read about the crisis (but usually does not); item 4 is about intellectual, literary and moral standards (that most have hardly any ideas about); and item 5 is about the propaganda, deceptions and advertisements that do strongly influence the choices of the majorities everywhere in the West.

3. On who should read about the crisis

answer to the question implicit in the title of this section is:  At least 90% of the people, for that is about the percentage who get really screwed by the rich, who make up the remaining 10%, together with their - very, very - loyal class of bureaucrats, academics, managers, lawyers, soldiers and police.

Except that at least 90% of these 90% - approximately 4 out of 5 adults - do not read almost anything realistic and true about the crisis, for that is the amount - 4 out of 5 - who feed their minds mostly by the mass media, and the mass media have definitely ceased to inform: they brainwash the stupid and the ignorant, and do so quite successfully.

Note this does not merely hold for the U.S.: it holds for Europe as well, and although in Germany and Great Britain there still are a few regular publications which are more or less decent and fair, most are not, and the majority lives happily on illlusions, deceptions, and lies and also remains ignorant about the
many subjects they are not informed about.

Therefore, only about 1 in 10 (and this is the optimistic estimate) is not really stupid, not really ignorant, capable of some rational thought and has taken some care that they get reasonably objective information.

The rest, that is 8 or 9 out of 10 of the present adults in the West, are either too stupid or too ignorant or not capable of any complicated rational thought or has not taken care they get reasonable information - and these groups together form the solid majorities in any election.

This seems also the main reason so few people care about the things that are taken away from them, although these are very important, from an effective
Bill of Rights to a livable income, or even for money to feed one's children:

They mostly do not know, or only very partially, and have few adequate ideas about the law, politics, history, philosophy or psychology, and indeed 8 or 9 out of 10 also have no education that took care of these major human shortcomings.

In case you want to know more, here is Bill Maher:
It is funny, but in fact also quite dramatic.

4. On intellectual, moral and literary standards 

It seems to me quite senseless to ask people who have no intellectual, moral or literary standards (or who are always accepting: think like your group does, and conform), and who never seriously read intellectual, moral or literary books, for their opinions on who is to govern them, for which reason I have not voted since 1971, since when I did not have to anymore, because indeed I live in a country - the very civilized Holland - where at least the majority never seriously read any intellectual, moral or literary books. (They do watch a lot of TV, though, and nearly all have - conformist - opinions about everything, often combined with considerable anger. And in fact it seems that the Dutch read more than most others. But even so, also since the actual reading generally is pulp or fiction.)

The kind of intellectual standards I use, mostly since I am 20 (for I started serious readings in philosophy, logic and science when 16) is given in outline in
list of keyterms in the Philosophical Dictionary. These are terms for important ideas or terms with many links to other parts of the Dictionary.

Let's start with basic philosophy:

Philosophy: This gives the definition of the OED, and provides links to
First Assumptions, Natural Logic, Natural Philosophy, Natural Realism, Metaphysics, Minimal metaphysics, and Personalism all of which are pretty fundamental. The last two items are worth reading if you believe yourself to be a commonsensical sort of person. Other important items here are Theory, Representing, Reason, and Wisdom.

Another basic concern is logic:

Logic: This gives a simple definition and provides links to
Basic Logic, Classical Propositional Logic, Extended Propositional Logic, Logic Notation, Logical terms, Natural Deduction, and Set Theory all of which are important if you want to know about reasoning. Personal probability gives a system that explains everyday logical reasoning of all kinds based on probability.

Then there are human persons:

Person: This gives a basic definition and exposition and provides links to
Consciousness, Character, Ego, Hypocrisy, Personality, Role, Self, Suffering. Other important related terms are: Brain, Self-deception, Self-interest. An important aside here - it concerns a different type of experience than is normal - is Mysticism. In any case, it is important to be clear about one's personal probabilities and one's capacities for willing, for these are fundamental to all one's believing and acting.

Then there are a number of important illusions and delusions:

Illusion, Delusion, Self-deception, Collusion. In this context other important terms are: Ignorance, Prejudice, Fanaticism and Madness, More specifically but still general, there are: Ideology, Religion, Wishful thinking and their generators: Priests and Clergy. In roughly the same class are most kinds of Politics, in which context Cant and Hypocrisy are important, as are Propaganda and indeed Advertisement. A very normal product and cause of much illusion and delusion is Totalitarianism, for which also see Us, Them, We.

Then there is society:

Society: This gives a basic logical sort of definition and provides links to
Collusion, Conformism, Groups, Hypocrisy, Ideology, Politics, Power, Religion, Prejudice among other things, and also to Metaphysics and Ethics and Morals. Important here are Cooperation, Ends, Agreements, and Promises, and in general terms Leaders, Followers, Ordinary men, Groupthinking and Roles. There also is a useful listing of commented Politics - introductory texts, and items on Anarchism, Conservatism, Liberalism, Socialism and the State and Government. Also relevant here are Authority and Bureaucracy.

Then there is knowledge:

Knowledge: This gives a basic logical sort of definition and provides links to
Belief, Ignorance, Evidence, Experiment, Fallibilism, Science, Scientific knowledge. Here also enter concerns like Adequacy, Wishful thinking, Meaning, Truth and Theory and Representing. Also relevant here are Propositional Attitude and concerns relating to Probability and Certainty.

Finally, as to ethics and morals:

In case you need some background in ethics and morals, try "On 'The Logic of Moral Concepts'", and notably the first and - especially - the last chapters. (The last chapter is my summary plus extensions.)

It so happens that I have reasoned out most of the above myself, but while this is definitely not necessary in anyone without philosophical pretensions, it seems to me that one isn't really serious, or at least: can't be really taken serious, if one does not have fairly clear
ideas about any of the above key terms - but I would not know of any modern politician who does (which is definitely not true of the 19th Century, for example: I probably would have disagreed a lot, but Gladstone or Disraeli did have fairly clear idead about most of the terms).

5. On propaganda, deceit and advertisements

Each of the last three sections pointed out grave problems with any serious rational discussion about politics or ethics or indeed science:

the majority mostly understands it - but the discussions and arguments are considerably simplified and shortened, or else only those with a good university education follow most of it, which in fact restricts both the audience and the probable effectiveness - in a democracy, led by elected politicians - to 5 or 10% of the adult population at most. [2]

And then I have not talked of the press, which has grown less and less free, and these days in the mass media does not properly inform people anymore, but gives highly colored and quite partial summaries for irrational belief rather than rational consent, and I also have not talked of the enormous influence of propaganda (a.k.a. "public relations", itself a lie generated by the propagandists that now propagandize for almost any major corporration. and who always lie), and their advertisements and plain deceptions of extremely many kinds, for propagandists, liars, lobbyists, deceivers, and conformists are everywhere, while honest, rational, informed, science-based people are at most 1 in 20.

Again, I will not write out once more what I think, but give a few links (taken from the list of links in the previous article):

On Deception - 1
On Deception - 2 + Propaganda techniques
On Deception - 3: postmodernism, public relations, propaganda
On Deception - 4: More about propaganda

Crisis: The human moral and intellectual problems
Crisis: "Human Stupidity Is Destroying the World"

TÄ¥ese are all well worth reading, and the last two are mainly surveys, from my own point of view.
[1] Here it is necessary to insist, with Aristotle, that the governors do not rule, or at least, should not rule: The laws rule, and the government, if good, is part of its executive power. Here I quote Aristotle from my More on stupidity, the rule of law, and Glenn Greenwald:
It is more proper that law should govern than any one of the citizens: upon the same principle, if it is advantageous to place the supreme power in some particular persons, they should be appointed to be only guardians, and the servants of the laws.
(And I note the whole file I quote from is quite pertinent.)

[2] I am talking here - "the probable effectiveness" - especially about new or non-popular ideas. Nearly all of these do not get any major hearing, and remain
restricted to the small groups favoring them, without ever gaining much popularity. And again my point is not that these are all or mostly good ideas (most are not, indeed, although this does not mean that the accepted ideas and values are any better) but that the effective standards for almost any idea to become popular is that the average and their mostly lying and posturing popular leaders accept it.

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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