August 2, 2010


ME + me :  On Zamyatin's "WE"


    "I know," wrote Zamiatin, "that I have the very uncomfortable habit of saying not what is advantageous at a given moment but whatever I believe to be the truth. I never concealed what I think of literary servility, toadyism, and coat changing. "

 -- from: Introduction to Zamyatin's We

I keep being unwell and I also have the same unfortunate habits as Yevgeny Zamyatin, of whom more below and in the above link, that is to a pdf of his best known book, a classic description of the totalitarian state and mindset, of which also more below.

Yesterday's Nederlog seems to have been little read, which is understandable, in a way:

The Dutch, in vast majority, do not want to hear or read what I am saying, since decades also, and the non-Dutch, also in vast majority, do not believe it, which incidentally is a lot more excusable, for the Dutch do look pretty horrible degenerates, in vast majority, for which I am really sorry, and for which there is hardly any decent excuse, for they are all better off than 99% of humankind, having excellent incomes for little work and living, still, in great freedom to say and think as they please, and to develop their individual talents to the utmost.

Even so, it is all true: I live in a sick and degenerate civilization, already for 2 years on the brink of total economical collapse while the financial degenerates who engineered that collapse still get tens of millions every year

and I live in a country that runs first in moral sickness and human degeneracy, where now 1 in 5 of the voters, almost none of whom can spell and hardly any reckon, after having gone to school from 4 to 18, believes an Aryan-painted neo-nazi will be their saviour.

But the vast majority doesn't want to hear; if they want to hear, they don't see; and if they hear and see, they almost all fall silent out of fear for their own career and financial prospect in case they spoke up for civilization in an  environment where the very intellectuals and academics are in great majority betrayers of the ideals of civilization, and the masses believe anything their plausible celebs want them to believe.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for a low or average intelligence, nor for a rubber spine, nor for egoism and cowardice, and in fact in the parody of the tottering remnant of what once was a fairly promising civilization, being stupid, being a loyal conformist, and being an utter egoistic and cowardly ass-hole and willing executioner of others if the boss orders it are positive advantages for a career and income, and often gets a premium.

Indeed, the truth about human beings, human civilization, and the totalitarian mindset that comes as it were automatically with being an average human being is difficult to accept and understand, and even more difficult to swallow.

Happily, there are some excellent books about the totalitarian mindset that comes as it were automatically with being an average ordinary human being (who tend to be much offended by this diagnosis, in a civilization of which the dominant religions assure the majority it is fit for hell) and one of the best is one of the first diagnoses of totalitarianism, indeed written and published before the whole term "totalitarian" became known and used:

The first links to a pdf version of the 1924 English translation; the second to the Wikipedia article on its author.

The book was written in 1920 by a very intelligent Russian, on the basis of his experiences as a revolutionary in Russia, and his experiences in the first two years of the Soviet Union. On the face of it, it is a romance, but in fact it is a literary study of the totalitarian state seen and described extremely well by Zamyatin, even before the whole notion of and term for totalitarianism arose (that happened a few years later, in the context of Italian fascism).

Incidentally, if you are interested in knowing more about the notion of and term for totalitarianism, especially as it relates to socialism, social democracy and communism, here is an excellent reference - and the link is to the Wikipedia article of the writer, and to the subject itself on Wikipedia (*):

Anyway... an excellent find of an excellent book that should explain its readers rather a lot about totalitarianism; that does so in 200 pages; that is very well-written and perceptive; that is a great satire; that has a great heroine (I-330), and that inspired both Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (without Huxley admitting so) and George Orwell's 1984 (who was quite honest about it, and admired Zamyatin and his book), both of which are not as good as Zamyatin's text, that goes deeper and also is better literature. (**)

Much recommended!

It's not my find, but Xie's. And yes: You are much benefitted by reading Zamyatin, if you want to understand what's going on in the world, and indeed what's happening around ME. (But I have no pill to improve your intellect, give you initiative, or provide you with a spine, and also I don't trade in WHEEWHEE nor in LP, nor in lies or pseudo-science. It's stupid for a man of my intelligence, I admit, for it's much against my own financial well-being and social popularity, but then, as it happens, I am both quite happy with my mind and with my conscience. And I must be honest, for I am very poor.)

In any case: Switch off that TV and give yourself a treat and read "We"! It will do you a lot of good, if your intelligence is up to it!

If you don't like it, I assure you - as with mathematics, indeed - that the lack is all in your mind, and it may be wise if you restrict yourself to a diet of chick-lit or repeats of the X-files in the future. If you do like it, you understand rather a lot more what this site is about, and why a man like I am was thrown from university, was effectively forbidden to take the Ph.D. in psychology and the M.A. in philosophy, in spite of evident brilliance, at least, and why I have been actively discriminated and denied all help in Amsterdam since 21 years, and removed thrice from university for asking questions: I don't lie, I am not stupid, I can think, and I can write.

In Holland, between 1970 and 2010 that is enough to be gassed, threatened with murder, be divested in practice of all your human rights, and be treated, regarded and addressed as if one is a subhuman.

In this context, to explain the vast majority of my generation and Zamyatin's generation...

"Orwell marked this passage in a copy he gave to Geoffrey Gorer, telling him that it was the key passage" en dat "all the pigs were in agreement on this point, even Snowball and Napoleon:"

'Comrades!' he cried. 'You do not imagine, I hope that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brain-workers. The whole management and organization of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink that milk and eat those apples.'
    (Bernard Crick, "George Orwell - A Life" p. 490)

P.P.S. It may be I have to stop Nederlog for a while. The reason is that I am physically not well at all. I don't know yet, but if there is no Nederlog, now you know the reason.

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.

(*) I don't quite agree with these articles, but that is by the bye, except for noting that whoever can't see Rousseau advocated totalitarianism must be pretty blind (and I am defending Talmon here, who could).

(**) As Orwell, who was an honest men and who wrote 1984 while dying (and could have done much better had he had more time and better health) would have undoubtedly admitted. And this is not to say that 1984 doesn't contain some great ideas, notably about politics and language - and in order to save you the boredom of TV, check out this if you didn't already:

Most instructive!

Maarten Maartensz

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