motto lotto

Saturday, January 31, 2009

the aliens are creating neo-Nephilim

The basic assertion by Marzulli is that these fallen angels have returned and as part of their plan are harvesting human and animal genetic material to create a new type hybrid for their purposes. He maintains UFOs are the method the fallen angels choose to create a sort of “Alien Gospel” so they deceive many to believe that they, who masquerade as aliens, created mankind. I think this is interesting, since it seems that UFOs are derived from our own Science Fiction; which in my hypothesis is the partial source of the ET “costume.”

Marzulli goes into detail about why UFOs appeared in great numbers during WWII; he maintains that Hitler and the Third Reich were tied into the occult and performed a massive Satanic sacrifice (the Holocaust) which was sufficient to open a portal and allow these beings in. Marzulli notes he got the idea of the Holocaust as being a Satanic sacrifice from the book Twisted Cross: The German Christian Movement in the Third Reich by Doris Bergen. This idea of how sacrifice can open doors to the spiritual planes of existence and our own Earth is significant in light of how important sacrifice has been to religion and its attempts at opening communication. Could the need for continued sacrifice explain in part cattle mutilations by these fallen ones?

UFOs and Fallen Angels
I love these outlandish ways of interpreting questionable phenomena. On this particular topic I prefer Seraphim Rose's Orthodoxy and the Religion of the Future but it's the same basic idea that the aliens are demons (minus the discussion of creating hybrid Nephilim). The EO discussion of Aerial Toll Houses (the state of the soul after death) is pretty fun as well.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"technological thinking" working to solve world hunger

About half the world's population eats rice as a staple. Two-thirds of the diet of subsistence farmers in India and Bangladesh is made up entirely of rice. If rice crops suffer, it can mean starvation for millions.

"People [in the United States] think, well, if I don't have enough rice, I'll go to the store," said Ronald, a professor of plant pathology at UC-Davis. "That's not the situation in these villages. They're mostly subsistence farmers. They don't have cars."

As sea levels rise and world weather patterns worsen, flooding has become a major cause of rice crop loss. Scientists estimate 4 million tons of rice are lost every year because of flooding. That's enough rice to feed 30 million people.

Rice is grown in flooded fields, usually to kill weeds. But rice plants do not like it when they are submerged in water for long periods, Ronald said.

"They don't get enough carbon dioxide, they don't get enough light and their entire metabolic processes are thrown off. The rice plant tries to grow out of the flood, but when it does, it depletes its sugar reserves. It starts to break down its chlorophyll, important for photosynthesis. It grows really quickly, and then when the flood recedes, it just dies. It's out of gas."

Normal rice dies after three days of complete flooding. Researchers know of at least one rice variety that can tolerate flooding for longer periods, but conventional breeding failed to create a strain that was acceptable to farmers.

So Ronald and her colleagues -- David Mackill, senior scientist at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines and Julia Bailey-Serres, professor of genetics at the University of California-Riverside -- spent the last decade working to find a rice strain that could survive flooding for longer periods.

Fighting hunger with flood-tolerant rice (cnn.com)

I love not Man the less, but Nature more.

La Playa en Puerto Vallarta

There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep Sea, and music in its roar:
I love not Man the less, but Nature more,
From these our interviews, in which I steal
From all I may be, or have been before,
To mingle with the Universe, and feel
What I can ne’er express, yet cannot all conceal.

Roll on, thou deep and dark blue Ocean - roll!
Ten thousand fleets sweep over thee in vain;
Man marks the earth with ruin - his control
Stops with the shore; - upon the watery plain
The wrecks are all thy deed, nor doth remain
A shadow of man’s ravage, save his own,
When for a moment, like a drop of rain,
He sinks into thy depths with bubbling groan,
Without a grave, unknelled, uncoffined, and unknown.

Lord Byron - from Childe Harold's Pilgrimage

Jesus on the move (Kashmir, India)

Roza Bal is the name of a shrine located in the Khanyar district of Srinagar, in Kashmir, India, venerated by some Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. It is believed to be the final resting place of a Prophet named Yuz Asaf. Many ancient scriptures and some other facts suggest that Yuz Asaf is in fact none other than Jesus himself.

Nicolai Notovich, a Russian scholar, was the first to suggest that Christ may have gone to sub-continent. In 1887, he visited a Buddhist monastery near Zoji-la pass where a monk told him of a bhodisattva saint called "Issa". Notovich was stunned by the remarkable similarities of Issa's teachings and martyrdom with that of Christ's life, teachings and crucifixion.

After crucifixion, the first trail of Jesus is found in the Persian scholar F. Mohammed's historical work "Jami-ut-tuwarik" which tells of Christ's arrival in the kingdom of Nisibis (now known as Nusaybin in Turkey) . The same is found in the Imam Abu Jafar Muhammed's "Tafsi-Ibn-i-Jamir at-tubri." Holger Kersten who researched on Jesus being in the sub-continent, found that in both Turkey and Persia there are ancient stories of a saint called "Yuz Asaf" ("Leader of the Healed"), whose behaviour, miracles and teachings are remarkably similar to that of Christ

Lost tomb of Jesus

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

back from Puerto Vallarta


We got back from our vacation in Puerto Vallarta for my cousin's wedding late last night. It was amazing. The ceremony was on the beach at sunset and a dance stage was set up on the beach for the reception. There was a live band all night and around 12:30 or so the mariachis from Aguascalientes (the bride's home town) finished off the night (around 2am). Probably not so great for the other guests at the hotel but definitely one of the coolest weddings I've been to.

If you haven't traveled to Mexico much, these words of advice my cousin sent us before the trip were pretty helpful (and funny).

For those of us headed to Mexico in the near future, here are some reminders.

Remember your passport. You won't be able to board your plane otherwise.

Prices may be in pesos or dollars. A peso sign is a dollar sign with only one vertical line. There are about 13 pesos in a dollar right now.

Don't drink tap water. At all. Ever. You can brush with it, bathe with it, but don't drink it.

If they speak English, it probably costs extra. Brush up your Spanish numbers and phrases.

You are an ambassador for your country. If you act like an ass, say you are from Canada.

Tell your bank you are going to Mexico. Make sure your card will work and that they won't put a hold on it while you are gone. Bring some cash, just in case.

Keep a copy of your passport in a safe place. Get a money belt. Without your documents, you are no longer American. Border control is no fun.

Never assume. Simple things are not the same everywhere. I once traveled with a man who filled his tank with gasoline instead of diesel because the nozzle was green.

If you drive, the rules change. Just because you are allowed to drive, doesn't mean you should. Right of way rules especially change.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

dirty systems

This essay does a good job of describing an obvious divide between types of computer scientists (and technology workers more generally).
Theorists Favor Sophistication

Like mathematicians, theorists in Computer Science take the greatest pride in knowing and using the most sophisticated mathematics to solve problems. For example, theorists will light up when telling you that they have discovered how an obscure theorem from geometry can be used in the analysis of a computer algorithm. Theorists focus on mathematical analysis and the asymptotic behavior of computation; they take pride in the beauty of equations and don't worry about constants. Although they usually imply that their results are relevant to real computers, they secretly dream about impressing mathematicians.

Detecting Theory

You can tell someone is a theorist because they slip one or more of the following keywords and phrases into lectures and technical conversations: ``theorem'', ``lemma'', ``proof'', ``axiom'', ``polynomial time'', ``logarithmic'', ``semantics'', ``numerical'', ``complexity'', ``nondeterministic'' or ``nondeterminism'', and ``for large enough N''. They write lots of equations, brag about knocking off the ``extra log factor'', and often end their lecture with an uppercase ``O'' followed by a mathematical expression enclosed in parentheses. You can also recognize a theorist because they take forever to prove something that may seem quite obvious. (I once sat through an hour lecture where someone proved that after a computer executed an assignment statement that put the integer 1 into variable x, the value in x was 1.)

--
Experimentalists Favor Simplicity

Like engineers, systems researchers take pride in being able to invent the simplest system that offers a given level of functionality. For example, systems researchers will light up when telling you that they have constructed a system that is twice as fast, half the size, and more powerful than its predecessor. Experimentalists focus on the performance of real computer systems; they take pride in the beauty of their code and worry about constants. Although they usually imply that their results can extend beyond real computers, they secretly dream of filing patents that apply to extant hardware.

Detecting Systems

An experimentalist will slip one or more of the following keywords and phrases into lectures and technical conversations: ``architecture,'' ``memory,'' ``cpu'' (sometimes abbreviated``CISC'' or ``RISC''), ``I/O'' or ``bus'', ``network'', ``interface'', ``virtual'', ``compile'' or ``compiler'', ``OS'' or ``system'', ``distributed'', ``program'' or ``code'', and ``binary''. They talk about building programs and running the resulting system on real computer systems. They refer to companies and products, and use acronyms liberally. Their lectures often end with a graph or chart of measured system performance. You can also recognize an experimentalist because they describe in excruciating detail how they set up an experiment to measure a certain value even if the measurement produced exactly the expected results. (I once sat through an hour lecture where someone carefully explained how they used three computer systems to measure network traffic, when their whole point was simply to show that the network was not the cause of the problem they were investigating.)

How To Criticize Computer Scientists
A mixture of both is probably best but life is messy and simple solutions are easier to maintain. That means if you do it right a non-technology person (or at least someone with a weaker skill set) may be able to perform that task once completed. So I'm an experimentalist and I value experience. You'd think that theorists are best suited for true programming jobs and that experimentalists are best suited for systems administration but programming often requires integration with various systems. Most of the time (unfortunately) technological solutions aren't built to match theory (they rarely meet specifications, see how well browsers meet w3c or even http specs for an obvious example). What this means is that in practice the "perfect" theoretical solution won't work. Someone else will have to come by and accommodate the clean code to integrate with the dirty systems. Dirty systems will often negate the performance increase gained through the "optimal" theoretical solution as well.

Incidentally, a lot of interviews for programming jobs lean toward the theorist side so it's best to memorize a bunch of rarely necessary crap (O Notation, obscure data structures, better to reuse code or reference the appropriate books when necessary in the real world) before going into those sorts of interviews. I get the feeling interviewers test the theorist side just because it's simpler to test.

Both of these descriptions show how each side can get caught up into details that distract from the problem at hand and having both types on a programming team is usually preferable.

The philosophical point: Humans are dirty systems and they're the systems that we never get away from. So you can either accommodate this truth (experimentalists) or ignore this truth (theorists). Perhaps these correspond with empiricism and rationalism.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Einstein's poem on Spinoza

"On Spinoza's Ethics"

I don't think it's the greatest poem but E makes up for it in other areas. ;)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Borges on writing

Quotes from Borges' when he gave the Norton Lectures (from This Craft of Verse).
"[W]hat I have read is far more important than what I have written. For one reads what one likes-- yet one writes not what one would like to write but what one is able to write." (p. 98)

(on Huck Finn) "[T]here should be something pleasing to the imagination in the very framework of the book [...] We feel the idea of the black man, the boy, of the raft, of the Mississippi, of the long nights--that these ideas are somehow agreeable to the imagination, are accepted by the imagination." (p. 102)

"One knows so little about oneself that, when I read Don Quixote, I thought I read it because of the pleasure I found in the archaic style and in the adventures of the knight and the squire. Now I think that my pleasure lay elsewhere--that it came from the character of the knight. I am not now sure that I believe in the adventures, or in the conversations between the knight and the squire; but I know that I believe in the knight's character, and I suppose that the adventures were invented by Cervantes in order to show us the character of the hero. [... Similarly,] I am sure that I believe in Sherlock Holmes and in the strange friendship between him and Dr. Watson. [...] I suppose the future will bring all things in the long run, and so we may imagine a moment when Don Quixote and Sancho, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson will still exist, though all their adventures may have been blotted out. Yet men, in other languages may still go on inventing stories to fit those characters--stories that should be as mirrors to the characters." (p. 103-104)

"The Gnostics said the only way to be rid of a sin is to commit it, because afterwards you repent it." (advocating trial & error in writing p.109)

"Free verse is far more difficult than the regular and classic forms [...] the ear is led to expect something, and then it does not get what it expects. Something else is given to it; and that something else should be, in a sense, a failure and also a satisfaction." (p. 109-110)

"Had I to give advice to writers (and I do not think they need it, because everyone has to find out things for himself), I would tell them simply this: I would ask them to tamper as little as they can with their own work. I do not think tinkering does any good. The moment comes when one has found out what one can do--when one has found one's natural voice, one's rhythm. Then I do not think that slight emendations should prove useful.

When I write, I do not think of the reader (because the reader is an imaginary character), and I do not think of myself (perhaps I am an imaginary character also), but I think of what I am trying to convey and I do my best not to spoil it." (p. 116-117)

"When I am writing something, I try not to understand it. I do not think intelligence has much to do with the work of a writer." (p. 118)
I didn't find Borges' insights to be especially profound but I was grateful for the advice on writing. I started journaling again in 2008 and it seems my pen mostly wants to write philosophishy stuff but I'm trying to retrain it. I think I squashed my philosophy bug so that may help. Borges made it obvious that I'm still making most of the mistakes of a young man and that there's really only one cure to bad writing... more writing (trial and error). Borges also thinks French writers are too self conscious.1 But I love those Frenchies (well, especially Hadot, Camus, Montaigne). I may still take Borges' advice on that point.

--
[1] "I think that one of the sins of modern literature is that it is too self-conscious. For example, I think of French literature as being one of the great literatures in the world (I don't suppose anybody could doubt this). Yet I have been made to feel that French authors are generally too self-conscious. A French writer begins by defining himself before he quite knows what he is going to write. He says: What should (for example) a Catholic born in such-and-such province, and being a bit of a socialist, write? Or: How should we write after the Second World War? I suppose there are many people all over the world who labor under those illusory problems." (p. 118-119)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Guido's blogging about the history of Python

Python is currently one of the most popular dynamic programming languages, along with Perl, Tcl, PHP, and newcomer Ruby. Although it is often viewed as a "scripting" language, it is really a general purpose programming language along the lines of Lisp or Smalltalk (as are the others, by the way). Today, Python is used for everything from throw-away scripts to large scalable web servers that provide uninterrupted service 24x7. It is used for GUI and database programming, client- and server-side web programming, and application testing. It is used by scientists writing applications for the world's fastest supercomputers and by children first learning to program.

In this blog, I will shine the spotlight on Python's history. In particular, how Python was developed, major influences in its design, mistakes made, lessons learned, and future directions for the language.

The History of Python: Introduction and Overview
-Guido van Rossum

"Someone is building God in a dark cup."

Spinoza's Library
"Baruch Spinoza" by Borges gives me the chills.

"From his disease, from nothing, he's begun"

Borges' other poem on Spinoza.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Leopold and Loeb

In The Rebel, Camus traces some of the aspects of Nietzschean (and Hegelian) thought and logic that may lead to the appalling political conclusions of Nazi and Communist regimes.1

Since Nietzsche's "greater concerns are personal or spiritual"2 then it may be worth exploring the more fertile ground to see where aspects of Nietzschean thought lead to appalling personal conclusions. The example that immediately comes to mind are those stupid geniuses (their IQs? 210, 160): Leopold and Loeb. Is there a book that takes on this task? Other than L&L are there other well known examples?

It's especially important for those of us who enjoy the positive aspects of Nietzschean thought to expose these negative aspects, even when they result from misinterpretations.

--
[1] If Nietzsche and Hegel serve as alibis to the masters of Dachau and Karaganda [They found less philosophic models in the Prussian, Napoleonic, and Czarist police and in the British concentration camps in South Africa.], that does not condemn their entire philosophy. But it does lead to the suspicion that one aspect of their thought, or of their logic, can lead to these appalling conclusions. (The Rebel p. 137)

[2] Nietzsche's fascism (comments) - Charlie Huenemann

--
Related: Hitler interprets Nietzsche (Ricky Gervais), Camus on Nietzsche

Sunday, January 11, 2009

natural settings are better for the brain

Now scientists have begun to examine how the city affects the brain, and the results are chastening. Just being in an urban environment, they have found, impairs our basic mental processes. After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory, and suffers from reduced self-control. While it's long been recognized that city life is exhausting -- that's why Picasso left Paris -- this new research suggests that cities actually dull our thinking, sometimes dramatically so.

How the city hurts your brain (boston.com)
Just what I wanted to know, more ways I might be getting dumber. In case your brain needs some relief:

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kilgore Trout: reformed conservationist, theistic fatalist

He had a point. The planet was being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what was being manufactured was lousy, by and large.

Then Trout made a good point, too. “Well,” he said, “I used to be a conservationist. I used to weep and wail about people shooting bald eagles with automatic shotguns from helicopters and all that, but I gave it up. There’s a river in Cleveland which is so polluted that it catches fire about once a year. That used to make me sick, but I laugh about it now. When some tanker accidentally dumps its load in the ocean, and kills millions of birds and billions of fish, I say, ‘More power to Standard Oil,’ or whoever it was that dumped it.” Trout raised his arms in celebration. “‘Up your ass with Mobil gas,’” he said.

The driver was upset by this. “You’re kidding,” he said.

“I realized,” said Trout, “that God wasn’t any conservationist, so for anybody else to be one was sacrilegious and a waste of time. You ever see one of His volcanoes or tornadoes or tidal waves? Anybody ever tell you about the Ice Ages he arranges for every half-million years? How about Dutch Elm disease? There’s a nice conservation measure for you. That’s God, not man. Just about the time we got our rivers cleaned up, he’d probably have the whole galaxy go up like a celluloid collar. That’s what the Star of Bethlehem was, you know.”

“What was the Star of Bethlehem?” said the driver.

“A whole galaxy going up like a celluloid collar,” said Trout.

The driver was impressed. “Come to think about it,” he said, “I don’t think there’s anything about conservation anywhere in the Bible.”

“Unless you want to count the story about the Flood,” said Trout.

Breakfast of Champions (p. 84-85)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

what google knows

I showed Chris my favorite google query a few minutes ago. He thinks it lends to disproving the existence of the Illuminati (wikipedia). I think it simply proves the existence of the Illiterati. I was hoping no-one had defined the term "Illiterati" yet but as usual -- "Results 1 - 10 of about 50,500 for illiterati" google's been there.
The opposite of the Illuminati, who take pride in their high level of knowledge and learning. An Illiterati takes pride in the fact that they are ignorant and refuse to learn (adjust their paradigm) often to the severe detriment of those around them.

Urban Dictionary
xkcd blogged a few phrases that google didn't know recently (guaranteeing they'll be known now).

My consolation -- "my favorite google query" (google.com).

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shingo, Aomori (town in Japan)

Shingō (新郷村, Shingō-mura?) , sometimes known as [the] Home of Christ (キリストの里, Kirisuto no Sato), is a village located in Sannohe District, Aomori, Japan.

The town claims to be the last resting-place of Jesus, buried in the "Tomb of Jesus." According to the local lore, Jesus did not die on the cross at Golgotha. Instead his brother, Isukiri, took his place on the cross, while Jesus fled across Siberia, Alaska, and finally to Aomori, Shingo, Japan, where he became a rice farmer, married, and raised a family. While no evidence exists to prove this claim, some entrepreneurs have set up business selling memorabilia and Jesus souvenirs to the large number of tourists. Another tomb in Shingo is said to contain an ear of the brother of Jesus and a lock of hair from the Virgin Mary. The claims started in 1933 after the discovery of supposed "ancient Hebrew documents detailing Jesus' life and death in Japan" that was supposedly the testament of Jesus. These documents were allegedly seized by the Japanese authorities and taken to Tokyo shortly before World War II and have not been seen since.

Shingo,_Aomori (wikipedia)
Where will Jesus show up next?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kilgore Trout on ideas, earthlings

And here, according to Trout, was the reason human beings could not reject ideas because they were bad: "Ideas on Earth were badges of friendship or enmity. Their content didn't matter. Friends agreed with friends, in order to express friendliness. Enemies disagreed with enemies, in order to express enmity.

"The ideas Earthlings held didn't matter for hundreds of thousands of years, since they couldn't do much about them anyway. Ideas might as well be badges as anything.

"They even had a saying about the futility of ideas: 'If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.'

"And then Earthlings discovered tools. Suddenly agreeing with friends could be a form of suicide or worse. But agreements went on, not for the sake of common sense or decency or self-preservation, but for friendliness.

"Earthlings went on being friendly, when they should have been thinking instead. And when they built computers to do some thinking for them, they designed them not so much for wisdom as for friendliness. So they were doomed. Homicidal beggars could ride."

Kurt Vonnegut (Breakfast of Champions p. 28)

Monday, January 5, 2009

success and moral failure

This is from an essay written in 1997 that may as well have been written yesterday about Bernard Madoff.
We live in a time when many people experience their lives as empty and lacking in fulfillment. The decline of religion and the collapse of communism have left but the ideology of the free market whose only message is: consume, and work hard so you can earn money to consume more. Yet even those who do reasonably well in this race for material goods do not find that they are satisfied with their way of life. We now have good scientific evidence for what philosophers have said throughout the ages: once we have enough to satisfy our basic needs, gaining more wealth does not bring us more happiness.

Consider the life of Ivan Boesky, the multimillionaire Wall Street dealer who in 1986 pleaded guilty to insider trading. Why did Boesky get involved in criminal activities when he already had more money than he could ever spend? Six years after the insider-trading scandal broke, Boesky’s estranged wife Seema spoke about her husband’s motives in an interview with Barbara Walters for the American ABC Network’s 20/20 program. Walters asked whether Boesky was a man who craved luxury. Seema Boesky thought not, pointing out that he worked around the clock, seven days a week, and never took a day off to enjoy his money. She then recalled that when in 1982 Forbes magazine first listed Boesky among the wealthiest people in the US, he was upset. She assumed he disliked the publicity and made some remark to that effect. Boesky replied: ‘That’s not what’s upsetting me. We’re no-one. We’re nowhere. We’re at the bottom of the list and I promise you I won’t shame you like that again. We will not remain at the bottom of that list.’

We must free ourselves from this absurd conception of success. Not only does it fail to bring happiness even to those who, like Boesky, do extraordinarily well in the competitive struggle; it also sets a social standard that is a recipe for global injustice and environmental disaster. We cannot continue to see our goal as acquiring more and more wealth, or as consuming more and more goodies, and leaving behind us an even larger heap of waste.

The Drowning Child and the Expanding Circle -Peter Singer
In general I appreciate Singer's ability to help me easily recognize my own moral failures and I think his broader argument in the essay stands but I'd like a better understanding of his view on proximity and unknown knowledge. (Come to think of it, he or others have probably beat the topic to death already and I am just unaware.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Obama Oatmeal Stout


Not the best picture but I'm too lazy to take another. We brewed this beer just after the election. I don't remember all the grains we used but we definitely used Challenger, Columbus and Liberty hops. Hopefully a few things will change. Tick, tick, tick -- 16 days.

more brilliance from The Onion

"I enrolled in this course because I was fascinated by the question of God," said sophomore Miriam Blank. "After spending six hours a week in the same room as that unbearable windbag, I think I have my answer. Life is as long as it is cruel."

Guy In Philosophy Class Needs To Shut The Fuck Up (The Onion via reddit)
The guy who was like that in my philosophy classes was named Vaughn. Unfortunately, the "unbearable windbag" can be found in a variety of unnatural habitats.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Camus on Marx(ism)

Camus' discussion of Marxism in The Rebel is done primarily by way of a prolonged comparison with historical Christianity.

"For Marx, nature is to be subjugated in order to obey history; for Nietzsche, nature is to be obeyed in order to subjugate history. It is the difference between the Christian and the Greek." (p. 79)

For Camus, the faith in the future of Marxism parallels the faith in the afterlife of Christianity. This seems to be how he recognizes the nature of Marxism as life denying. The quotes below are longish but I think they're worth reading.

The unfortunate thing is that his critical method, which, by definition, should have been adjusted to reality, has found itself further and further separated from facts to the exact extent that it wanted to remain faithful to the prophecy. It was thought, and this is already an indication of the future, that what was conceded to truth could be taken for Messianism. This contradiction is perceptible in Marx’s lifetime. The doctrine of the Communist Manifesto is no longer strictly correct twenty years later, when Das Kapital appears. Das Kapital, nevertheless, remained incomplete, because Marx was influenced at the end of his life by a new and prodigious mass of social and economic facts to which the system had to be adapted anew. These facts concerned, in particular, Russia, which he had spurned until then. We now know that the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow ceased, in 1935, the publication of the complete works of Marx while more than thirty volumes still remained unpublished; doubtless the content of these volumes was not “Marxist” enough. (p. 188)

That the demands of honesty and intelligence were put to egoistic ends by the hypocrisy of a mediocre and grasping society was a misfortune that Marx, the incomparable eye-opener, denounced with a vehemence quite unknown before him. This indignant denunciation brought other excesses in its train which require quite another denunciation. (p. 201)

It has undoubtedly been correct to emphasize the ethical demands that form the basis of the Marxist dream. It must, in all fairness, be said, before examining the check to Marxism, that in them lies the real greatness of Marx. The very core of his theory was that work is profoundly dignified and unjustly despised. He rebelled against the degradation of work to the level of a commodity and of the worker to the level of an object. He reminded the privileged that their privileges were not divine and that property was not an eternal right. He gave a bad conscience to those who had no right to a clear conscience, and denounced with unparalleled profundity a class whose crime is not so much having had power as having used it to advance the ends of a mediocre society deprived of any real nobility. To him we owe the idea which is the despair of our times – but here despair is worth more than any hope – that when work is a degradation, it is not life, even though it occupies every moment of a life. Who, despite the pretensions of this society, can sleep in it in peace when they know that it derives its mediocre pleasures from the work of millions of dead souls? By demanding for the worker real riches, which are not the riches of money but of leisure and creation, he has reclaimed, despite all appearance to the contrary, the dignity of man. In doing so, and this can be said with conviction, he never wanted the additional degradation that has been imposed on man in his name. One of his phrases, which for once is clear and trenchant, forever withholds from his triumphant disciples the greatness and the humanity which once were his: “An end that requires unjust means is not a just end.” (p. 208-209)

The revolutionary movement at the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth lived, like the early Christians, in the expectation of the end of the world and the advent of the proletarian Christ. We know how persistent this sentiment was among primitive Christian communities. Even at the end of the fourth century a bishop in proconsular Africa calculated that the world would only exist for another one hundred and one years. At the end of this period would come the kingdom of heaven, which must be merited without further delay. This sentiment is prevalent in the first century [On the imminence of this event, see Mark ix, 1: xiii,30; Matthew x, 23; xvi, 27-8; xxiv, 34; Luke ix, 26-7; xxi, 22, etc.] and explains the indifference of the early Christians toward purely theological questions. If the advent is near, everything must be consecrated to a burning faith rather than to works and to dogma. Until Clement and Tertullian during more than a century, Christian literature ignored theological problems and did not elaborate on the subject of works. But from the moment the advent no longer seems imminent, man must live with his faith - in other words, compromise. Then piety and the catechism appear on the scene. The evangelical advent fades into the distance; Saint Paul has come to establish dogma. The Church has incorporated the faith that has only an ardent desire for the kingdom to come. Everything had to be organized in the period, even martyrdom, of which the temporal witnesses are the monastic orders, and even the preaching, which was to be found again in the guise of the Inquisition. (p. 210-211)

What are the errors, demonstrated by history itself, of the prophecy? We know that the economic evolution of the contemporary world refutes a certain number of the postulates of Marx. If the revolution is to occur at the end of two parallel movements, the unlimited shrinking of capital and the unlimited expansion of the proletariat, it will not occur or ought not to have occurred. Capital and proletariat have both been equally unfaithful to Marx. The tendency observed in industrial England of the nineteenth century has, in certain cases, changed its course, and in others become more complex. Economic crises, which should have occurred with increasing frequency, have, on the contrary, become more sporadic: capitalism has learned the secrets of planned production and has contributed on its own part to the growth of the Moloch State. Moreover, with the introduction of companies in which stock could be held, capital, instead of becoming increasingly concentrated, has given rise to a new category of smallholders whose very last desire would certainly be to encourage strikes. Small enterprises have been, in many cases, destroyed by competition as Marx foresaw. But the complexity of modern production has generated a multitude of small factories around great enterprises. In 1938 Ford was able to announce that five thousand two hundred independent workshops supplied him with their products. Of course, large industries inevitably assimilated these enterprises to a certain extent. But the essential thing is that these small industrialists form an intermediary social layer which complicates the scheme that Marx imagined. Finally, the law of concentration has proved absolutely false in agricultural economy, which was treated with considerable frivolity by Marx. The hiatus is important here. In one of its aspects, the history of socialism in our times can be considered as the struggle between the proletarian movement and the peasant class. This struggle continues, on the historical plane, the nineteenth-century ideological struggle between authoritarian socialism and libertarian socialism, of which the peasant and artisan origins are quite evident. Thus Marx had, in the ideological material of his time, the elements for a study of the peasant problem. But his desire to systematize made him oversimplify everything. This particular simplification was to prove expensive for the kulaks who constituted more than five million historic exceptions to be brought, by death and deportation, within the Marxist pattern. (p. 212-213)

The Marxist plan to abolish the degrading opposition of intellectual work to manual work has come into conflict with the demands of production, which elsewhere Marx exalted. (p. 215)

The idea of a mission of the proletariat has not, so far, been able to formulate itself in history: this sums up the failing of the Marxist prophecy. (p. 215)

What remains true in his vision of the economic world is the establishment of a society more and more defined by the rhythm of production. (p. 218)

Revolution, in the dilemma into which it has been led by its bourgeois opponents and its nihilist supporters, is nothing but slavery. (p. 219)

Marxism is not scientific; at the best, it has scientific prejudices. (p. 220)

After all, there is really nothing mysterious about the principle that consists in using scientific reasoning to the advantage of a prophecy. This has already been named the principle of authority, and it is this that guides the Churches when they wish to subject living reason to dead faith and freedom of the intellect to the maintenance of temporal power. (p. 222)

“If socialism,” says an anarchist essayist, [Ernestan: Socialism and Freedom.] “is an eternal evolution, its means are its end.” More precisely, it has no ends; it has only means which are guaranteed by nothing unless by a value foreign to evolution. In this sense, it is correct to remark that the dialectic is not and cannot be revolutionary. From our point of view, it is only nihilism – pure movement which aims at denying everything which is not itself. (p. 224)

Thursday, January 1, 2009