Monday, October 12, 2015

it's a piece of a circle flying overhead, anchored by two vertical supports

The other day I heard Hy asking Karl and Chuck (and would have asked Paul and Hal too, if they'd been there) why this esteemed weblog and/or alleged neurotic sink has spent so much of its history throwing shurikens at The Supreme Arch-Druid.  I stopped listening after hearing the question, because I had my own thoughts on the subject, and they involved waiting for Archie's next keyboard molestation and finding a suitable comment thereafter.

And here it is:

karl rove said it very well: we're an empire now and when we act, we create our own reality". the statement was notable for it's arrogance and narcissism, but it also illustrates the child-like faith in the power of abstraction. we often imagine that our leaders take recourse to abstraction simply to avoid unpleasant reality. i'm not so sure that's true. rove really believed that reality could be created by determined actors, just as many economists seem at a loss as to why years of quantitative easing, zirp, nirp and asset buying, i.e. creating more money-itself merely an abstract concept, has failed to juice the real economy.

i'm more and more convinced that what's at work here is a form of magical thinking (with apologies to those of the druidical or wiccan persuasion) in which wishing will make it so. i would almost prefer that our leaders were merely sociopaths that were using abstract ideas to try and mislead the public. sadly, i think what were seeing is perhaps even more insidious than a propagandistic campaign to persuade the public that all is well. our leaders have succeeded in convincing themselves, just as karl rove did, that they can create their preferred reality by sheer force of will. under such conditions, reality based politics, diplomacy and economics are no longer possible.

Have you ever heard the remark that the smarter you are, the more you know what you don't know?

...the more you realize you don't know as much as you used to think you knew...

...the more you realize that at every prior stage of relative ignorance, you felt omniscient...

et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Our good comenter above, who handles his internet projection under the name "jonathan," is one of those people who thinks having a little tiny insight on a subject automatically means you have in your mind's grasp the full scope of the subject's manifold possibilities.

He cites the oughta-be-a-dead-horse-by-now-but-it-still-prowls-the-paddock quote from Karl Rove about "creating our own reality," and that's where he has some little tiny insight that lots of people may not hold.  He knows Rove openly said this to a writer,** and so he feels like an "insider" for knowing this bit of the PNAC archival canon.  

The mention of "magical thinking" and attributing it to Rove but not considering it may be at work in his own (jonathan's own) perspective is classic bibble-bobble from the water cooler graciously provided by the steampunk-obsessed software millionaire who now maintains a significant online presence as a high priest in the Druidic cult.

This is the fake-skeptic hallmark.

Can't Rove actually be shrewd enough to publicly say that "we create our own reality" stuff on the simple premise that if you say such a thing, it carries two messages:  one is the language used (the words and/or sentiments conveyed), and the second is whatever strategic value such a statement may hold in the corridors of power where you ply your trade.

Does this second category need explanation for you? 

Rove would know a writer would pass along something gained from a talk with Rove.  Knowing this, he can craft his message with various goals in mind, making the writer nothing but a conduit.

Our man jonathan seems to think it impossible that Rove out-maneuvered Ron Suskind.  Or that Suskind and Rove worked together to share that idea about creating one's own reality.  Of course those possibilities would require jonathan to admit he doesn't know everything, and didn't think to be skeptical about Rove working him, or Suskind working him, or Rove and Suskind working in tandem to create a sort of moving ideological pick on him. 

It's easier to think, "Rove is so stupid, he just blurted that out in front of Ron Suskind, who got the scoop of the millennium, useful for proving the idiotic incompetence of the neocons."

I suppose it's also a mistake that the Healthy Forests Initiative destroyed lots of riparian and forest ecosystems, and/or that the No Child Left Behind Act leaves every poor victim of public school well behind those who wisely go elsewhere.

If Suskind reports what Rove says, if Suskind's editor runs it as it's been attributed, if everyone involved knows it's got several ways to play out in the eventual target audience (and the derivative audience of the re-telling) and one of them is that some guy who calls himself jonathan at Archie's Water Cooler thinks Rove is an idiot who blurted out a gaffe revealing magical thinking.

Tell me now, jonny:  who got played by whom?

The playwright and audience think it rivals Jonathan Swift; the true Swiftian rivals know it's not even juvenile parody.  And once again, satire and parody get confused on the internet, and everyone loses.


** Or --as some other than jonathan might observe-- at least, found it valuable enough PR to allow the quote to stand as-published, regardless of its veracity or fidelity to the sentiment expressed, in whole or in part.


N. Eliph Aitedmun, Ph.D. said...

A psychic projector called Pinku-Sensei left this bit o' genius:

About the only future trend that is neither completely appalling nor computer driven involves insects as a food of the future. That last might be healthier for both people and the planet; profit may be another matter entirely.

Such dry humor! Why, even if insect victuals were more palatable to White People on Earth, nobody would eat such ugly creatures willingly -- taste (of the tongue-and-nose-originating sort) be damned! Insects are ugly. Thus, as a matter of micro-economics nobody will buy them because nobody can stand to look at them no matter how tasty the end product is when eaten blindfolded. It's always about the micro-.

Pish-tosh to the concerns that a shift to insect-eating by humanoids might sorta screw up the balance of predator-prey among those who presently focus their diet on the insect segment of the biosphere. Pish-TOSH!, I say.

Karl Franz Ochstradt said...

Dr Aitedmun,

It would seem that you are both correct and not. Perhaps because we are land/air dwellers we do not think of crab and lobster as "insects," but they are little more than aquatic insects overgrown. To say people do not enjoy eating insects while many slaver after lobster and crab. And for that matter, shrimp -- which also are very insectoid.

Quite curious indeed. Perhaps your micro-level focus needs a visit to the optometrist.