Beyond Current Paradigm
Wim Rietdijk, D.Sci.
|The arch-enemy of evil is|
And they are on the move.
1. What I admire most in the Forces managing nature is their having been in a position to achieve so much progress by means of so primitive people, wicked establishments and stupid conventions. This causes optimism to dominate my criticism.
2. In practice, relativism means: truth and the morally right are the opinions of those having been put in the right; hence it is tremendously popular.
3. Nonconformism is showing major parts of the establishment to be in bad faith, rather than writing incomprehensible poems.
4. Computer technology will revolutionarize public debate too: as soon as artificially intelligent machines will pass the Turing test in producing arguments, we will see a precipitous decline of fallacies, of hushing up arguments, and of "politically" evading essences. For our leaders cannot "sell" ignoring criticisms and assertions by high-status apparatuses, how fallible they may be in some respects, because too many people will be too much fascinated by them for accepting such lack of regard.
We see here one more specimen of the vital significance of technology also as to the problems of life.
5. My ultimate ground for not investing much energy in most of my fellow-men is my sensing: if a relevant dilemma appears, they will forsake truth, justice and me for fear of losing the sympathy of the Group - as a second nature...
6. What's common to modern catchwords like uncertainty, chance, the subjective, playfulness, privacy, the individual as a "Unique Being", abstract art, relativism, "all men are of equal value", postmodernism and anti-scientism in general? It is an aversion from bringing the world under rational and moral control.
Why so many hate this?
Ask the conservatives and evildoers of all ages...
7. I feel that the essential antithesis between the gist of my work and the position of most opponents can be summarized in a few points:
(1) Actually, I am a whistle-blower in social science, not merely criticising socio-cultural abuses but even giving explanations and formulating theories about them and society as a whole.
(2) Such explanations and theories not seldom fly in the face of currently dominating "orthodoxy" and values, especially in exposing them as mere ideology serving vested interests.
(3) My opponents will correctly feel that my criticism - of what I see as violations of integrity and/or efficiency - is so radical, consistent and uncompromising that also morally and emotionally I do not feel solidary with "the group", do no longer "join in the game".
(4) Just as in the case of "ordinary" whistle-blowers my violating solidarity will be deemed more important than what I actually have to say: my not liking "the group" is considered to be much more significant. This time and again is reflected in reviews of my work: criticism hardly ever goes into arguments and theories but shows irritation about my "tone" and alleged "repetitions", "aggrievedness" and the like. The most remarkable is that any evidence of indignation about the abuses which usually constitute a starting point of my distrust of (sections of) the establishment and orthodox ideas has invariably been absent in negative reviews.
(5) For my part, I feel this to be a violation of integrity and scientific objectivity.
What's more, I experience precisely violations of integrity and efficiency to be the pre-eminent causes of unhappiness, including where it affected myself. Therefore, I am not willing to innerly compromise with "the group", e.g., where it tolerates technicalities to sometimes eclipse truth and justice, or for decades allowed striking English typographers to prevent the introduction of automated typesetting. Then, my solidary with it ends. I am never willing to accept the interests or preferences of social actors, or socio-cultural convention, to prevail on integrity, efficiency or whatever enlightened value at all - and for the rest do not innerly need any solidarity with people who do agree to such prevalence. In actual fact, the only possible reason why I could ever feel any need of solidarity with groups at all is my very being in need of allies in the struggle against violations of enlightened values such as integrity and efficiency. (Because of this I never could feel solidary with a football club or tacitly accept prejudices of the age without their having been made plausible by arguments.)
Of course, not only my experiences with reviewers, but even more looking around in society, convinced me that, in a general sense, most of our social and cultural leaders - not to speak of the political ones - deem "solidarity" and joining the game more important at all than integrity, efficiency and abuses. Nationalism, party politics and the like are a mere few typical examples. For me, this meant "inner emigration"...
(6) Actually, I feel important ideas about the functioning of society and culture to have occurred in my mind by the very fact that I was not impeded by any sympathy or respect of the orthodoxy, or by the idea that establishments will be in good faith, also unconsciously...
Hence the inner emigration may not have been unproductive.
(7) For the rest, research showed me to be anything but a member of a querulous minority in deeming major parts of the establishment morally unsound at least unconsciously: 50% of US voters feel our leaders to be crooked, and 79% that it is a few major interests rather than chosen governments which are in control. (NRC Handelsblad, 13 Nov. 1996.)
Still taking it ill of me not to be solidary?
8. Men in the crowd: those who are more interested in the Olympics than in the fate of whistle-blowers.
9. It is very well possible to reconcile rationalism and religion: by the idea that subtle as well as unshakable laws of the universe apply to the Great Things too.
For the rest: why not cross Silicon Valley and the Sermon on the Mount?
10. What we need is updating the Enlightenment, extending it into the intimate and the unconscious.
In actual fact many do not like the idea, preferring ample margins of fuzzyness, troubled waters, uncertainty and relativism for human failings, wheeler-dealers and manipulation. They don't want more enlightenment at all, but precisely that vital matters will be addressed in terms of politics in a broad sense rather than in those of reason, science, moral argument and concrete exposures. This, in the last resort, is at the basis of major socio-cultural controversies.
We do not only have the governments we deserve but also the abuses we deserve, because many in our elites thrive on them and the intelligentsia closes its eyes. For this reason, titles like The Scientifization of Culture will attract fewer people than Things have their Secrets or Around the Void...
11. In the last resort, the above - shielding abuses, lack of integrity, inefficieny, bad genes etc. - is caused by a central moral factor: disinterest in progress and in frustrations inherent to many kinds of inferiority. The relativistic climate constitutes a revealing illustration. Our intelligentsia is still more interested in ideology and in career within the scope of the status quo than in substantial reason, also with the identification of moral values, and in enforcing integrity on behalf of those suffering from the sub-optimal.
Intellectuals should simply awaken to the understanding that life is more rewarding to a thinker by his following Voltaire, his researching enlightening implications of the IT revolution and of the Human Genome Project, and by being a socio-cultural whistle-blower, than by investing emotions and aggression in political correctness, bureaucracy and world championships.
12. Moral relativism is the thesis that the holocaust was merely bad by social agreement, and that the Nazi's were not inherently wrong by making other agreements than we.
13. Saying that all people as well as all cultures are morally equivalent is a politically correct way of advancing nihilism.
14. Physicists inform us that fifteen constants of nature are attuned to making life possible. Why not take one further obvious step by assuming that the unknown instance or coherence attuning them was even consistent, doing more than poor work by seeing to it that such life makes sense too, viz. by implying a moral order in the universe that also vindicates the righteous, in ways far beyond our present horizon?
15. I came into this world as a rather vulnerable being, but society seems to have conspired to kill every bit of uncertainty and self-doubt in me:
(a) It demonstrated its unsurpassably low moral level by making technicalities, privacy and rights interfering with finding the truth often prevail on such finding in the juridical domain; obviously, it sees the fight between good and evil as a kind of cricket match; immorality in our establishment is so radical that even after ten convictions multi-repeaters are set again at their fellow-men;
(b) It demonstrated sadism for many ages by applying torture and on the other hand tabooing sex;
(c) Most Western countries made a farce of self-preservation by allowing large-scale immigration of low-IQ, lowly-skilled and crime-prone groups of aliens to the detriment of their own populations;
(d) Large sums are paid for works of Rauschenberg and Beuys without any VIP publicly assuming the role of the child saying that the emperor was naked.
Small wonder that I continuously struggle with a superiority complex.
16. The ancien régime and the Church teached that man should accept the socio-cultural status quo. Current relativism, subjectivism and opposition to eugenics all imply that man should acquiesce in the psycho-biological status quo and, for the rest, be disinterested in human quality.
17. Intense sexual titillation and catharsis, and aesthetic pornography, have much more to do with higher things and prayer than religious orthodoxy.
18. I never witnessed an opponent of my work saying: "Of course, Rietdijk is crazy and his explanations and theories are all wrong. Hence let's find better explanations and theories, and tackle the abuses he goes into in better ways". By no means: such opponents hardly ever show any interest at all in theories and solutions that would move anything substantial or declare some powerful social agent in moral default. Modern society became bureaucratized in essential intellectual and moral respects too, social criticism having virtually been reduced to egalitarian ideology about "the deprivileged" and often justified concern about the environment.
For the rest, the dominating state of my mind is happy involvement in progress. My critical social theories also stem from impatience with the forces slowing it down.
19. Many object to "conspiracy theories". As to conscious conspiracies they are right. They are not about social groups and forces unconsciously sensing what could serve their interests - virtuous or not. Think of language: without linguists even existing, myriad rules and grammar unconsciously consistently "conspired" into existence in all societies. Think of the "divine rights of kings", or of the medieval Church fostering massive feeling of guilt. Think of nationalism or the Marxist myths. Didn't they serve various powerful interests very well without being conscious conspiracies? Couldn't those thriving on them have sensed indeed what their interests where?
Couldn't such relations between ideology and power continue unto this day? The single most important subject of my book The Scientifization of Culture is this very problem.
20. To authors seeking popularity in other-directed society worshipping the Gods of amusement, consensus and social play: Avoid substance, controversy and moral reproach; one never forgives spoiling the cosyness of the game.
21. After two world wars, Auschwitz and the Gulag most intellectuals concluded: "The Enlightenment failed". Not at all: they themselves failed in not fighting anti-rationalism and unenlightened ideology as Churchill did with Nazism. Where were most intellectuals in the era of the Gulag, "Cultural Revolution(s)" and the killing fields? In "leftist" regions, I remember, also thinking of anti-Enlightenment Frankfurt School (Horkheimer, Adorno, Habermas,...). Where are they now? Ever heard of Heidegger, Foucault, postmodernism, "The Museum of Modern Art"? Could you imagine an even more radical anti-Enlightenment?
22. If no hidden selfish motives were at the background of present-day orthodoxy - egalitarianism, "nurture" rather than genes, anti-eugenics,... - it would be the first non-manipulatory orthodoxy in history.
23. "Modern art" is indeed an unconscious conspiracy: not to roar with laughter about Warhol, De Kooning and Cage.
24. The former League of Nations and current UN are exemplary of a more general feature of our leaders: disinterest in suffering, evil and abuse.
25. My work appears to be utterly consistent: opponents hate every bit of it.
26. There's a common ground in old-time sexual repression and current emphasis on "playfulness": keeping human emotion in bottom gear, the spirit of non-catharsis. Good for the status quo, just as frustrating intellectual catharsis...
27. In the same vein, Lily Marlen, Glenn Miller's In the Mood, Orff's Carmina Burana, Gregorian music, Demis Rousos and Vicky Leandros all contrast with what our Cultural Supplements, high-brow modernism and here-and-now pop have in common: studied irrelevance or superficiality. Undangerous non-substance also in the emotional sphere, anti-catharsis and going nowhere.
Faking weight, faking culture, faking expression, faking innovatory experiment,..., that's what may be called anti-autoritarian censorship.
28. Sport is the great surrogate for strivings, emotions, and performance.
29. Not only in politics the "professionals" emanate vagueness and obscurity; we see so too in domains like philosophy and modern art, in buraucracy and in the juridical domain. Now precisely transparency and coherent simplicity put righteousness in the strongest possible position against evil.
Could a common ground intention appear in all of the relevant fields, symbolized by the general aversion of in-crowds to putting any cat among the pigeons?
30. Relativism is the justification of lyers and villains; that's why it is popular.
31. Our "disadvantaged" for the most part do not lack opportunities but good values and genes.
32. In short, badness is being less interested in being right than in being put in the right.
33. When did you hear a leading intellectual defend a positively unpopular or tabooed idea the last time, he standing up to an outcry?
When, by the way, happened that person to be yourself?
34. The most urgent task of the intelligentsia is giving us hope, inspired by the advance of science, technology and insights into the functioning of society and culture, also in coherence with the exposure of ideological fraud.
In actual fact, it will do the opposite: Ignoring progress of science and technology as well as enlightened ideas, it bogged down in scepticism, relativism, convoluted philosophy, inexplicable art and discussions about "alienation", "language", and the poly-interpretable.
35. Those who loudly advertise pessimism about human nature causing the world to be incorrigibly bad, but at the same time do not like politicians to be interviewed compulsorily with the aid of a lie detector, are hypocrites.
More generally, many lament human failings in the abstract but do not seem particularly interested in concretely exposing and fighting their major manifestations in the real world.
36. My flaw with the orthodoxy and the "right-minded people" dates from the moment I understood that they are not willing to enforce integrity by all available means.
37. Much permissiveness as to anti-socials and criminals, and most sympathy for Third-World cultures, bohemians and postmodernism, just as opposition to genetic engineering on man, stem from the same spirit as Pius IX's Syllabus Errorum: hate of the Enlightenment way...
38. To a high degree, current semidemocratic establishment became so because its instruments in acquiring and maintaining power were better than others'. That is, it eclipsed others in instinctively sensing and applying the adage: "If you can't govern by force, you can do it by fraud". I.e., by subtly "domesticating" reason, emotions and conscience. This is the very reason why so much philosophy, art and ideology undermine or turn against rationalism, relativize good and evil or push the anti-cathartic in the emotional domain (from sexual repression to emotionless art).
39. None of the great authors of antiquity ever criticized slavery, which was common then.
We can say a similar thing about the persecution of witches, that, tacitly or not, was accepted for ages before some very rare criticism was heard. Also think of the general practice of torture to enforce confessions.
In my opinion, a mere two hypotheses can explain such radical moral blindness. The first is that mankind is indeed morally insane by nature. The second is that some telepathic influence appears by which large majorities, within the scope of a general psychological climate, so much influence the few dissidents that they conform too.
I am an optimist, and hence biased towards hypothesis two...
40. Society is a massive specimen of Milgram's experiment. (Inspect your encyclopedia.)
41. Do you want to make new discoveries in socio-cultural science? Seek where the bad faith is, and how it is disguised. Good intentions will have caused themselves to be discovered a long time ago!
42. What else remains than here-and-now hedonism if the world is meaningless?
Is there a relation between the cult of "chaos", uncertainty, postmodernism and the subjective, and economic interests of the consumption industry?
43. The slumps of the nineties in Japan and the Asian Tigers could have been avoided by simple consistent policies:
(1) Never fight inflation by curbing demand, e.g., via high interest rates, but do so by fiercely removing any possible restrictive practice hindering competition, especially corruption and favouritism;
(2) Never allow "paper problems" such as debts, or people having too few bank notes in their pockets, to cause production and investment to markedly trail physical capacity.
(See Chapter 6 of The Scientifization of Culture.)
44. The rotten situation is that most opponents of degradation, the happy-go-lucky mentality and permissiveness towards anti-socials are rightist supporters of tradition and orthodox religion who oppose sexual freedom and euthanasia.
Why not fight such permissiveness, New-Left values in general, and conservatism from the same point of view: their disharmony with progress - i.e., bringing the world under rational and moral control - and the Promethean?
Why not in the name of progress combine "bourgeois" performance ethic, delayed gratification and emphasizing genetic and educational quality with "leftist" disrespect for vested interests and typically anti-conservative unceremonial directness?
45. What would be the moral substance of our siding with what will be called "God" if He were clearly visible and winning?
Could man ever attain then a state of inner majesty, purity and strength:
"Here I am, alone. I got neither proofs nor guarantees. My choice and decision have been made from the inner quality of my mind. They joined with a divine spark, for better or worse; I need no outside proof for knowing that I will land in safe haven"?
Could it be that the laws of the universe imply such Men to evolve by its very being more than a half-hearted attempt to express Truth and Quality?
46. Relations between groups (and individuals) should be governed by rationally legitimated values, attuned to optimizing happiness. Society's major moral flaw is its overwhelming bias towards the opposite: deriving values from such (power) relations.
47. The down-with-us mentality among many Western intellectuals - recent anti-anti-communism, "Western culture is not superior", "Third-World immigrants are welcome", permissiveness towards those burdening society,... - to a considerable degree amounts to an alienation of man from his instincts.
Now it seems to me that this could go rather far in making men into sheep which are conformable and manipulable by psycho-ideological means that succeeded former violence, convention, ignorance and poverty as instruments of power.
48. More radical than being an - often disguised - manifestation of egoism, evil may also sometimes be sickness of the psyche.
49. I suspect many also to prefer "nurturism" to "naturism" (genes) with respect to crime, addiction and inferiority at all because they want to relativize them.
50. Explanations and theories finding unconscious bad intentions and manipulation with powerful social groups are not very popular, neither in traditional societies, nor in modern other-directed ones. For such societies have in common that "the group" as a whole is felt to be sacrosanct, never showing bad faith. That's a major reason why so many object to my theories about sexual taboos, "modern" art, "progressive" education and various others, for they share the aspect that certain social forces unconsciously foster ideologies which - by means of such taboos, art, education,... - serve their very concrete interests.
Most people feel such explanations to undermine cultural lore, the elites and "the group" as moral compasses, sources of identity and major instances to hold on to. I believe such basic "authoritarianism" to be the single most important obstacle to socio-cultural thinking.
51. Apart from embodying anti-rationalist ideology, postmodernism, "chaos"-thinking and cultivating uncertainty and alienation are also strongly related to the circumstance that intellectuals too will be flooded with a great mass of incoherent and mostly irrelevant impressions and information. Just as other-directedness, this fosters superficiality and a diversion from substance and coherent thought.
52. The common element of all irrational power and manipulation is exploiting people's dependence on or uncertainty about the forces of nature, coincidence and the mysteries of fate, the others, sex and so on.
Therefore, there is a deep but unconscious common basis of anti-scientism, anti-determinism, fostering group-mindedness, and ridiculing suggestions of making the sex market large-scale, more rational and transparent. (Most people would even feel ashamed of admitting to be frustrated, and of openly deploring their having to do without such large-scale market.) Various social forces unconsciously do not like the idea of a rational, transparent and dependable world, in which less and less waters remain troubled, latitudes for manipulation shrinking...
53. We elaborate part of the above somewhat further.
Sociologist Schelsky suggested that ideologists and many authorities used to or will hate technology because they unconsciously sense(d) that man's dependence on and uncertainty about the overwhelming forces of nature - which are reduced by technology - make him easier to rule and manipulate.
Now some analogy may exist: the essence of repressive sexual morality, and of frustrating "free trade in emotions" it amounts to, is inducing fearfulness, diffidence, and awkwardness in people as regards their expressing wishes and desires in the domain of love.
Actually, in that domain three factors cause man to be particularly dependent on the "overwhelming forces" of nature, "the others" and uncertainty (chance):
(1) Scarcity of positively attractive individuals;
(2) The lacking of a really large-scale, rational and transparent sexual marketplace;
(3) (Former) repressive morals.
Now it is remarkable that factors (1) and (2) will be hushed up, whereas in fact they constitute the biggest sexual problems of all, as causes of massive demand finding no supply, which circumstance, e.g., is illustrated by the extent of the market in sensually stimulating pictures. This suggests that troubled waters are hiding here something from view, and I think of Schelsky! That is, could it be that similar social forces as he thought of in connection with technology, for similar reasons want man to remain dependent and uncertain in so major a domain as sex: dependent on nature, "the others", and coincidence? What is more intimidating than the lacking of rational, systematic ways to look for the most desired in life? Formerly it was often forbidden, now still hard to find...
Could relevant authorities and manipulating ideologists have an interest in people still being so fearful and awkward as to refrain from being so much open and discerning in sexual matters that large and sophisticated rational markets would come into being as a matter of course, just as in other domains of need and demand?
Conclusion: the little openness and directness in the erotic domain, frequent shame, awkwardness, "not advertising oneself", "romance needs coincidence", and finding a mate as a kind of social game rather than selecting quality, as heirs of the old taboos, may be as little an accident themselves as the scepticism of many ideologues regarding technology Schelsky spoke about. They might simply continue the functions of such taboos: intimidation and censorship in the domain of instincts and emotions.
In other words, Schelsky's mechanism - primitive "technology" keeps people dependent on "the overwhelming forces of nature" - is still actively working in the sexual domain. Inter alia, it is so in the sense of people being made very dependent on ample participation in "the group" and social life, which is often associated with superficiality and conforming tendencies.
54. I am among the happy few: my opponents always aimed at discrediting me without even trying to refute my arguments.
55. Feel every moment of your sorrow to be a contribution to the world's evolution, and make your life a monument of what it is in the process of expressing.
56. The gist of sociology is finding out concretely where the hidden interests, the bad faith and the manipulations are.
I seldom found them in the literature...
57. Freedom of choice and of the markets is very positive. Still, it has a major drawback: most people choose the line of least resistance, preferring the present to the future and rights to duties, and politicians know. Where are the statesmen?
58. People will think that censorship is merely forbidding books. Actually, it is a more general phenomenon, also containing:
(1) Political correctness;
(2) Conservative aversion to putting any cat among any pigeons and to whistle-blowers;
(3) Muddleheaded "modern" philosophy like Heidegger's and Foucault's, and incomprehensible art;
(4) Superficial literature lacking coherent lines and ideas, and dominated by the here-and-now and every-day commonness;
(5) Anti-intellectualistic egalitarian education;
(6) Pervading relativism undermining the force of rational and moral arguments at all.
59. Could it be that our laws and procedures are so tolerant of crime and more subtle violations of good faith because aggression and sophisticated fraud played great parts in the "survival of the fittest" among our leaders? Hence "privacy", complicated "rights", the role of technicalities and so on?
60. I feel much permissiveness regarding crime and anti-socials to have a similar unconscious motive as liking Heidegger, Foucault, postmodernism, Rauschenberg and primitive cultures: hate of enlightened Promethean modern society.
61. Reducing anxiety means declaring war on bad faith, uncertainty, inefficiency and more-than-incidental human failings. That's exactly what our authorities refuse to do...
In civilized society the interests of victims come first.
62. Hitler's euthanasia program regarding the mentally handicapped aroused more resistance (it was cancelled) than his murdering Jews and adversaries. Actually, this is telling about our "right-minded" elites.
63. A Dutch philosopher once gave the definition of humour:
"As a fruit of much ripe experience of life, humour revises initial value judgments, breaks out of many original illusions, finished with many former requirements to life and with many cherished expectations. Thus humour embodies an attitude of resignation, but without associating with this any tragic or world-escaping nature".
I could not disagree more. I don't like kinds of humour anyhow amounting to resignation or compromise with frustration or injustice, at abandoning what my genes are attuned to.
Much opposition to my work comes from people who indeed adjusted in major matters without deeming it a tragedy or considering "inner emigration". Moral indignation is "out" at all in our intelligentsia, fiddling with truth and tragedy in its playing social, philosophical and linguistic games. I feel betrayed by such people, and at the same time understand why establishments are fond of them....
64. It is not in the first place the specific content of my explanations and theories which encounters resistance with many - they often hardly understand them - but their correctly sensing that I do not join in the game, preferring reason, rational ethic and genes to its repression-mutilated and interest-moulded rules.
65. The (original) left has (had) good ideas: about progress, rationalism, freedom and the Promethean. The right has good things to say too: about certainty, dependable values, quality and duties being equally important as rights.
Why virtually nobody was so smart to integrate both "sets of virtues" into one complex addressing anxiety by reason, certainty and dependability and producing hope by the ideas of progress and quality?
Could it be because - leftist and rightist - power elites need and manipulate anxiety and uncertainty rather than liking freedom, quality and hope?
66. About all orthodoxies, ideologies, repressions and taboos are antipathetic because they will serve vested interests, shielding them from free thought and rational values.
67. A still unproved impression: In some respects, not only masses have inertia, tending to continue their course in the same direction, but events do show something similar.
68. You want to know whether someone likes or thrives on troubled waters? Ask him what he feels about the concepts of "uncertainty", coincidence and the measurability of man.
69. The single most negative factor in history is shunning substantial discussion with the heterodox.
70. The slippiest among all eels is the one whose answer to everything is LOVE: to the sheep and to the wolves, to the robbed and the robber, to the slaves and the emperor.
71. If literature (such as In Search of Excellence by T.J. Peters and R.H. Waterman) finds that 25 to 75 percent of middle management in most companies is superfluous, this shows competition as well as the market for top managers to be a mess, the latter in spite of abundant option and other remunerations.
72. "The problems of life are not rational", "man is a mystery", "history is incoherent", "ethic is not objective", "human quality is fundamentally immeasurable", "social abuse is poly-interpretable", "life is inherently accidental",... are simply slogans of the modern analogue of medieval obscurantism.
73. One should make thinly-populated and undemocratic countries like Surinam into a kind of Israel for legitimate asylum-seekers by using UN military forces and Western money.
74. If indeed many natural constants are all attuned to making life possible, nature itself leads in deep, possibly unconscious intelligence; that is, in "conspiracy".
75. One of the greatest questions: why does evil exist? A preliminary intuition: An ultimate meaning of the universe may be to give expression in concrete events and processes to what is theoretically true, logical and valuable. Among it are the relation between good and evil, their inherent consequences and the inevitable ultimate outcome of their struggle...
Within this scope, Socrates' conviction, Jesus' life and death, Verdun and Auschwitz may be symbols too, reflecting deep laws and truths.
76. The moral state of government can be seen from the mere circumstance that, without parliament doing something about it, a relatively decent government as the Dutch for years gave many hundreds of millions of dollars to Surinam, knowing that it wasted them to an inflated bureaucracy (60% of the working force is "official").
Still, Andy Warhol attracts more attention than this page...
77. Art cultivating everyday events and the incidental is also a thin attempt to revalue the minds of the superficial.
78. Happiness is conquering ignorance, and freedom from the decisions of others. Hence all nasty ideologies start from relativizing science and reason and emphasizing the importance of "the others".
79. One common background of relativism, "modern" art, subjectivism in philosophy and beyond, and emphasizing the playful, amusement and triviality also in art, is our intelligentsia's lacking serious emotions, values and purposes. It became trivial itself.
80. There is only one thing even worse than the New Left: the Old Right, of anti-abortion, anti-euthanasia, the atmosphere of traditional students unions and of associating sex and violence. The right which likes discretion rather than whistle-blowers...
81. If you are a relativist, not much remains but money, career, consumption, and status in the group. Now look around...
82. Proposal for the Guinness Book of Records as to nihilism:
"Who are we that we could decide what individuals should not procreate?"
83. One more case in point of Schelsky's theory - unconsciously fostering people to remain ignorant and helpless so that they can be manipulated (compare 53. above) - may refer to parapsychology:
Large majorities in many countries believe in life after death or show interest in religion, New Age and the paranormal. Still, fewer than twenty researchers in the world are engaged full-time in scientific parapsychology. This is extremely irrational, especially from the point of view of the "believers". Could we explain it by our establishment being in no hurry to reduce helpless ignorance, here too, because of similar reasons as Schelsky had in view? Hence its disinterest in "the scientific way"?
Of course this is a hypothesis. Still, not appealing to "the rational way" as to both the sex market and the survival problem is so extremely stupid that some unexplained factors have to be operative in any case. My hypothesis implies the situation to join with a long tradition of religion and establishments being far from enthousiastic about man getting more power in matters of life and dead at all. Think of contraception, abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering applied to man,... Also, such hypothesis is no more far-fetched than medieval clergy unconsciously fostering guilt feelings which in turn increased its power, or than many governments seeking witches, Jews or foreign countries as scapegoats for interior problems.
84. Much more important than the rights of the accused are those of the victims.
85. There is a common mentality at the background of the former appeasement of the Nazi's, the frequent appeasement of anti-social vested interests, and the appeasement of various kinds of (often genetic) problem groups by permissiveness, money and the like. Viz. the Munich mentality.
86. Relativism is very attractive to hot-air salesmen and those having aquired undeserved status: it causes things to become true or valuable by their very being deemed so.
87. In the emotional sphere, many openly boast of their muddleheadedness in cultivating "alienation", "paradox", "uncertainty", chaos, the poly-interpretable and the here-and-now in art, the "spontaneous", the unpredictability of man,...
88. If the world were incoherent, wisdom would be useless.
89. The alarming thing about the massive emotional involvement in world championships and sports at all is that it demonstrates how easily and intensely even most intellectuals invest emotions and strivings into what is irrelevant to the extreme: e.g., how often a piece of leather is kicked into a net or how many seconds it takes someone to run a hundred meters. Relevance, projection, self-esteem, and identification with groups are radically manipulated. Just compare now nationalism, racism, ideological manipulation, Kings, Gods, frustrating conventions and prejudices.
90. If pupils between six and eighteen cannot be induced to quiet and tacit concentration on learning and working for six hours a day, but lessons should be "amusing" and varied every twenty minutes, there is something wrong, not merely with education but with the value system at all.
91. There is a common reason why many oppose my work and why the pope, sports and royalty attract millions.
92. The core manipulation by current anti-enlightened ideology as an instrument of troubled-waters-loving interests is suggesting the idea that unhappiness and frustration don't have concrete, identifiable causes, such as ignorance and moral failure, so that we have to acquiesce in them.
93. If Appel, Corneille, Stockhausen and Ionesco were gifted - which may very well be the case -, what a pity then that they wasted their talents to merely producing passports to the in-crowds.
94. In his dissertation Folie et déraison; histoire de la folie à l'âge classique (1961) Michel Foucault asserted that mental illness was a socio-cultural fabrication with which capitalistic society took revenge on people who did not want to work or were bohemians.
There is hardly anything more revealing about the state of our intelligentsia and dominating ideology than the circumstance that
(a) Innumerable intellectuals were enthousiastic about Foucault, who also feels criminals merely to have been criminalized; opposition drowned in applause,...;
(b) Foucault appears to rank second on the citation index of the twenty most quoted social scientists (NRC Handelsblad, 15 Jan. 1998).
95. Various polls, also in the business community, strongly suggest that quite a lot of survival of the unfittest appears within our power elites: lust for power, slick opportunism, hidden but unscrupulous elbowing and subtle favouritism are often more rewarding on the way to the top than integrity and quality. By the way: we see such process clearly in politics. Would it be restricted to that domain?
96. I want Thy Presence, Purity and Immenseness to outshine the emotion and the catharsis some of Thy works evoke in me, as they make the earth tremble and put to a test the coherence of my mind and my bowels.
97. Of course our sense of good and evil is genetically based to a high degree: it has been found with anthropoids too! (See Frans de Waal of Yerkes regional Primate Research Center in Atlanta: Van nature goed, 1996. More documentation in my book The Scientifization of Culture.)
Hence it is a self-interested lie as criminologists and others ascribe recidivism, educational problems and the underclass phenomenon so one-sidedly to social factors that they aggressively attack the idea of eugenics.
98. The most vital in a democracy is that veto-groups cannot exist and, more generally, interest-groups can neither buy votes nor influence the media on the sly. Simple transparency of law and procedures as well as the application of technological lie-detection are essential within this scope.
99. In the Netherlands houses are three times as expensive as in the US because of buraucratic building ground allowance and inefficient bureaucracy at all. (See the McKinsey report Boosting Dutch Economic Performance, discussed in NRC Handelsblad, 6 Sept. 1997.) Still, there was no uproar in Dutch parliament.
Do we need even more convincing illustrations of the state of democracy?
100. Translated quotation from NRC Handelsblad of 26 Nov. 1997 about Dutch practices:
"The arrival of this 'cartel police' means a radical break with the way in which the Netherlands goes about with the free market...
Behind closed doors agreements were made about prices and the division of markets in order to keep newcomers out and cause the consumer to pay more than necessary, with the tacit assent of trade unions, the Consumers Union and with the official agreement of the authorities."...
"'Take the cement industry with which we had 30 to 40 years of misery via a cartel from Greece to Arctic Cape', says economist [professor] de Jong."
Is the conclusion of the majority in 7. above too harsh, even as to a relatively decent country as Holland?
101. Translated from De Telegraaf, 29 Nov. 1997 (the Netherlands):
"Parliament welcomed a bill of minister of Justice Sorgdrager by which public prosecutors get the opportunity to submit a repair indictment if a procedural mistake has been made, because of which a defendant should be released. ... Reparation [is] only possible in cases...of crimes punishable by sentences of more than eight years."
Why the bill did not come earlier? Why the minimum of eight years? What hidden motives are operative here? What's wrong with my conclusion that no righteous man can sympathize with the establishment?
102. Translated quotation from NRC Handelsblad of 1 April 1998 (leading article):
"But in the yearly consultation [of the ministers of Agriculture in the EU] the narrow interest of their own national farmers [prevails on]...consumers' interests."
What questions in parliaments? What democracy?
103. Translated quotation from NRC Handelsblad of 14 April 1998:
"The French, Belgian and American governments knew of the preparations for the mass slaughter of Tutsi's and moderate Hutu's in January 1994, three months before the slaughter began. ...
It was already known that the commander of the UN troops in Rwanda, Canadian general Romeo Dallaire, on 11 January 1994 informed the UN of the preparations for the mass slaughter. ... Dallaire earlier declared before the Rwanda tribunal that he would have been in a position to prevent the genocide if he had got permission to disarm the Hutu militias."
Of course, lie detectors are superfluous, and cannot do any good, for our politicians are honest, straightforward and compassionate people, who were always against the Holocaust and the killing fields of Cambodia; and verification whether all of this is true would merely violate their privacy...
104. Translated quotation from NRC Handelsblad of 13 June 1998:
"Matsuura [of the Japanese organization for foreign trade] does not expect that the consumer [in Europe] will see anything of the lower yen. 'Japanese automobiles or CD-players do not become cheaper in the stores [in Europe]. The importers pocket a higher margin. Only in the very long term this [yen] price decline is passed on to the customer'."
What about free markets and competition among importers (and exporters, and...)? What about questions in parliaments and democracy at all?
105. It is simply egalitarian ideology and lack of elementary common sense if problems in education are not seen as primarily stemming from:
(1) Largely genetically based low IQ with many pupils and students;
(2) Value systems in which intellectual interest and performance rank lowly;
(3) Permissive educational establishments and bureaucracies shunning selection and discipline, also because unconsciously they have a bias towards not too serious, group-minded and consumption-prone types of men.
106. Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Lyotard, Habermas, Foucault and other producers of verbiage also are popular because endlessly muddling and doing deep about "being", "nothingness", "texts", "praxis", "alienation" and "language", rather than saying anything concrete and coherent about substance and a model of the universe, does not move anything. The same thing holds about incoherent art that is either "abstract" or cultivates the inane: everyday commonness or "experiment" with everything except intense and coherent emotion.
Most of it is being "nonconformist" for peanuts too, functioning socially as lightning rods.
107. Recently, the idea of "emotional intelligence" drew some attention. Probably, repression, conformism and being manipulated into them are among the purest specimens of lacking it.
108. In my opinion, some vital points about current social science can be summarized as follows:
(1) In our other-directed, image-cultivating and highly consensus-minded modern society it became not done to impute bad faith to major social actors or even to suggest sub-conscious variants of it. Marx and Veblen did so, but the habit got lost. Obvious examples are that not even situations as discussed in 99 through 104 above give rise to an uproar, in spite of their being publicly known. For the rest, it is not merely not done to impute bad faith, but it is even little popular to explicitly say that some major aspect of our value system, ideology or bureaucracy should simply be abolished, without suggesting any bad faith. (The relevant mentality of "accepting everyting and everybody as they are" culminates in the violent taboo against the idea of some groups having inferior genes.)
(2) Most unexplained socio-cultural phenomena are so because their explanation would indeed amount to an exposure of social actors or interest groups as meant above, which exposure will be shunned because of (1).
(3) Several among the relevant unexplained phenomena are hidden variants of censorship, attuned to reducing the impact and scope of reason and ethic; examples: pushing relativism, anti-rationalism and incoherent art, and discrediting the Enlightenment.
(4) By our actually violating the virtual taboo against bringing forward "incriminating" socio-cultural explanations, it appears that these can rather easily be integrated into a transparent, coherent and rather comprehensive theory on socio-cultural dynamics and other main social phenomena. This is elaborated in The Scientifization of Culture. Sexually repressive morals, the popularity of anti-rationalism and "modern" art, "progressive" education, egalitarianism, postmodernism and anti-semitism, and many more phenomena, e.g., appear to fit into one coherent context. In a frame of thinking, and far from enlightened interests, that also show historical continuity.
In other words, it has been ideology and associated repression and taboo which frustrated socio-cultural insight, rather than lack of research or other purely intellectual factors.
In actual fact, the other-directedness, image cultivation and consensus-mindedness referred to under (1) above constitute present-day variants of censorship.
109. On the role of current intelligentsia.
(1) In his The American Intellectual Elite (Boston, 1974), Charles Kadushin quotes Talcot Parsons: "Ideology has become the primary instrument of the modern secular intellectual classes in their bid to be considered generally important..." (p. 341).
(2) On p. 175, Kadushin writes: "Even more striking, moralists simply did not count [among intellectuals]. ... Moralizing is not the sort of argument intellectuals feel is convincing."
(3) In 1986, economist James Buchanan received the Nobel Prize for advancing and elaborating the insight that politicians act as businessmen in the sense that their private self-interest prevails on ideals they adhere to in public.
Now it is more than plausible that the human nature of the average intellectual does not fundamentally differ, also in this respect, from that of businessmen and politicians: his own career and status come first.
(4) Friedrich von Hayek once observed: "[most] intellectuals are not original thinkers, but purveyors of second-hand ideas... Their reputation depends on their being accepted by their colleagues,..." (See The Scientifiation of Culture, p. 249.)
(5) From (1) through (4) the obvious conclusion results that, for most intellectuals, it is an "economic" choice to conform to "orthodox" trends: they realize that they will never be in a position to derive their inner support, pride and hope from authentic (moral) values and original intellectual performance. Their status and career will be safer by their attracting applause from their peers without being contrarious at all.
In the first instance, the above conclusion results from (3) and (4). Also, (2) - apart from making it clear that few "idealistic" motives exist among modern intellectuals for getting at odds with the status quo - adds to the picture that ranking the moral dimension low will not contribute to intellectuals' propensity of standing alone... The relativistic climate will even compound this. (Why risk anything or annoy peers for "objective" truth or values?) Point (1) constitutes a sad corroboration.
(6) Kadushin (op. cit., p. 333) gives what may be considered as a euphemistic but significant hint into the same direction:
"...almost all the serious ideas advanced by the intellectuals we have talked with have either resulted from interaction with other intellectuals or were at first tested upon the supercritical audience of other intellectuals."
(7) After having made it theoretically obvious by the above, we give some additional demonstrations and illustrations of major conformism among our intelligentsia:
(a) Scientists like H.J. Eysenck and A.R. Jensen were harassed because of their non-egalitarian result that differences between races and social groups as regards average intelligence are mainly a question of genes. Very few intellectuals supported them in public.
(b) The interests and motives at the background of concrete ideologies will hardly ever be researched; neither do we see, in the past half-century, publicity about results of social science (if any) that do not accept some major social actor as it is. That is, the concrete interests at the background of current ideologies, repressions and taboos are simply hushed up by our intelligentsia. Leftist and rightist intellectuals share the habit of not discussing explanations and theories which imply (unconscious) unsound intentions with any major interest group. Think of ideologies like (former) sexual taboos, anti-eugenics and egalitarianism in general, anti-intellectualistic education, softness on crime etcetera. In short: humouring vested interests and the status quo is the norm.
(c) In spite of much endeavour, we could not find any literature at all about the phenomenon of conformism among intellectuals. This in itself arouses suspicion, viz. that the problem is repressed, though it amounts to a mere continuation of the past, when for ages hardly one thinker criticized slavery, torture, the role of nobility,...
Of course, we would be grateful to anyone who might show the way to some relevant research.
(d) Hardly anybody asks himself why the major philosophical fashions of the past half-century - existentialism and subjectivism in general, structuralism and postmodernism - all happen to be anti-rationalistic. Even seemingly rationalistic neo-positivism is: it declares the vital concept of "explanation" to be hardly relevant. Neither does anyone ask for the interests behind relativism, political correctness, the "nurture" idea,...
(8) The conclusion is that George Orwell was right in his Introduction to Animal Farm (1945):
"At any given moment there is an orthodoxy, a body of ideas of which it is assumed that all right-thinking people will accept without question. It is not exactly forbidden to say this, that or the other, but it is "not done" to say it... Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness. A genuinely unfashionable opinion is almost never given a fair hearing, either in the popular press or in the high-brow periodicals".
110. In coherence with 109 above, we can say that, concretely, current conformism - especially among intellectuals - essentially fits within the scope of a modern paradigm in the sense of Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago, 1962).
Up to the Enlightenment, the dominating paradigm - or basic, and mainly tacit, starting point of all thinking in a relevant domain - in the socio-cultural and the beta sphere has been:
God is the Source of everything, and the socio-cultural status quo is His will too. After the French Revolution, this idea dwindled in natural science and - in particular by the influence of Romanticism - gradually "secularized" to the man-is-standard paradigm in the socio-cultural sector:
"Man is a unique spiritual being, and his individual and/or collective socio-cultural choices - such as about values, meaning and tradition - in the last resort are not subject to, or exposable by, reason or any 'objective' rational value system".
Within the scope of this paradigm (or "orthodoxy"), so diverse ways of thinking fit as neopositivism ("values are beyond science, and private"), relativism, traditionalism, Nazism, Foucault's "devaluing" reason in comparison with insanity, existentialism, egalitarianism and most liberal religion.
The paradigm in question is nearing the end of its reign because science - especially genetics, psychology and artificial intelligence -, the increasing application of subtle reason and technology to all domains of life, and a concomitant general "scientifization of thinking" undermine it.
In a way, my work is a philosophical and socio-cultural correlate of the relevant transition. Typical in this respect are my advocating technological lie-detection, rational sex markets and eugenics, and frequent exposures in my books of major conventions, ideologies and interest groups. For me, science and a rationally based value system positively have priority over everything whatever of the status quo, man's preferences, cultural lore and "construction" included. E.g., some cultures or individuals may be morally and/or genetically inferior.
Violating or deriding the orthodoxy will be found intolerable because the paradigm also plays a part in serving interests and in fostering "unity" (around such interests). Also, heresy evidences that one might put his own reason or conscience prior to "joining in the game", say, in fighting group enemies, in party politics, or in serving whatever "clan interest". Therefore, at least public conformism functions as a social sieve: non-"believers" are untrustworthy in the socio-political game and controversy. Violating the paradigm is taboo. Hence, also, most opposition to my work. More important: in repressing or tabooing various vital insights, such paradigm frustrates the solution of major social problems, especially those related to moral, intellectual and/or genetic inferiority of certain groups of people, or to (unconscious) bad faith with various social forces.
Finally, current paradigm is associated with anti-determinism, free will and subjectivism. In being so, it represses the fact that if truth, good, evil and the elevated are of an objective nature and important, things like the vindication of the righteous as well as the objective exposure of corruption, inefficiency and the inferior, and also the possible discovery of any substantial meaning of life, are "in much safer (scientific) hands" than if the world were characterized by indeterminism (incoherence, subjectivism), relativism and the circumstance that no appeal to socio-cultural convention exists.
For me personally, aversion of the latter in many instances was the first emotional step in abandoning the paradigm...
111. Current paradigm as discussed is the umpteenth historical appearance of the phenomenon that in a given culture virtually everybody represses certain vital aspects of truth and rational values.
In actual fact, all socio-cultural orthodoxies - which will be more practical elaborations of paradigms - amounted to the power- and privilege-serving idea that the status quo, some belief and/or convention are more important than the greatest happiness for the greatest number. That is: power should prevail on efficiency and justice according to rational standards.
Within this scope, the speech-making community during long periods repressed that slavery, the persecution of witches and heretics, the rack as a means to enforce confessions, the divine rights of kings and many things more were moral chutzpahs. Now a major error is the idea that present-day Western man stopped the repression of vital insights about truth, good and evil, and also the tabooing of substantially dissident opinions. That is, in theory we affirm Orwell's quotation above but pay no heed whatsoever to it in actual practice. Let us be specific:
(1) Our intellectual and moral leaders, though purporting to be enlightened, still are little interested in the greatest happiness for the greatest number. That is, in fostering moral solutions and efficiency - compare former eras. This implies major repressions.
(2) Typical examples are:
a) Repression of points (1) and (2) of thesis 53 above, and a general lack of interest in explanations of point (3) of it. (I gave one in Chapter 3 of The Scientifization of Culture.)
b) Any uproar about situations as those discussed in 99-104 above failed to occur.
c) More generally, only relatively few people are really interested at all in the kind of facts and arguments given on this website. This is the core symptom of the repression inherent to current socio-cultural paradigm, which actually frustrates substantial social criticism as well as real progress in socio-cultural thinking.
(3) The lack of intellectual and moral interest at stake in (2) reflects for our times what has been observed above: optimum happiness and, therefore, enforcing integrity, fighting abuses and fostering efficiency and enlightenment in general do not at all prevail on adjustment to the status quo and joining in the socio-cultural game.
(4) As elements of the latter we even see absurdities, the inane and injustice being accepted to the extreme, as discussed in various pages on this website.
Such acceptance and adjustment reflect the partial repression and often tabooing of reason and rational values referred to above. They made possible Finnegan's Wake and Foucault's applauded revaluation of unreason, and also that technicalities often define the outcome of lawsuits, that underclasses are ascribed to "discrimination" rather than to inferior genes and/or values, as well as the hypertrophy of sports, just as in former days they sustained nationalism, the Mother of God and Victorian morals...
(5) The above causes me to feel most of my fellow-men to be untrustworthy as allies in the struggle for happiness and progress. I even feel personally betrayed by everybody who is so little interested in justice, integrity, human quality and mercy that he or she invests more emotions in uncomprehensible poems, socializing or the Olympics than in loathing the technicality cult, criticizing opposition to euthanasia and eugenics, and aversion to situations as discussed in 99-104 above.
At the same time, it is perfectly clear why so many feel uncomfortable with this page and this website: after reading five words they correctly sense that there is no compromise between them and the paradigm. The easiest way out is declaring these theses etcetera to be "not important", "uninteresting", and not going into any relevant argument at all. So doing indeed allows one an escape from the painful choice between reason and the support of "the group" that succeeded "God" with most of us...
112. Partly summarizing some former ones of these theses, I can say that for me personally - and I feel more generally too - the problems of life in the last resort boil down to a few mutually coherent points:
(1) Essentially, I am an optimist, sensing (as, among others, also Einstein did) that a deep, intelligent and even moral Principle governs the universe. Among its characteristics are those reflected in science too: reason, coherence, integrity, optimum simplicity, transparency and dependability.
(2) My strivings are clear, intense, stable, coherent, and hardly co-defined by my social environment. In principle, they do not at all disharmonize with those of benevolent fellow-men. I can imagine very well how paradise would look like for me, without any infringement of others' rights being involved.
(3) Hence I have a personal interest in the world, society and values to breathe a spirit of reason, coherence etcetera, as mentioned under (1), and in their being positively on the side of the righteous, progress, quality and efficieny. That is, personally too, I have an interest in "the red thread (of enlightenment) in history" which plays a prominent part in The Scientifization of Culture.
(4) In actual fact, I see society and "the group" being led to a high degree by quite other priorities and a concomitant mentality. I.e., it appears that very often enlightened views, principles and priorities as indicated above are by no means in the best interest of those in power or in privileged positions. In addition, the majority and many values and practices in society will adjust to precisely those most influential - or simply result from primitive or muddled thinking, emotions or consciences. So much so, that in about all societies before the twentieth century cruelty, exploitation, censorship, unenlightened sexual and other conventions etcetera played so major a role that the relevant societies cannot even be taken seriously from an ethical point of view. And all of us know that the twentieth century, too, was less than a direct step from hell into heaven.
(5) One major difference between our times and values as compared with former "evil empires" is that evil and abuses in question will be more disguised and hypocritical now.
(6) The above also defines my personal relation with "the group", most of my fellow-men, and their values and preferences: I simply will not feel them to be my allies as to the main problems of life. If I had lived in one of the cruel and irrational historical societies referred to above, this would have been self-evident in view of especially points (2) - (4). As to current society a mere few specimens suffice for my still feeling myself a social whistle-blower rather than "solidary with the group", simply because such society - in spite of rapid progress in most domains - appears not at all to be "positively on the side of the righteous, progress, quality and efficiency" [compare (3)]. I gave many examples in the foregoing, and conclude by summarizing a few which are revealing as to leading mentality:
(7) a) About all philosophical (and artistic) fashions of our age are anti-rationalistic and ignore or deny progress: existentialism, structuralism, postmodernism,..., whereas even neopositivism and "rationalist" Wittgenstein radically relativize the vital concepts of "explanation" and of constructing an understandable model of the world (see The Scientifization of Culture, p.162 and Chapter 10);
b) Not even in law and juridical procedure justice and integrity prevail on technicalities;
c) In a host of instances, evil, fraud, inferior genes, troubled waters and the like are shielded by law, convention and ideology: aversion to technological lie detection, individual genetical blueprints, eugenics, selection in education, enforcement of integrity by all available means, whistle-blowers,...
One among the conclusions: The radical progress we see in society is produced by deep forces and evolutionary laws - such as the cumulative nature of knowledge - rather than the ideas and preferences of our speech-making community, which can hardly evoke sympathy in an enlightened mind...
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