In an interview, Elon Musk states that the free flow of money is an important part of free society.
In nature, free flow doesn’t exist. Every flow is subject to the laws of nature, and material flows are subjected to gravity. On earth, this means that water flows down. In space the gravity is so low that objects with a certain velocity of their own circle around the earth and within those object there seems to be weightlessness, but in the end objects encircling the earth lose their velocity and fall back on the earth. Lees verder →
Michel Houellebecq‘s novel Anéantir [Annihilate] is not yet translated in English! It is translated in Dutch [Vernietigen], but this very short essay is in English, as I don’t want to confine it to the Dutch public. I will try to reveal as little as possible, but as – for me – the description of capital as cancer is the theme of Annihilate that can’t be completely avoided. Lees verder →
I have tried to read Nietzsche but texts that are sketchy even after reading them multiple times, resembling poetry, don’t qualify as serious work, so I gave up. I picked up some Nietzsche, reading The Man Without Qualities and When Nietzsche Wept, but that didn’t alter my opinion. Reading Ceika’s book brought to light some interesting points, but on the whole, I keep to Marx (and Gramsci, Althusser, …) Lees verder →
Second Foundation is the title of the third part of the Foundation trilogy(1942-53) by Isaac Asimov. The Second Foundation is a kind of Council of Wise, assigned to direct the development of a new Galactic Empire in the best possible way. Lees verder →
Materialism isn’t the statement that the world consists of matter. This is obvious. It is the statement that any statement (including this one), thought, language, conscience, consciousness, moral, subject, personality is material. It is a not a thing in itself, but has to get the necessary attribute of meaning (sense); it has to exist in a material process over time in some substrate that can interpret it with other statements.
When the material substrate in which this takes place stops functioning, that particular statement, thought, … ceases to exist. Any statement, even 1+1=2, loses its meaning when there is no consciousness left that knows its meaning; when all the substrates that hold an adequate consciousness have stopped existing. Simply said: all humans who can make additions have died. It is possible that at some point in time, a new form of consciousness can come into existence that discovers addition, and maybe this consciousness will discover that in ancient times there was a civilization that could make additions.
Modern materialism was first described by Spinoza.
Marx was a socialist. To distinguish his party from all kinds of other socialist movements, he called himself a communist, as is clearly stated in the introduction to the Communist Manifesto. The manifest is a socialist manifest, not a communist one. His insights and political ideas did not change. Lenin too was a socialist, and remained so. He too renamed the party communist to distinguish it from the socialist parties that participated in the First World War. This was in 1918, after the October revolution. Unlike Marx, communism as an idea appealed to him, or at least seemed to be a useful means of propaganda. This resulted in communist parties worldwide using ever more communist jargon. Lees verder →
A reader of Piketty is obsessed by inequality suggested that, although he conceded that my observations based on the Introduction were not without merit, at least I should read part IV to appreciate the ideas of Piketty for a better society. Unfortunately this doesn’t alter my critique one bit. I ended my critique with Lees verder →
Probably, Isaac Asimov is still the top Science Fiction writer of all times. What he wrote about the ethics of robotics — in fact about Artificial Intelligence, but that expression didn’t exist when he wrote about it — is still very much to the point. Perhaps even more important are his sociological and psychological observations leading to his famed psychohistory in the Foundation series. His writing is permeated with the insight that personality is shaped by society, not the other way around. In these times of lockdown because of the COVID “pandemic” The Naked Sun (1957) is very instructive for where we are heading. The Naked Sunis the second detective in the “Eliah Baley” series that started with The Caves of Steel.
In an unspecified future, mankind has developed intelligent robots and star-travel. The Earth is overpopulated. Everyone lives in caves of steel: a gigantic closed structure covering most of the Earth with virtually no privacy. Even lavatories are shared by multiple families. The surface of the structure and the unbuilt parts that are left are used for food production. In the caves robots are scarce and loathed. They work the fields or foodplants on the surface autonomously. No one goes outside any more, in fact one is even afraid of looking outside.
Denouncing Marx as a revolutionary hothead and idiot has reached storm level. While the violent overthrow of slavery in the Civil War and fights for freedom against the powers that be in general are mostly praised, the fight for proper treatment of workers is denounced. In present days especially by those who want to fight the powers that be for… the middleclass working or jobless people, formerly known as the proletariat: the “populists”. Lees verder →