People are No Longer Able to Govern Themselves

I continue in my attempt to understand the people of my time and place – Americans in the 21st Century.

Democracy assumes that people are able to govern themselves – and no one else can do this better than they can – since they understand themselves better than anyone else. But recent history is showing us that in our time (a very strange time, to be sure) – this is no longer the case.

Everyone can see this – but, at the same time,  they cannot see this. Because they do not want to. The very principles their society was built on – no longer apply.

These were: that the world is governed by laws, such as those discovered by Newton. And similar laws apply to political behavior – people behave rationally, and in their own best interest.

But it is abundantly clear, that in some situations, people are not rational at all – and are perfectly capable of destructive behavior. They are governed by their passions – not by their minds.

And these passions are easily manipulated by dictators, assisted by the Media.

I will use an example from my own family – Mormonism. Which amounted to people following (without question) Joseph Smith – and after he was killed by an angry mob – his son Joseph Smith III.

Back then, in the 1820s, the Media was the Printing Press – and when Smith published his Book of Mormon – people could see he was a Prophet of God. A role that he adopted easily.

Since then the Media has been greatly amplified – by Radio, then Television, then the Computer.

People can see they are no longer in control – something else is, and they are willing (indeed, eager) to be governed by it. Whatever it is.

Trump has stepped into this vacuum, and proclaimed himself, as its embodiment. Not all Americans believe him – but enough do to keep him in power.

The Importance of Medea in the Theatre, Psychology, and Philosophy

I am listening to The Great Ideas of Philosophy, 2nd Edition

Medea (Play) in Wikipedia

Professor Robinson spends a whole lesson on the Greek Tragic Theatre, which he knows very well. He has added a new word  to my vocabulary – chthonic. A world very difficult to pronounce – because the ch sound is followed by the th sound. Understanding what means is difficult also – but after listing to him twice, I almost understand what is means – at a gut level.

Medea is an example of the primitive female (capable of great good and great harm) in literature, including Shakespeare.

Physically Disabled Woman with a Sharp Mind

TED

You gotta watch this.

This gal is so disabled she has to get around in a mechanized chair – but she is successful in every way, and travels frequently in her job.

Chuck Berry, Rock ’n’ Roll Pioneer, Dies at 90

NY Times

I had a sheltered childhood – not too far from St.Louis, in miles – but another world entirely, in terms of popular music.

We had black people, in Ft.Madison, Iowa – but they were respectable people – even more respectable than the whites.

Chuck Berry was not respectable – but was a hero for many teenagers, black and white. Something the Rural MidWest, that I was from, could not comprehend.

This Rural Midwest, as I have labeled it, contained cities such as Kansas City and Cleveland.

But not Chicago and St.Louis. They were out of bounds for us.

The Computer has Made People Worse

The combination of the Computer and Capitalism has not improved the Human Race. They have created an authoritarian business ethic, that has made most people less important. As a result, they do the smart thing – they identify with this shift in power – so they can get some of it for themselves. And overlook any ethical considerations this involves.

And, most important of all – this change has destroyed people’s ability to understand what is going on. They have become stupid, as the Computer has become smarter.

The Computer is better at understanding Data – and the more of it there is, and the more complicated it is, the better. Precisely what the human mind is not good at. And this what makes Computerized Capitalism so powerful.


The world has become more complex, no question about it. But it could still be understood – if people wanted to. They don’t – they just want to destroy it. Because it has destroyed them.

This, it seems to me, is the central dynamic of our time. A vast orgy of destruction, that no one wants to see. Everyone is saying “I’m not responsible, someone else is;”

Which is simply a lie.

The Future of the Liberal World Order

This is a downloadable book produced by Foreign Affairs, available for free to its subscribers.

It also has an online article here, that gives more historical depth.

Here are quotes from the book:


In the 1940s, as they suffered through yet another round of destruction and turmoil, policymakers in Washington and other major Western capitals finally decided that enough was enough. They recognized that the horrors of the first half of the twentieth century had emerged because their countries had hunkered down in the face of economic and geopolitical crisis, passing the buck rather than fighting together against their common enemies. So they swore not to repeat their mistakes and designed a postwar order based on mutually beneficial cooperation.

The new administration in Washington takes a different view, of course. President Donald Trump never mentions the order and seems not to understand what it is or why it is a good thing. He appears to see the world in zero-sum terms—international politics as a Hobbesian war of all against all in which there are only deals, not relationships, and in which only relative gains matter. He combines this, moreover, with an acute sense of grievance—a conviction that everybody is winning at the United States’ expense. “Every country takes advantage of us,” he says, and notes that he intends to reverse the process. No U.S. leader has talked this way in several generations, and most responsible officials in most countries, including the United States, are flummoxed—for they understand that if the White House actually tried to turn its more extreme ideas into policy, the entire system on which global security, stability, and prosperity is based would collapse.


This is a huge book, covering everything since WWII. The Liberal World Order has some huge faults, it admits – but they can be fixed.

Underneath all this, however is something even more ominous – people everywhere have become destructive, instead of constructive. That is why they elected people like Trump.

I can think of many reasons for this (they may be reacting to painful experienced in their past – or being destructive is much easier than being constructive) but they hardly matter.

We have to realize that this is the way it is.

And Fear No Darkness

Medium.com

This guy is saying something different – and deserves to be heard. But few are listening.

He describes our problems very well, except for one – the human race has decided to disappear, and let other forces take over. He may be saying this, but if he is – he is not saying it very clearly.

To me, it all hinges on”What is in control?” I don’t mind admitting that I’m a control freak. And I always look for what has its hands on the controls.

The most potent example here is the Automobile – with a person at the controls. He (or she) has enormous power – and is backed up by an entire culture devoted to it – and its roads.

What is the hidden message here? So plain, anyone can see it – but hidden in plain view? It cannot be put into words – but has to be experienced in our unconscious minds and bodies.

Let me remind you, that most of what goes on in our bodies is entirely unconscious. We have to deduce what is going on there – from the actions it causes. A sphincter muscle relaxes, and we urinate.

The same thing happens in our minds (and brains). Pressure builds up, and we have to relieve it. How pressure builds up in the brain, we do not know – but we can feel the results in our bodies.

Jordan Greenhall is right when he notes that the pressure in our times has become unbearable. And that we are headed into an explosion and collapse.

Most people cannot feel this – but it can be easily deduced from their actions.