The 9/11 Commission Report

After 9/11, the American government commissioned this report – in an effort to understand what had happened. Americans have paid no attention to it – even though it explains the Islamic terrorist movement quite well.

But they did pay attention to their government’s reaction to it – the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Which they supported enthusiastically. Their logic was simple – they had tried to kill us, and we would now kill them.

And they were not too particular about who the enemy was – or even who was was going to kill them. As long as some people got killed – or locked up in Guantanamo.


This whole episode can stand as a case study in terrorism and counter-terrorism.

Advertisements

Psychology

Psychology today suffers from what Science itself suffers from – people do not want to know what is going on. Especially with themselves.

They suffer enormously from this ignorance – one of the fundamental attributes of humans is their curiosity – and their decision to abandon this means – they have abandoned themselves – and have invented social suicide.

Quite an invention – and something no one expected. But looking back at it – it was the logical result of society’s internal forces – that persons, such as Nietzsche could see – easily enough.

People now know something is wrong, and they are looking everywhere for it – except in themselves. For the best of reasons – their darker side, that they had studiously ignored, for a hundred years – has taken over.

Man has always contained both Good and Evil – and the struggle between them, has always been one of his chief preoccupations. And his decision to abandon this struggle, has been fatal.

Stupidity and 9/11

I am reading the 9/11 Commission Report – formatted for the Kindle. Its going to be long read.

This part I have read so far, was about the hijacking of the aircraft – and the total incompetence of the FAA and the NORAD military. Who were supposed to communicate with each other. but didn’t.

I worked for the FAA for 12 years, and every branch of the Military, during that time also. The FAA and the Air Force ran joint-occupancy sites – huge Radar stations. I didn’t spend much time in the FAA Air Route Traffic Control Centers – huge underground buildings designed to withstand a nuclear attack.

But the people in both these places were stupid and self-important. The last time I was in the DC, I saw the FAA Headquarters Buildings – and I said to myself “I know what is going on there – nothing!” The same could be said of the Pentagon – lots of money, but no brains.

The 9/11 attacks were unusual, but there was a lot more that could have been done – if these guys had a head on their shoulders. The only people did anything were the passengers on one plane – who fought back.

Machine Power and Social Power

What is Power? How are these two kinds of Power related? Words let me down here.

But, as I study history, I can see how we changed in the middle of the 19th Century, when an explosion of new capabilities made us much more powerful. We became new beings – or perhaps two beings. One was superhuman and one was human.

And the superhuman exploited the human mercilessly.

This was seen most easily in the world of Business – where the Strong exploited the Weak. And everyone looked the other way – it was best, they thought – to not notice certain things. If you could make money this way, perhaps ethics could be temporarily overlooked.

But these temporary expedients became permanent. And Superhuman society became anti-human. Without noticing this in the least.

Understanding

Americans are no longer interested in this – why I do not know, and I am not likely to find out – because this is a deep, dark secret of theirs. If I were to venture a guess (and this is only a guess) I would say this is because they already know everything – and knowing more would only mess up their minds – and make them different from their fellow-Americans. The worst situation imaginable!

Let me add an extended quote from The Age of the Crisis of Man:


The first area of concern was with what man was himself, and whether there existed anything fundamental beneath his facade, a human nature, determinate and accessible, when all else was social and unreliable. I will call this level of concern by its traditional name of philosophical anthropology, the “philosophy of man,” or simply the “question” of man and human nature. Was there even such a thing as an abstract, universal man? Was there an individual, freestanding nature that could exist beyond all demands of collectives of men? Should there be such individuality, or was community (of the right kind) a necessary part of human nature?

The second area of preoccupation was with the shape of history. The history question included fears that the twentieth-century cataclysms had shown that the chronology of civilized development was not as people had previously imagined it, that events perhaps had no good order, or that previous fantasies of historical destiny and inevitability had actually led to these violent disasters and therefore needed to be reconceived. Was it possible or desirable to rehabilitate any sense of direction in history?

Third was a concern with faith— a vague word— as a worry about both religion and ideology. What sort of beliefs could and should be maintained in the midst of a world turned upside down? Thinkers wondered whether it was possible or wise to believe in anything abstract, lest it lead to the further abuse of concrete human life, after dogmatic belief— in Germany, Italy, and Russia— had led to the worst disasters. Yet how would they go on without a faith in progress, in God, or simply in a natural supremacy of good rather than evil in the world? It had a concrete political reference, too, in concerns over a “crisis of liberalism,” meaning both economy and democracy, and the fear that even if one felt no temptation to totalitarianism, one possessed no reliable historical model for political order under new global conditions.

The fourth area, finally, was a fear about technology, in the sense that human technologies might be outstripping or perverting humane thought and goals. Technology in this debate included material artifacts like machines and bombs, and factory systems to make them, and also human techniques, especially the forms of technique that would organize men and women (whether in collective “planning,” usually counted as good by the political left and center, and questioned by voices on the laissez-faire right, or in machine control and the de-individualizing propensity of technical efficiency, which was universally accounted bad).


I could not put it better myself – but only add to this, most American’s aversion to understanding – the subject of this posting.

If we cannot understand our situation, we cannot fix it. And indeed, this is what Americans seem to be saying “The situation cannot be fixed, and should not be fixed – all we can do is make it worse! ”

And making it worse, is what they are doing.

Living with Technology

Our technologies are what has made us the dominant species in the world. But as they become more powerful (as they rapidly are) – they end up being in control of us.

I am always asking “What is in control here?” And the answers I get are sometimes disturbing. It does seems like people want to give control of themselves over to something else. This was originally God, but has become Technology. And people easily confuse the two.

A good place to start looking at this situation, is probably the Industrial Revolution. An event we have never fully understood – but we can see that Machines – the Steam Engine, and then the Internal Combustion Engine – had a huge impact on us. In many ways, they simply took over – and we became like them. This was an advantage, and a disadvantage both – as I have remarked elsewhere.

This can be seen in the case of the Railroads – most of our energy (and our finances) went into building them. They, in return, provided lots of jobs. And made possible the Civil War, WWI, and WWII. The Railroads (and its people) benefited enormously from all this – but people in general, did not do so well (as shown by the Holocaust).

Note the pattern here – people who identify with a successful technology (no matter what kind of people they are) benefit from it – at the expense of everyone else. And those who benefit most. allow the technology to take over their minds – so they can no longer think for themselves (the Nazis, for example).

This takes us up the the middle of the last century – when we were hit by Television  – and have never recovered from it. We were now controlled by forces we could not identify – and didn’t want to. But we got its basic  message – we are important, and you are not!

And people everywhere know those in power must be obeyed.

 

Critical Thinking

This is something most Americans no longer want to do.

They can think about the small problems of everyday life – but not the big problems that are doing them in.

They will react indignantly to anyone’s suggestion that their problem-solving powers are not up to the job. That they are in big trouble, because they cannot see what is going on. When this is clearly the case.

Their critical reasoning powers have moved into their unconscious minds – where they can act without being observed.

This discovery of the Unconscious was one of the major discoveries of our time – but this knowledge has been strongly resisted. I can remember my Mother saying, as strongly as she could “I am not an animal!” When she was the mother of four children, formed in the usual manner – by her unconscious body.

If I had access to her unconscious mind, I would have seen some powerful, conflicting forces – that she did not want to know about. The struggle of her entire race was going on there. A struggle reduced to its simplest elements – the life-and-death struggle between Good and Evil. In which I played a minor role.


This universal struggle has been played out in the last several centuries, all over the world – with puzzling results. The most important of which – has been our determination to not see this struggle at all! But to participate in it unconsciously.

In our own lives, we enact the struggle between Success and Failure. And it is not clear which one is going to win.