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Monday, May 30, 2011

On Nazinomics - The Fox Pisses

MMT then is not a theory, it has no mathematical framework. Instead it is a thesis, the structure of this thesis is that all abstract exchanges rely on an ultimate exchange, which is paying taxes to a sovereign. Therefore, it argues the sovereign can introduce tokens into circulation on the grounds that it will eventually take them in taxes. The strong form of this thesis states that this is everywhere and always so. Thus the MMT thesis rests on every exchange being predicated on an ultimate exchange, and the only ultimate exchange is sovereign power. To disprove the strong form, all that is necessary is to show a monetary system which does not rely on ultimate sovereign power. This is easy to do, because, in fact, it is rather common. However, to comprehensively understand just how dishonest, and pervasively so, MMT is, it is necessary to beat a dead horse, and grind out exactly how obvious it is, to the point where it can be asserted that noone who has examined the record can subscribe to it without willful desire to believe. That is to say, they have to be a liar, or a fanatic.

To test this thesis against the historical record, then, requires parsing the thesis and generating the narrative of money that naturally occurs from the strong form. If everywhere and always money is the creation of sovereign fiat power, that is the monopoly of violence of the state, then we would expect to see the state first, then law codes capable of demanding fiat, and then finally circulating medium tied to a standard of value which is totalizing in the law code. We would then need to find an evolution of a monetary and legal system against which to test this narrative.

There is exactly one such test: that of the ancient Sumero-Akkadian world, because only here do we have an unbroken succession of records, from tokens, to markings, to writing, to codification. Other societies undoubtedly went through all or part of this evolution, or borrowed from contact. It may well be that the Sumero-Akkadian corpus borrowed, we know they were borrowed from. However, in all of the other cases, the earliest forms have been lost, because Sumerian, alone, was written on a semi-permanent medium, in a climate friendly to its preservation. Writing on bones and rocks is time consuming, and by the time people do it in a form which lasts, they have passed through many stages of written evolution. The Chinese Oracle bones offer a good example: they have a sophisticated use of language which did not spring out of the ground, however, its earlier stages are lost to us.

Contemporary with the Sumero-Akkadian development from token, to record keeping, the Elamites also evolved similar marking systems. It is not possible to tell which was first, though likely the Elamites borrowed from the Sumerians. Crucially, they did not adopt Sumerian writing systems until later.

Nazi is a harsh word, and in the lore of the internet, the first person to make the accusation has lost the argument: this is referred to as Godwin's Law. However, it leaves open the Godwin Gambit: the way to win every argument is to just be a Nazi, or to use the methods of the Nazi government. In the case of MMT, forced backed currency. To explain why this is so, and what the problem with forced based currency is, we need to explore what the MMT thesis is, what essential assertion about truth it makes, and how it spins stories and paradigms from this essential assertion of truth.

It will require, in later stages, a more specific theory of monetary backing than is presently available to economics, orthodox or heterodox. It will require offending a number of people who think well of themselves, and use the deontological projection as proof: “I feel myself a good person, therefore I will not do ill. I like this idea, therefore it is good.” This kind of personal moralizing as truth creation is, of course, endemic in the world, but virtually everyone at every time feels themselves either to be a good person, and therefore entitled to do evil, or feels themselves a bad person, and therefore entitled to do evil to atone for it.

So it is there the inquiry starts: with Sumeria, or rather, with the development of the Sumero-Akkadian tradition.

-:-

“The fox pissed in the sea, and declared 'All of the sea is my piss'”

Why Sumeria? Because of the various forms of the development of money, law, and writing, we have the complete history of only one that did not reference pre-existing systems. While others developed independently, either they did not become the kind of system that we are examining, or we do not have their roots. What makes Sumeria unique is accident: they wrote on baked clay, in an environment where this medium lasted for millennia. We have, in effect, the detritus of commerce stored over thousands of years. Clay is both easy, fast, and cheap, the way paper is, but durable in the way that stone is. Thus in other cases we have writing on permanent surfaces, but these, being harder to make, store different kinds of utterances. We do not know their pre-history, only the moment when it became worth carving meaning on a surface that took some trouble to produce.

Hence, we begin with the dawn of agriculture in Sumeria, because, for this part, all that is necessary is to produce a clear and sharp counter-example to the strong form of the thesis that money is a debt by the government which has ultimate value in taxes.

Part of the problem is that the Victorian idea of evolution as beginning from “primitive precursors” and to a full blown end hangs on in the study of the artifacts that will be looked at. Markings before the development of writing are referred to as “proto-writing” for example, and the question asked is when they become “full blown” writing systems. This is the wrong question to ask, because the forms that would eventually be adapted to writing existed for thousands of years, they were not proto-writing, any more than the user interface to a computer is proto-writing. Instead, what they were was a functioning system of markings, which had directed ends. Only later were they adapted to the purposes of writing. They are not, then “proto-” because there is no necessity that they would ever have become writing. If the “flood,” which the people's of this region write about had, in fact, wiped out their civilization, then there would have been no “writing” but there would still have been thousands of years of “markings.”

It is easy to see the present in the past, what we see as the present, is, in fact, merely our projection of our recent past into a false continuity. America thought of the Soviety Empire in 1984, as both American and the USSR had been in 1954. And so on. As it is with the study of the economic arrangements of the fertile crescent in the distant past. Each era has seen its present, or its present past projected backwards, or has created a mythic past in this era to justify its own ideas and practices. We are at the point where one could write a fairly complex history of the histories of the economic reality of Sumeria and Akkad, and one could then write an economic analysis of that history.

In the earliest fumblings for undestanding, there was a focus on the same issues that gripped the world in the 1920's and 1930's: statism, market economics, redistribution, social insurance, law and economic arrangements generally. There were a variety of theories put forward, two of the most consequential were the “temple economy” by P. Anton Deimel, who was a German theologian as much as he was a Sumerologist. He translated and compiled word lists, and looked at the distributive power of the temples, and created a broad sweeping narrative where the temples were the engines of economic control and distribution of social good. Highly reflective of nationalist economics, he classified the distributions, that is translated the word se2-ba as “wages,” and this cast the system of the temple as a voluntary, or at least semi-voluntary wage labor economy distributed from a federalized system of temples which were knit together beneath a priest-king who owed his legitimacy to that same network of temples. That at this time one of the driving forces behind the study of the era was attempts to find concordance with the picture of a Biblical past based on literalist readings of biblical archeology connects this proto-capitalist religious system to the visions of a proto-capitalist Mosaic system, and to controversies that were very live in Germany at that moment, as well as the world.

The next generation, led by I.J. Gelb began a re-assessment of many aspects of Sumerology, the economic aspect included. The reality of clay tablet writing is that what would normally be classified as ephemera: administrative records, receipts and so on, last for a very long time. Indeed, we have piles of records which were thrown out as being no longer useful and when found in a talus of clay shards that piled up. The detritus of commerce past. In this record it was clear that administrative records stretched by hundreds of years before the temple economy's formal functioning, and that many of the loans and other debits accounted for were from private hands that temples recorded, measured, and perhaps managed. The temple economy was still a significant fraction of the whole, but it was no longer a totalizing system. What moved to the front was the ideological question of state control of the economy against the market mechanism, something that was a very live controversy, reaching a particular fever pitch in the Post-World War II environment.

The present purpose of this study makes no strong form of assertion about money, it is not necessary to have a one true explanation of how money functioned in Sumeria or why, only to show that it is not explained by the sovereign fiat theory. The first step is to prove that money, as the term is encompassed, existed in Sumeria, and pinpointing the time period where it could be said to exist. This is only slightly more than trivial to do. The next step, only slightly harder, is to show that a legal apparatus did not exist to support the sovereign fiat theory. This is very far from asserting that the rulers did not have a powerful part in the monetary order, merely that they did no exercise the fiat issuance capability which MMT asserts to be true in all cases.

On Nazinomics - Thesis

A thesis is a generator, that is, it is not only important in itself, but for what it does: it is a generator of a family of stories, or narratives, that is it is a meta-narrative generator, and it is a paradigm generator, that is a mathematical or logical framework that observations can be placed within, and related to each other. A thesis then allows people to vacuum up observations, relate them to others observations, and then take observations that have been molded by the expectations of the thesis into a story. A thesis is the parent of a theories, and of stories.

How this works is that a thesis is a way to measure theories and stories, we compare a possible paradigm, or possible family of stories, to the thesis which creates them. Evolution, in the largest sense is an idea, it allows us to relate different thoughts from different ways of thinking to each other. But Darwinianism is a thesis: all variation can dispense with the underlying means of codifying information in biological organisms, and focus solely on variation and selection. This generates statistical paradigms of fitness, and allows us to tell stories about "evolutionary strategies," talking as if organisms had intentions and ends, while denying they do.

A thesis can be very broad, or very specific, it can be profound, or it can be simple. "Nothing happens by chance," for example, is a thesis. So is "the bible is the absolute literal word of God." A thesis can generate sub-theses: we can take economic thinking and trace out economic structures. These structures, when described, become a thesis.

Let me take an example far from the world of high philosophy. There is a couple, they are unhappy. A thesis would be that the man is having an affair behind the woman's back. This thesis organizes observations, and allows the creation of a calendar of events, the moneys spent, and the meaning of the affair. It generates stories as to why. It could be true, it could be false, it could be both. He could be lusting after a woman he can't have, he could be going out and drinking, the woman might be having an affair and projecting her own guilt. The "affair thesis" however, is not disabled by any one form being falsified. It is not really a statement that can be tested, because to disprove it is a negative.

This gets to the importance of truth manifolds. Almost any statement is true, even if only in a self-fulfilling way, for some set of conditions. Every statement is false in some set of conditions, even, as it turns out, the statement that every statement is false under some set of conditions, because there are statements that are neither true nor false under all conditions. A truth manifold bounds the truth of a statement: it describes the range of conditions that the statement is true over. A statement that can not be bounded, or asserts its unbounding, is useless. This applies even to bounding of truth manifolds, because there are many statements that do not reduce to truth. What is the truth of the Moonlight Sonata? Clearly statements about truth mean nothing there. Truth manifolds then, are bounded by statements that make truth claims.

MMT asserts that where ever there is "money" there is at root a sovereign power which gives that money value by taxation. This is a strong form of a thesis, its bounding is all money, for all time, every where. The weak form of this statement is that a monetary system so constituted is meta-stable.

The counter thesis that this essay offers is that MMT is not about money, not modern, and not a theory, and that instead it is a thesis about money, and that thesis is that money is backed by future conquest. This thesis: of unlimited fiat backed by future conquest, is the monetary theory of National Socialism. MMT, is Nazinomics.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

On Nazinomics - Preface

One recent fad on the left is following Mossler and Galbraith's "Modern Monetary Theory." MMT wrong in all three of its assertions. It is not modern, it is not monetary, and it is not a theory, that is it generates no frame work of equations from its assertions. Instead, it is a very old idea, namely that the government can take everything you have. It is "modern" in the sense of being 20th century, in that it asserts that all money comes from the sovereign. Or "the leader." Or to use the German. Der Fuehrer. Mossler has taken the Godwin Gambit: the way to win any argument is to be a nazi. No one can tell the truth about you. The lesser version is to be an idiot. No one can call you an idiot without being rude. Mossler will make a great deal of money from MMT. He is a Nazi. If you aren't getting paid to shill for it, than you are an idiot.

MMT is wrong on virtually every point: it is wrong on history, wrong on economics, wrong on sociology. It appeals because it seems to offer a way of breaking down the barriers that face us: more and more rental claims are piling up. The top of the economy is awash in an arms race inflation, while the bottom is gripped by austerity. In one sense, in an essentiality of error sense, it might have been useful. But of course, those who have implemented it are greedy and stupid, and have botched the implementation, because instead of being a cudgel of the far left against the center-left to not deal with the right, it is now merely one more way where oxygen for good ideas, is sucked out by bad ideas.

This essay will be divided into the historical creation of currency, showing that the creation of currency contradicts the assertions of MMT. Then it will analyze the creation of the present monetary order, and the relationship between the growth of a market-state, and the command of currency. Then it will show how the functions of what we call money are both coordinate and contradictory. Then it will present a conductive/convect theory, as in a theory, as the the functioning of abstract exchange.

Of course I don't expect to convince Nazi zealots of MMT, because their eyes are fixed on the ability to inflate away the debt. However, the ability to inflate away debt is already happening, so the last part of the essay is an ugly truth: MMT is merely a demand on the part of people who do not have access to the present regime of fiat money, to get access to it, and on terms favorable to them. As with many bad ideas on the left, it is really a hope by those marginally outside of the right wing system, to be moved into it.

Generative Epistemology - III The ontological necessity of error.

So far, the tone on the few posts I have finished has been iconoclastic and contemptuous of much of the product of human thinking. There's a reason for that, most of it is not really thinking forward, but the process of communalizing fundamental factors of human cognition. Methods like faith, certainty, the illusion of free will, are deeply built into us, as is the illusion of physicality. We think we see solid objects and that that is "the world." In fact most of those objects are empty space, and most of the universe is not composed of what we call "ordinary matter." These are illusions that are productive in that they allow us to rapidly estimate the behavior of a vast number of interactions faster than they occur.

This is the ontological reality: error is essential. The universe, even when it is not decided, is definitive. Therefore to out run it, we must be wrong. There is no escape from error, because inaccuracy is to look ahead in the future.

This means that much of what we think of as thinking, is not. It is, instead, bounding. We bound a method of thought, to bound the error. This bounding creates a truth manifold. A truth manifold is when the map is tolerably close, to what it maps. The map cannot be what it maps, unless the map is synthetically limited. What I mean by this is we can create a map that maps itself, but then it must be trivial enough not to describe itself, otherwise it produces a Goedelian. A goedelian is a statement which recursively asserts that it is not grammatical within the map. There are three ways out.

One is to accept that there will be statements that lead to contradictions. The other is to have an unlimited number of assertions which block going down a particular line of reasoning. We tell children "you can't divide by zero." But in any logical system that is like Euclid's we must have an infinite number of these. We simply push them out far enough so that they do not happen in ordinary use. Truth, it can be shown, does not map to a finite number of statements, or a finite manner of making them. Any finite map can be represented by a "von Neumann machine." But no truth can be.

So what we do is we create maps. Epistemology as it has been practiced by people to date is wrestling with the difference between maps and truth, or asserting there is no truth until it is mapped. The two sides argue endlessly. Both are deep within us, because one is our adaptation to compare what we thought we would experience to what we experience, and editing our memories accordingly, and the other is the various kinds of language.

What we teach now in epistemology is self-contradictory. We create hoards of priests of the different schools, because really, they are like diets: they work for some people in some situation, but not for other people. Some people gain weight on pasta, others lose it, some people can eat high fat diets and lose weight, others cannot. Your body is different, but alike. The entire operation of philosophy, the profession, is at odds with philosophy the idea. Philosophy the idea is mental health, philosophy the idea, is one diet fad after another.

I will take on one particular example: Popperianism. It is poppycock, and trivially demonstrable as such. Popperianism states that the essential quality of a potential truth is falsifiability, and that which is falsified is dispensed with. Now, attend.

Newtonian Physics is false. It has been falsified. It was falsified, in fact, before Popper. We teach it anyway. The excuse made is that relativity "reduces" to newtonian mechanics. It does not, because Newtonian mechanics asserts a fundamentally different theory of space time than does relativity. The truth then, is that falsifiability is either unfalsifiable, because it has been falsified and is still used. It is self-contradictory. One can generate any number of philosophies that work, so long as the first principles are not open to their own examination. One can do Geology from Genesis, assuming that the devil made up all of history to fool you, but it isn't a good idea, because then you will stumble from one empirical observation to the next, each time rationalizing some feature of the Satan to explain it.

And yet we not only have Popperianism, but an entire cult of it. I'm not picking on it in particular more than others, merely that its priests happen to be more visible to me, so the example is readily to hand.

So what is epistemology? As already stated, it is the process of bounding error, and communalizing the very different ways that we deal with the ontological. Because error is essential, and inescapable, we live in a generative epistemology. We are sure of something, not because it has not been falsified, but because we believe that whatever error will occur is within acceptable bounds. These seem like created quantities, unmeasurable and unmade. However, they will, as can be shown, produce what is closer to the truth.

Euclid then was not proving truths, but mapping the world, and showing how certain methods would produce a level of error which was acceptable. He was unmaking untruth as much as he was making truth.

So what then of the pure gamesman? The problem with the assertion that there is nothing but the map has already been explained: the map is either trivial, or wrong even on its own terms, or both. Hence we neither begin from a cosmic game given us from someplace, nor do we merely toy with language.

But in order to deal with the mess that these realities leave behind, it is necessary to take a fundamentally different way of experiencing being.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

On Generative Epistemology - II (Teleognostic)

In the first part I went over two of the great approaches to epistemology: the ontological, and the sophistical. Both share a common underlying pairing of observations: that consciousness and existence, while obviously connected, do not flow logically from each other. While it is obvious that consciousness implies existence of some kind, and it is less obvious but still relatively inescapable that there is existence without consciousness, but no appreciation of existence without consciousness, how to join the two observations remains unsolved. The solution of the axiomicist is to join them in a small set of assertions about truth, and then attempt to construct a rigorous version in consciously apprehendable terms that proves itself to be a statement of truth.

The anatomy of one of these systems is modeled after Euclid's Elements: definitions, axioms, propositions. In Euclid there is a further pair of differences: constructions and theorums, however this is not in the earlier text. There is also an axiom which is not an axiom, or rather, this division is in the axioms. The first four axioms are construction, the last about the nature of space itself. The first four then represent what the conscious mind can do, and the last, existence's nature itself.

The sophist proceeds from the other end, assuming the perceptual universe, and the sensations that flow from it, and then begins to attempt to find rules which will convert the perceptions made in the present, to more desirable sensations. From what we feel, to what we want to feel, and therefore, on how we feel about what what we feel.

So the first point that both share is the consciousness-existence relationship, and its unwillingness to either degenerate into one entity, nor to separate into two orthogonal ones. It will neither become one obvious thing, nor become two different things.

The second point that both share, is that they are both teleological. That is, they both presume an end, a goal, and therefore one who has a goal. This is a point that will come up often: goal direction is something that human beings are very sensitive to, and which has both a moral and cognitive resonance.

These points of contact are enough for a co-optivtive equilibrium. Sophistical systems, reduce to axiomic systems, with the hole in the axiomic system fulfilled by a common knowledge understanding of the world. Note, I don't say a correct common knowledge understanding of the world. Axiomic systems generate a language game, which allows them to be used in sophistical play. Note, I don't say that the sophistical play actually mirrors the axiomic system or its results.

These will assuming systems lead to the inevitable problem of the watchmaker: an axiomic system seems so well designed, that it seems to exist before the process of scouring it even begins. Who created geometry? Kepler thought that God must be a geometer. Sophistical systems, because they avoid the problem of why the world exists, produce a obvious gap into which to sit a God, or gods, particularly if God or gods exist as part of the practical social game. God exists, because it is easier to sell soap to people who believe he exists.

This creates what can be called "teleognostic" understanding. An understanding of the world under pressure from a will, and therefore by analogy, a desire for a teleognostic entity. Note that that entity can be stripped of one or more of the qualities which an ontological proof of its existence might otherwise provide him with. He does not need to be he, or even a conscious entity at all. But he must act enough like one when every there is a hole to be filled. It is not a "God of the Gaps" but a God which is the gaps, and the spaces between them.

The two are, really then, two sides of the same coin: taking the consciousness/existence diune and attempting to meld it with the will/language diune. This gets us to Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation. The struggle between them is a constant critique and counter-critique, dumping those features most underattack, or reasserting the centrality of a particular doctrine. As I've noted, both schools must, in the end, submerge their pasts, in part to escape previous failures, but there is another part.

Many other kinds of epistemology can be seen as "teleognostic" without some aspect of it. Many forms of mysticism which abnegate the will, or forms of atheism which posit a god without a God. These still follow the same pattern, and are struggling with the same problem that existence and consciousness do not reduce to the other, but are not separable.

But not all epistemologies, by far, are teleognostic. Instead, coming into the 19th century, pure representationalism becomes visible. And what is pure representationalism? An example is found in Ernst Mach, but it latter flowers in the 20th century. In this view we have only the representation itself. For centuries, simply accepting the description of what we saw was a low idea, scorned by philosophers. The reason is simple: no matter how often we have seen something to be true, this is not, by itself, proof. What changed representationalism was statistics, and the birth of statistical proof.

Part III Statistical Neo-Platonism.

Friday, May 6, 2011

On Generative Epistemology - I

Epistemology is the study of how we know what we think we know, and how certain we are of certainty. It is an idea that goes back to antiquity, with the ever loquacious Hellenes mapping out the territory.

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Axiomic Ontology, and Sophism

However, the most fundamental and influential text on epistemology, was not philosophical, but the Elements of Geometry by Euclid. Euclid's hypnotic system came down to two essential points. The first is that he had only a very small number of operations, and essentially only one assertion: the fifth postulate asserts the nature of flatness, the second is that the entire structure has a swiftly flowing narrative. The story of the Pythagorean Theorum is told in 48 propositions.

Later writers would pick at this structure, calling the first proposition a hidden axiom, but what would scratch at them is the fifth postulate, to see if it could be derived from the other four. However, after two thousand years, European mathematics finally gave in, and found that there were other shapes than flat. The irony, of course, is that geometry is "measuring the earth" and its axioms were not out of a universal basic generative requirement. Or to put it simply, one can have geometries on a flat surface that use other than a straight edge and compass. It was the technology of that time, which allowed for circles and lines even over long distances, and not deep truth that dictated what Euclid was interested in.

The other hypnotic idea from antiquity was the assertion of divinity. This assertion: that the universe is so much greater than we can imagine being created by physical means that we can see, implies a super-natural power or powers, is one that clearly runs deep in human beings. The twin miracles that are used as the proof of this are consciousness, and existence. Because consciousness and existence seem of a different quality than everything else we know, they must be from some other source. This is the ontological argument. The universe is larger than us, therefore it was made by something larger than our understanding.

These two assertions both contended with, and cohabitated with each other. We are often reminded of Descartes "cognito, ergo sum" but less often of what follows: he uses the ontological argument for God. Being is greater than not being, therefore there is a greater being. Newton became another thinker that married axiomic structure, with deistic substructure. In the nature of his universe, that of a static distance and static time, is the assertion of an uncreated creator. This is because what is in space and moves through time, does not create space, nor time.

The codification of this system of epistemology, is Immanuel Kant, who derided the "scandal of reality," namely that reality was required as an assumption, and it could not be deduced from our perceptual existence. He then launched on a systematic means of organizing knowledge beginning from absolute skepticism. The results of this will be touched upon later.

Axiomic ontology then, is one great tree of epistemological thinking. It can be said to rest on two assertions: the reality of self as shown by the ability of self to contemplate the question, and the reality of a beyond self, and beyond understandable self, to create the reality that the self is embedded in. For the self to be, there must be a being greater than self, but like the self, because it too, must be able to contemplate existence to exist.

However, it is far from the only idea on epistemology.

The other great tree of epistemological thought to emerge from antiquity rests on two different assertions. On is the assertion of the reality of our senses. That is, the question that bedevils the axiomic-ontological thinker's time, is essentially ignored. We see and feel, and so, the pragmatic thinker asserts, it is so. If you don't believe in the reality of the world, jump off a tall cliff and get back to me. The pragmatic thinker then asserts that since there is a unity between our senses and reality, there is a unity between our logic and reality. We sense, the sensation makes sense, and therefore making sense of sense, is equal to reality. Plato derided the early form of this idea as "sophism."

This is not as unsophisticated an idea as it might appear, and it is a close cousin of the axiomic-ontological view. It's first part, that of the reality of self by an activity of self, is a cousin. The axiomic thinker, however, makes cognition the basic act, where as the sophist makes sensation the act. Note that Descartes did not assert that "I sense, therefore I am." But the sophist doesn't dispense with cognition. Instead, where as the axiomic-ontologist asserts that the thinker exists, because he or she thinks, the sophist asserts that reality exists, because we can make sense of it. We think, therefore it is.

In the sophists view, this connection between reality and thought is created by language. Language is the ordering of the world. Again, the bubbling Greeks gave us the first mapped out form of this idea, and it was deep within their culture. The word barbaroi from which we get "barbarians" comes from the Greek term for people who did not speak Greek. If you knew the Hellenic tongues, you thought like the Hellenes. It is also in their term logos from which we get the word "logic" and all of those "-ology" words. It meant to count initially, but also an accounting, and so, words themselves. This is a point that will be important later, and several times later: counting and words are close together.

So the sophist argues that we sense, therefore we are, and we can make sense, therefore the world is. One can make good money even today pimping this as an original idea.

The sophist, however, has a problem, and that is the problem of the authority of language. The authority of language is embedded in there system, what has a word, is real, what does not have a word, is, as yet unreal. What makes sense, is sense. There is no difference then, between well written, and well reasoned. However, from where comes language? And who is to say what it is?

-::-

I did a fast gloss on two very large schools of thought on epistemology:

The first is that thought proves the existence of the thinker, and the thinker organizes knowledge, but must connect to reality, and that connection requires a larger being to explain it. Plato, Aristotle, the Gospel of St. John, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Newton, Berkeley, Hegel, and Kant, are all, to one degree or another, of this school, as are most religions. Order proves self, and the existence of self and order proves the over-self. Every garden variety religionist is embedded in this view, and will get very angry if provoked, stomping their feet and re-asserting what is, in actually, a supposition. The differences are only how large a circular argument they need before they have forgotten where they came from. This does not, in itself, indict axiomic-ontology as a view, but, at least, it dispenses with many of the simple forms of it.

The second is that sensation proves self, rather than cognition, and that logic proves reality. Sophism too has many practioners, high and low: Pierce, Quinne, Derrida, Ayn Rand, Sir Francis Bacon, Heidegger are all sophists. The problems with sophism are many, first off, because it is almost always dishonest. The sophist almost always asserts either that sophism is universal, and inescapable, or in the other direction, that they are the first sophist in the history of the world. Ayn Rand and Heidegger both take this second gambit. If the axiomic-ontologist says that you must agree with what is obvious to him, because the vastness of the world overwhelms all understanding, the sophist argues that you can't understand anything, unless you agree with him or her.

Yes, I am dismissing both of these theories, over which billions of words have been spilt, simply because one can wake up today, go to a forum, start from the fundamental moves of either, and still have an argument. These arguments do not so much evolve, but, like a virus, mutate, to avoid whatever killed the last rendition of the virus by losing some essential feature. A longer book than this essay would be required, of course, to grind out every single blind alley, or to do so in enough cases as to make it overwhelmingly abundantly clear that the defects in both are inescapable, ineradicable, and endlessly duplicated.

The third road is to attempt to combine both, a project that has dragged many minds prone to madness into a downward spiral. The man who shot Representative Gabby Giffords was obsessed with the problem that if grammar came to have no fixed meaning, how could we know anything? The post-structuralists, sophists to a one, came to the answer that the game of language itself provided an authority. That is, it is true, if people can play it. These attempts too, fall short, because eventually one must assert that God is the language giver, or that language proves the existence of God. The old joke still applies: if God created man in his image, man is a gentleman, because he returned the favor.

The assertion of the language-game as the ultimate arbiter of truth, that is, if we can organize it, then it is all the truth we have, dates to early Wittgenstein, who then spends the second half of his career refuting it, and instead arguing that the narrow conception of the language-game is the root of confusion. This is derived from a similar logic to Gödel's influential incompleteness theorum, in that that which is expressible must be expressible in a finite number of rules, but any finite number of rules that is rich enough to describe what we experience must also be able to express that something is inexpressible, which is a logical contradiction.

The maze of epistemology that these two schools create means that many people dispense with the question. The hell with it, I don't understand understanding.

But until the 17th century, this was considered a stupid, low, idea. That things are the way they have seemed to be.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

In brief

Portugal's "bail out" is really a bail out of lenders, not Portugal, and is intended to slow down a run on Spain. However, with low growth, there is almost no doubt that an attack on Spain is inevitable, because Germany and France still have room to give.

Next time Nick sell your soul, don't give it away.

The bin Laden mission was not an extraction. Or as Rooster Cogburn said, "Dead or alive, means dead." This means that Pakistan, increasingly where the edge of the sword is, is unhappy.

An example of how fundamentalism is a post-modern movement, fragmenting or re-imagining texts, complete with alternate quotations.

Oil falls, because speculators worry that the recovery might have peaked already.

Remember, there is nothing that the corporate system can't screw up. Problem: there's no Fed of the atmosphere, and toxic waste assets don't go into the ocean.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An introduction

There are times to announce a project with a great blare of trumpets and with all of the fanfare that can be mustered. There are other times when a site is an empty stage, black except for a bare spot light, and the author walks to the microphone, stares over the empty house, and taps the microphone. The analog analogy is still strong among us, even though we have been grace digital for a long time.

So it is with this one. It is not a project meant for the multitudes, but precisely for those who are gradually peeling away from the small certainties of small people. This blog is meant to describe in detail my working methods and systematic theories, so that others may expand their ability to understand, analyze, and predict. To be brilliant is to do what others cannot, to be a genius is to each others to do what you cannot. There are no lone geniuses, because to be a genius, you must be the beginning, as the name implies, of others that come after you. Even if an idea slips in to your thoughts, like an angel in a faerie tale, and you unaided and alone develop it, without others, there is no genius. So it is here.

This is not easy material, even though the purpose of this site is to gradually make visible the inner workers of the hidden watch. It is not intended to change the present, because there is no future in the present, it is past my ability to alter in any meaningful way. But to entertain ideas is often more worthwhile than to entertain a myriad of guests.

The essential pieces of the puzzle are these:

The Symbolic Analytics This is a method for analyzing cascades, it rests on iterative theory, and is largely a branch of mathematics.

Xaotic Historicism Historicism is the belief that one can understand the past and predict the future by studying the past. However, historical analogy is run riot, and offers no restraint to the mind. One can prove anything by historical analogy. Only with a method of analysis, is there hope of separating useful pattern from wishful thinking.

Generative Epistemology Epistemology is the study of why we know what we know, generative epistemology is the idea that ideas are the map, and the truth set beneath them is the territory. It uses ideas from the physics to see theories not as facts, but as manifolds, which are fit to our perception of the truth. Thus, it is not falsifiability, but boundary, which describes scientific thinking.

The Thesis Method The thesis method is a means to construct a theory, with its related manifold against historical facts, and both make predictions, and limit them to the area where the thesis is supposed to hold.

All of the writing which I have done fits into these three methods. Master them and you will be able to see exactly how I have done what I have done, why the predictions worked, and why they were, also, ignored.

I write here because I have broken completely and decisively with the present political movements, because, in English, they are all variations of the same evil. This evil, and that is the correct word for it, is a common fantasy of a late regime that has subsisted on empire, namely that merely renouncing certain kinds of wrong will allow the people who have lived well on the blood of others, to keep what they have stolen. It is a moral an ethical proposition, and one which will be explained in due course.