Yes to Revolution, No to Clash of Civilizations

Back during the Baby Bush era, Karl Rove was alleged to have said “there will be no 60′s style revolution.” This was a fairly accurate assessment of the people’s disconnect from the democratic process and the call of the declaration of independence to get rid of a government that isn’t working for them. US civil society was largely disengaged from the political process as indicated by the relatively small percentage of people that vote(d). Perhaps because they are disenchanted, disenfranchised or because they’re living in the pink bubble of happiness in the within the privileged class.

The results of this lack of engagement were devastating – for the entire world. The neo-conservative agenda went into full swing. As outlined in the document “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”, the Project for the New American Century articulated their intentions to undermine the US Constitution and declare endless war putting into motion their version of the Clash of Civilizations (a manufactured ideology that they can say, arguably, came to pass (of course they engineered it as such). So, while they were at work, most of the disengaged were unaware of their intentions (though it was available for anyone to read): undermine the sole authority of the US Congress to declare war and restore it to the Executive branch (realize that this was a primary reason for establishing a democratic republic with separation of powers); gain control of the purse strings for military spending (again, a fundamental principle of a democratic republic -keeping the executive from controlling the decision to go to war and how to appropriate the peoples funds for it); to dismantle the relationship between corporation and government and, in essence, making the weapons manufacturers, arms dealers and the government one in the same – now with the power to declare war endless war and spend the peoples money).

You can imagine the results of this; you live in it: the gross unequal distribution of wealth within the US and between the Global North and the Global South (as it is called); regime change by hook or by crook in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt and so on; those endless wars in some of the aforementioned states, the Orwellian rise of terrorism to sustain the endless wars via the creation of ISIS and company in the very same and dubious way that the US organized the Base (Al Qaeda) to undermine the USSR in Afghanistan to establish their place on the Grand Chessboard… and so on.

The thing about megalomaniacal psycho-sociopaths is that they are, in fact and by definition, unaware of how they affect those around them and, similarly, disconnected from how those they are affecting feel about them. They can get away with their behavior for a little while, especially with the idealistic, well-intentioned and/or naive among us. Eventually people get hip to their game and their behavior becomes unsustainable. This can be expressed in a lot of ways but I think it is most importantly, for our sake, exemplified by the fact that few military engagements since the end of the Second World War have been successful; the ultimate outcomes of such incursions was that the moral legitimacy of the indigenous peoples percolates to create some version of non-violent “armed” resistance and finally revolution: think Rose, Orange, Jasmine, Crimson, Denim revolution, think Gandhi and King and Arab Spring. For all of the successes and the relative failures what is taking place may be described, in part, as the moral arc of the universe bending towards justice, that after a long train of abuses people get smart and organize and take it upon themselves to change their situation. That was the very nature of the US revolution as much as it is the nature of the armed resistance in Palestine.

What we are witnessing today in the US Presidential Circus is a complete shift of Karl Rove’s prediction from a period of disengagement (engineered or otherwise) to a period where they thoroughly underestimated – thanks to their disconnect from civil society – the power and potential of a disenfranchised, organized peoples who were sick of the status quo (the rich stealing from the poor: the government stealing from its citizens) to stand up to the power elite, essentially spit in their face while they use every tactic in the book and even invent some new one’s, to try to shut democracy down.

If there were not a leader, Bernie Sanders, who appears to be resonating with a YUGE contingency of the American electorate, we would probably not be organically converging to Sanders’ camp. It’s good that he’s here now and whether he wins the election or not we should remember the oscillation between the “no 60′s style revolution” Rove predicted (the sleeping sheople) and the invigorated engagement we seem to be witnessing and a part of now. WE have to remember that there is a very powerful force that is always engaged in its sole purpose: to use the tools of this democratic republic to actually undermine democracy. From a Newtonian frame of reference, if we want to keep the system from slipping deeper/back into tyranny, we are going to have to be as organized and powerful a force as the establishment. If we are going to get it to move towards justice we’re going to have to organize, strategize, and work harder than they do. Their are so few of them and so many of us. Sander’s has shown, through the financial and social support he gets, that if we each contribute a little money, a little love, a little blood, sweat and tears, we can easily over power those who are working so desperately to keep us locked in the enchanted prison and likely, with the right attitude and intention, send them to the asylum where they belong.

Without a leader we may have to organize and act on our own into the future.

Aspects of the Neoconservative Agenda through the lens of Dahrendorf’s Social Conflict Model

I. Introduction:

Trying to reduce a complex social interaction to a general theory, as Dahrendorf states, leads to empty generalizations or to empirically unjustifiable oversimplifications. With this in mind I limit this discussion of social conflict in the United States, specifically from the beginning of the Bush Jr. Administration, noting that an analysis based on Huntington’s theory – largely the disposition of the Neoconservative agenda, which I will discuss in more detail – would make for an interesting discussion. As I hope to show, the social structure of the US closely resonates with the key points highlighted in Dahrendorf. Additionally, while I do believe there is valuable information to be obtained through a psycho-social analysis of this, or any social structure, I think Dahrendorf’s limitation on endogenous conflicts as “the task of sociology to derive conflicts from specific social structures” points out most of the main functional relationships of the two dichotomous models of society along with the principle of authority and authority structures. These aspects of the Conflict Theory model and, what I would call the general tendency toward a neo-totalitarian state are the main points of my argument.

An important aspect, and precondition, of the Conflict Theory model is that it is intended to be ‘crafted’ to suit the needs of a particular conflict and therefore avoids generalizations and oversimplifications. Further, it considers the trajectory of the system and therefore,  through empirical research, attempts to establish a reasonable set, or multiplicity, of parameters to evaluate the system and the relative intensity of each parameter in the specific context. As Dahrendorf points out, “it is erroneous to assume that a description of how elements of a structure are put together in a stable whole offers, as such, a point of departure for structure analysis of conflict and change .” Such an approach can tends to eliminate many of the assumed structural and functional relationships that may lead to incorrect interpretations of empirical data and eliminates the difficulties of distinguishing between intended and unintended outcomes and relies more on the scientific method of matching empirical evidence with stated hypotheses.

 

II. Critical Evaluation of Key Points

I will highlight the key points of Dahrendorf’s Social Conflict Model as presented in lecture at the World Peace Academy by Dr. Jürgen Endres.1 Beginning with dichotomous models of Integration and Conflict, as listed in Table 1, it is important to note that these
two contrasting models form what I would consider to be a canonical set of mutually induct and mutually restrictive pairs. This is to say that these two aspects of society are, in the case of the Unites States at least, intertwined and are the impetus for change itself.
There is always a very progressive element of society which is met with a more conservative element and the more, for example, the indicators of Conflict become dominant, the more their tends to be a reaction by the more conservative elements of society. This explains the oscillation from Democratic to Republican parties controlling the three branches of government. However, there is an added layer which, according to Dahrendorf, would be the real progenitor of the social dynamic – namely, that the real holders of authority in the United States take advantage of the Conflict/Integration dichotomy as a strategy to divide and conquer the US population while the laws and regulating freedom, liberty and justice are slowly manipulated and normalized into totalitarian state.

Click here to read more.. »

The Golden Ratio (GR) Helix

Posted on 14th April 2012 in Theory

Golden Ratio Helix Fractal

What direction are you going and how are you going to get to your destination? What is your trajectory?

 

Unfortunately, for most of you I guess, there are things you call mathematical equations that offer a reasonable representation of how things are moving through time-space. I prefer the term “relationship” instead of “equation” because that is what it is. We’re investigating the nature of your motion through time space. This motion may be of your body, it may be of your mind, it may be of the balance of your bank account. Whatever the case, leave it to a scientist to find some set of equations to describe the universe. Better yet, let’s get rid of the term scientist and replace it with philosopher and simply say that a bloke or bird is trying to come up with a description of what is going on with something – a set of relationships describing a natural occurrence. In this case, you’re the natural occurrence and we, or I, am going to come up with a set of relationships to explain your behavior. Well, yes, we’re all somewhat predictable.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to get that out of the way because scientists have such a bad rap for being cold sterile reductionists with a pole up their ass who miss the big picture. This is so with many of the scientists I have known, but some of us are, in fact, decent, pole-less, creatures who simply utilize the tools of mathematics to help us understand nature’s complexities and don’t actually need to control or manipulate anything to make money. There is a difference.

 

The Golden Ratio Helix is a beautiful model to describe the desired trajectory of conflict. Ahhh, desired trajectory of conflict you are wondering. What the hell does he mean by that. Well, think about it. What is the desired outcome of an event? Do you want to know how much fuel per body stack you need to get the pile of bodies to burn by themselves? Do you want to find a way to peaceful resolution of a situation? Well it works both ways and has been employed to both ends. I hope those of you reading this are more interested in mutual beneficence than you are in personal gain through the exploitation of others. In any case, whatever your disposition, you’ll probably appreciate this – at least once I get done talking and get on with the cool images.

 

For those of you who done know what a helix looks like, here are some visuals:

 

The most famous of the helices

kick your ass helix

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those of you who don’t know what the golden ratio looks like, it is based on a simple mathematical progression and the ratio of successive terms which, as the sequence is propagated, the ratio of successive terms approximates a number which is called the golden ratio.  This ratio appears all over the place in nature. The following images illustrate the GR’s appearance in many forms in nature:golden ratio in  plant
golden ratio in a plant

 

 

If you put the helix together with the spiral you get the GR helix. The nature of the helix – depending on which way you travel along it –  is an ever diverging or converging trajectory. With respect to conflict, we travel one way along it and we are spiralling towards convergence – which I argue represents a state of stability. Travelling in the other direction represents a divergence, or escalation of conflict. In one case one is spiraling into control. In the other case one is spiralling out of control. The idea, however, is taken to represent the fact that, in the normal course of action of Conflict Transformation (CT), one hopes to reduce the term and severity of conflict towards a state of peace such that each time conflict arises, the intensity and duration of the conflict diminishes. It should be noted, of course, that motion along these trajectories can be, and often is, controlled directly by external forces with a clear intention. That is to say that some peoples, groups, governments are in the business of conflict escalation.
                                                                                       

 

Think about this in terms of one of your personal relationships. Each time you engage in conflict with your partner, hopefully the duration and intensity of the conflict diminishes. If not, you are definitely lost (or maybe wandering) in the enchanted prison. In the case of warring parties (great phrase), we should hope that the behavior is the same. However, due to the complex nature of internal and external forces in, say, the case of Palestine (the Palestinian peoples vs the Israeli government), where the nature and origin of the forces are so complex that peaceful resolve, as we have seen, is the more difficult road to travel as conflict escalation seems to be the name of the game. If the external forces could be isolated and eliminated (i.e. if the US would stop funding the Israeli military – yes, I realize it is not only the US government, I am only providing one example),  the dynamic would be more manageable.

 

Of course, if the interests of different state, and non-state,  actors in the Middle East were based on human needs and human rights, the conflict helix…the game… would be of a much different nature. In fact, if the goal were mutually assured creation there would  be little or no conflict and we would be talking about the peace helix in which an inversion of trajectories would take place and the divergent trajectory along the spiral would represent an unbounded growth of mutual inclusion and mutual beneficence – a veritable transcendence of ego (on the personal level) and nationalism. The inward spiral along the trajectory would represent a collapse into selfishness.

 

How do you deal with the internal and external forces in your life and the lives of other as you spiral along the Golden Ratio (conflict/peace) Helix?

 

As we shall investigate later, your well being is intimately tied to the well being of others. Yeah, there’s some math for that – there are a set of relationships which show how we are all intimately intertwined (and, as you expect, some of the visual representations of these dynamics are pretty cool). The more your government, your god, your parents, your partner, etc, can condition you away from this understanding of the infinite relationships we are continuously engaged in, the more you will be content serving your term in the enchanted prison.

 

The next topic shall be on “Transcending Nationalism for a Soft Landing into Extinction” or something along those lines – coming in the next day or two.