Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Day Today - 26th February 2008

Sir Arthur Streeb-Greebling writes:

Anthropologists as spies - the expert local knowledge of methodological researchers has been put to martial use since world war two. "Almost two decades later, during the Gulf War, proposals by conservatives in the AAA that its members assist allied efforts against Iraq provoked only minor opposition."

Conservatives in the AAA? Stunning. But anthropologists are now being used more covertly in both the War on Terror and War in Iraq...

A look at what Physicists are thinking about time at the moment.

"The natural effect of commerce is to lead to peace." wrote Montesquieu, and he's right - inflicting violence on your customers is a bad business strategy. And new research seems to be confirming this.

Aaaah, Toqueville on America.

Long before the appointed moment arrives, the election becomes the greatest and so to speak sole business preoccupying minds. The factions at that time redouble their ardor; in that moment all the factitious passion that the imagination can create in a happy and tranquil country become agitated in broad daylight. . . .

The entire nation falls into a feverish state; the election is then the daily text of the public papers, the subject of particular conversations, the goal of all reasoning, the object of all thoughts, the sole interest of the present.

...and, when discussing what form despotism might take in a democracy, on New Zealand!

It would resemble paternal power if, like that, it had for its object to prepare men for manhood; but on the contrary, it seeks only to keep them fixed irrevocably in childhood; it provides for their security, foresees and secures their needs, facilitates their pleasures, conducts their principal affairs, directs their industry, regulates their estates, divides their inheritances; can it not take away from them entirely the trouble of thinking and the pain of living? . . . [This power] extends its arms over society as a whole; it covers its surface with a network of small, complicated, painstaking, uniform rules through which the most original minds and the most vigorous souls cannot clear a way to surpass the crowd; it does not break wills, but it softens them, bends them, and directs them; it rarely forces one to act, but it constantly opposes itself to one’s acting; it does not destroy, it prevents things from being born; it does not tyrannize, it hinders, compromises, enervates, extinguishes, dazes, and finally reduces each nation to being nothing more than a herd of timid and industrious animals of which the government is the shepherd.

'Twas Darwin Day on the 14th, and I completely forgot. Here's his great-great-grandson visiting America - just like Toqueville.

And Martin Heidegger wrote a little on Time - just like the physicists.

1 comment:

Will de Cleene said...

Ta for the physics link. I thought that relativity of time was self-evident since Einstein. If E=mc2, light and mass are a function of time. And vice versa.