Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

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Comfort From Occasional Foes

Sad about ... "I'll miss you" .. "But you never have the time to see me.. what will you miss exactly? The potential of seeing me?" and so it repeats from a lakh of tongues... and then strange conversations with my mother, who tries to understand me but, I don't think, really is willing to let her mind wander across the vast gulves (growing love of non-modern-grammar-derived plurals) that seperate our perspectives. I dream that I can understand her, but maybe I'm wrong. I can put together an external weltanschauung that explains her pretty well AFAICT.. Facing ugly personal realities.. and sometimes wonder about passive-agression, agression, and other things in that framework - is there a way to really win? Probably not.

Last week was pretty weird, a little bit social, even, but not enough. Last few days have returned to effective solitary confinement. Ran into a few people randomly, regret not asking them to hang out for a bit and trying to ignore suspicion that they dislike me. Meh. I should also catch up with a few people. Everything feels difficult.

I've been working further through "Reform and Transformation in Communist Systems" (a book published a month or two before the Soviet Union fell - still assumed a controlled move towards improvement in economy and liberalism). It makes me appreciate the difficulties of managing a completely centralised economy as well as difficulties any government/system faces when a good number of its people withdraw their interest in making it work. The book is organised into a set of large chapters written by different authors (economists and others of various political persuasions) with different perspectives - very interesting. One of the odd things that occurred to me on the way to work this morning is that in times of absolute crisis, the Soviet Union would move an industry/area back towards a mixed market, while in times of crisis like the Great Depression the United States implemented changes that, roughly speaking, brought us significantly closer towards being a mixed market. What does that mean? One possibility is that mixed markets are on some level a very safe choice, another that radical change is needed to give people confidence that things are getting better (mass psychology and health of the state are presumably intimately tied), another is that this understanding is too simplistic - were the Great Depression and the various Soviet crises similar in the threats they posed to society? Trotsky wrote that failure of global capitalism will take the form of ever increasing economic crises (described as events similar to what would be the Great Depression), likely delayed by globalisation and expectations of endless growth - when capitalism finally meets itself on the other side of the globe, the pillaging stops (ouroboros?).. If this is true, I look forward to seeing what the rise of Brasil, India, and China's middle classes do, and whether they'll be able to command the lower classes of the rest of the globe like the United States and Europe do. When foreign labour becomes unavailable globally, things will be very interesting..

I suppose I haven't been completely bereft of company - I did have a brief one-time chat with some guy from Tamil Nadu - talked about Indian and Sri Lankan politics for awhile, which went a lot more smoothly once he understood that I know a reasonable amount of things about the region and stopped explaining everything to me..

Sad-sounding woodwind music from the Neverending Story.. good stuff.

  • Atreju - But why is Fantasia dying then?
  • G'mork - Because people have begun to lose their hopes and forget their dreams so the Nothing grows stronger.
  • Atreju - What is the Nothing?
  • G'mork - It's the emptiness that's left.
"Ich kenne jedenfalls keinen", sagte Gmork, "und das ist auch nicht weiter verwunderlich, denn ihr selbst müsst dort dazu herhalten, die Menschen glauben zu machen, dass es Phantásien nicht gibt.

I thought this was a particularly awesome degree to which to take one's hobby - home observatories (albeit expensive - another thing that would be better at a neighbourhood common room?) Gets me thinking of the chinese philosophy of Moism (read up on Mozi, people!). That in turn reminds me how a number of people like to call themselves utilitarian without having much of an idea what utilitarianism is. I'm tempted to say they just like the word because it sounds practical and dismissive of "fluffy", hard-to-quantify alternatives.

My blog software is just about to the point where it can sanely IM or email people based on events (like new posts). Hurrah.


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