Sunday, August 31, 2003

In Besieged Iraq, Reality Pokes Ideology in the Eye.

If I'm in a car with a friend, who over my protests decides to drive the car into a swamp, how is it a contradiction for me to say, once the car is sitting in the mud, that we're sinking?

"A main ideological sticking point for administration planners is how to encourage the participation of foreign nations without ceding too much control."
What is the point, however, of wanting such 'control'? It serves no moral purpose. I'm not an idiot, but I would like to hear at least a response to that question.

The Thrill of Danger, the Agony of Disaster

Another good argument for the rule of systems as opposed to one of men.

I've commented on this once or twice, but I think I'm going to have spend some time on it now:
I'm always saddened when I'm made to remember how many people involved in political philosophical and intellectual debates -on or off the web- are not only fans of science fiction, but see its illustrational narrative as a form of literary art. I've shrugged this off in the past, considered it just a lack of cultural sophistication, but I can't do it anymore. Cultural sophistication is a precursor to any serious discussion of politics and I might as well defend it directly rather than keeping the subject, as I have (mostly) just below the surface of my political posts.

The comment about Einstein was based on the fact that in both the scientific and technical community, and in the popular imagination, he is seen as the beginning of a line, as the originator of an idea, of a structure. He is seen as a 'Maker', and as such his figure and those of other scientific heroes stand as signposts of a certain kind of intellectual force. But at the same time, to a historian, Einstein as a figure is the end of a line, the conclusion of a process. He is not a Maker but a Result. Science fiction is an art for those who like makers, and who see themselves as wanting have the same role. But historians and writers of literature look back at the world of things that have been made and try to discover what logic they can. Their attempts at 'making' are tentative at best. In the best art, as in the best philosophy and the best political writing, the strengths are always seen in the authors' powers of observation. Creation as such is always secondary.

No structure that we can create -and control- will ever be able to mirror the complexity of a natural system.

More later. I'm off to the Metropolitan Museum for the day.

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