Monday, March 7, 2016

Peter Maass — Donald Trump, America’s Own Silvio Berlusconi


No, Trump is not Hitler, Mussolini or even Franko — but Berlusconi. Peter Maass sees some parallels.

Sort of fits with Scott Adams's picture of Trump as master persuader. The reason nothing "outrageous" he says sticks to him is that he knows who he is talking to — and that the ranting of the Establishment against him just reinforces his message to "those people" the Establishment has marginalized and who loyally support him.

46 comments:

Random said...

For the past few hundred years the way to MAKE MONEY FAST (which is the real definition of the American Dream) and become a "alpha male" has been to move west to America or in America, find some weak suckers (e.g. first nations, dark skins, brown skins, etc), and take their assets and strip mine them faster than anybody else. It is the logic of the locust. Almost (because there is also the Yankee Production System, but that is rather less popular nowadays) the whole culture of the most powerful and culturally leading nation is based on taking someone else’s assets and strip mining them.

Oil, water tables, rivers, agricultural land, buffalos, forests, all strip mined. Nearly everybody in the USA have been in a race to strip mine faster than everybody else. A large part of USA history has been in essence a conflict between ranchers/planters and farmers/workers; both have been into strip mining, the farmer side a bit less ferociously (farming is a more intensive activity, ranching a more extensive one), but still entirely short-sightedly.

Hundreds of thousands of peasants went to die *enthusiastically* to defend their right (State rights!) to enjoy the fruits of the work of another set of two legged dark skinned beasts.

Hundreds of years of cultural leadership based on ripping assets off suckers and strip mining them is very hard to reverse. It will take some big unpleasant change to reset cultural values about the primacy of asset stripping, including a loss of power for the elites who have based their attitude on being the fastest asset strippers in the West. Why the hell would that stop with Trump?

And with that I leave you a song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3DQJKcFik8

Matt Franko said...

How'd that work out for Aubrey McClendon?

Most millionaires in the US are Dentists and Doctors... Lawyers, small business, etc....

John said...

Tom: "No, Trump is not Hitler, Mussolini or even Franko — but Berlusconi."

You meant Franco, right? Not Matt "right of fascism" Franko. :) :) :)

Matt Franko said...

Ha LOL saw that John...

Didnt think it was incorrect as none of those other people listed there and Trump know/knew we were NOT "out of money!".... ;)

(most likely Tom's auto correct confused me with the guy from Spain...)

John said...

Well, Hitler must have had it explained to him that Germany could not run of money. Hjalmar Schacht certainly understood it and turned a country with immense economic problems into a powerhouse that nearly conquered Europe, and would have had Hitler not decided to invade Russia.

Couldn't say about the economic policies of the governments of Mussolini and Franco. Economically, they never seemed to amount to much, but that may be to do with the scale of peasant life and small agriculture. Did Spain and Italy have their own Schachts but were starting from a very low stage of development as compared to Germany?

Matt Franko said...

There is no evidence that the Nazis understood things that way...

Same for Lincoln during the US Civil War... didnt want to do it... used only as a last resort until they could get back under metals... was embarrassed to have to do it...

Ignacio said...

The banker in charge of finances of the Reich did understand functional finance pretty well, he was no goldbug. The top nazi leadership didn't know what they were doing probably, but you gotta understand that they were no goldbugs, because they valued the power of the state above anything else.

Totalitarian leaders understand that money is a tool always and do what they have to do (for their own interests), money or gold never stops them, only real resources do. That's why Germany lost the war, because real resources, not because they were running out of money (or gold!).

The Nazi party putted all real resources of the nation to work, but was catch up in its own narrative and didn't move to a total war economy until 1943, when it was too late and was at a disadvantage against two much larger nations. There was no unemployment, and the average "good German" lived a full and good life.

Also in periods of conflict and war other nations won't accept your currency as a mean of payment, so gold had/has its uses, for acquiring certain "goods" from other nations. Pretty much like the oil relationship going between the west and M.E. right now.

MRW said...

@Matt,

"There is no evidence that the Nazis understood things that way..."

Yes, there is. A commenter on Brad deLong’s website took Niall Ferguson to task for not knowing it, and delivered a stinging with rebuke with links that proved it.

MRW said...

@Matt,

"Same for Lincoln during the US Civil War... didnt want to do it... used only as a last resort until they could get back under metals... was embarrassed to have to do it..."

One of Lincoln’s cabinet ministers reminded him that the US had the power to create its own currency. Reason why Lincoln created the Greenback instead of taking the NY bankers’ offer of 35% to borrow from them for the war.

MRW said...

@Ignacio,

" but you gotta understand that they were no goldbugs"

They wanted a reason not to pay the 1918 reparations, and Hjalmar Schacht provided it.

Matt Franko said...

MRW,

Wrongo...

Here Lincoln's words in his own handwriting:

"My approval is given in order that every possible facility may be afforded for the prompt discharge of all arrears of pay due to our soldiers and our sailors.
While giving this approval, however, I think it my duty to express my sincere regret that it has been found necessary to authorize so large an additional issue of United States notes,"

"It seems very plain that continued issues of United States notes, without any check to the issues of suspended banks, and without adequate provision for the raising of money by loans, and for founding the issues so as to keep them within due limits, must soon produce disastrous consequences. "

I researched the Lincoln archives:

http://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com/2012/11/dreamworks-lincoln-and-us-civil-war.html

He didnt want to do it and as soon as he could wanted to get back to the metals...

No trust without a metal backing it up:

http://mikenormaneconomics.blogspot.com/2015/11/the-burning-of-chambersburg-pa-in-civil.html

And there is YUGE evidence the Nazis were after gold all the while... didnt mean they were successful...

You guys are confusing happenstance or perhaps expediency with "a plan"... neither Lincoln nor the Nazis understood things as we do and NEVER PLANNED IT that way...

Just like today, we may have a "fiat" numismatic system today but NOBODY PLANNED THIS and TPTB STILL are thinking of the system with a as Warren terms it "a gold standard mentality".... ie they are morons and "they know not what they do...."

Matt Franko said...

We didnt plan this we left Bretton Woods once the CA swung to deficit and we were starting to bleed gold...

You cant use the metal for savings/hoarding and use it for circulation at the same time... "a house divided against itself cannot stand..."

Matt Franko said...

" Reason why Lincoln created the Greenback instead of taking the NY bankers’ offer of 35% to borrow from them for the war."

Wrong.

Congress would not act. See Lincolns own words in his own handwriting here:

" and without adequate provision for the raising of money by loans"

"MONEY.... BY.... LOOOOAAANNNNSSSS..." ie 'debt-based money"

We dont believe in "debt-based money".... Lincoln and the Nazis did though....

old Nazi Treasury bond for sale:

http://scripophily.net/ger19412bwei.html

John said...

In Richard Werner's book "Princes of the Yen", he shows that Schacht understood the intricacies of credit/money and more so credit guidance to create an economic miracle, something the Japanese emulated and achieved post-1945. Whatever Schacht called it, or however he understood it, it was as close to functional finance as you are likely to get.

As far as I can figure Schacht out, he presided over all manner of economic disasters, most spectacularly the hyperinflation, and used his position to help the Nazis gain power. Perhaps he learned from his previous economic incompetence. By the time he was in a position to control Germany's economy, he had essentially understood functional finance and the nature of credit/money. Perhaps he didn't have a grand theory of explaining it, or refrained from explaining it in public, but functionally speaking he had an excellent understanding of credit/money. The allies should have blown his brains out.

Matt Franko said...

Well perhaps right but you could say the same thing about us today but that doesnt mean TPTB understand it or conduct themselves as if they do obviously...

We had Eccles during that time which looks like he knew some things but once the war ended he went right back to "gold standard mentality" too with Bretton Woods, "govt borrowing", etc...

Dont confuse expediency with "a plan" or "a design"....

Ignacio said...

Matt I don't think Nazi leadership understood or even cared or wasted a second thinking about it. The parties leadership, like politicians nowadays, was not interested in the nuisances of the monetary system, they don't consider it to be their "job" (although they should at least have a basic understanding) they are interested in the political power and its structure. As long as they controlled it they were fine, the Nazi regime far from the German stereotype of order and efficiency was ran by chaos and corruption, but as long as things worked out for the leadership they were fine with the details.

So they put in place someone who makes it work, and will keep the position as long as it makes it work(which is what happened). But the guy in place understood it.

I don't think it may be the same in case of Mussolini (and certainly not in the case of Franco), but again what the tyrant is interested in is never the details, but sheer power, and whatever means needed to express them. You can't assume good faith on the use of that power though.

It does seem the same drive is most attracted to positions of power and leadership, that's why you have to check what they do, not what they say. Doesn't matter if they don't acknowledge MMT publicly if they spend monies on military spending all the time and keep increasing spending for what they want. Facts are more important than words.

John said...

Matt: "...but that doesnt mean TPTB understand it or conduct themselves as if they do obviously..."

I think they understand things well enough. Naturally enough TPTB want policy in their interest, and that's usually what they get. Once their bad bets are taken care of with bail outs, money conjured up out of thin air and the so-called market not allowed to put them to the sword, then the TPTB instigate hysterical screams about hyperinflation, "running out of money", the immorality of burdening our children and grandchildren with our debts, etc.

This is where you and I diverge, and I think this issue splits a lot of people. There are those in your camp: TPTB are incompetent, stupid, ignorant and don't know what they're doing. Then there are those in my camp: TPTB understand well enough that many of our economic maladies are solvable, but since they are not in their interests they won't be solved. I'd say that 2008 proved my camp right: money is magically found for TPTB but not anyone else. On top of that, there are just too many historic examples of governments and their central banks understanding the issues.

As ever, the problem centres around those who own the country, formulate economic and political policy, and how they impede progress. Those with wealth and power formulate policy, education and propaganda. So the obvious lessons of 2008 have been skilfully managed to blame everybody else but those responsible: deficits and national debt, welfare, the unemployed, China, Mexicans, etc.

Matt Franko said...

Well what is being tried is not empiricism but rationalism so far...

iow imo, all "MMT" has is a rationalist approach. ie "we're NOT out of money!" then, the other side says "Yes we ARE out of money!", and back and forth...

The only way you break out of this back and forth is thru competent empiricism.... which has not made its appearance to this point...

So to me, a strict empiricist, watching this rationalist arguments going back and forth looks stupid....

Were not out of money! yes we are! no were not! yes we are! no were not! yes we are!....

The only way out of this is thru empiricism ....

If we rely on pure rationalism, then we can make a mistake and think the other side is lying, fraudulent, etc... when the problem is a lack of empiricism...

John said...

Over to Tom the philosopher to debunk the prevalent ideas about rationalism and empiricism.

The philosophy of Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz, which we call Rationalism, is not that very different to the philosophy of Locke, Berkeley and Hume, which we call Empiricism. Their followers have made the differences rather great, but what was originally called Rationalism is not contemptuous of "empirical" knowledge, but simply claims that it will not be enough to unlock the mysteries of nature. These mysteries can only be understood through rationalist thought, aided by empirical data. I agree with the rationalists. There are far too many examples of things that are purely rationalist and cannot be understood empirically, geometrical figures being the most obvious example, although the empiricists agree on that particular example.

In some sense, then, money is a candidate for rationalist thought: it's more like a geometrical figure than a candidate for pure empirical study, subject to massive statistical analysis. Empirically, you'll end up chasing your monetary tail because, for beginners, no one will ever give you a definition that can be agreed on. The many aspects that contribute to the "nature of money" cannot be empirically gauged. So over to what can only be called a rationalist understanding of money, the chartalists and endogenous money people, who will have *a* theory of money which happens to fit the data. Austrians have their own, and so do the neoclassicals, etc, etc.

MRW said...

@Matt, wrong about what at your March 8, 2016 at 7:07 AM?

I’m not saying anything different at March 8, 2016 at 5:29 AM. He wouldn’t have even created the US Notes without that guy saying he had the constitutional right to. I don’t remember this name. I have all the history and links buried somewhere. Just not interested in looking it up. What Lincoln thought about it is another matter. Rothschild was pissed. He and his bros were hoping to get a hook into the warring states. That’s in a couple of letters I found mentioned in the Congressional Record and Senator Robert Owen’s papers. Owen was the head of the senate banking committee in the early 20th C.

MRW said...

u"TPTB understand well enough that many of our economic maladies are solvable"

Warren and Stephanie said in the second Columbia Law lecture (Q&A afterward) that they visited congressmen and explained to them what they didn’t know about the monetary system, and the response was I could never admit that! I wouldn’t be re-elected! So some know. Stephanie wouldn’t name names.

Matt Franko said...

That's different than planning to do it...

We give too much credit to Lincoln on this matter... read his words he didnt want to do it and was trying to get Congress to set up a formal system of "debt based money" but Congress wouldnt act so he issued the 'greenbacks' on his own just so that his troops wouldnt walk off the battlefield...

Some guy might have come up with a temporary work-around so the accounting would work, but he hardly "ran the civil war this way" as is often said around this issue..

Lincoln's "US notes" might have been similar to the notes issued by the "Bank of the US" 1 & 2 some decades before so it wasnt a new idea...

The difference between us and them is that we dont look at it as "debt based money" iow we look at the bond issuance as something done as part of setting the policy interest rates... not "borrowing"... the others look at it as borrowing.... then this goes right to a rationalist argument back and forth...

John,

Tom doesnt like the use of the figure of speech "money" in the first place as a Philosopher... he criticizes the use in the first place as it is ambiguous by definition as a figure of speech... poor terminology from the word "go"...



John said...

If Tom doesn't bite, hopefully, Alexander X. Douglas, an expert on Dutch Cartesianism and the philosophy of money, will have this thread brought to his attention.

Matt Franko said...

"philosophy of money"

philosophy of a figure of speech... I just dont get it AT ALL....

Tom Hickey said...

Over to Tom the philosopher to debunk the prevalent ideas about rationalism and empiricism.

The debate over rationalism (formalism, deduction) v. empiricism (observation, induction) goes back to Plato and his student Aristotle.

In brief summary, the argument is over knowledge (epistemology). Human knowledge is distinguished by universals (general ideas) in addition to particulars (phenomena based on sense data). The question is about the ontological basis of universals and how this affects knowledge of them.

Plato held that true knowledge was of ideas, which are intelligible and knowable only by mind (intelligence - Greek nous). Intelligence (nous) knows the intelligible (eidos) directly. True knowledge (episteme) is an account (logos) of correspondence between intelligence and intelligibility. In knowledge when one is presented with particulars, which are patterned on intelligible, which gives them their sameness, the mind is reminded of what it already knows about the world of intelligible, that is, the essence of the intelligible includes relations of the various ideas. This implies that knowledge is inborn or "innate."

Aristotle disagreed, famously holding that the mind is a blank tablet (tablua rasa) and must be impressed with the intelligible from without. In the act of observation, the mind as pure intelligibility as well as capable of perceiving sense data, which is particular, is capable of apprehending the intelligible along with sense date, and impressing it on the intellect. In this way, all knowledge is acquired.

This debate persisted and still persists in Western thought. The Rationalists sided with Plato on knowledge being innate, whereas the Empiricists held that knowledge of realty is acquired through sense perception. Locke reiterated the blank slate theory of knowledge.

Kant sought to combine these views into a "transcendental" account of knowledge based on "pure reason." Neo-Kantians remain in the debate, and cognitive science seems to corroborate some of Kant's position in terms of brain function.

The debate is still going on. Some are pretty far to the "Platonic" side and others far toward the "Aristotelian." These are just labels since the actual positions of Plato and Aristotle are no longer in vogue. The distinction that was the basis of the debate in ancient times is still with us, whether or not participants realize it. Often they don't and just rehash the same things in different terminology. Systems people on the other hand tend to be synthesists as well as analysts and come down more toward the center. As yet, there is no comprehensive and integrated account based on criteria widely accepted enough to carry the day.

continued

Tom Hickey said...

continuation

In my view, these debates indicate that all parties have an element of the system that they are trying to articulate. So the disagreements are largely over analysis when synthesis is also required. This is reflected in the current debate over whether subjectivity or objectivity is primary, when subject and object are clearly bipolar in knowledge as a system. Objectivity seems to be primary now owing to the fact that science has illumined much more about "matter" than "mind" or "consciousness." However, this doesn't imply that everything is reducible to material explanation or that material explanation is a sufficient condition for comprehensive knowledge. This debate is also reflected in postmoderns and deconstructivsts v. scientists, such as the famous debate between Derrida and Chomsky.

These matters don't become evident other than on deep reflection, hence, mathematics and philosophy of mathematics, science and the philosophy of science, social science and philosophy of social science, and economics and philosophy of economics. These fields presuppose ontology, epistemology, and ethics and action theory.

If you have concluded that all this a waste of time, you are espousing the POV of naïve commonsense. :o

John said...

Tom,

Reminds me of a brilliant joke by Jerry Fodor in the LRB. http://www.lrb.co.uk/v28/n18/jerry-fodor/who-ate-the-salted-peanuts

"I will tell you a philosophical joke. Once upon a time, a visiting scholar presented a lecture on the topic: ‘How many philosophical positions are there in principle?’ ‘In principle,’ he began, ‘there are exactly 12 philosophical positions.’ A voice called from the audience: ‘Thirteen.’ ‘There are,’ the lecturer repeated, ‘exactly 12 possible philosophical positions; not one less and not one more.’ ‘Thirteen,’ the voice from the audience called again. ‘Very well, then,’ said the lecturer, now perceptibly irked, ‘I shall proceed to enumerate the 12 possible philosophical positions. The first is sometimes called “naive realism”. It is the view according to which things are, by and large, very much the way that they seem to be.’ ‘Oh,’ said the voice from the audience. ‘Fourteen!’"

Tom Hickey said...

Ha ha. Good one, John. I had not heard that one.

Actually, it is not a matter of the number of positions. They are potentially infinite in that within every position many alternative positions and within those, many more, etc.

The bottom line issue is criteria.

The reason that there are some may competing alternatives without resolution is that absolute criteria (apparently) do not exist and there is no agreement on postulating a set of criteria.

I chose a grad school that specialized in the history of philosophy where all the major Western positions were represented. The faculty was balanced between Americans and Europeans. I asked one of the profs why why the faculty never debated positions with each other. He smiled and said, Oh, we did that already and argued down to fundamentals and agreed to disagree.

The pie can be cut in lots of different ways. In the end, the criterion is either confirmation bias or pragmatism, and pragmatism depends on who it is good for — most people cut the pie so they get the biggest slice and often this is not done consciously and intentionally.

Who do I think got it (mostly) right? Wittgenstein. (Although I think that few have actually understood him.)

Ancient philosophers began with the question, What is?. Modern Philosophers said, "Before can answer the question, what is? we have to answer the question, "What can we know?" Contemporary philosophers have transformed this to, "What can we say?"

Wittgenstein recognized that the issue was basically logical since we get entrapped and fooled by the logic of ordinary language, which we use to formulate and express thought. For Wittgenstein, philosophy is basically logical clarification and philosophical issues arise when logic "goes on holiday."

But by "logic" Wittgenstein meant philosophical logic rather than formal logic. He disagreed with Carnap and others about the project of formalizing knowledge. Of course, he was not arguing against the proper use of formalization; he was trained as an engineer and was highly competent in math.

Wittgenstein counseled to just look at how ordinary language is actually operating to prevent being sucked into delusion. In his later work, he constructed "language games" to elucidate this. A lot of this is about rules of a "game" and criteria for how to apply the rules. BTW, Matt is intuitively adopting this perspective in much of his commentary about word meaning.

John said...

Since you brought up Wittgenstein, although you must have seen this spoof elsewhere: http://www.stevepetersen.net/wittgenstein-fog.html

Ray Monk's biography of Wittgenstein put me off him. He's just too damn weird. I've found every attempt at trying to understand him ending in failure. Perhaps this is the year to try again. I remember reading somewhere that his stuff on language has, apparently, been shown to be false by modern linguistics. Although a recent book I read by Robert Fogelin made Wittgenstein's rules on language clear and very interesting. I highly recommend this little book: Walking the Tightrope of Reason. I hear that you should look no further than his book "Wittgenstein". So I'll give the billionaire Stalinist one more go!

Tom Hickey said...

Yes, LW was a complex personality (genius) and also "troubled." He was more a seeker than a questioner, although he comes across in his writing as a questioner and his method of seeking was to pose questions to himself. He was working on himself and he shares some of that in his "philosophical" writings.

LW cannot be "understood." This is why some of the attempt that are more than biographical fail.

For example, in perennial wisdom, reading the works of mystics will never make one a mystic, and to get what mystics are talking about, one must be a mystic oneself. That required self-cultivation.

LS is saying this about "philosophy." He was actually in consonance with the ancient "philosophers" (lovers of wisdom) in taking philosophy to be a way of life and a spiritual discipline (yoga).

The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is straight forward and simple to understand but just about no one understands it because they don't see what he is up to in it — which is laying out the logic of description.

His "mistake" in the TLP lay in putting too much emphasis on description and not enough on how language operates to do the many tasks it does. He credits this insight and his moving to the later work to Piero Sraffa — they were at Cambridge together.

The later work is more difficult to approach because the project is vast and unorganized. LW was not developing a POV but rather a method of questioning that would advance his seeking.

LW was trouble with ultimate questions and bothered by triviality and what he regarded as stupidity. He realized early one that what he regarded as fundamentally important could not be expressed in descriptive language since its subject matter lay be beyond the logic of description. The late work is a deeper investigation of the limits of language more generally.

continued

Tom Hickey said...

continuation

To paraphrase LW, one has to see it and then one realizes that this is ineffable. The best one can do is lead other to see it.

I remember my internal arts teacher saying, "I can show you how to find qi (chi, ki), but you have to find it yourself."

This is similar to what LW was trying to get across. His view was that intellectualizing about it was not going to lead one to the truth that seekers are bent on, which is a matter of direct apprehension.

Buddha reportedly said something similar.

It's just as if a man were wounded with an arrow thickly smeared with poison. His friends & companions, kinsmen & relatives would provide him with a surgeon, and the man would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the man who wounded me was a noble warrior, a priest, a merchant, or a worker.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know the given name & clan name of the man who wounded me... until I know whether he was tall, medium, or short... until I know whether he was dark, ruddy-brown, or golden-colored... until I know his home village, town, or city... until I know whether the bow with which I was wounded was a long bow or a crossbow... until I know whether the bowstring with which I was wounded was fiber, bamboo threads, sinew, hemp, or bark... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was wild or cultivated... until I know whether the feathers of the shaft with which I was wounded were those of a vulture, a stork, a hawk, a peacock, or another bird... until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was bound with the sinew of an ox, a water buffalo, a langur, or a monkey.' He would say, 'I won't have this arrow removed until I know whether the shaft with which I was wounded was that of a common arrow, a curved arrow, a barbed, a calf-toothed, or an oleander arrow.' The man would die and those things would still remain unknown to him.[1] Wikipedia-Wikipedia - Parable_of_the_Poisoned_Arrow

LW's last words were, “Tell them I've had a wonderful life” (Monk, 579)

Tom Hickey said...

To clarify what I said about LW using questioning as a seeker, and the ancient approach to "philosophy" as a way of life and spiritual discipline, here is a quote that I think is apt, the driving force of philosophy in this sense being literally love of wisdom.

The development of meditation can nevertheless be anticipated in outline by those who have direct insight into the peculiar contours of the mind of the individual, in the same way that a person who has thorough acquaintance with the details of the constitution of the solidified crust of the earth may, in general, expect the outburst of a volcano in one region rather than another.

When the surging powers in the bowels of the earth are trying to burst out, they are bound to take the line of least resistance, and their actual passage will be dependent largely upon the nature of the surroundings with which they are confronted. The difference between volcanic forces and the spiritual urge is that the former are unconscious, while the latter is a conscious phenomenon. Intelligence plays an important part in the course of meditation, and it is this intelligence which is kindled by the Master by giving to the aspirant a few simple suggestions about what kinds of things he has to do or expect in his meditations.
        
Meditation has often been misunderstood as a mechanical process of forcing the mind upon some idea or object. Most people naturally have an aversion to meditation because they experience great difficulty in attempting to coerce the mind in a particular direction, or to pin it down to one particular thing. Any purely mechanical handling of the mind is not only irksome but is bound ultimately to be unsuccessful.
       
 The first principle which aspirants have to remember is that the mind can be controlled and directed in meditation only according to laws inherent in the make-up of the mind itself, and not by means of the application of any mechanical or semi-mechanical force.

Many persons who do not technically “meditate” are oftentimes found to be deeply and intensely engrossed in systematic and clear thinking about some practical problem or theoretical subject. Their mental process is, in a sense, very much like meditation, inasmuch as the mind is engrossed in intense thinking about a particular subject-matter to the exclusion of all other irrelevant things. Meditation is often easy and spontaneous in such mental processes because the mind is dwelling upon an object in which it is interested and which it increasingly understands. The spiritual tragedy about ordinary trains of thoughts is that they are not directed towards things that really matter. On the other hand, the object of meditation has always to be carefully selected and must be spiritually important; it has to be some divine person or object, or some spiritually significant theme or truth. In order to attain success in meditation the mind must not only get interested in the divine subjects or truths, but must also begin by trying to understand and appreciate them. Such intelligent meditation is a natural process of the mind; and since it avoids the monotonous rigidity and regularity of mechanical meditation, it becomes not only spontaneous and inspiring, but easy and successful.


Meher Baba, Discourses, 6th ed, v. 2, 112-113

Matt Franko said...

"Matt is intuitively adopting this perspective"

Tom I get it here: "Have a pattern (stencil) of sound words, " 2 Tim 1:13

And then imo Wittengenstein (you've intro'd LW here a bunch of times Ive read some of his stuff...) picked up on this here:

"Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment (Verhexung) of our understanding by the resources of our language. [Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Philosophical Investigations," 1953]

And knowing from Genesis that God confounded the language of mankind at Babel for His purposes... probably did it to slow us down a lot imo really screwed things up so LW saw this as did Paul....

( Ive ever had an original idea in my life)

So we have to be VERY CAREFUL with the words we use ...

Tom Hickey said...

"philosophy of money"

philosophy of a figure of speech... I just dont get it AT ALL....


There is nothing inherently wrong in the phrase, as long as one understands the logic underlying. It's OK if one understands this as being a logical investigation into the many overlapping "language games" in which the term "money" and its correlates like "currency," "cash," etc. play a role.

Where the whole thing usually goes wrong is taking money to be a "thing," for example, conflating money-things and money as a concept that can be viewed as non-descritptive label for a set of sets of language game including their contexts., as in gold is the only real money and everything else is "funny money."

There are many overlapping games with a variety of rules characterized by their sharing a "family resemblance" in an extended family named "money." Looking for the "essence" of money as the characteristic of a single set would led one astray. A lot of the controversy is over taking a single game (operations) or single set with one characteristic (like gold) with the web of meaning involved in the concept of money, "money" being a shorthand way of labeling this web.

jrbarch said...

I think the question to ask is - 'what is it in me, that asks questions'?

And the really hilarious part of that is - it is only when the mind is still, very still, that an answer, a very beautiful answer, begins to emerge in the consciousness!! This 'knowledge binds all other knowing'. You may not be able to fly a 747, but that isn't essential.

Matt Franko said...

Tom c'mon why would ee want to have that investigation?

I could see 'the philosophy of torture' or something like that ....

But the systems represented by the figure of speech 'money' are like tools or implements.. its a material thing.... nothing glorious about it....

Tom Hickey said...

I think the question to ask is - 'what is it in me, that asks questions'?

That is either question to get to, or the question to start with, as the case may be.

It may also be phrased, "Who am I?, which begs the question, "Who is it that is asking?"

Who Am I? (Nan Yar?) — The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi

Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."


The Gospel of Thomas, 3

Jesus saw some babies nursing. He said to his disciples, "These nursing babies are like those who enter the (Father's) kingdom."

They said to him, "Then shall we enter the (Father's) kingdom as babies?"

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two into one, and when you make the inner like the outer and the outer like the inner, and the upper like the lower, and when you make male and female into a single one, so that the male will not be male nor the female be female, when you make eyes in place of an eye, a hand in place of a hand, a foot in place of a foot, an image in place of an image, then you will enter [the kingdom]."


The Gospel of Thomas, 22

"What is the sound of one hand clapping?" — Zen koan

Tom Hickey said...

But the systems represented by the figure of speech 'money' are like tools or implements.. its a material thing.... nothing glorious about it....

Money is an idea, the context of which makes it a social construct. This idea is at least as significant historically as the invention of the wheel or lever.

Money has a long and complex history (involving emergence) but this history is not the philosophy of money, which involves the logic underlying the concept and its web of uses, each have its own nuance of meaning. The concept of money evolved and is still evolving, e.g., digital currencies.

Calgacus said...

MRW:One of Lincoln’s cabinet ministers reminded him that the US had the power to create its own currency.

You're more right. You're thinking of Salomon Chase, the guy on the $10,000 bill. What happened is pretty funny, related in Carl Sandburg's biography. Chase, who knew his finance - Mitchell-Innes mentions him in his great papers- came to Lincoln to fulminate against greenbacks, saying they were unconstitutional. After an hour or so of ranting, he was done. Lincoln said he had no idea about finance, and that Chase might be right on the law, but asked if there was any alternative at all. Chase said absolutely not, and said that Lincoln would never hear another word from him about it, as it should be done as soon as possible. After the war, Chase became the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and had the rare pleasure of ruling his own actions unconstitutional!

jrbarch said...

@Tom
I think in the end, science will arrive at the three bodies of the persona (physical, emotional, mind) postulated by the esoteric Schools. The being within these bodies already cognisant of the ‘Father in Heaven’. The bridge evolution is building is between the persona and this being (all three, aspects of One). There is a corresponding inner bridge under construction too, in both directions, above and below. At least it is an interesting framework in which to play around with empiricism and rationalism and tabula rasa?

So, two eyes on the outside, one on the inside (when the eye is single ....’). Two ears on the outside, one on the inside etc. As this being is formless (arupa), the reality of the inner ‘powers’ are reflected temporarily in all three outer bodies of the persona. Something to contemplate: - if true, by the time this is common knowledge in the species, flat-earth theory will look like charming childish imagination, compared to the depth of illusion the persona labours in today.

For me, it is the inner sense of touch, awakening in the racial persona, making it incredibly sensitive, and binding it in feeling to its fellow human beings, demanding harmony, the desire to feel a real peace that is beyond anything in this outer world - is our primitive but gentle dawn. Some draw-back a long bow and shoot for the stars!

Regardless, we are all feeling machines, experiencing machines (that think a lot around and around and around).

Tom Hickey said...

Transpersonal psychology and cognitive studies have been investigating consciousness and subjectivity for a couple of decades. This type of research is no longer considered "unscientific" out of the box as it was under Skinnerian behaviorism. This harkens back to earlier inquiry, such as William James's The Varieties of Religious Experience: a Study in Human Nature.. The frontier of knowledge is now inner space and outer space.

Matt Franko said...

Tom Im working on an empirical explanation of that....

You can mix the red and blue EM frequencies to make purple, but the color purple doesn't exist in the Electromagnetic Spectrum while red and blue are in the EM spectrum... so we can see purple but we cant create it we can only see it as a combination of the two component EM frequencies. ..

jrbarch said...

@Matt: ”... so we can see purple but we cant create it”.

Neuroscience is playing with the notion that we create both the red and the blue – as electrochemical signals in the brain. Colour exists in the brain as one aspect of a constantly updated model, we call reality. Ditto the ‘monetary system’.

Somehow, the very same material atoms, existing throughout the known universe, come together in the human brain and create consciousness, mind, and self. This puzzles everyone.

At least my aboriginal brothers here in a wide brown land, called it their Dreaming.

Matt Franko said...

jr I'm still trying to think it through dont have it 100% but here from you which I'll take away:

"we create both the red and the blue"

Well perhaps if we could create the purple in the same fashion then we might "have it figured out".... if you can see what I mean... until then we may have to make due with only being able to "understand purple thru a combination of red and blue..."

jrbarch said...

Is it an analogy you are trying to figure out Matt?

I think in terms of the senses, what may happen (is): - light strikes a surface and is partially reflected, partially absorbed. The eyes pick up what is reflected and an electrochemical signal is transmitted to the visual area of the thalamus, then on to the visual cortex. Researchers were surprised to see a lot more electrochemical traffic going from the visual cortex back to the thalamus, than in the path of the original sensory input signal. They thought the brain must hold its own ‘model’ of its reality, that is constantly being updated by the senses, and of course our thoughts and emotions. So ‘red’ exists in our model as does ‘blue’ and when the signal is a combination of both, we ‘see purple’. Colour differentiation then, is recognition of a seven-fold energy that builds the world. For the researchers, it is in this cerebral model that ‘Matt’ exists! Scramble the model and everything else gets scrambled too. How precarious is our existence hey, in this ‘model of a model’!

The senses allow us to develop a self and the perennial wisdom holds that they have their correspondences in the astral, mental, buddhic, and atmic planes – hence expanding through evolution, the experience and identity of the self. For example sound allows us to first of all identify our own sound or note in the physical world; then the sound of our brother, then the group sound .... and it widens from there. Tom makes a certain sound, as do you, as do we all. People with synesthesia (different connections in the brain) sometimes describe colour or words or places in terms of a different sense. What colour are ‘Italians’; what sound do they make; how do they taste, what do they feel like?

I constantly say that there is something called ‘peace’ in every human heart, that exists beyond the reach of the mind and brain – what does peace feel like, look like, sound like? When we ‘touch’ it, will we recognise it in some sort of memory; feel anticipation? What would peace do to our cerebral model? How would it impact the outer world?

The senses create a past, present and future within us, in our ‘model of reality’ – is there also a space inside of us that transcends time? From all of this, we also get a sense of the not-self. Hence we learn to differentiate between what is real and not-real. We grope towards something on the inside we cannot yet define. On top of all of this we have an explosive world of feeling and highways of thought. And the world on the outside is a busy place – hypnotising. In all our machinations, it is a clear vision of the self that we seek, in my opinion. And the very first intimation of that comes through the sense of touch – in ‘feeling peace’. It is the first inner sense to evolve.

So, not sure if any of that appertains or is useful to your analogy Matt, but colour is a wonderful thing!

jrbarch said...

@Tom March 8, 2016 at 8:00 PM

You know I would prefer Patanjali Tom :-)

I don't mind Science of Soul (Atma Vijnana) - Brahmachari Swami Vyasdev) as well as my favourite Tibetan. Everyone on this site practices dharana and dhyana.