Saturday, June 25, 2016

James K. Galbraith — The Day After

The European Union has sowed the wind. It may reap the whirlwind. Unless it moves, and quickly, not merely to assert a hollow “unity” but to deliver a democratic, accountable, and realistic New Deal – or something very much like it – for all Europeans.
James K. Galbraith | Lloyd M. Bentsen Jr. Chair in Government/Business Relations and Professor of Government at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin


Anonymous said...

I too, am thinking about Brexit; what it means to me and others. There is something in human nature that expresses itself as cruelty. Then there is predation and control – equated as I have read in relation to the EU, to the ‘superego of the Germans:’- but not really German at all - it is a human thing. We have a simple name for harmful human qualities: – ‘darkness’. Darkness is not a presence or entity in itself – it is an effect, a consequence of an absence of light. Light has its own nature; we equate light with understanding and humaneness, the tangible presence of ‘life’ ‘illumination’ and the ‘good’. Cruelty involves a willingness to be cruel. We think our world is comprised of political and economic issues, but really they are human issues, based in our nature: - they are externalisations of our nature. We do not like to look in the mirror, but prefer ‘issues’. We fight with the veil of our concepts, prejudices, and desires, flung over the mirror. Socrates died for his principles because he believed in the soul of humanity; he looked deeper into the mirror and found something that was good, beautiful and true, of profound potential, and asked: - ‘are we willing to take on the darkness in human nature, drink the hemlock’ and allow this potential to bloom.
In the middle ages people walked around and whipped themselves, encouraged by brokers of a vengeful (like us) god; today the people of various countries vote for austerity imposed by ‘self-made-men’ who act like gods. All for ‘salvation’ – paid for by sacrifice. All for the ultimate victory we are told, of peace. Nation pitted against Nation; for peace. No wonder people feel weary.
It seems in the UK, pundits opine the masses voted against one of the effects - ‘strangers’ arriving on their shores; while academics and the wealthy voted their own sense of entitlement and self, and their millennial offspring (victims of a blighted education system) voted anxiously for the cosy propaganda of a united Europe. What did these pundits expect? ‘Strangers’ are fleeing into Europe too, and even arriving, helpless, on the far flung shores of Australia, where exactly the same divisions exist. These strangers are fleeing for their lives, from darkness, with their innocent children.
But you can’t shovel darkness out of a room, or out of a human being. You have to bring in some light. What does this mean?
Peace on this earth is not a luxury; it is mandatory if we want to live a better human life.

Stumbling around, getting more and more aggravated with a nuclear option to insanity – just doesn’t work. Over the millennia, it just doesn’t work. The seeds of war are being sown and not the seeds of peace. What should we expect? The greatest achievement of mankind would be peace on this earth, and in this light, history is the history of failure. In Brexit, a small skirmish was won, but not the war; maybe the economics will oscillate a bit, but the predators will close ranks and seek to consolidate their power. People will continue to sacrifice themselves, desiring peace, human dignity, security, but their cause has been hijacked and turned into crowd control, so that incomprehensibly, they hold themselves tethered. Socrates had an answer: - ‘Know Thyself’. Look in the mirror.

I wonder why he said that. Didn’t he know about politics and economics, class, imperial ambition, nations and war? Yes he did. And still he said ‘Know Thyself’ - the most famous saying he is remembered for. And people write essays today, speculating on what he meant. I don’t think they have a clue.

Here’s Prem Rawat explaining in about four minutes, why self-knowledge, and why Socrates would encapsulate this, as ‘Know Thyself’.

Celebrating 50 Years: -

Matt Franko said...


"Cruelty involves a willingness to be cruel."

There is no evidence of this...

Anonymous said...

Matt, you know there is evidence because you know when you are being cruel. There is a self (Matt, jr) and we are either conscious or a vegetable. But are we responsible. Even when we dream, we know. We also know when we are being mentally tricky! :-)