Saturday, September 17, 2011

leisurely deterioration has left masses in a mess

culturechange | Greetings from Oklahoma City, where I came to speak at the University of Oklahoma on "Natural Gas: a Bridge to Nowhere?" More on that in a later post.

My reflection this evening is on the transformation of USAmericans into a leisure society of individuals. It began in the 1950s and flowered in the '60s and early '70s. It developed into guitar playing rebels, surfers -- "Baw dip da dip dip" -- and, above all, television watchers, as prominent types among the new affluent generation. Institutions such as school and church weren't offering much cohesion. So the new generation of young people were distinguished sharply from their parents who had experienced the Great Depression, worked rather hard, endured World War II, and had witnessed their own parents' having more skills and tradition than they did.

The importance of this change between generations was ultimately not so much the luminescence of the Counterculture, but instead a weakening of the population. The direction of the population was not toward liberation and enlightenment or a return to more natural living (except for some hippies). Instead, as has become clear over the decades since, the population was becoming less healthy, more alienated, possessing fewer skills, controlled by the top of the pyramid, and losing knowledge of elders' traditions and sense of community.

I believe the above explains how a modern middle aged person in the U.S. today is little more than a graying replica of previous generations' resilient, wiry-strong citizens. While a factory job of yesteryear may not make more sense or be more healthful than a service-job today at a corporate chain store, the factory worker nevertheless used his hands and made something, and knew intimately of his parents' or grandparents' rural roots and simple values. One can deride the ignorance or lack of imagination of the generation of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, but minimizing the strength of that generation -- because it may not have been as technologically sophisticated or able to stop the corporatization of the nation -- as we applaud women's liberation and the slackening of church going, misses the overall change for the worse in the population during the last several decades. (Growth in population did not help anyone but the few profiting off growth, nor did reliance on ever-more-expensive, dwindling petroleum give us more than a short-term jolt of energy.)

For it is the mass denial today of our ecological plight and the increasingly obvious domination by unworthy, greedy masters that raises the question, "What accounts for the current generation's putting up with the imbalanced economy and total lack of connection to the life-giving land?" As I have a look at Oklahoma this week, I see the cloned, exacerbated sprawl development, automobile dependence, and acquiescence to ever more costly, senseless militarism. Simultaneously there is little acknowledgment of climate change when the state is experiencing the hottest summer in history. The people, as with almost USAmericans, are more dependent than ever on technology and being dictated to by government in more and more areas of daily living. Perhaps, though, the kindness and directness of the people of Oklahoma will be the biggest local resource -- beyond the vaunted petroleum industries and cattle ranching. And the famous Oklahoma Food Coop is the envy of the nation.

Where is this societal trend -- six decades of leisurely deterioration for the U.S. masses -- going? Times are tougher and tougher for more people, as the system shows itself to be failing. Eventually the number of people that the system is rewarding will be so small that they will be dealt with harshly by a hungry, landless mass of frustrated, mostly confused people who also had led soft, often empty lives. One can hope for a good outcome when things settle down, but we are running out of Mother Nature's patience.

17 comments:

umbrarchist said...

I am going to say something that may seem rather absurd.  But it is about time we developed a Vulcan culture.

The science and technology of the 20th century has changed the world.  The problem is that science is hardly treated any differently from religion by a lot of people.  They don't understand it themselves they just worship according to the instructions of the scientist/priests.  But people go into reactionary mode over things like climate change.  But if the scientists are correct it is the use of technology that created the climate problem.

So what do we do from this point?

The 9/11 decade is the pinnacle of Western culture. 

The nation that put men on the Moon can't resolve a problem involving a couple of airliners and skyscrapers.  LOL  In many ways it is hysterically funny.  Any politician that can't figure out how ridiculous it is must be too stupid to vote for.  But what is going on with th REAL SCIENTISTS?  Niel DeGrasse Tyson for example.  He lived 4 blocks from Ground Zero.  How can he not know about gravity if he wrote a book about Black Holes?  But what do Black Holes have to do with the real world where people live and make decisions?  So our scientists can talk about physics so esoteric it is practically abstract nonsense but not address a grade school physics problem a half mile from home even though it affects politics and war.

So we need a Vulcan culture where a significant percentage of the population can deal with simple physics and other science from a basis of comprehension.  But then we are constantly bombarded  with drivel about critical thinking.  Vulcans must not do that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdTOY-giMy4
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CNu said...

I am going to say something that may seem rather absurd.  But it is about time we developed a Vulcan culture.

How do you propose doing this?

When I asked you about using free frameworks online to erect and proliferate your life-changing book list, you got quiet as a church mouse.

What methods and approaches do you see as necessary and within your means for achieving a culture change as profound as the one you've noted as necessary?

CNu said...

 Niel DeGrasse Tyson for example.  He lived 4 blocks from Ground Zero. 
How can he not know about gravity if he wrote a book about Black Holes? 
But what do Black Holes have to do with the real world where people
live and make decisions?


Tyson is a "public intellectual" - not a working scientist - but in neither capacity does he enjoy the intellectual freedom to explore the subject of your personal obsession. In other words, he would be fired from his cushy gig the very minute he fixed his mouth to talk about anything fishy with the collapse of the world trade center.

nanakwame said...

The logical implication that is held around the World Trade Center, was that we were very close and still are to a fascist cover ups. The event in historical analogy would be like the Reichstag Fire.  The attempt is still with us, and nothing repeats exactly as in the classic Germany.  We went to war, though, two.

CNu said...

German group's dispassionate 9/11 examination avoids providing alternate narratives: http://www.inside-911.de/film.html
 

Tom said...

Nana, your comment reminded me of a post on the Reichstag Fire at A Radical Blackfoot, one of the deepest-probing blogs I've seen.  (There's a lot of nice stuff there, most of it back a few years now.)

umbrarchist said...

I figured that was the case.  It is amusing how I got banned from The Naked Scientist forum.  That is a website connected  with a British TV show. 

I think a good recommended reading list is a threat to our current educational system.  I was walking down the street one day when the thought occurred to me, how could I have worked for the biggest computer company in the world, IBM, but never see or hear the term von Neumann machine and even at that time I didn't know that IBM had hired John von Neumann in 1952.

It is as though the majority of human beings fundamentally believe in hiding information from other people.  Like knowing what others do not makes them intelligent.  The public intellectuals are part of the distraction.  A kind of pseudo-education.

umbrarchist said...

The problem with 9/11 is that the physics is so simple.

Skyscrapers MUST hold themselves up.  The designers had to figure out how much steel to put on every level to support all of the steel and concrete and live load above that level.

So it is most interesting that physicists have not been demanding accurate data on the amount of steel and the amount of concrete that was on every level of the buildings.  9/11 is a scientific JOKE and all of the history and politics and conspiracies are irrelevant until the physics is settled.

Telling an obvious lie that defies the Laws of Physics is incredibly dumb.  But it then brings up huge psychological issues if the world is supposed to stay dumb enough to believe it.

Talk about Global Cognitive Dissonance in a world with computers everywhere.

What kind of electronic computers were used to design the Empire State Building which became 80 years old this year?  The transistor was not invented until 16 years after the ESB was built.

The 9/11 Decade is the greatest delusion in Psycho-History.

Isaac Asimov, more science fiction.  LOL

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hari_Seldon
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Tom said...

Umbrarchist, I've looked at 9/11 doubters' stuff and one thing I haven't seen is a simple freshman-physics-level story.  A building weighs this much per floor, steel beams hold up that much weight, steel weakens only so much at 1000C (or whatever temp).  Can't fall down, QED.  Given data on the building an estimate can be done in a blog post.  Gotta be 100k people in the country who can do this simple estimate.  Can you give me a link to somebody who has it up?  

umbrarchist said...

 Actually that is a major bone I have to pick with this issue.  Frank Greening wrote a 32 page paper where he divided the weight of the building by 110.  But the buildings were actually 116 stories tall because they dug down to bedrock and there were 6 basement levels.  The columns at the top were 1/4 inch thick steel.  But at the bottom some were 5 inches thick.  The columns were 50 inches across at the bottom also and only 12 inches at the top.  So the issue is the distribution of steel down the building and the best I know of is by Gregory Urich and I have found flaws in that.

So the biggest travesty of 9/11 is the totally incompetent science.  The physics profession is an accomplice after the fact on this.  To hell with all of the conspiracy theories.  They are a smoke screen as far as I am concerned.  Even TV reporters with English degrees should be able to understand that the steel must be properly distributed down a skyscraper.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCEQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.journalof911studies.com%2Fvolume%2F200703%2FGUrich%2FMassAndPeWtc.pdf&ei=OKR2TsPcKOWmsQK-7pmMBQ&usg=AFQjCNHKHnr3Ll3Cw9fN1XNTtAysp2L2Xw&sig2=l-HSQW-0Zr_dB4pUzzMUeA

According to the NIST the CORE supported 53% of the weight and the perimeter 47%.  Depending on which video that claims the collapse was possible that you see either the perimeter held the weight and the core was almost nonexistent or the core supported the weight and the perimeter was flimsy.  So anybody trying to learn this from scratch is going to find contradictory information all over the place.

This from the nation that put men on the Moon is unpardonable.  It only makes sense if there is a BIG LIE somewhere.
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umbrarchist said...

Actually that is a major bone I have to pick with this issue.  Frank Greening wrote a 32 page paper where he divided the weight of the building by 110.  But the buildings were actually 116 stories tall because they dug down to bedrock and there were 6 basement levels.  The columns at the top were 1/4 inch thick steel.  But at the bottom some were 5 inches thick.  The columns were 50 inches across at the bottom also and only 12 inches at the top.  So the issue is the distribution of steel down the building and the best I know of is by Gregory Urich and I have found flaws in that.

So the biggest travesty of 9/11 is the totally incompetent science.  The physics profession is an accomplice after the fact on this.  To hell with all of the conspiracy theories.  They are a smoke screen as far as I am concerned.  Even TV reporters with English degrees should be able to understand that the steel must be properly distributed down a skyscraper.

http://journalof911studies.com/volume/200703/GUrich/MassAndPeWtc.pdf

According to the NIST the CORE supported 53% of the weight and the perimeter 47%.  Depending on which video that claims the collapse was possible that you see either the perimeter held the weight and the core was almost nonexistent or the core supported the weight and the perimeter was flimsy.  So anybody trying to learn this from scratch is going to find contradictory information all over the place.

This from the nation that put men on the Moon is unpardonable.  It only makes sense if there is a BIG LIE somewhere.

nanakwame said...

I am not a believer in permanence of  Cabals, but opportunist Cabals in history who have the power to tweak an event. The attack was known to come, what occur after some folks know including Bush 43. He has been quiet and Obama still cleaning the mess. The power of decisions is greatly understood.  Time will reveal all truths. One thing for sure it was a blow back, we knew to come

Tom said...

Yeah having done time in middle management, I've seen sorta cabals, but opportunistic is definitely the word.  

Tom said...

I'm looking at the link.  Damn, he makes it complex though.  

I don't mind 100 vs 106, but 1/4 inch vs 5 inches is a big deal!

umbrarchist said...

Yeah, you spend 75% of your time just studying how he presents the information just to conclude it isn't what you need to analyze the event so then you need to do a lot of work to remassage his information and then you find it could be wrong and isn't what you need.

So it just looks like another level of the snow job.

But then he is a Swedish computer programmer.  Why aren't American structural engineers or physicists interested in this?  And after TEN YEARS.  The situation is definitely scientifically farcical.  And Frank Greeing said that was the best data available.  But he is a chemist.

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