Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Somebody found me years ago via a newly upped Facebook account, and that networked into a number of high school contacts.  So that's just about all FB is to me -- people whose names I remember from 40 years ago.  Haven't seen any of them since. But I get email notifications of status or comments or whatever.  I'm not interested enough to master the details -- not even to inform myself of them.  But the little email snippet, about the "5500 year history of the planet" for xxx -- and I presumed it was Trump -- seemed like my cuppa.  Several days later there appeared a comment button in the email, so I found the, uh, post?  Whatthehellever.
Several of the usual suspects were astounded at how ignorant this adviser was, and thus implicitly Trump, and therefore everyone who did not vote for Hillary.  You know the logic.  All logic after all has its rules, and just as there is Euclidean and non-Euclidean geometry, so there must be Rational and non-Rational logic.  Ergo, we shall call it logic.

I put my toe into that tepid pool, suggesting that a more reasonable understanding of Scaramucci's meaning was not that the planet is 5500 years old, but that history is that old -- you know, like, actual history, with writing?  I made that point, after my fashion. I made the point that honest communication makes a good faith effort at understanding meaning, even in the face of tongue-slips, brain-freezes, and simple mis-speaking.    I got a reply, and there followed a bit of a conversation.

People made their various points, No scientists ever believed the world was flat.  Something about Washington Irving.  Something about Pythagoras.  Therefore Scaramucci was an ignoramus to use that analogy.  I did not pursue it.  Maybe I will.  Point out that the word "scientist" did not even exist until the 1800s.  Prior to that the most apt descriptive term was natural philosopher.  No matter.  No matter that the vast majority of actual people, with their cultures, have believed in a flat earth, China until the last few hundred years.  But it's not about what people used to believe.  It's about what people believe people used to believe -- and it's common knowledge (and in fact correct) that flat earth used to be the norm -- educated people being a vanishingly small minority.  No matter.  Their point was that those who disagree are morons.

 But I don't really want to pursue it.

Oh, wait.  Yes I do.

Hey, stupids!!!!  Yer so dum!!  Cuz yer saying that like history is more than 5500 years old!!! And that means you think people have been on the Planet for 4.5 billion years!!  cuz like that's what history is, about people!!! git it??? cuz otherwise it would be geology or paleontology or stuff like that!!!!

But being me, I did have to look at the context of the statement, and, amidst the usual scathing takedown of how stupid TrumpCo is, we do find, buried at the end, Scaramucci's self-correction -- "5500 years of human history".

Being as I am, however, a man of my flesh, and sodden in the despite of my flawed character, I deign to descend into the realm of feckless quibbling, thus:  You know how they jump on the flat earth idea?  No educated person ever thought the Planet was flat!  They knew it was round!  Ahem.  No, callow youngster, they did not know it was round, since it is not round.  No, they did not know it was a sphere or ball, since it is not a sphere or ball.  It is an oblate spheroid.  How could you be so ignorant?  Oh, you were speaking casually?  HA!!!  EXACTLY!!!  So which are you, an idiot or a hypocrite?

I find I'm too sensitive and obsessive to wish to be exposed to needless wranglings.  But we have to live in the world.  Vicariously, then, I'm exploring hell.  Almost literally.  Reading The Gulag Archipelago.  I remember when its volumes were coming out, all three of them very very long. Madness.  Utterly.  Not beyond imagination, though, since people's thoughts are nothing but imaginings, as their volitional actions arise from such imagination.

And I look at the lefties on facebook, sniping about Trump, and so far he has no power whatsoever, so they are motivated entirely by fear.  Fear of things that do not exist is a neurosis.  It's not a subtle idea.  Islamist terrorism exists,  Trump fascism does not exist.  Prudence is wise.

 Is it Henny Penny or Chicken Little, re a falling sky, or, well, rising sea?  I'll just say it was Chicken Little, and if I'm wrong Facebook can call me a climate-denier.


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