A Social-Philosophical Journey in 25 Quotes
Post from September 23, 2013 (↻ April 24, 2021), filed under Philosophy.
I was reviewing my Google+ posts the other day. In there I rediscovered a good number of quotes. What connected most of them were my studies—they either inspired or sprang from them. And when I looked at them I found they sort of tell a little story. So here’s a bit of what fuels my research, in 25 more-or-less related quotes.
Pictures are colorful, exciting, easy, but they are no comparison to language.
[…]You can keep a small computer the size of a cigarette packet in your pocket: it contains everything that you will ever need to know. Now there is no need to have your own memory. Just push a button and the computer is ready to give you any information you need.
The computer can destroy the whole memory system of humanity that has been developed for centuries with great difficulty.
[…]These are great inventions, but nobody has looked at the implications. They will reduce the whole of humanity into a retarded state.
—Osho: The Mind: A Beautiful Servant, a Dangerous Master (2012).
A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.
—E.T. Peterson (1951).
[…]increasingly prefer to hear opinion rather than fact. […]
are featuring more content provided by think-tanks, for instance. A more pernicious trend is the growing number of public-relations workers. In 1980 PR flaks and journalists prowled in around equal numbers; in 2008 the ratio of PR folk to journalists was nearly four to one.
—The Economist: No News Isn’t Good News (2013).
Divide and conquer
—Ponk Vonsydow: The Propaganda Techniques (2012).
[…]what does it mean if somebody asks you, “Do you support the people in Iowa?” Can you say, “Yes, I support them,” or “No, I don’t support them”? It’s not even a question. It doesn’t mean anything. That’s the point. The point of public relations slogans like “Support our troops” is that they don’t mean anything. They mean as much as whether you support the people in Iowa.
Of course, there was an issue. The issue was, “Do you support our policy?” But you don’t want people to think about that issue. That’s the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody’s going to be against, and everybody’s going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn’t mean anything. Its crucial value is that it diverts your attention from a question that does mean something: “Do you support our policy?”
—Noam Chomsky: Media Control: The Spectacular Achievements of Propaganda (2002).
After continuous shocks, the large targeted population group at which it is directed discovers that it does not want to make any more choices.
[…]As can be appreciated, […]a targeted group is ready to “trip out” and take […]drugs as a means of escape from the pressures of so many choices having to be made.
—John Coleman: The Conspirators’ Hierarchy (1997).
[…]the money spent on cameras would be better used on street lighting, which has been shown to cut crime by up to 20.
—Justin Davenport: Tens of Thousands of CCTV Cameras, Yet 80% of Crime Unsolved (2007).
Given the credible estimate that we’ve spent $1 trillion on anti-terrorism security (this does not include our many foreign wars), $62.5 billion per life saved. Is there any other risk that we are even remotely as crazy about?
Note that everyone who died was shot with a gun. No Islamic extremist has been able to successfully detonate a bomb in the U.S. in the past ten years, not even a Molotov cocktail.
—Bruce Schneier: Terrorism in the U.S. Since 9/11 (2011).
Studies show that
[…]masses can be manipulated 100, as a result of de-structuration.
—J.D. LaMothe: Controlled Offensive Behavior (PDF, 5.9 MB) (1972).
In the past recreation was spent mainly in non-consumptive activities, such as appreciating nature or visiting friends, but this is harder in a deterioriating social and natural environment. Isolation is reinforced by industries that have sprung up to encourage indulgence in selfish consumption—whether of food, drugs, digital culture or other means of escapism. A paradox of our system of economics is that although this tendency is disasterous for the individuals concerned it is great for economic “progress.”
—Altruists International: Consumerism & Altruism.
When inequality is the general rule in society, the greatest inequalities attract no attention. But when everything is more or less level, the slightest variation is noticed… That is the reason for the strange melancholy often haunting inhabitants of democracies in the midst of abundance and of that disgust with life sometimes gripping them even in calm and easy circumstances.
Being truly wealthy, suggested, does not require having many things; rather, it requires having what one longs for. Wealth is not an absolute. It is relative to desire. Every time we yearn for something we cannot afford, we grow poorer, whatever our resources. And every time we feel satisfied with what we have, we can be counted as rich, however little we may actually possess.
—Alain De Botton: Status Anxiety (2004).
To think what you want to think is to think truth, regardless of appearances.
—Wallace D. Wattles: The Science of Getting Rich (1912).
Pure physical sensation, social status, sexual attraction, and feeling like a winner are generally superficial, which is why people hunger for them repeatedly.
The only goal worth attaining is complete freedom to be yourself, without illusions and false beliefs.
The past and the future exist only in imagination. Everything you did before has no reality. Everything you will do afterward has no reality. Only the thing you are doing now is real.
—Deepak Chopra: The Book of Secrets (2005).
Get focused. Successful people have learned to avoid focusing on problems. Refuse to give attention to anything that seems to indicate your goal can’t be achieved. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want!
—Jill Ammon-Wexler: Amaze Yourself: Take a Quantum Leap (2012).
Pain and pleasure are transitory; endure all dualities with calmness, while trying at the same time to remove their hold. Imagination is the door through which disease as well as healing enters. Disbelieve in the reality of sickness even when you are ill
The power of unfulfilled desires is the root of all man’s slavery.
Before you can be allowed into systems of reality that are more extensive and open, you must first learn to handle energy and see, through physical materialization, the concrete result of thought and emotion.
When you leave the physical system after reincarnations, you have learned the lessons—and you are literally no longer a member of the human race, for you elect to leave it. Only the conscious self dwells within it in any case, and other portions of your identity dwell simultaneously within other training systems. In more advanced systems, thoughts and emotions are automatically and immediately translated into action, into whatever approximation of matter there exists. Therefore, the lessons must be taught and learned well.
—Jane Roberts: The Seth Material (1970).
Man likes to think of himself as the caretaker of nature and the world. It is closer to the truth, however, to say—in that regard, at least—that nature is man’s caretaker; or that man exists, physically speaking, as the result of the graceful support of nature and all of its other species. Without those other species, man as you know him would not exist, not without the continuous cooperation of those species with each other, and their interrelationships with the environment.
—Jane Roberts: The Magical Approach.
According to Naumov, Soviet scientists placed the baby rabbits aboard the submarine. They kept the mother rabbit in a laboratory on shore where they implanted electrodes
[…]in her brain. When the submarine was submerged, assistants killed the rabbits one by one. At each precise moment of death, the mother rabbit’s brain produced detectable and recordable reactions.
—L.F. Maire and J.D. LaMothe: Soviet and Czechoslovakian Parapsychology Research (1975).
This experiment, by Puthoff and Targ (1974), depends upon the discovery that if a stroboscopic light at about 15 flashes per second is shined in a subject’s eyes, a characteristic alpha component
[…]appears in his electroencephalogram. […]two remotely isolated subjects are used, some prior degree of rapport having been established between them. The light is flashed in one subject’s eyes and the other is asked to guess whether, in a given time interval, the light is on or off. While the second subject is usually unable to guess better than a chance basis, the telltale alpha component appears in his EEG. The important deduction is that unconsciously he knows with a certainty, in an extrasensory way, when the light is in the other person’s eyes—even while he is denying such knowledge to his conscious mind.
In other words, this watershed experiment appears to provide clear evidence of universal telepathic capacity with almost complete repression (for most persons) of awareness of this source of knowledge.
—O.W. Markley: Changing Images of Man (1982).
Mind-altering techniques designed to impact on an opponent are well-advanced. The procedures employed include manipulation of human behavior through use of psychological weapons effecting sight, sound, smell, temperature, electromagnetic energy, or sensory deprivation.
—J.B. Alexander: The New Mental Battlefield (PDF, 578 KB) (1980).
We are so far from knowing all the forces of nature and their various modes of action that it would be unworthy of the philosopher to deny phenomena simply because they are inexplicable at the present state of our knowledge. The more difficult it is to acknowledge their existence, the greater the care with which we must study these phenomena.
I’m Jens, and I’m an engineering lead—currently manager for Developer Experience at LivePerson—and author. I’ve worked as a technical lead for Google, I’m close to W3C and WHATWG, and I write and review books for O’Reilly. I love trying things, sometimes including philosophy, art, and adventure. Here on meiert.com I share some of my views and experiences.
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