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[P]
Was Ivan the Terrible Really "Terrible"? (or, Why We Should Build a Memory Archive)

By MarshallPoe in Internet
Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 06:36:02 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

You're born, you live a full life, you collect a lot of cool memories, and then you die. Your memories go with you. We should do something about that last part. Here's why and how.


Back in my feckless youth, I decided to become a historian. I liked to read history books, preferably ones about World War II with lots of pictures of guns, tanks, and planes. Sick, I know. But I was fascinated by all this stuff as so many young boys are. So when the time came to go careering, I went to grad school in history. This was a big mistake for so many reasons I don't know where to begin, but the one pertinent here is that I decided to focus on medieval Russian history. Now, most people can identify Russia because it appears on the RISK map, and some people—particularly older folks like me—will know who Lenin was because a) they loved communism or b) they hated communism. But nobody knows anything about medieval Russian history beyond the "fact" (I'll come to the quotes later) that there was an evil tsar named Ivan the Terrible who was, or so we imagine, terrible. Terrible was not as good as guns, but I figured that it would be plenty entertaining so I decided to study Ivan to see just how terrible he was.

You will understand, then, my disappointment when I was taught almost immediately that we really didn't know much of anything about Ivan the Terrible. We know (approximately) when he was born, when he died (but not how), that he was probably married a few times, that he probably sired a couple of kids, that he may (or may not) have gone on some bloody military campaigns, and that he seems to have had a penchant for wanton destruction, rape, mass murder and torture. But, I gotta tell you, most of this is in dispute. You can learn more about a person by looking them up on MySpace than we truly know about Ivan the Terrible (I think he would have liked The Smiths, as he was somewhat gloomy, but it's hard to say).

I was even more disturbed to find out that some of the "terrible" things we thought Ivan had done were ripped off from (you won't believe it) Dracula. You see, there were these Germans who lived in Transylvania with (you guessed it), Dracula, or Vlad Tsepesh ("the Impaler") as he was truly named. They didn't like Vlad one bit. The feeling, apparently, was mutual. So these Germans began a kind of smear campaign against old Vlad. They wrote gruesome stories that described him doing all kinds of nasty things to Turks, Germans, and just about anyone else he could get his hands on. I won't go into the details, but if you watch a Clive Barker film you'll get the picture. More spin than fact, these stories were widely circulated because even in the fifteenth century people liked to read about terrible stuff just like we do. Eventually, they made it to Russia and then to Ivan IV's court. Ivan wasn't "terrible" yet, he was just Tsar Ivan. But some of his detractors decided to substitute Ivan for Dracula in the stories. You can see how this sort of switcheroo might give someone the wrong impression. And it did. With the help of the "Dracula Tales" and a bunch of other slurs (some true, some false), Ivan soon became "Terrible."

Now you might think the moral of this sad story is "Don't believe everything you read." That's a good moral, but not the one I want talk about. The moral I'd like to discuss is this: "Write everything down so people can't tell lies." You see, the problem with knowing how terrible Ivan the Terrible was boils down to sources, or rather the lack of them. The Dark Ages were really as dark as they are billed. Ordinary Russians couldn't read or write; in fact, most of them thought of reading and writing as something slaves did, so they generally didn't want to have anything to do with it. You won't be surprised to learn that one of the things we know about Ivan is that he probably couldn't read or write. So, if you are, say, a graduate student in Russian history looking to write a little dissertation about Ivan the Terrible you are in something of a pickle. There are almost no good, 100% trustworthy Russian primary sources about Ivan—no memoirs, no letters, no love notes, no laundry lists, no emails, no New Yorker-style profiles. Nada, nichts, nyetu. Well, not quite. There are those crazy Dracula stories, but they aren't much good.

There is, however, another kind of primary source that actually sheds a lot of light on Ivan, namely the memoirs of foreign visitors. Russia is a big country, but somehow before about 1500 Europeans completely missed it, as in, didn't know it was there. So it came as something of surprise when some Italian diplomats stumbled upon this new icy kingdom around 1475. No wonder it was classified as part of the "New World" (Novus Orbis). It's not everyday that you break a story like "New World Discovered," so you can imagine that a lot of travelers decided to write down what they saw for the entertainment of inquiring minds back home. When it comes to books, people like war, terrible stuff, and new worlds about equally. These travelers wrote and wrote, and their publishers published and published, and the books sold and sold. There are literally hundreds of these foreign descriptions of old Russia. While they contain a fair amount of BS, they also relate a lot of facts about Russia and Russians. And it is from these sources that we know some big things (Ivan IV was a very deranged man) and some small things (Russian women painted their teeth black)—all because these travelers wrote down their experiences.

Which brings me to our present concern, that is, the fact that almost everybody takes their memories with them when they go. You are born, you live a full life, you gather a head full of memories, and then—unless you're someone important who writes a memoir—you croak and said memories vanish. Sure, there are a lot of documents that show you were here (that bad grade card, the unpaid bills, the picture of you in your prom dress), but your experience of life is gone. There are, or course, people who remember you, but they will go the way of all flesh too. In this fashion, the past (or rather, our experience of the past as recorded in memories) is constantly vanishing—the farther back you go, the less of it there is.

Recently, however, all this has changed. The rate at which the past is receding has appreciably slowed. Here's why. Through most of human history, there have been serious constraints on our ability to record, communicate and archive our memories. First, almost nobody before modern times could write. But say you could write. Well, paper was expensive, and so was ink. But say you had paper and ink. Well, who had time to write? You're hunting bison or plowing or working in a factory or what have you. But say you found the time. Well, who's going to save what you write? No library would take it (if there were libraries), so it will probably be lost in a pile of crap that they'll haul away when you're gone. But say someone promises to save your memoirs. Your problems aren't over: how the heck is anyone going to be able to find your memoir in a huge stack moldy paper?

But now things are radically different. For much of the developed world, most of these constraints are gone. Literacy is near universal, access to the technology of writing is cheap, most people don't have to work all the time, and there is a widely available means to archive and index our collective memory—the internet. It is little wonder, then, that we live in the age of the amateur memoirist. Today like never before—and largely due to the web—common people everywhere are recording their thoughts, experiences and memories. It started with Usenet groups. Then it moved on to listservs. Then web pages. Then blogs. And now wikis. Everybody is talking and it's all being recorded. The impulse behind this flood of memoir writing—to be heard, to be remembered—is as old as humanity, but it took the internet to allow common people everywhere to act on it.

So, if we play our cards right, no future historian will be in the position I was when I tried to figure out whether Ivan the Terrible was terrible. What does playing our cards right mean? Well, it means first and foremost writing things down somewhere on the internet. What should you write? Damned if I know: my experience and judgement are far too limited to figure out what you'll find interesting, let alone people in the future. So it's certainly better to write more rather than less. That said, my feeling is that people know what is important or interesting, and that most will not write about the first time they stubbed their toe and but will write about what they felt on 9/11. But I say let a thousand flowers bloom and let the future pick 'em. See the world with new eyes. Imagine you don't know anything about your surroundings. Pretend you are one of those European travelers who just discovered Russia. They say "the past is a foreign country," so imagine you're providing a map for visitors from the distant future. Remember, they don't know anything.

A second card we need to carefully play is storage and finding. Projects to archive the internet really need to get up to snuff if we are to truly save the "memorysphere" from vanishing in the trillions and trillions of bits of information in cyberspace. This means, of course, that the internet archive must be well indexed and fully searchable. This reminds me of a sign I saw in a library once: "A Misshelved Book is a Lost Book." Ditto for memoirs in cyberspace. All this pertains doubly for blogs and other first-person projects. They need to be archived and made searchable, pronto, if they are going to be useful for future generations.

We know, then, how to create a memory archive. But the question remains: why should we do it, beyond the simple reason that it will make the lives of future historians less troublesome? I think there are a number of compelling reasons. First, memoirs are interesting reading. People are remarkably eloquent when they are describing their own experiences, and they are always running into the darnedest things to describe. Someone saw a man bit a dog, and I'd like to read about it. Second, memoirs allow us to build communities. I really like an obscure, now defunct post-punk band called The Embarrassment. In 1979, when I was seventeen, I used to go see them at the Cedar Lounge in Wichita, Kansas. I drank, danced, and well, had a completely formative experience. So did a bunch of other people at the Cedar. And I can get in touch with them and share memories on one of several Embarrassment tribute sites. (I liked Seals and Crofts, but I don't like to talk about that...). Finally, as I've said, we should record and save our memories so the truth will out, so it's harder for bad guys to lie about you, me and everything else—now and in the future. In Stalinist Russia, it was very dangerous to keep a memoir. Uncle Joe didn't want any evidence of his misdeeds to be recorded. But a few brave souls kept diaries, and they told the truth, and it is largely from those memoirs that we first learned about Stalin's crimes. Obviously, we live in a kinder and gentler place. But in order to make sure it remains kind and gentle, I encourage everyone to write it down, write everything down. You'll be glad you did.

Of course, you say, people will lie in their memoirs. Yes, some will. But—call me a fool—most won't. People generally try to tell the truth when they have no compelling reason to lie, and for most of the memories we are talking about there will be no such reason. Where there are such reasons, I still believe most people will strive to tell the truth when they can, and in the memory archive (unlike Stalin's Russia) they can. Those few malefactors who choose to lie will eventually be overwhelmed by the flood of truth tellers. The truth, I think, will out.

Marshall Poe is the director of MemoryWiki, a non-profit project designed to create an archive of experiences.

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Display: Sort:
Was Ivan the Terrible Really "Terrible"? (or, Why We Should Build a Memory Archive) | 118 comments (69 topical, 49 editorial, 0 hidden)
4646876126 (1.33 / 3) (#3)
by 1000 Words on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 07:41:39 PM EST

$$$$$

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90372

IAWTP (none / 1) (#7)
by weedaddict on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 08:43:34 PM EST



Reality has a certain cynical bias - Cattle Rustler
[ Parent ]
w!!?!??! (none / 1) (#9)
by 1000 Words on Mon Nov 28, 2005 at 09:24:29 PM EST

$%#453453$

-----------------

90372
[ Parent ]

Dear Diary (1.50 / 4) (#14)
by IceTitan on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 01:44:36 AM EST

Do not drive a Honda with a sticking starter. It will drain the battery and burn out the starter motor leaving you stuck on the side of the road, if you're lucky.
Nuke 'em from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
Blogs (2.66 / 3) (#15)
by A Bore on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 04:35:56 AM EST

Blogs are like memory archives, and they're inane, stupid and a complete waste of everyone's time and bandwidth. Most of your memories will simply be information sitting there, seen by no-one and used by no-one, like emo blogs or live journal.

Also, it's a shame you didn't "remember" how to format an article adequately.

This whole scheme smacks of a fear of death. Psychologically speaking, you crave digital immortality through silicon. This is not achievable. Death is inevitable.



The value of memoirs to the future (none / 1) (#20)
by MarshallPoe on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 10:58:06 AM EST

Thanks for your comment.  Maybe you are right, but as  a historian I can tell you that we use such material all the time to write the history of everyday life, thought, ideas, etc. Imagine a memoir about someones first encounter with the telephone.  That would be interesting. Now imagine someone's first encounter with an IPod. That will be interesting, too, in 100 years. Or maybe not. In any event, go to www.memorywiki.org and see if you find anything of interest or value.
www.memorywiki.org
[ Parent ]
Yes, in moderation (none / 1) (#40)
by A Bore on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 04:13:21 AM EST

An early account of the telephone is interesting because of its uniqueness. Imagine a million accounts of the first iPod. How do you find the interesting one in a million diaries?

[ Parent ]
You answer the question yourself. (3.00 / 2) (#65)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 07:00:00 PM EST

How to sort the wheat from the chaff? Moderation.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Has never worked (3.00 / 2) (#82)
by A Bore on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 09:58:14 AM EST



[ Parent ]
-1, just because [nt] (none / 0) (#92)
by Entendre Entendre on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 02:08:28 AM EST


--
Reduce firearm violence: aim carefully.
[ Parent ]

Of course it works... (none / 1) (#96)
by vhokstad on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 09:34:40 AM EST

What do you think historians are?

A lot of history research is "moderation": Extracting concise descriptions of the past from a vast number of sources, and picking out the ones that are important - whether because they were first, because they were particularly good, or because they illustrate particular points.

The point is that you don't know whether a particular thing that was important to you today will be of interest to someone 10,100,1000 years into the future.

My favorite example: Do you think Anne Frank thought she was writing something important when she wrote her diary? Probably not. Yet today her diary is one of a very small number of diaries giving us an impression of what daily life may have been like for those Jews hiding during World War II uncolored by hindsight.

But even for historically "more important" people, the issue is that most of them didn't how important they'd turn out to be. Even if they write an autobiography late in life, that is going to be limited both by the censorship of hindsight and/or the fact that most people that write an autobiography does so for publication and restrict themselves for that reason, as well as the fact that much is already forgotten, and people will write down what they think people will care about, rather than what historians will be looking for 100 years down the line.

Have I been witness to any historially important moments, personally? I'd say no. But only with considerable hindsight. I've certainly been present at events which could have turned out to be watershed moments, but which I would today be unable to accurately capture my impressions of.

One example was May Day '94 or '95 (I'm not even 100% sure about the year), Paris. Le Pen (French nationalist) had been making solid gains in the polls early in the 90's. May Day he led a huge rally through Paris.

The youth organisation of his party marched, many with uniforms and arm bands reminiscent of the Nazi youth, and sang nationalist songs. There were concern about clashes with the communists who had a major rally nearby, so there was a huge police turnout. The mood was horribly oppressive. We were brought there by our teacher who wanted us to see first hand what Le Pen was like.

Today it's clear that Le Pen isn't much of a threat - he's softened his image, he's getting too old, and his party hasn't improved in the polls.

However ten years ago it could have gone either way, and many people were genuinely worried about him (in a "are we looking at a potential new Hitler?" kind of way, though the comparison is clearly strained even though Le Pen have flirted with Nazi symbolism in the past). It could have gone into history as a seminal rally in French history, changing the French political landscape and potentially all of Europe.

I should have written down my impressions. Yes, in this case the rally turned out to not be at all that important, chilling as it may have been. The problem is that I couldn't know that at the time, and if it had turned out to be important, and everyone had been as unconcerned about writing about it as I were at the time, historians would have been limited to what was written in hindsight or snippets preserved by journalists.

Having to wade through thousands of near identical pointless accounts would be a luxury problem. Having too few sources is a far greater problem than having too many.

Nobody expects everyone to read through full newspapers from 100 years ago even if they are available, for instance, but to historians having archives of newspapers from then gives them a far better basis from putting together a description of those bits and pieces that are interesting.


[ Parent ]

And there I forgot.... (none / 0) (#97)
by vhokstad on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 09:53:25 AM EST

... the London bomb blasts. Which I did actually write about on my blog as well.


[ Parent ]
You aren't solving the problem (none / 0) (#99)
by A Bore on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:03:30 AM EST

Having more primary sources makes the job of actually weeding out the insightful ones more difficult, not less. Especially with a format such as this one, where inane and pointless observations are so easy to make and record. It used to be that to publish or write about something, you had to go to some effort to convince someone else you writing had value. Would Anne Frank's diary be discovered if it was stored in an identical place with 20 million other diary entries, all detailing something like "Cupboard dark. Urine smell getting worse. Heard some shouting in the distance." over and over again. Would it even hold the same significance if there were 20 million other similar diaries?

You even stumble across a reason why most entries will be nothing but noise: the people we currently think are the most significant and newsworthy may not appear so in 50 or a hundred years. Comment on Le Pen might seem important and topical, but your comment on some other guy who might turn out to be the next centuries Hitler figure is not noted, or if noted in passing, is drowned out by the cruft around it.

You trust to some future historian to discover the right information amongst this noise, but you have no idea of the scale of the task he is up against. You are condemning a future historian to read through acres of newsprint in search of one particular 'story', without ever really being aware if that 'story' does really exist.

[ Parent ]
Some points (2.66 / 6) (#28)
by skewedtree on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 02:05:47 PM EST

The easier it is to record, classify and retrieve things, the easier it is to alter them a la 1984.

It's interesting what could be done with the mixed impressions of thousands of common people from a single event or phenomenon. However, what are the motivations of the people that record their thoughts? To be remembered? To perpetuate certain memories? Vanity? Or just to take something out of their chest?

I personally find it very unhealthy to clinge to memories and to try to save them for the future. I think it's better to live in the present. Let the dead take care of the dead.


simply view every single person you "meet" online as the comic book guy from the simpsons. it makes everything easier. - zenofchai


Just look at the Bush Admin (none / 1) (#34)
by D Jade on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 08:51:59 PM EST

They do it all the time!

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]
But Someone Saw Them Lie (3.00 / 2) (#44)
by MarshallPoe on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 08:07:53 AM EST

Yes, the Bush Admin does manipulate the truth. But that is part of the point of exchanging memoirs.  Someone was there when Bush etc. lied.  Someone was at Abu Graib prison when the prisoners were tortured.  This goes to the point made about motivations.  People record their memories for all kinds of reasons, but some (I give the case of the memoirist during Stalin's time) do so to make sure the truth is preserved.  Naturally, there are ways to manipulate even this sort of information.  But I'm a fool. I have faith that the truth will win in the end, if we get in the habit of telling it and recording it.

Thanks for reading the article and for your comments.
www.memorywiki.org
[ Parent ]

wha? (none / 1) (#47)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 10:05:41 AM EST

I missed the point where someone proved that Bush lied.

For example: How about a few cites of Bush denying the abuse at Abu Graib?

Of course, the fact that you seem to remember it that way certainly reinforces the article, doesn't it?

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]

He says the bush administration (none / 0) (#48)
by thankyougustad on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 12:12:56 PM EST

and try as you might to swindle people into believing otherwise, those dildos LIED about WMD and Iraq's relation to so called 'terrorists.'

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Try as I might? (none / 0) (#58)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 01:48:55 PM EST

I'm still waiting for someone to provide proof.

Demanding proof is hardly "swindling" and evidence of incompetence is not evidence of deception.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]

If you don't want to look for it (none / 0) (#64)
by thankyougustad on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 06:55:32 PM EST

you certainly won't find it.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Pfft. (none / 0) (#80)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 07:04:22 AM EST

The use or abuse of "immanent" is hardly Watergate, and not Abu Graib. I think The Diary Section has it right though - according to the ICRC, the administration either knew - or should have known - about the prisoner abuse.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Well, I was refering specifically to the claims (none / 0) (#87)
by thankyougustad on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 05:15:25 PM EST

about WMD, because yeah, I would hardly be up in arms about the semantics of immanent (sic) threats. Though, as it turns out, it is true they didn't pose the least threath. Oh well, right?

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
They still haven't found WMDs. (none / 1) (#66)
by Russell Dovey on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 07:01:52 PM EST

Case closed, in my opinion. Bush lied about WMDs.

This is a small sin, though, compared to waging war like a total fucking moron.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

We haven't found gravitrons either (none / 0) (#68)
by godix on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 07:32:29 PM EST

and we've been searching for them a hell of a lot longer than we've been searching for WMDs. Does this mean Einstein lied? Or, perhaps, might there be a difference between being wrong and lying?


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Einstein never predicted gravitons. (none / 0) (#74)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 01:32:45 AM EST

(Not "gravitrons".) Einstein saw gravity as simply an artefact of a curved spacetime, not as a force which needed particles to carry it.

No, they lied. There was no evidence that Saddam had WMDs. Every bit of spurious evidence cooked up by intelligence agencies was seized upon, without any (public) critical evaluation. They knew that the evidence was shite, but because it served their purposes (invade Iraq to impose democracy on the Middle East) they ran with it.

Look, I wasn't in favour of the Iraq War, but I wasn't very against it either. When I saw that the US army really had no idea what they were doing after Baghdad fell, I really got angry. If I, a complete NOOB from the other side of the world can  see this, the US government should have seen it instantly.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

That'll teach me for trusting google searches (none / 1) (#76)
by godix on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 02:03:59 AM EST

Gravitron - 67,600 hits. That'll teach me for using google search as a kind of spellchecker.

Calling the pre-war belief that Saddam was working on WMDs a lie means pretty much everyone was lying. There's a long list of people who publically stated they thought he had WMDs and this covers both sides of the political divide. If you'd like I could dig out quotes from democrats during the Clinton era as proof. They were wrong (probably, the US not finding them doesn't absolutely convince me they weren't there, we can't find Bin Laden either after all and I'm pretty damned sure he exists). Being wrong isn't the same as lying. Otherwise every single anti-war protestor that ever said the war was about oil is just as bad of a liar as Bush. Similarly anyone who troted out the tired claim that Iraq and 9/11 had no connection was lying as well. Both claims have turned out false, and anyone with an IQ knew they were false to begin with.

Besides, it's not like we didn't know the building a democracy in Iraq thing. As is somewhat frequently pointed out the playbook that Bush runs his foreign policy off of is on the internet and has been for years now. Anyone with an above simian intelligence knew before the invasion that WMDs were a pretext. Personally it doesn't bother me, I thought invasion was the right action before the war and I still think it was the right action. Kinda like just because the sinking of the Lucitania was used as a false pretext for entering WWI doesn't mean that entering WWI was the wrong thing to do.

The pitiful post-war performance I'll agree with you on though. There were so many boneheaded mistakes that I'd like to see the Joint Chiefs of Staff rounded up and shot for incompetence. However historically speaking we aren't doing that bad. Despite attempts to grab defeat out of the jaws of victory we haven't quite managed to do that yet. Although if we do unconditionally pull out of Iraq today like some are asking for we will.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

As Al Fusco once said. (none / 0) (#81)
by killmepleez on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 09:50:26 AM EST

Similarly anyone who troted out the tired claim that Iraq and 9/11 had no connection was lying as well.
???

__
"I instantly realized that everything in my life that I thought was unfixable was totally fixable - except for having just jumped."
--from "J
[ Parent ]
It's as easy as ABC (none / 1) (#90)
by godix on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 07:38:05 PM EST

A) After the 1991 war the US needed a nearby country to base troops in to enforce sanctions, the no-fly zones, etc. We choose Saudi Arabia because, basically, there were no other options.

B) A fairly large scale US influence in a middle eastern country pissed off quite a few Muslims. One of those muslims pissed off was Bin Laden. He became so pissed at this, and other cases of Saudi Arabia working with the west, that he decided to overthrow the country

C) It's hard to overthrow a country when there is a large foreign army in the country that has cause to defend the current leaders. Thus Bin Laden engaged on a campaign to harass the US and cause us to leave. The most notable action is, of course, 9/11.

So basically there is a clear and direct connection between the Iraq and 9/11. I'm not saying Saddam Hussein personally was involved in 9/11 but rather that as a direct result of him 9/11 happened. Anyone claiming there is no connection between Iraq and 9/11 is just flat out wrong or lying.

Incidently, one of the lesser known aspects of the second Iraq war is that the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia (or were kicked out, depends on your perspective). Oddly enough, terrorism has been on the rise in Saudi Arabia for the last few years and the US hasn't experienced a single large scale attack outside of Iraq since then. Strange how that worked out isn't it?


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

Not quite (none / 1) (#107)
by crisavec on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 12:22:01 AM EST

B) Is not completely accurate. Bin Laden was pissed that they begged the US to come in, true. But what really torqued him off was that he approached the Al Saud family and offered to bring most all the mujahadin under his control in Afghanistan to Saudi to defend it from Iraq and they told him to take a flying leap. The Al Saud family's always played both ends against the middle to keep in power, and having that many soldiers that they could exert no political or economic power against to keep in line horrified them. Bin Laden saw it as a sign that they were totaly corrupt and had strayed from the path of Allah(or more correctly, the wahabbi sect) and has been running his little wars ever since. There are signs that he'd been planning to overthrough them long before this though, but it was the straw that broke the camels back.

[ Parent ]
I was being general (none / 0) (#108)
by godix on Mon Dec 05, 2005 at 11:08:44 AM EST

Each of my points could be expanded into a several thousand word thesis if I wanted to get into specifics. But yes, the US using Saudi Arabia as a base is not the sole motivation for Bin Laden and perhaps not even a significant one. However it was a large motivation for Bin Ladens followers as was US support of Israel (something else Bin Laden doesn't seem to really give a fuck about). Without that I doubt Bin Laden would have gotten enough support to pull off 9/11.

Regardless of the exact motivations to B though that doesn't change C, the US military was an obstacle to changing Saudi Arabia and Bin Ladens attacks were geared towards making the US go 'Oh fuck this, it ain't worth it, we're leaving'. Now that the US has left Saudi Arabia it appears his tactic has changd to tieing us up in Iraq so we're distracted from what he's doing in Saudi Arabia.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]

Oh yeah (none / 0) (#110)
by tetsuwan on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 01:07:59 PM EST

And we should blame that art school in Vienna for the second world war. Hasn't it been nuked yet?

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

I don't think it has (none / 0) (#111)
by godix on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 02:44:43 PM EST

but I personally don't see any problem with nuking Vienna. We should probably nuke the rest of Europe as well just to be sure though.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
good idea, godix (none / 0) (#112)
by tetsuwan on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 03:37:10 PM EST

too bad france and britain has nukes too.

Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Easy enough to deal with (none / 0) (#113)
by godix on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 06:24:00 PM EST

France will be too busy surrendering to launch nukes and Brits will be too busy banging the butler up the arse to even notice anything is going on.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.
[ Parent ]
Sure (3.00 / 3) (#53)
by The Diary Section on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 12:50:41 PM EST

"Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."
remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

Note the date.
Spend 10 minutes in the company of an American and you end up feeling like a Keats or a Shelley: Thin, brilliant, suave, and desperate for industrial-scale quantities of opium.
[ Parent ]

Yes, I know what was said. (none / 1) (#59)
by porkchop_d_clown on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 01:53:05 PM EST

but if you want to prove that the Bush administration lied you need to provide evidence that they knew about the abuses before Sgt. Darby blew the whistle, which happened in January of 2004.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]
Well that is indeed the case. (3.00 / 3) (#75)
by The Diary Section on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 01:58:48 AM EST

After two (confidential) complaints from the Red Cross in 2003, in the October the ICRC were so concerned they made an unnanounced "flash" visit to the prison prompting the third complaint (filed in November with the US authorities) which was made public in the February. As you will see in the Red Cross report linked above, they described in the Novemeber exactly what was shown in the pictures in the February (section 3.1, para 25). In fact, it includes mention that photographs were being taken. That report also includes a description of the behaviour of the Iraqi police which also contradicts Bush administration rhetoric.

Meanwhile, into December McClellan was taking the same slant, and Bush was still using the same line in mid-January some months after receiving the 3rd ICRC report.
Spend 10 minutes in the company of an American and you end up feeling like a Keats or a Shelley: Thin, brilliant, suave, and desperate for industrial-scale quantities of opium.
[ Parent ]

Now that's what I'm talking about! (none / 0) (#79)
by porkchop_d_clown on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 07:01:30 AM EST

I did not know that.

Excellent link, thanks.

People who think "clown" is an insult have never met any.
[ Parent ]

I didn't... (none / 0) (#63)
by D Jade on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 05:52:54 PM EST

If someone relaly saw them lie, why is he still in office. I mean, the length to which the Bush Administration has misled the public is impeachable from what I understand.

The other thing is that even if we all saw them lying they would just use the standard Republican line of defense. What they would do is say that because they lie so much, they can't tell when they are lying and when they are telling the truth. So even though they were lying they can't be charged with lying because they thought they were telling the truth.

See, when you're a Republican, it doesn't matter whether you're telling the truth or not, it's whether or not you think what you are telling is true.

You're a shitty troll, so stop pretending you have more of a life than a cool dude -- HollyHopDrive
[ Parent ]

well (none / 0) (#94)
by m a r c on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:22:57 AM EST

I think that honesty is not the primary reason that people elect goverments. They elect so that they are better off and have their needs met. Honesty would be nice, but its no show stopper.

Also trying to prove that a government is honest is damn hard because it consists of a chain of individuals who each can argue that they made the best choice with the limited information passed to them. Whether errors were deliberate or due to lack of information are very hard to prove.
I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]

stupid sig (none / 0) (#95)
by m a r c on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:24:05 AM EST


I got a dog and named him "Stay". Now, I go "Come here, Stay!". After a while, the dog went insane and wouldn't move at all.
[ Parent ]
great henry miller quote (none / 0) (#83)
by boboli fresh on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 01:01:06 PM EST

that last sentence about the dead...it sounds paraphrased from one of my favorite quotes from henry miller in "tropic of cancer"

"I believe that today more than ever a book should be sought after even if it has only one great page in it: we must search for fragments, splinters, toenails, anything that has ore in it, anything that is capable of resuscitating the body and soul. It may be that we are doomed, that there is no hope for us, any of us, but if that is so then let us set up a last agonizing, bloodcurdling howl, a screech of defiance, a war whoop! Away with lamentation! Away with elegies and dirges! Away with biographies and histories, and libraries and museums! Let the dead eat the dead. Let us living ones dance about the rim of the crater, a last expiring dance. But a dance!"

interestingly, i suppose this quote could be used by either side of the argument--on the one hand "away with biographies and histories", but on the other hand "we must search for fragments, splinters, toenails".

------
"Kaycee, you don't need this negativity in your life."
[ Parent ]

The problem is. . . (3.00 / 2) (#37)
by thankyougustad on Tue Nov 29, 2005 at 11:02:28 PM EST

that so few people have experiences even worth mentioning in footnotes, let alone saving intact. We are bombarded my enough media as it is, most people do very little introspection already, no need for the option of being plunged into the foggy memories of every Tom, Dick and Harry.

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

The History of Everyone (none / 1) (#43)
by MarshallPoe on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 08:02:45 AM EST

Thanks for your comments. I see what you mean.  But I'd only ask you to think of an example like this. Imagine reading a memoir of someones first encounter with a telephone, or a car.  That would be interesting, I think. Or imagine reading the memoir of someone who saw Babe Ruth, or witnessed desegregation, or saw the aftermath of a Unibomber attack (I did).  A lot of people seem to think that there reflections on what they though about 9/11 are worth saving (the internet is full of them, as is MemoryWiki). I think they are write.  In my humble opinion, history is not just about "important" people.  Memoirs are a way to preserve a kind of history that otherwise would be lost.
www.memorywiki.org
[ Parent ]
Heh. I really disagree. (3.00 / 4) (#50)
by The Diary Section on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 12:20:36 PM EST

I don't like blogging because its a medium for writers rather than readers so I'm as cynical as anyone, I also think the democratisation of creativity offered by computers and the web (music software, photoshop, flash, digital film making) really exposes the fact that very few people are really that good and so it turns out that the notably talented usually do get recognised by their respective industries. People who say otherwise need to face reality and stop making excuses.

That aside, the study of history takes another view. If you look at the past, we know a hell of a lot about Kings and Queens got up to, what they ate, what they wore. Social history is big (almost too big, my own education was blighed by it but thats another story). In some periods though we know what the king's pants were made of but nothing of the lives of ordinary people. Do we really want future generations to assume we all lived the lives that "MTV Cribs" suggests? In terms of understanding the period retrospectively we live in I think everyone's experiences are valid, even if they are just the 9-to-5 grind or whatever. That would give a more incisive insight into the "truth" of life in our societies at this time than any number of Paris Hilton or David Beckham or Bill Clinton "documentaries". I'm not sure the exceptional experience is very useful in historical terms without a point of reference to the "normal".

And of course, its not for us to decide what is espeically important about us for future generations. The Egyptians loved recording their bizarre family trees and the precise details of their religion for posterity...but I think most of us would swap all that for a slave's account of building the pyramids. As another example, I understand that one of the most useful relics from Mesopotamia is a merchants price list (although I guess there is always the risk of "Canticle for Leibowitz" type confusions breaking out...)
Spend 10 minutes in the company of an American and you end up feeling like a Keats or a Shelley: Thin, brilliant, suave, and desperate for industrial-scale quantities of opium.
[ Parent ]

For future historians (none / 1) (#71)
by godix on Wed Nov 30, 2005 at 07:53:00 PM EST

K5 is a site to bitch about the US. You can also bitch about religious people. Bitching about the US is also a fan favorite. Bitching about life is fairly typical although no one pays any attention so it doesn't help any. As always, you can bitch about the US. Bitching about the trolls is pretty frequent. Bitching about the US is always in fashion. Then there's bitching about people bitching. And, finally, it is full of bitching about the US.

Hopefully this will help you future historians understand the fine culture we have built up here at K5. Except for the fucking US, those bitches suck.


- An egotist is someone who thinks they're almost as good as I am.

can your meta-meta-bitching $ (none / 0) (#103)
by skyknight on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:12:05 PM EST



It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Read Harry Potter lately? (none / 0) (#109)
by tetsuwan on Wed Dec 07, 2005 at 12:56:49 PM EST


Njal's Saga: Just like Romeo & Juliet without the romance
[ Parent ]

Who was Ivan? Why was he terrible? (none / 1) (#77)
by United Fools on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 04:23:44 AM EST

We have no memory of such person.?


We are united, we are fools, and we are America!

Long Term Web Site Preservation (3.00 / 6) (#78)
by harrystottle on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 06:58:40 AM EST

Interesting article and raises the related question of "what happens to your web site when you die?" Many of us use our web sites to store precisely the kind of memories that you talk about but there is very little provision for dealing with web sites whose owners have shuffled off this mortal coil. Of course, as the web is effectively only about 10 years old and most people who have their own web sites are probably going to live another 50 years or so, it hasn't surfaced as a major issue. Nevertheless some will die along the way from various causes and it would be sad to see their efforts just disappear when the hosting fees dried up.

So I went looking for a service that could guarantee your continued existence in cyberspace after you cease to be around to pay the bills and could find only one, which I'm not even going to name as they wanted to charge no less than $25,000 dollars for the job.

Strikes me that, with the kind of collaborative effort we see in things like the open source movement, wiki and peer to peer networking, we could come up with a virtually cost free solution. Anyone interested in helping me to get that ball rolling?



Mostly harmless
i blog so that when I get regenerated in the (none / 1) (#84)
by GotoHospital on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 02:53:16 PM EST

post-Singularity "The Matrix" there will be some basis for the fake me.

I once was going to setup a foundation for archival so that you have an future economic money and employees setup for sure. But I didn't have money. [Funny aside: I checked for the existence of several domains whois on Network Solutions, Inc. like "immortalword.org" and later found them taken. They were sometimes pretty unique so I think they spied on whois lookups for profit.]

So I blog on a site that I don't think will go down. Also I think in the future "private" entries will be opened up after a grace period of 150 years or something. As well as web-based emails if they aren't deleted by the host servers. Actually that was kind of the idea of the foundation funded servers. You could set grace periods for release of your material and there would be encryption and a decryption key broken up into parts stored on several servers for protection against sensitive material being decrypted early.

In reality I blog for my descendents. My dad made a memoir when he was terminally ill, and I wish he had opportunity to write it better when he was healthy. So it is something for my descendents to see, for kicks. In the future blog archives will be like genealogy on steroids.
nested¢ evolution is still interesting. talk.origins faq.
I must congratulate the author... (2.33 / 6) (#85)
by OpAmp on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 03:17:59 PM EST

...for successfully creating a new version of Eastern European history.

there was an evil tsar named Ivan the Terrible who was, or so we imagine, terrible.

I have deep compassion for the author for building the whole story on the premise of a translation error (or, more specifically, a semantic shift in English language), as the guy was actually named Ivan the Dangerous.

Germans who lived in Transylvania with (you guessed it), Dracula, or Vlad Tsepesh ("the Impaler") as he was truly named.

Well, Vlad Dracul was in fact the father of Vlad Tsepesh. It was contemporary (or 19th century) popular culture that mixed son's deeds with daddy's cool pseudo. Besides, it seems, that Vlad Tsepesh was actually impaling quite a lot of people. Oh, and for the record, Saxons, not Germans :-)

With the help of the "Dracula Tales" and a bunch of other slurs (some true, some false), Ivan soon became "Terrible."

Never mind the fact that he was, uh, physically eliminating the opposition within the aristocracy. I am sure that this alone should have given him a better title, hm, perhaps, Ivan the Merciful?

Russia is a big country, but somehow before about 1500 Europeans completely missed it, as in, didn't know it was there.

I had good laugh here. Apparently, the autor's definition of Europe, does not include Poland, Lithuania (the two conveniently forming one state at the time) and Sweden - maybe because these are not on the RISK map. Because these countries certainly knew that this what is located east of them was not a black hole, but some very real country. So real, that they were waging wars with it for hundreds of years already! Yes, I am also sure that these countries had absolutely no concept of foreign trade and foreign intelligence, not to mention the reports of their military expeditions. The ruling class in Poland in 15th century was very literate (and even versed in Latin(!)) -- the assertion that there were no documents produced regarding the dealing with the eastern neighbor(s) is ridiculous. I can only blame the librarians of the author's univerisity, for not having relevant works (or syntheses thereof) in their catalog.

There are almost no good, 100% trustworthy Russian primary sources about Ivan--no memoirs, no letters, no love notes, no laundry lists, no emails, no New Yorker-style profiles.

The problem is, neither of these would be reliable either. Consider: who would describe himself objectively in his own memoirs? And what "New Yorker" would publish a non-superlative biography of the despot who could put the entire board of editors to death at his own whim?

Uncle Joe didn't want any evidence of his misdeeds to be recorded.

How do you then explain, that the protocol of the meeting when he directly ordered 22 thousand people to be killed was declassified and published in 1992? Never mind the fact that every such action led to creating a mass of low-level documents - orders, reports - which were all carefully stored in the archives. Uncle Joe, in fact, kept a very detailed documentation.

But a few brave souls kept diaries, and they told the truth, and it is largely from those memoirs that we first learned about Stalin's crimes.

This official speech, outlining Uncle Joe's contributions, became known to everyone in the Eastern bloc in 1956 (albeit the text was not published until 1989); it must have been echoed in Western sources. A more careful search would easily find documents produced in neighboring countries in 1920s/1930s, saying the same.

No, it was not the lack of information that kept the West uninformed of uncle Joe's deeds. It was the West's refusal to accept the facts, going against the image of Uncle Joe produced by the Soviet propaganda machine (and echoed by the band of leftist Western intellectuals accepting everything coming from the Soviet Union without any criticism). Still, this is nothing shocking, as the same people refused to believe in the Holocaust in 1940, when this guy delivered a ton of documents detailing it to London.

"Don't believe everything you read."

Truer words were never spoken.

Ivan the Terrible (none / 1) (#88)
by thankyougustad on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 05:17:11 PM EST

I always understood it as a semantic change too, though differently. I always thought it was terrible, as in awe inspiring. . .

No no thanks no
Je n'aime que le bourbon
no no thanks no
c'est une affaire de goût.

[ Parent ]
Sounds awful (none / 1) (#102)
by gidds on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 06:47:58 PM EST

Reminds me of the apocryphal story that a British monarch, seeing the rebuilt St Paul's Cathedral, told its architect that it was "awful, artificial, and amusing", which they meant as a great compliment -- awful, meaning inspiring awe (awesome in today's language); artificial, meaning a work of great artifice; and amusing, meaning that it was highly pleasing to the eye.

(Interestingly, no-one seems to know which monarch was involved; various articles attribute it to Charles II, James II, Anne, and George I, who all reigned between the start of rebuilding and Christopher Wren's death, so at first glance any of those would be possible. Goodness knows how much truth, if any, there is in it.)


Andy/
[ Parent ]

Too Many Points... (none / 1) (#89)
by MarshallPoe on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 06:17:51 PM EST

Thanks for your detailed comments, and for reading the article.  The best I can do to defend myself is to ask that you look at two books I wrote on the subject, "'A People Born to Slavery': Russia in Early Modern Ethnography" (Cornell UP) and "The Russian Moment in World History" (Princeton UP). If you agree, you agree. If not, then not.  

About Stalin's crimes, you are of course in part correct. Foreign reporters noted the mass repressions of collectivization, the Ukrainian Famine, and the Great Purge of 1937.  But the Soviet authorities certainly didn't acknowledge them. Many Russian memoirists at the time did (and some were repressed).  All this well before the "Secret Speech."

None of this, however, was the point of the article.

Best, MP
www.memorywiki.org
[ Parent ]

Dracul(e)a = Son of Dracul (none / 0) (#106)
by nidarus on Sun Dec 04, 2005 at 06:21:10 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Ivan Grozny (none / 0) (#118)
by paranoid on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 12:11:15 PM EST

Never mind the fact that he was, uh, physically eliminating the opposition within the aristocracy. I am sure that this alone should have given him a better title, hm, perhaps, Ivan the Merciful?

What do you know about Tsar Ivan? Have you read the works of V.V. Kozhninov, for example?

The whole story about him being "Terrible" is a total myth and blatant fabrication. During 37 years of his rule about 3-4 thousands of people were executed. During the St. Bartholomew Night's Massacre up to 12 thousand people were murdered by the order of the king. During approximately the same time, about 100 thousand people were executed in the Netherlands.

Now was Tsar Ivan really all that terrible if you compare him with the standards of those times? I think the answer should be obvious.

How do you then explain, that the protocol of the meeting when he directly ordered 22 thousand people to be killed was declassified and published in 1992?
May be the proper explanation is that it is a fake? But that requires doing own research and not relying on the mass-media to learn history...

This official speech, outlining Uncle Joe's contributions, became known to everyone in the Eastern bloc in 1956 (albeit the text was not published until 1989); it must have been echoed in Western sources. A more careful search would easily find documents produced in neighboring countries in 1920s/1930s, saying the same.
Don't believe everything you are told. The speech was full of lies, it contradicted the data provided to Khruschev by the ministry of internal affairs and it is widely known that Khruschev's hands are in blood to the shoulders (i.e. his telegrams to Stalin demanding that more people be executed in Ukraine).

No, it was not the lack of information that kept the West uninformed of uncle Joe's deeds. It was the West's refusal to accept the facts, going against the image of Uncle Joe produced by the Soviet propaganda machine (and echoed by the band of leftist Western intellectuals accepting everything coming from the Soviet Union without any criticism).
Funny. You don't have a clue.

[ Parent ]

errors (none / 0) (#86)
by beefman on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 03:57:54 PM EST

stack moldy paper = stack of moldy paper?
man bit a dog = man bite a dog?

-Carl
Is in Islington Bile.

-1 No mention of the Golden Horde (none / 0) (#91)
by atreides on Thu Dec 01, 2005 at 08:11:39 PM EST


"...heroic hearts, made weak by time and fate, but strong in will, to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

Atreides: The psychedelic visionary does

erm you're about 300 years early - (none / 0) (#101)
by tkatchevzombie on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 04:27:35 PM EST



[ Parent ]
no, we shouldn't (none / 0) (#93)
by jcarnelian on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 07:16:20 AM EST

What a bleak future that would be in which every memory and every insight that anybody has ever had were already available recorded. Human progress depends on a delicate balance between recorded knowledge and rediscovery. As for Ivan and other historical figures, it makes no difference whether their histories are accurate or not. Their names have become symbols and icons, and they serve an important function in that role. That is not to say that history never matters or that we should ignore history. Our new abilities to record, index, and search information can be used to help humanity. But those tools need to be applied carefully. Recording people's lives merely because we can is silliness. It's silliness that we can't prevent people from engaging in, but it will hopefully be self-limiting.

Is this the kind of thing you mean? (none / 0) (#98)
by minimind on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 10:15:28 AM EST

In the UK, we have the Mass Observation Archive. It was started in the late thirties as a response to the fear that an invasion by dastardly foreigners would destroy our way of life, therefore some sort of record of the everyday experiences of the population should be kept. It consists of diaries and the results of questionaires completed by 'common people' to form an anthropological record of life in the UK.

Thanks (none / 0) (#100)
by MarshallPoe on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 03:25:16 PM EST

I just wanted to thank you for this reference. Yes, this is close, but I'm hoping for something web based. The MOA looks like a terrific resource.  

Best, Marshall Poe
www.memorywiki.org
[ Parent ]

fallacies of presumption and assumption (none / 1) (#104)
by iggymanz on Fri Dec 02, 2005 at 11:35:45 PM EST

Other civilizations, say the Chinese and Muslims, have largely, and until recently, lost interest in technological advancement though they were the bees knees over a thousand years ago. With the internet being less than two decade old, and this whole business of networked computing devices being less then three decades old, why would it be advisable to only have a digital record that only an electronic device could decode? Better to exhort people to stock up the ol' laser printer with archival quality ink and acid-free vellum, and make copies of your musings and recollections for your friends, family, and aunt minny. Then maybe you'll win the archeologist's lottery. But count on computers existing and/or being digital even 100 years from now?

I want - the terrible & inevitable 'I' (none / 0) (#105)
by potentialnoman on Sat Dec 03, 2005 at 06:44:36 AM EST

To think ourselves important enough to think that, just because in our very personal perception of the same colliding & decaying organic patterns, that we think OUR point of view needs to be considered by 'others' who we perceive to be dangerously close to a point of view that blinds them to any inconvenience that their actions cause to anyone bold enough to claim that the particular cluster of atoms that one has come to see as 'I' when it is obviously going to hurt when 'others' find distraction in ripping those cells apart....

I... I.... we are all equiped with the tools to learn which patterns might matter for survival, and which patterns could very well be more real & eventually threatening, but thinking YOU might be of any consequence will only get the whole mad pipedream of the dying world into even more confusion about the totally obvious truth.

You've managed to claim control over the automated processes that make sure your body tries to sustain it's self-replicating/self-restoring mechanism just to keep existing... good for you. It's a lot more difficult to do this trick when your sensory equipment has decayed long before you had the chance to train 'your' neural net in detecting which patterns there are to be made out of all the electrical pulses your nerves send to and fro - before you realize that you've wasted time on recognizing those pulses that say: it's all okay, our neighboring tissue is about to decay and just so you know, the replacement is almost completed, so although half of your body is nearing death - the regeneration is functioning properly. All cells are critical, but all should ultimately be expendable.

There is only 1 'I' that we share to influence our reality. You WANT? Careful! If you're unsure about the possible consequences of pushing your will upon the system of which you are only part, neither YOU nor 'I' will know which part has gone missing once the self-systaining cycle suddenly fails to recycle and the whole chain falls away :)

Just let it be. Learn to live sensibly for your own good, and know when to quit pushing for satisfaction when you've managed to take more than enough - survival should suffice.

Winning is not to be desired when you've not figured out yet what games are played and if there even is something to win, or if the only prize is to pass blame to delay the moment where you face the reality that everybody lost everything.

Enjoy your ego! It may last you a lifetime!

I'll enjoy the now of the here (none / 0) (#116)
by DaoDePhys on Thu Dec 15, 2005 at 04:42:39 AM EST

I would rather deminish myself to 1/infinite and enjoy totally the now of total extension than doing the logical opposite: Bringing myself to all I and only I am, infinitely little through TIME rather than now. Enjoy your being in the anihilation of the constructed ego.

[ Parent ]
get a live journal (none / 0) (#114)
by auraslip on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:00:47 PM EST


124
Messy archives for messed-up historians? (none / 0) (#115)
by DaoDePhys on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 08:23:53 AM EST

You're an historian, so you might know as much as I do what is the result of too much information. I met an historian which had this problem for his PhD. How do you deal with
  • too much info
  • messied info
If a PhD is to consider all info, I can imagine even more restricted thesis:
"gnagnagna in Boston, 24 March 2076 4h24-4h47" ;)

I do see a great social use of it when info is lacking, but otherwise some issues rise.

The article misses the point (none / 0) (#117)
by paranoid on Tue Jan 03, 2006 at 11:58:32 AM EST

Do you seriously think that there is going to be lack of primary sources 50 years in the future. Do you seriously think that 200 years in the future there will be historians?

You have much to learn.

Read this book, for example:
http://home.mchsi.com/~deering9/mikebook.html

While I do record a lot of ideas, thoughts, facts and events in digital form, this isn't done to assist any dumb future historian. Since I don't plan on dying, I will be able to answer any questions someone might have about my life. I record these things simply because computer forms a part of a primitive exocortex for me and extends my memory. Memory Archive! Bah.

Was Ivan the Terrible Really "Terrible"? (or, Why We Should Build a Memory Archive) | 118 comments (69 topical, 49 editorial, 0 hidden)
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