The Flip

There is a funny thing that happens, when you find out that everything you have ever known is a lie.

I’ve watched friends go through this when they found out they were adopted, or that their parents really weren’t their parents (well, okay, usually the father) or that their parents weren’t the people they thought they were (by which I mean, say, discovering that one of their parents had a criminal record, or even that their parents had never actually got married.)

I’ve never had a revelation of that magnitude, or that personal.  I’ve had a lot of small ones over the times, as I discovered that things like teachers’ interpretation of history were not “true.”  They were usually just someone’s interpretation, filtered through what was fashionable at the time: and given the time I was in school, that was usually Marxism.

Of when I started correlating things in my head and realized that things like Chariot of the Gods couldn’t be true.

All my revelations came in slowly, on a drip, and not on matters closely related to me.  This means that, though you could look at me and see where most of my opinions and interests (not all.  I’ve always been a bookish person) have changed since my early twenties, there was never a break, a moment where I wasn’t myself.  There was a continuum.  It just so happens that I started out as an indoctrinated socialist twerp, (even though I was always anti-communist, and suspicious of socialists, I didn’t realize how much of their philosophy permeated everything I was taught in school.  Heck, I’m still having these realizations and I’m past fifty), and ended up wherever I am now, I guess the party of “leave people alone, don’t hurt them and don’t take their stuff.”

Therefore there was never a period of acting out, rebelling against everything, and generally being a crazy woman.  My friends who had their reality “ripped” from under them and rebuilt, sometimes in minutes, usually had one of those periods: a “I’m going to go to India and learn Yoga” or “I’m now a Vegan and my assumed name is  zityhgmn, pronounced John.” And sometimes, btw, they would hysterically deny what they’d just found.

In the end, they returned to being more or less the people they were before.  But sometimes there were very odd years, there in the middle.

Why this is is important: mostly because it can help us understand what society is going through and what lies ahead.  It’s an imperfect analogy of course — all analogies are imperfect — mostly because people aren’t cultures.  And yet, if you kind of squint and abstract to the highest points, people and cultures are remarkably similar, though most cultures blame like crazy teen people, and some — I’m looking at you Europe — are remarkably emo, sitting in their rooms with the lights off, having bad relationships, and engaging in self-harm.

The point is that all cultures change all the time.  The idiots on both the left and the right who think culture is genetic have issues with this concept, but if cultures didn’t change, all the time, very gradually (just like people change all the time, very gradually) we’d all be hunting gathering and living in small family groups/tribes.  (Actually most of us wouldn’t exist.  The lifestyle wouldn’t support it.)

But some cultures change suddenly and traumatically.  What we did to Japan, ripping out everything they ever believed in, and substituting an arguably far less toxic (or at least dangerous) culture is one example.

This seems to have very weird effects, as it does in people.  On Japan, it seems to have had the effect of such civilizational loss of confidence that they might go extinct from lack of procreation.  If they don’t, at some point they’ll return to something like what they were before, though the details will be wildly different and integrate the change.

The same thing goes for WWI, which sort of ripped the ideas that Europe had of itself in itty bitty bits, and remade them as something else wholly different.  Europe is in that emo funk because of it, and exaggerates its crimes and embraces anything different, because everything different must be better.  It seems to be wearing off though — not very clear, yet, but there are rumbles — and if it does, it will be suddenly, as it is in people, and Europe will become more or less what it was before.  Maybe more so, in fact.  It might embrace previous versions of itself with a fervor it never had before, because the emo phase has been so bad for it.  If this does happen (and again, it already seems to be) there’s going to be a shock (and awe) heard around the world.

But the same thing applies to groups within a culture.  All of us, (except maybe the very young, here) started out living in a world where there was a single integrated media, and the media companies were more or less controlled (by choice, I want to emphasize) by a group who all thought the same, and who had become decidedly Marxist early on.

Since the entertainment companies were the same, the… lie, for lack of a better word (it wasn’t so much a lie because most of the people propagating it weren’t conscious of lying.  They were simply watching the world through a distorting political theory) came at everyone as a seamless whole.  For instance, the ideas that capitalism was inherently bad for people, or created mental illness, probably first dreamed up in USSR think-tanks, was propagated through slants on news, through story lines in movies and books and even through songs.  One of the times I remember seeing the story line was a soap opera where a worthy character who has done everything right kills himself for lack of money, and his son becomes a “righteous communist.”

This “unified voice” has started to break down.  In fact, the propagators of the “universal truth” that isn’t, are getting fairly drowned out, and, in their despair, sounding more and more obviously biased and crazy.

To most of us this is funny to watch, because we came of age under the unified lie, saw something that we couldn’t ignore and popped us out of it, and this led to little by little emerging from and rejecting the vision behind the lie.

It was so gradual that we changed without fracturing.

This isn’t true for people who are right now exposed to dissonant “truths” and consciously or not starting to realize there is no one thing “all right thinking people believe.”

A lot of the behavior we’re seeing right now is the result of that dissonance.  They’re starting to suspect everything they know is a lie, and most of them are embracing it with twice the fervor and also acting more than a little crazy.

Some of them are already in the advanced stages of this, and landing on the other side with their opinions flipped, but their behavior exactly the same, and just as tiring and annoying to sane people.

And some think their world is coming apart, don’t want to admit it and propagate myths of prison camps and genocide, just to justify their horrible feelings of anxiety that they can’t admit is based on the shattering of former beliefs.

This explains why it feels like everyone (including people most of us thought were sensible) seems to have lost their minds.

It doesn’t help to either get to the other side, or stop the crazy.  This thing is a process, and takes its time.  Also, the news is never going to be unified again (though many seem to want it) and the trickle will continue.  Only believe it or not, that trickle was too rapid for most of them.

We’re just going to have to let them scream and slam their room door till they come out of it.

But perhaps having a comparison and a handle to the situation will make it easier.

Be not afraid.  And carry on.

266 thoughts on “The Flip

  1. Back almost forty years ago, when I wasted time in the study of Sociology (and before Sociologists had devolved into full-bore raving nutters) I learned the useful word anomie.

    Courtesy Merriam-Webster:
    Definition of anomie
    1: social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values
    The reforms of a ruined economy, under these conditions, brought about social anomie, desperation and poverty rather than relief and prosperity. — T. Mastnak

    2; also : personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals
    In the face of these prevailing values, many workers experience a kind of anomie. Their jobs become empty, meaningless, and intrinsically unsatisfying. — Robert Straus

    Always present to some degree in a dynamic culture, this condition can metastasize into complete breakdown of cultural norms, resulting in the kind of wide-ranging criticisms which were brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the First World War, and the unhinging of modern Academia and the Democrat Socialist Party.

    A full discussion of the concept obviously exceeds what would be appropriate in a blog comment, but what we commonly refer to as the Autophagy Buffet of the Left in which competing groups of SJ Warriors compete to redefine social values is a perfect storm of the dominance battles typical of impending societal collapse.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with societal collapse.

    Anomie, it ought be noted, can produce (if rarely) positive results, such as those following the breakdown of confidence in England’s rule of its American Colonies.

  2. Of when I started correlating things in my head and realized that things like Chariot of the Gods couldn’t be true.

    Noooooooooooooooo!!! I was planning on mining the carbohydrate atmosphere of Venus!

  3. Oh, because my time must be short and I assume everybody has heard this one:




    Punchline: At which point his mother smiled, leaned forward and said reassuringly, “Don’t let it worry you, son, he isn’t your father.”

    1. You remind me of a guy I worked with many years ago – had a little black book of jokes. Well, not really jokes, just punchlines – on the theory you could generally make up a story to set up the punchline. And you could get more joke reminders into a smaller book that way.

      1. When I was still growing up, a local radio DJ would do a short segment in the mornings titled, “Punchlines you missed include…” and he was often able to sneak in the punchlines to some pretty raunchy jokes that way.

        1. My sainted (not really) grandmother worked as an ICU nurse for about 20 years, and had the sense of humor you would expect from this. I was spending the night when I was 10 or so and came out of the spare bedroom with a book of jokes I was intending to read. She turned white and grabbed the book. Never did find out what was in it (this is the woman who plied me with bodice-rippers because “look how fast she reads!”).

          1. My oldest was learning limericks in school. He found one of my books of limericks and asked mom if he could bring it to school. “Sure” was her answer. He flipped it open, asked her “What does this mean?” and she grabbed the book and said “You can’t bring this to school.”

            1. Fr. Hunwicke recently deigned, on his blog, to instruct us Colonials about limericks incorporating Khartoum and Darjeeling. Because people were not getting it when he just referred to the punchline, and it made his argument fail to work.

          1. I acknowledge the character flaw this reveals, but for some reason I crack up over this one: “Supplies!”

    2. That reminds me of one of my father’s favourite jokes, which I’ve always remembered:

      A guy goes to work in a factory, one of those really old-time places where everybody’s known each other for 20+ years. As the new guy, he desperately wants to fit in, and is welcomed cordially but with the typical new-guy distance, to which he resigns himself. But then at lunch he notices something really odd: every now and again one of the guys will pipe up with something like, “Hey, guys: 22!” or, “Hey everybody — 45!” and everyone bursts out laughing. Finally, he asks his friend and mentor what’s going on.

      “Oh, that?” says the friend. “Well, see, the problem is we’ve all known each other so long, we all know each other’s favourite jokes and all the in-jokes for the plant. So we finally just made up a list of the top 100 jokes and passed them round, so now whenever anybody wants to tell a joke again, they just yell out the number, and we all remember it and laugh.”

      The new guy thinks this is a bit odd, but sees what he thinks is an opportunity. So he waits for the next day’s lunch, and then at an appropriate moment he yells out, “Hey, I got one — 37!” But to his surprise and immense disappointment, nobody laughs, and indeed quite a lot of people give pained winces when they think he’s not looking. The new guy grabs his friend after lunch and demands, incensed, “What the hell?! Everybody laughs at 22 and 45 but not at 37?”

      The friend shrugs uncomfortably: “Well, you know how it is, pal — some people can tell a joke and some can’t.”

      1. I heard one version of that where the guy is told that he didn’t have the “accent” correct. 😉

    3. I don’t know which joke Mercedes Lackey was referencing with the punchline “Acres and acres, and it’s all mine,” but we just got a king-sized bed and I keep thinking of it…

      1. I don’t know the joke, but it carries a whiff of Daffy Duck about it.

        “I’m a happy miser!”

  4. Mid-life crisis 😀 Anyway– I had to do an extreme upheaval to meet my late-hubby. If I had stayed in a loveless marriage with a certain religion, I would have become empty and bitter. I am pretty sure it changed my entire course of life and if I go back to a religion (tried a few in the last five years and stepped away), it will look very different from my childhood religion.

    1. BTW I prayed for years that I wasn’t a biological child. Please let me find out that I was adopted. So the shock with me was that there was NO Doubt I was their child. *sigh It means I have to watch and change behaviors all the time.

      1. Heh – looking at my father’s siblings, and the age difference between myself and my sister (14 years), I wondered if I weren’t her child. I even made oblique references to let my parents know I wouldn’t be upset by it (basically I mocked TV characters who got all bent out of shape to find out they were adopted, etc), but apparently my mother really DID carry me, despite evidence that such would be highly unlikely with her medical history before my birth.

              1. when I went to visit my parents 5 years ago. Let’s just say my son was in the room next to them and came bolting into my room. “Mom, are they?” Me “Yeah, and they’re never quiet.”
                “At least here you can hear them less. Can I sleep on your floor?” Dad was eighty, mom was seventy seven.

      2. Genetic testing has established that I am definitely related to my mother, my maternal grandmother, at least four of my brothers, and at least one of my uncles. My seven-year-old self is not sure whether this is good news or bad news.

        1. When frustrated with some member of my birth family, I always try to remember that every deck of cards comes with two Jokers. I might dislike the ones in another deck even more intensely.

          Now, this doesn’t prevent the occasional fantasy where my real parental units are a) filthy rich; and b) just about to croak. I am human, after all…

          1. You humans write outside your species all the time. This isn’t really any different, is it? And most of the characters would be human, yes? After species, the rest is just details.

      3. Cyn seems an ordinary girl in all ways. She went to school, she grew, she played with puppies. But she never saw a doctor. Never got shots. Never broke a bone, never got cut, or even a cold.

        Then when she turned sixteen, the people who raised her, whom she thought were her parents, revealed that she was a non-biological child. She was an android. A secret private experiment to manufacture a collection of nanobots designed to simulate the human body down to the cellular level.

        Unfortunately for Cyn, some unpleasant people in both the government and some large corporations have learned of her existence and want desperately to get their hands on her. What’s a teenage girl simulacrum to do?

          1. Ouch! First bruises from fencing outdoors at Fort Ticonderoga this weekend, and now whip marks. LOL.

            I’m going to have to noodle around with this because like a lot of projects, it sounds fun until you get a week into it and find out how much work you’ve taken on.

            But I’m a 58-year old white guy. Wouldn’t that be age and gender misappropriation? Heaven help me if I make her non-white! (Keep it simple, silly Mike.)


              1. Animal Farm Redux: The New Revolution.
                “Freedom is not free. Free animals are not equal. Equal animals are not free.”
                10 years of pig rule have expanded the farm to covering the entire county. But some animals are getting tired of not seeing the fruits of their labors and thinking that maybe the pigs aren’t telling them the whole truth. Perhaps it’s time for some animals to wake up and nibble on the Tree of Liberty.

    2. I started out Catholic. I’m still comfortable with most of their rituals and beliefs; but not those of their clerical hierarchy. By my observation, as an organization, the Catholic Church as done too much damage due to criminal activity on the part of the clergy, compounded by the organization covering those abuses up, for me to ever bestow trust on the institution again. Which of course now goes for any religious organization. Doesn’t mean there aren’t good priests or occasional bishops; but I think it’s safer to consider them all scoundrels until proven otherwise.

      1. If you’re referring to the child sex stuff, you should be less judgemental because the church is an EUROPEAN institution and I was there at the time. The way they treated pedophiles is ABSOLUTELY what Psychologists in Europe think should be done. We know better now.
        OTOH the church seems to be going through one of those phases when it’s possessed or at least infiltrated (and if you look back, you can identify those.) These days it’s the demon of Liberation Theology and the ghost of Marx.

          1. Time to put some teeth back in the Holy Office and purge the heretics.First thing we do, we kill all the Jesuits.

            1. If you kill all the Jesuits, who’s going to run the Vatican Observatory on Mt. Graham, Arizona?

                1. There are good Jesuits and bad Jesuits. When they are good, they are very very good, but when they are bad, they are horrid.

                  1. The last time the Jesuits were suppressed it was from making the mistake of telling the Spanish that they shouldn’t be enslaving the natives in South America.

                  2. I think you made a minor typo there.

                    There are good Jesuits and bat-shit Jesuits.


                  3. Marshall’s confessor, when he was little, was a Jesuit who wore a black leather jacket and had a shaved head. BUT he seemed to be sound. He endured the “BUT IT WASN’T MY FAULT” yelled from the confession room every five minutes.

  5. I’ve actually been having some fun over the last few years by inducing such flips in people, especially the ones who are righteous in their socialism.

    The one that seems to hit home the hardest is to find the guy who thinks socialism is a good idea – and offering to call the labor coordinator for the job to get his $30/hour rate lowered to the same as the $10/hour unskilled workers we bring in to help move stuff around. You know, for “fairness.”

    It’s really hilarious to find a Bernie supporter and ask what he thinks of Bernie owning three homes, one of which he bought immediately after dropping out of the race last year, and all of which are more expensive than the house the supporter is struggling to pay the mortgage on…

    Find a Clinton fan and ask them what they think about the shutdown of the Clinton Foundation this year, after the donations from other countries dropped to near-zero starting in mid-November. Most of them either don’t know about it, or are in denial.

    1. “It’s really hilarious to find a Bernie supporter and ask what he thinks of Bernie owning three homes, one of which he bought immediately after dropping out of the race last year, and all of which are more expensive than the house the supporter is struggling to pay the mortgage on…”

      The most common reaction I’ve seen is, “Bah, that’s nothing. Bernie’s just a typical middle-class guy. Most people have three homes. What about Trump?”

      (And no, the responses, “No, most people don’t own three homes,” and “Trump may be richer than Bernie, but that doesn’t negate his hypocrisy” don’t seem to get through).

          1. Hmmm. Depends on how much I’m willing to pay them off each year to leave me alone. Fortunately, I’m not located or in possession of natural resources that they’d desire to pull an eminent domain steal on me.

      1. Though I think it is common for certain, well, benefits shall we say, to mysteriously and fortuitously accrue to those who make a career of”Public Service” that are somehow unattainable to those in the commercial world.

        So Bernie’s Third House is actually pretty frugal for a pol at that level.

        1. Sort of like running from a lion: you don’t have to be the fastest, so long as you’re not the slowest. As long as Bernie isn’t the biggest crook, he’s pretty much a saint.

      2. “Bah, that’s nothing. Bernie’s just a typical middle-class guy. Most people have three homes. “

        “REALLY??!? Can I live in one of yours? I’m kinda down on my luck right now.”

        1. No, no — see, THEY don’t have three houses, so they’re disadvantaged, and they’re due an extra wall when the redistribution comes.

    2. The Clinton Foundation thing stunned me when I first heard it. Yes, it was clear she was dirty, yes, it was possible that those on the right saying the Clinton Foundation was a front for influence peddling were right, but I thought since it was so damn obvious it could be dirty that journalists, even left-wing journalists, would have been all over the story and if there was more than a little corruption (every large organization has some corruption, somebody stealing office supplies and such) we’d have heard about it.

      Then the election happened and the Clinton Foundation’s donations bottomed out as soon as the Clintons didn’t have any influence to peddle. It was what it looked like it was; extreme influence peddling. A smoking gun. Obvious as it is possible to be. A scandal of historic proportions. American government policies were literally being sold to the highest bidder in advance of an election by a dirty politician.

      And still I had an eye opening experience. How could even left-wing media ignore such blatant corruption? By shrugging their shoulders and reporting on an obvious hoax (Trump peeing on Obama’s sheets in Russia) that attacked someone they wanted to attack. Still stunned by that. Billions of dollars over decades, corruption of the highest order, scandal that if exposed when Hillary was President would and should have lead to her impeachment, and yet it’s a non-story.

      Because the left-wing media agree with Clinton’s politics. Whoops, not even that – they agree with the fact Clinton has a D beside her name and a vagina.

      This is hard to type because I can’t stop shaking my head in disbelief.


      1. The Clinton Foundation’s demise simply illustrates the collective assessment by the world influence-buying class of Chelsea’s future prospects.

        1. So the prediction market thinks I’m nuts to forecast the possibly that Trump will do poorly enough that Hillary wins in 2020, or that is too far away for influence then to be worth anything now?

          1. I’m not positive Hillary will make it to 2020. There were a number of times during the election where she didn’t look too good.

            If she does…eh, I’m not sure whether the Democrats who hate her for losing to Trump or the ones still insisting that she DIDN’T lose to Trump will prove the stronger faction.

            1. Or, as I heard a on the radio this morning: “Hillary Clinton – possibly the only candidate the Democrats could have ran in 2016 capable of losing to Donald Trump.”

              I’m not sure if I agree with that assessment – The Donald more because he was seen as being from outside the system than anything else, and Bernie was running on the far-left version of that same platform. But she may well have been the only candidate capable of making Trump appear the more *likable* choice.

              1. “as I heard ON the radio” – when will I learn to edit before hitting “Post Comment”?

              2. Oh, Bernie would have lost too, but then we’d have had to live through four years of the media shouting about how The Dowager Empress of Chappaqua’s Ultimate Victory was now Inevitable.

                At least the Dems scuttling Bernie in the primaries saved us from that.

                1. I’m less than convinced that Sanders would have lost. Trump won because he dragged in white working class voters in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. Sanders won the former two outright in the primaries, and did rather better in Pennsylvania than I think anyone expected.
                  Sanders vs. Trump results in Sanders in WH, Democrats holding the Senate, and the GOP still holding the House. In other words, back to where we were in 2013.

          2. (A richly robed foreign man walks up to a storefront. The sign reads Clinton Family Foundation. The man enters.)

            Foreign Inflence Customer: I wish to register a complaint. This political influence candidate bird you sold me is dead.

            John Podesta: Remarkable bird, id’nit, squire? Lovely plumage!

            F.I.C.: That’s a pantsuit, and not even my eunuch harem guards would think it’s lovely. Besides, it’s dead as a doornail.

            John: No, no, no, she’s pining for the fjords!

            F.I.C.: She’s not pinin’! She’s passed on! This bird is no more! She has ceased to be! She’s expired and gone to meet ‘er husband!

            She’s a stiff! Bereft of life, she rests in peace! If you and the secret service hadn’t dragged ‘er into that van and then nailed ‘er to the podium she’d be laid out flat on the curb!

            ‘Er political processes are now ‘istory! She’s off the twig!
            She’s kicked the bucket, she’s shuffled off the political coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisibile!!



            John: Well, I’d better replace it, then.

            (John quickly looks behind the counter)

            John: Sorry squire, I’ve had a look ’round the shop, and uh, we’re right out of candidate birds. I do have a lovely candidate bird egg, though. It’ll mature in ten or twelve years into a very lovely candidate bird, with lovely plumage.

            F.I.C.: An egg.

            John: Righto squire!

            F.I.C.: Does it talk?

            (Another pause)

            John: Well, she tweets a bit. Not really intelligible yet.

            F.I.C.: That hardly seems a subsitute, then, NOW DOES IT?!

        2. Shutting it all down now and burying all the pieces at various crossroads means if anyone stops turning a blind eye to their corruption, evidence will be hard to come by.

          1. Conversely, they have less to pay off their cronies, and potentially some of their people may become disenchanted and turn coat.

      2. Of course the journalists didn’t investigate charges about the Clinton Foundation. They’d chosen a side and to change sides would mean publicly repudiating everything they’d based their career on reporting. They had long ago forsaken the truth business, you can’t expect them to forsake the narrative business as well.

        A few journalists will reveal themselves as actual journalists and change their reporting (Sheryl Atkinson, e.g.) and when that happens the remaining cultists shun them, lest they be suspect of secretly desiring truth. Some (David Brock) will convert the other way, tired of being excluded from the “cool kids” table in the media lunchroom; what they become is horribly twisted as they must constantly contort themselves to reassure everybody they’re really truly on the right side of history.

        After the Gingrich Revolution I recall Mara Liasson (I believe; it might have been Cokie Roberts — her having been daughter of a politician, Thomas Hale Boggs Sr., who as House Majority Leader had some knowledge of both the sinful within his party and the virtuous amongst the opposition) commenting on the desperate pleas from journalists seeking to learn who, if any, among their fellows “knew” any conservatives. It seems they had never bothered to collect contact information from “those” people because “everybody” knew Congressional Republicans didn’t matter, would never matter and could be safely ignored if not openly disdained.

        For a conduit for press releases journalist it can be a very painful thing to rebuild your rolodex.

        1. Journalists want to change the world for the better. Or way too many of them do. That makes them progressives, inevitably.

          And, yes, many of them are going through “The Flip” now.

          1. I see very little evidence of journalists applying rigorous thought to what would actually improve the world . Mostly they like to point at obvious problems and propose ill-conceived patches to problems which will leave the underlying conditions festering.

            John Stossel is the most notable exception.

    3. Tried the thing about Bernie’s houses on my son-in-law. He went into a rant about how Bernie had spent a lifetime in public service and deserved nice things. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise to ask how anybody got that rich on a “public servant” salary.

      1. Unfortunately an all too common human failing. Look at the Russian people – never seem to realize that their new nobility has all of the same things as the old nobility, if not more – and usually treats the peasantry somewhat worse than what they replaced.

      2. To quote Mark Steyn, “Public service now means a life time of servicing yourself at the public’s expense.”

      3. Your SIL sounds like my cousins husband. He stomped off a good paying IT job without a degree 10 years ago, and couldn’t even get rehired by a bottling plant. Believes the world owes him an income; and doesn’t have any problem with using the government to steal it from the rest of us and redistribute it to him.

      4. The whole ‘public servant’ thing is grating. Apparently a farmer who raises cantaloupes, or a trucker who hauls them to market, is not a public servant, but a government employee who writes papers on ‘Evolving patterns of food distribution through 2040’ is such a servant.

        1. Indeed, the servants have been getting uppity. We obviously need to sack a few, pour encourager les autres). I have a little list, including (at least) two circuit courts.

  6. I’ve had those kinds of revelations a few times. I consider them the result of the unconscious kicking the forebrain and saying, Hey, we figured this out. One such revelation was that I didn’t actually want to be an engineer, something I had been thinking I was going to be since junior high. The night I figured it out was less than three hours from the first “I really don’t know why I’m doing this” to already thinking of myself as a different major.

    1. My youngest son was absolutely convinced he wanted to be a doctor. HS has a program for some kids who want go into certain fields where they kind or work-study their senior year, and one of them is health fields. Halfway through the first day he decided it wasn’t for him. Had to scramble to get him back into all the regular honors courses.

      Still not sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life, but knows a few things he DOESN’T want to do. He’ll be in Army ROTC in college, and he figures by the time his obligated service is up, he’ll have a clue.

      1. Sometimes people retire from the military and still don’t know what they want to be when they grow up. Oh, is that a mirror?

        1. I’m beginning to suspect that in my case, the word is not *when*, it’s *if*.

            1. I don’t know what universe you’re living in, but mine not only doesn’t demand that, it doesn’t even encourage it.

        2. I’ve been in my current field for nearly 20 years and I _still_ don’t know what I want to do with my life. This was just supposed to be a better paying stint than the last until I figured stuff out. In another 10 years I qualify for my pension, maybe I’ll start a career then.

          1. Hey – take it from me: retirement means that you can do the work that you WANT to do, rather than the work that you HAVE to do!

            The work that I want to do? I’ll be doing that until shortly before the medical examiner’s van comes to take my body away.

            1. Hmmm. Writers have to write. I suppose retirement for a writer consists of writing what you like to write, when you like to write it; and not what and when some other employer wants it.

          2. I’ve gone from wondering what to do with my life to what to do with my death. Do I ask to be buried in this cemetery or that one? If it’s in the first, should I have “You’ve got me at church now” engraved on my slab? Decisions, decisions.

    2. I had a friend who was planning to be a petroleum engineer until he took a fluid dynamics class and was told that this would be the sort of stuff he would do all day. He said, “Thank you very much for letting me know,” and started searching for a new career path…

      1. You must believe me that I didn’t see yours until I posted my own reply.

        I read those who complain about thermogoddamnamics – phaugh. Those are counting on the fingers compared to FD.

        1. I believe you. I’ve never taken the class myself, but I can imagine that it is not an uncommon reaction to the subject.

          It seems like every scientific field at least (I’m not sure about the softer subjects) has one class whose purpose is to say, “Let’s see if you really into this subject.” If you’re lucky, it occurs as early in the curriculum as possible.

          1. They always seem to be the classes that have “dynamics” in their titles (and that include mathematics; not “social dynamics” or some such).

            I’ve long held that if students were required to take a real statistics curriculum, there would be a lot fewer “soft” graduates – and those who did make it through would have a lot more credibility.

            1. More credibility? Well, per-hapsssssss …

              Mad Hatter: Would you like a little more tea?

              Alice: Well, I haven’t had any yet, so I can’t very well take more.

              March Hare: Ah, you mean you can’t very well take less.

              Mad Hatter: Yes. You can always take more than nothing.

              1. The Good Reverend Dodgson must have been one of those teachers that many students absolutely loved having – those that didn’t run screaming from his classroom, that is…

            2. Especially if they had to compute a standard deviation from a thousand readings using just paper and pencil. Ah, those lovely maintenance analysis classes the military sent me to at Chanute AFB in the winter of 1977.

              1. My RESPECT to you, sir. I was fortunate to avoid stats until calculators were common, and even had a square root button.

                Now my daughter, of course, has the latest graphing TI (as of a month ago, anyway) for her college classes. Sigh…

                1. There was certain statistical analysis package that about drove me around the bend; the first time I had to try it I came into class right before it started ranting and raving and asking the professor if the guys who wrote that were McGovern voting, communist, etc. (even though Nixon had been dead for a few years at that point).

          2. I tend to think this is “Hand drafting and sketch drawing” for my field, but then the instructor told all of the TAs that we’re not supposed to be discouraging the students….

            1. That’s debatable. Purposely discouraging, perhaps not. However, “discouraging” them by telling them the truth about their field and what they’ll have to do is the greatest service you can do them.

          1. Not mine… I first saw it used by RAH – and I don’t think he came up with it, either. (It probably was invented about five minutes, plus or minus one minute, after the name was first coined.)

        2. And while Thermo might be simple compared to FD, a couple times dealing with varying Q steam cycles and suddenly all those complex numbers in AC and RF don’t look bad at all.

            1. Or at least give real results, but I’m not reliable; I think I barely got out of that one EE class. (Transformers work in both directions is about all I remember.)

            2. One of the (many) corkers of RF is “quadrature modulation” which at first seems “impossible”, then… seems weirdly “obvious.” It’s been said that with the occasional exception of some small band or implementation, non-RF EE’s tend to regard RF as (black) magic. And then after hearing about everything is so critical and all… finding people who quite literal hack at the hardware with what seems utterly unsuitable tools until “that seems about right”… and it is.

            3. There are certain things that simply need to be accepted, rather than truly understood, sometimes. I mean, sure, you should be able to follow the proof of the thing’s existence, but don’t worry about trying to really grok it.

              1. THIS– If I thought about everything I learned in electronics and asked the why all the time, I wouldn’t have been plastic enough to work on circuits. I also learned that troubleshooting is magic… because some can and some can’t. I do it through hearing. Others do it through site or touch.

        3. Thermogoddamnamics was a core class when I went to school. Everyone had to take it, regardless of major. It weeded a few people out of the school each year.
          It was the digital signals class that made me tear my hair out…….. (The professor was awful, and the textbooks worse, imo.)

      2. I really liked Fluid Dynamics, and when I got into advanced thermo where we combined it with FD for power plant analysis, I was in hog heaven….

    3. I was going to be an astronaut (along with how many millions of other kids?) Then realized that I didn’t have the physical side of the “right stuff” for that.

      Okay, rocket scientist, then. Got my first look at typical fluid dynamics calculations… (I can do “high math,” and enjoy working out a problem – but the migraine component to it deters me from making it a daily indulgence.)

      1. My brother is a rocket scientist. He was on the team that did the altitude adjustment rockets for the New Horizons probe. (Yes, he’s done a lot of things since, but that’s the most known.)

        FWIW, he was nominated for a young aerospace scientist award a year or two back—in his 40s. Because that’s “young” in his field.

  7. “One of the times I remember seeing the story line was a soap opera where a worthy character who has done everything right kills himself for lack of money, and his son becomes a ‘righteous communist.'”

    Upon reading this, I had two thoughts in quick succession:

    (1) “Wait, what? That’s stupid. Even the dumbest message fiction couldn’t be THAT crazy.”

    (2) “Wait, what? This soap opera is clearly stealing plot elements from ‘Death of a Salesman.’ I guess message fiction CAN be that crazy.”

    (Admittedly, I don’t think either of Willy’s sons converts to communism at the end of the play, but it wouldn’t be out of place if they had)

    1. I can actually see this. People do not think straight when grieving, and I’ve seen all sorts of bad decisions. Imagine the son, bitter at “the system” because his father worked hard all his life and finally ended it because of financial difficulties. He’s been indoctrinated in socialism by schools and the media, and goes the whole nine yards. He becomes a red banner waving communist crying out at the sins of capitalism.

      The twist comes as he discovers those he looked to in the movement are not the staunch communists he thought they were. Depending on his mindset, he could be disillusioned to the point that he turns bitter against communism, or decided that since his idols are found wanting, it is up to him to step into the gap. And he takes a militant turn.

      That might make a pretty good change of pace for a soap opera.

        1. I have on for On the Beach. Some New Zealanders find a woman’s skeleton in the remains of a car on a hill overlooking the ocean. They’ve been salvaging Australia for years now, but this discovery haunts one member of the crew. Who was she? Was she beautiful? Why did she take the pill the Australian government saw as a “solution?” His revere is punctuated by a running battle with aborigines, who didn’t take the pill and, like New Zealanders, survived.

          1. That was always on the officially-approved reading lists when I was in school. What a festering mess… put me off Shute for decades.

            It’s hard to believe it was written by the same guy who wrote “Trustee from the Toolroom.” Which would be Human Wave, if such a thing existed back when it was written.

            1. And he was one of the boffins who came up with all kinds of stuff during the WWII; I read a whole book about them.

              And I think it put me off Shute too.

  8. So, kinda like the classic sequence of response to death of someone close to you: anger, denial, … eventually, acceptance.

  9. Well, that certainly explains the temper-tantrums going on among students at places like Evergreen and Mizzou…
    *hands out foam earplugs*
    Here – just use these until the screaming dies down.

  10. In the midst of such existential flips people and countries tend to react badly, and being people or run by same will often resort to violence.
    It’s always been a conundrum for me as to how the USSR managed to dissolve so quickly and with so little death and destruction. Though the final verdict on that may still be pending.

    1. I would suggest that a good part of the reason was that there were relatively few people inside the USSR who believed in communism. Most of the True Believers were foreign intellectuals.

      1. I think the True Believers were a cult promoted by the soviet leadership to protect their rule. If every soviet subject were fully of the cult, there would be less need to promote it overseas. They had to make make up the internal balance with force and defeating the will to resist. Folks who have had that stuff done to them may be less likely to develop an abiding faith in cult dogma.

        1. It is impossible to believe the ladies don’t crap when it’s your job to empty the chamber pot?

      2. After some 80 years of pretending that the truth was what the Party said it was, the Party got to where it wasn’t fooling anyone any of the time.

    2. One of the fun results of living through the Cold War was seeing Pravda become more truthful than the mainstream media in free America. We live in interesting times.

      1. Call me Lima Lima. Or Sam Lima. Or Lima Sam, But DON’T call me late for dinner.

  11. I think a more common pattern is clearly seen in things like the Ghost Dance, which was not the only such instance in North America. (Mumble, mumble) who wrote My Sojourn in the Creek Nation told of an incident between traders and the Creeks involving a horse. After the Creek proved the horse was his, he launched into a tirade blaming the evil ways of the whites on, among other things, books. They were reacting by becoming more staunch in the “old ways.” Indian Agent Benjamin Hawkins observed the same thing during the Red Stick War, with some Lower Creek towns abandoning European technology.

    This is what you’ve referred to as roll hard left and die. I don’t think it’s so much embracing the left in a last ditch effort as it is that same reaction of becoming insular. Being leftists at heart, they turn even further leftist for pretty much the same reasons some Lower Creeks abandoned European technology and some Indians later got caught up in the Ghost Dance. Something similar is happening in churches, and just this week I’ve heard a bit of back patting at being the denominational equivalent of orthodox, with calls to be even more so. Why? Declining church attendance and attacks on Christianity as various institutions do the roll hard left thing. Note that this also seems to be happening with Islam, going back to the radical changes beginning in the 1970s and continuing through today.

    This has me thinking it’s a common reaction by groups of humans. Individually I think we’re more open to things like changing technology or economies. Movements, such as what as observed by Benjamin Hawkings, may encourage tossing new technologies for the old, but unless old is demonstrably better, that only happens when it’s tied to some movement. Maybe because the “circling the wagons” reaction only happens when a group feels threatened by the change?

    1. European technology of the 15th through 18th centuries was only a short step above the Indians’ Neolithic tech. It would have been trivially easy to make their own guns, powder, knives, and alcohol… yet., with few exceptions, they either chose not to or it never occurred to them.

      It’s easy to blame it on “culture”, but… I can’t wrap my head around cultures so rigid they choose to die rather than adopt a few technological tricks.

      1. It’s not that. Cultures are WEIRD. They have blind spots. By and large other countries aren’t making their own computers, for instance. They’re simply copying American designs. Same for drugs. Same for pretty much all of Modern Civilization. Racial difference? There’s no racial difference. There are internal disincentives and there is “my head doesn’t bend that way.”
        This is one reason I say we could have had civilizations at the Roman level with “tech” we lost, say for building, because it’s weird and other tribes’ heads didn’t bend that way.

        1. Israel appears to have a similar cultural dynamic, something which does not seem to endear them to the world.

          1. Some folks just don’t like successful Jews. Success in business and scholarship are galling enough, but then they have the nerve to successfully defend themselves in war. The nerve!

        2. History seems to be full of “D’oh!” moments. Admittedly, some did have to wait for the materials to catch up. The concept of the phonograph seems absurdly simple once realized – but that’s the key: realized. And then.. recording materials that can take the recording AND preserve it for more than a short time or few replays.

          And the curious problem that is obviously continually re-solved: How do you make more precise things from less precise things? You start with sticks and stones and skins and bones… and end up with (so far) scanning electron microscopes and nanometer designs in silicon. Then, scattered along the way are odd stepping stones that seem strange to have been discovered, even if they were not so at the time. The (Branley) “coherer” in radio.. now decades obsolete, yet (last I’d heard) still not fully understood.

        3. *GASP*
          Other countries are misappropriating our technology?
          They’re stealing American designs for their own use??
          They’re manufacturing American developed drugs???
          Where’s the SJW rage over that????

        4. I know. Even in Europe the history of technology has been strange an uneven. And in some cases it went backwards; rifled barrels, breechloaders, and cartridges were re-invented or re-introduced for centuries before finally being adopted as “the way things are done.” And those had clear advantages for important military equipment…

      2. Well, which is easier? Mining your own metal, refining it, smelting it, and then making it into something useful, or just using the skills you and your people already know to trade for the something useful?
        Never underestimate people’s capacity to engage in shortsighted behavior.

        1. Not so much that. That is economic sense. It’s more of having to deal with rains that make a nasty hard-setting mud, but it doesn’t matter as the soil is too full of rocks for most crops and the rain then flows away leaving a terrible dryness…

          …rather than picking up the rocks to make a reservoir/dam, cementing it with the mud-mortar and thus having water during the dry times for the crops in the now less rockbound soil.

          1. Necessity + resources + humans = ingenious solutions
            Given the opportunity, and non-interference by those who “supposedly” know better.

          2. “Jubal and Tubal Cain


            Jubal sang of the Wrath of God
            And the curse of thistle and thorn —
            But Tubal got him a pointed rod,
            And scrabbled the earth for corn.
            Old — old as that early mould,
            Young as the sprouting grain —
            Yearly green is the strife between
            Jubal and Tubal Cain!

            Jubal sang of the new-found sea,
            And the love that its waves divide —
            But Tubal hollowed a fallen tree
            And passed to the further side.
            Black — black as the hurricane-wrack,
            Salt as the under-main —
            Bitter and cold is the hate they hold —
            Jubal and Tubal Cain!

            Jubal sang of the golden years
            When wars and wounds shall cease —
            But Tubal fashioned the hand-flung spears
            And showed his neighbours peace.
            New — new as Nine-point-Two,
            Older than Lamech’s slain —
            Roaring and loud is the feud avowed
            Twix’ Jubal and Tubal Cain!

            Jubal sang of the cliffs that bar
            And the peaks that none may crown —
            But Tubal clambered by jut and scar
            And there he builded a town.
            High-high as the snowsheds lie,
            Low as the culverts drain —
            Wherever they be they can never agree —
            Jubal and Tubal Cain! “

      3. No. They didn’t have the tools to make the tools. White Americans had so much metal that they would use it for butt plates on rifles. Plains Indians had so little metal that virtually all of the rifles that they acquired had the butt plates removed and used as hide scrapers.

  12. I think being uninterested in being in any particular group (Odd, right?) preserved me from more than just a few sips of the Cool-Aid. I remember voting against Reagan (1st national election I ever voted in) because, well, everybody was saying how he was going to start WWIII, for starters. But then I did something evidently not too common: I paid attention to what actually happened. Reagan did none of the things we were supposed to panic over. Instead, he did a number of things he said he would do. Most impressively, he stared down the USSR – and they blinked, while everyone from the press to the intelligence community (whateverthehell that means) were twitching in the corner.

    So, that was the beginning of simply looking at what happens and comparing it to what the supposed experts claim will happen. I haven’t trusted the press since about 1982. Gradually, I’ve come from some sympathy to a cold hard hatred of Marxism – liars and murderers and manipulators who prey on the weak just as certainly as any pedophile. That whole non-joiner thing makes party-line voters look like Boston Celtic fans, only maybe even less intelligent, if possible.

    How about looking at what’s happening in front of your eyes, what people do rather than what they say they’ll do, and voting for your interests instead of for the party that got granddad a job as a garbage man?

    1. That would require people to read things not on the sport’s and gossip pages, or even the funny pages for that matter. (Except even the funny pages are overrun with socialist ideology.) And it would require they remember things for more than 10 minutes.

    2. My dad told me when he permanently lost trust in the media. During Vietnam in the very early 70’s, he was sitting in Pleiku reading a magazine article (maybe Time?) all about how Pleiku had just been overrun by the Viet Cong and everyone had been captured or killed.

    3. This. Very much this.
      (And it goes along with Sarah’s bit on PJMedia over the weekend about “we’re not good listeners”!)

  13. “when I started correlating things in my head and realized that things like Chariot of the Gods couldn’t be true”
    Actually I was convinced it was not true on the first page.

      1. I recall hearing some bit of some TV show in the early-mid 1970’s about all this.. being taken at face value.. and about all I recalled of it was the prediction that aliens would be arriving in December 2011. Well, it’s a been a few years since that, and… hrmm.

        1. Are you sure about that? Have you seen California politicians lately? (Ducks and runs.)

    1. I read Chariots of the Gods and the follow-ons around the same time I was reading L. Sprague de Camps Ancient Engineers. That was also around the same time I was reading The Lord of the Rings, somewhere around age 9-10. Frankly, von Daniken came off somewhat the worse for the comparison, because the crap he was writing didn’t hold a candle to de Camp, and as fiction, he was nowhere near as internally consistent and elaborate as Tolkien.

      Although, I do have to give the man credit–He’s still making money off that stuff, to this day. Impressive, that.

      And, I am still a little less than sure that we know as much as we think we do, about the works of the ancients. I know a guy who specializes in modern stonecutting and stonework, and he’s a big skeptic about all this stuff. It’s a hobby of his, and the only time I’ve ever seen him shaken by anything was when he came back from a trip to those ruins up around Puma Punku in Bolivia. He’d gone down there with some skeptic group he was a member of, to look the site over in person, and when he came back…? Yeah. Turns out, there was a bunch of stuff down there that he’d looked over, and just gone “How the hell did they do this?? I couldn’t do this, with modern technology… How the hell did a bunch of near-neolithics manage the alignments and precision cuts they did…?”.

      He didn’t buy into von Daniken’s theories, but he damn sure isn’t as sure as he once was that we know as much as we think we do about the ancients. There’s some very sophisticated work down there, captured in that stone work, and we don’t have much of an idea for how they managed it. It’s something you just don’t appreciate until you’re the person trying to do the work–It looks like something super-simple to the layperson, but it is anything but. However they did it, it required a lot of sophisticated knowledge and technique, and the thing that got my friend going was that the archaeologists don’t have a good idea at all where the hell it all came from. Supposedly, there are no intermediate stages–It’s neolithic, and then, bang, they’re building the sites at places like Puma Punku, and there aren’t any signs of there being any kind of progression from more primitive work that they’ve been able to identify. It’s been a few years since I talked to him, and read about the archaeology, so maybe they’ve found more, but it was kinda a huge “WTF?” for him, and through him, me. It would be interesting to know if they ever figured out where the hell all that stone work came from, and if they ever manage to find antecedents somewhere for it. Someone proposed a theory that the people who did that work were refugees from somewhere else, like Central America or the Amazon Basin, but that’s never been proven.

      1. Again, with the revised chronology of when Man emerged there’s room for several “ancient civilizations” to rise and fall, and even if they were say Ancient Rome level, there’s a good chance they knew a few things we’ve lost.

        BTW I use “Chariot of the gods” as a short hand. I don’t think I ever read HIM. I read Jacques Bergier (in French, part of the point being he was the only French books that tourists left behind, so free to practice my French.)

        1. I read a couple of von Daniken’s books and came to the Pournelle Conclusion; extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
          And none of those books contained any of the latter.

          1. The worst part of the von Daniken fad was the creation of the “In Search Of” TV series. I hope Leonard Nimoy got paid a lot for that…

            1. The sad thing? As bad as it was, it still often the best… alright, least-lousy.. thing on. And that with all of C-band satellite in the 1980’s.

              1. Oi! I remember from my youth when the least lousy thing to watch was the weather channel.

                I don’t mean today’s evolution of that, I mean the one which consisted of nothing but a camera panning across a thermometer, a barometer, a wind gauge, a clock … and back again.

                1. Ours was a channel with the camera pointed at a 40-column black and white video screen. Updated at maybe 110 baud.

                  I *think* the source of the information was the FAA, since it always mentioned “visibility.” Wherever it came from, it was waaaay more accurate than the fancy reports we have today.

      2. Among the college courses on Audible is one on “Lost Civilizations of South America.” Archeologist talks about all sorts of stuff in Central and South America, including way too much gory stuff about Jaguar and headhunting. Starts out slow, gets into some really interesting depth.

        But yeah, the stuff in Peru they do not understand. He actually takes seriously an old story about a New World plant that dissolves stone and makes it workable like clay, and thinks they had some kind of chemistry thing going on in their masonry. He wants to set up a project for more oral and field research on such a thing.

        But if that were true, you would expect more sculpture than walls to use such a compound, wouldn’t you?

        1. What got my friend going wasn’t the stonework; he could kinda figure out how that might have been done, over time, with neolithic hand tools. You rub one harder rock against a harder one, and eventually you’ll make progress.

          What got him going were the alignments over the distances involved. I can’t recall which site it was, but he hauled a survey instrument with him, and when he was helping the team get a site plan done, he suddenly realized just how precise everything was, and over what distances. Everybody else was just like, well, yeah… “Sure, that’s easy to do; you’re doing it right now, aren’t you?”, and he’s left gibbering at their inability to comprehend just how difficult those alignments would have been, absent modern technology like lasers and theodolites.

          The site that really had him going, if I remember right, was the one up in the mountains with the so-called “doorway” in it. Details escape me, at the moment, but the way that site was laid out, he wasn’t sure if he could have done it at all, let alone with what the people who probably built it had.

          The other thing that still kinda yikes me about that whole area is this: Where the hell are the intermediate steps, from hunter-gatherer society to full-blown “We’re putting up stone buildings that will puzzle the hell out of people thousands of years from now, as to how we did it so well…”? From my reading and research on the Puma Punku sites, they literally went from nothing to building those things, and there’s not anything at all in the way of signs that they’d done anything in between those and piled random rocks. So, where did it all come from? What are we missing? If those folks were indigenous, and just started building that stuff, as opposed to developing it, that’s pretty unique. Likewise, if they moved into the area, or copied neighbors, where the hell are they from, and who were the neighbors? It’s literally like “nothing, nothing, nothing, sophisticated stone buildings, nothing…”.

          Of course, the last time I really looked into this was over ten years ago, so maybe there’s some new stuff that’s come out…? If I had the time, I’d go look. If I had the money, I’d be in Bolivia just to see it all for myself.

          You go look at the Greeks, and you can see the progression and development from wood-column buildings to the Acropolis. Same with Egypt, same with China. Puma Punku? It’s just there, nothing showing what it came out of. Which is why a lot of the South American archaeologists just go “Well, there it is… Deal with it…”.

          Hopefully, there is an explanation out there, and one that doesn’t involve grey-skinned space aliens conducting breeding experiments on apes… I would laugh my ass off so hard if that turned out to be even slightly true, and some poor bastard had to try to tell the rest of us the facts, with a straight face. “Well, gentlemen, here it is: Incontrovertible, undeniable proof of alien visitation to South America… Here’s their spacecraft; here’s the stuff we recovered from it, including what appear to be records of modifications made to human DNA, and… F**k… Gentlemen, I need a drink…”.

          The expression on von Daniken’s face would be epic, because I’m pretty sure he knows how full of shit he really is, and has just been playing P.T. Barnum all these years. It’d be like someone producing a family of Sasquatch or Yetis… The cognitive dissonance in the sciences would be epic, and I’d love to have the flippin’ liquor concession outside a lot of major universities in the aftermath of it all.

          1. Ok, I can think of a fairly simple explanation for all that.

            Why do ancient structures get destroyed faster than the elements would? Because people take them apart to reuse the materials in other structures.

            What would be the evidence left by a stoneworking culture that was in the habit of taking their older buildings apart, refining the construction and fit, and putting them back together? If you did that, you might have long periods of time with the buildings put together to decide that, yes, next time we will adjust the angle so that these two buildings will finally line up.

            Simple does not mean easy or sane.

            You’d need a lot of cheap labor and time, and either materials or transport would have to be really costly. They didn’t have horses and wheels, so I can almost buy transport driving the cost of new materials at a site really high. But I’d like sane competent academics to work out the costing before I’d invest too much in the idea.

            1. The Romans had trouble with locals using Roman roads as a ready source of stone for building fences and buildings.

          2. What got him going were the alignments over the distances involved. I can’t recall which site it was, but he hauled a survey instrument with him, and when he was helping the team get a site plan done, he suddenly realized just how precise everything was, and over what distances. Everybody else was just like, well, yeah… “Sure, that’s easy to do; you’re doing it right now, aren’t you?”, and he’s left gibbering at their inability to comprehend just how difficult those alignments would have been, absent modern technology like lasers and theodolites.

            Not terribly imaginative, then. I’ll be it could be done with straight sticks and some long bowls of water. Naturally, the bowls of water are your levels, and you just line up the damn sticks visually. You might need a plumb bob to make sure the sticks were vertical, or perhaps you need to line up two points on each stick. There are tons of modern construction guys who can’t imagine the kind of precision that my father used to get with a few sticks, some string, a tape measure, and a level. They all swear that you can’t do what he used to do without lasers.

            1. The alignments he was talking about were the things up in the mountains miles away at Amaru Meru, which is aligned with stuff in Puma Punku and the other sites like the Gate of the Sun at Tiwanaku. The smaller-scale things he could see using water levels and what-not to get… The bigger things being in alignment? Blew his mind; he had taken some of the first available GPS survey stuff down there, and when he put all the sites on his mapping software, he at first thought there had been a bunch of mistakes.

              Very interesting guy to talk to, because unlike most of the “skeptic believers” that worship at the feet of James Randi, he kept an open mind and just wanted a rational explanation for how things had been done.

              He did come up with a theory, but since the sun’s alignment only happened once a year, that would have meant that the project would have taken generations to really get “surveyed in”, and he couldn’t see that happening without some form of written record-keeping.

              Which ties in with what we were talking about awhile back with regards to oral history and records–If those megaprojects were kept on line for the generations it would have taken to get everything properly aligned between the sites, then that speaks to a lot more sophistication and accuracy than we’re assuming possible in a purely pre-literate society.

              But, then… Gobekli Tepi. Maybe these megaprojects are a lot more common than we think, because they’re all either buried or under the ocean now. I’d love to know the details of what’s out in the Indian Ocean, and find out just what time frame all that stuff is from.

              Now, what might be interesting is to know just what triggered the glacial melts that created the big changes at the end of the Pleistocene, which coincided with the end of the Clovis Point culture. Maybe whatever killed off the megafauna in North America wasn’t necessarily people, but an asteroid strike hitting the ice sheets, and speeding up the melt process.

              Anyone who’s looked over the Channeled Scablands in Eastern Washington walks away with an appreciation for what lots of fast-moving water can do. Were we to postulate a civilization that had been out in that geography, before the floods…? Yeah. Most of the evidence for it would be out in the Pacific past the mouth of the Columbia. Good luck finding anything to show it ever even existed. And, given the predilection humans have for living near the water…? Good grief, you could have had a pretty significant set of things going on, along the Columbia, the evidence for which would be mostly gone after the floods.

              Which leads into the next question–Why are flood legends so flippin’ prevalent around the world? Is it the commonality of major flooding happening world-wide, and the human tendency to exaggerate? Or, was there a series of major events we’re only remembering through folk tale and myth?

              The really interesting questions may not be answerable, but it would be nice to have an idea. I find it rather hard to accept that we’ve come as far as we have as quickly as we have, and there’s this whole massive swathe of history from the dawn of modern man to our earliest recorded history with nothing more than us wandering around as hunter-gatherers. Two things rise up at me from that–What the hell were our ancestors doing in all that time, remaining arcadian primitives, and just what the hell was it that triggered the changes that took place, leading to modern civilization?

              No matter how you cut it, we just don’t know enough about that period, and I suspect it’s because the sites where we’d find most of the information are under water now, like Beringia and Doggerland. What we’re looking at now are the areas that wouldn’t have been of much interest, due to their distance from the water. We joke about “ocean front property” in Nevada, but the truth is, we’re pretty much living in that space ourselves, from the standpoint of our ancestors. All the “good lands” that they’d have known are now ocean… How much of human development took place out there, and what are we missing because it’s inaccessible?

          3. “So, where did it all come from? What are we missing?”
            Babel? They brought the tech with them.

          4. How did they go from H/G society to massive architecture overnight?

            Well, you see, there was this Carthaginian troop ship blown off course, that picked up an offshore breeze from the Mauritanian coast …

      3. Again, why insist on a rise from nothingness? Why not a descent from knowledge into primitivism rather than the other way around.

        This was one of the flips that my mind took – when I realized that the tenets of progressivism were foundational to the idea of “evolution” and possibly corrupted everyone’s thinking to the point of blinding us to obvious answers (like “how did those primitives build the pyramids?!?”).

      4. Consider the possibility that the techniques were developed in a nearby area now covered in water. Look at what the southeast asian coastline was like around 12k BC.

      1. Or for somewhat horror stories where the guy with the D&D campaign at the local bookstore is investigated for ties to a local magic murder cult. (He’s innocent, but there were good reasons for him to be a suspect that had pretty much nothing to do with D&D. (I’m pretty sure this is more a comedy, but it heavily depends on Lovecraftian influence.))

  14. If God made man in His own image, then either God is one seriously mixed up being, or he didn’t do that good of a job on us.

    1. Man failed to adhere to proper maintenance protocols and installed some serious malware?

      1. I’m pretty sure that a lot of the current left were built on a howler monkey base.

      2. That’s the consequence of the fall, known as concupiscence. Unfallen man would have control over his body and his appetites.

    2. I do at times wonder, did the ancient Greeks actually worship as such, or was their pantheon one giant parable (or set thereof) about how screwed up things are, all the way up.

      1. Ritualized worship, sure. The sort of personal relationship with God promoted by Christian worship, I think not. Projecting back our ideas of religion onto what the Greeks thought and did is clearly a bad idea. I think that what ancient Greeks felt about their gods falls into a very wide range, with pretty much no overlap with how a devout Christian thinks about God. Socrates and the extreme rational crowd thought the gods were very different from the popular conceptions of them, and even speak of *a* god, who, again, is very different than Zeus, say – so much so that Aristotle could propose an Unmoved Mover as a supreme being. That end of the pool thought the myths were lies, because gods could not behave like they were said to and remain divine. Yet, they celebrated the public rituals (see the whole set up to the Republic).

        BUT – that whole Dionysian celebration of the irrational was very real, too. And Socrates did visit the oracle. So, wide range, but not wide enough to encompass the Jesus, my Lord, my God, my All worship of Christians.

    3. Straight-up theology is that a statue of Julius Caesar is in the likeness of Julius Caesar but is not Julius Caesar. We can speculate that aspects of our own spirit, such as a sense of justice and anger at the lack of it, is similar to G_d’s. Yet the capacity of free will also means the capacity to do that which is wrong.

    4. After multiple tries, he ended up with one that talked back. At which time, he finally came to the realization that sometimes continued meddling only makes things worse. (Sometimes, God seems rather slow on the uptake…)

      1. “Three things never trust in:
        The vendor’s final bill,
        The promises your boss makes,
        And the customer’s good will.”

  15. You want knowledge of good and evil? Here’s some of each. Figure out which is which.

  16. Well, like so many, I’m doing the best Indy I can and making it up as I go along, or go ashort. Medium, even, at times.

  17. Some time ago Alice Cooper did an album with a Faustian story of a boy enticed by the promises of The Showman. The title was Last Temptation — there was also a short comic book series co-authored with Neil Gaiman.

    From Stolen Prayer, written by Alice Cooper and Chris Cornell, in which the boy is struggling to come to terms with what he has realized regarding who The Showman is and that what he has been selling is a lie:

    My sins are etched in stone
    I got no place to hide
    Well, I was unshakable
    In what I did believe
    I feel so breakable
    But have I been deceived

    You showed me your paradise
    And your carnival of souls
    But my heart keeps telling me
    That ain’t the place to go
    Well, I’m not invincible
    So I want you to leave
    Well, I’m so convincible
    But have I been deceived

    I take your words and try them on
    Yeah, it’s a perfect fit, boy
    You tell me one size fits us all
    Yeah, like an old straightjacket
    Well, tell me why I’m so afraid
    All my words are spoke
    All my words are spoken
    All my words are spoken
    In a stolen prayer

    I remember yesterday
    When things were black and white
    Never thought I’d get confused
    On what was wrong and right
    Well, I’m Not unbreakable
    With armour on my skin
    Well, it’s not unthinkable I could be fooled again

  18. Chariot of the Gods couldn’t be true

    Of course it wasn’t true.

    All those “mysteries” weren’t created by Aliens.

    They were created by the Lost Civilization of Atlantis which was “home grown” not Aliens from another world. 👿

      1. Seriously Sarah, Atlantis as an explanation for “interesting objects” pre-dates “Chariots Of The Gods”.

        Long before that book, people actually believed that Atlantis was the “mother civilization” that founded the Egyptian civilization, the South American civilizations, etc.

        It was the same idea of “those people couldn’t have created that so somebody else must have done so”.

        That idiot author decided that “Aliens From Space” helped out us “poor little humans”.

        Earlier idiots decided that the Egyptians and American Indians “didn’t build that” but “had to have help from Atlantis”. 😦

    1. Actually it was pre-communist civilizations that are no longer recorded in history.

    2. Hey, I heard that the real special advanced lost culture was the Lost Civilization of Mu.

      1. And, alas, the Mu-ons that transmit what remaining wisdom there might be are very short-lived things, decaying rapidly. Whilst it seems likely that we’ll be stuck with the morons forever.

  19. In high school, I ran in to some poor history that had been in history books for decades. Or it was a decades old source that was still around for some reason. At the same time, some of the early articles about Political Correctness were coming out and afrocentrism (in terms of meaning all history and all good, all inventions, etc. all came out of Africa and not just in ancient times. It was stolen – much the same as Mister Checkov in Star Trek claimed all things sourced from Russia) was becoming a popular thing for the more well-to-do black students to talk about. It was a little surreal to listen to one of them talk about things with not a shred of proof, no names or dates, to counter what the teacher just taught us about say Greek philosophy. At least at that time, PC was dismissed as a passing fad, and the afrocentrism (as it was presented to me by those who bought in to it) was just in classroom chatting and not actual debates, lectures or in the textbooks.

  20. Also, and this may be related to ‘roll left and die’ just as Hugo Chavez or at least his followers ceased to be communists just as soon as the destruction of Venezuela became undeniable, some people I know went from, for example, Dems to Bernie to Marxists as the problems with each became harder to ignore. Thus, all failures are because those failing aren’t *real* whatevers.

    I suspect there is a cliff at the end of that road

  21. A person in my life recently had a flip due to life events and i am hoping that they don’t do anything drastic or life-changing. Hope they know i will still be around if things flip back…

  22. Thank you Sarah. Be not afraid is itself such powerful advice when so many are shouting “be afraid be afraid!” Social proof coming even from very dim people can be very persuasive when supplied in large numbers

  23. A Russian friend said it seemed like reality asserted itself practically overnight in Russia. I think something like that could happen.

  24. “And you could get more joke reminders into a smaller book that way…”

    An old boss of mine told several of us a joke about a woman who has an accident while riding her bicycle with her dog (a Schnauzer). Several of us who worked for the guy still see each other socially 30 years on, but none of us can remember anything more about the joke other than the punch line– Woman: “But what about my Schnauzer, doctor?”
    Doctor: “Just stay off your bicycle for a couple of weeks.”

    1. My neighbour found out that her dog ( a Schnauzer) could hardly hear, so she took it to the veterinarian. The vet found that the problem was hair in the dog’s ears. He cleaned both ears, and the dog could then hear fine. The vet then proceeded to tell the lady that, if she wanted to keep this from recurring, she should go to the chemist and get some “Nair” hair remover and rub it in the dog’s ears once a month

      The lady went to the chemist and bought some “Nair” hair remover. At the register, the pharmacist told her, “If you’re going to use this under your arms, don’t use deodorant for a few days.”

      The lady said, “I’m not using it under my arms.”

      The pharmacist said, “If you’re using it on your legs, don’t shave for a couple of days.”

      The lady replied, “I’m not using it on my legs either. If you must know, I’m using it on my Schnauzer.”

      The pharmacist says, “Well stay off your bicycle for about a week.”

      1. I realize this is not the point, but I keep thinking, “If you need to shave within a few days after using Nair, it didn’t work too well, did it?”

  25. One thing that bothered me about all of the “Ancient Mysteries” books/programs was that they take something “true” and made it out to be “something strange had to be the explanation”.

    There’s so much that we “don’t know about the past” that it is “true” that we really don’t know how something was done in the past.

    However, the books/programs took the “we don’t know how something was done” to mean “something strange had to be the explanation for how it was done”.

    Maybe the Fairy-Folk really did built the Egyptian pyramids, but until we have facts to prove that they did, it is better to believe that humans with the tools we know they actually had did the work. 😉

    1. I quite enjoyed one program that showed that it was possible to do many of the “impossible” things for the pyramids.. with technologies known to have been in existence at the time. Alas, I forget name and details, but it was really a collection, “Oh, of course!” moments.

    2. Memo to self: Fairy folk pyramid with underhill, deep beneath the ocean.

      Were the Irish Sea or English Channel dry during the last glacial maximum?

        1. Many years ago, I read a John Christopher novel about a new ice age hitting the world. (I think it was The Long Winter).

          Any way, some of the characters were heading for England via Europe and were able to cross the English Channel on the former sea bottom.

          Oh, there was a mention of them passing a place in the English Channel that still had sea water.

          I later say a map that showed the Channel and how “deep” it was.

          I saw on the map the area mentioned in the book.

          1. Yeah, I checked. Doesn’t look like the area between Cornwall and Portugal was dry, but I’ve been very blessed this project considering how workable most of the mad fancies turned out to be. The idea itself may prove fundamentally broken, but most of the little things seem to be working.

            Thanks all.

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