In Motion

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What I’ve been talking about for the last few posts, in case that’s not obvious to everyone else (sometimes things stay in my head) isn’t precisely future shock.

In fact, it’s rather weird that Alvin Toffler concentrated on the psychological effects of rapid change, as it were in a vacuum. He makes mention of adopting and discarding identities, but honestly, that isn’t the issue at all.

I think the reason for his walking around the elephant, carefully, describing everything he sees without ever realizing the thing is living and breathing has to do with his training, the axioms of his training and the weird counter-factual train wreck of the 20th century’s beliefs about humans, culture and society.

To simplify things to a brutal level, and say what they most of the time didn’t explicitly say, but what they acted like, was as though humans were infinitely pliable, tabula rasas to have poured into them whatever the state or philosophers or whatever happened to believe.  In the same way they believed that society/culture was merely what you were told by the state/institutions, and that you could replace a culture with another merely by indoctrinating children, and that the indoctrination, whatever it was would hold exactly as poured into their heads.

The resulting horrors filled up all the 20th century, but it wasn’t enough to discredit them.

Partly it was because of the American revolution, which, no, didn’t do any of that, but which was viewed from Europe as a bizarre and complete sundering of culture, an introduction of something completely new.  And, to their eyes, we did it, survived, thrived and went on to create most of the underpinnings of modern life.  Of course, also to their eyes, we still had the evils of greed and individualism, but they’d create better cultures after their own sunderings.

This is of course nonsense on stilts.  America is, if not the continuation of English culture, what happened to English culture when it was given a lot of room and the king was far away.  The individualism and all that were a strong strain of English culture, which culminated in the American revolution, rather than being negated by it.

And further, after World War II we “remade” the defeated nations, from Germany to Japan, right? And it worked, right? … uh… no?  I mean, it turns out Germany is after all pretty much Germany and managing by money and stealth what the war didn’t give them.  And as for Japan, yeah, they took in a lot of our culture, very fast, and are suffering all the side effects of a “defeated culture” a syndrome known throughout history and which includes “and they stop having children.”

But it gave the sociologists and psychologists of the 20th century the idea that both man and culture were infinitely pliable.

Now, humans are not genetically coded to be thieves or wastrels or for that matter saints and scholars.  To the extent that IQ is genetically coded, (maybe.  D*mn difficult thing to code, IQ, partly because above a certain range it almost always presents with pathologies that impair how well you can use it and how well you express it) but it is influentiable by environment. We know that from various studies on adoptive children.  Nutrition, early stimulus, etc, make a huge difference.

The thing is that every child born comes with a load of propensities and …. uh… inclinations.  When it comes to who we are and what we do the answer to “nature or nurture” is “uh.” Because we don’t know. We know they both go in there, in some amount, but we don’t know the amount and for all we know it might vary from person to person.

For instance, you expect your kids to resemble you, right? But often they don’t. And if you’ve been in the same area very long — as a family — you might suddenly realize “Dear Lord, he’s just like Uncle John come again.”

In younger son’s case, I joke that he’s my clone, but he’s actually my dad’s clone, down to his professional interests, his effortless artistic ability and his taste in women (!) and his taste in food (which is not always mine.) This without having spent more than maybe three cumulative months near my dad.  And no, I didn’t tell him stories, because a lot of things I didn’t even know (mostly food) until I was bitching to mom and she said “Your dad does that.”

We know — each of us — that the inner person has things he or she likes or dislikes, and sure they can be defeated, but they have to be defeated, it’s not like they aren’t there.

What malleability there is in human beings comes from the fact that virtues and faults are usually a double-sided coin. As in, you can be a very cunning thief, or a very cunning artificer; a liar or an inspiring story teller.  That’s where upbringing and culture come in.

But with all that there is something to humans you can’t remake and redo. You cannot make humans other than what they are: social apes, and in evolutionary terms not very far from the Savannah.

As for culture, they do change.  Usually they change by being conquered or conquering, expanding or contracting their area. That is, they change slowly, and in response to changed ways of living. But they retain stuff, too. One of the things that always strikes me when reading science fiction written by people born and raised in America is the casual way in which they assume the aims, the goals, the internal “story” of other cultures is exactly the same as ours.  It’s a blindness I have trouble understanding, until I realize that culture is like  water. When you’re in it, you don’t see it.

Anyway, the point of this digression — it’s early. I haven’t had coffee — is that Tofler thought the cause of anomie was change being “too fast” — as most of what he described, not wrong — but he also thought we would assume and discard identities at will to cope with it.

So. we are dealing with anomie. For various reasons, but possibly the most important one being “We no longer have a story.”  Humans have brief lives, compared to anything we need to accomplish. To accomplish what we wish, over multiple life times, we need to see ourselves as part of a story, of something worthwhile moving into the future.

For much of history that was religion. For many of us, it still is (but not to the same degree, partly because, honestly, for the same degree you need the reinforcement of the whole culture.) When that failed it was the nation state. But the internationalist Marxists have been hammering on that for a century. Many people if asked “What are you here for?” have no answer, beyond maybe their profession, what they do every day, their hobby, their family. And all of those can get dramatically changed and yanked around by the rate of technological change which is changing the way we live everyday, and the way people interact.  And yes, some of those changes will break up families too.

So, the (flaming) tech rollercoaster is heading towards most of our jobs, our hobbies, the way we live, over the next ten, twenty, thirty years — what will probably be the remainder of my life — and how do we cope with it?

In the immediate aftermath, we cope with it by being prepared, by being flexible. Being water is something more than a good motto for protesters (though it is that too.)

KNOW that your job, your hobby might vanish. (If you’re prepared, it’s less likely to happen to your family.) Have other skills, other interests, things you might do/sell, work at. A fall back position. And a fall back position to that. If you’re aware it might happen, and you’re ready for it, you’re less likely to feel like the world has ended.
And think through what’s happening. Do not accept any assumptions about what’s happening too. Don’t assume that because what happens resembles what happened in one or two decades things are going to come back the same way. Look at how things have changed. For instance, traditional publishers keep coming up with “this is just like what happened in–”  But it’s not. Not when the business has changed from selling paper bricks to selling electrons with stories.

And this is why you need to think about what might change before it does. And think through what’s happening in the larger world that’s affecting your job.  And don’t be afraid.  If you’re flexible and capable of learning, you’ll always find something to do, some way to support yourself.  Yes, it gets harder the older we get because we’re so tired of starting again.  But think about it. You can do it because you’re living longer.  In historical terms, you aren’t that old. You don’t feel as old, and you aren’t as infirm as someone your age even 100 years ago.  You’ve got this. Analyze, study, learn to be flexible, and assume you’re always going to have keeping learning. There is no such thing as a settled position, a lifetime job. (Those might have been an effect of the post WWII environment, in the modern age.)

Learn, build, be good at what you do, and be ready to change it.

Meanwhile (back at the ranch) what should our narrative be? Well, not one of guilt and defeat. It will never get you anywhere except crouching on the floor, in the fetal position.

Not one of decrease and death. The civilization isn’t dying. It’s not collapsing. It’s changing. It’s in many ways becoming more friendly to the individual and freedom.

So–

Believe in the future. Believe that we can, if we work at it — nothing is given — make the world a better place, more friendly to freedom. Believe that the future will be better than the past. If we work at it.

Go forth. Be flexible, build, and be not afraid.

 

 

107 thoughts on “In Motion

  1. I’ve long felt that perhaps the most serious mistake made by the collective nations of Europe was to take the easy way out and force out the bulk of their “troublemakers.”
    Criminals, political agitators, really anyone unhappy with the status quo, just ship them off to the new world and take their crimes and radical ideas with them.
    And now generations later they are paying the price for that leeching of the gene pool.

    1. One of the great favors the Axis did was cause a lot of smart & talented folks to move to somewhere they could survive… and defeat the Axis. Good thing for us this was that particular somewhere in so many cases.

      1. And the great Cosmic joke at the end is that the antisemitic Arabs thought that they were going to just roll over a Nation formed by people tough enough to survive the Holocaust and people smart enough to have gotten out of range before it started.

        1. Survived not only the Holocaust, but the Ottoman Empire, the Inquisition, the Romans, The Persians, The Egyptians, and many other efforts over millennia to destroy them and “wipe out the Jews” and were now returning to their ancestral home. Sadly these days its not just Iran’s Mullahs and others in that region who would like to murder the world’s Jews, the number on the left who will gladly join them are increasing daily-just like at the UK Labour Party and the Democratic Party.

  2. Madam Hostess you said:

    When it comes to who we are and what we do the answer to “nature or nurture” is “uh.”

    Actually the answer is YES, or less enigmatically both. And yes family resemblances are definitely weird. I was going through some things of my mom’s I’d stumbled on and found her Civil Defense ID from her mid 20’s (worked for the power company so a critical employee). Comparing it to my elder daughter you’d have thought they were twins except moms hair was nearly black(I know this picture was black and white) and wavy vs daughters dark auburn and straight, and mom had the “Walton” family nose, broad and flat and, well, unflatteringly large. Daughter lucked out and has from my dad’s side nose much reduced. Please note there was a chance for a true Lamarckian horror of a nose as my wife’s family has classic roman profile noses some of brobdigan proportions which crossed with the Walton nose would give you nightmatres (though probably excellent breathing :-). I thank the Author for not visiting that on any of my children.
    Similarly my Dad resembled my maternal uncle Oscar to the point where they looked like twins. I also resemble Oscar and my dad, but grandma said in my teens I deeply reminded her of her brother in my mannerisms, voice and appearance. I never met Oscar, he was gone several years before I was born, perhaps a bit of maudlin reminiscence on her part but still odd (in more ways then one).

    1. When our son was younger it was amazing how much he looked like his older cousin, son’s dad brother’s son. Oh, it is very clear son is related to his cousins, my nieces & nephews. But really uncanny resemblance to the cousin in his dad’s side. Then my dad died, when son was 20. Hauled out all the pictures of dad, stumbling into some of my paternal grandfather (who died when I was 2). OMG. I mean it is obvious 20 year old son is a relative, if not a younger sibling of his grandfather at the same age and slightly older. But, dang, he could be almost his great-grandfather’s twin … given great-grandfather had a biological twin …

      OTOH we have a picture of all son and all his cousins, my sisters kids. One fun thing to do is to ask which one is adopted. Key is ONE, which throws everyone, because 3 of them are blond, with blue eyes, and the rest are not. Most can not tell (will go with “most”, no one has so far, but not ruling out someone could). We don’t point out which one. It is just a fun exercise on family resemblances.

      Then there is the cover of Grandma’s book. Family gathering picture with a picture of a young girl superimposed on the side. My response “why did they use (redacted) cousins picture?” FWIW. They didn’t. The picture is a colorized tint of an old B&W picture taken when Grandma was an early teen, ~1922. No question cousin is grandma’s granddaughter.

      1. We have fun with this. Brother in law apparently used to be upset as a child because unlike his dark-haired father, brother and grandparents, he had strawberry blond hair. He thought he was adopted. (I don’t know why he thought this as his mother also had reddish-blond hair when I met her.) His grandmother was angry that he even thought that, as he was apparently the spitting resemblance of his grand-uncle so and so, down to the hair.

        We have fun also discerning which ‘parts’ came from which side of the family with our kids. The easiest one is eldest son, who I describe as ‘having his father’s head, his uncle’s body and his paternal grandfather’s feet.’ (He has my eye color and eyebrows, and a somewhat blunter Asian nose. His eyes used to be blue!) And when he was a toddler and visiting great-grandmother (same lovely lady as above) Mum in law and I sat off to one side and observed with vast amusement that having Nana, Grampy, Father and Grandson sitting all together really showed the family resemblance.

        With the youngest daughter, she inherited a mix of that Chinese-descent alabaster skin that my mother and some of her siblings have, and her father’s pallor (but she really got a lot of her father’s side of genetics) … but since brown eyes are dominant, I was rather sad to see her eyes change from gray to brown before she even hit her first year of life.

        We rather wonder if any other child we have will have the throwback genes of strawberry blond hair (which is a possibility, and I was apparently born with red-auburn hair that changed colors from that, to dark brown, to reddish brown, then black through my life. Rare in Asians, but not impossible.)

        And since I have a nephew now, we can do the same with him! XD “Where did you get X from…”

        1. Yes. The 3 blonds are my youngest sister’s, who was tow head blond when she was little, and blue eyes, VS the other two of us with dark brown auburn, and brown, hair. We also have dark brown eyes. Little sis has blue eyes. Obviously recessive on both sides of the family, but maternal grandmother was blue eyed blond, at least that is the rumor for when she was little … not like there were color photos back then and she had white hair back as long as I remember. Sis has darkened down some to a honey brown in her late 50’s, but you can tell she used to be blond. Don’t know about their dad, their poor son gets the bald gene from both sides (mom’s younger brother and all 3 of his boys were bald before they were out of HS, so was sis’s husband). Nephew is going to fare better (18 year old HS senor and he still has his hair, so far). Genetics is interesting.

          So is nurture. The adopted niece … is just like the her mother (that raised her) … neither will admit it, but, oh, yes, 100%. Who is just like mom/grandma.

    2. Actually very little personality has been traced to environment. It’s just that when they can’t explain it by genetics, they insist that it’s environment because otherwise you might to deal with free will and you can’t have a science of beings with free will.

      I have seen someone explicitly saying that we don’t have free will for that reason.

      1. If we have no free will then it is wrong to imprison people for their actions … not that we have any choice about that.

        If your science demands beings without free will then your science is just a version of the mathematics of division by zero.

        1. Well, that’s what you would say, isn’t it?

          But I agree; the fact we have reflexes and inclinations does not amount to pre-programming. Experience matters: no one who has been assaulted in an elevator eschews stairs without trepidation.

  3. And further, after World War II we “remade” the defeated nations, from Germany to Japan, right? And it worked, right? … uh… no?  I mean, it turns out Germany is after all pretty much Germany and managing by money and stealth what the war didn’t give them.

    For many, no doubt, after engaging in two catastrophic wars in less than fifty years, it was enough that Germany ceased using their military to gain those goals.

  4. My oldest daughter very much resembles her dad’s half-sister, both in looks and personality. Yet they really haven’t spent all that much time together. Genetics is a very interesting thing to study.

  5. One of the things that always strikes me when reading science fiction written by people born and raised in America is the casual way in which they assume the aims, the goals, the internal “story” of other cultures is exactly the same as ours.

    Not very long ago I was reading a discussion about secular humanism and its relationship to Christianity. Someone made the argument that there was very little relationship, and in fact secular humanism was more akin to Confucianism. I thought about arguing but decided that if someone couldn’t see how different the premises were behind Christianity and Confucianism, I wasn’t likely to make any progress with them in 140 character increments.

  6. KNOW that your job, your hobby might vanish.

    How I obtain the materials for my various crafting hobbies has definitely changed.  It will continue to do so.  Fine, I have accepted this, although I prefer to be able to see and feel the materials before I commit to working a project in them.  

    The format of my reading matter has started to change, I have read a couple books on screens.  My eyes and brain suffer far less strain with dead tree.  While it can still be obtained I will stick with printed books.  But forbid that reading should vanish …

    1. It never will. It is forbidden to read on a screen on the Sabbath. Only dead tree reading is allowed on the Sabbath. Along with reading from scrolls (snerk!)

            1. As Belgarath once pointed out, the biggest problem with that (from the academic perspective) is that human skin doesn’t hold writing ink (without something to work it under the skin) very well.

        1. So far as I know it doesn’t matter as long as it isn’t electronic. I don’t know what the rolls are made of.

        1. Yes, Even a natural large scale EMP pulse (as compared to oh Iran using a high altitude nuke on us), like the Carrington event, could wipe out a lot of the non-paper literature (along with many other things).

          1. Almost 100% ebook anymore; fiction … reference, not so much, mostly. Thought about this scenario … well “Dies the Fire”, or “Wolf & Iron” will do that … But both, one thinks one will be dealing with more urgent issues VS “I lost my reading material” whine.

          2. How ironic would it be if the Great Library of Alexandria was lost AGAIN.

            Hey McFly! Are you in there? (boink boink boink) Wake up already!

    2. I use a nice yellowed-parchment background in my on-the-PC ebook reader; this makes it far easier on the eyes. yReader comes with a beautiful specimen; in Calibre you need to create a stylesheet. I have no idea what’s possible with dedicated ebook gadgets, but a stark white or dead black background makes my eyes bleed.

      1. Do the same for Android Nook eReader version, and a generic eReader App. SimpleNook, you don’t have the color page option, but you do have options for intensity, as well as amount of light. So does the Android Nook app. Both also have the option to vary font size at whim too.

    3. No. Try Kindle Paperwhite. Whatever else you think of it or Amazon, it’s EASIER on aging eyes than paper.
      I also didn’t believe it, but ophthalmologist says all his aging clients are saying that to the point he’s started recommending them.

    4. Since I was laid up starting at the end of July, I read one dead-tree book, and an untold number of ebooks. $SPOUSE has all of the Sue Grafton mysteries on paper, but she just asked for an early Christmas present: a Kindle Fire (which will be used for books, as bandwidth limitations preclude video). I was surprised to note that the Fire is currently less expensive than a similar sized Paper White.

        1. OK, makes sense, but the 2014 vintage Fire is Good Enough. I wasn’t able to bring up Kindle for PC on the Linux machine (couldn’t make it through the login screen), so I’m either backed up on their servers or on the other Fire.

      1. You are correct.

        The other remaining Arizona survivors have opted to be buried elsewhere, when their time comes. Thus this is likely the last such interment on USS Arizona.

  7. Heinlein postulated having a Go-for-Broke bag available. Whatever you need most, make sure you can carry it on your back – and don’t lose sight of it!
    This is not a bad plan for today; times are iffy, and you don’t even know if your house will be standing next week, much less next decade.

    1. Go-bags, bug out bags… I need to check and update ours, come to think of it.

      Ours don’t just sit on the shelf; we use them when traveling, going to the hospital, etc. Saves the hassle of packing an overnight bag in a hurry…

      1. It is essential to test prep plans periodically. The familiarity with the gear is a major plus.

        If you have never actually eaten any of your stored survival foods, how do you know if they give you a bad case of the runs, or plug you up like concrete? Or just are so gad-awful you cannot consume them. Any of those are very bad in an emergency.

        Putting clothes away in storage can sometimes lead to awkward “Oops. I changed shape.” moments.

        Trust, but verify.

        1. Excellent advise. I would even go so far as to trial run 30-60 days of survival, just to find all the kinks. Better discover them while Lowe’s is still up and running. I bet half of our preparedness will not work out the way we expected.

          (note: pack more Ritz Crackers, the wolves can’t resist them as bait for some reason)

  8. For me, at least, there’s a belief and a focus that you don’t point at, though you’re involved in it and though you point something close to it in your final paragraph. I have no belief in any religion (I respect Buddhism, but I think it’s wrong) or in any collective ethnic identity (though I do find the idea of a distinctive Anglo culture increasingly plausible). But I do have a deep belief in science and technology and more specifically in humanity’s destiny to go into space; the translunar realm is my Promised Land. When I listen to Echo’s Children’s “Outward Bound” or Anne Passovoy’s “Harbors” I get immersive feelings that bring tears to my eyes. And I find my work meaningful because I’m contributing in a small way to the larger growth of human knowledge, even if science, like any human activity, has been corrupted and made too often a tool of the powerful—because science can’t work without freedom to disagree and criticize and refute, and that’s now under attack (partly because scientists have spent my lifetime whoring after government money). But these beliefs don’t seem to be a product of scientific evidence; they go back to feelings I had before I had even begun to understand the scientific method.

    1. I’m more agnostic than non-religious. All the religions can’t be right. Or all have some right, and some wrong. All religions have cores that intersect, even if they don’t source from the same early material. This doesn’t even touch tradition and current practice or dogma. Something bigger is out there. Whether it actually thinks about this little speck of dust in the cosmos, who knows. Something is beyond when we shuffle off the mortal coil. Don’t know what. Perfectly willing to wait to know. Will not go willingly into that next phase until it is truly time, or preferably, past time …

      1. I know that a lot of people believe such things, but I can’t imagine ever doing so. My atheism and nonsupernaturalism go back to when I was in third grade and told a fellow pupil “I don’t believe in God.” Obviously that was not the product of the sort of philosophical argument I might offer now, any more than my feelings about science or space travel (which go back equally far) were things I reasoned my way to in the beginning. But it’s equally at the core of my thinking and perhaps my being.

        1. Supernaturalism is just a label put on things for which we cannot comprehend the process. A two-dimensional entity would perceive movement through the third-dimension as supernatural, just as a three-dimensional entity would be incapable of explaining action taken through the fourth-, fifth- or seventeenth-dimension.

          The real question is, “If all time is simultaneous rather than sequential, is predestination inevitable?”

          1. “predestination”

            That is one piece I really disbelieve. 100% believe in “free will”. Oh some may be guided or inspired to do something, but they always have the choice to say “yes”, and the same right to walk away, or act against. Every choice someone makes changes the course of a path eliminating the possibility of “predestination”.

            “Supernatural” … yes, to some extent, it is the current inability to understand and comprehend, for now. After all any science sufficiently advanced is magic.

            1. But if sequentiality is illusory and all events occur simultaneously, cause and effect are mirage and predestination merely asserting a truism.

              The English language is not constructed to handle fourth-dimensional and I am dubious whether human brains can think in it. I can, as through the bottom of a beer stein dimly perceive the possibility but would prefer a refill.

            2. Predestination, or the ‘clockwork universe’ requires strict determinism, which was invalidated by quantum theory back in the 19th century. The end state of any quantum event which has more than one possible outcome can not be predicted specifically, only statistically — X% result A, Y% result B, Z% result C, and so on.

              The microtubules in our cerebral neurons are small enough for quantum effects to be significant. The brain seems to be, at least in part, a quantum computer that can produce indeterminate results.

              There’s an old thought experiment: A man is caught in the path of an avalanche. What will he do? There are only a very few possibilities — stand there petrified, run uphill, run downhill, run across the slope, or off at an angle — but no matter how much you know about him, how carefully you’ve analyzed his DNA, his upbringing, his experiences, and his attitudes, you can’t predict what he’ll do until he does it.

              So when somebody claims they ‘didn’t have a choice’ but to commit some horrible act, it’s bullshit. You always have a choice, and always bear the responsibility for that choice. Somebody else may be at fault for forcing you to make that choice, but YOU are always responsible for your own actions.
              ———————————
              Artie: “Don’t open that!! It’s the original can of worms!”

              1. The answer is found in paradox. True paradox. Jesus 100% God, 100% man. An eternal God who dies.

                The great paradoxes include this:
                God is in total control, and everything we do is of cosmic significance.
                The God who created this strange universe, so far beyond my understanding, Loves me (and you) and wants to have a relationship with me (you). Talk about unequal power relationship.

                The universe is designed for free will.

                The thing about true paradoxes is that the more you understand them the more mysterious they become. That paradox of the electron being 100% particle and 100% wave. Fully both, otherwise the equations don’t work. It is only in embracing both halves of a paradox that truth is found.

                1. Particle man, particle man,
                  Doing the things a particle can.
                  What is he like? It’s not important.
                  Particle man.

                  (Waves)

              2. Indeterminacy does not equal free will or freedom of choice. It just says that what you do is determined, not by a clockwork, but by a throw of metaphysical dice.

              3. “Predestination, or the ‘clockwork universe’ requires strict determinism, which was invalidated by quantum theory back in the 19th century.”

                Only if it solved the First Cause conundrum, IMHO. Until that is “proven”, you’re looking at a philosophical question and not a scientific one. Pretending otherwise is where the problems start.

          2. Eh, the term “supernatural” is very messy indeed. I recommend C.S. Lewis’s Studies In Words in general, but the chapter on Nature particularly. He observed of the current usage of “supernatural” that it doesn’t have even a reasonable definition, let alone a reasonable philosophical coherence.

      2. If I push real hard I can warp my brain into thinking (sorta) four-dimensionally — which convinces me that a Deity existing across all twenty-one* dimensions is far beyond my comprehension and I’d be a fool to think I could comprehend His** thinking.

        *speculated & stipulated. Your dimensionality might differ

        **Convention, not assertion. Any actual gender characteristics of any deity are not relevant to this discussion

        1. When I stretch my mind, I can contemplate 5 dimensions in space and 3 in time. Our entire universe is a single point at that scale. My thought process starts to go unstable (Lovecraft insanity roll) when I go beyond that point.

          God is not male or female and both, a paradox to contemplate.

  9. The oldest of my three brothers is astonishingly like our maternal grandfather in his intense likes and dislikes for food. My middle brother is more like Grandpa in temperament, being the guy who’s friends with everybody in the neighborhood. My youngest brother inherited a fair bit of his mechanical knack, along with the gene for male pattern baldness.

  10. A job you might lose.

    But a hobby you have to abandon. Perhaps through financial or legal pressure, but abandon. It’s not your livelihood, after all.

    You’re right about the American Revolution, though. The “revolution” was a jurisdictional dispute between the Colonial legislatures on the one hand, and the British Parliment on the other. Which escalated into a secession crisis. Once I retire, I may well take a crack at teaching American History BETWEEN Plymouth Rock and the Stamp Act. The 130 years that get glossed over…and were where the colonials started to become Americans.

    1. The role of the First Great Awakening on the lead-up to the Revolution is a lot more important than people want to imagine. Not so much the spiritual aspects, as important as those were, but the communications networks and relationships that developed.

    2. Kind of a begin neglect that turned into independent ways of doing things.
      If it takes a half year or so for an inquiry to be sent and returned, people will tend to just do their own thing.
      And unlike the Spanish and Portuguese colonies, a good % of the English weren’t there to just make a quick buck, get rich, and return.

      1. Wave 1 (~1630-1665) had three distinct sub-waves. The one thing they all had in common was that at some point, England had become rather unhealthy for them. Wave 2 (~1690-1720) were Scots-Irish…they really didn’t have anywhere else to go. And if they were going to have to fight for land, they may as well fight for a LOT of land.

        So your point is dead on…the other Europeans looked at the Americas as a place to make money. The British looked at them as a new home.

        1. The British Empire always looked to the colonies as a safety valve to send their more adventuresome and often troublesome young bucks. Bleed off some of that energy, seek and return great fortunes including the Crown’s share, and ultimately settle into a profitable yet subservient role with Mother England.
          Hard to say as to whether it was cruel and incompetent remote rule, or simply resentment over the chains and shackles both metaphorical and real imposed on the upstart colonists, I suspect a good bit of both. Had the situation been better handled (from a British perspective of better) we, Canada, and Australia might very well all still be members of the greater Commonwealth.

          1. As I said, a jurisdictional dispute. The colonial legislatures would tell you that the Parliment in London had no more authority here than they did in the Electorate of Hanover (George III’s second hat). The politicians in London chose to dispute this.

            There was another backstory, though. It’s there in the Declaration of Independence, but it’s not noted these days. The disposition of the lands west of the Ohio River. The British wanted those lands left to the Native tribes, with trade rights reserved to British merchants. The Colonials wanted the land for their children. Hard to square those demands.

    3. Depends on the hobby. If your hobby relies on other people, you might lose it rather than abandoning it. E.g. if you like tabletop RPGs, but half your gaming group moves out of town and the rest aren’t enough to sustain the game despite your best efforts, you might lose your hobby even though you didn’t abandon it. Or if you enjoy going to the flea market on Saturday and browsing just to see what’s available, but the flea market closes due to an economic downturn, you might lose your hobby. (The latter might fall under the “financial pressure” category you mentioned, but I got the impression that you meant financial pressure on you, not financial pressure on other people.)

  11. And cheer up! There’s always death and taxes. Or at least taxes. Get a job as a tax collector! 🙂

  12. A third thought. Go on offense. Do not let change be something that happens to you. Make change be something you do to the world. Ride to a sea anchor and the storm of change will smash you upon a lee shore. Your only safety is to make sail.

  13. We no longer have a story.

    But oh, the stories we tell!

    Senator Warren has demonstrated an impressive capacity fr reinvention of identity.

  14. And if you’ve been in the same area very long — as a family — you might suddenly realize “Dear Lord, he’s just like Uncle John come again.”

    Our youngest, without having ever MET dad’s side of the family, has been around dad for maybe two weeks, cumulative, before she could even walk. I don’t have the walk, walks like my great-grandfather. (It’s distinctive but hard to describe.)

    That’s the one who came over from Scotland.

    WTF would one look for the gene for THAT?

    1. The obverse can also happen. I know a family where the eldest son is the image of the husband, mentally and physically, with no resemblance to the wife. To the point that people have assumed the son is from a previous marriage of the husband. But the reality is he was conceived while the couple were temporarily separated, no possibility the boy is genetically his.

  15. I am identical to my maternal great-grandmother, aside from my lower jaw (thanks, Grandpa Boykin. Alas.). I am more muscular, but that’s environment as much as genetics (take after Mom’s mom that way.) Sib had everyone doing double-takes at Sib’s wedding, because a rarely-seen relation attended, and they could have been twins aside from age. Even the body language was the same.

    I think another thing Toeffler and the others under-weighted was religion. Not Christianity or Buddhism per se, but the religious impulse and the need for a faith story. (It’s on my mind because I’ve got an essay on Extinction Rebellion as a Millennial movement queued up at my place.) With the Christian Church and “formal religion”* being poo-poohed, environmentalist and “social justice” have taken their place. Both provide a framework of story, an end-goal, mythology, emotional support, groups of fellow-believers, and a very strong sense of morality. While their numbers might not be huge, the ripple effects of their beliefs are rather impressive.

    *Islam gets a pass, because of post-colonialism, and because so many people who ought to know better assume that Islamists don’t really believe in what they are saying. [SIGH].

    1. I did a triple take when I took a niece visiting California down to Anaheim where we stayed with her grandfather and step-grandmother. I saw a picture in the bedroom that looked like a dead ringer for my brother as a late teenager. Turns out it was my SIL’s half brother (I don’t believe they spent much time together). Approximately zero chance of genetic crossover, barring somebody gone Viking several centuries ago. OTOH, my maternal grandfather came from that area, and he had the wanderlust, so maybe there were some vikings. (No, pretty sure it wasn’t Grampa Pete; his sins were elsewhere.)

  16. A lot of SJWs are suckers for peer pressure, conformity, etc. Some of them have parent-fighting issues,some have cognitive dissonance, but some are just eager to swallow pretty manure from their lovely new friends and wise teachers. A lot of them are desperate to be in with the in crowd and the winning side and the clever people.

    Not saying this doesn’t happen to conservatives, but it is sooooo common with SJWs. Thus the popularity of creches and tabula rasa reeducation – pliability worked for them!

    1. Young people tend to be naive, sophomoric, callow, and often suffer from Rectal-Cranial Inversion, and are members in excellent standing of the Dunning-Kruger Club.
      Usually, a good dose of real life experience tends to shake off the mush of progressive nonsense they’ve been taught.

      1. I sometimes wonder if Obama’s handlers deliberately stalled recovery to keep a large chunk of the younger Millennials from getting jobs and experiencing real life and taking responsibility. Many instead went on extended tours of the socialist indoctrination centers, er, university system, and/or spent what was like an extended teenager-hood with their parents.

        1. TheOtherSean that is an interesting concept. However, a liberal (if you’ll pardon the word) application of Hanlon’s razor (Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity) seems in order here. Obama’s cronies seemed to buy stupid in bucket lots and had no clue about how economies worked.

          1. “Mr. President..” (Obama)..”..zombies have attacked your economic advisers. That’s the bad news… sort of.”

            “What’s the good news… and sort of?”

            “The zombies succumbed to starvation.”

    2. > desperate to be in with the … winning side

      I first noticed that in the 1980s, when people I knew ethusiastically supported some candidate, down to having bumper stickers and yard signs and parroting slogans… and then when that candidate lost, they denied they’d ever supported them in any way, and got angry if pressed.

      Later, I encountered people who waited to go to the polls because they wanted to save their vote for the candidate the media claimed was winning.

      -sigh…-

      1. I was immensely confused when I ran across somebody saying they would’ve voted for Brexit if they knew it was going to win.

        I don’t understand this at all. I do actually understand fearing the consequences of public support, but … ???

  17. Culture has lots of inertia, and can be extraordinarily difficult to change.
    How many nations and how many ideologies tried to wipe out Poland over the centuries? How hard did the Soviets work to rid themselves of Russian Orthodoxy?
    Hell, our hostess likes to point out that there’s still a lot of Roman underlying Portugal.

  18. “KNOW that your job, your hobby might vanish. (If you’re prepared, it’s less likely to happen to your family.) Have other skills, other interests, things you might do/sell, work at. A fall back position. And a fall back position to that. If you’re aware it might happen, and you’re ready for it, you’re less likely to feel like the world has ended.”-

    The advantage of playing poker is that there will always be poker games to play in, no matter how much of an effort The State/The Church, etc., try to stop it.

      1. Meh – it never was, but it used to have much better PR people.

        It ought to fire its HR department and hire some of the wiser people available.

  19. “Meanwhile (back at the ranch)” reminds me of a significant reference to that storytelling device in the Old Guy Cybertank Adventures.

    Any of you guys read those yet?

    Another random thought. Jake Bible had a story with a recurring joke, the Communistas. Even mentioning them meant they ambushed you with a small mariochi band, Spanish Inquisition style. To make things even better, the protagonist of the tale truly despised them and everything they stood for. I’ve wondered a time or two what the Huns here could do with Communistas…

  20. I am the spitting image of my Grandmother. But she was very progressive and I’ve been a small ‘L’ libertarian since High School, I guess I was nurtured on Baen’s political forums.

    1. Sure, but I think it might be the same impulse. (Though inner and outer resemblance aren’t necessarily congruent either.) After all, right now, progressives ARE the establishment. not so in her day. So, you see…
      I’m supposedly the spit and image of great grandmother on dad’s dad’s side. Only much shorter, her being my sons’ height. convincing evidence I’m stunted throws more confusion in.

  21. a syndrome known throughout history and which includes “and they stop having children.”

    Germany and Italy also quit having children.

    Germany is also trying to commit suicide by uncontrolled immigration as past of proving they aren’t Nazis.

    So not sure the other two major Axis powers avoided defeated culture syndrome.

  22. And you to whom adversity has dealt the final blow
    With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go
    Turn to and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain
    And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

    Rise again! Rise again!
    Though your heart it be broken and life about to end
    No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend
    Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again.

  23. Tried to go to PJ media, got this:

    This site can’t provide a secure connection

    pjmedia.com uses an unsupported protocol.

    I am stuck on Gober Chrome, so have no choice. I lost my password to make changes to my computer, so can only keep going with what I have.

  24. Sarah, I love the way your mind works. I think of myself as an independent thinker but I envy you and your ability.

    Ya know I still haven’t picked up Darkship Thieves? Bad Fen! Bad!

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