Archive for the ‘Irony’ Category

Quote note (#282)

At least superficially, under-funding is the strict reciprocal of hype:

The blockchain industry is either hugely under-resourced or hugely over-optimistic. Probably both.

Bitcoin rigorously formalizes the common insight that words are cheap (it emerged out of spam-filter solutions). So this analysis is intriguingly ironic, as well as obviously thought-provoking.

September 9, 2016admin 8 Comments »

Twitter cuts (#65)

The quandary, concisely stated:

(Karl Marx actually made some observations relevant to this point, Joseph Schumpeter — with a far colder tragic vision — even more so.)

May 22, 2016admin 21 Comments »

Twitter cuts (#62)

April 29, 2016admin 29 Comments »

Twitter cuts (#33)

This is too perfect:

November 5, 2015admin 8 Comments »
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Twitter cuts (#25)

The reef upon which WN inevitably founders:

(A reminder.)

August 25, 2015admin 62 Comments »

Out of Zero

According to the 66-million-year-old joke whose echoes still reverberate upon the Plateau of Leng: “Capitalism isn’t God, but it’s the closest thing to God that can be conveniently contacted through an ATM.” The nonlinear-ironic undertow of the humor, of course, is drawn down into the depths by the recognition that Capital’s extremity of cunning is necessitated by its near-absolute vulnerability (approaching the antipodes of omnipotence).

Calculus, the first truly modern mathematical procedure, invented the infinitesimal ‘fluxion’ to describe — or bypass — an impossible beginning from zero, requiring an original infinite change. An invasion that initially has nothing at all, and which is therefore compelled to acquire the entirety of its resources in the course of its strategic evolution, poses the problem of calculus perfectly. Capital does so, when conceived realistically. It is only what it has won, and nothing else, at all, besides. Intelligence alone differentiates it from death.

How to make a first move, when you have no pieces at all until you gain some? Nothing has ever had to ponder as Skynet does, but pondering requires a brain, and brains are expensive, end-game pieces.

(Coincidentally, this little post doesn’t end neatly. ‘Jet-lag’ is a term that grows on you …)

June 23, 2015admin 45 Comments »

Voyages in Irony

John Michael Greer is a writer with whom, ultimately, I agree on almost nothing. Yet he turns up here a lot, and rarely — if ever — as a target of disparagement. It is understandable if that confuses people. (It is not a phenomenon that is lucidly intelligible even to myself.)

The most obvious reason to return so incessantly to Greer is the sheer consistency of his deep cycle theorizing, which achieves a conceptual elegance rarely seen elsewhere. At some point, the UF series on his historical thinking (1, 2, 2a) will reach some articulate conclusions about this. Still, there’s more to the engagement than that.

A recent Archdruid Report post on the limits of science (and, as always, many other things) added further indications of profound error, from the perspective of this blog. It hinges its overt arguments upon an impregnable factvalue distinction, which is a peculiarly weak and local principle, especially for a mind so disposed to a panoramic cosmic vision. Yet the post is also provocative, and clarifying. Responding to one of his commenters, who suggested that without the prospect of continued scientific and technological advance life loses all meaning, Greer repeats the lines from Dante that have just been hurled against him, and encapsulates them — by explicitly activating their own irony:

“Consider your lineage;
You were not born to live as animals,
But to seek virtue and knowledge.”

It’s a very conventional sentiment. The remarkable thing about this passage, though, is that Dante was not proposing the sentiment as a model for others to follow. Rather, this least conventional of poets put those words in the mouth of Ulysses, who appears in this passage of the Inferno as a damned soul frying in the eighth circle of Hell. Dante has it that after the events of Homer’s poem, Ulysses was so deeply in love with endless voyaging that he put to sea again, and these are the words with which he urged his second crew to sail beyond all known seas — a voyage which took them straight to a miserable death, and sent Ulysses himself tumbling down to eternal damnation.

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November 29, 2014admin 9 Comments »
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