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from Adriano Maini

Caterina Segurana

Mi sono imbattuto in Caterina Segurana, eroina della resistenza di Nizza all'assedio del 1543, commissionato da Francesco I° Re di Francia, ma attuato dai Turchi guidati dal Barbarossa, anni fa nell'Enciclopedia Britannica, ancor prima di trovarne tracce nel capoluogo delle Alpi Marittime francesi.

Della combattiva popolana si sostiene anche la genesi leggendaria.

Invero, nei documenti di encomio rilasciati dal Savoia subito dopo la liberazione di Nizza non si fa menzione di Caterina. Il primo a parlarne é il sindaco Pastorelli agli inizi del secolo successivo.

Sono diverse le versioni, quasi tutte pittoresche, di come la Segurana, talora in nizzardo chiamata anche Maufaccia, il che non é proprio un complimento, desse ai difensori il segnale della riscossa. Qualsiasi fosse l'oggetto contundente (lascio indeterminato il battoir in cui mi sono imbattutto) con cui iniziò la pugna, si tramanda che stese con armi raccolte sul campo di battaglia diversi nemici già penetrati nella mura della Cittadella. E che dileggiasse i turchi ormai in fuga, mostrando loro “una parte carnosa della sua anatomia”.

In diversi, a partire dal Seicento, con una particolare insistenza in epoca napoleonica e dopo il 1860, con Nizza francese, insomma, parlarono di Caterina. Anche in versi. E la città oggi la ricorda in diversi luoghi. Wikipedia aggiunge che ella é “l'espressione di un forte sentimento patriottico ed identitario”.

 
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from Storia minuta

L’etnocentrismo critico di Ernesto De Martino

Come tanti altri scrittori e intellettuali della sua generazione, Ernesto De Martino (nato a Napoli nel 1908 e morto a Roma il 9 maggio 1965), aveva aderito da giovane alle iniziative che in campo culturale il fascismo andava proponendo o imponendo per moltiplicare sostegni alla sua azione ‘pedagogica’. Ben presto passato dalle file del GUF (Gioventù universitaria fascista) e dalla redazione de “L’Universale” alla conoscenza delle opere di Benedetto Croce, De Martino maturò con la guerra la sua definitiva vocazione e la sua svolta ideologica. Ne Il mondo magico, pubblicato da Einaudi nel 1948, c’è già tutto il De Martino che si rivelerà nel campo degli studi storico-religiosi ed etno-psicologici. Giunge poi propizia la lettura del Cristo si è fermato a Eboli di Carlo Levi e dei Quaderni del carcere di Antonio Gramsci, quando già il Nostro è diventato un intellettuale militante ed è stato chiamato in Puglia a dirigere la segreteria della federazione socialista, prima del suo passaggio decisivo in casa comunista.

È l’epoca delle lotte contadine, della Riforma agraria, dell’inizio di una straordinaria stagione di indagini (ma De Martino le chiama spedizioni) incentrate sulle plebi del Mezzogiorno. Egli arriva nel Sud più profondo armato di un’équipe formata da medici, psichiatri, psicologi, storici delle religioni, antropologi, etnomusicologi, documentaristi cinematografici e fotografici (i più assidui furono Arturo Zavattini, figlio del famoso Cesare, Franco Pinna e Ando Gilardi). È l’inizio di una ricerca multidisciplinare mirata a studiare direttamente, con interviste, colloqui e registrazioni audio e video, ciò che rappresenta l’Altro, l’Alieno: ne indaga lo spessore antropologico, ne intuisce e ne ricava una ‘lezione’ politica, finisce per definire quella realtà come l’espressione della ‘crisi della presenza’. Tipico, al riguardo, è il racconto dell’episodio del contadino calabrese di Marcellinara, che allontanatosi con un automezzo dal suo paese e non vedendone più il campanile, fu colto da sintomi d’angoscia. La perdita degli antichi spazi geografici si risolveva in crisi della propria integrità.

Negli anni ’50 partì per numerose spedizioni in Puglia, Lucania e Calabria. Famose le sue “Note di campo”, le sue annotazioni su ogni più piccola manifestazione di quella cultura arcaica incontrata tra le vie e i bassi di Pisticci, San Fele, Tricarico, Copertino, Nardò, Galatina. Fu così che, sorprendentemente, si rivelò al mondo la diversità di un universo coi suoi riti e i suoi simboli, la persistenza dell’alieno e dell’esotico sul confine di civiltà coesistenti e concorrenti. E fu, insieme, la scoperta di come il potere dello Stato e della Chiesa fosse stato capace di condizionare per secoli una massa di esclusi e di subalterni. Gramsci e Marx e prima di loro, Malinowski e Lévy-Strauss, diedero una mano a Heidegger per aprire il varco ad una comprensione più piena del rapporto che s’instaura tra ricercatore, dotato del privilegio della cultura borghese, e componente di una plebe immersa in una dimensione ancestrale.

Con i suoi grandi libri – Sud e magia, Morte e pianto rituale, La terra del rimorso – De Martino riavvicinò due Italie divise e bisognose di comprendersi, di rispettarsi, di superarsi in un nuovo orizzonte culturale, definito in modo originale come ‘etnocentrismo critico’.

“Questo è da intendersi – scrive Vittorio Lanternari – come sforzo supremo di allargamento della propria coscienza culturale di fronte ad ogni cultura ‘altra’, e come sofferto processo di presa di coscienza critica dei limiti della propria storia culturale, sociale, politica”.

Un umanesimo, in sintesi, che sfocia in un mondo liberato dai suoi preconcetti e però attento a preservare ‘un villaggio vivente nella memoria’, a non dimenticarsi del suo passato, a guardare più fiducioso ad un futuro costruttivo.

di Sergio D’Amaro in Reti Dedalus (http://www.retididedalus.it/)

BOX: L’eredità culturale e scientifica lasciata da Ernesto De Martino (1908-1965) è di capitale importanza per gli studi etnoantropologici. Fondatore della scuola antropologica dell’Università di Cagliari (da cui provengono studiosi del calibro di Alberto M. Cirese, Clara Gallini, Pietro Clemente e Giulio Angioni), De Martino ha pubblicato opere che oggi sono dei veri e propri classici: Morte e pianto rituale nel mondo antico (Einaudi, 1958; n. ed. Bollati Boringhieri, 2000), Sud e magia (Feltrinelli, 1959; n. ed. 2002), La terra del rimorso. Contributo a una storia religiosa del Sud (Il Saggiatore, 1961, ristampata continuamente), Furore, simbolo, valore (ivi, 1962; poi Feltrinelli, Milano, 1980 e ivi 2002).

 
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from Storia minuta

Il partigiano “Rensu u Longu”

La mia storia nella Resistenza è legata a filo doppio con Renzo Rossi. Nell’agosto del 1944 mi aggregai al gruppo partigiano di Girò (n.d.r.: Pietro Gerolamo Marcenaro di Vallecrosia (IM), detto anche Gireu), che operava nella zona di Negi (n.d.r.: molto più vicina a Seborga, é Frazione di Perinaldo). Dove godevamo anche dell’appoggio di Umberto Sequi a Vallebona e di Giuseppe Bisso a Seborga; tutti e due membri del CLN di Bordighera. Negi era il punto di contatto tra le varie formazioni partigiane che operavano nella zona, tra queste, quelle sotto il comando di Cekoff (n.d.r.:Mario Alborno di Bordighera) e di Gino (n.d.r.: Luigi Napolitano di Sanremo, poi, dal dicembre di quell'anno vice comandante della V^ Brigata d'Assalto Partigiana Garibaldi “Luigi Nuvoloni”). Facevo da staffetta tra Negi e Vallebona. A settembre 1944 insieme a Renzo Rossi partecipai all’incontro con Vittò (n.d.r.: Giuseppe Vittorio Guglielmo, in quel momento comandante della V^ Brigata , da dicembre comandante della II^ Divisione Garibaldi “Felice Cascione”). Ci accompagnò Confino, maresciallo dei Carabinieri che aveva aderito alla Resistenza. Vittò investì formalmente Renzo Rossi del compito di organizzare, per la nostra zona, il SIM (Servizio Informazioni Militare) e la SAP : io fui nominato suo agente e collaboratore. In novembre mi aggregai al battaglione di Gino Napolitano a Vignai, ma dopo alcune operazioni di collegamento tra Vallebona e il comando di Vignai, il comando mi richiamò ad operare nel Gruppo Sbarchi di Vallecrosia. Nell’estate 1944 i servizi segreti americani avevano inviato sulla costa una rete di informatori, capeggiati da Gino Punzi. Dovendo tornare in Francia, per attraversare le linee Gino Punzi si avvalse della collaborazione di un passeur, dal quale, poiché era passato al soldo dei tedeschi, durante il viaggio venne ucciso. Il comandante tedesco si infuriò perché avrebbe voluto catturare vivo il Gino. Sul suo cadavere furono rinvenuti dei documenti, dai quali i tedeschi vennero a conoscenza del fatto che sarebbero stati inviati altri agenti e telegrafisti alleati. I tedeschi predisposero una trappola e quando arrivò il telegrafista “Eros” lo catturarono ferendolo. Si avvalsero di lui per trasmettere falsi messaggi al comando alleato di Nizza. Con questi falsi messaggi fu richiesto l’invio di un’altra missione: la missione “Leo”. La missione andò a rotoli con il ferimento di “Leo”, che venne nascosto nella cantina di casa mia. I tedeschi rastrellarono tutta la zona cercando “Leo”; “visitarono” anche la mia casa: sulla porta rimasero le impronte dei chiodi degli scarponi di quando sfondarono l’ingresso a calci. Ma non cercarono in cantina, si limitarono ad arraffare del cibo dalla cucina. Con Renzo Rossi nascondemmo tutti i documenti del SIM e del CNL nel mio giardino, preparandoci al trasferimento di “Leo” in Francia. Il Gruppo Sbarchi Vallecrosia aveva frattanto predisposto una barca. Renzo Rossi con Lotti avevano preavvisato i bersaglieri della necessità di effettuare l’imbarco quanto prima possibile. La collaborazione dei bersaglieri fu determinante per tutte le operazioni del Gruppo Sbarchi. Il sergente Bertelli comandava un gruppo di bersaglieri a Collasgarba – sopra Nervia di Ventimiglia – e aveva manifestato la volontà di aderire alla Resistenza. Fu avvicinato dai fratelli Biancheri, detti Lilò, per stabilire le modalità della diserzione, quando il plotone fu distaccato alla difesa costiera giusto sulla costa di Vallecrosia in prossimità del bunker alla foce del Verbone. I Lilò convinsero allora i bersaglieri a non disertare, ma ad operare dall’interno per consentire ed agevolare le nostre operazioni. Alla data convenuta, in pieno giorno trasferimmo “Leo” a Vallecrosia, facendolo sedere sulla canna della bicicletta di Renzo. In pieno giorno, perché approfittammo di un furioso bombardamento. Le strade erano deserte, solo granate che esplodevano da tutte le parti. Ricoverammo “Leo” in casa di Achille (n.d.r.: Achille Lamberti di Vallecrosia, “Andrea”), aspettando la notte. Al momento opportuno ci trasferimmo sul lungomare; il soldato tedesco di guardia, come al solito, era stato addormentato da Achille con del sonnifero fornito dal dr. Marchesi (del CLN di Bordighera e con varie responsabilità in seno alla Resistenza), laureato in chimica. I bersaglieri ci aiutarono a mettere in acqua la barca e a caricare “Leo” ferito. Cominciammo a remare, ma, dopo poche centinaia di metri, la barca cominciò ad imbarcare acqua. Non potevamo tornare indietro. Mentre io e “Rosina” (Luciano Mannini) remavamo, “Leo” e Renzo si misero di buona lena a gottare, con una sassola che, per puro caso, avevamo portato con noi. Riuscimmo a tenere il mare e ad arrivare al porto di Monaco. Con la pila facemmo i soliti segnali, ma non ricevemmo alcuna risposta; entrammo nel porto e accostammo alla banchina. Chiamammo una ronda di passaggio, che ci portò al comando di polizia, dove chiedemmo di informare Milou, l’agente di collegamento. Arrivarono gli inglesi e “Leo” fu finalmente ricoverato al Pasteur di Nizza. Anche io e “Rosina” ci facemmo medicare il palmo delle mani piagate dal remare. Il nostro ritorno fu programmato subito con il motoscafo di Giulio “Corsaro” Pedretti e di Cesar, con il quale si dovevano recuperare anche alcuni prigionieri alleati; ma il motoscafo in mare aperto andò in panne e non ne volle sapere di riavviarsi. Eravamo in balia delle onde: Renzo Rossi, Pedretti e Cesar sotto un telo, al chiarore di una lampada, rabberciarono alla meglio il motore. Quasi albeggiava e la missione fu annullata perché ormai troppo tardi. Sulla spiaggia di Vallecrosia il Gruppo Sbarchi attese invano con i 5 piloti. I piloti vennero trasferiti in Francia nei giorni successivi da Girò e Achille. Io, Renzo Rossi, Achille Lamberti e Girò ritornammo in un'altra occasione dalla Francia con un carico di armi. Per sbarcare dovemmo attendere il segnale dalla riva, ma, come altre volte, non arrivò alcun segnale. Sbarcammo proprio davanti alla postazione dei bersaglieri, vicino al bunker. Pochi giorni dopo, senza Achille, che rimase a dirigere il Gruppo a Vallecrosia, effettuai con Girò un’altra traversata, accompagnando “Plancia” (n.d.r.: Renato Dorgia) a prendere armi e materiale. Il ritorno lo effettuammo con la scorta di una vedetta francese, che accompagnò il motoscafo di Pedretti. Vi furono momenti di apprensione perché da bordo della vedetta si udì distintamente il rombo del motore di un motoscafo tedesco; i nemici non si accorsero della nostra presenza e passarono oltre. Trasbordammo sul motoscafo e sul canotto gli uomini e il materiale delle missioni “Bartali” e “Serpente”, composte da agenti addestrati al sabotaggio. Nelle operazioni di trasbordo alcuni caddero in mare e recuperarli nel buio non fu cosa facile, dovendosi osservare il silenzio assoluto. Attendemmo i segnali convenuti da riva. Anche quella volta nessun segnale. Gli ordini erano di annullare tutto, ma Girò accompagnò ugualmente a terra tutta la missione, mentre io tornai a bordo della vedetta, e nel buio pesto riuscì ad individuare il tratto di spiaggia dinanzi a casa sua. Le difese di quel tratto di costa erano così composte: un bunker alla foce del torrente Borghetto, uno nei pressi della foce del Verbone, un altro quasi alla foce del Nervia. Tra il bunker del Borghetto e quello del Verbone, era tutto un campo di mine, eccetto, giusto alla metà tra i due bunker, un passaggio largo meno di un metro, dalla battigia fino al rio Rattaconigli. Sbarcarono a Rattaconigli e superarono il campo minato attraverso quel sentiero. Quella sera dal bunker di Vallecrosia fino alla foce del Nervia era tutto un pullulare di tedeschi e fascisti. Ci aspettavano. La fortuna fu dalla nostra.

Renzo Biancheri, “Rensu u Longu”, in GRUPPO SBARCHI VALLECROSIA < ed. Istituto Storico della Resistenza e dell'Età Contemporanea di Imperia – Comune di Vallecrosia (IM) – Provincia di Imperia – Associazione Culturale “Il Ponte” di Vallecrosia (IM) > di Giuseppe Mac Fiorucci

 
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from Storia minuta

Da Zanzibar, un camporossino il 28 agosto 1888

ZANZIBAR, 28 agosto 1888

Amatissimi Genitori

Già stavo pensando che cosa ne sarà della mia famiglia; ma finalmente ricevetti notizzie che mi sollevarono il cuore. Non sapete miei cari genitori la gioia e contentezza ch’io nutro, quando ricevo notizzie da voi, e del paese sebenché siano pocche ; pare che si ripresentino d’avanti quell’anime ch’io lasciai alla casa paterna; e anche lontano lontano io sia da voi; il mio cuore e il pensiero è sempre da viccino, mi duole assai non poterci essere fra noi un più continuo scambio di notizzie motivo di cui è la lontananza che ci divide e perciò v’invio una presente credo che possa in certo modo darvi una prossima idea del paese di Zanzibar e suoi contorni. Zanzibar stato ancora indipendente è governato da un Pasciá comunemente chiamato Sultano; è compreso nella Zona Torrida ed in numero di latitudine Sud entrando in porto di notte e specialmente esse quando sono direste in un piccolo Parigi tanto che echeggia la luce in vari punti del paese, e sopratutto nel palazzo del Sultano; ma questa beltà vi rende ben tosto illusi allo spuntar dell’ Aurora in cui l’occhio in lungo d’aspetarvi quello che figuravi, gli si présenta din’anzi le tracce di un paese selvaggio ove la civiltà sta ancora sepolta. A pochi passi dal mare sorge nel mezzo di una piccola Piazza il palazzo Reale a 3 piani sporgenti ……… e terrazze e sorrette da colonne sovraposte l’una dall’altra. Dinanzi al medesimo si eleva un ‘altra torre la quale compie gli uffici di orologgi publici e di semaforo. Semaforo s’intende un punto in cui rende avviso anticipato di provenienze di bastimenti. A destra e a sinistra è circondato da case che man mano che si allontanano dal palazzo del Sultano, si fanno sempre più rozze, finché terminano di ampie Capanne ricoperte di foglie di palme. Le strade strettissime e piene d’ogni mondizia e salano un puzzo talmente nauseante da subito rendervi nausea la discesa a terra. Nessun negozio è alquanto Cristiano se nonché due o tre piccole betole apartenenti ai Turchi sono i mezzi di passatem- po di alcune ore. Alla sinistra del palazzo del Sultano sono messe in comunicazione per mezzo di anditi altre case più piccole di proprietà del medesimo in cui trovarsi rinchiuse una gran quantità di giovanette a disposizione del Sultano e queste case sono chiamate Serraglio. Nessun può avere comunicazione colle donne del Serraglio, ad eccezione della servitù ivi destinata; ritenuto che esso è considerato come un tempio di schiave, o un vero monastero di Monache. Davanti a queste case per un lungo spazzio di terreno è costruito un giardino fiancheggiato dalla parte del mare da un vapore materiale, e dalle cui parti laterali sorgono moltissime fontane. Molte gabbie di ferro contenute da varie razze D’animaliers ferroci fanno seguito al giardino, ed in vicinanza al mare. Queste sono le uniche bellezze di Zanzibar, il resto vastissime pianure e verdeggianti abitate d’infinità di bestie ferroci. Di ogni speccie di frutta è abbondantissima fra i quali è da notarsi, gli Ananas, Dateri, Banane, Cacchi, Aranci ecc ed altri infiniti squisiti son il loro sapore. Zanzibar è atraversato in lontananza da un fiume il nome non lo so; pieno di Cocodrilli e frequentato da Leoni, Tigri, Pantere Leopardi, Scimie ecc Il Venerdì giorno riconoscente dai Turchi, più che la Domenica dagli Europei, e si rapresenta d’inanzi una giornata di Carnavale. Al colpo di un cannone alle ore 4 Antemeridiane, è il segnale dell’alzata della loro Bandiera; a quell’ora in poi gran parte di gente nere, incomincia a percorere i vicoli seguiti da rintocchi di tamburi e da pifferi, finché cerca di riunirsi sulla piazza de Sultano. Poi l’esercito del Sultano schierato sul d’avanti del palazzo composti di circa un migliaio, senza l’aggiunta del popolo che attende con impazienza l’arrivo del loro Sovrano. É inutile descrivere le loro armi da fuoco, perché da voi medesimi potrete bene immaginarvi, notando però essere la grande abilità e divertimenti il maneggio di bastoni e delle frecce. Allo spuntar del Sultano è subito intonato da alcuni indigeni composti in una specie di fanfara, Le marce che dai medesimi vengono suonate sono molto lontane dalle nostre, ma che quantunque diaboliche, si sente un’agradevole piacere nelle varie specie di strumenti che noi altri non conosciamo. Quindi il Sultano seguito da alcuni Individui suoi Sudditi, Prende a passare in visita la trupa ; compiuta in pochi minuti la visita tra le acclamazioni e gli aplausi Rientrando in casa, pago della sua funzione per la sua riconoscenza della festa si fa entrare nel Serraglio. Scopo della visita al così detto monastero, è di togliervi dal medesimo una fra le quali più simpatiche; la quale viene condotta dalle madamigelle nelle sale del palazzo e resta a disposizione di lui finché giunga il venerdì seguente: viene ricondotta la scambiata come una simile e così di seguito. Le donne esistenti nel Serraglio ammontano per quando ho potuto sapere ad una Cinquantina. Durante il giorno continuano le feste con accompagnamenti di musica e pifferi nella piazza del Sultano e vanno consecutivamente perdendosi all’inoltrarsi della notte. Il clima considerato la posizione Geografica e la stagione in cui siamo, è da notarsi una gran parte depresione di temperatura nel percorso della notte, però il Caldo s’avvicina sensibilmente. Continuando a descrivervi non voglio trala- sciare di dirvi due parole intorno agli usi e Costumi degli abitanti. I ricchi distinguon- si dai poveri , perché questi ricoprono solo in parte le loro Carni nere con lunghe Camice e di tutti i colori. Mentre i ricchi alla grande diferenza della finezza degli Abiti, aggiungono ; non solo avere completamente la persona ricoperta, ma anche calzano una qualità di stivallini chiamati sandalie. Nessuna bellezza distinguesi sia negli uomini che nelle donne essi son tutti di colore nero, ed hanno i capeli nerissimi e ricciuti. Non tutte ma in gran parte le donne hanno il naso atraversato da un perno di metallo lucente terminante ad una estremità di anello e dall’altro in una piccola palla. Quantunque mi sia affaticato a domandarne spiegazzione non rimasi contento; ma però non ho ancora finito la mia descrizione, per ora mi arresto e vi spiegherò meglio il rimanente al ritorno Se iddio …….. Ricevetti il giorno 8 di agosto notizie di voi inviatemi il 27 giugno , ma già io aveva una mia lettera in cammino dandovi notizie del mio viaggio. Non credette miei cari genitori che la lontananza che passa tra le mie notizie sia per mia trascuratezza, ma è soltanto perché la posta non parte che una volta al mese, perché tutti i postali che partono da Zanzibar spedisco le mie notizie benché si paghino 75 cent.mi ogni lettera. Ora per quanto posso dirvi che la salutte sia di me del S. comandante non dico che sia perfettamente buona ma c’è la passiamo ancora discretamente. Il nostro ritorno non sappiamo quando sarà, può essere fin da domani ma non si sa. Tanti salutti alla famiglia dell’amico Cavaré a tutti i miei parenti ed Amici ed un bacio ed un abbraccio a tutta la famiglia e passo a dichiararmi il Vostro Amatissimo ed Obbed. mo Figlio GIO:BATTA UN bacio al nonno

Dall’Archivio di Silvana Maccario di Camporosso (IM)

P.S.

L’estensore della lettera, di cui qui sopra viene riprodotta la prima facciata ed alla quale, a parte errori di comprensione, non sono state apportate modifiche, fu Sebastiano Raimondo, vulgo Gio.Batta (di Agostino e Celestina Piombo), nato a Camporosso (IM) … e morto a Genova il 25 luglio 1959. I suoi fratelli furono: Rosa (nata nel 1855), Teresa (nata nel 1857), Paolina (nata nel 1858), Giovanna (nata nel 1862), Costanza (nata nel 1871), Carlo (1867-1940). E a questo link si può leggere l’esito di analoga operazione compiuta per una precedente lettera da Zanzibar di Sebastiano Raimondo.

 
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from Kodiak

Grace

The light in the air grows luminous in the moments before twilight Soft and clear, we step down into the water, onto the stone ledge The last, faint echo of chores comes near to an end Rolled blue-green tea leaves flush with the persistent rainfall of the WuYiShan valleys Playful steps down in the water We move gently together in the waning owl light down with the sprinkle bugs and the fireflies down before the deep red lamplight hold my hand down on the ledge, out in the wet early summer night hold my hand gently as a child does move closer to me in the soft, satin-violet night Lush and clear and sure

 
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from What Is Tomat0 Up To?

Preface: This was originally a video, however I am beginning to feel that the video format acts as a bottleneck for topics such as this; I've taken the time to rewrite this topic from scratch in a written format to see if it improves the quality of the content.


There's often a joke that goes around that the one thing a leftist hates more than capitalism is other leftists. Leftist infighting is not at all a new phenomenon, we've seen it from the original rivalry between Marx and Bakunin to the countless Trotskyist splinter parties.

The expansion of liberal imperialism and the rise of reactionary regimes throughout the 20th century only served to make the chaotic and fractured left seem incompetent in comparison. There was this sense, both among authoritarian and libertarian socialists that there needed to be a united front in order for the left to slay Goliath.

Yet, here we remain, little over a century after the initial Bolshevik insurrection, and we have to ask ourselves, what has our organization brought us? Yes, it's unfair to take a cursory look and write off the approach, so instead, I'd like to take a closer look into these centralist ideas and where they have brought us.

Democratic Centralism

Lenin's influence on political thought cannot be understated; what he brought to discussion was one of the first serious attempts at answering this question of Left Unity, in the form of democratic centralism.

What followed the First Internationale of Marx's time was a wave of various decentralized leftist insurrections and organizations, each one eventually either sabotaged or crushed in a counterrevolution. Lenin noted this, and came to the conclusion that a revolution must not just overthrow power, but also maintain it. The Bolsheviks' military success in the Russian Revolution only served to further cement this notion; it was clear they had successfully seized power. As the 20th century continued on, countless revolutionaries across the world followed the Leninist example and found themselves in control.

The interesting thing here is that due to the widespread influence of Marxism-Leninism, we actually do have an incredibly wide array of case studies to reflect upon.

Wide not just in the sense of quantity, but also in the variety of pre-existing conditions. This is important, because Marxism-Leninism, especially the more recent incarnations, make it a focus to adapt their theory to the differences in pre-existing conditions.

To quote Mao Zedong[1]:

Now, there are two different attitudes towards learning from others. One is the dogmatic attitude of transplanting everything, whether or not it is suited to our conditions. This is no good. The other attitude is to use our heads and learn those things that suit our conditions, that is, to absorb whatever experience is useful to us. That is the attitude we should adopt.

If we wish to level a critique against Marxism-Leninism, we'll have to account for the varying conditions. Luckily, the aforementioned “wide array of case studies” gives us an opening to do this.

First we must ask, what is shared? Yes, there are conditional adaptations, but ultimately, the underlying theory is going to remain consistent in an abstract sense. The most obvious answer is the existence of the workers' state, the dictatorship of the proletariat so to speak, as the ultimate expression of the will of the worker. It remains forceful, yet democratic, crushing all opposed to the proletariat while remaining as the vessel of the proletariat.

The two most obvious threats to this model are internal and external: internal, in the sense that an unchecked vanguard may lose their integrity, and external in the sense that these states are prime targets for imperialism. And to the credit of the Marxist-Leninists, these remain front and center topics for the majority of their theory.

Yet, historically, what we see is that the Marxist-Leninists have struggled greatly in maintaining the power they ever so effectively seized. Hauntingly, there seems to be this sense of gradual decay coming in from all angles.

I'll be focusing within the context of the Cold War for two reasons: one, enough time has passed that we're able to make clearer analyses, and two, the role these states played in geopolitics at the time were significant enough that it serves as a sufficient test of the effectiveness of the methods.

Within the Cold War, we see these states take upon one of two roles:

  • A proxy role, due to the aggressive containment policies of the West. Vanguards that were vulnerable either due to not having completely held power or just a lack of scale were targeted often due to being the “weakest link”. The survival of these states is highly dependent on the international aid they can receive from stronger vanguards. Class wars became global ones as the US funded rebels and counterrevolutionary groups across the world.
  • Much more developed and powerful states took upon the role of the hegemon, as their own survival was dependent on the survival of the others. They were too strong to be attacked directly, so they had to remain on the alert for espionage, sabotage, and revision. As major superpowers, their decisions held incredible weight, and the decision process was where they were most likely to be attacked.

Like I said before, all of was not some new revelation to the Marxist-Leninists. They played their cards in a fashion to compensate for these weaknesses, yet the results don't show.

Why did the Soviet Union collapse under its own weight? Why does it seem that, as the years pass, the PRC becomes more and more assimilated into the world economy? Why do the sites of countless international revolutions seem so desolate and unrecognizable today?

It's easy to respond that this was due to the influence of revisionists such as Deng and Khrushchev, that the dependent nations cannot be expected to hold a revolution for so long against such an aggressive and powerful enemy. These are all fair responses, or they would be if the goal of democratic centralism wasn't specifically to prevent this sort of outcome.

I specifically attribute this to democratic centralism itself not just because the results have been replicated across a variety of circumstances, but also because often times the cause of these failures can be directly tied to the centralist model.

  • Both Cuba and Cambodia were instances in which the organized left united behind CIA plants in the name of anti-imperialism. Of course Pol Pot and Batista had their critics, however the mass line was able to be weaponized against the left instead of by them. The revolution didn't just stall, it became a counterrevolution, as the truly radical critics were able to be isolated and silenced.
  • The USSR is an interesting case because it is the one state that Lenin was directly involved in. There's a lot that can be said about what occurred in between, but I find it hard-pressed to believe that the eventual outcome of the USSR was by any means a success. The Bolshevik Purges, regardless of your opinion on them, acted as a pivotal turning point for Soviet history; the administrations of Khrushchev and his contemporaries would not have been possible without a Stalin to juxtapose themselves against; and because of the elimination of the majority of critical factions, the subsequent policies of liberalization and eventual capitulation were able to carry through much easier.
  • The shift from the Cultural Revolution to the post-Mao China seems jarring to many ML-Maoists, however, I'd argue there was most definitely precedent for the Deng-era. The Red Guard dedicated itself to eliminating the revisionist elements of the party, creating an atmosphere that fostered dogmatism and solidarity over criticism. The Gang of Four was efficiently and quickly deposed due to the same paranoid atmosphere they were once sowing shortly before.

And what worries me even more is that to this day, Marxist-Leninists are doubling down rather than taking their analysis to a theoretical level. Sure, there's a willingness to criticize individual leaders or acknowledge the crushing heel of imperialism, but these are treated as the cause of failure rather than failure itself. Revisionists and imperialism are exactly what the system of democratic centralism is intended to prevent, yet what we see instead is the united front work towards its amplification.

Platformism

Marxist-Leninists aren't the only ones guilty of this reliance on coalition-building: similar sentiments seem to pervade anarchist circles as well. Of course the anarchists have their gripes with the centralized model of the state-socialists, but their response ends up as less of a rejection of left-unity than just simply a reinterpretation.

One of the earliest and most-cited of these reinterpretations is the 1926 The Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists [2]. True to its libertarian roots, the Platform seeks to unite the left on a banner of abstract principle as opposed to party. The platform calls for anarchists to hold to four fundamental principles:

  • Theoretical Unity
  • Tactical Unity
  • Social Responsibility
  • Federation

The goal of the platform is to “reconcile the independence and initiative of individuals and the organisation with service to the common cause”, or in simpler terms, create a liberty free of egoism. The first two sections deal with unity, both in thought and practice: their should be common principles and concentrated action that corresponds with the greater anarchist movement.

Instantly, we begin to see the first problem an anarchist platform has to contend with: being authoritative without being authoritarian. What ends up resulting from walking this tight line is an incredibly vague sort of anarchist fundamentalism.

The Platform itself undeniably sets boundaries and direction for the anarchist movement, but the given definitions of the principles remain incredibly open-ended and unclear on how it should be read. Exactly how does the platform get revised, if at all? Is it inclusive or conclusive? If there's varying interpretations, how does one decide which interpretation is the correct one?

The Platform ended up facing severe criticism from other anarchists due to these issues, many of whom would go on to create “synthesis anarchism”[3]. Synthesis anarchism focuses on reconciling the three dominant currents (anarcho-syndicalism, anarcho-communism, and individualist anarchism) in a positive fashion; in other words, instead of constructing a platform for people to align with, they emphasized the commonalities the different branches share in their struggle.

While this ended up addressing some of the issues of The Platform, synthesis anarchism ends up feeling less of a synthesis and more of a peace treaty. Both Voline[4] and Faure's[5] writings on the topic focus less on the synthesizing and moreso on decrying infighting, hence the focus on the most politically-relevant strains of anarchism. The underlying issues of “anarchist organization” still remain: what is the limit of tolerance in this unity, how should coalition and principle be balanced? It makes sense that the critics of this approach tend to be individualist anarchists; what do egoists have to gain when this idea of a united front is one born in social anarchism?

The political origins make synthetic centralism feel like a political Hail Mary; casting aside fundamental debates of Ego versus Collective in the name of making sure the Left can live to fight another day.

The Left, Criticism, and Revolution

From what I can gather, these failures of centralism stem from a misunderstanding of revolution and the Left's relation to it. The main reason Marxism gives primacy to the proletariat is not because of their moral superiority or victimhood, but because as the class that is responsible for the production of value, they alone are capable of bringing an end to capitalism.

Yes, one could argue there's crossover between the proletariat and the Left to some extent, however there remains a clear distinction between the two by definition. The proletariat is economically defined, the Left is ideologically defined.

One can be part of the Left and still not hold that economic role, in the case of Sartre and Kropotkin; does this mean they are somehow “invalid Leftists” or worse people for being so? No, because morality is irrelevant here; what's important to note is that an ideological grouping alone is inherently incapable of bringing about material revolution.

One of the most damning examples of this was the fallout of the 1968 French riots. This is an especially interesting case because we see the actions of both the proletariat and the Left and what they lead to.

  • We start with the Situationists developing a critique of the social relations within capitalism, with an emphasis on subversion and tackling boredom. These critiques were highly influential, directly challenging the ideology of late-modernity, giving room to a dystopian vision of the current conditions and exploring relations between the individual and larger society as a whole.
  • As tensions heat up, the most pivotal moment occurs: the unplanned, simultaneous strikes of five million workers. At this point capitalism had adapted to utilizing unions as a negotiation tool, so the spontaneous movement of workers with no room for bargaining or concessions was devastating. This is precisely what led De Gaulle to flee the country and the country to enter a panic.
  • What happened next, however, was the Left attempting to take upon the role of directing revolution.[6] The PCF negotiated another election in which they brutally lost, the student anarchists were won over by reforms to policy, and the proletariat, the one class with no demands or negotiations, found themselves suffocated and forced to return back to their role under capitalism.

The Left, as an ideological grouping, found themselves successful throughout the period of their ideological critique. However, their challenge against the material hegemony ended up becoming destructive because they, definitionally, did not hold the same fundamental stake in the class war as the proletariat. They could be negotiated with, their demands met, and their movement rendered useless.

Because they saw themselves as the class of revolution, their actions were centered around this faulty principle. The victories they fought for were victories for the Left, increasing awareness of their movement and passing “leftist” reforms. They compromised their own critical nature out of fears that the fate of revolution hinged on their own popularity. And as these vanguards grow, the dissonance between the will of the proletariat and the will of the Left becomes more and more apparent. The spark of revolution stems from class unity, not left unity.

Is this to decry the left as useless? Absolutely not. The Left has a key tool up their sleeve, and that precisely is criticism. Communism is the ruthless criticism of all that exists. It's our constant and unyielding critique that serves to break down the boundaries of liberal mythos and bringing inspiration for the revolutionary movement itself.

Which is why it remains so important that the critical spirit of the Left remains, because without it, you end up recreating capitalist ideology under a different name. Theoretical developments have always come from a place of criticism, whether it be Marx's attack on the classical economists or Lenin's polemics against the reformists. It's through criticism and not coalition building that our understanding of the world around us evolves.


Referenced Works:

  1. On The Correct Handling of Contradiction Among The People by Mao Zedong
  2. The Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists by Delo Truda Group
  3. Reply By Several Russian Anarchists To The Platform by several Russian anarchists
  4. Synthesis (Anarchist) by Voline
  5. The Anarchist Synthesis by Faure
  6. Letter on The “May Events” by Louis Althusser
 
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from eraofcelestials2

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from nathilia-pierce

Passwords are still the primary method of authentication today, in a form of something you know. Humans are lazy, often resulting in low entropy and reused passwords.

Magnitudes of research and thought have been put into protecting passwords. They are known as the simplest form of a challenge–response authentication scheme.

Because the challenge “What is your password?” is repeated, so is the response, opening the door to possible replay attacks.

Choose the Right Hashing Algorithm

Argon2 is a key derivation function, the winner of the password hashing competition and should be used for new projects. In case it isn't available, use Scrypt. Any other KDF is nonoptimal.

Argon2's “i” variant is resistant to side-channel attacks, while “d” variant is resistant to time-memory tradeoff attacks. “id” is the hybrid variant, resistant to both and suitable for most purposes.

Make sure to use “id” variant of Argon2.

Salt Hashes Properly

Salts are closely related to nonces, however, nonces are for communication protocols, not hashing. Nonces protect against replay attacks, while salts protect against precomputed hashes(aka rainbow tables). It's important to separate them, as they aren't protecting against the same things.

The only requirements of salts are to be unique to each hash and public, however, they should be unpredictable to prevent precomputing future hashes.

A cryptographically secure pseudo-random number generator output of 32 bytes will produce an unpredictable, and unique value.

“Pepper” Hashes Properly

If you've been around the internet, researching password salts, you've probably heard of the “pepper”. It is a cryptographic secret(secret key), that must be unpredictable and unique to each application, used in a hash function.

Wait ... sounds a lot like an keyed-hash message authentication code, right? That's because it is. One must be extremely careful implementing “peppers” because it can lead to length extension attacks and nasty problems with Bcrypt.

Argon2 actually implements a secret value in the official spec as an optional argument to act as a “pepper”. If you're using an implementation that does not support the secret value, encrypt the hash. If you're not using Argon2, encrypt the hash.

Do not waste your time implementing both a “pepper” and encrypting the hash. You gain no practical benefit. And you might want to store your cryptographic secrets in a hardware security module.

Use a Reasonable Policy

  • Maximum length of no less than 128 characters.
  • Minimum length of 12 or 16 characters.
  • Support almost if not all unicode and whitespace.
  • Decline known passwords via HIBP API.
  • Decline passwords matching the identifier, e.g: email, username.
  • Don't enforce special characters, uppercase, lowercase, symbols, etc.
  • Don't truncate, sanitize, or format their passwords in any way shape or form!
  • Don't prevent them from copying and pasting into the password fields.
  • Don't limit what they can or cannot put into the password fields.
  • Don't require password changes every so often.

What matters most, is the length and entropy. If you feel still inclined to enforce the character set above, don't. Enforce multi-factor authentication instead, their accounts will be far better with it.

If you enforce that character set, you run the risk of them writing it down, forgetting it, annoying them, or choosing a weak password. You can also cause users to write down their passwords if you enforce password changes.

Finally Encourage Good Practices

Encourage the use of diceware, passphrases, password managers (like BitWarden), and multi-factor authentication(FIDO and TOTP).

Discourage passwords with personal information like names, dates, birthdays, etc. Or sharing them if at all possible.

 
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from verity

  1. The Obelisk Gate, NK Jemisin: read this out of order, so had no idea what was going on for the first 50 pages or so, but WHAT a universe. Would go back and read the earlier books.

  2. Gold Fame Citrus, Claire Vaye Watkins: post-climate apocalypse, a former starlet, her man and a baby wander the desert.

  3. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent: An Icelandic family takes in a convicted murderess before her execution. Scandinoir on the backdrop of old Icelandic life with its brutality and unpredictability. Mentions sexual assault.

  4. Uprooted, Naomi Novik: High fantasy – village girl brought into the tutelage of mysterious wizard in the tower, I liked the worldbuilding but not its ideas about evil

  5. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Claire North: World-ending conpiracies among a group of people who never die but are continually reborn. Tangly but good pace.

  6. A Crowd of Twisted Things, Dawn Farnham: Historical fiction set in colonial Singapore, based on Maria Hertogh's story. Eurasian woman protagonist. I found the protagonist a bit too whiny.

  7. Station Eleven, Emily St John Mandel: post-flu apocalypse rebuilding of society and a mysterious “prophet”. Enjoyed this one.

  8. Inspector Imanishi Investigates, Seicho Matsumoto: Bucolic Japanese murder with some surprising twists, but otherwise classic whodunit. Reminded me of the Martin Beck series.

  9. Permanent Present Tense, Suzanne Corkin: The story of Henry Molaison and how he helped to pave new inroads into the neuroscience of memory

  10. The Chocolate Wars, Robert Cormier: schoolyard terror – autocratic teachers, the cunning gang that secretly runs the school, and the schoolboys coming of age in between. Reminded me of a Taiwanese school drama.

#reviews #books

 
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from Copyleft Curator

Shorts From a Webcomic Artist

Note: Some of the posts are NSFW (not pornographic, however), these posts are tagged, so pay attention to tags if that is an issue

I apologize for the brief hiatus, I'm juggling a lot of projects right now. You can see what else I'm working on right now, I'm working on compiling and journaling all my projects onto my personal blog. If you'd like to contact me regarding Copyleft Curator or something else, I do have a Mastodon.

Onto the issue itself, this time I wanted to check out something of a different medium, so I spent some time scrolling through the federated PixelFed timeline. A lot of good stuff here and there, but Reinder's work definitely stuck out.

What does Reinder do?

Reinder is an internet cartoonist known for continuously working on the webcomic known as Rogues of Clywd-Rhan for the past 28 years alongside various other series which can be found on his site.

On PixelFed, however, he uploads various sketches and one-off panels of his, mixing traditional and digital techniques.

Tomat0's Thoughts

  • Reinder shows not just skill, but also versatility and a willingness to experiment with his art. Usage of different styles, subjects, and tools can be seen not just across his comics, but also even within his PixelFed page.
  • In addition, we see a consistent output of content being produced; the Inktober challenge he's taken up (one ink drawing per day, based on a daily prompt) showcases his commitment and willingness to improve.
  • He somewhat gives us a glimpse into the process of making these, by showing the ink layer and then his finishing touches.

Drawings

Interview with Creator:

1. Could you break down your process of making comic strips, whether it be the writing, the planning or the sketching?

In terms of writing and planning, my process varies per title. The Lives of X!Gloop isn't planned at all, by design, because I want to stretch or even break the rules of storytelling in it. Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan is planned only in a broad sense, but since I haven't done substantial work on it in a few years, it's maybe not a great one to talk about. Spun Off and Abúi's Travels have more of a roadmap that's in my head than a detailed plan and are written page by page. I really shouldn't do this; whenever I have sat down and written a story in full, with revisions before drawing it, the results have been a lot better. But I don't seem to be able to discipline myself into doing that. I blame brain issues, because self-medicating helps a bit. My newer project, “Cultish Manners” is one that I'm working on in advance a little more. One way I do that is by dedicating most of my Inktober this year to scenes that I want to happen in that story and its sequels; ultimately I want that comic to be like a recent Doctor Who season where themes from the early episodes recur in the final ones. As for drawing, I typically just pencil the whole either digitally or traditionally, then do inks digitally followed by flats in the color scheme the page should have overall, then shades and highlights, then word text and word balloons, in that order. Lately, to help me solidify things a little more, I've started typing up the words during the thumbnailing phase, so the dialog is at least more fixed. That goes into the transcripts that I now put up on the website and I hope it helps ease me into a process where things are planned in advance a little more, for all of the titles.

2. Could you talk more about your experience participating in Inktober? Any challenges you've faced, what you've gained out of it so far?

I try to do drawing challenges year-round, but Inktober is the big one for me because it's one that so many people take part in. It's the same way I approach running: I run all year but train a little more extensively for the 4-Mile event in my home town that has 10,000 people taking part. I did Inktober for the first time in 2017 using characters from a comic I was then considering and without the official prompts, but abandoned it after about 7 drawings. The biggest challenge for me is that October is a busy period in my day job, as well as the time of year where it becomes harder to work in daylight, so scheduling around these factors is the hardest. But it's also the area where I have the most to gain, because my executive function isn't great, so it's good for me to have a regular way to say “I'll do this at that time of day, and if that doesn't work, I'll do this other thing instead. For example, if I don't get my inks done and drying up by 9 AM when I have to leave for work, I can use a different tool that doesn't take so long to dry, or I can take the penciled art with me and work on it during my lunch break, or in extreme cases I can ink or even do the whole piece digitally. That decision-making process has been broken for me for a long time, but this year it's finally gotten better. I also try to be more flexible about what I draw on any given day. If an idea in my head is too complex, I may be better off drawing a thumbnail and leaving that for later, or if a prompt doesn't work for me on that day, instead of beating myself up trying to come up with something, I can go to a different prompt or no prompt. That prevents tunnel vision and because I don't do this for a living, I don't have to stick to a specific plan at any time. I'm privileged to be able to do that.

3. You've done this for quite a long time, not just drawing but also interacting with the online community even from the early days. How has the internet helped you grow as a creator?

“The internet” as a large and amorphous thing hasn't done much for me, on the whole, other than providing an endless source of reference. What helps me grow has been communities of people, on any platform. Those can be traditional social media, forums, federated social media or chat rooms; I'm not picky about that. In fact, I get a lot of encouragement from knowing that three of my co-workers who I see every day are also doing Inktober. Having said that, the places where I get the most energy and inspiration have been a small Discord server of other artists, and mastodon.art where I follow the Inktober2019 hashtag and see people putting out great stuff every day. There's a good balance on Mastodon.art where there is on the one hand a community that will encourage and validate you, but for me, I can also be a bit competitive with them and channel my envy of other people's greater technical skills in a healthy, positive way. When I was getting started with webcomics, the part where you engage and communicate with others was much more stigmatized. People I talked to would not recognise interacting with other artists, and with the audience, as part of the job of publishing art online. But it's important for me to share my work widely, to know what people like and where the people are who like it, and to talk to people about what I'm doing – for validation more than critique if I'm honest. I can critique myself pretty well.

4. Webcomics often require a lot of dedication, which is often what kills off a ton of them. What keeps you going even when you don't feel like continuing?

You know, I don't know if the way I do things counts as 'keeping going' because I produce like about six pages per comic per year and it's bothering me a lot that this is so. I do have a lot of dedication and will to continue, but I have a hard time keeping focus on any one thing and almost no uninterrupted free time to speak of. It's not as bad as a few years ago when I came close to begging my spouse not to refer to me as any kind of artist, because I wasn't doing much art. For her to announce me as an artist, and indeed as someone obsessed with creating art, to strangers made me feel like a fraud, because if any of them were to ask me 'so where's the art?', I wouldn't have a really good answer to that. It's gotten better as I got some of my executive function back from its absolute low of a year and a half ago. But it's still a struggle. Drawing art in bite-sized chunks helps, which is why I do art challenges all the time. If I can finish a piece over the course of a day by taking 15 minutes in the morning when everyone else is asleep, 15 at lunchtime and maybe 30 in the evening, that makes me feel like I've accomplished something. But it's not a great way to make a comic. When there's an idea in my head, even if it's just about how to do a thing that I'd been working on before, it excites me and takes up all the room in my brain. I need to get it out and I get really unpleasant if I have no opportunity to catch it. So that drives me, just having an inner need to do it. It's not always fun to have a day job in the way of being creative. But on the other hand, it's also been a blessing that I don't have to do this for a living, and that I've never had any real success at it. When artists become successful with something, there's a risk that they will then have to keep doing the same thing over and over again, and I've never had to deal with that. If something becomes too repetitive, I do something else instead.

In addition to the featured account, Reinder can also be found on Mastodon, his own website, and Patreon if you'd wish to support him directly.

 
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from dregorfly

Musings on the nature of organizations and emergent behaviors:

Emergent behaviors have always fascinated me, originally as a means to a truely sentient AI. My first experience with the concept was in Mass Effect with the Geth species: an artificial race made of individual units that all communicate with each other. A individual can do simple tasks for labor, and shares its sensory data with nearby units to more efficiently complete its task. This eventually escalates and with a world of these units communicating, eventually one asks “Does this unit have a soul?” 

Now obviously the inspiration here is from real life. Ants are amazing because of the simple individual units that combine to make colonies, which exhibit complex and diverse behaviors that no individual would ever be capable of. Most of my searches for examples in humans leads basically to ant replicating human behavior. I guess that makes sense, as humans are already capable of complex behavior, and so any complex behavior in a large group of humans can be attributed to individuals making complex decisions. However, I haven’t been able to find anything on the emergent behaviors of human organizations, and I think this is often overlooked.

When enough people come together to form an organization, many emergent behaviors not present in the individuals can become defining characteristic of that organization, not all more complex. Organizations I need to define to proceed, are any sufficiently large group of humans who, naturally, organize together towards an abstract Idea, and more often that Idea is a goal. While it may seem obvious, I need to point out that organizations are not people, despite being made up of them and having their own motivation and ambition. They have their own behaviors that they are capable of and express. One that I find incredibly common, and perhaps fundamental to organizations, is sociopathy. When an organization is centered around a goal, something achievable and maybe conceivable to an individual human, that organization will work towards that goal sociopathicly. The goal can be anything: discovery, creation of a tool, the well being of humans, the exploration of space, or money. It is organizations centered around money that I am concerned with.

I haven’t proved that organizations are sociopathic, and doubt in my uneducated ramblings can, however, I hope to demonstrate why I think it is true, using publicly traded corporations as a case study to do so. With these corporations, they are legally required to try and make the most money for the stock holders. This is their goal and motivation, making money is to them as eating is to us: it is required for their existence. For us, the requirement is from the laws of nature, for corporations, the requirement is from the laws of humans. I don’t have a full understanding of how organizations exploit individual human behavior to achieve their goal, but they do use humans. Even assuming each and every human in the organization isn’t sociopathic and is has empathy, the net combined actions will always lead towards the attempt of the goal. A manager may be kind hearted and give more leeway towards employees than is good for the corporation, but through the exploitation of human nature, that manager will be replaced by someone less forgiving or will have been the one to be less forgiving and contribute a net positive towards the goal of profit.

Once again, I don’t think I can prove it, and I’m not sure if scientists have been able to prove the mechanics of ant colonies and their complex behavior. However, if we take the theory that organizations are sociopathic in their goals, then that explains so much of our world and how companies can be so evil, in our human eyes at least. Corporations are doing essentially what humans like to do with food, eat as much of it as we can. Humans are self aware though, and through thought can realize the damage of gluttony even if the chemicals in our brain tell us to eat as much as we can for our own survival. I guess, if we work towards understanding the emergent behavior of organizations, and can figure out how to alter them so that they become self aware of the danger of greed. Maybe they already are, after all, a company doesn’t engage in overtly inhumane ways for short-term greed, because it knows through the existence and demise of corporations that have done that and failed because of the market rejecting their gluttonous predatory behavior. The same way we know not to eat as much as we can because it will lead to a shorter life.

The more I write here the more it becomes clear to me that I just have a theory and can’t even demonstrate it, let alone prove it. I think that it is a useful way to think about organizations and hope that maybe we will see research into emergent behaviors in human social structures and how they can be changed to suit the needs of humans rather than inhuman and sociopathic organizations.

 
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from Welcome to planet 9.

Percival Lowell was obsessed with finding Planet X. He also believed there was life on Mars. A bunch of telescopes on a tall hill (“Mars Hill”) was sort of killing two birds, you know?

 
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from Welcome to planet 9.

“Searching for a black hole, even if you never do find it, isn't useless.”

There's a ninth planet theorized to be out beyond the reaches of the known solar system. The orbits of distant rocky objects are too consistently weird for something not to be out there. Planet Nine has to be bigger than Earth: a rocky, super-Earth. And on an extreme orbit.

It is almost certainly too dim to be observed. But it can be felt. And measured. And an it-shaped hole in the universe is carved. We just need to know where to look.

40 billion light years from the sun. Okay, well sure, but that's a little broad.

Planet 9 might even be a black hole. A niche, tiny kind called a primordial black hole. These primordial black holes formed when extra-dense pockets of existence collapses in on itself.

Looking for a black hole sounds even harder than looking for a planet. And much like the dog chasing the car, what do you do once you've found a black hole?

 
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from panjilonji

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from Psychord

Albert Ellis was an American psychologist who founded a therapy method called REBT (rational emotive behavior therapy). Compared to the more renowned psychologists like Sigmund Freud, B. F. Skinner, or Willhem Wundt, you probably haven't heard of Ellis as much.

Check out some of his theories here with some links, or learn a little bit more about him in general.

Albert Ellis (Wikipedia)

REBT (SimplyPsychology)

Rational and Irrational Beliefs (PDF)

What is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy? (Video)

How Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Works (Article)

 
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from Storia minuta

L’Imelde del casello al km 12 della linea ferroviaria Savona Altare

L’Imelde abitava al casello al km 12 della linea Savona Altare. Vi abitava con suo fratello. Erano figli di un operaio venuto a costruire quella linea e poi assunto dalle FS negli anni 30.

Erano di Marzabotto. Mi diceva che i suoi parenti erano stati trucidati dai nazisti e che erano rimasti lì perché non avevano più parenti laggiù.

Era una donna silenziosa, timorosa; risaliva sulla sede ferroviaria i quasi due km che separavano i nostri due caselli e veniva a fare la spesa a Cadibona.

La prima volta che la vidi mi colpì quel suo fare dignitoso, quasi schivo: mi passò accanto ed io la salutai, lei si fermò e mi chiese se ero nuovo di lì; allora le raccontai a mio modo chi ero e da dove venivo. Le chiesi se viveva sola. Lei, stringendo la sua borsa della spesa, mi disse che viveva lì al casello con suo fratello. Mi sorrise l’Imelde e volle che l’andassi a trovare… cosa che feci nei giorni a venire. Non avevano acqua corrente né luce elettrica in casa; illuminava le stanze con il gas del carburo – allora se ne trovava in grande quantità –; fuori nel cortile avevano una pompa manuale per l’acqua con sottostante interrato serbatoio, con la quale riempivano i secchi. La casa era una grande cucina con un grande caminetto: si vedeva che la loro vita si svolgeva tutta lì in quella grande cucina.

Mi venne in mente che quello era sicuramente un retaggio di una cultura del mondo della mezz’aria e bracciantato, grandi cucine condivise e piccole stanze anguste per dormire.

Suo fratello mi guardò con attenzione – avevo 21 anni – volle sapere da dove venivo ed io fui prolifico di racconti ed aneddoti sulla mia terra… lui la domenica scendeva alla Società di Mutuo Soccorso a Montemoro. Credo che la loro vita si svolgesse tutta lì. E questo mi mise tristezza.

Seppi poi dopo della loro storia da un ferroviere, anche lui emiliano: erano persone buone e la barbara uccisione dei loro parenti li confinò per sempre al km 12 della linea Savona Altare…

L’Imelde morì prima del suo amato fratello e mi dispiacque non so se qualcuno si fosse ricordato di lei credo che in pochi le fecero visita… Imelde e suo fratello erano figli di un altro tempo ancora di un tempo che non lasciava molto spazio ai sentimenti. I loro volti erano quelli rassegnati di uomini e donne nati poveri nei primi anni del Novecento…

di Roberto Trutalli, Sindaco di Pigna (IM)

 
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