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 Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Afghanistan

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Mar 25, 2002
Boring week really.

But I notice that the US is training the afghans again. Dont the yanks ever learn?

Still I guess they got the right idea about sending in British troops to fight the remaining taliban and al-quaeda. Maybe they'll give over winging about the favour they did us in WWII now.


More diaries by PotatoError
Hackers: Misunderstood
To all you Windows Criminals
The financial time bomb
Too controversial for Adequacy
A big HI! from Linuz Zealot
Linux Zealot Tells a Story
Why the GNU licence is a good thing
Why copying copyrighted music isnt wrong.
Okay I'll pay for music
Poz techie seeks same. T-count above 10000.
Human behaviour - my thinking on it
Patenting of hyperlinks
The little things
What is god?
The consequences of Determinism
I think nuclear weapons are good
What IS adequacy all about????
Where are we going?
Secret World Conspiricy Revealed!!!
Diary Entry 24/05/02
The Internet - where is it heading?
Terrifying and Shocking news
w0w I must be 1337 h4X0r
An Introduction to Online Gaming
Why Al-Qeada isn't responsible for the WTC
Linux Zealot - My thoughts about him
How many Adequacy members are there?
Why Internet Piracy is Moral
Trees and Grass. Two more lies of society.
Why US bombs should be banned
The Hunt for God
My vacation to America and what I found there
Are you an Enemy Combatant?
Rock vs Pop
Why we should make all guns illegal
Invasion: America
One Year since 9/11 and Americans haven't changed
I still listen to the current goings on in the Isreali-Palestinian "peace talks"..not that there is much talking or much peace though. Isnt this whole US-envoy + peacetalk thing just a replay of an old story? Im sure I heard it on the news at least twice last year.
Still I cant stand to listen to all the arguing anymore. God, its like listening to children fight. And everyone knows Israel is in the wrong most of the time.

Hmm why are we thinking about going to war with Iraq again? What is it about Saddam that pisses our leaders off so much? Sure he used chemical weapons on a (small) civilian population but that was ages ago and others have done similar bads without such vendettas put against them. Plus he wasnt involved in september 11th so whats the deal here?

I for one see little problem that the West can possibly have with the man...its not like he blew down two trade towers is it? What exactly HAS he done to the West thats so awful? I cant seem to remember anything except dodgy evidence linking him to small time terrorist attacks.
Is it that he's an oppresive dictator? Yea well no more than Mugabe of Zimbabwe or even the Chinese government...half a dozen others as well.
That he's making chemical weapons and he used them once? Okay this makes him a murderer but not a "Terrorist leader"...god where does this crap come from.

As far as I can see, any desire on Saddams part to blow up the West is precisely because the West keeps bombing his country to shit. I mean once and he might have shrugged it off but five plus times and no wonder the guy wants us all dead.

I blame CNN for all this misinformation and propaganda personally...I love going to their site for a laugh once a week. Such great fun like their "War against Terrorism" section. Yea like anyone gives a shit...face it - even the phrase "terrorist" is ambiguous.

I heard the other week some retard on radio use the phrase "Six months into the terrosist attacks on America"..NO YOU DUMBASS...its SINCE the terrorist attacks, not INTO the terrorist attacks. Typical moron who thinks terrorism is a type of war.


Congratulations Potato Head. You seem to 'get it'. (none / 0) (#1)
by dmg on Mon Mar 25th, 2002 at 03:09:56 PM PST
Isn't this whole US-envoy + peacetalk thing just a replay of an old story?

Noam Chomsky would agree with you, and you would do well to read more of his writings (if you are not already familiar with his works).

The term "peace process" is used to refer to whatever policies the United States happens to be carrying out--perhaps blocking peace.

Hmm why are we thinking about going to war with Iraq again? What is it about Saddam that pisses our leaders off so much?

A very good question, he has on the whole spent a lot of time fighting with fundamentalists like the Iranians, and the west has armed him to the teeth in the past. One theory a cynic might come up with is that we need to destroy his arms in order to sell him some new ones. Sort of like an Adam Smithesque wave of not-so-creative destruction.

even the phrase "terrorist" is ambiguous

Top marks for insight and stating the blindingly obvious.

where does this crap come from ?
I blame CNN for all this misinformation and propaganda personally

Well Duh. You seem to be on the right track here. I suggest you go read Chomsky's excellent book on this very subject Manufacturing Consent : The Political Economy of the Mass Media which will spell it out to you (although unfortunately not in words of one syllable).

On another subject I've been wondering if we have free will at all. Ayn Rand seems to think so. I am not so sure...

Rand argues that it is not possible consistently to deny that one has free will. Every human choice and every evaluation presupposes it. One cannot deliberate about something, unless one thinks it is within one's power to do it or not do it; one also can not say that something 'should' or 'shouldn't' be done, unless it is possible for it to be done or not be done. Consequently, if one is deliberating about whether to believe in free will or not, then one is already committed to its existence. Nor can the determinist tell us that we should accept determinism. Nor can he claim that he is advocating determinism because it is true -- since on his view, he is advocating determinism only because some blind factors beyond his control force him to advocate it. Thus, the determinist's position appears to devolve into incoherence, as soon as he tries to assert it. This is not, strictly, a proof of the freedom of the will, however. What it shows is that, in order to argue about free will (even to deny it), one has to already implicitly know that one has it; therefore, one must have learned it by some means other than argument -- in particular, Rand holds, one learns it by direct observation. Does this strike anyone as a circular argument ? I mean, if we didn't have free will, we could still think we had free will, after all, we would not have a choice what to think.

time to give a Newtonian demonstration - of a bullet, its mass and its acceleration.
-- MC Hawking

I think you are on the money (none / 0) (#2)
by derek3000 on Mon Mar 25th, 2002 at 03:48:08 PM PST
when you say it is a circular argument. Whether we have free will or not I can't definitely say, but that is certainly not the way to prove it.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

But, but... (none / 0) (#3)
by jvance on Mon Mar 25th, 2002 at 03:59:22 PM PST
if you reject Rand's argument, you are in essence saying that life has nothing left to chance. A host of holy horrors direct our aimless dance.

But it is evident to anyone with senses that we are not a planet of playthings that dance on the strings of powers we cannot perceive.

I reject your deterministic arguments. I will choose a path that is clear. I will choose Free Will.

jvance. Portions © by others.
Adequacy has turned into a cesspool consisting of ... blubbering, superstitious fools arguing with smug, pseudointellectual assholes. -AR

I guess (none / 0) (#5)
by PotatoError on Mon Mar 25th, 2002 at 04:44:05 PM PST
That at the end of the day it is a choice.
You cant prove free will or determinism. Both are equally viable and likely.

Therefore we can all choose one..hmm its like biscuits...

I don't reject free will. (5.00 / 1) (#6)
by derek3000 on Mon Mar 25th, 2002 at 04:46:59 PM PST
I just don't think that her argument is sufficient to 'prove' it.

Oh, admit it, you just wanted to get that Rush bit in.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

Indeed (none / 0) (#8)
by Ben Reid on Mon Mar 25th, 2002 at 07:42:29 PM PST
I believe in free will, I certainly believe I am exercising it by responding to your post, but I can't prove it to you.

You can't prove any belief, so the proving game is kinda pointless. The best you can do is see what matches your experience in your tiny part of the universe.

Determinism doesn't fit my experience so I choose not to believe in it.

However, I can see why determinism is a popular belief system for much the same reason atheism is (they often go hand in hand) -- it conveniently removes any accountability from your behaviour and actions. I could run over and hit you on the head with a 10 foot pole tomorrow but hey, why should you care and what choice did I have?

I'm not usually interested in philosophical physcobabble, so I try to steer clear of arguments about determinism, do we really exist, is our experience just the result of hallucinations or chemical reactions in our brain etc., but I admit that epistemic determinism does have importance in the religious sense (i.e. foreknowledge of God and free will).

Yes, (none / 0) (#9)
by derek3000 on Tue Mar 26th, 2002 at 07:31:47 AM PST
and I have to admit that I have been thinking about these things quite constantly for the last week or so.

I sold my Playstation 2 so that I would read more. Now that I am reading more, I wish I had some sort of diversion--I think I need the thing because I can't seem to 'turn it off,' you know?

When I read Kant, or Kierkegaard, or whoever, I've got to go slow because they say so much in so few words. Kind of like Steinbeck. Anyway, the stuff sticks with me long after I put the book down. I guess I'm kind of obsessive.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

Diversions. (none / 0) (#10)
by Ben Reid on Tue Mar 26th, 2002 at 05:15:58 PM PST
You're right -- diversions are important. Especially if you find yourself becoming obsessive about certain philosophical areas (which I do all the time).

Diversions renew your energy and concentration for when you get back into the weightier matters. Too much in depth reading and thinking on your own can really drive you crazy if you don't try and strike some balance. The mind needs rest like the body needs rest from sleep.

The key for me is to choose a diversion which can provide a break for your poor old brain, but at the same time not detract or contradict from what your study area is at the time.

Obviously I don't know you personally but I can share some of my favourite diversions.

Physical recreation. I like to keep fit, running, swimming, surfing, basketball, you name it. I usually spend at least an hour and a half a day doing something to work up a sweat. Rigorous exercise not only helps to clear your head but it forces you to concentrate on what you are doing at that present moment, not on matters external.

Find someone to talk to 1-on-1 about the things you're thinking and studying -- this is far more important than sharing on a weblog. Most people say things on a weblog to protect their (imaginary) image, impress people, feel part of a community or whatever. Articulating the thoughts in your head via words to someone and hearing their perspective is much more authentic and can really help you understand the how, what and why of your beliefs.

Spend quiet time outside, especially during sunset or sunrise hours and just think and ponder to yourself. This is very important. During this time you are formulating your own ideas, not constantly reading and bombarding yourself with others. Some people spend their whole life avoiding quiet time, they constantly surround themselves with people and distractions because they fear having to sit down, reflect, think about their life, actions and repercussions.

Music. I love my music. Listening and exploring new styles of music is probably my favourite diversion. I've recently been collating songs which match all the types of moods I go through (and there's plenty of em') -- no one type of music is good for all occasions. I am also a guitar player of nearly 9 years. Bringing out my acoustic guitar/s and songwriting (or just plain old jamming), either alone or with friends is great for the soul. The same applies with all musical instruments.

Finally, even reading itself can be a diversion. Instead of complex, wordy books, try reading humourous books, books about certain interests you may have, etc. This may be even more beneficial than the heavy material. It doesn't have to use big words and sound intellectual to connect with you.

I can sense that you are in that genuine searching phase of life. Keep it up dude! It could change you and your outlook on life forever.

er, hold on a minute... (none / 0) (#11)
by derek3000 on Tue Mar 26th, 2002 at 07:10:19 PM PST
you did say your name was Ben, right? Not Derek?

I think you have some things sorely mistaken, sir. I have been playing guitar for 9 years. I enjoy a good game of basketball. I like spending quiet time alone.

If you are a hax0r trying to steal my identity, I will sic the editors of this site on you--they will find your IP in the logs and have you tracked down by the FBI in minutes.

Anyway, we seem to have a lot in common, which is always fun to find out. My latest musical inspirations:

Mahavishnu Orchestra--An all-time favorite. John McLaughlin brought Jimi Hendrix to jazz. "Birds of Fire" rules.
Fontanelle--Funk and minimalism. Really, just try it--I know those two don't sound like they go together. Their drummer loves to play around the beat. Very interesting.
Labradford--Great quiet music. "Fixed::Context" is one of my favorite albums of all time.
Tortoise--I wish I could explain them. Instead, I'll say that you want to listen to them. Try "TNT" (with two bass players) or "Millions Now Living Will Never Die." Always musical, always original.
David Torn--I actually had an e-mail conversation with him. Great guy. He brought Eddie van Halen to jazz, then backed off and got more into textures and soundscapes. There is some beautiful contrast when he decides to solo--the loops he creates are usually delicate, and he comes in with a fericious sound and solos using elements from jazz, blues and eastern music. Interesting indeed. you are interested in improving your technique and learning avant-rock theory ideas.

Your advice is appreciated. Now if I could just get some help with this agoraphobia, I might leave the house and get some 'outside time.'

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

Couldn't haxOr to save myself (none / 0) (#12)
by Ben Reid on Tue Mar 26th, 2002 at 08:28:32 PM PST
but I already work in the FBI so no use turning me in (OK, maybe not). Funny those coincidences though.

Interesting musical choices. I can tell you have a strong jazz/funk influence.

I must admit, I haven't heard the people you mentioned - except Fontanelle, brilliant stuff - but it might be just because I live on some island in the middle of the ocean called Australia.

I'll definitely look into your recommendations.

I've got such a wide taste in music I don't know where to start. It's probably only things like commercial Country lickin' beats and techno that I have trouble finding appreciation for.

Some of my favs at the moment are:

The Avalanches - Aussie band. Real eclectic mix, hard to define, I guess you might say funk but there's all sorts of instruments involved, they are awesome live.
Portishead - Dark and moody. This band really grew on me recently.
Third Day - Christian band, sort of like a Pearl Jam style, kinda commercial but I like em'.
Vince Harris - Another Aussie. You wouldn't have heard of him. Real raw acousic guitar, it's just him and some crusty nylon string, all recordings are live. Lot's of simple bar chords, especially the minors, but powerful words.

Jeff Buckly, classical - especially Bach, Ben Harper, early U2, Lenny Kravitz before he sold out, Enya, early Pink Floyd, Dylan, Hendrix, I could go on and on. My CD collection stands at over 300 at the moment.

I better stop writing these posts from work though, I feel my job security worsening with each minute.

p.s. I just sent you an email prior to reading your post

You know, I almost like you two (n/t) (none / 0) (#13)
by budlite on Wed Mar 27th, 2002 at 07:38:09 AM PST

Orchestral variations (none / 0) (#14)
by walwyn on Wed Mar 27th, 2002 at 04:15:57 PM PST
Mahavishnu Orchestra--An all-time favorite. John McLaughlin brought Jimi Hendrix to jazz. "Birds of Fire" rules.
Have a listen to one of the Orchestra. Actually one of the musicians on this work is well worth following. Two personal favourites are Madar and Alpstien. Not forgetting Officium

ECM put out some great stuff. (none / 0) (#15)
by derek3000 on Wed Mar 27th, 2002 at 06:08:14 PM PST
There's a Steve Tibbets album with your name on it somewhere in that catalogue. Either "Yr" or the one with the red rock on the cover. Thanks for the tip.

"Feel me when I bring it!" --Gay Jamie

ECM (none / 0) (#16)
by walwyn on Thu Mar 28th, 2002 at 05:42:51 AM PST
Yep you could do a lot worse then working your way through the entire ECM catalogue. I've never been disappointed by an ECM artist.

ok (none / 0) (#4)
by PotatoError on Mon Mar 25th, 2002 at 04:35:44 PM PST
sorry for stating the blinding obvious.

What interested me was that page you linked to about free will. I especially liked the bit about awareness being a precondition of selecting an action. Its a good way to describe how we list all possible actions before we can "choose" one.

My thinking on this topic has been the same for over 2 years now - that this awareness gives us the illusion of free will. Ill try to explain it although I find explaining difficult.

Ok, in a given situation we are aware of all the possible actions we can make. This isnt free will in itself. For it to be free will we must also be able to select more than one of these possible actions.

But I argue that our thinking process is deterministic and can only select one possible action in a given situation. The bonus is that this stance is backed up with physics - although this doesnt prove or disprove a thing.

The main problem people have with the argument of determinism is that they mistakenly think that they perceive free will. They will go "I can do either A or B - therefore I have free will". But in fact they arent really perceiving free will - they are percieving awareness (as the author of that article put it) - they are percieving a list of possible actions that they think they can make. Just because they see this list of actions doesnt prove they can pick any one of them.

Even after an action is performed they will argue that they could have "chosen the other action".
But thats only what they percieve - not necessarily what is truth.

Assume for a second that the action they chose was determined. They would remember all of the other possible, actions which they perceived, even if they couldnt have chosen them. Therefore they assume that they could have picked any one of those actions even though we know (from our assumption) that they couldnt. This doesnt prove it but it shows that the idea of determinism and the illusion of free will does work im not just making it up.

The question I find most difficult is: whats the point of "listing" all possible actions if our thinking process is determined to only pick one of them?

Firstly I dont think there has to be a "point" to it. It may be that our thinking system could be inefficient in some way. Then again perhaps there is a good reason for it.

Just one off the wall theory ive thought of recently (notice i say off the wall so please dont tie this with what ive written above) is that this is fundemental to our conciousness. That we can see all possible actions in a given situation and get this perception of free will somehow ushers conciousness...Its irritating cuz I can see the links in my head but I cant express them. What I mean is like what the author of that page wrote - that seeing all possible actions is the basis of awareness. If we could only see the determined action we would be less complex - something would be missing. We would be unaware..just a flat program probably. I think our conciousness stems from our must do really because to be aware there must be some sort of concious manifestation.

Note that I dont think that we are designed to be concious - more that conciousness is a spinoff of our design.

On a completely different note - the article also raised a point about the morality of determism. That in a deterministic universe we could never assign blame to anyone.
Well yes, we dont know the determined path of the universe and therefore life would be chaotic if we based it upon determinism.
Instead we have to lie to ourselves - we have to force-believe that free will exists in to make order and to make our society function correctly.

I feel depressed (none / 0) (#7)
by Anonymous Reader on Mon Mar 25th, 2002 at 04:58:14 PM PST
This whole discussion, saying there is NO free will really gets to me and I think the very thought is destructive.
The bigger issue that needs to be raised here is : Should we even attempt to find out the 'truth', even if it's nature is destructive to us as individuals ?
What I mean is - take for example what you've said about no free will and stuff ... If there's no free will, like you said, we keep pretending there's will, there's guilt, there's heroism so we can live our lives normaly just the way they are ... We always set the 'norm' in the society and for the society for order to exist amongst it's people.
So far so good. People all over the world, including me, adopt a carefully planed ambissious way of living, we set ourselves clear material and non-material goals based on the reality our society accepts.
Breaking that reality would mean wiping out much of the un-natural motivation we get right now (by un-natural I mean something that isn't physiologicaly placed within us like wanting to eat, sleep and stuff). By wiping out that motivation we erase all ambission, for after all we all get to the same place in the end, don't we ? We're not humans, we're bodies that communicate with a 'mind' that's sole purpose is surviving ... THAT'S ALL OFCOURSE TRUE, but should we talk about it so blaintly ? I say we should play dumb. Enjoy the ride while it lasts and not find ways to ruin the fun.
As George Orwell once wrote in his novel "1984",

PS, the novel is very relevant to this discussion and really deals with the whole "No free will" issue as well as what we SHOULD know and what we WANT TO KNOW, and how it all builds up and could end up with the scenerio in that book.

Let's stay like this, let's stay naive. The world aint gettin any more innocent (on the outside)
...Says popai the sailerman


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