Friday, February 11, 2011

Dead Apocolyptic Poets: Robert Frost 2

This one's intent sneaks up on you.

Once By the Pacific
Robert Frost
The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God's last Put out the Light was spoken.


Waldow said...

I do love Mr. Frost. At first "water broken" seems possibly connected to a hydrogen bomb, given the apocalyptic tone of this verse, but if so, then he was actually seeing a vision of the future as this poem dates to 1928. Everybody will have their own interpretation so it is useless to argue, but that's my guess.

Wanted to bring up HERACLITUS here, or what fragments of his are relevant to collapse and blog-think.

First to establish some of his thinking on thinking:

"Men who love wisdom should acquaint themselves with a great many particulars."

...This blog helps more than Collapsenet or Feral Scholar or Zero Hedge, all of which are pretty good sources.

...Of course everybody thinks they are right:

"We should let ourselves be guided by what is common to all. Yet, although the Logos is common to all, most men live as if each of them had a private intelligence of his own."

"Let us not make arbitrary conjectures about the greatest matters."

...I like to ignore this sort of wisdom.

"Much learning does not teach understanding, otherwise it would have taught Hesiod and Pythagoras, Xenophanes and Hecataeus."

...Seems he wasn't too big on credentialed academics per se himself. Nor poets... Not sure how he felt about ellipses...

OK. So on to his thoughts I think are particularly relevant to revealing catastrophe:

"Nature loves to hide itself."

"Fire in its advance will catch all things by surprise and judge them."

"If all existing things were smoke, it is by smell that we would distinguish them."

To me, this last fragment amounts to a description of what it is to make a conjecture, which when things are chaotic, we are forced to rely more heavily on. I have not decided if poems are fancied up conjecture, or if they are communication from another dimension.

Waldow said...

The prepper instinct is to individualism. Below is a possible explanation (conjecture in need of testing).

In chaos hard information is in short supply.

Leaders at such a time would be forced as anybody would be to relying on conjecture heavily.

Nobody wants to follow leaders relying on conjecture. Natural risk aversion. I myself have always felt unfit to lead others but very capable of performing special dangerous individual tasks myself because I don't mind risking my own ass on my very good guesses.

If a group following leadership in chaos lucks into the right conjecture the survival rate for the group is very high. Should the conjecture be wrong, of course, everyone perishes.

Now admittedly humans are a herd animal(not to discount the soul). So by splitting up they know they are reducing survival chances in most cases.

Human evolution, if you buy the scientific narrative, has gone through several bottle necks where all but a very few died out (less than 2000!)

Perhaps as the level of chaos and catastrophe increases, it benefits the survival of the human genome to split itself into smaller and smaller groups to try out several different conjectures which each group.

Postmodern thought has rejected the idea of real proof, so all anybody goes on is this, "Which narrative is more compelling?" SCIENTISTS DO THE SAME THING, but to a lesser degree. Therefore the strong pull of the dramatic narrative of the polarized lone individual making a go alone.

It is good for survival to be aware of this and to fight the contemporary urge to fly all the way to the end of the curve, while pulling back from all groups larger than a couple thousands, remember there will be great value in small to mid-sized groups until the sun catches us with our pants down spreading genes and swallows us whole.

I don't want to screw up yr blog by posting too much. Thanks for yr time.

russell1200 said...

Don't worry about posting. Feedback and/or aside comments makes the process more interesting.

Apparently some of the genesis of Frost's poem was biographical:

Your point about leadership is a very good one. What I have found is that people tend to want to be leaders more by personality than by ability. Many people who want to lead, have not other ability that would recommend them other then they want to lead.

I think the bottlenecks are more a factor of the human culture or biology changing. When one particular group became more successful they would tend to drive out the other groups. From a genetics point of view this would trace everything back to that one successful group and make it look like a bottleneck. There is also the phenomena of gamblers ruin (which I should discuss at some point) which tends to lead to the extinction of groups over time regardless of their success. Gamblers ruin is where you are betting against the house (the world) and because the house has infinite funds, and you do not you must lose: when you go broke you are out of the game, and the house cannot go broke.

Arguably the current human experience could be argued to be humans doing their best to make the house go broke.

I am very familiar with zero hedge. They used to link to ads that had a nasty virus so I became reluctant to go there. I did not see anything come up this time.

I was not familiar in any deep way with the other sites. Feral seems to have interesting ideas but does not post regularly. Same problem with Orlov's site ( Collapse net looks very topical. But based on a very brief view it looks like its default mode is hyperventilation: making mountains out of molehills when there are plenty of mountains around. To use your Heracles quote: "Let us not make arbitrary conjectures about the greatest matters."

Heracles smoke idea seems very Platonic: before there was a Plato. Our perceptions as shadows on the cave wall so to speak. I will look further at Heracles.

But at the moment, Darth Vader's ship, which for budgetary reasons he made out of Legos, needs repair. So I need to go. LOL

Waldow said...

The translations for Heraclitus available on the web aren't very good. I should have dug up my copy of Heraclitus' fragments from the heaps of tools and books in storage to quote on this post. I've read him in tens of different translations, and the two best I've found are Haxton and Davenport. Haxton's more beautiful and precise, but with Davenport you get some other great Greek stuff, which is translated without interpolating the literal holes in the scrolls! Gives you a real sense for the fragile nature of human learning.

Waldow said...

Collapsenet does cry wolf out of a bit of hypersensitivity, but not out of straight paranoia or schizophrenia as some such sources do. Maybe just a touch of salesmanship, but MCRs gotta pay the bills. It is from the site's predecessor "From The Wilderness" where I came across Orlov, who has really impacted how I make decisions, so I'm grateful.

The gambling metaphor is apt. Even the Tribal organizations have bout in at the end. Ha!

Waldow said...

And if you buy the Davenport you get this man's work, Archilochus:

What hair styles among
All this jackass backsided
Sabazian pederasty

This island,
garlanded with wild woods,
Lies in the sea
like the backbone of an ass.

Let him go ahead.
Ares is a democrat.
There are no privileged people
On a battlefield.

russell1200 said...

I'll get Davenport. It will allow me to quote and reference to great perplexity: current company excepted of course. LOL.

Darth Vadars ship has been repaired: The Return of the Sith so to speak. We have been going through the series in order. We just got to the first one (number IV by story timeline) and my little one got his first lengthy dose of Vader. He was very impressed: LOL!