[FoRK] Nietzsche's Severe Rationalism

Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> on Wed Jan 30 14:53:59 PST 2008

Kevin Elliott wrote:
> On Jan 30, 2008, at 11:48 AM, Stephen D. Williams wrote:
>> I agree, forward progression rules, for good reasons.
>> I will point out some perceived backsliding that comes to mind, 
>> mostly local and possibly necessary to get out of local minima, but 
>> apparently regressive in a certain realm:
>> The rise of Chinese science, and then its stifling via some 
>> combination of bad government and sick philosophy / religion.
>> Same thing with Arab science.
>> The rise and fall of Aztecs, although that didn't get much out of the 
>> primitive stages to really be significant.
>> The fall of the Roman Empire, although that was fueled by an 
>> artificial and unsustainable slave / conquering model.
> All true... the difficult problem is unwinding whether _AVERAGE_ 
> progress was actually slowed worldwide, etc... Rome fell, but other 
> civilizations rose in it's ashes. Even at the time, I don't see how it 
> effected say India or China at all. It's also important to not confuse 
> technical progress with "Progress".
Technical progress changes in a positive way, i.e. increasingly 
large/better/more efficient, what is possible. (Some argue that it 
increases the number of negative things that can be accomplished, but we 
always have had, post Stone Age, a plethora of ways to do negative 
things. Better positive things are the hard part. Just now I read about 
a new high-efficiency (120 lumens/watt) light that, using radio waves in 
a tuned chamber with a crystal with trapped gases, has nothing that can 
wear out. Already being used in Panasonic projection TVs.)

How this progress is utilized is determined by state and progress in 
civilization which is some combination of rationality / logic / laws / 
culture / goals / resources at hand / and general state of the populace. 
In the modern world, nearly everyone has easy access to more knowledge 
than they can make use of, however only those societies with the proper 
"civstate" can make effective and competitive use of it.
> Technical knowledge certainly fell as Rome collapsed, but did "total 
> misery"? Rome kept an awful lot of slaves, and if your being born 
> "randomly", nothing prevents you from being "Roman Slave" rather than 
> "Citizen of Rome".
> As I said, it's a difficult problem to unwind...
Rome had a fairly effective procedural / structural / cultural side of 
"civstate" down, but was mostly lacking in the personal freedom / 
happiness / realization side of a "civstate" equation.

BTW, I learned far more from the "Rome" series on HBO than I ever 
learned / remembered from school.


swilliams at hpti.com http://www.hpti.com Per: sdw at lig.net http://sdw.st
Stephen D. Williams 703-371-9362C 703-995-0407Fax 94043 AIM: sdw

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