ISIS and Ebola

September 18, 2014

We’ve had to deal with al Quaeda and AIDS, now we have ISIS and Ebola.  Maybe the world is periodically visited by human and microscopic scourges, maybe there is no lesson to be learned, but maybe there is.  If we were talking about an individual and not about the world, I would say the pattern repeats until we get what it’s about and learn something new and do something different — not as a matter of punishment but as something necessary for some kind of progress to be made.

So, what’s the lesson?

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7 Responses to “ISIS and Ebola”

  1. Matthew Brooks Says:

    We learn after the fact. Progress is made in spite of our present understanding (but progress just means onwards along the circle (we’ve been here before)).

    Patterns don’t just repeat. They transcend/emerge;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergence

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catastrophe_theory

    I watched the videos. Something doesn’t add up. They always cut away from the actual execution – why? I’ve seen executions by Mexican gangs with no reservation and no disjoint. Why here?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/journalists/bill-gardner/11054488/Foley-murder-video-may-have-been-staged.html

  2. Matthew Brooks Says:

    To elaborate; I don’t think it’s about deliberately doing something different before the fact (and you may be intending this very thing). “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition”, because they are the Spanish Inquisition. It’s behavior manifest collectively, unconsciously, for the most part.

    It’s possible for somebody here or there to spot the pattern beforehand, see the system for what it is (within reason), and that helps negotiate things on a local level, but enlightened preclusion is not on the table.

    I do think you’re right that these events serve as landmarks (scars?); and just as an injury inscribes in our memory and guides us against whatever action led to the injury in future, these kinds of things are necessary in the long run (creative destruction?). They also thin out the herd, so to speak. What’s left is (more) viable going forward.

    Until several generations hence, or whatever, and those who learned the lesson are gone and things repeat approximately.

    • Diana Moses Says:

      I guess the way that I might put it is that maybe (?) we have become out of balance with our environment and that that has repercussions, even if they are not direct and immediate. If there really is an equal and opposite reaction for every action, maybe that’s not limited to what we think of as “physics.”

      And when something happens, it may provide us with an opportunity to learn something about ourselves and what we are doing that we might change.

  3. Matthew Brooks Says:

    I think this is partially true. There are elements that must realign to regain balance (we can’t just keep buying on credit), and also adapt to a more demanding landscape. At the same time I don’t think it’s something we fully learn until we don’t have a choice. We learn by reflection; we change by necessity, and many people won’t reflect correctly until plausible deniability goes out the window.

    Also, in fairness, certain behavior aligns with certain environments. We’re moving from one season to the next. There’s a time for grace and a time for sternness; a time for saving and a time for spending (and borrowing), and theory is fine in theory but in practice this is how it works. “Is and isn’t produce each other”; necessity is the mother of invention and invention gives way to success which gives way to contentment which gives way to idleness which gives way to degeneration which gives way to failure which gives way to necessity.

    Finally, we disturb balance in some ways in order to achieve greater balance in other ways. For example, technology is disruptive but it also maintains large, concentrated populations. It would also serve us in the event of a major natural calamity; eg. an Ark (of sorts) to survive a large asteroid strike. Without technology humanity might be wiped out otherwise. This would be invention preceding necessity (~synchronicity).

    • Diana Moses Says:

      I think in some way we’ve lost our connection to the earth, that that’s a way in which we’ve “lost our roots” (which I was going on about in my next post, the one about dead or dormant grass). Many of us tend to reach up and out and not down and within.


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