#Books – Hello Freedom

Romain/ septembre 10, 2020/ General/ 1 comments

“Ever since the French Revolution, people throughout the world have gradually come to see both equality and individual freedom as fundamental values. Yet the two values contradict each other. Equality can be ensured only by curtailing the freedoms of those who are better off. Guaranteeing that every individual will be free to do as he wishes inevitably short-changes equality. The entire political history of the world since 1789 can be seen as a series of attempts to reconcile this contradiction.” Yuval Noah Harari in Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind.  

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey  

I have never watched Milos Forman’s adaptation, but this novel is clearly one of my favorite books. I discovered Kesey and the Merry Pranksters reading Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe’s texts, and I was shocked realizing how brilliant One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was. This novel is all about the control of individuals by authorities, and the coercive methods used for that, with an epic psychological battle between the inmate McMurphy and Nurse Ratched. One could have cited Kerouac’s On the Road to talk about freedom, but One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is much better in my opinion and definitely a must read.  

Homage to Catalonia – George Orwell  

Everyone knows Orwell as the writer of masterpieces such as 1984 or Animal Farm. But few people know Homage to Catalonia, a deep dive into the Spanish Civil War, when Orwell fought against Franco’s troops with the militias of the POUM. This passionate (and sometimes naive) ode to freedom leads to a darker conclusion, as the Communist party took control over Catalonia and operated a political purge.  An experience that dramatically influenced the rest of his writing career. Indeed, inside every utopia is a dystopia.  

The World Inside – Robert Silverberg  

A great sci-fi novel that takes place in 2381. The Earth is overpopulated, and most humans live in massive city towers called “urban monads”, while a minority of people still work and live in agricultural zones all around. Each monad hosts an inside world where all people are happy, healthy… and young. Maybe because this locked utopian society is actually an anthropological nightmare, pushing all of its members to finally jump into the void.  

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  1. « Yet these 2 values contradict each other…… » Yes and No. The Academic has read many books, but does not/refuses to believe or understand that his/her knowledge about X may be (vastly) inferior to the X-smith who DOES X every day.. In Sept., 1940, US Intel told the RN Admiral that the German B-dienst had broken the Admiralty code. The Brits disregarded it with contempt, despite the US’ group having broken Jap Purple and JN25A, which noone else had done. A very, very bright Brit. who’d been a barrister and who was head of U-boat tracking and was party to the Enigma decrypts, had worked-out by 3/1942 that B-dienst had broken the code. Again,’ he’s just a bloody barrister, mate!’ Bletchley Park put 2 cryptos on it and 6 months later, 9/1942, they said the same. No change in the codes and the U-boats continued to sink the convoys. Finally in 3/1943, Enigma, in what a German historian has called, « an unpardonable error, » burped that B-dienst had broken the code. Because the Enigma decrypts were seen by Churchill, they HAD to change the code and, MIRABILE DICTU, the convoy-sinkings slowed immensely. There is a German website which (proudly) accounts for every ship sunk. Assuming the U-boats, deprived of the RN code had sunk only half of what they did, that would still have been some 400 ships and 15,000 men slaughtered by the stupidity of the « Nobs. » Worse, a Brit.-Army crypto had invented a foolproof way to double-encrypt anything so that it was unbreakable–by April 1941–but the stiffnecks of the RN were unwilling to adopt it because they were so superior. These values only contradict WHEN WE LET THEM.

    Your ‘moving-nodes’ at the top of your page are attractive and appear random. If one puts the cursor/arrow amongst them, they give it a berth which seems random, but may not be. You would know of Louis Bachelier whose 1900 thesis stated ‘Markets are Random.’ Benoit Mandelbrot disagreed, ((MIS)BEHAVIOUR of MARKETS, pp. 163 et seq., paperback eds., in English). He derived this, in turn from E.H. Hurst. BM was unable to prove it in every inst., and a Bachelier fan severely trashed him. He, BM, gave it all up. LB was 100% wrong, BM right although he missed some biggies. Again, doers vs. talkers. One’s basic assumptions MUST be grounded and the « old » method of ‘First Principles’ which was discarded because of the cute little glass screens, is still useful and often trumps what passes for knowledge.

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