In North Korea, this forum wouldn't be banned, it would be revered and taught in schools as a palatable and preferable version of Western history. And in many ways, that's all the truth the children of North Korea need
Surprisingly, this thread has now taken a turn for the Awesome.
No need. When the Old Farts begin to get nostalgic, we tend to bump the worst threads you could ever imagine. Just look for posts by: Tao Jones, Eris Van Tartus, cat~maxwell, Merlin of Chaos, LMNO, Wolfpoet, Hugh, Rene de Farts, A Klokwerk Kaos, I Am Not A Rhombus....
I haven't made the cut yet. So now I must cut myself....i cry.
At a low period in my life I was seeking enlightenment. Lounging in my empty bathtub, fully clothed, I pondered the state of this sorry world. Wondering why there was so much confusion and strife afflicting so many; wondering if this was this and that was that, and whether tit really did anything for tat. Realizing that I wasn't philosophizing anymore and merely invoking Suess I decided that it was time to move outdoors, for fresh air and sun, to seek my enlightenment in the world.On the sidewalk I found an Oh Henry bar. Looking around, I saw nobody who seemed ready to lay a claim on it - the bar seemed to be up for grabs. I crouched down and examined it closely, without touching it, of course. I wasn't about to become insnared by some intrepid alien or big game hunter. I didn't detect any strings, and the sidewalk around the candy seemed kosher. The bar was mine. Snatching it up, I moved to a bench to consume it in comfort at my own leisure. It was chocolatey, it was caramely, it was nugety, it was sweet and it was gooey. It did not, however, enlighten me.Sitting on the bench, I sighed. Where next should I seek my enlightenment? As I mulled this query over I noticed a small book on the bench next to me. Curious, I picked it up, and read the cover; it was the Collected Short Stories of O. Henry.This was a stunning coincidence. This, undoubtedly, meant something. As I opened the book to peruse the contents I was struck by something that made the book altogether more strange - all the pages were torn out, save those between fifty-five and sixty-nine, a story entitled The Green Door. I felt this story must be of cosmic significance, and so devoured it on the spot. Here would be the answers to the cause of all the strife and confusion in the world. I read the story in a few minutes, and chuckled once or twice, was saddened at least once, and sighed at the end. The story was touching and amusing, but I did not, however, answer my questions.I felt perplexed. I felt confused. I felt discombobulated. I did not, however, feel enlightened. Still searching, I walked.I walked five blocks, and was then struck down to the pavement with another stunning coincidence. A porno theatre was showing a revival of Behind The Green Door. This was a stunning synchronicity. This, undoubtedly, meant something. I paid my admission, bought another Oh Henry bar at the candy counter, and ventured into the theatre. The movie had already started as I made my way through the sickeningly clammy sound of about fifty people beating their meat in the audience. I shuffled into the back row and tried to find a seat which hadn't been issued upon. As I sat down -just for a laugh- I began to smack the palm of my hand against the back of my neck furiously, and moan overly loud. The monkey spanking subsided for about seventeen seconds. I chuckled to myself, and began to unwrap my candy bar.As I took the first bite I realized the movie had stopped in place on the screen. Marilyn Chambers' legs were spread-eagled, and all her glory was center stage, so to speak. So many euphemisms which are inappropriate rattled through my brian . . . tacos and beavers should not be compared to the same part of the body described as The Mound Of Venus. As this thought fluttered through my mind I also noticed the silence in the theatre. There were no sounds of auto eroticism whatsoever, in fact my fellow patrons seemed to be petrified in the more literal sense. I became alarmed by this, but was even more alarmed when Marilyn Chambers' bush on-screen burst into flames, and began to speak to me.BARON VON HOOPLA, a satiny female voice called from the burning bush. YOU MADE LEVITY IN A PLACE OF SOLEMN WORSHIP.I gulped, since there seemed little else to do under the circumstances. HOW DO YOU STAND AGAINST THESE CHARGES? the female voice asked. Guilty, I hiccuped. I had mocked the meat-beaters. My candy bar was melting in my hand. I could feel it.GOOD. said the voice. YOU'RE ONE OF MINE.Who, who are you? I asked.I YAM WHO I YAM, came the reply.Popeye?! I exclaimed. It didn't sound like Popeye.NAY, I AM CALLED ERIS NANCY DISCORDIA. GODDESS OF CHAOS CONFUSION STRIFE CREATIVITY AND BUREAUCRACY. I AM THE HODGE OF THE RISING PODGE AND THE PODGE OF THE SINKING HODGE - GRAND WAZOO OF ALL THINGS FUNNY.Why have you chosen me? I asked, not cowering as blatantly as a few minutes prior, but still cowering nonetheless.FOR YOU ARE A GOOD APPLE. YOU ARE AWAKE ENOUGH TO QUESTION, SKEPTICAL ENOUGH TO QUESTION THE APPARENT ANSWERS, GULLIBLE ENOUGH TO FOLLOW MYSTERY, HUMOROUS ENOUGH TO MOCK THE SERIOUS AND SERIOUS ENOUGH TO AWAKEN IN THE FIRST PLACE. YOU EMBODY THE IDEALS OF THE SACRED CHAO, AND LO, I DEEM YOU A KEEPER OF IT. Onto the ceiling of the theatre, the fire from the burning bush traced out a design. It was a circle bisected by an 'S' shape; on one side was depicted an apple emblazoned with a 'K', on the other a pentagon.It's some for of Yin Yang? I asked.THE YIN YANG IS A FORM OF THE SACRED CHAO. IT IS A REPRESENTATION OF THE UNIVERSE. ALL THE ANSWERS YOU SEEK WILL BE FOUND WITHIN THAT CIRCLE, WHICH IS THE SERPENT SWALLOWING ITS OWN TAIL.That's the answer to why there is so much strife and confusion in the world? I don't understand . . . why an apple and a pentagon?CHAOS IS THE ENTIRE CIRCLE, ONE HALF IS ORDER, THE OTHER DISORDER. THEY ARE BOTH NATURAL MANIFESTATIONS OF THE UNDERLYING CHAOS. ONCE YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, YOU UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING. FARE THEE WELL-Wait! One more question! What's the best way to deal with the strife and confusion of the world?LAUGHTER! came the reply. FARE THEE WELL-Wait! One last question! Why Nancy??WHAT?Why Eris Nancy Discordia? I asked. Why Nancy?NANCY'S A NICE NAME. FARE THEE WELL KEEPER OF MY SACRED CHAO! SPREAD MY WORD - ALL MEN SHALL BE SAILORS THEN UNTIL THE SEA SHALL FREE THEM!Wait! I called, You stole that from Leonard Cohen!NAY - HE STOLE THAT FROM ME.Thus, I was enlightened.The bush ceased to burn. The film ran forward. The manhandling kicked back in, but sounded more serene this time, like a gentle rainfall on a tin roof. I stood up and noticed a small book on the seat next to me. I took it out into the light of the lobby and read the title, 'Principia Discordia', I heard a female voice in the center of my head say READ IT: BELIEVE ALL OF IT, BELIEVE NONE OF IT. I walked outside, and promptly slipped on a banana peel, while thinking 'Indeed, do many strange things come to pass.'
I know you could probably look this up on Wikipedia, but1) Wikipedia is boring, and2) Wikipedia does not tell you amusing anecdotes about various theories and theorists.In short, International Relations is the study of anything that crosses borders. In that sense, it studies (among other things) trade, war, political science, sociology, terrorism, aid organizations, history and ethics. It is like political science, writ large. Also, unlike the traditional understanding of politics (the left-right and authoritarian-libertarian distinction) IR uses its own specialist jargon, some of which is counterintuitive to those unfamiliar with the basics of our understanding of the subject.The first lesson is the basic approaches to Grand Theory in IR. Grand Theory is essentially the Big Overarching Ideas which the majority of scholars subscribe to, and tend to use in their analysis of world events. It is of course not necessary to subscribe to one yourself (I would suggest you do not), but understanding their strengths and weaknesses, especially without resorting to a pick and mix approach of analysis (which tends to end up in horrible, logic contorting conclusions) is very helpful indeed.RealismRealism is pretty much the oldest theory. Some people trace it back to Thucydides and his masterful History of the Peloponnesian War in the west, and to Sun Tzu in the east. Other notable theorists would include Augustine, Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, Carl Schmitt, Hans Morgenthau, Henry Kissinger, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt (the last two being the writers of the recent Israel Lobby book).If Realism could only be summed up in one word, the word would be "power". For Realists power is of primary importance, especially military and economic clout, which most see as intertwined. As far as Realists are concerned, most politics is about power, and the continual quest to grab, acquire and use power. Realists generally see the international system as anarchical. By that, they mean there is no overarching world authority who can compel states to obey its will. Therefore, states acquire power to protect themselves against the uncertainty of the world. With no-one else who can be relied on in a dangerous situation, states must rely on their own arms and resources for their continued influence in the world.Also for Realists, the state is the basic unit of analysis. Either because of structural reasons or human psychology, all states are essentially alike in their aims and intentions. Therefore, it does not matter if a state is a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, a theocracy or a monarchy. All, according to Realist thinking, act according to the above factors of power and anarchy, not on their stated ideology.As one would expect, Realists mostly concern themselves with grand strategy issues. Such things as the Balance of Power, Offense-Defense Blance, Alliance Theory and Deterrence feature highly on a Realist cirriculum.There are several notable strands of Realism:Classical Realism - the basic "problem" is human nature. People are untrustworthy and vicious, therefore you must be too, in order to not fall foul of them. Key thinkers: Machiavelli, Thucydides, Hobbes, Augustine.Neorealism - this reverses the logic of Classical Realism, stating that instead, the basic problem is anarchy. Neorealism tends to be highly abstract, and deals mainly with how the structure of the international system (anarchy) constrains the choices of the actors within. Conflict is still seen as a permament condition. Your main people here are Kenneth Waltz and Stephen Walt.Offensive Realism - this is a sub-branch of Neorealism, made popular by John Mearsheimer. Here, the basic idea, in addition to the assumptions of Neorealism, is that states will seek to maximize their power by seeking to become hegemons.Defensive realism - another variant of Neorealism. In this case, the focus is on the security dilemma (how one state building up defences can be seen as threatening by another state) and how security is essentially a zero-sum game. Defensive realism thus often looks to Game Theory for its inspiration. Waltz, Walt and Robert Jervis fall into this school of thought.Liberal Realism - also known as the English School, the idea here is that despite the anarchical international system, there is still something approaching a society of states, and thus potential conflict can be mitigated, in part, through use of international organizations such as the UN. Liberal Realism combines critiques from Constructivism, Critical Theory/the Frankfurt School and post-structuralism to posit the idea that ideas matter and shape relations as much as material capabilities. Hedley Bull and Martin Wright are part of this school of thought, though as stated, influences derive from many fields and individuals.Neoclassical Realism - this combines the psychological insights of classical realism along with Neorealist structural concerns to try and determine the foreign policies of individual states, rather than the structure of the International System.As can be seen, Realism very much derives from realpolitik practices, which the like of Metternicht or Bismarck, as well as various foreign policy hawks/national security specialists and a certain flavour of religious individual (such as Pastor Niebuhr) with their focus on Original Sin, would find attractive. It would not be entirely inaccurate to see links to generally conservative political viewpoints. However, that is not always the case. Hans Morgenthau is widely considered the founder of modern Realist thought, and was a liberal Jew who fled Nazi Germany and protested against the Vietnam War. The amoral nature of Realist analysis means one can agree with the general conclusions, while finding them morally repugnant or acceptable, depending on one's personal viewpoint. Robert Kaplan is another example of the "tragic realist" who values American norms and mores concerning freedom, liberal democracy etc. Yet he advocates methods such as deception, assassination and carefully applied state terror in certain situations, as he feels warrants such a response (naturally, he considers such events to be few, and that they are backed up by the normally exemplary behaviour of liberal democracies towards their citizens). Zbigniew Brzezinski was the foreign policy advisor to President Carter, yet a dyed-in-the-wool Realist, as was Kissinger, Nixon's advisor and alleged war-criminal.
I used to tell people we live in an Anarchist Utopia. It was a kind of IRL troll in the days I used to hang out with activist-types. It was a lot of fun, because it is a very difficult claim difficult to argue against: we are all free to do as we will. You can smoke a joint in front of a police station - you just have to be prepared to deal with the consequences. You can do anything you can get away with.It is very easy to confuse what we can't do with what we shouldn't do. It is all too easy to forget that we have the choice. The internet pirate, downloading and propogating stolen materials, he has the choice. And stopping at a red light, I had the choice to keep going and risk arrest or injury.Freedom, in this its most basic sense, seems rather constant in human history across space and time. The only way people have managed to truly limit freedom in this sense is imprisonment of others - and this has always been applied to a small minority, even in extreme cases where entire ethnic groups were rounded up and confined.So if we sense we are in a state of decreasing freedom, clearly the freedom we are referring to is not this freedom of choice, ever so hard to truly limit. The freedoms now being slowly taken away must be subtler ones - indeed, these freedoms must consist of our choices not being affected unduly by outside considerations. I should be able to write what I want, when I want, where I want, without this choice being affected by fear of retribution. Imposing this fear is a subtle encroachment upon my freedom.But perhaps the easiest way to limit one's freedom is to make one forget this freedom ever existed in the first place. After all, why put a man behind iron bars when you can just train him to stay indoors? If you can convince The People that they should not do what you do not wish them to do, you save a great deal of energy you would otherwise spend actually stopping them from doing it. If you can convince them that they cannot do this, cannot go there, all the better.It is good to remember once in a while that we are fundamentally free. We may have fears imposed on us by unjust rulers. We may have to face choices no free person should be forced to face. We may have to take great care to preserve our freedom. But we are free nonetheless, and the choice is ours. Merely knowing we are free is half the battle.
So in preparation for NaNoWriMo I decided to do some structured exercises. Below is a draft of a poem written in Iambic Pentameter... or at least its intended to be written in iambic pentameter. Feel free to point out errors in the pattern.The SwallowIn birds have poets often found their muse,both in their flight and in their feathered hues.The Raven, dark as blood dried on a knife.The Songbird, calling spring from death to life.Thus birds can be beloved or despisedBased on the things they’ve often symbolizedYes, symbols might make up the way we see,the citizens of every bush and tree.From stately hawk to vultures in the air,and early birds delight in wormy fare.(So before you think my words ring hollow,I present a poem of the Swallow.)Though might is often tied to creatures size,That is not where the swallow’s power lies,And while it may catch insects on the wing,I write about a very different thing.Perhaps some few shall see through my intent,And understand just what the Swallow meant.It may be small but you can be assureda Swallow on its own has often cured,An ailment that could bring your spirits lowand limit when you come and where you go.To save you from some twenty years of work,Invoke the swallow and banish the stork.- Ratatosk, Squirrel of Discord
we should throw a lot of this stuff into a PDF
What?Golden Age of Discordianism?NOW IS THE GOLDEN AGE.Look around. At the beginning of the 60's there were Discordians, maybe 10, 20, maybe even 50. By the end of the 60's we'd gotten up to maybe a couple hundred people that had read the PD...The mid-70's brought RAW and a bigger bullhorn to shout bullshit through. So the numbers grew, somewhat. The subgeniuses formed separately and the two converged into a decent rivalry, but overall, the numbers of both groups (as far as we ca tell) were small. According to RAW, in a discussion about Discordianism, even through the 80's mosbunal Discordians tended to be neo-pagans that included Eris as a joke/metaphor/reminder not to be serious... whatever. Only a few crazy ass motherfuckers, like Bob and Omar, actually called themselves Erisian or Discordian, primarily.Now, look at this board and other Discordian forums... even the pineal ones. This is Discordianism Becoming, be it through new memes or old memes, through creative independent thinking or through laughing at the jokes of other people. Now is The Age of Eris, not then, then was the seed planting, now is the first harvest!In the mid-80's, even in the early 90's, what religious discussion groups would seriously include Discordianism as a valid system? How many more such groups are in existence today?In the mid-80's, how many people had heard of Discordianism? How many have today?We're just getting up a head of steam, going back doesn't get us to a golden age, it gets us to the train station we just left!I have a greater hope for Discordianism, than some either or dichotomy between those that are "Doing it Right" and those that are "Doing It Wrong". The fact that they are Doing It, however they think best, is as close to right as I think we'll get. "Like What You Like, Enjoy What You Enjoy and Don't Take Crap From Anyone" - Guns and Dope Party mottoIf they like Fnording 23's and OMGZLOLO5's, then so be it. If they like the BiP and all of our philosophical wanking here, then so be it. The original spirit of Discordianism, in my opinion, has a lot more to do with how you play with your own head... than with how other people play with theirs.