The Phonetic Alphabet and Euclidian Space

The relationship between the phonetic alphabet, Euclidean space, and the development of Western philosophy is a fascinating one. The phonetic alphabet is a technology that has had a profound impact on human communication and cognition, and it has led to the creation of a particular way of understanding space and numbers.

The phonetic alphabet is a system of writing that represents the sounds of speech with individual symbols or letters. It allows for a high degree of precision and clarity in communication, as well as the ability to record and transmit information over long distances and time periods. This technology has had a significant impact on human cognition, as it has promoted visual clarity and individuality in the way we think about language and meaning.

One of the consequences of the phonetic alphabet is the development of Euclidean space. Euclidean space is a mathematical construct that describes a flat, two-dimensional surface. It is based on the principles of geometry and has been used to model physical space for centuries. The development of Euclidean space is a direct consequence of the phonetic alphabet, as it is an extension of our physical body and the way we perceive the world around us.

The roots of both the number and Euclidean space can be found in the psychological implications of the alphabet. The phonetic alphabet promoted a sense of individuality and visual clarity in the way we think about language and meaning. This emphasis on individuality led to the development of numerical systems, which allowed for the precise measurement and recording of quantities.

The development of Euclidean space also had important implications for Western philosophy. It allowed for the development of mathematical models of physical phenomena and provided a framework for understanding the natural world. This mathematical approach to science and philosophy has been a hallmark of Western thought for centuries.

However, it is important to remember that the content or message of any particular medium is not as important as the medium itself. The phonetic alphabet and Euclidean space are just two examples of technologies that have had a significant impact on human cognition and understanding of the world. The content or message that is conveyed through these technologies is secondary to the technologies themselves and their impact on our perception of reality.

In conclusion, the relationship between the phonetic alphabet, Euclidean space, and the development of Western philosophy is a complex and fascinating one. The phonetic alphabet has had a profound impact on human communication and cognition, and it has led to the development of Euclidean space and numerical systems. The development of Euclidean space has had important implications for the way we understand the natural world and has been a hallmark of Western thought for centuries. However, it is important to remember that the content or message conveyed through these technologies is not as important as the technologies themselves and their impact on our perception of reality.

Could have we arrive to euclidain space without the alphabet? Kinesthetic learning? ChatGPT

It is possible that a concept of Euclidean space could have been developed without the phonetic alphabet, but it is difficult to say for certain. Kinesthetic learning, or learning through physical movement and touch, could have played a role in the development of spatial understanding. However, it is likely that the precision and clarity provided by the phonetic alphabet would have been necessary to develop a precise and formalized concept of Euclidean space.

The phonetic alphabet allowed for a high degree of visual clarity and individuality in the way we think about language and meaning, and this emphasis on visual clarity likely played a role in the development of numerical systems and a formalized concept of space. Without the phonetic alphabet, it is possible that spatial understanding would have remained more fluid and less precise.

It is also worth noting that the development of Euclidean space was influenced by a variety of factors beyond just the phonetic alphabet, including the work of Greek mathematicians such as Euclid and the broader cultural and intellectual context of ancient Greece. However, it is likely that the phonetic alphabet played an important role in the development of Euclidean space and its continued use in Western philosophy and science.

Observers’ Theory

When driving in Africa it occurred to me that a broken windshield reveals often the same pattern a spider uses to build its web. Why does a broken window have in common with a spiderweb? Concentric circles intersected at various angles by straight lines. Each observer’s space-time is a spiderweb. The spiderweb also fits well as a metaphor for what the observer is doing: trying to capture the horizon of another observer.

The quest for a unified theory has been a holy grail of physics for decades. A theory that would bring together the fundamental forces of nature, explaining everything from the tiniest subatomic particles to the largest structures in the cosmos, is the ultimate goal of science. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that any such theory will be an “Observer’s Theory,” rather than a theory of matter as traditionally understood in science.

The reason for this is simple: our observations of the universe are always filtered through our own unique perspectives. We each have our own “observer’s space-time,” a kind of spiderweb of experience that shapes the way we perceive the world around us. Just like a spiderweb, our observer’s space-time is made up of concentric circles intersected at various angles by straight lines. It is a unique pattern that is impossible to replicate.

This is why a broken windshield can reveal the same pattern as a spider’s web. It is a reflection of the observer’s unique perspective, the way they see the world around them. And this is why any new unified theory will be an “Observer’s Theory.” It will be a theory that takes into account the unique perspectives of each observer, rather than trying to create a one-size-fits-all model of the universe.

This does not mean that a unified theory is impossible, but rather that it will need to be approached in a different way. Rather than trying to create a theory of matter that explains everything, we will need to create a theory that accounts for the way different observers perceive the universe. It will be a theory that is constantly evolving, as new observers bring their own unique perspectives to the table.

The concept of an “Observer’s Theory” has been a topic of philosophical and scientific discussion for centuries. It is the idea that our observations of the world around us are shaped by our individual perspectives and experiences. This means that our understanding of reality is always subjective and influenced by our own biases and limitations.

One of the earliest philosophers to explore this idea was Immanuel Kant. In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant argued that our knowledge of the world is limited by our sensory experience and the ways in which our minds interpret that experience. He believed that our observations of the world are always filtered through our own cognitive structures and that we can never truly know things as they are in themselves.

Similarly, the physicist Werner Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle is based on the idea that the act of observation itself affects the observed system. Heisenberg argued that it is impossible to measure certain properties of a particle, such as its position and momentum, simultaneously with perfect accuracy. This is because the very act of measuring one property changes the other. Thus, our observations of the world are not just subjective, but they actively shape the reality we observe.

More recently, the concept of an “Observer’s Theory” has been explored in fields such as psychology and neuroscience. These disciplines have shown that our perceptions of the world are not just shaped by our sensory experience, but also by our individual cognitive processes, memories, and emotions. Our perceptions are not just passive responses to external stimuli, but active constructions that are influenced by our internal states and beliefs.

SV as Runaway System

Silicon Valley is renowned as the hub of technological innovation and entrepreneurship, where some of the world’s most successful companies have been founded. Companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and many others have revolutionized the way we live, work, and interact with one another. However, it is also true that Silicon Valley was built on the back of runaway systems with no feedback loop.

The concept of runaway systems refers to the phenomenon of complex systems that become increasingly out of control over time, with no apparent way of slowing down or stopping. In the context of Silicon Valley, this phenomenon has been observed in the rapid growth and expansion of technology companies, which often prioritize growth and scalability over sustainability and ethical considerations.

One of the key drivers of runaway systems in Silicon Valley is the culture of disruption and innovation that permeates the industry. Companies are encouraged to push the boundaries of what is possible, to take risks, and to pursue growth at all costs. This often leads to a focus on short-term gains and a disregard for long-term consequences.

For example, the rise of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter has had profound effects on our society, including the spread of misinformation, the amplification of hate speech and extremist views, and the erosion of privacy. While these companies have made incredible strides in connecting people and creating new forms of communication, they have also created runaway systems that are difficult to control.

Another example of a runaway system in Silicon Valley is the gig economy, which has been fueled by the rise of platforms like Uber and Lyft. While these platforms have provided new opportunities for people to earn income and flexible work arrangements, they have also created a new class of workers who are subject to precarious employment, low pay, and minimal benefits. The lack of a feedback loop in these systems means that the negative consequences of the gig economy may only become apparent over time.

The absence of a feedback loop in Silicon Valley is not limited to technology companies alone. The wider culture of venture capital funding and startup culture has also contributed to this phenomenon. Companies that receive large amounts of funding are often under immense pressure to grow quickly and generate returns for their investors. This pressure can lead to a focus on short-term growth at the expense of long-term sustainability.

In conclusion, Silicon Valley was indeed built on the back of runaway systems with no feedback loop. While the technology and innovation that has come out of this culture have undoubtedly had a profound impact on our world, it is also important to recognize the negative consequences of runaway systems. As we move forward, it is essential that we find ways to build more sustainable and responsible technology, and to ensure that the benefits of innovation are shared more equitably across society. This will require a new approach to innovation and entrepreneurship that prioritizes long-term sustainability and ethical considerations over short-term gains.

Weimar Germany

Reading this now. See how it goes

“Excellent and splendidly illustrated. . . . [A] superb introduction. . . . probably the best available.” –Eric Hobsbawm

“The constitution was written between January and August 1919 in the town of Weimar who gave its name to the republic. The constitution established the most democratic conditions under which Germans had ever lived”

All rights enshrined in founding constitutions since the American, French, and Latin American revolutions written into, like freedom of speech, assembly, and press, and security of person and property. Men and women declared equal under the law. Universal suffrage and unions.

“New theatrical forms pioneered by Bertolt Brecht; the collages of John Heartfield and Hannah Höch; the extraordinary modernist buildings designed by, not only Walter Gropius”

“The novels of Thomas Mann; the sculptures of Käthe Kollwitz; the philosophical reflections of Martin Heidegger; the cinema of filmmakers like Walter Ruttmann and Billy Wilder”

“The Nazis hardly invented the stab-in-the-back legend, the notion that Jews, Socialists, and other “traitors” at home had undermined the great cause, leading to the defeat of Germany when it was on the verge of victory”

“Even before the end of the war, Generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff fostered that notion to divert from themselves responsibility for the disaster. The Nazis then made great use of the stab-in-the-back legend.”

“The Versailles Treaty imposed serious financial and political burdens. Leaders had the opportunity in 1918–19 to lay accountability for the war on the kaiser and his generals, ministries, army, and bureaucracy, as well as the business class, of those hostile to democracy

“But the Social Democrat Friedrich Ebert, the first chancellor and his circle were too timid, and left Germany’s conservative, antidemocratic, and anti-Semitic elite in place, a fateful move that would come back to haunt the republic in its last years. ”

“Weimar did not collapse like a house of cards. It was systematically and relentlessly attacked by both old-style conservatives and the dynamic Nazi Party, which represented something entirely new on the political scene.”

“Weimar is the prime example of the fragility of democracy and what can happen when the institutions and personnel of a democracy are subject to unrelenting attacks; when politics becomes a war for total domination by one side”

George Grosz: Eclipse of the sun

Against the backdrop of a city in flames, the central figure depicted is Paul von Hindenburg, the nearly-eighty-year-old president of Germany (walrus moustache) wearing his military uniform, bedecked with medals and with a laurel leaf crown

Max Beckman: Paris Society

portrait of émigrés, aristocrats, businessmen, and intellectuals engaged in disjointed festivity on the eve of the Third Reich. Beckmann painted the work on an invitation from the German embassy in Paris. First sketches 1925

Thomas Mann the Magic Mountain 1925 remains in print

The principles of Bauhaus

No border between artist and craftsman. …

The artist is an exalted craftsman. …

«Form follows function». …

Gesamtkunstwerk or the ‘complete work of art’. …

True materials. …

Minimalism. …

Emphasises on technology. …

Smart use of resources.

erich mendelsohn schocken department store

“This was a world in which most individuals worked for a wage or salary; people patronized the icons of a commercial economy and culture by reading newspapers, shopping in department stores, listening to prizefights on the radio, and going to the movies at least once a week”

“A defeated army on its return home is never a pretty sight. Bandaged wounds, missing limbs, the hobbled walk on crutches shadowed by the sullen mood. In sharp contrast with pictures from August 1914 showing troops joyously departing for front, showered with flowers and praise”

😬” Joyfully we welcome you back in the homeland…. No enemy has prevailed over you. Only when the opponent’s superiority of men and matériel became ever more oppressive did we give up the struggle…. You have protected the homeland”

“More than thirteen million men, 19.7 percent of Germany’s 1914 population, served in the army during World War I. Nearly eight million were still in arms at the time of the armistice. Not all Germans had gone to war willingly; calls for peace and negotiations were numerous”

“In Elkenroth, a tiny village of about 700 people in Rheinland-Pfalz, 91 men served in the army during the war, 21 percent of whom died and another 23 percent of whom came back wounded. All told, roughly 2 million German men were killed and 4.2 million wounded in World War I”

“Many survivors lived the rest of their lives with physical and psychological wounds. Some were spirited away by their families yet the war-wounded, (masks covering blown away faces, dark glasses covering blinded eyes, wheelchairs + shell shock autism and tremors were everywhere”

“Women left behind had endured their own ordeal. Food rationing had been instituted. In the winter of 1916–17, children five to seven years were allotted only one-quarter liter of milk three times per week, bread was unpalatable because of additives—bean flour and sawdust”

Women had also gone to work in the munitions factories. Before 1914 large numbers of women already labored in Germany’s industrial plants. But the demands of total war meant that many women moved into metalworking and munitions factories as skilled machine operatives.”

“Long hours and deplorable conditions, industrial poisoning, sexual harassment + countless hours searching for food and fuel. Grandmothers and aunts took to the queues, waiting for meager rations of bread and spread out over railroad yards to pick up chunks of coal”

“For many women, the factory and the city got them away from the strict gaze of parents, pastors or priests, and village gossips. As hard as the labor was, money in their own hands gave them a sense of emancipation that would carry over into the Weimar years.”

“The war also destroyed conventional notions of respectability and faith in authority. This was, after all, a total war instigated by the elites of Germany and Europe. The state promised great things, a prosperous, powerful Germany that stood astride the continent”

“On March 1918, the German army threw everything into the last offensive: The malnourished German troops fell upon the provisions they found when they took the Allies’ first lines, and all the threats of their officers could not get them to move on until they were satiated”

Ludendorff and Hindenburg were already looking to the future, and wanted to foist the responsibility for the disaster onto a civilian government based on the parliamentary parties (and not just the kaiser’s wishes)

“They suffered from the grand illusion that they could negotiate as equals after having lost the most destructive war in history. Allies were demanding immediate demobilization and withdrawal from occupied regions”

“The German navy had fought a rather inglorious war. Indeed, the admirals were attempting one last great sea battle against the British to prove the mettle of the German navy and secure its future. Most Important, they wanted to destroy the cease-fire negotiations under way”

“On board and in port the enlisted sailors suffered from bs food while officers, within hearing distance had quite satisfactory and well-prepared portions. The men, moreover, endured an extremely regimented disciplinary system: Better for the sailors to die at sea”

“But the sailors were having no part of it. The Port city of Kiel mutinied, and in so doing set off the revolution that would finally destroy imperial Germany. The revolt quickly spread from the sailors on board to the garrisons in town and then to workers all over the city”

“They went to Bremen, Hamburg, Bochum, Essen, Braunschweig, Berlin, Munich and Bavaria. The news of the mutiny found a warm reception. Soldiers stationed at home began leaving their barracks. Prince Max handed over the Reich chancellorship to Friedrich Ebert, the head of the SPD”

“It was a momentous event that came to them in an inglorious fashion—by the action of the last chancellor of the last imperial government at a desperate moment in Germany’s history, when the burdens of war and the anxieties of defeat cast a dark pall over every action.”

😲 “The demobilization was nuts. Hundreds of thousands of men streamed back from France, Russia, Turkey. Many of them, consumed by the desire to get home, had simply started off on their own. Ominously, many soldiers did not give up their arms as they were required to do”

“As each trainload of returning soldiers pulled into a station, nervous city officials went out to greet them with victory speeches telling them to keep moving until they reached home, that the towns and cities they passed could offer them neither employment nor ration cards”

“The orderly German, so frequently stereotyped and satirized, had become an unruly figure. The disdain for authority was also evident in the way soldiers removed epaulettes and walked around with their shirts open at the collar, or raced in cars, blasting trumpets and horns”

“Proclamations were written and read, printing plants seized and the printers ordered to set type for a revolutionary declaration. Through the winter, the demands became increasingly radical. Calls for the socialization of industry, rank be abolished, citizens’ militia“

“Liberals were also aghast at the chaos and disruption that the revolution spawned. Germany would not tolerate Bolshevik conditions. Management would eventually reassert its power, the army preserve its officer corps—but the taste of change lingered”

“With luck, elections and a constitutional convention would do the trick.” Ebert worked feverishly to channel political energies down disciplined, regulated paths. “Germans were hungry and cold; food and coal had to be procured, men put back to work, institutions constructed”

“Army officers agreed to recognize the government and offered loyal troops for the suppression of the councils and the radical Left, and the socialist government agreed not to attack the integrity of the officer corps, nor to challenge its control over Germany’s military”

Capitalists agreed to recognize unions and grant 8-hour day, and government agreed to respect the rights of private capital and private property. The Governement preserved status and privileges of civil servants and they agreed to put their knowledge at the government’s disposal”

“Once the sense of panic had passed, once officers, civilian officials, and capitalists felt the balance of power again shifting in their direction, they would look for other allies, which they found, ultimately, in the Nazi Party”

“Berlin worker staged an armed revolt in January 1919, but the failure marginalised them and enhanced the Social Democracy reliance on the army and right-wing paramilitary units that operated with the express approval of the government even when they assassinated Rosa Luxemburg”

Ebert was still full of illusions about what would be placed on the table at the peace talks.

“The war not only exhausted us. It also tremendously exhausted our opponents. And from this feeling of exhaustion comes their efforts to recover their losses from the German people”

“The victors summoned Germany’s representatives to Versailles at the end of April 1919. Their French hosts made a point of humiliating the 180-man German delegation by having their Berlin-to-Paris trains crawl slowly through the devastated French countryside.”

“Most glaring to Germans was article 231, by which Germany and its allies were compelled to assume sole responsibility for the war’s outbreak. The “war guilt clause,” established the legal basis for reparations claims. However, the amount of reparations was not yet established“

From a speech: “Alsace is German to the core and had been stolen by the Bourbons; Upper Silesia had been separated from the Polish crown since 1253; English swear by self-determination, but what about Ireland and India? And what can Belgium say to after its behavior in Congo?”

“John Maynard Keynes, a member of the British delegation, quickly penned an eloquent essay against the treaty, which he denounced as a “Carthaginian peace.” His book The Economic Consequences of the Peace, 1919, was a bestseller.

“The right and to a lesser extent the left promoted a new style of politics that had emerged among the front generation—a style that glorified war and the trenches, that sought continually to re-create the sense of solidarity among men in battle” 😉

2: Berlin was a economic machine that churned out electrical goods, textiles, and confectionary products in huge quantities. It also had the State Opera, the Comic Opera, scores of theaters, museums, artists, poets, the young and ambitious, glittering nightclub scene

“It was a city of leisure, with neighborhoods of elegant wealth and amusement parks, a zoo and several lakes accessible by rail. Also infamous tenements blocks to rival London, Paris or New York for darkness. Tens of thousands of Russians and Poles added to the cosmopolitan feel

“Berlin’s Jewish community was the largest in Germany. Architecture from neoclassical to modern, elegant shops and the everyday kitsch of working class with carved cheap furniture and oil cloth table covers. Campaign posters, party headquarters draped in banners. Faux Greecoroman

An error occurred.

Unable to execute JavaScript.

By the day, sight, taste and smell of traffic congestion, smog, polluted rivers and canals, crowds jostling in the streets, train platforms and subway cars, the cool breeze and clean water of the Wannsee,

By night the glittering lights of movie theaters, restaurants, automobiles and traffic signals, illuminated advertisements, the seductive appeal of fashionable clothes elegantly displayed in shop windows. And after a long walk, one sits, a favored activity of just about everyone

Beer or coffee to ponder and look-at the passerby, at the auto and streetcar traffic, at the stores across the way. Stroll and gaze. The rush of others washes over you like a bath in the surf. One should not have a plan because there are so may possibilities to eat and drink…

To step into a theater, a movie house or a cabaret following an unplanned adventure that happens to capture the eye. Glass and lightbulbs compete for the last glimmers of daylight and dusk

5 mayor roads, 25 streetcars passengers on and off converge here along with 50 years of transportation modes from cars buses, taxis, horse drawn carts with kegs of beer, bicycles and pushcarts, all around hustle and bustle and everywhere people walking, talking and watching

“The lighted advertisements of the Kempinski Haus illuminate the square and, over time, accustom the passersby to the commercialization of daily life made possible by electricity

As daylight comes, the ordered illumination of advertisements gives way to the utter chaos of painted and printed and unlit electric signs: on one building, the Pschorr-Haus, another sign, “Fight against cancer,” directing pedestrians to a drug or health food store.

“But barely shielded from their vision, we see the men without limbs, without part of their faces, without sight, sometimes begging, sometimes hobbling around, sometimes members of Berlin’s legions of the homeless. Berlin alone had twenty establishments for the wounded”

“but you could look the other way for a plate of pork hocks, feeling the residue of the fat swirling around your mouth + coffee and dessert, pâtés as well as its confections, while you lose yourself in a crowd with the variety of bankers and officials, intellectuals, women”

“we might visit the Salomé, where in a gold- and red-painted interior, provincial Germans and foreign tourists come to eye the transvestites and lesbians. We can watch the Tiller Girls, whose dance line moves with military precision, at the more respectable Wintergarten theater.

“Perhaps we really want to hear some jazz, also easily available: an eight-piece band of African American musicians playing the fast-paced syncopations of New Orleans jazz, interspersed with the windy, blues-jazz It is American and American means modern”

“The new generation, male and female, has learned that satisfaction and pleasure are to be found in refinement, not in huge quantities and colossal portions. The new Berlin is more elegant, more Paris-like”

“The “new woman” of the 1920s, an image of elegance and refinement, of activity and athleticism, and one that flowed from its bourgeois origins to working women, from the capital city to the provinces. Women were out in public in far greater numbers than previously”

To be sure, working women, poor women, had always been out, fetching water from wells and pumps, provisions from the baker and the butcher, bringing their own household products to the market to sell. But bourgeois women of the nineteenth century had been more restricted.

Since the 1890s, even bourgeois women had begun to stake their claim on the streets. The department stores were the decisive innovation: they helped create the modern woman as spectator and consumer. The volume of wares on display created “traffic”

“Despite special taxes and restrictions on their activities, the Jewish community flourished. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, large numbers of East European Jews settled in the Scheunenviertel, crowding its tenements and streets”

“Scheunenviertel has odd street names for a Jewish quarter. It was once home to the gallows of Prussian justice and the stables of the Prussian army. Along streets with names like Dragonerstraße and Grenadierstraße

the men, with their ancient beards and sidelocks, walk in groups.

“Hebrew inscriptions are written on stores and beer halls. These streets remain a world unto themselves and a kind of home for the eternal outsider. Until, that is, a new wave of people comes from the east and pushes out the old-timers, who are already so well adapted to Berlin”

Reform and Orthodox Jews pass one another on the street; eastern European jostle with well-attired businessmen and shop owners. Then there are the petty thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, and pimps, who spill over into the Scheunenviertel from nearby Alexanderplatz ”

“And mixed in with them are the refugees, the Jews from all over eastern Europe who are fleeing pogroms. Many want to move on, to America, Holland, or Palestine. Some came straight from Russian prisoner-of-war camps.

In their eyes I saw millennial sorrow”

There were women there too. They carried their children on their backs like bundles of dirty washing. Other children, who went scrabbling through on crooked legs, gnawed on dry crusts…The odd one among these will go on to New York and make a million”

“Social reformers and government officials alike sought to create new, more hygienic, and rationalized apartments. The results were prodigious: 2.5 million new apartments were built in the Weimar era. In 1930, around 14% of the entire population lived in newly built apartments”

“Construction plans “recall the maps general staff,” sewage, power, water, transportation, schools all taken into account. The architecture both reflects and molds the new-model family 2 adult, 2 children. Small but functional: two bedrooms, “rationalized” kitchen, living room.”

Hessel described the factory as a “temple of the machine … [a] church of precision.” He goes up to the gallery and, looking down, feels he has the same sight line as if he were standing at the top of a cathedral. He is overwhelmed by the sight of “lengths of steel and casings”

“For many Germans, our walking tour would not have been a pleasant experience. Accustomed to the slower pace of smaller cities, the darkness of the countryside at night, they experienced Berlin as artificial, parasitical. Why are the natural rhythms challenged by streetlights?

“Joseph Goebbels fumed at the lit-up city; the confusion between night and day signified its degeneration. The noise of the city, the lights, prostitutes, the confusion of gender roles caused by homosexual men and modern, nonmaternal women,

“Degenerate Berlin feeds off working Berlin, exploits the solid citizenry who toil away, only to see the fruits of their labor dissipated by the flaneur, the sophisticate, the Jew, parading around the city, whiling the time away in cafés, looking but doing nothing productive”

“The famed satirist Kurt Tucholsky depicted Germany outside Berlin as a place ruled by “provincial philistines” and other assorted reactionaries, a world of “surreptitious Catholicism” and superstition, of dim-witted peasants and aristocrats and craven officials”

Chapter 3

“Everything has remained the same. But one thing has changed: The Old One [the kaiser] is no longer around. This one thing: the possibility of looking up to the throne and finding it empty, of knowing that no majesty can interrupt the direct link between God and me”

“Weimar politics were loud, contested, unruly—and strikingly democratic. Almost any political party could muster enough votes to find representation in the Reichstag. Weimar’s deepest enemies, let alone its supporters, published their newspapers and gathered their followers.”

“And yet: periodic states of emergency led the state to close down the publishing houses of the Communist Party, and even Adolf Hitler was banned from public speaking in virtually all German states from 1924 to 1927.

“White terrors and Political assassinations conducted by shadowy yet well-connected right-wing groups were commonplace between 1919 and 1923. The courts were notorious bastions of conservatism that barely prosecuted acts of errors while they assiduously pursued the Left.”

“The economy, though retooled for peacetime , proved highly unstable, with a few intermittent years of expansion/crises. The collapse of commodity prices, productivity, and high levels of unemployment placed constraints on government and made millions of Germans miserable”

3 phases. “In 1918–23, it was the Left and center; 1924–29, largely the center Right; 1930–33, the authoritarian Right. The first two, at least, demonstrated Weimar’s promise, the last, Weimar’s pathologies. Each ended amid a combined, catastrophic economic and political crisis”

SPD Social Democratic Party: Pillar of the welfare state with unquestioned commitment to democracy, though willing to use force against the other Left. Oriented toward “heavy metal,” coal and steel industries but its class-oriented viewpoint, profoundly limited its appeal.”

“The DDP was the progressive liberal party and drew to its side many middle-class professionals, including Jewish. It advocated the juste milieu, that is, balance in politics and society. The DDP opposed both monopolies and socialization, supported individual initiative”

“Catholicism saturated the party. Priests and bishops played leading roles in its internal affairs; Catholic teaching shaped the program bu many Germans viewed Germany, for good or bad, as a Protestant (Kulturkampf, Bismarck’s attack on Catholic influence in politics and society)

“On the left, Communists and assorted radicals demanded a political and social system dominated by labor—or by the parties that claimed to represent the working class. “Proletarians!” “Working Men and Women,”Workers” began virtually every leaflet, every appeal of the KPD”

“Socialization of industry and agriculture. Over the Weimar period, the loyalty toward the Soviet Union and exclusionary language turned a lot of people off. For Communists the enemies were omnipresent, bosses, bureaucrats, priests, but also workers aligned with SPD or Center”

“The major parties of the Right were the German National People’s Party (DNVP) and the German People’s Party (DVP). The latter cooperated intermittently with the Weimar Coalition parties. But it never gave full-fledged support to the republic or even to the idea of democracy

“It always hedged its commitments based on whether its concerns were adequately reflected. That meant, a probusiness policy that signified limited taxation, property rights, the revision of Versailles, and, especially, the rollback of the gains won by workers in the revolution”

“The grand fulminations against the republic came from the DNVP, powerfully rooted in the old Prussian landowning nobility, certain business segments, army officers, some high-level state officials, and assorted others who despised democracy. At one time had been monarchists.”

“Germany’s sorry state was a result of its betrayal at home since 1914 by Jews and socialists, complete with monstrous images of bloodthirsty hounds, apes (often with caricatured African features),or Asians setting Germany aflame, or of the spirit of death representing communism”

“the DNVPs was a radicalism of the powerful and well-situated and they trafficked with those still further to the right. All over Germany, and especially in Bavaria, extreme right-wing groups included the Freikorps, paramilitary bands with good connections to the upper ranks”

“At first welcomed by the Social Democratic government, the Freikorps repressed strikes and fought against Communists up and down eastern Europe. They also exercised summary justice against radical workers—they lined up striking workers and shot them—and pogroms against Jews”

“All this indicates that Hitler invented nothing in terms of right-wing ideology. His great innovations lay in the organizational and rhetorical realms. It also indicates that the marketing of anti-Bolshevism and anti-Semitism together was one of the Right’s great innovations”

“The Feme (comes from a form of medieval vigilantism) were a series of politically motivated murders 19–23 by the German far right against political opponents. The victims included left-wing activists killed for exposing German military anti-Versailles”

“While the Weimar judiciary rigorously prosecuted leftists involved in the German Revolution of 1918–1919 little was done before amnesty was declared in 1930, Germans who exposed the killings were tried and convicted for insulting the military establishment even if it was true”

Inflation had begun in 1914 because the huge expense of war largely via loans. Germany lost the war. By 1919 the value of the mark had fallen, the inflation depreciated the currency making German goods attractive and enabling businesses to meet worker demands for higher wages”

“But then inflation kicked into hyperinflation (discussed in next chapter), the likes of which have rarely been seen in the annals of national economies. The allies convinced that Germany was delaying shipments of gold and manipulating its currency moved and occupied the Ruhr”

“The government declared a policy of passive resistance: whenever French or Belgian troops moved into a factory, the workers were to chill and go home. By June, the economy had come to a virtual standstill. Germans fumed at the French, the Belgians, and their own government”

“Money printer go brrr to support passive resistance, which sent an already incredible hyperinflation into the stratosphere. By the end of November 1923, a single U.S. dollar bought 4.2 trillion marks, a barely comprehensible exchange rate.”

“Communists attempted a revolution; Nazis attempted a march on Berlin. Both were fiascoes. Large segments of population saw their life deteriorate drastically (see pushed wheelbarrows full of money to buy a loaf of bread or shoes). Prices changed two and three times a day.”

“Finally the government abandoned passive resistance and introduced a new currency, the Rentenmark that in one fell swoop, expropriated the holdings of most Germans. Shortly France and Belgium withdrew from the Ruhr in return for a promised schedule of reparations”

Business, with the support of government, rolled back many of the social gains. Gov’ employees were laid off in substantial numbers and factory workers were back on twelve-hour shifts, miners on eight and one-half hours. A miners’ strike in spring went down to bitter defeat”

“In 1924, then, the entire political constellation shifted to the right, opening Weimar’s second phase. The visions remained constant. The center left still advocated democracy and social welfare, but were weakened by loss of voters to the Right for DDP, and to the Left for SPD”

“New laws permitted the censorship of “filth and trash”, established comprehensive unemployment insurance; international recognition and relief; veterans’ demonstrations and communist marches; army scandals and achievements—flash points of conflict over thebasic political values

“Unemployment insurance was passed it by a wide majority (356 to 47, with 16 abstentions). The law turned unemployment insurance into a right instead of means tested providing benefits for 26 to 39 weeks, at the rate of 35 to 75 percent of the basic wage”

“It was financed by a tax divided between employers and wage earners. It extended a law that protected women’s jobs six weeks prior to childbirth to six weeks after as well (though without pay). The six-week postpartum period could be extended with a doctor’s certification.

“So toward the end of the second phase of the republic, Germans could look at the international situation with some optimism. Germany had been incorporated into the League of Nations and had won some relief from its reparations obligations.

“But should have been clear that the Right wasn’t playing ball. The army chiefs spent a good deal of time surreptitiously circumventing the Versailles treaty and secretly recruited men above and beyond the 100000 limit into the Black Reichswehr with secret budget appropriations”

“Also a series of agreements with the Soviet Union provided for the construction of German arms factories and training facilities on Soviet soil. All sorts of ties—personal, professional, political, class—bound the regular army to the wide array of right-wing paramilitary”

“And then came the stock market crash in 1929, which turned into a banking + production crisis. So much of the economic upturn had been fueled by American capital that when the US called in their loans, German banks fell into a liquidity crisis that sent the economy reeling”

“The Right had come to understand that politics could no longer consist solely of secret handshakes. It had to “win the support of millions of people who would march behind elite men: followers who would vote, march, and rally: there was power to be found in mass mobilization.”

Chapter 4 “Die Wirtschaft ist das Schicksal” (the economy is destiny)”

“Compared to the periods before 1914 and after 1945, Weimar’s real growth rates were meager and the macroeconomic effect of technological innovations limited”

No leading-sector innovations with a broadly stimulating impact on the economy emerged in the 1920s. There was no textiles production as in the early industrialization, or innovations in the steel industry in the 1880s or in the chemical industry from the 1890s to 1914”

“At the same time that Germany’s economy, in relative terms, stagnated, it also became more modern. The proportion of the population engaged in industrial labor continued to grow. Young women fled the farms for the greater independence of the cities and factory labor.

“A exponential growth of the new middle class of the age cohort born around 1900 were everywhere, pressing on the very limited, sometimes nonexistent, jobs in industry and government while Engineers and business owners wrote rhapsodically about , streamlined production”

“Reparations can be understood as a “tax collected from German citizens by the German government acting as the Allies’ fiscal agent.” However, this tax lacked the “moral legitimation” that normally accompanies tax collection. German government and citizenry felt it fully unjust”

“The government, faced with a virtually universal opposition to higher taxes, was effectively bankrupted and had to look to the capital markets. In essence, the German government faced a strike by taxpayers, miserable credit rating and no one to buy government bonds)”

“While Germany pleaded poverty + inability to meet its obligations, observers noted what inflation had wrought—a manufacturing revival, restaurants and nightclubs filled with patrons, and a lively export trade. Only a closer look revealed extensive unemployment and soup kitchens”

“In the summer 1921, rising prices set off another round of demands for wage increases which government and business could meet by paying in depreciated currency, and business, at least, by raising prices”

“A galloping wage-price spiral emerged, a kind of contagion in which entire industries as well as individual businessmen abandoned restraint. The government, unable to raise taxes or to counter wage demands, printed currency and used other methods to increase the money supply”

At home and abroad, confidence in the German economy deteriorated, stimulating speculation. Everyone who had some currency holdings began speculating—would the mark go up or down against the pound, franc, and the dollar? It further weakened the mark and intensified inflation

“Then, in the summer of 1922, galloping inflation kicked into hyperinflation, accompanied by a business slowdown, declining exports, and rapidly escalating unemployment. Businesses faced a liquidity crisis, and everyone faced a shortage of paper currency”

“The Reichsbank was convinced that it had to ensure the availability of credit for business and paper currency for daily transactions. “Only these measures would keep the economy humming and maintain social peace. So by various instruments it continually increased money supply”

In December, the Prussian statistical office concluded that unskilled chemical workers were earning only 69.4 percent of the minimum existence requirement for a married couple with one child; for skilled workers, it was 76.1 percent, and printers only 58.2 percent of the minimum

“To support the policy of passive resistance, the government provided unemployment benefits to workers and giant welfare payments to companies while various ministries and agencies paid out wages, unemployment benefits, and welfare support”

Unroll available on Thread Reader

By the end of June, the government had guaranteed 2.5 trillion paper marks’ worth of credits to business, and had provided another 5.2 trillion marks in additional subventions without neither the gold reserves, the moral legitimacy, nor the economic output required”

“More price escalation. The Reichsbank issued paper currency in ever larger denominations, finally a 100-trillion-mark note on Nov 1923. Toward the end of the month, the mark had reached the exchange rate $1 = 4.2 trillion marks. Germany’s sacred currency was worthless”

“Firms used multipliers to calculate wages—one day, the set wage times 27 billion; a few days later, the set wage times 67 billion. Merchants did the same, or switched to a foreign-currency or simply bartered. People binged up goods since the money was worthless within hours”

Pianos, bicycles, sewing machines, motorcycles, stocks of shoes: better to have real goods than cash savings. In market squares, women plundered stalls and stores. Swarms of urban dwellers descended on countryside, stealing potatoes, chickens, and whatever else they could find”

“Small traders who protested found themselves unceremoniously roughed up, sometimes stripped of their clothing. Wildcat strikes ran through all sorts of industries. By the fall, workers were being paid every two or three days, and sometimes twice a day”

“Long food, wages, or unemployment lines; unpaid bills or what to do with billions of worthless currency. For the poor and the unskilled, the situation was utterly catastrophic Homeowners who rented out rooms and apartments, along with pensioners, found their incomes evaporated ”

“Those with savings accounts or financial cushions watched the value of their hard-earned savings rendered worthless. Health conditions plummeted and communicable diseases like tuberculosis spread rapidly, the children are anemic, listless, weak and subject to illness”

“The overall effect was not only a disastrous decline in living standards, but also a severe disruption of the boundaries between social groups. To find a skilled worker, perhaps, or a speculator living better than oneself, to discover one’s liquid assets reduced to nothing”

“To be repaid in worthless currency for loans granted to friends, relatives, or associates, to be waiting on line for hours for a loaf of bread—or to sell off their porcelain, silver, upholstered antique chairs, and anything else of value”

“In well-furnished houses there are chairs devoid of leather which has been used for shoes, curtains without linings, turned into garments for kids, and a women nightdresses or two has to cut them up to wear as chemises, using bits from the sleeves and hem to make handkerchiefs”

“Social resentments, never far below, became acute. Industrialists blamed workers for laziness. Workers called businessmen speculators. City dwellers attacked country people for gorging themselves on sausages while the cities starved. Everybody blamed civil servants.”

“The foreigner,” some kind of Slav or especially a Jew, who lived as a speculator, profiting off German misery, was an ever-present image. Often stereotypically Jewish, a monocled nouveau riche, cigarette dangling, late-model automobile, with short-haired short-skirted new woman”

“Everyone, it seems, tried to dodge the law; the better-off just did it in a more genteel way. While small-scale retailers might try to doctor books or stash money in a milk can, big business speculated in the international markets and hid assets abroad or in ghost subsidiaries”

“Hans Von Raumer explains: We in business can no longer live from the depreciation of the currency. That has exhausted itself. At the beginning it was that. Then we lived from the capital of our pensioners. This is also gone. Then the liquidity of the factories. Also gone”

“A central problem for sorting out the monetary mess was the Reichsbank itself. The term of its president, Rudolf E. A. Havenstein, was for life, and he was literally unstoppable: under Havenstein, the Reichsbank kept going Brrr by ever greater amounts of Papiermark”

Then, on 15 November 1923, the Reichsbank was made to stop monetizing government debt and issuing new money. At the same time, it was decided to make one trillion Papermark (a number with twelve zeros: 1,000,000,000,000) equal to one Rentenmark.

Days later, Havenstein died, all of a sudden, 😐 through a heart attack and Hjalmar Schacht, who would become Reichsbank head stabilized the Papermark against the US dollar and through foreign exchange market interventions, made 4.2 trillion Papermark equal to one US Dollar.

And as one trillion Papermark was equal to one Rentenmark, the exchange rate was 4.2 Rentenmark for one US dollar. This was exactly the exchange rate that had prevailed between the Reichsmark and the US dollar before World War I”

“Unbacked paper money is political money and as such it is a disruptive element in a system of “free” markets. Paper money, produced “ex nihilo” and injected into the economy through credit, is not only chronically inflationary, it also causes malinvestment, boom-and-bust cycles”

“It halted the inflation and thereby placed the country on a stable financial footing. Then the give slashed the size of the public payroll by nearly one-quarter. Temporary employees and married women were the first to go; higher-level employees with tenure (were protected)”

“On two major fronts, the government virtually yielded its role to the representatives of major industrial and financial interests. The crisis of enabled business to destroy—not totally, but to a significant degree—the social measures it had only reluctantly conceded in 1918–19”

“By today estimates,reparations, had they been fully paid, would have amounted to 10 to 12 percent of Germany’s national income each year. Substantial but manageable in accounting terms but not politically manageable”

“The paradox of reparations was that they imposed demeaning obligations on the German state while undermining the legitimacy and stability required by the state to fulfill them.”

“The Weimar Republic lost the middle class in the inflation and the working class in the stabilization, and it never had very much at all of the agrarian sector—something of an exaggerated characterization, but broadly accurate nonetheless.”

“Still, the stabilization program had its successes. It secured the territorial integrity and put an end to revolutionary attempts on the extreme right and left. It gave Germany a solid currency with the Rentenmark and then the Reichsmark, which was placed on the gold standard”

“All of this created conditions for an economic revival, financed by influx of American capital. German companies, along + municipalities + state governments, were eager customers for inexpensive American loans. Business got plants and equipment and municipalities built housing”

“These were the storied “golden years” of the Weimar Republic, evident in statistics but also in lifestyles. Germans went on a consumption binge, and they did it with modern flair. Even workers were looking for display and style, and more and more were prepared to buy on credit”

“Rigid class lines dissolved even further around consumption. Even middle-class people were buying on credit, whereas before the war only the poorest had gone into debt for consumer purchases”

“Better to enjoy life now than live for the future. It was an attitude both well suited for and cultivated by the advertising industry, which blossomed in this era of mass consumption. Advertisers merged the appeal of sex with the clean lines of modernist design”

“Advertisers targeted women drawing and creating the image and reality of woman as consumer. They deployed the allure of elegance, style, and sex to sell and to suggest the possibilities of a utopia of plenty in which possession of objects would serve as path to self-fulfillment”

“Modern consumption was one sign of the golden years: “rationalization” was the other. The term meant the application of scientific methods to production in order to expand output, with less labor. More than seven hundred institutes—state, private were involved in this research”

“America was the very model of rationalization. Nothing drew them like the iconic Henry Ford: In comparison, Germany seemed static. Where would one find a German farmboy who had created his own company and risen to the top? Germany’s class system would never allow such a thing.”

What they saw in the 1920s was the “American system” that would reach such heights in the 1950s and 1960s—high-tech, low-cost production; mass marketing; and high wages. “It was a formula that dazzled. But could it be successfully imitated at home? Few thought so”

“Instead of adopting the assembly line, German businessmen, engineers, psychologists, and sociologists focused on time-motion studies and psychological techniques designed to enhance the productivity of labor, quality work(Qualitätsarbeit) skilled craftsmen and precision labor.”

“Major companies deployed an array of welfare programs designed to bind workers. But major benefits like housing were limited to an elite stratum. For the rest, it was sports teams, parks and playgrounds, churches, cultural events, newspapers, and recreational associations”

Rationalization, far from bringing prosperity, made lives more difficult. While wages did rise between 1924 and 1929, so did unemployment, and employed workers found the intensified pace destructive.Any worker objecting was told thousands of others were ready to take his place”

“Size of the workforce at the end of the decade was 60 percent of the 1923 level, while output had risen 50 to 60 percent. Tighter control over the labor process and increased mechanization. Piecework, far more than the assembly line”

Elevator pitch 🙂

A pieceworker receives a fixed rate for each unit (“piece”) produced or action performed. In part, the rate reflects a cost of monitoring output. A timeworker receives a fixed wage rate per hour that, in the short term, does not vary with output performance.

“The health costs were high—a faster pace of work and longer hours resulted in more industrial accidents, causing amputations, damaged lungs, and scalding burns. Industrial labor remained long, hard, and dirty, and now became more intense and dangerous.”

“Female workers faced even more daunting circumstances: sleep-deprived: and endless household labor. “Before they took their places at the loud, fast-moving looms or spinners, they had already made beds, swept and dusted, prepared meals, washed dishes, wakened children etc”

“Germany’s highly modern economy also needed trained technical staff in offices and laboratories. White-collar workers was one of the few realms of significant social mobility in Germany different from the older middle class of shopkeepers and highly skilled artisans”

“In every one of its aspects the modern office workplace was like the military, disciplined and hierarchical. Owners and managers prized subordination above all else with batteries of aptitude tests. “The employees were like line infantry, an anonymous and servile mass

“Work had become automated. punchcards that were fed into tabulating machines, the forerunners of the modern computer. Typewriters, calculating machines, mechanical letter openers and sealers, addressing machines and messages shot through pneumatic tubes from one place to another

“A typist would not become an accounts specialist, nor a salesperson an office employee. As office work became automated, women increasingly staffed the positions—and office work suffered a decline in status. Female white-collar were around two-thirds of men’s salaries”

“A chasm yawns between technical and commercial employees in industry. Commercial employees treated technical employees in the same firm with disdain, while the technical employees thought they were the only onesproductive. Civil servants looked down upon private industry.”

“The agrarian situation varied. No area represented only one kind of land tenure though there were prevailing trends. In East Prussia large estates worked either by tenant or by agricultural laborers still predominated, though there were many small peasant holdings as well.

Saxony had a mix of estate and peasant holdings. “The south and southwest as well and the same was true of the north and northwest where dairy farming predominated. All of the farmers hated market and price controls imposed during the war and most dodged, bent, and undermined it.

“At all the crisis moments—1918–19, 1920–21, 1923—rumors ran rife that farmers were hoarding huge stocks of grain, meat, and dairy products. The “golden years” certainly did not apply to Weimar’s agrarian sector. And farmers were quick to blame socialists and Jews for their woes”

“They bemoaned the shortage of labor, especially the paucity of girls and young women willing to put up with the strain of agricultural labor. On the farms girls and women endured sixteen- hour days, dirty conditions, and heavy lifting, under the ever-watchful eye of the owner”

“To the dismay of farmers and officials, thousands of young women fled the rural areas for factories and the city. The work may have been no easier, but at least they did not suffer under the constant gaze of their employers. They felt freer and happier”

“The U.S. stock market crash in 1929 set off a banking crisis that spread to Germany as U.S. banks called in their short-term loans. It turned into a production crisis that spiraled downward as firms laid off workers, government revenues declined, and demand collapsed.

By the beginning of 1932, six million Germans were officially unemployed, about one-third of the labor force. All told, roughly an almost unbelievable 40 percent of the workforce. German unemployment rates were higher than even those in the United States”

“In specific industries the picture was still worse: 41.9 percent unemployment in iron and steel, 48.9 percent in machine building, and 63.5 percent in shipbuilding. From a GNP high of 88,486,000 RM in 1928, the figure plummeted to 55,544,000 RM in 1932”

“Again the economic disaster became an existential crisis of the Weimar system. Just under lurked the question is the social democracy capable of resolving the country’s problems? Or was it, perhaps, part of the cause? For the Right especially, it provided a golden opportunity”

“Brüning followed the conventional wisdom. The way out of a crisis was to adopt deflationary policies slashing public expenditures, labor costs cuts and prices had to fall. Once things had bottomed out, business would have incentives to invest, and the economy would revive.”

“Like Herbert Hoover in the United States, Brüning would pay a political price for his narrow-minded policies, but the political outcome in Germany would be far more drastic and frightening. He essentially ruled by decree the outcome of a completely paralyzed political system“

“He raised taxes, cut social welfare benefits, slashed the number of government employees cut the salaries and forced localities to balance their budgets. His immediate successor in 1932, Franz von Papen, did much the same, only in more sinister fashion”

“The struggle to find sufficient food and clothing was a big deal. Schoolchildren had lunches packed only on the day when welfare payments were disbursed; otherwise they went hungry. Some families held themselves together with dignity in the most while others disintegrated”

“Men drank heavily; Some simply absconded, women suffered under the burdens of providing for a family with fewer resources. People tried their hands at breeding rabbits, or were thrown back on growing their own vegetables on meager plots. Cats and dogs were slain and eaten” 🙁

“The social and psychological effects were just as devastating. People were worn down by poverty and hopelessness. Without jobs to structure men’s lives, their days became an empty void— time blending without demarcation, their walking pace slowed down; their posture stooped”

The surroundings deteriorated as well, the factory now a shambles, the once well-tended park overgrown with weeds. Even reading seemed pointless. Men stayed in bed for hours on end or hung around in stairwells and courtyards. Nothin was urgent anymore. There was no need to hurry”

“For the women, the day still had demarcations: they still had to cook and clean and tend to children. Their labor had become more intensive and oppressive, because they now had to scrounge for food and fuel, keep tattered mend clothes together and take in wash to earn a little”

“Many women still longed to return to the mill. “If I could get back to the factory it would be the happiest day of my life. It’s not only for the money; stuck here alone between one’s own four walls, one isn’t really alive” 😬

“Thirty-nine, married, three children…. Three years earned nothing. Future? Work, madhouse, or turn on the gas”

“I am spiritually broken and sometimes entertain thoughts of suicide. Moreover, I have lost confidence in all men. Thirty-eight years old, divorced, four children”

“Before the war, I was a businessman which I had to give up as a result of the war and my call-up. When I came home my wife died. All my savings were stolen away by the great national fraud. Now I am 51 so they don’t take people my age.” The final step for me is suicide”

“I had been trying to make a go of it as sales agents living off commissions but it was just begging from door to door. My independence consist in the necessity of bearing my misery alone, without the social protection enjoyed by wage earners”

“As in any market-driven economy, some people proved quite good at taking advantage of fast-moving speculative opportunities. But the overall impact was one of disruption and immiseration. Germans had never seen anything like the hyperinflation or the Great Depression of 1930–33”

“But the trends of the Weimar years were also the result of policy choices that gave major industrial and financial interests preponderant influence over the economy.

More forceful and imaginative policies on the part of the SPD could have reined in big business, which, after all, was not just antisocialist, but largely antidemocratic as well. Instead, the SPD banked everything on a quick revival of production”

“Of course, not all businesses prospered. They, too, had to live with unpredictability, and many made poor calculations wathever the concessions to their interests. “Many Germans blamed socialists, and Jews, but the real problem was much closer at hand.”

Chapter 5 – Building a new Germany

“Ill-conceived and inferior architecture, combined with other factors, can promote stress, encourage exhaustion, induce psychosomatic symptoms and even promote physical discomfort”

“Humans have a holistic perception: Our senses influence our thinking, feelings and actions. As a result, spaces can promote motivation and strengthen our performance or concentration. If we feel uncomfortable this can lead to restlessness, hypersensitivity or lethargy”

“Taut, Mendelsohn and Gropius, believed that the structures they designed: Taut’s apartment blocks, Mendelsohn’s Einstein Tower and department stores, and Gropius’s Bauhaus heralded a new, modern era, creative, joyous and dynamic, in harmony with nature and urban industrial life”

Taut was a deeply committed pacifist who sought deep meanings in Christian-tinged spirituality, Japanese culture and socialism. In the Glass Dome he wanted to place humankind in an environment that marries the dramatic, natural landscape of the Alps and the human-made technology

“But Taut learned to control his most fervent longings in order to realize some of the most important public housing developments of the Weimar era. Taut managed to combine visionary beliefs with practical concerns in the service of social reform”

“In 1921 he was named building commissioner (Stadtbaurat) in Magdeburg, a medium-sized, heavy-industrial town with an SPD-led city council. They could not alleviate the housing crisis in total, but in certain areas they had a profound impact. “Licht, Luft, Sonne”—light, air, sun”

“Now many Germans for discover indoor plumbing, electricity and gas, and clean apartments open to the sun and greenery. White-collar workers in government and business poured into the new places designed in modernist fashion with clean lines, flat roofs, and recessed windows”

“2.5 million new dwellings, housing about 9 million people, were built in the Weimar era. In 1930, around 14 percent of the entire German population lived in newly built apartments. Between 1924 and 1929, Berlin alone built 135,000 units”

“The construction plans were like a Gesamtkunstwerk (a total artwork)—the architects provided for adequate infrastructure and playgrounds, gardens, and schools for leisure, rest, and self-development. Interior design was intended to make family life “modern” and “rational”.

“The apartments were geared toward the small, nuclear family with two children not toward a multigenerational extended kin group or even a two-generational household. The two-bedroom unit was standard, and the kitchen was closed off from the rest of the apartment”

“Color provides “a certain warmth and depth,” especially on dull-gray days (of which there are many in Germany). Used properly, color also deepens perspective, creating the illusion of expanse. Color “can make the wall of a house appear to recede … to come meet the observer”

“The Frankfurt kitchen by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky minimized bending and stretching, with countertops at the appropriate height; replaced open dish racks with cupboards. Metal and brick replaced wood, racks eliminated drying dishes; preset flour dispensers obviated measuring”

“Mendelsohn advocated a kind of creative internationalism, a play of fantasy and aesthetics that dissolves borders and brings people together. It was no surprise that an era of general want and misery—the war and its aftermath—had fostered the creation of a new consciousness”

“Mendelsohn was no socialist and, always cultivated very close relations with businessmen. By the late 1920s, he was the most successful architect in Germany, Head of a firm with forty employees designing the most distinctive commercial and private architecture in the world”

“Mendelsohn often used the metaphors of music and “force-field” (Kräftespiel) to illustrate his ideas. It is especially in counterpoint, where several different melodies are pieced together to create a unified composition, that Mendelsohn identified the essence of architecture”

“But his love for the organic beauty of a Bach fugue or a Gothic cathedral did not prevent him from seeing the same possibilities in the “hard clang” of a machine’s movements, the “metallic sheen” of its material, and the “precision of its rotations”

“Certainly, Mendelsohn was a firm defender of the modern. To businessmen, fellow architects, and an educated public he trumpeted the excitement of the present, with its new construction techniques and materials, mass consumption, automobiles, and advertising”

“It is unthinkable,” he wrote in 1923, “that we can turn back time…. Unthinkable that we leave unused the greatly broadened possibilities of technology. That we see the machine as the enemy of humanity, instead of as our powerful tool that we need to master….

That we found our personal lives on some original and ancient fatherland [Urväterland], instead of trusting the house key to modern times. For this modern time is our own time”

“Quoting Einstein , “organic” signified that “one cannot take any part away from it, neither mass, nor motion, nor logical development, without destroying the whole. It means that scientific facts and creative vision combine to an unbreakable pattern.”

“These qualities are also evident in the department stores Mendelsohn built in the 1920s and early 1930s. In these works, Mendelsohn tamed the expressionism so vividly conveyed in the cement and stucco of the Einstein Tower, yet his basic design principles remained constant.”

“Mendelsohn achieved its light, dynamic effect through the use of the modernists’ favored materials, reinforced concrete and glass. It is as if the very condition of modernity, the tension between stasis and movement, tradition and progress, rendered in this one building”

“The ability to use ever larger display windows also opened the building to the street, with passersby able to look in, not only to the display, but past it to the arrangements of goods in the store’s interior. All design elements, interior and exterior, had functional purpose.

“In many of his writings and speeches Mendelsohn developed an articulate critique of strict functionalism. His unnamed target was Walter Gropius, the famed founder of the Bauhaus school and another legendary twentieth-century architect.”

Gropius founded the Bauhaus in 1919 with the support of the SPD government of Saxe-Weimar. “He believed that World War I marked an break with the past: Today’s artist lives in an era of dissolution, without guidance. The old human spirit invalidated and in flux toward a new form”

“The curriculum entailed instruction in artisanal crafts as well as the traditional arts like sculpture and painting. The instructors included Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee. The school would break down barriers between the different fields of art, crafts, teachers and students”

“For him architecture had a unique role to play in the forging of a new society. The fruit of architectural creativity was not consigned to the mausoleum, but was visible in daily life. It was therefore the truly “organic” art form, into which all the others would be subsumed”

“The beauty of a building should derive from its function,” Instead of an exterior covered with a riot of disruptive ornaments, the new architecture would have clean lines and smooth surfaces. “Beauty should also derive from the very nature of the materiáls used in construction”

“There should be no historical references, no imitation of past styles, whether of classical Athens, Renaissance Rome, or baroque Vienna. A building’s only reference would be to itself, its function and the modern times of which it was a part.”

“Much lighter structures using steel, reinforced concrete, and plate glass. Load-bearing capacity is moved from the exterior walls to the steel skeleton. Windows no longer holes that have to be cut out of stone walls, but a sheen of glass separated only by thin steel frames”

“The building is composed of functionally related elements, three cubes linked together by enclosed bridges” Each cube serves distinct functions: workshops and auditorium; classrooms, offices, and library; and studios, dining room, and dormitory.

“The load-bearing structures are hidden, so the exterior becomes a playfield of airy lightness. The linkage of the cubes is clearly evident, a stirring emblem of Gropius’s belief in that hallowed word “organic. When lighted in the evening, the building gave off a compact glow”

“Many critics thought that the modernists degraded man to a mere material being. For them, beauty and history were inseparable. Taut, Mendelsson and Gropius were not artists but merely engineers. “A beautiful building had to evoke timeless values and historical rootedness”

“The attack on the modernists became entwined with ever-growing race thinking. In 1926, Emil Högg attacked the new buildings as representing a “nomadic architecture” This was not truly German “folk architecture” The break with the past promoted by Bauhaus was “bolshevist”.

“What they build represents a soulless, godless, mechanical world. The truly German house gives one the feeling that it grows out of the soil, like a tree that sinks its roots deep in the soil and forms a union with it. It is this that gives us our understanding of “heimat”

“Taut, Mendelsohn, and Gropius were members of an extraordinary generation of European architects born in the 1880s. Other architects of the era include Le Corbusier, Ernst May, Mies van der Rohe, Martin Wagner, Hendricus Theodorus Wijdeveld. All of them influenced by modernity”

“In exile, Mendelsohn’s buildings have none of the excitement of the Einstein Tower or the Schocken department store. In Japan and Turkey, Taut was unable to build at all. Gropius eminent career did not produced again the restrained elegance of the Bauhaus building”

Their buildings were not corporate office towers, as displays of wealth and power. They were housing developments, department stores, and educational and research institutions. Sun-drenched and stimulating places to shop, and learn—that, too, was the promise of Weimar

Chapter 6 – Sound and Vision

“Germans loved film and newsreels in grand, newly built movie palaces. Radio caught on like wildfire after its introduction in 1921. Radio brought music, plays, sermons, and news reports into bars and dance halls, and into people’s homes”

“The army used primitive radios during the war. As consumer costs came down, Germans were able to purchase radio sets, phonographs, and cameras. The new technologies appeared in a society in which most people acquired their needs through paid labor and marketplace purchases”

“They exposed Germans to worlds beyond their own borders—to photo images of strikes in Shanghai; the sounds, broadcast with only a few minutes’ delay, of a heavyweight boxing match in New York or a concert in Paris; or produced in Hollywood, of Charlie Chaplin in frigid Alaska.”

“Large cameras of the past had to be laboriously transported and set up. Subjects had to remain still for time on end as the chemically treated plate became exposed to light. Virtually the only shots possible were set pieces, with a married couple and family as the only subjects”

“Just before the war, the motion picture industry adopted 35 mm film as its standard. A New York businessman recognized that leftover lengths of movie film could be purchased for one-third the normal price. Manufacturers all over including Eastman Kodak, followed suit”

“Leica camera was developed by German firm Leitz, in 1925. The camera had been under development since 1911, and was a marvel that merged compact size, easy-to-use 35 mm roll film, and outstanding optics. The Leica was so small that it could be hidden away under a man’s jacket”

“Lifestyle products were especially prominent. Cigarettes, perfumes, health and beauty creams, lingerie, coffee, chocolate, champagne — everything one needed for the good life, and to make one look ten years younger. The men always handsome, the women always beautiful and free”

“Publishing houses hired freelance photographers and paid them a fee per photograph accepted—an employment structure that accentuated the blurring of all the boundaries—between art and commerce, high and low culture, professionalism and amateurism”

László Moholy-Nagy and August Sander were two of the greatest photographers of the Weimar period. Their aesthetic sensibilities and conception of the medium could not be different. Together, they represent the artistic possibilities of photography in the 1920s and early 1930s”

“Born in Hungary in 1895 and Influenced by the Dadaists, Moholy-Nagy never restricted himself to any single medium, painting, sculpture, architecture, typography, and film, along with photography. “He never quite went for the dadaist deliberate absurdism and provocation”

Instead, he was attracted by their commitment to abstract art, their fascination with technology” His art probed light and form, more than color. The photographs reveal a keen attentiveness to geometric shapes.

“New Year’s Morning” is a study in geometry and light, of lines and shadows. Moholy-Nagy was especially drawn to shooting from an elevation. An untitled view from the Berlin radio tower, shot around 1928, composes all sorts of geometric forms. “

“In line with the Bauhaus ethos of finding beauty in the very materials used in composition, he went further. Some of the boats are so white that they almost leap off the printed image; others are so dark that they seem to blend into the darkness of the water”

“Sander had one great idea, and he spent forty years realizing it: he sought to photograph the entire spectrum of life among the German people. Sander believed unquestionably that he could depict the full panorama of the German people, he writes.

“He depicted not only the respectable members of society, but also the handicapped, vagabonds, effete artists, Communists, androgynous women, and others. Sander showed all sorts of Germans who did not fit the Aryan ideal and whom the Nazis persecuted”

His son died in a Nazi prison and he was persecuted for photographing marginalized people of all kinds

“Today we remember the great films of the Weimar era—The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Metropolis, M, The Blue Angel. They broke new ground technically and artistically, probing individual and collective psychologies, passion and desire, the modern cityscape, and death”

“But in fact the vast majority of films that Germans viewed were simple melodramas, which played to packed houses around the country.” “Or Charlie Chaplin comedies. Or, especially in the early 1920s, dramas made out of famous books which probably wasn’t a good idea”,

“The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” 1920. The movie presented viewers with a highly ambiguous picture of reality and motivation. Are dreamworlds more real than reality? To whom do we give up our autonomy as individuals? Is there such autonomy, or are we all enmeshed in the matrix? 🤓

“Filmmaking moved from expressionism to New Objectivity. Film sought greater realism and less abstraction. New Objectives emerged after the flush of revolutionary hopes had waned. Business principles, rather than demands for democracy and justice, took on greater urgency”

One of the greatest of the silent-era German films, Berlin, Symphony of the City. Directed by Walter Ruttman, the film captures the speed and disorientation of the Weimar city. Workers, businessmen, schoolchildren, female office workers, male machine operators —

The full diversity of urban life is depicted in film. But who is directing whom? Are the machines running human life, or are humans running the machines? It is not totally clear, but the film conveys more than a hint of the condition of alienation.

An error occurred.

Try watching this video on, or enable JavaScript if it is disabled in your browser.

“Menschen am Sonntag (People on Sunday) 1930 “written by Billy Wilder and directed by Robert Siodmak and Edgar G. Ulmer, and the cameraman was Fred Zinnemann—all of whom would go on to stellar Hollywood careers, focuses on young Germans, members of the new middle class”

“On a weekend to the Nikolassee on the outskirts of Berlin. The film has an erotic charge as the women and men dress and undress, run after each other, and develop sexual rivalries. In a scene the debonair man and one of the women finally make love in the bushes”

“This young, aspiring middle-class Berliners are nicely attired in the style of the decade, the two women sporting short hair, short skirts, and lithe figures. They all seem to live apart from their families in a world consisting of other people of their age and class”

“But there is tension in the relationships, and at the end of the day they and thousands of others return to the city to work on Monday. Modernity means a fragmented existence, explored through visual representations. The film ends with the line “The next week—four million wait”

“Foreign films also had a powerful resonance among audiences and critics. Two of the greatest, Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Sergei Eisenstein’s The Battleship Potemkin, premiered in 1926. The Gold Rush opened to immediate and enormous popularity; it was a great success”

“The German authorities tried to ban Potemkin as a work of Soviet propaganda. After a long court fight and public debate, they were forced to relent. Both films were signs of the globalization that the medium was creating”

“Both Potemkin and The Gold Rush signified Weimar Germany’s immersion in an international culture whose sources lay on the fringes of Europe, in the United States and the Soviet Union—to the great dismay of the German Right, in both its respectable and radical forms.”

“All of these were silent films. Yet another aesthetic shift was required when the German film industry, finally, in 1929, began to make movies with sound. Talking movies brought together auditory and visual revolutions into one very powerful new medium”

“While UFA viewed the new technique as a way to get out of its money troubles, sound also signified the growing nationalization of film industries worldwide. It was easy to replace the spare text in a silent film, much harder and expensive to develop synchronization or subtitles”

Fritz Lang’s M premiered in 1931. It is the story of a child murderer loose in the city. The spectacular direction conjured up an eerie aura. The setting is the very modern city, but it is made to appear as a place of danger, though also of transparency.

M is also social criticism in Brechtian fashion, as in The Threepenny Opera, the gangsters and the police get together, this time to chase down the murderer who has violated even the gangster code.

“That kind of moral ambiguity deeply irked the guardians of order. Clergymen, mayors, and city council representatives, trade union leaders and socialist politicians, all railed against the immoral and corrupting influence of cinema”

“They saw their own efforts to promote moral rectitude undermined by what they viewed as simply more “trash and dirt,” now transposed from the penny novel to the large, attractive screen”

In 1929 Germany had 5,600 movie houses, compared to only 2,400 ten years before. In Berlin alone more than four hundred million tickets were sold in 1924. In the mid-1920s, estimates ran that daily two million people went to the cinema in Germany.

“Hessel depicted Berliners’ love affair with the cinema: “We Berliners are passionate filmgoers. The weekly show substitutes for all of world history that we have not experienced” . The most beautiful women of both continents belong to us everyday”

“In 1925 the first phonograph was outfitted with an amplifier, the key technology in microphones as well, which permitted not only louder volumes but also the reproduction of a greater range of sound frequencies. A huge improvement over the old, cranked-up gramophone.”

Germans bought jazz records produced in America and France, operas from Italy, and concertos from Austria. They listened to records at homes, but also took them to the beach. Cafés and beer gardens played recorded music or offered live musicians the microphone and loudspeaker”

In 1931, there were 3.7 million registered radio sets in Germany. By 1932, probably one-fourth of all households had a radio. Many young, working-class people banded together in clubs to build radios, and transmit and receive radio signals.

Father: ‘Now there is something new and it’s called radio. If they make music in Munich, Frankfurt, or even America, one can hear it.

Mother: ‘You’re crazy, music can’t be so loud.’

Father: No, the music is cut up and turned into waves and comes through the air to us 😀

“The complete individualization of listening developed only slowly, as with the introduction of television after World War II,” one person remembers. Family members, neighbors and hobbyists gathered together around the big, boxy radios of the day”

Albert Einstein in 1930 waxed rhapsodic about radio as the voice of “true democracy” that can “reconcile the family of nations” Others saw radio as sign of dangerous degenerate “mass” society. Still others, especially in government and business recognized radio’s great potential

A new law in 1932 provided for complete state control over the radio. Efforts by the Communist and Social Democrat, to establish their own broadcasting stations foundered. Only state-approved broadcasts were allowed, and if you bought a radio you had to pay a license fee”

“Those who had envisaged radio as a freewheeling, democratic medium (much as some computer enthusiasts saw their medium in the 1980s) in which virtually anyone could broadcast, or that would serve as a venue for the radical critique of capitalist society—their hopes were dashed”

“The radio participates in the life work of the German nation. The natural ordering of people in home, family, work and state is to be maintained. The radio does not therefore speak to the listener only as an individual, but also a member of this natural national order.” 😬

“Radio can help [women] regain security in their place at the centre of the family. She can be connected to the outside world yet still remain at home. “Radio offers itself as a vade mecum. “Domestic cares, fragmentation and trivia will increase the distance from outside life”

Rupert Murdoch Accelerationist

Accelerationism is a term used to describe the idea that speeding up the collapse of the existing political and economic systems is necessary in order to bring about a more just and equitable society. This philosophy has gained traction in recent years, particularly among the political left. However, some have argued that accelerationists owe a debt of gratitude not to figures like Peter Thiel or the alt-right, but to Rupert Murdoch.

Rupert Murdoch is a media mogul who has had a profound impact on global media and politics. His media empire, which includes outlets like Fox News and The Sun, has been accused of promoting right-wing and conservative views while attacking more liberal and progressive values. Murdoch has also been a staunch critic of multiculturalism, which he sees as a threat to traditional values and national identity.

While Murdoch’s views may seem antithetical to accelerationism, some argue that he has unwittingly helped to advance the accelerationist cause. By promoting right-wing and conservative views, Murdoch has helped to create a polarized political climate in which radical change becomes more likely. By attacking multiculturalism and progressive values, Murdoch has contributed to a sense of disillusionment and frustration among marginalized groups, which can fuel radical movements.

In addition, Murdoch’s media empire has helped to create a culture of hyper-consumerism and instant gratification, which are key ingredients of the accelerationist worldview. The accelerationist philosophy holds that the existing political and economic systems are fundamentally broken and cannot be reformed from within. Instead, radical change is necessary, and this change can only come about through the complete collapse of the existing system.

Murdoch’s media empire has helped to create a culture of instant gratification by promoting consumerism and materialism, which have led to a sense of alienation and disconnection among many people. This sense of alienation and disconnection can fuel a desire for radical change, and it is this desire that underlies the accelerationist philosophy.

Of course, it is important to note that Murdoch’s influence on the accelerationist movement is indirect and unintentional. Murdoch himself is a staunch opponent of the radical left and progressive values, and his media empire has been accused of promoting racism, sexism, and other forms of discrimination. However, it is possible to argue that Murdoch’s actions have inadvertently contributed to the accelerationist cause by creating a culture of hyper-polarization and alienation.

In conclusion, while the accelerationist movement has been associated with figures like Peter Thiel and the alt-right, it is possible to argue that the movement owes a debt of gratitude to Rupert Murdoch as well. Murdoch’s media empire has helped to create a culture of hyper-polarization, alienation, and instant gratification, all of which are key ingredients of the accelerationist worldview. While Murdoch’s influence on the accelerationist movement may be indirect and unintentional, it is nonetheless significant.

We Could Be Talking about…

We could be talking about 1-Capital punishment 2-Global Warming 3-Right to be Forgotten 4-Net neutrality 5-Immigration Reform 6-Dietary supplements 7-contraceptive mandate 8-Incarcerations 9-Nuclear weapons 10-Native advertising 11-Payday loans 12-Defund the police

13-student debt 14-Cuban embargo 15-Drones 16-Civil asset forfeiture 17-Sugar 18-Pharma 19-cigarettes 20-Judicial elections 21-Infrastructure 22-Goverment surveillance’s 23-corporate surveillance 24-Patent trolls 25-Bail 26-Torture 27-Parental leave 28-Online haresment

29-Transgender right 30-Mandatory sentencing 31-sex education 32-predatory churches 33-LGBT rights 34-Public Defenders 35- Mental health 36- North Dakota oil boom (busted) 37-Prisoner re-entry 38-Fantasy sports 39-Voter ID laws 49- Abortion 59-Special purpose districts 60-Apple


61-Guantanamo 62-The wall 63-congress and money 64-Flint 65- Puerto Rico 66-Debt buying industry 67-401K 68-Subprime lending 69-Charter schools 70-Police accountability 71-Opioids 72-School segregation 73-Healthcare 74-Tibet 75-Pot 76-Gerrymandering 77-Vaccines

78-Nuclear waste 79-Corporate consolidation 80-economic development incentives 81-Crypto 82-Iran 83-Sexual Harasment 84-Medicare 85-Sheriffs 86-Essential workers 87-Postal voting

How To Photograph Stenciling On The Casing Of An Atomic Bomb: Medium Overheating


“Amid all that chaos and confusion, a hole quietly opened up in American history, a vacuum of accountability, into which assets human and financial begin to vanish. Back in the days of hippie simplicity, people liked to blame ‘the CIA’ or ‘a secret rogue operation.’ But this is a new enemy, unnamable, locatable on no organization chart or budget line — who knows, maybe even the CIA’s scared of them.”

― Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge


McLuhan departs from the media theory of Harold Innis in suggesting that a medium “overheats”, or reverses into an opposing form, when taken to its extreme. A hot medium is one that extends a single sense with high definition. High definition means a complete filling in of data by the medium without intense audience participation. Hot media are low in participation, or completion, by the extension of our nervous system, and cool media are high in participation. In the simplest sense: The water is boiling. The water is still. The water is frozen. In turn, these observable states are captured by measurement. The “invention of temperature” was no less than the fixing of water’s three states to one particular scale.

In anticipating the internet, McLuhan sounded a warning as much as a welcome.

“Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit by taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don’t really have any rights left.”

Technology is someone’s opinion in material form, sometimes it’s tantamount to being trapped in someone else’s head. The digital medium doesn’t really fit into McLuhan’s “hot” and “cool” dichotomy. Now we have multiple televisions and other types of screens (such as personal computers, laptops, cell phones, tablet computers) in multiple locations (including ourselves) that are available continuously to provide a stream of images, text, and information.

It encourages participation but it also sucks up our attention and dominates our senses. When we gaze into a computer screen, we tune out everything else. He offered a dark view of the commercial exploitation to come.

“The ground, or environment, is not a passive container, but active processes that influence the relationships between all of the elements in it.”

Figure and ground is a concept drawn from Gestalt psychology that underpins the meaning of his famous phrase, “The medium is the message” To McLuhan, “‘figure’ refers to something that jumps out at us, something that grabs our attention,” he says. “Ground” refers to “something that supports or contextualizes a situation and is usually an area of inattention” He believes that both are equally as important to understanding the full meaning of a situation.

To him, people tended to focus on only specific parts of the media, and disregard other parts. “To examine the total effect of any medium, McLuhan pointed out that we need to look at both figure and ground, and their relationship to one another. He believed that “only focusing on the ‘content’ of the media was like looking at figures without examining their ground.”

And computers, rather than freeing us from the printed word, have made text more ubiquitous wrapping us in a cocoon of text that would have boggled even Mcluhan’s mind. The contours of the resultant image are fleshed out within the imagination of the viewer, which necessitates great personal involvement and participation; the viewer, in fact, becomes the screen, whereas in film he becomes the camera.

Metabolizing information is a real challenge. The speed at which we can absorb information is much faster than the speed at which we can process it. The web browser mostly lets the search-engine rankings shape the individual’s understanding of the world. As a whole, society’s psychology is shaped by the websites we access and the interactions that follow.


“content of any medium is always another medium”

Thus, speech is the content of writing, writing is the content of print, and print itself is the content of the telegraph. He describes the “content” of a medium as a juicy piece of meat carried by the burglar to distract the watchdog of the mind.

By stressing that the medium is the message rather than the content, Mcluhan is not suggesting that content plays no role merely that it’s subordinate role.

“The content or message of any particular medium has about as much importance as the stenciling on the casing of an atomic bomb.

If you have been in a poker game for a while, and you still don’t know who the patsy is, you’re the patsy.

The business plan of most successful Internet companies is to offer a particular service for free. The framework of the platform is provided by the company, but the content of the service provided by users and/or the general public. The site attracts users with the prospect of a free and useful service, (essentially cannibalizing the very sources of the content they crave) The site itself makes revenue through selling advertising space. Oftentimes, the company collects information from its users through its activities on the platform.

YouTube allows people to make videos for free using crowd-sustained chatter. John Bare: This is a better business bet than paying people to create movies, books, and music. He says it’s better to play the statistical game of User Generated Content, as YouTube has, than place big bets on a few horses like network TV. Bare: If some free video of a silly stunt or the least-common-denominator antics will draw as many eyeballs as a professional filmmaker, why pay the filmmaker?

This was totally revolutionary; “content” from identifiable humans would no longer matter, and that the chattering of the crowd with itself was a better business bet than paying people to make movies, books, and music. Statistical algorithms supposedly take the risk out of making bets. Without risk, there was no need for skill. Music that had previously only been legally copied with the payment of a royalty would now be copied “ for free.

The new winners — Google, YouTube, MySpace, Craigslist, and the start-ups hungry for a piece of the Web 2.0 pie — were never meant to fill the shoes of the industries they aggregate and are helping to undermine, in terms of products produced, jobs created, revenue generated or benefits conferred.

Tetrad of media effects

McLuhan uses a tetrad to examine the effects on society of any technology/medium. He divides its effects into four categories and displays them simultaneously. The participatory nature of the experience itself is important, rather than the content of the particular image.

The tetrad consists of four questions.

  1. What does the medium enhance? Enhancement (figure=Content): What the medium amplifies or intensifies. For example, radio amplifies news and music via sound.
  2. What does the medium make obsolete? Obsolescence (ground=Medium): What the medium drives out of prominence. Radio reduces the prominence of print and the visual.
  3. What does the medium retrieve that had been obsolesced earlier? Retrieval (figure=Content): What the medium recovers which was previously lost. Radio returns the spoken word to the forefront.
  4. What does the medium reverse or flip into when pushed to extremes? Reversal (ground=Medium): What the medium does when pushed to its limits. Acoustic radio flips into audio-visual TV.

Cognitive science shows that we can only really focus on one thing at a time. It also says that our brains decide, about every one-quarter of a second, whether to continue staying focused. There is, in effect, a contest being run in our minds as to which one object in our conscious contents will next get our attention.

Free content is designed to provide a large number of generally small rewards driven by neuromodulators such as dopamine, serotonin, and endocannabinoids. Our non-conscious minds have now associated going online with the expectation of being rewarded.

So now, whenever we see, hear, feel, about digital media, it gets “scored” by our non- conscious minds to be a likely source of reward. As a result, we’re being programmed to expect and desire a very unnatural state of immediacy. Our brains evolved to make use of neuro-modulator-based psychological reward system. That system was called on far, far less frequently .

In the digital age the goal of the individual is more like a large piece of virtual state. The race for geographical territory has been replaced by a race for virtual territory. The sciences are still unable to bridge the semantic gap. In fact, that gap between reality and meaning is increasing.

Toward a Linear World

The brain is by no means a machine. Human brains aren’t much at being precise. No human being can draw a perfect circle. No human can divide a line into perfectly equal segments. The human brain is not good at controlling any regular motion, a fact which translates into the human body’s inability to perform a consistent non-stop function.

The explanation for this is that the brain, like all other organs, is a nonlinear device programmed to “respond” quickly (if roughly) to continuous and spontaneous changes in the surrounding environment. Therefore it is not surprising that the behavior driven by that system is also irregular, and that dividing a line into segments of equal length is just physically impossible for a body driven by such a brain.

Yet one day computers were invented by that brain. Machines are linear systems. Machines have numerous advantages over human bodies. They don’t get sick, they work nonstop with no need for sleep or holidays. Their key advantage and difference, though, is that they are “precise”, the one quality that humans lack.

The advent of linear systems changed the history of the human race, because it enabled the industrial revolution. A human worker would not be capable of making thousands of pieces of metal or wood of the exact same length, especially if they had to be very small.

A nonlinear system like the brain, designed to perform nonlinear tasks, invented a linear system like a machine. Machines are literally turning the environment into a linear, stable, predictable system. We may ushering a linear world in which our nonlinear brains will not only become useless but even detrimental: they will look for complex solutions to simple problems.

Digital media are primarily an extension of the sense of touch rather than of sight. The pushback against digital media stemmed primarily from concern for modern mathematics. Non-Euclidean geometry, on the one hand, and the rise of numerical theory functions seemed to spell the end of western civilization.

Euclidean space itself was a direct consequence of the operation of the phonetic alphabet on human senses. It is an extension of man’s physical body.

The roots of both the number and the Euclidean space can be found in the psychological implications of the phonetic alphabet. We also saw how phonetic technologies promoted visual clarity and individuality. The show also looked at the role of numbers in the development of Western philosophy.


The Internet allows ordinary people to express themselves for free. This constitutes, de facto, a new form of expression. The Internet makes it possible for everyone to become an artist, a poet, a scientist or a critic. The audience size depends primarily on your networking, not on your performance. Best of them will have a chance only but they would have to deal with the thousands of regular people who would do the same; and the industry will help those who follow the marketing efforts of the industry. A commutative contract whereby something is given so that something may be received in return.

In culture, the cultural and literary revolutions were self-sustaining waves of ideas. The fragmented existence of high-tech culture makes it difficult for an artistic phenomenon to reach critical mass. The value of the Big Four record labels of yesteryear was to bureaucratize creativity to make sure that it survives and can be harvested. The medium may produce a lot more ideas but they are less likely to survive.

A single dandelion may produce 2,000 seeds per year, indiscriminately firing them off into the sky at the slightest breeze. The disposition of each — or even most of the seeds aren’t the important thing, from a dandelions point of view. The dandelion doesn’t want to nurse a single precious copy of itself in the hopes that it will leave the nest and carefully navigate its way to the optimum growing environment, there to perpetuate the line.

Cory Doctorow

Most of content chatter online is driven by fanboys responses 3–4 orders of expression removed from the original. Trolling about TV shows, tentpoles releases, and whatever’s left of the legacy Music Industry has almost as much traffic as porn. Expression of first order is when someone introduces a whole, a work which incorporates their own worldview and aesthetics.

Second order expression is composed of fragmentary responses to first-order expression. A film like Blade Runner is an invention of first order, as was the book that influenced it, but a mashup in which a scene from the film is followed by the favorite music of the unknown masher is not in the same category.

Generation X has been compared to pattern exhaustion. A common rationalization was that we were entering a transitional lull before a creative storm. We had instead entered a persistent somnolence. McLuhan argues that media can “heat up” over time. As screen technology has heated up over time thus the hot versus cool media distinction describes effects, not definitions. John Locke employed his lukewarm-bucket-of-water experiment to argue that heat was not a property of water.


Post-modern fiction in the ’90s and TV intersect to the extent that they both deploy irony. TV is extremely good at deflecting, absorbing and redeploying criticisms of itself. Irony can be useful, entertaining and effective, but it’s also problematic and soul-destroying. It’s useful to remember David Foster Wallace when he referenced that Pop-culture images and references have become viable subjects.

A new narrative emerged in the late ’80s and early ’90s informed by a particular impulse to “respond” to TV’s all-pervasive influence and power. It was an actually just an extension of realism, an attempt to mimic the strange, mediated reality of our world. Almost always, this ironic narrative fails to provide any meaningful escape from TV’s nefarious impulse. This is because TV has already absorbed these criticisms and turned them into profitable material.

Digital media and advertising have become increasingly indistinguishable. Both are good at morphing to meet the needs and respond to the concerns of their audience. At one point, this involved acknowledging the ridicule that digital media itself faced. Irony was once useful and politically needed, but it lives on as a destructive force.

Advertising is elevated by open culture from its previous role as an accelerant. “Commercials” represent a truer means of communication. The narrative type, borrowed from earlier print technologies, simply doesn’t have time.

Advertising and marketing have never made up more than three or four percent of our total economic activity. For the high valuations of the digital and social media companies selling this data to make sense, the entire sector of the economy would have to grow many times its size.

Who would be left to do the advertising, or even be advertised to? Digital media’s critics fail to see it as a completely new technology that requires different sensory responses. He says adverts would be inappropriate if they didn’t preconditioned the viewer for sudden zooms, elliptical framing, no plot lines.

A NEW DARK AGE: The Gulf War Did Not Take Place

“The idea of a clean war, like that of a clean bomb or an intelligent missile, this whole war conceived as a technological extrapolation of the brain is a sure sign of madness. It is like those characters in Hieronymus Bosch with a glass bell or a soap bubble around their head as a sign of their mental debility. A war enclosed in a glass coffin, like Snow White, purged of any carnal contamination or warrior’s passion. A clean war which ends up in an oil slick.”


“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.”

Meister Eckhardt

This is the first time since electrification that the western world’s dominant popular community has wrapped itself exclusively in retro styles. The emergence and adoption of groundbreaking pop culture by teenagers in the mid-1990s has become so routine that we no longer even recognize it. By placing all the stress on content, we lose all chance of influencing the impact of new technologies.

I feel like culture froze just before it digitally opened up and all we can do now is mine the past like salvagers picking up a garbage dump. The entire idea of modern media was that we needed to come up with fresh, innovative cultural language but immersive virtual worlds; not only games, but simulations with a spiritual and artistic scope.

Millennials and the Lords of the Clouds are instead the serf and king of this new iteration. Human imagination and knowledge are regarded, in any case, as meaningless. The only wealth-generating endeavor left will be the Internet platforms that share all of this information. This is the fate we can expect unless we change the game we are currently playing.

An environment becomes fully visible only when it has been superseded by a new one. We tend to make the old environment more visible by turning it into an art form and by attaching ourselves to the objects and atmosphere that characterized it, think of jazz, pop art or hard rock. In the midst of the electronic age of software, of instant information movement, we still believe we’re living in the mechanical age of hardware. At the height of the mechanical age, man turned back to earlier centuries in search of “pastoral” values.

In the name of progress our official culture strives to force the new media into the old ‘s work. These are difficult times because we are seeing a conflict between mediums of cataclysmic implications. Both reflect a typical failure; the effort to do a job using the resources of the old required by the new world.

One conservative response is to blame outmoded technology and propose advances that empower the viewer to exercise absolute choice. This would not address the basis of the digital media bind, it would merely enhance the fantasies that digital media already constructs. Perhaps the most fulfilling and rebellious response would be to risk ridicule and espouse good old-fashioned virtues.


The most technologically advanced part of Europe was destroyed by the two world wars. The human race has created two major threats to life on Earth in the last 50 years. The odds that we succeed seem to increase with technological progress. What will be the next human-engineered threat to life in the future? Does life always self-destroy, everywhere in the universe?


Our overextended central nervous system is combination of library, post office and mail order. We do not like to think that we have become that because we like to pretend that all those actions we perform for free are actually that. A way to make us even more legible that we already were and cannot imagine doing things another way.

Could it be that with our commitment to a limitless, expansive future ran out of empty spaces to colonize and turn inward the idea of limitless because the technologies that did emerge proved to be more conductive to surveillance and control. The only breakthroughs have been those that made it easier to create, transfer and rearrange virtual projections of things that already exist or probably never will that have allow manufacturers to employ much less sophisticated production line overseas.

We were thinking about computers capable of thoughts, geodesic domes on Mars, cornucopia machines, telekinetic mind devices. But the meta medium has played a crucial role in this narrowing of our imaginations so has all the software has turned into part time administrators but the truth is that we have been mere carriers for the meta medium at the same time creating astronomical levels of debt, destroyed job security, and burn though several layers of social capital.

Advertising takes its place at the center of the universe of a society that has been made legible and if money flows to advertising it does not flow to artists, musicians, writers. It flows to mechanisms of manipulation. If content is worthless then people are worthless too. Only one product can maintain value as everything else is devalued. Advertising

You just need to look at Pixel fatigue caused by CGI to realize that we were supposed to be doing that stuff already not figuring out more sophisticated ways of simulating it. Most technologies allow us to make imitations that purport to be better than the real thing.

What if post-modernism is a rumination on all the promises that never happened. Computers are a compensation for #insteadoflyingcarswehave but the truth is that we haven’t moved to the point that people in the fifties imagined we’d have reached by now. You still can’t have a meaningful conversation with a computer and protocol robots ain’t a thing.

Anxiety in place of fulfilment. An addictive cycle of craving and malaise. No sooner has one experience begun that buyers remorse creeps in We are the new serfs to the IP Kings in this iteration. Trust the crowd and the big n that removes the risks of creativity

So the Real sword of destiny is not the coming up with the idea of a car but as well with the parking problem, not the TV but also reality shows, not streaming but the destruction of whole ecosystems producing cultural signal , not the bomb but MAD

Without your existential super-self you will certainly die in wars of the future out among satellites, torn apart by AIs in the death throes of their own identity crisis. It’s an invention problem. Diffraction is transmogrification

Addicted To Plot

The famous quote by Anais Nin, “We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are,” speaks volumes about the way humans perceive the world around them. Every individual’s perception is influenced by their unique experiences, emotions, and beliefs. This subjectivity in perception makes it difficult to determine a definitive objective reality, as each person’s interpretation can be vastly different.

Our perception of the world is shaped by our experiences, which are unique to each individual. Two people can witness the same event, but they may have entirely different interpretations of what happened based on their individual experiences.

Plot technologies refer to the use of certain human interactions or behaviors in order to advance a particular narrative or storyline. These interactions may be intentionally crafted in order to fit a predetermined plot, or they may emerge organically as a result of cultural or societal norms.

Examples of plot technologies might include the use of a romantic subplot to create tension or drama, the inclusion of a villainous character to provide conflict

While these plot technologies can be effective tools for creating compelling narratives, they can also be limiting and formulaic at best and misrepresent reality at worst. They may rely on stereotypes or cliches in order to create a sense of familiarity or comfort for audiences, but this can also lead to a lack of diversity and originality in the stories that are told. The biases inherent in plot technologies have made many narratives seem outdated, past their sell-by dates, and unable to capture the complexities of our modern world. In fact, it seems that we have become unwitting pawns of narrative technologies, with plot devices dictating the stories we tell and the ways in which we tell them.

One of the biggest biases of plot technologies is the emphasis on a linear, cause-and-effect structure. This structure has been the backbone of many narratives, from ancient myths to Hollywood blockbusters, and it works by establishing a clear beginning, middle, and end. While this structure has proven effective in creating engaging stories, it can also be limiting, as it often fails to capture the complexities and nuances of real life. Life is rarely linear, and events often occur simultaneously, causing a web of consequences that are difficult to untangle. The emphasis on a linear plot can, therefore, make many narratives feel contrived and unrealistic.

Another bias of plot technologies is the tendency to prioritize certain types of stories over others. Many narratives are structured around a hero’s journey or a central conflict, often at the expense of more nuanced and character-driven stories. These kinds of stories may be popular because they are easy to follow and provide a clear sense of resolution, but they can also be formulaic and predictable. Furthermore, they often perpetuate a narrow view of what constitutes a worthy protagonist or conflict, reinforcing harmful stereotypes and limiting the range of stories that are told.

The rise of digital technologies has also played a significant role in shaping narratives. The internet has given rise to a new type of storytelling, one that is often fragmented, nonlinear, and interactive. These narratives may incorporate various media, from text to video to social media, and allow the audience to participate in the story in new ways. However, these narratives can also be overwhelming and disjointed, leaving the audience feeling disconnected and disengaged.

First is the idea of the individual which is a pretty personal notion and is a post-medieval concept legitimised by print. Second is the idea of the public or the did not exists before newspapers or broadcasts. There was no public, only people and communication was utililitarian

Third: The notion of an observing citizenry somehow sharing the governance of society. Plots are interchangeable parts and that’s an idea that comes from the interchangeability of letters in movable types, the first ones to utilize the concept of easily reformulated sub units.

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations by Georges Polti is a fascinating categorization of every possible dramatic situation that might occur in a story. Polti analyzed classical Greek texts, as well as classical and contemporaneous French works, to arrive at his list of thirty-six situations. This work has become an essential reference point for writers, filmmakers, and other artists looking to create compelling stories.

However, while the Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations provides a useful framework for understanding narrative structure, it is important to recognize the limitations of this approach. The categories defined by Polti are based on a particular cultural and historical context, and may not be applicable to all forms of storytelling. Furthermore, the emphasis on dramatic situations may overlook other important elements of storytelling, such as character development, world-building, and themes.

One of the consequences of the increasing aesthetization of reality is that it affects fundamental structures of reality. Reality takes on a condition we associate with performance art, in which it is produced, changeable, non-committal, and subject to manipulation. This is particularly evident in the era of social media, where individuals and institutions can create and project their own narratives, often without regard for objective truth.

Moreover, the growing importance of performance in view of technological determination means that reality is increasingly shaped by the forces of spectacle and entertainment. This can be seen in the rise of reality TV, where individuals are presented as characters in a scripted drama, and in the increasing use of virtual reality and augmented reality technologies to create immersive experiences for audiences.

Plot is useful in the service of an appropriate model of the universe but we should not create a model of the universe to service plot. A bad plot can rarely be overcome by more plot 😀

In the world of storytelling, plot is a fundamental element that can make or break a work of fiction. However, as the previous paragraph suggests, the overemphasis on plot can lead to a distorted view of the world, where reality is reduced to a set of predetermined narratives.

This is particularly problematic when it comes to the portrayal of complex social issues, where a simplistic or formulaic plot can obscure important nuances and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. A bad plot, in this context, can be more than just ineffective – it can actively contribute to social injustice and perpetuate harmful ideas.

Moreover, the overemphasis on plot can also lead to a homogenization of culture, where stories become increasingly formulaic and predictable. This can result in a lack of diversity and originality in the stories that are told, as writers and filmmakers feel compelled to adhere to established narrative structures in order to appeal to audiences.

As consumers of media, it is important for us to be aware of the limitations of plot and to demand more from the stories that we engage with. We should not be content with simplistic or formulaic narratives, but instead seek out works that challenge our assumptions and expand our understanding of the world.

At the same time, it is important for creators of media to approach their work with a sense of humility and respect for the complexity of the world around them. Plot should not be used as a tool for imposing a particular worldview or agenda, but rather as a means of exploring the complexity and richness of human experience.

Ultimately, the role of plot in storytelling is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires careful consideration and reflection. While plot can be a powerful tool for engaging audiences and exploring important themes, it must be approached with a sense of caution and humility in order to avoid the pitfalls of oversimplification and homogenization.