33 Comments
Jun 23, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

This is an interesting subject to me, but this approach is a bit overwrought with technical jargon for my taste. I had never heard of "cliodynamics" before, and after reading about it in Wikipedia, I agree with this note in the article: "Isaac Asimov invented the fictional precursor to this discipline, in what he called psychohistory, as a major plot device in his Foundation series of science fiction novels."

I am however somewhat familiar with the mathematics and behavior of oscillating systems, and so wasn't totally thrown. I have also studied a bit of what Hubbard calls "Game Theory." Unfortunately this term was already in use by John von Neumann. Hubbard may not have been aware of this. I am sure, however, that regardless of which researcher is consulted, games have something to do with social history.

It is frustrating, though, to see so many brilliant minds falter when it comes to identifying the key problematic players and how they should be handled. These historical cycles, or oscillations, may be more or less inevitable (though I see a way out through the possibility of establishing an educational system that focuses on helping people become better at what they are already doing rather than covetous of another man's - or woman's - social or economic advantage). But the societal lows will continue to be perilous until we get a grip on the psychopathic personality and what to do about it.

There is a popular approach to the problem of evil (chronic criminality) arguing that it is created by harsh social conditions. Were this only true! When will it become clear that the perfect welfare state will never solve the problem? We must learn to confront and handle our psychopaths.

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This was a really insightful analysis! Makes me realize how much I need to read Turchin! Certainly what he says about elite overproduction is spot on and spells trouble for our culture if we can't get off this crazy negative feedback loop culturally and economically, which sadly the regime seems stubbornly in denial about.

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Definitely agree on wanting to read Turchin after this! Sounds like "Ages of Discord" and "End Times" might be good places to start.

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Chaos in the ranks of the elites puts them on a war footing, not a growth footing where they can put the people who are now Precariats to work. In an integrative phase, they would likely have steadier work.

I've also read Turchin's books, and cliodynamics is one of the few ways of looking at history that maps directly to observable statistics. That's part of what makes them so good!

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author

I agree. I love his books (and his Seshat stuff in general).

Let's just hope we can get out of this crisis without TOO much damage!

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If we are to suffer damage, hopefully it's not anything physically critical like agriculture, electricity, water, sewage, and so on. Use them as small-scale wealth pumps if you want, just don't kill the geese that lay the golden eggs!

Probably optimistic when there are sections of our elites championing climate change issues, though.

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Jun 23, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Thanks for your posts. Always really interesting. We definitely have a problem of elite overproduction. I also think that maybe 15% of the population is really suited for university, not more. Today we have huge numbers of people being trained in useless subjects (grievance studies) at great expense. This is not sustainable.

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Jun 24, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Personal anecdote: in my office there are constant calls for equal pay and stringent denial of any inequality in output… which truly requires intentional delusion. The argument goes: we have the same credentials, we clearly are just as productive (go ahead, call us on that and see what happens!), so we deserve equal pay.

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Thanks for this. I assume its not a union shop, otherwise THAT is the key point of unions, that everyone gets paid the same. Which is stupid. Its obvious that not everyone is equally productive, its best described by a Pareto Distribution. May I ask what kind of office you work in, and what is the work type?

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I yes I work in a typical white collar office and the people I’m thinking of are in a big group of analysts, about 30 of them. And a Pareto distribution does indeed seem to match the output.

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I bet its the low producers who make the loudest claims about everyone producing equally. Are people actually paid based on performance? This has always been accepted in the professional world, even if people occasionally grumbled. Are your co-workers a very young cohort that has been taught Marxist ideology in college?

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Jun 24, 2023·edited Jun 24, 2023

Pay at my company is very complicated cause it’s quite concerned with equity. Absolutely many people here ready for the revolution and yes quite young.

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If its a private company, I have to assume its main priority is productivity, and thus pay is based on merit. Is that not the case (this is an interesting discussion, thx for sharing).

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Offhand the intellectuals refuse to think about Covid vaccination as public policy to prevent Precariat insurrection. World changed in 2020 to what Agamben has written about-the open air concentration camp is now GLOBAL.

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Thank you for another excellent piece of work Harrison.

I'm glad to see reference to Hong Xiuquan and the Taiping rebellion. It's an important event in world history that many in the west are not even aware of, and at 20+ million dead it may have a higher death toll than World War One.

The life and times of Hong Xiuquan and the Taiping "Kingdom of Heavenly Peace" spins together several strands that you have noted before in your study of ponerology. In his early 20s Hong suffered a major health crisis, many weeks of feverish hallucinations when he saw heaven, God, dragons, devils and so on. This, apart from any particular religious philosophy he might have had formed the basis of his revolution.

I think Lobaczewski mentions the possible "characterpathic" effects of a serious fever, he called it a "bleaching" of the brain (or something similar). That's not a rock solid scientific study but it's certainly circumstantial evidence.

So we have an intelligent, educated but frustrated elite aspirant with a mental pathology in a society under great stress. That last point is important, the late Qing empire had a vast amount of semi-starving peasants, a pretty damned precarious percariat. The sparks from Hong Xiuquan’s mind fell onto a large heap of dry fuel.

As I have learned to appreciate, neurotic delusions are never TOTALLY unjustified. John Brown (who launched his raid on Harpers ferry at about the same time as the Taiping rebellion) was another religious fanatic, but the antebellum south WAS an evil tyranny. Tsar Nicholas and the Russian elites also gave the Bolsheviks a hell of a lot of fuel for their revolutionary engines.

There is another point I would like to touch on, namely “ideological contagion” across nations. This sort of thing is very difficult to pin down exactly, although Hong Xiuquan did have some contact with evangelical Christians from the first generation of American missionaries in China, and of course socialist and communist ideology became a world wide phenomena.

One key node of ideological transmission today is of course the Hollywood entertainment industry. Cultural transmission, education or prosetytization, across a language barrier is always difficult, but cinema overcomes many of those problems. I am hardly the only one who sees the psychopathologies of Hollywood and it’s California milieu being transmitted worldwide.

That’s all for now.

Peace be with you.

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author

Great comments. Thanks, Jack!

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Enlightening article, when you write, As Lobaczewski wrote:

When bad times arrive and people are overwhelmed by an excess of evil, they must gather all their physical and mental strength to fight for existence and protect human reason. The search for some way out of the difficulties and dangers rekindles long-buried powers of discretion. Such people have the initial tendency to rely on force in order to counteract the threat; they may, for instance, become “trigger-happy” or dependent upon armies. Slowly and laboriously, however, they discover the advantages conferred by mental effort: improved understanding of the psychological situation in particular, better differentiation of human characters and personalities, and, finally, comprehension of one’s adversaries. During such times, virtues which former generations relegated to literary motifs regain their real and useful substance and become prized for their value. (p. 59)

Do you think this is happening or is censorship and propaganda preventing it from happening, or just slowing down the fact that it is happening, because I don't see it happening at any scale or increasing rate yet?

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I think it is happening on a small scale, with individual cases. Lobaczewski was referring to a multi-decade process. For example, in Poland it only really started to bear fruit in the 80s, I think.

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It interests me that many counter culturals, dissidents and people on the fringes are those who dropped out of the compliance/elite production system at a young age.

The auto-didact of today is almost always an outsider.

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Jun 24, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Joe and Hunter Biden are enough for me to suspect we are in a truly “disintegrating” society.

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That was excellent, thank you! Buying the book now, I look forward to reading it.

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Jun 23, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Fascinating

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Jun 24, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Very insightful analysis and connecting of dots, Harrison. Thank you for your efforts.

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G’day Harrison, 👍🙏 Very informative article as per. Not heard of Turchin, and to be honest much of what’s he’s talking about is new territory for me. Now that my interest is piqued, one has to find time to explore further. I have heard of Guy Standing, and read his “Precariat” book a few years back. What a great descriptor btw. Might also have to revisit this man’s work again. Best, GM.

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Jun 24, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Re are the competent getting into positions they’re worthy of: FWIW here’s a recent article on this in USA, assertion being that complex systems will start to fail if those qualified to run them are set aside.

https://www.palladiummag.com/2023/06/01/complex-systems-wont-survive-the-competence-crisis/

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author

Yep! I wrote a bit on that article here: https://ponerology.substack.com/p/social-justice

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Jun 24, 2023Liked by Harrison Koehli

Excellent. They are related then to the Clerisy Class which are IMO are the credentialed precariat.

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Thanks HK. Interesting indeed.

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