Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Bennett of the Doubt

The Faceborg has informed me that it is 2000AD's birthday. To blithely say that the sci-fi comic was an influential aspect on my world perspective is as understated as it is moronic (Take that, Chris Finlayson's style guide). So, happy new revolution around the sun, Tharg. Glad you haven't barfed yet.

Back in 2000AD's golden years, from around 1981 to 86, grand idealists abounded. Among Alan Moore's Twisted Times and Dredd's Wagner/Ezquerra ultimately black comic fascism, it was Nemesis the Warlock (via Script Robot Pat Mills) who pointed out the plain facts out of the fiction, with great truths such as "What's the point of having dark arts if you don't meddle with them?"

With this is mind, might I try to tie various disparate popular themes together into one elegant political equation?

The tl;dr is this - a tolerable level of chaos.

We used to have the principle of the "reasonable person" embedded in Law, courtesy of the British system of justice. Beyond reasonable doubt and all that. The Crown used to bestow the benefit of the doubt where facts were disputed. In recent years, this foundational principle has been eroded by the lower threshold endorsed by the civil courts; the balance of probabilities.

You can see this point of reference in all points of popular culture these days; from the hectoring mobs of cyber-bullies virtually lynching people for just the wrong level of tolerance, to the Cam Slater's outbursts such as NZ politics is a hateful zero-sum business.

There is more to heav'n and earth than is dreamt of than all those philosophies. As a nation, our comparative advantage lies in being small and nimble. In a post-agrarian, post-industrial world where intellectual property comes into its own, we are not being as innovative as we should. I believe that this is mainly because of the recent baby boomer prohibition on people fucking around. They reckon there's too much fucking around. I say we're not doing nearly enough.

As Nassim Taleb points out in Antifragile, most technologies didn't appear from formal methods such as Big Pharma. They come from interested people fucking around with shit. From Goodyear to Dirac, from Marie Curie to Pasteur, Fleming, Watson and Crick, or even Feynman observing spinning dinner plates, all the big jumps come from smart people meddling with shit.

For example, back in the day when Mother Meri Aubert ran the Homes of Compassion in Island Bay (where Matt McCarten would later be raised in captivity), explosions would regularly be heard from the back shed as Mother Mary fucked with shit.

As a wise girl once told me, "It's not what you've got, it what's you do with it."