There was an unexpected note on page 66 that indicated that J.R.R. Tolkien may have been fascinated by a cursed ring described on a lead tablet in Lydney and a very similar (the same?) gold ring found at the Roman city of Silchester in Hampshire. The text posits that perhaps the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings were potentially inspired by these archaeological finds from Irish myth.
Here Goldberg goes into the complexity of potential causes of capitalism. His discussion of The Miracle and what it represents gains a lot more flavor and nuance than the one word construct it’s had up until now in the text.
He discusses Common law as an emergent property of a society. Again here I note some vocabulary stemming from the “Complexity” science movement of the past several decades as well as that of David Christian et al in the Big History conversation. (Speaking of which, I’ve noted he’s got a new book out on the topic.)
I will take some issue with what looks like a logical problem toward the end of the chapter here:
Therefore the demise of our civilization is only inevitable if the people saying and arguing the right things stop talking.
I do take his broader point, but what, praytell, are the right things, particularly when you’ve just made the argument that you’re not exactly sure what complex system caused it all? We really need to know exactly what caused it to be able to fight to maintain the correct parts of the Goldilocks conditions.
In general, I find myself agreeing with the broadest points here and find the arguments and ideas quite intriguing.
Interesting case so far. I can’t help but extrapolate some of these ideas including pluralism to the internet in terms of a state and the effect of the IndieWeb movement. Is Facebook a stationary bandit?
There is a heavy flavor of the viewpoint of “Big History” lurking in the text though I doubt that Goldberg is directly aware of the area of study/research. I’m also seeing a lot of reliance and influence from Francis Fukuyama lurking within the text. (Note to self to go back to finish reading his two most recent tomes.) Based on what I’ve read thus far, I’d say I’m in general agreement with much of the broad strokes. He’s also positing an interesting thesis about the causes and roots of the democracy, the industrial revolution, and freedom under which we find ourselves living currently. I’m not sure I like his single word description he’s using for our present “Miracle”, but I do appreciate the need for a shorthand. Taking the longer and broader term view (particularly in contrast to the state of the second and third world countries in much of the rest of the world), it’s much more obvious how much more fragile our country and institutions are. Some of the tribalism which I see us backsliding into is very troubling from this perspective.
Social constructs and institutions which are eroding become a bigger issue under this broader thesis. I can think of simple recent cultural touchstones like Hobby Lobby not being forced to provide complete health care coverage (abortions) for employees and being given exemptions for religious reasons or cake shops being able to not serve homosexual couples. Given the broader themes going on, I can easily tell where Goldberg would come down on these legal issues. (Though I do wonder how they could be ruled on positively within this framework from a legal/constitutional perspective.)
I’ll make a scant note of it here and hopefully circle back to flesh it out more later, but I think that Goldberg’s thesis could be dramatically scaled up in a way in which he may not suspect. In Why Information Grows: The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies,Cesar Hidalgo has an increasing scale from the individual to the firm and this could then scale to a megafirm and potentially to larger (currently undefined) institutions. This could potentially mean that our current situation isn’t “as good as it gets” (my words not Goldberg’s, though the sentiment is similar.) Taking things to a more logical conclusion and treating all humans as equal as a base, then corporations/firms would need to treat humans equal and at the next level up all firms should be considered equal as well. With these givens then ideas like universal healthcare (or even access to education), which could be framed as “socialist” on the first scale of just individuals would be more easily able to be viewed as capitalist on the next level up. My layout here is certainly a bit murky because these ideas are simple models which are far from widely known, but a bit of fleshing out could make them much more apparent.
Went back and picked up a prior section because I was more curious to begin practicing writing my hiragana. There’s some interesting linguistics material and beginning grammar in this section. I’ll have to come back to it and practice some more to absorb both the vocabulary and the grammar.
Spent some time working on improving my actual writing skills as well.
So far I’m really liking this book after having looked at a list of many others over the past year. It quickly covers a lot of simple stuff that was otherwise hard won by reading bits and pieces of other books. They do an exceptionally good job of laying out the beginning pieces. I appreciate some of the workbook like exercises which make this a better book for a much broader range of learners.
The comment about Ramona being brave comes from this relatively lackluster chapter in which Ramona gets upset with her apparent choice of being called a tattletale or allowing Susan to be a terrible copycat. I can attest that the picture of a six year old making a growl-ly face and panther hands is true to life.
Lots of nice definitions and categorization, though I can already tell from other readings that some of the definitions, particularly for pre-ferments, aren’t always as solid as I’d like them to be. As if he were a mathematician, however, he seems to delineate a pretty tight set here that he indicates he’ll stick to throughout the book.
Four types of pre-fermented dough
Stiff/firm: pâte fermentée and biga (no salt)
Wet: poolish and sponge (or levain levure)