The Evolution of Tulba.
Some of this blog was originally written in August 2010 and found by me in one of my notebooks while searching through many of them, for material, written randomly over many years, as maybe having bearing on the story, on which I am currently working. This story is part 4 of what I call: “The Azanian Quartet.” [The Buffalo Hunters , The Ashanti Raider and the Jonker Memorandum are respectively 1,2 & 3].You are warned that this [generally excessively long] blog will travel across a range of ideas on route to a conclusion.
A low key feature of the “Jonker Memorandum” was a background reference to a cult form called Tulba. As those who have followed the story of the “Jonker Memorandum” will remember, a part of the story happens after the world, as we know it now, has ended: and we are [in some minimal respect from the story’s perspective] in a post apocalyptic: hence post ‘Revelation’ phase… after “The End”.
Regarding ‘Revelations’, a subject on which I have commented in blogs over the years. The ‘Jonker’ is heavily flavoured in some of its mystery: most specifically the mystery of “The End”. I have a venerable copy of the old King James Bible, presented to me by a ‘godfather’ uncle and signed “Easter 1947”. After the final words in that closing chapter, “Revelations” the words “The End” appear. I have never found that in other editions [Well one does say “End of new testament”, which seems reasonable, since it is.]
But the baldness of “The End” is not in any other version. It has been something that puzzled me more and more as I got older. What do you mean it “The End”? What happens after the End was my unanswered question. There are now stories written about that time after “the end” that demonstrate that it was a ‘relative’ end. So for me though; eventually I understood that “the end”, was as always… Life goes on. Before this [so-called] Common Era, we had Mithraism as a dominant ideology which came to “The End”: and prior to that Dionysus, Horus, Krishna and various others ad infinitum through the mysteries of time itself.Each in turn came to “The End”. And yet here we still are.
In the ‘Azanian Quartet’ The world effectively goes through a period of revulsion at the extreme destruction waged on ordinary people, by those who seem increasingly obsessed with the end game of Ideological madness. The drama of “The End”: the Apocalypse [as it came to be known]; began to be seen as an unintended outcome of a ‘war’ between factional Irrationalists. Think of a conflict between supporters of the Tooth Fairy and those of the Easter Bunny regarding who gets what… two irrational but nonetheless widely subscribed ideas.
And so people sought the sanctuary of Order. Tulba is concerned with robotic machines [aka computers in their expanding range of forms] and their capacity to replace authority. To become, as it were ‘The Supreme Being’in place of the current crop of popular “Supreme Beings”. As this blog evolves i shall return to this idea of “Tulba”, after walking through a few themes, in the form of a poem to the rational world of the irrational: and if that makes sense prepare to meet thy doom.
“Tulba” was someone’s jocular response to the question: What happens when Computers run everything? And Tulba it is, was the answer I came up with eventually. So some of this blog which started with an idea prompted by Terence Kealey’s book: “Sex, Science and Profits”, moves into the evolution of the Tulba construct … As with the ‘Jonker’ it [Tulba] is essentially a background development and is not the focus of the story, which as always is concerned with other things, of a more grounded nature… like how machines are becoming more dominant features of our world and what happens when they are smarter than humans. And of course what happens when someone falls in love and discovers that someone [hopefully but not yet certainly] has to die in order for the love to be fully consummated. And then, as with the ‘Jonker’, where the story is ‘Set’: ie: happening? This is a key scenario to be konstukted, dekonstrukted and then rekonstrukted… and of course using all these “K’s” in place of “C’s” is part of the process.
Thus, as to ‘Scenario’. Those who are familiar with the titles i mentioned above will know that “The Buffalo Hunters” is entirely set in ‘Jozi’, in the place i call “Zone One”. “The Ashanti Raider” and “The Jonker Memorandum” are both partially in Jozi and mostly in the Outlands or Auslaande of Mzansi, in places that generally are otherwise nameless: as i refer to all the regions outside Zone One; which gradually disintegrate into disrepair and neglect and are abandoned as they cease to supply sustenance, and return to their natural state. Again these are simply backgrounds to the story and are not the story itself… like the scenes in a movie are set somewhere and there are ‘extras’ running about to make up the ‘wallpaper’ of the tale, but are otherwise not part of the tale.
Now in this Part 4, the entire story will return to Jozi… the difference to the Buffalo Hunters [BH] being that it [BH] consisted of a number of disconnected tales, that merge around a central “RASHOMON STYLE” event and through the amorphous synergy of that madman “Murphy”, construct the illusion of plot. In Part 4 the ‘Rashomon’ event is a single action that changes things… maybe, and while most of the action takes place on the same day in the Buffalo Hunters it will do so again in [Part 4… as yet untitled]. The difference being that the same event occurs, in different ways, in three time eras, or as i prefer, in parallel multiverses [or maybe even in the Virtual Reality Game.].
So, in other words, we have Jozi past tense, Jozi intermediate Future tense [the time that will be called NOW], but withing a decade or so of the ‘Apocalypse’ described in the Jonker Memoranum, which i will also publish sometime soon as a digital book. And then another part will be set in Jozi in a ‘timeyet to come’ …maybe a century or so from NOW.
So what this means of course is envisiging how “Jozi” will be a dozen or so years from now but also how it will seem around the time dealt with in the Jonker: about century or so down the line. Which brings us back to what i said at the beginning of the blog; and to Mr Terence Kealey’s book: “Sex, Science and Profits.” the subject of the forgotten blog i found written in 2010. And what do `Mr Kealey’s observations have to do with “Future Jozi” and why the setting must somehow correlate with reality in a few places.
Mr Kealey, in his book [“Sex, Science and Profits”], confirms something most recognise as true even though they had never thought about them in exactly the way presented. He tells us: “Most trades in an advanced economy are ‘risk’ trades’, because an advanced economy is based on long term investments.”
By “Trades” he is not referring to, for instance, carpentry or boiler making; but rather to the mass scale exchanges that take place between economic entities that have long term configurations and relationships. For instance: the decision to build the Lesotho Highlands water scheme decades ago, goes ahead, even should the country in which WATER is sourced, and thus originally located, falls apart. The fact that it [Lesotho] is in a presently threatened condition is, as you well know my happy followers, part of the history of post-Apocalyptic Mzansi: as presented in the “Jonker Memorandum”. Another example would be the issue with Mzansi’s power supply: and with who will take on the financial risk of remedying the problem.
For instance; currently we are tossing a $100 billion [US dollar] bone out in the form of a proposed nuclear deal with China [ChinNya or general ‘friends of BRIC’]. What could be the priority “Risk” element in such a ‘Trade’? Bearing in mind that [US]$100 billion is 50% of the ‘real’ income of the Mzansi for any contemporary year: after extracting that part of GDP that represents State expenditure.
Risk you will remember is as fundemental to Trade as oxygen is to breathing… taken for granted often: ignored at one’s peril. In considering a future Jozi, one would have to factor such a ‘risk’ consideration into one’s vision: in order that the picture could be realistic. On the other hand the essence of Zone One is that it is the single overwhelming part of Mzansi that is market driven: notwithstanding Kolektivist pretensions. And much as Kolektivists hate to admit: The Market always rules [as Komunist China, for instance, is busy rediscovering]. So as part of my own more empirical investigation i shall visit one of, arguably, two of the world’s most modern cities next year with intent to put a constuction ethos to go with my ‘Five Towers’ constructions [ref Jonker Momorandum.] So as an example of where this could end. Could part of the RISK play be the arrival of a few million workers from SE ASia into Mzansi: to carry out and manage the Nuclear activity being presently and how would that change things.
Building cities, like that I described in the Jozi Unicity series, [see: forthcoming new poetry kolektion “travelling by hand”] to handle the rapidly evolving information age, would be another such trade, as much as would be the development of new energy sources, like power stations and whatever evolves to replace them in their present form.
Because advanced [or advancing] economies need long term investments to grow and thrive they are dependent therefore on people keeping to their agreements [As Socrates observed some two and a half thousand years ago.]
In short for an economy to be successful, at its most intimate heart it is dependent on millions of ‘strangers’ adhering to, or rather, trusting each other to honour their respective words.
In summary: Mr. Kealey observes: “Trade depends on trust.” A point made centuries ago by Adam Smith: a prime architect of the modern capitalist world. The economist Mancur Olsen demonstrated in his works “The Rise and Decline of Nations” “Power and Prosperity” and “The Logic of Collective Action”, that Kleptocracy amongst the power elite retards the development of poor countries. Wierd isn’t it the way we always have to prove that which seems obvious. And of course the issue of a [possibly] Kleptocratic Mzansi is one that must figure in the background to that future perspective. And it is noted that some believe it to be presently already Kleptocratic while still others believe that it always was Kleptocratic and that ‘Kleptocracy rules’.
Part of the argument that I shall develop here is that, notwithstanding that an objective assessment would assume that trust is peculiar to a rational world [and is anything more rational than the existence of money itself?] [Especially given that much of it now is inherently “FAKE’] it [trust] is nonetheless an inherently irrational and emotional decision and hence behaviour.
In other words Risk assessment is a rational response to questions relevant to an irrational emotion called “TRUST”.
According to Spengler, the Western world is ending and we are witnessing the last season — “winter time” — of what he called “the Faustian civilization.” In Spengler’s depiction, Western Man [sorry: he predated gender sensitivity] is a proud but tragic figure because, while he strives and creates, he secretly knows the actual goal will never be reached. And trust is hard won and easily lost, as Mr Tsipris of Greece is busy discovering right now. These ideas are some of the elements that need to be dealt with in Part 4 of the Azanian Quartet… as part of the background to a story derived from one of Mzansi’s most colourful and problematic historical events.
To return to the joint issus of Risk and Trust; The heart of our Faustian western Capital structured model was initially constructed by the previously mentioned Mr. Adam Smith [He of ‘Wealth of Nations’]. Kealey quotes Adam Smith when he observes that: “In a rational world no company would survive because no rational employee would honour the contract to work while the boss is away… rather, the rational one would play”.
He [Smith] continues, that in a society constituted solely of rational people everybody would cheat on their contracts and thus no risk based contract would be sustainable, especially one spread over decades.
Kealey reinforces this argument quoting a Professor Douglas North saying that: “ … a strictly rational world would be a jungle and no society would be viable.”* [Welcome to Mzansi and the brand new urban jungle].
Mr. Kealey perhaps suggests, by inference more than intent, that a central dilemma of under-developing countries is that they are governed more and more, by supremely rational people. And that self-interest motivated Kleptocratic behaviour is a rational behaviour form.
Thomas Hobbes; he who famously described the circumstances of Stone Age persons as being “nasty, brutish and short”, argued that all persons were inherently unreliable, due to the ‘fact’ that all significant players were rational, and hence unreliable. Question. Are we today governed by people driven by rational self-interest.[Is this the sign of 21st century Person] This idea too will be explored in this tale, which shall as before be about love and daring deeds, mysterious bodies and nasty tricks: and the silliness of Being.
Thus it was his [Hobbes’]opinion that the citizen should be controlled through Tyranny: because rational people are by definition untrustworthy. Rationality it should again be noted is a counter intuitive response to emotionality. And therefore since emotion is contrary to reason it was by definition “irrational”. IE: Emotion is by definition “Irrational”.
As already stated; In his [Kealey’s] opinion Trust is an inherently emotional construct and is therefore ‘irrational’. It is also an appropriated term, given that often in ourstory/history tacitly cooperating/ tacitly competitive business organisations known to Economist as Oligopolies, are routinely referred to as Trusts. So the word has a double meaning contributing to ‘contradiction and conflict’, which, as many observe, are the “deepest truths of reality.”.
One such [unreliable hence rational] Trust was bust recently in Mzansi, with some smacking of hands, regarding the case of Konstruction Kontract Kollusion over Football World Cup Stadia in 2010. In a rational society run by rational people unrestrained ambition and self-interest unregulated by power produces a negative trust factor, in that all systems gradually become unreliable and then dysfunctional. Many people feel this has happened post the SONA episode in Mzansi’s Parliament earlier this year.[see my blog “Our own Mugabe Moment”]
So with respect to Mr. Kealey’s thesis: Naturally, and notwithstanding Oligopolies, [Ie: Economic dominance of selected markets by a handful… ie: two to four/six corporations, that dominate the market and tacitly collude on pricing] that he perceives as the cornerstone achilles heel of the Capitalist system, he nonetheless fixes his support on the Private sector for growth in all respects and argues most convincingly, using a veritable cascading barrage of evidence, that Government funding of anything distorts the market for whatever it finances: with a consequent fall [decline] in performance in those financed sectors. What was that we said about a State controlled electricity supplier?
In this regard; Evidence of the accuracy of his hypothesis may be found [in Mzansi/RSA for instance] by those living in a now permanent world of routine electricity outages sponsored by a monopoly State entity. Add to this the bankruptcy of the State Postal service, the National Airline, The Passenger Rail Agency of SA [PRASA] and routine revelations regarding the financial impecuniousness of many other State monopolies. Even the normally sacrosanct Revenue [Tax] authority has felt the brush of disruption. Readers in other jurisdictions may find head nodding examples, in those, in your own turf.
Mr. Kealey’s work is a testament to the power of the market to solve problems … It is however realistic about the conundrum faced by most societies that finds themselves plagued, with a vested establishment position that abhors the idea of private sector activity facilitating growth. Control means control. Rationality prevails. Oligopoly … Capitalism’s nemesis, becomes de rigueur.State control compounded by Oligopolistic control. Argentina has been regularly cited as an example of an Oligoply driven society that simply trundled down the economic performance ladder from lofty heights to a nugatory and unremembered performance.[The fact that their Rugby Team beat Mzansi’s rugby team recently for the first time ever, demonstrates the numbing effect of ‘oligopoly meets oligopoly’.]
The respected Late Economist JK Galbraith says of Oligopoly: ‘There is no longer any certainty of technical advance….prices no longer reflect the ebb and flow of consumer demand….and it leads to profitable and comfortable stagnation’ [ref: ‘American Capitalism’ JK Galbraith]
Thus naturally Mr. Kealey’s ideas and proofs are not popular especially amongst the geometrically expanding flotillas of parading minions who derive their funding by chipping off a slice of the public pie, facilitated by vast oceans of regulation. These will fight tooth and nail [naturally] to protect their sinecured fiefdoms.
On the other hand [as economists like to point out] the most routine alternative to comfortable and profitable stagnation is seldom pretty. Ask any Zimbabwean/Somali/Syrian traveler you come across.
So we can assume that many of the facts of his presentation have been carefully airbrushed out of consideration by his critics, to avoid inconveniently coinciding with truth. I have been party to this ‘spin management’ myself, it is almost routine. This real world barrage exists, notwithstanding and in spite of the collection of alternate proofs provided by Mr. Kealey. And all of this has to be catered for in preparing the the final installment of The ‘Azanian Quartet’. This means that somewhere in the space between rationality, irrationality, risk and trust; lies that confusing idea called TRUTH… what is TRUTH? And what does it have to do with Tulba, a new evolving ‘ideology’? Tulba derived from the prospect of a computer controlled world: aka. ‘Robots Rule’.
What is TRUTH anyway other than a set of confusing opinions masquerading as belief: isn’t it? Isn’t it?
In essence TRUTH is a dogmatic assertion of REALITY. Which raises an intriguing question? regarding matters relative to REASON and UNREASON.
Tulba: The Post-Modern alternative.
Is reason capable of
What is reality?
Death, Hunger, Pain?
Kant tells us that the “dog
Matic solution is there
Fore not only un
Riposte Stephen Hicks “Thus
Kant – that great cham
Pion of reason
Asserted that the
About reason is that it is
“I have found it ne
Cessary to de
In order to make
Faith” – the absence
A reality that
Heidegger affirmed his ‘friend’
This Reason thing
Is simply skin
Deep beneath which is this
What is this Being
What makes “Being” Be?
Why is there even a
Being at all?
Why is there NOT
NO THING since every
Being [it seems] is made
Out of No
Hysteria abounds “No
Thing!” cries Hicks:
End all things
Are No Th
Ings… No Thing is
Welcome to Tulba
Order be with you.
For David Gordon: Mathematician/Musician and my late collaborator who,
in his mathematically pure manner, considered Post-Modern thought to be vituperous.
With thanks to Mr Orwell, who originally gave us the ‘Newspeak’ that so comfortably modifies our lives.
**J J Wallis and DC North: ”Measuring the transaction sector in the American Economy 1870-1970” Part of Long term factors in American Economic growth. University of Chicago 1987