Thursday 2nd of July 2020

of civilisation and CHAOS...


Thomas C. Spencer (born December 24, 1946) is an American mathematical physicist, known in particular for important contributions to constructive quantum field theorystatistical mechanics, and spectral theory of random operators. 



He earned his doctorate in 1972 from New York University with a dissertation entitled Perturbation of the Po2 Quantum Field Hamiltonian written under the direction of James Glimm. Since 1986, he has been professor of mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study. He is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and the recipient of the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics (joint with Jürg Fröhlich"For their joint work in providing rigorous mathematical solutions to some outstanding problems in statistical mechanics and field theory.”


Sir Stephen Harold Spender CBE (1909-1995) was an English poet, novelist and essayist whose work concentrated on themes of social injustice and the class struggle. He was appointed Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the United States Library of Congress in 1965.

Of course, the entire effort is to put oneself
Outside the ordinary range
Of what are called statistics.


There is a resonance between quantum mechanics, biology and civilisation: CHAOS… or a precise randomness… that we try to tame or explain with “models”... One of our models is "de-mo-cra-cy"...

Spender began work on a novel in 1929, which was not published until 1988, under the title The Temple. The novel is about a young man who travels to Germany and finds a culture more open than England's, particularly about relationships between men, and shows frightening anticipations of Nazism that are confusingly related to the very openness that the main character admires. Spender wrote in the 1988 introduction:

In the late Twenties young English writers were more concerned with censorship than with politics.... 1929 was the last year of that strange Indian Summer — the Weimar Republic. For many of my friends and for myself, Germany seemed a paradise where there was no censorship and young Germans enjoyed extraordinary freedom in their lives....

Gus note: soon after, there was censorship in Germany. Books were burnt and the "free" arts were denigrated as “degenerate”. (see:

In 1936, Spender became a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain. Harry Pollitt, its head, invited him to write for the Daily Worker on the Moscow Trials. In 1937, during the Spanish Civil War, the Daily Worker sent him to Spain on a mission to observe and report on the Soviet ship Komsomol, which had sunk while carrying Soviet weapons to the Second Spanish Republic. 

Gus note: the Soviets lost 10 ships in this Spanish War fighting Franco's Nationalists who were supported by Hitler's Luftwaffe. The "Spanish Republicans" supporters, including Russia, France and England lost a lot of ships in this war... It was a "mini" European war against Franco. Franco won.

Spender travelled to Tangier and tried to enter Spain via Cadiz, but was sent back. He then travelled to Valencia, where he met Ernest Hemingway and Manuel Altolaguirre. Pollitt may have told Spender "to go and get killed; we need a Byron in the movement". Spender was imprisoned for a while in Albacete. In Madrid, he met André Malraux with whom he discussed Gide's Retour de l'U.R.S.S.. Due to medical problems, Spender went back to England...

His translations of works by Bertolt Brecht and Miguel Hernández appeared in John Lehmann's New Writing.

Spender had an affinity with the Jewish people; his mother, Violet Hilda Schuster, was half-Jewish (her father's family were German Jews who converted to Christianity). Spender's second wife, Natasha, whom he married in 1941, was Jewish. 

Spender was one of the writers who expressed their disillusionment with communism in the essay collection The God that Failed (1949), along with Arthur Koestler and others. It is thought that one of the big areas of disappointment was the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, which many leftists saw as a betrayal. Gus explains that what is often forgotten is that Stalin knew that then the USSR was way underpowered against a possible German invasion. The only way to avoid a major catastrophe was to "make a deal", while building the Russian military in a hurry… Makes sense? We cannot forget that the Poms did a similar deal with "peace in our time"... while the Spanish War was still smouldering...

After the war, Spender became a member of the Allied Control Commission, restoring civil authority in Germany.

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"I’m a law and order president” says Trump… and other civilisational fiddles trying to tame chaos. The more of us, the more chaos?… We try to mould things up all the time to suit ideals of sorts. Nothing is ever settled. It’s a giant board game where everything oscillates in unison and in contradiction to one another. There is no rhyme nor reason but our desires. Success of one is not necessarily success of another nor is it necessarily a demise. And there are specific civilisation stages such as slavery, racism and sexism in various intensities. And the desire for revenge.

For example, Syria has won its war against the revolution. It has been costly. And the revolution was not clean nor was the victory. There are still fights on the pitch… We could simplify the result: USA, nil — Syria, 1. But there has been a lot of foul acts to arrive at this score. Syria was helped by Russia, the revolution was a hybrid of crap and religious ideals, not so secretly supported by the USA, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. 

Because, the US did not get its way in this conflict, they have now imposed draconian sanctions on firms engaged in the reconstruction of Syria. It’s wicked. It’s wrong. But the western media is not so much interested in this. They prefer to harp on the sins happening on the other side, such as the traumas in the Syrian regime prisons. The news here could be slanted as well as exaggerated. Who knows. We know that the Western media is biased against the Syrian government.

So information shapes the way we are going to behave. This is why “fake news” is being hounded like a smelly fox. But what is real news? Beyond “solutions to some outstanding problems in statistical mechanics and field theory" there is not much real news that has not been munched to suit an outcome.

In a CHAOS chapter (Life’s Up and Downs), James Gleick tells us:

Ravenous fish and tasty plankton. Rainforests dripping with nameless reptiles, bird gliding under canopies of leaves, insect buzzing like electrons in a accelerator. Frost belts where voles and lemmings flourish and diminish with tidy four-year periodicity in the face of nature’s bloody combat. The world makes a messy laboratory for ecologists, a cauldron of five million interactive species. Or is it fifty million? Ecologists do not actually know.

Gleik introduces this chapter with a quote:

"The result of a mathematical development should be continuously checked against one’s own intuition about what constitute reasonable biological behaviour. When such check reveals disagreement, then the following possibilities must be considered:
a. A mistake has been made in the formal mathematical development;
b. The starting assumptions are incorrect and/or constitute a too drastic oversimplification;
c. One’s own intuition about the biological field is inadequately developed;
d. A penetrating new principle has been discovered."

            Harvey J. Gold. in Mathematical Modelling of Biological Systems

The analysis and synthesis of “CIVILISATION” are on the same biological level. it’s an organic system of multiple components including concurrent “civilisations” and historical origins and traditional influences. The major difference with other biological systems, is the speed and nature of changes, mostly due to our inventions, which at the human level become STYLISTIC, that is we — collectively and singularly — make the choices for the next steps. We thus need to be aware of flexibility of choices, collective and individual. Creating a "new realism" alla Bregman, cannot be what we hope for. His concept could soon turn into a soft cuddly useless Big Brother (see picture at top) if it is not already.

I hope I make sense… I may not. And this is fine with me…

Gus Loonisky...

Due to formatting problems I had to repost this article...

freedom of the media in the wrong place at the wrong time...

DW: There have been over 400 cases of press freedom violations in the United States since late May, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). What do these violations look like?  

Dr. Courtney Radsch: We've been working closely with the US Press Freedom Tracker, which is doing all of the investigations and documentations. The Committee to Protect Journalists is a founding partner of the tracker and we have been investigating more than 400 incidents since the outbreak of the protests over racial injustice and police brutality on May 26.

Those incidents include arrests by police, assaults by police and protesters, the targeting of protesters with projectiles, stealing of equipment and a range of different attacks which we are documenting and making available on the US Press Freedom Tracker website.

One of those incidents involved a Deutsche Welle reporter named Stefan Simons. He was shot at with rubber bullets and threatened with arrest in Minneapolis several weeks ago. How typical is his experience based on your research?

Unfortunately, Stefan's experience of getting shot at by the police with non-lethal projectiles is not uncommon. During the past few weeks, we have recorded at least 89 rubber bullet or projectile incidents, 27 pepper sprayings is 49 tear gassings.

Not all of those were necessarily directed at the journalists because they were journalists. Sometimes it's simply an issue of being in a protest in a crowd. But there were numerous incidents in which the police targeted journalists. We are deeply concerned about this and we are requesting that the police open investigations into these incidents.


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of democratic civilisations and tweaking cheeks...

a better stylistic intellectual wheel...


Aleksey Maximovich Pyeshkov (1868-1936), Russian writer, born Nizhny Novgorod (named Gorky), is considered the father of “Soviet” literature — as separate from “Russian” literature — and the founder of Socialist Realism.

Inspired by his grandmother with the love of romanic tales and a great sympathy for humankind, Gorky went on a nomadic wander in the Volga area, barely aged 12. Since the tzar’s schools were closed to peasants, he educated himself, referring to this experience  in My University, published in 1923. He practiced dozen of menial jobs, publishing his first story in 1892. Gorky became a journalist, then married a colleague of the Samarskya Gazeta. His articles exposing local corruption made sure he lost his job. In 1898, his collection Sketches and Stories was published by a radical press and he became an overnight sensation. The stories romanticised the vigour and nobility of the Russian peasants and workers. Around 1900 Gorky started to write novels of social realism. Of these Mother (1906) had the greatest impact. Describing the revolutionary awakening feeling in an ill-treated peasant woman, it became the prototype of the revolutionary novel.

Gorky donated most of his income to the revolutionary movement. He was arrested several times but was treated carefully because of his popularity. The tzar rescinded  his election to the Academy of Sciences in 1902, though, whereupon Chekhov and Korolenko resigned in protest. 

Gorky wrote 15 plays, two of which were heavily censored but were very successful at the Moscow Art Theatre. The Lower Depth (1902) — about the wretched lives of derelicts — remains a classic. His plays first modelled on Chekhov, also emphasised the characterisation over the plot.

After the failure of the 1905 revolution, in which Gorky took part, he sought to raise funds for the movement abroad. He had a triumphant reception in the USA (1906) but was soon dismissed there because his travelling companion, a woman, was not his wife. He set up a Bolshevik propaganda school on the island of Capri from 1906 till returning to Russia in 1914.

Philosophically opposed to Lenin, Gorky managed to get from him some help for intellectuals and artists in time of intellectual restriction. Tired from working as head of the State Publishing House and suffering from recurring tuberculosis, he went abroad to rest in 1921 and returned to Russia in 1928. His last unfinished work, The Life of Klim Samgin, is considered his best. It is a four-volume novel about the Russian social conditions from 1880 till 1917. His death at 68 was possibly due to poisoning from an anti-Soviet group.

Gorky’s work has vitality and optimism. With a devotion to realism, it revealed a deep poetic strain and a strong passion for justice. He exerted a profound influence on Soviet thought…


… Arriving in Moscow on June 14, 1936, four days before Maxim Gorki’s funeral, André Gide, the French writer, delivered a great eulogy about Gorky, the “official writer of the Soviets” on June 18th, on Red Square. Gide also visited Nikolai Ostrovsky and showed his admiration for this writer. Ostrovsky (1904-1936) was also a Soviet realist writer, of Ukrainian background. He is best known for his novel, How the Steel Was Tempered

Yet… Gide’s illusions soon vanished. Instead of the “new free man”, he had only found totalitarianism in the USSR. Gides gradually came to accept this reality bitterly — a disappointment shared by his traveling companions. Gides published Retouches on My Return from the USSR, by the end of 1936. He no longer contented himself of making observations but went squarely against Stalinism. “Let the working people understand that they are being duped by the communists as they are today by Moscow.

From top to bottom of the reformed social ladder, the highly praised people are the most servile, the most cowardly, the most corrupt, the most vile. All those who deign to challenge get broken down or deported one after the other. Why is the Red Army still protected? Let’s hope not.  Soon, of this heroic and admirable people who deserve our love so well, there will only be executioners, profiteers and victims.

The game of kings/presidents/despots/queens/countries — the war of supremacy to be top monkey is still as human as it has ever been. Many of our rulers are con-artists, psychopaths and sadists who will do anything to stay on top… as much as the “next in line” and their advisors are as bad as rats flattering the Lion King. The new Realism would have to eliminate this trait from politicians and governments — and from ourselves… Good luck.

Religion and capitalism are not going to give up the apple they stole from god. And this is where a loony guy like Donald Trump has been a great chance for change. As idiotic as he is, he has shown us how much the system is corrupt far more than he is. Yet the Democrats who have been so duded as to let Obama get away with glorious shit, have now chosen the path of least resistance to the Deep State that runs the US military machine and the US in general. They picked Biden, an old codger who is demonstratively corrupt and RCed (remotely guided) by the DS (Deep State). With him, we’re going to see more of the same as before Trump, with a different style of bullshit.

We can only hope that something is going to act as a circuit breaker, before someone presses the final red button, under pretences that will be false — and can only be false.

A new realism through educated awareness? Intellectualism goes above the head of most people and only stirs the mud at the bottom.

What we need is a Renaissance of Styles at the forefront of ideas to give most people something to emotionally relate with, rather than think about it. Imagine the style of the “business” suit is more than 100 years old! My great-grandfather was making these before 1900! Same style with variation of lapels width from time to time… It’s time to reinvent the colours and the flamboyant for all, not just for the Mardi-Gras. A distraction? Sure! But while we feel the new, we would forget the old drab. Let people be pleasantly silly rather than nasty…

Individualism needs to be cultivated without selfishness. This is a major key of sharing. And we’re half way there. We should encourage personal home (strata) recycler-digesters Most plastics and artificial fibres need to be banned, especially those that are “breakable” and “bio-degradable” (because they are not). Individual transport will have to use recyclable energy. Same for public transport. Major clever changes need to be made and many car manufacturers have already entered the future, including with flying cars.

The miniaturisation of powerful brushless electric engines and clever AI electronics have already revolutionised the market. Most of us have not noticed because the present way of dumbing ourselves is still to press buttons to kill Mortor or Gammur in a war game. It’s a hard groove to get out of.

At this stage, unless Rome is rebuilt in one day, the only thing that would send everyone bananas, looking for true answers as to why we lost the original Garden of Eden, would be the reelection of the Donald. The alternative is a welcome back to a retrograde reactionary bidet plodding, in which everyone would quietly go back to their big and small dark-grey prejudices — with thumbs twitching to zap Poppor, the alien deemed to be nasty, while the Deep State (or whoever holds the puppet strings) continues to press our own buttons… and go to wage real devastating wars.

With more of the Donald, the future could be weirdly bleak for a while, but like during the Renaissance from the 15th century, we’d be forced to invent a better stylistic intellectual wheel... and through the DS bastards out...

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renaissance of the arts and sanity...


From Peter Bazalgette


In 2018, 20 months before Black Lives Matter forced us to reappraise the way we commemorate our history, a young architectural practice in London showed us the way. Studio Mash won a prize for A Long Shadow Over London. Taking the statue of Robert Clive, venerated outside the Foreign Office, they designed a bronze shadow for it, to be fixed in the pavement. This penumbra would chronicle how Clive had locked up the East India Company’s grain during the famine of 1770 and allowed millions of Bengalis to starve (as William Dalrymple has unearthed so devastatingly in The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company). All so Clive could pay a fat dividend to East India stockholders in London. At a time of social disruption, where we’re rightly forced to question our national identity, we look to creative designers and historians to help us both understand and accurately represent our past.


Take tackling Covid-19, which we’re constantly told is a matter of science. But not just science, surely. The critical data, which tells us how humans are responding, is what shapes key policy decisions. And this comes from the discipline of social science. The trusted news that informs our citizenry and gives us resilience in a time of crisis is itself the product of sustained investment in trained journalists. The government furloughing and loan schemes, designed to save jobs and companies, are conceived by economists. The television entertainment, the JK Rowling children’s story released online and the digital theatre that all lift our spirits in lockdown – these are the product of our thriving creative arts. Science, we hope, keeps us alive. But the arts and humanities keep us sane.

Yes, yes, but what’s my point? It is that the arts and the humanities are sometimes undervalued compared with the Stem subjects, and now a new coalition is going to do something about it. This is not a whinge, it’s a piece of self-help. If these disciplines are undervalued, it’s partly because their leaders have not clearly articulated the value of what they do sharply enough. So stand by for a bit of rebranding…

The British Academy, the Arts Council and the London School of Economics have got together with others to remarket their endeavours as Social Sciences, Humanities & the Arts for People & the Economy – or Shape, in short. In future, they hope, you’ll be as likely to talk about the Shape subjects as you will the Stem equivalents. It’s not just an acronymic sleight of hand, because what will flow from this, they intend, is a reappraisal of the role and importance of the Shape disciplines with debates, essays and research projects. But always with the caveat that it’s not a competition. Shape will always sit alongside Stem in a complementary relationship.

I have written before about the worth of the creative industries to Britain: not only around 6% of the economy – and growing much faster than other sectors – but of even greater cultural value in terms of our developing national conversation and sense of self. Shape nurtures this with courses that deliver the necessary talent , whether in journalism, graphic design or drama.

But there is a growing trend in government to judge the success of a course by the salaries earned on graduation. On this measure, many of the courses our creative industries rely on would be discontinued. Many of these jobs at trainee level are undertaken for love, not money. But they’re important and I despair when I see such reductionism: must we be a nation that knows the price of everything but not its value? Shape is something we do well. Just as Britain pioneered the delineation of a creative sector, so too did we give the world English, economics and international relations as academic disciplines.

Sixty years ago, CP Snow, a scientist and novelist, bemoaned what he saw as the two cultures and the gulf between science and the arts. But when Stem and Shape come together, as they increasingly do in well-organised governments and intelligently run companies, we find a healthy symbiosis that would astonish Snow. In his book Originals, Adam Grant cites a study of this century’s brilliant, Nobel prize-winning scientists. These breakthrough innovators are significantly more likely to be involved in the arts than their peers. Imagination, self-expression and sheer humanity inspire their discoveries. A cross-disciplinary marriage made in heaven. And it was an engineer, Lord Browne, who pointed this out to me.

In the mid-20th century, when Shape subjects were still establishing themselves, John Maynard Keynes wrote: “The ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else.” When we remember that Keynes also founded the Arts Council, we can definitely put him down as a confirmed Shapist. He saw the Shape of things to come.

Peter Bazalgette is chair of ITV and former chair of Arts Council England



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We've been surveying the synergy of arts and sciences on this site since its inception in 2005. Eventually governments will wake up to the necessity of both... Note: Economics, religions and politics are art forms, that is to say that the parameters are decided, not observed. Landscape, portraiture, music, and abstract art involve arbitrary choices of visualising, though some can be "political" and didactic in subject choices. All are forms of deceit, including satire (though it comes closer to truth by exposing the deceit). Sciences are based on observations — and are much closer to reality, even in their most abstracted interpretations through mathematics.