The loss of cause and effect
Schizophrenic linkages in the Technocracy
Winter is upon us here in Buckland. The leaves have all fallen, except for the odd evergreen. The air is cold, but we have had some mild weather the past week or so. In fact, we have had a mild winter all things considered.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that winter means death. Younger hobbits, trapped inside more than they would like, certainly seem to think it is. For me it’s always been about the subtleties of life. Well not always. But once I grew into full Hobbithood it has been. Hobbits love all things that grow. But it is only once you reach full Hobbithood that you can properly enjoy the activity of gardening.
Who can fail to see life in the spring? The riotous bursting forth of plants. One of my favourite moments is sometime in late March when the leaves start to bud. It is as if a green haze has settled on the winter woodlands. No distinct leaves are seen yet, and you can still see the extra distance that the lack of leaves affords you in a woodland in winter. But now a green aura hangs in the air. It’s a magical moment that makes me feel like I am in some Seurat painting.
Winter requires a more nuanced eye to see what is going on. The sort of appreciation that a true connoisseur has with their ability to pick out the subtleties. In point of fact, not an eye but an intuition or sixth sense. Life is still continuing on, all around us, though it may not seem so. One of the more obvious examples of this is the humble Robin.
What a joy it is to look out on a snow-covered landscape and see the happy little robust Robin as a burst of orange dancing on this white scenery. The Buckland Robin, Motacilla bucklanderia, are often lost to us during the warmer months. They do not need us in the summer. This does not mean they migrate. They just do not come as close to us as they do in the winter. And so, winter pulls back the curtain on the humble little Robin and gives us a view of life we do not see during the summer. The Robin is an obvious example of life happening during the winter but hidden from our sight is the life of plants. Winter is just as much a time for growing. Onions and carrots thrive in these months. But perennials, while not ‘growing’ in these periods, are resting and recovering and preparing for the coming spring.
Civilisation and the last however-many-thousands of years have given us a system of farmland ecology. What does this mean? We do not know what is natural. I mean this in two ways. Often when we use the term natural, we apply it to things that in the strictest sense of the word are not natural.
The Big Folk often romanticise flowering meadows. Little do they know that meadows, as they have in their minds and that they see in their jaunts across the countryside, do not really exist naturally. Meadows are a form of light touch agriculture. The farmer will be along in late summer or early autumn to harvest that field. When meadows do occur in nature, they exist briefly. They function rather similarly to gorse, a discussion of which can be seen here. In strictly natural terms a meadow will emerge after a forest fire for a few years while the more permanent forms of plant life spread their roots and emerge slowly under the cover it provides. I do not know of permanent meadows existing anywhere. And I do not mean steppes or grasslands. So, when we look at the meadow we are in one sense seeing something natural in a soft sense of the term and also something Hobbit-made, or Man-made, as the case may be.
A hard use of the term ‘natural’ might be somewhere like Antarctica, or if an ecology exists on another planet. Now of course we are all ‘natural’ in a hard sense. But the process of the Fall (of Man) can be thought of as a disconnect from our ‘nature’. So, the implication is that the unnatural is a result of a spiritual perversion, but we will not go down that rabbit hole today.
So what does the appearance of the Robin in winter and the blooming of meadows tell us? That there is a farmland ecology. Those who have yet to see this might think that there is a strict division between domesticated cows, to take an example, on one side and a wild bear on the other. But there is a whole set of ‘wild’-life that thrives on the peripheries of settlements. This is the farmland ecology I am speaking of. Think no further than the Barn Owl. Its name tells us everything. And this ecology that creeps into our farmland is a boon. Our efforts to control it and dominate it are counterproductive to our purposes. I shall talk another time about the problem of control and ‘white-knuckling’ which is something like the problem of strength in the effort to control. But there is also an epistemic side to this problem which is that we lack the knowledge of linkages between these things.
Old Hobbits, when asked why they do their craft in a particular way, may often be unable to tell you why they do it that particular way. But their inability to articulate their reasons does not mean there are not eminently good reasons to do it the way they are doing it. Those reasons are merely hidden from us.
The Big Folk are now discovering this. Their rational and logical approaches to life over the last 200 years might be justifiable along these rational lines, but the outcomes they produce are often far from what was wanted or expected. Mono-culture planting destroys farmland ecologies. Mono-culture farming is rationalised whereas the old ways are not. But the old ways despite their reasons being lost are, in the long run, beneficial to us. This might be called an organic approach, letting methods emerge like a plant rather than constructing them from first principles.
Now, I am, on the one hand, all for first principles... But, on the other hand, I doubt our ability to construct. I would much rather grow. And I think this is borne out by observation of the last 250 years or so of the Big Folk. This ranges from agriculture to politics, and all things in between.
What does this reveal? Despite what we think, we are really bad at connecting cause and effect. I started my investigation of the technocracy by using Perrow’s idea of Normal Accidents as a point of departure. Here it’s usefulness starts to diverge from my purposes. In Normal Accidents, when something goes wrong it is often because there is very little lag between A happening as a cause, and B resulting as an effect. Once A happens B is immediately, or very quickly, upon us.
One of the things that is so nefarious about the technocracy is that it seems like A happens thus causing B very quickly, just like in Normal Accidents. But my belief, and what I contend here, is that this is often very far from being the case. I do not know if the technocracy ‘constructs’ the accidents that occur, out of some masterful Machiavellian system, or whether it allows them to happen, sitting on high observing and waiting, or if it is simply so incompetent that it creates them from its blundering.
What is important is that the ‘accidents’ very quickly produce an effect that seems to have no connection via normal cause and effect. The effect we would expect does not materialise, or at least it’s not talked about. The machine enters into an Orwellian process of double speak or obfuscation. One of the technocracy’s biggest successes is with its control of the media, and with this the ability to decouple all real cause and effect. (I do not think this is my analysis falling into the same trap the Big Folk have fallen into with over-rationalisations, but then I wouldn’t think that, would I?) And the NPCs lap it up. Many studies have been done about how the majority of people eventually conform to the group perception even when that group’s perception is fundamentally disconnected from reality. So the effects of the accident ARE out there but the majority are not seeing them due to the indoctrination they have undergone and control of perceptions they live with. Meanwhile the effect that they perceive is an effect that has been constructed by the system and produces an outcome it desired all along. This can be seen well in the hypocrisy we so often see manifesting itself in the insanity we’re living through. BLM protests “do not spread COVID”, but January 6th was a “super-spreader event”. And thus cause and effect have been decoupled. The Soros agenda does not contribute to the bad thing, but the resistance to it does.
We also often hear that ‘we must do X’ after something, usually disastrous, happens. Here I am always far more skeptical of the ‘solutions’ than the actual accidents that cause the solutions to be proposed. Skepticism regarding both are sentiments well known amongst our circles. But here I am trying to uncover what is actually happening.
It is rather like having your car break down and having the mechanic tell you you need a new washing machine. There’s no causal connection between the two. But a sufficiently demoralised and propagandised population will swallow this whole. And for those who question it they are slammed with some variety of anti-intellectualism at questioning the expert.
But experts, unless otherwise astoundingly altruistic, first and foremost exist not to fix problems but to propagate themselves. It is only in sufficiently functioning ecologies that they are able to function properly. The modern expert is existing in a controlled environment and does not need to react to natural pressures. Experts need predators hunting them (conceptually, not literally) or they get intellectually fat and lazy.
When confronted with something accidental it does not matter so much what caused the accident itself; that is whether it happened intentionally, or by accident, or was merely allowed to happen. What matters is what solutions are proposed to fix this accident? It is far more useful for our energies to investigate these effects, B, rather than the causes, A, because I have no faith that there is a causal connection between the two to begin with. You’ll often find yourself lost if you pursue that connection. The effect is the real event. They had it ready on the shelf before the “cause”, and were just waiting for an excuse to push it out.
We are certainly in a period of winter for society. But this does not mean that everything is dead. The trees look dead, and the fields are empty. All sorts of crazy things are ‘causing’ all sorts of other crazy things to happen. All of your winter wheat stores have been eaten by mice because you flew a kite in the Autumn.
The bad news is that I think this is early winter. And we have a long hard one ahead of us. But the good news is life is there, beneath the surface or in a splash of orange across the field. And I am absolutely confident that no matter what happens they cannot beat life.
And for every fake event and its constructed cause, there are real unseen causes moving and shaping the world. There are real events happening. And they are positive. But we are not good at seeing them. This is something of a Hobbit take on dialectical materialism in a way. (Will not explain.)
The technocracy is naïve in its own way. It has the arrogance to think that it can control life. It might very well be able to control us, to control men, but it cannot control life.
“Life, uh, finds a way.”
I recall a disagreement I had with a friend maybe 12 or 18 months ago. We both think that the world is going wrong, but in slightly different ways. There are two ways to respond to this. One can laugh or cry.
All he could do was mourn what was happening to the world and to people. I know it is sad. I do not deny this. But any tears we shed are for what’s happening in the short term. It’s young Hobbits crying for the leaves that have already fallen. All I can do is laugh. He was offended when I told him you can laugh or cry, and I cannot bear to shed any more tears. I am not laughing at the suffering of people, but at the futility and the arrogance and naivety of the idea that the enemies of life think they can win! This is something approaching the laughter of the shepherd who bites the head off the snake that has slithered into his mouth.
One of the best pieces of wisdom I have found in the last few years is that a black pill is merely a white pill taken over too short a time span. Winter is a black pill if you think it will last forever or forget that life’s pulse is there. But winter is a process we need in which unseen growth happens. We must remember the real causes and effects that are driving our world. We should revel in them. We must remember to laugh. When we have done this, we will have truly begun a new thing.