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  • Earthling 1:10 pm on July 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Abdulvahit Zheenbek Uulu, Abdurashit, Afghanistan Pamir Kyrgyz, afghanistan tourism, Azhy Rushan, Azhybutu Abdilgani Uulu, central asian nomads, Eraaly Khan, Eraaly Khan death, Gorno-Badakhshan, hard conditions in pamirs, Khan Eraaly, kurultai, kyrgyz nomads, , Murgab, Naryn, new khan, nomads, Pamir Kyrgyz, Radio Azattyk, real men, relocation of pamir kyrgyz in afghanistan, thrilling tourist experiences, tough nomads, traditional lifestyles, where to go in afghanistan   

    Pamir Kyrgyz to hold elections for a new Khan 

    pamir-700x434

    Ethnic Kyrgyz who live in the Pamirs in Afghanistan will soon hold elections for a new khan. This was reported by Radio Azattyk.

    The Pamir Kyrgyz Khan Eraaly died on July 15, 2018. Initially the journalist Zhanyl Zhusupzhan, investigating the lives of the Pamir Kyrgyz people, told Azattyk that the son of the deceased Jeanbai would now take the place of the khan. But now the local resident Abdulvahit Zheenbek Uulu told the radio station that the Kyrgyz are going to hold elections.

    Jeenbek Uulu said: “The head should be a person who can meet the officials coming here, who is able to negotiate with them, hospitable, and able to take care of the people.” According to him, the most likely winner of the elections is Azhybutu Abdilgani Uulu, born in 1974.

    Khan Eraaly ruled the Pamir Kyrgyz for more than five years. He was 68 years old, and recently fell seriously ill. Shortly before his death, the Khan was transferred to the hospital of the Murgab district of the Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast of Tajikistan. However, the doctors could not save his life.

    Now about 400 Kyrgyz families live in the Pamirs. In 2012, when the expedition of the weekly “MK-Asia” traveled to the Pamirs, the local Kyrgyz were ruled by the 30-year-old Khan Azhy Rushan. He inherited power from his father, Khan Abdurashit. As journalists found out, Azhy Rushan did not enjoy prestige among fellow tribesmen. Perhaps it was doubt in the young Khan’s competence that later forced the Pamir Kyrgyz people to transfer leadership to the elderly Eraala.

    Pamir Kirghiz live in very poor and unsanitary conditions. In addition, due to severe climatic conditions, closely related marriages, and the inaccessibility of medicine, they often get sick and die. Infant and maternal mortality is extremely high. Local conditions are not suitable even for breeding horses. Newborn foals do not survive in the highlands, so local residents purchase from plain Kyrgyz only adult horses, but not foals.

    The Kyrgyz authorities in recent years have given regular humanitarian aid to the Pamir Kyrgyz. In 2017, a program to relocate the people to their historical homeland started. However, in July 2018 it became known that six months later many settlers had begun planning to return to the Pamir. In the Naryn region of Kyrgyzstan, where they were helped to move, they had to live in sheds and graze cattle, and did not find any other housing or work. In addition, they could not fit in with the local residents, who speak a different dialect of the Kyrgyz language, among other things.

    Translated from http://www.gumilev-center.ru/pamirskie-kirgizy-provedut-vybory-novogo-khana/

    SEE ALSO: http://trekking.kg/travel/pamir/

     
  • Earthling 11:03 am on July 30, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bandera Year, , genocide of poles, Kiev City Council, monument to Bandera, Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, OUN, OUN flag, polish genocide, red and black flag, Roman Shukhevych, Stepan Bandera, Ternopil, Ukraine 2019 budget, Volhynia massacre, war crimes, war criminal, Zhytomyr, Zhytomyr Regional Council   

    Ukraine declares 2019 as Bandera Year 

    naukr

    The Zhytomyr Regional Council declared 2019 as Bandera Year, to celebrate one of the founders of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN, banned in Russia), Stepan Bandera. This was reported on Thursday, July 26, on the website of the regional council.

    The decision was made to celebrate Bandera’s 100th birthday. “An appropriate plan of events for the celebration of Stepan Bandera’s birthday will be developed, and funds will be allocated to finance the activities when forming the budget for 2019,” the report said.

    Also, the regional council recommended that the city council of Zhytomyr allocate funds for the installation of a monument to Bandera.

    In February, the Kiev City Council gave permission for the red-black flag of the OUN to be hung on the administrative buildings in the city during some solemn days of celebration. The exact list of days was not defined; it was proposed to include dates such as January 1 (the birthday of OUN founder Stepan Bandera), February 3 (the founding day of the OUN), March 5 (the anniversary of the death of the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army in Russia, Roman Shukhevych), and a number of other dates. Deputies of the Lviv City Council issued a similar recommendation on February 15.

    In the same month, the city council of Ternopil decided to raise the OUN flag during ceremonial and festive events. In January, the Lviv Regional Council approved the usage of the OUN red-and-black flag. It was recommended to hang it on the buildings of the authorities during the celebration of nine dates related to “outstanding events of the national liberation struggle and honoring the memory of heroes.”

    The UPA militants (the military wing of the OUN) in 1943 organized the so-called Volhynia massacre – the ethnic cleansing of the Polish population. According to various estimates, from 30,000 to 100,000 people were slaughtered in mass-killings. One of the OUN leaders was Stepan Bandera.

    Translated from http://www.gumilev-center.ru/na-ukraine-obyavili-god-bandery/

     
  • Earthling 10:01 am on July 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ehtnic music, ethnic art, , ethnic dancing, ethnic fashion, , ethno-futurism, KAMWA 2018, Khohlovka, multiculturalism in russia   

    Course on ethno-futurism: KAMWA 2018 

    The most thrilling things at the KAMWA 2018 festival.

    Everything is ready for KAMWA to launch a new festival in Khokhlovka, which will be held from July 27 to 29. The ideology of the festival remains authenticity and the support of original creativity based on the understanding of indigenous cultural traditions, according to Vkurse.ru.

    The five most striking elements of KAMWA 2018:

    Dancing. Teams from Perm, St. Petersburg, Miass and other cities will perform authentic shaman songs and dances of the peoples of the North, Indian Kuchipudi, as well as traditional Russian performances.

    Music. Virtuosos of modern ethnic music will play the harp, hang and didgeridoo.

    Art projects: sand animations, the cartoon “Tale of Man” and a real Indian village-the city of White Lotus. For more authenticity, master classes on yoga, lasso throwing and weaving dream catchers will be held right in tipi.

    Ethnofashion: The theme of the year is “Tribes”. In the store Showroom, which will be opened directly at the festival, you can buy ethnic items.

    City of crafts: eco-products, wood and clay works, jewelry, dream catchers. The theme is “Ecology”. KAMWA invites to the project all who promote a healthy lifestyles and careful and respectful attitudes to nature.

    Festival program

    Friday, July 27

    10.00 Arrival of participants

    17.00 Business program. Showcase producers

    19.00 Opening of the festival. Performances by GORDA, Eifelwind, UZORITSA, Sunset Orchestra, Apricot tree, BuDa Love and Nigel This, Ochelye Soroki

    21.00 Musical concert

    01.00-02.00 Closed event for the participants of the show

    Saturday, July 28

    10.00 Morning Qigong

    11.00 and 12.00 Yoga

    11.00 Indian dance

    12.00 Tribal / BUCHA TRIBAL

    13.00-16.00 BARBECUE Contest

    13.00 Didgeridoo

    14.00 and 18.00 Hang, drums

    15.00 GALA CONCERT on the main festival glade with the participation of Asketics, Apricot tree, Meszecsinka, Anandi Joys Abound, VEiiLA

    19.00 Vargan

    20.00 – 02.00 KAMWA party with the participation of SARAB, Upalinaushi, Casto

    Sunday, July 29th

    12.00 Acoustic concert at the river with participation of Sunset Orchestra, Palm Sunday, BuDa Love, Nyzhyl Sem

    13.00 DANCING PEARL PEOPLE program on a small stage

    15.00 CONCERT on the main festival glade with the participation of Dancing on the grass, GORDA, UZORITSA, Ochelye Soroki, Samosad Bend + Maël Alonzo

    20.00 – 01.00 Asketics. Jam Session

    Closing of the festival

    Translated from http://www.gumilev-center.ru/kurs-na-ehtnofuturizm/kurs-710x434

     
  • Earthling 4:15 am on July 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: carpet bombing, damage from Russian Telegram ban, Danil Bukharin, design photo posters, , IP genocide, Live Photography, Moscow court, Posters & Legends, posterslegends.com, , , Tagansky court, , , Yulia Smolina, Живая фотография   

    Roskomnadzor to answer for its “IP genocide” in Tagansky court 

    The company “Живая фотография” (“Live Photography”), which was affected by the “carpet bombing” of IP addresses launched in April this year by the Internet Supervisory Authority Roskomnadzor in the hopes of blocking Telegram, has requested a court to recognize the actions of Roskomnadzor as illegal.

    The Tagansky Court of Moscow, which had previously decided to block the messenger Telegram, will on July 30, 2018 consider the merits of the claim of “Живая фотография” (“Live Photography”) to Roskomnadzor and the Prosecutor General’s office. As explained by the lawyer Danil Bukharin, the applicant demands that the court recognize as illegal the actions of Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the Telegram messenger, which led to the blocking of the company’s website posterslegends.com featuring design photo posters, and also to oblige the agency to restore access to the resource. Now it is available only through a VPN.

    The company estimates the damage from blocking their Posters & Legends online store at 500,000 rubles, but has thus far not demanded compensation from Roskomnadzor.

    The online design poster store Posters & Legends was blocked on April 19, three days after Roskomnadzor started blocking Telegram in Russia, a “carpet bombing” that affected millions of IP addresses. The company “Живая фотография”, which owns Posters & Legends, appealed to the Tagansky court of Moscow with an administrative claim in mid-July.

    The lawsuit will be considered by the judge Yulia Smolina, who made the original decision to block Telegram.

    In mid-April this year, Roskomnadzor received the approval of the Tagansky district court of Moscow to block the Telegram messenger, whose owners refused to provide encryption keys to the FSB. Since the messenger uses cloud services from Amazon and Google, Roskomnadzor has not come up with anything better than to massively block the IP addresses of these services. This has caused the malfunctioning and unavailability of many sites not related to Telegram.

    https://roskomsvoboda.org/40642/

     
  • Earthling 12:32 pm on July 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Arab music, Arab vocal music, Egyptian music, Egyptian singer, , Greatest singer ever, Umm Kulthum, virtuoso   

    Umm Kulthum, the Queen of Egypt 

    Umm Kulthum (1904-1975) was an Egyptian singer known for her virtuosic talent and powerful personality. She is often considered the greatest Arab singer of modern times.

    Biography

    Umm Kulthum was born around 1904 in the Nile Delta. Her family was poor. Her father, Shaykh Ibrahim as-Sayyid al-Baltaji, was an imam at the village mosque. Her mother stayed at home and raised her and her two elder siblings.

    Umm Kulthum started going to Quran school around 1909. She continued for three years.

    Umm Kulthum’s father sang at religious events weddings for extra income. He taught her brother Khalid songs so he could accompany him at these events. Umm Kulthum overheard her father singing for her brother, and memorized the songs. When he heard her singing them, he invited her to join the lessons. Later she joined her father and brother when they sang at events. He initially disguised her as a boy because it was not socially acceptable for girls to sing or recite the Quran in public. She became the main attraction of the group. By 1920, they were charging as much as 10 Egyptian pounds for a performance.

    Umm Kulthum toured the whole Delta area before her family moved to Cairo in 1923 to further her career as a singer. In Cairo, she was taught by private teachers hired by her father. She also learned poetry and improved her literary Arabic with the poet Ahmad Rami. Her career advanced, but she was advised that she would be more successful if she hired musicians instead of working with her family. In 1926, she hired instrumentalists to replace her family. She also changed her repertoire to include more modern songs.

    By the late 1920s, Umm Kulthum had become one of Cairo’s most popular singers. She began producing recordings. In 1934, she began singing for the newly created Egyptian Nationa Radio station. She made her film debut in 1935. As she grew in fame, she began giving interviews. After some early mistakes, she learned to give interviews only to specific journalists whom she trusted, and to keep her private life strictly private. She also transitioned away from using a paid agent to arrange her performances, and instead arranged her own concerts and negotiated contracts which gave her total control of the performance and the accompanyists and staff.

    In the 1940s, Umm Kulthum became a member of the Listening Committee and participated in the selection of suitable music for radio broadcasting. She also became the president of the Musician’s Union.

    Beginning in the 1930s, Umm Kulthum was plagued by various health problems. In 1946, she was diagnosed with a upper respiratory inflammation and a thyroid problem. This caused her to become depressed and afraid for the effects of illness on her voice. The next year, her mother died. Shortly thereafter, her brother Khalid died. Around the same time, a failed romantic relationship of hers came to an end. Umm Kulthum’s thyroid problem was persistent and demanded many hospital visits in Egypt and abroad. During the following years she was unable to perform as frequently as before.

    Also in 1946, Umm Kulthum received a marriage proposal from one of the Egyptian king’s uncles. Umm Kulthum was excited by this idea, but the royal family forbade the marriage. Shortly thereafter, she married the oud player Mahmud Sharif, but they divorced immediately. In 1954, she married Dr. Hasan al-Hifnawi, one of her doctors.

    By 1955, Umm Kulthum’s health had improved and her career benefited from this. She began collaborating with the composer Muhammad Abdulwahab. She founded a charitable organization. After Egypt’s defeat in the 1967, she began to actively support the government by giving the profits from her concerts to the government.

    Umm Kulthum’s health began to severely worsen in the early 1970s. She passed away on February 3, 1975 from a heart attack.

    Musical Style and Legacy

    Umm Kulthum is widely considered the greatest Arab singer of modern times, along with the Lebanese singer Fairuz. She is considered a great virtuoso with a strong voice. During her life she had a powerful public personality and served as a cultural ambassador of Egypt and Arabs in general. Many rising composers sought success through having her sing their music.

    Umm Kulthum sang in a variety of different styles throughout her career. In the beginning of her career, Umm Kulthum sang more old and traditional songs which she learned from her father. In 1920s and 1930s, she performed increasingly modern pieces. She sang texts by Ahmad Rami and Muhammad al-Qsabji. In the 1940s, she transitioned towards more indigenously Egyptian and Arab music, written notably by Zakariya Ahmad, Bayram al-Tunisi, and Riyad al-Sunbati.

    References

    http://almashriq.hiof.no/egypt/700/780/umKoulthoum/biography.html

    https://www.allmusic.com/artist/umm-kulthum-mn0000810410/biography

    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Umm-Kulthum-Egyptian-musician

    http://albustanseeds.org/digital/kulthum/her-life/

    Article written by me for Lunyr

     

     
  • Earthling 12:39 am on July 23, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Chinese spirituality, Dragon Gate Taoism, Genghis Khans guru, Master of Tao, Mongol spirituality, , Quanzhen Taoism, Religion of Genghis Khan, , , Taoist saint, Wang Chongyang   

    Qiu Chuji (Chang Chun Zi), Guru of Genghis Khan 

    Qiu Chuji (Chang Chun Zi)

    Qiu Chuji (丘處機) (Born 1148 in Chi-hsia, China – Died July, 1227 in Beijing, china), widely known by his Taoist name Chang Chun Zi (長春子), was a Taoist master who provided spiritual guidance to Genghis Khan and was appointed by him as the head of religious affairs in China. His journey from northern China to Afghanistan to meet Genghis Khan was recorded by his disciple Li Chih-Ch’ang and contains some of his dialogues with Genghis Khan. Besides his involvement with Genghis Khan, and politics, Qiu Chuji was one of the most major Taoist spiritual leaders in history. Qiu Chuji was a disciple of Wang Chongyang, the founder of the Quanzhen (Complete Reality) school. Qiu Chuji is at the origin of his own branch of Quanzhen Taoism called Dragon Gate.

    Journey to Genghis Khan

    Around 1219, Genghis Khan summoned Qui Chuji to come visit him. Genghis Khan was principally interested in extending his life, since he had heard talk of Qui Chuji’s abilities in this regard. Qui Chuji was located in Lai-chou in northern China when he received the summons. He tried to arrange for Genghis to visit him when he returned from his campaign in the West (Central Asia and Afghanistan), but to no avail. Qui Chuji received a letter from Genghis that highly praised him and Taoism, and implored him to come to Central Asia.

    In 1221, Qiu Chuji set out on his journey. He first responded to a request to visit Genghis’s brother Temuge, who was interested in extending his life. Qui Chuji told him that these matters could only be explained to someone who fasted and observed certain rules. Then Temuge sent him on his way, with a request for him to return after he had seen Genghis.

    During the journey, Qiu Chuji was treated well but not always given what he wanted; for example he was not allowed to stop and rest for the winter. When Genghis’s son Chaghatai invited Qiu Chuji to stay with him to the south of the Amu Darya, Qiu Chuji refused because he thought his vegetarian diet was not viable in that area. Qiu Chuji received a letter from Genghis, who was on his way back to the East and eager to meet the master.

    Genghis met qui Chuji near the Amu Darya. According Arthur Waley’s translation of the Travels of an Alchemist, Genghis said, “Other rulers summoned you, but you would not go to them. And now you have come ten thousand li to see me. I take this as a high compliment.”

    Qiu Chuji replied, “That I, a hermit of the mountains, should come at your Majesty’s bidding was the will of Heaven.”

    Genghis asked, “Adept, what medicine of long life have you brought me from afar?”

    Qiu Chuji replied, “I have means of protecting life, but no elixir that will prolong it.”

    Genghis was curious and Qiu Chuji answered his questions, teaching him about Taoism. They had many meetings, which were attended by interpreters and two of the Mongol leaders who had brought Qui Chuji to Genghis. Genghis invited Qiu Chuji to have all his meals with Genghis, but Qiu Chuji declined because he wanted peace and quiet. Genghis was so pleased with Qiu Chuji’s teachings that he ordered for them to be written down in Chinese characters.

    In a sermon that has come down to us under the name Hsüan Fēng Ch’ing Hui Lu, Qui Chuji advised Genghis to practice chastity and vegetarianism. Genghis took this advice to heart and tried to apply it to some extent. Qiu Chuji also gave him political advice: he told Genghis not temporarily avoid taxing some provinces so they could economically recover from the effects of war. He advised having a Chinese minister manage this, and pointed out that this method had worked well for the previous dynasty.

    Genghis and Qui Chuji returned to Mongolia together. They continued to meet and talk throughout the journey. Qiu Chuji did what he could to save lives by feeding the destitute. He convinced Genghis to hunt and eat meat less, and Genghis stopped hunting for two whole months. As a farewell gift, Genghis exempted the master’s pupils from taxation.

    After Genghis and Qiu Chuji separated, Genghis continued to write to him. He wrote (in Arthur Waley’s translation ) “I am always thinking of you and I hope you do not forget me.” He requested for Qui Chuji and his disciples to pray for his longevity, and he offered to let Qiu Chuji live wherever he wanted.

    Qiu Chuji died on July 23, 1227. Genghis Khan died a month later. Qui Chuji left behind many disciples, poetry, and some of his sermons which were recorded. His Dragon Gate school benefited from Genghis Khan’s support and became the dominant branch of Taoism.

    Quotes

    Sweep, sweep, sweep! Sweep clear the heart till there is nothing left. He with a heart that is clean-swept is called a ‘good man.’”

    For ten thousand li I have rode on a Government horse; It is three years since I parted from my friends. The weapons of war are still not at rest, but of the Tao and its workings I have had my chance to preach.”

    Those who study Tao must learn not to desire the things that other men desire, not to live in places where other men live. They must do without pleasant sounds and sights, and get their pleasure only out of purity and quiet.”

    References

    The Travels of an Alchemist (1931), by Li Chih-Ch’ang, tr. Arthur Waley

    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Chang-chun

    https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Dragon+Gate+Taoism&item_type=topic

    https://www.revolvy.com/main/index.php?s=Qiu%20Chuji&item_type=topic

     

    Article written by me for Lunyr

     
  • Earthling 9:54 pm on July 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Author of Ride of the Valkyries, , Inventor of Leitmotif, Richard Wagner   

    Richard Wagner 

    Richard Wagner (Born May 22, 1813 in Leipzig, Germany — Died February 13, 1883 in Venice, Italy) was a German composer known for his operas (which he preferred to call “music dramas”) and originality. He was a huge influence on countless composers and artists after him, notably including Richard Struass, Claude Debussy, Alexander Scriabin. He also had a close friendship with Friedrich Nietzsche, which however ended in the latter rejecting Wagner and his works.

    Biography

    Richard Wagner’s father was Carl Friedrich Wagner, a police clerk who died shortly after Richard’s birth. His mother was Johanna Rosine Wagner, the daughter of a German baker. They had many children, and Wagner was the ninth. After Carl Wagner’s death, Johanna and her children moved in with a friend of Carl’s, Ludwig Geyer, who lived in Dresden. Johanna and Geyer had romantic relations and may have been married.

    Wagner was greatly influenced by his stepfather Geyer, who was an actor, painter, and poet. Wagner thought that Geyer was his biological father until age fourteen. Through Geyer and through Wagner’s sisters who sang opera, he became acquainted with opera and theatre. At age seven, Wagner entered the school of Pastor Wetzel in Possendorf and received piano lessons.

    In 1821, Geyer passed away and Wagner went to the Kreuzschule boarding school. He began writing plays. In 1829, he was greatly inspired by a performance by the opera singer Wilhelmin Schroder-Devrient.

    In 1831, Wagner went to Leipzig University. He studied under Thomaskantor Theodor Weinlig. Wagner began working as a choir master in 1833. He wrote his first opera, Die Feen. Then he became the musical director at the Magdeburg opera house. He wrote Das Liebesverbot, which was performed at this opera house in 1836.

    The Magdeburg opera house shut down and Wagner was in a poor financial situation. He then found work at the Konigsberg theatre. He married the singer and actress Christine Wilhelmine “Minna” Planer, and then she left him after six month. In 1837 he went to Riga, Latvia. He became the music director at a theatre, worked with Minna’s sister there, and helped her, thereby reconciling himself with Minna.

    Wagner went to France in search of financial success in the late 1830s, but did not find it. He returned to Germany in 1842. He had his first great success with the premiere of Tannhauser. He became the Royal Saxon Court Conductor.

    Wagner had become politically involved and supported leftist and socialist movements. He supported the May Uprisings of 1849, which led to him getting on the bad side of the government and spending the next twelve years in Paris and Zurich.

    In 1854, Wagner was introduced to the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. He called this discovery the most important event in his life. This was a pessimistic philosophy which held the arts in high esteem, and considered music the greatest and purest of the arts. Wagner remained an admirer of Schopenhauer for the rest of his life, even as Schopenhauer criticized some of his works. [1]

    In 1862, Wagner was able to return to Germany and settle in Biebrich. Minna soon left Wagner following her discovery of love letters Wagner wrote to the poet-writer Mathilde Wesendonck.

    Wagner received great support from the King of Bavaria, Ludwig II. Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde was performed in 1865 at the National Munich Theatre. The character Isolde was named after a claimed illegitimate daughter of Wagner’s with Cosima. Cosima was the wife of the conductor Hans von Bulow. She was an illegitimate daughter of Franz Liszt.

    The origin of Isolde’s name greatly displeased King Ludwig II, and he consequently made Wagner leave Munich. In 1866, Wagner’s first wife Minna died. Wagner had two more children with Cosima. She divorced Hans von Bulow and married Wagner in 1870.

    In the 1870s, Wagner finished the Ring Cycle or Der Ring des Nibelungen, his largest and most ambitious work, comprising three operas: Rheingold, Walkure, Siengfried, and Götterdämmerung. Wagner had his own special opera house called Festspielhaus built in Bayreuth, and the Ring Cycle premiered there in 1876.

    Wagner died from a heart attack in Venice in 1883. He had been on a vacation with his family.

    Musical Style and Legacy

    Wagner was a great influence on many composers and artists. He particularly influenced Alexander Scriabin, who took inspiration from Wagner’s theoretical ideas as well as his music.

    Wagner’s style has been described as “characterized by a high degree of chromaticism, a restless, searching tonal instability, lush harmonies…” [2] He is known for the innovation of the leitmotif, a technique where a specific musical theme is associated with a character or plot point.

    Wagner wrote anti-semitic polemics, including one titled On Jewishness in Music. He was also greatly admired by Adolf Hitler. This harmed his reputation after World War 2.

    References

    [1] https://www.8notes.com/biographies/wagner.asp#Exile.2C_Schopenhauer.2C_and_Mathilde_Wesendonk

    [2] https://www.allmusic.com/artist/richard-wagner-mn0000958980/biography

    https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/richard-wagner-392.php

    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Richard-Wagner-German-composer

    https://www.8notes.com/biographies/wagner.asp#Exile.2C_Schopenhauer.2C_and_Mathilde_Wesendonk

    http://www.notablebiographies.com/Tu-We/Wagner-Richard.html

    https://www.biography.com/people/richard-wagner-9521202

     

    Article was written by me for Lunyr

     
  • Earthling 9:08 pm on July 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic military advice, Catholic spy, Coronation of Guyuk Khan, Giovanni da Pian Carpine, Giovanni da Pian del CArpini, , How to fight Mongols, John DiPlano Carpini, John of Plano Carpini, , The Story of the Mongols Whom We Call the Tartars, The Tartar Relation   

    John of Plano Carpini 

    John of Plano Carpini (Birth unknown – Died 1252) was a Catholic spy and ambassador to the Mongol Empire who traveled to Karakorum and met with Guyuk Khan in 1245. His name has taken on various forms, the original being Giovanni da Piane del Carpine.

    Carpini was the first European traveler to write a detailed account of the Mongol Empire. He witnessed the coronation of the emperor Guyuk Khan, spoke with him, and returned to the Pope with Guyuk’s threatening demand for submission. He made many observations of historical value, as well as military observations that would have helped Europeans in the event of a Mongol invasion of Western Europe.

    Background

    Carpini is considered by historians to have probably originated from Umbria, at a place called Pian del Carpine which is now called Piano della Magione. He was a companion and disciple of Francis of Assisi, a saint who founded the Fransiscan order of monks and is known for his pacifism and environmentalism. He is also estimated to have been born around the same time as Francis of Assisi, who was born in 1182.

    Carpini held important ranks in the Fransiscan order. First he held the post of warden in Saxony, then he served as provincial in Germany, followed by Spain, possibly Barbary, and Cologne. During his post in Cologne, the Mongol invasion of Europe took place. First Russia and the Ukraine were subdued, then the Mongols entered Poland and Hungary and inflicted disastrous defeats. They were planning invasions of Austria and northern Italy when the emperor Ogedei Khan died in 1241. They then withdrew to the steppes to determine the next Khan, and were occupied with succession difficulties for the next five years.

    Journey to the Mongols

    It was in 1245, while the Mongols were under the rule of the regent Toregene, Ogedei’s widow, that Pope Innocent IV dispatched the first papal envoy to the Mongols. The mission had two purposes: to complain about the Mongol invasions of Christian lands, and to procure information on the Mongols that would help Europeans defend themselves in the future. John of Carpini, aged around sixty-five years old, was placed in charge of the mission.

    Carpini’s mission set out from Lyons on Easter day in 1245. Carpini was accompanied by Friar Stephen of Bohemia. Carpini consulted King Wenceslaus of Bohemia, and under his advice picked up an interpreter in Breslau, the Fransiscan Benedict the Pole.

    Carpini’s mission entered Tatar territory at Kanev, near Kiev. At this point, Carpini’s companion Stephen of Bohemia decided to turn back. Carpini’s mission proceeded along the Dnieper, Don, and Volga rivers. On the Volga they came to the camp of Batu Khan, the ruler of the Golden Horde who had led the Mongol invasions of Europe. Batu decided to send them to the Mongol capital Karakorum. They set out on Easter day in 1246.

    Carpini and his companions became very ill. They ate little food and had an extremely difficult journey. They went across the Ural river, to the north of the Caspian and Aral seas, along the Jaxartes, along the shores of lakes approaching Mongolia, and then finally reached an imperial camp near Karakorum called the Yellow Camp (Sira Orda).

    At the Yellow Camp, there were over 3000 envoys and representatives from all over Eurasia who came with gifts and tribute for the election of the new emperor. On August 24, Carpini witnessed the formal coronation of Guyuk Khan at the Golden Camp. After the coronation, they received their audience with Guyuk and presented the Pope’s letter to him, which complained about the Mongols attacking Christian lands when the Christians had not done anything to harm them.

    In November, Carpini’s mission were sent back to the Pope with a letter in Mongolian, Arabic, and Latin. The letter asserted Guyuk’s position as the legitimate representative of God on earth and demanded that the Pope and kings of Europe come in person to Mongolia to submit to him.

    Carpini’s mission had a long winter journey home. They reached Kiev on June 9, 1247. They went to Lyons and delivered their report, titled Historia Mongolorum, to the Pope along with Guyuk’s letter. Carpini was thereafter made Archbishop of Antivari in Dalmatia. He died in 1252.

    Military Advice

    Carpini included a chapter on how to most effectively combat the Mongols. He mentioned that the Mongols intended to conquer the whole world, and that Guyuk Khan had specifically mentioned his intention to invade Prussia and Livonia.

    Carpini advised the use of crossbows, which the Mongols were terrified by. He recommended arrows with strong and well-tempered tips, lances with hooks for pulling the Mongols off their horses, daggers, thick cuirasses, and good armor. He advised imitating the Mongol style of military organization, with armies and sub-armies organized in multiples of ten. He advised strict organization and strong measures to punish anyone fleeing. He described the tactics of the Mongols and warned not to chase them if they feign flight, so as to avoid being ambushed. He advised using scouts to keep good track of the movements of the Mongol armies. [1]

    It is quite possible that Carpini’s advice was applied in later Mongol raids of Eastern or Catholic Europe, such as their raids of Poland.

    References

    [1] The Story of the Mongols Whom we Call the Tartars, by Giovanni DiPlano Carpini, Tr. Erik Hildinger

    https://theodora.com/encyclopedia/c/joannes_de_plano_carpini.html

    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Giovanni-da-Pian-del-Carpini

    https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Catholic_Encyclopedia_(1913)/Giovanni_da_Pian%C3%B4_Carpine

    https://everipedia.org/wiki/G%25C3%25BCy%25C3%25BCk_Khan/

     

    Article written by me for Lunyr

     
  • Earthling 11:38 pm on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Mongol Taoism, , Teacher of Genghis Khan, ,   

    Genghis Khan’s spiritual education under 丘處機 a.k.a. 長春子 

    This account is summarized from The Travels of an Alchemist by Li Chih-Ch’ang, translated by Arthur Waley, which records the journey of the Taoist Master 丘處機 (Qiu Chuji) or 長春子 (Chang Chun Zi) from northern China to Afghanistan at the summons of Genghis Khan, who was interested in extending his life. The translations are all by Arthur Waley.

    長春子, located in Lai-chou in northern China, received a visit from Genghis Khan’s Chinese personal minister, Liu Wen, who delivered the Khan’s request for 長春子 to come visit him in the West. 長春子 reluctantly agreed after failing to negotiate for Genghis to come visit him after he returned from his campaign.

    Later on, 長春子 received a message addressed “from the Emperor Chingiz to the Adept, Master Ch’iu,” which praised the Tao of 長春子 above that of the Three Philosophers and further said, “Now that your cloud-girt chariot has issued from Fairyland, the cranes that draw it will carry you pleasantly through the realms of India. Bodhidharma, when he came to the East, by spiritual communication revealed the imprint on his heart; Lao Tzu, when he travelled to the West perfected his Tao by converting the Central Asians. The way before you, both by land and water, is indeed long; but I trust that the comforts I shall provide will make it not seem long. This reply to your letter will show you my anxiety on your behalf. Having learnt that you passed safely through the severe heat of autumn I will not now trouble you with further friendly messages.”

    As he made preparations to leave China, 長春子 received a messenger from Genghis Khan’s brother Temuge, requesting that 長春子 visit him as well if he went to the West. When this came to pass, Temuge asked him about extending his life. 長春子 told him that these matters could only be told to someone who had fasted and observed certain rules. Temuge, not wanting to keep 長春子 for too long while Genghis was so eager to see him, let 長春子 continue on his journey and gave orders for him to be brought back after he returned from his journey.

    There were some minor disagreements between 長春子 and his escorts during the journey. 長春子 wanted to stop and remain somewhere for the winter, but this was not allowed. Not far from where Genghis Khan was, 長春子 received an invitation from Genghis’s second son Chagatai to come stay with him. 長春子 refused because of his vegetarian diet, which he had heard was unsustainable in the area where Chagatai resided, to the south of the Amu Darya.

    長春子 received a message from Genghis Khan: “Adept! You have spared yourself no pains in coming to me across hill and stream, all the way from the lands of sunrise. Now I am on my way home and am impatient to hear your teaching. I hope you are not too tired to come and meet me.”

    長春子 crossed the Amu Darya to meet Genghis Khan. Their dialogue, presumably carried out entirely through interpreters, was as follows. Genghis said, “Other rulers summoned you, but you would not go to them. And now you have come ten thousand li to see me. I take this as a high compliment.”

    長春子 replied, “That I, a hermit of the mountains, should come at your Majesty’s bidding was the will of Heaven.”

    Genghis asked 長春子 to seat himself and order food to be served. Then he asked, “Adept, what medicine of long life have you brought me from afar?” 長春子 replied, “I have means of protecting life, but no elixir that will prolong it.”

    Genghis was pleased with 長春子 and had tents set up for him and his disciples to the east of his own tent. The interpreter came and asked 長春子 if he had chosen the name “Tängri Möngkä Kün” (Heavenly Eternal Man) for himself, or if it had been given to him by others. Later the interpreter came and asked on the Khan’s behalf what he had been called formerly. He explained that he was one of the four disciples of Chung-yang, and that the others had all grown wings so that only he remained in this world. He said he was generally called hsien-sheng (“senior”).

    Genghis asked his servant Chinkai, who had escorted 長春子, what to call the Master. He decided on “holy hsien.”

    Genghis had to go deal with some rebellious mountain bandits. 長春子 requested to go back north to his previous residence until Genghis was ready to see him again. After some disagreement, Genghis complied.

    Upon returning, more regular meetings began between 長春子 and Genghis Khan. They did not bow or kneel before Genghis, but only placed their hands together and inclined their bodies upon entering his tent. Genghis suggested that 長春子 have all his meals in his company, but 長春子 declined on the grounds that he was “only at ease in quiet places.” Liu Wen and Chinkai, having taken great pains to bring 長春子 to Genghis, were given permission to sit in on his discourses.

    Genghis Khan sent for 長春子 continually and was delighted with his teachings. He ordered for the Master’s words to be written down in Chinese characters and thus preserved from oblivion. He said, “You have heard the holy Immortal discourse three time upon the art of nurturing the vital spirit. His words have sunk deeply into my heart. I rely upon you not to repeat what you have heard.”

    Genghis Khan and 長春子 journeyed back eastward together, and during this journey 長春子 constantly taught Genghis Khan of the mysteries of the Tao.

    On November 19th, 1222, the following (here abridged) sermon was delivered:

                “Tao is the producer of Heaven and the nurturer of Earth. The sun and the moon, the stars and planets, demons and spirits, men and things all grow out of Tao. Most men only know the greatness of Heaven; they do not understand the greatness of Tao. My sole object of living all my life separated from my family and in the monastic state has been to study this question.

                When Tao produced Heaven and Earth, they in turn opened up and produced Man. When man was first born he shone with a holy radiance of his own and his step was so light that it was as if he flew. The earth bore fungoids that were moist and sweet-tasting. Without waiting to roast or cook them, Man ate them all raw; at this time nothing was cooked for eating. The fungoids were all sweet-smelling. Man with his nose smelt their scent and with his mouth tasted their taste. Gradually his body grew heavy and his holy light grew dim. This was because his appetite and longing were so keen. Those who study Tao must learn not to desire the things that other men desire, not to live in places where other men live. They must do without pleasant sounds and sights, and get their pleasure only out of purity and quiet. They must reject luscious tastes and use foods that are fresh and light as their only delicacy. If there is any attachment the follower of Tao will fail to understand it or its operations. If the eye sees pleasant sights or the ear hears pleasant sounds, if the mouth enjoys pleasant tastes or the natural state is perturbed by emotions, then the original Spirit is scattered and lost…

                The male we call Yang; his element is fire. The female we call Yin: her element is water. But Yin can quench Yang; water conquers fire. Therefore, the Taoist must above all abstain from lust. It is true that in providing himself with food and clothing a man expends a good deal of worry and fret, which leads to a loss of Original Spirit. But the loss in this case quite small; whereas a licentious life wastes the fine particles of the soul and leads to a considerable loss of original spirit. Tao split up into two forms. The one, light and pure. This became the sky. The sky is male and belongs to the element fire. The other form is heavy and unclean. This became earth. The earth is female and belongs to the element water.

                Man rises to Heaven and becomes a hsien, just as a flame goes upward… If common people, who possess only one wife can ruin themselves by excessive indulgence, what must happen to monarchs, whose palaces are filled with concubines? I learnt recently that Liu Wen had been commissioned to search Peking and other places for women to fill your harem. Now I have read in the Tao Te Ching that not to see things which arouse desire keeps the mind free from disorders. Once such things have been seen, it is hard indeed to exercise self-restraint. I would have you bear this in mind.

                [Here Arthur Waley mentions that 長春子 gave a brief account of his early life and association with Ma Yu, Tan Chang-chen and Liu Chang-shen. This was followed by a brief sketch of Taoist history.]

                Now all people from Emperors and princes down to the lowest classes, however different their lives may be in other ways, are alike in this, that they posses a “natural state.” All Emperors and monarchs are heavenly beings who have been exiled from Heaven. If they are virtuous on earth they will, on their return to Heaven, be allotted a higher place than before.

                Try sleeping alone for one month. You will be surprised what an improvement there will be in your spirits and energy. The ancients said: ‘To take medicine for a thousand days does less good than to lie alone for a single night’. Chingiz has already produced a numerous posterity and can afford to husband his strength.

                [Arthur Waley next summarizes 長春子‘s political advice to Genghis, which involved not taxing certain provinces in the northern China region for three years in order to help them recover from the ravages of warfare. 長春子 suggests using a Chinese agent to facilitate this, and brought up the example of this working well in the previous century. In conclusion, 長春子 recounts how (in 1188) he had visited the Jin emperor Shih Tsung, who was in a very weak condition because of his debauchery, and how by following the same advice that 長春子 gave Genghis he was able to fully recover his strength and vitality.]”

    (For anyone interested in hunting for a full translation of this sermon, its title is Hsüan Fēng Ch’ing Hui Lu.)

    長春子 found it uncomfortable travelling with the army, so he was granted permission to travel a reasonable  distance from it. As he travelled, he saved many lives by giving whatever food he could spare to the poor and hungry.

    Genghis Khan asked 長春子 what the reason was for calamities such as earthquakes, to which 長春子 responded, “I have heard that in order to avoid the wrath of Heaven you forbid your countrymen to bathe in rivers during the summer, wash their clothes, make fresh felt or gather mushrooms in the fields. But this is not the way to serve Heaven. It is said that of the three thousand sins the worst is ill-treatment of one’s father and mother. Now in this respect I believe your subjects to be gravely at fault and it would be well if your Majesty would use your influence to reform them.”

    Genghis Khan then said, “Holy Immortal, your words are exceedingly true; such is indeed my own belief.”

    Genghis had 長春子’s words written down, and ordered their meaning to be communicated to his subjects in general. He summoned his sons and other nobles and officials, and said to them, “The Chinese reverence this holy Immortal just as you revere Heaven; and I am more than ever convinced that he is indeed a Being from Heaven!”

    Genghis then repeated everything he had been taught by 長春子 over their sessions, and said, “Heaven sent this holy Immortal to tell me these things. Do you engrave them upon your hearts.” 

    Later, 長春子 was quite eager to return to China. He wanted to hurry on ahead, yet Genghis wanted him to remain longer. He said, “My sons are soon arriving. There are still one or two points in your previous discourses which are not clear to me. When they have been explained, you may start on your journey.”

    Genghis Khan went hunting and his horse fell while there was a boar before him. He was later reproached by 長春子, who told him that life is a precious thing, and that he was old and should go hunting as little as possible. He further said that this fall had been a warning, and that the failure of the boar to gore Genghis was an act of divine intervention. Genghis replied, “I know quite well that your advice is extremely good. But unfortunately we Mongols are brought up from childhood to shoot arrows and ride. Such a habit is not easy to lay aside. However, this time I have taken your words to heart.” 

    Turning to Kishlik Darkan (a very loyal companion of his), Genghis said, “In the future I shall do exactly as the holy Immortal advises.” He did not go hunting again for two months.

    Genghis Khan had some farewell interviews with 長春子, in which Genghis gave him the farewell gift of an edict exempting his pupils from taxation.

    Months later, after they parted, 長春子 received a letter from Genghis: “Holy adept, between the spring and summer you have performed no easy journey. I wish to know whether you were properly supplied with provisions and remounts. At Hsuan-te and the other places where you have lately stayed, did the officials make satisfactory provision for your board and lodging? Have your appeals to the common people resulted in their coming over to you? I am always thinking of you and I hope you do not forget me.”

    In China, 長春子 received another letter: “Holy adept, now that you are in China, convert the people with your pure doctrine, and each day recite the scriptures on my behalf and pray that I may live long. Your noble teaching should be set in excellent surroundings. Establish yourself where you would best like to live. I have told A-li-hsien that you are now very old and that he is to be very careful of you. Do not forget what I told you before.”

    The next letter was received two months later: “Since you went away, I have not once forgotten you for a single day. I hope you do not forget me. If there is anywhere in my whole dominions where you would particularly like to be, you have only to say so, and shall live there. I wish your disciples to recite the scriptures continually on my behalf and to pray for my longevity.”

    長春子 died on 23 July 1227, roughly a month before Genghis Khan. The impact of his teachings on Genghis’s level of brutality are debated.

     
  • Earthling 8:26 pm on July 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply  

    The New Leviathans: History of a capitalist conversion, Part I 

    For a long time we thought the dark side of capitalism was monopoly. A monopoly crushes the market, sets arbitrary prices, and controls flows and production at all levels, thus posing a political danger. Very early on in US history, the government responded to the monopolistic trends of some companies by implementing a legal strategy to limit monopolies. This took the form of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act of July 2, 1890, which nevertheless fails to rejuvenate modern economies. This act has shaped economies globally, as the principles behind the act have been adopted by many countries. But it did not prevent the appearance of monopolies. Among the companies that have recently been prosecuted under anti-trust laws in the United States and Europe is Microsoft, which has always gotten off the hook (given its level of financial investment).

    Whether or not the lawsuits win, the companies spend millions of dollars on their defense and somehow always find a way around the procedures. This has been the case for Google. In August 2015, faced with obesity due to its multiple activities, Google preferred to break out into several companies grouped under a sort of Holding named Alphabet. Fear of prosecution in the name of anti-trust laws? No, at least that’s not the main concern: what motivated this breakup was a desire to clarify its different activities for investors.

    Investments in the companies that consitute Alphabet would then enable them to start new projects. Hasn’t it always been this way in the world of capitalism? Invest, innovate, produce for the good of humanity. In this case, what danger would capitalism present? None. In the world of digital technologies, on the contrary, Google is the ideal engine for promoting any form of social, technical and even political progress. In our beautiful advanced industrial countries (heehee!) we are no longer in the days of coal mining and social demands à la Zola: all that is from another age, where capitalism was blind. Now we are in an age of enlightened capitalism.

    Convinced? It’s not really so, is it? And yet this exercise of questioning capitalism has already been carried out, from the late 1960s through the 1980s. This story is told by Fred Turner in his excellent book From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism. In this book, Fred Turner shows how community-based countercultural movements have either failed out of disillusionment or refocused (especially in the 1980s) around techno-values, particularly under the influence of charismatic leaders such as Steve Jobs a bit later. The dominant idea is that political demands have failed to build a better world; it is through technological solutions that we will be able to solve our problems.

    Let’s not bite the hand that feeds us! Some principles that allow us to surf and go on Wikipedia today came from this intellectual movement. Take for example Ted Nelson, who is not a computer scientist because he is a sociologist. In the mid-1960s, he invented the term hypertext to designate the possibility of linking documents through a document network. This was later formalized as the hypermedia system (especially with the work of Douglas Engelbart). Ted Nelson, in founding the Xanadu project, proposed an economic model for document access and information sharing (which enables, for example, buying a document online and consulting it online with other people). It wasn’t until ten years later that dad’s internet developed concretely into what had previously passed for “utopian”, which involved a radical change of model (here, the bookish relationship to knowledge was replaced by a hypertextual appropriation of concepts).

    The conversion of hippies from the North American counterculture (and elsewhere, too) to techno-capitalism was not done from scratch. As is often the case in the history of technology, it is the convergence of several factors that gives rise to technological changes. Here the factors were:

    • theoretically worked out concepts such as hypertext, augmented man, artificial intelligence, and all that would come to be called “cyber-culture”
    • computer innovations: networks (for example, packet switching), micro-computers and operating systems, computer languages (Lisp, C, etc.)
    • political and economic situations: the cold war (development of networks and computer research), and particularly the disruptions from American and British neoliberal policies, which enabled the expansion of financial markets and the emergence of startups (of which Silicon Valley is the most striking emblem), and later the arrival of the “internet bubble”, etc.

    Free software reveals the flaw
    With any technological change, you have to look at the big picture. Don’t think you can single out one change as a sporadic emergence that revolutionized a whole setting like a game of dominos. Sometimes developments do not follow any linear historical sequence and are only the lucky results of a favorable setting that must be identified. One wonders which part of this intellectually stimulating setting allowed the emergence of revolutionary concepts, and which part brought us the “dominant counterculture” of the future Silicon Valley.

    In another chicken and the egg situation, we can talk about the concept of free software as it has been formalized by Richard Stallman. Stallman evolved in the high-tech environment of the M.I.T. during this period which witnessed the emergence of hackers — see on this subject the book by Steven Levy, Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution. In the group of hackers which R. Stallman belonged to, some were arguing over Lisp Machine programs. Two companies had been founded that distributed these machines. A tacit market had emerged: ensuring that all actors (the university and these companies) could benefit from improvements made by each other. One firm decided not to share anymore, accusing the university of distorting competition by transferring its improvements to the other company. This event, coupled with other hate-filled episodes in the world of hackers, led Richard Stallman to legally formalize the idea that a program could not only be shared and improved by all, but also that this feature could be viral and apply to all improvements and versions of the program.

    Free software is a double revolution. It opposes firstly the illogic of privatizing knowledge and use to keep users in a state of dependency and establish a monopoly based solely on the non-sharing of a program (i.e., code in a computer language usually known to all). But above all, free software opposes the very setting in which it arose: a world in which we thought we could implement economic models based on the profitability of technological innovation. Such innovation serves a purpose, it changes the world, but it does not change the economic model of profit generation by privatization of production. With free software, innovation (i.e. software) does not change anything by itself: it is open to all modification, dissemination and improvement by any users who, through their participation, improve the world and share the innovation, its process and even the program’s domain of application. And once formalized in law through the concept of the free license, this same principle can apply to many other areas besides computer programs: knowledge, music, video, hardware, etc.

    Free software represents a divergent episode in the storytelling of Silicon Valley and the Steve Jobses around the world. It corresponds to the point where, during this senseless conversion of techno-utopians to capitalism, the main flaw was revealed: the alienation of technology users. And the remedy has been understood: to liberate users, it is necessary for the users themselves to participate by sharing knowledge, and the counterpart of this sharing is the obligation of sharing. Following this realization, we know that this alternative economic model does not in any way prevent profit, since it is based on the usage of knowledge (the expertise is marketable) or on the added value of highly innovative programs that allow the production of services or new materials, etc.

    Sharing economy?
    It must be understood, however, that the fruits of the Californian intellectualism of the seventies didn’t always turn towards the idol of Capital due to bad intentions, perhaps similarly to the way that Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook by taking on the almost moral function of social link facilitator. Some projects, even a large majority, really started from intentions that were perfectly in tune with the ideal of a better society based on sharing and the common good. Most of the time, they proposed an economic model based not on usage limitations (a fee for exclusive use), but on adherence to the ideology behind the innovation. Some technical developments were also vehicles of ideology.

    In the years 1973-1975, the Community Memory project was a vehicle for ideology. Its founders, particularly Lee Felsenstein (inventor of the first laptop computer in 1981), later found themselves in the Homebrew Computer Club, a nascent Silicon Valley computer club which later included Steve Jobs. Silicon Valley owes a lot to this club, which brought together, at one time or another, most of the California hackers. With Community Memory, the idea was to create a non-hierarchical communication system whose members could share information in a decentralized way. Community Memory used the services of Resource One, a non-governmental organization created during the 1970 crisis and the US invasion of Cambodia. It was about setting up a computer that was accessible to all those belonging the counterculture movement of the time. With this computer (Resource One Generalized Retrieval System – ROGIRS), freely accessible via terminals across US territory and WATTS phone lines, users could enter information in text format and share it with all the members of the community, programmers or not, from freely accessible terminals. These were usually classified ads, mini-leaflets, etc. with keywords that allowed them to be ranked.

    For Lee Felsenstein, the main purpose of the project was to democratize the use of the computer, as a reaction to the situation of computers being reserved for the academic world and representatives of big companies. But the actual characteristics of the project went much further: no hierarchy between users, respect for anonymity, no authority could prioritize information, equal access to information. In this, the model was opposed to conventional models of press communication which are dependent on the political orientations of newspapers. It also opposed any state control, which was important in a climate of deep mistrust maintained by episodes such as the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal. This system therefore assumed, in order to access it, that one accepts:
    a) to participate in and belong to a community,
    b) that accountability remains within the community and separate from any political structure and especially the state. The peer-to-peer system is in direct opposition to any means of external control and surveillance.

    As for the fee of a few cents to enter information, this was only to cover infrastructure costs. This participatory gift to the community completed the virtuous circle of economic equilibrium in a system that could be described as humanistic.

    Although many hackers adopted these kinds of principles and the internet was finally conceived (at least its non-military part) around egalitarian protocols, the libertarian and anti-statist part of the internet was not always completely (or blindly) accepted. The example of free software shows this clearly, since here it is a matter of relying on a justice system and regulating use.

    However, the logic of “less state” eventually prevailed when combined with the mechanisms and dynamics of financial investment specific to Silicon Valley. In the absence (voluntary or not) of clearly formalized principles such as free software, high-tech companies entered into a competitive system with the motives of reconciling community sharing, independence from institutions, and the logic of profit. The result could not have been other than the creation of a private market based on the sharing of practices that themselves produced new needs and new markets. For example, by allowing as many people as possible to use a computer to share information, personal computing became an open and promising market. It is no coincidence that Bill Gates’ famous “Letter to Hobbyists” was written primarily for members of the Homebrew Computer Club: the mercantile and (therefore) private character of computer programs is the obligatory counterpart, the compromise between the promises of a new apolitical technological world and the capitalist market that can realize them.

    It was from this environment that the main computer advances of the 1980s and 1990s emerged, as well as the changes of practice that they ended up inducing in society, from the management of our bank accounts to the programs on our mobile phones.

    Translated from a French article by Framatophe: https://framablog.org/2016/07/04/les-nouveaux-leviathans-i-histoire-dune-conversion-capitaliste-a/

     
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