Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME FORUMS BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:28 am




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Ch. 4 - The Grand Illusion 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

BookTalk.org Owner
Diamond Contributor 3

Joined: May 2002
Posts: 13996
Location: Florida
Thanks: 1978
Thanked: 760 times in 604 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)
Highscores: 8

Post Ch. 4 - The Grand Illusion
This thread is for discussing Chapter 4 - The Grand Illusion. You can post within this framework or create your own threads.

Chris O'Connor

"For Every Winner, There Are Dozens Of Losers. Odds Are You're One Of Them"




Sat Jul 03, 2004 9:48 am
Profile Email YIM WWW
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Intelligent

Bronze Contributor 2

Joined: Oct 2002
Posts: 554
Location: Saint Louis
Thanks: 0
Thanked: 0 time in 0 post
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Harris and Biology
On page 64, Harris writes: ". . . If you live in a world where nations are willing to risk total war over minor issues, then you too must be willing to risk total war over minor issues--such as parading into the Rhineland. On the other hand, in a world where everyone else is accustomed to making rational economic choices, the man who is prepared to fight to the death will normally be appeased. The same logic applies to whole societies.

The result is an unsettling paradox: the more the spirit of commerce triumphs, the closer mankind comes to dispensing with war, the nearer we approach the end of history, the greater are the rewards to those who decide to return to the path of war, and the easier it will be for them to conquer. There is nothing that can be done to change this fact; it is built into the structure of our world."

This is a fascinating insight. What he is describing here is what is known in biology as an ESS: Evolutionary Stable Strategy. A balance is maintained between cheaters and cooperators, because as the number of cheaters goes up, the payoff gets less, until it pays to be a cooperator. In a world dominated by cooperators a cheater does very well. In one dominated by other cheaters his ass is handed to him.

The balance of the sexes is explained in a similar manner. The more men in a society, the more it pays to have girls; but if girls predominate, it pays to have boys. Over time evolution has struck the balance we see in many species, with roughly 50/50 mix of sexes.


If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984




Thu Jul 22, 2004 7:47 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3542
Location: NJ
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Harris and Biology
So can we ever break out of this? Are we doomed to exist as predator and prey? That is what Harris seems to suggest. I find that very upsetting. I guess I am a utopian dreamer.

What we learn from history, according to Harris, is that there will always be an enemy. He cites the Great War and the failure of the League of Nations to prevent future wars due to their inability or refusal to see that the enemy is not playing by the rules of the rational player. With all our intelligence, why can we not learn from history in ways that would bring about freedom from war, instead of anticipation of war?

It is very sad.

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain




Wed Jul 28, 2004 11:45 am
Profile YIM WWW


Post Re: Harris and Biology
I was thinking about ESS as well when reading this. It is a very pessimistic view of the future but it may be too simplistic. Western Europe is a counter example.

Europe has been ravaged by war for centuries but after WWII it has been very stable. The threat of Russia was a big factor early on but not definitely after the end of the cold war. I think that the economic integration brought about by the EU is the primary reason for that.

According to Harris a single nation willing to wage total war has the advantage among a group of rational players. I don't think that this is true if the economies of these nations are highly integrated and interdependent as in the case of Western Europe. Imagine a single nation attempting and even succeeding to conquer the rest of Europe. The war would devastate the economies of the other countries and since the aggressor depends so heavily on them would be worse off. Capitalist economies depend on a highly motivated workforce and people directly or indirectly forced to work for an occupier would perform poorly. The military force required to keep a large population subjugated would be a huge unproductive drain. Finally people in Europe are educated enough to understand this so an imperialistic movement in any of these countries would probably not gain much support.




Thu Jul 29, 2004 9:36 am
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3542
Location: NJ
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Classic Empire
Classic Empire building is, I think, a non issue anymore.

The grabbing of vast land masses are a thing of the past for the reason you suggest costas.

The way to empire today is to spread your ideals and way of live...kinda like the US is trying to do and also like the EU. The EU has interested me. I see it as such, (amongst other reasons): What NATO was to Communism, the EU is to US ambitions. Since no one nation can constrain us, they will band together.

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain




Thu Jul 29, 2004 9:46 am
Profile YIM WWW


Post Re: Classic Empire
Hmm..Even so..this question was posed in another forum I check...

In a hypothetical situation, if all of Europe were to declare war on the US...and neither side using nuclear weapons (because we know how THAT would end up)..who would win?

I'm confident that the US would eek out a small margin against all of Europe. As of now most operations are carried out by the US, in a joint environment, not because we don't want their help, need their help, or are too arrogant to accept their help (although THAT day may be fast approaching)...It's that the European nations can't come close to keeping up with our Operations. While we've maintained at least a nominal (Clinton years) focus on defense, they haven't advanced, almost at all, in nearly 30 years.

All of this is moot because it's hypothetical. But in response to the assertion that the EU is the Russia of the past (in a less aggessive way).

Not only that, the more recent additions to the EU are very Pro-American...

In Vino Veritas




Thu Jul 29, 2004 6:21 pm
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3542
Location: NJ
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Classic Empire
No...I did not mean the EU is the Russia, but they are the NATO against the US (US playing the Russian role...of course not literally, I do not compare the US to Russia).

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain




Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:01 pm
Profile YIM WWW


Post Re: Classic Empire
I think, perhaps, a better way to phrase what you said would be: The EU could become to the USA what NATO was to Russia.

In Vino Veritas




Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:04 pm
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3542
Location: NJ
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Classic Empire
WhatEVER...you picky bastard! ;)

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain




Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:09 pm
Profile YIM WWW


Post Re: Classic Empire
Indeed. :)

In Vino Veritas




Thu Jul 29, 2004 7:33 pm
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3542
Location: NJ
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Classic Empire
How about this scenario Rick:

The EU gets very strong and very united. The new Arab Democracies are welcomed into the fold. The EU controls the oil and we find ourselves in not a strict military conflict, but an economic one as well.

With the EU so strong, could they not fuck with US big time?

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain




Fri Jul 30, 2004 8:12 am
Profile YIM WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3542
Location: NJ
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Grand Illusion
Quote:
The only place I think people agree on is Saudi Arabia, except that they don't want to offend Muslims and invading the country with Mecca and Medina in it would be EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE. I'm willing to wage the wars, fight in them, pay for them and make the hard choices about the Federal Budget that will occur over them. Are you? Are you prepared to do the Kennedyesque thing and "pay any cost, bear any burden"?


Well, the problem with this is that Bush opened his tough-guy mouth and basically said that he would get to the root no matter what...but we can see that it is easier to talk tough than to actually take action. It should not matter, in Bushworld, whether or not we would offend anyone in prosecuting this war.

I would be willing to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of all this, but I feel that the direction the administration has taken is wrong. I do not support the current situation as is. The terrorists have us running around in circles. Afghanistan was good, Iraq was a distraction. So now we are paying alot, in lives and dollars, and just where has the progress been? And I mean regarding stopping the terror, not the ancillary benefit of liberating the Iraqis. And saying that 'we have not had another terror attack on our soil' is not valid. We have only had two (from al qaeda) over the last 10 years, tragic as they were. If we allow Bush to claim that he has made us safer because we have not been hit for 3 years, well then Clinton deserves alot for keeping us safe for 8. I am talking world wide.

The war on terror could have been better served by focusing our efforts elsewhere. Iraq was the weakest link in the terror chain, but when the weakest link is at the end of the chain, striking it and destroying it does nothing to compromise the strength of the chain. It is just a case of the administrations 'fantasy ideology'. We had so much support after 9/11, and it was all squandered, not because of what we had to do to respond, but simply in the despotic way in which it was dictated to the world.

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain

Edited by: misterpessimistic  at: 8/19/04 11:11 am



Thu Aug 19, 2004 10:10 am
Profile YIM WWW


Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Grand Illusion
I think we're living in a world where the logic of power is slowly destroying the soul of man.

Sanity depends on having a sphere of experience that is not determined by a dog-eat-dog game, a context in which a person can be a person rather than a machine. Individuals who stay sane will be those who can honestly experience their emotions, rather than locking them up in the dissociated right hemisphere, terrified of showing weakness or indecision. When games of power require that sincere feeling be replaced by cold, analytical thinking, insanity follows because the mind becomes split, the analytical left brain attempting to dominate the entire system rather than working in fluid harmony with the right. In any individual or nation, this produces a state of mind which eventually results in suicide.

We will follow our enemies into the abyss, and we won't realize our mistake until the game defeats itself and there are no more playable moves that sustain a feeling of control and security. When everyone, everywhere, feels insecure and unsafe, a sea change will occur. Whether that produces a rennaissance of creativity and real solutions to difficult problems, or whether it leads to species suicide, depends on the choices made along the way.




Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:24 pm
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Professor

Silver Contributor

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 3542
Location: NJ
Thanks: 1
Thanked: 5 times in 5 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Grand Illusion
Quote:
Whether that produces a rennaissance of creativity and real solutions to difficult problems, or whether it leads to species suicide, depends on the choices made along the way.


I, of course, take the more pessimistic view!

Excellent analysis Michael!

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain




Fri Aug 20, 2004 8:21 am
Profile YIM WWW


Post Re: Ch. 4 - The Grand Illusion
Quote:
What we learn from history, according to Harris, is that there will always be an enemy. He cites the Great War and the failure of the League of Nations to prevent future wars due to their inability or refusal to see that the enemy is not playing by the rules of the rational player. With all our intelligence, why can we not learn from history in ways that would bring about freedom from war, instead of anticipation of war?


I hold it to be pretty self-evident that poverty, war, barbarism, etc., are mans natural state. So is utopianism, and interestingly, anti-semitism, but that latter would require an whole 'nother thread.

I also hold it to be self-evident that reason has played very little part in the affairs of men, both to our great detriment, but sometimes to our good as well. Reason (as practiced by man, anyway) alone is no more a sufficient governor of men than anything else. It is terribly important, but not in the end, ultimate.




Fri Sep 03, 2004 5:49 am
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 17 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:


BookTalk.org Links 
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Info for Authors & Publishers
Featured Book Suggestions
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!
    

Love to talk about books but don't have time for our book discussion forums? For casual book talk join us on Facebook.

Featured Books

Books by New Authors



Booktalk.org on Facebook 



BookTalk.org is a free book discussion group or online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a group. We host live author chats where booktalk members can interact with and interview authors. We give away free books to our members in book giveaway contests. Our booktalks are open to everybody who enjoys talking about books. Our book forums include book reviews, author interviews and book resources for readers and book lovers. Discussing books is our passion. We're a literature forum, or reading forum. Register a free book club account today! Suggest nonfiction and fiction books. Authors and publishers are welcome to advertise their books or ask for an author chat or author interview.


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSBOOKSTRANSCRIPTSOLD FORUMSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICY

BOOK FORUMS FOR ALL BOOKS WE HAVE DISCUSSED
Sense and Goodness Without God - by Richard CarrierFrankenstein - by Mary ShelleyThe Big Questions - by Simon BlackburnScience Was Born of Christianity - by Stacy TrasancosThe Happiness Hypothesis - by Jonathan HaidtA Game of Thrones - by George R. R. MartinTempesta's Dream - by Vincent LoCocoWhy Nations Fail - by Daron Acemoglu and James RobinsonThe Drowning Girl - Caitlin R. KiernanThe Consolations of the Forest - by Sylvain TessonThe Complete Heretic's Guide to Western Religion: The Mormons - by David FitzgeraldA Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - by James JoyceThe Divine Comedy - by Dante AlighieriThe Magic of Reality - by Richard DawkinsDubliners - by James JoyceMy Name Is Red - by Orhan PamukThe World Until Yesterday - by Jared DiamondThe Man Who Was Thursday - by by G. K. ChestertonThe Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven PinkerLord Jim by Joseph ConradThe Hobbit by J. R. R. TolkienThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas AdamsAtlas Shrugged by Ayn RandThinking, Fast and Slow - by Daniel KahnemanThe Righteous Mind - by Jonathan HaidtWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksMoby Dick: or, the Whale by Herman MelvilleA Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer EganLost Memory of Skin: A Novel by Russell BanksThe Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. KuhnHobbes: Leviathan by Thomas HobbesThe House of the Spirits - by Isabel AllendeArguably: Essays by Christopher HitchensThe Falls: A Novel (P.S.) by Joyce Carol OatesChrist in Egypt by D.M. MurdockThe Glass Bead Game: A Novel by Hermann HesseA Devil's Chaplain by Richard DawkinsThe Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph CampbellThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainThe Moral Landscape by Sam HarrisThe Decameron by Giovanni BoccaccioThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Grand Design by Stephen HawkingThe Evolution of God by Robert WrightThe Tin Drum by Gunter GrassGood Omens by Neil GaimanPredictably Irrational by Dan ArielyThe Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel by Haruki MurakamiALONE: Orphaned on the Ocean by Richard Logan & Tere Duperrault FassbenderDon Quixote by Miguel De CervantesMusicophilia by Oliver SacksDiary of a Madman and Other Stories by Nikolai GogolThe Passion of the Western Mind by Richard TarnasThe Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le GuinThe Genius of the Beast by Howard BloomAlice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll Empire of Illusion by Chris HedgesThe Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner The Extended Phenotype by Richard DawkinsSmoke and Mirrors by Neil GaimanThe Selfish Gene by Richard DawkinsWhen Good Thinking Goes Bad by Todd C. RinioloHouse of Leaves by Mark Z. DanielewskiAmerican Gods: A Novel by Neil GaimanPrimates and Philosophers by Frans de WaalThe Enormous Room by E.E. CummingsThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeGod Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher HitchensThe Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama Paradise Lost by John Milton Bad Money by Kevin PhillipsThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettGodless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America's Leading Atheists by Dan BarkerThe Things They Carried by Tim O'BrienThe Limits of Power by Andrew BacevichLolita by Vladimir NabokovOrlando by Virginia Woolf On Being Certain by Robert A. Burton50 reasons people give for believing in a god by Guy P. HarrisonWalden: Or, Life in the Woods by Henry David ThoreauExile and the Kingdom by Albert CamusOur Inner Ape by Frans de WaalYour Inner Fish by Neil ShubinNo Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthyThe Age of American Unreason by Susan JacobyTen Theories of Human Nature by Leslie Stevenson & David HabermanHeart of Darkness by Joseph ConradThe Stuff of Thought by Stephen PinkerA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniThe Lucifer Effect by Philip ZimbardoResponsibility and Judgment by Hannah ArendtInterventions by Noam ChomskyGodless in America by George A. RickerReligious Expression and the American Constitution by Franklyn S. HaimanDeep Economy by Phil McKibbenThe God Delusion by Richard DawkinsThe Third Chimpanzee by Jared DiamondThe Woman in the Dunes by Abe KoboEvolution vs. Creationism by Eugenie C. ScottThe Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael PollanI, Claudius by Robert GravesBreaking The Spell by Daniel C. DennettA Peace to End All Peace by David FromkinThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerThe End of Faith by Sam HarrisEnder's Game by Orson Scott CardThe Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonValue and Virtue in a Godless Universe by Erik J. WielenbergThe March by E. L DoctorowThe Ethical Brain by Michael GazzanigaFreethinkers: A History of American Secularism by Susan JacobyCollapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared DiamondThe Battle for God by Karen ArmstrongThe Future of Life by Edward O. WilsonWhat is Good? by A. C. GraylingCivilization and Its Enemies by Lee HarrisPale Blue Dot by Carl SaganHow We Believe: Science, Skepticism, and the Search for God by Michael ShermerLooking for Spinoza by Antonio DamasioLies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al FrankenThe Red Queen by Matt RidleyThe Blank Slate by Stephen PinkerUnweaving the Rainbow by Richard DawkinsAtheism: A Reader edited by S.T. JoshiGlobal Brain by Howard BloomThe Lucifer Principle by Howard BloomGuns, Germs and Steel by Jared DiamondThe Demon-Haunted World by Carl SaganBury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee BrownFuture Shock by Alvin Toffler

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOur Amazon.com SalesMassimo Pigliucci Rationally SpeakingOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism BooksFACTS Book Selections

cron
Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2014. All rights reserved.
Website developed by MidnightCoder.ca
Display Pagerank