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Are DoubleQuotes supposed to be new? 1 – Musashi & Zimmeman

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

[ by Charles Cameron -- a belated response to Fred Zimmeman's question ]

While Zenpundit was down the other day, Leonidas Musashi tweeted a DoubleQuote:

In response, Fred Zimmeman fired off his own tweet:

I think that’s a fine and appropriate question, and I’d like first to answer it in brief, and then in a second post to use it as a jumping off point for some further reflections.


My answer to blog-friend Fred Zimmeman is simple. Agreed, DoubleQuotes are not something new, nor are they claimed to be. What is claimed for them is that they present a way of thinking which has been with us from time immemorial and is used almost reflexively to this day to raise questions and make points both strong and weak — and that they identify and sharpen that pre-existing cognitive disposition into a conscious tool, and explore it.

Examples of this manner of making points or raising question that I run across in the course of my daily readings and web-monitorings I call DoubleQUotes in the Wild, and they bear the same relation to DoubleQuotes consciously noted and presented using my DoubleQuotes format as “found sculptures” do to sculptures created in the artist’s studio.

The trick here is that a very basic cognitive skill — akin in this regard to arguments of the sort “if this, then that” — is consciously investigated and rigorously analyzed and tested, so that we can learn what the strengths and pitfalls of the method are, look more frequently and more consciously for such doublets in our own reading and analysis, and present the results in a uniform manner.

The DoubleQuote is thus akin to the Syllogism, except that ikt occurs in analogical rather than logical space.

Finally, I have settled on the DoubleQuotes form and format because it is the simplest single move possible in the style of analogical gaming I have been working at for twenty or thirty years, under the inspiration of Hermann Hesse’s Glass Bead Game — described in the novel of that name for which he won his Nobel Prize.

DoubleQuotes are as old as time and space, as old as Sun and Moon, as old as the constellation and star sign Gemini, as old as Cain and Abel, as old as Castor and Pollux — and as new as Will McCants of Brookings reporting on the apocalyptic strain in the Daesh / IS “caliphate”.


Musashi’s DoubleQuote in question was this one:


In my view, that’s an elegant juxtaposition of Shakespeare and Vonnegut..


Fallen Walls and Fallen Towers by Adrienne Redd

Monday, August 30th, 2010


Fallen Walls and Fallen Towers: The Fate of the Nation in a Global World by Adrienne Redd

I “met” Dr. Adrienne Redd some years ago through the kind offices of Critt Jarvis, which resulted in a wide-ranging and intermittent email discussion, sometimes joined by John Robb and others, of “virtual states”, “virtual nations”, “micropowers” and evolving concepts of sovereignty and statehood in international relations. It was an intellectually stimulating conversation.

Today, Dr. Redd is Nimble Books’ newest author, and she has just sent me a review copy of Fallen Walls and Fallen Towers, the culmination of approximately seven years of research and writing.  Redd investigates nothing less than the “fate of the state” and I am looking forward to reading her argument in detail.

To be reviewed here soon….


Kindle Launch: The Handbook of 5GW

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010


The Handbook of 5GW - Dr. Daniel H. Abbott, Editor

Nimble Books has published the first authoritative book on the competing interpretations of the military and political theory referred to as “Fifth Generation Warfare“, edited by my friend and colleague Dr. Daniel Abbott. The many contributing authors include academics, journalists such as David Axe, and many blogfriends associated with the former theory site, Dreaming5GW.

My chapter was entitled “5GW: Into the Heart of Darkness“. It is oriented more toward historical case studies than theory and is not in any way, shape or form, a “feel-good” piece. Here is a snippet:

“….This brings us to the probability that for the aforementioned states, their actual options for their ruling elites for adapting to the threat of 4GW will be between accepting varying degrees of failure-from conceding a temporary autonomous zone (TAZ) to rebels, to being overthrown, to imploding into anarchy as insurgents encroach-or “taking the gloves off” and using the indiscriminate, unrestricted violence of genocide to annihilate real and potential enemies before the international community can mobilize to prevent it. History suggests they might well succeed.”

The views within The Handbook of 5GW vary widely, as does the disciplinary approach of the authors, intending to stimulate thought, explore possible scenarios that range from the pragmatic and real to the imaginative and ideal.

Hardcover launch in September, 2010.


Mackinlay’s Insurgent Archipelago & Other Books

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

The Insurgent Archipelago by John Mackinlay

At the strong recommendation of Colonel Gian Gentile, I ordered The Insurgent Archipelago: From Mao to Bin Laden by Dr. John Mackinlay of King’s College, London and a hardcover copy just arrived this afternoon. Judging from the table of contents and the sources in Mackinlay’s endnotes, The Insurgent Archipelago will present a tightly written argument on the nature of COIN. For a well regarded  and informative review, see David Betz of Kings of War blog, brief excerpt below:

Review: The Insurgent Archipelago

….The book is sweeping, as the subtitle ‘From Mao to Bin Laden’ suggests; yet it is also admirably succinct at 292 pages including notes and index.[2] In design it is exceedingly clear, consisting of three parts-‘Maoism’, ‘Post-Maoism’, and ‘Responding to Post-Maoism’, which reflect the basic components of his argument. Insurgency’s classical form is the brainchild of the carnivorously ambitious strategic and political genius Mao Zedong who gave meaning to the now familiar bumper sticker that insurgency is ’80 per cent political and 20 per cent military’. Mao’s innovation was to figure out what to fill that 80 per cent with: industrial scale political subversion by which he was able to harness the latent power of an aggrieved population to the wagon of political change, to whit the victory of the Chinese Communist Party in the Chinese Civil War which ended with the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949

….The problem is that what we now face in the form of ‘global insurgency’ is not Maoism but Post-Maoism-a form of insurgency which differs significantly from that which preceded it.[6] We have, in essence, been searching for the right tool to defeat today’s most virulent insurgency in the wrong conceptual tool box. This is perhaps the most uncomfortable truth to be laid out in this book; another worrying one is that the security interests of Western Europe differ markedly from those of the United States-because the threat in the former emerges from their own undigested Muslim minorities which are alienated further by their involvement in expeditionary campaigns which, arguably at least, serve the needs of the latter well enough

Oddly, this will be the second book by a former British Gurkha officer that I’ve read in the last six months; the first being The Call of Nepal: My Life In the Himalayan Homeland of Britain’s Gurkha Soldiers by Colonel J.P. Cross, which I played a minor role in getting reissued here by Nimble Books, along with Lexington Green. After just thumbing through a few pages, Dr. Mackinlay already strikes me as a far less mystically inclined military author than does the esteemed but eccentric Colonel Cross.

I am way behind in my book reviews. Fortunately, Charles Cameron is stepping up with a new series of posts this week, which will give me some time to write reviews at least for Inside Cyber Warfare: Mapping the Cyber Underworld and Senator’s Son: An Iraq War Novel and then read Mackinlay. Ah, this designated guest blogger business is proving to be most convenient! :)


The Handbook of 5GW

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Is coming.


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