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Agreeable disagreement, disagreeable agreement

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

[jotted down quickly by Lynn C. Rees]

  1. Politics is the division of power.
  2. The power divided is a variable mix of violence and influence.
  3. The division of power tends to favors those who best wield violent power.
  4. The reason of man exists for victory, not truth.
  5. Victory is measured in agreement, the number of minds who fuel a division of power.
  6. Agreement is peace, a thinning in politics.
  7. Disagreement is conflict, an escalation in politics.
  8. Agreement, once agreed, tends to stay agreed.
  9. Agreement that stays agreed is the most effective way to convert agreement into violence.
  10. The ultimate measure of victory is how well it converts agreement into violence.
  11. Man tends to stay agreed with what he already agrees with:
    • it is the most powerful fuel for the politics of others he agrees with.
    • it reduces power lost by making new agreements.
  12. Man tends to agree with whatever agrees with increases in his own division of power.
  13. Maintenance of the objective, concentration of power, and keeping the initiative are powerful contributors to victory.
  14. Refusal to disagree with what he already agrees with tends to keep:
    • man’s eye single to the glory of his objective
    • man’s power concentrated
    • man from losing the initiative
  15. Yet politics divides power by converting disagreement into agreement.
  16. The intensity and mix of disagreement dictates the intensity and mix of violence and influence needed to convert it into agreement.
  17. Influence is the refinement of argument.
  18. The reason of man exists to refine less effective argument into more effective argument.
  19. Where the argument of influence fails, the argument of violence might succeed.

Happy Birthday, Sir Isaac Newton and …

Tuesday, December 25th, 2012

[ by Charles Cameron — season’s greetings in a couple of different contexts ]

Lapis Philosphicus / The Philosopher's Stone, from Sir Isaac Newton, MS 416


It is Sir Isaac Newton‘s birthday today, December 25th, and that’s surely cause for some celebration.

Shakespeare‘s birthday is unknown, but was probably around April 23rd, Bach‘s is celebrated on March 31st, Galileo‘s on February 15th, Buddha‘s is mostly celebrated on April 28th, and HM the Queen‘s on April 21st, making April — TS Eliot‘s “cruelest month” — a powerful time for moving from womb into world.

If you’re a cricketer, you might celebrate WG Grace‘s birthday, 18th July, it takes all kinds to make a world. But December 25th? If you don’t also make a big deal about Leibniz on July 1st, what’s so special about Newton on December 25th?


There are some great aggregator blogs out there, and frankly I favor 3 Quarks Daily for their blend of culture, science and an accent from the subcontinent.

Today, as in other years, 3QD is celebrating Isaac Newton’s birthday, and I’ll raise a toast to him too. There are a great many things in our world that I am grateful for, that wouldn’t have been possible without his great and inquiring mind — though it’s his alchemical and apocalyptic interests that capture my own imagination.

What hath Newton wrought? You could do worse than to consult 3QD on this day across the years, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 — but you know, part of celebrating Newton’s Day (rather than that of Shakespeare, Leibniz, WG Grace, Dante, Marilyn Monroe or whomever) is that you can celebrate it on Christmas Day, on the day assigned conventionally to the birth of Christ — without getting all religious.

So it’s a sort of escape hatch for seculars, in a sacred season. As if all the gifts we give to commerce and each other weren’t enough.


In honor, therefore, of the child whose nominal birthday makes Sir Isaac Newton’s so much more easily memorable — this poem:

The birth of phoenix bliss

Gallows humor was implicit from the start
in the tiny child, in the newborn universe, in the
very heart of all that breathes and hopes,
evident then, at that first beginning, more so
in the tool shed behind the motel, most
now if we clear the rubble of malls and ads
from our eyes, blink a bit in the light, so
steady, so other than flash and glitter, so very

divinely human unfolding in each folded heart:
for oh, we are pilgrims, zeros traveling in
from earth to infinity, infinity itself
two zeros, two virgins intersecting, breeding,
filling the abyss: believe me, no phoenix
bliss is born, save from the ashes of crucifixion.


I know, I know, some of you will wonder WTF Charles is on about.

A lot of people have folded their Sunday suits away and mothballed them, I know — I just happen to think that the finest story in the world tells of an infant conquering men at arms, mighty empires, with love alone in his eyes.

I am not of the opinion that this obliges me to expect greybeards in space, to follow the culinary restrictions of some desert tribe, or to condemn those whose attitudes are different from mine: on the contrary, I find liberty in the childlike gaze, liberty and clarity, depth and profundity, and at bottom a deep mystery.

I wish you all whatever blessings may befall you, now and always.

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