Direccion Estrategica 24.03.09

a synthesis of our last class:

Knowing and understanding where you have been is the best knowledge to guide you to where you are going.

One must learn to be able to see or know how to find the door and then strategy teaches you how to find the key to access the threshold…

Objective + Overall survival is the purpose of strategy.

Need to understand the philosophy of the objective to clarify the pragmatism need to achieve the goals.

Desperation is the key to revelation.


Bhagavad Gita, Second Discourse excerpts

It is a wonder
that anyone sees this,
and a wonder
that anyone else speaks it,
and a wonder
that yet another hears it.
Yet even they have heard it,
No one knows it at all.

your authority is
in action alone,
and never
in its fruits,
motive should never be
in the fruits of action,
nor should you cling
to inaction.

Son of Pritha,
when a person renounces
all desires
in the mind
that one is said
to be content
in the self, by the self
and firm in wisdom.

the person whose mind
is free from anxiety
about sorrows,
and free from greed
for pleasures,
with rage, passion and fear gone
that person is said to be a sage.

The person who has
no longing anywhere
coming across
this and that
pure and impure
who neither loves nor hates
that ones wisdom
stand firm.

When a person
draws in spheres
from the sense objects
in every sphere
like a tortoise
pulls in its limbs
that ones wisdom
stands firm.

These spheres of sense
fall away from the
embodied self
who continues to fast
all except taste;
and then taste, too
falls away from the one
who has seen the highest.

Son of Kunti,
the senses tear apart
and violently seize
the mind-
even for one
who makes great effort,
and who knows
the tremor of reality.

the person who
has practiced yoga.
restraining all these senses,
should sit,
with me as a pinnacle;
the one whose senses
are in control-
that ones wisdom stands firm.

Clinging is born
to someone
who dwells on
the spheres of the senses
desire is born from clinging
and anger is born
from desire.

confusion arises
from anger;
and from confusion
memory strays:
from the fall of memory
comes the loss of insight;
and one is lost
when one’s insight is lost.

one not joined
to passion and hatred,
always moving
in the spheres of the senses
by the senses,
the one thus restrains the self
and governs the self,
attains peace.

in calmness,
there occurs
the withdrawal
of all pain;
from that person
whose thought is placid
insight becomes steady
right away.

there is no insight
for one who has not
practiced yoga;
there is no peace
for the one
who does not concentrate;
and from where does pleasure come
for the one who has no peace.

when the mind
is led by
the roving senses
then it steals
one’s wisdom,
like the wind
steals a ship on the water.

strong armed one
the wisdom
of the person
who has drawn in
the senses
from their objects
in every sphere
that one’s wisdom stands firm.

the restrained one
is watchful
during the night
of all beings;
and in the time
when beings are watchful,
that is the night
of the sage who sees.

as the ocean becomes full,
yet is steady and unmoved
as the waters enter it,
so the one whom
all desires enter
in this way gains peace,
yet this not so for
the one who desires desire.

the person who
cast away all desires,
who moves away from clinging,
who has no idea
of “I”
that one comes to peace.

Son of Pritha,
this is the state of Brahman;
if one has not reached this,
one is confused.
but firm in this,
even at the time of ending,
one reaches Brahman,
the bliss of cessation.

The Trap: Part 1: What happened to our dream of Freedom?

In this episode, Curtis examines the rise of game theory during the Cold War and the way in which its mathematical models of human behaviour filtered into economic thought.
The programme traces the development of game theory with particular reference to the work of John Nash, who believed that all humans were inherently suspicious and selfish creatures that strategised constantly Curtis examines how game theory was used to create the USA’s nuclear strategy during the Cold War. Because no nuclear war occurred, it was believed that game theory had been correct in dictating the creation and maintenance of a massive American nuclear arsenal—because the USSR had not attacked America with its nuclear weapons, the supposed deterrent must have worked.

A separate strand in the documentary is the work of R.D. Laing, whose work in psychiatry led him to model familial interactions using game theory. His conclusion was that humans are inherently selfish, shrewd, and spontaneously generate strategems during everyday interactions.


The Trap: Part 2: The Lonely Robot

The second episode reiterated many of the ideas of the first, but developed the theme that the drugs such as Prozac and lists of psychological symptoms which might indicate anxiety or depression were being used to normalise behaviour and make humans behave more predictably, like machines.

The Ax Fight—a famous anthropological study of the Yanomamo people of Venezuela by Tim Asch and Napoleon Chagnon—was re-examined and its strictly genetic-determinist interpretation called into question. This was not presented as a conspiracy theory, but as a logical (although unpredicted) outcome of market-driven self-diagnosis by checklist based on symptoms, but not actual causes, discussed in the previous programme.
Film of Richard Dawkins propounding his ultra-strict “selfish gene” analogy of life was shown, with the archive clips spanning two decades to emphasise how the severely reductionist ideas of programmed behaviour have been absorbed by mainstream culture. This brought Curtis back to the economic models of Hayek and the game theories of Cold War. Curtis explains how, with the “robotic” description of humankind apparently validated by geneticists, the game theory systems gained even more hold over society’s engineers.

In a section called “The Death of Social Mobility”, Curtis also describes how the theory of the free market was applied to education. This is just one aspect of a more rigidly stratified society, which Curtis identifies in the way in which the incomes of the poorest (working class) Americans have actually fallen in real terms since the 1970s, while the incomes of the average (middle class) have increased slightly and those of the highest earners (upper class) have quadrupled.

Curtis’s narration concludes with the observation that the game theory/free market model is now undergoing interrogation by economists who suspect a more irrational model of behaviour is appropriate and useful. In fact, in formal experiments the only people who behaved exactly according to the mathematical models created by game theory are economists themselves, and psychopaths.


The Trap: Part 3: We will force you to be free

The final programme focussed on the concepts of positive and negative liberty introduced in the 1950s by Isaiah Berlin. Curtis briefly explained how negative liberty could be defined as freedom from coercion and positive liberty as the opportunity to strive to fulfill one’s potential. Tony Blair had read Berlin’s essays on the topic and wrote to him in the late 1990s, arguing that positive and negative liberty could be mutually compatible.

The programme began with a description of the Two Concepts of Liberty, reviewing Berlin’s opinion that, since it lacked coercion, negative liberty was the ‘safer’ of the two. Curtis then explained how many political groups who sought their vision of freedom ended up using violence to achieve it. Using violence, not simply as a means to achieve one’s goals, but also as an expression of freedom from Western bourgeois norms, was an idea developed by African revolutionary Frantz Fanon. He developed it from the Existentialist ideology of Jean-Paul Sartre, who argued that terrorism was a “terrible weapon but the oppressed poor have no others.”

Curtis also looked at the neo-conservative agenda of the 1980s. Like Sartre, they argued that violence would sometimes be necessary to achieve their goals, except they wished to spread what they described as democracy. Curtis quoted General Alexander Haig then US Secretary of State, as saying that “some things were worth fighting for”. However, Curtis argued, although the version of society espoused by the neo-conservatives made some concessions towards freedom, it did not offer true freedom.

In essence, the programme suggested that following the path of negative liberty to its logical conclusions, as governments have done in the West for the past 50 years, resulted in a society without meaning populated only by selfish automatons, and that there was some value in positive liberty in that it allowed people to strive to better themselves.

The closing minutes directly state that if western humans were ever to find their way out of the “trap” described in the series, they would have to realise that Isaiah Berlin was wrong and that not all attempts at creating positive liberty necessarily ended in coercion and tyranny.

Ishmael….Cadbury Gorilla…

Newstreetart.com – Viral Marketing

A few weeks ago as a respite from the frenetic life of IE, i set off to flâneur the city of Madrid. Flâneuring from Baudeleraire’s perspective is strolling the city with the ultimate goal of increasing one’s experience while gaining deeper insight into the urban environ and its related phenomena. Whenever I flâneur, i seek to perceive as much as my senses allow me to capture, i am particularly interested in graphic media and graffitti as they tend to illustrate the latent respect and the municipality’s control of the urban context.

In the attached link, you will find a series of stickers created by Newstreetart.com (NSA) group. These stickers always include an iconic questioning eye followed by a thought provoking statement, these curt and simple statements have the ability to create tremendous insight into one’s psyche.

Although these stickers do not immediately convey a true purpose, they do create several levels of questions. What are they publicizing & why? What is the purpose of their message? Ultimately it appears that this form of Guerilla or viral marketing, allows NSA to inexpensively market their capabilities via the underground while targeting their audience at the “street level”. What is interesting about this method of publicity is that once you have noticed that this exists, you begin to notice that these stickers are everywhere, thereby further allowing you an understanding into the true reach of the campaign.


Bernie in Prison, International Herald Tribune 13.03.09

Bernie in Prision, International Herald Tribune 13.03.09

Una Furtiva Lagrima