Wednesday, May 6, 2015


by Ben Landis

Welcome to the discussion.  I apologize for not replying more promptly, but I was between continents.
I would like to put to rest the issue of whether there are or are not other intelligent beings in the universe.  Professor Targowski believes that there are none.  I believe that there is a probability (I can’t say that it is low, medium, or high.) that there are other intelligent beings in the universe.  Professor Targowski cannot prove that there are none.  I cannot prove that there are.  There are no grounds on which to discuss this issue.  Therefore, let’s agree to disagree and move on to matters more directly concerning earthly civilization.
Professor Targowski’s paragraph beginning, “The Colonel does not like my line…”  His line was that the progress of civilized man has reached its climax because of the Internet.  He now states that, “In my view the Internet” (1) leads to strong globalization.  Globalization , however one wishes to define it, was well on its way before the arrival of the Internet.  I refer the curious to Dr. A.J. Toynbee, who articulated this phenomenon in the 1940’s at which time it was already moving forward.  (2) “leads to the decline of Western civilization due to minimalization of the middle class (through outsourcing)…”  First, Western civilization existed well before the development of a middle class.  Other civilizations have prospered with no middle classes throughout their existence.  Civilization per se does not depend upon the middle class.  The Internet did not create the economic activity of “outsourcing”.  Outsourcing as a means of maintaining the viability of a commercial enterprise began well before the Internet.  (3) “replacing Christian values by business values…”  Again, Professor Targowski places the blame on the Internet.  If Christian values have been replaced by business values it occurred a long time before the Internet.  Did the so-called “robber barons” who made fortunes during the industrialization of the United States economy in the last half of the XIXth Century operate their businesses on Christian, rather than business, values more than their modern equivalents?  The ghosts of the American labor movement may come to haunt you, professor.  (4) “growth of global stateless corporations…”  The Internet is not to blame.  This type of business enterprise well predates the Internet.  (5)  “unsustainable growth of production by cheap labor and mass volume of resources…”  The professor perceives an unsustainability of mass production that I cannot see.  In fact, production of all kinds will inevitably increase in order to meet the demands of the developing and emerging peoples.  I do not understand the reference to “mass volume of resources” in conjunction with “unsustainability of mass production”.  Again, how is the Internet to be blamed for this?  (6) “glory of super consumerism…”  Again the fault of the Internet.  If one looks at just the United States, the degree of consumerism as reflected in the part of the GDP created by consumerism (consumption), one finds that the percentage has not materially changed since the 1960’s, at least.  (7) “population growth…”  Caused by the Internet?  I ask for enlightenment, please.  (8) “…ignition of the ecological bomb, depletion of strategic reserves, vulgarization of culture…”  Again, the fault of the Internet per Professor Targowski.
Professor Targowski does concede that his claim that the use of mobile phones contracts the brain will not be able to be proved or disproved for “a few centuries”.  In my previous posting I understood Professor’ Targowski’s statement that “[the downplaying of social groups] is expressed by the detachment of politicians from the service of voters right after election…” meant 100% of politicians   I was wrong.  I therefore do not assume that the Professor means that 100% of mobile phone users will suffer a contraction of their cerebral power.
I am sure that the Professor knows that civilization (singular or plural) was the creation of a minority, a small minority, of the subsequently civilized population.  For example, if we assume that Western Civilization took its élan during the Italian Renaissance, only a very small percentage of the population was literate.  The same was even truer for earlier civilizations.  An élite (called a Creative Minority by Dr. Toynbee) created, developed , and sustained civilization.  The great mass of the population (Internal Proletariat per Dr. Toynbee) followed the lead of the Creative Minority.  That has been the case in all known civilizations.  The mass of the “civilized” population is in, but not of, the civilization.  Therefore, the possible contraction of the cerebral power of the mass of the population is of little consequence to the continuance of civilization, since there will always be an élite whose use of mobile phones is not sufficient to reduce its brain power.  There are, nonetheless, two problems staring us in the face.  (1) In all previous civilizations the Creative Minority has transformed itself into a Dominant Minority, thus creating a schism with the mass of the population and, consequently, dooming the civilization.  Is Western Civilization tending toward that point?  (2) One of the determining characteristics of contemporary Western Civilization is Democracy.  The question is, How do we maintain this Democracy characteristic, not in the face of a possible future deterioration of Western Civilization’s population’s mental capacities, but in the face of the separation of the mass of the population from its leaders and of a belief in the democratic form of government?  Are Western Civilizations going to become Plutocracies governed by a Dominant Minority?
Professor Targowski, in opposition to all the facts, maintains that the world is not being Westernized, but that Western Civilization is being “swallowed by Global Civilization”.  This blog is already too long to discuss this issue.  I ask Professor Targowski to take the time to write an article for the ISCSC Newsletter or for the CCR or another blog post to describe how this Global Civilization he proclaims is other than the westernization of the world’s other civilizations and to describe the salient features of this Global Civilization, particularly those that do not emanate from Western Civilization..
I encourage readers of these blog posts to join in the discussion.  Let’s talk!                            

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