Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

The Year and the Decade in Review, Short Version: Yikes!

with 13 comments

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.

And what a year and a decade it’s been. We’ve come a long ways since the odometer rolled over in 2000, and are a decade into a century I could barely imagine when I was a young lad.  Even the year 1984 seemed to be in the far future when I was in high school, 2010 might as well have been on Mars. Yet here I am, older, wiser, and in many ways more perplexed than ever by the human condition. Are we an intelligent species? Damned if I know, but I don’t see a whole lot of evidence for it. Yet we muddle through somehow. And we muddled through a lot of stuff this past decade, here, in no particular order, is my take on the whole mess:

9/11. For good or for ill this was a defining moment for the decade. At least in the USA. However, what happens in the USA affects the whole world, so 9/11 was a global event on par with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914. What can  I say, we needed a Lincoln or a Truman, we had a Bush. Instead of decisive action, like sending the 101st airborne to Afghanistan capture Bin Ladin and his henchmen, Bush gave the green light to every sycophant and crony with an axe to gride, in most cases a pretty corrupt ideological axe. A decade later, trillions of dollars spent, countless lives wasted, foreign nations turned into failed states … and the “War on Terror” is a zombie monster still dragging us down and creating more terror and debt every day. And OBL is still at large, though the government apparently now thinks that searching American’s crotches may bring him to justice. Yeah, this is going to end well.

The Economy. The nineties showed us that having a cool web site address wasn’t the secret to wealth after all. The last decade showed us that banks, real estate offices, and fast food joints aren’t much to base an economy on. Or should have shown us, despite giving endless buckets of cash to the people whose greed crashed the economy in the first place, the American economy is still a disaster and most seem clueless as to its cause. Meanwhile the rest of the world built factories and is muddling through somehow. Yes, there is a connection here. We’ve done what the Spanish Empire did, spent our money on weapons and glitter. How long did the Spanish Empire last anyhow?

Space Exploration. Well, some good news here at least. There have been many amazing discoveries the past decade, we are truly in a golden era of space exploration. American manned space exploration, well, that’s hosed, but robots are the future in space exploration anyhow. Still, three in a row here, three major areas where the USA has lost its way … foreign policy, the economy, and space exploration. What can I say, it wasn’t supposed to turn out like this when I as a kid in the sixties. No Moon Bases, no flying cars, just a pile of debt and a war that is designed to last forever.

Cosmology. It’s also been an amazing decade for cosmologists. It now appears that there are testable theories about the origin of the Big Bang, not to mention the ultimate fate of our Universe. And oddly enough, there is no need for supernatural influence anywhere. The cosmological argument for God is now dead, possibly the biggest development in theology in 400 years. Trust me, this will be a big deal someday.

Other Sciences. From preserved dinosaur soft tissue to Gobeli Tepi, there have been all sorts of scientific advances the past decade. I hardly know where to begin, so I won’t. I don’t think there’s been anything epochal like the invention of the aeroplane or the napkin, but I could be wrong.

The Media. This will be remembered as the decade where the mainstream media completed its transformation into little more than a shopping flyer for corporate and government America. What Free Press remains is on the Internet. Will the Internet be subsumed by the beast, or will true freedom return via the Internet? Beats me, none of the above?

Politics. The US government stopped even pretending to pay attention to the will of the people this decade, and set itself up as the arbiter of what is right. Historically, this rarely ends well. Consider yourselves warned.

Popular Culture. There’s 837 million blogs about popular culture, this isn’t one of them. Prince Philip could be marrying Lady Gaga on Survivor for all I know.

Personal Insights. I’m an atheist now, that’s the big personal development of the decade for me. On a broader level, science is starting to come to a much better understanding of why people believe in absurdities. There’s a lot of absurdities out there, I’d say the widespread belief that the Earth is only a few thousand years old is one of the most prevalent ones. People who believe in absurdities are not stupid or ignorant, there’s a host of evolutionary reasons why people process data in fallacious ways. Will understanding this lead to new ways to enlighten people … or new ways to manipulate them? Stay tuned.

What will the next decade bring? My suspicion is that it’s going to make the past decade look rosy in comparison. As is so often the case, I hope I’m wrong.

I wish everyone who reads this a Happy New Year and Happy New Decade.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. There’s a zillion reasons why its use here doesn’t hurt the copyright holder in any conceivable way, arguably the opposite. It’s Oliphaunts in one of the Lord of the Rings movies. In the Lord of the Rings world, gravity must have been below Earth normal, and possibly with denser air, to allow such things as these giant beasts and flying dragons and such. I chose the image to represent the decade because of its outsized and bizarre violent imagery. That’s certainly the War on Terror and the decade to me, a huge violent Kafkaesque Juggernaut raging violently, mindlessly. Who knows how and where it will end but it’s likely to be a hell of  a mess until it does.)



Written by unitedcats

January 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

13 Responses

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  1. 9-11 didn’t have the significance as- and actually was an indirect result of- the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand AND his wife as their driver took a wrong turn, passing one Gavrilio Princep- member of the ” Black Hand” society- a group founded on the dislike of Archduke.
    Gavrilio promptly drew his well made, well designed (as is true of all John Moses Browning’s designs) Browning .380 and, well… Literally turned the world on its ear. EVERYTHING– every historical event that occured after that was due to or an effect of that assassination. Historically speaking, there are only two or three degrees of seperation between that event in 1914 and world events occuring today…
    While 9-11 was horrible, evil, and predictable– it was the lever used by the Federal Gov’t to change this country into a police state. It was more the equivilent of the burning of the Reichstag in Germany in 1933 (which One could trace back to Mr. Princep in two easy steps) giving the Government the reason, the right and the ability to become incredibly more powerful and militarized Federal, State and even Local law enforcement- those who protested this power grab were castigated as ‘unpatriotic’.
    Eleven years later we have as citizens been stripped of our constitutional protections, and ‘The State’ has turned its sights onto controlling the
    economy much the same way it now controls its citizens. This is a very bad time for the United States, and the writing is on the wall– it is only likely to become worse over time. Yet the American people- so esaily distracted by Brittany Spears, Lindsey Lohan et al, dont even seem to realize just how much this county has declined…
    By the way Costa Rica is beautiful right now- the summer has started, the people are friendlyand happy, and my biggest problem is trying not to get sunburned… Ben Franklin once said “Freedom is my counrty”, and I hope one day soon Americans start to remember what their country once stood for… I love the United States and pray it awakens from this nightmare…
    Pura Vida!


    January 1, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    • I didn’t mean it as a direct analogy, when it comes to history all analogies are false analogies, and I would agree that the Reichstag Fire is a better comparison. I just meant they were both seminal events that triggered one way or another a cascade of much greater events.

      Yes, we’re trapped in a dystopian eighties scifi flick, The Running Man meets Max Headroom. Will the great unwashed masses of American zombie sheep wake up before it’s too late? I hope so too.


      January 1, 2011 at 1:53 pm

  2. I suspect that you avoided the Reichstag reference for its obvious implications, and the fact that these implications contradict your opening assay of 9/11.
    Foremost, of course, is that agents endorsed and protected by the U.S. government, in concert with treasonous elected officials, themselves, are responsible for the direct murder of more than 3000 people, the indirect murder of perhaps many millions, and the increasing oppression of the world, at large, the deep psychopathy of which is not fully understandable until one fully realizes that so much of ensuing policy (TSA, anyone?) has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with humiliation…
    That you do not actually apply this analysis is a bit surprising, however, as, had you taken the Reichstag route originally, your post would have been more coherent even at the depths that you do plumb: “The US government stopped even pretending to pay attention to the will of the people this decade…” to which you might have added “…taking the 9/11 Reichstag as the foundational excuse for governance completely ignorant of Constitutional limitation.”
    Finally, and perhaps more importantly, I am most surprised about missing attention to the rise of the one-ring (of hidden debt obligations) to-rule-them-all driven global narrative, with the U.S. Congress playing Gollum, the Fed Reserve and fellow bankster heads playing the RingWraiths, Ron Paul as Gandalf, perhaps, and the rest of us, well, all little people unknowingly on the brink as the orcs of the IMF prowl the fences outside of the Shire… or, are we the well-meaning guardians of the White City, while our leadership banquets in bankster bribed obsequity?


    January 1, 2011 at 6:11 pm

  3. Ron Paul as Gandalf lol, “YOU SHAL NOT PASS THIS BILL” lol

    Hey Doug I didn’t know you were an Atheist, I can see where you comming from, take a look at this blog

    the “Christian” scientist Dr. Wile, he’s very smart but, well, heres a quote from his comments in response to mine

    “You most certainly do not understand the article( ). The article does not say “do not question authority.” It says that since God knows a LOT more than we do, we need to understand that judging God is nonsensical. It is like a little boy judging his father for not giving him everything he wants. The father knows more about what will make the boy happy in the long run, so for the little boy to judge the father is just a display of the boy’s ignorance. In the same way, for a limited human to judge God simply displays that human’s ignorance.”

    What do you make of that, Doug? Lol,I don’t know if I’m an atheist or not, but this guy….lol



    January 1, 2011 at 11:53 pm

  4. Well, never thought this post would generate such thoughtful comments. Various remarks, in no particular order.

    I don’t believe in 9/11 conspiracy theories for a number of reasons, mostly because they are irrelevant. The Bush administration used 9/11 as casus belli for a campaign of military aggression overseas and domestic repression at home, that’s the conspiracy people should be worried about … and if anything the 9/11 truthers are making a wonderful smokescreen for the administration.

    I don’t compare the current regime in the USA as Nazis because they aren’t Nazis. The Nazis had a wide ideological underpinning and agenda, the USA regimes only ideological agenda appears to be transferring all the country’s wealth ever upwards into ever fewer hands. Greed and corruption isn’t an ideology.

    LOL@Ron Paul as Gandalf too. If we live on Middle Earth, we live on a Middle Earth where Sauron and the orcs won long ago … humans are orcs.

    I’ve only recently gone from agnosticism to atheism. Those web sites ere interesting, but as far as I can tell, debating the faithful illustrates some fine examples of false logic, but that’s about it. I mean when the premise of your debate is that a Bronze Age mythological being actually exists … there are no logical arguments.

    And of course the staggering amount of bloodshed in the name of various Gods kinda makes it hard for me to understand the appeal of the concept in general.

    Thanks for commenting everyone. —Doug


    January 2, 2011 at 10:58 am

  5. Doug – what do you mean by “The cosmological argument for God is now dead, possibly the biggest development in theology in 400 years”?
    Do you have any references?


    January 3, 2011 at 3:48 am

    • Try A Universe from Nothing, or click on cosmology in my category cloud or search for Ekpyrotic on my site. The Universe appears to be a natural consequence of the nature of the underlaying reality, which has always been here and always will be here. No supernatural intervention required at any point, the “Who created the Big Bang?” question now appears to have workable and testable answers. —Doug


      January 3, 2011 at 8:54 am

      • human arrogance comes theough again– when it comes to theology, we have– and always have, in one variation or another– had idiots dumb enough to strap on a bomb and kill innocent people in the name of their religion… Its a very powerful force in the human mind– the concept that what they do HERE somehow affects their “afterlife” even though that is the biggest scam to befall humanity. Im just a sgt in a county in NJ, but i think this idea evolves from our primal survival instincts- only natural to want to exist after you die- and until someone comes out with an easy to understand dose of skepticism about this, it will continue ad infinitum… I stopped trying to figure out ‘whats it all about’ ages ago… To me, trying to understand Life, thenUniverse, and everything ( kudos D.N.A- R.I.P) it tantamount to a dog trying to read a physics book, listen to Beethoven, or discuss Plato’s ‘ Republic’… Its just not ever going to happen because we do not have anywhere near the capacity to do it.
        My trump card is that if there is a Biblical God, if and when I am before him I’d ask ” why did you give me such tremendous abilities and talents but expect me not to use them for what i believed was good at the time?”
        I’ll probably be cast into the 9th circle of Hell, but it is a viable question…


        January 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  6. “a dog trying to read a physics book” LOL

    I feel like that

    I kinda like the gnostic stuff, the idea that the material cosmos was created by an imperfect god seems just as, if not more, logical as a perfect god, though there is a lot I do not know about Gnosticism.



    January 4, 2011 at 9:51 am

    • If i recall correctly the gnostics believed that the Old Testiment God of fire & brimstone was somehow usurped (probably the biggest coup d’etat EVER!!!) and replaced with the present God, full of kindness, forgiveness and understanding… Could someone please tell Al Quada, the Taliban and the rest of the Islamo-fascists?


      January 4, 2011 at 10:45 am

  7. […] last post generated a number of thoughtful comments, so I thought I’d write a follow up post. Not to […]

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