Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Market share and the past: part 4.

Disintegrating pie. Soon, no one will see the pie at all.
The past is increasingly being divided up, but "having a slice of the pie" might not be the best way to look at what is happening. We hear of "stakeholders"; "warring camps"; "special interest groups"; "opposing theories". We have historians; archaeologists; mythographers; curators; dealers; collectors; taxonomists; and many specialists within these areas. And there are academic; independent; hobby and commercial interests.

For a short time during the cold war I had volunteered to work with the RCMP Security Service as an an operative to combat a terrorist threat. An agent explained to me who the real enemy was: it was not the terrorist group I had stumbled upon, it was the instigators of that group. They had no interest at all in the problems and aims of the minority group involved, all they wanted to create was division within the country, "to break its backbone", the agent said. The instigators would create the terrorist groups along what is now called the clandestine cell system, but back then it was called the communist cell system because the various groups here were instigated by the KGB at that time.You can see how it evolved from the structure of the lower levels of the Soviet Communist Party. There would be only one person within any given cell who would have contact with someone in another cell. As there was a never-ending supply of instigators, the agent told me, prosecuting any of them through legal system was just a waste of time: more would arrive before the process was even completed. I decided that I did not want to hear any further clarification of this matter. All I had to do was to gather intelligence and I would regularly meet with various agents to pass that on. No agent was allowed to come into personal contact with anyone who was being investigated. Everything was done through operatives. We were the "cannon-fodder". We were expendable

Minority groups were, and are, being used in many different ways and it goes far beyond terrorism: they can be used as justification for new laws (which can then be used for other purposes); they can be used for international shady deals. There is no end to their usefulness. And there are so many of them. Of course, any power that they have is something bestowed on them and it can just as easily be taken away again. They have no power of their own.

In any statistical analysis of anything, there is always a danger of having samples that are too small when the data is divided into questions. At such times the questions have to be reworked to be more general. There is the joke about the specialist who knows more and more about less and less until everything is known about nothing. Powerless things come in small packages.

The best way to lessen any interest is to break it up into smaller and smaller pieces. A corollary to this is that the best way to increase any interest is to apply many different methods to it. In archaeology, interdisciplinary methods are always being promoted but not always very effectively. I have seen "interdisciplinary conferences" where most people just experienced only that which was within their own specialty. If the building had been sentient, it would have benefited from what was being spoken about within it  but building are not sentient. At such conferences, any sort of unity is an illusion that just makes people feel better.

Transdisciplinary pie
The interdisciplinary pie is really just the pie that gets gets sliced up and everyone hopes to get a big slice. But there is another sort of pie that is far better than the interdisciplinary pie and the disintegrating pie as it never vanishes into almost invisible crumbs: You look at it in slightly different ways and in different lights, but it is always whole. Not only does the pie stay together, it keeps improving. This is the transdisciplinary pie. Everyone gets a whole pie! Unfortunately, although transdisciplinarity is being used for all sorts of social and industrial applications, it is barely even spoken of with regard to the past. Its absence, however, has been noticed and we will look into that tomorrow.

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  1. Hello John:

    The Communist ethic also encompassed what they termed the, 'Long March Through the Institutions,' whereby sympathisers could be recruited - lecturers and teachers or anyone who had sway over students - could influence them favourably, cause dissension, and question values. Every aspect of life in the Free West was infiltrated. Of course, the excesses of Communism were never revealed, but instead held aloft as Utopia.

    I can't understand why someone might defect or betray his/her country to aid a Communist takeover of their Mother country for political reasons. I'm damned if I can forgive anyone who'd betray his fellow countrymen to such a fate for money, employment, or, worse, to improve their personal situations.


    John Howland

  2. Hi John,

    With the terrorist group I was investigating, there would have been no more than one of them who was aware he was working for the KGB. That's fairly typical. Often, the real aims of the group and the nationality of its instigators is very different from what its members believe.

    It was also fairly typical for those offered jobs in communist countries to discover when they got there that actual membership in the Communist party was mandatory (although you would think that they should have guessed that from the start!).

    There are no friendly countries in Intelligence. Everyone spies on everyone else. People were sometimes recruited as university students for low-level jobs like phone-tapping. I found one university student in Calgary in 1970 who was tapping phones for the CIA. He showed up, uninvited, at a party and was flashing a big roll of money. So I grabbed a bottle of whisky and a couple of glasses and had a friendly chat with him. Even the lines between national/military intelligence and private sector intelligence are very blurry, indeed! Not a very nice business -- much slimier than what the James Bond movies portray.



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