Thursday, 1 September 2016

The "cultural heritage" group neurosis 19: GroupThink analysis and examples (ii)

"The Cruel Practices of Prince Rupert"
1643 English Civil War propaganda pamphlet
For the GroupThink chart, see section (i) in yesterday's post.

Boxes B1: Structural faults and B2: Provocative context.

These two boxes work in combination.

B1. Insulation of group:

While there are many groups that are involved in the cultural heritage situation the apex position is occupied by UNESCO and within the sub-heading of "cultural property" it works with states to both limit the export of cultural property and to have such property returned to those states. Although such property can consist of non-archaeological items such as books and manuscripts, paintings and so on, the main topic I am dealing with here is archaeological material in its broadest definition; material objects from a relatively distant past that have, at some point, been either excavated from the ground or removed from above ground monuments. In some cases, these object were taken from their original locations many hundreds of years ago. For example, a vast number of Italian objects were excavated and moved to museums and collections under the authority of the Renaissance Pope Leo X Medici who encouraged the archaeological interests of the artist Raphael. The Renaissance was the main starting point of private collecting as well.

Going back a few decades, and in general, both archaeology and museums were on the same side against private collecting. Before that, the conflict was far less extreme and I can remember when the British Museum released a number of duplicates which, under the discretion of its staff, could be given to young visitors to the museum who showed an interest in archaeological subjects. This was done in order to further their interests. It was also a small museum employee who encouraged my interest in ancient coins and antiquities and connected me with others who had the same interests.

B1 Lack of tradition of impartial leadership:

Recently, though, museums have also been under the critical eye of archaeologists supporting the UNESCO aims, and this has generated further groups such as legal specialists and academic departments which focus on cultural property crimes. The states which ratify the UNESCO conventions about cultural property protection (although often more interested in its political applications) also hold authority over foreign archaeologists excavating in their country, so this becomes a very strong incentive for archaeologists to side with them. Museums, too, are now often complying with these states and in return, the larger ones, are getting permissions to show exhibits on loan from these same states. Smaller museums in less populated areas just cannot afford to mount such exhibitions so the idea that world cultural heritage belongs to all, is limited to people in large cities, and because of the efforts instigated in the main by many archaeologists, taken away from collectors who might live far from such cultural centres. Museums, who are mostly interested in getting people through the doors (in order to either receive box office receipts or government money to operate) are less interested in providing free images for less wealthy people in rural areas to be able to see and make use of. There are important exceptions, though. The British Museum and some other large museums in other countries have very good records online that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere. This is not the case, though, in most countries where archaeology is a major tourist attraction as I have satirized on this blog in Scrooge McHawass' money bin.

B1 lack of norms for methodological procedures

As archaeology has a vested interest in the UNESCO conventions, its PR instigators knowingly spread misinformation through its network of sub-groups such as the press who are always willing to bow to popular misconceptions because "popular" equals subscriptions and advertising revenue; the legal professions, and academic departments where it presents profitable avenues for specialization. I have spoken of evolution and how subsequent generations preserve gene-like changes (even including memes) that become a functioning part of future developments even when the original causes are gone. These can generate false actions because the organism or group is not only no longer affected by the original situation but has no conscious awareness of its purpose. Thus evolution rewards a pro-survival new action with pleasure. Tens of thousands of years later, a person places their first bet on a blackjack game at a casino and wins. The pleasure is so great that they continue to visit the casino and play more blackjack. Sometimes they win and sometimes they lose. Over time, the casino wins because that is how the game and betting is designed. Whenever they win, however, the pleasure is not as great as it was the first time because they are now in a very different social state than their distant ancestors and originality has succumbed, to a very considerable degree, to agreement and "being normal". Evolution's wires have become crossed. Winning is now the thing, not doing something original. They have confused the source of the evolutionary reward. Now, a few of these (now addicted) gamblers will seek ways to win more often and learn how to count cards to give themselves an advantage over the casino. After all, card counting is not illegal. It is, however "illicit" according to the casino, and the casino has the right to refuse service to them if they are caught.

So archaeologists in league with the aims of UNESCO and who are part of a group who benefits from doing so has already inherited some of the corruption of foreign states who use archaeology for population mind-control (as is shown in Archaeology Under Dictatorship as a spectrum not just restricted to dictatorships but present to a lesser degree in all states). This inheritance manifests itself in further illicit but not illegal actions where the mind control component is passed on to the public in the form of memes. Curiously, the word "illicit" is favoured far more than the word "illegal". In essence, it has become a typical "Freudian slip" which can also then become another meme even where there is no unconscious reverberation after it has been passed on. The Wikipedia entry on Freudian slips reveals this secondary state under the heading of exceptions.

There are a vast number of examples of archaeologist subterfuge I could use, but I will just give you an example of one of the big ones:
"Illicit trade in cultural properties is now the third largest black market after drug and firearms."

This comes from an academic legal specialist and is on the site of the blog of another academic legal specialist.  Here's a fun project for you: identify the blogger. It is not at the top of the page. Perhaps it is at the bottom, so scroll down. You will notice that every time you do that, or type (on Windows) control/end, more posts will appear to scroll through. how many times do you have to do that to realize that it is a blog and who its author is? A Google search for anything on that run of posts will not go to the specific post  but to the very long run of continuous posts. You will have to use your browser's search to get you the title I gave above. It's annoying and "illicit" by internet mores, but it's not illegal.

Next, take a look at the verity of the statement that is made. I have selected just a couple of links with excerpts:

1.  Counterfeit Drugs $200 Billion
2.  Prostitution $186 Billion
3.  Counterfeit Electronics $169 Billion
4.  Marijuana $141.80 Billion
5.  Illegal Gambling $140 Billion
6.  Cocaine $85 Billion
7.  Prescription Drug Abuse $72.5 Billion
8.  Heroin $68 Billion
9.  Software Piracy $63 Billion
10. Cigarette Smuggling $50 Billion
11. Counterfeit Foods $49 Billion
12. Counterfeit Auto Parts $45 Billion
13. Oil Theft $37.23 Billion
14. Human Smuggling $35 Billion
15. Counterfeit Toys $34 Billion
16. Human Trafficking $32 Billion
17. Illegal Logging $30 Billion
18. Methamphetamine $28.25 Billion
19. Illegal Fishing $23.50 Billion
20 Illegal Wildlife Trade $19 Billion
(50 in complete list) Havocscope Global Black Market Information

The Black Market
Product Counterfeiting $225 billion
Illegal Gambling (80% Sports Gambling) $150 billion
Marijuana $82 billion
Cocaine $35 billion
Movie Piracy $25 billion
Prostitution $14.6 billion
Music Piracy $12.5 billion
Cigarette Smuggling $11.75 billion
Gas and Oil Smuggling $10 billion
Software Piracy $9.7 billion
Meth $1.8 billion
Illegal Logging $1.25 billion
Counterfeit U.S. Dollars $103 million
Alcohol Smuggling $34 million
Statisticbrain.com Black market Illicit Trade Statistics 

There are differences in the two because of the sources used and times accessed and because of the lists classification parameters, but you can see where the truth is and the use of "drugs and firearms" in the first quote is deliberately orchestrated to produce a meme.

More tomorrow.


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