Shackle on Choice, Imagination and Creativity: Hayekian Foundations

The very excellent Paul Lewis has a new and freely available article here.

Thomas, Oliver, 1919-2010; Professor George Lennox Sharman Shackle (1903-1992), Brunner Chair of Ecomonic Science, University of Liverpool (1951-1969)

The greatest sitcom ever made and Walker Percy

I would urge Walker Percy aficionados (and indeed Confederacy of Dunces fans) to view this series (only three seasons) so there’s no “jumping the shark” moment. (Do not bother with the remake). The protagonist’s life is the most Percyean character I’ve come across outside of Percy’s own novels. Even though Simon Heffer doesn’t reference Percy, the quotes I’ve highlighted are thoroughly Percyean. Here is the salient Reggie Perrin excerpt from my article forming part of the Walker Percy symposium in Zygon. (Note 3 of the extract connotes a different scene from this one, but you get the idea: Reggie Perrin is interviewed on a program entitled “Pillock Talk,” pillock being a colloquial Briticism for an idiot or fuckwit). Despite my repeated viewing over the years, the series it has never lost it’s freshness and brutally scathing outlook.

 . . . he sets up a business selling rubbish, which makes him enormously rich. One of the many satirical points the writer, David Nobbs, makes is about the willingness in the consumer society to spend a fortune on items that are absolutely useless. But success upsets him just as failure had, and he disappears again, this time with his long-suffering wife.

Reggie finds the imprisonment by his routine so desperate because this is the only life he has, and, at 46, it is ebbing away from him. It is why he craves excitement, because neither his job, nor his domestic life, nor his boring circle of friends provide it. This sitcom is an exploration of the tragedy of human existence, in which a boring life is made additionally tragic because there appears to be no eternal life to follow it.

Theirs was not a life of deprivation or underprivilege – quite the reverse. But it was a life of formality, confinement, and of a barely suppressed outrage at the sheer ordinariness and repetitiveness of it all. It is no coincidence that, in the early programmes, the climax of the action is Reggie screaming.


Ostrich Parasitic Syndrome

Ostrich Parasitic Syndrome, (OPS), (os’trich [-trij] par’a-sīt’ik sin’drō-mēn. a malaise manifest as (1) conceptual- myopia/dissonance/creep and moral impairment; (2) attenuated morality of misplaced solidarité commune; (3) ossified/closed system, fundamentalist and authoritarian in character with nihilistic inclinations; (4) resentment, malevolence, ignorance, cowardice, jointly and severally, tacitly or explicitly, in the service of dissimulation (تقیة‎‎); (5) variation of “useful idiot” (Lenin), proclivity towards dhimmitude and servility, or even the most compromised of servility, the post-War phenomenon of the tenured cultural funktionshäftling or kapo.

  1. OPS(I) intellectual-yet-idiot prevalent amongst academics, politicians, journalists, bureaucrats and public intellectuals;
  2. OPS(II) Affleckthisis, prevalent within showbusiness circles (v. to be afflected);
  3. OPS(III) individual manqué, most prevalent variant within general population; morality of anti-individualism, exhibiting collective cognitive torpidity not dissimilar to that of eusocial insects, appropriately and most poetically, a standard bearer going by the surname of “cockroach” (I kid you not!).

Diagnosing the condition: To the afflected OPS(I/II/III), the two images below display no family resemblance whatsoever.

The subject, when presented with the first image, generates a quick and confident response. OPS’ers are still “bravely fighting” Nazis (you must know that “the boys from Brazil” and the KKK now constitute half the US, CAN, and UK populations). This self-aggrandizing virtue-signalling deception/dissimulation (“the practice of publicly expressed opinions/sentiments intended to convey that one is of sound character/moral correctness”) licensed under a twofold aspect: 

(a) Nazism is culturally totemic of evil (fair enough up to a point but this is now unequivocally superseded);

and derivatively,

(b) in a practical sense, their actions are very safe requiring absolutely no skin-in-the-game (i.e. “insulated from real world consequences”), this despite the enemy’s apparent ubiquitousness.

The same subjects, when presented with the second image, are noticeably more muted or when under cognitive discomfort, are impelled into incoherent “apologetics” (قیة‎‎)/inane hagiography. We can be pretty damn sure that had these people lived in the Southern states of the 1920s, Germany of the 1930s, the Soviet Union, apartheid South Africa, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Saudi Barbaria and many more current examples besides, they would not be so emboldened. Indeed, at their very fringes, their cowardice is made manifest by the very thuggery that they claim to be opposed to (ever notice the similarity between ISIS and Antifa’s black “work” garb, as well as the KKK, albeit white garb?)

The biggest danger is cowardice — Gad Father

Image 1


Image 2


Dr. John’s Gumbo

Released 45 years ago. Original Rolling Stone review.

It was partly Harold’s idea, a few years ago, for the former New Orleans session musician, Mac Rebennack, to assume the persona of a mysterious voodoo character Dr. John, and it was Harold who collected the musicians together to concoct the gris-gris sound.


First evidence for higher state of consciousness found

Popular write-up here; the original article here.

In the study, neuroscientists observed a sustained increase in the diversity of brain signals of people under the influence of psychedelic drugs, compared with when they were in a normal ‘awake and aware’ state.


Walker Percy Wednesday 132


The word boredom did not enter the language until the eighteenth century. No one knows its etymology. One guess is that bore may derive from the French verb bourrer, to stuff.

Question: Why was there no such word before the eighteenth century?
(a) Was it because people were not bored before the eighteenth century? (But wasn’t Caligula bored?)
(b) Was it because people were bored but didn’t have a word for it?
(c) Was it because people were too busy trying to stay alive to get bored? (But what about the idle English royalty and noblemen?)
(d) Is it because there is a special sense in which for the past two or three hundred years the self has perceived itself as a leftover which cannot be accounted for by its own objective view of the world and that in spite of an ever heightened self-consciousness, increased leisure, ever more access to cultural and recreational facilities, ever more instruction on self-help, self-growth, self-enrichment, the self feels ever more imprisoned in itself—no, worse than imprisoned because a prisoner at least knows he is imprisoned and sets store by the freedom awaiting him and the world to be open, when in fact the self is not and it is not—a state of affairs which has to be called something besides imprisonment—e.g., boredom. Boredom is the self being stuffed with itself.
(e) Is it because of a loss of sovereignty in which the self yields up plenary claims to every sector of the world to the respective experts and claimants of these sectors, and that such a surrender leads to an impoverishment which must be called by some other name, e.g., boredom?
(f) Is it because the self first had the means of understanding itself through myth, albeit incorrectly, later understood itself through religion as a creature of God, and now has the means of understanding the Cosmos through positive science but not itself because the self cannot be grasped by positive science, and that therefore the self can perceive itself only as a ghost in a machine? How else can a ghost feel otherwise toward a machine than bored?