RE: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Mon Jan 14 2002 - 18:36:09 GMT

  • Next message: Grant Callaghan: "RE: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception"

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    From: "Grant Callaghan" <>
    Subject: RE: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception
    Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 10:36:09 -0800
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    In reality, Bush's decisions have little to do with George Bush. The
    presidency is a team of people who depend on other teams of people to come
    up with contingency plans and all the president can do is choose among them.
      Even then, he seeks the advice of his advisors such as Ms. Rice and Colin
    Powel before he makes his decision. Bush is just the last person to touch
    it before it goes into effect and that touch is more symbolic than
    substantive anyway. What he does is try to rally the Ameerican people
    behind the plans and ideas of others.

    In any case, there's nothing we can do about the past and the actions of
    people who have long been out of office. The only thing we can alter is
    what we might do in the future and that is often taken out of our hands by
    the rapid pace of changing events. We tend to react rather than act to
    prevent dangers we can't imagine. I don't think that's likely to change.


    >From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: RE: Knowledge, Memes and Sensory Perception
    >Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2002 10:29:28 -0500
    >In fairness, the US was put into a most difficult situation on Sept 11,
    >regardless of how our actions before that may have helped create the
    >conditions that led to Sept. 11. We had never imagined that this might
    >happen to us, and our perception that we are liked around the world made it
    >even harder to fathom. Given the level of our impacts globally, Americans
    >generally do not know much about the world outside our borders. Much of
    >official Washington was thrown into what I view as cognitive panic. We just
    >didn't know _how_ to think about Sept 11. We have discussed on this list
    >what the options might have been and their pros and cons, and much as I
    >disagree with what Bush/Rumsfeld/Ashcroft have done, I also can understand
    >how they embarked on that course of action. It was a time when mistakes
    >easy to make, and with clamour to 'do something (anything) fast' their job
    >was only made harder.
    >Slowly, the Bush administration is beginning to see the inconsistencies and
    >drawbacks of their actions: yesterday, unidentified Whote House 'sources'
    >conceded that the US actions in Afghanistan haven't 'won the war on
    >terrorism.' Next, I hope, will come the recognition that when something
    >fails, doing it harder is not the answer. And then perhaps there will be a
    >willingness to think about terrorism intelligently and to design policies
    >and actions that will defuse it. But I think it will be several months
    >before we get to this point.
    >Also, in the category of the Bush administration calming down and coming to
    >its senses, it has now conceded that missile attacks from 'rogue states'
    >not the greatest military danger to the US, but that low-grade terrorist
    >attacks (e.g. trucks a la Oklahoma city) are. Some analysts have been
    >arguing this for months (and some years) and it is nice to see some
    >I guess this email is in the way of a plea to those who are critical of US
    >actions (as I am) to understand the immense cognitive blast of Sept 11.
    >Decision-makers here were dazed, and in this conditon mistakes -- even huge
    >ones -- are easy to make. The Bush adminsitration understood little of the
    >US role internationally, and next to nothing about the Middle East. They
    >embarked on a steep learning curve, but felt compelled to take major action
    >before they had had a chance to progress far along it. Now it seems
    >understanding may be beginning to catch up with action. It is a shame that
    >some of these actions may have now foreclosed a range of options that with
    >the growing learning may come to be viewed as advantageous.
    >Sept 11 has a lot to teach us about memetics, and I hope that we continue
    >remember this when we discuss Sept 11 on this list. There is plenty of room
    >for disagreement on the substance of the Bush actions.

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