Chronology of Decay: A Textbook Story

The world is filled with stories about how short-sightendess and short-term self-interest can cause disaster and decay of once functioning systems. However, the one published by BBC – and, to make matters worse, describing things happening on a continental level – is amazingly blunt and straightforward, showing how collapse out of sheer neglect and high-level stupidity can have drastic and widespread consequences.

This is one of those texts that cause a deep and overwhelming feeling of sadness over the condition of human mind and the depths human spirit can fall to. It couldn’t have been simpler. It couldn’t have been clearer. And yet, it happened. On a scale that can’t be called anything else but epic.

And the worst thing of all is that not many will learn from it, even those further to the west.

Will Central Asia fight over water? by Rustam Qobil

“EU funds money is cruel money”

One of the most renown “small” observatories in the world with the education centre attached – the one in Višnjan in Istria – is going to keep existing, although it was a close call. After a few years of shutting programmes one after another due to lack of funding, local counties came to their senses and realised the tourist potential of the whole educational centre. More information should be published soon; in the meantime, the Croatian version of the text is here, but what is sticking out of the whole case are a few sentences spoken by the observatory and educational centre’s founder and manager, Korado Korlević, where he addressed a wider issue: EU funds being handed out to scientific, cultural and other NGO projects.

“We have seen that this is a very cruel money, that, in the end, it boils down to violence of administratively stronger inflicted upon the weaker. We have also witnessed that the government services in Croatia, instead of helping out, just wait for you to make a mistake and then issue a fine and ask of you to return the money you received. You write projects, you struggle, you wait for the funds for two years, and then someone demands that you return 10 percent because you didn’t do everything according to the 600-page manual. We decided it was best if Europe and the state keep their money. I can’t ask of the girls who work here to go through this administrative violence, to be on edge and unable to sleep throughout the week when they are writing projects and reports. No country should do this to their citizens.”

Migration Period and Grey-Road Walkers

We are witnessing an event of epic proportions that, as is usual in history, has no immediate solution. Nobody knows of any. So, in these extraordinary circumstances, let us at least try to do as few things as possible that would identify us as non-humans and which would make the future generations ashamed of us. As long as they are here, let’s not stand in the way of grey-road walkers.

Dražen Ciglenečki
Grey-Road Walkers
Novi list, September 20th, 2015 A. D.

Apart from this epic conclusion, the text is mostly tied to daily political events. The title is taken from a song by Azra, a cult Croatian rock band from the ’80s, that is amazingly fitting today.

A rough translation by me.

COLD AS ICE

I started for Vienna to find my lass
Didn’t know what to do, went for the first time

Cold as ice, killed by hopelessness
Cold as ice, killed by hopelessness

Austria, a hard land for walkers on grey roads
Class peace and other trinkets, stagnant backwater

Old Vienna, a good name she has, a pretty name known by all
But girls in the streets are no good
And the cripples are frequent and a usual thing
And I said, God, save Österreich

CORBEAU’S BRIEF HISTORY OF CROATIA
Part One: Before the Nation

While communicating with a Ukrainian friend through e-mail, she wanted to know more about Croatia and Croats, being from a country currently going through something similar to what Croatia went through twenty years ago. Keeping in mind that I’m completely the wrong person to give a neutral account of a topic like that (being overly critical, unpleasantly sarcastic and generally negative and, most importantly, not a historian or anything related) I decided, what the hell, if I’m writing something like that, why not make it available to others, too?

So here it is: my version of Croatia’s past and present – and my argument as to why there is no future. Use at your own risk, do not quote as a source, Wikipedia is much more reliable. Seriously. This is just a personalised composition that may serve as a starting point for someone interested in researching further.
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Fear…

…is a mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

Or:

Breaking the Kyklos, part 2

Dynamic systems are a bitch. They are, well, dynamic, consisting of many parts and are, very often, unpredictable. For example, one of the things that falls into this category is called “society”. Sometimes we want to predict how a society will behave under certain conditions. We know that guessing it accurately is impossible. However, sometimes a discussion about the dynamics can be helpful, especially if we want to obtain a certain result. For example, a stable and advancing society.

I have already pinpointed some inherent problems with the system called Democracy. I also noted that replacing it with something else is not the preferable solution. So let’s see what else we may have at our disposal.
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Breaking the Kyklos, part 1

People who are past a certain age tend to see everything around them more critically, leading to the (in)famous old age adage “This is not the way things were done in my time”, usually dismissed by claiming people are most likely to be defining any “Golden Age” when they actually reach  “the age in which they need to get golden teeth”.

However, looking at the society we live in, there are more and more indications that, after a few decades – or even centuries – of constant technical and material progress, things on the part of our planet we like to call “civilized” have been stagnating. Some places have even started to slip backwards.
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Into the New Barbarism?

ape-suicideI recently stumbled upon a piece in The New Yorker, European Science’s Great Leap Backward. The fact that Europe has begun to prefer politics to data wasn’t really a surprise nor a revelation, but it did provide some additional overtones to the nagging feeling that I’ve had for some time.

The Great Leap Backward is demonstrated by a job that is no more – the position of a science adviser to the President of the European Commission is history. Apparently/It seems/it has been suggested that Anne Glover, the last person to hold the title, stepped on too many Green toes. What were her sins?

The complaint against Glover was simple: when providing scientific advice to the commission on a range of issues, from nanotechnology to G.M.O.s, she invoked data rather than rely on politics or whim. Last year, at a conference in Scotland, for example, she said that there was “not a single piece of scientific evidence” to support critics’ claims that food produced from G.M.O.s was less safe than food grown in any other way.

(emphasis by Yours Truly)

Add the anti-vaccination movement, the “chemtrails community” and the increased interest in and practice of alternative medicine to the above mentioned issues and a trend emerges. One which will surely thrive in a Europe without a scientific adviser.

Don’t believe me? A few years ago the management of the University of Zagreb (sic!) hired an “bioenergy expert” to check their premises prior to interior decoration. Further to the West, Canada had a possible creationist serving as the Federal Minister of Science for five years. Meanwhile, creationism is gaining territory across the American school system. There are probably myriads of equally or more astonishing examples in everybody’s neighbourhood.

So, are we as a species really so diversiform, with smart people pulling forward and the stupid pulling back, that the best solution really is to separate? As in, divided we stand, together we fall?