First International Congress on Decrankification

Recently I’ve been interested in decrankification. Decrankification is the process by which we make cranks and kooks amenable to logic and argument. Obviously, this is an interdisciplinary effort. Psychology, sociology, learning theory, philosophy, neurological science, and many other fields of inquiry must be brought to bear on this difficult question. I propose, after the manner of David Hilbert, the following “unsolved problems” in advanced decrankology:

  1. Are there identifiable patterns in the upbringing of a crank? Is there a “typical” crank upbringing, or typical elements to a crank upbringing? Perhaps common genetic tags?

  2. What early warning signs might our educators and social workers look out for in order to target and prevent cranky intellectual development?

  3. Cranks typically display a hostility towards common modes of thinking and an extreme reluctance to engage in ordinary discourse and logic. Is this hostility often rooted in mental illness? If so, can it be treated? If not, why is it often so implacable?

  4. What techniques might be brought to bear in “converting” a crank to more ordinary modes of thought? Is it profitable to mirror the crank, come down to his level, speak in his own terms? Should s/he be engaged at an intellectual level at all?

Feel free to contribute more unsolved problems or begin to answer those given. If we can save the cranks, who can’t we save?

  1. “Recalcitrant” comes to mind. They will view logic and civil discourse as products of “authority”, so they will display appropriate behavior typical of cranks and kooks by giving a finger, or mouthing off “Fuck you very much”.

  2. Giving a finger at an early age of three. Forming the ehffff consonant and the euuuu vowel.

  3. The rebellious stage of cranks and kooks are typically seen as mental illness, but really it is not. It’s just rebellion. The proper treatment is to preach them A. Meinong’s square-circle or the existence of Santa Claus. Often, when cranks become so rebellious, they are fed more logical explanation of Aristotle’s “nature of being”. This is abuse, and altogether cruel.

  4. Definitely, the best technique is to come down to his level and mirror his illogic and unreason. To a crank, that is what it means by intellectual discourse. If the crank asks “Why does God exist?” The best and only answer is “Because.” If he asks “How do we know the sun rises tomorrow?” The best and only answer is “Because Hume said so.”

Do not try to convert a crank into acrank, or a kook into akook. The nature of being of a crank is crankness, and of a kook, kookness.

All in all, it’s cool to be a crank.

Crank is the new punk?


cranks became obsolete when starter motors were invented…