Two Cultures

Two Cultures

Two generations ago CP Snow authored the book “The Two Cultures”, which identified the two cultures to be ‘literary intellectuals’ (humanities) and natural scientists. He constructed the problem in this way:

“I have been present at gatherings of people who, by the standards of the traditional culture, are thought highly educated and who have with considerable gusto been expressing their incredulity at the illiteracy of scientists. Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of: Have you read a work of Shakespeare’s?”

This is considered to be the equivalent of asking: “can you read?” My point is that the gap between the two cultures today is as wide as it was when Snow drew attention to it two generations ago. At one time in the past this divide might have been considered to be bridgeable by the two cultures; I suspect that is not a possibility. I think it is not a possibility because both cultures have been co-opted by industry.

Our intellectual cities are filled with skyscrapers of narrowly specialized knowledge; all owned by corporations. We have only highly specialized intellectuals focusing ever more narrowly on a specialty that will gain high pay with bonus or life-long tenure with high paying grants.

Corporations will never allow this specialization to cease and so we must find another way if we hope to retake our lives from the grasp of corporations.

A Ritual To Read To Each Other

If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give, yes or no, or maybe
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
-William Stafford

Not so. Corporations will integrate knowledge as soon as it becomes profitable to do so. It will become profitable as soon as it becomes necessary. That is the law of demand and the beauty of the way the market works. If it is not profitable at the moment, that means the need (read: demand) for specialized knowledge is currently greater than the need for synthesized knowledge.

the problem is that the only people who profit are the owners of the coorporation. what good does that do?

Not so. If knowledge becomes synthesized because of the motive of the corporations, the whole benefit. Likewise, if it becomes specialized, the whole will benefit as well.

Specialization and synthesis are nothing more than the dynamics of the advancement of technology. Doesn’t the consumer purchase the product? Doesn’t the advancment of technology benefit the product?

So the consumer benefits from the advanced product. Because of what corporations have done in the name of profit, my car is safer than it was 100 years ago. Why? Because it was profitable for a car company to make a safer product than the other car companies.

Money = value. If a corporation grows rich, it’s because they have created valuable things for the society at large.

Not so. If knowledge becomes synthesized because of the motive of the corporations, the whole benefit. Likewise, if it becomes specialized, the whole will benefit as well.
not when they hold the patents. coorporations come up wih innovations not to make peoples lives easier through technology, but just so that they have a new technology to sell.

If companies regularly did the best they could and ssold the best things they could for the ceapest they could they would go out of business.

coorporations are in it for their own profit, not yours. The old trickle down effect argument is not justification.

The benifits are seen on the side of the coorporation. new technology is great but chances are its incredibly expensive, inaccesable to a large part of the populaton, and will be obsolete within 3 years.

though your car might be safer than it’s original, i.e better product, things like cars are incredibly expensive, not everyone has them
. are you not disturbed by the fact theat they made cars safer in the name of profit and not safety?

things like passenger safety is an example of the limit of what the masses are intelligent enough to not tolerate from car companies.

do you think if car safety was not a public concern car companies would have cars as “safe” as they are today?

don;t you know in 100 years our safe cars will be laughed at? you’ll have to buy a new one in under 15 years anyway, if the price of gass doesnt kill the industry alltogether.

money=power if a coorporation grows rich, there is nothing to stop them from getting more rich. they aren;t out to give society a good value, they are out to suck the vaule out of society.

Justification and intent are irrelevant. The only thing that’s relevant to the market is the quality and price of the product. Companies that make the best product for the cheapest price sell more product than anybody else. It’s natural law.

The benefits are seen at both the level of the buyer and the seller. New technology is expensive, but not when it becomes old technology. I can buy and 20 year old computer for $15. The fact that it’s obsolete is irrelevant. I’m still in better shape than somebody 100 years ago who had no computer at all. But what drove the development of the computer? Profit.

The price of cars is largely determined by the level of technology. The reason the average person can afford a car is because Henry Ford invented the assembly line. Before that, only the super rich could afford a car. Henry Ford invented the assembly line because he knew if he could make a car that the average person could afford, he would make a profit.

And why should I be concerned if they make cars safely for a profit? My only concern is my safety. Concern for how much money another person has is called jealousy.

That is the definition of demand. “not tolerate” = demand. The consumers make a demand, and the corporations must respond, if they can. Otherwise, another corporation will respond and end up making all the money.

Again, public concern is the definition of demand.

So? In 100 years people will own better things than I do? Is that bad?

The fact that I have to buy another one is because of entropy. It’s a law of physics. Should I be mad at entropy?

It doesn’t matter what they’re out to do. What they can do is limited by what the consumer demands. If they don’t respond to consumer demand, another corporation will, because they want to sell a product and make a profit. That the nature of the free market.

you would think that, but once companies begin to control monopolies of market areas they begin to charge more because they can. they exercise greed and make the consumer pay more to line their own rich pockets.

some companies work together and agree on prices that ren’t too low so that they can both make good profits.

the only thing that’s relevant is fairness.

profit is the way in whch our scoiety motivates people. what good is a 20 year old computer? none. they make you think you need a new computer, and you work to buy one; the world turns.

what they don’t tell you is that you are being overcharged for something they have sought to cur every corner on. you are buying something which is made of intentional poor quality so that you will have to buy a replacement.

We cannot give coorporations all the money and just hope that they invent something useful like a computer. why the heck should i trust in coorporations and rely on their charity. you say that the need more money so that we can get cheaper and better stuff. i say we need more money so that we can buy good cheap stuff in the first place.

so you’re saying that we should cut henry fords taxes or give him burserys so that he can do reasearch into good things?

who decides which companies should be helped out? why don;t we just use the government to control them at cost so that we can have good inventiaons without having to pay up the ass for it?

so do you think we should give car companies fniancial breaks so that they can do safety development and make more profit?

not exactly. public concern is something that is carefully manipulated. The masses aren;t concerned with car safety, they got riles up about it because of some study reported on CNN, which naturally was financed by a safety first car company.

Why should we give car companies breaks simply because they are trying to fufill demand?


You should be mad at car companies for not building a better longer lasting car because they want more profit.

do you think the population at large is any position too make informed and rational demands? the coorporations pretty much cater to thims of a childish uneducated mass.

Letting companies have all kinds of money isn;t justified because those companies will inturn give consimers a better deal, because they won’t.

If a breakthrough is made it does not help the consumer as much as it lines their pockets. who are you to decide that investing in tycoon type coorporations is a good thing. the way i see it they have too much money already.

You’re right, monopolies are the flaw in the capitalist system. The system requires and assumes competition.

But that’s why they’re illegal and I think just about any capitalist would agree they should be.

Profit isn’t the way society motivates us, it’s the way nature motivates us. Even if there was no society, a person would still work towards profit. You’re alone on a deserted island. You have one coconut in your hand and you spot a bigger one in a tree, but you’re only strong enough to carry one of them. Which one do you pick, the big one or the little one?

That’s a trade, that’s profit.

As to the second point, they don’t make me think anything. They offer up an argument, in the form of an advertisement, as to why they believe I need their product. If their argument is convincing, I’ll buy their product, if it’s not, I won’t.

Not so. If they’re product is of poor quality, I’ll buy from somebody else.

Why not? That’s how the computer was invented.

And you’re not trusting in their charity, you’re trusting in their desire to make a profit.

Helped out? You mean by the government? Situations where that happens are few and far between, and are usually done as a strategic incentive to keep the economy strong (like the recent bail-outs). As far as who decides, well if it’s the government giving the money, then our democratic process is who’s deciding. Not as good as the free market (49% of the population loses under majority rule) but it’s the best they can offer.

As to the second point, the government has no motivation to innovation. It’s the ultimate monopoly. It’s motivation is driven by competition with other nations. As we found in the USSR, if you give all the money to the government, they’ll spend it on the military and other things that increase they’re sphere of influence, to the detriment of the consumer. Only in that case, the consumer has no choices. They can’t go buy from a different government. There’s only one out there.

Yes, but then the performance-first car company will then put out an opposing study on C-SPAN that says cars are plenty safe so worry about performance. Or the economy car company will put out a study that says cars are plenty safe and have plenty performance, but fuel costs are outrageous. Again it’s in the hands of the consumer to decide who’s argument is more convincing.

I don’t think I ever said we should give anybody breaks, either. I’m not even sure what you’re talking about there.

If they don’t build better cars they won’t make a profit, because the consumers will buy from the company that does make better cars. And what’s that company’s motivation for making the better car? Profit. How so? Because if they know company A is making a crappy car, they also know all they have to do is make a quality care and everybody will buy from them.

That’s why they have magazines like Consumer Reports. You’ve identified a demand for a service (product education) and, lo and behold, somebody has been around for ages to meet that demand. And guess what, Consumer Reports, along with Kelly Blue Book and all the rest, make a profit off their sales.

Yes they will. They have to. Their survival depends on it because if they don’t, another company will, and will make all the money. The first company will go out of business.

It does both. New inventions means better products for the consumer. We’ve already been through this. The reason Apple is making a killing off the iPhone is because it’s by far the most useful and user-friendly phone on the market. Lots of happy consumers out there.

And, since we’re talking about my money, I’d say I’m the perfect person to decide if investing in them is a good thing. And if I’m not smart enough, I’ll hire an investment company who is.

I know, if you stop starting threads all over the internet, without offering any followup or personal convictions, you might, MIGHT!!!, just stop someone from thinknig that you are a total dick.

Too late!! =;