1feb00. Still no request to insert a Riposte in my website. Come on, McEwan and Pepper! Presumably you must agree that you are punkah-wallahs. 21may99. After six months, I have still not received a single request/demand that I insert a Riposte into my website. Obviously, my website is totally bland. - I.C. 19feb99. >I like the idea. The net as a cross-referenced information system. >Regards, >Anne Stanton
4apr99. In the first three months, the only real comment on Riposte was by Anne Stanton (above). Although I do not have a hit counter, the www search engines do point to my site in various ways, and Rae West's site, which has many hits, points to mine. I would be very interested in comment on why Riposte excites total indifference throughout the world. I find it frightening. If there is such lack of interest in Riposte, then we cannot address the question of whether documents on government websites with their sometimes awful white papers based on factual ignorance should be open to riposte - direct, immediate factual and other refutation by the voter. Perhaps the availability of the technology for rapid, democratic intercommunication cannot be grasped by a society so used to living with the Politics of Knowledge (the title of my lecture to the Ethical Society), where suppression of fact and manipulation of fact is central to the process. I know that a powerful thrust in our culture is to deny that facts exist. It started early this century in science, and was called "instrumentalism". An example of a fact is the relative numbers of young men and young women who have been registered as unemployed on government jobcentre computers for more than one year. Instrumentalism, the ruling culture, asserts that it is not a fact that these numbers exist in government computers! Extraordinary. (Just telephone no. 0171 533 6176 and you will find that such numbers do exist. They bear immediately and crucially on government policy.) There is another possibility than the present confused mush. That is where the pursuit, or teasing out, of fact, will be separated from political, strategic and other discussion. This distinction should have been the great gift to society of the Scientific Method. Is nobody except Anne Stanton interested in a move to a more factually based, more honest society? -------------- Ivor Catt. 29jan99.
The Hinge of Fate.
One month ago I came up with the concept "Riposte", and immediately inserted it into my website home page. During the first month there has been no response whatsoever. One www search engine now has as its first hit for "Ivor Catt" the outlining of Riposte on my home page. However, I do not know how soon during the month that search engine first headlined "Riposte", which, in any case, as far as I know, is only available via the name "Ivor Catt". I fear that the M party represents the vast majority of the population, and so the Age of Enlightenment comes to an end, and we democratically usher in a new Dark Age. It is possible that the move towards universal education had the side-effect of increasing the M party, so the effect of universal education will be to destroy all. However, that is only my preliminary attempt to understand why communication of up to date facts, possibly leading to the development of new ideas by a group, is feared so much by so many. Universal education meant the rise in status and general availability of paper qualifications based on knowledge. Thus, the vested interest in established knowledge has increased, and possibly with it a fear that new facts might upset existing knowledge and reduce the cash value of the paper qualifications. Facts are of course the most threatening. However, here I digress; moving from the M party's fear of D to its fear of up to date facts. This is a preliminary analysis, based on only one month of the existence of Riposte [R], and so is premature. The local behaviour of Quakers mirrors the behaviour of members of the WWW. It they virtually all cleave to M, and eschew Riposte, then the WWW will remain an adjunct of society; an array of sources for polemic. However, if R gains general favour, the centre of gravity for communication and control will move from government and other institutions, to the WWW. An acid test of the intent of our government will be whether they adopt R in their own websites. Is there any justification for an avowedly democratic government refusing the insertion of R into its statements on the web? At the most, surely it can only limit to the insertion of R by its own nationals; those who vote it into power. Some green papers put out by our government are awful. Will our elected representatives force our paid civil servants to allow immediate contradiction (at the click of a button) by voters who pay their salaries through taxes? It is now clear that govt. departments who went on the web did not realise the threat to their (Yes Minister) careers that this entailed; that in principle they would lose control.
The dictum "Without barriers to communication there can be no communication" is Anatol Holt's greatest contribution, and he insists on failing to appreciate the magnitude of his contribution. "Riposte" seems to undermine the dictum that I have so admired since I first heard it from Holt's acolyte Richard Kalin 25 years ago. Holt is not alone. Heaviside failed to appreciate the massive importance of his concept "Energy Current". Kepler thought his "Harmony of the Spheres" was more important than his "equal areas in equal time" (= ellipse). Ivor Catt jan99
How Quakers avoid dialogue. My study of the Quakers, who, for all their good will, have absorbed from a decadent society all the standard techniques for blocking communication of up to date facts, is useful. They represent a (well meaning but thoughtless) microcosm of society in general.
The most important divide in our society; the divide which will decide whether the Age of Enlightenment comes to a close, is between those who value dialogue (D) and those who prefer monologue (M), fear dialogue, and feel entitled to block D. Recently, in my local Quaker Meeting, a discussion group D was replaced by a series of meetings designed to limit to M. It was specifically required that only one person speak at a time. This was enforced by the holding of a single marble egg. No one was allowed to question another on what they had said. I think it has a full "theoretical" structure, which is called "creative listening". It is, of course, actually "uncreative listening". The political reason for limiting to M, to blocking group development, is that polemic by an individual goes nowhere. However, the interaction of a group of minds might develop a competing orthodoxy which threatens the hegemony of Friends House in central London.
Apart from a dismissive comment on the idea from Rae West, that "many people put hyperlinks into their websites", Anne Stanton is the only response to Riposte, inaugurated 2 months ago. For one thing, this means that my website is so bland that it fails to upset anybody. I have for some time been concerned that my writing lacks edge; something I admire from afar in so much of the best writing. My book The Catt Anomaly, on this website, discusses the spokesman for the IEEE, Mink. I write; "Mink's letter is such a mess that we cannot tell…". One character emailed to me that Mink was "lucid". I asked him to put in a riposte, but he didn't. (Mink is now in Purdah, and the IEEE refuses to supply another spokesman.) Apart from that, no sign of any takers. So nobody in the world disagrees with anything on my website! - I.Catt 19feb99.
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