The Politics of Insolation

Montreal, May 14, 1999

King Billy', ... urgent news from the philosophers council, ... we must begin immediately, in preparing for the onset of a great ice age!

Indeed!, .. and from what line of reasoning, pray tell, does this 'wise counsel' issue forth?

They say they have reviewed their long debate with your highness on the conflict in Sucaba, and in view of the reasoning error in their argument, illuminated for them by the light of your highness's great wisdom and insight, ... they have now gone back and found similar errors in such matters as arise in natural conflicts, such as with the hot and cold contentions which give rise to weather, .... and from their post-enlightment perspective, new numbers have emerged, .... numbers which leave no doubt as to the rapid onset of a most severe and enduring ice age.

This reasoning error of which they speak, ... refresh my mind, as the demands of office suck both energies and remembrances from this too mortal flesh, ... Galatea, ... that will be all for now.

You recall sire, that at your bequest, all of the kingdom's agencies were set the task of unearthing the truth in the Sucaba affair, and when you selected the report which rang most resonantly with your sensitivities, ... and made you weep, in fact, ... you knew that a perspective was now in hand on which basis a final resolution of the conflict could be imposed, ... and you urged the solidarity of all your counsels, to move forth resolutely and swiftly to make things right in Sucaba once again. But your philosophers council came back to you saying that 'perspective' was but one means of ordering the things we see, ... , one means of bringing the factual aspects of phenomena into meaningful confluence, ... the means whereby all facts and only the facts are referenced to a particular and singular vantage point, ... a 'voyeur' approach to representation which yet falls short of characterizing reality in one important way.

Now it begins to come back to me, ... that my own philosophers, ... wise men though they be, ... tried to counsel me to add 'imagination' into my 'perspective' to arrive at a 'landscape' purportedly more consistent with reality than our most diligently researched perspective, ... a concensus perspective which stood firmly and squarely on the ground of true and hard facts!

Yes indeed m'lord, ... they argued that 'truth' and 'falsehood', and 'good' and 'evil' are always Janus-faced in nature, .. and that one man's affluence may be another's poverty, and one man's truth may be another's falsehood. They said that because of this, a meaningful confluence with respect to the whole, could not emerge from a single 'perspective', ... but would have to come instead, from imagining how things might appear through the eyes of the collective, ... from all possible perspectives at the same time, ... and that this, rather than being achieved by a perspective which comes from 'voyeur' detachment, .... must come instead from an 'immersed' view, ... where one includes oneself in one's own viewfield, within the space-time domicile-cum-aetherial sphere, .. the fishbowl of shared atmosphere, in which both observer and observed dwell together, wherein all wars are seen as civil wars amongst natural brothers. And they insisted that this 'immersed' means of ordering of our observations illuminates the full volume of our landscape, .... not just a single and limited 'perspective' sketch thereof, .... but a full-blown view of 'landscape' unachievable from a single point of view, ... and brought into confluence within a single mind, by means of imagination.

... GREAT BALLS OF FIRE!!, .... what idle pedantry is this which seeks to set aside the clear and blatant facts of issues in favor of blurred and ambiguous mixtures of diverse and sundry views? I feel the flames of anger rise again within me, as these events flow back to mind, ... I realize full well that ultimate truth can ne'er be known, but there comes a point where the hot coal must be held, ... where firm action must be taken, ... and it is indeed unkind, when this time comes, for counsel, .. however well meaning, ... to dull the blade of a righteous restoration of justice, and so allow persisting rot to eat away at the margins of our kingdom. We have a sound perspective and we must accept the truth in it, and act upon it. Could they not comprehend the wisdom in my argument?

If you recall, my lord, ...this issue was indeed settled and your inspired lecture in the philosophers hall seemed to carry the day, ... that if fact could be so liberally mixed with imagination, ... perhaps these same philosophers could henceforth be paid with imaginary ducats, .... thus bringing smiles to the faces of our royal treasurers, ... to match the frowns of those who would have us lean so heavily on our imaginations. But the Sucaba issue has been decided and the kingdom's forces are faring well indeed in eradicating an evil degeneracy and rightfully returning the region to just behaviors. Scarce more remains but an ongoing occupation wherein the peoples of the region, can receive revision how a just society is constituted, ... their memory being blurred by the repression of many years. No, ... the counsel does not wish to re-open the Sucaba case, .... quite the opposite, ... it is the very wisdom in your kingly reasoning which now exposes to them this new climatic threat.

... It cheers me indeed to hear that they have, at last, taken my counsel to heart, .... now let me hear more of this new finding on the weather front.

When the truth of the Sucaba situation was circulated across the land, and the primacy of accurate, reliable 'perspective', ... purified of all dilution by the imaginary, ... rightfully restored in the public confidence, ... your highness's oceanic and atmospheric viziers, began to 'redo the numbers' on their climatic forecasts. In this undertaking, they revisited the very roots of numeric conception, ..... back to their origins as noted by Plato in his 'Timaeus', ... that numbers were give to us by night and day. You may recall the passage in Timaeaus; "... for had we never seen the stars, and the sun, and the heaven, none of the words which we have spoken about the universe would ever have been uttered. But now the sight of day and night, and the months and the revolutions of the years, have created number, and have given us a conception of time, and the power of enquiring about the nature of the universe; and from this source we have derived philosophy, than which no greater good ever was or will be given by the gods to mortal man."

Indeed I know this quote by heart, as it, itself, surfaces seasonally, as our philosophers negotiate with the kingdom's treasurers for enhancements in their compensation, and it brings to mind another quote which speaks to inequities, this one by Cicero, that in the very books in which philosophers bid us scorn fame, they inscribe their names, ... but carry on, ... this line of reasoning intrigues me, and the metaphor of night and day, exemplifies so aptly the situation in Sucaba, ... where a darkness descended over that land, needs be removed so that light of day may be restored, .... though I dread the thought that this same ineluctable reasoning confirms the submerging of our kingdom beneath a sea of snow and ice.

... The numbers reworked by the council of oceanic and atmospheric viziers were those of 'insolation' or the warming energy from the sun. This revision, was made in the light of the superiority of your rational argument on Sucaba, and in the realization that the original calculations on insolation had indeed mixed imagination with fact, ... that is, the prior forecasts had been based on an imagined landscape, a space-time conception which went well beyond the hard and tangible facts of honest 'perspective'. The viziers, on finding this, went back to each of the kingdom's observatories, seeking the best and most complete perspective on insolation, ... and as one might expect, they found a diversity of results due to the particular and limited view afforded to each observational vantage point, and of course, such perspectives as were developed by observatories outside of the kingdom could not be trusted. Eventually, one perspective was selected which all members of the council agreed was the 'best' available perspective, ... and this was accepted as being the definitive characterization of the actual insolation which falls upon our kingdom. The new value turning out to be exactly half of the value previously used, ... and while the old value had given indications of a continuing temperateness in climatic conditions, the new value predicts a rapid and radical decline in temperatures and the onset of an ice age, ... deeper and colder than any era known or inferred to have previously prevailed.

.. ONE HALF THE VALUE, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ERROR!!!!???, ... that is an error of unimaginable proportion for a property as accessible and measurable as the warmth coming from the sun, ... how, in Odin's name did this error come about?

As you know, sire, in using the method of perspective, ... one can include and depend solely upon the hard, visible and tangible facts, a view stripped of all imagination, ... and thus, from our single best vantage point, what we knew for sure was that when it was day, it was day, and when it was night it was night. But in dusting off and re-examining the old method and calculations, ... we saw that the vizier responsible, ... now long dead, ... had assumed that when it was night it was also day, and when it was day it was also night, ... but of course, from the single vantage point of perspective, ... such imaginings contaminated the calculation, and this flaw in reasoning had to be removed, consistent with our revised thinking on the Sucaba issue. By removing the effects due to imagination in these calculations, our best perspective from our best observatory yielded a result which was exactly half of what had been used previously.

... TOTAL AND UTTER NONSENSE!!!! .... the sun does not extinguish as it 'falls into the sea', ... it simply goes beyond the range of our perspective, ... but yet continues to shine on us, warming the earth from all angles and over time, that warmth coming back to us even as we give up our warmth to other parts and peoples as well, ... by means of natural space-time flows, engendering ocean currents and fresh breezes which melt the winter snows and bring on the blossoms of spring. That which we cannot see from our particular vantage point also happens and we would be unwise indeed to consider the darkness that we see in the present, as telling the whole story, ... for within the seams of darkness' ebony cloak dwells, at the same time, sunshine and warmth, ... and to miss this point, and take all for darkness through and through, is to risk crushing the buds of a spring not yet come which lies a hair's breadth beneath the dark topsoil of season.

In case this report displeased you, sire, they attached another, an alternative, which, unlike the first, in being imaginings based on tangible actions, ... this instead involves tangible actions based on imaginings, ... for your review and approval.

What game is this these rascals play, I can't imagine! Bring me then, this order, that I might consider upon it.

Here it is sire, ... and if and when your hand is to it, ... it will direct your generals in Sucaba to desist from their mission of purification, of eradicating darkness in Sucaba, ... and commence a new mission of bringing in a balance wherein the seasons, which dwell in all things, are cultivated to bring forth new and harmonious growth rather than to secure an imposed domination of one thing o'er t'other, of 'good' over 'bad'.

... Galatea, fetch me plume and ink, and cancel my remaining appointments, ... it seems we may become the makers of our fate only when we have ceased to pose as its prophets. On the eve of our committed actions, as I read the multifold perspectives on Sucaba, I wished that we could rid the world of the tyranny of facts, ... for what are facts but compromises? ... a fact merely marks the point where we agree to let investigation cease. And if I have misconstrued the facts, .... a man should never be ashamed to own he has been in the wrong, ... which is but saying that he is wiser today than he was yesterday. So get these new orders forthwith to our generals, and leave the door open as you part, that the light may shine on our continued undertakings.

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