Anthropocene epoch

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The Anthropocene is a proposed epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on the Earth‘s geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.[1][2][3][4][5]

As of August 2016, neither the International Commission on Stratigraphy nor the International Union of Geological Sciences has yet officially approved the term as a recognized subdivision of geological time,[3][6][7] although the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (SQS) of the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), voted to proceed towards a formal golden spike (GSSP) proposal to define the Anthropocene epoch in the Geologic Time Scale and presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress on 29 August 2016.[8]

Various different start dates for the Anthropocene have been proposed, ranging from the beginning of the Agricultural Revolution 12,000–15,000 years ago, to as recent as the Trinity test in 1945. As of February 2018, the ratification process continues and thus a date remains to be decided definitively, but the latter date has been more favored than others.

The most recent period of the Anthropocene has been referred to by several authors as the Great Acceleration during which the socioeconomic and earth system trends are increasing dramatically, especially after the Second World War. For instance, the Geological Society termed the year 1945 as The Great Acceleration.[9]


Further References

Dirzo, R., Young, H. S., Galetti, M., Ceballos, G., Isaac, N. J. B., & Collen, B.. (2014). Defaunation in the Anthropocene. Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1126/science.1251817
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Steffen, W., Crutzen, P. J., & McNeill, J. R.. (2007). The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[614:TAAHNO]2.0.CO;2
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Lewis, S. L., & Maslin, M. A.. (2015). Defining the Anthropocene. Nature

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1038/nature14258
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Zalasiewicz, J., Waters, C., Summerhayes, C., & Williams, M.. (2018). The Anthropocene. Geology Today

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/gto.12244
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Crutzen, P. J.. (2006). The anthropocene. In Earth System Science in the Anthropocene

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/3-540-26590-2_3
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Douglas, I.. (2018). Ecosystems and Human Well-Being. In Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-809665-9.09206-5
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Hughes, T. P., Barnes, M. L., Bellwood, D. R., Cinner, J. E., Cumming, G. S., Jackson, J. B. C., … Scheffer, M.. (2017). Coral reefs in the Anthropocene. Nature

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1038/nature22901
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Steffen, W., Grinevald, J., Crutzen, P., & Mcneill, J.. (2011). The anthropocene: Conceptual and historical perspectives. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0327
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Smith, B. D., & Zeder, M. A.. (2013). The onset of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2013.05.001
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Helmus, M. R., Mahler, D. L., & Losos, J. B.. (2014). Island biogeography of the Anthropocene. Nature

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1038/nature13739
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Malhi, Y., Gardner, T. A., Goldsmith, G. R., Silman, M. R., & Zelazowski, P.. (2014). Tropical Forests in the Anthropocene. SSRN

Corlett, R. T.. (2015). The Anthropocene concept in ecology and conservation. Trends in Ecology and Evolution

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2014.10.007
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Paul J. Crutzen, & Eugene F. Stoermer. (2000). The “Anthropocene”. Global Change Newsletter

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2007.01564.x
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Van Loon, A. F., Gleeson, T., Clark, J., Van Dijk, A. I. J. M., Stahl, K., Hannaford, J., … Van Lanen, H. A. J.. (2016). Drought in the Anthropocene. Nature Geoscience

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1038/ngeo2646
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Lorimer, J.. (2012). Multinatural geographies for the Anthropocene. Progress in Human Geography

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1177/0309132511435352
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Biermann, F., Abbott, K., Andresen, S., Bäckstrand, K., Bernstein, S., Betsill, M. M., … Zondervan, R.. (2012). Navigating the anthropocene: Improving earth system governance. Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1126/science.1217255
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Zalasiewicz, J. A. N., Williams, M., Steffen, W., & Crutzen, P.. (2010). The new world of the anthropocene. Environmental Science and Technology

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1021/es903118j
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Waters, C. N., Zalasiewicz, J., Summerhayes, C., Barnosky, A. D., Poirier, C., Gałuszka, A., … Wolfe, A. P.. (2016). The Anthropocene is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene. Science

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1126/science.aad2622
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Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Haywood, A., & Ellis, M.. (2011). The anthropocene: A new epoch of geological time?. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2010.0339
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Zalasiewicz, J., Waters, C. N., Ivar do Sul, J. A., Corcoran, P. L., Barnosky, A. D., Cearreta, A., … Yonan, Y.. (2016). The geological cycle of plastics and their use as a stratigraphic indicator of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2016.01.002
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Zalasiewicz, J., Waters, C. N., Williams, M., Barnosky, A. D., Cearreta, A., Crutzen, P., … Oreskes, N.. (2015). When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal. Quaternary International

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045
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Lewis, S. L., & Maslin, M. A.. (2018). Welcome to the anthropocene. IPPR Progressive Review

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/newe.12101
directSciHub download

Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Smith, A., Barry, T. L., Coe, A. L., Bown, P. R., … Stone, P.. (2008). Are we now living in the Anthropocene. GSA Today

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1130/GSAT01802A.1
directSciHub download

SANDERSON, E. W., JAITEH, M., LEVY, M. A., REDFORD, K. H., WANNEBO, A. V., & WOOLMER, G.. (2002). The Human Footprint and the Last of the Wild. BioScience

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1641/0006-3568(2002)052[0891:THFATL]2.0.CO;2
directSciHub download

Verburg, P. H., Crossman, N., Ellis, E. C., Heinimann, A., Hostert, P., Mertz, O., … Zhen, L.. (2015). Land system science and sustainable development of the earth system: A global land project perspective. Anthropocene

Plain numerical DOI: 10.1016/j.ancene.2015.09.004
directSciHub download


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“People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.”
― Søren Kierkegaard

Noble laureate and PCR test inventor Dr. Kary Mullis
Kary Mullis - PCR is not a diagnostic tool

Quote (expressis verbis, see video below):
“With PCR, if you do it well, you can find almost anything in anybody.
It makes you believe in the Buddhist notion that everything is contained in everything else.”

Dr. Mullis comment on Dr. Anthony Fauci:
"He doesn’t know anything really about anything.”

More infos:

You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees.
An evil system never deserves such allegiance.
Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.
A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul.
~ Mohandas K. Gandhi

“Men fear thought as they fear nothing else on earth — more than ruin, more even than death. Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habits; thought is anarchic and lawless, indifferent to authority, careless of the well-tried wisdom of the ages. Thought looks into the pit of hell and ilis not afraid … Thought is great and swift and free, the light of the world, and the chief glory of man.”

~ Nobel laureate Lord Bertrand Russell (1920) “Why Men Fight: A Method of Abolishing the International Duel” pp. 178-179
Full text (ebook) available on the Project Gutenberg:

“It must not be supposed that the officials in charge of education desire the young to become educated. On the contrary, their problem is to impart information without imparting intelligence. Education should have two objects: first, to give definite knowledge — reading and writing, languages and mathematics, and so on; secondly, to create those mental habits which will enable people to acquire knowledge and form sound judgments for themselves. The first of these we may call information, the second intelligence. The utility of information is admitted practically as well as theoretically; without a literate population a modern State is impossible. But the utility of intelligence is admitted only theoretically, not practically; it is not desired that ordinary people should think for themselves, because it is felt that people who think for themselves are awkward to manage and cause administrative difficulties. Only the guardians, in Plato’s language, are to think; the rest are to obey, or to follow leaders like a herd of sheep. This doctrine, often unconsciously, has survived the introduction of political democracy, and has radically vitiated all national systems of education.”

Bertrand Russell (1922) “Free Thought And Official Propaganda”
Full text available on the Internet Archive:


A definition of “Cognitive Liberty”

by Christopher Germann (December 2018)

The term “liberty” is etymologically derived from the Latin libertatem which can be translated as civil or political freedom, condition of a free man, absence of restraint”; cognate to liber “free” and libertas “freedom” (cf. library). Ex vi termini, “cognitive liberty” is semantically synonymous with “the right to psychological and neurocognitive self-determination“. It implies that human creatures have the universal right & freedom (viz., sui iuris) to control and determine their own psychology, i.e., their neurophysiological/neurochemical and cognitive processes, emotions, and all aspects of consciousness. The concept is thus essential to the universal principle of freedom of thought (Article 91 of the Human Rights Act 1998) which in turn forms the basis (s.c., a condicio sine qua non) for the right to freedom of speech/expression. As Erich Fromm appositely articulated it: “The right to express our thought, however, means something only if we are able to have our own thoughts; freedom from external authority is a lasting gain only if the inner psychological conditions are such that we are able to establish our own individuality” (Fromm, The fear of freedom, 1942; pp.207-208). This quotation echoes Søren Kierkegaard: “People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use.

Self-determination is a cardinal principle in international law (jus cogens).2 Given the significant recent advances in psychology, the neurosciences, computer science, and artificial intelligence, cognitive liberty is becoming a topic of great concern for all human beings. This website is specifically devoted to this timely topic and provides information from a diversity of sources (an integral interdisciplinary approach is adopted to elucidate the topic from a plurality of perspectives). Insights derived from psychology, the cognitive sciences, and the neurosciences enable the manipulation and control of cognition and consciousness, oftentimes specifically targeting unconscious processes. Moreover, advances in computer science and cybernetics (e.g., Bayesian algorithms/deep learning convolutional neural networks) enable science to systematically tailor and “steer” information (the flow of perceptual input) to affect cognition and emotion (and consequently behavior) in prespecified and highly predictable ways. Especially unconscious psychological processes can be effectively exploited because humans are generally unaware of the programmatic excitability of  unconscious mechanisms. This imbalance creates a power-differential between those who know how the human mind can be manipulated (viz., the financial power elite which utilizes media and a large segment of academic science for their purposes; cf. Mausfeld, 2017) and those who do not posses a detailed understanding of psychological manipulation and behavior modification techniques  (i.e., the general populous).  The list of evolutionarily inbuilt psychological weaknesses (vulnerable psychological  exploits) is long and has been extensively studied by several generations of scientist, particularly in the domain of behavioral economics (i.e., Kahneman & Tversky’s “heuristics & biases” research agenda).
The following application provides a synopsis of numerous cognitive biases which are well documented in psychology:

Open ‘Cognitive Bias Codex’ application in a lightbox modal window (you can zoom via the mouse-wheel)
The adumbrated psychological & technological developments are unprecedented in the evolution of the human species and have far-reaching ramifications for life on this planet as a whole because it is obvious that human behavior has a significant detrimental impact on the ‘Earth System’ . The relatively novel terms anthropocene & holocene are used in this context of destruction and mass extinction. These terms refer to an important psychological self-reflective insight science has developed, the insight that human behavior destroys the global ecosystem. Because human behavior is governed by psychology it is crucial that human beings are allowed to think freely in order to be able to choose a more rational course of action. Freedom of thought needs to be fostered. Currently, a large proportion of society is transformed into mindless conformist consumers (i.e., by the mass-media and other cybernetic methods of psychological programing). This manipulative modus operandi seriously impedes the unfoldment of virtuous human potential (contrariwise primitive egocentric cognitive schemata are constantly reinforced in the ego-driven system of consumerism which is based on wish-fulfillment , satisfactions, ingestion, introjection, consumption, competition, comparison, and other egoic human “drives”).  In fact, the term homō consumens has been proposed as a more fitting substitute for homō sapiēns; a clearly self-inflated nomenclature which is etymologically derived from the Latin sapere3and thus translates into the wise or rational man – to be taxonomically exact homō sapiēns sapiēns – which duplicates the anthropocentric hubris.

The boiling frog analogy & Sôritês paradoxon

The boiling frog is an analogy describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is thrown suddenly into boiling hot water, it will immediately jump out. However, if the frog is put in cold water which is then slowly and gradually brought to a boil, it will not perceive the danger, sit still, and will therefore be cooked to death. Applied to human cognition & behavior the analogy could be interpreted as follow: If the environment changes gradually (microgenetically) in an incremental step-wise fashion, humans have great difficulty to recognize the change because each step in the evolution of the system (i.e., the change in the environment) is not drastic at all. However, over an elongated period of time the system changes significantly and the additive long-term effect of numerous small changes have extreme consequences. The question thus is: When does the system change from stable to chaotic, i.e., from “from lukewarm to boiling hot”. Per analogiam, the demarcation criterion between hot versus cold (chaotic versus stable) is not clearly defined. In the cognitive sciences this ambiguity is discussed under the header “vagueness of attributes”.4 In philosophy this is an ancient paradox known as Sôritês paradoxon (or the problem of the heap).5 The paradox is based on the seemingly simple question: When does a heap of sand become a heap? (When does the system “switch” from being life-supporting to deadly.)

Sôritês paradoxon can be expressed as a conditional syllogistic argument (modus ponens). N.B. You can replace the variable “grain of sand” with “toxic chemical molecules” in the context of environmental pollution; or with the “cutting down of trees” in the context of global deforestation; or with the “loss of species” in the context of anthropogenic reduction of biodiversity; et cetera pp.

  • 1 grain of sand does not make a heap.
  • If 1 grain of sand does not make a heap, then 2 grains do not either.
  • If 2 grains do not make a heap, then 3 grains don’t.
  • If 999999,99999 grains do not make a heap, then 1 million grains don’t.
  • ∞ ad infinitum…

Deductive conclusion

Ergo (Therefore)

  • 1 million grains don’t make a heap.

The Bald Man (phalakros) paradox is another allegory which illustrates the point: A man with a full head of hair is not bald. The removal of a single hair will not turn him into a bold man. However, diachronically, continuous repeated removal of single hairs will necessarily result in baldness. However, it is unclear when the “critical boundary” has been transgressed. In the psychology of reasoning this is termed the continuum fallacy. The informal logical fallacy pertains the argument that two states (i.e., cold vs. hot; falsum vs. verum) cannot be defined/quantised as distinct (and/or do not exist at all) because between them there exists a continuum of states (cf. many-valued logic/fuzzy logic). The fundamental question whether any continua exist in the physical world is a deep question in physics (cf. atomism). Deterministic Newtonian physics stipulates that reality is continuous. Per contrast, contemporary quantum physics is based on the notion of discrete states (quanta) as the notion of continuity appears to be invalid at the smallest Planck scale of physical existence.

Conditional Sôritês paradoxon in symbolic logic:

Mathematical Induction Sôritês paradoxon:

In linguistic terms, Sôritês paradoxon has been eloquently formulated by Black in 1937:

A symbol’s vagueness is held to consist in the existence of objects concerning which it is intrinsically impossible to say either that the symbol in question does, or does not, apply. …Reserving the terms of logic and mathematics for separate consideration, we can say that all “material” terms, all whose application requires the recognition of the presence of sensible qualities, are vague in the sense described. — M. Black (Vagueness: an exercise in logical analysis, 1937)

In the context of visual perception (psychophysics) Lord Bertrand Russel stated the following:

It is perfectly obvious, since colours form a continuum, that there are shades of colour concerning which we shall be in doubt whether to call them red or not, not because we are ignorant of the meaning of the word “red”, but because it is a word the extent of whose application is essentially doubtful. — B. Russell (Vagueness, 1923)

Figure 1. Sôritês paradoxon in visual brightness perception.

Figure 1 illustrates Sôritês paradoxon applied to visual perception (based on Russel’s argument). Adjacent luminance differences (e.g., tick-mark 1 versus 2) are indistinguishable by the human visual system while larger contrasts (e.g., tick mark 2 versus 3) are easily distinguishable.

For further information see my 2018 paper entitled: Sôritês paradoxon: Contextualism & borderline vagueness

Expand to display additional pertinent references
Voorhoeve, A., & Binmore, K.. (2006). Transitivity, the Sorites Paradox, and Similarity-Based Decision-making. Erkenntnis

, 64(1), 101–114.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/s10670-005-2373-1
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Keefe, R.. (2007). Vagueness Without Context Change. Mind

, 116(462), 275–292.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1093/mind/fzm275
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Litman, L., & Zelcer, M.. (2013). A cognitive neuroscience, dual-systems approach to the sorites paradox. Journal of Experimental & Theoretical Artificial Intelligence

, 25(3), 355–366.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1080/0952813X.2013.783130
directSciHub download

Ludwig, K., & Ray, G.. (2002). Vagueness And The Sorites Paradox. Noûs

, 36(s16), 419–461.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1111/1468-0068.36.s16.16
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Campbell, R.. (1974). The sorites paradox. Philosophical Studies

, 26(3–4), 175–191.
Plain numerical DOI: 10.1007/BF00398877
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Hyde, D.. (2011). Sorites Paradox. In Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The etymology of the term “Cognition

See also:

Cognition: That which comes to be known, as through perception, reasoning, or intuition; knowledge.

mid-15c., cognicioun, “ability to comprehend, mental act or process of knowing,” from Latin cognitionem (nominative cognitio) “a getting to know, acquaintance, knowledge,” noun of action from past participle stem of cognoscere “to get to know, recognize,” from assimilated form of com“together” (see co-) + gnoscere “to know,” from PIE root *gno- “to know.” In 17c. the meaning was extended to include perception and sensation.

1375–1425; late Middle English cognicioun < Latin cognitiōn- (stem of cognitiō ), equivalent to cognit(us ), past participle of cognōscere ( co- co- + gni-, variant stem of gnōscere, nōscere, to learn (see know) + -tus past participle suffix) + -iōn- -ion

Edaward BernaysWalter LippmannBertold BrechtErich Fromm

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society.Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.” (Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928)

  • Bernays, E. L. (1928). Propaganda. Horace Liveright.
  • Bernays, E. L. (1936). Freedom of Propaganda. Vital Speeches of the Day, 2(24), 744–746.
  • L’Etang, J. (1999). The father of spin: Edward L. Bernays and the birth of public relations. Public Relations Review, 25(1), 123–124.

“That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. . . . [a]s a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power…. Under the impact of propaganda, not necessarily in the sinister meaning of the word alone, the old constants of our thinking have become variables. It is no longer possible, for example, to believe in the original dogma of democracy; that the knowledge needed for the management of human affairs comes up spontaneously from the human heart. Where we act on that theory we expose ourselves to self-deception, and to forms of persuasion that we cannot verify. It has been demonstrated that we cannot rely upon intuition, conscience, or the accidents of casual opinion if we are to deal with the world beyond our reach. …  The public must be put in its place, so that each of us may live free of the trampling and roar of a bewildered herd.” (Walter Lippmann, Public Opinion, Chapter XV)

  • Lippmann, W. (1920). Liberty and the News. Museum.
  • Lippmann, W. (1970). The Phantom Public. Politics.

From 1930 onwards, Brecht became part of a wider complex of projects exploring the role of intellectuals (or “Tuis” as he called them) in a capitalist society. A Tui is an intellectual who sells his or her abilities and opinions as a commodity in the marketplace or who uses them to support the dominant ideology of an oppressive society. ] The German modernist theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht invented the term and used it in a range of critical and creative projects, including the material that he developed in the mid-1930s for his so-called Tui-Novel—an unfinished satire on intellectuals in the German Empire and Weimar Republic—and his epic comedy from the early 1950s, Turandot or the Whitewashers’ Congress. The word is a neologism that results from the acronym of a word play on “intellectual” (“Tellekt-Ual-In”).
According to Clark (2006):
“… the critique of intellectuals which Brecht developed… around the notion of ‘Tuismus’ engages a model of the public intellectual in which the self-image of the artist and thinker as a socially and politically engaged person corresponded to the expectations of the public.”

  • Clark, M. W. (2006). Hero or villain? Bertolt Brecht and the crisis surrounding June 1953. Journal of Contemporary History.
  • Hunt, T. C. N.-. (2004). Goodbye to Berlin:  For 200 years, German thinkers have shaped British intellectual life – but their influence is fading fast. The Guardian.

“It is very useful to differentiate between rational and irrational authority. By irrational authority I mean authority exercised by fear and pressure on the basis of emotional submission. This is the authority of blind obedience, the authority you will find most clearly expressed in all totalitarian countries.

But there is another kind of authority, rational authority by which I mean any authority which is based on competence and knowledge, which permits criticism, which by its very nature tends to diminish, but which is not based on the emotional factors of submission and masochism, but on the realistic recognition of the competence of the person for a certain job.”

― 1958. The Moral Responsibility of Modern Man, in: Merrill-Palmer. Quarterly of Behavior and Development, Detroit, Vol. 5, p. 6.



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