Monday, April 20, 2015

America needs a National Water Policy



 A little over two years ago, my sister Madeleine Kando wrote a piece on this blog, Water: An Endangered Species? As her title indicates, she was addressing an issue all too familiar to many of us - water scarcity. She hit the nail on the head when she wrote that “the biggest threat to the supply and availability of water and as such to life on earth, is the trend towards privatization of water resources.”
 I now pick up this issue, which has only become more acute since then:

This past winter has been one of two opposite extremes, climatewise: Back East, there has been record-breaking precipitation. The snow which accumulated around my sister Madeleine’s house in Boston reached as high as her roof. Read more...

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Mentality of Mass Murder - Part Five: Towards Armageddon for the Human Species, or the Golden Age?





This is the final part of a five-part review of The Killing Compartments; The Mentality of Mass Murder (Yale University Press, 2015), a new book by Abram De Swaan, Professor Emeritus of Social Science, University of Amsterdam. (Page numbers referenced are for the e-version of the book). Due to its length, the review is broken up into five parts. I hope you read it all.

Abstract: The book under review offers a profound analysis of the phenomenon of Mass Extermination. There are four types: The Conqueror’s Frenzy, Rule by Terror, the Loser’s Triumph and the Megapogrom. De Swaan provides rich and vivid case studies from past and current history. The author refutes the fundamental fallacy of situationism, which suggests that we are all potential mass murderers. He does this with a four-level analysis, the levels of macro-sociology, meso-sociology, micro-sociology and psycho-sociology. Human societies go through both the civilizing process AND the de-civilizing process - regression towards barbarism. I conclude with some speculation about the future of our species and its potential for survival as well as for self-destruction. Read more...

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Mentality of Mass Murder - Part Four: Are we all Potential Mass Murderers?



This is the fourth part of a five-part review of The Killing Compartments; The Mentality of Mass Murder (Yale University Press, 2015), a new book by Abram De Swaan, Professor Emeritus of Social Science, University of Amsterdam. (Page numbers referenced are for the e-version of the book). Due to its length, the review is broken up into five parts. I hope you read it all.

Abstract: The book under review offers a profound analysis of the phenomenon of Mass Extermination. There are four types: The Conqueror’s Frenzy, Rule by Terror, the Loser’s Triumph and the Megapogrom. De Swaan provides rich and vivid case studies from past and current history. The author refutes the fundamental fallacy of situationism, which suggests that we are all potential mass murderers. He does this with a four-level analysis, the levels of macro-sociology, meso-sociology, micro-sociology and psycho-sociology. Human societies go through both the civilizing process AND the de-civilizing process - regression towards barbarism. I conclude with some speculation about the future of our species and its potential for survival as well as for self-destruction. Read more...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Mentality of Mass Murder - Part Three: How is Mass Annihilation Accomplished?



 This is the third part of a five-part review of The Killing Compartments; The Mentality of Mass Murder (Yale University Press, 2015), a new book by Abram De Swaan, Professor Emeritus of Social Science, University of Amsterdam. (Page numbers referenced are for the e-version of the book). Due to its length, the review is broken up into five parts. I hope you read it all.

Abstract: The book under review offers a profound analysis of the phenomenon of Mass Extermination. There are four types: The Conqueror’s Frenzy, Rule by Terror, the Loser’s Triumph and the Megapogrom. De Swaan provides rich and vivid case studies from past and current history. The author refutes the fundamental fallacy of situationism, which suggests that we are all potential mass murderers. He does this with a four-level analysis, the levels of macro-sociology, meso-sociology, micro-sociology and psycho-sociology. Human societies go through both the civilizing process AND the de-civilizing process - regression towards barbarism. I conclude with some speculation about the future of our species and its potential for survival as well as for self-destruction. Read more...

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Mentality of Mass Murder - Part Two: Humanity's Prospects for Civilization and for Self-Destruction



This is the second part of a five-part review of  The Killing Compartments; The Mentality of Mass Murder (Yale University Press, 2015), a new book by Abram De Swaan, Professor Emeritus of Social Science, University of Amsterdam. (Page numbers referenced are for the e-version of the book). Due to its length, the review is broken up into five parts. I hope you read it all.

Abstract: The book under review offers a profound analysis of the phenomenon of Mass Extermination. There are four types: The Conqueror’s Frenzy, Rule by Terror, the Loser’s Triumph and the Megapogrom. De Swaan provides rich and vivid case studies from past and current history. The author refutes the fundamental fallacy of situationism, which suggests that we are all potential mass murderers. He does this with a four-level analysis, the levels of macro-sociology, meso-sociology, micro-sociology and psycho-sociology. Human societies go through both the civilizing process AND the de-civilizing process - regression towards barbarism. I conclude with some speculation about the future of our species and its potential for survival as well as for self-destruction. Read more...

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Mentality of Mass Murder - Part One: Humanity's Prospects for Civilization and for Self-Destruction



Today, I am posting the first part of my review of  The Killing Compartments; The Mentality of Mass Murder (Yale University Press, 2015), a new book by Abram De Swaan, Professor Emeritus of Social Science, University of Amsterdam. (Page numbers referenced are for the e-version of the book). It is a long review, so it’s broken up into five parts. I hope you read it all.

Abstract: The book under review offers a profound analysis of the phenomenon of Mass Extermination. There are four types: The Conqueror’s Frenzy, Rule by Terror, the Loser’s Triumph and the Megapogrom. De Swaan provides rich and vivid case studies from past and current history. The author refutes the fundamental fallacy of situationism, which suggests that we are all potential mass murderers. He does this with a four-level analysis, the levels of macro-sociology, meso-sociology, micro-sociology and psycho-sociology. Human societies go through both the civilizing process AND the de-civilizing process - regression towards barbarism. I conclude with some speculation about the future of our species and its potential for survival as well as for self-destruction. Read more...

Monday, March 23, 2015

Street View

by Madeleine Kando

In a bout of nostalgia, I googled 'Sevres, France' the other day, a suburb halfway between Paris and Versailles, where my family moved to, after the War. Not only did I google it, I ogled at it with Google map's 'street view' , zooming in on the minutest details of the place where I grew up. This turned into a daily obsession and I found myself maneuvering my way around the narrow streets of a place that until now had the decency of only existing in my memories and my dreams.

I knew Sevres still existed, but who cared? 'Apres moi, le deluge' was my motto, when it came to memories. But street view burst my bubble. There was no deluge apres moi. Sevres was as alive now as it had always been. It hadn't even changed an iota. I felt cheated. What was the use of lugging all these memories around, when some present day high tech camera can drive around and record in a few minutes what had taken me a life time to preserve in my head? Read more...