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pantodragon

The History of Exploration, Trade and Travel

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: people are incompetent. Humans have created a society which they are neither competent to live in, nor competent to manage.

History is littered with examples of incompetence. Of course, historians (and others), as incompetent as the next person, fail to identify this phenomenon. Thus, while the truth is that the history of exploration, travel and trade is plagued with tales of bungling ineptitude, of incompetent thugs (lads) rampaging around the world laying waste to land and people with gay abandon, people express admiration for the bravery of those hooligans who were idiot enough to “boldly go where no man has gone before”.

(The recent (6 years ago?) Star Trek film shows a wonderful lack of understanding in this regard. It portrays the young James T Kirk as a hot-headed daredevil. Hot-headed dare-devilry breeds incompetence. It would have taken a miracle to metamorphose that fool into the James T Kirk of the original series. He, at least, was portrayed as still having some of his marbles intact and was therefore a more credible character.)

Giles Milton’s book “Samurai William” describes a beautiful example of human incompetence at the end of the 16th century.

Dutch merchants financed an expedition to Indonesia and the Spice Islands which comprised a fleet of 5 ships. This was going to be a round the world voyage which in those days might have been roughly equivalent to sending people into space today. The scale of the incompetence surrounding this venture is staggering.

1: The ships were manned by drunks and prisoners “pressed” into service i.e. men who neither wanted to be sailors nor knew anything about the sea. As to the volunteers (as opposed to the drunks and prisoners), well, there appeared to have been one who had first hand experience of sailing round the world. But life is cheap. And since the financiers were expecting to make spectacular profits from the trip, using inexperienced men, with the attendant risk of loosing most of their fleet, was a risk well worth taking.

2: It was not until the last minute that the expedition’s financiers revealed the fleet’s destination. So, no time for proper planning, then, eh? Any volunteer who signs up for a voyage under those circumstances is incompetent and gets what he asked for.

3: The ships’ resources were managed by incompetents: by the time the fleet reached the north African coast, the men’s food was rationed.

4: Re-stocking the ships’ food rations was always going to be well nigh impossible since the African coastline was under the control of nations hostile to the Dutch. All the more reason to exercise care with resources.

5: The captains of the Dutch fleet were so incompetent as to antagonise even further the already hostile Portuguese and Spanish.

6: The crews were unable to cope with the climates of the tropics or the southern oceans.

7: The Dutch ships were not fit for purpose: their timbers decayed and rotted in tropical waters.

8: The fleet’s captains were incompetent at building friendly relations with the native peoples they encountered. Result: the crews continued to starve and were killed in skirmishes.

(In the film Independence Day enormous, black, alien spacecraft hover menacingly over the world’s cities. Under such circumstances, it is obvious to even the dumbest cretin that the aliens’ intentions are hostile. In the same spirit of hostility, the Dutch ships “hovered” threateningly off the coast by native villages. Hardly surprising the natives proved to be hostile.)

9: Scurvy swept through the fleet. Totally unnecessary. A cure for scurvy had been discovered nearly a decade before. (As I said, life is cheap.)

10: The ships’ pilots were operating in waters that were beyond their competence to handle.

11: As well as the “enemy without” there was an “enemy wihin” i.e. the crews fought amongst themselves as much as they fought the Spanish, Portuguese and native peoples.

12: Only a handful of men survived the expedition.

13: The entire expedition comprised bad decisions piled upon bad decisions, with fatal results.

This story is far from unusual in the history of exploration, travel and trade. And the same phenomenon can be observed today in any walk of life. Hardly surprising. Incompetent behaviour is, after all, a ‘communicable disease’. Since incompetence is built into the very foundations of human society, the rest of the structure is fatally flawed.

Finally: I’ve talked above of trade and exploration as the driving forces behind expeditions such as the one described above, and this may make some of the sacrifices seem acceptable. For example, a country that is unable to trade is a country which may sink into poverty. However, the REAL motivation behind these enterprises is the desire for power. That is, they were not for the good of the country, not done out of necessity, but for POWER. Money is a route to power. Possessions are a route to power.

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Posted (edited)

Those that can, do, those that can't preach to others about it.

Take polar expeditions as an example, historians have written many books about it - Shackleton, Scott, Amundsen....they have all had books written about them. One man (who I won't mention as I don't want to muddy his name - yet he is strangely regarded as an 'expert') wrote a scathing attack on Scotts expeditions, yet this man has never foot in either polar region, yet when a man who has spent more time in both polar regions then any other (Ranulph Fiennes) decided to write a book about the true story of Scotts expeditions he found a far different picture to what his detractors had painted.

Edited by Sky Scanner

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I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: people are incompetent.

Everyone but you, of course. :rolleyes:

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And the incompetence of Columbus, founded the America's.. Big whoop, Ever consider that our foolish nature might be a strong point?

If everybody were intellectuals nothing would get done. Sometimes it takes a dumb*** to take that "leap for mankind"

From hagakure (Samurai proverb)

The Chinese character for "cowardice" is made by adding the character for "meaning" to the character radical for "mind". Now "meaning" is "discrimination," and when a man attaches discrimination to his true mind, he becomes a coward.

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And the incompetence of Columbus, founded the America's.. Big whoop, Ever consider that our foolish nature might be a strong point?

If everybody were intellectuals nothing would get done. Sometimes it takes a dumb*** to take that "leap for mankind"

Your avatar suggests that you may be Native American Indian. Is that the case? If so, I am surprised to hear you support Columbus in particular and white incompetence generally.

As to the "leap for mankind", all these leaps that are taken in the name of progress are more like lemmings running off the cliffs that progress .

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Everyone but you, of course. :rolleyes:

My competence exceeds theirs in that I have the competence to recognise the limits of my own competence.

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, yet when a man who has spent more time in both polar regions then any other (Ranulph Fiennes) decided to write a book about the true story of Scotts expeditions he found a far different picture to what his detractors had painted.

Well of course he would. When you write a new book on an old subject, you need a new angle. This is about selling and about the status of Feinnes as an expert polar explorer, not about the truth.

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Well of course he would. When you write a new book on an old subject, you need a new angle. This is about selling and about the status of Feinnes as an expert polar explorer, not about the truth.

Well, you're wrong, completely wrong, since he went through each process to show that the luxury of 21st century hindsight is of no use when trying to asses the explorations of people 100 yrs previously, and he showed this through each process by using his own knowledge of the region to explain how decisions were made. But then you'd know all that and wouldn't make an accusation of it being about the Fiennes status if you'd actually read the book before commenting on something you obviously haven't looked in to :tu:

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Well, you're wrong, completely wrong, since he went through each process to show that the luxury of 21st century hindsight is of no use when trying to asses the explorations of people 100 yrs previously, and he showed this through each process by using his own knowledge of the region to explain how decisions were made. But then you'd know all that and wouldn't make an accusation of it being about the Fiennes status if you'd actually read the book before commenting on something you obviously haven't looked in to :tu:

An understanding of human nature and the way of the world is a wonderful thing: it saves you an awful lot of trouble --- like having to do everything, read everything ever written...........

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An understanding of human nature and the way of the world is a wonderful thing: it saves you an awful lot of trouble --- like having to do everything, read everything ever written...........

Then you would also know that part of human nature is motivation, and every persons motivation for any endeavour differs greatly depending on the character of the person - in fact the only common trait all explorers share is that they are driven people.

Do you claim to know the motivation of every individual, therefore you can criticise them all and their achievements?

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Your avatar suggests that you may be Native American Indian. Is that the case? If so, I am surprised to hear you support Columbus in particular and white incompetence generally.

As to the "leap for mankind", all these leaps that are taken in the name of progress are more like lemmings running off the cliffs that progress .

Yes I'm infact Native American, Part Chickasaw with just enough "white man" for you to question my honesty..

First of all, Columbus did nothing to my people. We ran Desoto out of North America. Then the British came, we liked them in fact a trade network was built (probably by a bunch of fools) and we exchanged goods, you know like food, skins,and most important KNOWLEDGE.

And then, this thing they called the Revolution broke out,The Chickasaw's naturally sided with their new friends the British. Subsequently, that was a bad idea and "Look at us now". I mean not to bore you with history, you apparently didn't get to far into it.

I don't particularly like how this exchange took place, but it was bound to happen. Given a few more years the Native Americans would of reached Europe by the same blundering mishaps.

As to the second part of your comment, refer to the proverb.

You think too much, therefore your left trembling on top of the cliff (coward). But don't worry, somebody will jump and you can promptly use your Logic and Reasoning to hide your cowardice.

Peace

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Then you would also know that part of human nature is motivation, and every persons motivation for any endeavour differs greatly depending on the character of the person - in fact the only common trait all explorers share is that they are driven people.

Do you claim to know the motivation of every individual, therefore you can criticise them all and their achievements?

Yes. It's actually not difficult, since we live in a sick world, a world in which everyone is addicted to power (except Yours Truly, though not without some effort).

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Posted (edited)

Yes I'm infact Native American, Part Chickasaw with just enough "white man" for you to question my honesty..

First of all, Columbus did nothing to my people. We ran Desoto out of North America. Then the British came, we liked them in fact a trade network was built (probably by a bunch of fools) and we exchanged goods, you know like food, skins,and most important KNOWLEDGE.

And then, this thing they called the Revolution broke out,The Chickasaw's naturally sided with their new friends the British. Subsequently, that was a bad idea and "Look at us now". I mean not to bore you with history, you apparently didn't get to far into it.

I don't particularly like how this exchange took place, but it was bound to happen. Given a few more years the Native Americans would of reached Europe by the same blundering mishaps.

As to the second part of your comment, refer to the proverb.

You think too much, therefore your left trembling on top of the cliff (coward). But don't worry, somebody will jump and you can promptly use your Logic and Reasoning to hide your cowardice.

Peace

What I know of Native American culture leads me to admire it greatly. Some examples are the following:

Carl Jung, the psychotherapist, visited the USA and took the opportunity to talk to some indigenous peoples, possibly from Arizona (I do appreciate that it's a big country and that there were many nations). When he asked what they thought of the white man, he was told "They think with this (the man pointed to his head), instead of here (pointed to his heart)." I think this is real wisdom. Personally, logic and reason are not my vices and I do think I understand what that Native American was telling Jung.

In a film "American Evil" made by Native Americans, there was a scene where some old Indians were sitting round a fire chatting. When a young man arrived, in the course of explaining something to him, they gave their views of the white Americans: they were very young, and the only things the Indians could do was to wait for them to grow up. While I do not entirely agree with this in that I think it is rather "sick" than "young", nevertheless, the sickness has the effect of reducing whites' minds to something less, reducing them to something more like children than mature adults.

Another film, Legend of the Fall: a native American features as the narrator of this film, and in the course of his narration he explains the characters behaviours. One character saw his brother die in war but felt responsible and was tortured by guilt. On returning home, he was unable to settle back into home life, ran wild and went off to live in the wild for a while and went to sea. The Native American explained the beahviour by saying that "the bear was growling inside him" and that only when it stopped growling would he come out of this. (It is probably relevant to note that the character had several deliberate encounters with bears as a child). I entirely understand what the native American meant; but I think it would be impossible to express this in reasonable, logical terms. A psychologist could not really tell you by what and why the character was troubled. The bear says it.

Edited by pantodragon

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Yes. It's actually not difficult, since we live in a sick world, a world in which everyone is addicted to power (except Yours Truly, though not without some effort).

Ah I see. Well that's one of the flaws in your thinking then, since everyone isn't addicted to power, yet even if they was that still isn't the motivating power behind every exploration.

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Posted (edited)

Ah I see. Well that's one of the flaws in your thinking then, since everyone isn't addicted to power, yet even if they was that still isn't the motivating power behind every exploration.

You'd be surprised! But unfortunately the only way you can see the truth is to come off power yourself. You are probably aware of how alcoholics loose all awareness of the effects of alcohol and just drink it throughout the day as other people coffee. It's only when they come off the alcohol that they know they were on it. I know what I am talking about because I kicked power myself. Like reformed smokers who can feel a rush of desire when the smell cigarrette smoke or see a cigarette advert, I can still experience a rush when I sense power. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I had been told about it before I'd experienced it. If you told me I was on power, I'd have laughed in your face, or more likely have punched your lights out!

Edited by pantodragon

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You'd be surprised! But unfortunately the only way you can see the truth is to come off power yourself. You are probably aware of how alcoholics loose all awareness of the effects of alcohol and just drink it throughout the day as other people coffee. It's only when they come off the alcohol that they know they were on it. I know what I am talking about because I kicked power myself. Like reformed smokers who can feel a rush of desire when the smell cigarrette smoke or see a cigarette advert, I can still experience a rush when I sense power. I wouldn't have believed it myself if I had been told about it before I'd experienced it. If you told me I was on power, I'd have laughed in your face, or more likely have punched your lights out!

Passing on knowledge is power. Receiving knowledge is power (empowering). Dominating another is power. Being dominated is handing power to someone else, yet in some schools of thought is in itself empowering. Personal achievements are power, as are grander are far reaching achievements. You see, everything is power if you want to break everything down far enough. So if everyone is addicted to power - so are you.

If however you are talking about one specific form of power, then you need to explain how every exploration was fueled by this power, you also need to explain how you know this to be true in line with each individual explorers motivation. Lastly, if you claim to be different from everyone else on the planet in regards to power, then you then to explain how, because everything you have posted so far smacks of a power trip on your behalf, you're trying to disassociate yourself from everyone else, and claim some power over something you say everyone hasn't mastered yet (addiction to power). If you can't see the obvious contradictions in your stance then this convo isn't going to go anywhere.

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Passing on knowledge is power. Receiving knowledge is power (empowering). Dominating another is power. Being dominated is handing power to someone else, yet in some schools of thought is in itself empowering. Personal achievements are power, as are grander are far reaching achievements. You see, everything is power if you want to break everything down far enough. So if everyone is addicted to power - so are you.

If however you are talking about one specific form of power, then you need to explain how every exploration was fueled by this power, you also need to explain how you know this to be true in line with each individual explorers motivation. Lastly, if you claim to be different from everyone else on the planet in regards to power, then you then to explain how, because everything you have posted so far smacks of a power trip on your behalf, you're trying to disassociate yourself from everyone else, and claim some power over something you say everyone hasn't mastered yet (addiction to power). If you can't see the obvious contradictions in your stance then this convo isn't going to go anywhere.

You're right in that I do believe that I am the first person in the world to come off power. That puts me in a difficult position because nobody who is on power is going to give me the time of day, and nor are they in a position to be aware of the difference between the behaviour of somebody who is on power, and the behaviour of somebody who is not. Actually, I suppose most of the problem is due to the fact that there is no OBSERVABLE difference in behaviiour; the difference is in INTENTION, and that is something you need to have the full use of all your senses to detect. If you are on power, then like any drug addict, your senses are damaged and your awareness severly diminished. What can I say? Actually, the importance of what I do and say is not in the WHAT but in the HOW.

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You're right in that I do believe that I am the first person in the world to come off power. That puts me in a difficult position because nobody who is on power is going to give me the time of day, and nor are they in a position to be aware of the difference between the behaviour of somebody who is on power, and the behaviour of somebody who is not. Actually, I suppose most of the problem is due to the fact that there is no OBSERVABLE difference in behaviiour; the difference is in INTENTION, and that is something you need to have the full use of all your senses to detect. If you are on power, then like any drug addict, your senses are damaged and your awareness severly diminished. What can I say? Actually, the importance of what I do and say is not in the WHAT but in the HOW.

Unfortunately, what you're suggesting you have achieved isn't achievable in the way you are saying. Weaning yourself off of 'Power' (and you've still yet to define what power you're talking about) is a process whereby you empower yourself with a different approach with the emphasis placed on intent. You have changed your intent, that has nothing to do with power though. These are two separate issues that you are muddying together.

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how is the original post on here supposed to be classed as a topic for discussion and not a rant/blog entry?

what was the question posed?

there wasn't one, just a mysandristic tirade.

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how is the original post on here supposed to be classed as a topic for discussion and not a rant/blog entry?

what was the question posed?

there wasn't one, just a mysandristic tirade.

I know that it is considered preferable to ask questions on this forum (though of course, there are many posts which describe experiences or report news etc), but I prefer a different approach. If you ask a question, you are directing people's attention to something quite specific. If you just talk about what you think and believe, then it is open to the reader to identify their own questions. Of course, if you use this method, you must be prepared to answer/deal with questions on anything, including your personal ethics.

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You have changed your intent, that has nothing to do with power though.

When you are on power, your intention, as with any drug, is to get more. When you come off power, your intentions are essentially cooperative. Ok, there is an entire lack here of philosophical rigour. I have not found any need of philosophical rigour to get to where I am now. I might go so far as to say that to pay attention to philosophical rigour would have focussed my attention on philosophical debate rather than on action.

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When you are on power, your intention, as with any drug, is to get more. When you come off power, your intentions are essentially cooperative. Ok, there is an entire lack here of philosophical rigour. I have not found any need of philosophical rigour to get to where I am now. I might go so far as to say that to pay attention to philosophical rigour would have focussed my attention on philosophical debate rather than on action.

I'm going to try with a different approach to see if we can get somewhere here. You say you believe you are the first person in the world to get off power. Which power are you referring too?

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I'm going to try with a different approach to see if we can get somewhere here. You say you believe you are the first person in the world to get off power. Which power are you referring too?

The power I am talking about is essentially about control, and I think it is easily understood when you see it displayed in the film Lord of the Rings, by of course Sauron who is described as having a "will to dominate all life". Mostly one sees it as people trying to control/manipulate other people, but they also try to control the environment and well, basically anything that can be controlled.

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