Print is dying fast, I suspect collapse psychology afoot.

Print is dead: ad sales graph shows precipitous drop in revenues

TechCrunch reports that the newspaper industry has had an unprecedented drop in revenues in the first quarter of this year.

Print is dying fast. I wouldn’t be suprised if they pretend everything is okay and then one day just turn off the presses; that’s the pattern of collapse

I’m reminded of Mish: “Things that can’t happen, are about to.”

I’m also reminded of my good friend Dr. Thomas Fischbacher, who explained in a recent lecture series on “the econo-energy crisis for engineers” the similar situation in Mathematics:

“God exists, since mathematics is consistent, and the Devil exists, since we cannot prove it.” (A. Weil)

For a long time, Mathematicians tried to prove that their axioms are ‘consistent’, i.e. never will produce contradictions. At some point, they found that this is a seriously misguided idea: They managed to show that Every set of axioms that allows a proof of its own consistency then automatically also allows finding a “proof” for every possible statement, wrong or not. So, a mathematical theory that succeeds in self-justifying its correctness is worthless, for then it inevitably will be able “to demonstrate both that 2 + 2 = 4 and that 2 + 2 = 4 at the same time.”

At first, this was a surprising result. But it caused Mathematicians to make a transition to a higher state of awareness on what their discipline is about. Knowing what you never will be able to achieve, and why this is a good thing, can be humbling, but provides us with a higher degree of understanding of what it actually is we are doing. The problem with “proof theory” is that many people philosophize about it (in particular: about G ?del’s Theorem) without having a sound idea how it works. This is not what we want to get into here! So, let me emphasize: the link we are about to make with Mathematics concerning the ascension to a higher state of awareness on what we are doing is only an analogy! We do not and can not transplant G ?del’s Tree onto the soil of, say, Politics!

Many people (maybe preferentially in western societies?) search for an all-encompassing explanation of how the world really works. (Hypothesis: Maybe because not knowing makes the human mind feel deeply uncomfortable?) Some of them arrive at a picture of the world which they consider meeting that ideal and then start to prosyletize – to convert others to their belief. The problem with every “I explain it all” ideology is that it provides an explanatory framework that makes its adherents blind to disconfirming evidence. Suppose the ideology is wrong, for some reason. If you can find an explanation for and come up with an answer to every conceivable observation, how would the problems that arise in the application of a false ideology manifest themselves?

As indications of major flaws are never seen for what they are, the only conceivable consequence is collapse – being deprived of all room for manuevre by the clash with hard reality!

Creative Commons License
The Print is dying fast, I suspect collapse psychology afoot. by David Crossland, except the quotations and unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.


Leave a Reply