pioneering photojournalist alice rohe, sadly real anger elicited more concessions and a better outcome

Alice Rohe, author of I was dying

Alice Rohe, author of I was dying – I made it my job to get well. Photograph from between 1900 and 1920, photomechanical print. “Illus. in: As I look at life : Intimate stories of love, marriage, divorce, fortune, adventure, health by fourteen famous men and women who have lived and felt the strange experiences they tell. New York : International Magazine Company, Inc., 1925, bet. pp. 26-27.” Rohe was a pioneering photojournalist,

Start with a solid upbringing as the daughter of an artist father in late 19th-century Kansas; add a college education at a time when women were generally not college-bound; combine a heaping helping of five years in turn-of-the-century New York City with a dash of women’s rights. Then, fold in recovery in a Colorado sanitorium from tuberculosis, and experience in Rome during World War I as a bureau chief with a touch of intrigue as a suspected spy. Finally, spice it up with interviews with the likes of writer Ezra Pound, actress Sarah Bernhardt, and playwright Luigi Pirandello, and you have the recipe for the life of pioneering woman photojournalist Alice Rohe.

Primarily a newspaperwoman, Rohe (1876 – 1957) worked during a period when reporters took their own photographs to illustrate their stories.

The title of her book comes from a time when she had tuberculous and manged to recover.

With the three great towers of this little republic ever in view, the Sammarinese plowman wends his way

With the three great towers of this little republic ever in view, the Sammarinese plowman wends his way.” Photo by Alice Rohe, 1918. “”Our littlest ally,” The National geographic magazine. Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, 1918, vol. 34, no. 2, p. 144.” The Sammarinese are the natives of the Republic of San Marino.

I have had the pleasure of seeing this way too many times in personal matters and business, Real anger elicited more concessions and a better outcome, but fake anger led to an inferior outcome

Imagine your 16-year-old daughter comes home an hour after curfew. Because you remember what it was like to be a teenager, you’re not that angry. However, you’d still like your daughter to obey her curfew, and so you start thinking it’s in your best interest to appear angry. That way your daughter will be under the impression she made a serious mistake that she cannot repeat. Would faking anger actually be a good idea?

In general, research suggests that expressing anger is helpful during a negotiation because it signals dominance and toughness. For example, in lab experiments people tend to respond to displays of anger by lowering their demands and making large concessions. However, in these experiments participants have little reason to doubt the authenticity of the anger. Usually participants are unable to scrutinize the anger because it’s conveyed in a non-visual format, such as an email, or they are led to believe their opponent is unaware he is being observed, which would mean there is no incentive to fake an emotion. That bring up an interesting question: What happens when anger is not authentic?

A new study led by the University of Toronto’s Stephane Côté aimed to uncover the answer by examining the difference between “surface acting anger” — which in the experiments involved actors pretending to be angry — and “deep acting anger” — which involved actors who had been told to remember something that made them angry.

This is a frustrating conundrum of life. Sometimes the feigned anger is used to get something undeserved, yet at times it is also a way to accomplish something good. Though faked anger usually yields less results than real anger. I’m not sure I find that much consolation in a game that never ends.

Is it an admirable trait to be almost two people – sometimes I miss a trend, both with a nice warm fuzzy cognitive dissonance between them. To go on relentlessly standing for wobbly things, never proven to do any good and plenty of historical examples to show how boneheaded those beliefs and conducts are, Paul Ryan(R-WI) Embraces Spending Cuts He Said Would Devastate The Country

During an interview on Meet The Press on Sunday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) predicted that the sequester cuts are “going to happen” and made no concrete proposals for how to avoid the reductions. The tone represents a sharp rhetorical and policy shift for the onetime GOP vice presidential nominee, who warned during the 2012 presidential campaign that the cuts would “devastate” the country and undermine job growth.

I exaggerate about the cognitive dissonance. Actually Ryan can always be counted on to stand for what will do the most harm to the most people. He knows that and is shameless about positions that are 180 degrees different as long as whatever the point is makes a crunchy word salad in that particular conversation.



sleeping red fox wallpaper, jefferson and myths, being corrupt and thinking one is not

sleeping red fox

sleeping red fox wallpaper

In this post I quoted some dialogue from the last scene in the movie Killing Them Softly. I wanted to put in some context. Maybe Jackie’s view was too harsh, too cynical, too one sided , it stripped away some historical pretense or whatever the meaning came from each reader’s personal knowledge and imagination. I forgot about this recent series of posts by Ta-Nehisi Coates until after I had posted that snip of dialogue. The Myth of Jefferson as ‘a Man of His Times’

In 1814, Jefferson’s protege Edward Coles — knowing of Jefferson’s brilliant anti-slavery writings — wrote to enlist him in the cause of ridding Virginia of slavery. Coles thought to begin this effort by manumitting his own slaves. Jefferson not only declined to help Coles, but told him he was wrong to try to free his own, telling him

[I]n the mean time are you right in abandoning this property, and your country with it? I think not. My opinion has ever been that, until more can be done for them, we should endeavor, with those whom fortune has thrown on our hands, to feed and clothe them well, protect them from all ill usage, require such reasonable labor only as is performed voluntarily by freemen, & be led by no repugnancies to abdicate them, and our duties to them.

The laws do not permit us to turn them loose, if that were for their good: and to commute them for other property is to commit them to those whose usage of them we cannot control. I hope then, my dear sir, you will reconcile yourself to your country and its unfortunate condition; that you will not lessen its stock of sound disposition by withdrawing your portion from the mass. That, on the contrary you will come forward in the public councils, become the missionary of this doctrine truly christian; insinuate & inculcate it softly but steadily, through the medium of writing and conversation; associate others in your labors, and when the phalanx is formed, bring on and press the proposition perseveringly until its accomplishment.

Jefferson could have freed his slaves. he did not do so, contrary to some of his earlier anti-slavery writings because he was struggling financially and owning slaves was profitable for him – we see part of this shadows of this phenomenon when billionaires like the Koch brothers whine about how difficult they have it or when people resent unions and labor rights.  So what should the reader take away from the dismantling of the egalitarian Jefferson legend. Maybe it is that a man with a great intelligent could use that mind to find a way to rationalize his behavior. Why he behaved the way he did, while writing about the cause of liberty and republicanism is important. Jefferson’s reasons, well thought out, if ultimately indefensible – unless money always will out, is a story of how someone who had much good in him, did something deeply immoral. history can be great in that way, even when it is dark and sordid. It affords us lessons, if we give up the emotional investment and nationalistic view of a flawless history with flawless figures. The tendency not to adjust to the realities of the past is one of the reasons progress can be so tenaciously slow.

No sale old register keys

The human brain, like Jefferson’s, tends to compartmentalize things. Just like millions of other people. Is that the answer you had in mind? The effect of perspective on unethical behavior

Dishonest behavior seems pervasive. For example, the estimated total damage to the American clothing industry from wardrobing—the habit of returning purchased clothes after wearing, amounts to $16 billion annually (Speights & Hilinski, 2005), and the damage to US companies from employee theft and fraud reaches an estimate of $994 billion a year (Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, 2008). On an individual level, research on lying has found that people lie in some 30% of their daily interactions (dePaulo, Kashy, Kirkendol, Wyer & Epstein, 1996). In stark contrast to these findings, most people, including those who engage in the above practices, maintain a positive moral self-concept (Aquino & Reed, 2002; Bem, 1972; Baumeister, 1998). If being moral is so highly valued in society, why then is unethical behavior so pervasive? And what determines its extent?

women who served in combat disguised as men, colorful mural wallpaper, the republican fetish for punishing rape victims

The Atlantic put up an interesting article to note the official entry of women into combat in the U.S. military. Though they note that women have been fighting and dying in U.S. combat for quite some time, from the Civil War up to Afghanistan and and Iraq. This part of their post comes from Larry G. Eggleston’s Women in the Civil War.

1. Loretta Janeta Velazquez was a total badass. Born to a rich Cuban aristocrat, Velazquez’s wealth played a key role in her fighting for the Confederate army. When her husband, William, went off to war in 1861, Velazquez wanted so badly to be with him that she offered to fight beside him incognito. William wouldn’t hear it, and went off to war without her. Not content with life alone, Velazquez decided to use her wealth to finance and equip an infantry battalion, which she would bring to her husband to command. She cut her hair, tanned her skin, and went by the name Lt. Harry T. Buford. She went on to fight in various battles, including Bull Run and Shiloh, but her gender was twice discovered and she was discharged. So, naturally, she became a spy, with disguises in both the male and female variety.
2. It must have been hard to hide your gender while serving in the war. Take it from Lizzie Compton, who enlisted at the age of 14. Her gender was discovered seven different times. But each time, she packed up her things and moved on to another regimen. Compton was wounded twice during her service, the first time by a piece of shrapnel as she charged up a hill at Antietam.
3.  Louisa Hoffman has the distinction of serving for both the Union and Confederate armies. When the war first started, she left her home in New York to enlist (as a man, of course) in the 1st Virginia Confederate Cavalry. But, after fighting at both battles of Bull Run, she had a change of heart, and headed up north to Ohio.
4.  Mary Seaberry was said to wear a disguise and have a manner that “never gave anyone in her regiment even the slightest hint that she was not a man.” Unfortunately for her, after being admitted into a hospital with a fever, there was no way she could hide her true identity. She was discharged “on the basis of sexual incompatibility.”

Disguised as a man , Frances Clayton served many months in Missouri artillery and cavalry units. (By courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library)

The National Archives has documented 400 women who served during the Civil War. Since documentation from that era is spotty, it is possible there were many more. They did not necessarily disguise themselves as men, but many women, including Harriet Tubman served as spies during the war.

south american mural wallpaper, colorful, music

south american mural wallpaper

Photography: Renaud Marion creates those floating cars everyone’s been waiting for.

New Immoral Republican Idea: Punishing Rape Victims With Jail Time

If you’re looking for evidence that the differences between men and women are greatly exaggerated, the fact that women are equally capable as men of mind-blowing misogyny should erase all doubt. New Mexico state Rep. Cathrynn Brown proved that this week by introducing a bill aimed at throwing rape victims in jail if they refuse to honor their rapist’s right to control their body

Of course, the entire idea that having a rapist’s baby would somehow be treated as proof of a rape is beyond silly. After all, the defense against the charge of rape is rarely to claim that the penis didn’t go into the vagina, but to accuse the victim of consenting and then, due to the unique viciousness of women, claiming it was rape for the laughs.

[  ]…The narratives of sexual transgression and concealment that dictate how anti-choicers view abortion make this bill all the easier to understand. The possibility that women have abortions to reduce suffering in their lives, prevent economic catastrophe, or regain control over their lives are dismissed in favor of believing that an abortion means someone is hiding a sexy secret. It reduces rape to a “sexy secret” and, of course, reinforces the narrative that women are to blame for their rapes, because they are being so dirty and naughty and (rowdy?) that men have no choice but to put them in their place with some raping. (Implicit anti-choice narratives and really foul porn plots have a lot in common, which doesn’t strike me as a coincidence.) That’s why you get terms like “legitimate rape”.

The rowdy is what I think they meant to print, there are several misspellings in the column. Not a criticism from me, a master of the typo, just an acknowledgement.  Back during the senate election campaign and Todd Atkins “forcible rape” crazed lunacy, President Obama said it well, rape is rape. It is a crime. A justice system – look up the word justice there Cathrynn, is supposed to protect victims and give fair punishment to the perps, not force the victim to be an incubator for the rapist.

Norfolk and surroundings,1892

Norfolk (Virginia) and surroundings,1892. Created by   H. Wellge. Norfolk was and still is one of the world’s most important port cities. It is also home to the world’s largest Naval base.


out of the ruins, the good time coming

President Grant

President Grant “Out of the Ruins”, 1873. Published originally by Harper’s. Pres. Grant helping female personification of America out of the wreckage of Wall Street, saying “I am glad to see that you are not seriously hurt. The houses in this ‘Street’ have been shaky and on false bases for a long time”. There was an economic collapse in the U.S. called the Panic of 1873. That recession was called The Great Depression until around 1930 when we had what is now referred to as the Great Depression. In a piece comparing the hardships suffered in 1873 to our current recession, the one that begin in 2007-2008 Francois Furstenberg wrote,

In the wake of the economic crash, which has led to soaring budget deficits, Democrats and Republicans are negotiating “to move forward to trillions of spending cuts,” as House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said recently. A report from House Speaker John Boehner’s office called for “eliminating [government] agencies and programs” and “reducing transfer payments to households.” These changes would result in unprecedented reductions in the size of the welfare state and the American social compact as it developed over the last century.

Lost in this debate is an appreciation of the historical origins of the American welfare state — long before FDR and the New Deal, after another epochal financial crash.

Much like our time, the Gilded Age was an era of economic booms and busts. None was greater than the financial crisis that began in September 1873 with the collapse of Jay Cooke & Co., the nation’s premier investment bank. Like many other firms, Cooke & Co. overextended itself by offering risky loans based on overvalued real estate.

Cooke’s collapse launched the first economic crisis of the Industrial Age. For 65 straight months, the U.S. economy shrank — the longest such stretch in U.S. history. America’s industrial base ground to a near halt: By 1876, half of the nation’s railroads had declared bankruptcy, almost half of the country’s iron furnaces were shut and coal production collapsed. Until the 1930s, it would be known as the Great Depression.

In the face of economic calamity and skyrocketing unemployment, the government did, well, nothing. No federal unemployment insurance eased families’ suffering and kept a floor on demand. No central bank existed to fight deflation. Large-scale government stimulus was a thing of the distant future.

As demand collapsed, businesses slashed payrolls and reduced wages, and a ruinous period of deflation began. By 1879, wholesale prices had declined 30 percent. The consequences were catastrophic for the nation’s many debtors and set off a vicious economic cycle. When economic growth eventually began, progress was slow, with periodic crises plaguing the economy through the end of the century.

Neither political party offered genuine solutions. As historian Richard Hofstadter put it, political parties during the Gilded Age “divided over spoils, not issues,” and neither Democrats nor Republicans were inclined to challenge their corporate masters.

“There are two things that are important in politics,” Republican political operative Mark Hanna famously said in 1895. “The first is money and I can’t remember what the second one is.”

With laissez-faire ideas dominant and the political system in stasis, economic decline persisted. The collapse in tax revenue only strengthened calls for fiscal retrenchment. Government at all levels cut spending. Congress returned the country to the gold standard for the first time since the Civil War: “hard money” policies that favored Eastern financiers over indebted farmers and workers.

With neither major party responding to the crisis, new insurgent movements arose: antimonopoly coalitions, reform parties and labor candidates all began to attract support. Writer Henry George, running for mayor of New York, decried the “speculative” gains of financial barons and the monopolists who appropriated “unearned” profits.

The continued economic misery for the many, juxtaposed against fabulous wealth for the few, generated intense hostility to great fortunes. Workers, suffering the most without a welfare state, responded with ever-greater militancy.

The labor struggles of the age were as epic as the fortunes of the tycoons: the Molly Maguires of the Pennsylvania coal fields; the great railroad strike of 1877 that nearly paralyzed the nation; the Haymarket affair of 1886, in which a bomb killed eight people in a Chicago demonstration; the Homestead strike of 1892, probably the most violent labor conflict in American history.

But these were just the most famous episodes of labor unrest: Between 1881 and 1890, there were 9,668 strikes and lockouts, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1886, more than 600,000 workers engaged in 143 strikes and 140 lockouts. State and federal militias were repeatedly called out to quash labor unrest. In the Pittsburgh rail yards in 1877, Pennsylvania militia members fired into the crowds and violence broke loose. President Rutherford B. Hayes sent federal troops to restore order.

The vast disparities between rich and poor, the spectacular concentration of wealth amassed by the richest Americans in the previous two generations, and the inability of government policies to mitigate the crisis brought the nation to the edge of class warfare and social disintegration.

The specter of a European social order, with societies irredeemably divided between aristocrats and a permanent underclass, seemed to have arrived on U.S. shores. Wealthy Americans began to fear for the stability of the social order.

What force, the wealthy asked in desperation, might mitigate the social chaos and misery, and mute what one public official called “the antagonism between rich and poor”?

Today, new fortunes have been accumulated that rival those of the Gilded Age. Some of that wealth, possessed by people like Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch or Peter G. Peterson, has been used to promote cuts to social spending. Before these opponents and their allies in Congress move forward with the dismantling of the welfare state, however, they might think harder about the reasons such policies were put in place.

The Gilded Age plutocrats who first acceded to a social welfare system and state regulations did not do so from the goodness of their hearts. They did so because the alternatives seemed so much more terrifying.

The modern laissez-faire absolutists – who are not as self sufficient as they pretend  – did not have people rioting in the streets in this recession because of the New Deal and Great Society reforms – they claim “we” can no longer afford.

The good time coming 1868

The good time coming,1868. Another illustration from Harper’s. “People looking at angel and words in sky “peace, union, fraternity, impartial suffrage, universal education, Grant and Colfax,” over U.S. Capitol dome.” As everyone probably knows after watching Spielberg’s Lincoln, Schuyler Colfax was Grant’s first Vice President. After the Civil War may people were optimistic that the U.S. was beginning a new golden age. Women would have the vote (They’d have to wait until 1920) and everyone would have access to education. It turned out that a combination of greed, corruption, racism, misogyny and good old fashioned boneheadedness would delay many of those wishes for decades.

a new birth of reason remembered, the dancing couple by steen, abusive partners can sabotage contraception

An new article on a American statesman and free thinker who has almost been forgotten, A New Birth of Reason

Ingersoll emerged as the leading figure in what historians of American secularism consider the golden age of freethought—an era when immigration, industrialization, and science, especially Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection, were challenging both religious orthodoxy and the supposedly simpler values of the nation’s rural Anglo-Saxon past. That things were never really so simple was the message Ingersoll repeatedly conveyed as he spoke before more of his countrymen than even elected public leaders, including presidents, did at a time when lectures were both a form of mass entertainment and a vital source of information.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899)

Ingersoll was something of an oratory rock-star in his day commanding a dollar a ticket to his sold out lectures. According to one on-line calculator that would be about $15 a ticket in today’s dollars. This is from an essay by Ingersoll, Art And Morality by Robert G. Ingersoll. North American Review, March. 1888.

Actions are deemed right or wrong, according to experience and the conclusions of reason. Things are beautiful by the relation that certain forms, colors, and modes of expression bear to us. At the foundation of the beautiful will be found the fact of happiness, the gratification of the senses, the delight of intellectual discovery and the surprise and thrill of appreciation. That which we call the beautiful, wakens into life through the association of ideas, of memories, of experiences, of suggestions of pleasure past and the perception that the prophecies of the ideal have been and will be fulfilled.

Art cultivates and kindles the imagination, and quickens the conscience. It is by imagination that we put ourselves in the place of another. When the whigs of that faculty are folded, the master does not put himself in the place of the slave; the tyrant is not locked in the dungeon, chained with his victim. The inquisitor did not feel the flames that devoured the martyr. The imaginative man, giving to the beggar, gives to himself. Those who feel indignant at the perpetration of wrong, feel for the instant that they are the victims; and when they attack the aggressor they feel that they are defending themselves. Love and pity are the children of the imagination.

   The Dancing Couple,  Jan Steen, 1663. Oil on canvas

The Dancing Couple,  Jan Steen, 1663. Oil on canvas. ” Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13


Why can’t people stop acting like jackasses, Abusive partners can sabotage contraception

When a husband hides a wife’s birth control pills or a boyfriend takes off a condom in the middle of sex in hopes of getting an unwilling girlfriend pregnant, that’s a form of abuse called reproductive coercion.

While researchers don’t know exactly how common such coercion is, it’s common enough – especially among women who are abused by their partners in other ways – that health care providers should screen women for signs at regular check-ups and pregnancy visits, says the nation’s leading group of obstetricians and gynecologists.

“We want to make sure that health care providers are aware that this is something that does go on and that it’s a form of abuse,” says Veronica Gillispie, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Ochsner Health System, New Orleans, and a member of the committee that wrote the opinion for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. It’s published in the February issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, out today.

Reproductive coercion occurs whenever a partner tries to prevent a woman from making her own choices about pregnancy, Gillispie says. That includes trying to get a woman pregnant against her will, through forced sex or other means; it also includes using pressure or threats to get a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy or end a wanted one.

In studies cited by the committee, “birth control sabotage” was reported by 25% of teen girls with abusive partners and by 15% of women who were physically abused. Some men go as far as to pull out a woman’s intrauterine device (IUD) or vaginal contraceptive ring, the committee says.

the lofty professions, the robots cometh

Aspen Magazine was published irregularly from 1965 to 1971 by Phyllis Johnson. Only it was not a magazine the way one usually thinks of them. It was supposed to be a work of art unto itself. It came in a box that including various media including photographs, film and recorded music. This is from actress Eva Marie Saint commenting in an issue on the film industry, Feeling Guilty at Times…

…I was interested in the point made about feeling guilty at times, that our profession is not perhaps as lofty as the of physicians, writers, or painters, and guess I feel a little of that. Once when went East, I had a most unusual experience in meeting one of my favorite painters, Mr. Andrew Wyeth. We both have a mutual friend in Westchester, Pennsylvania, who felt that we should meet. I found myself saying, “Oh, he wouldn’t know me. I’ve read about him and I know he is a very serious-minded painter and family man. I know he is more or less a recluse, and I can’t somehow imagine him watching movies.” But she called him and it turned out that he does go to the movies. He had seen every movie that I had ever made. So, when we met, it was very difficult for me to discuss the paintings with him which I wanted to discuss, because he wanted to discuss specific scenes from the movies with me.

As I left Westchester and headed back to Hollywood, I felt a little taller about being in Hollywood and making motion pictures.

Eva Marie Saint, Actress

Eva Marie Saint, Actress

I added the Andrew Wyeth link. I would post some of his work, but it is all still copyrighted. His paintings and prints of them are still very popular.

Robot Makers Spread Global Gospel of Automation

To buttress its claim that automation is not a job killer but instead a way for the United States to compete against increasingly advanced foreign competitors, the industry group reported findings on Tuesday that it said it would publish in February. The federation said the industry would directly and indirectly create from 1.9 million to 3.5 million jobs globally by 2020.

The federation held a news media event at which two chief executives of small American manufacturers described how they had been able to both increase employment and compete against foreign companies by relying heavily on automation and robots.

“Automation has allowed us to compete on a global basis. It has absolutely created jobs in southwest Michigan,” said Matt Tyler, chief executive of Vickers Engineering, an auto parts supplier. “Had it not been for automation, we would not have beat our Japanese competitor; we would not have beat our Chinese competitor; we would not have beat our Mexican competitor. It’s a fact.”

I guess we’ll all see how the predictions of net job increases work out. Most of us being worker ants we don’t get as much say in how the any colony is run as the ruling ants with money and lobbyists. If those high skill higher paying jobs do come to pass that requires a work force with more technical training. Since that kind of education – even a two year degree – is becoming more and more expensive, plus requires time to attend and study – lots of challenges as to how people are going to get those jobs.

From the final scene in Killing Them Softly (2012) . Mr. Driver is a boss with organized crime and Jackie is a contract killer/enforcer.

Barack Obama (on TV): …to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that, out of many, we are one…
Driver: You hear that line? Line’s for you.
Jackie Cogan: Don’t make me laugh. One people. It’s a myth created by Thomas Jefferson.
Driver: Oh, so now you’re going to have a go at Jefferson, huh?
Jackie Cogan: My friend, Thomas Jefferson is an American saint because he wrote the words ‘All men are created equal’, words he clearly didn’t believe since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He’s a rich white snob who’s sick of paying taxes to the Brits. So, yeah, he writes some lovely words and aroused the rabble and they went and died for those words while he sat back and drank his wine and fucked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community? Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America you’re on your own. America’s not a country. It’s just a business. Now fuckin’ pay me.


blue rain storm wallpaper

blue rain storm wallpaper

colorful hillcrest motel, the ‘Monads’ are of two genders the ones are male and the others female

Colorful Hillcrest Motel in Sheffield, Alabama

Colorful Hillcrest Motel in Sheffield, Alabama. 2010 by Carol M. Highsmith.


This excerpt is from the introduction to the essay by Riel, The Monadology of Louis Riel (Regina, Saskatchewan, 1885)

This is a translation of Louis Riel’s Mémoire sur les Monades, composed in prison while awaiting execution. Riel was hanged in Regina in November, 1885. To read the original French, go here. For a brief biography of Riel, go here. Riel’s version of the theory of monads is creative, to say the least, and adds many elements that are entirely absent in Leibniz’s version. But it is clear that he is drawing on a fairly good memory of his philosophical education at the Sulpician college in Montreal several decades earlier. Also, as a variation on the theory of monads, it is well within the bounds of the variations we see in the long reception history of the Monadology. Physical monadology was in fact the predominant interpretation of the theory throughout most of the 18th-century (see Kant’s 1755 Monadologia physica). If we think of the theory of monads as a special variety of qualitative atomism, moreover, then the addition of features such as gender to the fundamental elements of reality has some precedent as well; Henry Power, for example, held that corpuscles variously have a male or female charge. The interpretation of monadic energy in terms of ‘electricity’ also makes sense as a sort of reinterpretation in the terms of 19th-century science of the Leibnizian concept of active force.

The bio link is interesting regarding the history of Riel and his fight for the land and other rights of the native Metis tribe of Canada, but doesn’t go into the strange pseudo-science of monadology.

A monad is an electricity. Some monads are some electricities. Monads are electricities.

A male monad is a positive electricity.

A female monad is a negative electricity.