Saturday, 4 June 2016

Advice to a Fresh Person

If money's gain is all you is all you see
don't late moan you fate to me
for friends you make in service of career
will coldly turn upon you suddenly from the rear
and as Good Will did say:
'To your own self be true'
and never sell a pinch of what is truly you

And when you walk keeps eyes upon your feet
but smiley directly to all you meet
the body must treasure and protect the things things that matter most
the beauty, health and composition of the host
And always think a good things every day
and do one good thing every week in some warm but modest way
and nightly count the totals of all good and bad you do
And always know each new day to be a life anew

Deleted line

for smiles that never touch the heart
are poor campaigns from the start

I think those two lines are kind of trite, or is the entire thing trie?

Friday, 3 June 2016

Is it possible to make a great film out of "Atlas Shrugged"? How do you think it could be done?

The core problem is how Capitalist presents itself in film.  It is very key to take some time to think about how Capitalism is expressed in media that is dominated by and funded by Capitalism.
Please indulge me, I wrote a number of papers on this in graduate school.
Firstly in the world today only Capitalism makes films, and only profit motivates films.  The government does not make films, it does not support films with grants or bailouts.  Regulation of film is just political side show, with the GOP actually wanting more regulation of an industry, why? Because its not real regulation.
Now film making is very expensive, taking a film to product is on the level of cost like making a new weapons system.  With no public investment at all this is a massive fully private industry, with very big money involved, a fully Capitalistic global industry.
Okay so Hollywood is perhaps the perfect global market.
So people who support Capitalism must love Hollywood right?
Well no, actually the opposite, this most Capitalist of industries, most global industry in the world finds it product, which is the perfect global commodity represents Capitalism in a way that most Capitalists find offensive.  Odd that eh?
Well its not so odd when you start to think about how Hollywood is making a Commodity that includes its own justification.  Justification or ideology is the lies told by power to make their order viable.
For global Capitalism the process of making money off a every growing global community that need to be converted to Consumers so that they will be driven to work in factories, put up with environmental and economic exploitation, and ever growing debt.
Now normally how this is done simply by worshipping wealth itself.  But the rich are shown in Hollywood in a very crude animal manor,  they enjoy drugs, sex, violence and creativity.  
But beyond wealth when the subject of Capitalism comes up things get a bit more difficult.
Hollywood is a market, so it can't just produce educational videos about how great Capitalism is that bore people.  They can't out right lie, so they generally tell stories that admit the negatives that people see, but introduce concepts that the evils of Capitalism are not the evils of Capitalism but the evil of bad people.
We see time and time again films about Capitalism show Capitalists acting badly, but not doing it by necessity of market forces but because they are evil.  Real Capitalism seems rather banal and boring, with people making budgets.  People don't make budgets in films.
So the Fountainhead worked perfectly as a film, because it played the myth of Capitalism perfectly.  
Atlas Shrugged simply makes no sense in terms of cinema.  The villains' and hereos' motivations don't work as a movie.  Unlike books films are short, they require that the audience already know the plot before they ever show up.  That is why good films and bad films still follow the same structures, they have to.  You can't construct an entire universe out of raw cloth and get wide range approval.  Films that do this are restricted to art houses or YouTube with a small audience. 
But Rand's work has to be the biggest success, because it can't exist on its own. Rand's work can not be read as just books, because it obsession with Capitalism is so strong the reader is going to think 'how much money did this make?'
As a book it is more open for people to be taken down strange roads like Dune, and its possible for stange books to sell enough over time to be Bestsellers.  For Dune it does not matter if its a best seller or not really.  Most books it does not matter how many they sold.
But for someone as fixated on Capitalism as Rand it is utterly essential for it to be a massive best seller.
But any movie made about Atlas Shrugged and still being able to be called Atlas Shrugged is going to need to show Capitalism in a way that is not fit the easy excuses for the nature of Capitalism the audience needs to understand globally.
Summing up, Atlas Shrugged because of its content cannot be a major Hollywood blockbuster, and because of its ideology it has to be an major Hollywood blockbuster.

What did you learn from Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged"?

At the time I read it the meaning was simple:
I was one of the better people, much smarter and more able than others and the mass of other people were always trying to keep the best makers of things down.
For about 3 months I really got into it. I was living on saved money and worked a job while getting pretty much all As in my first year in college. I admired my mathematics teachers and felt contempt for the social science department, though I loved economics.
I got to the point where I even thought about not taking government grants and loans, and making the money myself.
When I told my mother, a life long Republican, of my idea she made it clear that I was to take everything the government gave me.
Which lead me to a more realistic review of how my life was only made possible by the contributions of government help, and the end of my love affair with Rand.

What are the consequences, both negative and positive for Germany of accepting refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries?

Germany as a nation and economy is going to be much bigger.  The Germans are essentially playing a very different game than the UK right now, by taking refugees in a controlled fashion they are getting an injection of cheap labour, much of it highly skilled.  They are also getting linguistic skills and families that will work hard for little money and make something of themselves.
This additional 1 million people in 5 or 10 years will increase the size and scope of the Germany economy, improving its generally sluggish but reliable growth rate by injecting young eager workers.
Germany has a excellent industrial base, good education and good debt situation.  The German problem is an aging population which is too conservative and too expensive.
The refugee crisis will make Germany look more like the USA, a larger population, younger, cheaper, harder working.   
Its brilliant.  It helps to transform Germany from the biggest nation in the EU to a more major global player on the world stage at a time when the UK is doing everything it can to limit its role and presence on the global stage. Without the UK and France in a weak position Germany's domination of the EU and its major voice in global politics is more assured with a bigger faster growing economy.

What will the world be like on 2100?

I might be excused for hazarding guesses I know to be wrong, via my own reasoning, but if I had to guess I would make these guesses:

  • The USA will remain the worlds most powerful and significant nation.
  • China growth will stop somewhere just under US GDP because its export dependency places a limit upon its growth.  Japan, Taiwan and Korea have grown rich but have not been able to break out of the limitation to their economies and China will face the same problem.
  • The EU and the Euro wills survive, but expansion will be extremely slow if not stopped, and the EU's lack of strong central government, UK full participation, and the weak Federal system in Germany will make it a basket case Confederation.  They will not be able to break it up, but given the political situation in the UK and Germany they will not be able to fix it.  So the EU will be a critical economic and R&D centre but nothing more.
  • Despite current problems India will slowly emerge as a global power, just much more slowly than people were thinking a few years ago.  India has massive problems to overcome, more than China did, but it also has strengths of education and ingenuity that will enable it to overcome it.
  • It will be hotter, but global warming impacts on population will be tiny.  Things will be a bit more uncomfortable or harder to do, but civilisation will adjust.
  • The world population will be smaller than it is today, but not radically smaller, to take a guess I would say maybe 5 billion.
  • Capitalism and Representative Democracy will not be the global standard, the end of History stuff will end up being a flop.  Half the world's population will live in authoritarian regimes, Capitalism in the West will be dependent on Government power and spending, and many more nations will be openly Socialist, though not really in the Cuba or USSR model and not in a consistent or well worked out way.

Well this is really impossible to answer in any real detail.  We can make guesses about the population, the GDP, the climate and the relative distribution of wealth, but we can not get the fine level of details right like the people who will come to power, the ideologies that will emerge, or the specific things that will be created and adopted.

And human society is a highly chaotic system, small variations in initial conditions will create great difference over relatively short time frames.  Clearly these variations are far smaller than our ability to measure of even quantify.

For example take the birth of one person. In 1912 Alan Turing was born.  His contribution to WWII may have, by itself, made sure the Allies were ready to invade France by 1944, meaning Western Europe was Capitalist and Democratic, meaning they would grow uncompetitive and in debt buying massive amounts from China.  The entire global structure may have been different if Turing was never born, it the Enigma code was broken 6 months later and the German U-boat war was able to delay the Allied landing in Normandy by a year giving the Russians time to win the war entirely.  Maybe.

But also the pace of computer development without a few brilliant men like Turing would clearly have been different.  

So it is really impossible to make any solid predictions about anything in detail more than a few years out, and this inability to make solid predictions on detail make it impossible to make firm predictions about the overall picture.

Why Germany Lost World War 2, a concise cheat sheet

They did not generally have better weapons

The myth of German advanced weaponry comes from few excellent weapons at the end of the war, but in reality German often came to battle with inferior weapons.  Overall most of the best technical weapons were allies.

Computers, developed by the West, nothing like in in Germany gave allies a massive intelligence lead

British Radar defence at start of war

Western propeller plane design was far better from the start through the war.  Also allies had better bombers and attack planes.

T-34, Russians for the most part had better tanks a more of them.

German logistic was also dependent on horses as the allies had American made trucks.

Their best weapons were developed in a reactionary mode

The iconic high tech weapons of Nazi Germany, the V-1 and V-2, the jet, the Tiger tanks and assault riffle were developed after established German weapons proved to be insufficient once the applies in Stalingrad and North Africa had learned the methods of Blitzkrieg. 

Weapons development was chaotic 

Germans were developing dozens of new weapons, via different funding bodies and often dependent on Hitlers whim.  Thus unlike the allies a wide range of sometimes strange expensive weapons were being presented rather than a few excellent version pushed through and produced in massive numbers.

If Germany had concentrated on the jet fighter, the Panther tank, the assault riffle and panzerfaust it could have made a difference in the war, but a wide range of revenge weapons were produced to no strategic benefit.

They were outnumbered

Stalin said that Quantity has a Quality all its own.  One German tank commander said it took 11 Sherman tanks to take out a Tiger, and they always had 11 Sherman tanks.  The British had a sub-machine gun that cost less than £3 to produce which they flooded partisans with.

Their leadership was chaotic

Germany had no effective political structure beyond just Hitler's whim.  Planning and programs had to deal with pleasing Hitler who ran the country kind of like his own start up.  Start-ups can create innovative new ideas, but they also have a massive failure rate.  

They were so evil they turned people against them

In the end the people's of Europe cold not put up with the Germans and were happy to welcome not just the Americans but the Russians as well.

This was really a massive failure.  Given how much better life was in Nazi Germany than in Stalin Russia for non-Jews who could support Hitler, one would think the German's could have easily won a war of liberation in Russia.  The Soviet Union was full of nationalities that hated Stalins rule and a massive class of best and brights along with peasants in the Russian West had suffered under Stalin and it is hard to see how Hitler managed to fuck it up.

But his racial hatreds were so blinding her turned people, who normally would have been fine with Nazi rule in to violent enemies.  While a Russian or American solider could count on local support and secures logistics, but the end of the war a German outside of Germany could not ever feel safe.

Why didn't capitalism evolve to socialism as Karl Marx predicted it would?

Marx didn't grasp agency theory.
He viewed history as an object, as things following laws like balls on a table hitting each other.
He did not grasp how Capitalism would be able remake itself over and over again to stay in power, how the dynamic energy he identified in Capitalism would keep it alive.

What is Forrest Gump saying when his microphone is cut off while addressing the anti-Vietnam War crowd in the scene at the Washington Monument?

The gimmick of the Forrest Gump movie is two fold.  Mr "Everyman" Forrest is pasted into every major historical event the audience of that time was likely to remember.  That movie was some time ago so Gump had little to do with computers other then buying stock in Apple.

The other gimmick is that Gump is suppose to be just a humble simple everyman who had no idea the massive impact he is having on humanity around him.

Time and time again things happen in Gump because the people around him want it to happen, or via a kind of magic, with Gump himself utterly unaware of the social meaning.

So the speech about Vietnam, where he is faced with a mass of contradicting instincts and political agendas, has to be empty.  Its just impossible for the American people to reconcile Vietnam, at that time before Iraq gave them fresh wounds to lick, and so Gump silence presents a magic resolution, everyone in the audience can imagine the statement they need about Vietnam has happened.

Frankly I found this very disturbing, the worship of mass media culture in to some 'meaningful' event, combined with a naive worship of the wisdom of idiots was a uniquely American hubris, one I think the US paid a very heavy price for in the years after this 1990s feel good film was released.

A nation who can see Gump as a source of social stability, wealth and reason is a nation that elects George W. Bush.

What major influence did the Industrial Revolution have on art?

Let me make a more subtle bigger picture argument.

A number things the Industrial Revolution made possible:

Rapid Transport, people could travel vast distances quickly, this enabled arts to experience different cultures, and bring new art to regions.
One of the impacts is rapid movement, which gave artists a new mode of experiencing vast distances, with more motion and vaster spaces.  Rapid train travel changed our experience of space.

Gauguin was able to take a steam powered trip Tahiti where he transformed art.  Many impressionist arts travelled widely, enabled by steam power.

Mass Publication of work: Allowed vast printing of arts around the world, which meant artists could see the work of other artists, and art from around the world.

Van Gogh was able to afford prints from Japan, shipped to Europe, which greatly influenced his work.

Paint in Tubes: Artists are free of the studio, able to go out in nature and paint first hand.

Look what happens when you paint from the outside world, rather than a studio.  Rather than typical landscapes artists began to explore the experience  of being in a palce.

Open a New Public, a new middle class began to buy art, with a new set of aesthetics. 
Suddenly buyers were not just nobility or priests, but a growing middle class which wanted images of themselves of art.

Create new Inequality and Suffering that some Art revolted against. ]

Value Change, the mass changes of science and communications lead to a change in values, suddenly with new commodities being created a cult of change took place, new in human history, and artist began to be able to experiment more and more for an audience which came to value change and breaks with tradition.

Was Steve Jobs right when he said that Bill Gates would be a "broader" guy if he dropped acid?

Warning: This post is a bit critical of Steve Jobs and is respectful of Bill Gates.  I already know the Appleholics view that Gates is all evil and Jobs is all good so if you feel the need to comment as such, you are kind of wasting both of our time.

Bill and his wife spend their lives working to promote human development.

I saw Bill Gates recently at LSE.  Bill Gates talked about how he was working with local teams to wipe out malaria in India.  A nation of over 1 billion people and this one man was working with the local community to exterminate a killer disease that has plagued it for all of human history there.

He was a humble small man, a man of mild humor and modest ambition.  A man of massive humanity who empowered the entire audience, charging everyone with the idea that life can be made better.

Gates spoke of other topics like global warming and his concerns about the future of humanity.

Jobs last public appearance, facing death his mind was on a new office space for Apple.  He has left us the legacy of really cool gadgets, but how much he gave back to the world despite years of meditation and drugs is openly questioned. 

Gates blew our minds: he was the Guru Saint of the 21st Century.

I have never seen Jobs speak live, but I have seen plenty of videos of him.  Yes Apple is really cool, yes Apple makes great toys for richer people to go on line and check in to Foursquare or tweet flames at people while sitting around waiting for a seminar to start or a train to arrive.  

Jobs is thus kind of like a technology Vidal Sassoon, your iPad makes you look good and therefore Vidal looked good.  Excellent business marketing, but deep?  

Jobs was a typical product of the American West Coast counterculture of the 1970s: he imagined by consuming drugs and attending yoga classes he was deep. He certainly went on to be a giant of American industry, but so did Ford and Carnegie.  Was Ford deep when he ranted on about Jews?  Are the Koch brothers deep as they fund the Tea Party?

Gates may not have gone in for the Indian Mystical experience on drugs in the 1970s but in the last 10 years he has spent a lot of time in India, helping with medicine, education, and opportunity.  Certainly Gates did not bother to wear cool clothing, and he is likely not even high on pot in this picture or seeking enlightenment, but I imagine to the people attending it meant a great deal more than a drugged out Steve Jobs and his backpack in the 1970s.

Gates may or may not have done acid, but the man I saw speak on issues like malaria, clean drinking water and global warming was as deep as any person I have had the honor to hear speak.  Jobs last words to the world were essentially 'Hey, don't you love how the iPad looks.'

I sure like my Apple laptop, iPhone, iPad, desktop and iPod devices.  Hey, they are great.  Yeah, Apple as a public traded company that makes profit and cool stuff!  I also like my Nesspreso machine.  But Gates made me see how we might be able to make this a better world.  He steps away from all the money to try and make the lives of the most modest people in Africa and India better.

Steve Jobs spent much of his youth seeking enlightenment, doing drugs and traveling in India, but as he faced death he seemed to think a new phone would 'take care of everyone.'  The contrast between the great hippie who was only interested in money, and the straight and narrow business man who actually cares deeply about the world could not be greater. 

That is deep, man!

For my 45 birthday my wife got me a Nespresso machine and an iMac.  They are both guilty pleasures of consumption.  I like them both very much, but are they deep?

Note: I understand I used the term deep when the question asked broad.  But I think as far as broad goes not many people can say 'I founded the largest computer company in history, created the OS used by most PCs and the Office productivity set used by most employees, promoted effective prevention methods for sex workers in Asia and Africa and worked to wipe out malaria in India.  What ever you think of the guy that is a pretty broad set of accomplishments.

Does "keep in touch" sometimes mean that the person is trying to be nice (even when the person hopes that you won't contact him again)?

Well to try and make something of this question.

There is an approach to language called Speech Act theory.  It says that the 'meaning' or language is the social functions that words perform, not the semantic mapping of words to say entities in a dictionary or even the more abstract mapping on to intentions hidden in a human mind.

For example when a preacher says 'I pronounce you Man and Wife' he is now meaning anything, his words are doing.  Or if I say 'pass the salt' I am not meaning anything, I am instructing.  Speech Act says that all language functions like this.

'Keep in touch' is a standard idiom in spoken modern American English (never heard it in UK over 10 years) which marks that a separation is between people who are culturally suppose to have some kind of connection.  'Don't be a stranger' is another phrasing of this.

By saying it upon parting I am indicating that a dialogue or period of dialogues between myself and others have ended.  By using these set of words I am indicating that the appropriate reverence for the individuals established by our social relationship to each other.  I am also establishing that the period of intense discourse has ended and a new period of less or no contact has started.

Keep in touch closes a period of high discourse and social interaction between people related in our culture.

So the saying of 'Keep in Touch' is essentially a social form.  People say it because it would be odd not to say it.  If a mother was speaking to a son she almost never sees it would be odd if she didn't say something like this upon leaving.

But if the person who says it will be happy if you call them a week after is a different issue entirely.  Actually the use of the term 'Keep in touch' is so scripted by social convention it is just about meaningless.  An analogy is let us say you like a girl who you know to be a bit of a Jesus fan.  You sneeze and she says 'bless you' only an idiot would wonder if this indicated that she was blessing you and thus valued you and had romantic feelings for you.  Bless you is just something many people say when someone sneezes near them in North America;  again in 10 years in the UK I have almost never heard it.

The key test would be the response to a call made after the parting when 'keep in touch was made', through a number of verbal indications the person might make it clear if they are happy to really keep in touch, or if they just said it out of social form.

What kind of person is Kim Jong un?

UPDATE: As we learn more and more about him he seems to be a Caligula like figure, too young, isolated, and vicious. 

With his nation dependent on international food aid this nut just created an international incident over Sony releasing a movie that made fun of him.  UN food aid was already saying that they would likely have to pull out of North Korea for lack of donations it is likely that 100,000s of North Koreans will now starve to death because this little shit didn't want a stupid Hollywood movie about him shown.  Keep the poor people of North Korea in your thoughts, because they are about to descend to a hell few people have seen.

Very little is known about Kim Jong-un as a person.  He attended private school in Switzerland but he was extremely sheltered, having meals at the embassy of North Korea. 

Reports of people who claim to have known him are not entirely reliable as he attended school under an assumed name and never made any indication of who he was.

Not a single reliable psychology picture from a former friend exists.

But we do have some clues as to what he might be like:

  • He is extremely young, not even 30 years old yet.
  • He is in an extremely high pressure position, facing off the world's largest superpower while his nation's economy collapses and people are starving again.
  • He is utterly dependent on the military for support.

Given these situations one can assume that the intellectually immature, sheltered young man suddenly thrust into a world where death sentences are commonplace and millions starve is almost certainly become extremely withdrawn, paranoid and potentially even delusional; though there is no hard evidence of any of these conclusions, they seem likely.

Without a long period of being publicly groomed for the role (as his father was), the young Kim must on some level feel unprepared to competently head up the entire state apparatus which dominates the lives of every person in the country.  Given that Kim's only claim to the government is via his father it is almost certain he lacks the ability to understand and command the situation and is dependent on others.

This would be difficult enough if North Korea were a normal nation, but North Korea is perhaps the most bizarre place on earth.  The extreme nature of the regime, the horrific conditions of its economy and the high-stakes global diplomacy would almost certainly create a degree of paranoia in any person put in Kim's position.

But the extreme hero worship that the leader is exposed to in North Korea combined with the suddenness of his rise from utter obscurity (3 years ago only one picture of him was in public circulation) has almost certainly lead to a degree of delusional thinking on his part.  He has shown a tendency to deal with situations with extreme bluff.   As the food situation in the nation is getting very bad he has launched rockets and made extreme threats, even cancelling the cease fire and ending what communications existed between the two Koreas.

There is a real uncertainty of how much of what he does is institutional power of the Army vs. his own personality.  One might hope that the Army, which is the true power in North Korea, is just continuing policies, but the sudden dramatic changes in the intensity of provocations might indicate that Kim is having more impact than one would hope.

But given the nature of what he has done, including executing people for not showing enough legitimate grief at his father's death would indicate he is ruthless, paranoid, likely delusional, utterly amoral and extremely dangerous.

He certainly is not the reformer some might have hoped.


In the time since this was written we have learned a great deal about this leader:

  1. He is in terrible health, gaining extreme amounts of body fat in a short time; and seen walking with a limp, he most certainly is at risk of gout (his grandfather also had it), hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure.
  2. He is ruthless, or is willing to allow ruthlessness, beyond his father or grandfather.  He is willing to have close members of his own family killed.
  3. He has terrible self-esteem, he wears painful ladies' high-heeled shoes to make himself look taller.
  4. Such rapid weight gain points also to heavy amounts of alcohol consumption, and he is a chain smoker.
  5. He may be very stupid and delusional, he has built what may be the biggest water park in the world and keeps it stocked with thousands of healthy swimmers to show tourists, rather than have them do any work, and seems ready to go to great lengths just to keep a silly movie about him from being shown.  He is clearly not thinking in terms of politics.

The combination of serious medical condition, inability to control his body weight and issues with his height combined with a situation of extreme power, lack of experience and exposure to any drug or alcohol he might want for someone so young and inexperienced can only be self-destructive.  I would doubt that you would find his private behaviour sane, and if he can keep a cold external face, his inner mind is a radical conflict of self-doubt and megalomanic narcissism like perhaps Saddam or Hitler.

This, along with his sheltered early life, provides him with no connection at all to the people he rules over, who he is rarely even shown near.  He lives in a life of internal power structures, drugs, larger meals, alcohol, smokes and, if he can still perform, sex.  This life's only connection to reality is the very real danger to his person from political intrigue, his terrible medical reality and a regime of touring factories and other dehumanised staged events.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Why I quite Quora

It seems the Quora administrators have decided to censor a number of my posts.

One was a discussion with someone who claimed that Germany, despite having a low birth rate and a growing pension time bomb, simply could not accept Muslim migrants because, well because.  Because they were 'different', and it was just rational to let German demographics creep to extinction rather than try to integrate people who can't be integrated because they are...well because.

It seems Quora has a problem with calling a person like this a racist.

It also seems that in a discussion with Any Rand Objectivists someone, a fan of Ayn Rand, tagged my posts as not showing community spirit, in not falling over myself to be nice.

The idiocy of that goes without saying.

Then I had an answer down voted for being rude.  Seems that calling people who said that Gore was no different than Bush idiots is some kind of evil, I was told to reword it.  I don't know, retarded, mindless shit fucks, brain dead, take your pick.

I count that as three strikes and took great joy in deleting my Quora account.

To that cut out man

Today my shoe came untied at the worst time
It got tangled around my leg
I was on the train
It literally was causing me to fall down
I had to struggle to get stable
To kneel down while the train was moving
And tie my shoe while holding the railing with one hand

I was in front of a guy in a lavender jacked, sitting in a chair that would have helped to tie my shoe
He had side burns and a 70's tie
Light brown leather shoes pointed at the tip
A perfect 70s haircut

A ghost of a human
A cut out man mimicking an age he never knew
Sitting there watching an old man struggle with his shoe
and just sitting there
Getting off at Canary Wharf

The broken cut out man in a broken cut out world

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Today on my train journey home I saw a man with no left arm and then, on the next train, a women with no left leg.

Now I like to think of myself as scientific, but I could not help but think this must mean something.

My first take was that I was in danger of losing something left, either a left leg or arm, but why would the sign be one of each, would I lose both.

Or what the sign about the left, recently I have had growing concerns about the direct left politics is going in the western world, perhaps it was political.

It makes more sense that destiny would maim two human beings to make a comment on politics, right?

But something about us makes me uneasy about seeing the two together like that, I can't shake it easily.

It must be something human, so don't give me that it is in our brains hardwired, and if I lived in a time when lots of people were mutilated, like when I was in Romania, then I would think nothing of it.

It must have something to do with words, with my belief that words must mean something.

I know that the two limbless people on the train were random accidents, but what about words?  Is not my faith in language the same in my suspicion that the two mutilated humans have some message for me.