Thai Thoughts and Anecdotes Part 320
If you are convinced you are politically correct and knowledgeable about the colonialist evils of Britain in India in the 19th century I recommend: Memoirs of a Bengal Civilian (Indian Civil Service from 1858-1893 as told by one who served both India and Britain) by John Beames. The Boston Public Library brought my copy in from Brandeis University. Any large library that belongs to the Interlibrary Loan Program should be able to do this. Reading this memoir may cause you to rethink some of your prejudices regarding foreigners in India.
On the other hand if you want to read a book that will support all of your ideas and angers and prejudices regarding despicable behavior of white guys during the colonialist years you can not improve on Kenya Diary (1902-1906) by Colonel R. Meinertzhagen. Oh to be twenty-four, male, British, in uniform with attendant free room and board, a stipend from Daddy, and in Africa in 1902. Permission to misbehave by British policies or lack of policies. A virgin continent incapable of protecting itself, unlimited bullets, and unlimited women starting at age 13. Shoot anything that moves, man or beast. Look, there's another one. Shoot that one too. The women were young, naked, and obedient chattel. The shooting and killing was glorious beyond belief. Have any men had more fun in the history of men? Hormones, bullets, broads, money, and no ethics. God what a paradise.
Any large library with a reciprocal lending policy from other libraries should be able to get this book and the beauty is that it will open up for you a whole category of writing that you might not have been aware of. Anyway, the behavior of the British (and others) in India and in Africa could not have been more different. There were positive influences on India by British occupation and government, but poor Africa was just a killing zone for white guys running amok. An entire continent was not enough to counter greater technology in weapons, greater organizational skills. greater budgets, and greater ego. And it was not just men in uniform predating and polluting all things African. Individual sons of rich men used the continent of Africa as a kind of personal shooting range and finishing school before going home and settling down to manage Dad's estates. Example:
One 'sportsman' left Capetown and traveled north with a personal safari that included 18,000 bullets and the ability to manufacture more bullets, wagon train carrying supplies, personal servants, native bearers, oxen, horses, hunting dogs, guns of every description, mules, and household apparatus for modern comforts. You have to admire a young man who thinks big. My idea of a personal safari would be a slingshot, butterfly net, and big hat. People are brought up differently. Anyway, part of this 'think big' attitude included a complete disregard for the humans he came in contact with. He routinely abused village chiefs, raped and enslaved women, stole, and humiliated the locals. Not only was he a scourge on the local animals but he was also a scourge on the local people and against all odds he got away with it. It beggars belief and makes a mockery of 'odds' but he got away with a life of rapine, theft, abuse, unprincipled killing, and complete disrespect for anything with a beating heart. Truly, good and evil are not rewarded, simply tallied. All you really have is what you can defend and the locals were no match for colossal ego, unlimited budget, technologically superior weapons. and modern organizational skills. He got away with it all and was able to retire to his ancestral properties and quail shoots. What a wonderful life of testosterone and brainlessness. He was the best/worst example of the colonialist mentality in Africa. Give a bully guns without restrictions (laws) and the results are predictable.
This example now comes more and more to my mind when I consider the modern Thais reluctance to allow foreigners to participate in their country in a 'modern' way: in other words, be able to buy property and businesses and make other asset investments. I used to use this reluctance of the Thais to allow foreigners to participate in their country on par with Thais' abilities to participate in their country as a defining example of their lack of international point-of-view, lack of knowledge of how foreign investment could benefit them, general ignorance and low I.Q,, xenophobia, etc. Now I am not so sure. After years of name calling I find that I am a little more reluctant to throw stones at Thais who find the idea of allowing foreigners to invest and participate on par with them to be less than appealing. Letting the fox into the hen house never seems like a good idea for the hens and exposing the Thais to foreigners with greater budgets, greater international experience, greater attractions to the niceties of contract law, greater organizational skills, greater ego, greater drive, and greater education just starts to look like an idea that is maybe not the best idea for Thailand. So, do I find myself a little more sympathetic to the Thais on this issue? Well, mostly yes.
But that is not what I want to really talk about today. What I really want to talk about today is:
Ah, Physics. Imponderables made ponderable by the application of great minds–minds greater than my mind. At least that was the idea starting in the 1970's. Example:
"The next step would then have been to derive most of the elementary particle masses in terms of one or two fundamental masses and define the strengths of all the fundamental forces in terms of a single fundamental force." — Alan Lightman
Exactly. Hence so many sleepless nights in Princeton for Mr. Einstein. But where are we today after three decades of alpha thought and taxpayer financed experiments? Example:
"We are living in a universe incalculable by science." — Alan Lightman
Try and imagine being this Lightman dude and this is where you end up after a lifetime of physics career. Anyway, think of the stress, pencils, paper, and blackboard chalk that could have been saved if these scientists had just listened to the Buddhists at Doi Suthep outside Chiang Mai. With all that gold and all that elevation they couldn't possibly be mistaken about matters cosmological. Imagine how different Einstein's brain function might have been if he had been hanging out there instead of unproductive Princeton. But I almost digress. To return to the main event and to iterate:
"We are living in a universe incalculable by science."
This is why I love shopping for matters of the heart on the boardwalk in Pattaya, Thailand. None of my life is calculable by science so there is no reason to plan or hope or calculate. I am without stress as I expose myself to other beautiful planetary bodies of the commercial kind. Like random particles myself and another boardwalk denizen will eventually crash into one another. It's only a matter of time, and I start at 7:30 in the morning as I walk to the Internet place near Soi 10 so I always have time on my side. And unlike nameless random particles in the universe I can actually turn down random crashes with available women. How lucky can a man get in a life with no meaning?
Yes indeed: "We are living in a universe incalculable by science." But what Mr. Lightman doesn't do is note the next intellectual step. Ergo: if life experience can not be calculated it also can not count. All you have is now. Be happy.
See you on the boardwalk.