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Beware of Legality, Accountability, Marketability, Security!

Be where the Four Hoarsemen of the Apocalypse are not

Beware of Legality, Accountability, Marketability, Security!
Being wary of "legality"
Being wary of "accountability"
Being wary of "marketability"
Being wary of "security"
Systemic implications of "horsemen" and "hoarsemen" and correspondences between them
Being wary of the Four Hoarsemen acting together
Being where and how "to be"?

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The current period highlights concerns with end times scenarios, whether in the form of eschatological predictions, planetary disaster or civilizational collapse (Spontaneous Initiation of Armageddon: a heartfelt response to systemic negligence, 2004; Mind Map of Global Civilizational Collapse: why nothing is happening in response to global challenges, 2011).

A particular focus is offered by predictions relating to December 2012 and the completion of the Mayan/Aztec long count cycle. As noted by Ed Vulliamy (Mayan 'death and rebirth' date marks the perfect time to tackle planet's crisis, The Observer, 16 December 2012):

'Progress' has brought ecological disaster and the wipeout of species. As the winter solstice arrives, we may not be facing apocalypse but a fresh start in our attitude to the world order... The moment is taken by some to mean the end of time - those who perhaps prefer the idea of apocalypse Hollywood-style to the prospect of grinding on - and by many more to herald some new era in which battle will be done between those who would protect the planet and those bent on destruction.

The prediction has usefully been placed in context by Ted Harrison (The End of the World: an eternal scare story, The Guardian, 4 December 2012). Problematic interpretations of the event have been officially corrected in advance through release of a video (NASA explains why the end of the world is not coming on December 21, The Guardian, 13 December 2012).

Unfortunately the track record of official anticipation of predicted disaster is itself only too evidently disastrous, as indicated by the current global financial situation and the "surprise" consequent on known vulnerability to earthquakes and flooding (Anticipating Future Strategic Triple Whammies -- in the light of earthquake-tsunami-nuclear misconceptions, 2011). The NASA video might then be compared to previous official efforts to deny the possibility of such disasters -- despite the dissemination of warnings and the credibility attached to them by some.

Surprise is necessarily surprising, as argued by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable, 2007) and Karen Cerulo (Never Saw It Coming: cultural challenges to envisioning the worst, 2006). A curious contrast to the NASA disclaimer is however offered by the extensive resources officially invested in cultivation of a culture of fear as a consequence of evidence whose significance is variously contested, most notably in relation to terrorism and dissemination of weapons of mass destruction (David L. Altheide, Creating Fear: news and the construction of a crisis, 2002; Barry Glassner, The Culture of Fear: why Americans are afraid of the wrong things, 2010; Frank Furedi, Politics of Fear: beyond left and right, 2005; Daniel Gardner, The Science of Fear: how the culture of fear manipulates your brain, 2009).

Within the end times scenario, biblical predictions draw attention to the imminent arrival of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse -- traditionally held to symbolize Conquest (or Pestilence), War, Famine, and Death. Irrespective of the factual significance which some may attribute to such predictions, the concern here is with the implication of such beliefs and their consequence for others. Framed in this way there is then the possibility that the "horsemen" may take an unexpectedly subtler form -- possibly engendering disaster at the cognitive rather than the physical level. Specifically it is argued that they may be variously disguised in the apparel of Legality, Accountability, Marketability, and Security -- perhaps usefully understood as clusters of memes rather than as conventionally defined.

It is further suggested that rather than each being carried by a "horse", the riders may be better characterized by the stridency with which their "voices" carry -- hence use here of "hoarse" as an alternative (cf. The "Dark Riders" of Social Change: a challenge for any Fellowship of the Ring, 2002). As "voices" their problematic nature may be fruitfully explored as "languages" which variously preclude recognition of certain phenomena on which the quality and viability of human life depends.

Whilst each of the riders has traditionally been considered potentially problematic in isolation, the focus here is on the heightened danger arising from their interaction -- from the manner in which they work together and coordinate their action. The subtlety of this mode -- readily denied -- is indicated to a degree by the much-cited final warning by President Eisenhower regarding the military-industrial complex. More generally it follows from the unacknowledged systemic interdependencies (Map of Systemic Interdependencies None Dares Name: 12-fold challenge of global life and death, 2011).

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