Explaining GRUNCH

In Higher Living Standards, I was exulting about my access to audio and video recordings of my heroes, or simply people I track.

Like I’m on the fence as to where I stand vs-a-vs Lyndon LaRouche, now 96 according to Wikipedia. However, be that as it may, I find it both rewarding and convenient to retrieve their various recordings so easily. Many standard of living has definitely increased.

Today, let’s officially add Robert Anton Wilson to my gang. For the first time that I can recall, I listened to several hours of the guy on audio this morning. The interviewer brought up Everything Is Under Control, his encyclopedia of conspiracies.

book cover

I’ll want to explain my connection to the entry under GRUNCH: the linked website was one of mine, and by now is simply grunch.net.

I’m often surprised when I first get to hear one of these leading lights. Richard Feynman’s voice is so distinctive, ditto for Terence McKenna and Jared Diamond.

Sometimes how they look is also stunning or surprising in some way. However I’m imagining I’m driving a heavy rig and need to fix my gaze on the road, even if she’s on autopilot. My personal workspace: the truck’s cab. I can drive and listen to favorite teachers at the same time, and even chew gum.

GRUNCH is recognizably an acronym, given its all capital letters, however its inventor, one RBF (another acronym) wanted to be sure to establish it as Grunch as well, and even grunch (now adding it to my spellchecker).

It’s English meaning? Well, RBF figured, we really need a “group word” for “bunch of giants”, just like we already have “murder of crows” and “coven of witches” or “meeting of Quakers” or “gaggle of geese”.

Indeed, one might think “bunch” the best choice (“bunch of giants”) but mainly in the rear view mirror, I’d suggest, as it rhymes with GRUNCH, and that’s already ingrained (has traction).

“Gross Universal Cash Heist” is what it stood for, and had to do with re-balancing the books, such that we might clarify, in the privacy of our own thinking, a model of how the world works.

The growth of giant world-spanning corporations had to be phased in to the history-telling. However “military-industrial complex” (Eisenhower) was all worn out and took too long to say.

In today’s news, we speak of “tech giants” (such as FANG: Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Google), and that reinforces the consensus that “giant” is now shorthand for what R. Buckminster Fuller was talking about.

Of course FANG is clearly too restrictive, even with respect to what count as tech giants, but still gives the idea of what giants we’re talking about. FANG < GRUNCH.

By this time you might be thinking RAW’s entry in his encyclopedia is yet another cryptic nomenclature for the same phenomena on everyone’s plate. What’s really new and different here? Are we expected to adopt cute acronyms and neologisms from the Fuller corpus?

As journalists, are we expected to dip our pens in the inkwell of Transcendentalism?

That’s not all up to me of course, though I now how to make it more tempting.

Why not connect the dots for your readers and show the worldly public that you have some command over your material? Show that you’ve done your homework.

OK, now let’s turn to trucking for the moment, as in transportation engineering.

I’ve been a computer programmer for a lot of my life, which means I traffic in some specific namespaces, professional shop talks.

Rather recently, said list of namespaces has expanded to include more from the data science corner, machine learning in particular.

I think a lot of us have had to adjust. Including truckers. I’m not just talking about rigs on autopilot. I’m talking about “anticipatory design science” (RBF again) with special emphasis on “anticipatory”.

Machine Learning (ML) is by predicting the future in a lot of ways. I was yakking about all that yesterday in fact.

You may know me as the inventor of the “bizmo” a neologism (probably not though).

The concept of “recreational vehicle” for those in retirement, or migrating from Amazon to Walmart to a warm place in the desert, was well-established. We saw a lot of RVs on the road. We also had contractors in their colorfully painted vans, on the clock.

The “business mobile” (i.e. bizmo) fit somewhere in between, in providing for some “personal workspace” (like a cubicle) to go on the road.

on the road

They’d vary in size and purpose. Sometimes they’d caravan. Don’t forget the dispatch centers. I’m thinking of AAA (Triple-A) now. That’s a well-known road service fleet, with dispatching.

By 2018, some models are on the road, though not under that name.

“Bizjet” is OK in Scrabble (per Hasbro) but not “bizmo” quite yet.

The Urban Dictionary may have other slang meanings.

However, that I’m semi-alone with some semi-private vocabulary (bizmo, Grunch…) is not a show-stopper. So what?

We already know I don’t mind trafficking in esoterica. I was a fixture around Esozone here for a couple years, an event in Portland’s “techno-occult” scene.

event poster

The word “occult” simply means “occluded” or “semi-hidden” but that needn’t mean “actively kept secret”. On the contrary, you may have your ads on phone poles, all over town.

Office workers such as myself, with esoteric vocabularies, are not precluded from getting work done, lets put it that way.

A lot of worker / study Global U students don’t write “PWS” for “personal workspace” either. Yet they have them, and call them “study carrels” or “truck cabs” or whatever. If you’re a teenager, your PWS might be your home bedroom.

So was Robert Anton Wilson maybe creating a redundancy in his encyclopedia, by keeping a slot open for GRUNCH. Aren’t the same themes dealt with elsewhere, using different vocabulary.

I don’t really think so, as Transcendentalism is really more of a subculture, with more than a specific lexicon.

We have our artifacts, our anime and manga.

We have our ethic (World Game) and our aesthetic (free and open). Not every “conspiracy” can boast as much. We have our synergies.

semantic network

Let me conclude with some words about “conspiracy”.

You may have seen my Conspiracy Theories Rock! piece.

RAW thinks they’re by definition steeped in deception, misdirection, showman chicanery. Likewise by definition, one rarely embraces these negatives, as they sound like charges to defend against.

However, as a matter of etymology, the word simply means to “con spire” as in “breath together” as some kind of system or entity.

By that definition, every tech giant is a conspiracy, unto itself. Our political universe could be cast as a space of partially overlapping conspiracies. Or call it “heaven for the paranoid”.

To make a long story short, I’m open minded enough to allow for benevolent conspiracies. I don’t insist on a thoroughly negative connotation. Ditto for “propaganda” as another synonym for “PR”.

My willingness to mix “good and evil” in this way is probably owing to my earlier philosophical training. At Princeton, I enjoyed the lectures of Walter Kauffman, on Nietzsche, on the Bible, on Buber, on existentialists.

Philosophy cultivates a sort of mindset oft confused with aloofness, that really is more a strong commitment to carving out a bigger picture.

“Think globally, act locally” is the attitude, in a nutshell. You might even “think Martian” to get that “alien point of view” (ETPV).

If you’re more a nationalist than a globalist, then I understand why you might consider philosophy somewhat dangerous.

It strives to be that.

What self respecting philosophy wouldn’t?