The Fractal Nature of Nations

A fractal is an iterative object: something whose minutiae are indistinguishable from the entirety of the thing. Think of a mountain, where a single rock might have as complicated craggery (it's a word now) as the mountain itself.

As for a nation...classically, a nation is supposed to be a culturally distinct group; whereas a state is a group defined by political unity.

I am starting to question this definition. Basically, the problem with this--for me--is that the latter basically expects that the country will change rapidly with the whims of its elected body. Of course, part of this is obviously proven untrue by the way the two-party system actually works: even when one party has a complete majority in Congress and control of the White House, it can't effect immediate change (cough, cough...stop expecting immediate everything, jackasses...although I still think that Peace Prize was completely premature).

But anyway. I recently read Upton Sinclair's Oil!, which is the novel that "There Will Be Blood" is loosely based off (I mean, the main points are completely different, and that's just for starters)...and it's really funny, because the scandals with the oil business, the inquiries dependent on some fringe reporters, and the overwhelming power of corporations are all things that I have always thought were unique to our time. Obviously, Sinclair has a biased opinion--but it's still the same one that a lot of people these days go with, and is totally not helped by Cheney's mastery of Halliburton and all that.

Also, before this I read Jonathan D. Spence's Treason by the Book, which takes place in 18th-century China...and yet has the same kind of censorship and such that we tend to attribute to the Communist reign. (Well, the most unbelievable for me was that they suspected a professor who had simply used some characters that were the emperor's name with the top strokes missing--allegedly suggesting that the emperor should be decapitated--and then...he actually did turn out to be anti-government.)

So, anyway.

I'm starting to wonder if it really is possible to change the character of the state, even an infant one. Of course, this is fundamentally important to America's little pro-democracy pushes all over the world; not only are they completely wrong and in violation of the sovereignty of the native people, but they might also be futile. To the max.

It's like that phrase...the more things change, the more they stay the same...and applies equally to technology and its ability to increase the amount of leisure time people have in a day.

Also, HOLY SHIT EPIC MICKEY. Square Enix, meet thy competition!

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