Republican Neoliberalism is Touching Us All.

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Quote ren:

Did you not have an experience? As Anti's description comes across to me, and I've been pretty good at guessing what he's trying to say so far, as we seem to be able to carry on a thread of discussion here, PIP would be a way of talking about what's involved in our experience with each other, and allowing that recovery of experience without creating a language of exclusion so common to systems.

I don't have a lot of time in responding to your request on (personal) 'spiritual experiences' right now--I have to work tonight. I will try to get back to that if that's where this discussion goes--I know that you, ren, and I have discussed that in the past. Part of the problem in this 'spiritual process' is that the description and the meaning will probably never match the experience--and I'll try to say more about that if it comes to that.

For now, let me comment a little on your previous segment that starts with this:

Quote ren:

I don't know quite how to relate your words to what i was thinking, which was along these lines: In 1966 I disagreed with a "system's" conclusion that it should attack Vietnam......

With respect to what I was trying to say with the 'metaphysics of power', do you see 'war', in any way, a 'rational and reasonable' assertion of such power? Or, perhaps, what would be a 'rational and reasonable' assertion of such an act as war applied systematically? As Edward Bellamy pointed out in his book over 120 years ago (in Looking Backward--2000-1887), corporations operate more like the military than a 'civilized government'. I believe that 'war' was considered only as a 'necessary evil' under extreme circumstances--one that I believe only carries a valid moral cause when it concerns something like a 'virtue over life'--otherwise, I see no way in which 'war', itself, has a 'rational and reasonable' component to it and I think it further confirms my thoughts that 'systemic applications' should be 'rational and reasonable'.

I'm not trying to belittle your predicament in this. I'm glad I didn't have to go (I was just 'slightly' too young--I did have to register for the draft, however). I do remember all those pictures coming back from Vietnam on the evening news (at a time, unlike today, when the media showed such pictures). And, I do remember seeing all those protests about Vietnam coming from all the campuses on the evening news (at a time, unlike today, when the media showed such pictures). And, even when I was twelve years old, I wondered how this war at this time had anything to do with 'freedom'--or 'American interests'. And, I use this word 'freedom' less as a 'fact' and more as a 'metaphysical cause', so to speak. Besides that, my concept is more geared towards the universal implementations systematically as 'individual rights'. As I've tried to explain in other areas when I was only reading this thread, I have more a 'politico-religious' foundation to my endeavors than a purely 'philosophical' one. I've dabbled in philosophy--but, I've dabbled more in history--especially American history.

Do you remember the saying back in the '60's that said 'War is Obsolete'? I think even 'science' has proven that when Albert Einstein once claimed:

"With the unleashing of the power of the atom, everything about man has changed except his modes of thinking. And, with that, we are drifting towards unparalleled catastrophe."

Wars since World War II have neither been declared (as directed by the U.S. Constitution) nor 'won' in the sense that 'somebody surrendered'--and some 'state' was removed. These are more like Orwellian wars geared towards a manipulation of the state--having you 'look the other way' like the sleight of hand maneuver that it is while 'taking your rights away' with it.....I will never 'buy' into that system.....and, don't kid yourself, 'war' is a profitable corporate product.....

That doesn't mean that I'm a pacificist--in many ways, I am not. It does mean that I haven't seen a true cause for 'war'--or true ending to 'war', for that matter--happen anywhere since World War II.....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'm hoping we can move in a direction that will inspire you to in some way correlate the "spirit" of your experiences to what we are trying to talk about. It's a given that the language is not going to bring us your full experience nor its meaning. I've brought that problem up several times, and I think both Anti and I are trying our best not to expect anything definitive and exact. The spirit of this discussion in my mind is open-ness, and so I try to be forgiving of the limitations I am aware of in using language to express what we are trying to say. I think we have to be open to coming at it from different directions, and in the end, leave it up to each individual to take away what he or she can from it.

It's difficult to say exactly where someone is closing down a conversation. But I believe there can be a sense of that experience coming from the words. I'm inclined to try up to a point, and when I feel that I'm going in circles, I tend to give up. I wrote a silly little poem about it once on one of the past boards. It expresses the problem of dealing with certitude and knowingness, and how that expresses a tautological circularity in the person I'm attempting to communicate with. It was inspired by the movie Pi that I spoke about a few posts back:

Gerbil Pi

Inside, those little wire boxes

with little wire wheels,

circumferences, the irrational number pi,

befuddling in never-creations,

go purveyors of binary opposition.

Round and around they go!

A world of circles,

and they never, ever "know"!

As far as your question about what I think in terms of dealing with the system and war, I'd like to keep it at the phenomenological level of my individual experience. If you look closely at what I said, I think it will appear fairly clear that I don't find there to be anything to address in the system that will respond to my ethical concerns about war as an individual in a "rational and reasonable" way. That's the actual experience I'm trying to convey. That was my wake up call, you might say. One of those epiphanies that change a paradigm of thought. To go beyond that becomes sheer speculation about the system, and that then for me becomes a personal matter of how much oppression I'm willing to take as I give up my personal ethics for the sake of depending on a whole system in which I consciously take part.

I have given a great deal of thought to what it takes to actually get out of this system -- for what that's worth. In The Prophet's Way, Thom devotes a fair amount of time to talking about being on the edge, the peripheries, because that's where the most things are happening and where the most potential for seeing can occur. Rites of passage are in that category of going to the edge, where an individual goes through a process that can offer them through ritual an experiential awareness of the "betwixt and between" of the collectively accepted order in their cultural system. An order that they may, up until that point have taken utterly for granted. That's another matter we could take up. I've been looking for a place to introduce it.

That betwixt and between has been given a name: liminality. In your own spiritual experience you may have consciously or not so consciously experienced it. I think so-called creative people, like artists, musicians, scientists, and the like, need to find that liminal space in their minds to be able to change their way of thinking enough to see in new ways, and thus be what we call "creative." James Joyce called those moments in his writing "epiphanies" which along with the sense of intuitive leap or sudden understanding means something like the supposed manifestation of a divine being. So what I'm trying to say is there may be enough structure to this spiritual concept we point to, to be able to at least talk about it, if not directly share the expreience we each have.

By observing the organizational patterns of institutions I think it's possible to see that appear to be driven by forces that oppose the creative; we can then postulate that institutions have characteristics, like they need to keep order and conformity, and they usually appear to have an organizing purpose to make claim to maintaining order. I think that, while I've never entirely left this system, I've been on the edge much of the time.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Yes, it is like Newtonian Physics being blown up by what it shed light upon. We learned too much from Newton's cosmology to explain the universe anymore. Paradigm fatigue is just about our epistemological nature; and the fact that we have imagination as well as reason matters to "experience." What I have been privileged to experience in music is more categorical than what happens in writing; but they are not so different that the basic Charles Parker method can apply generally: "You learn your music, you learn your axe, then you forget it all and blow."

When we communicate, we get the words off the page into "speech." Good writing is easy on the ear. The quote about how wonderful it is to be alive when almost everything we know is wrong, comes from Tom Stoppard's "Arcadia." It is a terrific play about entropy and rebirth with a story about Newton's Second Law of Thermodynamics, Fractals and English Garden design. Trust me.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote ren:

If you look closely at what I said, I think it will appear fairly clear that I don't find there to be anything to address in the system that will respond to my ethical concerns about war as an individual in a "rational and reasonable" way.

I see this a being a problem with those who claim that 'we' have 'transcended' the Age of Reason's political premises. What I truly believe that our founding fathers steeped in the Age of Reason's point was that it is the reason to systematically apply power that is the point--and the problem--with such an application (thus, my 'metaphysics of power'). To now, disregard that impetus to be based on the 'rights of the individual' (as its most 'reasonable and rational fact' to base it on), is to me, in many respects, as I've said before, I fear a 'step backwards into dogmatic control'--not a step forward into some form of 'enlightened transcendence'. And, once again, ren, I read your statement in that manner. If a 'system' doesn't respond to your 'ethical concerns about war as an individual in a "rational and reasonable" way', then I suspect it really responds to NO rational or reasonable premise as if an(y) individual in any way. I am suspicious of that prospect--and I believe I have right to be. When a 'system' does that, it resorts back to dogmatic control--more instilled in propagandized, regimented, and manipulated, power than one justified through the very ones it is applying that power against. This has always been a tremendous problem throughout history.

I think our 'Age of Reason' founding fathers' insight into this matter is being shortchanged by 'the facts of power' being asserted today--a 'fact' that is less intuned to a confirmed reality because it is less based on the 'rationale and reasoning' that a 'thinking individual' has.....and what it puts in its place, so far, I haven't seen much difference than as if we were back in the Dark Ages hanging on dogma and authoritarian dicta without it.....with, perhaps, the only 'modern' difference being such dicta is claiming to be about the very 'individual rights' it is abusing....just like hypocrites do....

We can claim an 'artistic extension' in some ways--but, that, to me, can only be personally confirmed. When it comes to systematic impositions, I want to see (and understand) the reason and rationale for it. I don't want dogma. I don't want slogans. I don't want 'fear tactics'. I want reason and rationale controlling it in a fashion that confirms its cause to act (the 'metaphysics of power').....as every 'thinking person' should be able to 'see'.....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Well said, Kerry, and I concur with the dynamics of your perspective that generates your analysis.

It occurred to me at one point while I was attempting to deal with its bureaucracy that the military and the government are one and the same. And when dogmatic control is needed -- however that's determined through whatever institutional measures or forces -- the illusion the one is under the control of the other, with the civilian as the commander in chief while simultaneously the CEO of the nation's bureaucracy, will vanish.

And, yeah, that may not be far off.

Quote DRC:

"You learn your music, you learn your (s)axe, then you forget it all and blow."

Lol, that's pretty much the same for how I write.

I presume you meant "saxe"?

My best chance to experience Arcadia will probably be through the written word, or the CD audio of the play. But Stoddard sounds like he's up my alley on this one.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

One side miscellaneous note....

Judas Barack Obama.

Obama is Judas. He not only betrayed American Progressives and proudly put on the mantel of Fascism, but he is continuing the crusade of murdering and torturing of persons randomly and by design. I understand Wall Street is celebrating like they never have before because they know what we do not--they have won. William Daley's goal is to gut Medicare and Social Security.

Bill Clinton won the White House by manipulating the symbolism of the Progressive President John F. Kennedy and sold out the American middle class to an astounding degree. Judas, is doing the same thing, but this time by manipulating the symbolism of Progressive Civil Rights and Equality. It's genius.

I recommend buying Silver bullion in honor of Judas Barack Obama. He has been very naughty, and we should also be naughty. Wall Street and the our economy system is represented by our money supply--dollars. I do not consent.

I strongly recommend constructing a "chaos hedge" as any responsible person should do by taking 1/16 of all your liquidity, cash, and convert it to Silver bullion only. This is because gold has traded at a ratio of 16-to-1 to silver in terms of price, but today it trades in the range of 50 to 1. If you let the banks hold it, you will lose it. If you buy silver stock certificates you will be destitute. Purchase Silver coins (rounds, not collector coins) and Silver shot for exchange and bartering. The Silver coins called "rounds" are less expensive. You want to buy close as possible to the cost of the base metal. So it is normal to purchase a Silver round at spot market price ($28.64), plus dealer mark up (8% or $2.30), plus tax (7.5%), or$31.00 per Silver round today. Thom Hartmann once had a precious metals and gold sponsor on his radio show but I forgot their name. Thom has advocated buying gold many times in his show commericals.

More logistics of Silver are

650 million ounces per year demand for industry.

Above ground surplus of less than 1 billion ounces, or $30 billion worth ($30 per ounce).

40 billion ounces of silver mined in history.

Silver is used in the manufacturing of solar panels.

When Reality breaks forth in one or two years, and Barack Obama shuts down the banks for a "banking holiday" and reopens with your deposits only worth 50%, the depositors' panic will increase the price of precious metals. The price increase may replace some, or even all your devalued cash deposits. It will not save you, but at least it is some protection from being immediately destitute. I don't think this is being greedy, or unethical.

If the impossible happens and jobs stop going to China, China stops buying precious metal, the War actually stops, and 30 years of de-industrialization is reversed, then you will only have 1/16 of you cash in Silver. One should always have a chaos hedge regardless. Research Silver bullion before buying so you will not be cheated. The markets are so corrupt, there is always a risk--paper money is the riskiest. I should of started doing this years ago.

Okay, two sad notes:

Triumph of the Will: Assassinated Congresswoman was on Sarah Palin’s ‘Hit List’

Giffords Opponent, Jesse Kelly, Held June Event to “Shoot a Fully Automatic M16″ to “Get on Target” and “Remove Gabrielle Giffords”

Sept 2010 headline in Arizona paper: ”Palin reloads, aims for Giffords”

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I saw some of that interview of Bill Hemmer with Rep. Giffords the day before she was shot by Jared Loughner (where one of your posts above, Antifascist, seem to imply this 22 yr. old was going to demonstrate an act of 'conscience dreaming' soon...was this 'conscience dreaming'--and, what is 'conscience dreaming'--something the 22 yr. old states he learned in a college class). Giffords even described herself as a 'blue dog Democrat' that 'used to be a Republican' in that FOX interview with Hemmer. Many of her views seemed to be right in line with many Republicans--including reining in the deficit (the 'biggest threat to national security') and pumping up border security between the United States and Mexico (to the tune of billions in 'deficit spending').

It appears from the other of your connections, Antifascist, that Giffords was 'targeted' by people like Sarah Palin solely because of her vote on Obama's health care bill. It's a sad rendition on how our way of even framing this discussion on 'health care' has been hijacked by the corporatists and their government colluders when a 'government-imposed purchasing of private health insurance' is considered 'radical' and 'leftist' when, actually, it just further supports the corporate-government collusion that already exists (were insurace companies going to be required to supplement those areas of health care--the costliest ones--that government already pays for?). As I've read in other areas on this board, perhaps the most 'radical' of this health care bill was to 'limit the profits of the health care insurance industry to 20%'--you can't 'limit profits' in a 'free market'.....and, of course, health care is a 'free market' now, isn't it? Bull---t....

As an aside, I noticed that Jared Loughner was also into a 'new currency' perhaps like your silver purchasing issue, Antifascist.....hmmmm...:)....

As far as other 'causes for war' (although, again, I do not believe if you really hold the value of life over material gain as a moral premise, you cannot have 'war' based on anything less than a 'virtue over life' and really have a moral rationale to its cause), I've heard that one of the real reasons to get into battle with Saddam Hussein at this time was that Iraq was threatening to start purchasing oil in Euros--in that respect, what really sets the value of a currency is which currency is purchasing the most valued commodity in the world--at this time, oil....something Cheney and Bush were going to risk American lives to 'defend' was keeping the American dollar as the basis for international purchasing....who or what that actually benefits is of some concern to me....it's NOT the 'average American'....unless, of course, in 'trickle down' logic, if the powered and moneyed elite don't get what they want, others will get less....seems like that's what's happening now, isn't it?

Our founding fathers knew that a working, interactive, and representative, democracy was going to have to be based on a sense of virtue--a form of moral integrity that I'm afraid has no verifiable method of ascertaining preemptively (we seldom know the consequences of hypocritical stands and actions usually until 'after the fact')--that's why I still have the belief in 'God' as the 'integrity binder' as a sort of 'metaphysical entity of intent'--you can't really get it from others everytime at 'face value'. I also think that our founding fathers knew that two things could destroy democracy's integrity--mob rule and factions. And, as Sarah Palin's '20 targeted Democrats' seems to indicate to me, our political rhetoric has stooped to catering to both mob rule and factions....Loughner now becomes one of the 'more active in the mob for the factions'....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote ren:

It occurred to me at one point while I was attempting to deal with its bureaucracy that the military and the government are one and the same. And when dogmatic control is needed -- however that's determined through whatever institutional measures or forces -- the illusion the one is under the control of the other, with the civilian as the commander in chief while simultaneously the CEO of the nation's bureaucracy, will vanish.

And, I think, in finishing that assessment, ren, you can add that corporations, just like Edward Bellamy 120 years ago stated, operate just like the military....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Indeed, Kerry, a corporation,specifically these larger organizations that are able to amass resources and thus a certain kind of collective power, are run like militaries.

I think it's well worth examining that, and trying to account for what that means, especially in light of a consideration of our individuality. So forgive me for indulging myself, but here goes another riff on the topic:

They share the same organization bones. They are designed to achieve a collectively ordered purpose. They are hierarchical in nature which also means they are rationally organized into a collective bureaucracy, because that is the efficient technique needed to achieve a logical, rational purpose of some kind. Which is precisely the organization of a modern military. In other words, they are as much the same form of authoritarian collectives as those "hated" and "feared" collectives known as socialisms and communisms, but which many do not notice, when denuded of their imperial clothing, are the same individuality-destroying, top down authority-based bureaucratic organizational forms -- all brothers and sisters in kind to each other.

What I'm always seeing and speaking from in my mind as I speak of these organizational features -- I've mentioned this issue several times, and I'll fold it back in once again here -- is the bones (the structure) of that type of human organizing. Or perhaps as the Platonists would have called it more than 2000 years ago, the innate, underlying forms that those chained in the cave cannot see, but instead they see the illusions cast as shadows by the light of the fire on the cave wall. The illusions in this case are, when being concerned about primacy of their individuality, thinking things like: corporation-business-good, and, government-collective-socialism-bad. When in fact the issue of their individuality is under attack in all types of hierarchical organizations.

So by looking at the fom we can begin an analysis of how that type of structure creates a framework for social organization of one type or another that is antithetical to anythng based in our individuality -- individual perception, individual ethically based action, and especially the rational, individual interaction you return to as a necessary standard to justify anything based on the primacy of the individual. The organizational structure itself eliminates the communicational environment that all our subjective experiences need for each of us to even be able to express ourselves in any rational way.

The individual coming up against this type of collectively organized form runs directly into a contradiction of his or her individuality, because form's rational ontology is designed to consume and supercede individuality. It must, or it loses efficiency of function and potential for eventual loss of puposeful achievement. Democracy is messy, hierarchy and authoritarian organization are designed to clean up such messes so that purpose can be achieved. Thus the whole structure and ontology of domination comes into being as if it were the most natural and expected thing in the world, never to be questioned.

Thus, that comes back to what we are examining in this thread. I would say we are looking at different ways our patterns of thought, especially expressed through language, creates what you are perhaps referring to as a "metaphysics of power." We have seen that belief system called "logical positivism," as part of its empirical strategy, creates a language of objectification. In the process, objectification was couched in terms that made the idea of empiricism and possibility of objective observation of objects seperate and outside our experience is itself dissected and ordered, and in the process given a kind of paramount value, (the way hierarchy dissects, orders, and values those who take part in it as part of the necessary command structure) which thereby transformed the individual process of trying to understand the world through empirical methods as a discovery technique into another kind of ism (an ideology or religion would work as descriptive terms as well), called scientism.

The metaphysics of science involves this belief in objectivity and the existence of facts apart from the thinking, feeling, subjective human interpreter of those facts. That interpretation was puted to be a spoiler in it's purity as fact. Thus we get fete accompli when someone buys into that ontology, and our individuality ipso facto ethically vanishes from that process. It's unethical to be subjective, it's unethical to have feelings, one does not admit that one can come to an objective conclusion through intuition, that would be a contradiction. Anyone who approaches their job in an institution through that subjectivity is devalued. Rational decision making is paramount. The least rational are relegated to following the most rationals orders.

In the process the world of that thinking, feeling, subjective human interpreter is devalued, or as Adorno puts it "disenchanted."

The force behind disenchantment is rationality, or more precisely, rationalization. Rationality, unlike reason, is concerned with means, not ends; it is the human ability to calculate, to effectively reach desired goals. It emanates from purposive practical human activity. It is this-worldly in origin. It has infinite applicability and an extraordinary expansiveness under certain circumstances. Indeed, it can be quite imperial. It transforms what it touches and, finally, it destroys the means-ends nexus. (1994, 230)

From: Adorno: Recovery of Exprience, Roger Foster, location 155, Kindle Edition.

The enchanted, imaginative world humans have lived for most of our career on this planet takes second place to the objective, rational world, and that objective rational world is all that's left in the hierarchical organizational structures of all kinds, whether they be the hated communists of the Soviet Union, the loved and patriotically adored military of the United States, or the collective organization we see as making up our facade of democracy, now being recognized more and more as a corporatocracy.

And that was what I was seeing as being "one and the same." The illusions that vanish are the different labels we give those in charge in these various organizations. The CEO of a corporation, the General in the Army, the President of the United States, all share the same characteristic in relation to each of us as individuals when we join these organizations.

In the process those hierarchies simply ignore our subjective awareness, our internal valuing systems that we each develop through our experiences, and use to approach the world on a daily basis, and these individual features, which in essence is each of us, individually, become a subsumed value that must bow to the greater needs of the organization. The dictum I was so affronted by in boot camp, "don't think, follow orders, act" underlies all hierarchical bureaucracy when all the b.s. designed to make it look pretty and harmless is removed. It's in that process of devaluing the individual in principle that the structure of an institution is also set as a greater value than the individuals within it. The sum becomes a metaphysics greater and more valued than any of the parts.

So in this thread we have been looking at how a philosophy about science, about facts, has been created as if it were itself an objective fact. And we have seen where those so enraptured by this agreed upon "truth" also agreed to support this belief, generally expressing it with dogmatic statements favoring the use of the verb "to be" without concerning themselves with having to justify how that dogmatic certainty comes to be. And we can notice how they resist being asked to explain the origin of their belief structure. Once we recognize that, then it may be possible to realize how that fact plays a role in the way humans are willing to allow any form of bureaucratic organization to supercede their individuality, and more importantly, how they are able to interact with others without mutual respect. In the process we may discover the dynamics that underlies all human disrespect for other humans -- the very nature of a process of mutual devaluation.

And requiring that a type of individually-based rationality to also be a basis for judging anything, like reasons for war and destruction of other human beings, will inevitably run directly into contradiction when we face these organizations, no matter what facade is pasted on such relationships, such as a Bill of Rights to protect our individual rights, or whatever set of laws are involved in a "rule by law."

This is a pattern I keep finding. I'm only saying I want to see the nature of this recurring pattern clearly for what it is, so I can understand it, and understand the limits to my own independence and individuality in this human created version of the world.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Confined within the 'rational(e)' construction of any bureaucratized hierarchy, I do believe you have persons adept at such cognitive maneuvers as 'the leaders who impose', so to speak--and they can use concepts that appear to have some form of 'objective moral' to do it with (leaving the real question 'Can any moral basis really be objective?' untouched). And, that places the 'metaphysics of power' into some outward gain or entity that confines it. Your idea on scientism's 'objectivity' to 'the logic of outward elements' does, to me, show how such cognitive directives have been able to have us, as individuals, 'look the other way' when it comes to any basis for our rational(e) thought.

In doing so, perhaps as R.D. Laing pointed out in Politics of Experience, such 'outward searching for power's cause to act' (along my lines of the 'metaphysics of power') is the very mechanism that can instill an element of alienation in our sense of self for ourselves and others because it leaves virtually unverified (and unverifiable) any real meaning for ourselves in such 'cause'. It's a 'sleight of hand' form of rationale for any bureaucracy (public or private) to get by with that form of 'thought-directive processing'--the trick being that we can't even tell we are being misled since its 'moral code' implies that 'we' shouldn't be 'looking into ourselves for meaning'--averting it in such 'moral' nihilism as 'undue selfishness' or 'socially unacceptable "mindless" considerations'. The trick is to describe this entity of 'fact' as 'the truth' in one way or the other--or, if 'truth' is not possible under such conditions, just claim there is no such thing as 'truth' and all 'we' have left is 'practical realism'....certainly, no 'truth' can be found in a 'subjective analysis'.....even if, as far as I see it, no way to define any real moral (or virtuous) initiative without truly correlating to one's subjective analysis. The 'sleight of hand techniques' used in bureaucratic manipulations tries its best to get us to always 'look the other way' under all forms of 'rational' (and 'thoughtful') analysis....

I see practical guides given to us throughout America's history that tell us, otherwise--but, the 'sleight of hand techniques' in bureaucracy tries its best to get us to not recognize them or acknowledge them. One of my primary concerns is what I have been using all along as the political rationalization of a representative democracy as Thomas Jefferson set forth in our Declaration of Independence from the very beginning of the United States--a representative democracy's government's primary concern in the 'securing and guaranteeing of individual rights' against any tendency of those very hierarchies to dictate otherwise. Again, this isn't a 'fact' in any objective sense (and never has been)--but, it is a constant admonition on power's 'cause to act', otherwise. One that has various methods and consequences formulated around its thesis throughout American history (with the biggest 'sleight of hand technique' being used now by the con-jobs being that 'the Declaration of Independence was never set into (positive) law'...). However, other themes have been formed under this premise--including 'individual rights usurping all forms of state and federal government's ability to impose against it', 'equal application of the law', and any sense of Lincoln's 'government of, by and for the people'. These all have practical applications in a system so intent on the 'securing and guaranteeing of individual rights'.

However, the biggest caveat in its expression is, again, the intent of those able to 'apply the power' in its name. As Kant stated in that quote of The Metaphysics of Morals I used earlier, if there is no intent of 'good will', no 'wording in action' is going to make any difference. And, the problem that I have tried to describe before, as our founding fathers knew of the need for 'virtue in democracy', while 'good will' is required, there is no way to ascertain the 'good will' of others in any complete way--and there may be a hard time doing so in oneself who is instilled in the act of 'hierarchic behavior' that seems to define our collective mode of action. I don't exactly how to get around that consistently in every situation--thus, I resort to an 'integrity binding' concept that I cognitively 'use' in this world without, itself, having an objective component that I can 'point to'--or relay as if a 'description of fact'....

But, as far as I can see it, make no mistake about it, the 'virtuous life' without a subjective confirmation is like 'no virtue at all'.....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I see the sparks are flying....

Ren wrote...

The enchanted, imaginative world humans have lived for most of our career on this planet takes second place to the objective, rational world, and that objective rational world is all that's left in the hierarchical organizational structures of all kinds, whether they be the hated communists of the Soviet Union, the loved and patriotically adored military of the United States, or the collective organization we see as making up our facade of democracy, now being recognized more and more as a corporatocracy.

And Kerry wrote...

It's a 'sleight of hand' form of rationale for any bureaucracy (public or private) to get by with that form of 'thought-directive processing'--the trick being that we can't even tell we are being misled since its 'moral code' implies that 'we' shouldn't be 'looking into ourselves for meaning'--averting it in such 'moral' nihilism as 'undue selfishness' or 'socially unacceptable "mindless" considerations'. The trick is to describe this entity of 'fact' as 'the truth' in one way or the other--or, if 'truth' is not possible under such conditions, just claim there is no such thing as 'truth' and all 'we' have left is 'practical realism'....certainly, no 'truth' can be found in a 'subjective analysis'.....even if, as far as I see it, no way to define any real moral (or virtuous) initiative without truly correlating to one's subjective analysis. The 'sleight of hand techniques' used in bureaucratic manipulations tries its best to get us to always 'look the other way' under all forms of 'rational' (and 'thoughtful') analysis....

It's amazing what happens when you "fold the dough in on itself." The same arguments in a different context bring surprising insights and possibilities. This is where Science, Politics, and Mysticism intersect. Ren and Kerry, let me follow along for awhile. I got a new kind of spit ball to throw on the nature of this "sensor domination" and a theory of spiritual experience...and "The Prophet's Way" is an example of a transcendental suspension of a paradigm. The demand by Consciousness for Rationality--a coherent world of meaning-- is at the same time a demand for Justice.

Adorno maintains that epistemology is, or at least ought to be, the effort to do justice to reality; that is, to find the appropriate structures that will allow us to articulate what has been suppressed or neglected by traditional epistemological models...The commitment to rationality is identical with the commitment to "doing justice." (Loc. 600-602).

Adorno's Negative Dialectic: Philosophy and the Possibility of Critical Rationality (Brian O'Connor) Loc. 613-614.

I will have to finish PIP first--got the outline, just have to write it out.

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Antifascist
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Quote Antifascist:

The demand by Consciousness for Rationality--a coherent world of meaning-- is at the same time a demand for Justice.

Yes, and what is the 'fact of justice' other than that which can be ascertained by the person thinking of it?

Our early Americans knew this better than we do today. That's why our courts were allowed 'jury nullification' of any positive law under certain circumstances (where the jury could even acknowledge that such a person 'broke the written dictates of the law' but that they still found that person 'not guilty' in that instance)--and our 'grand juries' used to be set up to judge the written (positive) law as much as the perpetrator being brought before it. The 'sleight of hand' bureaucratizers are trying hard to remove any and all of those contentions in American judicial history to continue to get you to 'look the other way'....even as lawyers they are doing that.....even as the Supreme Court is doing that (trying to remove the 'natural law premise' that government really is there first and foremost to 'guarantee and secure individual rights'...while adhering uncompromisingly to 'written law formats'...especially when it comes to the 'legalisms of corporations'...). And, as such, real 'justice' be damned....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

This -narrow-band-of-liberties fits somewhere on this thread. I received a notice for Chomsky's "Profits over People:Neoliberalism and Global Order" book from 1999, now in e-format.

this book may have been referenced earlier, a partial review on the link

In Being and Nothingness Sartre has an admirable passage about the stubborn human tendency to ‘fill’, the fact that a good part of human life, in politics as elsewhere, is devoted to ‘plugging up holes’. Holes are vacant, and the humdrum psychopathy of political life seeks them out, in the cause of repletion – by contrast, the bore of omnipresence, as Sartre implies later when speculating about what life as the Almighty must be like, is that you just don’t get out enough. The Balkan hole-plugging exercise carried out by the US was power-play thinly disguised as moralism. Some truisms can’t be reiterated often enough, and we have anarchists like Noam Chomsky to thank for one of them: when the powerful talk of ‘liberation’, you can be sure that somewhere, in a state near you, odd-jobmen and peasants in uniform are clapping on the cangue and bilboes. Under what global dispensation could the abuse of power be subjected to any effective check? This question becomes the more obvious when the choice is between a behemoth and a monotreme, or as they are also respectively known, the US and the UN. The error, as others besides anarchists can see, lies in the thought that morality could be enforced by political power, and is the more glaring when the form that power takes is force majeure. Contra Thomas Nagel and other US liberals, leaders who can segue fluently from blowjob to prayer-breakfast should give us pause for thought. The gospelling blag takes a darker turn in ‘the new military humanism’ or, in other words, killing people as an act of charity. The propensity of morality to efface itself grows directly in step with its reliance on power to get what it demands. Understood as a datum of the political life, anarchism is not merely true, but a truism.

After all, the likes of Saddam Hussein and Henry Kissinger aren’t the likeliest incarnations of Kant’s ‘moral politician’. These grotesques manifest what in private life would amount to a criminal tendency. And given the less than intergalactic psychic distance between political and random violence, some wise fools might wonder whether there was that much to choose between the vigilant readiness of the Nato leaders and a psychopathic tendency. The euphemism used in Nato briefing-speak to accentuate the gap was ‘bringing the Serbs into compliance’. Kant’s political idealism and wised-up Machiavellian cynicism about political thuggery are not enemies, but bedfellows, and the rutilant dicta of the Dear Leaders are their misbegotten by-blow – as in the well-known military annex to the Rambouillet accords, discussed by Chomsky in The New Military Humanism, demanding Milosevic’s assent to the allied Anschluss of Serbia as a condition of ‘compliance’.

Chomsky – like a lot of contemporary political theorists – sees one half of this predicament clearly: the half which shows the use of power as surd and brute. What about the other half? It is not the banality that the world is not all that nice, or that those who help to run states are often not people you’d want round for a cup of Earl Grey and a garibaldi. It is that power, and the fall-out from its use, is not just a bit of bad luck, to be put behind us in some happier future state of the world. Our misery is endemic. It takes its rise from what Hobbes called a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceases only in death. Hobbes’s state of nature is often thought to rest on controversial claims about human nature, but does not really do so – in a Hobbesian world, where there are no coercive structures, where the things which people value (such as security) are relatively scarce, and more of them can be got by deceit than co-operation, conflict must ensue. The choice is not between power and nothing, but between power and power.

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Discussions of mysticism for rational intellectual analysis must begin with a zen confession and sense of humor. "Mysticism" is the other end of consciousness from "thinking" just as visions are different from ideas. What we have to come to grips with from the intellectual end is the reality and knowledge imparted by visions and revelations without just accepting them at 'face value.'

Mystics and "visionaries" struggle to get their "revelations" into messages and ideas that we can grasp. Sometimes we discover that they are living in another world and reality that does not connect to our own "directly." Getting the metaphoric and metaphysics of their "experience" sorted out from their fantasies and projections is way beyond our ken. The accounts from people who experience schizophrenic symptoms present a very different perspective and understanding of what we see.

The biblical test for a true Prophet of God was "did it come true." When we think about this as more than fortune telling, we begin to get what the authentic Word was always about. Economic justice was what kept the people strong and healthy as a community. Staying out of the military/economic alliances of powerful neighbor states was also what the ban on foreign deities was really about. They still traded with others, but they were supposed to avoid being tied to the follies of empires.

The other constant message was that "false gods" were not supposed to get in the way of "reality." Not even their great King David could avoid being found guilty. The most powerful King of Israel, Omri, barely makes it into the story. Solomon's story is filled with sorrow.

When they were under the thumb of Rome, the literature turned to metaphysics and messianic expectations because talking politics or real history was treason. God was returning, not to pick out his favorite individuals, but to rescue his people from the principalities and powers of this world who presumed to take his place. The resurrection of the dead was about the justice in the death of martyrs who are raised to share in the celebration of victory over sin and death. It is how you square the injustices of time in the past, and is present in a lot of Southern religion, black and white.

I have not even dealt with the official "mystics" of the monastaries and spiritual retreats. But let us examine our own lenses. What I have learned from beloved folk with schizophrenia is how much about perception and epistemology we factor out of our world. Mystics do not walk the linear and literal path of logic with the same sense of discovery and learning that we rationalists do. They see the big picture, have an overview of the maze, and can get the answers--but cannot show their work in school.

We are not even talking about the same world as some of "them" try to figure out the syntax of dyslexia where words are pictures and conjunctions are utterly weird. Which side of the cube are "we" talking about in our left lobe secret world? The literature shows how they can keep up with school until it lifts out of the primary school reality of highly tactile and shared play. Then anxiety and insecurity play into adolescent rebellions against authority. It is easy cover.

Those who can cross over, and this is an important aspect in 'mental health,' are able to use their revelations in creativity in the real world. Artists, musicians, but also in many other fields including engineering where systems analysis favors the greater field of perception attributed to the right lobe of our brains. The ability to move between left and right is what brain science points to for healthy intelligence.

The issue is why we lack so much Right Lobe quality in our culture of knowledge and being. American culture is notoriously literal and linear, and nowhere is this manifest more clearly than in our economic theology or reductionist 'realism.' We don't want to see the big picture or the larger system of inter-relationships and interdependence. We want to focus on the individual and the linear path to happiness and success without all those interfering relationships with others and with the earth. Those who call us out with visions of heaven and hell on earth must be insane.

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DRC
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Quote Glen Newey:

Chomsky – like a lot of contemporary political theorists – sees one half of this predicament clearly: the half which shows the use of power as surd and brute. What about the other half? It is not the banality that the world is not all that nice, or that those who help to run states are often not people you’d want round for a cup of Earl Grey and a garibaldi. It is that power, and the fall-out from its use, is not just a bit of bad luck, to be put behind us in some happier future state of the world. Our misery is endemic. It takes its rise from what Hobbes called a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceases only in death. Hobbes’s state of nature is often thought to rest on controversial claims about human nature, but does not really do so – in a Hobbesian world, where there are no coercive structures, where the things which people value (such as security) are relatively scarce, and more of them can be got by deceit than co-operation, conflict must ensue. The choice is not between power and nothing, but between power and power.

Well, if you look carefully at the structure of the situation you may notice that a nation, such as the U.S., pretends to be a democracy, but in actual fact it's a nation state acting as an empire in the international environment, with a population that has become in effect powerless to do anything about it.

Meanwhile the population is mollified and confused by a steady diet of predigested pablum in schools and through other reinforcing mechanisms in the corporate controlled media, that tells them they have the power to vote, that their system is democratic, and as such at least theoretically was designed by the all knowing Founders to respect their individual rights (and all that's needed is an "originalist" interpretation of that esteemed and revered, obviously intentionally conservative, free market oriented document to make things right); that in fact they are free, but... oh yes, lets not forget that a "liberal as in socialist" government is endgangering those freedoms. And with a little carefully placed propaganda, the corporate owned and run fourth estate implies that citizens may have to "water the tree of liberty" occassionally, as that great conservative founder Thomas Jefferson once quipped, if the government does anything for anyone but the coporations. So some nut case opens fire on a Congresswoman in a state that doesn't require weapons to carry concealed weapons, thus proving to the citizens they have their individual freedoms protected.

This bull shit is repeated endlessly in the spectacle purveying corporate media, along with a flagrant mix of violent filled entertainment that gives the powerless the notion that a gun might just be the answer to their powerlessness.

I watched Adam Curtis's BBC documentary titled The Trap, which is a seering indictment of this deadly propaganda driven contradiction that uses the image of freedom as an illusion to cover the actual workings of power and institutional social programming, backed by increasingly invasive information gathering and privacy violation in the service of "national security" with the hovering specteer of the ultimate coercion instruments of a professional military and militarized police control.

Just one example in the documentary, right at the beginning of "part one, F__k You Buddy," has George Bush swaggering up to a podium at Glatasary University, wearing his patented smirk, saying:

"I believe that Freedom is the future of all humanity."

Turns out when I searched for the quote, I discover he's on a Presidential mission in 2004 to give the leaders of the world notice that America plans to "fix" the global power and control issues that seem to be so awry by bringing democracy to the Middle East, and "here's how it's gonna be, Pilgrim."

In this instance, he is giving an address related to the U.S. project of bringing democracy to the Middle East by "liberating" Afghanistan and Iraq, and in the process citing the need to include the Republic of Turkey (supposedly another example of a successful democracy, but as Chomsky points out, actually a compiant friend of American power and influence in their latest destructive endeavors in Afghanistan and Iraq) in the circle of European Power:

"I believe that freedom is the future of the Middle East, because I believe that freedom is the future of all humanity. And the historic achievement of democracy in the broader Middle East will be a victory shared by all."
And here's the remark in his speech that exposes the depths of the lie:
"Democracy, by definition, must be chosen and defended by the people themselves." (President's Remarks at Galatasary University)

Quote Kerry:

Yes, and what is the 'fact of justice' other than that which can be ascertained by the person thinking of it?

The fact of justice indeed.

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.ren
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Ren wrote..

Kerry wrote:

Yes, and what is the 'fact of justice' other than that which can be ascertained by the person thinking of it?
++++++++++++++++++
The fact of justice indeed.

The "fact of Justice." I didn't get it the first time around, but got it now. And very consistent with Wittgenstein [my bold for emphasis],

He pointed out that it is not logically necessary that willing should produce the action willed. So if the intrinsic value of good willing accrued to it from actions willed, it would belong to it contingently. But since intrinsic value never belong to any kind of thing contingently, the intrinsic value of good willing, if it has any, cannot accrue to it from the actions willed. Moreover, if we try to identify the kind of willing which could have intrinsic value non-contingently and non-tautologically, we find that it always recede into the background, leaving nothing but its contingent consequences to be recorded, just as the metaphysical subject receded into the background, leaving nothing but its thoughts and experiences to be recorded. When all these contingent consequences have been rejected as irrelevant, we are driven to the conclusion that, if any will has intrinsic value, it is not the psychological will that has it, but the transcendental will which, like the metaphysical subject, is not part of the world. (Ludwig Wittgenstein by David Pears, (Penguin),(1970), pp.91-92.)
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Antifascist
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Quote DRC:

Mystics and "visionaries" struggle to get their "revelations" into messages and ideas that we can grasp. Sometimes we discover that they are living in another world and reality that does not connect to our own "directly." Getting the metaphoric and metaphysics of their "experience" sorted out from their fantasies and projections is way beyond our ken. The accounts from people who experience schizophrenic symptoms present a very different perspective and understanding of what we see.

This kind of hits at the heart of what we've been working to get at on this thread, DRC. So I'm inspired to do a little riff on this, I don't mean it in any way other than as a flight of fancy on my part.

First, to say something "is way beyond our ken" begs a question for me: Is it, really? Yeah, that jumped into my mind when I read it. Do we not all potentially share this ability that only a small segment of "seers" claim for their own (maybe I'm just giving it more value than others do, and maybe i want to embrace my ability to share that human potential)? Or is it more likely that the majority has embraced a kind of cognitive blindness, and thereby come to be "unaware" phenomenologically and existentially, because of a now deeply entrenched cultural philosophy of empiricism, which involves the use of language and ideas resulting from the dominance of a philosophy (empirical logical positivism) that has somehow come to prevail in the culture, deeply and pervasively at so many levels? (If we don't ask these questions and openly take the time and trouble to explore them, how can we ever come to find out?) And, as a result, what's come to be has, in the inverted totalitarian fashion that Wolin points out, replaced our active intellectual involvement in our own politics, and has taken command of our basis for communicating with each other by simply eliminating the means of communication on transendent and transformational levels of mind?

One of the arguments we've put forth has been this very issue of "consciousness" -- which is the closest word we, in our American version of our now simplified, dominantly utilitarian-based English, have at our disposal in order to make an attempt to express a level of awareness in which we are capable of expressing to ourselves and others what we do subjectively, as ethical self determining human beings as we encounter this world we live in. A world in which we grant ourselves freedom, as human beings, to be aware of our limitations to know all and be all, while at the same time, in the face of these overwhelming odds, aware of anyone's limitations of ever achieving knowledge with certainty, and with that consciousness openly in front of us, have the courage to be, to exist, to act, without being judged the worst of human beings on this planet.

In effect, instead of developing, out of our unconfronted fears of inadequacy, a culture of pride and hubris, blundering about the globe in our unquestioned "exceptionalist" arrogance, we could very easily begin to develop a culture of sensitivity and self awareness, with enough humbleness to keep us in balance with our environment while not entirely handcuffing ourselves with doubt, thus coming to that schizophrenic state of catatonia (that I've had the misfortune to see take place with a loved one a few times, as you probably have yourself). But we need to seize the day, and grapple with ourselves to do so. Part of that "doing so" involves this internal, personal act of questioning of what's being left out of our communicative awareness. Each person is responsible for that act. Without each person doing so, nothing will take place on a community level. Those of us who do remain isolated.

So I beg to examine this point you make: is it really "way beyond our ken"? Or are we intimidated and cowed into submission by a culture that objectifies us and tells us we are comparatively lesser human beings when we dare to break from the norm to explore our potential for levels of consciousness rather than settling for being these crass beings who base their existence on dominance, aggression and violence rather than exploring nuances of thought? Is complying with the myth of requisite patriotism really that powerful that we cannot question it?

How many different ways do we have to be told by the anti-intellectuals that to be a thinking, feeling, exploratory individual is to be a -- and I note this reference with sincere intention because it has deep cultural connections in so many ways -- pussy?

Why are those who develop sensitivity associated with the feminine?

Why is the feminine associated with nature?

Why is it that nature is supposed to be dominated and controlled?

And when does someone grasp that real courage comes in facing this cultural norm against expressing the best of our humanity, and rebelling against it?

Our very language is missing the words to express other levels of awareness and consciousness these days. I found the meaning of those words in Krishnamurti's book The Awakening of Intelligence. "Intelligence" for Krishnamurti in that book was not the left brained rationality that gets measured on an IQ test and sorts the "intelligent" from the lessers of this objectified range of certainty about facts so they can take their place in the hierarchy of an institution, categorized, labeled and pinned like butterflies in a collection for the benefit of that pointy mountain with the best of the best finally at the peak at the top.

Where we can find words of that extra awareness nature with little trouble will be in the lexicon of other cultural languages. Especially those deemed lesser, savage, uncivilized -- and I love this one -- primitive. Primitive comes from the word primary. We have expunged the primary from our thinking much to our detriment, I fear. And instead of "primarily" thinking for ourselves, we leave much to the experts in our hierarchies of thought.

I think the existence of those words, and that people in other cultures bother to use them, indicates that what's not missing is the human potential to see as the mystics and seers see. We share that humanity with them, we share that ability. What's potentially in place, and what Anti is struggling to bring out of the philosophy of ideas that is, for so many of us, out of our daily experience, would be awareness of something more along the line of culturally reinforced habit of thought, along with a carefully restricted lexicon that allows for a language of sharing those narrow habits of mind.

So all I'm asking is, how do we help ourselves and others grow in this enchanted dimension we all used to share, that was, once upon a time, related to the real world. I mean, after all, modern humans with our basic brain potential go way back, maybe more than 120,000 years before our vaunted sense of "advanced civilization" ever emerged. Our ancestors "lived" (existentially and phenomenologically) in a very different world, a world that might very well have been imaginatively enchanting for each person involved.

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.ren
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Each person is responsible for that act. Without each person doing so, nothing will take place on a community level. Those of us who do remain isolated.

The Ocean refuses no river....

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Antifascist
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Quote Antifascist:

and linked...

The Ocean refuses no river....

Beautiful,

And to go along with that thought you quoted,

Quote .ren:

Each person is responsible for that act. Without each person doing so, nothing will take place on a community level. Those of us who do remain isolated.

and the contemplations expressed around it, I have this reference from Adorno: The Recovery of Experience, location 186 in my Kindle edition:

There are two fundamentally important claims that Adorno makes about this model of the constituting subject. First, it is historically true. The constituting subject captures that type of cognitive engagement with the world that is pervasive in the social practices and institutions of the modern world. Second, what lies behind the constituting subject is a process of cognitive subtraction. That is to say, the subject becomes the constituting subject through that process in which it learns to eliminate from its cognitive engagement with the world all features that depend on its own role as a situated subjectivity. This is why disenchantment, for Adorno, is describable in terms of the subject's own self-mutilation in the course of its history. Now while it is clear that the type of cognitive engagement with the world made possible through the constituting subject increases the extent of human control over nature, because it is organized primarily in terms of its regularity and predictability, Adorno wants to argue that it comes at the cost of a fateful cognitive deficit. Bringing the subject to an awareness of that cognitive deficit -- showing us as the inheritors of this history what our cognitive schemes cannot say -- is the major task of philosophy as negative dialectic.

It may be worth keeping in mind the recent 100 or so post derailment where someone came to this thread and attempted to show that philosophy has nothing to offer the modern world when it comes to understanding this "fact" based techno industrial neoliberal world humans have created. I think it makes an interesting contrast to what we have been trying to say since the second page when you introduced the negative dialectic.

In effect, we have been trying to show what I see being said in that quote I just offered. That a negative dialectict cognitive process can rescue each of us willing to challenge the dominant culture with it, from the results of the cumulative history of our science based rationality and its experiential narrowing cultural effect. That effect has occurred through the creation of what Ellul calls The Technological Society, where we have collectively mutilated our language as we adapted to this technological process, which, in the name of human progress, has offered our society as a whole seemingly greater control over nature (although now it appears our control has led to a systematic demise of nature as this neoliberal based social form has taken over the world with this process). Thus we have in the process of adapting to our own self elevated techniques for control (we elevate it with the linear concept of human progress), produced a medium in which we inherit a means of communication as well as a carefully edited self awareness that potentially causes each of us, individually, to produce in ourselves a cognitive deficit.

Those of us who want to rebel against this cultural force that produces a mass embraced cognitive deficit are destined to be isolated when we do, because there are so many who do not. And our set of cultural ideas, now mutilated by this "logically positive," objective, "fact" based version of reality that goes with a techno industrial set of institutions, that does it's best to destroy the value of our subjective awareness by actually limiting our range of expression with each other, while objectifying each of us so that we will remain within its rational, institutional set of social structures, is the force we attempt to sidestep by doing a negative dialectic (an awkward term, I'm afraid, but it's the term we've been working with for so long here) as we step outside a circular trap of the form called "debate" with its positive, binary opposition itself working in a dialectic of force against force, like the poles in electricty that produces the power we call voltage, that makes up most of the forms of so-called communication about facts.

And that is, I find, a difficult cognitive paradigm to get across. It's so awkward to put into words. And because our language is so restricted, and our culture so carefully controlled to maintain this purpose of dominating nature and all that is outside the rational, hearing it requires a shift in the listener that most people have never tried to imagine.

That's why I liked that song you linked by the Indian woman, Sheila Chandra. It's about an expansion of awareness (accepting all rivers) rather than a limiting (damming and restricting the flow). And it's title, so much in synch with all this, "Ever so lonely."

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.ren
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How did this thread get 'pinned up' at the top?

Quote ren:

How many different ways do we have to be told by the anti-intellectuals that to be a thinking, feeling, exploratory individual is to be a -- and I note this reference with sincere intention because it has deep cultural connections in so many ways -- pussy?

:).....Of course, what I also think this points out is that any 'cultural connection' to 'reality' has, inherently, a certain attitude or point of view to it--another strike against empiricist who think that 'reality' is an 'objective phenomenon or description'--especially any part to 'reality' that considers not just the 'fact' of 'life' (itself, quite an elusive 'description') but more as the 'method' to life or 'meaning' to life. All of those--like the 'fact of justice'--will have subjective characteristics that I don't think can be 'objectively factored out' and consider it to be a 'truthful analysis' of it....

Quote from Antifascist's quote:

Moreover, if we try to identify the kind of willing which could have intrinsic value non-contingently and non-tautologically, we find that it always recede into the background, leaving nothing but its contingent consequences to be recorded, just as the metaphysical subject receded into the background, leaving nothing but its thoughts and experiences to be recorded. When all these contingent consequences have been rejected as irrelevant, we are driven to the conclusion that, if any will has intrinsic value, it is not the psychological will that has it, but the transcendental will which, like the metaphysical subject, is not part of the world. (Ludwig Wittgenstein by David Pears, (Penguin),(1970), pp.91-92.)

Which may have something to do with DRC's expression of 'mysticism':

"Mysticism" is the other end of consciousness from "thinking" just as visions are different from ideas. What we have to come to grips with from the intellectual end is the reality and knowledge imparted by visions and revelations without just accepting them at 'face value.'

I see the crux of the matter being that, if it exists, where is 'truth' in this matter--and how can we 'understand it in ourselves' and 'relay it to others'?

Objective empiric phenomenon that exist totally outside of anything of 'us' I think has been adequately addressed by the scientific method. But, what of all those issues that we appear to ascribe 'meaning' that is not 'objective'--a big one being 'justice' but there are other 'abstract phenomena' that fit into that category (even 'God'). How do we come to understand that for ourselves and relay it to others?

Antifascist's post on Wittgenstein above seems to get at a condition that esoteric religion describes all the time. I was thinking its correlation in the 'scientific method' is the very concept of 'falsifiability' that we have brought up before. But my search for the definition that I was considering didn't really pan out completely. While scientific falsifiability here....http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability...has some characteristics of this 'negation-confirmation' that I am looking for, it's not quite the same (scientifically, it is more like 'the exception to the rule' than it is 'two opposites connote a higher meaning' sort of thing). However, within that site, the issue of 'abductive reasoning' carries more of what I'm trying to point out here...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning...with this statement in it:

Looking out my window this lovely spring morning I see an azalea in full bloom. No, no! I do not see that; though that is the only way I can describe what I see. That is a proposition, a sentence, a fact; but what I perceive is not proposition, sentence, fact, but only an image, which I make intelligible in part by means of a statement of fact. This statement is abstract; but what I see is concrete. I perform an abduction when I so much as express in a sentence anything I see. The truth is that the whole fabric of our knowledge is one matted felt of pure hypothesis confirmed and refined by induction. Not the smallest advance can be made in knowledge beyond the stage of vacant staring, without making an abduction at every step

In an attempt to conceptualize the 'pervasiveness' of this 'truth', (western) esoteric religion makes a distinction between the 'little self' and the 'big Self' as in one way of obtaining a recognition of the 'big Self' by countering the 'little self' into 'self/non-self' ('is/not is', 'worldly/ethereal') dichotomous considerations. Again, not that the dichotomies, themselves, 'prove it'--but they do seem, in man's ability to have a 'rational understanding' (rational to me being 'comparative'), 'point the way', so to speak (much like the argument for and against putting into a 'positive law format' pointing the way to the 'natural law description of individual rights' or 'restricting natural law descriptions of individual rights' only to that which is 'positively' written).

This is how June Singer (a Jungian psychoanalyst) describes this 'finding of the Self' in the demarcation of 'self/non-self' ('is/not is', 'worldly/ethereal') at the introduction to the section on the verses of the Gospel of Thomas in her book, The Gnostic Book of Hours--Keys To Inner Wisdom:

The finding of inner wisdom, or gnosis, through self-knowledge is the theme of The Gospel of Thomas, from which all the texts for Sext are drawn. Another expression for inner wisdom is the "Kingdom of the Father." Just as with all gnostic language, the "Father" is not to be taken literally as a description of someone or something that only exists apart from humanity; rather it is an expression of something we experience in our inner lives. The Father within represents the essence of the individual that flows into the single cell of origin with the convergence of genetic streams at the moment of conception. More properly, this source of wisdom could be called the "Kingdom of the Father and the Mother," for these Parents within engendered every person alive today, just as it was will all who preceded us. The Kingdom of the Father and, implicitly, of the Mother contains the wisdom born out of the collective experience of humanity that is renewed in every generation. We experience this wisdom today as distilled and concentrated in the consciousness of individual human beings. Here wisdom reposes. Here it is to be sought. Here and only here will it be found. (all emphases will be mine)

Our social environment, with its goals of getting and spending, imposes obstructions between ourselves and the attainment of wisdom, or gnosis, and we ourselves suffer from our incomplete perceptions of what surrounds us. We need a guide to lead us through the labyrinth of appearances--one who has already transcended many of the conflicts in which we ourselves become absorbed and that separate us from the Kingdom. In The Gospel of Thomas, the sayings of Jesus are offered as a guide to the invisible world of spirit. Here "Jesus" stands for the one who is able to manifest in words the wisdom that goes beyond words. If we are to attempt to understand the sayings attributed to Jesus, we will need to look beyond the words to the hidden meanings toward which they point.

The Gospel of Thomas begins: "These are the secret sayings which the living Jesus spoke and which Didymos Judas Thomas wrote down." It is through introspection that we discover our eternal companion, or "twin." In the Syrian Gnostic tradition, Thomas, the privileged disciple, was thought to be the brother of Jesus. Thomas recognized Jesus, perhaps not as a literal "brother," but as an eternal twin or counterpart who is not only in the world but also in Thomas himself. Twinship applies to Jesus as well (note: 'Didymos' and 'Thomas' can mean 'twin'--the self/not-self--of the One--my addition). We need to remember, of course, that this is mythology and not history. Gnostics have been accused of "mythologizing" history by bringing about a division of the Christian redeemer into two completely separate beings: the earthly and transitory Jesus of Nazareth and the heavenly and eternal Christ. It was clearly not the intention of the Gnostics to present history in their writings but rather to tell their "secrets" in the symbolic language of the soul--a language that, in our own time, we call mythology. A myth is not true in any literal sense, yet it arises from a profound wellspring: the truth of the psyche inspired by Spirit.

We cannot understand mythology by using the terminology commonly used in the visible world, for mythic language applies to the timeless world where there are no boundaries--hence the saying that introduces The Gospel of Thomas: "Whoever finds the interpretation of these sayings will not experience death." We may understand this to mean that whoever discovers the meaning in these sayings will not experience life or death in the ways that are dictated by conventional wisdom. And if we come to understand these words, we may discover, as did Didymos Judas Thomas, that Jesus is our "twin," our spiritual "other self."

Jung describes the personal self as the central axis in each of us around which our total being, both conscious and unconscious, rotates; the greater Self, on the other hand, is the central aspect of the All, the "Father," upon which the axis of the universe revolves, including all its visible (conscious) aspects as well as its invisible (unconscious) aspects. This greater Self, or Father, makes itself known through the individual self. Unless we know ourselves, we cannot know the Father. Nor can we find the Kingdom of the Father unless we look within ourselves. The Gospel of Thomas may be seen in Jungian terms as the book of the Self. The figure of Jesus, the one who urges the seeker to discover his or her own identity as a carrier of the spark of light, may surely be understood, as Jung suggested, as a symbol of the Self.

While June Singer uses other statements from The Gospel of Thomas in that text, I still think the best statement in that matter is verse 22 in The Gospel of Thomas (Nag Hammadi Library):

Jesus saw infants being suckled. He said to his disciples, "These infants being suckled are like those who enter the kingdom."

They said to him, "Shall we then, as children, enter the kingdom?"

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter (the kingdom)."

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

ren, the idea that we know more than we can express is about transcending limits and not a definition of human inadequacy to explore the mysteries. I am indebted to your exploration of the point, but I assure you that intuition and imagination, as well as the mystic perceptions of the whole on the Right side in their full bloom do not reduce well to words. We need poetry and music, and we still are just sketching what reality really is.

What is enslaving is the idea of having reality by the balls. The delight of discovering that the game does not end when we fill in the blanks in the encyclopedia of knowledge is what Stoppard celebrates in Arcadia. It is also what makes my friend in particle physics filled with the delight of the discovery of the new when the unexplained shows up as he goes deep into the nature of matter.

Rebirth turns out to be how thinking works. We learn from a frame that outlives its ability to explain what it reveals. The new paradigm is just what "revelation" requires. To see what we have discovered, we have to open our eyes wider than the frame they know by habit. We have to look at the how and why and not just the what. Like Einstein, we have to imagine riding a beam of light to gain the perspective needed to accommodate the "new light" shed upon us.

The sense of connection to a muse, to something bigger than ourselves is also an affirmation of ourselves. Here is where I think Kerry and I have had a friendly disagreement about the collective. If we go to the literature on human development, interdependence is where maturity is found. The healthy individual discovers that his or her individuality is established in the individuality of others. It is a both/and and not a choice between whether we are 'first' individual or social. It does not matter, and to make the argument depend upon either pole being better or more important than the other is to destroy the whole polarity of the metaphysics.

From a developmental perspective, however, there is a fundamental truth that cannot be ignored. If your foundation is the ontologically autonomous individual and social relationships are seen as a secondary aspect of human nature, you will never be able to get to the both/and affirmation or the dynamism of the polarity. However, when one begins with relatedness and mutuality, it is an affirmation of the pluralism of individualities that makes us able to specialize as we share an abundance of gifts socially and collectively. You don't have to be a "collectivist" to point out that American culture is developmentally retrograde with respect to community and social realism.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

I am indebted to your exploration of the point, but I assure you that intuition and imagination, as well as the mystic perceptions of the whole on the Right side in their full bloom do not reduce well to words. We need poetry and music, and we still are just sketching what reality really is.

Yes, that's what we've been trying to say. Since that's been the brunt of the discussion since Anti, in about post # 53, called attention to it, I'd say that all the words that have been put down since then (we are now on page 9, that was page 2) illustrates as well as anything what you have just said.

But I'll consciously fold the dough back upon itself once again, because I don't think the point can be made enough. Anti sort of summarizes the struggle as it's taken place in philosophy in his post #56, with:

Quote Antifascist:

"Philosophy, which once seemed obsolete, lives on because the moment to realize it was missed. Theodor Adorno"

In the history of Philosophy the effort to conceive the non-conceptual has been a very fruitful analytical strategy: Kant's defining the categories of Reason and Practical Reason (Ethics), Marx's collapse of Capitalism, and Hegel's search for Absolute Knowledge.

This type of analysis uses critique of critiques or 'meta-critiques' of other theories of Truth. Any unexplained phenomena will appear as "contradiction" to Thought for this "Identity theory of Truth:" Truth is achieved when Thought and Being, or Subject and Object, agree (another variation replaces Subject with propositional statements). That an object exists in the world and I comprehend it --this is a true state. If the object isn't a concept of Thought, then the object contradicts this principle of thinking and is considered unreal, or non-existent.

The very idea of a meta critique raises the possibility of opening doors through looking, seeing, pointing, talking about the non conceptual, and moves past the direct correlation of imagining that the object of words somehow correlate with the thoughts that produce them, which is where we see within ourselves, in a process of cognitively doing, that language itself is insufficient to express what we are and what we experience.

In these nine pages I believe that some of us have achieved a kind of mutual understanding, that also involves mutual respect, but it's been achieved despite the limitations of language. And we've had to acknowledge that understanding in some way but that itself is a delicate process, one that is ultimately an uncertain one and involves a kind of letting go that can challenge our willingness to trust. Thus one might note a subtle kind of intimacy involved in that, and that itself is something that few in our culture can achieve except within the closeness of their families. What might be completely beyond many people's imaginings is that in some cultures that intimacy is the substance of their very daily life with each other.

I'd like to recount an experience that anthropologis Richard Sorensen had when he vividly experienced the difference between what he calls "pre conquest consciousness" and our own (that I think it fair to say we've been pointing to with the term "neoliberalism" in this thread), where he calls attention to something he did not immediately recognize, but which he finally, finally felt he came to understand. It was a type of group consciousness which he pointed to as "intuitive rapport" which involves a kind of immediate and shared empathetic instinct about what was taking place. Here's one dramatic account from his essay, Preconquest Consciousness:

Quote Richard Sorenson:

I'm out, back from the Andaman where I've just been through an experience I'll not soon forget. Only by pure chance did I happen to be there when their extraordinary intuitive mentality gave up the ghost right in front of me, in an inconceivable overwhelming week. I'm almost wrecked myself, in a strange anomie from having gone through that at too close a range, and from staying up all night too many times to try to understand just what was going on. I never was much good at keeping research distance, always feeling more could be learned close in. And I'd come straight into the Andaman from two months of tantric philosophical inquiry in a Tibetan monastery. Perhaps that tuned awareness up a notch too much.

There really was no way to have predicted that, just after I arrived, the acute phase of their ancient culture's death would start. To speak abstractly of the death of a way-of-life is a simple thing to do. To experience it is quite another thing. I've seen nothing in the lore of anthropology that might prepare one for the speed by which it can occur, or for the overwhelming psychic onslaughts it throws out. Nor does my profession forewarn of those communicable paroxysms that hover in the air which, without warning, strike down with overwhelming force, when a culture's mind gives way.

Yet this is just what happened when the traditional rapport of those islands was undone, when the subtle sensibility of each to one another was abruptly seared away in a sudden unpredicted, unprecedented, uncognated whirlwind. In a single crucial week a spirit that all the world would want, not just for themselves but for all others, was lost, one that had taken millennia to create. It was suddenly just gone.

Epidemic sleeplessness, frenzied dance throughout the night, reddening burned-out eyes getting narrower and more vacant as the days and nights wore on, dysphasias of various sorts, sudden mini-epidemics of spontaneous estrangement, lacunae in perception, hyperkinesis, loss of sensuality, collapse of love, impotence, bewildered frantic looks like those on buffalo in India just as they're clubbed to death; 14 year olds (and others) collapsing on the beach, under houses, on the pier, in beached boats as well as those tied up at the dock, here and there,into wee hours of the morn, even on through dawn, in acute inebriation or exhaustion. Such was the general scene that week, a week that no imagination could have forewarned, the week in which the subtle sociosensual glue of the island's traditional way-of-life became unstuck.

To pass through the disintegrating social enclaves was to undergo a rain of psychic blows, a pelting shower of harrowing awarenesses that raised goose flesh of unexpected types on different epidermal sites along with other kinds of crawlings of flesh and skin. There were sudden rushes, both cold and hot, down the head and chest and across the neck, even in the legs and feet. And deep inside, often near the solar plexus, or around heart, or in the head or throat, new indescribable sensations would spontaneously arise, leave one at a loss or deeply disconcerted.

Such came and then diffused away as one passed by different people. Sensations would abruptly wash in across the consciousness, trigger moods of awe, or of sinking, sometimes of extraordinary love, sometimes utter horror. From time-to-time nonspecific elemental impulses arose just to run or dance, to throw oneself about, to move. All these could be induced and made to fade and then come back, just by passing through some specific group, departing, and then returning, or by coming near a single friend, moving off and coming back. That this was possible so astonished me that I checked and checked and checked again.

Such awarenesses, repeatedly experienced, heap up within the brain. Eventually the accumulation left me almost as sleepless and night-kinetic as they had become. I did discover that with body motion, mind becomes less preoccupied within itself, therefore less distressed. With kinetic frenzy mind-honor lessens very much. But it left them exhausted during the day, somnambulant, somewhat zombie-like. When night returned, the cycle would re-begin, as if those nocturnal hours, when they would otherwise be sleeping, were the time of greatest stress.

Though the overt frenzied movements could be observed by anyone, the psychic states that so powerfully impelled them were not easily detectable to outsiders. It seemed as if one had to have some personal rapport within the lifeway before the mental anguish could be sensed. Then it would loom, sometimes overwhelm. One Westerner looking casually on said, 'How exotic to see these uneducated types staying up throughout the night, dancing strangely, relating to each other in nonproductive ways. This place must be an anthropological paradise: Tourists happening on the scene thought it a fillip to their holiday. Intimacy and affection seem prerequisite to connecting with these inner surges of human psyche, even overwhelming ones.

Eventually I retreated, mentally exhausted, cognitively benumbed, emotionally wrung out. I tried to thwart that siege (when I finally recognized it for what it really was) by getting key people out. A useless foolish gambit; for no one would leave the spot, as if they were welded to it, as if it held some precious thing they very greatly loved, which they neither would nor could abandon.

When the mental death had run its course, when what had been was gone, the people (physically still quite alive) no longer had their memory of the intuitive rapport that held them rapturously together just the week before, could no longer link along those subtle mental pathways. What had filled their lives had vanished. The teensters started playing at (and then adopting) the rude, antagonistic, ego-grasping styles of the encroaching modern world, modeled after films and then TV. Oldsters retreated into houses, lost their affinity to youngsters, who then turned more to one another, sometimes squabbling (which did not occur before).

It seems astonishing that the inner energy of such passings is so undetectable to minds not some way linked to the inner harmonies and ardors of the place. Research-distance yields abstractions like 'going amok,' which could have been easily applied that week, or 'revitalizing movement,' which also could have been (in a perverse kind of way). It seems that only by some mental coalescence with the local lifeway can one access its deeper psychic passions, not just those of adolescence, but graver ones like those which for a time were released in inconceivable profusion, when the collective subtle mind of the islands, built up over eons, was snuffed out.

Once again, the gist of what we are saying is that we need to recognize that we are limited with this communication tool we call language. That we can in fact use language to limit ourselves by not recognizing those limits. If we understand and share that awareness, then we can move through the actual use of language to a sharing something richer. In that experience, if we allow it, the communitas of being with others can be revealed and joined. And yes, literature, poetry, music, and dance are other doorways to sharing experience. In his book The Prophet's Way Thom unfolds a moment where he experienced dance at an Apache rite of passage ceremony, and he realized he was experiencing something that can best be described as a transcendent experience, the types of experience many people seek out through drugs. Perhaps we are so cordoned off from that kind of life fulfilling experience that those who are willing to seek it and desperate to try, will turn to drugs.

We can talk all day, but if the people involved don't feel the connection, it's just data combined with sounds. Remember: "Language is not life; language gives life orders." -Deleuze & Guattari

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Hey, we got pinned! We can't deny we wrote all this now. Yes, and Sheila Chandra wasn't wearing a $500 dollar pair of shoes while sing either.

Continuation of analysis of Picture/Imagination/Pattern (PIP) and a Theory of Language.

Picture Theory, Platonic Essences, and The Language of Ambiguity:

Adorno maintains that epistemology is, or at least ought to be, the effort to do justice to reality; that is, to find the appropriate structures that will allow us to articulate what has been suppressed or neglected by traditional epistemological models...The commitment to rationality is identical with the commitment to "doing justice." (Loc. 600-602).

Adorno's Negative Dialectic: Philosophy and the Possibility of Critical Rationality (Brian O'Connor) Loc. 613-614.

This concept of “doing Justice to Reality” is what links Chomsky’s theoretical work in linguistics with his political philosophy. Most people don’t get the connection, and I have only recently. Chomsky is looking for Language’s Ocean Of Meaning, but it seems nowhere to be found. We just get the finished product—puny sentences. It seems the study of Language is at a boundary where Wittgenstein was stuck and,” we find that it always recede into the background, leaving nothing but its contingent consequences to be recorded, just as the metaphysical subject receded into the background, leaving nothing but its thoughts and experiences to be recorded.”

According to Kant, we have a transcendental capacity for the application of rules or of judgments, and this capacity is exercised spontaneously. These rules reflect human modes of understanding, rather than information of some kind that is given to us by the object. The notion of spontaneity is a key element of Kant's response to Humean skepticism, a skepticism that was the logical implication of a purely receptive epistemology.

Adorno's Negative Dialectic: Philosophy and the Possibility of Critical Rationality (Brian O'Connor), Highlight Loc. 1373-75

“Receptive epistemology” is empiricism that believes one gains knowledge like the Sun warming a stone. Instead, intelligence reaches out and does something to generate experience and the object. This something, this structure, isn’t outside of us. Without imagination epistemology will lose its spontaneity. Without Spirit, the Letter is dead.

It seems that language is somehow derived from mental pictures, or by rote abstract patterns representing past collections of meaning and mental picture connections. This idea of language derived from pictures is consistent with the belief that the mind is a story telling machine. A story is a set of connected pictures representing meaning. But we at least know--or should I give proper credit to Wittgenstein-- that there is some kind of shared structure of pictures with language and sentences. The characteristics of pictures should also be the characteristics of language. Wittgenstein writes in the Tractatus,

2.13 In a picture object have the elements [Mach use of “elements” instead of sense data] of the picture corresponding to them.

2.131 In a picture the elements of the picture are the representatives of objects.

2.141 A picture is a fact.

2.225 There are no pictures that are true a priori.

So the issue of “rules” of language continues like an obsession. It is as if a chess player tries to find strategic rules from the presence of the chess pieces themselves. The same is true for logicians trying to discover a logical proof.

It should be remembered, however, that just as chess strategy principles are not part of the rules of chess, so logic strategy principles are not part of the rules of logic. In fact, logic strategy rules belong not to the context of justification, but rather to the context of discovery, since they do not justify moves in proofs, but rather help us to discover winning moves. The justification for the assertion of a line in a proof must always be a valid argument form or rule of inference.

Logic and Philosophy, Howard Kahane, Wadsworth, (1928)pp. 63.

So we should always be careful to not mistake the chess rules for chess strategy discovery.

Chess pieces are meaningless without rules and the strategy which can be coded, decoded, and recoded from language to board position, and from board position to language. The “rules” do not exist on the board. Studies of humans playing against computers has shown that the computer calculates every possible chess board move before formulating a piece move. On the other hand, the human only considers the “relevant” strategic moves and not every mathematically possible combination of moves. Maybe this explains how my 10 year old son could beat me at chess and the computer routinely. There seems to be a “gap” between the picture and language. On the one side is subjective picture and on the other is its reified symbolic representation in language sentences.

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus speaks of the “elements” in the picture and “representation of objects” in the world. My translation of the natural language expression to symbolic logical notation is added below for 1.21 in the Tractatus.

1.21 Each item can be the case or not the case while everything else remains the same.

(∀x)[(x :/: y){Ix-->(Ix v ~Ix)}--> Ry]

:: equivalent

:/: not equivalent

v = either, or, inclusive

--> = Logical operator for implication: If, then.

~ =Not

(∀x) = for all x

I = Each item

R = Remains the same

y = any item

x = any item

[I nested (x :/: y) in the larger expression. I don't know if that is the proper convention for "x is not equivalent to y" in this case, so I am making it the convention.]

Any object can be, or not be in the world, but what if objects are necessary “elements” of the mental pictures themselves? In other words, objects are not necessary entities in the world, but are necessary “elements” to have any mental picture. Initially pictures have primacy over propositions, but then there is a switch in which language take primacy over image. I cannot not think of an object not in space and time, but that is exactly what a picture is. If this is the case, the reification of language come from reification in the mental picture itself—it pictures, or represents an object whether it exists of not. Language is inherently reifying. The ‘simple object’ is a necessary essence of the mental space or picture, but not in reality.

This point isn’t meant to deny the existence of the objective, but just to better understand it.

The characterization would explained the missing “simple object” (Post 268) because the “representation” isn’t merely a material entity. The "simple object" can’t be identified because it is an essential element of all pictures whether true of false.

Wittgenstein never said if the “simple object” is material, or a phenomenological concept. He talked about simple objects in both ways.

“The difficulty is that Wittgenstein’s ontological conclusion is not merely that there are objects, but that there must be objects.“ (Ludwig Wittgenstein by David Pears, (Penguin),(1970), pp.47 ).

In another quote, "Wittgenstein actually makes the literal claim that objects are both form and content (2.035)[Sic, should be 2.025], rather than form plus content; form in one context may be content in another context." Wittgenstein On Objects.

I think Wittgenstein has to draw this absurd conclusion that objects must necessarily exist because he didn’t commit himself to the ontological status is of the simple object.

Pictures are objectified, or reified Essences. Because pictures are object based, language is also object bases with Subject (S) + predicate (P). A predicate “proclaims” some-“thing” about the subject. The Platonic world of Forms, or Essences lives in language as names and is inherently object oriented. This is the truth of nominalism (Post 274), but do not have to accept the ontology of nominalism and the de-realization of Ideas, and Concepts as illusionary.

The power of language resides precisely in not being fully defined and having inherent ambiguity because language and thought go beyond a merely descriptive function of the world to a critical function of evaluation of the world based on an universal logic underlying a dynamitic reality.

Prior to this formalization, the experience of the divided world finds its logic in the Platonic dialectic, Here, the terms 'Being' 'Non-being' 'Movement,' 'the One and the Many' 'Identity' and 'Contradiction' are methodically kept open, ambiguous, not fully defined. They have an open horizon, an entire universe of meaning which is gradually structured in the process of communication itself, but which is never closed. The propositions are submitted, developed, and tested in a dialogue, in which the partner is led to question the normally unquestioned universe of experience and speech, and to enter a new dimension of discourse ' otherwise he is free and the discourse is addressed to his freedom. He is supposed to go beyond that which is given to him ' as the speaker, in his proposition, goes beyond the initial setting of the terms. These terms have many meanings because the conditions to which they refer have many sides, implications, and effects which cannot be insulated and stabilized. Their logical development responds to the process of reality, or Sache selbst. The laws of thought are laws of reality, or rather become the laws of reality if thought understands the truth of immediate experience as the appearance of another truth, which is that of the true Forms of reality--of the Ideas.

One Dimenionsal Man: Chapter 5 Negative Thinking: The Defeated Logic of Protest, Herbert Marcuse.

Someday we will follow up on Marcuse's description of the Orwellian de-realization of concepts and the attack on the concept of the "Universal."

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

The sense of connection to a muse, to something bigger than ourselves is also an affirmation of ourselves. Here is where I think Kerry and I have had a friendly disagreement about the collective. If we go to the literature on human development, interdependence is where maturity is found. The healthy individual discovers that his or her individuality is established in the individuality of others. It is a both/and and not a choice between whether we are 'first' individual or social. It does not matter, and to make the argument depend upon either pole being better or more important than the other is to destroy the whole polarity of the metaphysics.

Actually, with respect to what I think is an issue of 'awareness' as a function of 'consciousness' (and 'transcendence'--or 'spirit'), I think it makes a whole lot of difference whether we start with individual or social as its proper--more 'truthful'--receptacle. And, unless I get more data than what I have now, the only receptacle to 'consciousness' (it's more 'factual description' and 'describer') that I see is 'the individual'. While there are several descriptions of 'collective (un)consciousness' in religion and psychology, the problem in that description that I see is how it can distinguish culturally-intuned prejudices from knowledge gained by awareness. The best that I can see is that we can share thoughts and feelings--however, in no way can we dictate or impose them as some form of a cultural authority. Like ren's issue on 'gender biases' (a prejudice that we have seemed to accept even though its consequences can be just as restricting to 'awareness' as if it were 'racial biases'), cultural impositions do as much to obscure awareness as to promote it--in fact, I think it does more to obscure than promote....the reasons and ramifications of which may be intricate and involved but, nonetheless, still prejudiced and confining. That's not to mean I see 'every man (or woman) as an island'--that is to mean that when it comes to this issue of 'awareness' we all have a right and responsibility to attain that as 'thinking individuals'. It's much in line with what I've previously mentioned (in comparing it to John Knowles' book, A Separate Peace) with Rollo May's 'levels of human development' ('acceptance of social norms and mores without question', then, 'rejection of social norms and mores without question', and, finally, 'obtaining one's own position and understanding regardless of social norms and mores').

I think one issue of 'demarcation' that may be present between yours and my understanding of this, DRC, is what you are using as the definition and conceptualization of 'individual' vs. 'the collective'. I've said before that I don't buy the 'neo-con' ('Ayn Randian') definition of 'individual' as being purely 'the selfish individual', per se--even as I don't actually reject that 'selfish-ness' plays a part. In the same manner, I don't buy 'the collective' as the preemptive entity that confirms 'selfless-ness', either--unless you have, somehow, totally factored out 'political motives' as all being 'selfless' (and I see that as unrealistic to the point of being naive)--in fact, such 'political motives' in 'collective entities' can disguise their 'selfish motives' through such 'culturally-intuned prejudices' as 'gendered-biases' accompanied by the psychological prospect of 'projection'. In that respect, the 'masculine conqueror' can be covered by the 'feminine supporter'--and vice-versa--in disguising each other's 'selfish intent' through 'collective maneuvers' and 'projected psychic qualities'....and I flatly reject that as a manner of confirming the truthfulness of 'awareness' (as if possessed by 'One'), if you will.....

Considering this conceptualization of 'the individual' vs. 'the collective' (as I see you perhaps inadvertently doing, DRC, because many of your writings I see have exquisite insight into them), again, it is at the point of 'demarcation' that contains the problem. I'm not exactly sure how to express that as a psychological--or even philosophical--point but I have seen how it is expressed in a more 'politico-religious' perspective in (at least Western) history--and that being the distinctive elements brought forth in the more dogmatic perspective of 'Original Sin' vs. the more 'Age of Reason'-endorsed aspect of 'innocent until proven guilty' as the manner of perceiving 'the individual' (and correlating it to some 'collective') from the start. This is no small point because how this issue is prejudged will also indicate how it will transpire when it comes to the political and social ramifications so predisposed. Simply put, as I've tried to express before, the prospect of 'Original Sin' positions 'the individual' as one of basically an entity that needs to be contained (because it is 'evil, wrong, selfish', whatever)--and the more 'innocent until proven guilty' perspective brought out by our 'Age of Reason' founding fathers posits the opposite pretension--it is the 'oppressive force of the collective' that needs to be contained against 'the individual' with 'the individual' as the only true depository of any intent towards 'good will'. And, I truly think that the 'facts of history' have proven the latter to be more accurate....an ill-willed 'collective' can always do more damage than a similarly-willed 'individual' and do it more under the guise of a 'collective good' (which I see as a 'hypocritical position')....the problem I see with today's maneuvers is that allowing 'the individual' to be 'the defining characteristic of what is wrong' supplements 'the collective's' ability to oppressively impose against any characteristic of 'what is right with the individual'--and it can do so and disguise any motive that carries a 'collective perspective' as 'being good' no matter how oppressive it really is....(just like what I see has always been done in history with the prospect of 'Original Sin'...). And, since I see 'awareness' as only being an 'individual endeavor', such maneuvers of 'oppressive collective forces' under the guise of 'doing good' just adds a distraction that distresses any prospect for true enlightment....

'Collective applications' can even go further than that. It is the prospect of 'collective applications' that can impose a 'reality' that has no real confirmed or confirmable aspect. Like 'reversing all previous proven scientific theory' as in buildings collapsing like they never have before and viruses overcoming natural defenses like they never have before and doing so by 'collective authority' rather than 'the extraordinary evidence' that the scientific method really requires to overcome previous theories that have overwhelming evidence proving their veracity as any 'thinking individual' should be able to see and understand. That is Orwellian.....and a way of having you 'not believe in yourself' so much as to 'accept anything that claims it is an authority' say.....how irrational, how oppressive, how 'un-American'.....how 'un-free'.....and, as far as I am concerned (and can see it) , how 'un-true'....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, your post is why this is the friendliest and most respectful of disagreements. If all the defenders of the individual as the essential base for thinking about being human shared your sophistication of analysis, we would just party on together in the both/and with slightly different dance steps.

The problem for me is that "ontological individualism" has been identified by a number of serious scholars of society and culture as a problem because it does not lead to a sound appreciation of social reality. Robert Bellah's HABITS OF THE HEART is at the center of this line of analysis.

In the "game theory" of individualism, "mutuality" must be restricted to bargains of individual, shared interests. It is not a formula that can account for grace and love other than as qualifications to its structure of indivdualized and separate actors seeking self-interest. When we put love into the equation, it has to go both/and, and that is beyond the math in the ontological individual metaphysics and game theory. There is no formula for the win/win in individualism that is not compromised.

My marriage and my American identity are not tentative or partial commitments. I have gone "all in" and it is hardly a matter of lacking self respect or individuality. In the same way, I think you guys miss what Original Sin is in terms of the liberation of grace. It is not about guilty before the trial, it is about not having to earn our "salvation" or "humanity." It is a given. Original Sin's zen joke is that accepting our humanity and existential being's "limitations" required to be a being instead of the universal spirit ether is not about being perfect. It is about being human.

It is not about being "guilty." A lot of very bad theology has exhausted itself in that waste of time. It is about not being "self-righteous" or thinking that your own model of humanity is what others ought to emulate. The problem with "innocence" is that it presumes itself to be good and becomes proud of its accomplishments. If it could just be the humility of gratitude instead of that pride, maybe the innocent would not be such asses in real life.

Knowing that I am constantly in need of the compassion and forgiveness of others prompts me to compassion and forgiving. I can get over the fact that people do dumb things because I don't expect perfection; but even better, instead of defending my mistakes I can learn from them and hope to do better.

Above all, not having to save myself allows me to be more open-minded than if I was supposed to think my way to heaven. Instead of an ideology, I can have a works in process mind where new information can change things. Grace takes off the pressure to win and lets me play the game for fun. Winning can be fun, but being obsessed with winning does not win friends as it influences people to protect themselves from you.\

Conscience is about an empathetic mind connected to the humanity of others. Individuality is not lost in the interaction of mutuality because mutuality is about equality among individuals, not the blending of their individuality into a mass identity. That is what happens in cults where individuality is subsumed in the mission and identity of the collective. In my model, authentic community is defined by its respect for and protection of individual rights, conscience and liberty. It is still a both/and instead of an individual first metaphysics.

DRC's picture
DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

DRC, and Kerry, I have been following your discussion. I see that you and Kerry have spent a lot of time thinking about this issue of individuality. It is a area that I haven't developed as well as the both of you. I have learned a lot of interesting turns and made note of you resource citations. The Individuality and Community dichotomy has always been a Gordian Knot for me. I have a great quote from Buber:

Criticism of the individualistic method starts usually from the standpoint of the collectivist tendency. But if individualism understands only a part of man, collectivism understands man only as a part: neither advances to the wholeness of man, of man as a whole. Individualism sees man only in relation to himself, but collectivism does not see man at all, it sees only "society." With the former man's face is distorted, with the latter it is masked....

Modern individualism has essentially an imaginary basis...

...modern collectivism is essentially illusory.

Life and thought are here placed in the same problematic situation. As life erroneously supposes that it has a choose between individualism and collectivism, so thought erroneously supposes that it has to choose between an individual anthropology and a collectivist sociology.
Between Man and Man (1936)by Martin Buber,pp.237.

Digressing in this short post--I bought more Silver rounds and Silver shot. I'm fat with silver.

Each time I go to buy coins, I set aside some Indian/Buffalo one Troy ounce .999 silver coins for the Salem Children's Village. When Silver approaches $500 an ounce, I'm mailing them to the Salem Children's Village.

I expect silver rounds will shortly--within a year--go to $500 per ounce.

Herr Müller always asks me, “What is the next step?” I remember back in 1981 when he came to New York and gathered a small group of us together and told us that we should begin to prepare for some very specific things to come. Water supplies would become unreliable, electricity sporadic, food contaminated, and three days of darkness would cover the Earth. We must have supplies, from water and food to candles, he said.

The Prophet's Way ,Thom Hartmann, Loc. 5948-52.

That's my plan. This isn't financial advice....It's moral advice.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Awesome post DRC. I truly appreciate your description of conscience as empathy instead of the more common interpretation of conscience as guilt. A well-developed conscience spurs one to act in ways that are helpful to others rather than just to prevent selfish acts.

The Genesis story of Man's fall from grace is not about sex or people being inherently guilty or evil. Original Sin is described there as Man's consumption of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. To my mind, people indulge in original sin whenever they judge other people as evil for personal or subjective reasons - and yes - even when people judge others as good for selfish reasons.

The long discussion of the nature of facts in this thread establishes that the mental/language constructs we consider to be facts contain at least a subjective component. Certainly even our fact-based decisions about good and evil are subjective and thereby wide open to error. May we all be much more quick to love and thereby leave no room for hate.

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LeMoyne
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Polycarp _ I am not sure we are on the same page with the manner you use government. In some sense government is as broad a term as it gets. Govern is exactly the thing that governs us. Now maybe that is a trite use of language. But in the broad sense any particular instituion identifyed as governemnt also must contain all the contextual richness in which it's supposed distinctness resides. An example is how do we truly separate government from media or the national discussion that seemingly provide the impetus in which governemnt changes. Therefore if we look at the government as process as opposed to instituion then it seems we have somewhat disparate ideas.

I tend to agree that the example of native socities represent an egalitartian sense rarley replicated in the so-called modern democracies. But I do not necessarily agree that governemnt in an institutional form cannot either replicate, or be a conduit for, the sense of egalitarianism shown by the native societies. Government can be alien entity, but it can also be meeting place

mattnapa's picture
mattnapa
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I'd suggest that our current state of affairs is a result of a collective, shared consciousness. It's beginning to unravel. with the merging of economic/environmental/resource collapse.(Ren's post 474)

Polarization is a manifestion of the unraveling..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

The problem for me is that "ontological individualism" has been identified by a number of serious scholars of society and culture as a problem because it does not lead to a sound appreciation of social reality. Robert Bellah's HABITS OF THE HEART is at the center of this line of analysis.

In the "game theory" of individualism, "mutuality" must be restricted to bargains of individual, shared interests. It is not a formula that can account for grace and love other than as qualifications to its structure of indivdualized and separate actors seeking self-interest. When we put love into the equation, it has to go both/and, and that is beyond the math in the ontological individual metaphysics and game theory. There is no formula for the win/win in individualism that is not compromised.

You see, maybe I'm 'too analytical' but there are many parts to your statement above that I just don't 'see' (and, like Daniel Dennett's CONSCIOUSNESS EXPLAINED, I once tried to read Robert Bellah's HABITS OF THE HEART and just couldn't get through it--like, for Dennett, I wondered whose 'consciousness is he explaining'--can it be his own?--for Bellah, whose 'heart' is he talking about?). If these 'serious scholars of society and culture' have identified the problem of 'ontology' (as my dictionary says is 'the study of the nature of being') as being 'individualism' itself (and, again, confining the 'nature of selfishness'--and whatever is wrong in humans--to such a defining term--and, somehow, 'selflessness' placed out in some preternatural world they claim as 'the collective'), what really are they putting in its place (where is this 'collective' they so profess)? 'Love and grace' are all great--but who or what displays 'love and grace' if it isn't the individual doing so? And, can you really state that 'love and grace', somehow, 'naturally' come from some 'collective source' apart from such individual's doing so? If you don't tie down your propositions into entities that actually can be seen and confirmed, how are you so sure such a proposition has any basis in reality? Or, are we just to follow along as if we know what we are talking about as the 'natural tendency of man'? If it is really that 'natural', then it exists without us 'defining it'.....and like many 'natural entities', our 'definitions' are mere approximations that can be inaccurate unless we have some way of confirming it--and, to me, that confirmation can only come through the 'thinking individual'--nothing in the nature of humans can do it, otherwise....'love and grace', just like 'justice' and 'equality', are abstractions that, if they are to have confirmations, are going to have to come through the 'thinking individual'....there really is no 'thinking collective'....there are, however, 'collective actions' that have no rational or 'thinking' basis.....just like a herd.....

What is 'war' but a 'collective action'? While we would all agree that letting an 'individual' claim some kind of 'higher cause to kill' is an irrational and ridiculous proposition, we seem to tacitly accept 'war' as a 'collective cause' that, if it has any moral cause to act, can have that very claim. And, as in herd theory, if humans are, oftentimes, to 'learn by example', how can it really be said that madmen like Jared Lee Loughner don't have a socially acceptable example to go by in their actions when 'war' does the same thing--and, then, just claims the children killed as 'collateral damage'? I don't really see how any of this can be understood if it wasn't for 'the thinking individual'....how does the assertions of these 'scholars' that claim 'love and grace' are acts of 'social collectivism' counter that with the very 'collective action' of 'war' that actually has no 'socially acceptable individual option'? Are we really so sure that 'love and grace' come through such 'collective actions'--other than 'professing it so' as we 'collectively' condemn 'the individual'?

In the same way, I think you guys miss what Original Sin is in terms of the liberation of grace.

But, you see, this is what I think you are missing. If 'Original Sin' is to have some 'liberation of grace', I think that perspective comes only through the very individual who is experiencing it (or 'thinking of it'). If, as I've tried to describe before, you apply the concept of the 'wrongness/evil' of 'the individual' (on any political grounds) using 'Original Sin' as your cause, then that very application predisposes its conclusion. You have a 'self-fulfilling prophecy'. I think history has proven that, as a basis for collective actions and applications, 'Original Sin' has caused more damage than good. And, where 'Original Sin' carries such a damaging proposition is by elevating the actor (scholar, 'expert', 'authority') above the ones that the actions are being applied against. In other words, the 'wrongness, evil' of the one doing the asserting is not taken into account as much as the ones being asserted against--and, in the context of 'collective actions', it is that disparity in conscience (between 'actor' and 'acted upon') which I see promoting oppression....and, the other problem I see in this is that when such an act is disclosed as, itself, being 'wrong' or oppressive, it is passed off as 'well, everyone has Original Sin'....whatever claim you say it has for any individual acquiescence or 'reverence to The Almighty' is lost when it is used, in any way, to act against another especially in any 'collective mode' (the 'metaphysics of power'). And, that has been the way 'Original Sin' has been used ever since St. Augustine explained it in his CONFESSIONS--it requires 'the collective' to save 'the individual'--and such a collective cause has been used as much (and I believe more) to oppress as to 'display love and grace' throughout history when applied as, in any way, a political cause in that 'collective'...

Who gets to speak for this 'collective'? That is, of course, part of the problem. In Augustine's 'Original Sin', like Paul's claim that 'all authority is ordained by God' in his epistle to the Romans, why, it's the very ones 'in position to do so' that can without any qualification--even acknowledging their own 'Original Sin' before they act (or judge, for that matter). That, itself, has an irrational basis to it (with the claim to 'rational' being 'all people can see it for what it is'--no matter what 'position' they hold)--and, as I've tried to describe before, I have no problem allowing an irrational basis when it comes to any particular individual's actions or thoughts (as long as they don't impose on another), however, I, just like our Age of Reason's forefathers, have a big problem when a political action is based on anything other than a 'rational basis'. And, that's because I see an irrational basis to politics more likely being oppressive than 'enlightening'--as I think history has shown....

Quote DRC:

It is not about guilty before the trial, it is about not having to earn our "salvation" or "humanity." It is a given.

Is it? Can Jared Lee Loughner use such an excuse? Or, more to my own point between 'collective' and 'individual' actions and causes, can Jared Lee Loughner use the excuse that 'killing children is just a collateral damage when it comes to a higher cause' like the deaths of children in war has always allowed as a 'collective action'? You seem to 'flower your collective cause with love and grace' without acknowledging that the same 'collective' can have 'prejudice and death' condoned in its acts of war that, I am sure, you would never allow an 'individual' to have--showing examples of that 'individual's evil or wrongfulness' in examples that you, as a member of any 'collective', just tacitly accept in a 'war' that may be done for your 'collective's cause'....this I see as a BIG 'collective problem'--and I don't see 'Original Sin' having the answer, either....

Quote DRC:

Original Sin's zen joke is that accepting our humanity and existential being's "limitations" required to be a being instead of the universal spirit ether is not about being perfect. It is about being human.

Read above. I see it more as in some form of 'collective herd' theory--where the actions of any 'one' are condemned in a manner that the same action of 'the many' is condoned....and nothing shows that more to me than 'killing for a cause with children as collateral damage'....what is 'Original Sin's' answer to that dilemma? 'We all have Original Sin' but 'we can't judge it as a collective'?

I think our forefathers steeped in the Age of Reason saw through such mindfucks--and tried their best to counter it--even as 'imperfectly' as they did condoning slavery and ignoring women's suffrage at the start--however, with their very premise of 'all men are created equal' having that be, to some extent, corrected as American history has progressed--up, until, I'm afraid, the present day when we don't have to 'see for ourselves' how 'buildings fall completely and rapidly with one--or no--impact like never before' or how 'viruses can ignore their antibodies and kill you, anyway, like never before' just because 'people in position to do so tell you it is so'....without qualifications....as we resort back to the political dictates of 'Original Sin' instead of 'innocent until proven guilty' with 'all men created equal'....and whatever 'awareness' we might gain, otherwise, be damned....perhaps using the Jared Lee Loughner's as the 'individual examples' regardless of any rational considerations....

Quote DRC:

It is about not being "self-righteous" or thinking that your own model of humanity is what others ought to emulate.

Really? When it comes to political actions based on 'Original Sin', is the one in the position to act really 'judging themselves in the same light' as the ones they are acting upon--or, especially, acting against? Like the true 'Original Sin'-believer that you appear to be, DRC, you give the one acting 'in the collective' (with the 'position to do so') more credit than one 'acting on their own' (even if that has a 'rational basis' that, by that very definition, any 'one' can see regardless of their position)...and, you don't seem to see how those in such positions can harbor 'self-righteous acts' that, now, are disguised by the very profession of 'collective cause' that they may claim coming from 'their position'--and, Original Sin, just like Paul's claim that 'all authority is ordained by God' in the Roman epistle, gives them that 'right'...just by 'being in the position' to claim it....without qualifications being required as a 'rational cause'....

Quote DRC:

The problem with "innocence" is that it presumes itself to be good and becomes proud of its accomplishments. If it could just be the humility of gratitude instead of that pride, maybe the innocent would not be such asses in real life.

But, those who are in position to act against others without cause as Original Sin offers--even as they may offer some admonitions to 'guilt'--aren't asses to you, eh?

I've thought of a problem in my considerations on how such things are 'determined', if you will--and I'm going to try to address it like I've already done with respect to 'positive law' and 'natural law' as was used in early American judicial processes. I've already pointed out that jury nullification allowed the jury to even acknowledge that such a person violated the 'written precepts of the law'--but, under the circumstances so considered, they still pronounced them 'not guilty'. Do you see that as a viable 'legal option', DRC? Or, are we to constantly claim 'the written law' (done by those 'in position to do so') have to be followed 'no matter how irrational that may seem to common justice'?

Now, that's not my point in this exactly--although, I would like to hear your comments on it. My point is the opposite pretension (which I think is a characteristic of my own way of 'scientific-methodologically' approaching 'reality' as a sort of 'falsifiability'--considering 'the opposite pretensions' from any given theory or point and seeing if that, also, has any weight with respect to 'reality'). What about the possibility that someone is following the exact dictates of 'the written law' and still be 'guilty'? Actually, that's not an original idea of mine--I'm borrowing it from the Unitarian minister that was the son of the Idaho Senator Frank Church that wrote a little book a while back (at the start of Reagan's term) called The Devil and Dr. Church--in which Dr. Church (I can't remember his first name at this time) proposed the idea that 'the Devil' wasn't going to come back spewing fire with red horns and a red tail--that would be too obvious and the Devil's biggest mode of conduct is deception and trickery. No, as Dr. Church proposed in this book, the Devil was going to come back as a gentleman of exquisite etiquette knowing 'all the rules'.....at any rate, do you think a person 'following all the dictates of the law' can still be 'guilty' not just in the surreal manner of 'Original Sin' but in the political manner of 'dictated law' and 'natural law'? Do you see 'reality' reflecting that possibility? If so, where's that court? If you understand where 'that court' may be, then, you might understand where 'I' place 'the individual'......

Quote DRC:

Conscience is about an empathetic mind connected to the humanity of others.

Maybe you see me as being 'too narrow' in my perspective--but I'm going to have to continue hammering this prospect because I see no other 'fact of reality' doing so: Who possesses this 'conscience with an empathetic mind' if it's not 'the individual doing so'? What entity are you claiming 'does it for the collective'--the person 'in the position to do so'? And, how is that?

Quote DRC:

Individuality is not lost in the interaction of mutuality because mutuality is about equality among individuals, not the blending of their individuality into a mass identity.

Well, I think we have something here that we can agree upon, DRC. But, again, how is any claim (apart from the individuals involved) towards 'the collective' acknowledge this 'non-blending of their individuality into a mass identity'. As I see it, you give 'the collective' to much credit--and 'the individual who possesses that individuality' too little. But, that's probably your belief in 'Original Sin' talking for you....:).....

Quote DRC:

That is what happens in cults where individuality is subsumed in the mission and identity of the collective.

How can you distinguish a 'cult that subsumes individuality' from any 'collective that subsumes individuality'? Just from the fact of it being 'one individual' doing it? Well, what's the difference from 'one individual doing it' and 'one being positioned to do it in the collective' when it comes to the possibility of 'subsuming individuality'? One is 'ordained by God'--and 'the other' isn't? I'm afraid you'll have to use a rational reason, DRC--if 'individuality' is the cause, which 'individual' are you talking about? As our forefathers steeped in the Age of Reason promoted, it won't be able to be any one individual if we go by the proposition that 'all men are created equal', will it be?

Now, as I think I'm trying to do, we will have to talk in terms of 'the individual' especially if we are talking in any political context....and any cause to impose against 'the individual'....

Quote DRC:

In my model, authentic community is defined by its respect for and protection of individual rights, conscience and liberty. It is still a both/and instead of an individual first metaphysics.

While I'll agree with most of the gist of your statement here, DRC, my question--and point--is that when it comes to elements of politics and political action, which is more preeminent--'the individual' or 'the collective'? And, please, don't add in the modern con-job's perspective that 'the corporation' has anything to do with 'the individual'--that's a legalistic maneuver that has bastardized our pristien premise with just 'another collective' and called it 'the individual'--through, by the way, 'the written law'....can you follow 'the written law' and still be 'guilty' in 'reality'? I think so....but, again, where's that court?

Keep the faith....

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Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

In respect to 'positive law' vs. 'natural law' (not the 'Original Sin' proposition that has a 'grace' that I don't see anything in THIS world--and how THIS world acts--confirming), where's the court that can judge the 'technical positive law-abider' as 'guilty'? One should be the government that is 'of, by and for' the people--but, then, where's that?

Government 'of, by and for' the people should be there to secure its premise to its product 'of, by and for' the people (its cause to its act). That's why I call myself a 'leftist libertarian'--I see the point of the need of 'primacy of the individual' to be the first order of a government based on 'liberalism' (whether 'minimal state liberalism' or 'active state liberalism')--and I see the need for a government to do that.....but, then, where's that government?

While many of the con-jobs 'leaders' like Limbaugh, Beck, and Palin, have used Thomas Jefferson's remark that 'the tree of liberty occasionally has to be nurtured by the blood of martyrs and patriots', they are failing to acknowledge some other thoughts of Thomas Jefferson (all from my booklet edited by Robert C. Baron, 'Jefferson, The Man, In His Own Words'):

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only legitimate object of good government.--Letter to the Republican Citizens of Washington County, Maryland--August 4, 1811

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him; every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the necessities of society, and this is all the laws should enforce on him; and no man having a natural right to be the judge between himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit to the umpirage of an impartial third.--Letter to Francis Walker Gilmer--June 7, 1816

I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not (to) take it from them, but to inform their discretion.--Letter to William Charles Jarvis--September 28, 1820

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppression of the body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day.--Letter to Pierre Samuel Du Pont de Nemours--April 24, 1816

Good wishes are all an old man has to offer his country or friends.--Letter to Thomas Law--January 15, 1811

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Kerry, let me try to clear up the individual/collective issue. Because they frame our current polemic, 'capitalism v. communism and authoritarianism v. freedom; and I find that either/or wrong, I insist that they are a both/and where the polarity is about both being true at the same time. They do not have priority as a polarity because it is the tension in their nonresolution in compromise that makes both retain full integrity.

The point is that our human nature is both, and that we cannot make one the master of the other or even the Big Brother. But it should not matter because neither yields to the other per se. They must both be served to have what the polarity model demands. For example, if we are to "speak the truth with love," we do not speak half-truths, half-lovingly, nor do we allow either to dismiss the other from consideration.

What does matter to this discussion is human development theory. Maturity is achieved by the growth of individuals from dependent beings where authority had more to do with behavior than desire. Conscience was about being a good child and obeying Mom and Dad. And "no" becomes a word of extreme dislike until we learn to say it back. Then it is a word of power.

Adolescents develop identity in counter-dependent focus. They question and try what is banned. Conscience is about testing inherited truths and cultural values. Anger is experienced when that inheritance turns out to be human rather than divinely revealed truths. Adolescents like to gather in groups of similarity as they explore their individuality v. what their parents have "told" them to be. Even when they think they are rebelling, it is mostly around the edges than down to the core of who they are.

The next phase of human development is crucial to our appreciation of individuality. Adolescent rebels tend to be against a lot of things, but they are not yet able to be "for" anything deeply personal. They can tell you what other people say about things. They can tell you about a lot of what has disappointed them by either being wrong or ambiguous on the big questions they are posing.

It is not until they can say what they believe apart from echoing the authority of others that their imagination has entered the developmental game as a primary player. First stage was belief, the inherited stories and values of our family and community/nation. It is about the affirmation of belonging to that community and story. The second stage was questioning and doubting the "truths" received. It is the essential move of the child away from being under the authority of the parent to being "an individual." This is only a developmental point because we are always individuals and babies have a will for sure.

The third stage where we see imagination as the major player is known as Self-Dependence. From counter to self, we make personal 'confessions' and commitments to act on what cannot be objective evidence. In the 60's it was called "values clarification," and that is inadequate but it does point in the right direction. When we identify as an affirmation of our individual self with the values of peacemaking over the values of war as the path to peace; or when we find our path taking us through issues of conscience and vocation that form us in existential decision, we become for and against some essential spiritual aspects.

When ren describes the military, that was his crucible for this period. And let me avoid the impression that development is a once and done process that is only our life journey. Maturity is the accumulation of developmental growth and is refreshed and renewed by returning to the early stages, as long as we don't get lost there. Crucial young adult experiences transform us from adolescents into "adults." It is about having an identity as a self that is not just counter or affirming what others have given us.

Both of the stages that emphasize individuality, Doubt, and Imagination, must be encouraged and nurtured by any community that is not prone to becoming a cult. Cults cut out the phases of individuation to leave development as Belief (Dependence) and collective mind and mission. They take the "affiliative" forms of human development without the individuative phases. That is how you can tell the difference between a cult and a community.

But the other vital point is that the Self needs to move to Interdependence as well. When individuals realize that the individuality of others is what makes their own socially possible as well as existentially in what community provides, affirming mutuality and seeing oneself as part of a loving and redemptive community of sharing is just liberation from the anxiety of "individualism" without vibrant community.

I cannot help you with Original Sin if you insist on being the expert. I don't try to tell you what medical education ought to have you know about material beyond my training. I wish you could open your frame of thinking to see why grace matters and why the Arminian "free will" religion of decision and moral endeavor leads to anything but compassion for others. I think it is a serious pathology responsible for a lot of what is wrong in this culture; and to call it Calvinism is to repeat a popular misunderstanding of history.

Thom repeats similar misunderstandings when he tries too make Liberals into those with a positive vision of human nature and conservatives as those who take the Original Sin path. There is great irony in the fact that "free will" religion appeals to rationalism while leaving the spiritual path free of anything other than works righteousness. It is really grim stuff, and when people try hard and fail, they get bitter. Or, when they achieve and think they are being nice, they lose humility. Not everyone. A lot of people become good human beings in very bad theological and cultural settings.

The point is beyond guilt and innocence. Developmentally, it is about identifying with others in your own self. It is about conscience as an empathetic relationship where the prominence of one's own interests is lowered to get the anxiety out of the equation of love and justice. It is measured in the respect and tolerance we give to others and how much our own vision includes them rather than isolating or controlling them.

If the Bellah research is beyond you, or if your favorite authorities reject it, I think they are blinded by something. Bellah takes his theme from Alexis de Tocqueville whose concern about the "individualism" of the Americans might spell our undoing. What makes Bellah's work more important is the lack of social realism found in the minds of Americans compared to their sense of being individuals. Again, it is not about reducing the dignity, worth or freedom of the individual to connect it with social reality. It is what is needed to get it out of isolation, alienation and a game theory of win/lose.

Belllah makes a lot of sense to me. Americans clearly do not have a strong sense of community or social realism. We accept social theories that people who do know social reality reject as ridiculous. They are correct.

At some point in conscience, identifying with "the least of these" is more than what we can calculate as personal interest. The reason we go "all in" for love is that the calculations of personal interest in those relationships kill the dynamic of the relationship and tend to fail to account for the full blessing. For me, individualism is like keeping the cubicle around the self instead of experiencing mutuality. Individuality thrives in mutuality.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

With regard to power, I want to try a separate, but related post. I have no antipathy to "power" in the moral sense, quite the contrary. But there is a long history in which "power politics" was called the problem and "love" was posed as the better political morality.

What this old Liberal analysis missed is the power of love and justice as power rather than "niceness." The big question for the metaphysics of power to me is why love and justice get shortchanged in the analysis. We do a big job on force, but not much on why dominance and force fail to deliver much other than dysfunction and police states. There is the power to destroy and dominate, but it does not do well creating and has to spend all its power holding down the conquered. It can create fortunes for the few, but it cannot make a good society for the many, much less for all.

It is not untrue that the coalition of individuals we know as a constituency form the basis for political power. Constituencies are the foundation of real power. But constituencies are also informed and empowered communities of interest who can act to support their interests. They cannot be run as loose coalition of individuals who have too many differences to agree to act in solidarity. Organizing involves getting the agreed goals lifted above the diversity of other issues or perspectives by honoring the diversity but finding their agreement. And the organization creates a culture of shared values, including being able to be diverse and one.

The issue for me is not whether individuals are thinking collectively as individuals because "collective thinking" is the mutuality of interaction and not the imposition of the cult dogma on the conscience of the membership. It is the healthy mix of individualism in the maturity of Interdependence, and it has to get to interdependence or it gets stuck in the Self where social reality is not clear and does still threaten the sense of security for the self.

The victims of suburbanism lack an experience of vibrant community. In the shadow of the Empire and the National Cult, all the bad things of collectivism are rampant; but the absence of an authentic community and the experience of mutuality just stays a problem rather than a real alternative and condemnation of the cult.

This is why military service and the "band of brothers" rhetoric is so powerful as the experience of love and bonding. Where do we get to do that for peace or justice anymore? We can know unit solidarity and feel belonging at a deep level in the military, but not in America if you don't fall for the cult. I think we need to have something that meets our deepest human needs for interdependent maturity in America. I don't think military authoritarian chains of command and obedience do that.

In a metaphysics of power, actually a theology of power being the same thing, there is both the "principalities and powers of this world" that we have to deal with and the real power and authority that the worldly powers reject and usurp. Love and justice stand against force and imposed oppression. Caring and sharing work when hoarding and fearing fail.

How we individuals invest ourselves in solidarity with others and what it takes to affirm our interdependent bonds of loyalty and love in wider and wider social reality is where we are stewards of power. Our own conscience and vocation is formed and framed in the context of our lives with others. Who we are and what we affirm of our being is formed and framed in social reality. And we are powerful when we are united in love and freedom, not when we are tentative and isolated. Even the prophets and the martyrs are who they are because of the community they love and live in.

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DRC
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mattnapa wrote: "I tend to agree that the example of native socities represent an egalitartian sense rarley replicated in the so-called modern democracies. But I do not necessarily agree that governemnt in an institutional form cannot either replicate, or be a conduit for, the sense of egalitarianism shown by the native societies. Government can be alien entity, but it can also be meeting place"

poly replies:

I agree, and it would take a willingness to change cultural norms to accomplish that. A different world view. A different pereption of "realitiy". How things are and have to be.

kerry posted:

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter (the kingdom)."

poly replies:

Buddhism 101. "Be" without the labels to things attached by the mind through perception. Read the quote with that context in mind..

The Book of Thomas turns Christianity, as taught, on its head.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Accusations and assertions about what one is 'expert' in aside, DRC, I am more a student of history than either theology or philosophy, for that matter. I see a place for 'God'--and perhaps even 'love and grace'--but I doubt it is in the same place or with the same impetus as you claim. While you and I may agree on the 'value of community', that is not exactly what I see as the 'force of the collective' in comparison to 'the thinking individual'. My sense of 'force of collective' is more in line with your description of this 'brotherhood of the military' and I doubt sincerely (without ever having been in the military--but I know those who have and I have read what ren has said about it) that 'the military' has anything to do with 'indivduality'--or 'individualism'--or the point I am making concerning the my proposition, in fact and metaphysical theory, behind 'the thinking indivdual'. Same goes for any 'brotherhood of a corporation'. And, still, I'm not sure how you distinguish that 'love and grace' from the 'love and grace' that I am certain members of cults claim they, also, 'experience'.....you doubt that?

Actually, my focus is not about 'love' or 'grace'. It's not really even about the 'natural tendency of man to form communities'. My focus is centered on one aspect only--the institution of power and its reason to assert any action--more so as a political perspective than anything that one might consider theologically or philosophically but, admittedly, such interests do intersect. And, I'm not really against all applications of power, per se, because, of course, I see no example extant in most of the so-called 'civilized world' that doesn't, in one manner or the other, impose power. It's the purposes of such that I am after--and the basis of such that bests reflects not only my own understanding of the human persona but my recognition as to how that has been factored into political premises and 'authoritative acts'.

You seem to believe 'the thinking individual' somehow shortchanges 'community'--and, if you are going to take the Ayn Randian (sorry, but it also has some historical precedence to it, the 'Original Sin') view of 'individuality' as being 'the selfish individual' and, then, by such proclamation, point out only 'selfish individuals' as representing your case, then I believe it is you who is ignoring my point on this. Maybe 'you' are 'the expert' on 'selfish individualism' and 'selfless collectivism'--but I think I at least have some aspect of my own understanding of the human persona and my own understanding as to how this has been factored into human history (and present politics) to at least claim some position of knowledge for myself.

Quote DRC:

If the Bellah research is beyond you, or if your favorite authorities reject it, I think they are blinded by something. Bellah takes his theme from Alexis de Tocqueville whose concern about the "individualism" of the Americans might spell our undoing.

While both Bellah and Alexis de Tocqueville may be 'describing the disease' just in line with your position, I don't think that either Bellah or de Tocqueville have really described 'the cure'. Nor have you. And, admittedly, I may not have found 'the cure'--but I do think I know 'a treatment' that follows in line with how I understand the human persona and seen political actions transpire now as well as read about in the past. And, I will take Abraham Lincoln's explanation of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence as evidence of its prospects (from Joseph J. Ellis' book, American Sphinx--The Character of Thomas Jefferson):

The most famous section of the Declaration, which has become the most quoted statement of human rights in recorded history as well as the most eloquent justification of revolution on behalf of them, went through the Continental Congress without comment and with only one very minor change. These are, in all probability, the best-known fifty-eight words in American history: "We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain (inherent and) inalienable Rights; those among these are life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." This is the seminal statement of the American Creed, the closest approximation to political poetry ever produced in American culture. In the nineteenth century Abraham Lincoln, who also knew how to change history with words, articulated with characteristic eloquence the quasi-religious view of Jefferson as the original American oracle: "All honor to Jefferson--to the man who, in the concrete pressure of a struggle for national independence by a single people, had the coolness, forecaste, and capacity to introduce into a merely revolutionary document, an abstract truth, and so to embalm it there, that today and in all coming days, it shall be a rebuke and a stumbling block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression." The entire history of liberal reform in America can be written as a process of discovery, within Jefferson's words, of a spiritually sanctioned mandate for ending slavery, providing the rights of citizenship to blacks and women, justifying welfare programs for the poor and expanding individual freedoms.

While Bellah and de Tocqueville seem to blame our preeminence of 'individual rights' as some 'downfall of community', Lincoln holds it up as a 'constant rebuke and stumbling block to the very harbingers of reappearing tyranny and oppression'--'the treatment' against which all political impositions are to be judged. It cannot be 'the cure' in any complete since because 'individual rights' has elements of it that mirror the imperfections of the human persona--however, the 'call to collectivism' does no better to remove such imperfections, and, as far as I can see it, can make it much worse--and it can do so by clouding what can be oppressive acts of power into 'collective causes' that disregard those very 'individual rights'--and, call it 'good' (selfless, 'God-ordained', whatever). I see no other treatment for that form of political oppression and tyranny.

And, a 'complete cure' with this treatment involves what our own founding fathers stated when they thought of such issues--'individual rights' has to be guided by 'individual virtue'--without which, 'the treatment' can, indeed, make the disease worse....but, once again, I don't see 'the call to collectivism' doing any better....especially the collectivism of the military and corporations ('corporations'--something that the 19th century writer, Edward Bellamy, correlated to 'the military' in that book, Looking Backward--2000-1887). And, I see neither one of them any different than 'a cult controlled by written policy'.

Quote DRC:

The point is beyond guilt and innocence.

If that is so, then, why is 'Original Sin' based on the rather blanketed 'guilt of mankind', if you will? You give the 'power of grace' to the 'collective'--and so does St. Augustine. Maybe I don't see or know the nuances you seem to promote in its favor from a theological point of view, but I think that I do know its political ramifications as I see history having proven--and our American impetus behind 'the securing of natural individual rights being the first cause behind good government' trying to correct--along with the hierarchic mileau, and morass, that 'all authority is ordained by God' spawned in its wake. And, don't forget, I do believe in 'God'--as 'the integrity-binder'....an abstract object that pleads the call to 'individual virtue'....to match its 'individual rights'....

Quote DRC:

At some point in conscience, identifying with "the least of these" is more than what we can calculate as personal interest.

I remember years ago on a different forum discussing the issue of abortion with a Catholic high school philosophy teacher from Canada. That person claimed that 'I' had 'no concerns for the least of us' as 'the fetus'. However, I countered that with the point that if we are to elevate the status of 'the fetus', we just made another person 'the least'--the 'pregnant woman'.....and, without a guide to virtue, no good answer can come of 'claiming our actions for the least'.....and, in that regard, what happened to 'loving your neighbor as yourself'--and what happened to 'all (wo)men created equal'....

Later....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Ideas fly in the air, though always according to laws; ideas live and spread according to laws that are too difficult for us to grasp. (XXIV, 51.)Diary of a Writer for 1876, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s.

--------------------------*--------------------------

The cause of the ‘underground’ is the destruction of faith in general laws. "There is nothing sacred."

“Notes from the Underground,” Fyodor Dostoevsky.

from, Dostoevsky and the Dynamics of Religious Experience, by Malcolm V. Jones

I looked at Dostoevsky's "Notes from the Underground" because Thom Hartmann recommended it in one of his programs. The "Underground" is the bad ocean of Metaphysical Nihilism which in our era is represented by Neoliberalism, and its epistemological enforcer Scientism to form an ideology of economic positivism that dominates every aspect of public and private Life. This is truly a parable of experience lost and, for us today, is the logical conclusion of Nihilistic Rational Totalitarianism. Someday we can incorporate this theme in our discussion.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Here all this time I thought that was the theme!

Talk about talking past each other.... :)

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Especially when it comes to human considerations and human interactions, I don't think that you can ever factor out the subjective--even if positioned to claim yourself as 'an expert' in doing so. In fact, I don't think that you should factor out the subjective since it is that maneuver that best coalesces the thought and the feeling--the fact with the virtue. Those that do 'objectify humanity' are the very ones that tend to remove virtue from the subject since I see any real virtue being one held by the one who considers it. And, when it comes to any act against another, that's a treacherous course, indeed....not that there aren't any possible ways to 'verify truth'--but, for such a verification to really hold all merit, it will have to be 'seen'--intact and complete--by the very ones who possess it in that very act (if it's 'political', that claim should always be 'open and up front'). If that cannot be done in every situation, that I propose that the second best prospect is to place it into an 'abstract object that binds integrity' (which, like Lincoln's description of Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, is a form of 'abstract truth') as a 'belief that we will all have option to'.....

To finish my discussion with the Catholic high philosophy teacher from Canada on the issue of abortion in my case cited above, I asked him that when it comes to Jesus' directive to 'love your neighbor as yourself', who did the Catholic high school philosophy teacher see as being more his neighbor--the fetus, or the pregnant woman? While I see no complete guide to this 'virtuous cause' so far in myself or this world, the best approximation that I can come up with is in imagining if there is any possible circumstance that I could find myself in where I would do the same as the person I am judging. If there is, then, by such a prospect, 'I' have no right to remove that option from that person on any 'authoritative ground'--unless I plan on taking over for that person's role in such an act (and that is NOT what our 'authority' does in 'sanctioning the life of the fetus regardless of the will of the mother').

Jesus did say 'Judge not lest thee yourself be judged'--but, Jesus also said, 'Stop judging by mere appearances and make the right judgment' (John 7:24)--I think that you can correlate the two. 'The right judgment' actually does 'judge yourself'.....that is the problem lI have with any expert's claim on anything related to humanity without directly including themselves....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Antifascist:

The "Underground" is the bad ocean of Metaphysical Nihilism which in our era is represented by Neoliberalism, and its epistemological enforcer Scientism to form an ideology of economic positivism that dominates every aspect of public and private Life. This is truly a parable of experience lost and, for us today, is the logical conclusion of Nihilistic Rational Totalitarianism.

I love that phrase: Nihilistic Rational Totalitarianism. As well as "bad ocean of Metaphysical Nihilism." However there may be another language approach using different words that will also, I feel, exemplify this problem. That's also a theme on this thread, synergizing different outlooks to find a similar message.

I've been re-reading Jacques Ellul's The Technological Society, along with all the other fascinating reading that keeps popping up, and I think it offers an accessible, coherent description of the problem creating this rational nihilism as well as the underlying features that go into a concept referred to as "totalitarianism." Except this version is like that inverted version that Sheldon Wolin speaks of in Democracy, Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism. Suddenly, for me, anyway, the whole vision of professional management that emerged as a technique in the late 19th Century merges as explanation for the underlying logic of a Technological Society.

On the cover of my edition it says:

A penetrating analysis of our technological civilization and the effect of an increasingly standardized culture on the future of man.

Now the key concept there that one finds involved as a theme throughout the analysis is "increasingly standardized culture." I suggest that theme may very well offer an explanation to the conundrum of the individual subjective perspective versus the implacable system that has come up, and which I think both Kerry and DRC are addressing from different perspectives.

Once upon a time we had a multitude of locally created human cultures, and these cultures were an ongoing interactive process by engaged members. The process itself did not produce a standard by which these people judged themselves. The "judging," when it came about, was the result of analysis. The very concept of culture with identifiable, rational features, came from outsiders. Some were historians, and others were in the guise of scientists, like anthropologists, who embarked upon a project of rational, scientific "study."

Stepping back and seeing that is like doing a paradigm shift from being embedded in the society to seeing what that society does to embed us, or as might be termed "acculturate" those of us so-called "members" within it. Not surprisingly, given Ellul's analysis, that becomes the theme of a follow up book: Sociological Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Minds.

In order to recognize the patterns of logic one takes for granted while thinking and acting within a cultural framework, it is necessary to find a way to step outside it. That of course does not ensure objectivity, because our human interface with our environment is ultimately subjective, internalized, and interpreted, but it does offer an opportunity to let go of treasured beliefs, and in the letting go lies the opportunity to see in new ways.

That project of studying "foreign cultures" can also be seen as a result of the standardization that goes with an increasingly Technologizing of civilization, once one has read Ellul's clear analysis of this civilization. He describes this kind of activity as "technique." If I may be so bold as to attempt to summarize, Ellul's "technique" can be characterizes as a process with an inherent logic that can be repeated as "technique," by those within a culture who understand how to use that logic to achieve a purpose. And an important part of the logic of technique is that it not be contaminated by human subjectivity, or it will cease its primary function of being efficient. For instance, a corporate manager is ideally a professional who does a specific job, a job with a "job description." Ideally, whether managing others work or performing a task, the performance itself can be objectively described and observed according to principles, which Ellul identifies as ultimately meeting the system's ontological standards for efficiency.

Interestingly, and this may seem counter intuitive at first, propaganda, and marketing thus becomes as much of a technique as developing an industrial process for assembling machines. Any rejection of a technique in such a highly technologized society involves the invention and application of a new technique. And that technique must supersede individuality to ensure its efficiency in keeping the entire technological system functioning. Thus it is difficult to remove oneself as an individual from technique and it's domination in all ways of thinking and acting in society. Now, I think that's a complicated way of saying that our society, which purports to value individuality, in the end as a system, denies our individuality. And while we want to be individuals, and we want to value each other in sharing ways as members of a community, all the while there's this other ontological feature taking place that doesn't care one bit about any of those things.

So there is a certain conundrum involved in the act of trying to be objective while doing an analysis of one's own culture. Thus we are left with a set of very complicated mental gymnastics in our efforts to see and understand ourselves here on this thread. And I'm going to appeal to some of Ellul's words in an attempt to find a life ring to pull us out of this ocean of Metaphysical Nihilism.

From The Technological Society, page 110

Quote Jacques Ellul:

However, it is not my intention to show that technique will end in disaster. On the contrary, technique has only one principle: efficient ordering. Everything, for technique, is centered on the concept of order. This explains the development of moral and political doctrines at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Everything which represented an ordering principle was taken in deadly earnest. At the same time the means destined to elaborate this order were exploited as never before. Order and peace were required for the development of the individual techniques (after society had reached the necessary stage of disintegration). Peace is indespensable to the triumph of industrialization. It will be hastily concluded from this that industrialization cannot act otherwise than to promote peace. But as always, logical deductions falsify reality. J.U. Nef has shown admirably that industrialization cannot act otherwise than to promote wars. This is no accident, but rather an organic relation. It holds not only because of the direct influence of industrialization on the means of destruction but also because of its influence on the means of existence. Technical progress favors war, according to Nef, because (a) the new weapons have rendered more difficult the distinction between offense and defense; and 9b) they have enormously reduced the pain and anguish implied in the act of killing.

So while we attempt to justify our subjectivity in our cultural discourse with each other, this system we have created, and participate in, grinds on completely oblivious to our individuality, our humane interactions, and our deeply evolved human needs in that regard. But we are equally oblivious to it. Thus there is no possibility of it addressing our individuality or our communitarian social needs, both expressed by DRC and Kerry, nor we addressing it with them. Nor can we in turn have a dialog with that force -- that "Technological Society" that Ellul reveals. It has come to exist as a separate logical process from our own organic needs, by the very nature of it's combined logical ontology, which we implicitly create and reiffy daily through our internalization of its principles and through acting out its principles. Separating ourselves from ourselves, both internally as subjective individuals and between each other as subjective and caring individuals, we become parts in the machine.

Is that our reality?

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Somebody help me if you can. There was a caller from Houston last Tues or Wed, not sure of day, toward the end of program and she spoke of the collective amnesia of those around her.

She said she once had a job that paid 2000 a month - today that same job is paying 1600 And she said she rented a townhouse for 700 a month that was now renting for 3000 a month – as of several years ago.

I missed the beginning of this call – What time frame was she speaking of? The 70’s, the 80’s? (I’m guessing mid-eighties) And what was her job? Can somebody please fill me in on these details. Thanks.

(She’s very right about that general amnesia, BTW)

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Ed in Iowa
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May. 6, 2010 8:53 am

Ren wrote in post 489...

Now, I think that's a complicated way of saying that our society, which purports to value individuality, in the end as a system, denies our individuality.

Yes, that's what it boils down to-the negated individual. The same can be said about Spirituality. Protestant and Catholic gets transcoded into bombed and bomber.

Well, Ren, are you going to leave us any uncovered ground? Now Kerry, DRC, and I have to scramble over the philosophical scraps like starving hogs. Thank you for the clearest rendition of Ellul's thesis in, The Technological Society, I ever read. I tried (post 17) to complete it three different times, but failed to finish because it's so dense and intimidatingly long, 436 pages. The Rise And Fall of the Third Reich, by William Shirer (1143 pages) was much easier in comparison.

Oh, Ed in Iowa!

Welcome! I get the recorded Podcast and have access to all past programs without commercials and discovered I miss some things listening live. The call was on Tuesday, January, 11, 2011 (1/3 into hour 3) from Peggy in Avinger, Texas. She was a single mother in Houston, Texas working as an assistant for an architectural company. She made $2000 per month and paid $700 rent for a 2000 square foot Townhouse during 1970 to 1982 which she discovered the same Townhouse in 2003 renting for $3000 per month and her old job pays today $1,600 per month. Food is next.

++++++++++++++++++++

Time to do the "Thank you" thing again.

Om Namo Bhagavate

Thank you Herr Müller for showing how to become a Spiritual Being.

Spirituality leads from the Lifeless Ocean of Nihilism.

By doing small acts of kindness, Higher Powers rush in causing a chain reaction we do not understand.

Therefore, I invoke and surrender to the Divine.

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Antifascist
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Thank you for the response and the information, Antifascist.

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Ed in Iowa
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May. 6, 2010 8:53 am

polycarp wrote:

kerry posted:

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter (the kingdom)."

poly replies:

Buddhism 101. "Be" without the labels to things attached by the mind through perception. Read the quote with that context in mind..

----------------------------------

Yes, into the ontological ('nature of being') perspective, what I see as the metaphysic component of my concept of 'the individual' both includes--and supersedes--and particular 'element of demarcation' on its own. While 'I' certainly cannot claim that is 'all there is to the Divine' (without, myself, confining such a 'Divine' to my definition), 'I' think that I can at least claim for myself that that is where 'I' think 'the Divine' points--where 'the ALL' is covered by 'the ONE'. And, again, from a political perspective, I think that the 'thinking individual' is a 'fact' more conducive to displaying and containing 'the truth--or "reality"--of humanity' than any blind compliance with 'the collective'....

And, I read history's--especially American history's--cause as reflecting that consideration....

ren's 'technique confining human considerations and actions' is one where I think such actions of 'the collective' have, indeed, shortchanged the 'will of the thinking indivdiual'.....without that 'one', 'the all' can be a very oppressive and desparate entity......and, as far as 'i' can see it, any admonition against 'the individual's selfishness' can be covered by the point of 'all men created equal'--when Jesus stated that Leviticus directive in more 'universal terms' to 'love your neighbor as yourself', I think he was summarizing that prospect into its 'equal respect' perspectives--something that 'a collective' as a 'collective' doesn't have to do--and, to be sure, Jesus DIDN'T say 'love your neighbor as a Christian' or 'love your neighbor as any member of any group', Jesus said 'yourself'....pointing, I think, the way to 'receive the Divine in the One'....

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Kerry
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Here some more from June Singer's book, A Gnostic Book of Hours--Keys to Inner Wisdom, in that section concerning statements from the Gospel of Thomas:

FINDING THE KINGDOM WITHIN

"Let him who seeks go on seeking until he finds. When he finds he will become troubled. When he becomes troubled, he will be astonished and he will reign over all."--The Gospel of Thomas (2), NHL, p. 126

"If those who lead you say to you: 'See the Kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' the the fish will precede you. Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you. When you come to know yourselves, you will become known and you will realize that is it you who are the sons of the living Father. But, if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty."--The Gospel of Thomas (3), NHL, p. 126

An insight that arises from the inner recesses of the heart often strikes us with sudden awareness. It troubles us to recognize that is was always there before us but that because of our ignorance or blindness we did not see it. Self-discovery invariably involves inner turmoil. How difficult it is to look into the darkness and listen in silence! It is far easier to seek out those who have ready answers for us and who say, "It is in the sky," or "It is in the sea."

The world abounds with people who are ready to advise us and who eagerly tell us what they think we need to hear. Their attitude of sureness and their willingness to give pat answers come from their being conversant mainly with the material world where answers are possible if one is given either the requisite facts or a ready-made belief system. They look to objective data, to rational solutions, to anything outside of themselves for proofs, since they see themselves as separate individuals who are detached from the objects of their search. They do not recognize that much of what troubles individuals has little to do with objective reality but more to do with the mystery of their own experience that is embedded in every thought and every act, making them something more, or something less, than they seem to be to the casual observer.

The "living Jesus" who speaks his wisdom is not the one who died on the cross but the one who descended to this plane from the level of reality that we call the invisible world and whose essence returned to the invisible world when he departed from his earthly form. His words reveal to us that the Kingdom of Eternity is within us, as it is within him, and it is within all human beings. As seekers, we may be astonished when we find that the Kingdom to which we aspire is so close at hand! In the intimacy of our quiet meditation, we come to know our own darkness, and when we have penetrated it, we may find there the hidden fragment of the boundless Light that is the treasure of the Kingdom within.

To know ourselves is to acquire consciousness of both the limited and the unlimited aspects of our beings. This wisdom of the heart is not available to those who have not personally engaged themselves in the search for the Kingdom. Such people dwell in spiritual poverty, and they themselves are that poverty.

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Judging Despotism: Respect, Power, Economic Distribution, Democracy, Information.
An Epi Classroom Film
Produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica Films Inc.
In collaboration with Harold. D. Lasswell, Ph.D.
Yale University
MCMXLV (1945)

Pay particular attention at 6:53 minutes.

They're running scared...I can't locate silver shot at a sane price--even jeweler's sliver shot--and I cleared out Paul Revere’s top shelf to his delight of all Indian Buffalo and Liberty silver round coins. Holding silver prices down by manipulation is just going to make silver go higher--fast! JPMorgan and their friends in the White House have an infinite supply of zeros to print, but it's their credibility that is running out . This crisis will first manifest itself concretely as rationing, or limit, to the amount of cash that can be withdrawn per day from an ATM.

Respect...credit to Max Keiser for videos.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I really enjoyed that old scratchy vision from the past in that video, Anti. I continue to be amazed that there have always seemed to be these people standing aside from society, aware, telling us what is going. Meanwhile everything continues on as a deep fabric of illusion covers the minds of the nation, and people in general seem completely oblivious to these obvious, fundamental features taking place in their daily lives, especially those features called to attention based on those "respect and power" scales that make up the theme of that video.

I'm still working on your last PIP post, Anti. Though I think it may have in some peripheral way influenced my last post.

I think there's another layer we have to go through to get at the truth that drives these respect and power features. Over and over in The Technological Society Ellul points to the fundamental features of this implacable force, technology, and how it destroys humane cultures around the world as a kind of disease. In identifying that disease he also identifies how it has destroyed the humanity of those involved. As I read it, all sorts of visions of corroborating evidence come to mind, from the words left by leaders of Native American groups wiped out by the dreaded and dead-in-the-eyes "White Man" to the dramatic account of the loss of a culture's spirit from Richard Sorenson's essay, Preconquest Consciousness, in my post 472 above.

I'm re-reading Jacques Ellul's two main books I'd once read, cover to cover, after more than thirty five years. And I'm realizing as I read what a deep impact his structural analysis of so-called modern societies driven by these fundamental features of technology he identifies, and all the "techniques" involved, made on me then. It was part of a whole range of waking information I found at the time, and I was obviously ready for it. I was, I see, reading it at a critical time in my life where my mind had opened to the Orwellian features that were suddenly at play all around me in the world that I'd grown up in.

The shock of a suddenly altered reality does not come to bear on most of us until we run dead into a wall of some kind at high speed. We may not even know we were traveling at high speed when it happens. Weird thing is, that when you wake up after the crash, memory of everything has been altered, not by its selective disappearance, but by the altered form it takes, which is kind of for me like looking at bodies with Xray. You see the bones. You see those once taken for granted notions created by ideas about democracy, personal freedom, the American the Exceptional ideas, altered by your own state of consciousness. And this happens without using drugs. Somehow the mind drugs itself in the crash, I suppose.

Reading The Technological Society is like that for me. Ellul is revealing the bones of modern society.

The very idea of "rating a community on a scale" takes on a different tone. Just like the notion of measuring IQ once took on a different tone when I asked, why does it matter? Why do we even bother to seek to measure each other in these ways. But apart from that, the questions raised by The Respect and Power Scales are in themselves interesting. What they reveal, I think, is our desperate human efforts in trying to salvage our humanity in some logical, rational way, though we are well aware we have already committed to our own demise, because we are not about to give up the basic logical source of our inhumanity.

I think we are using the term "corporatism" in an attempt to put some kind of human face on this force. And after all, the corporation is the institutional result of the scientific management in the rise of the machine age and our subsumation into it. Our entire educational system has been subsumed by its needs, and we compare our ability to create technically proficient products from that system to the technically proficient products of other machine age societies. During Ellul's time it was the Soviet Union. Today (and Ellul predicted this, though he was off by about forty years) it's China. Just for one contemporary example, read this article by a very confused Nicholas Kristoff in yesterday's New York Times: China's Winning Schools? He wants to decry the deterioration of our educational system, yet at the same time he notices there is something amiss.

Quote Nicholas Kristoff:

But this is the paradox: Chinese themselves are far less impressed by their school system. Almost every time I try to interview a Chinese about the system here, I hear grousing rather than praise. Many Chinese complain scathingly that their system kills independent thought and creativity, and they envy the American system for nurturing self-reliance — and for trying to make learning exciting and not just a chore.

Yes, the paradox, how do we make the U.S. the top technological nation on the planet, through training our citizens to become good, obedient employees in these mechanistically ordered, logical institutions, and avoid killing independence of thought and creativity?

I thought it was pretty obvious when I was in the military. GET OUT!

But no, we can't do that, there must be a way to have it both ways. And so here we are, systematically destroying the life giving potential of the planet itself with a technological system we are slavishly dependent upon.

In a chilling 21st Century version of Ellul's work, Hedges writes about the demise of literacy and art in his two recent books: Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle, and Death of the Liberal Class. Both make even more sense when seen through Ellul's Xray eyes in his The Technological Society, followed by Sociological Propaganda: The Formation of Men's Attitudes.

Quote Jacques Ellul:

Concerning art, Giedion goes on to say: "What happened to art in this period gives us the most intimate vision possible of the penetration in depth of the human being by mechanization. Barr's revealing selections in his Cubism and Abstract Art show us how the artst, who reacts like a seismograph, expresses the influence of full mechanization... Mechanization has penetrated into the subconscious of the artist. Chirico expresses it in a remarkable way in the mixture he makes of man and machine... The anxiety, the solitude of man forms a melancholy architecture of the preceding epoch and its mechanical dolls, painted in the smallest details with a tragic expression."

In The Empire of Illusion, especially, Hedges presents a late 20th and early 21st Century montage, a flow of images reflecting the loss of our humanity in art forms that provide spectacle over humane substance.

.ren's picture
.ren
Joined:
Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Let me give Kerry a few more approaches to the Original Sin and Collective v Individual points.

First the Collective. If we call it a Mutuality Society instead of a mass groupthink unit, does that give you a better scope on the issue of the individual in community? The idea of a mutuality is that our identity can be interdependent, but we never lose our core identity and perspective; we just put it into relationship with a consciousness of mutuality instead of being an argumentative individual. In terms of game theory, we really only win when the society wins; and this just makes the gameboard clearer than when we identify as ontological individuals who may be nice to others but whose essence and interests are defined by the boundaries of skin.

Second, on Original Sin. It really is not about "guilt" if the basic idea is that we need one another and are bound together by compassion and the willingness to accept each other's humanity than to be in a competition to be more perfect than we can really be. The most important take away for this theologian is the argument against "self salvation" and the liberation of "good works" from the salvation achievement game. It becomes "natural" to love and forgive and contrary to be locked into ego instead of compassion. It is about how we see the world, ourselves and others; and I think the perspective that liberates grace and love and gets us out of the works righteousness game is profoundly important.

When you do it our "free will" way, for all the virtue of its rejection of dogma with which I agree and which is not part of Original Sin or the pre-Arminian Calvinism, what you have is an intellectual decision and the moral endeavor to live up to the pledges to follow Jesus. The Gospel of Thomas does not reject the Spirit as it takes a more radical view that the consolidation of power and authority into the early Church and what follows. The fact that Augustine was part of the institutional church does not make his theology on this point about conforming to any "authority" other than the Holy Spirit.

The point that matters to our discussion is that Arminian "free will" religion takes over in the first half of the 19th Century in America, and few theologians or preachers noticed the shift because they were riding the wave of Liberal reform. Our "conservatives" only wanted more control over free will decisions by invoking what they thought were settled moral and theological precepts. If they rejected "scientism," they adopted the rationalist method for their own studies of the Bible and their theological heritage. They became logical positivists in biblical interpretation, but the logic was within the "biblical text" and its familiar theology, not an examination of its own authority or realism.

I think this free will emphasis on personal decision and endeavor has a lot to do with negative attitudes about the less successful from those who have gotten rich. The idea of a culture of poverty preventing people from succeeding, as a way of washing their hands of any responsibility for sharing or caring, comes easily when one is engaged in "works righteousness" theologically. Compassion becomes charity when it can be afforded, not a basic moral response to the needs of our fellow family members, much less what we would think of doing for fellow citizens.

Conscience becomes more than "enlightened personal interest" when our sense of the personal transcends ontological individualism. Mutuality is not just a calculation of coincidence of interest, it is a bond which recognizes the essential nature of that interest in what we share together and in each other. And no, I do not get swallowed up or reduced in my individuality in these relationships. I get empowered.

And here we get to why power is not just about me, my strengths, my smarts, my talents, etc. It is about being joined with others in essential bonds of community and caring so that we become power constituencies. The power of community v. the power of the predators is what we are dealing with, and in both cases power in any political sense is more about constituencies than it is about private conscience and personal decision.

If I fail to join with others, I have a lot less power to be part of. How I join with others really matters. If we just show up when we think it matters, we don 't have a movement. We have to have loyalties to others to work for common causes, and all I have been pushing is the idea that a big part of our Liberal lack of potency has to do with a lack of social realism in our own thinking and spirituality. It boils down to We instead of Me, but I want you to be sure that in the careful reduction of the liquids to a sauce, I am not boiling out the individual and leaving only a collective goo.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote DRC:

If we call it a Mutuality Society instead of a mass groupthink unit, does that give you a better scope on the issue of the individual in community?

I think the better term is 'collective'--not 'community'. You are claiming that you are basing your position on a 'natural inclination of humans to form communities'. That's all well and good--but two points before we progress here. As I said before, if it is so 'natural'--then it will exist without 'us' defining it. And, in most cases where it 'naturally exists', our definitions will always fall short of the complete reality of it. In fact, as some here like to use the 'scientific method', using that definition to 'explain it' more restricts its 'reality' to it than exposing it. That's why I remarked to jeffbiss in our discussion that most scientists--even if they believe their theory to be true--don't talk in terms of 'the truth' with them--they know that any 'falsifying result' to such theory can adjust it--or even remove it as 'the theory' explaining it. Furthermore, people that use just 'authority's defining it' as representing its 'valid theoretical basis' don't really understand the basis of the 'scientific method'--scientific rationale--like its objective data--is to be able to be 'seen' no matter who the person is. And, if its a theory that counters all other know facts and data about any issue, then, it better have 'extraordinary evidence' backing its claim....at any rate, 'reality' and 'definition of reality' when it comes to elements that 'exist naturally', otherwise, don't oftentimes match and, furthermore, such a 'reality' doesn't actually need a 'complete definition' to exist if it exists 'naturallly'....

Second point, I am talking about 'collectives'--not 'communities'. Perhaps you and I may agree that ' communities based on mutual respect' have elements in it that verify 'individuality'--but 'collectives', oftentimes, do not. And, most hierarchial-based 'collectives' (such as the military and corporations) are set to remove 'individuality'--not endorse it. And, in those circumstances, if there is any 'mutual respect' for the those in the 'collectives', as I've been trying to say all along, it comes from the 'individuals so predisposed'--NOT the members acting in such a 'collective order'....in fact, as the military and corporations, the expected condition is to remove 'individuality'--and, in its place, have members 'to follow policy' for the expediency of the 'collective' with respect to whatever its assigned goal is...

Quote DRC:

In terms of game theory, we really only win when the society wins; and this just makes the gameboard clearer than when we identify as ontological individuals who may be nice to others but whose essence and interests are defined by the boundaries of skin.

Games have rules--and rules, in general, disregard any impetus to 'mutually respect each other as individuals' (unless, of course, that's the rule--which is one of my points behind our American historical precedence to 'secure and guarantee individual rights as the main impetus behind good government'--whether that function of 'liberalism'--as 'primacy of the individual'--has a 'mininal state' or an 'active state' basis to it...).

Quote DRC:

Second, on Original Sin. It really is not about "guilt" if the basic idea is that we need one another and are bound together by compassion and the willingness to accept each other's humanity than to be in a competition to be more perfect than we can really be.

Well, DRC, if it's all about 'needing one another and being bound together by compassion and willingness to accept each other's humanity than to be in competition', then, why call it 'sin'--especially some form of 'preemptive sin' that no one actually has a 'choice' over (as 'Original Sin' does)? Nope. While you may claim some theological basis for your belief, I see no rational basis for its understanding--in fact, what I see it rationally doing is what I've stated all along--'Original Sin' is there more to subdue 'the individual' to the impetus of 'the collective' than it is to endorse 'mutual respect'....and, do so in many ways in 'God's name'....as Paul's 'all authority is ordained by God' says to me in his epistle to the Romans (which, at the time, were pagan 'authorities'...).

Quote DRC:

The most important take away for this theologian is the argument against "self salvation" and the liberation of "good works" from the salvation achievement game.

I'm not trying to make 'society' righteous, DRC--I think it works better if rational.....the impetus to 'put righteousness as a primary cause to social impositions', as I've said (and probably most because of its 'collective disregard of mutual respect to all individuals' for its 'righteous cause'), it is more likely in the 'power game of hierarchy' ('metaphysics of power') to oppressively impose than exemplarily expose any 'righteous cause' done in its stead--and I think I have history on my side to show that....if there is any 'argument for self-salvation' to be done here, then, I would suggest that, in a rational social context, that be limited to 'being responsible for one's acts'--something that 'Original Sin' doesn't appear to address (in fact, while you see some theological reason for Augustine's endorsement of 'Original Sin', I see a more mundane and typically human reason, Augustine was a philanderer before his 'conversion'--something it appears that his mother apparently detested vehemently--I could see Augustine having a problem with 'accepting personal responsibility' for that--especially to his mother...but, is that very human psychological condition to translate into 'condemning all individual behavior' without any personal consideration as to what I would see representing 'mutual individual respect'? Why is the rest of humanity having to suffer for Augustine's turmoils just because his proposal of 'Original Sin' is appealing to collective power?).

Quote DRC:

It becomes "natural" to love and forgive and contrary to be locked into ego instead of compassion.

Again, if it is so 'natural', I should eventually be able to 'see it for myself' without you having to define it for me--or, if you want to help out in this case, explain what data you are using to reach your conclusion in this 'theory'....especially with respect to 'mutual respect of individuals'--much less, 'love'...how does the 'collective impetus' love, DRC?

Quote DRC:

When you do it our "free will" way, for all the virtue of its rejection of dogma with which I agree and which is not part of Original Sin or the pre-Arminian Calvinism, what you have is an intellectual decision and the moral endeavor to live up to the pledges to follow Jesus.

It was that very premise of making 'Jesus' into 'the perfect person' that is the basis of 'Original Sin' as I read Augustine, DRC. In fact, as I remember, Augustine's reason why Jesus was 'perfect' because, since the fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden (and their 'disregard for God's order to not partake of the tree of knowledge of good and evil that set up 'Original Sin' for the rest of mankind), 'Jesus' was 'perfect' because Jesus was the only person that was NOT the product of the sexual act since then (oh, there's 'Augustine's problem', again...)--thus, the requirement to 'understand Jesus' in terms of the 'virginal birth'....

And, as Augustine promotes in CONFESSIONS, since no 'one' of us can live up to such 'perfection', salvation, then, only comes if 'we' collectivize it into some 'institutional order'--in Augustine's case, the Church. But, if 'we' are to disrespect any one 'individual' due to such 'cause', I believe that any 'order'--'collective' order'--will do. Better than 'relying on the individual' (and still calling that 'respect'), it appears....

Besides all of Jesus' admonitions to 'judge for yourself' and NOT by 'appearances' (as well as his constant attack on hypocrisy and hypocrites) in many of the Gospel's verses, Jesus also said this about himself in places like Luke 18:19 (NIV version): "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good--except God alone...." 'The Church' (and 'Original Sin') turned that into 'perfection'....

Quote DRC:

The fact that Augustine was part of the institutional church does not make his theology on this point about conforming to any "authority" other than the Holy Spirit.

I don't know, DRC--history seems to indicate otherwise when 'the Church' was associated with 'the power of Rome'.....

Quote DRC:

I think this free will emphasis on personal decision and endeavor has a lot to do with negative attitudes about the less successful from those who have gotten rich.

I think you're making excuses for the rich.....besides that, what happened to 'it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than it is for the rich to reach the Kingdom'? To be sure, Jesus didn't say it was 'impossible', did he? Where's 'the Kingdom'?

Quote DRC:

Conscience becomes more than "enlightened personal interest" when our sense of the personal transcends ontological individualism.

I think I covered that with my concepts of 'the One' and 'the All'--but, I purposefully left out any reference to 'the impetus to institutionalize' and 'the impetus towards the collective'--and I think I have good reason to do so as I believe history has shown....neither has anything to do with 'communities based on mutual individual respect'.....

Quote DRC:

Mutuality is not just a calculation of coincidence of interest, it is a bond which recognizes the essential nature of that interest in what we share together and in each other. And no, I do not get swallowed up or reduced in my individuality in these relationships. I get empowered.

I do, too--as long as you don't give any 'collective' or 'institution' the credit....

Quote DRC:

It is about being joined with others in essential bonds of community and caring so that we become power constituencies.

'Power constituencies'? Is that what you call 'institutions'--or 'collectives'--nowadays? How does that promote 'mutual respect for individuals'--especially, by the way, to whoever you are asserting such 'power' against?

Quote DRC:

The power of community v. the power of the predators is what we are dealing with, and in both cases power in any political sense is more about constituencies than it is about private conscience and personal decision.

Well, I think one of my points has been that for a 'predator' to have 'real power', that's going to have to work through 'the collective'. A predator on his own is just a nut case that everyone can 'see' is a problem. What has that got to do with 'individual conscience' and 'personal decisions'? In fact, in countering 'the predator in the collective', what are you going to definitively use against that impetus if it is NOT something like 'assuring individual rights to all individuals'? Any other 'call to the collective' can be just any manner of actions that predators can 'capitalize' on (pun intended)...

Quote DRC:

We have to have loyalties to others to work for common causes, and all I have been pushing is the idea that a big part of our Liberal lack of potency has to do with a lack of social realism in our own thinking and spirituality.

Up against the conservative's use of 'the individual'--who do you think is 'winning that cause', DRC? And, you position of basically describing 'the individual as NOT being the preeminent cause to power implement' because of 'the individual being the selfish one, the bad one, the non-ordained one' is, as I see it, inadvertently just adding fuel to their fire. Confront the 'individual cause' without sanctimoniously referring to 'the group' and I really believe you can face this head on. For instance, as no one here has even commented on, I have pointed out recurrently that American medicine right now uses government to treat some as if they have the right to that care and others requiring the same service as if they could go bankrupt with it--and in a country that is supposed to be based on 'equal rights to all' (if government is going to 'apply such rights'--being to 'all individuals'), then why is American medicine the exception? This has some very practical considerations to it--it appeals to the point that 'equal application of the law' does mean 'equal rights to all'--but, in this case, 'we' are to ignore that impetus. Why? Make them answer it. And, it still is based on the 'primacy of the individual' as 'all individuals'.....but, no, liberals like to agree with the conservatives that 'individuals are selfish and self-centered'--which does NOT counter the conservatives point that 'we' are a government based on 'individual rights'--let's make them endorse those words one way or the other (and, then, you may see 'who's selfish' or not)--get rid of medicine's application of implementing it as a right to some and making it a bankrupting responsibility to others--how is that fair in a country based on 'equal application of the law (and rights)'?

Quote DRC:

It boils down to We instead of Me....

Well, if the 'we' isn't including all the 'me's' in any application of 'power', it hasn't 'boiled down enough' when it comes to what I see as the primary reason for government--to guarantee and secure individual rights to all those 'created equal'....or, are you proposing to just ditch all such 'historical nonsense' and start with some 'new collective impetus'? Again, I fear it really won't be that 'new'--and will more resort to 'dogmatic rule' than 'enlightened coexistance'....

Kerry's picture
Kerry
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Conversations with Great Minds with Neil Howe, The Fourth Turning, Pt 1 and 2.

What at a wonderful in depth program and an insightful theory of History! Someone wrote, “Things are to nature, what man is to history.” So energizing!

Continuation of Analysis of Picture/Imagination/Pattern (PIP) and a Theory of Language.

2.12 A picture is a model of reality.

(∀x)(Px-> Mx)

(∀x)= Universal Quantifier, for all x

--> = Logical operator for implication: If, then.

P = Picture

M = Model of Reality

x = any item

An explanatory paradigm, or theory for investigating the formulation of language must meet at least this seemingly impossible criteria:

-It must be able to explain simply the infinite variety found in language use.

-A Language theory must be able to explain simply how complex encoded grammatical information in sentence structures is conveyed to another person with a minimum of constructive elements.

-It must explain error completion. Take for example a person who is not a native speaker of English, or a person with a stroke speaks erroneously giving only a subject and verb of a sentence and the listener has to supply the object and yet the listener understands the speaker by supplying missing parts of speech. This third criteria is the easiest to meet and even surpass. Language is derived from mental pictures because a picture is a model of reality. From these mental picture, objects are mirrored. These “elements” of the picture formulate language is some unknown way which also mirrors the picture objects and elements. Language can in a reverse direction construct mental pictures from imagination or perception. There is a transference of structure from the picture to language and conversion again from language to picture for someone else’s understanding. If both the speaker and listener shared the same mental picture, each could help the other to supply any missing part of speech in a sentence to describe a mental.

We can take “gesturing” for example. The logical notation of propositions found in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus is meant in this discussion to clarify meaning, and is not a “proof” in itself, but these sentence forms can be used as premises for later proofs. The most difficult part of doing a logical proof is not merely applying the rules of inference, but simply getting the ordinary language propositions into a logical symbolic form—this translation forces one to understand the meaning, and syntax of a proposition in order to get it into a sentence form. Many times this translation process reveals internal incoherence. This is in fact Wittgenstein’s method, to present a proposition which when analyzed reveals ambiguity and surprise of its inherent logical implications. For example:

2.141 A picture is a fact.

(∃x) (Px * Fx)

(∃x) = Existential Quantifier, “There is at least one x”

* = Logical connector, and

P = Picture

F = Fact

We know the ontological status of a mental images—subjective, but what is the ontological status of the “fact” of a mental picture. How could I verify objectively to another person the “fact” of my “mental pictures?”

2.13 In a picture objects have the elements of the picture corresponding to them.

(∃x) {[Px * (Ox->Ex)]->Cx}

(∃x) = Existential Quantifier, “There is at least one x”

* = logical connector, and

P = Picture

O = objects

E = elements (I think Wittgenstein means Ernst Mach’s ‘elements)

C = Corresponding to elements

x = any item

2.19 Logical pictures can depict the world.

(∃x) (Lx->Dx)

--> = Logical operator for implication: If, then.

L = Logical picture

D = Depict the world

x = any item

2.131 In a picture the elements of the picture are the representatives of objects.

(∃x) [Px->(Ex *Jx)]

P = Picture

E = elements

J = representatives of objects

Previously, gesturing in language analysis has received little attention, even for Chomsky.

"Gesture was peripheral and uninteresting." The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, Christine Kenneally. I suspect that this is because of the search for language rules. The purpose of gesturing is to complete a picture in the mind of the recipient so one can derive meaningful propositions that mirror the logical picture elements in the mind of the gesturer. We are not interested the biophysics of a person flapping his arms, but rather the “how” of gesturing and communication.

Mimicking is the most primitive form of language. Sign language used by those born deaf exemplifies how mimicking words and ideas can build a mental picture.

Antifascist's picture
Antifascist
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm
Quote Antifascist:

"Gesture was peripheral and uninteresting." The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, Christine Kenneally. I suspect that this is because of the search for language rules. The purpose of gesturing is to complete a picture in the mind of the recipient so one can derive meaningful propositions that mirror the logical picture elements in the mind of the gesturer. We are not interested the biophysics of a person flapping his arms, but rather the “how” of gesturing and communication.

Did you get a copy of that book, Anti? It's a very readable update on the state of the "Chomsky Revolution" to date.

I split off a bit from Chomsky's theory as a result of this issue. And finally in about 2002, Chomsky has come around to the possibility that his search for a unique language "organ" in the mind might be ill conceived. That does not solve the problem he introduced, the problem you set out as a must:

Quote Antifascist:

An explanatory paradigm, or theory for investigating the formulation of language must meet at least this seemingly impossible criteria:

-It must be able to explain simply the infinite variety found in language use.

-A Language theory must be able to explain simply how complex encoded grammatical information in sentence structures is conveyed to another person with a minimum of constructive elements.

And I think,with your PIP, you are doing a very passable bit of theorizing about what language does. What remains a mystery is how humans create a languge in their minds by being exposed to it as children, while as far as we are able to tell, other biological creatures we know of do not do precisely that. Meanwhile, many animals may indeed construct pictures of reality.

On another plane of this discussion:

What's the difference between a cult and a culture (aside from the obvious that the word "cult" is a little more than half of the word "culture.")

That difference is what drew me into cultural anthropology.

Here's a little clue: A culture doesn't need a cult, but a cult needs a culture. However, a cult may provide it's members with something they don't get from their culture, and that's why they join a cult.

Western, technologized society (which Ellul points out is a stardardized system that has spread around the globe) has destroyed many cultures, and in the process people within it often develop cult like enclaves that often serve as intimacy chambers where deeply estranged and lonerized individuals have gone for connections to others they don't get in their daily institutionalized settings, and even in their dysfunctional home bases.

"Brother's in arms" may very well draw on those deeper human needs not found in the rest of society by those drawn to it.

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.ren
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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

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Why the Web of Life is Dying...

Could you survive with just half of your organs? Think about it. What if you had just half your brain, one kidney, half of your heart, one lung, half a liver and only half of your skin? It would be pretty hard to survive right? Sure, you could survive losing just one kidney or half of your liver, but at some point, losing pieces from all of your organs would be too much and you would die.

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