Thom asks: Is sharing the key to an advanced society?

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People can "reverse" objectification by doing culture where they live. I'm sure that's not very satisfying. Yet, to try to say "how" to do it would be itself a form of objectification that takes place endlessly in our sciences, especially the pseudosciences like sociology and psychology. Human culture as I've come to see it is a verb, not an objectified noun. We are uniquely capable of creating culture, it seems. We have these unique characteristics that, as Thom notes in the OP link, even our closest biological relatives, the chimpanzees, don't seem to share. That's the best I can say about it this morning, nimblecivet. We are always objectifying with language, but with our other more complicating human factors we can also always be creating culture -- as well as destroying it.

I'll venture this: right now we in highly technologized societies have a lot of cheap energy-powered technical apparati that have allowed people to belay the acts of living that inherently create culture. Some of these acts include acts of empathy and rapport that no simple explanation can contain unless shared by those using the language. Those are much tougher types of acts than filling up a gas tank, or turning the dial on a thermostat to warm a house, or flipping a switch that conveniently lights a room. Culture comes from a kind of shared activities that cannot be broken down into simple rational explanations. When the sharing that goes with those activities is distorted and averted (think of the Achebe descriptions in his trilogy starting with Things Fall Apart as a possible suggestion for getting at this process), as it so often has been by the "wonders" of modern technology and the social systems that go with it, what dies can only be experienced in the actual dying, not rationally explained to anyone who hasn't experienced it. It might be worth noting, though, that this rational barrier to the possibility of sharing understanding hasn't necessarily prevented people from trying. In the following linked article anthropologist Richard Sorensen attempts to describe a unique characteristic, "community intuitive rapport", as a primary founding principle in what he defines as "preconquest consciousness":

Preconquest Consciousness

In a section titled "Collapse of Preconquest Consciousness" he takes a stab at sharing a first hand account of the fragility of this community "intuitive rapport" from a moment when he happened to be there to experience its death in a New Guinea village where he was doing field work when it occurred:

Quote Richard Sorenson:

The periods of anomie sometimes alternated with spates of wild excitement leading to a strange mixture of excess and restraint.19 It was during such disorders that abstract concepts of rights, property, and possession began emerging. So did formal names for people, groups, and places. These were then used argumentatively in defense of rights, property, and possessions. Negative emotions were applied to strengthen argument. Eventually they became structural aspects of society. As the art of political manipulation emerged, the selfless unity that seemed so firm and self-repairing in their isolated enclaves vanished like a summer breeze as a truth-based type of consciousness gave way to one that lied to live.

A similar type of turmoil and transformation began occurring on small islands in the eastern Sea of Andaman somewhat after the Vietnam War.

South East Asia was then rapidly developing economically, and the dazzling scenery, fine beaches, and crystal waters of many of those islands attracted an explosively abrupt tourism trade. As it gathered pace, the intuitive rapport that was still extant on many islands first began to waver, then to oscillate. In some cases a half-way house adjustment would occur, and then another, both without serious psychological disability. However, in cases of accelerated change, a whirlwind psychological debility would sometimes suddenly break loose. The following, abstracted from my field notes, is a firsthand description of one such case:

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.

Similar processes, perhaps not always so dramatic, seem to occur when any domineering or abstractly focused alien culture (whether Western, Sinic, Indic, or Islamic) impacts on a preconquest people. To the degree that the in-depth readjustment requires new relationships between the awareness and manipulation centers in the cerebral cortex and the centers of emotion in the mid and lower brains, they represent physiological as well as psychological change and therefore raise important questions about the promise and condition of the state of humankind.

Sorenson says this in a reflection at the end:

Quote Richard Sorenson:

For several years after I began contacting preconquest peoples like those described above, I considered their type of consciousness an oddity, a kind of naive primitive emotionality, one perhaps suitable only for small, isolated groups, but certainly for no one else. It took a long time for me to realize that they had evolved their own sophisticated type of cognition that was simply different from what I (or anyone I knew) was used to. And I came to realize that such mentality could not be considered primitively ignorant if only because it was so sensitively intelligent and beneficially responsive. It moved more facilely, more harmoniously, and more constructively than do the mentalities associated with today’s postconquest world. Furthermore, it provided for an astonishingly rewarding and zestful life.

He says more in his reflections section I find worth reading as well. Interesting speculations about human evolution.

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Ren and all,the questions i intended to raise was moving beyond the "hand" whether invisible or visible.That concept has motivated people for a long time and now it has proven to have its "limits".The question,how do we make the hand/market/economics fair to more people than the "1%" to break pass the "limits"?? I think the visible hand of democracy is the next motivating concept,the 99% is proving that it will work. Economics is key to society and sharing is key to advancing!

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Absolutely! And if they refuse to voluntarilly share, you force them. Afterall, they're spolied children who need to be taught from the simple slice of morality we call "consideration". The kid from down the block who grew up to say, "If you didn't make friends and end up with all their toys, then blame yourself," never learned this lesson. Just like the last guy who was "born with a silver foot in is mouth". And no, I can not forgive him for being too dumb to understand what puppet-strings are. But there's a whole brood of them out there. The Don't Tread On Me crowd. It's all about "ME", not "US". They have no consideration for others to keep states united. Instead they hunker down in their bunker waiting for the Muslims to attack, yelling about Chicago-Style Politics, Taxachusettes, or the evils of Hollywood, - the city that brings in tens of billions to the public coffer every year - because they truly don't believe in united states, and would rather have more power in state's rights - divided states.

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Apr. 15, 2012 8:35 pm

Bresin,the 1% is using these people(FOX crowd) and most know it,but as long as we let these people be divided from us,the harder our progress will be.Some of us call these people stupid,we`re the stupid one's if we don`t see this "divide & conquer" by the 1%. The addiction of power for the 1% as always drive them to insanity,which is always their downfall.

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Quote tayl44:

Economics is key to society and sharing is key to advancing!

I appreciate the concerns you are raising, but one of the questions I've been raising is whether sharing and economics are actually the same things, or maybe actually quite different; If different then one may be understood as a contrivance that separates us, based on a truck and barter myth that Adam Smith invented, while the other may actually be a fundamental human characteristic that unites us.

Given that understanding, the "invisible hand" could be reevaluated and viewed more as an attempt at creating a kind of falsely conceived ideological driving force, much like a false religious mythology, that justifies the ongoing effort by the economic crowd to divide and conquer each of us, destroy our ongoing culture making efforts at creating thriving communities, on the basis of creating objectified individuation along with a correlated system in which, like the false 19th Century view of nature known as "survival of the fittest" we each compete with each other for resources (measured by money) on the basis of our singular self interest. Other than that I don't see much place for it.

If in that scenario we've had our innate characteristics of sharing replaced by a pseudo ideology of competition, what does "advancing" mean if we recapture our innate human characteristics and stop competing, while we begin cooperating as we once did before we were "conqered" by this mythology? To understand what I mean by that it might help to read Richard Sorenson's Preconquest Consciousness. Otherwise we are going to be going around inside a language we have been taught since birth here in our postconquest consciousness world.

Changing perspectives is difficult for all of us, because it involves questioning so many of our preconceptual assumptions that for many are the rock solid basis of the world they see. Some people need that to be more secure than others, that's always been a psychological block for this kind of socially shared activity I suspect. And I don't know how to get people to switch languages in their minds so they can switch perspectives, one can only try to raise questions.

To shift their minds to enable a view of different potential world, people must think critically for themselves or they will be no more than robots behaving according to a program. Language is just a shared connective program, it is not thinking itself. One needs to reflect from language through imagination and that's an individual activity no one but a given individual can do. Then, learning to share that form of reflection through our various other latent talents, like empathy and recognition of our own emotional abilities, which we each need to develop throughout our lives, is not easy once we've been programmed not to. With some people this can raise issues of personal vulnerability that they do not want to face, especially in a society based on competition.

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The more I think about it, the less competition makes sense as the mode in which any "invisible hand" can apply. Comparative Advantage is a model for the sharing of gifts where we balance and compensate for the strengths and weaknesses we share in community. The idea of an "invisible hand" need imply no more than freedom from caste and defined "station" in society. At no point does "the survival of the fittest" become more than about who is the first chair violin or other points of special ability or function. The survival of all is like how this relates to the rest of the orchestra, and there is no first violinist if there is no orchestra.

The idea that human freedom and economic activity can come together need not become an abandonment of social solidarity for dog eat dog. Where did this idea of "my" money come from? When did modern ideas of freedom lose their collective moorings to ordain pathology with morality and honor? We clearly have gone there, but Smith did not bless the breaking of our social bonds by imagining an economic world of freedom.

I think these roots are more about the 'primitive' nature of Anglo-Saxon conquest and raiding cultures. Look to the enclosure of the Commons and aspiring rulers from a much longer history of lords and servants where being a "bondsman" raises the David Graeber image of a human being removed from his/her human context. What is the price of being human?

If we want to have "competition" as a moral concept, we have to talk about how the winners and losers live happily after the game and who buys the beer at the pizza parlor. If the game does not work for all, the competition will not play. "Hunger Games" in the homeland of the Empire is an image of Sorenson's come home.

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Quote DRC:

The more I think about it, the less competition makes sense as the mode in which any "invisible hand" can apply.

Indeed, that's the mythological basis of our present day neoliberal/libertarian/capitalist systems that historical and anthropological thinkers, like Graeber and Polanyi, expose. Hardly a divine principle, and Darwin never meant it as such. Those who foisted "social Darwinism" upon us apparently never bothered to read his later works.

Quote DRC:

The idea that human freedom and economic activity can come together need not become an abandonment of social solidarity for dog eat dog. Where did this idea of "my" money come from? When did modern ideas of freedom lose their collective moorings to ordain pathology with morality and honor? We clearly have gone there, but Smith did not bless the breaking of our social bonds by imagining an economic world of freedom.

And no, Smith did not bless anything, it's more like he cursed human society. But it's a rational curse, one carried out with careful rational methodology based on a false premise as Graeber shows in Debt: The First 5000 Years.. Undoubtedly Smith meant well when he "figured" it all out and wrote The Wealth of Nations. The idea that economic activity and human freedom are different, like most ideas, was invented kind of in the same way we dissect frogs and then notice the frog is no longer able to jump around. Humans are certainly as free as they can be within coherent systems of human solidarity that goes with a fully cultural existence, for no other real system that is truly human can support our existence as human beings. The greatest trick the Adam Smith's of that period perpetrated on the world was the myth of this individuality and its objective freedom.

"My" and "mine" comes from a rational process of objectification, similar to objectively identifying organs in a dissection process. Language is our capacity for objectification, and we must use it with great care. True, dissection may help a medical practitioner to understand why the living live, and why they may be sick and or dying, but it does not explain the whole that is always in a process.

That objectifying dissection process creates a false sense of separation from a world that is actually more than our rational capacities can take into account. We have to be more than that while realizing how limited we are, so that our ability to be humble can also play a role in our understanding and sharing. Without that, we find ourselves rational accountants measuring, weighing, and judging all our interactions. Then we come to believe we are separated. Then we can choose to become commodities ourselves, little individual packets of ownership; and then all sorts of confused conclusions about what's been objectified result.

You ask what is the price of being human? It can't be measured. If one measures it one destroys it, because being human is being a part of all of humanity. Measurement breaks the whole down and loses sight of the immeasurable value of that whole as it engages in a process of living. What is the price of not being human? Our humanity.

So...

Quote DRC:

If we want to have "competition" as a moral concept, we have to talk about how the winners and losers live happily after the game and who buys the beer at the pizza parlor. If the game does not work for all, the competition will not play. "Hunger Games" in the homeland of the Empire is an image of Sorenson's come home.

Indeed. Or better yet, let's not have "competition" as a moral concept. That way we don't have to keep undoing it as a bunch of arrested adolescents keep trying to take over the world.

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I'm just trying to simplify the thinking so we don't have to send everyone to graduate school and the reading list with all the methodology in their education first. If I can take people who believe in working and call it sharing our gifts instead of "getting ahead," can they get past this paranoia that their work will be taken advantage of by "the lazy?" Where does "the work" become the curse even as it is the "way to get ahead?" They are the one's who think being lazy sounds like the good deal even as they screech against it.

I think there is plenty to do and good ways to have many hands lighten the burdens, so where do we find the joy that is so deeply missing in these "successful" people? Hoping for some light to expose the darkness. BTW, arrest those adolescents.

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I think we have to say what we mean in a lot of different ways to get people to shift their thinking.

I wish we could arrest them. They now seem to own the legal system and it's the adults who will be eventually arrested.

First They Come for the Muslims by Chris Hedges

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Sorry, hard to get the Groucho Marx inflection into print. I think we have to make caring and sharing both realistic and soulful. Let's make "economic man" a subset of the conversation instead of the ground of "realistic thinking." Maybe even "participation in power" is too technical, although I connect power and soul in the being part of human. We might just need to talk more about joy and love as if they were real and had something to do with what being human is all about.

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Speaking of Muslims, many in places like Afghanistan don't know anything about 9/11 and don't have a clue why foreign military personnel are on their turf. And I'm thinking about the relationship between modern technology and 9/11 itself. Modern tech. brought the US into the Middle East, where people are killed and displaced so as to acquire resources needed to sustain modern tech., which in turn pisses off people who then use modern tech. to blow up buildings and kill people in the US, Europe and elsewhere. So, here's a question to ponder: Can we keep the good and do away with the bad if both come from the same source? Can modern medical tech., which can save and prolong life, be utilized and improved upon without us also witnessing the "improvement" of weaponry or the continuance of unnecessary oil consumption?

I just started reading Ellul's The Technological Society. I'm not very far in, and it's not easy to grasp this thing he refers to as "technique." Nonetheless, that along with some recent re-readings of articles that I've kept around for the last 5 years, prompted this post.

How does any of that tie into cooperation or sharing? Well, if each one of us humans was focused on small scale community building, providing the basic necessities and living in tune with nature, I suspect that which I mention at the start of this post would not occur. Tayl says "economics is key to society," but what is "economics?" And what is meant by "society?"

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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

About Ellul's "Technique": An explanation of this concept as he's using it comes in several levels.

There's the the accumulated effect in the broader perspective he calls Technique, wich is the result of all the lower echelons of technique that make up society now.

For the lower echelons of technique we have many things to think about. Economics is certainly one, he covers that extensively in Chapter 3. Just to get a handle on the whole of it -- and essentially it's always evolving because it is that process of complexity Tainter talks about collapsing -- perhaps it may help to think of the 19th Century conception and invention of scientific management and the bureaucratic systems that evolve from it as a subset form of "technique". One can find many similar types of examples once you get the gist of the pattern, including, for instance, all forms of methodolgies involved in industrial farming that result in efficiencies, like animals in cages so small they can't move, methods for applying hormones and antibiotics to deal with what all that "technique" creates, and on an on, all of which combine to create the order of life so many people now no longer are directly in touch with yet take for granted as the way life is, all of which together creates the umbrella concept of La Technique, as he first titled it in French, or The Technological Society.

Essentially, in order to produce and use technology a human devised technique will necessarily be involved. Put enough techniques together and a system evolves -- "The Technique". People find themselves conforming to this system, some well enough, some unhappily well enough, some not so well at all. Then techniques evolve for dealing with that. We have labeling systems that produce terms like "schizophrenia", ADHD, and so forth, and we have whole schools of technique involved with creating those so people can be better managed to fit The Technique.

Ellul's concern is that Technique eventually becomes such a dire focus that it results in an effect of being the master of humans rather than the other way around, since humans cannot simply opt out. The call by people like Korten, and others like, Richard Heinlberg in a recent read for me, for a return to a local-based community and to a more hand made related technology is essentially a conscious rebellion against this omnipresence of The Technique in our lives.

Technique, as the universal and autonomous technical fact, is revealed in the technological society itself in which man is but a single, tightly integrated and articulated component." The Technological Society is a description of the way in which an autonomous society is in process of taking over the traditional values of every society without exception, suverting and suppressing these values to produce at last a monolithic world culture in which all nontechnological difference and variety is mere appearance."

From the Foreward to The Technological Society, page x.

Hope that helps. I think if you don't try too hard to get a hard-lined definition you'll get the hang of it.

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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Good points ren. I want the uninitiated to appreciate that all the texts and links we provide, as well as our commentary, are invitations to their participation in active thinking and not just to getting the body of material under their grasp. When we get our degrees at Thom Hartmann University, it will not be because we have understood the experts and what they think. It will be because we are thinking and continuing to think in a very active and human way. Enjoy the reading, Garrett. You are already thinking.

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Quote DRC:I want the uninitiated to appreciate...

You understand how arrogant you come across with statements like that, right?

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Sep. 3, 2010 9:20 am

Nope, I think we all mean to say things that do not offend, but there are lots of ears hearing. What I am saying is that I meet a lot of people who have not read much on these topics and who I want to invite to begin where they are without having to get the education from "us" first. If that came out arrogant, I have a hard time understanding how. The discussion here can get pretty deep in sources and concepts, and all I was saying to you was that you are already thinking, so read what whets your curiosity and accept being a full member of the discussion club. I think that is the opposite of the arrogance you claim it means, but I am not here to judge that.

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

I probably got a burr in my saddle for no good reason. I don't want to distract from the discussion.

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I think you are doing very well and contibuting in your posts. I was surprised, but not offended. Keep on thinking and asking your good questions.

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Ren,of course economics and sharing are two different issues.And we have learn by mistakes and still are learning how they should connect. Public banking should be our next connection.DRC,i like your sense of humor and your use of language so more can understand.You give hope the intellectuals are ready to be one with the "people".

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Quote DRC:

Sorry, hard to get the Groucho Marx inflection into print. I think we have to make caring and sharing both realistic and soulful. Let's make "economic man" a subset of the conversation instead of the ground of "realistic thinking." Maybe even "participation in power" is too technical, although I connect power and soul in the being part of human. We might just need to talk more about joy and love as if they were real and had something to do with what being human is all about.

I do joy and love in real life. I don't talk about it. My experience with people who talk about those things in relation to me is they want something from me. "I love you" implies some sort of debt most of the time, quite often a debt I didn't ask for. Otherwise they don't need to talk about it. We just understand together and act accordingly, trying to make difficult things work out somehow.

This is unfortunately a word only environment. All we have here in cyberspace is our limited abilities to express ourselves through words. I try my best to be as accurate as I can be with descriptions, like answering questions in my mind: how exactly does power work? At best I can describe that how as a system, but inevitably much that is human is left out and we all have to also recognize our limitations in that regard. People are simply not going to completely understand what is taking place in my mind. It's just the way it is with we humans. I keep pointing out that the words are maps, the words are not the territory of being fully human. There's a tremendous limit to what we can share directly of our minds here. I don't think using words that relate to vagueries people can feel in real life in entirely different ways do much more than create vagueries.

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Quote tayl44:

Ren,of course economics and sharing are two different issues.And we have learn by mistakes and still are learning how they should connect. Public banking should be our next connection.DRC,i like your sense of humor and your use of language so more can understand.You give hope the intellectuals are ready to be one with the "people".

I wish we knew what those mistakes were so we can learn.

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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Ren,if we didn`t know what mistakes we made,we wouldn`t be here.The 1% don`t make mistakes because they`re insane.

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

That's a tautology, Tayl44.

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Ren,so what? We learn from reality,we have no choice.Any other choice,expect problems. Yes,scientist create problems to learn to avoid problems,which is a basic DNA of life.Eliminate negatives! Where would we be without negatives? Be a God? It seem that the road life has us on,it`s very interesting. Judging by your posts Ren,you make life very interesting by wanting everything to be "natural".God will have to move over when we get to that level.For non-believers, use nature for God.

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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

tayl, what is banking? Is it a necessity?

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Quote Tayl44:

Ren,so what?

That's the reason for pointing out a tautology. Tautology=So What? A tautology leads one around in circles. Makes me dizzy.

I'm interested in creating culture at the local level with people I know or can get to know and who want to do that too. Projects that involve taking over the national banking system or creating a new one are just way beyond what I can get interested in doing. What I'm interested most in doing here at Thom's is talking about that with others who have similar interests. This is a way of creating rhizome networks and sharing in problem solving.

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ren, with all my respect and affection for what you post and for what I think you are doing in your real world, I was surprised and puzzled by your idea that love and joy are too far beyond the exchange of words and ideas for you. I appreciate your introvert nature, your local focus and the mind that I converse with here; but I also think that the things we talk/write about have to do with a sensual and ecstatic real human life. If you feel "indebted" to a declaration of love, it may be because of the real exchange of humanity leading to it. On the other hand, if I tell you that I am glad you share your thoughts here and that when I see your name on the list I look forward to the intelligence and humanity I have come to expect, I hope you can receive it as a gift without feeling indebted.

I love that in his practice of poverty, St. Francis also taught his followers never to refuse a gift. Being able to receive without feeling a need to pay back is prodoundly graceful. You don't have to get even; but you do have to have a sense of gratitude and it ought to correspond to your own free giving. No debt. Just be you, but be prepared to have some people think that is pretty darn good. There are enough who don't.

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DRC, I think what you are saying is what I meant by this:

Quote .ren:

I do joy and love in real life. I don't talk about it. My experience with people who talk about those things in relation to me is they want something from me. "I love you" implies some sort of debt most of the time, quite often a debt I didn't ask for. Otherwise they don't need to talk about it. We just understand together and act accordingly, trying to make difficult things work out somehow.

I once took a psychology class from an older professor in psychology who was enamored by the writings of Eric Fromm. i was amazed to find all these esoteric and elaborate ideas on the various forms of love. I guess I learned a lot from it, I'm still able to make some of the distinctions like falling in love, being in love, and loving. But I already knew what it was when I read the stuff. I didn't need the words. But if other people do, that's OK by me. It's just for me, some of what goes on within is too precious to put into words. There are other ways to share that won't be corrupted.

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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

I agree with Thom's premise that humans have this great and unique ability to share information. The problem is that there is an element that sees it as benefecial to themselves to spread disinformation and misinformation so there is a constant confusion. The malicious and insidous corruption of natural laws is also, uniquely human.

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Quote Choco:

I agree with Thom's premise that humans have this great and unique ability to share information. The problem is that there is an element that sees it as beneficial to themselves to spread disinformation and misinformation so there is a constant confusion. The malicious and insidious corruption of natural laws is also, uniquely human.

The example Thom gives in the linked video in the Original Post is of pre kindergarteners spontaneously working cooperatively together to solve puzzles, while our closest relatives, the chimpanzees do not, possibly cannot. Thom suggests the latter and that we do cooperate (share) due to some innate capacities.

So we've considered this proposition, and at this point we are discussing what seems obvious, from various acknowledged observation points, that in small groups we appear to have an ability to create cultures of cooperation and mutual understanding to deal with our survival issues. We do this by dealing directly with each other, using all of these theoretical natural human capacities involved in our abilities to share, as well as the nurturing ones that evolve in any culture. What I am calling here "the nurturing ones" are also necessary in order to develop ways of passing this on from one generation to the next as what we may call "traditions".

While this involves language as a means of sharing information, it certainly is not exclusive to that, nor exclusive to sharing information itself. In our abilities to cooperate in many ways, we may be potentially much more than just rational beings sharing rational information. Were that not the case, it seems we could just as easily be programmed machines. And I think many people try to treat themselves and others as if they were.

Abstract sharing of information through hierarchically controlled technologies we call media, with the emphasis on factors of economics like the need for profits influencing what information is passed on when the media is operated on a for profit basis, appears to me, at least (can't speak for anyone else), to create a media that comes to the population through now well-known and broadly recognized brainwashing and propaganda techniques; this can be a whole different kind of problem related to this issue of sharing information on a mass level. I see it as potentially a kind of phenomenon all its own that distorts our very nature when operating at the close relationship level of small groups. For my part, that distortion is something I have come to believe has happened, and modern mass society is an now an extreme and possibly very dangerous distortion of what we have been as human beings for most of our evolutionary past. Which I think gives an ironic twist to Thom's question about sharing being a key to an advanced society.

Given that modern societies have become these models of mass propaganda as a communication method, the very issue of cooperation and sharing Thom introduced in the OP takes on a whole different nuance. This issue of difference has been a long and drawn out part of this discussion, and not that easy to follow I suspect.

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Ren,yes life can seem like circles,but we stop getting dizzy when we learn something new like "circles".I hear and respect your thinking on public banking.I`m focus on it because economics is key to everything,we don`t get to another level real soon,the circles of life will go backward and come to a end. Can we add a new dimension to life to keep surviving? What`re the factors for it,sharing has to be one?

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Tayl, all the people whose analysis I respect have come to pretty much the same conclusion I have. We need to recover our humanity.

Our humanity works best at the local level with people we care about. That's where sharing and cooperation actually happen. I don't care what name people want to put on that kind of activity. But economics is just an abstraction about something, it's not what we actually do ourselves. It's a field of study. It's a bunch of experts making theories about things, and they don't much care what we actually do. All that disappears into their theories along with their statistical gatherings of data. They decide what to distinguish when they gather, how to measure it, and for what purpose. Then they elevate it to a science. And we actual, real human beings disappear with it as they move on to manage the world of making their profits and losses out of the debris that used to be our lives.

Isn't it obvious what to do next? It is to me.

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So I'm walking down the street when all of a sudden I see this billboard for "Touch", a show which will debut on FOX. According to the description of the show its supposed to be about how we're all interconnected in ways we don't perceive immediately but can discover if we have the right kind of knowledge. The main character's last name is "Bohm", making a feint at the the quantum-physics new-age meta-internet philosophy of do-gooders from Marin County who occassionally find time to take a break from their regimen of hot-tubbing and tantric sex to cut a check to various NGO's that go "into the bush" so to speak and address our most pressing problems. So its taking the "human" thing to the next level "up" towards totality to perhaps ironically break down the conceptual barriers which divide humanity from itself. I am skeptical only from the perspective that I don't believe in such a thing as "dialectics" so while I don't object to the philosophical excersise involved, I would rather see if there is a direct application or potential manifestation of .ren's ideas immediately, that is as a willful continuance of infinite possibilities. Sorry if you were hoping that link to go to some great Swedish Swami or something. Hate to pop your bubble. Sorry.

But .ren I know your not a Luddite (right? I can't remember what you've said on that) so why does technology always have to be about dominance? Why can't it sometimes facilitate genuine interaction? Maybe more so that in person where "culture" (conditioning) gets in the way of individual genuineness?

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Quote nimblecivet:

But .ren I know your not a Luddite (right? I can't remember what you've said on that) so why does technology always have to be about dominance? Why can't it sometimes facilitate genuine interaction? Maybe more so that in person where "culture" (conditioning) gets in the way of individual genuineness?

I didn't know technology always has to be about dominance. Thanks. Now I know.

What's a Luddite to you, nimblecivet?

Do you actually imagine I can explain an answer to your question?

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well duh, it's a key. maybe not "the" key.

Funny how you, ren, always talk about local community, but invests so much here....

sharing is something that is taught and conditioned into all good people. It's possible that we could keep some of the gains of civilization and develop into a Star Trek Utopia, but I can't see anything but dystopia chugging down the tracks

thank you all for sharing...

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Quote MEJ:

Funny how you, ren, always talk about local community, but invests so much here....

"Here" is at my keyboard on a laptop in front of my woodstove on a cold rainy morning in the Willapa Watershed.

I admit, I have a jones. I enjoy the act of writing. I never know what's going to come out. Honestly, I just start typing. Sometimes it's fun to have a someone's comments to work with.

Then there's: "Think globally, act locally". A holdover principle I embraced in my youth.

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ren, I appreciate your "jones" and have been on the "think globally, act locally" tune for a long time myself. I also turn it around, so that we focus on thinking about local initiatives and solutions that a global connectivity can assist. I think this is Korten's point about "indigenous and artisanal" and why central planning never can be franchised successfully in real development.

On our more recent discussion, the point of talking about love and joy is not to tell anyone how to do either or to dissect the concepts into analytical pieces. What I find is that as we get "technical" or when we try to imagine the "political" that it will take to bring down the "principalities and powers" in order to recover a human frame, we need to remember that love is a basic need and power, that justice is not some ideal that gets sacrificed by realism and that joy is great energy for hard work and commitment. Instead of thinking "war," we can think of "peace" as an activism and realism worth celebrating in our OWS movements and community building.

MEJ, if all you wanted to know was why some of us post and explore wonky stuff "instead" of spending that time "out" in the community, we do it because it is who we are. I don't see it as one or the other. If it is not your thing, we do it so you don't have to. I appreciate that there are those who have been spending more time in meetings and working on projects than I have for awhile. Some of them have not had the time to address questions or encounter ideas that I think would help them in their work, and when we meet, I hope I can give them some capsules as well as some pointers for their own reading and listening.

I have some positive disagreements with some of my fellow posters from Center to Left. I have very occasionally found cons who ask serious and responsible questions that help sharpen our Progressive, Liberal thinking. I am losing patience with those who repeat FAUX talking points and fail to address the failures and problems of their own side while they try to pin the tail on the donkey.

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Quote .ren:

Ellul's concern is that Technique eventually becomes such a dire focus that it results in an effect of being the master of humans rather than the other way around, since humans cannot simply opt out.

That's the sense in which I meant "dominant."

Quote .ren:

Essentially, in order to produce and use technology a human devised technique will necessarily be involved. Put enough techniques together and a system evolves -- "The Technique".

I assume Ellul describes how this system evolves, and in so doing describes how how the "system" comes to replace what it destroys?

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Quote nimblecivet:

I assume Ellul describes how this system evolves, and in so doing describes how how the "system" comes to replace what it destroys?

As do others I keep folding into my own sense of it, including Karl Polanyi in his discussion of how the laissez faire free market ideology disrupted and replaced social patterns (which led to the rise of Luddites in England who rebelled against the industrial technologies they saw replacing their local, artisan lives), many anthropologists, some of whom I've named and quoted, like David Graeber and Richard Sorenson, and as DRC once again brought in, David Korten and his re-localized, re-indigenized and artisanal focus for a new, post collapse economy. Richard Heinberg, in his Peak Everything has a chapter devoted to the subject of Technology becoming boss as well titled "Tools With a Life of Their Own."

He begins the chapter thusly:

Quote Richard Heinberg:

NEARLY EVERYONE complains from time to time that our tools have become Sorcerer’s Apprentices; that we have come to serve our machines instead of the other way around; and that, increasingly, our lives are regimented as if we ourselves were mere cogs in a vast mechanism utterly beyond our control.

We are not the first people to feel this way: criticism of technology has a history. The Luddites of early 19th-century England were among the first to raise their voices — and hammers! — against the dehumanizing side effects of mechanization. As industrialization proceeded decade-by-decade — from powered looms to steam shovels, jet planes, and electric toothbrushes — objections to the accelerating, mindless adoption of new technologies waxed erudite. During the past century, books by Lewis Mumford, Jacques Ellul, Ivan Illich, Kirkpatrick Sale, Stephanie Mills, Chellis Glendinning, Jerry Mander, John Zerzan, and Derrick Jensen, among others, have helped generations of readers understand how and why our tools have come to enslave us, colonizing our minds as well as our daily routines.

These authors reminded us that tools, far from being morally neutral, are amplifiers of human purposes; therefore each tool carries its inventor’s original intent inherent within it. We can use a revolver to hammer nails, but it works better as a machine for the swift commission of mayhem; and the more handguns we have around, the more likely it is for inevitable, daily personal conflicts to go ballistic. Thus, as clashes over human purposes form the core of ethical and political disputes, technology itself, as it proliferates, must inevitably become the subject of an increasing array of social controversies. Battles over technology concern nothing less than the shape and future of society.

In principle, those battles, if not the scholarly discussions about them, reach all the way back to the Neolithic era, and perhaps to our harnessing of fire tens of thousands of years ago. Lewis Mumford drew a through-line emphasizing how modern megatechnologies are externalizations of a social machine that originated in the pristine states of the Bronze Age:

Heinberg, Richard (2010-08-27). Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines (pp. 31-32). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

I think all of these people see this process as something we humans can choose to do. So do I.

These are the parting words from Jacques Ellul in a video I once shared, and Garrett apparently watched and referenced on another thread, so our discussion ended up there instead of here, The Treachery of Technology:

(Previous to this he leads up with a discussion on analysis itself, in which he says: "I must make sure that I can analyze it just as I can analyze a stone or any other object, that I can analyze it and fathom it from all angles. As soon as I can break down this whole technological system into its smallest components my freedom begins." (my bold))

So we can ask ourselves whether there is really any sense in all this to be investigated. But the search for it cannot be a strictly intellectual activity. The search for sense implies that we must have a radical discussion of modern life. In order to rediscover sense we must discuss everything which has no sense. We are surrounded by objects which are, it is true, efficient but are absolutely pointless.

A work of art, on the other hand, has sense in various ways, or it calls up in me a feeling or an emotion whereby my life acquires sense. That is not the case with a technological product.

And on the other hand we have the obligation to discover certain fundamental truths which have disappeared because of technology. We can also call these truths values, important actual values, which ensure that people experience their lives as having sense.

In other words, as soon as that moment arrives when I think that the situation is really dangerous, I can't make do any more with purely technological means. Then I must employ all my human and intellectual capacities and all my relationships with others to create a counterbalance.

That means that when I think that a disaster threatens and that developments threaten to lead to a destiny for mankind as I wrote concerning the development of technology, I, as a member of mankind, must resist and must refuse to accept that destiny.

And at that moment we do what mankind has always done at a moment when destiny threatens. Just think of all those Greek tragedies in which mankind stands up against destiny and says: No, I want mankind to survive and I want freedom to survive.

At such a moment you must continue to cherish hope, but not the hope that you will achieve a quick victory, and even less hope that we face an easy struggle. We must be convinced that we will carry on fulfilling our role as people.

In fact it is not an insuperable situation. There is no destiny that we cannot overcome. You must simply have valid reasons for joining the struggle. You need a strong conviction.

You must really want people to remain, ultimately, people.

This struggle against the destiny of technology has been undertaken by us by a means of small scale actions. We must continue with small groups of people who know one another. It will not be by any big mass of people. Or any big unions or big political parties who will manage to stop this development.

What I have just said doesn't sound very efficient, of course. When we oppose things which are too efficient we mustn't try to be even more efficient. For that will not turn out to be the most efficient way. But we must continue to hope that mankind will not die out and will go on passing on truths from generation to generation.

(The Treachery of Technology starting at around 46:30 with a scene in a subway where people are rushing to get on their trains while a musician with the traditional open box filled with a few coins in front of him sits and plays a trumpet which he holds up to his mouth with his right hand while he plays an accordion with his left, managing to use his fingers on each hand accurately for each to create music.)

(my bold in that one paragraph, by the way)

I preceded that with this post, also talking about Ellul's analysis of his peculiar use of "technique" and how technique comes to replace local customs and culture, which could, maybe should just as well have been on this thread.

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Ren,my use of economics is " the process of getting food". The first law of nature is survival,and food is basic(talk about local) to our survival.Culture is base on how we get our food.In the evolutionary process of learning how to get our food,our humanity evolve too.Can humanity control economics,no more than he can control climate.Can we learn to live with economics like the rest of life on earth,that`s why we get out of the bed everyday. The process of getting food can be made a lot easier with a public bank and in-turn,our humanity will "advance". In the reverse,the harder it`s to get food,the easier to corrupt humanity. I say before ,we want a good society,our survival will have to depend on it to become a reality. The world of economic credit have humanity to a level of that survival reality,we just need to move the trust of the 1% to "ourselfs"! It will happen,that`s why we`re still here,we learn to trust the truth as we learn to know it.That`s our humanity,"adjusting".

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Thanks for your response. That's a good answer in the context of this forum. I don't see any need to explain your answer, it is clear and consistent enough.

I don't know if you already had answered my question about whether you know anything about the "Annales school" of history? I ask because it was not just an attempt to understand the French Revolution. It was also an attempt to build a linear comprehension of history in a post-marxian manner. As such it may investigate the origin of power in the pre-industrial epoch. Of course, take it as a rhetorical question if you wish.

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Tayl44: It does help to explain what you mean by the words you use. Eskimos have a lot of different words for what we generalize as snow. They don't have a word for economics. But they eat like the rest of us. They sleep warm when it's 40 degrees below zero and the wind's howling across the ice.

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ren, have you read The Fireplace Delusion by Sam Harris? It spoiled woodfires for me for a short time, but I'm learning to play the violin as the world burns brighter and I suspect you're doing similar..

DRC, you should know better...that that isn't all I want to know, but I am a poor wage-slave and often lack the energy for a well composed post, sorry. It's just fun to bust ren's chops. I have great respect for both of you and value your insights.

There are a couple of points that I'm failing to commmunicate, but I'll try again....if we fail to learn from the mistakes of the past, we're doomed to repeat them. We have made some gains of civilization. While ren is great in exposing the pitfalls of complex civilization, he falls short in providing the hope and promise of progress which can lead to cynicism and dispair. We now have more forested land in the USA than we had 60 years ago. Slavery has been institutionally abolished for the first time in history. We can't just go back to more "innocent" times. The only way out of this mess is to work through it.

I also try to make the point that the conservative view is an immature destructive perspective and should be treated as such. It is a primitive view that needs to be ridiculed and put in its place. It cannot be eliminated any more than religion, superstition or selfishness. Childishness cannot be removed from the human condition, but that doesn't mean that we should permit the children sit at the adult table when serious business is at hand.

and that leads me back to ren's last use of bold text. The micro, local communities will get screwed by the macro structures. It's the living mythology as described by Daniel Quinn. An enlightened few will be required to lead civilization forward in the same way the founding fathers ushered in modern democracy.

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nimblecivet, I haven't delved into any of the works of the Annales School, but it sounds interesting. Apparently those in that school tend to repudiate Marxist historiography.

Looks like it parallels the thought patterns of the latter phases of structuralism (which if you want a good summary of how it works in science I'd recommend The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn, which excited me in the way it was applied in both anthropology and linguistics -- specifically the way Saussure, Roman Jakobson and Chomsky (linguistics), Durkheim, Victor Turner, Edmund Leach,and Claude Levi Strauss (all anthropologists) viewed these abstract structures, much as Plato used his notion of innate ideas, to make sense of the human mind's ability to create language and culture, so perhaps they would be cousins. This sort of thing gives me a clue:

Its contributors viewed events as less fundamental than the mental frameworks that shaped decisions and practices.

(Wiki)

Being as it's a French school, no doubt Ellul was very familiar with it, though I don't see him mentioned in association with it, and he did study Marx early on, so I'm not sure what stimulated him about Marx. Possibly the sense of destiny in Marxian thought which I see cropping up in his own sense of destiny involved in human adaption to la technique.

Here's how I half suspect you may see it related to this discussion of technology and praxis (a word I detest but it works) leading to a kind of relationship between the mental structural formation of mind that would result from an adaptation to the technology humans create, and it certainly would make sense if you did:

Chartier's typical undergraduate course focuses upon the making, remaking, dissemination, and reading of texts in early modern Europe and America. Under the heading of "practices," his class considers how readers read and marked up their books, forms of note-taking, and the interrelation between reading and writing from copying and translating to composing new texts. Under the heading of "materials," his class examines the relations between different kinds of writing surfaces (including stone, wax, parchment, paper, walls, textiles, the body, and the heart), writing implements (including styluses, pens, pencils, needles, and brushes), and material forms (including scrolls, erasable tables, codices, broadsides and printed forms and books). Under the heading of "places," his class explores where texts were made, read, and listened to, including monasteries, schools and universities, offices of the state, the shops of merchants and booksellers, printing houses, theaters, libraries, studies, and closets. The texts for his course include the Bible, translations of Ovid, Hamlet, Don Quixote, Montaigne's essays, Pepys's diary, Richardson's Pamela, and Franklin's autobiography.[21]

(Wiki)

Ah.. I was doing searches while writing and I just stumbled across this on the relationship between the structuralism I was just describing and the Annales School:

The new Annales history of the 1960’s turned away from the factual/quantitative economic and descriptive social history, and reaffirmed the Durkheimian idea of the “history of mentalities.” It held that the historical world was created out of perceptions, not out of events, and we needed to recognise that the whole of history was a construct of human impressions.

Roman Jakobson transmitted the linguistic theory of Saussure to Lévi-Strauss. This led to structural anthropology which influenced the later Annales School. The third generation reasserted the anthropological realm, especially through cultural anthropology, to reemphasize politics proper, and to return to history as narrative. Bourdieau for instance replaced the notion of social rules with that of habit and strategy. Other studies in the 1960’s and 1970’s ceased to question the causal relationship between events and structures and opted for an understanding of them as mutually reflecting.

Braudel's reply to this development was his last great projected work, The Identity of France, three volumes of which were published before his death, including sections on geography, demography and economy. Braudel took the view that the peasant was the key to the history of France, and a true history of mentalities could only be written in the longue durée and from a long perspective.

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Quote MEJ:

ren, have you read The Fireplace Delusion by Sam Harris? It spoiled woodfires for me for a short time, but I'm learning to play the violin as the world burns brighter and I suspect you're doing similar..

No, but I'll look into it when I can.

The sun's out and it will be in the sixties soon. Speaking of wood fires, I've been hunkered in front of my glass doored wood stove -- which incidently burns with approximately 80 percent efficiency and emits less smoke from the chimney than my neighbor's oil furnace -- with my laptop in lap, with a cup of coffee nearby (which incidently probably puts out more smoke when I roast the beans than my woodstove) waiting for these days for months.

Wood fires are a functional source of heat along with being a wonderful source of ambiance on a chilly rainy wintry day. Of course if I didn't live in a county of 21,000 people, where the lumber barons have stripped the land of its eco system and the 700 to 1000 year old matrons and patrons of the forest, where they are now commercially growing what amount to as little more than twigs that never stand longer than forty years before they are harvested for lumber, I'd probably be made sick by the pall of smoke I'd be living in if everyone burned wood as I do (and many around here do). In that circumstance I'd probably build something like a straw bale house so I at least wouldn't contribute to the pall, which is an abode that takes very little energy to heat or cool. If other's realized that, and cared about each other's well being, maybe we all would build such abodes.

However, since I have chosen this location for reasons that have a lot to do with its minimal population density and its other natural features (Willapa Bay, ocean, rivers, trees -- not the techno industrially destroyed eco system, that loss I mourn) it's nearly impossible to tarnish my enjoyment of my wood stove with sullying thoughts. After all, the twigs they grow are easy to make into firewood, and there is lots of it. A few cords makes living affordable, and my woodstove is very efficient, especially compared to a fireplace. And being as I'm an INFP introvert, I don't tend to get depressed by thinking, no matter what I think about. I do keep forgetting other people aren't like me. So if my musings depress people, I apologize. But, fair warning, I'm probably not going to change much from here on out. I'm an old dog. If you know something's going to depress you, don't read it! Unless you like being depressed of course.

Quote MEJ:

and that leads me back to ren's last use of bold text. The micro, local communities will get screwed by the macro structures. It's the living mythology as described by Daniel Quinn. An enlightened few will be required to lead civilization forward in the same way the founding fathers ushered in modern democracy.

Good Lord... "Modern democracy"?

Is this a polite way of saying the herd will be herded into a new form of inverted totalitarian fascism by some new cult "visionaries" thanks to the wonderful techniques of mass propaganda?

Daniel Quinn. Umm hmm.

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Ren,we have to add "communication" is another key to a advance society. You think we can learn something from the Eskimos,sleeping warm at 40 below? Garrett #175,sorry,i thought another post went through. My opinion on the reason for a bank,is saving for a rainy day and that`s the neccessity.

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Tayl, if you notice, I haven't exactly been arguing for anything being a key to an "advanced" society. I'm actually dubious about the whole concept of measuring and creating a notion like "progress" that results in a conclusion that a society has achieved the high station of being able to call itself advanced. Advanced tends to be self defined. Advanced tends to be a hubristic expression in the nature of those who deem themselves to be.

Communication is also a key to an inverted totalitarian society. It's critical in getting people to go along. "Mass communication" owned by either an authoritarian governing system of some kind or perhaps a world wide system of private tyrannies (corporations) that copy each others' techniques and through a system of beneficially shared revenues through advertising, create a self perpetuating system whereby they work together with those who are able to purchase and control the modes and means of production.

The rest of the 99% of the world's human population gets to labor in servitude, some get to be the trained experts in various stages of management, as well as systems of R&D, a cost the lower levels of the managed pay for in a process whereby the wealth is extracted and produced by them then systematically, through the mechanisms of hierarchy, moved upwards, most of it ending at the top one percent so that they can redistribute it as they see fit -- which theoretically, according to some experts, is primarily a benevolent act of creating even more systems of production for further advancement of "society", the most advanced of which are the capitalistic that adhere most closely to this patterned system of sharing.

Communication in this system helps create the narrative of liberty and freedom that the 99% yearn for, now that they no longer control the modes of production (themselves and their complex relationship with nature, work, social labor, and social organization), and thereby ties it all together in a facade that's become ever more sophisticated in creating a 3 dimensional hologram people can imagine to be real life. That technologically-created system of communication functions well whether it is happening in China, Russia, Europe, India or the United States.

Chris Hedges: The Globalization of Hollow Politics

Lewis Lapham: Machine-Made News for a World Order

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Apr. 1, 2010 7:50 am

Even a card carrying Republican like myself believes in sharing with those in need, but we do object when elected officials use tax dollars for charity (above a certain point). The difference between my thoughts on the subject and what a "Progresive" might think is that I will tell you that elected officials are just as greedy and selfish as anyone in the private sector (there are exceptions of course). An elected official's number one goal is to get re elected (that ALL elected officials both sides of the aisle, again with some exceptions). If you don't agree with me, read Tip O'Neil's book, written after his time in congress, where he comes right out and states that as a fact.

That being the case, when an elected official gets his (or her) hands on tax dollars, all they are doing is trying to buy votes with it. They do not care about the people the are "helping", they are just trying to buy their vote. However when a private charity gives money to the poor, they actually care about the person in need and are looking for nothing in return.

So I get really tired of hearing that Jesus would be a Democrat. I have read the Bible a lot and have never seen where any credit is given to anyone who gives away other people's money. You get a lot of points for giving away your own money, but that is not what is happening with tax dollars. So this is how we get stuck with programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Programs that when they are set up look good and are funded well for a few years, but blow up after 10, 20, 30 years. The legislators that voted these programs in only were looking 4 years down the road (at the most) to their own re election and gave no thought to what happens after that. They got re elected, who cares about anything else? And we are left to deal with the mess they created.

Again, I'm not saying the Republicans are not interested in re election also, they just do it in different ways. And trust me, there are more and more people coming around to the belief that the best goverment is one that has as little power as possilbe for the reasons I just described. I understand that there are a whole bunch of people who disagree with me, but to those who do, you have to answer the question how did we get stuck with programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid that can't possibly remain in force as they are right now (sorry, there is not enough money to support them right now, and it is only going to get worse, a lot worse, in the future). And any suggestions that these programs get trimmed is greeted with howls of protest from the left. And all the Democrats have to offer is the "Buffett Rule" which would bring in a whopping 5 billion a year. And the "Buffett Rule" is put out there as the savior to all our problems. Give me a break!

The reality is that we have a 1 trillion dollar a year shortfall in revenue right now as far as the eye can see, and tax increases can only hope to close 10-15% (approx) of that at the most. And the defense budget is is no where close to 1 trillion a year. There are going to have to be some cuts somewhere, or the US will get themselves in the same position as Italy, Greece, Spain, and Ireland are in right now. All the while the Democrats and "Progressives" refuse to come to grips with that reality, and the problems only get worse and worse.

mauiman58's picture
mauiman58
Joined:
Jan. 6, 2012 6:45 pm
Quote mauiman58:

Even a card carrying Republican like myself believes in sharing with those in need, but we do object when elected officials use tax dollars for charity (above a certain point).

I appreciate your interest in participating to this discussion. But given what you write after your above opening remarks, I'm wondering:

a) have you read the discussion that has unfolded on this thread?

b) if so, how do you see what you've written relates to the thread of ideas in the actual discussion we've been having?

Until you can show me how you see it relates, I have no further comments.

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

Ren,you must be from the show me state Missouri,you`re "dobious" about everything.(joke) Whether advance or communication,after trail & error,we know to say "having clean water is a advancement",as a example?Why do we have to dirty/clean it,is another question? That lead to another question and on,and on to?To having clean water is good/advancement. I like your response to the card carrying republican.

tayl44's picture
tayl44
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

Mauiman, just a tidbit to point the way: If the Buffett Rule is only a small, symbolic step and nowhere near what is needed, why don't you and the purported 'conservatives' come up with a realistic way to get to the substance? The reason we have the Buffett symbolism is that the entrenched ideology of wealth and "job creator" supply-side dogma will not do anything at all about the problem. We could agree that the Democrats are not offering nearly enough of an alternative. It would still leave the GOPimps as the brand that is "the problem."

I think Jesus would be in the OWS encampments instead of the White House. But the idea that he would be giving a pass to the economics of greed and empire or be more concerned about who was loving someone of the same gender than the poor is absurd.

If you want to keep your Republican card, you have a huge job ahead of you converting your fellow GOPimp supporters to a humane vision of others and to a society that works for all. Finding the Democrats inadequate is hardly "self-criticism" from the Right.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 4:01 pm

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