For reasons of mostly compulsion, starting in the 2000s I compiled several hundred pages of ideas that were written in all sorts of places dating back to the late 90s: the margins of notebooks, the margins of books, on my own skin, obscure but stable regions of my brain (some activated by particular trance songs), spoken in to an audio recorder, and others. Many ideas are lost to the dark of night, perhaps to flutter in the minds of others as they probably did in others before me. This time consuming obsession wasn’t completely devoid of fruit—I drew from these words to help construct the The Eternal Difference. However, by and large, and despite the elaborate and idiosyncratic tagging and number system I developed to indicate what categories the ideal fell under, I rarely look back on this massive body of work.
Glancing through it now, and editing out anything either too sensitive or too ridiculous for publishing on this blog, I am seeing that a great deal of the writings were my brain wrapping around and toying with a new vocabulary and new concepts that it was hungry for but had no previous exposure to (lots on socialism/anarchism, philosophical binaries e.g. subject/object, and more). Beyond that there are some illustrations that I start with, and some college papers mixed in, tactics/strategies, and some other odds and ends (drafts of stories, poems). In addition to my own quirkiness, there are some quirks of formatting from copying and pasting, such as numbering that didn’t originally exist. I think there are a few gems tucked in here, but mostly it is a vast desert of monotonous reading… I wouldn’t be insulted if you were to dismiss it as drivel. Here’s the first batch of several (#2-12,0000, out of order so starting with illustrations). Enjoy!
#2,2023 – Tags = 9(IMP)
Description: Transcendental Anarchism Incomplete
(gotten from kant seminar – a kantian critique of capitalism and transcendental anarchism)
#2,2030 – Tags = 9(IMP)
Description: Transcendental Anarchism Graphic Display
(gotten from kant seminar – enlarged – transanarch graphic display)
#2,2031 – Tags = 9(IMP)
Description: Transcendental Anarchism with Capitalism/Violence
(gotten from Kant Seminar – enlarged – transan graphic display with capitalism)
#2,2032 – Tags = 3(ABCDGKLW)
Description: kant seminar ideas for paper
(gotten from Kant seminar – ideas for paper)
Doesn’t mean there is no soul, it means that they have effectively destroyed virtually all communicative possibilities or motivations between the soul’s morality and the world
Certain types of socialism, where we are all raised in the same way, will lead to us becoming to homogenous and don’t really allow for plurality, even though equality – but even if we all wear the same clothes they still can’t pin us down
We need most free system so that our infintley subtle and not so subtle differences and potentials may be realized
beings in time as ultra nurturists – different experiences make a different person
transcendental anarchism could rather be socialism – that the objects are there for all of us to experience, we all have the power to do it, so to limit us experiencing them (saying private ownership) is counter to our actual make up – 10/03/05 – there must be some unity in the different objects that connects them up transcendentally
when a person is in pain, for example, or intuits only one type of thing, it takes away power to intuit other things and thus limits the ability….
10-10-05 – turning us into the mice they study – if you stop believing in freedom and justice, they begin to fade, moral law is a transcendental possibility, but it can die and wither
positivism – one word has one meaning, trying to make our schemata not able to generalize, even though in the inconsistency is where room for freedom is
human thought reduced to a calculating machine, rather than the machine brought into humanness
advanced capitalism, been placed to a large degree at odds with survival (whether survival means perceptive or actual). Perhaps most systems of relations among people being good in and of yourself wouldn’t make you a rich person (though it could), but being good in and of yourself is acutely punished in capitalism. When morality does manifest itself, its conditional: “I’ll do something good for him, them, so that…” Several generations of humans have been born into a paradigm that encourages utility maximization, and they are trained to do things if its in their best interests. Capitalism is effectively purging morality from people’s
It took a great succession of many imaginative people throughout history to build up the sciences and the inquiries that we now have. But to suppose that the thinkers of all those past eras kept swinging and missing (as time went on they missed by less and less, say those of modern times!) is to do a great disbenefit not just to the legacy of thought, which has now reached a sort of stagflation, but it also does a great harm to future generations, that will be raised in a sort of dialectical illusion of the entire society. Just like Hegel believed that the absolute idea had been reached with the system of the liberal state, he neglected the method that made him believe that there was such an end, and in such a rash move to declare his epoch the end of history.
Perhaps critique fukuyama’s the end of history
We have gone wide enough, now we just have to go deeper (going to atomic and subatomic levels of a natural science), but letting some unchallenged beliefs about the metaphysical stand, because dealing with such questions can’t be fit into a model. Economists models and reductionist tools have gotten the academics, the ones who are supposed to forge forward with the expanded freedom given to them, get stuck in a one dimensional view of the world… there are more dimensions than that!
Imaginative inquiry used to be able to forsee problems, and people could sometimes be wrong, but were sometimes right and were called prophetic when proven to be correct, but there is much ability for all of us to “prophetize”, but now in this world of ultra scientific rationalism, we only rely on our weather models and bureaucracy’s, which are very poor at alerting us for crisis, which says something very profound, there is more to the world (and universe) than a machine can comprehend, a state will never be critical of itself, it takes itself as a priori given (just like capitalism), so everything it seeks to solve has to be within itself and on its own terms
Reason will lead individuals to realize that anarchism is more effective in productive terms (social production and ownership), and being a particularly liberal socialism, there is the most room for freedom and individual contemplation on basic questions of morality, being.
The problem with socialism isn’t in the production, its that we will eventually become to homogeneous that new ideas and new synthesis are just not possible or as (degreed) as would be under the synthesis available in a large pluralistic society.
Kant, who wants ultimately justice in its truest sense (all things being as they are, and not perceived wrong), through his works makes a great many contributions of how are society should be justly set up. There are many questions Kant leaves open and “to be researched” by the coming generations, but his notions, he hopes, will be a guide about how far inquiries and statements, should go. He wants neither the dogmatic religious zealots denying reasoned scientific insight that could in fact have human existence in a truer form and understanding of the world, where all is optimally set up and . nor does he want science to use reason for things that reason cannot explain (which he shows in his dialectics section)
Nor does he want the mindless and tripping commentary of those who are skeptical of both and want a sort of conservatism status quo to remain, with never knowing what is truly there.
Today radical rationalists make claims that lack falsifiability, and get away with it because there is no proof that they are wrong. But so the saying goes, that repeat a lie enough it becomes truth, so it can than definitely go repeating an unfalsifiable statement over and over, it will be populary recognized as having a strong likelihood of being true (even though this is ridiculous)
Write about negative technology, and the technology spectrum
We may have moral people, but the societal organization compels them to do things that are not helpful to others, and so you might have moral ethical people in a society that compels us to be competitive and violent. Now people who generally want to do good end up doing bad, so there are good intentions and motives, but not actually good results
The transcendental capabilities of anarchism
Turn marx on his head, sort of, connecting idealism and materialism
Yes, you could argue, that we needed productive forces, fire leads to metals leads to the printing press etc, to get ideas across to share, but these ideas – of fire etc – lead to
They started in a subject and play out in the environment, to come back to the subject
9/19/05 lecture – empiricists trying to make the unknown “horrible” – horror films… it could be beautiful too – limiting us to their playing field, where they could win and define us
humans cause justice, morality, and freedom to be, we bring these things into the world by enacting them – in capitalism they are discouraged though, so there will be less bringing them in
our subjects are shaped by the objects, and the more unfree and violent objects there are, the more unfree and violent our subjects will be
When there is war there is a tendency to dualize the situation – us and them – and it limits the freedom, that is in the grey
Enlightenment dialectical illusion – that humans could be pinned down by science
Big problem is that our economy is based on making war – is this caused by capitalism or other factors too?
Debates do the argument for the audience and limit their ability to make their own judgments
The prisoners dilemma starts to fall apart once it is put in a series of unknowable end time, it neglects us as being, beings in time, in a certain sense – ask alex about that study with people giving money to one another to get them to accept
Rational choice works in simultaneity (game theory), but once game is in succession, it allows for cooperation (game theory – cooperative climb stag hunting)
There should be no formalities, at least where not necessary, the only things should be private property
Schooling too should be informal, because if we all got the same experience in school, in the same order, we’d see things similarly and our objects of experience would become less and less diversified
Anti-intellectualism stemming from the hyper rationalization going on today
Learning the same things but in different order will drastically make a difference between twins
They are making us into robots, so we are easier to control
dogmatism and ultra rationality are mirror images flipped over the mirror (limits of reason and preservation of freedom, morality, and the soul)
what we need is a system where Bohemianism to proliferate, and in some sense, for the normal to become abnormal; or simply for their to be no normal, except for peace, which allows all the rest to follow.
9/19/05 lecture – Use against the rationalists – it’s a normative judgment to say humans are utility maximizers – you can learn about behavoiour, but not about motivations, b/c behavior can be experienced
our imagination and the laws derived from it can only play with the objects of perception that it is given, if we are only given violence… we can only resynthesize around violence
violence has become normalized, and so has lack of freedom – we are desensitized to it
there is not even a higher reason for creating us if we all make ourselves complete materialist determinist reactions, a divide is created
As technology goes up, it takes away our own brain’s need to collect data, so we just let machines do it, but the problem is that machines can’t understand it the way we do, so we cut ourselves short, and we are stuck in the realm of collecting data – empirical data collection, but we can’t make actual judgements – relate this to gathering knowledge, but it isn’t for anything if we don’t have some beliefs, understanding to order the data
- soul and higher faculties are still there just the same, but there is less means for it to express itself, the communication mediums have been severed – we can’t get above nature and make judgements about it, if we let machines tell us how it is
imagination has less purpose and actual functioning use, and so there is a failure in the imagination 10/24/05 – apartheid not seeing humans as humans
Freedom and God are not objects, but in capitalism it seeks to make objects out of everything, and so since these things are not objectifiable they are reduced to not even existing – Now god is made into an object, and he is being made money off of and used to garner power
Capitalism and realistic focus, makes us think bringing in our own freedom is futile, b/c its impossible, and so this is how morality and freedom can wither and die
The more we believe in the determinism that is told to be happening around us (overly scientific worldviews), the less we will want to bring in our morals and will even believe in them, making us gradually amoral.
Capitalism will never allow perpetual peace, b/c capitalism needs problems to exist
We are letting something a posteri and contingent determine or vanquish our inner morality [which is a priori] , it just doesn’t make sense
Kant says we are free to make the world more deterministic to the nth degree
Libertarianism as materialist, reification of democracy – rising at a particular historical necessity to shut up people whining about democracy
Positive rights vs negative rights – the idea of positive rights should expand in the realm of all that has been invented and the limits of human knowledge, that can be shared in the socialist sector (my socialist sector) should be free for all others to build upon and have access to – society has done so much for individuals, without it we would be lonely roaming nomads without any idea of how to do anything, many of us would starve without having knowledge passed down to us on how to hunt
If technology was truly socially owned, it wouldn’t be used for violence (true democracy, there’d be no war) – only positive technology
Socialism is moralism, anarchism is freedom
Death is infinite violence and control, so life should be infinite peace and freedom (death is for the individual ~ private, life is for humanity ~ social)
Knowledge accumulation is similar to technology accumulation
Pulled from diagram sheets
Islandisation of society (habitat fragmentation) – ecosystem sense – http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/programmes/tv/state_planet/frag.shtml
– the islandisation that I propose is not something new to capitalism– can happen in many forms and is fostered or at least allowed under capitalism – there is nationalism, dividing us into separate nations, where we compete and there could be lots of “reinventing of the wheel”
racism united a race, but then divides us into races
disciplinism (is there another word)
individualism, highly particular to capitalism, reduces sharing of ideas, inventions, and material wealth
the problem isn’t the distinctionizing ism’s themselves sometimes, as in their historical context they might and still might serve a uniting – its that they turn into an end rather than a means and become chauvinistic, and priveledge differences over commonalities, even in the face of evidence that more commonalities than differences exist.
capitalism is indifferent to these other isms, meaning that it doesn’t seek to destroy them unless they are in its own way. But it introduces a new radical version of individualism, which – we have to use expend out energies and creative powers fending off one another, which
the commonality has to exist a priori, for the differences to be extrapolated – racism presupposes that we can all , commonly, have a racial charachteristic. Sexism presupposes that we all have a sex characheristic. Individualism presupposes that we all individuals. Agism presupposes that we all are of a particular age
we all need to have a certain sexuality for their to be sexualityism
we all need to be part of a nation for their to be nationalism
we all need to have an individual for their to be individualism
we all need to have a certain class for their to be classism
quote – page 18 of book – the boldest part is the minority report: an introduction to ethnic, gender and racial relations
since they cant bring their reason up above nature, they bring us down into nature, to where we can’t be above it to be moral towards it?
Ultra rationality seeks to move so far away from dogmatism that it ends up becoming dogmatic itself, and look at this today – we have both warring type, religious dogmatists and ultra rationalists
Do we dream to keep our subject intact, so we are not blackened, and is that the reason that the other half of the sleep cycle (non-rem sleep) happens irregardless of time to us, we have no time perception of it b/c there were no objects?
B/c animals dream, is that evidence they have imagination, apprehend, recognize, reproduce
When time flies, is it b/c we have too little or too much intake?
#2,2033 – Tags = 3(TW)
Description: machiavelli in his context, at unique juncture
(gotten from western traditions – midterm)
The classical western works and ideas of ancient Greece and Rome, which had been recently revived, had approximately a millennium long latency that allowed Machiavelli not to be embedded with and subject to the biases of their idealism and dogmatism. In his “Discourses,” by using Titus Livius’s histories rather than any works of Plato or other philosophers, we can already see what Machiavelli is concerned with and privileging: the real workings of the world over an ideal supposition of the world. His critical mind will also treat the church in the same realist manner, seeing it in its practical political activities and its use of ideology. Machiavelli puts political thinking on a fundamentally different course, as he teases out alternate reasons for how and why political actors do and should act to be most effective. In his primary works “the Prince” and “the Discourses,” there is a new realist analytical method throughout, even though the two works differ significantly in content and aim. The legacy of his method and his analysis of political mechanics, seen in both works, is still very much a force today in political science because of its applicability.
#2,2100 – Tags = 8(BO)
Description: Machiavelli’s the prince and the discourses
(gotten from western traditions – midterm)
With the writing of “the Prince,” Machiavelli puts his ideas into action, in that he is writing the focused work expediently to Lorenzo the Magnificent to try and gain his favor and to help strengthen his people of Italy. This shorter work encounters many issues that a leader might be faced in ruling a principality, and it uses more so contemporaneous empirical examples such as the challenges of Duke of Ferrara, Duke Ludovico, and Oliverotto da Fermo (Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince and the Discourses, (Random House, 1950), pp. 5, 7, 32, respectively.), which would be more familiar to Lorenzo. In “the Discourses,” Machiavelli’s more thorough work, he is writing a work for the healthy maintenance of a republic. As his primary example Machiavelli chooses the Roman Republic, for it had during its existence the most success of a republic hitherto and due to its long life had faced all republican challenges imaginable. Both works, though varying do to projected audience, draw concepts that are supported by actual history and are sober and pragmatic in their suggestions.
Machiavelli peals away myths and falsehoods that formerly people had relied upon and invested so much importance in, and replaces them with facts that could build a self-reliance ethos. One instance where he does this regards fortresses, which were commonly viewed as pillars of defense. Machiavelli relates that if the army is weak, then the fortress will be taken and used against it, and if the army is strong (and holds the fortress), the opposition will avoid the fortress and pillage the country, which will have little or no defense.( Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince and the Discourses, (Random House, 1950), p. 370.) Mercenary soldiers—which were not uncommon due to leader’s privileging of self-aggrandizement over national military strength and thus the need to purchase mercenaries in time of need—are also shown to be useless, for they only fight as long as they are not in danger, and thus wouldn’t be needed anyways, and when there is danger they flee, because they are only monetarily not ideologically attached to the leader and nation. Deduced from this is the principle that “political advantage trumps economic advantage.”( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 25/01/06.) The “golden” rule (those who have the gold make the rules) is replaced with the power rule: those who have the power get the gold and make the rules. Machiavelli’s discussion of ability and fortune gives a solid and reasoned form to the understanding of history and ongoing political events, as determinant forces and human power are given their proper respect. Ability and fortune, when taken together, can be thought of as foundation and superstructure, respectively, with regards to a leader or a republic as a whole. Fortune is a force that is usually above human understanding due to its complexity, but can be cultivated and put to good use; but this is only possible if the ability—the will and understanding to control situations—is already present. Ability is more important than fortune because “those who have been less beholden to fortune have maintained themselves best.”(Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince and the Discourses, (Random House, 1950), p. 20.) From this reading can be deduced the “great man theory of history.”( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 25/01/06.) It is because of ability that a prince realizes during fortunate times the advantageousness to consolidate power, and likewise for the people of a republic to strengthen their institutions, so that when bad fortune comes, there exists strongholds to weather the storm. The Roman Republic, Machiavelli effectively shows, was successful because “the valor of her armies” and maintained itself due to “the wisdom of her conduct and the nature of her institutions, as established by her first legislature.”( Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince and the Discourses, (Random House, 1950), p. 277.) Ability can resonate within an individual, within the people of a state, and/or within the institutions and machinations of a state, which guide the people to conquer fortune.
Even though Machiavelli is a proponent of realism, he recognizes the real place that dogmatism and ideology hold in the world. From this fact he derives different outlooks for leaders and citizens. A leader “should seem to be all mercy, faith, integrity, humanity, and religion,” and use these appearances to cloak what s/he is actually doing, which by necessity of maintaining leadership can range from rotten to good. (Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince and the Discourses, (Random House, 1950), pp. 64-66.) Citizens, on the other hand, who wish to maintain their republic and guard against egocentric rulers hoarding power, must form tribunes and other devices to “find out what their leaders actually are.” ( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 25/01/06.) The more citizens can deconstruct the veils that have been put over their eyes, the more a leader will have to do their will and the more equitable things will become, at least in terms of power.
One way in which Machiavelli consistently in both of his works undercuts any ability to look at “the ends” is by his obsession with the mechanics of things, and he thus leaves himself and his orthodox followers with an inability to transcend means for some particular, preferable end (though Machiavelli very probably had some personal preference on ends… he was inspired by something enough to write his works). Politics becomes explanation rather than emancipation. However, this notion is only true to a degree, as explanation can create the knowledge to achieve emancipation. And besides, Machiavelli’s exposing of the oppressors to the oppressed genuinely creates new circumstances that demand new and better justifications, and a new debate and discourse ensues. Machiavelli’s thought has incalculable influence on the 500 years following his life. For students and critics alike, he offers a whole new way of viewing the world that must at least be considered before being refuted.
#2,2101 – Tags = 8(BO)
Description: Voltaire’s Candide
(gotten from western traditions – midterm)
Voltaire, one of the great 18th century figures, embodies the spirit of the Enlightenment, notably because he is not limited by its up-to-that-point emphasis on metaphysical and scientific discovery. He is enlightened by the definition Kant would later use: having the courage to use your own understanding, without the guidance of others. Voltaire, more than anyone, brings the Enlightenment into a position of being critical of its own dogma, as well as the problems in human activities and relations. He also helps to guide it towards a tolerance for the various styles of life. In his acclaimed novel, “Candide,” Voltaire metaphorically and explicitly underscores these ongoing problems, while also positing practical solutions, most of them involving how humans should view the world and themselves.
Voltaire shows his disdain for contemporary conceptions of happiness with his ironic portrayal of the utopian city of Eldorado. When the main character Candide arrives in Eldorado, there are gold and gems galore, but this he later finds is surprisingly of little importance to the citizens of Eldorado. This is Voltaire’s way of saying to his fellow humans that not only do they have it wrong in placing such importance in finding gold, where he speaks through the king of Eldorado in criticizing Europe “…the greed of European nations, who have a quite irrational lust for the pebbles and dirt [gold], and would kill every man of us to get hold of them,” (Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), p. 79.) but also that it is people who give gold its value, and that there is nothing inherent in the object gold that leads to happiness, but rather just our view of it. The real gems in Eldorado are the people’s egalitarian worldviews, as seen in their practicing of religion, where all are on the same plane in respect to God, with no hierarchy of bishops or priests like that found in European practice of religion.
This privileging of the subject over objects and the notion that people can create happiness is a philosophical repositioning Voltaire favors, where truth is now in subjectivity. The character of the old woman, who had suffered so much during her life from all the horrors of living, admitted, “somehow I am still in love with life.”( Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), p. 57.) The antithesis to the old woman, Pococurante, the rich Venetian, had all the objects of desire that the world had to offer, except he appreciated none of them. Beyond these examples of happiness/unhappiness within the subject, there is also attack on objective truth; throughout Candide’s travels, characters who were thought dead keep remerging, a challenge to any definite objective knowledge. A sort of subjective optimism emerges, which consequentially points towards greater individual empowerment and control of situation.
Voltaire comes down hardest on the philosophical optimism pervading Europe and he draws out the consequences of holding such dogma. Simply put, optimist philosophy takes as given that God the creator is perfect and therefore the world, his cause, must be perfect. Pangloss, the optimist philosopher and Candide’s teacher, is exaggerated and made to look ludicrous when maintaining that all is “for the best” while there are both man-made ills (war, rape, torture) and natural ills like the Lisbon earthquake happening all around him and even to him. More important to Voltaire than winning the metaphysical debate with these optimists, which is in a sense missing his point, is to pull the followers of optimist philosophy out of the passivity that such doctrine induces. This passivity is evident when Pangloss and Candide decide not to save the life of James the Anabaptist, because Pangloss believes he is meant to die, for all is for the best.
At various points in the novel, quite opposed to the passivity of philosophical optimism, science is given praise and shown to be proactive and a practical solution to some ails of humanity. In Eldorado, there is to be found the “Palace of Science,” and it is via Eldorado’s engineers’ invention that transports Candide and Cacambo out of Eldorado, which without science and math would be naturally impossible to leave. ( Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), pp. 82- 83.) The Baron, whom Candide thought he’d mortally wounded, was cured by a medicine man from college.(Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), p. 134.) However, Voltaire also ingeniously senses the potential for science to become the new dogma replacing the older ones, and the human inclination to cling to absolutes. He pokes fun at science overreaching itself when a scholar demonstrates that “A plus B minus C over Z… the sheep was necessarily red and ought to die of scab.”(Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), p. 97.) Also it is not science that saves Pangloss, but his horror at being sliced open by a doctor seeking to dissect him ( Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), p. 135.). Voltaire is very pragmatic in his suggestion appreciating the nuances that different situations have, which may or may not call upon science as a remedy.
Voltaire combats Euro-centrism in an emerging globally connected age, and seeks to replace it with a tolerance and general universal acceptance. The Oreillons, who have a vastly different culture than that which Candide or Cacambo are familiar with, are praised by Candide when they search for justice in finding out if Candide and Cacambo or Jesuits, the enemies of the Oreillons ( Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), p. 72.). Throughout the novel Candide travels the world and sees many different things and meets many kinds of people, within and without Europe. The more Candide sees, the more well rounded a character he becomes ( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 22/02/06.). which is Voltaire pointing out the need for an open mind, as well as the ability for people to change. Rather than making external events fit into preconceived notions, increasingly Candide challenges preconceived notions to see if they fit with external events. By the conclusion of the story, Candide and his diverse set of friends all put aside their metaphysical differences of opinion, and do something common to all of them: physical labor to create food so they can survive contently.
Finally, Voltaire throughout the novel makes vivid the social ills that are running rampant—most of which are just left over arbitrary traditions that were never addressed—and are so commonplace their immorality is overlooked. He displays the absurdity of war making, where Candide is tricked into joining the military, and then witnesses the Abars and Bulgars making battle on one another, with each side suffering equally, losing a total of thirty thousand men; the “norms” of war are also criticized, the raping and killing of women and slaughtering of villagers. ( Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), p. 25-26.) Candide witnesses the hypocrisy of the church when he asks a Christian minister preaching of charity for some food, and the minister instead gives him questions about his beliefs, and when Candide gives no clear answer, the minister says “‘you don’t deserve to eat… be off with you, you villain, you wretch.’” ( Voltaire, Candide (Penguin Books, 1947), p. 27.) The horrors women have been subject to are made apparent with the old woman’s story. Voltaire surely realized a lot of awareness, effort and time would have to take place to start eroding these ruthless arbitrary traditions, but he does a big part in bringing awareness and hopefully stirring up discourse on these practical social issues.
#2,2102 – Tags = 3(TVW)
Description: Hobbes’s theorizing considering context
(gotten from western traditions – midterm)
Thomas Hobbes’s political philosophy was inevitably shaped much by the wars he would witness in the 17th century English and European context he lived in. There was the 30 years war brewing on continental Europe, being fought for a multiplicity of reasons, religion being one of them, and in his native country of England there was a civil war, where liberal parliamentarians were trying to assert their rights against the deep-rooted monarchists. Though he was influenced by scientific and liberal ideals, and would carry these forward in a limited way, he wanted deeply for the fighting to stop. In his magnum opus “Leviathan,” written at the close of the English civil war, Hobbes makes clear a potential compromise between the liberal aspirations and the old-world establishment. In the process of developing this social contract, he makes clear his conception of human nature and sovereignty, guided by scientific and reasoned understanding.
At base Hobbes has an egalitarian view of humans, though because of human nature there is an erosion of any practical realization of this fact. Humans are all equal because they have death in common, they all prize survival above all else because this is necessary for anything else to happen, and while existing “the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest.”(Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett, 1994), p. 74.) But this last point presupposes that humans would want to kill one another. Hobbes, looking around himself, finds sufficient empirical research verifying without a doubt that humans will kill one another. He explains killing as human passions coming into contradiction with one another. These passions in turn are explained by the nature of human imaginations to wander onto things, which leads to a curiosity of the nature of it—its causes and effects. (Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett, 1994), p. 12-13.) The consequence of these aspects of human nature is that rather than realizing other people’s top priority—survival, humans pursue their own secondary passions, which oftentimes leads to contradictions. Because the contradictions can lead to death, humans prepare against one another in a self-interested, warlike fashion, and the resultant is the “war of all against all.” (Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (Hackett, 1994), p. 78.)
The state, or commonwealth as Hobbes puts it, is originated by the people and thus means that they have ultimate, if only “in theory,” power. The commonwealth is legitimate so long as it secures survival, the most important function for all the people it administers. If the commonwealth does this, it is already a step above the natural state of war, and all should be satisfied with it. In Hobbes’s specific context, the liberal parliamentarians should be happy because they implicitly choose the sovereign, and can think to themselves “we have a priori power,” and they can then go out and focus on their felicity, and “make some money.”( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 30/01/06.) The monarchists should be happy simply because they get to keep power and de facto everything remains the same. Hobbes essentially makes the lesser of two evils argument (or greater of two goods), in that keeping the status quo government there is no return to war, even though ideally there might be a better form of government. Giving power to the monarchists is a historical contingency and not inherent in his theory, but is rather privileged because it is the most traditional and rooted form of government in his context. Not contingent but universal is that power always lies ultimately with the people
#2,2103 – Tags = 8(BO)
Description: John locke’s Second Treatise
(gotten from western traditions – midterm)
John locke’s theory of social contract explicated in “The Second Treatise of Government” differs significantly, almost polemically, from that of Hobbes, but importantly, within the liberal tradition. locke, writing 38 years after Hobbes, had significant time to study the validity and reasonableness of “Leviathan” as well as many intermediary works occurring during this period. The largest difference locke draws between himself and Hobbes is with regards to the power and breadth of the state; Hobbes views it as necessarily holding complete sovereignty, where locke sees the state in most functions unnecessary, and therefore harmful to liberty. In the process of discrediting the great chunk of arbitrariness in a large state, locke allows for a hyper individualism, which in its own right is largely justifiable and holds emancipatory qualities, but also has degrees of arbitrariness.
locke’s view of the state of nature is from the outset much less deadly than Hobbes’s, primarily because he believes there is an inherent law of nature advocating against violence. This law of nature can be accessed by reason, something locke believes all humans have in the state of nature. Once accessed, the law of natural tells humans “that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions.” ( John locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge, 1988), p. 271.) Though this law is apparent in nature, some might choose not to access it, and therefore may possibly impose on their fellow humans. locke feels the frequency and degree of this occurrence however, contrastingly with Hobbes, is fairly low. For the law of nature to have validity, it must be potentially enforceable. This locke says is the right of all humans, who are allowed to punish any who impose on their own lawful existence or on that of any others.( John locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 271-272.) locke thus provides “the first linkage between philosophy and the right to resist.” ( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 06/02/06.)This radical idea naturally commissions all the oppressed, regardless of location or position in the social hierarchy, to get rid of imposers.
The largest imposer locke is taking aim at is the large powerful state, which most people he feels never had any say in choosing. In locke’s mind the law of nature is supreme, and the role of the government should be in administering this law (for humans may be partial in their carrying out of punishments), but not going above it. ( John locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge, 1988), p. 275.). The government for locke thus moves beyond solely guaranteeing survival to its citizens, but also is charged with protecting everyone’s liberty and property, which requires it to cease to hold arbitrary power. The government’s amount of power and areas of power are to be chosen and continuously confirmed by the people to whom it administers, and the laws by which it governs are also chosen by the people (the legislature). ( John locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge, 1988), pp. 324-325.) locke moves way beyond Hobbes’s implicit moment of liberality, to an explicit continuous life under liberty, which is secured by government, not hindered by it.
#2,2110 – Tags = 3(IJP)
Description: criticism of locke on private property
(gotten from western traditions – midterm)
Some of the arbitrariness in locke can be found in his basing of individual rights on ownership of property. Firstly though, a constructive addition to the cause of liberty he devises is the notion of people owning their own bodies, which because of indeterminacy includes potentially women and non-whites ( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 06/02/06.)—“every man has a Property in his own Person.”( John locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge, 1988), p. 287.) In the following few lines however, locke expands on this notion of property and says a man owns his own labor and work, and also the property he mixes with it, for this “he removes out of the State of Nature.”( John locke, Two Treatises of Government (Cambridge, 1988), p. 288.) This is not entirely correct, as humans only own the quantity of their labor and work, but not the quality, which is passed down to them in the form of learned technology over thousands of years of human community and technology. To put it to locke, he wouldn’t be able to write his philosophies or read other peoples work if it weren’t for some community and common creation and common ownership of language. Essentially locke is justifying absolute ownership over property, which is not derivable and justifiable from nature, and is thus arbitrary. He is disregarding the natural history of human community and in the process actually decreases liberty (as his theory of property continues to exist in reality through human history, this becomes apparent where there are people who die of starvation, thus losing their liberty and life, because they have no land, while at the same time there are swaths of privately owned land that lie fallow, not being labored by anyone).
#2,2111 – Tags = 8(BO)
Description: Rousseau’s theorizing
(gotten from western traditions – midterm)
Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s notions of how society ought to be organized are markedly different from both Hobbes and Rousseau, though elements of these two thinkers are within Rousseau and impact his thought greatly. Rousseau writes his “Social Contract” and its supplementary works on the state of nature, “A Discourse on the Arts and Sciences,” and “A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality,” all of which were written a hundred years after “Leviathan” and 60 years after “The Second Treatise of Government.” In these works Rousseau expands liberal thought in every direction, leading to a liberal interpretation of liberalism, which is a furthering of the divergent amount of thought that had been sparked during the Enlightenment. Rousseau is also is living in a time when the Enlightenment had already expanded a great deal, and by that point there was also a focus on consolidation and critique of earlier Enlightenment thinker’s ideas, in addition to the continuing expansion. Within liberalism Rousseau maneuvers on two sides: criticism and synthesis, in which he does much pruning and encouraging of liberal theory.
Like Hobbes and locke, Rousseau also has his own conception of the state of nature and human nature. Rousseau sees humans as neither warring nor communalizing at first, but indifferent to one another, this being as they were in the nomadic stage. Agreeing essential with locke’s point, he believes logically the first societies would be familial. He uses deductive reasoning and comes to the conclusion that stationary societies (civilizations) first formed where nomadicism would be most limited: on islands. Once these civilizations needed to expand, they’d go to mainland for resources, causing the nomads of the mainland to react and organize their own civilizations. A chain would develop causing every nomadic society to civilize. It is from this civilizing process that arbitrary inequalities developed, which explains most of the inequality seen in present day society. This view runs contrary to locke, who sees physical and natural inequalities among humans causing their inequality presently. Once moral and political equality (civil equality) is actually realized, people, according to their physical and natural differences, will find the places where they fit best, and in this process of coming together around a civil state and being active participants, civil equality shall be further realizable. ( Much of paragraph derived from – Jean Jacques Rousseau, “A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality” in The Social Contract and the Discourses (Everyman, 1993) pp. 32-126, and illuminated by Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 13/02/06.)
Rousseau sees and anticipates the tradition that is and will continue to grow from lockean individualist liberalism if it is left unchecked. He posits alternatively the idea of the general will, which will bring back community the more it is realized. The general will is the most important aspect in society, as it is “always the law of nature.” ( Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and the Discourses (Everyman, 1993) p. 132.) Rousseau’s idea of the general will would contrast later with the lockean derivative Adam Smith whose idea is that if individuals do what is in their own self-interest, it benefits the common good. Rousseau sees the ridiculousness in this thinking, and asserts rather that if individuals do what’s in the common interest (or general will), it benefits their own good. Rousseau makes this concrete in his attack on property and the alternative position that “‘the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.’” ( Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract and the Discourses (Everyman, 1993) p. 84.) Rousseau senses the alienation that this false strand of liberalism is generating, as we split into two personalities, public and private. ( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 1302/06.) We only keep our freedom by constantly using it and participating in a civil state, rather than being individualistic.
#2,2112 – Tags = 3(JTW)
Description: on the social contract theorists: Hobbes, locke, and Rousseau on liberalism
(gotten from western traditions midterm)
Hobbes gets things started with a moment of liberalism, but lets much of the old world arbitrariness remain. Following him, while focused on decreasing the role of the state and thus creating more liberality, locke lets the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction, and also, whether intentionally or by accident, creates a world where community is destroyed. Rousseau goes back into the past to find community, but refashions it to be compatible with modern liberalism and a modern nation state. Liberal theory doesn’t stop with these thinkers, which would be counter to the movement. Rather these three thinkers merely made large foundational contributions to the understanding of liberalism.
#2,2113 – Tags = 8(NO)
Description: note on Machiavelli
(gotten from Western Traditions – thoughts on topics for paper)
Machiavelli talks about how nobles who fight against a tyranny then establish an aristocracy, and they govern well b/c they are acutely aware of falling into a dictatorship again. However, the aristocrats of the next generation who didn’t experience the tyranny/dictatorship don’t fear it and therefore are likely to slip into an oligarchy, another form of dictatorship.
(constant flux between good and bad governments b/c of generations)
#2,2120 – Tags = 1(AHP)
Description: notes on locke and property rights
(gotten from Western Traditions – thoughts on topics for paper)
locke and property rights (that we putting labor into something means we have ownership in it) – what happens when multiple people put labor into something, and there is no objective decision on who put how much into it? Is that what government is for? But besides, then how does the military fit in, steal the property of others? , and if some humans had already been on land, what allows others to go onto it and labor on it and claim ownership?
By one person owning property, that means others don’t
locke – liberty is for the oppressed, similar to marx, where his theories are for the proletariat
#2,2121 – Tags = 3(KLW)
Description: kant and his conservative opponents
(gotten from Western Traditions – Final)
Immanuel Kant shifted and inverted the fundamentals of thought on many core matters in such a way that he himself felt he was creating something as significant as “the Copernican revolution.” His opposition, who were being debased by his critical philosophy, also gave it tremendous weight, however to them it was viewed as the weight that threatened to fall on and crush the foundations of their civilization. The threatening trend of the Enlightenment was increasingly compelling these traditionalists into the reactionary and conservative disposition, which accelerated even more once Kant released the volumes containing his critical philosophy. Kant’s “nuclear bomb” coming after years of war would allow Moses Mendelsohn to call him “the great destroyer of systems.” Indeed, these systems Kant significantly attacked and altered—epistemology, morality and moral autonomy, tolerance, government, and concepts of human purposes generally—were rigorously defended by the Counter-Enlightenment, creating a situation of discursive conflict and variety, which in its own right was taking the conservatives away from their home, to fight in unfavorable territory.
Kant’s first critique, The Critique of Pure Reason, was his epistemological masterpiece that set out what we as humans can know, and just as importantly, what we can’t. Kant was responding to the dogma in religion that said we can know God and know ourselves as souls, as well as responding to the emerging dogmas of empirical science which was taking reasoned inquiry beyond its limits; also this critique responded to the skepticism evidenced in Hume, that we can only have probabilistic truth. ( Drucilla Cornell, Fall 2005.) Reason had gained such prominence throughout western civilizations’ development that the church had come to terms with it and used arguments for God’s existence that were built on reason, as well as on faith, to strengthen its position. Kant would give an immanent critique of reason with his “antinomies,” by showing that what we can know from reason is limited, and in so doing would indirectly be attacking religion and the church, a pillar of power. Even if the church hadn’t used reasoned arguments to justify the Christian religion, Kant would still show that the revelations it professed, when taken up critically, were not verifiable and most couldn’t exist “within the limits of mere reason alone.”
In today’s world Kant would be seen as a roadblock more significantly to the knowledge claims of positivistic science, but in his own time his critical epistemology challenged most seriously the conservatives. Whereas Kant says that something like the soul cannot be known because it would be in the noumenal world, conservatives attack him for even bringing the matter up, regardless of what might be true. To them the notion of the soul is essential because civilization for millennia has built upon its supposed existence, and to challenge the stated idea of the soul with which so many identify, would be asking for chaos. In the interest of social cohesion, claims like Kant’s regardless of their validity, must be refuted to keep what Edmund Burke calls “the fine draperies of life from being torn asunder.” Similarly, David Hume would argue the soul, like justice, arises out of human conventions and serves to organize men “into a general plan or system of actions which tends to public utility.” (David Hume, Of Justice in Conservatism, eds. Jerry Z. Muller (Princeton University 1997), p. 44.) Hume, an enlightenment thinker in his own right, may recognize the irrationality of maintaining convention from the standpoint of reason, but he recognizes the pragmatic logic of how such a situation could be beneficial to maintain.
Kant’s depiction of morality, perhaps more so than his notion of the soul, is extremely at odds with the status quo because of where he places it: in the individual (“the moral law within”), rather than coming from the church. To be fair, the Catholic Church as a pinnacle of power 500 years before had eroded significantly, but the doctrine and the word of the lord were still commonly recognized as guiding principles of morality. What Kant’s radical views on morality essentially did, in terms of a power analysis, was divide up the moral power endowed in the church and give it to each individual to make their own moral laws. Rituals and other social expressions of belief were unnecessary according to Kant; for him belief was for the individual alone; and with this one now has the moral responsibility to think for himself–authority is an illusion–for its immoral to let follow the laws of others. (Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 29/03/06.) And so the world is what the people made of it through creating their own moral codes, not what the church, supposedly spouting the word of God, called for.
Concerning morality Joseph de Maistre would respond that the moral law only “has a genuine sanction if it is taken as emanating from a superior will.” ( Joseph de Maistre, Essay on the Generative Principle of Political Constitutions and of Other Human Institutions in Conservatism, eds. Jerry Z. Muller (Princeton University 1997), p. 137.) This to him nullifies any person creating moral laws for themselves, they can only “regulate” themselves; laws must be coming from something greater and external to themselves, namely the church and thus God. In a certain sense, for Kant, the superior will would be those humans who use “their own understanding confidently and well in religious matters, without outside guidance,” ( Immanuel Kant, Political Writings (Cambridge 1991), p. 58.) rather than those who remain imprisoned by existing arbitrary institutions. De Maistre and his conservative counterparts were hoping to keep what seemed to be a developing sense of self dignity among society’s members at bay under what they had available, which was the church and the feudal state.
Its important in understanding conservatives generally that they will not all be calling on the continuance of a specific institution like the Christian religion, but that they will all have in common keeping whatever power relations and the superficial institutions that organize these intact. To display this: one could find a secular egalitarian conservative in a context where equality and tolerance were the tradition, and the threat was some religious fascist cult that was diametrically opposed to it. It just so happened that when Kant was writing he was most intimately attacking the Church and the hierarchy it represented. He was not only concerned with the Church’s hierarchical position either, but with hierarchy generally. This becomes clear in his understanding of revolution, where with the French example the third estate during the terror ends up doing to the first and second estates what they had traditionally done to the third. “A revolution may well put and end to autocratic despotism, but it will never produce a true reform in the ways of thinking… [instead will arise] new prejudices, like the ones they replaced.” ( Immanuel Kant, Political Writings (Cambridge 1991), p. 55.) This shows Kant’s ability to look past the superficialities and understand the form of the system at hand, and call for its bringing down by positing something entirely new.
Kant’s political writings on the form the state should take go almost as far from escaping the prejudices of his time as perhaps his philosophical writings, something astounding that displays his courage to directly go against the status quo; and within there are important features that should be pointed out.. The civil state for Kant must not be the creator of a priori principles but itself must be based on them. These principles are: “1. The freedom of every member of society as a human being. 2. The equality of each with all the others as a subject. 3. The independence of each member of a commonwealth as a citizen.” If such were to be enacted, a level playing field would exist where it wasn’t before. The dignity of humans with regards to external interactions would be intact, as Kant’s belief that humans are ends not means would be realized. As long as one wasn’t breaking the laws legislated collectively by all, they could pursue their own interests as guided by their own moral code, supporting mutually all other’s rights to do the same. Also to ensure fairness, “fellow subjects may not stand in his way by hereditary prerogatives or privileges of rank and thereby hold him and his descendents back indefinitely.” ( Immanuel Kant, Political Writings (Cambridge 1991), p. 75.) Ultimately what the state should be, for Kant, is the place where man can escape from the lawlessness of nature and come into fraternity with other humans to collectively maximize all their freedom.
Kant’s depiction of the civil state contrasts starkly with that of the contemporary monarchical state. The meritocracy for the administration of government anticipated in Kant and other enlightenment thinkers is crudely attacked by Justus Moser who says “birth and age are better determinants of rank in this world than is true worth.” ( Justus Moser, No Promotion According to Merit in Conservatism, eds. Jerry Z. Muller (Princeton University 1997), p. 75.) His argument essentially is that solidity and peace in the hierarchical structure are best preserved by seniority and heredity, because unlike in a meritocracy, there is no rat race where people step on one another and start to question their own worth causing psychological problems to ensue. Edmund Burke, commenting on what he feels are the incredible excesses of revolutions, notices with his own countries revolution and subsequent restoration that the traditional governing elements will reassert themselves even after being supposedly eradicated by the revolutionaries, because there is an inherent value in them that even the most supposedly trodden on. (Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France in Conservatism, eds. Jerry Z. Muller (Princeton University 1997), pp. 85-87.) In this way conservation of the state is not just yearned for by those who the enlightenment intellectuals identify as being arbitrarily privileged, but also the masses who are resistant to too much change, regardless if it is better on paper. From this line of thinking, even if the powers that be haven’t been formally democratically approved, they are still representative of the people’s wants at that time, due to natural conservative tendencies of people to get used to and appreciate what they have, even if it is relatively very little.
Kant would become a thinker of tolerance, universalism, and progress. Kant is not for the destruction of religion, though this might be perceived, he is for keeping religion to the private realm. The reason for this privatization he makes vivid in the example of a priest who is not free to criticize the religion or even stray from it for social purposes because he is beholden to its doctrine. ( Immanuel Kant, Political Writings (Cambridge 1991), p. 57.) Kant feels the ability to be critical is necessary for the health of a state, and thus his defense of freedom of the press because it “is the only safeguard of the rights of the people.” ( Immanuel Kant, Political Writings (Cambridge 1991), p. 85.) As long as a private religion isn’t imposing upon citizenship, the public and the state should have no right to interfere with ones private search for salvation. ( Immanuel Kant, Political Writings (Cambridge 1991), p. 58.) In terms of universalism, Kant goes beyond tolerance and seeks to show humanities’ deep connection across space and time. “Those natural capacities which are directed towards the use of his reason are such that they could be fully developed only in the species, but not in the individual.” Immanuel Kant, Political Writings (Cambridge 1991), p. 42.) Humans benefit from the struggles and ingenuities of other humans in places far and times past, and because of this it becomes part of our being human to further help others. Out of this comes an implicit caring for people beyond the immediate community and ensues is a sense of a human wide fraternity, as well as the dignity of all. Further, traceable back to Kant could be notions like human rights that are inviolable, and similarly citizen’s rights not to go to war just because their leader wants to conquer. (Immanuel Kant, Political Writings (Cambridge 1991), pp. 90-91.)
If things can get better than they are, it means that they are not as good as they can be and the status quo has no justification for its indefinite continuance. A true conservative would attack the enlightenment notion of progress, saying that the value of the present is justified by the fact that it exists as opposed to something an enlightenment figure was calling upon. For there to be an empirical justification to the existence of progress, a history needs to be accessed tracking human development up to the present, showing things progress. Traditionalists and conservatives have little use for factual objective histories and rather like to mystify the past and partake in revisionism, to where a member of society feels as if things were always the way they are.( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 09/03/06.) For them, “history is a pact between the dead, the living, and the yet unborn.” On the topic of universalism, conservatives were fundamentally opposed to what was different, and often the fear of difference kept things the same that much longer. “The local takes precedence over the cosmopolitan and the particular over the universal.” ( Stephen Bronner, Reclaiming the Enlightenment (Columbia 2004), p. 76.) When something is new and different, and seems to be accepted by the populous, the conservatives appropriate it quickly as to not stir up the order—in the same sort of way this explains why David Hume is being found in a conservative book even though he was an Enlightenment thinker, he was appropriated.
#2,2122 – Tags = 1(AKJ)
Description: How do the German thinkers move the idea of freedom? – introduction and Kant
(gotten from Western Traditions – Final)
The existence of freedom, and how and if it could be known, drove German thinkers to depths and extremes of philosophy never before dared. Kant in many ways laid the groundwork for this pursuit, in which Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx would further it and take it in new directions, leading Friedrich Nietzsche to question the purpose. Every thinker would find flaws or limitations with the thinker(s) that came before him, and in the attempt to solve these issues would create a new set of questions. Perhaps more importantly than this however, would be the processes used for inquiry and the discoveries made along the way, illuminating many of the ways in which society progresses and interacts throughout history. Perhaps freedom, true to its inherent meaning, couldn’t be pinned down and located, and remains elusive and “free.”
Kant’s project of redefining human morality depended on the postulation that humans are metaphysically free. This freedom’s potential must be realized by the person in their making a law for themselves that they could apply universally. If they act based on utility or consequentialism, they are not free and are just subjecting themselves to the complex causal forces found in the physical world. So only when a person makes the law for themselves, that they always follow, can they free themselves from physical forces and actually be doing for themselves. Further, for this law they make for themselves to be moral, it must be universalizable, meaning that any other person could equally do it and there would never be conflict of wills. Telling the truth is such an example that fits in with this categorical imperative. Thus, the truth of freedom was in the noumenal realm for Kant, where things couldn’t be known by definition. Therefore the noumenal freedom couldn’t be known absolutely, but must be assumed to be true for their to be such a thing as morality. This is a far as Kant goes in tracking freedom for it fits in with his epistemological claims and is enough for his system of morality to function completely.
#2,2123 – Tags = 1(AHKV)
Description: Hegel on freedom and his criticisms of Kant
(gotten from Western Traditions – Final)
The way that freedom was segmented into everyone’s metaphysical existence made it a very personal, individualistic thing, making it not possible for being realized in the physical world. For Hegel this postulation of freedom in the metaphysical realm of practical reason wasn’t enough. Hegel believed freedom could be known, just as all other noumenal objects, and that he had a method for doing it. Hegel takes the noumenal question that Kant left behind and provides a phenomenological answer. ( Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 03/04/06.) Hegel showed that the subjective ideal, which is freedom in the metaphysical, would become an ideal objectified in the physical world, where it could be studied with pure reason and proven or disproved. In fact if freedom couldn’t be shown concretely, it is of no consequence and for Hegel doesn’t even exist; thus the imperative to find freedom existent. In his phenomenological proof of freedom, Hegel breaks from Kant’s philosophical limits and makes human freedom something that has been developing through history.
Understanding the Hegelian method is necessary for understanding how something like freedom can be known. For Hegel, if something cannot make itself concrete, i.e. display itself in the physical world, it doesn’t really exist; thus “there is nothing in the essence of an object that does not become manifest in the series of its appearances.” (Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 03/04/06.) So when something immaterial, an idea, makes itself concrete, material, it is essentially defining itself in otherness, its opposite. To make this plain, take the example of defining a word. The word “tree” is not understood by saying a tree is a tree (in itself). Rather the tree must be defined outside of itself: a tree is something that has green leaves, a brown tree trunk, and grows tall and lives until such and such a time. ( “…one begins with the word ‘God’. This by itself is a meaningless sound, a mere name; it is only the predicate that says what God is, gives Him content and meaning. Only in the end of the proposition does the empty beginning become actual knowledge.” Friedrich Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit in The Hegel Reader eds. Stephen Houlgate (Blackwell 1998), pp. 54-55.) Similarly, metaphysical human freedom, as Kant explains, cannot be seen within itself, leaving for there to be no way of verifying it.
Hegel finds a non-metaphysical way of defining freedom and showing that it exists for us: “there is nothing in freedom that does not become manifest in history.” Hegel looks back on human history and sees that there is a trend of growing freedom, most clearly in political institutions (or at first even in their existence). Going along with his argument, humans must be free to create these institutions, through action, i.e. work. Since human freedom can come into being, into concreteness, we essentially are free to create our own history. Thus, humanity increasingly can now see that it constitutes itself. (Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 03/04/06.) Although, arguably not even today do all humans realize this; the working class are the producers, the origin of all value, yet they seldom reflect this knowledge as they remain subordinate.
There is some sort of disconnect between the metaphysical actuality and the physical realization of freedom. In his philosophy of history Hegel shows that in different cultures different degrees of freedom were realized, but that slaves and other unfree populations still existed. (Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of History in The Hegel Reader eds. Stephen Houlgate (Blackwell 1998), pp. 401-402.) To explain this, firstly it must be remembered that something, like a person, can only define and understand themselves in another; thus the need for societies. But when coming into society, the first knowledge humans gain is of their own mortality, which they can witness in the death of others. This fear of death for most overshadows the realization of their freedom, and they are easily turned into subordinate positions to other humans who threaten to kill them if they aren’t subordinate. In comes ideology to instill false consciousness on both the slave and the master, where the former sees itself as dependent on the latter, and the latter sees itself as independently the creator of what is actually the formers work. (Friedrich Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit in The Hegel Reader, eds. Stephen Houlgate (Blackwell 1998), pp. 96-97.) The development of freedom in concreteness then rides on the oppressed realizing their own independence and the falsity in the ideology, but as usually happens one ideology is cast away for another, though the newer ideology generally resembles the true idea of freedom closer than the older, thus the expansion of freedom.
Freedom develops in a series of milestones reflecting new consciousness. It is through revolt, conflict, in which society changes and the slave replaces the master, taking over at a higher form of civilization. (Stephen Eric Bronner, Lecture 03/04/06.) Morality, something formerly just thought of as metaphysical, can also come into being, via laws. Now morality can be legislated for the society as a whole, because the society as a whole free; it is no longer just for the individual as it was in Kant. This can only begin to happen when the state is privileged above the family and the economy because “in it, freedom enters into its highest right, just as this ultimate end possesses the highest right in relation to individuals, whose highest duty is to be members of the state.” (Friedrich Hegel, Philosophy of Right in The Hegel Reader eds. Stephen Houlgate (Blackwell 1998), p. 380.) It thus can reconcile the conflict individuals feel as members of the family and civil society (and become immediate).
#2,2130 – Tags = 3(AEHMPT)
Description: Marx on freedom, criticisms and use of Hegel
(gotten from Western Traditions – Final)
Hegel left a deep impact on Marx, so deep that essentially Marx takes the breadth of Hegel and reverses it, to where idealism is replaced with materialism. Marx read in Hegel a great method for understanding society, but when Hegel said the state, civil society, and the family are all lined up there’d be an end of history. Marx looked around himself and saw the majority of people in misery without any resemblance of the freedom Hegel spoke of. He felt political freedom was useless, it had come “into contradiction between its ideal mission and its real preconditions.” (Karl Marx, For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing in The Marx-Engels Reader eds. Robert C. Tucker (W.W. Norton 1978) p. 14.) This dependency upon material freedom leads him to feel that idealism was not transcendent of an era, but dependent and built on its economic relations. Freedom must be understood as something economic, material, and ultimately deterministic. According to Hegel, the idea of freedom must exist before it can be instituted, but for Marx there must exist material freedom before their can be conscious freedom.
Marx set out to look at the material world with the Hegelian critical method to search for its contradictions. He had a firm belief that critical inquiry was the road to truth, as “to find the new world only through criticism of the old.” (Karl Marx, For a Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing in The Marx-Engels Reader eds. Robert C. Tucker (W.W. Norton 1978) p. 13.) What he discovers are economic classes of people, some with more wealth than they know what to do with, others who have nothing, as well as some middling classes which he sees becoming increasingly rare. He also notices that although the poor class, the proletariat, have nothing, they are the producers of all value. Whereas the bourgeoisie, the wealthy are parasitic. How can there be freedom for the proletariat when they are working 16 hours a day? Humans still aren’t free because they physically don’t have access to the land, and are then controlled by other men because they have to sell their labour. ( Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 in The Marx-Engels Reader eds. Robert C. Tucker (W.W. Norton 1978) p. 77-78.) He saw things going in the wrong direction, getting worse for the majority of people. As philosophy becomes more clear and lucid, it just leads to more efficient exploitation of humans. Thus philosophy, such as Hegel’s, cannot be the liberator: “the world confronting a philosophy total in itself is therefore a world torn apart.” (Karl Marx, To Make the World Philosophical in The Marx-Engels Reader eds. Robert C. Tucker (W.W. Norton 1978) p. 11.) Importantly, Marx doesn’t think consciousness will change work relations, but that only a change in work relations will change consciousness.
Marx finds in history a trek of different economic systems developing, from primitive communism to slave to feudal and now, in his day, capitalism. Capitalism is the system which “has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation,” (Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto in The Marx-Engels Reader eds. Robert C. Tucker (W.W. Norton 1978) p. 477.) in place of feudal mysticism. Capitalism inverts everything, to the point where Hegel could believe that idealism was privileged over materialism, not vice versa. What happens is “the worker becomes a slave of his object, first, in that he receives an object of labour, i.e., in that he receives work” (Karl Marx, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844 in The Marx-Engels Reader eds. Robert C. Tucker (W.W. Norton 1978), p 72.) Labour, action, something coming from something conscious, is now objectified into materiality, as Marx sees it, this is the metaphysical defining itself in the physical, which capitalism makes apparent. The problem freedom faces is that it is now hinging on a deterministic world.
Marx finds contradictions in capitalism that will bring it down and reign in a new economic system. First off in the capitalist economy there are crisis of overproduction, which symbolize how much the economy is out of the control of the people. More importantly, the capitalist relations become fetters on the productive forces; there is increased monopolization and stagnation, and increasing inefficiency, some have way too much while others have too little. Revolts occur, and the fetter of private property is realized and abolished. This is all determined to happen says Marx, materially freeing up the world for all to have access to eventually. This new material freedom will allow ideal freedom, the end of history thus comes, but only after the truth comes out in the physical world.
Freedom is inherently something metaphysical, that is there for the individual. The way Marx is displaying the actuality of the world, freedom is dependent on the material world. If this is so, and it is just a “product” of the economic base, is it really free? Freedom is not something dependent on something else, this is definitionally incoherent. Material freedom then becomes something superficial if not underpinned by metaphysical freedom. Hegel in a certain sense started this issue when he sought to move freedom from the metaphysical down into the material, to where Marx reversed and said material up to the metaphysical, making freedom objective and thus not free and mobile. In trying to correct Hegel, Marx more accurately focuses attention on the real issues that society is facing, but in the process also makes metaphysical freedom seem unattainable. But this doesn’t matter, because its just a philosophical question anyways, what matters is the actual physical world where people must live.
#2,2131 – Tags = 1(ABJLNY)
Description: Nietzsche vs rationality
(gotten from Western Traditions – Final)
Nietzsche takes a radical turn with respect to Kant, Hegel, Marx and western society generally. The closer all these thinkers come to locating freedom, whether its in ideality or materiality or any other rationally constructed paradigm of thought, the less free they were actually becoming, along with the rest of the people. Rationality, something they all used for inquiry was “flattening things out” to dangerously dull levels. Understanding the world too much lead to a lack of enjoying it. Reason had the stultifying effect, just like a religion, to restrict people to only particular methods of thought, that to go outside of would be going against “reason.” Reason helps to make “everything around us clear and free and simple!” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Vintage Books 1989), p. 35.) The only problem is that it necessarily follows that we will become simple. The more complication and inequality and lack of comprehension, the more free a spirit is to wander and discover itself, not have others discover it first.
Nietzsche had his own binary system of understanding history and the forces at play. There was the Apollonian which represented reason and the Dionysian which roughly was emotion, embodied in culture. As one grew the other waned, and vice versa; they were antithetical. Nietzsche saw the enlightenment as a revolution of politics against culture, the winning of the Apollonian over the Dionysian. The Enlightenment was just a reaffirmation of the victory of the Apollonian though, as systems such as Christianity and firstly the Socratic method got us started down the path; the enlightenment was just doing it with reason. (Michael Thompson, Lecture 24/04/06.) The Dionysian is desire, that we are all born with, our first nature, but reason can come in with its second nature and rid us of the first; the first is still always there, however: “even when the mouth lies, the way it looks still tells the truth.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Vintage Books 1989), p. 92.) This to Nietzsche is bad, and leads keeps humanity us in unfreedom.
It is our culture which espouses either a Dionysian or Apollonian ethos, and because Nietzsche feels there is nothing of any real value anymore because of Apollonian’s 99/100 occurrence, that there must be a “transvaluation of all values.” (Michael Thompson, Lecture 26/04/06.) What this is and how it should be used Nietzsche doesn’t say, because that would be a continuance of one not deciding for him or herself. Convention is what corrupts, and so to reverse convention is a start at freeing oneself from it. Franz Fanon when he speaks of the need for the colonialized to have violent revolution to purge themselves of the psychological structuring that colonialism has engendered could be seen as following in the Nietzschean tradition.
Democracy, something else that is supposedly all about freedom in the modern world, is also a blow to the Dionysian. “The democratic movement is not only a form of the decay of political organization but a form of the decay, namely the diminution, of man, making him mediocre and lowering his value.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (Vintage Books 1989), p. 117.) Rather than freeing us, it puts us further into the slave morality. Democracy is the false freedom. Similarly, reason is a falsity that continues in our contemporary society. Reason is a dogma Nietzsche shows, as it is just the relation of language that makes it necessarily true, but it really just enslaves our minds (Michael Thompson, Lecture 24/04/06.). We created it and forgot that we had. But like reason, many other things we have created, and back to recognizing ourselves as creators rather than passive accepters is what freedom is for Nietzsche.
#2,2132 – Tags = 8(BNO)
Description: Marx’s Grundrisse pages 304-364
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Presentation – Final)
p 305-306 Piano Footnote
“that the piano maker is a productive worker, but not the piano player.”
“Labour becomes productive only by producing its own opposite.”
“the pianist stimulates production; partly by giving a more decisive, lively tone to our individuality.”
“Production for unproductive consumption is quite as productive as that for productive consumption; always assuming that it produces or reproduces capital.”
the musical product that is caused by the pianists labour mixing with the literal instrument the piano, is unproductive because it isn’t labour that in anyways furthers capital, and it becomes an end in itself. In the eyes of a capitalist economy, the only end should be capital, and if a product does not serve this end, it is not productive. Is there room in capitalism for purposeless purposes?
Indirect productivity – production of ideology could serve capital if it motivates people to work.
‘Throw away’ society follows from this capitalist logic, for getting too much use out of something isn’t productive for capital.
“a use value for capital, labour is a mere exchange value for the worker”
“he [the worker] divests himself of labour as the force productive of wealth; capital appropriates it, as such.” …
“by selling his labour to the capitalist, the worker obtains a right only to the price of labour, not to the product of his labour, nor to the value which his labour has added to it.” … “Thus all the progress of civilization… increases only the productive power of capital.”
explain my own conception of labour being immaterial, yet receiving something material in exchange
“they [the economists] recall that capital is also in another respect a value, that is, something immaterial, something indifferent to its material consistency.”
here he is in a sense trying to clarify the notion of capital held by the economists [Ricardo, Sismondi], which is somewhat confused, as they hold capital as being material substance, raw material, but then Say expands the idea of capital.
What I conceive of it to be is something in time, just as labour is, diachronically, not synchronically, evident.
“self-realization [of capital] includes preservation of the prior value, as well as its multiplication.”
capital as growing, cancerous in a sense, directional
“the value of the product is = to the value of the raw material + the value of the part of the instrument of labour which has been destroyed, i.e. transferred to the product, and which is suspended in its original form, + the value of labour.”
next several pages, I got a sense of suspense. Where does this menace of capital come in to the picture.
“it is clear even empirically that if everyone sold for 10% too much, this is the same as if they all sold at the cost of production… the seller who recieved 110 thalers would in fact recieve only 100”
so it is not in jacking up price, this would be mere inflation… this doesn’t actually produce wealth, or surplus. commerce and trade as such can never increase value.
“the existence of capital vis-à-vis labour requires that capital in its being-for-itself, the capitalist, should exist and be able to live as not-worker. It is equally clear, on the other side, that capital, even as conventionally defined, would not retain its value if it could retain nothing but its value.”
capital as something fundamentally parasitic
“but in order to come into being, capital presupposes a certain accumulation; which is already contained in the independent antithesis between objectified and living labor.”
antithesis between objectified and living labour, as being another point of labour is energy put into something, immaterial, yet it receives something material, stripping some of its other realization, which is thus taken by capital
“the labour time objectified in capital appears, as we have seen, as a sum consisting of three parts: (a) the labour time objectified in the raw material; (b) the labour time objectified in the instrument of labour; (c) the labour time objectified in the price of labour.”
“he [the capitalist] has to obtain more value than he gives.”
it is in c that capital changes from one thing qualitatively different into another
But also, at one point in time, the raw material and the instrument could have been being ripped on by capital
“capital has paid him [the worker] the amount of objectified labour contained in his vital forces.”
“there is more labour objectified in his immediate existence than is contained in his mere vitality.”
“hence surplus value can never sprout out of the equivalent; nor can it do so originally out of circulation; it has to arise from the production process of capital itself.”
this is where capital gets surplus labour from, by merely sustaining the worker, but taking the rest of the fruits of his labour.
“capital’s ceaseless striving towards the general form of wealth drives labour beyond the limits of its natural paltriness, and thus creates the material elements for the development of the rich individuality which is as all-sided in its production as in its consumption, and whose labour also therefore appears no longer as labour, but as the full development of activity itself, in which natural necessity in its direct form has disappeared; because a historically created need has taken the place of the natural one. This is why capital is productive; i.e. an essential relation for the development of the social productive forces.”
“autonomous wealth as such can exist only either on the basis of direct force labour, slavery, or indirect forced labour, wage labour.”
this idea is held against the view of the peasants in Jamaca, who produced just enough to survive.
“an over-abundance of agricultural products (grain, cattle, raw materials) is therefore the true form of general wealth.”
“thus, according to A. Smith, labour should actually have its own product for wages, wages should be = to the product, hence labour should not be wage labour and capital not capital. Therefore, in order to introduce profit and rent as original elements of the cost of production, i.e. in order to get a surplus value out of the capitalist production process, he presupposes them, in the clumsiest fashion.”
contradiction in adam smith’s thinking, but it almost makes him seem humane
“capital is the endless and limitless drive to go beyond its limiting barrier. Every boundary is and has to be a barrier for it.”
capital is in motion
“surplus labour (from the worker’s standpoint) or surplus value (from capital’s standpoint) does not grow in the same numerical proportion as the productive force” … “the multiplier of the productive force is thus never the multiplier but always the divisor of the original relations, not the multiplier of its numerator, but of its denominator.”
X (= necessary) Y (= surplus)
Double in Productivity
Quadruple in Production (Double Again)
within the bounds of surplus labour, it grows, but it gets smaller, so it can’t really proliferate to the degree that it inherently wants to. It truly is bound by the material conditions of labour
“[productivity] diminishes necessary labour, hence, in the same relations as it diminishes the former, it creates [more] surplus labour or, what amounts to the same thing, surplus value.”
“thus the more developed capital already is, the more surplus labour it has created, the more terribly it must develop the productive force in order to realize itself in only smaller proportion.”
“Every increase in the mass of capital employed can increase the productive force not only at an arithmetical but at a geometrical rate… the influence of the increase of capital on the increase of productive force is thus infinitely greater than that of the increase of productive force on the growth of capital.”
Set Amount of capital
X (= necessary) Y (= surplus)
Doubling the mass of capital
2X 2Y (doubling the amount of surplus value)
Doubling the mass of capital and doubling the productivity
two ways to increase capital – exploit labour more by increasing productive (but this is within limits, and returns decrease), or just flood in more capital
“(whether labour which had been dormant is set into motion, or new workers are created (population is accelerated) or again a new circle of exchange values, of exchange values in circulation, is expanded, which can occur on the production side if liberated exchange value opens up a new branch of production, i.e. a new object of exchange, objectified labour in the form of a new use value; or the same is achieved when objectified labour is put in the sphere of circulation in a new country, by an expansion of trade).”
this is where imperialism comes into play
“labour presupposes the existence of an instrument which facilitates the work, and of a material in which it presents itself, which it forms.”
“it [the product] now contains objectified labour in two parts – his working day, and that already contained in his material, yarn and spindle, independent of him and before him.”
capital also existing in material and instruments of labour
The original labour is posited as being valuable because capital knows it can get labour to finish the job,
“labour is the living, form-giving fire”
“but when cotton is posited, say, as twist, then it is posited in a specific kind of relation to a further kind of labour. If this labour were not to take place, then not only has the from been posited in it uselessly, i.e. the previous labour is not reaffirmed by new labour, but the material is also spoiled, because, in the form of twist, it has a use value only in so far as it is worked on further.”
“It preserves it [the incomplete product], however, i.e. protects it from uselessness and decay, only by working it in a purposeful way, by making it the object of new living labour.”
Consumerism culture and ideology are needed and created by capital, so that the more things being created can be all consumed
When you objectify labour, and don’t realize the fundamentally subjective immaterial quality of it, things get distorted
“Living labour adds a new amount of labour; however, it is not this quantitative addition which preserves the amount of already objectified labour, but rather its quality as living labour, the fact that it relates as labour to the use values in which the previous labour exists”
#2,2133 – Tags = 8
Description: Grundrisse pages 304-364 – Initial Notes
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Presentation- Initial Notes)
here he hints at the role individualism will play in furthering capitalism
piano playing would be an end, not capital, only if piano playing produces more htings to be in circulation will it help capital accrue
throw away society is necessary to the logic of capital – getting too much use out of something you aren’t going to go back and help circulation by buying more
also planned obsolecence is prefigured to come about
the more circulation there is, the more chances of labour being sucked up by capital there is
raw material X labour = productA, productA (now an instrument to labour?) X labour = productB, productB (now an instrument to labour?) X labour = productC…
from A to B to C there is trend in technological advancement
2 types of labour, as seen through the eyes of capital, productive and unproductive
productive – labour which keeps steady or increases circulation
unproductive – labour which creates a product which ends in itself (like piano playing), where the product can’t be circulated nor can it go back into production process and mix with further labour, to exploit. “this already admits that only such labour is productive as produces capital; hence the labour which does not do this, regardless of how useful it may be — it may just as well be harmful — is not productive for capitalization, hence unproductive labour” – we see that capital can never be made to serve us, for it only serves itself
pleasure is an end in itself, but capital doesn’t want other ends than itself, it wants ends turned into means, into continuation
“his labour in general, in so far as it is not a capacity but a motion, real labour, comes to confront the worker as an alien power”
capital isn’t allowed to grow just via transforming material substances – raw material + instruments of labour
it comes in by offering a material wage, money, for labour which is not material, but is energy, qualitatively immaterial (rewrite)
capital or surplus labour found in feudalism, if only limitedly, due to agriculture
when productive force doubles (numerator), and the worker needs to work less of a day to sustain himself, the amount going to capital adds half of what it was before the doubling (denominator)
in essence this means that productive forces increasing will not at all help the workers, and will go straight to the capitalists
#2,2200 – Tags = 3(CHST)
Description: capital as diachronic
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Capital, the dialectical illusion of our time, in time #1)
Karl Marx’s thought generally, and particularly on “capital,” raises and captures concepts and moments that were not understood or explained before him. With regards to capital, Marx sees something that no one saw before him—that there is more to capital than just money and other material commodities (and in fact, after Marx, a redefining of capital seems necessary to avoid confusion). There is more to the modern economy (vers and ours both) than just people selling their labour and others purchasing it. There is this inherent and necessary power in capital that causes it to grow, and grow, and grow. There is something elusive, something not materially static, something processual, which must be understood diachronically. Marx finds capital hiding in time, where no one had looked or thought to look for it before. It is an existence (though not a being) in time, and it must be in time, because it is the negative to labour, which is also a process in time. The two must be in the same dimension to be able to relate so intimately (where capital is the vampire that sucks the life blood of labour). From this Marxian notion of capital in time many contradictions can be drawn out and built from this new understanding. Ultimately it can be shown that capital never existed to begin with, but is just a misguided concept that has kept humanity in chains, not realizing its own unity and interdependency.
Capital is not in space, it is in time, though it uses space (money and other material commodities) to understand, express, and aggrandize itself, as means to its own end. Capital is a pseudo ideal actor that supplants the ideality of humans and turns them into 2nd links of its own causal chains, i.e. it takes humans out of the intelligible realm and into a state of nature, where they are turned from ends into means. But capital was created by humans, and so it appears that capital is like a Frankenstein. Though going further, if humans cease to exist, so does capital, and so capital is still really dependent on humans. Capital is in fact really a false postulation of humans which results in their own inability to take responsibility for their own real power in shaping the world, and so they hold this concept of capital to justify their own inhumane actions (treating other humans as means not ends) “freedom of choice says I can buy this $5 t-shirt even though the people who produced it live in below poverty conditions… they had the freedom to choose to work in that sweatshop or not.” Capital is the secular God (or Satan, the liberator of willkur), justified by its church (the bourgeoisie economy), preached by its popes and ministers (the capitalists), to continue to exploit and oppress large portions of humanity for the aggrandizement of only a minority.
A different way of thinking about capital as non-existent is that the capitalists themselves don’t even get to possess their capital (they must be the rational hoarders). They must continue to put out their capital (reinvestment i.e. re-exploitation). In putting out their capital, they are really continuously preaching, reaffirming and naturalizing the concept of capital, “a lie told often enough becomes the truth.” In a certain sense many of the poor are capitalists too, in that they ideologically accept capitalism (this is prominent in the USA), not that it was their choice (which is ironic because capitalism is supposedly all about choice, yet most of the oppressed have it forced upon them and must suffer through the “freedom”). Capital is really just a puppet standing in for humans and their own actions. It is the epitome of humanity not coming to grips with its own control over materiality, and thus it is a scapegoat (along with other concepts) to feeling the responsibility of the great horrors we cause. Capital and Capitalist commodities (in actuality humans and human commodities) are collectively created illusions that serve to mediate between human interactions; capital becomes the totalitarian dictator that all relate to, which explains the rabid individualism, atomization and reification seen in advanced capitalism, where the person understands themselves only in terms of this “dictator” (see my appendix display). Humanity blames the dictator for its constitution, rather than realizing that it constitutes itself and created the dictator.
#2,2201 – Tags = 1(HPSTW)
Description: attack on private property, ownership, own isn’t a verb
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Capital, the dialectical illusion of our time, in time #2)
Capital is a higher form of some base contradiction that has misled humanity to conceive of such an idea as capital in the first place. Capital, the “being” in time, has to have something in space, i.e. the material world, to channel itself and express itself (just like humans must have brains, bodies and a material world in which to channel and express themselves). This leads us to the earlier definition of capital: capital as money and other commodities. It is in conceiving these commodities where the “original sin” emanates. Commodities and money only make sense as concepts if they are owned, and ownership is a misconception, it is the base contradiction (and from this dialectical illusion can arise capital, which is completely dependent on there being private property). The idea of property is utterly false (in a philosophical absolutist sense, and hopefully one day in a socio-cultural sense). It is a false relation of ideal actors to material objects that has spread all over the world, to where even the water is owned or attempted to be owned. From international property, to national, to private… it’s all false! Understanding it in the Hegelian method of history, the underclass the proletariat is already coming into realization of this truth because they are the property-less thus the progressive class, even if it hasn’t been completely ideally realized by them.
Something ideal, like a human mind, cannot own something material, it only can affect and organize it, which is the only thing it ever has or ever will do to it. If a person really owned property, then when that person ceased to be, the property would cease to be. But we can see very clearly that when humans cease to be, their property does not cease to be, nor do their bodies. Long before humans or even animals ever walked the earth, there was still the same amount of physical material, plenty of unorganized raw materiality waiting for ideal use. If humans proceed to kill each other “because of capital,” and wipe life off this earth, the property, the land, the earth, and even the material that made up their bodies, will continue to exist, though without any purpose because it cannot be used (a weapon has no purpose if there is no war). If I really owned this computer, how is it that someone can come over here and take it and use it themselves? How can they “steal” it? There is only theft because there is ownership. I use the train, that doesn’t mean I own it; I possess it, as do others, while we are on it; when our ride is done, others can come along and possess it. All there is is possession (which postsupposes affection).
In the context of language, to own, the act of “owning” something (which is a verb) should mean that there is some action, a process, of affecting the something. But of course solely “owning” an object is an empty action, or rather isn’t an action at all, it has no effect on the object; the object remains qualitatively unchanged. It is only the touching, yelling, using, possessing, affecting, organizing the object that there is actually a change in the object. The interaction between ideal actors and materiality is not defined by ownership, it is defined by action, by affection, by ideality choosing how to organize materiality. The two are connected through energy, which is motion of material objects, differentiation of them, de-static-ing. To own something is to be it. The material is itself, it owns itself, and it can be no other way. Similarly, the ideal actor owns vers own ideality, because ve is verself absolutely and cannot be owned, by definition, by anyone else, because then ve would cease to be the same person (these notions of owning oneself absolutely become unnecessary because it cannot be any other way, and so there is nothing to define it against and thus no reason for it).
#2,2202 – Tags = 3(CPX)
Description: attack on lockean notions of property
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Capital, the dialectical illusion of our time, in time #3)
Because his philosophical notions of property are sometimes used as ancient symbols and justifications for today’s capitalism, it is important to consider John locke. John locke’s argument for property roughly is: that when a person comes into contact with a chunk of matter, ve mixes ver labour with the matter and has brought the matter out of a state of nature and now has claims to it over anyone else. Firstly, on a “common sense” level, because that is what John locke is known for, this idea couldn’t be used today to justify much property ownership because there are huge tracts of land owned by capitalists that lay fallow (the Zapatistas come to mind in their protest to this fact in Mexico). Also then the labourers who produce all the commodities and instruments of labour would take away the capitalist’s property as soon as they started to work it, and thus capitalists could not exist because they would lose what was theirs the instant they tried to make exploitative use of it and would thus cease to be capitalists. Of course it could be argued that this is the role the “free market” plays, and the labourer agrees to get a different commodity (a wage, money) in return for working the land, but this still is a superficial, or shallow sheet covering over what locke feels is a deeply true natural law. Regardless, all these arguments are assuming that locke’s premise of property is true.
John locke must be taken out of his common sense context and exposed to rational analysis, or what Chomsky calls “Cartesian common sense.” One problem that arises in determining who owns something is that the definition of labour is indefinite. When a person sneezes, or does anything, it qualitatively changes the rest of the world (a butter fly flaps its wings and there are hurricanes in foreign lands; “no man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man”). So this could be considered labourious, shaping the world into a place where a sneeze could be accepted. But assume locke meant intense and intimately involved labour with an object (which begs the question, where is the line drawn between intense labour and passing labour?), to where the object was changed significantly and, important to the definition, organized for the labourer’s use. If this were so, then taking the example of an ancient group of people who built an irrigation canal, and then left after a hundred years for some other land, and then a new group came along and fixed up the irrigation system, and now claimed ownership, even though the original idea and most of the labour was put in by the ancient group, who now owns it? Or rather really, who has the right to deny others use of it? The fact that my above example uses groups also brings out a tangled ownership, but this can be solved by collective ownership by all those who laboured. But surely one person in a group put slightly more labour than another person in the group; assuming this difference can be calculated, do they then get to use the object according to how much labour they put in? What if the object was a car where labour was divided, and 4 people worked on the 4 different quadrants of the car, then they’d all own different parts and the car wouldn’t be able to be used, because the point of ownership is to deny others use.
Moving (or not moving) with this car example, what the people would end up doing is all building their own cars separate from one another (this might be a reason why there are so many of the same commodity owned by people in the same geographical area, and there is a lack of car-pooling). But to have the technological know-how to build the car presupposes a sharing through history of ideas, of an idea being built on several before it. So perhaps a person may own the amount of their labour, or have complete control over the channeling of it, but they do not own the majority of the ideas it was informed by. Someone had to conceive of a way to make fire, for the next to conceive of a way to make metal, for the next to conceive of making tools, and so on through the history of humanity. Education is free and floating and is always happening, and whatever is gained from it must be so too, it must not be turned into private property and then denied to others. Morally because it is a slap in the face to all those who have come before and contributed ideas to the development of humanity, and it is a stealing of the technology of others. And realistically because it is simply not the way it happens, because there is no private property, their can only be an attempt which will always fail. This is why intellectual property rights make no sense, and why there is so much conflict in defining what should be protected and what shouldn’t. The line between what is private intellectual property and what is free for the public is completely arbitrary, and is always shifting. The reason it is so hard to find the middle point is because the reality of the situation is that there is no line, and everything is free and affects others in complex imaginative synthesizing ways. It makes little sense claim ownership of something when it is so difficult to disentangle what is one’s own contribution to it and what is everyone else’s. We have always and will always take other’s contributions and build on them, and any attempt to superficially deny this will just slow down the process and create dangerous divisions where there were none before.
#2,2203 – Tags = 1(HMPSTY)
Description: time isn’t space, time isn’t money, the two cannot be exchanged, space time speculation
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Capital, the dialectical illusion of our time, in time #4)
4) “Time is money,” the wage contradiction
The saying “time is money” couldn’t transfer the illusory idea of today’s capitalist society any better. Just in a tautological sense, time is not money, time is time! And money is money. Moving to something more concrete, time and money exist in two utterly different realms and have no possibility of being equitable. Time is something in motion, money, or matter, is that something; material objects operate in space, ideal objects operate in time. The two need one another, but cannot be separated to be exchanged, it is incoherent. When money, a commodity, the general commodity, is exchanged for a person’s labour energy, the amount of money as Marx shows is pushing towards just enough to sustain the worker to come back the next day. In a sense the worker’s body is treated as a conduit of energy (rather than an organizer of it), where the money buys food, which contains convertible energy, which is taken in by the worker, and then energy can be extracted from the worker the next day by objectifying ver labour into something material, where its objectness becomes realized. The problem with this is the worker’s ideal presence is repressed, and ve becomes treated just like a mechanistic material thing as is necessary to make the exchange with materiality possible (this explains why everything is pulled into the cash nexus). So something ideal becomes treated like a mere machine, but this is for the material side of things.
On the ideal side of things, because there is this ideal element, namely labour i.e. time, it is to be traded with material money. What must be done to resolve this conflict is the money must be brought up into something ideal, which is capital (which is in time). Thus arises conceptual inversions, where things are switched and conceived of in the opposite context of where they actually originate. Also the dialectical process of the ideal, is found in the material (everything in the material world becomes “black and white” when it is really relative shades of grey). An example of this would be democracy today, which is conceived of as something absolute, one has it or one doesn’t, but actually democracy (defined as people controlling their government) fluctuates with the times, where sometimes people have lots of control over their government, while other times there is very little, regardless of the so-called democratic institutions and structures that are in place. But these are just symptoms of the problem (another symptom is that the people in capitalist societies want more materiality, i.e. property, to posit themselves in, but really they should want more time, which most realize only towards their death, which is when they are increasingly freed from the material ideology of capitalism, the pettiness).
A type of speculation arises from the constant trading between ideality and materiality, time and money (analogous to the trading back and forth between currencies). A capitalist will use their ownership of materiality (commodities, potentially including land, raw materials, instruments, and products), to buy more time (labour), to buy even more materiality, to buy even more time, and so on. But just as currency speculation adds no new value to the collective whole, neither does this process of trading between ideality and materiality (which is a conceptual illusion justified by ideology), and so it becomes parasitic and useless. This apparition cannot exist necessarily, but just as long as it is justified in the minds of enough persons, it can be used to keep capitalist parasites from producing value.
#2,2210 – Tags = 3(BCDHMT)
Description: Marx consumed by materiality, criticism of him
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Capital, the dialectical illusion of our time, in time #5)
Capital, something ideal, has arisen out of something material, namely the commodities. This example epitomizes the materialists’ conception that material conditions determine ideas: economic base causes philosophical superstructure. Whether this is what tricked Marx into becoming a materialist or not I cannot say (I feel it was this idea analogously found everywhere in conceptions in the development of history). The moment of capital mirrors the moment of humans, and the moment of owned material mirrors the moment of material proper. The difference, which Marx didn’t pick up on, is that in the inverted world of capitalism, capital, the ideal, arises out of the material, thus materialism. But in actuality the ideality of humans create the deterministic causal chains to be found in the material world. If there was no ideality (which expresses itself in energy) there’d be no motion in the material world—there’d be no time. If there was never any ideality, the material world would be settled and static, in fact the big bang might have never happened (and all the “deterministic” forces around us right now are just the continuous reverberations of past ideal actors)—ideality juices and activates the energy, sets it in motion. But this is not privileging of the ideal over the material per se, because ideality needs materiality to understand itself, it needs materiality because it operates dialectically and needs its absolute opposite to understand itself as posited against this opposite. Materiality needs ideality to hold it together (energy locking …particles, atoms, sub atoms, sub sub atoms, and so on) and differentiate itself, because it is all relative and needs to relate to portions of itself.
#2,2211 – Tags = 3(ABCDMOP)
Description: natural democray and ideal unity (a priori democracy)
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Capital, the dialectical illusion of our time, in time #6)
The ideal actors all have the ability to shape the material world as they please, and through the collection of all these actions of organizing materiality comes Rousseau’s’ general will. Whatever all of materiality looks like at any given moment is the objectification of the general will. Concepts like ownership and capital have no effect on the actuality of this, they only have effect the realization of it by the ideal actors. Because capital acts as a prison wall for the minds of humanity, it tricks them from straying from the confines of capitalist interactions or any other unjustified pseudo limit on ideal freedom. Ideal freedom is absolute, and material freedom is relative, true to their methodologies. Material freedom will continue to grow as humans gain more control and have greater causal affect on the world.
These notions point to a priori democracy (democracy over the entire material world and all its interactions, rather than just over some arbitrary institution) for ideal actors. It is not however completely equal for two general reasons: 1 – some live longer (in other words connected to materiality longer) and have more opportunities to assert their existence (they can create more causal chains); 2 – some ideal actors have access to more complex and energy laden materiality (to create larger causal chains), while others have access only to more settled, basic molecules and compounds (this notion can range from a person’s brain, which can have more complexities, whilst others have less, this being due to education which makes impacts on the arrangement of molecules; and this also includes a person’s body, which can be stronger or weaker, meaning stronger or weaker causal chain reverberation; as well as a situation external to a person, for example access to a nuclear weapon, which consists of much energy potential, meaning also an extremely powerful assertion of one’s own ideal freedom). The potentials for the ideal actors expand as the world is shaped into more and more complex structures (transcendental anarchism) and abilities for stronger causal chains exist. Likewise it is retracted by the more ideal actors there are (population growth).
Right now we perceive the unity of capital and the division of humanity. Hopefully we will come to realize the unity of humanity and the non-existence of capital.
#2,2212 – Tags = 9(IMP)
Description: capital elected as dictator
(gotten from Grundrisse Reading Group – Capital, the dialectical illusion of our time, appendix)
#2,2213 – Tags = 3(CLSTY)
Description: time under capitalism, introduction
(gotten from Independent Study – Essay for Drucillas… (incomplete – to hand in))
To see the sky you must go on the roof, or to nature (far away from “human nature”)—everywhere else is a closed system
Where to start is hard to decipher as I am diving out of categories I have been naturalized to my whole life and constructing new and incomplete ones (to be completed only by humanity as a whole, in consciousness of the very fact), while seeing the perilousness of categories in general and discovering the danger in having none at all—indeed, I am a recovering capitalist.(Referring here to capitalist here as one who subscribes and adheres to capitalist ideology, rather than the technical economic use of the term.) But I have been feeling an urgency to write and get these ideas out of my brain and onto paper, sort of inspired by the “praxis” Lukacs has been referring to in his work.(Although per my philosophizing as it stands now, I consider thinking an act of praxis too, as it is reorganizing the brain into higher forms, though perhaps no avail if not communicated, unless something like a Jungian “collective unconscious” is an actuality.) And since it is Lukacs’s “History and Class Consciousness” that I have been reading, I will borrow more heavily some of his terminology where it helps me lay out my ideas, and I would like to begin in particular with a quote:
“[Capitalist production] reduces space and time to a common denominator and degrades time to the dimensions of space.”
When I first read this I was overjoyed that someone else had thought of the same idea as me, then a moment later I got angry and thought “another idea already thought of by someone else that I can’t claim,” and then a moment after that I scolded myself and noted the capitalist in me trying to individualize something naturally communal—that is, the intellectual development and the spread of ideas. (Evidenced by the fact that I had thought the same thing before reading any of Lukacs, meaning I must have gotten the idea from predecessors of Lukacs just like he, or translators and parallel concepts from those after Lukacs influenced by him just like he was by others before himself.) This idea of trying to materialize time and thus unrecognizing the integrity of it, which I had been formulating the implications of back in January/February ‘06, led to a strengthening and new understanding for me, of two of the most basic categories I use—ideality (time) and materiality (space)—and how they act in their true essence. (I will reproduce a listing I had come up with describing the features of the two categories) To borrow the words of Brian Graf who had this response to this thesis I was attempting to convey to him:
“So basically what you’re saying, right, is that capitalism makes idealism go away, leaving just the physical world. But then idealism comes in the back door.”
This idealism coming in the back door is what I’d like to use to explain various phenomena currently detectable. Without having a proper respect and recognition of ideality, we can’t have a proper understanding of materiality either, and the results are distorted ideologies like capitalism. Now, whether capitalism caused ideality to go under the radar or whether capitalism and similar oppressive relations were resultant from a long evolving history of relations, or from a process of ideologically “detemporalizing” is not of particular concern at this point. In fact, trying to figure out the causality and trying to control variables and eliminate the un-eliminateable confounding factors would be too much to the benefit of the current bourgeoisie methodology.
I will proceed to describe as best as I can the distortions and implications of this capitalist beast, trying to do so without succumbing to too many of its ideological presumptions. The first two sections, “Democracy as a Tautology” and “Formalism and Unconsciousness” will focus on how ideologies of space have been distorted. The third section—which will be the last part for now (once this is completed there will be a couple more sections—deals with the relation between democracy and the capitalist free market.
#2,2220 – Tags = 3(ADMRTY)
Description: democracy as a tautology – formal democracy, relative democracy
(gotten from Independent Study – Essay for Drucillas… (incomplete – to hand in))
In the modern epoch, what is relative (Relative meaning its in the realm of materiality where everything stands in relation. In this section I will try to clarify what relative democracy really is compared to the common formalistic view of it. In a later section I will talk about a priori democracy, which shows the falsity of relative democracy.) democracy is conceived of in terms of absolutes and is thought of in terms of a form, rather than in terms of relative, always varying content. Relative democracy is the control over the government (and from there essentially materiality) by the people. However, the current ideological position is one of the form being the essential democracy, rather than the content. Relative democracy can take the form of a direct democracy, where perhaps all are directly the government, but more often some type of representative democracy. The point of concern is not which type of democracy, but rather the preoccupation with the form (which has happened to most often be representative democracy), and the flaunting of it as the clinching factor of democracy. Democracy, in this abstract form with its rules and laws, presents a view that it alone secures that people will always collectively rule and decide their fate. A form can not guarantee this freedom, rather a form is a distraction from the consciousness of freedom. Freedom is the ability to change reality as life so chooses. Change implies motion over time, but a form implies stability over time, i.e. lack of change.
This formal democracy is out of tune with the actual nature of materiality, which is always changing. Democracy is expressed in the content, not in the form. This formal democracy shouldn’t be defined as democracy, the definition must come in the content, from outside of the form. Democracy as self defining is meaningless, quite literally. The form is supposed to come after the fact, and as a way of explaining and understanding what is actually happening, it isn’t supposed to be prefigurative. The formal democracy is abstract, substituting in a tautology that doesn’t in any way explain the actual reality because it is a synchronic explanation and reality is diachronic. Its the equivalent of saying 8 + 4 = 8 + 4. Nothing is explained, and so the form not only isn’t essential democracy, it doesn’t even do justice in explaining reality in any meaningful way.(For forms to have any direct use and validity they must at least eventually be defined in something concrete at some point, not just in a large self supporting circle of abstractions. This creates the closed system, informed on by Lukacs. If these circles of abstractions are allowed to freely develop without ever being integrated with reality, over generations they become more and more naturalized and become pathogenic as they combine with other abstract systems to suffocate any other reality in which to compare them with. They hide their non-reality by causing addiction to their own exclusive absolutes. By working through language and transforming it into its own support, these abstractions make articulation of their falsity extremely hard, as one must talk in terms of them. This implicitly affirms that they are actual, even though they are not. The forms evolve stronger and more solid, meaning really that humans enslave themselves more and more, yet more subtly than before. These abstract formal systems that we have created and molded reality in accordance to, become the chains Rousseau said we chain ourselves with. And as we are in actuality in relation, to completely break from these abstract systems in one conscious generations’ time is not feasible. In fact, we think in terms of forms, as it is no accident that they now exist everywhere. We create them half consciously, and accept them often unconsciously.)
Democracy as a form seems like it could be one of the emancipatory forms. However, relative democracy turned formal cannot escape all the other existing surrounding forms consummating the anti-totality, at least not to the point where it can be clung to as an island in a sea of sharks, rather it is a shark that sometimes lets its victims swim away, but only if these potential victims have vigilance, (Which the vigilance could be argued to be the reason that the consciousness of democracy happened, rather than the form allowing it to be so.) which begs the question. An example would be freedom of speech, freedom to dissent from the prevailing attitudes. Representative democracy’s are hailed as giving the right to individuals to undertake free speaking. However, free speaking was at its greatest usage in order to bestow a vision and motivation to create a democracy in the first place, and is just afterwards maintained as long as there is remembrance of its importance. The law or right protecting the free speaker is important in that it can hopefully point to a history of its importance, but it is not the guarantor of the free speech. The law can become antithetical to the actualization of it because the law gives a false sense of its security and continuance. The actual action of free speaking is its own guarantor. So laws generally in a democracy are only good insofar as they are known of and understood to be important symbols of the past, which then will inform the actions of the new generations, not because they are absolute securities. Further the laws must be continually practiced.
The form has little to do with the democratic pulse. Some of the most undemocratic forms have lead to a surge in the consciousness of the people that they do (or at least should) control reality. As history would have it, once they eliminate all oppression standing in the way of their conscious control of freedom, they have heretofore imposed the form of democracy, an institutionalized democracy, whether as compromise to the old oppressors, or a continuation of their own oppressed ideological position. Institutionalized democracies inherited by preceding generations will remain fruitful for democracy as long as a vigilance and subtle appreciation for democracy is passed down with them. But in the case of the institutions by themselves, conscious democratic impulses gradually erode, as the form is relied upon to secure democracy rather than future generations. Democracy must be seen by the people in their actions of impacting reality, it shouldn’t be reported to them from the outside. Humans created physics to explain and then predict the causes in the material world, but what came out of the creation of an imperfect science of physics(We can see even today, there isn’t a perfect match up between the system of physics and the actual material world. Quantum theory has thrown a whole new set of issues that will have to lead to physics’ reevaluation.) was a human rigidity trying to fit in accordance with physics, as well as adopting a deterministic philosophy that leaves no room for freedom or the understanding of it. In the same way, humans conceived of democracy, and created it into a form, but then this form lead to a narrowing conception of what democracy is and how it might be enacted. Democracy must be viewed as a process, not a fixed abstraction.
Relative democracy in actuality is always fluctuating, between the conscious control by the entire population to more control by fewer. Some of these fluctuations are due to the varying capacities individuals have at any given time, whilst others more significantly for are purposes are do to decaying consciousness. The institutional possibilities/potentials of democracy, such as are in the United States, which has the apparatus for representative democracy, are in no ways democracy itself. They are like skin with no inner body, a mere illusion. This democracy “skin,” or image, is in either the case of a healthy democracy or an unhealthy one, shown to be insignificant. In a healthy democracy, the institutions and structures that are supposedly there to support it will be overshadowed by the amount of people participation and people self empoweredness and sharing of power and governing of society or their own lives. Because relative democracy is in actuality a thing of degree, it is in the interests of the people to see it as that, and be intimately in touch with the pulse of democracy. If the pulse is slowing down, the people will realize they must double their efforts to make sure that the people at large remain in control. Relative democracy, because it is always vulnerable, must be shown to be always vulnerable, so that its loss can be attended to.
Those who are opposed to democracy have good reason to want it to be viewed in absolutes. For if they are living with a population that is in an acclaimed “democracy,” they can assert that democracy is a 100% truism, and thus the population doesn’t have to worry about losing it, and they become passive. Now if they don’t live in a democracy, it is in the interest of the rulers to project a view that democracy is bad often justified by some metaphysical ideology , so that the population will be satisfied they aren’t infected by this thing called democracy.
But this is all still taking relative democracy as philosophically sound, but it isn’t temporally integrated and so this creates a whole new set of issues to be elaborated upon in later sections.
What relative democracy really is, under capitalism, is the fight over materiality. This still presents greater problems, but at least so far I have elaborated on some of the problems of the way democracy this far we have resolved some of the lower tensions and are coming to a fuller view.
#2,2221 – Tags = 1(ACILMRT)
Description: formalism and unconciousness
(gotten from Independent Study – Essay for Drucillas… (incomplete – to hand in))
The forms existing currently act as prisons when consciousness is below them. Humans, in their conservative tendencies, eventually defend the forms, conscious of them or not, as operating outside of them would be too frightening a situation. The forms suffocate any knowledge of freedom and make creatures point to external forces as an explanation for the world, rather than to their own force to change reality. Their freedom is still there, but with their lack of consciousness it is never pointed to. Rather God, the state, the “hidden hand of the market” and similar reinventions of the same idea are used as explanations. In the true core material world, there is no coercion, there is just life expanding outwards. But humans today have been taught symbols and all kinds of systems of coercion with fixed laws that govern their behavior. Their behavior is still their own, but they are separated from the knowledge of this. It is only when life is understood in complete unity that there is absolute freedom, and in the current dividing of life into individuals, appreciating this absolute freedom isn’t possible; at least without breaking from some of the current ideology. But the most powerful forms have been created by humanity as a whole, though are only confronted by isolated individuals, the forms seem all powerful and controlling, overwhelming a single person and forcing compliance. The current categorizing forms divide humanity making their collective confrontation more and more distant. What is needed is not an abandonment of forms, rather forms that integrate and unify life. With this revolution in forms will come evolution in content.
The freedom from an individual’s perspective isn’t and can’t be absolute, only relative, but under capitalist ideology absolutes are what are sought for and is what things are understood in terms of,(There are many other ways in which relativity can’t or isn’t allowed to be understood from an individual perspective. The machineastic view of reality – the media talk about how everything in the world, debates, democracies, is dualized, polarized) so to be a relatively free individual means nothing, it is absolute freedom that is sought for. The search for this absolute freedom by single individuals, leads to many conflicts between them, which creates a situation where all of them are even less free. Freedom is defined as in all things as the control of materiality, and so when this is attempted to be done by a single individual, it leads to the pursuit of private property, which materiality being reified into property, becomes very finite and leads to a restriction of freedom. People, because of subscribing to capitalist ideology, become “property locked” and cannot stray from their own private property unless some sort of contracts distinguish something as a commons. The world is seen synchronically, and divided up in the fashion that it has finite experience to offer, and to get the most one must own the most, even though ownership doesn’t guarantee one the full appreciation of the reified materiality, rather it just denies the experience to others. This denial of experience to others, leads the others to deny experience back, with regards to their own private property.(Cooperation works and makes its clearest sense in time, an idea I am expanding to include 2 types of temporal cooperation: intergenerational (back through pre-human days, including all life forms, really); and cooridination of day to day people living, a synergy that exists in time.)
#2,2222 – Tags = 1(AKNPY)
Description: antionomies of society – free market and property democracy– Nietzsche/Kant as metaphors
(gotten from Independent Study – Essay for Drucillas… (incomplete – to hand in))
The dominant ideological categories governing relations in society are the free market and democracy. Just like Nietzsche’s Apollonian and Dionysian are two fundamentally conflicting forces within the individual, so are the free market and democracy conflicting currents in society. As the free market grows and regulates materiality under the guise of individual freedom and inequality, democracy lays dormant because at any moment it tries to claim back some of materiality, the free market spouts “regulation is bad.” While democracy still holds the affection of the people, the free market works through democracy’s forms to give the illusion of its existence, while necessary.(The words of Arundhati Roy: “Free elections, a free press, and an independent judiciary mean little when the free market has reduced them to commodities on sale to the highest bidder.”) Development of the ideal spirit is stifled, as one human’s gain becomes another’s loss (and things are continued to be looked upon synchronously, making competition immanent and a zero sum game everywhere).
On the other hand, as democracy grows and materiality is more evenly distributed, individual autonomy withers away and everything is flattened out, and democracy looses its original purpose because all are in a state of sameness and there is no more development. The ideal spirit is stuck in sameness and can’t break free from the rigid continuance of the same.
Pro-property propaganda of the era might say that the balance of the two is what resolves societies’ problems. There are freedoms in the market place and there are chances for leveling the playing field with the democracy. Two sphere’s one where an abstract vote is to affect materiality and the other where an abstract dollar is to. Such a view isn’t giving full respect and recognition to the abstract nature of the two abstract ideologies. They are both fighting one another over a limited materiality. There is a continuous tension between them that makes settling on a final compromise impossible. These two mutually exclusive ideological views must be shown to be the dialectical illusions—to use Kant’s conceptual meaning—that they are, and replaced with the postulate of a totality of freedom for humanity.
#2,2223 – Tags = 3(CDMPSTY)
Description: Time under capitalism, various ideas unused
(gotten from Independent Study – Unused Parts)
Materialism and its discontents
capitalists fight for space, not time, in fact they spend all their time consumed by the search for more and more space. Time is used to garner more and more space, time is the means and space is the end. The time is the only thing that gives any meaning, as time is the differentiating of the material world, and meaning is found in difference.
only when we are dying, does the capitalist ideology that privileges materiality wither away, and we start to cherish time, a possible explanation for philanthropy in old age
- Competition and Individualism (cooperation in time)
- Antinomies of society: the free market and property (formal) democracy
Ironically, if these two categories are merged into one misguided system rather than two, , which explains why the competitive free market has the upper hand,
flawed, as these two forces will always be creating tensions in opposite directions, rather than contributing to one another and to the development of both.
There is sameness everywhere, stifling development
it doesn’t go backwards, but stays the same, because it roots out time
- Ethical versus scientific deconstruction
Human rights vs property rights
what we are seeing right now under capitalism, as related to the the ideal spirit, is that the direction that it wants to move in fulfilling its own utopia, is not being realized. Indeed, under capitalism there is growth, but it is growth of more and more categories and artificialities which stultify the real growth of complexity, this being do to an unrealization of time. (perhaps in a time of analysis not synthesis?) – the ideal spirit wants to be expanding and complexifying which can only happen through time and differentation of materiality, but what is actually happening is that materiality isn’t really being differentiated, its being kept the same, and made even more similar (with mechanical reproduction), and only abstract growth is happening, namely that of more and more categories (which are still complex but not complexifying, and the stifle growth by creating a need for specialists in some unnecessary abstraction) – we are being divided where we need to be unified, and unified where we should be different
ideality cannot grow in abstraction, it has to grow in actual materiality, which is remaining evermore the same – the ideal spirit can’t realize itself in form with repeated content. New categories only contribute different ink on pages and different words imprinted on the brain… but essentially the brain is the same, espeically since the increasingly complex categories take us more and more away from the actual physical world. Things such as “economic growth” and soaring stock prices attempt to capture the imagination of all, when really the same material world is there, with perhaps just more people buying into bourgeoisie ideology.
No amount of analysis will change the world. No creating of new categories (like schizo-active) will actually change the actually existing continuum of materiality – great, we’ve created a new category, but that is only worth anything as long as it can then lead to change
but as we see with politics, the more categories of people there are, the more seperated they are (deconstruction leading to bronner’s postmodern speel) you don’t fatten your sheep by weighing them, nor do you change the world by merely categorizing it in more precise ways…
when one trade’s money for private property, they are merely trading in abstractions, for no real change ensues.
There is nothing in the external from the mind that needs to happen
I wrote this while preparing for typing up a section of the essay for drucilla cornell for my summer internship, and this all kind of just flowed out of me, i don’t think i got it quite succinctly on paper, but its still worth writing down:
1 – transcendental anarchism is the methodology at which a priori democracy and more categorically important the new world spirt can elaborate itself in materiality
and the two, if configured properly, can grow together
free market gets rid of the whole and just lets the individuals roam and as one grows another falters. Democracy, on the other hand, privleges the whole at the loss of the individual autonomy, which withers away and then the democracy looses its purpose
Now, you might think that mix of free market and democracy would solve everything– but it is fundamentally wrong as there is tension between the two, and they destroy one another, and one grows as the other diminishes (they are put into the synchronic battle of “directionalism”); what happens is the worst of both – the group withers away (atomization) and the atoms that were different become the same
the problem with both is that they are synchronic fightes over materiality, rather than time sharing diachronicsis
Note: – the thought just occurred to me and i have thought this before, but typing this out re-triggered the idea: I had thought in synchronic thought under capitalism, things would get worse and regress, to opposite the progress that’d happen if we had diachronic thought, and that this’d be the opposite. But I think under synchronic thought there isn’t progression or regression, there is just a repetition of the same thing.
#2,2230 – Tags = 1(IMS&)
Description: Defining the Symbolic order, feminism
(gotten from Feminist Theory – Final)
For my purposes, the symbolic order at any moment is the totality of communicable possibilities, but over time these possibilities change, grow and diminish. The symbolic order is intergenerational and interpersonal. This means that a person who creates their own symbolic alternatives to the dominant order without trying to integrate and move them beyond their person, will have their own symbolic forms die with them. (The easiest example for myself for a crass grasp of the symbolic order is to think of the English language, because for me, I can’t escape it to any great degree, but I can form slight alterations to it. A deconstruction of language is useful for the purpose of expanding the freedom under the symbolic order. Not deconstruction to get rid of it, but to disrupt the negatives of what is there and weed them out. As Judith Butler quotes Gayatri Spivak: “The critique in deconstruction, the most serious critique in deconstruction, is the critique of something that is extremely useful, something without which we cannot do anything.” Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 27.) Likewise, any group or nation that has its own separate symbolic order, if it dies or is replaced by another order, will have their symbols die with them. (This might be true of various tribes and peoples from America that were killed during colonialism, but some of their ideas can be attempted to be brought back through interpreting what history was left behind.) The symbolic order as it exists in each individual can be referred to as ideology (I am using ideology in the sense of the collected ideas and world views inscribed on a person’s brain at any given moment, that provides the lens through which a temporal consciousness understands and organizes the world. An idea, which I am postulating as a material existence (a particular brain structure), exists in space, but it can only be understood and used in time. Ideas that can be collectivized in the symbolic order can be images, words (written and spoken), sounds and smells.), and is only fully a symbolic order when it is an idea or representation that is shared by more than one person. Every element that is a part of the symbolic order was at its origin an idea that was part of a person’s sole ideology, and only after the idea was expressed and reinscribed on the minds of other persons did it become part of the order totality. (I would like to stress that the symbolic order is not the sum of all ideas existing, but rather just the total of ideas that are shared across more than one person, and it is only the “order” for those who subscribe to it, not to others which subscribe to different symbolic orders.) Its useful, I think, to think of symbolic orders as existing in degrees of variation at different times, places and persons, as well as likely overlapping one another.
Seeing the symbolic order as something that is constructed across persons rather than solely within them is crucial for knowing how to change it. It means that “it must be a collective struggle, no one person can change it.”(Drucilla Cornell, Feminist Theory (Seminar), 2 October 2006.) First and foremost standing as a direct barrier to this collective confrontation and attempt to change the symbolic order is the idea of a free and completely self-determining individual. This dominant discourse, especially in western countries, not only serves to atomize people and reduce them to private economic actors (which can be attributed to an affinity existing with another dominant discourse, that of free market ideology), but in so doing it also concretizes and stagnates change to the symbolic order; through its own collective ideology, the symbolic order hides its actual nature and its ability to be changed with a veil of abstract individuality.
This is a most unfortunate circumstance for the majority of people who haven’t been carved adequate or any space in the symbolic order who are forced to adopt the etiquette and language of the oppressors. These people are referred to as subaltern, (I have a modified idea of who/what the subaltern and subalternity brewing in my head, but its not adequately mapped out enough at the moment to introduce here.) who tend to be the non-wealthy, non-white, and/or non-masculine, as well as the non-human (referring to the plight of animals). Those few who do benefit, not only “own” plenty of breathing space in the symbolic order, but they also own most of the literal space, and these two possessions (for in reality that is all they are, not necessarily timeless ownership) reinforce one another and their overall dominant position. Now I will try to illustrate how a situation of rabid individualism and the accompanying belief in a “right” to private property, lead to a situation of advanced slavery, less overt but possibly more potent than traditional slavery.
The symbolic order is an arena where feminists and other freedom fighters must go to expand the potentials of symbolic space, and make the freedom more durable to last for future generations. The individualistic ideology discussed above must be exposed for what it is so that it can begin to be broken with, and concurrently a counter-hegemonic discourse of cooperation and interpersonal importance must be furthered, and accompanying that should be the actual practice of it as well. I will here discuss what I think might be some useful strategies to evolve the symbolic order in the direction of an always increasing space, going through some important feminist contributions and finishing briefly with a couple of miscellaneous thoughts.
#2,2231 – Tags = 3(FILMPRST$&)
Description: individualism and advanced slavery
(gotten from Feminist Theory – Final)
Whereas traditional slavery was the owning of the physical body of a person, now everything but the person’s body is ownable. This at first thought might seem like a fair and just situation, as liberal capitalist ideology says that people should be free to pursue happiness and if this entails competitively accruing property, as long as it isn’t violating anyone else’s pursuit in an illegal non-competitive way, than this should be fair game. There is a large assumption in liberal capitalism and that is that the individual begins and ends with a physical body. Only epistemologically static scientific thought, unfortunately the dominant thinking and existing in a mutually reinforcing relationship to liberal capitalism, would produce and propagate such an unimaginative (or mis-imaginative) abstract position. (Thus the need to “un-locke” America, referring to philosophical assumptions put forward by locke and similar figures, that are still implicitly assumed, even though 300 years of more sophisticated thought exists, in the post-locke, continental, and analytic tradition that makes locke look naive.) Interesting for the purposes of subverting the ideology of the individual, a subcategory of this capitalist science (biochemistry I am guessing) has come to show that a human body replaces completely all of its molecules with new ones over the course of seven years, meaning that matter once separate from the body becomes the body, and the old material makeup of the body are continuously discarded. (This factoid came up in a discussion in an introductory philosophy course on the topic of personal identity. Jonathan Weisberg, Introduction to Philosophy (Course), 23 March 2006.) The atemporal standpoint of capitalist social sciences can’t grasp this process whereby a body interacts and changes with its environment, and couldn’t be separated from the environment for in so doing any autonomy would become absolutely eradicated, as immediate death would come, and really a lack of ability for change and time sequence. Movement, even breathing, is predicated on their being something external to breath in, and some space for the belly to be able to rise up into, without this the person is a rock.
All this space that is essential to (and part of) the “individual” is potentially ownable and therefore deniable, thus limiting varying degrees of freedom. Just as if someone’s arm were owned, the rest of their body would have a very very limited range of freedom, so too when everything around a person is ownable, for example water, (This can be as true as much for a state as it is a corporation, as when either owns a resource such as water, both can be at times as equally unaccountable, as well as indistinguishable given the current corporatist circumstances of late capitalism. A state can own water that exists on land it has happened to declared to be “its territory,” and can thus deny the water to those people immediately bordering the area who were dependent on the water, in addition to denying access to the water to some of its own population, in the name of “sovereignty.”) the person’s freedom is severely limited, and in this example their dependency on such a vital resource ties them down and forces them into wage slavery. For all the talk of supposed democracy, there are very few public spaces in which to engage in political discussion. Most public spaces people think of are actually privately owned (malls, restaurants) and can only be accessed for “public discussion” if the owners of that space are constantly being financially satisfied. (Interestingly those who own the most materiality use very little of what they own at any one time, if ever, because they can’t possibly give conscious attention to more than a limited range of what is before them. And so what they “own” is completely enslaved and must just wait to be noticed and possessed.)
As can be seen, the private property ideology is what is really damaging to freedom, not necessarily the belief in the existence of individuals. To a certain extent we must think of people as individuals, as well as objectify the external world, to be able to mentally position and work through practical (not in the philosophical sense) issues of navigating through materiality. But to take the individual as a truth and not just as a practical approximation and build upon it abstract law and property rights brings about abstract freedom, but not actual freedom. (One can see the corruptness and baseless-ness of the idea of individuality in its application to corporations and states, both referred to for practical use as individuals, but now also de jure use as individuals, with corporations being given the same rights as people. The fact that this can happen should give view to the problem of the concept.) A more recent and even more potent construction built on top of the individual is that they are self interested rational choosers. Rational choice theory (They haven’t gone so far as to call it a law or a fact of human nature.) posits that all individuals are always acting in their own best interest and this will always lead to public choice problems, namely collective action problems. This theory proceeds to make itself more true not because there is a grain of truth to it, but because it has infected the symbolic order so much that persons only ever hear that others are self-interested: “you have to do it yourself because nobody else cares about you.” They then go about their life acting in a self-interested manner as a matter of defense defending against others they believe to be rational choosers, though the others are just acting in such a way too because of their similar beliefs, all dictated by the symbolic order. Thus the tragedy is the commons, but there is no necessity to this tragedy. Rational choice is stealing all the space in the symbolic order for inter-personal cooperation, and so linkages among people become more fragile and wither, leaving behind a cold world of atomized individuals. (Add in here the idea from to divvy around where things are literally colder because of less interaction between them.)
The concept of the absolute individual leads to a disconnect when understanding the affect that persons have on one another’s ideological dispositions, in other words the affect symbolic orders have on making possible and also limiting communicable possibilities. Antonio Gramsci’s idea of hegemony is informative here, as understanding the symbolic order as something to which the owners of not just the means of production, but of all external materiality through which interpersonal exchange must take place, can control and use for their own purposes. (Though usually they control it, or maintain it, unconsciously, as the dominators evolved along with the symbolic order below their conscious radar. In a certain respect, they too can be said to be victims of it, though such a perspective leaves out agency, which isn’t reconcilable with the idea the collectively created symbolic order.) The symbolic order—when it is hegemonic thus meaning it inscribes on those unconscious of its inscription power—only allows certain languages, and concepts to be transmitted, thus affirming those concepts and rejecting any that might arise independently of it. Persons with those concepts and languages containing a beyond to the order usually die off with them because they can’t share the beyond because of lack of symbolic space in which to cast it. A more concrete way of thinking about the symbolic order’s hegemonic role is with a media outlet which acts as the transmitter of information. It only transmits information which is in-a-formation it deems appropriate, and so large swaths of communication are weeded out because the order can’t understand them and/or doesn’t care to allow the potentially subversive communication. Further, in this way, the media outlet (Which in this age of private property is owned by interested persons.) acts as the inscriber of ideological truth, and is more and more put into this position as it is owned by the dominant who benefit from the status quo of the symbolic order. Through this media outlet assumptions are transmitted that humans, other to the person being inscribed upon, aren’t interested in forming a community, and so each person retires to their own narrow space, with challenges to the dominant order rarely occurring.
#2,2232 – Tags = 8(BO)
Description: Paradise, by Toni Morrison
(gotten from Feminist Theory – Final)
Toni Morrison addresses the problems facing the subaltern in her novels, and specifically in Paradise she brings attention to the feminine problem of finding symbolic space and she shows the pitfalls of ineffective methods at doing so. The novel starts out with a passage intentionally portraying how the men embedded in the masculine symbolic order see the women of the convent, and she later gives the reader a chance to compare this to the very different reality of what the women were actually doing, to vividly show the stark inadequacy of the dominant symbolic order to represent alternative ways of being. The women are seen by the men as witches doing grotesque sexual, evil and murderous acts, when they are later found to be spiritually realizing and healing themselves. Substantive meat is given to the idea that people can see, yet they are blind, and in this case they are blind because of the inability of appropriate symbolic representation.
The strategy of community isolation is challenged throughout Paradise by Morrison. In the case of the rural all-black town of Ruby, where the descendants of slaves live in exclusivity trying to physically escape from their history of oppression, they are still enslaved to the masculine symbolic order. Their physical escape seems shallowed when the people continue on some of the oppressive traditions they were supposedly leaving behind, like that between the elders and the young of the village, but most significantly the patriarchal structure where men are given more import than the women. When the men of Ruby are having an important meeting deciding what is just punishment for an attack on a women, Morrison makes the note: “The men sat on spotless upholstery waiting for Reverend Misner to finish seeing the women who were nowhere in sight” (italics mine). (Toni Morrison, Paradise (New York: PLUME, 1999), p. 58.) These instances convey how deep the roots of culture grow, and how a superficial change in location which is seemingly a fix to the problem, actually solidifies it. Pointed out is the need to not only address what is visible, but to also address the symbolic order, because if it is left unchanged, nothing else will be able to change either. The people of Ruby put themselves into symbolic order competition with the dominant white patriarchal culture, but because they cut themselves off, there was no opening to alternatives and then no ability for synthesizing towards change. And so what seems to be competition and differentiation ends up becoming emulation.
The women of the convent, though also an isolated community, face a different problem than that of the town of Ruby. The women, towards the end of the novel, undergo healing of the damage that has been done to them by the masculine world, through a process of spiritual rebirth and creating new symbolic spaces for themselves. They undertake a revolutionary break from the stultifying symbolic order and move on to create one of their own. Their downfall then isn’t in their internal struggle and the ends it achieves, for those are beautiful and emancipated. It is their relation to the external world that results in their downfall. Their utopian aims were too different from that of the rest of society, and they created too much cognitive dissonance (Cognitive dissonance in the way I mean it is actually linguistic dissonance and ideological inscription dissonance.) with those of the dominant order, and this resulted in their alternatives being destroyed. I think that Morrison is advocating a working within the dominant order to evolve it towards emancipatory ends, rather than a separatist revolt, though I’m sure she appreciates the large swaths of symbolic space created in one swoop by the women of the convent. The only way a revolution in the symbolic order might happen is if it were at a widespread level, but this would presuppose small scale current changes in all the locales so that cognitive dissonance to be encountered while instantiating this new order could be minimized.
Worthy pointing out is the positioning of this novel and Toni Morrison generally in the wider world. Paradise, which contains in it many tools for effective resistance, was given a chance to become more mainstream by being featured in Oprah’s Book Club. Oprah’s fame and acceptance in the symbolic order give her power with which to bring attention to issues, (Oprah brought to the attention of her audience the case of Amina Lawal, a Nigerian woman sentenced to death by stoning for having conceiving a child out of wedlock. Oprah encouraged her viewers to write protest emails, of which over a million were written, certainly helping keep the sentence from being carried out. “Amina Lawal’s Story”, <http://www.oprah.com/tows/pastshows/tows_2002/tows_past_20021004_b.jhtml>.) framed as she’d like, and she brings the potency of Morrison’s Paradise to the fore. This assures that the lessons contained within Paradise won’t just be limited to a smaller specialized audience who already have an affinity with Morrison’s project. Even if the culture industry waters down the content in Paradise, it is a large improvement to its complete absence. Morrison has made her own way in the symbolic order, for her past bravery and ingenuity earned her the Nobel Prize in literature, giving her a certain mandate and stature to continue to write daring and challenging texts. The reception of this novel might not have been great given the dissonant message, but at least there was space created for its reception.
#2,2233 – Tags = 8(BO)
Description: Spivak, history of the subaltern, Critique of Post-colonial reason
(gotten from Feminist Theory – Final)
Gayatri Spivak problematizes the western historical method and the history it produces for the way it accounts (and discounts) the other. In the same way as a woman suffering from spousal abuse isn’t seen as being abused until the legal code reflects it, the historical suffering of millions of oppressed people is forgotten because these oppressed aren’t the ones writing the history. Even those historians who have an ethical thirst of retribution and want to write histories of the oppressed other can’t because there are no primary documents recording that they ever existed. When a genocidal force doesn’t want some people to exist, and it goes to the length of getting rid of them, why would it take the time to document that they were ever there? Spivak illustrates the problem through the example of the historical documentation (or lack thereof) of women who committed sati in India during British rule. The British did such a poor job of recording the names of those who committed sati that Spivak couldn’t argue against their justification of their colonialism they used, namely, that they were there to help the women who were oppressed so much by the Indian men as to burn themselves to death. Thus “the lines of restoring (a) woman’s history according to Western definitions of historicity were laid down.” (Gayatri Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 228.) For Spivak to argue historically against the British justification (as opposed to logically, which might be rather easy given the ridiculousness of the British interpretation and misattribution of the occurrence sati) she would have to find a counter hegemonic historical discourse, and this meant ultimately creating her own. She had to reconstruct the past, and she did so only by great efforts and the luck of finding the story of the Rani of Sirmur’s story as a counter example, where the Rani struggled against the British and threatened sati because they had taken away her husband. (Most of the above argument made by Spivak would not have been possible for me to relay if it weren’t for the lecture of Drucilla Cornell, Feminist Theory (Seminar), 30 October, 2006.) Though in all likelihood unintentional, I take the eight blank pages (following the Index) at the end of A Critique of Postcolonial Reason as Spivak, or the sympathetic publisher, telling us, “You are an integral part of this, and you must now speak too, and make a record of the oppressed, because the oppressor certainly isn’t.”
Spivak’s discussion of LaCapra’s criticisms and reflections on historicism activated in me a tangent I wanted to share, that might go to support some of the logic of individualism and thus feed into my claims of the last section. One quote Spivak pulls from LaCapra seems like a good summation and launching point of my tangent: “’The dimensions of the document that make it a text of a certain sort with its own historicity and its relations to sociopolitical processes (for example, relations of power) … are filtered out when it is used as purely and simply as a quarry for facts in the reconstruction of the past.’” (Gayatri Spivak, A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999), p. 205.) This triggered in me thinking about modern scientific methodology, and the similarities it has to the described historical method, namely that both filter out relationships with surroundings to isolate variables, or facts, to be used for some reconstruction or investigation. The temporal integration that existed is killed off (well because temporality can’t be scientifically known nor can the complexities it brings to bear be approximately figured) so that they no longer have anything to interact with and destabilize their fixity, which allows them to more appropriately fit into the term “objects” for study, or in the case of history: “facts.” With regards to what happens when relationships between people that form a dynamic community are studied scientifically, the result is a view of “individuals,” that are statically idealized so that they may be “known.” In a similar fashion, generations of women are cut off from one another, their relationships sundered, because they are symbolically cut of from a matriarchal lineage because they don’t have a last name of their own to share with their mother, because their mother doesn’t possess such a name, leaving all women generationally divided and aloof.
#2,2300 – Tags = 1(FMZ$&)
Description: Bodies that matter, Judith Butler
(gotten from Feminist Theory – Final)
For Judith Butler, the symbolic order—or discourse—is in a constant interaction with materiality, where the two reinforce each other, to create and recreate sexed beings, forced further into narrow gender divides. However, as happens with any divide that isn’t actually real (perhaps any divide would qualify), it starts to dissolve and show qualifications outside of the quantifiable confines of the category: “materialization is never quite complete, that bodies never quite comply with the norms by which their materialization is impelled.”(Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 2.). The discourse can only continue if it is constantly reiterating, in the fashion mentioned before where materiality and the discourse are in constant interaction. The relevance of this directly to the communicative symbolic order can be seen in the forcing a sexed identity on someone by naming: “the naming is at once the setting of a boundary, and also the repeated inculcation of a norm.”(Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 8.) Perhaps a practical tactic then becomes unisex (ultimately becoming non-sexed) names, as a way of escaping the narrow dichotomy. Butler pointing out the exertion and effort to keep these divides adhered to and relevant, creates a space of hope in uncreating them, as what was made by humans can be unmade by them as well.
Butler is attacking not just the realm of gender, which she says, “operates through exclusionary means,” (Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 8.) where gender is constructed, but also sex, which has always been assumed to be basic and not able to be touched and deconstructed. Sex “is a regulatory practice that produces the bodies it governs… [it has the power to] demarcate, circulate, differentiate.” (Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 1.) Sex is shown to have all this power, but because it has always been placed in the realm of materiality, it is somehow above (or below) critical investigation. So Butler wants to expose the long standing uncritical assumptions made about matter so that sex which is assumed to be material can no longer exist absolutely as an oppressive base of which other things are built upon. By debasing the “given” matter and bringing it into the possibility of construction, Butler is bringing a lot more responsibility onto all of us, as we now are potentially the collective architects of everything existing, or at least can’t shove off responsibility onto anything a priori because we simply can’t know that we didn’t create it.
Similarly, Butler ties the fate of nature to that of matter as that which is “before intelligibility,” (Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 4.) and because nature is viewed as something passive and always already there, its effects are overlooked, and we are “naturalized.” To continue this logic, I would say our naturalization process can come to include a great many arbitrary and artificial realities, to which we accept. (This loosening up of an understanding of nature, also has in it the potential to delegitimize “human nature” and thus the current discourse on human nature as that of being self-interested and competitive, a key to the hypothesis of rational choice.) The importance of going to the root conceptualization of nature as fixed and separate and then undermining it, is because it could be a method for denaturalizing us and the way we think about nature; a situation thus emerges of searching for new ways of being, which if done while keeping past abuses in mind, can lead to something truly emancipatory.
#2,2301 – Tags = 1(FJ$&)
(gotten from Feminist Theory – Final)
Citationality. I am not quite sure I have an adequate understanding of what Butler means by citationality, but I see in the concept a way of elucidating the way a hegemonic symbolic order maintains itself, and by the same token a way of effectively challenging and moving away from it. First, on the hegemonic discourse of sex, Butler says, “’the law of sex’ is repeatedly fortified and idealized as the law only to the extent that it is reiterated as the law, produced as the law, the anterior and inapproximal ideal, by the very citations it is said to command.” (Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 14.) What I translate this and the passage preceding it to mean is that something gains legitimacy by its usage and being normalized, not by any logical justification. A discourse that elaborates itself and wins over interests and apologists, can strengthen itself into an ideological powerhouse, claiming truth because it is so common and agreed upon. (I understand this in generally the same way as I do Charles Pierce’s “Community of Inquirers,” as the way a science gains legitimacy and wields the power to be called real is by how many adhere to it and believe in it, not by its own inner logic. So when everyone is in the “flat earth society,” the earth for all purposes is truly flat.) The masculine symbolic exists because it hasn’t been challenged and changed, it is a tradition that will continue to reproduce itself until the arbitrary method by which it justifies itself is exposed, as here Butler is seeking to do.
Citationality can be a way of building up a discourse one wants to affirm and legitimate because of its ideals, and so it can be ideologically willed into greater power. Butler, by citing the ideas of Derrida (who cites Heidegger, who cites Nietzsche, and so on), strengthens her own position as well as that of those she cites, just by bringing them to the forefront. The ideals and potentials that Butler has an affinity for should be cited over and over, and applied to different contexts. The result could be “a radical resignification of the symbolic domain, deviating the citational chain toward a more possible future to expand the very meaning of what counts as a valued and valuable body in the world.” (Judith Butler, Bodies that Matter (New York: Routledge, 1993), p. 22.) Implicit in all this is a collective argument where not one person is building the alternate symbolic order, but a lineage is doing so, perhaps in a similar fashion as the idea of James Joyce’s Mamafesta. (I see citationality also a way of building towards a meta-narrative, as a collective way out of the postmodern individualized condition. No one person can create a meta-narrative, but collectively one can be constructed.) The citing of past ideas doesn’t mean a submitting to them, but an appropriation of their language and concepts to be reapplied and modified to fit the new situations and aspirations. (There can also be new interpretations of ideas from figures thought to be in the opposition, thus creating the twofold use of building up your own discourse and chipping away at the hegemonic oppositions’ foundation. ) What can come of this are new histories, new interpretations, new publications, new accreditation systems (or no accreditation systems), new businesses (perhaps cooperatively run), and most importantly, new ways of persons relating to one another.
#2,2302 – Tags = 4(CMT)
Description: strategies to fight oppression
(gotten from Feminist Theory – Final)
The consciousness raising groups and the ethos surrounding them occurring during the 1960s served an important service that needs to be rekindled. The symbolic order is currently witnessing a conservatization, which is a roll back of many of the victories and new spaces opened up via the cultural struggles of the ’60s. Consciousness raising in a group setting—as it must be done collectively—is an important way to help reverse the conservative trend, bring awareness to and thus reinscribing the oppression and abuse any of the persons in the group undergo. Consciousness raising is the first step in the project, as the oppression must first be identified if it is to be effectively challenged and hopefully changed.
The state, for all the good it supposedly brings—collective security, identity, and pride—has been a cause of wars (and the antecedent building up of militaries to fight in these wars), blind nationalism, and maintenance of an oppressive status quo (including the symbolic order, which the state has particular resonance with because its claim to legal authority and the instantiation of “justice”). As for the state as the major instrument of war, I can offer nothing new to the antiwar strategy except maybe that the role that the arms industry has in lobbying the state for war, should be targeted, and the two entities—the state and the arms industry—should be divided. Nationalism, often a blind uncritical acceptance of oneself as aligned with an arbitrary association of people, should be eroded by new associations, a blindness or “veil of ignorance” towards other’s nations, and the positing of a humanism in a Kantian sense, where all humans are ends, rather than just possibly the ones in one’s own “nation.” The state has hegemony over the hegemonic symbolic order in many ways, some of which are as the administer of justice and definer of legality, designator of official language(s), and official schooler. Alternatives to these might be community democratic judgments in lieu of seeking justice from the state, when possible; learning and teaching multiple languages so one is not confined to the narrowness a single language offers; and home schooling or alternate/additional schooling. (Or no schooling, as Mark Twain said “don’t let your schooling get in the way of your education.”) There are many more criticisms and alternative proposals to the state and more are sure to develop as the project of its replacement increases.
I would like to end on perhaps a dissonant tone in the current symbolic order, but what might be a harmonious tone in the next more liberated one. I took Clint Eastwood’s advice and listened to my significant other, and when we were discussing the Feminism Theory seminar, she had mentioned some practical extensions of the problem, that I felt I should report equivocally. She offered the example of male sexual abuse and the problem with the culture’s narrow framework to symbolize this occurrence, and so it goes unnoticed, much to the suffering of the abused males. Another example: the problem of obesity is defined in a negative logic because of a general societal obsession with weight that might be too strict on people who are “obese” but not necessarily unhealthy, but who are commonly thought to be unhealthy, and so there are unnecessary pressures on these people based on misconceptions. Lastly, the atomization that people put themselves through, or are put through, creates a situation where all are worse off—where spousal abuse victims have no outlets, where anorexics have no one to acknowledge their existence until often too late—and so the lack of available “social capital” is tragic, as it would help to overcome a great many of the personal and societal problems there are.
#2,2303 – Tags = 3(BEMY$&)
Description: Feminist Theory extra ideas
de-atomizing – what public spheres and collective ideas still existing must be strengthened and rebuilt, reversing the atomizing trend. –
Feminism should also start to define what masculinity is, causing the masculine to self reflect, and to be drawn into the debate, destablizing concepts (b/c whether or not its materially existent, ideology channels and affects the actions of humans, most notably seen in the ideology of private property)
(perhaps even narrowly define males, as the initiation of a dialectical discussion, to show how females have been very narrowly defined. Anything to stir up the discourse.
Females have nothing to lose but their chains.
- cognitive dissonance, is actually linguistic dissonance and ideological inscription dissonance
- it is here that the causal chains one initiates can be more directly attributable. (Causal chains and their degree of resonance are traceable in the symbolic order by the newly created symbols and realms for representation. Whether the causal chains can be attributed to an individual or collective is another matter.)
Common language is the best example of symbolic order, you can’t escape it, you think in it, but you can do slight alterations, and a critical inquiry into it is useful, a deconstruction, but the deconstruction isn’t to get rid of it, its to disrupt whats there, shake it up for new formulations (use butler quote about deconstruction, her quoting derrida, about how deconstruction isn’t to break it all the way down for no further use)
Evolving the symbolic order, because it is material content, not an ideological form, and so there can be no revolution.
econ reduction – free market is your sphere – by buying or not buying lipstick, you can’t change things
feminism should be a constant mixing of new conceptions, just having a living discourse that won’t settle – stirring up the gender episteme,
and we know, in this case, positing a position at -5 and another at +5, doesn’t average out to 0, but rather broadens the range and freedom for discussion.
trying to work within cognitive dissonance ranges, and once there is motion towards an openness then maybe the slippery slope can aid in moving to more extreme positions compared to that of the symbolic order
#2,2310 – Tags = 8(BNOPQ)
Description: presentation on adorno’s aesthetic theory, pages 78-100, and my notes
(gotten from Adorno’s Aesthetic Theory – Presentation with my comments)
1) Autonomy of Art – “artworks become artworks in the production of this more; they produce their own transcendence, rather than being its arena” (pg 78)
2) otherness, uncapturability of art, and spirit – “the more cannot be adequately described by the psychological definition of a gestalt, according to which a whole is greater than its parts. For the more is not simply the nexus of elements, but an other, mediated through this nexus and yet divided from it.” (pg 79)
“it is irresistible precisely because it refuses to let itself be nailed down either as an entity or as a universal concept” (pg 83)
“[spirit] makes artworks, things among things, something other than thing. Indeed, artworks are only able to become other than thing by becoming a thing, though not through their localization in space and time but only by an immanent process of reification that makes them self-same, self-identical.” (pg 86)
And lines before – “the sensual in artworks is artistic only if in itself mediated by spirit” (pg 87)
“spirit cannot be fixated in immediate identity with its appearance… the locus of spirit is the configuration of what appears. Spirit forms appearance just as appearance forms spirit.” (pg 87)
“with an ever increasing ruthlessness, spirit determines and pulls everything merely sensual and factual in artworks into its own sphere…” (pg 88)
“the spirit of artworks is bound up with their form, but spirit is such only insofar as it points beyond that form” (pg 89)
“technological analysis does not grasp the spirit of a work…….” (pg 89)
“in no artwork is the element of spirit something that exists; rather, it is something in a process of development and formation” (pg 91)
3) art as not what capitalism produces – “art betrays transcendence when it seeks to produce it as an effect” (pg 78)
“what appears is not interchangeable because it does not remain a dull particular for which other particulars could be substituted” (pg 83)
“its criterion of success is the ability of art to appropriate into its language of form what bourgeois society has ostracized, thereby revealing in what has been stigmatized that nature whose suppression is what is truly evil” (pg 93)
And the context for which dissonance gains appreciation “the putative expressive values of complex, multitonal sounds were in fact predicated on the insistent negation of traditional sounds” (pg 91)
4) art as irreducible – “paintings fail in which the geometrical patterns to which they are reducible remain factually what they are” (pg 78)
5) paradoxical nature of art (temporal atemporality, empirical yet not) – “artworks have the immanent character of being an act, even if they are carved in stone” (pg 79)
“artworks are static as much as they are dynamic” (pg 80)
“they are things whose power it is to appear.” (pg 80)
“they appear empirically yet are liberated from the burden of the empirical” (pg 81)
“something momentary transcends; objectivation makes the artwork into an instant. Pertinent here is Benjamin’s formulation of a dialectic at a standstill” (pg 84)
“movement at a standstill is eternalized in the instant, and what has been made eternal is annihilated by its reduction to the instant” (pg 85) “it is at once static and dynamic”
What explained the paradox to me – Beethoven’s Kreutzer sonata (pg 88)
Questions I have:
is there a fundamental difference between paintings/literature and music as artworks, with respect to temporality and the role that the viewer plays?
How are the apparition he refers to and the spirit different or distinguishable?
on the question of if art can survive, and if it can work towards social change, or if its just purely experiential… and I had an experience I wanted to share, and this is what I think of, is trance music, its a type of music, that isn’t very big in america, and many simplify it and say its created by computers or its just repetitive, but there are massive subtleties to it, and I know b/c I have given myself ringing in the ears b/c of it
trance has done so much for me, I might seem like a bit of a nervous wreck, but you should have seen me before I found trance
and thats the other thing about trance, I found it, I had never been exposed to music anything like it before
fascistic experience with the dj, its really crazy…
its just you and the dj, and the connection i couldn’t describe, it was amazing
art is autonomous, and therefore it can transcend itself (rather than be made or controlled to transcent itself) and connect into things other to it
the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, he says that this dynamic whole still isn’t what art is, but art is other to this whole
I think Adorno wants to make the artwork so uncapturable, he’ll describe a really far away, already seemingly uncapturable place, and then say art is other to it
art as independent from the humans, and i wonder if he posits this independence because he believes that humans, if they could control art, would try to scientize it, know it, and so by art having its own autonomy, it can’t be corrupted by humans
reading this is certainly humbling, and so I don’t intend to tell you what this is about, but what I think Adorno is trying to say and its impact on me
#2,2311 – Tags = 1(AT@)
Description: utopia isn’t a place but a direction
- A theory of motion (movement within an ideology) – that pinning down a communist utopia, and suppressing those who have alternate views, means that the utopia can’t, philosophically, be one, because we need change to be happening to have utopia, the utopia is a direction, not a place. Utopia isn’t a place, it’s a direction, because we are beings in time.
#2,2312 – Tags = 2(BCENP)
Description: Patronage and capitalism, ministers not qualified for jobs
Marxist, empirically supported by ministers/appointees resigning when they actually have to do their job – FEMA head during Katrina 05, and later in 05 Chinese environment chief Xie Zhenhua resigned during chemical spill. I’d like to speak about how these ministers are either in the industries they are supposed to regulate, or closely tied to them, or they are purely unqualified recipients of patronage. I’d also like to then speak about, from a Marxian point of view, why they will keep doing this, because it is in their interests for personal gain/industry and business gain, to be appointed, and for politicians to make such appointments. And how the only people that can stop this are the people, but such analysis is kept from them. Also the public always needs a scapegoat, which they are given, by the press and politicians, who don’t want to expose the systematic problems. I could also use this as a point to criticize the media for giving out of context news – the story is just “so and so resigned today because of criticism to such and such disaster” – there is no analysis of trends of this happening, and the public has to catch the trends
#2,2313 – Tags = 2(EHN)
Description: america and soviet union as voluntaristically created
- Comparision between America volunteeristically created, and Soviet Union voluntaristically – capitalism, the real paradigm of the age, eventually absorbed both of these nations into itself, in a similar way that it had absorbed nations all over the world – maybe since America came out of “slave era”, that’s why we now have business treated like kings? – America was primitive communist (native Americans) – slave society – then moved into capitalistic yet feudal elements (indentured servants, are there other peasant like groups?) – feudalism argument is contingent on what kind of data I could dig up, but then now its finally capitalism
#2,2320 – Tags = 3(CNW)
Description: The dead on the inside reflects the dead on the outside
talk about how people dying and going through so much pain around the world, reflects in a certain way all of the dead feeling inside people here in the usa. Similar to this argument, is that the reason american’s feel so depressed is because we don’t actually produce the stuff we have, and we don’t know who produces it and can’t appreciate it. Our guilt and insecurity speaks to the fact that the system is just set up wrong – humans aren’t meant to live in capitalism
#2,2321 – Tags = 2(EMT)
Description: Industries in capitalism, their growing interests
show how, in any industry, once it is created, it has an incentive in continuing to exist as it first does, without any changes. Maybe mention Weber. All industries want to give the lowest common denominator amount of products, b/c they are cheapest to produce. The only reason they will change is if something external demands it – competition, state mandated, etc. No industry will solve all the problems its product solves permenantly. Any person in a career will not want the career which they have trained and been involved in (example – fashion) to disappear. Contrast this paper with Marketing Myopia. And each industry lobbies and embeds itself in the state (if there is one) to ensure it could monopolize without a force there to regulate itself – linkage to bureaurcracies, agencies that are regulative of industries – examples – war industries create (lobby for) wars, have a diametrically opposed stance to peace; clothes industries create fashion, so clothes people will pay lots for same thing, also create cheaper clothes; media creates media- turns mundane thing and sensationalizes it, or tries to do this until there is outrage,scott Peterson trial, ideally the media would want us watching a blank wall and being entertained by it, so that they don’t have to hire anyone (journalists, communications techs) – in a similar vein bureaucracies see to it that laws more and more, are created that they than have to enforce, and are given money to enforce
#2,2322 – Tags = 1(STX)
Description: From synchronic to synthesis
(already actually at synthesis) of time and space, now its about human recognition of the synthesis
#2,2323 – Tags = 2(EIPX)
Description: How the World Works
talk about western hegemony, the way the coups are used to put empower someone who will steal the land of the natives and then sell it off to corporations
#2,2330 – Tags = 10(AC)
Description: Reasons not to leave America
America is the Battleground of ideas – America holds the key to liberate the proletariat all over the world, if things unravel here it will follow suit
#2,2331 – Tags = 2(INX)
Description: global stockholm syndrome wearing off
(w/ global nations less admiring of their rapers, the USA raping their resources and plundering their people
#2,2332 – Tags = 3(PV)
Description: private property pushed on third world nations
how private property has been pushed on what are now third world nations and how that legacy is why they are so oppressed and behind today, and how it was militarily pushed on them.
#2,2333 – Tags = 1(CDLU)
Description: consciousness arising from?
charles pierce thesis – the privileging of ethics over rationalism, ethics as the true ends – sartre vs bertrand – “determining” things, like positive science does, you leave no room for freedom, b/c you’ve already determined, but by determining YOU are freely changing thingsdetermining determined it – crazy use of language but its in the actions consciousness is still mythical that can’t be understood by material science, it arises more than just out of material interactions (consciousness could be what causes the interactions, the change), consciousness is change, and planetary motion, could be a different forms of consciousness, why must it be carbon based life? Things get infinitely smaller and greater, as response to quantum physics (why the randomness will happen) – b/c there is so much below the atomic level going on, that explains why some atoms do halflife and others don’t – supernova as death of star, isn’t really – there are still miniature atoms floating, that are their own universes, and as things become more and more spread out (with big-bangifying), the teleology of the universe, of big bang breaking up, more advanced ways that life can expand and understand itself – blowing up of stars, creating more and more systems, consciousness going way and way down, the level that consciousness works at can be more precise – other senses and perceptions and ways of life relating to materiality, nothing essential about carbon based life.
#2,3000 – Tags = 2(CEINPX)
Description: government indirectly punishing dissenters
- The new role of government – Looking the other way – governments just like in MLK didn’t kill MLK but looked the other way and let someone else sneak in to shoot him (and no investigation), and the mexican government and other latino governments letting paramilitary forces do their dirty work, and not applying the law to them and pursuing or investigating. And so states don’t directly do imperialism anymore, or at least not too frequently to stir up public discontent and outrage, and so they just allow the pathways for their corporations, under the guise of free market forces, to go do the exploitation and plundering for them.
#2,3001 – Tags = 3(DS)
Description: democracy and space
- the lack of public physical space as restricting democracy
#2,3002 – Tags = 7(IT)
Description: when no one’s left
talk about apathy politics, the left being weak and disorganized
#‘s 2,3003-2,3031 ***Ideas – Sketches – Illustrations.doc for 11 ideas***
#2,3102 – Tags = 8(N)
Description: Chinua Achebe – Things Fall Apart
Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart (Ballantine Books, 1959)
Okonkwo appears to be the lead character for the book – he has received much fame for being the best wrestler in 9 villages
His dad was a debter when he died – his name was Unoka
Keys about culture – more prestigious to have more wives, to how well your crops do (# of barns full of yams), and there are village titles.
You are not marred by your families past failures (Okonkwo wasn’t at a disadvantage in the people’s eyes because his dad owed many of them money).
Chapter 2, 3, 4
Lots of balancing, a carefree lazy father leads to a stern and brutal son, and then his son is scared of him
Oknokwo’s rise to prominence not just because of Chi (or luck, personal God), but the Chi merely is a reflection of Okonkwo’s perseverance
Wrestling match on day two of fest, young boys start wrestling first and the best boy wrestles last, age similar to 16
It is decided that Ilkeumfina will be killed as sacrifice. Okonkwo is told that because the boy calls him father, he should not go and take part in the killing. Okonkwo goes and ends up taking a part in it, as he doesn’t want to appear weak.
In chapter 8 Okonkwo goes to the neighbors house (this is during dull season), and neighbor, Obierika, is getting ready to sell off his daughter to a suitor. Later on the formal selling happens and a price is set, and they discuss how in different villages it is done differently. Obierika seems to have many arguments against certain things that happen in their culture, and calls out some contradictions.
Ezinma, Ekwefi’s only daughter, gets sick. We find out about Ekwefe’s horrible luck with bearing children, and that she has had 10 and only this one actually started to survive, and that mythically speaking the medicine man says it’s the same evil spirit that keeps coming back. A year earlier than the present, Ezinma was asked to find her stone, and they medicine man dug deep for it… Ekwefi and Ezinma had become companions more than mother, daughter, and Ekwefi helped her eat eggs in secret away for Okonkwo.
Priest tortured one of Ekwefi’s dieing babies, so that it would think again about returning, but it still might, with marks of where the priest wounded her (kind of like beloved)
Iya-uwa is a stone rapped up that represents the person who was born
People gathered in one section of village to hear a trial, in which Evil Forest, the spirit with smoke coming out of his head, was the arbiter of the case, where a man was beating his wife and so she ran away back to her family. It is custom that if a women runs away back to her family, the family must return the money that the man paid for her originally. This did not happen because of extraordinary circumstances where the man beat her so bad.
The spirit body guy called the people “bodies”
Telling folklore in their tents in the moonless night Ekwefi tells Ezinma story about Tortoise who tricked the birds by naming himself “all of you” but they get back at him.
Chielo, possessed by the God Agbalo comes requesting Ezinma. Okonkwo pleads that she is sleeping, but Chielo, or “Agbala”, demands it. They leave and go all the way to the far village of the clan… Ekwefi is following them, and then once they get to the village, Chielo turns around and goes back same path, and then heads up to the caves and goes in a hole, Ekwefi waits outside, and then Okonkwo with machete comes up behind her and they both wait together.
~ chapter 15-21 – Okonkwo was excelled for accidentally shooting someone during a festival, in celebration. He spent seven years in his mother’s kinsmen land. White missionaries had started to arrive to the villages, and one village, Abame, that killed the missionaries before they started, was destroyed and slaughtered.
A good quote is that the white man came peacefully when the natives were stronger, and made peace and was non-confrontational. After their power grew, the secular parts of the imperialist nation (England in this case) started to come, like a government. And converts were given positions in the hierarchy of administration, to start to give the bureaucracy depth and legitimacy, and it was
#2,3103 – Tags = 8(N)
Description: James Baldwin – the Fire Next Time
James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Random House 1995)
Part 1: My Dungeon Shook
“You can only be destroyed by believing that you really are what the white world calls a nigger.” (James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Random House 1995), p. 4.)
“If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.” (James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Random House 1995), p. 7.)
The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what white people say about you.”(James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time (Random House 1995), p. 7.)
On page 8 he relates to his (newphew?) the way the white man’s world is shaped and to not hate him for the consequences of it, but try to help him – very peaceful and open minded approach
#2,3110 – Tags = 8(N)
Description: Michael McGerr – The Decline of Popular Politics
Chapter 3 – with the anti-universal suffrage campaign, because independent newspapers and non party line trends were coming up, and voters were getting more educated – the elite who controlled the government didn’t want to lose their power to the poorer masses, who would also, through voting and democracy, erode their wealth
Chapter 4 – educational politics – as educational politics came to being, it was harder for parties to amaze their followers by simple stunts – one big proponent towards education politics – Samuel J Tilder, and Hewitt – campaigned using educated voting techniques
Campaign of 1884 marked a turning point in style for both parties
Leagues and clubs for discussion among voters
Campaign documents became more useless as they were seen as biased, and newspapers phased in as medium for education to be spread
Chapter 5 – the press transformed
Journalism came to be about 3 different modes in relation to politics – partisan, independent, and sensational
As technology improved, newspapers grew into businesses that could fund themselves independently, without the need of help of political parties
People became more interested in the news than in the party biased editorials
Indy journalism went along with the shifting political values, and was a natural tool for those seeking to move away from blind partisanship
Chapter 6 – advertised politics
Advertised politics made things easier to understand than educational politics. Spectacular politics for villages was in the past, and leisure and consumption lead to a declining sense of local community, hurting spectacular politics.
Advertised politics also lead to more focus on national parties and headquarters rather than on local candidates and events
Spectacular politics – reaction was education, and reaction to that was advertised. Advertised not dry like education and not local and party based like spectacular
There was to be a mix of educational and advertised politics in the 20th century.
#2,3111 – Tags = 8(N)
Description: Stephen Eric Bronner – Twentieth Century Political Theory
Stephen Eric Bronner, Twentieth Century Political Theory (Routledge 1997)
Antonio Gramsci – The Revolution Against Capital – pages 170-172
“The Bolsheviks reject Karl Marx” (page 170) – by this Gramsci meant that the Bolsheviks skipped the step of letting capitalism come in and “civilize” Russia, creating the two diametrically opposed classes, the proletariat and the bourgeois.
“Events have overcome ideologies” (page 170) – this skipping of the step Marx spoke of was fostered by Russia’s involvement in WW1 –
“In normal times a lengthy process of gradual diffusion through society is needed for such a collective will to form; a wide range of class experience is needed.” (page 171)
The sufferings that the people of Russia went through World War 1 allowed revolutionary forces to grip the imagination of the masses and thrust forward into a revolution.
“In Russia the war galvanized the people’s will.”(page 171)
Socialist propaganda complemented this rapid creation and establishment of the proletariat seeing itself as builders of socialism. –
“socialist propaganda could bring the history of the proletariat dramatically to life in a moment… it was socialist propaganda that forged the will of the Russian people”(page 171)
Gramsci goes on to make the argument that the Russian people are picking up at the forefront of the worldwide Marxist/socialist movement, with the benefit of seeing everything happen before and not having to suffer unnecessarily from the effects of advancing capitalism, like western Europe had. They now can learn from the mistakes of others at no cost.
#2,3112 – Tags = 4(DNT)
Description: a democratic sphere
opinion circulation – across freehold, other places?
#2,3113 – Tags = 4(C)
Description: Advertising WBAI at Rutgers
#2,3120 – Tags = 4(NSW)
Description: All Class Notes
to give notes to classes away for free, challenge first class notes, or maybe the info shop could sell them for really cheap
possible problem may be that then people wouldn’t go to class, and also people taking notes might feel used
but it would be as challenge to first class notes.
#2,3121 – Tags = 4(EOT)
Description: Car Pull up to Rutgers
#2,3122 – Tags = 4(MPS)
Description: Community home schooling
Have teachers volunteer to come teach certain courses – also have adult teaching for immigrants especially, in all areas of interest
Allies – common sense penny harvest
#2,3123 – Tags = 4(MPS)
Description: Community Land Trusts in New Brunswick
idea for them, ask if any urban studies classes would like to participate in the building of the land trust, Kathe Newman perhaps?
#2,3130 – Tags = 4(COT)
Description: community theater
Movie night across NB and Freehold – perhaps over summer 05, have some movies where the day workers and normal freeholders can all come together, also show the end of suburbia
#2,3131 – Tags = 4(T)
Description: cosmopolitan cards
start setting up ID’s, irregardless of national origin
#2,3132 – Tags = 4(NOS)
Description: lego day care center
have lego sponsor a day care center where kids can start out at cheaper rate – and also this day care center will come packed with legos, and this would be in legos interest as it is doing something good for community and it is making lego enthusiasits out of the kids.
#2,3133 – Tags = 4(OT)
Description: Getting on Rutgers TV, and Public Access TV
these public free access channels are pointless if not being used
#2,3200 – Tags = 4(T)
Description: Fostering Republican Divide at Rutgers
polarize and make it apparent the differences between (neocons-christianright) and (oldguards-libertarians-moderaterepublicans) – create facebook group – republicans who hate the neocons and christian right take over of the party
Rutgers Libertarians as allies
#2,3201 – Tags = 4(OS)
Description: Get Rutgers to adopt NB High School
have college take NB HS and make it completely funded, offer all kinds of programs, like Embrey said he saw in other Uni towns
#2,3202 – Tags = 4(OT)
Description: Getting Out the Vote
on election nights, go around with megaphones 2 hours before polls close, and yell for people who haven’t voted to vote, and support our suffering democracy
#2,3203 – Tags = 4(COS)
Description: Giving Prisoners good reading material
and organizing them for when they get out
possibly even organizing while in prison
#2,3210 – Tags = 4(NOS)
create site that lists all info shops and also has news on them, and other nifty things and links
#2,3211 – Tags = 4(NS)
Description: Left wing television
Left Wing could be profitable – a response to fox news, people would watch an uber liberal news station if there was one
#2,3212 – Tags = 4(T)
Description: Leftwing magazines in Drs offices
leave old leftwing magazines in Drs offices for other people to see and possibly read, perhaps we should put rightwing mags in there too
zmag, clamor – get them to donate back issues for various people to place
#2,3213 – Tags = 4(T)
Description: Linux in Computer Labs
allies – RUSLUG
#2,3220 – Tags = 4(S)
Description: Making Frats Socially useful
Have alliances with them and get them to do socially useful things
#2,3221 – Tags = 4(T)
Description: May Day Parties
#2,3222 – Tags = 4(OS)
Description: be a one man non-profit organization
get funding to go around to various 501(c)3’s to pull them in more anarchistic trajectory, and also listen to what funders ask for.
#2,3223 – Tags = 4(MS)
Description: Parallel Government
Especially important is providing services people need and creating institutions to do this; Separate way to count votes
#2,3230 – Tags = 4(T)
Description: Saying Hello to people who you walk by
it could cause a “butterfly effect” across your community
#2,3231 – Tags = 4(ET)
Description: Seeds in Garbage Cans, little sprouts
this with maybe some fertilizer, could help decompose garbage at the dumps, make it better enviornmentally
#2,3232 – Tags = 4(COT)
Description: socialist meeting run by others
Don’t go to meeting, just call it and flyer for it – let the meeting be run by the people
Just as in socialism to anarchism, you will decide what the society is to be, you all must decide what this meeting is to be and this group. Having a leader replace the people shifting into
#2,3233 – Tags = 4(S)
Description: Strengthening the Rutgers Review
there is a need of a left response to the centurion, and rather than starting new one, go with this
#2,3300 – Tags = 4(T)
Description: Switching to European Standards
with metric system, and date system (year-month-day, not month-day-year)
#2,3301 – Tags = 4(O)
Description: The Anti-Antiintellectualism Teaching Circle
we should teach one another various works, critique eachothers teaching styles, also critique and edit eachothers papers and such – the reason for this being, if we want our message to get out, we are going to need to be able to teach it to others in an effective manner.
#2,3302 – Tags = 4(CT)
Description: Traditions of the dead, not of us
the tradition of the dead is… Graduation Day! Don’t Walk! And don’t support parades and holidays especially 4th of july
#2,3303 – Tags = 4(S)
Description: TV watchers and critiquers
(watch Oreilly, Hannity), to set up a site and point out all the inaccuracies that are spouted on the big networks
#2,3310 – Tags = 4(T)
Description: Using Student Organizations Money
to buy magazines to give out to people?
#2,3311 – Tags = 4(NS)
Description: What’s Left at Rutgers (Rutgers Opinion Mag-Newspaper)
#2,3312 – Tags = 4(S)
Description: Small Business Uniting
#2,3313 – Tags = 4pg(G)
put in project PG001
001 – Books, Essays (I have read and to Read).xls
#2,3320 – Tags = 4pg(G)
Description: Audio Getting and Sharing and Related
put in project PG002
#2,3321 – Tags = 4pg(EMS)
Description: Rejecting Consumerism
put in project PG003
Baseball can’t strike all of us
WE STRIKE THEM
Did you know that the average baseball player makes 2.4 million a year, how much do you make??
And in this game, they are the poor ones when compared to the owners of the teams. So basically everyone in baseball makes at least 20 times up and through a 100 of times what the normal person makes, and the reason they are so rich, is because of you and me, the financially normal person.
For example, if 4 people go to a Yankee’s game on a Friday night, they could easily spend over $300 total, after tickets and a couple of hot dogs, drinks and ice-cream, not to forget $4 pretzels. Last time I went to a Yankee game the tickets were 62 bucks for the first tier, and the prices weren’t on their way down.
The point I’m trying to get across is that the reason they have such luxurious lifestyles based on their terrible greed is because of you and me. We buy their tickets, their food, their hats and shirts… they get loads upon loads of our money and then have a strike because they all want more. At the end of the dispute, you know who is going to suffer?? me and you, with ticket prices going up even more, as if they weren’t high enough. And think about this, they get paid so much more than us to what? Play a game they love to play for a living. Not fair.
I say we take things into our hands, because in reality we control what they do, that is if we unite and boycott against them, all of them, those greedy fools. Haven’t the stolen enough of our money?? These players, managers, and owners are thieves in broad daylight. Just stop going to their games, watching their games (they make about 50% of their greedy money from this), stop buying their merchandise, and encourage others to do the same. If you are very into it just make copies of this flyer and/or make your own version of it, and put them everywhere you go, normal and exotic places alike, get the word out there and if there is no demand for major league baseball, the prices of everything will be driven way down. That’s a basic economic fact, no demand, prices go way down, and baseball has to give up the money they have been robbing us of. And it’s the same with all professional sports, they are all greedy, but they can all be stopped, you just have to stop going, and besides is that so bad, you could save yourself hundreds of $$. If you enjoy sports and don’t want to, check out college and minor league sports, the prices to those events is a lot more reasonable and is to a much better cause most of the time.
We are the ones who make them and we are the ones who can break them.
#2,3322 – Tags = 4pg(G)
Description: Book Lending
put in project PG004
001 – Books Lent Out Database.xls
#2,3323 – Tags = 4pg(NOS)
Description: Boycotting (List)
put in project PG005
001 – boycott list.xls
#2,3330 – Tags = 4pg(CDO)
Description: Critics of Politics
put in project PG006
email for first meeting:
Below is what we are about and what is going to happen in our meetings –
Critics of Politics
- To get an understanding or better understanding of the workings around us
- To discuss relevant issues/problems that our society has/does/will face
- Discuss possible solutions and methods to these problems
- To promote similar discussions among others
- To make democracy work!
- To eliminate as much ignorance as we can
- To think critically of all governing institutions and the issues that arise from them
- Examine and evaluate ideologies from all ranges of the political spectrum
- Any topic anyone wants to bring up is welcome
- Being critical is encouraged
- Prior readings to fuel discussion with alternating person choosing reading
- Discussions groups will consist of 4-7 people
(Feel free to add any topics of your own)
- The Iraq War
- Should drugs be illegal (Netherlands)
- Bush/Kerry election issues
- Good/Bad corporations
- No Grey Area?
- Why we should vote
- North Korea, Iran, and the “Axis of Evil”
- Not enough political discourse, Why?
- Compulsory voting
- Weapons of Mass Distraction
- Problem with Individualism
- Market Speculation
- Noam Chomsky
- Adam Smith
- International finance institutions (IMF, WTO, WB)
- Exchange programs, increased cultural awareness
- European Union
- Bureaucracy in Government
- 2 party system shifting right
- Michael Moore
- Cultural Taboos
- 9’11 report
- Critical Mass
- Internet Forums
- Public library system
- Proposal for new housing (houses with multiple families)
- Medical mal-practice
- Streets that intersect with themselves
- Nuclear non-proliferation
- Third party recognition
- Take a penny, leave a penny (collectivism)
- Voting age
If you have any ideas on how to clarify this or improve on it, feel free to let me know, this organization is all of ours!!
If you don’t want to be on this list that’s fine 🙂 , just email me a reply titled remove.
Thank you for wanting to be a part of this! Peace!
I’m thinking next week or the week after I want to have a supplementary reading so bring suggestions if you want and we will take a vote on what to read, and to not read anything at all will be an available vote too 😉 , and by no means do you have to read, it was just going to be some article or something to be critical of and conjecture our own opinions about.
5th email (and several others after, and maybe before):
If you are part of an organization/group or know of one that would like to have a discussion within a critics of politics meeting, we’d be more than happy to accommodate and set something up, just let me know 🙂
end of semester email:
The main topics of the discussion will be how to become more active in the community, and how to engage the community into the political environment and all together move towards a better city. Specifically we will be talking about possible initiatives to go forward with (pay to play, restricting developers control over the local gov, and helping out the urban poor in New Brunswick).
The following are all spring semester emails:
The New Brunswick Project: Making New Brunswick all it can be.
If you have any specific ideas in mind that you would like to present, feel more than welcome. One I have been tackling is how to promote local economies as alternatives to these big corporations being the major retailers and employers. For ideas you might want to check out – http://nbcommunity.org/
So the first part of the meeting we should identify the major problems facing the city, and the second part will be brainstorming and presenting solutions and what part of a role we can play in seeing the problems get solved (whether it be just consulting or actually going out and physically taking part). Another thing to think about is if we should change the name and our mission slightly; for one to be officially Rutgers recognized, and for another thing to perhaps better decipher what it is we do. I hope you can all make it, I see this as being a very productive discussion and all of us leaving feeling satisfied that we are helping bring about the world (and at least city) we want to live in.
Tired of being forced into choosing from bad and worse?
Upset that you have to compete against others for a good living instead of working with them towards a good living?
Do you feel politicians represent the rich and the powerful and neglect the poor and the middle class?
Do you believe corporations, not the American people, control the country and its government?
Do you feel misrepresented?
Does it upset you that most people don’t care about being politically active?
Do you feel we are gaining enemies not losing them?
Does it upset you that views like Noam Chomsky’s are less accepted popularly than George Bush’s?
Do you feel like your voice isn’t or can’t be heard?
Are you upset with the direction things are heading in this country?
Do you feel the government is overrun with lawyers, and there should be a wider range of professionals governing us?
Do you get energized after a daydream about the way things could be, but then feel isolated to the point that you have no where to release these ideas?
Do you disagree with all these questions being asked?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be interested in RU COPS (Critics of Politics)
Come discuss your opinions and learn from others, on Monday’s at 9:15pm in the Multi Purpose Room of the Rutgers Student Center.
For more information, email Rutgerscops@hotmail.com,
or instant message ————- at rutgerscops
The fate of the world is all of ours to decide
excerpt from constitution:
- To get an understanding or better understanding of the workings around us
- To discuss relevant issues/problems that our society has/does/will face
- Discuss possible solutions and methods to these problems
- To promote similar discussions among others
- To eliminate as much ignorance as we can
- To think critically of all governing institutions and the issues that arise from them
- Examine and evaluate ideologies from all ranges of the political spectrum
- Coordinate with other activist groups on campus to accomplish common goals
Critics of Politics
What is the critics of politics?
Well that answer will be largely determined by what we do here.
The sheet going around tells our basic constituents, but unlike the American Constitution, I want this to be highly fluid, meaning if it says something on there that doesn’t fit what we do here, we should change it… including the name, if any of you think cops is corny, if you think of something better I’m all ears.
Why did I start this?
You could argue that the reason I am doing this is because it’ll look good on my resume… and I don’t know how I’d even defend myself. I guess I’ll go back to the roots of this, which aren’t very deep chronologically, but they will shed some light on to why. Over the summer I started a discussion group among some friends and it was successful, from my
The more I learn, at hear at Rutgers and from various other sources, there is very much injustice, and I believe that it doesn’t have to be that way, people die of starvation over in 3rd world countries, while over here we have people dieing from being overweight, that equation doesn’t make one inch of sense, and I have had an economist tell me the reasons it can’t be changed… I will never just accept that people die needlessly, especially from violence started by the Western World.
What do I want to come of this?
Well ideally I want us all to come out of here well educated and have a scope of the problems.
Create a place where we could have a dialogue for happenings that is our own take, not the take on the news channels.
Ideas from COPSOrganization meeting:
All officers, people who’d like to be moderators, and anybody else who is interested in the organization of the cops
- pre reads to topic that guest lecturer will be speaking about
- Cops website and Rutgers cops website
- Establishing similar groups at other schools
- Initiatives, specialized research groups, ways to break us up when we get big?
- TOP (thoughts of the people) – interviews of regular people, consent forms to put interview up for downloading as mp3
- Recording lectures and serving them online, ask professors if we could start recording their work
- Make new fliers, at least new questions, make it more open to right wingers
- Talk about commercial
- Going to the press, asking them to do stories on our discussion group
- streets that intersect themselves – suburban sprawl
#2,3331 – Tags = 4pg(CNS)
Description: Documentaries, Videos to Create
put in project PG007
1 – Primolux – turnpoint (for score) movie (folder)
Beginning of song:
showing people angry, fighting, show leaders laughing (like bush), show the inequalities, people suffering in other countries from malnourshiment
in the evil calm:
in the nice calm right before it hits, show happiness, children, people loving…
words: all that you love…
nuclear explosions, pictures of bombs blowing up, war planes, dead bodies
Hope is out there
It begins with education,
So that the masses know their possible fate
The world is ours to lose
The threat is not just foreign and domestic terrorism
The lack of understanding of the system feeds the fire of hatred and simplicity and blind ideology
“either we are all unified in complex life (pictures of humans, animals, etc),
or simply in death” (pictures of nuclear explosion)
During build up, have things like “its in our culture” – and show pictures of boxers, football players hitting, maybe the basketball dude throwing chairs into the crowd, and wrestling, as well as military GI Joe cartoon, and similar
“its in our economy” – and show pictures of Halliburton, Raytheon, and lineups of jets and tanks
When it quiets down, but is still diabolical, show pictures of jews getting dissected, maybe machete victims (rwanda genocide), and animal cruelty to get people aware
When it goes to quite part right before explosion say “all that you ever loved…. Will be gone
It hits – nuclear explosion, various nuclear explosions, going with waves in music, and also scenes from the day after tomorrow, and maybe even global dimming
And say “its not nature” – show people existing peacefully, and similar things, maybe some monkeys (though ask on that)
“Its nurture” – and show Hitler youth camp, and kids reading from school books
somewhere in there show Hitler marching, and stalin maybe up on balcony
2 – capitalist holiday’s documentary (folder)
a documentary about how all or most holidays have become capitalist ventures where sales are pushed on people, and now we even have synthetic holidays just to force people to go out and buy more. I’d like to have various professors who study commodification (ask Bronner about some names). Talk about culture being commodified.
#2,3332 – Tags = 4pg(NO)
Description: Critics of Politics – Online
put in project PG008
#2,3333 – Tags = 4pg(O)
Description: Citizens Campaign
put in project PG009
from idea sheet:
TOPs – thoughts of the people
have professors, teachers, other figures, and groups come lecture to us, or discuss to us (Eric Davis, Markowitz, Knowlton) – having representatives from other student organizations and non-rutgers affiliated activist groups come speak with us, go to other colleges, and maybe even try to set up another school cops
encourage elected officials (write letters, call, visit) and public administrators to tell us any problems they are having (whether or not to support legislation, what type of legislation to push for, and any administrative problems encountered, and other) – we’d be like a free think tank in a sense
- ideally, where I want RUCOPs to go, in a matter of semesters, not weeks, is I want people to sign up and establish special areas of interest in the political realm (for ex, international diplomacy, world health, middle eastern economics, reform policies, etc) and these groups will meet, research a topic, and, once or twice a semester, will go out to the general groups and report to them on their research. Ideally, with our website, we’ll have weekly notes, links, downloadable audio files of our discussion.
- we need people who are and want to be experts in every area. We can be a consulting group. For ex., instead of lobbying for gun laws to be changed directly, we, as a student organization, seek out a group that is lobbying against guns, and we get them to speak with us, explain all the ins and outs and then we support them with whatever advice and other support we can provide to get them to pass their law.
- we can act as a supplemental think tank. If an activist group with a specific group with a specific goal is unsure how to tackle a problem, they come to us, we debate it, come out with a list of recommendations and give them back to the activist group.
our r and d (research and discussion) point is to research and discuss b/4 you develop so that we don’t develop areas that got us into trouble, such as nuclear/chemical/biological weapons
#3,0000 – Tags = 4pg(MOS)
Description: Across the Tracks
put in project PG010
UPDATE – It looks like there is a word maximum to a post that is <120,000 (but greater than 36,000, given that you read reading this post), so I am copying and pasting this whole first batch in to a word document to be downloadable here.