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Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sat Jun 10, 2017 7:24 pm
by d63
Random Bounces 6/10/17:

Bounce 1 (in reference to discourse: ... 5850999462):

“Not to mention, the invention of "the corporation", the non-man, the soulless, lifeless entity (although legally recognized as "persons") with profit as its sole reason and purpose for existing.

Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary defines it as 'an ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility'.

Here's a fun challenge: Notice where, how and with whom Give&Take is used compared with where, how and with whom Be-Do-Have is used, to notice where and how abuses exist.” -John Juster

I would also note, John, a point brought to my attention by either Ken Taylor or John Davies from a PhilosophyTalk podcast: that corporations are inherently sociopathic: they don’t care, they don’t feel, they’re completely lacking in empathy. In other words:

“It doesn’t feel!!! It can’t be human!!!!!!!”

:that is despite what the Citizen’s United ruling tells us. That said, what I mainly came back for was to articulate on your give/take dynamic in the context of a conceptual model I have been nurturing for some time: Efficiency or that which is maximized by minimizing the differential between the resources put into an act and the resources gotten out. And I present it as a Metaphysics of Efficiency that is opposed to the Metaphysics of Power (and the Culture of More that results (which has dominated our culture so far.

Now, given the window I have here, I’ll have to elaborate as we go along. But your point gives me an opportunity to apply it in your terms. (And I would also note that the concept has been haunting me throughout my immersion in Dworkin’s book.) It seems to me that your give and take dynamic pretty much represents the Metaphysics of Power in that such relationships always end up asymmetrical in that, as I said before, the “taking” part of it always seems more in the interest of the individual subject. The be/do/have dynamic, on the other hand, seems to support the Metaphysics of Efficiency in that is about an individual act that only takes in the resources it needs and, thereby, leaves resources available to other acts of be/do/have. Once again, I’ll have to explain as we go along. This is just the wide swashes.
Bounce 2 (in reference to discourse: ... 0110161057):

“I think this may be a bias on the part of Marx. Much like the mistake he made regarding the market, he thought that the market was a capitalist phenomenon when it was in fact a phenomenon of any industrialized economy---though it wasn't his fault, there weren't any other industrialized economic systems to compare to. In this case I would argue that man to man alienation could appear under any political system where people were induced to compete. Feudal lords could induce it just as easily as evil managers.” –David A. Anderson

I would go deeper than that, David, in arguing that when it comes to Capitalism, there is nothing new under the sun. It pretty much comes down to what has always been the case: under whatever ideological system, there have always been a group of people who felt they were entitled to more than others, even if it came at the other’s expense.

This is why we always see common frameworks under the deceptions. As I like to joke:

It use to be pray hard and follow these principles, and you too may enter the kingdom of heaven.

Now it’s:

Work hard and follow these principles, and you too may enter the kingdom of success.
Anyway guys, there was so much more I wanted to get to here. I apologize for what I couldn’t.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 9:34 pm
by d63
Coming to the end of my immersion in Dworkin’s How Karl Marx Can Save American Capitalism as I am, I find myself coming to peace with him –that is with qualifications. As the section in the last chapter suggests, “The Future of American Conservatism”, Dworkin’s primary goal is to reform the conservative position (mainly that of the economic conservative (and take it (as well as the Republican party (back to the role it use to play: that of check and balance to progressive excesses. And we all have to agree that the left can be a little too idealistic and, thereby, excessive. For instance: the idea of open borders. Granted, in perfect world it would be nice; but in ours, it just wouldn’t be prudent –anymore than eliminating the powerful tool of Capitalism would.

I even agree with Dworkin’s concerns as concerns Marx’s 4th form of alienation (the one that emerged with advanced Capitalism): man against man. And he does provide an adequate survey of the results of that alienation –sometimes through narratives that, while plausible, are a little less than multidimensional.

(I sometimes found myself wishing he was as good a fiction writer as he was a theorist.)

Still, as a theorist, apparent conservative and true believer in the market, Dworkin at least tries to see and describe the very real effects of the market on individuals. And in this sense, he is not just offering the novelty of a FreeMarketFundamentalist being able to talk about Marx without expecting to hear psycho shrieks, but a reasonable approach that seeks to save Capitalism by addressing the needs of those it leaves out.

The problem is that he suggests that we need to address the psychological issues over the economic ones when the economic issues are the very source of the psychological ones. And how, exactly, do we legislate those psychological problems away? I mean this was Marx’s primary point –and even in the earlier books of Marx that Dworkin refers to and embraces. What Dworkin, to me, fails to see is that “man’s alienation to man” is inherent in the competitive nature of Capitalism, that whether it takes the form of advanced Capitalism or “Crony” Capitalism, it all comes down to same thing:

You simply cannot embrace an everyman for themselves (dog eat dog (ideology and ask “why?” when someone is holding a gun to your head and jacking your car. Likewise, nor can you expect profit seeking behaviors to look out for the best interests of everyone.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2017 7:32 pm
by d63
The deeper I go into Gibney’s book, A Generation of Sociopaths, the more I find to disagree with. Once again, I think he might have been better off noting the role sociopathy (which has always been inherent in America’s embrace of individualism (seems to be playing in the current political climate while noting the extent to which it seems to have accelerated under boomer dominance. As written, his condemnation of the boomer generation often comes off as one-sided to the point of compromising his otherwise articulate and comprehensive understanding of recent history. For instance, he accurately describes the important advances America made running from the New Deal to the 70’s: advances in social, racial, and economic justice as well as government financed advances in research, science, and technology and a major improvement in infrastructure. And I would also agree that a lot of it did get pissed away under the boomer’s watch.

At the same time, I think Gibney would benefit heavily from a reading of Robert Reich’s book on SuperCapitalism in which he points out that a lot of what occurred from the 80’s on was inevitable due to advances in technology. As Reich compellingly points out, what happened in the golden age that Gibney describes (or the not-so-golden age as Reich calls it: since it was mainly white males who were benefitting (will try to get to this later (was the result of the oligopolies that existed in those days. As anyone near or beyond my age remembers, those were days when most markets were dominated by one, two, at most three corporate entities. Cars, for instance, were dominated by Ford, Chrysler, and GM. TV was dominated by ABC, NBC, and CBS. And communications were dominated by Ma Bell. Under those circumstances, companies had the leeway to act as social ambassadors that could tolerate union demands, progressive taxes, and social safety nets.

But as technologies in transportation and communication advanced, these companies found themselves faced with increasing competition. And the corporation’s main reason to be is the satisfaction of the customer for the sake of its stockholders. There’s no way around that. We simply cannot expect corporations to act as moral agents. That is the job of government.

And given this, we can see that what Gibney attributes to the sociopathy of boomers may actually be the inevitable result of the inherent sociopathy of Capitalism –something Gibney conveniently dances around. And why wouldn’t he? Given his background as a lawyer, hedge fund manager, and venture capitalist?

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:21 pm
by d63
“Even if we can no longer study large communities without TV, it is still at least possible to study differences between light and heavy viewers. These tests reveal a similar dynamic, “relatively strong negative correlations between viewing and achievement.” Reading comprehension and math performance all suffer when TV viewing is relatively heavy; children who watch a lot of TV are also more aggressive than light watchers (regardless of whether the programs themselves are especially violent). “ -Gibney, Bruce Cannon. A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America (p. 24). Hachette Books. Kindle Edition.

Now it’s not like a lot research need be done here. The cause and effect relationship (the correlation (between TV watching and the lack of educational achievement is pretty easy to see: people who spend their time watching TV have less time to read or even think. This gets some shine from the Great Courses audio book I am presently listening to, The Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition, in which Teofilo F. Ruiz points out that one of the preconditions for achieving the mystical experience is a willingness to not constantly fill one’s mental space with external distractions: TV, music, audio books in my case, etc.. And I think Ruiz’s point puts some shine on to how TV and other media can lead to the sociopathy of Gibney’s thesis –that is regardless of the actual violence of its content. But it gets more critical and timely when Gibney points out:

“It’s not that other generations don’t have their own issues with television, and the effects of newer media like immersive video games, smartphones, and Facebook will not be clear for some time. They are also beside the point for now, because it will be years before younger generations run the country. The unavoidable fact is that the nation is currently run by people who have a deep and unshakable relationship with TV, entranced from their beginnings by a medium with unambiguously negative effects on personality and accomplishment.” -ibid

What we have to note here is the effect of immediate gratification –that which Gibney associates with Boomer sociopathy, and which may well be being passed off onto their/our offspring. I, myself, have often written about my concern with the immediate gratification of instant publication, that which I find myself as seduced by as anyone else. And it seems to me that this can ultimately lead to a kind of narcissism. And how exactly do we distinguish narcissism from the sociopathy that Gibney describes?

Case in point: note the emergence of trolls, and how they evolved, as message boards became more popular –that, once again, which involves the immediate gratification of instant publication. The problem of Trolls, of course, has been greatly reduced by the FaceBook block which is complete as compared to the old message boards. But there still seems to be an element of sociopathy involved in that we are never engaging with the other as a whole, but rather a series of posts: objects that happen to occupy our computer screens.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sat Jun 24, 2017 7:10 pm
by d63
“At heart, it was always and really about that license, whatever the official branding. Formally, the Love Pageant Rally of 1966 and subsequent “Human Be-In” had political goals, trying to unite in pursuit of a new age both the antiwar movement (whose elites viewed the hippies as too stoned) and the hippies (who considered the antiwar movement as too uptight and enmeshed in conventional politics). In practice, the culmination of this effort, 1967’ s Summer of Love, ended up less a synthesis of the various strands of Leftist political culture than a straight-up antithesis, standing against middle-class morality on matters of drugs and sex and for very little else.

“In keeping with the hedonic theme, many ostensibly political events were really more about drugs than demos. The Pageant’s date, October 6, 1966, was not the anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the Emancipation Proclamation, women’s suffrage, or anything too goody-goody or consistent with political platform. Rather, 10/ 6/ 66 was the day when LSD became illegal in California, an event to be protested, inevitably, by taking LSD. “ -Gibney, Bruce Cannon. A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America (p. 54). Hachette Books. Kindle Edition.

Fair enough. There was a lot of hedonism at the heart of our protests and resistances in the 60’s and 70’s. Our issues with the war, the establishment, racial, gender, and economic equality, and whatever else we addressed were often used as justifications for our choice to do drugs and screw freely. We did as much with relativism in which we took an ethical issue to an ontological one that eventually resulted in the overreach of Richard Bach’s Illusions. But as we all know (and knew then), even a relativistic hippy knows better than to step in front of a moving bus –that was unless they were on Acid. The thing was: we really didn’t need to go to these extremes since it came down to an issue of engaging in activities that should have been matters of personal choice.

But I think Gibney’s background in law, hedge funds, and venture Capitalism becomes a liability, blind spot, and outright hypocrisy. The main problem is that for all his articulation, he still seems stuck in the tyranny of the functional disseminated for the sake of producer/consumer Capitalism: that which he clearly prospered from. This is why he dismisses the drug culture and sexual revolution with such venom. It is also why he addresses (articulately (the sociopathy inherent in Capitalism while conveniently dancing around the issue of Capitalism itself. Here he comes off like an alcoholic trying to convince themselves that if we engage in the same behavior in different ways, we’ll be able to continue with the vice involved without the consequences. In 12 step programs, they call that denial.

What this results in is Gibney failing to see the mixed package the 60’s and 70’s actually were. He fails, for instance, to see that regardless of what people were “doing it for”, it still managed to produce results. Advances in social justice were made. And they’re still being made (based on the spirit of the 60's (such as the advancement of LGTB rights and the legalization of marihuana –the use of which he condemns. He further fails to mention how many of those boomers, taking drugs in dorm rooms and riding on a government funded education, are now out there fighting the good fight for environmentalism and other causes such as the ACLU –many of which no longer do drugs. This is further why he (out of what feels like pop hipster cynicism (can dismiss Hillary Clinton as he does as an opportunistic ice queen while completely neglecting to note that she did attempt to get us the same healthcare system every other advanced nation has, only to be beat down by the sociopathy Gibney describes.

In fact, one has to wonder if Gibney doesn’t share the same sociopathic resistance to such a non-market healthcare system that might benefit the many at the expense of a certain group of people. Perhaps hedge fund managers and venture Capitalists?

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 2:04 am
by d63
"The conclusion is that while literature is still a category, it is an open category, not definable by fictionality, or by a disregard of propositional truth, or by a predominance of tropes and figures, but simply by what we decide to put into it. And the conclusion to that conclusion is that it is the reader who "makes" literature. This sounds like the rankest subjectivism, but it is qualified almost immediately when the reader is identified not as a free agent, making literature in any old way, but as a member of a community whose assumptions about literature determine the kind of attention he pays and thus the kind of literature "he" makes."

"Once the subject-object dichotomy was eliminated as the only framework within which critical debate could occur, problems that had once seemed so troublesome did not seem to be problems at all." -both from the intro to Stanley Fish's Is There a Text In This Class......

Here we see how the more esoteric theory of Deleuze and Guatarri (their rhizomatic model of machinic production (as well as the postmodern "death of the subject" (has managed to bleed into (or trickle down even (the more practical affair of literary criticism or even Rorty's pragmatic emphasis on discourse. I would start with the second point:

"Once the subject-object dichotomy was eliminated as the only framework within which critical debate could occur, problems that had once seemed so troublesome did not seem to be problems at all."

The problem Fish sees for the subject-object dichotomy is that it lies at the heart of more classicist approaches to interpretation that put too much emphasis on the text as a fixed object. This, consequently, leads to an assumption that the text has a fixed meaning that can be extracted if one has “the right tools”: tools, of course, that can only be had if one finds the “right expert”. And it isn’t hard to extract the meaning from the text of this particular argument: that understanding is vertical and hierarchal in nature. And we can see the overlap here with the general concerns of postmodern philosophy (within which I include poststructuralist theory). The subject-object dichotomy assumes some hierarchal subject that stands above the objects of the world with full authority to pass judgment upon them. The catch, however, is that we (as bodies (are all basically objects occupying space. This is the new sensibility’s primary grudge with such neo-classicist sensibilities such as scientism or the analytic. Their tendency to smugly dismiss more continental approaches only exacerbates the situation.

And one of the ways that the neo-classicists tend to dismiss more continental approaches is by pointing to subjectivism. But Fish sidesteps this by pointing to the role the interpretive community plays in it. He basically creates a model (that is if I am reading him right (in which there is a kind of de-centered feedback loop between the fixed nature of the text itself, the writer behind it, the reader (with all their psychological baggage), and the community within which they reach their conclusions or extract their meanings. This is why most of the meaning we extract from a work of art (much like our dreams (comes from the discourse that goes on around it. It’s why we, as readers, must see ourselves as nodes in a system of exchange very much like D & G’s rhizomatic matrix of machinic production and exchanges of energy (as well as Rorty’s pragmatic emphasis on unfettered discourse): it allows for a free flowing and creative exchange (in our finite capacity (with the infinite.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 6:43 pm
by d63
TJ? Greg? Still buzzing like a molecule in hot water here. Excellent stuff, guys! (And may the soul of Mark Twain rest in its grave over me engaging in the act of (my use of the exclamation mark (“laughing at my own joke”.) But that would seem to be imperative given that we are dealing with a complex issue based on a mixed package that has, of late, taken on a lot of political relevance. Greg gets at this in:

“It IS a high wire act we are engaged in and I suppose I am only suggesting we not get carried away in either direction and reminding that thought is meant to DO something in the world.
So when Truth is attacked as the product of a self satisfied and increasingly static 'representational' epistemology I nod in agreement. But when the 'truth' of our best evidentially supported accounts are attacked (the Holocaust, climate change etc.) then I have a problem.”

And as far as I’m concerned, it will require a discourse just like this to not so much resolve the issue as get as close to resolving it as we can. And as Greg rightly points out, it is a high wire act. Plus that, I must confess that I am considering this issue for a future PN submission. So yeah, I am using you guys. Sue me when and if the article (for which I won’t get paid (gets published. That confessed, I want to start with a point made by T.J.:

“I want to defend enlightened empiricism while applying the right amount of postmodernism to keep it in check. I'm up on a high wire having a postmod panic attack. : ) Actually, I thought that Fish article we've been discussing does a pretty good job of showing the way to a proper balance.”

Not just Fish, but pragmatism in general –especially that of Rorty. Especially important here (the very cornerstone of it (is the role pragmatism played in James L. Christian’s philosophy textbook: The Art of Wondering. In it, he offers a dialectic between the truth test of correspondence (the equivalent of induction (and cohesion (the equivalent of deduction (and, finally, the synthesis of the pragmatic truth test: that which utilizes the advantage of both and more. In other words, whether we are using induction or deduction to prop up our arguments, it ultimately comes down to an argument that works –that seems sufficiently justified.

But the plot thickens. It’s not just a matter of what works. It is also a matter of who it is working for and why. And we see the import of it in Greg’s (or our shared (concern with holocaust and climate change denial.

And much as we see in Rorty’s pragmatism, I agree with TJ’s assertion:

“Actually, I thought that Fish article we've been discussing does a pretty good job of showing the way to a proper balance.”

Once again, I have yet to read the article. But my reading of Is There a Text in This Class certainly seems to prop up TJ’s understanding. In the book, Fish basically attempts to undermine Affective Fallacy argument which points to a tendency for the reader confuse the affect of the text with the text itself. This, basically, was an attempt on the part of neo-classicists to establish that the meaning of a text was somehow fixed, that it took an EXPERT to extract that meaning that we were obligated to accept. But Fish brings the reader back into it (democratizes it (by arguing that the text only creates meaning through its relationship with the reader. And William Carlos Williams props this up with his argument that a poem is basically a machine with words: a machine that basically produces an effect on the reader.

Of course, the argument against this would be that Fish opens us to the outright relativism (if not outright nihilism (of allowing every individual to have their own interpretation of the text. But that argument would be wrong. Fish makes a chess-like move in checking this argument by pointing to the feedback-loop between the fact of the text, the writer who wrote it, the reader, and the interpretive community within which it all exists. He basically resorts to the same pragmatic fallback as every other PoMo warrior: intersubjectivity.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 6:52 pm
by d63
"Levi-Strauss, like most neuro-biologists, rejects the mind/body dualism (inherited from Descartes) that has dominated so much of Western thought. He sees mind and body as functioning together as a single "eco-system". - from Introducing Levi-Strauss and Structural Anthropology, a graphic guide (and you can quit that snickering now, snob!)

Here again, we find ourselves in the overlap of postmodern/poststructuralist thought: that which helps us better understand Deleuze (that goddamn Frenchman (w/ and w/out Guatarri (which is the result of the French having perfected the art of dissent –having had the long history of doing so. And we can see its influence in the Anglo-American form of Rorty and the pragmatic approach: that is via discourse.

The main revelation at work is the materialism that I will qualify below as conditional. The cool thing for me, however, is how that materialism undermines the guru complex, that which my process is pretty much committed to doing. The humbleness and humility I am looking for is all too obvious in the words of Levi-Strauss:

"I don't have the feeling that I write my books. I have the feeling that my books get written through me and that once they have got across me I feel empty and nothing is left... I never had, and still do not have, the perception of feeling my personal identity. I appear to myself as the place where something is going on, but there is no "I", no "me". Each of us is a kind of crossroads where things happen. The crossroads is purely passive; something happens there. A different thing, equally valid, happens elsewhere. There is no choice, it is just a matter of chance." -Claude Levi-Strauss from a Canadian Broadcasting Company interview (1977)

Here we abandon the old notion of the lone genius (the guru (and see ourselves (as the intellectually and creatively curious: the ambitious (as nodes in a system. At the same time, I would argue that the embrace of materialism (for me at least (is conditional in that there is still room in this system for not so much Free Will as participation.

It seems to me that much of this comes out of our evolutionary process which has involved a non-linear feedback loop between the body, the brain, and the environment it is always negotiating. And in this feedback loop, we can see a possibility for participation in that which lies at some ineffable point between the determined and the random.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:28 pm
by d63
Naomi Klein, in The Shock Doctrine, pointed out convincingly that the Neo-Liberal agenda can never be implemented through Democratic means. No one at the lower end would vote for it. As MIlton Friedman argued, it would always require a crisis (a kind of communal shock treatment) that forced people into it. And Klein offered, as evidence, the cases of Pinochet and the Wars in Iraq and Aghganistan. The thing is that the recent tax reform basically furthered the neo-liberal agenda, but I didn't see the kind of crisis situation that Klein describes.

Then it hit me: Trump is that crisis. Trump is that shock treatment that allowed the self indulgent among us to pass their neo-liberal agenda. It's pretty much a continuation of what we saw in the campaign: he did such a good job of keeping our focus on the mud-slinging and his own nonsense that no one had time to actually look at the policies involved.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:43 pm
by d63
Something I want to bring into the discourse on my more politically orientated boards is a distinction presented by Ronald W. Dworkin in How Karl Marx Can Save American Capitalism:

Lover of Love
Lover of Justice
Lover of Temperance
and, finally,
Lover of Courage

While I’m not sure I fully agree with Dworkin’s thesis (not even sure I understand where he’s coming from), I think it a useful model for further analysis. And I want to attempt a juggling act with another model brought to my attention either through Philosophy Talk or To the Best of Our Knowledge, but which I cannot find the source of (I pissed away yesterday’s writing session attempting to do so):

Justice according to need
Justice according to equality
and Justice according to merit

And I bring these models up because they are useful models for analyzing the various political positions that we are all part of and deal with in the other. (And I would apologize to my peers north of America and across the pond for focusing mainly on the American political system as I’m fully aware that your parliamentary systems are a little more diverse and, thereby, complex. It’s what I know. But hopefully you’ll be able to apply these explorations to your own experiences.)

That said, we can see how Dworkin’s model is divided among Republicans and Democrats. Love and Justice is the domain of the Democrats while Temperance and Courage is the domain of the Republicans. But before we put too much stock in what we think we mean by these terms, or get too caught up in the romantic connotations, we need to explore each term individually and see how they actually work, which was the point of this and which will likely require several writing sessions in reference to issues I took with Dworkin’s book.
The Lover of Love is what Gilles Deleuze referred to as the “beautiful soul” or what is also referred to as common hippies among the tightfisted right. They are (in my opinion even (the sometimes overly optimistic and idealistic –that is while ALWAYS having their hearts in the right place. And as a well left of center progressive myself (a social democrat left of Bernie even (I’ll try to get to that later (I often find myself, as a pragmatic, at odds with them in what Frost referred to as a lover’s quarrel. Frustrated even.

This becomes apparent to me as concerns the issue of immigration. Many Lovers of Love dream of a world with open borders. And, hopefully, one day we’ll be able to achieve that. But now is not the time. For now, we have to admit, with Trump’s followers, that we simply cannot afford to let anyone that wants to just walk into the country. And most people recognize that. The problem is that it was a matter of public record that more immigrants were being deported under Obama than any president before him. Yet, it was as if these people wouldn’t be happy until heavy artillery was brought into the matter.

So yeah, secure the borders. Give these fucking people the wall if that’s what it takes to get DACA, give them some sense of security, and shut them the fuck up. Let’s secure our borders. At the same time, let’s show a little humility and sympathy. These people are just trying to take care of their families. Let’s expand and streamline the guest worker program as a path to citizenship.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Feb 04, 2018 7:58 pm
by d63
The lover of Justice, as I interpret it, correlates with what I see as the perfectly natural role and agenda of government: a fair distribution of power. And mind you, this does not mean an equal distribution. It simply means that those with lesser power always have a means of taking care of their interests. This becomes especially apparent as concerns the American government’s relationship with Capitalism in that, were it functioning as it should, it would be acting as check and balance to corporate power. It would be filling in the gaps that the market leaves.

Of course, some lovers of courage (being the domain of Ayn Rand’s nonsense (would have you believe that this must automatically lead to some kind of egalitarian arrangement. But few people want to strip the rich of their assets and distribute BMWs in the inner cities. It’s not about what people want as much as what they need: food, shelter, and healthcare. And here is where I become a social democrat left of Bernie in that, while I support increasing the minimum wage as a short term solution, I see simply giving people more as little more than a short term solution. This is why the recent republican tax plan will fail (a sugar high that will eventually result in a crash). It’s not just a matter of how much money we make but how much everything costs as well. And eventually, no matter how much space you give people, inflation (via wage push and wage pull (will fill it in. The only way the republican tax plan could continue to benefit average Americans is by continually reducing taxes until they’re paying nothing. And how would that work but by either increasing taxes on the rich or eliminating government altogether (thereby leaving us subject to aristocracy of the rich (or taxing the rich more which the republicans are constitutionally incapable of doing?

But I digress. Under the lover of justice’s fair distribution of power, there would be an expansion of the public economy without concerns for CEO bonuses or shareholder concerns. In other words, the idea would be to take profit seeking behaviors out those areas where the market fails to perform as promised. A public option on healthcare would be a good start on this. An expansion of public transportation that would make us less dependent on often budget busting private transportation would be another. It could even involve better city planning in which affordable housing is provided close to major centers of employment and resource providers: keeping one’s job and Walmart within walking distance.

In short, a lover of justice’s fair distribution of power would consist of eliminating our complete dependence on the market. It would give us the freedom of choice that living in a free country implies.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2018 8:39 pm
by d63
"The Imagination then I consider either as primary, or secondary. The primary Imagination I hold to be the living power and prime agent of all human perception, and as a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal act of creation in the infinite I AM. The secondary Imagination I consider as an echo of the former, co-existing with the conscious will, yet still as identical with the primary in the kind of its agency, and differing only in degree, and in the mode of its operation. It dissolves, diffuses, dissipates, in order to recreate: or where this process is rendered impossible, yet still at all events it struggles to idealize and to unify. It is essentially vital, even as all objects (as objects) are essentially fixed and dead.

FANCY, on the contrary, has no other counters to play with, but fixities and definites. The fancy is indeed no other than a mode of memory emancipated from the order of time and space; while it is blended with, and modified by that empirical phaenomenon of the will, which we express by the word Choice. But equally with the ordinary memory the Fancy must receive all its materials ready made from the law of association." -from Coleridge's Biographia Literaria

Now what I want to do is contextualize a couple of points made in Shai Tubali’s PN article, “Hannah Arendt and the Human Duty to Think”:

“Many complain nowadays that their thinking is too active. What they mean is they feel that their brain is chattering with itself too much; that there are too many thoughts of worry and distress, frustration and struggle, going on in their mind. They then try to quieten their stormy over-thinking through different methods of meditation or relaxation. Indeed, quietude in one’s mind, especially when life’s challenges are unbearably intense, sounds a very nice state to be in. However, Arendt’s reflections tell us the very opposite: that our thinking is often not active enough – that people tend to shut down the activity of right thinking and judging. In light of Arendt’s own thinking, it becomes clear that most of the time we are not really actively thinking, we are daydreaming. Daydreaming may be intense at times, yet it does not help us develop a thinking which leads us to wakefully engage with the world. Thinking as an act of gathering one’s mental forces in order to understand or to realize something for oneself, is a relatively rare phenomenon in peoples’ lives.”


“Things become more complicated when we realize that cognitive ease is also associated with truthfulness, and that our telling right from wrong is too often guided by the hidden wish of the brain not to think too much about things. According to research, most of our judgments are made by the brain’s lazy system of reactive thinking, not at all by our capacity to deeply engage in consideration and thoughtful observation. Therefore the brain’s default position is that an easy answer is also a true answer, and that a quick judgment is a right judgment.”

This, of course, was in reference to Arendt’s observations on Nazism and the Nuremburg Trials and pretty much backs my sense of Avid Neiwert’s Alt-America: The Rise of the Radical Right in the Age of Trump –a book I highly recommend. Throughout it all, you get a sense of the role that fancy is playing in it all (that is as compared to imagination which would require the hicks to see things from the immigrant’s perspective (in that there is a kind of loose, instinct-based way of thinking on their part. Most notable was Neiwert’s point about how the hero and martyr archetypes play a major role in not only militia-type uprisings (such as Ruby Ridge), but mass shootings as well. In fact, the Alt-Right MO has become a notably useful model for criminologists for explaining many of the mass shootings we are experiencing today.

And we can see the genealogy and connection with Nazi Germany given the kind of ecstatic embrace of mythology (Think Wagner’s Ride of the Valkeries here (which was likely the main appeal of it to Heidegger and Jung.

(At the same time, as my respected peer and colleague, Lewis, pointed out to me: not all archetypes are bad or necessarily based on pure fancy. As Jung pointed out, in his attempt to pre-empt attacks that he was being less than scientific, many are rooted in our biological systems, most notably the brain. And in his defense, our minds (via the brain (are always acting in defense of our bodies.)

Where I depart with Arendt is her failure to recognize fancy as a steppingstone to imagination. We get to the point she wants us to be (imagination (by working our way beyond fancy which we can never truly escape. As Coleridge, his self, also said:

“It’s alright to build castles in the air. The point is to build foundations under them.”

There is simply no way of getting to imagination (or “thinking as compared to daydreaming” as Arendt put it (without working through the process of fancy.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2018 12:22 am
by Dan~
“Many complain nowadays that their thinking is too active. What they mean is they feel that their brain is chattering with itself too much; that there are too many thoughts of worry and distress, frustration and struggle, going on in their mind. They then try to quieten their stormy over-thinking through different methods of meditation or relaxation. Indeed, quietude in one’s mind, especially when life’s challenges are unbearably intense, sounds a very nice state to be in. However, Arendt’s reflections tell us the very opposite: that our thinking is often not active enough – that people tend to shut down the activity of right thinking and judging. In light of Arendt’s own thinking, it becomes clear that most of the time we are not really actively thinking, we are daydreaming. Daydreaming may be intense at times, yet it does not help us develop a thinking which leads us to wakefully engage with the world. Thinking as an act of gathering one’s mental forces in order to understand or to realize something for oneself, is a relatively rare phenomenon in peoples’ lives.”

The enlightenment is a passing state of rest which produces new vigor in the future.
Helping out your fellow man is more important than counting your breaths.
Not many realize this.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu May 24, 2018 8:17 pm
by d63
Just as a “dear diary” moment, I started today on the Great Courses lecture The Apocalypse: Controversies and Meaning in Western History given by Craig R. Koester. And I did so not out of some spiritual awakening but to explore the cultural implications of the apocalypse motif that has grown popular lately and Jungian archetype (to put it in Lewis’ terms (that has haunted us since the beginning of civilization. We’re always full of gloom and doom while sometimes being hopeful about the endgame. I would point, for instance, to its obvious influence on Marx who saw capitalism (his own version of apocalypse (as a steppingstone towards socialism, much as we still see among the more socialist among us. We’re always waiting for it all to come down.

And Marx is a really telling example for a couple of reasons. For one, the original Greek word, apokάlypsis, actually translates into revelation. Hence the interchangeability between apocalypse and revelations in theological nomenclature. And to emphasize the point, note the term enfolded in the etymology involved: reveal. And Marx clearly thought of his project in these terms: to reveal the seeds of Capitalism’s failure whatever successes it might have. On top of that, one of things that Koester seems to emphasize is that the concern of the prophets at the time (mainly John in this case (was not so much the future as the present. In fact, I’m guessing that much of the lecture will be about his contemporary concerns much as was the case with Marx. And we see a similar dynamic with Nostradamus who argued that predicting the future was not so much about actually seeing the future as taking a real hard look at the present. Therefore, John was not so much a prophet as he was an anticipation of the future sci-fy writer.

And the point is (as Koester explicitly points out (to explore the Book of Revelations as a work of literature responding to the times it was written in and apply the motifs and archetypes involved to their various manifestations throughout our cultural history. We see it, for instance, in Dante’s Divine Comedy that runs from the descent into Inferno to Purgatory into Paradismo. And we see the same thing at work in a movie like David Lynch’s Blue Velvet that is capped off by an entrance into a severed ear and an exit from it.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri May 25, 2018 8:28 pm
by d63
In reference to: https:In reference to: ... 179039777/

“And the point is (as Koester explicitly points out (to explore the Book of Revelations as a work of literature responding to the times it was written in and apply the motifs and archetypes involved to their various manifestations throughout our cultural history. We see it, for instance, in Dante’s Divine Comedy that runs from the descent into Inferno to Purgatory into Paradise. And we see the same thing at work in a movie like David Lynch’s Blue Velvet that is capped off by an entrance into a severed ear and an exit from it.”

Now what I want to go into today is the Dante archetype (that which I believe to be rooted in apocalyptic literature (in the expression we’re most familiar with and which has been with us throughout our cultural history: that of the basic plot line which starts with an intro (a standing order (then moves on to crisis (the parallel of Dante’s decent into inferno (which works into a peak until the denouement comes (the parallel of Dante’s Purgatory (and we reach a point of reordering which parallels Dante’s Paradise.

Now I haven’t the time to draw it out for you. But I’m sure you’re familiar enough with it to imagine a straight, horizontal line (a standing order (that suddenly turns upward then descends into another horizontal straight line: the standing order after the event or crisis. Now what I need you to do is take a mental copy of that graph and flip it down. This is the Dante Archetype that describes what the descent into chaos that is going on as the surface action (the plotline (escalates. It’s basically a kind of mirror revision of the classic plotline: a plotline mirrored in the underworld of chaos.

And to illustrate, I return to David Lynch’s Blue Velvet. It starts with a standing order: a kind of 50’s idealization. The crisis and escalation starts with the protagonist’s father having a stroke and his discovery of an ear in a field. And note Lynch’s symbolism at work in the camera descending into the ear –that which is clearly Freudian in nature. From that point on, it is an escalation of events on the surface while, in the subtext, chaos is incrementally unleashed –that is with temporary reprieves with Laura Dern’s character. Eventually, events come to a peak (a kind of apocalypse (and the denouement arrives (that is with our exiting of the ear (and a new order (a temporary Paradismo (is established.

Of course, Blue Velvet is only a more obvious expression of the mirror plotline I am describing (what can also be thought of as the apocalypse motif or archetype). The same thing is all over our narrative tradition. Sam Ramie’s A Simple Plan is another good example. And we can clearly see its roots in the tragedies of Shakespeare –most notably Macbeth.

The point I am trying to make is that the apocalypse archetype is clearly very deeply rooted in our psyches.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2018 7:26 pm
by d63
I would also note how the apocalypse archetype can be seen in Deleuze and Guatarri’s three syntheses as described by Ian Buchannan in his reader’s guide to The Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia: the connective, the disjunctive, and the conjunctive. With the connective we have a standing order in a state of becoming, what could be seen as the intro in a normal plot line. With the disjunctive, we see the crisis at work: that which elevates the intensity while activating an underlying chaos. And in the conjunctive we can see the denouement which lands into a new standing order: an uneasy synthesis still haunted by the disjunctive phase.

My point here is that if we can see such a pattern (an archetype (in the work of such thinkers as D&G, we have to assume that (as Jung would argue (the structure is not just rooted in our minds, but our very biology and natural environments. And this seems to me to be the one thing Koester misses out on. While he does an excellent job of explaining the Book of Revelations in secular terms, he, thus far, misses out on the natural influences that might be at play, those rooted in our evolution as a species.

For instance, we could look at the changing of the seasons which hint at an emerging of life that leads to chaos (becomes more complicated (then descends into death that, in turn, leads to a new emergence of life: a new standing order. Or we could look at the process of life that, as we get older, descends into chaos and destruction that then (via death (leads to a new standing order.

The main point here is to look at the perfectly natural and psychologically internal patterns (much like the Oedipus Complex (that might lead to John writing the Book of Revelations –even if they must be overcome (as a form of over coding (much as D&G attempted to do with the Anti-Oedipus.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2018 6:40 pm
by d63
In reference to discourse: ... nt_mention

“…. but he's vulgar and if you ever read this Mr. Zizek, drop the shock therapy appeal to your audiences and spell out the solutions not the problems in flowery description only, what do you propose to change the world, what kinds of solutions, and how comprehensive should we imagine the scope of the change, the subtlety of the changes that's what you want to be a philosopher….” –Peter

I’m actually sympathetic with some of this Peter. For one thing, he has a propensity for the radical strictly for the sake of the radical. And this clearly has a lot to do with his desire to be popular. Note, for instance, his support of Trump which I can only guess to be a kind of Marxist agenda in that he sees Trump as the last gasp of Capitalism, that which overheats so it will finally die at last. And this propensity clearly seems to be at work in his rather weird and radical solutions that often reek of theoretical overreach. He’s really not that pragmatic when comes to social and political policy.

At the same time, I tend to look at other writers in terms of what I can use. And I have found a lot of that in Zizek, which is why he is part of my holy trinity along with Rorty and Deleuze. For one thing, I like his method. He tends to repeat things in effort to create a kind of momentum that will, in turn, get him beyond himself. This, I think, is what lies behind him being such a prolific writer: he just keeps throwing it out there and seeing what happens to stick with limited concern about what might not.

For another, I admire his generosity in applying pop culture to his philosophical explorations in order to make his more obscure conceptual schemes more accessible. On top of that, he does a really effective job of decoding mainstream messages in order to expose the Capitalistic dogma that underlies them.

And finally (and this mainly has to do with Plague of Fantasies), I have found his explorations of Lacanian Jouissance (that kind of push-pull feeling we all live with and experience most clearly in sex (that which underlies much of human experience (even human cruelty: LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME HAVE TO DO!!!! (especially useful in its subtlety and depth which is perfectly worthy of continental philosophy.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:13 pm
by d63
“Christian communities often seem to take one of two paths in their approach to Revelation: Some Christian groups seem to be preoccupied with the book and what it might tell us about the future, and the rest don’t read Revelation at all. In this lecture, we will briefly go back to colonial America, where interest in Revelation was common among Protestants. We will trace the “progressive” approach to Revelation, in which history was assumed to be progressing toward the millennial kingdom of God. People could share in this progressive march of history by spreading the gospel and reforming society. We will then look at the divergence of the apocalyptic and progressive perspectives, at which point some Christian groups dropped their interest in Revelation while retaining a hope for social progress and some hung on to Revelation but moved away from the hope for societal reform. We are still feeling the effects of that split today. “ –from Apocalypse: Controversies and Meanings in Western History by Craig R. Koester

As strange as it may seem for an agnostic such as myself (an atheist that hedges their bets), this particular lecture series has been useful to the extent that the divide presented above tells us a little about something that is currently at work under the Trump administration and his relationship with the evangelicals. As the above points out, there was a split in terms of how the Book of Revelations was interpreted. On one hand there were the post-millennials that saw Revelations as a kind of blueprint for a just society and, therefore, set out to achieve that millennium of peace through social reform. On the other, there were the pre-millennials that were mainly focused on the unavoidable process that went on before the millennium could be achieved. By looking at it as prophecy (history described before the history actually happened), they mainly focused on the suffering that would come from it and, consequently, not their role as social reformers that might ease the suffering, but rather as truth holders obliged to save anyone they can by converting them to Christ so that they too will be taken away in the Rapture before the anti-Christ comes.

?: Do you see the difference…..

This difference could not be more highlighted than it is under Trump. On one hand we have post-millennials (mainly black evangelicals (that see our path to the millennium of peace through social reform and who are completely opposed to Trump and his policies. On the other, we have pre- millennials (mainly white evangelicals (who see Trump as a means to save us from ourselves so that we too can be swept up in the Rapture.

And I’m really not that comfortable with the latter.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:37 pm
by d63
My latest immersion is one of the Great Courses series: Argumentation: the Study of Effective Reasoning presented by David Zarefsky. And I would start with a confession: much of the appeal of it to me involves some (maybe a lot of (confirmation bias. I have always questioned the analytic approach to philosophy because it never seemed capable of actually addressing the very real situations we are dealing with.

And Zarefsky goes right to this point by pointing out that while formal logical (that which the analytic approach rests its juice on (can achieve certainty and even seem scientific, it cannot possibly begin to deal with the very real situations that most people use argumentation to do so. We can get a better sense of what I’m getting at through a point in either Joe Hugh’s reader guide to Deleuze’s Difference and Repetition or Buhcannan’s guide to The Anti-Oedipus, the three means by which we confirm and assertion:

1. The syntactic: since A is B and B is C; C must be A

2. The semantic which is the primary M.O. of the syllogism (all men are not women; joe is a man; therefore Joe is not woman (and paradox: think Zeno’s Arrow which plays on words and is hardly cause to go prancing around between an archer and their target.

And finally, 3. The Existential that addresses the very real messiness of life

It is in the existential (and to some extent the semantic (that we see the role that resonance and seduction can play in an argument, what Zarefsky referred to and defended as rhetoric –a generally derided term. And you can dismiss it all you want, but it certainly seems to work. And if Trump is not proof of that, I don’t know what is.

That said, my main point is that, given the above (as well as the increasing influence of corporate funding on universities), we can easily see how the analytic approach to philosophy generally tends to act in the capacity of (as Deleuze & Guatarri put it: state philosophy. The analytic approach (just like formal logic (tends to get along by going along as well as not challenging the very forces of oppression that producer/consumer Capitalism presents. Only the continental approach can do that while the analytic approach stays out of trouble.

I mean think about it: what does 1+1=2 or because of A, B; because B, C; therefore, because of A, C (as certain as it may seem (really challenge?

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Jun 14, 2018 8:55 pm
by d63
Today I want to explore the InCel (involuntarily celibate (movement and the Red Pill sights they are associated with. It is, of course, tempting to mock it –and many highly intelligent people do. But I’m not really sure that is the smartest approach. For one, it can only exacerbate the situation by taking (what seems to them, at least (a kind of “in-crowd” tone that is, in the sense of not being part of that “in-crowd”, the very source of their understandably painful experience of alienation. And this is important to understand since it may well be this experience of painful alienation that lies behind most of the mass shootings we’re seeing in America. I mean this could well be the reason this is mainly occurring in High Schools and Colleges, the outright cauldrons of narcissism and vanity in which being part of an “in-crowd” is everything. And I’m not blaming the victim here. Kids will be kids. But what I will suggest (and I apologize for my opportunistic Marxist jab (that a lot of this comes from producer/consumer Capitalism and the way it bombards us (via TV ads (explicitly with images of what it is like to be part of an “in-crowd” while implicitly implying that if you are not like one of those people you see, you are no one.

The thing to understand about InCels and Red Pill sites (and this is what makes it even scarier and relevant to our present situation in America (is that it is generally innocuous: a lot of beta males expressing and sharing their frustration with females. And what male hasn’t? And they’re not totally unjustified in their frustration as females are, by no means, saints. And they even prop their positions up with perfectly authoritative theory such as evolutionary psychology and psycho-biology. The problem is that it, given the bubble it works in, too easily succumbs to misogyny and rape culture. There are people on these sites who have literally argued that rape should be legal. Even worse (and more relevant to our present predicament, these sites are known to be prime recruiting grounds for Neo-Nazi and Alt-Right predators. And it is easy to see how that could happen given that those recruiters will basically be offering these guys an “in-crowd” to be a respected member of.

To take a philosophical route, what this results from is what Spinoza referred to as a sad affect: that which results from not having power over the other node in a given relationship. And the only thing that can result from that is the defeated node seeking other means to achieve joyful affects. Bill Maher (in a way I am fully sympathetic with (countered this by pointing out that he too, from time to time, had been an InCel, but recognized that the way you deal with it is by becoming a doctor or a rock star. As my Psych 101 textbook pointed out: it’s a matter of self worth. That’s the way I dealt with it. But unfortunately, not every male has been blessed with the same intellectual and creative curiosity as me and Maher.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2018 7:41 pm
by d63
In the preface to Zizek’s Plague of Fantasies, he points to the kind of paternal fantasy at work in many tyrannical social structures. He offers as evidence Josef Fritzl who basically trapped his children in his basement and exploited them and rationalized it as him simply doing his “sometimes uncomfortable” duty to protect his children, his duty to protect them even if means destroying them. Zizek then connects this to the case of Nicolae Ceausecu who brutally ruled Romania who, when asked about his travel ban, rationalized through an imagined paternal mandate to protect his children from the “evil world”, much as Fritzl did.

Now in the next week and a half I will be immersed in this book, I hope to go deeper into the more abstract and subtle aspects of Zizek’s thesis (think the push/pull effect of jouissance here). But for today, I have to apply it to the most prevalent issue in everyone’s life right now (can you guess it?): Trump.

I mean it: nothing could better prop up Zizek’s model of the tyrant than Trump’s style of public speaking. He clearly fancies himself some kind of paternal figure looking out for the interests of his children: disenfranchised white people. And no matter how ignorant it may seem , and no matter how much we dispel it, he will still experience it, in his head, as some kind of paternal wisdom: something that we, as his children, don’t yet understand.

Now some among us might dismiss my point as alarmist since, given the system we have that is pushing back, Trump will never be able to live out that fantasy. But that is really beside the point. What should really matter to us is a rather profound point made by Tony Schwartz on AM Joy today on MSNBC when asked about Trump’s coziness with brutal dictators such as Kim Jung Un and Putin:

The thing to understand is that Trump, to his frustration, has to deal with the institutions our democracy has built over the years. He has to play nice. But make no mistake about it: were he to have the lack of consequences that Un and Putin have, he has the perfect potential to be every bit as brutal and murderous as any dictator before him –that is given his outright narcissism, psychopathy, and, in general, mental illness. We can see this in his general comfort with the idea of separating children from their parents when they seek refuge in America.

I mean how close do you have to get to kicking babies and puppies to recognize how dangerous this asshole and his followers really are?

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:23 pm
by d63
Today I want to dig a little into (explore (the 3 expressions of the petit objet a that Žižek offers in his preface to The Plague of Fantasies: subtraction, protraction, and obstruction. And fair warning: the following material may not be suitable for all viewing audiences –that is given the element of Jouissance (French for sexual ecstasy (that I tend to attribute to Žižek’s application of the petit objet a.

(And please keep in mind that I am just exploring the subject and, by no means, consider myself an authority on the subject.)

For my purposes, it is good to start with subtraction since it seems to have an almost tautological relationship with the petit objet a which, as I understand it, means the small object. And I call it a good start because it offers me a hopefully clear way of explaining the connection I see between the petit objet a and Jouissance.

But first let me explain my understanding of Jouissance. As it was explained to me in my graphic guide, Lacan for Beginners (and I can easily imagine the snickering out there), it is a matter of looking more deeply into the experience of sex. On the surface, it is an experience of pleasure. But at the same time, it is an experience of discomfort. Lacan’s argument for this was that if you took the sexual act right up to the point of climax, then cut it off, you would experience extreme discomfort. In more blue-collar male circles, we refer to this as “blue-balls”. And this is a perfectly legit attempt on the part of Lacan to be more scientific and empirical.

I, on the other hand, being more creative than intelligent, see the deeper and more subtle aspects of this –much as I suspect Lacan did and Žižek does in ways above my pay grade. If you think about it, the act of sex is one of working your way (of reaching a threshold (out of a place that you are actually enjoying at the time. It’s like you’re being pulled in two directions at the same time. And you can apply this to pleasure in general such as the experience of a really good song that makes you want to fold into yourself.

And we can see this kind of push/pull effect at work in the objet petite a as concerns subtraction. The foot fetish (as I understand it at least (is a matter of a small object reaching into the whole without actually offering it. I would suggest that it’s a kind of metonymical relationship that creates a push/pull relationship between the signifier and the signified. And, of course, every heterosexual man can relate to this metonymical dynamic though the phenomenon of cleavage: that which makes the breasts fully present (an objet petite a in itself (while making them absent: a form of subtraction.That is why it drives men nuts.

Unfortunately (and as I should have expected), subtraction took up today’s window. And I suspect this will be the same with protraction and obstruction. But in my defense I did say this was an exploration.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:32 pm
by d63
“But first let me explain my understanding of Jouissance. As it was explained to me in my graphic guide, Lacan for Beginners (and I can easily imagine the snickering out there), it is a matter of looking more deeply into the experience of sex. On the surface, it is an experience of pleasure. But at the same time, it is an experience of discomfort. Lacan’s argument for this was that if you took the sexual act right up to the point of climax, then cut it off, you would experience extreme discomfort. In more blue-collar male circles, we refer to this as “blue-balls”. And this is a perfectly legit attempt on the part of Lacan to be more scientific and empirical.”

Now something I should go into deeper here (based on what I understand about Lacan (is that there is darker element at work here. As Lacan went on to explain, Jouissance is also at work in forms of hysteria and neurosis. It is always a matter of experiencing discomfort on the conscious level while experiencing pleasure at a more sub-conscious level. And think about it: why else would we repeat behaviors that, at a conscious level, give us discomfort unless we, at a subconscious level, experienced pleasure.

A young man falls in love with a young woman that has all the objet petit a’s: nice breasts, a face that is rough but nice to look at, and a sexually affable personality. In other words, what he is looking for is what he sees as a slut. He gets said young lady to fall in love him. The next thing he knows, that young lady is taking every opportunity she can to go out without him. (And I am taking this scenario out of Žižek’s Plague of Fantasies.) He begins to fantasize about her having sex with other men; can hardly help himself.

So you have to ask why it is he does this to himself. First of all, at a more superficial level, he does it because what he sought out in the first place was a slut. Therefore, that’s all he can imagine her being. But at a deeper Lacanian level, he does it because he experiences a kind of subconscious pleasure in imagining her with another man. Why else would he repeat the behavior?

And this negative aspect of Jouissance (that push/pull effect (is important to understand since, in Plague of Fantasies, it expands into acts of evil such as the extra bump concentration camp officials must have felt while exposing Jewish prisoners to debilitating exercise routines under the guise of looking out for their health.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:31 pm
by d63
"That is to say: desire and jouissance are inherently antagonistic, even exclusive: desire's raison d'etre (or 'utility function', to use Richard Dawkin's term) is not to realize its goal, to find full satisfaction, but to reproduce itself as desire." -from Zizek's Plague of Fantasies

And here I find myself at odds with myself in that my understanding of Joiussance doesn't just conflict with the above, but the graphic guide's, Lacan for Beginners, translation of the term as sexual climax. Still, as I wrote previously on the issue:

"Now something I should go into deeper here (based on what I understand about Lacan (is that there is darker element at work here. As Lacan went on to explain, Jouissance is also at work in forms of hysteria and neurosis. It is always a matter of experiencing discomfort on the conscious level while experiencing pleasure at a more sub-conscious level. And think about it: why else would we repeat behaviors that, at a conscious level, give us discomfort unless we, at a subconscious level, experienced pleasure."

And I should take the genealogical approach of tracing back to an earlier post:

“But first let me explain my understanding of Jouissance. As it was explained to me in my graphic guide, Lacan for Beginners (and I can easily imagine the snickering out there), it is a matter of looking more deeply into the experience of sex. On the surface, it is an experience of pleasure. But at the same time, it is an experience of discomfort. Lacan’s argument for this was that if you took the sexual act right up to the point of climax, then cut it off, you would experience extreme discomfort. In more blue-collar male circles, we refer to this as “blue-balls”. And this is a perfectly legit attempt on the part of Lacan to be more scientific and empirical.”

The problem (and maybe my peers on the Žižek board can help with this (is that, in the first quote, Žižek distinguishes Jouissance from desire (the process of desire being that which leads to Jouissance: sexual climax as the beginner’s guide defines it (while I tend to convolute the two terms. To me, that push/pull experience described in the part on Jouissance in the beginner’s guide suggested that the dynamics of the sexual climax are built into the process of getting there. I mean think about it: isn’t the experience of sex one of working one’s way to a threshold that will take you out of place that you’re really enjoying at the time? Of being pulled in two directions? It was through this understanding of Jouissance that I was able to apply it to other experiences of pleasure such as that song that makes you want to fold into yourself and, thereby, gives you pleasure. It even applies to the pleasure that we get from what we are doing here: it is a series of not always comfortable actions pursued for that experience of the breakthrough. And lot of what Žižek describes in the book seems to support my model such as his descriptions of thwarted lovers: the way they seem to take pleasure in their pain.

It just seems to me that desire is a redundant term in that it seems to encompass Jouissance.

Or have I totally mucked up in my interpretation? Merely hijacking the term for my own uses?

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:21 pm
by d63
“Here also, however, it is much more productive to look for this notion of fantasy where one would not expect to find it: in marginal and, again, apparently purely utilitarian situations. Let us simply recall the safety instructions prior to the takeoff of an aeroplane -are they not sustained by a phantasmic scenario of how a possible plane crash will look? After a gentle landing on water (miraculously, it is always supposed to happen on water!), each of the passengers puts on the life-jacket and, as on a beach toboggan, slides into the water and takes a swim, like a nice collective lagoon experience under the guidance of an experienced swimming instructor. Is not this ‘gentrifying’ of a catastrophe (a nice soft landing, stewardesses in dance-like style graciously pointing towards the ‘Exit’ signs…) also ideology at its purest?” –from Žižek’s Plague of Fantasies

This is exactly the kind of thing that puts Žižek in my holy triad (along with Rorty and Deleuze). Not only have I experienced the performance he describes above, but I can easily see the analogical overlap (the candy coated tyranny at work (with other utilitarian and everyday experiences. And as Žižek also explains, when it comes to the unconscious, the truth is out there. And the message implied by the performance above is:

“Don’t worry; market Capitalism has your back. No matter what catastrophic events we bring into your life, we will always be there (for a profit that is (to fix it.”

Of course, we all know the limits on this as concerns plane crashes. And we see the overlap with TV commercials that advertise debt relief services as well as Identity theft protection services: both of which will provide protection (and they say this with the same smile as the stewardesses (from problems they created in the first place –that is, once again, for a small fee.

And we see this same candy-coated dynamic at work in the local news which is incapable of taking a position on anything. They just report the news pretty much in the same way they do the weather: detached. And to offer an interesting anecdote here: an old friend of mine, one that went from republican to libertarian to what seemed like frustration, confessed to me (and I am summarizing here( that he no longer wanted the news to express its opinion about anything. He just wanted it to report the news as compared to (I assume ( MSNBC and FOX News. And I have to give him credit for ‘baby steps’. And I assume that he was prioritizing local news.

But here’s my problem: we can easily imagine the local news (much as media in general (going right along with its smiling, candy-coated view of the world while the rest of the country succumbs to a totalitarian regime. We can see it performing the same absurd scenario as the stewardess during safety instructions. I mean it already seems to be doing so while our government is bullying children.