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Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2018 7:18 pm
by d63
"Calcutta is regularly presented as Hell on Earth, the exemplary case of the decaying Third World megalopolis, full of social decay, poverty, violence and corruption, with its residents caught in terminal apathy (the facts are, of course, rather different: Calcutta is a city bursting with activity, culturally much more thriving than Bombay, with a successful local Communist government maintaining a whole network of social services). Into this picture of utter gloom, Mother Teresa brings a ray of hope to the dejected with the message that poverty is to be accepted as a way to redemption, since the poor, in enduring their sad fate with silent dignity and faith, repeat Christ's Way of the Cross... The ideological benefit of this operation is double: in so far as she suggests to the poor and terminally ill that they should seek salvation in their very suffering. Mother Teresa deters them from probing into the causes of their predicament –from politicizing their situation; at the same time, she offers the rich from the West the chance of a kind of substitute-redemption by making financial contributions to her charitable activity” –From Žižek’s Plague of Fantasies

Of course, this all gets pulled off because of how likable Mother Teresa really is. Note, for instance, the time she appeared in America and argued, against abortion (that is with a twinkle in her eye), that if a woman didn’t want their child, they could easily give them to her. I won’t even go into how unrealistic that was. The interesting thing was how Clinton, a pro-choice politician, responded: stuck in the corner of either agreeing with her or offending (of all people, MOTHER-FUCKING Teresa!!!!! (simply said something to the effect that the woman was beyond reproach: a clear act of appeasement. The problem, to me, however, is that when the woman expressed a political opinion, she threw her hat into the arena of political discourse. And there, no one is beyond reproach.

That said, the main reason I bring this quote up is that we see a similar dynamic (that which Mother Teresa served as a veil to (at work in advertisements for children’s charities. And how can we resist those big sad eyes anymore than we could Mother Teresa? The problem is that, if you think about it, you have to question the very fact that those children exist in the first place. You have to look at the parents. I mean you’re living in a shit-house shack built on top of garbage heap with barely enough food and clean water for yourself, and your response is to bring a child into it. And I know this sounds harsh. It even sounds rightwing since the right would all too enthusiastically grab onto it without (as the right is all too prone to do (pursuing the issue further.

Were they to pursue it further, they would recognize that the problem is the result of their gag rules on foreign aid that includes counseling on birth control and abortion. In other words, what we see in these ads are Christian groups asking us to give money (that is through the pressure of guilt: the big sad eyes of the children (in order to fix a problem they contributed to in a major way. They want us to fix their mistakes, to have their cake and eat it too.

Of course, in the face of those big sad eyes, we’re not allowed to politicize.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:59 pm
by d63
The interesting thing about right wingers is that they tend to throw out bullshit as if they are incapable of imagining someone actually fact checking. It even seems more absurd in the age of Google. And I’m not focusing on Trump here. That issue is being addressed on a public scale through news media. This, rather, was inspired by a recent personal/anecdotal experience. My right wing friend (as he sometimes attempts to do (threw in a little right wing jab at me: he argued that what is happening on the southern border has actually been going for some time and couldn’t see why everyone was making such a big deal about it. My response was reluctance to just accept the assertion and that I would have to look a little deeper into in. And me being me, I did. And as expected, I found out, as usual, that he was only partially right:

The truth is that separating families has always been an option on the border and sometimes actually happened, especially in cases where they decided to prosecute the parents, the main justification for taking the children away being that you clearly could not put them in jail with their parents. However, this tact was not generally taken. (And thank you PolitiFact!) Before the mess we are seeing in the south, the general procedure was to house them in family detention centers where they would be processed until they were either given asylum or deported. In other words, it was rare for children to be separated from their parents except in cases where the child did not actually belong to the adult they were with or were entering alone, the main concern being human trafficking.

But here’s the interesting thing about it: the core of mine and my rightwing friend’s relationship is our mutual intellectual curiosity. We have interesting conversations all the time while, knowing where each other stands, avoiding politics. He had to know that I was going check into it and, facts being facts, dismiss it. And this is likely why he hasn’t pushed the issue since then. And I’ve seen the same thing at the bar, the “library” I go to as part of my process. Once again, they know who I am. They see me every day at the bar with my book, notebook, and computer. Still, every once in a while, they will throw in one of those right wing jabs that they know I’m going to research.

You can’t help but see Frankfurt’s bullshit dynamic at work. They are, in a sense, a lot like actual bullshitters: they tell you stories about their selves that they have got to know no one will believe. I once had a guy describe to me an experience he had in the military: a narrative that perfectly fit Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket.

I mean you really have to think about the psychology behind all this in order to really understand the age of Trump.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:22 pm
by d63
Having reached the end of my second full reading of Žižek’s Plague of Fantasies (as well as countless partial stabs at it along with my ventures into Lacan), I’m starting to get a better (if yet vague (understanding of the relationship between desire, drive, castration, the symbolic order, and the phallic and the fetish: the objet petite a. If I understand it right, castration (that which ropes in drive and the desires that emerge from it (is the symbolic order’s way initiating us into its self. This, for us as individuals, creates a void that we have to fill in with phallic supplements that often take the form of fetishes built on the dynamic of the objet petit a, a process that is supplemented by fantasy.

?: or am I getting it wrong….

But assuming I am getting it somewhat right, it seems to me that this could as effectively be described as society not so much suppressing our desires as channeling them to the interests of the powers that be. Now, of course, anyone more familiar with the continental approach might protest that I am over-simplifying what the writer(s) was saying. And I will give them that. Still, I have to question the practicality of taking all these oblique and poetic back roads in order to represent the subtleties they are trying to get across when they could just as easily start with what is immediately accessible and work their way from there.

And the only answer I see to my interrogation is that the continentals are more interested in being interesting writers than they are purveyor’s of truths. It’s a little like what Umberto Eco pointed out in an interview:

The difference between the analytic and continental approach is that the analytic approach attempts to build off of previous discoveries much as science does while the continental approach attempts to say the same old things in such novel ways that they seem to be saying something totally original.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sat Jul 14, 2018 7:19 pm
by d63
"Lately I've been running by day, drinking by night, as though first to build a man and then destroy him....." -from 'Words' by Philip Levine

The story of my life……
In praise of Phillip Levine:
* ... y_lion.php
-From ‘They Feed They Lion’ by Philip Levine

?: does this poem have the same feel as The Smith’s How Soon is Now ( ... ion=click( to anyone else……

I would also note what I call “the apocalyptic style” in it, that similar to Ginsberg’s Howl: that which runs through a series of images that feel loosely connected. And we can easily feel the influence of Yeat’s ‘The Second Coming’.

That said, the above poem pretty much typifies the reason I have come to love Levine’s poetry and why I have (after many years (returned to his selected poems: that kind of grimy, oil stained feel of someone negotiating an industrialized and unjust environment through a kind of reverence via struggle.
“My brother comes home from work
and climbs the stairs to our room.
I can hear the bed groan and his shoes drop
one by one. You can have it, he says”
-from Levine’s poem ‘You Can Have It’

It’s been interesting returning to Levine in the age of Trump in that you recognize Trump’s potential followers (those negotiating an industrialized and unjust system (in it. And let’s be clear: this is not to assume that Levine would be some kind of Trump mouthpiece. In fact, I would argue that Levine’s interests were a little more Marxist in nature while also seeing the futility of resistance (see ‘Not This Pig’ and ‘Baby Villon’).

And, of course, the scariest thing about it is that Trump seems to want to return us to that grimy, oil-stained environment that Levine was dealing with. And if Trump succeeds we can only hope to approach it with the same spiritual fallback that Levine describes.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Mon Jul 16, 2018 9:23 pm
by d63
“Classical demonism illustrates the absolutist perspective of deviance by dividing the world into good and evil. To follow the universal set of rules on which a society is based is “good;” to disrupt the plan is “evil” and an affront to God and society. This dualistic perspective, which is often characterized by a supernatural element, suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with those who do not adhere to the social order. Classical demonism has reemerged as an explanation for deviance in modern society, often being used as a convenient way to explain and categorize bad behavior. Modern demonism, while more secular than the classical form, continues to divide the world into opposing forces—those who know what is right and those who do not.” –from Paul Root Wolpe’s outline for his Great Courses lecture: Explaining Social Deviance

And I would offer a form of demonism that Wolpe did not actually go into in his lecture: the tyranny of the functional under producer/consumer Capitalism. The main point I would ask you to focus on in the above is:

“This dualistic perspective, which is often characterized by a supernatural element, suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with those who do not adhere to the social order.”

The point Wolpe went on to make is that when we talk about the supernatural, it must, by definition, be about what seems to be beyond the natural. He uses it in a more general sense than gods and ghosts. Therefore, when we are talking about “evil”, we are talking about something that cannot be empirically defined. One could almost think of it as metaphysical in a sense. For instance, we can talk about an act as being “bad” in that it will have a certain negative effect; but when it comes to evil, all we know is that it FEELS evil.

He also pointed out that norms (and deviances from them (are basically social constructs. Therefore, deviance (in many circles), is defined by that which breaks or threatens the commonly accepted sense of what the social order is. And the way they prop this up is by acting as if the generally sense of social order is rooted in nature itself –that is as compared to a human construct- a natural force if you will.

And nothing could make this more clear to us than the way we (via media (normalize previously deviant behaviors. Take the sitcom Will and Grace. In it, we come to accept Will, the homosexual, through his portrayal as a perfectly valid producer/consumer. We do as much in TV ads that do not present minorities as their selves as much as yuppies with darker skin. Even when African Americans are presented as rappers, they’re presented as the brothers and sisters that made it as is made clear through all the bling.

Producer/consumer Capitalism is a human construct: an agreement among the participants. In that sense it is a religion (note the god-like invisible hand (a demonization that defines as deviant that which fails to act in the proper role of a producer/consumer. All you have to do is watch any episode of COPS and you will see what I mean. It’s basically a whipping post for non-producer/consumers: white trash and minorities –what is "evil" in the eyes of producer/consumer Capitalism- or that which fails to placate to the tyranny of the functional.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:03 pm
by d63
“And this is what we’re up against: a group of people that made a really bad choice, are starting to see the consequences of that choice, but are having a hard time accepting the fact that they have made that bad choice. In reference to the above, if they accept the fact that Trump makes oversimplified choices, they too have to admit that they have made an oversimplified choice. Now imagine how hard that would be for an individual in the face of a reality that is making that all too clear to them. Imagine the denial one would be tempted to resort to.”

Another model to consider here is Kierkegaard’s Continuation of Sin. The point of it is that, sometimes, when a person commits an act that they know to be against a general sense of right, instead owning it, they’ll take the irrational step of leaning into the momentum of the wrong. For instance, I once saw a story on TV of two boys who decided (through a kind of weird incremental process that builds into an outside-of-the-norm act (to kill one of the boy’s parents. They, through the inertia of it, eventually carried out the act. And we can easily imagine them, having recognized what they had done (and completely intimidated and overwhelmed by the likely consequences and the guilt that was too much to own), choosing to lean into their sin (to become “pure evil” (in order to avert responsibility for it. We see a similar dynamic, for instance, in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as well as Sam Raime’s movie A Simple Plan. The two boys went on to do a school shooting.

And I believe we can apply the same dynamic to belief systems. We’re talking about a group of people (outside of the 1/3 of the American voter pool that are completely lost (who, out of frustration, decided to experiment with Trump and saw that experiment go horribly wrong. Imagine the blow to your sense of yourself as an enlightened individual. Imagine the temptation to double down or your previous indiscretion, to rationalize.

In other words, as progressives and democrats, we have to be gentle (and thoughtful (when taking advantage of the reality that is moving many of them away from Trump and the Republicans.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2018 8:29 pm
by d63
“Should, therefore, socio-cognitive conflict be prescribed in educational settings? We address these questions by drawing on research pointing out that socio-cognitive conflict is beneficial for learning to the extent that conflict is regulated in an epistemic manner; that is, by focusing on the task or on the knowledge at hand. On the contrary, socio-cognitive conflict can result in detrimental effects whenever conflict is regulated in a relational manner, that is, by focusing on status and on interpersonal dominance.” –from “Learning from Conflict”, Fabrizio Butera, Celine Darnon and Gabriel Mugny

I mainly quote this as a kind of anti-dote (an empirical one even (to quasi-intellectual trolls who come on the boards and treat this like some kind of pissing contest. To them, it is not about growth or a process. It is, rather, a search and destroy mission that will beat down anyone that might stand in the way of their total intellectual dominance. It’s not about finding out what’s right; it’s about making you wrong.

Of course, what they will often turn to is this common yet erroneous notion (this common doxa (that we are somehow obligated to make our case to them, even when there is clearly no hope of doing so. They may even play it off as a kind of “tough love”, their way of getting yourself beyond yourself. But all they really care about is their ego. It is a fantasy on their part. But they get away with it, at least in their own little world, because it is propped up by popular culture. Note, for instance, the popular American TV series House or JK Simmon’s award winning performance in Whiplash. We even see this fantasy at work in philosophy in the way we build the same kind of stigma around such figures as Heidegger and Wittgenstein. But why put up with either asshole when you could as easily get what you need from their books?

This kind of mentality might be useful in the military. But there is a big difference between trying to survive in a battle and trying to build a deeper understanding of the world. Unfortunately, as the article points out:

“We argue that, although mastery goals are inherent to education, educational organizations also promote performance goals through evaluation and selection. In this respect they create the conditions for conflicts to be regulated in a relational manner, which is detrimental for learning. We conclude the chapter by reflecting upon the goals promoted by educational organizations that may favor or hinder the constructive effects for learning of socio-cognitive conflict.”

In other words, the sensibility of the troll is basically bred in our education system – especially in America which mainly works under corporate values: the tyranny of the functional. As they also point out:

“This distinction is of importance with respect to the question of the usability of socio-cognitive conflict, as recent research has shown that the two forms of conflict regulation are predicted by different achievement goals. Epistemic regulation is predicted by mastery goals (the will to acquire knowledge and develop competences), and relational regulation is predicted by performance goals (the will to demonstrate competence relative to others). We argue that, although mastery goals are inherent to education, educational organizations also promote performance goals through evaluation and selection. In this respect they create the conditions for conflicts”

Will try to go into this deeper tomorrow.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:25 pm
by d63
“In the 1960s, Ayn Rand convened an intellectual salon that she called The Collective. Coming from the founder and articulator of Objectivism, a philosophy of radical individualism, this was a deliberately provocative, tongue-in-cheek name. Yet it captured an important truth about Rand’s followers: They were truly followers. They were influenced by her philosophy, her vision, and wanted to share their views with like-minded others. True, those views espoused the intellectual and moral primacy of the individual – the “virtue of selfishness,” as Rand and Branden (1964) termed it – but the intellectual movement that grew up around those ideas was formed and sustained by group processes. The Collective spawned numerous institutes, thinktanks, and newsletters designed to draw in new members; there were struggles for status within the group; and Rand herself became an extremely powerful figure, surrounded and protected by a fiercely loyal inner circle. Indeed, a number of commentators have likened the Objectivist movement to a cult (e.g., Shermer, 1993; Walker, 1999).

The Collective provides an excellent illustration of what we refer to as the independence
paradox. In groups that value individuality, ranging in scale from Rand’s Collective to North
American societies, acts of independence have a paradoxical status: They both challenge the
group’s power and conform to its norms. These acts signify personal freedom and, at the same
time, collective identification (see also Hornsey & Jetten, 2004; Jetten, Postmes, & McAuliffe,
2002).” –extracted from the article ‘The Independence Paradox’ by Jessica Salvatore & Deborah Prentice

I would humbly propose that at the heart of this paradox is the failure of such types to recognize that no matter what they achieve, it can never occur in a vacuum. They are always the benefactors of a social system in which we all participate.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:08 pm
by d63
"In the 4th century, the saying became popular among monastic leaders. According to the monastic author Cassian, as the monk goes about his day in silence, all sorts of thoughts enter into his mind. Some of these thoughts are clearly good ones, leading the monk to act virtuously and to contemplate God. But some of these thoughts come from demons, leading the monk to act wickedly and to turn away from contemplation and prayer. We must analyze the thoughts that occur to us, Cassian tells his fellow monks. “We must, as the Lord’s command bids us, become skillful money changers.”" -study notes from the Great Courses lecture The Apocryphal Jesus by David Brakke

"You simply cannot let your mind wander like that, son. You never know what it will get into." -a line from what I thought was going to be the latest great American novel, but I bogged down in the third chapter and never finished it.

While my quote was basically a secondary expression, the quote above gets at a dichotomy buried really deep in our world culture: that between the classicist and the romantic or what can be respectively described as the dichotomy between humans as civilized beings and humans as natural beings. And we see this in the classicism of Plato and his model of society. He utilizes the analogy of the human body in a hierarchical manner by delegating mind to the highest level (that of philosopher/kings), heart to a middle level (that of the military), and body to the lowest level: that of the unkempt masses.

(And I would digress here by pointing out how Plato’s putting military in the middle (that above the unkempt masses (has been repeated by pretty much by every tyrant history has produced. It’s just something to think about in terms of Trump’s insistence on a military parade.)

But the thing to think about here is that Plato was a result of civilization being relatively young, of having just crawled out of the muck. So it would make sense for people at that time to think: civilization good, nature bad. It was this sensibility that propped up Plato’s argument that poets should be banned from the republic. But, of course, after a series of tyrants justified by Plato’s model, we eventually came to the romantic break.

But you still see elements of the Platonic model (as well as Brakke’s description (in evangelical rightwing thought. But it can also be seen in Zen that (via proper meditation (seeks to quiet the brain chatter, to become pure quiet and calm: classical restraint.

But the main expression of this that I want to cover here is Carl Jung’s malady of the extrovert. The extrovert, being primarily orientated towards the world of objects, must contend with a subconscious that is always working in opposition to what is happening at a conscious level. And the extroverted position would seem the natural one for someone who put their civilized self over their natural self. And what would naturally result from putting too much emphasis on the world of objects is the subconscious attempting to overwhelm the conscious with “unruly thoughts”. Hence the hysteria that Jung attributes to it: that which results from the conflict between the classical and the romantic, the civilized and the natural, the focused and the wandering mind.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Fri Aug 10, 2018 8:13 pm
by d63
A couple more connections I want to make here. We can also see this guilt association at work in Coleridge’s distinction between fancy and imagination in Biographia Literaria: fancy being the product of natural bodily impulses while imagination stands as an expression of our higher cognitive functions. But it is a model that works and even has social/political implications: note, for instance, the role that fancy seems to be playing in the campaign and presidency of Donald Trump: the fanciful notions about deep states, what immigrants are out to do to us, as well Trump’s Rambo-like solutions to these problems, the Quentin Tarantino revenge fantasies at work in the minds of him and his followers.

At the same time, we have to be careful about dismissing the import and utility of fancy in our more analytic pursuits. Take the movies. What distinguishes more mainstream movies from more art house works is the mainstream’s tendency to play on fancy as compared to the art house which tends to take a more detached approach to things. In mainstream movies (Rambo, Several Shades of Grey, the Marvel and DC movies, and on and on and so on……. (we get a modern kind of mythology in which our most primal impulses are given expression. Art house movies, on the other hand (that is while still appealing to those primal impulses), tend to take a more god’s-eye-perspective on human activity. And that is of value and has rightfully earned the designation of fine art. At the same time, you cannot dismiss the analytic value of seeing human impulse and fancy manifested and expressed through mainstream cinema. In fact, I would argue that the groundwork for the Trump presidency has been being laid out there for some time. At the same time, I wanna make clear that when we’re talking about fancy and imagination, it’s not a binary thing. It is, rather, a spectrum between two poles.

The other point I want to make about this guilt of the wandering mind dynamic (or Jungian archetype (can even be seen in the work of those who actually embrace the wandering mind. If you look, for instance, at the New York Abstract Expressionist school or even the work of David Lynch, you can actually see this sense of the wandering mind as a path to hell. Look, for instance, at Jackson Pollack’s Full Fathom Five or Willam DeKoonig’s Door to the River. And it is all too obvious in the work of David Lynch in such movies as Blue Velvet (note the entrance and exit of the ear that caps the movie off (as well as Mulholland Drive which he described as a string of pearls just coming together during a lecture on transcendental meditation. “A beautiful thing”, as he described it.

The point (and I hope I’m not being redundant and superfluous here (is that, in order to truly understand our situation here, it would be anti-productive to completely dismiss (out of some kind intellectual snobbery or deeply buried guilt (the products of our fancy: our wandering minds.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:38 pm
by d63
“The basic celibacy plot appears in nearly all the apocryphal acts. A woman hears the message of a Christian apostle and gives up sex with her husband. The jilted husband is usually a powerful political man—a king, a Roman proconsul, a friend of the emperor—so he can get the apostle executed. The apostle’s message not only disrupts a marriage; it also seems to threaten the city or the empire.” –from, again, David Brakke’s Lecture series The Apocryphal Jesus

Just finished both the audio lecture and the study notes today. But before I move on, I really want to address this particular issue because, as serious as the subject of the lecture seems, it really did evoke a lot of chuckles in the same sense that one might chuckle at a lot of Greek and Roman myths. Believe it or not, as much as the writers of the apocryphal texts had serious religious and spiritual agendas, they were also out to entertain.

That said, excuse me for devolving to common male memes, but my first response was (and I am going by testimony from my married friends: isn’t that what women generally do anyway? It’s like the old joke:

?: what food has been shown to reduce a woman’s sexual drive by 80%....

Answer: wedding cake….

Now before I get an onslaught of testimonies from women about how great the sex has been with their husbands since they got married, I am not in a position question that. This is not some kind of red pill rally. It was just a facetious riff I couldn’t resist.

That said, there are two theories offered for this common theme. On one hand, there is the more feminist one that sees female celibacy as a form of liberation. And you have to think of that in the context of the paternalistic society that women were working under at the time. In fact, it was the encouragement of this female rebellion that, in many of these stories, led to execution of the apostles that encouraged these women to do so. And given that all of the apocryphal texts were centered around the apostles associated with Christ, it is easy to imagine Jesus having this same effect on women and, consequently, sealing his doom.

The other theory is that the motif was meant to highlight the superiority of the apostles as leaders of men –that is in opposition to the pagan leaders as represented by the husbands of the women that, having converted to Christianity, chose to refuse their husbands sex. And this is the more interesting theory in that it puts some shine on more contemporary theory that tends to elevate the feminine over the masculine much as the old apocryphal texts did. What likely made Jesus and the apostles so profound, and appealing to women, was their recognition of the value of the feminine in the face of the macho hubris of the Roman Empire.

And we can see the residual effect of that in thinkers like Lacan who made the distinction between the feminine (what he referred as the eternal (and the phallic: that which creates change in the temporal world.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:08 pm
by d63
“I am not familiar with the definition of eco-system... typical of us humans to use words without knowing the depths of their 'government given' meanings. By eco-system, i mean nature all what naturally makes everyone and everything live together in harmony. Everyone and everything have their place, not all the hybrid, gene-changing man-made stuff. I wonder, has man went too far?” –Debbie Mathis

This is an important issue that I would address by focusing on the qualifying version of the concept: the ecological. The ecological, as I understand it, is a focus on the way various systems (and their various sub-systems (interact with other systems and their various subsystems. Hence the poem above:

a system.

And if you think about it, Debbie, we are basically systems that work from various sub-systems that, in turn, work from various subsystems and on and on. But the plot thickens. Through our interaction and discourse here, we have created yet another system based not only on the semiotic system we are communicating with but the supra-system of Facebook to which we, and our various sub-systems, have adapted to in order to achieve certain results as well. In short, what our discourse has created is a kind of eco-system in itself.

And I am not dismissing your more nature based (that is ‘nature’ as it is commonly understood (understanding of it. It is the popular understanding of the ecological. But I would humbly argue that the position fails to make the distinction between the ecological and conservation. While conservation is specifically focused on the preserving what we commonly think of as nature (is molar in nature), the ecological is more focused on how we, as systems in ourselves, are interacting with and affecting other systems. And in that sense, I fully sympathize when you argue:

“Everyone and everything have their place, not all the hybrid, gene-changing man-made stuff. I wonder, has man went too far?”

From the model I offer above, I would argue that man is a system that has increased its expectation to such an extent that it must basically steal resources from other systems in order to meet those expectations. Man has generally worked from a metaphysics of power in which everything is about overpowering the other. But if that were true, all systems would merely engage in a cosmic game of king of the hill until all that was left one simple system. And which would that be? Man? Or something less cognitive?

As recent evolutionary science has determined, evolution is not about “the survival of the fittest” –a popular meme among neo-liberals. It is, rather, a matter of eliminating systems that are unsustainable. So Debbie, it’s not just a matter of man going too far; it is also a matter of man making mankind an unsustainable system within a system that is far bigger than him.

Re: Public Journal:

PostPosted: Mon Aug 13, 2018 8:45 pm
by d63
“The latter "method" of philosophy is the same as the "method" of utopian politics or revolutionary science (as opposed to parliamentary politics, or normal science). The method is to redescribe lots and lots of things in new ways, until you have created a pattern of linguistic behavior which will tempt the rising generation to adopt it, thereby causing them to look for appropriate new forms of nonlinguistic behavior, for example, ple, the adoption of new scientific equipment or new social institutions.” -Richard Rorty. Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Kindle Locations 196-199). Kindle Edition.

First of all, it is really nice to get back to my pragmatic roots (Steven!!!!!). As I have always said:

While I am drawn to continental concepts, I am equally drawn to the Anglo-American style of exposition.

And Rorty pretty much characterizes the latter draw while traversing the former. And this is the cool thing about Rorty: the way he kind of blue-collarizes the more obscure concepts of continental thinkers: Heidegger, Derrida, etc.: while demonstrating a command of the general sense of what was at work in them. He’s generous, a kindly old teacher much like Jaspers who, as I have found in my recent reading, is an incredible writer.

That said, what I want to mainly point to (that is in reference to the above quote (is Rorty’s clear recognition of the value of resonance and seduction in any discourse. And this where I see the pragmatic overlap between him and Deleuze –Deleuze being the writer for which the creative act was never that far from the back of his mind.

And as the prodigal son to my pragmatic board (it’s been a while since I’ve had anything to post on it), I have found things that support my pragmatic sensibility. In my immersion in the Great Courses lecture series, Argumentation: the Study of Effective Reasoning by David Zarefsky, I found out that legitimate argument is not so much about that which stays within the confines of logic (both formal and informal), but that which contributes to the productivity of the discourse, that which works towards the goal of a better understanding or a working compromise.

In other words, it is ultimately about what works. Beyond that, all there is who it is working for and why.

Anyway: good to be back for a while, guys. Steven???