reading a biography....

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reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Mon May 17, 2021 4:01 pm

Now I happen to like reading biographies.. this particular one
I am reading has a special place in my heart and mind....

If I were to list the people who have profoundly affected my thinking,
among those who I would have to list is Walter Kaufman...
and that is the biography I am reading, Walter Kaufmann by Corngold...

I have just about everything Kaufmann wrote and translated...
including his masterpiece about Nietzsche....which has influenced
my life in ways I can't even suggest....

the first question I reached in this book, is based on the fact that Kaufmann
was driven by religious questions, of which he saw philosophy as part of
that quest to answer religious questions

so the first question is this:

"What do religions do to people-how they affect
human existence?''

so Kaufman seeks religious answers by philosophical
text/understanding... whereas I am the other way,
how to reach philosophical answers by religious
text/understanding....

as I am always about "what it means to be human?" what
does the religious tell us about us as human beings?

what can religions tell us about the "human condition?".

But Kropotkin, you are an atheist....what can you know about
this religious impulse?

that is true but what is also true is that I hold the "best" questions we
can ask ourselves are the Kantian questions, "What am I to do?"
"What can I know?" "What can I hope for?" and of course the religious
question, "What should we believe in?"

(Don't make the mistake of thinking of these question as isolated, distinct
questions... the answer to the question, "What am I to do?" is quite clearly
is part of the answer to "what should we believe in?"... in other words,
what we believe in, drives what we are suppose to do and if I believe in
god, then that should, should drive my actions... I oppose, for a whole
range of reasons, the religious beliefs.. but for now, right now, we
could use the religious beliefs in our lives)

the entire question of the religious is really about the value/point of
the religious feeling... why does the religious feeling have any value or
meaning for us?

I think its value for us lies in the fact that we human beings, get focused,
very, very focused on the day to day of our lives... we get up, get showered,
go to work or go to school, pick up little Jon from school,
we spend the day working out the logistics of our day.. the
who, what, where, when, how and why? but we don't engage in
the overall question which is, what is the point of all of this?

what is the meaning of existence? the Kantian questions are important
because they force us to raise our eyes from the usual small details of our
lives which take us so much space.....

at least with religious questions, we are forced to see a wider picture
of what it means to be human... and that also the value of the
philosophical questions we ask... sometimes we get so focused on
these small details of the day to day existence we forget that
we are part of a large, very large organizations... we human beings
are small parts of large organizations like the political, the historical,
the political, religious.. and these organizations are implied by the actions
we take every day, we go to church, we vote, we shop, we work.. all of these
actions take place in the midst of the question of what it means to be human?

our day to day lives are broken down into small pieces of actions,
we are atomized... turned into small atoms that function separately
from each other.....the religious questions can return us to seeing ourselves
as being part of each others lives.... I am part of the whole, but you wouldn't
know it from my day to day life....

I have stated elsewhere around here, that ART is an attempt to connect
to our world and each other.... but isn't that also what religions do,
and philosophy does? connect our individual selves with each other?
to form a whole, instead of a lot of individual atoms who seem to
never connect with each other....

ART is a way to connect as is the religious impulse...

the question, "What am I to do?" is really at heart, a question of
how do I connect with society, the state, the culture and each other....

the religious impulse is really at heart, an attempt to connect to something
bigger then we are, but I hold that there is nothing bigger then we are because
we are already part of everything....biological, philosophically, emotionally.....
because I am human, I am already connected to nature, to the world, to the
universe, both the living and the not living part of the universe....

we seek something that we already have... a connection to what was, what is
and what will be....I am connected to the earth because we were born of the
earth, I am a child of the earth...I am connected to the earth
as I have the minerals of the earth in my body, and I have the same
gene connection with many animals, cow, dogs, fruit fly's for example.....

in our day to day lives, we forget how connected we are to everything...

we are born of the stars... our very bodies were created with the stuff
that stars are made of...... and that is the value of the religious...
it reminds us that we are connected, to each other and to the planet earth....

the modern task is to reconnect ourselves with each other and to the
biological lives that we share with all forms of life......
we are not isolated, separated biological life forms, we are
part of that diversity that is life... we are part of the planet earth,
we are part of the solar system and we are part of the universe...
we have lost that connection to who we are....

the modern question is, how do I reconnect?

indeed, is there any other question for us right now?

I don't think so.....

Kropotkin
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Dan~ » Mon May 17, 2021 10:24 pm

Religion is a baked potato.

Call it what ever you want.
It's a clumsy old word that has been miss used like nobody's business.
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Tue May 18, 2021 5:30 pm

Dan~: Religion is a baked potato.

K: ummmm, I love baked potato....

to move on....we see that existentialist hold that the thought of freedom
terrifies people...we run from freedom because we are unable to bear its weight...

but that assumes an awareness, a "woke" if you will, to the conditions of freedom....
but I suspect that people aren't that driven by the fear of freedom for the simple reason,
they don't understand what freedom or the what freedom says...

as put in the book "Walter Kaufmann" taking about Kierkegaard;

"possibilities, dread, decisions,...the dizziness of freedom, fear and trembling''

that type of thinking requires some understanding, some awareness of the
possibilities or dread of freedom...to be honest, few people, if any, are actually
aware of what it means to be free....we human beings are bounded by many
things that make us unfree, held hostage as it were...by society beliefs, by the
overwhelming unbearable weight of society baring down on the individual to
be a "citizen" to be "productive" to be a "member of society" to "work unto death"
for the benefit of society/the state.......the duties and obligations of society so
overwhelm the average person, that how can they even suspect that there is
an alternative viewpoint of existence that doesn't require them to "work unto death"...

in today's modern society/state there is no alternative possibility of the escape into
being free....who can imagine a world free of having to work 5 days a week, week in
and week out for 40 years.....

who has offered us an alterative viewpoint that work is not only unnecessary but
downright dangerous to us as human beings...you want a "sickness unto death"
work would be it....

and where do we find freedom in this tyranny? to say that we have some dread or
angst about freedom is assuming that we even have a sense that we might be able
to get free one day.....the modern economic system is a system of slavery...
we are slaves to the great mechanisms of capitalism, communism, socialism...
we have been trained to see government tyranny everywhere, but fail to see
the greatest tyranny in the sphere of the economic......and then talk about
the "dread" of freedom.... talk about putting the cart before the horse....
let us become free before we speak of the "dread" or "dizziness" of freedom....

"man is born free, but is everywhere in chains"

is a false statement, the correct statement is this....

"Man is born in chains and he still exists in chains"

without any freedom to have angst or dread about....

the existentialist are wrong about this... perhaps they are wrong about other things
as well.....perhaps....

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Wed May 19, 2021 6:11 pm

Finally a day off...

one of the functions of philosophy is to be the loyal opposition....
so much of existence is simply agreeing with the powers to be...
the economic tyranny which forces us to answer the question with
"how high"

the modern world demands that we comply with all given
orders...or we get charged with the greatest crime on the books,
insubordination....Adam and Eve great crime...
and if we fail to obey the state, prison, if we fail to obey the boss,
we get fired... of the two, getting fired is by far the greater crime...

philosophy is the only place that we can be the opposition without,
without punishment...although I admit that Socrates was
killed for his opposition to the idols of Ancient Athens...

and what are the idols? Francis Bacon in perhaps the best bit of philosophy
done in modern history, has labeled the idols....

the Idol of the tribe, the idols of the cave, the idols of the marketplace
and the idol of the theater...

these idols are the main fallacies or falsehoods that prevent people
from gaining true knowledge and becoming the best versions of themselves....
by following these idols, they stop civilizational progress...

the idol of the tribe have their origin in the production of false concepts
due to human nature, because the structure of human understanding is like
a crooked mirror, which causes distorted reflections (of things in the external world)

the idol of the cave consist of conceptions or doctrines which are dear to the
individual who cherishes them, without possessing any evidence of their truth.
These idols are due to the precondition system of every individual, comprising
education, custom or accidental or contingent experiences....

the idol of the market place are based on false conceptions which are derived
from public human communication. They enter our minds quietly by a
combination of words and names, so that it comes to pass that not only does
reason govern words, but words react on our understanding....


and last, idols of the Theatre which is the idea that the world is
a stage, the idols of the Theatre are prejudices stemming from received or
traditional philosophical systems.. these systems resemble plays as
in so far as they render fictional worlds, which were never exposed to
an experimental check or to a test by experience... The idol of the
theatre thus have their origins in dogmatic philosophy or in wrong laws
of demonstration....

so we stand in opposition to the myths and superstitions and habits
of society.. as philosophers...we define with reason what society holds
by habit or superstition...society holds much of its values, laws,
systems by habit, by tradition, by custom, by sheer laziness......

we philosophers must engage in a discussion about the worth, the value
of these often outdated, failed belief systems.....after watching the failed
operations of capitalism over the last decade, no rational person can
accept the verdict that capitalism is the "best" possible economic
system devised...... but because of inertia and laziness and
habit, we still hold to this failed economic system.....

if philosophers fail to hold the idols of the republic accountable,
then what is the point of philosophy? why have philosophers if
we fail to stand apart and tell the truth....the emperor has no clothes....
if we don't say it, who will?

even if we agree to aspects of society, we must, must be opposition
to the society if for no reason then to keep society honest.....

those who say, yes but... must inform us what the "but" stands for...

we can no longer afford to just assume that our values, our current
systems, that our ideals, our morals and our idols have some value or
have some worth... we must, must grind our values and idols through
the terror of self examination, not the pretend self examination that says,
yes but......real self examination of both the individual and the collective......
that shakes society and the individual to the core... for that is what happens
in real, true self examination....one doubts everything.......

before Zen, the mountains stand tall, the sea is calm, the rivers hold
in the their banks...

during Zen, the mountains shake like jello, the sea is wild and
turbulent, the rivers overrun their banks

after Zen, the mountains stand tall, the sea is calm and the
river hold in their banks.....

during Zen, is exactly like an honest self examination of one's values....

do you have the courage of a self examination of values
and then do you have the courage to hold a examination of the values/idols
of your society/state/the culture?

to be in opposition to the values of your society?

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Wed May 19, 2021 8:48 pm

in thinking about things.. this alone makes me a man out of time,
I'm thinking about the book of Job...(and everyone should be familiar
with the book of Job.. religious or not.. It should be required reading
for everyone, everyone)

the question is Job... why is he so Passive about his "affliction" that god
has forced Job to bear witness to.....Job loses everything, everything including
his health and for what? a bet between god and satan... Job fails to do the
thing that is most noticeable about Jewish prophets.. he complains about god,
but he doesn't wrestle with god...the bible is full of stories about the prophets
who wrestle with god.... even Moses wrestles with god...Jesus being the ''dutiful"
son fails to wrestle with god, but he is the other exception....

and so we reach the point where we connect up the story of Job with modern man.....

Modern man is Job in terms of the misery we suffer from the effects of modern society...
modern society plays the role of god and we play the role of Job....

we suffer the effects that god/society has brought down on us....
we suffer, from poverty and despair, lack of truth and freedom and
we suffer both in body and in spirit from the drives of capitalism that
takes everything away from us...the very wealthy who gained their wealth
through some crime.... every wealthy family has a crime in the past from which
they greatly profited by...for example, FDR's family great wealth came from
selling opium... all great wealth begins in a crime...

and yet the honest man, the working man suffers the pain and drudgery of
modern existence....we live, work and die for pennies on the dollar....
and what should our response be?

should we just complain like Job...the lord/society is unjust... and we leave it at that?

or should we get in the mud and wrestle with the lord, the vast economic/ political
systems that hold us in bondage, slavery...who will be the modern Moses?
who will lead us into the promised land? away from the slavery of Egypt/capitalism?
have I seen the deliverer? the one who frees us from slavery?

back to Job... shall we be like Job and complain about the modern injustices we
see on a daily basis or, or do we get in their and wrestle with the modern world?

we are Job.... and what shall we do about it?

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Wed May 19, 2021 9:11 pm

we ought to write philosophy.. we are philosophers...
but so many cannot write philosophy...

ok, then let us write literature...
but frankly, writing literature
is far harder then writing philosophy
for we can lie in philosophy...
and we can invalidate the truth in philosophy...
and we can hide behind philosophy.....
we can camouflage existence behind a well turned phrase...
we can pretend to hold great truths in philosophy....
for we can hide behind impenetrable nonsense
like Kant and Hegel...pretending to be dense and esoteric and knowledgeable.......

but instead we are ''modern'' men...

full of sound and fury
signifying nothing

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Ecmandu » Wed May 19, 2021 11:23 pm

Peter, I just have to say that you’re a little out there and I like it.
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu May 20, 2021 1:47 am

Ecmandu wrote:Peter, I just have to say that you’re a little out there and I like it.


K: The question is, do I make you think?

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Meno_ » Thu May 20, 2021 2:51 am

Peter, reading biographies is valuable, it makes me think many associated things related to the biographer, especially if it is the author writing.i kind of know Ecmondu well enough to trust in my judgement that he would agree with that assessment


I like to read biographies and then get a lot of personal ideas which can be applied to life in general.

I particularly enjoy the realism You portray in accordance to Your own life.
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Ierrellus » Thu May 20, 2021 12:47 pm

My favorite Walter Kaufmann quote is "One can smell a rotten egg without being able to lay a fresh one." That does not apply to this fine thread. Kaufmann helped me through Nietzsche also. I'm glad to hear there is a decent biography of him.
Now on the problem of human connection to all forms of matter, living and non living. Many, too many, humans cannot see the whole because of their focus on the I as all there is. The idea of a whole comprised of interdependent parts, which are also whole in themselves is a conundrum better addressed by Eastern philosophy. In the West about all we have in the majority is Ayn Rand's, "enlightened selfishness". Ego rules here. This is no fertile ground for socialistic communities. Brook Farm and Oneida did not last. Religion in our time, and perhaps even before now, is based on save thyself, not know thyself.
"We must love one another or die." W.H.Auden
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu May 20, 2021 3:58 pm

Ierrellus wrote:My favorite Walter Kaufmann quote is "One can smell a rotten egg without being able to lay a fresh one." That does not apply to this fine thread. Kaufmann helped me through Nietzsche also. I'm glad to hear there is a decent biography of him.
Now on the problem of human connection to all forms of matter, living and non living. Many, too many, humans cannot see the whole because of their focus on the I as all there is. The idea of a whole comprised of interdependent parts, which are also whole in themselves is a conundrum better addressed by Eastern philosophy. In the West about all we have in the majority is Ayn Rand's, "enlightened selfishness". Ego rules here. This is no fertile ground for socialistic communities. Brook Farm and Oneida did not last. Religion in our time, and perhaps even before now, is based on save thyself, not know thyself.


K: you captured things pretty nicely... especially the part about religions are based on
saving oneself instead of knowing oneself....

excellent post...

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Meno_ » Thu May 20, 2021 4:06 pm

True, so true. The Christianity of latet. Post Guttenberg years, refocuses the Western trend toward the idealistic middle European focus, away from the Latin rite
The protest of romantic centrism. minimizes guilt, hence god becomes literarily above the concerns which god would have taken responsibility away from man's erring. The renewal of this position becoming evident in the orientalism that precursed the holism intrinsic within the modes of interwoven elements that are different yet somehow analogous to the Occident in that respect.
As Nietzche's teacher, Shopenhauer literally underlined Jesus' travels along the Silk Road.

The will to power can be extended to a holistic. mysterious recognition of the desire to recapture this Romantic idea in PARADISE regained, during the span of 300 years, called the Renaissance.
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu May 20, 2021 4:23 pm

Meno_ wrote:Peter, reading biographies is valuable, it makes me think many associated things related to the biographer, especially if it is the author writing.i kind of know Ecmondu well enough to trust in my judgement that he would agree with that assessment


I like to read biographies and then get a lot of personal ideas which can be applied to life in general.

I particularly enjoy the realism You portray in accordance to Your own life.


K: two things, first of all, over the years I have read a lot of biographies, and yes, they
are create very interesting idea's when we compare ourselves to the person in
the biography.... secondly, far too many people and you can see it around here,
see themselves as isolated, separate, apart individuals, atoms if you will, just
floating free in space with no connection to anybody else... whereas the story of
the human race isn't that story of isolation and apartness, the human story,
both individually and collectively, is a story of connection with other human beings....
we cannot survive apart, individually, isolated...that is why the worst punishment in
prison is solitary confinement....people often go insane being lock up in solitary confinement....

which is why I offer up my story... to reaffirm that we have, all of us, a connection,
a story that connects each of us to each other...I am a human being and you are
a human being and that connection, creates a story..
conservatives try to peddle a ''dog eat dog world'' whereas if that story were true,
we wouldn't have the world we have today...their story cannot create what we have
today.... ART, science, technology, political institutions, the studies of history
and economics and culture... are all created by sharing our stories, by our
shared connections... and that isn't the story of the "dog eat dog world''.....
for that story brings about the Hobbes "war of all against all" and we know that
leads to this "... and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short"

with my story in mind, you can make connections to your story, see what is possible
for you....

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu May 20, 2021 7:49 pm

often ignored by philosophers and in the study of philosophy,
is the Aesthetic... and what is the value of the Aesthetic?

our modern times has rejected the uses of ART and beauty and
Aesthetics... we no longer reference such Archaic thoughts...

but what does a ''useless religion'' like Aesthetics, have to do with us?

what can ART or literature or poetry or plays or novels tell me about
the ''important'' things in life, like how to earn a living,
or how to achieve fame or titles, or how to gain power,
or how much money I need to retire? For we are ''modern'' people,
and we are concerned with gaining the necessities of existence, and
not with the meaning of existence....

for we are ''serious'' men and have no need for the metaphysics of poetry
or novels...

I to am not interested in the metaphysics of the ARTS, but I am interested
in the value of ART in the education for us "Moderns"....

but what is education but a link to what is possible for human beings to achieve...

in "Crime and Punishment" what is the possible? the story of
Rashklnikov, is about education, not about entertainment....
He sees a possibility and acts upon it, but only to discover that
possibility is a path to failure.. the lesson learned in "Crime and Punishment"
is that crime is a path to punishment...we see that what Rashklnokov believes
to be a path to greatness is but a path to guilt and sin and finally punishment...

what Dostoevsky offers us is the education/possibility that what we think is
a path to greatness is often a path to failure....Crime and punishment is
a possibility story... what is possible for us? and sometimes we can only see
what is possible by ART, literature, painting, plays, novels, poems...for they
seek the possibilities of human existence...that is the value of ART, literature,
painting, plays..etc, etc....

we no longer see what is possible for us because we no longer seek such Archaic
things as the Aesthetic...so ask yourself, what is closer to "true", to being the "truth?"

Kant' "Critique of pure reason" or Dostoevsky "Crime and Punishment?"

and I say it is "Crime and Punishment" because it offers us possibilities that
aren't seen in philosophy...Kant doesn't offer us possibilities... he offers us
a gospel, not possibilities.....Goethe offers us possibilities in "Faust"
that isn't seen in Hegel or Heidegger....

education is about seeking what is possible for us... what is possible for us.....
and that question isn't answered in most philosophy... but the existentialists at
least attempt to ask, what is possible for us?

and we see that education is best found in the ARTs, literature, painting,
novels, plays, poems.........because they explore what is possible for us
as human beings....

while we waste our time in seeking the baubles of modern times, we should
be seeking an education in ART, seeking what is possible for us...and then
acting upon the many possibilities of human existence...

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu May 20, 2021 8:24 pm

but one might say to Kropotkin,

"Kropotkin, you have mentioned ART and Philosophy, but
you don't talk about religion, Why?

There is no need to talk about what has already been rejected, no,
not rejected but replaced with.... we have replaced one
religion with another....we, We in the "modern" world have
replaced the bible with the dollar bill.... we pray to Mammon, not
to Jesus or to Buddha......and the gospel of Mark has been replaced by the gospel
according to Smith, Capitalism is the new religion...the new church
we inhabit......and the new Cathedrals built by wall street and the modern
day saint, IQ45....we have as our new temples, the Transamerica Pyramid,
the One World Trade Center, the Empire State Building.. the Sears Tower....
we bow down and pray to our new Cathedrals...we bend the knee...

for religion is about wonder and doubt, we have banished both....
for we are "modern"... and wonder and doubt won't help us meet
our quarterly projections.. one of the new bibles in our modern world....
the object of faith and prayer... did we meet our goal of profits?
let us bend the knee.....

I don't share in the modern faith in profits.... I am old fashion you know....

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu May 20, 2021 8:49 pm

"Heresy is a set of opinions 'at variance with established or
generally received principles"

and by that definition, I am an heretic... I stand with values opposed
to the ''American way of life''...I oppose profits, I oppose rugged individualism..
in fact, I reject individualism altogether.....

(the question, one of, is this question of our individual role in our modern
complex systems.. how do I fit into us..... what is my place in the community)

I am opposed to the modern values that put Mammon first and destroys
human values.... I oppose the modern nihilism that has put human beings
and their values beneath profits...the negation and dehumanization of
human beings has been the work of the industrial revolution...and
the capitalism that made the industrial revolution possible....

am I a luddite? no, but I hold that we can live in peace and harmony with
nature, not just to destroy it to meet our daily quota of profits.....
we can exists with nature.... we just have to reject the modern world
of profits and the dehumanization of human beings...

if we are to "bend the knee" then let us bend it to something worth
bending to, not to Jehovah or to Mammon, but the concept that
we human beings are a part of nature, a part of the animal kingdom,
we are part of life.... let us act like it....not destroy it, but live with it.....

expand what it means to be human by including being human with life itself....
we are not distinct or separate from life, we are part of life....

bend the knee to life and all the life that exists around us and within us....

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Ierrellus » Fri May 21, 2021 12:34 pm

Individuation is the infantile beginnings of human growth and development. There are two further stages of this process. They are metamorphosis or change and eventual synthesis or union with the whole of living and nonliving entities. Western religion, for the most part, is stuck in the infantile, the me of babies, hence the Father God and the Mother Mary.
Yet I believe we exist in a cultural transition, a time of possible change, that is unless we destroy our planet from ravages of lust for lucre. We do hurt in our need for wonder and awe. But is this hurt enough to make us want to change? Or do we just try to stifle our pain with the mantra More, more, more, So how much more of things leads to abundant life? "Things are in the saddle and ride mankind."--Emerson.
"We must love one another or die." W.H.Auden
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Tue May 25, 2021 1:45 am

still reading "Walter Kaufmann"....

and an interesting idea came up.....

we have alienation in the world, that cannot be denied....
we know this, we can feel this, it lies at the heart of
the modern landscape.... and yet, we might conclude,
properly I might add, that we need more alienation in society today!

What are you smoking Kropotkin?

we have millions, hundreds of millions holding to beliefs that are
clearly a danger to human beings... I, of course refer to the world wide
acceptance of Capitalism...that capitalism is a danger to humanity cannot
be denied.... when capitalism is done, we will have a planet devoid of
tree's, plants, animals... with massive pollution in the land, air and sea.....
for anything that can be exploited, must be exploited in capitalism...
and that includes everything that can be for sale, including human being....

and what in god's name does this have to do with alienation?

the fact is that if people were to become more alienated, then they
might look at capitalism with a vision that understands the dangers
of capitalism...we are to much under the spell of such ism's of
nationalism, capitalism, religions... to see the dangers those ism's
pose to us and any future generations.....

we need people to become "woke" aware of the dangers of the current
ism's and ideologies in our lives and the planet existence......

we need people to gain some distance, some alienation from our current
ism's to gain some much needed perspective on what we believe in
and what would should believe in....the Kantian questions of existence,
"what values should we hold" "what beliefs should we hold?"

it is hard to gain perspective on something if you are in the middle of it,
the only true way to gain real perspective of something is to gain some
distance from it..... and as we are smack in the middle of capitalism,
we don't have any distance from capitalism... hence we cannot see
capitalism for what it is, a danger to us, individually and collectively...

in increase in our collective alienation, might give us some much needed
perspective on the dangers of our collective ism's and ideologies....

perhaps to bring people much closer to the Zen moment.....

before Zen, the mountains are still and quiet, the sea of smooth as glass
and the river runs in its riverbanks...

during Zen, the mountains dances and the sea is wild and dangerous
and the river overflows its riverbanks......

and after Zen, the mountain is quiet and still, the sea is smooth as glass
and the river flows in its banks.....

we must achieve the Zen state to gain some perspective on
who we are and what it is we are doing and believe in....

the modern answer to our many diverse issues might be in becoming
more alienated from the society and the state.....we might then gain
some perspective on what it means to be human and what does it mean
to be an American.....

a radical solution, but perhaps that is all we have now is radical solutions....

Kropotkin
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Ierrellus » Tue May 25, 2021 12:15 pm

Too many seek validation of Self in exploitation. For them alienation would mean loss of some sense of dignity.
And yes, the only hope of a sane society is in the alienation of those considered not sane, those who do not see their value in isms, but in their desire to see equality among all humanity. Too often those alienated come to believe they are losers because those in power tell them they are. And those in power get the goods--for now. Sanity is a lonely state of affairs.
It may take some cataclysmic disaster to occur for folks to wake up to their true value as integral parts of each other, the Earth and the God.
"We must love one another or die." W.H.Auden
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu May 27, 2021 6:26 pm

not ignoring you Ierrellus, I just have other fish to fry today....

in this question of existence, we focus, far too much, on the present,
and we don't consider the past or more importantly, the future....

in reading most people around here, one gets the sense of
people engaging in polemical writing,

Polemical: Relating to or involving strongly critical,
controversial, or disputatious writing or speech....

in other words, people are engaged in making a point, but not actually
exploring or properly understanding an idea/person/place/ thing.....

UR is really the best example of this....he rails against "commies" but
doesn't engage in some understanding of what that actually means....
he has no idea or interest in understanding what it means to be a "communist"
or a "socialist" or what communism actually means...
and UR has no interest in exploring or understanding what his position
actually means....so he writes "polemically'' to dictate a position
he has no understanding about in regards to idea's that he has no understanding
about....

an example of a polemical statement is this : "all commies (liberals) are
traitors and deserve to be shot" that is a polemical statement....
a statement without any context or meaning....so how does a statement like
" commies are traitor's" inform us or guide us or give us a sense of
the past, present or future? Philosophically speaking, that sentence
has zero value for us because it you can only agree or disagree with it...
it doesn't give you any information or help solve a problem... a sentence
like, "I am taking the dog for a walk" has more value for us.. and that is a worthless
sentence, well, not for the dog!

when I say, the sentence "commies are traitors" has no history, no past,
present or future.. that means you cannot use that sentence to
understand the past in terms of communist, or the present, what is the current
state of communism, or the future, does the path into the future
lie with communism? the sentence, "commies are traitors" certainly doesn't
give us an answer to any of that....

now a statement like, communism means this.......
well, that statement gives us something to work with...
we can compare or contrast that statement with the various communist
regimes that have existed over the last 100 years...

so a statement like "commies are traitors" cannot be used to compare
or contrast examples that might shed some light on what it means
to be a "commie"....

the classical definition of a "communist" means one who is in favor of
state control of industries... and I for one, don't hold that position....
I don't believe the state should hold the means of production..
hence on the most basic, fundamental point of being a communist,
I don't agree with....thus I am not a communist.. (truth be told, I
favor as a political position, anarchism... but I don't see anarchism
forming for centuries, so I hold my ground on being a liberal democrat)

so you can see how UR is flat wrong about me.. but he doesn't care a bit,
because he isn't about the truth or cares about the truth,
as with any polemicist, the truth is irrelevant to the attempt to
push an agenda...and pushing an agenda isn't the same as seeking the truth...

I quite often write about what does this idea mean to you... and what does that
mean going forward... for my concern isn't about the past, it is about the future....
what future is our possibilities and what possibilities should we try to obtain?

should we seek peace in the coming years or should we seek war?

but to a polemist, the future is irrelevant... it isn't about creating a better
or more truthful future that is of interest to a polemist...

at all times, I keep my eye on any possible futures that we might have,
both individually and collectively...

but does the polemical statement, "commies are traitors'' lead us to an
understanding of what is possible for us? what future should we be
trying for? no, not at all.... the statement about "commies" has no
investment or value in the future... it just doesn't care about the future...

does the statement about "commies" tell us what kind of human beings we are or
we kind of human beings we should be? what values should we engage with?
polemical statements have no value because they don't tell us anything of value...
they are without context to past, present or future...

"who are you and what ought you to be? that is the question....
whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of
outrageous fortune, or to take arms against a sea of troubles"......

compare that to the original.... what is possible in the future ought to
be the question....not.. "to be or not to be"

Kropotkin
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Fri May 28, 2021 7:32 pm

I finished "Walter Kaufmann" the other day and within minutes, started
a biography about Wittgenstein..."the Duty of Genius" by Ray Monk...

this book confirmed something I had learned earlier this year,
that Wittgenstein considered himself an ethical thinker, in fact,
he called himself a "Religious thinker" as late as 1920.. indeed, he
asked about the requirements to become a priest in 1925...
a few years after, after he published his book, "Logical-philosophical Treatise"
in 1921...

and in thinking about this, after reading the biography of Kaufmann
and within the last year a biography of Heidegger.. one realizes
the commonality between these three philosophers...
religion and a religious understanding of the universe...

Kaufmann returned to his religious base, time after time after time....
Heidegger was called and considered himself to be a "Catholic philosopher"
as late as 1921... only a few years before he came out with "Being and Time" in
1927...as one reads "Being and Time" replace the word "Being"
with the word "God" and the book makes far more sense..."Being and Time"
is a religious book with "God" as its centerpiece...God being called "Being"...
(Kaufmann being born in 1921 had his engagement with the religious
during the 50's, 60's and 70's)

so these three philosophers who wrote philosophy, had as their main engagement,
being the religious/ethical....

this religious/ethical engagement with philosophy in three major philosophers,
should tell us about what the primary engagement of the 20 and 21st century
philosophy has been about.. the ethical/religious.....

and why? because we don't have a universal, transcendental theory of ethics or
of religion....this failure has allowed the "acts of evil" we so associate with
the 20th century.. the two World Wars, the Holocaust, the dropping of the Atomic Bomb,
the rape of Nanking, Abu Ghraib prison, the My Lai massacre,
among other acts of dehumanization of human beings...
that allows us to devalue human beings as being less then money or private property...
and people wonder why life is value so cheaply among people when society itself
devalues and dehumanizes human beings...

our failure to advocate or push for an "ethical" life comes from our failure to
have an ethical theory of any kind...everything is "ad hoc" which means
not permanent or just for that particular situation.....

why just today, we had the United States Senate refuse to hold an investigation into
the events of Jan, 6, 2021... when it held 10 investigations into Benghazi.. and what was
the difference? With Benghazi it was an political attack on Hilary Clinton,
and the Jan. 6 investigation would be about the GOP attempting to
overthrow the government......Benghazi had nothing to do with the deaths
of United States personal... as a real investigation should have been concerned with...
politics before lives... as is the GOP refusal to hold a Jan. 6.. investigation, politics
before people... no wonder we devalue and dehumanize people... we put
politics and money and private property before people's lives...

The GOP stands for nothing..... what values would you considered to be GOP values?

small government? that bit the dust during the Raygun administration,
Less taxes? only to the billionaires and millionaires,.. average people have to
pay more taxes because of the free ride the GOP gives to the 1% of this country....

todays GOP has become a cult following... nothing more....
it stands for nothing....hence the GOP is a practitioner of
the modern day nihilism/dehumanization/devaluation of human beings....

One might ask, Kropotkin, you mentioned Religion....
isn't religion about bringing value into people's life?

let us take the Catholic Church... and its unwillingness to hold
its Church priests accountable for being Pedophiles...
if the church will not hold itself accountable, then how can it believe itself
to be anything but another practitioner of nihilism, dehumanization,
devaluing human beings for its own benefit....
if the church protects its priests for actions that dehumanizes and devalues
other human beings, we cannot believe that church will practice uplifting
and honest values that brings back people from being devalued or being
dehumanized....

There is no modern organization that preaches values
that makes the human being/life of greater value then money/profits/
fame/material goods.....

do you want to put your energy into a world or any organization in the world,
that devalues/dehumanizes human beings? I don't... and why should I?

to put energy into a world or an organization that devalues me or dehumanizes
me? why would I do that? may as well ask someone to slit your throat.....

but what are the options? that is what we must create... to work our way into a future
that doesn't devalue or dehumanizes me or other human beings and once that is done,
we can expand our values into preventing devaluing other life, animals, plants,
sea life... all life... all life must hold value.. if we are to successfully
reach what it means to become human...it is never about what was or what is,
it is about what will be.... and we can choose what will be.. if we had the
courage to make that decision......

Kropotkin
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Fri May 28, 2021 9:05 pm

In Wittgenstein came across an interesting bit....

"......... The Mathematician, on Brouwers view, is not a discoverer but
a creator: mathematics is not a body of facts, but a construction of the
human mind. With all these points Wittgenstein was in agreement,"......

What does this viewpoint do for the many who hold, like Pythagoras,
that the planets and stars move according to mathematical equations....

if we discover mathematical equations, then this makes sense, if we
create mathematical equations, then the Pythagoreans theory makes less
sense.... how do the star follow mathematical equations if they are made, created
by mathematicians?

Plato for example held that all our knowledge is knowledge that we have already
learned and have forgotten and this might hold to be true if we discover or more
correctly rediscover those equations....but if we create them, as Wittgenstein
believed, then how does the natural world which seems to have mathematical
basis come about if we create, create mathematical equations, not rediscover them?

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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Sat May 29, 2021 11:46 pm

From Wiki:

A concern with language was central to Kraus's outlook, and he viewed his contemporaries' careless use of language as symptomatic of their insouciant treatment of the world. Viennese composer Ernst Krenek described meeting the writer in 1932: "At a time when people were generally decrying the Japanese bombardment of Shanghai, I met Karl Kraus struggling over one of his famous comma problems. He said something like: 'I know that everything is futile when the house is burning. But I have to do this, as long as it is at all possible; for if those who were supposed to look after commas had always made sure they were in the right place, Shanghai would not be burning'."[19]

K: in this incident, we can see Wittgenstein understanding that the
discussion about language was really a discussion about ethics.....

what Kropotkin? How in god's name do we get ethics from language theories like
the one Wittgenstein wrote about?

The point is if the language we use is meant to deceive or lie or steal or cheat,
that language is us... we use the language and if the language is unethical,
then we are unethical...if the language is truthful, honest, virtuous, then
the person using that language is truthful, honest, virtuous....
it is not only our actions that must be ethical but our language must be too....

language is not just reflection of who we are, it is who we are...our language is
us and the path to ethical actions begins with ethical language.. honest, truthful,
virtuous...and that is why Wittgenstein thought he was an ethical writer dealing with
language.. language is ethics....if you tell a little white lie, what does that say about
you, ethically?

if you want to consider yourself an ethical person, then your language must also
be ethical.... hence people like UR and observe are not ethical people....
the language they use is dishonest, unvirtuous language....in their use of language,
they lie, steal, cheat and dishonestly use language....

if our language is unethical, then we are unethical.....that is the entire point of
Wittgenstein language theories....ethical theories are language and actions
put into use....

Kropotkin
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Thu Jun 03, 2021 7:35 pm

so after 7 straight day of work, finally have a day off.....
and so here I am.....

In thinking about Wittgenstein language theories being ethical, about this question
which haunts the 20th and 21st century, that there is no universal/transcendental
ethical/moral theory that we can live by...god is dead and as Nietzsche noted,
that means the morals that was created by the Catholic church, also was dead....
if we don't have/use ethical theories based upon the religious, then what do we
base our ethical theories on? Nietzsche realized that the death of god also meant
the death of our universal/transcendental theory covered by the morals created in
the bible....so Nietzsche tried to create a new moral/ethical theory by which we can
live by...the idea of the Ubermensch and the eternal reoccurence are ethical idea's....
an attempt to create a new universal/transcendental theory of ethics/morals.....
and we all know what happened to poor old Nietzsche....but think about it..
it is slightly bonkers to attempt to create an entire new ethical/moral theory by
yourself...I am sure you wake up and say to yourself, you know what self, I am
going to create an entirely new universal ethical/moral theory, today....
and then spend the rest of your live trying to create an entirely new ethical/moral
theory....the nuthouse can't be that far away at that point....

and as part of any new universal/transcendental theory of ethics/morals,
one such consideration must be about what is the role of honesty in our lives....
as it was a consideration of Wittgenstein in his language theory... how are we
to be honest in our language? For if we are dishonest in our language, we are
dishonest people... pure and simple....language doesn't reflect us, it is us....

but the real question becomes, who is brave enough, have courage enough for
an honest evaluation of the honestly of our language?

People lie and most of all, they lie to themselves...who is honest enough to
begin an examination of our language to see if it is truthful? and if our language
is dishonest, then we are dishonest... simple enough....which leads us to
what the existentialist worked out, which is the concept of being authentic....
If I am not truthful through my use of language, then how can I be authentic?

our understanding of being authentic relies on our very honesty... if we are not
honest and truthful, we are not being authentic...if we use language to hide
who we are, then how is that being authentic? the path to authenticity lies with
being honest and truthful to thou and to oneself....both in language and in actions...

but as someone we know would say, let us bring this down to earth.....
let us talk about someone here on ILP to better understand this being
authentic and truthfulness...the best example is the Joker, or whatever
sock puppet he/she is using these days.....reading between the lines, one
realizes that the Joker is really just playing a role....being dishonest with
who they are, lying to both themselves and, and to us, the faithful readers
of ILP...the Joker has adopted a role, a persona that they use to convey
a dishonest and untruthful viewpoint... he/she/it is being inauthentic....
not honest or truthful...and all of modern society is playing a role...
the writers of history in the 22nd century will note that that
"modern condition" is one of playing roles... we play at being
citizens and workers and husbands and fathers and sons and brothers....

if we are playing roles, then we are not being authentic... how does
play acting become authentic? and until we become who we are, by
not playacting but by being who we are, at work, as citizens, as in
being fathers, sons, brothers, husbands... so on....

the modern world with its emphasis on seeking profits, forces everyone
to have roles in order to achieve what is important in the modern world,
profits....as long as we have to playact in the business world, we are not
being authentic....we are being dishonest and untruthful when we playact
as being workers.. the modern world forces us to be dishonest and untruthful
in its pursuit of profits/wealth....the very essence of the modern world is
to be unauthentic...we spend day after day after week after year after year,
playacting/playing a role in the modern world.. no wonder being dishonest
and being untruthful is so easy to us..that is how we earn a living for
40 years.... by being dishonest/untruthful....unauthentic....
we spend 40 years playing a character/roleplaying in the business world/the
modern world... for the two are the same, the business world and the modern world
are the exact same thing.. there is no difference between the two....

as we are being, fundamentally, dishonest by playing roles/ being a character in
our lives and our jobs... we are hiding behind the roles/characters we play,
day in day out....the dichotomy between the roles we play and the real us,
creates this unreal, deceitful, artificial, insubstantial world we live in...
we are disconnected, alienated from ourselves and other people because
we are forced into artificial roles that deny our basic and essential self...

an example is my role as checker in a grocery store and the me, the real me...
I cannot be me, in any real sense because the established goal is to make profits,
to make money and the real me at the checkstand, might, might turn people off
enough to force them to go to another store... I must play a role, a character to
help the store create profits/money...and the store, under the jackboots of
corporate America, tells me what to say, where to stand, how to dress,
when to take my breaks and lunch... every aspect of my working life is dictated
by corporate America and all they care about is making profits/money....

I am disliked by the managers because I won't "play" the game of being a
worker bee....I must follow the rules or lose my job... I must scan the produce,
I must ask for donations, I must ask about the latest buzz trend in corporate
America, which this week is asking for people to buy PPE equipment and then
donating it to some group..... it is an easy way to make profit as the cost of
the equipment, mask, sanitizer, one pair of gloves comes to roughly $4.00 bucks
and we charge $5 bucks, thus every kit sold is $1.00 profit.. and that is the goal,
to make the profits, not to help anybody actually...
and because I refuse to ask anybody to buy these rip offs, I am being daily
threatened with being written up and then fired... where is the authentic
self that I have in this demand to make profits? Gone with the wind...

how do I stay true to the real me, in the face of this corporate demand for
profits? which is another way of asking, how do I stay authentic to myself,
when I am forced to peddle crap on to the store customers?

one solution I have come up with, is to sell these things at a much lower price,
say, $3.00 and have the company lose money every time they sell one of these things..
thus I can say, yes, I have sold 8 of them, but at a loss...costing the company
money....I have toyed with this, but haven't done it yet...

so how does one stay ethical/moral in the face of corporate America demands
for profits? how does one hold onto being authentic when at every point,
the corporation relentlessly demands a checker to be dishonest to reach the
avowed goals of profits? every time I make the corporation some profits,
I demean and dehumanized/devalue myself.... what is the cost of being
authentic given that I will be fired if I do hold to being authentic?

take my situation and apply it to your situation....
and see if by hold to the company line, you devalue
and dehumanize yourself.......which is the opposite of
being authentic....

give the inauthentic nature of the modern world, how do we hold to
being real/authentic?

who has the courage to explore what it means to be human given
that modern experience that forces one to be inauthentic, in its
pursuit of profits/money...

who dares to seek honesty and being authentic given the weight of
the modern world attempt to dehumanize and devalue all human beings?

to buy into capitalism is to buy into the dehumanization and devaluation
of all people... for the goal of capitalism is to get people to buy things..
that very act of buying things devalues and dehumanizes us...

and we return to the very first point which is the question of
ethics/morals.......how do we create an universal ethical/moral theory that
doesn't devalue us like capitalism devalues us as human beings?

indeed, how do we finish what Nietzsche started?

Kropotkin
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Re: reading a biography....

Postby Peter Kropotkin » Fri Jun 04, 2021 1:33 am

as I think about it, perhaps we might, might think about ethics/morals as a new
tune....I'm spitballing here so be patient....

the goal of language, is to find/be truthful, honest.. because we are our language
and if our language is dishonest, untruthful, then we are dishonest, untruthful...
so by holding to honest, truthful language, we are engaging in ethics/morals....

but let us extend this a bit....let us think about aesthetics... concern with
beauty or the appreciation of beauty...

so what is beautiful? might I suggest this: beauty is found when something/someone
is honest, truthful.. beauty is found in the authentic nature of something....
I can't say this is some original thought, but hay, little of what we hold to be
true is original.....language that is truthful and honest is beautiful.. that is
why we hold certain writers and poets to be beautiful writers... one such example is
Walt Whitman's "leaves of grass"...its honesty and truthfulness is its beauty...or said
another way, beauty is found in honesty and truthfulness...
beauty is equal to honesty/ truthfulness....Artists that move us and drives
our dreams write, paint, act, musically engage us with their honesty and truthfulness....

and so what about other aspects of our life... we can also see in philosophy,
the basis of beauty in philosophy as being in its honesty and truthfulness....
"true" philosophy is honest and truthful.. Which is why we cannot, cannot
hold to Kantian philosophy as being true or honest because it is written to
hide and distort by its use of language.. read a page of "Critique of Pure reason"
it is unreadable crap... but it looks profound because it hides behind its language...

the philosophers we hold to are the philosophers who are honest and truthful....
like Nietzsche and Kierkegaard are the best examples...they are two seekers of
the truth... whatever that truth may be... we can hold Wittgenstein as another
seeker of the truth....he was trying to find a new path in ethics by understanding
the language we use......

so where else can we see honesty and truthfulness in branches of philosophy?

we have the 7 branches of philosophy.. I have touched on a couple...other branches
are Metaphysics, logic, epistemology, and political philosophy....

Epistemology: the theory of knowledge, especially with regards to its methods,
validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes
justified belief from opinion....in other words, Epistemology is the search for
the truth about what we hold to be true...do we hold justified beliefs or
do we just hold opinions? this search is the search for the truth about what
is the methods, validity and scope of knowledge..so epistemology is the
search for truth and honesty in what we know.....in knowledge...

the next point will be about political philosophy....

if we are to hold to true/honest political philosophy, then we must amend what
we call democracy to be a corporatocracy... today in America, we have

"government of the corporation, for the corporation, by the corporation"

and we should be honest and truthful and admit this current state of
affairs.. instead of pretending we have a democracy, which is

"government of the people, for the people, by the people"

the American democracy fell during the 1960's and 1970's, when
we believed, truly believed in that old saying...

"What is good for GM is good for the country"

replace GM with corporations, and we have a true, honest representation of
America today....

and in the pursuit of profits, corporations do not actually care if the country is
a democracy or a dictatorship as long as profits are made.... it is irrelevant to
a corporation what the form of government is, as long as the corporation can
dictate, hold the government to uphold the ideals of the corporate world...

and the problem today is simple, we have an dichotomy in America....

we claim to be a democracy but in reality we are something else...
and thus America itself is alienated, disconnected from itself....
and until we can find a truth that we can hold to and act upon,
we shall be alienated and disconnected from our country and our fellow
citizens....

the fact is we are untruthful and dishonest because we pretend to be
a democracy and we are not, not anymore.....

democracy can be the most honest, truthful political institution we can possible
create but it has to be a democracy, a true democracy.. unlike what we
have today...... we can find the search for ethics/morality in our political
systems if we can hold to the values of a democracy...

"government of the people, for the people, by the people"....

not the values of the dehumanization of profits or money...which are corporate values....

want to seek beauty and truthfulness in political theory... have the political
values be the values we actually claim to have... instead of being like today's world,
where we claim to be a democracy and we are something else........

the ethics/morals of society can be engaged with if, if we engage with them
honestly and truthfully...we can have authentic lives, authentic political systems,
authentic culture and an authentic society if, if we try to engage with them
with honestly and truthfulness.....

Kropotkin
PK IS EVIL.....
Peter Kropotkin
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 9639
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:47 am
Location: blue state

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