Public Journal:

Half-formed posts, inchoate philosophies, and the germs of deep thought.

Re: Public Journal:

Postby d63 » Sun Oct 04, 2020 9:20 pm

“If we could come to see such appeals as gimmicks, we might become able to dispense with words like “intrinsic,” “authentic,” “unconditional,” “legitimate,” “basic,” and “objective.” We could get along with such banal expressions of praise or blame as “fits the data,” “sounds plausible,” “would do more harm than good,” “offends our instincts,” “might be worth a try,” and “is too ridiculous to take seriously.” Pragmatists who find this sort of banality sufficient think that no inspired poet or prophet should argue for the utility of his ideas from their putative source in some other to reason. Nor should any defender of the status quo argue from the fact of intersubjective agreement to the universality and necessity of the belief about which consensus has been reached. But one can still value intersubjective agreement after one has given up both the jigsaw-puzzle view of things and the idea that we possess a faculty called “reason” that is somehow attuned to the intrinsic nature of reality. One can still value novelty and imaginative power even after one has given up the romantic idea that the imagination is so attuned.” -Rorty, Richard. Philosophy as Cultural Politics: Volume 4: Philosophical Papers (Page 87). Cambridge University Press. Kindle Edition.

“Questions such as “Does truth exist?” or “Do you believe in truth?” seem fatuous and pointless. Everybody knows that the difference between true and false beliefs is as important as that between nourishing and poisonous foods.” -ibid

I think one of the most problematic aspects of the neo-classical/scientistic aversion to postmodern/pragmatic position (since pragmatism is basically postmodernism light with the anglo-American style of exposition (is that they tend to jump to a lot of unwarranted conclusions about what the looser approach to philosophy is about. They, for instance, assume that since we don’t take a reverent position towards the “Truth”, we are taking an anything goes position. We, as much as the neo-classical/scientistic, want to back our position with data and hard facts. The only difference is that we recognize that our emotional responses to what is in the world is as much a hard fact and part of the data as anything science might have the tools to describe.

Furthermore, they tend to argue that we are anti-science because we question the privilege of science much as Foucault did. But all Foucault did was question the political imperatives behind a lot of what science claimed to be the “Truth”. What they fail to recognize is how authoritarian science can actually become when it assumes itself to be the only means by which understanding can be achieved, that which claims the right (the authority (to shut down any discourse that does not play by its rules. Note, for instance, Hawkins’s claim that science would render philosophy pointless, that it would answer all the questions that philosophy presents. And note, also, that it was an argument based on what Hawkins thought science should be able to do rather than what it actually achieved.

Finally, it fails to recognize the role that philosophy plays in the general scheme of things. To cop off of and revise Russell: philosophy lies in that no-man’s land between science and the arts. The hard approach to philosophy tends to make the mistake of taking what the pragmatic and continental (the soft approach (do too literally. They think we’re trying to compete with science when all we’re really doing is offering metaphors: conceptual models that might give us a deeper understanding of the environment we are adapting to. We are not trying mirror the world. We are simply forming rhizomes with it in the hope of creating something better.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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Re: Public Journal:

Postby d63 » Sun Nov 29, 2020 9:35 pm

“Daddy, are animals ever ironic or sarcastic?” –from a Metalogue in Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind

Never really thought about the relationship between self consciousness and the more literary terms of irony and sarcasm. But I now realize that the capability to be ironic or sarcastic is one of the main things that distinguish humans from other species in that they require a certain amount of self consciousness. I see this in the sometimes self-deprecating humor I tend to engage in on these boards, or even in the more finished letters to the editor for Philosophy Now. I do what I do out of a serious effort to say something truthful to the world while being perfectly aware of how pretentious that must seem or even is. As I like to joke:

I refuse to be taken seriously!

And we should note here the mirror test of self consciousness brought to my attention in Steve Weber’s The Origin of the Self. If you take any animal and put them in front of a mirror with blush on their face, you get a sense of how self conscious they are by how they respond to what they sense as an abnormality. For instance, it’s been found that children up to six months of age will generally not respond by trying to wipe the dis-colorization off. This suggests a lack of self consciousness up until the age of six months. Furthermore, while some higher primates did respond by wiping the blush off, most did not.

But we have to be careful here. Bateson (via the father (goes on to argue that other species cannot engage in irony or sarcasm because they don’t have a language. But that neglects the fact that our language started out with specific grunts that communicated information to other members within our tribe. One of the points brought up was a smaller dog showing its belly to bigger dog in order to defuse a possible fight. It’s basically a submissive gesture. And it can even be thought of as ironic to the extent that it is exposing itself to the bigger dog to keep the bigger dog from attacking it while still talking in the language of domination. It is, as Bateson argues, an evolutionary adaption, little more. Still, it works very much like a language. So we have to be careful about the solipsism that can result as concerns animals based on demarcations between the ability to be ironic and sarcastic and that which cannot. Once again, even a human baby up until six months is incapable of such self consciousness.

The point I’m trying to make is that we cannot convolute a lack of self consciousness with a lack of a self. Here Sartre is useful. He makes the distinction between consciousness and reflective consciousness. And even though it is only humans that seem to be capable of reflective consciousness, we have to admit that other species are perfectly capable of consciousness (of a self), even if it expresses itself in a non-reflective form that can't engage in irony or sarcasm.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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d63
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Re: Public Journal:

Postby d63 » Fri Dec 11, 2020 10:13 pm

“It is logically possible that in one cultural environment A will be dominant and exhibitionist, while B is submissive and spectator, while in another culture X may be dominant and spectator, while Y is submissive and exhibitionist.” –from Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind

This comes from an interesting social model Bateson presents (that which generally deals with power relationships (that I have yet to fully explore the implications of. But it seems like it could be useful. And given the window I have here, I can only offer a short synopsis as background. He starts with symmetrical relationships in which there is a tit for tat. The best example here is a sporting event in which both teams are presumed to be starting from equal ground. He then goes on to describe relationships that are asymmetrical but complementary:

Dominant as compared to Submissive

Succoring as compared to Dependent

Exhibitionist as compared to Spectatorship

And if you think about it, pretty much every relationship you could think of (that is outside of symmetrical ones (fits within one of these complementary opposites. But given my window, I’ll have to leave it to the reader to pursue the implications of it. All I want to cover for now is the second part of the above quote: the culture where X is dominant while acting as spectator while Y is submissive while acting as the exhibitionist.

Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is the court jester who acts at the favor of the king while expressing their power through the folk magic of art. And as I write this, I can't help but think of Ayn Rand as a kind of court jester acting at the favor of corporate interests. Unfortunately, we also have to see in this the whole Hollywood system in which all participants (directors, actors, screenwriters, etc., etc. (are always working within the perimeters laid out by the producers: those who have access to the money. And they do so by continuing to be entertaining exhibitionists for the producers. As long as they’re entertained, the money will keep coming.

And we would like to think that the other arts are above all this. We know better, of course, with music since it works under the same industrial model that movies do. But the song remains the same with literature and the arts which pretty much follows the industrial model of being at the mercy of an editor or a patron. As much as we would like to think those higher pursuits are above all that, we are still working in a dynamic in which X is dominant while acting as spectator while Y is submissive while acting as the exhibitionist.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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d63
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Posts: 5582
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Re: Public Journal:

Postby d63 » Sat Jan 09, 2021 10:39 pm

It seems to me that there have been three primary mythologies (that which lead to an emphasis on a loose fancy as compared to a more involved imagination (that have haunted America since the beginning and played a major role in what we’ve experienced for the last four years:

1. The truthful outburst

2. The triumph of the revolutionary

And 3. The Christ-like historical figure


The truthful outburst is about something that breaks away from protocol in order to express something that has been denied due to the inherent blockages built into the protocol. We see this in such movies as Bulworth and Man of the Year. And we can especially see it in the effect that Trump has had on his followers in his rallies. That which offended most reasonable people, because of this, seemed profound to his MAGA-Minions.

The triumph of the revolutionary can easily be seen in Trump’s followers storming the Capital and the fancy this must have ignited in their minds as they were doing it, especially given that it was this very behavior that established our country in the first place. Misguided as it was (due to a lack of imagination), they clearly fancied their selves analogous to the original revolutionaries.

But the most interesting to me (that is for my purposes here (is the Christ-like historical figure which, while being historically factual, took on a more mythical aura about them. Think, for instance: Jesus, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, and William Morris, anyone that was so inspirational that they took on the air of the profound. And that is clearly the mythology that Trump’s MAGA-Minions are embracing given that many of those who stormed the Capital actually claimed they were willing to die for Trump.

So you have to ask if the reason we end up with demagogues like Trump is that they fill in the gap left by the absence of such authentically inspired individuals as Jesus, Kennedy, King, etc., etc.. And put in mind that such figures cannot be forced. They have to emerge spontaneously, as if by an act of God –whatever that might be. Also put in mind that some theologians have presented the theory that the term “Antichrist” suggests someone who is Christ-like, but not quite Christ and, thereby, capable of all kinds of evil, even if it goes against their original intentions.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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d63
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Posts: 5582
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Re: Public Journal:

Postby d63 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:33 pm

I really do like theory –the depth of understanding it brings me- especially as concerns social and economic justice. I really do. Still, the pragmatist in me (the old school bourgeoisie liberal that still believes in the institutions we have as Rorty use to joke (is a little hesitant about taking it too seriously when it comes to solutions.

Take, for instance, Slavoj Žižek’s argument that Starbuck’s humanitarian efforts offer a distracting possibility to the better off in society: that they can buy their redemption and appease their conscience for the price of a cup of coffee. And I agree with him. Much as I agree that the philanthropy trap is a misdirect meant to make government solutions seem less necessary. But before we surrender to the radical pop-cynicism of assuming that the system is just rotten to the core and anarchistic calls for tearing the system down to the ground and rebuilding it from there, couldn’t we just say:

“Look Starbucks: the gig is up. Žižek exposed you. Still, anything helps. And we appreciate you for that. You could have chosen to do otherwise. But it’s not going to be enough. It will still require substantial government intervention through policy to truly fix the problems we have.”
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
User avatar
d63
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Posts: 5582
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:27 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Public Journal:

Postby d63 » Sun Feb 07, 2021 10:52 pm

“’Ha, ha, ha! You will be finding in toothache next,” you cry, with a laugh.

“’Well? Even in toothache there is enjoyment,” I answer. I had toothache for a whole month and I know there is. In that case, of course, people are not spiteful in silence, but moan; but they are not candid moans, they are malignant moans, and the malignancy is the whole point. The enjoyment of the sufferer finds expression in those moans; if he did not feel enjoyment in them he would not moan.” –from Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground

One of the cool things I’m getting out of this particular run through Kaufman’s The Basic Writings of Existentialism is an overlap with a lot of the more contemporary thinkers I gravitate towards. In this case, that main overlap I’m seeing is with Lacan’s concept of Jouissance. And to offer a brief synopsis:

Lacan argued that when it comes to sex, we experience pleasure at a conscious level while experiencing discomfort at an unconscious one. And this is confirmed by scientific evidence that the prostrate, during the sexual act, is agitated until it is forced to release sperm in order to return a state of homeostasis. And this makes sense. If you think about it, sex is a process of working towards a threshold that will take you out of a place you’re really enjoying at the time.

Lacan then reverses this in pointing that many of our psychological maladies are a matter of feeling discomfort at a conscious level while experiencing pleasure at a subconscious level. And if you think about it: why else would we repeat behaviors that give us displeasure at a conscious level unless we were experiencing some kind of pleasure at an unconscious one? A young man falls in love with a girl, gets her, yet, finds himself constantly imagining her with other men. Fear? Or a kind of porn? You tell me:

Dostoyevsky then goes on to describe how Cleopatra took pleasure in sticking pins in her servant girls breast in order to watch their “screams and writhings”. And here we see an overlap in Žižek’s bounce off of Lacan when it comes to human cruelty in the context of NAZI Germany:

“It is especially important to bear in mind how the very ‘bureaucratization’ of the crime was ambiguous in its libidinal impact: on the one hand, it enabled (some of) the participants to neutralize the horror and take it as ‘just another job’; on the other, the basic lesson of the perverse ritual also applies here: this ‘bureaucratization’ was in itself the source of an additional jouissance (does it not provide an additional kick if one performs the killing as a complicated administrative-criminal operation? Is it not more satisfying to torture prisoners as part of some orderly procedure –say, the meaningless ‘morning exercises which served only to torment them –didn’t it give another ‘kick’ to the guards satisfaction when they were inflicting pain on their victims not by directly beating them up but in the guise of an activity officially destined to maintain their health?”
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
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d63
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Re: Public Journal:

Postby d63 » Fri Feb 12, 2021 10:40 pm

“The crowd is untruth. Therefore was Christ crucified, although he addressed himself to all, He would have no dealings with the crowd, because He would not permit the crowd to aid him in any way, because in this regard He repelled people He repelled people absolutely, would not found a party, did not permit balloting, but would be what He is, the Truth, which relates itself to the individual –And hence everyone who truly would serve the truth is eo ipso, , in one way or another, a martyr.” –from Kierkegaard’s ‘That Individual’ in Kaufman’s Basic Writings of Existentialism

First of all, I apologize for the blatant confirmation bias and vulgar self promotion I’m about to indulge in (that is without compunction), but this pretty much parallels my understanding of Jesus’ unfortunate fate. What clearly got him killed was the fact that he belonged to everyone while belonging to no one at the same time. Think about what happened with Pontius Pilate who, sources say, wanted nothing to do with the whole affair. So he takes Jesus (who is charged with matters at best vague) and Barabbas who is charged with killing a Roman soldier. He then asks the people to choose which one is to be spared. The people, of course, choose Barabbas because his résistance to the Roman Empire seems more concrete and comprehensible.

And here we should note Layotard’s point in The Postmodern Condition that one of mechanisms towards oppression is the natural human draw to the easily interpreted and easily communicated. We can further see Christ (as described by Kierkegaard (as the ultimate deconstructive hero. This, furthermore, brings us to a better understanding of why Kierkegaard’s pursuit of Christianity is so important to Continental philosophy in general –that is in him rooting a lot our conceptual models in his understanding of Jesus. Note, for instance, Christ’s emphasis on private philosophy as compared to public, or rather, respectively, self creation as compared to social change as Rorty makes the distinction. And we see the residual effect of this in thinkers like Deleuze (w/ and w/out Guatarri (as well as Derrida.

And note, also, the analogous relationship between the deflective statements of thinkers like Deleuze or Derrida and those of Christ. I would argue that Christ (much as Deleuze did (would advice one to not ask what it means, but rather pay attention to what it does.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
User avatar
d63
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Posts: 5582
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:27 pm
Location: Midwest

Re: Public Journal:

Postby d63 » Tue Mar 30, 2021 12:37 am

Heraldo Muñoz, in his book on the subject, takes a really balanced and thoughtful take on Pinochet –especially coming from a guy that embraced the dictator’s worst and most hated enemy: Marxism. He was lucky to survive. Still, Muñoz shows the humility to argue that he believed that Pinochet authentically loved his country; that he truly wanted to save it but let his ego and self interest get in the way; that for all the evil he managed to instigate, he was actually deluded into believing what he was doing was for the best. And I tend to agree with Muñoz to the extent that this dynamic seems to be at the heart of every other tyrant this world has had the misfortune of dealing with, including Trump.

And now that Trump is facing the same come-upping that Pinochet did (that slow motion fade in import and power: he's just the latest fad to his followers, much as the Tea Party was), I think we can consider a similar understanding of him. It could well be that he actually did love our country, at least his understanding of it. How could he not given how it had elevated him to one the most powerful positions in the world? Furthermore, if we think about it, we can entertain the possibility that most of acts we saw as evil, he saw as him serving the patriarchal duty of taking the heat for what he thought we all wanted in the first place, but was too meek to admit it. We can really see this in the travesties he engaged in on the border.

But most notable here is that, much like Pinochet, he literally thought his so-called “economic miracle” would gloss over everything else that people hated about him. He thought of it (as did every tyrant before him (as something that would become so compelling that everyone would just realize that he was right and that they had been wrong about him all along: a kind of fatherly tough love.

And note the appeal to fancy here.
Humble yourself or the world will do it for you -it was either Russell or Whitehead. I can't remember which.

When I was young, I use to think the world was a messed up place so i was pissed off a lot. But now that I'm older, I know it is. So I just don't worry about it. -John Lydon (AKA Johnny Rotten).

Anarchy through Capitalism -on a flyer thrown out during a Kottonmouth Kings concert.

First we read, then we write. -Emerson.

All poets are damned. But they are not blind. They see with the eyes of angels. -William Carlos Williams: in the introduction to Ginsberg's Howl.

You gotta love that moment when the work is done and all that is left to do is drink your beer and sip your jager and enjoy what you've done. It's why I do and love it.

I refuse to be taken seriously.

Once again: take care of your process and others will take care of theirs. No one needs a guru. Just someone to jam with.

:me
User avatar
d63
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Posts: 5582
Joined: Sat Apr 02, 2011 5:27 pm
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