22-06-08

Decent consultation hierarchy

"Of course, a decent hierarchical society has never had the concept of one person, one vote, which is associated with a liberal democratic tradition of thought that is foreign to it, and perhaps would think (as Hegel did), that such an idea mistakenly expresses an individualistic idea that each person, as an atomistic unit, has the basic right to participate equally in politicial deliberation." J. Rawls, The law of peoples, Harvard University Press (1999).


 

The ways of the world are not simple, quite regardless of how frustrated we get with its complexity. We mostly look back to find things which were better, or at least which in our perception were better. We mostly look forward in an attempt to predict first the next turn for the worst. Fear & dismay are best of friends when we contemplate our individual situation.
We attach ourselves to particulars, specifically to particulars that tie into our particular situation. The assessment is simple then, the world is about to get much worse. This is the Achilles' heel of the liberal democratic tradition. But it is not individualism, it rather is a craving for a more simple society & a decent consultation hierarchy is an evolutionarily prior (& therefore simpler) escape.
In such a society it are groups, not individuals, that matter. In some form or shape it are groups' representatives that vote. Most current democracies with universal single vote per citizen are still determined by that stage, whether in the form of a party-cracy or 'the candidate for X'. We are not out of the woods yet, in an almost evolutionary literal sense.
Okay, this little rant does not clarify anything with respect to the Rawls quote & my sincerest apologies for that. The situation is this - the general trend is a trend for the better. There are less & less societies treating a big part of their citizens as second rate slaves. There are more & more societies that, at least, pay lip service to equal opportunities for all their citizens regardless of ethnic or economic affiliation of their parents (& the payment of lip service is not the smallest payment that can be offered, not at all). But the evolution from this former state to the latter state is relatively recent, far from well established.
The worst of an, even realistic, utopia is forcing all to comply black and white, from one day to the other. Decent consultation hierarchies, like China for the most part, are not ideal but they should also not be our main worry. They are after all, pretty decent, whilst our own liberal democracies are still far from an ideal, if only because we do not yet have that ideal very clear (Rawls' attempt at realistic ideal is to be applauded but far from ideal).
The idea that we have at all costs to avoid people acting as atomistic units is pervasively present in modern liberal democracies. On the left it often takes a form of 'grass roots democracy', on the right one of 'community tradition first'. The former is not very different of tribal proceedings whilst the latter is, under the guise of 'secularism is part of the western tradition' the biggest insult one can imagine to liberalism & secularism. Right or left, the words 'community' as good & 'individualism' as bad are used ad nauseam.
The solution here lies in philosophy. Here, as elsewhere, philosophy matters; more than merely matter it clinches the way we need to look at it. Individuals are individuals by virtue of their interaction with other individuals. The original version of this interaction, the version of cave (wo)men up to religious society is that of interaction within a well defined, but coincidental, community. This is the version in which the elders, or the priests, or the rich, or the meritorious & so on spoke on behalf of the rest. The universal (or liberal, or secular) version is that in which the rest speaks on behalf of itself. This fact does not preclude that individuals are individuals by virtue of their interaction with others - quite the reverse: because of what individuals are the only way of organizing is the way in which everybody speaks for himself. Every other organization is one in which some traditional or otherwise coincidental relation of individuals takes  precedence over the universal & basic relation between individuals. De facto, every other organization is one in which the few decide the fate of the many.

Too long, but in my defence: I need to think this through. Finding the relation between political philosophy, morality down to basic philosophy is important, but tried to seldomly. Anyway, the imperfections of democracy are no reason to wage war or become militant in an organized way. In a democracy there's ultimately room for just one political organization: the democracy itself. We're not to mistake Rawls' correct nuancing with accepting glaring imperfections in our ideal situation.
Militant organizations can be necessary when we indeed relapse into a more medieval politicial organization. For now, it should suffice to count on a trend of centuries of stable evolution towards the ideal.


 

Whilst writing this I was listening to Jimi Hendrix, In Concert, Starlife.

16:05 Gepost door Guido Nius in Web | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: rawls, convergence, identity, decadence, dynamics |  Facebook |

11-06-08

Eigenpsychisches und Fremdpsychisches

"Die eigenpsychischen Gegenstände sind erkenntnismässig primär in bezug auf die die physischen Gegenstände, die fremdpsychischen dagegen sekundär. Wir werden deshalb die physischen Gegenstände aus den eigenpsychischen und die fremdpsychischen aus den physischen konstituieren." R. Carnap, Der logische Aufbau der Welt, Felix Meiner Verlag Hamburg (1998), p. 79.

(amateuristic English translation below)


I´m on thin ice here, I know. So forgive me if I´m not going to start jumping up and down. Carnap isn´t very popular at the moment but he tried to think it true & I for one applaud him for having done just that. Maybe later I could risk going into the deep, now I merely want to wonder about the 1st person attitude (& then hurry back to safer ground).
I wonder whether Carnap doesn´t take the 1st person as too unproblematic. Let me reassure you: this is not going to be about intricate subtleties. This is about whether the 1st person here is, for instance, a giraffe - or one of those walking, talking living things known as you & me. In both 1st person cases it is necessary to constitute a world & in both cases we do well to leave all that speculative metaphysics to the side, if at all possible. But there is a difference between walking, talking living things & merely walking living things.
One such difference, & a crucial difference it is, is that the giraffe won´t write a book on 'Der logische Aufbau der Welt'. However - if it were to write one - it would have an advantage of not confusing what it knows (or thinks it knows) with what it talks about when it talks about what it (thinks it) knows. I regret having to use a hyperbole but, still, the point is clear - albeit a bit muddled (I am, in my defense not presenting an argument but just wondering).
Let us assume that something like Carnap´s assertion is correct at the base, or beastly, level. Does this then imply that it is necessarily also correct at the level of linguistically based social interaction? Carnap would have it that way as he ultimately constitutes social phenomena, even further down the road, out of the 3 areas mentioned in the quote. But the glaring weakness is that in order to do that he has to rely on thousands of years of linguistically built-up knowledge. He himself, in a quote that will certainly be treated here some time, stresses the progressive character of our human knowledge. I doubt it very much that somehow we can cut back unproblematically to those days of yore where language wasn´t yet or simply wasn´t.
Yes, that´s circumstantial evidence at best. The to-do is to answer something like the question I put higher. I do not think you can answer that question in the positive. There are no limits to the creative, productive power of language & specifically no limits set by 1st person experience or even physical objects - there is a restriction in the sense that, ultimately, linguistic creation can only make itself felt via a physical conduit (no, I may be dabbling around here but I´m definitely not dabbling around in the supernatural or esoteric) but that´s not the same.
´Nuff said for the moment. The disclaimer on 'just wondering´ was put in for public safety in good time ;-) I do think the primacy we have to respect is not that of 1st person experience but that of interpersonal communication. I also think that - whilst there is something like a giraffe 1st person in us - there is also another type of person associated to us (rather than ´in us´), and that it is, yeah why not, foolish to gloss over this type of person as if it were of 1 kind merely because we refer to it with the same word (an issue that, by the way, is addressed superbly by Carnap elsewhere in the book).


"Physical objects are cognitively based on first person psychology, other person psychology is however cognitively based on physical objects. Therefore, we will constitute physical objects out of first person psychology and the other person psychology out of physical objects." (this was the hardest one up to now - I do apologize if this is as opaque as the original is clear)


Whilst writing this I was listening to ´The Very Best of The Beach Boys'.

23:15 Gepost door Guido Nius in Algemeen | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: carnap, language, self, imagination |  Facebook |

04-06-08

Orgasmatron

"I am the one, Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand
My image is of agony, my servants rape the land
Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain
Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name
Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law
My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore."


Motorhead, Orgasmatron (1986).


Lest you might think I'm soft.

Popular culture is mostly ridiculed, mainly because it is popular. If embraced, it is rarely really embraced but rather 'indulged in'. Such are the backward ways of those in-the-know, those that are true followers of the spirit of churches (& that nowadays often profess to be atheistic).
It is vain and arrogant to believe truth is restricted to some privileged ways of expression. It is obsequious to submit to what has been established as 'true' standard of what is establishing itself. The implication that one needs agony, that the feeling of pain is a necessary condition, for achieving quality is one of the most clandestine views one can have of human life. It is sadistic & it leads to people that excuse themselves for inflicting pain by reference to some form of sacred agony. Hypocrisy made paramount.
That's our Orgasmatron. We should not be fooled by the persistance of those traditional religions in believing religion still is our Orgasmatron. Religion is on its way out but the Orgasmatron has changed colours, but not its essence. It is there condemning decadence, rewarding merit & promoting misery and self-torture. "Work hard, die old. Fuck talent, as what matters is what others have & the value of what I bring lies in the fact others can't bring it. So, fuck 'em, & let me be fucked for profit!" My name is called merit, sadistic, sacred whore.

Let's not have it.  Let's not play the sycophant and revel in our pain. Enough with achievement, it's time to play.


Whilst writing this I was listening to Augustus Pablo, "Dub, Reggae & Roots From The Melodica King", Ocho (2000).

22:14 Gepost door Guido Nius in Muziek | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: pop culture, boldness, decadence |  Facebook |