29-12-08

On Education

" (..) but we have only to proceed in improving our civil polity, conferring the benefits of education upon all, (..) and we may be quite sure that the effect to which I look forward, and which can alone render these advantages permanent, will follow." Malthus, An essay on the Principle of Population, Cambridge University Press 1992, p. 358.

"As long as the nations of Europe continue barbarous enough to purchase slaves in Africa, we may be quite sure that Africa will continue barbarous enough to supply them." ibid., p. 364.


Before wandering off again on more analytical slumberings, there is something that I felt I needed to say on practical politics. There is, luckily, the irreversible evolution towards universal adoption in theory at least of universal human rights. But, unluckily enough, there's a double problem of uncritical extension of these rights including all benefits deemed acquired in the Western wellfare state, combined with, prohibitively impractical attitudes towards their universal adoption in actual practice.

Any situation in which the amount and extent of universals is unduely blown out of a reasonable proportion can only lead, as a matter of fact, to irrational emotions (that are, in turn, the gravest threats to the actual universal rights). On the other hand, it is unfortunately so that a companion problem of demanding anything sub-standard to be rectified ipso facto in a binary way aggravates these emotions to this point we all know too well of claiming to be the purest - thereby reducing the universal rights to an instrument to the benefit of irrational emotions rather than: the true target of sane policy.

The problem is one of education. Rather: it is a double problem of education.

There is a lack of education in a happy few secularized and economically developed states on the actual principles underlying the universal rights. Politicians are left too unchallenged bandying about these universal rights as a matter of faith, more often than not making these universal rights subservient to some or other particular faith as per the tradition of their parents. The rational grounding of these rights is rarely mentioned such that citizens in these countries don't appreciate the freestanding & noble independence of these rights. At bottom these rational grounds aren't taught precisely because the critical discussion of these grounds is left to intellectual elites (and one thinks 'so called' almost implicitly with this concept) only to pour scorn on them for not merely accepting these secular rights out of some sort of secular faith quite like the faith in the revealed truths of the various religions.

Obviously there is even more of a lack of education in the developing world. Not in all but some extreme cases there is not only a lack of education because of a lack of means or a lack of education on the part of the parents but there's government ban on education (mostly of specific groups, these groups mostly oonsisting of the females). This lack is the real problem - if we could remedy the education gap, the consequently educated would no doubt remedy the rest of the gap - and that's the thing I wanted to discuss. There is a hierarchy of universal human rights & stability and food and lodging (and all of those other Biblical things) are not the top of it - not even the familiar political rights of a secular society or at the top of it. There's only education that can top that list.

So there: the practical solution lies in reapplying Malthus' slavery quote to the present case. We can only expect to see improvement there if we educate and criticize here. We can only support from here when we discriminate foreign governments primarily on the basis of a real push there to improve education to the local citizens. Only by learning to learn things independently can human beings be expected to create an independent mind; only with an independent mind can human beings be truely called human.

Voilà!


Whilst writing this I was listening to Massive Attack, Safe from Harm.

22:21 Gepost door Guido Nius in Liefde | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: language, optimism, malthus, dynamics, universals |  Facebook |

13-12-08

The Right To Be Lazy

"Proletarians, brutalized by the dogma of work, listen to the voice of these philosophers, which has been concealed from you with jealous care: A citizen who gives his labor for money degrades himself to the rank of slaves, he commits a crime which deserves years of imprisonment." Paul Lafargue, The Right To Be Lazy, 1883.

(Translation as per http://www.marxists.org/archive/lafargue/1883/lazy/index....)


There you have it: you think you have an original idea just to find out it's antedated with a mere 150 years; by a rather obscure pamphlet-writer of rather more than less blackandwhitery, no less. The vice of modesty may still have its virtuous moment ;-)

He is right of course, for the same reasons as I am right: neither you nor I whatever our origin & whatever our talents, are really anything more than the instrument of an upper class when we sell ourselves to further the goal of another. & we are even less than that when the sale is made to further the goal of an anonymous organization - never mind whether of the so called beneficial kind. The idea of the 'duty to work' is however proving to be imune to all reasoning. There are always new people grouped in new groups that gain so much from it that they discover fresh ways to convince all of the rest of us that the 'right to work' is the last blessed thing surviving the deaths of all Gods. For a long time now in the West we take comfort in the fact that we can't be slaves because a. the people we work for can't starve us to death when we refuse to a complete surrender & b. we are increasingly working with our brains.

The first assumption is wrong because every instance we claim more freedom we get naught more than a pittance of it; to find not much later that 'the economic crisis' is on its way threatening this beautiful right to work. The voices of the reasonable soon after emerge to convince us of the fact that we should not press such rights but give up large portions of our little bit of freedom if we don't want the right to become just a far-fetched ideal. No physical whips but constant economic terror: if there is such a thing as a mastermind in this system, it surely knows that the threat of some loss is sufficient to whip us into 'correct' behaviour.

Never will a right be more like a duty as in the case of the right to work. And whilst it is a fact that we tend to sell our brains rather than our bodies as time goes on, what is better: to be encarcelated or to be brainwashed? But this quoting fool is sounding more and more like he's rambling as much, if not more, than that quoted fool - Let me move on to ...

He is wrong of course because like all of them drawing in black-and-white only, he is wanting to make us into something that is changed according to what he believes to be what we ought to be. Idiotically presupposing that we can make abstraction from what presently is our reality to make it easier on him to run, on our behalf, after the abstraction he favoured. An abstraction that suited his instincts, his wealth as well as his specific social network. Such is the way of idealists. They're optimists, but only at our expense and when they despair they do so based on what they see us lacking in what they deem to be important to us.

So maybe I'm still original in believing you can be right in these matters without at a same time being wrong. We needn't prescribe work nor prescribe non-work - just like we mustn't prescribe non-consumption nor decry consumption. The "right to be lazy" should not in its turn become a new duty of a new church condemning the non-lazy. There is time, we work less than in Lafargue's time. More importantly: there is time, more & more of us find employment in things that can't rightly be called 'work' even if those so employing themselves persist in the convention of calling it 'work'. This is possible only because the free markets allow to exchange entertainment and ideas, trading talent for talent. The machines were welcome and they were necessary - but, contra Lafargue, they are not sufficient. To liberate us from work we need a market, a place where we can come with the result of our creative, talented laziness and get the benefit of some other talented, creative laziness. Only this free exchange will be sufficient to liberate us from the necessity to work.

The problem then is this from where we stand today: how do we divorce free market from capitalism when they seem so inextricably linked for ages? The one good & the other bad, their separation is essential to set human beings free to do whatever the hell they feel like - even work, since no God or Organization can still forbid it. Free - free to compete in what they themselves believe to be their strength & pleasure.

A question at the end. Be it as it may. I have no answer yet. But not to worry: there is time and better the irreversible evolution to a free market with less compulsion to work than a revolution imposing what is to be traded with an essential compulsion to work, however small it may be.


Whilst writing this I was listening to Evard Grieg, Lyric Pieces as was perfomed by Mikhail Plethnev (with the insurmountable "March of the Trolls").

 

19:29 Gepost door Guido Nius in Vrije tijd | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: lafargue, optimism, decadence, competition, form-content |  Facebook |

01-12-08

Die Hinzu-Lügner

"(..) Und so macht man es innerhalb jeder herrschenden Moral und Religion und hat es von jeher gemacht: die Grunde und die Absichten hinter der Gewohnheit werden immer zu ihr erst hinzugelogen, wenn Enige anfangen, die Gewohnheit zu bestreiten und nach Gründen und Absichten zu fragen. Hier steckt die grosse Unehrlichkeit der Conservativen aller Zeiten: - es sind die Hinzu-Lügner." F. Nietzsche, Die fröhliche Wissenschaft, p. 63, Reklam, 2000.

(amateuristic English translation below)


There will be more from where this one came: if only to show Nietzsche isn't what he is made out to be by those standing to gain from the commonplace perspective. Or, in other words: if you're original enough there is no force in the universe that can be dwarfing you to commonplace.

What is the custom of our day? It has to be: "Work hard and you'll be rewarded with well deserved worldly goods." The lie stuck on top of this work drill morality is that it will ensure reward comes to those who merit it. The next lie is: everyone will benefit because this system will allow sustainable advances in average prosperity.

It's pretty easy to find challenges to the custom. It is blatantly obvious that merit is unavoidably divorced from merit, whatever way you may want to define the latter. It are always sociopathtic tyrants & cock-sucking followers that take worldy reward from the inventions of the unconventional working people. It is more obvious still that not everyon benefits and that the system, left to its own nature, leads to everincreasing portions of humanity living sub-averagely from the point of view of wordly goods.

What does not follow from the blatantly obvious is that we have to tune the systems to ensure the custom is made compatible with the lies - what also does not follow is that we have to accept the custom is imperfect but happens to be the best one that we have managed to stumble across. Regardless of perspective, neither of these is following although one is free to deceive one's self with either a soft conservative or a hard conservative perspective (corresponding to modern progressives and modern extreme right).

So let us ask what does follow from all this. The answer is simple: nothing. Custom, as well as its invented reason and intention are post their due dates. They're stale & there should be a ban on the operative concepts used: a ban on merit, hard work, & a ban on rewards, averages and the common good.

We need to let go: a bit of work is good enough if it earns you just enough to come by in a way that allows you to do whatever the bloody hell takes your fancy. I know - not very philosophical and maybe therefore with an outside chance of being right ;-)


"And so it is done within every ruling moral system or religion and has it been done forever and ever; the reasons and intentions behind the custom are always invented after the facts (lied on top of it), when some start to fight the custom, asking for reasons and intentions. Here we have the gross dishonesty of conservatives of all times: - they are on-top-liars."

(I am sorry, you'll need to learn German or find an official translation to appreciate it thoroughly, which is kind of fitting, in a way)


Whilst writing this I was listening to Dwight Yoakam, Blame the Vain.

21:39 Gepost door Guido Nius in Vrije tijd | Permalink | Commentaren (0) | Tags: nietzsche, decadence, dynamics, boldness |  Facebook |