Safeway, Walmart & Human Passivity

The practical worlds that societies enclose are shared experiences that can exist without a common language. If you have access to money and there is a supermarket nearby, your survival is ensured. Any tourist or ex-patriot who is ignorant of the local language knows how that works: you go to the store, pick what you want off the shelves, pay and leave, without needing to utter a single word.

What this means is, we have created societies in which even dummies can cope … but … have we intentionally made societies for dummies? Is there a structural aim to this simplicity? If the basic elements of survival are quite simply ‘get a salary and close proximity to a supermarket and you’ll be fine’, how can real progress on a human, sapiens level, come about? What is there to inspire the masses for more when they are perfectly comfortable with much less?

The essence of the practical reality boils down to this, and practical reality is economic reality. The progressive motor of the homo economicus is his or her ambition, but the most practical side of the practical world is that ambition and dreams are not necessary – in fact, they are not even practical. The American Dream might hover around, but in general it gets lost in the linings of the corridors of Walmart.

A society that can be imagined without any need for language is a sapiens-impoverished one. The practical world that economists dream of is language-poor and Sapiens deficient. It is an inhuman or anti-human world.

The opposite of this world would be one in which language becomes a priority. This means that a literate society is a human one. Humanity as a purposive, progressive entity, could be measured according to its literacy. Reductionism is a fascist, anti-humanism with a purpose toward creating a silent, ant-like species (although, even ants communicate more than supermarket shoppers do).

Linguistic interaction is necessary for intentionality and its development is necessary for the intentional progress of society itself and for the creation of a human civilisation pushed forward by democratic, intentional progress. A linguistically poor society, on the other hand, is impoverished in democratic intentionality.

Deep thinking requires linguistic richness. Even the ability to synthesise linguistic expression needs linguistic richness as well. One who lacks linguistic dexterity in the first place cannot simplify what they could never express in the first place.

Language, along with our physical motor skills, is the first thing we learn. For human society to properly function in an intentional, progressive way, we should never stop progressing linguistically, even if this means abandoning the practical side of life.   

NOTES ON HEIDEGGER, BEING, AND THINKING

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For Heidegger, the human is used by Being through its thinking. The human essence is therefore reflected through genuine thinking (as homo sapiens), which is what connects the human with Being.

Our idea is that life originates from non-Being in a wilful or meaningful way in order to make Being out of a universe perceived. In this way the Sapiens enriches Being through perceiving, knowing and understanding it.

Heidegger associated this with the concept of the caretaker, or the caretaking hand that shapes Being through its perception and understanding of it. This care of Being is carried out through the Sapiens’ technology of language.

Heidegger called language: the House of Being, and it is through language that the Universe is known and understood. It is through language that Sapiens has become Sapiens, and it would be impossible to imagine Sapiens without a properly functional language. Being, then, is caught up with being-described: described after it has been uncovered. An unveiling that takes place through perception or intuition – through presencing or through imagination. The tremendous importance of Sapiens’ relationship to Being and hence to the Universe, depends on Sapiens’ objectivity and, subsequently, its alienation from reality. In order for Sapiens to fulfil itself, it must step aside from reality and its natural drives in order to preserve it and imagine it from all angles.

It is therefore a Sapiens delusion to see ourselves as the protagonists here. Nevertheless, we are the creators of the Reason for Being of the Universe, created by the Universe to instil and guarantee that reason. Sapiens is the centre of reality that is standing aside, slightly askew from reality, and will have to position itself at a further obliquity if it is to properly uncover and describe everything and shape reality accordingly.

MAKING THE MASK – IDENTITY AS IDEOLOGY (2)

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Ideologies are masks. And if we add to this Althusser’s idea that “Human societies secrete ideology as the very element and atmosphere indispensable to their historical respirations and life,”[i] then we start to get an image of the veiling process of human society in the falsifying process of mask-making. It is through the creation of masks that society paints (in a secreting way) its own suitable, fake reality around itself. Any reality that is secreted or painted on must be regarded as a false one.

Once we have recognised the existence of the ideological mask we must ask ourselves: what is the real condition under that mask? Is it so ugly or so drab that it needs a mask to make it interesting or presentable? Of course the mask bearer erroneously thinks he or she is looking at his or own reflection in the mirror – and in this way we must see ideology as a bewildering hoax or scam, and the society as a clever grafter who has its subjects in its pocket. But why is it that the subjects are so susceptible to this hoax?

The first mask is the name which itself comes out of a language that frames us within that name. And here we have the paradox of language: it frees us by allowing us to communicate but enslaves us by making us subject to the requirements of the other’s communication. Without language our society and culture, indeed humanity itself, would be inconceivable, but it is not until one can escape into another new language that one can ever be aware of the power contained in the mask that we were given in the first place. Language unites but also separates us. It makes us different to those who speak other languages and unites us with those we immediately understand. They who speak our language are our own, but this is another restriction. If language is our most human trait, it is also our most anti-human as being the prime cause of human division and our lack of species consciousness.

The masks of cultures make demands on us and ultimately strive to condition our existence, pushing our self-perception towards a sense of belonging to a part of humanity that is different to, separate from and better than the rest of humanity … and this is the fundamental error.

Emphasis on difference is always there whilst the dividing lines are clearly and deliberately drawn, and emphasis on differences engenders the competitive spirit – the struggle against the others; the creed of us and them; the multifarious masks of isolating identities.

Ideologies grow like mushrooms, sprouting out of the damp earth of separation and the fertile soil of competition. Ideologies look for their antithesis to give them purpose, furbishing them with the power of dialectic against the rivals and enemies. Ideology needs to coexist with its ideological antithesis in order to give itself meaning. “We only makes sense whilst we stand by Them,” is the unmasked motto of all ideologies. Ideologies coexist in order for them to compete and clash, and it is in this coexistence that these opposing forces seep into each other, muddying each other and forcing each other to evolve into hypocritical absurdities that eventually become unsustainable.

The falsity of the mask can only be maintained for so long. Eventually all lies must be seen for the fictions they are. Reality will always push its way through to the surface of the artificial cover that is hiding it. Our own Moloch system is a massive ideological mess of a mask which is rapidly starting to peel and crack.

[i] Louis Althusser, FOR MARX, London, 1969, p.232

LANGUAGE IS THE HOUSE OF BEING

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“Language is the house of being”[i] said Heidegger. It is through language that the Homo sapiens knows. It is through some kind of language that all knowing takes place. Hence: knowing comes from communication.

Can we say that language, communication and knowing are basically the same thing? They are certainly interdependent. If there is a separation it would be sequentially: first came language, then communication, which resulted in knowing. A chain which is reversed if we add the concept of need to it: first came the need to know; then came the need for communication and from these needs came the manifestation of language.

“Thinking accomplishes the relation of Being to the essence of the human being.”[ii] Thinking is the instrument of knowing, or the path towards knowing. Heidegger regards it as an accomplishment in itself, but we must bear in mind Heidegger’s definition of accomplishment “as an unfolding into the fullness of essence.”[iii] For Heidegger accomplishment is a process towards the thing to be fulfilled rather than the fulfilment itself. Why does he make this distinction? The fulfilment of thinking is knowing, but is true knowing a real possibility? In the absolute sense it is certainly not, and so knowing itself is a continuous process – an unfolding of fulfilment rather than the fulfilment itself. So thinking is an unfolding which allows the possibility of another unfolding. It is the bud unfolding into the flower which will eventually develop into a fruit which carries the seed, which…

“Thinking is l’engagement by and for the truth of Being.”[iv] Thinking is brought forth in Being by Being itself in order that Being may attain its fulfilment, and the fulfilment of thinking in knowing. The Fulfilment of Being is to Be Known.

“Thinking is the thinking of Being.”[v] Why not: Being is the thinking of Being. To be is not enough, it must be a combination: to be and to be thought.

To be known and be,

Or not to be known and never be;

That is the question

 

 

RELATED READING: https://pauladkin.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/what-are-we-accomplishing/


[i] Martin Heidegger, Letter On Humanism, p.239

[ii] Ibid

[iv] Ibid, p. 240

[v] Ibid, p. 241

DOXA AND ALETHEIA – TRUTH AND THE ARTIST (PART TWO)

(CONTINUED FROM PART ONE)

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The nature of aletheia as a revealing, implies that not even the artist him/herself can be certain of what is actually being revealed. The process of artistic truth is that which uncovers or brings forth something which has been sensed or intuited by the artist. The need for doxa to achieve that unveiling implies the artistic necessity of objectivity. First of all a right position has to be found wherefrom we may observe if we are ever to grasp what it is we are truly searching for. In other words the artist must create his/her own doxa that will allow the artist a position from which to uncover the truth of the work. The doxa position must be one of a detective or a spying position, armed with a telescope or a microscope or with X-ray eyes. The aim of authentic art is not to describe what is there but to uncover what we think is there but what we cannot sense unless it is uncovered. The voice of doxa can never be the artist’s own voice, it has to be another one, the right one for a perspective to be established, allowing a disclosure to take place. The truth has to be tempted, encouraged, seduced, perhaps even tricked, if it is ever to step out and reveal itself.

To become true artistic dialog, the conversing between doxa and aletheia has to arrive at an agreement. Aletheia may concede: – I will show you my nakedness if you promise not to laugh – or – I will reveal myself to you, but only in a dull light –  then Doxa might respond: – No, of course I will not laugh, my interest is a purely scientific one – or – Ah, but a dull light will not satisfy my lust for you: I need you, need to see you in all your brilliance, for I have no doubt that you are perfect –

In fact, true art is always a dialogue. A dialogue between reality and imagination; between that which is hidden and the explorer, detective, researcher, miner, or lover that needs to uncover it. Nevertheless, the doxa that the artist chooses may or may not have a desire to uncover the subject. In the latter case it is the subject that needs to be revealed or freed. It becomes a prisoner in need of an escape; a shipwrecked sailor who needs to be rescued; a damsel in distress locked in a tower or in the dragon’s cave – but at no time is it ever really any of these things. The truth to be revealed can only be intuited for if the truth is known beforehand there can be no aletheia involved.

The true work of art is the process of disclosure and its dialogue with opinion during that process.

(TO BE CONTINUED)

WHAT HAPPENED TO HUMANITY?

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Psychiatry reveals our greatest nightmare: there is a subject within the subject that not only transcends the subject, it controls the subject. The result: we must hold even our own thoughts and beliefs in some distrust. But, how can this be? How can one not believe one’s own beliefs?

The psychiatrist encourages us to turn to the psychoanalyst for help, and perhaps we can believe that until we realise that the subject within the subject that is the analyst is also controlling that same analyst-subject who is supposedly objectifying our condition.

In the meantime the real manipulation is carried out. We are constantly programmed by the complex-culture civilisation, the Moloch system that envelops us. The socius seems to be designed in a labyrinthine way in order that we lose perspectives of what we really are, or could be looking for, and we become a tiny part of the machine which tells us that it is working for us, but is really working for them. We are stamped with codes and pressed into moulds which define and identify us. But, who are we really? Like Alice in Wonderland, we hardly know any more. We thought we did when we woke up this morning, but now – all certainty has gone.

Or perhaps we could protest:

“We are human – at least we’ve got that, haven’t we?”

The answer bellows. It is a cruel, hollow – No!

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Where did our identity with the species go? Or, more correctly, have we ever had a human identity?

In order to discover what we are, we need to discover what, and how what, we really are has been taken away from us. We need to understand how our humanity has been removed from us.

Paradoxically, our greatest enemy has been what we really define ourselves to be. It is in the intelligence of the homo sapiens from which all our problems stem. The metaphor in Genesis was quite right: humanity had lost its place in the world as soon as it ate from the Tree of Knowledge. As soon as it began to reinterpret everything symbolically and communicate those reinterpretations through language, humanity itself began to lose itself inside what it itself was re-creating. Not that this had to be the case: our study must grapple with the erroneousness of the process of our re-creation of ourselves. Through the invention of the word we have been able to re-create reality into our own image of it. We have names: names of places in which we live, names that we call countries, words that belong to us and make us different from the other users of words. There are names that make us proud. We are capable of doing almost anything to defend a name – capable of even the utmost sacrifice. This power makes us unique in our world. But the time has come to ask ourselves, once again – is this gift a blessing or a damnation?

Our re-creation has always been subject to the interests of power and a manipulation which has no interest whatever of allowing us to have any sense of being human at all. Power has spent millennia using human knowledge to redefine humanity and separate its components into malleable groups that will operate according to its own selfish wishes. Civilisation, the Empire, the Nation, even the microcosm of all power, the family: they are all power created, and therefore anti-human re-creations of reality.

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The first human error was a linguistic one: when we established a blind faith in opposites and opened the door to all dualisms and made legitimate all separations. This error lead to a belief that good existed and therefore evil as well; that good had to be championed and evil vanquished. But the error itself lies in the fact that there are no real opposites beyond the specular reality we find in the mirror, or abstract inverses in a mathematical or geometrical sense. Consciousness is not the opposite of unconsciousness – they seep into each other, and the same is true of most opposites: bad seeps into good; the instinctual into the intellectual; spontaneity into control; passion into the rational; and the individual into the group – and vice versa. Of course we know, from our dualisms, that all pure notions are best understood through an equally pure opposition – white is best known by placing it within or next to black; we can only know great sadness if we have experienced great happiness, etc.. But this also displays the seeping nature of these opposites, which linguistically has been overlooked by our anti-humanity cultures and civilisations. Instead of enjoying the fluid nature of experience we have chopped reality up with an axe and tried to push its parts as far away from each other as possible. In this way we can call the reality created around our own group good and invent an imaginary gap separating us from the others – who are evil. The same is done with rich and poor; the strong  vs. the weak.

But what is the result of all this cutting up and constant process of selection between us and our opponents; between our space and the intruders or potential invaders? The real victim is not us or them. The real victim is our sense of humanity.contribute.gif

NEIKOSPHILIA

Neikosphilia

(from the Greek: NEIKOS = strife, + PHILIA = love)

noun: a love of strife

Neikosphiliac, noun: a person or thing that demonstrates a love of strife

Neikospiliacal, adj.: the quality of being neikosphiliac

 

***

Capitalism as a manifestation of neikosphilia.

Capitalism and its cruel neikosphilia.

 

***

 

At first the neikosphilia presents a positive mask, manifesting itself as freedom. But the freedom is merely a pleasant sensation of release from the monotony caused by equilibrium and harmony, and is really the first sign of chaos created strife. Eventually the chaos inherent in the capitalist neikosphilia-lust will become obvious, even seemingly appear unavoidable and necessary.

OUR STAGE-FRIGHT

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In a lecture given on the Function of the Field of Speech and Language, Jacques Lacan discusses, what we will call, our stage-fright complex. According to Lacan, the mere act of revealing something is such a powerful, psychological one that it scares us. Frightening us enough to make us turn away from the very act itself. [i]

Does this explain why there is so much small talk between human beings, because the normal psychological state is to be too frightened to go too far with what our language can reveal? In society we see it over and over again, a constant avoidance of the thorny issues, or a repression of the filthy ones. But our repression of reality is not just confined to psychological issues, we do it on all levels of communication, and it exists on all planes of society and in all fields: families, companies, parliaments; in economics, in history and in science; when we are working, when studying, when playing, when loving or shopping… humanity is locked in a continual process of minimising or even avoiding what Lacan calls the true face of our power. And in that power of speech also lies the true face of human responsibility – our capacity to uncover and reveal.

Of course common sense tells us that this stage-fright in a real life context has a practical function. By mitigating its importance aren’t we avoiding the stress that the seriousness of constant revealing would imply? If we were to illustrate a society in which all communication is deep and meaningful, we would have to draw a culture devoid of fun and relaxation. Might it not be that it is precisely our ability to reveal that our language has empowered us with that has, at the same time, engendered our need for escape and for having fun. This don for discovery, this gift of revelation, this all-too-human ability, creates a responsibility, that creates a stress, that we find ourselves running away from. Until we even stop believing in the don itself. Until we stop using language for what it should be used for and participate in its degeneration and degradation.

The dialectic between revealing and escape creates its own vicious circle. With time, small talk, rather than acting as a relief from too much depth, has turned into a dogma that prohibits depth. Our stage-fright is no longer brought on because of the truth we might uncover is too tremendous. No, now our fear is that we will be booed off the stage for even trying.


[i] Jacques Lacan, Écrits, p. 242

Aphorisms (3)

Human perdition: the things we invented that we can no longer do without. It began when we conceived of language.

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The strangest thing is that they know so much without being aware of it and yet, at the same time, most of the things they claim to know so much about they hardly understand at all.

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Another beginning of another endless progression toward the infinity that will never be reached.

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The seafaring Greeks imagined the earth as an island, the pachyderm-transported Hindus that our world rested on the backs of elephants – so, it should come as no surprise that these days some consider us to be mere figments of God’s personal internet.

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And his soul moved him an hour before the sun had come up. He sat at his desk in darkness. Of course he had to wonder why?.