Meaning, motive, will, belief, reason—one never ceases retroactively ‘positing presuppositions’.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
If the Bill Nye/Ken Ham (evolution vs. creationism) ‘debate’ reinforced anything, it is this: some of the most conspicuous offspring of enlightenment thinking are not New Atheists, humanists and the like, but rather their ‘official’ enemy: religious fundamentalists.
Latour put it this way in his On the Modern Cult of the Factish Gods:
“Curiously enough, these people [creationists] are called ‘irrationalists’, whereas their greatest fault comes more from the reckless trust they display in scientific methodology, dating back to the nineteenth century, in order to explore the only mode of existence they are able to imagine: that of the thing, already there, present, stubborn, waiting to be pinned down, known. No one is more positivistic than creationists or ufologists, since they cannot even imagine other ways of being and speaking than describing ‘matters of fact’. No researcher is that naïve, at least not in the laboratory. This is so much the case that, paradoxically, the only example of naïve belief we have seems to come from the irrationalists, who are always claiming that they have overthrown official science with stubborn facts that some conspiracy had hidden away.” 
Saturday, January 18, 2014
For Chesterton, the ‘conjunction of [the ideas of] being strong and brave’ involved an ‘eternal paradox’. His logic is simple. The strong are not capable of being courageous as they are already in the position of the strong. Hence it follows that the opposite is true: only the weak are capable of bravery. And even more paradoxically: only the weak therefore may be strong.
This brings me to US foreign policy—particularly toward Iran.
According to The Center For Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, in 2012 Iran spent approximately 23.9 billion US dollars on ‘defense’.
The US spent $645 billion—which was (and remains) more than the next 15 countries combined.
So the question is thus: who honestly believes Iran (or anyone else for that matter) is an actual ‘threat’ (demanding sanctions, war, and so on . . .)?
The weak?—Or the strong?
Saturday, January 11, 2014
The other day I was reading a thread working through Kierkegaard’s formula for the self, found on the first page of The Sickness Unto Death:
“The human being is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation which relates to itself, or that in the relation which is its relating to itself. The self is not the relation but the relation’s relating to itself.”
What Kierkegaard outlines here is the ‘double movement’ of consciousness. The ‘relation’s relating to itself’ is one perceiving itself as the one perceiving.
In other words, a self is not simply one conscious of an object, but one conscious of itself as the one conscious of the object.
For example (albeit a vulgar one), when one tastes a pear (relation) one already registers that it is the one tasting the pear (the relation’s relating to itself).
There is no consciousness that is not self-consciousness.
As is often the case, Žižek nails it:
“I not only know, I feel that I know (that it is I who knows); I not only perceive an object, I am aware of myself perceiving it; I not only act, I feel that it is I who acts. I do not relate to (interact with) only an object: I relate to this relating ‘as such’. This is why consciousness is always also self-consciousness: when I know, I simultaneously know (‘feel’) that it is I who knows, because I am nothing outside this knowledge—I am my knowledge of myself.”
[The Parallax View, 225]
Monday, December 2, 2013
I recently received a question tucked inside a children’s book. The book is titled The Little Red Hen. As the story goes, the Little Red Hen is looking for someone to help her make some bread. Yet at each turn—planting the grain of wheat, reaping it, carrying it to mill, making the flour into dough, baking it—the Little Red Hen’s friends reply “Not I!” when asked to assist. That is until the bread is ready to be eaten, at which point the duck, the goose, the cat, and the pig accept her offer to join in—an offer the Little Red Hen retracts, as she eats alone.
The question is as follows: Drew - How would your revolution deal with this?
Below is my response.
Foremost, please accept my sincere gratitude for taking the time to read my essay. Given the brevity and limited scope of An Essay Toward Universal Revolution, the question you have posed is not dissimilar to others I have received. The uniqueness here is undoubtedly the usage of a children’s book—I hope you will excuse an answer as insufficient as the socio-economic landscape presented in The Little Red Hen.
To begin, I must address the implicit presupposition(s) built into your question: the problem of primordial apathy, or more precisely: How to deal with those who de facto wish to share in profit and not production? You appear to assume a general or near universal sloth, which, if I understand correctly, reads thus: What is to be done about the given laziness of the majority in a more equitable society? Yet, for what reason—and more importantly: based on what empirical, scientific, or psychoanalytic evidence—must we conclude the populace will ‘do nothing’ if a drastic reduction in income disparity became reality? Let me be clear. I do not deny—nor shall I attempt to confute—apathy’s existence. However, there simply is no evidence to support the following inference: Have-Nots generally are able-bodied citizens who choose to remain unemployed or underemployed. Despite the incessant propaganda propagated by special interests vilifying an exploited underclass, the truth is the vast majority of those in America who rely on the social safety net (i.e. Medicare, Social Security, SNAP, etc.) are employed, or elderly, or disabled, or veterans, or children (or various combinations of the above).
Now, again, apathy does exist. Yet we mustn’t confuse the consequence with the cause.
Neoliberalism—the political economic paradigm of our time—demands production merely for the sake of production. Capital beckons us to sacrifice ourselves for (more) capital. Therefore the emphatic “Not I!” of the duck, the goose, the cat, and the pig is actually a solution, rather than a problem. It is not a narrower inequality gap that threatens progress, on the contrary, it is the ideological injunction to participate in capital’s endless dance, which reifies hierarchy, requiring the systematic demonization of a spectral, ‘dangerous’ underclass of idlers, thereby guaranteeing the perpetuation of a protectionist status quo.
In short: today’s apathy is the offspring of our neoliberal global order.
In sum, my revolution would look to the Scandinavian countries for a very basic sketch of how to deal with the question of The Little Red Hen: by aggressively reducing the disparity between wealthy and poor, resulting in a healthy, thriving society over and above an individualistic consumerism and frivolous ‘exceptionalism’ that begets only apathy and alienation.
I trust this response finds you well.