Truthout.org needs to ‘Get Real’
Truthout needs help in explaining what they are doing. Dahr Jamail needs help in explaining what Truthout is doing.
I would like to help Truthout and Dahr Jamail better explain what Truthout is doing, and if ‘they got it’, then I could ‘make a donation’.
Since they won’t** publish my comments on ‘A Special Note From Dahr Jamail’ http://www.truthout.org/a-special-note-from-dahr-jamail58752 I am publishing them herewith.
[[**After two exchanges with a Truthout Technical Administrator, my comment in its original form was indeed published, … Thank you, Truthout!]]
[[**I spoke too soon. The technical types at Truthout restored my post TWICE but then it selectively disappears leaving the ‘usual’ sort of comments without mine.]]
Here’s the problem. Imagine that Truthout is doing a story on the plight of Jean Valjean who was jailed for 19 years for stealing a loaf of bread. The ‘mainstream media’ is on a ‘law-and-order’ kick and they praise the diligent work of Inspector Javert for bringing Valjean to justice. Valjean’s testimony that he couldn’t bear to hear starving children crying with hunger, according to Javert, does not justify breaking the law.
Were Truthout to report on this, they would accuse the conservative ‘mainstream media’ of deceit.
But that ‘misses the point’!
There is no such thing as ‘the mainstream media’. It is an abstract concept that we personify in the same manner that we personify a sovereign state. As the Iroquois continue to say in reference to the US-Canada border, ‘we didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us’, and they are technically correct. As legal historians acknowledge, the concept of a sovereign state is a ‘secularized theological concept’ that stands or falls on nothing other than ‘common belief’. You can ‘invent a sovereign state’ wherever you want (a few imaginary boundary lines and a declaration of independence will suffice) provided that you have enough committed ‘believers’ in it who bear arms, and die so as to ‘make believers out of the others’.
‘Corporate media’ and ‘mainstream media’ are abstract ‘words’. As John Stuart Mill observed, ‘every definition implies an axiom, that in which we affirm the existence of the object defined’. We regularly impute ‘local existence’ to convection cells, visually interesting flow-features that are the secondary effect of thermal energy imbalances in the atmosphere (moving thermal energy from thermal-energy-rich equatorial regions to the thermal-energy-poor polar regions). When we give them a name; e.g. ‘Katrina’, we start talking about them as if they were ‘real local, independent entities’ with their own locally originating (internal-process-driven) behaviours. This is a TRUTH that is NOT REAL; it is a confusing of idealization for reality.
What is the point, then?
In simple terms, the unbalanced, conflict-permeated dynamic that people are born into, is inherently ‘bigger’ than the actions of the individuals born into it (it ‘transcends’ the ‘local’ aspect of their existence and the ‘locally originating’ aspect of their behaviour). The behaviour of the ‘individual’ hurricane is secondary to the behaviour of the parenting flow (the primary dynamic). And so it is, as well, with the ‘Jean Valjeans’ of the world as ‘the new physics’ would also attest’; i.e. the behaviour of the individual human or sovereign state does not ‘start from scratch’ within the individual but from within the spatial dynamic or ‘field-flow’ which parents ‘individuals’ and continuously ‘permeates’ or ‘inhabits’ them.
The ‘truth’ in propositions such as ‘Katrina is getting stronger’ is absolutism or ‘idealisation’ that depends upon COMMON BELIEF in the logical ‘local existence’ of the observer-defined and name-labelled visual-entity termed ‘Katrina’. In a field-flow continuum, as Schroedinger notes, the flow-feature called ‘Katrina’ (whether we put it in the category of ‘human being’ or ‘storm-cell’) is, IN REALITY, inherently nonlocal in its ‘being’ and ‘behaving’.
Instead of arguing ‘let the truth be known’, we need to acknowledge that ‘truth’ belongs to the logical realm of ‘idealisation’, and endeavor instead to allow ‘the reality to be known’. The reality is, that ‘truth’ is idealization born of logic that is ‘not of this world’ that we live in, but of the realm of the absolute, where Gods roam and enjoy eternal existence and give birth to pristine ideas and acts which are entirely without antecendent.
The mother bear will take from the ‘plenty’ of the wolf pack kill to feed her hungry cubs and bring balance without encumbrance by a logic of ‘property ownership’, and so it is with the hurricane and so it was with Jean Valjean. The logic of ‘the rights of the individual human or individual sovereign state’ is secularized theological idealization that assumes the ‘independent existence’ of the ‘individual human and/or sovereign state’. Common belief is what makes this ‘truth’ but such ‘truth’ is in stark conflict with ‘reality’.
Truthout and Dahr Jamail maintain that what they publish is ‘the truth’, alleging that the notional ‘mainstream media’ publishes ‘deceit’ (‘untruth’). In doing this, they are ‘tilting at windmills’. The real ‘disconnect’ is at the level of cultural foundations; i.e. do we put ‘TRUTH’, the stuff of ‘logical idealisation’ such as ‘the rights [or violations thereto] of ‘idealised-as-independent’ ‘individual humans’ and ‘individual sovereign states’ in precedence over ‘REALITY’, the reality of interdependence within natur’s common spatial flow or ‘web-of-life; that of the mother bear with hungry cubs who transports food from the food-rich region of the fresh wolf pack kill to the food-poor region of her den of hungry cubs. That is what the battle of Inspector Javert and Jean Valjean is all about.
Aboriginals scoff for good reason at Western man’s convenient and self-serving ‘truth’ wherein he decrees the independent local sovereign existence and sovereign rights of the individual human and nation-state. These idealised sovereigntist notions of ‘independent existence’ and ‘independent local originating of behaviour’ (based on nothing other than ‘common belief’), insofar as they refer to ‘reality’ are not certain, and insofar as they are certain (taken to be ‘the truth’), they do not refer to reality.
Truthout and Dahr Jamail, UNLIKE the aboriginal, are insisting that ‘ their truths’ are superior truths to those of ‘the corporate media’.
“Mention “mainstream media” to most people, regardless of where they are on the political spectrum, and watch the eyes roll. Hence the need for honest, independent journalism and media outlets that are unafraid to run stories critical of the US government and its policies.
That is where Truthout plays a critical role. As the US Empire moves forward with its plans for “enduring” bases in Iraq and expands its war in Afghanistan that is now bleeding into Pakistan, Truthout has stood as a beacon amid the lies and confusion generated by an Obama administration that would rather let people think that real “change” is upon us.” — Dahr Jamail
If we were to suspend the absolutist assumptions that bring us the idealized notion of a local, independently existing sovereign state (or local, independently-existing sovereign human being) notionally equipped with its own locally originating (internal-process-driven and internal-purpose-directed) behaviour, then we would understand the world as it ‘really’ is’ i.e. as it comes to us (and to the animals, birds, insects, bacteria, rivers and winds) through real-life experiencing of nature as an unbounded swirling flow of spatial-relations. This would expose our idealized world dynamic in terms of the actions/interactions of ‘independent sovereign entities’ as something ‘secondary’ to ‘reality’.
In this case, we could no longer speak of the ‘US Empire’ in terms that imputed it to be the local author of its own behaviour and still claim that our propositions referred to ‘reality’.
The ‘truth’ in personifying ‘the US Empire’ and/or (hurricane) Katrina as a ‘local system’ with ‘its own local agency’ depends upon imposing an idealized ‘self-other’ split that breaks it out of the unbounded spatial-relational dynamic in which it is intrinsically included. As with the ‘hurricane’, powerful confluences within the unbounded spatial-relational dynamic ‘attract our attention’ and thus merit observer effort in defining, labeling, categorizing and documenting ‘their behaviour’. Is it ‘true’ that ‘Katrina is moving north?’. It is indeed ‘true’ if one holds to be true, at the same time, the local, independent existence of, and the locally originating (internal-process-driven) behaviour of this powerful confluence in the unbounded spatial-relational flow, that we have anointed with a self-other split, and assigned the name ‘Katrina’ to. But such ‘truth’ in no way equates to ‘reality’, though it does open the way to characterizing Katrina as either ‘good’ (the robin-hood like re-distributor of energy ‘wealth’ that stirs the global dynamic in a refreshing way) or ‘evil’ (the powerful author of death and destruction).
In the reality of nature’s dynamic, there is no self-other split between ‘habitat’ and ‘inhabitant’ (‘local agency’ and ‘environment’). In terms of Mach’s principle of relativity; ‘The dynamics of the habitat condition the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.’. The problem with idealisation-based (habitat-inhabitant self-other split-based) truth is that it UNREALISTICALLY imputes local first cause sourcing of behaviour to the notionally ‘split out’ local system named ‘Katrina’ or ‘the US Empire’. Following through, it is possible to impute both ‘good local agency’ and ‘bad local agency’ AT THE SAME TIME to the notionally ‘split out’ ‘local system’.
Neither of these ‘truths’ that characterize the local system as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ equate to ‘reality’. As the aboriginals rightly contend, the ‘local independent existence and local internal-process-driven agency’ of a confluence of activity within the unbounded global dynamic (as is the nature of the local storm-cell and the local people-community) is ‘unreal’ idealisation that exists only in our heads.
To take the fluid medium of an unbounded spatial dynamic such as the atmosphere and/or the global social dynamic and select out the most powerful confluences (‘dropping out’ out what our visual judgement sees as ‘less significant’ subtleties; – butterfly wings flapping etc.) permits us to re-render the dynamic as if it derived from the actions/interactions of these ‘personified’ ‘locally existing systems with their own local agency’ that operate in a fixed and empty (absolute) space. Such modeling is a useful ‘tool’ but it is far from ‘reality’. As Emerson observes in ‘The Method of Nature’, it is a ‘tool’ that we have allowed to ‘run away with the workman’.
Both ‘Truthout’ and ‘the mainstream media’ need to ‘get real’; i.e. to take a feather out of the aboriginal bonnet and acknowledge that their mutually contradicting ‘truths’ are mere ‘modeling tools’, idealizations that must not be confused for the ‘reality’ of our natural experience.
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