Authoritarianism: A Globally Rampant Learning Disorder
[For Background Context on This Article, Click Here]
Submitted by emile on Sat, 2010-09-18 10:18.
Within communities, there have always been individuals who suffer from the learning disorder where they believe they ‘know it all’ and try to impose their ideas on others. They come to you with ‘their cup full and overflowing’ and your attempts to influence the discussion and/or the collective enterprise that they are advocating are met with , at best, a polite pause that allows them to catch their breath to continue on, without the slightest revision, other than as is necessary to keep you captive.
And amongst the diverse multiplicity of secular groups and religious communities, there have always been those communities that are collectively infected with this learning disorder where their behaviour is directed exclusively by internal knowledge/beliefs, their own private mission, vision, goals and objectives, who are not open to being shaped by the dynamics of the habitat in which they are situationally included, except insofar as such revision provides a means of furthering their own private agendas.
In the annals of history yet to be writ, who will later believe that there was once an entire global population that would embrace this learning disorder and weave it into the fabric of their daily lives?
What I am referring to is ‘authoritarianism’ and to the degenerating condition of our global social learning capacity.
Although it may be unpopular to suggest it in our ‘civilized living space’, this ‘learning disorder’ also goes by the name of ‘civilization’. When ‘civilized people’ go on voyages, they are ‘voyages of discovery’. They are so anchored in their own belief system that they have the tremendous arrogance to think in terms that ‘Columbus’ (one of us) ‘discovered America’. Since it was previous ‘unknown to us’, it was clearly ‘unknown’.
As systems sciences pioneer Heinz von Foerster puts this curiously twisted thinking;
“Here is the decisive pair of questions: “Am I apart from the universe?” That is, whenever I look I am looking as through a peephole upon an unfolding universe or “Am I a part of the universe?” That is, whenever I act, I am changing myself and the universe as well. Whenever I reflect on these two alternatives, I am surprised again and again at the depth of the abyss that separates the fundamentally different worlds that can be created by such choices. Either to see myself as a citizen of an independent universe, whose regularities, rules, an customs I may eventually discover, or to see myself as a participant of a conspiracy, whose customs, rules, and regulations we are now inventing. Whenever I speak to those who have made their decision to be either discoverers or inventors, I am impressed again and again by the fact that neither of them realizes that they have ever made that decision.”
The ‘learning disorder’ is where people define themselves absolutely, seeing themselves as local systems with their own locally originating (internal knowledge-and-intention-driven) behaviour. Originally a religious belief, this has been reinforced in our ‘secularized’ (so-called) community by Darwinism and genetics (though not by Lamarckism and epigenetics) where the vision of evolution or unfolding change is portrayed in terms of internal information directing the unfolding behaviour as in Aristotelian ‘acorn-to-oak-tree’ all male version of growth and development.
Should it come as any surprise that a population believing in such concepts should see authoritarian organization as the only-way-to-go? If one sees the population as being composed of local systems with their own locally originating, internal knowledge-directed behaviour, then to organize such a population will necessitate an infusion of some kind of coordinating information into the seat of their internal knowledge-direction that steers their behaviours.
Thus, this learning disorder that starts ‘in the thinking’ of individuals is clearly going to manifest at the meta-level of community dynamics. ‘As Above, So Below’.
Both ‘sovereigntism’ and ‘corporatism’ which a population thinking thus legally ordains and anoints, are the very embodiment of the learning disorder. They are the offspring of pure anthropocentric hubris, the view of man as a ‘local system with its own locally originating internal belief-directed behaviour’ which as Nietzsche contended, western man has infused into his ‘science’ (e.g. into his reified and personified models of cells, organisms, hurricanes etc.) and into his ‘social science’ and the meta-organisms composed of multiple people, all moving as a single system under the direction of internal knowledge and belief, which resists revision to its thoughts and/or actions suggested by the situational dynamics it is experiencing unless such revisions further its own private agendas.
Learning is a natural system wherein the orchestration of behaviour by situational experience, (b), and the direction of behaviour by acquired knowledge or ‘generalized experience’, (a), operate as a conjugate pair (Vygotsky) where (b), situational experience orchestrated behaviour is in a natural precedence over (a) knowledge-directed behaviour.
To invert this natural precedence, and let (a) knowledge-directed behaviour over-ride (b) situational-experience orchestrated behaviour unleashes a bunch of loose cannon balls who run around with cups-full-of-themselves without having the faintest intention of letting their behaviours be orchestrated by the dynamics of the multi-participant habitat in which they are included in and which, like their brothers, they depend upon.
This constitutes a learning disorder and when it is backed by powerful military and economic organization, authoritarian organizations of a type that are at the very core of the disorder, the degeneracy may develop unabatedly as those who are not infected by the learning disorder but who are lacking organization, undergo this increasingly aberrant collective experience without the power to make a serious dent in it.
How are the revisionary energies being expended?
The strategy can be found in 300 year-old book ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Jonathan Swift and it is called ‘endianism’ wherein ‘big-endianism’ is seen as the antidote to ‘little-endianism’. The mistake of the latter is in trying to build a healthy community by starting small, by starting with the health of the individuals in the community. ‘Everybody knows’, say the ‘big-endians’, that this is backwards and in order to build a healthy community you have start from the community end of things and that will automatically take care of the little communitarian end of things.
The metaphor that Swift used in his satire was the egg and how people could argue over which end to approach it from, but the situation is the same today; Capitalism argues that we must approach the attainment of health of individual and community by promoting the health of the individual and Socialism argues that we much approach the attainment of health of the individual and community by promoting the health of the community.
So, according to socialists, they can use the same, already-in-place instruments of learning disorder used by the capitalists, the sovereign state and the corporation, simply by refitting the internal knowledge/belief agendas that are directing their behaviours. The belief is that the community-first orientation of the socialist sovereign state apparatus and the community-first orientation of the socialist corporate apparatus will solve the rampant global societal dysfunction problem.
The problem is NOT with the choice of agendas that are programmed into the authoritarian machines, the problem is with the authoritarian machines themselves, in that their internal agenda-driven behaviours make them instruments of learning disorder.
The whole world is currently and continually undergoing a learning experience. The dynamics of the learning process in the global social collective is self-similar to the dynamics of the learning process within the individual and insights can be gained by cross-comparing what we know about each.
Within the individual psyche, the learning process is characterized by a continual struggle between ‘knowledge’ imposing its authority on ‘situational experience’ and ‘situational experience’ generating ‘knowledge’. For example, within a he-she relationship, does she (a) let her knowledge that he is a Don Juan impose its cup-full authority on her behaviour and play along so far as to enjoy some fine dining, or (b) in spite of the flickering phantoms of knowledge (generalized experience) dancing in the mind’s eye viewing of her own situational experience, she may choose nevertheless to allow her experience to orchestrate her behaviour; i.e. to participate with cup empty in the unfolding situation.
If a person has been ‘burnt’ numerous times by over-balancing towards (b) letting one’s behaviour be orchestrated by the unfolding situational experience, the flickering phantoms may threaten to the point of driving her back towards (a) in which case she may deny herself new and original situational learning experiences by too quickly pigeon-holing them and imposing cup-full knowledge-directed authority. Such are the dynamics of learning in the individual. But as the adage goes, when thrown from the horse, it is better to mount again than to forever suspend such activity. Knowledge is a generalization of experience. Knowledge of failure is a generalization of unpleasant experience. Knowledge is a tool that provides guidance as one continues to let one’s behaviour be orchestrated by the situational dynamics one shares inclusion in. To let knowledge take over the helm and direct-drive one’s behaviour is a learning disorder.
Meanwhile, there is an ‘as-above-so below’ symmetry that prevails here so that the ‘community learning’ dynamic operates in the same (self-similar) manner as the ‘individual’ learning dynamic. The authoritarian community (sovereign state and/or corporate enterprise) believes it knows what is going on and uses communications media to disperse this knowledge to all members expecting that each member should manage themselves accordingly; i.e. that everyone’s behaviour should be directed by this common knowledge. The authoritarian community fully expects and indeed demands that the individual put in precedence, community agenda-directed behaviour over the individual’s natural learning practice of letting his behaviour be orchestrated by his situational experience. He is expected to go out into the world with his cup full of ‘community agenda’ and to let his behaviour be shaped by the situational dynamics he finds himself in, only insofar as such malleability on his part can serve his authoritarian agenda. In other words, the authoritarian machine he is a part of expects him to have a ‘Machiavellian index’ of 100.
The catch phrase for authoritarian organizations is;
“Ask not what your organization [country, corporation] can do for you – ask what you can do for your organization [country, corporation]”
The use of this aphorism is as convenient to the purpose of a Stalin as it is to a Hitler as it is to a John F. Kennedy, an epitome of ‘the leader of a free-world democracy’.
In WWII, it was used effectively and at the same time by both Hitler and Churchill. That it is indeed doing its job manifests in the head-butting of organizations whose behaviours are directed by their own respective but very different knowledge and beliefs, … who are no longer allowing their behaviours be orchestrated by their empty-cup situational experience of inclusion in a mutually interdependent collective dynamic. In other words, war between authoritarian organizations is the culmination of the learning disorder built into the authoritarian organization.
When this ‘learning disorder’ (inverting the natural precedence of situation-experience-orchestrated behaviour over knowledge/belief-directed behaviour) takes over an individual, what does this do to his worldview?
In his disordered learning state, he sees himself as a local system with its own locally originating internal knowledge-directed behaviour’, and correspondingly (to enforce logical consistency), he sees the world as a stage with a cast of characters whose behaviours are likewise coming purely out of themselves; i.e. he sees each of them, as well, as having locally originating internal knowledge-directed behaviours.
So, what is his view when the community (in his era) starts with one fairly homogeneous culture and two or three or more distinctly different cultures are added? The answer is that he sees this in terms of different characters interacting on a common stage (the common space is seen like a stage or operating theatre [an absolute space that does not participate in the interactions of characters going on within it]). The characters are portrayed as local individuals who are what they are because their behaviours, as the person suffering from this learning disorder sees it, are internal knowledge/belief-directed, just as he sees his own behaviour being internal knowledge/belief-directed.
This is the ‘learning disorder’ in action and it is not surprising if ‘your first take’ is to think that you too are in accord with this view, because this view is being continually pounded into us in our authoritarian philosophy dominated world.
The more natural (healthy learning dynamic-based) view of this developing multi-cultural dynamic would be where the individuals are cup-empty in allowing their situational experience to orchestrate their behaviour while being guided by their existing knowledge base (e.g. ‘hey, I like that very different music, food, behaviour etc.). This would mean that as new cultural representation was added to the mix, the members constituting the mix would no longer present the same behaviours as they did prior to the mixing. Mach’s principle would apply wherein “The dynamics of the habitat are conditioning the dynamics of the inhabitants at the same time as the dynamics of the inhabitants are conditioning the dynamics of the habitat.” This also agrees with von Foersters ‘co-inventing’ the world dynamic rather than ‘discovering’ what goes on in the world.
Of course, if all of the cultures joining into the multi-culture mix are infected with the same learning disorder that has them put their own internal knowledge/belief-directed behaviour into an unnatural precedence over situational-experience orchestrating of their behaviour, then everyone involved will see the situation in the same way, as a stage on which a diverse multiplicity of peoples with their own internally-directed behaviours act/interact. This is essentially the ‘suggestion’ in the view that mainstream media presents to us. It is the causal model wherein we see Jean Valjean’s stealing of a loaf of bread as an internal knowledge/intention-directed behaviour, and by stopping their, fail to reflect on how an individual’s behaviour can be orchestrated by his situational experience, in this case, because he could no longer bear to hear children crying as they were put to bed hungry. Of course, right after reading Victor Hugo’s classic (Les Miserables), we correct our ‘learning disorder’ and acknowledge that we are all co-inventing the living space dynamics and experiencing it by way of our own unique situational inclusion in it, … but by the time the next Jean Valjean criminal asshole type appears on the television news screen, our learning disorder has reclaimed us and we are back in the mode where we are ‘discovering’ what is going on out there in this world that is ‘apart from us’.
So, to close this thread on multiculturalism and the influence of our learning disorder, .. how DOES multiculturalism work?
That depends on whether it occurs in a ‘civilized’ or ‘uncivilized’ setting.
The multiple cultures of indigenous peoples, rather than deriving from internal-knowledge/belief-directed behaviours derived from the relationship with the land and the multiple cultures reflected the differences in the habitat that shaped them. E.g. in the case of the plains peoples versus the northwest coastal peoples, there were differences in clothing (woven cedar bark versus rawhide), dwellings (cedar longhouses versus hide-enclosed tipis), diet (fish and shellfish versus deer and buffalo) and transportation (canoes versus horses).
The indigenous peoples let their behaviours be orchestrated by the dynamics of the habitat in which they shared inclusion with their many brothers, not just the other two-leggeds but the four-leggeds, the finned, rooted and winged ones, the crawly ones etc. When members of other tribal cultures were captured or strayed into their camps, they modified the dynamic of the common living space and the natives let their behaviours take shape from and be orchestrated by the evolving dynamics of the living space that they were situationally included in. Their behaviours were not FIRSTLY internal-knowledge/belief directed in the manner of the Western cultures, but only secondly guided by acquired knowledge/beliefs.
In other words, the communities of indigenous peoples were not top-down authoritarian organizations wherein a man at the top used his authority to animate the rest according to knowledge-based directives.
Leadership comes in two flavours; i.e. a leader may opt for (a) the unnatural precedence of knowledge-directed behaviour over the orchestrating of behaviour by situational experience. This type of leader says; “I know what’s going on there out in the field (my trusted associates have advised me) and I must direct my people like soldiers on a battle-field , in the manner of moving replicas of infantry divisions, aircraft carriers, and fighter planes, on a map table in a war-room. Through this way of organizing, we shall together fulfill our mission and achieve our democratically formulated vision, our goals and our objectives.”
Or, leadership may opt for (b) the natural precedence of situational-experience-shaped behavior over knowledge-directed behaviour in which case the leader will say; “We will gather around the learning circle and pass the talking stick, giving the opportunity for each and every person to share ‘what’s in their heart’, for ‘what’s in their heart’ comes from our relations with one another and the land. Through doing this we shall each have a renewed sense of the unfolding living-space dynamic, the ‘reality’ that we and our brothers together share inclusion in, and we shall all be in a better position to let our situational experience, guided by our knowledge, orchestrate and shape our individual and collective behaviour. Our mission is the sustained health and harmony of our ceaselessly unfolding living space dynamic, the outside-of-self that parents and nourishes our inside-of-self. When we demean the outside-of-self we demean the inside-of-self.”
In Europe, the leaders are authoritarian. That is, their method of organization is to put knowledge-directed behaviour in an unnatural precedence over situational-experience orchestrated behaviour. Multi-culturalism in the space that they police involves the participation of different cultures of this same type, who put knowledge/belief directed behaviour into an unnatural precedence over situational experience-orchestrated behaviour. This is a recipe for internal conflict.
This is also what is known as ‘civilization’. ‘Civilization’ IS the learning disorder at the community level. .
The indigenous peoples were not ‘civilized’. They did not have the ‘learning disorder’; i.e. they did not attempt to control everything that went on in a common living space as is the sovereigntist manifestation of the ‘learning disorder’.
These differences in how organization is perceived are discussed by Erich Jantsch in ‘Design for Evolution’ where he compares the different ‘values’ attached to organization that are implied in ‘Robinson Crusoe’ (Daniel Defoe) and ‘Suzanne et la Pacifique’ (Jean Giraudoux). Both find themselves for the first time in the South Pacific and while Robin Crusoe’s behaviour is directed by his European knowledge which he imposes on his new habitat to the extent he can, Suzanne lets the dynamics of the new habitat shape her diet, dress, dwelling, demeanor and, … her identity. .
These differences in values attached to organization lead directly to different ways of viewing ‘other people’. Those coming from (a) will impute to other peoples (races, tribes) the notion that their behaviours are directed from their interiors, while those coming from (b) will impute to other peoples the notion that their behaviours, as with their own, are firstly orchestrated by the situational dynamics they find themselves in.
So, for the (b) or ‘inclusional’ peoples, when two or more peoples come together, the behaviours of both will be shaped by the new mix and thus give rise to all new strains of people though each will remain distinct, but in a new way (in the manner that a fourth hurricane that gathers in the same summer interval implies a changing identity of the prior trio, the flow being the mediator of this conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation.).
But, for the (a) or ‘authoritarian’ peoples, when two or more peoples come together, since the behaviours of each is seen as coming from their interior, there will instead be competition to see which behaviour will be ‘dominant’ and which will be ‘submissive’ or ‘recessive’.
What springs to mind here is the analogy to ‘genetics’ and ‘epigenetics’ corresponding to (a) and (b) type organization; i.e. ‘genetics’ corresponds to ‘knowledge-directed behaviour’ (a) while ‘epigenetics’ corresponds to spatial-situation orchestrated behaviour (b).
The analogy can be carried further in the ‘as-above-so-below’ inquiry (exploiting self-similiarity across multiple levels) by noting the parallelisms to the research of Vygotsky and Piaget into ‘learning’.
Vygotsky uses the term ‘spontaneous concept formation’ for the (b) type of learning where thought-behaviour is shaped by the (spatial-relational) situational dynamics the individual is included in, and ‘scientific concept formation’ for the (a) type of learning where the individual’s thought-behaviour is directed from his interior.
“.Though fundamentally different in nature, the development of scientific and spontaneous concepts represent two sides of the same concept formation:
Though scientific and spontaneous concepts develop in reverse directions, the two processes are closely connected. … In working its slow way upward, an everyday concept clears a path for the scientific concept and its downward development. It creates a series of structures necessary for the evolution of a concept’s more primitive, elementary aspects, which gives it body and vitality. Scientific concepts, in turn, supply structures for the upward development of … spontaneous concepts toward consciousness and deliberate use. Scientific concepts grow downwards through spontaneous concepts; spontaneous concepts grow upwards through scientific concepts. Vygotsky ‘Thought and Language’, p.194 “
The strength of scientific concepts, according to Vygotsky, lies in the child’s capacity (developed through instruction) to use these concepts voluntarily, which he called ‘their readiness for action’.
“The strength of scientific concepts lies in their conscious and deliberate character. Spontaneous concepts, on the contrary, are strong in what concerns the situational, empirical, and practical.. These two conceptual systems, developing “from above” and “from below”, reveal their real nature in the interrelations between actual development and the zone of proximal development.”
Vygotsky’s view is that the relationship between the two types of learning are like the relationship between the atmosphere and the storm-cell; i.e. while our focus tends to be on the genesis of the form within the flow, the parenting role of the flow persists rather than simply ‘hatching’ the storm-cell and then moving on to other projects, leaving us to talk about the storm-cell as if it is a local system with its own locally originating, internal process directed behaviour. His view on this persisting conjugate relation between spontaneous conceptualizing (b) and scientific conceptualizing (a) differs from the prevailing interpretation, that of Piaget.
“Our disagreement with Piaget centers on one point only, but an important point. He assumes that development and instruction are entirely separate, incommensurate processes, that the function of instruction is merely to introduce adult ways of thinking, which conflict with the child’s own and eventually supplant them. Such a supposition stems from the old psychological tradition of separating the structural from the functional aspects of development.”
I have included mention of this point of disagreement between Vygotsky and Piaget since it seems to be at the heart of the pervasive western ‘learning disorder’ that puts (a) into an unnatural precedence over (b).
That there should be competition between the two ‘sources of behaviour-genesis’ is dismissed by Vygotsky. His view is that hypothesis-and-theory grow in conjugate relation;
“Hypothesis and experiment — these two poles of one dynamic whole, as Kurt Lewin called them — developed and grew side-by-side, promoting each other.”
Vygotsky thus favoured education by way of situational learning wherein the child’s …inquiry, hypothesizing, and experimenting, … were phases in the learning cycle. On the other hand, Piaget’s preferred education by way of structured learning, where ‘the answer’ (theory) was given to start from so that ‘learning’ was then focused on (constrained to focus on) confirming the validity of the theory.
Most people are familiar with and accept Copernican sun-centric cosmology but few are familiar with the hypothesizing that Kepler had to go through to get to the elliptical orbit formulation. But if they were, they would still have all of the issues (of how to relate a multitude of observations) in mind which would inform them that the sun-centric theory is not the last word since there are no absolute reference points in space (no absolute ‘centres’), therefore the solar system is necessarily included in and relative to some larger system-dynamic (‘suprasystem dynamic’). In other words, though we use knowledge to shape our behaviour and impose it on the world we are included in, the amorphous web of relations which precipitated the knowledge hasn’t gone away, any more than the atmospheric flow has gone away when the storm-cell is hatched, but as Vygotsky notes, this web of relations continues to serve as the parenting source of new concepts even as it is being stirred by the ones it has already hatched.
There is thus an effective ‘politics of learning’ which impacts on our social dynamic in the following way;
Persons such as ‘Suzanne ‘ who put the (b) type shaping of behavior (spatial-situation orchestrated behaviour) in natural precedence over the (a) type shaping of behaviour (knowledge-directed behaviour), unlike persons such as ‘Robinson’ who put knowledge-directed behaviour in precedence over spatial-situation orchestrated behaviour, will see their relationships with others in a notably different manner, as discussed.earlier.
An additional example may bring the point home; i.e. adding three more racial groups to Suzanne’s habitat would change the habitat dynamic and Suzanne’s learning mode lets her behaviour be orchestrated by the habitat dynamic, by her situational experience of inclusion within the habitat-dynamic. As in the case of several different storm-cells in a common flow, there would be no way for Suzanne to isolate her evolving behaviour from the behaviour of the others. Her ‘reality’ is that she is a co-inventor of the reality she is included in.
However, adding three more racial groups to Robinson’s habitat would indeed change the habitat dynamic but Robinson is putting knowledge-directed behavior into precedence over situational-experience-orchestrated behaviour, so that his behaviour, in his thinking, is not changed by the arrival of the three new racial groups, thus his revised view of the habitat will be in terms of how the newcomers have changed the habitat (that he sees as a resource that he is ‘apart from’). While his behaviour will have been changed by the new arrivals (just by his noticing and interacting with them) this will not be the way he thinks about his behaviour. Another way of saying this is that his assumption is that his own behaviour is directed by his internal knowledge and for logical consistency (in his modeling of the human organism), it follows that the behaviours of the others are also directed by their respective, different internal knowledge..
Just as in Robinson’s imposing of his knowledge on his habitat is in effect an ethic of controlling or domesticating his environment, he will, in grand colonizer style, attempt to control the ‘immigrants’ who are now ‘disturbing’ HIS habitat (the notion of ownership of land is foundational to the exercising of authoritarian control over it. Authority does not have to be understood in terms of having control over the behaviours of all who reside within the imaginary-line ring-fence that you chose to corral them in, in your mind. As the Amerindians say to the colonizers/sovereigntists; ‘we are not crossing your borders, your borders are crossing us.’).
Suzanne, meanwhile, will accept that the habitat, which includes her and the new arrivals, will have a spontaneously transformed habitat-dynamic and she will, as is her manner of being in the world, let her behaviour be orchestrated/shaped by the dynamics of her changing habitat, with guidance coming from her acquired knowledge, rather than using her knowledge as a stake-in-the-ground and impose it on any new developments in the living space..
To make the comparison with ‘gene theory’ and ‘epigenetic theory’, Robinson would see the behaviour of each particular species of human as coming exclusively from their interior, as in ‘gene theory’, while Suzanne would see the behaviour of each particular species of human as coming from the all-inclusive habitat behaviour which combines within it the behaviours of several different species of human. Since the identity of the individual ‘cell’ (e.g. stem cell) is continually changing, the notion of ‘the behaviour of a cell’ which would normally imply a ‘particular cell of fixed identity’, is no longer valid. That is, we cannot say that ‘the cell is changing the environment’ since the conditions in the space the cell is situationally included are transforming the cell into another type of cell with very different behaviour. As it turns out then, the ‘cell’ is a term of convenience in much the same way as the term ‘hurricane’ is one of convenience, and rather than being a local physical system with its own locally originating, internal information-directed behaviour, is instead under continual revision by the influence of its situational inclusion in the living space dynamic.
* * *
To conclude, the hypothesis that has been shared here, is that ‘authoritarianism’ is essentially a ‘learning disorder’ that has been ‘packaged’ into operational architectures such as ‘sovereigntism’ (aka the ‘free world democratic states’ and/or dictatorships and religious hegemonies) and into ‘corporate enterprise’, an operational architecture that is legitimized by the ‘sovereign state’.
Rising social dysfunction such as is associated with the rising gap in power and wealth between ‘the haves’ and ‘the have-nots’ is drawing the bulk of our revisionist energies. Meanwhile, the revisionism is, for the most part, ignoring the learning disorder that has been built into authoritarian operating structures and is instead orienting to which end of the system of individual-and-community that should be optimized first, recalling the satire of Jonathan Swift’s ‘big-endians’ (socialists) and ‘little-endians’ (capitalists). In the modern era, both of the respective advocates, who jointly constitute the bulk of revisionist power and wealth, would think nothing of making use of the same authoritarian instruments of learning disorder, the sovereign state and the corporation, to their respective ‘big-endian’ or ‘little-endian’ purpose, believing that they have only to revise the internal knowledge/belief directing agendas that drive the behaviour of these instruments.
It appears as if this Sisyphean struggle is going to continue on for some time and the small group of anti-authoritarians including the Zapatistas and Amerindian decolonizers that have intuitively locked onto the deeper ‘learning disorder’ problem will have to wait a while for the revisionist core to shift over and position itself where they have been for some time now.
* * * * *
Submitted by anon on Sun, 2010-09-19 04:18.
This is why I would like to be an Anarchist. Thank you, and I hope this gets the attention it deserves.
Submitted by emile on Sun, 2010-09-19 11:28.
Thanks for the supportive comment, anon(19 04:18). I think that it is easy for us because of being pounded on all the time by an authoritarian system, to suffer that ‘brain draw’ which has us constraining our learning to ‘what things do’ (scientific logic), ignoring the fertile upstream ground of intuition that is continually parenting logical concepts. I.e. in our western educational system (where Piaget’s structured learning wins and Vygotsky’s situational learning loses) we don’t teach the upstream intuitive stuff, we teach ‘theory’, the laws or rules ‘that DETERMINE WHAT THINGS DO’. So from science’s ‘RULES’ comes our notion of a ‘RULER’ (chief) who ‘determines what we do’, and we have built that into our authoritarian governance machinery (sovereign state government, corporate management), and of course it won’t work unless the Ruler has police forces and military and judges and prosecutors, and unless we all legally sign off, as we do (its a condition of residency in the sovereign state) on giving him the power to ‘DETERMINE WHAT WE DO’, like take us to war, tax ourselves, put our brothers in prison if they challenge the system etc.
The more traditional notion of a ‘chief’ is NOT ‘one who determines what his people do’. The traditional chief has no legal charter to rule or ‘term of office’ that is backed up by police, military, courts and judges, so he is essentially leader by way of his natural leadership abilities. This ties back to Vygotsky’s point that learning is a cycle (‘intuiting the situation [relationally]), formulating scientific concepts, experimentally validating, rejecting, or refining the concepts). Of course, this sort of full-cycle learning transpires within a situational dynamic (under real-life ‘load conditions’) , rather than offline ‘structured’ learning where you master the theory non-situationally and keep it stowed in a file drawer until you get into some authoritarian position where you can foist it off on those who have no choice (short of finding themselves unemployed) but to comply with your ‘determining what they do’.
This leads to the problematic ‘separating authority from responsibility’. If the boss’s genius theory doesn’t work, he can claim that his people were sand-bagging, and, at the same time, his people can say that it wasn’t a genius theory at all, but a crap theory that couldn’t be operationalized this side of la-la-land. So much for structured learning.
The authoritarian chief is one that can put a gun at the head of his people so as to FORCEFULLY ‘determine what his people do’, thanks to their swearing in and appointing him as ‘commander in chief’ of the forces that he will use, immediately thereafter, to beat up those who appointed him (what choice did they have) but who try to resist having their behaviour determined by his genius theories.
So, this ‘scientific’ style authoritarian chief who, as ‘Ruler’ ‘determines what his people do’ is not the same as the traditional chief whose people accepted his leadership or not (who ‘followed’ or not), a chief whose self-esteem would never let him stay in office if he had to take a baseball bat to the heads of his people in order to get them to ‘stay in line’ or who would arrange that, if they didn’t do as he said, they would have nowhere to legally reside on the planet earth; e.g.
“To Engels, Morgan’s description of the Iroquois [in Lewis Henry Morgan’s Ancient Society and The League of the Haudenosaunee or Iroquois] was important because “it gives us the opportunity of studying the organization of a society which, as yet, knows no state.” Jefferson had also been interested in the Iroquois’ ability to maintain social consensus without a large state apparatus, as had Franklin. Engels described the Iroquoian state in much the same way that American revolutionaries had a century earlier: “Everything runs smoothly without soldiers, gendarmes, or police, without nobles, kings, governors, prefects or judges; without prisons, without trials. All quarrels and disputes are settled by the whole body of those concerned. . . . The household is run communistically by a number of families; the land is tribal property, only the small gardens being temporarily assigned to the households — still, not a bit of our extensive and complicated machinery of administration is required. . . . There are no poor and needy. The communistic household and the gens know their responsibility toward the aged, the sick and the disabled in war. All are free and equal — including the women. “ — Bruce E. Johansen, Forgotten Founders
since we live in ‘free countries’, one would think that there must some procedure for repealing the laws that establish state sovereignty and for abolishing the ‘chief’ head-of-sovereign-state position and with it, the legal right for the incumbent to use as much force as it takes to ‘determine the behaviours of the people residing within the imaginary-line-bounded limits of the sovereign state pen’
Submitted by anon on Sun, 2010-09-19 07:23.
“In other words, the communities of indigenous peoples were not top-down authoritarian organizations wherein a man at the top used his authority to animate the rest according to knowledge-based directives.”
Accept all the ones with a chief: 70% of fucking Africa. Or a legislature: Iroquois Confederation, Soux, Micmac, Mohawk, ect, ect.
ITT Liberal arts major thinks philosophy based on his subjective determination of what is “deep” is better than science that produces predictive models of natural phenomena. Science is the power of mankind, it is the shaft of his spear, but the tip is his disdain for the natural world.
Yeah so you exchange atoms with the environment all the time, you are a component of the physical universe, so what? Nobody cares about the fucking about the rocks and trees unless it directly effects their survival. And if we can live without the biosphere then who cares about it?
No one said that people are totally isolated systems now, that is a dream for the future. A future were every man is an nation unto himself, complete, free from all weakness, eternal, and invincible. This world still exists because we allow it, it will end because we demand it.
Submitted by anon on Sun, 2010-09-19 07:35.
Submitted by anon on Sun, 2010-09-19 08:16.
Of course the fact that a group is indigenous does not mean it’s non-authoritarian. But for the most part, as long as they don’t practice agriculture, they probably don’t have a chief or a legislature, or anything like that. This isn’t an argument for or against anarcho-primitivism, it’s just a fact.
Submitted by anon on Sun, 2010-09-19 08:11.
I liked the plagiarism of Shakespeare’s ‘The world is a stage, and we but actors,,,etc’ and Swift’s satirical attack on dogma, but yes, it was terrible what Robinson did to Man Friday, but Man Friday did volunteer his services for free, didnt he, so who really had the ‘learning disorder’ and who had the smarts?
Submitted by anon on Sun, 2010-09-19 12:18.
OK, I’ll rephrase this, you obviously missed the nuances of my comment! I was inferring that Man Friday had the smarts, and Robinson the ‘learning disorder’. I was actually supporting your blog, that an indigenous Man Friday, within his broad perception of exchange of services and gifts, was re-educating Robinson out of his colonial authoritarian ways. However, since you have brought in literature from the colonial era, the book “King Solomon’s Mine” by Ryder Haggard shows us an interesting interplay of diverse social and religious paradigms and how they infact complimented eachother in a not so ‘us and them’ dichotomous relationship, which you seem to ignore in your critiques.
On one hand we have the colonial ex-military hero figure pursuing wealth for his particular monarchist empire, who meets with the ‘exile who should be King’ of his particular monarchistic society, and how they symbiotically exploit eachother to attain their authoritarian goals. So I am hesitant to embrace your primitivist assumption that civilization is per se authoritarian, and I disagree with your dissection of authoritarianism, that patriarchy ( and I will throw in paternalism )are of a different intent, and are qualitatively different.
I think this essay of yours is vague and broadly painted, that you forget about the sensitivities of the inherent goodness that exists within humynity, regardless of the society or education they are indoctrinated within, the light of the rebellious compassionate ones always shines through the direful authoritarian social fabriques they may have been thrown into.
Submitted by emile on Sun, 2010-09-19 15:34.
With respect to the Robinson-Crusoe – Suzanne of the Pacific story, it can be ‘mined’ for all kinds of things (the reader’s own projections). I brought it up for one thing, to make the point that we have the (mental) option for (a) behaviour that comes from ourselves, that is directed by our local internal knowledge, and for (b) behaviour that is orchestrated by the dynamics that we are situationally included in.
Now, I am NOT saying that there are just these two poles, that this is a case of ‘us’ and ‘them’, a dichotomous relationship as you are imputing.
What I am saying is what Vgotsky was saying and what Ernst Mach and Schroedinger and Emerson were saying, that there is just one dynamic; e.g. there is just the flow of the atmosphere, it is one flow, just one flow. But, oh yes, it has some funny features ‘inhabiting’ it, called storm-cells or ‘hurricanes’. ‘Called’, i said ‘called’. who calls them ‘hurricanes’? We call them hurricanes. What is going on here? John Stuart Mill told us that in each of our definitions, there is a hidden axiom, that in which we affirm the local existence of the object defined.
Fine, now we have a local object and we can start talking about IT MOVING. ‘IT’ is not a local object, ‘it’ is a feature, a pattern within a single fluid dynamic.
In ‘learning’, the same conjugate ‘geometry’ applies. In Vygotsky’s terms, the ‘scientific concept’ corresponds to the ‘local storm-cell’. It is something we can talk about, analyze, describe its behaviour AS IF IT WERE A THING-IN-ITSELF. It is not a ‘thing-in-itself’. As we agreed before we defined and named it, it was one of those whorls that are always gathering and regathering in the flow. The flow is the real thing, and the pretty pattern of the whorl that we lift out as a ‘scientific concept’ is not ‘real’ in the same physical sense as the flow it gathers in. It is idealization. In Poincaré’s terms, it is a language game based on absolute space (the only space in which a local thing can ‘exist locally’ and move around on its own. in the space of our experience, nothing is absolute, no behaviour is local and a conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation prevails.).
We play these language games all the time. The only way you can get ‘us’ and ‘them’ out of what I said is to play the language game the way you prefer. This is what sources social dysfunction. If both Robinson and Suzanne are engulfed in a tsunami or in a forest fire, I can rightfully say that their behaviours are orchestrated by the dynamics of space they are situationally included in. But until his brains are dashed out on the rocks or fried in the fire, Robinson may insist that he has free will, that he is a local system with his own locally originating internal knowledge-directed behaviour. “Look”, he will say as he gets lifted up by the wave to be dashed on the rocks yet again. I am going to point my middle finger skyward and thrust it upwards to prove to you that I am in control of myself, that I do indeed have my own locally-originating internal knowledge-directed behaviour.”
Let’s face it, the space he is in is in the process of regathering him into some new forms. His stories about what he, Robinson, the ‘local system’ does is always over-ridden, as Mcluhan says, by the bigger story of the transformation of the space he is included in. The medium is the message. Our habit is to use the euclidian space language game and Aristotelian syllogisms, but that is over-simplification. That over-simplification where we talk in terms of scientific concepts and confuse it for ‘reality’ is what is infusing dysfunction into our society. My essay discussion accepts, like Vygotsky et al, that the ‘inhabitant’ and the ‘habitat’ are in conjugate relation (they are NOT mutually exclusive). In learning, as Vygotsky says, the scientific concept (message) and the intuitive concept (medium) are in conjugate relation.
There is no ‘us’ and ‘them’ split in the story of Robinson and Suzanne. Robinson is predominantly behaving as if he is a local object (playing the Euclidian language game) and Suzanne is predominantly not. It is gray like everything is in nature (they can both go either way). But like Robinson, we can go into that language game-playing mode where we pretend that ‘self’ and ‘other’ are mutually exclusive; i.e. we can see our selves as a local system with our own locally originating, internal knowledge-directed behaviour. That is Robinson’s habit but not so much Suzanne’s. If Suzanne is engulfed by the tsunami, she will acknowledge that she has always been ‘one-with-everything’ and that ‘everything’ is about to give her a major make-over. For her, giving the finger to her maker (nature) would make no sense at all.
Submitted by anon on Sun, 2010-09-19 19:26.
OK, let’s just leave it at where you hate authoritarianism. I accept that one dynamic, and all it includes.
Submitted by zzar.humanity on Mon, 2010-09-20 02:31.
All I got from reading this was the interesting conclusion that you just wanted to disguise the phrase “Authoritarians are retarded” with a bunch of rather irrelevant philosophical dribble that really has no point in the scheme of things.
I understand what you put here, and I agree with it as far the truth of it goes, but knowledge-directed behaviour, which I have always referred to as agression of the mind, is not really the main cause of authoritarianism, which as you use it is really more conformity than anything else, but is just something that, in practice, has been taken to its extremes through conflict. Authoritarianism is prevalent today not because people were just more internally directed than externally (and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, but the ideal state should be an equal balance between external and internal)but because of conflicting beliefs and indeed, invasion of cultures by other cultures, which hasn’t always been in the control of people and their respective culture.
You argue that people were directed by how their environment responds to their presence, and vice versa, but that is precisely how authoritarianism came about and how now people are starting to oppose it. Unless we as humans were able to stop ourselves from invading other groups and could mutually agree with each other, the former not being entirely under our control, due to nature being able to force us to have to move (due to our instinct to survive) and the latter only possible if we can, as individuals, change ourselves to be more altruistic, then we could never have stopped authoritarianism from growing into what it is today as it was a natural response to the rather chaotic issues stemming from nature and our natural abhorrence to get along with each other. (of course it doesn’t help that we are so incredibly large in size now, as a species, that it will be very hard to get rid of authoritarianism anyway)
Now, much of your essay actually has to do with the issue of conformity and/or forced conformity, which while it most certainly is inherently authoritarian in nature, is not something that HAS to be that way, and the issues with it are only perpetuated by us as humans because we refuse to stand against it, most of the time due to our natural instinct to survive, which gives way to complacency. Because of the universe’s general apathy in regards to us as humans (and indeed, human’s apathy towards fellow humans, especially those not in full or near full agreement), authoritarianism arises to mitigate the issues that stem from it through force, and anit-authoritarianism has arisen to eliminate force from the solution, and instead put the job in the hands of the individuals themselves to figure out for themselves.
Now if I had more time I would write more, but generally I just wanted put forth what you were trying to say in much more practical and understandable words and actually bring it around into something, well, practical. You have to remember that most humans are not capable of becoming individually ‘powerful’, both intellectually and physically, so do not assume that civilization or society or whatever is a ‘learning disorder’ or some such nonsense, as that completely disregards the point of coming together in such a way: to put the weak on the same level as the strong. It is a mutual agreement to help each other survive, and how they do it depends on who you ask, the statist or the anarchist?
Submitted by emile on Mon, 2010-09-20 07:58.
Zzar, your comments which you say are to “ put forth what [I was] trying to say in much more practical and understandable words and actually bring it around into something, well, practical.” have not only entirely missed what I was saying, but are permeated with the same dysfunction that my essay was intending to bring to the surface.
For example, after I have stressed the conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation that pervades nature, according to our experience and according to the new physics (Mach’s principle, you give me back what?! the self-other (man-nature) split, saying “Because of the universe’s general apathy in regards to us as humans … authoritarianism arises to mitigate the issues that stem from it through force”
If we are included in the universe and if it brought us here and equipped us with consciousness, then ‘we are it’, the ‘organism is the environment’, the storm-cell is the flow it is included in, the outside-of-self and the inside-of-self are in conjugate relation. Only in our language games, which imply absolute space wherein local objects can exist as separate from the emptiness through which they seem to move, can we IN OUR THINKING split ourselves apart into separate beings.
In our experience, we are included in a continually unfolding spatial dynamic and our individuality derives from our unique situation inclusion, an individuality of the same type as hurricane Igor who never splits out of the flow he is included in, except notionally by our language games, by our naming and defining him and saying things like ‘Igor is growing stronger, Igor is moving towards us, Igor is wreaking destruction. Meanwhile, Igor, the flow-feature, that gets the attention of his flow-feature brothers who use language games in the same way to break themselves out of the spacetime continuum, has never transcended his innate inclusion in the flow except in the minds of humans thanks to our anthropomorphic language games which we impose on the dynamic forms-in-the-flow of nature as we have for themselves (as Nietzsche says, science is anthropomorphism; i.e. scientific language games are anthropomorphism).
Therefore, instead of interpreting my comments by, as you say; “putting them in much more practical and understandable ways”, you have entirely missed (or are ignoring) the point and are merely wallpapering over top of them with your own opinion.
Further, after I have said that internally-directed behaviour and externally-orchestrated behaviour are ONE DYNAMIC as in a conjugate extrinsic-intrinsic relation, you make them into two things again; saying “but the ideal state should be an equal balance between external and internal”
The notion of a local system with its own locally originating internal knowledge-directed behaviour is IDEALISATION associating with the language game where we name Igor (or any entity) and scientifically define ‘the hurricane’ as ‘a local system’. There is no such thing as a ‘local system’ in the universe. This is idealization, … idealization that, however useful, should not be confused for reality. As Mach’s principle of space-matter relativity puts it, the dynamics of the ‘internal’ systems (Igors) are conditioning the dynamics of the ‘external’ suprasystem at the same time as the dynamics of the ‘external’ suprasystem are conditioning the dynamics of the ‘internal’ system. This means that ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ are relative; i.e. system and suprasystem are not mutually exclusive but mutually inclusive.
So your statement that “the ideal state should be an equal balance between external and internal” makes no sense at all, not in my terms, not in any terms.
What does make sense, returning to the THOUGHTS of Robinson and Suzanne, is that we have these two ways of thinking about anything; e.g. about getting up in the morning. Suzanne will understand that her morning rising behaviour is orchestrated by light flooding into her dwelling (by the dynamics of the habitat she is situationally included in), Robinson will insist that rising in the morning is his own internally-directed behaviour; he was tired at sundown, decided to take a nap and he is now finished napping. It is, he will say, his circadian rhythms directing his physiology from the inside. (Science can also similarly describe the rotation inside of hurricane Igor without ever having to address conjugate flow patterns on the other side of the earth [that wrap over and around the surface of the earth], failing to acknowledge in the local analsysis that the atmospheric fluid-dynamic is one unbounded flow highlighted by locally APPEARING resonances or ‘cells’, cells that are animated nonlocally by non-visible pressure-thermal-energy fields).
One can imagine Robinson and Suzanne happening to bump into one another, getting philosophical and arguing on this point. Suzanne could say to Robinson; “I understand the simplicity that associates with your view of yourself as a local system with your own locally originating, intention-directed behaviour, but it is pure idealization and not without a huge amount of anthropocentric arrogance. When we are grounding ourselves in our real-life experience, when the earth trembles and we tremble with it, there can be no doubt that the habitat in which we are each situationally included orchestrates our behaviour. What you dealing in, Robinson, is ‘idealization’ based on abstract, not natural, concepts of space and geometry. You use the invariable solids of geometry, superimposing them over the continuously unfolding forms in nature, so that it is you who constructs the notion of local, independently existing entities which you then animate as if on coming from their own internal force by a language game, by attaching a verb to your geometric solid based noun. As Poincare observed, to say that ‘the earth rotates’ is nonsense. The earth’s dynamic (the dynamic earth) cannot be lifted out of the continally innovatively unfolding spacetime continuum except by the hand of our own manipulative intellection, using the tools of absolute space and geometry, assisted by language games.
So, our real-life experience informs us that internal-sourcing and external sourcing are two sides of the same dynamic coinage. If we contend that internal-sourcing has precedence as Robinson claims it does, then we speak as you do, zzar, of “the universe’s general apathy in regards to us as humans”, but, if we contend that external-sourcing has precedence, as Suzanne does, the symmetry does not simply invert; i.e. Suzanne can still be self-directed as Robinson is, but what’s in her mind will be very different; i.e. she will credit her conjugate habitat-inhabitant relation for infusing her interior with its initiative (as Igor naturally would), rather than assuming there is some sort of God-like first cause creation of behaviour-directing-force hatching continually within her interior, as one is forced to impute from the scientific notion of ‘local system’ (which is in essence a Robinsonian anthropomorphism).
To conclude, your view of man’s relation with nature appears to be one of self-other detachment and antagonism; i.e. you say; “the [growth of] authoritarianism was a natural response to the rather chaotic issues stemming from nature and our natural abhorrence to get along with each other”, and further, … “ [agreement with one another] not being entirely under our control, due to nature being able to force us to have to move “.
So, starting NOT from the view that man is included in nature, as I was, but instead from the view that nature is apathetic to man and nature has been ‘forcing us to move’, you go on to suggest that the antidote to authoritarianism (which you see as being sourced by ‘our struggle with nature’ which has ‘turned us against one another’) is altruism; i.e “Unless we as humans … could mutually agree with each other, .. the latter only possible if we can, as individuals, change ourselves to be more altruistic, then we could never have stopped authoritarianism from growing into what it is today.”
The term altruism is another of those ‘anthropocentric’ terms such as humanism, as in “humanism is killing the world”. Altruism is an ‘intention’ that plugs into the model of self as a ‘local system with its own locally originating, knowledge/intention-directed behaviour’. It leaves the orchestrating influence of nature entirely out of the equation, and so it should be left out if one’s view of nature is that it is apathetic to humans and causes them havoc by forcing them to move. Hey, what about bringing us all here and providing our room and board on a continuing basis?
There isn’t the slightest resemblance between what you are saying here and what I was saying in my post, and your claim that you were re-interpreting what I said to put it “in much more practical and understandable words and actually bring it around into something, well, practical.” is just a bullshit cover for entirely ignoring what I said and wallpapering over it with your own views, rather than commenting on mine.
Our problem is not solvable in terms of ‘what we need to do’, it is only resolvable by restoring a natural way of understanding ‘who we are’ vis a vis the world we live in. That’s where the Zapatistas and the Amerindian decolonizers are. Sure we can observe them and describe their activities in the same old terms where we see all humans as ‘local systems with their own locally originating, intention-directed behaviours’, but that won’t explain it. Understanding decolonization depends upon revising our understanding of who we are as a people and how we relate to one another and to the natural space we are each uniquely situationally included in.
Submitted by zzar.humanity on Mon, 2010-09-20 09:01.
Firstly, I want to just make it clear before I respond to you that I do understand entirely what you put forth and that yes I was, as you said, ‘wallpapering’ over your views with my own, but the thing is that my views address the problem in a way that is, simply, practical and understandable to those that are not so well educated as you or I (and please spare me anything contradictory to that, if you can write something like that, you are educated, institutionally verified or not). All of this philosophical shit is a just pointless overuse of language in an attempt to explain something that could have been said not only in much less words, but also in much easier to understand words, and still be just as effective at getting the point across. (I probably missed something here, but oh well)
‘So your statement that “the ideal state should be an equal balance between external and internal” makes no sense at all, not in my terms, not in any terms.’
Yes it does, you simply refuse to acknowledge that in the scheme of human thinking, it is only natural to make them separate for the sake of coherence and understanding. We can intuitively understand the flow of the universe, the relativity of it all, but we as humans try to rationalize it (where intuition in this sense is not irrational, but simply not on any level of rationality or irrationality) so that we may better mitigate the effects of nature (which are not limited to just Earth, by the way) that are not in our benefit. We look at hurricanes and try to better understand how they work in the flow of things (though yes it is seldom acknowledged, that is precisely what occurs in scientific pursuits) so that we may predict them and prepare ourselves appropriately. Human’s very nature is to survive (of which there is no seeming rational or irrational or un-rational origin), and as a result of our interaction with nature itself, we play these ‘language games’ so that we may try to bend the universe to our benefit, and better our chances of survival in the universe.
‘Our problem is not solvable in terms of ‘what we need to do’, it is only resolvable by restoring a natural way of understanding ‘who we are’ vis a vis the world we live in.’
You realize that you just said that that (restoring a natural way of understanding) is what we need to do in order to resolve our problem, don’t you?
Submitted by emile on Mon, 2010-09-20 13:20.
Zzar, if you understand what I have been saying, why do you keep giving me more of your ‘wallpaper’?
Here you go again with; “Human’s very nature is to survive (of which there is no seeming rational or irrational or un-rational origin), and as a result of our interaction with nature itself”
You impute some internal intention to humans, which is some kind of God-out-of-a-box internal behavior-directing INTENTION called SURVIVAL. We know what model that fits into and you are honest enough to acknowledge that we don’t know where this intention comes from (but it sure makes our simple model rock and roll!).
The natural habitat and its inhabitants, like igors and katrinas, find form and behaviour in the cultivating of balance and harmony within a ceaselessly innovative spatial-relational unfolding (it is not that ‘they do this’ harmonizing but rather ‘they are this harmonizing’). When we are too hot (where our inner-outer thermal energy exchanging moves out of dynamic balance) we disperse and when we are too cold, we converge/huddle, if not, the condition of resonance that sustains us absents itself as nature gathers us into new forms (without missing a beat or wasting a lick of the matter-and-energy that was invested in us).
You prefer to impute some local internal behaviour-directing intention that is mysteriously placed inside of us, called SURVIVAL as being a primary author/shaper of our actions. This missing piece of kryptonite or whatever, when we flip back the cover on the top of our familiar model of man/organism and drop a piece of it in, animates this local system with its own locally originating, INTENTION-DIRECTED behaviour. What good is the model of a local system with its own locally originating, intention-directing behaviour, … if we have no krytonite modules to drop under their hood to activate them? Since we have made the thing a ‘being’ in itself, why not complement this with a ‘fuel module’ that will ‘sustain its being’. That way, we don’t have to look outside the organism in order to explain the persistence of its being. Let’s call that local God-like first-cause behaviour-directing animator ‘SURVIVAL’. That’ll make the model work.
But wait a minute, if the model is a local self-directed unit, then we can’t have it just surviving in a vacuum. Since we have split it out of the dynamics it is situated in, we have reverse engineer some movements that will explain the obvious correlations between what it is doing and what is going on around it.
This gets covered, as you say, by the notion of man-nature inter-action. As you say as a result of our INTER-ACTION with nature itelf
There is no tit-for-tat, back-and-forth ‘interaction’ between Igor and the flow of the atmosphere, Igor IS the flow, a unique feature within it by way of a uniquely situated conjugate habitat-inhabitant dynamic relation, but in any case Igor does not ‘inter-act’ with the flow, Igor IS intra-action-within-the-flow.
If I am caught in an undertow, my exchanging of gases with the habitat gets out of balance and my behaviour is orchestrated by the restoring of such balance, in the same way that collectives of organisms (or molecules for that matter, as in expansion/contraction) disperse and converge in the direction of restoring thermal energy balance. What is going on inside of me as I am taken down by the undertow, if one could listen in would be pleas for ‘more air!’, ‘more air!’, not pleas for ‘I want to survive!’, ‘I want to survive’,… ‘like all humans, I am a slave to my intention to survive!’.
Of course, this inner-outer balance/harmony seeking orchestration of form, behaviour and organization is RELATIVE or RELATIONAL (spatial-relations based) and if, as pre-relativity scientific thinking is wont to do, one first fragments the dynamic one-ness of energy-flow into separate pieces, then one is forced, in order to maintain logical consistency in this over-simplistic model, to impute something ‘inside’ of the separate ‘local systems’, as being the authors of the changing form, behaviour and organization of these systems.
I am not arguing against the UTILITY of this fragmentative modeling approach. Sure, it is useful AS A PREDICTIVE TOOL (in a ‘what things do’ sense) to re-render the overall spatial-relational transformation in reduced, simplified terms of ‘what the Igor’s and Katrinas’ are ‘going to do’, to impute to them local internal first cause creative sources of their changing form, behaviour and organization, but it is akin to superstition to confuse this idealization for reality, and to compound the error by saying that this ‘predicting of what things do’ is to “better the chances of our SURVIVAL in the universe.”; i.e. you not only notionally infuse the Igors and Katrinas with a local internal God-like first-cause power of behaviour, you likewise infuse the same thing in man via the notion of his SURVIVAL-INTENTION, the local, internal God-like first cause source of his behaviour, and by this technique, you no longer need to acknowledge the spatial-relational (field-flow based) orchestrating/shaping of form, behaviour and organization.
At the very least, can we not acknowledge that our respective discourse is rooted in different ‘models’ of the world which lead to very different senses of the relationship of self-and-other, man-and-nature?
So, where you say, you simply refuse to acknowledge that in the scheme of human thinking, it is only natural to make them [internal-behaviour-directing and external-behaviour-orchestrating] separate for the sake of coherence and understanding, I am herewith saying; ‘yes, you are right’. It is my view that there is no way to achieve coherence and understanding by making them separate. We separate them in order to gain the utility of ‘predicting behaviours of things’, not to ‘achieve coherence and understanding’. All of the pre-new-physics scientific theories that are drummed into the heads of science students during the Piagetian structured learning sessions are tools for prediction formulated in terms of ‘what things do’, what LOCAL SYSTEMS DO, which is a view in which the first cause form/behaviour/organization shaping powers of spatial-relations have been purged and what we are left with is a view in terms of ‘local systems’ with their own ‘local internally-directed behaviours’ and their ‘inter-actions’ in an absolute fixed and empty reference space (x,y,z,t space).
Our western culture, which has been said to ‘worship at the altar of science and rationality’ is wont to reduce everything, including ourselves, to such ‘local systems with their own locally originating, SURVIVAL-INTENDING behaviours’ interacting in an absolute fixed and empty reference frame (it is empty where it isn’t inhabited by these locally existing systems).
SURVIVAL is an intention that is the virtual ultimate in SELF-INTEREST so we start seeing ourselves as local systems animated by local internal self-interest. And collectives of people who embrace this model and the bogus ‘natural ethic’ (self-interest)that keeps the bogus model hanging together, develop ‘authoritarian organizations’ on this basis such as ‘sovereign states’ and their self-similar organizational forms, ‘corporations’. So, the internally directed purposeful-systems models of science equip us well for the construction of authoritarian organization forms whose behaviour is internally-directed by the intention of self-interest/survival.
Here we are ‘aping’ the western model of our ‘self’. That is why Nietzsche calls science anthropomorphism. If we had a more natural model of our ‘self’ we wouldn’t then have an authoritarian society. We wouldn’t then enslave ourselves inside of sovereign states and corporations. No criticism of indigenous peoples or Zapatistas can argue that the sovereign state and/or the corporation are concepts that have or ever will be embraced by them.
Those non-scientific people, such as the Amerindian peoples, who have never purged their worldviews of the orchestrating influence of the habitat-dynamic they are included in, want nothing to do with the authoritarian systems of their simple-scientific-thinking colonizers. And, more and more, scientific thinking people are moving on through the over-simplistic concepts of mainstream classical science and acknowledging what the pre-scientific people have been talking about (e.g. see Blackfoot Physics by F. David Peat). Many of those who reject authoritarianism are not ‘anarcho-primitives’ but ‘post-simple-science-anarchists’, and more of them are in the pipeline so that simple-science authoritarianism is going to be sandwiched between the pre-simple-science decolonizers and the post-simple-science decolonizers.
So what are you trying to say with all of those words, then? To me, it seems you are promoting a more intuitive (ie, look at the world and just understand, instead of trying to prove your understanding by reduction and localization) way of seeing the world instead of a scientific one. That is good, and I understand, but it isn’t a good idea, imo, to say that we should forgo science. It is useful, and regardless of the rather stubborn nature of the thinking that goes behind it (try arguing with a statist that authority is not needed to govern society), it should at the least be embraced and kept open-minded. It is much like the whole atheism problem, where atheists denounce religion based on scienctific reasoning even though they are still missing the point entirely of religion, which isn’t really to parrot a belief in a flying spaghetti monster, but to simply get people to be much more, for lack of any better term, nicer to each other without the need of authority.
The thing about religion though, and the whole issue of god, is that the idea of God spawns from the same thing that caused authority (in the sense you have been referring to) to come about: The fact that not all of us, as humans, will act like that. Authority spawns from the rational (scientific) thinking that because not everyone is just going to not murder or not rape or whatever, that in order to maintain order in the system itself (and order is not a bad thing, nor contradictory to decolonizers, if that is what you were going to say) they will force those people who won’t comply de facto to comply de jure, through the use of coercion.
‘Igor IS intra-action-within-the-flow.’
While Igor is within the flow and a part of it, it is still interacting with other entities within the flow as well, just as the other entities (wind, water, w/e) interact with Igor. The flow here is really that driving force that allows for interaction between habitat and inhabitant and without that driving force niether would have come to exist, as without the other the first cannot exist. If there is no habitat, then there are no inhabitants (even a vacumm can be a habitat, so long as something/one is within it, and even if a vacumm is meant to be absolutely nothing at all, then neither habitat nor inhabiant would exist anyhow) just as if there are no inhabitants, then what does the habitat become? (and I believe that inhabitants here are not limited to just living entities such as animals)
But anyways, the thing about all of this is that people simply are not all going to be able to change their line of thinking, whether it is within a few years or a few thousand, it is extremely unlikely that 100% of our species will be able to become more intuitive in regards to how we understand the status quo. And even when we manage to reach this point, there will still be conflicts that will have to be resolved, simply for the fact that our place in nature is not static. As we go on through time, eventually things culminate to the point that we, humans, have to move. If we humans could sit in one place eternally, then authority never would have come about as we would have kept that intuitive thinking that dominated before the rise of civilization.
The reason why there are ‘a lot of words’ in this exchange is because we are exploring what lies beneath our habitually taken-for-granted assumptions about the way the world works.
Every time you make a statement that you intend as rock-bottom foundation, I am disagreeing that it is rock-bottom. That means unfolding/elaborating the underlying implications of a phrase or a sentence such as your phrase;” While Igor is within the flow and a part of it, it is still interacting with other entities within the flow as well, just as the other entities (wind, water, w/e) interact with Igor
It appears that you won’t let go of this foundational assumption of ‘local it-ness’ and ‘inter-action’ amongst multiple ‘it-nesses’ which we create using definitions and words. I keep trying to go below it and you keep sticking it back in.
I could just call you an obfuscating asshole and walk away; i.e. I don’t know if you really want to have an honest discussion. It may be that you are very successful at using obfuscation to give the impression that your argument has traction relative to the understanding offered by the other, when in fact it simply obfuscates by way of its not mutually-agreed foundational assumptions.
Your worldview ‘bottoms out’ in ‘Force’ while mine bottoms out in ‘Field’ and therein lies the difference between the Amerindian and current vintage of Western culture.
You say; “The flow here is really that driving force that allows for interaction between habitat and inhabitant and without that driving force niether would have come to exist, as without the other the first cannot exist.”
It appears then, that for you and for western monotheists, the ultimate first cause is ‘the Force’. You are, in effect, claiming that ‘The Force’ is the creator of both heaven and earth (habitat and inhabitant) and is their reason for ‘being’.
Amerindians and some physicists and other ‘pantheists’ (Buddhists, Taoists, Vedas) don’t buy that; their/our understanding is that space is a resonant energy charged field and it is space itself or ‘nature itself’ that is the fundamental sourcing agency and furthermore, that ‘being’ is idealization not found in nature where there is only ‘becoming’; i.e where the spatial medium is like a lava-lamp where habitat is conjugate to inhabitant and elastic tradeoffs are continually unfolding.
I am trying to be brief but how many words have I had to use so far to grapple openly and publicly with the ‘deconstructing’ of your presented-as-irreducible foundation; i.e. the assumption that ‘Force’ is the creator of heaven and earth?
I think it is important/relevant to show how these two foundational assumptions lead to very different ideas about ‘community’ (i.e. ORGANIZATION).
In the beginning there were some luscious FIELDS that inspired some nomads to go into their fertile spaces and embrace it and taste its offerings and fool around within it. They found some plants that produced tasty fruits and they cleared part of the field where the soil was chocolaty brown and rich so that they could bring a selection of these plants there to nurture and help them reproduce. This encouraged others to join in an participate for now weeding and watering was required, and some major effort to dig irrigation ditches and pump water. Soon, they needed more participants to do the harvesting and to help transport part of the harvest to the market to trade with others for different produce. From the beginning the people in this evolving organization let themselves be animated and their relationships evolve from their situational inclusion in a common dynamic living space. This naturally-evolving FIELD-INDUCED organizational dynamic is commonly referred to as ‘community’.
A passing scientist stopped to observe this community and captured all of the people activities in the simple scientific terms of ‘what things do’ as if these people were self-standing mechanical bots (local systems with their own locally originating knowledge and purpose-directed behaviour). He recorded the activities in terms of the different ‘roles’ of the part(icipant)s in the same manner as he had studied the workings of machinery where the different parts contribute to the dynamic power of the overall machinery. He could then see that if he could acquire land of his own, then it would be possible to Direct a staged re-play of what was going on here to generate the same kind of product-wealth as was being done in this community. There would then be no need to let the attraction of the land with its openings of spatial possibility on the one hand, and the blossoming of skilled potentialities on the other hand, enter into conjugate relation by way of ‘situational learning’. Structured learning could be imposed and the entire ‘play’ could be ‘Directed’ through the creative force of one overall ‘Director’. The players would simply have to be willing to ‘take direction’ from one overall Director who would train them, assigning each of them with a ‘role-play’ for their ‘part’ in the (now-cenrally-directed) ‘organization’. All the scientist needed to do was to gain control of the land, perhaps by imposing the notion of ‘ownership’ or ‘sovereignty’ over the land, and he could make this organization run by Directing it as if it were a play. He would first take control of the land so those who had no access to the game and plants would have to come to him for a part in the play he was Directing (without access to land of their own, they would have trouble feeding their children, then he could offer them a part in his play in exchange for food). If this worked for him, a 15th century landlord in Europe, the method could be used in Africa and America and around the world. Through an alliance of landlords and the monarchy, they could seize control of vast expanses of land and call them ‘colonies’. Those who inhabited the land, finding out that it was no longer theirs, and trying to regain access to it, would have little choice but to sign up for parts in the play under directorship of the Kings of Europe, or to sign up with those strong individuals and/or alliances who were their intermediaries, who had this scientific understanding of mechanical organization.
By and by, the entire global community could be re-organized by reversing the dynamics in this scientifically architected manner. The type of organization in this new global ‘community’ would be more productive and efficient. The players in the central-direction-driven organization would be developed by ‘structured learning’ that would provide a sufficient number of the different role-play parts to construct the machinery and maintain a good supply of parts.
The Force of the Monarchies of Europe, granted sovereign authority over land by the Church could provide the initial drive to globalize this approach. The monarchy and the parliaments (controlled by the existing Lords of the land) constituted the supreme ‘upstream’ or ‘central’ Force or Authority’ that would drive the overall mechanization or ‘colonization’ of the previously free lands inhabited by peoples with free access to the land.
* * *
The beauty of classical science lies in ability to simulate complex organization whose coming into being is extrinsically-intrinsically shaped (where the living-space dynamic orchestrates the emergence and shaping of form, behaviour and organization), in a purely intrinsic-shaping manner (where the ‘same’ dynamics are developed from local systems with their own locally originating internal knowledge-directed behaviour). These local units are not only self-similar to monotheist God (the Supreme Force), they are self-similar to monotheist Religion’s model of man. The dynamics of local material bodies, as Newton’s laws suggest, arise through the local application of force. And as Aristotle has said, this driving force in man lies in his internal purpose in the manner of the ‘telos’ that drives the acorn to push out of itself to become an oak-tree (i.e. telos substitutes for extrinsic influence). If his purpose is to feed his children and if the Director of his actions can harness this purpose, then the behaviour of a collective of men can be driven and directed in an organized manner by a single Director. Monotheistic religion and simple science thus have the same sense of the architecture of dynamics.
As Newton said, however, something is lacking in this simple science model (his own) and it is ‘harmony’ in the sense of a pervasive over-all coordination as in the simultaneous mutual influence implicit in the gravity Field. In Newton’s view the difference between the actual world dynamic and the world dynamic as simulated through the laws of locally applied force, is ‘harmony’. In his words;
”“… and the planets and comets will constantly pursue their revolutions in orbits given in kind and position, according to the laws above explained ; but though these bodies may, indeed, persevere in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws. . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One.” — Newton, Scholium in the ‘Principia’
The ‘dominion of One’ and the harmony as associates with simultaneous mutual influence of all with all, is not only missing in Newton’s laws, as he openly says both in his Author’s prologue and in his summarizing Scholium, it is missing in our ‘scientized’ global social dynamic wherein we have used the scientific laws of locally applied force and direction to operationalize 195 sovereign states as local mechanical systems, without having addressed the issue of ‘simultaneous mutual influence’, which is built in to nature’s dynamic and which manifests in the self-organizing of community by way of the conjugate habitat-inhabitant dynamic (the ‘Field’ effect).
So, what I am talking about is not about ‘foregoing science’ but about politicians armed with science foregoing any/all acknowledgement of the limitations of science as they continue to ‘use simple-science’ to purge natural-born community and replace it with KISS-assed mechanical simulations.
As for people changing, ‘everybody knows the ship is sinking and the captain lies, … everybody knows the deal is rotten, old black joe’s still picking cotton for our ribbons and bows’ (Leonard Cohen), the problem is lock-in; e.g. via education where structured learning to prepare the innocent for a life of role-play under Authoritarian Central Direction has been made into a ‘deal they cannot refuse’, … unless they don’t mind starving, or…?