Re: [Sartre] serialization of the group
- Felix asked:
Are you considering this group as a serial or fusion group? Perhaps a
serial group that considers itself fused or a fusion group that
considers itself serial?
I'd have to say, it probably falls somewhere in between. Sartre's paradigm example of the fused group was the storming of the Bastille and, needless to say, with the silly bickering and the paranoid solipsisms of members who say they feel surrounded by machines, we aren't quite there yet. The question of whether or not the Internet could give rise eventually to what Sartre calls a fused group, however, remains a valid and useful question.
As far a the serial group is concerned, it is a fairly low-level group in which the structure tends to be externalized and subjectivity is greatly limited. The primary example Sartre uses is members queuing up to wait for a bus.
Some of the characteristics Sartre describes of such a group is that it contains isolated members, although they are together physically, they read the paper, smoke cigarettes and, in general, fail to really engage one another. However, they are also bound by a common interest; they are both commuters and residents of the city. There is also a certain element of interchangeability at work as well. As Sartre says; "Everyone is the same as the Others in so far as he is Other than himself. And identity as alterity is exterior separation."
What these means is the ticket system which places people in line imposes a kind of rationing system upon them. There aren' t enough seats available for everyone at once, so each must wait their turn. They are rendered equal, but this equality is external and leveling at one and the same time.
I think the Internet tends to function as a kind of serial group at sites like eBay or Amazon. I also remember going online to get tickets for a concerts and trying to get past the others and into the site in order to buy a ticket were difficult, at best.
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- The quote below is pretty clear as to the profound relation between
Sartre's philosophy and violence. The cogito, the generalized cogito,
is a crime (did I hear Nietzsche somewhere?...):
La situation veut que la vraie morale humaine prenne naissance dans
cet acte isolé, purement individuel, de violence purement négative.
Tentons de le comprendre dans son ambigüité et de légitimer cette
violence. en réalisant la liberté terroriste et négative de la pure
conscience du monde par consomption du monde en face de la
conscience, l'esclave réalise dans l'instant qui précède la mort
cette conscience de soi que le stoïcisme, le scepticisme et le doute
cartésien n'atteignent que dans la fuite et dans l'abstrait. La
destruction et le crime sont les conduites concrètes corrélatives du
doute méthodique. [dans le crime] la conscience s'affirme dans sa
solitude terroriste. Tout crime est toujours un peu un cogito.
(Sartre, Cahier 418)
What the heck, I'm giving it a try at translation:
"The situation requires that the true human ethics is born out of
this isolated act [the terrorist one], purely individual, of a purely
negative violence. Let us try to understand it in its ambiguity and
to legitimize this violence. ... by accomplishing the terrorist and
negative freedom of the pure consciousness of the world, the slave
attains in the instant right before his death to that self-
consciousness that stoicism, scepticism and cartesian doubt attain to
only in flight and in the abstract. ... Destruction and crime are the
concrete behaviour correlative to methodical doubt. [in the crime]
consciousness affirms itself in its terrorist solitude. All crime is
always a bit of a cogito."
Do I agree with this? Oh, not only that, I think these are some of
the best lines ever writen in philosophy.