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RE: [existlist] Purity and Philosophy

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  • chris lofting
    ... Consideration of the neurology research leads into the focus on mediation dynamics and the creation of specialist perspectives and their accompanying
    Message 1 of 26 , May 2, 2009
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      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > [mailto:existlist@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Exist List Moderator
      > Sent: Sunday, 3 May 2009 12:40 PM
      > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [existlist] Purity and Philosophy
      >
      > On May 02, 2009, at 7:16, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:
      >
      > > things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man.
      > > What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was
      > a member
      > > of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the
      > > accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently
      > > discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the
      > Copenhagen
      > > interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels
      > Bohr, both of
      > > which imply that not everything is accessible to man, precisely
      > > because the indeterminacy of observation, according to Bohr and
      > > Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
      >
      > I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this
      > "paradox" and they argue it is not a paradox at all. How
      > science views "precision"
      > and "known to man" is not the same as philosophy. This
      > confusion is understandable, though. Philosophers have tried
      > to borrow from science, with sometimes odd results.
      >
      > Even the Uncertainty Principle is actually "certain" once you
      > study Schrodinger's mechanics.
      >
      > http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
      >
      > The issue is if the theories of Heisenberg described a
      > quality, a principal, a perception, or something else. There
      > are definitely gaps in the mathematics. However, just because
      > we can't do the math, or locate it yet, does not mean the
      > mathematics do not exist.
      >
      > I certainly don't think science gives meaning, nor do I think
      > mankind will ever have "all the answers" to understand the
      > natural world. But, the question is if science should even be
      > looked to for some questions? Maybe science is the wrong
      > discipline for some questions.
      >

      Consideration of the neurology research leads into the focus on mediation
      dynamics and the creation of specialist perspectives and their accompanying
      languages. See diagrams/comments in the intro to my IDM abstract domain
      model page - http://members.iimetro.com.au/~lofting/myweb/AbstractD.htm

      ALL acts of mediation, regardless of scale, are acts grounded in uncertainty
      such that ANY meta-level analysis of these perspectives will reveal this
      fact. Lack of understanding of what is going on in our brains has led to the
      perspectives of physics/mathematics etc on uncertainties AS IF a ground for
      all reality - when the fact is the ground is in the mediating alone. Once
      mediation is complete we have a result but such is made unconscious in the
      form of habit/memory available for recall when prompted by some context.

      > Because I do believe in cognitive sciences, especially
      > neurology, I struggle with questions of free will and reason.

      How?

      > I tell myself that having a tendency, an underlying
      > predisposition, is not destiny.

      Certainly not for your singular being, but an issue for your particular
      being that is pushed by context to achieve its purpose(s). The emergence of
      consciousness covers the emergence of mediation skills and the capability to
      work top-down in limiting the degrees of freedom possible in bottom-up
      activities. Ss such the development of consciousness benefits the
      achievement of purpose of the particular but the success of consciousness
      has generalised that formally local focus where we think out of context
      through the use of mediations in the form of symbols that we then take
      literally rather than figuratively.

      > Genetics and birth are only starting points. Sure, they
      > matter, but we do have the ability to reason, the ability to
      > overpower / overcome our natures.
      >

      Reason is hard-coded, it is not free of our biology and so neurology. It is
      the DEGREE of reasoning capabilities that make the difference between us and
      other neuron-dependent life forms. Lower life forms can consider the
      previous few contexts to influence the current, the extremes in us allow us
      to work backwards to some originating context eons ago and use that to
      influence the current and predict the next.

      We can even focus on consciousness as emerging to regulate reason as reason
      has emerged to regulate instincts/emotions. IOW we can reason ourselves into
      a corner such that, for example, a suicidal position is 'logical'!
      Consciousness allows us to CHOOSE to be unreasonable and so transcend such
      paradoxes.

      > The notion of science revealing everything is just
      > uncomfortable for me.

      Science is not so much a thing, it is more a methodology. Its current issues
      are in its grounding in symmetry through its demands for repeatability etc
      (and so making the subjective 'unscientific') and so a focus on sameness.
      See Deleuze etc for a focus on an emerging logic/mathematics of difference.
    • devogney
      -CS, I think science can certainly play a part in putting us in greater touch with various realities, both external and internal. I think the only real danger
      Message 2 of 26 , May 2, 2009
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        -CS,

        I think science can certainly play a part in putting us in greater touch with various realities, both external and internal. I think the only real danger is tendencies to assume that all other methods of learning are useless, or at least second rate. Science assumes results that can be replicated, but most of our life experience is not something that can be replicated numerous times for statistical sampling. Science in recent years has in many cases confirmed many things by brain scans etc that previously were subjectively experienced, although in many cases there were traditions of such experiences. Science being able to note correlations in brain activities with reported subjective states makes what was subjective more objective, what was more occult more scientific. I believe science can be a very good servant in human psychological and philosophical evolution, but allowing reductionist, materialistic paradigms to limit your imagination and inquiries is not conductive to becoming all that we can be.

        Religious views
        Hawking has repeatedly used the word 'God' (in metaphorical meanings)[34] to illustrate points made in his books and public speeches. Having been described as an atheist by various people, including his former wife Jane,[35][36] Hawking has stated that he is "not religious in the normal sense" and he believes that "the universe is governed by the laws of science. The laws may have been decreed by God, but God does not intervene to break the laws."[37]


        Imagination is more important than knowledge...
        Albert Einstein
        - More quotations on: [Imagination]
        It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.
        Albert Einstein

        My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.
        Albert Einstein

        Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.
        Albert Einstein


        The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
        Albert Einstein
        US (German-born) physicist (1879 - 1955)

        The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious.
        Albert Einstein


        The release of atomic energy has not created a new problem. It has merely made more urgent the necessity of solving an existing one.
        Albert Einstein

        Tom





        -- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Exist List Moderator <existlist1@...> wrote:
        >
        > On May 02, 2009, at 7:16, Herman B. Triplegood wrote:
        >
        > > things, and that there is nothing that is not accessible to man.
        > > What amazes me is that Niels Bohr, a quantum physicist, was a member
        > > of the unity of science movement, and that this statement about the
        > > accessibility of all things flies right in the face of the recently
        > > discovered Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as well as the
        > > Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics championed by Niels
        > > Bohr, both of which imply that not everything is accessible to man,
        > > precisely because the indeterminacy of observation, according to
        > > Bohr and Heisenberg, is an intrinsic feature of physical reality.
        >
        > I have heard a few analytical philosophers discuss this "paradox" and
        > they argue it is not a paradox at all. How science views "precision"
        > and "known to man" is not the same as philosophy. This confusion is
        > understandable, though. Philosophers have tried to borrow from
        > science, with sometimes odd results.
        >
        > Even the Uncertainty Principle is actually "certain" once you study
        > Schrodinger's mechanics.
        >
        > http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/
        >
        > The issue is if the theories of Heisenberg described a quality, a
        > principal, a perception, or something else. There are definitely gaps
        > in the mathematics. However, just because we can't do the math, or
        > locate it yet, does not mean the mathematics do not exist.
        >
        > I certainly don't think science gives meaning, nor do I think mankind
        > will ever have "all the answers" to understand the natural world. But,
        > the question is if science should even be looked to for some
        > questions? Maybe science is the wrong discipline for some questions.
        >
        > Because I do believe in cognitive sciences, especially neurology, I
        > struggle with questions of free will and reason. I tell myself that
        > having a tendency, an underlying predisposition, is not destiny.
        > Genetics and birth are only starting points. Sure, they matter, but we
        > do have the ability to reason, the ability to overpower / overcome our
        > natures.
        >
        > The notion of science revealing everything is just uncomfortable for
        > me. At the same time, I am not mystical or religious... so I end up
        > wavering on issues of life and meaning. It's all quite confusing,
        > which it probably should be.
        >
        >
        > - C. S. Wyatt
        > I am what I am at this moment, not what I was and certainly not all
        > that I shall be.
        > http://www.tameri.com - Tameri Guide for Writers
        > http://www.tameri.com/csw/exist - The Existential Primer
        >
      • louise
        ... Herman, Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still
        Message 3 of 26 , May 4, 2009
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          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@...> wrote:
          >
          > Louise:
          >
          > You are trying to make racism sound reasonable.

          Herman,
          Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still reigns, just as it does in the real political world. As somebody who has suffered from the mental violence which self-justifying delusions about superior selfhood incite in the racially-ignorant, I am still struggling to believe in the extremity of what is involved. Jesus. It is all too much. I truly love the honesty of your statements, and wish to reply at more length to this particular posting when I become capable.
          Louise
          ... quite sick of irrational righteousness

          >
          > But here are two problems that I have with that:
          >
          > 1. Purism. I've brought this up before. How does one reconcile the argument in favor of ethnic purity with the obvious facts of biological diversity and cultural diversity? We know full well, within the framework of ecology, that the loss of biological diversity leads to species extinction. As far as I see it, the forced abolishment of ethnic diversity, anywhere at anytime, whether by overt violent means, or by more surreptitious means, is tantamount to ethnocide, if not outright genocide.
          >
          > It doesn't work in nature. Why should we expect it to work for society?
          >
          > 2. Exclusion. How do we decide who or what gets excluded or included? History has taught us that the exclusion of entire ethnic classes is ultimately based, not upon reasoned judgment, but upon prejudice and distorted and even pathological emotion. Even to the point of the exclusion of the very facts of history itself.
          >
          > Amon Goeth narrated the long six hundred year history of the Jews in Poland on the morning of the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. He gave a history lesson based upon acknowledged historical facts.
          >
          > But his final statement said all that needed to be said that day. The facts of history didn't matter:
          >
          > "Today, it never happened."
          >
          > That is what Amon Goeth said. Then, he and his men proceeded to massacre the Jews in the Warsaw gehtto.
          >
          > So...do we exclude truth as well?
          >
          > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.
          >
          > Enough is enough. Don't you think?
          >
          > We are all on this planet together. We are all in this existential predicament together. There is no place left, really, for us to run off to and hide, because, most of us, for the most part, are too interdependent now to exclude ourselves from society for the sake of our so-called purity. Even the tree huggers know that. There is no "going back" to nature. The only way to go is forward. Not backward.
          >
          > We are all citizens of this one world first. Before all nationalities or patriotic sentiments. If that seems like a leftist kind of position, then so be it. There is a deep grain of truth in the heart felt need for cosmopolitansim, internationalism, and, above all, tolerance for what is always, inevitably, different, or unfamiliar.
          >
          > Doesn't the history of the twentieth century tell us something? Doesn't it tell us that the roads that lead toward ethnic purism, and exclusion of classes of any kind, the roads that take us farther away from the facts of diversity and multiplicity, plurality, go against the natural socio-political order in which we now, in fact, do find ourselves, and that they will lead, ultimately, to total holocaust?
          >
          > It isn't about us against them. It is about us, meaning, we the living, humanity as a whole, against the pernicious dichotomy that sets the us against the them in the first place.
          >
          > I cannot help but remember how repulsed I was by that web site in favor of the native British. The link to it was posted here a few weeks back. How is that kind of sentiment different from the sentiments that the Aryan Nation or Al Qaeda post on their sites? I don't see much of a difference.
          >
          > There is no such thing as "nice" racism.
          >
          > I was thinking, on the way home, about the strange catch phrases that we have been spoon feed to us over these past few years through the media:
          >
          > "War on drugs."
          > "War against poverty."
          > "War on terror."
          >
          > But what is the real war that is now being waged?
          >
          > I think it is this:
          >
          > "The war against personhood."
          >
          > If we lose the war against personhood, then I think we will lose freedom, and then, we will lose humanity itself, because, without freedom, humanity is pointless, and I firmly believe that freeddom is grounded, not in purity and exclusivity, but in mutual dignity, respect, and, above all, the beautiful diversity of the phenomena of life, and culture, to which we owe our existences and our histories.
          >
          > Have we really seriously looked at life in all of its profound diversity? I mean, through the metaphysical eyes of a philosopher like Aristotle? I think we have forgotten where we really came from. Man, the rational animal. A political animal. Hmmm... A human animal. Certainly. But, still an animal, like all the other animals.
          >
          > This, I believe, is Aristotle's profound metaphysical insight, right here:
          >
          > That there is nothing that is not life.
          >
          > And its corollary:
          >
          > Life is, par excellence, the diversification of form in action. There is no "one" without many.
          >
          > Hb3g
          >
          > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Jim,
          > >
          > > Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my sense of urgency has become only a handicap, at present. So, in brief, the remarks were in reference to the continuing frustration I feel that a radical critique of what makes it into the public domain, especially on the subject of race, would constantly encounter irrelevant objections instead of open enquiry. Now, I continue to dig in my heels here, partly because I continue so indignant at the charges that have been pushed my way. This is chiefly in connection with Wil, who always announces himself as list policeman on such occasions. Mary tends to support the mainstream use of certain phrases, and the need for 'denunciation'. As you say, I do not wish to muzzle anyone, am simply responding to your enquiry. When I refer to "populist political talk", my reference is quite wide, because the contemporary academic consensus tends to provide an armoury of terms that claim exclusive possession of the moral high ground. I would contend that supremacism by violence, on the streets, represents a particular attitude of mind, that may be accompanied by a rhetoric from left or right. Racism looks to me a far more ambivalent word, and as usual, context is all. If I were approached by a distressed individual who had been assaulted, and who claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, I would not wish to argue with their terminology, whether they were black, white, oriental, mixed race, or whatever. This is because I would be responding as a bystander, as a human being, not as any kind of investigator. If, however, the word 'racist' is used in a piece of journalism, say, to stir up hatred against peaceable white activists by left-wing thugs, I have no sympathy with this abuse of intellectual power. The same applies in the case of any use of language as weapon with the aim of inciting to physical intimidation. If a group want to agitate for a change in the law, to introduce capital punishment or corporal chastisement for certain offences, that is one thing; if individuals are inciting others to vigilante justice or lynching, that is quite another. The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view.
          > >
          > > Louise
          > >
          > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
          > > >
          > > > Louise,
          > > >
          > > > I am rather surprised that you suggest that "the list is persistently hampered by populist
          > > > political talk" and that we ought to try to avoid "the cliches of public discourse".
          > > >
          > > > I haven't spotted any populist political talk on this forum and I do not think the members of this forum speak in cliches.
          > > >
          > > > I wonder which members you are referring to. Clearly not Bill, as he is "an honourable exception". I myself will try to improve the quality of my contributions up to Bill's high standard, but perhaps you can give some examples of bad practice so I can know what to avoid.
          > > >
          > > > An uncharitable interpretation of your post is that you are trying to muzzle those members who disagree with your own views. But that would be a depressive interpretation which I, myself, will not entertain.
          > > >
          > > > Jim
          > > >
          > >
          >
        • Herman B. Triplegood
          Louise: I do empathize with your past experiences. Maybe mine are not the same. I don t know. But just so you know... I was always picked on as a kid. Maybe
          Message 4 of 26 , May 4, 2009
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            Louise:

            I do empathize with your past experiences. Maybe mine are not the same. I don't know.

            But just so you know...

            I was always picked on as a kid. Maybe because I was different. Too sensitive. Too much in my head and heart, and not much into playing kick ball and such. And, quite probably, it had a lot to do with my being a military brat. We moved around quite a bit. I never had much of a chance to settle down and socially integrate during my youngest years. And, during my junior high school years, I was ostracized by many of my young peers for declaring that I was an atheist. Some of the schools I went to were predominantly blacks and hispanics. I was "jumped" once during junior high school because I was white. But I dodn't end up being racist on account of that. And I was marginalized, while I was in the military, because I married a Korean.

            Some of us go through these kinds of things. Others don't. What really matters is what we do with all of that. I do have a bit of a curmudgeon streak in me. I wouldn't say that I am misanthropic. certainly not. But I have seen too much of the bad side of human nature to really believe that everybody always wants to do the good.

            And then, when my step daughter was murdered by her own father back in 2005, well, that really took the cake. She was only ten years old. That damaged my spirit. It certainly did. And it "broke" my wife in two. She will never be the same. And my life has changed because of that.

            It was then that I picked up the philosophy books and began to really read them. Everything that went on before that was mere flirtation. Just dabbling. I missed my chance to be an academic a long time ago. And maybe that was for the best after all. I would have probably ended up being a snooty intellectual anyway.

            You know, in some ways, I think that philosophy has been a refuge for me these past four years. Deep down inside I still hope for the victory of truth and beauty over falsehood and ugliness in this world. It is a real mess. There is no doubt about that. And the things that I have gone through are nothing compared to what some have had to go through. Vietnam veterans. Holocaust survivors. Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Targets of serial rapists and murderers. The poor and hungry. The homeless.

            Overall, I think I have dodged most of the bullets. Except for one or two. But the tragedies that life can bring have certainly made a deep impression upon me. It can't all be for nothing. And there has to be something higher, something profounder, than the endless trivialities and banalities that we see played out and acted out around us every single day.

            I am convinced that the something higher, or profounder, is NOT some god that is beyond all life and all reasonability, but simply life itself, something that is so close to us, so intimate, so a part of us, that we really hardly know it. We take it for granted. We miss its profound significance, precisely because it is so obvious, precisely because we are so engaged in it.

            But its being obvious doesn't mean that it isn't deep.

            No pain no gain. That is what I say. What good would life be if we didn't have to struggle to make it better? To make it mean something more?

            Hb3g

            --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@...> wrote:
            >
            > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Herman B. Triplegood" <hb3g@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Louise:
            > >
            > > You are trying to make racism sound reasonable.
            >
            > Herman,
            > Not at all. In the context of this particular discussion list, we have not arrived at any clarification of the term. In my opinion, bigotry still reigns, just as it does in the real political world. As somebody who has suffered from the mental violence which self-justifying delusions about superior selfhood incite in the racially-ignorant, I am still struggling to believe in the extremity of what is involved. Jesus. It is all too much. I truly love the honesty of your statements, and wish to reply at more length to this particular posting when I become capable.
            > Louise
            > ... quite sick of irrational righteousness
            >
            > >
            > > But here are two problems that I have with that:
            > >
            > > 1. Purism. I've brought this up before. How does one reconcile the argument in favor of ethnic purity with the obvious facts of biological diversity and cultural diversity? We know full well, within the framework of ecology, that the loss of biological diversity leads to species extinction. As far as I see it, the forced abolishment of ethnic diversity, anywhere at anytime, whether by overt violent means, or by more surreptitious means, is tantamount to ethnocide, if not outright genocide.
            > >
            > > It doesn't work in nature. Why should we expect it to work for society?
            > >
            > > 2. Exclusion. How do we decide who or what gets excluded or included? History has taught us that the exclusion of entire ethnic classes is ultimately based, not upon reasoned judgment, but upon prejudice and distorted and even pathological emotion. Even to the point of the exclusion of the very facts of history itself.
            > >
            > > Amon Goeth narrated the long six hundred year history of the Jews in Poland on the morning of the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto. He gave a history lesson based upon acknowledged historical facts.
            > >
            > > But his final statement said all that needed to be said that day. The facts of history didn't matter:
            > >
            > > "Today, it never happened."
            > >
            > > That is what Amon Goeth said. Then, he and his men proceeded to massacre the Jews in the Warsaw gehtto.
            > >
            > > So...do we exclude truth as well?
            > >
            > > Pol Pot murdered three million of his countrymen in just under two years. Mao Tse Tung murdered thirty million for the sake of a cultural revolution over a period of about ten years. Stalin murdered about twenty million in the name of the Marxist/Leninist class struggle. And about fifty million "real" Americans were murdered in the name of manifest destiny. The litany of horror and violence, for the sake of ethnic purity, and exclusion, goes on even now. Rwanda. Darfur. The Taliban.
            > >
            > > Enough is enough. Don't you think?
            > >
            > > We are all on this planet together. We are all in this existential predicament together. There is no place left, really, for us to run off to and hide, because, most of us, for the most part, are too interdependent now to exclude ourselves from society for the sake of our so-called purity. Even the tree huggers know that. There is no "going back" to nature. The only way to go is forward. Not backward.
            > >
            > > We are all citizens of this one world first. Before all nationalities or patriotic sentiments. If that seems like a leftist kind of position, then so be it. There is a deep grain of truth in the heart felt need for cosmopolitansim, internationalism, and, above all, tolerance for what is always, inevitably, different, or unfamiliar.
            > >
            > > Doesn't the history of the twentieth century tell us something? Doesn't it tell us that the roads that lead toward ethnic purism, and exclusion of classes of any kind, the roads that take us farther away from the facts of diversity and multiplicity, plurality, go against the natural socio-political order in which we now, in fact, do find ourselves, and that they will lead, ultimately, to total holocaust?
            > >
            > > It isn't about us against them. It is about us, meaning, we the living, humanity as a whole, against the pernicious dichotomy that sets the us against the them in the first place.
            > >
            > > I cannot help but remember how repulsed I was by that web site in favor of the native British. The link to it was posted here a few weeks back. How is that kind of sentiment different from the sentiments that the Aryan Nation or Al Qaeda post on their sites? I don't see much of a difference.
            > >
            > > There is no such thing as "nice" racism.
            > >
            > > I was thinking, on the way home, about the strange catch phrases that we have been spoon feed to us over these past few years through the media:
            > >
            > > "War on drugs."
            > > "War against poverty."
            > > "War on terror."
            > >
            > > But what is the real war that is now being waged?
            > >
            > > I think it is this:
            > >
            > > "The war against personhood."
            > >
            > > If we lose the war against personhood, then I think we will lose freedom, and then, we will lose humanity itself, because, without freedom, humanity is pointless, and I firmly believe that freeddom is grounded, not in purity and exclusivity, but in mutual dignity, respect, and, above all, the beautiful diversity of the phenomena of life, and culture, to which we owe our existences and our histories.
            > >
            > > Have we really seriously looked at life in all of its profound diversity? I mean, through the metaphysical eyes of a philosopher like Aristotle? I think we have forgotten where we really came from. Man, the rational animal. A political animal. Hmmm... A human animal. Certainly. But, still an animal, like all the other animals.
            > >
            > > This, I believe, is Aristotle's profound metaphysical insight, right here:
            > >
            > > That there is nothing that is not life.
            > >
            > > And its corollary:
            > >
            > > Life is, par excellence, the diversification of form in action. There is no "one" without many.
            > >
            > > Hb3g
            > >
            > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "louise" <hecubatoher@> wrote:
            > > >
            > > > Jim,
            > > >
            > > > Thanks for drawing my attention to the sweeping nature of my allegations, which enables me to take a fresh look at what I was really meaning. In fact, my sense of urgency has become only a handicap, at present. So, in brief, the remarks were in reference to the continuing frustration I feel that a radical critique of what makes it into the public domain, especially on the subject of race, would constantly encounter irrelevant objections instead of open enquiry. Now, I continue to dig in my heels here, partly because I continue so indignant at the charges that have been pushed my way. This is chiefly in connection with Wil, who always announces himself as list policeman on such occasions. Mary tends to support the mainstream use of certain phrases, and the need for 'denunciation'. As you say, I do not wish to muzzle anyone, am simply responding to your enquiry. When I refer to "populist political talk", my reference is quite wide, because the contemporary academic consensus tends to provide an armoury of terms that claim exclusive possession of the moral high ground. I would contend that supremacism by violence, on the streets, represents a particular attitude of mind, that may be accompanied by a rhetoric from left or right. Racism looks to me a far more ambivalent word, and as usual, context is all. If I were approached by a distressed individual who had been assaulted, and who claimed to be the victim of a racist attack, I would not wish to argue with their terminology, whether they were black, white, oriental, mixed race, or whatever. This is because I would be responding as a bystander, as a human being, not as any kind of investigator. If, however, the word 'racist' is used in a piece of journalism, say, to stir up hatred against peaceable white activists by left-wing thugs, I have no sympathy with this abuse of intellectual power. The same applies in the case of any use of language as weapon with the aim of inciting to physical intimidation. If a group want to agitate for a change in the law, to introduce capital punishment or corporal chastisement for certain offences, that is one thing; if individuals are inciting others to vigilante justice or lynching, that is quite another. The apparent literal meaning of racism is the belief that race is a meaningful concept, answerable to reasoned enquiry, and significant in the socio-political domain. Only to allow one meaning, a pejorative one, for the word, is to assent to the use of cliche, in my view.
            > > >
            > > > Louise
            > > >
            > > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "jimstuart51" <jjimstuart1@> wrote:
            > > > >
            > > > > Louise,
            > > > >
            > > > > I am rather surprised that you suggest that "the list is persistently hampered by populist
            > > > > political talk" and that we ought to try to avoid "the cliches of public discourse".
            > > > >
            > > > > I haven't spotted any populist political talk on this forum and I do not think the members of this forum speak in cliches.
            > > > >
            > > > > I wonder which members you are referring to. Clearly not Bill, as he is "an honourable exception". I myself will try to improve the quality of my contributions up to Bill's high standard, but perhaps you can give some examples of bad practice so I can know what to avoid.
            > > > >
            > > > > An uncharitable interpretation of your post is that you are trying to muzzle those members who disagree with your own views. But that would be a depressive interpretation which I, myself, will not entertain.
            > > > >
            > > > > Jim
            > > > >
            > > >
            > >
            >
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