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Re: [existlist] Re: Arab Spring reaches the United Kingdom

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  • Herman
    Hi Jim, ... I welcome your critique. ... The word fault has a number of differing, well-accepted usages. We speak, for example, of someone being at fault in
    Message 1 of 15 , Jul 17, 2011
      Hi Jim,

      On 18 July 2011 08:47, Jim <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:

      > **
      >
      >
      > Hi Herman,
      >
      >
      > You write:
      >
      > "I welcome the demise of the Murdoch octopus. His power here in the
      > Antipodes comes directly from the masses, those who uncritically take their
      > opinions from his gutter tabloid journalism. Explicitly, the fault in all
      > this, ultimately, lies not with Rupert, he is but a merchant, a purveyor of
      > worthless thrash. Here, it is the Australian public that has made him king,
      > and over your way, emperor. He can only sell what people always wanted to
      > buy. His undoing? Only the whim of the masses, who will lynch tomorrow what
      > they clamored to worship today.
      >
      > Democracy is such a useless idea."
      >
      > Your short post raises a number of philosophical and political questions.
      >
      >
      I welcome your critique.


      > First, your use of the word `fault' seems to imply that the Australian and
      > British public are in some sense to blame for Murdoch's former power and
      > influence.
      >
      > This is a thought I can agree with, but it doesn't seem consistent with
      > your own philosophical outlook, as you deny that human beings have free will
      > and you assert that people are not responsible for their actions. If this is
      > the case, then the Murdoch empire is nobody's fault.
      >

      The word "fault" has a number of differing, well-accepted usages. We speak,
      for example, of someone being at fault in an accident. An accident is by
      definition an unintended event, yet by your limited usage of it, the phrase
      would mean that someone has intended the unintended. We would both agree
      that doesn't mean a lot, and that leads us to accepting that "fault" can be
      a purely descriptive term, as opposed to your normative use of it. So, to be
      at fault is to be a primary cause or condition for the occurrence of an
      event, it has nothing to do with notions of free will as such.

      Having said that, you are quite right that I deny the notion of free will.
      Given that, I couldn't have intended to pass a moral judgment on the
      relationship between Murdoch and the dregs of societies everywhere. My
      assessment was meant to be descriptive of the factors at play, not
      normative. The Murdoch empire, like the Third Reich, or the Fifth Republic,
      all have or had precipitating causes or conditions. These are the faults of
      which I speak.



      >
      > Second, you reject democracy, presumably because you think if the ordinary
      > people are given too much choice, they will generally choose the lower over
      > the higher. Hence a Murdoch who appeals to the individual's baser instincts
      > will win out over his competitor who appeals to the individual's nobler
      > instincts.
      >
      > I do not agree with this line of thought. I agree there is a real issue
      > concerning the question of how democracy can function in a beneficial way in
      > the teeth of the sort of virulent capitalism which currently dominates the
      > Western World.
      >


      I understand your thinking to be entirely normative in nature. For you the
      question is "what should happen?" while I am concerned with "what is
      happening?"



      >
      > However I retain a faith in the basic goodness of humankind, and I think if
      > one has respect for individuals one must trust them to choose their
      > governments. So if one respects individuals, I think one must favour
      > democracy over totalitarianism.
      >


      I think that the dichotomy democracy-totalitarianism is a false one, and it
      certainly doesn't exhaust the possibilities. Sticking to my descriptive
      paradigm, I would say that the reality underlying any political state of
      affairs is anarchy. That is necessarily so, if one subscribes to human
      freedom, which is not to be confused with free will. Freedom merely alludes
      to the fact that meanings and values are not inscribed in things, I am the
      author of them. I do not respect individuals who charge "the state" with
      responsibility.



      >
      > Actually I think the British public has come out well in recent weeks. The
      > Murdoch empire came crumbling down because ordinary lower class adults were
      > appalled at the revelation that a murdered teenager had had her phone hacked
      > by a News of the World investigator. In other words, the ordinary British
      > adult at the lower end of the social hierarchy showed more ethical
      > sensitivity that those high fliers at the top of the media, the police force
      > and the political establishment who allowed corruption and worse to go on.
      >
      > This case seems to me to support democracy, as those ordinary members of
      > the electorate showed more character and sound judgement than the so-called
      > `wise' who occupy the positions of power in British society.
      >
      >

      To the extent that I freely give my ear or my voice to another to do with as
      they please, as in (mis)representative democracy, I deny my own freedom.
      That is called bad faith, bad in this instance having no moral import, but
      being merely descriptive of a particular attitude towards anarchical
      reality. The en masse adoption, and subsequent abortion of Murdoch, is not a
      tribute to democracy, because no-one has become more authentic in the
      process.

      The next big thing for the public is the truth behind the Beckham baby's
      name :-)

      Cheers

      Herman



      > Jim
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Herman
      Hi Bill, ... The news I m reading says the grandson brandished the shotgun. Whose news to believe? Perhaps our choice of news bulletins is also an expression
      Message 2 of 15 , Jul 18, 2011
        Hi Bill,

        On 18 July 2011 12:02, William <v.valleywestdental@...> wrote:

        > **
        >
        > In a small ,unrelated matter my house of member fought off a home invasion
        > last night. He is over seventy and a Army colonel of the Viet Nam era. He
        > fought hand to hand and then vanqiished the invader with a shotgun. This
        > story will have legs and I will duly report. As a US house member the FBI is
        > on the case. I have known Rep Boswell for better than twenty years and know
        > how foolish it would be to attempt to invade his home. He invaded the Au sha
        > valley. He eximplifies the third rule of shit:All that`s behind the bulls
        > ass is not shit. Bill
        >
        >
        The news I'm reading says the grandson brandished the shotgun. Whose news to
        believe?

        Perhaps our choice of news bulletins is also an expression of freedom?

        Cheers

        Herman


        >
        >


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mary
        ... I do not respect individuals who charge the state with responsibility. Herman, But how are power and the state not synonymous, and how do you propose to
        Message 3 of 15 , Jul 18, 2011
          --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
          I do not respect individuals who charge "the state" with responsibility.

          Herman,

          But how are power and the state not synonymous, and how do you propose to break the vicious cycle of the ignorant masses electing/or not such poorly educated and corrupt representatives, who then in turn continue to oppress. Most parents can't afford or have time themselves to provide a quality education for their children. In the meanwhile, we have an unfortunate number of students entering college who are practically illiterate and only concerned with discerning the distinct flavor of last night's vomit.

          Are you promoting a selfish elitist anarchy a la Nietzsche, because a level playing field is unnatural, or do you really think one can be deluded enough not to recognize how they benefit from the oppression of the toiling masses? Isn't your anarchy also what could be?

          Mary
        • Herman
          Hi Mary, ... The state is not something different from individuals acting and failing to act. The locus of action/inaction, and therefore the locus of freedom,
          Message 4 of 15 , Jul 18, 2011
            Hi Mary,

            On 19 July 2011 02:32, Mary <josephson45r@...> wrote:

            > **
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
            > I do not respect individuals who charge "the state" with responsibility.
            >
            > Herman,
            >
            > But how are power and the state not synonymous,
            >

            The state is not something different from individuals acting and failing to
            act. The locus of action/inaction, and therefore the locus of freedom, is
            the individual.

            and how do you propose to break the vicious cycle
            >

            If I were to assume responsibility for the world, I would be as insane as
            Jesus Christ. If I can have any responsibility at all, it can only be
            limited to how I am in the world, not for how the world is.


            > of the ignorant masses electing/or not such poorly educated and corrupt
            representatives, who then in turn continue to oppress.

            Having identified the locus of action as the individual, I need to accept
            that I can only do what I can do. And what I can, and first must do, before
            aspiring to influence the world, is to demonstrate to myself that I have
            something that is worth saying. If I retain the capacity to be, within
            myself, as miserable a schmuck as the next person, why bother to attempt to
            turn the world into my likeness?

            > Most parents can't afford or have time themselves to provide a quality
            education for their children. In the meanwhile, we have an unfortunate
            number of students entering college who are practically illiterate and only
            concerned with discerning the distinct flavor of last night's vomit.

            >
            > Are you promoting a selfish elitist anarchy a la Nietzsche, because a level
            > playing field is unnatural, or do you really think one can be deluded enough
            > not to recognize how they benefit from the oppression of the toiling masses?
            > Isn't your anarchy also what could be?
            >
            >
            I accept without hesitation your statements to Bill that it takes courage to
            be an existentialist. For me, that courage lies in always accepting, never
            denying, that one is free, always free, and never a victim. How I am in the
            world is not determined by the world. That is always already the case. Do
            you believe that I need to tell humanity as much? And will anyone want to
            hear it?

            Cheers


            Herman



            > Mary
            >
            >
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • William
            ... Jim, your house members seem a cut above our politicians in parliment and the executives wrung them out. A very impressive ,British show. But look at the
            Message 5 of 15 , Jul 19, 2011
              --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Mary,
              >
              > On 19 July 2011 02:32, Mary <josephson45r@...> wrote:
              >
              > > **
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, Herman <hhofmeister@> wrote:
              > > I do not respect individuals who charge "the state" with responsibility.
              > >
              > > Herman,
              > >
              > > But how are power and the state not synonymous,
              > >
              >
              > The state is not something different from individuals acting and failing to
              > act. The locus of action/inaction, and therefore the locus of freedom, is
              > the individual.
              >
              > and how do you propose to break the vicious cycle
              > >
              >
              > If I were to assume responsibility for the world, I would be as insane as
              > Jesus Christ. If I can have any responsibility at all, it can only be
              > limited to how I am in the world, not for how the world is.
              >
              >
              > > of the ignorant masses electing/or not such poorly educated and corrupt
              > representatives, who then in turn continue to oppress.
              >
              > Having identified the locus of action as the individual, I need to accept
              > that I can only do what I can do. And what I can, and first must do, before
              > aspiring to influence the world, is to demonstrate to myself that I have
              > something that is worth saying. If I retain the capacity to be, within
              > myself, as miserable a schmuck as the next person, why bother to attempt to
              > turn the world into my likeness?
              >
              > > Most parents can't afford or have time themselves to provide a quality
              > education for their children. In the meanwhile, we have an unfortunate
              > number of students entering college who are practically illiterate and only
              > concerned with discerning the distinct flavor of last night's vomit.
              >
              > >
              > > Are you promoting a selfish elitist anarchy a la Nietzsche, because a level
              > > playing field is unnatural, or do you really think one can be deluded enough
              > > not to recognize how they benefit from the oppression of the toiling masses?
              > > Isn't your anarchy also what could be?
              > >
              > >
              > I accept without hesitation your statements to Bill that it takes courage to
              > be an existentialist. For me, that courage lies in always accepting, never
              > denying, that one is free, always free, and never a victim. How I am in the
              > world is not determined by the world. That is always already the case. Do
              > you believe that I need to tell humanity as much? And will anyone want to
              > hear it?
              >
              > Cheers
              >
              >
              > Herman
              >
              >
              >
              > > Mary
              > >"And never a victim". I think that statement too strong . That is the genius of Liddy, his threat assessment and ranking of his enemies. Sure it is the elk assessing hid rival in the rut but some are that combative, that self possessed and that dangerous. Look at the three executives in the murdoc hearings. Those are preditory sorts with impressive killing skills. Liddy listed those he saw as truly dangerous. Not that is FN in action and as laudable as Boswells spirited defense of his home. Now leonard was a victim but defended the situation to a win. They have the assailiant in custody and Iowa has a new hero. I am wearing a John Wayne Tee shirt and leonard should be getting his designs ready. he can call it Tee shirts for votes. You can get away with that in southern iowa, that area is severly conservative.
              Jim, your house members seem a cut above our politicians in parliment and the executives wrung them out. A very impressive ,British show. But look at the valor of Boswel, he is a difficult man to confront. Bill
              > >
              > >
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
            • Jim
              Hi Herman, In your post to Mary you write: For me, that courage lies in always accepting, never denying, that one is free, always free, and never a victim. I
              Message 6 of 15 , Jul 20, 2011
                Hi Herman,

                In your post to Mary you write:

                "For me, that courage lies in always accepting, never denying, that one is free, always free, and never a victim."

                I am perplexed by this remark as more than once you have denied that human beings have free will, indeed you have denied that human beings are agents in any sense of the word.

                Please can you explain what you mean by stating that "one is free, always free, and never a victim", given what you have said in the past regarding free will and human agency.

                Jim
              • Herman
                Hi Jim, ... Sure. Recently, in the thread about the Murdoch empire, I wrote: Sticking to my descriptive paradigm, I would say that the reality underlying any
                Message 7 of 15 , Jul 20, 2011
                  Hi Jim,

                  On 21 July 2011 06:24, Jim <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:

                  > **
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi Herman,
                  >
                  >
                  > In your post to Mary you write:
                  >
                  > "For me, that courage lies in always accepting, never denying, that one is
                  > free, always free, and never a victim."
                  >
                  > I am perplexed by this remark as more than once you have denied that human
                  > beings have free will, indeed you have denied that human beings are agents
                  > in any sense of the word.
                  >


                  Sure. Recently, in the thread about the Murdoch empire, I wrote:

                  Sticking to my descriptive paradigm, I would say that the reality
                  underlying any political state of affairs is anarchy. That is necessarily
                  so, if one subscribes to human freedom, which is not to be confused with
                  free will. Freedom merely alludes to the fact that meanings and values are
                  not inscribed in things, I am the author of them.



                  >
                  > Please can you explain what you mean by stating that "one is free, always
                  > free, and never a victim", given what you have said in the past regarding
                  > free will and human agency.
                  >
                  >

                  So, I differentiate between freedom and free will. I acknowledge freedom and
                  I reject free will. As I said above, freedom alludes to the fact that
                  meanings and values are not inscribed in things. That means that any
                  narrative account of myself that holds that I had to act in this or that way
                  because of how the world is, is a lie to myself. Freedom means that there is
                  nothing in the world that can compel me to any action, the world is not a
                  sufficient explanation for how I am in it.

                  Free will, on the other hand, is, as far as I can make out, a metaphysical
                  and incoherent explanation for human behaviour. If you care to put forward
                  your version of it, feel free.

                  I hope the above clarifies.

                  Cheers


                  Herman




                  > Jim
                  >
                  >
                  >


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Mary
                  Jim, I too am confused by Herman s position. He also once declared the individual doesn t exist. He judges my observation about the lives of particular boxers
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jul 20, 2011
                    Jim,

                    I too am confused by Herman's position. He also once declared the individual doesn't exist. He judges my observation about the lives of particular boxers as perverse but asserted he doesn't wish to turn the world into his likeness or tell humanity how it must be.

                    Mary

                    --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hi Herman,
                    >
                    > In your post to Mary you write:
                    >
                    > "For me, that courage lies in always accepting, never denying, that one is free, always free, and never a victim."
                    >
                    > I am perplexed by this remark as more than once you have denied that human beings have free will, indeed you have denied that human beings are agents in any sense of the word.
                    >
                    > Please can you explain what you mean by stating that "one is free, always free, and never a victim", given what you have said in the past regarding free will and human agency.
                    >
                    > Jim
                    >
                  • Herman
                    Hi Mary, ... Bill asked me for my view. I gave it. If you wish to construe that as me proselytising so be it. And you misrepresent me in another way. I gave a
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jul 20, 2011
                      Hi Mary,

                      On 21 July 2011 14:13, Mary <josephson45r@...> wrote:

                      > **
                      >
                      >
                      > Jim,
                      >
                      > I too am confused by Herman's position. He also once declared the
                      > individual doesn't exist. He judges my observation about the lives of
                      > particular boxers as perverse but asserted he doesn't wish to turn the world
                      > into his likeness or tell humanity how it must be.
                      >
                      >
                      Bill asked me for my view. I gave it. If you wish to construe that as me
                      proselytising so be it.

                      And you misrepresent me in another way. I gave a clear qualification that if
                      I retained the capacity to be a miserable schmuck........blah blah blah


                      Cheers

                      Herman



                      > Mary
                      >
                      >
                      > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Jim" <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Hi Herman,
                      > >
                      > > In your post to Mary you write:
                      > >
                      > > "For me, that courage lies in always accepting, never denying, that one
                      > is free, always free, and never a victim."
                      > >
                      > > I am perplexed by this remark as more than once you have denied that
                      > human beings have free will, indeed you have denied that human beings are
                      > agents in any sense of the word.
                      > >
                      > > Please can you explain what you mean by stating that "one is free, always
                      > free, and never a victim", given what you have said in the past regarding
                      > free will and human agency.
                      > >
                      > > Jim
                      > >
                      >
                      >
                      >


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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