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Re: Tommy's Survivalism and Communicationalism [was Choice and Action]

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  • james tan
    hi tommy, ... maybe i don t quite understand ur theory . i do think for communication to be possible, there has to be some agreed values shared by the
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 20, 2002
      hi tommy,

      u said:
      >>It is only to the extent that views and constructs differ that true
      >>communication is possible. If we were all identical in our views and
      >>constructs there would obviously be nothing TO communicate. The greater
      >>the difference, the greater the potential for communication.<<

      maybe i don't quite understand ur 'theory'. i do think for communication to
      be possible, there has to be some agreed values shared by the communicators,
      and meaning and values are negotiated between sender and receiver. the
      problem comes with who are the sender and receiver as far as the other party
      is concerned. for america as the victim of 911 attacks, there is no more
      negotiation; bush said, osama wanted, alive or dead. he also said, infinite
      justice. the question is, do bush and osama see the word 'justice'
      similarly? for osama, he might see (correctly or incorrectly; it is HIS
      perception, not the 'truth', that make him behave how he behaves; a lot of
      pious muslims have counter-claim his action) america as the very symbol of
      enemy of allah; and as such, any action against the enemy of his god is
      justifiable. there is no negotiation, not even the meaning of word such as
      'justice'. meaning comes from context, and bush has very different context
      from osama. bush might have said, either u are for us or against us. osama
      might have believed, either u belong to allah, or u belong to the devils
      (and devils are to be burned in hell, if not then world trade centers and
      pentagon would be better than nothing). what communication can there be?
      what osama did left bush with 'no choice' but extermination (not
      communication, unless u think extermination is a kind of communication, in
      that u commuicated ur utter disapproval by ur actions, ie, attacks and
      destruction of al-qaeda and the taliban; but if u include communication is
      so broad a manner, then anything goes...) it is an illusion that people like
      osama or hitler can be communicated. remember the british prime minister
      chambelain who tried to communicate with hitler? the end result is that that
      briton is deceived by that german. ethics without power is lame, power
      without ethics is blind; and communication presuppose shared ethics and some
      balance of power, if not, it is not two way communication, for that matter
      not communication at all. no money no honey, no power no communication. to
      communicate u need power, and osama's terrorist attack is a kind of power,
      low-handed and rather despicable type, but the only type he could muster
      against a superpower like america (devil's incarnation, at least according
      to this small group of muslims); it does sort of indicate that at some
      level, america has failed to listen prior to the attacks, probably because
      the voice had been too weak, the power difference too huge. one could look
      upon the 911 attack as a desperate (despicable and immoral nonetheless)
      attempt to get attention to the views of the other side which up till then
      has been ignored; ie, their attempt to communicate has been a flop. look at
      the power difference between israel and palestine, and what the weaker side
      could do to retaliate (they may be the much weaker, but they still have
      dignity and will still fight or die for what they thought to be theirs, even
      if it is obvious it is a losing battle) is to throw stones and do some of
      these terrorist suicidal attacks. in a sense, all things are communication,
      even such terrorist attacks by osama or the palestinian (gee, is it a
      coincidence that both groups are muslim?), but communication cannot be for
      its own sake, as u seem to suggest; communication is just a means to serve
      some ends, such as survival or the procuring of one's rights as a human or a
      citizen of a state.

      although differences give a reason to communicate, but utter difference
      leave no room for negotiation. ur concept of the Whole is too abstract,
      somewhat akin to hegel's concept of the Absolute, and perhaps only a
      philosopher like yourself could appreciate in ur ivory tower, and at the
      meantime, daniel pearl has been gagged and shot in the head, and millions of
      jews gassed. u have to make it more practical. we have all the various
      religions that talk about peace and love, and we are still having wars. so,
      try again, with something that can really work. it cannot just sound good in
      theory; it has to work in real life situation. test ur idea against the
      middle-east conflict situation; if it works, i think bush and general zinni?
      will be very impressed. u think ur communicationalism can work?


      From: Tommy Beavitt <tommy@...>
      Reply-To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
      To: WisdomForum@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [WisdomForum] Re: Tommy's Survivalism and Communicationalism [was
      Choice and Action]
      Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 18:09:38 +0000

      At 3:33 pm +0000 19/3/02, james tan wrote:
      >communicationlism....well, obviously it'd be good if there can be
      >communication; but, not everybody wants to communicate even if YOU want to
      >communicate. communicationlism cannot be taken for granted, and there has
      >be some common grounds for such interaction to be possible.

      Actually, James, I question both of your assumptions here. Everybody
      does want to communicate. It is the one thing we ALL have in common.

      I am defining communication as that which leads to a genuine
      understanding of the position of the Other (and via it, position of
      self, and, by mapping of position of self relative to multiplicitous
      Other, Whole).
      There are many individuals and entities whose position regarding
      communication can be fairly regarded as hiding their heads in the
      sand. But for my theory to work it is a simple matter to disregard
      them even if some corporate entities into which they have been
      subsumed use them for the purposes of communication. To again cite
      the apposite if rather emotive example of Daniel Pearl, it does not
      particularly concern us whether he managed to achieve a genuine level
      of communication with his kidnappers/executioners. If we were him
      then it would concern us, but we are not. However, his individual
      fate does concern us as it relates to the folding of the historical
      drama currently being referred to as the 'war against terrorism'. As
      swmaerske recently wrote, "he is dead ... for what he represented to
      the men who captured him"; they used him as a means of sending their
      message to the rest of the world. It was not to him that they bore
      any particular malice but to the imperialist/zionist entity of Israel
      allied with the USA (as they no doubt perceive it)

      The "common ground" to this interaction is, simply, the Whole, within
      which we all subsist.

      >there are group
      >of people in this world whose views, constructs of reality are so utterly
      >different, any attempts at communication is futile.

      I totally disagree. It is only to the extent that views and
      constructs differ that true communication is possible. If we were all
      identical in our views and constructs there would obviously be
      nothing TO communicate. The greater the difference, the greater the
      potential for communication.

      >besides, the real issue
      >might be power, not communication, so even if there seems to be a
      >of communication, there is still a hidden agenda; and there is no
      >negotiotion with power..

      Again, I disagree. There precisely IS negotiation with power but only
      by rival power. Why do you think the American military/industrial
      complex is spending so much diplomatic energy rubbishing the views of
      the "european liberal elite"? It is because the entity of which these
      views are a representation have a certain amount of (economic, if not
      military) power and so there is a necessity to bother to negotiate
      with them. Likewise with China or Saudi Arabia.

      >people like omar allattas (the one who flew the
      >plane to hit the wtc) can't be communicated (just don't bother, it would
      >futile, they may even trick u into thinking they have accepted ur views),
      >they are not to be 'counselled', they just simply have to be caught first
      >and then be killed before they could act their anti-social or terrorist
      >acts. to advocate communication with the such, one almost naively has no
      >idea how entrenched are their radical views (entrenched enough to be
      >in america for decades as a sleeping bomb, and turn suicidally intending
      >destruction at the expense of their own lives - with such, there can be no
      >communication, only extermination, and it boils down not to morality, but
      >intelligence and power.

      You have failed to grasp the point which makes this theory work,
      which is that entities may be individual humans (like Omar Allatas)
      or they may be corporate entities into which individuals have (for
      the purposes of any particular communication event such as September
      11th) been subsumed. I am not advocating that anybody attempt to
      communicate with suicidal terrorists, no, the obvious thing is to gun
      them down before they can commit any murderous acts. There is,
      however, a need to communicate with the corporate entities into which
      these suicide attackers have been subsumed. If we are to tackle the
      causes as well as the effects of terrorism we must attempt to
      communicate with them. Forms of communication available include
      pitched battle, diplomacy, economic action etc.

      >at the end of the day, it is a question of who has
      >the bigger power, not justification in morality. u can argue all u want
      >about ethics against the man who killed pearl, but at the end of the day,
      >died with a bullet inside his brain. pearl might have begged for his life,
      >might have even reasoned better than his murderer about the ethics of it
      >all, but the man who has the power decided it didn't matter; they have
      >overpowered pearl; that, is what that mattered. for communication to be
      >possible, u need to assume there is a correct balance of power, else,

      I agree with your idea of balance of power. But how can power be
      balanced without communication? My purpose is to facilitate a
      discussion wherein the starting point of any ethical theory is
      communication not survival.

      From this starting point it is possible to extrapolate an ethic which
      doesn't rely on making a distinction between the value of my survival
      or the survival of my friends and the value of the survival of the
      Other. This seems to me to have been the stumbling point to all
      attempts to develop an ethical system since the "death of god" more
      than 100 years ago. Utilitarianism failed for a similar reason: it
      simply doesn't follow that the good is the greatest happiness of the
      greatest number of human beings. That has led to medical and food
      technologies being applied to allowing ever greater numbers of humans
      to be helped to survive ever longer with all the attendant social and
      ecological problems. We simply cannot continue to attempt to create
      greater quantities of good by simply creating the conditions for
      greater numbers of people to feel happiness.

      By taking communication rather than survival to be the good we are
      able to increase the good by defining it as an increase the total
      amount of communication (defined as ability to to take up a
      particular and unique position within the Whole relative to
      multiplicitous Other and get to know that towards which the mapping
      of perspective of Self relative to perspective of Other tends).
      Unlike happiness or survival which tends towards infinity (6bn and
      counting), communication tends towards 1.


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