I write this inspired by the work of Ian Hacking on looping effects, human kinds and so on. My sympathies are with Hacking on this. Still, I believe there’s something that needs to be added: the social looping effect needs a binding effect in reality to remain stable. This has consequences: it is too easy to reduce a specific kind of humans out of the human kind just because they are confronted with a reality that happens to be out of the social norm.
Let me make up a story, a parable of sorts, about an imaginary civilization in which an evil both real and socially constructed exists. A parable has the virtue of edification because it illustrates a point without risking the muddle of prejudice which will inevitably surround any actual real and/or socially constructed concept or behavior.
Mountains, social exclusion and initiation rituals ahead:
“It was full of phonies. And mean guys. You never saw so many mean guys in your life. For instance, if you were having a bull session in somebody’s room, and somebody wanted to come in, nobody’d let them in if they were some dopey, pimply guy. Everybody was always locking their door whens somebody wanted to come in.”
J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, p. 174, Penguin Books, 1958.
“(..) And besides (..)”
“How would you know you weren’t being a phoney? The trouble is, you wouldn’t.”
ibid. p. 179.
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 24-01-2010. Wonderfully short and off-topic.]
I’m too old for it now. I guess I grew out of it. Or thought I grew out of it. But did I? Apparently not or I wouldn’t be quoting it. No, ít grew out of me maybe. Forgot it, or suppressed it. Maybe I was a phoney all along and these quotes the kind of thing a phoney sympathizes with; in order to shield himself in his own thoughts: from being a phoney. Continue reading
‘Tis true, ’tis day, what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise, because ’tis light?
Did we lie down, because ’twas night?
Love which in spite of darkness brought us hither,
Should in despite of light keep us together.
Must business thee from hence remove?
Oh, that’s the worst disease of love,
The poor, the foul, the false, love can
Admit, but not the busied man.
He which hath business, and makes love, doth do
Such wrong, as when a married man doth woo.
John Donne, The major Works, Oxford World’s Classics, Oxford University Press, 1990, p. 102.
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd. 16/11/2008. No idea what this will be about.]
Nothing like an early 17th century poem delivering an early 21st century truth. It is a testament to the ease with which words can travel. ‘Busy, busy, busy,’ – the more time we reclaim from nature, the less time we feel to have.
“It’s a competitive world
Everything counts in large amounts
The grabbing hands
Grab all they can
Everything counts in large amounts.”
Depeche Mode, The Best Of Depeche Mode, Disc 1.
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dd 05-10-2008. Posted here without any real review, just to give a sign of life.]
Faced with complex issues we try to find complex solutions. Administrations of most dinosauric dimensions are engaged to tackle, tune & tweak complexities. Heads of those administrations, whether private or public, achieve heroic status, and adopt appropriately heroic characteristics. Like Alexander the Great they strive to build an empire that can last forever, like Hercules – with self-acclaimed Herculean efforts – they stand the most extreme tests of character.
Complexity breeds grand nobility.
“Sommes-nous pas bien brutes de nommer brutale l’opération qui nous fait?” M. de Montaigne, Essais III, Chapitre V, p. 132, Éd’s Gallimard, 1965.
[Amateuristic English translation: “Aren’t we brutes for calling the action that made us brutal?”]
It’s been a while. Let me talk about myself a bit: Continue reading
“Do good things and good things will happen to you.” from ‘My name is Earl’, US comedy series (which used to be) running on channels all over the world (and is now probably degraded to early morning status).
[Re-posted from The Old Site, original dated 28-01-2008. Even heavy, overweight blogs sometimes try to lighten up – although this is not yet exactly lightweight. It’s a bit confused but with a high dose of benevolence there’s something in it for those with an open mind.]
It should be as simple as that. And maybe it is. I doubt whether anyone has ever really tried. Nature is competition, one cannot argue with that and I certainly will not argue against that. Does that mean we have to take our competition personally? Is there a thing that can be called ‘our’ competition? Continue reading
“The tear naturally starts in our eye on the apprehension of a warm sentiment of this nature: our breast heaves, our heart is agitated, and every humane tender principle of our frame is set in motion, and gives us the purest and most satisfactory enjoyment.”, The enquiries concerning human understanding and concerning the principles of morals, D. Hume, Clarendon Press, 1975, p. 257.
I chose this quote six weeks ago and can’t quite remember what I then thought. This is what I (try to) think now: Continue reading