Archive for individualism
I just happened to be out at a festival in Brooklyn this past week and there was a table from the AK Press, as there are frequently. On the table are a few dozen pamphlets with Anarchist reads. so I took about 20, just to see what the people at this particular event are taking in. I’m not sure how many people were reading this stuff, because I was the only person asking questions at the free literature table for at least 30 minutes. This text Capitalism, class and class struggle for (ex) dummies tries to sum up capitalism in a friendly way, they even call the readers (ex) dummies. I’m unsure who the authors are, as they weren’t presented, but I do know that it came from someone or many @IOHNYC via @libcomorg & @AKPressDistro.
This critique will be short and is specific to Integrationalism which is the notion that we are all physiologically connected; based on my previous writings on “Human Nature / Technological Determinism / Competition as as spawn of Individualism”. The brief read was entertaining, and the use of prose made their concept of capitalism digestible. It elaborates that capitalism was established by other-than “natural” forces. More specifically: violence and imperialism. Sorts of politics by the first advanced countries in Europe as they aimed to compete for scarce resources.
- Humans cannot have nature.
- Technology is deterministic when applied to the human condition.
- Individualism has spawned competitive events resulting in arbitrage.
The term nature will forever be ambiguous, because of its reference to the physical world; and as we are physical entities, all that we can know is a apart of the physical world/realm. “Natural” can also reference a nostalgic or more primitive state of existing socially and technologically. This is where I have to assume that the argument for capitalism by force (for lack of better phrases) stems. This notion of force is a false, as the first technologically elite nations fought over scarce land, resources, and allusive faiths. This competition stems from the inherent arbitrage that already existed by a more primitive brand of capital from tribal times: land & people.
We live in a dynamic physical realm where growth is essential to our survival. Human-kind is inherently ambitious in this regard.
While it is impossible phenomenologically for human’s to actually have a nature about themselves, the one thing that we’ve always tried to do is control our situation to better manage the risks of uncertainty. It’s not an ill mission, but the pathology of our altruism often shows that it is our most stifling virtue. Projecting our idea of greatness onto the entire population is not progressive, even as technology progresses. we must compel growth via our technologies.
Regardless of the horrible brand at places like http://capitalism.org/ the economic phenomena (not system) of Capitalism is human-kinds most technologically advanced attempt at distribution of values, and while it has its flaws, the growth and ability of our information tech and bio tech will allow us the opportunity (if we so choose to seize it) to better distribute value and compel growth by participation of persons. This text called Capitalism for (ex)dummies is misleading and a dangerous attempt to bring attention to one of the most important issues of any time.
Yesterday a psychologist friend of mine sent me this article along with a few other folks to ask if she should be getting into this field of study.
Read the article HERE
Here is my response via email.
ooooh thank you for this article.
I think that you should be studying this…..I’d love to drop everything and do a deep dive into this. I particularly like this quote from the article.
” First of all, if entrepreneurs are job creators, workers are wealth creators. Entrepreneurs use wealth to create jobs for workers. Workers use labor to create wealth for entrepreneurs — the excess productivity, over and above wages and other compensation, that goes to corporate profits. It’s neither party’s goal to benefit the other, but that’s what happens nonetheless. “
This also feeds into that article that we are supposed to be doing about the PTS that I’m almost sure that the long-term out of work has….it would be the flip-side of psychopathic capitalists mis-judging the “wealth creators” as Deresiewics put it. I almost resent how accurate Ayn Rand’s rational self interest is, which is why I think that there are only technological solutions to sociopathic and psychopathic culture. There have to be quantifiable checks and balances….because humans do a poor job (and have always) at evaluating risks and allocation resources. We can still be human or humane and operate in sync.
While at MSU this associate professor that attended my philosophy clubs took-a-stab to sum all of this up as “the contradictions of capitalism”, but these problems are not inherent to capitalism…they are just a spawn of our understanding of our own individualism. it what makes Ayn Rand so fearfully, spot on.
From a literary standpoint, I think we can address this problem well by exploiting and remedying, what I’m calling:
The five contradictions of individualism and its off-spring:
- Systemic Risk
But again, all I think that we can suggest are the error-proofs (Ron knows what I’m talking about)…I don’t see how there are solutions other than technological ones (methodological, hard/softwares), that could pervade a group (of any size) of individuals.
I’ve spent some time thinking about what the #Occupy movement is really representing. I’ve tried to attend the camps as I’ve traveled and interview the people in the camps; as well as, their formidable opponents in the ownership positions of the respective societies that Occupiers exist.
I think that I’m comfortable echoing the analysis in that Occupiers have done a good initial job in comparison to similar movements around the world and in the United States in particular. They’ve caught the attention of the masses, in that everyone knows what #Occupy means. Of course the problems of any fledgling movement are that its priorities aren’t hashed (#) out. While everyone knows what #Occupy is; no one has any idea of what it wants, or rather, needs.
Every movement-struggle-jihad, has is a battle of philosophy on how a society should exist versus how it does. Based on the consistent and more frequent collapse in the economic system, it is evident that we are due for some structural change in the modern world. When I listen to the rhetoric of this movement and the defense of its identified opponents, I think the following apply. There is a clash of ideals on whose altruism is not only virtuous but most beneficial. On the one hand we have that of the individuals, formally represented by the #Occupiers. On the other we have that of the institutions, formally represented by their owners/stakeholders. While individuals (humans in this case) can allocate a moral regard to their fellow man/woman based on their acknowledgment of his/her intrinsic or extrinsic value, institutions do not. Yet some individuals can advocate the virtues of an institution because for their holding that the institution’s incentives to take action better the society as a whole.
Institutions were created by individuals to protect the discovery, development, and deployment of technologies (methodologies, hardware, & software) that help individuals control what would otherwise be a chaotic environment. Who wants to live in 3000 B.C.E.? I’d doubt any of us could enjoy limiting our communication to a distances less than 20 feet. While institutions have served individuals well over the millennia their control mechanisms have the potential to run-a-muck. Their primary control mechanisms are related to their extrinsic value, or ability to generate revenues above the costs to exists. Controls validate the existence of each institution (for-profit & not-for-profit alike), but individuals don’t regard themselves as having extrinsic value alone (at least not all of them), per this on-going survey that I’ve been taking with some backlash about the use of language on “value“. Problem comes into play when those who are still benefiting from the existing operations of institutions clashes with those who are no longer benefiting. As institutions trying to sustain existence, they actually have incentives to suppress markets to indemnify stakeholders, per their understanding of who is most valuable.
Regarding the Occupy movement and its potential participants, the progress will occur when and if the most radical of the bunch agree that the contrast of values between individuals and institutions is infringing on their civil or even human rights and is in fact stifling their ability to live productive lives. Regardless of how they derive their understanding of the modern economic situation, they’ll have to hold it as dear and urgent as their more radical predecessors of the last past successful liberal movements. I’m not referring to MLK’s boycotts or the freedom riders, or the Jewish resistance in Europe, or the Mandela‘s political activism. I’m referring to the immediate threat that militant groups like the Black Panthers, or the onslaught of the Allied Forces, or the provocative military growth of Umkhonto we Sizwe and the many like groups respectively per each struggle. The laws of arbitrage are clear and animalistic. Incumbent leadership, ideals, and conservatism can only respect some formidable opposition.
The incumbent power in 1950’s United States and 1980’s South Africa only yielded because they perceived an inevitable destructive threat; any rhetoric that suggests otherwise is misleading. It would take years to list all the martyrs from every movement who gave their lives to inspire the few, and were willing to take other’s lives for their cause. The pathology of pacifism is a failed effort when it does not inspire an aggressive colleague. Occupiers are going to have to figure out what in the world they can do to change the way institutions and individuals agree on human value. Although they were arguing slightly different causes, the incumbent powers decided to oblige Lyndon B Johnson immortalizing Martin Luther King in order to nullify the slogan “black power” and its author Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael). It seems as though it takes a guilty old man faced with the passions of an aggressive young man, to make any incremental change.
This incentive model is a prelude to our second publication in 2011 Integrationalism: Exploring Spiritual Disincentives for Humanity. Individualism molds all spiritual thought, and in-turn, adversely effects the ethical regard that men/women can have for peers. This text suggests that humans have no incentive to interact harmoniously under a spiritual and moreover an individualistic regard. We are pursuing solutions in the dark.
What a good time in Salt Lake City. When I told people that I was there for a conference on technology and spirituality, they would all (every last one of them) pause and ask “technology and spirituality?”…as if the two will never have to collide and either, merge well, or battle for dominance in the ages to come. All I see are battles…..lol….. as technological progression and incentives to be rational modify societies naive inability to question well. The kinds of polar opposites that technology and spirituality create are what excite and scare simultaneously; at some point the rift between the two will come to a head….I’d like to prevent people on both sides from losing theirs (heads that is).
This pic is a snap shot of my presentation at the University of Utah on the phenomenological impossibility for spiritual understanding to create pervasive harmonies within the cognitively elite species (modern and post human species). Without wasting space writing about why and how I think that this argument is important (hopefully its obvious) I’ll just dig into the diagram titled incentive model.
The ‘S’ represents a spirit (or Souls) and the ‘P’ represents a physical being (or People). The red diamond represents resources of sorts. The top is a representation of scarce resources and the bottom is a representation of relatively abundant resources. this rationale will be elaborated on much more in my book scheduled for 2011…but can be understood in the Dubai vs Duba scenario of the book that I released this past July 2010.
During my talk in Utah I stated that the value proposition of spirituality was plainly, to “connect people”. I saw that the Mormon, Christian, and Other attendance agreed through a series of tweets on the topic at #ts2010. Regarding Integrationalism and how it relates to Transhumanism, I am chiefly concerned with how we pursue connecting people in the future. So we all have the same mission, but I’m not optimistic about the potential of the current spiritual strategies that we are employing to achieve the value proposition.
In my previous book I elaborate on how spirituality is a direct spawn of individualism; and further, how it is a parent of unavoidable ideas such as elitism, entitlements, and protectionism…of course there are more, but these are chiefly important when considering how or if human kind will interact well; and further, connect.
Referencing the upper portion of the pic above, we currently interact in an economic reality of scarce resources of sorts…hence the need for markets and market segmentation and the whole array of socio-cultural benefits and ailments that accompany market labels. In a scarce economic state the ‘P’ compete directly to procure to scarce resources. We’ve been interacting in this fashion since the beginning of our existence, well before our Homo sapiens sapiens state. In this type of economic reality ‘P’ don’t actually have the incentive to connect, and ‘S’ don’t actually have the incentive to connect our well being. ‘S’, per it’s wide spread definition and scholarly elaboration in countless texts, are specific to ‘P’ and exist to interact with ‘P’ either alone or on behalf of some high powered supreme spirit. Either way, a spiritual ‘P’ understands itself as being directly connected to its ‘S’, and the partnership empowers both to protect their own existence above competitors. This makes for violent outcomes. We’re all familiar with war, right?……LOL…
Regarding abundance and the lower portion of the pic above, spirituality also has significant impact on the sociological understanding of individuals relative to their surrounding society. Under all spiritual beliefs the individual has the potential to become favored, favoured, blessed, enlightened, etc…the jargon depends on the spiritual system and cultural adoption…but the understanding is pervasive: All ‘P’ with ‘S’ counterparts have the potential to become -special- to sum it up in one word. I deal that is, special, provides some (or much, in a technologically miniscule setting) potential for a disproportionate allocation of resources to the anointed ‘P’. Hence, ‘P’ interacts indirectly with its competitor in the diagram to procure….more.
‘S’, incentivizes the individual’s ability to become omni-selfish at some point depending on intellectual ability, socio-cultural status, and/or economic reality. Technology’s ability to help us quantify, interpret, and distribute resources of sorts will be crucial in human kind’s pursuit of an actual civil society. Peace, is not a phenomenon that human kind will achieve without its technological-extensions as I’ve called them in the past. Perhaps the evolution that will proceed a physical metamorphosis of human kind will be an ideological metamorphosis, from that of divided survivalists to an understandingly connected group of highly rational beings; pursuing protection of like life-forces as the supreme priority.
“Were all virgins to the joys of Loving without fear” – Janelle Monae.