reality cracking
Back to fravia's Reality Cracking section

Be warned: this is not for the philosophically impaired. If you are not interested by concepts like "sense of justice", "soul versus bodies" and similaria you better leave right now, or prepared to be bored. However if you do remain and read, there is matter for quite some thoughts here. Philosophical reversing is quite a tool per se.
Kuririn love for his 'Platonic order' transpares in this short essay, that will appeal to readers that do think about their place in the society.
What I personally doubt, here, is that we live in a democracy that allows anyone to decide by himself. Far from it: the amount of power in the hands of those that I call 'conditioners' or 'slave masters' is staggering.
Babies are pavlovianically indoctrinated (through inter alia TV and advertisement) since their early years. No wonder they have almost no brain left when they later smoke their Camel standing on their Nikes inside their MacDonald. I wouldn't dare to believe that such zombies would be able to make a "distinction between what is natural and what conventional in our behavior and desires". In other words I believe that the 'relishes' Kuririn is speaking of are IMPOSED ad hoc, in order to create eo ipso slaves of an inhumane oligarchy, not of their bodies.

Here is Kuririn email:
I've composed a few words (not a strong essay... not even an essay!) but take a look and see if it is worth putting up on your r/c section. Many will be able to contribute to it (if they care to). i know that you will -wonder- about mention of the soul. let me clarify (this is not a christian soul, i.e., not immortal nor is ). it is an order that Plato presupposes in men comprised of three aspects eros/thymos and logos. Each is naturally part of Platonic psychology (n.b., that social science pshychology does not mention the soul yet not the etymology!). Thymos is the aspect of the soul which discerns intent in others and manytimes in nature itself (stub a toe on a rock, kick the rock ;) (it is the root of Rousseau's amore propre or similar to it). A thymotic soul if properly educated is in Plato's Repulbic -a guardian or defender-. In other words thymos is the sense of justice in men which compels them to defend their own. The point is (while not getting into the subtleties) the Platonic soul does not have to carry with it any odd notions of religion. I suppse (since this a rough rough draft) much will need to be clarified. good.

by the way please remove my old essay on aspartame (blow it up, drop it in a vat of acid etc.)

Of course I wont remove anything, unless he sends a new and better version as substitution, eheh :-)

Public opinion enslavement and soul
by Kuririn, April 2000

The great democratic danger is enslavement to public opinion. The tyranny of the majority as this danger is frequently refered to is in essence oppositional to the claim of democracy (or the founding principle of democracy). The claim of a democracy is that every mand decides for himself (independent of any imposed authority), i.e., Each man decides for himself what is good or bad. Differently stated democratic man applies reason to make judgements which do not accept any authority outside of natural reason. The great danger for democracy then appears based on a limitation of the natural ruling class in a democracy.

In a democracy the prejudices normally associated with relgion, class and family are leveled not only in principle but also in fact. This follows naturally from the former statement concerning democratic man's dependence on his own faculties to discern what is good and bad, i.e., the dependence of democratic man on his own reason. In other words each man in a democracy is his own authority or in effect a self-governing body. Men who actively seek for an authority outside of their own reason will not find it within established tradition or that tradition as a tie to the ancient is no longer accessible for men who seek such an authority.
In other words, this does not mean that there is no access to ancient thought (e.g., the University) but that the promulgation of antique wisdom or authority in a democracy is not rooted in such a way that supports the illusion of pernamence hence the issue that antique wisdom or simply rootedness in tradition's inability to be established as a coercive structure (or an influenceing structure). But since very few democratic men school themselves in the use of reason beyond mere self-interest (self-interest which is supported by the regieme) they actually require an authority. Such a thought becomes particulary interesting when one considers Book II of the Republic, in particular the discussion between Socrates and Glaucon concerning the development of a city in speech (the city of sows).
The city of sows is according to Socrates -the true city- in which men have no other concern than there own bodily needs. The issue underlying this city in speech points to the distinction between what is natural and what conventional in our behavior and desires -- also what is the limit of convention based in nature. Rousseau takes nature to be the body and plausibly suggests that the body has relatively few needs and that it could not make man social or in need of other human beings in any significant or binding way. See Republic 369e-370a, and 372d-e for the possibility that Socrates agrees at least this far: the body has few needs and if it were all, we would be self-sufficient. Were we to apply art to the needs of the body we begin to speak in terms of human flourishing or fulfilment -- each can provide for himself, but one man can bring one art to greater perfection, so specialization and cooperation allow art to advance. But bringing an art to perfection is not enough to satisfy a human being; the city of sows is comically half-souled: its citizens lack any thymos, they kill their own babies and never seek luxuries because they realize that this would lead to war in the long run. The luxurious or feverish city is taken up by Socrates without much protest except to say that the former was the "true city" which means that cities can provide the body with what it needs and, if we did not have souls, the body would not need much. It is only because we have souls that are unsatisfied that we confuse the needs of the soul with the body and have to provide our body with so many things. This includes lovers and wives.
So the Republic also shows that human beings mistake the needs of the soul for those of the body.
Therefore, while the body only needs grain and vegetables to thrive, we try to feed the hunger in our soul with relish upon relish. Since relishes cost money, captialism thrives on this dissatisfaction of soul, as it encourages consumption of material goods and thereby enslavement to the market where you can buy these things and sell yourself to earn the money to buy more. Captialism is therefore a vicious circle, depriving the soul and feeding it ersatz nourishment. Only the rarest of individuals will recognize his true needs for what they are while still young and flexible in soul. Old regimes offered some world interpretation that resembled philosophy in hierarchical form if not content; they therefore provided some guidance or "pointed" towards philosophy. Today only the University can do so by preserving these old ways of thinking, and philosophy alongside them, and supporting withal the "illusion of permanence" which otherwise would have to be offered by the regime or not at all. The issue is then not explicitly limited to capitalism but democracy itself. In other words I want to emphasize the extent to which democracy and not merely capitalism is our cave, and hence the true nature of that which has to be overcome.

Now, in a democracy where men do not have recourse to a tradition should they require authority they will not find one rooted in tradition. On the one hand this opens up the problem stated at the beginning of the paragraph (no doubt what supports the moral authority of the majority given that a single man who doubts his own good or ends being unable to turn to a natural authority in himself turns to the only available power, i.e., the soveeriengty of the will of the people). On the other hand this appears to presuppose that men are not in the absolute sense connecting the idea of what is good with self-interest as an end which is good. Since even the self-interest about which they calculate--the ends--may become doubtful. Differently stated self-interest as an end which is supported by the regieme is not enough for some men (becomes a matter for doubt) and as such indicates that something else is needed which must exist (perhaps) independently from the regieme but necessarily supported by it. I suspect that this is the place for the University. The underlying implication is that very few men have the capacity to rely on their own faculties naturally in the fullest sense or that very few men are completely self-sufficent. In other words "The active presence of a tradition in a man's soul gives him a resource agains the ephemeral {or the prevailing passions which are subject to change easily from moment to moment} the kind of resource that only the wise can find simply within themselves."

All in democracy are equal and therefore apparently the opposite of slaves. However, as is always the case, the political model stamps its character into the souls of the citizens. Only this one does so invisibly, by destroying alternative ways of thought in the name of liberating its citizens. Although all are free to make their own decisions pertaining to their own life, collective action is absolutely necessary to secure these rights, maintain law and order, deal with foreign nations, etc. The modern democratic solution is, faute de mieux, the will of the majority (represened by the legislature, executive, and justice system with juries). By analogy this carries over into psychology. Each citizen claims to be independent and follow his own opinion when it comes to private life; we all are taught to take pride in being ourselves. However, we are also taught to be team players. Not only politics but daily life requires cooperation and therefore consensus of opinion. Someone has to accomidate someone else, and when all are considered equal, it would be the height of vainglory for a minority to ask the majority for a significant concession. They might beg but they could have no moral claim, "no sense of superior right." Unlike open tyrants, the majority rulers do not require you not to contradict their opinions. However, they break the "inner will to resist" by denying that anyone is or can be better than anyone else, and therefore that proud disdain of the masses can be more than pathology. More than its physical might, the majority dominates with its control of juries (and editorial columns, etc.) and therefore of the semblance of justice. This is the confusion of nature and convention. N.B., the necessity for men to have an unscientific admixture of "nature and convention" --e.g., responding to natural needs (desires etc.) by embracing conventional solutions (marriage for love, etc.) In any event, since no firm voices declare principles contrary to democracy, one of many possible and humanly constructed regimes appears to wield the only natural or possible claim to justice. No alternative remains visible within democracies, and democracy is therefore the only regime that does not somehow point beyond itself, or leave any sign to direct the wayward soul dissatisfied with its neighborhood but not knowing where to go.

Americans talk a lot about individual right, and in fact they admire and applaud nonconformity -- so long as it conforms to the content of dominant opinions. This is done by anticipating where public opinion is going next, or radicalizing what is already held to be true, flattering the masses that they are capable of free thought when in fact they merely roll about in the mud like pigs. One example suffices, i.e., that of Marxists, who decry captialist democracy and bourgeois vulgarity in the name of a proletarian revolution -- a radicalized version of the working man's desire for more respect and less work and the white collar man's guilt about those less successful than he. This only underlines the nature of a democractic prejudice -- the equal right of all to pleasure or "indolency of body" as Locke put it..

No one likes to believe that what he can see is limited by circumstances, no matter how easily he recognizes this effect in others.
Kuririn, April 2000
You are deep inside fravia's, choose your way out:

Petit image

(c) 2000: [fravia+], all rights reserved