Philosophy

Ghost Machine

self(-)consumption

Posted in Art, Featured, Internet, Movies, Philosophy, Technology, TV Tagged with: , , ,

Let them eat flat screens

The argument wins out, on the basis of something like the Rawlsean compromise, but remains sustainable only within artificially defined borders without which its appeal to the pure selfishness of an utterly empty self would be exposed not just in its self-insignificance, but in relation to what must be destroyed to keep it materially if not morally alive – at least until the day that the absurdity by whatever unthinkable and therefore totally unexpected way impinges on it as though from the outside, the externality revealing itself as always having been internal after all.

Posted in Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Philosophy Tagged with:

Extra ordinary fragments never to be read, understood, or thought

you may think you understand but you do not understand you will never understand understanding of this kind is beyond you

Posted in Books, Featured, History, Internet, Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

a better very, very bad translation of Grass’s poem + some bonus research

just for the sake of keeping track of this stuff and maybe someday doing something more with it, for the best social-scientific-philosophical reasons,

Posted in History, Internet, Philosophy, Politics, War Tagged with: , , , , ,

Derbyshire’s Children

Since John Derbyshire brought his family into it, I feel free to imagine a response on the part of his child – in effect to mark the transition via adolescent resistance on the way to autonomous adulthood. “Why should I follow what you advise, father? So I can grow up to live a life as morally impoverished, as safe from the risky vitality of others, as immune to hope, as yours?”

Posted in Featured, Internet, Miscellany, Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Politics, Religion Tagged with: ,

Supremely Original

The problem that matters is that an attempted return to the original moment is a search for a primordial “constituting power” that does not arise in Eden or the Promised Land, but somewhere in the wastes.

Posted in History, Philosophy

Chomolungmous Shit Mountains Within

the truth of the search for intelligibility might be in that search for intelligibility, not in any “clear” “particular” “inteilligibles” yielded by some finally successful reading. Because this type of observation, once uttered, strikes us as unutterably banal – we habitually turn immediately to any other content.

Posted in Miscellany, Philosophy Tagged with:

Note on Religious vs Ethno-National Identity (or, Beck = Atzmon)

If you don’t know what you mean by “Jewish” or “American,” how can you possibly know whether or not it is or ever was or might someday be possible to be both American and Jewish

Posted in History, Philosophy, Religion Tagged with: , , , ,

Nine thoughts for discussion with a pacifist-universalist

The absolute universal verges on nothingness (is suspended in nothingness) in psychology as well as philosophy, in science as well as religion, mathematics as well as history – is the point/merely virtual or non-existent point where modes of logic and its alternatives become “one”/”nothing,” and where nothing in modern and so-called “post-modern” thought surpasses the thought of the ancients, whether called philosophers or called prophets.

Posted in Philosophy, Religion

His name is nobody

The economic liberal whose personality is another “private equity” is the human exponent of the universal equivalent, money, and approximates its mode of operation in his chameleonlike adaptability. Yesterday he was a social liberal, today he’s a social conservative. He doesn’t “really” care. He isn’t “really” anyone, at least as far as we’re concerned. And that’s who he is for political purposes – same as what he comes across as – no one in particular.

Posted in Philosophy, Politics, Religion Tagged with: , , , ,

From the Featured Archives

Noted & Quoted

TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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