True to my character I kind of went on a riff through different thoughts to see where they go, so might seem a bit chaotic.
Though this isn't the worst thing, I like to defend it as being creative and not being afraid of error, letting curiosity spur me rather than fear http://www.shaviro.com/Blog/?p=1274
Whitehead gives his own deceptively bland statement of the problem of truth and error towards the beginning of Symbolism:
An adequate account of human mentality requires an explanation of (i) how we can know truly, (ii) how we can err, and (iii) how we can critically distinguish truth from error. (S 7)
Despite this unexceptionable goal, however, Whitehead does not seem to think that the problem of error is of great importance. Indeed, he takes what most philosophers would consider a cavalier, and indeed irresponsible, attitude towards the whole question. For he holds that "in the real world it is more important that a proposition be interesting than that it be true" (PR 259). A scientific observation, a common-sense hypothesis, or even a rigorous philosophical formulation may have relevent and important consequences, despite the fact that it is erroneous. For this reason, Whitehead is less concerned with eliminating error than in experimenting with it, and seeing what might arise from it. Error is not an evil to be exterminated, but a frequently useful "lure for feeling" (PR 25 and passim). It is a productive detour in the pathways of mental life: "We must not, however, judge too severely of error. In the initial stages of mental progress, error in symbolic reference is the discipline which promotes imaginative freedom" (S 19).
It is worth underlining how rare this position is in Western philosophy. It may well be a cliché of educational method (a subject in which Whitehead himself was deeply interested) that making mistakes is a necessary part of learning. But most philosophers overlook this. They are more concerned with the nature and content of truth, than they are with the question of how we may learn to attain it. Deleuze is the only other major philosopher I know who joins Whitehead in regarding the problem of error as in itself merely trivial (Difference and Repetition 148-151).
One Degree wrote:@Wellsy Excellent post, but you and I are aware of this propaganda. This does not totally free us perhaps, but it definitely makes a big difference.
You seem to view the subconscious as something that acts on us. I view it as just a different part of our reasoning. You can listen to your subconscious willingly I believe and actively influence it with your conscious thoughts. It is a two way process, not one way. It appears too fast for our conscious minds, but that is an illusion. It just gives us what we ask for if we trust it and analyze the message.
It will replay any experience (propaganda) , but we are free to see it for what it is. It is the past and deductions made based on the past. We can reject, accept, or alter it. It is basically a storage device for every aspect of our entire existence and that is too much to have access to all the time.
I realize this probably does not make much sense because it is just what I think my subconscious has taught me and I am still trying to understand it. So it could be termed total bullshit, but I don't think so. I see no reason for us to believe the majority of our mind would be inaccessible and/or not understandable. That would be a contradiction of what we are finding out about how interrelated all are human parts are.
I even acknowledge this could all be rationalizing because I simply believe we have total free choice potential. We just need to listen to ourselves. We have the ability to choose freely but we choose not to.
Edit: @Wellsy since we store the emotion at the time we learned something it makes propaganda very effective, but if you pause and realize your current emotion is a memory, then you free yourself from it also.
I do think that while can effect that which we are unconscious to and in the vein of psychoanalysis seek to bring more of that which is unconscious to us into a conscious awareness. I do get quite concerned with the power of that which we don't know we 'know' influencing us. Which doesn't require that we have no influence over it and can't manage it in someway, but because its outside of awareness and one can't be constantly aware of all things, it seems that it is necessarily blind spot that can't be actively guarded. Though it doesn't necessarily rule over consciousness but I agree with this sense of it just being another part of our reasoning. And it's through reasoning that we do have a significant control, and that control can be expanded also through an increase in the sort of conceptual tools we internalize and the perspective we have towards the empirical reality.
So I guess I see that there is no isolating it from our consciousness and that they two are intimately entwined and that it's clear that there is ability to influence our unconscious otherwise there'd be little concern for it as a vulnerable component for the manipulation of others. Who of course benefit from us lacking self awareness, which would make the unconscious more readily manipulated.
But there are reasons to not get too comfortable with ourselves as we necessarily go up against what we lack an awareness of which seems unlimited compared to what one thinks they do know. We typically take what might sometimes feel an arrogant position in which our views are treated as capital T truth until the point that we go through the motions on a subject to see the previous limits of our understanding.
The more you know the more aware you are of what you didn't know. Like an expanding circle in which the outer limit of the circle for a previous point of awareness seems minuscule relative to a new outer limit o understanding.
In the end, I just have an anxiety about it being a blind spot that one can never have a complete awareness of, as it's necessarily outside of awareness and so by definition can't know what influences you until you bring elements of the unconscious into the conscious. Which even then is but a first step, awareness isn't enough to resist things, as one can know something and still be stuck to the belief.
Like the person who is aware that they have a fetish for something, but the awareness doesn't break the spell. Breaking from habits and tendencies requiring further effort than just an awareness.
The distinction being that one can become aware of things yet practically behave as if nothing changed, even though subjectively much has changed.
And even with emotions, whilst we associate certain feelings with memories of other sensations such as a smell or sound or what ever. It's not clear to me that one necessarily makes an accurate memory of their subjective sensations at the time. Because it seems to me that one can in fact reflect upon events in ones life with entirely different emotions. So something that was intensely terrifying has dissipated and is now funny and a amusing memory. I think this can make fuzzy management of the influence of emotions in relation to past things. Though emotions clearly play an important part in memory as you may not be conscious of things but can remember feeling a certain way and it can serve rational ends even though one has no rational sense about their behaviour preserving themselves from harm or something.
I guess this is vague because we're speaking to subjective/inner things that we probably haven't much of a framework and language to articulate the nature of. But I guess the vague point in my mind is one of skepticism to the control we have over ourselves. Which I am averse to that which restricts us so heavily to being simply detereministic and unable to have some sense of a concrete agency as mediated through things. Imperfect control isn't so bad to me compared to the sense that we're condemned to a strict determinism, as reality seems more complicated than that. https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/ch02-s06.html
To sum up, all processes in the world are evoked not by a one-way or one-sided action but are based on the relationship of at least two interacting objects.
Just as various paths may lead to one and the same place, so various causes lead to one and the same effect. And one and the same cause may have different consequences. A cause does not always operate in the same way, because its result depends not only on its own essence but also on the character of the phenomenon it influences. Thus, the heat of the sun dries out canvas, evokes extremely complex processes of biosynthesis in plants, etc. Intense heat melts wax but tempers steel. At the same time an effect in the form of heat may be the result of various causes: sun rays, friction, a mechanical blow, chemical reaction, electricity, disintegration of an atom, and so on. He would be a bad doctor who did not know that the same diseases may be due to different causes. Headache, for instance, has more than one hundred.
The rule of only one cause for one effect holds good only in elementary cases with causes and effects that cannot be further analysed. In real life there are no phenomena that have only one cause and have not been affected by secondary causes. Otherwise we should be living in a world of pure necessity, ruled by destiny alone.
That there are limits to things but within those limits things are complex in their constant interactions with one another, allowing approximations/probabilities rather than accurate and specific prediction.https://www.marxist.com/science-old/chaostheory.html
It may be true that within certain limits, it is possible to see the same mathematical patterns that have been identified in other models or chaotic systems. But given the almost limitless complexity of human society and economics, it is inconceivable that major events like wars would not disrupt these patterns. Marxists would argue that society does lend itself to scientific study. In contrast to those who see only formlessness, Marxists see human development from the starting point of material forces, and a scientific description of social categories like classes, and so on. If the development of chaos science leads to an acceptance that the scientific method is valid in politics and economics, then it is a valuable plus. However, as Marx and Engels have always understood, theirs is an inexact science, meaning that broad trends and developments could be traced, but detailed and intimate knowledge of all influences and conditions is not possible.
I'm just ruminating atm, but another thing that came to mind about the relation between emotion and propaganda is something which I in a sort of purposely offensive manner describe as people acting like pavlovian dogs. http://metamoderna.org/5-things-that-make-you-metamodern?lang=en
1) AN AWARENESS OF ALLERGIES
An allergy is an uncontrolled negative emotional response towards some idea or person. It’s the gut-wrenching feeling that a person you dislike provokes in you, or the feeling of anger and discontent certain ideas or concepts can spawn.
We all have these emotions, but the metamodernist has developed its mind (what researchers call metacognition) to keep these allergies in check, so as not to let them pollute the capability to make objective judgments and fair analysis. The wisdom is, just because something makes you feel bad, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
It’s not your feeling towards something that makes it right or wrong, no, determining the truth and value of something must be based on careful analysis. The trick is to know when your brain is bullshitting you, often one’s emotions will seduce reason to construct truths that correspond with that intuitive feeling. That’s ok if it’ll lead you towards good arguments, but you need to be aware that, that’s what’s going on – that your brain is biased and your emotions don’t tell the whole truth.
To be aware of your emotion’s impact on the way you’re thinking is a personal development stage towards a metamodern mindset. Don’t bullshit yourself; become aware of your emotions. For example, if you react negatively towards certain words, you have an allergy. Let’s try a few out:
If you suddenly get the impulse to explain why any of these words refer to something inherently bad, then you have an allergy. If you understand this point, that you are being subjected to an automatic allergic response, the allergy loses some its power over your thought structures. You can reclaim responsibility for your own mind, your own thoughts, and your own truth. Because all of these examples are neutral terms referring to a great host of phenomena that can be considered both good and bad, then you’ve made the first step towards metamodern thinking.
But this seems but a minor form of what is considered some sort of influence that can be use to manipulate things to some desired end, it's a lower stage in which people are still yet to take some direction over their emotions.
I suppose I'm concerned that what ever propaganda may be, seems to be so broad as to take advantage of our social nexus integral to our nature. This is something wonderful about ourselves and is to our great advantage but of course is the same avenue in which social influences can be managed through some means. Not perfectly and not without great orchestration of certain resources within the social climate that exists.
Which makes me think to how certain conditions give rise to certain views have more of a resonance with people. So for example, the popularity of certain ideologies and ways of giving meaning/sense to the world such as Marxism in a sense already exist as resonate in people based on their real world conditions but only find their sympathy at pivotal times where not only people are exposed to it but they're driven to find their interest in such interpretations.
I like Ficthe's point to emphasize that because we generally have a particular development and experience of the world growing up, that certain things find their persuasiveness in our felt sense of how real it is along side how it is in accordance with our own reasoning. https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/positive/positi.htm
Of course, the thinking of people is formed first of all not by teachers and philosophers, but by the real conditions of their lives. http://home.mira.net/~andy/works/fichte.htm
As Fichte said, the kind of philosophy you choose depends upon the type of person you are. Everyone is attracted to a philosophy which corresponds to the already formed image of his own thinking. He finds in it a mirror which fully presents everything that earlier existed in the form of a vague tendency, an indistinctly expressed allusion. A philosophical system arms the thinking (consciousness) of the individual with self-consciousness, i.e. with a critical look at oneself as if it were from the side, or from the point of view of the experience common to all mankind, of the experience of the history of thinking.
Fichte insisted that it was necessary to found science on a single principle, but held that such a first principle cannot be derived by philosophical means. Whether you choose a given principle to be the founding principle of your theory of knowledge or not “depends on what sort of person you are” he said. The choice of a theory of knowledge is therefore also an ethical act.https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/johann-fichte/#3
It must be granted that the truth of the Wissenschaftslehre's starting point cannot be established by any philosophical means, including its utility as a philosophical first principle. On the contrary—and this is one of Fichte's most characteristic and controversial claims—one already has to be convinced, on wholly extra-philosophical grounds, of the reality of one's own freedom before one can enter into the chain of deductions and arguments that constitute the Wissenschaftslehre. This is the meaning of Fichte's oft-cited assertion that “the kind of philosophy one chooses depends upon the kind of person one is.”
This is where at present I have a sentiment that those that are prone to fascism had a significant disposition based on their conditions, similarly with those of the working class having their own dispositions. Though the nuances of it can be kept immature, juvenile based on the lack of organization and cultivation of certain views and concepts to provide people with the conscious clarity that they need.
I guess it gets me back to a question of the relationship between our consciousness and our concrete existence with things impacting us. Like the heuristic that one's class position tends to express itself in class based self interests seems sensible as a probabilistic trend, but it's also the case that many in spite of their class position, express a perspective and allegiance with a class that they don't belong to. Which captures that whole lack of strict determinism, perhaps a space of freedom. http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/10867/1/VWills_ETD_2011.pdf
Figures such as Robert Owen and, I might add, Carl Sagan or Emile Zola, demonstrate some of the most progressive viewpoints possible within a bourgeois perspective. In addition to them, there are of course persons such as John D. Rockefeller or John F. Kennedy who simply seek mostly to rationally advance the interests of their class (I am speaking of course of a narrowly instrumental “rationality” in these cases).
Additionally, there are individuals such as Charles or David Koch, Joseph McCarthy, or Father Charles Coughlin, who actively promote the most brazenly reactionary tendencies of their class. Marx would argue that across this range of bourgeois actors, their identifications with that class inhibit them, so long as they maintain those identifications, from fully recognizing the progressive role of the proletariat and its fitness to lead society, or from fully embracing the historical materialist perspective developed in Marx's thought. However, within that bourgeois perspective and bourgeois class identification, a wide range of thought and action is possible and the charge of crude economic determinism does not recognize this, as Marx does. Furthermore, not only is a wide range of action possible within a bourgeois class identification, but it is possible for individuals to choose to renounce that identification entirely. Already in The Communist Manifesto, Marx explains that confronted by the immense contradictions of capitalist society, increasingly many individual members of the bourgeoisie or the petty bourgeoisie may switch their class allegiance entirely to the camp of the proletariat, coming to the view that it is only the victory of the working class, leading a movement towards communism, that can safeguard the continued existence and development of humanity. Of course, one need look no further than Marx's collaborator, Frederick Engels, for an example of a bourgeois who chooses this course. However, it would be deeply misguided to develop a theory of and a program for social and economic development that relied heavily on such occasional changes of camp, when in a society based on profit, it is the profit motive, by and large, that dominates in the decisionmaking of capitalists, just as it is the conscious or unconscious struggle against the inhuman aspects of labor under capitalism that dominates in the decision-making of workers.
Marx argues that economic relations determine human action to a significant extent, but this by no means licenses interpreters to dub him a strict economic determinist who sees no room for freedom of human action. He is able to describe and account for a wide range of human action, even as he sees that action being constrained by economic factors. Marx's theory, as a theory of the emancipation of the human species through the self-emancipation of the working class, depends precisely on the struggle of human beings to realize themselves as free and conscious human actors, and to be more than “appendages to machines” or mere subjects of economic and social relations that dominate them instead of being directed by them.
-For Ethical Politics