Julian658 wrote:Thanks for the reference. Yes, MAN is not a blank slate. Whether some of us will be lefties or conservatives that may be predetermined for some, but not all.
At the same time though, following Sapolsky's warning, many have used an argument of biological determinism for terrible ends just as well.
In fact, I suspect that the emphasis on the social or biologically in a one sided way isn't inherently good or bad as it can be twisted in different contexts to push an agenda.https://www.marxists.org/archive/ilyenkov/works/articles/biological-social.pdf
A textbook example—we find it amusing, but it was by no means amusing in its time—is provided by the thesis of Aristotle according to which some individuals are slaves and others their masters by nature. And the most interesting thing here is that this thesis arose precisely at a time when the classical ancient society was starting to enter the phase of its decline and dissolution. This thesis arose precisely as a theoretical justification for the defense and protection of the collapsing social organization, as a counter-thesis to the demands for some other means of organizing life that were already taking vague shape in many heads.
But naturalistic explanations of certain social phenomena may be not only defensive but also destructive in character and effect. In 1789, for example, the French bourgeoisie rose up in revolution in the name of the so-called nature of man, declaring the order of feudal estates “unnatural,” contrary to “nature,” to the natural organization of human life. Conversely, the right to private property and freedom of private property were declared natural.
Thus, the naturalistic illusion may conceal either a conservative and reactionary conception or a conception that is objectively progressive or even revolutionary. Nevertheless, in both cases this illusion remains an illusion, to which even very progressively minded people may be susceptible. Materialist philosophy, being a principled adversary of all illusions, makes no exception for this one, which has a tendency to revive in the most unexpected forms.
Marx and Engels always spoke out categorically against all variations of the naturalistic conception of human life activity, even when it was combined with politically progressive intentions. They understood that this illusion, by virtue of its being precisely an illusion and not a scientific-materialist explanation, sooner or later would lead these people to politically incorrect and harmful decisions, that sooner or later, despite all their subjectively revolutionary inclinations, they would take up defensive positions vis-à-vis the existing social order—that very order which seemed to them abnormal. This is indeed what happened to the majority of the Left Hegelians.
And John Locke's blank slate was itself very progressive in what was advocated on it's basis in terms of equality and education. It seems to arise within conditions where the equality of men in it's most abstract is reached due to market relations of equal exchange.
We ignore biology at our own peril. Dr. Lee who is apparently coming to his senses cited a source that makes a lot of sense. He is finally coming around to grasp the problem.
Although we human beings may arrogantly believe that we are in control of all of our thoughts and actions, research has shown otherwise. We have both logical and reflexive brain networks. The logical one requires time and energy, whereas the reflexive one does not. Because it is easier to use the reflexive one, we are mostly on autopilot.
The consequences of this brain arrangement can lead to disastrous societal issues such as racism and prejudice. At the forefront of this dilemma are African Americans. So, you may adamantly think that you are not racist and your scores from paper-pencil questionnaires confirm that you are not racist. However, that does not mean that you are not racist. Your non-conscious reservoir may be replete with media images, others’ racist actions, and/or your parents’ thoughts and actions toward black people. Your mental reflexes may elicit responses such as holding your purse tighter in the presence of a black person, worry when walking in front of a black person, or assuming that an unarmed black person has a gun in their pocket.
Assumptions such as these may have contributed to the killings of many black people. For example, Trayvon Martin, an African American teenager who was fatally shot in Florida by George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch coordinator that night.
Black Americans are 2.5 times more likely than whites to be killed by police. Despite millions of dollars poured into trainings against such heinous acts, the outcomes have been insufficient. One of the reasons for their failure to cause positive changes may be that they target the logical part of our brain. We must get creative and sculpt workshops that discipline our non-conscious system. It is imperative to access America’s collective non-conscious and do a lot more than remodeling.
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog ... -the-brain
Ah I see where you might be going with this but I think it's a dead alley in that it considers human beings in a biological determinist fashion and tends to deny the existence of a free will. To which I'm unclear what conception Sapolsky himself is familiar with as I at best assume the metaphysical cartesian free will, which is no doubt an illusion. But it's inadequacy isn't a golden bullet against the notion of a free will in a self determining sense.
And in fact I would argue the tendency to deny the free will often conceives of human beings as objects of manipulation but never their own decision making.
But a scientifically causal and determinist account of consciousness doesn't even exist and as great as it is to correlate brain parts with different functions, it is no where near a method that even allows for the possibility of a free will.
Words like causality and freedom are meaningful not simply as descriptive of the world, but particularly as tools for our own action: how do we understand the world and how do we change it? How do I understand my own actions? I can understand the rash on my skin as the effect of psoriasis, but if I claim that my opinions or my actions are effects of external or prior causes rather than free acts of my own volition, then I commit a performative contradiction. To take another persons’ consciousness to be the effect of causes, is to regard them as an object to be controlled and manipulated, and not as a rational being. My doctor or psychologist may with good reason regard my actions in this way, as the effect of external causes, but if I am brought before a judge for a crime, I can be committed to prison or a psychiatric ward according to whether I am regarded as a rational human being morally responsible for my action or not. Even when, as a result of reflection, I want to change my own behavior, I do not regard my behavior as caused by external forces – I take moral responsibility for it. If I become aware of how my opinions, actions or habits have been formed by external factors, then I can decide to change them or not. Analysis of consciousness by causality leads, at best, to an infinite regress.http://banmarchive.org.uk/collections/nr/08_89.pdf
Nonetheless, in describing and explaining social processes or psychological processes, one cannot avoid the language of concepts. Likewise, one cannot avoid the language of actors using artifacts, people anticipating events, thinking about their reactions, forming concepts of their objects and having feelings. None of these forms of expression contradict the causal substance of human activity. But for example, an impending event cannot cause me to prepare for it, the sight of a juicy steak cannot cause me to steal it: consciousness always mediates between stimulus and response. And consciousness needs to be described and explained in its own terms.
So the concept of human action is central to our enquiry. What is it to understand any given piece of behaviour as a human action? Consider the following example. If my head nods, it may be a sign of assent to a question or it may be a nervous tick. To explain the nod as a way of saying ' Yes' to a question is to give it a role in the context of human action. To explain the nod as a nervous tick is to assert that the nod was not an action but something that happened to me. To understand the nod as a nervous tick we turn to the neurophysiologist for a causal explanation. To understand it as a sign of assent is to move in a different direction. It is to ask for a statement of the purpose that my saying ' Yes' served; it is to ask for reasons, not for causes and it is to ask for reasons which point | to a recognisable want or need served by my action.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Article_on_Teleology.pdf
The sociologist Anthony Giddens claimed that the predictability manifested in social life is largely ‘made to happen’ by strategically placed social actors, not in spite of them or ‘behind their backs’. Far from people being driven to do what they do by remote or invisible ‘structural forces’, Giddens showed that “all explanations will involve at least implicit references both to the purposive, reasoning behavior of agents and to its intersection with constraining and enabling features of the social and material contexts” (1984, p. 179). Giddens’ research shows that individuals are generally well aware of the possible consequences of their actions, and are experts in the often lamentable situations in which they find themselves. Sociologists use Game Theory to study the various traps which confront people when are deemed to act as isolated individuals and they do gain certain insights into social problems. However, human society is not an aggregate of isolated atoms, and all manner of collective action from neighborhood solidarity to government action create and change the arrangements within which such ‘rational actors’ act. The situations in which the individuals make their decisions are the products of policy of strategic institutions. The rationality at work in the creation of institutions and customs is not a ‘univocal’ reason, but reflects a diversity of social interests and identities.
Any given social arrangement has an inherent ‘logic’ which constrain the actions of all the particular actors; no-one ‘forces’ any actor to act in a certain way (indeed they would not be actors at all if they were forced), but the social arrangements constrain them in what can be called ‘logical necessity’: “You don’t have to do X, but look at your options. You’d be well advised to do X.” But it does not stop there; people endeavor to change arrangements which do not suit them. Responses to institutional arrangements are a kind of practical critique of the concept on which the institution was based. Institutional arrangements will be changed in response to such critique and the changes decided upon by rational deliberations, however imperfect, will respond to the practical critique explicitly in the form of thinking and argument.
If you attempt to speak of people acting in terms of this caused them to do X, it is often quite naive in it's own understanding of the biology. Because a description of the biological mechanisms whilst a true account, doesn't explain the action. It can relate many biological processes and underpinnings but it never provides an exhaustive explanation of an action unless one of course simply dismisses the intermediation of human consciousness like the behaviorists which is a very limited science and is quite clearly not an absolute even in the field of biology in regards to learning as not everything is learnt through conditioning.
THis is because the concept of behavior in its reference only to observable acts loses the unity of behavior with purpose/intention which constitutes an action. When we consider someones guilt, we don't examine their biology and many attempts to dismiss culpability because of genes have shown themselves an utter sham. We instead infer intention based on actions, I might intend to smash a window and fail but one can still deduce the nature of my intention based on the remnants of my action such as a stone and a chipped window.
SO when a cop kills a black person, it makes no sense to deny culpability by entirely evading the very grounds on which one conceives of a person as culpable in referencing biases that are none the less real but in themselves do not disrupt culpability. To consider it more, would be already properly delinated in law and concepts which establish guilt based on the intention and the behavior. Which leads to all sorts of various degrees of punishment. YOu can be punished for murder simply on intent but never actually killed someone just as you can be punished not for having a criminal intent but being reckless in your actions and possibly causing harm ie drink driving.
But the emphasis on the unconscious I think has more to do with the point of everyday life, the ideology of habits where there is a gap between the white liberals sense of being non-racist and the reality in how they act because they in actuality live behind invisible walls like economic disparity.
All we need to have more closeness is a unifying culture.
That word closeness is carrying a heavy weight in that sentence. In that this isn't a concrete plan of action but a nice sentiment like a hippy saying world peace. There are all sorts of things which have broken the social fabric not only between different groups of people but people in general in their own communities.
I can see you have a strong attraction to tribalism. All of us do. I left most of my Latin American culture behind. Like Jesse Jackson used to say: "Now I am a citizen of the world".
Not really, just that culture is tied to projects/activities. Only to the extent do you participate in them do they exist, otherwise it is simply beyond you. I don't experience the culture of New York while I live in New Mexico and any vague appeal to being a citizen of the world is simply meaningless other than perhaps an ideal but one that is yet to be realized. A citizen of the world is more realistically someone who has been immersed in the cultures of the world and readily steps into them as a member.
OK, so what is the alternative? ---------to differentiate some more? How can we have unity if you think that way?
And what is your sense of disunity? People thinking of the real differences that exist between people? Are we meant to aspire for the abstract liberal subject who has rights but no real characteristics, the abstract equality of law that means boht rihc and poor cant sleep under bridges.
If you're to unify the nation, it needs more the the sort of Texas, feel good, we're all Americans and needs to create things around which people meaningfully aspire to realize and are part of. Many Americans are part of n America which doesn't value them. Very often I'd say it's because they're workers and people aren't valued, money and property and things are. But a lot of disparities arent accidental outcomes.
And at this point, I think unity is to be found in solidarity, that is people offering to help others in their pursuits and no other way. Because its simply an impossible dream to think everyone can be rallied under one's own ideals and banner. That was the dream of old time communists, that everyone would be ideologically the same.https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/SP-talk.htm
The task of Marxists today is to figure out how to translate that vision into forms of social consciousness which make sense in today’s world, in a form which embraces the irreducible diversity of modern society.
If you can't confront the diversity of the modern age, then you're already obsolete I reckon. THe old nation building ideas need a new approach that reckons with the breakdown of the social fabric by the invasion of markets into everyday life. Things that were once mediated by custom and tradition and so on are now points of exchange.
So what are the sorts of projects to unify people, well it often depends on what sort of project you want to win out. At For America there has always been one of white supremacy just as in Australia in it's founding
although of it's own variation, and being colonies that needed cheap labor had a lot of immigrants from other nations which don't fit that. SO now you have a country filled with the very people that aren't that valued.
So they have their own aspirations and goals, and I think supporting them is part of building a nation as changed by those ideals which means there will be conflict before there is stability because the wish for peace without justice and righting of certain wrongs is just a suppression and not a real peace. One has to have ahegemonic stability and win out against other ways of life.
Columbus is irrelevant in world history. If not him many others would have done the same. Columbus was used by the founders fathers of America to create unity among the different factions of settlers. It is all bullshit, but the point was to unite people and decrease tribalism. Now we are doing a 180. We are preaching the opposite. That is why America is so divided.[/QUOTE[
We have very different ideas for why America is divided and it's not simply words and people getting recognition for being more particular than by their nationality ie American and sex.
And it was easier in that time to unify a nation around certain American ideals, and many of those ideals can be revamped. When science is corrupted by money there can be a effort to revitalized it by the true concept of it just as a concept of America can be brought to light but the idea of America is very different for some factions, so they'll fight it out. But it seems a liberal capitalist one holds out so far regardless.
It now seems your sense of being tribal is about asserting some cultural value against others in some plurality. In this no, I am for universalism but one that is actualized to include more people than less.
i am a communist sympathizer on such grounds that such an aspiration requires going further than liberal ideals as they are realized because they fail to get to the ideal I think they have in spirit.
I see things like feminism, antiracism as necessary to the realization of such a cause as I don't value cultures that think otherwise.
I also think better ways of things are found through social critique, just as feminism was a critique of relations between the sexes.
And there aren't other competing agendas when kids are taught abstinence only or a whitewashed version of slavery in Texas? The idea of enutrality is a nice sentiment but often based instead in not having to contend with the contradictions or conflict within something, the blocking it out, the voice that just says, I don't see color as nice way to ignore that skin color still clearly socially significant in reality just as your implicit bias articles mention.
I am not absolutely against hierarchies as a hierarchy isn't necessarily unjust, when a teacher has authority is that wrong? No, although authority can of course be abused, just as a father might abuse his son.
But the very notion of simply decreasing the wealth divide itself presupposes the political power to change the current situation but the political will doesn't exist and so it gets worse as it has been for a long time until the hand is forced.
Indeed the point of race can be so focal to the American outlook that it often becomes the proxy for class. IN another thread I have talked about the distinction between positional inequality and status inequality and how status is based on a groups overall position and thus while there are many white people who are dirt poor, being white isn't so naturally confined to being a person in poverty as it is associated with blacks in America.
Indeed, I am better off than my parents but part of that was also the decent government support that allowed my parents a modicum of wealth they wouldn't have had in the same position in the US.
A point being that of course it's not only your parents wealth but the way society is instituted to support people or not.
America is very poor in regards to its lowest classes although Australia is waging its own class warfare also.
That's nice symbolically, but what about the majority of Americans and their situation. The appeal to Obama bores me and feels like a feel-good for white American liberals but to ignore the current state of black Americans across the board. Obama means very little except inspiration and a role model, but what does that do for economic segregation that has many cities just as badly segregated as they were formally under him crow?
Because following Dave Chappelle's advice to graduates, they better learn how to entertain them white folk if they want to get out of the ghetto. A lot of black families are middle class or even quite well off, but in terms of status they can be reduced to just another black guy on the street if they're not careful because of the social standing of black Americans as a whole. Be nice to be treated as an individual but we don't see individuals when we see a stranger as our concept can only grasp the most simple of terms for them.
My thought though is that it's not post-racism PTSD, many are experiencing racism and then relect that back onto the past. They only have their actual experiences to give sense to things. A concept of a thing left at a stiatical level is a very abstract sense of something compared to witnessing someone be harassed and assaulted at an extreme unprovoked other than some persons sense of black people is way too touchy.
Indeed, the past cannot be changed but our relationship to the past can be changed.
"The past is never dead, it's not even past."
In therapy this a point that one can't change the past problems but can effect the state of a person's being caused by them in their present relationships. Hence of course I might emphasize history only to contextualize the present as you're more likely to see the point of some sort of healing that isn't a we're all AMericans and be done with it and forget the problem. But of course everyone's focus is to be on the present circumstances and the problems that currently exist and are a result of that history. IN the same way that a patient might not necessarily always need to know the cause of their problem to overcome it, but it might help them focus on the nature of the problem and the need for resolution rather than ignoring it also.
So your experience means its gone? Wow, I guess because I've never seen many women raped and harassed that it's not a problem. And that the many who have confined in me are just in a confused state of mind.
This isn't a consistent way to approach the state of things, you of course put weighting your experience but must also notice that you can't actually experience everything. Must infer the nature of things through other means also.
Indeed there have been some improvements but some people play that up to such a degree in order to play the sense that everything is alright. It's the everybody just be happy I don't want people to be upset in that selfish don't upset me sort of way than it is a point about what is the actual state of things.
And not many klansman and the type have been openly waving their colors and the sort. Some more than before but the sort of change needed isn't cosmetic and of course real change cannot be mandated, it is always created through people changing the ways of everyday living themselves. Not just for themselves but in their communities and making it institutional and a habit of life.
I am instead making a point that I speculate your current call for unity is a sham and actual unity requires real solidarity in finding solutions to problems facing people, not trying to ignore the differences that do actually divide us. It's not simply a state of mind created by the media. The media can't mobilize the sort of people that have been protesting across the US for what ever cause, they can at best feed into it but they can't create it. Hence why they often need to misrepresent somethings to make a protest seem bigger for example perhaps, they haven't got that pull. People getting angry at their TV doesn't make them do much, they just bitch and whinge.
Even the aspiration of a new slate would be more reminiscent of South Africas process of reconciliation where wrongs were admitted before they could be forgiven. In which case, how many people would say what wrongs?
What is wrong with cops shooting someone in their sleep, shooting a kid playing with a toy, and so on. They don't give a fuck.
-For Ethical Politics