Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Framing (Again)

Originally I read this in an adbusters years ago: "The cold war was World War III, the war on terror is World War IV".

I didn't think much of it at the time, in fact I thought it was stupid, because nobody else thinks that. In history books in my public education I was told that the cold war was an era of almost war with examples of the cuban missle crisis, but never actual war. I learned later that pax americana was hardly peaceful with WARS(call it what you want but if it looks like war and quacks like war...) in just about every Latin American country, and every region of the globe. If we weren't outright going to war we were selling arms to Indonesia for use in the East Timor genocide, because us small arms sales are 50% of world sales.

It reminded me of Einstein's quote that "we don't know what world war three will be fought with, but world war four will be fought with sticks and stones". Apparently his metaphor was wrong, but his idea was right: War is more dangerous than its ever been.

My point is that this quote had some truth to it. It was a reaction to the war on terror, but there is a much better term which both Hannah Arendt and Carl Schmitt have used "Global Civil War".
The correct phrasing should be: "The cold war was World War III, and we are in the midst of World War IV which is a Global Civil war".

Is this not truth?
The cold war was a bipolar competition for sovereignty of the globe. The "low-intensity warfare" or "proxy wars" are still wars! The united states and the USSR fought a war against each other during those years. The USSR could not continue the war because their political and economic systems had to be drastically changed starting with Perestroika and Glasnost. When the USSR broke up the United States was the victor of World War III, and global hegemon. WTF is the difference between the hegemon and the sovereign? I have stated this before that the United States is the world government. The UN does not have police, the US does in the form of a military which receives the largest percentage of GDP of any nation. The US enforces its will around the globe and empirically is willing to pre-emptively strike in order to enforce that will.

As I have also stated before the global hegemon/sovereign can only maintain that position if it doles out energy supplies and has a steady cheap supply for themselves. Lets look at some(I have to say some because the list is a mile fucking long) of our "interventions"(see: "wars") since the USSR's break up. First is Saddam former scumbag and confidant of United Statesian intelligence scumbags. He rose to power and is now leading Iraq, he invades tiny kuwait. Need more historical info, Iraq has the 2nd largest proven oil reserves and Kuwait is up there.. Recently the situation has changed apparently last year Venezuela's got way higher, but back in 91 we're talking here. Back then Iraq had proven reserves of 100 billion barrels, Kuwait had 96.5, and Saudi Arabia had 260.9. THe UAE is also on the arabian peninsula and has like 98 bil. we're talking about 800 Billion worldwide proven.
So Saddam doubles his oil supply,  Instead of about 12.5% hes up to 25% of world oil. Saudi Arabia is freakin' out they have shit for an army: an air force full of toys and muttawa thugs enforcing wahabbism. Mister Osama Bin Laden himself goes to the Sauds and hes like "let me bring my buddies from Afghanistan over here and we'll fuck saddam up for you." The Sauds were like "Ha! yeah your guerrilla army is going to confront Saddam's soldiers, we'll be executed within days, Ameicans said they want at him, they just need a place to park their troops, so we're letting them chill here while they take Saddam out, we'll have to make sure there are no women driving when they get here, we don't want them to think us savages." Then Bin Laden is all like Fuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!! and rage quit saudi arabia because they let infidels(Americans) in the land of the two holy shrines(saudi arabia[mecca and medina]). 20 years later: 9/11, but I digress. Saddam is sitting at 25% and all he has to do is go next door and take out a few cities because like 99% of Saudi Arabia is uninhabited('cept for nomads) and he'll be sittin on more than half of the world's proven oil supplies. Holy fucking shit, you have to go through Saddam to get a gas pump. So Sauds let the US in, US drives Saddam out of Kuwait, a regional hegemon has thusly been deterred and the US grip on energy becomes even better because they now have better relations with Saudi Arabia and fucking troops there. If the US ever really needs oil they just need to knock off a few asshole royals that the entire country('cept the muttawa) hate anyway and bam Americana Arabia, Or I guess they already decided they want to call it Syriana. This was an effort to maintain global sovereignty from a potential threat(saddam controlling 50%+ of world oil).
There are trends like this in foreign policy, countries ask the US for help and they send troops, sometimes the troops hang around for awhile.

The next major event comes with 9/11. Which was a perfect excuse to engage in the project The PNAC and many other neo-realist intelligentsia wanted: to finally go back to Iraq and just take the fucker over.
It was also the perfect excuse to engage in the project recommended by Brezenzki of the CFR and many other neo-liberal intelligentsia: to take over Afghanistan for its geopolitical value.
In an academia that pictured itself with the gods eye view of Science and Cartesian rationality, they often end up blind to the most obvious prejudices. Orientalist discourse constructed the middle east as a place of conflict that needed the managing our masculine western whiteness naturally gives us.Iraq and Afghanistan give the US a jumping off point for a land takeover of most of the middle east, specifically potential regional hegemons like Iran.

The United States has been and continues to further its position of power in the world. This position of power is admittedly based on the ability to project power(i.e. violence) across the globe quickly and effectively(i.e. kills lots of people). This is different than a state who passes laws and has the police enforce them with violence. I do not mean to say that this isn't sovereignty, just that this doesn't even remotely resemble what we refer to as "democracy". The US still has some set of universal values which can sometimes be discerned by reading the writings of corporate shills that political science supplies us with, but whether or not the universal rules are codified, as is the case in a democracy, what we can be sure of is that the US visits violence upon those who do not obey. This is a form of sovereignty. When no other country on earth has this ability or if they do have it, but not engage in it, this is evidence that the US is the sole world sovereign.

So I would like to frame history differently, I do not wish to propagandize but to use evidence to support my point, obviously if you refer to world war three or four people will not understand, but don't these labels stand up to scrutiny? Are we not in the midst of a global civil war?

P.S. Another framing I find interesting these days is the bracketing of "occupy wall street" and "arab spring", why is this not part of one global phenomenon that is a reaction to a declining economy and an increasing rich-poor gap(which can also be read as a declining middle class)?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Is the United States a democracy?

The executive has the ability to kill US citizens without charging them with a crime. This is in direct contradiction of Habeus Corpus.

The united states has been occupying Afghanistan for more than a Decade, without specific legislation declaring war. Instead a state of exception in which the Executive has sole authority to decide when to prosecute war has become the norm.This is in direct contradiction to the war powers act and the constitutionally explicit rules governing warmaking. 

The United States has been occupying Iraq for nine years. Originally people scoffed at Wolfowitz saying we could be there until 2010.  This war was clearly an illegal pre-emptive strike by the United States. The justifications for invasion turned out to be complete bullshit: WMDs, yellow cake from Niger, active chem. weapons, complicity with 9/11, and harboring of Al-qaeda have all turned out to be false. When revelations of these lies started to be printed there was no mandate for intervention. The public has not supported this war once given halfway decent information. Before the media realized the bullshit it was peddling a majority of Americans actually believed Saddam had something to do with 9/11. There has NEVER been any evidence of this, a potential meeting between a jihadist does not mean that Saddam is al-qaeda, if you think that evidence is convincing you don't understand what Al-Qaeda and Ba'athism are. Saddam is a ba'athist which is essentially the IRaqi version of Nasserism, generally it can be described as an arab nationalism, sometimes being pan-arab and socialist. Ba'athists are secular, ok? If you weren't aware of these nuances are you starting to see my point? How does al-qaeda feel about secularists? Saddam and what we call "al-qaeda" (which appears to be a phrase that is applied to any Muslim who believes that temporal and spiritual power should be more conflated[Shariah]) hate eachother!

Wealth has been and will be continuing to shift towards the super-rich, which means less money for the other 99% as this chart shows.

Inflation adjusted percentage increase in mean after-tax household income in the United States between 1979 and 2005.

That statistical data is old though, this process has accelerated since 2005 as a result of numerous events, the most important in my opinion being rising gas prices driven by rising oil prices. Because its pretty fucking obvious that if you keep taking something, and you start to take it faster and faster. Eventually you will run out, because all things are finite. Whether that means you run out in a million years or tomorrow is of little relevance, the fact remains that demand will begin outstripping supply on carbon based energy sources. The demand will continue to accelerate, but once supply shocks occur, the acceleration will increase exponentially. In my opinion we are nearing the end of the age of oil. The scrambling for practices of resource gathering which is far worse for the environment and produces less product, is evidence for my belief. Shale gas and tar sands being my examples. Because capitalism claims that it will solve peak oil by causing it to be such a high price that alternatives will appear. But these alternatives are just much worse versions of the original, and really just amount to grasping at straws. There is no effort to get in to rehab for our addiction to carbon energy.
I apologize for digressing, but my point is that there are currently structural factors which have further accelerated the wealth redistribution that we see taking place from 1979-2005. The middle class is being destroyed further. A post-industrial service based economy does not produce a strong middle class in the first place, if we add rising living costs and shrinking salaries/wages we will see a slow destruction of the middle class.

Most political theorists will agree that the middle class is where most of the stability for any regime is located. These are all individuals with a vested interest in making the system work, they are reformers because the system rewards them with a decent lifestyle. An evaporation of the middle class creates revolutionary instability because the lower class does not have a vested interest in maintaining the system of the status quo, they don't have much to lose. Whoever the boss is, they're going to go to work at their job and have the same skills they had before. They will still fit in to the same niche in the world economy no matter the regime. The upper-class being small cannot resist these changes.

My first point is that democracy in America is not a very convincing argument right now. Although materialism is important, (one must eat and stay warm) it is also important to know there is no point in living if you are going to be evil. Economic concerns are important, but we must also pay attention to Politics(which is the ability to justifiably kill people) because the two are related. The United States spends as much as the next 27 countries combined on their military. The US with its huge GDP even has the highest PERCENTAGE of gdp that goes towards military spending. The global civil war that the United States is prosecuting must stop if we are to save the middle class(which in my opinion is of more concern than the entire 99%, because the middle class is key to the stability of any regime).

My second point is that the upper-class should be embracing the messsages of occupy wall street, because without some sort of reform to save the middle class united states might see some REAL class warfare.

It does make me smirk when I think of a wealthy politician, who proclaimed attention to class in discourse as "class warfare", being killed by the real revolutionaries we will see if current trends continue, but violence is a question without a satisfactory answer.

We do not need to fear revolution, because if we do not have a democracy what the fuck do we have to lose?

We do not need to stoke revolution, because the structural trends will make one inevitable.

To those who are trying to silence or marginalize Occupy Wall Street: Don't blow your one chance to reform the system before you make peaceful revolution impossible.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Class Warfare

I have 5 minutes to write what I wish to say. This should be easy.

Currently there are efforts to relieve the tax burden on individuals of the working and middle class(even upper-middle class) within the party in power.
Consequently, there are efforts within the opposition party to characterize such attention to the specific social, political, and economic harms of being lower or middle class, as "class warfare".

If the current mainstream media is dominated by a handful of wealthy corporations, who are legal persons obligated by law to their shareholders to seek profit no matter what the human cost, most likely these corporations will have political agendas which favor the wealthy. Because the individuals who can arguably be said to hold the levers of power are assuredly of the upper class. And if there are no levers of power because the institution runs itself like some kind of organism or legal person, then that organism is wealthier than the vast majority of humans(those are the people that aren't corporations). 

I only bring up the preceding paragraph to make the point that in the status quo, before this event of relieving the tax burden came in to the focus of the agenda setting machine of the media, class warfare was a non-existent topic, only surfacing when George Bush Jr. made the same claim previously in regards to Kerry. My argument is that the dominant understanding of the idea of "class warfare" is discourse on class is not ok.

I only bring up the preceding paragraphs in order to argue that whether or not you agree that Obama is engaging in "class warfare", you should understand that class warfare is constantly taking place in the status quo.

Wealth is ALWAYS being redistributed in some way. Or else nobody would be spending anything. If nobody spent anything there would be no wealth. Thusly, we can see that wealth is constantly being redistributed in some way.

My thesis: Currently in the status quo wealth is being transferred from the middle class to the upper class in great quantities. The more discourse on class is silenced the more effective and accelerated this redistribution can take place. The fact that we have reached this Orwellian point where the middle class starts finally fighting for its life and realizing their shared experiences and goals have real significance for the political role they should play, and its called class warfare. During times we DON'T talk about class, "class warfare" plays a much larger role, than in times we DO talk about class.

Concession: Or we can just allow such activity to be called class warfare, just make sure we label the times when we are not talking about class as: Class Terrorism. Because the middle class should start fighting back rather than just hoping the economy doesn't come for them next.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dialogue with Owl #2 Death

To: Jimothy
From: Owl
“We can only know something by what it is not”
        -K. Beanhouse
This contradictory idea was espoused by the great scholar and cheeba smoker, K. Beanhouse, in his musings on Money, circa April 2011.  It exemplifies the noted thinker’s distrust of words and his skepticism towards the human mind’s ability to grasp something objectively and truthfully, in and of itself, without the ineluctable obfuscation that language and the process of thought bring to any subject.
Taking his pithy tenet as a starting point for studying death, we must first understand what is NOT death, before we can tackle the question of what is death.
The simple and quick answer is: The opposite of death is life.  End of story, right?  Not so, because as anyone who has ever suffered under the inconsolable reality of being/becoming knows, life is much more than the four letters l-i-f-e and all the preconceived notions this four letter word implies.  Indeed, the purpose of life, the reality of life, the truth, meaning and fabric of life is deep, murky and unknowable.
Say, to begin the argument, that life is consciousness; then death is lack of consciousness.  Sleep would be a temporary death, an unconsciousness that we can experience and still recover from - a fleeting experience of death that we are able to recall, partially or wholely or not at all.  True death, then, is the permanent state of unconsciousness, a sleep from which we are unable to awake.  Without ever awaking, we can never recall, and therefore it is nothing, a permanent unconsciousness.
But, life is more than consciousness.  Trees and plants, even fish and empty-eyed dogs, are alive but it would be tough to argue a sentience at the level of which I refer to when speaking of humans.  Perception, data processing, the ability to react to an external environment, these are all factors in defining consciousness, but they are as easily attributable to a mid-tech machine as they are to a “living” being.  So, it seems life is also something biological, captured in the fragile construction of cells, chemicals and organic compounds that enable life to exist and propagate.  Death, then, would be the destruction, or entropy, of this ordered organic life.  The decay of the system until the final feather falls and the system collapses, irretrievable and lost.
Consciousness and order are life.  Death is the negative of these states.
And now for a narrative interlude:
One day while I was at work in the hospital, the EMTs brought a dead man into the ER.  These days, with the technology and medicine our society possesses, death and dead are not the same thing.  A heart can be arrested,  the flow of oxygen ceased, any recognizable form of consciousness absent and the order of the mind and body rapidly crumbling to chaos.  In short, the body can be dead, but life is not completely lost.  Pump the heart artificially, apply electric stimulation to re-boot the cardiac muscles, force air artificially into the lungs and suddenly the dead is living once again.
The docs and nurses did all this and more and for a few precious minutes and, as his extremities turned blue and his body grew stiff, they kept the blood pumping to his vital organs and oxygen exchange occurring in his lungs.  In the end, the state of unconsciousness became permanent.
I stood off to the side for most of this, as I lacked the skill level to be immediately helpful, only occasionally handing someone a tube or apparatus when asked.  One of the EMTs who had been at the scene when the patient was found stood near me, searching the man’s wallet for some form of identification.  In the wallet, he found a hand-written business card which had apparently been prepared by the dying man in anticipation of exactly this situation.  Although I can’t recall exactly what it said, it read something like this:
        Do Not Resuscitate
        Do Not Intubate
        Any attempt made to revive to life the person holding this card will be met with legal action and will be sued to the fullest extent of the law.
        There was also a lawyer’s office and contact information listed.  Whether the lawyer or the address was valid I never found out.  What I do know is that this homemade disclaimer was ineffective and, contrary to its demands, every effort, including resuscitation and intubation, was used to preserve the man’s life.  I was thankful when the doctor finally called off the efforts and a time of death was declared.
        What I didn’t say earlier was the man’s age, which was somewhere in the eighties, and why he was in the ER in the first place.  He was found breathing his car’s exhaust in an empty lot in an attempt to kill himself.  He’d left a carefully lettered note resting on his expiring breast asking anyone who found him to please leave him the fuck alone and let him die.
        Death, in our society, is to be feared, fought, struggled with.  It is quite barbaric.  It is also quite stupid when your consider the inevitability of the event.  Quite stupid, yes, but simultaneously noble.

        I have failed to develop my theories on suicide here.  They may be more appropriate for another topic, but are essential, at least in part, to the understanding of death.  I personally think of suicide any number of times a day or week, but in the same way that I dream of writing a genius novel or leaving my quotidian life in search of some hermetic nirvana.  They are dreams to bring me to the other side of the anger, depression, pain and fear of life.  

To: Owl
Your last paragraph sent chills down my spine, because it is exactly how I employ the idea myself. There is an exit door at all times and I am in control of whether or not I wish to pass through. I do not think life represents order, I think life is a chaos unto itself, life is the origin of chaos. Without life the universe remains balanced(although it will balance itself against the human life's decadence eventually). But it is possible to destroy our earth with our technology it is possible to use chaos to destroy the order of earth, this makes me believe that life is chaotic rather than orderly.
Order lies with the knowledge of death. The only real finish line, from which stems all our understandings of morality. Suicide seems like such a crude word and euthanasia sounds too euphemistic, but employment of the option of death is a powerful tool for thrusting oneself back in to life, as I think your last paragraph agrees. I will go back to my point on morality.
I did a little research in my health/insurance class on DNRs. For the most part they don't work there are multiple situations where people were prepared way ahead of time with actual legal documents and family members with power of attorney in the room. Paramedics are required by law as they see it to do everything possible to make a person live. They cannot debate about the legality of a document when there is no turning back if the argument turns out to not merit a DNR, because the patient will be dead.
Another interesting idea I came across was in Oregon's assisted suicide program. Individuals were given a lethal pill if they applied for assisted suicide. Many of the individuals never took the pill, but the vast majority said that it comforted them. That it gave them control at that point in life where control was to be lost. Not only the control that you and I find comforting that we can always choose to take the exit if we decide to, but control over their bowels and brains. They feared a loss of dignity and wouldn't even have the strength to kill themselves. The pill gave them back power over their own destiny.

I wanted to talk a second about my morality claim. This is a quote from John Locke that was quoted in a journal I'm reading (I have the entire journal from like 2000 to 2010, and i'm only at like 2002 or something, its called "Theory and Event"). Locke as the classical liberal(not the "liberal" that o'reilly/limbaugh rail against, but the liberalism of the US constitution[checks/balances] combined with free market economics[economic liberalism]). So Locke is all about toleration. Hes like we should tolerate everything and that way the government can decide what we can and cant tolerate. Obviously hes facing a world divided by religions and nationality(wars) and he believes that trade can reduce wars.
But there is one exception in the population that cannot be tolerated: "those are not to be tolerated who deny the being of God." "Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all."

In our discussion of money the idea taken for granted in Star Trek TNG is that “plenty” pervades rather than “scarcity”. And humans seek to do, simply because they desire to, not because they need to earn their next meal or find antibiotics for their kid. The morality of TNG seems atheist. Unlike the explorers from history who sought to spread Christianity and proto-capitalism, star trek explorers only seek knowledge and friendship. This may be a little too utopian, I think that there are evil things in all humans. Not that humans are basically good or evil, such a decision no matter what side it came down on would only justify evil. What makes humans good is the possibility of death, but death and its smaller degree variant "pain" are also the condition for evil. The times when humans are most noble and "good" are times of sacrifice. When individuals submit themselves to pain or death in order for another to live or be safe. Christianity is based around this archetype of nobility and self-sacrifice. Death seems to be almost a boon, not almost, it is. Without death there would be no possibility for good. There could be no evil, nobody could steal someone's meal or drive them out of their home if they need neither home nor meal.
I may be simplistic in this way but two ideas that I think are somewhat opposites that are interesting are "jouissance" and "schadenfreude". You know a little French. My font just changed cause I copy pasted that word, weak. jouissance is like a passing joy and schadenfreude is german for deriving joy from someone else's suffering. I feel like such a utopian, but I think that death opens the possibility of good. And therefore the possibility of reducing the degrees of unfreedom any individual or group faces. Death is the possibility for justice(never a pure justice, only steps towards a pure justice by reducing degrees of injustice, that can never fully attain "Justice" with a capital J). Without scarcity and without fear of death humans could live for the jouissance of knowledge and friendship like Picard's bad ass, instead of today's scarcity producing pervasive desire for schadenfreude.

So specifically, death for me is the possibility of morality, because I do not believe that if there is a God we can understand its laws. So effectively even if there is a God, we must function as atheists, because to believe we could understand a God's will is tantamount to proclaiming yourself a God. These individuals argue that there isn't death, that death is only a threshold to the next world, so many and so passionate, LIKE THEY'VE SEEN WHAT LIES BEYOND! I think Locke is stating the exact opposite of truth. Atheists are the only individuals with a possibility of acting (not morally) against immorality, because they accept death. People who believe in an after-life cannot possibly comprehend the value of life and therefore cannot work to protect it on earth. Suffering for many is expiation of sin, how can such an outlook lend itself to fighting immorality.

I think the main problem with my theory is that human morality being based on self-sacrifice and suffering for others(love), then where does that leave us after the sacrifice. After pontus pilate(is that right lol?) stabs a sacrifice, and we all perceive the action as immoral and the action of the sacrificed as moral.  Where does that leave us next time? If self-sacrifice is moral and violence immoral, it leaves us in a self-fulfilling prophecy where those who wish to do good are killed by the evil. Is this how life is until the end of time? What I'm trying to get at without doing it, is why can't the people kill pontus pilate? To make sure he doesn't do it again? Obviously because “this is violence” is the answer, but what if he does it again and again. When can you use violence to stop violence? Or does that violence beget more violence? If we know death is not to be feared(as Atheists do) should we offer ourselves as sacrifices to protect the weak or should we offer ourselves as soldiers who fight evil?

To: Owl
From: JImothy
Two more ideas that I could wait until your response to introduce in to the conversation, but I think they're too cool too wait.
First of all I have to submit the subject to my three points of analysis which you kind of broke in to. "1. Locate the contradictory notion within the text of an idea that relies on a metaphysics of presence.
2. Examine how the idea "became" through a genealogical analysis of history (as we are all always in a process of becoming, never human being only human "becoming")
3. Examine how the word "became" through etymology"

1.I don't know if death necessarily relies on a metaphysics of presence. I suppose the argument would be "how do you know you're alive?" DeCartes "cogito ergo sum" doesn't work, thinking does not prove existence how do we not know a rock or tree thinks? So the metaphysics of presence that we rely on to understand death would be we ASSUME we are alive. lol Hard not to.
2.Number two is always too complicated, need shit tons of research. Death is something that was not socially constructed though, death is a cessation of life. When people no longer respirate and shit, they no longer exchange discourse with others: they are dead. But If we only really know death through the fact that the individual who is dead is removed from the interaction of humans, then death falls upon many political, ethnic, religious, etc. minorities WHILE THEY ARE STILL ALIVE! I suppose a genealogical understanding of death would look at the rituals that surround death and where they came from. One example that comes to mind is from the book "the myths of babylonia and assyria" by donald mackenzie. He talks about how assyria went through multiple periods where priests became too powerful and there were "revolutions". The priests controlled the death ritual and therefore controlled who got in to heaven, elysian fields, etc. whatever. So when they started charging more and more so the priests could do more blow and hookers(or the equivalent back then) people rose up. The taboo on killing priests or overpowering priests was broken by the threat of no afterlife...So in order to protect one part of their belief structure they violated another...
3. The word structure I'm not too interested in. I mean we both apparently know the greek word "thanatos" but I don't see its etymology in other words off the top of my head.

Ok the two ideas I wanted to talk about.
First is Zoe vs. bios (on the topic of greek words lol). These are from Giorgio Agamben's "State of Exception" in which he divides the world in to two types of life. His book explains that the exception of sovereignty is the norm, so the state is just choosing to let us live every day. In effect every state/government/territory is just one big concentration camp in which we are allowed to live at the whim of the sovereign. I couldn't find it in the book in my hand but found it on wikipedia: "bios(citizen) and zoe(homo sacer)"   Essentially there are two types of life. There is the life of bios which is the citizen who participates in the state who has a political life(for lack of a better description). Zoe is the bare fact of existence, a respirating and shitting body. This type of life he shows is how the modern state treats its members as homo sacer (sacred human, before the word sacred meant what it means today). Homo Sacer in old timey days was able to be murdered legally, but not used in any type of sacrifice to the gods. Agamben says that the future holds a paradigm of universal Zoes or bare life.

THe second is Derrida's book "The gift of death" which I haven't read yet. But I believe it talks about mourning and how mourning shows whats best in humans. The book looks fucking incredible its sitting right in front of me, i'll let you know.

more later.
lookin forward to ur response

To: Jimothy
From: Owl
A quick note before I re-enter the discussion: I recently (about two or three months ago) attempted to increase my reading speed by following one of those speed reading books.  It had a bunch of interesting skills that could be developed into a faster WPM, but I lost interest in the exercises and eventually had to return the book to the library.  In light of our discussions, and the gaping hole left by too little research, I am contemplating giving it a go once more.  END OF NOTE.

Now, I think that life is exactly what you claim.  To believe, or assume, that you are alive, or more to the point, to have the ability to believe or assume you are alive is the essence of life.  It is the conscious awareness of life, and thus the realization that this life will end in death, that defines life.  I forget where I read this example, some eastern-based philosophical tract or another, which talked about living in the moment.  It used a fish as an example of immortality.  A fish, as the common thinking goes, cannot remember more than a second of its life.  Every moment is full of stimuli and sensation which pushes any and all earlier experiences out of the mind.  So, without a past nor the ability to project the future, a fish just "is" until the day that it isn't.

To: Jimothy
From: Owl
Sorry...didn't mean to send that out.  I pressed a few wrong buttons in quick succession and all of a sudden I had unwillingly sent off that half-finished email.

Anyway, to continue...

A fish cannot comprehend death and in this way it never dies.  It lives forever, infinite moment after infinite moment, until these moments cease.

This direction of thought brings me to another of my half-baked ideas that I pretend to live by, yet, simultaneously and contradictorily, haven't been able to fully develop into any real philosophy or values for daily living.  The idea is that, at death, the world ends.  Whatever we discuss, all we understand and fail to understand, depends on our existence and without the self to interpret it all, then all of it truly doesn't exist.  So, either death is the end of the universe, or at the very least, death is the end of MY universe, which is the same thing for ME.

Life is so intrinsic on our ability to think that death as a personal and subjective phenomena cannot exist.  We are unable to experience, think, or reflect on the death because it is this absence of these abilities that defines death.  It is therefore impossible to comprehend death, it being beyond what is essentially and foundationally life.

Oh, man, I feel like I have a word on the tip of my tongue but I cannot quite express it.  This idea of individual life and the entire universe as being connected at the basic and fundamental level is so appealing to me. And, yet, I know it to be untrue.  I know my parents lived before I ever was, and I know the world, its ills and loves, will continue after me.  But, there is no other way to see it: when I am gone, so will be the world.

To change streams...I want to argue about order and chaos.  I adamantly believe that life is order, death chaos.  I said:

So, it seems life is also something biological, captured in the fragile construction of cells, chemicals and organic compounds that enable life to exist and propagate.  Death, then, would be the destruction, or entropy, of this ordered organic life.

You said:

Without life the universe remains balanced(although it will balance itself against the human life's decadence eventually). But it is possible to destroy our earth with our technology it is possible to use chaos to destroy the order of earth, this makes me believe that life is chaotic rather than orderly.

First of all, I want to define some terms.  When I spoke of entropy, I used it in the colloquial sense of the word, that is: a movement towards disorder.  There is another meaning for this word, which is more scientific and used, mainly by physicists, to describe a specific state of matter.  In this more technical term, entropy is the complexity of a given system, or the number of possible combinations its individual pieces could form.  Entropy, then, is discussed in terms of how much entropy a given system possesses.  A single particle has little entropy because there are not many distinct ways this state could be different.  A human body, with its trillions of cells and big-ass-number of atoms has an incredibly high entropy, the universe as a whole has mind-boggling entropy.  The other part of this technical definition is that, in nature, everything always attempts to even out.  For example, when you let fall of drop of dye into a glass of water, the tiny drop quickly diffuses and soon the whole glass is a similar light pink.  This happens naturally.  To hold back this tendency towards conformity takes energy.  The human body is built cell by cell in near-perfect order, gaining entropy as it gains order.  Vast amounts of energy are needed to maintain this order and keep the carbons and hydrogens from dispersing and evening themselves out.  So in this view, buildings are unnatural.  But so are trees and rivers, even planets and solar systems.  Something, call it energy, is holding all of this together in a vast and pervasive order.  Now, I have mixed to levels of understanding which you distinguished between, but which I think are bound together.  Those being "nature" and "manmade"  But, what I have argued, is that "manmade" and our terrestrial or solar systemic "nature" are both unnatural in a broader sense and that their unnatural order is a result of  energy.  Moving back to life and death, in life there is that inexplicable movement towards order, death, lack of energy, chaos, are all a move towards that natural state of complete equilibrium, where each and every particle in the universe is evenly spread across the infinite reaches of space.  FUCK, I AM OUT OF TIME ON THE COMPUTER AND HOVE THOROUGHLY CONFUSED MYSELF.  'Till next time.

To: Owl
From: Jimothy
Ok, I need to make a quick response/clarification. It is a silly assumption of binary opposition between man and nature that has been disproved on so many levels that clouds the ground I stand on in this argument. I opposed man and nature and made the universe synonymous with human. Man and nature are one and the same intimately imbricated in their Heidegerran "worldliness". I can see clear faults in my argument, as there are exceptions, but I think that life more closely represents chaos than order. I think the entropy which is evident in my three cleavages of the cosmos: man, nature, universe (which are delineations that only cloud the point) is the evidence of chaos. Entropy to me is chaotic, whereas ZERO is order. In fact lets not call it the cosmos, lets call it the "big bang". To me the big bang was not an event, it is a noun. It is our cosmos, it was an event in which the huge balloon which is our cosmos was created(I won't say from nothing, because outside the big bang is a nothing much more profound than the word nothing can convey). Within the big bang nature and life are possibilities. Eventually though the Big Bang will either become so large the fabric of reality will simply tear or it will reach an apex and collapse back in on itself. Maybe to reopen again some time(does time exist outside the big bang?) in the future(does the future exist there? can "there" denote an area outside the big bang?). The point being eventually man, nature, and the universe will end. There will eventually be zero. The big bang's current iteration (if there has been or will be any others) will eventually achieve order by not existing...I didn't make any sense.

I think that your statement "The idea is that, at death, the world ends." is the antithesis of morality. It is solipsism, the closest approximation of opposite to the idea of empathy. I would advise you to reject this axiom in favor of what you were saying earlier which in philosophy is called immanence.
This is the definition but its not 100% accurate I think.
/ˈɪməənt/ Spelled[im-uh-nuh] 
remaining within; indwelling; inherent.
Philosophy . (of a mental act) taking place within the mind of the subject and having no effect outside of it. Compare transeunt.
Theology . (of the Deity) indwelling the universe, time, etc. Compare transcendent ( def. 3 ) .

1525–35;  < Late Latin immanent-  (stem of immanēns ), present participle of immanēre  to stay in, equivalent to im- im-1  + man ( ēre ) to stay + -ent- -ent; see remain

First of all it is not imminent, which is what people tell me is what I mean when I say it, because its a pretty obscure word. The first definition makes it seem like a synonym of intrinsic which literarily(lol thats not a word) makes sense, but philosophically does not. The second definition is complete bullshit and makes it seem like a synonym to what i was trying to provide an alternative for! solipsism! That shit is wrong. And the third definition makes it seem similar to transcendence which is exactly what it is developed in opposition to in philosophy! FUCK! ok so that definition was bad but allows me to draw a  few lines around it and I can do a   quick explanation here then I'm waiting for ur full response. This is similar to the way a fish lives as you were saying, it is somewhat post-modern and therefore resembles Zen in a few ways so may overlap with eastern ideas in that way as u mentioned. So Sartre was the recent big name in philosophy (and we'll say Thoreau/emerson). Sartre said that every individual is responsible for everything that happens in the world (in what is essentially a big interpretation of Heidegger). So morality lies in two transcendent values: universizability and reversizability (its been awhile since I researched this i'm probably spelling it wrong). Universizability is the question "if everyone else in the world took the action I'm taking would it be ok?" (simply put lol). Reversizability is the golden role "If someone else took this action (that i'm about to take) against me would it be ok?". So there are two simple UNIVERSAL and transcendent rules to live by in order to have a moral life. Thoreau and Emerson's philosophy is actually named Transcendentalism. So they are like late 1800s sartre is writing in the 40s(i think). Before this modern paradigm are the ancient equivalents. THe Kantian categorical imperative. Essentially philosophies of ethics and morality which are based on universality or transcendent values.

Immanence is developed as an alternative to transcendental/universal moralities. It is impossible for anyone to live an authentic life under Sartre (of course the whole world would die if we all lived like my fat united statesian ass) and (of course I would not be ok with being a slave making clothing and shoes, but I still buy clothes and shoes rather than go naked) and to accept responsibility for everything is tantamount to self-flagellation as Foucault said.

Here is a paradigmatic (and quite viscerally offensive) example of immanence producing a more morally defensible reaction than transcendence:

You are hired to be a chauffeur for a junior high field trip. You are traveling on a school bus full of children and 2 other adults who are sitting in front, you are in the back of the bus. At a stoplight a man boards the bus shoots both other adults, drops his weapon which is out of ammo, and proceeds to immediately start raping a child. You are dumbfounded at first but quickly realize that you are not hallucinating and remember that you have a loaded gun concealed on you and have already pulled it out instinctively. THe children are all ducking down in their seats and it is a clear shot at the man who does not notice you as he is deeply concentrated on his task. As you are about to level the gun and take the easy shot you realize that not only are you a christian, but it is illegal and immoral to kill. Having a clear universal moral compass has saved you from inauthenticity again as you holster your weapon trying to ignore the child's screams.

If the world ends when you die then others are not human like you, they are simulcra. They're GTA animations on a playstation.


To: Jimothy
From: Owl

Dear Professor Bean House,

I have been busy with work, moving, reading The Tibetan Book of the Dead, etc and those are my excuses for taking this long to respond.

Now, I must say that I like this idea of yours, this immanence, though I am still unclear what it means and what the implications of such a world view are.  As you realized yourself after you had presented the three dictionary definitions, they are not really helpful in defining what immanence means on a philosophical level.  It is good and right to define your terms using established institutions, but in much of what we discuss these established institutions are unable or unwilling to encompass what we are arguing and I would therefore deem them less than useful, in general.

However, by defining what it is not, e.g. universizability/reversizability, I began to grasp the main idea and I liked what I was hearing.  Now, if I may jump ahead and discuss your final statement: 

If the world ends when you die then others are not human like you, they are simulcra. They're GTA animations on a playstation.

This is not what I meant when I said that the world ends when I die, because what you have written implies that the world was dead the entire time I was alive and that I was never a part of an external reality.  But I was.  People were real, consequences were real.  Pain, anger, love...all of the experiences were real.  But, as a subjective being, inseparable in mind and body, when my body dies so does my mind.  I guess you could argue that under this view, I would be OK with a nuclear detonation ending life at the very moment that I died.  And I would be, as long as it was not I who brought about annihilation.  If I died at the very moment of destruction, I would never know it.  It would be the same thing if the world ends or if the world continues, for I will not longer exist.

However, this doesn't mean I am solipsistic while I am alive, because I choose not to live my life like that.  I feel empathy and I feel hate and I act according to my mish-mash of morals that I have developed over my 28+ years. The fact that my death means "That's all folks" is an inconceivable inevitability and although rationally, with words and abstract ideas I can define that event, I find it impossible to accept it as long as I am alive and thinking. Until that day arrives, I am human and aware and I must do what I feel or have been raised to believe is right/good/copacetic.

And so, we arrive again at your term: immanence.

Your final HYPOTHETIC example confused me.  Did the act of holstering one's gun because of arbitrary moral beliefs give an example of immanence.  If so, I completely disagree with the philosophy.  I believe that we are all responsible for both our actions and our lack there of, and the person who sits idly by as a child is savagely raped before his/her eyes, while simultaneously holding the clearcut ability to stop the pain, is a fiend.  But, you have wallpapered over a moment of life, albeit a very specious and impossible moment, with an abstract and useless philosophical ideal.  This misses the point.  What I am trying to get at is that, maybe, life is, on a moment to moment basis, transcendent of philosophy.  Fear, physical strength, a fleeting disposition one way or the other, would have more of an effect on how I acted than would any philosophy that I thought I possessed.  So much of what we do is beyond our philosophy, beyond even our rational decision-making mind.  It is, I think, this very fact that makes life such a funny, retarded romp.

I have some more to add about death, based on the readings I have been doing on Tibetan Buddhist philosophy, but Nick is wanting to smoke a bowl and I am feeling the urge myself.  So, I will write again soon, with some of what I have gleaned from the yellowed pages of my Cambridge library edition of the Bardol Thosol.  However, I'll leave you with the main issue I am having with the whole afterlife/reincarnation/heaven/hell problem.  When we die, I know as if it were fact, that we are gone, baby, gone.  I am unable to see it any other way.  Which makes the entire book and others like it quite silly.  But, it is still fun as a discussion of human consciousness/unconsciousness and our penchant for phantasy and art in our lives.

Peace brother,

To: Owl
From: Jimothy
My mouse has been broken and I have yet to get a new one so I can't like copy paste or navigate easily. Thusly i've been putting off my reply til i get a mouse, but I have decided to spend mouse money on other things.

What I mean by philosophy being behind everything is somewhat like the unconscious. It is not a set of morals as you seem to be constructing it, that is just one school of written and studied philosophy marked by a desire for universality. Philosophy is ontology, epistemology, and ethics. There are other marginal discourses but these are the big 3. We are always deciding our being by continuing to be, thusly not dying is ontology: philosophy is behind everything. We are always deciding what we know when we act or don't act, speak or not speak etc. thusly consciousness is epistemology: philosophy is behind everything. We have a name for an emotion called guilt and it comes in a million shades and we have words for all of them, we question whether we have done right we plan for doing right in the future, thusly living is an exercise in ethics: philosophy is behind everything.

There is nothing without philosophy, even thoughts within your own head are imbricated with philosophy before they are spoken. Just because there are not names for them and scholars have not written them out, they are philosophy.

I'm down for any topic.

To: Owl
From: Jimothy

Now that I have a mouse I can quote your words. Let me just add this response to the death discussion to respond to ur points and to make a point about philosophy that can only be made in the discussion of death.
You said: “Life is so intrinsic on our ability to think that death as a personal and subjective phenomena cannot exist.  We are unable to experience, think, or reflect on the death because it is this absence of these abilities that defines death.  It is therefore impossible to comprehend death, it being beyond what is essentially and foundationally life.”
This was very well stated and sums up the “radical otherness” of death. Which is one of the points I want to make about philosophy, specifically the dialectic.

You said: “ As you realized yourself after you had presented the three dictionary definitions, they are not really helpful in defining what immanence means on a philosophical level.  It is good and right to define your terms using established institutions, but in much of what we discuss these established institutions are unable or unwilling to encompass what we are arguing and I would therefore deem them less than useful, in general.”
This statement reminded me of a thought I’ve been having A LOT recently. And when I read this paragraph the second time I misinterpreted it to think you were talking about philosophical terms rather than the dictionary definition. To which I was going to respond that all words are institutions. But dictionary definitions seem to be lacking recently when I look for meaning.

You said: “what you have written implies that the world was dead the entire time I was alive and that I was never a part of an external reality.”
I think this is a tenuous delineation though, because if there is any assumption in your brain that relies upon thinking of the world as dead after your death it would breed solipsism, even if you can’t even conclude you’ll be dead tomorrow.

As for the Tibetan Book of the Dead: it’s an allegory in my opinion. It makes death in to life in order to make it seem less alien.  It makes death a journey in which you’re tripping balls the whole time. Sounds pretty much like life: a journey where nothing makes sense but certain things seem strangely significant (love, family, art, human touch, etc).

As for the point I felt was important to make on THIS subject concerning philosophy, I speak of the dialectic. The idea that ideas, history, etc. function dialectically. With a positing or “thesis”, followed by whatever disagrees or is in opposition to the thesis known as an “antithesis”. This inevitably results in a “synthesis” or aufheben or supralation or sublimation there are a hundred translations and phonetic arrangements of the idea.
So lets take a classic political science idea of the “state of nature” Hobbes says that before the state it was a war of all against all.
Thesis: War of all against all
Antithesis: Violence/conquering. growth of the strong/domination of the weak
Synthesis: The State. This synthesis  is thusly a feature of history henceforth. It seen as a neutral and normal thing to have the weak dominated by the strong with violence.

Thusly that synthesis is a new THESIS!
Thesis: The state is the only agent of justified violence.
Antithesis: states that go too far
Synthesis: revolution of who is in control of the state apparatus.

Omg that synthesis is a new thesis!
Thesis: The state is the only agent of justified violence, because of its seizure of the state apparatus.
Antithesis: State goes too far
Synthesis: Revolution of who is in control of the state apparatus.

This is one specific examination which ignores a trillion other dialectics happening simultaneously, but it is a simple one to understand that the dialectic can explain everything because it takes TIME(as the condition for anything to be possible) in to account and it takes IDEAs(as the currency of the human mind) in to account, as well as allows for infinite iteration.
The problem with the dialectic is its so fucking radical. Things are either thesis or antithesis in every episteme. Once a paradigm shift occurs and a synthesis has become the new thesis(which can happen a billion times in a day, but not to big firmly established ideas).
Life and death are the hardest thesis/antithesis pair, because there is no ground for synthesis. But it is also the greatest way to understand how radically different thesis and antithesis are.
In my current understanding of what is effective resistance to immorality number one is to know the dialectic and instead of ever cheering for the winner, always be a dissident. If a paradigm shift occurs the new synthesis is not a victory, it is the new enemy.
Many philosophies are based on claims that certain subjects have had their dialectic play frozen and a thesis has become congealed and won’t flip over.
The dialectic is also sometimes seen as similar to the Socratic method.
I think its super helpful for understanding big ideas that go through large chunks of time. Like Marx used an ideal dialectic which claimed that capitalism will destroy itself because of surplus value.
The antithesis to this arrived in the form of marketing as Pierre Bourdieu states. Surplus value pays for more marketing in order to get us to buy the shit we don’t need. Its easier to notice changes in the dialectic if you have perspective looking farther back in history. Or maybe the antithesis was distraction/delirium as Guy DeBord writes, that we are distracted from the fissures on purpose by the media. But both agree that the next synthesis after marx’s identification of surplus value as the internal contradiction has to do with media/marketing which are both encompassed by the phrase: mental environments
It is much harder to establish the Theses and potential synetheses of today, because of myopia and lack of historical intel to see patterns in. But the words for the current thesis pervade: episteme, paradigm, millieux, etc. It is that thing that we accept as neutral that is here because of a succession of dialectic.
Maybe Zizek is right that after capitalism created a new capitalism in order to avoid the pitfalls identified by Marx, it stumbled in to new pitfalls which DeBord and Bourdieu are best at identifying, and then created a new capitalism to overcome that, and the main thrust of this latest synthesis is based on making people experience chemical rewards for consumption. Making people feel they are altruistic for consuming, or that they are saving the environment by consuming, or that they are contributing to fair labor practices by consuming. Just look at your Starbucks cup as Zizek says or as Derrick Jensen says just look around you, look at all the unsustainable shit that is telling you that to purchase it will save the world from environmental degradation.
Ok end rambling, back to current topic.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dialogue with Owl One: Money

Upon the suggestion of the erudite and linguistically talented Owl  we will be corresponding on set subjects. I will post these rambling diatribes here for posterity.

From: Jimothy
To: Owl
"money is cool I'm only human/but they use it as a tool to make the workers feel excluded/like the shiner the jewel the more exclusive the truth is/bullets don't take bribes stupid they shoot shit"-Aesop[Rock]
First of all as to age it is very true we are probably getting weaker at this point physically, but we can still level up with our intellects for many years to come. Which is why I am very excited about this idea.

I have been thinking about this subject for a couple days and really didn't come up with any meat and potatoes, only that aesop quote. So I feel like I haven't been able to discourse face to face in a long time with you and I want to kind of lay groundwork. Although I feel orthodoxy is the true evil in this world I think that I have found some things which are universal to either the human condition or reality. I feel that Derrida's "Metaphysics of presence" or Lacan's "lack in the big Other" are a universal aspect of humanity. We create illusions of presence, truth, authenticity, etc. We create subordinated and privileged ideas and identities through our discourse.
 One example of this illusion of presence, truth, or authenticity is the (re)production of history. Humans must believe history to be truth in some respect, especially their own memories(Or how they reckon they felt about something in the past. Those are two ideas that I just want you to be aware of and I have a third to continue to bore you off topic: semiotics. Symbolism or specifically the lack of universal meaning in any symbol or system of symbols. Because the meaning of these symbols is recreated through our use of these symbols on and on in to the future. So another Derridean concept that I am finding very helpful in understanding reality is "differance" which is two ideas smashed in to one word.
The first idea is that we can only know something, by what it is not. So it is a model of our consciousness based on negativity essentially, which corresponds to how philosophy treats "the other" (or people outside the self). We perform selves to be "different" than the other and only know our "selves" by performing this difference.
The second part of "differance" is that meaning is never fully grasped, meaning is always deferred in a million different ways. We defer meaning until the end of a word, end of a sentence, end of a paragraph, end of a book, end of a semester, etc. This is one reason I am having so much trouble with my big text is because after locating the idea historically the idea(or the word which signified the idea) began to change.
In conclusion to my long introductory paragraph on methodology I just want to say that I think the best way to determine "meaning" is to
1. Locate the contradictory notion within the text of an idea that relies on a metaphysics of presence.
2. Examine how the idea "became" through a genealogical analysis of history (as we are all always in a process of becoming, never human being only human "becoming")
3. Examine how the word "became" through etymology

2 and 3 can be accomplished with a justifiable amount of certainty through shit tons of research, number 1 is really fucking hard to do. So if these are my established heuristics for accessing ideas and "reality" then let me give it a whirl without any research.

I mean fuck, I can start anywhere and its all interesting shit that I want to think about and write and read. Lemme get a pinner going.

Ok i'm gonna have to do a little research
I"m gonna start with number 2, I think number three is kinda stupid for this subject and number 1 is actually too easy on this subject. I mean money IS number one. It is a piece of paper which is said to be the presence of value even though it cannot be eaten, cannot keep you warm, and cannot cure sickness. It is evidence of the metaphysics of presence because our entire society functions BECAUSE we all continue to believe in money's substitution for value.
THe research I wanted to do is I know there is a specific discipline which studies coinage or the origins of money,I almost ruined the whole point by reading some wikipedia about money but I found it:
ok but no research, fuck numismatics. One book that I loved that I read was Gerda Lerner's "THe Creation of Patriarchy" I"ve probably told you about the ideas it had about sovereignty. I feel like I should start the whole Email over, sorry I'm a rambler, but I think I can focus in now.
I mean money is  a representation of value, thats above, so what is important is the value I guess? I mean I could say what everybody already knows but doesn't care that money literally isn't backed by anything. THat paper money at one point could be exchanged for gold, but is now just kind of an investment in a country...which means a bet on the confidence of people who hold the most of the not backed by anything pieces of paper.
But that was above that was the illusion of presence, but I don't think that this is something that only manifests with what we regard as capitalism, unless we regard capitalism as a system based on property. In which case we can consider virtually all post-agrarian societies capitalist and many agrarian societies capitalist. So then the function of money is to represent or stand in for property we can disregard its specific character(the metaphysics of presence above) for this train of logic and just understand money as one category of things representing value. So money is then interchangeable with labor and property(even cultural capital). So Money is a symptom of property or an inevitable structural aspect of a property based system.
Lerner's book explains the origins of property. So lets start with a theoretical background. If there is such a thing that is positively identified as "property" this therefore means that property is something that was not always positively identified and known as "property". So there was a point in time in which there was not property. Not in any specific place but in every locality in the world. Lerner theorizes that property becomes positively identified because of knowledge of biology. As it became necessary to work fields in order not to starve societies in a transition from these hunter-gatherer societies to agrarian societies needed more people. At the point that woman's reproductive capacity was identified the necessity of owning women became apparent. At this point the woman and child slave became the norm. As that became the norm the slave in general became accepted. We can also see the origins of "war" in this narrative as localities or tribes would raid other localities to obtain their slaves. I find this narrative very convincing and the book does a great genealogy of assyrian law and old testament law. The origins of money, which is property lies in the commodification of other humans. The violence against individuals and the theft of free will that slavery entails is at the very heart of this shit in my wallet, IS my wallet as well. HOLY SHIT its my brain also, nobody else owns it! It is in the assumption my sentence on free will relies upon! I can't even think without recourse to property as a meme!
So is there an alternative? I mean all I'm doing is bitching if I don't have an alternative. I guess democratic socialism is the best I got or maybe thats a glorified fashionable term and I should just say the alternative is: politics. And by that I mean using the power of the state(which is an inevitability) to protect the welfare of the citizens. This can manifest itself as making fun of people who think a market free from government intervention is even a possibility, protesting against stupid wars which just create terrorists, writing a letter to the editor in favor of legislation which makes health care more affordable and sustainable, etc.
Money is reducible to property, I think a society without money is possible in history they're called barter economies, but money is just a symptom of property eliminating money would do absolutely nothing to solve the harms which can be attributed to money. If property had an origin there must be a way to eliminate it, but it seems that property is so far back through these millions of layers of dialectic that it is not possible at this point. In order to make property "good" we would have to come to terms with all these heuristics of presence or of privileging identities that were built on the last new norm(like the transition from female/child slave to slaves of all ages and gender). In fact I think that the way in which to solve for the social harms of property is to deconstruct these bullshits one by one: gender, class, race, sexual orientation, age, nationality, religion, ethnicity, and just about every other category we put people in so we can think easy. The process whereby people realize that the privileged identities in each of these subjects are no more secure than the subordinated identities. This seeking of presence that we look for in masculinity, whiteness, wealth, heterosexuality, americaness or whatever identities are performed in your neck of the woods is the problem. Instead of relying on a presence which we think we know, we should understand that presence can never fully be arrived at, only deferred. But most people in the world don't want to know things, they don't want to know where they came from(not nationality) I mean where humanity came from and our ideas came from. Now i'm the old man and a really arrogant old man, but I don't mean to say I'm any better. TV and identity performance often convince me to act stupid, stupidity is glorified; constructed as a privileged identity of security.

I think one more aspect of property/money is how property became property is quite different from today's property. Property back then was probably the one with the most power owned everything and shared enough to keep the others from banding together to take him out. But the female slave was property, because nobody had the power to say otherwise. Property was clearly overlapped with violence. TOday Property necessarily presupposes a government or state which portends to be an objective arbiter in any property dispute. ok well, i just though of eminient domain, maybe nothing has changed. If eminent domain exists then all land/property is on loan from the government much like the neolithic despotism i was just talking about. Despite this exception my point is that the government is the agent of the violence to repossess something in a dispute, but does not take it for itself. Today one only considers property in reference to the state that protects it, property is something that you can sue for if it is unfairly broken or stolen. The house is only yours as long as the government says so. Money is a good example of the physical manifestation of the bridge between state and property, in fact it has traditionally been a way to cement political support. Issuing a coin was a way to kind of claim to be king I forget where I read this, but it was because assyria or rome or something had coins so others started making it in order to say they were king. Might have been clovis or something. So maybe money is just the symbol a king gives to people that represents that all property belongs to him and shit your life does too because whos gonna arrest him for killing you.
I think i've written too much, sorry for rambling, i'll just end here lol. lookin forward to ur response

From: Owl
To: Jimothy

“The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century.”
                -Captain John-Luc Picard
I have never watched this movie, but the quote is apt in its de-contextualized form as a starting point for my argument.  And also, before I begin, it should be said that I had a great start on this typing earlier in the week, when suddenly my broke-ass, third-hand laptop switched off and stayed off.  So, this is a second attempt and might lose some creative flair in its redundancy.
I believe, through this quote, that the writers of Star Trek are revealing a subtle clue about the true identity of the humans aboard the Starship USS Enterprise.  That being that those aboard the future craft who claim the title of H. sapien are anything but human in nature and solely on the basis of this quote and the fact that their society has no need for money, I diagnosis Picard, Riker and the rest inhuman.
I call on my misty and fractional understanding of Nietzsche and his argument for the Will to Power.  As humans, or defined in a more meaningful way, as intelligent creatures, we are, at our core, motivated by a struggle for power.  Power, as your obsession with semiotics should inform you, is not a clearly definable noun and is objective in its application.  But, that is one of the clear benefits of money, in that it contains within it nearly every individual’s idea of power in its universality.  It is also the main reason why money must exist if the human species is also to exist, because if ever money wasn’t needed, if ever people worked, endeavored or even got out of bed for the lofty purposes of self-improvement, personal satisfaction, or communal humanism rather than power, we would no longer be human.
Don’t give me any specific examples of some bull-shit monk who lives day to day on beggar’s scraps and owns no worldly possessions.  This behavior is in conscious rejection of the ubiquitous fact of money.  Given a society made up entirely of these hermetic monks, money would necessarily arise in some form or another.
I have only read the first half of your piece.  I was trying to wait until I’d finished mine before I read any of it, but I was sitting around at work and had a printout in hand and couldn’t help myself.  Before I stopped reading, I saw your three main points of interest/interrogation.  The one regarding history would be interesting to research and would provide more substantial evidence of what I am about to say, or, conversely, prove me completely wrong, but in either case: I believe that money is an intrinsic aspect of humanity.
Furthermore, I do not believe that this is a social evolutionary phenomenon.  To live without money would require a foundational, DNA-based genetic change.  The color of money is cultural.  Which dead guy’s face is printed on the bill, how you carry and save and spend that bill, all this is cultural.  The money is part of humanity.
I am having difficulty making a clear, logical argument for this claim.  In part, like so many other aspects of humanity, money is here and has been for ages, so this fact in itself proves my point.  Did money exists back at the dawn of man?  Maybe not, but this prehistoric being was not the same species as we are today.
Maybe money needed civilization in order to be effective...
Shit.  I’ve lost my flow.  But this has been a good start.  

From: Owl
To: Jimothy
Date: Wed, 11 May 2011 00:53:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Proposal

So, this guy comes in to the ER for detox.  He'd been snorting heroin every night for months, some how decided he should stop, and at the time I spoke with him, he claimed to have been sober for 11 days.  He was in his early 60s and seemed to be more or less with it.  I asked him at some point in our conversation how much the heroin had cost him.  A bag was 50 bucks he told me.  So I asked him what quantity "one bag" would be and he didn't really know the answer.  He could describe it only by how long it would last him and by how much it would fuck him up.  After he'd developed a tolerance, a bag would just be enough to put him out until the morrow.  So, he'd spent five grand on heroin in about 100 nights.  $5,000 to anaesthetize life for 1/3 of a year.  Chew on that...mmmmmmmmmm.
One main issue I found in writing my little tra-la-la on money was the lack of research I had on the subject.  I felt that sending you my preconceived notions, my biases and uneducated, inexperienced hunches was not worth the bits of RAM they'd require.  Of course, that is exactly what I did, because I had nothing fact-based or quantitative to say.  Now, as I write this, I can't see how that should be a problem; a subjective truth about money could be worth writing and reading/  But, no, real knowledge is in things objective, not the mystical esoteric understanding that only the individual can experience.  Anyway, all this conspired to steal my inspiration and I found that writing what measly paragraphs I was able to paste together was very difficult.  Maybe we need a new subject.

But, first...  "lemme get a pinner going"

I agree with your approach in going back to the beginnings to try and find some clues to our question.  But, I disagree with the interpretation.  To look back at a time when, as you reference Lerner mentioning, property "was not", is to look back at a time eons before any history exists.  Now, was this time before or after or during our evolution into human beings...ahem, pardon me, human becomings?  To have language and to be able to manufacture such ideas as property is intrinsic in what we could all agree constitutes a human.  Whether or not this ability to understand precludes the advent of a monetary system, or even the evolution of language, is hard to say.  The latter would be a sort of Adam and Eve hunter/gatherer paradise, where fully developed, communicating human becomings lived in a edenic confines where the natural resources were plentiful enough not to warrant the words "mine" and "yours".  However, in my opinion, this would also demand a perfect 50/50 man to woman ratio, a personal knowledge or naive trust in everyone you met, as well as a number of other similar impossibilities.  By arguing that the moment property became a firm idea or an expressable thought defines also the moment property came into existence is wrong.  So there is no definite line when humans became...there is only just a long line of past events stretching off into infinity, seen darkly if at all.  Property exists in the animal kingdom; property exist where ever these is the struggle to survive.

Now, going back to what I wrote before, or tried to express, I can be sum it up in the following question: Can society, as we know it and understand it to be intrinsically human, ever exist without a form of money?  This question encompasses the past that we have been mucking our way through.  It also demands all that psychological b.s. about human nature, as well as the greater sociological questions about the nature of humankind.  It encompasses the question of what is money and what roll it plays in our lives. It also encompasses the present and future as well.

Hmm...let's leave that and look at one of your sentences I underlined: Money is a good example of the physical manifestation of the bridge between state and property.  This is dope and here's why I think that.  I defined money as physical, which is an extremely important idea.  Taken further, money is physical and yet totally without value in the physical world...kindling and TP are the only possible exceptions.  But it is not the adjective that matters, it is the noun: manifestation.  Money embodies whatever the state is in relation to whatever it is money can buy.  Money can buy property, and its disturbing connection to the state is clear in you example of eminent domain.  But it does not stop at property.  If we see eminent domain as a symptom of the all-powerful state, the meaning of money becomes larger.  And so, I put to you that money is not so much a representation of property.  I would argue that money is the representation of power.

New you want to choose?  If so, let me know what it is.  If not, then we can use my idea which is encoded below:

-Q S A A C Q Q

(add three letters in alphabetical order from each character to decode the topic)
From: Jimothy
To: Owl

I do think your quote needs to be contextualized a bit. This guy Carl G. Hempel says that things can never be fully explained (well he stops short of saying the same thing about the natural sciences unfortunately[but about the social sciences, things can never be fully explained)]. I've already woven myself in to some writing trap trying to fit ideas in there. But there can be "explanatory sketches" that can be "filled out". I so I would like to give a rudimentary sketch of your quote from Picard. Picard's world is different in only ONE way from ours. In the star trek universe they have invented the "warp drive", which is just the name for a source of infinite, renewable, and non-pollution producing energy. That very simply put is the end of money. A post-money world. This is a good provisional context for Picard's quote. Beyond that there are still numerous problems with violence or the show wouldn't be fun.

As to your diagnosis of the denizens of the Enterprise and the star trek universe, I think you may be close if you look to the philosopher you name in the next paragraph. Nietzsche also thought of man as the middle-ground between simian and ubermensch(superman). His invocation of the will to power stems from a critical outlook on institutions. Humans were not being themselves...I'm saying it wrong, but humans were ceding their free will(will to power) to others and to machines(institutions). Nietzsche would most likely diagnose Picard similarly, but differently. "Inhuman" is a cold dehumanizing(lol redundancy) word, Nietzsche would call them Ubermensch I think.

Your statement "money...contains within it nearly every individual’s idea of power in its universality." I think may be a little too strong. If we can imagine a world without money and simple way to get there(energy) this is good evidence that power can exist in a post-money world. I think my argument for a pre-money world falls short. I am thinking about it like this: electricity was not invented it was discovered, same for penicillin, and same for all medicine. These things already existed but eventually were discovered by humans. At one point in time there was not money, we know from history there was a barter system(which is such an expansive term). But even before that there was a time before humans realized the value of things: how to use tools. Well most non-human animals use tools, but they use pieces of their environment. A chimp does not carry around his favorite long grass blade that he likes to lick and stick in the termite mound for a quick snack. These tools cannot be considered akin to property or money for bartering. Although your example of the monkeys who were conditioned with using money to buy food, then stole all the money not realizing they had noone to buy from if they stole from their vendors. Is money becoming too amorphous if we say it has always existed (In the form of value, like valuing the life of your family, valuing game in hunting, or valuing the crop harvest)? I think those left out by the statement "nearly every" are actually quite numerous. Power to the victims of rape is clearly not money, I use the most obvious example, but I think we could say the same about any victim of violence or even perpetrators of violence. Especially people who can enact justified violence(violence they can get away with) like police, soldiers, abusive husbands,priests, etc. their power derives from the threat of violence not from their wealth.

Your sentence: "if ever people worked, endeavored or even got out of bed for the lofty purposes of self-improvement, personal satisfaction, or communal humanism rather than power, we would no longer be human." I think I agree with you and I think Nietzsche would agree with you. You are demarcating a threshold between man and ubermensch. It does not make what you say impossible for humans, it just means the circumstances need to be right and humans need to level up.

Your cynicism of humanity can be coupled with hope for the future. Just because humans cannot reach that point where they can live in a post-money world does not mean that humans can' t level up once the circumstances are right. Although there is no such thing as freedom, sometimes it is very easy to see degrees of unfreedom. I think many places on the globe have managed to get a few degrees closer to the unreachable horizon of freedom. But technology and mass production of human minds has made unfreedom all the more insidious over the years. It is  hard to clearly see without perspective, like looking back at a time long ago or looking at a culture in present day completely different than your own, but using its epistemology as a mirror of your own culture.

"Furthermore, I do not believe that this is a social evolutionary phenomenom.  To live without money would require a foundational, DNA-based genetic change."
I don't necessarily think we need genetic conditioning. I think DNA is given too much credit, soon it will be neuroscience that is given too much credit. The milieu of our culture is certainly what constructs a meaning for money, there is no ingrained meaning for money in our DNA.

What you are doing is exploding the metonym of "money". If money is also "anything people have value in" then of course there will never be a post-money or pre-money world for humans. Which follows our hermeneutic circle right back to semiotics. We need provisional or operational definitions to draw clear lines around "money".

On to your second part!
To spend so much money in order to sleep is so crazy to me. I don't wanna join the idiots and put people in cages who do the shit, but what a useless fucking drug. If you are going to be dealing with these people you should know its a revolving door. You met *, well she would have frequent hospital visits for multiple days. She was a full blown "drink a shitton when you wake up" alcoholic and was just recently charged with felony possession of heroin. I am pretty sure she applies for financial aid to go to the hospital in order to have shelter and get opiates. I think a lot of junkies spend a lot of time in hospitals chasing endorphins after they have killed their ability to feel them.

I would argue that money is the representation of power." I think I would agree that money is ONE representation of power. I think violence is a much more naked manifestation(manifested in a violent act) of power. I think you may be right that humans cannot be free of money, but maybe a new human can be when the circumstances are in his/her favor. I think energy is the only thing to make this possible. Although that seems utopian it is the number one threat to human existence, because of the obvious degradation of the earth and dwindling energy supplies.