[iDC] (no subject)

mlahey at artic.edu mlahey at artic.edu
Sat Feb 3 08:51:38 EST 2007

Quoting Kevin Hamilton <kham at uiuc.edu>:

> Malian,
> Not everything is complicated, and not every complex problem requires 
> the presence of academics in order to be solved.
> But surely the ways in which we as individuals and collectives 
> contribute on a daily basis to the real problems you and others describe 
> require a less simplistic summary than yours in the last post.

Well, I think that if you think about the implications of what I wrote, it's
only how I stated the problem that is simple.  Following through on the
solution is not simple at all!

I guess I feel that convoluting my thoughts/using jargon might make me sound
more clever, but it won't help me communicate.  

Besides, laying out a simple formula for a solution allows for many
interpretations/applications.  One reason I get frustrated with philosophy and
other academic writing is that their insistence on taxonomizing every detail of
the discussion is a very controlling way to deliver information.  If I offer the
raw materials or a general direction, it leaves it up to other folks how they
want to live that out.  But if I'm prescribing and specifying, I start to get
as Fascist as Henry Ford, who was big on timing how long it took to do each
motion on the assembly line, and evaluated workers based on their ability to
optimize efficiency as measured by him. (and yes, Ford was a Fascist, and
donated money to the Nazis)

> I did not question the necessity of discussing our work and worlds on 
> the scale introduced by Luis or Brian. I don't think anyone did in this 
> thread. If my actions here towards you, Brian or Luis have been received 
> as an attempt to silence dissent, then I deserve correction.
> I did seek clarification as to the intent of the manner in which Brian 
> addressed the (no) subject. He generously addressed this query.

Yes, of course.  No argument.  Please realize I was not addressing my post
personally just to you.  However you did question if staying focused on the
small picture could be anything but "delusion".  And I commented on that.  If
only Brian is allowed to do that, that is news to me.

Furthermore, the struggle to discover the form and origin of one's cage is
universal.  It is not just you that has to struggle with that, it's everyone.  
Not personal to you, but including. 

It is not possible to break out of one's limitations when one is not even aware
of them.  In a metaphorical way of speaking, you can't keep your nose to the
grindstone and expect to escape slavery.  The point I made about the Jews: they
*assumed* that the system is rational and that they could rationally figure it
out.  It would have been much better for them if they had realized that the
system was completely mad and acted accordingly; they could have overpowered
their guards.  But they were living within the precepts of a rational society
even when that society calmly and rationally stuffed them into gas chambers.

> You describe one trajectory when there have been many represented on 
> recent threads. Admittedly, when compared to many other contemporary 
> trajectories of action and decline, the ones represented on this list 
> and in recent discussions begin to resolve themselves into a single 
> shade. But I don't think we should let that form the basis of action, or 
> dismiss action and inquiry without examining the expressed (and 
> unacknowledged) assumptions unique to each effort.

Well, of course there are differences in what people have said.  But again, if
you won't zoom out to look, then you won't really know what I am talking

We all use computers to read this list, no?  Most, if not all of us live in
industrialized nations.  Someone who has the education and the means to
participate on this thread is making some pretty major concessions to the
colonist/corporatist/globalist system, either tacitly or not.  How many have
cars or watch TV?  How many ride airplanes (me).  How many work in multi-story

One environmental activist has said; "if we consider the Earth as alive we
wouldn't be able to hurt her so much just to make a big building".

But the people speaking in this forum aren't addressing such a major, structural
change as taking the position that the Earth is alive.  It sounds simple but if
you think about it, accepting it as true would imply a lot of complicated
changes for our lives!

> I agree that the problems are deep, that the assessments offered by 
> Brian and Luis cogent and real. But I disagree with your broad 
> ascription of motivations to the actions of whatever unified group you 
> think you are addressing.

Which motivations?  Which actions?  We're just writing here.  I don't think it's
mistaken to say that on this list (unified group) it seems difficult to get
people to talk about global scale concerns.  It's understandable that a group
like this would have trouble questioning industrialized society, for example
(for the reasons I mentioned above).  But that's exactly why it would be so

> Calling attention to overlooked concerns and contexts within earshot of 
> privileged conversations is wholly called for, and necessary. Assuming 
> and describing complicity and complacency without close reading and 
> attention to the specifics of a person's practice, let alone their 
> posts, is mis-informed, and counterproductive.
> Kevin

Dear Kevin, we are all complicit.  We are all far, far too complacent.  I'm
writing. on. a. damn. computer.!!!  That's complicity!  That's complacency!  I
read your posts, but all I have to know is that you participate in academia and
I know that you are as dependent on our current social infrastructure as much as
I am.  and I want to talk about changing that.

That one's *opinions* reflect an anti- slave corporate machine attitude does not
mean that one has necessarily done the work to destroy our addiction to that

Here's some questions:

If the global industrial infrastructure were dismantled, what would take its

how would we ecologically, sustainably remain in communication with one another
around the world?  

How would we visit one another?  I'm talking about, how would a Swiss travel to
Texas, for example.

Ecosystems change through a process of succession; that is, certain elements are
replaced with others as the ecosystem changes through time.  I believe human
beings are like that as well.  So I guess what I'm suggesting is that we make
conscious decisions about what ought to be replaced, and what do we want to
replace it with.  Let me also say that it would be unethical to do this without
including impoverished third world people as equal partners in the discussion.


> mlahey at artic.edu wrote:
> >
> > So, I think that the answer to Kevin's question
> >
> >   
> >> But since you've framed the problem existentially, I'll put it back to
> >> you existentially - can't collective inquiry into the effects of small
> >> decisions on the world be more than self-justified indulgence or
> >> delusion? 
> >>     
> >
> > Is: Not on our current trajectory, sweetheart.
> >
> >
> >   

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