Anne of Cleves
Panofsky should be required reading for anyone in the social sciences, but I haven't met one academic in 20 years whom I could trust to understand the basic premises of humanism as described in those paragraphs. The vast majority of people take such questions for granted, without articulating them. We know this because they spend so much time and money watching and listening to others who do so: in music, movies and words (fiction). But many who spend their lives in the academy think they're irrelevant to higher learning, an indulgence, or at worst an invitation to unreason.So obviously I find it disgusting but predictable that the liberal technocrats' model intellectual Paul Krugman spends his off hours in a science fiction fan club. It's what Krugman and Newt Gingrich have in common: a fondness for vulgar determinism.
Economics as a humanist endeavor is the study of the weakness and frailty of the human imagination. As a "science" it becomes a celebration of the human capacity for reason: the reason of the observer. But reason trumps observation. Read economics as synecdoche for the social sciences. You can't will away the conflict, but the modern academy is dedicated to trying.
Economics as a humanist endeavor is the study of the weakness and frailty of the human imagination. As a "science" it becomes a celebration of the human capacity for reason: the reason of the observer. But reason trumps observation.The observer refuses to observe himself. And unaware of himself, he becomes unaware when his reason has become the unreason that he fears so much in others. Wisdom requires both invention and observation. Machines, whether physical or logical, don't observe,
"When an acquaintance greets me on the street by lifting his hat, what I see from a formal point of view is nothing but the change of certain details within a configuration forming part of the general pattern of color, lines and volumes which constitutes my world of vision. When I identify, as I automatically do, this configuration as an object (gentleman), and the change of detail as an event (hatlifting), I have already overstepped the limits of purely formal perception and entered a first sphere of subject matter or meaning. The meaning thus perceived is of an elementary and easily understandable nature. and we shall call it the factual meaning; it is apprehended by simply identifying certain visible forms with certain objects known to me from practical experience and by identifying the change in their relations with certain action or events"...a certain sensitivity, but this sensitivity is still part of my practical experience that is, of my everyday familiarity with objects and events."
Now the objects and events thus identified will naturally produce a certain reaction within myself. From the way my acquaintance performs his action I may be able to sense whether he is in a good or bad humor and whether his feelings towards me are indifferent, friendly or hostile. These psychological nuances will invest the gestures of my acquaintance with a further meaning which we shall call expressional. It differs from the factual one in that it is apprehended. not by simple identification, but by "empathy. To understand it, I need a certain sensitivity, but this sensitivity is still part of my practical experience that is, of my everyday familiarity with objects and events. Therefore both the factual and the expressional meaning may be classified together: they constitute the class of primary or natural meanings."
And finally: besides constituting a natural event in space and time, naturally indicating moods or feelings, besides conveying a conventional greeting the action of my acquaintance can reveal to an experienced observer all that goes to make up his "personality." This personality is conditioned by his being a man of the twentieth century, by his national. social and educational background by the previous history of his life and by his present surroundings but it is also distinguished by an individual manner of viewing things and reacting to the world which, if rationalized, would have to be called a philosophy. In the isolated action of a polite greeting all these factors do not manifest themselves comprehensively, but nevertheless symptomatically. We could not construct a mental portrait of the man on the basis of this single action. but only by coordinating a large number of similar observations and by interpreting them in connection with our general information as to his period. nationality, class. intellectual traditions and so forth. Yet all the qualities which this mental portrait would show explicitly are implicitly inherent in every single action; so that. conversely every single action can be interpreted in the light of those qualities.The panicked fear of subjectivity results in the inability to acknowledge its presence. Realism is not the assumption of "rational action." It is the attempt to examine rationally the irrationality of others so that one may respond to it and recognize it in oneself.
For the rest of the world the fact that Israel was founded on racist principles is accepted as simple truth. But American liberals have defended Jewish "National Front" politics out of the logic of exceptionalism, cold calculation and guilt.Another statement of the fucking obvious.
A good part of the anger of Arabs now comes not from the fact of Israel or the fact of the expulsion but from the blithe response of westerners to their plight. The selling of Israel as the moral actor in the conflict has added endless insult to injury. Likudniks are honest with themselves if not with others, but liberals have been unwilling to admit what it is they've defended. Why should I offer support to any movement that puts race before representation? And we're supposed to see J Street as representing something like ourselves? In our multi-ethnic democracy? That's like seeing the lobby for a moderate version of Saudi bigotry as somehow a standard bearer for civil society.
Palestinians have been either reviled or pitied, but not treated with respect. This failure, of liberals more than the right -who've never cared at all- has given Israel as false sense of confidence in its own morality and modernity. The defensiveness hasn't faded over time as it should have been allowed to do, it's gotten stronger The Israeli radicals have grown stronger.
The hypocrisy of liberal Zionists is responsible for the present situation, more than the settlers and the Israeli right.
An example that for some readers may be close to home: theActually reading him now, and trying not to lose patience, he seems close to stating the obvious: that socialism is a habit -or needs to be- rather than an ideology, and one that needs to be strengthened, while individualism is a habit that needs weakening. I thought it was a common assumption at this point that Thatcherism marked the rise of the striving and vulgarly materialist lower middle class, in opposition both to the working class and the old aristocracy. But I'm beginning to suspect that I've been wrong. It's not a truism, It's still true of course.
policy argument that rates of pay to British academics should be
raised, since otherwise they will succumb to the lure of high for-
eign salaries. We can suppose that academics are indeed disposed
to leave the country because of current salary levels. The issue of
whether, nevertheless, they should emigrate is pertinent to the
policy argument when they are regarded as fellow members of
community who owe the rest a justification for decisions that affect
the welfare of the country. And many British academics with an
inclination to leave who put the stated policy argument contrive
to avoid that issue by casting the minor premise of the argument in
the third person. They say: “Academics will go abroad,” not:
“We’ll go abroad.”
Ret. Adm. Dennis Blair just refused to answer a very easy question, asked by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.): Is waterboarding torture? “I would say that there will be no waterboarding on my watch, there will be no torture on my watch.”My comment:
C’mon, a stunned Levin said. Blair: “I’m very much aware there were dedicated officers in the intelligence service who thought they were carrying out activities that were authorized at the highest levels … I don’t intend to reopen those cases of those officers who acted within their duties. I’m hesitant …” He doesn’t want to call his intelligence officials torturers, but, you know, still. Waterboarding is is clearly torture.
But Eric Holder said it was torture, Levin continued: “That’s troubling to me … I’m looking for your judgment, is waterboarding torture?”
“You’ll just have to make the inference from my answer that on my watch we will not waterboard,” Blair said. He reaffirmed that torture doesn’t produce reliable intelligence. But still: WTF?
The answer's obvious. He's trying to maintain the peace within the organizations under his purview. He's trying to "look forward not backward."I'm not sure if he understands the conflict more than intuitively, but he understands that members of the military are not trained to think about moral complexity. But they should be. Military philosophy, as I've said elsewhere if not here, is Manichaean. To some degree -for practical reasons- it needs to be. But our military is not taught to understand the tensions between the military as authoritarian order in defense of a free one.
"You’ll just have to make the inference from my answer that on my watch we will not waterboard,”
People thought they were following orders. He doesn't want to have to work with people who are being told they are torturers, even if not charged with it. Military logic is simple: following orders is good, disobeying them is bad. The orders were bad. The people who followed those orders do not want to feel responsible, since they did the "right" thing . Ever heard of Stanley Milgram?
Socrates: "And is, then, all which is just pious? or, is that which is pious all just, but that which is just, only in part and not all, pious"
The military is founded on an ideal of piety. The government is [Democratic governments are] founded on an ideal of justice. Blair understands the conflict more than you do.
“Doing these cases,” he wrote, “I began to find myself in a dangerous situation as an advocate. I came to believe in the truth of what I was saying. I was no longer entirely what my professional duties demanded, the old taxi on the rank waiting for the client to open the door and give his instruction, prepared to drive off in any direction, with the disbelief suspended.”Hallin
What I argued in "the Passing of the 'High Modernism' of American Journalism" and in subsequent writings (especially Hallin 2000) was that this professional model of media did not represent the end of journalism history, but a brief episode based on very specific historical conditions which are now passing away.The Modernism that Hallin describes as "a brief episode" is not a model of professionalism as such but a model of professionalism as objectivity. The earlier model of professionalism, one that still holds outside the US, is advocacy and that is the model we should return to. But Hallin's American modernism -still prevalent in the academy if nowhere else- allows only the dichotomy of reason and unreason, of rationalism and free-for-all. Was Mortimer an irrationalist? Is the professional model of legal practice in danger of passing away!?
The Passing of the 'High Modernism" of American Journalism Revisited Hallin can't quite grasp that professionalism and faith in one's own capacity for reason are two different things. Tradecraft is a form of professionalism, and it's a better model.I think journalists often play an important role as an independent source of information, and in many ways I'd like to see them playing a stronger role, not a weaker one, in shaping the public sphere. I'd like to see them play that role in a more independent and thoughtful way than they often do, but I would not like to see them vanish from the political scene--which to some extent is actually happening as media companies cut newsroom budgets.They've already done it.
I worry that the rhetoric about how terrible journalists are actually plays into the hands of other powers, partisan, corporate, and government powers-- who would love to marginalize journalists as much as they could.
One argument against journalists is that they defend corporate and government power. Another says that they defend a 'liberal' elite. The Republican leadership used christian conservatives as a base, but only cater to them enough to get their vote. Rove called them "nuts." [The leaders of right wing populism are demagogues not populists]
The major failure of the press results from its own snobbery. The author of this post [Rosen] as many others do imagines the press as a referee, but that claim is based less on an empirical understanding of the press' important role or of its history than on the wishful thinking of a self-important college kid.
The press is a participant in the political game. They should think of themselves as being paid by the people to dig, not by the leadership to tell the people what the leadership wants them to hear. The the press' job is not to judge but to be hungry; to knock on widow's doors and photograph pornographic images of war and violence: to serve the people's voracious "need to know."
The left and the nativist right are both justified in their anger. The press represents the interests of the institutional elite. Nativists attack lawyers too, until they want to sue. But the press wants to be the judge and it's not their job, it's ours.
Objectivity is an illusion, but much of academic logic is based on the cult of reason rather than a respect for adversarialism. Think of economics where you would think fans of market theory would approve. But they don't.
There's a difference between demagoguery and respect for your audience, between giving the people what they need to make an educated choice and giving the people "what they want" which as often as not may be bread and circuses; but there is no way to legislate that difference. That's what defenders of "reason" fail to understand. Taking yourself seriously is not a strategy for doing a good job at anything. Taking your job seriously is something else entirely. Judges have very specific rules they have to follow, and strict limits on their authority. They have to defend every decision for the public record. What are the rules for journalists in their self-appointed role as judges? There are none.
If lawyers can respect their role as officers of the court then journalists should be able to respect their own as servants not masters of the people.
Imagine a beach and a small group of people sitting on and around a blanket having lunch. Another group comes onto the beach a few feet away and sets up a volleyball net between themselves and the first group. Then they start lobbing volleyballs over the net that all go unreturned. When the count of unreturned balls reaches 25 the second group declares the game over and themselves the winners. Another group arrives, friends of the second and wanting "their turn." They tell the first group to move so that they can play. A rule book is consulted and it is decided that the first group lost their game and have no right to occupy the "volleyball court". The police are called and they are removed by force.Demands are made that the Palestinians abide by all the restrictions of law but they're offered none of the benefits. It's as if a woman were accused of biting her rapist.
Sooner or later people should begin to consider that democracy is preferable not because its more moral than other forms of government but because its more stable. The rule of law is preferable because laws founded on agreement if enforced evenly and simply build trust. And trust is the goal. The idealism of law as some form of Aristotelian logic is absurd. But realism should be the understanding that most people are stupid, not the defense of stupidity.I think that puts it nicely.
And you believe the system should. I'm arguing it can't; not because of the Israel/Palestine debate but because your model of "cleaning up" is still a model of cleanliness. And cleanliness like humility, as Oscar Wilde would say, is false.Rosen [responding to someone else]
The point of my Gaza references was not the M.E. itself; I thought my references to trade-craft made that clear. My point is this, I'll say it again and I'm out:
There is no such thing as objectivity. There is only engaged intelligence. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Rupert Murdoch for returning vulgarity to the news business. His vulgar advocacy journalism spawned serious intelligent advocacy journalism, honest about its biases. I don't even like TPM, but I take it more seriously than most newspapers.
And don't forget who gave us the Simpsons.
Your response to me bringing up the Middle East was tellingly passive, and it's the passivity that's the problem. I'd have been happier if you'd started screaming like an enraged Likudnik. I would known what you believed and where you stood and I would have been able to judge for myself and engage you. As it is I know nothing about your response to the biggest news of the new year. But considering your silence and your vocal response to other issues I can guess.
I shouldn't have to guess at all.
I read my news on the web because I get it mostly from academics, scholars and activists, in the US, Europe, and the Middle East who are experts in the fields that journalists pretend to know about, and are fluent in the languages that journalists pretend to read. I read historians before I read theoreticians of the present [cf."Media Studies"]. I read Reidar Visser before and after I read any journalist on Iraq. I read the webpages of people who would otherwise be publishing op-eds, in other countries if not this one. They're the ones who filter the news for me, more than reporters do. And I don't read legal reporters when I can read lawyers.
Journalists are grunts. They shouldn't stop trying to be intellectuals, but they should stop assuming that's what they are.
Intellectuals are always biased, it's their job. It's my lawyer's job to be biased. I'd fire him if he weren't. Why would I ever trust someone who claimed to be objective about the most intellectually and emotionally complex issues of the day?
Atrios' silence on Gaza is strategic. He's trying to stay out of trouble with his audience. That's not "reality based" journalism, that's the realism of a political operative. Accept it for what it is.
There are two kinds of corruption in any social network: the corruption of idiots who support each other out of friendship, who back each other up and help each other up the ladder; and the corruption of intelligent and imaginative people with curious minds who support each other out of friendship, back each other up, and help each other up the ladder.
You can't get rid of corruption, but you can try to minimize stupidity. Honesty's a good start.
"...It's just a factor in what journalists do that tends be be under-weighted: their need to demonstrate deatchment, neutrality, nonalignment, professional distance.So journalists are outside the circle. Amazing.
Simplest method: politics as a game, journalists as savvy analysts up in the booth, sizing up the strategies and what the players have to do to win."
Another study someone should make: Compare Google to Apple. Google deals in information and money and in the the esthetic of the abstract and intangible. [On money and invisibility I owe a debt to my old roommate. I'm one of the two dedicatees for that paper so I'm returning the kindness.]Adding this:
Apple is preoccupied not only with abstraction but with the material presence of it's products, not only with conceptual but physical design. It's an example of a boutique capitalism that's also as a result self-limiting. The only way for Apple to go beyond it's chosen niche would be for it to be joined under a conglomerate cf. Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. You prefer the latter because unlike Microsoft, it's a competent organization, but if anything that makes it more dangerous. Competent hegemons always are, yes?
Google is far more dangerous than Microsoft could ever be. Microsoft was once at risk of having some of its products put into the public domain. Google itself -in its entirety- may have to nationalized in the future, or put into an international public consortium.Again, all obvious.
I suppose it would be an arcane point, but (again) facts are mundane. Truths even at their simplest are mundanities compounded with values. The struggle for “objectivity” is the attempt to separate facts from values.Reason unmoored is hot air. McGinn's ecstasy of complexity is the ecstasy a mind and an ego, unchallenged by anything other than itself. Not even by rocks.
A month or so ago I scanned through a PBS documentary on space exploration, following the Cassini mission and the Huygens probe. After the landing on Titan one of the project managers, describing her near ecstasy as the data began coming in, referred to her relation to Titan as akin to love. This was said seemingly without self-consciousness or irony.
The rocks on Titan are facts. The landing didn’t change them atomically or Platonically. The desire for them or for knowledge about them, and all the psychological baggage that accrues to the process are something else. I was more fascinated by the wide-eyed childlike expression on the woman's face than by the rocks. That interest is what defines me as a humanist: an awareness of the difference between first and second order awareness, or first and second order curiosity.
A case sitting quietly in the Supreme Court’s in-basket promises to tell us more than almost any other about John G. Roberts Jr. and his evolution from spear carrier in the Reagan revolution to chief justice of the United States — and in the process set the direction of the debate over race and politics for years to come.And today the court agreed to hear it.
The question is whether Congress acted within its constitutional authority two years ago when it extended a central provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 for 25 years. An appeal challenging the act’s reauthorized Section 5, a provision that requires certain states and localities to receive federal permission before making any change in election procedures, awaits the justices when they return today from a holiday recess.
For our purposes, however it is important that humanity manifests itself in such brotherhood most frequently in "dark times." This kind of humanity actually becomes inevitable when the times become so extremely dark for certain groups of people that it is no longer up to them, their insight or choice, to withdraw from the world. Humanity in the form of fraternity invariably appears historically among persecuted peoples and enslaved groups; and in Eighteenth-century Europe it must have been quite natural to detect it among the Jews, who then were newcomers in literary circles. This kind of humanity is the great privilege of pariah peoples; it is the advantage that the pariahs of this world always and in all circumstances can have over others. The privilege is dearly bought; it is often accompanied by so radical a loss of the world, so fearful an atrophy of all the organs with which we respond to it -starting with the common sense with which we orient ourselves in a world common to ourselves and others and going on to the sense of beauty, or taste, with which we love the world- that in extreme cases, in which pariahdom has persisted for centuries, we can speak of real worldlessness And worldlessness, alas, is always a form of barbarism.Referred to by Adam Kirsch in the New Yorker. Being a zionist -and not even a liberal one- he misses both her point and the larger problem. “Interspace,” is not "isolation." And the warmth of community at its extreme becomes the illusory unity that sees people as indistinguishable twigs, tied tightly by necessity into a bundle: a collective, fearful, narcissism. [see Dec 31st below.]
In this as it were organically evolved humanity it is as if under the pressure of persecution the persecuted have moved so closely together that the interspace which we have called world (and which of course existed between them before the persecution keeping them at a distance from one another) has simply disappeared. This produces a warmth of human relationships which may strike those who have had some experience with such groups as an almost physical phenomenon. Of course I do not mean to imply be this warmth of persecuted peoples is not a great thing. In its full development it can breed a kindliness and sheer goodness of which human beings are otherwise scarcely capable. Frequently it is also the source of a vitality, a joy in the simple fact of being alive rather suggesting that life comes fully into its own only among those who are, in worldly terms, the insulted and injured. But in saying this we must not forget that the charm and intensity of the atmosphere that developes is also due to the fact that the pariahs of the world enjoy the great privelidge of being unburdened by care for the world.
Hannah Arendt, On Humanity in Dark Times: Thoughts about Lessing
in Men in Dark Times
SoH regret that the things they value about England are being squeezed out by a crass commercialism (partly of US origin, partly not). They also regret that English people are ignorant of their own folk traditions. This is also true though a good deal (though not all) of the loss happened with 19th C industrialization and a good deal (though not all) of the “folk tradition” is a manufactured response to the same. Lots of stuff that strikes a chord there – loss of authenticity, commodification etc etc."...particularists (for want of a better word)"
Lots of people who also feel, with them, the loss of that sense of place and belonging also (unlike them) blame their own anomie, alienation, etc on immigrants, the EU and so on.
A rallying cry to defend English culture attracts a lot of the same people, unfortunately.
This kind of dialectic has been played out since the dawn of industrialization and, of course, it leads the market-utopians to want to tar all the particularists (for want of a better word) with the same brush. That’s a charge that should be rejected because William Morris ain’t the BNP (or even UKIP). But we’ll carry on squirming and feeling uncomfortable because the left and the right both share a discontent with modernity.
The assumption that doctrines are truth rather than armature results in the absurdity of the defenses of Israel as "a State" while the Palestinians being only a people are of secondary status. [previous post]A particularism concerning armature is not the same as a particularism concerning truth.
By your logic the whole notion of law as decided by anyone other than the elite is false.
By your logic the notion of democracy is "false." But legal doctrines like religious doctrines are merely a formalism, States are a formalism. The assumption that doctrines are truth rather than armature results in the absurdity of the defenses of Israel as "a State" while the Palestinians being only a people are of secondary status.
And Gaza is being turned into the Warsaw Ghetto as you read.
Please explain to me how Steven Weiinberg can analogize the defense of Zionism as the defense of science? [See Chapter 15] I've asked you this once before. Weinberg is a mythologizing pedant, who being a pedant refuses to admit he's capable of mythologizing. He is in own opinion, a rational man. He's made himself a fool. Are you that oblivious to the fact of the influence of Catholic metaphysics on your arguments for truth?
The public discourse of a civilization could be founded on scholarly debate and interpretation of The Bible, The Koran, The Constitution, or the Complete Works of William Shakespeare. Any of them is better than a government of the elect and unaided reason.
-Heller: ”I do not know enough to conclude that Israel’s attacks are criminal.”
-Bertram: ”I do not know enough to judge that P” is not synonymous with “there is no evidence that P.” Dershowitz believes “the evidence is that not-P”, so quite how you could construe Heller as giving him support is a mystery.”
The facts are here. [same as previous post] I want to assume -can I?- that you know who Uri Avnery is.
But you won’t link to it. You’re more comfortable with academic debates over proportionality than you are with public debates over morality.
On Hamas read Stephen Zunes of Foreign Policy in Focus.
There is nothing in these links that is not known to those who’ve cared to know it.
...the cease-fire did not collapse, because there was no real cease-fire to start with. The main requirement for any cease-fire in the Gaza Strip must be the opening of the border crossings. There can be no life in Gaza without a steady flow of supplies. But the crossings were not opened, except for a few hours now and again. The blockade on land, on sea and in the air against a million and a half human beings is an act of war, as much as any dropping of bombs or launching of rockets. It paralyzes life in the Gaza Strip: eliminating most sources of employment, pushing hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation, stopping most hospitals from functioning, disrupting the supply of electricity and water.
Those who decided to close the crossings – under whatever pretext – knew that there is no real cease-fire under these conditions.
That is the main thing. Then there came the small provocations which were designed to get Hamas to react. After several months, in which hardly any Qassam rockets were launched, an army unit was sent into the Strip “in order to destroy a tunnel that came close to the border fence”. From a purely military point of view, it would have made more sense to lay an ambush on our side of the fence. But the aim was to find a pretext for the termination of the cease-fire, in a way that made it plausible to put the blame on the Palestinians. And indeed, after several such small actions, in which Hamas fighters were killed, Hamas retaliated with a massive launch of rockets, and – lo and behold – the cease-fire was at an end. Everybody blamed Hamas.
What was the aim? Tzipi Livni announced it openly: to liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza. The Qassams served only as a pretext.
Liquidate Hamas rule? That sounds like a chapter out of “The March of Folly”. After all, it is no secret that it was the Israeli government which set up Hamas to start with. When I once asked a former Shin-Bet chief, Yaakov Peri, about it, he answered enigmatically: “We did not create it, but we did not hinder its creation.”
For years, the occupation authorities favoured the Islamic movement in the occupied territories. All other political activities were rigorously suppressed, but their activities in the mosques were permitted. The calculation was simple and naive: at the time, the Palestine Liberation Organization was considered the main enemy, Yasser Arafat was the current Satan. The Islamic movement was preaching against the PLO and Arafat, and was therefore viewed as an ally.
With the outbreak of the first intifada in 1987, the Islamic movement officially renamed itself Hamas (Arabic initials of “Islamic Resistance Movement”) and joined the fight. Even then, the Shin-Bet took no action against them for almost a year, while Fatah members were executed or imprisoned in large numbers. Only after a year, were Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his colleagues also arrested.