Sunday, May 16, 2010

Continuing from the last post.
This is sort of funny. You want to think Cory Doctorow understands his own words but he doesn't. And I found the link through Henry Farrell. who similarly wants to understand, but can't. They both manifest the geek's pathological externalism. I wrote that last phrase then decided to google it to see if it'd been used before. Only once apparently.

Observation, study, and marking to the mean exerts downward pressure on the mean. Farrell and Doctorow are struggling against the natural outcome of their own preoccupations.

Facebook's Zuckerberg (from the third link above)
You have one identity,… “The days of you having a different image for your work friends or co-workers and for the other people you know are probably coming to an end pretty quickly.” He adds: “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.
The point -value- of multiple identities, is in how they allow us to operate through contradiction, and contradictions specifically are something that conceptualists/geeks try to ignore. Role-playing and other forms of fiction are denuded of their moral authority and relegated to forms of simple gaming, ancillary to thought and reasoning rather than central to behavior. Objectivity is thought of as public, impersonal and absolute, while subjectivity is secondary and private. In fact the reverse is true: subjectivity is both public and central; objectivity or "truth", like justice, is public but approximate. A courtroom is a theater and lawyers are role-playing. The absolute is always private.

An anti-humanist will say we know each other by our ideas, which we learn simply by exchange. A humanist will say we know each other through our contradictions: not through understanding, but interpretation.

Conceptualists imagine communication as being founded in the articulation and reception -questions of truth and falsity- of statements such as "One plus one equals two." Humanists see it in the articulation and reception, and questioning, of statements such as "I love you" or "Trust me". On humanism again contemporary philosophers who call themselves humanists are as ignorant of history as they are unobservant of their own behavior, and argue from assumptions that run counter to what humanism was once seen to represent.
Thus the Renaissance conception of humanitas had a two-fold aspect from the outset. The new interest in the human being was based both on a revival of the classical antithesis between humanitas and barbartias, or feritas, and on a survival of the mediaeval antithesis between humanitas and divinitas. When Marsilio Ficino defines man as a “rational soul participating in the intellect of God, but operating in a body,” he defines him as the one being that is both autonomous and finite. And Pico’s famous ‘speech’ ‘On the Dignity of Man’ is anything but a document of paganism. Pico says that God placed man in the center of the universe so that he might be conscious of where he stands, and therefore free to decide ‘where to turn.’ He does not say that man is the center of the universe, not even in the sense commonly attributed to the classical phrase, “man the measure of all things.”

It is from this ambivalent conception of humanitas that humanism was born. It is not so much a movement as an attitude which can be defined as the conviction of the dignity of man, based on both the insistence on human values (rationality and freedom) and the acceptance of human limitations (fallibility and frailty); from this two postulates result responsibility and tolerance.

…The humanist, then, rejects authority. But he respects tradition.

Erwin Panofsky, “The History of Art as a Humanistic Discipline" in Meaning in the Visual Arts

“Humanism- Most generally any philosophy concerned to emphasize human welfare and dignity, and optimistic about the powers of unaided human understanding.”
Simon Blackburn, The Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy
The two passages originally posted here. I'm repeating myself a lot, but each day brings another example that demonstrates one or more of my few basic points: Consciousness to the degree that it exists is multiform; assuming otherwise moves the personal and subjective to the periphery making it easier for others to dismiss their relevance altogether.