Thursday, July 08, 2010

Continuing from tuesday, and the previous post which may or may not return (doubtful) to the place where it was first published.

300+ comments and liberal defenders of intellectual monoculture can't resolve the contradictions at the center of their ideology. Call it neoliberal guilt.

"Creativity" is inventive functionalism.  It doesn't question viewpoints only reinforces them in unfamiliar ways. "Observation" is seeing relations or the possibility of relations others miss.

Observation, not creativity allows a telephone company owner/engineer to imagine a coil-spring mercury switch while looking at the coil-spring of a phone-dial. It's a response and a reference to the external, less active than reactive, in the best sense, the opposite of expertise.

Monoculture is the destruction of the outside, contempt the the idea of the foreign, so that even as it expands to include new things it absorbs rather than engages.

Any form of society can be made flexible. Monarchy may allow enough mobility for the skilled and intelligent to rise, and there's a reason the military isn't run on universal suffrage, but there's a reason democracy requires it. Democracy isn't a way to get things done, it's a way of doing things. It's more about the game than it is about winning, so it makes room for a lot of different games and and ways to play. Democracy is founded on engagement not absorption, the engagement of citizens with one another and of the society with those outside it.

The current popular contempt for Microsoft is not that it is or nearly was a hegemon but that it's an incompetent one, hence the popularity of Google, even or especially among the technocratic-intellectual and "liberal" elite. That focus on success or victory is not good for democracy, which is relativist to the extent that it's founded on getting along, on civilized discord, not on truth. Neoliberals want a philosophy of truth, with the extreme stratification that results, without the consequences. Add to this of course that the "truths" they defend are as absurd as any other, only their beginnings in physicalism makes them seem less so. Does the fact that mountain climbing takes physical and mental strength, intelligence, careful planning and quick reflexes make it any less absurd? And would anyone take seriously attempts to follow Joshua Lederberg's "research imperative" that would condemn every one of us to all-consuming careers in medical research and its ancillary functions?

Life is absurd, and the observational imaginations of brilliant inventors are closer to those of novelists then to the current model of creativity. But there's no universal observation point,  no universal genius, which is why perspectives are a truth of our experience, and why having women on the Supreme Court is not simply practical politics, now if not a century ago, but of substantive importance for the function of democracy.

"Introducing Your World Cup Final: Ajax vs. Barcelona"

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