Friday, October 16, 2020



Neurobiology, philosophy, sociology, science, psychology and every other established field of knowledge is the result of social privilege. This is quite hard to deny when the material requirements (and this includes psychological/neurobiological requirements) that give one access to these domains must be in place in order to obtain and retain the information. For example, it is unlikely that a child growing up in the tragedy and violence of Syria, is going to have advanced knowledge in philosophy or science, let alone much awareness of itself or the world. Those who have this knowledge, especially in advanced forms, have it only because they had favorable social conditions that allowed them to access and obtain such knowledge. (They have been the beneficiaries of society). What explains the procurement of knowledge is not an effort on the part of the will, but the conditions of the culture and class into which one is born. There is no way around this because the argument is based on the concrete facts of material existence, the very objects and conditions required for high level function to even exist.     

But this tells us something. What does it mean that knowledge is really a product of cultural access and privilege? One thing it means is that humans are not consciously promoting an advanced species because they do not understand that individual quality is the result of social quality, most specifically, universal access to a comprehensive education.

We as philosophers must all move in this direction if we are really serious about thinking, serious about intelligence, because this is precisely where the conclusion of intelligence leads us. If one is a good thinker they assume it to be a trait that is worth emulating, so how do we impart quality of thought to the species? How do we self-consciously create a society of thinkers? The answer is by intelligently creating and directing social conditions that favor the developmental quality of individuals.

The quality of humans is undeniably bound up in their psychological process of development. Thanks to recent work in the field of psychology, specifically Attachment Theory, we now understand how to produce healthy humans, how to avoid individual pathology, which gives us the power (at least in degree) to negate social pathology. Religion has existed for thousands of years and it never figured out, and does not know how, to produce healthy humans. Thanks to methods in science, coupled with the genius of thought, humans have now figured out how to intelligently proceed toward themselves.

Knowing that knowledge is a privileged enterprise empowers us to create a more intelligent species. It is a foolish species that does not seek to extend this vital privilege to every member, the result is a loss of social quality which negatively impacts the whole of the species. To seek to privilege every member with education should be the goal and focus of our species. In an advanced species this would be implicit to the social structure as an attribute of the species' intelligence. But we can neither call man intelligent or advanced, as an animal he is tragically impulsive and short-sighted.

Ignorance is the unnecessary result of class systems and class oppression. This is why it cannot be remedied at the individual level. Nothing less than a comprehensive and qualitative social system of education is required.





Tuesday, October 13, 2020



Competent philosophy presupposes some semblance of competent social or cultural anticipation, where this is lacking one is thwarted when it comes to effective social action. The problem with liberal culture is precisely that it 1) fails to anticipate the sway of culture (usually minimizing significant cultural influences) and 2) only begins to resist after a cultural threat has made itself crudely obvious. The problem is that by this time it's usually too late, the culture has already been captured. Hence, liberal culture is always trying to catch-up because it fails to anticipate the encroaching threat. Even where the threat is anticipated, liberal culture lacks the courage and intelligence to know how to resist. Most liberals are too busy trying not to offend the propagandists who mean to do them violent harm.  

The existence of the Post Hoc response is to blame for a great deal of lost progress. In one sense the game of politics, even before power, is about the ability to anticipate the influence of culture. (There is another sense in which politics is about the ability to influence culture). Where influence can be anticipated, there it can also be resisted, thwarted, countered. In this sense it's not enough merely to influence culture, but philosophy must be able to anticipate some semblance of the tyranny that seeks to realize itself. Anticipating danger offers the greatest advantage when it comes to avoiding it.

I suspect the collapse of the liberal class, in nearly every culture, has always been a matter of anticipatory incompetence. When this is combined with a fear of offense, then decline is almost inevitable. Freedom is the kind of thing that must be actively defended. When the citizens of freedom become naive to the fact that freedom is always under threat (is always being attacked by authoritarian forces) then they stop anticipating the living conspiracy to sabotage freedom. This renders the citizens of freedom powerless against the destruction of freedom. The Post Hoc response is always too late, it never stops the tyranny that has been building an architecture for itself. Once the architecture is in place, one cannot simply remove it by appealing to values that the architecture has supplanted. A new intellectual war begins, regression is realized, all because the liberal class failed to anticipate (and respond to) the architecture that was slowly assembling itself.

The anticipation of tyranny is perhaps the highest vocation of philosophy. Next to this, the praxis of intelligent resistance is required for the existence of freedom. Where liberal culture shuns and shirks this responsibility there liberal culture dies, it gives way to the drawn-out scheme of barbarism, most specifically because it only responds after the architecture has been put in place. This is almost always too late because it means concrete damage has been done.

To remedy this situation it's necessary for liberal philosophers to 1) begin to responsibly use the tools of thought to anticipate authoritarian danger and 2) have the intelligence and courage to engage in active resistance, to strike at the architecture before it gets put in place. It's not enough to complain or merely offer analysis layered on top of analysis, but one must come to comprehend the importance and knowledge of how to engage in active, non-violent, intellectual resistance i.e., polemics. Where this fails to be realized there liberal culture will be lost to the emotional propaganda of barbarism.

The problem with the world is not only that philosophers have merely analyzed it, but that intellectuals have shirked and evaded their social responsibility to defend it. The philosopher is both polemicist and defender or else he is a mere pretender, an intellectual hedonist given over to abstract games.