Logic does not have a metaphysical intention

I find that it is extremely common for males from Northern America to try to use logic to do the role that religion otherwise plays for them. In effect, they misunderstand the nature of logic because they assume that it can furnish them with a world view and confirm the difference between absolute truth and absolute error. In actual fact, logic doesn’t quite work in this way. Rather, it is a method to ensure consistency between various statements one may make. If one’s world view is already messed up or nonexistent, pure logic cannot give you a world view. It’s not a means to define what is real and what isn’t. In fact the logical positivists were severely let down when they tried to use it in that way. They grappled endlessly with the statement, “Pegasus doesn’t exist.”

They went mad over it, because they had a very significant problem with trying to get language to do all the work of defining reality for them when language was already capable of asserting a fantastical creature’s existence (despite retracting the sense of its existence with the word, “not”.) If one can use a word, then that means it is necessarily indicative of part of absolute reality — so reasoned the logical positivists. But they were mistaken. Language is a relativistic structure or what Nietzsche calls “a mobile army of metaphors”.

In any case, language and logic can’t do all the work for us of furnishing us with a world view. Our reason is not bestowed from above, but emerges from our humanity. To think otherwise is to embrace a quasi-religious perspective, without realizing one is doing this.

Indeed such quasi-religious perspectives may present a clear and present danger to public health, if one happens to be sucked into the vacuity that is North American “thinking”.




The Wilson Quarterly: Beyond the Brain by Tanya Marie Luhrmann



Epidemiologists have now homed in on a series of factors that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia, including being migrant, being male, living in an urban environment, and being born poor. One of the more disconcerting findings is that if you have dark skin, your risk of falling victim to schizophrenia increases as your neighborhood whitens. Your level of risk also rises if you were beaten, taunted, bullied, sexually abused, or neglected when you were a child. In fact, how badly a child is treated may predict how severe the case of an adult person with schizophrenia becomes—and particularly, whether the adult hears harsh, hallucinatory voices that comment or command. The psychiatrist Jean-Paul Selten was the first to call this collection of risk factors an experience of “social defeat,” a term commonly used to describe the actual physical besting of one animal by another. Selten argued that the chronic sense of feeling beaten down by other people could activate someone’s underlying genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia.




The pushback is also a return to an older, wiser understanding of mind and body. In his Second Discourse (1754), Jean Jacques Rousseau describes human beings as made up out of each other through their interactions, their shared language, their intense responsiveness. “The social man, always outside of himself, knows only how to live in the opinions of others; and it is, so to speak, from their judgment alone that he draws the sentiment of his own existence.” We are deeply social creatures. Our bodies constrain us, but our social interactions make us who we are. The new more socially complex approach to human suffering simply takes that fact seriously again.

I wouldn’t go so far as Jean Jacques Rousseau in seeing our existence as being rooted in the social, but you get the point.  My view is that we can exist quite easily apart from conventional social life — so long as society does not project qualities into us that it wishes to disown about itself.


I would add that the real burden of social engagement occurs when others project their shadow side into you    — thus blacks in a white society bear the weight of the evaluation that they are animalistic, whereas women who go against patriarchal mores often have to tolerate the impact of those who continue with conventional views viewing them as ‘hysterical’.

Bullying, narratives and ideology

I’ve just read an article on Huffington Post regarding thick and thin skins. The writer was, perhaps inevitably, of a religious persuasion. He counseled prayer and dependency on “God” as a solution to stressors.

I’m inclined to think that those who differentiate between having thick or thin skins oversimplify a great deal.

For instance, there are people who do not know their own stories, and who thereby become “thin-skinned”. Their histories have been erased and they are desperate to learn their story from anyone who will give them a hint.

A fifteen-year-old Canadian girl recently committed suicide after being bullied at school and online. It seems her story was hijacked to make her look like something she was not. Since the story of the bullies became psychologically bigger than her original internal narrative, she committed suicide. She had learned from her bullies that she was a bad person. Her understanding of what sort of person she actually was had not developed sufficiently for her narrative to be the dominant one.

Being thin-skinned is a necessary part of the process we all experience in order to learn about ourselves from others. Those who are capable of the greatest learning might be the thinnest skinned of all. If their educators are ethical, educated and wise, these people can learn magnificently. If not, they will be cast onto their own resources, which may be few. They may be overwhelmed by the narratives of others, which may be false or misleading.

Being able to know how much of what others say ought to be taken to heart depends on already having a good level of knowledge about oneself. One is not born with that knowledge, and many of us are still growing and learning. We are, at least, not stagnant.

On Presidents

Seeing the American political scene unfurl its rather mediocre candidates, it is so clear how power is managed inadequately — which is to say for the sake of power, rather than for the sake of humans and their more complex capabilities.

The system — the one in Australia — attempted to rule me by terror. A very small mistake — a palpable human error, whilst attempting to do well with a good attitude — was seen as the end of the world, as the beginning of doomsday, as an intolerable menace upon the perfectionability of life. Yet allowing huge sections of America to sink underwater, bombing this country because you mistake it for that one, and generally running the economy into the ground is … perfectly okay.

The standards I have always been held to as a mere worker are a zillion times higher than the standard to which one would hold the American president or almost anyone in office.

Power has its own justification by which it perpetuates the most abject incompetence as normal and acceptable. Lack of power can never justify itself, no matter what its competencies or skills happen to be.

Is this the lesson we will take from the 21st Century?

Right wingers

I viewed MILLION DOLLAR BABY on TV last night ….ah, yes, and I got another induction into American right wing ideology.

The thing about right wingism is that it undermines the premises of the movie’s tragic form. You cannot have a real tragedy, I tend to think, if the events that lead up to the tragic result are rather avoidable.

Here’s the thing. According to this movie, you Americans need to get better referees to quality control the game between your women fighters. Just as is the case for the men, any blows that deliberately go below the belt should be the basis for disqualification. That way the integrity of boxing as a sport — rather than the degeneration of boxing into a blood sport — is upheld.

But right wingers always do too little and too late. Perish the thought that anyone from Maggie’s party could have intervened on her behalf to assure that she had a fair fight when her opponent was fighting dirty. Yet when she is more or less literally mortified upon a hospital bed as a paraplegic, sympathy and attention to the reality of her situation starts to kick in. It is when she is in her gangrenous state that she truly attracts the loyalty of her “boss” and trainer. Too little, too late — but this is what right wing pseudo-tragedies are made of. There is never any point intervening in reality — which is presumed to have a mind of its own, in any case beyond the power of human beings to intervene in it — until the point when extreme morbidity takes over, and the right winger is suddenly to be found in his true element (the psychological state of a shared morbidity). It is only once he is in this condition that the right winger can suddenly act decisively. Things really have to get this bad for him to start to get an intuition about what to do.

Yes — killing the wounded is never easy, but this kind of situation gives the right winger the tragic image of himself that he so craves. He has been forced to act at last — but not by his analysis or perceptions of a situation. He requires, for his vanity, that fate itself should move his hand.

And so, we have, finally, a story about euthanasia, and not about boxing at all.

The boxing I did see in this movie was very good. But — nobody comes out of their corner like a rabid pit bull terrier, ready to lay in a set of teeth, do they? I mean, I’ve seen Danny Green fight, and the approach I’m used to is much more cautious, with a kind of testing the waters, feeling out the opponent for the first two rounds. I realise, however, that what represented in the movie were 4 and 6 round fights, and DG’s fight was scheduled to last for 12 rounds. So this difference probably has an impact on fighter strategy.

1. The movie starts with a close up of a cut on the cheekbone of a black fighter. The wound is opened up by further blows, from which the fighter fails to defend himself adequately. A close up is drawn of the newly opened wound, dripping fresh blood. It looks like a stigmata.

2. The protagonist states that “in boxing everything is backwards”, for instance “one goes towards pain, rather than moving away from it”. Similarly, Christ, going to his execution.

Is there any question that the writer’s intention was to portray an inevitable execution, brought about by passively allowing the forces of fate to impose their form on life in a way that a right wing — therefore pessimistic — theoretician would already anticipate as having to be negative? But didn’t the very passivity of the protagonist, though obliging fate but not his own will, unconsciously serve to bring about this dire result?

Zimbabwe politics

Link: Zimsite: Political

The tone of African politics is a little different from the tone of things in here aulde Perth, AU.

In the forums, linked above, you have president Mugabe, the tyrant who won’t retire, but curls himself up like a dog in a manger, while his country’s economy goes to wrack and ruin. Then you have his opposition — Tsvangirai is his actual name, but because he is viewed as being in the pay of neoliberalism, his name has been Anglicised to Tsvangison. Sort of like John..son, or Peter..son or …..something very white indeed.

Zim politics is volatile — and get yourself on the wrong side of the nationalistic mafia on New Year’s eve, or by speaking too openly in a bar, and you could end up very, very dead.

Yet the nation of Zimbabwe has soul. It has passion. You can speak out and chance your luck. Due to the volatility of the nation, even the self-appointed policemen of the culture — the one or two moralists or smart alecks — do not yet have as much power as they would like.