Wednesday, October 10, 2007

eco solipsism

Tom and Barbara: kept pig in kitchen

I was going to write this whole thing about ecology - I'm reminded of this with Warszawa's essay. This was an interesting essay. I disagree about Iraq though. The revealed powerlessness of the general population in this country is surely a very bad sign. These banal points relate more to other things:

1. Consumption is related to work - all other things equal the more people work the more is consumed and vice versa. A reduction in consumption is equivalent to an increase in leisure. That this leisure is expressed as unemployment rather than a shortened working week is really political not economic. How much people would work if the only factor to think about was consumption, so not including this constructed insecurity, is hard to gauge. Probably people would want to work less.

2. In the most industrialised countries only a small proportion of the population work in agriculture now (in the UK 1%, in the US 2%, Denmark 3%*). Even in a crisis this figure is not going to be greatly multiplied. the most realistic response to a food shortage would be more intensive agriculture not a return to peasant agriculture, especially for office workers etc. Reprocessed neoliberal "knowledge workers" are not going to be better at farming than experienced farmers. They might be better at writing CROP FAILURE on one of those jumbo pads in marker pen with arrows pointing out the reasons: FARM MANAGEMENT, CLIMATE CHANGE, SKILL BASE, WEEVILS etc, or setting up a projector slide of a cartoon character saying WHAT NEXT? in front of a withered field.

*proportion of those in work, Economist World in Figures 2007

Saturday, October 06, 2007

martian logic

"there are two faculties of intellection of which you possess one"

...a compliment and an insult together, perhaps.

1. diagrammatic method

Draw a hoop. Label its ends Plus/Minus, also: "there are two faculties of intellection"/"of which you possess one"

2. literary method

I suppose that while the meaning of the two parts of the formula are reconcileable, the intentionality you would ascribe to these parts is contradictory; but these parts are also mutually associated (rule of association).

You have a sense of yourself thinking, or an idea of your sensitivity; in any case you have a faculty and its intentionality.

Supposing the impression of correct reasoning follows from the contradiction in intention of actors; this is proscribed by Jung's formula which subsists as if intending two things at once (i.e. there's a necessary consonance of interests of actors given rule of association and its preconditions).

And the intentionality you ascribe your faculty, by itself or so prompted, is pitched against one side then the other, finding always something this faculty cannot digest.

This sense which I suppose Jung developed from something like the Book of Disquietude, of the mysterious nature of vocation (the potency of a personal faculty with respect to the potency of all faculties), illegitimately by my reckoning; this works itself out into something like the apprehension of a divine plan. This isn't a vague conservatism, but an important ideological form of conservatism, supplementing conscious self interest. Jung's affinity with the thought of the middle ages is well known.

Another example of split intentionality comes up with Percy Shelley's "unacknowledged legislator". All this is no doubt hard to understand; it's really like martian logic. But it's just outside the view of J M Keynes say, invoking "unacknowledged legislator" against ideologism, at the end of General Theory.

Monday, October 01, 2007

again, Jung

With the discusion about Jung and his types, I attempted to analyse the working of these types in a new way. And not entirely successfully. If I've just derived a model of sorts from intuition I could still list the various assumptions and preconditions that underwrite its validity, after Hotelling's look at the Coke/Pepsi problem.

supposing Jung's formula can be legitimately reduced to something like:

"there are two faculties of intellection of which you possess one"

(I'm violating an important legalistic convention here: that you shouldn't represent that which you criticise: the same person shouldn't be defence counsel and magistrate. This is for the sake of simplicity, but the argument also comes back to this convention)

I'm assuming firstly that the statement's abstracted out of definite context, and as a corollary of this, that the way the formula functions: it's development of meaning and affectivity, vary depending on the way you intend or desire these things: here "thinking" and "feeling"; and as a further consequence of this that the parts of the formula are associated; you want to reconcile the parts of the formula into a coherent whole; this has to do with the convention that you structure the implicit error of statements univocally etc. According to Empson "we think not in words but in directed phrases".

These rules or conventions that follow from an originary state of abstraction probably ought to be called:

1. Rule of intention

2. Rule of association

If I wanted to illustrate the rule of intention, there's this thing by Pessoa: He passed me, came after me, (which otherwise might be worth considering in its confluence with Fascism, but) as an example here it demonstrates this point quite elegantly: it finishes "I'm lucid./Bloody hell! I'm lucid". This exclamation "Bloody Hell!" does nothing except reverse the expected intentionality or directedness of this "I'm lucid". So Pessoa's juxtaposing the senses of "I'm lucid", intended contrarily; as if he's registering the momentary incandescence of "I'm lucid" and its degradation; it's, as it were, registered as credit and deficit. The punchlines to jokes degrade this way. Pessoa, I suppose, finds his sense of everything: society; language - all this appears to warp in sympathy with desire.

This apparent paradox develops in Book of Disquietude into "I reasoned that God, while improbable, might exist, in which case he should be worshipped", which diverges from Pascal in having an established dichotomy to invert: Pessoa is "reasoning" apparently, and not "feeling" the substructure of his belief. The literal meaning is implicitly an inversion, and so the opposite is, in a sense, also stressed. You're maybe reminded of the two faces of Gauguin's cow. Again, I think Pessoa's fascinated here, and not analytically, with the possibility of shifting the directedness or intention of the assertion "I reasoned", from credit to deficit, and so volatalising his otherwise rather conservative (or reactionary) consequence "he should be worshipped". Pessoa's formula is close to Jung's formula. Already there are "types" of intellection: reasoning and feeling ("since the human spirit tends towards judgements based on fealing instead of reason, most of these young people chose Humanity to replace God"); and a structurally generated "incompleteness" built around this quirk in conceptualisation.

In my next piece, if I write such a thing, I'll come back to how this develops with Jung.

I'm not sure how to value my new method. The brevity of the argument here seemed the least inappropriate thing to do. It all came out of the critique of political economy, but Nitzan and Bichler, for instance, seem to have done rather better with this with ordinary empiricism.

After the Revolution

Diego Abad de Santillan "After the Revolution" here