Reality, Naivety and Addiction; Part 2: Google and the failure of communication.

(Note: These posts refer to Slovoj Zizek’s talk he did in Spain a few months ago; this one:

 

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This ‘post-traumatic world’ that might exist in a utopian dream, if it were not for the naïve subject who is able to have a view where by hope can reside, does not occur within the Symbolic and Imaginary frames; or rather, such a utopia is possible as a political empiricality within such effective frames. Where the ‘post-carnival’ state is possible, there do we find what is ‘the carnival’ itself, the moment wherein things are not what they seem and indeed shift and change in the single view. This is what Zizek (Lacan) calls ‘the impossible’, or, the Real order. The manner by which we make sense of what is impossible is called, for Zizek, psychoanalysis. When we see that these states do not change through subjective agency acting upon some actual empirical object but rather are only changes in view, then we must ask: What is this state wherein Zizek must disclaim his lecture in order to be understood, at once, to be not contradicting his innate imperative for logical consistency, and then as well not offending the sensibility that is discovered through psychoanalysis? Or more precisely: What is occurring such that this state, that he would have to qualify his subjectivity as naïve, against which a Socialist Bureaucracy seems preferable, or, what might be best to deal with things ‘after the carnival’ , needs be stated? Does not a state reflect itself de facto, automatically and axiomatically in the presentation?

What is occurring in the naive state is an inability to be dismissed from the carnival; an inability to make the next move; hence, for Zizek to communicate at this level and be honest he must qualify his presentation: What is naive is that which understands itself as not subject to psychoanalysis. So, the trauma continues and the carnival goes on; this is reality, the effect of the various periodic failures of the Symbolic and Imaginary Orders, and the solution to these evental failures is usually and commonly to resource the Symbolic and Imaginary orders, the orders by which the political world gains veracity, or the semantic scaffold by which what is political may be known.

One does not simply decide to give up on their world and then the world goes away; the world must be destroyed without consent. This is a fact. If we must speak of effective ideologies, we can hear Zizek through his book “Living in the End Times” (paraphrase): It is only at the time we notice the impending failure of an ideology that we fight hardest for its truth. We do not simply give it up, even if we know the battle is lost; we still man our stations and fight for the state. We do not simply and easily relinquish our world because we have a conception that it is ending. Notice the general responses to global warming. The rhetoric is not a condemnation of our system, rather the reaction is either flat denial or a call to adjust how we approach our modern living.

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Likewise the recent Google diversity scandal. Notice that there is nothing terribly irrational or non sensible in the manifesto. In fact, his essay makes good sense from a open-platform ideal: Every voice should be heard, even the voice that has been marginalized in the popular political environment. He is not saying that Google should not address inequalities in the workplace; he is saying that the manner that they are being addressed may be based upon an incomplete consideration of the facts; a more complete rendition of the facts of inequality or structural misrepresentaion or skewed hiring and promoting practices being the logical and rational ideas that he presents, which are, actually, not too radical. He is not saying anything that I haven’t heard; whether or not I believe them or not, the various notions about gender he produces are indeed valid — but in a certain light.

Then look at the answer that is made by Danielle Brown, Googles new diversity manager.

…I found that it [the anti-diversity manifesto] advanced incorrect assumptions about gender. I’m not going to link to it here as it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes or encourages.

Does anyone notice anything peculiar between the two discourses?

At risk of putting myself in either camp and looking as if I am defending the manifesto, the anonymous writer is merely putting forth his view under the ideal that everyone should be heard, he is saying that perhaps Google’s diversity policy should be put on hold until everyone is heard. There is nothing radical about this ideal; it is a very democratic and American ideal, liberal as well as conservative.

How about Ms. Brown? Her decision has already been made. The judgement of the diversity manager is that he is “promoting incorrect assumptions about gender”.  Is that really true? It kind of sounds to me that it is the diversity manager that is promoting assumptions that are not true, namely, that the dude is promoting incorrect assumptions. But as Lyotard noted,by what ground shall we legitimate either of these discourses?

Nevertheless, this (his, the Manifesto) incorrect assumption is one that Google does not endorse, and indeed is why he ended up fired.

I don’t think there is a better indication where this world of ours is headed: Nationalism is on its way out; Corperatism is in. Democratic ethics is no longer the standard but is indeed being commandeered by corporate policy, policy that will decide what is ethical for the future.

Just from a (fair) neutral position: I am curious what exactly his manifesto says that is an incorrect assumption about gender. Are we not allowed any more to suggest that men and women are different? I thought in the discussion about race, at least, we are supposed to embrace difference, acknowledge difference and not be blind to color of skin and cultural expression. Any considerate and intelligent person is left to wonder why difference in gender is not to be acknowledged and embraced? Don’t we do that when we fuck?

In the corporate world we do not fuck each other, we fuck other companies. Competition defines the space of ethics; a meta-narrative of ethics does not yet define an umbrella space of companies. Difference, it seems, is not to be abided in the consideration of the workers value: Only the overt potential involved in the equality and sameness of human beings in general is to be considered in the place of production. The ability to produce is the standard, and we, as corporate subjects, cannot afford the inefficiency that can arise in the a priori classification of workers ability: All workers are equal in the potential to produce. That is the (post-) modern ground of ethics.

What do we have? We have the very postmodern condition coming to fruition. The Manifesto Man speaks of a Google echo chamber. What could be a better description of his very condition: He is speaking about a kind of ethical space that we all know of, but because the our existential condition (for lack of a better term here), the ethical condition that is the liberal agenda of freedom and equality that has been with us for at least 200 years, he cannot be heard, indeed will not be heard. Knowledge no longer exists as some source  or conduit for access into an essential and ideal ground for ethics; knowledge now is determined along lines of which knowledge is valid, and so which knowledge is able to be heard. Lyotard puts it in terms of which knowledge is efficient. The Manifesto Man is speaking, and we all (but do we?) know what he is meaning, where he is drawing his knowledge from, but it is mute. Such knowledge is invalid: It is no longer a kid of knowledge that is included in what is valuable. The ‘experts’ have agreed and they have decided.

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What better description of this world: carnival. And as well: dialectical. So what happens after? The discussion by two or more people is shut down and the discussion continues as if in an echo chamber, which is to say, the movement merely occurs and everyone just rides along, regardless of what sound is made. The Dialectic continues but under a new semantic rubric that is understood to not be new. Indeed; there is an irony occurring. For, while the point I make in my recent essay about ‘the event of the past’  and Zizek being naive, I find that around the same time (well, relatively speaking I suppose, lol) I was writing that post, Zizek himself was in Spain speaking about how he was going to proceed as naive (listen to the youTube above).

In this sense, we find a certain psychoanalytical significance to what is occurring at Google, but in the context of addiction as well. The naive subject has a voice that is always heard in the context of the times as a political voice, able to bring change to the world, in various potentialities, at various moments. But what occurs is that voice is automatically referred to a context that is outside of the communicative potential of the subject: She speaks, but it is as if in an echo chamber. The dialectical subject of ethics speaks of justice, but her voice resonates only in its own space, the sound that is heard in reality is offensive and indeed (now) incorrect, and actually promoting assumptions that no longer reflect what is true, except in as much as this echoing voice affirms the present justice; the past has been changed. As Zizek describes in his book “Event” determined by the facticity of the past itself, the present act alters the very condition by which it has come about to reflect the actuality of the present moment.

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The addict in his cups is not privy to the change; she is determined by her past as she works to keep the past constituent to that ideal and dialectical moment. The addict sees the material as being unchangeable and essential, and ideal world or “musts” and “is’s”. Reality never breaks into the Imagined world to disrupt it and the addict stays in her echo chamber yelling for someone to hear her. But the world only hears a sound that no longer reflects the true of reality. The two exist within a dialectical moment that is denied for the purpose of asserting a justice that is already occurring, indeed has been occurring, albeit, to challenge the past which determined the criteria by which such justice has been ascertained.

Time behaves atemporally, as witnessed not only by Lyotard 40 some years ago, but in the movie “Fight Club” some 25 years ago:

This is no figure of speech, metaphor, or interesting artistic juxtaposition. It is the actual psychoanalytical situation that occurs.

(This clip is just so perfect ! lol)

Evergreen University and the Intersectionality of Race, Vocality and Religion. An opinion — Yes, From A White Male.

(Sorry; correction: Evergreen State College) I’ve been paying attention to the blog Why Evolution Is True, specifically about the situation at Evergreen University in Olympia, Washington.

Here is a quote from that link that I think gives a pretty good representation of what is really occurring over there, but a number of places besides:


“If you had asked me who is one of racism’s most powerful foes, I would have said Bret Weinstein,” Eric Weinstein told The Times.

“There’s something sort of ‘Twilight Zone’ about one of the most thoughtful commentators on race, at one of the most progressive schools in the country, getting called a racist.”

Here is another article about that situation, and there are a bunch more articles.

I think it’s interesting that just the other day I was commenting on another post in the blog “Why evolution is true” about postmodern articles and the potential for people to hoax papers or put forth fake papers that are taken as actual legitimate theory.

I don’t know if I really understand how engaging theoretically with a
‘Sokal-esque’
hoax article or fake theory posed as a legitimate theory gets us anywhere. It seems to feed right in to the whole post-modern phenomenon where you can’t even really tell anyways if a paper is legitimate or fake; in the end the credibility or veracity of any paper ultimately relies upon whether the author comes out and tells you whether it’s fake or not.

My take on this last post about quantum theory (or at least its terms and or ideas) being used in a post-modern social cultural paper (if you scroll down a couple posts on the “Why evolution is true” blog you’ll probably find the post I’m referring to), is that, first off, I think the paper is actually not fake, and I think the professor or theorist put the paper up as a legitimate piece of theory; second, I understand what she’s saying, but I think the mode of presentation that goes along with such pomo (post-modern) theory presents it self similar to religion. and actually in the comments to that (WEiT blog) post I described how people in such theoretical academic legitimate positions are actually taking their theory as substantial, which is to say as having legitimate and authentic substance, but to the point that you cannot even argue with them about the substance of their papers, because the current environment of postmodern theory is such that if you argue against the substance of their papers (not the content; if you challenge the theoretical basis of the paper rather than challenging the argument itself then…)  you are actually confirming that the substance of their papers is correct. And I surmise this situation as a kind of fundamentalist religious situation.

Now see, what I’m saying there is not merely theoretical or speculative. Indeed I am saying something about the actual situation of certain academic arenas, or areas within the arenas, as there are indeed departments that house representatives of more than one theoretical paradigm (hopefully), and this seems to pan out if you understand that the discourse of racial relations arose out of, or at least largely at the same time as, the postmodern era.

I’m sure we could find traces of postmodernity going back all the way to the mid-19th century, say with philosophers such as Soren Kierkegaard, but we could say that feminist theory is closely linked to postmodern (structural and post-structural) racial theory and where it finds its theoretical footing as a social movement; women’s suffrage, but namely white women’s suffrage (maybe, but maybe not).

I could be wrong about the actuality of the unfolding of these events, but it is not too far-fetched to say that there is a coincidence of the arrival of postmodern theory with the arrival of the 1960s and the social uprisings.

The image of race relations now, exemplified at Evergreen, doesn’t appear to be a rational discussion of race relations, but neither reaction based in being fed up. it doesn’t even seem to have its basis in the historical actuality of social justice, political movement in general or its academics. It seems to me like a bunch of kids with narrowminded views of over a century’s worth of discussions of actual hands-on working out of race relations and systemic racism.  They appear to be acting or appropriating an idea of social activism that steps into the world of fundamentalist religion.

Again I don’t know all the details about what’s happening up in the northwest of America, but it seems to me that it is not valid to reverse the situation. Of course, we do have some evidence that there is a significant form and tradition of systemic racism in the Northwest areas that we (or at least me) are not used to thinking about, so perhaps there are tensions that are not overt to the outsider (such as myself).

Systemic racism is not solved by just reversing the positional hierarchy of colors or the genders of the players involved in that system of racial and basically human oppression; that would be to admit defeat of what we consider intelligence, higher learning and just plain social justice. Systemic racism is not solved by just reversing the colours or the genders of the players involved in that system of racial and basically human oppression. (Oops. Did I just say that?) It is not correct merely to say that, oh, white people have been in power all this time oppressing people of color, and so if there’s any instance of a white person maintaining a certain type of rationality against what a person of colour maybe suggesting is proper, then he is racist; that is basically like just putting the people of colour in the position of power to oppress white people.

The true enlightened mind moves beyond such retaliation; but I think any even more appropriate statement of the situation is that these are just kids with fucked up ideas, or ideas that have removed themselves from the ideal anchor of a humanity beyond base racism and oppression. They have ceased their thinking critically about the issue and instead develop a reactionary politics (if we can even say this) that appears much like a fundamentalist religion. I may be a white man, but I am sure that there are people of colour that are in positions of power, that have a rational mind, that have been in this process of working out race relations and social oppression for many many years that would disagree with, not that these young people are protesting or not that they might disagree with what that professor did, but rather that they presume to merely switch the polls and enact the violence they propose are being effected against them. Has any of them ever read The Pedagogy of the Oppressed” ???

It appears that one of our institutions of higher learning is failing to teach higher intelligence and critical thinking to its students, and actually fostering ignorant reaction.

But again, I am outside of that area’s immediate situation, as well, a white male.

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We might see where this (apparently) actual situation is operative and concordant with my statement of position as it is reflected in the ideas I put forth in my essays.

For what is occurring, it appears here and there, is that what we generalize and call “Post-modern” theory or critical thinking, is actually loosening itself from any practical and indeed applicable bearings. The ‘theory’ is ‘misinformed’ by (the phenomenon) what I am calling the ‘term-object identity’. I cannot go into all the twists and turns and ramifications of this sentiment here, but basically what we are seeing is what happens when ‘talk and discussion’ and the ‘natural’ ability to ‘make sense’ takes itself Too seriously. Its not that we do not need a correction in our system, but the manner by which the meaning of theory is not only being produced, but is first and foremost being appropriated, is askew with intelligent application; substance is reduced to meaning-making instead of meaning-making being reduced to substance, which is to say, answering to actual substance. While for those who are caught up in all the ethereal theoretical and analytical postures might feel that there is actual substance underneath such heady discursive gymnastics, the actual substance is evident in what is occurring on the ground of their departments on their watch: It is inciting and enflaming ignorance.

But further, this situation, itself, is not theoretically unfounded, as I will discuss in a later essay concerning the Significant Event.


I will have succeeded. 

If I will have gone through this life and contributed to the benefit of another while leaving no trace of my existence, I will have succeeded. 

This, sort of, statement of position is in constant contrast to the conventional human standard forBeing. Conventional humanity presently is manifested in an imperative of what we can leave behind, based in a religious belief that somehow I should leave a part of myself in this world for others to benefit from, as though I might leave an actual piece. It is an ironic statement of what trash is and how we deal with it. We leave pieces of ourselves everywhere and justify it by giant trash pits in far off valleys. Those things we use are manifested in a system where by we give credit to another person for the ingenuity and creativity as valuable parts of themselves.

Philosophically speaking, this is precisely the situation we have for philosophy.(lol) This is to indicate what is our modern condition by the postmodern apology. The postmodern condition is a condition of denial, of its full rejection of its modernist substance. This is so much the case that the arguments that would seek to rebut this can be shown to completely misunderstand what it means; I will show this in an upcoming book. Postmodernity is the attempt to retain what is modern as real substance, The effort to somehow recoup what is fading, to establish it in essential eternity. So caught up in its own agency postmodern agents attempt to leave some of it’s self behind as it views itself as essential substrate (techne), A valid and segregate kind of universal substance that can commune with what is beyond its immediacy.

The modern – postmodern dyad is a complicity involved in leaving itself behind through and by an essential meaning and identity , through substantial and directly conveyed definitions , even as this complex and diluted psychology would understand that this leaving behind amounts to the destruction of the environment. 

Some of our contemporary and significant philosophy, bring to bear the difference between presence and absence and the mistake upon those meanings which would assert definite and present understanding.

It is due to this potential already exhibited as the breakdown of possibility, that we find in order to speak about what was really occurring and what is really true we have to be able to discern understanding and reject the obvious misapplication of argument.