These French philosophes claimed that the only valid social criterion is who has power. No other meaning is possible.
This is where those American zealots got the ideas that speech is violence, the Enlightenment was merely racism, “lived experience” wins any debate without regard to logic (which is racist, in any case), and that all lives don’t matter. It enables writers to make money from books titled In Defense of Looting. It posits that protests of the Goodthink sort are privileged in a polity otherwise under house arrest because of a viral pandemic. That’s a partial list.
Really, Emmanuel, where do you think these social and racial ideas learned to walk? BLM and Antifa have merely taken your countrymen at their word, adapted it to the street, and sent the resulting chaos back to France.
So, no. Phylloxera originated in the US, then infected French grapevines. BLM and Antifa ideas were incubated in France, exported to the US, and returned as a gain of function research error.
As memes go, this is the first time I’ve heard of this one. Still, there are T-shirts…
“When I was young my father said to me:
“Knowledge is Power….Francis Bacon”
I understood it as “Knowledge is power, France is Bacon.”
I empathize: When I was 9 I read Treasure Island, pronouncing “island” in my head as “Is Land” the entire time.
Kids those days. Go figure.
I think it was over a year before I understood my mistake. That is the closest I can come to epiphany regarding the point of postmodern literary critical theory: Not the bits claiming meaning resides solely with the reader, and changes with the reading – no matter the author’s intent – but that I made an egregious error from ignorance. And it damaged my understanding of reality. Which, of course, is the postmodernist’s point.
Phonic reading instruction has its drawbacks, though they are nothing compared to “whole language,” or whatever they’re calling it today. Probably “Intersectional Critical Textual Parsing.”
[F]or about four decades Frost was “the necessary enemy” of both “the political left and the modernist literary elite,”… Frost perceived that the common denominator which linked the political Left with the modernist literary elite was their claim to being “intellectuals,” which ultimately rested upon their faith in modern science, and in the application of the methods of physical science to every branch of humanistic knowledge, including politics and the arts.
In both art and politics, in theory and practice, Frost stood in stark opposition to the… self-styled “intellectual” elite, invariably Marxists, socialists, Freudians, or academic liberals, [who] proud of their sophisticated critical approach to literature, identified greatness in poetry with cultural complexity and obscurity…
The point I want to make is not about Frost, it’s that when Marx started pretending to apply science to politics it was inevitable that his fellow travelers would apply politics to science.
Cultural complexity and obscurity has become the hallmark of our current crop of elite collectivists. They deliberately write opaquely to assert their superiority to each other.
Not content to apply ‘critical theory‘ to poetry or literature in general, postmodernist professors of what used to called the humanities claim that mathematics is racist, physics is sexist, engineering is colonialist, and biology is transphobic, etc. etc.. This explains everything from the degenerate state of climate ‘science,’ to the fact that you can graduate from Yale with a degree in English without ever having read Chaucer or Shakespeare.
“I think that often people come to the conclusion that life is meaningless because that is a better conclusion to come to than the reverse, because if life is meaningless, well then who cares what you do. But if life is meaningful, if what you do matters, then everything you do matters, and that puts a terrible responsibility on the individual. And I think that people are generally unwilling to bear that.”
Professors Jordan Peterson and John Vervaeke are colleagues in the University of Toronto Department of Psychology. They share an interest in the study of life’s meaning and reject moral relativism as nihilistic. They’re students of science and metaphysics.
Vervaeke, psychology specialties: Perception, Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
PhD 1997 University of Toronto, Philosophy
BSc 1991 University of Toronto, Specialist in Cognitive Science
MA 1985 University of Toronto, Philosophy
HBA 1984 McMaster University, Philosophy, Summa Cum Laude Peterson, psychology specialties: Social, Personality and Abnormal
PhD 1991 McGill University, Clinical Psychology
BSc 1984 University of Alberta, Psychology
BSc 1982 University of Alberta, Political Science
Their voices are sorely needed as the Humanities move ever deeper into postmodern despair, absurdity and self-deception; and Science faces political pressure to abandon scientific method as sexist and/or racist.
Our educational system has gone to a lot of trouble to replace such sources of meaning as family, competence and merit by deconstructing individual responsibility into a collectivist competition for victimhood participation trophies. Reason is similarly challenged: There are no truths, only interpretations.
This has negative consequences, especially for those who grew up during this cultural shift. To be sure, much of what follows doesn’t apply to most Millennials, but we see evidence daily that there’s a problem.
Purpose should be easy: “You do this. We pay you.”
Instead, it seems likely “purpose” in that phrase substitutes for “precisely aligned with my life values and goals,” or “meaningful.” There’s nothing wrong with such an aspiration, but it isn’t realistic. For one thing, your colleagues would all have to be of one mind. That’s one reason jobs that provide life meaning are not common. Even self-employed I couldn’t be sure my job would always fulfill a particular “purpose,” including meeting payroll. And who could make sure the customers would co-operate? But, some people expect job “purpose” to be supplied by others.
In any case, as we’ll see, Millennials don’t appear to be finding deep meaning through their employment. That might indicate they are incapable of finding it in themselves.
And why would they be? They’ve been conditioned by effusive praise to expect meaning to find them. Meaning becomes external. Like a job. Or ‘Likes’ on Facebook.
They’ve been cut adrift in a sea of narcissism by their parents and their professors, who should have taught them moral values and how to think, but handed them participation trophies and moral nihilism instead. Many Millennials have come to expect constant and instantaneous validation of their merit, whether they’ve displayed any or not. That applies to their opinions too, many of them are convinced that simply taking offense grants them some sort of moral authority.
They’ve been misled about their capabilities. They’ve been lied to about their prospects. They’ve been suckered into huge student debt by what amounts to academic fraud.
A growing cultural anomie should not be surprising. Nor should we wonder why Millennials flock to hear Jordan Peterson, and increasingly John Vervaeke, speak for two hours about how to find meaning. For a dozen lectures.
Reason and meaning are under siege because of guilt by association with Western Civilization. Peterson and Vervaeke are playing defense. Some examples:
I’d say watch the whole thing, but this link will start at 2:04. Watch until you want to stop. TWT is 20:49. Jordan Peterson *NEW* The Meaning of Life
Here’s an interview about meaning: John Vervaeke: The Meaning Crisis (39 minutes) Again, the whole thing is worthwhile, but the link starts at 18:32. There, Vervaeke puts his finger on the epistemological question raised by Postmodernism. It’s a serious question.
“Tyrannical pathological hierarchies are based on power…”
Dr. Peterson sometimes refers to our traditional hierarchies as hierarchies of competence, since they arise organically out of our necessity to act in the world. To do something is to want to improve the way you do it. Some people will become better than others in some given action. Some people achieve higher ability to cook, some become more proficient in math, others in music, or sports. There are infinite hierarchies in which you may compete. You can even create your own, like Paul Durand-Ruel, Steve Jobs, or Lee Felsenstein, Efrem Lipkin, Ken Colstad, Jude Milhon, and Mark Szpakowski, and enable millions of others to invent new hierarchies.
While any hierarchy is subject to corruption, they are inevitable, biologically ancient, and not by necessity pathological or tyrannical. Though those based on power usually are. It’s sort of the point.
Social Justice practitioners are telling us all hierarchies are entirely socially constructed, unfair, and oppressive – excepting theirs – which they don’t admit to having. But what else is the jockeying for power in the identity group/victimhood sweepstakes about?
We haven’t yet seen a merger of the many contenders trying to prove they are the biggest victims and the smallest oppressors. The hierarchy of victim hierarchies is yet to be settled science. The Intersectionalist Progressive Social Justice Cartel is having some nasty fights trying to sort out their pathological hierarchy:
Given what they insist all the rest of us must believe, I think tyrannical also applies.` And we don’t even have the comprehensive doublethink manual yet, since they’re fighting over it.
To advance their cause with less embarrassment they need is a kinder, simpler way than Twitter fights to sort it out, preferably based on objective analysis of the victim/oppressor ratio. Because nobody is a perfect victim.
If they did find the perfect victim, they’d have to make him/her/it/zir/xe/Mr. Mxyzptlk the Dear Leader of the world utopia. You might think of it as the ultimate inverse hierarchy, because actual competence in any real thing is a Western, white, colonialist, patriarchal concept. To be avoided.
I surely don’t understand the intersectional nuances that would allow me to compare a black gay male who hires a fake hate crime attack on himself, with a brown cis-gender (and why do I have to use a made up term now to indicate ‘normal’?) female who spouts anti-semitic drivel in the US House of Representatives. An objective assessment may well be impossible.
Each individual objecting to someone else’s existence will have their own criteria. We could ask them all their opinion of everybody else and average the results (sort of like Facebook); Throwing out those rated below some arbitrary score – by other voters whose ratio was in the top 1% on the victim/oppressor ratio scale (sort of like Twitter).
Running, especially enforcing, that system would be the prize for winning the victim/oppressor ratio sweepstakes.
Still, if we were to attempt objectivity, even to arrive at an informed individual opinion, a complex spreadsheet to calculate power rankings might serve. We’re after a way to model other people’s thoughts. We need to place the technology into individual hands, since it is obvious we can’t depend on the SPLC anymore.
Let’s consider the complexities via example. Rate a black, homosexual male, wealthy actor; vs. a white, trans-female, wealthy former Pentathlon champion; vs. a brown, female, anti-semitic, Islamist congressional member; vs. a white, 1/1024th Amerind, biological female, wealthy United States Senator. It’s not easy, and those are only a few of the factors. The enterprise seems very difficult.
This is the type of analysis intersectionalists demand as a principle of governance. And, that’s just a poor preliminary attempt to begin to capture the variables currently driving the SJW power struggle. It doesn’t include anywhere near the required profile information. I tried filling it in for a couple of people I thought would help refine scoring. Maybe you can guess who they are.
Complicating this further, just when you might think you have a workable algorithm someone gets offended by something you did not expect. For example, here’s an example of a lesbian, trans, Leftist, female academic in the Humanities you’d expect to score moderately well even if you’re white: A concrete example against which to test our calculation of the victim/oppressor ratio.
That controversial prof is Camille Paglia. You might think this means race trumps homosexuality as a factor on the victim/oppressor scale. I don’t think we can depend on that. From the complainers:
“In recent interviews she has blatantly mocked survivors of sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, and in classes and interviews has mocked and degraded transgender individuals. She believes that most transgender people are merely participating in a fashion trend (“I question whether the transgender choice is genuine in every single case”), and that universities should not consider any sexual assault cases reported more than six months after the incident, because she thinks those cases just consist of women who regret having sex and falsely see themselves as victims.”
Aha! The problem is Paglia’s opinions and outspokenness, which one could at least imagine being held by a “queer person of color.” It isn’t about color.
The entire identity politics internecine war is about thinking the right thing. Thinking correctly is hard to define, though. It depends on the thought processes of the person thinking about someone else’s thoughts. See: Red Guards.
Full circle we have come. When objectivity is thrown out the postmodernist window, objective rankings are simply impossible. And that’s intentional, since any reference to a set of rules could inhibit the exercise of power.
So, it’s back to imagined victimhood points minus perceived privilege points times influencer points divided by the reciprocal of Twitter followers. The factors for race, sexual orientation, biological sex, wealth, income, religion, political affiliation, etc. are left to the student. If you are intersectionally woke the answer just pops into your head. Of course, that may not be the same answer another woke intersectional arrives at…
Clarity of thought, rational arguments, philosophical consistency are irrelevant. We don’t need no freaking spreadsheet to identify thoughtcrime. Besides, Excel itself is oppressive because it uses numbers, and its very name is a violent affront to nihilistic mediocrities cowering in their safe spaces everywhere.
It’s not so bad though, those of us not caught up in the victim-identity Olympic trials can eat lots of popcorn while we watch.