Off the Keyboard of RE
The original Underpinnings of the Drive to Industrialization: An Anthropological Perspective has led to a fascinating debate with Steve from Virginia of Economic Undertow and the Commentariat of his Blog in the Glory Days thread.
I am updating here on the progress of this debate, which is occurring mostly on Economic Undertow. Readers can Join this debate on either EU or inside the Diner.
Here is a paste of contributions from Sandor and Phlogiston over there, along with a reply from Yours truly.
July 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm
Power, like most concepts, is a relative term. The reach of the power you talk about, RE, doesn’t extend very far. Its scope is the surface of this planet, and even within that scope, it is limited. The ‘will to power’ that you refer to is indeed a form of fashion. The particular form of self-aggrandizement and forced acquiescence is an extension of the old god myths which are anchored in dominion, territory, fear, and death. Most of this is rooted in the debate that humans are only physical bodies. The religious hedge their bets with various cosmologies rooted in pre- and post-life narratives. It turns out that most people like to exist, even as they suffer! Religions, cosmologies, myths, are ordering narratives. They are fashions, belief systems, psychological constructs. Pounding the table about the ‘actual reality’ of the will to power merely lends credence (credit-money in the realm of fashion, or the collective cultural narrative) to the prevailing gestalt. The drones and bombers do make the narrative any more or less ‘real’. We are not arguing about the fact that warlords are killing people. The argument is about the narrative.
The ‘power’ narrative as presently framed is destructive and results in systemic failure. Using a gun is an admission of weakness. The art of war is to not fight. It is unclear whether humanity will shed the fear/death/survival/conquest/reproduction/consumption/pleasure/guilt/punishment narrative complex and construct a new ‘dream’ language. Each of us can stay aboard the death cult of modernity or get off the ride and…
Reverse Engineer says:
August 1, 2012 at 2:02 am
“Each of us can stay aboard the death cult of modernity or get off the ride”-Sandor I’m all for getting off the “death cult of modernity”, but at least according to Steve, heading out into the bush to scrounge out a living with the remaining Inuit is “Obsolete”. Apparently the only meme that works for Steve is some kind of pastoral idealization of the 18-19th Century in a Monet Painting, when people wore really well made clothes. I do grasp your idea of “Fashion” as a “Narrative”, but to me Fashion is very shallow and changes capriciously all the time. The Pursuit of Power goes very deep into mammalian behaviors, even more generalized than just primate behavior. The toys we use these days are simply a manifestation of our inventiveness over the millenia, all the behaviors are the same though. I don’t call that “Fashion”. The Big Ass Military doesn’t build those toys because it is “Fashionable” to do so. It builds them because with those toys a few people can control vast swaths of the earth’s resources and vast populations of slaves as well. That is not “Fashion. That is the Will to Power in ACTION. RE
Phlogiston Água de Beber says:
July 31, 2012 at 11:25 pm
I’ve gone over the arguments and I cannot find any of them very convincing. The gun may have been a non-fashion source of power in Mao’s early days. Today they are accessories. Were that not so, most every firefight would not have be terminated by an airstrike. As it happens the world’s militaries are very fashion conscious and so the competition to field the most ridicules looking rifles. And about the Apache helicopter. It was hardly a random choice to name it Apache instead of say Marmalade. The pilots would doubtless be a lot less likely to think of themselves as the second coming of Cochise. The Massive fuel-air bomb called MOAB (Mother Of All Bombs) is delivered to the target on an unarmed cargo plane named Hercules, not Hortense. In spite of all the pandering to fashion, or maybe because of it, what is noteworthy is how ineffective are these modern military organizations. Maybe it takes more than thinking you are Cochise? Sandor says open-endedly that ” Each of us can stay aboard the death cult of modernity or get off the ride and…”, which reads like truth. While each of us can get off, not anywhere near all of us can and it does appear that most would not get off if they could. Even death cults have their attractions. James Joyce Steve has wonderful thoughts about a revised philosophy for the death cult. But, as it seems apparent that he still has his soul, he might as well be scratching it into desert sand. While searching for a way to square all these egg-shaped arguments, I discovered that Morris Berman has been channeling the mind of that Great Red, White and Blue Blooded American er Treacherous Commie Czechoslovakian, Madeleine Albright. To wit, there is too much restraint with regard to the death cult’s activities. MB’s obviously implanted thought is that having all this ordinance is a massive waste of money if we don’t use them. He suggests issuing an AK-47 with plenty of ammo to every man, woman, child and infant. Furthermore he says we should nuke any place where they may be up to no good. He suggests starting with Toronto and Paris. Not a bad start, but since all nukes will eventually go bad if not used, Doesn’t it just make sense that no city be left standing anywhere on planet earth? That enormous investment will not have gone to waste. Most of the world’s problems will have been solved. Should there happen to be any survivors, they can party like it’s 1999. All day and all night. The lack of lighting will be no problem if they disrobe. I think that The James Joyce of Economics should not let Morris get too far out of ahead of him on this important matter. There are reputations at stake here.
More ACTION over Economic Undertow with Round 3 between Yours Truly and Elvis now complete.
First the Uppercut and Right Cross from Elvis:
steve from virginia says:
August 1, 2012 at 3:18 pm
RE, don’t take my word for it, head out into that bush and scrounge out a living and report back as to how it goes! A quick look around the Internet shows Inuits and others living in houses, driving pickup trucks, shopping in grocery stores, watching televisions. They hire themselves out to energy contractors as laborers or porters or as tour guides for visitors.
Clearly you haven’t seen enough animal shows on television. Animals are interested in sex and adapt themselves to be more attractive. The tail-feathers on a Peacock (Peak Cock?) are ‘useless’ except to the Peacock who makes no mind of them. He (it’s always a ‘he’) simply makes use of them when the need arises. Likewise, we make no mind of our own useless tail feathers … this is our problem. Ours are ruthlessly capital destructive. It is our goods that are bad for us, not our ‘bads’.
Leaving out nuclear weapons, of course … but these are also ‘useless’ more tail feathers that exist for frivolous (fashionable) purposes. All of our problems are human problems, please don’t blame other life forms for them. Our ‘big assed military’ is a hopeless, repeated failure on its own terms: Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Vietnam! If this is an example of ‘power principle’ at work it is a poor one. All the other big assed militaries have also failed, they succeed only on fashion’s terms, acting as fetishes within non-military contexts where their ‘productivity’ is never measured. Where have ‘small assed militaries failed? Egypt, Syria, Libya, Yemen … military failed in Indonesia, failing in Mexico, failing in the Philippines.
Followed by the Left Jab, Body Shots and Roundhouse of RE:
Quote from: Steve from Virginia
“RE, don’t take my word for it, head out into that bush and scrounge out a living and report back as to how it goes! A quick look around the Internet shows Inuits and others living in houses, driving pickup trucks, shopping in grocery stores, watching televisions. They hire themselves out to energy contractors as laborers or porters or as tour guides for visitors.”-Steve
Steve, I LIVE in Alaska. YOU live in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Trust me, I don’t take your word for anything related to how people live up here. When was the last time you visited Kotzebue or Bethel? You could at least try reading from Wiki:Quote from: Wikipedia
“The Bush is a term Alaskans use to describe portions of their state that are not connected to the North America road network. A majority of Alaska’s native populations live in the Bush, where they make their living in similar fashion to their ancestors. Places in the Bush include Bethel, Dillingham, King Salmon, Nome, Barrow, Katmai National Park, Kodiak Island, Kotzebue, and Unalaska-Dutch Harbor. Most parts of Alaska that are off the road system can only be reached by small airplane. Travel from place to place is typically accomplished by snowmobile, snow machine, boat, or dog sled.”
Very little goes into or out of these places Stuff like Milk flown in is outrageously expensive. Most of the food is acquired in fishing and hunting for subsistence. They have”modern” housing as a result of the leases the tribes sold to the Oil Companies. This gave Native Corporations MONEY to fly in manufatured Housing, which is generally some cheap ass shit. They are not wired to any Grid, the electricity comes from Diesel generators. Their lives are right now a fairly rotten mix of the old ways and modernity. The money they have comes mainly in the form of Dole, they don’t have any “industries” to export stuff to earn Cash. They have terriic Alcoholism problems. On a Food and Shelter level though, they are pretty darn safe. Once the planes stop flying in, they still got plenty-o-fish. They are not that far removed from people who livedby the REAL old ways, in fact numerous are stil breathing.Guys who fished from seal-skin Kayaks instead of the aluminum fishing boats they use now. Once they lose their electricity and access to alcohol and car antifreeze to drink and no longer are bombarded by television images of the Industrial Lifestyle, they’ll probably suffer some die off, but generally speaking they can revertto the old ways pretty quickly. No Zombies will arrive in those places, you just can’t GET there from here without planes, there are no roads in or out of them. Its a tough trip to get there even with Snow Machines. Mushers only go there for races like the Iditarod. NATO will not be dropping Death From Above on them either. Insofar as the Big Ass Military being a “failure”, I suppose you never read any of Smedley Butler’s stuff? The BAM is in the Process of Failing,but it hasn’t FAILED completely yet. The main job these days is to so disrupt the local Goobermints of places like Libya so that Big Oil can STEAL what is left of their Oil. They haven’t FAILED yet in Saudi Arabia, where the main job is to keep the House of Saud in Power so they can keep pumping Ghanwar until it is dry also. The BAM and its Local Affiliate here in the FSofA of the GESTAPO hasn’t FAILED yet either. They did a mighty nice Cleanup Job in Zucchini Square in NY Shity and in Oakland sweeping OWS Riff Raff off the streets. These folks STILL got plenty of POWER left in them, and it ain’t FASHION that drives its use. It’s Greed and the Will to Power driving it. The collective “We” cannot do jack shit about this while the BAM is just Failing,until it has FAILED completely we simply do not run the show. The people who do run the show have a vested interest in keeping it running for as long as they possibly can, and you can be damn sure they will stop at NOTHING to maintain their power. If that means poisoning the world with Nukes, they will do that. If it means rounding up vast numbers of poor folks and herding them into Boxcarson on the Amtrak Rail Network with a One Way Ticket to the Human Waste Reprocessing Facility in San Antonio, they will do that also. They will even do it to JamesJoyce style Economists living in the Virginia Suburbs of Washington DC. One group of people they will NOT be herding into Boxcars still lives way out there in the Bush,with a few paltry baubles from the Age of Oil, but still mostly by the Old Ways. They will not be going into Boxcars on the Railroad, because there still ARE no Railroads that make it to where they live. When TSHTF, those people will either make it through the Zero Point or not, but either way even if they ALL walk into the Great Beyond, they will walk there FREE. I’ll take that exit before I take the Boxcar ride any day. Anyhow, I give them a better than 50-50 shot here, whereas I give anyone living in the suburbs of Washington DC less than 1 in 10 ofmaking it through this maelstrom. Obsolete my ASS. What is obsolete is the Industrial lifestyle, and also over the longer term the Ag lifestyle also. Fashion my ASS also. Its the Will to Power that led to this, not FASHION. RE
Still no Hits Below the Belt! Marquis de Queensbury Rules!