On the world, how we destroy it and how god made us doing it

An interesting and entertaining version of presenting (up to 1.13.46) the destructive power set free by continue do do what Albert Einstein problematised, namely that

Perfection of means and confusion of goals seem—in my opinion—to characterize our age.

(Einstein, Albert, 2914: The Common Language of Science”, a broadcast for Science, Conference, London, 28 September 1941here for the transscript).

And shows that god is result of this limitation of thinking …, and after creating and following god, we simply limit any progress of thinking further – or: we reduce ourselves on being no much more than a puddle. – Perfection of self-abasement … – I referred to this also in an earlier contribution.

Annunci

old …

, it only means that the legacy we have to carry on is even larger, and the new threats against the country from the old enemy have to been fought thoroughly …

Fallece Fidel Castro, líder de la Revolución Cubana, a los 90 años

***

Cuban Revolutionary Fidel Castro Dies at 90

It fills me with great sadness and I wish the country well on the way to keep his legacy. And I see it as great challenge for all of us who are on the side of humanity and humane progress.

The no-problem-society IV – Beautification of teaching, administrative nonsense

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.

that is what Confucius supposedly said. And who would I have to be if I dared to contradict. Actually something like it had been stated in slightly different ways by many others. Still, I dare to ask for something to be added:

Wisdom is to admit such ignorance and to live up to it.

Is that an appropriate formulation? I surely do not mean live being ignorant, ignoring … – but on the contrary: being ready to permanently ask, question … and question oneself. Being ready to look for and go new ways.

And this may finally allow coming back to the point that stood at the beginning, again and again escaping:

The no-problem-society – Beautification of teaching, administrative nonsense, now approaching the issue from another angle, without denying in any way the ‘dangers’.

I met the last days frequently a friend, for short walks here on the campus, for some relaxed time in the ‘coffee shop impressions’ (not really a coffee shop though, but a bit of everything between coffee bar, restaurant, disco and other expressions … – after disappearing for some time for unknown reasons. Well, the unknown reasons have at least a name: we both had been ‘busy’, or better to say: occupied, subjugated by the daily struggles, by the challenges of which each of us thought they are not avoidable, thinking nothing can be done about it, there is no help, no escape from the absurdities of life, of living alone, and thus there would be nothing to talk about. And surely, there would have been little ‘to help’. It had been all about different facets of the fact that no real life is possible in the wrong one, alluding to Adorno’s Minima Moralia, where we read:

There is no right life in the wrong one.[1]

*****

As true as that is, we still may turn and push it: ‘right’, genuinely true experience can emerge from the wrongfulness of life and the direct, open way of looking at the opportunities. It is what I was writing and working about recently, e.g. asking

How Many Gigabyte has a Horse?[2]

And wondering if

eecowth and Development are Complement or Contradiction?[3]

Metaphorically, may be the country boy from Emerald Islands is awakening a bit, the smell of rotten ground, of soil having been dug over, enriched by decomposing plants, rain-saturated …, in some way repellent … . Imagine really, try to imagine, even on the smaller level, and on the very small one things can change its perspective: the smell of the soil gaining another constituent when one strides along. Decomposing does not equal staling … – on the contrary, it contains all the fertile germs of something new, its ugliness only an expression of the effort to strive excrescent things off. This allows us not least to see – in socio-economic terms – the tendency of the individual profit rate to fall while as consequence, however, the social profit rate can be moved to increase. Marx outlined The Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall in Part III of Capital, III, presenting in Chapter 13 about The Law As Such, that the rate of profit, independent of its absolute height, depends on the composition of capital: it decreases with the increase of the relative ratio of fixed capital, or we can say

(falling) p’ = Δ c/v

where p’ stands for profit rate, c for constant capital and v for variable capital.

Seen in this light, it is obvious that much of the complaints are not about a lack of productivity and not even about profitability as such. Instead, it is about distribution. And most importantly, it is about distribution within the process production, not about redistribution of privately appropriated wealth. It is a very simple and well known connotation, and still we always approach the question from the wrong end, from what we know and what we easily see, escaping the need of slow reading of reality: of performing reading as act of appropriating reality by interpretation with the help of a new language given by the texts we read.

Of course, the marginality rate and the law of diminishing utility, the focus of many of the ‘new mainstream’ (Riffkin, Friedman, Mason), surely plays a role. However, it seems to be one-sided.

What, in any case, remains is a vast potential we have – and it is exactly this potential of productive forces that needs to be genuinely unfolded by two processes – to some extent quite compatible with the arguments of the marginalists. The first process is concerned with centrally redefining the distribution within the productive process itself (i). The second process is about the ‘what’ and ‘for what’ of production and with this about using the productive forces to the full potential (ii).

(i)

Isn’t it indeed amazing to recognise how algorithms … fail? They provide such a prodigious potential. But they do so only if we fully acknowledge the limits, instead of trying to push them further. The latter suggests that we reduce ourselves, our own thinking and speaking on the level of what we imagine as potentiality of the machine. It is a matter of adapting to anticipated limitations. In other words, it is about humans recreating themselves as puddle. I know it sounds strange, but let us look at a lengthy passage from the transcript of a talk given in May 2001 by Douglas Adams under the title

Parrots, the universe and everything

*****

… we’ve kind of taken control of our environment, and that’s all very well, but we need to be able to sort of rise above that process. We have to rise above that vision and see a higher vision—and understand the effect we’re actually having.

Now imagine—if you will—an early man, and let’s just sort of see how this mindset comes about. He’s standing, surveying his world at the end of the day. And he looks at it and thinks, “This is a very wonderful world that I find myself in. This is pretty good. I mean, look, here I am, behind me is the mountains, and the mountains are great because there are caves in the mountains where I can shelter, either from the weather or from bears that occasionally come and try to attack me. And I can shelter there, so that’s great. And in front of me there is the forest, and the forest is full of nuts and berries and trees, and they feed me, and they’re delicious and they sort of keep me going. And here’s a stream going through which has got fish running through it, and the water is delicious, and I drink the water, and everything’s fantastic.

“And there’s my cousin Ug. And Ug has caught a mammoth! Yay!! (claps). Ug has caught a mammoth! Mammoths are terrific! There’s nothing greater than a mammoth, because a mammoth, basically you can wrap yourself in the fur from the mammoth, you can eat the meat of the mammoth, and you can use the bones of the mammoth, to catch other mammoths! (Laughter.)

“Now this world is a fantastically good world for me.” And, part of how we come to take command of our world, to take command of our environment, to make these tools that are actually able to do this, is we ask ourselves questions about it the whole time. So this man starts to ask himself questions. “This world,” he says, “well, who … so, so who made it?” Now, of course he thinks that, because he makes things himself, so he’s looking for someone who will have made this world. He says, “So, who would have made this world? Well, it must be something a little bit like me. Obviously much much bigger, (laughing) and necessarily invisible, (laughter) but he would have made it. Now, why did he make it?”

Now, we always ask ourselves “why” because we look for intention around us, because we always do something with intention. You know, we boil an egg in order to eat it. So, we look at the rocks and we look at the trees, and we wonder what intention is here, even though it doesn’t have intention. So we think, what did this person who made this world intend it for. And this is the point where you think, “Well, it fits me very well. (Laughter.) You know, the caves and the forests, and the stream, and the mammoths. He must have made it for me! I mean, there’s no other conclusion you can come to.”

And it’s rather like a puddle waking up one morning—I know they don’t normally do this, but allow me, I’m a science fiction writer. (Laughter.) A puddle wakes up one morning and thinks, “This is a very interesting world I find myself in. It fits me very neatly. In fact, it fits me so neatly, I mean, really precise, isn’t it? (Laughter.) It must have been made to have me in it!” And the sun rises, and he’s continuing to narrate the story about this hole being made to have him in it. And the sun rises, and gradually the puddle is shrinking and shrinking and shrinking, and by the time the puddle ceases to exist, it’s still thinking, it’s still trapped in this idea, that the hole was there for it. And if we think that the world is here for us, we will continue to destroy it in the way that we’ve been destroying it, because we think we can do no harm.

*****

Coming then back to the beginning of this post, the problem with algorithms is indeed about their

Lack of real knowledge, i.e. their inability to know the extent of tjeir ignorance.

and their readiness to strive for

Wisdom as admitting such ignorance and striving for living up to it.

And it is about the fact that we, as humans, are not happy with the role we obtained after chasing god to some extent away; instead we are now building new gods. Cum grano salis we arrive at a new version of the Book of Genesis.

There are the 2 ‘originals’ – The Christian one; the ‘later Latin one’ under the title of the Metamorphoses by Ovid, then the ‘Adams-Version’, just presented before and now the one to come, being made up in Silicon Valley, by google-and-the-like-offices and the labs where researchers strive for creating artificially-intelligent images and machines, created according to the image they have from themselves. Being honest – and though admitting that my confidence in the magnificence of the human race may well lack some positivity – I feel sorry for such lowly approach to human kind as exposed by these people. I am convinced that these people don’t mean to be as mean as the meaning of their doings suggest. And I assume that what emerges as new religion, evolving, man-made though not necessarily strategically, is consequence of and strive for individuality, small-packed, parcelled into units by self-mortification, cutting one-self off he roots in sociability by hiding it in the drawers of bits and byte, the new gods as invisible as the old ones; the trinity replaced by the double helix of a quadrinity:

markets, individuals, independence and complacency

The challenge is to understand these as four genuinely socio-economic categories, reflecting in a genuinely integrated way the unity accumulation regime, mode of regulation, living regime and mode of life as for instance presented in my 2016-view on Opening Views against the Closure of the World, published at NOVA. Citing from there may clarify things a bit:

This is not a purely academic question but as well important as it allows us to approach an issue which is frequently left out of considerations, as it seems to be too difficult for approaches that are strictly socio- and political-economic (instead, we leave ‘decisions’ to moralists and ethicists …, and their appeals). Too often economics, reduces by and large, its own realm – and society at large – on dealing with commodities and their exchange within a rationalist, contractualist framework: on the one hand this is exclusive as nothing else is considered within this model; and it is on the other hand inclusive as the entire eco-social system is following these rules. And indeed, we can use the regulationist theory to develop this further: the core concepts of accumulation regime and mode of regulation are reflected in specific living regimes and modes of life. It is not simply about basis-superstructure relations though this is of course also a relevant question. However, we have to develop further that certain modes of production with their accumulation regimes ‘produce’ certain ways of consumption – the latter understood in a broad way and as such also including time- consumption, certain life styles etc.. Fordism is surely an excellent example as mass consumption had been inherent part, and the same applies for the changed patterns of income distribution. We have to emphasis that Fordism had not been just about mass-production and mass-consumption; instead, it established an entire ‘way of life‘ and meant furthermore an entirely different way of shaping society. In other words it is about the entirety of producing society and producing society‘s understanding of space and time. Fordism is – somewhat – past; however, talking today about post-Fordism seems to be a way of avoiding today‘s real questions about the new understanding of the social fabric, which is now surely a global one. Although we find some notions of an ‘imperial mode of life‘ becoming popular (see e.g., Brand/Wissen, 2012), this fails to address the fact that we are actually dealing with a fundamentally ‘economic‘ question of production, and not with a simple ‘imperialist move‘ forcing Coke® into every hut on the globe while people are looking through the standardised Windows® on the computer screen. We have to redefine economy and economics in order to understand the far-reaching changes that are linked to the question of understanding non- capitalist pathways as alternatives.

And of course, posing this as alternative to the holy trinity, the question is if there is something that can be compared with the antichrist.

*****

So, yes, overcoming the genesis, we can also return to the frequent chats here – and there – it is this feeling of being the water, the puddle and standing above it, transcending its borders. Learning something new by discontinuing

I never thought about it this way

says my vis-à-vis and I have to laugh:

You know? Just while saying it I am getting aware of it, never having thought about it myself, never in this way at least.

We both are smiling.

It is at the end about searching actively, co-producing instead of teaching or learning about the interaction of reason, knowledge and virtue Mary Wolstonecraft talks about in her Vindication of the rights of women in the first chapter – something that is, even if done by individuals, social by its very nature.

Men, in general, seem to employ their reason to justify prejudices, which they have imbibed, they cannot trace how, rather than to root them out. The mind must be strong that resolutely forms its own principles; for a kind of intellectual cowardice prevails which makes many men shrink from the task, or only do it by halves. Yet the imperfect conclusions thus drawn, are frequently very plausible, because they are built on partial experience, on just, though narrow, views.

Going back to first principles, vice skulks, with all its native deformity, from close investigation; but a set of shallow reasoners are always exclaiming that these arguments prove too much, and that a measure rotten at the core may be expedient. Thus expediency is continually contrasted with simple principles, till truth is lost in a mist of words, virtue, in forms, and knowledge rendered a sounding nothing, by the specious prejudices that assume its name.

The most exciting experience of real participation, of real honesty in the middle of a morass of hypocrisy of which she also talks about – and what we experience so strongly: as result of which the world, in the middle of which we live, we individually, facing the apparent, perceived need to hide, to small tricks and lies …., immediate survival seems more important than genuinely lived soundness of mind. Why? … The reason seems to be so obvious: as we lost contact to each other, and even to the environment, don’t even mention or dare to talk about the feelings of living in the middle of the Lonely Crowd, loneliness of denial of problems, laughing them away, confronting them with sarcastic humour. of the Steppenwolf who had been alluded to recently. And this way we sell our soul, constructing and maintaining district worlds of new princes and princesses, posing them against country-girls and country-boys, not seeing the self-degradation this means – at a university, in the institutions and in ‘daily life’. And we are even proposing that we do it for the good and nobel, we do it for all and everybody, while not allowing anybody else to do something, denying the Vindication of Rights:

The desire of dazzling by riches, the most certain pre-eminence that man can obtain, the pleasure of commanding flattering sycophants, and many other complicated low calculations of doting self-love, have all contributed to overwhelm the mass of mankind, and make liberty a convenient handle for mock patriotism. For whilst rank and titles are held of the utmost importance, before which Genius “must hide its diminished head,” it is, with a few exceptions, very unfortunate for a nation when a man of abilities, without rank or property, pushes himself forward to notice.—Alas! what unheard of misery have thousands suffered to purchase a cardinal’s hat for an intriguing obscure adventurer, who longed to be ranked with princes, or lord it over them by seizing the triple crown!

 

*****

It is the somewhat strange experience of exposing oneself to the smell of the soil which gains another constituent when one strides along, takes a different way, also allowing to get distracted, then delving into new grounds. Fear …, yes, sometimes …, but not as anxiety but as facing the challenge of growing beyond limits set for the puddle and set by itself, not accepting the limits and this being caught by the shrinking, even moreover forcing oneself to shrink.

I remember the beauty of a walk, many years ago: taking a wrong turn in the countryside, guessing the direction …, and the guess was actually correct. But there was something that I did not consider: The brook, to be more precise: the brook’s turn … A long way back, a way forward that most likely would be too long or even ending in a completely different spot. – It had been warm enough to dare it …, accepting that the only forward would be taking the turn to the left. Another problem was coming up: the bank on the other side, a bit eroding and relatively steep. Of course I saw this when stepping into the water, the real challenge was actually about my two companions: an Alsatian and a Border Collie, then my two rescue dogs. Well, linguistically the term search dog is frequently used as synonym, and this is what they were: search dogs, searching for help – and of course it was granted.

*****

A little story, surely not a major adventure, and a surely quite common undertaking. But do we allow ourselves sufficiently even such little escapades?

Sure, it is still a privilege – and there are the dangers: precarity, loosing the standard ‘references’ as home, nation, age-identity, language proficiency – but is not exactly this the opening for the water, escaping the puddle. – We are still sitting there the one day. Learning something new by discontinuing

Indeed:

I never thought about it this way

says my vis-à-vis  … I look into he smiling face … and I have to laugh:

You know? Just while saying it I am getting aware of it, never having thought about it myself, never in this way at least.

Now we are both are smiling.

*****

Admittedly the phone is a permanent companion this day – not always when we meet, but sometimes. Did I say phone? Can’t I fully accept that it is more a micro-computer?

Treasa comes to my mind – student then, before taking up my course, many years ago now, traveller across different countries, teaching English language. Using the dictionaries of the phone, I remember her special praise, when we left one day after class the classroom together and she said something like

You know what I like especially during your lectures? You frequently come up with new terms. It really gives them something special.

May be on this basis I can claim one day having substantially contributed to the development of language. But do I want to? Isn’t it enough to contribute in everyday’s life just a bit …, and daring to loose my own ground, and encouraging others to loose there ground too.

(ii)

Much more could be said and explored – but lets ventilate a bit the other point. Of course, production is always not least about establishing context, and who would doubt, that needs support – if I am not mistaken once upon a time this had been called back-up service, auxiliary service, support service and similar. In many cases this had been about administrative services. Now, coming back to the question, the

‘what’ and ‘for what’ of production and with this about using the productive forces to the full potential

we are surely dealing with this, and we can be equally sure that all this is about decreasing marginality cost. This includes the matter of time allocation, the cost of time as part of the entire process of production – and rearranges the social, the interactive dimension: it is faster to execute certain tasks individually, and it is often also more convenient (lowering transaction cost certain things on the webs are really just a mouse click away, nearer than any office clerk who needs an explanation before the clicking the mouse button, then explaining the result to foster coordination before trotting off again for the next click); though it is not necessarily nicer (as it is reducing the time for possibly nice chats, which may in consequence mean a diminishing trade-off/rate of productive side-effects due to lack of scooping the entire range of opportunities of diversification [yes, it can be put into a formula/equation if wanted – but economics can also be expressed in prose, and it is indeed about opportunity cost which are nothing else then lost opportunity gains …]). Although it is simple to establish – and understand – the link between marginality and opportunity, it is a bit more difficult to capture the link to the tendency of the profit rate to fall. Part of the difficulty may be the different quality of interconnectedness of individual and social and societal dimension. Central is, however, that looking at the (average) profit rate means the need to clearly define profit(ability). Of course, this seems to be, and in some ways is, simple – as long as we walk along the predefined line of the foundation of the post-revolutionary system

  • Individuals – as natural person or legal personality
  • Defining the social and also the common wheal by individual interaction between individuals
  • Including the definition of the carrier of the common wheal as individual,[4] namely as nation state
  • Defining thus decisively as central issue of utilitarianism not the usually suspected ‘drive for possession of goods’ but the genuine individualism.

– all this is like the puddle-walk, never turning to any side, thus making sure that one remains (within) the puddle.

It is worthwhile to add that we have in jurisprudence the insurmountable difficulty to establish social rights that are truly more than the sum of the social rights of individuals – just another puddle.

On the other hand we actually have open spaces that allow us to re-define, to re-approach a definition of what all this about …

*****

… back then to short walks here on campus and some relaxed time in the ‘coffee shop impressions’ ….

falling p’ = Δ c/v

Where are the really new developments then … – those of developing friendships by daring conflicts and disputes instead of closing roads by dichotomies and building walls.

I cannot understand the stubbornness – Well, I know the reasons for it but still we have to dare the danger of being wrong. But these are just ostensible.

No, it is not that I expect you to do anything else than to do what you said you would do, or to be more precise: what you said we would do. Sorry, but I cannot stand this permanently changing your mind.

My voice may sound a bit harsh:

It is not about ‘respecting me’ – though it surely is about this too. But it is first and foremost of respecting yourself. … I know that you have enough things, bothering you, entertaining and threatening. But you know what I think it is? Not anything else than excuse and distraction! Distraction from yourself, running away and looking for the convenience of it.

I am wondering at times if all this is needs to be said, longing to such convenience – not entirely ‘real’, the attempt of having a right life in the wrong one. But then I have this gut feeling: feeling good, but not feeling content, is in the long term wearing down, creates anxiety as a more or less permanent gnome, hiding somewhere in the created double helix, a gate keeper against the hegemonic double helix of the quadrinity of markets, individuals, independence and complacency. It is establishing and maintaining the dichotomist dualism of structure versus individual, not ready to accept the dialectics which forces us to pay the price where it occurs – instead it is externalising, asking others to pay, postponing the payment, denying the need to pay until we are struck by stroke, heart attack, paranoia or nervous breakdown, not being able to maintain the speed which is needed for permanently re-establishing the walls, applying the same law on all the levels and in all arrays of life as Lewis Mumford mentions it somewhere, talking about The Myth of the Machine:

the only speed: faster, the only tempting destination: further away, the only desirable measure: larger and only one worthwhile quantity: more

No, the temptation of living the right life in the wrong one does not work out as long as it allows to say that it is actually the leading the wrong life in the wrong one. It is about the impossibility of individuals’ self-respect – and the impossibility of the private-non public divide, claiming respect in the one, playing it out agaist the other.

Do you remember,

I ask,

It is the one passage from Zusak’s book on The Book Thief we were reading together.

People observe the colors of a day only at its beginnings and ends, but to me it’s quite clear that a day merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment. A single hour can consist of thousands of different colors. Waxy yellows, cloud-spot blues. Murky darkness. In my line of work, I make it a point to notice them.

Yes, there is the escape to the net-world which for some, or sometimes seems to have replaced the Mac-World, the one with the big golden M. There are these concerts, bringing us to The Underground – and still ending up in very much the same that we reject …

… all these smaller and larger quarrels are about so many different things: changing the mind when it comes arranging to meet, what we are going to do, how open one should be when talking to peers, how to approach matters in studying and discussing, political questions as well as the election results in the US and the development in Greece.

And with it is about the need to see how in all this any dichotomy is deceiving, not allowing us to see, to really accept that

merges through a multitude of shades and intonations with each passing moment.

Is it really too difficult ??

And it is also about becoming aware of the traps in which – in the own way – we are caught: the fact that we criticise too often others for the shortcomings which we cannot or do not escape.

So, are we at the end no better? Always looking for our own solution, answer, escape? Something that any computer can do better, and it can even claim doing it cooperatively, using network-algorithms. Are we any iota better than anybody else?

Do we submit under a tendency to admire the no-problem-society and its inclination to beautification of teaching, administrative nonsense, answering difficult questions with

I won’t discuss this with you !!

retreating to movements of princes, Divas and the firm standing of the un-dismissible law of the iron cage of bureaucracy and hierarchy?

But I want to discuss it with you … now!

I nearly shout, and I feel that it is also a matter of defending myself …, not self-opinionated but on the contrary: afraid to loose, friendship to myself or to the other, and wondering how much it is about the lack of trusting the other (seeing ourselves in them?): friends, close colleagues, relatives in individual encounters; and the opportunism, when we are talking about the tragedy on the stage of US- and world politics, not easily allowing to think about our own mistakes, as

(…)[making] it acceptable, trendy, and cool to hate Trump supporters,

overlooking and playing over the lack of a positive and broad enough perspective:

In the past 30 years, we have allowed progressive values to become fragmented — there’s the LGBT struggle, the feminist struggle, the civil rights struggle. The moment a feminist accepts that having a women president or more women in the boardroom, means that a women migrant will end doing menial jobs in the home for below the minimum wage, the connection between feminism and humanism is lost. When the gay movement adopted consumerism as its mantra with slogans like “shop till you drop”, which took the place of confrontations with bigotry and the police, it too became part of the liberal elite. The solution has to be a progressive movement that is international and humanist. It’s a tall order but it’s what is needed to oppose both the liberal establishment and Trump. They pretend to be enemies but in reality they are accomplies, feeding off each the other.

Indeed, much of this is not about what you think it may be: the meeting of two people in the coffeeshop, going for a walk … – though it is. It is much more about the near-to-inability of nearly all of us to open ourselves up to genuinely defining us and the other, trying to overcome our own life-precarities by pretending that there is no problem anywhere: wiped away, also those days when Wolfgang Schaeble said to Yanis

I won’t discuss this with you !!

Colleagues are standing in front of us as as friends; the political scene is presenting itself with its blurring borders of friendship and camaraderie in favour of the own secure heaven on the one hand versus hostility; etc. pp. And this supposed nearness would be great if it would only be genuinely true. If it would not be condition for ultimately resulting in the paradoxical situation of absolute exclusion: if you are not in favour you are against … – tertium non datur, dialectics passé …, resulting in overlooking the unbearable lightness of being as what it is: unbearable. And it is also about all the people with such conditionalities …..: Be my friend and I will talk to you and work with you and … and if you are not my friend I won’t ….; and vice versa of course. And it is the story of still holding on to it when it is about power, positions and, yes, friendships: no principles, just “positions”, “titles” … count. – So, can’t we all find ourselves here, a bit of us? Alexis, not admitting the failure of the grand plan …. to Zaid? – Actually the latter, my friend Zaid, not, at least not that part I know: unconditionality, and in some way “self-centred”, i.e. doing what he things is right, arguing at times with me, but never arguing by “using others, mocking about others and shifting this way the questions aside.

Yes, we can in in some way see again what Brecht said To Those Who Follow in Our Wake:

What times are these, in which
A conversation about trees is almost a crime
For in doing so we maintain our silence about so much wrongdoing!
And he who walks quietly across the street,
Passes out of the reach of his friends
Who are in danger?

It is true: I work for a living
But, believe me, that is a coincidence. Nothing
That I do gives me the right to eat my fill.
By chance I have been spared. (If my luck does not hold,
I am lost.)

They tell me: eat and drink. Be glad to be among the haves!
But how can I eat and drink
When I take what I eat from the starving
And those who thirst do not have my glass of water?
And yet I eat and drink.

But what makes it really unbearable is the fact of too often not allowing – privately, collectively; personally, socially; politically, professionally or in which ever way to communicate openly – and thus seeing the beauty of the trees amongst which we are walking … – accepting that there are

So Many Options, [even if] Donald Trump Picks the Ugly

And it is not only the Trumps, it is what we all do to often by seemingly enjoying in the no-problem-society where the principle of noli me tangere reigns, though with changing the context, digressing from the biblical meaning where it seems to be said in the opposite way of exclusion and rejection, aiming on togetherness and the building of commonality.

Be it as it is, it is at times worrying, straining – a warm hug, the feeling of the other as being even in the contest genuinely connected and connecting when leaving the coffee bar, a firm statement of commonality and importantly als of dissent at the end of the debate in the meeting room … are so much more worth than the forgetfulness of opportunist hypocrisy and the aggressiveness of the ignorance of pure confrontation. – None of these will ever be taken over by AI. And none of these will be ever maintained by

the no-problem-society (I, II, III)

– beautifying by the trivialising Rocco, building stone shells (Rococo, derived from rocaille [stone] and coquilles [shell]) against dispute and contest, glossing over challenges by power-pointed lectures and by streamlined administrative nonsense and closing offices by allowing only closest friends to enter.

And so often, aiming on discussing, questioning, or proposing to question the answer is and remains

I won’t discuss this with you !!

real stubbornness, claimed on the basis of rank which so often translates into disrespect. So the question

who is right?

is surely also about who really claims it, and claims it together. At the end, there the space for exit is surely extremely limited and there is only voice – in moving together with difference, instead of passing out by loyalty.

The world is not a capitalist enterprise and market where we have all those options.

But is a place where beauty of any mind, can be found is surely not in good will hunting.

The Book Thief knows – and we have to learn:

Usually we walk around constantly believing ourselves. “I’m okay” we say. “I’m alright”. But sometimes the truth arrives on you and you can’t get it off. That’s when you realize that sometimes it isn’t even an answer–it’s a question. Even now, I wonder how much of my life is convinced.

Well, just in case there would be a problem … – don’t worryClark and Dawe will show you how to deal with it

***********************

[1] Adorno, Theodor W., 1944: Minima Moralia. Reflections from the damaged life; page 18

http://users.clas.ufl.edu/burt/MinimaMoralia_Full.pdf; 16/11/16

This original translation was created by Dennis Redmond in 2005. Note that the original German text is available from Suhrkamp Verlag: Theodor W. Adorno. Collected Works. Suhrkamp Verlag, Volume 4.

[2] From 5 giant evils to 5 giant tensions – the current crisis of capitalism as seedbed for its overturn – or: How Many Gigabyte has a Horse?; Seminar ‘Continuidad y Cambios en las Relaciones Internacionales’ at ISRI (Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales Raúl Roas García), Havana; 2016

[3] Growth and Development – Complement or Contradiction? Challenges for a Global Agenda; Shanghai Forum, China and Latin America. The Development Partnership of Trans-Pacific-Section; 2016

[4] of higher order – especially seen in Hegel’s concept of the bourgeois state

Artificial Intelligence – and the Reduction of Being

Both quotes are from Hannah Arendt’s Human Conditions, 43 and 41 respectively (Arendt, Hannah, 1958: The Human Condition; Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press). Aren’t they saying much about what Artificial Intelligence is about – and how much it depends on the reduction of ourselves?

The unfortunate truth about behaviorism and the validity of its “laws” is that the more people there are, the more likely they are to behave and the less likely to tolerate non-behavior. Statistically, this will be shown in the leveling out of fluctuation. In reality, deeds will have less and less chance to stem the tide of behavior, and events will more and more lose their significance, that is, their capacity to illuminate historical time. Statistical uniformity is by no means a harmless scientific ideal; it is the no longer secret political ideal of a society which, entirely submerged in the routine of everyday living, is at peace with the scientific outlook inherent in its very existence.
****
This modern equality, based on the conformism inherent in society and possible only because behavior has replaced action as the foremost mode of human relationship, is in every respect different from equality in antiquity, and notably in the Greek city-states.

books not only written for their own times

Of course, books are written at a specific period in time, reflect the era and contribute to their stabilisation or change. And they are reflected upon. One of the outstanding works is Thomas Paine’s
so much to be criticised and rejected, beginning with the title, not acknowledging the need for
(also here.) And still, there is good reason for acknowledging the greatness of Paine’s work, and in some ways – cum grains salis – its timelessness. Though history does not repeat itself, there is something that, in different forms, is not alien in different eras — sure, we do not have kings anymore …., but doesn’t this sound familiar, looking at what is going on today in so many countries:
It is time that nations should be rational, and not be governed like animals, for the pleasure of their riders. To read the history of kings, a man would be almost inclined to suppose that government consisted in stag-hunting, and that every nation paid a million a-year to a huntsman.
And isn’t there a certain irony of history when considering the following? In a bookshop I spotted recently a book, authored by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, looking at Why Nations Fail. The shortlisting-note caught my special attention:
Shortlisted for the FT and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award
 The nearing “last call for flight …, passengers Mr. Herrmann … immediately …” told me that I should work against my personal failing to get on board, taking this somewhat more urgent than the failing of nations – the latter happened, the other could still be avoided, allowing to wok a bit more against “history does not repeat itself”. For instance by talking with students about the tricky link between this topic and its possible award by “FT and Goldman Sachs” – and though it is tricky, it is obvious that the huntsmen want to maintain their rides on the hobby horses that are so dear to us – and that they have to know some version of the answer of the question Why Nations Fail. And it is important to look at the historical dimension though it may be distracting the many from becoming aware of being treated like animals.
There is enough evidence – we know about pervers lives of the huntsmen, and we find the various facets of the causes of the ‘animalistic system’ – for instance looking with Robert Reich at Inequality for all and his notion of Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, or woking at the stories about The four horseman ….
We surely have to be careful – making sure that issues are not individualised, avoiding the witch-hunt against a demonised finance capital as we know it from German fascism and any one-sided; in-systemtic analysis, in-systemic in the sense of isolating and de-historising facts out of a complex system. And it should be asked if a better capitalism is the real solution. But we have to take the good portion which shows the structural defects and also
* the germs for the solution of the problems: germs towards a new growth strategy as I outlined them together with Marica Frangakis in a contribution on The need for a radical ‘growth policy’ agenda for Europe at a time of crisis (in: Dymarski, Wlodzimierz/Marica Frangakis/Leaman, Jeremy: The Deepening Crisis of the European Union: The Case for Radical Change; Poznań: Poznań University of Economics Press, 2014);
* the germs that push towards new societal strategies
and
Herrmann, Peter, forthcoming: Social Quality – Regaining Political Economy; in: International Journal of Social Quality;
I this light, there is enough out there to be positive, instead of detailing the critique by new figure that do not change the substance anyway.

Sure: Shock !! – But also Surprise ??

Yes, he made it – and the world is surprised, and comes increasingly to the conclusion that it should not be surprised. Demograph’s a joining democrats, looking for reasons behind the success of demagogues – not just in Trump’s empire to be; and illusionists reflect on the majestic power of the new magician, money. We (can) know since long:

No thing in use by man, for power of ill, Can equal money. This lays cities low, This drives men forth from quiet dwelling-place, This warps and changes minds of worthiest stamp, To turn to deeds of baseness, teaching men All shifts of cunning, and to know the guilt Of every impious deed. But they who, hired, Have wrought this crime, have laboured to their cost, Or soon or late to pay the penalty.[1]

Of course, we may set moral standards against it – and we do this also for a long time as. And with Aristotle we can

seek to define wealth and money-making in different ways; and we are right in doing so, for they are different; on the one hand true wealth, in accordance with nature, belonging to household management, productive; on the other money-making, with no place in nature, belonging to trade and not productive of goods in the full sense. In this kind of money-making, in which coined money is both the end pursued in the transaction and the medium by which the transaction is performed, there is no limit to the amount of riches to be got.[2]

But when it comes to chrematistike, we see another law and are dealing with a disjoined pattern as

there is another kind of property-getting, to which the term money-making is generally and quite rightly applied ; and it is due to it that there is thought to be no limit to wealth or its acquisition.[3]

And as much as it is about money-making, it is also about power-buying. Mr Trump knew well and he bought himself into power – importantly he did so not by bribery (as far as known) and not by the pure impact of a massive propaganda show (which he surely knew to instrumentalise). The real reason is the utilisation of objective factors that shape society,[4] permanently establishing and re-establishing this hegemonic block which is grounded in exclusion and externalisation going hand in hand; and gojg hand in hand with inclusion of some kind. – Indeed, this is a power-basis that is massively making us believe in our own hangmen.

Looking for a concise understanding of this, it is perhaps more interesting to look at the question if

(…) California (will) Leave the US Following Trump’s Victory?

 

Not the answer is of central interest (as is in the case not the answer what finally will happen to the Brexit).

In particular two points are for a long-term perspective more crucial.

(i)

The first quickly to be captured, and we could even leave it with the term short-termism. Still, expanding a bit on this we have to see that ‘strategic decisions’ are increasingly taken as matter of ‘filling gaps’. The fact that gaps are becoming wider, opening more frequent and opening more and more in different spheres are clearly indicating the simple though often forgotten fact of the incoherence of capitalism – and velocity is part of it: the turnover ratio of political ideas reaches the turnover ratio of capital as it both does hand in hand with the headless chicken: high velocity, looking for and picking up corns as fast as possible, as many as possible and wherever it is possible as this is the only way to obtain what is there: here and now as the tomorrow may exist, but does not have anything it can promise and actually secure. Thus rational is to go for the hic and nunc: get the job, even if it is only a project for limited time; consume what you can consume now as this is the only way of guaranteeing that it is there, yu are there and the resources are there.

The question of class – and the supposed dissolution of class-structure – should be relocated into this context. The thesis of the levelling middle-classes (as we find it with reference to James Burnham and Helmut Schelsky)[5] is carrying far – and is conceptually also underlying many debates on precarisation. According to the latter we find – in short – as one of the main features of current developments the lack of stability and security as a ‘phenomenon’ that is increasingly emerging as progressively ‘moving to the centre of society’. At first glance this is surely the case and an increasingly worrying issue. However, should we stop here? Or should we move on[6] to the thesis of ‘proletarisation’? In social science relations are too often reduced to … relations, not acknowledging the relational character. The concept of relationality cannot be discussed in full length, but one of its implications has to be highlighted – one that is also in Marxist class theory not sufficiently considered. Of course, we find at the centre the issue of the property of means of production and, taking it in a wider understanding – the control over the means of production.[7] One important, though underexposed, socio-economic aspect of this is a complex dialectic of inclusion, externalisation and exclusion – a topic that has been developed in the political perspective by Antonio Gramsci and Nicos Poulantzas though.

(ii)

Taking up on such economic perspective brings us to the second aspect, where we are talking about the importance of emphasising the fact that inclusion and exclusion go hand in hand not as matter of being alternatives and not as matter of different spaces or groups. Leaving ‘peripheral’ and ‘niche aspects’ aside, the fundamental pattern is characterised by the fact on overall inclusionary character of development that not only creates new arrays of exclusion but – beyond this fact – depends on its ‘internal exclusion’. The mechanism is well-known from the making of the working class, which is based in the double freedom: disposition of other the labour power and lack of disposition of any alternative commodity for sale than exactly the labour power – Marx elaborated this in chapter 6 of the first volume of Capital.[8] We can formulate this in another way – from the side of a specific sort of ‘externalisation’: In order to be able to externalise executing own labour, by employing workers, it is necessary to grant the same bourgeois rights to the worker, making him/her bearer of the same individual rights. This is the continuation and completion of the bourgeois revolution against the feudal system of which Frederick Engels characterised the first stage by writing that the first needed

the kingdom of free competition, of personal liberty, of the equality, before the law, of all commodity owners.[9]

This means that “Power Relations” as matter of “’Exclusive Inclusion” – as I attempted in the chapter under this tile, writing about precarity – are thus at the centre of attention.[10]

As much as ‘neo-liberalism’ emphasises the need of open markets, and unregulated free-trade we have to acknowledge that this is indeed a strategy of such exclusive inclusion. The fact that this takes place and shape under conditions of a multilayered system: within nations (understood as national economies as captured by the German term of the ‘Nationalökonomie’), within regions (as we can see it for instance in the systematic perihperalisation of the Mediterranean belt of the European Union and globally as attempt to codify the wider centre-periphery-relationship by the Trade Agreements (e.g. TTIPP, TPP, TISA …). To make things a bit clearer – though seemingly more complicated – these three layers (spatiality) are going hand in hand with at least temporality (“pay tomorrow”), substantiality (“pay in another currency”, as for instance expressed in the relationship growth-environment) and not least sociality (“let others pay” – social classes and stratification).

What for instance Jeremy Riffkin and Paul Mason discuss as ‘overcoming capitalism’ – the one by prefiguring the The Zero Marginal Cost Society, the other by directly stating that The End of Capitalism has begun, suggesting for some as Thomas L. Friedman that The World is Flat, is surely not a straightforward process – and it would be foolish to reject what is said. And it would be equally foolish to solely continue by criticising the existing patterns. This said, does not mean to deny the need starkly uncover the old questions and to actually look at current escalations. However, it does mean to see this not simply as escalation of the system crisis (which it is though). Important is to see these developments as part of the overall renegotiation of “ins and outs”. But it means to emphasise that the development is not about exclusion alone. Instead – looking at Brexit and especially Califrexit clearly shows it – leaving is about allowing to stay. Califrexit is a project aiming on securing privileges, not a project against the ultra-conservatism of the future Trump-system. Thus we read in the mentioned Telesur-article

“In our view, the United States of America represents so many things that conflict with Californian values, and our continued statehood means California will continue subsidizing the other states to our own detriment and the the detriment of your children,” said Independence group “Yes California” on its website.

Yes California argues that the state’s population and economy, the sixth biggest in the world, “compares and competes with countries, not just the 49 other states.” The group claims that a split will give the state more control over its trade, security, as well as support diversity and the environment. It is pushing for a vote on the issue in 2019.

Understandable … ? To get a clearer picture we may want to dare a closer look at this ‘sixth biggest in the world’, presenting itself as luxurious, as egalitarian, as open:

This egalitarian style can clash with the Valley’s reality of extreme income polarization. ‘Many tech companies solved this problem by having the lowest-paid workers not actually be employees. They’re contracted out’, Schmidt explained. ‘We can treat them differently, because we don’t really hire them. The person who’s cleaning the bathroom is not exactly the same sort of person.’[11]

Don’t THESE Trump-adversaries have something of the modern slave-owners? Without doubt there is a huge danger looming, and we have to stay alert, being aware of the fact that this step of Trumpism may be the first to something that is much worse. Indeed, there is good reason to return to the question

What Produces Fascism: Preindustrial Traditions or a Crisis of the Capitalist State?

– a question that Geoff Eley already posed some longish time ago. But there is equally good reasons to watch out for the savours: The ‘old conservatives’ like the Merkels, Hollands and Renzis are not really there to offer an answer. The answer can be found, though, if we realistically look for the germs:

On the occasion of two conference – the Seminar ‘Continuidad y Cambios en las Relaciones Internacionales’ at ISRI (Instituto Superior de Relaciones Internacionales Raul Roas Garcia), Havana, looking at the Development

From 5 giant evils to 5 giant tensions – the current crisis of capitalism as seedbed for its overturn – or: How Many Gigabyte has a Horse?

and at the Shanghai Forum, China and Latin America. The Development Partnership of Trans-Pacific-Section looking at

Growth and Development – Complement or Contradiction? Challenges for a Global Agenda

I outlined an approach that works around

five giant tensions, namely the overproduction of goods and the turn of goods into ‘bads’; societal abundance versus inequality of access; abundance of knowledge and its misdirection towards skills; the individualisation of problems and their emergence as societal threat and the complexity of government and the limited scope of governance.[12]

Deeper analysis is necessary, the search for a fundamental change of thinking in economics too – something that will also be a major challenge for social quality thinking.[13]

============

[1] Sophocles, 442 B.C.E.: Antigone, translated by E. H. Plumptre. Vol. VIII, Part 6. The Harvard Classics. New York: P.F. Collier & Son, 1909–14; Bartleby.com, 2001; http://www.bartleby.com/8/6/antigone.pdf

[2] Aristotle, app 335 BC: The Politics; Translated and with an Introduction by T.A. Sinclair; Harmondsworth/Baltimore/Victoria: Penguin, 1962/1972: 43 f.

[3] ibid.: 41

[4] saying utilisation’ does not necessarily mean that this is happening consciously, with a ‘strategic reference’

[5] These references are too often forgotten – finally sociology and social science joined short-termism …

[6] … or return …

[7] The discussion of managing classes will be left out here.

[8] Marx, Karl, 1867 Capital, volume 1, chapter 6: https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch06.htm

[9] Engels, Frederick, 1880: Socialism: Utopian and Scientific; https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1880/soc-utop/ch03.htm

[10] Precarity – An Issue of Changed Labour Market and Employment Patterns or of Changed Social Security Systems; in: Herrmann, Peter/Bobkov, Viacheslav/Csoba, Judit (eds): Labour Market and Precarity of Employment: Theoretical Reflections and Empirical Data from Hungary and Russia; Vienna: WVFS; 2014: 11 – 66; here 25 ff.

[11] Freeland, Chrystia, 2012: Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else; New York: The Penguin Press

[12] see also Herrmann, Peter, 2015: Crisis and no end? Re-embedding Economy into life and nature; in: Environment and Social Psychology (2015)–Volume 1, Issue 1: 1-11; http://esp.whioce.com/index.php/ESP/article/download/01003/pdf_3

[13]            see Herrmann, Peter, forthcoming:

The no-problem-society III – Beautification of living trying to gain space

No problem, of course – indeed, only if there is shadow, there will be light. And the one-sided view, so prevalent as it is so easy, allows to ignore seeing the ‘dark side’ – which of course is a problem for those actually sitting in the middle of the shadow. In other words, what really is at stake is – as so often – the old question not simply concerned with to be or not to be but where and how to be – the Shakespearean is relatively simple to answer as it is universal in the sense of the finality that is involved: a simple reduction of being on physical existence, the story around it nice, superstructural and though it is essential for the individual it is in terms of the social not much more than bric-à-brac. The other question deserves a more differentiated look as it is about power, and as such it is, equal to the question of value, fundamentally relational and ‘human’. Three quotes from Hannah Arendt’s book on the human conditions are providing some food for thought:

 Man, in so far as he is homo faber, instrumentalizes, and his in- strumentalization implies a degradation of all things into means, their loss of intrinsic and independent value, so that eventually not only the objects of fabrication but also ‘the earth in general and all forces of nature,’ which clearly came into being without the help of man and have an existence independent of the human world, lose their ‘value because [they] do not present the reification which comes from work’.[1]

And

The unfortunate truth about behaviorism and the validity of its ‘laws’ is that the more people there are, the more likely they are to behave and the less likely to tolerate non-behavior. Statistically, this will be shown in the leveling out of fluctuation. In reality, deeds will have less and less chance to stem the tide of behavior, and events will more and more lose their significance, that is, their capacity to illuminate historical time. Statistical uniformity is by no means a harmless scientific ideal; it is the no longer secret political ideal of a society which, entirely submerged in the routine of everyday living, is at peace with the scientific outlook inherent in its very existence.[2]

It is also about equality

This modern equality, based on the conformism inherent in society and possible only because behavior has replaced action as the foremost mode of human relationship, is in every respect different from equality in antiquity, and notably in the Greek city-states.[3]

While Hannah Arendt discusses these issues in the perspective of the general conditions of existence, it is not less, perhaps even more relevant in terms of social classes and groups – and the spaces provided for the development.

Sifting things onto the behavioural level is usual simple: the appeal to be optimist, the appeal to behave in a responsible and respectful way, to be emphatic – and even the non-utilitarian approach will soon reveal the real issue. And that is the objectivity of shadow, the objectivity of the shades of grey .., and the nevertheless somewhat finality of black. As we could see: defined by statistics, defined by the combination of different paint particles.

Indeed, as Arendt pointed out, action is not least a matter of speech, understood as consequential communication. However, as the issue had been previously about space and its creation, we can approach this way (some of) the underlying issue(s): real spaces are about real communication, at least about allowing real communication – honest communication as dispute. The true ‘art’ of the Greek polis in which communication was about dispute which was about having the better arguments – and of course: the better way of presenting. Surely different of compared to today’s common mutual confirmation and shown agreement – with the clenched fist in the pocket and shaking the head after turning around … no problem, just do what you can present – and today, more than ever before, you can present figures.

Even indicators and evidence are reduced on means of confirming and proving what we know, not helping us to understand complex patterns and reducing issues on simplified causal and mono-directional connections.[4]

Quality of any product or service is now defined by … – by what the producer or provider states it is about. Yes, it is reality defined for instance by the ISO, the new gods of the International Organization for Standardization claiming

We develop and publish International Standards.

It is simple: if we include for instance the failing of the product after three years in the definition of a standard of a lawn mover and if the product is failing after three years it may be said it is ‘good’. Lasting longer would actually not be ‘good’, as it would not ‘fail as promised’.

Goethe’s Mephisto already knew:

To nonsense reason turns, and benefit to worry.
Woe unto you that you’re a grandchild, woe!
For of the law that was born with us, no!
Of that, alas! there never is a query.[5]

(Goethe, 1806)

One of the problems – perhaps this makes us feeling that things are ‘new’, that they are getting worse – may be that we witness some kind of exponential growth of stupidity: close a hole by digging another and dig another hole to close the second and …, with any new one we are not simply facing a spatial shift but instead a larger than the original one that we closed, somewhat unrecognised, piecemeal strategies to maintain some form of peace, friable and from the beginning inclined to emerge as smooth nonsense: beautiful and without substance and without even claiming any substance.

But if things would be as simple as they appear to be … but they aren’t if we allow moving forwards and backwards, acknowledging the dialectical, dual meaning of sublation. –What is this about then?

Recently I looked a bit into Artificial Intelligence, also watched some films (as e.g. Ex Machina, Her). I still think it is interesting – and something that, in different ways, goes beyond the ‘narrow topic’. There is a film ‘Io e Caterina’, in Italian, a comedy but it is about the relationship between a man and his robot. Another thing I saw recently at the airport in Helsinki: a ‘voting stand’ asking the esteemed user to asses the service. What is new, remarkable? The development: It begins with people meeting at the counter and expressing directly what they think of each other, possibly ‘feedback cards’ can be found on the desk. Then there is the ‘press button-feedback’ at counters: emoticons where we still are asked to ‘assess how people perform’. Now we have machines by which we can assess how other machines ‘behave’: how did you like the automatic self-check-in?

This links well to what I wrote earlier: marrying a robot.

The legal dimension of such ‘marriage between humans and robots’ is actually in the perspective of legal doctrine a fascinating question … ridiculous? not imaginable? The real problem with self-driving cars is … exactly the same – the need to redefine the legal subject and include a ‘body’ that is so far not capable of holding rights. Frightening? Sure, to some extent. However finding an answer may also open a way to redefine ‘rights of nature’ – a discussion we are pursuing in many Latin-American countries, in particular in Bolivia … – indeed, now the question seems to go beyond the differentiation between behaviour and action a sit had been posed earlier, with reference to Hannah Arendt. Now we are challenged to search for higher for higher forms of both, behaviour and action.

Especially as we can move now back to the question of spaces and spatial (not least urban) development. On of the core problems is that under the condition that requires everything has to be measurable, standardised everything has to be as well appear as reification, even more so: is reification and by this it is made tangible. What is more, this reification is on the one hand individualised as only as act of individuals who are ‘trading’ reified ‘things’ the social is constituted. What is more, the ex-ante-inclusion of social considerations into this relationship would actually make it impossible to function in the required way. This means not least that little profit coming from these individual relationships is better than large profits from social engagement. This is one of the explanations (admittedly amongst others that are not less important) that we find the global pressure on prices – the all-presence of ‘cheap stuff’, the need for the generalisation of the common law of business balance as matter that pushes all of us – well, the majority – downwards.

However, there are indications of limits having been reached, pushing to some new forms of bringing things together. ‘complete individualisation’ and ‘complete commodification’ are striving for their exoneration, for re-socialisation and de-commodification: at this stage it is about the socialisation of private space, not more, and not less: the shopping malls as destination of the outing; the coffee shop as living room and office – its flagship supposing that everything is

Crafted by hand and heart

Where one can

Make every sip more rewarding

And of course it is a place where the contradiction is life, stands at the core: the very person and hand and heart driven service offers that you can

Pay with your phone. And do so much more.

 

Such ‘imagined communities’, this changing cultures of coffeehouses, are now taking over even the traditional small nests of the old cultures, the nests of resistance as for instance the probably strongest defenders of the national coffee bar tradition and there are many other of these ‘communities’ now: other coffee companies, restaurants that change the concept of self-service towards self-production, the DIY.

And they are also emerging in other areas: the various ‘communities’ as researchgate.net and academia.edu, allowing all of us putting us under pressure, establishing a climate of ‘digital self-monitoring – the self-tracing in cybernetic capitalism’[6], and also giving us the feeling of moving in a space of discourse where we are

… invited you to participate in the comments on his draft paper …

To view the paper and comments, please follow the link below:

Writing about this topical field – topical on the sense of current, it also in the understanding of dealing with a subject matter – is difficult as it is again and again dis-tracted into looking at the details: the dying system still being able not only to maintain but even to gain. Perhaps there is really not more in it? Let’s wait and see …

****

 

[1]            Arendt, Hannah, 1958: The Human Condition; Chicago/London: University of Chicago Press: 156; with reference to Das Kapital, HI [Marx-Engels Gesamtausgabe, Abt. II, Zurich, 1933], 698

[2]            ibid.: 43

[3]            ibid, 41; see then also pages 159 ff., the chapter on The Exchange Market.

[4]            see Herrmann, Peter, 2014: Indicators – More than Evidence and Maths; in: Kondratieff Waves: Juglar – Kuznets – Kondratief; editors: Leonid Grinin (Russia), Tessaleno Devezas (Portugal), Andrey Korotayev (Russia); Volgograd: ‘Uchitel’ Publishing House

[5]            Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 1806: Faust I, Vers 1972 ff; English translation

[6]            Simon Schaupp, 2106: Digitale Selbstüberwachung. Self-Tracking im kybernetischen Kapitalismus’; Verlag Graswurzelrevolution, 160 Seiten, ISBN 3939045292