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[Xmca-l] Re: Althusser's ideas of consciousness



    
I think this is relevant for all of the threads today,
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/23792-the-masters-house-is-burning-bell-hooks-cornel-west-and-the-tyranny-of-neoliberalism ;

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-------- Original message --------
From: "Dr. Paul C. Mocombe" <pmocombe@mocombeian.com> 
Date: 4/25/2016  5:04 PM  (GMT-05:00) 
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Althusser's ideas of consciousness 


    
Hi annalisa,
Yes... I only care about the theory.  Whether or not he cared for women, for me, is irrelevant.  Majority of the theories I had to study in grad school were contrived by racist white men.  That does not mean that the theories themselves have no value.  Fanon was a so-called black man, but his theories about the culture of the haitian/taino/africans were just as racist as some of his white contemporaries.  He wrote "black skin, white mask" while married to a white woman.  Does that mean anything?  Was the book a reflection of his own double consciousness or contradictions presented as universal truth as it pertains to "the souls of black folk"?  I do not know, and frankly I do not care.  What is important for me is the theory.  Are kafka's stories and understanding of reality a result of his relationship with his father?  Maybe, but I do not care.  What I am concerned with is whether or not the stories capture the existential threat (patriarchal) bourgeois society poses to the individual.  I do not care about the personal, I only care for the abstraction.  There is a debate in phenomenological philosophy as to whether or not existence is the subjectification of the transcendental ego or the contrary, the objectification of it in a particular dispensation of space-time?  I fall in the latter camp!


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-------- Original message --------
From: Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu> 
Date: 4/25/2016  2:54 PM  (GMT-05:00) 
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca-l@mailman.ucsd.edu> 
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Althusser's ideas of consciousness 

Paul and Larry,

Larry brings up a really good point about the personal life of the thinker and how such a lived experience interacts with the person's philosophical stance. There is an apparent disconnect.

It seems to be a pattern that the lives of people with status (academic, artistic, philosophical, political, spiritual) who can lead and innovate large groups of others with their gifts also are "difficult people" to the circle of people with whom they have intimate ties. One comes to realize at some point the necessity of understanding how the personal is intertwined in all of that. 

For example, people want social justice, but when someone in their personal circle are in need of support or help, they are unavailable to that individual, it's only the grand ideas that count, the abstractions. To my mind, this is how there is a reproduction of injustice, because there is a conditional definition of freedom only for some, not for all. Only the ideas count.

For such people there is an apparent contradiction, but maybe it is only apparent. I could welcome to entertain the thought that Steve Jobs was a misunderstood genius, but the evidence of his personal relationships and his willingness to explain away suicides in Chinese factories being low in number doesn't make him a great guy to me. So there is a long shadow on his personage that makes it hard to admire him as the messiah of personal computing that he is not.

It seems to warrant examination if one doesn't want to stand one's own theory on the foundations of hypocrisy. Otherwise don't we just reproduce the same power structure, pouring old wine in a new skin?

If there is no way to remove the insidiousness of hypocrisy, then how much is allowable?

I would welcome a feminist analysis of Gandhi and how his philosophy of satyagraha relates to his personal relationships. It is a problem I have with him, but have yet to look into it. The problem with the personal is that it is hard to learn the facts. But that doesn't make it any less important.

It is certainly possible that the thinker is forced to that world stage because of the personal flaw and how it manifests in personal relationships, but that still is taking the time to understand that connection if that is the one to be made. Maybe that's Freudian, but we hear over and over about people chasing purpose and leaving their families in wreckage, or because of coming from families of wreckage people feel compelled to chase purpose. Not that that is the only thing that drives people.

For these reasons, I am surprised that you do not care about althusser's apparent contradictions and examining them. Unless you don't care about women in the same way W didn't care about black people during katrina. I'm not accusing you of that, but to say you don't care says something, I'm just trying to understand what you mean.

Do you mean to say you don't care that althusser did not care about women, or rather his wife, and you care only about his theory, by implication, if that is a fair interpretation. But then why not care about this apparent contradiction?

Or have I wrongly conflated something here?

Kind regards,

Annalisa