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[Xmca-l] Re: Political constructions of self vs politicalconstructions of identity



David,
Good points. At the same time, take the Protestant Reformation and the push back from the Catholic church that resulted in slaughter all over Europe. Maybe the rule still holds that religious differences have been harder on apostates than on non-believers. Sort of. I am now thinking of what has happened to indigenous people (non-believers) all over the world when colonization hit. Devastating. Hmmm…
Henry

 
> On Aug 2, 2016, at 11:53 AM, David H Kirshner <dkirsh@lsu.edu> wrote:
> 
> Henry,
> 
> There certainly are commonalities among all fundamentalist religious belief systems that make adherents potentially dangerous to civil society. But religions differ in how they distribute religious authority, and this factor can affect how widespread uncivil action is likely to become. 
> 
> In the case of Catholicism, authority is rigorously organized in a hierarchy under a single leader, the pope. Thus independent interpretation of fundamentalist belief is quite tightly constrained, and Catholic terrorism is a rare phenomenon. 
> 
> Protestantism is more decentralized, with religious authority vested in independent denominations. In some cases, these denominations can be quite small, and this has produced some cult worship that has resulted in murder and suicide. But the vast majority of adherents are organized into large denominations in which fundamentalist interpretations are modulated by concerns of fitting into a broader civil society. 
> 
> Islam is highly decentralized. Anyone who is sufficiently schooled in religious texts can proclaim himself an imam and establish a following. What is more, religious convention holds that all imams have true knowledge. Thus differences in interpretation from one imam to another are considered part of an ineffable variety of a common truth. Thus the religion has almost no internal mechanisms for control of fundamentalist interpretation. When President Obama calls upon Muslims to take more responsibility for uncivil interpretations of their religion, this turns out to be very difficult to accomplish given the way authority is distributed. 
> 
> David
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of HENRY SHONERD
> Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2016 11:31 AM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Political constructions of self vs politicalconstructions of identity
> 
> Gente,
> Please forgive my beating a dead horse, but for me it isn’t dead yet:
> 
> http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/01/opinion/how-religion-can-lead-to-violence.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region <http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/01/opinion/how-religion-can-lead-to-violence.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region>
> 
> Particularly interesting to me is the quote from President Obama at the end of the linked article: “Some currents of Islam have not gone through a reformation that would help people adapt their religious doctrines to modernity.”
> 
> It seems to me that the Trump band wagon is populated by Christians with the same problem. (This of course, isn’t original. Duh! Obama got dinged for his “guns and Bibles” comment, which to me is saying much the same thing.) So-called Christians, in the same way as so-called Muslims, kill in the name of a revealed truth, mostly other Muslims. When analyzed, I wonder if most mass shootings in this country are basically an attack on modernity, motivated by essentialist notions of selfhood and political constructions of reality. So that radical Islamic terrrorism exists in the same way as radical Christian terrorism. What is ALWAYS true, it seems, is that such terrorism is harder on apostates than non-believers. Even some defenders of Buddh-ism have killed in the name of the Buddha, hence radical Buddhist terrorism? 
> 
> What I have gotten most from this subject line is how projects can go with the flow of modernity and yet touch the philosophical bases of ethics, aesthetics, epistemology and ontogeny. As always I go back to creative collaboration. Thank you, Vera. 
> 
> Henry
> 
> 
> 
> 
>> On Aug 2, 2016, at 12:20 AM, Rein Raud <rein.raud@tlu.ee> wrote:
>> 
>> Correction to the last paragraph: "The philosophically more thoroughly 
>> digested definition would state that nothing we can point to is in 
>> exactly the same state at any two moments.” Best, RR
>> 
>>> On 02 Aug 2016, at 06:52, Rein Raud <rein.raud@tlu.ee> wrote:
>>> 
>>> Chris - spot on. Remember where this thread started: both essential unity and essential categoriality are infringements on the ity of the individual, who cannot be wholly identified with either. But either is a perspective from which candidates can make their calculations seem less complicated. I’d say we need not address the ity’s of the candidates rather than how their politics are likely to affect our our own. 
>>> 
>>> Annalisa - replace “stable” and “stationary” in my posts with the bulkier “what doesn’t change” and I’ll still sign them. So you are defining “change” as opposed to stability. Morevoer, most of what you describe as fundamental only exists in the human mind. Western languages indeed are conducive to an understanding of the world you have described, but it is not the only possible one. You say “things exist before they are named” and "we can remove all things in [space and time], and existence remains”. So existence is also a thing? Western languages consider sentences as “the rose is red” and “the sky is blue” to be equivalent, but if you look a little more closely, “rose” and “sky” are ontologically quite different. There is no such thing as the sky. And existence is more like the sky than the rose. Just like the referents of negative sentences, it is something produced by the mind. “There are no rusty nails in this soup” may be true, but if it is, then only in our reflection, because there is no thing there (“absence-of-rusty-nails”) that is described by this observation. So we meaningfully say “Uncle Harry exists” to point out the difference of said uncle with Santa Claus, who doesn’t. (Or doesn’t he? A matter of how we define existence. For example, if we grant existence to immaterial entities that can be the causes of real processes, and a child does her homework diligently because of Santa Claus, while otherwise she wouldn’t, then it would be legitiamate to say that Santa Claus exists.) In this particular sense, the word “existence” performs the work of a double negative: “it is not the case that uncle Harry is nothing but a construction of our mind”. 
>>> 
>>> Saying that constituents exist before their combination, therefore the combination exists before it actually comes into being is not very productive. There are multitudes of ways how to combine the currently avaialble physical objects and only a minuscule part of these will actually be realized. This is what is called “Occam’s razor” according to William Occam (14th century): we should not posit existences that are not logically necessary. 
>>> 
>>> Impermanence can be defined at least on two levels: the popular one (call it “impermanence light”) insists that nothing is forever, everything changes, everything that exists turns into something else. The philosophically more thoroughly digested definition would state that anything we can point to is in exactly the same state at any two moments. That is, even the briefest duration separates two exhaustive sets of qualities that characterize this thing. As no qualities are essential by themselves, and no differences in degree are essential by themselves, any thing is not self-identical at two given moments.
>>> 
>>> With best wishes,
>>> 
>>> Rein
>>> 
>>>> On 01 Aug 2016, at 22:10, Christopher Schuck <schuckthemonkey@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>> All these explanations are very helpful - thank you. So then when 
>>>> Rein writes, "some calculations are less complicated," is this not 
>>>> speaking to the specifically epistemological priority of our efforts 
>>>> to pin down the candidates' essences? On what basis do we decide 
>>>> what is less complicated in a good way (that allows us to evaluate 
>>>> the candidates in tune with how they are as people and future 
>>>> presidents) as opposed to a bad way (being so uncomplicated that you 
>>>> end up missing the truth entirely and/or being manipulated), and 
>>>> what are the implications of appealing to either Trump-ity or 
>>>> Trump-ness, respectively? I am trying to parse out the "cash value" 
>>>> of understanding these candidates in terms of their -ity's rather than their -ness's.
>>>> 
>>>> Sorry if some of this may be redundant.    Chris
>>>> 
>>>> On Monday, August 1, 2016, Rein Raud <rein.raud@tlu.ee> wrote:
>>>> 
>>>>> Annalisa, I’m afraid we stray too far from the original topic of 
>>>>> this thread if we get much deeper into ontology, and I would end up 
>>>>> copy-pasting a lot from a book I am currently writing. Briefly, I 
>>>>> don’t think we can define “change” as opposed to “stability” at 
>>>>> all, and I’d suggest we speak about impermanence instead. You are 
>>>>> quite correct saying that “change” can only be detected and 
>>>>> described in regard of something else. The point is, this something 
>>>>> else is itself always undergoing some other kind of change from a 
>>>>> third point of view, and so on. The stationary point is quite 
>>>>> arbitrary. Most people currently believe that the Earth is rotating 
>>>>> around the Sun. However, the Sun is not stationary, but also in 
>>>>> movement. We can imagine a hypothetical celestial body which moves 
>>>>> around in space so that it is exactly at the same distance from the 
>>>>> Earth at all times and does not move around its own axis so that 
>>>>> the Earth is always also at the same angle seen from it. For 
>>>>> someone on this celestial body, the Earth moves around its axis, 
>>>>> but is otherwise stationary, while the Sun moves around it. It is 
>>>>> just that certain calculations are less complicated when we assume 
>>>>> the primacy of the Sun as the center of the solar system in this 
>>>>> scheme. And that’s how we end up with notions such as change vs 
>>>>> stability - some calculations are less complicated. With best 
>>>>> wishes, Rein
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>>> On 01 Aug 2016, at 20:11, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu
>>>>> <javascript:;>> wrote:
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Hello,
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Larry, my questions are straightforward, as I stated them, but 
>>>>>> I'll just
>>>>> reiterate that I was asking is what is Rein's definition of change? 
>>>>> How is changed detected? And from who's point of view?
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> In the end, there must be something stationary in order to gauge change.
>>>>> Whether in time or in space. Otherwise no change can be detected.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Now Chris brings up an interesting extra to this that there is the
>>>>> reality "out there" changing, and then our perception of it (which 
>>>>> can also change). But I think the definition still holds that even 
>>>>> if the world is illusory, and our perception changes too, there are 
>>>>> laws still in play, whether we understand those laws or not.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> For a law to adhere it must hold for all cases, or, in homage to
>>>>> Einstein, in those cases relative to it (which would be marked exceptions).
>>>>> I consider a law as a stationary point.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> It's not pure chaos out there. When I wake up I wake up in the 
>>>>>> same
>>>>> body, even though there is a cellular distinction from my body of 7 
>>>>> years ago. I don't wake up as someone else or with an extra limb I 
>>>>> didn't have yesterday. Now someone could ask, "Well how do you 
>>>>> really know that?" And I would say, "Well, how can you ask the question?"
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Something has to be stationary for change to happen. Even if 
>>>>>> change
>>>>> happens faster or slower, the point I'm attempting to make is that 
>>>>> there must be a stationary point regardless.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Something must be (stationary), before it can change or before 
>>>>>> change
>>>>> can be detected.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> I would say existence is the "center." I think Buddhists contest 
>>>>>> that,
>>>>> which is fine. I know that that is how they see it, that nothing 
>>>>> exists. As in no thing.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> And in some ways they are right if you are talking about the 
>>>>>> apparent
>>>>> world and the thingness that makes a thing a thing. But everything 
>>>>> that is here has is-ness, not thing-ness. Otherwise it is not. 
>>>>> Which means the thing-ness that isn't thing-ness isn't present in 
>>>>> time and space. It doesn't present itself, whatever it is.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> How does one detect change of something (anything) that is not in 
>>>>>> time
>>>>> and space?
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> First, I'd say whatever this non-thing is, can't change, because 
>>>>>> only
>>>>> things in time and in space change. On earth as we humans perceive 
>>>>> it, change appears to be dependent upon time and space. But then 
>>>>> thanks to Einstein, now we know that even time and space change. 
>>>>> Which means that the change of time and space must be dependent 
>>>>> upon some other stationary "point" as-if outside of time and space. 
>>>>> I say as-if because we are dealing with a container metaphor, but 
>>>>> this metaphor doesn't work when trying to conceive something 
>>>>> outside of time and space. Be we can use it because we are human 
>>>>> and this is how we reason about things, using time and space as reference points.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Anyway, whatever that "point" is, it would have to be pretty 
>>>>>> expansive
>>>>> and eternal in all directions, in all time. It would have to be big 
>>>>> to cover all of space and time. But because it would be outside of 
>>>>> space and time, it would also have to be formless and changeless.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Take away form (space) and change (time) and all that is left is
>>>>> existence. Which is.
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Right here right now. :)
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Kind regards,
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> Annalisa
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> 
>>>>>> P.S. I see that Rein post just now, so this is not in reply to 
>>>>>> that post
>>>>> of his.
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>>>> 
>>> 
>> 
>> 
> 
>