Re: cr&c

From: Bill Barowy (
Date: Tue Mar 23 2004 - 16:42:33 PST

On Tuesday 23 March 2004 6:38 pm, wrote:
> But, what about fascism, understood as a culture; that is, a set of
> practices where mistrust of the other is the rule that regulates most
> of the social exchanges? What about the culture of totalitarian
> societies? What about the culture of the USA during Mcartism? We could
> say that they lack "culture" but then the issue because just a nominal
> one. I think they do, and that understanding how a fascist/totalitarian
> culture develops is a worthy goal.

I'm thinking about something really basic here. I think it is a plausible
claim that the existence of culture, in the meaning we seem to be sharing,
depends upon communication. Furthermore cryptography provides a unique
situation in which we find that communication can not occur without some
level of trust between the two people who wish to communicate with each
other. Trusting is explicit in the process of enabling encrypted
communication. The chain of dependency seems to be that culture depends upon
communication which depends upon trust. At least this is so for secret
communication among computer geeks.

But what about good old face to face oral communication? That does not seem
to require trust. Carol notes the Tswana and the apparent plethora of lying.
And then David you note fascism, totalitarianism, etc. All these seem to be
counter examples.

My retort: communication requires a sharing of mind. The person
communicating a thought provokes the same or a similar thought in the person
listening, or reading, or watching. This, by definition, is secondary
subjectivity. How do we learn how to do this? How is the transmission of
culture dependant upon learning to communicate?

Some people think that the beginning of secondary intersubjectivity is in
social referencing. When an infant who is capable of social referencing
encounters an ambiguous situation, (s)he will look toward the caregiver to
see how the caregiver responds. This is more than a sharing of mind,
however. The child *relies* upon the reaction of the adult to guide his/her
reaction. In other words, and quite arguably, the child trusts the adult.
The development of secondary intersubjectivity and social referencing seems
to be universal, so this developmental path, and the reliance of culture upon
trust in some deep causal way seems hold across cultures -- but I defer to
the cultural developmentalists who know the research far better than I
concerning this claim.

I'm not sure where to take it from here. But I have some chsig duties which
press and take precedence in the short term.


> Quoting Bill Barowy <>:
> > On Tuesday 23 March 2004 4:54 pm, Sarah Woodward Beck wrote:
> > > I also think that trust CAN be a part of culture.
> >
> > I'm glad you wrote the above, because I think I've come to conclude
> > that
> > culture cannot exist without trust. Mostly it is implicit and taken
> > for
> > granted. Trying to do cryptography brings out part of what is
> > hidden.
> > Studying child develolpment does too.
> >
> > bb

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