the only easy day was yesterday

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Todays News

The time is upon us when American sports fans and the objects of their attentions alike can indulge fully in our colective detachment from our own humanity. It's nearing training camp time in the National Footbal League, which means it's hold out time, the time for the a few of the most elite athletes on the planet to define themselves in terms of money and commodities, and the owners and GM's get to egg them on. Oh, and we get to GM as well, fantasy football ads are popping up, and that means that we the sports fans get to enjoy the undeniable pleasure, that was once reserved only for the real GM's, of treating real people as playing cards and measuring them in numbers rather than appreciating them as human beings with tremendous athletic ability and skill. Football's not the only major sport to partake, oh no, Baseball is nearing it's trade deadline and they, more than any other sport, trade players like, well, baseball cards. Basketballs free agency signing period starts today. And even in soccer David Beckham is arriving on friday to be introduced as the newest member of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Now what, you ask, is so wrong with the manipulation of people with money, if money is exactly what they're after. The answer lies in the total mental health of the people of America; when we are exposed to such dehumanizing treatment of individuals it only helps to separate ourselves from our own humanity and more importantly in a highly populated social society, from the humanity of others and in turn from others all together. Besides this sort of simultaneous dehumanization of 'entertainer' and 'entertained' there are the rare cases, like the one of Antoine Walker of the Miami Heat who was robbed at gunpoint late monday night, where the people who have been overexposed to capitalist enterprises such as, but not limited to, the appaling treatment of human beings, which inevitably leads to peoples ignorance of each others humanity to the point that they can't sit next to each other in Harry Potter and leave single seats in the middle of rows and on the isles so that I have to sit on the floor in an imax theater.

Now last but not least...Steve McNair's DUI charges were dropped yesterday. This DUI quite like s LaRussa bumble that will be highly forgivable - well, it probably will be, but it shouldn't - and what should NOT be forgiven is the way in which the American legal system has treated this issue. In some states, possibly federally, it is considered a DUI when a person lets someone else drive a vehilcle while inebriated, in this case, it was Steve's brother and Steve's car. I used to like McNair, he seemed like an okay guy - as okay as these people can get - but if theres one thing that pisses me off beyond all others its blatant disrespect for the life of oneself and the lives of others, because no matter what life IS or ISN'T or what truth IS or ISN'T or what the true nature of RIGHT or WRONG we are all alive - or at least I am - and that is all that we can KNOW, and when someone disrespects the life that somehow he IS I can't stand it. Steve McNair willingly let someone else drive while intoxicated - and no you cannot operate a 2000 pound machine moving at an excess of sixty miles per hour, most people can't do it responsibly sober - that is to say he put his brothers life, his own life, and who knows how many other lives in danger that night for what can only be a silly reason. The reason that his charge was dropped is that his brothers charge was changed in a plea bargan to reckless driving, so he could not be charged, it would only be valid if it remained a DUI. So here it is, our legal system directly disrespecting life - letting not one, but two people off scott free for what could easily have become a manslaughter case (which would probably have been reduced to something minor anyway) - should it be more rigid? Do you agree that the neglecting of the consequences to ones own life, let alone others lives, is dispicable and inexcusable and that the law need be reformed to match these opinions? This is an easily tenable statement - driving drunk IS endangering your life and countless others lives and that is unacceptable from any perspective.

""I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law."


lyneric said...

Respct of life seems tenuous at best. Has this always been the case? Somehow I think yes, which makes me wonder if we can ever reach more of a peaceful, life respectiing existance or if we are doomed to forever brush back the ocean with a broom I read yesterday that a Jordanian woman was "honor killed" by her brother because she was pregnant with her ex-husband's baby. The man got 6 months in jail. Today (and yesterday and the day before that and the day before that and so on), I read of a suiside bombing taking place some where in the world, probably in the middle east, where radicalized reliegion fuels mans most egregious acts agaist his brother. How do we get to the point of such hatred? How does life become so disposable? I beleive in part it has to do with language. When we identify the "other" we no longer empathise. In losing our ability to see ourselves as the other, we no longer consider our own self preservation because this "other" has no relationship to us. Survival instinct is primal. I believe seeing ourselves in others helps us preserve the quality of their existance because, selfishly, we see ourselves preserved as well. Radical dogmatism, be it political or religious, serves to provide context for such distancing language. Beliefs are established and individuals become indoctrinated in teachings so that those beliefs become irrefutable truths. Whether the teaching takes place at the dinner table with casual use of vial and bigoted words: "fag", "nigger" etc; Or the teaching is more formalized as it was in the Hitler Youth Corpse: Or the teaching is through popular culture that goes largely unquestioned as with Gangsta Rap, the damage is done. I would argue that we need to watch our use of language, as a starting point, in our effort to spread respect of life.

Jasper said...

I like the mention of language; culture and civilization as wholes have turned out to be a semiotic and subconscious mess for the human mind. In metaphysical terms, labeling things - with symbols, words, any signs (here inlies the issues of our perception in relation to reality) - is admitting their independence from ones self, and, in essence, conceding that one cannot really know if others exist or not, because all one can know exists is his own thoughts, and therefore dismissing, to a certain extent, their worth to the individual percieving these labels. Kant says that the human experience is not that of other things, but that of how other things appear to us (He differs from a more absolute idealism because he does believe that things besides thoughts exist and should be considered), and that we do not see things as observers of reality, but rather as observers of human senses, and that only; this pertaining to the current conversation in that what he is saying inevitably leads to the thought that, as human beings limited to our own methods of percieving the reality that is the physical universe, we can never truly percieve each others humanity. What we can do, though, is be conscious of this impossibility, the conscious ability of the human mind to use reason may one day enable us to transcend our senses and percieve the humanity of others; to me this would be enlightenment, the world of forms, nirvana, you choose - but this is only a thought - can the reality of the universe and this world create something that can transcend itself and view the reality as a whole? I know this is somewhat of a pedantic aproach to the issue, but a fundamental understanding of these concepts is the only way to be able to truly 'enlighten' ourselves to the best course of action in civilization and life; when all people can take these ideas as seriously as they need to be taken, then the steps to creating a lifestyle free of many of these problems, especially the lack of respect for life, can be taken easily.

lyneric said...

hmmmmm. reading all this writing about language reminds me of the necessity to speak in simple terms. I very well may have misunderstood some of your last post. But assuming i did not:

your paraphrasing of kant in regard to labeling things leave me perplexed. if this is simply acknowledging the shortcomings of language, because of the inherent subjectivity of communication, i get it. but to say that we ultimately deny the worth of the other, because we cannot communicate beyond our individual experiences, and therefore never truly communicate an objective truth, i get bothered.

to say we need to "transcend our senses" to reach enlightenment leaves me asking why? we are thinking AND feeling beings; yahooo to that! and feeling is part of what informs our thinking. do we reach enlightenment by denying our being or reach enlightenment by embracing it?

isn't it potentially more fruitful to recognize our common understandings in relationship to one another and our shared environment, than it is to simply acknowledge our limits due to the fallings of language? can't this be done while acknowledging our differences and the limitations of this pursuit?

if we embrace that we are ALL feeling beings, isn't this a step toward reaching a more common understanding of that which is outside (and potentially inside) all of us?

while i understand and even enjoy the lofty pursuits of such banter (hence my participation in this blog) the pragmatist in me also believes we need to keep at least one foot on the ground and simplify in order to make any growth or cause any change. this is especially true when confronted with destructive belief systems that allow for and even encourage a total disrespect of human life.

Jasper said...

You may very well have misunderstood what I've written before; when I write I write as a sort of skeptical idealist because it seems to me to be the most objective way to write about any situation, and the way that allows to analyze the most perspectives of any situation - so that's where I'm usually coming from ...

What Kant means is neither that language does not do a proper job of communicating thoughts, nor that we can only communicate within the facets of our own experience; he is not speaking about communication. What I was relating it to is that when he says that humans do not live REALITY they live their own PERCEPTIONS and the working of them inside the mind, that we can never experience anything in reality besides our own thoughts (the cornerstone of idealism) and therefore not fully comprehend the humanity of others, so intrinsically human beings will not be respective of other peoples lives. Philosophy runs into a problem here. For many years now humans have had the comfortable quality of life which allows us the time to exploit our intellect to the fullest, but inlight of reasonable thought like that of Immanuel Kant there comes a fork in the road; or so it seems. The way is split between sense, which is what was the center of our lives in prehistoric times when survival was our main concern, and intellectual pursuit - emotion may prove to be the bridge between these two somewhat polarizing forces. The question here arises of whether we have reached the point in our history where the evolution turns from physical to mental and it is time we transcend our emotions in order to reach a climax of this mental state - a world of forms, etc. (There's a whole rant about this in waking life, which i bet you still haven't watched yet). But on the other hand, as a skeptic who may not even believe in an ultimate truth as such being a possibility, I too believe that we need to keep a 'foot on the ground'. Had we no emotion or feeling we would have to motivation for such a pursuit, and the end of such a pursuit must only end in a lack of emotion and any temporal feeling altogether. As for understanding the universality of the human experience to all human beings being of the utmost importance I agree, as well. But I think that in understanding each others humanity we need to excercise our understanding tool (our minds), and educate ourselves in the philosophies of the world, so as to form proper metaphysical (etc.) views of the world ad humanity for oneself, then we can move on to defining others humanity in a very confient manner. I especially would like to discourage any belief systems at all, healthy skepticism ( is the easiest and most analytically effective way to stear clear of dogmatism; question everything and come to ones own conclusions, every single one of us. Many of these problems that we will discuss here comes from taking things as truths that are far from having ben involved in any intelligent thought whatsoever.

I don't want to entirely disagree that we need to keep a foot on the ground, but the way in which we need to do so I think lies in questioning everything and coming to a coherent system of beliefs for oneself that we can then build off, because once we believe for ourselves, free of outside influences as much as we can be, then we can apreciate all thought, and eventually all humanity, as one in the same.--It's not complete yet, there are some parts missing, but i think it's pretty clear what i mean...

lyneric said...

Ah. Either my coffee clicked in or that was way more clear. Thanks! Did you read Michel Foucault's "What is Enlightment?" ? He responds directlly to Emmanual Kant's "On Enlightment". To be honest, I need to revisit it. But if my recollection of the article is accurate, something tells me you may be interested in it. And no, I haven't watched Waking Life. The time will come and it will be the right time. (whatever that means.)