the only easy day was yesterday

Friday, November 9, 2007

i was just watchin a termanology video mike had a link to on his shit. at times its that i appreciate that the whole culture is an expression of the lifestyle, but i just cant get my head around that expressing oneself in that manner is a legitimate form of expression. a plethora of "but"s come to mind; it is indicative of the lifestyle to do anything for money, it is a psycological complex to both be socially identifiable, but at the same time be removed and narcissistic. it seems too much of a hump to get over for anyone with a heart and with love for their family and for the people who had to go through what they had to go through to encourage that kind of activity by brandishing a gun in one frame and kissing his daughter in another. id like to sit down with termanlogy, or any other rapper for that matter, and have a utopian dialectic on what they would have as a social system in theri world, etc, and break it down to the point where they would realize violence and the extreme encouragement of gunplay and gangster lifestly are conceptually idiotic and unecessary, and furthermore that the lifestyle they choose to live is simply a product of their moronic predecessors finding new ways to make the human body less human with hats and chains and perms and tatoos and piercings. there reaslly far too much to say now, it just resonated in me that i still cannot find any tenable reason for how any mention of guns or violence that isnt an emphatic "dont be stupid, grow up and live with dignity and a sense of pride about your respect for humanity, which includes women, who incidently are not yoursex toys, however much they seem to think they are". theres no defense for it. it can only be harmful. sure they sort of preach around it, and people latch onto that too, but all they really hear is "click clack". if youve ever seen crash, the part with ludacris in the beginning with the carjacking is a paradigm example of the guntalk sinking in and the actual discouragement (what little of it there is) going in one ear, being saved as a meaningless self-righteous pillar with which to justify immoral actions, and going out the other


The W said...

i havent forgotten about your questions on my essay, ill answer them eventually....

what exxactly are the aspects of human culture in your view (if not clothing, religion, or other various examples)

Jasper Yate said...

alright im not rsuhin you, just let me know when you do.

its really a complicated question you pose, one that im not in any way prepared to answer. for me, though thinkgs like morality and culture have to temprarily be separated from pure philosophy, i like to have solid and strong justification and reason for hold a belief; if i am to make a statement on culture i think it's absolutly necessary that that statement must be entirely consistent with my metaphysical and epistemological beliefs. with that said, i am only in the infancy of my education and i dont dare to make a definitive statement on such grounds yet, so i will adopt the standard approach to issues like this and assume the external world and all that is taken for granted being actually relevent to me.

biology defines culture in animals as the ability of an animal to adopt/create/devise some new habit or ability;a classic example is a chimp washing potatoes in a river, and the habit being carried on through generations without the presence of the original or any other demonstrator. this is obviously for a set of creatures who do not share out most puzzling attribute, the mind. what jumps out at me first, though, is that the potatoe washing had clearly decreased the chimps chances of contracting (is that the right word?) disease from the potatoes; our culture is something different it would seem, yet we are still animals. more loosely defined id say it would be better off put that it serves some good for the animal, that way we can comfortably fit human culuture into it. and now we can also exclude things like violence and misoginy in rap; they do no good for the people, and seeing as we are taking that the external world does in fact exist and there are multiple humans and creatures, it is no longer a viable excuse to say that it does good for the few who benefit from narcissism, money, and social worship; we are now concerned as utilitarians. i suppose another side of this is that ive brought up evolution and the rappers who chose to be misoginistic and violent are surviving better. im not sure im ready to accept this because we are able to reflect on this idea and at best adopt a strictly utilitarian set of beliefs. by this i mean, in that we are as we are and the mind is as it is, the cognition that it uses is such that the most logical choice of ethical belief when one assumes the existence of what the senses tell him equal concern for every person (and possibly everyTHING) is necessary

The W said...

My cultural anthropology textbook defines culture as "everything that people have, think, and do as members of society."
the notions (have, think, do) are connected, says the book, to 3 major components of culture. One, material objects. Two ideas, values, and attitudes. And three ibehavior patterns,
The author also interestingly points out that "culture refers to our non-biological and nongenetic characteristics." Leaving such aspects apart from culture and pushing them into his definition of race.

Jasper Yate said...

i dont buy defining somehing for us differently than for other living things, as a subset of what culture is in a biological sense i suppose it's acceptable but culture can't be a different thing for us than it is for our closest relatives. and i quite disagree that culture points to non-genetic and non-biological characteristics on that same ground; how can we accept the existence of material things, as the book posits is one part of cultural, and deny the materially present and overwhelmingly strong evidence for evolution? we cannot. if we accept it, then culture cannot be defined any differently at all for us than for our chimp cousins, and thus culture being an ability seen only in primates it clearly is a genetic and biologically evolved characteristic, a factor that cant be ignore when considering what culture is for us, though it certainly doesnt define it. the thing that puts culture in a stranglehold for us is that we have the ability to reflect on it, which leads to the question of whether consicious reflection on culture should lead to an attempt to change culture whether it be for a contrived good or because culture was supposed to be a mechanism that improved the well being of a species; theres a sense of confusion in me about what to do with my notions of culture; are they to be put to use? would putting them to use simply be part of an effect of that very culture, which is to say, can we effect culture or is action on changing it just part of what it does with the mind.

but yea i dono i find it hard to think that culture can be separated from biology if he is so attached to including material objects as a main tenet of his definition of cultre.

The W said...

im really not sure how you think that culture has anything to do with genetics and evolution. If that chimp washing potatoes wasnt taught to wash potatoes, he wouldnt do it. if that chimp was stolen at birth and taken into captivity, he wouldnt naturally know how to wah potatoes. in fact if a chimp raised in captivity was to be reintroduced into the wild, it would almost assuredly die or be killed. if culuture were a genetic phenomena then it would follow that that chimp would survive. however, being that culture was taught to that chimp, it would find itself lost in a new culture, one which it was never prepared for culturally (despite being prepared for genetically).

im not so sure that primates are the only animals with culture by my books definition. a bird having never been taught or seen the process of making a nest would most likely have a hard time making a nest. being that nests are something that birds do it is part of their culture. while they are unable to reason, it could be argued that birds know how to think. they also have some sort of social society. by doing, thinking and having they meet the three prereqs of culture.

even if it were argued that animals outside of primates didnt have the ability to think. then the only genetically/biological aspect that would seperate primates, is our capacity to think and reason to boot. but just because we have those abilities, doesnt mean that everything that comes out of those abilities is genetic. just because our capacity for thought allows us to have cultures, and the existance of our capacity for thought is genetic/biological, doesnt mean that culture is genetic/biological. you can argue that without our genetics/biology that culture wouldnt exist, and youd be right. but it would be false logic to say that culture, by extension, is a genetic phenomenon...

Jasper Yate said...

if culture didnt depend on genetic factors how could it exist? life exists in terms of genetics and there certainly isnt evidence that culture is a supernatural, im not saying at all that it is built into a genetic code, the ability to exhibit cultural characteristics IS. bacteria certainly doesnt, but we evolved however many billion years back from the same amino acids floating around in primordial earth - from that point it is clear that all life has somehow evolved into what it is now. at some point along the line an organism formed such that it had the cognitive ability to exhibit the defined acts of culture in animals. i never said that the potatoe washing chimps learned it genetically, they had evolved to the extent where they had the ability to learn from each other and teach to their young and the young could exhibit the behavior without a demonstrator. that is in essence what defines cultural acts for animals, what i meant if i acidently ascribed culture to genes directly, was to say that genetic evolution came to the point in certain animals, such as chimps, that they coud exhibit these acts in such a way that leads us to eblieve that they can independently learn something non-instinctual, evaluate that it will some sort of good for them, and then do it on their own without being instructed.

were defining culture in different ways. as i understand it, cultural acts in animals must meet all of these requirements:
-an individual must acheive a feet of ingenuity that has not been taught and that the individual has never seen before
-other individuals from the group must be able to learn this process
-the other individuals then must be able to express this practice without the presense of a demonstrator
-finally future generations must be able to show this practice without any of the members of the generation who invented this ingenuity present

i dont know about birds though. along with nests, i know some birds also use sticks to prod magoots out of trees, but if they do im sure it is under the rules of cultural acts, indeed i cant see another way of how they could keep that tradition of nest making going.

just a note on logic. it works on the principle of noncontradiction. thus, the married bachelor is not logically possible, but genetically controlled culture is; there is nothing in the definition of genetics or culture that implies contradiction in the statement 'culture is controlled only by genetics'. because there is nothing in the definition of culture that says that it is distinctly not controlled by genetics.

this brings up a good thought, though. though i dont choose to believe in it, its entirely plausible as far as i can see, to be a genetic determinalist. that is, we are a result of chemical reactions and this and that and the other thing, that dna in some ways controls everything we do, as well as other conflicting physical factors. this can go as far as quantum physics; we can say that not only are we a product of physical factors alone, but these factors are entirely random, they show no order, bouncing around as they please, eventually edning as a burp that argually was going to have happened since the beggining of the universe, if one could say such things of randomnes.

but thats sort of irrelivent. i really didnt mean that culture is genetic in and of itself, if it was wed probably live in a world analagous to protein manufacture and that sort of shit. if culture is not a genetic phenomenon, thought, then what kind of phenomenon is it? saying that it stems from genetics is not the same as saying that it is controlled by genetics. if n amount of strands f dna were broken into two groups, one altered in such a way that it eventually (humor me here) grew into a fruit fly, and the other grows into a human, weve then created two things, purely out of genetic manipulation, imagining that we took the time to figure this out, one of which can exhibit cultural acts, one of which flys around purely under the influence of genetically transmitted instinct until it dies in a few hours. im gonna be a Humean (as in david hume) on you here and say that there is no point in the development of either where you could point to an ourside factor other than dna acting on the development of the two where one becomes an instinctual slave to its dna and one can exhibit the incredible intelligence humans offer. our minds, as far as a physical argument is concerned, are purely products of genetic processes; and if we are to delve into the metaphysical value of mind, then we can no longer take things like culture as being necessarily existant at all, we would then have to start from the beginning, but seeing as we probably dont want to do that, ill stop here and leave it by asking for some clarification on what you mean by culture being so independent of genetic factors. im partially playing devils advocate here, by the way, im not quite sure what i believe, but well gain more by furthering this pusuit and arguing from where we find our minds believing, which for me is leaning towards determinalism, a place i reallly dont wanto to be haha.

The W said...

look, if all your saying is that since genetics have given us a mind, and the mind gives us are ability to produce culture, then im not so sure i have a problem with you. i am wary, however, about attributing genetics to culture in a direct way, which i intially thought was your arguement. under youre notion that everything goes back to genetics simply because without our specific biology our culture would form the way it has (or form in the first place). that seems reasonable.

on second glance, it appears that our definitions of culture are quite similar

you said adopt/create/devise
i said do/have/think
kind of the same thing in that when you do something you are adopting a way
when you create something you have it
when you devise something you had to have thought about it.

looking back im not quite sure how/why you made this statement "i dont buy defining somehing for us differently than for other living things..."

Jasper Yate said...

what i meant was that it often seems, even in your original comment, that culture in humans is defined differently, often because we distinctly have conscious cognitive ability, whereas we are clueless as to the mental states of other animals, so we tend to try to define the homo sapiens culture different than that of the expectations for, say, a chimpanzee.

id forgotten before to mention a challenging thought brought to me by the statement "it isnt LIKE anything to be a fly, its like something to be a monkey" this of course refers to the degree of consiciousness of certain animals, which is probably directly related, if consciousness could be quantified, to the ability to exhibit cultural behavior.