Karl I went for a walk this morning with the dog and found myself thinking about the sketch you made last night.
Ali I was tired and not sure if the others would agree with this picture – whether it breaks the basic grammar of this new thought-art.
Karl You seem to be saying that, the basic condition of our daily interactions are social, economic and political institutions. I get that. But interaction itself is always a potential act from within – like a plant growing in the cracks of concrete paving – and has the potential not just to subvert the institutions but also to move them in different ways –
Ali There is no inevitability of the way we move through working life. Yes, but I was also thinking about the way meaning, the field that in-forms the world, itself is a complex movement of formations that appear and dissolve, so what actually emerges grows out of complex dynamic conditions.
Karl Yes, I get that too. Don’t you mean that we are situated and emerge out of possibility, not necessity.
Ali Yes, I do. Nature does not emerge out of some pre-ordained plan, but grows and learns and changes. Just like our human forms of life. There is no inevitability about any of them.
Karl So capitalism is not inevitable?
Ali No, it is not. And if it is not then we have to look at the internal dynamics of our current modes of life that maintain rather than transform or change? Why are we voting for those who perpetuate the corruption and greed of capitalism, rather than a civic ethic which recognizes the community as a basic living condition for any human being?
Karl You’re criticising individualism again? So, what do you offer?
Ali Integrity. As a personal and institutional virtue. How much of what we have stays where it is because of the lies we tell ourselves and each other?
Nadim I have become deeply aware that the notion of an intelligible individualism, in which, I think of myself as separate from nature, society, and others, is deeply and profoundly flawed. The consequences are so deeply anti-ecological and destructive of the environment and our social fabric. I am wired into my contexts and my contexts include others, society, and the Earth.
Kurt But there are so many out there who hang on to the claim that it is perfectly intelligible. I can think of myself of a self-contexting individual. I do not need anyone else or anything else.
Nadim I agree. And there are some very prominent people who promote this agenda.
Kurt I think I would say it’s not just that I am wired to my contexts – take ‘breathing’, for example – my internal desire, my drives, and my emotional life are deeply wired into my relation to my context. If I sever my connection to the world I enter a state of profound bad faith –
Kurt I see that I am constantly emerging from my conditions, the flow of life, and yet I am wired to that context – the natural order.
Ibn Aflatun You mean ‘breathing’?
Kurt Yes. All bodily processes wire me into the fabric of the natural order and the Earth. I exist in a double-relation: both constantly emerging from the living context but also interacting with it.
Ibn Alfatun I think I know why this is important: too many people assume that the idea of an individual, the abstracted being, the ‘me’, makes sense as some kind of self-enclosed sac of activity, as an isolated meaning-generating monad.
Kurt It doesn’t.
Ibn Aflatun How can it? It’s a residue of older errors in our history of human experience and thought. Tradition is important, but to treat our traditions with uncritical reverence, is a mistake.
Professor Frank N Steinisch I was working through the ideas of metaphysical waste and stumbled on the following negation:
Freddy Faust You mean the atom was born of a double negation? A kind of denial of meaning flowing into the world? A denial of the idea that the world is not made of stuff but of movement?