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I didn't really wanted to wax philosophical, but as you moved in that direction, and both you and DeAnander seem to have mis-understood what I meant, I have to :-)

I am fully aware that any conscious perception of reality (even a formless flash of light) is a processed product of our mind, built upon what we could call myths (and I shall use your language from now on). But the theory of a conceptual universe made up of myths in human minds is such a myth itself, rather than a universal reference frame. While it does away with (or steps behind) a lot of a priori assumptions, it keeps some beyond a soliptistic (my-mind-exists) zero reference frame: the existence of other minds than mine.

Now, I can't see into other minds, I do not know them, I have assumptions based on perceptions. I may believe that that cashier's slow reaction is contempt for me, that my girlfriend is ever faithful to me, that Bush means what he says when talking of Freedom, and so on. All of these are hypotheses, based on my own myths about how people think and what they can feel and how they express themselves - plus an underlying assumption that all these sensory sensations correspond to thingies called "people" who can have these attributes.

But we could do the same with non-human reality. This is more basic than the-myth-of-rationality, just as our perception of other people and their thoughts doesn't presuppose such an approach: merely the acknowledgement of further agents in action, not their understanding. So what bothers me is that the conceptual-universe-made-of-myths myth only assumes interacting minds, giving a neatly self-enclosed system, in which (moving to the more practical) perception management is the only, not one of the things politics is about.

So my point was not that our mythology-to-be be based on the power of rationality (and I suspect that DeAnander read the same into my words only after reading you). I absolutely don't dispute that the power should come from the power of mythologies, giving purpose, simplicity of buzzwords and so on. It was something more basic, it is that we should concern ourselves with the 'external' agents at the stage of myth-building. (For the practicalities of that task, of course the rationality-myth lends itself, but this was only implicit in what I wrote.)

I wouldn't have brought up this if not for your argument about of hard/centre-left. To be even more practical, for example I would consider it both a worthless and ultimately doomed project if the New Left Mythology would say only something like, Drive Diesel & We're Saved From Peak oil & Global Warming, because it feels better or feels confortably 'moderate'. [I hope I got DeAnander with that!]

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sun Apr 16th, 2006 at 12:36:43 PM EST
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we should concern ourselves with the 'external' agents at the stage of myth-building.

Agreed, and this is what I understand brunoken, ThatBritGuy, and I were saying above.

As you point out in your asteroid example just above, there are mythologies that work insofar as they satisfy people by their explanation of Why? and also may offer hope, reassurance, etc, but that will not stand the test of the asteroid that strikes (or the revolution that doesn't work, to bring things into the political sphere). We are not out to build that kind of myth.

We do have tools (myth-based perhaps, but efficient) with which to describe and predict what is happening (and if "happening" is a solipsistic illusion, I don't care, since I'm going to go on doing what I'm doing anyway ;)) and we should use them. Our interest is in a compelling narrative, not one that takes advantage of people's gullibility and/or distress.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 16th, 2006 at 02:50:33 PM EST
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