Obverse Ambiguity

The obverse side of a coin is the side with the principal symbol: the head of the king, for example. We call it “heads.” What could be simpler, less ambiguous? But the obverse “purpose” of complex systems, the obverse “meaning” of a poem, for example, may remain moot: and be murkily ambiguous. (Note: concepts like primary, purpose, meaning … are all human, all mental: they have no objective correspondent in the universe which can be observed through laboratory-controlled instruments: the eye, aided by a telescope, the eye aided by a microscope, the ear, aided by a stethoscope …)

All human institutions begin with clear goals: the purpose of the king is to serve the people, the purpose of a church is to convey the god’s messages to the god’s public, the purpose of the fire department is to protect property by putting out fires … All straightforward, clear cut. All heads.

But all too soon simplicity complexifies: the king’s purpose becomes to increase his power, to have his son inherit … The king’s purpose perverts, becomes a parasite on the people, a threat to the survival of the society, a terrible compromise against their integrity. Democratic governments degenerate analogously. Too soon obverse purpose, primary purpose, becomes obversemeaning2 purpose: major alternate purpose: lets call it inverse purpose! (My OS X dictionary illustrates: true solitude is the obverse of true society: as though the tails were the heads!)

All too soon seemingly everything in civilization serves only one purpose: to increase profits for the few.

But then increasing profits for the few has an alternate obverse synonym: making humans so numerous that individuals must be regimented, while lies are told about “freedom,” about “reason,” while there are jokes called “democracy,” “education” … All that translates to one thing totally unambiguous: we’re murdering the biosphere! “God” “forbid” humans escape earth to murder elsewhere.

I’ll draft this further, deeper, better, next time. And offer examples of institutions perverted from conception as well.

About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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