Indelible Confusions

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / NoHier / Institutions /
early 2000s probably: this 2013 03 19 I’m editing the Institutions Menu, gathering stray modules …

Institutional Leverage Map/Territory Confusions

For the moment this is more a promise for a module than an actual essay: time presses.
In Oliver Twist Dickens has the judge tell the beadle that the law assumes that he has control over his wife. The reader has followed the beadle’s eager greed in his marriage and the unpleasant consequences. The beadle is not a sympathetic character, but Dickens has made him human. All can sympathize with the beadle when he responds that if that’s what the law assumes, then he hopes the law learns from H’Experience!
Even non-Cockneys can follow that delicious accent.
More than a century later I ask my lawyer how come the law assumes so very many things that everyone knows are not true. But my lawyer had already stopped listening to me: just tried to muddle through the case: settle for a postage stamp, anything he could get without having to actually address the issues. (That story too is long overdue for completion.)
At a cocktail party, with no colleagues listening in, off the record, my lawyer might have understood both Dickens’ beadle and pk. In his profession as a bottom sucking ambulance chaser, the son of a judge who had to get along with judges and other lawyers, my lawyer couldn’t afford to hear or understand a word. I don’t think my lawyer was as stupid as he appeared to be: he had just chosen, been born to, an anti-evolutionary, regressive, hebetudinous profession: take money from Macdonalds, give it to some klutz; but don’t let the Indians get their land back, don’t compensate the slaves or their descendants … even after, especially after, confessing that slavery, genocide … were wrong. Still Dickens beadle’s point and pk’s many points after getting beat up by the landlord’s blackshirt, points I won’t even mention here, are not pressingly fatal to the society as a whole; but the point that brings me here today may well be: map / territory confusions may be too subtle to communicate even to the intelligent, psychologists have suggested that humans may be genetically incapable of understanding Korzybski’s central argument (and my experience would agree), but

Our institutions institutionalize such confusions.

I hope to make time to gather many examples. Right now any will be better than none:

Once upon a time some universities gathered some courageous thinkers, offered some protection for their intellectual independence; now the state funds the universities; thinkers were either homogenized or flushed decades ago … yet people still associate universities with learning!
Everyone knows that you’ll get along best if you obey while there, but still …

The Constitution talks about certain freedoms. The government abrogates those freedoms anytime it wants — citing national security, any of a number of excuses: and people still think the Constitution is guaranteeing them freedom!
People fled freedom millennia ago. What are they talking about?

People think a dollar should be worth a dollar. (I just saw a movie where Lady Jane Gray (Queen Jane) wanted a shilling to be worth a shilling.) The government has monopolized gold, taken it out of the market, printed fiated dollars instead … Once “dollar,” gold, and market are mutually divorced, what can “dollar” mean? Yet people still think it means a dollar! )They just simultaneously, confusedly, know that it isn’t worth anything.

I’ll clarify the examples, argue them further, and connect them to Korzybski’s point: for all the good it will do. (I’ll also tell of a dream I had this morning, much to the point.)
Maybe nature knew what she was doing when she made us incapable of the point. Bye,-bye mankind; hello reality.


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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