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pk-bk Dialogue @ K. early 2000s
Property had been the foundation stone for the founding fathers of the US. “Pursuit of property” though got skewered, toned down to our famous “pursuit of happiness.”
bk believes in property. I think he believes that property could save us: that together with a theology of individualism. I don’t believe in property. At least I sometimes say I don’t. It’s complicated: bk says I do believe in property but won’t admit it, that I couldn’t criticize theft unless I believed in property. I’ll be coming back to all that.
Where I want to “start,” at least today, is with my expansion of Gregory Bateson’s existential categories. Bateson said that we’d have a better handle on reality if we distinguished Pleroma, the universe of energy/matter, from Creatura, the universe of life. I second the categories, but further subdivide Creatura: into Sentiens, the universe of awareness, and Persona, the universe of aware creatures: mankind, Homo sapiens for example. See my Existential Sets at Macroinformation.
I repeat: Sentiens and Persona are my expansion of Bateson; but: I’m not happy with them. I’m perfectly satisfied with the categories; I’m not satisfied with how we qualify for them.
I come at the problem via a theological parallel. For millennia, humans have talked about this and that god, fought wars over their gods’ identities, names, natures. Ah, but since Darwin, some philosophers have been wondering if any of these gods are mature. Have they even been born yet? George Bernard Shaw jettisoned his stupid Marxist atheism for a hope: a belief in Becoming. He ceased clamoring for revolution and started praying aloud for evolution.
Me too. I note that the Bible’s God changes and changes. The entity which seems to begin as a blood demon translates into something all powerful, but all loving. He even sacrifices himself: for the love of man.
Love of man? He must be out of his mind. Or is he just not very discerning yet? That is, is he what humans want him to be instead of what he could or should become?
Maybe God is aborning. Maybe God hasn’t been born yet. Maybe God will be born, maybe he won’t. I hope she will. And I hope she’ll be a lot more sophisticated than Jehovah.
One problem with theology is that it tends to be one party hogging the floor. Meanwhile, our mortal politics tend to be the same: one party, one culture, one epistemology trying to rule.
God tells the Jews that he’s God — and they believe him!!! Shouldn’t we wait till all the other gods chorus in, supporting God’s claim? And if a billion gods did chime in, how would we know that some other god wasn’t being held in the Bastille, unable to speak to us?
So we’re on our own. The only question can be: Do we buy it? We can buy every share we can find … and still find ourselves on the junk heap tomorrow.
On and on it goes. States keep their own records. The New York Times is the paper of record. Without all possible evidence, how do we know it isn’t all lies? or all mistakes? or 60% lies and 40% mistakes?
Pleroma I accept. I don’t, and can’t, know what other universes there are. Is Pleroma a legitimate universe? Is fourteen or so billion years of existence a long time? or just time in the cradle, with no view of the nursery yet? We’d have to know the whole cosmos to have a meaningful opinion.
Creatura I accept. I know of no other kind of life.
I believe that Creatura is older than scientists have yet said. I believe that life is older than the planet earth. I believe that life was seeded here, having already been developing elsewhere: before the earth was born. But I know of no other universes that might have a Creatura that would put ours to shame. Does even this God know of other Pleromas that might embarrass our own? Or: maybe we’d be champ. But so far, it’s a show of one.
Theologians say that idea precedes existence. Any alternative was unthinkable: until recently. Now we study emergence left and right. Maybe energy/matter emerged, then life.
Anyway, now sentience seems to be emerging. But has it really shown itself yet? How silly is mankind saying We’re it, we’re number one: and there is no number two?
I start today’s preparation to reconsider property with this statement: I am not at all sure than mankind qualifies as either Aware or Individual. Our personhood is a-fumbling; not a given. We claim to be civilized. Oh, we live in cities, I know that (and “civ” or city is the root of the term). But are we civilized in any sense that warrants pride? (Is living in cities realy a good idea? Let’s not live in cities, but try maturing a bit.)
Shouldn’t we check against other cosmic civilizations before placing our bets?
Would humans ever allow such a comparison to be made? Wouldn’t we more likely go on having World Series just between the Bronx and Brooklyn? just white players? Keeping our own records? Lying like a rug. Making mistakes … like a doctor, like a teacher … like a lawyer. Like a priest.
Do human beings really qualify to own anything?
Did the Jews ever deserve to own Canaan? Did God really own it to give it away? Can a God who goes along with primogeniture and then keeps his mouth shut when Rebekah screws the older Esau in favor of her darling younger Jacob?
Please: I’m not saying that I believe in primogeniture: I’m saying that the Jews said that THEY believed in it, that it was what God wanted. Then why the charade? the lying? the deceptions?
bk these days believes in capitalism. Certainly I too see some theoretical merits: in a sterile lab, which we certainly do not live in.
Gene Callahan’s excellent book, Economics for Real People simplifies situations into Robinson Cruso tabula rasa. Sounds good, but is it legit. All around me I see the saints of selfishness arguing about Mom and Pop working so hard in their store … and suddenly, palmed onto the table is Enron!
Your working Joe is sure he’s earned his salary: but didn’t he drive to work on road that got built at least partly by involuntary servitude? The kleptocrats need more labor, they arrest more n-words (Bowdlerizing K. 2016 07 31), put them on the chain gang: it’s simple. Is there a single legitimate road? anywhere in the world?
Can the people who killed Jesus, watched Galileo threatened with torture, stood with their thumb in their ass as bk was kidnapped from pk … really talk about anybody owning anything? Without the cosmic gods we know nothing of laughing their asses off?
Property to me is the Spaniards arriving in the Caribbean and saying, Oh goody, nobody owns this: so it’s all for us.
Could there be a theoretical property somewhere? Sure. Though I don’t believe that half of Plato’s Forms have been properly born yet.
One item that will come up, I promise you, is anarchist bk’s reference to a property regime!
But, understand at all times, you look at some dung beetle: tomorrow it might turn into Lillian Gish, Kirsten Dunst … Roger Federer.
I’ll continue to just blab in my next visit or two. Once I’ve made a range of points I’ll compose a suite of reasoned, felt, modules.