Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains:
Knatz.com / Teaching / Society / Social Epistemology /
@ K. early 2000s
The human visual cortex sees one octave of the electromagnetic spectrum: visible light. Other creatures may have sense organs for higher of lower frequencies of that spectrum; humans only recently have developed devices to extend our senses: telescopes, x-ray machines, infrared cameras … Human hearing hears only a certain range of vibrations as sound: with individual variations of course. Dogs, for example can hear higher frequencies: other creatures may hear lower. Nothing mortal “sees” or “hears” everything: and I doubt that anything a-mortal does either. I don’t imagine that the universe senses itself: except through its creatures, of course: all limited.
Water as liquid needs extra energy to convert to the gas “steam,” needs to lose extra energy to convert to the solid “ice.” Humans need extra lots of things to sense beyond the normal: and no matter what, we won’t sense very far beyond it.
I talk of thresholds in a number of places: f’r instance Thresholds. (Prior to Knatz.com getting censored the old domain had a powerful search feature.) What inspires the start of a new module today is my starting to watch a DVD version of Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. Oi, schmertz. I had forgotten how uncomfortable the beginning had made me. Exquisitely crafted, the film opens with a phantasmagoria of frustrations. Stressed guy tries to be nice to a washed-out wife. The paper boy throws the newspaper under the lawn sprinkler. The guy talks of playing hookey from work: the wife wants him out of the house. A younger, taller man waits anxiously in the park across the street. There’s some business about his forgetting his glasses in the bedroom. We see this and that junk of the home: glasses, scissors … A female form submerges mouthing the word “murder.”
Tom Cruise arrives at work, dons some magic gloves, and begins to conduct a multi-media investigation of the foregoing images. His future police have a procedure for predicting and preventing murders. The guy leaves for work, comes back to get his glasses, realizes his wife has started to fuck the guy from the park the moment he’s out of the house … picks of the scissors, and Tom Cruise busts him for “future murder.”
Why didn’t Tom Cruise bust the kid on the bicycle for throwing the paper under the sprinkler? Why didn’t Tom Cruise bust the wife for looking like hell? The police ignore the lurking adulterer. The police ignore the wife’s extending her pussy outside the family. No, only murder registers on the police.
The guy cuts you off. Who cares? You shoot him. Suddenly the cops care. The state reserves the monopoly on killing citizens to itself. Kill someone, the cops notice. Kill a cop, the cops go ballistic.
One upon a time a society’s science fiction might have imagined Tom Cruise pinning a medal on the husband with the scissors and helping him use them on all soft body parts of both wife and lover. Had the husband been important, Tom Cruise could have helped him boil the newsboy in oil.
This anarchist doesn’t believe that murder is nice. This anarchist believes that murder is a good thing to refrain from most of the time. This anarchist is horrified at what the state interferes in: and also at what the state doesn’t interfere in. The bank makes a mistake in their financial favor. They’ll fix it if I point it out to them. I make a mistake in my favor … the bank socks me with financial penalties. How come I couldn’t fine the bank without their consent for their mistake?
That just sets the situation. I’ll come back for more. Meantime, notice what’s ignored before a threshold for social action is reached. Also notice how arbitrary some social thresholds are. Murder is a bad thing? Then how come governments murdered one hundred sixty million persons over the last century not counting war? (See R.J. Rummel‘s “stats”, estimates of course.)
2005 05 07 I’m reminded of these things watching The Conversation . Ambiguities in snatches of an eavesdropped conversation keep everyone’s assumptions wrong till the end. One of those confusions classifies the killing of an unfaithful wife and her lover with “murder.” Murder is one of those words societies have to keep changing the definition of as power shifts, priorities get revised, agendas reverse … There are enough differences though that I’ll discuss that apropos of The Conversation.