Posts Tagged ‘cynical reason’

Unserious shallow systems blending opinion and cycnicism

October 26, 2009

Common Friend: Pommer’s Law “A person’s mind can be changed by reading information on the internet. The nature of this change will be from having no opinion to having a wrong opinion.”

The same could be said for newspapers, radio, television, magazines, hell, billboards…..

Common Friend: Yup.

Common Opinion: By definition there’s no such thing as a “wrong” opinion. Perhaps this Pommer fella means an “ill-informed” opinion.

Wrong. An opinion is the result of deliberation, or at least it should be. The calculative faculty of mind is the space where opinion (doxa) is generated. Sure it deals with what is variable, and as such can not be proven false, that is until one acts on an opinion.

The issue here is “unit of thought” if one deliberates on the facts taken off a t-shirt, say “I’m with stupid. –>” that one is not aware of all or enough of the facts to make a correct opinion. A book length unit of thought say, “The autobiography of stupid” might give us more facts for deliberation.

Aristotle tells us that “Judgment and opinion can be quite mistaken” But he also suggests a lifetime of study be put into the deliberation of the facts on which an opinion is formed.

Common Opinion: We live in an era when most people don’t have the attention span to write “for you” in full rather than “4U” so I think Aristotle’s “lifetime of study” suggestion might be setting the bar a bit high.
I was merely pointing out that phrases like “wrong opinion” and “correct opinion” (yours) are unpleasantly redolent of Stalinism, at least to me.
In any case, I was actually thinking more of existential imponderables when I said there’s no such thing as a wrong opinion – I meant eternal questions like Is there a God? Does life have any meaning? Should Common W. Friend be nicknamed “Dubya” in honour of his middle initial? Stuff like that…

I found this quote:

“Philosophy as a “discipline” has no real thesis about “theoretical fascism” because it basically considers the latter to be beneath all critique.

But herein lies the weak point — of critique. It remains fixated on “serious opponents,” and with this attitude it neglects the task of comprehending the ideological template of “unserious,” shallow “systems.” To this day critique has thus not been a match for this modern blend of opinion and cynicism.” — Peter Sloterdijk in The Critique of Cynical Reason

And then this came to my inbox:


I Am the Liberal-Progressives Worst Nightmare.
I am a Canadian.

I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family,
not some liberal governmental functionary be it
NDP, Liberal or Conservative!

I’m in touch with my feelings and I like it that way!

I think owning a gun doesn’t make you a killer,
it makes you a Canadian with a Gun ,that’s it .

I think being a minority does not make you noble or victimized,
and does not entitle you to anything handed to you.

I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac, it should be in English or French. And when I take money out of the ATM/ABM I should have only those two options.

I believe everyone has a right to pray to his or her Godwhen and where they want to.

My heroes are John Wayne, Joe Carter, Wayne Gretsky, Roy Rogers, and Don Cherry.

I know wrestling is fake and I don’t waste my time
watching or arguing about it.

I’ve never owned a slave, or was a slave, I haven’t burned any witches or been persecuted by the Turks orPersecuted any Native Indians myself and neither have you!
So, shut up already.

I believe if you don’t like the way things are here,
go back to where you came from and change your own country!

This is CANADA .

If you were born here and don’t like it you are free
to move to any Socialist country that will have you.

I think the cops have every right to shoot your sorry ass
if you’re running from them..

I also think they have the right to pull you over if you’re breaking
the law, regardless of what colour you are.

And, no, I don’t mind having my face shown on my drivers license.
It’s the law, I think it’s good……and I think we should.

I think if you are too stupid to know how a ballot works,
I don’t want you deciding who should be running our nation
for the next four years.

I hate those people standing in the intersections
trying to sell me stuff or trying to guilt me into making ‘donations’
to their cause them.
Get Lost.

I believe that it doesn’t take a village to raise a child,
it takes two parents.

I believe ‘illegal’ is illegal no matter what the lawyers think.

I believe the Canadian flag should be the only one allowed in CANADA !

If this makes me a BAD Canadian,
then yes, I’m a BAD Canadian
and tough shit.

If you are a BAD Canadian too,
please forward this to everyone you know.

We want our country back!
This Bull-shit has gone far enough.

I’m shocked and appalled

September 2, 2007

This portrait by John Allemang is a collection of meaty bones for the enemies of Naomi Klein to gnaw on. From the first line: ” If there’s anyone who knows the ins and outs of a successful marketing campaign, it’s Naomi Klein.” Allemang keeps a cynical distance to the point where any possibility of communicating Klein’s message is lost.

He calls “intellectual culture” a “commodity” and refers to Klein’s work as a “successful brand of activism-for-our-times has always had a soft spot for the hot new thing.”

And he’s downright dismissive of “the masses, whoever they now may be?” As well as Klein’s work which he more or less relegates to a world of her own; “Does that make sense? In Ms. Klein’s world, these are givens.”

The one thing I don’t understand is Klein’s complicity is the comparison of the left with religious tradition and a form of inheritance. How could she allow the left to be written up as an elitist family tradition?

It’s funny to read the comments from writers who view the article as ass kissing, even the article’s title is a Seinfeld joke. All in all it’s a reductive piece. Somehow, regardless, I’ve got an inkling the book will rise above it.

Chapter 4: The Limits of Technical Rationality

March 14, 2007

I had a short conversation with a couple academics a few weeks ago. Questioning Technology came up, and they wondered what I thought of it. It’s hard to talk about books like this with guys like this, but I had to confess that I’d never read any of the philosophers Feenberg uses to get his concepts together. Weber, Heidegger (only an article on Nietzsche), Marcuse, Habermas, I hadn’t read a single word of them. That’s pretty much why the pulled quotes I call “notes” are all I type out. But in philosophy I have read, the concepts of autonomy and human creative force were forged long ago.

So I ask a question, why read some monster tome of god-smothered thinking? I’ve tried Kant. Once you’ve read his name being dragged through the mud of Nietzsche’s anger it’s hard to put in the effort to read Kant. I picked up a slim hardcover copy of his Introduction to Logic, and I’ve tried to start it several times but can’t get past the first line, maybe I get a little into the second line, then I’m done. The book goes back on the shelf. I was told by one of the academics to hold off my judgement and read Kant. No reason, just read Kant.

Like I said this was weeks ago, and I’ve been thinking about that. My philosophical reading has been limited to the sons of Nietzsche. So I decided to read the Critique of Pure Reason. I thought it would be interesting to read it with the Critique of Cynical Reason. Plus, there’s something mystical about this.

Anyway, these are some quotes that I pulled:

“Democratic” rationalism is a contradiction in Weberian terms. On those terms, once tradition has been defeated by modernity, radical struggle for freedom and individuality degenerates into an affirmation of irrational life forces against the routine and drab predictability of a bureaucratic order. This is not a democratic program but a romantic anti-dystopian one, the sort of thing that is already foreshadowed in Dostoievsky’s Notes From Underground and various back to nature ideologies. (p.75)

We need not go underground or native to escape the iron cage… this is in fact the meaning of the emerging social movements to change technology in a variety of areas such as computers, medicine and the environment. (p.76)

Two principles of technology’s ambivalence:
1. Conservation of hierarchy: social hierarchy and the continuation of power are generally unaffected by the introduction of new technologies.
2. Democratic rationalization: technical initiatives often follow structural reforms pursued by social movements.(p.76)

Technological development is not unilinear but branches in many directions, and could reach generally higher levels along several different tracks. (p.83)

A critical theory of technology can “demystify the illusion of technical necessity, and expose the relativity of the prevailing technical choices.”(p.87)

Social groups excluded from the original design network articulate their unrepresented interests politically. New values the outsiders believe would enhance their welfare appear as mere ideology to insiders who are adequately represented by the existing designs. (p.94)

Design is not a zero sum economic game but an ambivalent cultural process that serves a multiplicity of values and social groups without necessarily sacrificing efficiency. (p.95)

We will someday mock those who object to cleaner air and water as a “false principle of humanity” that violates technological imperatives. (p.97)