When two things occur successively we call them cause and effect if we believe one event made the other one happen. If we think one event is the response to the other, we call it a reaction. If we feel that the two incidents are not related, we call it a mere coincidence. If we think someone deserved what happened, we call it retribution or reward, depending on whether the event was negative or positive for the recipient. If we cannot find a reason for the two events' occurring simultaneously or in close proximity, we call it an accident. Therefore, how we explain coincidences depends on how we see the world. Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like ripples across a net? Or do things merely co-occur and we give meaning to these co-occurrences based on our belief system? Lieh-tzu's answer: It's all in how you think.
It's not objective. It's subjective.” Katya hooks her bra behind her back. “It's just what you think, not the truth.
Einer hat immer Unrecht: aber mit zweien beginnt die Wahrheit. Einer kann sich nicht beweisen: aber zweie kann man bereits nicht widerlegen.
Those who live as though God sets the rules are not going by their own rules. That is the self-sacrifice, or selflessness, that peace more often than not requires. Those who insist on going by their own rules cannot make that sacrifice. They are the steady adherents of (global) conflict because they are forever fighting both themselves and others to do whatever they think that they want to do.
I have a brother. They say, you put us together, we are like one person, you know? When we are young, his hair, it is very blond, very light, and people say, he is the good one. And my hair it is very dark, darker than yours even, and people say I am the rogue, you know? I am the bad one. And now time passes, and my hair is gray. His hair too, I think, is gray. And you look at us, you would not know who was light, who was dark.
And if he had judged her harshly? If her life were a simple rosary of hours, her life simple and strange as a bird's life, gay in the morning, restless all day, tired at sundown? Her heart simple and willful as a bird's heart?
Daisuke was the sort of man who, once he was disturbed by something, no matter what, could not let go of it until he had pursued it to the utmost. Moreover, having the capacity to assess the folly of any given obsession, he was forced to be doubly conscious of it. Three of four years ago he had tackled the question of the process whereby his waking mind entered the realm of dreams. At night, when he had gotten under the covers and begun to doze off nicely, he would immediately think, this is it, this is how I fall asleep. No sooner had he thought of this than he was wide awake. When he had managed to doze off again, he would immediately think, here it is. Night after night, he was plagued by his curiosity and would repeat the same procedure two or three times. In the end, he became disgusted in spite of himself. He wanted somehow to escape his agony. Moreover, he was thoroughly impressed by the extent of his folly. To appeal to his conscious mind in order to apprehend his unconscious, and to try to recollect both at the same time was, as James had put it, analogous to lighting a candle to examine the dark, or stopping a top in order to study is movements; at that rate, it stood to reason that he would never again be able to sleep. He knew all this, but when night came, he still thought, now...
An offering for the sake of offering, perhaps. Anyhow, it was her gift. Nothing else had she of the slightest importance; could not think, write, even play the piano. She muddled Armenians and Turks; loved success; hated discomfort; must be liked; talked oceans of nonsense: and to this day, ask her what the Equator was, and she did not know.All the same, that one day should follow another; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday; that one should wake up in the morning; see the sky; walk in the park; meet Hugh Whitbread; then suddenly in came Peter; then these roses; it was enough. After that, how unbelievable death was!-that it must end; and no one in the whole world would know how she had loved it all; how, every instant . . .
The work of art always requires us to adapt to it—and in this manner can be distinguished from escapism or shallow entertainment, which instead aims to adapt to the audience, to give the public exactly what it wants. We can tell that we are encountering a real work of art by the degree to which it resists subjectivity.
These two developments throw light on what is perhaps the most fundamental difference between the Renaissance and all previous periods of art. We have repeatedly seen that there were these circumstances which could compel the artist to make a distinction between the technical proportions and the objective; the influence of organic movement, the influence of perspective foreshortening, and the regard for the visual impression of the beholder. These three factors of variation have one thing in common: they all presuppose the artistic recognition of subjectivity. Organic movement introduces into the calculus of artistic composition the subjective will and the subjective emotions of the thing represented; foreshortening the subjective visual experience of the artist; and those eurhythmic adjustments which alter that which is right in favor of what seems right, the subjective visual experience of a potential beholder. And it is the Renaissance which, for the first time, not only affirms but formally legitimizes and rationalizes these three forms of subjectivity.
Those who like to interpret historical facts symbolically may recognize in this the spirit of a specifically modern conception of the world which permits the subject to assert itself against the object as something independent and equal; whereas classical antiquity did not as yet permit the explicit formulation of this contrast; and whereas the Middle Ages believed the subject as well as the object to be submerged in a higher unity.
Perhaps this is how it is--life flowing smoothly over memory and history, the past returning or not, depending on the tide. History is a collection of found objects washed up through time. Goods, ideas, personalities, surface towards us, then sink away. Some we hook out, others we ignore, and as the pattern changes, so does the meaning. We cannot rely on the facts. Time, which returns everything, changes everything.
I only care for the subjective life; I am very German, you see: The woods interest me, and the world does not.
It turns out that the men who ultimately, who unpretentiously value peace are willing to sacrifice their own peace of mind in order to render it. The question is, 'Who, between opposing forces, would do such a thing?' It seems only theoretical albeit true that men who accept an objective rather than subjective moral standard are, in a general sense, more capable of making such sacrifices for the sake of peace.
A young woman faces the decision of whether to marry a certain man whom she loves but who has deeply rooted, traditional ideas concerning marriage, family life, and the roles of men and women in each. A sober assessment of her future tell the woman that each of the two alternatives offers real but contrasting goods. One life offers the possibility of a greater degree of personal independence, the chance to pursue a career, perhaps more risk and adventure, while the other offers the rewards of parenting, stability, and a life together with a man whom, after all, she is in love with. In order to choose in a self-determined mode the woman must realize that the decision she faces involves more than the choice between two particular actions; it is also a choice between two distinct identities. In posing the questions Who am I? Which of the two lives is really me? she asks herself not a factual question about her identity but a fundamental practical question about the relative values of distinct and incommensurable goods. The point I take to be implicit in Tugendhat's (and Fichte's) view of the practical subject is that it would be mistaken to suppose that the woman had at her disposal an already established hierarchy of values that she must simply consult in order to decide whether to marry. Rather, her decision, if self-determined, must proceed from a ranking of values that emerges only in the process of reflecting upon the kind of person she wants to be.
Unlike any other empirical object in Nature, the mind's presence is immediately apparent to itself, but opaque to all external observers.
The world is inseparable from the subject, but from a subject which is nothing but a project of the world, and the subject is inseparable from the world, but from a world which the subject itself projects.
But fairytales were, at best, dirty mirrors whose warped and pitted surfaces reflected a highly distorted view of the truth, quite different from reality.
Even more remote from his way of thinking, even more impossible than any other thought, would have been words such as this: “Is it only I alone who have created this experience, or is it objective reality? Does the Master have the same feelings as I, or would mine amuse him? Are my thoughts new, unique, my own, or have the Master and many before him experienced and thought exactly the same?” No, for him there were no such analyses and differentiations. Everything was reality, was steeped in reality, full of it as bread dough is of yeast.
Moving across levels of the particular and the abstract, trying to avoid a transcendent purchase on the objects of study, we set ourselves up for necessary failure in order to learn how to find our way into post-foundational possibilities.
A system of justice does not need to pursue retribution. If the purpose of drug sentencing is to prevent harm, all we need to do is decide what to do with people who pose a genuine risk to society or cause tangible harm. There are perfectly rational ways of doing this; in fact, most societies already pursue such policies with respect to alcohol: we leave people free to drink and get inebriated, but set limits on where and when. In general, we prosecute drunk drivers, not inebriated pedestrians.In this sense, the justice system is in many respects a battleground between moral ideas and evidence concerning how to most effectively promote both individual and societal interests, liberty, health, happiness and wellbeing. Severely compromising this system, insofar as it serves to further these ideals, is our vacillation or obsession with moral responsibility, which is, in the broadest sense, an attempt to isolate the subjective element of human choice, an exercise that all too readily deteriorates into blaming and scapegoating without providing effective solutions to the actual problem. The problem with the question of moral responsibility is that it is inherently subjective and involves conjecture about an individuals’ state of mind, awareness and ability to act that can rarely if ever be proved. Thus it involves precisely the same type of conjecture that characterizes superstitious notions of possession and the influence of the devil and provides no effective means of managing conduct: the individual convicted for an offence or crime considered morally wrong is convicted based on a series of hypotheses and probabilities and not necessarily because he or she is actually morally wrong. The fairness and effectiveness of a system of justice based on such hypotheses is highly questionable particularly as a basis for preventing or reducing drug use related harm. For example, with respect to drugs, the system quite obviously fails as a deterrent and the system is not organised to ‘reform’ the offender much less to ensure that he or she has ‘learned a lesson’; moreover, the offender does not get an opportunity to make amends or even have a conversation with the alleged victim. In the case of retributive justice, the justice system is effectively mopping up after the fact. In other words, as far as deterrence is concerned, the entire exercise of justice becomes an exercise based on faith, rather than one based on evidence.
Innate in nearly every artistic nature is a wanton, treacherous penchant for accepting injustice when it creates beauty and showing sympathy for and paying homage to aristocratic privilege.
The idea of some kind of objectively constant, universal literary value is seductive. It feels real. It feels like a stone cold fact that In Search of Lost Time, by Marcel Proust, is better than A Shore Thing, by Snooki. And it may be; Snooki definitely has more one-star reviews on Amazon. But if literary value is real, no one seems to be able to locate it or define it very well. We’re increasingly adrift in a grey void of aesthetic relativism.
Intellectually, what is stimulating to a young man is a problem of obvious practical importance. A young man learning economics, for example, ought to hear lectures from individualists and socialists, protectionists and free-traders, inflationists and believers in the gold standard. He ought to be encouraged to read the best books of the various schools, as recommended by those who believe in them. This would teach him to weigh arguments and evidence, to know that no pinion is certainly right, and to judge men by their quality rather than by their consonance with preconceptions.
It will be seen how subjectivism and objectivism, spiritualism and materialism, activity and suffering, only lose their antithetical character, and thus their existence, as such antitheses in the social condition; it will be seen how the resolution of the theoretical antitheses is only possible in a practical way, by virtue of the practical energy of men. Their resolution is therefore by no means merely a problem of knowledge, but a real problem of life, which philosophy could not solve precisely because it conceived this problem as merely a theoretical one.
Centuries of navel-gazing. Millennia of masturbation. Plato to Descartes to Dawkins to Rhanda. Souls and zombie agents and qualia. Kolmogorov complexity. Consciousness as Divine Spark. Consciousness as electromagnetic field. Consciousness as functional cluster.I explored it all.Wegner thought it was an executive summary. Penrose heard it in the singing of caged electrons. Nirretranders said it was a fraud; Kazim called it leakage from a parallel universe. Metzinger wouldn't even admit it existed. The AIs claimed to have worked it out, then announced they couldn't explain it to us. Gödel was right after all: no system can fully understand itself.Not even the synthesists had been able to rotate it down. The load-bearing beams just couldn't take the strain.All of them, I began to realize, had missed the point. All those theories, all those drugdreams and experiments and models trying to prove what consciousness was: none to explain what it was good for. None needed: obviously, consciousness makes us what we are. It lets us see the beauty and the ugliness. It elevates us into the exalted realm of the spiritual. Oh, a few outsiders—Dawkins, Keogh, the occasional writer of hackwork fiction who barely achieved obscurity—wondered briefly at the why of it: why not soft computers, and no more? Why should nonsentient systems be inherently inferior? But they never really raised their voices above the crowd. The value of what we are was too trivially self-evident to ever call into serious question.Yet the questions persisted, in the minds of the laureates, in the angst of every horny fifteen-year-old on the planet. Am I nothing but sparking chemistry? Am I a magnet in the ether? I am more than my eyes, my ears, my tongue; I am the little thing behind those things, the thing looking out from inside. But who looks out from its eyes? What does it reduce to? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?What a stupid fucking question. I could have answered it in a second, if Sarasti hadn't forced me to understand it first.
What Althusser does… is to rethink the concept of ideology in terms of Lacan’s ‘imaginary’. For the relation of an individual subject to society as a whole in Althusser’s theory is rather like the relation of the small child to his or her mirror-image in Lacan’s. In both cases, the human subject is supplied with a satisfyingly unified image of selfhood by identifying with an object which reflects this image back to it in a closed, narcissistic circle. In both cases, too, this image involves a misrecognition, since it idealizes the subject’s real situation. The child is not actually as integrated as its image in the mirror suggests; I am not actually the coherent, autonomous, self generating subject I know myself to be in the ideological sphere, but the ‘decentred’ function of several social determinants. Duly enthralled by the image of myself I receive, I subject myself to it; and it is through this ‘subjection’ that I become a subject.
Having arrived at this point, he had found no direction in which to go save that of further withdrawal into a subjectivity which refused existence to any reality or law but its own. During these postwar years he had lived in solitude and carefully planned ignorance of what was happening in the world. Nothing had importance save the exquisitely isolated cosmos of his own consciousness. Then little by little he had had the impression that the light of meaning, the meaning of everything was dying. Like a flame under a glass it had dwindled, flickered and gone out, and all existence, including his own hermetic structure from which he had observed existence, had become absurd and unreal.
Empiricism assumes that objects can be understood independendy of observing subjects. Truth is therefore assumed to lie in a world external to the observer whose job is to record and faithfully reflect the attributes of objects. This logical empiricism is a pragmatic version of that scientific method which goes under the name of 'logical positivism', and is founded in a particular and very strict view of language and meaning.
In conscious life, we achieve some sense of ourselves as reasonably unified, coherent selves, and without this action would be impossible. But all this is merely at the ‘imaginary’ level of the ego, which is no more than the tip of the iceberg of the human subject known to psychoanalysis. The ego is function or effect of a subject which is always dispersed, never identical with itself, strung out along the chains of the discourses which constitute it. There is a radical split between these two levels of being — a gap most dramatically exemplified by the act of referring to myself in a sentence. When I say ‘Tomorrow I will mow the lawn,’ the ‘I’ which I pronounce is an immediately intelligible, fairly stable point of reference which belies the murky depths of the ‘I’ which does the pronouncing. The former ‘I’ is known to linguistic theory as the ‘subject of the enunciation’, the topic designated by my sentence; the latter ‘I’, the one who speaks the sentence, is the ‘subject of the enunciating’, the subject of the actual act of speaking. In the process of speaking and writing, these two ‘I’s’ seem to achieve a rough sort of unity; but this unity is of an imaginary kind. The ‘subject of the enunciating’, the actual speaking, writing human person, can never represent himself or herself fully in what is said: there is no sign which will, so to speak, sum up my entire being. I can only designate myself in language by a convenient pronoun. The pronoun ‘I’ stands in for the ever-elusive subject, which will always slip through the nets of any particular piece of language; and this is equivalent to saying that I cannot ‘mean’ and ‘be’ simultaneously. To make this point, Lacan boldly rewrites Descartes’s ‘I think, therefore I am’ as: ‘I am not where I think, and I think where I am not.