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Author Topic: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread  (Read 2054 times)

Trekkin

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2018, 03:04:50 pm »

I'm a nihilist and an optimist. There's no reason to life, everyone runs on their own morals, religion is man-made, the whole nine yards. And yet, here I am, promoting the idea that we get to live life once with no meaning, so we should make our own and enjoy it.

Is that not more conventionally called existentialism?
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Scarlet_Avenger

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2018, 03:11:32 pm »

I think that's more along the lines of a hedonism/nihilism/existentialism hybrid. Where sure, there's no reason for anything, but we should all still try to be happy and help one another.
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Well given that we started building computers inside of DF years ago, it's really only been a matter of time until the dwarves figured out how to utilize them for their own purposes.

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greatorder

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2018, 03:14:05 pm »

I'm a nihilist and an optimist. There's no reason to life, everyone runs on their own morals, religion is man-made, the whole nine yards. And yet, here I am, promoting the idea that we get to live life once with no meaning, so we should make our own and enjoy it.

Is that not more conventionally called existentialism?
Quote from: Wikipedia
Existentialism (/ɛɡzɪˈstɛnʃəlɪzəm/)[1] is a tradition of philosophical inquiry associated mainly with certain 19th and 20th-century European philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences,[2][3][4] shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual.[5] While the predominant value of existentialist thought is commonly acknowledged to be freedom, its primary virtue is authenticity.[6] In the view of the existentialist, the individual's starting point is characterized by what has been called "the existential attitude", or a sense of disorientation, confusion, or dread in the face of an apparently meaningless or absurd world.[7] Many existentialists have also regarded traditional systematic or academic philosophies, in both style and content, as too abstract and remote from concrete human experience.[8][9]
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Ispil

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2018, 03:55:04 pm »

I suppose nihilism is the wrong term, then. Defeatism, then? Apathy? To be clear, my main issue isn't the disregard of the notion of an a priori purpose of existence, but something near the opposite of Candide- that this is "the worst of all possible worlds" and that that fact is immutable.

EDIT: Upon further research, it would appear that the proper term here is modern cynicism. Specifically, the bigger-picture notion of the term- that everyone is working for the betterment of themselves and the detriment of everyone else, attempting to achieve unobtainable goals to sate their vanity, greed, or other things perceived as negative motivations. That is, that they regard "good intent" as non-existent. Apparently I was wrong as to what that word actually meant; I always thought it referred to a sort of broader skepticism, rather than outright condemnation of the world.

In that regard, I suppose I can say this with some certainty: fuck cynicism.
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 04:03:41 pm by Ispil »
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Kagus

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2018, 05:25:40 pm »

Well, that kinda hits a snag with classical cynicism, which was all about self-improvement and criticizing society in an attempt to make it shape up. "A dog bites his enemy, I bite my friend to save him".


As for the world of today, we've got environmental crises pretty much everywhere we can fit them, less-developed countries are stagnating under oppressive corruption and bureaucratic criminality while more-developed nations are busy tearing themselves apart with the power and entitlement they've gained by being on top.

On the lower, cultural and societal level, everyone's so estranged from everyone else that the only common points we find to connect us are the brightest-burning and most extreme, and we cling to these ideologies because we're just so damned desperate to have someone to talk to. And what would a thread with Marx in the title be without a little capitalism-bashing? Most of us have grown up learning about a way of life that is defined in a disturbingly large fashion by capitalistic ideals... The only important thing is getting ahead, there will always be winners and there will always be losers, and the split between them shall remain absolute.

So we're left fighting, squabbling and insecure as we try to find some way, any way to prove to the system that we are in the winner group! Even if that means making someone else lose just to make you look better by comparison...

We are the proverbial snake biting its own end, and we're going to keep eating ourselves until we either undergo a massive paradigm shift (into something *better*, mind! Because I'm sure we're capable of finding a different gestalt that's even worse), or we run out of tail.

And for some damn lunatic reason, we've still got gargantuan stockpiles of massively destructive nuclear weapons that could have catastrophic ripple effects on the world at large... Because apparently the only way to keep someone from rocking the boat is to give drills to some of the passengers.



...not that I'm helping, mind. I just like to have a rant now and again.

Baffler

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2018, 10:19:07 pm »

This will probably not be well received, considering how people responded to it in the Abusive Policing Thread when presented by someone else, but the (social, I'll ignore the environment but not because it's not important) problems people complain about in modernity are for the most part their own doing. It is the result of the rapid approach of final supplanting of the Gemeinschaft of society by Gesellschaft, and all of us, including me, are complicit in it. I see many people complaining about how they barely know their neighbors, that there's no real communities for the average person anymore, or how everyone is sociopathically self-interested and can't be trusted to act right on even the most basic levels, or some combination of all of those things. They do this, but they simultaneously strive to annihilate the institutions that supplied those needs in the past in all that they do. I say "why not go meet your neighbors then?" and the reply is always no because they don't actually want to meet their neighbors. They expect them to be terrible people, or even to have something bad happen to them if they so much as knock on the door - and I almost can't blame them for getting that impression, because chances are very good that they'll be seen as suspicious for doing so! As community goes, it's much the same story. Churchgoing, for example, is seen as (or at least proclaimed as) virtuous but terribly old-fashioned by some and as a backwards and malignant evil to be left behind by others. But, ignoring the teachings of the Church and speaking solely from a sociological standpoint, the institution is still a critical element of social glue. It is one of the only situations left where people of all ages and professions come together and interact as equals in a friendly setting, and it provides a reinforcement of a whole people's common identity. It also provides a support network not contingent on anything other than membership in the church. Family and neighbors once did this too but it ended up atomized in the West, first by the move from extended to nuclear families with little contact with relatives outside the household as the norm, and progressing further from there.

Other markers of common identity - national identity, secular traditions, common ideals, and ethnicity; aka culture - are likewise ingredients for creating an actual nation. These things are what keeps people who otherwise have very little in common with each other working together for the betterment of all, and these things are all deeply eroded. What makes western nations nations is in fact being systematically destroyed. Normally that sort of thing only happens when conquerors seek to erase a conquered people, but here for some reason it's westerners themselves who destroy their own institutions. Many in Europe are uncomfortable even seeing their nation's flag flown, and the United States, though not quite as demoralized, is trying very hard to catch up. Massive influxes of foreigners to both places only worsens the situation, as it leads to common people having even less in common with their neighbors and everyone else they interact with on a daily basis than they did before. So, is it any surprise that peoples that increasingly have no will to live are dying, and even invite their own demise? No, it fucking isn't. But diagnosing a problem isn't too difficult, the question that must be asked is why it's happening. Then, having answered that question, what can be done about it?

As to why, it's certainly a complex, multifaceted question. MSH is right when he talks about the scope of the issue, and decides to just call it The Crisis in the OP. Part of the problem, I think, is globalism, in two aspects. You used to hear the term "global village" thrown around in sociological circles, but it's sort of fallen out of favor lately. The man who coined the phrase envisioned the Global Village as being a disharmonious place, as people were effectively forced into contact with others with whom they can barely even agree on the basic facts. Nenjin touched on this idea in this post:


But it seems to me that in reality the opposite has happened. People are now able to self-segregate on a level that would have been considered absurd twenty years ago, and would have been entirely inconceivable thirty or forty years ago. Their community, their village, stops being their neighbors (and to a lesser degree their countrymen) and instead increasingly becomes the scattered but like-minded individuals they associate with online. Some people fall more into this trap than others, but there is a generational trend in this as people start growing up in a world where the internet is more and more ubiquitous (and as mainstream online platforms are starting to deliberately exploit this tendency), and it's not an encouraging one either. That may seem hypocritical given my calling mass migration a problem in the previous paragraph, but consider that foreigners are just as vulnerable to this trap as the locals are. Even though their societies at home are actually healthier in many respects than those here and they bring some of their Gemeinschaft with them they still self-segregate, and so end up feeling embattled on more levels than just those that come with the territory of being in a foreign land even as they flood in to take advantage of its economic success. The ultimate effect of this is that people end up looking for community in places that cannot provide it, and peoples with increasingly little in common are forced to live with each other but do not interact, and so we get all the negatives of diversity (and I don't just mean immigrants, but different sorts of people regardless of origin as well) with no benefit to the average person. But this trend didn't start with the widespread adoption of the internet. Arguably the success of counterculture movements that sprung up as baby boomers reached the age of majority, who sought freedom through the erasure of social obligation and tradition, are responsible for actually creating these conditions.

The other aspect is more economic. A global economy means that it is increasingly possible (and extraordinarily profitable) for work to be done overseas. The upper class has always had the least loyalty to their homelands in aggregate, but with the cultural erosion culminating in the above combining with the massive opportunities presented to them to empower and enrich themselves makes it more attractive than ever before to disconnect themselves from society and become part of a growing global class of rootless cosmopolitans. This group, as most do, knows its own interests, and it is able to leverage its massive resources to get governments to align to those interests. This class of people has effective control over international finance, mass media, big business, and much more besides. Some people believe that there are conspiratorial power groups (Illuminati, Jews, Freemasons, Skull and Bones, etc.) but the worst part of it is that there doesn't need to be. These people could work toward their own personal interests completely organically and without collusion, and the result would be exactly the same. That result is a society increasingly (and increasingly openly) geared toward the service of a very small slice of the population, often at the expense of all the rest. This is why wages have not meaningfully risen in the last 60 years, why the wealthiest are wealthier than the poorest than they've been in the last 120 years, why the relative condition of labor has stopped improving in some areas and even rolled back in others, and why the poverty rate hasn't meaningfully shifted long-term in the last 40 years even as spending on welfare has ballooned as a category to become the US government's greatest financial commitment. All despite new technologies making the economy more productive and efficient than it's ever been. Those that have an actual say in these things simply have everything to gain from defecting in our societal prisoners' dilemma and nothing to lose.

Globalization isn't the only issue. I agree with the people talking about fatalistic outlooks, although I might argue that it's just an outgrowth of more fundamental problems. I also agree that the pressures put on society by the environmental crisis cause damage to it. But globalization is something that I think is both a very important component of the problem, and something most people here would overlook or even disagree with me on. As to what to do? I have no idea. The best I can come up with is to somehow convince the people to force the government to break the power of the international elite if they want to preserve their own power, but by now much of the government is the international elite, and activism is either pointless bullshit, channeled into culture wars, or stomped out.
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Teneb

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2018, 10:57:09 pm »

As to what to do? I have no idea. The best I can come up with is to somehow convince the people to force the government to break the power of the international elite if they want to preserve their own power, but by now much of the government is the international elite, and activism is either pointless bullshit, channeled into culture wars, or stomped out.
Smash the system. Yeah, I know, advocating violence and all but... how the fuck else? The ultrarich are just too damn entrenched and play the current sociological system like a damn fiddle to remove otherwise. Of course, preventing whomever topples them from just taking their place is also a rather big issue regardless of how you remove this international elite.

As for globalism: I don't see it as inherently evil. The concept of community, of tribe, has evolved before and continues to do so. It was merely, shamelessly, abused by our capitalist overlords.

In a more fantastical alternative, we could just say "fuck this, I'm out" and go to either the Moon or Mars and have our Utopic Gay Space Communism there, away from the woes of the Allmighty Dollar.
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Ispil

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2018, 11:12:09 pm »

Regarding the "burn it all down" approach, I had a thought regarding the writings of Nick Bostrom. Sure, I disagree with 90% of what he wrote in Superintelligence, but he did have one point- that proper artificial intelligence would represent a decisive strategic advantage. That is, the creator of the first proper AI would be in the same position as the scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project- in possession of a power that no other nation could overcome so long as they did not hold it themselves. That's not to say that AI would be some magic bullet to cure all of mankind's ailments (as argued by some of the more fervent people in the field, including Bostrom); it at the very least solve the "burn it all down" problem. To what extent it would solve anything beyond that doesn't particularly matter.

Should whomever happens to stumble into creating a true AI happens to read these paragraphs and wishes to take the "burn it all down" approach, I do have one suggestion- have a plan for the ashes before you go and light the blaze, lest we end up back here again.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2018, 01:15:12 am by Ispil »
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"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it."- Voltaire

I transcribe things, too.

Hanslanda

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #23 on: May 12, 2018, 10:23:54 am »

PTW
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Well, we could put two and two together and write a book: "The Shit that Hans and Max Did: You Won't Believe This Shit."
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Ispil

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #24 on: May 16, 2018, 08:46:53 am »

Crossposting this from Ameripol. Effectively an essay on the thing we're discussing here.
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"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it."- Voltaire

I transcribe things, too.

UrbanGiraffe

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2018, 07:10:07 pm »

This thread seems a bit all over the place and maybe got off on the wrong foot with all the apocalyptic gloom and so on, but I think what is critically important (which the opening post says well) is the need to gain a firsthand understanding of these sorts of issues to a degree that goes deeper than the general circulation and exposure. If looking to form an informed opinion, it really isn't enough to passively absorb all the ambient analysis of information we're swimming in without being able to put it in context with the original material and history of the debate. For any politically or economically important topic there is bound to be a mass of misinformation and unscrupulous motives to sift through before even arriving at the right questions to ask, and reading the relevant literature is essentially the only way to build that basis for critical thinking (and the critical thinking and wide range of prior reading is particularly important, if one wants to avoid becoming a crank or conspiracy nut).

So if this does take up the form of a more in-depth "book club" format, I'm all for it. And if it's just a place to swap and refine our eco-marxist insurgency polemics and recruitment propaganda, that's fine too, but the reading is what's important.
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hector13

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #26 on: May 16, 2018, 07:40:04 pm »

PTW
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MrRoboto75

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #27 on: May 16, 2018, 08:58:57 pm »

And if it's just a place to swap and refine our eco-marxist insurgency polemics and recruitment propaganda, that's fine too

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ChairmanPoo

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2018, 02:21:33 am »

And if it's just a place to swap and refine our eco-marxist insurgency polemics and recruitment propaganda, that's fine too

"We need a slogan!"
How about...

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« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 02:23:18 am by ChairmanPoo »
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martinuzz

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Re: MSH Mantles Karl Marx -OR- The Crisis Discussion And Essay Thread
« Reply #29 on: May 17, 2018, 02:37:44 am »

I'm not a pessimist, I am just wary of optimists.
If not for optimists, telling us for a few decades the climate will be fine next generation because surely we will invent new technology to clean up our mess, we might have seen much more action taken to combat global warming years ago.
Let's just say pessimists are better equipped for long term thinking than optimists.
Hence my sig.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 02:39:16 am by martinuzz »
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