Random thoughts. Hopes for peace. Philosophy. Hermeneutics. Politics. Sharing. Hopefully things that will make us better.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Thoughts on Social Construction - Reading Takaki
In “A Different Mirror,” Ronald Takaki explores how America, with its multicultural roots, has come to be represented through a Eurocentric view of history. Ronald discusses many significant ways in which this happens – one of them is the concept of social construction. The object of this essay is to discuss how social construction functions through examining its various aspects, discussing different social constructs, and evaluating effects of these constructs.
First we must examine into how social construction works, the means by which we are situated within it, and the pitfalls of this social construction, this will be followed by a discussion about the social construction of race and gender and examining the way it works so we can better understand the social constructions of different aspects of our reality.
Each detail that a person takes in is processed through analogical interpretation, an interpretation driven through simile. These similes, needing association, are fueled by other experiences, which help create meaning for the individual taking in these details. This is the basic way in which we create meaning of the world.However, the meaning that we create “for ourselves” is always imbued with other experience and interpretations that are not wholly ours, if at all. Our perceived reality is one that is socially constructed, created by many. This doesn’t mean, of course, that people have prenatal implantations of experiences and interpretations, but that during our tutelage as humans (being raised in whatever epoch in which were brought into this world) we absorb experience and understanding without prejudice, free of filters and open to those impressive experiences.
For this reason we often do not think of “why” certain things are (and definitely why they should not be) because they just “are.” Our experiences, and therefore the ways in which we create meaning, are formed before we are fully self aware in a way in which we can discriminate between the experiences. We can understand the experiences that we took in as constructed externally from us and fed to us as truth. This pre-packaged understanding which we are fed prescribes before being confronted with the experience and, for better or worse, creates meaning and understanding out of new experience for those whom have been immersed in that culture. Therefore, the general consensus of whatever culture you are born into is typically the architect of your reality, and not you yourself.As individuals, we do not control our experiences and therefore are subject to the formative experiences which shape our reality; we are merely unwitting participants in whatever culture that we find ourselves in. We are, as Heidegger put it, “thrown” into life and with it we are assigned certain rules and regulations, beliefs, and have expectations thrust upon us that we have no choice but to oblige by. Usually, the world comes to us “fully known” from the understandings we have taken in, creating the answers to decisions before they appear. Social construction is the process under which participants in that society, that culture, formulate the understood interpretations.We all have perspectives that are unfounded. Our “reality” is constructed socially, not necessarily truthfully. We often hold beliefs in things that we have no factual evidence to support, and if questioned probably do not know why we have these beliefs. Social construction imbues us with a set of values, a set of understandings that we can utilize to help make sense of the world; social normalizations help us group together and create bonds between members of that culture. Understandings and values are important in helping us make sense, but when these understandings and values are not available for questioning the consequences can be horrific.
It usually takes hindsight to realize faults, especially ones on a system-wide level. For example, the persecution of the Japanese during World War II by sending them to internment camps was a very sad moment in our nation’s history. One of the most upsetting aspects of this terrible chapter in history was that most people were not outraged by the actions taken by our government; many actually agreed with the internment camps. Germans were not interred, even though we were fighting with them as well. Many of these Japanese families had been in America for generations, and were not recent immigrants. Many were American born citizens. We imprisoned them for looking differently. This also was not an isolated incident, there are many other examples both the past and present.
This is just one example of socially constructed perceptions remaining unchecked by reason. Our perceptions are so normalized that it becomes part of the landscape, and never shows up as abnormal, like an animal living in a cage all its life never knowing anything but. These invisible bars limit our ability to see an other way. America didn’t see the Japanese as American citizens being held, they saw potential enemies. Not too many people gave it much thought, much like many things that are going on now people don’t give too much thought too either.The example of the Japanese interred during World War II is an example of the social construction of perception, but more specifically it is an example of the effects of the social construction of race. Takaki outlines an incredible history of multiculturalism in America, from its “founding” days onward, and shows through history how race has been socially constructed through fear, politics, greed, and otherness. Although it might have not been a “conspiracy” of sorts – that is, the instigators of the atrocities towards the native people of this land and the African people brought here against their will might not have thought their actions malicious – it was an effort enacted by a vast amount of people, ones that thought they were acting justly.
Race is, of course, a construct – it is assigned meaning. Any perception about race is socially constructed, constructed by those who dominate that social arena. In America’s case, this was the “white” man, the foreign settlers from Europe. Their numbers, their weapons, and the belief that their actions were just asserted power over those who were not “them,” those who were “other.” In short, the social construction of race was one which was socially constructed by those which held the power. Through an intricate series of events, the group holding the power maintained that power by relegating anything but that group to a position of inferiority, or worse. This has also been the case with the concept we of gender.The social construction of gender is an equally interesting topic as the social construction of race, although arguably more complicated and hidden than that of race. The construction of gender is one that has relegated each and every one of us in ways that we may or may not know, and possibly won’t ever fully realize.A prime example of a piece of this construction was that of the Women’s Suffrage movement, where women finally realized that they should have the right to vote. Imagine, roughly 51% of the population had been convinced previously that they did not deserve the same rights as 49%. This was not about where the person was from, what language they spoke, or their cultural practices (not that any of those are excuses for racism, merely observations of how they are constructed as “other”). A majority of our population in America was relegated to second class citizens for the mere reason that they were not male. Somewhere back in that culture’s forming days, something must have happened that posited the male of the culture as the dominant force within that culture, and maintained itself through the social construction of gender, specifically the construction of female as inferior. This, of course, isn’t even a shard of the tip of an iceberg that is the social construction of gender.
I mean to illustrate the social construction of race and gender as the dominant view asserting power because this is how social construction of all types happens. More than often unchecked, the conceptions become structured in a way to posit themselves as the accepted norm. These conceptions, or should I say preconceptions, are judgments which happen before any initial experience with the subject matter for which the preconception has been formulated. In short – we already have interpreted and assigned meaning to things before we first encounter them. The bars in front of our eyes are so invisible that we do not even know what we cannot see.
The social constructions of race and gender are not isolated incidents, instead they are just some of the more obvious examples of social construction. The general position that many people take is that their viewpoint, that being one guided by the already constructed meanings, is not only their own but the correct viewpoint. This can run into trouble when it comes across a differing viewpoint that doesn’t quite agree.
Hopefully by this day and age we have brought the subject of race and gender enough to the forefront that it doesn’t go unnoticed like it did before. But there are many other constructions which we do not freely acknowledge, or even know about. Every aspect of perceived reality is also an aspect of social construction. As one can imagine, there are infinite constructions of reality in which infinite possibilities of perception exist. Therefore there are infinite versions of reality, as far as it is socially constructed, and they all believe themselves to be “the” reality. This is quite baffling to the reality that butts up against another reality, many times frustrating.
The closing-off of realities, the exclusionary devices that some of these constructions seem to implement are limiting (at best) the human experience. This is not to say that all versions of reality are “wrong,” but nearly the opposite – the relegation of reality as singular is limiting the possibility of realities. The singular focus of a limiting construction of reality denies us the beauty of other ways of seeing; the only “wrong” way of seeing is one that doesn’t allow other ways of seeing to exist. Sadly, there are many ways of seeing that wish for the destruction of other ways of seeing (and vice versa). These ways of seeing believe in “the” reality rather than “a” reality, a very important distinction when speaking about reality.
In this discussion of social construction we have looked into how social construction works; the means by which we are situated within it, and the pitfalls of this social construction. We have seen how the concepts of race and gender have been constructed, and how social construction is a systemic device that is constantly creating reality for those within the culture. From examining the way it works we better understand the social constructions of different aspects of our reality, and how it limits ways of seeing, and ways of being in the world.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Thoughts on RER's Areligious Religiosity
Dr. Ramsey Eric Ramsey's essay "Communication and Eschatology: The Work of Waiting, an Ethics of Relief, and Areligious Religiosity" pushes back against traditional critical and enlightenment theory in attempting to reclaim an ostracized piece of our philosophical history: religion. Utilizing critical theorist's views on Religion and the Enlightenment, Dr. Ramsey explicates a way to open a space so to necessarily save religiosity from religion while, also necessarily, not inviting dogmatic doctrine back in with it.
Although some might argue that ethics doesn’t get called out in this argument and it is consistently a battle of science versus religion, I choose my categories carefully: the battle of science and religion is one of ethics. A focus on ethics is important to note in this battle, for this is what (at least in part) I believe Dr. Ramsey is referring to when lamenting what has been lost with religion.
As inhabitants of the 21st century western world, we find ourselves constantly (at best) witness to or (at worst) caught in the purportedly epic battle of science versus religion. For any enlightenment thinker this of course isn’t a problem because the dogmatic disciplines and unfounded claims of the church have been laughed out of the room. The situation, of course, is never that cut and dry.
Simply laughing religion out of the room, however dismissing in the realm of theorists, doesn’t quite work for those who consider themselves traditionally religious. This is a common oversight by countless many in an attempt to clear a path for their philosophy. Although it works well in theory, it simply isn’t practical to dismiss traditional religiosity.
What I mean to get at is that this question of an areligious religiosity isn’t just begging critical theorists and enlightenment thinkers to start smuggling in a sense of religiosity, it is in fact a two-headed beast that must not only help us regain a sense of religiosity with care for critical and enlightenment theory, but also bring about a shift to where religion can find a way into the fold of critical and enlightenment theory. An areligious religiosity isn’t just for the privileged few who already understand critical and enlightenment theory, it is a salve for the huddling masses who feel left out in the cold by both warring factions.
I might seem to be working backwards here, but I needed to make sure that I am being fair to all parties before I start explicating the backdrop whence we find ourselves needing this paradigm shift. Now with the “who” underneath our belt, we can investigate the “why” and then move to the “what” and “how.”
Critical and enlightenment theory have come to an impasse. Although they can explicate the inner workings of uncountable phenomena, they still struggle with the one question that society consistently raises: the question of ethics. Reason as we know it has not given us a substantive ethic that allows us to interact in this world humanely, it has examined, collected, and calculated in a way that precludes ethics; reason has created a world-view in which the ethics and morality into ways-of-life simply do not seem part. Without a clearing for ways-of-life, I doubt it will be possible to find us out of the quagmire of pre-emptive rationality that reason has gotten ourselves into. What I mean to say is that, however many wonderful things critical and enlightenment theory have afforded us, reason remains lacking in the most important one of all: how to live well. This is the charge of ethics and morality, which has been distanced, rightfully so, from critical and enlightenment theory for quite some time.
The tutelage of morality and ethics has been cared for, traditionally at least, within the realm of religious institutions. This is problematic for any anti-metaphysical anti-dogmatic thinker such as critical and enlightenment theorists. When religion was laughed out of the room for resistance to dialogue and clinging to dogmatism and metaphysics, it also took its dogmatically and metaphysically imbued ethics and morality with it. This is what I would call “throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” In the interest of humanity (and for the metaphor’s sake, the baby), critical and enlightenment theory needs to reclaim the lost ethics and morality. The question isn’t why (that part is intensely obvious), the question lies in how to reclaim ethics and morality from the religious while avoiding the metaphysical and dogmatic pitfalls that religion is so famous for. Religion, on the other hand, needs something completely different.
Religious institutions have been suffering a gradual loss of active membership for years. Infallible dogma and unassailable viewpoints are not welcome in the public sphere – this is why religion has been faltering for so long; the advent of the Enlightenment was also the advent of the descent of active religious subscription. (Don’t get me wrong, this was necessary – without the Enlightenment we would not have the wiggle room against the metaphysical and dogmatism that religion utilizes to retain control.) This paradigm shift that humanity has taken towards science has been problematic, to say the least, for religion, which struggles to maintain viability in a world that finds its truth through scientific inquiry and not through metaphysical, infallible, and unsupportable claims. This is where an areligious religiosity finds its place. The way of an areligious religiosity brings religion into dialogue with the enlightenment by refusing to allow metaphysical or dogmatic claims. This is helpful not only for critical and enlightenment theory, as stated before, but also for religion as it allows for a more valid (as far as the public sphere is concerned) dialogue in regards to the indispensable community and ethics that religion can provide. Now that we have an understanding of the “who” and “why” of an areligious religiosity, we can turn to the “what.”
The “what” in our investigation is the case of what has been left behind. Religion is known for its deeply rooted way-of-life as regards to ethics and morality. For the most part religion, noting that here I am speaking from a western point of view, purports a preaching of love, charity, and what Latin Christian Theologian writers call “misericordia” (compassion). Compassion, of course, is also one of the main tenets of Buddhism; so, I do not believe I’m far off in saying that this is roughly a shared set of values through many popular world religions. However, the Enlightenment doesn’t seem to make space for compassion in its reason-driven thinking. I believe this is a sad oversight on the part of the enlightenment thinkers. We should do something about this.
Sadly, the concept of compassion, as with charity and love, has, as with many other tenets of religion, remained grounded in infallible metaphysics and dogma. Religious teachers will be quick to point out the vertical transcendence involved in all three – charity, love, and compassion are, in religion’s eyes, intertwined with the holy, the infallible metaphysical. Some may see this as a problem for enlightenment. I see it as a solution.
The problem that religion makes for enlightenment is in its claim to transcendence. Many religions claim to be the link to what is holy. There is no way but theirs. This is incredibly problematic when you take into account that each and every one has its own set of dogmatic dictates that one must subscribe to in order to receive this transcendence. Furthermore, a vertical transcendence also presupposes all which is linked to as infallible. This is antagonistic at best, definitely not in the interest of communication and dialogue. One can easily see how this would be a problem for enlightenment thinkers. However, there might be another way.
If we can open a space for an areligious religiosity, a returning of what was lost and must be found, I would believe it to be through those tenets – compassion, love, and charity. Compassion, love, and charity should not be owned by a dogmatic discipline because they are wonderfully and simply human and not something that should come with metaphysical baggage. It is not and should not be necessary to believe in anything other than humanity to claim these tenets of compassion, love, and charity as a solid ethical and moral backbone. This humanity, of course, is where we can find our wiggle room.
These elements of a solid ethical and moral backbone (amongst others) are found to exist (insofar as they are elements of this purported solid ethical and moral backbone) only in human interaction. One cannot be compassionate, loving, or charitable towards an other without an other. This is important.
If people cannot be compassionate, loving, or charitable by themselves than it seems that it might lead us to find that these aspects of ethics and morality might not be found without an-other. This raises the question of whether these are actually “held” by the practitioner solely or if it might be the case that compassion, love, and charity are only found in the midst of the happening. If this is the case, then we must say that these phenomena are only available in-between human beings. This is called intersubjectivity.
Because compassion, love, and charity are only found within the space created in-between, it might not only be a new way to see these previously religiously held tenets, but a new way to see transcendence. If we see this intersubjectivity as a way to make a space for such wonderment and holy acts as compassion, love, and charity, then that intersubjectivity itself might be the place in which transcendence itself takes place. This I believe is the core of an areligious religiosity.
This ethic is of course not simply an ethic of mere prescription. This is the difference between what the strict follower of a dogmatic discipline understands as ethics and what an areligious religiosity would understand as ethics. Areligious religiosity’s ethics are a way of life in discourse rather than obedience. Much like religiosity itself is a way of life, an areligious religiosity would not rely on a metaphysics and dogmatism but on dialogue and intersubjectivity.
This is the place where we can start to free ethics and morality from the battle between science and religion. This “horizontal” transcendence completely ignores the dogmatic discipline and scientific reasoning while paying homage to fundamental understandings of humanity. Rather than the infallibility of a vertical transcendence, the horizontal transcendence presupposes the fallibility of each and every other and makes room for dialogue through that understanding. Asserting control of our ethics and removing them from the realm of idols allows us the space to enter into a dialogue with critical and enlightenment theory, as well as with religion. This is where we can begin to think of how we might apply this to the science, ethics, and religion argument.
Thankfully for our science, ethics, and religion argument we have removed the highly contested piece (ethics) and asserted our own control over it. In acknowledging the human element in ethics and morality, we can bring some humanity back into it – namely discourse and understanding. Stepping back from this argument, with ethics firmly (or playfully, even) in hand, we can start to see science and religion in a different light. If we can offer our ethics to dialogue through this intersubjective horizontal transcendence then what we have done is what neither science nor religion could: we have de-dogmatized it. Rather than grounding ourselves by attaching our ethics and morality to some infallible or uncontestable doctrine, we have created the groundless ground of dialogue and understanding. This is necessary.
This groundless ground of dialogue and understanding as ethics, morality, and (most importantly) a way of life is a complete detachment from the prescribed doctrine usually found in religion and science. The admission that there is no definitive answer opens up fantastic opportunities for the betterment of humanity as a whole. This is the key to, ironically enough, religion’s salvation.
Religion, in turning away from dogmatism and metaphysics, as an areligious religiosity, finds itself once again not only useful but absolutely necessary. Churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques alike can rejoice in a dialogue with community rather than institutionalizing doctrine that only serve to distance humanity rather than bring it together. Opening dialogue would revitalize religion in a way that it would hardly resemble the religion we know today in the public sphere.
Critical and enlightenment theory also needs this type of dialogue and understanding. It needs an ethic to which we can turn to, and turn with. Ethics and morality was and has always been a guiding light – now we can assume control of that light rather than have it assume control of us. This is an areligious religiosity.
An areligious religiosity brings critical and enlightenment theory together with religion for both of their betterment and salvation. This salvation is within an ethic that we can wiggle away from religion’s dogmatic grasp and fold into an intersubjective horizontal transcendence. This brings about not only a new way of thinking about ethics, but it brings ethics and morality as-a-way-of-life back into the public sphere where it rightfully belongs. Welcoming this way of life back into the public sphere can only happen, however, after it has been freed from dogmatism and is allowed to participate in the dialogue of the public sphere.
Not only will this dialogue help the science, ethics, and religion argument unfold in new and wonderful discourse but it will also help dissolve other more strenuous problems between competing dogmatic theologies. Ethics and morality as participants in the public sphere as an areligious religiosity frees the metaphysical to be cherished rather than prescriptive and allows the sacred to be renewed in the hearts of man rather than combatively in the depths of our fears.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
It has been quite a while
It has been quite a while since I've posted anything. Not that I haven't been thinking about these topics (who can't with whats going on around them), but I've been through quite a lot lately. Thats all left for slurred storytelling though.
Anyway, my intention is to update this more often and write a more diverse blog. More about different interests than just social philosophy (of course I'll never give that up). Philosophy only works when people actually do something about it, so I'd rather speak about the doing than just the "to do." Of course there's still quite a bit to do.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Freedom and Liberty
I would like to take a very brief moment (I am very tired right now) and make a very clear distinction:
Liberty does not neccessarily guarantee freedom, nor does freedom neccessarily guarantee liberty.
Just like we do not live in an actual democracy (look it up, its a republic - democratic in manner, but not wholy), it is not "freedom" that we are actually "allowed."
The laws and rules and regulations are no more about freedom than Rush is a left wing pundit. We are allowed liberty. Not freedom.
Freedom is something that comes from within. I grant you, with the vast liberties that we are allowed in this country, it is conceivable to clear a path to freedom - but the social, commercial (read: commerce), and other forces seem to prevent the bringing forth of that part of ourselves.
Its fine and dandy to praise America for many things - but Freedom is a gift we must personally fight for internally, as well as externally. Liberty is something we have - "freedom" of movement, ability to buy things, make certain statements, choose certain things. I'll go into it more later (I'll pull out my J.S. Mill when I do) but I wanted to make the distinction clear between the things we are actually allowed (liberty), and the things that we may not even know what they even look like yet (freedom).
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
I posted something a few days ago with a few different paths, all generally leading in the same direction: being-together-in-the-world. In nearly all my writings, that remains the underlying subject that always informs everything. I wouldn't be bold to say that in all reality, being-together-in-the-world is the underlying drive that informs nearly all of our interactions (whether positively, or negatively - but, thats yet another discussion).
One the waypoints I've identified towards a better being-together is something we proclaim loudly as a proud manifestation of our current state of being: Freedom.
So I wish to question: How are we free? Where are we free?
Are you free to make up your mind? If you say you are - how so? What types of choices are you allowed?
I'm not saying that the state of our civilization allows us more choices than many others - I am thankful for the choices I have - but can we call the ability to choose between pre-ordained possibilities "Freedom."
Is a larger menu at McDonald's freedom? I would be saddened to liken such a valuable concept that so many people died under the impression of providing to a mere multiplication of choice.
Since its late, and I must sleep soon I'll be more blunt than usual: The freedom that we fight for, sing about, and paste all over slogans is neither freedom nor is it free. And those who wish to liken my last statement to some sort of "leftist rhetoric" will be sadly disappointed in that it is neither.
What I mean is that we have come upon an age of supposed freedom in where we have reached a pinnacle of knowledge, understanding, and choice. In this, this dark enlightenment, we have dogmatized the very thing that we idolize. This is not merely problem of politic, nor of capital, but of our very social being and consciousness.
Our willingness to beat back the door of fear and conquer every unknowable has instilled a set of rules, values, and knowledge-ability that has pigeonholed us into a sense of "understanding" that neither understands nor undergoes the trials of reason that (many would argue is the only thing that differentiates us from primates).
What I really mean to ask is this: What are the conditions for the possibility of freedom? When is the time where we can have this freedom? When is the place? What kind of work must we do?
I'm tired. My best wishes of freedom, and liberty (thats another night) for all.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Opening a space
People ask me constantly “what’s the point of all this philosophy?” I’ve been posed with this question so many times I no longer want to smack the person asking it. Smack some sense into them, open their eyes a little. Pick a reason – its there. Because A is doing X to B. Because B doesn’t realize that X also causes Y to C. Every one, every thing, every reason. That’s the point.
The Ancient Greeks had this fantastically strange and progressive idea that politics was philosophy, and vice versa. It was so ahead of its time that they were eventually wiped out and pillaged by their neighbors. Side note: it is said today if the great library wasn’t burned to the ground, we’d all be driving flying cars and living in a much more utopian society right now (but that’s neither here nor there other than to illustrate the dangers of violent conquest over understanding and reason). They had forums filled with men (I didn’t say they had the equal-rights thing down all the way) that discussed the great matters of their times – love, friendship, and virtuousness; investigation of these great matters was to one great end, how to better create civilization in a manner that everyone could be happy.
Now, there are many arguments between the differing schools of thought, from the Pre-Socratics (whom I’m rather fond of myself) through Socrates and all of his inheritors, including all the great minds up to our present time. So it’s not a matter of how they went about this – it’s a matter of the end goal of their work – a civilization (or at least being-in-the-world) where we could all be together, better.
Of course, they all had their downfalls, and eventually their demise – but that doesn’t mean we can dismiss their utopian ideals on their previous “failures.” Strong in body has brutalized the strong in heart and mind throughout history (I seem to recall a fantastic man from Nazareth that was crucified for having some really keen ideas about getting along together). Learning from these ideas and piecing together these concepts might start to show us a direction in where we might start to create such utopias.
This orientation, you might call it, towards utopias is the goal of this philo-sophia, this love of wisdom. However, barbaric forces of single-mindedness are still in essence, stronger and turn the utopian orientation around constantly. We might not be doing it with brute force and outright invasion in a plain-sight expansion of empire (or we might, depending on how you see it), but instead with fixed ideals, black and white reasoning. These concepts are moved along at a feverish pace through the might of global capital, the entertainment industry, and many other transmissions of current-day conceptual drudgery.
Of course, I don’t mean to merely offend with my debasing comments about the current system. Its not the way in which things work that I am currently critiquing though, it is the types of thought processes that have been in place since, well, as far as anyone alive can remember, and are continued and spread through the systems that have sprung up from within that thinking.
I’ll attempt to backtrack here for a moment and give a brief explanation of volumes of beautiful work which should most definitely be read, because I’m sure my synopsis does them no justice.
In this state of so-called success, we are no more successful at beating back fear now as we were when we turned to shamans and priests for our shelter from the scary world. We have merely turned our attentions towards science and technology. The type of thinking that puts absolute faith into something without reason, without effort, and without a truly dissecting dialogue, is a fully dangerous one. This is the type of non-thinking that praises freedom, but utilizes none of it. This type of non-thinking fights in the name of freedom, but demands to be ruled to cast out the shadows of doubt and fear that keep them awake at night.
This is the type of (non) thinking that have created the processes in which we function on a global scale now, and it is this type of (non) thinking that is spread further and wider as a result of those processes that have spawned from it.
So how is it that we can finally get away from the barbaric, freedom-hating, empire of disorientation? Only by escaping this regime can we start to actually think about the types of things that could make us start to realize a better place for all of us.
This is why I hope to find a way to open up a space for thinking. It can be a small space to start with, but any space is larger than what we have now. This space must be free of black and white notions, of the dogmatic doctrine of “science,” as well as that of religion. By gathering in this space we might have a chance to sort out these concepts on an even playing field, without making this transcendent appeal to an irrefutable evidence. This is where we can start to think.
Imagine with me for a minute what something we could discuss there might look like – a philosophy of all. We could talk about Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed along side with Derrida, Heidegger, and Socrates. We could include Hawking in this discussion as well! Without a transcendent appeal, we would have to openly discuss the concepts of each and all in a way that we haven’t been able to before – free from the tyranny of the universal transcendent.
I’m not saying that any of these minds are right or wrong, but many of the above appealed to a transcendent that without would bring their arguments down to that to finally be discussed. Imagine what might happen if people understood these concepts and, through their understanding, started to actually embody to ways of Buddha, the ways of Jesus, etcetera. Imagine the kind of possibilities that we might open up there.
This space, I think, would be infectious, cancerous even. Radical cells that grow at extraordinary rates and start to take over neighboring spaces – expanding that space to that all can be included in the philosophy of all. Only then can utopias even be conceptualized, and possibly might have the chance of being realized.
More on utopias later. Lets start though by creating the space where we can think.