|Entering a Rhizome
Slavoj Žižek, A Plea for Leninist Intolerance
Critical Inquiry, Winter, 2002
|The Quantum Heterogeneity of Dasein|
The Stupid Party: Cognitive Performativity
The Stupid Complex (the Finnish Phantom)
This page was generated by Bobby Jindal's comment, although Jindal said more than he knew, providing us with a Deleuzian encounter, a point of departure for a the series of inquiries that make up this site.
Ressentiment and the Mechanisms of Defense
This page deals with ressentiment as a major historical force, known already to and feared by Spinoza and d'Holbach, grossly underestimated by Marx, and brilliantly conceptualized by Nietzsche. This force provided the primordial basis for Stalinism and McCarthyism--indeed, the primordial basis for neoliberalism (the Reagan coalition).
Bildung: Was Mozart a Communist?
This page deals with the critical part of Figure 1: the development of formal operational cognitive praxis from its emergence as a cultural and political force in the Enlightenment to its spread in the late twentieth century to large segments of some societies--Finland and Singapore, for example--and its decline in the United States. It grew out of an earlier page--Cognitive Development and Cognitive Divergence--that attempted to bring to bear on the rhetorical performances of politics the work of developmental psychologists.
Bildung and RMD are two of the Four Ontologies--ontologies in a Deleuzian sense. The Four Ontologies arise from the application of the Cassirer Rule to understanding American history. What this means is found in the page:
Why Deleuze? History and Philosophy
|Figure 1. PISA
Math Scores, 2003 - 2009: 21 Nations +
U.S. New England + U.S. South + OECD average
|Gerald Berk, Alternative Tracks: The
Constitution of American Industrial Order, 1865-1917
(Johns Hopkins, 1997)
The Four Ontologies
1. our primate roots and the problem of behavioral continuity and discontinuity as investigated by Boesch, de Waal, Wrangham, Mazur, Chase, and others; hierarchy (dominance and deference), aggression, and empathy; and tool use, culture, and and even cognitive development are issues that arise prior to the emergence of homo sapiens (on cognitive development see Gomez);
2. the emergence of ressentiment in the era of state power and monotheism, a concept central to the understanding the many fascisms of the modern world (Nietzsche's concept of ressentiment given theoretical and clinical substance by psychoanalysis, developed by novelists, historians, literary critics, etc.);
3. the cognitive-developmental revolution of the Enlightenment: the development of formal-operational thought (formal operation competence is the foundation for modern work in advanced capitalism) and its scientific world view; progressive narcissism--Bildung--individuation in dialectical relation to the grand projects of science, culture and politics ; and
4. regressive narcissism--desire and identity--the postmodern mingling of biology, psychology, corporate power, and politics in what is naively referred to as consumer culture.
The Keynesian Elite in the New Deal State can be approached in the context of the input-output matrix of the mass consumption sector. But to understand the Keynesian Elite as human praxis, as agency, requires an understanding of Bildung; just as to understand the forces that ultimately subverted the New Deal one must understand ressentiment.
|Keynesian Elite in New Deal
Auto "Workers" and Bildung
In the mid-1970s I interviewed a large number of workers involved in the formation of the UAW. I thought I knew what I was doing, but I didn't. After I retired from Wayne State University in 2010 I began to listen to these tapes with an entirely different frame of mind than when I conducted the interviews. Much of my effort could be described as a tedious barking up the wrong tree: the tree of culture (Kleppner, The Cross of Culture); and the barking of one enslaved to "the philosophy of representation characterized by the primacy of the concept."
So when I began listening to these tapes with new ears I was sometines struck and occasionally dumfounded by what I can only describe as Deleuzian moments. In the photo of Dodge Main one can see across from the southeast corner of that plant the six buildings of Midland Steel (Local 410). I interviewed about forty workers and managers from that plant. At the lower left just west of the southwest corner of Dodge Main was Detroit Steel Products (Local 351), just ouside the photo. North of Dodge Main by about five blocks but hardly visible in the photo was Michigan Steel Tube (Local 238). My book (The Emerence of a UAW Local) is about that plant in the 1930s. But one of the most astonishing moments in listening to these tapes after forty years came when I listened to the interviews with Joe Adams and Art ___ (last name unintelligible on my tape). Both men were from the Trim department of Dodge Main, a stronghold of the union in that plant. (The upper part of the Rivera mural is of the trim department at Ford.) At the time I listened to these tapes, in 2013) I was hot on the trail of Bildung. The explosive moment came when Joe and Art began to reminisce about a wartime strike in May of 1944. Click here for a transcript.
The Communist "Party" and Bildung
This is a good place to make my introduction. One of Diego Rivera's assistants (not on this mural--the one in New York) was Ben Shahn, a friend of my mother's. My godfather was Jack Gilford. I baby sat for Jay Gorney (who together with Yip Harburg wrote Brother Can You Spare a Dime?) and Millard Lampell at a summer "resort" on Shelter Island teeming with Communists. My mother's closest friend was the secretary to the president of the Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union. Other close friends included the secretary to the president of the Hospital Workers Union, and Cedric Belfrage, the editor of the Guardian. My mother was the secretary to David Livingston of District 65, Wholesale, Retail, and Department Store Union. I spent lots of time at the house of a friend whose mother was secretary to Mike Quill, president of the Transport Workers Union. One of my uncle's on my father's side was an organizer for UMW district 50 in New Jersey. (He told me once that he might have met Morris L. Cooke at a meeting in Washington DC.) And there's more, but you get the picture. This was my immanent domain, within whose "social and discursive practices"(1) I became human (2).
As it turned out, my immanent domain was much larger than I could have imagined at the time, and, as the reference to Goodman's book suggests, had deep historical roots.
Journey toward justice : Juliette Hampton Morgan and the Montgomery bus boycott
A fine old conflict / Jessica Mitford
biographies of Oppenheimer, Copland; rest is noise
1. Dena Goodman, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment (Cornell Univesity Press, 1994), p. 2
2. Urie Bronfenbrenner, ed. Making Human Beings Human: Bioecological Perspectives on Human Development, (Sage Publications, 2005)
|Diego Rivera, Detroit
Industry (South Wall), 1933
Socialism and Bildung
When I came to Detroit I interviewed about 100 workers who had been active in creating the UAW. Many of them were Communists, others were Socialists, one was a Trotskyist, but most were not affiliated with any group. The latter was the case with the workers I interviewed from Chrysler's east side plants. Nevertheless, when it comes to the Socialists two important caveats are in order.
First, a broad socialist/populist culture had flourished among a native stock of skilled workers, small businessmen, farmers, and intellectuals of a largely but not entirely Protestant, and of a largely but not entirely Anglo-Saxon background. As Norman Bully of Buick (Local 599) pointed out to me, these men played a very significant role in the making of the UAW in Flint. It will take me many years to go through these tapes, but it is already clear that these "Socialists" were of great significance in the struggles of the 1930s and 40s. (Postel, The Populist Vision)
Second, a large number immigrant workers were a part of the socialist awakening that swept across the more skilled and better educated workers of Germany, Poland, Russia, Lithuania (Fraser; Adams interview; Reddy). Edmund Kord, the subject of my book, and Joe Adams from Dodge Main, provided a sense of the vibrancy of socialist culture amongst the skilled and more educated of Poland. I am not talking here of a Socialist ideology, but of socialist "social and discursive practices."
At the heart of this mode of being and becoming was what was so striking presented, as if out of the blue, in the course of my interview of Saul Wellman, a leader of the Michigan Communist Party and a Spanish Civil War veteran. Click on this link and read it several times. It contains the heart of the matter: Bildung. That force of becoming is best captured theoretically by Stephen Rumph's Mozart and Enlightenment Semiotics, and by Gutman, Mozart, a Cultural Biograph)the power of reason made palpable, a new form of being, a new form of life, emerging out of the asshole of the world. (Nietzsche
And this was the deep thematic of my immanent domain, its dominant ethos, a palpable force shaping the growth of Mind. Fraser captures this in his biography of Sidney Hillman (which is not merely a biography but a fundamental history of our times, for the history of our times is the story of the rise and fall of Bildung; the history of our times is contained in Figure 1, if one only knows how to read it).
|Corbey on embodied mind p. 195
*Dynamic process methodology in the social and developmental sciences, Jaan Valsiner, Peter C.M. Molenaar, Maria C.D.P. Lyra, and Nandita Chaudhary, eds. (Springer, 2009):
Phenomena of nature, society, and the human psyche are context bound, constantly changing, and variable (from book description--see Amazon page).
from the backcover: "Reality is dynamic: filled with variables and constantly in flux. So are the physical, psychological, and social processes that make up our lives—so much so, assert the contributors to Dynamic Process Methodology in the Social and Developmental Sciences, that phenomena science often dismisses as "anecdotal" evidence are in fact the valuable record of highly individual dynamic systems."
Above is how I make sense out of the interviews 1. each moment in the interview is a valuable record of highly individual dynamic systems
thus, Kord and Silver emphasize the importance of FDR and the New Deal as a cultural political presence; Silver tells story of John L. Lewis supporting Wilkie and bolting the CIO
thus, Bill Jenkins and the group of Bulgarians
thus Adams and Art _____ reliving the strike of 1944
Murray Body Spring Div
Joe Adams on worker managers
Why Deleuze (old index)
Appetite and Entropy: Subverting Cognitive Development
Semiotic Regimes (cognition, ressentiment, and desire)
Four Genetic Ontologies
United States District Judge John E. Jones III: Memorandum Opinion, December 20, 2005
the Axis powers were defeated political conditions varied throughout
Europe and Asia. In Finland what in American terms would be
called a Popular Front government took power, a coalition of
the Communist Party, the Social Democratic Party, and Agrarian Center
Party. Passi Sahlberg (Finnish
pp. 14-17) emphasizes the importance of this coalition in laying the
foundation for Finland's great educational success decades later.
But the point I am making here is not about politics and
It is about the everyday life, the "social and discursive
practices" of such radical families and neighborhoods: the immanent
domain within which "human beings are made human." And it is
about the way such everyday life domains of becoming human are linked
to the larger world of science, culture, and politics through the
respect show by the adults of the community for the great works of
civilization. This results in the internalization of
very ethos of modern civilization through identification both with role
modes within the community and with the great heroes of civilization in
science, the arts, and politics.(Alcorn) Schooling can build on such
solid foundations, but it cannot substitute for them. Therein
lies one massive difference between the usa and the nations
northern europe and southeast asia.
What is distinguishes the United States' cog-dev ed history from Finland's
The media coverage around the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor
|KE in New Deal State's relationship to the fundamental ontologies (RMD and Bildung)
Alternative Tracks: The Constitution of American Industrial Order, 1865-1917
Cold War against global New Deal
view from shopfloor (arena where Vincent/McMahon played out)
the invisible presuppositiions of let's say Che Guevarra or Bad Samaritans and the blindness to the active ontologies
Why does Derrida argue with prostitutes re. Fukiyama
seocnd major difference, and obviusly related to the first, is the
presence of a nearly hegemonic fundamentalist culture in
States. This culture is mobilized by powerful political and
economic elites for political and economic purposes, dominating some
and permeating all media, and shaping the semiotic contours of public
discourse. This negative developmental force is entirely
in the top performing nations. The Intel Finalists ae the
excpetion that proves the rule, for they are immunized against this
highly organized culture of
anti-intellectualism and ressentiment. Their proximal
systems of family, neighborhood and school embody values antithetical
to that culture. In this regard, the households and local
cultures of the Intel finalists provide for them a "Finnish" domain.
The trendous forcful and pervasive prsence in the United Statees of this anti-intellectual culture should be obvious, yet so pervasive are the forces so inadequately captured by the word stupid and the concept of party that we ignore the single most significant variable affecting a nation's cognitive development: the sets of proximal forces subsumed under the all too vague term culture.
The Retrieval of Lenin
Review of Slavoj Zizek et al., Lenin Reloaded – by Eli Messinger
|Slavoj Žižek, A Plea for Leninist Intolerance, Critical Inquiry, Winter, 2002
Formal freedom is the freedom of choice within the coordinates of the existing power relations, while actual freedom designates the site of an intervention that undermines these very coordinates.
Capitalism is not just a historical epoch among others; in a way, the once fashionable and today forgotten Francis Fukuyama was right-global capitalism is "the end of history." A certain excess that was, as it were, kept under check, perceived as a localizable perversion, as an excess, a deviation, is in capitalism elevated to the very principle of social life, in the speculative movement of money begetting more money, of a system that can survive only by constantly revolutionizing its own conditions, that is to say, in which the thing can survive only as its own excess, constantly exceeding its own "normal" constraints.
one hand, we have crazy, solipsistic speculations about futures, mergers,
and the like following their own inherent logic; on the other hand, real-
ity is catching up in the guise of ecological catastrophies, poverty, Third World diseases that imperil social life, mad cow disease. 555
[Z cannot escape the crude materialism of old--it is a question of development, of becoming . . . PF
e gap be-
tween real production and the virtual spectral domain of capital and the
gap between experiential reality and virtual reality of cyberspace. 555 See LDB/TS
nality of Marx is that he played both cards simultaneously: the origin of
capitalist crises is the gap between use- and exchange-value, and capital-
ism constrains the free deployment of productivity.
[free depl of prod re bildung PF the project(s) vs. axiomatiztion; politics as buldung as in UAW 3
Lenin and TS 556
would it not be more logical just to socialize it, rendering it freely accessible? 557
[Z misses the ontological dimension of this problematic
Revolution is not experienced as a present hardship we have to endure 559
[uaw 3 . . . .