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Monthly Archives: November 2011

What are we to think of rebellion? There are a lot of initial thoughts that come to mind. I don’t know what I think of rebellion or revolt. It’s on my mind right now for a few reasons. Obviously, the Occupy Wall Street movement is a current reflection of social rebellion, although, it is not quite a rebellion. Also, in my 19th century philosophy class, we’re now reading Marx. Marx was that shining example how one person can change the world. Most people think about Communism right along with their thoughts of Marx, and understandably so. But to understand Marx in relation to Hegel adds, at least for me, a new dynamic to his thought. Hegel was a heavily influential thinker through which Marx developed his ideas. Essentially, without going into any detail whatsoever, Marx took Hegel’s idea of history;  as an expression, or on-going development, of absolute spirit–or the sharpening of our self-determing freedom, and developed it in his own way. Hegel’s thought is a positivist ideal which puts faith in the ability of man to come to truth on his own terms through a process which builds upon each previous generation or era. Therefore, as time progresses, mankind will only become a better version of itself.

Marx put forth his own philosophy based on Hegel. While Hegel remained abstract in his philosophy (i.e. the use words like “absolute spirit,” and “God”), Marx brought the idea down to earth. Marx reframed this process in purely materialistic terms, and as a result, became economic. I think that Marx man-handled Hegel’s philosophy and rushed it. While Hegel’s philosophy was a reflective one (which looked back through history as something that could reveal the truth of his ideas), Marx transformed it and made it something which man could realize, and had to realize, here and now, and move forward. Marx’s philosophy was a design for the future–it required revolution.

So what of it? I think Marx is a perfect example of what man does wrong. The decision to see man, an era of man, a vision of a man which must be created–to see man as the means of his own perfection–requires man to objectify himself in a way that distorts vision–regardless of the psychology which may lead one to believe that he can be mankind’s savior.  Hegel put faith in man to come to higher degrees of truth as an unconscious participant. Marx put the responsibility solely on man which requires a delusion.  While Marx could see the destructive consequence of being alienated from one’s own creativity, Marx’s view was developed in alienation from that Hegelian humility which saw man build upon the truth as an unconscious player, unaware of the larger development of history. To be unaware of the dialectic process is necessary in order for history to develop “naturally.” There is a very fine line. To be conscious of a potential role is to lead that responsibility vulnerable to an anthropological hutzpah which could disrupt the process. Hegel expressed a faith in man, Marx abused that faith and therefore undermined it. Marx forgot, or chose to ignore, that man will always be man.

All of this makes me wonder about the concept of rebellion, and how I see it being played out now. I generally see man as a reactionary species. We allow injustice, we react to injustice and call it an expression of the human spirit, yet we never (and perhaps this is necessary) understand our position holistically. The big picture rarely matters when it should, yet considering the design of existence, one that prevents us from understanding the larger context, all we have is the immediate and our understanding of justice within that very limited context, which can solve problems and lead to better societies, but it will never cure existence. Hegel valued conflict because it led to new levels of spirit (truth), yet we experience conflict in its immediacy and are not afforded hindsight or wisdom until it exists as something abstract or out of context.

So how do I instill passion in my heart for societal change, when societal change ignores the chains of the individual? The psychology of existence is never conquered. We are so creative with self-expression and are constantly in the midst of our plight. Existence is a curse which inspires beauty. We create our own cures, but are incapable of that one important cure. Marx envisioned a world in which philosophy no longer existed because it would be externalized and concrete, there would be no more questions to ask. But from where I stand right now, philosophy will always be required.

“we fought for a decade, corruption and greed
it gave me a purpose, a reason to breathe
but now that it’s over, now that we’ve won
i still sit in my bedroom, alone with a shot gun”–pedro the lion

Generally, one could be safe to assume that–

A. If one claims to be a conservative, then he or she would hold that the welfare state enables indolence, and rewards irresponsible behavior.

B. If one claims to be a liberal, then he or she would hold that the financial elite abuse their position and influence for selfish interests.

So there it is. Immediately, with no further analysis, one can notice a problem. One person is reacting to a false narrative which is nurtured by the problematic discourse that infects every major news network in America. Of course, this is just one aspect of a larger narrative which only serves to keep the public entrenched in a “debate” that is not even close to being focused on the heart of problem. Furthermore, that false narrative is simultaneously reinforced when one reacts to it with the predictable ammo which is..you guessed it..the other narrative. For as many types of people as there are in America, how can there be only two pervasive political molds to which we all must fit in order to be taken seriously?

It is a circus (That was confirmed the day I saw Joe the Plumber being given media attention after he decided to run for public office. The media has managed to turn one of the values of America into a mockery, into something regrettable.) Free elections, the right to assemble, the lively debates, and the social media outcries–it is all a part of a posture which encourages a “diversity” which is constantly undermined by the management and tightening of parameters. Distractions are used against us, distractions are given to us, fed to us, to make us feel like we’re taking part in a process which, while it directly affects us, is largely indifferent to us.

A protest is no long recognized as such, it is now a media event. The media immediately seizes upon the distractions and turns those distractions into the issue. A protest isn’t validated by their offering of a solution, the lack of solutions presented to us by those we elect is what validates a protest. A protest is not supposed to appoint a leader, an eloquent spokesperson to articulate a singular point, because there is no singular point. The grievance is a result of a monolithic, ubiquitous, problem which is so widespread it manifests itself into different problems for different people. It is thoroughly entrenched.

A protest is a tool to force attention. So logically, if one’s rights continue to be manipulated, selective, abused or ignored, then one will only resort to more dramatic means to be recognized. A protest is an individual expression, and if that individual can find a community through which he or she can become more visible, then he or she will do so. A protest isn’t a political party, it is not well thought out at its inception, it is disorganized, because a protest is a result of emotional frustration, helplessness, and fear.

We need to quit harping on what is spoon fed to us as if it is our own. We need to get to the bottom of ourselves and realize that we all we are are individuals trying our best. It is not fair, nor is it productive, to gauge an issue or complaint on the worst version of that complaint. I should not assume that every CEO is a thief who does not pay taxes, ships jobs off shore, and buys political support. Nor should I belief that every poor American is poor by his or her own laziness. I shouldn’t assume that a woman on welfare is a woman who uses welfare to support her drug habit. That type of thinking will only enforce that faulty narrative which is only a distraction from the real issue–the manipulation of the political process through financial influence. It is not partisan. A politician is vulnerable to a combination of two powerful forces–ambition and power, both of which are easily led off track by seemingly well meaning influences. Washington exists by its own machinery and answers only to itself.