The changing perception of the self is downstream of the printing press.
It's possibly delusional to speak of only the material, in light of the hard problem of consciousness. And while it can be good to attempt create unity instead of division, it matters a lot how you attempt to create this unity.
It is clear to me no amount of intellectual labor is ever going to add up to a shared consensus, as a core competence of the faculty of reason is to divide and distinguish. Spirituality is more on the trip of seeing an underlying harmony behind everything, but you can't perceive this harmony if you only intellectualize or study the material (really resonates with how Plotinus said matter is the most evil thing there is). Some scientists have also been borderline mystics, but they also drew knowledge and wisdom from sources other than science.
It is neither possible nor necessary to build the Tower of Babel, because as the Jains pointed out thousands of years before postmodernism, all you can ever get to with words is differing points of view, not some kind of absolute. But for the Jains, this is no cause for despair, or even concern: it just reveals the truth is a beautiful multifaceted gem.
It's like Dostoevsky said, we're already in heaven and if we could see we were in heaven, we would be in heaven tomorrow. But such a dramatic shift in perspective is something no merely intellectual labor can accomplish.
". Our crisis today is a lack of sufficient breadth of encyclopedic learning to properly explain and justify our true perceptions"
This is extremely important and is a problem of world-view, specifically one (Western/mechanistic) that has grown old enough that it no longer fits the social phenomena and the evolved perceptions as well.
New world views (I ground it in Leibniz, but more on that later)are surfacing, (and expressing themselves often as Egypt or other mystery cult nostalgia) and in this often violent political chaos of effectively new religious forms and therefore new art being born, new encyclopedic scope will eventually surface.
We must remember, even Cicero, Leonarda and Goethe didn't know everything. They simply had a confident scope and genius-level depth in a quite comprehensive world view, suited to the respective times.
I'm going on about all this on a Twitter space tomorrow 1PM pacific - anyone can come in to add if they like.
This is mostly very good - and I disagree with some like "words over narrative" - if this were true, billboards with iconographic ads (think of Nike) would be useless and non-existent.
But this next bit, I'd be very surprised if this is not factually false:
"Electromagnetism is instantaneous in its effects, unlike physical objects which must travel continuously through space. A copper wire laid across the ocean floor changes its charge state across its entire length all at once."
Why is fiber optic faster than copper wire regarding latency if this is true?
There is such a thing as the speed of electricity and it is *slower* than light. Electrons don't break the light barrier - because nothing does. Not even McLuhan's rhetoric breaks the light barrier.
For those curious:
" In everyday electrical and electronic devices, the signals travel as electromagnetic waves typically at 50%–99% of the speed of light in vacuum, while the electrons themselves move much more slowly; see drift velocity and electron mobility."
Just here to say this is an amazing piece. Wish I could go into more detail, but words fail me...
Joyce's Plurabelle. Had to give up on ideas of unity. And replace with a mediator, stopped thinking of self, as individual in any way, and instead a multiple of say ego divisions or dynamics, that could for some be tracked back through the ages. Others seeming, more elemental or evocative of the modern. Thanks for this post.
What great subject matter and a novel but practiced writing style. You're my new favorite!
I made the mistake of trying to read this before my morning coffees. To quote my computer, “insufficient system resources exist to complete the requested service.” I’ll have to re-read it later. I wouldn’t bother if the pre-coffee read hadn’t convinced me that there are interesting depths to this piece. Looking forward to it.
One of the best essays I've ever read. Congrats 👏
My middle son misuses the word 'based' all the time. But I think he's pointing to something of value. I'm discovering a primal version of my sexuality. I think this also points to something of value. Post rats, post modernists, manosphericals all seem to have the problem U identify. But primal, embodied, truly based individuals whatever that means, may have something right.
1. This was beautiful
2. Re non-linearity in film, I wonder what MM would have made of MTV, which I think debuted about a year after he died.
3. I regret googling “rope bunny.”
Stand up triple ... nice work Clinton! 👍👏
This is extremely well written and important. I'll enjoy reading it more slowly when I have time. The bit on Smith and factory labor is more or less correct about production but folds in a LOT of Marxian perspective on alienated labor without exactly saying so. You may have read it from someone who themselves did not disclose the Marxian roots of the "alienation" perspective.
The discourse on "meaningless labor" is a bit heavy handed (you are not alone in this, it isn't just you) and to me, the whole tack seems to come from a Rousseaunian place of (as you mentioned) prizing the individual, because as a TEAM - factory labor is grandly meaningful. Talk to men who work(ed) at an auto plant: assembly line work is not meaningless. It can be great - especially when organized well! I worked at a cheese factory - and I found meaning in that. And it isn't crazy to do so.
Your main point on the distinct mediation of automated labor is VERY important. - More on that in a later reply from me.
I was going to say something nice about this excellent article on Twitter - but you blocked me. I can't ever remember what for. - probably my being confrontational about ideas or that Jimmy Olson "supergirl" joke about what I thought was a pretty awesome and funny tweet that you deleted. My twitter handle is @histofarch if you ever want to unblock me.
A man cannot be self made or he's delusional? 🥱
Enjoyed this guest post. Clint always has interesting things to say.