Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

Existential Expansion

August 10, 2017

Styriaxis

(making your life more difficult to justify complaining about it)

Donald Trump cat 

 

I have been writing poems about made up words posted on the Internet from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig.  When my friend, Donn Trenton, heard this, he sent me the above word among others he has invented.  Serendipitously, the word ‘Styriaxis’ has provided the bit of grit needed for my oyster like mind to shape a pearl around – one whose nacreous layers of meaning have been searching many years for a nidus around which to condense and harden.   (Beautifully, I hope.)

Styriaxis is a word which describes a process of existential enlargement.  Styriaxis defines a method or an intellectual ‘machine’ for creating an expanding world of complaint.  It is an idea, embodied in a word, whose actions, be they beneficial or not, create a larger and larger playing field for a further action, which would be ‘to complain’.  There are many words like this, and not just words but aggregations of meaning which act the same, which have been fascinating me for some time.  They are thoughts which perform as generators of existence.

For example, take the county/folk singer John Denver.  He sings in a lovely, clear, tenor voice about love and other matters of a mostly lyrical nature in verses that are general positive and suffused with warm feeling for the modest life.  But, especially on his Christmas album, the ringing clarity of his voice has the chiming of a struck bell.  There is a profound hollowness, an expanding emptiness within each note.  This expanding emptiness is covered over by the warm and good wishes of his lyrics as best they are able.  Nevertheless, we hear and feel it.  The hollowness of his vocal clarity creates a demand for the warm embracing quality of his songs.  The two qualities thrive and expand each other.

And it would seem a lot of popular art has incorporated this self-expanding mechanism.  As another example, take a simple black box theater where the performance takes place under the klieg lights against a black backdrop.  Visually, we are seeing existence portrayed against nihility.  The nihility demands life.  And the life is dramatized by the nihility is skates across.  Put together, the two are an emotional machine for generating and capturing audience interest.  Their synergy is compelling.

Most of art criticism, to my mind, is of the surface exhibition and not enough of the nihilism which underscores it.  I would think that the artistic evocation of this nihilism would be as important a contributor to the total power of the aesthetic experience (and perhaps moreso) that the surface exhibition itself.  As examples of artists who might excel at the creation of the nihilism of the background and who are balanced otherwise, I would suggest the sculptor Giacometti and the playwright Beckett.  (Though here, I would have to say, my thinking remains ‘unfinished’.)

 

Which brings me to politics.  These ‘existential generators’ do not exist I think only in the art world.  I would hypothesize that they are everywhere, and perhaps more are being created as we speak.  In fact, perhaps these ‘existential generators’ are the precursors of our conscious existence.  Perhaps they create the stage on which we play out our lives.  Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.  But they certainly exist in politics.

Reality is like a rock; it neither knows that we exist nor that it exists.  (Okay, this is my guess.)  A rock pretty well describes the nihilistic backdrop to all life as described by a materialist.  If we were to compare Socialism to a John Denver song, the materialism of their outlook would be the ringing silver bell of his voice.   Socialistic dogma would be the warm suffusing lyrical melody and lyrics.  “Isn’t it lovely to think so,” as one of Hemingway’s characters once said of another character’s hopes near the final page of “The Sun Also Rises” – a finally bleak, barren narrative.  The blindness of the lyrics to the realities of the sound leads to bad outcomes – which in turn accentuate the nihilism of the background demanding an accentuating of the foreground, and vice versa, ad nauseum.  The existential expansion occurs.  Socialism can generate its own popularity.  So can a Hemingway tale.  So can a John Denver song.  So can Donald Trump.

Contrast socialism with capitalism and free markets, whose goal is to fulfill the need.  By fulfilling needs, the free market decreases the volume of the nihilism or the vividness of reality, and in turn requires less of itself.  It is a machine which naturally disintegrates audience.  It is a machine which gradually begins to look unnecessary.  Humans are problem solving creatures.  Left without problems to solve they suffer cultural collapse.  Socialism creates problems and brings about cultural hardening.  Free enterprise eliminates problems and creates cultural softening.  This pretty much brings us to the political state we are in today.

The genius of Donald Trump’s nature is that it reverses the background and foreground.  His foreground is the authoritarian, ignorant, undisciplined, bellicose, impolitic and bullying personality which forms the background of the Socialist aesthetic.  His antics – narcissistic as a rock – absolutely rivet his opposition’s attention.  Meanwhile, his background employs the capitalistic/business principles he wishes to advance and in which his backers believe – and which actually does make things better.  Trump’s existential expansion wraps up Socialism’s  existential expansion in bravura antics and twitter feeds.  His paper wraps their rock – and gains him the election.  His capitalistic/business principles will cap his administration’s successes.  My take.

If you enjoyed this post, you may try more of Carl Nelson found here:  http://www.magicbeanbooks.co/home.html

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Why Political Systems Endure to Squabble Interminably

January 28, 2017

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(Spoiler:  It’s the Libertarians)

Perhaps the reason various political systems endure and are argued is that they all have some current application.  For example, monarchy is the ruling system of the family:  King father, Queen mother, the aunts and uncles of Nobility, and finally the lowly Citizen-children.  All are granted their seniority with due rewards and obligations in the hierarchy.  Women especially have a warm spot for the royal touch of the hereditary monarchies, such as the  Camelot Kennedys and Princess Diana.

Communism, which would seem worldwide to be the adversary of free enterprise, capitalism, business and ‘the American Way’ – is actually the functioning paradigm of most business. At work, the resources of the company are generally there for the use of all workers – workers whose value and efforts at building the company are judged and used and disposed of in kind.  One’s attitude is continually monitored with periodic supervisory ‘evaluations’ of performance being common.  You are told which work you will perform, where it will be done, and who you are to report to.  You have a ‘job description’, which describes the type of corporate citizen you are.  Freedom of speech is curtailed.  Dress codes prevail.  Outside activity can be proscribed.  The strictures are manifold.

Socialism is most clearly practiced in the public schools, where labor and money are dispensed – on the basis of need –  to children who are yet unable to contribute to the economy.

Fascism is the essence of professional team sports and corporations, where the workers are employed, fired and transferred on the basis of enhancing the organizations’ success.  Titles, job descriptions, and status designations predominate and rule activity.

But perhaps it is the in the military where the most effective mechanisms of Fascism function.  The struggle of veterans to re-enter a civilian society which after their service seems lacking in purpose and commitment, speaks to the great power of the fascist mental engine in creating an unbreakable bond of loyalty between brothers united in a single focused challenge rimmed with excitement and danger.   It may have been Susan Sontag who said, “The problem with fascism is that it’s too exciting, and the problem with socialism is that it’s too boring.”

Theocracy is the hierarchy of organized religion – and even disorganized religions – which place God at the top.

Democracy is the representation and working mix of this hodgepodge of political loyalties, which, to function, must respect each systems natural dominion.

But as the partisans of each system expand, they seek  to re-create the government in their image.  History abounds with examples of failed countries where each of these systems have transgressed their natural bounds and have obtained the coercive powers of government.

 The American Constitution, by seeking to limit the coercive power of government over its citizens, ironically insures the liberty of its citizens to chose their preferred ‘political’ lifestyle.

Academics and the government employed edge towards Socialism.  Families prefer the Monarchy style.  Corporate and military lean towards the Fascist.  And the Church of course is Theist.    It is the Libertarians, whose vision of government most resembles that of a Constitutional Caretaker, who labor daily to keep the warring political creeds contained within their dominions and voluntary; that is, removed from the levers of power. 

And it’s a thankless task.  Libertarians rarely generate enthusiasm.  And they rarely win elections.  But it’s the wise ruler and citizen who heed their counsel.

If you would like to read more of Carl Nelson’s writing, please visit: http://www.magicbeanbooks.co/home.html

Two Problems with Socialism

June 26, 2016

Bernie4

Last night I watched a biopic of Jimmie Hendrix in which one commentator remarked that trying to become famous can be more fun than the actual ‘being’ famous.

I would make the same case for making a living.  Endeavoring to insure oneself a roof over one’s head and food in one’s mouth is wholly more involving than the simple consumption of it.  People who must earn a living become resourceful, capable, industrious and persistent.  People who just consume often become just the opposite.  It would seem humans are made to strive, not arrive.  We are designed to be problem solvers, not consumers.

Take your average consumer.  For the most part, even they are out to purchase the answer to a problem they have.  The housewife needs to dress her children and feed her family and to create a well appointed and comfortable home.  Even the indulgent consumer is either out to create a mood through a hedonistic purchase or a prized look through the purchase of fashion.  I would hazard that even the Socialist has more fun and finds more purpose in life trying to bend the world to their will and moralizing from their soapbox – than when lying back and enjoying the benefits of the free lunch themselves.  I’d guess that they have little envy for what they are striving for, and only envy for what they testify against.  Otherwise, they would move.

Another problem with socialism is that people enjoy doing business.  They love it, even when done for pennies, such as at a flea market.  As Francesca Aran Murphy so succinctly states in her piece, “Is Liberalism a Heresy?”  (and in a former post I’ve made)

“A mixture of rule of law and respect for personal freedom enabled market economies to emerge.  People readily took to the roles of buyer and sellers of goods, because buying and selling involves the kind of role-play in which human beings flourish…..  Buying and selling became a driving force and expressive feature of modern societies, because the clever play of concealment and exposure through language and gesture it entails fits our social, dramatic  natures like a glove.”

Socialism saps the fun from life.  I believe it was Susan Sontag who said, “The problem with socialism is that it is too boring.  And the problem with fascism is that it’s too exciting.”  Have I talked you into becoming a Babbitt yet?

Currently the next conversation due upon the political horizon is of creating a basic national income.  This is being seen as necessary to many, who foretell that the coming jobs available for a large percentage of our citizens will simply not pay enough for them to live successfully.  What is to be done?

I don’t know.  I don’t know if what is foreseen will actually occur.  Nobody does.  But if it does, proponents say that a sample of  studies undertaken seem to show that people given the money do not waste it, but utilize it to create better lives for themselves.

It sounds promising.  But would this be true if everyone got free money?  And if everyone gets free money, wouldn’t this cause a counterproductive inflation of the prices of basic items?

As is usual, the studies seem to indicate one thing, but experience the other.  So the ‘smart’ people tend to line up on one side of the issue and the experienced people on the other.  The record for trust babies doesn’t look good.

How will having more money cause people to find meaningful work?  Or will it?   And if not, what then?  Idle hands are the devil’s helpers, they say.

(To read more of Carl Nelson’s work, go to: http://www.magicbeanbooks.co/home.html  )


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