Where I'm Coming From

ElvenKnight's picture

life is so much simpler now that I have DVR.
In the interest of full disclosure, if you want to get inside my head a little bit, go to www.indegayforum.com
those tend to be my views.

Comments

Lol-taire's picture

Yuk- the 'decency of our

Yuk- the 'decency of our national life'!

How can you not want to pose a threat to 'social morality and the political order'?

ElvenKnight's picture

life presents us with

life presents us with challenges. the point of free-market capitalism is that anybody who is willing to bust a hump to rise above, has the opportunity to do so.......

jeff's picture

Err...

So you're for capitalism when you're the person being paid, but against it, when you have to pay someone else?

---
"People who are happy are slugs... They do not move the human race forward."
-- Camille Paglia, on Oasis

ElvenKnight's picture

ummm no... Lol-taire is the

ummm no... Lol-taire is the one engaging in the marxist inspired rant.
All i'm doing is showing the inconsistancies in lol-taires argument.....

Lol-taire's picture

I might be a Marxist, but you believe in an outright myth

Right, so if I take up a place on the management training scheme at a small, but successful City investment brokers having pissed about at an expensive school and then pissed about university for a couple of years this is an example of how hard-work and enterprise lead to our rightful place in the social order...

It's not because my dad gets to pick who gets a place on the scheme.

And all the people who pissed around at expensive schools, so they could go to university? It's a coincidence that they all went on to higher education and none of them will ever work in for the rest of their lives Tescos?

I could work fucking hard as a cleaner 60 hours a week and it wouldn't ever matter how hard I worked, I'd still never be in the same economic and social position of the man whose office I was cleaning.

It's not about how hard you work, it's about who gets the opportunities- who gets the education, who has the contacts, who gets the loan, who owns the capital. It's about where you're born- in what country, in what gender, in what race. What language you were raised speaking. It's about what's expected of you.

So yes, occasionally the talented, the hard working and the lucky will excede their odds- excede expectations- and they'll take up a place in an elite alongside all the people who were born into it.

But what does that mean for the ones who don't? Do they stop existing or do they just not matter?

The world doesn't begin anew with every generation like a reality TV program.

And even- even if- it was true that everyone who 'deserved' it had the opportunity to work to a better life, then still you believe that the highest purpose for humanity is to be wage labourers.

It's the bleakest worldview imaginable. At least in the past we had the prospect of heaven to look forward to- in your estimation the ultimate we can have in life is a paycheck that covers the bills.

The 'opportunity' you believe in is a fallacy. The terms and conditions that apply render it meaningless to most people. A woman born and raised in a shanty town in Karachi does not go on to chair the board of Goldman Sachs.

I do ok under capitalism. If I'd been born a straight man I'd probably do even better. Capitalism is good for the people it works for because it isn't fair.

You can be an ardent supporter of capitalism, but you have to acknowledge that it is a system that can exist only so long as people are not equal. And that's fine- social equality in this life is historically a new concept.

But you also have to acknowledge that history has already fixed where we fit in the system, long before we were born.

ElvenKnight's picture

Human Nature

Capitalism certainly has its flaws but the one thing Capitalism has on its side is Human Nature.

Tophat's picture

But what is Human Nature?

Human Nature is a disputed concept, subject to someone's own prejudices and beliefs. While I am primarily a follower of Hobbes, I concede that Human Nature has more to it than greed and cruelty.

However, because of the subjective nature of "human nature", your argument, if put under an objective analysis, is Null and Void.

---------------------------------------------------
"What is life but a constant search for pleasure? I think that the feeling of a young man's tongue inside your mouth is the greatest pleasure of all."
-The Baron Van Oestregan

Lol-taire's picture

Just because you put it in

Just because you put it in capital letters doesn't make it immutable.

Human Nature- doesn't mean that much. It's not as fixed as we'd like to believe- or there would be no history of mentalités. What we believe- about ourselves and our societies- is changable.

Yes, human history has been an ongoing struggle against the forces of natural selection; inter- and intraspecific. But we're winning.

But we only struggle against each other when we're forced to- when there's a scarcity of resources. No-one fight wars over water in wet countries.

Scarcity is what drives competition, not our nature. But these days that scarcity is no longer inevitable. We don't have famines because the crops fail anymore, we have famine when governments fail.

Much of the competition we have these days is avoidable- a result of the way we've organised our societies. We shouldn't need to have to compete for education, for health care, for housing.

If you're saying that humans are constantly striving- rather than simply struggling- well that's a romantic worldview. But we can strive after capitalism, too.

You understand there was a time before capitalism, you must be able to see there will be a time after capitalism? Aren't you at all interested in what could replace it and whether it will be better or worse that what we have now?

ElvenKnight's picture

thank you for proving my point

First you tell me that human nature is subjective, than you tell me that my view is wrong.... hypocritical much?
capitalism is flawed. so is socialism. so is communism. Maybe not in theory, but in practice. Because human beings are incharge. our human nature is that we are bound to screw up.

Tophat's picture

You are very annoying.

Explain how my comment was hypocritical, exactly?

It wasn't.
---------------------------------------------------
"What is life but a constant search for pleasure? I think that the feeling of a young man's tongue inside your mouth is the greatest pleasure of all."
-The Baron Van Oestregan

ElvenKnight's picture

wasnt tallking to u....

Tophat, i don't believe that statement was directed at you....

Tophat's picture

I apologize.

I was mistaken.

---------------------------------------------------
"What is life but a constant search for pleasure? I think that the feeling of a young man's tongue inside your mouth is the greatest pleasure of all."
-The Baron Van Oestregan

Lol-taire's picture

It's not about the perfectabilty of mankind

Not at all hypocritical.

I say there is no such thing as an essental 'human nature' true to all times, all places, immutable and unchangable or that whatever 'human nature' does mean so wide reaching it virtually meaningless. And that individuals are shaped by our experience and our society, far more than we actually get shape our society or our experience as individuals.

And I also say that your politics are inconsistant and based on false assumptions. Which they are. And that your politics come from the mythology of the society you live in. Which they do.

There is no contradiction there.

My politics are just as determined by my environment as yours are. It just shows how socially determined our experience- our deepest held beliefs and motivations- are.

You find this a reason to despair- I see it as an opportunity for a better type of society.

I don't think the type of competition- for resources, for standard of living, we have now is inevitable. I don't think the divisions we have know are inevitable, especially where I can see the history of the way in which they've been constructed.

We both see that humans can be violent, competative, oppressive and cruel. And life is nasty, brutish and short. Whatever. If you want to say it's in our nature, then fine. But, I say, that doesn't actually mean very much. You think these tendacies emerge regardless of our circumstances, I think they emerge as a result of the situations we find ourselves in.

I think there are ways of organising human society so that the worst elements of human behavior- 'human nature' if you want to call it that- don't have to be exhibited as often as they are now.

Nanook's picture

Isn't it arguable however,

Isn't it arguable however, that an essential and fundamental human nature is ever present in the very thing which makes us human: the codons which are us? The very reason that those tri-nucleotide sequences exist, is to well... exist. In other words, the very purpose of life is to further perpetuate and develop itself. If our ribosomal information really cared about others, then the whole theory of evolution would collapse.

The only reason that we, as humans, actually interact with eachother is for benefit. Our societies are simply tools to perpetuate our lives. Medicine and science have made us stronger, have made us live longer, and are slowly cracking the genetic code. If we do actually comprehend the genetic code, then we'll be able to fast forward evolution by an unimaginable amount of time. Or, if we finally get this higgs-boson thing working (I seriously hope the future isn't actually sabotaging that discovery... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/13/science/space/13lhc.html) then hot damn, we've got that equation of the universe all figured out pretty much.

Anything and everything human is a direct result from our ribosomal information, like it or not. All social reaction, is based in it, for our genes are our nature.

P.S. Sorry if this isn't very well composed. Today was a rough day in term of hang overs...

niks121997's picture

I should really respond when more alert

Ah-what does it mean to be human? True there are genetic commonalities and an overarching link across all human life through the genetic code. But I think that answers the question of what humans are rather than looking at how, who, or why. And to look at human nature (which I don’t think exists as an immutable fact) as solely a function of what diminishes the overall picture. I halfway agree with your statement, “Anything and everything human is a direct result from our ribosomal information, like it or not. All social reaction, is based in it, for our genes are our nature.” Humans arose from a genetic and evolutionary process, but for me the more important focus is on what humans and social and societal institutions do with the result. And what we have done and do changes with time, with the social environment, and the larger structures of the present.

We all have certain givens-both biological and environmental-but it is what we do with them and within them that is the more important question, to me at least. And what we have done is remarkable on one hand and appalling on the other, but it doesn’t have to be this way, hasn’t always been this way, which leaves open a whole avenue of brilliant possibility.

I am not explaining myself very well this morning. I apologize.

Lol-taire's picture

Our genome gives us the

Our genome gives us the perimeters of our possible appearence and behavior. For example, I think I'm about average height for a woman in the UK and the same height as my mother. Although I would never have been 8 feet tall, I could have been 4"5 if I'd grown up in a time of famine.

When we talk about 'human behavior' there are often very, very wide perimeters of possibilty- which we know from history and anthropology.
So much of what we might consider innate we get from our socialisation and experience, both within the family and the wider community starting from the moment of our birth until the moment of our death.

No doubt the general patterns of human behavior- and arguably even to some extent ideas of what might consider 'moral' imperative etc.- have a universal quality based in our evolutionary history and reproductive ambition.

But it is very, very dangerous to overstate any universal quality of human experience or emotion. Even this conversation is only possible within a very specific context (of time, language, technology)- which has emerged from chains of events that had their origins even in prehistory.

And as so much of our behavior- all our behavior- is a response to something (direct or indirect), we can't seperate behavior from context even if human behavior were universal.

Icarus's picture

i'm gonna go with tophat on this one...

yeeeeeah.

so for those of you falling in love
keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right
throw yourself in the midst of danger
and keep one eye open at night.
--"Elephants" Rachel Yamagata

ElvenKnight's picture

You're calling me captain

You're calling me captain obvious because somebody felt the need to put words in my mouth.???
Thanks....
Thanks Alot...
I appreciate it....

Tophat's picture

No.

I assume that you don't know what a troll is, then?

Look it up on Encyclopedia Dramatica.

---------------------------------------------------
"What is life but a constant search for pleasure? I think that the feeling of a young man's tongue inside your mouth is the greatest pleasure of all."
-The Baron Van Oestregan

Icarus's picture

um. no.

http://encyclopediadramatica.com/X_Y_is_X

so for those of you falling in love
keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right
throw yourself in the midst of danger
and keep one eye open at night.
--"Elephants" Rachel Yamagata