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Towards a Transition

May 20, 2014

I would like to suggest an enormous transition in human understanding and human interaction. If this is to be done, we must enter into a transitional stage, and for that reason I do not want to call upon anything definite. What I am suggesting is that we open our minds to a new kind of learning, without yet deciding. As we act we may decide upon what is prudential, but then open ourselves once again to possibility, for the sake of transition. We can interact as we wish, do what you wish and call it what you wish, but do not label your interactions in the world or with others in such a way that you limit yourself or the situation. Do not create limits to the possibilities of your interactions, do not adopt fixed roles, ways of speaking and repetitive sayings. Or rather, do adopt as you wish, but then open yourself once again to the possibility of something else entirely. Be open to spontaneity.

(Please note that when I am extolling openness and unfixed behaviour I am talking about your behaviour as a public interactant, and not in any way advocating that you give up the private soveriegnty of your right to your person.)

 

Because this blog is integrally concerned with the state of democracy, freedom, and questions of equality and how best to live, I want to point attention to a quote for you to consider, what do you feel about it? It is from Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a prominent theorist of democracy. Arguably, his largest contribution to that theory is the notion of the “general will” which is the will of all the citizens together thinking as a cohesive society. By the same token, he may also be considered an early theorist of collectivism, where the individual gives up his or her will to the collective. This is a quote from his book the Social Contract, under the section Democracy, I am pasting it here for your consideration:

If we take the term in the strict sense, there never has been a real democracy, and there never will be. It is against the natural order for the many to govern and the few to be governed. It is unimaginable that the people should remain continually assembled to devote their time to public affairs, and it is clear that they cannot set up commissions for that purpose without the form of administration being changed.

 

I think the above quote is eminently important for discussion among people living in what we call a “democratic society”, and at very least an important notion to contemplate. Rousseau’s Social Contract can be found here:

http://www.constitution.org/jjr/socon.htm

 

Here are a couple of essays, the first deals with notions of “the few and the many”, or the elite and the populace, depending on how you want to look at it. I also think this brings up some important issues, some perhaps to be transcended entiely, but this is the work of a democratic society to do together, through discussion and through open association.

The second essay is part of a book about Leo Strauss, which first brings up a number of arguments against Leo Strauss and then begins a discussion of his own thoughts. I want to qualify the reading of the second essay by saying, ultimately what is advocated by Leo Strauss is a return to universal and unchanging truths that only philosophy can discover. While it is up to you to decide what you believe, since the essay does not do this, I would like to point out that universal and unchanging  truths have been used in the past to justify social differentiation, such as heirarchy, as “timeless”. I am not necessarily saying that that is the intention of Strauss, but it is worth considering.

http://www.italianacademy.columbia.edu/publications/working_papers/2009-2010/Mikael%20Hornqvist.pdf

 

http://www3.undpress.nd.edu/excerpts/P01075-ex.pdf

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