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  1. #1
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    Default Humans as objects of commerce

    Humans as objects of commerce

    McLuhan was, I guess, the first to express the insight that technology is an extension of the human body.

    These hand-held gadgets for communication might very well represent the end of ‘understanding’ for almost all citizens by 2050. I can see it already on the Internet discussion forums where communication is becoming a stream of consciousness without coherent grammatical or thoughtful content or construction.

    Rugged individualism might be an appropriate expression for all the creatures in the world, with one exception. Humans have, in the last few hundred years, moved from being rugged individuals to our present state in which we have fashioned an alien environment in which we have become chess pieces or ciphers. We have invented the Artificial Kingdom where, as Simone Weil once noted, “it is the thing that thinks and the man who is reduced to the state of the thing”.

    I think that we, women and men, have become chess pieces. We have become objects to be manipulated by the market and the corporation. We spend our days like the chess piece; we have a quantified value and are placed on the board and used as desired by some one who may be a real person. The real person has still the human characteristics of creativity, spontaneity, improvisation, spontaneously reactive, discontinuous, a mosaic more than syntax or cipher. Just what we find is missing when using the telephone to contact someone out there.

    In an effort to understand where we are now it might help to start back in time and move forward. In frontier days each person was very much an individual. Rugged individualism was a popular expression. Each man and woman was a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. Each husband and wife was a team that together could and had to do everything that was needed.

    In early America we were an agricultural economy. Most families were farm families we were all rugged individualist. The farmer was very much the jack-of-all-trades and the master of his or her domain.

    As we move forward in time we see this team become a man working in a factory or office and the woman was at home raising the children and maintaining the day to day necessities for all family members. She washed, cleaned, shopped, sewed, and was still much of a rugged individual. Slowly the man became a specialized worker in a clockwork factory or office.

    Moving forward in history we arrive at the present moment where not only is the man working in the factory or office but the woman joins him there also.

    When we examine the factory or office workspace we find a very different occupation for the man and woman than the rugged individualism of emerging history of human evolution. We no longer are masters of our own domain but are ciphers in a clockwork that functions upon modern economic principles.

    A pertinent example of this mode of commodification is how we have converted what was political economics into the modern economics. Political economy is the study of social relations. It is the study of culture. Political economy focuses upon the problem of how to regulate industrialization within the context of a healthy society, it worries about the problems of labor within a context of the laborer as an end and not a commodity—an object of commerce.

    Economics, however, in its modern form, has replaced political economics. Economics has removed the pesky concern about labor as being human and has replaced labor as being a commodity—an object of commerce. Modern economics is now the study of scarcity, prices, and resource allocation. Economics has legislated that labor, as an end, is no longer a legitimate domain of knowledge for economic consideration. In doing so, over time, society has become ignorant of such concerns. Our culture has replaced concern about humans as ends with humans as means to some other end.

    In the rugged individualist mode of living the individual was creative and master even though the domain of mastery was small. An individual’s personality is dramatically affected. Labor has become an abstract quantity and calculated into the commodity produced. We are the only creatures who have completely removed our self from what we were evolved to be. We are the only creatures removed from our grounding in an organic world. We came from a long ancestry of rugged individualist and now reside in the Artificial Kingdom. To what end only time will tell.

    Do you feel like a cipher in our culture?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Drezoryx's Avatar
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    A. Yes very much so and this system which has evolved is not very sustainable imho. The individual will re assert him/her self.
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  3. #3
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    It actually feels like there's too much of a demand for individualism. No clear directions on how to participate in the system.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post
    Do you feel like a cipher in our culture?
    The individual is a result of universal literacy.

    By learning to read alone, silently pronouncing the words in one's own head, without speaking to anyone else, creates the individual.

    We read a book alone.

    But the printing press was only invented in 1440 giving birth to the dream of universal literacy. And this dream has only been realised quite recently in developed countries. Prior to that everyone lived in a spoken culture, not a literate culture.

    And so individuals just didn't exist. There were, for instance, no private bedrooms.

    And just as the book has been superseded by the telegraph, the telephone, the television and the internet, so the individual has been superseded by the global village.

    And Typology Central is a global village. We come from all over the globe and share our feelings here.

    And although we read a book alone, we share these threads together.

    The telegraph, the telephone, the television and the internet put our central nervous system on the outside. So we are now sensitive to every vibration.

    Universal literacy exploded outwards all over the world, and now the telegraph, the telephone, the television and the internet are imploding.

    And we are imploding together.

    And that is why we are interested in the inner life of the personality.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Athenian200 View Post
    It actually feels like there's too much of a demand for individualism. No clear directions on how to participate in the system.
    On the surface we are presenting individual points of view, but deeper down we are sharing our feelings.

    And the feelings we are sharing are not our individual feelings but our group feelings.

    All of us are literate so we are quite good at presenting our individual points of view, but the cutting edge of Central is leaning to tap into our group feeling.

    This is the work of Central. Not only are we all literate, but thanks to the telegraph, the telephone, the television and the internet, we all share the same central nervous system. And that is why this site is called Central.

    As you know, our internal central nervous system electrical and is inside our bodies. But our external central nervous system is also electrical and is outside our bodies.

    So we all now have the same external electrical nervous system.

    Does it make you nervous baby? It sure makes me nervous.
    Last edited by Mole; 10-25-2009 at 09:27 AM.

  6. #6
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    An oligarchy controls public policy in America. The oligarchy consists of those who manage the great wealth of American institutions. This oligarchy designs our educational system to graduate good producers and consumers and does not desire independent thinkers.

    CA (Corporate America) has developed a well-honed expertise in motivating the population to behave in a desired manner. Citizens as consumers are ample manifestation of that expertise. CA has accomplished this ability by careful study and implementation of the knowledge of the ways of human behavior. I suspect this same structure applies to most Western democracies.

    A democratic form of government is one wherein the citizens have some voice in some policy decisions. The greater the voice of the citizens the better the democracy.

    In America we have policy makers, decision makers, and citizens. The decision makers are our elected representatives and are, thus, under some control by the voting citizen. The policy makers are the leaders of CA; less than ten thousand individuals, according to those who study such matters. Policy makers exercise significant control of decision makers by controlling the financing of elections.

    Policy makers customize and maintain the dominant ideology in order to control the political behavior of the citizens. This dominant ideology exercises the political control of the citizens in the same fashion as the consuming citizen is controlled by the same dominant ideology.

    An enlightened citizen is the only means to gain more voice in more policy decisions. An enlightened citizen is much more than an informed citizen. Critical thinking is the only practical means to develop a more enlightened citizen. If, however, we wait until our CT trained grade-schoolers become adults I suspect all will be lost. This is why I think a massive effort must be made to convince today’s adults that they must train themselves in CT.


    “Thomas R. Dye, Professor of Political Science at Florida State University, has published a series of books examining who and what institutions actually control and run America. to understand who is making the decisions that affect our lives, we also have to understand how societies structure themselves in general. Why the few always tend to share more power than the many and what this means in terms of both a society's evolution and our daily lives. they examined the other 11 institutions that exert just as powerful a shaping influence, although somewhat more subtle: The Industrial, Corporations, Utilities and Communications, Banking, Insurance

  7. #7
    Senior Member Drezoryx's Avatar
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    ^ i support CT but not such alarmist thinking. Don't forget the bureaucracy and international pressures. The complexity is more than enough to keep those with money or power on their toes.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst View Post

    An enlightened citizen is the only means to gain more voice in more policy decisions. An enlightened citizen is much more than an informed citizen. Critical thinking is the only practical means to develop a more enlightened citizen. If, however, we wait until our CT trained grade-schoolers become adults I suspect all will be lost. This is why I think a massive effort must be made to convince today’s adults that they must train themselves in CT.

    It is far too late for that. Critical thinking and common sense is dead. Humanity is moving towards a global society, and this new paradigm will be as collectivist as any before it. Collective intelligence is always the bottom of intelligence, and lends itself to being controlled and manipulated by those who can assert themselves above the collective (all the stuff you mentioned before). That is the price they pay for their ineptitude. The individual will cease to have nearly the level of prominence as in the past. And more than ever, those who desire to use their critical thinking and escape the matrix will find themselves at odds with the mass consciousness, unless they learn to work within it. Like those before them, the "enlightened", as you say, will be the only ones able to step forward and operate the control panel to manipulate that matrix, and in doing so, will assure that they can survive as an awakened individual. All those who are unable to think critically about the world you are in, and unable to utilize meta-cognition, your fate is to be controlled by those who can. That is your purpose.

  9. #9
    Don't Judge Me! Haphazard's Avatar
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    Humans have always been objects to some end.

    It's just now we've traded our kings and churches for CEOs.
    -Carefully taking sips from the Fire Hose of Knowledge

  10. #10
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    Critical Thinking: Art and science of good judgment

    The first step toward solving our problems is to learn CT (Critical Thinking).

    CT is an acronym for Critical Thinking. Everybody considers themselves to be a critical thinker. That is why we need to differentiate among different levels of critical thinking.

    Most people fall in the category that I call Reagan thinkers—trust but verify. Then there are those who have taken the basic college course taught by the philosophy dept that I call Logic 101. This is a credit course that teaches the basic principles of reasoning. Of course, a person need not take the college course and can learn the matter on their own effort, but I suspect few do that.

    The third level I call CT (Critical Thinking). CT includes the knowledge of Logic 101 and also the knowledge that focuses upon the intellectual character and attitude of critical thinking. It includes knowledge regarding the ego and social centric forces that impede rational thinking.

    Most decisions we have to make are judgment calls. A judgment call is made when we must make a decision when there is no “true” or “false” answers. When we make a judgment call our decision is bad, good, or better.

    Many factors are involved: there are the available facts, assumptions, skills, knowledge, and especially personal experience and attitude. I think that the two most important elements in the mix are personal experience and attitude.

    When we study math we learn how to use various algorithms to facilitate our skill in dealing with quantities. If we never studied math we could deal with quantity on a primary level but our quantifying ability would be minimal. Likewise with making judgments; if we study the art and science of good judgment we can make better decisions and if we never study the art and science of judgment our decision ability will remain minimal.

    I am convinced that a fundamental problem we have in this country (USA) is that our citizens have never learned the art and science of good judgment. Before the recent introduction of CT into our schools and colleges our young people have been taught primarily what to think and not how to think. All of us graduated with insufficient comprehension of the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary for the formulation of good judgment. The result of this inability to make good judgment is evident and is dangerous.

    I am primarily interested in the judgment that adults exercise in regard to public issues. Of course, any improvement in judgment generally will affect both personal and community matters.

    To put the matter into a nut shell:
    1. Normal men and women can significantly improve their ability to make judgments.
    2. CT is the domain of knowledge that delineates the knowledge, skills, and intellectual character demanded for good judgment.
    3. CT has been introduced into our schools and colleges slowly in the last two or three decades.
    4. Few of today’s adults were ever taught CT.
    5. I suspect that at least another two generations will pass before our society reaps significant rewards resulting from teaching CT to our children.
    6. Can our democracy survive that long?
    7. I think that every effort must be made to convince today’s adults that they need to study and learn CT on their own. I am not suggesting that adults find a teacher but I am suggesting that adults become self-actualizing learners.
    8. I am convinced that learning the art and science of Critical Thinking is an important step toward becoming a better citizen in today’s democratic society.




    Bertrand Russell on Critical Thinking

    "ABSTRACT: The ideal of critical thinking is a central one in Russell's philosophy, though this is not yet generally recognized in the literature on critical thinking. For Russell, the ideal is embedded in the fabric of philosophy, science, liberalism and rationality, and this paper reconstructs Russell's account, which is scattered throughout numerous papers and books. It appears that he has developed a rich conception, involving a complex set of skills, dispositions and attitudes, which together delineate a virtue which has both intellectual and moral aspects. It is a view which is rooted in Russell's epistemological conviction that knowledge is difficult but not impossible to attain, and in his ethical conviction that freedom and independence in inquiry are vital. Russell's account anticipates many of the insights to be found in the recent critical thinking literature, and his views on critical thinking are of enormous importance in understanding the nature of educational aims. Moreover, it is argued that Russell manages to avoid many of the objections which have been raised against recent accounts. With respect to impartiality, thinking for oneself, the importance of feelings and relational skills, the connection with action, and the problem of generalizability, Russell shows a deep understanding of problems and issues which have been at the forefront of recent debate." 20th WCP: Bertrand Russell on Critical Thinking

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