More generally, Postmodernity can be characterised as a process of de-differentation of what Modernity has differentiated. Max Weber analysed the modernisation process as a progressive autonomisation of domains such as Science, Religion, Art, Justice, Philosophy, Technology and so on (Lash, 1990). Psychology is a product of this modern process of differnetiation. Lash describes postmodernism as a process of de-differentation of all these domains. The moves of the subdisciplines of psychology can so be re-interpreted. Part of them will join Technology. But the core of Psychology, in other words the historically developed art and science of self-reflexivity and ‘political’ action (the participation of the individual in the constrcution of social networks), will have to make itself a new future by developing a science of postmodern men and women. This whole field now is open to sociologists, philosophers and pyschoanalysts. When I read The Meeting of the Waters : Individuality, Community and Solidarity (Kristensen, 1997), I was convinced that most of the chapters – the book is a reader – were written down by personality psychologists or social psychologists, as many chapters deal with Self and Identity. Rob Shields’ analysis of Cinderella as a prefiguration of the postmodern problem of identity in everyday life and in cyberspaces leading to ‘psychoanaesthesia’ and depression, should have been written by a psychologists. However, all these chapters are written by sociologists. The book is a fine example of the deadlock in which modern psychology has brought itself by cutting off its communication with the culturally and historically rooted problems of individual men and women in their everyday life. For the psychologist of postmodernity this should not be a reason for bitterness or envy, but an encouragement. It should strengthen him or her in the conviction that the death of the Modern Ego does not imply the death of psychology as such (Rosseel 2001).
Having acquired my first digital recorder while working in Iqaluit, Nunavut I began to depend on this exciting new technology. To my frustration later on I realized that I was unable to use the .dss files in most applications. But today I found Switch 1.04 and for the first time I was able to save a .dss file to .wav. I chose an audio summary I had made of Kristensen’s (1997) The Meeting of the Waters : Individuality, Community and Solidarity. I would now like to find a place to put in into cyberspace. The conversion was seamless! And I have an editor now so I can edit my audio clips.
Keywords: .dss, .wav, Rob Shields, reflexive modernity, self-reflexivity, postmodernity, modernity, sociology, Switch 1.04, .
Kristensen. 1997. The Meeting of the Waters : Individuality, Community and Solidarity.
Rosseel, Eric. 2001. “The Death of the Helmsman: A Psychology of Postmodernity.” November.
Shields, Rob. 1997. “Cinderella Punk.” The Meeting of the Waters : Individuality, Community and Solidarity.
Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2003. Audio summary of Kristensen The Meeting of the Waters: Individuality, Community and Solidarity.
May 27, 2007
With just a month left on the Island we went for our last visit to Beacon Hill Park and the nearby look outs over Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountain Range. Wind and surf were ideal for the parasurfers riding the waves between Clover Point and Finlayson Point.
Beacon Hill Park occupies over 62-acres of with numerous trails crisscrossing through informal and formal gardens designed in 1889 by Scottish landscape architect, John Blair. The rustic stone medieval bridge was built then. About 2000 trees and shrubs were brought in. Although there are many rhododendrons there are also rare and endangered plants.
I’m not sure what kind of tree I photographed here. Dave made a video clip of waves crashing against the rocks on Clover Point and a Towhee singing. I filmed the wind in the willows at Fountain Lake and the Stone Bridge and a panorama from Finlayson Point. I’m going to upload some to Google Video and some to Youtube. I put several photos on Flickr and one on Google Earth community. I want to connect the video clips to the Google Earth community. I’ve also linked these with deli.cio.us.
“[What is known as Beacon Hill Park] was once part of the land used and occupied by the Songhees Indians. When first observed by Europeans in the mid-19th century, there were no Indian villages in the present park area. However, the evidence of prehistoric activities and oral tradition tell a different story. Evidence of prehistoric use of the Park area by native peoples consists of the remains of village refuse at defensive localities along the waterfront and burial grounds nearby. A Songhees elder, Jimmy Fraser, gave the name “Meegan”, meaning “warmed by the sun”, to the open meadow in Beacon Hill Park where people sat to have their bellies warmed in summer (Keddie).”
Before heading home we biked over to the Cameron Bandshell, in the Park off Arbutus Way and Bridge Way where we caught the final numbers in the performance by the Highline Community Symphonic Band, Colonel Bogey that Dave used to play in high school.
Webliography and Bibliography
Keddie, Grant. “Native Indian Use of Beacon Hill Park.” RBCM Notes, Note #14/88, ISSN 0838-598x
May 23, 2007
Michel Foucault (1926-1984) spent most of his life examining the archaeological dimensions of his philosophy of freedom, but at the end of his life as he was dying of HIV related illness he re-examined his concept of freedom with an ethical dimension.
“. . . Foucault sought a heightened consciousness of how individuals are embedded in cultural practices, especially in various sorts of power relationships, to enhance individual freedom. In his final interview, he said that he had tried to distinguish “three types of problems of truth, that of power, and that of individual conduct,” but that he had hampered himself by overemphasizing truth and power at the expense of individual conduct (Lotringer RM: 466:1989). Now, he continued, he hoped to break free of mere subjectivity by reappropriating the ancient practices of care of self. These, he said, so not include finding a deep inner truth but rather governing “one’s life in order to give it the most beautiful form possible (Lotringer CT 1989:458 cited in Martin and Barresi 2006:261).”
“[…] In the end, Foucault advocated a return to the project of care for the self and to the constructing of an ethical self. (Martin and Barresi 2006:262).”
Foucault, Michel. 1984. Vol III: Le Souci de soi. Paris: Gallimard.
Foucault, Michel. 1988. ‘The Return of Morality’, in Michel Foucault: Politics, Philosophy, Culture, Interviews and Other Writings 1977–1984, ed. Lawrence Kritzman, trans. Alan Sheridan and others. New York: Routledge, 1988, 242–54.
Foucault, Michel. 1986. ‘Postscript, An Interview with Michel Foucault by Charles Ruas’, in Death and the Labyrinth: The World of Raymond Roussel, trans. Charles Ruas. New York: Doubleday, 1986, 169–86.
Foucault, Michel. 1984. Vol III: The Care of the Self. Paris: Gallimard.
‘The Ethic of Care for the Self as a Practise of Freedom’, in The Final Foucault, ed. James Bernauer and David Rasmussen. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1988, 1–20.
‘On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress’, in The Foucault Reader, ed. Paul Rabinow, trans. J. Harari. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1984, 340–72.
Lotringer, S. 1989. Foucault Live: Interviews, 1966-84. Semiotext(e).
Martin, Raymond, Barresi, John. 2006. The Rise and Fall of Soul and Self. New York: Columbia University.
French philospher and superstar of atheism Michel Onfray’s (Onfray 2007) movement of evangelical secularism depends on a moral mathematics of risk society. At its most extreme it advocates a form of instrumentalist social atomism and radical anthropocentrism.
Onfray refers to the influential writings of Nietzsche, who combines philosophy with a searing aesthetic to unsettle 19th century ethics, ethos and morals. Nietzsche work is permeated with a heightened moral relativism where individuals are free to choose their own virtues and vices subjectively and interchangeably. But Nietzsche’s avatar Zarathustra is not advocating a new religion. He is following in the Enlightenment tradition wherein the modern individual perceives religion to be pitiably self-delusional and comfortable. And I never forget that Nietzsche wrote against a late 19th century backdrop of a distorted form of Christian/utilitarianism driving unfettered destructive colonial expansion.
These masters of today- surpass them, O my brethren- these petty
people: they are the Superman’s greatest danger!
Surpass, ye higher men, the petty virtues, the petty policy, the
sand-grain considerateness, the ant-hill trumpery, the pitiable
comfortableness, the “happiness of the greatest number”-!
And rather despair than submit yourselves. And verily, I love you,
because ye know not today how to live, ye higher men! For thus do ye
live- best! (Nietzsche 1892)
The brilliance of the canonical writing of Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Foucault, Deleuze and even Derrida, is not enough to provide incentive to transform inner ethical orientations or to change outward moral behaviour. Marx was not a Marxist. Derrida himself deconstructed the Author. These leaders of thought provide useful concepts and robust arguments but not comprehensive systems intended for universal adoption. Their space-time dependent oeuvre never claimed to provide comprehensive manifestos with an ethos, code of ethics and a will for social change under accidental temporal and spatial conditions.
Moral orientation imposed through legislation and education aims at protecting current and dominant (not necessarily democratic) concerns of society. Such ordinances and curriculum are necessary in a civil society but they provide at most a minimalist state protection for those at-risk of social exclusion. At their worst the algorithms of moral mathematics ensure a legal and civil method to heighten the vulnerability of the most vulnerable. See Foucault on crime, punishment and discipline.
Nietzsche’s concept of authenticity which is a form of self-making in the register of the aesthetic is incompatible with that form of imposed morality, the Christian-inspired ethic of charity for the Other crushes an individual’s elemental, instinctive and powerful desires (Taylor 1991:65).
In contrast the inner ethical orientations ( BIC 2006 ) of moderate civil religion relevant to social, historical, economic and political context are constituted by a concept of faith as conscious knowledge expressed in action (‘Abdu’l-Baha 1915:549) combined with an an ethos of caring and mutual trust. This concept of faith is held in tension by the use of the faculty of reason to prevent fanaticism and superstition. First it is to know and then to do (‘Abdu’l-Baha 1915:549).
Taylor (1991:10) describes the fading of moral horizons, the loss of meaning, the eclipse of ends, rampant instrumental reason and the loss of freedoms as all part of the malaise of modernity. He cautions that atomist and instrumentalist approaches promote a debased and shallow form of authenticity (1991:120).
keywords: moral mathematics, consequentialism vs deontology,
Webliography and Bibliography
‘Abdu’l-Baha. 1915. Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha.
Bahá’í International Community (BIC). 2006. “A New Vision for Humanity’s Future.”
Colbert, Stephen. 2007. Unquisition. May 3.
Derrida (1990) in Le droit à la philosophie du point de vue cosmopolitique.
Etzioni, Amitai. 2007a.”The West Needs a Spiritual Surge” >> Amitai Etzioni Notes. March 6, 2007.
Etzioni, Amitai. 2007b. “L’Occident aussi a besoin d’un renouveau spirituel.” Le Monde. 7 avril.
Hitchens, Christopher. 2007. God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Twelve/Warner Books.
Higgins, Andrew. 2007. “As religious strife grows, atheists seize pulpit.” Northwest Herald. >> nwherald.com. April 13.
Kinsley, Michael. 2007. “In God, Distrust.” Sunday Book Review. New York Times. May 13.
Lacroix, Alexandre, Truong, Nicolas. 2007. “Nicolas Sarkozy et Michel Onfray: Confidences entre Ennemis.” Philosophie Mag. No. 8. >> Philomag.com
Onfray, Michel. 2007. Atheist Manifesto: The Case Against Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. 1892. Thus Spake Zarathustra. Trans. Common, Thomas.Taylor, Charles. The Malaise of Modernity. Concord, Ontario: House of Anansi Press.