Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Idea Emporium #3: Peculiar Philosophies, Part A

This month and the next bring you an assortment of odd philosophies and worldviews. A little bit of this has been published previously, but I think it’s worth including anyway. 

Literary Disentanglement

Did you think that "Death of the Author" was as bad as it could get?

Well, you were wrong. Literary disentanglement picks up where Death of the Author left off.

If Death of the Author says that the creator cannot comment on his completed work, then we find that there is one more step that we can take. The author's commentary on his work is made of his words, just as his work is, and both are products of his mind. Death of the Author falls short in supposing that there is any difference between the two: the work itself is as valid as the author's commentary and, thus, just as invalid.

Death of the Author assumes that the author is incapable of properly commenting on his work and yet capable of bringing it forth as it should be in the first place. Disentanglement theory recognizes that he can do neither, and the work that he produced is flawed. The process of disentanglement is the process of perfecting it: the critic carefully analyzes the work to excise those words, paragraphs, chapters, and even characters that do not truly belong in the work and grafts material that should have been there from the beginning but was not, on account of the incompetence of the author.

This new, perfected version of the work, the work as it should have been all along, is what the critic comments upon. The author may protest that it is not what he wrote, but one does not favor a child's scribble over the very sun that it depicts, and even so the critic does not waste his time with the half-formed block but sets his sights fully upon the Adonis that he has carefully freed.

Pure-Humanism

Did you know that some humans, aren’t? At least, if one thinks that worth and belonging come from genes and species.

Most groups of so-called humans are not pure <i>homo sapiens</i>. Some people owe as much as 6% of their genes to Neanderthals or Denisovans, in fact.

Pure-Humanism is the latest flavor of scientific racism, and a definite throwback to worse times no matter how much modern language it employs. The philosophy holds for the reclamation of Homeland Africa from all foreign and impure interests, and the forced immigration of these same people.

They view the history of Africa through the lens of conquest, domination, and exploitation by a non-human hybrid species. The response to this must be total, final, and without negotiation: a return to the old order, in which pure humans own and profit from their homeland and live alone from the other species, as it was in the days when the richest and most powerful civilizations were (of course) ruled and peopled by pure humans.

The present order is an aberration, and the rising generation would do well to prevent it from happening ever again, say the Pure-Humanists. On the other hand, no animosity is to be held toward the Neanderthal and Denisovan peoples. They are not to be held guilty for the sins of their fathers, and even their fathers cannot be held truly guilty— a mad dog cannot be faulted for its actions. And just as one should not torture a dog simply because of its animal nature, so too should Neanderthals be treated with compassion.

The Pure-Humanists envision a society in which true humans rule all people and travel to Africa is restricted, but this is not a policy of extermination. Just as preserves are and will continue to be set apart for other animal life, so too will there be large reservations on which Neanderthals will be allowed to live and even, to a large extent, manage themselves. Under close human supervision, of course.

While Pure-Humanists share some basic ideas with groups such as the Nuwaubians, they regard these others as having been “led away by Neanderthal deceptions,” meaning religion. Pure-Humanism is thoroughly atheistic and prides itself on basing its ideas on objective science which, it is said, cannot be disputed by any right-thinking person or Neanderthal. Groups that talk of gods and suppose Caucasians to have been descended from monkeys or jackals, on the other hand, are regarded as insulting, ridiculous, and even a little disgusting.

Response Realism

Pragmatists to a one, the Response Realists hold that you cannot truly know the reality of your circumstances. You may be hallucinating, be a brain in a vat, or be subject to some other strange situation. Rather than say “we will settle for what appears to be real,” however, they decide to assign reality to something more easily figured out.

Perhaps spinning off from Philip K. Dick, who held that “reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away,” the Response Realists have devised a system of consensus reality. So long as the majority of people are experiencing the same thing, then it may as well be treated as being real. In other words, reality is that which is experienced with other people.

They go a little bit further beyond this, though, and state that reality is also defined as that which you have no control over. Because it is not subject to your will, it cannot be the aspect of a “dream,” so to speak. This goes hand in hand with the idea that reality is experienced with other people, because the hermit’s world is more easily bent to its inhabitant’s will than the world that is inhabited by someone who interacts with dozens or hundreds of people.

Therefore, the Response Realists divide objects into two rough categories: Garbage Response Agents, or “predictables,” and Complex Response Agents, or “variables.” Reality is determined by your relationship with these, and increased control over a Complex Response Agent reducing the complexity of its responses and transforms it into a Garbage Response Agent. 

According to most Response Realists, the world is slowly become less real.

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