Humans Always Confuse Culture for Nature

To perpetuate the kind of elitist control of society, where 1% if the population controls more than 50% of the wealth, yes, Capitalism is more suited than Feudalism. Humans are always confusing their culture for nature, though, so economic systems being the product of cultures, it is inevitable that we will assume the socio-economics are facts of nature. In America, the socio-economic system that binds Americans financially is understood to be more natural for humans because what is more natural for Americans, or so we are trained to think (or parrot), Americans will assume is more natural for all people in the world. This is how the ideas behind or within discussions of human freedom and democracy are always bound up with the advance of corporate capitalism in its financial control of the world, at least from all who have sworn allegiance to Western Bourgeois Capitalism. It becomes the new colonialism in the world. The American Empire is now. The true horror in this existence is rooted in just how much violence economic inequalities such as the kind we are developing have brought historically. The American media entertainment versions of bread and circuses will reach a saturation and no longer be able to placate the masses who are a lot closer to starving and being homeless than even they would like to think. When the state can no longer serve the needs of its soldiers returning from foreign wars fought for Wall Street or the Oil Gangsters, that would be a very frightening scenario.

The arrogance of power and money will be their downfall, but not until they virtually sell a generation of Americans and their children down river. We are heading for a bloodletting that only the Jacobin or Bolsheviks could rival–and who wants that?

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Capitalism is not More Natural

Capitalism is not more natural to humans than let us say Feudalism. Feudalism is not more organic than Communism or varieties of Socialism. Capitalism and Feudalism serve different social ends, if not because of this, different social needs for those whose ends are not directly or principally served. A society develops the system it needs (and necessity is also subject to social negotiations, but not always equally or with a balanced effect from all of its members). A society allows an economic system to grow in whatever way serves the needs of those who control power, those who stand in authority or disseminate influence. In America, Capitalism, more specifically, finance capitalism, serves the needs of the monied and power elite. American Finance Capitalism (upper case as one would when referencing a religion, for example, Judaism or Roman Catholicism), without the offense of the People, serves with increasing exclusivity the demands of Money and Power. This, of course, cannott happen if the People do not abdicate their role and responsibility as the People for the seemingly more secure role of state serving Publicans, that is, the Public. The People, as in We the People, cannot be confused for, nor should they be referenced as, the Public, not without serious political consequences for the People in all socio-political and socio-economic negotiations. The Public and the People are not synonyms. All governments should serve the People, and not exclusively the Elite, but this is rapidly evaporating in America.

Capitalism is not a Fact of Nature

I avoid asserting what most ideological Capitalists like to assert, and that is that Capitalism is natural, more organic to humans and their interactive needs than any other socio-economic system. The fact that this is dogma is attested to by just how many Americans believe this without thought or if there is thought, without question. This is not the beginning of a diatribe on the evils of Capitalism or the virtues of Marxism–neither is in itself true. The argument herein is simple: no economic system is more organic to humans than another. What is inevitable for humans in their social interactions is to develop an economic system, whether that is a complex one or simple one. Any economic system in particular is a product of culture; culture being whatever is done by a people in a time and in a place among themselves. Culture is anything produced including ideas and systems of interaction. So, any economic system is in itself a cultural product and thereby adaptive to the needs and the negotiations of the culture. But Capitalism, being only one of many forms of socio-economic negotiation, is not a fact of nature, nor is it in itself better suited to humans in general for all time. There is no such thing as social evolution on the model of human evolution or the origin of species. We may like to do so because we often prefer to revert to our primal Homo-sapiens behavior, which is always other than human, always far less than humane.

 

The Gravity of the First World War

Last year was the one hundredth anniversary of the beginning of the First World War. The Nineteenth century did not close with the coming of 1900; it came crashing down in the abyss that was the First World War. The politics of that prior century extended into the next, the 20th, and brought about the great cataclysm of that war.  Trench warfare was a horror beyond imagination. The trenches of that war were Europe digging its grave. The culture of a thousand years died in that war. The greatest iconoclastic shocks came in or because of that war. It was The First World War that gave Bolshevism its edge and gave birth in the aftermath to Nazism.

Civilization and Wine

A world without viniculture is not a world I would prefer to live in. The world does present a choice of life with wine or life without wine. Perhaps if I had never had wine, this question might not come up. I do know Italians and Frenchmen for whom wine holds no special place, has no special merit, does not preoccupy their notions of what is civilized and what makes up an advanced civilization. This Franco-Italo-American is not now of them; my father, Italo-Ameerican was also not one of these fro whom wine held no special place. I had heard a French woman, an older woman, perhaps at the time nearing two decades older than I was–she was waitress in a bistro here in Manhattan owned by a friend of a sister of a friend (as if that were not convoluted), and she used to say, the words I have herein stated I had heard, “If you drink only wine, you will live to ninety; if you drink only water, you will die at 53.” I used to raise my glass with the broadest of smiles and salute her with a big gulp.

I know that Muslim proscriptions against alcohol would prevent me from converting to Islam, even on pain of death. I would prefer to die a martyr in the cause of western civilization and the place of viniculture in that civilization than be a Muslim. This is not a condemnation of the religion. It is an assertion of who I am, or what I am, or how I identify myself. I am not a winter, although I wish I could be; I am not a wino, nor any other variation of alcoholic, but I could drink wine every day, and believe I should drink wine every day, although I regretfully do not. I would need to live in Italy or France to be able to do this? No, I do not believe this. I would drink wine with lunch more often if American employers did not have sticks up their asses as far and as uncomfortably as they seem to here.

I am of Italian and French ancestry, so I allow myself to think I have a special connection to the development of viniculture in Europe. I am also Catholic and understand that it was the Catholic monks that preserved most of the knowledge from antiquity, including viniculture; themselves developing the art and the craft further. Most of our botany and knowledge of herbs and agriculture comes from the monks too. I do understand that there must be many Italians and French for whom their tongues are  stuck up their asses when it comes to appreciating good wine. I know that not every Italian can cook. Not every Frenchman, let’s say, drinks wine and appreciates wine. I do know Frenchmen for whom drinking wine is a patriotic duty. I know too many Americans who also have their tongues up their asses–far many more than there should be–when they are supposed to be discerning good food and good wine. But this is no never mind to what I know, what I have understood, what I appreciate and will continue to appreciate for as long as I live, because to live without wine is not to live but survive, and survival is not living. The etymology of each should tell you how. To survive is, as it is in French, sur/vivir, beyond living. To survive is to be beyond living, to live not being possible and certainly being something other than merely surviving.

I will rise and go now, go now to the liquor store to buy a bottle of Cahor I have not had in too long–the Cahor, not wine in itself.

Off Stage On Stage

Pornography is sexually explicit material intended to elicit erotic responses rather than aesthetic or emotional ones. This is not a judgement against eroticism, nor is it to imply that aesthetic or emotional responses are always preferable when sexually explicit material is the message.  Pornography, though, is not limited to the representation of sexuality. We like to make finer distinctions between what could be called erotica and what is called pornography. I am not going to articulate these distinctions. One could also make a distinction between nudes meant to elicit an aesthetic response and a pornographic naked. The distinction between nude and naked is the distinction between posed and unposed. Degas had developed what he called a key-hole aesthetic, distinguishing between what in one instance we call nude in English and in another, we call naked. French has one word for both; there then must be more highly developed or articulate connotations for the one word, which is what Degas had done with his description of the key-hole aesthetic. Degas painted nakeds, not nudes, His unclothed women at bath were not posed.  Can pornography have something unposed about its composition, its framing. This would then import the sense of voyeurism, but then so does Degas’s unposed naked, no? Moreover, there is still something different about what is intended to elicit the aesthetic and what is intended to elicit the erotic responses of the viewer, whether that viewer is put in the position of voyeur or spectator.

As referenced above, pornography permeates all commodities, all communication, all interactions in our society. One particular aspect of pornogrpahic photography is the close-up or the framing of the human body in detail, that is, a focus on parts of the body, parts usually associated with engaging in sexual acts; it may also have references to fetishes, but this is immaterial to our discussion here. There is no intention of metonymy in this close-up in-focus framing of body parts, most frequently genitalia; metonymy is a device where the part would stand for the entirety of the human person or body (of course, not the same thing).

How pornography permeates all interactions in our society is in how public space has shrunk and become oppressive, almost as if everything and everyone were in extreme close-up, as are sex acts in a porno film. At the same time, the boundaries of our private spaces are being erased, re-defined, made transparent for the voyeurism of the public who need to observe ever more microscopically because the spaciousness of space has been eliminated and revised not for our vision, not what we see with our physical eyes, but for (ad)visory claims, what is taken under advisement (notice we are under as a female porn star in a gang bang film). What we see has been refocused for us. These changes in the conditions of the Public and the Private are confrontations with our conventions of Public and Private staging; what was once distinct between the scene and the obscene. Obscenity is everywhere. The popularity and proliferation of what we call reality shows exhibits our need to be voyeurs, our hunger for the obscene.

The duality of public and private space, public and private selves with a many-selves Self has been shattered. Am I too quick to conclude hyperbolically? Overstatement and understatement are broad and contingent categories; they are often mutual and reciprocal in their intensities in spite of their broadness; their dynamic energies have co-influence. The bull’s eye of expression is a narrow band and more times than not we writers find our critiques in one or the other, hyperbole or litotes. Of course, there is a willfulness to either of the latter two Greek terms when applied to speech or writing. What I am expressing here is not a willfulness but an unavoidableness, an inevitableness to one or the other. The world Shakespeare understood to be a stage has been dismantled. The theater of our lives, of our world, of our selves is no more. What is filling this void is something for which our traditions of communication and communicating have little facility.

Totalitarian?

What was Freudian analysis but the Totalitarianism of the mind. Anything anti-objective, anything arational, is attacked by Freudianism. Freudian analysis systematizes western bourgeois mentality and presents it as human.

What was Marxist analysis of history but the incubation of Totalitarianism in society. Marx himself was an anachronism, being Stalinist in his personal relationships before Stalin.

What was Einstein, but a totalitarian of the Newtonian order. His opposition to Quantum Mechanics is analogous with Soviet political correctness in opposition to scientific truth.