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Episode #114 ... The Frankfurt School pt. 7 - The Great Refusal

2017-12-23 | 🔗

Today we talk about Herbert Marcuse's concepts of The Great Refusal and The New Sensibility. 

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hello, everyone, I'm Stephen West! This is philosophies this crazy couple of weeks out there patreon changes their fee structure, masses of people drop off and a few days later, they changed it back to the way it was. Thank you patreon, your top two, and the shows that I consider to be not supporting the show in any way. I'm just kidding number one, of course, is Amazon people have been kind of confused about this. Let me explain it again. So, a few months ago, Amazon, cracked down on podcaster, saying that this Amazon banner was supporting their program you understand why they don't want people like your grandpa, who goes on hateful tirades to the pharmaceutical companies to start a pocket and say: Amazon directly supports the show, then there alone their brand with anybody that can start a podcast which is anyway so when I say Amazon does not support the show. What I mean is when you go through the Amazon, banner
portion of your sale goes through into an account that has the name of the show on it. It is one of the only two or three ways it helps keep a show going, but Amazon, then all support was going on the show it all that for all. I know they denounce everything that I've ever said through this microphone to that situation. Today's episode is along when I lost my voice while recording it now. You know I record this after I record the episode it's on the great refusal- and I hope you have the show today so is talking to my ex wife grandmother the other day, my ex grandmother in law. I guess that makes her basically a blood relatives of mine. She was a depression, baby, lift their world war, two came of age in the World Post World WAR, two
when most of the early Frankfurt schools doing their work. She didn't particularly follow politics that much which she says was common among people of her generation and during the nine hundred and sixty she was a stay at home, mother of four witnessing on television, a much more politically involved generation. The student protests against the Vietnam WAR, the excesses of capitalism, the leader of which she she'd often see on tv, was one Herbert Makuza. So when I was talking to her, I asked her. What was it like back then like was the feeling in the country one of revolution: did it feel, like the foundations of capitalism, were being shook and questioned in the countries on the verge of heading in a different direction, and she looked at me kind of confused and said no, not at all I mean she saw the protest on tv all the time, but the way she was educated to think of it. The consensus among all the people she knew as well is that these are just a bunch of spoiled kids went off to university and we're ungrateful for what the country was doing for them going into Vietnam and keeping them safe now get this
one person's opinion. But it's interesting to consider the vast difference between her subjectivity average American, but she thought was going on around her aped subjectivity. She had rainfall everyday? When she turned on the news and the subjectivity of one of the student protesters or the subjectivity of Herbert Macusa, how did they view what was going on differently? How does living the great refusal eventually get in contact with the subjectivity of my ex grandmother in law? You know if you came to this episode on the great refusal with expectations of a handbook, or you know, seven actionable tips. You can apply right now and start living. The great refusal living the great refusal just didn't end up being that straightforward to implement from arcusa people called him, the guru of the newly
the leader of the student protests that were going on, he always rejected these titles, and it wasn't because he was being humble it's because he didn't see himself as a leader with a plan that he was implementing called the great refusal. No, he quickly realized how much of a student to the process of liberation. He was. He quickly realized how much he had to learn about how these movements that emerge movements that seek to be catalyst for revolutionary change and liberation almost always immediately fall victim to the counter revolutionary forces of capitalism. The individuals that make up these movements certainly full of energy living every day of their lives, passionate about changing things, but what Makuza realized was that they almost always end up evolving into the very thing they are fighting against. What makuza starts to realize is that the great refusal in order to be done effectively has to be an extremely individual personalized journey that people embark on, because, if the great refusals, ultimately, you being a personification of radical subjectivity, what subjectivity
you're trying to radicalized your own subjectivity, and it takes a deep understanding of that subjectivity to be able to change it. To guess what happened so often is people see the way the world is, they believe with every fibre of there being that something needs to change about it. And they get so caught up, looking at things out their external to them in the world that they want to change so badly that they forget about looking inside of them and changing themselves. First, in others. This attitude people often have of wool, if I'm the one that trying to leave the great refusal here then obviously, I'm, not part of the problem, look under one has a moral intuition that people should be liberated, I'm the one that wants to fight every day to make sure people aren't needlessly repressed? It's other people out there that don't believe the stuff that need to change. Not me, I would say to this person you've already fallen into a trap of perpetuating. The way that things are Marcus would ask
Do you think, there's any baggage you're carrying around having been born, raised and condition to think of the world in the way that you do by a system as dominating as monopoly capitalism? Do you think it's possible that conditioning strong effect on the way you feel liberation should occur. What sort of problems might that lead to down the line? If you find yourself a member of one of these bash tag, movements, the answers to questions became massively important Marcos, arthritis, later work and understanding the answers to them as well, see by the end of this episode is the biggest step you can take towards actually living the great refusal let's talk about some of the problems that arise when you dont consider the fact that maybe you're part of the problem take, for instance, the one sentence catchy way of describing the great refusal of all your friends. The great refusal is a protest against that which is sounds great to say, but already I'm running into a problem there. From being honest with myself protest against that which is both. Who am I to know the contents of that which is
Who am I to claim to know what's going on in the world? What I mean is this picture? Somebody else total stranger. They ve been raised from birth in a totalitarian society and they be given their subjectivity, almost exclusively from the propaganda machine that's in place in that society. Would your question the way that they looked at the world will if we accept the premises laid up our Mercosur so far? I may not be very different this person, practically my entire worldview up until the moment I heard about the stuff has been given to me by tv, shows radio programmes, newspapers, books, documentaries from products and from products designed not a to really to you that which is but an easy to consume story about that, which is that gets people coming back to consume more of it. We all know somebody that this has happened to. It happens, all the time. Think if everybody that you know ever, somebody that puts a little bit too much stock into one of these products thinks they have the world entirely figured out, but regardless of how confident they are you, as an outsider, can clearly see they're mistaken about some stuff, and why is
that, because they've essentially outsourced their understanding of the world to their nightly news station or some book, they've read or whatever it is. But this is an important question to ask about ourselves: how different am I from that how would I know if I was similar to them? You dont know what you dont know so with Not constantly assessing and reassessing my subjectivity, I variable could be the same. Kind of person just wrong in different areas? the reason this is so important when it comes to the great refusal in particular. Is that it's an extra common way that people's revolutionary potential silenced, despite the fact that working really hard every day to bring about positive change. The bottom line to Makuza. Is it doesn't matter how hard you're working towards changing the world if the world you're trying to change is a fantasy world that doesn't actually exist? That was given to you by a product you're not going to end up changing anything and the culture industry mass? Produces these kinds of people all the time,
Take an extreme example that illustrates Mercosur point here, let's say a red and obscure book that made a case for something ridiculous. Let let's say you believe the Bill Clinton and George W Bush are actually the same person and he's peace, genetically engineering, a fleet of dinosaurs, to take over the world now it safe. For the second example, that's also not true. Here's the thing you can believe that that's true, every second of your life, you can surround yourself with only people to believe this stuff create a safe space for yourself. You can work your entire life trying to expose the truth, creating works of art that show people an alternative picture of reality. Bill Clinton, riding on a triceratops having monopoly you can do this sixteen hours a day for the rest of your life, thinking that you're making a change, but if the world you're trying to change, doesn't actually exist needed us a revolutionary potential of your effort. We'll take a less extreme example that we can all relate to. Have you ever known somebody thickets
picture of what's going on in the world from one of these products and thinks that some bad thing is happening out there. It absurd rates In reality, it's just their new station blowing things out of proportion sensationalizing, it so they'll tune in the next day. How about that has blinders on horrible's going on around them every day, but some product has convince him. It's not happening frequently enough to be worth considering. This is a super easy trap to fall into that the culture industry in adverse Lee produces because the world view they present is often so distorted over simplified. Unless someone is constantly assessing and reassessing their subjectivity, they can easily find themselves fighting against causes to problems in the world that are not actually the true causes to the problems. Putting in tons of effort appearing to be working towards positive change, only to be confirmed, when things just seem to be getting worse, what a huge responsibility we all have to consider? Not Mercosur realized
which is one reason why, when he's talking about that, which is he's not talking about the specific events of the day and whether they did or didn't happen, the way a particular new station says they he's talking about something much more foundational about the United States, that leads to all the stories up populating the news. Makuza would say that if you want to know the contents of that, which is take a step back and in very general terms, just take a look at what the culture of the United States is like no value judgments about it, yet just take a step back and observe what american culture is. Marcus says that when you do that, what you see is an extremely aggressive culture. What you see is a culture that seems to be strangely obsessed with control and domination over the material world over other people around them- and you can see this aggressiveness, sometimes all the way down to the most micro level of individuals what's commonly which, for an American to use, I'm gonna conquer the business world, I'm gonna die I've. My competitors out of business take market share.
That promotion over all the other people be the boss, have the control, hundreds of military bases, a global military presence. Trillions of dollars spent to ensure we have control over every region of the world control over the resources of the planet, to fuel capitalism. My life as an American, the stuff. I have right now, not good enough. I want more. I want a fancier car, a bigger house, more land servers to make and serve my food for me. It made to clean my house once a week. Just can't quite afford afford it yet, but one day even to the bread and serve Russ level. Football is America's game, and it's essentially just simulated warfare by people in uniforms we're going to take the biggest strongest people. We can find going to fight and try to seize territory and land undertake ten yards, a your lan. What I'm not take back twenty five yards Your land, stimulating this territorial and resource grabbing conflict has been performed all throughout history. The average
American loves the experience of watching that, while also being plastered with one ad after another feeding you the next ten products you need to buy that are going to define who you are as a person keep in mind. Marcus is talking about this and Nineteen seventies and this one be him wagging his finger at the United States. Shame on you, America! Now at this point. In the conversation he probably want to get the average person immersed in it to take a step back and just now what's going on, how did things get this way? Where did all of this aggression come from? Now a person could reply back to them and say I know where you're going with all this makuza you're going to say all this aggression came from enlightenment style. Thinking, aren't you all. This came from here human beings using their ability to reason to come up with all the best ways to dominate and control nature to their benefit. The advance capitalism of the United States is type of economic system. We end up with when we engage in that process and the aggressive culture of domination, and control down to the level of the individual. This is just the type of people that system produces by default
but here is a question for you, Mercosur cheer. You see this aggressive out, to present in the United States, but other cultures are aggressive to and what, if this isn't a uniquely american thing? What if this is a human thing. This person might say: look we share a common ancestor with chimpanzees museum and the zoo yeah. That's our cousin. We structure our societies and hierarchies of dominance. There's and everyone's turn a claw their way to the top to be the alpha and if they're not there certainly do what every other animal out there does controlling nature around them to their benefit? they call it enlightenment, style. Thinking. As you remember, the Frankfurt school and your critiquing, the age of reason is a period in philosophy, but all that enlargement style thinking is when you get down to it, an extension of a darwinian biological mode of thinking that every animal uses to control things around them and survive. This is just what we are look back at the history of humankind, and what do you see near constant war, aggression, domination, control, the fate of humanity,
is to be biologically wired. This way, at least this culture allows us to dominate on the football field or damage but the size of our house satisfies this urge so that we don't have to many the world around us and other ways, Mercosur would disagree with this. Take on many different levels. I just wanna pause here and say after this episode answer can be beginning a serious. It's probably the most requested topic in the history of the show. That is this Congress, about subjectivity that was going on during the twentieth century. What many claim to be the death of existentialism as having any value the rise of Structuralism Post Poststructuralism on to famous postmodernist thinkers like dare Lacan Fuco?
etc. Most of the good argument for Catholism come as a response to the conclusions of post modernism. Do we have to be able to understand the full scope of their work before we get? There has been highly requested lately in the point, is it's this type of claim that mark who's, responding to hear, there's going to be one of the key areas at these other thinkers focus on in their work, the primary question being when it comes to our subjectivity? How much of it is determined by our biology? How much of it is conditioned into us by the society were born into? Is it perhaps a combination of the two neither of the two We'll talk about a wide range of theories for this particular one that claims aggression is just what we are and is some sort of biological imperative. I think Marcus would start to respond by saying. Well, when you say look back at the history of humankind and you'll see a history of war, aggression, domination and control. What you're really looking at there is not the history of humankind, but a history of acts of aggression committed almost entirely by men, positions of power,
this is not a man hating woman praising point by Mercosur. He wouldn't be interested in piling on and blaming men for all the problems throughout history he's making a deeper point about where biology ends and social conditioning begins, quick thought experiment. Let's say you could go back in time. Take these men that are in positions of power that carried out all the aggressive controlling behaviour throughout history and transplant into their head. The level aggression and controlling behavior of the average woman that was alive during their time. Would the history of the world look any different in terms of the number of acts of aggression carried out among neighboring countries? Now, if to you, the history of the world would be even a little bit less aggressive. So what can we attribute that to can that be exposed? biologically biologically men are just far more aggressive than women are, let's say believe that, because it might ask what is it a hundred percent biological or does conditioning play effect because of its purely biological. What do we have the vikings as a culture on one hand and large communities of Jainism as a culture on the other? Why is there
much variants there. Why is this Much variants and levels of aggression, even just between in visual personalities. Ok, Select say the society are born into partially determines how you behave. Well, how much is it fifty fifty? Is it eighty percent biology, twenty percent conditioning, eighty twenty, the other way, these They seem like pointless questions be asking for answers to, but the reasons are so to patent Amargosa, discuss it so easy to call some way that people behave a biological imperative. Something is just part of what it is to be a human being. Sorry we can't get rid of it point to history is evidence for that being the case. When, in reality, it's just a behavior, that's been socially conditioned all throughout history, because what exactly are you saying they're up look back at him. There were two slightly more intelligent, chimpanzees, more is what we are guess: I'll live my life until we inevitably blow ourselves up one day and its unavoidable, because I might say okay, but can we explore that a bit Might there be another explanation that doesn't involve impending doom? Why are there so
examples of non aggressive culture throughout history, and this is the point. Might we the way we structure our society be contributing to creating the kinds of people to behave in this aggressive way. Maybe there something we can do about it. Mercosur would probably land right someone, someone like Simone of WAR and this issue? She would say that there are certainly biological differences between the sexes and those differences account for a certain level of variants in behavior, but the level to which that variants affected by biology, has been massively over exaggerated throughout history that it's just not true that women are these beings, that, just by nature, love to find a husband and be obedient to em cook him. Food wash his clothes have a say, but ultimately yield to the man of the house. That's in control and makes a decisions is just not true that men are these beings that, by nature, are just aggressive and to fight and constantly work to increase, how much power they have in the world know. A lot of the regions has been so common throughout history is that we so
We condition people to behave in these ways. Mercosur would say not him belittling the unique struggle that women face throughout history, obviously worthy of many discussions on its own, but we're cool Want to point out that it's not like me, have exactly how to kick walk over the years I mean yeah, maybe able to work they've been able to vote if they get incredibly lucky. They at least have the potential to be one of the small handful of men that actually get control the way the world works. But what does that privilege look like for the rest of the Bell curve working in a field sixteen hours a day, to barely be able to provide for your wife and kids until your body shuts down at thirty five but working in a coal mine dine of emphysema, fighting constantly working in a factory
brutalized, in the military force, to fight used as cannon fodder for the whims of whatever aggressive leader was in power at the time to Makuza. We've submerged men all throughout history, into a world where their choice is either to fight and be aggressive or die. Should we be surprised that men living in the United States in the year nineteen seventy tend to be aggressive, take men out of it as a group altogether, if someone told you a culture was erected almost exclusively by people that had this social conditioning, would you be surprised if it was an aggressive culture, hypothetical scenario? What, if something big changed? What, if from birth? All of a sudden men didn't have to enter into this aggressive realm, where they're condition to fight and try to get control with the behavior of men change with culture change? Well, how could you ever run an experiment to be able to test that we need people working Makuza says: we've already run the experiment. We've had a control group, the entire time women who throughout history have not.
had to enter into this aggressive work and political realm? In other words, this socially conditioned passive submissive, self, effacing, woman archetype, that's existed. All throughout history is a perfect case study to Mercosur. That shows an alternative version of what it is to be a human being that isn't concerned with controlling domination. what a human being looks like when we change the social conditioning and make us or that they never have to enter into this aggressive system. That's in place now, simply by here that and say, oh great, so we should all just be these passive submissive people. What happens when another country that isn't so passive unsubmissive marches into our borders? Do you do? It is cower at their feet? Mercosur would say: no it's that we should never be aggressive. That's the problem in our thinking as a society were producing one dimensional people, for example, and Mercosur saying this in nineteen. Seventy, a common hard. You might hear from somebody. That's lived through this time period would be in a what no such thing as a man's man anymore. Whatever happened to that guy
nowadays? All these guys are so sensitive with their yoga classes, keen whilst salad, What I'm the guy that fight you in the parking lot. If you look at in the wrong way, don't take nothing from nobody, it'll shock on a beer for breakfast go off on the broads every now, and then whatever happened to that guy Marcus would say that if noticed a decline in the number of men behaving that way in the last fifty years, between one thousand nine hundred and seventy and two thousand and eighteen two point two. That is evidence of the fact that this cat strictly be by Allah. Go the way we structure? Society must have some effect on how aggressive people end up being, which would correspond with the various we seen cultures throughout history, Seymour coups up being someone who's coming at this from a dialectical, pissed Oracle perspective would acknowledge that forcing men into this aggressive realm conditioning men to be this aggressive definitely has helped us throughout history. But much like we do about on the episodes on arrows on civilization, where it only hurts us the society to not examined cultural norms and find out whether there still helping us or only contributing to me,
this repression. Does this hyper aggressiveness still help us or are we, as Mercosur thinks unknowingly, creating one dimensional weak people that it only hurt us as a society, the structure things in terms of one group being hyper aggressive and another group being hyper submissive know what we should be aiming for is creating well rounded people people that no win to be aggressive and when to be defensive, people that know when to speak up and make their opinions known to everyone and when not saying anything is the wisest move, people that no had it take themselves and the things they do in life very seriously, while also knowing I do not take themselves so seriously. The subtext of of this is
to continue this paradigm of forcing men into this hyper aggressive realm, where their choice is either to get aggressive and fight or die. How much is the structure of our society contributing to producing the next Hitler or Stalin, but it goes deeper than that. How much is the structure of our society contributing to producing the next power trip boss? That makes your life at work miserable or the next aggressive security guard or law enforcement offer that wants to ruin your if the next president of the party that you disagree with implementing their controlling and dominating policies, maybe we are destined to just fight war after war until we destroy the planet and by the way the coming series on subjectivity will challenge a lot of the ideas laid out on this episode now. One thing it might take from this episode so far is that this is a problem that can and does exist only in the mind of men, but what Makuza would probably want to point out is that, generally speaking, women in the year, two thousand and seventeen are far more aggresive. Than they were in the eighteen. Hundreds now.
We often see. This is a great thing. I mean, of course, they're more aggressive. You can't get much less aggressive them being forced to be dependent on a man not able to get a job, not able to vote, but markers would say the flip side to that is that their more aggressive that, as women become liberated from their own historical chains become financially independent, become politically involved? We have to consider the reality of the world that women are being liberated in it still the same aggressive realm centred around domination in control, but now, instead of just having one group immersed in it, were all immersed in it. Now the aggressive social conditioning is affecting all of us to outta. This is the that, which is that we should all be opposing. The great refusal is a protest against this paradigm of
russian domination and control that we're all immersed in. We have all learned everything that we know about how to navigate existence about how to solve problems in the world about how to bring about revolution from within the confines of this aggressive, controlling culture. How much do you think being brought up in that sort of world has affected do affected. The causes you support. How many of the ways you think liberation should be brought about in justice restored in the world have been given to you by that? culture of domination and control system Not considering the answers to these questions that Marcus thinks is responsible for movements, never really doing much to affect positive change in the world and ultimately devolving to the very forces of domination that they seek to oppose continuing this call?
of domination and control. Continuing this dialectical process of liberation and domination, not ending it, people ask for real world examples of the great refusal while Marcus is no longer with us, but I think he'd say they're all around us in part at least, I think he'd view the Occupy Wall Street movement as an example of the great refusal, I think, he'd view the arab spring in many ways. As an example of the great refusal, I think, you'd see the move meant for Lgbtq rights as an example. Black lives matter would be an example, but I think he'd worn all of the individuals that make up these movements to avoid making the same mistakes. He saw time and time again during the movements of his time when you've lived every day of your life in a world where every problem that you face your solution to it comes from buying a product that solves that problem. For you be wary,
just buying a chain of our a hat, a bowl horn from Radio Shack and some revolutionary books, and just assuming that your changing the world, when you ve lived every day of your life and a culture that normalizes domination and control, be wary of. Turning to the very forces of domination that you claim to despise dominating controlling people by censoring free speech, we have a particular language and a way of speaking that we have approved that you're, gonna use or else you're gonna become our enemy, sounds kind of familiar to events in history nominating and controlling people, not based on the ideas in your head, nothing to do with the content of your character, simply by virtue of your gender and the color of your skin. Your ideas on this subject are instantly and valid
even worth considering, you are not of the approved bloodline, to have thoughts on this issue, sound at all, familiar to history, dominating and controlling people. Your ideas are so challenging to my ideas that you shouldn't even be able to speak them out loud, and you can try to I'm going to filibuster your effort, the entire time and squash any sort of opposing worldview before it even gets off the ground. Sound at all. Familiar to tactics used throughout history. Marcuzzo says verbatim that if the shifting of class consciousness away from this culture of aggression is ever going to occur, it's gonna, be carried out by a new kind of human being human beings at embody. What he calls the new sensibility and he's using the word sensibility, their purposefully, he's he's referencing a concept for marxist early work called the emancipation of the senses, most orthodox marxist during the time of workers. A think of this concept is sort of throw
way. Point in marxist work, but because I think that's actually one of the most revolution or ideas that marks ever talks about see throughout the history of philosophy. There's been the sort of kantian notion of how our senses operate, that their these passive receptors, they just sort of, sit there. Raw phenomena came rushing into them and then the senses collect all this data and deliver it to some governing body up in our heads called our mind, our reason or our understanding, depending on who you're reading and this governing body categorizes and make sense of all this information. It creates for us the crude map of reality. We see. Mercosur would say that this is just another example of a biased mistake from the enlightenment, or were desperately trying to exalt reason under this pedestal as the ultimate source of wisdom on how to categorize reality, but we actually see when we look at the senses. Mercosur says is that the senses are kind of like muscles. What I mean is this: you can practise visual acuity and get better at it say you play a video game that requires you to use your eyes to discern really find,
tells when you play that game eight hours a day, your eyes get better at visually discerning fine details. What follows from that! Is it when you're away from the video game You are seeing the world visually in a different way than somebody else that doesn't those skills eight hours a day. Another example say you were an audio engineer or musician and you spend a considerable amount of time every day. Listening for fine details an audio when you're, not working on music. You hear that world in a different way than other people that don't work on that scale, as often as you do the implications of this? If your Mercosur is that, although we don't really think about it, a lot of the way that our senses perceived. The world has been socially conditioned into us just based on the tendencies of the culture we happen to be born into. They ve been tons of studies on this link. If you're an american and somebody blindfolded you and ask you to smell a common smell and tell them what you're smelling. Because of how visual our culture is. You were going to be far less capable of doing that than someone from say. Turkey or Bangladesh
Now you can go to college every school and develop. That knows brain communication ability, but if you didn't just based on the culture that you happen to be born into you are smelling the world in a different way than people from other cultures will go into more the social conditioning of our senses in this next series on subjectivity. But Mercosur wanna make the point of just how much being brought up in a culture of domination and control has affected the way you look at the world even down to the sensory level that in many ways your senses have been controlled and enslaved since birth He gets several examples of this a macro level, one that we can all relate to is the constant pursuit of the average worker and consumer to chase the next pleasing sensory experience through buying some product life as a worker and consumer for the average American is a constant back and forth between, on one hand, unpleasing sensory experience
while performing alienated labour and then, on the other hand, buying products and services chasing a pleasing sensory experienced to make them feel better constantly trapped in the self perpetuating loop of being run down from your work than buying products that make you feel better bad sensory experience at work good, since we experience from buying products, we need to emancipate our senses from this trap to live the great refusal to be the new kind of human being that embodies the new sensibility Mercosur talks about is not only a personal commitment to not participate in the aggressive control oriented way. The world is its also emancipating your senses from this trap and not participating in the game That's what society not never buying anything obviously have to survive, but not being the kind of person that looks at who you are as a person in relation to stuff you own and consume.
The american dream shouldn't be just your own personalized version of two cars, a house on a white picket fence to buy a new car every three years as a reflection of your status within society, to define who you are as a person by things like. Oh well, I'm really in the gadget. So I stand in line and I buy a new phone every year right when they come out. That's just who I am to buy a bunch of clothes or an extensive shoe collection. That's a big part of who you are to spend tons of money on makeup and accessories, because I'm the kind of person that's cute, I'm the kind of person that keeps up with the standards the beauty industry lays out for me to not retreat into your man cave drink away your feelings of alienation and watch football. Every Sunday, taking a close mental note to the products the tv tells you are going to solve, that feeling of alienation you're trying to escape to embody. This new sensibility is not to allow products and the work you have to do to get more of those products to define
who you are as a person is to take a close examination of not only the products you want, but why exactly it is you want them? This process should be to Mercosur, a quote reevaluation of people within their own nature, their own drives instincts, senses, etc, and quote this process, as quote a refusal of the sense certainty and the manufactured needs to which we have become accustomed and quote. This is a commitment to not constantly chase the next product and to actually do the things the ads promises. The products are going to bring us spending more time with family building close human relationships, creating things rather than consuming things together. This is a complete refusal to support in any way wanton acts of aggression towards people, even when technology distances you from them to make it
easier to carry out what he's talking about. There is a new thing that started to happen that he claims in nineteen. Seventy is starting to occur in the United States more and more something he calls technological aggression. The idea is that technology often makes participating in an aggressive dominating society much easier to do because it distances people from the act of aggression. An extreme example of what he's talking about would be something like drone strikes. How much easier is it to sell to people that we're going to go over and bomb a group of people with a considerable amount of civilian casualties? If you don't have to send your sons and daughters over to fight the war, how much easier is carrying out acts of aggression when it's as simple as the push of a button where you don't have to look the people in the eye that you're doing it too, because of some sort of technology? Now the extreme example is drone strikes, but
supplies to many aspects of society. Take the internet, for example. How easy as it for somebody to post a comment and contribute to this culture of aggression, see somebody they disagree with make some snarking condescending comment. Sorry to ruin your little party of bigotry and hatred here, in other words, aggressively coming at them, asserting their intellect
dominance over them controlling the person in whatever way they can, but not really opening up anyone's mind to anything? How much easier is it to participate in that activity? When you don't have to look the person in the eye you're saying that to see how much you're polarizing people see how much you're distancing people from each other? How much easier is it to sit around and use products like Facebook products like your Iphone to appease these aggressive instincts and create the cheap illusion of you protesting that which is when in reality, you are as complicit in the forces of domination? Is someone who never opens a book in their life? So it's so much easier. Just to do that to mistake movement with progress, how do you convince people to make more of a sacrifice than hitting a little retweet icon is the extent to which they're going to protest? That, which is how do you convince people to analyze their life at this deep and honest of a level
and potentially approved the only existence they ve ever no more cruiser seemed optimistic about the possibility late in life. Who knows what will happen in the future? You know I really enjoyed talking about the Frankfurt school I've, been getting an email? Lately, that's kind of worrisome that these critiques by the Frankfurt school are so poignant, so spot on accurate that it seems impossible to imagine a world where this is not an absolute death nail in the often of capitalism, that somehow this is the end of the road when it comes to ever considering capitalism again. Well, I'm here to tell you that's not the case and I hope that's exciting, for someone out there to hear it's a foreshadowing to the interesting conversations that are yet to come. On this show I mean at the Frankfurt schools the radical left. You will even have to go that far to the right to find somebody. That would be a proponent of capitalism, Just a quick hypothetical. You could have somebody that agrees with every critique the Frankfurt schools made about capitalism, who still holds a position like you know nothing, the Frankfurt school,
said in this entire series, as a proof of concept for Marxism, NEA Marxism or any sort of alternative system that they ve offered to replace capitalism? These have just been really great critiques of what capitalism has become in the west, but what capitalism also is is an extremely efficient way of bringing about technological progress. Like Mercosur himself points out and arrows and civilization technology is often an instrument for liberation. The same is art the same as a gradual. Shifting of class consciousness. Member its technological breakthroughs like birth control that even allow for the possibility of us reassessing cultural norms and carrying out the sexual liberation movement. It's technology like genes and computers. The place us in the. Unprecedented situation where people, not necessarily need to work forty hours a week to be able to maintain society once again. Technology making liberation possible, they could say coups is absolutely right. We do live in an advanced version of monopoly. Capitalism, one where the situation is dire, we don't have many strong tool to pull ourselves out of it? This is
to be a long, gradual shifting of class consciousness well for all the Frankfurt school has said and proven so far. They have no. I Weather capitalism may be the most direct route out of the problems that capitalism has produced a shifting of class consciousness. How long is that going to take the go over globally one hundred years, two hundred years, can we something like that will how many years are we away from capitalism fundamentally shifting what it is to be a human being to the point where this darwinian mode of consciousness, this existence of scarcity and controlling other people around you to your benefit? How many you until what it is to be a human being is so far removed from that way of thinking about things that they look at our existence. The same way, we may look at a chimpanzees existence. This person might say technology is inexorably heading in the direction of Trans humanism, side.
Genetic augmentation, genetic modification? Crisper is a thing in today's world like that exists right now, statistically speaking, what it even is to be you when our modern world is the combination of your abilities and the abilities of your phone. I mean the fact: phones are still outside of our bodies. Just seemed kind like a technicality at this point. In other words, what this person could argue is that they agree with the Frankfurt school on an economic level, but disagree with them on an f the level that any support of any policy slowing the rate of technological development is unethical because it increases the distance in time between where we are now and where we're going increasing the amount of alienated labour that needs to be performed by the workers and consumers heroically bring about this new world fallen on their sword, for the good of the species should be proud of themselves. This person could argue that maybe nature was right. All along man is something to be surpassed the chimpanzee to man. Man shall be that to the overman that for hundreds of years,
twenty useless tremendously flawed, feeble narrow capacity reason to harness control over nature and come up with some system that perfectly governs away. Human beings are what, if we were never going to succeed at that task. What if our job all along should have been to facilitate the next stage of our evolution, transforming into the next version of what it is to be a human being and capitalism gets us there, the quickest anyway, one of the longer than I expected on that hypothetical. But the point is there are a lot more angles to this discussion and a lot more exciting ideas to come. I seem to have lost my voice doing this episode today, but I just want to say before we get out of here: happy holidays, wherever you are in the world, wherever you are. You appreciate your family always good to do that, while there still around. Thank you for another year of being able to do the show their say. You know people say the show keeps getting better look. Here's the thing, I'm not some! Sixty year old, professor, that's been given these talks. My whole life, I guess,
turn twenty nine years old. I just want to assure everyone, I'm going to keep grinding, keep improving, making these episodes for you. I'm excited to see what kind of content I'm capable of producing five years from now ten years from now, regardless. Thank you to everyone that supports the on patreon and goes through the Amazon banner. Thank you to the people that are along on this journey with me, here's to another year. This thank you for listening I'll talk to you next
Transcript generated on 2020-09-30.