23 June 2013: I must go to the Island today
20 minutes first thing interrupted by a call of nature as regularity blessedly returns. Fresh dawn #200, always welcome.
Gotta go to Lamma today no matter what…unless there’s a black rainstorm. My doctor is doing my discharge plan. The problem is that the roommate situation will NOT work out because I can NOT live with dogs or cats. Allergies, and the aggressiveness of even friendly dogs, make it utterly impossible.
Meaning I still will have no place to live. However, the hospital guarantees me a place no matter what. But living in a bed is uncomfortably close to living as some do here in a wire cage. Hotel room with daily visits by maid and friends in the center of Yung Shue Wan now looks like the ticket.
This is difficult and it sucks yet when I think of my own death I’m chilling AT THIS TIME.
No, what bugs me is the mortality of people close to me and how they push sixty with no health insurance and no network…like the 1960s feminist Shulamith Firestone who died in a lonely room recently. I mean, come ON, I want my son, Mom, Dad, Kennedy…
“You killed Kenny!! You bastards!” – South Park
around and with a Web address.
I was leaving my old high school reciting Marlowe:
Is it not passing brave to be a king
And ride in triumph through Persepolis?
Again, we start in a bookstore. This time I was working in an office on Michigan on the Gold Coast in Chicago and had arranged to meet a female coworker and her customer at a Border’s across the street.
She wanted to sell him on adopting an insurance plan where a small number of clients would as a group pay his company for the coverage that they would share.
My “idea” was that his company would actually pay the clients the first couple of times, giving them “free money” in order to encourage entry into the program, which his company would then recoup several times over through larger premiums.
My coworker arranged the meeting but as I started my presentation standing up in the crowded Starbuck’s I could sense the doubt and hostility in her client’s face. When I finished the presentation he immediately rejected the idea, and asked me, in order not to “waste all my time” to describe the original plan…the one he wanted.
I did so, but stumblingly whilst he just stared.
When the meeting broke up I tried to catch up with my coworker in the alley behind Border’s but she walked faster to avoid me as if I were a stalker.
I returned to Border’s and picked up another girl, and we went to her place since my Dream Screenwriters know I like happy endings. The later part of the dream was confused but I do remember I had to fight another guy for the girl.
Apart from the sexual malarkey, this dream is like novels and TV shows in China in which the excitement is provided by work. People actually like reading stories of successful data processing projects and insurance product rollouts since they spend so much time themselves in offices. It appears that the Chinese people look to white-collar employment as salvation in that it teaches Confucian virtues and rewards hard work. The Yuppie dream in the USA is long dead, it’s alive here.
Me? I miss work. Especially Lee Gardens and my posh learning center. I miss the demands and intensity. I sent a resume to one world-famous employer but haven’t been called back, probably because I was honest about my health situation on my resume. Which is fine: if their screener cannot “deal”, nobody could “deal” with my health situation.
But overall this may just be a false nostalgia for what was a bitter struggle and a forty years war for access to the means of production. And, as we shall hopefully shortly see (when I finish our reading of Kant and start on Marx), nobody wants someone who won’t give of his labour-power, who has a small income which means he need not work. The system needs your labour-power and not dribs and drabs of your labour-time.
I apologise for the poor visibility of my chart. Click it to see it better, or copy and paste it into a word document and print that document out for better visibility. My lettering skills ain’t what they used to be. I will figure out a modern chart application and redo.
I’ve said that it’s less important to try to find out what Kant “really” said since we know that in writing the Critique that Kant wasn’t certain himself of what he “really” meant.
Instead, his usages stand in structural (or if you please structuralist) relations to one another such that diagramming them can be useful and produce precision where was confusion.
Take a look, then, at the above “Evil Clown” diagram.
We start with sensation. At this point, we’re like an input port on a computer ..more precisely, since as we’ll see we need not to get involved at this early stage as an “I”, “there is” an input port, which has no “apperception”, no sense of itself as an “I” who exists. All that’s “fed in”, then, are light, shadow and color. Because of properties of the apparatus of our eyes, things closer to us are larger, and things further away are smaller, in accordance with the laws of perspective.
But that’s just the way our “rods and cones” in our eyes happen to work by way of evolution. We see something that could as well be two-dimensional which is why we go to picture galleries. Other beings including animals will see differently, perhaps having a completely three-dimensional view of the world that we cannot picture, since our brains will insist on flattening this view and then taking us to the movies by moving around a three-dimensional space…but that’s not what bats and flies “see”.
Dan Robinson of Oxford (Robinson no date) shows us in a magnificent series of lectures available as a free iTunes podcast how radically and empirically different different species’ sense origins can be ending one lecture asking how could it be otherwise…showing that a pure empiricist (who relies on raw unmediated sense data resembling pixels and sound bytes on a computer) would get killed crossing the street! Once again Kant gets us to the mountain at considerable labour. Everybody expects that a new input device on a computer will need a different driver. Likewise, we have no reason to expect that all creatures see, hear, feel like us!
The mere signals of raw sensation flow as shown across a boundary consisting of the space and time we impose on outside sensation in the Transcendental Aesthetic. Like perspective, space and time shapes, forms and deforms the raw input, a type of Aristotelean substance “without form, and void”, the raw mud of existence and extrudes what intuition needs.
Intuition wakes and now it is “I” who sees but still makes no sense of what it sees. Instead, Intuition passes the information along to cognition. This “information” as in a computer could be a series of numbers weighting parts of the manifold along dimensions we can use, such as size, shape, darkness versus lightness, etc.
Cognition ponders what it sees and through “rules” that our brains constantly and experimentally construct and delete narrows down the input, in this contrived example, to a multiple choice question: acrobat, dancer, clown or Ronald McDonald?
Cognition cognizes that what sensation senses is the “evil male clown”: prior to 1979 and in the USA, male clowns were considered amusing by children. But in that year, many bodies of young men were found in the cellar of one John Wayne Gacy in Chicago who had worn clown attire at children’s charity parties. This meme took flight along with Krusty the (evil, greedy, dirty) clown in The Simpsons, the popular TV show.
Therefore the brain-psyche recommends that we “run for it”. The concept Clown implies danger.
We need not be overprecise, nor attempt to amuse. The point is that no concept emerges without something variously called “understanding” or “cognition” (such that “cognition” produces “understanding” but not the reverse). We can be certain that Kant thought we go like a computer from “sensation” to “cognition” therefore there’s an Intuition between them to introduce the “I”.
Is this “ordinary language philosophy” sneaking into philosophy proper? Was Kant misguided by the usage of words? No, it’s an “ontological assay” on the model of the geologist who analyzes the mineral content of a rock in which as in most philosophies we seek “reflective equilibrium”.
In “reflective equilibrium” as perhaps most perspicuously used by the specialized political philosopher John Rawls in his “Theory of Justice”, an analysis of how a just liberal society would support our notions of fairness, we examine a complex web of implication for paradox and aporia as a continuing project. Finding none, we accept the philosophy tentatively.
Robinson no date: Dan Robinson, iTunes podcast re Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason. Available as a free download here.