February 08, 2012

Human societies are built on analogue processes

Truth and Facts have the inherent property of being monolithic. It is the perception of these that have various shades. Each perception has its purpose as well as its place and it is therefore only natural that one should be tolerant to each of these perceptions. However, when one of these singular perceptions tries to mask or take over the Truth and Facts that it originates from and seeks to impose an exclusive right over it, that perception inevitably looses its plurality; such a perception then becomes neither interesting, nor convincing or constructive.

A call for revival from An und für sich by Adam Kotsko
I have been teaching Buber’s I and Thou and finding it amazingly productive of thought and discussion. I wonder if, after such a long period where Levinas has had a corner on the “ethics of respect for the Other” market, the time may be ripe for a Buber revival.

Re: Organising Action from sbicitizen at Yahoo! Groups by devinder singh gulati
The iron law of oligarchy is a political theory, first developed by the German sociologist Robert Michels in his 1911 book, Political Parties. It states that …

Three things count in our societies — people, machines and money, in that order. But money buys the machines that control the people. Our political task – and I believe it was Marx’s too – is to reverse that order of priority, not to help people escape from machines and money, but to encourage them to develop themselves through machines and money. To the idea of economic crisis and its antidotes, we must now add that of political revolution. I have argued here that the dynamics of revolution require active consideration in this context. Revolutions give rise to digital contrasts and rightly so, but human societies are built on analogue processes. This is not just an academic debating point. A lot hinges on how humanity responds to the contradictions of the turbulence ahead.

Bilgrami makes an eloquent plea for the capacity of believers’ commitments to evolve with time, as a result of history, so that it is wrong to think that they are locked within an inescapable relativism. But he applies the insight only to believers. Aren’t rationalists also historical beings, whose most cherished commitments evolve with time, in ways that are similarly a product of experience? If so, we should open ourselves to the possibility of change.
This militates in favor of an ethic of engagement that is very different from lexical ordering. At the very least we should understand the beliefs and practices that we are encountering, so that we know accurately how our principles interact with them. And we might stumble upon something unexpected in the encounter: market interactions tempered by ethical injunctions to an extent that we in the non-Islamic world have neglected; an idea of gender equality that is genuinely equal but that de-sexualizes the public space; or something else…
What matters most, then, are the ethical practices one adopts for maneuvering in the face of these provisional, never fully resolved or elaborated assertions of ideals. They are practices of deliberation and decision-making, where no one’s cherished commitments are relegated to the second stage of a lexical ordering, but where one seeks to understand and, if possible, respond to deeply held opinions. Sometimes the disagreement will be so acute as to render imposition inescapable. Sometimes it will be possible to live and let live. Often there will be room for adjustment by all parties – and that adjustment may even represent a normative advance for all parties, as they take into account insights drawn from a broader range of experience…

Secularism is the attempt to preserve the independence of the state from identification with particular religious doctrines so that the state remains open to individuals of different beliefs. But that does not mean that it can be insulated from those beliefs, or that it can satisfy them equally in every decision, or that it must subject them as a matter of lexical ordering to “the ideals that the polity seeks to achieve.” It involves the managing of continual encounters between religiously and non-religiously motivated reasons. The solution involves an ethic of dialogue prior to decision, not peremptory imposition.

No comments:

Post a Comment