Saturday, 9 July 2011

More filled with the Body Politic

I don't have time to start writing again, but I'm taking it anyway.

I wrote in my last post that times were tough. They are no longer - for most of us, anyway - yet the crisis has moved the goalposts of what is right and what is wrong: the moral dilemma of how to live, how to work and what exactly defines success has been resuscitated, despite the DNR order that the conformist 90s and early 00s signed for it. The "way things are" has been put into question (for those of you, who don't think it has: it needs to be).

Social order is a slave to art, as much as it is slave to politics and slave to philosophy - and an utter bitch to the historical experience of a society. Just recently, our collective memory has been enriched by the experience of an economic crisis, which now begs the question, whether we misunderstood what mankind is supposed to do on this planet. Strangely, the majority of us just seems hellbent to ignore this question altogether.

I moved back to the continent, back to Luxembourg, because there was no discourse in the UK addressing that question. It just didn't happen in Britain. My interpretation of why that was, is that the conduit between the different subcultures within this marvellously liberal society was broken. It still is.
It seemed that - while we were allowed to have our diverging opinions in a pluralistic society - we weren't arguing them anymore. Hell, we weren't asked to argue them anymore!!!
We preferred to think of ourselves as pop idols and strictly dancers... yet we stopped talking between ourselves.

That is why I left. That is why we left.

A year ago, we returned to Luxembourg. Having been parachuted into a place that has transmogrified, since we left it some 6 years ago, we've been rediscovering it ever since. What used to be a somnambulant, homogenic and deeply conservative society, is now metamorphosing into something new. The drivers behind this change are not rocking the foundations of the conservative money-making elite (nobody wants to rock this boat: the old hacker credo: never touch a working system, is at the very roots of the Luxembourgish consenus model - and who would want to go through all this trouble, after we just exalted ourselves so much, trying to shake the spectre of material demise during the banking crisis?).
However, WE ARE TALKING with those, who insist to ask society this all-important question: how should we live, if we want to sustain the current state of things? How should we grow? How much should we work on things that fascinate us, instead of working on those that maximise our financial gain?

Admittedly, while we crowdsource this question, the majority of the populace remains gobsmacked by the discourse - but an ever-growing number of people recognises that the question has merit.

The signs are visible and they constitute the seed of a new current in the Politics of the place (the political discourse, as opposed to the stinking, rotting carcass of the zombie that polity has become). We've been racking our heads about what, besides the systemic shock and resulting doubt after the crisis, drives this change.

What we know is:

- this country can literally afford concurrent cultural evolution: the crisis hasn't killed our hope for a positive future, because it hasn't impacted our wealth as much, as elsewhere. We are not impoverished and scared to death to lose our jobs, house or social status, as people in France, Belgium or the UK are. We are therefore not slave to the corporate hand that feeds us. We are increasingly well-educated, welcome people of all cultures and languages - of which we speak three or more - and look to discover aspects of life beyond the mainstream of the 9 to 5.

- the nascent art scene of Luxembourg has broken free of its kitchy, baroque neo-romantic past and is expanding its reach. The implantation of the Luxembourg Museum of Modern Art (MUDAM - Musée d'Art Moderne) has slowly superimposed a novel layer of sophistication on Luxembourg. Art is the avant-garde of social change. MUDAM is the nucleus for it.

- we are the digital natives: we have the ability/money to buy the portable tech (as in: gadgets) that allows us to be online on the go and network across all the languages and cultures we speak. This is no longer the digital hinterland it once was: we can connect to Your social network - and we're not afraid to show our iPads in public for fear some chavs might steal them (they're going to be much more interested in carjacking the Beemer of the bank director next door).

- we are a fusion of the old and the new. We are accepted in our habitat not as foes, but as citizens of Luxembourg, who parallel-shift out of post-crisis austerity. We are the pupils of contrausterity, but we love this country and respect its past.

Don't try to take away this freedom. It'll be the end of you.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Tough Times

"Tough Times never last; but tough people do."
Robert Schuller

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Decisions, Decisions

It's astounding, how much information a person can Dogbertamass in a reasonably short period of time. It reminds me of what my father once said about his days as a university lecturer: that it positively shocked him, how completely unknowledgeable people were turned around into experts in their field within a few years.

But then again sometimes knowledge needs to be contextualised to be valid. It is then absolutely vital to collect information, to deeply inhale its subjective meaning for oneself. True: one may have an initial gut feeling about something, an instinct that triggers some primeval response that henceforth impresses itself on one's perception of the situation, but when does this initial hint of the (para)normal weigh heavier than rational analysis?

What I do not mean here, quite obviously, is the biased interpretation of an instinct as something atavistic or animalistic. The "gut instinct" I speak about here is all about this strange "prompter" that might or might not be an anathema to rationality, but is implicitly constructive as a starting point for a logical response to a posed problem. However, the logic resulting from instinct might sometimes not be immediately obvious and is most likely not subject to the laws to rational, linear, cartesian thinking, but only discloses itself in hindsight. For logic is always a bound phenomenon. Much like there is "bounded rationality", there must be such a thing as "bound logic".

Unlike a fully rational, methodological approach to analysis, which ignores instinct and because of this limitation has to reflect a certain coherence from start to finish in its logical foundations, instinct does not obey the same need. This is because instinct does not share with logic the latter's application as a tool to ultimately arrive at a complete explanation, but only serves to narrow down the initial scope of what is to be understood and how. Instinct, therefore, provides a starting point - it sets the direction of view, while rational analysis narrows the horizon to the final point of interest.

It is because of the lack of inner coherence that instinct has the enormous advantage over logic of not having an inbuilt frontier in paradoxes. Paradoxes are fully permissible as objects worthy of study, if instinct is given its right to roam.
Then these paradox solutions can be taken into account, when viewed through the lens of instinct. However, the same paradox brings logical analysis to a complete dead stop, as it immediately begins to rip apart the inner sanctum of logical coherence.

So much for the advantage of saving instinct an important and rightful place in problem analysis. Now back to how one should deal with instinct.

When you encounter something new, isn't it true that you only really have a handful of options:

- keep digging to verify, whether your instincts are not betraying you and let your rationality form an objective picture of reality,
- trust your gut feeling and go for it,
- trust your gut feeling and run for it.

Up until now, I have found this process of predominantly counter-instinctive, rational "living through it" to be absolutely key in gaining experience. I have thought that it more important to let your rationality take the steering wheel and cross-examine your instincts. For it isn't logical to assume that I can rely on my instincts, if they are not tried and tested in reality. Or is it?

I have done this for so long that I sometimes doubt that I have an identity, with which I'd be at ease. For what does one do, if one decides to perpetually go counter own intuition, but to deny one's own individuality? Logic is common, all-encompassing and equally binding for everyone. My instincts are, what makes me "me" and ads my distinctiveness into the global consciousness.

I have an inner voice. I seem to have just chosen to disregard it for the benefit of finding experience. I might have lost myself in the process.

What if, therefore, the moment arrives, when a novel problem presents itself, where to initially go by instinct is the right decision and one's homegrown habit of verifying instinct against reality is a process entirely too long and too painful? What, if in addition it is also WRONG?

Is there a moment, where perception is a poor and costly replacement for pre-ception (ie the ability to instinctively pretell the true nature of something)? Consequently, shouldn't preception also be subject to the same laws - in short: shouldn't one test one's instinct every once in a while, too, simply by giving into it and waiting what happens? Especially, when one has already amassed enough experience to last two lifetimes?

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Dark Christmas

Dark Christmas
Dark Christmas,
originally uploaded by Buddhaah.
Travelling in Germany and the Netherlands...

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

... and never fully objective

When I chose the title for the relaunch of this blog, I had just come out of a pretty amazing, yet challenging, year of postgraduate studies. I remember being annoyed with the constant focus on carthesian rationality, academic rigour, scientific method. That's why the motto for this blog is so emotionally charged.

Nevertheless, I have always assumed that mine was "an opinion that is predominantly emotionally charged, changing from one day to the next, and never ever fully objective". It didn't quite fit into this world of charged academic debate, where opinions had to be backed by a logic that assumed a mechanistic, deconstructive metaphor as solely legitimate. I regard mechanistic, linear, logic as imperfect and ultimately boring. There is so much more worth understanding within those areas of human existence that aren't visibly causal, visibly logical and ranked and filed, like the idiot philosophers that invented those epistemologies.
Epistemologies are necessarily normative and therefore can be used to limit man to certain areas of existence, while being oblivious to - yay actively deriding - those interesting phenomena of life that do not fit its primary query of "what constitutes knowledge". The whole of science, and academia in consequence, is biased. To prioritise scientific method over non-scientific belief is to cast out devils through Beelzebub, chief of the devils. Both are biased. One just pretends not to be.

I am me - and my beliefs precondition me. I cannot ever fully escape into the "Disneyland of Rationality". It would defy my humanity, if I tried to do so.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Unzulaessige Vereinfachungen

Also, ich finde gerade alles in UK voellig Scheisse. Ne?

Das morgentliche Aufstehen, zum Beispiel, finde ich abartig. Wer macht denn sowas? Morgens frueh aus den Federn, anstatt nachmittags oder abends. England ist halt Scheisse.

Dann der Stress bei der Arbeit. Damit kommt man garnicht zurecht. Woanders gibt's keinen Stress... und wo's Stress doch gibt, da gibt's wenigstens keine Arbeit - weshalb sich dieses Problem dann dort auch gar nicht stellt.

Dann: Menschen. Die sind hier ueberall auf dieser Insel. Ich erinnere mich, das es woanders keine Menschen gab. Oder weniger. Zumindest keine, die mir auffielen. Hier fallen mir die Menschen alle auf. Die sind halt auffallend. Mag ich nicht sowas. Ich falle nicht auf, dann sollen's die anderen auch nicht. Die wollen doch alle nur gesehen werden. Nein. Sowas mag ich wirklich nicht.

Dann das Wasser. Das gibt's nur in heiss und kalt. Auf der Insel, hier, gibt's nur diese zwei diskreten Zustaende. Woanders ist alles lauwarm. Lauwarm ist besser.

Dann das Wetter. In England ist es immer kalt, wenn ich's gerne warm haette. Und vieeel zu warm, wenn mir gerade nach etwas erfrischender Kuehle waere. Und regnen tut es auch gerade dann, wenn ich das nicht will. Ich finde sowas fies. Die Meteorologen in diesem Land sind einfach unfaehig...

... oder sie moegen mich nicht.

Pah! Dann mag ich sie auch nicht. Baeh.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

The One

As you undoubtedly are aware, today is a nodal point in this path through the big probability tree that we call 'history'.

Whichever way things go from here, today the road forked - and at least from today's perspective (and as far as we can see forward from here) we took the right path. Whether our current bouts of euphoria are the avantgarde of bigger improvements to come, nobody at this point can tell.

Barack Obama Windu