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Thread: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

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    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Post Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Carl Schmitt (and Francis Parker Yockey) put foward the idea that human evaluations occur between two poles -

    - Aesthetics distinguishes between the Beautiful and the Ugly,
    - Economics between the Profitable and the Unprofitable
    - Moral between the Good and the Evil
    - Politics between Friend and Enemy.

    Each of these four fields of human evaluation - aesthetic, economic, moral, political - have what I would call a nexus (Carl Schmitt does not deal with this, as far as I'm aware, but from my perspective, adding this element helps). The nexus of aesthetics is form, the nexus of economics is product, the nexus of moral is human action, and the nexus of politics is - what?

    Schmitt believes that the 'friend' has nothing to do with good, profitable or beautiful. The enemy does not have to be immoral, useless, or hideous. He is simply one who infringes on one's own identity and values to the extent that he can be considered a threat to the self. The act of deciding who the enemy is, is at the same time selecting one's friends - the friend does not have to be moral, profitable, or beautiful - he is one who is willing to fight alongside one's self against the enemy. The political is defined by the very real possibility of killing physical death, for either the self or the enemy. The core question of politics is effectively as follows: for what convictions is one willing to die?

    A conviction, for the purposes of this topic, is a positive evaluation (moral, aesthetic, economic, or otherwise) for which one is willing to risk losing one's life or means of sustaining it. A conviction must necessarily be loved - one's family, one's people, one's God, etc. So, I put the question: is love not a positive moral, or aesthetic, or economic evaluation but the nexus of the political?
    Last edited by Jack; Sunday, February 8th, 2004 at 11:19 AM.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    I would say that 'love' is too obviously an emotional polarity [Love/Hate] and cannot serve as a 'nexus', as you put it.

    I would say that the nexus of the Political is 'human relations', which encompasses love, hate, indifference etc.,
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Human relations are not necessarily political - trade with others is a form of human relation, but is not political. Hate does not exist in the absence of love - hate is the emotional effect of having something you love (to the point of being willing to kill/be killed in order to protect it) credibly threatened with destruction (go ahead and argue with that, I'm putting foward the idea to see if it works). Where there is indifference, there is no politics.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Jacques Derrida has some interesting things to say about binary oppositions. Derrida claims that such oppositions are not polar, that one term is simply privilaged over the other, and argues that such binary oppositions are typical of Western thought since Plato. I will post more about this later.
    The Phora

    "There are no principles; there are only events. There is no good and bad, there are only circumstances. The superior man espouses events and circumstances in order to guide them. If there were principles and fixed laws, nations would not change them as we change our shirts and a man can not be expected to be wiser than an entire nation."
    —Honoré de Balzac

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    Senior Member cosmocreator's Avatar
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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack
    Human relations are not necessarily political - trade with others is a form of human relation, but is not political.
    Dear lad, politics is the study of human relations. If you were the only individual that existed, then there would be no politics. Human relations are always political. It is political science that decides what is the best form of interaction. Trade is a type of human relation and it's called political-economy.

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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Please do, I'm interested.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Let's look at the word 'NEXUS'.

    Quite simply, it means a 'connection'.

    The Latin is 'nectere', meaning 'to bind'.

    Three main senses are used today;

    1) Connection, link; also: a causal link.

    2) A connected group or series.

    3) Centre, focus.

    Taking the sense of 1 and 2, we can ask, what is the connection between the political criterion of 'friend and enemy'?

    In the broadest terms, we can say 'human relations' if our concept of the political is of the widest [and mine is].

    The word 'human' in this context should be suggestive of human groupings at all times [families, tribes, nations etc.,] - see my thread on the "Philosophy of 'the Human'?" - rather than of isolated individuals. Hence the compounded use of the word 'relations' which suggests the sense of connection necessary for a NEXUS.

    So the political seen as 'human relations' certainly fulfills the definitions of Nexus found in 1 and 2 above, albeit in the broadest sense.

    As to indifference, I tend to think that not bothering to vote in an election is just as much a political 'act' [by default] as is purposely voting, for example.

    But if we want to be more specific, then the third definition of Nexus, as a 'centre', as a 'focus', allows us to be so.

    The nexus of the political in the sense of 3 is simply 'the State'.
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless
    Let's look at the word 'NEXUS'.

    Quite simply, it means a 'connection'.

    The Latin is 'nectere', meaning 'to bind'.

    Three main senses are used today;

    1) Connection, link; also: a causal link.

    2) A connected group or series.

    3) Centre, focus.
    I was referring to point 3. Perhaps a better (though more 'crude') word would've been 'hinge'. But thanks for posting that.

    Taking the sense of 1 and 2, we can ask, what is the connection between the political criterion of 'friend and enemy'?
    In the sense I was referring to ('hinge'), I meant (and Schmitt does point strongly at this) - one what grounds is one defined as 'friend' or 'enemy'? And I put foward the idea that these grounds, the hinge, so to speak, is love - which, interestingly enough, Kant banished from his conception of morality.

    In the broadest terms, we can say 'human relations' if our concept of the political is of the widest [and mine is].
    We can indeed say that if we are working with 'man as a social being' (which he definetly is) - but I don't believe that defines the political. Politics, Yockey said, is activity in relation to power - and that is certainly true. However, power is empty without an aim, an objective, and that's what I'm trying to get at.

    The word 'human' in this context should be suggestive of human groupings at all times [families, tribes, nations etc.,] - see my thread on the "Philosophy of 'the Human'?" - rather than of isolated individuals. Hence the compounded use of the word 'relations' which suggests the sense of connection necessary for a NEXUS.
    Evola puts foward this idea, the 'person' as opposed to the 'individual' in chapter three of Men Amongst the Ruins. The human is undefinable - because it does not exist. People exist, but not 'individuals' (i.e. atomic units).

    So the political seen as 'human relations' certainly fulfills the definitions of Nexus found in 1 and 2 above, albeit in the broadest sense.

    As to indifference, I tend to think that not bothering to vote in an election is just as much a political 'act' [by default] as is purposely voting, for example.
    What, not being bothered to go to the polling booth, or refusing to go for reasons of politics? The first, I think, is definetly not political, while the first obviously is.

    The nexus of the political in the sense of 3 is simply 'the State'.
    And in the absence of the State, i.e. civil war? Then what? Politics there certainly does not end. We need to define what the State is. I'll keep reading Evola's Men Amongst the Ruins (I got my copy on Saturday, and Revolt against the Modern World today) and I'll type something up on his views of what the State is, in the traditional sense, and how it came about. And then I'll try fix it with ethnicism/racialism and see if it works.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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    Senior Member Moody's Avatar
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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Jack; "In the sense I was referring to ('hinge'), I meant on what grounds is one defined as 'friend' or 'enemy'?
    And I put foward the idea that these grounds, the hinge, so to speak, is love - which, interestingly enough, Kant banished from his conception of morality".

    Moody; 'Love' is problematic as a ground here, especially as we do not employ the distinctions used by the ancients in our language.
    I fail to see how 'love' in the sense of the erotic, which is a kind of madness, can be the ground of the political criterion!
    Think of it - 'the erotic politician', as Marilyn Manson said!
    Perhaps the platonic, non-erotic love can be used to refer to various types of attachment, from the family to patriotism itself; but all this doesn't tell us why we should regard someone as a political enemy.
    It is possible to fall in love with one's enemy, so that love cuts across the intended criterion - this alone tells us that love of any kind cannot be its grounding.

    Jack; "We can indeed say that if we are working with 'man as a social being' (which he definitly is) - but I don't believe that defines the political. Politics, Yockey said, is activity in relation to power - and that is certainly true. However, power is empty without an aim, an objective, and that's what I'm trying to get at".

    Moody; But that emptiness of power grounds the political far more than does love. There is also a difference between defining something and grounding something.
    It is true to state that the political is grounded in power - the sort of power which resides in the social setting of the human.
    The object is to win the eternal struggle with your enemies.

    Jack; "Evola puts foward this idea, the 'person' as opposed to the 'individual'. The human is undefinable - because it does not exist.
    People exist, but not 'individuals' (i.e. atomic units)".

    Moody; 'Person' literally means 'mask'; there is a constant game of deception going on in the human at the level of persona.
    Do any categories at this level exist as thing-in-themselves?
    Surely, all our morphologies are projections aimed at defining/structuring/ordering a 'reality' we cannot touch without the intermediary measure of our thinking/feeling.
    Given all that, the 'human' is as good as any other category, like 'people', 'individual' etc., [see my thread 'The Philosophy of 'the Human?' "].

    Jack; "Not being bothered to go to the polling booth is definitly not political ..."

    Moody; Not so;the apolitical is part of the political; politicians of a certain stripe WORK towards engendering apathy in certain voters.
    Therefore in democracy, voter apathy is significant and political.

    Jack; "And in the absence of the State, i.e. civil war? Then what? Politics there certainly does not end".

    Moody; Then you move away from the specific definition of 3 towards the generalised 1 and 2 of 'human relations'. The 'political' then devolves to more primitive forms of socialising.

    Jack; "We need to define what the State is".

    Moody; We know what States are when we see them; or do you imply that there is a Platonic Form of The State?
    Why are there beings at all, & why not rather nothing?
    [Leibniz/Heidegger]

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    Senior Member Jack's Avatar
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    Post Re: Question on the Polarity of Human Thought

    Quote Originally Posted by Moody Lawless
    Jack; "In the sense I was referring to ('hinge'), I meant on what grounds is one defined as 'friend' or 'enemy'?
    And I put foward the idea that these grounds, the hinge, so to speak, is love - which, interestingly enough, Kant banished from his conception of morality".

    Moody; 'Love' is problematic as a ground here, especially as we do not employ the distinctions used by the ancients in our language.
    I fail to see how 'love' in the sense of the erotic, which is a kind of madness, can be the ground of the political criterion!
    Think of it - 'the erotic politician', as Marilyn Manson said!
    Perhaps the platonic, non-erotic love can be used to refer to various types of attachment, from the family to patriotism itself; but all this doesn't tell us why we should regard someone as a political enemy.
    No, not the 'Platonic'. I am referring to what I'd describe as, for lack of a better word, 'total love'. Something for which one is willing to risk one's life to advance or protect.

    It is possible to fall in love with one's enemy, so that love cuts across the intended criterion - this alone tells us that love of any kind cannot be its grounding.
    'Falling in love with one's enemy' is a blurring of the political. The very distinction between friend and enemy, I argue, is based on love (as I've tried to define above).

    Jack; "We can indeed say that if we are working with 'man as a social being' (which he definitly is) - but I don't believe that defines the political. Politics, Yockey said, is activity in relation to power - and that is certainly true. However, power is empty without an aim, an objective, and that's what I'm trying to get at".

    Moody; But that emptiness of power grounds the political far more than does love. There is also a difference between defining something and grounding something.
    Power is a means. Love is a motivation, and aim, and a motivation all in one - it is the very reason why the distinction between friend and enemy exists.

    It is true to state that the political is grounded in power - the sort of power which resides in the social setting of the human.
    I agree.

    The object is to win the eternal struggle with your enemies.
    The object is to annihilate whatever threatens what one loves. Incapacitating an enemy, to the extent where he cannot influence or destroy or effect in any way that which one loves, counts as part of that.

    Jack; "Evola puts foward this idea, the 'person' as opposed to the 'individual'. The human is undefinable - because it does not exist.
    People exist, but not 'individuals' (i.e. atomic units)".

    Moody; 'Person' literally means 'mask'; there is a constant game of deception going on in the human at the level of persona.
    I am not talking where the word came from or what it literally means (I know, person, 'persona', mask) :p Person, meaning (as I'm using it now), a person with definable characteristics that stay true for an extended length of time.

    Do any categories at this level exist as thing-in-themselves?
    'Everyone knows who you appear to be, very few know who you really are'
    - Niccolo Machievelli.

    My point, based on a measure of faith, combined with a fair load of evidence, is that there is something behind the mask, and the mask links with it strongly. The mask is dependent on the being behind it. So yes, I do indeed believe people exist in themselves.

    Surely, all our morphologies are projections aimed at defining/structuring/ordering a 'reality' we cannot touch without the intermediary measure of our thinking/feeling.
    I agree. That's a problem.

    Given all that, the 'human' is as good as any other category, like 'people', 'individual' etc., [see my thread 'The Philosophy of 'the Human?' "].
    I've seen it, and I still disagree with it.

    Jack; "Not being bothered to go to the polling booth is definitly not political ..."

    Moody; Not so;the apolitical is part of the political; politicians of a certain stripe WORK towards engendering apathy in certain voters.
    The apathetic voter may be encouraged not to vote, but for most, apathy is a way of conserving energy ('can't be bothered going') - it is seen as an unprofitable, useless exercise - a matter of personal economy.

    Therefore in democracy, voter apathy is significant and political.
    I don't agree.

    Jack; "And in the absence of the State, i.e. civil war? Then what? Politics there certainly does not end".

    Moody; Then you move away from the specific definition of 3 towards the generalised 1 and 2 of 'human relations'. The 'political' then devolves to more primitive forms of socialising.
    You have claimed anarchy (the state of mutual cooperation amongst people without being coerced into agreements) is 'anti-political'. This doesn't follow from your suggesting that the political devolves into 'socialising' with the breakdown of the State.

    Jack; "We need to define what the State is".

    Moody; We know what States are when we see them; or do you imply that there is a Platonic Form of The State?
    I am implying that there is an absolute definition that covers all 'States' no matter how different (e.g. parliamentary democracy, dictatorship, worker's councils) they appear to be.
    All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream at night, in the dusky recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams, with open eyes, to make it possible.

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