using ideas to solve problems is like a philosopher passing a kidney stone


if we want to change the process of global governance, the way current power relations are unfolding globally, our lives, whatever it is– we must begin with an accurate description of the current practices of power.  what the hell do I mean?  it is more important to understand loosely how power operates rather than focusing too much attention on getting the conceptual housework right.  sometimes we end up talking for so long about a philosopher or political person or psychological or sociologist sees something, “he sees X” and the way this famous person “sees y” that we never get back to the initial problem at hand, power and its effects.  when a problem emerges, we should start with analyzing how the problem emerges in reality(phenomenological daily life or how are exposed to its effects that we find noticeable in media/whatever structure we are a part of)  before we apply our own concepts to it.  For instance if it’s a problem that the ruling classes manipulate the media to get their own ideas across, that we buy and abide by completely wholesale, what what do we do about it or at least why is the problem occurring? people want a reason for the problem,  even if we don’t have a how-to kit on protesting at the capital, what is the nature of the problem other than its conceptual problem? well we need language to describe these problems, which make us use concepts, but we must try to do our best with describing the problem rather than focusing on applying our concepts, to the problem.    What inspired this post was that earlier someone was trying to analyze this process  and he did exactly what i’m talking about.  the problem for him was “the manipulation of the media” but he answers his problem by responding with ideas, not by solutions.  he starts off the discussion by saying “Well first off, if we are going to get anywhere we must first come to a set of concrete definitions, when we can get a better idea of what these two people were arguing about, and what solutions we might find”.  he then goes through the process of defining “democracy” (a group of partcipating citizenry), how walter lippman sees democracy, how john dewey sees democracy, how they both think we should manage media to control democracy, and what their ideas were about it. at the end of the article he then explains his own idea to the problem proposed.  in defining an IDEAL he secretly imposes his own set of moral attitudes which he dresses up in philosophical language “Whether or not the United States is a true democracy, was intended to be one, or should be one is a moot point considering the overwhelming support of the American people for a true democracy and all democratic ideals.  ”  instead of describing the power-processes currently in play (that john stewart was criticizing), he’s critizing the philosophical views of two other people hoping to insert his own ideals into the world.  most philosophers sadly are people trying to give birth to their own ideals in the real world and they are never born, only flesh and blood can be born and flesh and blood is determined by empirical drives of power-processes, not a conceptual house.

see through the philosophical process of reflection the object of discontent has been replaced with an artificial one that a philosopher can solve.  instead of solving the issue of “How the power elite use the media to manipulate our thoughts and ideas into bipartisan hackery”, he solves the issue of “How walter lippman and john dewey see democracy, and how we OUGHT/SHOULD see democracy, so that my solution of imaginative democracy will work” but he fails to show how his answer addresses the problem that was initially faced in reality.  most people will be offended by the word reality, but the idea is that at some point the philosopher was initially upset about a power-process (the way the ruling class manipulates CNN/FOXNEWS/RUSSIATODAY/DRUDGEREPORT/ETC to control the HERD) ends up propounding more statements about the nature of democracy and the nature of citizenry.

a philosopher in essence defines his problems out of existence.  this slight of hand “First off lets begin by getting a set of concrete definitions” quickly changes into “now lets use these manufactured definitions to render a problem that we can solve using other ideas/definitions”

engaging in a practice of language that can criticize the current power-processes without projecting our own ideologies into the description of the power process, will be hard as fuck, to say the least.  we must keep describing the power structures in place without saying “the world would be fixed if they saw it the way that i did”.

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