The Burden of Freedom

“The astonishing thing is not that some people steal or that others occasionally go out on strike, but rather that all those who are starving do not steal as a regular practice, and all those who are exploited are not continually out on strike: after centuries of exploitation, why do people still tolerate being humiliated and enslaved, to such a point, indeed, that they actually want humiliation and slavery not only for others but for themselves?”

Notes on The Sovereignty Paradox

Do shared norms matter in international relations? Psychic operational closure means we cannot share thoughts; we can only share language. Ideas cannot be shared. Thoughts, ideas, feelings, etc., must be translated into meaningful communication within a social system. Norms are not ideas, but rather expectations.

Mechanistic metaphors–structural insecurity, etc.

Stability, instability, balance, imbalance, structure, etc., are mechanistic metaphors that don’t fit social theory very well. For instance, structural instability is a bad quality in a bridge or tall building, but it’s necessary for autopoiesis to happen. Structural instability, in a social sense as well as a linguistic sense, is generative. Structural instability is a quality of any dynamic, evolving, or “living” thing.

Notes on an article by Niels Åkerstrøm Andersen and Paul Stenner

“In diverging from the classical biological view of the immune system as the part of the organism that defends it against external attacks, Luhmann closely follows developments within biology itself. He orients towards a systems theoretical form of biology that arguably escapes the oft-criticised biological reductionism – of which Durkheim and Parsons stand accused – that would model sociology so problematically upon biology.”

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