To be effective, some power must be held in reserve; power, like money or talent, mustn’t be used up. The victim also cannot be capable of forcing a particular reaction from the oppressor. An abused child might, for example, tell his father to go fuck himself and the father might just laugh it off or pat the kid on the shoulder. But later when the same child ties his shoes improperly, he might get a beating. If a prison inmate can spit in the face a guard and provoke a beating, then the guard loses his power. The point is, the beating must be unpredictable and arbitrary. The powerful force must be a self-determined system; it decides when and how to exert power.
There are no truly closed systems, except for purely conceptual systems, e.g. the physicist’s imaginary box that is isolated from all outside influences.
The main problem here, as Michael King has observed, lies in the imprecise usage of the word system. What does the Green Party mean by system? When someone speaks of “complete system change,” we tend to assume there in just one system–or maybe just one system that matters, usually politics or the economy.
People working in various scholarly disciplines have been divided into two camps: the lumpers and the splitters. Lumpers create relatively broad categories and splitters create more narrow categories. Both create categories, classifications, or taxonomies, however, because that is what scholars or scientists do.
There are two common mistakes. One mistake is to claim that science and religion are in eternal conflict or in a state of war. The
Here is something from Jean Klein that made me think of complexity reduction, which is something that all autopoietic systems do: You may have faced
In a counseling or therapy setting, we are encouraged objectify the self, or to create a self and then talk about it. Even in casual conversation, if someone asks you are you’re doing, you are asked to objectify yourself–to fabricate a self to talk about. When you say “I’m fine” or “I’m not fine,” who is the I? We project an I and then assess its wellbeing. How is this I feeling today? A person might feel just fine, but when asked how she is doing, she might not feel so fine anymore. We are encouraged to almost constantly observe this objectified self. This process might be called introspection or self-reflection–and it is highly valued in environments that demand that people (or “personnel”) constantly improve or innovate or attain some goal.
At the end of a previous post, I started to explore something about Dostoevsky’s novella Notes from the Underground (1864), and I will continue these