Sunday, June 7, 2015

the power happiness relation and radical rage

When I'm not copying and pasting from facebook and forgetting to click "remove formatting," I'm linking to me covering Violent Femmes songs on facebook and forgetting to set the audience to "public." If you like that song, it's not a terrible rendition except for the parts where it is. Reposting.


Good political analysis is naturalistic -- it takes human intentions, which are mostly inscrutable, out of the picture. It doesn't matter what Joe Biden is thinking -- that information is almost useless. Actions tell the story.

But then there's a very strong tendency to jump back over from the high resolution naturalistic system approach, after the accurate analysis, to groundless assumptions about low resolution lived experience. While it's fine to usher in intentionality, much like evolutionary biologists do when they use the word "design," and say that a person who gets pass out drunk, for example, "gets what they wanted," it's a mistake to assume that the entirety of the experience was something they enjoyed or something that was good for them. That's an unwarranted jump.

Elliot Rodger, the "kissless virgin" who went on a killing spree last year in Isla Vista, CA got what he wanted. He was as "privileged" as they come. He was likely as miserable as any human has ever been. Read his Kampf, it's hard to miss. He was an evil bastard and he was a victim, if victim means a person who suffers a great deal. You can say he could have done this and that but you don't know and, in any case, he didn't. The relation between naturalistically getting what one wants (a system doing what it does, the way power works) and lived experience is complicated and mostly inscrutable.


Radicalism is the mirror image of oppression, just as real self-defense is the mirror image of aggression. If someone has their boot on your neck and you punch them, is it violence? Yes, but without a self-defense exception, you end up with a giant hole in human ethical thinking, which is a natural system with real effects, some of which are valuable.

Radicalism needs to be approximately as stupid as aggressive violence. The radical approach to Elliot Rodger is fuck that guy. The radical approach is rage. The radical approach is to deny his humanity, the fact that he suffered. If you're looking for an accurate naturalistic picture, this is a mistake. If you're looking to survive, or meaningfully resist oppression, there's a decent case for rage.


d.mantis said...

It's always interesting to note how many ostensibly left gatekeepers there are setting boundaries on radicals, resistance and action. Yet, when a state actor is involved (ie the police, military etc.) the question becomes whether it was a justifiable level of violence. As if it's only a thing that exists one-way.

Anyway, this has a similar theme if not different focus:

Devin Lenda said...

Yeah, my sense is that information gets tagged ingroup or outgroup prior to conscious processing so there are two radically different heuristics at work. State actions get the apologetic ingroup treatment.

Good link.