The cr ux, revis ited, sort of

A reader and I have been commenting back on forth on this topic, sort of; you can get some background on this here. This is another one of those posts I wrote in the wee hours of the morning by hand because I am either too lazy or intoxicated to use the computer.

Word for word, here it is. I may need to edit this later…On second thought, I added one or two words and punctuation to make the idea more clear.

CC wrote: “And perception is reality.”

The words roll off the tongue. Its truth seems so simple. But it is not true- this is my first reaction. Perception forms, shapes, helps (us) classify and understand reality.

If one is to assume that some “reality” exists out there, than we are so far removed from it as our perception is subjective, tweaked and compartmentalized.

We perceive realty through experience and example. That gives no inherent truth or knowledge. If perception is reality then there are infinite realities because we all experience, learn, collect knowledge individually.

There is no “social reality” when it comes to the individual. Sure he can conceive and construct such a thing. But your (constructed?) reality through power and control is as limited as Big Brother.

They/you may construct an image- many might buy/believe- but that does not make reality, it only makes perception.

My additions now that I am (sort of) sober

Just because the neocons have convinced the unwashed masses of their agenda does not make reality. If anything, it is an excuse, a mere impetus to what reality becomes. People’s perceptions are being manipulated. This alone causes problems with your assertion. This PR image they have constructed is not your reality, just as much as it is not mine, or any of the readers of this blog perhaps.

Webster’s online defines reality as such: re·al·i·ty: 1 : the quality or state of being real

2 a (1) : a real event, entity, or state of affairs (2) : the totality of real things and events

b : something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily- in reality : in actual fact

“Totality of real things and events” necessarily creates a problem. We are all aware of different things. All totalities are dependent and subjective.

The “reality” created by the mass media and political machine will not be recorded as such in the history books. I hope. Uh oh.

Thanks MK for the discussion. Keep it coming.

3 Responses to “The cr ux, revis ited, sort of”

  1. camilo Says:

    Well, this has the potential to disintegrate into a an exercise in postmodern pedantics but it is an important issue so I’ll take a crack at it (this is more or less off the top, so I apologize in advance if it’s garbled nonsense). If you claim that reality is distinct from perception, then you claim that there is some objective, empirically verifiable and concrete reality which is uncontaminated by human observation. I find that to be a very difficult assertion to make. Even in regards to the natural world and subjects like physics in which an objective reality is observable, our understanding of it is still filtered through our senses and limited by our vantage points as human beings, creatures with limited abilities to fully observe, understand, and explain the universe around us. Nevertheless, the nature of the physical universe is such that it exhibits more or less the same qualities for all members of the human species and so our intersubjective – that is, collective – understanding of it approximates the objective reality to the extent that this is possible, and this understanding is more or less unchanging across all observers equiped with the same tools.

    When we start to talk about human society, things are infinitely more complex. Human society is composed of individuals with their own motivations, emotions, ideologies, psychological dispositions, etc that not only cannot be accurately studied and accounted for by an outside observer, but which are also built into the observers themselves. Add to that the fact that society is a clusterfuck of power relations and material incentives which distort individuals’ attempts at objective understanding, and I think that the idea that an intersubjective understanding of human society will ever come close to “objective reality” – if such a thing exists – is pretty far fetched. The implication that individual perception is reality (which you have taken issue with above) is an extreme in the other direction. But to say that intersubjective perception is reality is not extreme, it is, in fact, the middle ground between the two extremes of absolutism/relativism which these two viewpoints represent.

    If you think that the reality created by “the mass media and the political machine” will somehow not be recorded in the history books, I would have to ask, where will the objective truth suddenly appear from to inspire historians who write textbooks? The bottom line is that once a large number of people perceive and accept this “brainwashing” they act within the framework it creates and the underlying motivations which were the impetus for the manipulation becomes irrelevant. In simpler, practical terms: if I want oil, I tell the people we should invade Nigeria to bring them democracy; the people support invading Nigeria to bring them Democracy, and this is done, for this purpose; now I have my oil, but Nigeria was invaded in order to liberate its people. And any argument that Nigeria was invaded for oil IS FALSE, because that is not why the action was undertaken and it can be shown that it is not. This is the sort of shit which makes those of us concerned with truth and ethics beat our heads against the wall, but it is something which we must come to terms with and appreciate.

    I’d like to leave it at that for now, since I’m sure you’ll take issue with some of the above. I hope this doesn’t come across like a lecture.

  2. Administrator Says:

    It does not come across as a lecture and as I am sure you know, i agree with the vast majority of it. i wish I had something more combative to say on the subject, but alas i do not.

    though i reserve the right to (attempt) to tear apart some or all of your argument sometime in the near future.

  3. camilo Says:

    If you are interested in reading on this subject, and have a penchant for intellectual self-flaggelation, read Jurgen Habermas’s _Between_Facts_and_Norms_ (which discusses intersubjective reality in the context of democratic politics) and some of Laclau and Mouffe’s work (which is probably closer to my argument above by emphasizing power relations very heavily).