The Science Of Superstitions
"The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science."
Albert Einstein, The World as I See It, 1931
The debate between realism and anti-realism is, at least, a century old. Does Science describe the real world - or are its theories true only within a certain conceptual framework? Is science only instrumental or empirically adequate or is there more to it than that?
The current - mythological - image of scientific enquiry is as follows:
Without resorting to reality, one can, given infinite time and resources, produce all conceivable theories. One of these theories is bound to be the "truth". To decide among them, scientists conduct experiments and compare their results to predictions yielded by the theories. A theory is falsified when one or more of its predictions fails. No amount of positive results - i.e., outcomes that confirm the theory's predictions - can "prove right" a theory. Theories can only be proven false by that great arbiter, reality.
Jose Ortega y Gasset said (in an unrelated exchange) that all ideas stem from pre-rational beliefs. William James concurred by saying that accepting a truth often requires an act of will which goes beyond facts and into the realm of feelings. Maybe so, but there is little doubt today that beliefs are somehow involved in the formation of many scientific ideas, if not of the very endeavor of Science. After all, Science is a human activity and humans always believe that things exist (=are true) or could be true.
A distinction is traditionally made between believing in something's existence, truth, value of appropriateness (this is the way that it ought to be) - and believing that something. The latter is a propositional attitude: we think that something, we wish that something, we feel that something and we believe that something. Believing in A and believing that A - are different.
It is reasonable to assume that belief is a limited affair. Few of us would tend to believe in contradictions and falsehoods. Catholic theologians talk about explicit belief (in something which is known to the believer to be true) versus implicit one (in the known consequences of something whose truth cannot be known). Truly, we believe in the probability of something (we, thus, express an opinion) - or in its certain existence (truth).
All humans believe in the existence of connections or relationships between things. This is not something which can be proven or proven false (to use Popper's test). That things consistently follow each other does not prove they are related in any objective, "real", manner - except in our minds. This belief in some order (if we define order as permanent relations between separate physical or abstract entities) permeates both Science and Superstition. They both believe that there must be - and is - a connection between things out there.
Science limits itself and believes that only certain entities inter-relate within well defined conceptual frames (called theories). Not everything has the potential to connect to everything else. Entities are discriminated, differentiated, classified and assimilated in worldviews in accordance with the types of connections that they forge with each other.
Moreover, Science believes that it has a set of very effective tools to diagnose, distinguish, observe and describe these relationships. It proves its point by issuing highly accurate predictions based on the relationships discerned through the use of said tools. Science (mostly) claims that these connections are "true" in the sense that they are certain - not probable.
The cycle of formulation, prediction and falsification (or proof) is the core of the human scientific activity. Alleged connections that cannot be captured in these nets of reasoning are cast out either as "hypothetical" or as "false". In other words: Science defines "relations between entities" as "relations between entities which have been established and tested using the scientific apparatus and arsenal of tools". This, admittedly, is a very cyclical argument, as close to tautology as it gets.
Superstition is a much simpler matter: everything is connected to everything in ways unbeknown to us. We can only witness the results of these subterranean currents and deduce the existence of such currents from the observable flotsam. The planets influence our lives, dry coffee sediments contain information about the future, black cats portend disasters, certain dates are propitious, certain numbers are to be avoided. The world is unsafe because it can never be fathomed. But the fact that we - limited as we are - cannot learn about a hidden connection - should not imply that it does not exist.
Science believes in two categories of relationships between entities (physical and abstract alike). The one is the category of direct links - the other that of links through a third entity. In the first case, A and B are seen to be directly related. In the second case, there is no apparent link between A and B, but a third entity, C could well provide such a connection (for instance, if A and B are parts of C or are separately, but concurrently somehow influenced by it).
Each of these two categories is divided to three subcategories: causal relationships, functional relationships and correlative relationship.
A and B will be said to be causally related if A precedes B, B never occurs if A does not precede it and always occurs after A occurs. To the discerning eye, this would seem to be a relationship of correlation ("whenever A happens B happens") and this is true. Causation is subsumed by a the 1.0 correlation relationship category. In other words: it is a private case of the more general case of correlation.
A and B are functionally related if B can be predicted by assuming A but we have no way of establishing the truth value of A. The latter is a postulate or axiom. The time dependent Schr
Philosophy As A Science
Philosophy is considered a science but it is difficult to say, when one has to compare with an ordinary science, for example biology, or chemistry. This is a question that turns into a burning problem among the scientists and linguists all over the world. Can philosophy be a science? What does philosophy operate with? It operates with categories, which can be as wide and as interchangeable as one can only imagine. Ordinary science operates with definitions, which are quite limited in their field of research. Ordinary science uses terms and laws of that very science to continue the research, uniting with the others in very rare cases. Philosophy gets into the sense of every science trying to achieve results.
We also can not call philosophy a supra-science, for it also uses hypothesis and arguments to state the opinion. But there is the obvious thing: there are now laws in philosophy and never will be, for the science changes with the age, the needs, beliefs and requirements of the citizens. To prove your opinion, you can write the definition essay and state all the facts and arguments you know to prove one way or another. This is also a nice way to research the problem and see what the solution is. But you have to research it carefully; otherwise definition essays will not be fruitful. As all sciences philosophy has gone through its stages of development. Some scientists believe that the crib of philosophy was mythology and religion. If to see the principles of life and some primitive morals stated in some myths we may see that the statement is quite true and philosophy still continues to develop out of social beliefs and ideas. Philosophy is a science which is obligatory learned by every college student in order for him to establish his own philosophy of life. It is quite exciting to find answers to ever existing questions: who am I? What do I know? What can I know? What am I destined to do? Here is one more interesting observation. You can see that all famous philosophers were researching other science fields also. For example, Freud, Yung, Kafka and others were doing research in linguistics and social sciences. Their numerous creations are the pride of human history for they revealed some secrets that remained undiscovered for a long time before their great contributions.
There are so many currents and branches, so many schools of philosophy that it is hard to decide, which one do you prefer and agree with. This much depends on the country, family, society you live in. This is one more difference between philosophy and other natural sciences. The law is stable for any country; gravity exists in India, same as in Brazil. Philosophy is a hard science, for it is very difficult to understand the sense of the dogma reading it only once. It is of course, not easy, but gives credit for you if you get interested and somewhere, being at the social event you quote one of the famous doctors of philosophy and make a great impression of an educated and intelligent personality.
Peace On Earth A Wonderful Wish But No Way
When asked, "If you could wish for one thing only, what would that wish be?" almost everyone; from beauty pagent contestants, to politicians, to religious leaders, to children, to the average person on the street states, "Peace On Earth" or "An end to all wars". Those wishes, while exemplary, are meaningless. As long as humans exist there will never be peace on earth.
Throughout the history of humankind there has never been peace on earth. Cavemen fought other cavemen over territory, food and even women. Cain killed Abel over God's respect. Gabriel blew down the walls of Jericho. America fought the Revolutionary War for freedom and brother fought against brother in our Civil War for more freedom. There have always been wars and there will always be wars.
As long as humans can think, there will be wars. Wars over such concepts as freedom, honor, dignity, etc.. Wars over territory, greed, power, prejudice, etc.. War is a part of human nature. For example, every human being is prejudiced. If they don't like some race, nationality or religion, they don't like short or tall or fat or skinny or smart or not smart or loud or quiet people. Some people don't like children, some people don't like old people, some people don't like people with pets, or people that play their music too loud, or bad drivers, or people that believe in God or people that don't believe in God. What is right and proper to some people can be wrong or even enraging to other people.
Religion can not stop wars, in fact many wars are fought over religion (Note: I believe that religion is used as an excuse for war not the real reason for war.). Christians fought against Muslims during the Crusades, Many Muslims want death for all non believers. The Catholic Church killed heretics during the Inquisition. The Nazis killed millions of Jews and then started killing Catholics. The Russians under Stalin killed anyone even remotly religious. Protestants killed other Protestants for being the wrong type of Protestant. Muslims killed Muslims for being the wrong type of Muslim. Don't forget about Atheists (I believe that Atheism is also a religion, it is a religion of non belief.), Stalin was an Atheist and wanted to get rid of all religion. Most of China's leaders are Atheists and have jailed and killed huge numbers of religious people. History is rife with various types of religious battles.
The main reason for war, however, is the lust for power. The power to make others do and believe as you do and believe, the power to make other people render unto you what you believe is rightfully yours, the power to make other people treat you as you believe you should be treated, the power to gain what you want (ie: money, love, respect, etc.), the power to punish others for doing things that you don't believe they should do, the power to keep other from having things or thoughts that you don't have. In other words, the power to be, in some ways God, to make everyone else in your image with you as their ruler.
As long as people have the ability to think, there will be greed, envy, prejudice and anger. As long as those things exist, there will be wars. Most people believe, either religiously or secularly, in the rules set down in the Ten Commandments, but very few people can follow those rules all of the time because our ability to think causes us to want. Wanting causes us to break some or all of the rules. Humans are not perfect. If they were they would not be human.
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life
I was always somebody who felt quite sorry for myself, what I had not got compared to my friends, how much of a struggle my life seemed to be compared to others. I was caught up in a web of negativity and needed someone or something to help me to escape.
During an afternoon at work one day, aged around twenty one, a colleague I was working with started to talk to me. What he said was quite upsetting and disturbing, however would have a profound effect on my future. He said to me:
"Your quite a depressive person, aren't you?"
I said in a shocked voice as I believed I was no different to anybody else. He continued:
"Yes you are. You very rarely smile, you are negative about most issues and you always seem to be carrying the world on your shoulders".
This man was aged around fifty three and continued:
"I used to be like you and then I was given some advice, of which I am now going to relay to you. When you feel down, depressed or sorry for yourself, read the newspapers or watch the news on the television. You may then realise that you are in fact one of the lucky ones."
I listened and thought about what he had said. I had never been a big reader or watcher of the news, but decided to start. The advice was totally correct, the news from around the world and even my own country was quite shocking. I realised that the worries I had were actually quite trivial and that I needed to cherish everyday and start to look on the bright side of life.
On Being Human
Are we human because of unique traits and attributes not shared with either animal or machine? The definition of "human" is circular: we are human by virtue of the properties that make us human (i.e., distinct from animal and machine). It is a definition by negation: that which separates us from animal and machine is our "human-ness".
We are human because we are not animal, nor machine. But such thinking has been rendered progressively less tenable by the advent of evolutionary and neo-evolutionary theories which postulate a continuum in nature between animals and Man.
Our uniqueness is partly quantitative and partly qualitative. Many animals are capable of cognitively manipulating symbols and using tools. Few are as adept at it as we are. These are easily quantifiable differences - two of many.
Qualitative differences are a lot more difficult to substantiate. In the absence of privileged access to the animal mind, we cannot and don't know if animals feel guilt, for instance. Do animals love? Do they have a concept of sin? What about object permanence, meaning, reasoning, self-awareness, critical thinking? Individuality? Emotions? Empathy? Is artificial intelligence (AI) an oxymoron? A machine that passes the Turing Test may well be described as "human". But is it really? And if it is not - why isn't it?
Literature is full of stories of monsters - Frankenstein, the Golem - and androids or anthropoids. Their behaviour is more "humane" than the humans around them. This, perhaps, is what really sets humans apart: their behavioural unpredictability. It is yielded by the interaction between Mankind's underlying immutable genetically-determined nature - and Man's kaleidoscopically changing environments.
The Constructivists even claim that Human Nature is a mere cultural artefact. Sociobiologists, on the other hand, are determinists. They believe that human nature - being the inevitable and inexorable outcome of our bestial ancestry - cannot be the subject of moral judgment.
An improved Turing Test would look for baffling and erratic patterns of misbehaviour to identify humans. Pico della Mirandola wrote in "Oration on the Dignity of Man" that Man was born without a form and can mould and transform - actually, create - himself at will. Existence precedes essence, said the Existentialists centuries later.
The one defining human characteristic may be our awareness of our mortality. The automatically triggered, "fight or flight", battle for survival is common to all living things (and to appropriately programmed machines). Not so the catalytic effects of imminent death. These are uniquely human. The appreciation of the fleeting translates into aesthetics, the uniqueness of our ephemeral life breeds morality, and the scarcity of time gives rise to ambition and creativity.
In an infinite life, everything materializes at one time or another, so the concept of choice is spurious. The realization of our finiteness forces us to choose among alternatives. This act of selection is predicated upon the existence of "free will". Animals and machines are thought to be devoid of choice, slaves to their genetic or human programming.
Yet, all these answers to the question: "What does it mean to be human" - are lacking.
The set of attributes we designate as human is subject to profound alteration. Drugs, neuroscience, introspection, and experience all cause irreversible changes in these traits and characteristics. The accumulation of these changes can lead, in principle, to the emergence of new properties, or to the abolition of old ones.
Animals and machines are not supposed to possess free will or exercise it. What, then, about fusions of machines and humans (bionics)? At which point does a human turn into a machine? And why should we assume that free will ceases to exist at that - rather arbitrary - point?
Introspection - the ability to construct self-referential and recursive models of the world - is supposed to be a uniquely human quality. What about introspective machines? Surely, say the critics, such machines are PROGRAMMED to introspect, as opposed to humans. To qualify as introspection, it must be WILLED, they continue. Yet, if introspection is willed - WHO wills it? Self-willed introspection leads to infinite regression and formal logical paradoxes.
Moreover, the notion - if not the formal concept - of "human" rests on many hidden assumptions and conventions.
Political correctness notwithstanding - why presume that men and women (or different races) are identically human? Aristotle thought they were not. A lot separates males from females - genetically (both genotype and phenotype) and environmentally (culturally). What is common to these two sub-species that makes them both "human"?
Can we conceive of a human without body (i.e., a Platonian Form, or soul)? Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas think not. A soul has no existence separate from the body. A machine-supported energy field with mental states similar to ours today - would it be considered human? What about someone in a state of coma - is he or she (or it) fully human?
Is a new born baby human - or, at least, fully human - and, if so, in which sense? What about a future human race - whose features would be unrecognizable to us? Machine-based intelligence - would it be thought of as human? If yes, when would it be considered human?
In all these deliberations, we may be confusing "human" with "person". The former is a private case of the latter. Locke's person is a moral agent, a being responsible for its actions. It is constituted by the continuity of its mental states accessible to introspection.
Locke's is a functional definition. It readily accommodates non-human persons (machines, energy matrices) if the functional conditions are satisfied. Thus, an android which meets the prescribed requirements is more human than a brain dead person.
Descartes' objection that one cannot specify conditions of singularity and identity over time for disembodied souls is right only if we assume that such "souls" possess no energy. A bodiless intelligent energy matrix which maintains its form and identity over time is conceivable. Certain AI and genetic software programs already do it.
Strawson is Cartesian and Kantian in his definition of a "person" as a "primitive". Both the corporeal predicates and those pertaining to mental states apply equally, simultaneously, and inseparably to all the individuals of that type of entity. Human beings are one such entity. Some, like Wiggins, limit the list of possible persons to animals - but this is far from rigorously necessary and is unduly restrictive.
The truth is probably in a synthesis:
A person is any type of fundamental and irreducible entity whose typical physical individuals (i.e., members) are capable of continuously experiencing a range of states of consciousness and permanently having a list of psychological attributes.
This definition allows for non-animal persons and recognizes the personhood of a brain damaged human ("capable of experiencing"). It also incorporates Locke's view of humans as possessing an ontological status similar to "clubs" or "nations" - their personal identity consists of a variety of interconnected psychological continuities.
Althusser Competing Interpellations And The Third Text
With the exception of Nietzsche, no other madman has contributed so much to human sanity as has Louis Althusser. He is mentioned twice in the Encyclopaedia Britannica as someone's teacher. There could be no greater lapse: for two important decades (the 60s and the 70s), Althusser was at the eye of all the important cultural storms. He fathered quite a few of them.
This newly-found obscurity forces me to summarize his work before suggesting a few (minor) modifications to it.
(1) Society consists of practices: economic, political and ideological.
Althusser defines a practice as:
"Any process of transformation of a determinate product, affected
by a determinate human labour, using determinate means (of production)"
The economic practice (the historically specific mode of production) transforms raw materials to finished products using human labour and other means of production, all organized within defined webs of inter-relations. The political practice does the same with social relations as the raw materials. Finally, ideology is the transformation of the way that a subject relates to his real life conditions of existence.
This is a rejection of the mechanistic worldview (replete with bases and superstructures). It is a rejection of the Marxist theorization of ideology. It is a rejection of the Hegelian fascist "social totality". It is a dynamic, revealing, modern day model.
In it, the very existence and reproduction of the social base (not merely its expression) is dependent upon the social superstructure. The superstructure is "relatively autonomous" and ideology has a central part in it - see entry about Marx and Engels and entry concerning Hegel.
The economic structure is determinant but another structure could be dominant, depending on the historical conjuncture. Determination (now called over-determination - see Note) specifies the form of economic production upon which the dominant practice depends. Put otherwise: the economic is determinant not because the practices of the social formation (political and ideological) are the social formation's expressive epiphenomena - but because it determines WHICH of them is dominant.
(2) People relate to the conditions of existence through the practice of ideology. Contradictions are smoothed over and (real) problems are offered false (though seemingly true) solutions. Thus, ideology has a realistic dimension - and a dimension of representations (myths, concepts, ideas, images). There is (harsh, conflicting) reality - and the way that we represent it both to ourselves and to others.
(3) To achieve the above, ideology must not be seen to err or, worse, remain speechless. It, therefore, confronts and poses (to itself) only answerable questions. This way, it remains confined to a fabulous, legendary, contradiction-free domain. It ignores other questions altogether.
(4) Althusser introduced the concept of "The Problematic":
"The objective internal reference ... the system of questions
commanding the answers given"
It determines which problems, questions and answers are part of the game - and which should be blacklisted and never as much as mentioned. It is a structure of theory (ideology), a framework and the repertoire of discourses which - ultimately - yield a text or a practice. All the rest is excluded.
It, therefore, becomes clear that what is omitted is of no less importance than what is included in a text. The problematic of a text relates to its historical context ("moment") by incorporating both: inclusions as well as omissions, presences as much as absences. The problematic of the text fosters the generation of answers to posed questions - and of defective answers to excluded questions.
(5) The task of "scientific" (e.g., Marxist) discourse, of Althusserian critical practice is to deconstruct the problematic, to read through ideology and evidence the real conditions of existence. This is a "symptomatic reading" of TWO TEXTS:
"It divulges the undivulged event in the text that it reads and, in the
same movement, relates to it a different text, present, as a necessary
absence, in the first ... (Marx's reading of Adam Smith) presupposes
the existence of two texts and the measurement of the first against
the second. But what distinguishes this new reading from the old,
is the fact that in the new one, the second text is articulated with the
lapses in the first text ... (Marx measures) the problematic contained
in the paradox of an answer which does not correspond to any questions posed."
Althusser is contrasting the manifest text with a latent text which is the result of the lapses, distortions, silences and absences in the manifest text. The latent text is the "diary of the struggle" of the unposed question to be posed and answered.
(6) Ideology is a practice with lived and material dimensions. It has costumes, rituals, behaviour patterns, ways of thinking. The State employs Ideological Apparatuses (ISAs) to reproduce ideology through practices and productions: (organized) religion, the education system, the family, (organized) politics, the media, the industries of culture.
"All ideology has the function (which defines it) of 'constructing'
concrete individuals as subjects"
Subjects to what? The answer: to the material practices of the ideology. This (the creation of subjects) is done by the acts of "hailing" or "interpellation". These are acts of attracting attention (hailing) , forcing the individuals to generate meaning (interpretation) and making them participate in the practice.
These theoretical tools were widely used to analyze the Advertising and the film industries.
The ideology of consumption (which is, undeniably, the most material of all practices) uses advertising to transform individuals to subjects (=to consumers). It uses advertising to interpellate them. The advertisements attract attention, force people to introduce meaning to them and, as a result, to consume. The most famous example is the use of "People like you (buy this or do that)" in ads. The reader / viewer is interpellated both as an individual ("you") and as a member of a group ("people like..."). He occupies the empty (imaginary) space of the "you" in the ad. This is ideological "misrecognition". First, many others misrecognize themselves as that "you" (an impossibility in the real world). Secondly, the misrecognized "you" exists only in the ad because it was created by it, it has no real world correlate.
The reader or viewer of the ad is transformed into the subject of (and subject to) the material practice of the ideology (consumption, in this case).
Althusser was a Marxist. The dominant mode of production in his days (and even more so today) was capitalism. His implied criticism of the material dimensions of ideological practices should be taken with more than a grain of salt. Interpellated by the ideology of Marxism himself, he generalized on his personal experience and described ideologies as infallible, omnipotent, ever successful. Ideologies, to him, were impeccably functioning machines which can always be relied upon to reproduce subjects with all the habits and thought patterns required by the dominant mode of production.
And this is where Althusser fails, trapped by dogmatism and more than a touch of paranoia. He neglects to treat two all-important questions (his problematic may have not allowed it):
(a) What do ideologies look for? Why do they engage in their practice? What is the ultimate goal?
(b) What happens in a pluralistic environment rich in competing ideologies?
Althusser stipulates the existence of two texts, manifest and hidden. The latter co-exists with the former, very much as a black figure defines its white background. The background is also a figure and it is only arbitrarily - the result of historical conditioning - that we bestow a preferred status upon the one. The latent text can be extracted from the manifest one by listening to the absences, the lapses and the silences in the manifest text.
But: what dictates the laws of extraction? how do we know that the latent text thus exposed is THE right one? Surely, there must exist a procedure of comparison, authentication and verification of the latent text?
A comparison of the resulting latent text to the manifest text from which it was extracted would be futile because it would be recursive. This is not even a process of iteration. It is teutological. There must exist a THIRD, "master-text", a privileged text, historically invariant, reliable, unequivocal (indifferent to interpretation-frameworks), universally accessible, atemporal and non-spatial. This third text is COMPLETE in the sense that it includes both the manifest and the latent. Actually, it should include all the possible texts (a LIBRARY function). The historical moment will determine which of them will be manifest and which latent, according to the needs of the mode of production and the various practices. Not all these texts will be conscious and accessible to the individual but such a text would embody and dictate the rules of comparison between the manifest text and ITSELF (the Third Text) , being the COMPLETE text.
Only through a comparison between a partial text and a complete text can the deficiencies of the partial text be exposed. A comparison between partial texts will yield no certain results and a comparison between the text and itself (as Althusser suggests) is absolutely meaningless.
This Third Text is the human psyche. We constantly compare texts that we read to this Third Text, a copy of which we all carry with us. We are unaware of most of the texts incorporated in this master text of ours. When faced with a manifest text which is new to us, we first "download" the "rules of comparison (engagement)". We sift through the manifest text. We compare it to our COMPLETE master text and see which parts are missing. These constitute the latent text. The manifest text serves as a trigger which brings to our consciousness appropriate and relevant portions of the Third Text. It also generates the latent text in us.
If this sounds familiar it is because this pattern of confronting (the manifest text), comparing (with our master text) and storing the results (the latent text and the manifest text are brought to consciousness) - is used by mother nature itself. The DNA is such a "Master Text, Third Text". It includes all the genetic-biological texts some manifest, some latent. Only stimuli in its environment (=a manifest text) can provoke it to generate its own (hitherto latent) "text". The same would apply to computer applications.
The Third Text, therefore, has an invariant nature (it includes all possible texts) - and, yet, is changeable by interacting with manifest texts. This contradiction is only apparent. The Third Text does not change - only different parts of it are brought to our awareness as a result of the interaction with the manifest text. We can also safely say that one does not need to be an Althusserian critic or engage in "scientific" discourse to deconstruct the problematic. Every reader of text immediately and always deconstructs it. The very act of reading involves comparison with the Third Text which inevitably leads to the generation of a latent text.
And this precisely is why some interpellations fail. The subject deconstructs every message even if he is not trained in critical practice. He is interpellated or fails to be interpellated depending on what latent message was generated through the comparison with the Third Text. And because the Third Text includes ALL possible texts, the subject is given to numerous competing interpellations offered by many ideologies, mostly at odds with each other. The subject is in an environment of COMPETING INTERPELLATIONS (especially in this day and age of information glut). The failure of one interpellation - normally means the success of another (whose interpellation is based on the latent text generated in the comparison process or on a manifest text of its own, or on a latent text generated by another text).
There are competing ideologies even in the most severe of authoritarian regimes. Sometimes, IASs within the same social formation offer competing ideologies: the political Party, the Church, the Family, the Army, the Media, the Civilian Regime, the Bureaucracy. To assume that interpellations are offered to the potential subjects successively (and not in parallel) defies experience (though it does simplify the thought-system).
Clarifying the HOW, though, does not shed light on the WHY.
Advertising leads to the interpellation of the subject to effect the material practice of consumption. Put more simply: there is money involved. Other ideologies - propagated through organized religions, for instance - lead to prayer. Could this be the material practice that they are looking for? No way. Money, prayer, the very ability to interpellate - they are all representations of power over other human beings. The business concern, the church, the political party, the family, the media, the culture industries - are all looking for the same thing: influence, power, might. Absurdly, interpellation is used to secure one paramount thing: the ability to interpellate. Behind every material practice stands a psychological practice (very much as the Third Text - the psyche - stands behind every text, latent or manifest).
The media could be different: money, spiritual prowess, physical brutality, subtle messages. But everyone (even individuals in their private life) is looking to hail and interpellate others and thus manipulate them to succumb to their material practices. A short sighted view would say that the businessman interpellates in order to make money. But the important question is: what ever for? What drives ideologies to establish material practices and to interpellate people to participate in them and become subjects? The will to power. the wish to be able to interpellate. It is this cyclical nature of Althusser's teachings (ideologies interpellate in order to be able to interpellate) and his dogmatic approach (ideologies never fail) which doomed his otherwise brilliant observations to oblivion.
In Althusser's writings the Marxist determination remains as Over-determination. This is a structured articulation of a number of contradictions and determinations (between the practices). This is very reminiscent of Freud's Dream Theory and of the concept of Superposition in Quantum Mechanics.
When The Morning Dawns
The following article covers a topic that has recently moved to center stage-at least it seems that way. If you've been thinking you need to know more about unconditional love, here's your opportunity.
When darkness turns to day, the sun moves over the horizon and touches everything in sight. This movement across the landscape brightens everything. Such an illumination awakens us all. We rise with energy moving in and through us allowing us to create a new day. A day unique from all the rest and creatively woven into our soul.
This is the landscape of our soul. As you can see, nature has a way of showing us just how powerful we are. The same power that created the moon and the stars and the movement of all space and time lies within the human heart. It is the heart of creation itself, and perhaps, the heart of our Creator.
Human beings are fortunate to be able to be aware of our awareness. This awareness gives us an opportunity to reflect on our soul and find blessing in being alive. Our consciousness of a creative force inside us guiding us into this world, through it, and eventually to our eternal home allows us to fulfill a purpose on this earth.
Such a purpose is beyond our own ability to really know. Yet, we can open our heart enough to allow our purpose to find us. This is done by recognizing that the things in life that really matter ARE the things in life that isn't matter.
Yes, it is our soul's longing to fulfill the purpose for which we came to earth for. No one really knows how a baby is conceived totally. Science and human understanding still hasn't been able to fully comprehend such a force of nature. We can only embrace what is beyond us and find a way to bring into being forces of nature such as a tiny child.
When a child is born, we are in awe. The miracle of birth creates something inside us all. It is the remembrance that life does not come from us. Instead, life comes through us. As such, we are living in a dream come true. All of us are probably living our soul's purpose more than we know, and even, can know. It is the mystery of all mysteries.
This does not explain why some of us find peace and other's find pain. But, such a philosophy will enable us all to find grace in knowing our lives create in our world facets of ourselves we all are a part of. An understanding of such grace gives every one of us a chance to find mercy and grace and the same unconditional love we came into the world with when we were born.
Samuel Oliver, author of, "What the Dying Teach Us: Lessons on Living"
The Emerald Buddha
The Emerald Buddha is a figurine of a sitting Budha, that is the is the palladium of the Kingdom of Thailand. The Buddha is made of green jade, suprisingly not of emerald, clothed in gold is approximately 45 cm tall. The Buddha is kept in the Chapel of the Emerald Buddha, which is located on the grounds of the Grand Palace in Bangkok.
Legend tells that that the Emerald Buddha was created in Pataliputra, India, which is now the city of Patna in 43 BCE by Nagasena. Other great historians beleive that it belongs to the Chiang Saen Style of the 15th century. The legend says that, it remained in Pataliputra for 300 hundred years, until it was taken to Sri Lanka to save it from a civil war. It was then in 457, that King Anuruth of Burma sent out orders to Ceylon to ask for the Emerald Budha and Buddhist scriptures. These actions took place by the king, to try and support Buddhism in his country. This request was granted, however the ship that was brining the Buddha to Burma, became lost in a storm and ended up in Cambodia. The Buddha made it's way through several hands after that: Ayutthaya, Kamphaeng Phet, Lao and finally Chiang Rai. It was finally in Chiang Rai that the ruler of the city hid it.
It wasn't until 1434 that sources indicate the resurfacing of the statue in Northern Thailand. There is one story about the discovery: "lightning struck a pagoda in a temple in Chiang Rai, after which something became visible under the stucco. The Emerald Buddha was dug out and the people thought the figurine was made from emerald, hence its current name."
Although, the Buddha is just a simple jade statue, it is dressed with garments that are made of fine gold. The Buddha's clothing are changed by the King of Thailand, to celebrate the chaning of seasons. This occurs three times a year: 1st Waning of Lunar Month 4, 8 and 12
Unlocking The Bible Codes
Did you read the DaVinci Code or maybe see the movie? Did it get you interested in history and secret codes? You do not have to travel to Europe to see the true secrets from history; technology now lets us unlock the oldest secret code in the world, the bible code. For centuries there have been rumors about the secret codes of the bible. Now with the power of your home computer you can unlock the bible codes and see the truth for your self. Whether you are a true believer or a doubtful skeptic, evidence can be found with your own research on the secret codes of the bible.
Bible codes, sometimes referred to as Torah codes, have been part of the Jewish tradition and mystery for over 2000 years. In Hebrew (the language of the original bible) the bible codes are called Gematria which is a translation from ancient Greek which when translated in to English is numerology. Around the time that the Old Testament was written the Greeks were the world leaders in math, so it would be natural that they would influence the composers of the original bible codes. It is information like this that can be found in the software responsible for unlocking the bible codes.
The bible codes can also be seen in other forms of the bible not just the original Hebrew. The King James Version has hidden bible codes and mysteries just waiting to be unlocked. The Greek version of the bible was the first ever translation of the bible and it too has many secrets waiting for you.
Using your home computer you can unlock the bible codes and explore history on your own. There are plenty of wonderful programs and DVDs which reveal the secrets of the bibles codes, and let you explore the magical Holy Land from home. One program called Holy Land Journey takes you on an interactive tour of the Holy Land and matches up bible stories with pictures. There are several bible decoders which are made to work in your native language and help you to start unlocking the secrets of the bible in a simple way so that you can understand.
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