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The Spirit of Abstraction

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Gamnot
Posts: 249
Joined: March 15th, 2012, 2:10 am

The Spirit of Abstraction

Post by Gamnot » June 26th, 2013, 8:59 pm

"The spirit of abstraction is the main reason I resist associating myself with any group." ................ This reminds me of Raymond Cattell's Q2 personality factor; The continuum between overly strong or cultic group adherence on the one hand and self-sufficiency on the other. For whatever reason, I don't like to be associated with any in-group or sub-culture, but I suppose that being so associated does fulfill the basic human need for a "sense of belonging." Acting in a cruel manner probably has the effect of crystallizing the group adherence; This phenomena was described well in Dostoevsky's Novel: "The Demons." The solution lies in becoming a person without the downside of estrangement and interpersonal and social participation without the downside of engulfment in an in-group or cult.


Since we live in a culture of narcissism, wouldn't narcissism and it's characteristics of "Sense of entitlement" and "bad boundaries" play a role in cruelty against others based on the root of the sense of entitlement which could be gender or ideological in nature? I have done some writing on those two characteristics as working as a corruption pump mechanism: The degradation of others is used to justify the sense of entitlement and the sense of entitlement is used to justify the bad derogatory activities. I think Gabriel Marcel was in some way pointing to that kind of phenomena in his book: "Man Against Mass Society.”


The natural tendency toward a spirit of co-operation as well as a spirit of competition can be seen in a harmonious blend in team sports in which the rules of the game are followed and in which fairness is maintained. I don't believe that there is a high school football team in the south were I live that doesn't have an arch-rival that they compare and contrast themselves to. The blend can easily be corrupted to in-groups and out-groups with destructive consequences. People who have an aversion to an overly strong spirit of competition (loose gird structure) would have the tendency to drift into a tight gird structure with a spirit of co-operation. This is one reason for the proliferation of cults and strong In-group and out-group polarizations in our timeThe natural tendency toward a spirit of co-operation as well as a spirit of competition can be seen in a harmonious blend in team sports in which the rules of the game are followed and in which fairness is maintained. I don't believe that there is a high school football team in the south were I live that doesn't have an arch-rival that they compare and contrast themselves to. The blend can easily be corrupted to in-groups and out-groups with destructive consequences. People who have an aversion to an overly strong spirit of competition (loose gird structure) would have the tendency to drift into a tight gird structure with a spirit of co-operation. This is one reason for the proliferation of cults and strong In-group and out-group polarizations in our time.

Do you believe that Gabriel Marcel's notion that "The Spirit of Abstraction is a Factor for the Making for War?" and if so what do you can be done about it?

Spectrum
Posts: 5160
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
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Re: The Spirit of Abstraction

Post by Spectrum » June 26th, 2013, 11:41 pm

Yes.
Basic 'abstraction' (there are many senses, e.g. logic is based on abstraction) is a critical tool to facilitate survival. Like any tool, which is a double-edged sword, it has its downsides and 'war' is one of those.
The link from the 'spirit of abstraction' within humanity to its 'making of war' is a complex one, involving fundamental primal impulses, instincts, emotions, etc. This is why there are so many types of war, i.e. tribal, religious, political, social, economics, clash of civilizations, etc.
One effective way out to resolve the conflicts of war is to study and understanding the complexities of the whole process and modulate the problem at the level of its root causes.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Greendolphin
Posts: 65
Joined: February 2nd, 2013, 4:44 am

Re: The Spirit of Abstraction

Post by Greendolphin » June 29th, 2013, 1:17 am

Gamnot wrote:"The spirit of abstraction is the main reason I resist associating myself with any group." ................ This reminds me of Raymond Cattell's Q2 personality factor; The continuum between overly strong or cultic group adherence on the one hand and self-sufficiency on the other. For whatever reason, I don't like to be associated with any in-group or sub-culture, but I suppose that being so associated does fulfill the basic human need for a "sense of belonging." Acting in a cruel manner probably has the effect of crystallizing the group adherence; This phenomena was described well in Dostoevsky's Novel: "The Demons." The solution lies in becoming a person without the downside of estrangement and interpersonal and social participation without the downside of engulfment in an in-group or cult.


Since we live in a culture of narcissism, wouldn't narcissism and it's characteristics of "Sense of entitlement" and "bad boundaries" play a role in cruelty against others based on the root of the sense of entitlement which could be gender or ideological in nature? I have done some writing on those two characteristics as working as a corruption pump mechanism: The degradation of others is used to justify the sense of entitlement and the sense of entitlement is used to justify the bad derogatory activities. I think Gabriel Marcel was in some way pointing to that kind of phenomena in his book: "Man Against Mass Society.”


The natural tendency toward a spirit of co-operation as well as a spirit of competition can be seen in a harmonious blend in team sports in which the rules of the game are followed and in which fairness is maintained. I don't believe that there is a high school football team in the south were I live that doesn't have an arch-rival that they compare and contrast themselves to. The blend can easily be corrupted to in-groups and out-groups with destructive consequences. People who have an aversion to an overly strong spirit of competition (loose gird structure) would have the tendency to drift into a tight gird structure with a spirit of co-operation. This is one reason for the proliferation of cults and strong In-group and out-group polarizations in our timeThe natural tendency toward a spirit of co-operation as well as a spirit of competition can be seen in a harmonious blend in team sports in which the rules of the game are followed and in which fairness is maintained. I don't believe that there is a high school football team in the south were I live that doesn't have an arch-rival that they compare and contrast themselves to. The blend can easily be corrupted to in-groups and out-groups with destructive consequences. People who have an aversion to an overly strong spirit of competition (loose gird structure) would have the tendency to drift into a tight gird structure with a spirit of co-operation. This is one reason for the proliferation of cults and strong In-group and out-group polarizations in our time.

Do you believe that Gabriel Marcel's notion that "The Spirit of Abstraction is a Factor for the Making for War?" and if so what do you can be done about it?


Did Gabriel Marcel actually say that? That is, that "the spirit of abstraction is a factor for the making of war?

-- Updated June 29th, 2013, 12:31 am to add the following --

If so, I agree, and I suspect that Marcel might identify the origin of this tragic, destructive tendency to objectify other human beings (and thereby anaesthetise the fact of their violent annihilation in warfare) the the philosophy of Rene Descartes, and in particularin Descartes most influential theory of all: the theory of representative sense perception as outlined in his 6th Meditation.

I think that you raise a very important point. If you are interested I can explain in more detail how it is, in fact, Descartes thinking (IMO) and his modern legacy of dualistic metaphysics that is the locus of the problem.

Kindest Regards

John

Gamnot
Posts: 249
Joined: March 15th, 2012, 2:10 am

Re: The Spirit of Abstraction

Post by Gamnot » June 29th, 2013, 1:32 am

From the book: "Man against Mass Society" by Gabriel Marcel Contents: Part two Chapter iii "The Spirit of Abstraction, as a Factor Making For War." The chapter title.

Greendolphin
Posts: 65
Joined: February 2nd, 2013, 4:44 am

Re: The Spirit of Abstraction

Post by Greendolphin » June 29th, 2013, 2:03 am

Thanks. That's interesting. I think that Marcel is right. To this day we are still I believe, largely mired in the Cartesian Theatre and its false dualistic metaphysics (ontology).

In "Meditations", (actually in the Sixth Meditation where he finally gives his account of the theory of representational sense perception) Descartes successfully articulated an extraordinary radical and profoundly influential new paradigm: a paradigm which was to place for the next 400 odd years to date, a false schism between man and his fellow human beings, and between man and the natural world.

Wherever you see modern philosophers using the terms inner/outer (in the context of the "outside" world and the "inner" mind or consciousness), subjective/objective, self (ego)/other, mind/body, you are seeing Descartes philosophical legacy in action.

This century, the twentieth century has been notable for two nightmarish world wars - both of them, violent, bloody cataclysms of a scale unpredcedented in recorded human history.

For men (individual human beings) to have murdered and maimed each other en masse - literally in their millions - in these conflicts, the way they actually did - with machine guns, bayonets, bare hands, poison gas, explosives including the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan - must, in my opinion, have necessitated their prior abstraction of, or objectifcation of, other men as mere matter, i.e., mere physical objects. This , to me, at least, is what Marcel is getting at, i.e. in that to perceice another human being as a mere (abstract) material object (as opposed to a "Thou") necessarily bespeaks an inherent "hatefuness".
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

PS: I have always loved Gabriel Marcel's writing, he is a brilliant prose stylist. He can make magic happen when he puts pen to paper!

Kindest Regards,

John

Gamnot
Posts: 249
Joined: March 15th, 2012, 2:10 am

Re: The Spirit of Abstraction

Post by Gamnot » June 29th, 2013, 12:55 pm

Greendolphin wrote:Thanks. That's interesting. I think that Marcel is right. To this day we are still I believe, largely mired in the Cartesian Theatre and its false dualistic metaphysics (ontology).

In "Meditations", (actually in the Sixth Meditation where he finally gives his account of the theory of representational sense perception) Descartes successfully articulated an extraordinary radical and profoundly influential new paradigm: a paradigm which was to place for the next 400 odd years to date, a false schism between man and his fellow human beings, and between man and the natural world.

Wherever you see modern philosophers using the terms inner/outer (in the context of the "outside" world and the "inner" mind or consciousness), subjective/objective, self (ego)/other, mind/body, you are seeing Descartes philosophical legacy in action.

This century, the twentieth century has been notable for two nightmarish world wars - both of them, violent, bloody cataclysms of a scale unpredcedented in recorded human history.

For men (individual human beings) to have murdered and maimed each other en masse - literally in their millions - in these conflicts, the way they actually did - with machine guns, bayonets, bare hands, poison gas, explosives including the nuclear bombs dropped on Japan - must, in my opinion, have necessitated their prior abstraction of, or objectifcation of, other men as mere matter, i.e., mere physical objects. This , to me, at least, is what Marcel is getting at, i.e. in that to perceice another human being as a mere (abstract) material object (as opposed to a "Thou") necessarily bespeaks an inherent "hatefuness".
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

PS: I have always loved Gabriel Marcel's writing, he is a brilliant prose stylist. He can make magic happen when he puts pen to paper!

Kindest Regards,

John

Thanks for the response John. I have not studied Descartes to any extent. Are you familiar with the Spanish philosopher Jose Ortega Y Gasset's idea of the fundamental dictum: "I am myself plus my circumstances." Would not Gasset's way of thinking be an anti-dote to Cartesian dualism? And I love the African slogan: "I am who I am because of who we are."

I can think of much more to say on this topic and I will do so when I get time.

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