Originally posted on the IEET weblog

On Capitalism and Politics in 2010

Critical thinking leads the political thinker to socialism, anarchism, and a rejection of capitalism.

In the United States, wealth is highly concentrated in a relatively few hands. As of 2004, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.3% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.3%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers).
Two percent of the adults in the world have more than half the world's wealth, the richest 5% per cent have 71% of the wealth, the top 10% have 85% of the wealth... The bottom 50% has less than 1% of the wealth.

Concepts and memes have been evolving and we now have a better understanding of neuroplasticity and brain regions. We use the brain to understand the world, to produce paradigms of knowledge (epistemology) about being. The brain produces awareness and consciousness of “what it feels like” to understand, to be conscious of given paradigms of theories/concepts, and memes. The brain also allows for phenomenological experiences of bracketing out the very concepts which it has created over generations and has the ability to even bracket out a lot of the sense data/qualia/feelings in which it produces from the senses.

To understand consciousness we probably need to understand the evolution of consciousness in the brains of animals and ourselves, so the understanding of the physical reality of the evolution of the brain regions are understood alongside modern theories of consciousness namely theories that come out of modern consciousness studies, neuralphilosophy, cognitive science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science to understand understanding.*

Turning to politics in 2010, I believe that neuroscience can help. After all politics is made up of individual brains, subjective brains, whose genetic structure is almost identical, whose potential is very similar. To get a better understanding of who and what we are, the mixing of genetics, psychology, neuroscience, sociology and consciousness studies as well as philosophy of science is I believe crucial. Here we are at the pinnacle of knowledge about what and who we are, yet to really understand takes so long. I suppose to understand how to live within a given paradigm of being consciousness is not all that difficult, but many reject paradigms as they come and go, some still haven’t given up memes such as the Christian god. Many still haven’t given up on the meme of capitalism either. Anyway, anarchism and socialism both yearn for an anarcho-syndicalist/ libertarian socialist, egalitarian society within our paradigm of pre-posthumanism.

However our human condition is most likely a paradigm and our current access and potential to understand/feel/conceptualize/create and manipulate information has only existed for a few thousand years. While some of our sociological and political theories come close to mastering the paradigm of being us, in our condition, we know this is temporary but speculation as to the future of what it will be like to be physical subjective units may also be paradigmatic.

This is why I strive at utilizing memes and my own ability to move past conceptual memes which are in crisis, paradigmatically speaking. The only way I believe for this to happen is by utilizing neuroplascity, the ability of the brain which allows for “teaching old dogs new tricks”. It consists of making more neural connections, mixing/blending concepts/memes, while being that thing we refer to as consciousness/awareness. Politically, people who spend time doing just this, with this paradigm of the human condition tend to be privileged economically and socially.

This is why socialism and anarchism strives at trying to get people who are privileged and western-educated to understand their position, to help society evolve into an egalitarian society. While some privileged elitist intellectuals believe a society based on equality is devolution of their social niche, their “leadership,” and ability to make more neural connections, this is a fallacy in the paradigm of the human condition. The wealthy capitalists may be ignorant of science and social theories and may value money and material possessions in the context of themselves because they have mastered the ability to understand economics and capitalism. We know this is wrong, we know their mastering of this knowledge should not give them the right to live such life styles on the backs of millions upon millions of people.

But we also know they are minds/brains with the ability to change, to use the plasticity their brains allow, to see the world differently. In our current paradigm of the human condition there are several ways to get people to change, to realize their privilege to help the exploiters to not exploit. The “far left” believes it has found several answers in how to change elitist/privileged people in their paradigm of pre-posthumanity.

My understanding of the human condition comes from direct experience and also knowledge of the sciences and philosophies up till this time of writing, of course. I have not grasped all theories in science, sociology, nor have I experienced everything to be experienced. I am Mary in the Mary thought experiment like we all are when it comes to so much of what it is to know and experience “what it is like” to think in different contexts.

In saying this I am claiming that in order to simulate/emulate/feel/conceptualize experience may be a vital part of this reality. However I don’t think that it’s the case for everything for reading and theorizing can in fact lead to many conclusions which make sense to the one who lacks the experience. How close is this to the Mary problem I do not know, and I understand that most people without realizing it probably agrees with Daniel Dennett that with enough words/symbols describing whatever it may be, that the malleability of the brain can allow these words or symbols to create the proper consciousness experience, the proper emulation/simulation/feeling, etc needed to understand the feelings/qualia in which the author is trying to portray to other consciousnesses.

Marxism and anarchism both yearn to have this impact on the reader so that equality in thoughts then action in the rational person becomes a mental and physical reality. I am left again with experience and what I know about this subject. From what I understand the thinkers which are on the forefront of political theory like Patricia Hill Collins want people to simulate and understand their own place in the Matrix of Domination , their place in the interconnectedness of the reality of social and economic inequality. Perhaps anarchism and Marxism can agree with late thinkers like Collins, but there are still some conflicting views.

Emergentism seems to deny the historicism of Marxism, and to help people understand the diversity and evolution of an anarchist society. But the historical materialism and dialectical materialism concepts seems to deny anarchism its ability to reject ideology and determination. This is where western Marxism meets concepts of emergentism in a way that may have correlates with the evolution of information within the privileged elitist and anti elitists brains/minds which recognize the diversity and complexity of the human condition, in the context which I have outlined above.

It seems to me that the value of modern anarchists truly lies within their ability to reject determination though at times anarchism can be very determinate in its quest for a theory/simulation of what society should look like. We have to understand that people are drawn to simplistic models of what reality should look like and how to get there. This only emphasizes the value of education, the value of the educated skeptic in a context of critical thinking. Critical thinking that leads to rational political concepts similar to Marx’s ideas of the relation between labor and consciousness. But if there are different ways of knowing equality then there might be different ways of understanding the relation between labor and consciousness.

There are different ways of education but are there different ways in which labor and consciousness/awareness dance together? To move beyond Marx and anarchism in our current paradigm of the human condition may be an actual fallacy, an over criticizing of theory by intellectuals or anarchists which have, out of this awareness, a desire to move on past Marx and anarchism out of awareness of the dangers of simplifying the way people are supposed to be. Progress seems to come out of paradigmatic crisis, and this intuition may lead some to the point of over analyzing, yearning to either create crisis or move beyond crisis to a new paradigm because of authentic intuitive feelings of the yearning for progress and egalitarianism which many intellectuals experience and write about through out their lives. Maybe in a pre-posthuman world all we really need politically to strive for is a mix of socialism/Marxism and anarchism. In a posthuman world critical thinking will be at its peak, and it's my belief that capitalism will be rendered useless and desctructive in nature.
* NOTE: I start off this article, like many of my articles, by using language dealing with philosophy of mind, consciousness studies, and neuroscience because of a suggestion by Paul and Patricia Churchland. They advocate the use of neurophilosophy to describe ourselves. This means that we should refer to ourselves as brains/minds, neurons, and consciousness. They also think we should start using neural anatomy and physiology terms to refer to ourselves.

HTML Comment Box is loading comments...