What is the universe up to?

On the first day of training in Imago therapy Maya Kollman characterised a couple relationship as “A microcosm of the universe trying to repair itself.” In different words psychodrama includes the same idea, the therapeutic tele is distributed in the group, it’s not just in the director.

And there is qualitative evidence for this… A group, or a couple, once the connection is established and there is a warm up, will hum its way to more and more enabling solutions. I see it so clearly in psychodrama groups – each drama assists the whole group in a quest that is finally resolved. The terminology of ‘disturbing motive’ and ‘reactive fear’ is used to describe this process. Even this naming implies that it is the ‘disturbing motive’ that arises first and the the ‘reactive fear’ is simply the obstacles of the cultural conserve (CC) that need to get out of the way. CC is a term from the psychodramatic theory Canon of Creativity

An earlier post grapples with the same idea. https://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/2018/the-survival-dance-that-gets-in-the-way-of-the-encounter/

There is a layer of conserved coping that is somehow “man made”, the reactive fear, which is usually followed by flight or fight i.e. Criticism and blaming or avoidance. There is another layer – the universe trying to heal itself. Lets just call it eros or love. Gt the crap out of the way and the love will come through.

Both psychodrama and Imago have the philosophy that the therapist is the catalyst, simply providing tools, like dialogue, or the 5 instruments so the eros can emerge.

I’m reflecting on the relationship between letting it happen and making it happen.

The inevitable can be helped along.

We are agents in the healing of the universe. i.e. in its progress. Towards eros.

We can make it worse or better. If this is a dead end it will proceed towards the omega point in some other way. The universe does not care, but it won’t stop its evolution, its development, its progress. These words are teleological.

We make history but under conditions of our choosing.

Surfing. We can but catch a wave or miss it.

Anyway, if we assume that a group or a couple is “A microcosm of the universe trying to repair itself.” then we are assistants to that process.

Thats what Marxists are too.

Strange that the right who advocate market forces somehow believe in the benign power of the market. Leave alone. Marxists might trust the market too if it was alive in a society that was free of the distortions of the capitalists. It would tend towards each to his needs. Just like in couple therapy – in my room I have to be a strong dictatorship of the eros forces. We fight the cultural conserves (part of the current cultural forces) of blame – attack and control.

See more search the Tag – theory of change https://psyberspace.walterlogeman.com/tag/theory-of-change/

Marx & Comte

The wikipedia page on Comte I just linked to in my last post saw similarities between Marx and Comte.

Not so as revealed in a more careful reading:

He [Comte] was convinced from an early stage that theory had to precede practice and really believed that the social scientists, the generalists trained by his Cours, would provide a blueprint for a perfect society. It is this that led Karl Marx to be so disparaging of Comte’s ideas, who denied ever trying to write “Comtist recipes for the cookshops of the future.” Marx, in contrast, extended the notion of agency to the common people – for him the proletariat – the new class that emerged from the industrial revolution and the establishment of capitalism – were the people with the history making potential for the future. Comte, as we have seen, had a deep distrust of the masses, and thus, while he started out as a proponent of freedom of speech, he ended up proposing a system in which people were told what to think by an intellectual elite. The very idea of Marx’s dictatorship of the proletariat would have been truly terrifying for Comte.

Comte if he were an American today might well have said he could make America great.

How to start a movement

I have been thinking (fairly useless activity) about ideas, being fairly useless. The video a few posts back with Rose and Dawkins made something clear to me. The ideas or the code are nothing on their own, they need to be fertilised, and take hold. The ideas are like sperm, they need an egg that will actually hatch. Another way of putting it is that culture is to ideas as is the petri dish to the cell. Things don’t grow in a vacuum, but only under very specific conditions.

“Men make their own history,’’ wrote Karl Marx, ‘‘but they do not make it just as they please; they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly encountered, given and transmitted from the past.’’

This video, which I’d seen before, is well introduced here:

Influential Marketing Blog: How To Start A Movement:

Some ideas are a banquet. They go on and on, and invite us to consider what they really mean for hours or days – or sometimes much much longer. Then there are the flashes of insight. The quick sparks that we immediately react to and understand when we hear or see or touch them. These are the types of ideas I wish I could find and share more often. Ideas that inspire in a moment. Starting a movement, for most people, is much more complicated than just having an idea. If you happen to work in a place where this is part of your goal, your questions are often about stakeholders and messages and creating something “viral.” We are all seeking the formula that turns that idea into a movement.

This weekend I saw a short 3 minute video presentation from Derek Sivers at TED that presented an irreverent conclusion – that leadership, your idea and even your “strategy” may be the most overrated elements of creating any kind of movement. Here’s the video:

Red Green?

Trotsky’s Views On Dialectical Materialism:

Pragmatism, empiricism, is the greatest curse of American thought.

I have added the tags “emergence, coherence” to this post as the “dialectics” in materialism foreshadows these conceptions. It is so unfashionable to see a big picture, it is in the ruling class interest to obscure that there is a big picture, or to make it appear that it is a static one, “human nature”, “reality”. Dynamic processes are not discovered through looking at the trees, one must see the woods.

Dialectical materialism gets a lot right when it comes to seeing the big picture. Much of the language is dated and some of the science was current at the time, but has been superseded (as one would expect in a dynamic world).

I’ve found the work of John Bellamy Foster was able to re-kindle a sense of the value of dialectical materialism – or to put it another way: ecology.

Marx’s Ecology – Monthly Review Press:

MARX’S ECOLOGY Materialism and Nature by John Bellamy Foster

More from him here:

http://www.monthlyreview.org/mrmarxistecology.php



http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj96/foster.htm

Marx

I have not listened yet, bet it is bad!

Philosophers Zone – 17 October 2009 – What would Karl Marx think?:

Commodities, capitalism and computers. At a time when the Berlin Wall has fallen but Wall Street is decidedly shaky, a self-described lapsed Marxist takes us through some of the key philosophical and practical ideas of Karl Marx and argues for what is still useful today. What is worth keeping in Marx? He had his limitations but later thinkers have built on his core concepts and used his methods to produce results that still speak to the changing nature of work in contemporary Australia.

Download Audio – 17102009

Relations of the means of community

Takeover

Facebook just bought FriendFeed. The ensuing discussions have been fascinating, they raise the question:

Who owns your words?
There has been a fear that our personal writing, intimately connected to us, will be lost, deleted, stolen. It has happened before! E-minds, is one example, and there must be many more. The cry is Backup! OK. I have just set up this blog to make a weekly digest of my Tweets and the @replys. Good idea. Thanks to Twitter Tools. However it is not enough.

Who owns your relationships?

FriendFeed is a community, there is an invasion, a takeover. We can escape with some of our goods, but we have lost our land, and the community. (I am reporting what I hear, and sense though I have only been a member for a few days.)

“A platform is not a community, it is the people.” He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

Yes and no. People are splitting off from FriendFeed, to identica, to Facebook to streamy.com, some are staying. There is a turmoil and a community is in stress. And the people were alienated from the decision. By joining a proprietary community we know this can happen, but no one involved the community members. The real value of FriendFeed is the people, but they were simply sold as part of the property.  The relations of of the means of community are not reflected in the relations of the community.

If this jargon is not familiar, read the Communist Manifesto on the relations of production (or look here) and the relations on the means of production. Production is social, ownership is private in capitalism.

We are seeing the virtual microcosm playing out the capitalism of the macrocosm.

And of course, the FB / FF takeover has raised these questions and the responses. Dave Winer is particularly warmed up to the issue, leading two important threads.

One is Your Blog Loves You. We can trust a blog because we own it, and not only that, it can’t be sold, so I can trust your blog as well. (well mostly), I can certainly trust the blogosphere as a whole to persist.

 

Is this a retreat into individualism & denial of community? Not really. The communal space is then the larger blogosphere, with its clustering, and overlapping communities. Bazaars not a cathederal.

The other Dave Winer initiative is: we’ll build one we own!
Permalink
Align the interests of: 1. Users and 2. Investors.
How to do that?
Well, they need to be the same people.

Align the interests of: 1. Users and 2. Investors. How to do that?  Well they need to be the same people.

I like the idea, but have misgivings! I’d like to follow up research on online community and the relations of ownership. I will have a look again at Virtual Communities on my bookshelf. Or maybe the current discussion, if you move among the bazaars will do the trick. (See Doc Searls response for example.)

Tom Atlee has just written an excellent item on Town Hall Meetings, notice how important the framework is and how it determines the outcome. Even the simple idea of breaking up into Topic Tables would have a huge impact.

It might pay to start with Engles and his book on Utopias, here is the chapter on Utopian Socialism. I say this because I read it in 1974, after investing 5 years of my life creating and participating in a physical community that was owned by its members. I wish id read it before I embarked on the project!

In conclusion…

Where I am at? The container for dialogue, for community, matters. No one structure or method is best. What suits the purpose.

Cyber-Marx

Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High Technology Capitalism

Cyber-Marx: Cycles and Circuits of Struggle in High Technology Capitalism (1999) provides an analysis of information-age capitalism and the movements currently dissolving it. The text version is available from University of Illinois Press, and can be purchased from the UWO Bookstore or on-line book stores.

The book is online, each chapter in one pdf file. The opening is intriguing. Nick Dyer-Witheford (the author) refers to the sf book The Difference Engine by Gibson and Stirling. Babbage’s mechanical computer in this alternate history works – and is steam driven. Here is a quote from Chapter 1:

For in the world of The Difference Engine, Karl Marx is
alive and well. His employment by the New York Daily Tribune (for whom the actual
Marx worked during the 1850s as a foreign correspondent in the biggest `information
industry’ of his day) has clearly resulted in migration to the United States–a visit yielding momentous consequence. For, in a North America wracked by regional separatism and
civil war, revolutionaries have seized the “means of information and production” of the
largest city of the New World.2 And the Manhattan Communards now provide a nucleus for
an international ferment of dissidence which, combining re-emerged Luddites, renegade
clackers, anarcho-feminists, Blakean-situationist artists and immiserated proletarians,
boils beneath the surface of the bourgeois universe, waiting for the next calamity to burst
into revolt.

In what follows, I propose a Marxism for the Marx of The Difference Engine. That
is to say, I analyse how the information age, far from transcending the historic conflict
between capital and its labouring subjects, constitutes the latest battleground in their
encounter; how the new high technologies–computers, telecommunications, and genetic
engineering–are shaped and deployed as instruments of an unprecedented, world wide
order of general commodification; and how, paradoxically, arising out of this process
appear forces which could produce a different future based on the common sharing of
wealth–a twenty-first century communism.