Topic: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

What is useful to me is good to me!  In the mode of Philosophical Anthropology we begin with a simple, straightforward assertion. But we are ready to make an extreme proclamation.  That is that buried in this one sentence may be the history of Western philosophy and, centrally, the connection between human tecnics and ultimately the idea of God. We are not saying anything particularly radical.   We must simply turn the proposition around, run it backwards and forwards, take out a word or add one here and there for the full transparency of the sentence to appear.   Our purpose is to draw out the meaning.  Of course what is useful to me may not be good for you, and vice versa.  In this first instance of the word good, the fact that the good for one person may not be the good for another, or that one's good may actually hurt another person, identifies the word good as applying to an idea that must occur in some context.  The important point is this:  though a thing may be good for you and for me both, it may also not be good for both of us.  This good that is good for me may be harmful to you.  There is nothing necessary within this good that defines it as being good for both of us.  That it may be good for one of us, but not for both of us, categorically excludes this good from being The Good.  This latter Good is absolutely always Good.  Whereas the limited good, which we find in charitable acts, is good sometimes and sometimes not, depending on individual circumstances.  We must always qualify the word good by referring to the special application of the idea.  What connects the use of a thing and the good of the thing is "me."  Removing the word "me," we say, changes the entire relation between use and the good:  there is no relation. We may indeed assert that the generally useful is the generally good, but we assume a sort of general person or community.  The good we are talking about must be, if not good for you or me,  good at any rate to someone.   That someone is the purpose and object of the good that is done.   On the other hand, the word "good" is actually commonly spoken of in a very general way that is removed from any context, as, that is, The Good.  Plato made a whole philosophy separating The Good from everyday life.  He introduced the idea of "participation" as mediating between this abstract idea and everyday reality, in which The Good could appear without contradicting itself.

In general terms we are saying that any idea of the good, as the notion of usefulness, resolves itself finally into a something--value or thing--that is particular and indvidual.  We cannot say that a thing is useful without implying that it is useful to a person or persons.  By the same token, the thing will not be good unless it is good to a person or persons.   In any case, the good that derives from anything useful is good for a person served by that usefulness.  Good, we are suggesting, is not simply done without there being something useful that is done and for some person or persons.  One does not do good for the sake of good alone, except that he does this good for a person and that this good is done through something useful.  The good that is done exhibits itself through individual persons and particular useful acts.  It would contradict the idea of the good, as this idea has evolved out of ordinary human experience, if the good were done just by and for itself.  The good cannot normally "be done."  This is what we are saying.  But there is the further consideration that, any good that is done involves a contradiction within the idea of the good were the good is considered by itself, as an idea abstracted from the particular useful and personal applications of the good.  Good has evolved out of discrete and separate instances of useful acts toward individual persons.  Here, if I do not say the good that is done is done for me, then I must say this good is for you--or someone.   Again we thumb noses at the admonishon that one must acknowledge one's own limitations.  Here we do not respect limitations.   This I said earlier and I will stay the course on this theme.   We are saying that an idea of the good--not as a thing but anyway as a quality--has its source in my own life. Good is the subjectivity in my experience.   At the risk of appearing merely philosophical, it seems that usefulness and good are two sides of the (Schopenhaurian) world, as object and subject.  The geneology of so-called The Good is not a particularly auspicious one, beginning as The Good does, in my own or someone else's most humble life experience.   We are suggesting that The Good is simply an abstraction from your experience or mine.   The august concept The Good does not exist from eternity in some Platonic zone but as a genesis but has a rather ordinary and humble family history.   As Bruno Bauer said, the critique of religion is the history of religion.  We propose to show the history of The Good.  The real role of The Good the disputes and contradicitions that arise between the good of you versus the good of me.  These disputes are inevitable. Human beings however, to preserve the continuity and efficacy of their relations, create the idea of The Good that suggests that in every instance of good there is a universal Good that unites every person in every relationship.  The Good is an abstraction from my good and yours.  That said, The Good is a high and transcendent idea that stands over society.  We could suggest, at the risk of raising still another controversy and diverting attention from our basic theme, that The Good and God are the same.  In English and German the words are similar; also these words already have a rather obscure origin which leaves us room to speculate.  At the present stage in our discussion of The Good we have said nothing controversial.  But we are about to.  We are going on, finally, to suggest that "doing" The Good degrades and deprecates The Good.  Our basic argument is that in the "doing" of The Good it is necessary to translate a hypothetical and abstract idea of The Good back whence The Good came, into, in other words, the particular Good of you and me.  In that case, what is good for me might not be good for you.  And vice versa.  In its particular expressions, The Good actually contradicts itself categorically.


What is useful to me is good to me.  I accept this as a categorical statement and basic to the ensuing argument.   We are talking here about "the useful" and "the good."  At the risk of appearing to fall in a Platonic or objective idealist mode of thought I speak of usefulness and goodness as qualities that may be abstracted from real situations and things.   But there is more. We need not qualify this idea but we must go beyond it.  There is here no assertion that the useful, in itself, is also the good.  Mediating in our initial assertion is "me" or the self as what stands between the useful and the good.  The good to me is what is useful to me and vice versa.    But what is useful to another person may not be good to me.  If this other person is my enemy and wants to hurt me, a tool or weapon or leveraged social principle in his hands will be, inevitably, hurtful to me.  I need not dwell on this painful point.  In the earliest days of humanity, every useful act was a good act inasmuch as, as I've already said, the human agent using the tool, and finding that artifact useful, could say of the tool "it is good."  As use became general use, however--as the tool was of use to the general community and the tool's use was a general use--the relation of that same, general tool was only of ambiguous use to the individual.  These points have been widely raised in classical economic theory.  Where we may add to the discussion is in the point that here, in the general use of tools, the notion of usefulness and goodness have become separated.  There is now no primal "me" or, in Heidegger's terms Being, connecting the use of a thing and the good of the thing.  Use and good, or Platonic "The Good," are separated and, depending on the context of their co-existence, categorically opposed to one another.  I must be more specific on this last point.  If the good is not my own good, but someone else's, the good may actually oppose me or be antithetical to me.  This good is now a "limited" good, or what is good about a specific instance of use or usefulness; and what is good for one man need not be good for another.  We still may assume the existence of a good that, as a general good, may be good for you and me both.  There may well be, and probably is, such a thing as a general good that is good for "humans in general."  This good was talked about by the Utilitarians as a basis for morality and human behavior, not merely your behavior but mine as well.  But we are not Utilitarian in our point of view.  The only point to remember is, and we invoke this point as basic to Force Theory, is the obvious one that your good and mine may be the same, but may not be the same.  A contradictory situation appears; and failure to mediate or reconcile this situation means in effect to dissolve society.      We are now moving toward a final conclusion.    Again, we are not Utilitarians.  We propose that the idea of the personal good that mediates between the person and his own technics is now opposed by the good that, once his own good, now is antithetical to him.  A resolution to this conflict may be necessary.  The idea of The Good is invoked, in short, when the good that was once inhered in something's usefulness to one person now becomes, finally, a good in the hands of this person's enemy and thus constitutes a usefulness that opposes the person.  This is not a question of empirical truth but of logic.  The Good is a logical concept that mediates in the context of  estrangement wherein humans are separated from the technics and objects that, once their own, are now their inimical "other."  This is the way The Good appeared.  The Good does not exist apart from the human agency or thought process that produced The Good.  But The Good nonetheless has a majesty that sets it above other human productions and machinations and that allows it, in its transcendence, to "mediate" in antithetical relationships which would otherwise deprecate, degrade and destroy human collective existence.  The next point we will raise is this:  how does the "doing" of Good degrade that same Good?

Philosophical Anthropology does not take its main ideas from philosophy or anthropology either one.  Both disciplines are emeshed in their own ways in onerous restrictions.  Anthropology has laid down for itself draconian empirical rules and has thereby become lost in its own details.  Philosophy has experienced much the same things.  In pursuit of so-called truth philosophy has reduced itself to the uncontrovertable propositions of mathematics and logic.  Philosophical Anthropology on the other hand, perhaps simply out of youth, is both unrestricted and undisciplined in its mode of experimentation.  Philosophical Anthropology is only a relative few years old.  It has taken from anthropology only a break from philosophy, which is thousands of years old and is the accumulation of that many years speculation.  This--a primarily negative one of escaping philosophy--is what PA has taken from anthropology.   Having done that, however, having that is separated itself from the evoloved commitment to logic, Philosophical Anthropology has played fast and loose with the rules of anthropology, or commitment to anything empirical.  PA is an entirely new line of speculation.  The original propositions of this field, which were those of Scheler and Plessner about some so-called "essence of Man" come as refreshingly vague but suggestive.  PA  we are saying has no sense of its own limitations.  It does what philosophy should do, rebel against all limitations to thinking whatsoever.  This was once the paradox of philosophy:  that it set up rules to study rules; that it laid down restructions to think about what is boundless.  Philosophy has resolved itself into a final contradiction of an entrapment within the law of non-contradiction.  PA has declared its freedom from this law or any laws of thinking, really, whatsoever.  But there is more.  PA has assumed a revolutionary role in attacking the core of any civilization, which is a concept of Man that is not an empirical concept but rather a "moral" concept closely connected to, as I say, the idea that a society has of "The Good."

What is useful to me is good to me.   This I said earlier and I will stay the course on this theme.   We are saying that an idea of the good--not as a thing but anyway as a quality--has its source in my own life. Good is the subjectivity in my experience.   At the risk of appearing merely philosophical, it seems that usefulness and good are two sides of the (Schopenhaurian) world, as object and subject.  The geneology of so-called The Good is not a particularly auspicious one, beginning as The Good does, in my own or someone else's most humble life experience.   We are suggesting that The Good is simply an abstraction from your experience or mine.   The august concept The Good does not exist from eternity in some Platonic zone but as a genesis but has a rather ordinary and humble family history.   As Bruno Bauer said, the critique of religion is the history of religion.  We propose to show the history of The Good.  The real role of The Good the disputes and contradicitions that arise between the good of you versus the good of me.  These disputes are inevitable. Human beings however, to preserve the continuity and efficacy of their relations, create the idea of The Good that suggests that in every instance of good there is a universal Good that unites every person in every relationship.  The Good is an abstraction from my good and yours.  That said, The Good is a high and transcendent idea that stands over society.  We could suggest, at the risk of raising still another controversy and diverting attention from our basic theme, that The Good and God are the same.  In English and German the words are similar; also these words already have a rather obscure origin which leaves us room to speculate.  At the present stage in our discussion of The Good we have said nothing controversial.  But we are about to.  We are going on, finally, to suggest that "doing" The Good degrades and deprecates The Good.  Our basic argument is that in the "doing" of The Good it is necessary to translate a hypothetical and abstract idea of The Good back whence The Good came, into, in other words, the particular Good of you and me.  In that case, what is good for me might not be good for you.  And vice versa.  In its particular expressions, The Good actually contradicts itself categorically. 

What is useful to me may not be useful to you; in fact, what is useful to me may be hurtful to you.  On its most basic level, where any good is connected (as subject and object) to a useful act, any idea of must include the many and opposite ways that what is useful can be good, and conversly what instances of good can be useful.  On the primal level what is good is diverse; when abstracted, on the other hand, "the good" or The Good would be categorically self-contradictory.  The ordinary good exhibits itself and exhausts itself in its particular manifestations.  On the abstract level, on the other hand, The Good can be called consistent with itself and not self-contradictory.  But this is on a transcendental level of thought wherein no particular displays of The Good are suggested.  The "doing" of The Good would change this:  doing would bring The Good down to earth as the everyday good of you or the good of me.  We are now no longer doing something that is useful but something that is first good.  "Doing" was originally an act that was useful and, as a consequence of the usefulness of what was done, became a good act.  We have already concluded this to be true.  But there is more.  When the usefulness of what is done becomes in fact antithetical to the person who does this useful thing, that thing that is done is no longer good to the person.  Is there anything to suggest that it is possible simply to do The Good?  The assumption here among people who "do" The Good is that there will also be good that is done that may be translated into something useful.   That is to say, they assume that "good" can be "done" that is also something useful.  Here is where the whole human mentality that produced technology and technical progress--the whole entity of industrial civilization--started from a "moral premise" or idea of "doing" Good.  In fact, this civilization was the consequence of humans who were doing something useful but which something was connected to anything good only through their individual selves.  Creative people first of all act out of self-interest (this is all, disappointingly, that we may be saying!).  Is The Good at all something that can be "done"?  We have already said that the fundamental essence of The Good is its role in re-connecting (in the sense of religion or religare) the useful and the limited or personal good that, under conditions of mass society, are estranged and disconnected from the individual.  What we would be saying is that in "doing" Good we would be restoring the individual connection between the useful and his own good.   We have already said that The Good appears after, first, an individual has produced a thing that is useful to himself and is thus called good.  The Good has a general existence.  But its role is to mediate in situations of estrangement.  It is not simply something to be "done."  In "doing" good that is supposed to be a good derivative of The Good, we have degraded The Good and demoted it from its majestic transcendent position as uniting persons.  Now, because doing is always individual doing, the same disputes arise between individuals that resulted, in the first place, the estrangement of use from the good of use.

If I do good for one person, that good that I do may hurt--not be good for--some other person.  If I do good for someone that hurts me, that is not good for me.  The good that is done means something bad for me.  The Good has originally appeared out of instances of particular good; but finally contradicts that particular good.  It is quite possible that I do do good for some person when that good that I do harms me or is not good for me.  It is not possible, on the other hand, to do The Good without assuming that the harm or evil I do to myself is also The Good. I would have to assume that the harm that is done to me is also Good.  This is an extreme position to take.  In other words, I must assume that I myself, the doer of The Good may possibly be evil.  In that case, we may proceed to the next proposition that I in doing The Good am possibly evil, in which case it would be logically impossible for me to do Good.  Here we are in a tight situation and one whose ambiguity closes in on us in talking at all about The Good.   No matter which way we turn, like a chess player hemmed in on all sides, our next move is going to result in defeat.  The Good itself is an "eternal" self-contradiction.  Is there any way out.  I am saying that there is a way out, which the Catholics know expressly and which the Protestants also make use of:  ritual.  I'm saying that the ritual act is the act of doing The Good without contradicting the Good.  But a ritual act is also a useless and impersonal act.  A ritual act cannot hurt anyone but also is not of any use to anyone.  But questions remain.  We ask:  Is it possible to do good?  We have said:  the good one does for another person, even without reward for oneself, is the same good one would do for oneself.  If I give money to a charity, someone who is not me will use that money; but the manner he will use it is the same as I would use it.  Moreover, what is good for that person may be harmful to some other person.  The webb of relationships and interactions is so complex that we become burdened, forthwith, in imponderables.  This act of charity I am saying is not a general good but an expression of some instance of utility.   That good is not The Good.  The Good does not engage itself in a self-contradiction.   The absolute Good is not bad or harmful to anyone; while the good that, through use and utility, is limited to an individual might be also harmful to some other person.  The general goodness of some utilitarian and individual act can be determined only by examining that good within a limited context.  There is the whole issue of the majesty of good and the value of that good to a general community.  There is in the idea of The Good the thought that any utility that that good would contribute or project is good for all people.  That there is no evil or badness contained within that Good.  A limited good, on the other hand,  is a particular and, as such, has none of the majesty about it possessed by The Good.  In order that I may do good for an actual person I must stoop to doing something merely useful, in which act any general Good is degraded into particular good.  This limited good that I do is in no sense "moral" good, or good in other words that acquires "majesty" by participation in The Good.  There is nothing moral or majestic about the good I do for some other person or persons.  That is because the good that is "done" could be "the bad" for if not this person, then for that person.  Whether the good that is done for individual persons (or whole groups) is good for all people whomsover, or whether that good while it helps some people hurts others--that is a question that still has to be answered.  But likely the answer is lost in imponderables.  Indeed, a good can be a general good, or in other words The Good, only insofar as such good is removed from any use or usefulness of some act.  Usefulness transforms what is general in a good into a particular act.  We evoke here the authority of Plato:  Is this good we are talking about one or many?  Plato says The Good is one.  But in order for The Good to be good for any person it must become individual.  We are left with the conclusion that to be moral--to have direct access to or participate in The Good--one must refrain from any outright action or from doing anything that is useful for any person.  We are left with the image, more or less, of a Pope whose goodness is entirely vague and whose contact with the world is solely through empty ritual of no utilitarian meaning.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-10-05 15:35:46)

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

The thing that is useful to me may not be useful to you.  If "use" establishes that a thing is good, then, because what is of use to me may not be useful to you, the good for the two of us is a different good.  The good, then, as Plato would say, is not one but many.  In fact, on this personal level the notion of "good" may flatly contradict itself:  What is good for you may be outright hurtful to you.  At this point we evoke still another issue:  How may what is good for me, because it is useful to me, also be good for you?  But let us assume that what it is that we are talking about is useful to me but not to you.  Then how would it be possible for that thing that is useful to one person but not to another be also good for both.  How might we salvage out of this situation of conflict a "common good"?  There is an infinity of circumstances where humans come together, each expecting the collaboration to be useful to himself, and yet what is useful to one person in one way is useful, too, to another person in another way.  To caculate the reward to a given person is impossible, given the multitude of angles and possibilities in each instance of cooperation.  This is where the idea of "the common good" arises.  What we understand society to be depends essentially on the idea that there is something  which rewards each individual person apart from any consideration of personal usefullness.  Here, however, we have radically changed our discussion of "the good."  That is, we have separated the notion of good from the notion of use.  We have already said that the good of something follows from the use or usefulness of that thng.  Now we are saying something entirely different.  We either have to say that what is of use to me is also of use to you.  Or we must say, alternately, that the good of thing is in fact not dependent on the use of a thing.  Here we begin to talk about something vaguely as The Good. 

But before there can be such an abrupt change in human relationships a groundwork of commonality must be established.  I have already discussed this groundwork in early sections of this blog.  I will review these findings as follows. 

In this brief paragraph I am trying to bring together some of my earlier material--on agreements, contracts and the so-called Social Contract--with, on the other hand, material that is more in the area of religion.  Ideally we may strive toward a "system" such as were aspired to by the major philosophers, from Spencer to Hegel.   We are not at the point of systemitizing what is in this blog; nor do we even suggest we are close.  What I am doing now, in this "performance philosophy" (essentially, experimentation) is to run some material together with other material without however any real consciousness of the connection.  Hopefully a system will emerge.  The first interaction or relationship among humans that was purely human, and depended upon language and symbolic communication,  I call the "agreement."   This was an understanding, made possible by language--and reference to time and place and the nature of the mutual business--that only humans could have.  As an exercise in Philosophical Anthropology we begin now with a very simple situation.  On the other hand, our ultimate purpose is to move on to considerations far beyond what we'd experience in the lives of early hunters and gatherers.  I speak of government.  Could we, it is asked, find the origins of governments of advanced nations within these simple early agreements between just several men?  We aver the answer here is no.  In the agreement itself, which we call a "simple" agreement, there is no provision within this understanding as to the enforcement of it.  The agreement by itself, simply speaking, is utopian and anarchistic.  That is to say, because the agreement is just between the two or three men, and does not involve or evoke any outside authority to enforce it, the agreement "assumes" that its terms will be complied with by all parties.  There is no guarantee of compliance.  There is no guarantee, either, of compliance by citizens of any terms of a utopian or anarchistic society.  That society has no government to enforce compliance.  We move on at a brisk pace to consider one of the great social theories of all times, JJ Rousseau's Social Contract; great, we are saying, because of its extreme influence, at the criticial time of the European Enlightenment on the likewise momentous framing of the American Declaration of Independence and the American Constitution.  Rousseau's influence is inestimable.  Our only purpose here is to point out a flaw--a major contradiction--in this theory.    That contradiction is this:  Rousseau's Social Contract theory presupposes that, just as there may be a contract between individuals that enforces their agreement, there is a contract in sensu stricto between "the people" as a whole and their "government."  That contract states that the people will do such and such and the government, for its part, will do such and such. 

This is a fallacious theory; there is a flaw in the theory that has become a general flaw in human thinking about government.  Indeed it is remarkable that such a flaw in such a major piece of writing, and one whose attempted application is to such a wide segment of humanity, could remain so long unnoticed.  That flaw is this:  while an agreement itself is anarchist and utopian, its terms may be enforced by submission of the agreement to a "third party," stronger than both principle parties, for enforcement.  That is, if I have a large dispute with my wife, the State of illinois, through police and judges, may step in to enforce the original marriage contract.  What makes our agreement of marriage a contract of marriage is the provision of enforcement from outside the agreement.  This is a point that is easy to understand.  But, in the instance of an "agreement" between the so-called "people" and the people's government, who is to enforce that agreement?  Since there is no agency larger than either party that could step in  to enforce the agreement, the agreement cannot be called a contract.  Rousseaus Social Contract is a categorical impossibility.  But there is more.  The relationship between the people on the one hand and government on the other, if this relation is to be called an agreement, is an agreement in every sense.  It is unenforcable, lacking a third party.  The agreement is in every sense of the words anarchistic and utopian.  In fact, lacking a power higher than government to enforce the "agreement" government has with the people, there is no real government at all; and the people live, perforce, in a state of utopian anarchy.  This state is utopian because all one can hope for is the good will of his neighbor.

Finally, The Good resolves--symbolically and in theory only--every issue raised by the contradictions of human interaction.  That is, among humans there can be an understanding--but just as likely a misunderstanding.  The Good resolves the discrepancy between my use and your use; and my good and your good.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-10-06 14:14:19)

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

Anthropologists who unite in an association and are individually employed with good salaries and standards of living are an elite. They can be called a sacerdotal or priestly elite.  Spengler called them lebensfremd (foreign to life).  In reality, however, they live rather well and should be envied for their money, purely, and their easy life as professors.  Their jobs should not be despised, as "practical" people tend to despise professors, but should make laypeople want to have these same professorial careers for themselves.  The university is a cash cow for someone; it could just as well be a cash cow for someone else.  The masses of people, the lay proletarians, seem too bovine to understand this.   Professors have an unconscious sense of their own position and a "healthy" desire to protect it.  Their high moral authority comes, not from anything "relative," but something provided by history, some Big Event in light of which "everything changes."  This Event event is in itself the premise of a de facto religion. Into the world of relative values comes an Event of such proportion as to by itself shock the world into a new, absolute knowledge.  Injustice demands a reverse action of Justice and the establishment of a priesthood of Justice.  The idea of cultural relativism is an exoteric, as oppose to an esoteric, doctrine fobbed off on a respectful and acquiescent public.  From the rule by Jesus we pass to rule in light of the Big Event.  The Big Event is the priests' justification for existing; this now is not a "relative" value but is an absolute claim to  power.   The fact of Injustice is sufficient to call into being, categorically, the fact of absolute Justice.  So-called science here is just a ruse.  The priviledge of these high priests of "man" is their justification of logical and theoretical inconsistency.  For the rest of the population, and in relation to everyday persons, all values and goals are called "relative."  That is, while the professor's own values are absolute, my own values, say, as a private person are "relative" to something or other, or someone or other.  The values of laypeople are deprecated.  There is a total so-called double standard here, which belies any real scientific and logical criteria, apparently, but is the very mark of a sacerdotal establishment.  Science in founding itself on some small fact that happens to be true, establishes, then, upon this fact an entire human establishment which holds all logic and even facts as threats to its own authority.  Any sort of reference to facts and logic is for these people, the professors, an assault on their priestly priviledges.  Germany has provided this centeral "absolute" concept, which I have identified as the Big Event.  How many times have I heard:  "We can pass over most things, until it comes to the Big Event; then we have to take an absolute stand.""Never again!" is a way of saying "Forever with the priests of Never."  There is no point, virtually, in discussing this Big Event which seems to have awakened the world as to what is absolutely true, or what the objective validity there is in the concept.  We need know only that  professors are a priviledged group which, like other such groups in authority, resist being held to any standard whatsoever. Power is absolute or it is not power.  This we have already said.   Presently the only standard that concerns us is the requirement, which is obvious, that one should be consistent in ones theoretical position.  We could expect that someone in authority be objectivist/idealist or relativistic, either one.  But the anthropologists that there are have the pronounced habit of shifting from one position to the other.  We fully expect them to be this way.  I have already said that it is a restriction, as opposed to an enhancement, of authority to be held to any standard whatsoever.  Power is always arbitrary and whimiscal or it is not power at all.  Power is power only by standing alone, transcendent, without respect for any earthly rules or regulation--even logical consistency.  Finally, there is obviously no point in admonishing this high group or asking them to be consistent.  To become consistent in their view is to fall from power.  What we should desire, rather, is to take from them their jobs, their money, their "groupies," and everything else of theirs that they possess.  We should take these fine things for ourselves.  This is the true solution for academic priviledge.  But their "free speech" they can keep.

Power serves a social purpose only if it, power, is arbitrary.  That is to say, one specific use of power must be equal to any other use.  Thus the whole issue of who or what is going to benefit from power is beside the point.  Power, which is only contaminated and lessened by its special uses, is able to "reign" over humans only so far as it  is "free" and transcendent.   I have heard the word "pandering" in the context of politics:   pandering means simply doing as a politician or judge what the public wants done.  This practice is universally condemned, within their ranks as their esoteric point of view, among politicians and judges and lawyers.  Thus judges and such seldom allow themselves to say in election campaigns that they will prosecute any crime; only that they have "experience."  The majesty of power should be protected over and above any constituancy.  This is how politics sustains its respect in the eyes of the general public.   This viewpoint regarding "pandering" is a perfect expression of the majesty of power; that, in other words, power as such is useless.   The application of power only distracts attention from power's majesty and thus compromises power's ability to unify human beings.    Thus the function of leadership is not to apply power but to preserve its independence.  Earlier I said that power is not disappated but only enhance insofar as it serves the selfish interests of a leader.  I misspoke.  I should have thought more deeply on this issue.  Power serving the political leader is compromised simply by serving the leader who possessed it, on grounds, that is, that the leader puts himself above the power itself.  This lowers and diminishes the power.  But there is more to be said.  Society, which gets its unity via a transcendent and majestic power, also asserts itself against such power insofar, simply, as society grows.  A larger society is more assertive and demanding and puts increasing strain on the power, transcendent though it is, for a certain applied "justice" to serve the individual needs of constituants.  There is always a temptation to "use" power; and power is thus degraded and corrupted.  The society itself falls into a terminal contradiction and self-immolation.  It "uses up" its own unifying power.   We turn to Philosophical Anthropology of Gehlen and Plessner and find, regretably, that their pronouncements on social issues are brief and sketchy.  Philosophical Anthropology takes us as far as the transition between animals and humans; but there it rests its case.  So, therefore, in Force Theory as ideological PA we embark into new waters and our assertions will naturally be tentative.  We pass on to a subject on which Oscar Wilde liked to dwell:  the "people" and the public.  Wilde's general mode of discourse was personal and eccentric; but he must be seriously considered on the issue of "the people."  I have always assumed, here, in this blog, that leaders lead; that is not necessarily the case.  I correct myself.  It is not surprising that the average man is not a leader.  What is surprising is--neither are the professed leaders of society actually leaders.  It would seem that no one is leading at all; that is our deepest concern.  It may be that we have to jump to an unconventional conclusion, taking upon ourselves still one more burden of proof, to the effect that society is a train without an engineer and heading down a track to its ultimate doom.  The final act of society will be the deepest principle of Hegel, the "negation of the negation."  After society there will be only racial politics, which I call the Politics of Nature.  I have talked about this before.  Political leaders in fact stay in power by mediating between opposing and self-interested parties.  I have discussed this in my book The Mediator:  His Strategy for Power (Howard Allen 1973).    Suffice it to say that the public, or "people," both achieve their unity and their very definition as a social entity from, in fact, this same majesty of power over which the proclaimed leaders are supposed to have control.  The public in laying claim to this same power also, then, pervert and undermine their own unity.  They are caught in a self-contradiction of degredation of their own principle of unity.  Thus they pass, in a counter-Rousseauian direction, from a state of society to a state of nature.

The politics of race are the politics of nature.   Race however is a focused and violent "anarchist" response to the vacuum in nature created by human culture.  Through culture we cut back forests; but we also cut back, and declare as hostile intruders, our very instincts of family and community.   These are what are now at issue.   There is a dialectic of race as there is of culture and society.  That dialectic of race is this:  it is precisely through the negation of race in society that defines nature as such, and causes it, on the principle that "nature abhores a vaccum," to return in the form of race.  Race is the proverbial tiger in the jungle.   The public or "the people" is only incohfate and  is not a well defined entity.  This public or populace is therefore not logical or dialectical until blundering into a categorical situation such as the word "never" suggests.  To force an incohate being into a categorical mold is to force a categorical--that is opposite--response.  Thus by this logic never becomes forever.   Humans through political machinations create abstract and uncompromising contexts into which other humans seem compelled to enter.  They define an otherwise incohate mass as a thing with an also defined status within a dialectical system.  The response of this entity is not to confirm what is proscribed for it but precisely the opposite, to negate.

Human beings find themselves in what I will call categorical situations; animals never do.  Humans think categorically; animals do not.  Thus for an animal there is what may be called a "partial" movement or "partial" relationship.  If the animal is compelled to flee a predator, it may flee a short distance or a long one.  But this is not a "categorical" flight; but only a conditional and inhibited flight.  Humans, as I say, exist in a world--created by thought--of "either/or."   They exist in a world of categorical yes and categorical no.  We must keep in mind that everything humans do or make, creatively in a technological mode, is categorically this or categorically that.  Thus, for the computer, modeled on the human thought process itself, there are ones and zeros.  There are no zeros mixed with ones, and so forth.  Any machine, unlike a living organism, is essentially this way. Humans taught a machine how to think; in fact, however, the computer--instilling in my idea of the categorical thought--has taught me how to think.(!)  This part of a machine is absolutely not that part, and vice versa.   But there is more.  We pass at some point from the thoughts of individuals to entire collective situations.  Society is compartmentalized categorically.  Thus one department is not the other; and that other is not any other than itself.  Society, as I say, is not an organism but a machine according to human rules of thinking.  From the level of social interaction we pass, again, into the realm of ideology.  Here, again, we find the same categorical thinking of "yes" or "no."  What we say now additionally will be at the core of our basic theory.  That is that, finally, in a categorical situation there are no possibilities of movement or choice except between these categorical opposites.  We may take our example from religion.  To define a Christian it is necessary to say that he is not a Muslim; and vice versa.  All religious disputes are categorical precisely because they are human disputes.  The issue is as simple as that.   What happens as humans become social is that the situations the people find themselves in are essentially categorical ones.  There is no choice in a given dispute or issue other than absolutely "yes" or absolutely "no."   In most disputes that there are in society there are only absolute answers when an animal, on the other hand, would have a partial and conditional solution.  But humans never do create categorical situations as such.  This point must be stated seriously and emphatically because it is at the core of our own Force Theory.  By saying merely "absolutely yes" or "absolutely no," either one, is sufficient by itself to create a categorical situation.  For the rest, any alternatives within that context would be absolutely this or that, never "in between."   Thus to say that "race" is wrong, categorically, is to put the speaker in a categorical relation to other persons who themselves are given a choice only to answer the absolute contrary.  We are following a course of history, I say, to "absolute race."  Force Theory is compelled, not by choice but by the context in which it exists, to say that race is absolute reality and reality is race.  Animals do not think this way.  Humans inevitably do.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-09-08 13:49:44)

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

First this blog talked about the human being's own conception of man, or of himself generally.  There have been several ideas of Man that emanate from various sources.  Philosophical Anthropology admits to only a very speculative notion as to Man; but PA also is the most aggressive critique of existing concepts of Man.  These other conceptions arise from the individual himself as to who he is.  Psychologists see now, through compelling research, that a human must have an image of himself, programed in his psyche, before he can function.  This image of himself is a goal to aspire to and an orienting feature of the individual personality.  But there is more.  Culture provides everyone with a conception of Man.  Here we have a goal, too, or an image of perfection or "the good" that humans can aspire to as members of a group.  Finally, anthropological and biological science contributes a conception of Man.  This conception is the least important in the thinking of humans.  I have already said that the conception of Man is regarded by political and religious leaders (who work closely together) as much too important to be left to mere scientists.  The conception of Man is central to the unity of society.  This idea is close to, or even identical with, the idea of "the good."  Man here is a moral being rather than (we are saying) a real or scientifically describable being.    But there is more.  We interject at this point with some general considerations of Philosophical Anthropology The self-concept of Man is not science; rather, more correctly, the idea is religious.  That is, the human being actually has forever had scarcely any idea of himself as a biological species.  We find a strong imago humani in Greek philosophy; yet these same Greeks had little notion of their species as a whole.  Even while they had a concept "man," they had no sense in their time of a species as such; such science waited until Linneaus, much later.  Where we talk about a concept "man" we must understand that the biological concept and the (essentially) religious idea paralleled one another in their change and development but did not intersect.  Biology and culture had in principle and ideology no bearing on one another.  We have passed from early knowledge to that of today without any greater connection of species taxonomy to our cultural and societal conception of man.  That is convenient for social ideology.  The concept of human equality or human justice makes no sense for a taxonomic species being; such idealism has meaning only for a purely religious and metaphysical being.  Here we may say that the moral man and the real (scientifically describable) man are categorically distinct from one another.  The real man categorically cannot be the moral man and vice versa.  This is what we mean by categorical:  the one cannot be the other; neither can be the other one.  That the Man is a moral entity means he cannot be a factual man.  We have already spoken of Carnap's dictum that a value cannot be derived from a fact.  It follows that a moral man cannot be derived from a factual man.  To separate spheres of reality into moral and factual spheres is to separate them absolutely.  Ironically, on the other hand, in the popular and scientific literature we have before us we find a certain casualness as to this point.  There is a certain lapsing back and forth between the two fields wherein moral ideas appear to be factual ones, and vice versa.

It remains finally to talk about the underlying relationship between the species being and the religious one.  In pursuit of this understanding I began studies at Tubingen University in Germany under Otto Friedrich Bullnow, who was then a ranking leader and writer in the area of Philosophical Anthropology.  Through him, as readings for my course, I became acquainted with the writings of Gehlen, Plessner and Scheler.  I still after 45 years have and read these books.  Bullnow's writing was clear but specialized; the other writers have been turgid in an irritating German sort of way.  There is much to be said about these writngs.  My own point here is very simple and straightforward, yet is receptive to Hegelian dialectic.  I said earlier that Philosophical Anthropology begins its conception with a man--a man of some early sort--walking somewhere in Africa, but, unlike other animals, this man holds a stick.  We are inclined to deprecate this mere stick.  But the stick is of decisive importance to the evolution and progress of culture.  Culture begins with the stick and, always, has .within it the idea of the stick as something possessed and something used.  We are suggesting that there is nothing to culture, very much, other than this same original stick.  A branch off a tree or some hard object lying one day in the path of our ancient pedestrian.  Thus--now returning to our theme of societal man, as he is conceived not through real observation but through religion--we see that that conception, "man," has a long history as a development of culture.   We may continue.  Our basic assertion is a simple one.  Under the heading of Force Theory we say only that the "man" of culture, today and always, is "other" than the taxonomic species being.    But we may draw upon some general small facts relalted by anthropologists.  Two Aborigne men meeting, strangers to one another, begin a discussion of kinship.  Were these individuals animals, which they are not, they would simply look at each other and wonder; but probably there would be no violence between them.  With humans it is different.  The Aboriginals discuss their ancestry in order to determine whether they have a common ancestor and are therefore related.  I call this discussion "categorical."  That is, they seek to know whether they are related or not.  If they are not related, they try to kill one another.  We disparage this simple encounter and call these people savages; yet they are already on a clear humanoid path.  Thinking in terms of absolutes--absolutely a kinsman and a friend or absolutely not--determines what their mutual relations are going to be.  So-called civilized people are the same way.  The chain of categorical relations among civilized people is much more nuanced and specialized; but the logical stipulation in these relations of "either this or that, but not both" is far more sophisticated than it is among Aborigines. 

We are not being fanciful in saying that the origin of the categorical way of thinking was prefigured, in pre-stone age times, in the mere implementation of a stick as a tool.  Human thought takes its model from technological thinking at this early stage of development.  To use a stick as a tool is already to "think."  The motions of the stick as it is swung about prefigure the motions of cerebralised psychology.   As we just finished saying, the stick was not originally the man, really, nor was the man the stick.  By the same token the man who evolved from the stick was not really the original creator of this technics, who was still, for his part, a species-man.    Societal man and species-man were categorically other than one another, that is they were not one another.  This "not-ness" has become, through time as a development or evolve-ment of culture, an oppositional force to the species Homo sapiens and every member of this species.  Klages was right on this point.  Culture opposes life, in this case the biological man who was the originator of culture.  There is a long literature, of which we are altogether familiar, of the destructive effects that go along with the beneficial effects of culture.  But we are talking here, not of proposing any grand salvation of humanity from the destructive effects of his own technology, but of foreseeing a chain of events in the future.  We will see that the species principle gives way, as it must, to the race principle.  Human history moves forward dialectically, as the first opposition--of the man and his own stick or tool--plays out over and over throughout the course of human history, in wider events involving ever larger populations.  In all, the collision of societal man and species-man is the theme of human history.  Progress, so-called, is simply the resolution of unresolvable contradictions.

The life of animals is not entirely "red with tooth and claw."  Sometimes the lion does lay down with the lamb.  Our picture of the creatures of the woods and fields has possibly been distorted by Darwinism.  Rousseau has also contributed to this lopsided assessment.   Our picture of relationships in a so-called State of Nature should not be overdrawn to emphasize the carnage of it.  Sometimes an animal will simply take a nap in the cool shade of a tree, unaware of any "state of nature."    We are suggesting simply that among animals there is not always Darwinistic "struggle for survival" but rather a certain give-and-take to relationships.  I want to stress that there can be here mutual accomodation and a live-and-let-live attitude, if not downright peace, in the way animals live.  Nature seems softened by a certain flexibility and even lackadaisicalness.  Also, for humans the fact of society came as no panacea.   Humans did not escape the alleged carnage of so-called nature when they passed into a "state of society."   Human beings can think; and through their thoughts they form relationships.  These are not so much thoughts of peace and mutalism as they are, simply, categorical thoughts.   Humans think in terms of, if this not that.  Animals do not think this way.  Animals rather think of this and that at the same time and in the same way.  As animals became humans their relations of give-and-take became, as abstract human ideas, those more absolute and absolutist ideas of either/or.   Human relations were simply cast in the same categorical or absolute terms as the rest of their culture.  Where humans are concerned there is not so much a mutuality of relations so much as, what I will call, as I say, categorically "either" or categorically "or" relations.  That is, the relations were either one thing or the other, but not both. These bonds are not so much instinctual or familial relations as the logic of society.   In this dichotomy there is to be no compromise.  The idea of an absolute peace brings with it, as a categorical "other," the idea of absolute hostility.  And indeed we find the politics of human beings take on such uncompromising terms such as would be unthinkable among animals.  We find such an idea only in the lives of humans, not among animals.   In the earlier sections of this blog I discussed the way human beings think; and the way they think often determines their social relations.  Thus, as we said, human beings think and come together according to their thoughts.  But there is more.  The things that humans think of and constructure form a nexus of interpersonal relationships.  Humans come together through the things--artifacts or machines or whole infrastructures--that they think of.  Finally, the things humans think of are themselves thoughts of human beings, or the materializations of such thoughts, and, as such,  can essentially be relationships.  Christianity has proposed a religion of absolute peace.  But such a concept also evokes another, mediating term we may call, in Hegelian terms, the Absolute itself and all the negativity--the negation of the negation--that the Absolute evokes.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-10-02 16:52:14)

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

The small factual truths of science, when translated into social relationships--and social elites--become, by their very mention, threats to these same establishements.  That is because, as a social establishment, the elite does not want to be held to any standard whatsoever.  Any admonishon by laypeople to uphold standards of fact and logic compromise power.  Power is power only when it is uncompromising; when it will not compromise itself, even with facts and logic.

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

The public or "the people" is only incohfate and  is not a well defined entity.  This public or populace is therefore not logical or dialectical until blundering into a categorical situation such as the word "never" suggests.  To force an incohate being into a categorical mold is to force a categorical--that is opposite--response.  Thus by this logic never becomes forever.   Humans through political machinations create abstract and uncompromising contexts into which other humans seem compelled to enter.  They define an otherwise incohate mass as a thing with an also defined status within a dialectical system.  The response of this entity is not to confirm what is proscribed for it but precisely the opposite, to negate.

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

The human being, said Nietzsche, is a "noch nicht festgestelltes Tier" (a not-yet-finished animal).  This idea carries through much Philosophical Anthropology.  We may more precisely outline this theory.  The tool that extends the arm is the arm, seen from a certain external vantage point.  This much we have already said.  The arm that is "lacking" (sich mangelt--A. Gehlen) is "completed" by the stick.  The arm and the tool together constitute, we are saying, a complete arm.  By inference, the culture that completes the human being is that same human.  Only now this human is a cultural, not a "natural," human being.   We do not mean to be tiresome when we reiterate these basic conclusions of Philosophical Anthropology.  But there is more.  There is also an ongoing "rejection" of culture, to use a medical expression.  This rejection constitutes the motive power in human cultural progress and history.  It is appropriate now to speak of the "dialectic" of human existince, carried out that is by a mutual contradiction of culture and the "natural" species.  As I said earlier, much German philosophy begins with some great cosmic principle, Schopenhauer no less than Hegel.  This is a Wille or life-force or, in Hegelianism, a cosmic dialectic that underlies matter itself.  We are figuratively and literally more pedestrian:  we speak here of a man walking with a stick, the primal human being together with his primal culture. But inherent in these simple observations is a profound respect for the accomplishments of Hegel and the Hegelians in overturning established social theory in their own day, and laying, in effect, the ideological foundations for the world to come.  Here we are concerned with the 20th century.   In the earliest days of Philosophical Anthropology, the first decade of the 20th century was a time of impending war or actual war; this was not to be the high point of German philosophy.  The beginnings of PA were modest and humble; there was a natural avoidance of any idea that could be construed as nationalist or racialist ideology.  This rule was enforced in the German universities and among the publishers; the prohibition is basically still in force.  The one rule of democracy that Germany does not adhere to is that of so-called free speech.  We can go back and forth on this issue; free speech, as it is euphemisticaly called, is not something that I or Force Theory are expecting to happen.  The internet opens a brief window of oportunity and one that, with Force Theory, we rush to appreciate and take advantage of.  But this was always true of philosophy, where serious ideas may also be coded political speech.  Again, this is not our concern.  A simple statement of the ideas of PA and Force Theory is all that we aspire to.  What are these ideas?   I have already clearly stated what they are.  What I said earlier, but will repeat now, is that culture "completes" the human being.  But what about this "completed" person?  He is laden with a fundamental contradiction in his existence.  We begin by thinking about Arnold Gehlen's concept (acquired partially from other sources) of the Mangelwesen.  Refering back to what I said about our primal man-with-a-stick.  The early hunter, busy about his day, saw no promblem let alone contradiction in his holding and using a stick. There were sticks everywhere to be held, along with perpetual danger and threat from animals--and humans--bigger and stronger than he was.  This struggle led to a fact that was more than holding a stick, the human actually, in the face of danger, bonded with his stick.  As genetically and biologically constituted, on the other hand, the human being was the way he was before he acquired sticks as weapons and tools, or technology generally.  The human being was still, genetically, "deficient."  Arnold Gelen has used the term "creature of deficiency" (Mangelwesen) to describe the early human condition.  Our question here is, and the one we have all along aspired to answer, if the human being is deficient, HOW DEFICIENT IS HE?  That is to say, if the human lacks natural or biological tools (teeth and claws), does he also lack such things as purpose and focus?  And does he then have to invent such things as ideas of good and evil.  We have said that the early human still went on with his day, with a stick as an artificial limb, and with no trouble in understanding why he was living in this way.  He did not ask questions.  A thorough concept of "deficiency" would however include everything that the human could inherit, such as focus and direction, but did not, through "deficiency," inherit and therefore was forced to invent. And is not the idea of an invented value or concept of the good a self-contradiction? Our next paragraphs should help to anser this question.

Anthropologists have long maintained a concept called "cultural relativism," presenting this idea to introductory students as a sort of professional ideology or creed.  Force Theory in fact does not challenge this concept, but only decries the anthropologist's own exception to the notion.   The exception, we are saying, destroys the rule.  My own training (Ph.D. Ohio State 196-something) has been in anthropology and I can speak with a certain licensed authority on this issue.  What cultural relativism says is that the values of a culture are "relative" to the circumstances of that culture, or the specific challenges that those people face.  Hence, for instance, if the clan is the basic social unit, the values of religion are "designed" to, or function to, support that unit.  I dwell upon the clan and family because already Morgan and Engels have made the family a basic issue of sociology and offer us here an opportunity for discussion.  These values could include what we have already called "the good."  The good, we are saying, is not an absolute reality that transcends, in other words, the human community but, on the contrary, is produced by humans themselves. Having its source in human creativity, the good cannot be said to stand in relation to humans in a posture of majestic transcendence.  By being a human product, the good would logically be lower than the humans themselves.  (Similarly, the Brahmin idea of Brahma, or the fire, because the fire must be lighted by Brahmin priests, is therefore lower than the priest himself.)  I purposely dwell upon simple themes and situations, hoping to avoid the mud and confusion of German polemics in which I was once emersed.  What anthropologists are saying, clearly and transparently, is that the culture determines what actions and things are right and wrong, and consequently establish criteria--the good--for what is right and wrong in human behavior.  Anthropologists have thus wandered into an area that, in fact, is outside their own field of expertise and where they have no liscence to speak--philosophy.  This is dangerous territory.  And we will not lose an opportunity, under the flag of Force Theory, to exercise our strategic, philosophical advantage.  We will strike decisively at these "relativist" anthropologists.  We have already conceded the point of relativism, that values and ideas of the good are in fact products of a culture, and therefore "relative" to a given culture.  So much is clear.  Where anthropologists routinely, without any sense of self-contradiction, set themselves at a disadvantage is in their--uniform and to a man--exception to their rule.  This is in the "professionalist" [swartzbaugh's neologism] or occupational creed notion of the Big Historical Event.  Naturally, though what this event is has been stated time and time again, I do not want to be involved personally in a discussion of this Big Event.  My purpose here is not to discuss this event.  On the other hand, it is not difficult to document what this BE is.  I want to say only that the BE causes the professional anthropologists--along with scholars of many fields--to take a new course and one that is at odds with their relativistic view.  They become objective idealists in the tradition of Schelling and Plato.  This constitutes a philosphical volte facie.  Applying strict standards to discourse, as we do to ourselves under the flag of Force Theory, this is an unacceptable ducking of a serious issue.  Here, on the ship of Force Theory, we are rigorously consistent and are not deterred by any such obstacle.  We are strict relativists, so far as the values of culture are concerned--and these are the values presented to us in our everyday and practical lives as practically (in practice) absolute. 

We can understand a certain relativity in everyday sorts of judgements and opinions.  For instance, if we understand that a person does this or that on account of his culture, then we have understood that person and can predict his behavior.  Prediction is a condition of coexistence.  This is on a basic and everyday level of human interaction.  As we develop our concept of Force Theory, on the other hand, as an ideological branch of Philosophical Anthropology, we can also say that our only purpose, here, is theory.  We are only concerned to decry the anthropologist's relativism when such ideology is not consistent.  In fact, it could be argued that inconsistency, as overlooking certain facts of a situation, might be an advantage on a more basic and everyday level of human interaction.  That is certainly true.  But, as I say, this everyday life is no concern of ours presently.  We only want to point out the inconsistencies of the anthropologists who spawned me in the first place.  I have been reading Findlay's book on Hegel.  This should be a brilliant book--that is what the subject calls for--but instead it is a rather stupid book full of that smugness that characterizes many British persons.  Findlay speaks of "good British common sense" as if there ever was such a thing!  Again, Findlay feels compelled at some point to declare his own "British good sense," and sense of high moral outrage, over the issues delt with by Hegel but not fully resolved.  Findlay like the anthropologists is faced with this Big Event as somehow having a bearing on theory and philosophy.  Somehow we are to understand that it is ok to reason relativistically to a certain point; and then shift entirely to an absolutist view.  The facts of the case--in this instance, the Big Event--seems to them to provide sufficient motive for such a change.   For their part--consistent with Findlay and many other scholars--the anthropologists shift, oportunistically, between a relativisitc and absolutist point of view.  An entire book might be written on this very subject:  the consequences--in theory--of moving between these two perspectives.  Of course simple office and campus politics play a role in this wishy-washy back and forth philosophy.  Anthropologists, I have come to realize, are not trained in philosophy and logical consistency.    Finally, we may consider the inconsistency within itself of the relativistic point of view.  It would not do, really, to tell the Indian, say, that his highest values are only "relatively" true. 

Often the Indian would understand.  His viewpoint is usually reasonable and not overly reactive.  He would say of this or that practice of his, oh, is the Indian way.  The Indian understands such words as custom and habit.  He has put himself into the same box with the anthropologist; they are thinking now along the same lines.  But there is more.  At some time the anthropologist will--and this is inevitable so long as he continues to think in the same general line--hit upon a point where he resorts to an absolutist viewpoint.  I have been told that "racism" is that point where there is no longer relativity but only an absolute standard of value.  I have been put in that position myself, as the butt of such an argument--putting me for once at loss for words.  I feel that this is an unfair position for me to be in and one that must ultimately, I fear, provoke retaliation--only in theory, of course.  I want to continue with this thought.  This is as I say an unfair and unequal position for me to be in one, but a position also, with a line of lawyers as ancestors, that challenges me to rise to the occasion.  Basically what I am saying is that, at some point the relativist or "reasonable" British-like sound-thinking individual will inevitably--this is a logical barrier that is built into every such discussion--will have to speak to someone outside the framework of the original discussion, and will have to speak "absolutely."  To avoid confusion I will explain this further.  That is, the anthropologist and the Indian may understand "Indian customs" for what they are, relativistic values in relation to pressing everyday practical needs.  An outsider to the discussion will not understand this.  The anthropologist and Indian naturally understand one another, in certain cases; but the issue is entirely different if these two person were to attempt to explain Indian values to me, Richard, as an outsider to this relation.    Rather, a framework of understanding must be artificially created to even allow such a discussion to take place.    The greater the general particupation in the discussion of values, the more the values will be regarded in absolutist terms.  Again I evoke an image, literally, of the good as something majestic in its transcendence and no relative to any individual point of view.  In effect, finally, there is no way of saying, simply, that a value is "relativistic" and still maintain that this value is a value.  There is a clear contradiction here in calling a value--or any understanding of "the good"--relative.  Moreover, we can expand this idea.  A civilization built upon "relativistic" values would collapse of its own inner contradiction.  But that is what our own civilization, in its call for cultural relativism and "diversity," has attempted to do:  to reconcile the absolute opposites of relative value and absolute value.

Last edited by richard_swartzbaugh (2010-10-06 14:15:31)

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

What is useful to me is good to me.  I accept this as a categorical statement and basic to the ensuing argument.   We are talking here about "the useful" and "the good."  At the risk of appearing to fall in a Platonic or objective idealist mode of thought I speak of usefulness and goodness as qualities that may be abstracted from real situations and things.   But there is more. We need not qualify this idea but we must go beyond it.  There is here no assertion that the useful, in itself, is also the good.  Mediating in our initial assertion is "me" or the self as what stands between the useful and the good.  The good to me is what is useful to me and vice versa.    But what is useful to another person may not be good to me.  If this other person is my enemy and wants to hurt me, a tool or weapon or leveraged social principle in his hands will be, inevitably, hurtful to me.  I need not dwell on this painful point.  In the earliest days of humanity, every useful act was a good act inasmuch as, as I've already said, the human agent using the tool, and finding that artifact useful, could say of the tool "it is good."  As use became general use, however--as the tool was of use to the general community and the tool's use was a general use--the relation of that same, general tool was only of ambiguous use to the individual.  These points have been widely raised in classical economic theory.  Where we may add to the discussion is in the point that here, in the general use of tools, the notion of usefulness and goodness have become separated.  There is now no primal "me" or, in Heidegger's terms Being, connecting the use of a thing and the good of the thing.  Use and good, or Platonic "The Good," are separated and, depending on the context of their co-existence, categorically opposed to one another.  I must be more specific on this last point.  If the good is not my own good, but someone else's, the good may actually oppose me or be antithetical to me.  This good is now a "limited" good, or what is good about a specific instance of use or usefulness; and what is good for one man need not be good for another.  We still may assume the existence of a good that, as a general good, may be good for you and me both.  There may well be, and probably is, such a thing as a general good that is good for "humans in general."  This good was talked about by the Utilitarians as a basis for morality and human behavior, not merely your behavior but mine as well.  But we are not Utilitarian in our point of view.  The only point to remember is, and we invoke this point as basic to Force Theory, is the obvious one that your good and mine may be the same, but may not be the same.  A contradictory situation appears; and failure to mediate or reconcile this situation means in effect to dissolve society.      We are now moving toward a final conclusion.    Again, we are not Utilitarians.  We propose that the idea of the personal good that mediates between the person and his own technics is now opposed by the good that, once his own good, now is antithetical to him.  A resolution to this conflict may be necessary.  The idea of The Good is invoked, in short, when the good that was once inhered in something's usefulness to one person now becomes, finally, a good in the hands of this person's enemy and thus constitutes a usefulness that opposes the person.  This is not a question of empirical truth but of logic.  The Good is a logical concept that mediates in the context of  estrangement wherein humans are separated from the technics and objects that, once their own, are now their inimical "other."  This is the way The Good appeared.  The Good does not exist apart from the human agency or thought process that produced The Good.  But The Good nonetheless has a majesty that sets it above other human productions and machinations and that allows it, in its transcendence, to "mediate" in antithetical relationships which would otherwise deprecate, degrade and destroy human collective existence.  The next point we will raise is this:  how does the "doing" of Good degrade that same Good?

Philosophical Anthropology does not take its main ideas from philosophy or anthropology either one.  Both disciplines are emeshed in their own ways in onerous restrictions.  Anthropology has laid down for itself draconian empirical rules and has thereby become lost in its own details.  Philosophy has experienced much the same things.  In pursuit of so-called truth philosophy has reduced itself to the uncontrovertable propositions of mathematics and logic.  Philosophical Anthropology on the other hand, perhaps simply out of youth, is both unrestricted and undisciplined in its mode of experimentation.  Philosophical Anthropology is only a relative few years old.  It has taken from anthropology only a break from philosophy, which is thousands of years old and is the accumulation of that many years speculation.  This--a primarily negative one of escaping philosophy--is what PA has taken from anthropology.   Having done that, however, having that is separated itself from the evoloved commitment to logic, Philosophical Anthropology has played fast and loose with the rules of anthropology, or commitment to anything empirical.  PA is an entirely new line of speculation.  The original propositions of this field, which were those of Scheler and Plessner about some so-called "essence of Man" come as refreshingly vague but suggestive.  PA  we are saying has no sense of its own limitations.  It does what philosophy should do, rebel against all limitations to thinking whatsoever.  This was once the paradox of philosophy:  that it set up rules to study rules; that it laid down restructions to think about what is boundless.  Philosophy has resolved itself into a final contradiction of an entrapment within the law of non-contradiction.  PA has declared its freedom from this law or any laws of thinking, really, whatsoever.  But there is more.  PA has assumed a revolutionary role in attacking the core of any civilization, which is a concept of Man that is not an empirical concept but rather a "moral" concept closely connected to, as I say, the idea that a society has of "The Good."

What is useful to me is good to me.   This I said earlier and I will stay the course on this theme.   We are saying that an idea of the good--not as a thing but anyway as a quality--has its source in my own life. Good is the subjectivity in my experience.   At the risk of appearing merely philosophical, it seems that usefulness and good are two sides of the (Schopenhaurian) world, as object and subject.  The geneology of so-called The Good is not a particularly auspicious one, beginning as The Good does, in my own or someone else's most humble life experience.   We are suggesting that The Good is simply an abstraction from your experience or mine.   The august concept The Good does not exist from eternity in some Platonic zone but as a genesis but has a rather ordinary and humble family history.   As Bruno Bauer said, the critique of religion is the history of religion.  We propose to show the history of The Good.  The real role of The Good the disputes and contradicitions that arise between the good of you versus the good of me.  These disputes are inevitable. Human beings however, to preserve the continuity and efficacy of their relations, create the idea of The Good that suggests that in every instance of good there is a universal Good that unites every person in every relationship.  The Good is an abstraction from my good and yours.  That said, The Good is a high and transcendent idea that stands over society.  We could suggest, at the risk of raising still another controversy and diverting attention from our basic theme, that The Good and God are the same.  In English and German the words are similar; also these words already have a rather obscure origin which leaves us room to speculate.  At the present stage in our discussion of The Good we have said nothing controversial.  But we are about to.  We are going on, finally, to suggest that "doing" The Good degrades and deprecates The Good.  Our basic argument is that in the "doing" of The Good it is necessary to translate a hypothetical and abstract idea of The Good back whence The Good came, into, in other words, the particular Good of you and me.  In that case, what is good for me might not be good for you.  And vice versa.  In its particular expressions, The Good actually contradicts itself categorically. 

What is useful to me may not be useful to you; in fact, what is useful to me may be hurtful to you.  On its most basic level, where any good is connected (as subject and object) to a useful act, any idea of must include the many and opposite ways that what is useful can be good, and conversly what instances of good can be useful.  On the primal level what is good is diverse; when abstracted, on the other hand, "the good" or The Good would be categorically self-contradictory.  The ordinary good exhibits itself and exhausts itself in its particular manifestations.  On the abstract level, on the other hand, The Good can be called consistent with itself and not self-contradictory.  But this is on a transcendental level of thought wherein no particular displays of The Good are suggested.  The "doing" of The Good would change this:  doing would bring The Good down to earth as the everyday good of you or the good of me.  We are now no longer doing something that is useful but something that is first good.  "Doing" was originally an act that was useful and, as a consequence of the usefulness of what was done, became a good act.  We have already concluded this to be true.  But there is more.  When the usefulness of what is done becomes in fact antithetical to the person who does this useful thing, that thing that is done is no longer good to the person.  Is there anything to suggest that it is possible simply to do The Good?  The assumption here among people who "do" The Good is that there will also be good that is done that may be translated into something useful.   That is to say, they assume that "good" can be "done" that is also something useful.  Here is where the whole human mentality that produced technology and technical progress--the whole entity of industrial civilization--started from a "moral premise" or idea of "doing" Good.  In fact, this civilization was the consequence of humans who were doing something useful but which something was connected to anything good only through their individual selves.  Creative people first of all act out of self-interest (this is all, disappointingly, that we may be saying!).  Is The Good at all something that can be "done"?  We have already said that the fundamental essence of The Good is its role in re-connecting (in the sense of religion or religare) the useful and the limited or personal good that, under conditions of mass society, are estranged and disconnected from the individual.  What we would be saying is that in "doing" Good we would be restoring the individual connection between the useful and his own good.   We have already said that The Good appears after, first, an individual has produced a thing that is useful to himself and is thus called good.  The Good has a general existence.  But its role is to mediate in situations of estrangement.  It is not simply something to be "done."  In "doing" good that is supposed to be a good derivative of The Good, we have degraded The Good and demoted it from its majestic transcendent position as uniting persons.  Now, because doing is always individual doing, the same disputes arise between individuals that resulted, in the first place, the estrangement of use from the good of use.

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

What is useful to me is good to me.  I accept this as a categorical statement and basic to the ensuing argument.   We are talking here about "the useful" and "the good."  At the risk of appearing to fall in a Platonic or objective idealist mode of thought I speak of usefulness and goodness as qualities that may be abstracted from real situations and things.   But there is more. We need not qualify this idea but we must go beyond it.  There is here no assertion that the useful, in itself, is also the good.  Mediating in our initial assertion is "me" or the self as what stands between the useful and the good.  The good to me is what is useful to me and vice versa.    But what is useful to another person may not be good to me.  If this other person is my enemy and wants to hurt me, a tool or weapon or leveraged social principle in his hands will be, inevitably, hurtful to me.  I need not dwell on this painful point.  In the earliest days of humanity, every useful act was a good act inasmuch as, as I've already said, the human agent using the tool, and finding that artifact useful, could say of the tool "it is good."  As use became general use, however--as the tool was of use to the general community and the tool's use was a general use--the relation of that same, general tool was only of ambiguous use to the individual.  These points have been widely raised in classical economic theory.  Where we may add to the discussion is in the point that here, in the general use of tools, the notion of usefulness and goodness have become separated.  There is now no primal "me" or, in Heidegger's terms Being, connecting the use of a thing and the good of the thing.  Use and good, or Platonic "The Good," are separated and, depending on the context of their co-existence, categorically opposed to one another.  I must be more specific on this last point.  If the good is not my own good, but someone else's, the good may actually oppose me or be antithetical to me.  This good is now a "limited" good, or what is good about a specific instance of use or usefulness; and what is good for one man need not be good for another.  We still may assume the existence of a good that, as a general good, may be good for you and me both.  There may well be, and probably is, such a thing as a general good that is good for "humans in general."  This good was talked about by the Utilitarians as a basis for morality and human behavior, not merely your behavior but mine as well.  But we are not Utilitarian in our point of view.  The only point to remember is, and we invoke this point as basic to Force Theory, is the obvious one that your good and mine may be the same, but may not be the same.  A contradictory situation appears; and failure to mediate or reconcile this situation means in effect to dissolve society.      We are now moving toward a final conclusion.    Again, we are not Utilitarians.  We propose that the idea of the personal good that mediates between the person and his own technics is now opposed by the good that, once his own good, now is antithetical to him.  A resolution to this conflict may be necessary.  The idea of The Good is invoked, in short, when the good that was once inhered in something's usefulness to one person now becomes, finally, a good in the hands of this person's enemy and thus constitutes a usefulness that opposes the person.  This is not a question of empirical truth but of logic.  The Good is a logical concept that mediates in the context of  estrangement wherein humans are separated from the technics and objects that, once their own, are now their inimical "other."  This is the way The Good appeared.  The Good does not exist apart from the human agency or thought process that produced The Good.  But The Good nonetheless has a majesty that sets it above other human productions and machinations and that allows it, in its transcendence, to "mediate" in antithetical relationships which would otherwise deprecate, degrade and destroy human collective existence.  The next point we will raise is this:  how does the "doing" of Good degrade that same Good?

Philosophical Anthropology does not take its main ideas from philosophy or anthropology either one.  Both disciplines are emeshed in their own ways in onerous restrictions.  Anthropology has laid down for itself draconian empirical rules and has thereby become lost in its own details.  Philosophy has experienced much the same things.  In pursuit of so-called truth philosophy has reduced itself to the uncontrovertable propositions of mathematics and logic.  Philosophical Anthropology on the other hand, perhaps simply out of youth, is both unrestricted and undisciplined in its mode of experimentation.  Philosophical Anthropology is only a relative few years old.  It has taken from anthropology only a break from philosophy, which is thousands of years old and is the accumulation of that many years speculation.  This--a primarily negative one of escaping philosophy--is what PA has taken from anthropology.   Having done that, however, having that is separated itself from the evoloved commitment to logic, Philosophical Anthropology has played fast and loose with the rules of anthropology, or commitment to anything empirical.  PA is an entirely new line of speculation.  The original propositions of this field, which were those of Scheler and Plessner about some so-called "essence of Man" come as refreshingly vague but suggestive.  PA  we are saying has no sense of its own limitations.  It does what philosophy should do, rebel against all limitations to thinking whatsoever.  This was once the paradox of philosophy:  that it set up rules to study rules; that it laid down restructions to think about what is boundless.  Philosophy has resolved itself into a final contradiction of an entrapment within the law of non-contradiction.  PA has declared its freedom from this law or any laws of thinking, really, whatsoever.  But there is more.  PA has assumed a revolutionary role in attacking the core of any civilization, which is a concept of Man that is not an empirical concept but rather a "moral" concept closely connected to, as I say, the idea that a society has of "The Good."

What is useful to me is good to me.   This I said earlier and I will stay the course on this theme.   We are saying that an idea of the good--not as a thing but anyway as a quality--has its source in my own life. Good is the subjectivity in my experience.   At the risk of appearing merely philosophical, it seems that usefulness and good are two sides of the (Schopenhaurian) world, as object and subject.  The geneology of so-called The Good is not a particularly auspicious one, beginning as The Good does, in my own or someone else's most humble life experience.   We are suggesting that The Good is simply an abstraction from your experience or mine.   The august concept The Good does not exist from eternity in some Platonic zone but as a genesis but has a rather ordinary and humble family history.   As Bruno Bauer said, the critique of religion is the history of religion.  We propose to show the history of The Good.  The real role of The Good the disputes and contradicitions that arise between the good of you versus the good of me.  These disputes are inevitable. Human beings however, to preserve the continuity and efficacy of their relations, create the idea of The Good that suggests that in every instance of good there is a universal Good that unites every person in every relationship.  The Good is an abstraction from my good and yours.  That said, The Good is a high and transcendent idea that stands over society.  We could suggest, at the risk of raising still another controversy and diverting attention from our basic theme, that The Good and God are the same.  In English and German the words are similar; also these words already have a rather obscure origin which leaves us room to speculate.  At the present stage in our discussion of The Good we have said nothing controversial.  But we are about to.  We are going on, finally, to suggest that "doing" The Good degrades and deprecates The Good.  Our basic argument is that in the "doing" of The Good it is necessary to translate a hypothetical and abstract idea of The Good back whence The Good came, into, in other words, the particular Good of you and me.  In that case, what is good for me might not be good for you.  And vice versa.  In its particular expressions, The Good actually contradicts itself categorically. 

What is useful to me may not be useful to you; in fact, what is useful to me may be hurtful to you.  On its most basic level, where any good is connected (as subject and object) to a useful act, any idea of must include the many and opposite ways that what is useful can be good, and conversly what instances of good can be useful.  On the primal level what is good is diverse; when abstracted, on the other hand, "the good" or The Good would be categorically self-contradictory.  The ordinary good exhibits itself and exhausts itself in its particular manifestations.  On the abstract level, on the other hand, The Good can be called consistent with itself and not self-contradictory.  But this is on a transcendental level of thought wherein no particular displays of The Good are suggested.  The "doing" of The Good would change this:  doing would bring The Good down to earth as the everyday good of you or the good of me.  We are now no longer doing something that is useful but something that is first good.  "Doing" was originally an act that was useful and, as a consequence of the usefulness of what was done, became a good act.  We have already concluded this to be true.  But there is more.  When the usefulness of what is done becomes in fact antithetical to the person who does this useful thing, that thing that is done is no longer good to the person.  Is there anything to suggest that it is possible simply to do The Good?  The assumption here among people who "do" The Good is that there will also be good that is done that may be translated into something useful.   That is to say, they assume that "good" can be "done" that is also something useful.  Here is where the whole human mentality that produced technology and technical progress--the whole entity of industrial civilization--started from a "moral premise" or idea of "doing" Good.  In fact, this civilization was the consequence of humans who were doing something useful but which something was connected to anything good only through their individual selves.  Creative people first of all act out of self-interest (this is all, disappointingly, that we may be saying!).  Is The Good at all something that can be "done"?  We have already said that the fundamental essence of The Good is its role in re-connecting (in the sense of religion or religare) the useful and the limited or personal good that, under conditions of mass society, are estranged and disconnected from the individual.  What we would be saying is that in "doing" Good we would be restoring the individual connection between the useful and his own good.   We have already said that The Good appears after, first, an individual has produced a thing that is useful to himself and is thus called good.  The Good has a general existence.  But its role is to mediate in situations of estrangement.  It is not simply something to be "done."  In "doing" good that is supposed to be a good derivative of The Good, we have degraded The Good and demoted it from its majestic transcendent position as uniting persons.  Now, because doing is always individual doing, the same disputes arise between individuals that resulted, in the first place, the estrangement of use from the good of use.

Re: 33. TECHNOLOGY, THE USEFUL AND THE GOOD

What is useful to me is good to me.  I accept this as a categorical statement and basic to the ensuing argument.   We are talking here about "the useful" and "the good."  At the risk of appearing to fall in a Platonic or objective idealist mode of thought I speak of usefulness and goodness as qualities that may be abstracted from real situations and things.   But there is more. We need not qualify this idea but we must go beyond it.  There is here no assertion that the useful, in itself, is also the good.  Mediating in our initial assertion is "me" or the self as what stands between the useful and the good.  The good to me is what is useful to me and vice versa.    But what is useful to another person may not be good to me.  If this other person is my enemy and wants to hurt me, a tool or weapon or leveraged social principle in his hands will be, inevitably, hurtful to me.  I need not dwell on this painful point.  In the earliest days of humanity, every useful act was a good act inasmuch as, as I've already said, the human agent using the tool, and finding that artifact useful, could say of the tool "it is good."  As use became general use, however--as the tool was of use to the general community and the tool's use was a general use--the relation of that same, general tool was only of ambiguous use to the individual.  These points have been widely raised in classical economic theory.  Where we may add to the discussion is in the point that here, in the general use of tools, the notion of usefulness and goodness have become separated.  There is now no primal "me" or, in Heidegger's terms Being, connecting the use of a thing and the good of the thing.  Use and good, or Platonic "The Good," are separated and, depending on the context of their co-existence, categorically opposed to one another.  I must be more specific on this last point.  If the good is not my own good, but someone else's, the good may actually oppose me or be antithetical to me.  This good is now a "limited" good, or what is good about a specific instance of use or usefulness; and what is good for one man need not be good for another.  We still may assume the existence of a good that, as a general good, may be good for you and me both.  There may well be, and probably is, such a thing as a general good that is good for "humans in general."  This good was talked about by the Utilitarians as a basis for morality and human behavior, not merely your behavior but mine as well.  But we are not Utilitarian in our point of view.  The only point to remember is, and we invoke this point as basic to Force Theory, is the obvious one that your good and mine may be the same, but may not be the same.  A contradictory situation appears; and failure to mediate or reconcile this situation means in effect to dissolve society.      We are now moving toward a final conclusion.    Again, we are not Utilitarians.  We propose that the idea of the personal good that mediates between the person and his own technics is now opposed by the good that, once his own good, now is antithetical to him.  A resolution to this conflict may be necessary.  The idea of The Good is invoked, in short, when the good that was once inhered in something's usefulness to one person now becomes, finally, a good in the hands of this person's enemy and thus constitutes a usefulness that opposes the person.  This is not a question of empirical truth but of logic.  The Good is a logical concept that mediates in the context of  estrangement wherein humans are separated from the technics and objects that, once their own, are now their inimical "other."  This is the way The Good appeared.  The Good does not exist apart from the human agency or thought process that produced The Good.  But The Good nonetheless has a majesty that sets it above other human productions and machinations and that allows it, in its transcendence, to "mediate" in antithetical relationships which would otherwise deprecate, degrade and destroy human collective existence.  The next point we will raise is this:  how does the "doing" of Good degrade that same Good?

Philosophical Anthropology does not take its main ideas from philosophy or anthropology either one.  Both disciplines are emeshed in their own ways in onerous restrictions.  Anthropology has laid down for itself draconian empirical rules and has thereby become lost in its own details.  Philosophy has experienced much the same things.  In pursuit of so-called truth philosophy has reduced itself to the uncontrovertable propositions of mathematics and logic.  Philosophical Anthropology on the other hand, perhaps simply out of youth, is both unrestricted and undisciplined in its mode of experimentation.  Philosophical Anthropology is only a relative few years old.  It has taken from anthropology only a break from philosophy, which is thousands of years old and is the accumulation of that many years speculation.  This--a primarily negative one of escaping philosophy--is what PA has taken from anthropology.   Having done that, however, having that is separated itself from the evoloved commitment to logic, Philosophical Anthropology has played fast and loose with the rules of anthropology, or commitment to anything empirical.  PA is an entirely new line of speculation.  The original propositions of this field, which were those of Scheler and Plessner about some so-called "essence of Man" come as refreshingly vague but suggestive.  PA  we are saying has no sense of its own limitations.  It does what philosophy should do, rebel against all limitations to thinking whatsoever.  This was once the paradox of philosophy:  that it set up rules to study rules; that it laid down restructions to think about what is boundless.  Philosophy has resolved itself into a final contradiction of an entrapment within the law of non-contradiction.  PA has declared its freedom from this law or any laws of thinking, really, whatsoever.  But there is more.  PA has assumed a revolutionary role in attacking the core of any civilization, which is a concept of Man that is not an empirical concept but rather a "moral" concept closely connected to, as I say, the idea that a society has of "The Good."

What is useful to me is good to me.   This I said earlier and I will stay the course on this theme.   We are saying that an idea of the good--not as a thing but anyway as a quality--has its source in my own life. Good is the subjectivity in my experience.   At the risk of appearing merely philosophical, it seems that usefulness and good are two sides of the (Schopenhaurian) world, as object and subject.  The geneology of so-called The Good is not a particularly auspicious one, beginning as The Good does, in my own or someone else's most humble life experience.   We are suggesting that The Good is simply an abstraction from your experience or mine.   The august concept The Good does not exist from eternity in some Platonic zone but as a genesis but has a rather ordinary and humble family history.   As Bruno Bauer said, the critique of religion is the history of religion.  We propose to show the history of The Good.  The real role of The Good the disputes and contradicitions that arise between the good of you versus the good of me.  These disputes are inevitable. Human beings however, to preserve the continuity and efficacy of their relations, create the idea of The Good that suggests that in every instance of good there is a universal Good that unites every person in every relationship.  The Good is an abstraction from my good and yours.  That said, The Good is a high and transcendent idea that stands over society.  We could suggest, at the risk of raising still another controversy and diverting attention from our basic theme, that The Good and God are the same.  In English and German the words are similar; also these words already have a rather obscure origin which leaves us room to speculate.  At the present stage in our discussion of The Good we have said nothing controversial.  But we are about to.  We are going on, finally, to suggest that "doing" The Good degrades and deprecates The Good.  Our basic argument is that in the "doing" of The Good it is necessary to translate a hypothetical and abstract idea of The Good back whence The Good came, into, in other words, the particular Good of you and me.  In that case, what is good for me might not be good for you.  And vice versa.  In its particular expressions, The Good actually contradicts itself categorically. 

What is useful to me may not be useful to you; in fact, what is useful to me may be hurtful to you.  On its most basic level, where any good is connected (as subject and object) to a useful act, any idea of must include the many and opposite ways that what is useful can be good, and conversly what instances of good can be useful.  On the primal level what is good is diverse; when abstracted, on the other hand, "the good" or The Good would be categorically self-contradictory.  The ordinary good exhibits itself and exhausts itself in its particular manifestations.  On the abstract level, on the other hand, The Good can be called consistent with itself and not self-contradictory.  But this is on a transcendental level of thought wherein no particular displays of The Good are suggested.  The "doing" of The Good would change this:  doing would bring The Good down to earth as the everyday good of you or the good of me.  We are now no longer doing something that is useful but something that is first good.  "Doing" was originally an act that was useful and, as a consequence of the usefulness of what was done, became a good act.  We have already concluded this to be true.  But there is more.  When the usefulness of what is done becomes in fact antithetical to the person who does this useful thing, that thing that is done is no longer good to the person.  Is there anything to suggest that it is possible simply to do The Good?  The assumption here among people who "do" The Good is that there will also be good that is done that may be translated into something useful.   That is to say, they assume that "good" can be "done" that is also something useful.  Here is where the whole human mentality that produced technology and technical progress--the whole entity of industrial civilization--started from a "moral premise" or idea of "doing" Good.  In fact, this civilization was the consequence of humans who were doing something useful but which something was connected to anything good only through their individual selves.  Creative people first of all act out of self-interest (this is all, disappointingly, that we may be saying!).  Is The Good at all something that can be "done"?  We have already said that the fundamental essence of The Good is its role in re-connecting (in the sense of religion or religare) the useful and the limited or personal good that, under conditions of mass society, are estranged and disconnected from the individual.  What we would be saying is that in "doing" Good we would be restoring the individual connection between the useful and his own good.   We have already said that The Good appears after, first, an individual has produced a thing that is useful to himself and is thus called good.  The Good has a general existence.  But its role is to mediate in situations of estrangement.  It is not simply something to be "done."  In "doing" good that is supposed to be a good derivative of The Good, we have degraded The Good and demoted it from its majestic transcendent position as uniting persons.  Now, because doing is always individual doing, the same disputes arise between individuals that resulted, in the first place, the estrangement of use from the good of use.