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Happiness, lifestyle, My Voice, philosophy, Search for love

Fragments, Traps and Ghost – reading dating site profiles

In a moment when Jesus was asked to demonstrate his “becoming”: Jesus – by performing an exorcism exposes what I’m calling the sorry state of human reality – fragments, traps and ghost.  He demands the tormented one to speak his name, receiving the answer, “I am Legion”.

To our modern sensibilities this answer seems strange – who or what is this legion. Why would Jesus need to demonstrate his status in this way? What power does this name relate – in our common reality – a Roman military unit: 2,000 men? In the course of breaking evil’s “hold” on an innocent – the act of calling out its name – does the trick.  Hearing the command, they beg for mercy – recognizing His authority.

We are all constituted of these same elements – “I am fragments”, without essence or single identity. Within my being I set traps and hide ghost. To make this known is to say to the social world that I am in pieces – see what you will.  So who is this that I am writing about – why should you believe this profile?

It amazes me that some people – I count myself in that number – actually read dating site profiles in an attempt to select or reject possible dating suspects. I believe pure chance holds as the much wiser following the evidence recent experiences. What this also means is that any notion of good or poor choice is melded into almost unrecognizable tones and hints reflected in each fragment.  So the choice I make has no significance other than as a tribute to my own vanity – thinking I can read intentions and value neither stated nor expected: traps!

It is said that the eye can see several hundred thousand bits of information, but the brain only processes 1400 or so at a time. How and who’s making the choice of which bits to recognize or not? So too is true for many other commonly held notions related to both authority and identities when deconstructed into thematic value constructs – that no one is responsible for choosing – thus our ghost whispers.

The value constructs are enforced via social networks not the invocation of any single authority figure. Fritjof Capra in Hidden Connections describes the network as a place that has “flexible boundaries of meaning that are often unspoken.” The distinction of belonging to a network, he goes on to say, “…may be as simple as being able to follow certain conversations or knowing the latest gossip”, or otherwise being influential.  These intra-laced networks thrive or decay, as I will describe later, within a context of tolerances.

In seeking love – searching around on dating sites for suspects in a world without essence or clear direction for the intended goal (I count myself in this number) there are times when all around me takes on the feel of absurdity. I find myself laughing at the picture of myself doing something that I’d never thought of myself capable: like playing the role of a dutiful husband following blindly behind an all knowing woman through a Big Box store suburban store – yuck.

The absurd world – we are mostly unaware of it until suddenly denseness and strangeness breaks in upon us – striking us all at once.  It is the reverse of the usual idea of illumination or inspiration.  This absurdity is a kind of negative illumination.  At a certain moment, we see that we really cannot make any sense of the most obvious and familiar things in our lives.  Spiraling around this illumination is the doubly negative passion of freedom and individuality—alienation is a lament to the lost of communion with creation (in a word, melancholy).

Be not dismayed, I am not looking for someone like me on these dating sites – the reverse is the case –someone who naturally smiles – without having to think – as I do: Smile – someone not like me who feels at home with being – solid. That someone that finds fruit in the illusion that culture nonetheless prides itself in how it tells of its beliefs, aims, sins, and current delights – as if, true!

Balancing – part trickster, part mystic, part accountant and all tactician – I confess and bear witness to these elements that describe the fragments traps and, ghost that I am.  When and if I find that special lady – we will have to model our dialogue for what we will become based on the above self revelation. Remembering both alienation and absurdity need to align to define the primitive hostility of this world we confront in moving towards “becoming”.

Hence the objective of this post is to analyze a certain form of knowledge regarding my love’s last stop (the space I need to create a love that thrives), not in terms of repression or law, but in terms of an existential space for doing while at engaged with another—a powerful space. The objective for understanding this form of power is to prudently manage the terrain on which the conflict of “becoming” in an ongoing negotiation with each other, our families, and then other forces engaged in the various networks of significance engage to build our reputation as a couple.

From Michel Foucault’s kaleidoscopic standpoint, power is a multiplicity of force relations.  These entanglements shape the processes which, he further describes as the turmoil of (through ceaseless struggles and confrontations, transforms, strengthens, or reverses) human tensions. Recognizing the support which these force relations find in one another, thus they form a-sort-of chain or a system, or on the contrary, they produce disjunctions and contradictions which isolate one system from another; and lastly, as the strategies in which they take effect, whose general design or institutional crystallization is embodied in the ritual apparatus of our lives, such as the formulation of rites, policies and rules, and lastly in various privileges[i]: showing up everywhere.

He goes on to say, “Power is everywhere; not because it embraces everything, but because it comes from everywhere.”  We could go so far as to equate power to politics and say as Foucault does “that politics is war pursued by other means”.

We (as tacticians) will have to make a stand for the necessity of our love–In the practical art of war, the best thing of all is to take the enemy’s country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good.”, as outlined in Sun Tzu’s stratagem.

The simple product of efficient and effective (accountant) loving puts emphasis on breaking the tags of enemy however slight while recognizing our own urges towards resistance by: “without fighting”.  This means to stagger and make judgments (mystic) about the order of engagement.  Hence Sun Tzu goes on say that,” the highest form of generalship (trickster) is to balk the enemy’s plans (to be present to the others intentions as they are being formed); the next best is to prevent the junction of the enemy’s forces; the next in order is to attack the enemy’s army in the field; and the worst policy of all is to besiege walled cities.”

The following propositions situate the power (actionable engagement) to which Foucault and Sun Tzu describes:

Power is not something that is acquired, seized, or shared, something that one holds on to or allows to slip away—it simply is;

Relations of Power thrive in any space with respect to types of relationships (economic processes, knowledge relationships, sexual relations), but their immanence is always contested ; they are the immediate effects of the divisions, inequalities, and disequilibrium which occur, and conversely they are the internal conditions of the differentiations;

Power comes from your basic stand; that is, there is no binary and all-encompassing difference between rulers and ruled at the root of power relations;

Power relations are both intentional and nonsubjective.  If in fact they are intelligible, this is not because they are the effect of another instance that “explains” them, but rather because they are imbued, through and through, with calculation: there is no power that is exercised without a series of aims and objectives;

The rationality that characterizes power is spelled-out by the observable tactics that are often quite explicit at the restricted level where they are inscribed (the local cynicism of power), tactics which, become visibly or allegedly connected to one another, attracting and propagating one another, but finding their base of support and their explanations elsewhere, unknowable, end by forming comprehensive systems: the logic is perfectly clear, the aims decipherable, and yet it is  the case that no one can be found there to have invented them, and few who can be said to have formulated them.

Where there is power, there is resistance, and yet, or rather consequently, this resistance is never in a position of exteriority in relation to power.  Should it be said that one is always “inside” power, there is no “escaping” it, there is no absolute outside where it is concerned, because one is subject to the law of language in any case.  Or as Foucault reminds us – “that, history being the ruse of reason, power is the ruse of history, always emerging the winner”.

If it is true that cynicism is seen as (trickster) Machiavelli’s crime, perhaps we need to go one step further, do without the persona of the Prince, and decipher power mechanisms on the basis of a strategy that is imminent in force relationships: nominalistically.

It is not about heroes—the nominalist view.  As Harold Morowitz describes it “life is a property of planets rather than of individual organisms[ii].” She (mystic) looks at processes and networks that conspire in the creation of existence. Because existence is a process in which being finds itself, and nothing can be said of human life outside this process. Where being stupid does not stand in the way of wisdom, for the disguise of the wise is to avow unknowing[iii].  We all have influence all the time—just a bit—all the time.  When we pay attention or not—we are responsible.  Yes, there is mystery, that-not-withstanding—an effect can be had.  In real life, the bitter fruit is realizing that we (accountant) must all share responsibility for keeping an eye on the world.  So, from this view the transformation lovers’ are required to be proactive in the face of opposition. This kind of lover stands for a present that is a springboard to achieve a greater expression of possibility–now. He or she incites new expectations in his or her life (Bennis and Nanus, 1985; Eden, 1990) and sets empowerment processes in motion through enlisting others to carry and move the empowerment out into the community and beyond.

But this all said, the lovers’ strategy for behavior shifting has to be carried forward. The last point that needs rising is the immanence of demonstration the lovers must continually respect.  They have to be in pursuit of results confirmed by life.  The heart of the matter is demonstrated engagement.


[i] Foucault, Michel (1980), The History of Sexuality, translated from French by Robert Hurley, Vintage Books,New York,NY.

[ii] Morowitz, Harold (1992), Beginning of Cellular Life, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT

[iii] Ronell, Avital (2003), Stupidity,University ofIL Press,Urbana,IL

About Reputationist

When I started this blog in 2007 the following is what I was up to - things have changed - some. I'm what my handle states - an Oldude. The problem with this acknowledgment is my thinking and ambitions have not quite got the message of my "oldness". I've started an online Coaching practice and my rant is about how to improve long term happiness - For the World. My thing, I believe I can change the world - isn't that a hoot. The way I intend to change the world is to foster a wider and deeper appreciation for "mindfulness": The daring, flair and grace of Jayz; the political savvy of Cornel West; the creativity of Mos Def with the business and cultural daring of Richard Simmons. I've thought enough - being a philosopher of sorts - and trained hard with some of the sharpest minds ever on the planet - Cornel West and Michel Foucault to know the total absurdity of trying to change the world - but I do and I will. There it is showing my age again.

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  1. Pingback: The Great Divide – Context, Framework and Power « On Happiness - May 22, 2011

  2. Pingback: To Deserve A Gift? « On Happiness - June 4, 2011

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