Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Neither "Technological" Heaven Nor "Natural" Eden

Not so long ago, attentive readers may remember that Transhumanist luminary Giulio Prisco announced -- and not for the first time -- that he was no longer going to read or respond to Amor Mundi because my writing is such a defamatory, deceptive, and delusive waste of time (to be sure, he didn't put it so elegantly as that). Needless to say, very much as expected, here he is again, this time shaking his fist at the unfairness of my criticism of bioconservative John Howard's homophobic devoutly wished for perpetual ban of same-sex conception, given my critique of the superlative techno-utopian aspirations of transhumanists: Just replace "Queer couples having wanted babies, safely if unnaturally by your lights," with "Transhumanists who take very imaginative scientific speculations seriously," insists Prisco. It seems to me that if you want to defend your very correct statement you should also accept mine.

Observing the curiously mimetic while at once denunciatory co-dependence of transhumanists and bioconservatives over the last few days has been an enormously clarifying and edifying spectacle, I must say. Let's keep this exercise going while it remains useful.

The reason John Howard is concerned about same-sex conception and others (not only bioconservatives, certainly) are concerned about reproductive cloning is that we can now sketch actually plausible pathways to their palpably proximate realization. But neither of these proximately upcoming techniques can yet be described as "actually emerging" -- they are tantalizingly near, say, but not sound enough to be safely implemented even in clinical trials (but seem sure to be sooner rather than later).

To the extent that John Howard and others are zeroing in on the worry that this very proximity will induce some to jump the gun and "try it and see" he is saying something absolutely reasonable. This is especially so to the extent that medicine is a for-profit concern in the corporate-militarist epoch of capitalism, in which cost-externalization is as or more profitable than production and ubiquitous financialization constricts the horizon of concern to the quarterly profit report rather than the horizon of relevant foresight.

What might seem a critique of "technology" (and therefore get branded by a facile transhumanist as luddite or bioconservative) is in fact a critique that under these circumstances the distribution of technodevelopmental risks, costs, and benefits is exploitative and unfair, precisely because it is undemocratic. "Try it and see" will mean vulnerable people assuming possibly catastrophic risks to themselves and their offspring through misinformation and the duress of the precarity in an unjust world, to help hammer out the therapeutic details the better to make benefits available in a payoff for rich and privileged people soon thereafter who assumed far fewer of these burdens.

But I believe that these reasonable concerns are only the sensible face of a bioconservatism that is fueled in fact by the reactionary and eugenic project to constrain lifeway diversity into the forms in which bioconservatives are themselves invested, parochial forms which they then term the "natural" ones, in a project of policing they then term "defending dignity." These moves are very familiar from the anti-abortion/anti-choice framing of itself as "pro-life." I've been saying this for years, as in Bioconservative Bait and Switch, and also: Keep Your Laws Off My Body!

A bioconservative will say that the techniques that happen to push their "unnaturalness" buttons (all too typically these buttons will be legible, without much difficulty in the translation, as slightly skewed expressions of very familiar homophobic or racist attitudes, inter-generational anxieties, and the like, see my: Chimera) are not only unsafe here and now, but inherently unsafe, forever unsafe, and must be banned in perpetuity. The reason for this is because what is really "unsafe" about them is that they undermine the familiar "natural" world in which the bioconservative is invested. This is the biopolitical face of the political incumbency I rail against in my defense of p2p democratization.

Incidentally, note how an "old-fashioned" "calcified" left-right distinction of incumbency as against democratization seems, as usual, quite equal to technodevelopmental complexities here, while the introduction of new "clarifying" dimensions to the analysis of technodevelopment "beyond left and right" function only to enable reactionaries to lie about what they are up to and encourage progressives to forget what they should be working on.

In any case, the bioconservative seizes on sensible concerns and skepticism about proximately upcoming techniques (usually framed hyperbolically through the lens of more fantastical projections that are not yet even palpable: clone armies, designer babies), to indulge an hysterical repudiation of what they experience as change that is threatening to their parochial but familiar conception of the world, and their privileged place in it, a familiarity they term the "natural" and invest with moral significance. The proximate concerns on which they focus are just the occasion, the pretext for a project of profoundly anti-democratizing, anti-consensualizing reactionary policing in the service of the status quo.

Transhumanists like you Giulio seek to confuse the superlative outcomes in which you are invested with actually emerging or palpably proximately upcoming technodevelopment as well. But these just are not the same.

Same-sex conception may well be generally and safely available to the next generation of would-be parents, but neither you nor anybody else are ever going to be immortal, you are never ever going to upload your consciousness into a digital network, you are never ever going to find yourself in a post-political world of superabundance, you are never ever going to confront a Friendly or Unfriendly Robot God at the End of History.

These are not "highly imaginative scientific speculations" or "far-flung technical projections" but entirely conventional exhibitions of hysterical denialism about human finitude of a kind that tend more typically to invigorate fundamentalist and militarist social formations, only in the transhumanist case translated into superficially technological terms.

You say in your intervention that one can simply "replace" same-sex conception (which, mind you, the basic science of which should be publicly funded and regulated before clinical trials are contemplated, let alone the techniques made generally available, and, one hopes, progressive activists will struggle to render regulatory oversight incomparably less corrupt and more effective, provide ever wider access to knowledge that is reliable, and ameliorate the duress of neoliberal/neoconservative precarity through the provision of basic healthcare and income) with the more "imaginative scientific speculations" of transhumanists.

Well, first off, quite a bit of the highly "imaginative speculations" of transhumanists are actually science fiction rather than scientific practice, a distinction you, Giulio, seem even less capable of holding in your head than most transhumanists are, who generally have trouble with sort of thing. But more to the point, and contrary to incessant statements to the contrary by my transhumanist critics on this score, my point isn't just to urge more caution about "far-out" speculations. See my: Superlative Schema.

In that piece, among many others, I try to make plain the moves by which transhumanists take actually emerging and proximately upcoming technodevelopment (usually framed hyperbolically through the lens of more fantastical projections that are not yet even palpable: Drexlerian nanofactories, SENS therapies so successful they raise human healthspans past 120 years), and invest it with the transcendentalizing aspirations familiar from theological omni-predicates, but in technoscientific super-predicated forms.

The schema, in a nutshell:
I. Omniscience / Superintelligence / Singularitarianism --
II. Omnipotence / Superlongevity / Techno-Immortalism --
III. Omnibenevolence / Superabundance / Nanosanta-Digital Utopianism.


Superlativity is an infantile revolt against human finitude, against the contingency, mortality, fallibility, and inter-personal insecurities of human life. It is a project of reassurance that is deeply vulnerable to authoritarian institutionalizations (it is, after all, a precise correlate to the authoritarian politicization of religiosity that produces fundamentalist social formations with all their moralizing militancies).

Technoscientific change is indeed disruptive and radical, shifting the dynamic of history by making available new materials and tools that people will take up opportunistically in their collaboration and contestation with one another and toward their own projects of personal perfection. The opportunities for violence and exploitation and catastrophe are manifold -- demanding that actual progressives champion a scene of legible and substantial informed nonduressed consent for those who would make recourse to these new tools on their own terms. The opportunities for creativity and emancipation are also manifold, and actual progress (which is more than the politically indifferent accumulation of a toypile) demands that their costs, risks, and benefits must all be distributed fairly by the lights of the stakeholders to technoscientific change.

But come what may, technodevelopment will not "deliver us" transcendance. Nor will efforts to ban technodevelopment "return us" to a Lost Eden.

No Heaven before us. No Golden Age behind us.

Just ongoing technodevelopmental social struggle, rendered more progressive the more consensual (actually informed, actually nonduressed) we manage to make it.

16 comments:

giulio said...

A page of blah blah and bbbiiiggg words to say that if you say something you are right, and if I say the same thing I am wrong.
Pathetic.

But I am afraid to say that this is exactly what I expected. I was sure you would reply something like that. This was the objective of this little experiment.

Come on, admit it: you are as transphobic as John is homophobic. No big deal, as long as you guys only talk and let others live.

Don't worry, I was just visiting. I have given up all hopes to discuss with you like reasonable adults, but I may comment on some inconsistencies (like this) every now and then.

Dale Carrico said...

Giulio Prisco, ladies and gentlemen, prominent transhumanist intellectual and organizational leader. Draw your own conclusions.

Michael Anissimov said...

So you really think that healthspan can't be increased past 120 years? That's amazing. In my world, anyway. :)

jfehlinger said...

> So you really think that healthspan can't be increased
> past 120 years? That's amazing. In my world, anyway. :)

You seem to think that it's so easy, Michael.

It's too bad you're not closer to where the action is,
in an academic or industry lab, instead of aggregating
second-hand gee-whiz science reportage.

You might get a sense of just how hard-won these things
are.

jfehlinger said...

> No Heaven before us. No Golden Age behind us.

No Hell below us. Above us only sky.

;->

Dale Carrico said...

So you really think that healthspan can't be increased past 120 years? That's amazing. In my world, anyway.

Pretending this is either emerging or even proximate is hyperbolic. That's what I actually said, if that matters to you. Immortality, mind uploading, and post-political abundance are incoherent -- more-than-normative healthspan, wait and see. Shouldn't be a budgetary priority in a world where people are dying of already treatable neglected conditions in my opinion, but that's another issue.

De Thezier said...

Giulio Prisco said:

Don't worry, I was just visiting. I have given up all hopes to discuss with you like reasonable adults, but I may comment on some inconsistencies (like this) every now and then.

The irony in all of this is that Prisco seems to have no idea that his pathetic attempts at "setting the record straight" to defend transhumanism's good name only serve to prove Dale Carrico's case against transhumanism in general and some transhumanists in particular. Although it's getting old and tired, I still makes me smile if not laugh. ;)

De Thezier said...

Michael Anissimov said:

So you really think that healthspan can't be increased past 120 years? That's amazing. In my world, anyway. :)

I'm curious. What world is that? Is it the one we currently live and die in?

AnneC said...

Regarding longevity increases: personally I tend to gravitate toward the "wait and see" approach. There's a lot of neat, real research going on and plenty of motivation to develop treatments for, say, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and heart disease (among other elderly-affecting conditions). Who knows where it will lead? All anyone can do is try, experiment, and see what happens.

John Howard said...

Why is it something we want to work on?

Shouldn't we be more concerned with ensuring a more wholesomely sustainable and fulfilling and better life for more people? A 120 year lifespan might result from achieving those goals, but if it is pursued as its own goal, it will mean the opposite of all those things. It will mean a less sustainable economy, more exploitation of resources by the politically strong and/or corruptedly connected, more amassing of wealth by the few at the expense of the many, etc.
Didn't you guys see Logan's Run? We'll have to have some age limit if there is no natural limit. Or Zardoz? We'll have to stop having children. Sheesh. As a goal it's untenable. Of course we can't ban trying to live as long as possible, but we can certainly not fund that sort of research, even tax life-extension spending at like 1000% to force private individuals to spend more socially responsibly.

Dale Carrico said...

I actually share your sense that aiming at ensuring a 120-year or more life span for billions of humans now living or whatever doesn't make a lot of sense to me as an urgent public healthcare policy priority. It's not that I think such an outcome impossible or unappealing, but that it doesn't seem to me personally to make sense as a policy priority here and now. Not when there are so many outrageously neglected already treatable health and nutrition conditions in the world to deal with, not when there are conditions of aging that might be ameliorated through the address of proximate therapies (which is not exactly the same thing as an address of aging conceived monolithically as a disease itself, after all).

But the thing is I also think making a priority of opposing those who do personally prioritize research into rejuvenation and longevity medicine makes even less sense... For one thing, one cannot say in advance how research into the one will likely feed usefully into the research of other therapeutic avenues in any case.

As I said before, I think bioconservatives face a real bind given the nature of emerging genetic, prosthetic, and cognitive treatments because in supporting treatments to bring about healthcare outcomes you are almost sure to approve of -- say, a near universal distribution of healthspans enjoyed only by a lucky few today -- you will almost surely facilitate our arrival at knowledges and techniques that will enable profoundly non-normalizing techniques of which you would not approve but which will nonetheless be wanted by informed, nonduressed consenting adults who are your peers and not your inferiors.

If you are worried that the distribution of longevity and other non-normalizing interventions simplistically construed as "enhancements" (as if there can be universal agreement on what constitutes human optimality) will inevitably express unjust class divisions (actually, this is hard to deny inasmuch as it is already brutally the case) but, worse, exacerbate them -- possibly rewriting social divisions as forms of near speciation, then I agree with you there, too.

But the way to address the specter of such inequity and the exploitation it inevitably invites will be at the level of providing universal basic healthcare and universal basic income, working to substantiate the scene of consent that ensures equity in diversity, and so provides the only reliable check on the power of incumbents and other elites, rather than banning particular procedures we might parochially fetishize in the present as the ones that threaten to "denature" us.

It still feels to me that you are using the discussion of social justice concerns as a pretext to ban procedures that seem to you to threaten your sense of "the natural" taken as a moral category. I recognize that you seem to see the same kind of naivete or disingenuousness in my own discussion so I have to assume that here we have arrived at a real crux in our disagreement.

By the way, I am personally enormously influenced by ecosocialist views that there is a deep conflict between the impulse to endless uncritical expansionism in the mode of industrial petro-chemical capitalism that puts it deeply and destructively at odds with the finitude of the ecosystems on which we depend for our flourishing, and I see the imprint of such an argument in your framing of your problem with my own embrace of a consensual lifeway multiculture that includes a championing of unprecedented prosthetic self-determination.

But I think you are too quick to dismiss the possibility of an openness to proliferating flourishing prosthetic/cultural lifeways that is sustainable, consensual, and democratic rather than uncritically expansionist, duressed, and insensitive. It's not that I don't see the reasonable things that you seem to be worried about, it's that I don't give up the possibility of collaborative and sustainable progress in the face of those worries. Isn't that why we would be progressives, after all?

If our actually informed nonduressed peers would make consensual recourse to unprecedented and non-normalizing but wanted therapeutic interventions into customary capacities, morphologies, and lifeways, then the impulse to ban such recourse looks to me to introduce far greater evils than the ones you claim to want to address through such bans. And in almost every case, your legitimate worries seem to me in any case to be better addressed by other means -- fighting for access to reliable knowledge, providing universal basic healthcare, providing a universal basic income, protecting the integrity and transparency of regulatory, administrative, and oversight apparatuses, implementing global human rights, sustainability, and fair trade standards, and so on.

By way of conclusion, I'll admit I do enjoy Logan's Run and Zardoz quite as much as the next geek, but I still think the bioethical imaginary is profoundly deranged by the customary recourse of both bioconservatives and transhumanists to science fiction for so many of their basic frames for grasping the technodevelopmental terrain here and now.

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico said:

But the way to address the specter of such inequity and the exploitation it inevitably invites will be at the level of providing universal basic healthcare and universal basic income, working to substantiate the scene of consent that ensures equity in diversity, and so provides the only reliable check on the power of incumbents and other elites, rather than banning particular procedures we might parochially fetishize in the present as the ones that threaten to "denature" us. [...] If our actually informed nonduressed peers would make consensual recourse to unprecedented and non-normalizing but wanted therapeutic interventions into customary capacities, morphologies, and lifeways, then the impulse to ban such recourse looks to me to introduce far greater evils than the ones you claim to want to address through such bans. And in almost every case, your legitimate worries seem to me in any case to be better addressed by other means -- fighting for access to reliable knowledge, providing universal basic healthcare, providing a universal basic income, protecting the integrity and transparency of regulatory, administrative, and oversight apparatuses, implementing global human rights, sustainability, and fair trade standards, and so on.

What you would say to a progressive, who strongly rejects a biconservative sense of "the natural" taken as a moral category, that argues that bans would be more effective since fighting for all the ideals you listed, regardless of the fact that he or she will continue fighting for them, will be inadequate to confront the inevitably of "enhancement" interventions expressing unjust class divisions and exacerbating them?

Dale Carrico said...

Why on earth would somebody think that banning modification medicine would especially facilitate the struggle for a basic income guarantee? What's the connection? Do you have anyone in mind who is making such a case, and if you do, do they make this argument in a form that supports it with actual reasons that don't amount simply to re-arrangements of my own words? Please make an actual case, or show me the actual case you have in mind, and I'll respond to it on those terms.

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico said:

Why on earth would somebody think that banning modification medicine would especially facilitate the struggle for a basic income guarantee? What's the connection?

uh, is that what you understood? I was simply arguing that are some non-bioconservative progressives who believe that, since the best efforts to provide universal/safe/voluntary access to modification medicine will probably prove inadequate to confront the negative social consequences of "enhancement" interventions, banning modification medicine would prove more effective, despite the fact that they will continue fighting for universal health care.

One rebuttal could be that such a ban would be ineffective, have many unforeseen negative consequences, and ultimately worsen the problem, no?

Do you have anyone in mind who is making such a case, and if you do, do they make this argument in a form that supports it with actual reasons that don't amount simply to re-arrangements of my own words? Please make an actual case, or show me the actual case you have in mind, and I'll respond to it on those terms.

Well, due to my work, I encounter many non-bioconservative progressives, whether they be academics or laymen, who make this case to me. I don't have one person in mind whose blog post I could link to. I was simply interested in knowing how differently you would phrase your rebuttal, despite being similar to mine in its essence.

Dale Carrico said...

uh, is that what you understood?

Uh, it was hard to understand what exactly you were trying to say since you literally cut and pasted every word in your question from things I had said, but taken out of their original contexts and rearranged and then attributed to an unnamed "progressive."

I sometimes wish you would just say what you have on your mind... "Reading what you said here I was worried that you missed this point..." Or, "Have you emphasized this enough?" "I disagree with this, but agree with that, for these reasons." You're always channeling other people -- often unnamed people we can't try to find the original words of to clarify what they might be saying.

Anyway, your latest effort is clearer.

Since the best efforts to provide universal/safe/voluntary access to modification medicine will probably prove inadequate to confront the negative social consequences of "enhancement" interventions, banning modification medicine would prove more effective, despite the fact that they will continue fighting for universal health care.

We don't relinquish the effort to make and enforce laws just because there will always be criminals who break them. We don't relinquish the effort to discover the best truths just because even warranted beliefs are always open to replacement by better truths we may discover later.

I actually don't like the rebuttal that claims bans on technodevelopmental outcomes in particular are "ineffective" -- since it seems to me too readily to tap into the triumphalist mindset of so many technocentric arguments: "this or that fetishized developmental outcome will arrive inevitably," "it will overcome any regulatory barrier," and so on. This sort of attitude connects to the anti-political views of too many technocentric discussions.

I also think it forces those who would emphasize social concerns always into a defensive and "negative" argumentative position. Simplistic insensitive technologists who frame themselves as spokespeople of an inevitable future, assuming the mantle of the bulldozing forces that will eventuate in that future, delineate its glories (sometimes offering reassuring pats on the head to those who worry about the losers in such a future and along the path to it)... meanwhile, critics just constantly point to complexities, uncertainties, costs, risks, and maldistributions that the triumphalists are incessantly missing or evading or denigrating in their accounts. Even if the critics are more right than not, it remains true that triumphalist enthusiasm will have an allure that is compelling.

It seems to me it is better by far to find the affirmative vision that you would affirm as a technoscientifically literate progressive person and which would solicit collaborators and attention to make a better world. I defend consensual lifeway diversity, peer to peer, because I think that it is such an affirmative vision.

Democracy, consent, free expression, equity, and diversity are values we can celebrate, and strengthen, and defend, and implement. They can capture people's imaginations and provoke their engagement.

I champion the notion of the informed nonduressed consensual recourse to wanted non-normalizing medical techniques because I celebrate consent, because I believe in the intelligence and dignity and autonomy of my peers, because I celebrate the richness, robustness, and resilience of lifeway multiculture that arises from the collaborative and contestatory exercise of consent by a diversity of peers.

We should positively celebrate the empowerment and creativity and intelligence and autonomy of our peers. Notice that this isn't a celebration of some particular future that is imagined to be the one that will inevitably arise from the exercise of this creativity and autonomy, peer to peer. We are celebrating the path and not some abstract destination we claim to know better than others, we celebrate freedom now in the struggle to expand it, in the expression of it around us.

Bioconservative bans are recoils in horror from some bleak destination they imagine they know better than others, transhuman futures are identifications with hyperbolized destinations they imagine they know better than others. It is in no small part the denigration of others and the ferocious identification with the like-minded sharers in this vision of the destination that makes these ideologies moralizing projects as well as anti-political ones.

Those who think we must give up freedom and free expression and the defense of the autonomy of our peers because these will "probably prove inadequate to confront negative social consequences" are claiming to preserve democratic civilization by demolishing it.

Do they give up on the rule of law when they observe its vulnerability to the thugs of the Right? Do they give up on free expression when they observe how many use it superficially by their lights or cynically abuse it? Do they give up on autonomy because they believe people are too infantile or deluded or error-prone to exercise it? (Even though they are people themselves and seem content to augment their own autonomy into authority at the expense of the consent of other people.)

You say you encounter many non-bioconservative progressive who seem oh so reluctantly to endorse a recoil from the dangers and disruptions of consensual multiculture in the midst of emerging unprecedented modification technologies.

I say you are actually encountering progressives whose courage has failed and who are at risk of becoming conservative precisely because they are afraid (or perhaps because they cling too greedily to a status quo they imagine more comfortable and supportive of them than the future their peers would demand and build together). This is nothing new. Almost every conservative on earth became one because of such fear or greed. That's what it means to defend incumbency over freedom, to disvalue the equity in diversity of which freedom consists and on which freedom depends.

Tell your friends that if they would be progressives they must find a way to defend equity, diversity, consent, and democracy in the world of changing realities, and that this is what it means to grow up. Otherwise they should just become conservatives and be done with it.

One of the reasons I disapprove of "beyond left and right" political models that add an axis of biopolitics to account for complexities like these is that I think in many cases the so call "people of the left" who are designated "biopolitically conservative" are really people for whom emerging biotechnologies and medical technique were the last straw that made them reject their left convictions and become reactionaries in a very conventional sense of that term.

Just as in the case of "libertarians" who claim the left-right mapping is inadequate to their own political positioning, all the while advocating corporate-militarist orders that are easily grasped as straightforward right-wing politics in actual practice (as opposed to the vapid abstractions they use for their self-promotion), so-called lefty bioconservatives are also firmly on the political right. Nothing is gained by confusing these matters (except for the people who on the right themselves who want fervently to con others or lie to themselves about what they have become).

People on the left who are fighting for universal health care, for the politics of Choice, and for funding and r & d for neglected diseases in the overexploited regions of the world as well as for hitherto untreatable conditions like Altzheimer's and Parkinson's Disease and MS and cancers and so on are already defending the politics of informed consensual lifeway diversity. To the extend that they are fighting to extend Medicare and Social Security into Universal Healthcare and Basic Income they are already struggling to make the scene of consent nonduressed. To the extend that they are fighting copyright extension, media consolidation, fraud and misinformation, institutional corruption and secrecy, corporate biopiracy, the enclosure of the commons, and so on they are already struggling to make the scene of consent informed. These are absolutely commonplace struggles across the left.

What is idiotic is that because of trasnhumanist and bioconservative frames these people will read the work of peer-to-peer democratization and the expression of consensual lifeway multiculture in which they are involved here and now in light of immortal superbodies and clone-robot-slave armies and misconstrue the meaning of what they are doing into steps along some transcendentalizing or apocalyptic path to a daydream or nightmare vision of "the future."

It is this hyperbole that deranges otherwise sensible progressives into bioconservative would-be prohibitionists or transhumanist would-be technocratic elitists as often as not, and absolutely to the cost of sense and effective progressive organizing.

And so, bioconservatives tend to advocate a tyrannical curtailment of autonomy to protect people from the dangerous diversity they would consensually collaborate in the making of peer-to-peer, while transhumanists tend to advocate technocratic elite circumventions of peer-to-peer democracy to protect people from their dangerous ignorance, passions, biases, or the sluggishness of actually collaborative deliberation in the face of "accelerating change."

As you know, I also think both bioconservatives and trasnhumanists tend to advocate stealthy eugenicist politics -- one advocating a "preservation" of a parochial construal of optimal humanity they call "natural," and the other advocating the "engineering" of a parochial construal of optimal humanity they call "post-human."

This complementary eugenicism coupled with this complementary anti-democracy goes a long way in explaining why bioconservative and transhumanist positions in their absolute antagonism seem at once to mirror one another and depend on one another. It also helps to explain why bioconservatives always accuse me of being a transhumanist and transhumanists always accuse me of being a bioconservative whenever they disagree with me, but both will exasperatedly insist I am a "closeted" or "stealthy" adherent to their own tribes whenever they find my arguments sympathetic. Every position on the technodevelopmental terrain is consigned to one or the other warrior tribe, every skirmish takes its meaning from its relation to the ideal of "the natural" or "the future" these antagonists would champion with their full devotion.

What they lose in their "clear-sightedness" is freedom in the present as open futurity. What they lose is the world.

De Thezier said...

Dale Carrico:

I sometimes wish you would just say what you have on your mind... "Reading what you said here I was worried that you missed this point..." Or, "Have you emphasized this enough?" "I disagree with this, but agree with that, for these reasons."

OK. I will. It's just I sometimes prefer to avoid doing that so that the person I am talking to is not offended. You have to admit that you sometimes don't necessarily react well to criticism. :/

You're always channeling other people -- often unnamed people we can't try to find the original words of to clarify what they might be saying.

Well, it should now be obvious that I do that because 1) I prefer to not name people that won't be able to come here to defend their views, and 2) the original words cannot be found because they were spoken rather than written, and often in French rather rather than English.