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What's the point of organic particularism?

Discussion in 'Political Theory & Philosophy' started by IlluminateMe, 5 November 2017.

  1. IlluminateMe

    IlluminateMe Junior Member

    I'm really fascinated to have come across such an interesting site. Let me just say first off that it's refreshing to see a place that appears to clearly and intelligibly state the ideology it holds. So much of our mainstream and alternative media appears to be little more than propaganda and petty gossip. It does not delve into the idea underlying the movements and their justifications or flaws. I'm also grateful that you allow free speech on this forum, as long as it is sincere and polite. So thank you all for that.

    Now, I'm hoping to discuss organic particularism a bit, which seems to be an important underlying basis for the ideology of Traditionalism that holds sway here, at least from what I've gleaned. Let me also say here that I might be wrong. My ideal is to adopt or at least understand the best ideas of any idea or ideology, so if there is something I didn't believe or understand previously, my goal is to learn that and to test my current beliefs and assumptions against yours to see which I find more convincing.

    That being said, I don't see the point of organic particularism. It seems that our diversity is a result of happenstance. We humans were separated by time and space, so we've got diverse languages, beliefs, cultures, and even a degree of genetic drift. Now we have technologies that allow for instant translation and telecommunication, universalist beliefs ranging from Humanism to Communism to Christianity and Islam and Buddhism, pop culture that crosses borders, and increasingly interracial relationships and the free movement of peoples across the world in a single generation. This is all possible thanks to modern technology. The corollary of this is that our diversity is not the result of our choice but rather of our limitations. It's not that technology is forcing us to do anything in particular (technological determinism). Rather, it's providing us the affordances to do what we would have done immediately could we have done it when the first homo sapiens were born in what would have been an organic globalism. To understand better, consider what would have developed organically if the first homo sapiens had wings to transport themselves freely over long distances.

    So I see artificial globalism as a highly positive development, albeit one that like any significant change in the status quo hurts some and leaves some behind. I see it as inevitably only in the sense that providing humans transportation and communications capabilities they previously lacked without changing their nature inevitably leads to globalism and the erasure of local cultures gradually. But I don't see the resistance as having a rational basis beyond apologetics. My suspicion is that it is ultimately grounded in emotionalism and a sense of discomfort that inevitably comes when change, along with some valid concerns that are best addressed by reforming the way globalism is occurring or are at least acceptable trade-offs to acquire the benefits that come with globalism. Basically, I see the resistance as mostly having rose colored glasses and as not seeing the implications that come with honestly acknowledging what we should do about the organic diversity that essentially arose as a result of our inability to freely travel except by foot or at best horse until pretty recently.

    None of this is meant to be an attack. I'm trying to help you get in my mind to see my perspective so you can better understand what it might take to help me understand your perspective and where I am right and where I am mistaken. Ideally, you'd be able to show me the specific points of agreement, if any, and disagreement.
  2. Raisin

    Raisin Senior Member Staff Member

    Ah, but that's the point, isn't it? Culture is primarily the product of separation. Even those supposedly-universal beliefs which you cite are all distinct from each other. If I offer a way to live, I tacitly reject alternative ways of living; If I practise a creative style, I tacitly reject other artistic genres; If I offer a way of seeing the world, I tacitly reject other perspectives. The contemporary orthodoxy is that innovation comes from communication - but, as a primary cause, this is simply not so. Innovation comes from fanaticism. Culture grows precisely because some people are obsessively committed to ONE system: They are not indecisive, or parasitic connoisseurs who "sample" something from every possibility (and thereby actually never truly experience or add to those cultures per se); They declare "This is MY culture - and I will add to it," "this is the TRUE belief - and I will argue for it," and "this is THE best way to life - and I will show it."

    There's a nice little story by Borges called Funes the Memorious, a man who never forgot anything. The result? He never thinks. Not really. Thinking comes from forgetfulness; You have to forget other topics in order to develop anything meaningfully.

    Globalised pop culture, I should say, is two things: It is either parasitic culture, or it is non-culture.

    It is parasitic insofar as it steals, sterilises, and rebrands innovations from particular cultures; it doesn't actually create its own. Hollywood is a great example of this - all brightness and bombast, which presents perspectives merely ironically, and which hardly ever displays deep feeling of its own. In the value sphere, Humanism is another: Human Rights simply appropriates the framework of Catholic Natural Law ethics, denies God and teleology - and then blindly asserts moral claims. These cultures are hollow because, as parasites, they never give credit to the distinct root which created their prey. Modern culture only exists because of the prior stage of particularism; It denies that upon which it utterly depends.

    Similarly, pop-culture is non-culture because it struggles to imbue life with any meaning; It is so indistinct and un-particular that it can belong anywhere - and thus the whole world is given a culture which can only speak to very basic human desires. The Transhumanist vision of a world dominated by Coca Cola, Ikea, and video games, is a vision that anybody can follow. Schmitt notes this precisely in his Concept of the Political: A world without divides is a world of mere frivolity. If you deny people distinctiveness, you subject them to non-cultures in which only animalistic traits can prosper. I find this to be terribly depressing; To refuse to foster particularism leads only to Nihilism, by definition, - that is, to Hedonism and Suicide.

    For another example, modern architecture is a fine example of both parasitism and non-creativity: It is either the sterility of blank walls and right angles; the subversive integration of older styles (the only time modern culture is really imaginative is when it is transgressive, but that's a post for another time); or it is entirely random (and thus meaningless) curves and Jackson Pollock splatters. If you show me a piece of contemporary architecture, I honestly couldn't tell you where it is located in the world; And as a consequence of this, such architecture can never provide a sense of 'Home' - the distinct warmth of the specific rather than the general. When it wishes to impress, it invariably relies solely on scale; It doesn't seem to have an eye for beauty. The vast majority of people detest modern aesthetics, incidentally, whenever the public is polled.

    My argument, in essence, is that you are not giving me a choice between particularism and universalism; My argument is that you are giving me a choice between culture, thought, and value - or nothing at all. Nothingness does have a sort of appeal to it, actually, but it is the appeal to weakness and indulgence.

    If you give a mouse an orgasm button, it starves to death. Technology is just a tool - I entirely accept that. But the challenge is to ensure that it is a tool which is subject to man as a creative and principled animal; Otherwise, we stop living as men.

    Rationality is just the form through which beliefs are presented. A belief is rational only if it is coherent, based on its premises. When a particularist shows you the fruits of their culture, if you declare "this is good" - you make a judgement, and you feel the truth of a new premise; where is the reason, there?