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Saturday, April 10, 2010


A short while ago, over there in the jungle, Hell quoted from one of my comments : "it seems that man is an animal that has to have his "fix" of gambling and counting angels on the head of a pin".
I corrected that statement to read that man is an animal that has to integrate risk into his daily living in order to feel fully alive. I don't think that this question can be reduced to the idea, necessarily pejorative in most people's minds, of a fix.
I did NOT say what form that that risk HAD to take. And I did not, I think, make any prescriptive statement about it. But I definitely believe that being vibrantly alive is a positive value.
By being vibrantly alive, I mean the capacity to feel pleasure, and pain INTENSELY, as each presents itself, and without seeking to dull down our senses, or our emotions. Without feeling that the intensity of our emotions is something bad, something that is not normal (pathological) and needs to be controlled at all times. Something that we need to get rid of with drugs, or therapy, for example.

Today I want to talk about another fundamental need that I see in human beings.
The need to believe in magic.
For me, our THWARTED AND DISQUALIFIED need for magic is one of the major forces at work in the... debt bubble.
There is something... miraculous about magic.
In shrink talk in France we talk about pensée magique. Magic thought.
Magic thought is part of our childhood development.
In this shrink context, magic thought means... having things appear out of nowhere.
It means... having lily bulbs spring up automatically the second after planting them, instead of HAVING TO WAIT for them to spend time in the earth over the winter. Being the king of the castle. CREATING the world out of nothing, just for us.
And as adults, we carry around with us at all times the memories of who we were as children, what we thought and believed.
Magic thought, since it is linked with our childhood, is a vital need for us. We NEED to SEE areas of our life where magic is at work. To feel empowered. To counter the feeling of helplessness that the passage of time engenders in us. To resist the despair that accompanies that helplessness.

Magic is at work in... sticking that credit card into the ATM machine and having the bills pop out instantaneously too.

I always say that things hang together.
That means that you can take a look at the smallest part of a human structure, and see in it the structure of the whole. (Right, Thai ?)
That means that if you look at what is going on at the ATM machines on a DAILY basis, ALL OVER THE WORLD, you can ALSO have an idea of what is going on... in sovereign default. At least, in the ATTITUDES that we have towards money, and where it comes from.
What does our daily experience with money tell us AT ONE LEVEL ?
That money comes from.. ATM machines (a little bit like spaghetti growing on trees, right ?).
Now... we may know SOMEWHERE that money does NOT come from ATM machines, but that does not mean that we know EVERYWHERE that money does not come from ATM machines.
(Remember the saying "out of sight, out of mind" ?)
Indeed.... I maintain that we have set up the ATM machines PRECISELY in order to maintain intact an infantile belief that money is magic. Or rather that... GETTING MONEY is magic.
Work is a process that implies duration. Investment too.
Work for money is like sticking the lilies into the ground, in a certain way.
But... sticking the card into the machine is NOTHING LIKE the lilies gig.
It is NOTHING LIKE work.
Now, one of my major premises is that in order of us to be able to think we HAVE to be able to perceive differences BETWEEN. (This premise is founded on the structure of our language.)
And this means that...
Money comes from work "means" something IN OPPOSITION TO... money does NOT come from work.
And working for money "means" something IN OPPOSITION TO ... working NOT for money.
No differences... no money.
No differences... no work.
This "means" that our social body is constantly creating new areas, new terrains where this NEED FOR DIFFERENCE is going to play out.
If you look at this closely you will see that... one of the functions of the financial markets is to materialize that area where "money does not come from work" plays out.
And... "money does not come from work" is a manifestation of our... infantile and oh so human desire for magic in our lives.
This little development is intended to show you, among other things that..
There is NO outside society, for the reason that society is simultaneously defining what it is IN RELATION TO what it is NOT. A paradox, admittedly...
Now of course, this demonstration has NOT taken into account WHO does WHAT, and that is very important.
It is important to US, as individuals.
But think about it.
Is it important to the social body itself, WHO DOES WHAT, and where it comes from, as long as the DIFFERENCE is maintained ?
Perhaps not.
The social body does NOT feel, eat, sleep, get pregnant, die.
Na. It is not human, the social body.
It is us, and not us, at the same time.
Magic, right ?


Debra said...

Some precisions :
The above is MY THEORY.
Based on my personal observations.
It is not.. truth. (What IS truth ?)
It is not a Wiki article.
It is my theory for now.
I already see possible objections to some ideas here.
It may NOT be my theory ten minutes from now. Not completely.
I welcome anything that anybody wants to comment to deconstruct ? construct what's here.

Thai said...

Magic or you could say there is some fundamental universalism to everything and this universalism gets fractured into its parts.

... It is unfortunate that you are not following the erector set aspect of the conversation, as you really would see there is very little difference in much of what we are saying.

Thai said...

Look at the following picture.

White light (which contains all colors within it) is being refracted through a prism and the respective colors are being separated.

This is by the way how you and I can communicate across the Atlantic Ocean as optical routers split light sent through fiber optic cables, etc...

Debra said...

The problem is that I don't understand what you're saying, Thai, so I can't follow it.
Let's just leave it alone.
You can tell me how you think it looks alike, in simple words, if you like, but I'm an old dog in certain respects, and I don't have the energy or the inclination to learn (lots of) new tricks.

Dr John said...

I can see why people wish to pursue this kind of emotional intensity in life. I can not. In fact I pursue the exact opposite to some degree. Stoics sought freedom from all passions (apatheia). It meant eradicating the emotional response to external events.Maybe I am wrong but for me I would rather feel a little less of anything.

Dink said...

From two comment sections ago:

"Quote of the week for sure. I wish you lived near me Dink. I would buy the next two rounds for sure"

Very kind! Being a teetotaler pescatarian (vegetarian except for fish; I just found out about this word a week ago) I think I'd take my prize in a tour of Ohio's finest doughnut establishments or a cheese enchilada restaurant. I imagine brisk conversation with quotes and equations being written all over tablecloths ;)

This opposition of magic to science need not be. Its kind of similar to people who describe "love at first sight" and "the honeymoon period" as being superior to long-term relationships. Sure, the initial rush is great, but that doesn't mean that being together a long time has to be bad.

Really, I'm not rambling here. So the charm of first coming across a field of tulips is great. So you learn all about loamy soil, photosynthesis, growth cycles, color genetics, etc. Does that mean you are now no longer charmed by tulips? And suppose "charm" was measureable and all this knowledge caused the charm level to drop from 100% to 85%? Maybe that would be an acceptable sacrifice because now you could better grow them?

In sum, charm is fun, but knowledge is also nice. Both together is preferable.

Deb: I left a comment for you under "Externalities".

Dr John said...

Dink,Wow in the old days I would have taken you to one of the original Krispy Cream's. A dozen cream sticks or glaze for 2 bucks. That and a qrt of chocolate milk. We ate on our bike in the parking lot.Now the glaze are 1/3rd the size they were. I agree with the analogy of love. Now that I am old and wise I see any intense feeling as a warning sign of danger. I will take the contentment of 25yrs of marriage now that my wife and I have dealt with all the crap, over the thrill of new "love" any day. Knowledge that I can go to dinner with my wife and say nothing if I chose thrills me now.

Debra said...

WHO is opposing magic and science ?
Not I.
As it turns out.. I am much more analytic than most of you here. Some people have told me that I am so logical that it scares them. I understand that. It is not necessarily a... good thing to be so analytic.
It is not because I am (NOT !) reading or understanding what you write on fractals/physics that I am opposing magic and science.
Not because I am writing in my corner that I oppose science and magic. That is your.. INTERPRETATION. (And... what is science ? what is... "science" ? I wasn't aware that the meaning of the word had been graven in stone...)
WHO is polarizing ? Not me. Not in this post at any rate.
And after 28 years of marriage, I still have very intense feelings for my husband.
I felt a very intense feeling this morning... when the sun came up.
I feel sorry for you, Doctor John, that you will not allow yourself intense feelings. (You, and apparently LOTS of people, in the U.S. and in France.) Maybe that is why psychiatry/psychology/psychoanalysis are doing big business, among other reasons ?
But that is YOUR choice. And your freedom. Not mine.
I read your comment dink.
It looks like Mel Brooks has morphed into John Wayne at lightening speed...

Thai said...

Re: differences

Dink said...

"one of the original Krispy Cream's. A dozen cream sticks or glaze for 2 bucks. That and a qrt of chocolate milk."

SWEET MOTHER OF PEARL!! That sounds awesome! Being a West coaster I never had a chance at the original Krispy Kremes, but I've heard the legends. That the glazes would essentially sublimate in your mouth so you didn't even have to chew. There is a local place that makes a Caramel Apple Fritter; pretty good lemon filled too. Salvation and salivation.

"Stoics sought freedom from all passions (apatheia)."

Perhaps emotions should be regarded as Rottweiler puppies; let them run and play under controlled settings, but be prepared to leash them quickly if they start to get out of control. They need Reason as their alpha or else they'll tear everything apart. Dumb beasts.

Re: Symmetry breaking

I'm, uh, working on catching up. Its not that I think its incorrect or that I don't find it interesting. Its just that my "g"s seem to have headed up a tree like so many squirrels.

P.S. I'm going to swallow my pride and try to create a post with an embedded video. Pride is such a bitch!

Dr John said...

Do not feel sorry for a man who is in the constant process of mastering himself and his emotions. This may not be your way but it is mine and not worthy of pity Debra anymore than your approach to living is in my eyes.Most of the people I see day to day are a mess just because of the fact they are unable to reign in their emotions. A little more thinking and a little less feeling please. My goal is for reason to trump passion every time just so I can let the passion out in the right places in my life!

Debra said...

I occasionally harp on what the frontal cortex SHOULD perhaps have engendered as advantages over time.
Analysis and esthetic appreciation and wonder are not mutually exclusive.
Reason and emotion are not mutually exclusive either.
The both/and gig CAN work.
It doesn't have to be... either/or.

Dr John said...

Certainly not one or the other. I would have to say I think most of the time however I see our species getting themselves in trouble with the emotion part as apposed to the reason. That has been my undoing at least.

Thai said...

Nobody disagrees with this


Be well ;-)

Thai said...

I was referring to your comment:

"The both/and gig CAN work.
It doesn't have to be... either/or"


Debra said...

Thai, baby...
Nobody disagrees with this.
I have spent mucho years working ON myself and with other people, and I can confidently say that people may not disagree with this in the disincarnated form it takes on this page, but as for trying to LIVE LIKE THIS on a daily basis, well...
Think about it.
Most people I see around me are NOT living like this.
This takes us into just WHAT knowledge and understanding ARE.
Are they... being able to repeat what somebody else has said ?
Being able to repeat what somebody else has said in your own words ?
Being able to repeat what somebody else has said while pointing out areas where you disagree, and saying why you disagree and on what basis ?
Being able to... LIVE like you know what you learned MEANS in your daily life ?
Look at all those levels of comprehension.
Mind boggling, right ?

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