Re: Posthuman Politics

From: BigBooster (
Date: Fri Oct 19 2001 - 09:26:44 MDT

At 02:19 PM 10/19/2001 +0100, "Steve Nichols" <> wrote:
>Answer YES or NO and let the list judge whether it is "irrelevant" or
>not. Your attempts at philosophical jargon do not convince anyone ...
>and are inaccurate beside ... I ask you a straightforward question here.
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: <>BigBooster
>>To: <>
>>Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2001 6:04 PM
>>Subject: [posthuman] Re: Posthuman Politics
>>At 04:51 PM 10/18/2001 +0100, "Steve Nichols"
>><<>> wrote:
>> >Do you have a personal grudge against Courts or the Police?
>>Straw man -- irrelevant. I haven't expressed any such.

NO, I don't have such a grudge.

Let's get back to what is to me the central issue of
our debate.

I contend that you have primitive/backward political
idols in your head that are at the same level as the
Vatican, Mormons, Baptists, Islam &c. As long as these
idols infest your mind it's extremely unlikely that
you'll become capable of posthuman politics.

Chief among your idols is the notion of "Law" in your
head (which you sometimes capitalize in the way
Mormons, Muslims, etc. capitalize "God," "Allah," etc.)

I have provided you with references on how to clear
these idols from your mind, namely:
"Clear-Your-Mind Reports"
and 'Bentham's Theory of Fictions' by C.K. Ogden.

The following may also assist you:
The Idols of Human Understanding
by Francis Bacon (condensed and edited):
"The idols and false notions which are now in
possession of the human understanding, and have
taken deep root therein, not only so beset men's
minds that truth can hardly find entrance, but
even after entrance obtained, they will again
in the very instauration of the sciences meet
and trouble us, unless men being forewarned of
the danger, fortify themselves as far as may be
possible against their assaults.

There are four classes of idols which beset
men's minds. To these, for distinction's sake,
I have assigned names:
Idols of the tribe;
Idols of the cave;
Idols of the marketplace;
Idols of the theater.

The idols of the tribe have their foundation in
human nature itself, and in the tribe, race, and
culture of men. It is a false assertion that the
measure of man is the measure of things. On the
contrary, all perceptions as well as the sense
of the mind are according to the measure of the
individual and not according to the measure of
the universe. And human understanding is like a
false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly,
distorts and discolors the nature of things by
mingling its own nature with it.

The idols of the cave are the idols of the
individual man. Everyone has a cave or a den
of his own, which refracts and discolors the
light of nature; owing to his personal and
peculiar nature; or to his education and
conversation with others; or to the reading
of books, and the authority of those whom he
esteems and admires; or to the differences of
impressions, accordingly as they take place
in a mind preoccupied and predisposed, or in
a mind indifferent and settled; or the like.
So that the spirit of man (according as it is
meted out to different individuals) is in fact
a thing variable and full of perturbation, and
governed as it were by chance. Whence it was
well observed by Heraclitus that men look for
sciences in their own lesser worlds, and not
in the greater or common world.

There are also idols formed by the intercourse
and association of men with each other, which
I call idols of the marketplace, on account of
the commerce and consort of men there. For it
is by discourse that men associate; and words
are imposed according to the apprehension of
the vulgar. And therefore the ill and unfit
choice of words wonderfully obstructs the

Lastly, there are idols which have immigrated
into men's minds from the various dogmas of
philosophies, and also from wrong laws of
demonstration. These I call idols of the
theater; because in my judgment all the
received systems are but so many stage-plays,
representing worlds of their own creation after
an unreal and scenic fashion."

Jonathan Swift ('Gulliver's Travels'): "There
was another point which a little perplexed him...
I had said, that some of our crew left their
country on account of being ruined by 'law'...
but he was at a loss how it should come to pass,
that the 'law' which was intended for 'every'
man's preservation, should be any man's ruin.
Therefore he desired to be further satisfied
what I meant by 'law,' and the dispensers
thereof... because he thought nature and reason
were sufficient guides for a reasonable animal,
as we pretended to be, in showing us what we
ought to do, and what to avoid... I said there
was a society of men among us, bred up from
their youth in the art of proving by words
multiplied for the purpose, that white is
black, and black is white, accordingly as
they are paid. To this society all the rest
of the people are slaves."

In 'The Crowd,' Gustave le Bon wrote: "Civilization
is impossible without traditions, and progress
impossible without destroying those traditions...
no example could better display the power of
tradition on the mind of crowds. The most
redoubtable idols do not dwell in temples, nor
the most despotic tyrants in palaces; both the
one and the other could be broken in an instant.
But the invisible masters that reign in our
innermost selves are safe from every effort at
revolt, and only yield to the slow wearing away
of centuries...

The precise moment at which a great belief is
doomed is easily recognizable; it is the moment
when its value begins to be called into question.
Every general belief being little else than fiction,
it can only survive on the condition that it be
not subjected to examination...

The only real tyrants that humanity has known
have always been the memories of its dead or
the illusions it has forged itself."
I intend to publish our debate on
in the form of a report titled "Posthuman Politics."
It may assist some readers to clear idols from
their minds. In the report I can refer to you as
"Steve Nichols" <> and include the links
you provided during the debate. Or, if you prefer anonymity, I can
refer to you as "Mr. Anonymous" with none of your links. Your choice.

Frederick Mann

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