Thoughts on Bohm, CASP, dialog, status quo

For a general discussion of topics relating broadly to power and political economy (e.g., capital-as-power, Marxism, neo-classical economics, institutionalism).

Moderator: sanha926

Thoughts on Bohm, CASP, dialog, status quo

Postby Scott » Mon Aug 18, 2014 9:30 pm

David Bohm's ideas on dialog as the only effective means of successful discourse, and what these ideas mean to radical schools such as CASP, is the topic of this post. Borrowing from Bohm then, my observation is as follows:

CasP draws attention to the phenomenon of the util (and the LTOV). Concerned with bigger fish, CasP does not linger too long on this phenomenon, though it does suggest it relates well to certain precepts within the religious dogmatic mindset.

Is the phenomenon of the util (PTU) simply due to careerism? It may not be that important to figure out. However, what could perhaps be very important, in fact, essential for radicals and "CasP'ers" alike, is to become aware of the type of environment PTU flourishes in. For it is the same environment in which CasP exists. And that is more a problem for the latter.

This is the environment of discussion. A discussion can occur in various formats, but it generally exists to ensure a result: the protection of the status-quo. (I am keeping this strictly within the realm of liberal arts and so-called social sciences). Discussions do not require anyone to lose ground. Discussion tends to provide participants the appearance of engagement while simultaneously enabling them to remain free of any potential threat that an actual engagement might introduce. In other words, discussion allows participants to leave through the same point through which they entered, having traveled nowhere.

Now, there would seem to be higher, political powers afoot. Adhering to the status-quo has advantages for all involved I suppose. The problem is that it isn't just schools of mainstream economics, for example, that rely on discussion, it is everywhere. Including where CasP and other would-be radicals live.

I am keeping this short. But if CasP attempts to exist and thrive using the same forms of communication as used by the status-quo it would seem to be doomed. No matter how erudite the research it must still exist in the land of discussion, such of the nature as it has experienced up to this point. This would therefore seem to require CasP to explore other means of communication. Bohm offers what he identifies as dialog (his book on the topic is actually "Dialog").

I am unaware of anything occurring in CasP or other radical schools that addresses this issue.
Scott
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:31 pm

Re: Thoughts on Bohm, CASP, dialog, status quo

Postby DT Cochrane » Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:47 am

If we are adopting a non-narrow understanding of dialog, then The Internet has to be considered an Earth-shattering innovation in both the medium and the message of discourse. In many ways, it stands as the opposite of the peer review system, with which all of the coordinators of this site have to contend. The Internet is open, for better and for worse. The peer review system has gatekeepers, for better and for worse. Unfortunately, I would suggest that in both mediums, it is for the worse. The Internet's openness allows for the proliferation of crackpottery, vileness, disorganized thought, loose opinions and much else that hampers dialog. The peer review's gatekeepers serve a self-protective and self-reproductive process that undermines novelty and a proliferation of voices, again to the detriment of dialog.

Speaking just for myself, this website is one way to surmount the hurdles you identify. Unfortunately, pace the original title of this forum, we currently lack the 'critical mass' to make this dialog self-sustaining. At the same time, care needs to be taken with how commentary is encouraged, since the comment sections of many popular sites are ground zero for The Internet at its open worst.
User avatar
DT Cochrane
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:49 am

Re: Thoughts on Bohm, CASP, dialog, status quo

Postby Scott » Wed Oct 01, 2014 4:20 pm

Thank you, DT, for your thoughts.

I can appreciate your perspectives on the usefulness of the web. I happen to feel the opposite: that the web is, generally, highly overrated in its promised ability to create a "virtual" space that illuminates (rather than just repackages and sells) real space and will continue to be the vanguard for the direction opposite to dialog. The web facilitates the continued atomizing of Western society, and future developments in its normalization will further entrench same. In other words, there is more to dialog than simply sharing information.

Perhaps an analogy for web as open discourse is its technical counterpart - web as open source development, where many of the internet's key technological components are made and maintained by volunteers in an open sharing of ideas and tools etc. In fact, the free economy, the norm to simply give stuff away, established itself with the web and continues to flourish despite the trend of big business becoming more dominant.

Yet, even in the relatively simple (as in contained) areas of technology, opensource is perhaps becoming more problematic and less sustainable. Your suggestion that standardization is limiting is true to a degree, but non-standardization can be just as limiting. And I don't mean in just being vulnerable to crackpots. The most recent example is Shellshock in which best intentions creates significant crises (apparently shellshock is over 10 years old)

But I do have something specific in mind when I use the term "dialog", I do not use it synonymously with "discourse" (thou i notice i did that in the original post...:) ) or "discussion" or "communication" etc. It does mean something very distinct. It involves those things to a degree, but its character, goals and meaning are something different. I am just unsure, at this point, how it relates to technical communication. I am currently exploring a more epistemological framework, and how it relates to schools of thought like CasP.
Scott
 
Posts: 32
Joined: Sun Dec 07, 2008 8:31 pm

Re: Thoughts on Bohm, CASP, dialog, status quo

Postby DT Cochrane » Fri Oct 10, 2014 12:24 pm

Hi Scott,
I'm currently reading In the World Interior of Capital by Peter Sloterdijk, in which he is trying to develop a metaphysics of globalization. It is a wide ranging work intended to challenge many of the standard concepts we use to talk about the world and its inhabitants. A part I just read is, I believe, relevant to this discussion.

Sloterdijk argues that digital media is changing the relationship between content and subjects. He says that the 'educated self' theorized, and idealized, by Enlightenment thinkers is being replaced by a 'user self.' He writes: "The technological turn relieves individuals of the impositions of the integral personality formation that exemplified existence in the universe of knowledge that was read and transmitted through one's own life." So, instead of reading a book and translating the knowledge contained in that book through our own experiences to become a piece of ourselves, which would later be expressed in dialog, we now retrieve information. That retrieval does not constitute an experience in the same way as reading a book, claims Sloterdijk, as we do no longer collect experiences from which we can draw, but instead we collect "addresses where knowledge aggregates formed to varying extents can be found, should one wish to access them."

I think the common complaint about the demise of 'pub debate' because of smart phones kind of exemplifies what Sloterdijk is saying. Where once some trivial piece of information might become the fodder of a lengthy debate around the table, now 30 seconds on one's iPhone will quickly resolve the matter. Of course, everyone understands that the point of the debate was not whether it was Pam Dauber or Shelley Long who starred with Tom Hanks in the Money Pit, but the wide-ranging conversation such seemingly obscure disagreements engender. From this minor point, discussants might venture opinions on the state of contemporary media, offer reflections on their childhoods, commiserate over the responsibilities of adulthood. In these discussions, we draw on the experiences we have had, including of the knowledge we've gained through reading, and engage with each other, adding new experiences of the knowledge they share.

Of course, we cannot immediately say that this 'user self' is inferior to the 'educated self.' Because I no longer need to try and remember that because the Democratic Republic of Congo has access to the ocean, the Congo does not border Angola, but can quickly remind myself of that fact, I can devote greater mental energy to understanding the implications of Angolan support for Congolese rebels (this is made up, I know very little about the current state of DRC-Congolese-Angolan relations).

Similarly, I try not to judge too quickly the desirability or undesirability of openness on The Internet, but rather observe the fluctuations of desirable and undesirable behaviour. Online anonymity is a perfect example. It allows some misogynistic shitbag to anonymously leak selfies of young, female starlets, while also making it possible for Anonymous to clandestinely investigate and then expose the misogynistic shitbags involved in the Steubenville rape case. Policing the boundaries of dialog is always a fraught matter, essentially tracing a knife edge between allowing an influx of anti-intellectualism and stifling critical thought. Standardization is certainly one means of doing so. Clear, open rules provide guidelines that allow participants to make informed choices. At the same time, we need to remember that those standards are autonomous creations and should not become a heteronomy.
User avatar
DT Cochrane
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Nov 21, 2013 6:49 am


Return to Political Economy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron