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FleshFactor: Re: Dennett Interview

A E C  F O R U M - "F L E S H F A C T O R"

>Daniel Dennett:  I think we philosophers should help people get over
>their anxiety about being machines, since it is no longer possible to
>deny it, unless one chooses to be weirdly uninformed.

Again, I really hate to harp on this - but won't someone please tell these
people that industrial American society IS NOT THE ENTIRE WORLD.  A good
two thirds of the people on the planet don't choose 'to be weirdly
uninformed', and are not anxious about being a machine because their many
concerns are somewhat more prosaic. 

Yes, I am angered.  While North American Society becomes more and more a
society of elites and downtrodden proles, our so-called philosophers
provide the white wash to maintain, rationalize, and even pay homage to the
industrial status quo - a hegemony of technical expertise and cultural
barbarity.  As the weather changes and children need to be smeared with
chemical sheltering goo from the too hot sun we are honoured by the
presence of our leading philosophers (with white beards no less) ranting
elegant nonsense about tin cans that think.

One needs to be shrill to be heard over the high fences of upper class play
farms.  His hobbies mark him as a member of the aristocratic intellectual
elite - one who has the gall to tell others to buckle up and accept their
fate - that they are machines...this metaphor - and that is all it can
ever really be - this metaphor of man as a machine (which is certainly
nothing new!) is one that sanctions the buying of body parts by sickly
overweight Westerners from rice farmers in Madras State...This is not
theoretical - it's happening now... 'Hell, I needed a new kidney so I got
one from my local slave (i.e. redundant machine) population. - Do I feel
morally responsible - geez no - I'm a machine.'

Philosophy in the west is in a state of imbecile acquiescence to the
reigning materialistic ideology which is an extravagant terminology for
rampant consumerism and blinkered (strategic) ignorance.  Philosophy has
become this ideology's 'wise old man' prop.  Be patient and slow and step
into this digital gas chamber my little genetically inferior (i.e..
non-productive or argumentative) machine.

A major part of the manufacturing of consent is the manufacturing of
philosophy.  What is most hilarious is how shaky AND unscientific are its

>DD: I realize that many self-appointed guardians of human
>culture are appalled at the prospect of granting that even human
>culture--art, ethics, religion, politics, science--is a product of nature,
>that the Cathedral at Chartres is part of the extended human phenotype in
>exactly the same way a beaver dam is part of the extended phenotype of the
>beaver.  But their hope of "protecting" culture from biology by denying
>its biological roots is myopic; it could only succeed if culture were some
>sort of miraculous gift from on high.  Manna from heaven...that idea
>is simply preposterous,

Dennett uses the codes of industrialization and commerce in his definition
of the extraordinary fullness of nature and of the human.

Consciousness is dismissed as the outcome of particular processes.

Culture becomes a 'product' of mechanical predictability.

He is the progressive scientist/philosopher shedding the brilliance of
rationality across the darkness of the ages.  Of course this rationality
fits perfectly with the social engineering of society and the industrial
gridding of the world for exploitation.

What is blatantly ignored, willfully shunted aside, is the value of life
as the creative venture of consciousness itself.  It is in the question
and in the discipline of individual consciousness, or in the experiential
light of that consciousness - that the purely and vibrant Creative is
lived and acknowledged - and yes it is here that the term the Sacred can
be used. It is the creative that is untouched, untouchable but endlessly
radiant - it is, if I allow myself the use of the term, the machine of
essential nature.

Dennett knocks his professorial pipes and dismisses the question of nature
--the question is too large for proper placement in the machinery of his
world view - and so it becomes a non-issue - while all the time, of
course, it is the primary question. 

Neurophilosophers are lost in the minuteness of dendrites and axons - to
believe that the plumbing system of thought is the blueprint of the human
is both too small a view and an extraordinarily arrogant posturing devised
to justify years of toil and tenure and hide the meanness of the

The argument is not whether culture is a product of nature or is 'fallen
from heaven' but what is, profoundly, nature, and specifically what is
human nature. 

Hey, wasn't there a philosopher who thought that way once - and you know
what - he wasn't ever at MIT or even (gasp!) an American.

PS: If I hear Dennett quote himself one more time or use the  term 'robust'
yet again I'm going to blow my fuses for sure eh!

Oliver Hockenhull

547 West 28 th Ave.
Vancouver, British Columbia,
V5Z 2H2

Telephone: 604-872-3444

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