Monday, May 12, 2014

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others"

In class we say that the whole society is a single body as an effect of terror in totalitarianism. I don't quite understand how this works. If the whole society is a single body, then where does this terror come from? Does the terror come from others or from oneself? If the society is a single body, does it necessarily imply that others and self are the same? If everyone knows that he/she is a potential victim of others, wouldn't he/she try to avoid accusing others?

"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" This is a quote from Animal Farm by George Orwell. Is there a superior secret power that is "more equal than others" to exert this terror among men?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

On Violence - Decolonization

1. Decolonization is the taking or reclaim of land or territory from colonizer.

2. Violence is necessary. "Decolonization is always a violent phenomenon."

3. Q: Why is violence necessary?

a. To liberate and free the natives
b. Natural response to the violence in acted by the colonizer
c. To physically bring down the institutions/structures put in place by the colonizers
d. To build solidarity in the struggle for freedom

Fanon - Decolonized Values

David expressed in his presentation that the decolonized take on the values of the past colonizers. However, Fanon, in his chapter "On Violence," writes that because the supremacy of these white values were imposed on the colonized with such violence, the decolonized individuals responded to these "rock-solid values" with ridicule and rebelled against them. I'm just wondering how to reconcile this.

This latter point is also interesting, though, in that one will see when examining decolonized nations that they have kept intact the church, though this, too, is a belief system imposed on them by the colonizers.

Arendt Ch. 13 Questions

1.) According to Arendt, why is totalitarian regime not arbitrary and how does it operate under "guidance of law" if it sometimes defies the laws it has established (461)? What does Arendt mean by the laws of History/Nature?  How does she critique the execution of these laws (does totalitarian rule execute these laws justly) ? How does terror "liberate the forces of nature or history" (465)?
2.) How does totalitarian rule "pretend" to be just? What does Arendt mean when she states, "the criminal can be judged justly only because he takes part in the consensus iuris" (462)?
3.) What does the author want to express when she says that totalitarianism "claims to make mankind itself the embodiment of the law" (462)? How do laws become "laws of movement" (463)?
4.) Why does terror have to eliminate the concept of freedom? What does this achieve?

Ideology and Terror Discussion Questions

  1. What is totalitarianism in comparison to the other forms of political oppression?
  2. Is totalitarianism a legal form of political ruling, or is it an arbitrary power?
  3. How is terror different from fear? Is there a difference?
  4. If you abandon solitude, will there be no feelings of loneliness? 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Fear and Terror

When Hannah Arendt described totalitarianism, I was interested in the distinction between fear and terror. Fear seems to be described as a threatening emotion used to force people to obey to the law in a society and terror suggests fear beyond simply forcing people to obey the government. Terror is described as being constantly present, even when people don't need to be forced to do things anymore. Since terror is the essence of totalitarianism and in this system there are no guides for human behavior, would fear still be present in totalitarianism?

Monday, May 5, 2014

Discussion Questions

1. Would we naturally repress our own sexual desires without a civilizing force?

2. Why does civilization necessarily oppose sexual freedom?

3. On page 109, Freud cites a passage from Faust in a footnote, in which the description of evil coincides with his idea of destructive instinct. Faust is literature work rather than a patient's account. Do you think it can be treated as a source of knowledge about human nature?

4. Freud rejects the practice and institution of religion as delusional, but he frequently make references to Jewish history. Do you think it's contradictory?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Freud - Jordan S

I agree with Freud's point that aggressiveness came before private property - and so to say that with communism, everyone will be able to get along and share the wealth and work when work needs to be done -- doesn't make sense. People will still want to fight, and climb over one another, and love each other, and break up, and do all of the basic human emotions -- because those have existed since the beginning. Man in the state of nature still had aggression before he realized he could take something as his own.

However, I don't agree that all of us immediately want to fight with our neighbors and that we have an urge to kill them (Page 95). Perhaps we feel competitive with them, especially if they don't seem friendly. But I don't think we all automatically feel hostile towards others. It depends on the environment (work, home, school, etc.)

Cogito Food

Quote: "A life spent entirely in public, in the presence of others, becomes, as we would say, shallow. While it retains its visibility, it loses its quality of rising into sight from some darker ground which must remain hidden if it is not to lose its depth in a very real, non-subjective sense. "
                                                      -Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Wednesday, May 7th--BRING YOUR COMPUTERS

Please bring your computers to class on Wednesday.  We will need them to complete course evaluations.

Thank you.

Professors see this and imagine the worst.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014


"Order is a kind of compulsion to repeat which, when a regulation has been laid down once and for all, decides when, where, and how a thing shall be done, so that in every similar circumstance one is spared hesitation and indecision." (Freud 46) 
Fascinating idea: that reason emerges from compulsion to repeat. That reason is a form of neurosis?

Summary on Arendt Chapter 9

1) The newly created nation-states were unsuccessful because they lacked homogeneity of population and rootedness.

2) Minority Treaties were a failure

3) Stateless people lose there basic human rights

4) nation-state cannot exist once its law of equality has been broken down. Without the legality of quality the state becomes an anarchic mess.

5) Q: Is there a way to solve the issue concerning stateless people? Without uprooting everyone.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jordan Scott - Freud reading

What does the common man understand by his religion? Freud tries to figure out what it is that so much of the population holds onto and is connected by -- something he has never felt the pull or allure of. He says that on the one hand religion explains the world to man with 'enviable completeness' or basically tells him the meaning of his existence on this earth during this time. Simultaneously, by buying into religion, man is assured to be watched over by some higher power, and will compensate him wherever his soul goes next depending on the life he lived on earth. I notice that Freud always uses 'him' and not 'her' or just a gender neutral description of humans that live religiously -- coming back to feminism, of course. I think that Freud's brilliance in science and philosophy and thought is what hinders him from understanding what he so desperately wants to learn - which is how the majority of the world thinks and lives and why they do what they do. Being unable to relate to something so universal and timeless like religion, must have been a real challenge for him.

Universal Love Response

I was thinking that religions advocated this universal love because it is something that people think they should be able to do (even if they do not feel like they do). He talks about how religion is so unrealistic, so this is an example of that. On page 39 he mentions that only a few people will be able to rise above the idea that living by the rules that religion provides is actually tangible. I think it goes back to the idea that human beings feel helpless and need this father figure to tell them how they should act. Since it is not attainable, it is possible that because of this, they are able to convince people that they need a higher power to get to that point. Religions could be using this to show reinforce that idea that people are not self-sufficient.

Thinking about Freud

I love reading this dude!
I never thought of life being "too hard for us" (41). I always thought that we needed to look for meaning in life, which is what we need religion for, but I did not think it was because we always feel helpless. It was so interesting that Freud says that the two highest achievements of man, art and science, can be replaced by religion and that art gives satisfactions that "are illusions in contrast with reality" (41). Are human beings only capable of achieving things that provide artificial satisfactions to deal with life? Even our highest achievements are differentiated from reality? Why isn't religion considered a high achievement?

I also really like his explanation that we are only content with very pleasurable moments as opposed to living without pain (42-43). "Nothing is harder to bear than a succession of fair days" (43). I always thought that fair days weren't bad at all. I actually enjoy a bunch of fair days more than a bunch of horrible days. Do you guys think that is weird? Is it really easier to suffer through pain because it can one day change, and escaping from that pain will give a relief or excitement that will be worth suffering over? Regardless of people wishing to be happy, do people want to suffer a bit too? I will admit that sometimes I wanted my life to be more dramatic so that my life could be more interesting. So, is it that fair days are worse because they are uneventful?